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Only Love Today: Reminders to Breathe More, Stress Less, and Choose Love Hardcover – March 7, 2017
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In these conversational essays, Stafford (Hands Free Mama) urges readers to set aside the world’s distractions and put love at the top of their to-do lists. Stafford, who describes herself as a “recovering perfectionist, reformed rusher, and multi-tasker,” admits this is no easy task. With a voice that is equal measures poetry and best-friend-over-coffee, she draws from her own life as a special education teacher and mother to encourage women to seek out a less stressful, more people-focused way of living. Organized around the seasons, these essays explore topics such as renewal, growth, authenticity, connection, grace, awareness, hope, and introspection. Stafford brings a voice that is both inspirational and authentic to a topic that can often take a lifetime to get the hang of. Broken into easy-to-read chunks, this book meets today’s busy moms where they live. (Publishers Weekly)
Stafford (Hands Free Mama, Hands Free Life) presents a self-disclosing inspirational text that will stop her readers dead in their tracks (which is her intent). She offers minuscule glimpses of beautiful discovery for those who linger long enough in the moment to see them. The author shares the terrifying seasons of her recent physical ailments and subsequent surgeries to illustrate how God can work in even these painful elements. Stafford’s work here is almost an ode to her daughters’ unique and winsome personalities. She presents these devotions in an easy-to-digest (sometimes poetic) style that moms of every age will relate and benefit from immensely. Only Love Today is the gift book to give yourself and order several more for the moms in your life who are fresh out of perspective and overfull of self loathing and self-condemnation. Stafford’s ability to cut through the “yuck” and to the “yes!” of life is a rare skill indeed. (Christian MARKET)
About the Author
Rachel Macy Stafford is the New York Times bestselling author of Hands Free Mama and Hands Free Life. Her third book, Only Love Today, releases on March 7, 2017. Rachel is a certified special education teacher who helps people overcome distraction and perfection to live better and love more. Rachel’s work has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, The Today Show , Global News, TIME.com, and FoxNews.com. Rachel loves taking long walks, baking, and volunteering with homeless cats and nursing home residents. Rachel lives in the South with her husband and two daughters who inspire her daily.
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Some of my favorite parts from this beautiful book:
"If I were to delete my most regretful experiences, I wouldn't be here, on this particular page, in the story of my life.....If I deleted all the poor choices, the pitfalls, and the wrong turns of my life, my story would not be what it is today; I would not be who I am. But here's the best part: despite the marred pages of my past, today is a blank page lined with yesterday's wisdoms and braveries that came from falling down and getting back up. My story is not pretty; it's flawed, but it's real, and it's still going."
"Hope renews. Self-compassion heals. Forgiveness frees. Today is a blank page. I will hold on to the hope that with each page, my story only gets better."
In this book, you'll find the beautiful self-compassion and hope that our world could certainly use more of today.
I very rarely say that a book is actually life changing. Rachel's books Hands Free Mama and Hands Free Life started me down a path of love and forgiveness. The person I was forgiving was myself, the way I treated my own self, my kids, my friends...the distractions of life that I gave top priority to were not the things that matter. I heard my own children speaking in the same sarcastic ways as they heard from me. I saw them not listening when I asked them to do something because I never did anything that they asked. They had already defined that "just a minute" meant a mommy-minute which they had resigned themselves to understanding meant it would probably never happen. Only Love Today was even more full of simple habits to change...small things that literally only take a minute. The format of this book is such that in a snippet of time, you can find one hopeful sentence to lift your day and start along the path of change. Change does not happen instantly, but it is infinitely more easy when it's one tiny thing at a time. I have recommended this book to so many people, I cannot stop talking about it. My 8 and 10 year old daughters are reading pieces of it...and while I always think they need help with their behaviors *wink* I know that actually I am becoming accountable to them for my life choices. My choices will shape their lives and when I begin to make a bad choice, I will stop now and think for a moment before acting or speaking. Highly recommended!
Only Love Today: Reminders to Breathe More, Stress Less, and Choose Love is the Rachel Macy Stafford's third book and it's one that I use every day. Every. Single. Day. It's 324 pages long and is divided up into four sections, or rather, the seasons of Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. The messages and themes within each season also relate to the actual seasons themselves.
The seasons and themes are:
- Spring: Opening Up (Renewal, New Habits, and Growth)
- Summer: Shining Through (Authenticity, Connection, and Acceptance)
- Fall: Wrapping In (Gratitude, Grace, and Awareness)
- Winter: Holding On (Hope, Encouragement, and Introspection)
There is also a conclusion and epilogue. Each season contains approximately 80 pages of devotions and each devotion is one or two pages long. I'd say they won't take much longer than three minutes each to read so you can read at least one while you are enjoying your morning coffee, lunch break, or a few minutes of peace and quiet after the kids go to bed. Each devotion has a title listed as to the theme it will talk about (e.g. New Habits or Grace), followed by a short inspirational thought. The bulk of the particular devotion sometimes tells an anecdote from the author's life and what she learned from it. It often contains a lot of beautiful, positive thoughts about how you might have felt at one moment and some encouraging words to help pick you up. The devotions end with a daily reminder that summarizes that devotion's message.
This isn't a daily devotion book so it's something you can use as needed, every day, several times a day, or however often you want to use it. Personally, I love having this kind of flexibility because I already have daily devotionals and love the freedom I feel with owning this one.
The day I received this book, I started reading some of it right away and have been reading a devotion or two every day! I generally read them in order, especially since it's spring and the book starts with spring, but I sometimes randomly open to a page and start reading. I love the messages and inspirations within these devotions. This is a Christian inspiration book so there are references to God and so many real-life messages about staying positive in the midst of this crazy life. I love how the author writes so openly about how she felt during that moment and how she changed her thinking to look at a better way of handling everything. She seems like she could be writing from the point of view of so many of us moms who struggle with a lot of these similar thoughts.
I've only had this book for a few weeks and it's already made me stop and think about what's really important! I received it shortly before I went on vacation and didn't bring it with me but wished that I had since I was itching to read it the entire time. I purchased the hardcover which is more expensive but I feel it is worth it to me to spend the extra money because I love the look and feel of this book. You could easily read this on your Kindle device, iPad, or smartphone but personally, I love the hardcover. I often find myself reading it during difficult moments and also during peaceful times, such as after the kids are in bed and we are all settled down for the night. It really helps me relax and put things into perspective so I can more easily enjoy this crazy life.
If you are a Christian woman and a mom, you need this book! I think a lot of the devotions would especially help moms with children at home but I feel there is absolutely no reason why a mom with adult children wouldn't enjoy this as well because everyone needs inspiration at some time. You also never know if a friend or family member may need some positive thoughts and then you could help your own children when they have children. I love this book and highly recommend it to all Christian moms. I'm considering purchasing it for some friends and family members who also have young children because we could all use positive reminders about how important love is to everyone!