Mine every day for the joy it holds

3 October 2008

A kookaburra on our clothes line yesterday.

There is always two sides to every coin, yin - yang, balance. In an attempt to balance yesterday's post, I offer this:

It is important now in these difficult days to remember that even though times are tough now, and may get tougher, we still have it in our power to get the most out of every day. Money, or the lack of it, shouldn't be our sole focus. Every day is part of your life, every minute should be lived well. When this day is over, well, it's over. If you don't live today to its full potential, you can't go back to it in five years time because you left a big space in today.

Now more than ever we should find joy in what we're doing and model that joy to our families and friends. Yes, I might be scrimping and saving, but I have my family, a roof over my head and I have decent work to do. My work now is to help my family live well with less and to be thankful that I live where I live and have the freedom to do what I choose, to write my blog, feed my chooks, bake good bread and be the best person I can be.

I was reminded of this important philosophy early this morning when I received an email from Michelle, a reader who has just started her own blog. She sent me her blog address and I decided on a quick visit before I started my post. Good luck with the blog, Michelle, and thank you for your kind words. However, the thing that touched me most when I read that first post what the paragraph from the Love of Nie blog that stated:

"Author Anna Quindlen reminds us not to rush past the fleeting moments. {or if I could enter here- the basket-head mother syndrome} She said: "The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make... I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less"

Oh, I do wish I'd written that because it is written in my heart. I too wish I'd captured more than I did of my children's young years - "I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less" That really speaks to me. You know that I'm a woman of 60 years and that I regret very little in my life, but that is a regret - that I didn't watch and play more. I don't know if I'm being too hard on myself, because there was a lot of playing and watching, and touching a sleeping face gently, and books being read and giggling. Maybe it's the tyranny of age that has loosened my grip on those memories. But the point is to make sure you make those memories every day, if not with your children, then with your partner, or friends, or pets.

Mine every day for the joy it holds and store that inside yourself.

Later today I'll be returning to the Nie blog to read about their horrible accident and to get to know Stephanie and Mr Nielson through the reposting of parts of her blog. There is some fund-raising going on to help the family recover as best they can and I encourage you to take some time today to read that blog and maybe get involved in the fund-raising. Stephanie's accident is a stark reminder of the fragile nature of all our lives. I wish Stephanie and her husband a complete recovery. Thank you to Michelle for showing me the way to the Nienie blog.


  1. I came to that realisation a couple of years ago... enjoy the little moments.

    Since I took that on board, I can honestly say that my life has never been happier. I have moments that try me... (secondary teacher and single mother of 4 teenage boys; I deal with the hormonally challenged every day!), but I'm by far more content, I laugh more and I'm definitely not as stressed.

    I just take joy whenever I trip over it. And that happens every day, if I'm open to it...

  2. Such wise words which I need to pin on the wall and read each morning!
    Keeping my fingers crossed for a good recovery for the Nielson's.

  3. how funny because yesterday on my blog I had written about what I can enjoy that is Free.

    Best wishes from Brittany France.

  4. Rhonda that reminds me of a poem I read once in mother and baby magazine,many years ago it moved me so much I wrote out a copy and put it on my fridge.I don't know who wrote it sorry,I have never known, but here it is
    Busy Hands
    My hands were busy through the day,
    I didn’t have much time to play
    The little games you asked me to.
    I didn’t have much time for you.
    I’d wash your clothes, I’d sew and cook,
    But when you’d bring your picture book
    And ask me, please, to share your fun,
    I’d say “A little later, Son.”
    I’d tuck you in all safe at night,
    And hear your prayers and turn out the light,
    Then tiptoe softly to the door.
    I wish I’d stayed a minute more.
    For life is short, and years rush past,
    A little boy grows up so fast.
    No longer is he at your side.
    His precious secrets to confide.
    The picture books are put away,
    There are no children’s games to play,
    No good night kiss, no prayers to hear.
    That all belongs to yesteryear.
    My hands once busy now lie still.
    My days are long and hard to fill.
    I wish I might go back and do
    The little things you asked me to.

