going quiet

It’s the bleak dark winter. Starting the year in January, when the light is weak and the cold air sharp, has always seemed so wrong to me. This is the winding-down time, the slowest time of the year.

And yet, every magazine article and blog post right now is about Improvement! New Start! Green smoothies, kale salads, and a clear denunciation of who we have been in the past year. Organize yourself now! Most magazine’s covers this month read: lose weight, clear yourself of clutter, improve your memory, get your financial life in order, and be happy now! How is that last one possible when we’re so busy bustling, doing all the things needed to become a new person?

I don’t want to become a new person. I just want to be here.

That’s why I’m not going to be here for awhile.

Our cookbook is due in 8 weeks. Actually, a day shy of 8 weeks, since it’s due on March 1st.

Danny and I are both pleased with what we have made. This cookbook will be much more accessible than our last cookbook, a reflection of who we are and how we eat right now. We’re sharing food with our friends and neighbors and they’re happy. The wonderful people testing recipes for us approve.

However, we’re not done. Nowhere close.

Last week, I had a bit of a panic. It didn’t help that the preschools and daycares were closed for a week and thus I spent eight straight days with Lu without 15 minutes to myself. I love that kid with all my heart but a constant one-on-one with a 3-year-old is like a marathon, with no one handing you water on the way. I caught some awful stomach flu — my immune system weakened after not being able to eat real food for three weeks, I’m sure — the day after Christmas. Taking care of a 3-year-old on your own with the flu stinks. It grows worse when she catches it too. It wasn’t our best week.

Danny tried to do what he could. But you see, he’s hardly home right now. A few weeks ago, he took over as head chef at The Hardware Store, the restaurant where he has been working for the past two years. Deliberately, he chose to be a line cook for that time. Our lives are full with cookbookery and blog-making, touring and creating. That’s what made this past year of travel possible. However, he couldn’t really do it anymore. He was ready for more, ready to make changes. He’s cooking for the community where he lives. He is jazzed, alive, firing with ideas all the time. And gone from 9:30 in the morning to nearly 11 at night most days.

I remember again what it’s like to be married to a chef. A walk with him on the beach is a rare, fine thing.

This means that finishing the cookbook is (mostly) all on me now.

I’ve known that for six weeks. I’ve been working, cooking, thinking, and writing down recipes. I cook several dishes a day, feed Danny when he comes home, and ask him what he thinks. He laps it up, grateful to be fed after such a long day. In the morning, we talk about what we ate, tweak a few things, and call it good. Then I go back to work again.

I’m sure that our cookbook will actually benefit from Danny not being able to work on it right now. He’s so talented. His food is so good. However, he thinks like a chef. He cooks with a team of people, with set-up stations, dishwashers, and a joy of being on his feet all day. His recipes start with marination, include 18 ingredients, and end with reduction. I’m a home cook, confident in the kitchen. I’ve learned well from him. But if I create the recipes, and he edits them, you are far more likely to feel you can make them.

That’s what we want for this book. We want it food-stained, flat open on your counter. We want it to be of use.

So I’ve been feeling okay with this. Until the week of double flu, no childcare, and little sleep. Panic.

Then, after a calming talk with Danny at nearly midnight, I woke up with a new resolve.

This is 8 weeks of creating. A deeply satisfying time. The work I love the most.

Let’s go.

I’ve been thinking about the feeling of being fully absorbed in work I love. There are moments when I am writing, or making a photograph, or standing in front of the stove when I feel fully alive. No other thoughts. Just here.

However, that’s more and more rare these days.

I took this photograph on my phone early afternoon Christmas Eve. I had to take it. That sky, those birds, the quiet. It called to me. I stepped out of the car into the cold and waited for the right moment. I sighed at that light.

A few moments later, however, I got back into the car, showed it to Danny and Lucy, processed it, and put it on Twitter.

Why?

I’ve been thinking about this for months, this constant communication and documenting of my life. I don’t really like it. It’s not how I want to live.

If you haven’t read this essay by Pico Iyer on The Joy of Quiet in the New York Times, I invite you to read it now. But this stayed with me:

“We have more and more ways to communicate, as Thoreau noted, but less and less to say. Partly because we’re so busy communicating. And — as he might also have said — we’re rushing to meet so many deadlines that we hardly register that what we need most are lifelines.”

Last week, Christina Choi died. We knew her through food, from buying mushrooms from her at the farmers’ market, then happily eating at her wild-foods restaurant, Nettletown, as often as we could. Christina was vibrant, alive, and living her dream. She was doing what every single self-help book says we should do to live a life that matters. Three days after Christmas, she died of complications of a brain aneurysm. She was 34 years old.

I’ve been trying to process this for days. There’s no way to make sense of it. I feel enormous sadness for her family, more than words can convey. But more, I’m struck by what a sham all those Urgent Messages for a Better You really are. You could be fiscally solvent, eating all the right food, organized, and the perfect weight.

You still die.

With all this, swirling in all this, came a clear decision.

I’m going to be quiet for awhile.

I’m taking a break from this space for the month of January. Partly it’s survival. When I’m creating and writing 2 to 3 recipes a day for the next 8 weeks, I just don’t have any others to give here. But it’s more than that. I need the break. I need the quiet.

I’m also taking a hiatus from Twitter and the Facebook page for a month as well. The rhythm of my days is tapped out in typing and clicking. The other day, Lucy looked at me and said, “Put down your phone, Mama.”

Yes, my love. I am.

