Consider Being Softer: It’s the Gift They’ve Always Wanted

soften #HFM

“You don’t have to go looking for love when it’s where you come from.” -Werner Erhard

During a nightly walk, my younger daughter told me she wanted to visit a nursing home like we did before we moved. “There’s just something about old people,” she explained. “It makes me sad sometimes when I see them. I just want to cheer them up.”

“Okay,” I said, both pleased and surprised to learn this about her. “Let’s plan on it. And as soon as we get home, I want to show you something.”

After Avery got into her pajamas, we gathered in her bed and I pulled up this video. I’d watched it more times than I care to admit. In this touching German commercial, an elderly father fakes his death in order to get his busy children and grandchildren to come see him for the holidays. The way the man’s sullen face transforms to elation when given the gift of time and presence makes me weep.

I thought I was alone in this emotional reaction to mere commercial—but it turns out, I wasn’t.

When it got to the part where the man comes around the corner revealing he is alive, my child began to cry. She covered her face. “I can’t stand it. It makes me sad and happy, Mama,” she whimpered.

“Me too,” I said. “I feel the same way.”

Avery leaned her head against me like two kindred souls who knew it was okay to be soft together … to be open to the pain and joy of others … to cry if you are moved.

I gave her that gift; I thought to myself. And suddenly a long-held cloak of shame lifted—the one that labeled me a terrible gift giver. It stemmed from an experience at age eight when I hurriedly stuffed a flimsy ten-dollar bill in a plain envelope for my sister’s Christmas gift. On Christmas morning the money was accidentally discarded with the crumpled wrapping paper. My family searched and searched but couldn’t find it. My sister seemed so sad that Christmas morning, but it wasn’t about the money. I knew she would be smiling had I put a little thought and effort into her gift that year—had I not been so selfish. Putting my needs and my agenda ahead of everyone else’s was an on-going problem of mine, and it could not be ignored whenever birthdays and holidays rolled around. What in the world will I give? I’d wracked my brain knowing what was required to give a meaningful gift was often more than I was willing to give.

Until this year.

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The Power of ‘Just One’

“Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.” --Mother Teresa

“Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.” –Mother Teresa

For the past five years, I’ve helped organize a community event where kids learn a simple way to bring hope to children in poverty-stricken situations. Through a PowerPoint presentation, kids are able to see how a simple shoebox filled with items like pencils, toothbrushes, and plush toys can bring joy to needy children. Although they were very small when I started this tradition, my daughters have always been eager to help. I hoped that someday one of them would come to me and say they wanted to step off the sidelines and stand in front.

And I really hoped it would be this year.

When I dreamed of publishing a book, I had no clue what it would entail. Sadly, I realized my current writing and promotional obligations would prevent me from creating this year’s PowerPoint presentation and script. With high hopes, I went to my tech-savvy ten-year-old, Natalie. After all, she holds a mini summer school for neighborhood children in our family room every summer—I thought for sure she would say yes to my proposition.

“No way,” Natalie said adamantly when asked if she would do the shoebox event presentation. “That would be WAY too embarrassing to stand up there in front of all those people,” she argued sounding a little too much like a feisty teenager.

“But you know all those kids .. and you know how to pack a shoebox … and you are great at making PowerPoints,” I argued persuasively.

She paused, and then shut me down completely. “Sorry, Mom.”

I was heartbroken. What could I do? I decided I would put the problem out of my mind for a few days and maybe Plan B would present itself.

A few days later Natalie came to me. “Okay, I will do the presentation, but my best friend is going to do it with me,” she assertively informed me.

Three weeks later, my daughter and her friend captivated children ranging from age four to twelve-years-old. They’d worked hard on putting together a powerful slideshow with unforgettable stories and photos.

The girls thought to ask questions and engage the children in the discussion. After showing them photos of barely clad, hungry, crying children Natalie asked, “Why do you think we are telling you these sad stories?”

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Home Is Where The Hands Are

A friend I hadn't seen in over 20 years held my hand and healed my heart.

