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.

6 October 2015

These things give our lives meaning

Yesterday Meg wrote a lovely and much appreciated comment: 
This post kind of sums it all up for me, this idea of simple living. Making what you can, finding better ways of doing things, giving back to community and recognising the beauty in the simplicity. Reading your book earlier this year set in motion a whole string of changes for me. I was raised to frugality and resourcefulness so was nodding in agreement with most of it, but your writing reminds me to take pride in what I do and to enjoy it. And I made my first batch of soap, which I have been wanting to do for years but have been too daunted by the caustic soda aspect. It was so easy and so much fun, thanks to your instructions. So really, this is my thankyou letter to you. Thank You!

When comments such as these arrive, I am delighted my work has helped someone and that they take the time to reach out and tell me that. I like to be appreciated, it gives me reasons to carry on. Meg's comment encouraged me to write today about how simple life is a multi-faceted diamond. It's making what you can, finding better ways of doing things, giving back to community and recognising the beauty in the simplicity. When lived well, this life isn't just about the physical work we do, although that is an important part of it, it's also about feeling valued and enjoying your productivity.



I think we should all be proud of the continuing stream of work we do in our homes. I'm not talking about the boastful pride you sometimes see. This is more a calm contentment that for you, for today, this work made a difference and it was enough. There is loneliness attached to our work sometimes, because often our days are spent alone or with small children, or out in the workforce, and there isn't anyone to say we're doing okay. Many of us also deal with families who don't express their appreciation. And some of us get so busy with the daily chores, or the combination of chores and paid work, we don't stop to think about our role in the family home. But there is a reason we are working as we do and while some of our motives are connected to thrift, health, sustainability, productivity, ethics and values, there is also generosity, acceptance, kindness, appreciation and pride in work well done. These things give our lives meaning.



Life isn't about working till you drop, we all have to find purpose in what we do. When we find that, it's the eureka moment - much like Meg's, when you feel the need to change and then continue that change every day in many ordinary and extraordinary ways. If you can see passed the work and always be mindful of the reason for it, you'll find it easier to continue. And I hope you feel proud of your achievements and enjoy what you do because how you see your work can make or break you.

24 comments:

  1. I love having a sneak-peak of your book shelves Rhonda - always intriguing. My wife's birth mother has shelves upon shelves of every cookbook imaginable...it will take me years to thumb through them all. I just can't resist a book shelf full of books.

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  2. I feel like I am in the working until you drop phase of life and try as I may I cannot figure what to cut out, I have trimmed and trimmed and everything I do is necessity. For the most part I love what I do - homeschooling my children, being mom, wife and homemaker - but I find that I need to look at your world through my lens and season of life. And while I do not regret a moment of my life, I do look forward to a quieter time to come.

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    1. I had those busy seasons too, we all do, they are what build the strong foundations we rely on later in life. It seems like the busy times last so long but when you look back, you'll wonder where all the time went. Enjoy your days and make sure you look after yourself too. xx

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  3. I've been reading your blog since 2008. It fascinated me that you lived off your garden (yummy simple salads and veggies), kept chooks for eggs, cooked from scratch, made rosella cordial (I had never heard of it) and baked beautiful loaves of bread. Reading of your debt free life, living simply and quietly (close the gate) made your blog a wonderful place to visit. Years later, it still is - I pop in to see what Rhonda Jean and Hanno are up to - in the kitchen and garden and now with the grandies too.
    I became aware of cooking from scratch and now rarely use packets. I love making bread rolls, naan bread and tortillas for our meals, have made jams and pickles. Soap making is next on my list too.
    You are an inspiration!

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    1. Hi Joolz, I remember you from way back then. Thank you for being such a faithful reader. Over the years, as you see my life unfold, I slowly piece together an understanding of my regular readers. Of course I never know if that picture is accurate so it's thrilling for me to see that in your case it is. You'll love soap making, I'm sure. Oh, and we've got rosellas growing again this year so stay tuned for more rosella jam and tea. xx

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  4. I have to share, Rhonda! For more than two years I have been wanting to downsize and quit my very miserable job. But, the Mister wasn't on board yet. So, I did the sneaky things. When the dryer died, I didn't replace it. Same for the dishwasher (not me, but the machine! LOL) I canned more. Shopped less. Quit picking up extra classes for extra money. Cut my summer teaching schedule out so I could be home all summer to play on the farm. The Mister retired in April after 30 years, but I only had 17 years and needed to stay put until I hit the magic 20. Still Mister wasn't on board.

    I have cried when I came home from work for the past two weeks. Sunday, he looked at me and said, "Let's liquidate everything we can. Let's move to the other property that is paid for and build a tiny house we can pay cash for.... And, you quit that stinking job."

