Comfort and function and how I get there

15 July 2022

Things are going well here. I'm slowly working through a few projects, sorting through things I no longer need or want and each day I look back on what I've done to help create a future so different to the one I thought I'd live. It's amazing how many things I had here that just sat in a drawer or cupboard, had no purpose and just took up space. What I'm doing now should have been done years ago. Every day I declutter, the happier and more satisfied I feel.



My goal is to keep the comfortable and functional feel of my home without stripping it bare or throwing out things I'll need in the future. I brought a little trolley inside and when I fill it, I leave it for 24 hours before the items are placed in the rubbish bin, the recycle bin or given to someone I know. So far this is working well and I've retrieved only two things from the trolley and kept them.  I'll never have a minimalistic home, I love my home but I want to rid myself of things that weigh me down: old clothes, books and the appliances and items that helped me do the work I once did. I'm still living simply but I'm no longer making bread because I've found an excellent ancient grains loaf at my local bakery that serves me well. It takes about 10 days to eat one loaf. I no longer make my soap but I'm still making laundry liquid. I no longer preserve as much in jars as I did in the past but I'm still making bread and butter cucumbers, tomato relish, chilli jam, and a variety of fruit cordials. So my Fowlers preserving equipment is gone but I still have a good range of jars and bottles.



Here's my new kettle - low tech and pretty. When I found the one I wanted, I looked for the best price - I got this one at Peters of Kensington for $54 reduced from $100.

I want to use everything in my home. I don't want to keep too many things that aren't functional. To help with that aim, I've moved most of my "good dinner set" from the dresser to the drawer under the stove. The Villeroy and Boch Petite Fleur set that Hanno gave me for my 50th birthday is now used every day.  I did reverse the trend though because I bought a new kettle. My old one had been very dodgy for months. Some days it would work, some days I wouldn't. It went to the bin early last week when I had visitors and it wouldn't turn on to make coffee. 😑 I replaced it with an on-stove old fashioned kettle.



It may not look it but I've decluttered the kitchen too. Lots of glasses, plates, mugs, a slow cooker, bread machine, pots and pans have been recycled. This kitchen is 25 years old, we ripped out the old kitchen when we came here. I designed this kitchen and we got a local cabinet maker to make and install it.  It's seen thousands of meals produced and it's still a great place to work.



This is the first drawer under the stove - easy to reach when cooking. 


I'm also concentrating on building safety into my new life. As I'll be alone a lot of the time, I decided to buy an Apple watch (second hand) which will help me if I fall. The watch can detect hard falls and when it does will it will either ask: "Did you fall?" or show it on the watch screen and if you choose or say "yes", the watch will dial 000 for an ambulance to come and help you. If you don't reply after a fall, it will dial 000 immediately. The other day I was cleaning some mats on the back verandah and I was dropping a mat on its side to remove dirt and my watch asked if I'd fallen. I must have been holding the mat edge as it hit the cement. But all I had to do was say "no" and everything continued on as normal.


We also have these motion sensor night lights, Hanno bought them about 18 months ago. They're great if you wake up to go to the toilet and don't want to turn on a bright light. They're battery operated and you position them around the house in places you walk at night. We have one in the bedroom so when someone starts moving in the middle of the night, it turns itself on. It's a very soft light not like an overhead light. They're also helpful when visitors stay overnight and don't know where the lights are if they go to the toilet in the middle of the night. As soon as they open the bedroom door, the light comes on. We have them in the bathrooms and all along the corridors. You can buy them at Bunnings, Etsy and Amazon. Batteries last a long time. In the 18 months we've had ours, I've replaced the batteries once.


For those of you who ask about Gracie, here she is sitting on her new outdoor bed. She went through a stage of wandering around looking for Hanno but now she just follows me everywhere.  When I sit on the front verandah having tea, reading or listening to the radio, she's always with me. We're having a very cold winter this year so I gave her this little sponge mattress to sit on. Usually she lays on it but here's an unusual sight - Gracie sitting down.  She usually stands or lays down with her legs pushed out the back. She is such a cute and tender soul. I don't know what I'd do without her now.