To quote Iyer again: “None of this is a matter of principle or asceticism; it’s just pure selfishness. Nothing makes me feel better — calmer, clearer and happier — than being in one place, absorbed in a book, a conversation, a piece of music. It’s actually something deeper than mere happiness: it’s joy, which the monk David Steindl-Rast describes as ‘that kind of happiness that doesn’t depend on what happens.’”

I want to feel who am these days without the constant connection and sharing it publicly.

I’m craving time to have tea with the friends who live near me instead of bantering with the hundreds of people I follow online. I don’t think it’s humanly possible to keep track of the lives of 300 people a day, or more. But I’ve been trying and I’m exhausted. I don’t want the end of my life to be marked with: “She was really good at Twitter.”

Please don’t worry about me. There’s nothing wrong. Instead, it feels as though everything is right. Right now.

I’ll be working all day, every day.

But there will be more life, undocumented and quiet.

I want to live these moments in stillness for a time.

187 comments on “going quiet

  1. Marie

    Good for you. I’ll look forward to your book. Taking some time for quiet time right now sounds good for me too focusing on my family and friends.

  2. Michelle

    Glad you are taking time to yourself and your family, it is well deserved. Take time and smell the roses (when they bloom!), no need to get into the drama of everyday life of others.
    Enjoy!

  3. Bren

    I received your latest book as a Christmas gift and I read it cover to cover. Your stories were like recipes – a main idea enrobed in a sauce of the love of the story, studded with characters and settings, garnished with humor and color. Your recipes were like stories – tales of love and nourishment and color and flavor. I was – AM – in love with your writing and your food! I finished the book and sighed in contentment – my Mum asked me what I was thinking and I said “I want to live in their world!”.

    I will miss your postings but I can be happy missing them because I know that there is another chapter of your love, your life, your food, your glory on the other end of the wait. Be well, be joyful, be you, take your time – we will all be here when you return.

  4. Cristie

    Wow!…Shauna, this post just speaks to me. You really have touched on something here… Thanks for sharing your story..a beautiful message. Enjoy your family.

  5. Suze

    Yes. Good for you for making necessary decisions. Enjoy the quiet. I look forward to your return to the blog.

  6. Kitsy jones

    We will miss you. However, I applaud you for taking stock and having the courage to do what feels right. We look forward to the new book.

  7. Nichole Castaneda

    This has struck such a spot in my heart that tears are streaming. Be well and peaceful and thank you for the amazing reminder.

  8. Judy / Critter Cove Ranch

    Your blog resonates with the feelings i habe. I want to draw inward, be introspective, and be with God. Our family has also been buffeted by illness, personal crises, and problems, some of which are not resolved. I mentally made a list of each crisis and then noted the blessing that it contained. I am going to use some of my quiet time to write it all down. I will gain strength from counting the blessings and silver linings in these oh-so-many issues.

    May you enjoy your quietude and blossom as you hear the silence. We look forward to hearing from you again when you are led to the right time to return.

    ~Judy / Critter Cove Ranch

  9. Karen

    Congratulations! Enjoy your technology quiet, we’ll happily wait to hear from you later. I’m a big fan of quiet in all forms.

  10. Letitia Camire

    I’ve been feeling the same way. Enjoy your quiet and your family. See you when you’re ready to come back :).

  11. Michelle S.

    May many blessings come your way during this ‘silent period.’ I have a sweet 3 year old girl too & experience the wonderful energy that goes along with it! It will all be worth it.

  12. Sue

    Wishing you the quietness of your dreams, productive days creating your new book, laughs with Lu, and beach walks! May you enjoy the quiet. Come back when ready.

  13. Suzanne

    What a beautiful post and reminder of what is most important…taking care of you YOU and those you love. A happy focus; best of luck with the book and enjoy precious moments with your family.

  14. samara

    you are all shades of wonderful shauna..thank you for your words, as always and thank you for sharing what many of us i am sure are feeling at the moment 🙂 wishing you and your beautiful family a very happy and quiet beginning to the new year..cheers, samara

  15. Harsi

    Bravo. Yes. Exactly.

    We finally made the big move to Vashon from Claremont, CA about 2 weeks ago. I thought I would be blogging up a storm and e-mailing everyone I knew once I got here… but, I just haven’t. So much change. So much that’s new. I’m having a hard time processing it all, much less sharing it with the world. I know I will, eventually. I’m just not sure when, and I’ve been struggling with feeling OK about that decision.

    Thank you for sharing so openly and beautifully about your life. You always do. It never fails to touch my heart. And especially now, I really needed to read the words you wrote. I really needed to hear my own quiet truths coming out in your well-crafted sentences.

    May you enjoy every single moment of the life you are creating.

    ~ Harsi

    P. S. My husband and I have been dining at The Hardware Store quite regularly and sometimes I see Danny there, working hard. I’ve even caught a glimpse of you or Lu at the Thriftway or the Pharmacy. Perhaps this is silly, but I keep feeling like some kind of weird Internet fan/stalker just walking up and interrupting your personal life to introduce myself. I am a total stranger after all! One of these days though, I’ll do just that, I’m sure. If nothing else, I’d like to shake your hand (or give you a hug) and tell you in person how much your writing has meant to me.

    1. shauna

      Harsi, please do come up! You just moved from my hometown to the place I love more than anywhere else. Say hello, please!

