Category Archives: hands

It’s that time of year …

not for celebrations and parties.  Not for get-togethers with good friends and people you may know.  Not shopping for bargains and gifts, not meeting up to have a good time and not for having a nice glass of wine with like-minded folks.

Well, actually, it is that time of year, but not for everyone.

For some, this time of year means eating a cold can of beans alone in an empty room without power because the electric bill wasn’t paid.  It wasn’t paid because the baby needed medication and there wasn’t enough money for medication and electricity.

For some, this time of year means standing on the street, in the cold, wearing street clothes and house slippers because there wasn’t enough money for rent and if there wasn’t enough money for rent, there certainly wasn’t enough money for a coat and shoes.

For some, this time of year brings memories that are bitter and hurtful; thoughts of years past that ran, one into the other, with no happiness or joy.

For some, this time of year means nothing.  It is simply the passing of time while watching the world go by, just like the year before and the year before that.

For some, this time of year means family, food, friends and fellowship.  It is these people who embrace the season and enjoy it as they always have, together with the people they love and are comfortable with.

But what about all the others?

Who, when they set down to their family table laden with food, surrounded by family, warm, cozy and perfect, think of those who have nothing, expect nothing and know nothing different from the emptiness they feel every year at this time?

I and many others call ourselves followers of Christ.  We say with our voices  how much we love and want to be like Jesus.

We sing praises, bless our food and continue on in the same traditions we have followed for years.  We praise Jesus and say we want to be like Him but prove time and again that we recite words we believe but don’t, deep down, mean and we fail the very Jesus we say we want to be like.

He wants us to share what we have; not just home, warmth, family, friends and food, but the very word that would bring others to love and honor Him.

Invite a stranger to Thanksgiving dinner.  Invite several strangers.

Let’s bring someone homeless to our home and make them, for one day, family.

Let’s show them that Jesus is real and that they are loved.

This time of year is our time, the Jesus follower’s time.  Our time to put our money where our mouth is.  To be hospitable, to offer shelter and food for those who are hungry and the ones the world calls outcasts.

It is our time to take in everyone, despite everything, and to show them Jesus.

If we, who claim to be the hands and feet of Jesus don’t show love to the oppressed, be certain that the evil one will.

He will entice and enchant them, then make them slaves to his depravity and hatred of all things good.

Don’t give the devil the satisfaction of beating us to the punch.  Let us be the Jesus we claim to want to follow and lead someone to Christ by being the hands and feet of the Savior.

Make no mistake –  Satan is working hard to win the souls of the lost and if we don’t work harder, he will win because he doesn’t give up if he doesn’t get a response on the first pass.

Be Jesus to the world and don’t give up just because you can find an excuse.  Having an excuse doesn’t excuse us, but overcoming excuses and finding a way to be Jesus to the world shows our true alliance.  We are with Jesus or not with Jesus.  It is as simple as that.

Everyone reading this post is welcome to Thanksgiving Dinner at my mom’s house.  You, for one day, will be our family, you will be warm and your bellies will be full.  Must love, or at least tolerate dogs, though, because our place is lousy with them!  🙂

If I had a song to play …

I would play it now.

But I don’t.

Not because I don’t love music, the sound of it, the melody, the thought-provoking, beauteous sound that it makes.

No, none of those.

I don’t because I can’t play a note.

Not one.

I haven’t even mastered Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, which most kindergartners can play on their I-Pads.

It is pathetic, in a profoundly sad kind of way, that I depend of others to give me my music fix.

Ok, let’s be specific.

My piano fix.

I love many kinds of music, but there is something about the piano that takes me to that other place.

I love hands, and that may be part of the obsession.

Hands can tell so much about a person.

Being a photographer, I spend a good deal of time photographing hands as each one has a story to tell.

IMGP6190 (2)

Some are gnarled and twisted with arthritis and yet still maintain the ability to button a jacket.

Some are destined to labor and become calloused and sore as they work, year after year after year.

Some are chosen to be used to create music, others, prose.

