DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
I have a forum attached to my blog where people from all over the world meet to discuss simple life. There are over 8000 forum members now so we have an enormous amount of good information about growing food, cooking from scratch, family, simple living, routines, budgeting, baking and much more. Please click on the image above to go there. Newcomers will have to register. It's free, friendly and we're waiting for you.

31 July 2013

Patterns of a simple life

One thing I really love about the simple life is that it encourages me to slow down and be mindful. I've stopped working on automatic plot and multi-tasking and now I concentrate on what I'm doing.  Focusing on my work has its own way of slowing me down. I don't think about what I'll do when I finish, I don't think about tonight or tomorrow, my mind slows right down and it's just me in a room with what I'm doing. I feel in control, enjoy the work and when it's finished, I have a feeling of satisfaction and achievement.

I can slot house work in with my paid work better, if I work to a routine. I find that if I set myself up with a couple of easy daily chores early in the morning, it seems to keep me going the entire day. If I don't do those two set things, I flounder, going from this to that and not quite doing anything well. What is working well for me at the moment it to have a pencil and paper next to the computer when I write my morning post. As I think of them, I create a list of tasks that I want or need to do that day. If I don't finish my list, it's fine, they just get added to the following day's list. But there is always one constant, I always start my day with those two easy tasks - I make the bed and I get bread on the rise. When those two things are complete, I know I've set my day up well and the flow of my list directs me throughout the day.


This was one of the many surprises that came my way when I left paid work behind and returned to my home; supposedly the place where I would be boring and bored. Instead of boredom, I found that many household tasks are easy and quick and often they just flow into each other.



I still work for money but it's at a much slower pace now. I work from home, writing books, blogging and organising talks and workshops when the need arrises. The rest of the time I tend my home, look after my husband, myself and occasionally our grandson, and home produce as much as I can. I cook too. I bake, cook from scratch every day, make drinks, ferments and preserves. I look for new horizons so my work remains interesting. My biggest challenge at the moment is to increase my knowledge about food storage and to cut down on food and water wastage. But that's a story for another time.

So all through the day, I wash up, cook, bake, sweep and wipe, set the table, look after who ever is here, take breaks, sit and knit, or read and think, and all that is done around my writing work. One thing flows into the other, I don't feel pressured, I get work done and at the end of the day, I have a few pages to edit and edit again. Working in this way, I've been able to continue working in a commercial sense as well as feel like a full-time homemaker.


I never tire of cooking. It seems like a unique gift that I give to others every day. When I cook for my family, when I introduce Jamie to a food he may not have had before, when I bake a celebration cake or create a simple soup using backyard produce, that all comes from the heart. Giving from the heart is always meaningful and significant, and the giving comes back to me too in many wonderful ways.


These small things I do each day, when I make the bed, mop a floor, boil an egg, plant seeds, peel vegetables, mend a shirt, write a blog post or a book page, the willingness to do them and to give them, all come easily when life is so rich. They are activities I take part in every day, fluffing up our nest, doing this and that, putting plain and simple ingredients together to create something special, and they are given willingly with the intention of creating cohesion, harmony and strength in our family. People rarely forget if you make them feel wanted, comfortable and loved. I'm sure there are many people who think that a hefty bank balance makes a family strong but I think a family who works for each other and who give freely of themselves form the strongest families and create the most permanent of ties.

Do you feel what I feel or do you struggle with your work?


51 comments:

  1. Our daily list, small as it is, never gets finished at the moment due to the imminent death of a close friend. We have stopped seeing her now, not because we want to, but so her family can be with her. Despite this, our minds are not focused and we drift. We know it is temporary but thank goodness we are now free, at home, to do this. I'd probably have got the sack if I had still been working!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry to read about your friend, DC. I know what that's like. Take care of yourself love.

