Loving My Actual Life: An Experiment in Relishing What's Right in Front of Me
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Baker Books / 2016 / Paperback

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Loving My Actual Life: An Experiment in Relishing What's Right in Front of Me

Baker Books / 2016 / Paperback

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Stock No: WW007811

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Product Description

In Loving My Actual Life, Alexandra Kuykendall chronicles her nine-month experiment to rediscover her love for her real life, including all the ups and downs of marriage, mothering, and keeping a home. She focuses on one aspect of her life each month, searching for ways to intentionally live that facet to its fullest. With humor, insight and practical grace, she shows how making a few small changes can mean all the difference between crazy-busy and abundant fullness.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 224
Vendor: Baker Books
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 080100781X
ISBN-13: 9780801007811

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Publisher's Description

Feel Satisfied with Who and Where You Are

In a world of comparison and discontent, it can feel impossible to be happy with life as we know it. Other people seem to have it all together, to be finding success, to be having more fun. But we weren't meant for a life characterized by dissatisfaction.

In this entertaining and relatable 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 women can easily replicate. With humor, poignancy, and plenty of personal stories, Kuykendall weaves together spiritual themes and practical application into a holy self-awareness, showing women how a few small changes in their routines can improve their enjoyment of this crazy-busy life.

"If you ever get the chance to read anything written by Alexandra Kuykendall, take it. She is a gentle, trustworthy storyteller who lives the words she writes about."--Emily P. Freeman, author of Simply Tuesday

Author Bio

Alexandra Kuykendall spends most of her days chauffeuring her kids and searching for a better solution to the laundry dilemma. The author of The Artist's Daughter, she was on staff with MOPS International for nearly ten years and is a trusted voice in mothering circles. She lives in the shadows of downtown Denver with her husband and their four daughters. Connect at AlexandraKuykendall.com.

Product Reviews

4.3 Stars Out Of 5
4.3 out of 5
3.5 out Of 5
(3.5 out of 5)
3.4 out Of 5
(3.4 out of 5)
Meets Expectations:
3.1 out Of 5
(3.1 out of 5)
of customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Displaying items 1-5 of 8
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  1. mountains
    Alberta Canada
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    I wish I'd read this years ago!
    June 29, 2016
    Alberta Canada
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 4
    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?

    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.

    "Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."
  2. Just Commonly
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Find a kindred spirit with this book.
    June 17, 2016
    Just Commonly
    Quality: 0
    Value: 0
    Meets Expectations: 0
    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)

    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.

    This review first appeared on Just Commonly Blog.

    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.
  3. Laura
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Open, honest, and real.
    June 13, 2016
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    At this moment, I can't think of any book that has made me want to cry from the sense of camaraderie in the way this one has. Alexandra Kuyendall has brought such a sense of real-ness and relatability to this project, and I appreciate that more than I expected.

    This book is one woman documenting her own experiment to improve not only her life but her *opinion* about her life. There are no "you should" statements. There is no indication that she sees herself and her way as perfect for anyone other than her. This is a straightforward presentation of "This is what I did, and why. And this is how it turned out" - laid out on the table for us to learn from as we will. It's wonderful, refreshing, and such a blessing to me. I don't have kids, and I'm in my twenties. If I can identify with so much in this book about someone whose life is so different from mine, I think that's a good indication that anyone can get something useful from this book.
  4. cmwinner
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Good = for a married women
    June 12, 2016
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    Alexandra Kuykendall opens us up to nine months of her life where she rekindled her love with her ordinary life and all that she was doing. She bases the nine months on the fact that a pregnancy lasts for about nine months and school lasts about nine months of the year. For each month of the of that time period she focuses on one goal, and one way she can enjoy that aspect more fully. These aspects include mornings, dates with family members, health, organization and many more.

    Each chapter is dedicated to one month and what the goal for that month was. The end of each chapter summarizes what she has learned and the prat ices she has started that she will continue. She ends each chapter with questions for us to reflect on and a Bible verse.

    This book felt like Alexandra was opening up her diary to us and showing us her personal life and struggles she was experiencing. While as a single person I don't see how a lot of what she talked about applied to me (as most is good for a wife and mother), there were aspects that I can look at for myself. This book would be best suited for someone who is a wife and mother.

    This book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are entirely mylin own.
  5. Bekah
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Conversational and Thought Provoking
    June 11, 2016
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    My book of choice this week was Alexandra Kuykendall's newest release, Loving My Actual Life. I had heard of her before, but this was my first time to read her work, and I found her style to be very conversational. If that kind of familiar, relaxed style bothers you, I wanted to let you know that's what you'd find in these pages.

    Alexandra is a wife and mom of four, and spent almost ten years of her life working for MOPS International. Translation? She leads the same kind of busy life many of us do. And as a result, she faced the same kind of struggle we do, though I would venture to say too many of us don't want to fess up to the truth of it. We all spend way too much time loving the dream of the life we either wish we had or hope to have someday, and in the meantime, the life right in front of us seems drab and something to merely survive rather than embrace.

    For nine months, Alexandra went on a quest to love her actual life...the life right in front of her. Each month, she focused on a different area of life: quiet, mornings, dates, health, adventure, home organization, creativity, meals, and passions, and she kept a journal of what she observed and learned during the nine month experiment. The book is born out of those journal entries.

    It is not just a printed copy of her journal. It is polished and tells a good story. And it is quite honest about what worked and what didn't in each of the months. I appreciated her vulnerability and the lessons she passed along from the ups and downs of learning to love her actual life.

    While the book wasn't crafted to be filled with sentence after sentence of quotable quotes, I did underline a lot of things, including some of these gems:

    "It's not about having time; it's about making time with the right attitude." - page 67

    "I realized when I'm trying to impress someone, I'm not loving them well." - page 103

    "She could live in grief and love simultaneously. And that was better than grief alone." - page 146

    "When we think of doing 'great things for God,' we think big. We think bestsellers and viral posts and sellout crowds. But that is the exact opposite of the gospel, of God, who chose to come as a newborn, who sat at the tables of ordinary people, sharing one dinner at a time." - page 198

    I came away from the book reminded that even though I am not a mom, and I don't have the big career that she does, I am equally in danger of not loving my actual life. Equally in danger of ignoring all that is in front of me, in all its beauty, in favor of wanting more, bigger, different. If that's you, and you need a wake-up call from an understanding friend, check out this book!

    Thanks, Baker, for sending a copy of this book my way in exchange for an honest review!
Displaying items 1-5 of 8
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