Filling the void

21 May 2008
After a few days writing about budgeting and money I want to balance the scale today on what really spins my world. I want to tell you about those things that make my life a total joy. I used to live my life creating what I then thought was happiness buying new things at the shop every week. That is a very hollow kind of happiness, if indeed it is happiness at all. It fills you up instantly, but quickly deflates, leaving behind a bigger space than there was before. I think that's why I kept spending. I was hoping to fill the void within me.

That emptiness has gone now. The space has been filled with optimism for the future, contentment with the present, and acceptance of the past.

In no particular order, here are the things that I'm really loving and grateful for this week.

As I drove home from work yesterday I felt a feeling of quite satisfaction after a very busy morning alone at the Centre dealing with people who needed help and someone to listen to them and an afternoon of paper work and a meeting with our volunteers. We have a fine bunch of people there and we meet to connect with each other, to talk about problems they may have had during the month and to do a bit of training on various procedures. It was a great meeting, I am ever grateful for the help the volunteers give and proud to be a part of their group.

My sister Tricia gave me a scented orchid a few years ago that is flowering now for the first time. When I come home, or when I wake in the morning and come into the kitchen where it is sitting, I can smell a subtle fragrance like the finest French perfume.

My sewing room is waiting for me.

Pippa, that is your namesake drinking from the bowl.

All those chickens in the backyard are a total delight. They have settled in well and are growing their gorgeous feathers and quirky personalities each day. Their favourite things now are sunshine and warm porridge. Which, when you think about it, is not a bad combination.

I am grateful to Tracy who sent me a wonderful parcel as part of the seed exchange. I will take a photo and show it tomorrow. Thank you Tracy. I will send you an email as soon as I finish this post.

I love the cool late Autumn weather and staying warm with nice clothes, lilac gloves and a good husband.

We have fresh eggs.

I love the thought of tonight's dinner, whatever it might be, because tonight I will look forward to the next few days here where I will garden, knit, sew, sit and think.

Our shed is holding a large haystack. :- )

I feel
loved. I am blessed to have my immediate family and my two sisters Tricia and Kathleen.

I am grateful I have buttons, knitting needles, pure cotton and wool to knit with.

I'm pleased I discovered how to live well, and happy I can share those discoveries with you.

I am happy being green and frugal, and grateful I know why being so is vital and significant.

I suppose I could keep tapping away on this subject all morning but I will leave space for your input because I just know there are one or two thing you'd like to add about your world.


  1. Rhonda, I've just been going through all the pictures of the things we've done and places we've been over the past year for my children's homeschool evaluation portfolio. Most of those things have involved hand-made, historic, or nature-oriented activities. I went outside just a minute ago to help the kids with a nature scavenger hunt they are completing, and found under my giant wisteria, a big mulberry tree loaded with baby mulberries. I miss living in Australia so much, but have realized today that we are so blessed and fortunate, and this unexpected mulberry tree is just like a personal gift from God. Thanks for your post.

  2. Rhonda,

    What a wonderful post...It is so wonderful to have that inner peace. I love just sitting and working on my stitching, smelling cherry pie from the oven, and my girls giggling in the next room.



  3. I loved this post Rhonda Jean, it truly is the simple things that make life so wonderful! Ü

  4. hi Rhonda, what a lovely post.

  5. There is no feeling in the world as good as pure contentment. It is a blessing that cannot be bought. I feel it too. I know your happiness.

  6. That is so true Rhonda. Must get my husband to read that.

    My greatest satisfactions this week have come from mending my son's PJ's and making an oil cloth sandwich wrap for my daughter out of remnants. Things made of what some would call rubbish but that will endure, reduce expenditure and look good. So much more satisfying than buying new PJ"s throwing out the ones with the holey knee or buying cling wrap!

  7. I love the sunshine, the smell of rain, peace, quietness, gardening, quilting, my family, and most of all, I love my Lord.

  8. Hi Rhonda,
    Thanks for the tip to grow Cherry and Roma tomotoes to defeat the fruit fly! (well attempt to anyway). The full moon last night was just gorgeous and yesterday morning on the way to work the moon was still up and hung like a huge diamond ball in the early blue sky. I just love the smell of early mornings, new mown grass, baking bread and the just bathed smell of my grandaughter. Simple things can bring great joy. Since reading your blog and stepping back onto this path of simple living I am rediscovering all the little every day treasures. Now I just need to get my husband to slow down and reconnect as well (he does try but then goes back to work, sigh!)
    Take care have a lovely day stitching and being in your garden.
    Love Virginia K

  9. Hi Rhonda, This post is wonderful. The simple things in life are always the best and it is the little things that seem to matter the most. The crisp morning air, the sun throughout the day, the smell of rain and spring flowers.
    Your post always make me think.

