Perhaps you've never known how happy someone could be simply to see you. — Rachel Macy Stafford
. . .
Over the last few weeks, I've been slowly reading Rachel Macy Stafford's new book Only Love Today -- Reminders to Breathe More, Stress Less, and Choose Love. I admit, I'm a huge fan of the blog Hands-Free Mama, all of Rachel's titles on my shelf, but this latest book is my absolute favorite (I've already ordered two copies for friends).
Only Love Today is broken down into bite-size chunks, and each daily reading encourages a new habit that revolves around love. Each section starts with a beautifully written short story or poem and ends with an assignment.
One recommended task -- collecting hellos -- has had an enormous impact.
This assignment from Only Love Today has changed our family:
When I greet my loved ones with happiness, excitement, interest, and love, the message I am sending is: You are loved. Today I've decided that showing my family I'm happy to see them is important to me . . . No matter what I am in the middle of, no matter how inconvenient it is to look up, no matter how busy I think I am, when my loved ones walk into the room or return after a separation, my world is going to stop for a moment so love from me can shine in their eyes and heart. -- Only Love Today, Rachel Macy Stafford
The minute I read this, I knew it was something I'd been failing to do well with my kids and my husband, Shad. What is so inspiring about Only Love Today is that Rachel encourages simple, actionable items that we can implement with our families immediately. She also reminds us all:
Today matters more than yesterday. Who you are becoming matters more than who you were.
So I walked out the door of my house, ready to make a simple change.
My little lady is in middle school and when she walks home from school each day we meet half-way. On this particular afternoon, I plastered on a huge smile (despite the cloudy sky), did a little jig when we made eye contact, yelled a warm hello when she was in earshot, and then finally gave her a big hug when we met. What happened next took me by surprise.
In a strange and confused tone, she asked, "Why are you so happy?"
I laughed and told her, "I'm happy to see you."
She stared at me for a moment; then her eyes lit up. She smiled sheepishly and replied with a simple, "Oh."
I explained to her that I'd been doing a poor job of letting her know how happy I am to see her after school. That after a long day at work, it was the highlight of my afternoon. That moving forward, I was going to make sure she (and everyone in our family) knows how happy I am to see them moving forward.
Whether "your baby" is four, fourteen or forty, here's our universal truth...
Nothing on a screen or my to-do list can compare to the sight of my child's face coming towards me.
Lately, I've watched both of my tween girls make "collecting hellos" their assignment, too. When my husband comes home from work at the end of the day, the girls intentionally stop whatever they're doing to show their love and greet him. It is heartwarming to watch. The joy is reciprocal.
Heads-up: I am pretty sure this simple "collecting hellos" assignment is marriage gold. Don't forget to let your partner know you're happy to see em too. This simple action is powerful.
I have been trying very hard not to skip forward and rush through the entire book too fast. The impact of this assignment of Only Love Today (collecting hellos) was inspiring; I had to share. If you pick up a copy on Amazon or at your local bookstore, let me know in the comments or on Facebook. I'd love to hear what you think of the book.
Becoming UnBusy goes beyond freeing up time in your family schedule. You can move toward an UnBusy Life by being present within everyday moments. When we focus on our families and love, the chaos of the world seems to disappear.
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The quotes above are from Only Love Today -- Reminders to Breathe More, Stress Less, and Choose Love, by Rachel Macy Stafford, © 2017 by Rachel Macy Stafford. Published by Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI. www.zondervan.com
Hands Free Mama
Well, you sure know how to make a gal cry! Goodness, this was stunning, Zina. You took my words, absorbed them, thought about how you could apply them, and then you did ... and the result was beautiful! I cannot tell you what a gift this feels like to me. I greatly respect you for the work you do and the person you are. To know I helped bring this loving connection into your family's life is everything. I cannot wait to share this with my community! WOW!