19 July 2012

Changing with our seasons

Thank you for your good wishes yesterday. I'm fine today, I just needed a relaxed day to recharge. I am learning a lot about myself lately and I do know when I need to step back and sit down. Since the book was published, I have become very busy and in the past month, have gone back as manager of the neighbourhood centre. It's really a full time job that I try to do in about three days. I've also been doing a fair bit of writing, a lot of speaking engagements and have tried to keep on top of my house work while staying in touch with the family and enjoying my new role as granny. I'm not complaining, in fact I think the work load keeps me on my toes. I have always been the kind of person who gets more done, the more I have to do. I like feeling the pressure of work, I like being pushed to my limits, I like going to bed at night knowing I've done my fair share. I like feeling that I'm really alive.

Our daily bread with the remains of the previous day's bread cut up in a bowl, soaked in leftover gravy, and ready to feed to the chooks.

But now that I'm getting a bit older, I also need more down time and for that reason, and so I can spend more time with Hanno and my family, I'm consciously cutting back on a few things. I'm letting go of the Women's Weekly column - last column will be in September, I've closed down the Simple, Green, Frugal Co-op blog, I've closed down my Facebook and Twitter accounts and stopped doing a few other smaller things. I'm staying at the neighbourhood centre for the next couple of months to help recruit and train a manager but I'll leave as a volunteer worker and resign from the committee at their annual general meeting in October. That place has been such a big part of my life in the past six years. I think I am a better person than I used to be because of my involvement there and I will surely miss it. But it's time to move on.

A new season.

Knot rolls almost ready for baking.

A few of the things I'm leaving behind have been very close to my heart but I'm much better off without the flimflammery of Facebook and Twitter. I think they're ugly spaces on the net and I've often felt a bit disappointed and disgusted when reading the stream that flies past. I created both the Facebook and Twitter accounts to link to my blog and announce new posts. I rarely wrote there, preferring instead to put the full measure of my words in my blog instead of cutting them back in FB and Twitter. Until I read Facebook, I thought that, generally, we were kinder people. I thought most people thought in a similar way to me. I honestly don't know how we got to this point. That drivel wastes so much time and a lot of it has an underlying tone of disrespect and self interest; I'm really pleased I won't see it again. I am not inspired by seeing out of context quotes superimposed onto the image of a kitten or the setting sun, and seeing animals suffering or in chains makes me so sad I can barely think. I am inspired and heartened by walking outside, breathing fresh air and working, or by talking to the people in my community. So that is what I'll continue to do.

Baked egg custard.

So, what will be happening here? Of course my blog will continue. I love connecting with you and when I do have to take it slower because of the odd tired day, I miss you. I'm keeping the Down to Earth forum going because there is a wonderful community of people there now and it is a great partner to the blog. My business partner Ernie and I will start our workshops soon - I'll let you know when - and we're also starting up a blog to support the workshops and an online magazine about sustainable homes and communities. One of the good things about the four of us working together - Ernie and Jenni, Hanno and I - is that we'll all take it slow and easy. We aren't out to conquer the world. We want to enjoy what we do, we want to slow down and really see and experienced all that will unfold for us.

But I'm interested in knowing if you've had to do this kind of reassessment and change. If you have, what did you do and how successful was it?



  1. Oh Rhonda a post close to my heart and a very real discussion in our home right now. I completely agree about FB and have only had a 2 week never to be repeated twitter experience. There is just so much REAL stuff to keep one productively busy that we really do need to choose how we spend time. We are going through a similar parrying back process in our lives here so it was great to read this post tonight. Thank you for your time that you spend writing the posts, they are always good.

  2. Hello Rhonda, I've been reading this space for a while now. Always very interesting. Glad that you are going to continue. Your comment on thinking that everyone was like you made me think. I used to think there wasn't many people like me, but reading various accounts has made me realise there are many people like me!Keep up the good work.
    God bless you.

  3. Hi Rhonda,
    Thank you for sharing your personal thoughts and feelings with "all of us". Are the originator of the simple green co-op blog? Thats where I started following you and I found that one by chance in search of some bit of information. Yes the internet has much to offer and many things to make choices about. Overall, I find it a GREAT resource. Thanks for NOT giving up the blog.
    We appreciate you!

  4. Facebook and Twitter have done nothing to enhance communications and relations in a healthy sense. They've contributed to the development of an emerging widespread community of narcissists. These tools are in fact decivilising society and weakening normal relationships.
    Congrats to you for turning away from them.

  5. I'm pleased you found us here, Barbara. Yes, I started the simple, green frugal co-op and with Sharon's help, who is also one of the helpers at the forum, we kept it going over the years.

  6. Hi Rhonda,

    i've never been sure what FB and twitter contribute apart from gossip so i can understand why you might be questioning their usefulness. As for reassessing what you do - go for it; that's what being human, or an aware human, is all about - a constant questioning of who we are, where we are and what we are doing. Good luck and so glad you'll still be blogging. :-)

  7. It seems to me that social media creates so much 'noise' and adds to the frantic pace of life. And as you say, it makes it easy for the not so brave and not so nice to say things they wouldn't in the real world. I'm reassessing in a different way, how much paid work versus family and home/garden time...same concept, different stages of life. Thanks for the honesty and as always, take care!

