Appreciate the Hands Day

There seems to be a “day” for everything. My favorite part of the lounge at work was the huge calendar posted on the wall with different events for the week or special days, such as “National Marshmallow Day”; “Chips and Salsa Day”; “National Crossword Puzzle Day”; “National Peanut Day”…I mean literally–the list is endless! The only one that I have never been a fan of is “National Talk like a Pirate Day.” Our brother dorm during my freshman year of college literally took the day into full effect, some with costumes even. It was fun but after a few “Argggg Matey !” I had heard enough. But they did it ALL day–gruffy accented pirate talk–I just found it annoying. 🙂

There are days of fun, days of remembrance, days of randomness, days of awareness. Even this past Sunday was National Coffee Day, in which I took the liberty of enjoying a second mug of our freshly brewed Seattle’s Best. This post has been long time in the making…in other words, I have wanted to do this post for a long time but I believe that the timing was delayed….because God was bringing me to this point where I would learn from this post experience…where my physical body would be at a place to where I fully understand the significance of being thankful. It is the season of the soul.

Therefore, I now take a new liberty and declare today as my own, “Appreciate the Hands Day.” (In part celebration of the last OT session this morning, in which we finalized my list of things needed to order on my own and also received a few new helpful tools for my finger function).

Take these hands and lift them up
For I have not the strength to praise You near enough
See I have nothing, I have nothing without You

Bebo Norman. “Nothing Without You.” Try. 

Around my birthday, my grandpa sent me a card with a beautiful picture on the front. It was one of those reprint cards where it was an artist’s painting…in this case a watercolor. Curious of the painter–figuring it was someone famous like Monet–I flipped it over and the first thing I notice is how sloppy the artist’s signature looked. My mind is not fast to pick up on these things, but it took me a few minutes to make the connection (and also reading the description of the author) that this particular watercolor was not an ordinary watercolor. It was designed by this artist who painted it with his mouth as his hands were idle. My mouth just dropped. I would have never known if it had not been for the signature and description on the back. Come to think of it, up until that point, I don’t think I had ever known about that type of art work…only one exception would be Joni Eareckson Tada.

I googled a bit and found the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists website and soon found myself reading through the list of artist bios and pictures. Just astounding talent and artwork!

The thing is at that point in time, my hands–although starting to weaken and numb–were very able to function “normal” (to borrow the term.) The thought came to mind that I should try a painting by using my mouth only, but never put the full effort into the idea as I was painting other canvases, especially for the show. Now that my hands have come to a point in major lack of motor skills and function, the mouth painting idea came back to mind. To fully appreciate  my hands, I wanted to “have none” for a painting. It was an eye-opening experience. (Although I did ‘cheat’ a tad, because I was home alone and had to set up, choose and squirt my paint using my hands, but the painting itself was all by mouth. Even my ‘Mel’ signature. It really gets to your neck after a while!)

I still say “good grief” in frustration tones at certain times during the day when my hands just become frustratable (yeah, I just made up a new word! 🙂 ) But in this season of learning to give thanks for everything–joys or trials–I am now seeing that my feeble hands are still strong enough to help me, so I can’t give up on them just quite yet.


I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Psalm 16:8


Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Paintings

16 responses to “Appreciate the Hands Day

  1. And God always gives us what we need. Your painting reminds me that you are “On Fire” for the Lord. You are such a joy Melinda. I think we all need to just keep thanking Him…FOR EVERY THING! Love you.

    • mel

      The orange and red did blend in a lot more than I thought, so I added the purple at the bottom to help with color. 🙂 This season of learning thankfulness excites me…although I should not say “season” because I want it to last. We can all journey together!

  2. That painting looks great!!! I can’t believe you did it with your mouth!!! Wow. That’s talent. Love you. Miss you!!! xoxoxoxox. So proud of you.

    • mel

      To be honest, yeah you would probably never know as the style is the same. The only difference is that being on the easel, I could not get the edges of the canvas so I) left them white. I think my MEL signature is better by mouth, LOL. Maybe I will just start signing paintings that way–and I know why…because my hands shake so the MEL gets shaky. But in my jaw, I can hold it firm. I probably should not mention this to the dentist when I go for a check up/clean. 🙂


  3. Ashleigh Pinkerton

    Melinda! You inspire me every single day. I absolutely love this painting – both the style and the bright colors. This is a great reminder for me to appreciate the everyday things in life – from big things like using my hands and even to small things that are “nice to have”. Love you, Mel!

  4. Wow, this is incredible! You inspire me every single day. I love your painting – both the style and the bright colors! This post reminds me to appreciate the everyday things in life – both big things like my hands, and small things that are “nice to have”. Love you, Mel!

    • mel

      Thanks Ashleigh! Now I get to tackle the clay necklaces! Yay! (But I won’t be painting them like a mouth painting.) 🙂

      Now that I have done this, I realized that I also can be thankful for the resources that help my hands (the little things). You are not the only one being reminded on these things…I have been learning I too. 🙂

      Love you dear cousin!

  5. Lois

    Your painting is so stunning, especially after reading the story behind it. Love the colors. Love the context. Love YOU!

    • mel

      Thanks Aunt Lois. I don’t think it matters if I paint by hands or mouth–there are still similarities: I use a lot of paint, I get paint everywhere (LOL) and my painting style doesn’t change much…just used my neck and nor my wrists. My painting is just abstract. I still am stunned at the MFPA’s artwork!

      Love you!

  6. Esther Morford

    What a special insight about hands. Melinda, you are such an inspiration.
    I love reading your posts

    • mel

      It did help me see how the body works to cover for the weak points we my have and made a good impact on my current attitude of my hands. I was reading in 1 Corinthians 12 this morning…made a lot more sense. 🙂

  7. sheri Tearpak

    Great painting! You are so amazing. Love you, my friend!

    • mel

      Thanks. I wanted to try something more detailed…like adding a coffee mug to it, but at last decided not to. Maybe next time. 🙂 Love!

  8. Uncle Chip / Aunt Ruthie

    Mouth painting? Doesn’t that paint taste terrible?

    • mel

      I did have to check the ends of my brushes to make sure they were clean. 🙂 I started off with a brush that had a wooden handle…it started to get soggy and chip off almost so I switched to the plastic handles. I hand better grip using those anyway.

  9. Megan

    Oh wow!! Same as you would have never known about that painting on the card being from someone who painted it with their mouth.. I would have never known you painted this painting with your mouth without having it a part of this post. Neat!! And I like your self declared “Appreciate the Hands Day”… it’s a good one to help celebrate what such wonderful use you still have got with your hands. XOXO ~ Megs

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s