Archive for the ‘Inspirational’ 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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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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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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Today has been a day of contemplation for me.  I am home alone, recovering from a viral infection in my throat.  When you’re sick and have some down time, it gives you a chance to get off the merry-go-round of life for a moment and commune more with God and with your heart.  That has been the case for me.

Yesterday, when I was in the throes of agony with a swollen throat, aches and pains, I received a phone call from my friend Dana that kind of put things in perspective.  She had called me from the hospital.  I learned that Dana’s heart had stopped beating several times that day. The doctors were getting ready to perform surgery to implant a pacemaker/defibrillator in her chest.  43 years old is relatively young to need this kind of procedure, but such is life.  Sometimes it throws you unexpected twists and turns.  My family’s first pastor and his wife had an unexpected turn in their lives when their youngest daughter Brooke’s husband Wes, was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had to undergo extreme surgery.  The normal that they knew had been forever changed.  These circumstances may surprise us, but God, the Creator of all living sees the end from the beginning.  And He has a purpose for everything that happens in our lives.  “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Our task is to trust the Lord with all our hearts and lean not to our own understanding.  Not always an easy thing to do, but oh how sweet to trust in the Lord and find refuge in His everlasting arms.

Sixteen years ago, I wrote the following poem.  It was born out of a heart of grief due to the unexpected death of my father.  While dwelling here in the shadow lands of life, none of us are exempt from heartbreak and loss.  But as the Patriarch Job said, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him…”  He knows the way that we take, and someday, He will wipe away all our tears and make all things new.


There are lessons to learn in the shadow

That can never be learned in the light.

His rod and His staff they will comfort

And guide you through the night.

Be not anxious to get through the valley.

With its weariness and care.

There are lessons to learn in the shadow

For God will be with you there.

There are lessons to learn in the shadow,

That can never be learned in the light.

Restoration begins in the valley.

This is where God turns wrong into right.

There are lessons to learn in the shadow,

Though we long for the morning to break.

As you traverse the darkness remember,

“He knoweth the way that I take!”

There are lessons to learn in the shadow.

Do not pray for an easy time.

Ask God instead to be stronger,

And He will teach you to climb.

Yes, there are lessons to learn in the shadow,

That can never be learned in the light.

When the valley’s dark clouds overtake you,

We walk by faith, not by sight.

So study and learn through the dark times.

When you pass the final test,

The lessons you learned in the shadow,

Will gain you a city of rest!

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Thanksgiving 09

Originally uploaded by Kiki Karia.

2009 has certainly been a year of milestones for the Mesters. Mike turned 50, and we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. But the surprise turning point in our lives came when Jeremy and Molly told us we were going to be grandparents in 2010! Malachi James Mester should make his entrance around January 17. The arrival of a grandbaby signifies the start of a new generation in our family. It’s a time of wonder and excitement! We await his arrival with joyful expectation. And one thing is certain: Our lives will never be the same!

Some 2,000 years ago, God made His entrance into the world as a tiny baby in a manger in Bethlehem. Royalty lay in a robe of rags. Divinity had merged with humanity. Emmanuel, God with us. Prophets of old foretold of his birth, angels heralded his arrival, shepherds were witnesses, and kings worshipped Him. The God who spun the galaxies into space and spoke the world into existence had become one of us. The heavens could not hold Him, yet a body did. JESUS; God has become our salvation. He healed the sick, He raised the dead. He comforts all that mourn. He preached good tidings to the meek. He set the captives free. He gave us beauty for ashes and replaced our mourning with joy. And one thing is certain: Because of Him, our lives will never be the same. And for that, we Rejoice!

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Storms and Songs

The following excerpt from my devotional, “Streams in the Desert” spoke to my heart, and I would like to share it with everyone. May it be a source of encouragement.

“There are some natures that only a tempest can bring out. I recollect being strongly impressed on reading the account of an old castle in Germany with two towers that stood upright and far apart, between which an old baron stretched large wires, thus making an Aeolian harp. There were the wires suspended, and the summer breezes played through them but there was no vibration. Common winds, not having power enough to move them, split and went through them without a whistle. But when there came along great tempest winds, and the heaven was black, and the air resounded, these winds, with giant touch, swept through the wires, which began to sing and roar, and pour out sublime melodies. So God stretches the cords in the human soul which under ordinary influences do not vibrate; but now and then great tempests sweep them through, and men are conscious that tones are produced in them which could not have been produced except by some such storm-handling.”

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Originally uploaded by Kiki Karia.