  8. I agree with you about Facebook and Twitter. I've avoided Twitter completely, and consider Facebook a necessary evil, as it keeps a far-flung family in contact with each other. I have made adjustments to my Facebook feed, pruning out those who are needlessly argumentative or constantly proselytizing, and blocking games, pictures, videos and music from nearly everyone else. What is left is a generally quieter and more civilized experience. Lately I've also limited the number of blogs I follow, choosing only those that really enrich my life. Yours, of course, has made the cut.

  9. Hi Rhonda. I think all your changes are a great idea. One needs time to think, too, in a day and just be. It's sort of like decluttering the house.

    I am sorry you had such a bad experience with Facebook. I actually really like it. I grew up in the US, lived in the UK for 5 years, and have friends and family all over Australia and the world. I find it a great way to stay in touch when I just simply can't see them face to face. In times of trouble, I have had friends offering advice and emotional support from all corners of the world. I don't have a blog so perhaps Facebook is where I get the support from, not blog comments. I also haven't experienced mean comments which is a relief. That sounds horrid.

    Enjoy your day,

  10. I very much agree on the FB front - I logged off a long while back now due to being disspointed at it bringing out the worst in people. I can imagine my grandma, bless her, would have said it made it possible for the mouth to speak before the brain was engaged :) I don't know anything about Twitter but I am assuming it is the same.
    Very selfish of me but I am glad that you have decided to continue blogging :)TC

  11. My husband and I have been reassessing our eating habits. From April 2010 to December 2011, we lost a LOT of weight between us (me more than him - necessary for major surgery!). However, we got to the stage where we were both getting very obssessive about following 'the diet' and as a result withdrew from nearly every social occasion. We also both became quite depressed.
    So, we've decided to take a new tack. We've decided to cut out sugar (apart from times when we have a meal out - perhaps two or three times a year max), eat three healthy, balanced meals a day and no snacking. I'm sure that eating this way means that we'll never be as slim as we could be, especially for me, being menopausal. However, we've decided to be happy with whatever weight we stabilise at using the said guidelines.
    I think this will take some getting used to, especially for me. I've been a yo-yo dieter for many years and this will definitely be a different way of looking at food. For many years food has either been a comfort or a villain to me.
    So yes, we are reassessing an important part of our lives. And I'm choosing to view this new way of eating as a type of freedom because this will be simplifying our lives and leaving us free to concentrate on other things.

  12. Dear Rhonda,
    I agree with you about twitter and facebook too. We have not bowed to the pressure in our home despite our teenage girls asking for both more than once. It is such a time thief and exposes the family to all sorts of unpleasantness. I'm sure you have done the right thing and am so pleased you are continuing this blog as I look at your post every morning. It's very exciting about the workshops too and I will watch their progress with great interest. I have quite a few part time jobs and just about manage to get the home/work life balance right. I too find I need to live life at my own pace and no-one elses.
    Kind regards,
    (Joyner, Qld)

  13. I'm not going to toe the party line at all here I'm afraid - I like Twitter. As a tool for getting a brief, conscise message "out there" it is superb - the very brevity of the 140 character messages cuts out a lot of the over-wordy nonsense you get on FB. The old argument that it's a platform for people to do a lot of "Me, Me, Me" spouting depends entirely on who you follow - I tend to avoid celebrities, and if people start attention seeking - they are swiftly unfollowed. Like everything in life, it is what you make it!
    Rhonda, when I spotted your closing post on the Co-Op earlier on I had a brief moment of panic that it was THIS blog you were closing - I'm very glad that it isn't!

  14. I have to agree completely about the waste of time Facebook is. I've never signed up, and consequently have a long running "conversation" with a friend, although not so much anymore, who says she can't keep in touch with me unless I'm on Facebook, as she can update everyone at the same time. It's not the kind of relationship I want with her, or anyone. She lives 20 minutes away and drives right past my house to and from work. I think FB breeds a kind of laziness, and communications become impersonal...one message for all. I have family and friends interstate and overseas, and none of us keep in touch via FB...we phone, skype and email....2 friends, we write snail mail!

    Like you, I've done some reassessing lately too in some of the volunteer work I do, and after much soul searching have cut back to once a month, it's interesting to see that 3 new people have stepped up. I like that I've left that 'me" behind who felt she had to do everything, and say 'yes' all the time. Enjoy your quieter days Rhonda.

  15. I too am glad you will be keeping this blog going - actually didn't realise you were one of the founders of the Simple Green Frugal Co-op! Have enjoyed reading it. This one however is the one I really relate too. Never had Facebook or Twitter, think they are insidious and a waste of time and energy. I think the reason I really like this blog is that you talk sense, offer encouragement and hope but never preach!