  10. Good Morning Rhonda
    Oh she's a cutey, I would really love a few chickens but our garden is just not big enough for them and the veg. I couldn't bear to put them in one of those igloo type chicken houses, they must be able to roam free. No snakes here in Cornwall, we might get a naughty fox but that's about it.

    Yesterday my son wished to go to our nearest city. As I waited for him I walked around but none of the shops even tempted me to go inside. I didn't want to buy anything. Is that contentment with ones lot.

    Have a happy day.

    Pippa in Cornwall

  11. I agree it's so important to stop and count our blessings, thanks for sharing yours Rhonda. I enjoy similar "simple" things..sitting in the sunshine watching "my girls" busy scratching in the garden...Lottie, Edie and Goodie..they've just started laying and I'm now getting one egg a day, stitching, knitting, baking.
    I think what I'm most grateful for at the moment is generous people. A young man I met at a permaculture class offered to come and do any heavy tasks I need done. Yesterday he came with his chain saw and lopped low hanging branches and cut a tree down that was falling over, saving me a considerable amount of money. I now have a lovely sunny spot to grow veggies.
    He wouldn't take any money, but we did agree in the end that as he and his wife would like to take a few hours to go for a bike ride, that I'll mind their toddler.

    A great trade I think. I feel truly blessed.

  12. Hi Rhonda Jean,
    Another great post. I'm still learning much about simpler living, but I have many things that I am thankful for. Most importantly is that I only work 2 days outside the home so I get to spend most of my time with my sweet 4 year old daughter. She is learning so much already. Before she arrived I had another job that paid a lot more money but it was much furthur away from home and much more stressful. Now I get paid less but my days are so much shorter and so much more enjoyable. I've learned to enjoy being home more and yes I earn less, but I also spend less as well. Hubby still works full-time, but this arrangement allows me to tend to most of the errands and take care of many tasks at home. Life is really good!


  13. Morning Rhonda,
    Reading your post this morning and then the comments,I relized that we are all very blessed...We are content in what we are doing. Outside of blogland I don't know anyone else that can make that claim.
    Thank you for a great post,I am thinking of tring to blog as well I just have to find out how......Well I'm of to garden as it is a beatuiful sunny Autum day.

  14. Your post today has given me a big smile Thank you Rhonda. It's good to have a reminder sometimes to stop and take real notice of that which makes us happy.
    Enjoying the chickens resonated with me too...mine make me smile often too.....which reminded me that I have been wanting to ask you about what your food of choice is for them and how you choose to feed your bunch of girls frugally? Well now I know warm porridge is part of their diet at your place....

  15. There's perhaps one good thing to be said for rising prices in food and fuel, etc. (if a silver lining is to be found in the cloud), is that it does make you focus on all the wonderful things in life that really are free and abundant.

    Regards, Marilyn

  16. I awoke early this morning to the sounds of a thunderstorm passing overhead. I was grateful that I was in no rush. I just lay in bed with my two children snuggled up beside me (husband is away on business) and listened to the wondrous sounds of thunder and the pelting rhythm of heavy rain. Here's to the simple things in life.

  17. contentment comes in those moments when I connect with generations of women who came before, in simple things such as the feel of kneading bread dough, smelling its yeasty freshness, feeling the perfect springy softness when it's the right texture, and smelling it as it bakes...and right from the oven. Is there anything that gives more of a sense of "I am a woman!"?? :)

  18. I agree, it's the simple things in life that delight me.

    For example:
    Today we have been under a tornado warning, but since the sun was shining and the wind was blowing pretty good I took advantage and line dried our laundry in no time. Now that felt good.

    Then I decided to make a simple plain yellow cake to go with some strawberries my son picked on Saturday. I made plain old cupcakes...then for the next batch of cupcakes I tossed in some fun sprinkles and then...I turned that fun-sprinkle batter into cookies. I delighted as my family enjoyed them. Unfrosted! :o)

    The wind picked up, and we sat on the front porch swing and inhaled the clean, fresh smelling air and enjoyed the rain...while singing. I loved it. It began to hail and so we went out and collected some ice! What fun! (By the way, we did wait until it had stopped.)

    Oh and when I needed to wash up a few dishes that got missed after supper, I realized that I didn't have enough...I refused to "run down" to the store and so I used a bit of homemade soap to finish them up. I have never done this before and pray we don't get sick. I even thought of you, Rhonda Jean, and wondered what you use to wash up your dishes.

    Often when we, as a family, sit down and count our blessings...naming them one by one...we discover that not one blessing can be made in a factory or sold in any kind of store.

    Rhonda Jean, I truly enjoy your blog!


  19. Hi Rhonda Jean,
    I love reading your posts, and this one is especially wonderful. I really think that one of the first steps to living a simplified, happy life is feeling grateful for the blessings we have every day. One of my own personal joys is walking in stores and wanting nothing. It wasn't always like this for me! Thanks for sharing.

