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Sawtooth Range at Twin Lakes

Originally uploaded by Kiki Karia.

Thursday morning the day welcomed us with crystal clear skies. The Sawtooth range was blazing against the Cerulean sky. Mike and I took several pictures before we walked over to the Village Café for breakfast. As we began to pray over our meal, our waitress Kathy, started to ask us a question before she realized that we were saying grace. She apologized, and after we said grace, she later came back and told us how good it was to see someone still praying for their food. We told her that we have been doing it for 30 years now. She remarked that she and her husband have been saying grace for 36 years. I asked her if that was how long she had been married. Kathy said that they were married for 37 years but the first year, they did not yet see a need to say grace. The bible says in everything to give thanks to God. He has provided so much, and we never want to be remiss in thanking God for all his blessings.
After breakfast, we returned to our room and prepared for our hike to Barney Lake. It took us about 20 minutes to get our hiking gear and backpacks loaded, and then we hit the trail. It was 10:00 AM. Barney Lake is a four-mile hike with a 1,300 foot elevation gain. We had seen pictures of it on Google Earth, and it appeared to be a serene alpine lake. So off we went. We saw very few people on the trail. The walk to the trail head was about a mile, and from there the trail was a gradual meander up the countryside A young couple passed us by early in the hike. They were loaded down with large backpacks and camping gear. They looked to be doing some serious hiking. We asked them if they were going to Barney Lake. They said yes. We wished them well. That was the last we saw of them. The initial hiking trail led us through a tranquil pine forest. We heard birds chirping and twittering in the treetops, a good sign that there were no bears or other predators nearby. When we had checked in yesterday, the desk clerk had told us that there were lots of bears around. So I, of course, was wary. About a half mile into the trail, there were several signs describing the area, including a map. We were entering the Hoover Wilderness area of Humboldt/Toiyabe Forest. I was just getting over a respiratory infection, so the exertion from uphill hiking did aggravate my airways, and I did cough a lot on this hike. The visitors guide indicated that this hike was a moderate to severe one. But in talking to some of the locals, they had told us that the first three miles of the hike were a gradual elevation gain, and the last mile would be a little harder.
After going through the pine forest, the trail seemed to open up into a wide meadow with sage brush everywhere. The Sawtooth Range gazed down at us with a lofty air. There were great photo opportunities here. We passed through a couple of aspen forests and eventually stopped at an area that had several rocks of good seating quality where we rested for a few minutes. The weather today was probably in the 60’s, but when you’re hiking, it sometimes heats up quickly from all the exertion. So I eventually shed my jacket. About noon, we ran across a hiker and his German Shepherd dog on the trail. He was returning from Barney Lake. We asked him how the hike was. He replied that it wasn’t too bad. There were some switchbacks and an aspen forest ahead, but it was well worth the hike for all the beautiful scenery he saw. He said we probably had another mile and a half to go before we reached Barney Lake. Shortly after that, the trail started climbing more dramatically, and we began to encounter several switchbacks. They were not bad at all compared to some of the switchback trails we have hiked in Yosemite. After rounding one switchback, we were rewarded with an eagle’s eye view of Twin Lakes. Wow! It was amazing that we had climbed that high! We still had a ways to go though before reaching our destination of Barney Lake. At this point, the trail seemed to narrow as well as increase in difficulty. We reached the point where the trail traversed along the side of a high rock cliff with many cracks and crevasses in it. This was a perfect place for mountain lions to prey. It was unnerving for me, and I prayed and asked God to protect us. We had prayed earlier in the hike, but I felt I needed an extra boost of faith! After we made it past this rock wall, the trail led us into another aspen forest, and within another ten minutes, we had reached the shores of Barney Lake! I thought we would never get here, but thank God, we made it! This was quite a feat for me as I have asthma and a mild heart condition. But neither of those seemed to affect me. Thank the Lord! We found an old log, sat down, and ate our granola bars for lunch. It was about 1:00 PM. Throughout our hike, clouds had been gathering, and by the time we reached the lake, while there were still blue skies, a considerable amount of clouds were forming over the lake. On the south side of the lake, high above us, loomed a snow-capped mountain peak called Crown Point. It was so majestic and regal looking. Mike and I both spent some time taking pictures. I even tried out my new zoom lens. We did not stay too long as the wind was picking up, and we were getting colder by the minute. It had taken us about three hours to reach Barney Lake. The trip down was much quicker, about two hours.
After resting for a few minutes in our room, we had an early dinner at the village café. Mike ordered the meat loaf dinner again, and I ordered the special, A New York Steak. I haven’t had one of those in a long time. It was a delicious meal. When we exited the café, it was sprinkling outside, and over Twin Lake was a beautiful rainbow. By this time, my legs and feet were beginning to ache from the 8-mile round trip hike. I went back to our room to rest, but Mike, not wanting to miss a great photo opportunity, grabbed his camera and hurried over to the lake. The rainbow was vibrant, and he was able to capture several spectacular photos. There was even a double rainbow! What a great way to end the day, with a reminder of one of God’s promises.

