11 September 2012

It's easier at home

I've had many opportunities to think about my simple life over the past six months and to meet and talk with others who are living this way, or who want to. I guess what has come from that is the feeling that our decision, all those years ago, to change from our high spending life to something more modest and productive, was the right one for us. I have had no regrets about our change, I think I have grown in spirit and I am certainly happier, more skilled and capable of looking after myself. 

We've spent quite some time these past months away form home and I missed it. I missed the flexibility of living in our own home, the custom-made comfort that has been built in here and the familiarity of it all that not even the swankiest hotel we stayed at could match.

Being surrounded by rainforest, productive vegetable gardens, wild birds and chickens everyday tends to lift spirits. Who cannot see the joy of life when there is an abundance of life thriving around us?  Watching the antics of the chooks, hearing the whip birds call and collecting fresh eggs in my scooped up apron always makes me happy. You can find the goodness of life in your own home and when things go bad or when times are tough, that goodness has the potential to save you.

What is the most important element of simple life for you? Is it the work, paying off debt, slowing down, becoming your true self, reskilling, opting out of the spending spree or any of the many other things? For me, it's the change of attitude needed to live like this. I've gone from an attitude of expectation that a ready-made life will be provided for me, to one where I want and need to custom-make my own life. I see the sense now in working to make what I need instead of working to pay for what I need.

Fine tuning a recipe so that it is perfect for us, placing that last stitch in exactly the right place, matching colours and choosing fabrics that suit us, harvesting vegetables, making cordial and jam from our fruit and slowly moving through the day with meaningful work to do is what I want my life to provide me. It enriches me.

The simple life attitude remains an ever-changing constant that is with me when I'm spending time in my home or when I'm out, doing all those things that I've done these past few months. The focus changes, the tasks change too, but the inclination towards sustainable options and remaining true to my values on the road kept me on track and lead me, eventually, back to home. I guess the easiest time to live by our simple values is when we're at home, it's when we're out that it's difficult. We're bombarded with advertising messages on the sides of buses and buildings, we see people just like us shopping with the plastic. If we can hold on to our values then, if we can think about the big picture and not just that hour or day, if we get on with our business so we can return home, it gets easier. It is always easier at home.



  1. Well said! It is always easier at home! Darlene

  2. Yes, it's like all things...we are bombarded all day with information and it eventually stops the ability to discern as discernment takes time. Being at home turns off the toxic inflow or at least tempers it so that we can determine what is best for our family.

  3. Thanks Rhonda, you always express things so nicely :) I love being at home, though I still work part time. I find my biggest challenge still is changing my mindset of spending.. I see changes in me and I am pleased.

  4. That is so true!!
    It's exactly why I prefer to be/stay at home :>)

    Wishing you and Hanno all the best.


  5. This post is a timely reminder about what we have and the value we place on our home and comfort, built up by our own fair hands.
    Lovely to see you and Hanno returning to these values once more.

  6. Rhonda, you asked “What is the most important element of simple life for you?”
    I learnt my frugal, thrifty ways through necessity and the desire to make sure my family did not feel deprived in anyway. However, I know now that if we came into a large sum of money, we would probably buy some nice things, but we certainly wouldn’t waste the money. In fact I think a lot of things would stay the same for us, as I like my life. This is because after years of craving the ‘material world’, I have finally learnt that my world now, gives me far more riches than money can buy.
    Loved reading your post today.

  7. Hello Rhonda,
    For me, being at home helps me think, I feel agitated if I'm constantly out & about. Sometimes that has to be, but when I come through the door, I always think 'oh it's good to be home', I then put the kettle on for a much needed cup of tea.My husband says if everyone was like me all the shops would close!
    Glad Hanno is making progress. God bless you both.
    Angela (south England) UK

  8. Hi Rhonda, I agree with everything you wrote about in your post. I find my work very meaningful and I am most comfortable when I am at home. I like not having to 'keep up with the Jonses' and living my own authentic life. I also feel connected to past generations of women who worked at home to support their family. I like the freedom to be who I want to be and to make my home a comfortable place for me and my family.

  9. The most important element of simple life, or the reason why I pursue simple life is, like you suggested, becoming my true self. The mainstream way of life - with lots of shopping, pollution, and lives being governed by greedy corporations - doesn't appeal to me in any way. On the other hand, a simple life more tuned with nature, with more responsible choices thinking about the future generations seems to be the natural decision to me. We don't need all the artifices used in our modern world, ranging from tools to relationships to TV shows. We don't have to feel shocked or surprised all the time with the latest news and gadgets. Instead, we could find satisfaction in processes that happen all the time around us, but that we take it for granted. A plant growing, a bread rising, the countless small miracles within what we call home. Thanks for your post, Rhonda!

  10. "It is always easier at home!"
    Yes, how true! Just love and believe in that statement.

