From Distraction to Connection: You Need to Read with Rachel Macy Stafford (Plus an Only Love Today Book Giveaway!)

How do you resist the addictive pull of phone notifications to be present to the people around you? How do you shift from distraction to connection?

How do you find the courage to be yourself when your judgmental inner voice tells you that you have to be perfect?

How do you make peace with your past mistakes and enjoy your life here and now?

You Need to Read Video Interview series

Welcome to the second edition of our new video interview series, You Need to Read. Today, we’re discussing these powerful questions with author and speaker Rachel Macy Stafford!

Rachel is the New York Times bestselling author of Hands Free Mama, Hands Free Life, and most recently, Only Love Today. She is a certified special education teacher and she blogs at Hands Free Mama, writing about letting go to grasp what really matters.

Press play below to watch the interview, or watch From Distraction to Connection on Youtube.

From Distraction to Connection

In this interview, Rachel and I covered …

  • How to begin a “hands free” journey from distraction to connection
  • Taking small, manageable steps toward the life you want
  • The power of designating protected, distraction-free times and spaces
  • How to reframe mistakes and appreciate the lessons they have to teach
  • The magic that happens when you stop saying “Hurry up”
  • One way to shut down your inner critic and shift to positive self-talk
  • The key to getting past insecurity and fear so you can share your work

From distraction to connection

Sound Bytes from Rachel’s Interview:

“I was very tied to my phone, to my to-do list, I was very set on being a perfectionist. Everything had to be done 110% …. [But] if I had been looking at my phone the way I used to – anytime it buzzed – I wouldn’t have had that special moment with [my daughter].”

“What does this mean, the fact that my child is afraid of my reaction to her innocent mistake? And so I thought, ‘Something is really wrong here. This is not who I want to be. This is not how I want to be remembered.’

So I began to pray about the situation, because I thought, ‘I have become very critical of her.’ And through prayer time I realized, I spoke to myself that way … I was criticizing myself all the time and saying, ‘No, that’s not good enough,’ and it was spilling out onto [my daughter.]”

“Only Love Today … there are no other options. It’s only love. It is not about perfection. It is not about meeting a certain standard or a certain goal, or looking like this person or comparing yourself to that person. ‘Only love, Rachel,’ that’s what God was trying to tell me.”

“If you look at things through a lens of love, you are going to have answers that you wouldn’t have if you looked through a lens of perfection, or society’s standards, or someone else’s opinion.”

“I try to use my mistakes as stepping stones to the person I want to become.”

Only Love Today

Win a free copy of Rachel’s new book, Only Love Today! Here’s how to enter:

Step 1: Subscribe to A Wish Come Clear’s email list. (If you’re already subscribed, move on to step 2!)

Step 2: Leave a comment on this post. (Social media shares are always appreciated, but not required.)

I’ll select the winner randomly on Wednesday, March 29th at noon Central Time. Good luck to all!

Update: The giveaway is now closed; congratulations to Lori and Carla, the winners of our random drawing!


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24 thoughts on “From Distraction to Connection: You Need to Read with Rachel Macy Stafford (Plus an Only Love Today Book Giveaway!)

  1. The key for me is this: we are in control of our technological devices (distractions); they don’t control us. Therefore , we set our parameters/boundaries. There’s a big propensity towards becoming ‘addicted’ to them and becoming mindless as we attach ourselves to them with an umbilical cord. The documentary ‘Screenagers’ is a very important film for all to see. We’re losing a lot of connection, empathy, communication skills because of all our ‘advanced’ technology. What will be with this next generation if we don’t demand certain standards of human beings?? Like it needs to be more important to talk to the people we’re with at dinner in a restaurant than look down and connect with our ‘friends’ in virtual land. Scary stuff!!

    • That’s such a good point, Harriet! We have the agency to decide the role our devices play in our lives. Sometimes putting down the phone or computer means swimming against the current, but the benefits you mentioned – increased connection, empathy, and communication skills – make it well worth the effort.

      PS – After watching this interview with Rachel, a close friend of mine shared that she put away her phone during her evening routine with her young child, and said she felt so much calmer as a result. Change is possible! 🙂

  2. Julianne says:

    I am reading Hands Free Mama and am so excited about this new book!! This has been a huge journey for me to be less distracted and present with those I love. To be softer and not so harsh. I read the Vow to Soften online and it brought me to tears! I can’t wait to read it!

    • Julianne, I hear you! It is a journey indeed, and I’m so glad that Rachel’s work has helped you to show up and soften as well. Thank you for commenting; hope to hear more about the changes you’re making.

    • You’re most welcome, Charis! I have a copy of Only Love Today on my bedside table, and just reading a little bit each night has made a positive difference for me. Happy reading! 🙂

  3. Morag Renfro says:

    That concept of the transfer of how you talk to yourself is how you talk to your kids is a powerful one to reflect on.

  4. Thanks so much for the chance to WIN, I’m a great granny wishing someone would of told me your words when i was young but hope it not to late to change…………….

  5. Carla says:

    I don’t know if any of you are familiar with a parenting program called Positive Parenting Program (triple P if you’ve heard of it) but I am just about finished with my councillor on this program. This is not my first step and by no means our last either. I have just begun on a life long journey of changing my parenting methods, strategies, etc. I have quite often in the last few weeks said that I truly wish that I could just fast-forward a few years to when I have already implimented these strategies and not have to go through the very hard work of changing and just reap the rewards of all my hard work and put the past in the past……but alas I cannot. So I am constantly on the lookout for material to help make our journey a bit less painful and more joyful. I fell upon this website a few days ago and it looks like a lot of the resources here are right up my alley! HERE’S TO POSITIVE CHANGE!!!!!

    Incidentally, I TRULY urge you all to look into another book that I have found incredibly helpful as well called “The Family Virtues Guide: Simple Ways to Bring Out the Best in Our Children and Ourselves” by Linda Kavelin Popov. It is filed with 52 different virtues that I am trying to incorporate into our weekly “family gatherings” (think family meeting) and I believe will be part of my family arsenal for many years to come! (Sorry!! I’m not trying to hijack your thread! Not in the least! I believe that us as your blog followers can take in parts of MANY different resources (yours included) available to us to gather whatever it is that we are trying to piece together for our individual families!!!!!)

    • Carla, thank you so much for your thoughtful comment and resource recommendations too! Appreciate you taking the time and sharing from your own learning experience. I salute you!

  6. Lori Anderson says:

    I have been hearing about this book recently and appreciate the opportunity to listen to this interview with the author. It was inspiring and I’ve already written down a few quotes! Thank you!

      • Lori Anderson says:

        One of the things that stood out for me was when she said that mistakes can be points of growth. Which tied in so nicely with your story of the Native Americans deliberately putting mistakes in their work. Permission to be imperfect is powerful.

        • I couldn’t agree more! A close friend actually just pointed to that section of the interview as a stand-out moment, and it’s great to hear that it resonated with you as well.

  7. Donna says:

    Super positive interview, and it really makes me want to read Rachel”s books! Thanks for having the inspiration to do this series, and then following through on it.
    I especially liked that Rachel includes the word “today” in Only Love Today- that fresh start frees from old responses.

    • Thank you, that’s encouraging to hear! And yes, that focus on here, now, and today is so helpful for those of us who are prone to past or future-tripping, which is to say, everyone. 😉

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