DANCE OF THE GOLDEN LEAF

DANCE OF THE GOLDEN LEAF
The blue sky as its brilliant backdrop
The patchwork of fall colors as its floor
One ballerina maple leaf costumed in gold
Began its beautiful dance of descent.
Mesmerizing twists of lifts without stops
Leaps and swirls with imaginary arms
Reaching to the heavenly skies
Pointing to earth once more
Quite torn between its choice
Freedom from holding onto the branch
Should she soar through the skies
Or cling to the earth’s solid ground
This choice the ballerina will make
but for a little longer
The leaf will continue to dance.
Arline L Miller, Author


My husband and I were blessed to spend 5 days in the NC mountains with family and friends at Gordon and Martha’s cabin. Since we are all workaholics, this seemed to halt the train of business thoughts and put in the most relaxed moods. I was inspired by nature’s compelling entrancement and realized there are times to shut the hectic, busy life down and chill. 
Sitting out on the 2nd level porch with the mountains in view and having some great conversations with Martha and Sandra, I began to watch a gold maple leaf dancing in the fall sky. I watched as it performed a melodic dance and it inspired the poem I wrote upon waking up. I shared it with the ladies later in that day and was reminded of the gift God has blessed me with. I imagine you think I meant the gift of writing. I thank God daily for that. What I was reminded is how blessed we are to share thoughts, writing, beliefs, creativity, recipes, singing (listening to good singing for me as I can’t hit any note correctly). Writing is my gift but God has surrounded me with great people who have been so richly blessed and they like to share their gifts and talents with me. How great a gift that is!
Gordon drove us through those mountains like a pro guide with such ease and composure while I was reminded of my fear of open heights. Those narrow roads with traffic both ways would have been a challenge I wouldn’t have attempted. Greg would have taken it in stride too. I was reminded how blessed we are to have them in our lives for those times we feel uncomfortable because they took us to the height of God’s beauty for us to enjoy without fear.
Now for the deeper thought……When we appreciate the gifts we have been given, both direct gifts and gifts inherited from others, life is at its fullest. I am humbled when I learn from those who can accomplish something I am not comfortable or don’t know how to do. To each of us, God decided what one can do and if they are humbled by God’s blessing on them to teach others, we can be further blessed by sharing these gifts. I thank God he has surrounded me with talented and learned people who are willing to share. Please God, allow me to do the same for someone every day you bless me to live.
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As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

(C) Copyright 2012-2016 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material sourced to original location for credit.
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WHAT’S UP WITH THE JACK-O’-LANTERN?



WHAT’S UP WITH THE JACK-O’-LANTERN? A young man, Blake Lott posted on Facebook When and why did it become a social tradition for people to sit around a table and carve spooky vegetables together? 🎃 👻 Did you know the original jack o’ lantern was actually a turnip ”     “”

I thought, “How interesting are those questions!” I decided to do a little digging and I hope everyone enjoys this post about our pumpkin carving tradition which is really not American but is tracked back to Ireland.




I found this article on the legend:

THE LEGEND OF “STINGY JACK”People have been making jack-o’-lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack.” According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn’t want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.Did You Know?The original jack-o’-lanterns were carved from turnips, potatoes or beets.Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as “Jack of the Lantern,” and then, simply “Jack O’Lantern.”In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. In England, large beets are used. Immigrants from these countries brought the jack o’lantern tradition with them when they came to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, make perfect jack-o’-lanterns.

Article Details:
History of the Jack O’ Lantern

I have heard a discussion back and forth whether Christians should or should not celebrate Halloween. This is a personal decision and I leave it to individuals but I decided to do a little digging on the holiday itself. Here is a definition from Wikipedia on Halloween:
 From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Halloween&oldid=745513786 
This article is about the observance. For other uses, see Halloween (disambiguation).

“All Hallows’ Eve” redirects here. For other uses, see All Hallows’ Eve (disambiguation). 

