Book Review: Notes from a Blue Bike


A great friend of mine introduced me to Tsh Oxenreider a few weeks ago during a conversation about being more intentional about how we are investing in our families.  My friend mentioned Tsh’s blog and also that she had just written a new book Notes from a Blue Bike.  I mentally stored the name and title to check it out sometime soon.  I was pleased to find the book available for free through a group that I belong to that offers free copies of books in exchange for a blog review.  Seems easy enough…need to simplify and be more intentional…and they were going to give me the book for free.  What could go wrong?

I immediately felt a connection with Tsh in the introduction to her book when she asked the poignant question, “Do the choices I make line up with how I really want to live?”  Oxenreider’s book shares the adventures that her family (her husband and three children) have been on the last several years as they have lived in a variety of cultures around the world.  As someone who has been on a number of international mission trips, I can agree with Tsh’s point that people outside the United States seem to live so much simpler…and ultimately, so much happier.

This book went back and forth between conversation, philosophy, theory and practical application.  I truly think this book did a great job of acting as a handbook for how to live more intentionally by covering items such as: travel, work, education, food, entertainment, renewal and restoration, and even finances.  In an age of hustle, hustle, hustle, this book was truly a breath of fresh air that lingers long after I closed the book and began contemplating where to go from here.

I highlighted several things while reading and have posted those notes below…

  • Do the choices I make line up with how I really want to live?
  • Just because the culture around you says your family needs to live in such-and-such a way, doesn’t mean you have to.
  • We were made to live slower than our fast-paced Western culture deems normal.  But it means paddling upstream through strong currents.
  • If you know the right thing to do and don’t do it, that, for you, is evil.  James 4:17
  • It’s hard to slow down when the race has no finish line.
  • I’m learning that being intentional about my life’s work demands conviction that the what, the how, and the why of what I do rests well with me.
  • Just because my phone vibrates in my pocket doesn’t mean I need to stop everything, bow down in worship, and see what it needs.  I may miss something—or, quite blissfully, nothing—happening around me.
  • My ability to do something and my available time to achieve it don’t oblige me to say yes.
  • Give me enough food to live on, neither too much nor too little.  If I’m too flu, I might get independent, saying, ‘God? Who needs him?’ If I’m poor, I might steal and dishonor the name of my God.  Proverbs 30:8-9 (MSG)
  • Try to pick a profession in which you enjoy even the most mundane, tedious parts.  Then you will always be happy.”  Will Shortz, creator of the crossword puzzle
  • The time we spend at our jobs should tap deep into our skills and passions so that we love what we do, zealously.
  • Creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value.
  • Humans were made curious.  We are all innately driven to explore, create, and wonder.
  • The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.”  C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man
  • Our home will be the most significant place during our kids’ childhood.  I can’t ignore it’s influence.
  • The educational goal for our kids when they leave the house is that they’ll love to learn.  No one learns everything he or she needs to know by twelfth grade, or even by college graduation.  Our intent is that our kids will want to find their own wells and fill up their own buckets.
  • People are willing to be brave when they admit their smallness within the enormity of the world, and the best way to understand our smallness is to leave our comfort zones and start exploring, one foot in front of the other.
  • When we travel, no matter how near or far, we share moments that shape our family culture.
  • When we’re intentional about what we watch, it’s a lot more interesting to watch it.
  • Boredom is a relatively new concept.
  • It’s all well and good to want to live more intentionally, but nothing will happen unless there’s a plan.  This is the first of these truths, no matter who you are or where you live: living with intention requires a blueprint.
  • Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  Philippians 4:8
  • There’s something magical about doing nothing, and we don’t do it often enough.
  • More than anything, living according to my values and passions in the real world means extending grace upon grace to others when I intentionally live differently.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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