Written by Tsh Oxenreider, Founder of TheArtofSimple.net
I was pitched this book by its publicist and was sufficiently intrigued with the premise to give it a try. I was not disappointed, but its allure was different and stronger than I thought it would be. The subtitle “The Art of Living Intentionally In a Chaotic World” was the draw for me, as I find this a compelling thread of my own life.
The author and her husband lived in Turkey for awhile and started their family there. The cultural shock of moving back to America forced them to examine their lives and their values so they could identify their priorities. Happily, she takes us along with her as she addresses five core areas of life: food, work, education, travel, and entertainment.
Ann Voskamp’s marvelous Foreword set the tone for the basic assumption from which the book speaks by stating her summary of the author’s focus: “Live the life you long for. Period…The daily decisions add up to the sum of your life. And a pail with a pinhole loses as much as the pail pushed right over. A whole life can be lost in minutes wasted, small moments missed…Ultimately—your moments are the liturgy of your life.”
In reading this book, I felt as if I had been taken on three distinct journeys:
- a vicariously physical one by tagging along with Tsh as she told of her family’s travels and their ex pat experience in Turkey;
- an educational one as I learned a great deal about how she learned to juggle her growing career, her family, and her wanderlust; and
- a spiritual one as I contemplated the values Tsh identified as drivers for her life and thought about my own.
Notes From A Blue Bike has a delicious number of layers, and that makes it one of those rare finds that can have something to say to far more people than the ones I would have initially said were her target audience. She speaks directly to young women who are trying to live faithfully and deliberately in synch with their values—spiritual, environmental, financial, and social. These women will find understanding, encouragement, and lots of practical ideas for achieving their goals (ranging from home schooling to dinnertime challenges to traveling with young children), even though it sometimes requires being a bit counter-cultural.
But Oxenreider speaks to anyone of any age who has ever been thoughtful about the way they live—wanting to support a sustainable world and to treat others and the earth with love and kindness. “Yes, you can live slowly in America—but it requires a choice to swim upstream…I realized that unless our family made more intentional, proactive choices, instead of just wishing things weren’t so busy, we would go on forever wanting a different life.” She spoke openly about the constant tension between her idealism and the real world, coming up with practical solutions that were sometimes compromises. I found this honest and endearing.
Not only is Tsh Oxenreider an accomplished journalist and storyteller, but she is a wonderful writer, and I found her style very engaging. She was never strident or didactic, but she was clearly passionate about her mission and her discovery: “To live intentionally, we had to make intentional choices…simple, but not easy.”
NOTE: I used the RandomPicker.com service to select a random winner from among those who left a comment. Here’s a screenshot of the drawing results:
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