DSC_0261 rainbow

DSC_0192 kare at barney

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time 001

Originally uploaded by Kiki Karia.

The month of May was an eventful and full time for our family. It began with a surprise party for my beloved husband Mike, who turned 50 that month, and it ended with another surprise party for my dear brother-in-law Pete, who also turned 50 in early June. When you’re close to half a century old, one cannot help but reflect on their life and realize how quickly time passes. Time is fleeting; even if you make it to 100. The bible has a bit to say concerning time. James 4:14 says, “Whereas ye know not what [shall be] on the morrow. For what [is] your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” Yes, time is short.
Another scripture that comes to my mind is found in Ephesians 5:16. It says, “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” The word redeem means, “to buy up for one’s self, for one’s use. a) to make wise and sacred use of every opportunity for doing good, so that zeal and well doing are as it were the purchase money by which we make the time our own. What is time? A season,” a time in which something is seasonable). So redeeming the time is making the most of every opportunity, turning each to the best benefit since none can be recalled if missed.
Even Jesus seemed to sense the urgency of time.
JOHN 9:4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
JOHN 12:35 Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you:

The apostle Paul also possessed an awareness of time when he said:
ROM 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now [it is] high time to awake out of sleep: for now [is] our salvation nearer than when we believed.
To the church in Corinth, Paul said:
1CO 7:29 But this I say, brethren, the time [is] short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;
1CO 7:30 And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;
1CO 7:31 And they that use this world, as not abusing [it]: for the fashion of this world passeth away.
One of Moses’ prayers recorded in the Psalms was “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)
It is interesting to notice how that wisdom is linked to redeeming the time. In the very framework of Paul’s admonishing in Ephesians Chapter 5, he said,
“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord [is].

In Colossians 4:5 Paul said, “Walk in wisdom toward those that are without, redeeming the time.”
So much of what we do today is just a squandering of time. We do not own a television, but how much time is wasted watching TV, videos or surfing the Internet, that could be spent drawing closer to God in prayer, studying the word of God, teaching a bible study to someone or helping a person in need?

Paul said that the Ephesian church should redeem the time because the days were evil. Our inherent sin nature has a propensity towards evil. Those who would never consider committing adultery will take pleasure in the account of one who does. An individual who wouldn’t dream of killing someone will watch with enthrallment on TV or other medium as actors portray murders.
Paul speaks of individuals who take pleasure in those who are doing evil things. Maybe he was pertaining to the theatre of his age, but it is much more true in the entertainment industry today.
I am reminded of a beautiful old song that my sister Carol had in her wedding called “Only One Life”. The chorus says, “Only one life, so soon it will pass, only what’s done for Christ will last.”Only one chance to do His will. So give to Jesus all your days. It’s the only life that pays. When you recall, you have but one life.”
Lord, help us not to misuse the time you have allotted to us. Cleanse our hearts and renew our minds. Give us the wisdom and strength to make each moment of our lives count in drawing closer to you, showing your love, and reaching out to a lost and dying world. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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life_preserver I ran across this entry from my devotional “An Oasis Moment”, and it really spoke to my heart. My hope is that it will bless someone  else as much as it has me.

My Life Preserver

“…when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me…” Psalm 61:2,3

In the state of California, there is a town by the name of San Juan Capistrano. Every year something very amazing takes place there.

On March 19- not a day earlier nor a day later- the swallows (small, swift-flying birds) arriver here, after flying 6,000 miles across the ocean from Argentina. Then, every October, they make the return trip.

For years bird watchers have wondered how these tiny, little birds that cannot swim fly such a long distance non-stop over the ocean. That is, until they discovered their secret. They noticed that every time the swallows begin their long flight, each one picks up a tiny twig that it carries with it over the ocean voyage.

When the swallows become weary and can go no further, they place their twigs on the surface of the water in the vast sea. As they float, they rest upon the twigs, as they become their resting places and life-saving devices.

After they have regained their strength, each swallow picks up its twig and continues its flight until it reaches its destination safely.

What a resting place we, as children of God, have in Jesus Christ. There is a place in Him where He BECOMES your life-not just a part of it. There is a secret place in Him that will keep you afloat when the seas of life get too vast, too big, or too overwhelming for you to handle alone. HE is a secret place, a hiding place, and a resting place. It’s in a dark prayer room, a lonely prayer closet that is away from everyone and all else-but it’s the answer. In that place, do not try to be strong, but learn to be still. Then you will find your refuge in the midst of the never-ending sea, because in this quite, still place, He will strengthen you, change you, and give you a new heart that beats like His, until you have the strength to continue on>

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I thought I would share the following article with everyone. I appreciate what this man did for the Pledge of Allegiance.
docherty30_ph_0499506880_part1

(11-30) 04:00 PST Alexandria, Pa. — The Rev. George M. Docherty, credited with helping to push Congress to insert the phrase “under God” into the Pledge of Allegiance, has died at 97. The Rev. Docherty died on Thanksgiving at his home in central Pennsylvania, according to his wife, Sue Docherty.

