Thriving on intention, not busyness (and an announcement)

It’s been a doozy of a year, even though it’s been one of our best. Changes, lessons learned, kids growing up, slight job shifts… Life constantly moves, doesn’t it? 2012 has whooshed by, but when I think of January to now, I’m in awe of all I’ve learned, as a writer, as a wife, and as a mother.

I actually thrive on change, which is both good and bad. I tend to roll with the punches, but if things remain stagnant for a bit, I get restless. The longest we’ve ever lived in one home was three years, and that was overseas, which is full of crazy upheaval just by nature of geography.

But I don’t thrive on busyness. It sucks me dry, and I get lost in the liturgy of life when my focus shifts from being a person with intentional purpose to a checker of to-do lists. When my daily goals become efficiency and productivity instead of reflection and contentment.

I bet being busy sucks the life out of you, too. I believe that’s because we aren’t inherently made to be busy.

There’s a lot I miss about living overseas, but probably the thing I miss the most is a slower pace of life. It drove me crazy, this snail’s pace, when we first lived as expats—getting one thing done was a major accomplishment, and that’s enough to wad up the pants on any red-blooded American. But eventually (as in, several years) into our life, and I grew to savor a slower rhythm.

An announcement

Most of you have gathered that I’m working on my third book. Well, I’m thrilled that I’m finally free to tell you about it, for reals.

I’ve partnered with Thomas Nelson for my next two books, and my next installment is called Intention: Notes on the Quest to Savor Life, Enjoy the Kids, and Say No to Living Fast. You can just call it Intention, for short.

It explores whether we can live in our western cultures the same way those people can in more relationship-based cultures. But it’s not an anthropological study. It essentially asks the question, “Can a family live slowly in a fast-paced culture?” And it draws mostly on our own family’s experience of return to our home culture here in the States.

If you’ve read my first book, I can tell you this—it’s vastly different. This book is still practical because you can translate it into your own story, but it’s not a how-to book. It’s a book of stories. Stories of my family, with a few stories of others.

I’ve grown to love the words on these pages I’ve been scratching late into the night and early in the morning, and I so hope you will, too. I hope they’ll inspire and encourage you to think outside the box about all the little everyday choices you make as a family. To question our culture’s norm. To live with intention.

Which is why the book is called Intention.

And I’m completely thrilled about the book to follow, which will chronicle our family’s journey around the world sometime down the road. We’ll interact with other families in different countries, and discover how we all do family life and what we can learn from each other—hospitality, education, living in community, and all those lovely things that make up life. And you read right—all five of us will be going on this journey together. Our passports have been itching for some more stamps, so we’re already counting down the months. The trip isn’t anytime soon, but we’ll fill you in on plans as the time draws closer.

Thank you, Simple Mom readers, for allowing me to do what I do—for giving our family this gift of an online space. I’m writing Intention for you, and I’m writing it for me. I need reminders like these in the book, regularly. It’s been good for my soul, so I hope it’ll be good for your soul when you’re finally able to crack open the cover.

Stay tuned!

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. Such a cute photo with your kids!!! And wonderful news!!! Congratulations and wish you all the best with your book writing adventure!!!

    • Congratulations!! I love the subject matter of your next book. It’s exactly what I need to hear. I myself love change but hate being too busy that I can’t enjoy life. I’m always purposely trying to slow down the pace of my families life. It’s hard when you have to live in such a fast paced society.

  2. I’m so looking forward to reading it!

  3. Wow. Book sounds great. Slower living is one of my passions. I’m a huge fan of the slow food movement and living with clarity and intention. Looking forward to it.

    Dan @

  4. Congratulations! Sounds like my type of book cannot wait to see it out on the book shelves.

  5. I am very much looking forward to this book. I so enjoy reading your blog posts. You have a God given talent of the written word and your messages are so applicable to families of all shapes and sizes. Thank you!

  6. SO excited about this book. This is how we try to live, but having living my entire growing up years over seas, I have found this particular aspect to be most difficult to get used to here in the US. Can’t wait to read it!

  7. Congratulations! Sounds like a great book for you to write. Look forward to hearing (and reading) more!

  8. Robin from Frugal Family Times says:

    Looking forward to your book! Can’t wait to read it. It sounds like just what you needed to write and just what people need. Congrats!

  9. Congratulations! I can’t wait to read your book, and what exciting times of travel for you and your family. Your words always bless.

  10. Congratulations! Can’t wait to hear and read more about it!

  11. Congratulations! It sounds like something we need around here.

    Your children are beautiful. That littlest one makes me want to pinch his cute cheeks.

