Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Book Review of Loving My Actual Life by Alexandra Kuykendall

The great "what if...".

What if my life looked like this? What if my job was this?  And so on ... we all inevitably question where we are at and what that means for us down the road.

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.

Loving My Actual Life was a fun, easy read. Each chapter is broken down into an area of life that Alexandra Kuykendall spent a month focusing on with great intention. For example, chapter two is the morning routine and chapter four is health and chapter nine is passions. Once in the chapter she explains the need, the experimented approach and followed by a diary dialogue of the good, the bad and everything in between from that month. The chapters close with what was learned, things that she'll keep in her life after and finally questions for reflection. The end of the book wraps up with thoughts and suggestions to lead the reader in implementing their own experiment. Very valuable.

It is a great set-up for group study or discussion as well as personal growth. There are also quotes and scriptures throughout.

Kuykendall has a lighthearted, companionable voice. Her life feels connectable and real. Even though I am way out of the young children/mothering stage I remember those days well. The beauty often lost in the doubts and fears. The creativity and simplicity often lost in the chaos. The author portrays this well. No matter how diligent she is in her new assignment, somewhere along the way life happens to derail her. A friend is in need. A child is sick. But the key to her progress was having a plan to fall back onto as soon the days straightened out again. I think in our lives that's where we fail. Without an intentional plan we succumb to the waves and torrents of life. That is true of anyone - mother or not. Woman or not.

Although, I feel it safe to say that the targeted audience for this book is definitely women.

I found, even though I am not a young mom, there were a lot of truths I could pull into my own life. She challenged me to re-evaluate my relationships, my health and my sense of adventure. There was tremendous value in this book. A definite recommendation. It would make an excellent gift too. The cover is beautiful. The content is light and easy to follow, with great nuggets of depth. And the message is timeless.
Bloom where you are planted.

Pick up a copy for yourself or for a mom you know. You won't regret it.

A pdf excerpt from the book is available on the Baker Publishing's page.

Alexandra Kuykendall  is involved with MOPS International, Mothers With Preschoolers. She is an author and editor to MomSense Magazine, Connections Magazine and the MOPS blog. 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.
Also check her out at her blog, For Every Mom.
Book available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbooks, Chapters and other fine retailers.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."