A midsummer’s check-in

In some ways, this summer is flying by. In other ways, it’s just inching along, one day after another after another. It’s mid July already… We’re in the thick of summer.

Nicole, editor of Simple Organic, had her baby in June. Kara, Simple Kids editor, is due any second. Jamie of Simple Homeschool and I have enjoyed a month-long writing break. And Aimée, passionate about summer food that she is, couldn’t relish the thought of taking a break from editing Simple Bites.

My summer more or less started with a trip to the Philippines, blogging for Compassion International.

Photo by Keely Scott

A week later, we moved out of our house in Austin, Texas. We then stayed at my parents for two weeks, then Kyle’s parents for two weeks.

During this time, I took my annual summer writing break. As much as I love writing, I’ve found that my body and mind need a respite from the regular publishing.

Art by Departika

It also seems like I return a better writer. I’m refreshed, at minimum.

Halfway through my break, I “cheated” and attended Evo ’11, where I spoke about getting a book published. If you’re interested, you can find my rough draft notes and presentation here.

As always, I had an amazing time connecting with friends and was inspired and reinvigorated by new ones. I recorded another podcast with Nicole.

I also enjoyed Melissa Michaels screaming in my ear. Alpine Slide. You know how it is.

I returned to Oregon on a Saturday, and the following Friday, we (finally) moved in to our new home here in Bend.

Slowly, slowly, we are unpacking boxes, trying to find the silverware, and acclimating to a new climate. Never in my life have I needed to wear a sweater in the summer.

And throughout the rest of the summer, we’ll continue making this new house of ours into a home. In the next week or two, I’m going to rev back up my writing, and get back to regular podcasting, too.

It’s always a little trepidacious to return to writing after a break, wanting to relish the slower pace of life. I’ve been reminded how passionate I am about living simply, intentionally, and slowly. I love that my writing espouses those ideas — I just need to live that way, too.

Not sure if I’ve said it lately, but I am so unbelievably thankful for all of you. Thank you for reading the ideas on all the simple living blogs, and thank you for sharing your lives with us. I am so unbelievably blessed to run these blogs!

I hope you’ve been enjoying your summer. What has your family been up to?

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. Welcome back! I live in Seattle and I think its weird that I have to wear sweaters in the summer… Looking forward to your upcoming posts!

  2. Tsh, so good to see your smiling face again. I thought I’d lost you before we really got to know each other. 😉

  3. A little break can feel so good, can’t it?! We’ve been busy taking advantage of all the fun free stuff for kids in New York City. But with 3 kiddos under 5 years old it can be exhausting. As always I’m trying to balance the fun adventures with the calm, simple life. We won’t be in the city forever (I don’t think) so there’s a drive to do everything while here. I feel very blessed that my challenge right now is finding balance between the busy adventures and clam down time.

  4. This is my summer of actually ramping up my writing. But it’s been a wonderfully vibrant time. We’re in a transition space, living with family for the summer and enjoying all that grandparent time also.


  5. So glad you had a rejuvinating break! I must admit, I am really looking forward to the next podcast! I enjoy them so much as I’m picking the meat of a roasted chicken or folding laundry.

    I moved from FL to PA after I got married and it’s still weird to me to be able to have my windows open most of the summer and have it be only 78 in the house!

  6. DebbieRN says:

    That’s not much of a break (moving)! Rest assured you have created a wonderful blog for women of all ages. I still love it and get ideas for my wonderful grandbaby, almost two. While you have been gone I have read Ann Voskamp’s 1,000 Gifts. Never has a Christian book made me feel the love of God as hers has.

    Good for you that you include other writers on your blog. Enjoy the rest of your ‘break.’

  7. It’s vital to our well being to take a vacation from our work, hobbies, etc. Even if we love it, we need time to turn it off

  8. Welcome back! Congratulations on the move and taking a break! Speaking of wearing sweaters in the summer, we are about to move our family from Austin to Dublin, Ireland, so I will be trading my shorts and t-shirts for sweaters and rain boots. Our summer has been filled with packing and preparing for an international move. It should be a wild adventure!

  9. Jennifer says:

    Don’t worry. It is just La Nina, or something like that, hopefully. I live in Portland and last week was the first time it EVER rained on my birthday. This is usually the week where it is mid-90’s (usually only one week a year) and the weather casters go nuts.

