Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Place That Sustains You - Inspiration Thursday

"So how is happiness and joy found in the normal course of the everyday? Shhhh, it's a secret, but I'll let you in on it. It's found by slowing down, focusing on what you're doing, taking pride in a job well done, and repeating that on a daily basis."
"Making your home a place that sustains you and your family is one of the most important jobs you can do. Times are tough, there are all sorts of things going on in the world that are difficult to understand, but if you make your home a place that comforts, a place where you can relax and be your true self, a place where your children feel safe and warm, a place where you show your family the joy of living simply, then you are doing a really significant and essential job that takes the hard edge off the outside world." - Rhonda Hetzel, from Down To Earth
When I started reading blogs back in 2010 one of the very first that I encountered was Down to Earth.  It was just what I needed to find, too.  Rhonda has a gentle way of encouraging her readers to grow in simplicity in their own way, at their own pace, according to their own needs.  She encourages a gentle, slow life with an emphasis on the homemaker, the local economy, and general self-reliance.  She teaches people all around the world how worthwhile it can be to raise vegetables, make soap, conserve energy, keep chickens, knit on the back porch, bake bread, catch rainwater, shop locally, preserve fruits and veg, and on and on and on.   She made me see that we should speak with pride of the work we do at home--that canning, sewing, gardening, knitting and the like have a real value and that they provide a non-monetary income for our household.  
Each step I take towards the simple life is one step closer to freedom.  I don't need to buy chapstick.  I can make my own for pennies on the dollar.  I don't need to buy bread or breadcrumbs.  I can bake my bread with Montana-grown wheat and have it be tastier and cheaper, too, not to mention more rewarding.  I don't have to buy endless plastic bottles of chemically-laden hair conditioner.  I can use dilute apple cider vinegar from my bulk jug.  Every time I patch Matt's work pants it is money in the bank since we didn't have to go buy a new pair. Every batch of beer Matt brews saves us four to six dollars per six-pack and then we can reuse bottles over and over, too.  
This is our dream.  Not to make a million dollars working our way up some business ladder or to have big, new house full of shiny, new furnishings with two cars in the garage and the latest gadgets.  We aspire to work in and around our simple, little home actively engaged in the joyful acts of living a closer and richer life with the land and the people and animals that we share it with--a place which sustains us in every meaning of the word.  We want a small house and large veg garden with fruit trees and sprawling strawberry patches that fill our pantry and cold storage the year round.  We want to learn the skills necessary to work less and less outside of our home--and we already are, by Matt's shift to part-time in 2012.  We're working towards needing less money by working within our home rather than making more money working outside of it.  We want a home that is unit of production rather than a unit of consumption.  We realize this isn't the norm any more, but it is what feels right and makes sense to us.
We both get so much joy, pride, pleasure from the fruits of our labor at home.  They're so obvious, personal, transformative, and experiential.  Its the satisfaction of a dinner of homegrown veg with cloth napkins and a vase of bright flowers.  Its the rich brown compost that was formerly scraps and grass clippings. Its the heart-soaring joy on the face of my niece as Matt helps her to transplant seedlings.  Its the astonishing pleasure at that first taste of a seasonal vegetable that hasn't graced our plates in months. Its witnessing the mating song and flight of the merlins nesting two doors down while puttering about the yard.  Its the ability to give quality, homemade gifts which were crafted with love, not by machines or sweatshops.  Its watching a glorious sunset after a day of hard work with a happy satisfaction running through my entire body from a day well spent.  The simple life is the good life, if you ask me.

2 comments:

  1. I think it is becoming more the norm than it has been for decades. Yes there are some people that play at making bread or gardening, but play turns to real life. I should know, I used to play and now it is part of our every day life. Little steps and there is not so far to fall. So long as there are people like you showing the rest of the world that it can be done and it can be fun and it doesn't have to be hairshirts and gruel then there is always hope.

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  2. I love this post and thansk for sharing all your past links!

    San x

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Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas. I value the advice and friendship that you share with me!