She said her husband of 36 years had been in failing health for about three years.

“George said he was going to live to be a hundred and he was determined,” she said in a telephone interview Saturday. “It’s amazing that he was with us this long.”

The Rev. Docherty, then pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, just blocks from the White House, gave a sermon in 1952 saying the pledge should acknowledge God.

He was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and was unfamiliar with the pledge until he heard it recited by his 7-year-old son, Garth.

“I didn’t know what the Pledge of Allegiance was, and he recited it, ‘one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,’ ” the Rev. Docherty recalled in an interview with the Associated Press in 2004. “I came from Scotland, where we said, ‘God save our gracious queen,’ ‘God save our gracious king.’ Here was the Pledge of Allegiance, and God wasn’t in it at all.”

There was little effect from that initial sermon, but he delivered it again Feb. 7, 1954, after learning that President Dwight Eisenhower would be at the church.

The next day, Rep. Charles Oakman, R-Mich., introduced a bill to add the phrase “under God” to the pledge, and a companion bill was introduced in the Senate. Eisenhower signed the law on Flag Day that year.

This article appeared on page B – 6 of the San Francisco Chronicle

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Mike resting on the front deck

Originally uploaded by Kiki Karia.

The Bible says that that God ended his work which He had made, and He rested on the seventh day from all his work which He had made (Genesis 2:2). This was the seventh day of our trip, so it was only right that we spend the day resting. The past six days, we had done a lot of driving, traveling and sightseeing. Now we were going to be staying at one location for the next five days.

We slept in, as people who rest usually do. Later that morning, I fixed us a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs, toasted cinnamon raisin muffins, orange juice, and apple slices with yogurt and granola. Yummy! It was a beautiful sunny day in the redwoods. We spent a good part of the day relaxing on the front deck, reading and taking in the view from this lovely and tranquil location.

There were some resident deer that came near our cabin, and Mike spent some time photographing them. A couple of stellar blue jays were twittering about in nearby trees. Mike laid out some Sun Chips, and made friends quickly with them. It was a leisurely, relaxing day. Mike remarked that he could get used to this. I wonder if retirement would be like this? I spent a considerable amount of time reading and writing in my journal.

I fixed a simple dinner of hamburgers, corn and Weenie Beanies. This slower pace was quite enjoyable. At 7:30, we drove to the registration facility to hear a ranger talk that was scheduled for that night. This is where a Yosemite ranger comes and holds an informal and educational discussion about the national park or whatever topic he chooses. There were about twelve people there, and the ranger had an open forum, allowing us to discuss or ask him any questions we would like. He threatened that if we ran out of questions to ask him, he would bring out his ukulele and make us sing songs. That never did happen. Our group had many questions, and this friendly and loquacious ranger was blessed with the gift of gab. He rambled on about the various topics and questions that were posed. It was quite interesting hearing about the history of this amazing location. He talked about Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir’s travels to this area as well as the problem of overcrowding in the park. I learned that the grounds where we were staying, “Redwoods in Yosemite”, is mostly private property, and although it is surrounded by Yosemite National Park, it is not part of the national park service. We drove back to our cabin about an hour later, with our heads a little bit fuller with knowledge of this area.

Deer near our cabin

Deer near our cabin

Stellar blue jay near our cabin

Blue jay near our cabin

Mike reposing on the front deck

Mike reposing on the front deck

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a 2008 summer road trip 214

Originally uploaded by Kiki Karia.

We awoke around 7:00 AM to a clear, warm, sunny day in Nevada. By about 8:30, we had checked out of our hotel, but not before I encountered what I thought was a large black widow spider in our bathroom. As I was doing my hair, I noticed some movement above me. I looked up and saw a large, black, creepy-crawly creature inside the light fixture above the sink! EEK! I showed it to Mike, who said it was just a cricket. Nevertheless, I am glad it was in the light fixture and not hopping around in the bathroom or on me!!

I neglected to mention that when we were driving around the town of Beatty the night before, I had noticed a street with a peculiar name…”Beyond Hope”. And the only house on this street was an old, worn down mobile home, neglected and in sad need of repair. I had to take a picture of this, not only because of the peculiar name of the street, but because I thought about how hopeless a person’s life is without God in it, and how thankful I was to have Jesus living in me, which the bible says is the “hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

We left Beatty around 9:00 AM, and within about a half hour, we were driving down towards Death Valley. What an awesome view from this vantage point. Even though it was hazy, the view heading down into the valley, which is at or below sea level, is pretty impressive. The temperature when we first began descending was 93ºF. When we reached Badwater, the lowest point in the contiguous United States at 282 feet below sea level, the temperature had risen to 105º. Whew!

