Loving My Actual Life

An Experiment in Relishing What’s Right in Front of Me

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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 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. In a noisy world, I deeply appreciate her thoughtful, grounded voice."--Emily P. Freeman, author of Simply Tuesday

"We can spend our lives wishing for tomorrow, or decide to enjoy God's goodness today. In this book, Alex shares how we can cherish each season and find the gold already there."--Rebekah Lyons, author of Freefall to Fly

"Entertaining and insightful, honest and winsome, challenging and comforting."--Elisa Morgan, speaker; author; cohost, Discover the Word radio; president emerita, MOPS International


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.


Endorsements

"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. In a noisy world, I deeply appreciate her thoughtful, grounded voice."

Emily P. Freeman, author of Simply Tuesday

"We can spend our lives wishing for tomorrow, or decide to enjoy God's goodness today. In Loving My Actual Life, Alex shares how we can cherish each season and find the gold already there. Grab a friend, or ten, to share in this experiment to love your actual life."

Rebekah Lyons, author of Freefall to Fly

"Most of us struggle to like our lives, let alone love them. We look around and want what she has or to be like her. And so we miss our lives--our actual lives. There are lots of books about home organization, self-improvement, and workout routines. This book is different. Starting off with a call to quiet, Alexandra Kuykendall dares herself to invest intentionally in her daily life and discovers not just how to survive but how to love her life. Loving My Actual Life is entertaining and insightful, honest and winsome, challenging and comforting. Here is the journal of a woman who found contentment by choosing it and shares with us how we can as well."

Elisa Morgan, speaker; author; Discover the Word Radio; president emerita, MOPS International

"In this book Alex does what I think most of us secretly wish we could--she makes time and space for that list of things we all have, the things we want to do but never have time for. Over nine months she deliberately changes her life so that it starts to work for her, instead of her maniacally trying to work to keep up with her life. Hands up if you can relate? If you're tired of putting off all those things you keep wanting to do differently in your family, Alex will be the friend who keeps you company when you decide to start. Preferably tomorrow."

Lisa-Jo Baker, author of Surprised by Motherhood; community manager for (in)courage

"Alexandra Kuykendall's heart shines brightly in this gently written experiment to discovering God's gifts in the midst of the grind. Alex doesn't gloss over the painful realities and hardships of our daily lives. Rather, she invites us to savor the goodness that is right in front of us--the goodness that we are prone to miss when we're always longing for how life should be rather than appreciating what actually is."

Jeannie Cunnion, author of Parenting the Wholehearted Child

"How many times have I looked at other people's lives and wished for some aspect of what they have? By providing us a window into her own life with all of its ups and downs, joys and challenges, Alexandra Kuykendall convincingly reminds me to embrace and cherish what I have. Her nine-month experiment touches on the topics and areas that are accessible and relatable to every woman who is juggling work-life-family and striving to flourish in the fullness of her vocational calling. Reading this book is like the gift of deeply connecting with a dear friend, one who will not judge me because she gets me. My challenges are her challenges, and she lives them every day. Yet she is filled with immense hope and knowledge that neither of us is stuck. With practical and insightful tips, tools, and lessons learned, along with some experimentation, she encourages me along the journey of living fully and loving my actual life."

Cindy Chang Mahlberg, cofounder, Women in the Mix; chief exploration officer, The Law Venture

"As moms we can't help but compare: ourselves, our homes, our kids. Yet as we do we miss our actual life. We allow our unrealistic ideals to darken our days. Enough! Within these pages Alex shares her heart--and her journey--to prioritize her life. She shares her goals, her struggles, and lessons learned. Alex shows us that life isn't about a point to be reached but rather ways to make the most of the life you already have. Wonderful!"

Tricia Goyer, author of Balanced: Finding Center as a Work-at-Home Mom

"There is a constant tension between the way we imagined life would be and the way life actually is. We find ourselves continually wanting more, but we just aren't sure where or how to get it. In her signature poignant, clever, insightful, and nonjudgmental writing style, Alexandra Kuykendall helps us see that the 'more' we desire is not only within our grasp but right in front of us. Rarely is there a book where practical tips intersect with personal story in such an engaging, interesting, and life-changing way. What I may love the most about Loving My Actual Life, however, is that Alexandra lives what she writes. Out of her real-life experiences and authenticity comes a guide to help us trade the illusion of a perfect life for one that holds 'more.' More depth, more love, and more joy."

Krista Gilbert, author of Reclaiming Home; blogger at kristagilbert.com

"Along with her daughters in Loving My Actual Life, I raise a champagne flute of chocolate milk to Alex for taking us along on her experiment of living intentionally. She shows us it's possible to embrace our real lives and enjoy the moments along the way. We have one life and this book calls us to love it, even in the mundane, messes, and meal planning. Read it! You'll love the book. Come to find out, you might love your actual life."

Sarah Harmeyer, founder and chief people gatherer, Neighbor's Table


The Author

  1. Alexandra Kuykendall

    Alexandra Kuykendall

    Alexandra Kuykendall is the author of Loving My Actual Life and The Artist's Daughter, and the cohost The Open Door Sisterhood Podcast. A popular writer and speaker for moms around the country, she is a regular contributor to MOPS...

    Continue reading about Alexandra Kuykendall


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