  16. Julia Sarver

    Once again, Shauna, you’ve pulled the thoughts straight from my brain and heart. My husband and I escaped to the beach for the New Year weekend and we left our computers at home. It was like cutting the cord to some really weird, desperate need for connection with others when what we really needed was to connect with each other and ourselves. And so we did.

    I too, think it’s completely bizarre that we start the New Year in the cold and dark. The very last thing I want to do right now is count calories and eat salads. I’ve been thinking about this more and more as my work focuses so much around health and wellness. It’s a tough struggle for me – I know that, logically, I need to market ideas about weight loss and getting healthier because this is the time of year when the momentum is present and people are motivated to make change. But, on another level, it just feels wrong. Fortunately, because my work’s focus is so much about sustainable and real change rather than fad diets, I’m able to make it work, but it does present a challenge.

    Enjoy your break from connectivity – you’ve certainly earned it. Have fun cooking, walking, tasting, testing, re-testing…and especially enjoy your sweet kid and husband!

  17. Mary

    Sounds prefect! Happy New Year!! I’ve been trying to find myself is all of this business. I think I will take your lead and end my facebook for one month. Can’t wait to see the new cookbook.

  18. justcooknyc

    i’m not sure if i should feel guilty about this or excited because you’re about to totally immerse in the process, or a little bit of both. i was going to email you tomorrow to ask if you were on track… this post covers it though. i love these photos, by the way. i’m sure we’ll be talking/emailing soon. happy new year.

  19. Anne Steib

    “She was really good at Twitter.”

    – I absolutely agree. It can be very difficult to a balance between work that we love and our personal life. Enjoy your month unconnected!!

  20. Louisabellissima

    I like what you are doing. Here in Germany we have these cold, dark and grey winters too, and it seems like nature retreats itself to fall into a complete silence, but only to come back with so much more force, power and happiness. I hope for you to the same and I am sure it is exactly what will happen in March when your new cookbook comes out.

    I’m so sorry you suffered another loss within your beloved food blogging community. I know the feeling you have right now, and this question of what it is all for, when we try so hard for everything we believe in, and then we die. I hope your much deserved rest will help you to overcome this feeling. Happy New Year to you and your family!

  21. Courtney @ Sunday Soup

    Oh, I am so happy I read your words today. This is exactly how I have been feeling but didn’t really know it, feel it until I read what you wrote. It truly resonated with the ease and quiet I too seek right now. Thank you for your honesty. It certainly helped me to open my heart to what is most important. I hope this time gives you what you exactly what you seek.

  22. Marlen

    Beautiful, and no co-incidence it’s during the ‘dormancy’ of winter, a time where perennials re-group and re-build their stores for a re-burth in the Spring….so are you. Best of success as you renew and complete the final stages of your book.

  23. Joyce Plunkett

    Bless you. Enjoy the quiet time. It’s good to focus on that basic human need. I’m looking forward to the book 😉

  24. Adrith

    Your post today helped me put my thumb on the discontent I’ve been feeling lately. Thank you so much for sharing, and I wish you a happy, healthy, productive time away.

  25. Elaine

    Christina’s death is so hard to grasp, so young, so unexpected, so very, very sad. This past year I lost five people, my mama being one of them. Life if so incredibly fleeting. What a beautiful, intentional way to start the year, I wish you much peace in your coming days.

  26. Suzan McMann

    Happy for you, Shauna. Sounds like it’s just what you need. You’ve had one hell of a year – that’s just what I know of it – which I’m sure isn’t even 1/2 of it – and so much to come. Good luck with your deadline. Maybe I could be one of those people you have tea with? Meet you 1/2 way? Take good care. Suzan

  27. jas (gluten free scallywag)

    This sounds like just what is needed for you and yours Shauna. It’s funny you mention going quiet as this time after Christmas was, as a child (and every other Christmas now) spent in our holiday home in Margaret River, where it is summer and the beach calls. There’s no phone. No TV. No proper oven. It was a fabulous two weeks to reconnect, read books and magazines and actually spend time with family, one on one. Now there are mobiles, which I do admit make the catching up with other friends in Margaret River easier, but I laughed when Lu said put your phone down Mama. Oh, the number of times I say that to my fiance….

    Have a wonderful break, enjoy those moments in the kitchen, on the lake with Lu and with Danny, the quiet moments are the best ones anyway.

  28. Jules

    A good good decision. Take time. Breathe. Be in the moment. Beautiful photos, I love dark and stormy days near the lakes or sea. Be well and love to you and yours. xx

  29. Marla S.

    LOVED this post Shauna. It’s so authentic and I hear your voice in my head as I read it as if we were sitting there chatting with each other. ENJOY the quiet and the productive energy that follows, and, congrats on the final sprint to finish that wonderful cookbook of yours! Cheers to your January! ; ) !

  30. Gail

    I’ll miss you, but completely understand your need to take a break. Can’t wait to see the new cookbook.
    You know where to find us all when you return.
    xoxo

  31. Tara

    Beautifully said. I often find that I say to myself, “You don’t tweet enough. You don’t make as many posts on FB as you should.”. I feel guilty about it. I also find myself thinking how absurd that is. Absurd! Thank you for helping me see it. I won’t say I’ll never post but over the next month, or several… I’m going to focus on school, my home, my love. I’m going to try and pick up a book again and ENJOY it. I’m going to savor a bit of quiet. Thank you again…and enjoy your January with yourself, your passion, and your family & friends.

  32. Cindy Hooton

    Kudos to you for looking after YOU by giving yourself permission to do what YOU need… and in the end be a better you (wife, mother, cook & friend) for it!

