Thursday, October 29, 2015

Life Goals: Hands Free Life

 I just finished the book 

Hands Free Life: 9 Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better & Loving More 
by Rachel Macy Stafford
*I was gifted this book in exchange for an honest review of it and it was on my must read list so I was THRILLED to be able to review it.

and it was such a great read!  
I love, love, loved it.  I don't usually give book reviews their own post, but this book deserved it's own space.  

I took notes throughout the whole book, found myself smiling, giggling and crying as I read along with Rachel's stories.  My entire book is marked up and highlighted so that I wouldn't forget the important messages she was driving home about connecting with your kids and being present with your family.  

It's so easy to get caught up in to do lists, tasks and go non-stop these days, but all of that really causes you to miss out on living a great life.  Her words about a perfectionism really spoke to me and helped me to see that perfection wasn't something to strive for.  Connections and meaningful moments were much better things to focus my efforts on.  She talks about the importance of handwritten notes as lifelines to those you love.  Y'all know I'm a huge fan of handwritten notes so this affirmed their importance in my life.  I finishing the book knowing that I wasn't going to let another day go by without grasping the meaningful moments with my family.

I loved how Rachel addresses setting boundaries with work, home routines and obligations.  Figuring out what is best for your family and sticking to that plan.  It really made me think about how connected I always am and made me rethink times when it's best to focus on connecting with my family over being connected with others.  This book has helped me set boundaries for my time on-line, for my family time, outside commitments and helped me reevaluate the role of my phone in my life.  I'm guilty of checking my phone instead of playing puzzles with my daughter or checking my phone instead of having a conversation with my husband.  I cringe at the thought of Olive growing up seeing me so connected to my phone.  Smart phones are a part of life these days, but they are not the best part, the highlight or the joy givers.  Those things come from real relationships and you've got to invest in those you love.

A few of my favorite take aways from the book:
You have the power to evaluate your daily choices to ensure you are investing in a life that matters to you.  Page 15

Although we've been led to believe that our fondest memories are made in the grand occasion of life, in reality, they happen when we pause in the ordinary, mundane moments of a busy day. Page 27

It's never too late.  Today is a new day.  The journey is not about yesterday.  It is about today and the critical choices you make today.  Page 48

Without fail, my dad would smile as if hearing about my day was the best part of his day.  When I spoke my dad was there - all there.  Having a parent who listens creates a child who believes he or she has a voice that matters in this world.  Page 69

It's good enough for today.  Page 99

 I strive to see the blessings over the inconveniences.  Page 108

We are all just waiting for someone to notice - notice our pain, notice our scars, notice our fear, notice our joy, notice our triumphs, notice our courage.  Page 123

Today I will be the Giver of Second Changes, the Giver of Hugs, the Giver of Grace not just for those in my path but also for myself.  And something tells me that my day will be better because of it.  Page 199

I think all men and women would really benefit from reading Hands Free Life.  I am tucking my copy away on my bookshelf and plan to reread it again and again.

My husband and I were just talking about how we'd both like to be more present and not waste our lives scrolling through the endless information on our phones.  I shared the important points from this book with him and I'd love for him to read it one day.  We both felt the need to make some changes in our daily interactions and agreed this was an area that we could both practice and get better at.  
We both agreed that we'd love to make these our top priorities:
*Look our family members in the eyes when they are talking to us
*Investing our time and efforts into finding a church family for our family to connect with other people, to get involved with and to be a part of.
*Not waste time on our phones when we could be doing an activity together.  Save busy work for after Olive goes to bed if possible.
*Make time to play.  Remember or rediscover our hobbies that we love and choose to do those in our spare time rather than wasting time.
*Focus on our family time together and make the most of it
*Say lots of I love yous
*Really enjoy our kids and be fully present with them while they live at home with us.  Life flies by and in no time we'll be sending them off on their own.  We want to make sure we snuggled them, loved them, laughed and played with them as much as possible. 

So rush out and get your copy of Hands Free Life today, you won't regret it!!

I'm also enjoying following along with Rachel's blog and inspiring posts over at


  1. Thanks for the post! I love page 15!!! I just recently made a big life change as I was investing in something with no value...thanks for the reminder why I did it!
    I am off to buy that book today!
    I am following you and you can follow me back at Annster's Domain is you want!
    Have a great rest of your week!

  2. This is great, Whitney. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  3. This looks fantastic. I'm touched just reading the pull out quotes you chose. Will be looking this up, thanks for sharing!

  4. This sounds like SUCH a great book. I hate how attached I can be to my phone sometimes - we try so hard to put them away at 8pm, but it really can be a challenge. So sad! Sounds like you guys are on the right track though!

  5. I totally love this book already just from hearing about it. Such a life I need to strive for.

  6. I really need to read this book. My books-I-want-to-read is huge!

    You should check out the book "Radical" by David Platt. It really affected my life.

    Lindsey M. (Who has given up trying to log in) :)

  7. I love your takeaways from this book. Paul and I pretty much "unplugged" while we were on vacation, and it was really good for me to see that I can survive without seeing every post on social media every day! I'm hoping to keep better tabs on my phone scrolling and enjoy the present a little more.

  8. I need to read this book.... I might just put it on my Christmas list.

  9. I love this and have to read the book now. I really try to make Olivia time just me and her. Between work, daycare, cleaning, cooking, etc. there is so little time for just us. But then I stress BC the house is a mess, we've eaten out three nights in a row, and I've loved every minute of the little things she says and does but didn't capture any of them (writing down, picture, or video). Every day I think about how quickly she will grow up and no longer want me as much as she does now. Sounds like I need to read this book!


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