Well, it looks like I did that “thing” bloggers do sometimes…where they quietly and without warning stop posting, and readers and blogging acquaintances are left to wonder: “Where’d they go? Are they ever coming back? I wonder what they’re up to now?”
I’m going to clear all that up for you today, even though I know you’ll say I don’t have to. But I don’t mind sharing an update–I want to.
Although my Google Analytics stats tell me the pageviews for this site have shrunk tremendously over the past couple years, I know I still have readers out there. I still get warm comments on old blog posts (and I’ve tried to keep up with replying!), and friendly emails land in my inbox every week. Some blog readers have literally been reading my online words here since 2011, when this site was called Back to the Source and I was a newlywed wondering where in the world we’d end up! What a journey, right?
The short version of why I stopped posting here over a year ago is that I didn’t have time, and there was nothing I particularly wanted to say.
The Fuller Picture
This blog was an outlet for many discoveries, recipes, experiments, and aspirations over the past decade as I started my homemaking journey. We spent the first six months of married life in Alabama, then up to what became our beloved Michigan while Eric worked a three-year grad school degree. God planned it so that Eric’s first job after grad school would be back in Alabama, and we moved into a rustic cabin on my parent’s property. That’s where I wrote my simple living book and it’s where we brought home our first baby.
Eventually we ended up in a house in the suburbs, where we brought home two more children. We’re in that same house now, which we’ve made a lot prettier even while we lament how much it’s filled up with stuff, oftentimes beyond our control (having rapidly-growing young humans will do that to a place!) My husband is becoming one of the “veteran” teachers at his school, and our oldest goes in with him every morning as a student. And, we’ll be adding a fourth child to our home in fall of 2023!
Since moving into the cabin, I’ve exclusively worked from home, making a tiny income from Richly Rooted and at times working as a virtual assistant or social media manager. In 2017, I took what I’d learned as a veteran blogger to start a second site, Tea and Ink Society, a blog dedicated to reading and literature.
Since Tea and Ink had a more niched focus, I knew it would be easier to grow an income on that site. In the last few years it’s gotten a lot more of my time than Richly Rooted, and I’ve worked extremely hard to make it a good site, also launching a subscription box business as an income stream.
Between kids, maintaining a full-sized home instead of just an apartment, and building Tea and Ink Society, I wrote here at Richly Rooted less and less, although I’ve still immensely enjoyed this space and posting here. Life was teeming full but moving along just fine, nothing we couldn’t handle with a little help and the usual dose of optimism.
Then in 2021, our lives had the biggest change yet when I lost my mom, decades sooner than I ever could’ve imagined. The bottom dropped out from under us and we lost the most significant part of our support network, one of my best friends and the person I was counting on to help me love and nurture my children throughout their growing up.
There have been many graces and even special memories in the months and now years since her death, but at the same time it was completely devastating for myself, my brothers and sisters, and my dad, and an irreparable loss for the many, many family and friends who loved her.
I can’t share a blog update here without mentioning this event, because it has undoubtedly played a role in my posting less. I felt like I was floundering in homemaking and life clarity, and that was a big piece of what Richly Rooted is about. I can write freely about literature, so Tea and Ink Society is a wonderful outlet and taps into my academic side and the bookish passions I’ve had since childhood.
But writing about hearth and home is a lot harder, because so much of what I wrote about on Richly Rooted came from my mom and what I’d learned from her and was putting into practice.
What’s Next for Richly Rooted
Now that I’ve had some temporal distance from Mom’s passing, I’ve had a little time to process where our lives can go from here and how I’d like to spend my time.
I can’t, don’t want, and don’t need to pour as much time and effort into Richly Rooted as I did in years’ past. However, this is still a place I enjoy and am proud of.
My plan is to keep Richly Rooted up as an “occasional blog,” where from time to time I share what’s on my mind, maybe a good recipe we’re making on repeat, or a “Lost Arts” post. That type of content doesn’t really vary from what I’ve posted on here in the past. What’s different is the blogging mindset I have, and what goes on on the backend of things.
If you know anything about blogging or online content marketing or “influencing,” you know that there are a lot of pressures inherent in the industry to keep up and do “all the things.” I’m not even talking about maintaining a certain personal image or brand (that’s a whole different rabbit trail), but all the ancillary aspects to the blogging business: learning marketing and Search Engine Optimization; providing your own technical support; creating products; researching posts or creating recipes; taking, editing, or sourcing photos; interacting via comments and social media; reworking old blog posts to maintain their Google ranking; and keeping up with best practices and new industry standards for search engines, software, social media, image sizes, and website design…to name just a few things of many more.
It’s such a rat race.
Bloggers like myself who choose to go the more old-fashioned blogging route have to give some–or a lot–of that up, or we will lose our minds. The amount of income I make from this site is nowhere near worth it to invest all that time and energy that would be necessary in order to “keep up” (or to get things back to where they used to be).
What is worth it to me is if Richly Rooted can be a pleasant place for new readers to enjoy the archives, and for me to enjoy posting here when the whim takes me.
Even though the blog industry as a whole has become more headache-inducing than it was in its innocent olden days, I’m grateful for what this particular site has given me: friendships with people I might’ve never met in person, income when finances were tight, connections to other bloggers and virtual assistant positions, and an impact on thousands of readers–many of whom were fellow homemakers or new wives or mothers.
Although I won’t be posting here as much as I did in the site’s heyday, I’m leaving all the content up as a resource library for anyone seeking to create an intentional life and home environment. I’ve done a lot of work to organize everything and make it beautiful, clean, and easy to navigate. And when you subscribe and write to me, I do still get your emails and read every one of them! (and reply, sometimes!)
I feel like I’m moving into a different phase of my life and I don’t know what exactly the future will hold, but I feel an increasing peace about shifting gears as I get deeper into this next decade of adulthood and parenting. I’m really looking forward to it.
And after you have your life upended, it’s nice when you realize you can again look forward to the years ahead.