When Sweat Meets Tears

I applied extra strength deodorant…three times.

I had an arsenal of frozen water bottles in my possession.

I donned airy, Dri-fit clothing that allowed for optimal air circulation.

Every single hair on my head was secured as far away from the back of my neck as possible.

I slathered myself with the recommended amount of sunscreen and pulled down my baseball cap.

I applied one more coat of deodorant in huge strokes, reaching far outside the usual areas of application.

Was I embarking on a trip to the blazing hot center of the earth?

No.

Was I heading to the first swim meet of the summer season?

Yes.

And I was dreading it.

I like to be hot about as much as I like to drive in unfamiliar territory. (If you want a good laugh, check out my “Trip to Nowhere” post.)

And when you are talking summer swim meet, in Alabama, at four o’clock in the afternoon, you are talking The Three P’s of Hotness:

Prolonged Hotness (four hours, but who’s counting?)

Pronounced Hotness (103 degrees that particular day)

Penetrating Hotness (sweat invades places in your body you did not know sweat could go)

And what sealed my dread with a nice sweaty little kiss was the fact that it would be my first experience as a swim meet “timer.” This means you don’t simply sit in hotness waiting for your child’s brief 20 second swim performance in between hours of other events, you STAND in hotness with a timer and clipboard hoping you don’t miss your child’s 20 second swim performance.

Did I mention I was dreading it?

Before the meet began, timers were called forward for a brief training on their duties.

By this time, I was already perspiring from the process of carrying three heavy bags packed with towels, clothing, and an array of activities to combat boredom from the parking lot to the pool deck.

The sweat dripped down the side of my neck, which in fact, possessed four painful red indentations created by the straps of three lawn chairs and one cooler that I somehow managed to carry along with the bags.

My four-year-old would make sure I noted that I did not have to carry everything; she kindly carried her own Polly Pocket bag, which could actually be defined as “heavy” considering it’s filled with small dolls and clothes that have been collected over a five year period.

(And yes, I pause here to admit there is a slight problem with over packing for swim meets that I promise I am working on…I really am.)

So while I awaited my timer training, we were told to pair up with a partner who would hit “go” on his or her timer at the same time we did to ensure our results were correct.

In my irritable “sweatiness,” I was in no mood to make “friends” with anyone.

I surveyed the partner prospects and set my sights on the quiet looking dad standing off by himself.

I hoped fate would smile on me, leading him to walk over and offer to be my partner.

No luck.  Instead, I got the bubbly and ever–so-friendly mom who quickly held out her hand and introduced herself.

Things were not going as planned.

We were then instructed on the timing process and assigned our positions. I was in lane three, positioned directly beneath the scorching hot sun and squeezed between the diving block, the disqualifying judge and my new timer “friend,” Sarah.

In other words, I was tucked in a nice and cozy spot where I could not move my extremities and air would never have the chance to reach me.

As my skin began to sizzle, I looked up to see if a magnifying glass had been placed over my head.

Finally, the age six and under swimmers were called to the blocks. My timer finger was ready and hit “go” at the moment I heard the start buzzer.

When the pint-sized swimmers finally reached the other side, timers were required to ask them their name to ensure we were recording the right time for the right child.

Most of the six-year-old swimmers seemed confused by this question. Some stared at me blankly. Others looked around to see if I was really talking to them. One child even replied, “I don’t know.”

It was going to be a LONG night.

After the next few heats, it was my daughter’s turn. She was in my lane. I felt a sharp pang of excitement knowing I was in a perfect position to see her swim.

From my post, I marveled at her speed, the formation of her arms, the quickness of breaths.  I clocked her time AND managed to give her a congratulatory hug. The smile on her face indicated she was very happy I was the first face that greeted her on the other side.

For a brief moment, 19.24 seconds to be exact, I forgot about the threat of heat stroke.

After the age eight and under swimmers concluded the freestyle event, timers moved to the other side of the pool.

The older children are required to do a 50 or 100 yard swim, which means we were able to ask the swimmers their name before they swam.

Coincidentally, the first girl I asked possessed the same name as my daughter. How could I not cheer for her?

Once I hit “go” on the timer, I found myself cheering for a girl I didn’t know, but had a name that I love.

In that moment, I made the decision to do that for all the competitors in my lane. I figured that since I was privy to the swimmers’ names, I might as well cheer for them.