HalloweenHalloween, or Hallowe’en (a contraction of All Hallows’ Evening),[5] also known as Allhalloween,[6] All Hallows’ Eve,[7] or All Saints’ Eve,[8] is a celebration observed in a number of countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day. It begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide,[9] the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed.[10][11]
It is widely believed that many Halloween traditions originated from Celtic harvest festivals which may have pagan roots, particularly the Gaelic festival Samhain, and that this festival was Christianized as Halloween.[1][7][12][13][14][15] Some academics, however, support the view that Halloween began independently as a solely Christian holiday.[1][16][17][18][19]
Halloween activities include trick-or-treating (or the related guising), attending Halloween costume parties, decorating, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing and divination games, playing pranks, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories and watching horror films. In many parts of the world, the Christian religious observances of All Hallows’ Eve, including attending church services and lighting candles on the graves of the dead, remain popular,[20][21][22] although elsewhere it is a more commercial and secular celebration.[23][24][25] Some Christians historically abstained from meat on All Hallows’ Eve,[26][27] a tradition reflected in the eating of certain foods on this vigil day, including apples, potato pancakes and soul cakes.[27][28][29]

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I thought it would be interesting to find out more about Trick or Treating tradition’s history too. Why not? Here is an article from Smithsonian.com (link below article)

 It’s almost that time of year when underaged kids get into costume and traipse around the neighborhood ringing doorbells and begging for treats. When you think about it, trick or treating is kind of a weird thing. Where did it come from anyway?

Today I Found Out discovered that the practice began with the Celtic tradition of celebrating the end of the year by dressing up as evil spirits. The Celts believed that, as we moved from one year to the next, the dead and the living would overlap, and demons would roam the earth again. So dressing up as demons was a defense mechanism. If you encountered a real demon roaming the Earth, they would think you were one of them.Fast forward to when the Catholic Church was stealing everybody’s holidays and trying to convert them. They turned the demon dress-up party into “All Hallows Eve,” “All Soul’s Day,” and “All Saints Day” and had people dress up as saints, angels and still a few demons. Today I Found Out writes:

As for the trick or treating, or “guising” (from “disguising”), traditions, beginning in the Middle-Ages, children and sometimes poor adults would dress up in the aforementioned costumes and go around door to door during Hallowmas begging for food or money in exchange for songs and prayers, often said on behalf of the dead.  This was called “souling” and the children were called “soulers”.You might think that this practice then simply migrated along with Europeans to the United States. But trick or treating didn’t re-emerge until the 1920s and 1930s. It paused for a bit during World War II because of sugar rations, and it’s now back in full force.The term “trick or treat” dates back to 1927. Today I Found Out explains:The earliest known reference to “trick or treat”, printed in the November 4, 1927 edition of the Blackie, Alberta Canada Herald, talks of this,Hallowe’en provided an opportunity for real strenuous fun. No real damage was done except to the temper of some who had to hunt for wagon wheels, gates, wagons, barrels, etc., much of which decorated the front street. The youthful tormentors were at back door and front demanding edible plunder by the word “trick or treat” to which the inmates gladly responded and sent the robbers away rejoicing.The British hate Halloween, apparently. In 2006, a survey found that over half of British homeowners turn off their lights and pretend not to be home on Halloween. Yet another reason by the United States is happy to be free from British rule. No funs.

Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12! http://bit.ly/1cGUiGv
Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

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All in all, Halloween is on its way, whether you carve the Jack-O-Lantern, Trick or Treat. You can choose to participate or not. I find it interesting to read the history and how these traditions have come about. However you decide is fine with me. I am 67 years old and I have never felt an evil feeling about Halloween and over the years my husband and I have enjoyed the small children coming to our door with their little costumes yelling Trick or Treat. May your holidays be bright and cheery.

(C) Copyright 2012-2016 Arline L Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. All third party material sourced to original location for credit.

IS MY IMAGINARY FRIEND REAL?


IS MY IMAGINARY FRIEND REAL? In childhood, many children introduce an imaginary friend and there are several theories on why a child takes on this and I found an interesting article. Let’s read the article and I will give you my take on imaginary friends for a good lesson in life.




Here is the article on Why kids invent imaginary friends
You shouldn’t be worried about your kid’s new pal, but here’s what you should know.

Jun 1, 2015 Lisa Kadane  http://www.todaysparent.com

Photo: Lane Oatey/Blue Jean Images/Getty Images Illustration: iStockphoto

When Deborah Tetley is too busy to play with her four-year-old son, Jackson, he invites his friend Dylan over to play soccer or hockey. It works out well for Tetley because she still has only one child to supervise — Dylan is her son’s pretend friend.
Dylan is also a real-life friend of Jackson’s, but since he lives two hours away in Lethbridge, Alta., and they only see each other on summer camping trips, Jackson has to pretend play with him the rest of the year.
Tetley says she was taken aback the first time she saw her son high-fiving thin air. “I was a little startled. The constant question parents ask themselves is, ‘Is this normal?’” But Tetley can relate — when she was five she had an imaginary friend named Timmy who sat beside her at mealtimes.

