Oh, The Places We’ll Go…

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I’ve been thinking the last few months. That’s saying a lot for me. Most of my days don’t involve a lot of thought; just herding children and mediating arguments, prepping food and then cooking it, schooling our kids and then doubting whether I’m a “good enough” teacher, encouraging my husband and then trying to disarm the foreboding thoughts that question whether I’m a “good enough” wife. Do you know those thoughts?

This blog started as a place of inspiration for me. I was stuck in a food rut, feeling as though every night at the dinner table held no surprises: meat, veggie, fruit. I felt awful that Superman was so restricted in what he could eat, and I knew there must be more ways to cook a piece of cow then just sprinkling on garlic salt and throwing it in the oven. I thought if I just had a few people reading, it would inspire me to go beyond boring. And it did. I found myself on Sunday nights at the kitchen table, scrambling to come up with a weekly menu to post so I wouldn’t have disappointed readers. I think I thought I was more consequential than I really was. But, oh well. Clean Eats in the Zoo was born, and it’s grown from just a few readers (I remember when I was so excited that I had 20 hits on my blog in a day!) to much more.

So, back to how I’ve been thinking.

My life consists of a lot more than just cooking. Granted, eating grain-free and predominantly void of processed foods can take up a large chunk of my time. But it’s not my life. I’ve realized over these past few months that it’s bothering me that all I write about is food. Don’t get me wrong; I think food is important. I find great joy in setting a spark for people to make healthy changes in the way they eat. And I can’t see myself ever stopping the creative bug in me that puts me in the kitchen, throwing ingredients together. But again, it’s not my life. I want to grow my blog. Not just in readership, but in substance. I want to share with you my struggles as a mom, as a homeschooling mom, as a homeschooling adoptive mom. I want you to get to know my family and to understand why I adore my husband and often see him through rose-colored glasses. I want you to know when I fail, so you can see that we are all cut from the same cloth of imperfection. My heart’s desire is to be completely transparent, opening my heart to you, while still sharing valuable insights (and recipes).

My journey in life has thus far been unpredictable, hurtful, dysfunctional and distressing. But on the flip side, it has also been joy-filled, exciting and blessed, and I have been redeemed by a relationship with the God I call Lord. All of the brokenness and dysfunction I came from has melted away because of my bond with Jesus. And although I no longer carry the burdens of my past, those little buggers creep their way back into my life on a regular basis: those voices of self-doubt, worry, frustration and discontentment.

So, my question to you is this: would you mind if I made this blog more personal? I know many, if not all, of you follow this blog because of the recipes. Obviously, it’s called “Clean Eats” in the Zoo for a reason. Would the ramblings of a 30-something mother of 5 add more chaos to your day? Of course, I still plan on regularly posting yummy dishes and delectable treats. Please be honest with me–I don’t want to change something if it’s not broken. But I know the writer in me, the relational part of me, wants to do more.

Please leave me a comment and tell me what you think!

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  1. Jane says

    Although I’m not a homeschooling mom, I can appreciate all the sentiments you expressed. I would live to hear more.

  2. Suzanne says

    I would love to read about your daily struggles, joys, heartaches, and triumphs in this thing we call life. It lets us know you are a real person with real thoughts and feelings!

  3. Sharon says

    Hi, Shanti,

    I love your heart and would enjoy reading, whether you are posting about food or other stuff. I too, am a Christian wife and mom…I have ‘walked the paths you currently trod’ (or some such thing 😉 ). I am on the other side now, as wife, mom to 20 & 30 somethings, mom-in-law, and gramma. I am still trying to keep up with all of you younger people, and love the new information on food and exercise that is coming from so many. Please keep sharing your heart, and perhaps, one day, I’ll have an opportunity to begin a blog and share mine with you! Blessings, Sharon

    PS If you are interested in an excellent book about ‘grace’ that deals with some of the issues you mentioned, my young moms group just finished a study on “Give Them Grace…dazzling your kids with the love of Jesus” by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick & Jessica Thompson. I suggest you read it with a friend so you can discuss. It’s NOT the Bible, by any means, but definitely has interesting food for thought.

