Notes from a Blue Bike tours Tsh Oxenreider's path toward intention. It is an endearing memoir of her pursuit of purposeful living in five areas: food, work, education, travel, and entertainment.
I wrote 161 words trying to define the idea of living with intention. Tsh puts it more succinctly when she calls it "living life, instead of life living us."
Part II of the book particularly resonated with me. It reminded me of the journey my husband and I have been on, pursuing more purposeful eating. My mouth watered as I walked with Tsh through the Turkish farmer's market, my mind's eye enviously ogling just-picked produce, local cheeses, and fish plucked from the sea that very day. I didn't always have an appreciation for this kind of sustenance. However, like Tsh, I've had my own experience with clean, whole foods and the effects they have on my body. I've also experienced the Standard American Diet, and the way I feel when I fall back into its deceptive convenience. And like Tsh's family, we choose to "spend more on an emptier cart" in order to eat more wholesomely. Our moods, the way we sleep at night, and the way we feel physically all confirm: it is so worth it.
For most of the book, I was mentally nodding as I read. You know, the wholehearted, pleasantly surprised kind of nod that communicates, Yes! Someone else out there believes in this, too! However, Part V of the book opened my eyes to an area in which I’m way behind: travel. After reading the book, my conviction isn't necessarily about packing up and traveling the world. But it's about maintaining an awareness that my little corner of the globe isn’t the only corner, and our American way of doing things is certainly not the only good way. It's about being conscious that there are people just like me on the other side of the world who are happy, and who are content, and who love God even though their lives seem to contain so much less than mine. I loved reading about Tsh’s large world map on her living room wall. When I finished that page, I informed my husband that I’d like to get a big map for our living room, to help us remember there’s a whole world out there full of other people who God loves. Maybe that would be a good first step, albeit small.
Tsh’s writing style is practical and easy to read; but it's still full of the wonder that emanates from a person who appreciates beauty in simple things. I love listening to Tsh's podcast, The Art of Simple, and was pleased to discover that her written words in Notes from a Blue Bike are just as down-to-earth and real as her spoken ones (and her blog posts, too).
This is one bike ride I'd highly recommend. You can get your own book here.