      Delete
    2. Ec, If it is cancer or some other horrible disease, there might still be hope.
      Have a look at the following websites :
      Google Rick Simpson cancer
      Cancertutor.com
      Chrisbeatcancer.com
      The two sites above also mention Rick Simpson.
      I hope your friend and all others who are suffering survive and get well.

      Delete
  2. Thank you for this post Rhonda. I felt like I was sitting with a treasured friend as I read this post. I too am looking for more ways to decrease my food wastage. I am a household of 1, work 40 hours a week and find that my veggies are always going bad. I know how to freeze veggies, but am looking at other wasys to learn how to handle them before they can go bad. I could make twice weekly trips to the store/farmers market but then I would be using more gas to get there and back...

    I love your posts and I can't wait to hear about your path to lessening food wastage.

    Jlynn MN USA

    ReplyDelete
  3. The warm fireplaceJuly 31, 2013 5:05 am

    I feel the same as you Rhonda, i love my work here at home,it isnt money that makes a strong family but the care and love within it, the helping each other and being there for eachother, wonderful post.
    Sue

    ReplyDelete
  4. Good Morning Rhonda, I have been home from work for nearly two weeks, today will be my first day back. I've been ill, but didn't go to my GP when I should have so ended up worse. While I've been home though I've knitted, sewed, made preserves, read a lot of blogs, took notes and planned. I have loved it. I felt calm, organised and like I knew which direction I was headed each day. Looking forward to every day being like it. Could you please tell me how I set up my name on here? I am on the forum, but no idea how to comment on this page without using 'anonymous'. Thankyou, Kathryn

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm pleased you're well again, Kathryn. Here is some info about commenting but basically, I think the easiest way to comment on a blogger blog is to set up a google account for yourself. Googgle own Blogger.

      https://support.google.com/blogger/answer/42399?hl=en

      Delete
  5. Right now , for me it is a struggle! I own a business, and because of the recession, business is poor. I lost my Mother to Alzheimer's in May, and it was a long hard battle as I took care of her the last two years, while trying to maintain my business, my own home, and have a life with my husband and family. Now I have the work of sorting her things and settling her estate, and I think I see a ray of light in the forest. I have told my husband I intend to close my business, but I must do it in stages, as the outcome must fund my retirement years. I find myself trying to do the business books, and in the back of my mind run all the estate things I need to do, and the home things I need to do, rather like a yard full of cackling hens, quacking ducks, and barking dogs. I quit making lists, because there were so many of them and they were so long:) I will be glad when I get the estate settled so I can move on to things at home!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Since I left full time employment Rhonda I love being at home. Apart from dishes/meals and laundry I spent 2 days cutting and sewing patches for a quilt. No pressure. Peace. The preserves I now do are done because I love making them. Currently I have fermented lemonade and gingerbeer almost ready to be bottled in the next 2 days- exciting. Once again your post in like visiting a likeminded friend. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  7. Couldn't agree more Rhonda. I have really enjoyed reading this post as it is how I choose to live. I am retired so my time is my own which I consider a luxury, but there can still be days when I wonder how I'll fit everything in and I find that by concentrating on what I am doing at that moment it slows down the brain and the job is done better, quicker and happier.
    I spent the weekend up at Bald Nob and on the way back to Brisbane I loaded up the boot with local produce from one of the Strawberry Farms and produce stalls. Sometimes you can never be sure if "local produce" stalls are actually just that - but when I see any fruit or vegetable for sale that is not perfectly groomed/shaped I feel more comfortable - it certainly didn't come from Coles. I have already made the strawberry jam, I'm freezing some, fermenting a huge cabbage and yesterday I made a big pot of soup in my preserving pan to be decanted into small portions and popped in the freezer.