If you are new to the Hands Free journey, I will take a minute to catch you up to speed.

And it will only take a minute because when I say, “A tornado of catastrophic proportions pummeled my state on April 27th,” I don’t have to say much more.

In the days since April 27th, I have been blessed to share my story, the story of incredible survivors, and the story of healing hands. These posts, written under the Hands Free category of There Is A Reason, are some of my most popular posts to date.

It is not necessary to have witnessed or survived a tornado to gain from these messages.

You can gain from them if you simply have the desire to make the most out of the one life you have to live.

The lessons I have received from the tornado and its courageous survivors have been many; they have been powerful; and they continue to come.

But the lesson that stands out in my mind above all the rest is this: The things that matter most in life are not things.

And this message was brought home to me (literally) two weeks ago. Perhaps you were part of it, as so many of you were.

This is OUR story…

I recently traveled north to the state in which I lived most of my life. It is a place that holds special memories for me. I was educated from kindergarten to master’s degree in this state, got married in this state, and even held my first teaching job in this state.

To see the familiar sights and landscapes of my growing years always brings me comfort. Yet, it is the people I love and who love me in return that make it home.

And on this particular trip, I felt an urgency to see the people who are my “home.”

As I drove north from Alabama toward my home state, the words of so many tornado survivors played through my mind.

Standing amidst a mountainous heap of rubble that was once their beloved home, the survivors all spoke the same message: “We are alive! Thank God, we are blessed to be alive.”

They had nothing in their possession except the clothes on their backs, yet they still had their lives and the lives of those they loved. In that respect, they felt as if they still had everything.

I, myself, feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the fact that my family and our home were spared. And I do not want to waste a day. Therefore, my trip back home was an opportunity for me to grasp what matters. I wanted to hug the people who had loved me as an awkward 8th grader, stood by me as an emotional high schooler, and befriended me as a scared first-year teacher.

In the span of six days, I was able to connect with fifteen of those special life-long friends.

It didn’t matter if I last saw my friend one year ago or twenty-two years ago, I was overcome with an indescribable feeling.

I can only come up with two words: Healing Hands.

(You may recall that I used the term “Healing Hands” when I wrote about the incredible response of my neighborhood in the days immediately following the tornado.)

And now I knew what it felt like to be touched directly by healing hands.

One evening during my visit, I was surrounded by a group of extraordinary women when one friend asked, “Can you tell us about the tornado and the people you have been helping?”

I could not stop the tears.

Before I could tell my beautiful friends about the painful loss that so many were experiencing, I first had to tell them how much I loved each one of them and how the tornado had solidified their tremendous meaning in my life.

I knew with certainty that if my house had been one of the thousands of homes that were dismantled down to their studs, I would still have the love and support of these women.

The most important things in life aren’t things.

When it was time to say good bye to each one of my “home” friends, I found myself hugging a little tighter and holding a little longer than I did in previous years. I even found myself getting in a few extra embraces. I didn’t realize why I did that until I wrote a note of thanks to everyone who had made efforts to see me.

I wrote:

There is something powerfully healing about the love of friends who have known you forever. I am so grateful for my friends who have made tremendous efforts the past few days to spend time with me and bring peace to my heart. I’m taking all the love you bestowed on me back to Alabama.

I suddenly realized that with each embrace, I was collecting. I had been gathering every ounce of love, hope, support and faith so that I could take all these beautiful gifts back to the people of my hurting state.

And while I was sheltered for six days in the loving company of my friends and family, destruction, despair, and devastation were alive and well in Alabama.

Inexplicable loss was waiting for me as I crossed the state line into Alabama.

Along the side of the road were men and women working diligently in 100 degree heat to clear enormous trees haphazardly placed along the side of the highway like a child’s toy Lincoln logs.

The size of the piles of debris they had already compiled seemed to dwarf them as if they were merely tiny specks standing next to a mountain of rubble.

My daughters’ sorrowful voices arose from the back seat, “The tornado, Mama…The tornado.”

