7 January 2013

Ordinary days

Here we are again at the beginning of another blogging year and as usual I'm looking back and looking forward. I was pleased to see the end of 2012. It was a momentous year for us, with the publication of my book and all the publicity and activity that went along with that, but there were also some very dark moments. In late August, Hanno nearly cut off his hand in a chain saw accident. That meant surgery and many trips to the hospital and occupational therapist. He'd just recovered when he was laid low again with cellulitis and gout and spent some time in a wheelchair. In December he had an ech-cardiogram that showed he has heart disease with his heart only pumping at 50% capacity. It's made him tired, dizzy and weak. That still hasn't been resolved but we have an appointment with the cardiologist tomorrow and we're hopeful it's not too serious.

Sarndra, Alex and Opa socialising in the sandpit.
Jamie and Opa discussing the merits of sand bridges.

I wrote late last year about Jamie having a febrile convulsion. Well, he had another two on Christmas eve. It turned out that he had a viral infection that was causing his temperature to rise suddenly but I'm very pleased to say he's a healthy little boy again now.

In the week before Christmas, Sarndra and Shane happily told us they were expecting another baby. We were all overjoyed at that news. But Sarndra sensed something was wrong and on Christmas eve she had a scan that revealed no heartbeat. They lost the baby on Christmas day. We all mourned the loss of that precious life and tried to support Sarndra an Shane as much as we could during the saddest Christmas we've ever had. They named the baby Patrick and had a little memorial service for him. They're a very strong and loving family and I know they'll work their way through this sadness.

Jamie and Opa watching Gaspard and Lisa.

So that is what we've leaving behind us and as I think about the coming months I feel a slight trepidation about Hanno's health but overall there is much to be grateful for and so much look forward to. I feel that optimism and excitement that you feel when you're about to make a change to something better. I love that feeling. It gives me energy. I also feel gratitude for the many opportunities I've had and continue to have. I'm blessed with a beautiful, caring family and I've been able to meet so many new people this past year who I now look on as friends. There is a lot to be thankful for.

I'm pleased to say that I'm still full of enthusiasm for this blog. It continues to provide me with an invaluable record of our ordinary days here at home and a way of reaching out around the world. I know there will come a time when my grandchildren will read it and know how we welcomed their mothers into our lives, how excited we all were on the days they were born, how they helped build our family and how our lives were better just because they were here with us.

One of my main areas of focus this year will be to review what I'm doing, change what I need to change and to improve what I'm left with. I want to operate outside my comfort zone, I want to push myself towards a better life; I'm not going to settle for second best. I want my life to be home and community based, I want to remain active and to work for what I get - both financially and in my daily tasks. I think hard work makes us better people and I know without doubt that sitting back and playing around on the computer or watching TV will not help the tomatoes grow, put fresh bread on the table or get the next ten pages of my book written. Only work does that. Work gives me a feeling of achievement and satisfaction, and when it's time to stop work, the sublime contrast of peace and tranquility. It's that balance between work and rest. I always aim for that.

During the year, I'm going to review the various subjects we talk about here. We're all changing, Hanno and I are getting older and that itself has brought change. I'll be thinking out loud about those changes and how they're modifying what we do now and in the future. Over the break I kept my notepad handy and I've got a list of subjects I want to write about.  Most of them will be about simple life, homemaking, growing strong families and work. There will be a sprinkling of posts about the thing we all face - ageing. I am very interested in ageing and daily work and not many others write about them in a positive way, so who knows how what will develop. As we go through the year I hope to see you here, I hope to read your comments, and, as usual, together, we'll try to live to our potential. We won't aim for perfection, we'll just try to do our best in 2013.  Okay, roll up your sleeves and let's get this thing started.


  1. Hi Rhonda
    Happy new year to you and your family. So sorry to read of your lose with the baby. I think that 2012 was a very hard year for a lot of people just hope that 2013 is kinder to us all.

  2. I look forward to your insights on aging. I am 54, I am disabled, and I am also taking care of elderly parents in their 80's with dementia for both of them. I have no family, and little resources in my rural community to help me. There are many, many facets to getting older.
    I greive for your losses, I cheer and applaud you for your triumphs. The road is rocky, but I find if I live simply, the stones in the road are less painful when stepped on.
    Hugs to you.

    1. Much of you initial story rings bells. Like you I have some disabilities and care for both my parents. The only difference is that I am slightly younger and they are too. The craziness of Alzheimer's rules our days. I also have two daughters at home as well. Life can be interesting, boring and exhausting. Perhaps we can help each other a little too.

  3. I am hopeless at this as this is my fourth attempt to leave a comment. Let's see if I can be successful this time.

    Fist of all let me say how sorry I am to hear about the sad loss of baby Patrick. This is something my family have experienced on several occasions, (stillbirth, miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy) and I firmly believe that its important to mourn for the lost baby. He will always be a part of your family and will never be forgotten. When the young couple are ready, then hopefully there will be the joyous news of another baby, not to replace the one lost but an addition to the family in their own right.

    Also thinking about Hanno's news about his heart. Hopefully there will be good news when he sees the cardiologist as he appears to be quite a fit man.

    Will be interested in what you say about ageing as I know that as I get older I can do less, or have to do things differently, or more slowly. I can't stand for long, so I do say some ironing for a few minutes, then do something sitting down, and then iron again until it gets done (or not as the case may be).

    Anyway I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the time and effort you put into this blog to make it so interesting, and to wish everyone a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

    best wishes
    Pat in the UK

  4. Rhonda,

    I truly hope you and all your family have a healthy and blessed 2013. Best wishes and hoping Hanno recovers soon.

