Two Books You Should Know About

"Living well doesn't mean NOT doing hard things." @tsh #notesfromabluebike

So many of us yearn for a simpler way of life, a slower way to live, and an altogether calmer existence. I know I do. Many of you do, My friends do too.

But each of us has obstacles. There are a million different roadblocks that will stand in our way during this journey towards simple living (whatever that looks like for you).

It may be:

  • excess clutter
  • financial difficulties
  • family who doesn’t understand or respect your choices
  • young children
  • long work hours
  • an over-filled calendar

In fact, it could easily be a combination of all those obstacles over the course of your simple living journey.

I don’t mention this to discourage you. I don’t mention it to make you resentful of the phase of life you are currently in. I mention it because there are ways to overcome these obstacles and move forward – closer to the simple life you crave.  And over the past week, two of my favourite writers have released new books that I think will help significantly.

It depends on your priorities, your place in the simple living journey and your desires in living a simpler or slower life, but one or both of these books could hold the key to unlocking your next move.

Clutter-Free with Kids

Clutter-Free With Kids

Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist released ‘Clutter-Free with Kids‘ during the week. As someone with a 3- and 4-year-old, this book is a goldmine of practical advice on how to minimise the child-related clutter, as well as introducing the idea of simple living to your family. I know many of you are parents, and I know many parents struggle with this, which is why I highly recommend you check out Clutter-Free With Kids on Amazon.

Notes from a Blue Bike

Notes from a Blue Bike

I was lucky enough to meet Tsh Oxenreider (of The Art of Simple) last year, and she is just as lovely as you’d expect. This week sees the release of ‘Notes from a Blue Bike – The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World’ and having had the privilege of reading an advanced copy, I am blown away.

Tsh gets it. She and her family have battled the ups and downs of crafting a simpler, slower life and in spite of the obstacles, have largely succeeded. This is a family who makes intentional decisions every single day about the food they eat, the education they provide, the work they do, the entertainment they choose and the travel they embark on. And they get it.

As I mentioned in my last post, travel is high on our list of family priorities, so it’s understandable that this passage has stayed with me over the past few days:

“People are willing to be brave when they admit their smallness within the enormity of the world, and the best way to understand our smallness is to leave our comfort zones and start exploring, one foot in front of the other. When we go on an adventure, we’d better understand where we truly belong. We want our kids to know that it doesn’t always take an airport gate and a 747 to experience the world. It was big even in our own country. This is why we take road trips.

“Kids are explorers by nature, and travel gives them permission to dive deep into their curiosity and open their eyes in surprise. Why do they eat that? How is there snow in August? Why do I eat what I eat? What makes my home so hot in the summer? I thought summer was hot everywhere.

“Once they’ve traveled, kids have permission to question the how and why of their surroundings, because they’ve tasted and seen that other people live differently. While it may not be the most comfortable way to go through life, it’s the most honest—and this honesty opens the door to making life choices that feel right in your bones.

“As much as our family loves passport stamps, we can find the same answers to our questions about life—Why is it this way? mostly—without leaving our motherland. (But I still recommend stepping outside your national borders at least once.) It doesn’t require a lot of gas in our car or a backpack stuffed with plane tickets. But it does require bravery, and a willingness to let your kids leap onto slippery stones and investigate life up close, with dirty fingernails.”

If you’re really looking to explore the why and how of creating a slower life within a fast-paced world, then I can highly recommend Notes from a Blue Bike. Like, really, really highly.

You can order your copy of ‘Notes from a Blue Bike’ from Amazon today.

109 Responses to Two Books You Should Know About

  1. How exciting that they have given you some copies to give away! I loved hearing Tsh speak at Problogger and would love to win a copy of her new book! (That passage from the book is just beautiful) x

  2. I love to read about living a calmer, organised, meaningful & intentional life. I enjoy books that inspire me to make changes to my way of living for the better. It is good for my soul & good for my family too.

  3. Would love to read Notes from a Blue Bike. I have been reflecting on travel lately and wondering why it makes me feel uncomfortable. From what you have said about the book, it might help me to be brave and get out there with my son & husband!