  33. Caneel

    Bless you for writing this. You were speaking so many of my thoughts in this post (but I am determined to eat more of my beloved greens this year – health issues are demanding I pay more attention to the alkaline foods!) and I applaud you for taking time off. Enjoy every moment of just being in the here and now. I’m so sorry for the loss of you friend.

  34. anonymous

    (I’m going to be anonymous because I want to tell you something that would embarrass my son.) I used to just come to your site for recipes but I recently subscribed so I can get every post! I love it! My 10yo son, who is awesome in the kitchen, just went GF too, to see if it helped with his nocturnal bed-wetting. As soon as he stopped eating gluten, the bed-wetting stopped!! We can’t believe it–we’ve tried so many things, even expensive medication! I put your blog in his reader because he loves to bake and was being dramatic over “never eating gluten again!” I’m sure that won’t be the case, but he’s already drooled over some recipes you’ve posted and he’s excited to get baking. 🙂 Thanks for everything you do here, and godspeed with the book!

  35. Diane

    At the solstice, its the time to go underground. Like the small animals who burrow deep and live in a world of quiet, we need to spend time in our dens, away from the noise and clutter of electronics. I had dinner with a neighbor on New Year’s eve, my own solitary walk on the beach on New Year’s morning. This time of year, I go to work then come home to just be. Not thinking, not doing, just being.
    I’ll miss your tweets, but look forward to reading what you write later in the year.

    D.

  36. Charr Douglas

    Good article you referred us to read. Thank you for letting us know you are OK. Sounds like a wise way to take care of you. I was even wishing you can do it sometime when you are not busy working on a cookbook. I am noticing that multitasking gets even harder as you are aging and I need to stop more often also. Take care, maybe I will see you on one of the walking paths.

  37. Stephanie

    Good for you. I’ve stopped writing on my blog and find myself spending less and less time online. It can become all-consuming, and sometimes it’s so refreshing to just interact with the people you see and love. I think technology makes us forget to live in the moment and appreciate the time we have right now. We’re always searching and looking and catching up. I read that someone’s new year’s resolution was to be the best them they could be – whatever that looks like today. I applaud that approach and think I’m going to adopt that as my goal, not just for 2012, but for life. Enjoy the peace (what little peace you have with such a busy life) and do what feels right to you, right now. Happy New Year.

  38. Sara

    Thank you for sharing this with us and now go, take care of yourself and your loved ones. Hope to hear from you soon again!

  39. Kathleen

    I completely get this. Exhausted from book tour, sick with flu/something unexplainable, I took off a lot of December, too. I didn’t tweet much, rarely put anything on my blog or Facebook and fell wretchedly behind on email. Klout alerted that my score plummeted. I felt guilty.

    Life is complicated enough without noise. Writing a book is hard. Loving yourself (not to mention others) takes effort. Be well and know we all heart you in a big way.

    P.S. I am available for proofreading should you need it.

  40. Susan

    I completely understand your need for silence. I am craving that as well. I find too much of my life being spent on Facebook, instead of enjoying my own life.

    So please know, I will still be here when you return, and look forward to more gluten-free recipes, and hope that I can create my own “oasis of silence”.

  41. Brie

    Yes. Just yes. Thank you for putting into words what’s been bothering me about New Year’s. Enjoy the quiet.

  42. Terry

    Lu is showing you the way–Put your phone down mama. I wish many other children would say the same thing to their mamas and papas. My granddaughter recently said, Come play Mimi, you’ll have fun. She was so right. The photos are so beautiful by the way.

  43. Sarah

    Enjoy your time away! I’ve been thinking a lot about mind-clutter lately and how I can clear it away. For me, it’s definitely going to be about going after the work I love and letting go of the things I just do.

  44. Kelly

    Good for you! I’ve always wondered how you could be so active on Twitter with everything else going on…I’m not married and I don’t have a child and the little bit I do exhausts me! Take care and enjoy!

  45. Laura

    Big love to you, my friend. A wonderful decision. Enjoy this northwest winter. We spent the afternoon today at the ocean scrambling over driftwood, a view of the Olympics in the distance. Embrace this time, and good luck with the final leg of the cookbook (which I can’t wait to see, read, and use).

    xo,
    Laura

  46. blissing

    I’ve often wondered how you do it, and now I know how not-easy it was. Good for you, and good for us when we read your cookbook!

  47. Katie

    Enjoy your time. I will certainly miss you though. Maybe I’ve posted once before? Certainly not regularly. But what keeps me here is how peaceful you seem. I feel so busy. So overwhelmed with my 2 boys and my career and my husband … The list goes on. Sometimes I’m so aware that technology can seem to accelerate my already spinning life. Sometimes it’s a place wheee I can go to have a moment to myself. But here always seems so serene. So I’ll miss you. But maybe, especially starting this new year I need to thi k of how to have serene for myself. A little more. Enjoy.

  48. Melissa

    Beautiful. Everything in my life has been pointing to “Be Still” for a while now. So encouraged by your words! Best wishes with the new cookbook. Can’t wait to see it.

  49. judi

    My heart aches for your sadness and introspection. I know you are doing the one thing that is good for you. I will, however, miss your posts.
    Have a superb January!

  50. Megan

    A wise quilter I follow online posted a similar sentiment about the blogging world being a merry-go-round and needing to get off to catch her bearings. After a break, she came back restored, ready to share again. However long your break is, I hope it is restful, healthful, and full of the people and things you cherish. Thank you for sharing yourself with this enormous online community.