  5. Hi Rhonda,

    I have been reading your blog with much pleasure for about six months now. It's so inspiring and I'm finding much to think about and act upon as I contemplate a return to almost full-time work (4days per week) in late January after a few years at home raising a child who has some additional needs. I wish I could be a stay at home for longer but we have to plan financially to support our child well into adulthood and that will cost money, lots of it. We have made it to the start of school with him and Year 1 beckons now but we have not much left in our piggy bank so your ideas and thoughts here on saving and frugality and making do give me much hope for the future. Thank you!

    1. All lives are made up of various stages. I wish you the best in this period as you return to paid work. I admire you for doing what you know you must do even thought you'd rather be at home. Take care of yourself. xx

  6. Dear Rhonda. So sorry to read about Patrick. What a sad Christmas you have had.
    Looking into 2013 I'm pleased that you are going to be talking about ageing. I'm 70 this year, very active with my allotment and other interests and I don't feel that old. But my body is growing older. It will be interesting to read about your views on ageing.
    Wishing you health and happiness in 2013.

  7. Oh what lives we live. Full of the good and bad. I feel for you all with the loss of the baby,and of course Hanno's health is such a worrying thing. But the photos of him with those beautiful boys are just gorgeous.I'm so pleased that you find blogging enegising as you are a real gift to us all and would like to thank you for all the inspiration you have given me over the past few years since finding your blog. Wishing you and your family a exciting and rewarding 2013.

    1. Hello Kate, all the best for the year ahead. xx

  8. I am most interested in issues of aging and still working to be as self-sufficent as possible. My husband and I will both be 62 this year and while he can take early retirement, at a reduced monthy payment,I need to work fulltime until 65 so we will have health insurance. Due to family circumstance, we are only now buying a few acres and getting ready to build a small low enery use home and mini-farmstead. While we are currently both healthy, thought DH does have a history or back problems, and have scaled our vision way back, we are conerned about being able to keep up with the physical work required. We are trying to plan our inferstructure to make gardening and small animal keeping as labor efficent as possible. We know one of the first things we need to do NOW, is both get stronger in our arms and legs to relieve some of the strain on backs. My husband grew up in a family where you had to do everything yourself even if it just about kelled you. I keep planting the idea of hiring yourger help for sprojects and he is slowly coming around to not see that as being a personal failure.
    Evey USA
    Does anyone have any suggestions to help with aging and working a small homestead?

    1. Evey, it is not weakness to identify what you need help with and then asking for it. I'm sure you know that but maybe your husband doesn't. Have you looked into WWOOF? If you have simple accommodation on your farmstead, you'll be able to get willing workers in exchange for a bed and meals. Read this http://www.wwoof.org

    2. A strong stomach with tightening of the those muscles is what will help your back more so. Without a strong core(the middle area) your back has to take the strain. So maybe look into ways that you could strengthen your stomach muscles to help you.

  9. Dear Rhonda, thank you for this post. I am sorry to hear about the loss of Patrick, it is a terribly emotional time for you all.

    I also wanted to say "Good Luck" to you and Hanno for your appointment tomorrow.

    I wish you all the very best in 2013and look forward to continuing to read and enjoy your inspiring blog each day. Thank you.

  10. Hi Rhonda, I hope you and your family have a wonderful 2013. You certainly had some trying moments in 2012. So sad to read about Patrick and Hanno's health issues. Thank you for your amazing blog. I have been following your blog for quite a few years and you have inspired me to change my whole outlook on life. Thank you.

  11. Blimey, no wonder you were looking forward to a new year! Hope all goes well for Hanno, sorry about Patrick. Keep your pecker up!

  12. I don't often comment, though I very much enjoy my visits here. I just want to say that your family is in my thoughts and prayers as you mourn the loss of Patrick. And also, writing positively and thoughtfully about aging is one of the most useful things you could be doing in my opinion. It seems to me (at the age of 54) that the more we share our experiences on that subject and the less we 'bury our heads in the sand' the better prepared we shall be, and the more likely we are to be able to age with grace and dignity. Thanks for all you do.

  13. Rhonda I am sorry that baby Patrick was lost so early in his journey. I am also sorry about Hanno's heart problems. My father is under the care of an amazing cardiologist and what they can do now is nothing short of miraculous at times. Therefore I pray that the appointment has a positive outcome and that healing comes to your family.

    Like many I am enthusiastic about 2013. Thanks to you I have better skills and I am working towards more control and positivity in my life.

  14. Happy New Year to you Rhonda and all your lovely family. I look forward to reading your posts as they have given me more confidence to pursue the lifestyle our family lives. Life is full of ups and downs but as my husband tells me if there were no downs how would you no the ups! Here's to lot's of ups and not many downs for 2013!!

  15. Hi Rhonda, Happy 2013.

    I'm sorry to hear about Hanno's health. I hope the cardiologist can ease some of your fears. Sending positive and wishful vibes your way.
    Hugs to Sarndra - I've been in her shoes (six times). I hope she's feeling OK.
    Wishing all your family health and happiness for the coming year.
    Rachael x

  16. Rhonda, you unknowingly supported our family during several years of intense change (via your blog). I never commented during that time - I was too intent on reading and learning and had nothing to say. You and Hanno have given so much to us and the global community through the work you do and I want you to know how much we appreciate you both. We would not be where we are today if it wasn't for me stumbling on your blog on a very dark day all those years ago. It was life changing, actually.

