Celebrating Tsh

I probably had a sleeping baby nestled in my arms the first time I happened upon the website then known as “Simple Mom.” I was struggling mightily through those first months of motherhood, overwhelmed by the loud voices telling me how I should be parenting. Simple Mom was different. It was about motherhood…sort of. It was more about the intentional crafting of a life. I immediately subscribed (ah, the good old days of Bloglines), and spent the new few naptimes catching up on the relatively limited list of archived posts. I was hooked: on the website, and on its winsome writer, Tsh Oxenreider. 

Of course, the archives of this website now known as The Art of Simple are now anything but limited, and we’ve spent this year celebrating the extraordinary breadth and depth of what Tsh created during her family’s time living in Turkey. In a few short weeks, this website will come to a close. As a reader since 2008 and contributing writer since 2013, I am anticipating this transition with grief and gratitude. What a gift this space has been.

What a gift this space has been—and it’s a gift that was given to us by Tsh Oxenreider. I know I speak for multitudes when I express my profound thanksgiving for her vision and labor. I had to dedicate my last post on this site to sharing a few things I love about Tsh.

1. Tsh is influential without being an “influencer.”

Okay, maybe she’s technically an influencer, but you know what I mean. In a digital world that is rife with faux authenticity and tightly curated sharing, Tsh has remained a person, not a brand. And because she’s a person I trust, I’ve lost track of everything I’ve learned from her. 

2. Tsh cultivates true community in virtual space.

Tsh didn’t establish a static soapbox. She gathered a vibrant readership with unusually high standards for discourse—no need to follow the Internet edict to “never read the comments” in these parts. 

3. Tsh is a really, really good writer.

Tsh has often indicated that she sees herself first and foremost as a writer, and for good reason. She crafts simple and elegant prose—in her beautiful books, as here on the site. I’ll never not preorder a Tsh Oxenreider book.

4. Tsh is courageous.

Need I remind you Tsh traveled around the world with her family for the better part of a year? So many of us daydream about such adventures. Tsh makes them happen—and brings us along for the ride! 

5. Tsh is generous.

Tsh is obviously generous in sharing her wisdom and experiences with her readers, but she’s also been generous in sharing her platform with other writers and entrepreneurs—over the years, many wonderful books and worthy products received a significant boost thanks to her support. She’s also incredibly gracious toward her team of regular contributors; while many websites expect people to write for “exposure,” Tsh pays a fair wage. 

6. Tsh has a magnanimous spirit about spirituality.

When I first pitched a post to The Art of Simple, Tsh was understandably cautious. Although her personal faith has always been part of what she does because it’s such a core part of who she is, this space was never explicitly faith-based. Tsh has always wanted to make sure people of diverse convictions would find a comfortable home at The Art of Simple. She ultimately trusted that a pastor/writer could share that commitment. For me, the consequence of that decision has been the cherished challenge of translating the convictions and practices of my faith for a wider audience. As Tsh encouraged the whole team of writers to “go deeper” in our contributions to this site, I think the consequence for the whole AoS community has been an ongoing invitation to grow as human beings—whether or not we are believers. 

7. Tsh is passionate about justice.

Tsh uses her voice to advocate for environmental, social, racial, and economic justice. Many “lifestyle” blogs might give a nod to such issues when it’s en vogue to do so, but Tsh has been a consistent witness for years. She recognizes that the decisions we make in our households can bring healing—or harm—to a broken world. 

8. Tsh logs off. 

In my experience, people who truly embrace Sabbath are the only ones who are able to convincingly inspire others to do the same. Considering that this space has been a significant source of income for her family, Tsh’s willingness to log off regularly —even for weeks at a time each summer—is notable. And yet, one of the reasons why this is such a remarkable corner of the web is because it’s grounded in the “real” world. Tsh may gather us here, but she sends us forth to be with our families, friends, and neighbors.

9. Tsh embraces change, even when it’s hard. 

I read an old interview with Tsh in which she lamented that she’d named her blog “Simple Mom,” since the website had grown so far past its original vision. The conventional wisdom was that you couldn’t possibly change the name of your blog—it would derail everything you built. But Tsh did, because it was the right thing to do. And that’s just one of many hard but good decisions Tsh has made—personally and professionally—over the years. And even though many of us mourn the ending of The Art of Simple, the fact of the matter is this: it’s the right thing to do. As she wrote in her big announcement letter at the beginning of the year, it’s time.