Some are used to touch the afflicted, without fear of contamination, and to comfort the comfortless.

Some are of no use at all, hanging silently and without guilt or guile at what they, were they so inclined, could accomplish.

Some are at the ready, pressing the shutter button to capture images that will take the present well into the future in images.

Some are folded, reverently, in prayer as they pray and give thanks for all manner of things.

Hands, more than any other feature, have a story to tell but, as hands, they are too humble to say so.

Look.  See.  Experience.

And know that simply by looking at someone’s hands, you have had a small glimpse into their soul.

handsPapaw’s hands

rideforjuvenilediabetes-22A Cyclist’s Hands

fishermanhandsA Fisherman’s Hands

littlehandsA baby’s hands

violinhandsA Cellist’s hands

clarinethandsA Clarinetist’s hands

bassoonhandA musician’s hands


I am starting to wonder …

if this manic phase will ever end.

There was a time in my life when I embraced such moments, likening them to a double ride on the tilt-a-whirl, with the screams and laughter that made me feel invincible.

As I get older, however, I find that they are less like the tilt-a-whirl and more like the crooked carnies that tried so desperately to take my last dollar to win an unwinnable game.

They promised prizes beyond what I could imagine but ultimately, I went home with a stuffed snail or some other hideous thing.

I did once, with awe and childlike levity, win a Loverboy mirror and figured that my life, at that moment, was complete.

Being fifteen, however, has its limitations.

As it turns out, the junk I brought home seemed a pretty steep price to pay for a piece of  “Made-in-China” crap.

Today, I found myself re-reading a lovely piece of work from a friend.  If re-reading was all I was doing, then there would have been no wrong, but I wasn’t just reading.

I was counting.




How messed up, I ask, is that?

Beautiful words written that I counted simply to find a piece of sanity, and, as if counting weren’t bad enough, found fault with.

A line missing.

Who am I to tell the immensely creative people in my life that they have left a line out?

What if it were intentional?

What if it is part of the creative genius?

What if they think I am a jerk at the most basic of levels?

What if they decide that, after all, I am not worth the trouble they take to try to understand me?

Who, beginning with myself, could blame them?

They wouldn’t be the first to give up on me, but, nonetheless, it hurts to think of it.

It is a wonder of wonders that all of my friends don’t simply forsake me when I get like this.

In this I-can’t-hold-a-thought-in-my-head-and-I-think-I’m-going-bats this.

It is a testament to their faithfulness that they ride out the storm with me, knowing that they may, at any moment, be struck by lightning.

I am thankful for them. I pray for them.  I curse them with words that would make a sailor proud.

They know this and like me anyway; the why of that I cannot fathom.

Who are these people?

Oh yes … i remember … they are the ones who understand me even when I find it nearly impossible to understand myself.

They are my friends.  They. Are. My. Friends.

I will be myself again soon.  Surely this is a true statement for there is only so much a person can endure before they are taken, under police custody, to the nearest psychiatric hospital.

I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell and there is a song by one of my favorite groups, “Matchbox Twenty”, that says that very thing.

So it must be true.  It must be.

Just give me some time … a bit of time.

And some patience, some latitude, some longitude and some leeway.

I won’t be this way forever and for that simple fact, I am thankful to a God who understands the way my mind works mostly because He created it.

I won’t back down.  I will get by.  I am unwell.  I will survive.

I think that covers most of the song titles in my head … now, for some serious Wagner time  because He makes me remember that being different isn’t such a very bad thing.

Until I am back to me, adios and God bless.

and the music shall set me free … clarinethands

I’m learning to see with my eyes …

and it is so very cool.  I suppose, coming from a photographer, that sounds a bit odd, but it is true.  When taking photographs, my eyes pick up beauty, my mind recognizes the beauty of light and my camera captures the image.

While it takes a bit of skill, it isn’t obstinately complicated.

Art class, however, has taken me to places I never knew existed, realms that before that first day, I hadn’t had the insight to imagine.  I find that my eyes want to see things that aren’t there, almost like a camera.  I see dark shadows and try to put into place what exists there.