    You are a team and I know that Hanno is an important part of what you do each day. I am standing up here in Alberta to say that we support you BOTH. We do this by learning and growing and changing what we do to refine the process of becoming more self reliant. That is a tribute to you and Hanno so take that encouragement and let it buoy you on the hard days. Each day matters. Each action matters. Each blog post matters. Each project matters. Each home cooked meal matters. Each repair matters. Each stitch matters. It matters to our family and it matters to the world.

    Hanno and Rhonda - may 2013 be a year of health and recovery for you. We wish you all the best at the appointment tomorrow. Please also accept our heartfelt condolences about the loss of your Grandchild, Patrick.

    With love,

    The Morrisons in Alberta

    1. Thanks Sherri, Kelly and family. We appreciate your kind words. xx

  17. Hi Rhonda,

    My heart aches for your whole family in the loss of little Patrick. Our daughter lost a baby several years ago when an ultrasound showed no heartbeat for their little one either and they lost their baby soon after. Our family misses not being able to watch our sweet little one grow up, but we have peace believing that we'll see her in Heaven one day. Please give Sarndra and Shane my heartfelt condolences.

    I've been hoping to hear news of Hanno and his heart problems. Surely do hope that he gets a report from the cardiologist that will allow him to get started on a regime to improve his heart's performance. I know it's scary for you, too. Please know that I'll be thinking about the both of you in the coming weeks and praying that 2013 will be a healthier year for you and your family.

    I'll be anxious to hear your thoughts on ageing. I am one year to the day older than you and my husband is three years old than I. Just today, we were laughing about how our minds still want to work hard physically, and we continue to do that, BUT, we are finding that we must work more slowly now and an extra hard day's work takes its toll on us the next day! So we make adjustments and keep on keeping on. I really, really do want to hear what you and Hanno will be doing to modify your lifestyle to stay as active as possible in the coming years.

    Love from Diane in North Carolina

  18. I can see why you were looking forward to a new year. I'm sorry about the loss of Patrick and I hope that Hanno's appointment goes well tomorrow. Best wishes for a much better 2013.

  19. My thoughts are with you and all the family as you mourn and work on Hannos health. Take care of yourself and thanks for the sharing you do, it puts all our live in perspective. Xxx

  20. As I am part of Rhonda and Hanno's Family, I want to thank all of you who comment, occassionally or frequently, on the blog as I know that it gives Rhonda a boost to know that people care enough to write their thoughts down for all to read - and I benefit from that too.
    From the comments left before me this morning, it is evident that the world is not an easy place, and harder for some than others. But keeping as positive as possible pushes us forward (but, boy is that a struggle sometimes!!)
    Family is so important, whether we need them or they need us - if you don't have Family, try looking to Nature as Family - there are rewards there for all of us.
    With Love, Patricia Margaret.

    1. Patricia Margaret is my wonderful sister. She is coming up to stay with us next week and we're both looking forward to it very much. And she's right about nature as family.

      love xx

  21. My first comment here so I hope it works. Just wanted to add my condolences on the loss of Patrick and my best wishes for a healthy future for all of you - and especially for Hanno. I'm very glad you are still enjoying writing this blog and will, no doubt, continue to be inspired by your positive attitude towards living a sustainable and simple family orientated life. Thank you Rhonda :)

  22. Still trying to make my first comment work, so I apologise if you end up with multiple repetitive comments from me. My condolences to your family on the loss of Patrick and my best wishes for continued good health for all of you (and especially Hanno). I'm very glad to hear that you still enjoy writing this blog and I thank you for the continueing inspiration that you provide to all of us who aspire to a sustainable and simple lifestyle. Thank you Rhonda :)

    1. This is your second comment now. LOL Congratulations, you did it!

  23. I'm terribly sorry about the baby - it's very touching that they gave him a name and had a memorial. I'll remember Hanno in my prayers as he goes to the doctor to find out what's to be done for him.

  24. My thoughts are with you and all your family it must have been a very sad Christmas with the loss of Patrick.
    May 2013 be good for you all especially Hanno and his health issues.
    I look forward to your blog this year.

  25. There's a lot to be thankful for, indeed. However life is full of ups and downs and problems need to be dealt with when and as they arise, as best we can. You are a wonderful example of how you manage your ups and downs; I'm sure you inspire and assist more than you realise, in this day and age of living far away from our families and having no-one close to turn to.

    I'm so sorry to hear of little Patrick, Jamie's convulsions, and Hanno's health. You are all in my thoughts.

    Lovely words from Tricia, too. xxx

  26. so sorry for the loss your family has had this Christmas, I wish for you a happy healthy year ahead, I'm very much looking forward to your posts to come, you are such an inspirational person and so much knowledge, best wishes to you and yours,

  27. I am sorry for the loss of little Patrick. I personally have been there and they do as you know, need to mourn. You are a close family and you all feel the loss of a life unfulfilled. My husband also has heart problems that sound like Hanno's and with doctor's help he is leading a good life. Detection is the first step and many people do not have a good doctor to get the right testing done. Bravo for his doctor. You and Hanno are a team and a very good one. As we age I sure note many differences in my strength but try to find ways to work around it. Some things we have had to consent to have help with but most we can slowly work on ourselves. One step at a time. Maybe the work goes slower but it gets done. I notice that my satisfaction in working on things around here increases as the years roll by. And oh do they roll by fast it seems!! :) The joy in seeing the seedlings come up or putting up another jar of food for the pantry or clearing out an area has increased. Gratitude that we can still work...still accomplish., still matter and still do our part. That we can still make a difference in the people around us too. You have to reach out and be a part of life. Your family and community as much as you can. We may get up from our chairs much slower but once up and moving we can still do!!! :) Even if we had to be in a chair all day or in a bed there are things to do to reach out. Calling another each day to see if they are ok. I have a friend who calls another older friend each day so she and their family knows they are checked on each day. She is doing a good thing. She writes letters to others and phones still others. She does hand crafts to give to many. She is active and enjoys her life and does not think of herself as useless. We are thankful ever so much we can still get up and move and I think thankfulness plays a large part in how you view aging. I too am looking forward to your thoughts on aging and all the rest of the topics you will share this year. Brenda, you and Hanno are now a part of all of our lives and we are thankful that you take your precious time to share. Sarah

