Archive for the ‘Human Interest’ Category



This past Christmas, we celebrated the birth of Jesus with a big family reunion. There were 26 of us gathered together at our small home, including a few friends. The next day, the entire family embarked on a 5+ hour drive to Yosemite National Park, where we stayed for a few days in a beautiful 6-bedroom, 4 bath house in the Redwoods. We played games, joked, laughed, cooked, ate, prayed, relaxed, did some hiking, viewed God’s awesome creation, and shared some of our life experiences with one another. There was a lot of love. It was a wonderful time, and we hated to see it end. This was one of the best family reunions I had ever experienced. The times we had together were precious. And even though almost two months have passed since then, the fond memories are etched deeply in my heart.

I wondered, what made this reunion so special? We had had other great reunions before, but this was the first family reunion in which a sibling was missing. An empty chair and plate were at the family table this time. Our dear brother Tommy Joe has been gone over six years now. So this reunion became more dear to my heart because I am further realizing the brevity of life. The bible says, “Whereas you do not know what [will happen] tomorrow. For what [is] your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. James 4:14. This made me appreciate our time together even more.

From birth, our families are the first social circle we have. My heart contains a priceless treasure chest full of family memories and times spent together. Not all the memories are happy, but most are. The good and the bad, the happy and sad; all combine to make us who we are. Reunion; every heart longs for it. We experience reunions on a daily basis. We leave our homes. Some go to school, some to work, some to play. We return to one another in the evening; content that all the family is together again and safe.

There is another reunion coming where a trumpet will sound, and we who are in Christ will rise up to be reunited with family, loved ones and best of all, with Jesus. There will be no more sorrow or pain. And God shall wipe all our tears away. Scripture confirms it. Many songs have been composed about it. My heart longs for it. What a glorious day that will be!

But I would not have you to be ignorant brethren concerning them which are asleep that you sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Wherefore comfort one another with these words. I Thessalonians 4:13-18



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One of the definitions of the word “filter” is: “any substance, such as cloth, paper, porous porcelain, or a layer of charcoal or sand, through which liquid or gas is passed to remove suspended impurities or to recover solids.”

In our human bodies, we have several filters; organs, whose main purpose is to filter out impurities in our blood. Here are some vital filters:

The Kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of a fist. They are located just below the rib cage, one on each side of the spine.
Every day, the two kidneys filter about 120 to 150 quarts of blood to produce about 1 to 2 quarts of urine, composed of wastes and extra fluid.
The kidneys are important because they keep the composition, or makeup, of the blood stable, which lets the body function.
Each kidney is made up of about a million filtering units called nephrons. The nephron includes a filter, called the glomerulus, and a tubule.
The nephrons work through a two-step process. The glomerulus lets fluid and waste products pass through it; however, it prevents blood cells and large molecules, mostly proteins, from passing. The filtered fluid then passes through the tubule, which sends needed minerals back to the bloodstream and removes wastes.
The Liver is a large, meaty organ that sits on the right side of the belly. Weighing about 3 pounds, the liver is reddish-brown in color and feels rubbery to the touch. Normally you can’t feel the liver, because it’s protected by the rib cage.

The liver’s main job is to filter the blood coming from the digestive tract, before passing it to the rest of the body. The liver also detoxifies chemicals and metabolizes drugs. As it does so, the liver secretes bile that ends up back in the intestines. The liver also makes proteins important for blood clotting and other functions.

The Spleen is an organ in the upper far left part of the abdomen, to the left of the stomach. The spleen varies in size and shape between people, but it’s commonly fist-shaped, purple, and about 4 inches long. Because the spleen is protected by the rib cage, you can’t easily feel it unless it’s abnormally enlarged.

The spleen plays multiple supporting roles in the body. It acts as a filter for blood as part of the immune system. Old red blood cells are recycled in the spleen, and platelets and white blood cells are stored there. The spleen also helps fight certain kinds of bacteria that cause pneumonia and meningitis.

When I read about these organs and their miraculous role in filtering our blood and keeping us in good health, I can truly say, along with the Psalmist, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully [and] wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And [that] my soul knows very well.” Psalms 139:14 (NKJV)

Just as our bodies need filters to protect our blood, organs, and ultimately, our lives, so we need a spiritual filter to sift out the impurities from our souls; impurities that come from the world (1John 2:15), the devil (1 Peter 5:8), and yes, even our own selves. Jeremiah 17:9 (KJV) The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it. One of the most vital filters that God has provided to us is His word (The Holy Bible).

