DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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23 May 2013

Warm ... Fortunate ... Thankful

I had a great time yesterday sewing and organising myself and my work room. You know that I'm visiting my sister, Tricia, next week and I want to take a few things down for her grandson, Johnathan. He is six months old now, they're just coming into winter in a very cold region, so that presents me with many wonderful options to knit cosy cardigans and sew fluffy fleece sleeping bags. I love helping others stay cozy. I'd like to write that on official forms that ask "occupation". (Not that it's anyone else's business what I do and besides, I refuse to be categorised by a single word. "Retired". Pffffft! End of rant.)  I love the cold weather, rugging up and feeling cosy and I take every opportunity to help others do the same. I'll help Tricia start Johnathan on that road early.

While I worked in that little room, rain fell outside, I could see the trees and bushes move in the wind and I was pleased I was in that room. Warm.


Out in the yard, the wisteria is turning gold and slowly falling, the grass isn't growing so fast and soon the pecan tree will lose its leaves. All signs that winter is nearly here. It makes me think of the alpaca yarn I have here and what I'll make with it. Alpaca is very light but incredibly warm so it's one of the natural yarns that I love to knit. Maybe some gloves for Hanno. Since he had his chainsaw accident, his damaged hand, with compromised circulation, seems to always be cold. It's even worse now in the cold weather. Yes, that's where the alpaca will go.

While I worked in that little room, I could smell chicken casserole slow cooking on the stove. I thought about all the people who have no warm room to tidy up and no casserole to eat.  Fortunate.


Life naturally turns inwards in winter. More chores are carried out indoors, we don't automatically fling open the doors and windows early in the morning to capture the cool fresh air. We keep doors closed  to keep the warmer air inside. More cups of tea are enjoyed, lambswool slippers are on, gloves and scarves have been aired and worn, we've stopped keeping a jug of water in the fridge and ice cubes in the freezer. They'll wait their turn to be enjoyed again later in the year.

While I worked in that little room, I thought about writing this post and the people who would read it from all over the world. Coming here from warm and cold parts, living near country lanes and city highways, being part of my day simply because they read what I write.  Thankful.

I'm convinced we all need a bit of downtime during busy periods in our lives. Having that one day to do this and not worrying about anything else, really cleared my head and helped me prepare for what is to come. It doesn't take a lot, but taking as much time as you can to nurture yourself and slow the pace helps. No one will come along and tell you to take time out, it's something we all have to do for ourselves. I don't do it nearly as much as I should but I'm much better than I used to be. Do you take time to look after yourself?

42 comments:

  1. Here in Minnesota USA we are just heading in to spring. Its a bit late this year by 4 or 5 weeks. I am enjoying throwing open the windows and leaving them open all night long. I am doing my final sorting projects and getting ready to take a load to the thrift shop. Then all will be clean and tidy and I can enjoy spring and summer and into the fall without having to do any major tidying. It leaves me more time for walks, sitting in the park and bird watching, and any other outdoor activity I can think of that I enjoy. Spring and summer are so short here with about 6 1/2 months of winter/cold. So I take advantage of whatever I can to soak up the warmth and the sun. Although we are opposites as far as seasons go, I will use your blog posts to make notes for myself for when colder weather rolls around again.

    Take good care of you.

    Jlynn

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  2. I thorougjly enjoyed your comments about cold weather because I am on the east coast of the US literally dripping with sweat from gardening, but thankful we are not part of "tornado alley"...we forget sometimes to be thankful for the little things and grumble about inconsequential ones...thanks!

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  3. What a beautiful post. I feel the same way about the seasons turning. I think your idea for Hanno's gloves is a great one; he will surely stay warmer in them.

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  4. Beautiful! I love your rant and would love to hear you've made up a new occupation to put on forms! Comfort maker?

    The quiet 'at home' days are wonderful and they keep me going during the hectic ones. Happy knitting!

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  5. It is so nice to read your thoughts on this. Here on the other end of the world - we welcome spring these days after a really long and cold winter. I see that several plants in my garden have died or suffered severly during this winter. But the cherry tree blossoms, we have put the potatoes in the ground and the apple trees are soon to blossom. Everything turns green again - and the doors and windows are open and the children run in and out all the time. It is the time for openness and activity. We need that after the closed and cold season by the fire. Best wishes from Norway.

