2 December 2010

The blog neighbourhood

I had a phone conversation with Little Jenny Wren earlier this week. She contacted me via email about a fabric I'd commented on, she included her phone number in the email, so I took the opportunity to call her. There was no hesitation, no shyness or wondering about whether I should, I just did. I felt I already knew her.

Blogs are like that. When you read someone's blog over a period of time you feel you know them. We both agreed it was weird to be talking, but the conversation was relaxed, friendly and wonderful. We talked about the fabric, and our families. We didn't have to explain who, what and why, we already knew those details because we've been reading about each others lives for years. We've seen each other's kitchens, I know Jenny dries her washing in front of her wood stove in the winter, I know how old her children are. I know all those details because she's shared her interesting life on her blog.

I read the other day that sociologists have yet to agree on the meaning of the word "community". So far there are 94 definitions of the word, and "since the advent of the Internet, the concept of community no longer has geographical limitations, as people can now virtually gather in an online community and share common interests regardless of physical location."

I try to read as many blogs as I can and although I don't have much time and don't read every day, there are some women out there who I feel I know well, even though we've never spoken in person. For instance, I've been following Amanda's move to a new home and silently sharing their joy and excitement. I've just read how Farmama and her husband were lead to their own farm, and like me, how she picks up on the treasures left in her comments box. She's just tied her fabric stash in bundles, but I'll let you find out why. And I've been slowly reading through the archive at A Joyful Chaos - a blog about growing up Amish, and I'm keeping up to date with all sorts of delicious food at Food in Jars. If her food is half as satisfying as her photos, she would be setting the finest table each night. And speaking of good food, Almost Bourdain captures me with thoughts of Anthony Bourdain as well as her thoughtful and innovative approach to food. Who could forget her Tiramisu with laminations and Anzacs and her Balinese spicy fried chicken. Mmmmm.

I learn so much from my blog community. I learn from those I read and from the wonderful comments made here every day. These computers of ours are powerful things. They stretch us across our own countries and into international lands. They take us by the hand and help us wander through kitchens and barnyards, we see tomatoes growing and being put into jars, we watch and learn as cardigans are being knitted and skirts stitched; we see how others live. Blogs, unlike magazines, are written without filters, they're showing real life, not a set stage. Blogs, especially the good blogs, come straight from the heart and they record everyday, ordinary living. And best of all, blogs, while telling their daily stories, teach us what we didn't even know we wanted to learn.



  1. Nice warm fuzzy post today rhonda, from one of your 2841 followers.

  2. I feel just this way! The world is starting to seem so small now that we can read about and learn from ordinary lives everywhere. I don't think a blog community can replace a sense of belonging in your own geographical space. But it has its own virtues.

  3. I totaly agree with this post Rhonda :-)

    I learn so many things by reading blog from people having same interest as me.

    We are so close with blog, although geographic km or barrier.

    Thanks for your good blog!


  4. Dear Rhonda,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the blogging community. Just last month, my husband and I started a blog. I'd been reading your blog and others for a few months. I'd already started working to live a simpler life, but the blogging community further inspired me! I'm only 23, and none of my peers (other than my husband) share my interest in self-sufficiency or simplicity. I really can't tell you how much I value your willingness to share your life and inspire others!

    The main reason that I started blogging was to give back to the community, and hopefully share a larger and more meaningful role in the future. You all have made such a difference in my life, hopefully I can do the same!

    Best wishes to you!

  5. "And best of all, blogs, while telling their daily stories, teach us what we didn't even know we wanted to learn."

    SO TRUE!!! Through the blogs I've read, I have learned so much about how to do things, and about who I am. We are in a season of transition now and we have left the suburbs of the big city, have been hanging out in a small town, and are headed (hopefully!!) to our own small farm in the next month.

    This blog has probably taught me the most from one single source!!! Thank you for sharing YOUR life and wisdom to us all. I never would have thought I'd be headed down THIS path when I first started reading.

  6. I love that Rhonda! I love that we "know" each other although we have never met. I talk about you and Hanno as though we were friends we talk daily. I love that I can be a part of your lives and that we learn from one another...even across the pond or on the other side of the world!!
    Thanks to everyone for letting me be a part of your lives!


    central Illinois

  7. Beautifully written Rhonda...and I couldn't agree more! :)

  8. Recently I found myself reading how to build an outdoor pizza oven from scratch. Now this is not something I would have googled, but it ended up being fascinating, and, like you said something I didn't know I wanted to know!

  9. How really true this is! And kindred spirits can find and support and amuse and enlighten one another though before the internet they would never have met or been aware of one another. It is a blessing and a joy!

  10. Wonderful post from a wonderful blogger.
    I check you everyday because you have become one of my favourite "friends" to visit.

  11. my blog is mostly about my spiritual journey [with a little of my daily life thrown in] ~ things I share from my heart, sometimes with hesitation.. and always, I am touched that my words have helped someone.. yes.. a community of wise women that I have found in my own blogging :)

  12. One thing I just can't get my head around is seeing all the cold in England - with so much snow. Then looking out my computer window to our hot summer weather - with all doors open - seems so unreal.