  16. Hi Rhonda,
    I think it is good to reassess your life every now and then. I have only just finished working to concentrate fully on the farm and home ...but I do find that 'things' keep creeping in - almost as if we have a flashing light on our head that says 'more spare time' . Next thing I know I have volunteered for something I just know I don't have time for. I have to constantly remind myself why i stopped working in the first place - but a day in the sun in the garden is the best reminder of all.
    It sounds like the neighbourhood centre is a special link in your life and you are a better person because of it. It is good when we know what is good for us.

  17. Like Eliza I have found Facebook to be invaluable in keeping me in touch with friends and family across the globe. However over time I have "befriended" people on there out of a sense of obligation. Like you i find a lot of posts upsetting and so i have started to weed out my friends list. I love your blog, it makes me think and reassess my own values. I don't always change my opinion but just the chance to question my beliefs from time to time is good and I thank you for giving me the nudge to do that.

    Decluttering our lives is always a good step to take until we come to a point that suits us. I am glad that you are able to work out what is valuable to you and have the support to make those changes.

  18. I agree, and I think more people are filling their lives with media instead of the simple things in life that you can touch and experience. I'm definitely guilty of this. FB was a great way for me to keep my friends updated when I had cancer, but I find myself wasting a lot of time there instead of going out and enjoying life. Your daily bread looks so yummy, I am going to give it a try as soon as this heat wave subsides! <3

  19. Hi Rhonda, wow what a lovely post to read. Thank you. It left me with tears welling but the biggest smile one my face. One of the best things to happen to me this war was seeing your book mentioned somewhere (can't remember where now). A real lightbulb moment when I went onto your blog/forum and then eventually bought your book. Thank you for all the great things you do, for helping/touching so many of our lives.
    I'm the happiest I have been for a long time and I have less (as far as stuff) and am learning soooo much.
    Thanks Michelle.

  20. I read your blog almost every day but rarely comment. Today you rid yourself of facebook and twitter. I never got involved with either and today your post reminded me why. It is inspiring to see that someone else besides me does not need either of those formats. Thanks for your support.

  21. Hi Rhonda,
    I have been reading your blog now for some time and think you are truly an inspiration for me!
    I have tried your bread recipe. My husband and I love it so much we are making Friday nights bread-making nights and then bunging it in the oven early next morning.
    I make my own preserves and sauces etc. So far I'm considering Christmas preserves for family and friends.
    I would really look forward to reading an online magazine!
    As for FB and Twitter, I think you are best keeping this blog and letting them go too. This blog can then be kept for people who are inspired to live this kind of lifestyle and it will keep out people who's aim in life is just to be nasty.
    Keep chuggin'.

  22. Hi Rhonda,
    I have never been interested in Facebook or Twitter, seems a bit like a waste of good time. Slowing down is hard for me, but as I'm getting older my body is telling me to go slower. Sometimes I feel guilty because I'm not achieving as much as I used to. We care for 2 elderly parents, my Dad and his Mum in our home and I'm learning that the carers need to take care of themselves as well.
    I always say when people comment on our situation that it's just a season in our lives and I think you are just changing seasons. Each season brings it's challenges and rewards and only lasts for a time before we move onto the next. The most important thing is to listen to your body and learn when you need to make adjustments.
    Blessings Gail

  23. Good for you, Rhonda - those are tough decisions, but following your heart is surely the best way. I've made similar changes in terms of jobs/career choice over the years. In chosing one path, I always had a temporary feeling of mourning for the path that was left behind. I think we all have a certain intuition about when change needs to happen - when to let go of some things or begin others - but not everyone has a way to follow that feeling. I've found it really does lead to better things in the long run though!

    As for social media, I'm not a fan either. In recent years I've been very careful about what passes by my eyes and ears - I'm so sensitive to disturbing content that it bothers me for a very long time. Plus, you know what they say, "garbage in=garbage out!"


  24. How lovely to find so many like-minded people on your blog Rhonda! Thank you for being so committed to it, as it has really helped me begin a lifestyle of happiness as opposed to 'expectations'! I first read your name through your book - down to earth stood out to me on the shelves and I have re-read parts of it many a time! You have created such encouraging words, that I have started my own blog! Not for numbers of followers (there isn't one yet), but for the experience of keeping record of my transition of living a sustainable, healthy life! Thank you again and best wishes!

  25. The warm fireplaceJuly 19, 2012 8:36 am

    Thank you for sharing your heart felt thoughts, i have never been on facebook or twitter, i know my children have ,well they are all grown up now, but to me it causes nothing but trouble. I am so very glad you have decided to carry on with your blog, so many are having breaks right now it feels like an epidemic, maybe its the sign of the times.I believe what you have decided to put your time in is very important, times are changing people will be forced to be more self sufficient though all sorts of outside pressures, i feel what you are doing and teaching,reaching out to those of us whose peers or parents have lost the skills of yester year to enable us to be eqipped for a very different future.

  26. Thanks Rhonda for today's post.

    I love reading both posted here and at the co-op as I'm new to living simply.

    I have made sooo many friends, started knitting, watching what we spend, added chickens to the family and now trying to grow vegetables.

    Can't wait to read and see what's around the corner for you.


