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Archive for the ‘Inspirational’ Category

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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DSC_0472

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…

And like OUR HEAVENLY FATHER,
He’s a guardian and a guide,
Someone that we can count on
To be ALWAYS ON OUR SIDE.
Helen Steiner Rice

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Minaret Summit View

Originally uploaded by Kiki Karia.

ANNIVERSARY ROAD TRIP DAY 3

Today we were up and on the road by 9:00 AM. We were headed to our next destination – the town of Bishop. The skies were a milky white with darker clouds gathering on the horizon. The temperature was in the low 40’s. Hard to believe it’s June. Since these trips are also meant as a time for exploration and adventure, we decided to turn off and visit Virginia Lake, not too far from Twin Lakes. This lake was rather small, compared to Twin Lakes, but it had a similar beauty. It was surrounded by high, snow-capped peaks, and there were many fisherman lined up along its shores. They were having great success in their endeavors as the lake was well stocked with fish. Mike and I crossed a rickety wood foot bridge and made our way to the shore’s edge to take some photos. Since it was overcast, we did not spend a lot of time here. We checked out the resort lodge, and I spoke with a young man named Christian who worked in the store there. He informed me that the lake we had just seen outside was actually little Virginia Lake. There was a big Virginia Lake further up the road. He pulled out a map and began to show me that there were many lakes which made up the Virginia Lakes. They also had a hike that would take you from there to Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park. I’m sure that would be a rather arduous and strenuous hike. I prefer to drive there.
We continued on our drive and stopped about 15 minutes later at Mono Lake in Lee Vining, CA. We have been to Mono Lake many times, but we still enjoy visiting. Mono Lake is a majestic body of water covering about 65 square miles. It is an ancient lake, — one of the oldest lakes in North America. It has no outlet. Throughout its long existence, salts and minerals have washed into the lake from Eastern Sierra streams. Freshwater evaporating from the lake each year has left the salts and minerals behind so that the lake is now about 2 1/2 times as salty and 80 times as alkaline as the ocean. The Mono basin’s long history of volcanism is evident in the hills that mark the north and east boundaries of the basin. To the south lie the Mono craters. Panum Crater, the northern most of these craters erupted only 650 years ago. Mono’s islands are also volcanic. Pahoa Island is thought to be around 300 years old. Hot springs and steam vents in the basin show that volcanic activity is still present. This whole area of the eastern sierras is full of geo-thermal activity. Mike and I even saw a hot springs along the side of the road. We stopped at the Mono Lake visitor center and perused the displays and their gift shop. Mike bought me a little stuffed bird that chirps when you squeeze it. We have been collecting these birds for a few years now. The one he purchased today was a meadowlark. I named her Malarky.
Our next stop along the way was the town of Mammoth Lakes. We drove to the Minaret Summit view, which is over 9,000 feet in elevation. From this lookout, we can see across the valley to the group of mountains known as The Minarets. These peaks are very jagged and have a beauty all their own. Storm clouds were gathering, so we did not stay too long here. We took several photos and also video taped the Minarets and its environs using my cell phone. We then sent the video to Jeremy our son. It’s amazing what you can do with modern technology. It still blows my mind.
We reached the town of Bishop at about 2:30 PM. After checking into our room and getting settled, we drove around the town to do some exploring. We headed east on Hwy 6 for a few miles as we wanted to check out the Laws Railroad Museum. It was closed by now, but we wanted to find it in order to visit tomorrow. We rode a few miles further on Hwy 6. We were out in the middle of nowhere, with the White Mountains to our east and much scrub and sagebrush everywhere else. Out towards the west, dark foreboding clouds hovered ever closer. We could see sheets of rain in the distance dumping on the mountains.
We headed back into town and found a local Mexican Restaurant where we ate a delicious, albeit a little too spicy meal. Ironically, above our table was a big photo of over 100 different hot sauce brands. We looked to see if the “Wrath of God” hot sauce was there, but it wasn’t. We had a good laugh over the names of some of the other hot sauces though. There were names such as “Last Rites”, “Lotta Hotta,” “911”, and “Spitfire”. My favorite was “Tongues of Fire”. We retired early to get a head start on the next day’s adventure.

Old Cabin at Little Virginia Lake

Old Cabin at Little Virginia Lake

Boats by Little Virginia Lake

Boats by Little Virginia Lake

Little Bridge at Virginia Lake

Little Bridge at Virginia Lake

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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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