Moving Forward From Here

August 8th, 2013 - filed under: Furthermore » Feedback


A loooooong day of travel with my papa and my baby, don’t you think there’s a family resemblance?

Last weekend Waits and I embarked on an annual adventure, a journey up to Shasta county to visit my brother and his family. We traveled with my Dad this time, and we all stayed in the same cabin we stay in every year, where we’ve stayed every year since before Waits was born. And when that door first swung open and revealed the interior – old worn wooden floors and maps on the walls, the door that leads to the deck right over the river, and that same silly candle with Barack Obama’s face on it – I thought to myself “we’re home”, because it’s all just so familiar.

Except not. We were there last year, Waits and I, and Damian too. I wrote about it here, do you remember? There was a boat ride and cousins playing and a harrowing kitten rescue. And I read Bright Sided, which started this whole shake-up. And oh yeah, I was still married.

A lot can happen in a year.

It was a good place to think about the things that I need to write about here, right now, as I sit down to write this post. I spent the weekend thinking about where I’m going and how I might be able to get there. I thought a lot about this blog, and how everything fits together.

This has been a year of incredible transition, in some very literal ways – like divorce and a big move – but also in some of the less tangible, less tractable ways. As I’ve said before, I’m not the same person I was when I started writing here, when I set out to build this community. Back then I was a newlywed, not yet a mother, an aspiring writer, an enthusiastic fledgling vegan, an avowed and veteran environmentalist, and perhaps, maybe if we’re being completely honest, also leaning towards some slightly orthorexic tendencies (or maybe those came later – blogging about food can mess with your head). Sort of wholesome too, in my own combat boots kind of way, I think.

My life looks so much different now. As a single mom, trying to build a viable career that will support me and my son, living more authentically, probably less wholesome, and with a much, much different idea of what it means to practice “healthy living”. I’ll write about that at length some day, but suffice it to say I wonder now if we’re still on the same page here, you and I. Sometimes I wonder if what I want to give you, will give you what you want. If that makes sense?

Also money, what’s up with that?

I don’t really talk about it, nobody want to talk about it. But I think about it all the time, it is the primary, almost paralyzing source of stress in my life. I make very little of it. I am fortunate – my gawd I am constantly and acutely aware of my privilege – to have help right now, but that has a time limit. As it should.

So the thing is that I need to make money, and this little blog ‘o mine, this little labor of love, is just not doing it. Which is okay, the blog pulls its own weight in countless other ways (hello, community!), but right now my priority needs to be on building something I can put in the bank.


So I need to spend less time on the blog. I’m not leaving! Oh no, you can’t get rid of me that easily. Plus, you know, I do so love it here. No no, I’m just trimming back. Right now I post 3 times per week, plus the Sunday Morning Cocktail series I’m running this summer. You maybe don’t know how much time and energy that takes, but it’s a boatload. So moving forward, I’ll only be posting once per week (plus Sunday’s cocktail for the duration of summer, since I promised!).

I hope you understand, and I hope you’ll still enjoy my less frequent, but still chock full of heart and soul and fun, blog offerings.

As a bit of an aside, I am really over the hustle of freelance and I’m actively seeking full-time employment. If you happen to know of an open position involving writing, blogging, content management, social media and marketing, promotion, or pretty much anything related to vegan/vegan companies/vegan nonprofits or environmentalism/green companies or nonprofits, where telecommuting is an option, please think of me! I really just want to do work that feels meaningful, that’s my main priority. So if you hear of anything, send it my way.

Alright guys, see you around the Internet!

♥ ♥ ♥

Oh! And since it’s Friday, how about a Love List? Please share yours in the comments!

making myself get up off my ass and live a little, in an immediately-uncomfortable-but-ultimately-very-rewarding type of way .|. photo booth pictures + their memories .|. my growing houseplant collection .|. getting clear on my priorities, feeling really good about where I’m going .|. new Vegan Lifestyle Coaching clients! Having great consults and feeling excited and inspired to work with new folks making real changes .|. salads. definitely back on salads .|. long work days, troubleshooting, success! .|. deadlines. I like a little pressure .|. an important talk with Damian; the fact that we have a loving relationship and can have that kind of talk .|. teaching Waits about where water goes when it washes down the drain. him trying to say “Sewage Treatment Facility” was hysterical and adorable all wrapped up in god-I-love-him .|. seeing Waits play with his cousins, seeing him get so excited about spending time with them .|. being able to write this post, understanding how much I have to be grateful for, appreciating my place in this grand ol’ scheme of things (even if I don’t always understand that place) . . .