I've been gardening this week too. I've planted lettuce, radishes, pansies, yarrow and penstemons, moved my Welsh onions and some roses and pulled out a lot of oregano that was taking over the herb garden.  Today I'll be adding more manure and organic fertiliser, watering and filling my new garden waste bin with clippings piled high by Tricia when she was here. It's a bit odd going into July without our big vegetable garden, it's was a big part of our lives for years, but it feels right to be keeping a small number of plants and growing all the herbs I eat.

The main thing is that I feel okay and optimistic. I want to keep working at maintaining my simply life. I never want to be sitting at the computer or watching TV all day.  What a waste! I want to live, not just watch others live. It's important for me to connect to you via my blog because it keeps me writing and provides the best record of my life as it is now. Blogs will become more frequent but I won't return to daily blog posts or the Weekend Reading list.  Instead, I'll write when I have something to say and drop in interesting links if and when I find them.  Like these:

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. ♥️


71 comments

  1. I'm glad you have Gracie.

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  2. sounds like you are doing really well, all things considered Rhonda, making some very wise choices and decisions for yourself as you move into this new time in your life.
    I can only imagine how much Gracie brings to your life. A loyal companion.
    cheers Kate

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  3. Hi Rhonda, I’m glad to hear you’re doing well. Decluttering feels great and I agree with you that there is so much we can live without. I’ve given lots of things away to young people who seem to be quite delighted with them and I am just glad to know that they have found good homes. I have always liked your Villeroy and Boch China and what a lovely 50th birthday present. I’m glad to hear about Gracie, too, I thought she would be missing Hanno. You are very lucky to have each other.

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  4. Thank you for your post Rhonda. That kettle looks good. And good on you for decluttering regularly. Best wishes from Tassie. Jeanette

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  5. A very nice "catch up" post. I love hearing about what you are up to. I, too, am trying to weed out unused, unwanted items and to downsize our "stuff" but still keep our home cozy and welcoming. Minimalism is not for me!

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  6. Hi Rhonda glad to hear you are going ok ,I love your beautiful kitchen and how cute is little Gracie,take care lovely lady πŸ’•πŸ€πŸ’•

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  7. Nice to hear from you Rhonda. Your posts are always thought provoking and somewhat calming. To me anyway. After your last post I picked up my knitting needles and started on some dish clothes. The needles have been idle for a few years and the old clothes are now shabby. Knitting slows the brain and calms the mind. Just what I need some days. Thanks for making the effort to blog. Donna. Donnasbackyardfarm.

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  8. Thank you for sharing your update on how you are refashioning and readjusting your day life. Some of us are in a new chapter of our lives too and it's inspiring and helps our adjustment to hear about yours. We are thinking of you and holding you and Gracie in our hearts. I love that you are choosing to build a new chapter, rather than watch others build theres. ❤️

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  9. It’s inspiring that you seek to continue to live simply, clearing g the clutter and keeping those things that make you happy or are useful. I know that’s not an easy task. What I LOVE is you are using your china daily. Beautiful and a lovely way to honor your beloved.

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  10. Hi Rhonda, thanks for the update, it's good to know that you are OK after everything that's happened lately. I really enjoyed the read & look forward to your next blog. Take care dear friend x

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  11. Your new kettle is beautiful and fits right into your kitchen, Rhonda. Last week I made your impossible quiche for the first time. I usually make quiches with homemade pastry so I was pleasantly surprised by how quick and easy it was to make impossible quiche. It was delicious—thank you for the recipe.

    With love from,
    Kelly (Mrs. Kiwi)

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  12. Rhonda I really look forward to your posts and updates and I am so pleased you are doing well πŸ™‚

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  13. Rhonda, I can imagine Gracie would have been looking for Hanno everywhere at first. What a sweetie she is and such a good companion for you now.

