Last week I let it slip that I was invited to join in a book launch team for a new book coming out. I finally get to tell you more about it! This book is available today! It's release day! Go get your copy!!
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I needed to learn to work with what I had right in front of me. I needed to learn to love my actual life.
Do you feel like you are going through the motions? Or maybe that the day to day grind is just not what you thought your life would be? In her new book, Loving My Actual Life, Alexandra Kuykendall journals her way through nine months of experiments in different areas of her life to learn how to find joy in the mundane, apply practical changes, and most of all seek God. She is hilarious and easy to relate to in everything she shares.
There were moments reading this book when I swear I was being spied on! Everything Alexandra was focusing on are the same things I am working to focus on as well. I've started getting up earlier to spend quiet time with the Lord. I'm making sure lunches are made the night before and that I have a plan for breakfast so mornings run smoothly. I'm making exercise a priority again. I'm spending one-on-one time with my kids to build closer relationships. I'm attempting to be a better homemaker. I'm learning to resist the urge to pick up my phone or tablet every chance I am "bored" instead of spending time with those around me or tackling my to-do list.
I think the chapter that resonated with me the most is Month 3: My Peeps (Dates). During this month Alexandra focuses on her relationships with her husband, kids, and friends. Now while we are good about scheduling date nights about every other month and do parent-kid dates about that often as well, I always feel like I'm not making enough normal time to be present with them. That the time should always be special if I want it to be remembered. But Alexandra learned that quality time doesn't always have to be monumental or filled with activity. "Quality time can be next-to-each-other time." Sometimes just a snuggle on the couch or coloring together at the table with no words can be more amazing than anything else I could plan.
"Whether it's meeting someone for a spontaneous lunch hour or three minutes on the sofa at our house or anywhere in between, opportunities is this best word I can muster for these moments. Because there is an active choice in whether I take advantage of them."
Ah, choices. That's really what all this comes down to, doesn't it? Choosing people around you rather than people in the computer. Choosing to plan ahead rather than winging it last minute. Choosing to spend twenty minutes on your physical health rather than ignoring it one more day. Choosing to start your day with God rather than putting Him off until later. Choosing to love your actual life rather than longing for a life that's not yours.
"One life. Portioned into segments. Years. Months. Weeks. Days. Hours. Minutes. Seconds. One life God has granted for now. It is temporary. It is now. And if I’m not careful I might miss it. One life unique to me. Not like anyone else’s, nor should it be, and yet I’m always longing for that next thing. One life I want to cherish. I want to hold close and appreciate. To not waste. To not take for granted."
One of my favorite aspects of this book is the way it's not only broken up into months, but that Alexandra includes questions at the end of each month to get you thinking about those aspects of your own life. She also includes a verse that relates what she focused on during the month. Both of these make this book a great idea for a group study! I so want to use this with my MOPS group or by starting a new small group at church. But it also made a great read alone to just absorb and think about by myself. That to me is the sign of a great read.
Thank you, Alexandra, for allowing me to read this very honest and insightful journey. You captured so much of what it means to lose sight of how amazing this life is and how small changes and choices can really help us learn to love our lives again.
Now what? Go run and grab a copy of the book! Pre-order it on Amazon or wherever you like to buy books or hit up the store on Tuesday to find a copy. Buy one for a friend. Ask for it for Mother's Day. Set up a small group at your church or with your friends to plunge into this book together!
Then come back and tell me what you thought :D