Living with Intention in a Chaotic World | Notes from a Blue Bike [Book Review]

I hope you've heard about Tsh's book already {Notes from a Blue Bike} -- it's releasing February 4, 2014 and I've been lucky enough to get a copy to pre-read in order to share my review with you.

In her book, Tsh begins by painting the picture of life in Turkey, where she and her family lived for a number of years when the children were young. They enjoyed living in a walking culture, with a slower pace and a friendly, tea-after-every-meal way of life. There was fresh milk waiting by their front door in the mornings, fresh eggs across the street, and local produce at the market not too far from their home.

If you've never experienced life like might be hard to imagine. It's really really different from our fast-paced, productivity-based culture here in the United States. My first other-culture experience was in the Philippines when I was twelve years old and I remember the slow walking and the time to stop and visit. There was eye contact, waving, and that general feeling of eeeh, I could do that tomorrow. Many of us see that as a character flaw. That somehow we're wasting our lives away by pausing to visit with a friend on our way to the market or savoring our food or heaven forbid, making food from scratch. 

And I live in a small town. I've never even been to the frenetic New York City.

In the last few months, I've really been pausing to consider my motivation for doing x, y, or z. What is most important in our lives? What are our priorities? Because like Tsh says, "It's the little everyday choices that add up to our lives." What we do today and tomorrow and the next day makes up the fabric of our life. Busy does not necessarily equal good. And relationships are more important than things.

I genuinely miss the walking culture of the third-world countries I've visited {well, Guyana was more of a boating culture, but still, a similar way of life}. I think the cold weather in the north matched with our desire to stay busy has resulted in towns filled with isolated and lonely families.

I'm introverted and like to have my quiet and alone time, but still. I feel like the American way of life isn't healthy. And we already live pretty counter-culture in a lot of ways.

We don't own a TV and watch very little online.
We grow a garden and preserve as much as we can for the winter.
We harvest crops from local orchards and preserve those too.
We make most of our food from scratch.
We go on road trips together.
We adventure together outside.
We play hide and seek or board games or read together.
We learn at home together.

Tsh speaks to the benefits of travel and of lifelong learning. She says "When we travel, no matter how near or far, we share moments that shape our family culture." And that's just the thing -- she's encouraging families to be intentional about their unique family culture. It's so important to know what you all value and want to live for. Make that a priority. Don't just let life fly by if you're not sure you like it that way.

So we're gonna keep doing what we've been doing. We'll continue looking for ways to encourage others to be true to their values, even if it means swimming upstream. Slow, marrow-sucking, relational, nature-focused, sustainable, adventurous, creative. That's the life for us.

How can you begin living more intentionally today? 

Notes from a Blue Bike is written by Tsh Oxenreider, founder and main voice of The Art of Simple. She is passionate about sharing the message that we have freedom to creatively change the pace of our lives so that our path better aligns with our values. Get your copy here

This post is part of the Blue Bike Blog Tour, which I’m thrilled to be part of. To learn more and join us, head here.