In Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World, author Tsh Oxenrider (who you might know from the blog Simple Mom, which is now The Art of Simple) writes about how to make the everyday liturgy of our lives line up with how we really want to live. The book is primarily a memoir, but woven in to Tsh’s experiences are numerous invitations to think through the little ways that our decisions add up to a life–either one lived in contentment, knowing that you’re in line with your purpose, or one lived in vague malaise of missed moments and dreams deferred.
Tsh and her husband have worked for international non-profits and run their own business, so their commitment to lots of travel and living in other cultures works for them. Perhaps because of living all over the US, Asia, and Europe as a child, travel and living in new places is my bent too, but my husband’s preference is for roots so I often struggle with how to balance my goals with his. In Notes from a Blue Bike, Tsh addresses the problem of how to fit your dreams in when they seem to depend on other people or a different cultural setup. I really appreciated her thoughts on how to identify your core values (it might not work for us to move to Turkey, but what is it about the thought of living in a different country that appeals to me, and how can I apply that to the life I have?) and how to, as she puts it, live life rather than life living you.
I also got a lot out of Tsh’s experiences balancing work with family, thinking through educational options (they have gone back and forth between homeschool and traditional school), and her honest descriptions of the struggle to live fully and deliberately without burning out. The tension between living with intention and also holding plans loosely to allow for God’s leading is one that I share, and Tsh’s insights were helpful for me.
Notes from a Blue Bike resonated with me in part because of the great writing and inclusion of issues relevant to my own experience, but also because Tsh avoids canned prescriptions, instead taking a more thoughtful and nuanced approach to guiding the reader into considering ideas and possibilities in a personal way. Because of this feature, I think this book would be a worthwhile read for anyone who desires to live a deliberate, well-considered life, no matter what that includes.
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