  28. You never cease to inspire me! I am so excited for this new year and am wanting to accomplish so much. Thank you for all of the advice and inspiration you give to so many every day! Thoughts and prayers for all of you!

  29. Hi Ronda.....so sorry to hear about Patrick....my condolences to Sarndra and Shane. Having had many miscarriages myself, I feel for them and even though my last loss was 20 years ago, they are always with me and often being tears to my eyes. But, like you, I have always looked forward and try not to dwell on 'what might have been'.

    Ronda, so are so very connected to the universe because like others have commented, I am interested in the process of aging. My husband has just retired at 68 1/2 years of age and I am about to go back to work as he will be home provide support and companionship to my Mum who is about to turn 81 and is terminally ill with cancer. But, through her positive attitude and her strong nature, she is still with us even though she was given 6 months to live some 21 months ago. Through living a sedentary life, she is can now hardly walk without the use of a walker and pretty much cannot do anything physical....a lesson for us to keep moving, keep fit and eat well. So am looking forward to the 'aging' discussion over the year.

    Good luck for the appointment tomorrow, will be sending positive vibes your way.

    Ps....still am unable to use the comment function on my iPad...have to use the PC. My first comment early last year was done using the iPad but something seemed to change some months ago.

  30. Dear Rhonda,
    As always a beautifully written post but what a sad Christmas you must have all had, such heartbreaking news. I do hope everyone is doing okay.
    Oh, those littlies are just gorgeous though! Such a blessing to you. I hope Hanno gets on okay with his heart trouble and feels better soon. Take care you,


  31. So sorry for the loss of baby Patrick. I just wanted Sarndra and Shane to know that we've been there, too, and our thoughts are with them. Life is so precious.

  32. Dear Rhonda and family,
    Sorry about the loss of Patrick, tough Christmas for all.
    I hope Hanno's specialist is able to help, Hanno will feel a whole lot different when he operates on more than 50%.
    I read your post everyday and feel you are like a close friend.
    Onwards and upwards for 2013. Love Di

  33. Im so sorry for your loss, I love my grandma Oct 7 to cancer, she was one of my favorite people and my great aunt 3 days before, it was a sad year in out family. So many of the things you have on your blog remind me of grandma and all the wonderful things she did and taught us. Thank you for sharing your life with us, it is really appreciated.

  34. Happy New Year Rhonda,and i hope it is a much better one for you and your Family,so sorry to hear about the Baby,x Carol.

  35. The warm fireplaceJanuary 07, 2013 9:36 am

    I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your grandchild Patrick, and the worry over Hannos health, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

  36. I'm so sorry Rhonda to read your sad news...hopefully 2013 will be much better for you!

    Re Ageing....I turn 60 this year, my husband 62 and we are carers for our daughter 31. We are still doing bedtime/bathtime like 30 year olds...I will not be retiring (I'm a homemaker) and when he retires he will be helping me! We still have health issues. I know there are many carers out there like us. It doesn't get easier as we age. I'm sure you have many years ahead of you...I suspect in 10 years time we will be doing the same thing and worrying about what the future holds for us!

  37. Hi Rhonda, I'm sorry you had such a sad Christmas, and hoping 2013 is better for you. I ordered your book the first of December and when I got back from our Christmas travels, it was waiting for me at the post office. What a beautiful book it is! I pick it up and read a section every time I sit down to take a break. It is very inspirational. The comment you made in your blog post today had a profound effect on me. You commented that you were going to "push yourself toward a better life and not accept second best". When I read that, I had an epiphany -I could make my life better as well! I commented on one of your blog posts recently regarding my stage of life. We have moved away from family and friends to our remote cabin and I am not enjoying this stage of my life, growing older and not seeing my grandchildren on a regular basis. When I read your post today, it hit me like a bolt of lightening, that I too could TRY to have a better life instead of sitting around feeling sorry for myself. We are of similar age, so I too will be interested to hear your perspective on aging. When I commented on the other post, I truly felt like I was "sitting around waiting to die". Today, I feel the stir of change within myself and reading your book and your blog has been the catalyst for that. thank you so much Rhonda for doing what you do and being such an inspiration.

  38. Happy New year Rhonda and family. I can relate to so much of your post today. Firstly my condolences on your loss. I have been through that a few times myself and family support is what gets you through. For me it was a long journey as it happened twice in a row and the 3rd time I was sucessful but couldnt relax until the end of the pregnancy and then I found it hard to switch off that last 18 months of worry but now when I look at that son I am so happy to have him and I know in time that joy will again come to your family. I can also relate about heart issues. Im 40 now and I have been on medication since I had heart surgery when I was 32. Being so aware of your own mortality,(even though we know it will one day come to us all) can be a drain on the normal fun of just living day to day and not having that cloud over you. Then again 2012 I had to breast tumours removed and was once again reminded. Except this time I am inspired. Inspired by your blog and others similar that every day is a great day and there to be lived well. I dont like to waste my days just watching mindless tv or hours on my computer, though I still use it. I am out living life and really living it for the first time in a long time Im not scared of it. Your blog has been part of that journey for me. So while 2012 was not so great in alot of ways, I embrace the bad parts with the good as they all helped me to get to this point. The pics of Hanno and your grandson with the eye contact are just gorgeous. A great moment captured in time. Take care and I really wish you the best new year.

