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"Arch Aglow" ​by Linda Kinney

Winter Category

This 11" x 14" (27.94 x 35.56 cm) oil painting was inspired by the childhood home place of a friend in Michigan. There is beauty in everything and sometimes we must look past the hard times. Winters in cold climates are always a challenge, no matter one's age. When I saw the photograph of this road, it brought to mind such times in my own life, as I tried to work or get somewhere by foot, walking down such a road as this. I remember the things that made it a good experience for me, a happy memory. Surely, there would be more such opportunities and I want always in every situation to find a reason to anticipate rather than be disheartened when it approaches.The golden hues of the trees, as the afternoon sun shown on the

The golden hues of the trees, as the afternoon sun shown on them, were so bright that I felt the need for sunglasses. Their colors made the trees rich in value and priceless, as indeed they are. All the animal tracks in the snow became a game as I tried to determine which animals may have been there prior to me. They, too, must have been in a hurry to get home to a warm place out of the cold and wind, as their family anxiously wondered why it was taking so long for that animal to bring home their dinner. I looked at all the different tire tracks and thought of the vehicles that had passed by taking people here and there for whatever reason.

One day I saw a man riding his bicycle. When he stopped for a quick chat, he told me this was his normal route every day back and forth to work. He pulled a piece of pound cake wrapped in a napkin from his pocket and gave it to me. I thanked him as he was quickly on his way.

I have learned that hardships are given to us as a blessing, both for the one experiencing the trial and others that cross their path. If I was not in whatever situation, there would be no opportunity for someone to share kindness. When I was young, I thought God was trying to teach me something and it was all about me. I thought I should be strong and decline offers of help. But, I have discovered that life is never about me. It is about everyone and how we all interact. Declining offers of kindness deprive the giver of a blessing. In the same manner, I should always look for opportunities to be a giver, especially when I have little to give. It is not the gift, but the love with which it is given.

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