A couple of days ago I attended an online blogging workshop which was ran by Rhonda from Down to Earth. My blog may have been up and running quite a while now, but I sit firmly in the camp of small time blogger. I'm also
The workshop was very helpful. We received a clearly written file, with screenshots and tips regarding many of the ins and outs of setting up a blog from the very beginning. There was also an online small group skype chat where we talked and discussed these things together. It was so lovely to speak face to face. To hear voices, and see faces - its nearly as good as being in person! If this course is offered again, and you’re interested in starting a blog, or perhaps have one but have lots of questions then I really recommend you go along.
I came away with a better understanding of some of the features of blogger, which was great. Though I still have no Pinterest pin in my sidebar after trying again for the 548th time. I have a link, but no pretty picture. (Ha, but I WILL get there, statistically speaking the odds are really coming into my favour now....yes?)
But I came away with a renewed love for the generosity of the simple living blogging world. The bloggers who line up their side bars with blogs they read, to try and give traffic to to others. The knowledge readily shared to help others to live a simpler, greener lifestyle. The empowerment of people like Rhonda to help others start blogs and refine them. The visiting and the comments left behind by readers who share their lives and thoughts. It's a special corner of the internet, and I am thankful to be here.
Can you remember a time where we would have all had to buy a magazine to read an article, or go to the library to find out information, or even buy a book? Now sure, we can still do all those things, especially if we want to cover a specialist topic. But we can also go on line and look into to other worlds, to read, to be encouraged, to learn. It’s amazing, isn’t it?
Encouragement and thankfulness, they are powerful things, aren’t they?
Excuse me whilst I diverge a bit - I’ll come back I promise...The other day I received an essay back from college. I had worked very hard on it but only received 73% which is a very high credit, a distinction is 75%. I was, however disappointed. But then I got to the comments. You see, I am learning a new writing style whilst studying theology, and I am only a couple of subjects into the degree. It’s quite different from my previous science degree. Each essay I get stronger, but I know I can do better, and most importantly I want to do better. My lectuer's comments were encouraging and helpful. She recognized I was trying hard, and that I had the potential to help me bump up my writing without too much trouble. So, she kindly offered to meet with me for a one-on-one to help me tackle the problems I am having, and bring a fresh light upon them. I am so grateful for the people willing to support and share their knowledge in this world.
The power of encouragement....I was left to ponder what I would have thought if I got that essay back and not received the helpful feedback. If I had of worked extremely hard on an assignment to receive a grade lower then I was hoping for. If my lecturer had not spent the extra time to reach out and encourage me, to offer a little more guidance. Perhaps I would have been disappointed. Perhaps I would have wondered if I had reached my potential?
Encouragement - it’s important to give it, it’s important to receive it. It can absolutely change lives, it can change the path we are on. When we are encouraged to try something new, when we achieve success at something we have worked at. It’s the best feeling.
I think we all need to encourage those trying to live greener, to live more simply. All those little baby steps that people make. They are awesome! Got yourself some cloth bags for your shopping - good on you! Learning how to cook from scratch? Awesome! Feeling like you’re never going to master a new skill - do keep trying, its ok. We have all had disasters! Oh the disasters I have had.....I should share them here. Just for giggles.
The internet if full of curated photos, of the whole #simpleliving phenomenon. Some of it is wonderful and authentic. Some of it is not. But my encouragement to you, is don’t be dismayed by it. Look around your home and look at all you have. Start small, baby steps. A marathon is won by putting one foot in front of the other.
I’m not a minimalist, nor do I desire to be. But I love living in a house that suits our needs. Where we fit. Where we value the people who live here, more then the stuff that fills it. That things have a place and we can tidy them up pretty quickly.
I don’t cook absolutely everything from scratch - or I would never have time for anything else, and whilst I don’t mind cooking, my favourite part is the knowledge I am caring for my family, rather then the actual cooking process. It is not a deep-seated passion for me. I do it well enough, and happily enough, but I would never receive a Michelin star!
But my point is, we don’t have to do this simple living thing perfectly, meals don’t have to be Instagram ready. Its ok to potter along, trying, experimenting. Learning along the way. To reach out to others who are also trying to live simply. To bring encouragement to one another as we try to build lives that care for this planet we live on. What truly matters is that we give it a shot, that we consume mindfully, that we try and make choices that are better, that are greener. That we support ethical companies so they grow and can care more widely for the vulnerable. That when we stumble and eat take out for a week, or buy the crappy thing we go gently on ourselves. It achieves nothing to dwell on it. The quicker we accept it as a learning moment, the better we will be able to move forward to continue our own simple living path. Whatever that path looks like to you.