  10. Congrats on the big move! I am from the Willamette Valley in Oregon and spent a lot of time in Bend as a kid with my family. We loved to take day trips there and I have some of my best memories with my mom from those visits. It’s unusual that you have to wear a sweater; the weather in general tends to be much warmer there this time of year. We are not having much of a summer up here in Washington either. Hope to see some sunshine soon!

  11. We moved to the area of Olympia, WA this Spring and went camping at the coast a couple of weekends ago. Having grown up in Florida, I never thought I’d walk onto a beach, in July, at 330 in the afternoon, and need a sweater! As much as I miss the warmth, I’m grateful it’s not 105* here. Our kids’ summer break started the last week of June so we still feel like we’re just starting our summer break. The last summer camp for kids ends tomorrow and we have friends coming to visit. I’ve also started trying canning! We are also reading lots and enjoying new neighbors/friends.

  12. Christie says:

    Welcome to Bend! This is a cold summer … sweaters in the daytime is so unusual (though I’ve almost always needed to wear a sweater on a summer evening).

  13. Your comment about wearing a sweater in the summer cracked me up. In Oregon, we never put away our winter clothes because you just don’t know when you’re going to need them. I will say that this summer is unusually cold. We’re all hoping for a warmer August.

  14. I am not a mom but have THOROUGHLY enjoyed your posts as the Lord has been speaking (more like billboarding with red flashing lights) that Irest. I’m learning to reject perfectionism and pick up rest because rest is a weapon.

    Anyway your blog has been a great foundational piece for me.

    If you want to go to the coast and want to meet an awesome family on your way, they’re only 2.5 hours from you. They’re my favorite people on the planet and I miss them dearly. I would gladly move to OR just to be around them (and secretly to wear sweaters year-round)!

  15. The New Me says:

    You can have our heat! Everybody in NJ stand up, face west and BLOW! It’s 98 degrees in my kitchen…and NOTHING’s cooking! (It’s about 105 outside.)

    Tsh, I’m grateful for the inspiration you and your fellow Simple Living bloggers provide. Thank you!

  16. Thank you for your generosity in sharing all you’ve learned over the years…

  17. Melissa says:

    Love reading about needing your sweaters. Next week we are loading up our family and moving from Dallas to Seattle. We are also dying here – the roads are literally buckling from the heat. Meanwhile Seattle is boasting about their 78 minute summer – the total number of minutes the temp has been above 80 all summer! I will love being there for August, which should make the move a little easier. Not looking forward to the unpacking though…

  18. Oh, yes, we wear our hoodies here in Oregon every day. The native Oregonians persevere with their flip flops and shorts for the sake of rebellion, but I just can’t do it. I’m from Florida.

    • Love it. Makes me laugh when they say, “Oh it gets hot here — sometimes up to 90 for a day or two.”

      • Hey, I grew up in Newport Oregon and really prefer it to not get above 80, 75 is my ideal. Call me a wimp, but when it only got to 65 on an average summer day, I don’t know anything warmer.

  19. Great to hear from you Tsh! I’m glad you found a time to connect with old and new friends! My little one turned 9 months today and I feel as though I’m still acclimating to being a mom, ha! 🙂 My mother-in-law from China has been visiting us throughout the summer so we’ve had some great family time! Continue to relish the rest of your break!! 🙂

  20. I am so excited for you and for all that is to come!

  21. Welcome to Oregon! This summer is *not* typical. I usually do pack away all my sweaters but one (for after-dark s’more parties). Much as I’ve been trying to surrender to the clouds and be grateful that we’re not roasting, I’m having a hard time being gracious. I’ve been spending the summer moving, too–but just from Mt. Hood to Gresham. Many mixed feelings about that, but part of my project to simplify my life. Have enjoyed reading you for awhile now, for practical ideas and inspiration.

  22. We’ve been doing our best to find air-conditioned things to do here in AZ, jealous of your sweater-wearing, I can’t imagine that.

    Also the kids here in the Vail district went back to school on Monday! So we’re already thinking fall-ish-ly, I’m scheduling the fall curriculum for the elementary department at church right now.

    Looking forward to many more excellent blog posts now that you’re more refreshed!

  23. So cool to see so many Oregonians! I am one too! Though I lived in Indiana and Michigan the majority of my life. We’ve lived in the Willamette Valley now for five years. And yes this summer is strange. We’ve have not had a 90 degree yet and barely in the 80’s. I will say though it’s better than being in extreme heat. We can still go to the park, go for walks or runs, and sit outside in the backyard. Hoping for a hotter August, but this is Oregon–never know what the weather is going to bring.

