Archive for 'books'

Hands Free Life

This fall just about all of my decisions have been made in the name of ease and balance. From morning routines to after-school activities to evening plans and homework and classes, all are filtered first through the lens of ease and balance. Not that we always achieve this ease and balance but always it is in our scope so that when we are NOT there we seem to know it quickly and we at least know that it is indeed a goal.

hands freeBecause of this lens I found myself with a bit of time this weekend to FINALLY dive into Rachel Macy Stafford‘s new book, Hands Free Life; 9 Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better & Loving More. Right from the introduction I was convinced that this is one of those books that changes lives, “With a Hands Free view, you have the power to rise above the distractions of the world and see a clear path to what matters most.” Less distractions? Clear paths? Yes please. And this book offers practical tips for ways to get there now.

The message of Stafford’s book is so simple and so profound at the same time. It is written in such a way that even if reading a whole book is not in your future, it is easy to pick up and randomly choose a section or chapter to peruse. With chapters like, See What is Good, Establish Boundaries, Surrender Control and more, you can see that in these pages are lessons for all of us to create more of what we want so that we can find more balance , more presence and more heart connection with ourselves, with our families and with our communities too.

If reading a whole chapter is STILL too much for you to ponder, worry not. Throughout the book there are little “clouds” called HANDS FREE LIFE DAILY DECLARATIONs which are little nuggets to help the reader create daily habits. Things like, “Today I will seek two empty-handed moments…” “Today I will view the messy trails in my home as sacred evidence that living, loving, creating, and growing are going on here…” Even if ALL YOU DID was go through and read these little bits? You’d still get an amazing amount of loving, emotional, powerful and powerful information that truly offers a new lens on what we want, what’s important and what doesn’t matter a smidge.

I don’t do a lot of book reviews or recommendations, but this book so closely aligns with the goals of Slow Family Living and really offers ways to get where we all want to be, more connected, more satisfied, and more in love with our families.

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Look At Us Now

The making of a book is a super long process. It’s not all years of work rather it’s a few months here and a couple of weeks there and a few more weeks and tweaks and then a few months of processing and discussing and a bit of waiting and then, OH YEAH! I’VE GOT A BOOK COMING OUT!!! There’s a lot of people involved along the way and a lot of prep and a lot of planning too before a book becomes a book.

My new book still has a ways to go before hitting the shelves and will be out in Spring of 2016. In the meantime, here’s a little sneak peak at a sweet sampler created by my publisher, Perigee Publishing

look at us now sampler image

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Recently I did a 30 minute radio segment with Bonnie Compton of WholeHearted Parenting. The subject of our segment was Creating Family Connection Through Creativity. It’s a subject that has come up for me quite a bit lately – a topic that I originally hit upon in my Future Craft Collective Days working alongside the fun and talented Kathie Sever (now of Ft Lonesome fame which you should totally check out!) Kathie and I created a lot of really fun projects during those years encouraging families to sit down and Make Stuff Together, encouraging kids to find ways to re-use and upcycle and create their own unique style. Heck we even wrote a book about it!

I’m happy to be on this topic again for it is one that is near and dear to my heart – this idea of creating, making, crafting, upcycling, and finding connection through the entire process. If you have 30 minutes to listen in, I encourage you to do so. Bonnie and I hit on some really good points and, perhaps most importantly, we had a really fun time with the process. Which is, really, what it’s all about. No matter what we’re working on.

So, check out our past Future Craft Collective Projects now on Craftzine. Peruse Make Stuff Together for some creative ideas for your family. (FYI, It’s REALLY cheap now used!) Check out Kathie’s current line of artistry at Ft. Lonesome. And have a listen in on my conversation with Bonnie. I guarantee that by the time you’re through, you’ll be MORE than ready to work on some creativity of your own.

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Hands Free Mama

A couple of weeks ago I received an advanced reader’s copy of Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford. The tagline below the title reads: A guide to putting down the phone, burning the to-do list, and letting go of perfection to grasp what really matters. Needless to say I was immediately intrigued!

In the book, which came out January 7th, Rachel starts with the story of her own journey; how she went from being completely pre-occupied and distracted with her family to making a conscious decision to do less in order to connect more. She even wrote a Hands Free Pledge to serve as a reminder of why she was making this decision and to serve also as a tool for staying connected to her goal of slowing down NOW instead of using the ubiquitous “someday.”