Once the seconds started on my timer, I supportively called out the name of the child swimming his or her heart out in the lane before me.

When the swimmers got out of the pool, they always wanted to know what their time was.

Perhaps it was the teacher in me or perhaps it was the hopeful look on their dripping wet faces, but I didn’t just tell them their time; I also told them what a good job they did.

Most swimmers seemed initially surprised that The Timer Lady had words of encouragement, yet they all smiled in return.

As I clocked each swimmer’s ending time, my timer partner and I compared. There were never any discrepancies in our times; there was no drama. We developed a perfect rhythm between timing, recording, and being ready for the next heat.

We even had time to engage in a little small talk.

I found myself enjoying the company of a woman who had a gorgeous smile and displayed a beautiful connection with each of her two daughters as they periodically came by for a quick hug.

About half way through the meet, I couldn’t believe the time. Two hours had flown past. The sun had dipped down below the side of the building; I was basking in the glorious shade. I even noticed the hint of a slight breeze in the air.

It was then that something monumental occurred to me.

I was standing in the front row of life’s greatest moments:

A child’s determined face as she wills every ounce of her body, heart, and soul to touch the victory wall.

A new swimmer pleading with his little five-year-old arms and legs to just keep going as all the on-lookers cheer his name….

An enthusiastic coach high-fiving his swimmers and reminding them to have fun…

A serious young competitor catching a glimpse of her parents at the end of her lane and suddenly breaking into a smile…

A teenage swimmer reaching out to his long-time opponent to offer a good luck handshake…

A swimmer’s dedication to her sport so evident in her defined muscles and incredible endurance…

A nervous little brother being hugged and encouraged by his older, more aquatically experienced, sister…

Happy healthy children,

Proud and loving parents,

Sunshine and fresh air,

Laughter and conversation,

All here in one place for me to witness, absorb, and celebrate.

And I had a spot in the front row where I could not only feel the splash of the entrance, but the emotion of the exit…the beautiful, heart-warming emotion of the exit.

Around eight o’clock p.m., I found myself collecting The Stafford Family’s 199 entertainment and beverage items scattered about our “camp.” That is when I had another realization.

I realized I must really learn to wear flat shoes; I realized I was so hungry that I might even consider eating “food” from the concession stand; I realized there was an atrocious smell in the air that was coming from me.

But I also realized my heart was full.

And I can’t get that feeling just anywhere.

I had to go where I did not want to go in order to get to a place I long to be…

A place of gratitude,

A place of contentment,

A place of awe,

A place of harmony…

And next time I have the opportunity to go that extraordinary place, I think I will try not to kick and scream the whole way there.

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We all have activities and responsibilities in our life that we rather not do. Yet, a negative inner dialogue of dread and complaint merely becomes a distraction from the gifts of that experience. And there are gifts in every experience we have in life; even if the only positive aspect you can come up with is, “I am alive to witness this experience.”

Being alive is definitely worth celebrating, don’t you think?

*When I need to be reminded of the gift that is simply being alive, I visit the beautifully painful writings of Jo Julia. Jo is coming upon the first anniversary of her husband’s death. At Dear Audrey, Jo writes letters to her young daughter about her daddy, about death, and about life.

Tipping The Scales

On the way home from my Mother’s Day dinner, my daughters asked if we could visit the pet store.

My husband and I happily oblige our daughters’ requests for pet store visits as these adventures allow us to put off actually buying a pet for awhile longer.

Typically, both my daughters enjoy watching the furry four-legged animals. But on this day, my oldest daughter made her way to the back of the store with her dad while the hyperactive hamsters and spastic ferrets entertained my four-year-old and me.

After ten minutes, we wandered to the back of the store to see what the rest of the family was doing.

There stood my seven-year-old transfixed on the wall of aquariums. She didn’t even notice when we walked up.

“Are you ready to go home?” I asked.

Her eyes didn’t leave the sight of silver mollies that glittered like a string of diamonds as she said, “Can we stay a little longer, Mama?”

I paused for a moment and watched her captivated by the fish. We stood in front of pet store fish tanks hundreds of times before, but something was different this time.

But I didn’t know what.

By now my four-year-old was begging me to make the chubby brown hamster “talk,” like I had minutes before.

I grabbed her hand and we went to see what tiny compartment the little ball of chub had squeezed himself into now.

