Book Review // Notes from a Blue Bike

by jordanfaeh



When the new year rolled around and everyone was choosing their word for the year, I chose “intentional”.

It is one of my greatest fears that I will look back on life and realize that I spent most of my days hurried, frazzled, stressed out, and always in survival mode. As a young mom of two, it’s easy to live in a constant state of “go,” but I know that life isn’t meant to be lived that way and God certainly isn’t glorified when I’m a hot mess who doesn’t stop to smell the roses (for lack of a better term). So when I was given the opportunity to have a weekend away (original post here), I wanted to spend my time slowly. I didn’t want to feel rushed or stressed. I wanted to leisurely read a good book. I wanted to indulge in the quiet (even the almost-uncomfortable quiet).

I had a long list of books to choose from that I’ve been wanting to read, but this one stood out. “The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World.” That’s exactly where I am. And that’s exactly what I want. I finished the book in three days and came home from my trip convicted and mostly inspired to live a little differently. I highly recommend it. It’s an easy and fun read. The author mostly speaks to a mother, but you don’t necessarily have to be a mother to benefit from it.

Ann Voskamp forwarded this book and she put it perfectly when she said “life is not an emergency but a gift to slow down and savor. Daily decisions add up to the sum of your life. A whole life can be lost in minutes wasted, small moments missed.” She said that this book is a “dare to live your dreams instead of living your default…to do more than make a living–a dare to make a life.”

It’s a romantic thought, isn’t it? To actively engage in every moment each day. French philosopher Albert Camus said, “Life is the sum of all your choices.” Author Tsh Oxenreider knew this very well and she knew that if she wasn’t intentional about each choice she made, she would stop living fully and quickly default to “good enough.” She and her family lived in Turkey for a few years and during that time her life was changed by the simple way of life. There was no hurrying through play dates, frozen meals for dinner, or even easily accessibly dryers. After dinner, you would sip tea and enjoy the good conversation. There wasn’t a huge check list that was begging for your constant attention. Productivity wasn’t the end goal. Life was lived simply, with good food and great company.

When Tsh returned to the U.S. with her family, her goal was to bring that slow pace of life back to the States. She called it “swimming upstream”. Going against the current of a busy society. That is what this book is about. She challenges us to put thought into the way we eat, educate, play, travel, work, and spend. She challenges us to refuse to settle, to refuse to just get by with “good enough.”

As our family grows and life gets fuller, I’m quickly realizing that the days are like minutes (thought they don’t always seem that way in the moment). I blink and suddenly my child is walking and talking. I blink and summer quickly turns to fall. I want those moments in between to be rich. I want to taste what I’m eating instead of shoveling in it my mouth before I hurry to the next task. I want to put down my list and play on the floor with my kids. I want to save up and experience the amazing beauty of the world and it’s different cultures. And most of all, I want to teach my children that every blessing is from above and is meant to be savored.

If you’re looking for a light read that is rich in content, I’d start here. If you do end up reading it, I would love to hear your thoughts! We could start a revolution together: saying “no” to business and “yes” to lingering longer.

Cheers, Jord.

P.S. You know how passionate I am about buying locally, so if you’re in the position to pay full price, I would encourage you to check out Indigo Bridge Books in the Haymarket or your locally owned book store!