My true potential

12 October 2009
I used to think housekeeping and the mindset that supported it was demeaning and dependence-driven. In those days of high-flying Rhonda, power and independence were demonstrated by having enough money to get others to look after my home for me. I knew a home was a necessity but I didn't realise its significance. I didn't take the time to get to know my own home until I gave up work - there was something calling me back home but I didn't know how much I would be changed by being here until I surrendered all thoughts of the outside world, slowed down and focused on living to my true potential.

Now that I've cut myself off from the overtly commercial world and shop only for needs rather than wants, I have come to see the domestic world I live in with kinder eyes, and I appreciate it much more than I ever did before. I know now that I am more independent than I have ever been. I am not tied down by debt, contracts, fashion, trying to prove myself to indifferent people or wanting to be more than I am or have more than I need.

I had forgotten that cooking a meal at night was not just about food but also nutrition, health, integrity, reliability and the most effective way of drawing a growing family close each day. Until I took up my knitting needles I didn't fully understand the satisfaction of using and wearing hand made. Smelling the aroma of home made bread awoke in me the memory of it when I was little - my father was a baker. All these things, and more, helped me come back to myself. The softness of my home made it a place of peace and comfort, it was easy to be here and when I made it the productive and creative place I needed it to be I didn't want to leave.

I am happiest when I am working at home, knowing that my family is happy and healthy and well on the way to building their own lives. When I keep my house as clean as a whistle, take time out for knitting, watching the chooks and the wild birds and gardening, when I cut, pin and sew each afternoon and cook a good meal from our backyard each day, I consider that success of the finest order. But I don't just live for what I can do for myself and my family, I live also so that I can give to others and therefore I spend time on my blog and forum, I volunteer in the community and help where I can. There are never enough hours.

I guess the biggest surprise for me about living a life focused on home is the independence and power that comes from that. Gone are the days when I looked for validation in shopping malls and being just like my contemporaries. Now I'm pleased to stand apart, I don't want to be like anyone else, I don't bother about fashion or trends, I know now that my true value is more complex than that.

There is a feeling of control and self-reliance that comes from getting my house in order, from growing vegetables and fruit; planning out a day; knowing how to store and prepare wholesome food; from working out a frugal budget and sticking to it; being creative and skillful enough to produce the majority of my family's needs; learning how to get the best from what we own and to use those assets to help us live well; and by being prepared, emotionally and financially, for hard times, while working towards and celebrating times of abundance and family growth.

I am not going to say that living as I do is right for everyone but I'm pleased I know now that it's right for me. I know now that my home is a reflection of me and that getting to know my home and becoming comfortable here helped me understand myself and my place in the world. Being here at home has given me direction, it's enriched my life and made me a better person than I was. In the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter much how I live but when groups of us live in a purposeful way, it does make a difference. One of the absolute pleasures of writing here as I do is that I have come to know there are many who live in a thoughtful and purposeful way, and for that I am ever thankful.

I hope you have a beautiful week.


  1. though provoking post, Rhonda, I dont hope to achieve anything like you but I have made some big changes to simplify my life and I feel the benefit every day.

    great photo of the chook peeping through by the way - the patterns in the wood look like a pair of eyes too :)


  2. Your blog has become quite addictive for me Rhonda! From thinking it is not quite my thing to thinking that sometimes it is, I now look for it on my blog list bar every morning. One of the things which really 'speaks' to me from your writing is your emphasis on each person finding what is special and meaningful to them. I'm off now to feed the chooks and collect eggs, make some sourdough bread and have a tidy up before my friend and her daughter come round to visit. We will share thoughts and tips on parenting, gardening and food - the core concerns of our lives. I'm even thinking of making an apron for Mum for Christmas.