  20. earthmotherwithinMay 21, 2008 1:12 pm

    Thanks Rhonda for the reminder to enjoy what we have now, rather than what the advertisers make us believe we need.

    Just spent a holiday morning in the garden, planting a few turnip and rocket seeds, now looking forward to egg and lettuce sandwiches for lunch.

    Tonight we will go out to hear a student orchestra play fabulous music. The kids do a great job, and we are always happy to encourage them by being in the audience. Who knows? We may be listening to a future star!

  21. What a lovely post and a reminder for all of us to be content in our lives for happiness is all around us if we just slow down and look for it. Life is not about what we don't have, but it is about being content with all that we do have-all we have to do is count our blessings.

  22. Hi Rhonda,

    Many thanks for letting me know about the soda crystals. And I loved your post today. As I am getting older I have come to cherish time at home spent pottering around, crafting, cooking, reading, watching a good movie and hanging out with my daughter. I never thought I would be this person! I don't really enjoy mindless shopping anymore and all I can think about is the plastic packaging lol! My most favourite thing to do though is sit and talk with family and friends over a homemade meal or coffee! Oh and a game of cards... Tamara

  23. What a lovely post, I did enjoy reading it.......I too count my blessings many times a day, my wonderful husband with whom I share so much, my family, all grown now with children of their own, especially my youngest daughter who has brought up two children on her own,the freedom to be able to do what I like, when I like.....there are so many..

    I found a source for emu oil in the UK and have sent for knees are telling me I spent time at the allotment yesterday.

    The one blot on the horizan is the cost of diesel for our car, in todays papers they are saying it will go up to £6 a gallon unless something is done by the government. If that happens our car will have to go, there will be no two ways about it, and with it so many of the things we enjoy doing..................

  24. I have been reading your blog for a few months now and I wanted say that I really appreciate your positive take on the world. I can guarantee that if I am feeling a bit down I can sit down with a cup of tea, read your blog and feel ready to face the world again.

    Thank you


  25. Oh, that spending to fill a void, I used to know it all too well. I haven't felt like that in a long time, and I sure don't miss it!
    Some days when I feel down or tired, I make an effort to look at things through my children's eyes. For a 15 month old and a 3 yr old, the world holds so much surprise and amazement, it instantly lifts my mood when I try to see things their way.
    Have a great few days!

    Christine from the NL
    PS: those chickens look lovely and totally at home!

  26. Rhonda,

    I love that feeling of contentment when walking on my own along a tree-lined street and the sun is shining through the leaves. I like to breathe in deeply and just enjoy it as I go.

    I love that feeling of contentment when its raining lightly after a period of hot weather and the rain feels so refreshing on my face. I love to close my eyes and turn my face to the sky and revel in that feeling.

    Those are just two examples of contentment for me. I have others too but I don't ramble on. Needless to say, family and friends bring me a great deal of joy. In fact, I even enjoy budgeting and working with my money though I'm not so keen on spending ;-)

    All the best,

  27. Rhonda, what a lovely post. Today, I shall also count my blessings. Thanks for the nudge.

  28. I am grateful for my husband, for the blooming lilacs, for the view of the field across the road with long grass and sheep, and for the broad beans getting ready in the garden.

    Thanks for this blog, Rhonda.

    Best wishes,

    AM of the Bread

  29. What a wonderful heartening post Rhonda! I found myself nodding as I read your comments about shopping to fill the void, and I have so many things that I'm grateful for in my new simpler life.

    I'm grateful for the information and ideas I've found here this blog, and others like it, I'm so blessed to be a part of this cyber community!

  30. A beautiful heartfelt post....forme, gratitude for so much...trying to live a more simple life, changing from being a consumer to a conserver, moving to my beloved Cornwall after years in the city, my family and especially my sisters, my health, my dogs, walking, knitting, making cards, baking my bread, just 'being', and so much more. Thank you for reminding me to stand still and give thanks. Diana x

  31. Hi Rhonda
    I have been a regular reader of your blog for a many weeks now and love your simple living ideas and your green and self sufficient outlook on life.

    We are currently living in the fast lane, even though we live in a small country town in South Austratlia. I am going to try and add more and more of your hints on simple living to our daily lives - maybe I'll cook dinner from scratch tonight instead of using packet flavours. My children will be pleased if there are fresh, warm buttermilk scones on the bench when they get home from school off the bus and I am dying to try your bread and butter pickles recipe - I just need to find the time. Through your blog I have found a place, like a good, informative magazine, where I can read about an 'ordinary' Australian living her life, but she's a gem who gives tips and hints along the way. Thanks Rhonda,
    keep on blogging!

    - Cheers Julie


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