Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Only Love Today: Reminders to Breathe More, Stress Less, and Choose Love

Rate this book
New York Times bestselling author Rachel Macy Stafford shares simple words of daily inspiration in this unique, seasonal devotional to help you find new and more connected ways to live undistracted, heart-led, and hands-free every day. Rachel Macy Stafford, known to millions as the Hands Free Mama, equips readers to breathe life into what really the ordinary moments in our routine lives and the people in them. Her inspiring words fill this beautiful book of short pieces constructed around the seasons of life. From finding daily surrender in the autumn and daily hope in the winter to finding daily bloom and daily spark in the spring and summer, you will always find fresh, beautiful words for your day. With a flexible, non-dated devotional structure, Only Love Today offers life-giving words that remind you of the tools you already possess and insights you already have as you seek to Regardless of what you're experiencing or what season you're in, in these pages, you'll find wisdom, encouragement, strength, vision, and clarity to live for what really matters.

336 pages, Hardcover

First published March 1, 2017

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Rachel Macy Stafford

11 books324 followers
Nine years ago, Rachel Macy Stafford admitted the honest answer to the question that had been a long-time source of pride: "How do you do it all?" Rachel's answer was painfully simple: "I miss out on life, and what I miss I cannot get back." That very day, Rachel began her Hands Free journey to let go of distraction, perfection, and societal pressure to grasp what really matters in life. This life-long writer and certified special education teacher felt compelled to share her journey with others through the blog, "Hands Free Mama." Using her skills as a writer, teacher, and encourager, Rachel provides readers with simple, non-intimidating, and motivating methods to let go of distraction and connect with their loved ones. Rachel's work has been featured in USA Today, TIME.com, MSN.com, PBS.com, The Huffington Post, Reader's Digest, and hundreds of other online and print publications. Her blog currently averages one million visitors a month. Rachel loves being outdoors, baking, and volunteering with her family who inspire her daily.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
714 (50%)
4 stars
395 (27%)
3 stars
223 (15%)
2 stars
73 (5%)
1 star
22 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 192 reviews
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,186 reviews30.5k followers
May 19, 2017
I will refer back to this audio focused on love and acceptance for self and others. Many ideas to think about in a positive way, like getting a soothing hug and a long talk with your best friend. Gorgeous writing.
1 review2 followers
February 7, 2017
Motherhood is not what I thought it would be like. One of my favorite sayings is, "You're making it hard to be the mother I always imagined I'd be." I'm impatient. I yell. And then, I feel guilty. This book has helped me slow down, forgive myself, and learn new ideas to be calmer and more present with my strong-willed daughter. Thank you for this gift. #OnlyLoveToday
3 reviews1 follower
February 22, 2017
Rachel's authentic voice, humble tone, and gift for story-telling are what first drew me to her blog more than a year ago. She is one of the most influential modern day poets of our time, and her newest book does not disappoint.

Only Love Today, is a keep-in-your-purse companion for every woman and an essential read for every mom struggling to balance it all. Its non-dated, seasonal format is such, that you can open it up to any page when you have just 5 minutes to spare and gleam nuggets of truth and encouragement. Most messages are neatly wrapped up within 2-3 pages, making it the perfect go-to book for carpool lines, drive-thru's and any other unexpected breaks within your day.

What's intentionally NOT in this book is just as important as what's included inside its cover.

What you will NOT find here...
- judgment
- shame
- comparison
- more items for your already overflowing 'to-do' list
- labels - her message transcends all demographics

What you WILL find...
- practical tips on how to better connect and love those who are most important to you
- grace for those moments when you just don't feel like you're measuring up
- truth about life, love, connection, and our innate worthiness
- inspiration for embracing the authentic, unique gifts within you and your loved ones

Only Love Today is a transcendent love letter which cuts through the noisy, distracted, competitive shouts of our world and delivers loving whispers of truth straight into the heart. This book has the power to HEAL broken spirits, REPAIR strained relationships, and literally TRANSFORM our divisive world. No exaggerating here. It's. Truly. That. Good!