Here are some more frequently asked questions about imaginary friends:

How common are imaginary friends?Having an imaginary companion is common in preschool and beyond. The pretend pal is often a personified object such as a teddy bear that can talk and play with a child; sometimes it’s an invisible friend like Dylan. According to a 2004 study by University of Washington and University of Oregon psychologists, by age seven, 65 percent of children have had an imaginary companion at some point. Research indicates eldest or only children, like Jackson, are more likely to invent imaginary friends.
Should parents be worried?“It’s not a cause for concern,” says Michael Dickinson, a Canadian Paediatric Society spokesperson and paediatrician in Miramichi, NB. “This can be a routine part of normal childhood development.”
Why do kids create imaginary friends?According to Kimberly Eckert, a registered psychologist in Calgary, children often create playmates just to engage in imaginative play (the way another child might play with action figures), but sometimes they do so when bored or lonely. An imaginary friend can also be used as a form of self-soothing during a big transition, such as adjusting to a new home or sibling. It’s a way for children to practice fledgling social skills in an environment where they’re in control.
Do children know it’s pretend?Creating and sustaining an imaginary friendship is a sophisticated cognitive skill, says Eckert. “Kids can separate what’s real life and what’s fantasy life. They know it’s pretend play,” she says.
When do imaginary friends go away? Imaginary companions usually disappear by the time kids head off to school, where pretend friends are less socially acceptable. If your child still has an imaginary friend by grade one or two, evaluate whether it’s preventing him from socializing normally, says Dickinson.
Tetley sees no harm in letting Jackson’s imaginary playdates continue until he grows out of the phase. “We have to let Jackson be who he is,” she says. “He’s just tapping into his imagination.”

A version of this article appeared in our July 2012 issue with the headline “Pretend friends,” pp. 52.


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Merriam-Webster Dictionary gives us the definition:

Full Definition of imagination

  • 1
    :
      the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality
  • 2
    a
    :  creative ability
    b :  ability to confront and deal with a problem :  resourcefulness <use your imagination and get us out of here>
    c :  the thinking or active mind :  interest <stories that fired the imagination>
  • 3
    a
    :  a creation of the mind; especially :  an idealized or poetic creation
    b :  fanciful or empty assumption
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As a fictional writer, I pull from my imagination to create characters or one could say I introduce my readers to a lot of imaginary friends. I draw from all kinds of memories of people I have met or a combination of different personalities to form a unique personality of its own to enhance the story line. Once I started assembling characters, it caused me to think back and I realized I never had imaginary friends growing up. I wondered why I never created my special friend. It may have been I was surrounded by my brothers and my sister as well as numerous cousins and neighborhood friends. Or, am I just now getting around to finding all of the imaginary friends I had stuck in my head all of those years and bringing them to life in my books. Not hardly, as some of my characters are not the type one normally hangs out with.  They are interesting and somewhat appealing in some scenarios, but each comes with a large amount of complexity. I am not sure I could have imagined these characters in my childhood.
Now for the deeper thought…….. Are we components of all of the people we have met, read about, heard about, or not? I need to spend some time on this thought as I find it intriguing and worth studying in depth. What I do know is imagination is a byproduct of another facet of our personalities and that is curiosity. If we can imagine, if we can contemplate, if we can create; our minds are very active and the world becomes more interesting.
IMAGINE YOUR WORLD AS YOU SEE TOTAL HAPPINESS and THEN REALIZE YOU CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN……Arline L Miller

(C) Copyright 2012-2016 Arline L Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. Third Party Material is sourced to original location for reference credit. 

TODAY THE WORD is ANVIL



TODAY THE WORD IS ANVIL. This was one of my favorite posts in my blog history because the topic came out of nowhere. I wanted to share it now and I hope you enjoy it.

When I awake, I do not have a clue as to the topic of the blog. As I have never used an anvil and it goes back in history, even to ancient history; I think there has to be a lesson in the anvil for me to share. According to the definition in the dictionary: An anvil is a basic tool, a block with a hard surface on which another object is struck. The block is as massive as is practical, because the higher the inertia of the anvil, the more efficiently it causes the energy of the striking tool to be transferred to the work piece. In most cases the anvil is used as a forging tool. Before the advent of modern welding technology, it was a primary tool of metal workers. When I read the definition, the meaning of why this came to my mind was simple. It is the definition of life in a nutshell. Life is an anvil, strongly designed but meant to be simple with a hard surface on which we as humans are struck. Life has to be massive for us to be forged into the best tool of life we can be. Life as hard as it is serves a purpose because as the anvil has to have the highest inertia to cause the internal and external energy we disperse to be more efficiently so we can transfer this energy to our families, especially our children. 
