  39. I read this this morning and thought it was a good statement on ageing and what we all can gain from the wisdome that can only come with age.

    Written by a 90 year old

    This is something we should all read at least once a week!!!!! Make sure you read to the end!!!!!!

    Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old, of the Plain Dealer, Cleveland , Ohio .

    "To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 42 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I've ever written.

    My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

    1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

    2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

    3. Life is too short – enjoy it..

    4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.

    5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

    6. You don't have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.

    7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

    8. Save for retirement starting with your first pay check.

    9. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

    10. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

    11. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

    12. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

    13. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it...

    14 Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

    15. Get rid of anything that isn't useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways.

    16. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

    17. It's never too late to be happy. But it’s all up to you and no one else.

    18. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

    19. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

    20. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

    21. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

    22. The most important sex organ is the brain.

    23. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

    24. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'

    25. Always choose life.

    26. Forgive but don’t forget.

    27. What other people think of you is none of your business.

    28. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

    29. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

    30. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does..

    31. Believe in miracles.

    32. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

    33. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.

    34. Your children get only one childhood.

    35. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

    36. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

    37. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

    38. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have not what you need.

    39. The best is yet to come...

    40. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

    41. Yield.

    42. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."

  40. I think ageing is a subject that is often overlooked and I'm interested in what you have to say about it, particularly about it being positive. I am hoping to get back into aged care once my daughter is older so this is a topic I am looking forward to reading about.

    I'd like to offer my sincerest condolences to Shane and Sarndra on the loss of their baby. How heartbreaking, and such bad timing. I don't think Christmas Day will be the same for them ever again. Of course it will be fun with Alex but there will always be a tinge of sad longing. I hope they are getting plenty of support with their grief. And you too, Rhonda (and Hanno)

  41. Rhonda, what a Christmas you had! I am so sorry about little Patrick. Thank you for dealing with the issue of ageing as you do. At 64 I am starting to feel tired and want to get as fit as I can to cope with the future so am starting to walk a bit more each day and become more able to keep up with the gardening and cleaning not to mention being a carer for a 29 year old. Your blog is inspiring and I think you so much for your daily snippets of wisdom. I wish you, Hanno and your family good health and happiness in 2013.

  42. Rhonda, what a roller-coaster ride you've had this past year. So sorry to hear about the sad loss of Patrick. And hope that all's good with Hanno's cardio appointment and he's back on top very soon. My hubby often asks me if there's any more news of Hanno in your blogs, how he's going etc. (Both being chain saw men and similar health issues.)
    I'm so pleased you'll be doing some blogs on ageing this year. We are both in our 60's and on small acreage as you probably know from the forum, and like lots of others, learning to come to grips with health issues and our minds being willing while our flesh says otherwise - and not wanting to give in ;-). There just isn't any worthwhile sharing of info (on ageing) out there on the net (that I've found)- it's almost like a taboo subject,so will be looking forward to that.
    Thank you, Rhonda for the wonderful inspiration you give us thru your blog, and for me it seems that some days you just pop into my life - just when I need your wise words the most (although I don't comment very often).

    I hope 2013 is a much better year for you all especially in health issues and you have continued success with your writing/books. And I totally agree with your sister, Patricia Margaret about Nature.
    Maddie xx

  43. So sorry for your family's loss of baby Patrick. May he be sitting with our Lord looking over your wonderful family xxx. I too have felt the pain of losing a precious one, but as I enjoy hugs with my daughter, I realise she wouldn't be here had my other baby not leave me to be with God.

    I pray everything goes well with Hanno's appointment and that 2013 brings you lots of wonderful times.

  44. Oh Rhonda, its just over a year ago since I lost my last baby...it would have been the icing on the cake for our family of 5...sadly it was not acknowledged really by my extended family which made 2012 with its birth anniversary and anniversary of loss etc harder to bare.........Im so glad that Patrick was acknowledged and named....so important to know that the little life lost was in fact a life, and a much loved one...for many people I know 2012 was a strange year, full of challenges but on the same front a year of acceptance and change for lots of people too...I see 2013 as the year for continuing to spread the word of simple living, not only in my house and life, but in my heart as well..............much love to your family for a healthy and happy New Year,,..Suzanne, Enchanted Moments.

  45. My heart goes out to you all!! It is hardest to loose someone, even one so small and yet in the womb, at the holiday time of year. Our daughter-in-law's sister whom we know also, lost a tiny little boy at about 6 months pregnant, even though he had not grown for some time prior to that. Our oldest daughter is carrying a little girl due in April, but we have not mentioned the other loss. She lost one a few months prior to becoming pregnant with this baby...we have learned of so many loosing little ones in the womb right now...makes us wonder what is happening. I lost several to miscarriage when we were young. Never knew why. Never occured to us to name them...it will no doubt be of some comfort later, to have a name for yours...little Patrick.

