It’s my 73rd birthday today

15 April 2021
It’s my 73rd birthday today so I’m looking back and deeper, trying to find where I fit in the scheme of things. I’ve lived through an incredible era, from the much gentler days of horses and carts delivering milk and bread to homes, then the introduction of TV in the 1950s, the first supermarkets in the 60’s, credit cards in the 1970s and later the Human Genome Project, computers and the internet. And of course I’ve seen all the less desirable things like the invention of plastic, the pollution of our oceans, air and land, wars, terrorism, global warming and mass extinctions. I wish I could add that equal rights for black people and equal pay for women were two important achievements I witnessed but sadly, they’re not. I hope they will be something you can claim in your lifetime.


I usually take a photo of myself on my birthday but this year I have this portrait my five year old granddaughter Eve gave me yesterday. I'm wearing my birthday crown so it suits this post more than anything I could create. Thank you Eve. xx

My life got better as I grew older. I met Hanno on my 28th birthday, I was 32 and 33 when our sons were born. I was 49 when we came to live in our home here and 55 when I gave up work and suddenly discovered a unique way of looking at life. I was 59 when I started blogging, 60 when I spent all my time working in my home and in the community as volunteer coordination of our local Neighbourhood Centre. I was 63 when I became a grandma for the first time, 64 when Down to Earth was published as a hard cover, 68 when The Simple Home was published and 70 when I was diagnosed with a non-malignant brain tumour. Paperback Down to Earth came along when I was 72.

Life has been up and down with many of the everyday traumas and worries most of us experience but through it all I always worked towards the next goal and consciously strived to remain helpful, generous, respectful and kind. Then Covid changed the world in ways that truly shocked me. The world changed, cities emptied, shops, universities and schools closed, travel stopped, borders closed and we couldn’t attend ordinary family events such as weddings, births and funerals. Loved ones died alone, weddings were postponed but happily the babies kept coming. We had to wear masks when we went out, we couldn’t touch our friends and relatives, and millions of people lost their jobs. I NEVER thought I’d ever see anything like it.

I believe the world will never be the same after Covid and sadly, that the opportunity to change the problematic way we live, will not be realised. I doubt Covid will be eradicated. I think it will be yet another disease we’ll have to be vaccinated for every year. My focus now is to encourage my grandchildren to learn traditional skills that will help them survive if things get worse.

But having said all that, I’m happier now than I’ve ever been. I know that is because of the choices I’ve made along the way and because of the incredible family I am surrounded by. But it also shows that even when a catastrophe stops life as we know it, the joy of simple living remains and by working quietly and slowly in our own homes, we can adapt and thrive. And it doesn’t take much for that to happen - a family and friends, seeds and a place to grow them, knowing how to cook, preserve and store food, being able to mend, sew, knit and make what you need, and the skills to look after yourself and what you have. They’re all simple but significant skills that you weave into a way of life that will be held strong and unshakable by the values you live by. And on this 73rd birthday, I’m very thankful I know that. 

💜 💚 💜

57 comments

  1. Good morning Rhonda,
    Happy, happy birthday dear lady, I hope you have a lovely day with your family and good food on the table. I love the summary of your life speckled with happiness, achievements and some sadness too, for the world that our children have inherited. But we’ve changed the way we live, helped along by voices like yours to turn your thoughts to your home, to turn down the commercial noise in our lives and live more simply. Thank you, I could hear you talking to me while I was reading this post, this morning at 5.45. Have a wonderful day. Kindest regards, Fiona.

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  2. Happy birthday Rhonda. And thank you for all your informative blogposts. Best wishes.

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  3. A very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you dear Rhonda! When you list your many milestones it makes me realise how long I've been here in the background absorbing your words. I remember when Jamie was born, I remember the creation of the forums (actually I remember before the forums existed 😉) I remember a post you wrote the year you turned 64, I believe you quoted the song 'When I'm 64'. So many enriching years! I hope you day is filled with family, friends and those simple pleasures we all treasure.
    All the best
    Cassandra xx

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  4. Happiest of Birthdays Dear Rhonda! Thank you for all you do to make simplicity so enjoyable. I love your blog and books, and hope you have many, many happy birthdays to come! Donna xo

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  5. Happy Happy Birthday!! 73 years old... a milestone marker for sure and what a testimony to a wonderful life well-lived. May you have many more birthdays to enjoy and to make your mark on this earth. Sincerely~ Andrea xoxoxo

