Hands Free Life: Nine Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better, and Loving More
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Hands Free Life: Nine Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better, and Loving More

Zondervan / 2015 / Paperback

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Product Description

In Hands Free Life, author and popular blogger Rachel Macy Stafford (the Hands Free Mama) reveals the daily habits and practices that can help us all to live more fulfilled lives and protect our relationships with those we love. Parents, singles, women, and men-everyone needs the sanity and peace of a hands-free life.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 256
Vendor: Zondervan
Publication Date: 2015
Dimensions: 8.38 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0310338158
ISBN-13: 9780310338154

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Publisher's Description

We all yearn to look back to find we lived a life of significance. But is it even possible anymore? Considering the amount of distraction and pressure that exists in society today, living a fulfilling life may seem like an unachievable dream. But it is not—not with the nine habits outlined in this book.

New York Times bestselling author and widely known blogger, Rachel Macy Stafford, reveals nine habits that help you focus on investing in the most significant parts of your life. As your hands, heart, and eyes become open, you will experience a new sense of urgency—an urgency to live, love, dream, connect, create, forgive, and flourish despite the distractions of our culture. By following each daily Hands Free Declaration, you will be inspired to adopt mindful daily practices and new thought-processes that will help you:

•         Make meaningful, lasting human connections despite the busyness of everyday life.

•         Live in the now despite that inner nudge pushing you out of the moment toward perfection and productivity.

•         Protect your most sacred relationships, as well as your values, beliefs, health, and happiness, despite the latent dangers of technology and social media.

•         Pursue the passions of your heart without sacrificing your job or your daily responsibilities.

•         Evaluate your daily choices to insure you are investing in a life that matters to you.

With a Hands Free Life perspective, you will have the power to look back and see you didn’t just manage life, you actually lived it—and lived it well.

Author Bio

 

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.

 