  27. so glad to see that you are really walking the talk.... Recently I found myself floundering a bit over how often I should post on my blog. I never want to be searching for content, and so decided to just post when I have something to say. I think constantly re-assessing everything in our lives is a good thing - things don't go stale that way. Gosh that bread looks tasty by the way!

  28. Rhonda & co,

    I read your blog every day and am often bemused how our lines of thought seem to converge!

    I use Facebook as an opportunity to stay in touch with family and friends spread across Australia and the World-the other guff is not part of my existence so I ignore it.

    Sustainable housing and building practices are subjects close to my heart- I am a moderator on a Building Forum and love the opportunity to help people plan and site their homes in order to maximise passive solar orientation-so I am looking forward to watching how that new part of your life unfolds.

    All the best.

  29. Hi Rhonda And Barb , I must say thta I agree with you Barb. My children are at far flung places as well and FB allows me to see up to the minute photos of them and what they are doing . Email can often be prohibitve as you can only get so many photos on an email and I can put as many as I like at once on FB. I am selective with who I add. I use the premise would i like to have that person in my home drinking a cuppa with me. If the answer is not really then No I dont add them. So in a lot of ways it can be a good thing, but like anything you have to make it work for you that way you like.

  30. Deezy, maybe you can write some articles for us about passive solar orientation when we have the magazine up and running. I'll keep in touch with you on the forum.

  31. I have a love/hate relationship with facebook. I love it for it has reconnected me with friends overseas that I had lost touch with including my penpal in Germany who I began writing to at 15. She is visiting Australia later this year and coming to stay with me and I'm very grateful for that. I have also started up my own business making cake stands from vintage china plates and I have to say that being able to have a page just for the business is very useful indeed. I can showcase my creations and let people know where I will be selling. I'm also finding out about other local and handmade businesses and getting to know some other creative people which is rather nice. I hate facebook for the reasons you cited but like Barb in GA have been very selective in who I add and I hide the trivial stuff I don't want to see or know about such as how many jewels someone won in a game or animals they added to their farm. Give me real chickens any day that give you real eggs!

  32. Thankyou for yet another post putting into words what I feel so strongly in my heart. The 'new' social networks have taken people away from their own real networks and made them smart mouthed with no thought to the reality of their utterings. If everyone showed the same interest and gave the same time in their own home, their own street and their own community as they do to 'social networking' the world would be a far better place.

  33. Totally agree with the facebook twitter thing. I've had a long running argument with my youngest(14) about this. He has a facebook account but I won't let him twitter. It's just another time waster as far as I can see.

    I'd much rather he actually physically visited his friends. I have made him promise to limit himself to people he already knows and he has done this so far - long may this continue. (he knows I can visit his page as I do have an account- and HE asked to friend me- which I never actually use except for this and one club which I belong to).

    viv in nz

  34. Rhonda, I so agree with you about Facebook. I have a Facebook account which I originally started as I have found my cousins that I haven't seen for over 30 years on there and my old penfriend in Canada. For that it has been fantastic.

    But recently I have started withdrawing from it a bit as there is so much rubbish on there. I detest the stupid photos & sayings that people copy & link to. What a load of rot it is! And I find that there is so much nastiness posted about other people that I just don't want to be a part of it.

    I absolutely love the DTE forum. I enjoy the interaction with everyone who is of a similar mindset and appreciate the kindness and helpfulness of so many members.

    I am so looking forward to the blog re the workshops. Hoping I can get some info through this as I am new to the blogging world and there are so many things I need to learn!

  35. Hi Rhonda,
    We are in the process of bringing about change. The reassessment came in the first half of the year when I was juggling working at a hospital, 2 universities, being (what I thought was a very poor) mum to 2 beautiful girls and realising that in trying to achieve what was the best for my family and meeting other people's expectations, I was miserable.
    So my husband and I have made some big decisions, and while I can't drop out of everything at the moment, I have cut back. We have decided to take a year next year to move out of the city - telling the kids it's like a year holiday - to move to a more rural environment and for me to focus on just nursing (I still want my girls to see the importance of helping others) and running a more sustainable house. Yes, I am nervous but I'm confident that the chance to change will be worth the effort. My biggest issue is my own expectations and getting my head around other people's utter shock/disbelief when I tell them what I'm doing. Just have to remind myself of the goal :)
    Thanks for your fabulous blog. You've inspired me to start my own I think - the hilarious up and downs of a city girl going bush LOL!

  36. Dear Rhonda. I admire your decision. You are not frightened to take stock and decide where you want your life to go and I am sure it's richer for it. And I think your blogging workshops are an exciting new venture. Best wishes. Jean.

  37. Hi Rhonda,so glad you are continuing doing your Blog,which i love reading,but i see that you alway's make Bread every day,which is time consuming and very fattening,maybe cut back on the Bread-making,and eat more protein which will require less fiddling around in the kitchen everyday,don't get me wrong,i adore Bread,but me being in my 60's now,it makes me gain a lot of weight1which is very un-healthy!and too many carb's makes me sluggish,as far as Facebook goes,well i do use it sometimes,but i do not twitter,this was just my thought on your Blog today,love reading you every day,xxx Carol.