    ReplyDelete
  8. At this moment I tend to lurch from one thing to another & I do get frustrated at not slowly & mindfully achieving things in a flowing way. I don't work outside the home (my partner works full time) but we have a bit of a project here & a huge plot, parts of which we are trying to tame & at the same time extend our vegie & fruit growing areas. I do get a great sense of satisfaction as we finish a planned project & I can give it a big tick & I do know that as the jobs get finished it will free up more time for me to explore the homemaking role, which is an exciting prospect. I will turn 60 this weekend & am having a wee break to celebrate - my aim is to spend time really slowing down & putting in some serious thinking time (& making lists) as I so want to enjoy this next stage of my life. I am someone who needs "a project", but the thought of just having one thing at a time to work on is very tempting. I will get there ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy 60th Barb! I have to tell you, so far my 6th decade is one of my favourite times. It's such a milestone moment for you. Enjoy your weekend.

      Delete
  9. It is all your fault that I sat in interviews for a new English faculty and thought about how much more I wanted to be home! LOL

    And, my mind drifted to how I would like to write for a living.... and not have to punch a clock... and sit on the porch with a nice cuppa.... and not have to wear shoes unless I wanted to... and that I am going to sell my house and build a small one on the land that is owned outright and get out of debt... and eat scones... and knit One Whole Day without having to stop to do anything... and then I realized it was my turn to ask the candidate a question and I had to stop dreaming... for a then...

    But, dreaming again today! Yeppers. It is going to happen. Thanks so much for the inspiration to an old broad that it is okay to just change my mind...

    And I have!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha! I could see you doing that. I've been there too. When the time is right, you'll do it.

      Delete
  10. I have to say that the 'heavy cleaning' in the house never seems to get any easier and the vacuum cleaner and I are not on the best of terms and so he doesn't get the workout he should, lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can relate to that. My vacuum cleaner and I are not particularly chummy either.

      Delete
  11. Hi Rhonda
    lovely post, I am so enjoying learning new skills everyday, I just made a doll for granddaughters 2nd birthday, I am so chuffed with it! I love the flow of my home:) Have a good day, kind regards Leonie

    ReplyDelete
  12. I love lists and use them effectively at work (outside the home) but back at home the list seems to merge into one infinite lists of jobs with my husband and I disagreeing about priority of tasks. I think out biggest problem is making sure our home is set up to allow effective work. At the moment there are piles of "stuff" on the dining table and one section of the kitchen bench which makes it very hard to carry out certain tasks as we must shuffle things around to make room. We are slowly making progress and as frustrating as it is we have decided to make do until we can do the jobs (built in storage) properly. I am very much looking forward to not working full-time and getting back into the rhythm of working in the home.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Lovely post Rhonda....are the star biscuits your condensed milk recipe or a different one? Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They're the condensed milk ones, Kathy.

      Delete
  14. Morning Rhonda, your post resonated with me too. I have a couple of morning chores I consider "must-dos"...firstly putting food out for the chooks, then, like you, making the bed, and tidying the kitchen (I sometimes make bread, but it's not an everyday task) then the cat run is swept and cleaned and the litter changed...my 3 cats are part of my "family" and as they're not allowed to roam free, it's important to me that their outdoors quarters are kept clean and fresh...fluffing up their nest! Then the puppy is walked and fed, and after that, the day is clear to do whatever I want....sew, knit, read or visit friends or be visited. I do feel stressed and struggle with the rest of the day if I miss doing these few things first up. I don't write lists, but have a list in my head and am very focused if there's a particular task I want to get done....cleaning a cupboard, or tidying the shed and it always feels good to tick these tasks off. Have a good day.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Yes - on my last day off I quickly did my regular-day-off chores and it was so nice to have them out of the way. Your idea about starting the bread going first thing is a good one - I'll try it. (or try to try it!)