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  6. Hi Rhonda,
    Beautifully written as always!
    Looking forward to taking time for myself and my little family at the end of the month when we have a long 4 day weekend. We are going across to our sister island Tobago. We haven't been over for about 8 years! Looking forward to snorkelling and exploring with the kids and hubby and maybe doing some painting or photography.

    Vicki
    Trinidad & Tobago

    p.s. I sent you the watermelon rind recipe in a comment on the post about making biscuits from scratch. Guess you have a while before you get to try that recipe =)
    Keep warm and safe.

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  7. Hi - I am very bad at taking time out for myself and I usually push myself until I am so depleted I stop being able to function properly. It is such a silly way to be and I am trying to stop being like it. On Monday I decided that I would just let the world go on around me but that I would stop for a while. I read an entire book in one day (I love reading but rarely allow myself the time) and called my husband and asked him to bring home a takeaway instead of having to cook. I had an early night (to finish the book) and then slept better than I have for ages. It was a really re-energising day. Lily. xxx

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  8. I'm one of those who fail to take time downtime on a regular basis. I don't know why because I always feel so much more peaceful and rested when I do. Thanks for the reminder to slow down and enjoy the moment.

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  9. We're in NZ and here too autumn is saying a long goodbye and the chill of winter is around the corner. I love how we have such very separate seasons here, each has something worth celebrating! Winter is a perfect time to turn inwards, it would also be a perfect time to start making time for myself.....but this is so hard to do with 2 little ones at home and pregnant again. I remind myself that these times are precious and fleeting, and that soon my children will not need me in the same intense way as they do now. So for now I grab snatches of time here and there and cherish being cosy with my family :)

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  10. Hi Rhonda, it's lovely to feel so warm and cosy when it is cold outside. This morning, it is 1 degree outside, and we are getting ready for the day with the heating warming the house. We have ducted heating and the kids love to sit on the ducts while getting dressed ready for the day. How cold does it get in winter in Maleny? I can't imagine wearing gloves and a scarf in Queensland!

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    1. It's cold in the hinterland here, Bec. We live in Landsborough, about 15 minutes from Maleny and it will get down to 3 - 5C on a winter's night, but generally warm up to 18 - 22 during the day. So yes, we do have gloves and scarves and many people here have open fires, although sadly we don't. Enjoy your day. :- )

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  11. Hi Rhonda!

    Thank you for this great post- I am going to "save" it for next fall. I am in Minnesota and we had a very looooonnnngggg winter!!! I seem to have a hard time taking time out for myself and know I need to work on that. Your writing style is so comforting to me.

    Angie

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  12. In short the answer is no, I have forgotten how to take time for myself.

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  13. The warm fireplaceMay 23, 2013 9:30 am

    It is the one thing i am not good at is finding time for myself, i am determined to try and plan my days out better so that i can have some "Down time", i tend to rush around get everything done but am always exhausted, i think i need a better routine. We are heading into spring now here in the UK, everything is in leaf or blossom, it is so lovely after the long winter we have just had, i am getting myself prepared for another such winter to come, wood, stores etc, i find winter is a time to slow the pace down anyway. Great idea about Hannos gloves, they will be lovely and warm, i crocheted some blankets we use to put round us as we sit, it certainly saves on the heating bill.
    Sue

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  14. Here in sunny Arizona we are just starting into our hot summer...what I call our "hibernation time"...when it gets to be 110 each and every day for three months that is when I take time for myself..reading as much as I can...going for very early morning walks...and just enjoying life.

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  15. Rhonda, such a beautiful post today! i miss the cold and the rain and i guess it's going to be a while since it's almost summer around here. please post the photos of Hanno's gloves when you're done knitting them!
    Tanya.

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  16. It is sooooo nice to be warm and cozy on a rainy cold day. And after summer and all the doing and going some nice rainy days gives a person an ironclad excuse to just sit around and hibernate for a bit. Here in southern Indiana it is spring and lately we are having hotter than usual weather (temps in the high 80's F) for this time of year. Makes it hard to get all the spring yard work done. I usually have until early or even mid June to get the heavy work out of the way before it gets really hot and steamy but not this year. Fortunately we are getting lots of rain which after the dry spring, summer, and fall of last year is wonderful.

