One Year.

One year ago, we gave up our smart phones after recognizing the need for change. I knew life would alter in some way, but I never expected the impact to be so great. Over the course of the year, we've recognized the great changes that have taken place in our life without our smart phones attached to us. But perhaps the greatest moment of reflection came just two days ago.

As the artic air blew in on Saturday, our power went out. Without power, we had no way to cook, no wifi to check the weather, and no way to know exactly what happened. So, we gathered the girls in the living room, built a fire, lit candles, and turned on Andy Williams Christmas on my (battery operated) record player. J got out the hot chocolate and warmed it over the fire, as our Star watched intently, wearing only a big t-shirt, reminding us the fire was hot. In the middle of the floor, Lettie was busy rocking back and forth on all fours, and scooting closer to her daddy. And I sat back, watching this perfect Hallmark movie moment take place.

Had that happened a year ago, J and I would have been on our phones. He would have started a show on his to keep Sterling occupied, and I would have been scrolling through the latest news on Instagram and Facebook, almost pretending as if my family wasn't in the same room. We wouldn't have talked. The warm tones of an old crooner's voice on that vinyl record wouldn't have been appreciated. And instead of using candles and small flashlights to illuminate our room, our phones would have been the only light source, shining so bright in our eyes that we wouldn't be able to witness the shadowed beauty before us. If someone had been looking in, I'm sure they would have wondered if we even truly lived.

Instead, on that windy cold, powerless evening, my home swelled with warmth and love and fellowship. Our girls were so happy they squealed, and my husband and I sat back taking in the beautiful romance of it all.

In a years time, I don't have as many pictures as I once did. I've gotten lost a few times. I've missed out on coupons, and the latest stories and pictures on social media. I've forgotten to post days on end, and then posted a few days in a row, without feeling guilty. I've whipped out my camera for actual pictures, not iPhone selfies. We've spent entire days not being able to find our phones, and have forgotten to respond to texts and calls. But in return, we've had date nights where we have only stared into each other's eyes. We've sat as a family around the table, talking, dancing, and laughing, without the help of technology. We've gone places without telling the world. We've gone to bed embraced by each other, not embracing our phones. We've read multiple books and magazines. We've created and walked outside much more. And we've spent evenings cuddled on the couch, talking, reminiscing, and taking in life together.

I don't think it's any coincidence that J and I communicate the best we ever have in our marriage. I don't think its any coincidence that we kiss and hug more. I don't think it's any coincidence that we don't feel the sting of comparison to other's vacations or things. I don't think it's any coincidence that our home runs smoother, is *typically* tidy, and things are done on time, even with two babies.

Letting go of that smart phone was a big step for us, me especially. But in one year, it's inspired us to see other ways we can cut back, minimalize, and live intentionally. If you are longing for something more. To live. To be free. I encourage you, let the smart phone go. Experience life as it is happening. Don't confine your experiences to perfect filters, hashtags, and tweets. Simply, let go, and live, I promise it will be worth it!

To see my original smart phone post: https://ariannafreelen.com/2015/12/19/sayonara-smart-phone/