An Unexpected Twist: A Fond Farewell, and New Beginnings

by Two Healthy Kitchens · May contain affiliate links

A Fond (And, Yes – a Teeny Bit Tearful) Farewell

~ from Gretchen

Happiest of New Years to all of you! Welcome, 2016!!

A new year always brings such hope, a renewed sense of purpose, and energy! And I’m sending all that and more to each of you!

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Often, a new year also brings change. And … there are some changes coming to Two Healthy Kitchens in 2016.

Over the past several years, I’ve been working in the schools a bit as a substitute aide, mainly working with students with special needs. I absolutely love it. I love working with the kiddos. (I also love getting to see my own little ones during the day if I’m working in their buildings!)

But also, I truly love everything about Two Healthy Kitchens … and my heart swells with pride every time I look at what Shelley and I have created.

We literally started with a big black hole in cyberspace and made a colorful, helpful, beautiful site that so many have come to (flocked to!) for sweet stories of our families and friends, and our fabulous recipes. Recipes that our families tested (and retested!) and tasted and enjoyed and tweaked. Recipes that I love and make in my own home on a regular basis.

And I have loved every single second of working with Shelley.

We’ve had many {MANY} challenges in creating a website when neither of us knew the first thing about HTML or website design. So many decisions that needed discussed and researched for hours. All those late night texts and even later night phone calls, when we’d talk in whispers because our families were sound asleep … but we just HAD to figure something out … or share a huge milestone that our THK baby hit! (Ummm … yes, we totally used to celebrate every 100, then 1,000 views!)

This entire experience has given me so much more than anyone could ever realize. I’ve been challenged and stretched and pushed. I’ve learned and taught and shared. I’ve cheered out loud and silently happy-danced. I’ve had the opportunity to meet some of the bloggers I admire the most, and even hang out for two hours with THE  blogger I look up to the more than any other (ahem … Lindsay.from.Pinch.of.Yum … ahem) (OMG!! I know, right?!?) while taste-testing amazing bites at a fantastically awesome conference.

I’m also really proud to say that I took every photo on the site (to this point!). Some bring me more pride than others … but I’ve learned a lot about photography in general and tons about food photography. I never imagined how much a sheer curtain, brown parchment, white poster board, and a simple white towel could solve pretty much any problem I was having behind the lens. But I learned, and took thousands of photos to practice, and – over the years – I improved. And that’s what it’s all about … tiny steps forward.

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As with life … we all just want to move forward. Even if it’s only a baby step. To make improvements over yesterday. It doesn’t have to mean big changes (it can … but doesn’t have to). It can be simply figuring out how to do something better, or faster, or smarter.

Lately though, I feel that I’ve been called to be in the schools. A calling that I can’t ignore. Like I’m being drawn there. I’ve spent a lot of time really thinking and praying and making sure I was making the best decision.

It definitely wasn’t an easy choice. I agonized. I talked about it from every angle. And talked in circles. And cried.

But ultimately, I can’t turn away from what I’m feeling. I’m excited to have the time to be in the schools more and work with the kids.

When I graduated from high school, a number of people told me I should have gone into teaching. No, no, I said … my parents were both teachers and I wanted to carve my own path. Turns out, I maybe should’ve listened. I really love being in the schools, so I’m going to do my best to work with those kids.

Which means … I won’t be here at THK. (Yeah … I’m kinda freaking out, too.)

Of course my desire to cook healthy meals for my family won’t change at all … it’s who I am. I just can’t let that go! 🙂

BUT I couldn’t be happier to share that Shelley is totally taking the reins and is going to rock this like you wouldn’t believe. She’s got recipes and ideas and excitement – and I’m super thrilled for her! If anyone can do this – it’s Shelley!

THK 1st10That’s been the roughest part about this transition and this process of moving forward (or rather, of me moving in a different direction). It’s Shelley. She’s my bestie.

She came into my life at the exact moment when I needed her. I met Shelley about 2 months before my mom passed away, and no matter which way you look at it, God placed her in my life then because He knew I’d need someone. And she has been that someone for me. She’s my person. And I can’t help but feel that this change for me means disappointment and more work for her. And that’s what’s been the toughest.

Mmmmkay. Enough sadness. We are ending on a happy note here, folks.

We’re excited for what 2016 will bring for me, for Shelley, and for you, too!

And I’m not totally disappearing … I’ve already photographed the next few recipes, and if it’s ok with Shelley, I’d love to come back every now and then and do a guest post when I have a recipe that’s too good to keep for myself!

But friends … I know that Shelley is feeling a tad overwhelmed. So please give her lots of love and encouragement. Let her know how awesomesauce she is. Because she is.

This isn’t goodbye – it’s until we meet again. And we shall.

THK by Gretchen

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New Beginnings: The New Faces of Two Healthy Kitchens

~ by Shelley

I didn’t read what Gretchen wrote above, until after I’d drafted my own part of this column. I had to approach my own words clear-headed, and without tears in my eyes. I’m not much of a crier. I try really hard to be more of a laugher, actually. But wow – finally reading Gretchen’s words really got me. I’m glad I’d sorted my own words out first, or I’d probably be giving you a pile of mixed-up, blubbering gibberish. (*SNIFF SNIFF*)

Gretchen and I had both said that we were going to try to keep this post upbeat – to find ways to be our usual, silly, slightly irreverent, let’s-just-make-this-fun, selves.