    Love Leanne Nz

  13. I constantly find myself refering to what one of my 'friends' has said on their blog.

    I used to feel shy about it, now I don't mind saying; A friend from the Forum, or Rhonda-Jean from Down to Earth.

    It really is a new form of community :)

  14. This medium is my community. Oh I have a community on our rural road, but I still feel quite isolated and alone. I just look on the net and find someone to visit with. I still don't have a blog of my own and do sometimes feel a little bad about that, but I'm not sure that I have the commitment to post often enough, nor anything worth posting about.
    Thanks for being my friend Rhonda

    cheers Kate

  15. I agree wholeheartedly. I have met a fellow blogger when she visited my area and we had a lovely time chatting in real life like we were friends because, we were.

    I can't remember the last time I actually bought a magazine. Blogs provide useful information, tempting ideas and a sense of community that the magazine world does not.
    Take care,

  16. My husband and I were just recently discussing the amazing phenomenon that is the blogging community. We both write blogs of our own and LOVE reading the inspiring words that others write, too. We've come in contact with some truly lovely people.

    Funny that you mention learning things you never knew you wanted to learn----many of the ideas that interest me were discovered via "blogdom", and I'll admit that I most likely would never have thought to search them out on my own.

    When I talk to folks about my favorite blogs, I mention the authors as "friends" (my friend, Rhonda, over at Down to Earth......). I hesitated, at first, to use such a familiar and precious term, but then I realized that, although we may never see each other face to face, or have the opportunity to hear each other's voice, you (and all those wonderful bloggers like you) are, indeed, what a true friend is----you share of yourself freely and openly, you encourage your readers to grow and learn, and, ultimately, to spread our own wings. Isn't that what friendship is all about, after all?

    Thank you for giving of yourself, Rhonda, with each and every post. I appreciate YOU!!!

    Blessings, Patti Boyd

  17. What a great post. I am relatively new to blog land, and yours was one of the first blogs I came across when I was getting to know this new world. I have been reading ever since and have also come to experience 'getting to know' people via their blogs which has been a great adventure.

    Thanks for creating such a welcoming environment online, your blog really does contain such a great sense of 'community'.

  18. This is a great post! I love the sense of community that the internet brings. It's great for breaking down barriers of nationality.

    I only just learned today, after reading your blog for about a week, that you were from Down Under. I knew you weren't American, but I thought you might have been English.

    This to me is one of the most fascinating things about the internet. It makes it impossible to make the kinds of judgments we might make in the real world. And this, as you say, makes communicating with 'strangers' much easier.

    Long may it continue!

  19. I love the blogging community that nurtures so many friendships, gives loving words of encouragement and understanding, provides a place to share and is also very therapeutic for all involved. Great post!

  20. tankparksalute, and we can connect through our love of music. I love Billy Bragg.

  21. As well as all you have mentioned Rhonda, blogs have provided friendships and company to me ...being at home with children, you can sometimes feel isolated, even in suburbia....so , yes, I thank all the wonderful bloggers our there, very much...Suzanne

  22. I'm in a quilting forum but there are other threads involved there also, like gardening, a reading thread and a few others. We 'know' each other from this and from our blogs and I feel like I'm involved in a big craft 'family' who sometimes meet each other in person as we attend the same craft fairs or go on holiday in another's area. Without my computer and internet connection I wouldn't have all these lovely friends because of where I live.

  23. I feel I know some of my blogs friends better than I know the people who live next door and across the street. We are all close in proximity here, but outr lives are so different, none of us talk. We are either going to work or coming home and tired. I have chosen my blog friends and I have much in common with them. I chose my house, the neighborhood came with it. I did not chose the neighbors. I love it here in blogland. I feel at home.

  24. I feel the same way - I've got blogging friends all over the world now, that I wouldn't have met any other way, and my life is so much richer because of them! I love your blog because it keeps reminding me of what's important in life, and that the simplest things are often the best.


  25. You are so right. I feel this same way about blogs that I read and this includes yours. I don't leave a lot of comments here but you have taught me more than you could ever ever imagine and I thank you for that.

  26. Beautiful post, Rhonda. I can't say it better. That's the beauty of blogging and I enjoy sharing my blog and reading others. And thanks for the mention. It's so sweet of you.

  27. Hi Rhonda :-)
    I just had to leave a comment today. I read many blogs and I have my own blog too, which I post to on a semi-regular basis. I have felt lately that I haven't had alot to say. I am still at that point where I'm not sure where I want my blog to go. I feel that to have a successful blog you need more readers and when you are just talking to yourself its not quite the same lol.
    You are right though, blogging creates an online community that is so rich in knowledge and so vast that there truly are no boundaries at all.
    Your blog is so uplifting and inspires me daily. You have taught me so many wonderful things and honestly - if I can be half as happy and content when I reach my 60's as you and Hanno seem to be, well then I will be one very lucky woman.
    Never stop doing what you are doing, you are an amazingly, inspirational lady!!!

  28. "And best of all, blogs, while telling their daily stories, teach us what we didn't even know we wanted to learn."