    it still brings a tear to my eye after all these years

  5. Hi RHonda Jean,
    Don't beat yourself up ! I've lived the simple life for yrs. I was alway a stay at home Mom and I have regrets ,I think we all do. I tend to see it as we don't realize our mistakes until the children are grown and its too late! I don't have alot of regrets but 1 is enough. I think us parents tend to regret and the child wouldn't give it a thought.
    I don't like to be around Neg. people esp. I think they tend to rob me of the joy of the moment! Yesterday is gone , tomorrow may never come today is the present !
    Hope you have a great day!

  6. Great post! I will check out her blog. I am glad that I come to realization in my 30s to live for the moment, cherish all the time you have with your family and friends and to live every day as your last. Every day is a blessing.

  7. This is such a beautiful post. I think we all wish we could go back and do things better. I know I do. But I am learning everyday and you are a big part of my learning. Thank you.

  8. This post is touching for me because my oldest child just got married this past weekend, I am still sitting here trying to figure out where the years have gone and how my baby is now a 22 yr old married lady.
    I love the poem "Busy Hands" that someone posted, very touching...


  9. I have been reading Nie's blog since shortly before the accident and have been so inspired by her as a wife and mother.

    Her sister's blog, cjane run, is equally touching and heartfelt, not to mention amazingly well-written. I read it daily for updates on the Nielsons. I have never been so emotionally touched by a story, they are an amazing family. I pray daily that this story will have a happy ending.

  10. Hi Rhonda Jean :) Oh, yes! Dancing in the moments of our days... that is my heart, too. Love you! Q

  11. Rhonda,
    Thank you for mentioning me in your blog- I am honored and excited to be introduced to the blogging world by you! And thank you for the beautiful sentiments regarding Stephanie Nielsen. I have not been able to find a way to share her story other than by putting her and her sister's blog links on my main page in hopes that readers will check them out and be moved in some way. So thank you, Rhonda- for your introduction, your mention of the fundraising efforts for Stephanie and her family, and for your absolutely wonderful blog! Until next time- Michelle.

  12. I also so relate to grieving lost moments with my children. I remember feeling such physical exhaustion when they were little. We did spend much time together, reading stories, back rubs, rocking in my great-grandmothers willow chair, but sometimes I think that the Lord somehow designed us so that the vividness of these memories fades a bit, because we could not bear it otherwise. Vicki

  13. What a lovely post Rhonda. I too could say all those things you have said of the times when our children were young. I probably wish most of all that I read to my children more. I did read to them on a daily basis but it was one or two stories at bed time after all that "dinner, bath, bed" rush, the time of exhaustion at the end of the day.
    For the last two years due to my daughter and son in law's work commitments, I have been in the most priviliged position of very regularly sharing in the care of my baby grandson. With the wisdom and experience that comes with age and the luxury of less pressure on ones time this has to be one of lifes great joys at this particular time of a life journey. Every moment with my grandson I have totally absorbed, totally cherished and hung on to.
    The pleasure he and I both get from reading stories regularly during the day, as he disires, often the same story and his giggles of delight as we turn to a favorite page are immeasurable.


  14. Great post, Rhonda. I try to take mental snapshots of funny or precious moments every day, I hope I will remember them always. At 3 and 20 months, my kids are so cute right now but drive me insane as well. ;-)


  15. Wow. This is so true! I am going to do something fun with my family this weekend. Maybe an impromptu picnic? Thanks for reminding us to LIVE in the moment.


  16. Your blog is just so uplifting for me. We are being hit by the American economy right now and our family is suffering a bit. Your tips on how to handle the hard times I took to heart and I'm trying to implement them. Now this post just has me wanting to stop and look around and enjoy what's in front of me. Stop worrying so much.