  4. Hi Brooke

    I have been slowly working towards simplifying my life in the last 6 months and have gotten a lot of inspiration from your blog. Thank you for your honesty and gems of wisdom.

    I would love to win ‘Notes from a Blue Bike’ to help me continue on this journey.

  5. I truly appreciate Tsh’s writing, personality, perspective and approach to life. I would love to win a copy of her new book!

  6. Oh, oh, oh this book sounds perfect for where I am right now. Is the giveaway open to International participants? Im in the UK,and this book would give me a much needed boost right now.

  7. The book sounds great – I am so looking forward to reading it. I have been working on simplifying our life lately, but it’s not an easy task with two kids under 4 and a demanding job.

  8. I would love to win The’s new book. As I struggle to seek out a simpler life for me and my family, I love to read what others are doing in that area also.

  9. I went from an organized bedroom in my parent’s home (then school) to a one bedroom apartment with my husband. I’m currently in a four bedroom house and my clutter has expanded with each “upgrade”. Collections, memories, hobby supplies, and books. Several books about de-cluttering and organizing but none so far on minimalism.

    Goal? A place for everything and everything it it’s place.

  10. I’ve never heard of Tsh before, but her philosophy sounds fabulous! I’m really just starting out on a journey towards a simpler existence, decluttering and refocusing on a more intentional way of being. I’m hugely enjoying your blog. Not sure if UK readers can win this giveaway, but I hope so!!

  11. I have already downloaded Joshua’s book based on your recommendation. I would love to read Tsh’s book too, because as a mother of 3 life is pretty busy and I’m wondering if it needs to be?!

  12. Just starting out on the journey of ordering my life in the direction of simplicity. Would love a copy of the book to help and inspire me on the way. Thank you for your recommendation.

  13. I have been yearning to simplify for many reasons over the past 2-3 years. I’m a huge pack rat and I have worked on identifying the emotional reasons why. I am now leading a regional office of an organization that shares about radical giving and it has changed my life. I am far from “there” and feel like I have almost every issue mentioned on the list as to why my life isn’t more simple. Your blog is a huge encouragement and I pray I can grow in this because I was to teach my 4 up a better way to live. Reading definitely helps me learn. Thank you!

  14. The last year has been the beginning of my simplifying journey. Travel has always been important but since I became a grownup it has been harder. I want to pare down my life so I can explore more.

  15. The book sounds lovely – perhaps there are words of inspiration to help me convince my 14 year old that travelling is not the 5th circle of hell, and that he may like to see some of the country. I want to change the way we visit family, take a slower, more interactive trip so we can enjoy the journey and the destination.

  16. What a great giveaway! I am a graduate student & have yet to start my own family, but my graduate experience has taught me to slow down and find a sense of balance among the chaos of life. This lifestyle change has recently inspired me to start a blog on overall wellness in my field, student affairs administration. It sounds like Notes from a Blue Bike is a great resource – looking forward to seeing who is the lucky winner!

  17. I’ve been reading articles on living a simpler, clutter free life, and would love to learn more. I’m inspired to start experiencing life rather than buy more stuff I don’t need.

  18. I just ordered Joshua Becker’s new ebook yesterday and read this today and really connected with the travel passage above. We do live intentionally in many ways, but need focus on the de-clutter piece. I am thrilled that there are so many individuals writing about ways to keep the family unit the focus. Thank you!

  19. As parents of two adult children and four teens still at home, we are trying to travel as much as we can. This book sounds like just the encouragement we need to explore the world more and to pursue simple lives.

  20. Hi Brooke, what a great opportunity to win Tsh’s book, would be great! I have loved the inspiration found here, thankyou.

  21. I just started looking into the Simplicity movement, introduced by YOU. Then I found Tsh and Joshua and a simple year. This book would be an amazing next step on my adventure!! Thank you so much for hosting this awesome giveaway!

  22. Both books sound brilliant. I especially love the sound of Tsh’s book. I’ve been increasingly thinking about how to be ‘slow’ despite being ‘busy’ and how to stay calm despite the world being chaotic. So Tsh’s book sounds timely. Fingers crossed.

  23. Joshua Becker was the first advocate of simple living I followed and probably came to your via his sight. My very new journey to simplicity often slows and posts from the blogs and new books like these give me the boost I need to move forward. Both books sound fabulous and very relevant to my life.

