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Archive for November, 2007

Kisseltoe

Kisseltoe

Originally uploaded by Kiki Karia.

One of my favorite things to do at Christmas time is to spend a little time underneath the mistletoe with my Honey. Two years ago, we had a big Contino family reunion here at our home, and my brother Bobby captured us in action on his camera outside on our deck. I thought I would start off the holiday season with this photo.  I’m so thankful God blessed me with a wonderful husband.

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burnt offering

Originally uploaded by Kiki Karia.

This cartoon is reminiscent of our most recent Thanksgiving, three days ago at my sister Carol’s home. In the Bible days, the priests would sacrifice burnt offerings to God. Well, this Thanksgiving, I had my own burnt offering….my cornbread stuffing!!! I don’t know why the bottom of the pan burned. I’ve used the same pan for many many years when making this stuffing, and it’s always turned out great. Not so this year, I’m afraid. There were several brave ones, myself included, who decided to try the stuffing anyways. My niece Jennifer ending up rushing to the bathroom to spit it out! Although I’ve never smoked, It smelled and tasted like a pack of Virginia Slims.

This poor excuse for stuffing evoked many a gut-wrenching laugh and guffaw from all of us throughout the day and into the evening and proved to be quite a memorable event for us; one Thanksgiving which I’m sure will not be forgotten for a long, long time!

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Pond pictures 008

Originally uploaded by Kiki Karia.

No photographer was there to capture this incredible event, as it occurred under cover of darkness this past Friday night. But we all heard the humming sound when Mike flipped on the switch that activated the water pump. Within seconds we could hear the sounds of running water as it cascaded down each stone tier into the pond….Heartspring Pond, as we named it. With the flashlight, we were able with our limited night vision to view our two falls merrily skipping down the stones and abandoning themselves over the rock precipice down into our little pond below. We looked forward to the next day when we could photograph our new falls.

Saturday dawned dreary and rainy. It showered all day, and the pond ran as well. This was not a good picture-taking moment. But today, Sunday, arrived in golden sunshine and illuminated our little pond and falls with radiant light. After months of planning and toiling, Mike and Jeremy can now rejoice in the work of their hands…Heartspring falls are running! Much thanks to all those who helped with digging and moving the big stone.

The new music we now hear outside our family room door and windows is a song no musician could compose. We almost feel like we’re in Yosemite by the Merced River or near Happy Isles when we listen to our falls running. What is it about running water that calms the spirit and ushers in tranquility? Caleb’s daughter must’ve sensed it too, for she asked her father for a blessing; in addition to the property he had given her, she requested springs of water. And being the generous father that he was, he gave her the upper and lower springs (Joshua 15:17-19). Of course water is necessary to sustain life, and best of all, it quenches our thirst.

Jesus spoke of water to a Samaritan woman who was drawing from a well. He said, …”Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:13-14) In another place, He said, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive…(John 7:37-39).

I remember a time in my life where I was so empty inside. My soul was thirsty and dry. But Jesus came into my life and filled me with His Spirit. And it was indeed like a well springing up into eternal life! Nothing can satisfy soul thirst like being filled with the Spirit of God.  Now I’m drinking from a well that will never run dry!

The falls cascade over The ROCK

Close up of Falls cascading down The Rock

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Side View of Pond

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Other Side View

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Front View

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Mom’s Favorite

Originally uploaded by Kiki Karia.

When I was growing up, I remember my 5 siblings and I, at different times would ask Mom who her favorite child was. Mom would always respond that we were all her favorites. A wise answer, which still holds today. We still like to tease Mom even now about who her favorite is. Sometimes when I call her on the phone and she answers, I’ll say, “Hi Mom, it’s your favorite.” She just smiles and says how we’re all her favorites. I’m thankful to say that Mom really does love us equally. I have never felt her show any partiality or favoritism towards any of us, which is amazing, considering all the grief I gave her at times. God must’ve saved me first because he knew I needed salvation the most!

