DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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14 December 2015

Grace and splendid simplicity

It's that time of year again when I slow down a lot, think about what I've done this year and consider the worth of what I'm doing. In some years that process has lead to some big changes and in others I made none because the balance was right and life was going along nicely. I feel privileged to live as I do but I don't take it for granted because I know that life can change on a pin head for all of us. So I continue to look at what I do and prepare for change if its necessary.


When I'm in this period of self-evaluation, I like to think again about why I changed the way I live. I remember back to the old days of spending for the sake of it, of mindless shopping and wondering why what I had then didn't make me happy. Simple life is never easy for any of us but in my experience it still beats my old life hands down. Life makes me happy now so at the end of every year I put aside time to decide what is working, what isn't and what needs changing. There is no doubt that most of us make our simple lives easier if we plan and organise and you don't do that once. Life is never static, it's ever changing, and these yearly assessments will help you change as your life changes.


Planning a simple life is like writing a love letter to yourself. You can include what you want to include, you live by your own values, love who and what you love, develop your own usefulness and eventually you become the person you wanted to be in all those private moments of hoping for a life of grace and splendid simplicity. In times of contemplation and reevaluation I always aim for balance. I plan for what I think will happen during the year but I'm realistic enough to know not everything will follow that plan. I try to be flexible and tolerant and I forgive myself if I don't do the right thing at the right time.


Simple life is different for all of us although there are many common elements as well. Don't judge yourself in comparison to others because you'll always be comparing apples with bananas. There are some of us who think baking is symbolic of what we do and others who don't; some who count every penny making sure they pay the least amount for everything and others whose aim is value for money; there are many of us who work our land and think it's a fundamental part of simplifying and many who have no land, no time and no inclination for growing food; there are list makers and those who plan by following patterns and rhythms. I could go on but I'm sure you get my meaning. How you think about your life, what you do on your ordinary days, what you find value in and what you seek sets you apart.

Deciding to take control of what you do instead of being led by advertising and what your friends think is a liberation that will define your days and what you want for yourself. And what elements you control and how you go about it should be the result of understanding your own circumstances and needs rather than anyone, including me, telling you what will work.


I can tell you that for me, the work I do here helps me create a home that satisfies my need for occasional isolation from the outside world. I can tell you that for me, focusing on my work here helps me slow down but still get everything done. I can show you photos of my rooms and where we sit at our kitchen table, I can show you the plants we grow and what I sew and type out old recipes to share with you but all those things should guide you, not force you to do what I do.


Copying what I do or someone else does, or mindlessly following what is in a book or on a website is the same as listening to advertising - it's someone else's version of life based on their own experience. If I can pass on anything of value to you it would be to work hard and live your own experiences, develop a sense of generosity and kindness, build your life with what feels right for you and choose your influencers carefully. The true prize here is living your own authentic life and that's the result, not of advertising or what others value, but what you plan for yourself and what you work towards. So when you write that love letter to yourself, you need to be at the centre of it because you will do all the work to make it happen. The advertisers and all those who think that one size fits all will be long gone then. It will just be you, me and the chooks.  ♥︎

I've shared this poem before, but here it is again for those who didn't catch it the first time.

I have found joy in simple things
by Grace Noll Crowell

I have found joy in simple things
A plain clean room, a nut-brown loaf of bread,
A cup of milk, a kettle as it sings,
The shelter of a roof over my head,
And in a leaf-laced square along the floor,
Where yellow sunlight glimmers through a door.

I have found such joy in things that fill
my quiet days: a curtain's blowing grace
A potted plant upon my sill,
A rose fresh-cut and placed within a vase,
A table cleared, a lamp beside a chair,
And books I have long loved beside me there.

29 comments:

  1. I love is post, it's very relevant for me, pretty much all of the time. Thank you Rhonda, your blog makes me very happy.

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  2. "Copying what I do or someone else does, or mindlessly following what is in a book or on a website is the same as listening to advertising - it's someone else's version of life based on their own experience"
    I got the first part finally figured out, but I find your comparison to advertising spot on. This is a heartwarming post, thank you.

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  3. Thank you Rhonda your words have been those I should have heard from a mother, but I am glad at 53 I have read your blog and found where I wish to be "at".
    Sue

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  4. What a thoughtful affirmation of how one should live their own life, Rhonda. I fear that often individuals fall into the thought process of "if I had 'this' life over 'my' life, all would be well", when, really, we are all so very different that only our life is the true answer. I have discovered, for myself, it is finding what makes my heart pitter-patter when I wake in the morning. It is not going to be the arrival; it is the journey toward the magnificence of fulfilling my dharma, of living the the quiet, wild life I am meant to live... Oh, the challenges of hearing that little voice in a very noisy world. May we all find the peace of knowing ourselves from the inside out. May we find joy.

