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Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World MP3 CD – Audiobook, 4 Feb 2014

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--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson on Brilliance Audio; MP3 Una edition (4 Feb. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1491500859
  • ISBN-13: 978-1491500859
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1.3 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,958,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Tsh Oxenreider is the founder of (previously Simple Mom), a community blog dedicated to the art and science of simple living. She's the author of Organized Simplicity and One Bite at a Time, a regular contributor to (in)courage, an advocate for Compassion International, and a top-ranked podcaster. A graduate of the University of Texas, Tsh currently lives in Bend, Oregon, with her family. Learn more at --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By LadyPenelope on 27 Mar. 2014
Format: Hardcover
I wasn’t at all sure that I wanted to read "Notes from a Blue Bike" by Tsh Oxenrider. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the sound of the book, but I had a cynical feeling that it couldn’t be as good as it promised. I thought it would be yet another book telling me that the sure way to a simple life was through another list of things to be and do. I didn’t feel that I needed to hear that message again.

I was delighted and surprised when I realised that I couldn’t have been more wrong in my pre-reading assessment of "Notes from a Blue Bike".

Tsh Oxenrider’s book refuses to be put into a box. It covers food, work, education, travel and entertainment between Part 1: Awakening and Part 7: Revival. It’s a memoir, but it’s also a travelogue. It’s a book about simplicity, but it’s also a call to a counter-cultural life. It’s inspirational, but it’s also funny.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Mrs Oxenrider’s life and travels, alone and with friends and family, around the world. She brings her stories to life with her words. Reading about her life in Turkey, when she lived simply with her young and growing family, it was impossible to read quickly. I had to read slowly to keep pace with her writing. And that was a rare and good thing!

I, personally, would have appreciated a stronger foundation in Scripture for some of the "Blue Bike" principles of simplicity. I do, however, respect Tsh Oxenrider’s sensitivity in not (like some writers) taking a single verse and using it as the foundation for the book, but being very honest about the way her experiences and travels as well as her faith have shaped her convictions.

I enjoy the chatty “tone of voice” in which the book is written. I’m (still!
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By Godchaser :) on 21 April 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Really found this book to be inspiring and insightful- I resonated with the cultural philosophy of living with intention and purpose, embracing creation in all its glory and of course the One who created it all!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 195 reviews
144 of 149 people found the following review helpful
Beautifully written, but not a how-to book on simple living. 15 Feb. 2014
By Starla M. Ross - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
I just finished reading this book, "Notes From a Blue Bike," by Tsh Oxenreider, and I find myself with a mixed reaction.

On a positive note, I love Tsh's writing style. This book is written in an auto-biographical style, and it tells of her family's experiences through the last few years. I was fascinated by her travel experiences, and I enjoyed the stories about her children.

However, I am conflicted, because supposedly this book is about focusing on living simply with intention. However, Tsh seems to lead the most unsimple/chaotic life of anyone I have ever personally known. First, they live in the United States, and then they take jobs in Turkey, and then they move to Texas, and lastly, they live in Oregon. They decide to put their children in private school, and then they decide to homeschool them, and the following year they go to public school. At the end of the book, she says they decide to take the kids out of school and spend an entire year traveling the world. In addition, she mentions several times that she finds herself working from morning until night on her blog, trying to find balance, and even getting up at 4:30 a.m. to write. At the end of the book (page 218), Tsh openly admits that she was not able to live a simple life while writing her book, therefore not practicing what she is preaching. She states, "A book doesn't write itself, and so most of my time exploring the notion of slowing down went to crafting the sentences to describe it, leaving me no time to actually slow down. I breathed a hefty sigh of relief when I clicked, 'send' to my editor, and promptly went to bed."

The how-to section of this book could have been summed up in one sentence: Decide how you want to live your life and then just do it.