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That was maybe just a bit harder to accomplish than we’d thought, though.

This is such a day of mixed emotions for me.

Even as it’s terribly hard to watch Gretchen leave THK, I’m also really proud of her and the truly meaningful impact she’ll have in working with the special needs kiddos in our district. They need her so much, and she has so very much to give.

Just as THK was an adventure for the two of us in reaching out to help others, her new adventure will be doing that, too – in a different but very powerful, meaningful way. How can I not feel excited for her, for all that she can accomplish?

Of course, I do.

But what about the “Delicious Adventure” she and I started together, to inspire others to eat more healthfully, even in the midst of today’s hurry-up, busy lives?

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How would I go on without my bestie, my partner in crime? (Who also happens to be my photographer and my crack-of-dawn, first-thing-Monday-morning, let’s-get-to-work phone call.)

I’m going to be completely honest and admit that the answer wasn’t crystal clear.

There’ve been some tough discussions around my house lately. Some soul-searching.

Could I do this on my own?

Did I even want to?? Where would be the fun in that?!? In doing Two Healthy Kitchens alone?

But wait …

My husband was the one who finally helped me realize that I’m actually so not alone in this. (Honestly … he’s pretty much always right. I’ve gotten used to accepting that. 🙂 )

Thanks to him, I suddenly realized the obvious.

I’m surrounded by three people (truly the fun-fun-funnest people I know), who’ve been a part of this adventure, too, right from the very start.

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My family.

Right.

From there, the decisions started to fall into place and make a whole lot more sense.

Gretchen and I had started THK because of our kiddos, our families. Because we wanted to find ways to feed our own families more nutritiously in the midst of our busy, hectic, wonderfully adventure-packed days. And we wanted to help other families do that very same thing, too.

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Family.

That was the whole point.

My two kiddos have grown up eating my healthy concoctions and patiently listening as I rattled on about why what we eat matters so much. They’re truly the main reason I felt like I could write our series on picky eaters – because I’ve been there … with them!

We’ve grown gardens together summer after summer (and learned that our thumbs aren’t always green!), and gleefully scouted for new veggies at farmers’ markets.

Gardening kiddos

We’ve made family mealtimes a priority, even when it seemed nearly impossible to find a single spare moment to sit down around the table together.

We’ve laughed over food (ahem … and some of my most epic recipe failures), we’ve bonded over food … and we’ve learned how to use food to fuel ourselves for races (even a half marathon!), and all sorts of sports, and just life in general.

Family sports collage

My family has been quietly in the background of THK, ever since the first crazy day when Gretchen and I dreamed up the idea. They’ve been my fearless testing minions, my cheerleaders, my inspiration.

As they’ve grown older, my kids have also gravitated more and more toward the kitchen, themselves. No longer just waiting around for me to feed them, but excitedly grabbing mixing bowls and random ingredients and cooking up their own, wonderful, new concoctions.

Few things are more rewarding than standing shoulder-to-shoulder with your children in the kitchen, watching them apply everything you’ve worked so hard to teach them … the cooking skills, the nutrition knowledge, the joy in creating delicious food.

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They were ready. And they wanted to help … to keep THK rolling and add their own voices, their own ideas to the mix.

So … here we are. On the precipice of a whole new family adventure.

Together, we’ll continue our family’s own food journey, of making food that is simultaneously nutritious, delicious and fun! And we’re thrilled to be working together now, as a family, to inspire you and your family to do the same.

At first, I wasn’t sure how there could still be a TWO Healthy Kitchens – without my kitchen, and Gretchen’s. But then we realized that there really are still TWO Healthy Kitchens … OUR healthy kitchen … and YOURS!

As THK says a heavy-hearted farewell to Gretchen today, I want to reassure you that she won’t be far away. She’s still my dearest friend, and I intend to 100% hold her to her promise of sharing more of her own family-favorite recipes in the years to come.

But I’m also happy, in a way I wouldn’t have even imagined, to unveil the new faces behind THK – faces that have been here all along, unknowingly preparing for this day.

View More: http://susiemariephotography.pass.us/the-fulton-family

This is the new Two Healthy Kitchens family – my family. My husband, Scott, and kiddos, Ty and Amy.

We can’t wait to share OUR healthy kitchen with you! Ideas, inspiration and recipes – from OUR Healthy Kitchen … to YOURS!

You can learn more about us here, but most of all, we want to start off 2016 by learning about you!

THK By Shelley

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32 thoughts on “An Unexpected Twist: A Fond Farewell, and New Beginnings”

  1. Awww. I feel your pain and excitement. Gretchen will be missed but I know Shelley and she can do it! Life is a journey and we never know where it will take us. I’m so glad you fund your passion Gretchen and I believe Shelley has found hers, too!Can’t wait to see the next chapter. I sure would like to know more about that towel and brown paper though!

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Published on
Updated on July 14, 2018