22 December 2009

My planning day

I see living simply as a series of adjustments.  Much of what I'm doing now, I did before but in a different way, or with a different attitude.  Shopping, housework, cooking, baking, gardening, knitting, and keeping chickens were all in my life before I started living more deliberately but now they're carried out with a more generous and caring heart and not just because I have to. Now my days have a rhythm of their own, I have no watch, I rarely look at the wall clock, the day and the season tell me whatever time I want to know about.  I've adjusted to a gentler way where mostly, time doesn't mean much.

But every so often, like today, the summer solstice in Australia, I stop and actively think about time; the time I have, how I'll use it today and in the coming year. This year coming will be a busy.  I have many things planned and the challenge for me is not to come up with fresh ideas and to change what I'm doing, but to balance work with recreation, and to slow myself enough to enjoy every hour of every day.  If I don't do that, what's the point?

I have found I need to be much more organised living as I do.  If we haven't thought to buy all the supplies we need, we have to rush out to get them at inconvenient times and those extra trips use more time and fuel.  If we're not organised when sowing our seeds, there will be no fresh salads, no potatoes, no good juicy tomatoes, we'll have to buy what we need, and I see that as a step backwards.  So today I'll take the time to organise my new diary.  I'll write up all those things that will make the coming year easier for me because I'm organised and prepared.  I'll write in dates I need to remember, important days when I should be at particular places, sowing days and sewing days, reminders to slow down, days out with Hanno and all my work enagements and deadlines.   There is a lot to put into that diary.

One of the things I can tell you about now is that will be taking next week off.  We have our Christmas morning breakfast and then the start of the Boxing Day test cricket match when I'll be sitting with my knitting and watching the entire day's play.  The following day is the last You, me and the kitchen sink for the year and then we'll have a few days rest here when I won't post but give all my attention to Hanno and my home.  When I come back I'm starting a simple living series when, for about a month, I'll write about the elements of a simple life as I see them, both practical and intellectual.  Many of these topics have already been written about but there are so many new readers now I thought I'd write a brand new condensed series, day after day, and with fresh eyes.  I hope new and older readers alike will find something in it. I expect it will serve me well to freshen my attitudes to what I do, to rethink how I work here, and to think about what is important and what isn't. 

I hope you enjoy this solstice day.  Do you use this as a planning day?  If not, how do you mark the solstice?



  1. I love your blog. And those pictures are wonderful. What book do they come from? I too follow a simple lifestyle with my husband. We had an early Christmas with our son and family yesterday as we will be out of town over Christmas. Our daughter and her family are too far away to join us and we hate that but we understand. Enjoy you time off.And I look forward to your return.

  2. Good Morning Rhonda.
    Regarding diaries, this is the first year of many when I have NOT used a diary, and it has led to much memory overload and frustration. I will definitely be returning to my previously faithful use of one for 2010, and indeed will also use it for task management, To Do lists, etc, and not just appointments.
    I for one am very much looking forward to your January series. I hope you enjoy your restful period, and return to us refreshed and invigorated.
    Tracy (Brisbane)
    PS: Where do you find those glorious illustrations?

  3. I love the Carl Larsen pictures.

  4. Good morning Rhonda,

    This all sounds so good to me. I'll be following along with your simple living series.We are slowly starting to get into this new way of life now, but one thing that I find very interesting is that our city friends are all heading down to visit us on our little farm. This tells me that most of us have this need to slow down and really smell the roses. I like the idea of not wearing a watch and I also have a list of what we need in town, so that when we go in we buy all the supplies we need for the coming week or so. We are on a tighter budget now and wasting fuel is not sensible.

    Blessings Gail

  5. you have a fantastic christmas day Rhonda! we have a Christmas breakfast too and I love it.. very civilized!

    I too, am trying to live in the moment and savour each and every second of my life..
    looking forward to your brand new condensed series, day after day, and with fresh eyes.

