Book Review: Hands Free Life

September 3, 2015


Hands Free Life
Rachel Macy Stafford
215 pages
ARC through NetGalley

From the Publisher:
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.

If you read my family blog, of my old Reading Spot blog, then you might know that I read Rachel’s first book, Hands Free Mama, last year as one of my 100 books.  I didn’t not like it, but I didn’t love it either.  Honestly, the book made me feel a tad bit guilty.  I really struggled with it. I think a lot of moms are like me and struggle with being hands free. Some of the ideas and concepts in the book seemed so far fetched for me, being mom to five is a lot different than a mom to two.  Honestly, too, it’s a hard habit to break. 

Back to this book – when I saw that Rachel was coming out with a second book I knew I would want to read it, regardless of my so-so take on her first book.  I am SO glad that I took the time to read through this second book.  It was so much more helpful and surprising to me.  I found myself highlighting and marking so many passages.  I love blogging.  I love finding and making new friends through blogs and Facebook groups, but I think there has to be something said for making in real life connections.  And really making time for these relationships because they are SO important.  Sometimes it just means slowing down and listening and noticing things.  This book really made me think about that in my daily life.  I am not a person who notices what people look like (I actually plan on talking about that more next week) but I am a person who will remember and know how you made me feel.  This book reminded me that this truly is important.

I also found the chapter about online use and social media so helpful.  My kids are entering this stage and we are learning together. It’s so hard to avoid screen time – they need computers and internet for homework even at the youngest grades, it’s almost essential for the way that we live.  I don’t think we can avoid it…and I don’t think avoidance is the answer either.  I need do be better at talking to them about what is out there, what you can see, online bullying, and teaching them how to manage their own screen time.

I’ve decided that what might be important to our family and to us might not look important to someone else, and that is okay. Looking back, I wonder if that might be some of the reason that I had a hard time with the first book.  I was trying to do what she suggested worked for her family. I need to stop and take the time that we need, which might look different than what someone else needs or does, and remember that at the end of the day, what works for us, works – and that is all that matters!

I am glad I took the second chance with Rachel and read through this book.  I love the reminder, I think we all need it from time to time, to “stop and smell the roses”.  

received an advanced copy of this book from Net Galley, and it is set to be released next week! You can pre-order it on amazon.  You can also follow Rachel’s blog (a favorite of mine) which is found here.

Final Score:

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