When I look at this picture I see hardworking hands…these hands have been together for over 40 years. We just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary on July 24, 2016. Our hands were much softer looking and at least my hands had been manicured for our wedding day. Chuck’s hands were literally bleached by his sister in the event we had pictures taken of our hands (which we didn’t end up getting!).

Have you ever really thought about your hands…what you are capable of doing with them or not?

I’m sitting at the computer and just casually look down at my hands…they look old…whose hands are these typing? I’ve typed since I was in 9th grade – first a manual, then electric and now a computer. My hands and typing skills allowed me a job for over 30 years – helping and encouraging others to be better. But they still look old…or maybe I should use the word “gently used”…sounds better than old.

At first sight I saw them and thought they are wrinkled and look rather dry, the nails need a manicure but are polished. I was sad, but just for a moment…I tend not to stay sad long.

I thought these are GREAT hands and I’m thankful for them! They are capable of so much and have done so much! My hands were held and guided as a small child by my parents, loving family and friends. I was able to hold the hands of my younger siblings when things weren’t going right. Holding my children’s tiny perfect hands as newborns melts my heart just thinking about it. I’ve held hands of those who were sick. I’ve held the hands of those who were preparing to meet Jesus. I’ve put my hands together and prayed for my family and friends and very special people who have had to endure far too much in their lives. The best thing my hands have touched are the lives of six beautiful grandchildren. I’ve held them since birth and I have the privilege of teaching them how to use their hands to help others, feed others and live a life they can be proud of.

And, oh, how these hands have helped on the farm more than once…from pulling weeds as a young child to earn a bike one summer. Living on our dairy farm I’ve shoveled silage from a 60 feet silo to a bunk in the dead of winter (exactly 90 loads per feeding). They have driven tractors, baled hay and other much needed field work. They’ve put hay off the wagon to put in the barn and put hay on a wagon for a fun hay ride. They’ve cleaned milkers and fed hundreds of beautiful baby calves. They write the checks to pay the bills and sign papers at the bank for a new tractor or shed (that’s not always the favorite) and have prepared more meals and baked more cookies than I can remember.

My hands enjoy sharing adventures with friends – gardening, quilting, crafting and barn quilts. Yes, they have done a lot and I’m thankful for them – I’ve really taken them for granted for the majority of my 60 years. They’ve been good to me…really good to me!

My hands are an expression of myself – I use them to talk. Without my hands I don’t think I would be able to talk. I’ve tried sitting on them in meetings or holding a pen…but the more passionate I am about something the more I use my hands.

Yes..I’m truly thankful for many other things and thinking about all those things makes me smile too. But if I had to choose one thing to be really thankful for (other than God’s Grace), it’s my hands!

So this season of Thanksgiving – take a good look at yours today and the hands of those you love. Are they hardworking, do they strive to make other lives better, do they give a hand-up when someone needs a hand?

Wishing you blessings for Thanksgiving and the upcoming Christmas season! I really think my hands need a gift…maybe I’ll treat them to that manicure! 

Cathy Loomis McCune is a God loving farm woman who’s passionate about her family, agriculture and making her community a great place to thrive. Learn more about the McCune family’s farm at Milk Means More.

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