Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Features

February 21, 2014

Best seller written by former Batesville teacher

Rachel Macy Stafford has written a New York Times best selling book.

“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!,” published by Zondervan Jan. 7, landed at No. 8 on the newspaper’s Advice, How-to and Miscellaneous List Jan. 26 and was still ranked No. 13 a week later.

“Making the ... list has been incredibly exciting,” she reports by e-mail. “My family and I all cried happy tears together, knowing this exposure would help the hands free message spread to even more people. However, I didn’t do anything special to celebrate except feel incredibly grateful for this unexpected blessing.”

The full-time author and public speaker, who now lives in Alabama with her husband and their two girls, 7 and 10, is becoming known for her frank advice. Stafford’s writings have been featured in USA Today, Reader’s Digest, The Huffington Post, TIME.com and MSN.com.

Last weekend she was in San Francisco as a presenter at the University of California’s Wisdom 2.0 conference, chatting about “The Mindful Parent: Lessons in not Hurrying” and was also part of a panel of experts that discussed “Conscious Parenting.”

When asked if she is cured from the frantic life she used to lead, Stafford answers, “Although I have made significant progress toward a more present and gratitude-filled life, I am faced with choices every moment of every day on how I spend my time and energy. Daily distractions and societal pressures will always be ready and willing to sabotage my time and my relationships. Living hands free requires constant daily effort and continual honesty, but the payoff is a closer relationship with the people you love.”

Define hands free: Living hands free means making a conscious decision to temporarily push aside daily distractions and give your undivided attention to someone or something meaningful in your life. But it doesn’t mean giving up technology altogether, and it does not mean ignoring your job responsibilities, volunteer obligations or home duties. Instead, living hands free allows you to experience the joy that comes from being fully engaged with others.

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