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  6. Happy 73rd Birthday Rhonda and I love the Birthday picture. Loved seeing your timeline written out like this too. Yes COVID sure has shaken the world and when my kids [17 and 15] are grown up with kids of their own at school they will learn about COVID and how the world shut down, planes did not fly, people stayed at home...sounds so very strange even though here in Australia we are so lucky. Enjoy your Birthday today and I'm so glad I found your blog via an article you wrote in Burkes Back Yard Magazine I think it was around January 2010 I found your blog and have been following you ever since. Have a great day. Kathy A, Brisbane

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  7. A very happy birthday to you, Rhonda! Love Eve's drawing of you wearing your birthday crown. 👑 In your reflections today, I sensed your genuine contentment and happiness with your life and home and family and I think that's a wonderful way to be.
    MegXx

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  8. Happy birthday! What an encouragement your blog is to many to love life and home!

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  9. A beautifully written tribute to celebrate your Birthday. Happy Birthday Rhonda! Eve's picture is priceless. Enjoy your celebration 🎉

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  10. Happy birthday to you hope, you have a brilliant day and will be surrounded by your loved ones.

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  11. Happy birthday and thank you for another great post. Elaine S. Cornwall, UK.

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  12. Happy birthday Rhonda. Hope you continue your life in relatively good health surrounded by family, friends and home. Sometimes I think nothing compares really. Celebrate well. Like everyone here, I hope to continue reading your words of wisdom for a while yet.

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  13. Well HAPPY BIRTHDAY Rhonda! I'm only 8 years behind you (and catching up fast - I swear!). May you have many, many more and thank you so much for being here online. I live in the States and it so nice to "visit" you vicariously through the Internet.

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  14. Happy Birthday Rhonda!
    What a beautiful post. You had a profound impact on my life when I stumbled across your blog when I was in the midst of raising babies and toddlers, at around 27 years of age. Now at 35, your books and words of wisdom continue to ground me, remind me what truly matters when I sometimes stumbled off the track on my simple living journey. I can only hope to be as content with life as you are at the age of 73. I hope you have a wonderful day. Blessings, Jade

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  15. Happy Birthday Rhonda, thanks for all that you have shared with us over the years. I've been here since the beginning and found your advice and guidance so very helpful when my children were small.
    That picture is perfect, I love that you are winking.
    cheers Kate

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  16. Happiest birthday wishes to you. May you have a wonderful day. Thank you for another post. Pauline S.

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  17. Rhonda, Happy Birthday. I just sat down to email you but will leave a comment here instead as you have mentioned your birthday. As we were born in the same year we have seen the same changes in our world and haven't some of them been amazing...others not so good. You are so fortunate to have had a good man by your side all these years and a loving family to support you not to mention a lovely bundle of black hair who keeps you both entertained. Give Gracie a hug for me. Have a wonderful day!

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  18. Well said, Rhonda. You have lived a remarkable life, and helped so many people. This virus has been quite a shock and game changer. It reminds me so much of the early days of AIDS. I love the portrait that Eve drew. It's sweet.

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  19. Happy Birthday Rhonda and thank you for your wisdom today and many days. As Jade said...your wisdom continues to ground me. On the hard or chaotic days in life I can see calm and order in my house..and think 'I've got this'...mostly thanks to you. Have a great day!

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  20. Happy birthday Rhonda!
    Thank you for the gift of this post, and all your posts. They’re fabulous, as are you birthday queen!
    Xo

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  21. Happy birthday, Rhonda!

    I am interested to hear what you did in your first 28 years too!

    I remember you said you lived in Germany for awhile?

    Hope you have a great day!

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  22. Happy birthday Rhonda. 73 years young. Enjoy your day with your beautiful family. Enjoyed reading about your reflections. I wonder what the next 20 years will bring.

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  23. Happy Birthday!!!!! Many more!

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  24. Happiest of days to the one who brings so much joy to others. How we love you!

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  25. Happy Birthday, Rhonda! Your birthday portrait is beautiful :)

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  26. Happy Birthday, Rhonda! I hope you have a wonderful day with your family.
    You have been such a blessing over the years.

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  27. Happy birthday Rhonda. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas with us, much appreciated.

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  28. Rhonda, I have followed you for many years and each blog has been a joy to read. Thank you for many years of sharing your knowledge and many more to come. I wish you the happiest of birthdays! Your granddaughter draws better than I do. I love that she drew you winking.