After an additional fifteen minutes, we returned to the fish tank section to see that my oldest daughter had made her way to the last row of aquariums.

“Time to go,” I called.

As we were leaving, my daughter spotted an aquarium, not huge, but much larger than the small container that currently holds her single Betta fish.

She stopped at the tank and carefully read the information on the sign below it; I could see the wheels turning.

As soon as we got in the car, she made an announcement.

“I have decided what I would really like to have for my eighth birthday is an aquarium with several fish.  The aquarium at the pet store is $49.00. I know that is expensive, so that is the only gift I am going to ask for this year.”

And then came the part that really surprised me, “And I don’t need a birthday party. The aquarium is the only thing I want.”

Wow. Willing to give up her birthday party. Perhaps she does mean business about these fish, I surmised.

I told her we would think about it in the weeks ahead. I was quite sure that for each day leading up to her birthday, there would be a new gift idea.

The same rule of inconsistency holds true for Halloween costumes. The day that one of my daughters decides she wants to be a witch, and I order the costume, is the same day she decides, “No, I don’t want to be a witch this year. I would rather be a cowgirl, or a pirate, or a fairy, or a race car driver.”

But unlike the indecisiveness of choosing a Halloween costume, my seven-year-old has not changed her mind about the fish. Not in the least.

It has been twenty-nine days since we visited that pet store. And in those days, my child has become a full-fledged ichthyologist, studying fish like it is her job. My daughter has become a self-created fish expert.

I have found typed lists like this one randomly placed about the house:

I have discovered hand printed lists like this one next to her pillow, stuffed in her backpack, and taped to the walls:

The search history on the Internet contains phrases with everything from: “tropical fish for beginners” to “ very small pet sharks.”

She charts the pros and cons of fresh water fish vs. salt-water fish.

She studies fish facts while going to the bathroom, while drifting to sleep, and while riding in the car.

She enlightens those around her with facts like: Fishes have two temperaments, peaceful and aggressive. (Quickly noting that although many aggressive fish look pretty, she would never buy a fish that would eat his friends.)

She knows there are care levels: beginner, intermediate, and advance, and is wisely aware that she needs fish in the beginner category.

Her favorite website to shop for fish used to be www.bluezooaquatics.com, until she realized they only sell saltwater fish. So now she prefers www.liveaquarium.net  because they sell fresh water fish, AND “they have the best prices.”

Our nightly “talk time” has become “Fish Education For Mom.” (Or on some nights, I will admit, I refer to our discussion as, “More Than I Will Ever Need to Know About Fish.”)

She randomly throws out sentences like, “I do not want a guppy in my fish tank. I read that they die easily,” and “Can you believe an eel costs $102.00!”

Her face lights up when you ask to see the fish pictures she has printed.

She becomes down right giddy when simply talking about fish she dreams of owning.

All my skeptical thoughts about her seriousness of wanting a fish tank for her eighth birthday have been silenced.

I am totally convinced this is exactly what she wants (all she wants) for her eighth birthday. And my husband and I are amazed and delighted at her newfound passion for learning about and caring for fish.

As I watch her animated facial expressions and listen to her speak about fish with such incredible joy, I can’t help but realize a change occurred in my daughter from age seven to eight.

And I find myself asking, “Why the change? Why now?”

Maybe she was always this excited about grasping new and interesting things in life, and I had just been “too busy” to notice.

Maybe through her recent opportunities of helping tornado survivors she realized the value of material things fade, but feelings, memories and experiences endure.

Maybe it was a year of sitting in doctor’s offices hoping for some relief from her worsening pain and now finally, finally seeing a ray of light.

Or maybe it is that she is just getting older, wiser, and more mature.

There is definitely been a change from age seven to eight. And I can’t help but notice that her change coincides with my own change.

My journey to grasp what really matters began last July. In the past eleven months I have made a conscious effort to cut the excess in my life, both the tangible excess and the intangible excess. I have made a conscious effort to slow down and place my focus on the beautiful moments that make up my lifetime.

I will never forget the moment I heard my seven-year-old daughter describing my blog to someone.

She said, “My mama writes stories that help others learn about being a good parent and doing nice stuff for other people.”

Then she proudly added, “My sister and I are the stars of Hands Free Mama; we are what it is all about.”

I have to agree.

My children are my greatest teachers.