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  14. Rhonda thank you for sharing some of your life changes with us. You inspire me and I love your posts which are so peaceful and calming. πŸ™πŸΌπŸ’–. MabelGrey

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  15. I found reading that post very soothing Rhonda ... I often wonder how you doing and I was so pleased that you updated us on your beautiful Gracie too, thank goodness you got her when you did. I'm doing some very similar work around my own home, de-cluttering is so good for the soul, light gardening too and I recall a post of yours from a few years ago about how to store some larger pieces of baking equipment on their sides for easier access and I will be doing that soon. XXX

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  16. Your new kettle is just beautiful! Goes perfectly with your kitchen.

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  17. Good to hear that you are getting on with life. I am so glad you have Gracie to keep you company. I love the idea of that apple watch. I did not know there was a fall function built into them.

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  18. Thank you, you help me feel less stress about my future. My husband is very sick and I need to have strategies in place about coping with change.

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  19. I'm glad to hear you're going so well Rhonda, your positive, common sense attitude is really inspiring ❤️

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  20. You have been busy Rhonda! Huge effort doing the sorting and clearing . It definitely gives you a feeling of calm . Love the night lights . Our son has round ones that work brilliantly when they’re up for midnight baby feeds .

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  21. Dear Rhonda, it is lovely to read how your days are progressing and that you are finding a new quiet rhythm in your days.
    Anna X

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  22. You have a beautiful, beautiful kitchen! And I love your new tea kettle.

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  23. Rhonda, as always it is so lovely to hear you are doing well and adapting to your new life with a sense of optimism. Getting and apple watch is such a genius idea. My great Aunt recently had a fall and it was only that she was wearing her vital call around her neck that she was able to get help- without it she would have ended up seriously ill or worse.

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  24. Hi Rhonda. I’m new to your blog and interested in the changes you will
    make living on your own. I live on my own as well. I wondered about buying a Breadmaker but it didn’t seem worthwhile for one person.

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  25. So lovely to hear from you beautiful lady xx

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  26. It's good to 'hear' you, Rhonda, and I'm so glad you have Gracie, and that she has you. xx

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  27. What a wonderful activity to aid in your comfort. I'm afraid I will have to steal the idea of the beadboard cabinet fronts. It would be perfect in our kitchen. So lovely.

    Grateful that you have your sweet Gracie to keep you company. Kudos for adding those safety features. Great ideas, all!

    May God bless and keep you.

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    1. I'm sure they'll look great in your kitchen too, Daisy. xx

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  28. I always learn something from your blog. Thank you for this post, it is good to hear that you and Gracie are well

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  29. I love your new kettle, Rhonda! I've used a simple stove kettle for most of my adult life. I do have an electric kettle that we use when we travel but at home I use a stove kettle.

    I've been going through things and decluttering too. And it does feel so freeing. My kids are growing up and leaving (two are getting married in the next 11 months) so there's no need for me to keep some of what we have. It's time to pass it on and bless others with it.

    I'm glad you're doing well and sharing. As always, it's an inspiration to me.

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  30. It sounds like your life is humming right along, Rhonda, and I'm glad for you. If you've been reading my blog you know that we've been doing the grand "simplification project" since early this spring... getting rid of anything that isn't useful or that doesn't bring joy. Lots and lots of very hard decisions had to be made and my heart strings feel just about worn out. My great-grandmother's 150-year-old (at least) chair went to the church resale shop and we had 3 garage sales, with lots going to Goodwill also. Many sentimental things were burned in a burn barrel here on our property and the ashes scattered on the land, to go back to the earth from which they came. The project was exhausting but the first phase of it is finished. So I'm right there with you. Carry on... ~Andrea xoxo

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  31. Hello Rhonda, it is inspiring to read what questions you asked yourself as you were pairing down your kitchen. Sometimes it seems so simple, but now that I am post-menop. my thoughts are often cloudy. Gracie is so sweet, I just love updates of what she is up to. Peace be with you,Dee

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  32. Such a wonderful post. Thank you for the links. The watch sounds very effective.
    Great to see Gracie again. So comforting to have such a loving dog.
    Have a good weekend ❤❤❤

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  33. I am happy to hear that you are doing well. I am also happy about the smart watch as being able to get help saved my Mom's life after a fall two years ago.