  3. Wonderful post! I think I'll go back to this one frequently when I need to be reminded that what I do in apron and work gloves is more important than anything I ever did in heels and a business suit.

    barb in ga

  4. Thanks Rhonda :)
    It's such an encouragement to hear other like minded women speaking like this. As I head towards 30 with 4 children at home being homeschooled having left behind a formal career, I take joy in knowing that I am investing into my family in a way that only I can. I understand each day more and more, why God called me back to my home and in that I too have been *finding* myself.
    thanks + love,
    lusi x

  5. Thanks for another wonderful post Rhonda. I am very blessed to be able to stay at home and nuture my family. A place where my husband can come home from work and know he is truly HOME. A place where my daughter can feel wanted and loved. A place where I can show my family how much I love them. I feel so happy to be able to serve my family in the best way I know how, by providing a warm, happy and inviting home for them.

    Take care & God bless Rhonda

  6. I love this post and it is so nice to see somebody else who likes to live as I do. People tell me all the time you are crazy and the biggest comment I get is are you amish no. I just desire to live simply so my children can see there is happiness in the simple things not all the stuff the world says we need. Keep up the encouraging and intersting posts I love your blog. Rebekah.

  7. Hello Rhonda, what a lovely reflective post. Simplifying is kind of rushing up on me at the moment as out of place as that may sound. My day off used to be a day for sleeping in and then rushing around doing the housework and shopping. Last night I went to bed early, got up early this morning and now the housework is done with the day spread in front of me.
    The Gardener is outside the window finishing the chook coop, the girls arrive in the morning. This afternoon, after ten months of growing it out, the last of my coloured hair should be gone. I love simple hair!
    The expanded vegie garden is flourishing, yesterday three loaves of bread were produced, Sunday being my baking day. In a moment, I'll put a fruit cake in to bake and then be ready to plan a simple Christmas with a dear friend.
    Thanks for all you've done to help me get this far.

  8. Happy Thanksgiving from here in Ontario, Canada.

    On my thankful list this year is those blogs that encourage me to keep making adjustments in my life. Rhonda your blog is one of them.

    Thanks a bunch. I look forward to more encouragement and ideas.


  9. Rhonda~
    Well said~
    I'm a married momma of 6 kiddos so far and strive to live as you described! It does feel good~very satifying!


  10. ABSOLUTELY! i couldnt have said it any better :-)

  11. when i read your post a line popped in my mind: "it is always enough, it is our want that is never enough." this reminds me that indeed, simplicity is beauty. thanks

  12. I so agree. I've gone from 'cityslicker' to 'home-loving country bumpkin' in the last few years. Made some absolutely huge, gigantic changes and never been more fulfilled or happy!

  13. Hi Rhonda,

    I loved today's post. I wish I could live the way you do, and for a little while (I hope) I'm able to do that while I look for a job. But the need to feed myself and plan for my future and my future security means that I have to have paid work, and it's very hard to find a job which allows me to spend enough time at home to keep that sense of centred self. I'd love to know what you think about how to hold on to that in the busy work world.

  14. what a beautiful day to wake up to a beautiful post like this Rhonda, thank you. I am currently just re-settling my mind in to remembering that once upon a time (it seems like to generations of women back) the women in my family lived as I am trying to do now. I am finding that the closer we come to the birth of our second child (only five weeks now), the more settled I am in my role. I have been working from home before this, but the work dried up and now we are staying focussed on not having to have me work again for a long time.

    I love that although I have things to do, my day really is mine, and my child's, to do things that really matter.

  15. Rhonda, I've missed visiting your blog as I've been so busy lately. You're a breath of fresh air. Right now I'm working full time with my husband but I hope to eventually be able to focus more on my home. I love the smell of fresh baked bread and long to grow my own vegetables and herbs. I do have one basil plant in my kitchen window so it's a start.

    I hope you continue to blog and share your insights with others. I look foward to reading and slowly integrating some of these things into my life.

    God bless you,

  16. Thank you for the reminder. It is Sunday evening for me and I am glad to read this post before I start the regular week. Even though I am home with my children and they are home with me through homeschooling, it is still so easy to get caught up in the business that comes with kids. And we say "no" to so much! So this week, I will strive to make a difference in my home and to treat it like the treasure that it is.