  51. Mary

    There ya go. My Mom always said “if you don’t take care of yourself neither will anyone else.
    Peace

  52. KSalty

    Sounds like an eminently sensible idea to me. I find it hard to put down the iPhone and the laptop, but when I do, life is always the more joyful for it. Enjoy the peace.

  53. Gail

    Such sanity. Thank you. I am putting on my boots and going for a walk and seeing what the real world is like.

  54. Gluten Dude

    Phenomenal post and you are spot on taking a break. I go 100 miles per hour at all times and during the holidays I just slowed down a bit and I realized that I don’t want to live so “fast” anymore. I need some down time. I don’t need to work less, I just need to work smarter, which will free up my time.

    Savor your time off…

  55. LaurieY

    Your post with pictures of family at the shoreline reminded me of a Vimeo I saw a couple of days ago about Josh Vogel’s relationship with the forest; with wood.

    http://vimeo.com/28970811 – Josh Vogul

    Also, on your days away from cyberspace, if you get the chance . . .there’s a documentary (the DVD went nationwide today) called, I Am. http://www.iamthedoc.com/ . . . . . belongingness, presence, love and . . . . that Yes.

    Gimme shelter. We totally understand. Chill.

  56. elizabeyta

    Go have fun! Dance wih your family in the kitchen and on the beach. Take a few deep breaths on the way. You will be missed but definitely enjoy this time off.

    blessings,

    elizabeyta

  57. Barb H

    Thankyou for the courage to recognize the utter craziness of having to be in constant communication with anyone who will listen. The world has lost the joy of telling stories that have meaning and can be savored for years. Time is endless, except for what God has in mind, so enjoy your time and YOU decide if and when you are happy to return to our lives.

  58. Tammy Andros

    There is great joy in quiet. I was moved by the same article and had some strangely similar moments in my life recently. En-Joy.

  59. Kristen

    I think about this whole blog/twitter thing all the time, even though I do both I too find something about it all disturbing. It’s like this: we have become less and less community oriented as the technology allows us to do. So to make up for not being a part of other people’s lives we first turned to talk shows where we got to listen to other people’s lives and maybe get to see a chair thrown out of true emotion. Then it was reality TV. Then blogs, and twitter. The more we get away from having real lives of worth, we get more interested in the surface of what other people are doing, not only for the community, but so we can feel okay about ourselves. (They said they bought a too-spendy phone today, so I can too, etc.) I think I’ll go compost now :0).

  60. Julie Melin

    AMEN!!! I as so glad you are taking tim to be not just do all. I know you will be busy but focus and breath. We will miss you for the month yes but this is time for you to get done what needs to be done and give Lu that time with out the computer/phone etc. You are a great mom and wife and of course the best you ever. Be well and you are all three loved

  61. Linda from Wales, UK

    I don’t blame you at all. I love and need peace and quiet, and can happily go for days without seeing anyone, and can feel invaded even by phone calls. Communication via a few blogs is plenty for me. I certainly could not cope with Facebook and Twitter as well. Enjoy the break!!

  62. Christene

    Thanks for sharing all of this time. I’ve felt much in reading your words. Wishing you and your family peace and joy during your quiet.

  63. Nicole

    Of course! I just wrapped up your podcast interview with Joy the Baker (introducing to me to you for the first time). I’m sure you’re doing exactly what needs to be in this moment. Look forward to going back and reading and getting to know you better through your writing.
    Happy New Year!

  64. jeanelane

    This is so exciting, Shauna! When you wrote that you were taking a break for the holidays, it made me happy. This additional time makes me ecstatic! Why? For all the reasons you gave in your post. Do it all and die anyway. You must do what you must do that will have more eternal significance. And Lu is a huge part of that. I had to get off Facebook totally. That was a way that I found so many blogs. Lovely places too. But I must limit what I read as you must limit also. Give me the pages to turn. It slows me down. I don’t have to worry about response time. I can put my head back, close my eyes, and take a cat-nap. I can’t do that at my computer. Not the same thing. Some day I may even get rid of the computer. But then I would miss your writing and cooking! You probably won’t even read this, but its made me feel good to write it! Have a blessed time off.

  65. Susan

    It’s the perfect time of the year to go inward and sit with yourself. It’s my favorite time of year for this, to do serious reflection, and just be. A giant pause. I will miss your wisdom, reflections, and beautiful photography, but look forward to reading you again later in the winter. Really looking forward to your book coming out 🙂

  66. Pétra

    I know your break will be a busy one but I hope it gives you all you need! I’ve been thinking about the growing presence of social media in my life and trying to find the right balance seems to be the trick. I’m working on it!

  67. Julie

    You summed up exactly how I feel. The clutter to clear is largely electronic – so many people, things, ideas, bits of information to process. Enjoy being with yourself and your family and absorbing yourself in your work. Your post makes me want to go running to Tofino and sit on the beach and be quiet awhile too. Take care.

  68. Christie (@ARFoodie)

    When you come back around and read this, I pray you had a wonderful, productive break. It’s funny, this is the second Thoreau reference I’ve seen tonight, just shortly after introducing my 9-yo rabid reader to him.

    Simplify, simplify, simplify.

    Oh, and ignore that tweet I sent you about pasta before I knew you were on hiatus.

  69. Tracee Dawn

    As much as I love the thought of a clean slate, after the busyness of the holidays, I also love the thought of slowing down, being more connected to where we are right now. I agree with you. Less typing, more tea. See you in February.