  • Lynn

    Good for you for recognizing what you need and what you have to do! It’s been a summer of discovery for me in in that way too. I have a lot of soul searching coming up….I hope you’ll still occasionally do a *Love List* Post, because I really do enjoy these, it’s become sort of a Friday Morning ritual to create a Love List here and see the ones that others post :) And so, here we go!
    Love List!
    -This weekend I am going on my first-ever camping trip with my husband and some friends, yay new experiences!
    - Corn on the Cob (OM NOM NOM)
    - Attending a formal event and actually liking how I looked in the dress I wore :)
    - An opportunity presenting itself that, although it’s over a year away, may actually get me out of this dayjob that I so badly want to escape….

  • Katrina Donovan Fleming

    In my 42 years, one thing I’ve noticed is this. Things get really scary and kind of freaky right before they get awesome. I like to imagine that I am a rubber band. If some unseen pair of hands picks me up and decides to stretch me and send me flying into the sky, the stretch part is very very uncomfortable. It can hurt. It doesn’t feel like you can stretch any further, and yet you do. But it’s necessary if you want that high-as-a-kite ride into the air. Once you are zooming and laughing hysterically at the joy of the flight, you can look back and say, “Well of course. I had to go through that in order to experience this. There was no other way.” But when you’re in the midst of the stretch, you experience so many panicky feelings. Will the happy things come or won’t they? It doesn’t feel like they will.

    After you’ve experienced this stretch and flight multiple times, though, you start to anticipate the cycle’s lovely arc. You don’t know how it will play out. It still doesn’t quite FEEL like it’s coming. But experience has taught you that, like waves on a beach, there is a predictable ebb and flow. The good stuff is coming. Even if you have no earthly idea how.

    So now, when things get their crappiest for me, there is a corner of my heart that leaps a small bit (and pisses off the part of me that doesn’t want cheering up) because it knows that the burn of that stretch promises that good things are coming soon.

    Though I’m not religious in any conventional sense — more optimistic agnostic — this, to me, is what faith is. Faith that the natural order of things will play themselves out and that I will get to enjoy the ride. That bad things will of course happen again, but that each time I’ll get just a teensy bit stronger and more flexible to withstand the stretch, knowing what will follow

    Good things ARE coming. :) Your blog is practically humming with it.

  • daria

    thanks for writing this, you really inspired me this morning, it speaks to what i’m going through as well :-).

  • The Vegan Cookie Fairy

    I know you don’t know me, and I don’t personally know you, but I do feel like we’re on the same page. I’m younger but I’m at a scary time in my life as well, and I worry about money as well, and what the hell is going to happen to me because I just don’t know what the future holds. But I do so enjoy reading how you get on with things. It makes me think that if you can handle life so gracefully and graciously (not perfectly – none of us are perfect, but I just love how you just do your best, and that’s all any of us can do in this life, really) then so can I. You’re just so human, Sayward. That’s what I love about you. No pretenses, no holier-than-thou attitude, just you as you are. Thank you for being so honest with us.

    I wish I knew of a good job for you, but alas I don’t. I hope someone else will have a good recommendation or two because you honestly deserve all the best in the world. Even if you only blog once a month, I’ll still check in and read what you have to say. Best of luck in the future! xoxo

  • Kylie

    I’m glad you’re not going to stop blogging completely, you have a very unique voice and I love reading your posts! As someone who’s life is moving in the opposite direction right now (10 years in good paying office jobs to trying to make the freelance thing work) I know how scary, and exciting, those life changes can be. I wish you a bucket full of luck finding the perfect job – though I doubt you’ll need it, I bet the absolute right thing comes along just when it should.