  24. hey tsh! great to hear from you… we are in the midst of unpacking boxes and re-organizing things as I am sure you are too! Nice to see you are taking “the rest of the summer” to make your house a home– I have been feeling stressed trying to get everything set up and organized asap and should just relax and give myself (and family) time to adjust to everything… why do I feel so rushed to get it all done quickly? I would rather choose the calm unhurried approach… just feeling overwhelmed with so much to do and can’t decide where to start half the time! any ideas on how you decide what ‘project’ to tackle next as you are setting up new spaces for your family?

  25. Best wishes for a good start in Oregon! I just wanted to say how much I enjoy reading your blog. It’s full of practical ideas, wisdom and inspiration.

    I’m enjoying a break from homeschool and finding time for personal projects. Just got back from a week-long getaway with my daughter at a luxury apartment complex on the beach in Southern Turkey. I can relate to wanting to continue to relish the slower pace of life.

  26. Wow must be quite a transition for you going from Texas to Oregon. Hope you’re enjoying your new life!

  27. HeatherB says:

    Welcome Back! Thanks for pulling up some of your older posts during the break, I thoroughly enjoyed them.

    We’ve been taking it easy here. Staying out of the Maryland heat. Baby boy #2 is due any day now and we’re just waiting patiently 🙂 I’ve been nesting like crazy and using your book as my guide!

  28. Currently “homeless” for a month and visiting both sets of parents as we move from AZ to TN. Glad someone else is as crazy as we are!

  29. Tiffany Larson says:

    Welcome to Oregon! This is an usually cold summer BUT Central Oregon summer evenings are generally cool and I LOVE that so enjoy it for me!

  30. Anyone needs a break we’re only human so you need it to… Great choice to start your summer bcos Philippines is a nice place .

  31. Glad you’ll be back to writing, Tsh – you are such an inspiration! Summer here on Cape Breton has had a similar tang – and I have to admit that I love it! Hope you’ll take the time to enjoy feathering your new nest a bit – I’ve always loved moving! Blessings on you and yours!

  32. Clark Minn says:

    Very inspiring post here…Taking time to relax can be the most awaited part of your life…You deserve it anyway…

  33. Hi there.
    Nice sharing. It looks like that you had a very good time back then, relaxing and all.

  34. We thank you for bringing a bit of that summer heat to Bend! We are really trying to get out and soak up as much summer as possible – I was thrilled to notice that lovely bronzed glow on all of our skin this week along with dirty, dingy souls of our feet. Sometimes dirt = bliss! We soaked up those 80+ days this weekend:
    Farmers Market
    Grilling Dinners
    Children’s Festival
    Bike Races
    Public Pool
    Gathering with friends

  35. Laurin Flowers says:

    Yeah! You are near us now. . well sort of. We are in Yakima, Wa.

  36. Hooray for the return of the podcast! I’ve enjoyed it so far and I’m excited for more. 🙂

  37. Bend, Oregon. How wonderful. Seems like someone on another blog I read lives there. I’ve been spending my summer learning to be more intentional with my kids (reading Charlotte Mason for that), gearing up for some major art / craft time, and just learning more about how God has designed me.

  38. Hi,

    Awesome post and glad you shared this….I think you have a very good time there…

  39. Hey Tsh, welcome to Oregon! Bend is AMAZING! We try to get there when we can. We are just 3 hrs away in Gresham. Summer’s here are not my favorite (I grew up in Hawaii), only b/c they start so late! But, the last into October 🙂 I will warn you about Spring…it’s LONG AND DREARY…however, where you are, well…you get more sun out there! Lucky girl.
    I love your blog and hope to maybe chat with you in person one day.
    Is your move to Oregon permanent?

  40. We just visited Bend on vacation. Such a beautiful town! We enjoyed the free concert at the Old Mill amphitheater. And seeing the “cycle pub” was entertaining 🙂 My sister lives on a cattle ranch about an hour east, so Bend was our big city escape. Lots of fun!

  41. I was born in Bend Oregon! My family packed up and moved overseas by the time I was 5 so I don’t remember it much. But someday would love to go visit. My summer is full of learning. I am 30 weeks pregnant with our first child and I have a lot to learn. I live in South America and enjoy living simply.

  42. Wow. I needed to read this message and thanks for sharing. I needed some encoragement in what I’m doing, trying to get a fairtrade marketplace up and running and we are working with people in the Philippines too, trying to help build skills and provide work. Again, thanks for this blog posted. I need to not feel guilty about resting.

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