I would highly suggest, when ordering, that you pick up at least one extra copy for a friend. Once you begin reading, you'll want to share its powerful message wide and far.

#OnlyLoveToday is an antidote to the divisiveness and weariness we are experiencing within our world and witnessing within our news feeds. For those of us who have been wrestling with how we can help heal our world, my advice is this...

Start here, in the pages of this book. LOVE will lead us on from there.

Christy Berning
The Joy Movement
Profile Image for Kristin Shaw.
9 reviews4 followers
February 14, 2017
From the very first page, this book wrapped me in love. It's not necessarily a book one must read in one sitting; in fact, I'd recommend savoring it slowly, reading a page or two or a chapter at a time. Rachel's the real deal: she walks the talk and owns up to the mistakes and missteps in her life in order to teach others, and her humility and pure heart shines through every word. If you need to be uplifted or feel the power of love in this world, do not hesitate to pick up this book. You'll want to keep it on our nightstand and open it as needed, like medicine for your heart.
Profile Image for Christina.
40 reviews7 followers
July 6, 2018
There were definitely some great takeaways in this book, but overall I felt it was unorganized and somewhat overwhelming.
Profile Image for Lenisa Jones.
159 reviews3 followers
August 29, 2017
So good. Lots of great advice in this too. It's one that I need to buy a copy of to keep at home. It's written so you could read daily if you wanted. Full of great reminders and tips of things to remember to do each day.
Profile Image for Kristi Navarre.
68 reviews18 followers
October 22, 2019
Based solely upon the title, this book sounded right up my alley. It wasn't. It felt brainwashed and had a lot of God references. The author made some good points and asked some valuable questions, but they got lost in the mindless chatter. Love the cover art though. Cute.
Profile Image for Gina.
743 reviews18 followers
July 1, 2017
Just okay- got kinda bored with it.
Profile Image for Sarah.
1,626 reviews68 followers
February 13, 2017
As the author says, "this is not a daily inspiration book; it is a moment-to-moment encouragement book." It is full of wonderful insights and positive thoughts so I am giving it 4 stars, but I've decided that the daily (or moment-to-moment) format is not my style of reading. This is also more poetic in style that I often like. Still, it is a good book!

I received an ARC from NetGalley.
Profile Image for Cindy (BKind2Books).
1,600 reviews35 followers
October 20, 2017
While this was written more for parents raising children, I found that there was plenty that spoke to me, even with no children at home any more. There's lots to say about stopping to appreciate the small gifts and sweet moments in your life - and unplugging from the things that are not bringing you joy. The author divided this into seasons - spring, summer, autumn and winter - with a theme for each season. She purposefully did not give readings for a specific day or month as she felt that that places too much stress on the reader to keep up or to not read or delve into something that not on a 'correct' day. She leaves it up to the reader to go at their own pace (and since this was a library e-loan, I only have for 3 week max before I must turn back in...so yes, I read this through and not piecemeal). It was a lovely, inspirational book and I have many quotes to remember and reflect upon later.

Quotes to remember:

Only Love Today—it’s clarity when you are conflicted...it’s unity when you are divided...it’s relief when you are hurting...it might just be the reset button you’ve been looking for.

Who you are becoming matters more than who you were.

It’s not too late to be the person you want to be.

I vow to be softer toward the imperfect human being inside me and the one beside me.

... there is always, always time for love.

It’s never too late to make changes. It’s never too late to begin again. It’s never too late to choose love.

When I stopped trying to change you, you changed me.

A compassionate response holds saving power—power to save a bond, save a line of communication, save a person’s pride, save a moment, save a day, maybe even save a life.

Today is as good a day as any to begin again.

This journey is not about what happened yesterday; it is about the choices I make today.

Love each other today in such a way that you couldn’t possibly love each other more. Today is your happily ever after.