    Victoria

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  17. Wonderful post, Rhonda, and I felt cozy myself just reading the description of your day. We're going into summer here in North Carolina, and that's fine, but I do love cold weather !

    As far as taking time for myself - yes I do. It's become must easier at this point in my life as an empty nester and just a few years away from retirement. I probably should have taken more time for myself as a young mother, and will now encourage my daughter and daughter-in-law to do so.

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  18. "No one will come along and tell you to take time out" Those are a few small words I really needed to hear lately, I'm taking it on board.

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  19. What a lovely post Rhonda. I think it's important to be mindful of the blessings in my life, and there are so many. I don't think I take official time off near enough now that I'm self employed, but I'm so thankful that I love what I do now and the ways I'm able to fill my days: Gardening, cooking, baking, making yogurt, planting, tending cattle and enjoying time with the Love of my Life. Sitting on the back porch in our rockers as the sun sinks to the west - magic. I guess my "down time" happens a little every day! Thanks for sharing this post.

    ~Taylor-Made Ranch~
    Wolfe City, Texas

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  20. Yes I do, specially in this last period that I' ve gone through a surgery, so I've more time to think and make things with more time. And I appreciate very much this kind of slow motion life, I've more time to think and reflect. And it's true............ internet seems to reduce all the distances, but here in Sicily we're going to meet the summer, while your weather is growing colder and colder..........

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  21. I haven't taken the time in quite a while to just do for myself. I do know it is important and I must make the time to do it.

    Deanna

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  22. Thank you, Rhonda, for this reminder to look after ourselves. Very timely indeed. I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday morning, sewing a trial version of a jacket I am going to make, adjusting the pattern etc. I let the dishes wait.

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  23. I was diagnosed with a heart condition when I was 43. I now listen to my body and take good care of myself.I rest when I need to and know that nothing is so important that I need to tire myself or make myself ill in order to accomplish it. I wish I had done it sooner, but at least I had the opportunity to make changes. My Dad didn't get that chance with his heart, and died aged 55.

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  24. Two weeks ago we had frost, one week ago we had 35 degrees celsius and summer. Today when l got up it was only 6 degrees celsius. I have brought out my cosy warm fleece jacket and slippers again for now. Going to plant new strawberries when the rain stops. The cold winter we had killed the old ones off sadly. Love the changing seasons, hope we have a nice summer 25 celsius for a few weeks would be perfect. Pam x

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  25. Hi Rhonda!
    I agree with your rant about ticking another box other than the one that says "retired"! My husband is on the disability pension and I am on the wife's. We are too young to be "retired" but have had it thrust upon us due to my husbands accident. We hate the term "retired"! It seems to infer an easy life and living off retirement funds when that is so far from the truth for us! It also infers a "retirement" from life - which is also inaccurate. So I guess that is my rant for the day too!

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  26. I still find it so strange to hear you talk about winter when we are supposed to be heading into our summer! Here in England this has been a long, slow and for some, a painful winter with loss of stock and loved ones. Most days it is still cloudy and with a cool wind but we are hopeful that eventually the sun will get its hat on! I have retired early and DB is 'properly' retired. Whilst he has a little book of jobs to do (which always seems to grow), some days I don't seem to have enough to do but just tootle through. For us, a 'tootle' day makes all the difference.

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  27. Over the past 3 years I have had a run of chest infections and am currently - hopefully - now recovering from Pleurisy. This latter problem has MADE me sit down and put my health first - it's not something you can bounce back from so easily. I have tried to turn a minus into a plus, and been busy recycling (mostly 100% materials bought as clothes at car boot sales) into a quilting stash, and also crocheting and trying out new crafts and I'm slowly getting through my huge back-log of books to read.

    How I agree with you about making people cozy. It's like showing love for someone in a textile form really . . . I have planned a patchwork quilt for each of my daughters for Christmas - my son's missed out as he's heading off in early 2014 to work in Australia for a year or so. I shall try and make an Oz-inspired homecoming quilt for my son : )

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  28. Taking time to look after myself if a lesson I seem to have to keep repeating. A beautiful reminder, written with your usual charm. :)

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  29. Oh, what a breath of fresh air this post was for me. I live in Canada, we are just moving slowly towards summer. I'm dealing with one of the first pesky flies right now. I love the cooler months, even though here there are more cooler than warm, and I LOVE them for everything you mention above. We slow down, we take time, we cozy up, we enjoy tea and slippers, and knitting...candlelight too. I love winter and all that it means. Summer isn't my favorite, I'm not a fan of heat and humidity, but you reminded me of what comes next in just a few short months...just what I needed to calm my anxious state. Thanks!