    Yup. I am going as fast as I can before he can change his mind! :)

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    1. Matty, I am so happy for you. You already know the drill and it sounds like you're a hard worker, so I know you'll both be fine. I think your husband will look back after a couple of years and wish you'd done it a bit sooner. But none of that now, roll your sleeves up and get moving. I wish you both the very best. xx

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    2. Wow matty, that is a great story!
      Glad your Mister is on board and thinking of practical ways to make your dreams of a simple life work.
      What an exciting new phase of life you have before you.

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    3. This surely is the story of the week!

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    4. totally agree Phil Pogson!

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    5. That is great, Matty! I hope we get to hear about you becoming a tiny homesteader! Go for it!

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  5. I have not been in paid work for nearly four years now, having made the decision as a couple to have me stay home for the kids and not have to put them through childcare. I count myself lucky to be able to do what I do, without us having to struggle to bring food to the table. But... sometimes I must admit that exhaustion gets to me, and I find myself questioning whether I am making a mistake, especially with a lot of people saying that many things can happen -- death, job loss, divorce. I struggle with that some days and on those days I have to remind myself why I chose to do this unpaid work that I do. So thank you, Rhonda, for the reminders every so often.

    By the way, my husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary on the same day as you and Hanno did, but we are only 7 years "young" lol. Wish we could grow old and be as lucky as you two. I was quite surprised to hear my husband listened to your podcast recently. He asked me afterwards if you were the lady who wrote that book he often sees on my shelf -- to which I replied yes! perhaps way too excitedly.

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    1. My husband and I have been married for 38 years and I actually heard that same thing when I was your season in life. I am so glad that I did not listen to all those negative comments because while yes, bad things can happen in life, you cannot live your life in such a way that counts on it. I have no education that would have made a large income but my work at home and raising our children was valuable. You have to make the best decision for your family and just not listen to those negative people!

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  6. Your blogposts help bring me home Rhonda. I grew up in a frugal, international family - on an old farm. Reading your blog keeps reminding me how much I loved that life and how that is the way I want to live mine. I feel at home. It is very different from most people these days, so loneliness is part of my everyday. It is lovely to be able to connect with other likeminded people around the world. From Pam, in a windy, rainy Norway

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  7. You are right they do give our life meaning even when we are in the depths of very busy times that is a good mantra to remind ourselves of. It is the feeling of connection for me. Being connected to my children, my husband my home, my life, when I lose that connection all is not well. If I start to live my life through someone else ideals, the must haves I am not being true to myself and feel disconnected. Simplicity is where is at.

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  8. My name is Tanja, I'm a married woman of 48 and mother of 3 childeren (12-,14 and 16). We live in a small village in the north of the Netherlands (fryslan). There live about 350 people in the village inclusing a lot of dairy farms. I like reading your blog, it gives me inpiration although sometimes its a little difficult with some recypies. I like to make a lot myself such as bread, biscuits burrito's. And now applecake and apple sauce. (becaurse here it is getting autumn) I also have a vegetable garden.
    Greetings Tanja

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  9. a very good post & so true
    thanx for sharing
    selina from kilkivan qld

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  10. "Calm contentment." That resonates with me and it is what we have found (usually) as we transitioned from the world of never-enough. Culture seems to want us to think that "the good life" is lived while acquiring more and more stuff and suffocating under a mountain of debt. Yet it seems to me that the truth for most people is that a life lived peacefully, simply and gently is more fulfilling and meaningful than one spent "keeping up with the Joneses" and chasing the wind. Thanks for your blog Rhonda and for your example. You are an inspiration to many!

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  11. I really needed to read this, thank you so much Rhonda. Sometimes I do feel lonely in my work here at home, and it's comforting to know you have been there too. I'm still learning that the feeling of satisfaction has to come from within - if I look to outside sources for praise about my work (especially the current society), it's just not there.
    -Jaime

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  12. I love my solitary days of work here at home but recently someone made a snarky comment to me about laying around the house all day. If those people only knew how productive we are in our homes everyday. I do have to admit that a part of me is still angry about that remark. It is good to come here and hang out with like minded friends.

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  13. Have gone back over time and read your story from the beginning! Have your book and looking forward to the new one! Am still working full+++ time, but have every intention of selling out and retiring in the next two years. My husband prefers I work but I'm old enough to quit so I intend to do so. Started out as a farm child, lived on a farm the first 15 years of our marriage, still miss it! Want to go back - we'll see..........
    Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. Good on you Patty! Keep us up to date on your journey during those two years. I send you my best wishes. xx

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  14. What a lovely message you received. Its been good for me to read your post today and to be reminded that being a wife at home is well worth and a job role although unpaid with money the rewards pay us in so many other ways. I some times worry I will lose my identity but the work I do at home is always appreciated by my family so I am lucky there. Today I am Christmas cake making everyday before I get up I plan what I am going to do in my head it gives me purpose and structure to start my day. Best wishes and thank you for the reminder that a house wives role is special one. dee :-)

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  15. i just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading your blog! I am on a mission to simplify my life to an extent. I read somewhere "make do and mend, not make more and spend" and I think I need to make that my motto!

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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.

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