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As I write this, I’m sitting in the passenger seat of our car heading back to Minnesota after a few days of holiday celebrations with family and friends in Wisconsin and Illinois. I spent a good part of the week writing this post in my head, procrastinating on it, mulling it over around and around in my mind. But if I’m being completely honest, I’ve been mulling over and procrastinating on this post for the better part of a year. It’s the post where I tell you that I have decided I am closing the invisible doors on Girl Versus Dough, because after seven and a half years, it is finally time.

It’s time for me to come to terms with the fact that I have been slowly losing my true passion for food blogging over the last 12 months, to admit to you all that my heart is just not in it anymore like it used to be. It’s time for me to stop resenting deadlines and client work and having my daughter at home on a work day, her little hands tugging on my pant leg while I’m standing on a step stool taking pictures of perfectly sliced bread, telling her, “Just one more minute, sweetie, just one more minute,” all the while feeling my frustrations build over her presence, the food’s presence, a looming deadline’s presence. I don’t want that for her. I don’t want that for me. And I don’t want you to come to a blog where I don’t write about what’s really going on behind the scenes, where the genuineness is lost and all that I give you is a shell of my self plus a recipe for bread or cookies. It’s not why I started this blog in the first place and it’s not how I want to end it. So I am closing the doors now before it gets there. It’s the right thing to do.

I won’t say this decision came lightly — in fact, I’ve spent many tear-filled moments wishing I was done with blogging, then even more tear-filled moments wishing I still loved it like I once did. To be fair, I still love coming up with recipes and creating them and sharing them — but I want to do more of it in real life, in person, with actual people at my kitchen table, not having to think about whether the food will photograph well or when I’ll have time to post about it. I feel like I haven’t had the energy or the desire to do that in so long because I’ve been working so hard on the blog. And beyond that, I haven’t been able to enjoy doing other things that I love, like writing for the sake of writing, or painting, or decorating, or going on dates with my husband, or taking my daughter to the zoo or the children’s museum or on play dates as often as I’d like — and especially doing so without feeling that nagging guilt that I should be working on my online business. For years my heart and my energies have been torn, and while this blog has provided so much to me and to my family, it’s also taken a lot away. And I just can’t do that anymore.

A quote from Shauna Niequist’s book, “Present Over Perfect” (which I HIGHLY recommend reading, especially if you’re finding yourself in a similar situation), sticks out to me as I embrace this new adventure of my life, where I seek to be more present in my offline life and to find out where my passions will take me next. She says, “The world will tell you how to live if you let it. Don’t let it. Take up your space. Raise your voice. Sing your song. This is your chance to make or remake a life that thrills you.” Her book celebrates a life filled with less stuff, but more meaning. Less hustle. More rest. Less travel. More presence. Less busyness and the celebrating of it. More love and deep-rooted connection with the very people under your own roof and in your surrounding community. You get the idea.

It’s exactly what I want for my life, now and in the future, as we prepare to bring another child into our world this April and build a family. I want my family to know me as someone who works hard for them but is always present, especially offline. I want to find myself again, too, and seek out what I really love. I love, love to write. Maybe I’ll write a book someday. Maybe I’ll volunteer more at our church. Maybe I’ll start a completely new business or project that will fascinate me like food blogging once did (I’m actually working on something now, but it is so raw and new and undeveloped that I’m not ready to share about it here. Someday, maybe). But I want to do it for me, wholly and whole-heartedly. I want to be vulnerable to the world in a new way, to see where it leads me, instead of slogging through each day doing what I think I’m “supposed to” be doing all for it to end with my head hitting the pillow in exhaustion and starting all over again the next morning, bright and early.

On a housekeeping note, I will be posting a few more times through April to continue a partnership with a brand, so I’m not completely out of here. And who knows? I may find that this time away will renew my passions in a way I never thought possible. So this is more of a “see you later!” than a permanent goodbye. I don’t want to make any decisions that I can’t take back.

Friends, please don’t take these words as discouragement. I love this space and everything it has become in these fun, adventurous, whirlwind years. I am so thankful for all of the opportunities that have come from it, for the people I have met who have become sincerely good friends, for the e-mails and messages from you lovely readers that have been so encouraging and supportive. I have gotten through very tough times because of you and you have also celebrated joyful times with me, and that is something I will never forget. And I want us to still be friends, so please, continue to e-mail me, visit me on my personal Instagram (@stephmwise), keep in touch on Facebook, etc. etc. I won’t be shutting down this blog any time soon, as I want to keep the current recipes and stories up here for anyone who needs them. That’s the incredible character and community of food, that it will always bring us together at the table, online or otherwise.

I hope 2017 brings to you all the joy, peace and encouragement it possibly can. I hope it also brings you delicious food and a greater sense of love and community at your kitchen table. That’s what it’s all about, after all.

xoxo, s

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