  12. Sara @ Stay at Beach Mom says:

    Yay! I am SO excited about both of your books. Simplicity Parenting is one of my favorite books and it sounds like your book will take it even further… and, I love your writing! Congratulations!

  13. Hi Tsh. I have been a long time reader of the slm websites, but this is the first time I have commented. I lived abroad for two years (about 15 years ago) and found the experience so similar to yours. Initial frustrations at the time it took to grocery shop or go to the post office turned into opportunities….to slow down, connect, meet people…and simply just to be. I cherished the pace of life there and have struggled since return in to the US to keep that slower pace. It is so challenging when the world around you seems to be rushing by, and if you don’t join in…well, then you feel behind. I’ve had a number of circumstances in the last few years that have forced me to slow down. The illness and death of my father and my inlaws (all in three years) was a reminder to focus on what is important and to slow things down. Time with my oh-so-observent daughter also serves as a reminder to stop and pay attention to things.

    I just had a conversation with a friend this weekend about how much I miss the pace of life in Europe. The challenge is to figure out how to apply those lessons to my life now. After a VERY busy couple of weeks, I have been thinking how I don’t want my daughter to think back on her childhood and remember that we rushed all the time.

    I am so very much looking forward to reading your book. Intention…..yes!

    Here’s wishing you a day in which to savor the breeze,

  14. Sounds amazing! Can’t wait to read it…and what a great picture of you and your kids! 🙂

  15. I cannot WAIT to read Intention!! (and the book that follows, too). xox

  16. This is really exciting news! I have been wanting to read a book like this for a while now. One of my good friends just moved here (Dallas area) from Mexico last year, and she and I have had many discussions about her “culture shock.” I have tried to ask her what daily/weekly life in Mexico would be like so that I can understand better the differences she is finding, and basically she has said that in Mexico she would see her friends and church family more during the week and that people aren’t as “busy.” I want to learn and grow in this area–glad you are writing about it!

  17. Congratulations! I can’t wait to read the latest book. And what huge anticipation of that trip for your family-wonderful!

  18. What a cute picture of you and the kids. I’m excited for both of your upcoming books!

  19. As someone who recently traveled for 9 months with 3 children, often without help, you are going to love introducing your family to the wonders of the world! I think we are kindred spirits on this one, Tsh (and on many things, really). I, too, have a restless nature but crave a life of relishing in the now. Congratulations on this next step. What a dream come true! Jen

  20. Congratulations! I look forward to the book… it sounds like something I would love to read.

  21. Tsh, what a wonderful book! I can’t wait! When will it be out and will you be publishing for kindle? good luck with the writing process!

  22. I love this so much. Congrats!

  23. Many many congratulations Tsh! Thank you for all the inspiration you bring to so many lives.

  24. Tsh, CONGRATS! Whenever I’m dragging my feet on working on my own book I look at you and think, “well, if she can *intentionally* work on a book outside of all the guest posting, and managing her own blog AND a whole media empire…then certainly I can!” Looking forward to it! Oh and by the way, you look gorgeous in that pic of you & the kiddos! I love the highlights? (or just lighter color)…looks fab on you, sis!

  25. Tsh, CONGRATS! Whenever I’m dragging my feet on working on my own book I look at you and think, “well, if she can *intentionally* work on a book outside of all the guest posting, and managing her own blog AND a whole media empire…then certainly I can!” Looking forward to reading it! Oh and by the way, you look gorgeous in that pic of you & the kiddos! I love the highlights? (or just lighter color)…looks fab on you, sis!

  26. Amazing news! I’m especially excited about you traveling around the world with the kids. What an incredible experience you are providing! I can’t wait to read both books. And Thomas Nelson, what a great company–they’re my dream publisher!

  27. I have both of your books- read 1 working on the 2nd. I will probably ask my husband to get me this one too for another birthday or Christmas in the future! 😉

  28. Please say that for your second book you will come to Gaspe and hang out with our family a bit. It’s in North America, but it’s another culture. And you can use your passport to get here and.. we’ll take you hiking and cook you simple, vegan fare and this is the view from our front windows…
    Have I tempted you enough?

    And I’m very curious and can’t wait to read your book because your life, like ours seems very full of intention and very busy. Which is not the same I realize as busy-ness but boy oh boy it can sure creep that direction.

    And I’m psyched for a book for stories because stories speak to me much more than how-tos. And inspire me also.

    Looking forward to seeing you in a couple days at Allume.