Editorial Reviews

Our society’s definition of success---in which success is defined just in terms of money and power---isn’t working. With a mix of powerful storytelling and practical tools, Hands Free Life offers the inspiration and the daily actions to live our lives with more grace, more joy, more gratitude, and more love.
Rachel does it again! As I read Hands Free Life, I felt my pulse slow, my lungs fill, and my anxiety lessen. Rachel’s writing is a Reset button. Her advice is practical, and her message is clear, gentle, and true: Less stress! Less distraction! MORE LOVE! Thanks, Rachel, for reminding us what matters: our people.
Hands Free Life is the perfect combination of advice and anecdote. Stafford’s personal stories are engaging and enchanting, while her daily declarations serve as their punctuation; reminders that we need to pause and let go of the chaos, ensuring our hands are free to embrace the grace in parenting’s small moments.
Rachel has written a beautiful and profoundly wise book, one that heightens our own joy of life and enables our children to fully thrive.
Hands Free Life came to me right when I needed it most. Essentially a road map for intentional living, Rachel’s approach, stories, and message are making a difference in my life by teaching me to grasp hold of what really matters.
I was hooked from the first story. Rachel’s writing is like a bear hug from a loving parent---warm, reassuring, full of joy, and a strong reminder of love and security. This book will speak to every loving parent’s heart with wisdom and insight that is sure to strengthen every family.
I want to give this book to every parent I know. Rachel Macy Stafford’s gentle spirit and insightful wisdom leaves readers encouraged, inspired, and challenged to cultivate more intentional, present lives. I am a better mother because of Hands Free Life.
In the midst of countless daily reminders to hurry up and catch up, does it ever feel like all you do is mess up? The message of Hands Free Life reads like a gift and a second chance. If you long to linger in your own life but aren’t sure where to start, let Rachel Macy Stafford show you how. Her gentle words will cast a hopeful vision for your family, with practical tools to help you create the margin you long for and the relief your soul needs.
Just a couple of chapters into Hands Free Life, I learned not to sit down with the book unless I had a box of tissues at the ready. Rachel’s truthful style of storytelling brought me to grateful tears again and again, redirecting my gaze me back to the beauty found in my everyday, regular ordinary … and reminding me that perfectionism is not a prerequisite for a hands free journey. Such a freeing message!
At last---a book about changing habits that didn’t leave me overwhelmed and doubtful, but rather excited and hopeful! Rachel Macy Stafford’s gentle tone, personal reflections, and easy-to-embrace habits inspired and encouraged me, so much so that I found myself instantly---and naturally---incorporating her insights and ideas into my day. Hands Free Life is simply a must-read if you want to be lovingly guided toward filling your days with more meaningful and enjoyable moments.
In today’s distraction-filled culture, it’s tempting to fill our days with “busy-ness” to feel like we’re accomplishing something, while the reality is we’re just moving farther and farther from the kind of authentic life we want to create. Rachel Macy Stafford’s new book, Hands Free Life is the antidote to the hamster wheel! With compassion and empathy, this “been there, done that” mother teaches readers how to build an authentic and satisfying life that matters.
With a refreshing focus on less pressure, more love, Hands Free Life beckons us to a life that cherishes the individuality of each family member and the transformative power of presence. This book is about less pressure, more love; less comparison, more perspective; less distraction, and more life!
In this intensely insightful book, Rachel teaches parents how to engage with their children as they truly deserve: with heart, presence, and grace. Hands Free Life will inspire you to grow with your children and reach depths of your being like never before. Its words will allow you to discover your highest potential as a parent and thereby bestow your children with an inestimable gift: your engaged being.
Hands Free Life is such an important book! One of biggest challenges most of us face in today’s digitally connected, fast-paced world is how to disengage from technology and connect to the things and people that matter most. Rachel Macy Stafford’s powerful and down-to-earth advice helps us live with more presence, awareness, and perspective.
This book expresses what an amazing time we can have within the family dynamic when we learn to let go of the excessive demands we find ourselves in. It allows us to become aware of the way we self-talk about our parenting while promoting how to live life to its fullest in harmony. Rachel has so eloquently shared what it takes to “keep track of life” and how it impacts our relationships with those we love.
Hands Free Life is a heartwarming book by a talented writer who lifts you up with inspiration and plants your feet squarely on the ground, ready to focus on what really matters.
If you need a clear-minded and clear-hearted guide to a more fulfilling life, this is it. Again, author Rachel Macy Stafford provides us with actionable and meaningful ways to love well, live fully, and leave a legacy we can be proud of.
Rachel’s wise words inspired me to be a more connected, more present parent, and for that I’m so thankful. I’ll be handing this out left and right to the people in my life.
It took one day. I only could allow one day to read Hands Free Life. I was busy being a dad, a husband, and a cancer patient. I knew I was distracted, but there was a purpose. I was on a mission, and I acknowledged my limited time. As I settled in to read Rachel’s words, my heart stayed in my throat the entire journey. She gets it. She knows we’re distracted, and it’s not just the number of screens we have in our lives. It’s our incredibly complex, crazy, and somewhat out-of-control lives. Rachel Macy Stafford will help you reconnect and build strong relationships. Even if you make a moderate amount of effort, your family will thank you for strengthening your relationships! Once again, I owe Rachel a big thank-you for bringing relationships and family to the forefront of everyone’s mind.
Reading Hands Free Life spoke to me at a deep, heart level. It challenged me to stop hurrying through life, quit worrying about what other people think, and start savoring the ordinary, everyday moments. I smiled through some parts, cried through others, and came away with fresh resolve to make each day count---not in more efficient productivity, but in more meaningful relationships. Highly, highly recommended!
Rachel’s words beautifully remind us of the little things---and the big things that make a LIFE. A happier, healthier, more fulfilled life. In Hands Free Life, we are gently but firmly guided to unplug from our 24/7 world and to passionately pursue the connectivity that is so vital to our children, partners, families, friends---and ourselves. Pick it up today---and I promise: you won’t want to put it down.
Can I simply say: Read this beautiful book. It will feed your soul, free your spirit, and fill your heart. Hands Free Life is an irresistible wake-up call for all of us who wish to parent more thoughtfully, love more generously, and live more joyously.
With her unique blend of transparent storytelling and thoughtful insight, Rachel Macy Stafford reminds us again why hers is one of the most important voices of our generation.

