21 December 2016

Travelling around and coming home

I visited my dear friend Rose in her home town over the weekend. It was a long drive so I had a lot of time to think about Rose, my family, my online family, my home, little Gracie and what I want to do next year. I need to be alone when I think about important and complex issues and it takes me a long time to sort out how I feel and what I should be doing. But the end result for me is that I go forward with a clear plan in mind and, usually, the belief that I'm doing the right thing.

A nurse took a photo of us and when Rose looked at it she asked me to share it with you.

The afternoon I spent with Rose was a delight. She didn't know I was coming so when I walked in she was surprised. We talked all afternoon, we laughed and read some threads on the forum, Rose's mother, Mavis, and husband, Tony, came in for a short visit and we carried on chatting.  Rose is in a good room. It has a balcony and it overlooks the Pacific Ocean and although she is confined to bed she can look out onto the wide blue yonder.

A country pub in Queensland.

Many people have said that it was a long drive for such a short time but I don't look at my trip that way.  I believe that good friendships and family relationships need help to survive and flourish and when that happens, especially during difficult times, it strengthens the ties that bind more than anything else. I don't care how long it took, how difficult it was, how much it cost, it was worth it to be with Rose when she needed another friend at her side. I believe it was time well spent and that our friendship and the physical demonstration of it, will help her in coming days. It will help me too.


Rambling along the backroads is such an interesting way of travelling. You see people, animals and places you never see along busy highways. The interaction of people in and with their home towns is an inspiration to me. As you know, I often stay at home for weeks at a time so it is important for me to get out occasionally and experience community life as it unfolds. Driving through small towns and sometimes stopping to have a break or a cup of tea, gives me valuable time to observe ordinary folk like me going about their days. Seeing people out and about, sitting on verandahs, at the farm gate, shopping, gardening or playing with children in the yard confirms my belief that it is strong families who make a country strong and resilient. And as I travel onwards, it reminds me that home is the most important place for all of us and that returning home is an important and significant part of every journey.

And when I returned home, Hanno and Jamie were here and when Gracie saw me she ran around with her ears down and tail up, making funny noises and not really knowing what to do next.  I slept well that night. I've spent time with a good friend, looked around this great country of ours and had many hours to think of today and tomorrow.  What had been unclear in my mind about the coming months is now clear, I have a firm plan for the coming year and I feel enthusiastic and primed for what's ahead.

30 comments:

  1. You are a true friend Rhonda. You care for your friends and those of us who have contact with you through your blog and forum. God bless you

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  2. Its wonderful news that you could spend time with Rose and you had a good drive. Rhonda you are right strong families/communities do make this country strong. I hope more people will focus on the bonds of family and community and less on the material and ego fuelled pursuits.

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  3. I'm glad you had a safe trip & that you had a lovely visit with Rose, what a wonderful surprise for her, you are a good friend, & that's what good friends do, have a safe & happy christmas with your beautiful family, including gorgeous little Gracie, what a little sweetie she is

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  4. You are such a good friend! Back roads are surely the way to go and the interstate system in the USA is just a four lane road with lots of trees most of the time. We try to get off for several hours out of every trip and really see what and who is out there. I would love to drive the back roads in your country. Glad to see you back and ready for a new year.

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  5. What a lovely thing to do for Rose. I'm sure it would've meant a lot to her, to know that you came such a long way to be with her. That is what friends do, they support one another. And, what a welcome to come home to. Our old dog, Sir Steve, was beside himself when we got back from holidays recently. I'm sure he nearly wagged his own tail off! Meg:)

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  6. How wonderful for both of you. Rose if you read this, wishing you every blessing.

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  7. so wonderful that you were able to go and spend time with Rose, having spent a fair bit of time in hospital I know how uplifting of the spirit visits from important people are. Good to have time to think and mull over things as well -I do the same on road trips. Merry Christmas, Rhonda, and best wishes to you and your loved ones over the festive season

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  8. Rose is looking quite happy in that photo, it must've been quite a lovely surprise for her. hope she gets well soon.
    glad you had a safe trip, i find back roads more interesting too!
    may you all have a very merry xmas & a safe & happy new year
    thanx for sharing
    selina from kilkivan qld

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  9. Hi, Rose! It's good to see a photo of her. I miss her intelligent comments on Anna's blog. ;-)

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  10. What a lovely thing to do for Rose, Rhonda!! You are indeed a special lady!! I needed to read this entry...you see a few weeks ago, in front of another person and my husband, the woman I THOUGHT was my wonderful friend and we had been so together the last couple years, spending time and eating together, studying together, going to worship together and we even helped her financially a lot the past couple years as she is really poor...let me know how much disregard she has for me and my husband. I have never been snuckered that bad my whole life...I thought I had already gone through the worst in friendships. Well, while I am glad to know this...it means we are going to change our place of worship as she really needs those people and we have each other and we will survive and go on. Life can be so harsh...and it is my friends who are all far away as we have only been here 3 years, that have seen me through this difficult time. I realize it must be a case of mental illness...who would act this way unless mentally they are sick? But tis tough...and of course, for me, I turn to GOD whom I call my REAL FATHER!! May you be richly blessed for being a REAL friend!!
    Elizabeth in WA

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    1. I agree Elizabeth that true friends are hard to find. I also recently realised that a long time friend wasn't as close as I thought but like you have my husband to lean on. I pray that you find a wonderful place to fellowship.

