I’ve been reading this blog in one form or another for around twelve years and writing for Tsh for many of those years. Over that time, I’ve learned and been inspired in incalculable ways from Tsh and the rest of her writing team in so many aspects of life as I’ve grown up into adulthood and parenthood.

I’ve always loved how Tsh is able to distill a philosophy into something digestible. Whether that’s the concept of attacking big projects one bite at a time, figuring out what belongs in your house with the simple metric of whether things are beautiful or useful to you, or as the blog now states as its motto, “living well and ignoring the rest.”

My life itself has changed a lot in twelve years; I had a newborn baby when I started reading Tsh’s blog, Simple Mom, and now that baby will become a teenager in a couple of weeks. My life has expanded to include, on a normal spring week’s calendar spread, a half-dozen ball games, a few practices, a couple of church events, in addition to hours spent in the car, homeschooling on some days and in-class volunteering on others, piano lessons, and countless social interactions.

As I’m sure has happened for many of you, in the last month and half, almost all of that has disappeared. The calendar items began dropping off one by one in mid-March and now here we are, weeks later, with my life suddenly being simpler in many ways than it’s ever been before.

On- and off-line we have been bombarded lately with the term “essential.” What businesses, jobs, aspects of life are essential? And as life has shifted, on less of a life-and-death scale, our family has started to realize what for us is indispensable.

For us, and maybe for you too, temporarily removing all those other things—good things that we enjoy and value—has shown us what are the most fundamental parts of our life. Here’s what that list of family essentials looks like for us.

  • Time spent together as a family
  • Growing in faith together
  • Reading and talking about books
  • Making and eating good food
  • Getting outside and taking pleasure in simply going on walks
  • Enjoying sports (we’re having to get creative with this one), movies, creativity, and games together
  • Connecting with friends and family in whatever ways we can
  • Remembering and supporting favorite local establishments
  • Helping each other work through the hard days and celebrate the good ones

The funny thing is, as I look through this list of all these highly valued essentials that we’re still able to do while under the stay-at-home order, it looks a lot like the family mission statement that we made years ago with Tsh’s guidance.

So amidst all the current disappointments and moments of anxiety, I know I’ll look back on the spring of 2020 as a time that refined my life and my priorities. Someday when we return to the many aspects of our life currently on hold I hope I can carry these essentials forward as the bread and butter of our life (and of course sourdough bread is a MAJOR essential right now, so that says a lot 😉 ).

I hope you’re finding out what’s essential in your life—and enjoying those things to their fullest—during this time as well.