I first saw the opportunity to be a part of the launch team for this book a few weeks ago. I thought about it for a day or so. Could I do a good job with the review? Would I be able to relate to the book and its message even though I’ve finished raising my kids? I’m a subscriber to her blog because I like the way she relates to people with her words, but reviewing a whole book…I wasn’t sure. I’m happy to report the answer to all my questions was YES! This book is worth reading by everyone even if you’re a young adult who isn’t married and doesn’t have kids or a middle-aged mom or dad who’s done raising their kids. It’s worthy to be read by all of us. So, without further adieu, here is my review of Live, Love, Now.
The book is divided into three parts. The first part is entitled “Be a Truth-Teller, Not a Taskmaster”. Mrs. Stafford talks about when her children were younger and how she came to the realization that there were things about herself she needed to change in order to create a new reality for herself and her family. She was vulnerable in a way I could relate to. Vulnerability is not encouraged in any way, shape, or form in our society, but I was able to breathe when I read her words, an ongoing theme throughout the whole book. She also talked about how to reframe negative qualities with positive ones, the first two of which were acceptance and belonging. Finally, at the end of each chapter, of which there are two in each part, there are questions the reader can ask of themselves and the young people in their lives whether they be their own children or others they know in various ways. I believe these questions are the most valuable part of the book because they can help the reader do a self-assessment.
The second part was entitled “Be an Encourager, Not an Enforcer”. When I read both of the chapters in this part, I was taken back to my childhood and to my sons’ childhood. When I had children, I made a conscious effort to step back from how I was raised. I did many of the things she talked about automatically but still struggled with what my brain was telling me to do. Sometimes, I look at how independent my sons are and wonder why we were so successful in raising them when I didn’t feel successful.
But, I read through the last part of the book, and this was what drew everything together for me. Because I grew up thinking, and still think at times, that I am not enough. I worry about how people perceive me, and I don’t think I’ve ever come to a complete acceptance of who I am, warts and all. As I think about being resilient and worthy, a word comes to mind. Believe. Belief in myself. Then, I come to two quotes from the book that cement the work I am trying to do on myself now, as a writer and as a person. The first is from an essay Mrs. Stafford’s daughter wrote which is included on the final pages of this book.
“Open windows. Dare to ask hard questions. Dare to respond in your truth. (Bold text mine.) Dare to step out in courage. Dare to reach farther than you ever thought you could.” (pg. 255, Live, Love, Now, Natalie Stafford)
The second quote is on pg. 215.
“Is there anything more important than using one’s gifts to touch another person’s life?” (pg. 215, Live, Love, Now, Rachel Macy Stafford)
I cried. This has been my goal for this blog. I have nowhere near achieved the success of Mrs. Stafford, but she and her words have touched my life in a way I can barely explain. I am so grateful. My own version of success. It doesn’t have to meet anyone else’s, and I am thankful.
I recommend this book wholeheartedly, and I hope you receive as much benefit from reading it as I did.
(An electronic copy of this book was provided for me to read and review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)