  38. I completely understand what you are saying Rhonda. Glad to hear you are continuing with your blog and the forum :)

    Wishing you a great day!


  39. The absolute nadir of Facebook use I witnessed only last night. I was watching my son's soccer game, and two other Mums were Facebooking each other throughout, whilst sitting literally metres from each other. Never mind watching the game! Sad but true, and an example of everything I don't like about Facebook.
    So, no, no Facebook for me - I figure if I need to know something concerning my friends and family, the information will find it's way to me. It not, I didn't really need to know. And if I want to contact anyone, I pick up the phone or write an email. Works for me!

  40. Rhonda, thank you for this post. I recently quit my job in search of something... better. Life can't be about all this noise and rushing all the time. I'm finding my way with cups of tea and gentle mornings, and things are starting to make sense. It's hard though, to let go of the distraction of being constantly 'busy' and actually think about what's important to me. People like you help me to see that there is a better way to live my life.

  41. I'm so glad to read that you have decided to keep up your blog. I just love it and also really enjoying a blog written by someone about my own age. We have also just become grandparents this year and we also try to live simply and try not to get sucked into the materialism of our society. I have had to readjust my life this year, after going through a bout of brain cancer. I was used to being very involved in things and now am forced to live at a slower pace. Last year it wasn't so hard because I just didn't have the energy for more, but now that I'm doing so well I need to find a healthy balance. I'm also finding that at my age (61) I don't have the energy I used to have, but still have the interest in being involved. I don't want to sit here just getting old. Between my limited energy and my desire to be involved it's a challenge to find a healthy balance. It sounds to me like since your book was published and you got re-involved in the community centre temporarily, you're going at the pace of someone in their thirties! Good luck with the balancing act! I will keep following your story with great interest. Maybe I can get some more helpful perspectives from you. Thanks so much!

  42. I'm pleased you're feeling better today Rhonda. It is so important to listen to our body and the signs it gives us. If we are feeling tired we do need to rest so our body can become stronger again.

    It is also good that you're listening to your heart and cutting down where you need to. There are only so many hours in the day to do what we want to do. We need to prioritise so we can do what we think are the most important things. This also includes time with the important people in our life and time to relax and have some quiet time.

    As for Facebook and twitter I don't participate in either. I have my blog and other blogs, like yours, that I read and that's it. I want to live a real life. I want to get out there in the real world and do what I think is important. As a result I don't have time for either Facebook or twitter.

    Have a lovely day Rhonda. My family and I are going away on Saturday on a little holiday for a couple of weeks. I look forward to catching up on your blog when we return. Until then stay well and enjoy your days.

    Much love, Julie xxoo

  43. Hi Rhonda
    I think it a shame that you are ending your column with AWW. This is how I found you, so I am sure I am not the only one and there would sure to be more to follow.
    FB and Twitter can be very empty places, where people forget that they are dealing with people, not just a computer screen. The lack of humanity everywhere can be disheartening, but those of us who feel differently, and choose to live our lives differently, can do service by shinging our light there and offering something different to the mainstream drivel.
    I am still coming to terms with my 'change of life' finding myself at home being a homemaker and mother after years of independence and freedom. I am discovering a different type of freedom and self-sufficiency and while the choice I have made is one of joy, there are days when it is hard and I wonder whether I made the right choice.
    Be kind on yourself and don't do so much. I have emailed you about your blog workshop so I hope to hear from you soon.
    Best, P

  44. Hi Rhonda, for a moment I was worried you were going to quit the blog and my heart sank. I'm glad that didn't come ~ I feel so relieved. I've never used Facebook or Twitter because I feel the same way you do ~ I can't at all blame you for stopping those accounts. I lost my brother-in-law two weeks ago in a horrible accident and I feel like I want to focus even more on living simply since that happened. I'm just happy that your blog will remain as a place of inspiration and simplicity. Glad you're feeling better!

  45. Sending love and hugs to you, Audrey. xx

  46. Hi Rhonda, i will always be thankful for your column with AWW as that is where I first got hooked on a 'simple life'. I now follow your blog almost daily and have invested in your book. Last year, my husband and I were working ridiculous hours in full time jobs and our young child was in 40 hours a week of day care. A trip to the Barossa Valley in May last year gave us a glimpse into what our life could be like. So with some planning and some luck, my husband secured a job in Adelaide within a number of months and we are now happily living the life we want. I work part time and am able to drop my son to school each day and pick him up each day. We are living with 'less' but have gained so much more - more time as a family, more time as a couple, just more of everything. Our family and friends comment how happy and relaxed we are and it's true! while we don't yet have our 'dream property' of a couple of acres, we are working towards that but not sacrificing anything in the process. We feel truly blessed.
    Thank you for your blog and your book - you encourage me to work towards our simple life. I hope you continue your blog for some time yet!
    Kindest regards, KW

  47. I dont do facebook after quitting it ages ago. i think in some ways it allows lonely people or shy people a social outlet. I found that those "friends" that i supposably has were really just sticky beaks. My concern is that so much is on facebook now and so many people use it to communicate, that i feel as though i am being left behind. oh well.....