    ReplyDelete
  16. I am new to your blog, but I've been mostly a stay at home mom for 32 years. I've only just started working outside the home in the last 8 years as we are helping our 3 sons pay for their college. Otherwise I would just work at home. My family appreciates my work here and I have always felt it has value. And I can always stay busy! It has been a hard transition for me to work away from home and still do the things here that I want to do, such as all the gardening, baking, home cooking, etc. But I keep at it because for me it is the most important work I can do.
    I love your blog and will be going back through older post and try to catch up. You have some very good and thoughtful ideas. I just wish that we had blogs back in the early 80's when I was a new mom!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Rhonda I feel the same way. I work part-time but my main job is being a helpmate for my husband and a homemaker first. The 3 days a week I do work I still get up and do my same routine that I do on my homemaker days. There is something that sets the day right when I get my list done first...its like it sets the tone for the rest of the day. I loved reading what you and your readers have on their daily lists. I get so much joy and fulfillment from keeping a neat and tidy home and thanks to your blog I am constantly learning new and exciting things I have not tried or even though of! Thanks for sharing with us!
    Tracy - South Carolina, USA
    http://www.oursimplelife-sc.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. Right now Rhonda I feel what you feel, I actually feel like you wrote this post while taking the thoughts from my mind. T. x

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks for the post, it made me feel calm about my own work to do today. Too often I work in a panic, not in a mindful way. I'm getting better, though, and the thing that helps me is exercise or going outside. Recently I've started preserving olives and I like changing the salty water at the end of the day - it's nice to finish the day with something mundane and physical. To be honest, though, I'm still a long way from the sort of mindfulness you talk about here.

    I'm curious to know if other people who manage to work in a slow, focussed manner drink caffeinated drinks? I suspect tea/coffee is what makes me feel unfocussed and over-busy at times.

    ReplyDelete
  20. The other thought I just had is that I think it can be more difficult to live simply when you are young and don't have much capital. I've just turned 30 but have hardly any savings, and although I want to spend more time on home-based practices, I can reduce my expenditure, yet I still need to earn money for rent, and trying to get just enough money (but no more than I need!) is a struggle. Peopls sometimes tell me that it must be easier to live simply when you're 'young and don't have kids', but it has its own challenges because you also don't have much capital to begin with.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Rhonda, I feel much the same as you. I actually just recently wrote a post: Living Deliberately - Voluntary Simplicity. Great minds thinking alike, eh? I think more & more people are looking for more in their lives. You're so right, slowing down adds a richness to life that I didn't have before and I'm so much more fulfilled with my days now.

    ~Taylor-Made Ranch~
    Wolfe City, Texas

    ReplyDelete
  22. Rhonda, a lovely and inspiring post as usual. I turn 'retirement age' next month and will finish my part-time paid job at the end of the year. I cut back from three days work a week to two days this year to ease myself into not going to work after 23 years at the same job. I have noticed though that on the days I don't HAVE to get up and go to work by a certain time that it is easy to just let things slip and not achieve what I would like to in a day.

    So I have become very aware of how important it is to plan for each day especially for things to do after the routine jobs like making the bed and washing the dishes are finished. You always sound like you have that kind of structure entrenched in your daily life and it is something that I need to become more adept at planning for in the coming months. It only seems like yesterday that I was changing nappies and calming crying babies! Where has the time gone?

    ReplyDelete
  23. The problem about housework for me is that it is only noticed in its absence. No one really notices that the furniture has been dusted or the floors mopped. It's only noted when those things haven't been done. Doing them doesn't give me much pleasure without getting validation from someone else. It doesn't seem to count somehow.

    Victoria in Indiana

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi Rhonda, I loved reading this post today. I do feel how you feel. There are always things to get done each day whether it be a small or big job. As long as I have done a couple of things on my list for the day I feel I have accomplished something. I enjoy cooking and baking. When the kids and hubby have complemented on what I have cooked/baked then I feel great that they loved it.
    In the next few weeks I am looking forward to adding to my list of things to do, looking after some little chicks. Can't wait for our fresh eggs!
    Simone x