Upon further reading what I found were super helpful ideas, reflections, inspirations and musings on slowing down, connecting more and understanding simple ways to do-over when you forget what you really want out of family life. Laid out like a beautiful series of meditations without being the slightest bit pompous, this book serves as a way to contemplate where you’ve been, where you are now and where you want to be. Like my own book, (hear that? Oh? What is it? It’s the sound of me tooting my own horn!) it offers ideas from the super practical to the more contemplative. It offers ideas for setting intentions about how you want things to go, and beautiful metaphors for living the connected family life we all know and want.

This book isn’t suggesting you quit your job and go live on a mountain with your family, but it certainly offers some practical ideas for getting to that very feeling, even when you might be sitting in the middle of traffic.

It’s a feeling. And it’s one we all benefit from.

You can find the book at the usual places, and I highly recommend you do.



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Want to win a copy of my new book? Get on over to Live Mom and read the interview she did with me and enter to win one of 2 free copies. I loved her questions! And I am loving the fact that she’s got two copies to share!



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This write up from Carrie Contey, PhD, my co-founder in this endeavor,  is a beautiful capture of what I hope to offer the world with this book of mine…

Our goal was not to tell people how to do family life in a slow way. No no, that’s not what it was about at all. Rather, we wanted to inspire families to make it their very own.

You can read more on her site… 

And if you’re in Austin Thursday night, don’t forget to come down to BookPeople at 7pm to say hello. And maybe have a delicious cup of Austin’s own Live Oak beer.

Let the Book Tour begin!

Check out  this beautiful review from Suz Lipman author of Fed Up With Frenzy and creator of Slow Family Online

You will get a lot of ideas from Slow Family Living, both big-picture and everyday, that will make you pause and reflect, and will help you lead a more connected and joyful family life…read more

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It’s a book!

And it’s born! Today! After a very long, and fun, and (sometimes) overwhelming gestation my book is here!!!  This week I’ll be taking the book on a very widespread virtual book tour via blogs scattered across the country. I’ll be posting here all week to various Q and As and reviews and excerpts and maybe a few giveaways too! And later today I’ll be announcing the winner of the 5 Brain,Child subscriptions that Brain,Child so generously donated to the cause.

I did an interview this past weekend with Maria of MomTalk radio which you can hear here…

Tuesday night, March 5th, if you’re in Austin, come join me at St. Andrews Church in north Austin for  a discussion about Slow Family and how you can make it really work in your home to give you the connection you all seek.

And don’t forget Thursday night! Big party at Austin’s BookPeople to kick it off in a big, big way!

Connect with us on Facebook too because there are lots of fun things coming up – interviews, reviews and more!

If you see me this week, I’m definitely looking for congratulations.

(Forgive my preponderance of exclamation points this week!!! I’m beyond excited!!!)


Launch Day!

With just a few hours until launch, the reviews are already starting to trickle in…

Oh Bern. This is beautiful. Really fantastic. I think everyone will find something in here that will be useful.” Liz Noll, mother of the author, Fort Myers, FL

“This book is fantastic! How did you get so wise? Where did you come up with all these ideas for building family connection?” Lois Bastian (friend of Liz Noll)

And as I get ready to launch this baby out into the world, it is my extreme hope and belief that this book holds  ideas and inspiration for all families to find ways to slow down, connect and create more joy in family life – both now while your children are home, and down the road when your children are grown.

And if you send me an email before midnight tonight with the subject “I PRE-ORDERED!” you can be entered to win one of five year long subscriptions to Brain,Child Magazine. One of my favorite magazines of all time.

And stay tuned for exciting blog posts and reviews from a whole list of amazing blogs and websites!



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If you follow me at all on any social media, you’ve most likely heard by now, my book is coming out soon! (!!!!!!) And I’m pretty darn excited. Longer than the gestation of a human being, this book has been in the works for many months.  And now, with less than one month to go, the countdown has officially begun.

So, for the next 3 weeks, from today until the release date on March 5th, Slow Family Living has paired up with Brain,Child Magazine and we are offering some fabulous prizes. If you pre-order a copy of my book, Slow Family Living; 75 ways to slow down, connect and create more joy,  from any source at all, (or if you’ve already pre-ordered it) be it Austin’s own BookPeople, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Powell’s or the bookstore of your liking, you’ll be entered into a drawing to receive one of five  free one-year subscription to Brain, Child Magazine.

Simply send me an email to Slowfamilybook at G Mail with the subject: I PRE-ORDERED and I’ll put your name in for a chance to win.


Either way you win with a great read!

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