Sights such as this do not require whole sentences.

Monstrosities such as this need no details.

I could not respond, for I knew my voice would fail me.

As I looked out to see the visible loss, I couldn’t help but think about the invisible loss, the loss that now scars hearts, dreams, souls and spirits.

How will they ever recover?

And then I remembered the way the healing hands had touched me. And it made me think of The List. The list that I had been collecting since April 27th and had yet to share. I knew it was time to share it.

Whether this list brings you hope or inspiration, there is a reason you find yourself here today.

The Angel Impact on Alabama’s Tornado Survivors:

You (and twelve different healing hands from Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Alabama) provided beautiful clothes and toys to a family who lost their home and car and are still looking for a place to live.

You mailed a pink and blue bible to two beautiful children who tell people, “My Mama went to Heaven,” but still ask their Grandma if their mother will be at church today.

You shopped for new clothes for a little boy whose mother had died protecting him in the tornado.

You took time off work so you could remove trees from people’s cherished homes.

You took time off work to comfort those who were in despair.

You took time off work to dig through the rubble of someone’s precious belongings while she cried by your side.

You recovered a family’s beloved dog buried for days under the destruction that somehow miraculously alive.

You asked your child’s preschool to collect school supplies for 400 school children in Alabama who lost not only their school, but also their homes.

You and your son unselfishly laid aside your own battle with cancer to donate and ask others to donate to those who are hurting.

You told all your friends and family about a family in need and collected a television, coffee maker, clothing, and an abundant supply of gift cards for a family who lost everything; you even offered to drive 800 miles to deliver it personally.

You didn’t even have shoes on your feet, but you dug through the rubble until you recovered someone’s beloved ring that once belonged to her grandmother and now is her symbol of hope.

You designed exquisite handmade cards entitled “Shells For Change” with proceeds of the sale going directly to families impacted by the tornado.

You sent your own daughter’s clothing even though she has yet to outgrow it because a little girl needed it more than she did.

You rallied your entire school and created 20 huge boxes of school supplies to a town that was literally wiped off the map.

You sent $1,000 to someone you did not know, simply going by faith that the money would go to two children who lost their beloved parent…and it did.

Your child made a beautiful hand made card for a heart-broken family and encouraged her classmates to join her.

You sent a gift card for groceries to a woman who fell to her knees in gratitude when she received it.

You received word of what the survivors needed desperately and within twelve hours a garage floor was covered with supplies.

You were the reason seven vehicles loaded with donated supplies reached a hurting town of tornado survivors, bringing both men and teenage boys to tears.

You offered your hands and your equipment because you had survived a flood and knew what the desolation was like.

You supplied a brand new toddler bed for a precious child who had nothing left but the pajamas she was wearing the night the tornado hit.

You bought a prince costume for a little boy whose heart ached for a mother’s return that will never come.

You sent nourishing homemade chicken noodle soup to three families who needed comfort in every form imaginable.

Your little hands gave away your favorite books.

Your little hands gave away your favorite princess dresses.

Your little hands gave away your favorite stuffed animals.

You took a moment out of your busy life to see if someone you cared about in Alabama was OK when you saw the news and images of the mile-wide tornado on national television.

You cooked food for the first responders to the disaster who hadn’t eaten in days.

You played “Amazing Grace” to an incredible woman who would give her life to have her daughter back with her children.

You joined your fellow Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts to organize, load, and distribute loads of school supplies to children who would have been buried under three feet of concrete had it not been for the forethought of their school officials.

You organized a blood drive that created a supply great enough to save hundreds of lives.

You gave your precious time and your precious blood.

You made a cross from the iron scraps of leveled homes so that the distraught owners would forever have a piece of their sacred residence that had once been their safe haven of love, memories, and family.

Your class made cards so the people of Alabama would know they are loved.

Your small hands collected butterflies from a Cirque Du Soleil show and made a beautiful poster for a special boy and girl.

You generously gave your family heirloom dining set to a family who must start over.