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  34. Thank you for this post. I always enjoy reading what you have to say, Rhonda. Terribly sorry about Hanno's passing, but glad you have your family and little Gracie. I think many of us can learn from your experiences of sorting and sifting through our homes, as well as our lives. Constant change, eh?

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  35. I haven't commented before but always read your blog posts and wanted to say how much I appreciate your writing and your wisdom. You are a true inspiration. Thank you so much.

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  36. I am sure you miss your husband desperately. Love your posts. But I love the apple watch idea for Hubs mom. She is 94 and took a bad fall recently. This is the perfect solution.

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    1. Thank you. You need an iphone to operate an Apple watch but if you have an android phone, you can buy an android watch. My sister has one. I certainly feel safe here with my watch and Gracie. I hope your MIL is recovering nicely.

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  37. Lovely post as always, dear Rhonda. I am a USA follower, and you don't know me...but I feel as though we are friends. You are an inspiration, and I admire your pushing through adversity and sorrow to make a new chapter of life for yourself. I am sure Gracie brings joy to your days. Thinking of you--- Jane in Florida

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  38. You have a beautiful kitchen to work in, and I do love your new kettle. I'm repeating other comments, but I do congratulate you on getting your apple watch. I live on my own and you have given me a gentle reminder re our safety. from Jean, Brisbane. I love reading your blog. Thinking of you ❤️

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    1. Hello Jean and thank you. I know of two ladies in the late 70s-early 80s who both died after falling in the past two weeks. One was found after three days with a body temperature of 27C and one after two days. They worked out the time since they fell by looking at when they stopped taking their medications. You need an iphone to operate an Apple watch but if you have an android phone, you can buy an android watch. My sister has one.

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  39. Great to hear how you are moving forward and your optimism and good sense as you do so. Gracie is a little darling, I'm glad you have her company.

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  40. Great tips here as always Rhonda! - Liz www.eight-acres.com.au

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  41. Hi Rhonda, how lovely it is that Gracie follows you around. She must be such a comfort to you. We are thinking of getting a dog soon as my teenage daughter suffers from anxiety and I think having the unconditional love of a dog would help her. I am thankful for your wonderful blog. Take care
    Anna x

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    1. Hello Anna. I think a dog would be a wonderful addition to your family. I don't know you or your daughter but I can tell you with certainty, I doubt I'd be feeling as optimistic and ready to move forward if I didn't have Gracie here with me. Small terriers are a good choice. They're controllable on a lead, don't eat too much, have an inbred love for their family and will bond with one person given half a chance. I send love to you and your daughter.

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  42. Hi Rhonda, I’m feeling it’s time to pare down some things that are no longer in use here for us. We have both had the flu this winter and the weariness has stayed with us now for weeks. I find I take longer to do my housework and I plan to do so much more than I actually accomplish. Having said that, I’m feeling good about the future in this home. Making it safe is a good plan. You’re sounding really positive Rhonda even though you must miss your lovely Hanno. Have a blessed week.

