14 June 2012

Speaking out in the communities

I'm late today. We slept in. We're still in Toowoomba after spending the time here yesterday speaking at a couple of events at the Toowoomba Library. Both events were booked out with 60 people. It was really wonderful for Hanno and I to meet so many like-minded people and to, hopefully, give them some encouragement towards this simpler way of life.

It will be a quick post today to answer a question asked yesterday:

Hello, I've been reading back through some old posts and also the details of your book. I wondered if you've found that the success of your book now detracts from your ideal of simple living. I don't mean in monetary ways (although I'm sure this has made an impact too) but by doing book tours, being interviewed, all the trappings that come with some degree of fame. Do you feel that in a way you've returned to some of the things you originally yearned to get away from?

Joyce, one of the few things that I don't like about what has been happening since the book was published is that people know me. I am the most ordinary person you might ever meet and I like to go about my life quietly. But having this higher profile helps me with one of my goals. I made a commitment to myself many years ago that I would carry on the tradition  of older women passing on what they know to younger people. I think that is one of the reasons we haven't held on to many of the old ways of living that still work for us in the 21st century. I could easily have given up the blog after the book came out and let the book speak for me, but I still enjoy writing the blog and it gives me a great platform from which to connect to so many people. The book is another way of doing that, so is the Down to Earth forum.

Every time I go to a community to speak, I am there because someone contacted me and asked me to visit them to speak about simple living. When I go to these places, there are many people eager to be encouraged in their new life and supported by someone who has done a similar thing. Often the questions are really simple things like "do you think it's okay to grow a garden for one person?", or "can I let the chickens in the vegetable garden?". People just want to speak to others about things that aren't spoken about much in general life any more. They want to know they're on the right track. If I can encourage one person to continue in their version of a simple life, or to start it, I'm happy to be there.

And yes, it does take away from the time Hanno and I have in our own home but if I could have had an Australian book to read on simple life or someone to talk to who knew the ins and outs of it when I first changed, I would have been so grateful. I cannot be selfish with what I know, Hanno can't be either. I don't want to sound too above myself but if we can make a difference, and if we are capable of making the trip, we'll be there. This phase won't last, so while the interest is there, we'll respond to it. And, I have to tell you this, we are enjoying meeting all these people and when I was working for a living, the word enjoyment didn't come anywhere near me.


  1. Oh I can't believe I am the first person to post a comment! I have just finished a nightshift (midwife a few hours a week!) so reading your blog is a great way for me to drift off to sleep reflecting on the influences my amazing homemaking grandmothers(both now deceased) have had on my journey to the simple life! Using and passing on some of their knowledge is a blessing.

  2. Hi Rhonda,my name is Airiel. I am twenty years old and from the United States. I enjoy reading your blog daily. I love the ideas you have on your blog. I am learning to live day by day and to try and not worry too much and enjoy life in the present. I yearn to be a homekeeper someday and to feed my family homecooked meals and to clean and just put every ounce of me into my homelife work. Right now it isn't in the cards for me to do this. But hopefully in a few years i can. Keep up the great work. You are inspiring many. Thank you, Airiel Marana

  3. Rhonda,
    I'm glad to read you had a good day yesterday. It looked like a nice sunny day for it, albeit a bit chilly. I hope you found so time to get out & let the sunshine warm your back whichbto me is so theraputic. In relation to today's blog regarding your time consuming success, I believe that life in general is all about balance - whether it be our time, our diets, our finances, our workload, our generosity and that everyone's interpretation of this balance in their lives is individual as well as being ever changing depending on their circumstances & stage of their lives.
    We are all you're & Hanno's DTE children & we are all at various stages of learning to walk a simpler journey & as we get more steady on our feet we will need you less (as you said, "this phase won't last"), but we will still need you like we all yearn for the wisdom of grandparents. I honestly feel privileged to be one of your DTE children & will do all I can to follow your lead in helping & encouraging my DTE sisters & brothers where I can.

  4. Good Morning Rhonda, as a young mother in my late twenties I am SO SO SO grateful for your contributions and your commitment to yourself!! You have weaved a magic thread between the generations and, utilising modern technology, have continued the valuable traditions of the women and men who have come before us. Thank you for selflessly offering this gift. Warmly, Puccetta in Sydney

  5. Good morning, Rhonda. It was an absolute delight to meet you and Hanno last night and your talk was very enjoyable. It was good to meet up with like-minded people. Of course we turned on a stunner of a warm day complete with sunshine. LOL! After the bitterly cold, windy weather we have been having it was so nice to get back to some warmer days again. I hope you have a safe trip back to Landsborough. Thank you for your inspiration.