  17. This post is one of the reasons I read your blog. It inspires me to do better. It makes me be proud of the person I am and what I'm doing for my family. Not trying to keep up with all the latest trends but staying true to who we are.
    Thanks again!!!

  18. This is a great post Rhonda. I've realised lately that where I want to be and what I want to be doing aren't the same as where I am and what I'm doing. It wasn't a good feeling either. I so want to enjoy my garden, but it always feels like something I must rush through because I have other things that I need to do. I used to really enjoy keeping my home nice and welcoming for my family and friends, but now it just feels like another chore I have to do, the same with meals and baking. They were tasks that I used to really enjoy and they gave me a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, now they too are just thankless chores that must be done. I don't want to be like this and I try so hard to be positive and happy about these things but it just isn't happening for me. Most of the time I just feel so rushed and time poor, I think that maybe I need some time management skills and learn to let some things go. I so hope that it will come back and love to read yours and similar blogs that give me hope that my enjoyment of homemaking will return.
    cheers Kate

  19. We went shopping for some winter things for the boys and Sweetheart that I cannot make today. Enjoyed being with my guys, but would be happy not to shop again. I found it a bit overwhelming and laughed at the fashions. Ugh. Much happier at home planning my week and looking forward to canning more apples and garden tomatoes tomorrow and doing a bit of sewing. Thanks for your encouragement and wonderful ideas and wisdom!! They mean so much!

  20. You surely get right to the heart of the thought. When you are satisfied with who you are and what you want to do, you are relaxed and it you and your loved ones. The home is peaceful and a real haven from the worlds hassles. The world outside of home is second to what is within it's walls. Your home is your sanctuary. I too am a homebody. I may have to go out to do things and be a help to others but my home is where my heart is. Thankyou again Rhonda. We all love how you can put into words what we only feel in our hearts. I am too where I want to be...keeper of our home. Jody

  21. Hi Rhonda,
    What a great post,we have always lived a pretty simple life here and since comming across your blog a while ago it has encouraged me to take further steps in this journey...But as of 5 weeks ago that all changed for us as I lost my husband to cancer...I am now having to run our business in town...this hasn't been easy as I havn't worked in 13 years and am now having to run an auto elec business....Trying to balance this is taking some getting used to for me and the children...Reading your blog always encourages me and helps me to see there is light at the end of the tunnel...
    Blessings Mandy

  22. Thanks everyone.

    Dear Mandy, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your husband. I am thinking of you. {{hugs}}

  23. You expressed so beautifully the pace and way of life that I would like to have and are working towards. I have a vivid imagination as my husband likes to say and when I read your post I saw a partial picture of what my life is moving toward. Thank you so much for sharing those thoughts.

  24. Great Post!! You mirror so many of my thoughts and feelings! Sometimes I think I am alone,but reading your blog has shown me many more who share my feelings and thoughts.
    I am making apple butter for the first time and loving doing it!!
    It will taste so good when the snow is flying.
    When I was working outside of my home,I never would have thought I could find such satisfaction in putting up food for the Winter.Life is Good!!!

  25. I love reading your blog, Rhonda and gain much wisdom from your words.

    Although I live a very simple life with few material possessions on a very small income, I still find a balance is best for me. I do enjoy occasional shopping, especially at thrift stores. I get inspiration from the store decor and merchandise at Anthropologie, and I love to browse in bookstores. My apartment is small and tidy and I do love to cook, bake, sew and knit. But, I also love being outdoors...walking, swimming, and exploring my city. I love the ocean and traveling to visit family and friends.

    I am 65 years young and open to life as never before! Simple living can be found in many ways.

  26. Rhonda,

    I love your website and have learned a tremendous amount from it - all good!
    Your post today was inspiring, thank you!
    The nuffnang Movember ad was awful and distracting, and rather spoiled the top of your blog. Could it be made to go away?