  70. Jeannine

    I’m so glad that life is rich for you, and grateful that you share it with all of us who read your blog. I’m also glad that you’ve the wisdom to prefer the richness to the blogging when that choice needs to be made. *smiles* Looking forward to new blogging next month, and enjoying the thought of you busily writing, cooking, loving, and living a full life during your break. Joy to you and yours.

  71. Betsy

    My son was recently diagnosed with a gluten and dairy allergy which went along nicely with his egg and nut allergy. I was feeling overwhelmed by this and started researching on line. I was lead to you. I read your post today about going quiet. It has inspired me to take a major step in my life that I kept fighting due to fear. Crazy how my son’s allergy lead me to you and then this.

    Good luck to you. oh and I will run out and buy your book this week.

  72. Elizabee

    Good for you. After your book is done, you might check out the book Simplicity Parenting. It has really helped me to see the quiet and calm I want in my house for myself and my family and I have been so much happier since reading it. I am pretty unplugged (20 min a day) compared to most people, and I am very calm and happy! Enjoy this time and take as much as you need.

  73. Pam J.

    Out of the mouths of babes comes God’s truth. “Put down your phone, Mama.” Bless her little cherub heart. She knew what you needed to do for her and yourself, and she told you.

    I’ve always marvelled at how much you share of yourself, your family, your love, your kindness, friendship, etc., etc., etc. Think of how many lives you’ve touched and given hope to. Truly inspiring. If you never shared another word, your wisdom and work will still impact thousands upon thousands of lives offering hope. What more could one ask for?

    Enjoy your peace; revel in the silence; cherish each moment with your daughter. Life is precious. Just ask Lu. “Put down your phone, Mama.”

  74. Kate Lam Sam

    Good luck, and see you on the other side – oh, and if you decided to post once a month or even less, i’d still read your beautiful blog, you are in inspiration to me in the way that you live your life, and in your talent with writing words that communicate to us so well. Do whatever is best for you and your family. 😀

  75. Jackie

    I think a lot of people have just hit the wall with all this social media. We are here to live our lives and enjoy every second and while sharing and documenting can have their place, it’s a bit out of control. So many of my more self-aware acquaintances are ditching the distractions of Facebook/Twitter, etc. for a return to living in the private, present moment. I’ve never been involved in either in a major extent and even I feel it, so Shauna, I’m with you.

    Enjoy, live, breathe and blog occasionally. We’ll understand.

  76. molly

    and this, my dear shauna, is why i come here, and have been since before lu, before the red cowboy boots, before danny. because you speak truth, with clarity, grace and punch. and that, my friend, is a rare thing indeed.

    not to mention exhausting. take this time, heck, take twice this time, whatever. in the meantime, i’m off to go read pico. and to will a few more beautiful sunsets and beachwalks, wedged into your rich, full, thick upcoming days.

    xo,
    m

  77. Candice

    This line REALLY speaks to me:

    “I don’t want the end of my life to be marked with: ‘She was really good at Twitter.'”

    Indeed. Good for you and good luck. See you on the flip side.

  78. K

    I was just looking for a gluten free pie recipe. And i stumbled upon this blog, nicely done, beautiful pictures, recipes seem good. But then i noticed this post, and this post is what will make me a life time reader.
    It was beautiful. The feelings.. the words..
    It was pure.
    And i couldn’t agree more to it.

  79. Kate a.k.a. The Secret Goddess

    The quiet will be a blessing for you and if you come back to this space we will celebrate with you. And if you choose not to return we shall celebrate that as well. Life is about transitions and being fully here.now — I’m happy for your time in quiet and solitude on your beautiful island <3

  80. alohamom

    Good for you – hugs to you and your loves. Priorities become so clear when we have kiddos and truly value those God’s put in our life. Thanks for sharing so freely with all of us.
    Love & hugs to you all- enjoy your rest.

  81. Cheryl

    I will miss you terribly! But I understand wanting the stillness and enjoying your life with your family. But please, just once or twice a year let us read how you are doing. Be quiet and smell the peace

  82. Lisa

    I am looking forward to your new cookbook. I have been a quiet but very grateful beneficiary of your life here on the island and I am always surprised when I go some place other than Vashon Thriftway to shop.

    We went in to the Hardware Store for our typical Friday night last night after being out of town for the holidays and I was delighted with the new menu. My favorite place is now even better.

    Enoy your time away. I find the island brings me to a contemplative place in the winter months, too. A precursor to the fecundity of our spring, perhaps?

  83. Bari Jo

    Thank you for your beautiful post. It is EXACTLY what my heart has been echoing the past few months in my life and your words were encouragement I needed to hear. So much so, that tears started as I was reading. I totally understand what you are saying and a hearty AMEN! I am glad you will be taking time out and look forward to your new cookbook and it will be open on my counter with food stains all over it, I’m sure!! I appreciate your recipes and all you do to help me figure out how to cook GF! Happy New Year and enjoy the calm!

  84. Amy in DC

    Hi! I want to express how amazing your site has been in my life. I have been gluten free for almost a year and it was a rocky start. Your words and recipes have given me hope and the drive to start baking again. You were my little pep talk all through the holidays. I even own a scale now, and finally tracked down some sweet rice flour, so I am good to go! Going gluten free changed my life but your willingness to share helped to make that change an easy one.