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  43. Nice to hear from you πŸ™‚

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  44. Hi Rhonda I LOVE LOVE LOVE your kettle. Years ago I had a gas stove and had one of those kettles you put on the stove and whistled when it was ready. I loved it and yours is so pretty. The motion sensor lights sound like a great idea having them. Also your apple watch with a fall sensor these are things you have to have for your safety and as long as you wear it all the time too. Glad you are planting a small veggie garden of things you use. As for oregano you can't kill that plant. Mine always takes over the veggie garden and I have to cut it back. That and rosemary are the same. Using the good china, removing things that you no longer use but once used would be very therapeutic too. Have a good week. Kathy A, Brisbane

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  45. Hello Rhonda, you are sounding peaceful and steady. It must take some work to adapt to your new life without Hanno. Most glad that you have your constant companion at your side. I often think that it is amazing how we love a little creature so different from us and how they love us back unconditionally.
    That is a pretty kettle and I also do like your dinner set. I am using very fine cut glass glasses in the kitchen, no point in them just sitting unused.
    I am lucky that some of my younger generation cousins love family heirlooms, so I have passed some items to them.
    Keep looking after yourself, love Jude xx
    ( anonymous keeps appearing although I am logged into to Goggle)

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  46. So glad that you are keeping busy. My mother always felt that the way to survive was to keep moving. She also pared down after my dad passed away. She just didn’t need as much stuff. Nice that you have Gracie to keep you company. I really like the nightlights. I have never seen any that were battery operated. Since plugins are always at a premium those are a really nice idea. Nancy in the Pacific Northwest, I could get myself logged. For some reason Blogger just doesn’t cooperate.

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  47. Happy to hear that you and Gracie are going well. It's always good to hear from you Rhonda

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  48. Hello Rhonda,
    Lovely to read your news and pleased to see that you are keeping busy with Gracie as your loyal companion. They are so special at times like this. Decluttering is a task that I seem to be putting off but I know that I must get down to it sometime soon. The idea of the watch that you are wearing is very sensible. I can imagine it also puts your families minds at ease. Have a good week.

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  49. You really do seem to be doing so well with getting on with your simple life. I agree that as we age, no matter what. we must simplify. I am a minimalist for the most part but I do still declutter routinely things that I'm no longer using. I'm going to check on the iPhone watch. I havent had any type of fall but better to be safe than sorry. I also think its great you're able to be realistic about things like preserving, bread making etc, and keeping it current with how your life is now. The tea kettle is a wonderful color and that china( my weakness) is beautiful.

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  50. Good to hear from you, Rhonda. Looks like Gracie is doing well; I know what you mean about decluttering and giving old things up. I just went through a cupboard and although there was not a lot to get rid of, the act was quite cleansing and I am going to go through a few more now. Your kitchen looks great.

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  51. So glad to see that you and Gracie are plowing on in your new normal. What wonderful lessons you share with us all!

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  52. The decluttering seems to be a constant here as stages of life change and things I once used almost daily I find I don’t use anymore.
    I was not aware that the Apple Watch had a fall feature, good to know. I’m certain Gracie knows that Hanno expects her to watch out for you and she will do so very well.

    I’m glad the “special” dishes are being used daily, every day is special.

    Whenever you post I will be happy to read. Your schedule is your own and we are all blessed to get a little glimpse of things.

    Take good care.

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  53. Hi Rhonda, I am very proud of you for pushing on! I took care of both my mom and moved my dad in with me 3 years after mom died and took care of him. I found the hardest thing was not the grieving as much as staying active and busy and keeping in touch with friends. It is good to see you keeping busy with the things you love. And I so agree with decluttering after a major change. I have been working on decluttering (mine, mom's and dad's stuff) for almost 2 years now. Every time I think I am finished I find another layer of stuff that needs to go!

    I love your idea of motion detectors!! I am also "old lady proofing" my home so I can stay here the rest of my life. This is a great idea as I tend to not sleep well and roam around at night. I went to Amazon and began researching them immediately.

    Keep on keeping on Rhonda. Jackie M

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  54. Hi Rhonda, It's great to hear that you are doing so well. I love your new tea kettle; I noticed it right away. Your kitchen is so pretty...you designed it so well. Glad that Gracie is at your side. The Smart Watch sounds like a wise thing to have.