Today our plans were to stop at the local Laws Railroad Museum, visit the Galen Rowell Light Gallery and do some exploring. After a continental breakfast provided by The Best Western lodge where we were staying, we headed in the direction of the Laws Railroad Museum. Since it did not open until 10:00AM, we decided to driver further down on Hwy 6 and do some exploring. The humidity was up, and we could see clouds gathering in the skies. Regardless of the climate, the scenery was still spectacular. When you’re surrounded by snow-capped peaks on all sides, whether the skies are blue or not, it’s still amazing to behold. We visited the small town of Chalfant, nestled beneath the White Mountains. It was a peaceful little town with well-kept homes, most of which appeared to be modular or mobile home units. Shortly thereafter, we turned around and arrived at the Laws Railroad Museum in Bishop, California. Laws was once a railroad town apparently named after one of the railroad agents. It was built in the early 1880’s with the first train arriving in April of 1883. The depot, agent’s house, section boss’s house, outhouses, water tank and turntable were all ready when the train arrived. In addition to the railroad buildings, other construction quickly followed which included many homes, barns and corrals, two general stores, a rooming house, eating house, hotel, boarding house, pool hall, blacksmith shop, post office, barber shop, powder magazine and warehouses. Several industrial buildings followed later. Many ranches surrounded Laws and used the railroad to ship their crops. The decline and demise of Laws and the railroad were the result of the local mines closing, trucking becoming cheaper than rail freight, and the City of Los Angeles buying most of the valley for the water rights. The railroad ceased operation in 1959. Only the depot, agent’s house, oil and water tanks and the turntable survived. There were several other buildings that we toured at the museum that were doomed for destruction locally, but were moved to the museum grounds for preservation.
Seeing the relics of a bygone era held an air of nostalgia for us. After all, Mike is half a century old, and I am not too far behind him. Some of the highlights for me of this museum were the following:

• Julia, the lady who ran the gift shop and greeted all visitors, was the first person we met. She has lived in Bishop for a long, long time and is in her 80’s. Julia recited to us the facts and history of Laws and gave us a map of the layout which she knew like the back of her hand. She was sharp as a whip. I hope I am as mentally alert as she is when I reach her tender age.
• The depot agent’s home was very impressive for a number of reasons. The lady who greeted us at this home gave us a tour. She pointed out some framed wall hangings in the parlor that appeared to be embroidered flowers. We learned that they were actually made out of human hair! Back in that time period, women rarely cut their hair. But they saved their hair and used it to make these beautiful embroidered pieces of art! It was truly amazing.
• Another item we found of noteworthiness in this home was sitting on top of an old organ. It was a songbook. The title of it was “Pentecostal Hymns Three and Four”. Mike opened the book to see if he could find a copyright date. We were not able to find one, and did not want to further open the songbook due to its age and fragile condition. The first song in the book was titled “O Why Not Tonight?” I’ve never heard of this song but plan to investigate and see if I can find it somewhere. I took a picture of the lyrics, but it turned out fuzzy. However, the theme of the song was about the urgency of the hour and pleading with those who are without God to give their hearts to Him. Hence the name, “O Why Not Tonight?”

Another item of interest were a couple of wreaths made entirely of human hair.  Back in those days, women did not cut their hair.  Any hair that they lost was collected and used to embroider wreathes such as the one in the picture below.

We spent about an hour and a half at this delightful museum which was set up like an old western town. The backdrop of the White Mountains and Sierra Nevada Range added to the scenery.

Next we stopped at the Galen Rowell Gallery of Light in Bishop. Galen Rowell was an amazing photographer. We have a couple of his books at home. While perusing the gallery, we heard a distant rumble of thunder. Clouds and thunderheads had been forming all afternoon, so we weren’t entirely surprised when we heard the first clap of thunder. Mike and I went to the lobby and looked out towards the West. Dark clouds were all around, and it was raining quite hard. More thunder claps followed and even some hail. We enjoyed the display of God’s power and majesty made equally exciting being in the mountains we so love. After awhile, the storm cleared, and it stopped raining. On to our next adventure to be continued in the next post.

Train at Laws Railroad Musuem

Train at Laws Railroad Musuem

Wreath made of human hair

Wreath made of human hair

pentecostal hymns

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Father & Son hanging out (literally)

Originally uploaded by Kiki Karia.

This Father’s Day was extra special because our son is now a father-to-be. We spent a relaxing afternoon here at the house with Jeremy and Molly. After Jeremy did a bang up job grilling our food, and our tummies were happy and filled, Mike pulled out our new hammock, which was a free gift. We took turns trying it out, and Jeremy even took a nap in it. I found this poem about fathers, and it reminded me of my husband. Although fathers don’t seem to enjoy all the fuss and fanfare that we moms do on mother’s day, they are a very important and vital part of the family. They are the foundation and backbone of strength and leadership. I thank God that the man I married has been such an outstanding father to our son. Happy Father’s Day Honey. I love you with all my heart.

Fathers are Wonderful People

Fathers are wonderful people
Too little understood,
And we do not sing their praises
As often as we should…

For, somehow, Father seems to be
The man who pays the bills,
While Mother binds up little hurts
And nurses all our ills…

And Father struggles daily
To live up to “HIS IMAGE”
As protector and provider
And “hero or the scrimmage”…

And perhaps that is the reason
We sometimes get the notion,
That Fathers are not subject
To the thing we call emotion,

But if you look inside Dad’s heart,
Where no one else can see
You’ll find he’s sentimental
And as “soft” as he can be…

But he’s so busy every day
In the grueling race of life,
He leaves the sentimental stuff
To his partner and his wife…

But Fathers are just WONDERFUL
In a million different ways,
And they merit loving compliments
And accolade of praise,

For the only reason Dad aspires
To fortune and success
Is to make the family proud of him
And to bring them happiness…

He’s a guardian and a guide,
Someone that we can count on
Helen Steiner Rice

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