Your loving child donated her charity money, as well as her entire savings, after hearing the devastating loss of a precious family.

You asked, “How can I help?”

You asked (again and again), “How can I help?”

You haven’t forgotten that on this very day people are still hurting, still searching, still digging, and still mourning all they have lost.

This is only a fraction of the healing hands that have touched the broken hearts across Alabama; this list only contains the first-hand experiences I have been blessed to witness. There are thousands more just like these.

Just as the hands from my “home” friends had a comforting presence on me, the healing hands from around the country have touched Alabama. And these gestures translate into love, hope, dignity, grace, respect, and compassion.

And what makes the impact even more powerful is that the givers did not know the receivers in these acts of kindness.

The Angel Impact is alive and well, my friends. And it has hands that are healing.

I am simply the messenger on this journey to grasp what matters. It is by the grace of God and by every angel listed above that I have this message to give:

It doesn’t require money to have healing hands.

It doesn’t require education, prestige, or status to have healing hands.

It doesn’t require beautiful words or flowery gifts to have healing hands.

It doesn’t require a large group or a big organization to have healing hands.

It only takes ONE….one person with a desire to help in any way that person can.

No act is too small; no act is too simple to create the impact of healing hands on a broken heart.

And I conclude this post with a picture taken on one of the days my husband, Scott, served on an UMCOR Early Response Team.

In a field of splintered, broken pieces where not one household item was recognizable, Scott pulled out a Bible with miraculously undisturbed pages.

The section that jumped out from the page and made his hands tremble was this:

The islands have seen it and fear; the ends of the earth tremble.They approach and come forward; each helps the other and says to his brother, “Be strong!”
-Isaiah 41:5-6 (King James Version)

The journey to grasp what really matters has brought me here.

And now things have become clear.

THIS is what it’s all about: dropping the meaningless in our lives, letting go of distraction in order to grasp WHO matters.

The things that matter most in life are not things.

Whether it is a natural disaster, a man-made disaster or a life circumstance disaster of our own doing, the only thing we may have left is one another and the healing hand reaching down to help us up.


What does “home” mean to you? If you woke up tomorrow and your residence and everything inside was gone, what (or who) would you still have?

Can you think of someone in your life that needs a healing hand? Even if you simply take a moment to ask, “How are you?” and provide a listening ear, the impact can be great.

*If you are interested in writing an encouraging note or directly helping a family impacted by the tornado, feel free to use the “Contact Me” link above.

No act of kindness is too small to those who will be putting the pieces of their life and their heart back together in the long days ahead.

There May Be Tears

On Valentine’s Day, my daughters and I put a little happiness in one of the most unsuspecting places for people who least suspected it.

We remembered those who are often forgotten. And the results were profound.

Our trash collectors were completely dismayed to find colorful bags of goodies sitting next to the trashcan. When we saw their reaction from our upstairs window, it appeared as though they may have never seen such a sight.

After the shock wore off and they realized the bags were actually for them, it was just about the most joyful expression I have ever seen on faces that seldom wear a smile.

A few days later, I found out that our mail carrier also had quite a reaction to her unexpected Valentine sack. A neighbor of mine found out directly from the mail carrier how she reacted when she discovered her treats in our mailbox that day.  A handmade thank you note and cookies from my daughters brought her to tears. Brought. Her. To. Tears. Really? That is all it takes to touch someone deeply?

Well, in that case, treats for the forgotten and underappreciated will be happening more often around here.

In fact, the girls and I will be placing Easter baskets in the most unsuspecting places for people who least suspect it…again.

Something tells me that even though they received a treat at Valentine’s Day, they will not expect to find an Easter basket next to the trashcan and in the mailbox.

Luck like that doesn’t typically happen twice.

But we’re making sure it does.

Would you care to join us?

The Dollar Store is a great place to start…

My oldest daughter proudly used her own money this time because she has learned that even small hands and inexpensive things can mean a lot to someone else.