  • Jennifer A. Miller

    Hey lady! Check out Upworthy. I bet they’d love to hire you over there :)

  • Crystal Dicus

    So glad you will still have a weekly presence here {little pink heart icon}. Such a nice family photo; Waits has an absolutely cherubic face! I read Bright-Sided at your recommendation (thank you!), and I have to say – authenticity is refreshing after fake-feeling, overly-sweetened reads. Best luck finding work that brings you joy, Sayward!
    Love List:
    +friends’ vow renewal
    +watching Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee with my husband
    +our 6th wedding anniversary tomorrow
    +a doe & her two fawns eating from our garden and mini-woods
    +Golden Girls
    +seeing family who live states away
    +hibiscus tea, ginger tea, kukicha, iced coffee

  • veggiesara

    I just love your honesty, and that is why I will always read your blog. I am so glad you’re keeping this precious blog!
    But I get, I get it completely. I do love blogging, but I don’t understand how people can manage to post something every day, or sometimes twice a day. It sucks that money is something we constantly have to ‘worry’ about. I hope you’ll find a great job soon!

  • veggiesara

    oh and the love list:
    - the beautiful sweet creatures that horses and donkeys are and being grateful that I can be in their presence
    - having a veggie potluck picnic tomorrow, where way more people then we expected are attending (and way more people then we expected are bringing vegan food instead of vegetarian), on one of the most gorgeous places around here.

  • Taylor

    Sayward! Best of luck to you. I think you’re doing the best you can and you’re making the best decision that resonates with where you are right now. I’ll always look forward to your posts and appreciate that you’ll still be around to blog every now and again.With that being said, here’s my love list:
    -my sister is visiting from PA! I’ve missed her!
    -the alone time I had for 3 weeks while my roommates were away (we’re not super compatible.. wamp wamp.)
    -getting to see my puppy, Greta!
    -happy hour with my friend Nicole… board games and beer is the perfect combo.
    -trail running!

  • Monika {windycityvegan}

    Fingers crossed you find meaningful, steady-paying work soon! And I’m glad to hear that you’re not leaving BA; I don’t know where you find the time to post as often as you already do! I agree with Lynn – reading/posting love lists has become a Friday morning ritual for me, too.

    My favorite love list item this week is that Nina finally threw down her first “I hate you! / I hope you die!” It was over something ridiculous to me but I’m sure life-shattering for her: missing out on Wild Kratts because she didn’t pick up her things the first three or four times she was asked. Actually, the thing I love is that when she realized telling me she hated me had no effect, she got creative and told me to go Avada Kedavra myself. She might have a temper, but she’s still got a sense of humor. .|. I reorganized my seeds last night and discovered that I have 103 seed packets! .|. Nina had her first play date with another vegan child last weekend, and it was fucking awesome. Awesome!

  • valerie

    oh im so bummed! i get it. understand it… blah blah blah, but i love your blog! esp the what we ate wednesday. ive never written, but im an avid reader, constantly checking in.
    wishing you well in the whole money/job/support the household bc that is very real! and so is all the stress that comes from that. know that while i dont know you, i like you for you and all your honesty so i look forward to whatever becomes of this blog. im looking forward to my once a week… even if there will be a bit of withdrawal. (ps im not a veg or a vegan. just a person looking for that “healthy approach” to everything in life.)

  • Leslie Hey Sayward, Check out this link for possible employment.

  • JL

    Sayward, my sister, we need to talk! As you know, about a year ago I was right where you are. How to make my vegan passion a viable part of my career. I took on some work, unrelated to veganism, to provide me skills and experiences – and pay the bills – that would prepare me for more vegan-related work. And I did some things that didn’t bring in much money but did give me experience. A year later I have vegan-related paid work. Let’s talk, girl!

  • shell

    I hear you. There with you. Kris Carr is hiring a part time exec. asst with a possibility of distance…;)

  • Greta

    My prayers are with you! Always remember that you are an awesome person and that God has a special plan for your life.

  • Sarah C.