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  55. Hi Rhonda, thankyou for the update. You are often in my thoughts, these last few weeks especially. It's lovely to hear how you are moving forward in the vastly changed landscape of life. Much love

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  56. Hello Rhonda! I'm so happy to see you're still positive, and I think the changes you made years ago are helping you today to live this new life without Hanno .Decluttering is our big project for the coming months. You say you have a very cold winter, and in France we have a heat wave ! more than 41° announced today and we have three of your grandchildren at home ...
    Have a good week

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  57. Hi Rhonda, I never knew Apple watches had these functions. Very useful to know as I know many older people living at home. I love your photos as they are so pretty and Gracie is adorable. I've been watching Nami's Life on Youtube that you recommended last year. It's been a revelation to see how she lives day to day on her own, making the most of each moment. Thank you so much for writing about the changes you are making in your life. I feel Hanno is still smiling as you write and post. Thank you for sharing with us. xx

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  58. Hi Ronda, Your kitchen looks so clean, tidy ,bright and inviting. Love the new kettle! After following you for a long time years ago I switched to electric tea kettles and I love them. For me they seem to heat the water faster (maybe because you don’t need to always fill the “stove kettle” so full? Anyway I do love the look of a kettle sitting on the stove…have a great day!

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  59. Rhonda you are an inspiration! You are taking control of your new life and making it work as well as you can, for you. Hanno would be so proud of you. I can only imagine how much you are missing him but keeping busy and making plans is a positive way to cope with it all. I'm in awe of you, but not at all surprised. Your can do , get up and on with what has to be done attitude has always been one of the things we admire about you. Decluttering is on my list too. My youngest chick has fledged and flown all the way from Ireland to Canada so it all change here too.

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  60. Hi Rhonda, thanks for the inspiring update. I will be fully retired in a few weeks and plan on making decluttering my focus for quite some time! Have been in our home for 44 years and inherited 3 households along the way so lots of stuff! I am glad you have Gracie to keep you company, looking forward to your next post already. Love the new kettle!

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  61. Rhonda, I am very grateful that you continue to share your life. What happens in your daily life is important to many of us who are having a similar experience. Thank you!

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  62. Great to know that about Apple watches; plus the small easily doable things to aide safety around the home!
    My dear friend lost her husband early June and she has been doing exactly what you have been doing; decluttering and reorganising things to work better for her now she’s in her own. I directed her to your blog and Instagram account yesterday…
    An earlier comment echoed my thoughts regarding your writings….‘I feel so blessed to have found your blog…..cherish your point of view….always encouraging and giving me peace in the journey to self reliance…’ much love xxxx

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  63. I've decluttered as I grew older. Your cute dog.....I always tell my husband that if he goes first, our dog would be very sad (we don't have the dog anymore though). I can't imagine how sad I will be and I feel it is a hard fact of life to take. But we have to trust in God. Your kitchen is beautiful. Contentment is in the home and homemaking and we must cling to that and of course you have your kids and grandkids that love you so. Andrea

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  64. How great to see you writing again! Have two of your books and am a long time blog reader. I was sad to hear that Hanno has passed. But to everything there is a season, now at age 67 I know that to be very true. I have a visual that I use in my life, the visual of being a salmon swimming in a river, swimming beside my husband. Now at age 67 (and 74 for my husband) we are on the upstream trip, and I know I can’t control what we each face on our swim upstream, we can only do the best each moment. I wish you all the best! Thank you for your writing. Hilogene in Arizona.

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  65. Tracy (Sukayna)July 21, 2022 9:44 pm

    So pleased to see you back at decluttering, organising and living fully. I find things are much easier to keep tidy as I continually reassess the clutter in our home, questioning purchases in the first place, and re-purposing things. It's a delicate balance, isn't it? We have those night-lights built into the main hall, originally when children were younger, for similar ease and safety. I'm really happy to see you back here, in whatever capacity suits you. Much love from my family to yours.

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  66. Hi Rhonda thank you so much for your wise words and optimism they are, as always, inspiring. I am travelling an unexpected path in my life and your words help me to believe each step each day i can build the life i want even if its not the one i thought it would be

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