Product Reviews

4.8 Stars Out Of 5
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4.4 out Of 5
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  1. Michele Morin
    Warren, Maine
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Remarkable Things Spoken
    November 18, 2015
    Michele Morin
    Warren, Maine
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5


    With a huge garden, an apple tree that produced two pies this fall, and a rainbow of full canning jars in my basement, it is quite possible that my life approximates Rachel Macy Staffords day dreams in the Home Depot outdoor garden section.

    Or could it be that my brand of rural chaos demonstrates that her book, Hands Free Life, is helpful for anyone in any context who wants to begin noticing what is truly remarkable? Its for the woman who believes that life is best lived with open hands, open eyes, and an open heart, but nonetheless, struggles to embrace the sacred pauses; fails to stoop down and marvel at the color of a ripe tomato; and forgets to make time for looking straight into the eyes of a wild Morin boy before he explodes out the door into the woods in search of squirrels and adventure.

    In a glorious follow-up to Hands Free Mama, Rachel, a former special-education teacher and mother of two, sets forth nine habits for overcoming distraction, living better, and loving more. Four mournful words from Rachels husband changed her trajectory:

    Youre never happy anymore.

    Busy-ness, fretting over inconsequential details, and the ceaseless striving for perfection and productivity had stolen her joy and had led to a lifestyle of distraction and impatience.

    Each of the nine chapters of Hands Free Life is a parfait of Rachels family life layered with principles that emerge in which she trumpets the breath-taking virtue of keeping track of life cultivating a focus on what truly matters through the implementation of mindful strategies that curb distraction and perfectionism, of principles that promote balance:

    Leave a legacy by grasping simple joys.

    Fill the spaces by seeking two fully available moments each day.

    Take the pressure off by accepting a less than perfect day.

    Hands Free Life is an invitation to join Rachel in the joyful discovery that a life well-lived [begins] with a minute, an hour, a single day well-lived. As Annie Dillard so wisely observed:

    How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.

    Shall we begin filling our days and our hearts with the things that are remarkable so that when we open our mouths to speak, we will have words of consequence to say?

    This book was provided by Zondervan through the BookLookBloggers program in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
  2. Simply Emmy
    Bacolod City, Philippines
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Keeping Track of Life
    November 8, 2015
    Simply Emmy
    Bacolod City, Philippines
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    You know the feeling of picking up a book haphazardly and read the pages reluctantly, but then you come across a statement, or maybe a phrase, or simply a quote and then you decide to read on this time with eagerness? This book did that to me.

    I say this book got me at Introduction. When I read keeping track of life in the pages of Staffords introduction, I decided that this book cannot be simply ignored. I am not a honey to someone or a Mama to a child, but I believe that this book applies not only to parents, mothers or fathers, but to everyone who have been carried away by the currents of todays modern world represented by what seems to be a never-ending activity list for both home, work and personal life.

    The to-dos will never go away, I believe this to be true. But a life well-lived may pass us by if we dont pause and change our perspective. Its so easy to be overwhelmed with everything that is happening today, but pausing right in our tracks and assessing what or who matters to us will help us gain perspective.

    This book is a reality check. A heart check. Youll be changed when you read it. And if you arent, I know that itll disturb you.
  3. Bekah
    Buffalo, NY
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Probably 5 Stars If I Were a Mom (Limited Audience)
    November 1, 2015
    Bekah
    Buffalo, NY
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 3
    SUMMARY: This book outlines nine helpful ways to, as I was seeking to do, put down the phone and pay attention more to what is going on around you. I appreciated this timely reminder in a world centered around going more, multitasking, and going, going, going. I could identify with the author's, at times perfectionistic attitude as well as her desire to live life on purpose and the joy that comes in choosing that intentionality over perfection. Here were the nine key concepts presented in the book:

    Fill the Spaces

    Surrender Control

    Build a Foundation

    Take the Pressure Off

    See What Is Good

    Give What Matters

    Establish Boundaries

    Leave a Legacy

    Change Someone's Story

    In each of the chapters about these habits, Stafford uses personal experiences from her life to outline simple ways to be less distracted and experience more of the things that matter most.

