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It’s in the winds that bring a change of the seasons. It’s in the air each January. That secret expectation, that deep down longing–that things will be different, for something to change.

This year was no different, and yet, I wanted the end result to be different. I make and break the same resolutions every year. I knew I wanted more than just a traditional “resolution”, I had to wholeheartedly embrace intention. I needed to make the choice to live this year on purpose, with purpose.

And then I picked up Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider. It was like listening in to a big sister tell about her journey further down the road I was facing.

Notes from a Blue Bike, Part 1: Awakening

Tsh Oxenreider met her husband Kyle while living overseas. They’d both dreamed of raising a family overseas, and that they did for the first years of their marriage. But then, they had to come home. Back to the States. Back to the rat race.

Suddenly, they found that they’d exchanged one set of struggles for another. Some things were simpler in Texas than in Turkey, but others were a whole lot more complicated. And even after moving to a relatively small town in eastern Oregon, they realized:

“Living in a small town was not enough to bless us with a slower life… Living slower requires living with intention.”

Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World is the tale of Kyle and Tsh Oxenreider’s journey towards simple, intentional living. No longer expats soaking up life in Turkey, they longed to define the essence of what they loved about their lifestyle there and recreate it here within the busy American culture.

When they settled in to their new home in Bend, Oregon, Kyle surprised Tsh with a blue cruiser bike for her birthday. The blue bike became symbolic of  their decision to slow down and savor the experience of life.

Living life...instead of life living us. @Tsh #NotesFromABlueBike

Notes from a Blue Bike reads a bit like a memoir while leaving you with the feeling that you’ve just heard a call to march to the beat of a different drum. Tsh’s stories take you around the world and back again, from her early travels as a single to a recent trip to meet the child they sponsor through Compassion. You can hear the sounds of the open air market and smell the eggplant marinara and the strawberries she serves for dessert. Yet you’re also right there with her and Kyle in the rinse and repeat life of parents of little ones. There’s no doubt she’s speaking from real life, yet she paints a picture so peaceful you can hardly believe it’s possible–except through intentional, proactive choices to live how we were made.

“Living overseas doesn’t breed this yearning: it bubbles deep down, innately in our souls. As though we were somehow made for a slower life.”

Perhaps none of us were actually made to live a hurried life. #NotesFromABlueBike

Reading Notes from a Blue Bike is like listening to the call, “Further up! Further in!” I don’t think you’ll be able to resist the call if you’ve already had the awakening.

Have you taken any steps towards living a more intentional life this year?

Blog Tour & Giveaway!

We’re excited to bring you a week-long blog tour of Tsh’s book here at Kindred Grace. Each day one of us will be discussing one of the seven parts of Notes from a Blue BikeAnd, we get to share a copy of the book with one of you! Use the entry form for your chance to win, and then be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out on the rest of the series.
Notes from a Blue Bike

#NotesFromABlueBike Blog Tour: Come pedal along with us at @KindredGracePedal along with us…

Disclosure: Members of the Kindred Grace Team were provided with review copies of Notes from a Blue Bike in exchange for an honest review. Giveaway copy (available to winner with US mailing address only) provided by Tsh Oxenreider and Nelson Books. Links are affiliate links and your purchase of Notes from a Blue Bike through these links will help support Kindred Grace, at no cost to you!

15 Comments

  1. It sounds like an interesting book. I often find myself simply doing the next thing on the schedule — while distractedly worrying about the things that aren’t going right or aren’t getting done right then. Sometimes I simply waste time worrying… it’s always good to hear someone else’s perspective on living well.

    1. I love the phrase Elisabeth Elliot always used: “do the next thing.” Sometimes, it’s the only way to make it through a list of priorities. But you’re right–sometimes, it’s a way of letting the tyranny of the urgent take over and never taking the time to slow down and do nothing.

  2. Sounds like I need to read this book! I crave slowing down but can’t seem to do it…at least not in the ways I’ve tried so far…

    1. Oh I know, it’s one thing to want it, another thing to make it happen. (I know you’ll love this book!)

  3. I’ve been working from home for about 25 years and am still tweaking my strategies to make it work as well as possible. One thing I have been doing lately is organizing my to-do list according to “must do”, “should do” and “would like to do”, and trying to accomplish a mix of those throughout the day. Crossing off one or two musts while I tend to my daily work load can earn me a “would like to do” at some point during the day or evening. I think I might be spending too long on the listing at this point, so this strategy might not work, but I’ll give it a try a bit longer.

    1. That’s a great idea, Kim! I’ve been using Todoist to organize my to do list, and it has the priority feature. Just being able to check anything off my list, no matter how small, helps me feel like I’ve made some progress!

  4. Well, our family just agreed that we weren’t going to watch any TV or movies AT ALL during weekdays. And that has been wonderful! This book looks fantastic.

  5. I, too, have loved the synchronicity of getting to read Tsh’s book here, at the beginning of a new year, and feeling that fresh call to change and intentionality. What a perfectly-timed read!

  6. Rachel Gibson says:

    I found this book from a pin on Pinterest and I had to read more. I never knew I was becoming something I’m not, I was simply moving with the pace…the pace of life that didn’t fit me but that I was so desperately trying to form and mold to become. Moving faster, thinking faster, do more, be more and now…now I’m tired, sometimes angry and I don’t like who I am becoming. When I found the love of my life in in a small fishing town in Alaska , I moved there and made it my home, but I didn’t expect what I found in myself. I was forced to slow down and take it easy. I felt odd and out of place at first…how could people live like this, don’t they want to keep up? And then it hit me…keep up with what and whom? I’ve been on a journey since. I’ve slowed down some and I learned there in Alaska to rely on God and come to him in prayer and know the Lord more like a friend. Its in my quiet moments that I feel and know His love. And so, I’m glad to have found this site and this book. Thanks!

    1. Oh Rachel, I hear you. Thankful you’ve been able to slow down some already, and are learning to pace yourself according to His timetable. I hope you’re able to read and benefit from Tsh’s book!

  7. Im riding along too! This year I’m trying to be more intentional with my own ‘education’ as a life-long learner. I’ve set myself goals and each month I’m trying to gain confidence in the kitchen by baking new recipes. I’ve also asked a friend to give me weekly knitting lessons – I want to be able to teach my baby girl so practical skills when she gets older!

    1. Good for you! That’s great to be so proactive about your own personal continuing education. It’s easy to settle in a rut of doing the things we already know how to do. Thank you for sharing!

  8. Samantha R says:

    What a fun giveaway; sounds like a very interesting book!

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