    Thank you for all you do!

  27. This was a lovely post and a kick in the pants that I needed this week! Thank you!


  28. Rhonda, I just love your blog and have taken so much inspiration from you. I to love to be at home and love learning so many new ways to make it warmer :)

  29. Hello Rhonda. This is a great post, and so true. I've been following your blog for a while, and I am interested to know what your motivation is .. what made you give up the "high life" for the simple life in the first place. Obviously, living the simple life is much more rewarding, but did you know that it would be ... I can't remember seeing anything about motivation on here (so forgive me if I have missed or misunderstood anything) ... for me, it's a deep spiritual connection to the earth and environment. Anyway. I hope you don't mind me asking. Julia xx

  30. Rhonda -- How on earth do you maintain that Zen calmness? You never seem to get irritated, or annoyed, or frustrated -- and NEVER lazy. Don't you have some secret vice you need to tell us about?

  31. I used to see housework as a hated chore...I couldn't see the point beyond merely going through the motions. I worked full time then, and spent most of my time away from the home. If I wasn't at work, then I was out partying or at my voluntary job. Home was somewhere that I slept, nothing more.

    I left all that behind me 6 years ago.

    It came to me on Sunday morning when I was cooking pancakes for breakfast, along with the bread machine baking and the washing machine churning, that standing in the middle of my kitchen was the place where I most wanted to be. Everything was running like clockwork.

    My OH likened it to a symphony...every small piece working in harmony.

    I feel I certainly get more out of the chores now, and with one or two exceptions, I quite enjoy doing them...

    I've still a way to go, but I'm getting there....and I'm not at the end of my shredded nerves either!

  32. What a lovely post! As someone who works full-time outside of the home, it is my time AT home which strengthens and refreshes me after being away during the day. Coming home from work to cook a nourishing, homemade meal for my husband and children helps ease the stresses of the day.

    Have a blessed week!

    Mary Ellen
    The Working Home Keeper

  33. I enjoyed reading this post Rhonda because at the moment I am nesting and all my work at home is taking on extra special meaning as I prepare for the arrival of our new baby in December. I have also enjoyed reading the comments and seeing how many others are discovering the joys of a simpler life at home and putting in so much effort to make their homes a haven for their family and friends. I appreciated what you shared about reaching out to others too, for I do believe that we are 'blessed to be a blessing' - whether that be inspiring others through writing a blog or simply taking our surplus produce or a loaf of freshly baked bread to a neighbour.

  34. Thank you for this post. You couldn't have said it any better. I am going to come back and re-read this one when it is quieter in the house.

  35. Absolutely lovely post. Couldn't agree more with your definition of "success" :O)


  36. I wish more people would read this and be more supportive of women who CHOOSE to be homemakers and actually ENJOY it. As women, we should congratulate ourselves on our choices regardless whether or not it contradicts societal expectations. At least we have a choice - some women aren't allowed even that.

  37. i always am inspired, anew, by your posts like this that come every now and then. i'll never forget that you were my key to this "new" way of life. the first simple living blog i ever read. thank you so much rhonda.

  38. Hi Rhonda-Jean - what a beautiful post. I've just returned home from our family farm, looking after my dad after his operation. I thought I'd struggle with no mobile service or internet but it was such a blessing. I looked forward to morning and afternoon tea with dad, us enjoying a cuppa on the verandah looking at the hills and the cattle, listening to and watching the birds. He said I fussed over him like a mother hen and his house got a fright by me...ha! I cooked lots of wholseome meals and froze them so he won't have to worry for several weeks. I also made a few cakes which we enjoyed with our cuppa. He couldn't have been more thankful or appreciative. I long to be back in the country - Only a few more years here in the city and I'm going back.

    Thanks for giving this country girl the inspiration that you do. Lots of hugs to you,

    Chantel from Ashfield x


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