After reading a book about simple living, my thoughts are anything but simple.
In her memoirish book Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World, Tsh Oxenreider lays out a blueprint for living a life with purpose. Because, honestly, aren’t most of us just drifting wherever the current takes us? (Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from Thomas Nelson through the BookLook Blogger Program in exchange for my review.)
Oxenreider and her family have lived overseas and in the States. They’ve homeschooled and public schooled. They’ve worked “regular” jobs and started their own business. They’ve traveled extensively. They’ve paid off debt. And though all of that is part of their journey to live a more simple and more intentional life, none of it was, or is, easy.
And that’s a major plus to this book. I’ve read other books on simple living that are more legalistic manifesto than guided invitation. Notes from a Blue Bike is the latter. Oxenreider doesn’t pretend that what has worked for their family will work for every family, but she encourages families to make a plan for intentional living. Because being intentional won’t just happen.
The book is divided into sections–food, work, education, travel, and entertainment–and in each one, the author draws from her family’s experiences and how they arrived at the current stage of their journey. After the food section, I was so inspired that I was ready to make sweeping changes to our family’s eating habits and food purchases. Now that I’m finished with the book, I’m taking seriously her encouragement to identify our family’s core values so we can make decisions based on those values.
I’ve dog-eared as many pages as not during my reading, and I’d encourage any who has dreamed of living a more intentional life but can’t figure out how to do it, to get a copy of this book. But be warned: it won’t be easy. Oxenreider confesses that living more slowly, more simply and more intentionally was easier when they lived overseas. American culture is not always conducive to this type of life and making changes will seem like swimming upstream at times.
That doesn’t scare me. It excites me.
Notes from a Blue Bike is in the top tier of the best nonfiction books I’ve read this year and would make my list for most influential books I’ve ever read.