    Does Hanno take Hawthorne or other heart herbs? I take a mix of that with other herbs and I at least FEEL better when I do...if I forget for a couple days, then I feel bad again. If you wish to investigate this please email me...I will be glad to share the name of this product (and no I get NOTHING for telling you about it...I am not a dealer of it). My aunt was in very bad shape with her heart, but with taking herbs, etc. and certain vitamins, at age 81 now, she says she feels the best ever and stays active gardening, etc. Her doctor is amazed and says keep on...so I encourage you to research and do what you can to help Hanno strengthen his heart!!

    Blessings for a better year!! Wonderful that you are so close to your family...many of us can only wish for that.
    Elizabeth was in NC, now in VA for awhile....

  46. hello rhonda, I wrote to last year asking for some age-ing posts, and glad to hear that you will be writing some this year - perhaps soon. I dont think enough is written about this in a no noncence way - its usually alarmist and full of doom stuff but I know and trust that you will write it in pa practical and sensible way. Looking forward to it very much, and all the best too you and yourfamily for this new year ahead!

  47. rhonda,
    Happy New Year, and welcome back. Very sorry to read of the struggles your family has recently encountered and will be praying for the health of all. ( Your sandbox pictures warmed my heart). I look forward to your upcoming blog posts.

  48. Condolences to Sarndra and Shane, and to the grandparents. What sad news. Hoping that 2013 brings you all far brighter moments.
    Thank you for taking the time to write this blog. I always find pleasure in reading it.

  49. I loved this post Rhonda!

    Sorry for your family's loss over Christmas, I do hope everyone is doing okay :) So glad to hear little Jamie is over his convulsions, how scary that would have been for his parents.

    Bring on the New Year and all it has to offer. I cant wait to see what more I am going to learn :)


  50. Sorry for the loss of the baby, and for all of your other troubles. We had a terrible stretch of it in our household which lasted eight years. That was ten years ago, and now everybody's okay. Hang in there.

    I've been reading your blog every day since your one son was in Canada. I really appreciate the effort you put into the blog. You've really helped me be a better homemaker. Have a blessed 2013.
    Marie H

  51. Our dearest Rhonda, it certainly seems time to kick 2012 aside. My prayers for Sarndra and Shane. Hanno has had an eventful year and not all in a good way. I'm relieved that he found out about the heart problem early and expert help is on the way.
    Most of all, they are all very lucky to have your steady hand on the tiller when the seas get rough. We all feel close to you and your family (thanks to you) and think of you guys as extended family.
    So bring on 2013 and know we all care about you.

  52. I am sorry you have had such loss and ups and downs. May the New Year bring better things for all of you. My prayers are with your family.

  53. Such sad news about little Patrick.....big hugs

    X Chrissy

  54. 2012 was a difficult year for many it seems. So sorry to hear about the troubles your family has experienced. I truly hope 2013 brings better health and healing (both emotional and physical) for you all. xox

    With regards to ageing I confess I am finding it a relief! I view my body in a totally different way after having a baby and though it isn't as "pretty" as before I am so much more comfortable in my skin (stretch marks and all!). I look forward to reading your thoughts on the matter.

  55. Dear Rhonda, what a terrible time for you all, I am sorry to hear of your recent sad times and your ongoing concerns for Hanno's health, I truly hope you will be able to find out what can be done for him. I think as someone else has said, he appears to be a fit and healthy man, so that should bode well for him.
    In happier news, I received your book for Christmas from my daughter. I LOVE it! I have started knitting my first dishcloth (with thrifted needles $1 and cotton yarn $2!) and have also been inspired to start an embroidery with the pattern provided on your blog.
    Best wishes and will be following along with you again this year, thank you so much for your wealth of information.
    Judy xx

  56. I'm sorry to hear all the bad things that happened at the end of the year to your family. I hope your 2013 is brighter and that Hanno's tests turn out well.

  57. Thank you Rhonda for sharing such personal thoughts,my love and thoughts will be with you and your family in the coming year,may all Blessings come your way:)

  58. Aging is foremost in my mind these days. I am closing in on 60, that in itself is not old. (In my mind I am not old yet!) I have recently moved back home at my 90 year old father's request. He is mentally very "with it", but physically not doing as well. He stills gets around but there are days I wonder if he will make it walking from one room to the next.
    I will be very interested in what you have to say about aging. I am ready to learn from you much the same as you have been teaching me so many other things about life and living.
    I am so very sorry for the loss of Patrick. I pray for strength for your family. I hope Hanno get good news from his cardiologist! Happy New Year!

  59. Rhonda I am so sorry to hear of the loss of Sarndra's and Shane's baby. I suffered a miscarriage 44 years ago and you know sometimes something will remind me such as your sad post and I relive that day and remember what happened so very clearly like it was yesterday.

  60. Dear Rhonda,
    My thoughts are with you and your family as you grieve for baby Patrick and face Hannos health challenges. I hope that 2013 will be a happy and healthy one for you all. A new year is like turning a page on a new book, and the old one is put awy on the shelf. I loved the photos of the "boys" in the sand pit, it looks like it was a raging success. I also loved what you said about the blog being a record for the little ones in future years, it is motivating me to get mine moving again. Much love, Julia in Bowen xxx

  61. Rhonda, all of us have beautiful moments and terrible moments in our lives. The loss of the baby has been terrible, I'm sure and, as a mom, I can understand the pain. Hope Hanno could be ok and I wish you all a 2013 full of joy, calm and good health. Take care, Clara.

