Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A Hands Free Life is Here

"A life with more love, peace, and presence is possible..."

Three years ago, I stood in the middle of my closet, the Tshirts and shorts and everything else I had been hanging on to were ankle deep. As I waded through the mess, the clothes clung to me like Jacob Marley's chains.

I looked around, on the edge of tears, chastising myself for letting things get so out of control. The temptation to shove everything back behind the door and continue ignoring the piles for another ten years called to me like a sweet love song. But I had to make changes. I was tired of the mountains of things around me, fatigued from always running from one duty to the next, exhausted from doing everything but what I felt in my heart was the most important: to enjoy my life and the people in it.

My days were frenetic activity, the hours growing shorter and the years left with my children flying past me so fast that I couldn't keep up with tearing the months' pages off the calendar. I wanted off this highway, and to take the slower side road instead—the one with the surprise of a fruit stand or a long forgotten picnic table spotted under the shade of a Weeping Willow. But things felt too deep for me to even think there was the possibility of a new way to live. Where would I start?

In 2012, I discovered Rachel Macy Stafford online. Her blog, Hands Free Mama, has held my hand and reminded me that no matter how overwhelmed I feel today, I can bring myself peace with rest, direction, and a new chance tomorrow. I can make mistakes and start over--hyper speed isn't the way life has to be lived, there is an alternative.

Today, I am celebrating the release of Rachel Macy Stafford's book, Hands Free Life.

-It's for anyone who has gone to bed at night, feeling the weight of failure.
-It's for all of us who begin our day already feeling defeated.
-If you are the way I am, then you know what I mean when I say that disappointment in ourselves hurts far more than from anyone else.
-If you set expectations for yourself that you'd never set for others.
-If you're harder on yourself than you would be to a friend.

How do we cope in a life filled with distraction, too many possessions, diminished days, and ever increasing needs pulling at us? As Rachel asks, "How do we let go and grasp what really matters?" Much like that day in my closet, how do I choose that which brings me closer to what I will use in my daily life to keep myself and those around me, in more peace and less stress.

Rachel holds the inescapable light of introspection before us. Yes, it does hurt to hear our honest answers to searing questions of how we use our time, but this is how we tackle the distraction of too many Tshirts and find the path out of the bursting closet. With one cleared step at a time, with just enough clarity to stay the course, she shares what she has learned in life and how we can use her 9 habits for living better and loving more. The all important question you'll ask yourself: Is how we spend our time reflective of what we value?

I say that Rachel walks with us rather than leads us, because hers is the shoulder we feel alongside our own, her arm in ours is the friend carrying us through. Her insights are our strength as she confides her own missteps and errors. Rachel leans in and encourages us to forgive ourselves and to see who we are with compassion. We often forget we are fallible humans--the challenge is to reclaim our lives, and not strive to get the most done at the cost of our time on earth.

Hands Free Life has the capacity to do that. I want that for you. I believe in this book so much that I am giving away a copy today. PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT TO BE ENTERED FOR A CHANCE TO WIN HANDS FREE LIFE by Rachel Macy Stafford.

And when you learn to love more, there is no person that will thrive and blossom more fully under this condition when loved upon by you, than you.

“Perhaps your home has become a dismal place where no one wants to be. Perhaps you’re tired of waking up dreading the work that’s ahead—and it has nothing to do with your job. Perhaps you are searching for a way to bring the smile back to your face, the joy back to your heart. Perhaps managing your people isn’t working so well and you’d like to try nurturing them."

Rachel Macy Stafford is a New York Times bestselling author and a certified special education teacher with a Master’s Degree in education. A few years ago, this life-long writer felt compelled to share her journey to let go of distraction and grasp what really matters by creating what became the tremendously popular blog “Hands Free Mama.” Using her skills as a writer, teacher, and encourager, Rachel provides readers with simple, non-intimidating, and motivating methods to let go of distraction and connect with their loves ones. Rachel lives in South with her husband and two children who inspire her daily. www.handsfreemama.com
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  1. So True! I need to read Rachel's blogs. Thank you for sharing this with us Alexandra.

  2. Hope it takes it in baby steps for me !

  3. This spoke to my heart. "Perhaps managing your people isn’t working so well and you’d like to try nurturing them." I'm working on changing our morning routine so there is more fun and joy, less me as the drill sergeant barking orders.

  4. Oh my friend. This is so heartfelt, so beautifully expressed. I am deeply touched that you find this level of value and strength in my words. Reading this review makes me feel like I did when my second grader teacher bent down and said, "You are a writer, Rachel. Keep writing."

    Alexandra, you have placed a little crown on my head and affirmed my writer's heart. Your contribution to my journey has been significant. I know for certain that God placed you in my path as one of my great encouragers along this journey. I am so blessed by you. And that Amazon review … I just sent it to my entire publishing team. This line right here, brought me to my knees:

    "It's never too late to do life with more love."

  5. This sounds wonderful. I'd love to read it.

  6. I need this book.

  7. I need this book.

  8. I need this book.

  9. I've just recently discovered the Hands Free Revolution and I really think she is on to something. There is so much of everything - we all feel the need to be bigger, faster, MORE. We have a huge fear of missing out. So we tap into all the technology and all the social media. The irony is we're missing out on what matters most. I would love to read Rachel's book and share it with my family.

  10. I've seen lots of posts about this book and instead of tuning it out (which honestly happens when there's so much at once) each post makes me want to read it MORE!

  11. Rachel does a wonderful job guiding you to a life well lived. Her words are such a blessing and encouragement. Her honesty and transparency are refreshing! This book is a must have!

  12. Wow - i think i stumbled upon this book at just the right time. I am trying so hard to tune out the outside and tune into my inside and my children, i just need a real helping hand and i think this book may be it!! Would love to read it - each review i see (and all of Rachel Macy Stafford's writing i read) makes me want to read it even more.



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