Let’s multiply this list tenfold.

Let’s give this girl the virtual standing ovation she deserves! Share your love for Tsh in the comments. 

Reading Time:

4 minutes

 

 

 

33 Comments

  1. Samantha Hulbert

    I learned about Tsh through her book “One Bite at a Time” I had a brand new baby and a pre-schooler. I was in my mid-twenties and felt like I had completely lost myself. Tsh brought me back and helped me “grow up”. I have since read all of her books and taken a few of her classes. I am so sad to see this space go but I am so excited to see what she does next. Thank You Tsh for helping to mold me into the person and parent I am today.

    Reply
  2. Caroline TeSelle

    Katherine, this is such a beautiful post and completely captures Tsh!

    I cannot remember when I was first introduced to Tsh’s writing, but it was the post, “Working From Home as a Virtual Assitant” by Tsh in 2011 that encouraged me to become a virtual assistant myself. Little did I know that two years later, I would have the opportunity of working with Tsh, first as a managing editor and then as her assistant. But most of all, it is her friendship that I treasure and the fact that because of her, I was able to make a lifelong dream come true of driving a car in England! Thank you, Tsh!   

    Reply
  3. Deborah P

    I’m not a mom, although somehow I found “Simple Mom” years ago and have been a reader ever since. Thank you, Tsh, for introducing me to so many things (fair trade chocolate, and “poo” free come first to mind) that I didn’t even know were “things” until Tsh brought them up. I’ve relied on her gift guides for my great nephews and niece, knowing that her recommendations are solid. I traveled along with her family on their world adventure and loved every minute of it. And on and on.

    This space has been wonderful because of Tsh and the lovely band of contributors she gathered here. Thank you, Tsh, and thank you all for making this a welcoming, genuine, educational and altogether wonderful space.

    Reply
  4. Name *Christine

    So thankful for all that Tsh has written and done over the years! Wishing her and her family lots of blessings!

    Reply
  5. Andrea Debbink

    I first came to know Tsh like so many AoS readers: through social media and The Art of Simple. When I started working for her as managing editor of her blog a couple years ago, I soon realized that the real Tsh is the same kind, generous, deeply thoughtful person she is on the internet. Katherine’s tribute here describes her perfectly! Tsh, the wisdom you shared in your “To Double Down on Being Human” post is something I’ve thought about ever since I read it and it’s helped me in my own journey as a writer—and as a person! Thank you for all the ways you encourage people to think and live deeply! We are better for it.

    Reply
  6. Marilyn Eakin

    This is so lovely! I’ve been reading and following Tsh since 2008 (I’m “Reader Marilyn” in this Simple Mom post from 2009!
    https://theartofsimple.net/20-tips-for-finding-your-routine-with-kids-2/) and have gained so much insight and grace from her content and creations over the years. I never fear or mourn the changes Tsh takes her audience through as it is done so lovingly and with such care.
    Thank you for taking us on the journey with you, Tsh!

    Reply
  7. Stella Demand

    Thank you for this tribute to Tsh. I wholeheartedly agree! She is such a genuine soul that I can connect with on the internet! Her 5 quick things are a highlight of my Fridays, and I love her books. I have so many Art of Simple posts pinned on Pinterest. So much wisdom in this community. Thank you for creating it Tsh! I look forward to your future works. <3

    Reply
    • Celeste Lamar

      To Katherine’s spot-on list, I would add that Tsh is intellectual without being a snob and is basically the kind of person you hope to have as a friend. Thanks for all you’ve added to my life, Tsh. I can’t wait to see what’s next!

      Reply
  8. Becky

    I don’t remember when or how I was first introduced to Tsh’s work. I know it was quite a few years ago and in a different lifetime in my life circumstances. She is who I wish I had been at her season of life–intentional, adventurous, and open. I am a season or two ahead of her chronologically, a grandmother approaching retirement. Still a fellow traveler, becoming more intentional and adventurous as the journey continues. Thank you, Tsh, for your thoughtfulness, your willingness to share your insights and challenges, and your recommendations of products and people to support in the pursuit of a just and sustainable lifestyle. It remains on my bucket list to someday deliver my thanks in person.