  62. Dearest Rhonda, thank you for sharing at such a sad time. Our prayers and with you and your family for the loss and for Hanno's health.
    Warm regards, Lucybelle

  63. I can't believe how many ups and downs you have had as a family in just one year. My thoughts go out to all of you. Especially Sarndra. Good luck with your appt Hanno and I wish all of you the most wonderful 2013. (I'm hoping for a wonderful one myself) I'm glad you're enjoying blogging still because I would miss your posts terribly!

  64. Hi Rhonda - so sorry to hear the news. Thinking of you all, and praying for Hanno at the start of a new year. Love and blessings x

  65. Rhonda, Hanno & family, I was so saddened to hear about the loss of baby Patrick on Christmas Day..... I said a silent prayer for the little angel that enterred your lives momentarily but touched your hearts forever. I'll also put Hanno on my prayers list until he gets the all clear & am sending positive thoughts to him for his specialist appointment tomorrow. My 2012 was also troublesome & I was glad to say goodbye to it, although finding new friends in you & Hanno as well as enjoying your book, your blog & all that it has opened up to me, has been a 2012 highlight. This New Year, I've probably seriously thought more about one year ending & another year starting. I think that's because of several reasons: 1. I'll be turning 60 this year & now embrace every year as a blessing & extra opportunity; 2. we are both now fully retired & seem to have more calm time to assess what it is we want from the rest of our days; 3. that even though I didn't think it would, the world didn't end on 21.12.12 but if I knew for sure it would, what would I have wanted to do or do differently & 4. I'd like to believe that with the passing of that date & all the hype about planets aligning & the world as we know it changing, that the world does need to change & I need to live my life each day being the best that I can be, leading others by example, creating an environment that is conducive to change & not stay silent when I think something is not right. I'm certainly not going to become a radical activist but I do think openly endorsing respect & manners might be a good starting point. Hopefully 21.12.12 has seen the awakening of like minded good people who can quietly, calmly & effectively infiltrate society to turn this world around. I have faith that there has to be more good in the world than evil & DTE's have gone a long way to confirming that theory & I thank you all for that. Wishing everyone a wonderful 2013 as you all go about spreading the word.

  66. Dear Rhonda, so sorry to hear the news about your son and his partner and all of Hanno's health issues. I am sure that 2013 will bring you lots of good news and great memories.

  67. I really admire your positivity, Rhonda. All the best for a year filled with happiness, good health and forward movement.

  68. I'm Sorry Rhonda. I don't know you, or your family, but I feel as though I do.
    I read your posts everyday, so will of course be thinking of you all.
    God bless.
    Angela (south England) UK

  69. Hello Rhonda, so very sorry to hear the heartbreaking news of baby Patrick and hope you can all grieve in peace. Hoping, also, that you receive good news regarding Hanno's health issues.

    I, too, shall look forward to hearing your views on 'positive' aging. Having just turned 58 and chased my dream of simple self-sufficiency, moving to a foreign country, with lots of land and a real 'doer-upper' house I sometimes have a little 'wobble' as to if I will have the energy and health to achieve all these things.

    Jak x

  70. What a difficult time for you all. Wishing you all strength and much love. xx

  71. Hi Rhonda
    I read your blog and learn a lot from it.I am looking forward to continuing it read it in 2013. I wish you and your family health and happiness this New year.

  72. Dear Rhonda, what a sad end of the year for you and your family. I mourn the loss of litte Patrick and hope that Sandra and Shane will be fine. I also keep my fingers crossed that Hanno's appointment with the cardiologist goes well. Don't give up hope! Especially with heart diseases a lot can be done: My father suffered his first heart attack when he wasn't 50 yet. He had to undergo a triple bypass operation twice and later angioplasty. But he still managed to live a fulfilled and active life and died at the age of 83. When he was Hanno's age, he built us wonderful shelves for our wine cellar. Everytime I go down there and chose a bottle of wine, I think of him very dearly.
    Hope you have a happier and brighter 2013. Thanks for keeping up your blog writing.
    Best wishes from the South of Germany - Heike

  73. I look forward to my first full year following your blog and to everything that you will write about. While only in my late 40's I too am thinking about ways to incorporate simple living as I age.

    I wish you and your family much health, happiness and peace in 2013.

  74. Rhonda Jean, Thank you for sharing both sides of life : the happy and the sad days. Sometimes just knowing that others have problems helps me to withstand my own. My prayers are with the whole family over the loss of baby Patrick and worries about Hanno's health. Your family is strong and will weather these storms. Take good care, please.

    Sending good thoughts from Tennessee--Beverly

  75. oh Rhonda, i had tears in my eyes reading about the end of your year. thanks for sharing it here with us. wishing you and your family a better and healthier 2013.

  76. Hi Rhonda,
    a very happy, healthy 2013 for you all. I hope this will be a great year for your whole family. I'm so sorry to hear the news about Sarndra and Shane's baby. I wish you all lots of strength !! I hope all goes well with Hanno too.
    Hugs from The Netherlands

  77. I was reading your post and realised that despite your recent trials and tribulations you still have a positive attitude. There is a big lesson for me and everyone in that attitude. Thankyou for teaching us all so much, you precious lady.

    Wishing you many blessings for this year.

    Love from Cheryl

  78. Dear Rhonda,
    Thank you for another inspiring and sincere post. It really helps when you share so honestly your everyday life-- the joys and the struggles. And you are spot on-- none of us is getting younger; we're all entering new territory as we age and need to adjust to changing realities. I'm so looking forward to what you have to say-- both the practical and the philosophical.
    My condolences to you and your family, especially to Sarndra and Shane. I think that when we experience the pain of being separated from someone we love, fostering the hope of being reunited with them in heaven can help us get through, in spite of the sorrow. Prayers for you all.