    I look forward to your book, but in the meantime, I will continue to explore the stockpile of recipes and stories you have. A hiatus from you is a welcome challenge for me to dive in to your archives!

    Thank you for helping me understand that I don’t have to stop baking and eating like a normal person just because gluten and I don’t get along. What you are doing here is pretty stinkin’ awesome and I am thankful for it.

  85. Amanda

    You have given the gluten free community hope and inspiration for better food. Thank you for the years of taking care of us – now, go take care of yourself and family. Cheers to quiet times and unplugging once and a while!

  86. Vicki @ easyhomecraft

    I get what you’re saying, sometimes a person just has to hunker down and work and keep their head together. My daughter is allergic to wheat and she and her husband constantly experiment with new recipes since she was forced to go gluten free about a year ago. I’m looking forward to your new cookbook and shall recommend them to your site.

  87. Lorna

    What you have said resonates strongly with me. People are so busy communicating now – even if they have nothing at all to say – that they forget to live in the moment. My sister drove 80 miles to see me yesterday and spent the whole visit texting other people. My plumber berated me last week for leaving the house without my mobile phone. I was gone for fifteen minutes and he didn’t need to contact me during that time. I don’t understand why we need to be contactable at all times, but it seems that I’m in the minority. Heaven is a walk on a deserted, wintry, windswept beach with no phone and no time constraints. Wishing you a peaceful, joy-filled break.

  88. Marijana

    Dear Shauna

    Take your time you deserve it. We will be there when you come back.

    Big Congrats on your article in Cooking Light!

    Happy New Year to you and your family. Marijana from Maryland

  89. Jamie M.

    Good for you Shauna. After the mad holiday scramble, I ended up getting really sick with bronchitis that just wouldn’t go away and I was forced to just be. It’s pretty sad that it takes you getting extremely sick to stop and enjoy the moment, isn’t it? I had all kinds of excuses for living in the real and technological ratrace. I work with a computer 8 hours a day and then I go home and go to school online so the computer is such a big chunk of my life. Why then, when I’m not doing assignments or working, am I on the computer looking at things and chatting with people instead of spending time with my local friends? Why am I texting people who live in the same town as me instead of meeting them for coffee? I agree, it’s time to regroup and repriotize. Although I wouldn’t trade meeting new people and forming new friendships online, there is something to be said for physical contact and conversation. There is also something to be said for sitting outside and enjoying the beauty of these short winter days while the earth regroups for its hectic growing season. Thank you for sharing your wonderful post and reminding us that its okay to keep some things private and have a life outside the computer. 🙂

  90. Reesa

    I think breaks are important. I didn’t see how much time I wasn’t spending with people until I took a good long break and had the time to share with them. Enjoy your quiet time.

  91. Mary

    Hope all is going well and you are gaining strength from the quiet, or relative quiet with a small child. Just letting you know that you are missed and thought of every time I use one of your recipes.

  92. Karen Amarotico

    What a post… what lovely pictures. I wish you the best while you finish up your book… and look forward to owning it. You have helped me with gluten free recipes in the past and I thank you for that.

  93. amy

    I love that reminder! Just started the gluten-free journey (I was wheat-free as a kid, but what a difference!), and this site called me right in. I love the stories, the food, and your reminder with this post. Wintertime can be such a good time of collection. A friend of mine talks about patterns of expansion and contraction, and I think there’s a lot to be said for rhythms of life that allow for that.

  94. Mary Hodges

    Shauna,

    At last, you are doing the most important thing, be in the moment with your family. My 3 GF members, my husband and our 2 adult children, GF members, have loved your advice and guidance, but I, the mom of the 2 of them have wondered how you could be true to yourself, your family and to US, the sponges of your wonderful information. I AM SO HAPPY YOU ARE TAKING TIME FOR YOU, and YOUR FAMILY!! As a very senior member of your fan club I have to say your family is really the most important part of your life, but you know that. You have shared so much that we will all be able to enjoy your time away from us knowing that some time we will meet again and gain by the time you have had to do more cooking and sharing and thinking of those special ways to make Gluten Free Cooking taste just as good as “regular food.”

    I cannot wait until we can return to the West Coast to enjoy some of Danny’s wonderful cooking at the Hardwarestore, and just the chance to have a glimpse of your and Lucy in the corner.

    Luv you all,
    mch

    p.s. your photos above were absolutely the most beautiful of any you have shared with us. Thank you!

  95. maryanne

    Much warmth and love to you.

    Taking care of our own needs, self-care and prioritizing what’s important in our lives is becoming more and more of a challenge in this crazy fast-moving world. I’m glad you’re consciously taking a step back to do what you need to do for yourself, your family, and your important commitments.

  96. Bodi

    I keep coming back to reread this post. It’s like there’s too much to absorb in one sitting.

    The photographs are amazing, the words inspiring.

    Thank-you, and blessings to you and your family.

  97. Courtney Walsh

    Oh wow. This whole post just resonates with me. I came here to see what treats I could make gluten free for my boy (and me) and ended up feeling challenged in my real life. You are amazing!

    I am also on a huge writing deadline…and I think being quiet is something I desperately need to do…to hear the words. Gosh, I can’t thank you enough for this post. Be well, and enjoy this month of stillness.

