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Rachel Macy Stafford


(Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford is currently #23 on the Christian Booksellers Top 50 List for August)

  Five years ago I was in what I considered the best years of my life. A solid marriage to my college love, two beautiful, content young daughters–a work-at-home mom who beautifully juggled graduate school classes, family responsibilities, and volunteer activities for my church, community, and my daughters’ schools. I was constantly asked, “How do you do it? How do it all?” It was definitely a compliment in today’s productivity equals success, pressure-filled world. Yet, something began to gnaw at me. I was busier than I had ever been, but was I happy? Wasn’t I supposed to be enjoying this time with my children?
  This increasingly uncomfortable feeling led me to think hard about the question that had once given me a tremendous source of pride. “How DO I do it all?” It was difficult to acknowledge the heartbreaking answer that I could no longer ignore in my head, let alone commit to paper.
  Well, I miss out. And it got worse. I miss out on life. And since I was being totally honest with myself, I acknowledged the cold hard truth: I miss out on what REALLY matters in life. And here is the part that caused teardrops to dampen the front of my shirt just like it does in a rainstorm: What I miss, I won’t ever get back. How’s that for a wake up call?
  From that breakthrough, breakdown moment, I began seeing my phone in a new light. I saw laundry, dishes, the constant need to keep things perfectly organized in a whole new way. I began seeing requests to serve on committees and chair events with brand new eyes.  I realized that the ability to respond within seconds to an email message and multi-task three things at once was maybe not such a great thing after all.
  Finally after years and years of over-commitment and meaningless information overload, I began to see those things for what they were: Daily Distractions. And with much regret, I realized I’d been holding on to “distractions” tighter than I had been to my own family, my own health, my own happiness–my own “things that matter.”
  Tragically, my children had gone right along with my overscheduled, distracted life–not knowing they were missing the heart, the focus, and the company of their mom. They had no idea they were being given the leftovers, the worthless scraps of their stretched-too-thin mother.
  But it didn’t have to be this way. Hence, the power of living “Hands Free.”

  In the same vein as a distracted driver uses hands free equipment to maintain focus on driving, I decided to go “Hands Free” on life. For the past four years, I have practiced in some way, every single day, to let go of “daily distraction” and place my focus on someone or something meaningful. The results have been profound.
  In fact, for the first time in my life, I don’t feel like I am constantly trying to catch up. I don’t feel anxious or stressed. I am more patient, more spontaneous, and more connected with my family than I have ever been. I am witnessing and experiencing the simple, joyful things around me that I was too distracted to notice before. I am now free to grasp what really matters. And because this experience has been too good not to share, I am sharing my journey as a Hands Free Mama with you.  
  Notice I say journey. A compulsive Type A, massive to-do list writin’ planner extraordinaire does not change overnight. I still have some “letting go” to do. But I am trying, and that counts for something. In fact, I would say that counts for something that matters.
  This is for anyone who wants to re-think how he or she is living (or not living) life. It’s for anyone who wants to let go of daily distraction and perfection to embrace what really matters.  I hope you will join me as I capture my journey as a Hands Free Mama in photos and words. Come on … take my hand. After being tied up for so long, it’s finally free.

  Hello. I’m Rachel. To know me is to know my personal list of what really matters

  * My daughters matter. My oldest daughter is 10. Her face is perfection; I could stare at it for hours. I love the way her eyes move to the side when we are talking in her bed at night, and she is thinking deeply and compassionately, the way that only she does. My youngest daughter is 7. Her smile covers her entire face and is a pure reflection of what lies within her heart. She is my living reminder that being joyful is a choice.

  * My husband matters. He provides me with the grace and love that I freely give others, but often neglect to give myself. His love constantly reminds me of the beauty inside me.  I am certain that his love has added an extra ten years to my life.

  * Writing matters. My second grade teacher, Ms. Paluska, led me into the world of writing and it has been home to me ever since. Writing for others is my joy. My favorite gift to give someone is a note or a poem that highlights the best qualities about that person. I am humbled (and touched) when someone tells me they have saved every note that I have ever written them.

  * Teaching matters. Before I was a mom, I was a teacher to special education students. I can still remember all their names and wish I could see how each one turned out. I love sharing information in creative and inspiring ways to those who want to receive it.

  * Encouraging others matters, probably because so many people have encouraged me in my life. I remember the name of every person who encouraged me to publish my works so that as many people as possible could read my words.

  * Recognizing angels matters. I strive to notice the angels that come into my life when I need them, and then later telling them about it. Every single day, I want to be somebody’s angel.

  * Faith matters. I have faith that there is plan for my life. In this case, I believe that God chose me to have a revelation about how I want to spend my days here on this earth.  And it is because of my faith that I understand why God chose me. I was chosen to tell this story because of what really matters to me. Being a mother, a wife, a writer, a teacher, and an encourager has prepared me to show others how to let go of their own daily distractions and grasp what really matters.  Maybe through this blog, I can even become somebody’s angel.

  Which brings me to my last and most recent item that really matters to me…

  * Being Hands Free matters.  Before, I was holding on to the wrong things and missing out on life.  Finally, I am holding on to what matters, and it has given my life new meaning. Come on and join me; grasp what really matters to you and then start living.

 

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#23
RACHEL MACY STAFFORD

"Hands Free Mama:
A Guide to Putting
Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters!
"
(Last Month Not
Ranked in the Top 50)


Retail Price: $15.99
CBD Price: $9.49
You Save $6.50
(Save 41%)

Are you tired of losing track of what matters most in life amidst technology, busyness, and unrealistic social pressures? Macy Stafford is, and in 2010 she began practicing simple strategies that enabled her to let go of daily distractions and re-establish meaningful connection. Here she shares the steps she used - so you can go hands-free, too!
_________________

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