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    2. Thank you Therese...6 months ago this woman said some things that let us know she was not a good friend...but now we know she was much worse...so do be careful yourself too!!
      Elizabeth

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  11. Long-term friendships are rare, and as we age into our mid 70s and 80s we are often called to support each other through serious illnesses. Rhonda, you and Rose will surely treasure, and be blessed by, those hours you had together for the rest of your lives. Rose, if you read the comments, I hope the warmth and joy of Rhonda's visit is extended by our wishes for your comfort and peace. Rhonda, the reason so many of us follow you is because you have a caring heart, and understand that it is not "things", but people, which count. Merry Christmas my dear, and hopes for a peaceful and joyous 2017.
    Deb in Canada

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    1. Thanks Deb. Merry Christmas, love. xx

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  12. One of those memorable road trips which will sustain you with rich memories for evermore - no doubt.
    Keen to hear about your clear plan for next year sometime too.....

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  13. Going through difficulties is a true test of friendship and your visit demonstrates this in a positive way. I like when you said "It will help me too". With deep friendships there´s a real urge to reach out and help in some way. Our dear friend - and neighbour for 40 years moved to a care home in another town, near his son. He has had Parkinson´s disease for about 15 years and now it´s hitting hard. Our visit yesterday followed the usual monthly routine. The round trip including a 2 hour visit takes us 7 hours by bus. Yesterday was a bad day. The disease has affected his voice so it´s so difficult to hear what his is saying and he was so tired. However we know our visits stimulate him and we are an important link to his healthy past. He is a link to our past too and we love him dearly. The visits help him, my husband and me. Such is the strenght of true friendship.
    Wishing you, Hanno, the wee doggie and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2017
    Ramona in Sweden

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    1. That is a good thing you're doing, Ramona. I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas too and a bright and happy 2017. I have the Swedish Traditions book you sent on my desk to be read again over the holidays.

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  14. I am sure both you and Rose will always be glad that you did this....Your thoughts about the journey were so interesting to me. I think the best sentenced (to me, at least) was when you wrote, "Seeing people out and about, sitting on verandahs, at the farm gate, shopping, gardening or playing with children in the yard confirms my belief that it is strong families who make a country strong and resilient."
    I do completely agree. I feel it is our only hope.

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  15. I was so happy to see a photo of you and Rose together. What a lovely surprise for Rose.
    I love travelling to round country towns, though I haven't been able to do much travelling over the past decade. Perhaps that may change in 2017?

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  16. Very dear of you to spend the effort to go see your friend. I have learned that true friends do not require a physical presence. It comes from caring for each other in those times that are great and not so great... One of my most special friends I have never met in person, but we chat by phone and email. We met through her blog and I have no doubt that we will be friends for a long time to come... I look forward to seeing what your plans are for this coming year! Happy Solstice!

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  17. Spending time with a loved one, either a close friend or family member, who is going through an illness is not easy to do. I have had to do it many times. I wish I had not. But you are right, it is a joy to know that your visit means something special to the person who is sick.
    I remember my last visit with my dear grandmother. She had a stroke. It left her just a 'shell' of herself. I remember the last thing she said to me...I asked her if she knew who I was. She smiled at me and said of coarse she knew me. I was 'Alice'.....It broke my heart, but I just smiled and hugged her close. Alice is her sister. I am her grand daughter, Roxie...But I know she was happy to see me. She had a smile on her face. She held my hand. Even if she thought I was Aunt Alice, it made her happy.
    You have a good heart. I am glad to read your blog. It makes me smile most times I read it. Sometimes, it makes me really think.

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  18. I love spending time with dear old friends. I'm due to do just that and in the spring if all goes as planned I will be making a 900 mile trek to see old friends and family.

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  19. I've had always believed the best present you can give anyone, is your presence!!!
    That's it! Life is about relationships.

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  20. What a lovely visit you both had. It is a kindness to give of oneself by just having a chat and being present. More people need to do that.

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  21. Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and relaxing time together. Thanks for all your blog posts and books as they always provide inspiration to many people. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

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    1. Thanks Kathy. I hope you and your family have a very happy Christmas. xx

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  22. Hello Rhonda,
    I just popped in to say hello and, whilst I can, wish you and Hanno a very merry Christmas. May we all hold our families close around us, both in our arms and in our hearts.
    Cheers and Blessings,
    Vicki
    Trinidad & Tobago

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  23. Rhonda, you are a kind soul. My heart warms every time I see your sweet smile. Thank you for all you do to encourage and educate those of us who are still learning to take the first steps of this Simple journey.

    I was beyond delighted when my sister presented your books to me as an early Christmas gift! They have been on my wish list for quite some time. What beautiful books! And a treasure trove of information. Thank you for the endless hours you spent to write them.

    Hugs and a very happy Christmas to you and your lovely family!
    Love from Sarah in NM, USA

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  24. Wonderful post. My Father died on 12-22-16 after an extended illness, and I must say, all the friendly faces at the funeral are what helped me get through it. I was so touched that my friends took time to come and support me. That means everything.
    Cheers, Rhonda!

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