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  29. Happy Birthday Rhonda!I have followed you for more than ten years and you helped me so much in every aspect of my life.
    Hilde in Germany

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  30. Happy birthday. Thanks for you do.
    KJ

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  31. Wow, fantasic ,I wish you a lot of health,joy every single day, happiness and beautiful life, greetings from anna

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  32. Happy birthday Rhonda.
    A beautiful post of life and encouragement. Thank you
    Karen. NZ

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  33. The warmfireplaceApril 15, 2021 4:23 pm

    Happy birthday rhonda, your posts and books are such an inspiration. Sue

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  34. Happiest of birthdays to you Rhonda . Hope you have oodles of fun.

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  35. Happy Birthday Rhonda, I hope you have a lovely day. Eve's card is adorable, and I love that she has got you winking :-)

    It seems an awful lot of us bloggers are born in April, I know of at least a dozen, myself included, it's my 61st on 19th ... and yes we have lived through such a lot of changes haven't we, who would have thought of the internet and me leaving a birthday wish for someone on the other side of the world that she could see in seconds back, when we were babies.

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  36. A very happy birthday to you Ronda. I’m the same age as you, 1947 instead of 1948. Everything you have said about the changes we have seen in our 73 years resonates with me. Some good, some bad but life is what you make it. I always think that if we all look our family and friends it leads to a better world. Enjoy your celebrations.

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  37. Sending birthday blessings across the globe to you, my dear Rhonda. You have inspired me in so many ways and I feel a kindred connection to you that is unexplainable. Your life's work has nurtured so many. I hope your day is all that you desire. Cheers!

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  38. Have the happiest of days and a wonderful year ahead! 🎂🥂🎁

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  39. Happy birthday, and thank you, so much.

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  40. Happy 73rd birthday Rhonda! It is wonderful that you can reflect on a life well lived. May you continue to be blessed living your life just the way you want it. Many thanks for all you do xxx

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  41. Happy Birthday Rhonda! You make all our lives richer with your blog. Thank you so much for showing us a way to be happier in a simple life! All the best to you!! -Suzanne

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  42. Happy Birthday. I can say, without exaggeration, that you are an inspiration.

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  43. Happy Birthday Rhonda 🥳
    You are such an inspiration to me.
    I hope that you have had a wonderful day! Love your granddaughters picture.
    /Malin

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  44. Happy birthday Rhonda! I hope you have a wonderful day-
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge of simple living-
    Blessings to you and your family!
    Jane

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  45. Happy Birthday Ronda! That is a lovely look back, and inspiring too! Blessings to you!

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  46. Happy Birthday... and many more of them

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  47. Belated Happy Birthday wishes Rhonda! Looks as if you had a lovely day and wishing you many more of them.

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  48. Amen! I have been doing some reflecting myself these past few weeks, and see similar things and needs. I am a traditional basket maker, a skill I am learning is mostly on the east coast of the USA and becoming few. While I live in the mountains of Colorado, many people have never even heard of the idea of making your own basket, or toys or any type of family get together that doesn't involve a device. I love stirring memories in folks with some "wisdom" in their hair - like, remember when the flash cubes on cameras where only good for 4 pictures as they turned? Or the flash bars that snapped on and gave us 12 pictures with a flash? Things move so quickly today, people are forgetting those traditional ways, and simple things. I am seeing now, it is so important to share what we do, no matter how simple. Thank you for sharing and I wish you a blessed birthday!
    ~Dee

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  49. The happiest of birthdays to you, dear Rhonda! I wish you many more years of robust good health. It is wonderful to think that you have made the world a better place, one reader at a time. The ripples of your writing will be felt for many years to come - I know my children are positively impacted by what I've learnt from you, even if they don't realise it yet. And that will trickle down to their children, and so on.

    Madeleine.xx

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  50. I am sorry I have missed your birthday. It sounds like an ideal gentle sort of birthday. Happy birthday.

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  51. What a beautiful and inspiring post! Happy Belated Birthday!

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  52. Aunt Diane from StreatorApril 16, 2021 10:00 pm

    Our family celebrates “Birthday Weeks”, so still wishing you a Happy Birthday! The kids have come up with names, such as “Jim Fest”, “Daniel-palooza”, “Lizgiving”. So happy to have found your blog. I’m always quoting my “Australian Friend”, Rhonda. I’m a better me, because of you!

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  53. A very Happy belated Birthday Rhonda Jean. Many happy, healthy returns 💐

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  54. This post was simply marvelous. Happy birthday to you. You have been a tremendous source of inspiration to me over the years, from way across the world. This past year has been so surprising to me and so very hard for so many. I am thankful for being here and all that I have--including you, who reminds me of that.

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  55. Happy Belated Birthday Rhonda, such a lovely post. I love your portrait from your granddaughter, you should frame it!

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  56. Belated birthday wishes Rhonda, wishing you a wonderful year ahead.

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