Consider the following scriptures:

Psalm 12:6 (KJV) 6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

Proverbs 30:5 (KJV)
Every word of God [is] pure: he [is] a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

The word pure in this verse is the Hebrew word Tsaraph, which means:
to smelt, refine, test
to smelt, refine
to test
to test (and prove true)
smelter, refiner, goldsmith (participle)
(Niphal) to be refined
(Piel) to be a refiner
refiner (participle)

If we filter our choices through the word of God, we will prosper. The Lord has provided this navigation for us. “Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105. If we do not filter our decisions through the Word of God, they will chip away at our Christianity. Decisions and choices which may seem trite and harmless can have devastating ramifications if they are not in alignment with God’s will. How imperative it is to guard our hearts and minds with the Word of God. It is the revealed will of God, and a proven tool for filtering out lies and exposing the truth.

Proverbs 4:23 says, ‘Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it [spring] the issues of life.”

Ephesians 5:26-27 (KJV)
That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.


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On November 25, our third grandchild, Simon Richard Mester, made his entrance into the world.  Weighing in at 8LBS 5 ounces and 20 inches long, this little bundle of joy has already won our hearts.  It was love at first sight.  His siblings, Malachi, and Adelaide, are now enjoying the roles of big brother and big sister.  They are excited to have a new member in the family.  Thank God for a healthy baby boy.  Mother and baby are doing well.

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It was December 22, 1982; early in the evening. I was preparing to make lasagna for some friends who were coming to dinner. Suddenly, the lights and power abruptly ceased! We learned later that 70 MPH winds from a storm had caused this interruption. Power companies estimated that more than two million homes and businesses in California, Nevada and Arizona were without electricity as a result. As I gazed out our window, nothing but blackness met my eyes. The darkness was unsettling. Something I had always taken for granted was now gone. I began to ponder the vital part that light plays in our lives. Photosynthesis, for example; the process by which plants absorb sunlight and turn that energy into food. would not be possible without light. Our existence depends on it.

Just as light is necessary for natural survival, so the light of truth is essential for our spiritual well-being. Looking back, we can see how God placed lights; special people in our lives to guide us along the way. Our parents were the first. They nurtured us and illuminated our lives with good moral values, discipline, deep love and more. We owe them so much. Then there were others. Teachers, friends, ministers and pastors enlightened our paths as we left the nest. One light in particular who ignited our young lives was Lydia Miraflor-Thompson and her family. Lydia became a spiritual Mom to Mike and I. She took me in as an adopted daughter after I moved to California. Lydia taught us how to pray and walk close with God. Her young, twin grandsons showed me the importance of hiding the scriptures in my heart when they recited the 23rd Psalm to me. Because of Lydia, we learned to use wisdom. Her daughter Rachel and son-in-law Tom, were matron of honor and best man, and her daughter Evalani, sang in our wedding. All of her eight children and their families have been a blessing to us.


The greatest Light of all, Jesus, came into the world and gave Himself so that whosoever would believe on Him should not abide in darkness (John 12:46). This light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehends it not (John 1:4-5). His light cannot be overcome by darkness. Whoever follows Him shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life. He is the Light of the World. The wonder of Christmas is its simplicity. This story holds no pomp and circumstance. Just the simplicity of the Divine. It is humbling to recognize that our human reasoning is often inaccurate, in that which matters. But it’s a good revelation to have. Because then we face the truth that God created us with limited perception, needing His direction, needing His Star in the darkness of night, to guide us. This Christmas, may the light of His life illuminate your heart to become a light to others.

Just one little flame in the darkness,
just one little flicker of light;
Just one small glimmer of brightness,
dispelling the darkness of night.
But, oh, what God did to the darkness
with one little flicker of light;
Oh, what God did with its brightness
When it touched just one other life;
Then two lights reached out with new brightness,
And soon there were four, and then more–
So quickly His light conquered darkness
as new lights flared up by the score.
No longer just one light in the darkness,
no longer just one tiny flame,
Now the world’s aglow with His brightness,
Since the Light of the world, Jesus came.



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Through the busy-ness of the Christmas holiday, I neglected to mention that our eleven-month old grandson Malachi (Kai), played baby Jesus in the Sunday school play at children’s church last month. Dressed in his little white homespun robe, he looked like a sweet, baby angel.

He was in the scene where the wise men came from afar and presented Jesus with their gifts (Matthew 2:1-12). I was mildly concerned how Malachi would do in his role since he sometimes cries when placed in unfamiliar surroundings. However, I should not have worried. Without any practice whatsoever, Kai did great! As he sat by Mary and Joseph (played by Angel and Joey Ladd), the wise men entered the dwelling and placed their gifts in front of Malachi. He looked at them and gave a big smile, his blue eyes just beamed with joy. My heart soared! I was so proud of him.

And so, Kai’s grandpa jokingly stated that his acting career was launched and ended in one day. After all, he played the best person in history. What else is left for him to do? After the play ended, all the kids swarmed around Malachi, trying to touch his head and hold his hand. Without trying, he had won their hearts.

It was a special day that we will always remember.