  48. Thank you so much for the reminder about Facebook. I unfortunately use it more than I wish I did, and I blame it on my job since my title is "education & outreach coordinator" ...but I could certainly restrict myself from using Facebook at home and use it only during work hours. I want to get more in touch with the blog community because blogging is where people seem to actually say things.. Facebook is just for likes or re-shares it sometimes seems, but the blog community that I used to be part of is full of people who share things because of the joy that comes with sharing and learning from others.

    I love being busy, too, like you mentioned, but I think it's important for anyone of any age to step back every once in awhile and evaluate all of the activities we get ourselves tangled up in. I have had to cut back on my involvement so that I can put my energy into what I truly enjoy and what I can give the most to. I think some people lose sight of what they are passionate about because they get so wrapped up in doing everything or being able to show some kind of achievement based on quantity, rather than quality.

    Oh and now I'm rambling! Anyway, I just wanted to share my appreciation for what you said on here. I look forward to reading more of your posts in the future as I try to shift my time on the internet from Facebook and the rapid repost and mindless scrolling that exists there to the quieter, more meaningful experience of looking through blogs written by people with a heart.

  49. Hi Rhonda,
    I am so happy you are still keeping your blog going, I would so miss you now.

    I had my reassessment happen this year, March in fact. Following a very sad and stressful life changing couple of years and the inevitable stress that came with trying to work full time, keep up maintenance on our property and try to keep myself so busy as to not feel the loss of my dear husband so much I started to suffer physically. So one day I decided enough! I quit my job which I loved and decided to concentrate on just trying to be healthy and happy so my family don't have to worry about losing me too.

    I mightn't be in the same financial position I was in before but I haven't felt this good in a long time.

    Take care and best wishes Rhonda.

  50. I have never gone to Facebook or Twitter but heard enough about it that I am glad I did not. I felt so 'at home' when I found your blog. I knew I had found people that understood what we valued and how we wanted to live our lives and help the world. There were not many we knew here that felt like that. I may be opinionated but I cannot see how people spend so much time talking about nothing on their cell phones and I supposes Twitter and FB and too. How about Doing? Doing for others?...Doing things to better your community? Talk to people face to face..{now that is a new concept!!} I watched a lady come to a restaurant this afternoon and talk to someone on her cell phone from the time she entered till she left. She said not one word to her husband and even turned her back to face the window away from him while she talked to someone else on the cell!!!!
    He looked very sad the whole time. No wonder. She made me sad too.The clerk at the store yesterday had ear buds in his ears and was making a racket with the cart he was pushing. A man said to him that he needed to oil the wheels. He finally stopped and asked the man what he said...The clerk said he could not hear him...well no wonder. He had no idea the wheels were squeaking loudly he said! How could he hear a customer ask him for help either??? The person on a bicycle on the road using one hand to use their cell phone...not watching traffic at all. Come on people!! Slow down. Enjoy this one life you will ever have. It is a gift...take care of it. I know I am ranting but it really makes me so sad. You take someone our into the country and all they do is play a game on their hand held computer on the way there and while there. They do not get to relax and view God's beautiful world and get refreshed naturally. Why did they even get off the couch to come? Yes we need to respect ourselves and others and our countries and the world. Be kind to them all and take pride in them all and take care of them all. Not only think of ourselves. Yes I have also taken restock of my life and cut back on some things and added a few others off and on. We grow and we change and our priorities change somewhat. We only have so much time on this beautiful earth. You want to do what is best. Sometime that means stepping back and doing way less for a while till we know where we want to head. This again was a very good post Rhonda. I didn't mean to rant or take so much time here. Your description of Twitter etc and people on it hit a note with me and got me thinking and writing! ... :) Sarah

  51. I am so glad Rhonda that you are finally slowing down, ditching the unnecessaries of life and finally having a bit of your own time. You deserve the rest, but I'm glad you are keeping the blog going, even if you only post once a week or fortnight at least we shall still have you and we'll all be grateful for that. Life's too short, enjoy it now while you can, with Hanno and your family.

  52. Good for you Rhonda on having the belief in yourself to cut back and be confident in your roles that you will be doing :) I am excited for you for your days ahead. I believe you will be most fruitful in these areas!

  53. "Until I read Facebook, I thought that, generally, we were kinder people"
    Oh I so absolutely agree! I think that FB is the equivalent of Fast Food to friendships and communication. Quick, empty and of almost no value.
    I deleted my FB account and have felt much better ever since. I far prefer to catch up with online friends via their blogs or actual emails if in person visits and phone calls are not an option.
    I find that the same poisoned behaviour leaks out in other places however. Each blog post is a potential argument waiting to happen. Everyone seems to want to see a fight where a fight simply does not need to be.
    Many blessings to you.

  54. Good afternoon Rhonda, Sad about the simple green frugal co-op, but thank you so much for leaving it up, lots of good learning there. The decisions you have made will be so rewarding for you and all who are inspired by you. Very very pleased that the blog will stay and looking forward to the workshop blog and the magazine.