So it's with reservation that I recommend this book. I would recommend it to someone who is interested in reading about the lives of other families. I would not recommend it for someone that is seeking a way to simplify life.
39 of 45 people found the following review helpful
Not so simple or unhurried, but intentional 27 Feb. 2014
By Tiffany Malloy - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I first stumbled across Tsh Oxenreider’s famous blog, then Simple Mom, when we moved back from Kenya to the States. I remember that at about the same time, she was moving back to the States from somewhere overseas, and how it was a transition of mixed emotions. I felt a connection with her that resulted in me subscribing to her blog. Since then, I’ve enjoyed her posts on living intentionally, living simply,and living as a global citizen. She is a voracious reader, and I’m often getting my “next book” ideas from her. So when I heard that this book, Blue Bike, was being released, I was really eager to read it. I entered in every giveaway I could to try and win the book (I rarely actually buy books because I don’t typically reread them). No dice. Thankfully, it came up on Booklook Blogger site, and I quickly requested it. Yes!


What is this book about?

Tsh reflects on her and her family’s journey from post-college life through current life with three kids and an at-home business. Nomadic at heart, Tsh and her family have been to Kosovo, Turkey, Austin, Tx and now Bend, Oregon. Lots of moving, lots of hard work building internet-based businesses, but they have managed to keep a very intentional lifestyle. She shares her family’s journey of living out their values in the basic categories of life- food, work, education, travel, and entertainment.

Why did I choose to review this?

Jake and I’s deepest desire is to live intentional lives. Why we do what we do is just as important to us as what we actually do. Over the last couple years, we’ve been struggling to keep up with our reflective, intentional life. Between many cross-country moves, lots of schooling, and many kids, we’re really tired and have stopped trying as hard as we once did. I thought that this book may be what we need to reenergize ourselves to align our daily practices to our values.

My takeaway:

My positive takeaway is to spend some time with Jake and re-dream about the life we’re living. This summer is going to be a slower one for us, and we’re looking forward to regrouping. As we prepare, we’re trying to be more intentional about nurturing our souls so that we can hear God’s voice more clearly. Also, Tsh is a fantastic writer. I love her style of writing- easy to read, good word choice, etc.

Overall, however, I was disappointed in the book. Perhaps it was because i had ridiculously high expectations, or maybe because I feel excluded from the life Tsh describes. Her life seems to be really fun- working from home with her husband, jumping on planes to Paris and Turkey and Australia (sometimes the whole family, sometimes not), and having the resources to buy organic and farm-fresh everything. I felt judged that I don’t feed my kids all organic food, that I don’t want

More importantly, while one of the goals of the book was to help the readers live a less hurried life, I feel like what she was describing would only cause more hurriedness and stress. Cooking for an hour plus everyday for dinner with 4 cranky kids under foot waiting for my husband to come home does not sound wonderful, relaxed and simple. Grocery shopping at 4 different places each week sounds exhausting (farmer’s markets, picking up from co-ops, going to the butcher shop, etc.). And while I would absolutely love to pick up my kids and travel around the world with them, it’s not an option. The cost of one international trip would cost the amount of money Jake makes in a year as a TA. I know that we’re at a unique life stage (husband in full-time school, momma staying at home with littles, etc.), but I’m guessing that most of America with young children don’t have the resources to travel the world, learning about different cultures.

Tsh does add a chapter at the end saying that what her family does is not the right way for every family, but perhaps that would have been better at the beginning of the book, as well as sprinkled throughout the middle 200 pages. Instead, I felt judged by a tone of writing that lacked humility, understanding for others’ circumstances, and most of all, awareness of her place of privilege. While it’s true that she has lived in war-torn places before marriage (not sure exactly what she was doing, she’s a little vague on that), I think that perhaps she isn’t aware of the real struggles many people here in the states have.

Perhaps the book rubbed me the wrong way because of our life stage, but I hope that when we are eventually done with school, and are settled in one place (after 10+ years of moving all over the country and world), that I will remember each chapter of life, and live and give in such a way that reflects our family’s values of faith, radical generosity, equality, creativity and compassion.