My youngest supervised from the cart. Eggs: check! Candy: check! More candy: Check!

They both loved stuffing the eggs all by themselves.

They made sure to add extra sprinkles and extra sugar because “Being a trash collector is hard work,” said my four-year-old.

They enjoyed making the signs so there is no confusion as to who the gifts are intended.

And whether or not we are around when Miss Jackie opens the mailbox, we’ll know. Oh yes, we’ll know.

There will be tears.

How many trash collectors and mail carriers do you think we could impact this week? How many unappreciated and often forgotten people could we make feel loved this week? Readers from New York to California, grab your kids, your neighbor kids, or your grandkids and show them that little hands hold the power to make someone smile. I welcome you to send me the joyful details and even pictures to Or post them on The Hands Free Revolution Facebook page. Now click “share” below and spread the good news that this is the week to go Hands Free To Make Happy Hearts! Who knows just how much you will touch a life? There may even be tears.

UPDATE: To see the results of our actions, check out “No Thanks Necessary.”

The Girl With The Broken Smile

Follow up can mean many things to this Hands Free Mama, but in today’s case, I am going to “follow up” on one of the tactics for living Hands Free that I previously wrote about.

This week, my posts will be centering around The Power of a Question. I will be describing how questions have played a vital part in my Hands Free journey to grasp what really matters.

Today’s question is one you may have wondered if you have been following my blog. The question: Whatever happened with that?

I think it would be a huge disservice to my readers if I neglect to provide follow up on tactics I suggest or stories I share. While some of the Hands Free strategies I provide on my blog could be used only once, I strongly believe that the more you use them, the more you will gain.

Personally, I love when my readers contact me to let me know the result of a tactic they used or how a Hands Free experience turned out for them. So today I am doing that for you. It has to do with the post that contains the picture that has been clicked on the most number of times on my blog. It’s about the little girl with the broken smile.

This is my story…

In the post entitled, “Hands Free Evidence,” I described how my seven-year-old daughter chose “Priscilla” out of  a large array of children from impoverished countries who needed an educational sponsor.  I will never forget the reason she chose unsmiling Priscilla when there were a multitude of vivacious cherub faces with smiles that beckoned her to choose them instead.

My daughter lifted up the picture of this pitiful looking little girl and declared, “I want to give her a reason to smile.”

Whoever said we can’t learn from our children?

Well, my daughter mailed her introduction packet to Pricilla four months ago. Along with the letter, she lovingly packed other items while also abiding by Compassion International’s rules for paper gifts only.

About once a week for four months, my daughter asked if a letter has arrived from Priscilla.

After saying, “No, I am sorry, not today,” and seeing her dejected face, my husband and I were starting to think that involving our daughter so heavily in this sponsorship may have been a bad idea.

But the best things come to those who wait, I am constantly reminded.

Last week a letter from Pricilla arrived.  It may as well have been a letter from Santa Claus himself by the look of pure joy and excitement on our daughter’s face.

We read through Pricilla’s letter that had been translated into English by her social worker.

Priscilla had answered the question posed by my daughter; we learned that her favorite color is pink, but “she likes to match red and white.”

She asked my daughter to pray that she (Priscilla) will become a good Christian and have good academic performance.

Priscilla offered prayers for my daughter to be blessed and protected throughout her life.

And Priscilla had enclosed a remarkably accurate picture of a tree and a bird.

But the part of the letter that my child held tightly in her hands and gazed at for a full two minutes was a recent picture of Priscilla.

For fourth long months, what my daughter thought about day and night was the status of Priscilla’s smile.

Next to her mother, the social worker, and a basket of fish they were selling to pay for educational materials stood Priscilla.

I watched as my daughter examined it closely and intently. I held my breath.  I was not sure how my daughter would interpret the expression on Priscilla’s face. To my eyes, Priscilla still looked sad, dejected, and hopeless.

But then again, I was the one who would have chosen one of the happily smiling children to sponsor, not the girl with the broken smile.

After thorough examination, my daughter looked up beaming.