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi Rhonda-
    I enjoyed reading this along with the comments of others.
    I have certain things, that I do see to, that get done daily. I do see how there are benefits in intentional cohesion and creating a comfortable home for family and guests. I don't however HAVE that right now. So I guess the answer to your question is: I'm struggling right now to find the peaceful flow through out the home and day to day activities/ living. Balancing it all right now is a struggle for me.
    You mentioned early on in this post, being able to focus on the task at hand and not be bothered in that very moment with other things; this is definitely an area where I struggle. I have a problem with being able to attend to the moment--and I'm thinking about the next thing I need to do.
    I'm trying to find a balance and I know that one thing that is coming for me is eliminating some things. Until I can get a more organized home and routine.
    I am enjoying reading here-- I find your post thought provoking and very helpful. Thank you, Patricia.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Ah Rhonda, when I read your posts they make me feel all warm and fuzzy....Thanks for the inspiration!

    Kate C

    http://fromscratchishardwork.blogspot.com.au/

    ReplyDelete
  27. Ah, I struggle with my work! I would love to do more things at home, but as I work full time, I never get to do the things I would like to. This really stresses me out. I'd love to can vegetables, make jams and learn to sew clothes or knit, but I am always behind on the basic homework like ironing... I really need to find some balance. Any ideas?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gabi, can I make a suggestion about ironing...I rarely ever iron any thing..And I only ever wear cotton fabrics..When I do my washing I hang it out straight away when load has finished then when I hang clothes on the line I give them a good shake first it removes so many crinkles then when I bring the washing in I fold each item as I take it of the line and my partners work shirts I hang them straight away onto the hangers.And sons school clothes I fold up too so no need for any ironing..A chore I'm not really fond of and I can think of so many better things to occupy my creative mind like sewing,cooking,gardening,reading etc...if you really do need to iron some clothes at least hang them up and when you do have to iron it will make it so much easier and give you time for other things in life that are more enjoyable...clothes thrown into an ironing basket get way more crinkled.. just some food for thought I wanted to share with you ....

      Delete
    2. Gabi,

      I worked full-time and had a family, too. It is challenging. The one thing I learned I had to do was give myself permission to not be perfect. I didn't have to do it all. I could do one thing. It might be make jam this week. It really doesn't take that much time if one gets the jars ready one night and then set the berries or whatever to drain while doing that. The juice can be put in the refrigerator until the next night when, viola, it is done with just 10 minutes of straining and combining sugar and pectin!

      Making clothes for my children was the same process. I might iron the fabric one night and cut out the pattern another and then sew so much on it every night until done. Breaking down things into smaller chunks really helped!

      My other suggestion? And quit ironing! :) My daughter told her teacher that my ironing board was "where Mummie keeps her violets!" And, she is right!

      Be kind to yourself! You are doing a lot already! One day at a time!

      Sending you homemaking wishes!
      M

      Delete
    3. Thank you, Ladies! You have just mentioned my two big problems: perfectionism and trying to do it all at once... Someone mentioned Flylady already, this has been a great help so far. Still have to learn a lot...

      Delete
  28. So beautifully written as always, your words always flow like poetry..I'm like you in that I always begin my day by making beds then dishes ..I feel if those two things are done it gives me a good start to the rest of the day ..I love being a home maker and like you feel most at peace in my home and garden...:)

    ReplyDelete
  29. What are those gorgeous star biscuits with jam on them? They're not baked yet? I'd love the recipe, please!

    ReplyDelete
  30. When I first came home I found the repetitive tasks hard. As a computer programmer I was used to tasks that didn't repeat. If I had to do something too often I'd get the computer to do it for me! I had quite an adjustment to make!

    ReplyDelete
  31. It sounds lovely - I really hope for this kind of life one day (alas my PhD won't write itself!)

    ReplyDelete
  32. I feel what you feel most day, but I do tend to flounder. Love this post!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hi Rhonda,

    I just wanted to thank you so much for this blog and for this blog post today. It is like a salve for me - soothing my worries by reminding me what I love. I visit your blog almost every day and it brings me strength and inspiration. I found this post very rhythmic and soothing.