  98. Lora @cakeduchess

    We’ll all be waiting for you when you’re ready. I love this post and the photos are beautiful. I can’t wait to see your next book and wish you happy, quiet days with your adorable family. love and hugs. xo

  99. Merideth

    And Amen to that. I’ve been feeling the same lately- often do in winter- it’s the introspective season, I think. And enjoying my kids has been high on the list when it comes to quiet. Just taking the time to slow down, sit on the floor, and enjoy them where they are. I didn’t believe it when people said this when my babies were newborns (sleepless nights seem endless after all!), but it really is true: it goes so fast. And I want to be sure I have missed as little as possible. I admire you for making the same choice. It isn’t an easy one in this world.

    And I can’t wait for your next cookbook!

  100. LeeAnn/CT

    Today was my first visit. What a wondeful person a met. I have been taking a break from the “instant” world of communicating that we now live in. My third week without facebook. More time to feel and experience what my life is at any given moment. I have pulled out note cards and stationary too. My mission is to write my feelings down on paper and share it with all the people that are important to me. Words, the good ones sometimes need so much more than a tap..tap. I tell myself, slow down and savour each moment, like you said ” You still die”. I am sorry for your loss. I am happy you have found “joy”. It’s a true gift to ourselves, if we are smart enough to learn what joy is. I like Jamie M’s reply from the 9th. I am a two time cancer survivor and although I have have side effects to deal with now that it’s all done. I am. I am alive. I breath. I smile. I smile more at strangers. I say “hello” while walking past people if our eyes meet. I open doors for people. I give up my place in line. I offer my seat as needed. I do small things for me.
    I find the joy in all that I do. I just wish I could get more people to see life through my eyes because it’s amazing…simply amazing. I am going to look around and try some recipes. It sounds like you have a lot very loyal and caring people who read read your blog. That too is a wonderful thing. I wish you the best. Peace, Happiness & Joy.

  101. andrea sherman

    Reside in peace, dear friend. You have cheered us on in dreary days and spoken words of joy and life. You take this time to remember what it’s like just… to be (and not to annotate, reiterate, pontificate, or inspire). Just be. And if, by chance, you find yourself content in just being, and never come back, know that what you have already accomplished is enough. YOU are enough. You have been our lovely companion, the neighbor we wished so badly lived next door. And as you retreat to work hard and to find solace in your work, carry with you the assurance that you have fed us well.

  102. christy

    glad to know you are taking time to live your life and not present your life. good luck on the final stretch of the book..i can only imagine the last mile has a greater pull than the first 25.2 one of these days we will have to schedule our little dinner…i’ve got my finger’s crossed for march. hubs and i are moving to north carolina for 6 months come april….
    happy new year…be well
    christy

  103. Nancie McDermott

    How wonderful and smart and wise. I’m inspired. I fret and worry about not being “out there” enough, while letting many things that matter, that count, that need focused attention, just slide slide slide. I love when you noted the potential epitaph : “She was really good at twitter.” Yep. Got my attention. Thank you for the photos. All good wishes on the work — you will get it done and it will be so very deeply intensely richly good.

  104. Natalie @ Cooking for My Kids

    I am so happy for you. Taking time to just be is what we all need. And, it is funny. I am so new at blogging and do it to document our family’s story, specifically revolving around our sweet boy with special needs. Before I started blogging, I had never touched any form of social networking. After a few months, I realized that doing it all really is just too much. The important things are making connections and finding our own happiness – whether it be in the noise or in the quiet. So, congratulations for writing such a beautiful post and for being so true to yourself. What a wonderful start to a new year.

  105. Kate @ Savour Fare

    I’ve been quiet enough myself that I just now noticed you’ve gone quiet. I’ve taken months off before, both deliberately and not. There’s a lot of value in doing, instead of writing about.

  106. Tonya

    Just stopping by for one of your great recipes (as I often do). I just wanted to say I’ve missed your posts, but I’m also so thankful for the example you’re showing and the time your taking for yourself & your family. I look forward to your return!

  107. Leslie Maya-Charles

    I have been reading your site for about a year as I help my husband embrace being GF. We have taken great delight in your stories, in your love, and in your recipes. None moved me quite as much as your essay on going quiet. Thank you for reminding us all what is really important. Our precious daughter, age 23, is sleeping downstairs on a rare visit as I write this. Your young daughter years go by soooo fast. Thank you for stopping. Thank you for honoring her request to put down the phone. Thank you for getting what’s important. And, thank you for your wonderful site, recipes and humor.

  108. Beth R.

    I know you are on hiatus, but I had to come and post a message to you. I’ve been a long time reader of your blog, long before I myself had to go gluten free. In fact, it was through your blog and posts that I finally made the connection and pushed for the tests and gave it all up and have never felt better. Thank you a million times thank you. After 6 months of it.. I downloaded your book Gluten Free Girl while I have been home sick these past few days with some nasty respiratory infection. I read it yesterday from cover to cover (well.. as much as you can on your iPad) and I wanted to come and tell you how much I enjoyed it. I am going to buy the next one after our next pay cycle, and I can hardly wait. I hope your month has been restful and rejuvenating.

  109. Dave

    Wow… what beautiful photos. I don’t blame you for wanting to live those moments in stillness.

    Thanks for taking the time to share these lovely photos and your thoughts.

  110. christa

    As someone who recently found out that they were gluten intolerant (after testing negative for Celiac’s 2yrs ago) and told to “live with my IBS symptoms”, it was truely a blessing to find your website. I was so glad you took a break for yourself and family. I did the same thing last year. It was only then, did I figure out that I was sick & not just stressed. Thank you for taking the time to support other people in the world & offer them a good laugh and/or a chance to laugh along the way. YES

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