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  5. What a lovely poem Ronda. It is because of your thought provoking posts that we now get joy from simple everyday things, that we now live to the beat of our own drum and are not defined by advertisers or marketing. Just yesterday I blogged about our simple life on the road, Thanks for letting me share my days with you and the chooks.

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  6. Oh, I loved this post so much, Rhonda! I've just finished reading it now while I wait for the barge that will take us back home after our holiday here on North Stradbroke Island. Yesterday, as I do every year, I went for a solo afternoon walk along the beach I love to say my goodbyes to the sea and the land for another year. And, like I have always done, I sat under the shade of a tree to think about my life and to evaluate whether my life is in balance. A few years ago, my life was horribly out of balance and I was just spent and sad. Now, after making so many changes I have a simpler life that I am proud of. Under my tree yesterday, I promised myself I'd keep learning so that I can keep on simplifying so that I never have to go back to the way I lived before. It's funny, because the consumerist world talks about work/life balance while encouraging us to spend more (so we have to work longer and harder)which only leads to even greater imbalance. I hope that your message circulates far and wide as inspiration for others.

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  7. What a wonderful post Rhonda & the poem is lovely too.

    May I ask you what you think of the aerated bread tin as I just noticed it in your photo. Thanks!

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    1. Jenny, the tin didn't make much of a difference to the crust.

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  8. Thank you for sharing such precious words of wisdom - and KINDNESS.

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  9. You seem to know just what to say to help others on their way in life. You have the gift of words and the wisdom to use them for others. My first inclination was to write, "Best Post Ever". I do mean that!

    Darlene

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  10. Have missed you these past few days and this post is so delightful, thought-ful and needed! You are a wise woman in the true sense of the word. Blessings from Carolyn in Fl.

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  11. Beautiful Post Rhonda,i so love that Poem!thank you!

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  12. So beautiful, Rhonda. You continue to inspire me. I love seeking a more simple life ... and you hit on one of my challenges: learning to not be concerned about what others think. It is my choice as I build the next part of my life. Thank you -- and blessings on your sweet head.

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  13. Thank you Rhonda. The best and most meaningful 'sermon' I have heard all week.

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  14. I love this post. Reading it imbued a sense of calm within me, I'm not exactly sure why, but it was welcomed. Thank you.

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  15. A wonderful timely post. I will be saving this to reread in the busy days ahead so that I remember to slow down and enjoy the simple moments. Thank you.

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  16. What a beautiful post, I love my life being simple, calm days at home going with the flow of the weather, seems so natural to me.

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  17. A lovely post and so true.

    It is easy to fall into the 'trap' of judging yourself by what you read of others doing in similar situations. But when you take that step back and see what you do and why you do it, sometimes you realise that you are on the right lines for you and yours and that is all that matters.

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  18. Thank you Rhonda. I loved reading this.

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  19. Thank you my far away friend, Gerry from France

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  20. Hi Rhonda,

    your post today was like a big, warm hug. As always, your sense of inclusiveness and no 'one right way to do it' allows me to just relax.

    This year I struggled with too much work, and whilst financially it meant less stress , I found it a bit soul destroying. So after some soul searching, and after reading your post, I dropped a portion of my work. The sense of relief was enormous. Yes, we all need 'enough' money to cover our needs, and those unpredictable things which come up, especially with growing kids in the house. But I realised that if the garden just had to be squeezed in, or didn't get a look in at all many days, that my life was just completely out of balance. The garden is one of my top 5 priorities, and it was being pushed out by work, and even just the stress of work.

    The poem was also lovely to read, thank you for including it again :)

    Have a wonderful day all.

    Madeleine.x

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  21. Rhonda,

    This was a beautiful post and just so encouraging to read. I am starting to realize the joys of simple things and especially the sweet moments I have with my children now. They sure are in a hurry to grow up. I do struggle sometimes with comparing myself with others but your reminder was just lovely. Thank you!

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  22. Beautiful post Rhonda Thankyou xoxo

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  23. I love the poem, Rhonda. The bread tin looks amazing too. Are you proofreading your new book already and is that it on the first pic? I can't wait.

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    1. I proofread the book a few months ago, Mrs Meagre, it's been printed now and I'm expecting my first copy to be delivered this week. Very exciting!

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    2. This week, you say, Rhonda? Yay! Your book will make it in time for Christmas, at least in your home. I keep checking the publisher webpage to see when the pre-order link starts appearing, or at least when the number of pages update (still 0 now). Maybe it will be soon.

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    3. Publication date is 1 March. The pre-order will probably be up in January sometime.

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  24. This is beautiful and just what I needed today. I am pondering and reevaluating things myself. I did a post for tomorrow on this. This is beautiful. The poem is so perfect.

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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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