  79. You have had a difficult year. My thoughts & prayers are with you & your family.

    We recently had a scare with my hubby just days before Christmas. He had another heart attack, ten 1/2 years after his first one at the young age of 47. Since then, we tried to eat according to the American Heart Association's guidelines for healthy eating for the heart. Come to find out, the healthy whole grains they encourage you to eat are not good for you. (Read the book 'Wheat Belly' by William Davis, MD.)

    He checked himself into the hospital where it was discovered that his Left Anterior Descending (known as the widow maker) is again, 100% blocked just like last time. He was told there was nothing they could do for him this time. We were devastated. But, I am a firm believer in the power of prayer and that our bodies can heal themselves when given the right fuel. We immediately started a gluten-free, Paleo diet.

    That was almost two weeks ago and already he is having less chest pain and shortness of breath. We have an appointment with another cardiologist for a second opinion but in the meantime, we are both moving forward with dietary changes.

    I just thought I would give you some 'food for thought' so to speak and I'll pray for you guys because I know what you're going through.

  80. My heart goes out to you and Hanno as you and your family have faced some sad and difficult days. Please know that I am praying for each one of you! My husband and I are 71(so hard to believe) and life does change and we face new challenges with our changing years. I look forward to your new postings as we all learn together. Blessings, Carolyn Gilbert in Florida

  81. i am so sorry to hear about hanno and the sad events that surrounded your family this christmas. my thoughts are with you all and i hope 2013 grows into a happy, healthy and fulfilling year. i look forward to stopping in and reading more about your journey.
    ps. your book was a gift to me for my birthday today and im excited to see how it may shape my journey x

  82. Much love to you and your family. And thank you for your honesty. Too many people brush miscarriage aside which in turn makes it so hard for couples when they go through the pain of this loss. November 2011, and I still cannot talk about it.

  83. So sorry to hear about your sad news this Christmas Rhonda, and about the challenges you've all faced this year. I do hope 2013 brings peace and joy for you all, in whatever form. Much love to you and your family. Jenni x

  84. I'm so sorry to hear the sad news about Patrick and the not-good news about Hanno's heart. I wish you all the best in 2013. Keep on keeping on!

  85. Sorry about all the events over the Christmas and New Year break. Hope your grandson is fit and healthy again and that Hanno visit to the Doctor brings some good news. Looking forward to reading your daily posts. All the best for the New Year.

  86. With sadness I read your post about your loss of a grandchild, and Hanno's health--- Your son's health.Our family is right here beside you and we want your family to know that! We suffer when you suffer -- we laugh when you laugh-- We cry when you cry! and we rejoice when you do! It's the blogging world-- your family has became ours to love and cherish your moments too! Many Blessing for your family in the coming year.

  87. Our thoughts are with you and your family Rhonda. I hope 2013 brings healing and joy to all of you. Love you and your blog.

    p.s. the pic of Hanno and Jamie is soooo beautiful.

  88. Julie ... Barossa ValleyJanuary 09, 2013 10:49 am

    Our family are so sorry to hear about the loss of your grandchild and family health problems. We wish your family all the best for 2013.

  89. Rhonda,
    May 2013 bring you and your family peace of mind, body and soul.
    Love and blessings,

    A friend of mine has a blog and there is a piece that she wrote that I would like to share with Sarndra & Shane in the hope that it brings them some comfort:

  90. So sorry to hear of the loss of Patrick and hopefully Hanno's health problems will be overcome this year. 2012 was a horrific year for me and I'm so glad to see the back of it. I am looking forward to your thoughts on ageing - and everything else for that matter. Have been reading your blog for many years now and it has helped me enormously. Thank you for all your hard work. Happy New Year to you and your family Dilkara.

  91. Have been catching up on some reading this morning and was very saddened by all your Christmas "news". I can't even begin to imagine how the children are feeling and the grief for the rest of the family must be strong too. There is nothing I can say or do so I will simply say that the pain is shared. Day by day I guess.
    I work for a couple of specialists, one of whom is an interventional cardiologist. I want to reassure you and Hanno that things have changed so much in cardiac medicine. A lot of procedures are as common place and ordinary now as biopsies. Re-vascularisation and stenting are so ordinary now that many patients never have to see their cardiologist again after their first follow up. The drugs are so much better and outcomes are as breezy as treating someone with asthma. I'm sure he will be fine once they can do a diagnosis and take the mystery away. He is such a fit vital looking man (handsome too!) and this is just an annoying hic-cup. All the best for Monday, try not to worry Rhonda.

  92. Oh Rhonda. I'm just now catching up on my blog reading and am so sorry to hear about the struggles your family has endured recently. The loss of a baby is particularly heart wrenching... There really aren't any words that can adquately express the sadness of such a loss <3

    I really hope this year is kinder to Hanno! It doesn's seem fair to have so many health complications happen all at one time. I hope he's feeling much better soon.

    Anyway, you are all in my thoughts (and Reuben's too!) Wishing your family much love, peace and happiness for 2013.

    Katie xoxo

    1. Thanks Katie. I saw the photo of your new home. It's gorgeous! I can hardy wait until you move in and set it up as you want it. I will NEED many photos. My love to you both, Rhonda xx

  93. Oh Rhonda, what heartbreaking news.
    Sandra, you are in my thoughts. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I have experienced it myself and there are just no words to describe how very real the grief is. Xxxx
    Sending you all gentle thoughts, Rhonda. 2013 will be better. It has to be.
    Big hugs to you all.


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