Loving My Actual Life by Alexandra Kuykendall

"Rather than asking God to bless the plans I've made..." (114)

Title:  Loving My Actual Life:  An Experiment in Relishing What's Right in Front of Me
Author: Alexandra Kuykendall
Publisher:  Baker Books
Release Date:  May 3, 2016
Genre: Non-Fiction Memoir

What if you could actually love the life you are living right now?
In life, there is the ideal: fulfilling work, thriving relationships, financial security. Not to mention an orderly and beautiful home and children who never misbehave. And then there's reality: frustrations, illness, feeling overwhelmed and inadequate. We can wait around for our circumstances to change and in the process miss the goodness right in front of us. Or we can choose to love our actual lives, right here and now.

In this entertaining and insightful book, Alexandra Kuykendall chronicles her nine-month experiment to rekindle her love of her ordinary, actual life. After wiping her calendar as clean as a mother of four can, Kuykendall focuses on one aspect of her life each month, searching for ways to more fully enjoy her current season. By intentionally adding one thing each month that will make her jump for joy, she provides a practical challenge you can easily replicate in your life. With humor, poignancy, and plenty of personal stories, she shows how a few small changes can make this crazy-busy life one of holy contentment.

If you have the chance to read Loving My Actual Life by Alexandra Kuykendall, I highly recommend it. Take the time to read this book, and journey with her in letting go of tomorrow, and living today.  Easy said than done, for many of us, as well as the author. We read about her struggles in cancelling and pushing back the noise in her life, and focus on herself, her life at the moment.

Reading through this book, I felt like Alexandra and I are kindred spirits, but after thinking about it, I think that would make us all kindred spirits, because we are the same. Same in terms of the life we've gone accustom to is one of busyness, of things to do and get done and of not reaching what we had hope to have accomplished.  The noise may be blessings, but have we gotten too busy that we don't see it?

"It is indeed easy for me to praise God when I stop and notice the details of what He has created.  It is the discipline of stopping that is key." (153)

Reading Loving My Actual Life, I couldn't help but think of my life, how I can really see the goodness that's right in front of me.  As some of you know, I am one of the stewards/coordinator of the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat (CFRR), this year being the first of many, God-willing. As the interest level rise and the event size goes up, I started focusing on the list of many things to do, and when the registration slows down, I start wondering what would it mean for the retreat in subsequent years. Will sponsors continue to support us? Will authors be disappointed? Will readers find this event uneventful? All these questions pop into my mind, muddling my mind on what the actual goal of the retreat in the first place was about.  CFRR is first and foremost founded by God, a blessing to so many of us, including the three of us that was called to spear-head this event. It is not about the size or how popular it can get, but about honoring God through Christian fiction.  And daily, He had shown us how HE is in control. Loving My Actual Life reminded me all that. Taking what God had given us, from the big to the small, from the past to the very present, and finding His daily gifts, enjoying every moment of it.
"If I want to do big things for good, I must focus on the small tasks in front of me." (129)

There are plenty of great thoughts and quotable quotes. So even if Loving My Actual Life is not on your radar, go get a copy now.

NOTE:  I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Baker Books for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own. For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page.



Alexandra Kuykendall is on staff at MOPS International (Mothers of Preschoolers) where she encourages mothers of young children to keep growing as they take on their new mothering identity.  She is a regular contributor and consulting editor to MomSense magazine, Connections magazine, and the MOPS blog. A frequent speaker for MOPS, Alexandra has been featured on Good Morning America. As the mother of four young children, she continues to refine her mothering identity. She lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband, Derek, and their daughters.

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