  6. I am so glad that publishing your book has not changed the blog and forum. You definitely walk the talk. :)

  7. well what you're doing is definitely working! I am one of the young(ish) women who is soaking up the traditions you are handing down... in all sorts of ways. My grandmother is gone and my own mother is not interested in the old ways... as she puts it, she loves her 'mod cons.' So your blog and the links from it are a source of inspiration to me to live simply and pass on some of the knowledge and ideas to my own children and friends too. Thank you Rhonda.

  8. g'day

    i for one am proud to be one of your DTE children, i was looking around everywhere for what i needed & couldn't find it & when I explain you to my friends & family I describe you as being somewhere between my grandma & my older sister. it feels like family in here & on the forum.

    thankyou for educating us in the simpler ways of life

    selina from kilkivan qld

  9. Good Morning Rhonda,
    You are not above yourself what you and Hanno do is vitally important on so many levels and what joy that the knowledge is spreading. I am sure that, as you have with me, you give many of us older women the confidence to pass on our skills to others. Keep holding up that light for us all.

  10. To Rhonda & Hanno, you're making a difference in our family everyday ~ thank you both :)

  11. Please don't stop the blog! I can't afford your book (I live in the US, and it's not available domestically, and international shipping is soooo costly!), so the blog is the only connection I have to your life. Plus, it was my first introduction to simplicity. Thank you so much for all the time you've spent compiling all the resouces here, and for all your advice.


  12. I'm with Ceila. I am so grateful to your commitment to carry on the tradition of older women, passing on what they know to younger people. I guess I was too young and didn't ask enough questions of my grandmother, who lived simply and for much of her life, self sufficient. My mother couldn't get away from that life fast enough. When I mention making things from scratch, mending or dreams of chickens one day, mum just rolls her eyes. As a mother of two young children I see the world changing in front of me. I need to learn these life skills, so in turn I can teach them to my own children. I believe that this will be important for their own future. So thank-you for passing on what you know and for continuing to do so.

  13. Bravooooohhh Rhonda!I couldn't do what you and Hanno are doing and I admire you for that. Wish there were more people like you. Helping others to get their lifes the way they want to and it's true about those simple questions people have. I think it's okay to let the chooks in the vegetable garden and why shouldn't be it okay to have a garden for one person.......
    A warm "salut" from France, Gerry

  14. Canadian Country GalJune 14, 2012 8:21 pm

    Hi Rhonda,

    I am from Canada, and really enjoy looking forward to reading your blog every morning with my coffee when I get to work. Hate to miss it!! You have encouraging words which let me know I too am on the right track. Young people definately need to learn a simpler way of life, and getting back to basics, there is so much for them to learn, there is so much knowledge in your blog as well as the forum.

  15. Hi Rhonda,

    I'm sure you enjoyed visiting Toowoomba (my home town) it's such a beautiful city full of parks and gardens. I hope someone was able to give you a tour of the lookouts and cottage homes (through all the fog!). I would have LOVED to myself, but I live in Darwin now. You might remember (through my soap purchase last year) that I worked for the Council promoting sustainability, so I hope the library put on a great show for you.

    You have achieved what you set out to do - you have given me huge encouragement to live a 'simple' life. Thank you a million times.

  16. Yes, Rhonda I agree. We do not pass along that practical knowledge about how to do things...we women must pass this along - I am doing it daily with my own children but also with friends.

    Thanks for sharing this.


  17. thanks for sharing what you do. Wouldn't the world be a better place if this happened more often?

    p.s. wish I could let the chooks in the vegie garden! They are so destructive and end up in the 'sin bin' so they are on limited free time as opposed to the chopping block.

  18. thanks everyone!

    Candice, I was hoping to see you in Toowoomba. I didn't know you'd moved. The weather was perfect - sunny and warmish. And yes, Hanno and I had a little drive around before we came home and looked at the Cobb and Co museum and all those windmills, the organic market, as well as my favourite past-time of looking at the older houses. I hope things are going well for you in Darwin.

  19. Dear Rhonda. I read your blog every day and love your down to earth good sense. I for one am so grateful that the extra work you have taken on with your lovely book has not taken you away from the blog. The on-going reminder from you daily, via the blog, keeps the simple living path alive.

  20. Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. I can understand just what you mean about not liking that people know who you are. It must be difficult to marry the two, wanting a quiet and unobtrusive life yet dealing with being in the 'public eye.' Such is fame!
    Good luck for future projects.


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