Who cares if conditions aren’t perfect? There’s a hill to be conquered and joy to be found. I say, don’t wait. Don’t wait to fill that notebook. There’s a story to be written. And it starts with one word. Don’t wait to put on those running shoes. There’s an open pathway to a healthier life, and it starts with one mile. Don’t wait to shed that heavy cloak of self-deprecation. There’s a beautiful you waiting to emerge, and it starts with “I am worthy.” Don’t wait to nurture a precious relationship. There’s a human being waiting to be loved, and it starts with “I’m here now.” Don’t wait to simplify your life. There’s excess needing to be purged, and it starts with the word no. Don’t wait to take a risk. There’s a leap of faith to take, and it starts with the word yes. Don’t wait to live the life you’ve been yearning to live. There’s joy to be found, and it starts today with a single step.

When we see each other’s scars, we love each other more...The life with the nicks, scratches, scars, and imperfections displayed in the window—that’s the life I want to walk into, the life I want to live, the life I want to embrace when I see it in others. When I do, I will celebrate that momentous display of human courage by opening my arms and saying, “Me too.”

When you look in the mirror or at a picture of yourself, perhaps you are quick to judge, critique, and beat down. Today, I ask you to do something different. Today, I ask you to consider. Consider the best possible perspective of your flaws and imperfections. Consider the possibility that you might be the only one who even sees them. Consider the possibility that your story, your personality, or your contribution to the world outshines your flaws and imperfections. Consider the importance of your presence to those around you.

Letting go of “perfect” brings freedom, peace, love, and acceptance to ourselves and to those who follow in our footsteps... When I close my eyes tonight, I will ask myself, Did I show up? If the answer is yes, that is enough. Love doesn’t have to be perfect (or anywhere near it) to be cherished, appreciated, and remembered.

Let me be the messy, genuine, put in the effort, feel it in your bones, come as you are, kind of love. Let me be the Show Up kind of love that is found where it is least expected and when it is most needed. Let me be the mountain-moving type of love that offers hope and makes growth possible. Let me be the kind of love that silences hate talk, breaks down barriers, and cannot be contained by chains or cages. Let me be the unconditional, limitless love that rises with the sun and stretches beyond annoying quirks, bad habits, and human failings. Let me be the wholly accepting love that makes for a soft place to lay one’s head at night—for both the giver and the receiver. Let me be love.

Sometimes all we need to believe in ourselves is one person to believe in us. Sometimes all we need to remember our worth is to have someone point it out. Sometimes just knowing there’s a pair of protective hands around our inner light is all we need to carry on.

Love prevails over failures, flaws, and imperfect days.

It might not be your moment of glory, but there’s glory in the moments... Glory in the fact that you keep showing up, even when it’s hard.

When you see too much darkness ahead, remember love lights the path.

In the face of challenge and uncertainty, sometimes the best thing you can do right now is just hold on.

Today is the day I stop worrying so much about what could happen to our children and instead focus on what they could make happen. They could bring what is needed to the world and fix it up for good.

When you have the most important things in life—love, faith, and family—there is nothing you own that you can’t give away.

I’ve learned I can come to my own defense. I’ve learned I don’t have to sabotage my chance to get back up when I am down... When I find myself in a deep place, down low, I listen to my inner fighter’s words of truth. They act as a life preserver when I’m about to go under: I’m only human, doing the best I can with what I have. I may not have the strength to stand today, but I can hold on. Yes, I can hold on. I might even feel like standing tomorrow or by Sunday. I feel a little more hopeful already.

