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There are really a handful of books that I've read in my life that really have shaped the person I've become, or have truly made an indescribable impact on me (and please pardon my incessant use of ellipsis, 4 years of English courses in college did nothing to stamp that out): the Harry Potter series...Knockemstiff by Donald Ray Pollack....Wasted by Marya Hornbacher...The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (see previous staff pick)...and now this book.
Stafford's book came to me at a time when I was feeling overwhelmed and overburdened by not only the excess of technology and social media in my life (and our society), but by the sheer amount of stuff and to-do's that I felt were important. More important than really living in the present moment, apparently. I have been on a journey towards a more minimalist, simplistic lifestyle for quite some time, but even so, it's so easy to fall back into old habits...like scrolling through Instagram/Facebook/Tumblr/Pinterest/insert your chosen social media drug here "just for a minute" and then getting lost in the black hole that they are, and not paying attention to the world around you.
Upon picking up Stafford's book, I soaked everything up like a sponge. She makes taking on the lifestyle of being "hands free" seem so much more manageable, and, which I find important, she is kind in the way she goes about it - meaning no scolding or making the reader feel terrible about something. She breaks down each chapter into personal stories in her journey, and each story includes weekly intentions; each chapter concludes a reflection and reflection questions. Since taking the plunge to truly strive towards a hands free lifestyle, I have deactivated my Facebook account, put away my iPad, traded in my iPhone for a slider keyboard phone to use only for calling and texting, and have made a deliberate choice to live without the internet at our new apartment. As a side note, I think it's funny (in a sad way) that these actions are considered radical....when did that happen?
I thought a lot about this. When I was in high school, after I finished homework, what did I do? How did I spend my waiting time in doctor's offices/auto places/etc.? I read, or I had conversations with the people around me. Since undertaking this challenge, I have become much more aware of when people are glued to their phones or laptops or whatever connected device they can't live without.
The biggest motivation for picking up Stafford's book and dedicating myself to living differently in my little boy, Malcolm. We just celebrated his 1-year birthday, and it's really hitting me just how quickly everything is going. I want to be present and experience as much as I can, and be there for him as much as I can. Stafford mentions that a blog reader of hers commented that "being responsible for someone's childhood is a big deal. We not only create our own memories, but we create our child's memories" (57). Such a sobering realization. Such a life-changing realization.
I can see myself re-reading this book every couple of years, if not more in between, or just thumbing through to find specific passages when I need them most. I truly cannot reccommend this book enough.
— From Antoinette's Corner
Discover the power, joy, and love of living a present, authentic, and intentional life despite a world full of distractions.
If technology is the new addiction, then multitasking is the new marching order. We check our email while cooking dinner, send a text while bathing the kids, and spend more time looking into electronic screens than into the eyes of our loved ones. With our never-ending to-do lists and jam-packed schedules, it's no wonder we're distracted.
But this isn't the way it has to be.
Special education teacher, New York Times bestselling author, and mother Rachel Macy Stafford says enough is enough. Tired of losing track of what matters most in life, Rachel began practicing simple strategies that enabled her to momentarily let go of largely meaningless distractions and engage in meaningful soul-to-soul connections.
Finding balance doesn't mean giving up all technology forever. And it doesn't mean forgoing our jobs and responsibilities. What it does mean is seizing the little moments that life offers us to engage in real and meaningful interaction. In these pages, Rachel guides you through how to:
- Acknowledge the cost of your distraction
- Make purposeful connection with your family
- Give your kids the gift of your undivided attention
- Silence your inner critic
- Let go of the guilt from past mistakes
- And move forward with compassion and gratefulness
So join Rachel and go hands-free. Discover what happens when you choose to open your heart--and your hands--to the possibilities of each God-given moment.