Have you ever thought of this? We are tools of life and how well we do is how we are forged with the Master’s strength. Until life has its anvil effect on us, and the forging process begins, we are simply pieces of life yet to be shaped into the finished product. When we see people who have become successful and I am not necessarily talking about celebrities, we don’t see the struggles or in other words, the forging. Somehow, we are only aware of the finished product. 

Now for the deeper thought…..How many blows and how much pounding were spent on each person who has made it in life? Maybe the difference is the ability to both bend and take some life pounding or to just give up? I heard a great story and song this morning about the man who had lost everything except his wife. His five children and his wealth and home all sacrificed and the words came to him, “All is well within my Soul”. How many blows on the anvil does it take? I am not sure and I don’t think anyone has that answer. What I do feel is we have to have a willing soul and faith to see us as finished products of God.


DAILY FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:

Ecclesiasticus 38:28

The smith also sitting by the anvil, and considering the iron work, the vapour of the fire wasteth his flesh, and he fighteth with the heat of the furnace: the noise of the hammer and the anvil is ever in his ears, and his eyes look still upon the pattern of the thing that he maketh; he setteth his mind to finish his work, and watcheth to polish it perfectly:

(c) copyright 2012-2016 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission. Third party material is referenced to original location for credit source.

TODAY THE WORDS are A COAT OF MANY COLORS



TODAY THE WORDS are A COAT OF MANY COLORS. A few years ago, I received a message from a new Facebook friend, Tomylin Head with a video of her singing a song she wrote. Her songs are so personally moving and unique, for some reason my mind went to another songwriter Dolly Parton who is unique too and writes songs directly from the heart so here is the message with a duo thanks to both of them. 
When, and it is still on a CD in my car, I listen to Dolly sing “Coat of Many Colors“; my heart is there with her at the school with her coat on wearing it so proudly, only to be ridiculed and mocked. Have you ever listened to this song? Dolly made a movie “Coat of Many Colors” which is a phenomenal movie with one of our hometown celebrities, Jennifer Nettles stars as Dolly’s mother. This is a watch me movie with tear jerking visuals of how people can be mean and turn around their lives. When I hear people complain, and I am not saying that a lot of people are not struggling today. I also hear people complain who have so much more than even I had growing up We fared so much better than so many others and I guess that is the focus of this message. Without scolding, but trying to open some of our eyes, as to how much better life is for the majority of people in our country. 
Yes, we have economy problems but what if it was like it was during the depression? Yes, we have soldiers fighting in foreign countries; what if we were the families only now receiving the remains of their loved ones from wars like World War II, Korean War, or Vietnam War? Yes, we still have poverty; and with a few governmental changes of where our tax dollars go; our American hungry children could be fed instead of funding rebels in another country. Yes, we have people intent on moving God out of places and if the majority of Christians stood up and would stand firm; God hasn’t left; He is waiting for us to ask Him to show His Glorious Face. My summarization is with all of us working together for the needed changes; we can have a positive YES in our lives from changing how we look at our lives.
If we realize, in the midst of everyone complaining; we started praising God for all of our blessings; life would begin to sparkle and gain meaning in all of the little things we seem to take for granted. I, myself, find myself not praising enough for being able to move; breathe, laugh, work, and enjoy the life God gave us. Instead of complaining about “A coat of many colors” may we shout praises we have a coat which has been made with love! I am preaching to myself in this message; but if you can feel the meaning behind it; God has just blessed you too. Live life; love life, and live life to the fullest by counting your blessings instead of your miseries.

DAILY FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:
Genesis 37:1-10                     
Jacob lived in the land of his father’s sojournings, in the land of Canaan. These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was pasturing the flock with his brothers. He was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives. And Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father. Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him. Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more. …
(c) copyright 2012-2016 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission. Third party material is sourced to original location for reference credit.



IT’S ALL ABOUT COMFORT

When I think of total comfort, this baby sleeping comes to mind.