  55. Rhonda I agree with you and also believe that it's important that we find the balance between being busy and being frantic. Congratulations! I too have made decisions to let things I have enjoyed go as new seasons of life have come along. I now have 2 small children and though I sometimes miss some of those things I did before, I don't regret passing them into other capable hands.

    Re Facebook... I am in partial agreement. It's a calossal time waster, and I find it wasting my time daily! Part of the problem is that for my generation almost all social events are organised on facebook, from engagement parties, farewells, school reunions and babies being born. I went off for 12 months and missed my school reunion, and was really sad about it. Do you have ideas about the balance for someone in my shoes?

  56. Hi Rhonda, I agree with most of your comments on Facebook, I use it to keep in touch with family and recently I have been able to see photos of my new great nephew just a few hours after birth, which were posted on Facebook, used that way its great. I find I have to limit our 15 year old teenage son to 3 hours a day on Facebook, otherwise he is on there all the time, its like a drug to them.

    I have just got your book, I ordered it through Greenharvest, have read the first 2 chapters and I am in the process of making my list and thinking about what is important to my family and I.

    We are now in our fifties and whilst we are not really slowing down, we are doing different things that we enjoy. We still have 2 boys at home and we are raising our 6 month old grandson in a shared care agreement with his paternal grandparents, keeping us on our toes. He is such a joy, love him to bits.
    Love your blog and have been reading it each day.

  57. Not on Facebook, and never had an interest in it. I am on Twitter to publicize activities for a group that I volunteer with, but yes, much of it is pretty vapid.

    Hope the workshops go well. I am curious if Australia has had any building of "earthships" or passive solar homes that use recycled materials. (My dad built one in New Mexico).

    Glad to see you are feeling better and embracing all these exciting new changes.

    Am of the Bread

  58. Hi Rhonda,
    Just as there are different seasons in the year and corresponding different activities for those seasons,
    the same as time passes. We can't do the same things and then keep on adding more. Something comes into our life, something goes out.
    I had been wondering how you had been managing with since your lovely book came out.

  59. Amelia, all I can suggest to you is to consciously limit your time on FB. If you need it to keep up with your friends, set yourself a limit each week to check those things you want to check, then walk away. Good luck, love.

  60. Hi Rhonda,
    thank you so much for the chocolate cake recipe. I'm making it at the moment. I placed the comment here, because I didn't know if you would read comments on older posts.
    I have a question: How do you make the icing on that chocolate cake. It looks so delicious with the walnuts on top. I would love to know how to make it, so I can make the cake as it looks on your pictures ; )
    Thank you so much for all your wonderful recipes !!
    Hugs from The Netherlands.

  61. Good for you Rhonda, for getting off of Facebook and Twitter. They are mindless social sites that never really amount to anything. I have never opened and account and cannot imagine that most people want to know what I am doing 24 hours a day. For one thing,I wish Facebook had never been invented: a complete waste in my opinion. It isn't even real socialising. It just adds to the isolation of modern day people who really need more connectedness than ever before. You stand for family interacting and really being at home with them. Glad to see you are adjusting things accordingly.

  62. Hi Monique, I used icing sugar - maybe 1½ cups, 2 tablespoons cocoa, 1 tablespoon melted butter and enough milk or yoghurt, to make it to the consistency you want. I hope you enjoy the cake.

  63. I've been reassessing and cutting back also, I find I just can't do in a day what I use too since passing the 60 mark. My preference is for time at home with my family and friends, keeping up my home and garden, volunteering at church and time to relax with my knitting and crafts.

    As for Facebook and twitter, I never went there. I call them the "land of discontent". Besides all the nasty stuff there is the fact that humans were never meant to be wired in all the time. Several interesting articles have been written on how all this constant connecting is beginning to cause huge amounts of stress which in turn causes mental and physical health problem. So, no thank you, I don't need it. Marsha

  64. Hi Rhonda,

    I also just wanted to add my support to you for making these decisions and reassessing. You are a person of such dignity and inspiration. Thank you for keeping the blog going and I really look forward to seeing the magazine and finding out more about the workshops.

    Five months ago I quit a job because it became stressful to a point that I just couldn't handle. This created a lot of financial pressure for my husband and I. However, the experience has taught me so much... mainly it has helped me let go of some fears I had about how I could make the simple life I dream of work financially.

    Through crisis I found out that actually as long as we can pay our bills and gradually work towards our dreams that is ok... I don't have to 'be' anything... and I can walk away from something if the conditions get beyond what I can handle

    Best wishes for the transitions ahead for you.
    Claire xo

  65. I stripped my facebook account back to just being another email address for the occasional person (e.g. organisers of school reunion!) to use as a contact. I felt concerned about the privacy implications of having the kids' photos up there, after a few overseas cases of FB keeping stores of information even after users had deleted it, in violation of the law of the countries involved. It is a huge waste of time, mostly seems to be an exercise in narcissim and loneliness, and frankly I would rather go play outside in the garden! Or at least get real work done when in front of the computer.
    Not letting my kids have FB accounts either... staging a one-household revolt on that front.
    Cheers and happy bread-baking and grandma-ing. Liesel

  66. Hi Rhonda, thank you so much for the recipe of the icing. I'm sure we will love the cake ; )
    Hugs from The Netherlands.