  6. Hi Rhonda! Last night my sister and i attended a Summer Solstice party at a friends house. its was lovely and my daughter really enjoyed running around with all the bigger children. It was a lovely atmosphere and a great way to celebrate the solstice. There is usually a giving table that everyone brings a present for and when you leave you take a present. This year i knitted 3 dishcloths and a scrubby and tied them up with a ribbon. I was really happy with my contribution to the giving table, hopefully i can start someone elses journey into simple living just by sharing the dishcloths with them.
    Merry Mid-Summer!

  7. Well normally I would be marking the winter solstice and thinking about the new year to come. Planning our allotment, seeds we need to buy etc. We often have a special meal of something warming and hearty but this year it will be cool and light. Hubby arrives this morning and I am so looking forward to seeing him. Off to the airport in an hour.
    Have a lovely week off and enjoy the cricket. Merry Christmas Rhonda and Hanno.

    Pippa xxx

  8. Vicky, what a lovely gift - three dishcloths and a scrubby tied with a ribbon! A practical gift and a beautiful thought from a generous lady.

  9. Hello Rhonda, my name is Debbie and I'm a new reader!!! First of all, let me say how much I enjoy reading about your life and how blessed I am to know there are others out in the world who are desiring a simple life. I am a stay-at-home mom to two teenagers and I homeschool. I live on a small farm in Washington State, USA. I have had a vague feeling for quite some time...a sort of inner nagging...that life could be different...should be different. I spend too much, waste too much (money and time)and am not really happy; I've become too wrapped up in the rat-race of keeping up with everyone else. My spirit is crying out for an authentic existence; a uniting of my values and how I actually live my life. So I commence upon what I am sure will be a life-changing journey...a journey to authenticity and simplicity (and I'm sure, happiness and freedom). I'm so happy to have found a wise guide and inspiration in you and your blog!

  10. Pippa, I'm so pleased your husband will be joining you and the family for Christmas. Merry Christmas to you all.

    Hello Debbie and welcome. Hold on to your hat, girl, you don't know how wonderful your changes will be. It will beat your consumerist life hands down.

  11. I didn't even know it was solstice. We spend the week between Xmas and new year planning every year. I feel a bit lost without doing some planning. But you have given me some good ideas as to what I'll be adding this year - like planning for planting!

    It's interesting what you say about time and not needing to look at a clock. I've been feeling the same way lately. It's so freeing not to be bound by artifical time, but instead work with natural rhythms (at least most of the 'time').

    Thank you for you blog this year. I never miss a day! It's the only blog I continue to be interested in even after nearly 2 years.

    I hope you have a lovely and relaxing week off and best wishes for the new year.

  12. So looking forward to your simple living series, Rhonda! Your blog has been an amazing blessing to me and to all your readers. God bless you and your family during this Christmas season!

  13. It is always interesting to read what you have to share and the photos are great too!! I admire how you are living your life...and maybe one day I will get a bit closer to life that way too!! We only pass this way once so we do need to make the most of it, for ourselves and others too. Thanks!!
    Blessings, Elizabeth

  14. I am glad to hear about your January series. I have been reading your blog for over a year now, and have started the change of simple living about the same time, so this will allow me to re-do and re-learn from the beginning. I am sure I will learn more this time around. Thank you so much for your inspiration. My life is so much better from it and you teaching. Merry Christmas Rhonda, to you and your family.

  15. The idea of a planning day on the solstice is excellent, I'd love to follow through but today will be one of the busiest days of the year in the shop, so may I take this idea and apply it to a quiet at home day next week?

    I look forward to the new series, we old readers will enjoy it and benefit from it as much as the newbies I'm sure.

    Santa landed at American Yarns I believe. :)

  16. I am a relative newbie to your blog, and I love it. I feel uplifted and blessed. I am thankful for the time, thought and effort that goes into making this blog. You are a dear heart.

    I am looking forward to reading your condensed series on simple living. I am not too old to be inspired or learn new ideas.

    Have a wonderful Christmas and a great new year.

    Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

  17. I am going to have to try this "diary" idea to plan out the coming year! I had not thought of using it as a planning ahead tool. Usually I put sticky notes all over, they fall and get lost, etc... etc...This sounds like an excellent way to plan out my gardening tasks among other things.