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  30. I am not good at taking care of myself,but I am working on that! I usually wait until I am very "cranky" before I take time for myself. I am trying to take some time for myself each day.....but old habits are hard to break!

    You wrote a great post! I am going into a hot Summer here,my least favorite season! I miss my wood stove fire! But I am trying to enjoy each season for what they offer. And today,I am working on my sewing/craft supplies,too. Time to organize and declutter! Darlene

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  31. After a long period in my adult life where tragedy seemed to strike every few years, I find now, in my older age of semi retirement that I know I deserve this time for ME. I spend my days as I wish unless I have work...swimming, walking or exploring outdoors, reading a good novel, working on crafts,baking and cooking and just enjoying my days. It's been a long time coming to this place for me because I raised 2 generations of children as a single mother after my divorce and the death of my young adult daughter and then had to rebuild my life after losing everything in hurricane Katrina. I live very simply, yet happily.

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  32. It is a wonderful feeling to be warm, safe, and peaceful during winter. It is one of my favourite times of year.

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  33. I too want to feel snuggly in a warm room but instead I perspire in the humidity. Here in Darwin the chilly dry season has not come upon us yet. It's a couple of months late. And tonight it has been raining for the past 4 hours. Very bizarre at this time of year. I swelter and dream of cooler weather to really get stuck into my outdoor gardening.

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  34. Yes, I get a chuckle out of our opposing seasons. We were 80 a couple of days ago and now 50. The garden isn't ready yet.

    I am taking a bit of time for myself this weekend. I'm hoping to catch a ride on a boat to do a morning of salmon fishing!

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  35. Rhonda,
    What a gift to make yourself and others warm by your own hand. To knit and sew, such talent. My mother could sew and my daughter has an aptitude but the talent skipped a generation.

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  36. lovely post I really must learn how to sew the only knitting I do is dish cloths

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  37. Rhonda, doing things that energizes me, doing things I enjoy, has the added benefit "of looking after myself" included:-)
    Thank you for referring to my journal in last week's weekend reading post. It is a great privilege.

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  38. Rhonda, ha, you retired?!! Retired from the rat-race maybe:-) The thing I am best at is looking after myself, which, sadly, so many women are terrible at. I think often it is sheer laziness, but I only do things that *have* to be done, like looking after my family and pets and fulfilling obligations that I have carefully considered are important. I make time for yoga twice weekly, and have been getting up at 6 am (which is practically the middle of the night for me) to meditate for 20mins before the rest of the family is awake. My husband has his twice-weekly games of golf, and boys' weekends away, so why should I feel guilty for taking time for myself? It certainly makes me a more patient, and better mother and wife.
    Loretta
    PS I've been feeding our new chooks porridge for breakfast and they LOVE it! Your chook-rearing tips have been much appreciated.

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  39. What a lovely post! I'm at home with a toddler and a school age child - our week seems to fly by with morning activities (playgroup, grocery shopping, visits to friends), then toddler's sleep (during which I get most of my chores done including cooking dinner), then its afternoon school pick up, homework, piano practice, dinner, bath, kids bed. Phew! I like to have at least one full day a week at home, preferable two, where the toddler can run riot and amuse herself around the house while I potter about getting chores done rather than racing through them. Washing gets folded and put away, something sweet might get baked, a ball might get kicked around the backyard while we fend off the chickens. Some blogs might get read! I'm glad you enjoy your days at home too. Especially nice when its cold and wet outside. Enjoy your visit to your sister! x

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  40. Great post. I've been sorting out indoor crafts to do that involve sitting or being near the fire as that is what I classify as "me" time. You could put your occupation down in two words "Living Simply" but it would just be classified as "Other"!
    Cheers, Robyn

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  41. Beautifully written post, thank you Rhonda. We are in Perth and we've had a few chilly evenings and mornings, but the days have been mild so far. The oranges and tangelos have a tint of orange to them, and the camellias look amazing, covered in pink.

    I haven't quite found that magic balance, with full time work, part time study and school age children, but I'm getting there. I have so many things to be thankful for, and I have a lot of contentment.

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