  24. I would LOVE a copy. I love Tsh’s blogs and Organised Simplicity. Your blog, Brooke, and Tsh’s are a huge inspiration to me every day.

  25. I would love to read Tsh’s book. Her blog has become a source of great inspiration lately, especially now that I have a little one. She has so many great tips for slowing down as a parent!

  26. I will be reading Notes from a Blue Bike whether a personal copy or a copy of the library (will suggest the purchase!). Great review. Also found Clutterfree with Kids to be great. Thanks!

  27. I love her blog, so I am sure I would love her book too! I am always striving to simplify my life – I reached my 2013 things in 2013, and have excitedly embarked on the 2014 challenge.

  28. Thanks for the heads up Brooke, both of these books sound great! Like you and many others, family travel and adventure is one of our priorities and we spend large amounts of time trying to get more of it in our lives. Living in the outback, we have plenty of avenues for adventure within our own ‘motherland’. It is truly amazing to see how much joy our toddler gains from playing with tadpoles and frogs, picking up dried cow manure (sorry, but it’s true:)) and exploring a harsh, barren and isolated landscape. There are so many things to explore and experience and a simpler life helps us to make the most of it!

  29. The last sentence of that quote from Tsh’s book really struck a nerve. We loved to travel as a couple before having kids and have taken our daughter on one overseas trip. But with the addition of two little boys dirty fingernails are a real possibility and planning travel adventures have taken a back seat. Travel seems that much scarier now so I would love to read about how others manage it.

  30. I’m gravitating to a simple lifestyle although it has its challenges I’m starting to see some rewards :)I would love to win a copy of the book to see what else I can learn.

  31. Thanks for the giveaway, I would love to win her book! I follow her blog. I just found your blog recently and have been inspired to declutter!

  32. Hello! I just found your blog and am really enjoying your content. Didn’t know about Tsh’s new book and it looks great. Thanks for the opportunity to win one. Either way I look forward to reading it and your blog. :)

  33. Hooley Dooley, don’t like my chances with 90 people chasing this book!!! But you have to try :D

    I’m on my own discovery of trying to ‘get it’ and would be thrilled to read this story. I would gladly pass it on to a reader of my blog if I was chosen.

    Warm regards,
    and thanks for a wonderful blog
    Jan :)

  34. Bringing more organization and calm to our house is a big goal for this year. I would love to win a copy of Tsh’s new book!

  35. I have just downloaded Joshua’s after reading your recommendation. It is something I really need right now. I only have one son at the moment, but we a planning another child. How do you deal with keeping stuff “just in case”?
    I love Tsh. I have been reading her blog for quite a while and we are working One Bite at a Time. I am looking forward to Notes from a Blue Bike. I would love to win a copy. Thank you for your fabulous blog. X

  36. Trying to avoid being a helicopter parent so this simple sentence “a willingness to let your kids leap onto slippery stones and investigate life up close, with dirty fingernails” really resonates with me! Perhaps I need to read more.
    xx Love you work Brooke, it has changed my home, my hubby and I are working together and our kids are so grateful for that!

  37. I would love to win a copy of the book please. My family has recently moved to the country – little girl now at village preschool, chickens arriving next week… journey to Simple well and truly underway :-)

  38. I love what these two author write and would love to read Tsh’s book. Thanks for your blog and sharing these books with us.

  39. I’m a novice regarding blogging but when I read your blog, it got me thinking, in a good way, thanks! I’d like to continue my education. I have so much to learn and hopefully one day will have the intestinal fortitude to share my thoughts on the pursuit of learning, maybe as a blogger. I’d really appreciate a copy of Tsh’s book for further inspiration.

  40. Traveling and homeschooling and little kids and a budget and not getting bogged down with “stuff” on the way is a beautiful dream! I am anxious to see how it goes.

  41. My brother has embraced the simple life and has been trying to convert me and my family. I am trying to understand this, a copy of this book would be a great to help me especially since I have had a major operation and need to re-evaluate my life

  42. I’d love to win this book! This year I’m on a mission to simplify, organize, and slow down, so this would be a great read. Thanks for the chance.

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