I’ve read about some parents in the Bible who showed favoritism towards their children, and the results were devastating! Just read about Joseph in Genesis Chapter 37, and you’ll see what I mean. Talk about a dysfunctional family.

However, I have solved the problem of favoritism in my family. I only had one child. I can say that Jeremy is my favorite son and favorite child. Because he is the only one, I can get away with it and not cause any problems. But I have many nieces and nephews, and I have to honestly say that I love them all equally. Each one is special and unique to me. I know this disappoints my niece Jen, who for years was the only niece and thus the favorite one.

In conclusion, I’m so thankful that our heavenly Father loves us all equally, and that He does not compare us to anyone else.  And I’m so glad to be one of His children.

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THE GALS TURN

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Yesterday two special gals turned a year older.  My sister Carol and her daughter Jennifer both celebrated the day of their births with a small family birthday bash at their humble abode, and I, the big sister, captured the event.  I remember the day, 16 years ago, when Jennifer was born.  Carol’s due date was early November, and she was really hoping that the baby would be born when she was still 28.  But alas, that was not to be.  Carol had a long labor that stretched into the night and wee hours of the morning.  So Jennifer made her arrival on November 5, 1991, Carol’s 29th birthday.  I was so thrilled because for the first time, I was an auntie.  I had waited 31 years for this!  Now Jen is well into her teens, and I have many other nieces and nephews and another due in January.  I’m a content aunt.

I’ve known my sister Carol for 45 years now, and I can truly say that she is one of my dearest and best friends.  It’s such a blessing to have sisters that are also your best friends.  She’s been there with me through thick and thin.  I love her dedication to God and to raising her kids.  She’s a mom, a home-school teacher, a Sunday school teacher, a pastor’s wife, just to name a few of the hats she wears.  She’s witty with words and is an awesome poetess and writer.  I love her sense of humor and especially her laugh.  If you ever get to visit with her, ask to hear her laugh.  It’s hilarious!

Happy birthday Carol and Jen!  I love you both tremendously!

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thomas kinkade

Originally uploaded by Kiki Karia.

Last week when we were vacationing in Yosemite, one day we were riding our bikes around the valley. Yosemite Valley has a large network of bike trails all over the valley, which makes for some very scenic and pleasant rides. This particular day, we were headed back to our room at Curry Village and were stopping at the Sentinel Bridge, a famous spot for photographers because of the awesome view it affords one of Half Dome. As we rode our bikes onto the bridge, we noticed two artists painting pictures. The man was painting Half Dome and the woman was painting some nearby trees. I stood next to the man and was busily engaged in photographing Half Dome. I glanced over at his painting and noticed how really good it was. I was impressed. Then I glanced at his side profile, and something looked very familiar about him. Suddenly, I realized that he had a strong resemblance to Thomas Kinkade, the well-known painter of light. I kept stealing glances to make sure. Then I went over to my husband Mike. “I think that painter is Thomas Kinkade,” I whispered to him. Mike decided to go investigate. As he observed the man’s painting and side profile, he too felt this must be the famous painter. “Excuse me,” Mike said. “Are you Thomas Kinkade?” The man replied, “I just happen to be him.”

Thomas and his wife Nanette were in Yosemite to get away for a while. They had just returned from Boston where Thomas had done a painting of the Red-Sox stadium. Now he and his wife were spending some quality time together. They both were very cordial and friendly. Tom told Mike that this painting he was doing of Half Dome was “just for fun”. Mike mentioned to them that we had met them before at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Vallejo, California, three days before 9/11 happened. A new subdivision called Hidden Brooke was showcasing their new model homes which had been patterned after Thomas Kinkade’s paintings. They were beautiful, and we enjoyed the tour.

Not wanting to infringe any more on their privacy, nor blow their cover, Mike and I headed back to our hotel room. Running into one of our favorite artists in Yosemite certainly made our day!

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Thomas Kinkade and his wife Nanette

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