    MY THOUGHTS ON THE BOOK: I have to admit that if I hadn't committed to finish and review it (and had some spare time on vacation), I might have given up on this book in the second or third chapter. This is not because it is not a good book with great insights, it is. However, despite advertising about how this book can be life-changing for men, women, parents, and singles, I would say that 90% of the content all related to her being a mom. It made me wonder inference actually is between this book and her first, Hands Free Mama. All that being said, I am thankful at I did have a reason to finish the book. As I stepped back and looked at the broader concepts of the book, I found each of the concepts really are applicable to all ages (even kids), stages, genders and more.

    WOULD I RECOMMEND IT TO OTHERS: I would say that if you're a parent who often feels overwhelmed with trying to balance all the demands of life with intentionally loving your children (pretty sure I just gave the definition of 'parent') I think it's safe to say that you would identify well with this author and find freedom in the midst of that balancing act. For any non-parents, I would say that if you're willing to put in a little extra effort to figure out non-parenting applications, then this read is definitely worth your time. I will also add that the book is filled with various poems and "declarations" related to the concepts which support the content well but do break it up a bit. So if that's not your thing, then maybe just check out some of her blog posts to get the general ideas.

    OVERALL RATING: 3.5

    (Scale: 1-"I Couldn't finish"; 3-"Eh, I've read better"; 5-"Contending for a Top 10 This Year")



    I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
  4. Jen Pen
    Midwest
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Effortless to read, easy to absorb...excellent!
    October 7, 2015
    Jen Pen
    Midwest
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 4
    SUMMARY:

    Life is busy, hectic, overwhelming, over-scheduled and downright hard sometimes. Add to that self- pressure, perfectionism, lack of forgiveness and the need to control, and it spells disaster. Way too easy to get caught-up in the traffic of life, blogger, author and coach, Rachel Stafford, explores avenues to get out of the fast lane and live in, as well as for, the present. Taking the time to change perspectives, attitudes and actions, Hand Free Life strategizes with 9 steps to encourage happiness through leaving a legacy, changing someones story, seeing the good, taking the pressure off and setting boundaries.

    A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:

    Thinking this book was mainly about disconnecting from technology, I was very pleasantly surprised to learn it was more about changing a lifestyle. Effortless to read, easy to absorb, interesting to follow and exciting to try, I could connect with this book on several levels. I especially found the sections of changing someones life and leaving a legacy to be influential. Absolutely a book I will re-read in snippets, precisely when I need reminders or encouragement. I am officially joining the Hands Free Life!

    RATING:

    4.5 (out of 5) pennies

    *I received a complimentary copy of Hand Free Life from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*
  5. bookwomanjoan
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    An inspiration to live for what really matters
    September 28, 2015
    bookwomanjoan
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Are you keeping track of life or is it whizzing by too fast for you to even notice? Are you living life or managing it?

    Stafford came to the point of committing to keeping track of life. She made a conscious decision to focus on what really matters, even when the insignificant or the distracting tried to derail her. She realized she wanted to be at peace with who she was and how she was living. She wanted to know she was on her path to true fulfillment.

    She wants each of us to experience that same kind of fulfilling life. She has marked out nine intentional actions to help us grasp what really matters in life. Here are a few of them.

    One action she suggests in her Creating Lasting Connections section is filling the spaces. She suggests looking for opportunities to focus undivided attention on what really matters, such as watching your children while they eat breakfast. There are scores of opportunities each day to focus, even if for a few seconds, on what is important. In the Living For Today section, she suggests seeing what is good. Look for the good in the situation, in the people, in the events happening. This is a change of focus from being critical to really seeking out the blessings before you. In Protecting What Matters, she suggests leave a legacy. Be an example of a life well lived to your kids and those around you.

    That's just three of the nine intentional actions she has mapped out for a hands free life. She has filled the book with touching stories illustrating the principles and giving us great examples of how they work. She includes affirmations to encourage and help establish new thought processes and then an inspiring meditation.

    She admits she doesn't always get it right. Readers won't feel like they are trying to follow a perfect example. We are all a work in process.

    Stafford found that the most important things in life are not measured but are felt through the hands, heart, and soul of each life we touch. I recommend this book to all who want to live freely and love fully. You will be inspired.

    Food for thought: Make it a practice to seek out at least one simple joy in an ordinary day.

    I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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