  29. Thank YOU!
    You’re a blessing to me!

  30. Exciting times for you. Congratulations. I can’t wait to read it.

  31. Congratulations!

    I love the idea for this book. I’ve always felt a bit “less than” when it comes to my ability to do it all. I can’t, and I’ve decided I won’t. I’ve said no to a lot of things I love (teaching being the main one) because it is impossible for me to do everything without sacrificing a big part of my health and sanity.

    Preach it, sister!

  32. Congratulations, Tsh! You are an inspiration to me – a writer/blogger getting her feet wet. This is exciting news – and how wonderful to have adventures to look forward to living and writing about. I wish you the best.

  33. Intention is one of my favourite words!!

  34. Congrats! I look forward to reading, enjoyed the last couple and can’t wait to see how the stories unfold.


  35. Congrats, Tsh! It sounds awesome.

    I look forward to seeing you at Allume this weekend!

  36. Congratulations! The book sounds great. I don’t really care to read a how to, but I’m all about the stories.

  37. Congratulations on your new book and your new adventure. I cannot wait to read your book. Lately I’ve been feeling like our family is craving a slower pace, so I’m really looking forward to reading your experiences, thoughts and insights. I wish you all the best in your future!

  38. Congrats!

  39. Yay! SO excited for you guys!

  40. Lisagrace Alsbury says:

    Can I just say that I’m SO EXCITED about this? So glad you get to live your dream, and so glad I get to benefit from them.

  41. Looking forward to your book- sorely needed in our western culture of ‘have it all’ and ‘do it all’. A slower pace and life with intention- I think most people crave it, need it, but don’t know how to do it.

    Loooove that photo of you with your kids- lovely!

  42. Tsh – I’m already in love with the book! Seriously, I’m looking forward to reading your words on this topic as we strive to lead a slower, more intentional life and set the example for our own children to value relationships over things and achievements.

    What an exciting time for you and your family! Thank you for sharing with us all!

  43. Oh, this sounds SO good. Just like the book I’ve been wanting to read for a long time. I’ve wondered the same question a lot, especially since we’ve spent some time overseas and done the whole back to North America culture thing but not really liking the busyness of it all.

    So excited for this book and the one to follow!!

  44. Cannot wait to read the Intention book – this is an issue my husband and I often talk about – how busy our culture is and how we have to be so intentional about slowing down. Fortunately our kids enjoy a slower life and often prompt us to take a step back from all of our activity. So looking forward to reading your thoughts on this topic – When will it release? Hopefully soon!!!

  45. Wonderful! Congratulations to you!! Can’t wait to read!

  46. Can’t wait!!!!! Excited for you all!

  47. Love love love! Especially the upcoming world travel as a family : )

    Thanks for bravely conquering life for us, Tsh!

  48. Sounds amazing, Tsh! I’m so happy for you. What a blessing!

  49. Thank you for writing a book on the very topic I was wondering and praying about. How can we avoid the busy-ness badge of honour in today’s society, especially where our kids are concerned, while still living a full and meaningful life?
    This book is going on my Christmas list!

    • You’re welcome! However, it’ll need to go on your next Christmas list, because it’s not due out for awhile. 😉

  50. I suppose it’s because I’m in my first trimester with my 3rd baby, but I teared up reading this post. I’m very excited about this book! Thanks for who you are, Tsh!

  51. I am so excited for you and for us readers! I have been praying to live a more intentional life in all areas and I cannot wait to read your book and hear about your adventures! God bless you and your family!


  52. Congratulations! I’m so excited for your new books! I can’t wait! By the way, I really like your hair! It’s a lot longer than the last time I saw it in pictures and the highlights look great 🙂

  53. Congrats, Tsh. I can’t wait to read it!

  54. Thank you for writing about the wondrous life of intentional living. A slower pace of life is wonderful, even when life is actively full. Though it doesn’t always look like it in our family of six children, we have always been intentional about our pre-children decision to not get sucked into the busyness that seems to plague American family life. It is a decision we have never regretted making. Several of our children are now old enough to recognize the difference and be thankful for it. Hopefully it is something that will continue on for many generations. Thank you again for writing about this satisfying and fulfilling style of living.

  55. Love the premise of this book Tsh. Can’t wait to read. And I LOVE your long hair! Beautiful!

  56. Tsh, thanks for what you do! I’m always inspired by your intentional living! Thanks for your example, and for sharing your words with us!

  57. This sounds wonderful, Tsh! I love the whole idea of it.

    Living slowly is something my family strives for, but often struggles with, in this fast paced world. I’m so looking forward to reading your new book!