My children are my greatest role models.

My children are my greatest motivators.

My children are the reason I want to make life count.

I just had to slow down long enough to realize it.

And now the beautiful result of my decision to live Hands Free is this: What my daughter wants out of life, even at the young age of eight, has fallen in line with what I want.

Instead of throwing money in the direction of toys she will outgrow, balloons that will shrivel, cake that will quickly disappear, and invitations that will be thrown out with the trash, she has set her sights on:

Brilliant colors and tranquil moments,

Lovingly caring for God’s creatures,

And having the surreal magnificence of the underwater world right at her fingertips.

I can’t help but look forward to June 21st, 2011…

I envision the whole family standing before my daughter’s new fish tank. Each one of us will point to our favorite fish. We will think of silly names for the red and black one and a cutesy name for the yellow one. We will admire their tiny movements and delicate beauty.

Suddenly we will find ourselves absorbed in the slow, peaceful fish performance that captivates our eyes and calms our hearts.

And as we marvel at my daughter’s eighth birthday gift, we will be grateful for the change that brought us here, the change that brought us all here together.

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What are your children’s passions? Do you allow them to develop or steer them in a direction of your choosing? Take some time to talk to your child, teenager or grandchild about what interests him or her.  If he or she cannot think of anything, this may the perfect opportunity to discover a hobby together.

Make this a summer to “tip the scales” in the direction of what really matters. Do it together.

The amount of meaningful memories your children have when they are adults depends on what you do NOW.  It’s in your hands.

Thanks For The Memory

Jimmy and Dot Dixon with their granddaughter days after they lost their home.

This post is dedicated to the beautiful couple pictured above, Jimmy (83) and Dot (82) Dixon who have been married for 64 years. The tornado that ripped through Alabama on April 27th took away their home and all their possessions, but it did not take their precious memories. Let today’s post inspire every single one of us to call a loved one today and listen to a memory.

The first grade classes at my daughter’s school recently did a special project in which they interviewed a grandparent. The children were required to ask several questions about the grandparent’s life, childhood, and fondest memories. Also included in the project were pictures of the grandparent in different stages of life.

I think it is safe to say that take home projects from school commonly produce grumbling from parents (me included). But I can’t help but think that what began as a grumble ended as a praise of gratitude.

Perhaps the same realization that occurred to me a little over a year ago also occurred to one of these parents while doing this project.

I am talking about this simple, yet painful, truth: The memories that live in our parents will also die with our parents and grandparents. Unless. Unless we uncover those treasures while they are still attainable and find a place for them to reside within our hearts.

And the treasure discovery begins with a question.

And we must listen, really listen if we want to preserve this treasury of information.

This is my story…

A little over a year ago, my mom suffered from a TIA (transient ischemic attack) or a “mini stroke”. There was a brief time after the episode that we did not know whether or not she would retain her memory. By the grace of God, my mom fully retained every single one of her memories.

Although I had not begun my Hands Free journey at that time, I was not too distracted by the insignificant to see the sizable wake up call standing before me with flashing yellow lights and a bull horn.

This disturbing wake up call shook its head and disappointedly said, “There are so many things you don’t know about your parents. Ask! Ask! Ask the questions while you still can.”

So my oldest daughter and I began a month long mission: To call one grandparent each evening and ask one question about their past memories.

Once my daughter saw the journal in which I would record their memories, she began recording, too.

The call lasted approximately three to five minutes. Sometimes we would even give the grandparents a “heads up” about what we would be asking them next time, in case they wanted to think about it (or look forward to it).

In a mere three to five minutes per night, my daughter and I found out things we did not know…

We heard their stories of hardship …

PawPaw had no TV, no phone…the only radio he listened to was the one in the car. He got his first cell phone when he was 62 years old.

Grandpa Ben (my daughters call him “GB”) only had two or three birthday parties throughout his childhood. He told of his surprise party at his sister’s house when he was eight years old.

PawPaw had an outside toilet until he was eighteen years old.

GB got ten cents from the tooth fairy.

We heard their stories of happiness..

PawPaw rarely got presents on his birthday. But when he was ten, he got a bike. He was the only one in the family who got a bike. His brother helped him learn to ride.

MeMe loved it when it snowed on her birthday so she could make a snowman with her little sister.

