The Open Hand

Green frog tape: advertised for keeping paint from bleeding onto unwanted surfaces. I see it used everyday to help bind the wounds of a broken heart. I haven’t seen that advertisement, have you?

Heartfelt Creations was the first company to come up with a stamp that matched a die in the crafting industry, or at least in great volume. Until around two years ago, I had no idea what any of what I just typed meant.

Archie, Taylor and I made Christmas cards for a long time. We were introduced to the electric machines that cut out shapes, and that was fun, but frustrating when the blade would tear the paper instead of cut. I tried blade depth, a new blade, different paper, still failure. Errr!

One day after volunteering at The Depot, Taylor and I were doing some shopping. We came across this little green machine with a cranking handle in the craft section. It had a zip lock bag of accessories, plates, and these folding plastic pages that looked like super thin candy molds. Taylor said,”Mom, this looks like something you’d have fun with.” It was $25.00, “Um, no.” It was student’s day, 50% off, so she bought it. A $12.50 investment…into Mom’s future! That little green machine is a Cuttlebug and one of the die cutting machines that are used to cut out the dies created by Heartfelt Creations.

So, where does the green tape come in?

After you stamp an image, there is often a coordinating die. A person takes the die, lines up the inner edges of the die to stamped image, TAPES it to the paper using tape that will not permanently stick to the paper, and runs it through the machine. Out pops the image that was stamped. Heartfelt takes it a step further and turns the flat images into 3D. Without the tape, the die would move and cut off part of the image.

So where do the broken hearts come in? Nearly everyday I hear people speak of the mental break while creating art from the heart, using the beautiful hand created images from Heartfelt Creations. This week I spoke with the mom of a severely autistic child that said this is her mental escape. She also gives him some of the die cut/stamped images to communicate and create.

Yesterday I spoke with a highly educated woman who’s father served during the time of Hitler. Her father helped raid and rescue the “work camp” survivors. The Germans said these were “experiments” to see how long humans could work without food or water. Her father could never bring himself to speak of the sights he encountered as a physician. Her mother, a nurse during that same time, traveling across Germany and Italy. This woman followed in her parents footsteps and became a nurse.

She married a Vietnam vet, but 9 short months later lost him to PTSD and was divorced. She now has the love of her life, but he has had many intrusive and debilitating surgeries. She has now been diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder that is destroying her internal organs.

She said,”I need this. This is what helps me cope with the past and what I am going through now. That’s all you can do, you know, is cope.”

We spoke of technique and how the dies have evolved. The difficulty she now has seeing and how she appreciates the evolution. The tape that secures her efforts and in turn allows her to make masterpieces. Without that sticky green tape, frustration and disappointment would add to the despair of her surroundings. Tape. Green sticky tape you find in any hardware or department store, is securing the knot that Heartfelt is helping to tie at the end of so many ropes.

Now I ask, what do you have in your hand? What is it you need to offer to someone else that would or could give them hope? As you turn you hand over and open each finger individually, what do you see? Is it a hand that bakes and could take cookies to a mom that has a houseful of children and is desperate for adult conversation? Is your hand callused and rough from woodworking that could fix the creaky stair or picture frame of the arthritic woman who lives down the street? Is their paint under those fingernails from the interior designer who could help the poor young college graduate redefine themselves as an adult with leftover paint from your last project?

What is not only in your hand, but what can that hand do to help bind the wounds and give hope to the hurting world around you?

I just glanced up and saw green tape. Imagine what I could find if I took the time to purposefully LOOK.

Deuteronomy 15:11 “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.”

Until tomorrow: Blessings!



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