..lyou just never know when you’ll be in the middle of that redundant message, task, or duty, and suddenly something will happen to let you know this time is different. That song you’ve longed to write appears before you. That patient turns the corner. That kindergartener begins to read. That woman weeps when you hand her a long-awaited letter from a military base. That customer needs that unexpected smile. That grown child says, “Thanks, Mom and Dad. You are the reason I made it through.” Suddenly your life on repeat is someone’s divine sign, someone’s lifesaver, someone’s second chance, someone’s voice of an angel, someone’s silver lining, someone’s hope not lost. As you know, you cannot predict when that day will come. It could be a slow Monday morning. It could be a rainy Friday afternoon when the traffic is really bad. It could be the day that follows a rough night. It could be when you are about to throw in the towel. Yes, it could be that day. So I beg you to carry on. Burp that baby for the nine hundredth time. Shine those windows like a boss. Lift your voice from the back row of the choir for the whole wide world to hear. Write beautiful words until you can write no more. These are the redundant actions of an everyday hero. Today just might be the day your life’s message intersects with a heart longing for what only you can deliver. So please, I beg you, carry on.

Investments of time, presence, courage, and heart are of the most priceless kind. The payoff is often hard to see, and doesn’t always come quickly enough, especially when your burdens are heavy and your eyes are weary.

On the other side of disappointment is desire—desire to create a different outcome next time. On the other side of letdown is belief—belief that your story is far from over. On the other side of pain is strength—strength you didn’t know you had until you had to dig deep to find it. On the other side of hurt is gratitude—gratitude for those who love you and stand by you in your pain. On the other side of despair is connection—connection that comes from recognizing a familiar look of pain in someone else’s eyes and reaching out your hand.

Your lowest point might just be your finest hour.

Transformation does not happen at the end of the trial; it happens in the midst of it. Right now. In the becoming.
5 reviews
February 14, 2017
So inspiring and encouraging! The format is an easy read, divided into sections that let you pick up and read when you are able. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone!!!
2 reviews
February 21, 2017
This book has been such a gift to my soul and also to my relationship with myself, my husband, and my children. As a busy mother of three, I have savored the wonderfully written pieces that are gentle yet powerful reminders to take the time to notice the beautiful things in life while they are still in front of you. I also appreciate the theme of being more gentle with yourself. My new morning routine is to read one of the short entries before I get up and start my day. I find that my mind keeps returning to the beautiful message as my theme for the day and it truly shifts my perspective in a positive manner. Like athletes that stretch before a workout to prevent injuries, I read my morning dose of "Only Love Today" as my way of preventing negativity from entering my life as much as possible.
Profile Image for Kelly.
468 reviews
March 5, 2018
This is the third time I have started this book, and the timing could not have been more perfect this time around. Only Love Today hit the spot after months of being idle, experiencing quite a bit of worry and pain, medical uncertainty, watching my house and list of to-dos pile up, and most of all missing loads of precious time with my kids and husband. This is a book of encouragement, mainly to mothers — probably type A mothers who are list makers and can’t sit still unless they have to, or face a life changing moment, one way or another. It’s repetitive and at first I found it annoying, but from where I am right now I took comfort in these brief reminders being pounded into my brain. I’d like to keep this book handy and try reading a section each day or week and bring little changes to my life through these reminders of what is important.
Profile Image for Amy Schindel.
36 reviews1 follower
March 7, 2017
Such a great book. You can read random sections or read from front to back. Make sure you have a highlighter or pen handy as there are a LOT of parts you will want to mark. You will soon find that Only Love today will replace your sighs of frustration when kids (or coworkers) do something annoying. Only love today will chug away in your heart like the little engine that could, giving your peace and patience in any aspect of your life.
Profile Image for Jenna.
458 reviews
September 6, 2018
Writing style = cringe, but there was a few tidbits that resonated with me.
March 7, 2017
Only Love Today: Reminders to Breathe more, Stress Less, and Choose love by Rachel Macy Stafford is classified as Religious/Inspirational, but it’s really just like picking up the phone and talking to your best girlfriend. Rachel writes with a voice that is down-to-earth honest, hopeful, and encouraging. The book is organized by the seasons in small vignettes, sometimes poems, that can be read a like a Daily Devotional. Being a nature lover and gardener, I love that the book started with Spring as the season itself was beginning. This book can be started at any time of the year, but I just felt like starting this journey of intentionally choosing love each day when the sun was shining more, the earth was thawing, and flowers were blooming was just perfect. I read the book straight through, Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter, but one could skip around, if they prefer. Topics such as New Habits, Growth, Renewal, Authenticity, and Connection are clearly marked. If you felt like you needed clarity on a particular topic, you could easily find what you are looking for, read it, and be inspired.