We gained insight into childhood pain and loss…

MeMe had her appendix out when she was ten years old. She missed her sister dearly and was only allowed to wave to her sister at the window because children were not allowed in the hospital.

MeMe’s dad lost his toes to frostbite and they snuck her into the hospital to see him. She remembered that he looked terrible and she thought he was going to die. He survived and learned to walk with a limp.

PawPaw told of his grueling experiences with Polio. He told of long hospital stays away from his family, operation after operation, wheel chairs, iron lungs and learning to walk again.

Grammy told of her hospital stay when the pain in her stomach was unbearable.

And times of mistakes…

GB found matches, lit one, and made a black mark on the floor.

Grammy got in trouble by the operator for using the phone, and she also stepped on a neighbor’s pie that was cooling.

MeMe had to wear a piece of paper over her mouth in school for talking too much.

We heard stories that made them more real…

MeMe’s first boyfriend was Lester in the first grade.

PawPaw’s pet beagle, Pal, would pull him in a wagon.

GB’s favorite toys were his plastic men soldiers. He watched “Red Skeleton” with his parents on a black and white TV and loved to play Monopoly.

MeMe remembered her first phone number was 4701 R, and three rings meant the phone call was for their family.

I wish you could see my daughter’s face as she listened to her grandparents’ stories. It was clearly better than any book I could have read her before bedtime.

And before she hung up, she always said the same thing, “Thanks for the memory.”

I didn’t tell her to say that, she just did.

But several months later, an unexpected benefit of The Nightly Question Call came to light.

My daughters and I visited one of their grandparents at his place of employment for the very first time.

In several of the different departments we got the same response from his coworkers upon meeting us: “Is this the family who asks the questions?”

Then his co-workers bent down to my daughters and said, “Your grandpa would come in every day and tell us what the question was for the night. We love to hear the questions!”

And through tearful eyes, I saw that not only had my daughters been given a gift by hearing the memories…so had their grandparents.

They looked forward to our calls.

They looked forward to sharing their memories.

They looked forward to that connection with their granddaughters.

They looked forward to sharing their story with someone who cared to listen.

The Power of a Question.

It only takes three minutes, but the impact is life-changing.

Rather than staying buried and never to be discovered, a treasure can be extracted from the heart and mind of a loved one. And this treasured memory will live in the heart of the grandchild who hears it. Perhaps one day she will tell it to her own child.

The Power of a Question.

Go on and ask. Ask away. Ask while you still can.

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You may be growing tired of hearing about the tornado that has completely devastated my state, but now I see things differently than I did one week ago. And I am simply the messenger of this journey writing what is placed on my heart and in my mind.

As so many people dig through the rubble that used to be their home, special momentos from their past, like old pictures, become valuable treasures. And the memories of the person who survived to tell them, well, those memories are priceless.

Old pictures of our parents and grandparents are valuable treasures.

My Hands Free challenge to you is to push away distraction for five minutes today and pick up the phone. Call a relative and ask them to send you an old photograph, ask him or her to tell you a childhood story, and then listen, listen as if this is the last conversation you may ever have.

Someday it will be.

Grab those treasures while you still can.

To The One I Love

The moment seen here was created through the Hands Free Partnership that has developed between myself and my spouse.

I talk most often about how this Hands Free journey is changing me. But today I am going to talk about the changes taking place in the one who stands beside me. Because having the one that stands beside me sharing this journey is creating changes that are powerful and permanent.

I am hoping that by the end of this post, you might be inspired to reach out with this message to someone you love.

I began writing about my Hands Free awakening long before I told anyone about it. When I was finally ready to show someone the beginnings of my Hands Free writings, I gave them to my husband, Scott.

He was extremely supportive and complimentary. He said all the things I hoped he would say. The next morning, he took the girls on their usual Daddy-Daughter Saturday adventure. When he came home, he had something to tell me.  I could see it on his face. When we had a quiet moment together, he looked into my eyes.

“You know that line you wrote, ‘No matter how much she wants to, needs to, or would love to, my child cannot kiss a moving target.’?” He asked.

He was referring to a line I wrote in the blog post entitled “What I Would Have Missed.”  It was one of my favorite lines; one of my most powerful revelations thus far.  I find myself reciting those words at some point every day.

I nodded, and he continued, “I thought about that all day.  It made me really focus on everything the girls did and said. I didn’t want to just be there…I wanted to BE there.”