    Reply
  9. Liesl Gansch

    I’m not sure where to begin. Tsh’s presence in my life is such a blessing. Art of simple was my first podcast. (I listened to it on my laptop, before smartphones. Wow things have changed)
    Most profoundly, Tsh has helped shape how I parent and set priorities in life. She truly has the gift to guide.
    If the latest podcast series is what comes of shifting gears, I will stop being nostalgic and sad about this ending, and buckle up and get ready for what’s to come. ❤️

    Reply
  10. Andrea

    I found Tsh’s blog in 2009, when I was newly married. It would be another 5 years before I became a mom, but Tsh’s words had value to me as a kid-less person, too. I have loved being along for the ride the last 11 years. All of my favorite bloggers-turned-podcaster-turned-writers have come to me by way of Tsh (Anne Bogel, Meg Tietz, Kendra Adachi, Emily P. Freeman…) Tsh was my gateway to a kind internet world of wisdom. Thank you, Tsh, for showing up authentically and being a wise and practical voice in the crazy online world.

    Reply
  11. Natalie Drake

    This was so well written. I agree 1000% with all these assertions! Thank you Tsh!

    Reply
  12. Doreen Eager

    I just started following Tsh this year and have enjoyed it so much. Thank you for AoS, I will have to go back and read previous editions. Look forward to your next endeavor.

    Reply
  13. gm

    I have learned so much from Tsh through her blog and books over the years, not to mention the podcast. As a person of faith who cares about social and environmental justice, it’s been really nice to feel like here is someone who is a kindred spirit. I’m glad Tsh will still have her newsletters (I’m signed up and paid for) and podcast to keep in touch.

    Reply
  14. Katie

    I found Tsh back in 2008 after my first daughter was born. I think the Daily Docket was the hook for me, but I stayed because of Tsh’s wisdom. I always felt like she was the wise mom friend just a stage ahead of me. Thanks, Tsh, for being my wise friend even though we’ve never met!

    Reply
  15. Christine Bailey

    I LOVE this! It’s been such an honor to be a part of this team! I first came across Tsh’s work as a reader of this blog and listener of her podcast. I read her book, Organized Simplicity, and to this day, that homemade deodorant recipe is the ONLY one that works for me. Haha :). But seriously, here’s what I’ve loved about Tsh since way before I was a contributor… Her words, podcast, and offerings in the world have always helped me to fall in love with my OWN life more, rather than wanting someone else’s life. Especially in the current times filled with so much noise and information, Tsh’s work always stands out – it’s full of authenticity, encouragement, humor, and a genuine love of the world and people in it. I’m so grateful.

    Reply
  16. Jessie Herrmann

    After living abroad for three years and feeling very out of sorts once back in the States, “At Home In The World” was a balm to my soul. I no longer felt like I truly belonged in any one place, and Tsh gave my swirling heart a place to land and feel understood. I will continue to be inspired by her and hopefully run into her one day in our shared little town!

    Reply
  17. Stacy

    I found Tsh through a Simple Mon string ornament blog that she wrote that I have yet to actually make. 🤣 What I found instead, was someone who shared my desire to live intentionally but she did not only talk about it, but lived it. She has helped me to actually do things I believed in (buying from companies I believed in, homeschooling, going on long road trips (that I hope will turn into even longer ones!))and I hope she will continue to do so! I am not one for change, but through her podcast changes etc she has shown me that change is needed when you sense it, and there is always something after that change. She truly makes what we as humans can make complicated, into something simple. I celebrate all of her words on this website, her hard work, her pioneering in the modern way and all the words she has yet to share. Thanks Tsh. And thanks for sharing a blog of mine on here as well, after I applied to work on here, but was not quite qualified, yet you allowed my words on here. That was such a TRUE honor! ❤️

    Reply
  18. Jenny Peek

    I’ve been a reader since 2010 and although I’ve probably never commented, I’ve read every single post since then plus Tsh’s books.
    Thank you Tsh, for all of it. It’s meant so much.