This book reads like Rachel’s blog, “Hands Free Mama.” The entries are full of depth and insight that leave you with a positive statement about how you can apply it in your own life. As a result of reading this book, I have purposefully slowed down and listened to the people in my life more and I have seen the rewards…the smile on my daughter’s face when I tell her that I do have time to play dolls and I leave the dishes until later, the softening and lightening of the banter between me and my husband now that I choose to stop and acknowledge the things that he does that I am thankful for, and the sweet silly grin on my 3-year-old’s face when I tell him we have to “XOXO Before We Go,” Rachel’s tip to stopping and saying goodbye every time you leave.

Profile Image for LeahBethany.
583 reviews11 followers
December 31, 2018
When I purchased Only Love Today: Reminders to Breathe More, Stress Less, and Choose Love it was for the cover and for the extended title. After a day with my two small sons fraught with frustrations, whining and crying (both me and the boys), I figured I needed all the help I could get to breathe more and stress less. Even though nothing in this book is revelatory, it still was a helpful reminder on what is important in life. I liked that the book isn't meant to be read everyday (though you could do that) but divided into seasons with 37 entries per season. Reading the entries at the beginning of each day made me focus on what does matter - loving my littles ones and my husband, looking into their eyes each day even in the midst of the busyness, giving them a hug and kiss when I'm rushing around trying to get everything done, actually stopping to hear the boys' very-important-to-them rambling story. There were several passages I highlighted in order to remember that efficiency and productivity aren't the end goals; loving others, especially my family, is the most important "thing" to get done.
Profile Image for Dominique Paine.
3 reviews3 followers
February 21, 2017
This book has the power to change the world. We all have to start somewhere and Rachel does a beautiful job of showing you the places to start. Not pushing, but guiding you, like a close friend does. You can read it front to back, you can read it by different seasons, or you can literally just flip the book open and read any passage. 2 or 3 pages a day could change a lot more than you think it can. 2 or 3 pages a day can make you feel better, as if there is less weight on your shoulders, it can change the way you see your loved ones and change the way they see you. I have searched for years for a book like this. I wanted a daily reading that wasn't by date {I can't stay on dates. Some days I read ahead, some days I miss} that wasn't necessarily religious. I do believe in God. But I was looking for something to help restore my faith in humanity, not God. This book has done it. If we all raised our children like Rachel is raising hers, our children would see a far better world than we do. I have a lot of anxiety, this book helps me calm that part of myself. If I feel overwhelmed, or anxious or even angry, I can turn to this book, read a page or two, and I feel better. Like all hope is not lost.

I can't encourage you enough to read this book. It WILL change your life. All you have to do is read it. The book will change you without you having to try much. Rachel's loving and kind words penetrate your heart and soul and you will cry happy tears at the thought that someone else suffers thru what you do or feels the way you do. You are not alone. Only Love Today will show you that.
101 reviews14 followers
May 19, 2017
That More Peaceful Person started with one calm reaction in the midst of chaos.
That More Positive Person started with one silver lining comment in the midst of a downpour.
That More Attentive Person started with one question and a vow to listen, really listen, to the response.
That More Mindful Person started with five undistracted minutes on a sunlit porch...

To you, the weary nurturer who begins each day feeling lost and overwhelmed...
To you, hopeful artist praying for inspiration...

For the sake of your health, happiness and beloved relationships, choose to live the "alive" way.