BUT, if you are a upper middle class family, you might love this book! :)

Questions I’m now asking:

1. How can we better align our marriage with our 5 family values?

2. How can we parent in such a way that reflects our 5 family values?

3. What experiences can we create for the kids (and some of their friends!) that will help them to be a better global citizen?

Thank you BookLook Bloggers, for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Beautifully written and inspiring 4 Feb. 2014
By C. B. - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I have been SO impatient to receive this book in the mail, as I have been a fan of Tsh Oxenreider’s for a while (from her Art of Simple website) and I was sure it was going to be a good read. I was not disappointed. January always makes me feel very unmotivated, and this book helped me get energized to make some changes in my life and in my family that would make us all feel a little less chaotic. Tsh writes in a biographical style, covering her family’s travels from Kosovo to Turkey, from Texas to Oregon. Along the way, she shows how they’ve made changes to improve and simplify their lives in the areas of food, work, education, travel, and spiritual revival. The chapters are short, and are easily read out of order, so it’s perfect for a busy mom to read on the go. I was particularly interested in the author’s take on the area of education, so I read that section first (after the introduction) and it did not negatively impact my understanding of the book. In the education section, Tsh writes about her family’s decision to homeschool, and then her decision the next year that homeschool was not right for her family at that time in their lives. So, this is not a book that tells you exactly what changes to make in order to make your lives more fulfilling, rather, it helps you think through options that you might be able to explore. (The book doesn’t tell you this, but Tsh actually went back to homeschooling after her year in public school, and next year they’re traveling the world and “worldschooling.” It’s all about what’s right for your family in each season.) I also really loved the section about food, and found myself quoting passages to my husband. He’s more onboard with Tsh’s ideas about decluttering your home and your calendar, and he and I are both big proponents of reducing the television in your life, as covered in the entertainment section. So, final verdict: I loved this book, and highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to improve the quality of her/her days. Beautifully written and inspiring.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my opinion. I was not required to write a positive review.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
So You Want to be Intentional? 4 Feb. 2014
By Annie Kee - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Tsh Oxenreider is the blogger and founder of Simple Mom (now known as the Art of Simple), and in her new book, Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World, she tells the story of her family’s quest to live more simply, fully, and intentionally.

She writes about what it means to live simply in different cultures and contexts. Having lived in several countries, her family moves from Turkey to Austin, Texas to Bend, Oregon. She documents family life, so it includes a lot of information for parents. Her book is broken down in many sections: Awakening, Food, Work, Education, Travel, Entertainment, and Revival.

So what can I, as a single person without any children, learn from this book? I would recommend this book more quickly if you had a family and you were interested in someone’s perspective of how to live more intentionally and simply. But what about if you don’t have a family? Is it even worth reading if you’re single and spend a majority of mealtimes trying to half or third a recipe so you don’t have leftovers for weeks?

I would say yes.

No matter where we are in life, we can learn from what she has to say in this book. Part of me feels like the term “live intentionally” has been so overused. We can read it and miss its meaning. To really take living intentionally seriously, we need to have a plan. We cannot just say it because it’s catchy, but we have to live it. Tsh writes: “It’s all well and good to want to live more intentionally, but nothing will happen unless there’s a plan” (p. 197). Planning requires creativity and saying no to certain things in order to say yes to other things (like traveling).

In the chapter titled “Take Care of Yourself,” she writes about the importance of self-care. Tsh is honest about her depression and therapy. She acknowledges self-care depends on who you are, so it will look different for all of us. We all need time to restore ourselves. This is why we should embrace Sabbath. This connects with the following chapter, which is about slowing down. We need to slow down in order to enjoy the everyday moments around us. These everyday moments can be incredibly life-giving if we allow them to be.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Not what I expected from the description 17 Mar. 2014
By Avid Reader - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thought this would be more of an advice-by-experience book about simplifying life during these very busy modern times, but instead it was more like a blog or journal of the author's life with kids and travel.
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