    Reply
  19. Kelly L. Whitesell

    Katherine-It’s all true! Thank you Tsh. Blessings

    Reply
  20. Jackie

    Yes to the beautiful article and all these wonderful comments! Tsh inspires me to go higher up/further in without making me feel like who I am right now is not good enough. That’s a HUGE gift to me 🙂

    Reply
  21. Marie

    What a beautiful tribute. Every point resonates so deeply! Thank you, thank you, Tsh!

    Reply
  22. JenT

    I started reading Simple Mom way, way, way back, when Tsh was still in Turkey. As an expat with a 1 year old and a new baby, I felt an instant connection. I was inspired and thrilled by what I read. I watched SM grow into a whole collection of Simple blogs, then into the art of Simple. She’s talents are many, not least the ability to choose wonderful people to contribute to her vision of Simple. It has been a wonderful journey through which I have gained so much. Thank you!

    Reply
  23. Jamie C. Martin

    I couldn’t agree more! So grateful, Tsh, for your example of what it means to steward well, to be willing to grow slow and authentically over fast and fake, and to be willing to stop when a season comes to an end–like you are right now. Thanks for being who you are and for shining that light into our worlds. xo

    Reply
  24. Jolyn M.

    I couldn’t agree more….Tsh your work has changed more lives than you know. I have been a long time reader and listener to the podcast. I own all your books, I have recommended you to others and gifted your books to friends. Though I’m sad the AOS is coming to the finish line, you have always had vision and I know will continue to put forth your ideas into the world. P.S. I will always make my own “Good List” thanks to you…..and I’m loving your Advent book! Thanks for all you do!!!

    Reply
  25. Viky Fisher

    Cheers to a lovely list! I also discovered Tsh early on and she influenced so much of the teenage years with my girls (who are now 22 and 25!). She also was a saving grace for me when I moved for a year to Japan. Reading “At Home in the World” helped me know that I could miss home and still revel in the adventure at the same time. I enjoy now being a part of Books & Crannies and feel as though I have an online friend and community that I love to engage with every week and who have really helped me mark the passing of time throughout the pandemic. I remain ever grateful for the Simple beginning!

    Reply
  26. Emma

    I’ve been reading since Simple Mom in 2008, and Tsh, you continue to be a calm, intuitive, wise voice I need to hear from regularly! You are generous and fun and I’m grateful for all your online and offline work and the many ways its impacted both me and my family over the years.

    Reply
  27. Rachel Nordgren

    I discovered Tsh several years ago and could not be more grateful for her voice in my life. Specifically, her book At Home In The World inspired my husband and I to take our own adventure, where we spent over a year housesitting our way through Europe! I don’t know if we would have had the courage to do that had we not read about someone else doing it first.

    Reply
  28. Megan Kreitzberg

    My beginning with Tsh was so similar. 2008, first baby in arms. I believe this is the only blog from that time I continue to read because Tsh’s writing is timeless, gracious and practical. Thank you, Tsh, for being a generous guide, steady, and a fellow sojourner. Thank you also for introducing so many great writers and podcasters that I now count among my favorites. I’m excited to see where you lead us next because each transformation has been authentic, purposeful and life-giving. XO

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  29. Katie

    Grateful for your work, Tsh! Merry Christmas!

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  30. Lisa Dixon

    I’ve been listening to Tsh for many years now- during the thick of raising my kids. She brings a down-to-earth touch to the days I read or listen to her work. I’ve been inspired in so many ways. Every time a change is made, I immediately get nervous that it will now be as good, but it always is just and good or better. The thing I love most is her consistent mention of her faith without apologizing or imposing that faith on others. I also love that she has depth. She’s smart, real, not afraid to go the unconventional route, but also likes to live in the real world. Thank you Tsh! I look forward to many more years of learning from and enjoying you and your work!

    Reply
  31. Courtney Laib

    Tsh, what a gift you are to so many of us! You have been and still are my most favorite writer not only because of how beautifully you write but also because of what you write about. I love the simplistic life you live and continue to pursue and how you’ve shared it with us all over the years. I’ve read ‘Notes From a Blue Bike’ and ‘At Home in the World’ multiple times and are patiently sitting on my bookshelf awaiting new companions:) Thank you for sharing your God-given gifts and passions with us and I can’t wait to see what the next decade brings for you!

    Reply

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