    As always, your site is always a pleasure!

  18. I am looking forward to the series. Have a wonderful time on your days off.

  19. Hello everyone and thank you all for your lovely comments.

    Rose, you need a quiet time to plan, and I suggest a pencil, not a pen. Mmmmm, I wonder what Santa found at American Yarns. :- )

  20. have a merry christmas, and lets hope 2010 is much better for all.

  21. A refresher course in simple living - I will be here every day!!

    This morning I remembered the Solstice and smiled ... the days will now be getting longer until life springs forth.

    Shortly after that I headed to town and there right in front of me was the biggest and brightest rainbow! What a greeting - it has made my day.

    I wish you and your family peace and love during this Christmas season.

    Blessed Be

  22. So inspiring :) Enjoy your time off, and I can't *wait* for the simple living series!

    Happy Solstice!

  23. I've been working on my plans for next year but not completed yet until I find out more details of some study I'm hoping to do. I love this time of looking forward to a new year, new possibilities.

    Thank you for all the time you give through your blog; I look forward to reading the new simple living posts next year.

    Have a peaceful and happy holiday!
    RosieB :)

  24. Thanks for a lovely year Rhonda, it has been a privelidge to spend my mornings with my milo reading about your beautiful home and life.
    Have fun planning your time next year, we are off to pick up my partner for his week off today, so no plans for us other than that today. However, like you, I will be soon propped up one night with my new diary lovingly planning my time for my family.
    Merry Christmas,

  25. Rhonda, Holiday greetings to you and your family. I am looking forward to your posts in the new year, I start out every day reading your blog. I have learned so much from your posts and am working on putting what I have learned to good use! Enjoy your time off!
    Karen from CT

  26. Just wanting to send you my warmest wishes for the season and the New Year to come. See you then...

    I will definitely be following along as I continue to learn new things and apply what I have been learning along the way.


  27. Not to be picky, but as a Swede -- it's Carl Larsson not Larsen. National hero and all . . .

  28. What a surprise and pleasure to discover your blog. I am living a similar sort of life on the other side of the world in the Welsh hills. It would be good to get to know you.

  29. thanks for picking me up on that, swedishcowboy. I have a swedish grandmother, Hilda Svensson, I should know better. :- )

  30. Being pagan I mark the solistace with a ritual and follow that up with what we have nicknamed the fairy feast - An afternoon of munching on fresh summer fruits, freshly baked breads and cakes, sparkling grape juice and anything else that we find that seems to fit the mood an energy of the day.

    I love the summer solistace its my favarotie day of the year an is always a day to spend with my other pagan friends before we dissapear off to our own family

  31. This post is so timely Rhonda. I started planning in my new diary and wall calendar last week. Organisation is my big thing for 2010 Im so sick of wasting time instead of getting things done. If organised that will lead to more time for me to sew, scrapbook garden and more time with my family, which is what I need lol. I hope you and Hanno have a lovely Christmas and I look forward to reading your January series.
    Bye for now

  32. The solstics is something that I'm only aware of in an abstract way, it's mostly just another day to me.
    I know what you mean about not watching the clock, I haven't work a watch in close to 20 years and I don't miss it.
    Have a Merry Christmas, and I hope that you enjoy the time with your family.

  33. Looking forward to the "new" series, Rhonda! May you & Hanno have a very Merry Christmas. :)

  34. Rhonda,

    I'm so looking forward to your new series. I enjoy reading your blog and the kind, gentle manner in which you communicate. I hope your break is restorative. Blessings.

  35. Have a beautiful break! I am looking forward to your "simple" series! Merry Chriatmas!

  36. Rhonda

    Hello from the foot of Mount Fuji, Japan. Thank you for your joyful and inspiring blog - and a new perspective for me from Australia.

    We follow a simple lifestyle in a 300-year-old minka in the mountains - our own well, growing all our vegetables, reconnecting with nature. We just harvested this year's ginkgo nuts and kiwi.