  67. Sounds much like me, Hope you have a real progressive day,

  68. Hi Rhonda
    I guess i'm a 'lurker' but I find you such an inspiration and gentle reminder of what is real and important. I'm not often inspired to reply but this especially touched me today. After 7 years of chaos in my life, running constantly on the mouse wheel of life, doing and not being - this year I have stopped. I am now working from home and am enjoying the quietness of being in the present and not filling my life with distraction. I'm building up my vege garden, sewing, repairing, creating, being frugal and saving saving saving. But most importantly I am carefully assessing everything in my life so that I can choose with absolute clarity where my energy goes and what brings me joy. This week I had been feeling a little isolated and did look at FB to see what my 'friends' are up to. I scanned the list and thought to myself, I might as well shut it down. I never use it, find it vacuous and full of inane content and people only ever post how great there life is, when I know for certain that is not the case. The whole thing is a facade! So in the spirit of being true to myself, your post has helped me to make the decision to close down my FB account. It's another small step towards being authentic and choosing my new simple but very real life. Thank you Rhonda x Lisa

  69. Lisa, if I could, I would hug you. One of the reasons I write this blog is to connect with others who, for reasons similar to mine, make a life change. Another small step for you today. :- )

  70. Hi Rhonda,

    I've been reading at the co-op since it started - I can't believe you started it in 2008! I have been enjoying your blog for even longer!

    I have a different perspective on facebook and twitter. I have discovered a wonderful supportive community of women with amazing business's on facebook, and it is the main way I network with like minded business women.

    I also love being able to stay in touch with friends and family on facebook. It can be hard to juggle career, family and life in general! I do carefully manage my friends list, and remove all spam games etc, and ensure my friend list is as authentic as possible.

    Over on Twitter, I have found a supportive community of colleagues, who share ideas, information and support. It is a fabulous way to stay connected, even when I live a long way away.

    Like everything, you need to know what you want to get out of it, and remove distractions.

  71. I have repeatedly tried to cut back, simplify and focus on the essentials and joyous only. But i still end up with a plate overfull with tasks, and somedays cutting back on sleep, and then other days over sleeping coz i just can't wake up! - all this, just to get it all done!

    I dont think the way i currently function is viable or sensible.. i visit your blog as often as i can, and go back inspired, and re-energised to try to simplify and joy-ify my life some more....every day, i try... somedays are better, i get a lot done, and enjoy it all, other days, i am just running around and getting not much done!
    I know that a lot of these online tools and communities are great networking/socialising/learning tools... but i think 1 has to put some sort of a time limit on how much time you will spend online, and reading WHO & WHAT, have some focus to the activity... otherwise you tend to waste a lot of time, sifting through the rif-raff until your head is running around in circles and you have learnt - nothing! nada!
    Do I sound overwhelmed? I am! and I can't seem to find a way out!

  72. Hey Rhonda! Today is cleaning day, but I decided to pop by your blog with a cup of coffee before I started, and I'm so glad I did! I love reading here, but this post reminded me why I do. :) A smile always spreads across my face when I read what you write, because you seem to put into words exactly what I think. For me, FB ended a while ago- too much drama, too many arguments, and people seem to find a lot of courage on the internet to say rude, hurtful things they would never say to your face. I know I'm "out of the loop" so to speak, when not on FB- with many people FB is the only way you can keep in touch, but they know where to find me. I'd much rather take part in their lives and talk to them out in the sunshine than click 'like' on their photos, or read the status updates to know what is going on. Thanks for the encouraging post, and for just being yourself. :)
    The Girl in the Pink Dress
    PS I also wanted to tell you that tomorrow I'm having my first little workshop! :) A friend of mine is coming over to learn how to make yoghurt, whole wheat bread, and a herbal salve. I just remember asking you a while back what to do when no one is interested in living simply, and you told me to reach out to others. You obviously know this already, but...it actually works! Thank you again. Have a wonderful weekend.

  73. I agree "unlike"/ "unfriend" Facebook and Twitter! I'll miss SGFC, but I can always follow the individual blogs. I too have just had a moment of reckoning and worked out the minimum time I need to work to keep our heads out of water ... and decided to to reduce my hours. I'm hoping all good things will flow in to the space I'm purposefully creating.


  74. Ishieta, stop! Sit down and think about what you want. Every evening, make a short list of the essentials you need to do the following day. Take time for yourself during the day. If you don't get through it, do those things tomorrow. Life is not a race. Be kind to yourself. If you burn out, everyone suffers.

    Pink Dress, good on you. You're doing what we all should - share what you know and show kindness and care to others. And yes, it does work. I hope you both enjoy your workshop.

    Kris, I wish you well with all your changes.

  75. I love your blog as you are such an inspiration. Thank you for not giving your blog up.


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