    Hey Sayward, I have a few thoughts about this. First is that we know you need to take care of yourself and your boy, and that is totally the most important thing going. This is the funny thing about blogging – you share your life and we peer into it, and then miss you if you leave, even though we (most of us) don’t actually know you for real and don’t really see the whole picture of your life and struggles. But rest assured that we understand that you need to take care of yourself – I can’t imagine trying to put up quality posts while working and tending to my family (hence, no blog)! Money worries suck, but we’ve all been there (or are now), and I think you have the skills and energy to make something work for you. So glad you have help in the interim – so many people, like the working poor, and low-wage single moms, don’t have family with means to rely on and they get caught in a cycle of poverty that they can’t escape. I’ve been on the receiving end of help from my family so many times (and still accept it, if I’m being honest – just let my dad pay for my girl’s preschool tuition, even though both my husband and I have professional-level jobs; still, just can’t make every end meet) and I’m grateful. Anyway, just glad for you that you have help, and I’m confident (as a long-time reader who feels like she knows you) that you are totally going to land on your feet.

    Second thing is this: we (or at least I’m hoping most of us readers) aren’t as “wholesome” as you might think either. I was frankly so happy to see you start up the cocktail series because so often I read vegan bloggers who don’t drink (fine as a personal choice, not fine as a judgement on those who do), and I’ve been irritated by the healthier-than-thou vibe that JL and a few others have called out recently. And we saw the lighter in your hand in that photo a while back, so don’t think we’re living with some expectation that you’re a health-saint or something (I’m not a creepy stalker, I just have a good memory). So please don’t let that fear of our expectations hold you back. I think that’s why so many of us “like you” – we see an authentic person dealing with struggles and life and decisions and whatever, just like we all do. So don’t worry that if you don’t meet a certain “wholesome” standard that we won’t read, or won’t like you, or will say nasty things (some people will always be haters, but what can you do about them? Ignore them). Just be yourself, do what you need to do, and know that even though most of us haven’t met you in real life, we have your back.

  • Sonja

    As always, thanks for your honesty! I’m really glad that you won’t quit blogging and can totally understand that you can’t put as much time into it as you did. Wish you so much luck jobwise (I was going through a hard time job- and moneywise myself but I’m starting a new job on Thursday and hopefully this will be fulfilling and meaningful). You are so inspiring and I love that you are posting healthy food but not so over-the-top-wholesome stuff as many vegan bloggers do. All the best and lots of love.

    My love list:
    *traveling the balkans
    *life changes
    *finding vegan food in unexpected places
    *that my bf defines himself as vegetarian now

  • skeptk_vegan

    Great post, Sayward. I’m forever grateful for your blog and all of the work and perspective you’ve put in to it. Thank you.

    My Love List
    - Always, my boyfriend.
    - LEAVING ALASKA! Oh boy, what a journey. I have been unemployed for almost a month and am going to the virgin islands next week with my boyfriend. I CANNOT WAIT!
    - I just found a local grocery store that ONLY sells organic produce. Unbelievable! Also… it comes at a somehow inexpensive price. Amazing.
    - Local farmers markets. Ten dollars to stuff a potato bag with as much stuff as you can. I love it here.
    - Meeting new people! So many more nice people reside outside of the damned isolated ice box that I used to live in. Wow, how refreshing.
    - Thrift shopping. Alaska is limited to basically Salvation Army and Value Village, both of which I really… don’t like. There are local little shops everywhere, including awesome furniture stores. I’ve been scoring left and right, and I couldn’t be more happy.
    - Moving has made me feel like all the emotional baggage that used to weigh on me day in and day out… has disappeared. Seriously. I’m so happy for myself!
    - Umm… alcoholic slushie (ahem.. lushie) bar. Yes. Vegan goodies on the menu, and about 70 different infusions going at all times. Kind of a dream come true, and I may have gotten a bit too excited on my consumption whilst discovering it last night.
    - My animals! Oh my gosh how I love my animals, they all make me smile so much more than they even used to. I’m feeling more love for all things since moving.
    - I could go on forever with this one… (this love list I mean) I am just SO liberated by this move, I feel like the possibilities for myself are endless. Very, very happy. :)

  • Brie

    I totally support this decision. Watching out for yourself and Waits should be #1 priority. Plus, in the great big picture of this blog, I just like hearing what you have to say. Whether it is about recipes, vegan-ism, or just life stuff I find your posts insightful, helpful, and challenging. Whether you post 7 days a week or every 2 weeks, it is a joy to come here an see what you’ve been thinking about lately. So, do what you need to do. We will be here.