    We also run a Japanese publishing company, Energy Doorways, which publishes books and projects that help people empower and enjoy their lives.

    I blog about aspects of my natural energy wisdom lifestyle in Japan, so please visit my website/blog at www.energydoorways.com if you have time.

    I very much appreciate the opportunity for sharing our views and I look forward to visiting you again.

  37. I am looking forward to your new series, it certainly will help me on my path to a simpler life. As for planning, I usually do this on New Years day. But I have already started to fill in my new calendar with things like birthdays, important telephone numbers etc. I like to have all these things together in pencil on paper, not just on my computer and mobile phone.

  38. Sad to say when I lived in my native land Scotland and many years in Sydney, I never gave a thought to the winter solstice. Since coming to Sweden over 30 years ago, I really feel its worth a celebration but all of us are usually too caught up in Christmas preparations. Since it starts getting dark here around 14.30 the winter solstice is so very welcome since it signals the gradual return of light. Even with the thick beautiful carpet of snow outside, my thoughts turn to my garden and greenhouse. Not long now before the first chilli seeds can be planted.
    Thank you for your inspiration during the year. Hoping you really enjoy your well-earned rest and looking forward to your series in January.

  39. Thank you so much for this post and for your upcoming series. Will your upcoming post speak about balancing the planning aspect while not crossing over to over-regimentation? I confess I have a tendancy toward the latter which does not lend itself to simplification...

  40. Although I don't post very often I love your blog and am really looking forward to your new series to inspire me more. Just wanted to say Merry Christmas to you and Hanno.

  41. have a wonderful summers solstice (it's the winter solstice overhere, brrrrrr!) and I might just take on your idea of planning more, cause it's exactly what I need to enjoy more time with the kids!

    Vicky was talking about a scrubber....what's the diference between dish cloth and scrubber, are they knittted differently?

  42. Hi Rhonda,
    Thanks for some great posts this past year. I'm so happy to have found your blog! I'll be following the *new* series for sure. Merry Christmas! Have a great time of rest and planning.

    As far as the solstice, we only think of the day as a turning point in how much or how little sunlight we'll be having in the coming months. Don't celebrate it, though. All thoughts are on Christmas.

    I'm putting in a garden for the first time this year, so my planning will be along those lines.


  43. Hi Rhonda,
    I mark the solstice in the same way every year. Its my birthday ! ! ! This year my 60th. (and I still dont feel like I am a grown-up ! ). My children had a party for me. I was surounded by my children, grandchildren and dearest friends and I had a wonderful time.
    I hope you have a great Christmas and spend it doing all the things you like best.

    Cheers, Eileen in England.

  44. I hadn't thought specifically of using the solstice day for this, but love the idea of a year planning day and hope to do it soon! Actually just bought a new big block planner to put our meals in monthly, and can do this in there as well. Thanks for the idea!

  45. Merry Christmas Rhonda!

  46. Wishing you & your family a wonderful Christmas Rhonda, and I'll be looking forward to reading your new series next year.

    Cate in NZ


  47. Dear Rhonda,
    I mark the winter solstice (in the UK!) in a very special annual way. It is my birthday!

    I love your bolg and read every day. You are an inspiration to us all, and long may that go on!

  48. This is a lovely post. I'm looking forward to your new series, you can always learn something else!
    I've been getting a lot organized lately as well; probably because of the upcoming new year. Hope you have wonderful holidays with your family and a very Merry Christmas!
    The Girl in the Pink Dress

  49. One blessing I find from stocking up and not having to go out and shop is the peace. Not having to be around crowds or the hussle and bussle. I don't have to see the awful magazine story titles at the check out stand. Or contend with any thoughtless drivers. The more I stay away from news tv and such and keep to my daily activities and family the calmer and contented we all are. The peace of taking care of the garden and animals and famiily are so peaceful and fullfilling. We try to keep our home a haven for the family. We are active in the causes we support but try not to bring any of that tension back to our home. We are looking forward to reading anything you care to share with us Rhonda. Will


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