  11. The warm fireplaceSeptember 11, 2012 7:42 am

    We walked round our land planning for next year the aim to grow as much as we can for ourselves to live a healthier more meaningful life, i find the quiet pattern of homelife just what both myself and husband need, i hate the bustle of shops, there were no queues when i picked the blackberries this morning, just natures sounds, heavenly.
    Thank you for such a wonderful post.

  12. This post made me think and ask why you decided to write a book? With publication was bound to come the trappings of fame, did you envisage going out to publicise the book, staying in swanky hotels (your words!) and being away from home, living a completely different life to the one you've written about so often?

    You were already broadcasting your ways of doing things by the internet so was the motivation to do the book purely financial? You've said previously that you're financially comfortable.

    I wonder because I've been asked to take my hobby a step further but I've said no because I don't want my home life to change, it feels too precious.

  13. So true Rhonda. It is as you say a custom made life. Not a cookie cutter one copied from magazines or lifestyle channels. Home is where the heart is and it's so true.

  14. My 4 year old daughter and I picked mulberries from our tree on the weekend. Then we made mulberry pie for our family - delicious! Smiles all round, and my husband commented on how good it felt to eat something made from somthing we grew. These simple joys make it all worthwhile.
    Liz (Theodore Q)

  15. Again a lovely calming post. I too enjoy my home very much. I enjoy the mundane, like washing and ironing because the results are fresh sunshine in my clothes rather than the artificial smell a clothes dryer brings. So many things about the simple life I enjoy. And that's it really, it's just simple. Not complicated, not stressful. We don't spend money we don't have so there is no worrying about bank balances. We are so blessed to be able to live like this. And now I must always remember to be simply thankful for this wonderful life we live. I'm happy your 6 months of engagements are over and you are able to return to your nest. Enjoy yourselves as you settle back in to the good life.
    Blessings Gail

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  17. I really tried to focus on what is the most important element of simple life so that I could answer your question. I finally decided that it's not just one thing that is most important. For me, one very important thing is the sense of satisfaction I get from knowing that we're (husband and I) able to make, repair, or grow most everything we need or want. That being said, our needs and wants are minimal. Like you, we don't have debt (soooo very important, IMO), and we have enough land to feel a good sense of privacy. That's important to me and I realize that not everyone is able to have very much land. I know that it is truly possible to bloom where one is planted, no matter how much land one lives on. But I do love being able to walk around our land and see the things that we've done to create the lifestyle that we love. We built our own house with our own hands, using trees from our own property to hew the logs for our house. I love watching my husband bushhog our pastures. He doesn't have any expensive hobbies and he loves being outside. I love using the furniture we've made; I love wearing the clothes I've made or bought for next to nothing at the Goodwill store. I love wearing clothes until they are almost threadbare and then turning them into something else. I love being able to try a new recipe without having to run to the store for some exotic ingredient. We like plain, wholesome food (now and then a little fancy stuff, though)and I like picking tomatoes from our garden. I love shopping locally from folks who worked hard to produce the beef or ham or veggies that my husband and I don't grow. I love sitting on the porch after supper and resting after a hard day's work. I love polishing an old pair of shoes that still will give me another couple of years of wear. I don't feel deprived; I LIKE OLD THINGS AND OLD WAYS. I love hearing my retired friend say that if he had it to do all over again, he'd live a life such as ours instead of being a highly paid executive whose days were filled with high-powered meetings and stress and then I am able to say to him that it's never too late to begin a journey to a simpler lifestyle. One day at a time; one change in your lifestyle at a time. My husband and I are in our mid-sixties and didn't begin our journey to a simpler lifestyle until we were in our mid-forties. We couldn't be more satisfied. I love being able to say that.

    Thanks so much for this post...as you can tell, it opened a floodgate of emotions!

    Diane in North Carolina

  18. It's hard for me to put into words the contentment that comes from living the lifestyle we are in our retirement..... Rhonda you describe it so well with your words, that I can actually feel what you mean as I read your blog today. I honestly thank God every day that He put me on the path that my life has followed so far & that makes me content to accept whatever it is He has planned for the rest of my life, however long that may be. If you'd told me 10 years ago that we'd be happily living this simple life, I'd have laughed at you. We were running a business, I nursed fulltime as well, we had a 4 bedroomed house with a pool, a 36' motor boat, a holiday unit at Maroochydore, a gardener, a pool man & a cleaning lady..... we could pretty much afford to BUY anything we wanted ( & often we did). BUT, when faced with retiring (i.e. for the rest of our lives together), thankfully my ever vigilant guardian angel whispered in my ear, "You need to slow down & enjoy the life you have left, so go for the simpler life. Move to the country & buy a small farm." We've never looked back & our new lifestyle is why or city friends use our farm as a B&B to escape their busy merry-go-round lives for a weekend. It's bizarre, how I find myself ashamed at times that even though I love them all dearly, I sometimes just want to put up the 'No Vacancy' sign.

