Loving My Actual Life

Loving My Actual Life: An Experiment in Relishing What’s Right in Front of Me
By Alexandra Kuykendall

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This right here. This is my actual life. It is busy. It is messy. It is chaotic most times.
It is not perfect. But it is MY actual life.

“Each of you must examine your own actions. Then you can be proud of your own accomplishments without comparing yourself to others.”
~Galatians 6:4~

I am a work-at-home, homeschooling, every kid in sports and activities, 2 kids with autism with another 1 on the maybe side, trying-to-hold-it-together-sometimes kind of mom. My life is often quite challenging.
I know life is challenging for everyone and everybody’s story is THEIR story. However, God has thrown some gigantic, demanding wrenches into my story.

Recently, after some of my posts on Facebook and many weeks of showing up looking quite frazzled, a friend of mine recommended this book to me. I will be forever grateful to her for that recommendation. Just from the title alone Loving My Actual Life: An Experiment in Relishing What’s Right in Front of Me, I knew that I needed to read this book.

I have struggled many days loving the life that God has granted me. My life has been filled with battles, dark days, and questions as to why God allowed me down this particular path. I found it difficult to truly love my actual life.
If He had pulled me from the wreckage of all that rubble, then WHY had He not put me on a path to do exceptional things with that mess? WHY wasn’t I living in abundance, full of overwhelming joy and happiness; much like I continued to observe from those around me?

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Enter this book. In a time when my life was feeling low, when I felt like the endless chaos was at its highest point, when I was feeling utterly lost, completely broken and profoundly insignificant.

This book has taught me much; tangible things that I can DO as well as a change in my   perspective about my actual life.

What if our big is found in the small? What if we do each small thing with great passion because we can? Because we are here and we are able to and yet do it with the knowledge we can’t change the world in a day. But we can leave our small, unique imprint on it. ~Alex Kuyukendall

Alex helped me realize that my actual life is not about this giant, amazing big work of art. My actual life, in this moment, is about my husband, my children, my family, my friends, those dirty dishes, those piles of laundry, those endless trips back and forth between sports and activities, feeding the dog, wiping down counters, putting toys away, and cooking meals. Those things create my giant, amazing big work of art.
THAT, is where I need to be, right now, Loving My Actual Life.

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.

~Alexandra Kuykendall~

I highly recommend this book. It will change your perspective, it will impact the monotony of your days, and it will guide you in learning to love YOUR actual life.

 

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

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The Reason I Jump

The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism
By Naoki Higashida
Translated by KA Yoshida & David Mitchell

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I have read a lot of books on autism. A lot.
My 2 oldest children are on the autism spectrum so I have done a lot of reading on this particular topic.

The majority of books and resources out there are written by medical professionals, which is fabulous because knowing the WHY behind autism and how the brain works is great knowledge as a parent.

There are also books written by those who have autism. However, they are written after the person has become an adult. Those books do give a good perspective of life with autism, but it still leaves a lot of unanswered questions.
Most adults with autism have already worked through a lot of their disabilities. They have discovered coping mechanisms that help them to thrive in society.

As a parent of a child with autism, I wanted to know why they do some of the things they do. I wanted to know why they react to some of the things they react to. I wanted to know why certain things can cause a certain behavioral response for them. I wanted to know what goes on inside their head currently; not what they remember it being like once they have become an adult.

The Reason I Jump is unique in the fact that it is written by young teenage boy. It is written by someone who can give us true insight and perspective on the inner workings of a child with autism. Yes, each child with autism is different. However, there are some things that are the same or similar across the board for those on the spectrum.
Naoki Higashida gives us something that many parents of children with autism are seeking; answers.

I loved that the book was set up in a question and answer format. A question about a specific behavior was asked and Naoki answered it. There were times when he did not have an answer or reason; sometimes he really just did not know the cause behind a specific behavior or reaction.

Intertwined with small stories of his creating, The Reason I Jump gave me a unique perspective into the minds of my own children. There were a lot of light bulb moments for me that have helped change and shape some of my own responses and reactions to my children. Naoki helped open up the communication in our home even further.

I highly, HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who is looking for some insight and perspective into the mind of any child with autism. It is hands down, THE best book on autism I have read thus far. I had originally borrowed it from the library, but after reading it, I realized that it is a book that I will refer back to again and again in the future so I went ahead and purchased my own copy.
Buy the book. Read it and then read it again. Then give it to anyone else who is in your child’s life. You will all be better for it.

I wish there were more books written by children on the spectrum. The insight and perspective that I gained from Naoki is priceless.

Maybe I can convince one of my own children to write a book.

The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism

*Post contains affiliate links. Purchasing from these links helps to stock my library shelf*