  58. Suzie Bourne says:

    Looking forward to your new book – trying to do this at the moment with no real guide – just fumbling along. Your book will be a great help (as are all your other books). Having lived overseas myself and keen to do this with my family and kids at some stage, I will be interested in your secondbook too. All the best writing both!

  59. Congratulations! This is wonderful news.

  60. Elizabeth Kane says:

    Love the title, and how you’re making a strict distinction between busyness and the willingness to change. It’s a hard one: Having the courage to evolve, and the wisdom to savor each phase of your journey. Can’t wait to read the book!

  61. Congratulations!!

    I lived abroad in high school (Army-brat), and the hardest part of moving back to the states for me was readjusting to the fast-pace here. I learned to love the slow pace of life abroad, and I vowed not to get caught up in the busy American mind-set. Fast forward fifteen years and years on the fast-track, I am re-learning how to slow down and enjoy life again. I can’t wait to hear about your family’s adventures.

  62. Both books sound amazing, timely, and full of grace. Godspeed in putting them together. Hope you enjoy the process, especially the travel bit!

    That’s a dream of ours as well. My husband keeps threatening to move us all to Africa for a few years once our oldest hits middle school and part of me thinks that would be wonderful. The other part of me bemoans the idea of abandoning my garden for so long, but maybe a shorter period of meaningful travel would be just the thing… we’ve got five years to figure it out before he is done with elementary school. 🙂

  63. Tsh,
    Congratulations! You have touched my life as a mother in so many ways – thank you for all that you do. I know that for every “one” comment you receive, there are probably 50 women out there who agree.

    Blessings to your family and I cannot wait to read the new book – such a labor of love.


  64. I can’t wait to read this book. I’ve been so inspired by your desire to work toward excellence, not perfection. I hope some church leaders will read this book and understand why some families aren’t volunteering for everything.

  65. Tsh, I’m so excited for you! I love the idea of this book! I often describe my life overseas as Slow and Rich! And living back in fast paced America makes me crazy most the time. I look forward to learning with you about how we can merge the richness of community based cultures into our lives right here! I’m also excited for your family to take the adventure around the world! I can’t wait to take my kids to Uganda or some place where they will experience how other people do life.

  66. Tsh, I am so happy for you and excited to walk through this publishing process with you and Thomas Nelson. They are fortunate to have landed you, with five other offers on the table, and I know it will be a great partnership.

    Can’t wait to share Intention with the world!

  67. Congrats, Tsh!! I can’t wait!!

  68. Looking forward to it! That’s so central to my own journey. I’m thrilled you are writing about slowing down and living intentionally. We need more of that!

  69. We’re sure in the busyness around here. Sure hope we can make our way to that slow pace. . . . I mean I’m setting the intention. Thanks for the guidance!

  70. I am looking forward to this book! Busyness creeps up on me. I say I don’t want to be busy and then I find myself being sucked into it. I feel like I am in a stop and start motion a lot, pulling back when I feel the fast pace taking hold.
    I enjoy your blog and love to listen to your podcasts.

  71. Congratulations, Tsh! SO thrilled for you.. And I hope your travels do bring you to India, ‘coz you’ll LOVE it!!

  72. Congrats on the formation of the new book! I can’t wait to read it!

  73. Congratulations on the good news, Tsh! Your first book sent me into a fit of organization, and I love where you’re heading with these next books. Can’t wait to hear more about your journey.

  74. Super excited about your book and your upcoming journey around the world! Our family is also planning to embark on international travels within the next 5 years. I’d love to hear more about your planning process.

  75. I love this!
    I used to e extraordinarily busy. It was all I knew. Everything was so fast and important and had to be done!!!
    And then I read a book (Breathe) and changed my life.
    I took what I thought was a one year sabbatical from doing anything, but attending MOPS & a Bunco group. No being in charge of anything & everything. No endless meetings and projects.
    That was…about four years ago…and I’ve never gone back.
    Once I slowed down, I realized I was just doing everything everyone else was doing without really thinking about WHY I was doing it all.
    That led to changes in every area of life, even our address. We are now leading a life of intention here in a little town in Idaho. It’s quite a change from my busy life in Denver!
    Our life, though poorer monetarily, is so much richer in all the ways that matter.

  76. Intention sounds like such a Beautiful book and I’m really looking forward to reading it. Congratulations!

  77. Hi Tsh-
    I am so excited about your next book! Please swing by China on your international travels. You have groupies in Suzhou, China and we would love to show you and your family around! Best of luck as you plan for your next round of adventures.

  78. Hi Tsh! Is there anyway I can get a review copy of this when available?! I’d love to post a review at as well as my personal blog-

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