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks Lynn, and I’m glad to hear the summer has led you to your own discovery as well. May the soul searching reap great rewards for you!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    This is an amazing comment, thank you SO MUCH Katrina. I’ll read it and re-read over and over, I know I will. Thank you thank you thank you.

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you, this comment fills me with warmth and makes me feel like I’m on the right path with what I’m writing here. So thank you, it means more than you know. ♥

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you Kylie, I sure hope you’re right! =D

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Um, WOW, thank you! I’d kill to work there, will definitely be applying!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you Crystal, I always love your comments and you love lists – I’ll keep writing and you keep commenting, deal??

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you, that means so much and I will definitely be keeping up the blog! I adore it too much to let it go completely. thanks for understanding. ♥

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks Taylor, and thanks oft the love list!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    I always love reading your love list, friend, and I love having this place to connect with you. I’ll never stop blogging completely but I hope you’re right – may meaningful and paying work come my way, pleeeeeease! ;-D

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you VAlerie, I always love hearing form people who don’t usually comment. WIAW will still be a regular feature, so I hope you’ll stick around!

    Thanks for the well wishes, I’ll take ‘em all! =D

  • Sayward Rebhal


  • Sayward Rebhal

    We definitely need to talk JL! I follow you and just marvel at the trajectory you’re on. I am SO HAPPY for you because no one deserves it more, and I can’t wait to see what you do next. I’ll happily use your path as a template. ;-)

    Lat’s chat soon!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks shell! Looks like KC is looking for someone on the east coast, dang, but thanks for the rec!

  • Sayward Rebhal


  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you Sarah, this comment means a lot to me and it’s what I needed to hear. It’s also what I mostly assume – that my readership will evolve as I do; that my writing will draw people like me; that we’re all more similar than maybe I think sometimes – but it’s still nice to hear. I will always have fear but I won’t let it stop me from being who I am. never have, never will.

    Thank you for the awesome comment!

    (also PS, just because I want to clarify and NOT because it’s a judgement on anyone else, but the lighter was in my friend’s hand. I smoked for a long time but that one is definitely in my past. ;-) Like I said, no judgements, just personally where i’m at)

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you Sonja, for the understanding/commiseration and also for the well wishes with the job. Here’s to hoping!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Always love your love lists! Congrats on all your exciting changes, keep in touch and keep on posting!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you Brie!

  • Sarah C.

    You’re quite welcome! I figure with a soul-baring post you deserve some reassurance that we’re right there with you! We look forward to hanging with you as you and your life evolve.

    And I too didn’t meant to accuse you of taking up a smoking habit (though I actually think the occasional social smoking isn’t incompatible with a healthy lifestyle; I don’t do it anymore because I have a kid but I might socially smoke otherwise), just that we don’t imagine you living in a bubble of wholesomeness!

  • Vegenista

    Wow! I love everything about this comment! Thank you!

  • Crystal Dicus


  • Tara Swiger

    Oh, Sayward! I am so so happy to read you writing about this. I spend a lot (most?) of my time talking with and helping creative ladies build something SUSTAINABLE around their passion…and there’s always an element of “How is everyone else doing this?!”
    And the fact is, everyone else isn’t doing it! The bloggers, the crafters, the artists, they’re all hustling, they’re all making decisions and sacrifices and constantly trying to find a balance between what their community needs and wants and what they need and want.
    So talking about this openly is awesome and brave!
    And also, as you worry about if what you want to give is what others want, remember to think about who and what that “audience” is. Who do you need that audience to be in order to best serve your mission in life? You don’t have to (nor should you try to!) keep everyone happy – just those that are best served by what you need and want to do. And that means that maybe there’ll be fewer readers, but they’ll be readers that are willing to support your work and you sustainability.
    But it’s all an experiment and I’m so delighted that you’re experimenting (and sharing here).
    BEST wishes!

  • Rachel Piotraschke

    Sarah perfectly summed up why I love your blog! And I LOVE the summer farmers’ market cocktail series :)

  • gea

    My two healthy boys, single mommy friends, my juicing career,lorde “royals , good weather, food in the fridge, the beautiful parks. “Hello” mouth wash.

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