She excitedly exclaimed, “Look! She is smiling a little more than she was before!”

My other daughter and I looked closely. She was right. If you looked very closely, there was the slightest curve in her lower lip.

Most of us would have missed it.

Most of us would have argued that the term “smile” is not an accurate description of the position of her mouth.

Most of us would have never tried in the first place to create happiness on a face so deeply etched with sadness.

Most of us would have thought Priscilla was a hopeless cause.

But through the eyes of the seven-year-old girl who had purposely chosen this forlorn child to sponsor, a smile was detected. And I have learned that when it comes to matters of expression, my daughter sees far more than I do.

Whoever said you can’t learn anything from a child?

We had given our daughter a chance to sponsor a child in a poverty-stricken country. She had grasped this opportunity in ways we had never imagined.

She attempted something most of us would not; she attempted to make the unsmiling smile. And she was doing it, one tiny curve of the lips at a time.

Last night my daughter asked if I thought someday she might meet Priscilla.

I could only get a little excited just thinking of the prospect. I imagined my daughter grown into a beautiful young lady opening her arms to an equally beautiful young woman who had traveled all the way from Ghana to meet her. And on her face was a smile so big that no translation was needed. Her smile said: Thank you for choosing me and making it your life mission to bring a smile to my face.

I realized that while I was daydreaming, my daughter had been waiting for a response.

I looked into her hopeful face and I said, “Yes. Yes, I do believe it’s possible you will meet her someday. After all, you are making Priscilla smile. That makes me believe anything is possible.”

Then I wrapped my arms around this wise, compassionate, and thoughtful child and added, “And I have you to thank for teaching me that.”

What lessons has a child or your child taught you about grasping what really matters? If you can’t think of anything, try seeing through your child’s eyes. Try listening carefully to your child’s words. Start by providing an opportunity for your child to help someone else. It might instead become a lesson for you. Please click “share” below if you think this a message worthy of spreading.

Hands Free Evidence

One of my most widely shared blog posts was entitled, “Putting Distraction In Its Place.” If you have had a chance to read it you may remember the line, “My driving habits will affect my children’s driving habits. Let it be the good ones, not the bad ones.”

A few weeks have passed since then and my readers have kindly shared their inspiring stories of the big and little ways they are going Hands Free.  That got me thinking about what might be on the flip side of that coin of distraction. If my negative distracted behaviors influence the choices my children make, then what about my positive Hands Free behaviors?

It was around the time that I found something my daughter had taken great care in doing.  When I saw it, I knew. I knew.

By engaging in Hands Free behaviors myself, my children were reaping the benefits. I had evidence to prove it. More specifically, I had Hands Free Evidence to prove it.

And this is what it looks like…

My family recently had the opportunity to sponsor a child for $40 a month through Compassion International. My husband, Scott, walked my seven-year-old daughter to the table at the back of our church to look at the pictures of the children waiting to be sponsored.

Later he described how my daughter looked carefully at each and every photo, then selected ‘Priscilla.’  He was quite surprised that of all the adorable, bright smiling faces our daughter chose the forlorn looking girl.

When he asked my daughter why she picked Priscilla, this is what my daughter said, “She is the only one who is not smiling, and I want to give her a reason to smile.”

I was amazed and slightly embarrassed. Because the truth was that I am not sure I would have made the same choice. Something tells me that I would have looked for the cutest, most bubbly looking child in the bunch.

My daughter gave me a Hands Free realization right then and there. Going Hands Free means making choices that are not always the convenient, most pleasant, ones. Going Hands Free often translates to “effort” instead of “easy.”

When we arrived home, I read the list of “restricted” items that we were forbidden to send to Priscilla.  It said that gifts typically do not reach their destination, so only “paper gifts” may be sent.

To me, that did not leave a whole lot of choices. I expected that my daughter would write a nice note and fold it neatly into the envelope.

But going Hands Free means diverting attention away from the things that easily catch our attention, (Internet, email, social networking sites, and text messaging), and instead place focus on activities that may require more effort, but eventually create an impression, an impact, or a memory.

