This month, I read Tsh Oxenreider's memoir/manifesto Notes from a Blue Bike and I thought... if you like reading Shop Good, you might really like this book.
In one sense, I am loathe to point everyone to another writer who is like me, but much farther along, with many more resources, more wisdom, and a published book… But, Tsh is just that good!
The truth is, I don’t read blogs much. [I am all the more swelled with gratitude when anyone takes the precious time to read mine – seriously, THANK YOU. It means so much to me.] I create, I work, I cook, I clean (ha ha, no I don’t), and I do read. I love novels & memoirs, I read the Bible. I try to keep up marginally with news/world events by reading the New Yorker and (honestly, shameful as it is to admit this as a news source) scanning the Facebook trending stories. But regular, devoted blog reading just doesn’t make the cut.
So, all that to say, I am no expert in Tsh Oxenreider’s giant of a writing hub, The Art of Simple. I’ve read a number of articles over time, and I like it. I like her. The like her contributors. We are simpatico. So, when I saw her book, Notes from A Blue Bike, on the library shelf, I snapped it up and have been devouring it ever since.
Tsh's blog/community hub, The Art of Simple
The overall point of the book is summed up in its subtitle: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World.
She discusses food, work, education, travel, entertainment, & money all under the banner of intentional living. Good living, living the way you want your life to look, she argues, doesn’t just happen. You have to make it happen. And you can.
I’m about as non-extreme as they get, though I do find that friends are increasingly tagging me in the comments of "buy less" articles or forwarding me videos on sustainable products (those friends are right; I love it all).
Maybe I seem extreme to you! I hope I’ve documented the journey enough along the way, so that it is clear that my ramblings have been a result of no extraordinary eureka, but more of a very slow journey. Tsh has documented her journey, and is very relatable, though I would say she is a more radically committed pilgrim than I am.
Her life, and most of her examples, center around life with kids, babies through grade school. So, if you are in that era of life, you will probably be the most to benefit or find interest here. But, as with any wise & grounded piece of work, there are snippets & profundity here for everyone.
Give it a read & let me know what you think. Or, if you are already familiar with The Art of Simple, share the articles that you have found most interesting or impactful below in the comments!
Now is a great time to spend 5-10 minutes unsubscribing to email lists you belong to.
Promotional emails are distracting, and form a lot of noise in these next couple of months (yes, I know — my weekly Keep Up email contributes, too!).
Do a scan of the regular emails you receive & ask: can I stop receiving this? Will I miss anything that I will actually suffer for not receiving? Is the content providing value to me, or is it just noise?
As this summer neared its end, Wayne & I began talking about a radical idea: quitting our Netflix subscription. I was feeling anxious about the transition from summer's never-ending days to the routine & rhythm of fall. Our kids would be in school all day (the girls, at least; our son is just half-days), and then have activities, chores, & piano practice, not to mention squeezing in their accustomed 8 hours of daily free play into what was left!
The truth is that I didn't want their extra time to be spent prioritizing shows, I wanted them to spend it with me. I think this is the kind of sappy feeling parents begin to get when they've left the all-consuming pre-school years and they glimpse how quickly time will pass before the kids are grown up.
We've listened to the soundtrack to The Greatest Showman countless times in my house (or, as my music app tells me: around 30), and the chorus of this song — "Never Enough" — keeps ringing through my head.
The song itself is about love (ie. without you, all the amazing things in the world will never be enough), but as we head into the busiest shopping season of the year, I feel like "Never Enough" is the battle cry of retail marketing.
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