I’m learning that nothing exists there other than the dark shadows.

I know about shadow and light.  I know about aperture and lens speed.  I am quite adept at depth of field and have macro down to a science.

What I don’t know, however, but am learning, is about shadow and shading.  It is a different world, one that I find I love.  More than photography?  I don’t know.  The jury is still out on that, but I know this; I love watching a pencil sketch become something recognizable.

Knowing that it came my eyes and my hands and my mind.

Knowing that I have the ability to breathe it, with some effort, practice and determination to learn the craft, as well as encouragement from a stellar teacher, onto the paper.

It is mind-boggling and it makes me feel powerful in a way that I never thought possible.

It makes me feel closer to God knowing that, through my eyes and by the movement of my hand, I can create something out of nothing.

Without sunsets or full moons or mountain vistas.


Creating something beautiful.

I am awestruck at the joy I feel when I have a pencil in my hand and blank piece of paper before me.

I find, though, that the old habits of little faith and lack of self-confidence butt up head-to-head with my new-found joy;  I am also learning , however,to tell that voice that tells me I can’t to shut up.

I can.  And I will.

As a matter of fact, I already am.

So for those who feel inadequate, that they don’t quite measure up, that they are inferior … think again.

I am finding that when I don’t compare myself to others, when I believe in myself, when I have faith in the gifts that my Father God has given me, I measure up just fine.

Sam … beautiful Sam … facebook_1290742365(1)

An eye for which to see with … IMAG0284_1

There is something …


about hands that has the capacity to make my mouth water.  Tonight, as I sat by a  friend as he played a song on the piano, I was mesmerized; as much by his hands as by the music they made.  They rolled effortlessly across the keys, without thought or direction … simply playing.  I couldn’t look away and wished for my tripod and a light.  I wanted to capture that moment, but I didn’t want it enough to risk losing the magic. I was surrounded by those powerful notes, feeling them touch my skin as they were absorbed into my blood, my bones, my thoughts; that is not something I would risk losing, even for a photograph.


The hands of an artist are mysterious and intriguing.  My art teacher has the ability to practically breathe an image onto a page.  Each time I go to class, I stop and stare at a portrait he drew. The realism of it makes me shudder as it evokes precise images of a very frightening movie.  I fully expect the portrait to come to life and say, in a menacing, crazy-man’s voice, “Heeere’s Johnny!”.  But, I digress.  The hands.  The permanent ink spot on the finger, the darker shade on the pinkie edge, the way one lies flat on the table while the other draws; I sometimes find myself distracted by his hands and forget to pay as close attention as I mean to.  I want to photograph those hands, but it isn’t the time.  There will come a time.  I need to.  And I will.  When it’s time.

The hands that hold the hammer are strong and sure, yet gentle enough to bottle-feed a newborn lamb.  Those hands would belong to my Daddy.  He and I didn’t see eye to eye for way too much of my life.  I was too soft-hearted to hold my own against such a strong personality and sense of self.  I perplexed him, I think, more than anything.  At some point in my adult life, we became close; close the way I always wished it would be.  It was then that I started noticing his hands.  More often than not they were cut and bleeding, the fingers and palms thick with callouses from years of hard work.  I have taken many photographs of his hands, have managed to fade in to the background and work, unnoticed, as he does what he does.  Working, praying, fishing, gardening.  I have hundreds and each time I look at one, I am reminded of the love and strength in them.

fishermanhands                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      There are others’ I wish to see, to photograph.  Some of them are musicians, others not. I do find, though, that the musicians and artists have a greater pull to me as their hands are a part of what they create.  Just as my eyes are  essential instruments to my photography, so are their hands in the paintings they paint and symphonies they play.


Photographing hands is an ethereal experience for me.  It is sometimes heartbreaking, the emotion that they invoke.  Knowing that I am close enough to that which I seek, to see it clearly through the lens of my camera, is the kind of moment I hope for.  I know, when I no longer notice that there is a body attached to the hands, then it is time.


If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men ~ Romans 12:18