TODAY IT IS ALL ABOUT COMFORT with me. Do you feel the same? I used to dress with the latest fashion, the highest height in my shoes, and my hair had to be perfect. To be real, I haven’t stopped doing this, but I do it less often. I escape into my writing world and comfort is part of my regime. When comfortable, creative juices flow into my words and it is easier to imagine a perfect world of imperfect people blending their lives together in a perfect love of accepting imperfections in each other. This allows me to recognize the need to be comfortable not only in my clothes and accessories, but in all segments of my life. Let’s get our comfy clothes, and environment and discuss how comfort plays a great part in our happy lives.

As an interior stylist (in a past life), before I would start to help a person with their home, I would ask a simple set of questions:
When you arrive home, what is the first thing you do. Do you walk on in with the shoes you have on? If you take your shoes off, do you replace them with another pair for the house or do you go barefoot? Do you keep on the same clothes or do you change?” 

To some of you, it must be a crazy set of questions. I can assure you it is the most important information to decide the ambiance of a home. Here is why:

1) A person who takes off their shoes at the door can be more informal and choose a warmer, comfy chair arrangement, especially if they go barefoot or slippers or;
2) This same person may be ultra organized, clean, and an “everything has a purpose and everything in its place” and this is determined if they change to other shoes other than slippers. This person normally decorates with a more formal setting.
3) Changing clothes is a signal for either a highly responsible, full of pride person who takes very good care of their clothing and will feel the same about quality in their home furnishings or:
4) Or if they get into the most comfortable, non binding older clothes, they are people who desire the heavier, softer, even recliner folks.

Once I asked these questions, I had a good grasp of who I was helping. It made it easier to guide them into their particular style. As further proof, watch people and observe if a couple wearing casual, non binding jeans or similar garb walk into a restaurant and see a more formal setting with the white tablecloths, linen napkins, and suited servers. See if the same couple walking into a nice but more casual restaurant will have a less stressed attitude. We, as people, are reflections of our “comfort level”. 








(C) COPYRIGHT 2012-2016 Arline Miller with rights and privileges reserved. Third party material referenced for credit source.

TODAY IT IS ALL ABOUT MOMENTUM



TODAY IT IS ALL ABOUT MOMENTUM.  When we think of momentum, we probably think in terms of speed and motion. We think of athletes having a lot of momentum to endure the race, the game, the trials and practice sessions. We also associate them as being fit physically and mentally to enable the achievement of high momentum. This is mandatory for them to “stay on top” of their game or event. People assume they come from different genes to maintain such high and fast momentum. Inherited genes may play a part in their make up, but when I see fit, lean athletes with their parents; I wonder! 



Here is an article on Momentum from:
Momentum
PHYSICS


Momentum, product of the mass of a particle and its velocity. Momentum is a vector quantity; i.e., it has both magnitude and direction. Isaac Newton’s second law of motion states that the time rate of change of momentum is equal to the force acting on the particle. See Newton’s laws of motion.
The momentum of any collection of particles is equal to the vector sum of the individual momenta. According to Newton’s third law, the particles exert equal and opposite forces on one another, so any change in the momentum of one particle is exactly balanced by an equal and opposite change of the momentum of another particle. Thus, in the absence of a net external force acting on a collection of particles, their total momentum never changes; this is the meaning of the law of conservation of momentum. See also conservation law; angular momentum.

From Newton’s second law it follows that, if a constant force acts on a particle for a given time, the product of force and the time interval (the impulse) is equal to the change in the momentum. Conversely, the momentum of a particle is a measure of the time required for a constant force to bring it to rest.

My reference to momentum is not so much physical  momentum as I am writing about individual momentum as it relates to our life in general. I understand that most people are not truly optimistic as a general rule. It would help if more people would exercise more positive assertion or “momentum of life”. I love to see posts from people who find a great reason to live, work, play, love and care. I have always respected people who keep the negative to themselves or ones that are close to them and when I see them, they have a smile on their face. This is the momentum, or the velocity thrust into living and meeting the challenges on a daily basis. These are the strong “athletes” of life. They endure, they excel, they fall and get up again, they run until they are so tired they have to walk, and they love with the strength of Hercules but with the gentleness of the meekest lamb. 





Now for the deeper thought…..How is our momentum when we are faced with challenges? Do we sink or stand taller in our faith, our work, our family and our friends? Warp speed is how we need to rise when things go wrong. We should welcome when it is us that others call when they are struggling to share our strength with them and most of all, with a smile and an open heart. God loves heroes, as He has set the example of The Greatest Hero of All!






DAILY FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:

Isaiah 41:10 

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(c) copyright 2012-2016 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission. Third party material is referenced with original location for credit source.