He then shared with me some of the meaningful Hands Free experiences he had that day.  I was astonished.  My husband has always been my role model of “living in the moment.” This is the man who never once looks at his Blackberry or computer the moment he walks in the door. This is the man who has never once placed the priorities of his demanding job above his family. This is the man who lives spontaneously, making us laugh, relax, celebrate, and remember that every day is a gift.

This man was telling me that even he was able to take something worthwhile from my writing and use it to be an even more present and focused father.

I felt a warm rush of unexpected happiness wash over me. I was excited about the possibilities of this news.  I was thrilled to discover that what I was experiencing on this Hands Free journey was not exclusive to me. But what made tears of joy spring to my eyes was the anticipation for what was to come for my family. Suddenly I had a Hands Free Partner. I was not alone in my desire to grasp what truly matters during my time on this earth.

I am thankful to report that the Hands Free Team of Rachel & Scott immediately flourished.

I thought it might be helpful to describe the simple, yet powerful ways we partner to bring Hands Free experiences into our family’s life…

He regularly creates ways to get outside and enjoy nature and fresh air with our daughters. I assist in bundling everyone up, securing the ponytails, spotting interesting clouds and cleverly hidden bird nests.

I research visits to new and unexplored area parks. He offers to navigate and bring the snacks.

He creates Easy Bake Oven recipes (from scratch, if I might add) with the girls. I serve as the taste-tester and encourager for their recipe risk-taking.

I sit with my youngest daughter as she practices her ukulele.  He follows up by being her “student” as she teaches him how to play.

He spontaneously announces we should all go see the family movie that just came out at the theater. I throw on a hat and grab the movie times.

I twirl and sing to our youngest daughter at our gym’s indoor pool. He races our seven-year-old swim team-loving daughter up and down the length of the pool.

He hoists our littlest daughter onto his shoulders for a family walk on an unusually balmy winter day. I hold hands with our oldest child as we walk along side.

He plans movie night with mattress on the floor, a mountain of pillows, hot chocolate and popcorn. I cuddle beside them watching three breathing chests rise and fall in unison knowing I will remember this moment forever.

Together my Hands Free Partner and I reap the rewards of these simple acts that merely require putting aside distraction and focusing on what truly matters.

On these occasions, the most precious words have been spoken. My four favorites are:

“I love my family!” -Said at the highest arc of a playground swing beneath a clear blue sky

“This is so fun! Can we do it again tomorrow?” -Said among the cuddly blankets and heaping pillows of “Movie Night”

“Dad can do anything.” -Said in awe among the winter breeze of a January day

“I love what is happening to our family.” -Said in a Christmas love letter that is now taped to my bathroom mirror

By going Hands Free together, we are experiencing a greater degree of connection that could not be accomplished alone.

And by going Hands Free together, we are experiencing the aspect of accountability that could not be accomplished alone.

When expressing my gratefulness in prayer for this newfound partnership, a couple that sat next to us at a restaurant often comes to mind.

While waiting for their food to arrive, they both were fixated on their prospective iPhones. With the level of attention they paid to these devices, you would have thought the answer to a long and prosperous life was about to be flashed across the screen.

Sadly, we all know the answer to life-long happiness was not going to be found on the screen of an iPhone that night, or any night, for that matter. But there is a chance that happiness could have been found between the two people who sat at that table.

I couldn’t help but to think that if even one of them was trying to live a more Hand Free life, he or she may have put their device away and instead grasped the other one’s hand.

Perhaps then she or he might have said, “We rarely get out without the kids, let’s take advantage of this time and talk.”

Who knows what discoveries they could have made about each other that night? Who knows what that two-hour long sole focus on one another could have done for their relationship?

And yet I can’t help but think about what that table would have looked like if BOTH of them were trying to live life in a Hands Free partnership.

My hunch tells me that communication and connection would have been at its peak.

And it would have had nothing to do with an iPhone.

Imagine for a moment what benefits might result from having less technology connection and more personal connection with the person who shares your life. Imagine the benefits of sharing Hands Free connection and accountability with the one you love.  If you can think of even one benefit, take 30 seconds to “share” this post by clicking the button below. Whether it’s your spouse, best friend, significant other, parent, sister, grown child, or simply someone who has popped into your mind, extend this invitation to try Hands Free living with you. The benefits will be immediate and powerful.