  19. I like your phrase "ever-changing constancy". My current life pulls me in two directions. At home I enjoy a simple life of home-grown produce, garden and nature, but Monday to Friday it's get up shower, dress, into the car and off the work. I'm a mouse on a wheel who gets off for a short time to rest and recharge, then back on again. I know which I prefer. I have so much I would love to be doing at home that I know I'd never be bored. I would enjoy that ever-changing constancy.
    What's stopping me? I'm not sure.

  20. I don't know if it was a rhetorical question, but perhaps the most important part of my simple life is having enough time to actually notice and enjoy my life. Money is a huge part of making this happen. Without enough, life can be quite miserable. So, managing my resources well, paying down the mortgage quickly,budgeting etc...do take up a lot of my thoughts. By needing to buy less stuff,I buy more precious time.

    Giving the children an unhurried,healthy and wholesome start in life is also important. And caring about our planet and the effect of our actions and purchases on all of the people who were not fortunate enough to be born in an abundantly rich country like ours.

    have a beautiful day, Madeleine

  21. It sounded like you were describing my new home. I think the simple life for our family is definitely based on being at home alot. We thrive on each other's company - we are happiest being with like minded people and enjoying our chooks, gardening, cooking, chopping wood and craft. Lovely to read your blog today! xx

  22. Hi Rhonda, I am learning to love home, strange isn't it. Love to cook now, always something on the stove. I take great pride in bringing vegetables for dinner each night, and eggs from chookies. (who do not give me lip like teenagers do they are happy to see me) DD friend over last night laughed at my odd shapped carrots, I greated them up they were lovely. Home grown doesn't need to be perfect, home doesn't need to be either. Thinking of doing recovering of furniture and paint next, before I would have just bought new, or had someone do it for me. Di

  23. Perfectly said. I was just recently trying to explain to my husband why I find it easier to not go into town. If i dont see the new top, cute home ware or latest beauty product then i wont think that I need it. It's where I am at on this journey and thats ok by me. :)

  24. Goodness me Rhonda, your words struck a real chord with me today. You made me realize it takes time to make a house into a home and after recent upheavals I really needed to acknowledge that.
    Thank you for everything

  25. Hi Rhonda,

    I agree, attitude is everything. To me it's the most important part of simple living because it's foundational. Everything else becomes easy and falls into place once you're in the right frame of mind (coming from me who is not always in the right frame of mind :)).

  26. Hi Rhonda, I hope Hanno is feeling better ? Did he do ok at the doc ??
    It's great to hear you ennjoy being home again.
    I don't like leaving home either.
    Have a great day.

  27. For me it is about discovering and connecting with what is really important. I believe all humans have the same basic needs such as food, shelter, safety, companionship, etc. I believe the modern day world confuses us to believe that there is more. A classic example is men buying sports cars, what they are actually wanting is not a car but to simply feel attractive. So what I love about a simple life is clearing away these miss-beliefs and discovering my real needs, and the happiness that results.

  28. I am so grateful that my family can afford for me to spend my time at home at the moment. Our sons (15 and 12) will not be children for much more time, and it's been wonderful to teach them how to live authentically during this crucial time in their development. Yes, I appreciate the self-sufficiency, reducing what we spend and keeping the debt down. However, the appreciation that we are instilling in them for a home-cooked meal, for home-grown produce and for a chore well done, is so valuable. It's something that they aren't taught at school anymore, so I will make sure that they can look after themselves when they choose to leave us, so my work will be well finished. Not that I ever want them to leave home, a 15yr old boy who does the ironing is worth his weight in gold!!

    So glad that you have this time Rhonda to spend at home now with Hanno and to oversee his recovery. And I hope that it is a speedy one!

  29. I think the really hard part is reconciling the so-called "simple life" which isn't so simple, with the parts of technology that we rely on. While certainly not everyone is going to opt for the life you and many of us have chosen, at least for part of our daily routine, we rely on computers, cell phones, and quality medical care and technology. Those tech bits are dependent on lots of other things as well, and the home life we talk about is dependent on industries that are also complex and not part of our daily routines.

  30. Hi Rhonda, I just wanted to pop in to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog. While I'm not self-sufficient in the sense of growing my own food etc (we live an urban, 1-bed flat), since making the decision to work from home 4 years ago, my boyfriend and I have lived to a strict budget, paid off debts, I've learned to bake, crochet, knit and sew, and, even though we live on very little money, it has changed us for the better. It has helped us become more creative, thoughtful and to focus on what's important rather than the unneccessary wants. I have fallen in love with my home again - it now has a function. The down side is the attitudes of some people who can't understand how you can't be happy without going to the shopping centre every weekend.


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