  4. says

    Yes! Go for it. I’ll keep following it with interest.

    P.S. I have a little blog that I consider to fall under the category of “healthy living”, but is kind of all over the place and I am worried that may be one reason I don’t have many readers. Do you have any suggestions for an aspiring blogger to build readership? Thanks! And, as a friend of mine reminds me, “You are enough.”

  5. Annie says

    Please share. I love recipes but I love hearing about other people as well. Your struggles are quite different than mine, but I find it helps me to keep things in perspective when I hear how life is for others. Thank you for being willing to share yourself in addition to just your recipes.

  6. Jill says

    I wouldn’t mind at all. ( It’s also called “In the Zoo” ) It think it makes you seem more real, more knowable I guess than just some random stranger with good recipe ideas. The little bits of personal info you have shared already were nice. Just keep the Clean Eats stuff which brought us to you in the first place.

  7. Brandae says

    I much more enjoy blogs that share who the writer is and parts of their heart and life than I do a simple recipe post. The additional perks of you being a Christian, adoptive, homeschooling wife and mama make it even more interesting. Please do write write whatever you feel led to share!

  8. Marina says

    I am a 30 something Jesus loving, clean eating, dysfunction is melting away mom of 5. I guess by that description my answer is yes! I’m relational & love to hear about other moms journeys.

  9. Yvette Lewis says

    Go for it! I’m a homeschooling mom of a child with special needs and we eat a special diet. Branch out and keep it real!

  10. says

    I love your blog for the recipes but I am so curious about your story as a homeschooling and adoptive Mom. I admire you for seeking the solution for your husband’s health and your dedication for your family. So yeah, bring it on! I think your story can be very encouraging to others.

  11. Jessica says

    I actually had to stop and think about this one – but not for the reason you think. I am sitting here checking out your blog post and having to really think about WHY I am reading it – you see – I don’t really use your recipes. I am actually – at this very moment – in the middle of a RAW VEGAN cleanse! But – here I am. SO – I had to ask myself why I was really here :) What you may or may not realize is that you are intriguing! Your story is only lightly dusting these pages – and yet it is all over your posts. I come to your blog hoping to get another piece of your puzzle and would LOVE if you shared more! You are extremely relatable and approachable for a large number of women out there – and I would imagine they would all agree. This coming from a 30 something, Jesus loving, wife, mother of 3, homeschooling, clean eating mom :) Hope this helps!

  12. MW says

    I’m a new reader!
    I would love more personal stories as my struggle is feeling alone in making healthy eating choices for my family and how those affect my kids and husband. I’m love to see your family dynamics and how those relate to food choices. I’m inspired by what small amounts I’ve read and really appreciate the time and energy you put into your posts!

  13. Debbi says

    From a 40 year old homeschooling mother of 7 lively critters, I say go for it! I struggle with finding like minded fellowship. I’ve always been that weird one. You know, that one with the big family, that one who homeschools, that one who feeds her family a crazy diet. I find a connection in your blog and as far as I’m concerned the more connections I can make, the better!

  14. radlandon says

    Thank you all for your encouragement!! I’m so glad you are all open to hearing more, and I’m excited about some upcoming posts!

  15. Rachael says

    I would love to read more about your life as a busy mom! I have 4 boys, and my days are busy cooking dairy and grain free, cleaning, mom stuff etc… I am always up for being encouraged in all areas of my life. Looking forward to reading more about you and your family!

  16. emma says

    I feel so connected to your blogs so YES YES YES!! I’m a mom of three and at times feel discouraged I’m glad to know I’m not alone in this crazy world trying to raise and feed a family:))

  17. Lyndall says

    As a mum myself I would love to hear more about your day to day “adventures”!!! Looking forward to reading your future posts!!!

  18. Sarah says

    I would love to hear more of your life! I’m a homeschooling mom of 2 trying to eat grain free, gardening, raising chickens, & making food traditionally….some days I don’t know how I can do it but then I think of all you’re doing and it inspires me : )


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