    Very well said - plain and simple. :)

  29. I completely agree, and for those times when it seems that no one understands what you are trying to accomplish - you only have to go online and you find a host of other women doing the same things and having a wonderful time!

  30. I agree Rhonda. I didn't know about blogging before I read an article you had written in one of the Don Bourke magazines. I couldn't beleive what I was reading when I checked out your blogspot- a whole lot of people worldwide valued the same things I have always valued! Good news, I wasn't alone in my thinking. Even though I don't personally know you I feel like a friend as we have quite a bit in common. Thanks Rhonda.

  31. Love your blog girlie. I've had it on my blogroll for sometime now. I like your style of writing!

  32. What an interesting post. I really enjoyed reading this and will definitely come back here again :-).

    You are so right about getting to know people through a blog. I started blogging the first time when my daughter who was 3 at the time was diagnosed with leukemia. It started off just as a way to communicate to friends and family and soon became much more than that. It became a place where we could also educate and create awareness and be there for others on similar journeys. And through our blog I "met" so many others. People I cried with and laughed with and celebrated with. (http://whitesinnz.blogspot.com).

    Then recently I started a new blog about everyday life, living in New Zealand. What the kids might get up to. Not quite sure what I might end up writing about because this one is still very new :-). (http://livinglifenowinkiwiland.blogspot.com)

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts :-)

    Lea White

  33. That was a lovely blog Rhonda and sums up my feelings too. We are truly blessed to be able to share in so many wonderful lives in this way. You hear many negative things about the internet, but this is the flip side to that (and something you don't tend to hear about in magazines or newspapers) the genuinely good and honest things going on in ordinary peoples lives. Have a good day.

  34. Nice post Rhonda. I agree, I've learnt so much through reading blogs, although I admit an awful lot I have learn't was from you!!!
    Keep up the good work.

  35. You just pretty much summed up why I LOVE blogs, and discovering new awesome ones (like this one :D). I am so excited for January being here soon - I have a friend who lives in New Zealand (I'm in Melbourne) and I have known her through blogs, and more recently Facebook, for nearly five years. We have shared tears, laughter, pregnancies and all manner of lifes little and bigger moments. This January she is coming to Melbourne for a family wedding and she wants to meet in person - I cannot wait. I know I'll be nervous and I'll probably cry, and I know I'll feel like I'm meeting a celebrity!

    I'm only a new reader to your blog, but thank you for having such a warm, cosy way of sharing your life. Even through an inanimate computer screen there is so much life to share.

  36. Very true,Rhonda,and as always,well put!

    I check my favorite blogs everyday,and do feel like these folks are my friends.( I call them "my blogging friends").

    I love looking for new blogs that I find a connection to,and hope that some find a connection from mine!I love getting new followers,and am always very excited when I see a new blogging friend on the follower list!

  37. Your words here are so true. I have learned and have been inspired by so many wonderful bloggers out there. As everyone else, I have my favorites and yours is one of them.

  38. I love your post today.Reading other people's blogs inspires me to get out my sewing machine and have a go!

  39. A good post, but I forgot to mention in my first comment that I was especially interested in the fact that I have the same large blue Pennsylvania Dutch tin that's in your picture. I keep buttons in it.

    Small world indeed.

  40. I have been so blessed by the blogging community as well. Both learning and sharing and not feeling so alone in the journey.
    What a wonderful post. You listed two of my favorites too - now off to get to know the others.
    Warm wishes,

  41. I could not agree more. I learn something from someone everyday, including the redoubtable Rhonda Jean!

  42. And that is exactly why I love to read blogs and comments, there is so much to learn from each other.


  43. I like the learning, I like the little peeks into peoples lives - I've become so much livlier and feel so much less isolated since reading blogs (especially this one) and I've found that with these days of folk being so far flung its nice to feel part of a community of likeminded folk - thank you for letting me think about it. I think alot of people these days try to identify with their own community - but if you find yourself far away from friends and family through work/life choices - you can lose a sense of really belonging. I live on my island, I'm a well received visitor here, accepted within our small community - but I don't really belong here - so its nice to touch on likeminded folk too :)

  44. Kindred spirits can be found around the world these days. I got to meet three lovely women this past October .. we've been following each other's lives .. and I started a 'friendship' blog called the Scarf Sisters. We had our first reunion .. and I played tour guide. Hope to do it again in two years in another 'home town' state.

  45. Hi..having not long discovered the blogging community and it is a community in my eyes..i have learnt so much not just about how i want to live but also about myself...i have found friends who are like-minded and don't mind my questions..and they don't think i'm weird because i get excited at making chutney for the first time or jam..i love the encouragement they give me..whilst i may never meet them face to face, they hopefully know me and i know them...i find it all so interesting and i love learning something new everyday...

  46. The internet and blogging does make for community in their own ways.

    I had a perfect stranger hug me at a recent quilt retreat. I thought she believed she was hugging my sister Angela, hostess for the retreat, so I introduced myself. She explained she knew I was Penny and felt she knew me from reading my blog. =)


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