The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

NOTES FROM A BLUE BIKE: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World By Tsh Oxenreider

Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh OxenreiderPublisher:  Thomas Nelson
Release Date:  February 4, 2014
Pages:  272
Genre:  Non Fiction

About the Book:  Life is chaotic. But we can choose to live it differently.

It doesn't always feel like it, but we "do" have the freedom to creatively change the everyday little things in our lives so that our path better aligns with our values and passions.

The popular blogger and founder of the internationally recognized "Simple Mom" online community tells the story of her family's ongoing quest to live more simply, fully, and intentionally.

Part memoir, part travelogue, part practical guide, "Notes from a Blue Bike "takes you from a hillside in Kosovo to a Turkish high-rise to the congested city of Austin to a small town in Oregon. It chronicles schooling quandaries and dinnertime dilemmas, as well as entrepreneurial adventures and family excursions via plane, train, automobile, and blue cruiser bike.

Entertaining and compelling--but never shrill or dogmatic--"Notes from a Blue Bike "invites you to climb on your own bike, pay attention to who you are and what your family needs, and make some important choices. It's a risky ride, but it's worth it--living your life according to who you "really" are simply takes a little intention. It's never too late.

Wanda's Thoughts:  Tsh Oxenreider shows how it can be possible to live our lives contentedly and with intention by creatively changing little things in our lives. 

The chapters are divided into seven topics.

I – Awakening – “We were made to live slower then our fast-paced Western culture deems normal. But it means paddling upstream through strong currents.”

II – Food – The Slow Food approach – wanting to feed the family nourishing food and supporting companies and farmers by buying local. Eating right requires making deliberate choices about ingredients and growing methods. 

III – Work – Starting your own business and being able to work from anywhere. It will require finding a work-life balance and prioritizing your family values. 

IV – Education – Schooling options – to homeschool or not to homeschool. Be intentional about you kids’ education, thinking through both the benefits and the negative consequences. 

V – Travel – The modern-day technology of travel. There were days when the family felt like heading toward the airport and hopping the next plane to wherever. The kids all had updated passports. It requires bravery, but allows you to investigate life up close. Certainly not routine, but creates much adventure as a family. 

VI – Entertainment – In all its forms, entertainment is so easily accessible in our technology-soaked culture – always within arm’s reach. 

VII – Revival – Taking care of yourself is essential to making life-changing decisions that can have an effect on your family. Sometimes slowing down is necessary to enjoy living more intentionally. It can be a blessing to live for something beyond yourself. 

To young couples raising a family I would recommend this book more quickly. Realistically, the suggestions are not for everyone. I would assume that most families would not be able to just pick up at anytime and hop a plane to wherever. But the author reassures the readers to live according to their needs and resources. Also included, in the back of the book, are interesting discussion questions. I could see this book being read by a young couple’s book club. 

My only quibble with the book - sometimes the chapters felt disjointed.

I wavered between a 3-4 rating, finally deciding on 4 because of the great writing style. I found this book to be a relaxed and easy read. 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Tsh OxenreiderAbout the Author:  Tsh Oxenreider is the main blogger behind The Art of Simple, a blog dedicated to the art and science of living simpler. Tsh is the author of Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World, One Bite at a Time: 52 Bites for Making Life Simpler, and Organized Simplicity. Tsh also records a podcast with Homefries called The Art of Simple Podcast, which during one week ranked second under NPR’s This American Life in most listened-to podcasts.. Tsh is also an advocate for Compassion International, is a regular contributor at (in)courage, and is an A-List Expert with Real Simple magazine. She thinks a library card, a Netflix subscription, and a passport are some of the greatest parenting tools in the universe.