Since it was hazy all through the valley due to the fires in southern California, we opted to forego the drive to Dante’s View, which is a breathtaking vista of the valley floor from an elevation of 5,000 feet. Instead, we stopped at the visitor center and spent quite a bit of time observing their displays and perusing their bookstore. This was quite an impressive visitor center. While there, we asked the rangers if they knew about the large berm we had seen in Beatty the day before. They told us that it was an old mine. We also learned that the Military had performed nuclear bomb testing near Beatty back in 1951. The rangers also told us that the Military tests and flies their jets through that area. It would’ve been spectacular to see the Stealth jet flying through while we were there. We also learned that there are many runways in Nevada that were used for test pilots such as Chuck Yeager as emergency landings when they were testing various airplanes. Our brain cells were energized with all the new things we had learned.

We headed to Lone Pine around 2:00 PM and reached our destination three hours later. How excited we were to once again see the majestic Mount Whitney and all the surrounding ranges standing sentinel over the Owens Valley. We spent a lengthy bit of time at their visitor center asking questions and reading their books and maps. We learned more information on the big earthquake that hit this area in 1872. This temblor was estimated to be around 8.2. It caused a lake to dry up, and a new lake to form. We passed this lake (Lake Diaz) while driving around on the south side of Lone Pine. Many geo-scientists who have studied the area theorize that quakes similar to the 1872 Lone Pine event are responsible for creating the Owens Valley..

We ate dinner at our favorite Mexican-American restaurant. It’s a hole-in-the-wall place, but their food is muy bueno! The White Mountain Range to the East was aglow with sunset’s last rays of the day. It sure was good to be back in California!

Mike at Badwater

Mike at Badwater

Mesquite Dunes

Mesquite Dunes

Karen at hot, dry, desolate Badwater

Karen at hot, dry, desolate Badwater

Our Motel in Lone Pine - White Mountains in background

Our Motel in Lone Pine - White Mountains in background

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I found the following article to be quite interesting. I believe most people would agree that there is an inherent power in music. It is used in almost every facet of life, from advertising, media, social gatherings to praise and worship. The influence of music is undeniably real. In the Bible, it mentions that when an evil spirit troubled King Saul, it was David, the shepherd boy who played his harp for the King, who was refreshed, and the evil spirit departed from him (1 Samuel 16:23). Another example is found in 2 Chronicles 20:21-25. The dreaded Ammonites were coming against King Jehoshaphat and the children of Judah with a mighty army. King Jehoshaphat was afraid, but he did the right thing. He proclaimed a fast and then turned to God and prayed and sought God’s help. The next day, instead of fighting in a battle, King Jehoshaphat appointed singers to praise the beauty of holiness. And as they began to sing and praise God, The Lord set ambushments, and their enemies ended up destroying each other! The battle was won for Judah without them even lifting a sword. They won by singing God’s praises! I can’t begin to tell you the times in my life where music has lifted my spirits. So is it any surprise that music, especially the kind that praises and worships God, might have healing power? What think ye?

By KAREN MATTHEWS, Associated Press WriterSat May 31, 9:17 AM ET

Noted neurologist Oliver Sacks has found common ground with the pastor of Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church: Both men believe in the healing power of music.

Sacks, the best-selling author of “Awakenings” and “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat,” was to share the church stage Saturday with the famed gospel choir as part of the inaugural World Science Festival, a five-day celebration of science taking place in New York this week.

“It should be an exciting and unusual event,” Sacks said in an interview this week. “I will talk about the therapeutic and beneficent power of music as a physician, and then their wonderful choir will perform. … And the audience will make what they can of it.”

Sacks’ most recent book is “Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain,” which examines the relationship between music and the brain, including its healing effect on people suffering from such diseases as Tourette’s syndrome, Parkinson’s, autism and Alzheimer’s.

“Even with advanced dementia, when powers of memory and language are lost, people will respond to music,” he said.

A Baptist church is an unusual venue for Sacks, a professor of clinical neurology and clinical psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center who was brought up Jewish but is not a religious believer.

But the central role of music in church makes Abyssinian a good place to discuss the myriad ways that music affects the human brain, said Sacks, who was played by Robin Williams in the movie version of “Awakenings.”

Abyssinian’s pastor, the Rev. Calvin O. Butts III, said the choir is looking forward to performing with Sacks. He noted that music plays a central role in the healing power of prayer.

“What we have been studying … is that when you pray, there’s actually a physiological change in the body,” he said. “Music is very much a part of this. There are certain notes that generate in the human body a kind of peacefulness.” Click Here to read the rest of this article.

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