  17. I have survived many traumatic life events in the past 35 years..divorce, death of an adult child, calling to have my own granddaughter arrested and subsequently sent to a residential treatment center, loss of my home, job and city due to a natural disaster. Many, many horrific memories...but now I have found a place of peace. The granddaughter has turned into a wonderful young adult and we are settled in a new city living a very simple life. I feel grateful each and every day for the small, yet rich life I now have...full of peace and contentment. The world is full of wonders if we open our eyes and look.

    Your words of wisdom resonated with me today!

  18. Thanks so much for this post, Rhonda Jean!
    I am just starting my own simple life, and I am greatful to be able to learn these lessons early on.
    It is hard some days though. I'm currently pregnant, and watching my 16 month old every day. It's SOOO tiring some days that I do look forward to bed a lot.
    But reminders like this (and the wonderful comments from readers who are managing to do it!!) are inspiring, and just what I need to hear.
    I love your blog, and read every post (although I don't comment often)

  19. This last week two events or rather groups of visitors have bought home to me just what a good job i think we are making of our family life.

    I had an old friend visit with us for three days, the longest three days of my life, via email and chirstmas cards for 32 years you forget how negative a person can be in real life. She is draining and tiring and yet after she had left I missed her I was able to say to the kids see that is why you have to find the joy in the moment because if you don't you become a drain on all those around you. I was proud of the way they realised that it was her negative attitude not HER that was distressing.

    And I had my best friends sons staying as well at the same time they are the same age as my one of my sons all they wanted to do was hang out and be with my family, quick games of pool, gin rummy, tv movies and cooking. Why becasue they have been copming home to an empty house and looking after each other every afternoon since they were in year 7 their existence is complicated and quite sad. Again my children came and thanked me for giving them the type of life they love.

    What a blessing this week was in so many ways. Although at one stage on Wednesday i was ready to lock myself in the bathroom and have a quick glass of scotch!!


  20. life is special
    we have had our own scare this year
    something i love about my new found sustainableness...is my focus on my family and souly my family...i didnt feel like i needed a wake up call...i always enjoyed my family and raising my kids...but i now dont take it for granted at all!!
    so easily it could be gone

  21. Oh, but we did the best we could back then, Rhonda. The girls knew that they had to give me 15 minutes to myself when we all got home for the day. I'd lay on the bed with my eyes closed, listening to them just outside the door. "She SAID 15 minutes, Emmie."

  22. Thank you for your very interesting blog. I spent some time this morning reading through and enjoying the various topics. Your garden looks so good! Your flock of chickens look very happy and content as well. All in all, you should feel good about life and I can see from your words that you do!

  23. ((Rhonda)) You are so very dear--your heart so tender. My eyes are filled with tears at the reading of this beautifully loving post. I think the deep heart friendships that you and Hanno share with your precious children speaks volumes of what you *did do*, of those priceless things of relationship and the heart, of which we can never, I believe, look back and think we did *enough*. I can only imagine how special it must have been for those two blessed fellows of yours, to have had (and continue to have) *you* for a mother, Rhonda Jean. How thankful I am to have you as my dear friend to listen to, and learn from, and enjoy. And....while I'm here and at it...another loving hello and hug to Mr. Wonderful, from across the many miles :o) Enjoy this beautiful day. Thinking of you both.

  24. Rhonda, this touches me in a sore spot, but I'm so glad to have read it. I missed it last week because I was TOO BUSY. How often do I say "not right now", or "maybe later"...when right now is the perfect time!

    Apart from baking bread tomorrow with the wonderful help of my trusty breadmaker (I'm not the least bit ashamed) we are going to get out the puzzle box and go bananas.

    Then we are going to play and play and play.

    We are all well down here and the seedlings are going beautifully. I've tempted a late frost by planting out four tomatoes....fingers crossed.

    I'm so glad to know you.

    Lisa x



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