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Today, for the first time, our grandson Malachi James Mester climbed out of his crib. One minute, his daddy heard him over the monitor contentedly babbling and saying, “Da Da Da, and the next second, there was a thud and a cry of distress as if to say, “Help me, I’m not sure what I’ve gotten myself into”. When Papa Jeremy walked into his room, Malachi was no longer in his crib, but sprawled on the carpeted floor. A pretty amazing feat for an eleven month old who does not yet walk or stand on his own. Thank God he wasn’t hurt, but his little world and ours had been forever changed.
You see, from the moment a baby is born begins the long, arduous process of breaking him/her from dependence on mommy and daddy and eventually becoming a mature, responsible adult. Malachi is one baby step closer to that after today. In escaping the safe confines of his crib, he had entered a new world; one which isn’t as secure as his cradle.
Now Mommy and Daddy will have to lower his crib mattress to prolong the inevitable as well as childproofing not only his room, but the entire home. For with each new feat of independence comes a whole new set of risks and ensuing safety precautions to be taken.
My grandmother heart beats bittersweet today. I’m already missing those early weeks and months of caring for Malachi and feeling so needed when he was a helpless newborn. Now he feeds himself, crawls, drinks from his sippy cup and performs a whole host of other skills which he has learned in such a short time. The songwriter Wayne Watson summed it up in his song Watercolor Ponies, “Oh the pleasure of watching the children grow is mixed with a bitter cup, of knowing the watercolor ponies will one day ride away.” I guess that’s how I’m feeling today.
But at the same time, my heart beams with gratefulness for what happened today. As much as I would like to keep my grandson little and dependent and protect him from all harm, I would never want to deprive him of the potential to grow and dream and experience all that God has for him in this life.
So tonight Malachi, as you’re sleeping and dreaming your baby dreams, know that your Grandma Kiki loves you and rejoices with you in each new discovery and victory you attain to in life. I am here to support, guide, and augment your parents’ training. You are always in my heart and in my prayers.

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He Has Come!

The face of innocence

Originally uploaded by Kiki Karia.

It seems like 2010 has flown by in the blink of an eye. I remember last December at this time, the excitement was mounting in our lives because our first grandchild was soon to be born. After nine long months of waiting in eager anticipation, our first grandchild finally arrived! Malachi (Kai) James Mester entered this world on January 11, 2010, weighing in at 9-½ LBS and 21 inches long. At long last, he has come. A new era begins in our lives, one that has transformed us forever!

This blond-haired, blue-eyed baby boy has brought so much joy to our lives this year. He coos, he laughs, he claps, and he squeals with delight! Seeing life through the eyes of Malachi brings us a fresh sense of wonder and awe, because his eyes reflect sweet innocence and love. And everything is brand new to him. Mike and I have held Kai and wept tears of joy and thankfulness to God for his young life. We’re so grateful to be a part of him. Malachi’s name means “My Messenger”. And we hope that one day he will proclaim the message of salvation and hope to longing hearts.

Angelic messengers announced the birth of a very special baby boy two millennia ago. His nativity was the most pivotal event in human history. Jesus, this child of new beginnings had come. Just as a new era had begun for us with Kai’s birth, an era that transcends all others began with the birth of Jesus. Born a child and yet a king, a lowly manger embraced God’s almighty heart.

Scriptures claim His origin had been from old; from everlasting. The Timeless One had stepped into time; for a purpose. He came into a world filled with utter darkness to give us light, and redeem us from the curse of sin and the ensuing darkness that had reigned in our hearts since the fall of the first man, Adam.
God in His magnificent wisdom, robed Himself in flesh, walked among us, and through His sacrifice on the cross, He reconciled mankind back to Himself. This priceless gift of salvation is now available to whosoever will follow His call, a call that began with a baby’s cry; who knocked on the world’s heart and gently asked to come in.

Is it any wonder that Jesus said except we be converted and become as little children we would not enter the Kingdom of Heaven? (Matt.18:3) What is it about a small child that appeals to us? Is it their innocence, simple trust and wide-eyed wonder? Or perhaps it’s their total dependence on us for their care? Could it be that through the eyes of a child, we catch a glimpse of heaven? Jesus said, “For of such is the Kingdom of God”.
Let Jesus change your heart today. He is real. Turn from the old life. Let Him make you new. Be filled with His wonder. Be touched by His peace. Believe in the miracle. He Has Come!

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While vacationing in Yosemite earlier this month, Mike and I hiked to the top of Vernal and Nevada Falls. The slideshow above shows the highlights from our hike. It took us about 4 hours to reach the top of Nevada Falls. On the way via the Mist Trail, we were drenched, along with all the other hikers. The scenery was fabulous, a reminder of God's glorious creation. It only took us 1-1/2 hours to hike down, and by that time, we were exhausted, knees and joints aching, but happy that we did it! Yes, you can still hike, even in your 50's! We proved that! Woo Hoo!

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