It appeared that my daughter already knew this. She did not simply write a short note introducing herself to Priscilla. What she did instead meant she did not play; she did not watch television; she did not snack or goof around.  For two hours she remained upstairs thinking, working, and creating something that would bring joy to a face that only spoke of pain.

I found the Compassion International envelope sitting on the counter a few days later. My daughter had sealed it shut without showing me the contents.

While I was fairly certain she did not put in a restricted item, she is only seven years old, so I decided to check.

When I pulled out all the items that she had packed so lovingly into the small envelope I found myself both laughing and crying at the depths of her creative and compassionate seven-year-old heart.

My daughter had complied with the restrictions, yet unbelievably managed to provide gifts that would touch Priscilla’s heart and, more importantly, bring a smile.

This is what Hands Free Evidence looks like:

As I stared in wonder at the contents of this envelope, a profound realization occurred to me:

Hands Free Evidence does not remain when we are in a hurry.

Hands Free Evidence does not remain when we are distracted.

Hands Free Evidence does not remain when the focus is on our own self and our own needs.

Hands Free Evidence is left behind only when take the time to slow down, be in the moment, and think outside of ourselves.

Going Hands Free is not always easy, but the results are a sight to behold.

But this story does not end here. You see, as you are also becoming Hands Free, your children are, too.  You have shown me the evidence, the unmistakable Hands Free Evidence.

I now share with you three examples of Hands Free Evidence created by children whose parents have embraced a Hands Free life.

One Hands Free Mom shared these profound words with me about going Hands Free with her children,“When I give them more of the positive attention they and I deserve, I feel the energy shift in the room.”

Here is a photo of the Hands Free evidence that her daughter left on the driveway. It reads: Joke Show 20 cents only. The money goes to the animal shelters and charity.

Another one of my readers is a father who likens going Hands Free to “looking in the mirror and deciding whether or not to change something you don’t like seeing in yourself.”

This same father shared with me recently how bothered he has become when he sees parents glued to their hand-held communication devices. I swear he had tears in his eyes when he described how a little girl in his son’s martial arts class struggled with her kneepads as her father sat oblivious to her while playing on his iPhone.

In photo below, the son of this Hands Free Dad holds an exquisite winter sculpture, Hands Free Evidence that he astutely discovered on a cold January morning.

And finally, this Hands Free reader, along with her Hands Free husband, discovered that family vacations are more memorable and more meaningful when they are devoid of all communication devices. While cleaning her daughter’s room one evening, she found this letter. It translates to read: The only thing that I wish is a simple God, that I wish. The only thing that makes the flowers bloom is a simple God. That’s what I think.

Take a look back at these beautiful photos and then commit these valuable truths to your heart and mind:

Hands Free Evidence does not remain when we are in a hurry.

Hands Free Evidence does not remain when we are distracted.

Hands Free Evidence does not remain when the focus is on our own self and our own needs.

Hands Free Evidence is left behind only when take the time to slow down, be in the moment, and think outside of ourselves.

Going Hands Free is not always easy, but the results are a sight to behold.

My daughter knew this when she selected Priscilla from an array of much happier prospects. My daughter knew this when she poured time, effort, and love into creating her care package.  Was my daughter’s knowledge a result of me living Hands Free or was she living this way all along and I was just too “busy” to see it?

You know what? It really doesn’t matter. Because the beauty of going Hands Free is that it is not about what happened yesterday; it is about today. And what really matters is this:

My children, at age seven and four, are cultivating what it means to be Hands Free; they are creating extraordinary evidence of what it means to be Hands Free; and they are loving and embracing what it means to be Hands Free.

That, in itself, is enough to put a permanent Hands Free smile on the face of distraction.

Have you ever seen any Hands Free Evidence created by your children or a loved one? If so, what was it? And if you haven’t seen any, maybe now you know it’s there. By going Hands Free yourself, you might finally see it.