SimpleMom, Super Blogger: The Tsh Oxenreider Interview
The super-bloggin’ founder of SimpleMom also goes by “Toblerone” and more specifically, Tsh Oxenreider. (See, she’s got simplicity to such an art form that she doesn’t even need vowels in her name. How efficient is THAT?!)
We love her perspective on truly wholesome living: a lot of space, plenty of fun, and intentional inspiration.
What inspires you?
A clean, uncluttered work surface. Music tagged “jazz” on last.fm. My inspiration board. Really great photography – perusing 3191 gets my juices flowing. My readers’ comments and emails. Beautiful paper and fabric. Cool weather. A great candle. Beautiful typography.
How do you know when you’re inspired?
I know I’m inspired when I can’t not do something. I’m so invigorated and bursting at the seams to share something, to write something, to create something, that I really can’t do anything else until my inspiration is poured out of me, at least in draft format. I also know when I absolutely have to tell my husband about it, no matter where he is or where I am. I’ll call and interrupt him, if necessary. I’m not good at letting things percolate inside me.
What are your favorite websites or blogs?
There are so many, I can’t possibly narrow it down to my all-time favorites. Current favorites, however, are Unclutterer, Skelliewag, Get Rich Slowly, Rookie Moms, Smitten Kitchen, The Crafty Crow, Soule Mama… okay, I have to stop. I don’t have enough room.
What books, movies, or CDs have been most helpful or inspiring to you?
I don’t really buy CDs anymore, thanks to iTunes, but individual musicians that fuel me at the moment are Sufjan Stevens, Amos Lee, Ben Harper, Amy Seeley, and Patty Griffin, to name just a few. Movies – Amadeus, One True Thing, Dead Poet’s Society, It’s a Wonderful Life. Books… Where to begin? The Bible, The Creative Family by Amanda Soule, The Year of Pleasures (and any novel by Elisabeth Berg, really), The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller.
How do you get things done?
One thing at a time. Since moving overseas, I’ve become less and less a fan of multi-tasking, which we tend to worship so much as Americans. One of my favorite quotes is from the writer Elisabeth Elliot – “When you don’t know what to do, just do the thing in front of you.” I can’t possibly do everything I want to do on a given day, especially at home with small children. So I give myself (and others) a ton of grace, I roll up my sleeves, and I focus on the present. I also get more done when I purposely take time to not get things done – if I know a break is coming, I’m more productive when I need to be.
What are the tools of your trade?
My MacBook. A good pen and paper, such as a Moleskine notebook. Gmail. Delicious.com. Coffee made in my French press. The delete key (I’m a huge believer in editing; that less is more). Chacos. A well-made, sturdy apron. Sleep. Canvases and scrapbook paper. Repurposed glass jars. Quality vanilla.
What would you like to be a master of?
I’d love to master the art of getting enough sleep – while still having a clean house, kids that have my utmost attention, and weekly dates with my husband. I also wish I could garden – seems I’ve been dealt an onyx thumb.
What would you like to revolutionize?
I’d like to revolutionize our skewed economic philosophy fueled from the perspective that “we must use credit cards because we have to have it all.” I think the world would be a better place if credit cards took a long walk off a short pier.
How would you describe your “style” of mothering?
Laid-back structure. I’m not a worry-wart, so I don’t micromanage their playtime. But I do believe wholeheartedly in productive discipline sprinkled with grace. I also believe that dealing with weaknesses now, when they’re young, solidifies a strong foundation for virtuous character. In other words, I want to help my preschooler understand the moral issue behind stealing a grape at the grocery store, so that when she’s 16, she wouldn’t fathom stealing my car keys. I also like to be generous with hugs, kisses, and “I love you”s – that’s a constant in our family life.
What do your kids teach you?
That life is not all about me. That life is short. That life is fun.
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