22 November 2007


This is the beginnings last night's dinner, prepared in the guest bathroom. There are cooked potatoes in the colander at the back, radishes, just picked, and pickled cucumbers. I'll write about this meal in a future post.

We are making progress. It might not look like it, but there has been movement in the right direction. Yesterday the dehumidifier was removed after draining something like 200 litres of water! Absolutely incredible. Today the floor goes down and tomorrow the kitchen is put back. But enough of my kitchen, if you're not bored with it by now, I am, and I want to talk about progress.

I think many of us, myself included, have been conditioned to believe that we should always have our desires met instantly. We are told not to save for what we want to buy but to have what we want instantly by using a credit card. Have it now! This happens in the home too. We have instant porridge, two minute noodles, instant soup, tea bags, precooked rice, we even have instant messaging. Why can't we wait for these things? I believe there are few nicer ways to start the day, and to think about what I'll be doing during the day, than to stand at the stove stirring porridge - real oats. I love brewing tea in a pot with tea leaves too. Tea needs time to develop flavour. Tea bags just don't cut it. Yes, I know tea bags take a fraction of the time a pot of tea takes. You will save about 2 minutes using a tea bag. But what do you do with those two minutes? Do you get what a pot of tea will give you - a sense of slowing down and the anticipation of good tea.

Sometimes you have to wait for progress to happen too. It's not instant, precooked, predigested or fast. Like your tea in a pot or good porridge, progress needs work invested in it, and occasionally it needs to be stirred before you realise something is happening. You might be focused on your simple life and doing some of the things we talk about here, but feel you're not getting anywhere. Progress is a strange phenomenon. It might happen quickly right before your eyes, yet sometimes you ache for it and you feel abandoned. If that is how you feel, don't give up, don't ever give up, progress is brewing in the background.

If you're feeling frustrated by a lack of progress towards the life you want to live, start stirring your porridge, so to speak, by learning more simple things you will need in your life. That might include reading more about budgeting, redoing your budget, talking to a friend or neighbour about keeping chickens or growing vegetables, decluttering a small area of your home or taking time for yourself each day to sit, relax and think. This small step will often stimulate progress to show itself in some way.

Sometimes you just need to wait because behind the scenes progress is bubbling away happily without you knowing it. When the time is right, you'll wake up to a brighter view of your life and you'll see you're closer to your ideal than you realised. Simplicity is not a tea bag, it's a pot of tea and it needs time to develop it's full flavour. And remember that you won't always see your progress, it sometimes creeps along too silent and transparent to be noticed.


  1. "Simplicity is not a tea bag, it's a pot of tea and it needs time to develop it's full flavour." I'll take that thought with me today dear Rhonda as I work away on the tasks I need to accomplish today. Some days I do feel like I am getting nowhere but your blog always reminds me that you are leading the simple life I aspire to. One day I will too.

  2. Really like the last paragraph, Rhonda - well, all the rest of it too! - and as for "Simplicity is not a tea bag, it's a pot of tea and it needs time to develop it's full flavour", that's destined to be a classic.

    You could insert a few alternates to the word Simplicity as well.


  3. great post Rhonda. My children all think that every thing should happen 5 mins ago, I often wonder did I create that mentality in them? I sure hope not as it's not how I operate at all. I think that good things are worth waiting for, also changes seem to be longer lasting when they slowly evolve rather than be quickly forced along.

    cheers Lenny

  4. Wise words as usual Rhonda, and I too, love the pot of tea analogy. Ironically, I discovered that my local supermarket has stopped stocking my usual brand of tea leaves last week. In looking for an alternative, I discovered they stock exactly one packet of one brand in leaves - everything else in their huge section was tea bags. It appears nobody wants tea leaves these days, what a pity.

    Cheers, Julie

  5. I heard something recently about the profit margin of tea bags versus tea leaf for supermarket chains and that something mercenary was going on?? not sure what, but I too have noticed no tea leaves available in supermarkets or very few. Also I have noticed the increase in boutique-style tea shops with outrageous prices. This concerns me, I don't want tea leaves to become elitist and expensive!! I suppose it comes down to basic economics, supply and demand. Hopefully your post will encourage more demand for tea leaves and thus keep the price lower!! Bella

  6. Hi Rhonda, Well i think you should be given the GURU (Gee You Are You) Award. Thank you so much for sharing, Jacket

  7. I think you hit the nail on the head as to why everyone is so discontented these days and need more and more and more of ...what? Even they don't know. The things that formerly were labor intensive and, therefore, reserved as a treat, are now easily and quickly obtained, even though a great deal of quality has been sacrificed.

    I think of ice cream. Ice cream used to be a major treat back in the day. People organized socials around it. A restaurant made money serving only that. Then it became mass-produced and now it's what we shovel in our faces when we've had a bad day or sneak spoonfuls of between meals (theoretically speaking, of course;)).

    It's funny you should use tea as an analogy. I could never understand how anyone would settle for tea over coffee or think of tea as "flavorful." This year, at the age of 50, I made my first pot of loose, brewed tea (after finally finding loose tea, which isn't easy around here). I couldn't believe the difference!

  8. Love reading your journal. It takes me back in time to when I was a child and recall how simple and beautiful life really was . . . and is now when I stop and focus on only those things that truly are important.

    Thanks for sharing.


  9. Dear Rhonda, what an awesome analogy with the teapot. I agree with you. We want everything so FAST we forget to actually slow down and enjoy life.

  10. RJ, I know it's not necessarily wise to compare yourself to others....but if you need to see the tiny degrees of progress you're making, it's educational to look at people around you. We were talking last night about our brother and sister in law whose lives appear to be fulfilled with the one desire of having more stuff; alongside the careful watching of what everyone else has, in order to aspire to buying it as well. Against such competition, even those baby steps we make seem like the leaps puss in boots was able to make! This is not to say I am capable of making leaf tea - file it for future reference, but I'd be interested in a post on tea making as mine tastes like rubbish. btw -I love your bower bird collection of kitchen crockery! I'm a blue and white girl too. lj

  11. "Progress bubbling away happily behind the scenes without you knowing it" - I can so relate to that one. One does hope that is what is happening - when life goes into "same old, same old" mode and one is "screaming" with frustration wondering if things are moving on at all. Yes - I do know one should just "be in the moment" - still working on that one.!

  12. Thankyou for this post Rhonda - I'm up early most mornings, and often get to read your blog just as you post... that morning your words were what I needed :

    "Progress is a strange phenomenon. It might happen quickly right before your eyes, yet sometimes you ache for it and you feel abandoned. If that is how you feel, don't give up, don't ever give up, progress is brewing in the background"

    So, I'm popping back to say thanks :)


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