What would love do?
Love would say I am grateful for another day...
Profile Image for Thara Tenney.
Author 3 books6 followers
October 28, 2019
This book is just what any person on planet earth needs to read when life is a little heavy. I love the authors tone. She inspires you to get back up and to not hate yourself for our daily mess ups. Wouldn't life be 100% better if we all worked on learning to love a little better each day!?
Profile Image for Patricia.
553 reviews1 follower
March 11, 2022
I've read this book over the past year. I often found the readings quite meaningful.
Profile Image for Ada-Marie.
388 reviews6 followers
March 4, 2018
Good as a daily devotional type book. Hard as a manifesto because in real life you really can’t truly always drop everything and be there for yourself and your kids. And that doesn’t help your kids even if you could.
July 7, 2023
Good self help, not too repetitive, gave lots of good reminders. Put things in perspective, especially parenting advice.
45 reviews
April 28, 2019
Great daily reminders--purposeful way to focus on what I DO have control over.
Profile Image for Laura Costea.
Author 1 book12 followers
March 3, 2017
Only Love Today
is like a bouquet
of fresh-picked flowers.
And you inhale them, and you say,
“My heart feels lighter than it did yesterday.”
For the mom hoping to remember the reason behind it all…
For the wife who knows she should let go, but can’t seem to remember how…
For the servant-hearted soul who’s gotten caught up in doing, and wonders how it feels to just be, to enjoy your being…
For the person of deep faith who still wonders, am I good enough?
Only Love Today is a book with practical, simple tips that you can apply today.
Only Love Today is a book with heartfelt anthems of love that can make a difference today.
But there are some things Only Love Today won’t do. This bouquet of short, relatable stories won’t overwhelm you. It won’t make you feel less-than. It won’t leave you wondering, Can I do it?
Only Love Today is a breath of fresh, sweet air in a world full of stresses, messes, and disappointment.
By teacher/author/mother/poet/friend Rachel Stafford, whose beautiful words couldn’t have come at a more perfect time, than today.
2 reviews
February 15, 2017
This book is amazing. I think it will be my go to book for a while. I shared so much of it with my family and friends. I love how it is set up so that you can just pick it up and start reading anywhere. And that it is set up in seasons.
4 reviews
February 21, 2017
I've been so blessed to have received an advance copy of #OnlyLoveToday to read and review. This is an amazing book, and I don't use that word lightly. Rachel Macy Stafford's beautiful words pulled me in on day one, and every day I love this book even more. I just pre-ordered six more copies and keep telling everyone I know - RUN, do not walk, to order this book ASAP! It truly is a life changer, as it has that rare quality to speak to the heart of anyone and everyone. A huge bonus is the format, as it reads like a collection of vignettes that can be devoured in short time periods and will have the reader shouting, "Yes! Just what I needed to hear today!" The passages are meant to be underlined, highlighted, shared, and reread many times. I can't recommend this book more highly.
1 review
February 21, 2017
I've followed Rachel's blog for years, and read her other books, which really spoke to the heart of my overachieving, type-A nature. Only Love Today is another gentle reminder of the many reasons why we can only love others well when we remember to offer forgiveness and grace to ourselves simultaneously. While it's written from the perspective of parenthood in many ways, it's also a helpful read for anyone who wants to learn how to not be so hard on themselves or to be aware of the many moments of life that we miss when we're busy being busy. I love the reminders to notice the small things in gratitude. And the reminders of how simple things in life can bring us the most joy and satisfaction of spirit. I want people to remember me as caring, nurturing and human. This book is another way I'm working on those attributes. (That just made me sound overachieving again, didn't it? LOL)
3 reviews1 follower
February 22, 2017
I am a new fan of Rachel's work after stumbling across her other books. This book speaks a message that resonates with me. Only Love Today can mean something different for everyone, but for me it helps bring into focus how I want to interact with my kids and husband. It is such an important message. Rachel covers a variety of topics in this book, and the format of this book allows you to get a quick daily dose of encouragement. This book is for anyone that wants to learn how to better love themselves and those they care about.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 192 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.