“Life, learned from bread”

(It’s Guest Blogger Week here on KNOX-esque. Today’s post is by Stephanie Wise “Girl vs. Dough“)


It’s been a quiet day here at 584 Waterford Drive. After working three days in a row, nine hours a day, waking up at 4 a.m. and passing out by 8:30 p.m., I finally have a full day off to do, well, whatever I didn’t get to do while I was working. Often, this means catching up on errands missed throughout the week – picking up necessities and groceries from various big box stores; cleaning dust-covered picture frames and actually making the bed in Lord-knows-how-long; spending my hard-earned wages on Venti nonfat lattes with sugar-free French vanilla syrup that someone else, for once, is making for me. But today is different. Today I decided, though I had many a-thing to do, not to do them. I decided this because of bread.

You are confused, I know, so let me fully explain to you how bread (yes, bread – that airy, grainy, loaf-y stuff that is probably sitting on your counter right now in a pretty plastic bag) has changed my outlook on life.

When I graduated from college, I bit my tongue as I became part of the majority, a statistic, one that reminded me every morning that I didn’t succeed like I had planned, that I wasn’t one of the “lucky ones” to snag a job in her field, diploma in hand. When I got married in June, I gritted my teeth as we moved in with my parents while also embarking on our first year of marriage. I had to swallow my pride in knowing that I had to do whatever it took to pay the bills, even if that meant taking my place behind the counter of a coffee shop, and that I’d have to come home to a place that wasn’t my own.

All this gritting and biting, however, left me hungry. I was hungry for something worthwhile in my life. Sure, I just got hitched to my wonderful husband, and we are blessed and thankful every day to be together… but I was missing something, an outlet, a gateway through which I could write and others would read. After a while I realized I wasn’t going to get paid anytime soon to do that, but I thought I might as well do it anyway. So I started a blog.

It wasn’t so easy, at first. In my bout of creative depression, I didn’t write a thing. I was so bitter about my situation that I thought my writing life was over, that it was useless to put pen to paper for any reason. But I was still hungry. So, I started baking. I baked cookies, cakes, cupcakes, anything that reaped a greater reward than the work I put into it. But that soon got old (and it certainly wasn’t healthy). So, I got a little adventurous. Bread, I thought. That seems like an aggressive avenue, something that would not only challenge my baking knowledge but would also leave me with a product that was good, tasteful and gave equally as much as I put into it. So, I started baking bread. And eventually, I started writing again. And soon, I mixed the two together, snapped some photos and posted my creations on my blog. I’ve been baking and writing ever since.

I learned so much through my journey in baking bread – and not just about temperature, kneading techniques, the “windowpane test” or how to boil a bagel. I learned about life, and changes, and how to embrace them. I learned to learn from my mistakes. I learned to laugh and make a funny every once in a while. I learned the importance of being present in the present; to be lazy every now and again and enjoy it; and to take pride in the little achievements. I learned to eat, drink and be merry, but all in moderation.

So now, when I sit here, doing nothing much, not even baking bread, I remember how grateful I am for love and family and having a passion. I know that I’ll be moving in a month and leaving so many good memories behind me. But instead of biting my tongue or swallowing my pride again, I embrace the change. And if I bring a little flour, some yeast, water and maybe an egg or two along with me, it won’t be so bad. I’ll learn from it. And I won’t go hungry.

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