    As some people have commented about not being able to find structure in the home or feeling overwhelmed, a couple of years ago I stumbled across Flylady.net - it's a website that has really helped me. On the surface it helps you learn about daily routines and how to keep up with housework in a way that isn't overwhelming - but there is so much more to it... you can get daily emails sent to you (completely free, no catch) and I find them another support for me... and over time they have helped me with perfectionism in other areas of my life and with learning how to look after myself... I think it is particularly useful for people who've experienced depression... and is often written in this way... although many people seem to find it helpful...

    Thank you again!
    Claire

    ReplyDelete
  34. Beautifully written, Rhonda! There is joy in the work and in the outcome. Right now, I am enjoying sewing for my granddaughters. They love whatever I sew for them and I love seeing it on them!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Rhonda you are tapping into how I am feeling at the moment. I still work part time teaching and trying to connect 'homemaker/simple life' into this doesn't really add up to a calm lifestyle . I have these days where I can see what it could be that are just like your post , but the 'interruption ' of my other work (which I do love as well)disrupts this very flow you are talking about and these lovely things become chores instead.
    I have taken the bold decision to retire from my teaching job at the end of this year and focus on the important things. I realised that the money I was earning was just paying for things to make life easier because I was working , whilst if I stayed at home fulltime I could have this calmer life and be more fulfilled through the farmstay and writing(and these things flow really well with keeping a home) . I am glad I have done what I have done with my teaching, because it has allowed me to prepare my home and garden for this new time in my life.
    I am so excited about this new phase and it is blogs like yours that keep me focussed on my goal. A post like this is like someone dangling a little carrot in front of me , urging me to get to the finish line of a simple life.

    ReplyDelete
  36. What a lovely written piece, Rhonda! It was truly written from the heart! I am hoping to find some sort of work soon. At the moment, though I am content to knit my husbands and my clothes, make our own jams and sauces, preserve, and we will be able to have a garden soon when we move. I love the simple life! For me time management is the key. Some people think that when you spend a lot of time at home that you must have "plenty of time on your hands". I can tell you that isn't the case - not when I try to make or do as much for myself as I can including making lip conditioner and hair oil etc! I'm also learning to spin wool. Being home is quite the challenge at times - especially when you are trying to save money. I love living more simply! I'm at a point now where my husband and I are asking ourselves if we really want to spend money on this or that when it's on the things we truly love that is the area that is worth spending our money on.

    ReplyDelete
  37. You make bread every day?

    ReplyDelete
  38. Sad to say, I'm not happy with my work at the moment. My daughter had to move back in with her 15mo. twin daughters and I feel as if I've inherited 3 children, one of which is special needs and that's my daughter! She really is not special needs it just feels that way right now. I'm struggling with the responsibility of full-time care of twins and the other duties of running a home.

    Thank you for reminding me that I can find peace in the little things around the house. Your photos are always so calming to me because they are simple and speak to the silent beauty of the simple things.

    Enjoy your weekend !
    ~Eaba

    ReplyDelete
  39. I love your writing...somehow, you make all the little tasks in life that we do, seem lovely and far from mundane. I do feel the way you do most of the time, but I also go through phases where I feel unappreciated or I'm simply not in the mood to be in a constant serving role. Does this make sense? And at other times, I feel overwhelmed with all there is to do, but yet come night time, I don't feel like I've accomplished very much. Thank you for keeping it all in perspective. I know I need to practice mindfulness instead of fluttering from one task to the next.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Rhonda...so many times I have to remind myself that we're human beings...and not human doings...

    ReplyDelete
  41. Have you ever considered writing an ebook or guest authoring on other websites?

    I have a blog centered on the same subjects you discuss
    and would love to have you share some stories/information.
    I know my viewers would appreciate your work.
    If you are even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me
    an email.

    Visit my homepage figbird.com.au

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comment today. I love reading your opinions and thoughts. We have built up a wonderfully diverse community here that I'm very proud to be a part of.

A link to your blog will be automatically added to your comment. Please don't add another link to your blog in your comment. Those comments will not be published.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...