A Family Visit

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Steve had talked to his dad the day before, checking to see if this would be a good time for him and Dearrah to visit us. We were excited, and said of course we’d love to have them. They both are quite busy people, and don’t often visit in our home . . .well at least not often enough to suit this mom. But maybe you know how moms are, and recognize that we never get enough of our babies although they’ve long outgrown diapers and romper outfits, have children of their own, and have even welcomed grand babies into their world.

20141016-untitled (29 of 34)Jazzy and Sheba came with them.

20141016-untitled (12 of 34)Jazzy is the most beautiful one, friendly and placid.

20141016-untitled (8 of 34)Sheba is the smaller one, but definitely the boss. Even when she visits in homes with large dogs, she demands top spot . . .and gets it.

20141016-untitled (22 of 34)Winston had met these cousins before and was excited to have them about.

20141016-untitled (18 of 34)20141016-untitled (25 of 34)Winston, of course, is accustomed to being the star in our home, and it was a little adjustment for him, but I could tell he really enjoyed having them here. For awhile he tried to guard his toys, his bones, and his master from the cousins, he and Sheba got into it a bit, but then they worked everything out, playing and romping through the hours. For the most part Jazzy ignored the little family skirmishes.

Although it doesn’t sound too much like it, we humans did figure in the scenario, and food was involved independent of doggie treats and of watering pans. Conversation sans dog evolved, and as is our way, we took on some of the world’s great issues, but in a light and gentle way. The visit was a great one. Slow. Easy. Sweet.

20141016-untitled (32 of 34)I love this picture. It was three or four in the afternoon as Steve and Dearrah prepared to leave. Winston was worn out from all the excitement, and as Steve rubbed that glorious place found around most dog’s ears, Winston’s eyes began drooping, until finally they were closed, and he was practically asleep in Jerry’s arms.

Vintage Car Show at Lake Gregory

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20140927-untitled (2 of 48) 20140927-untitled (4 of 48) 20140927-untitled (5 of 48) 20140927-untitled (11 of 48) 20140927-untitled (13 of 48) 20140927-untitled (14 of 48)Yesterday on our prowling about the San Bernardino Mountains, our first stop was down by Lake Gregory where a vintage car show was in progress. One of the most intriguing units was this Volkswagen which in this canister burns wood which produces smoke which fuels the vehicle. Amazing. This young man was the owner, told Jerry all the details of the vehicle’s operation.

My favorite vehicle was probably the Forest Service truck, but then look at the red on that other car. Haven’t heard which vehicle had the most votes. All were beautiful

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A Day of Curiosity

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john Dewey said it:

The curious mind is constantly alert and exploring, seeking material for thought, as a vigorous and healthy body is on the qui vive for nutriment. Eagerness for experience, for new and varied contacts, is found where wonder is found. Such curiosity is the only sure guarantee of the acquisition of the primary facts upon which inference must base itself.

I admit to the owning of a hefty portion of inquisitiveness, to the extent that Jerry has sometimes grown impatient with me if I wander off when a group of us is exploring a new city or a fresh countryside, afraid I’ll get lost or someone will nab me! :) Yesterday our electricity was to be off for four hours while a new pole was installed behind our house, so I decided on a roaming about the mountains shindig, and Jerry was persuaded to come along with me, as was Winston.

During our trek I became hungry, fast-food places are scarce here in the San Berdoos, so while I was in the market to pick up a few groceries, I snagged a few items. We would have a picnic! In Lake Arrowhead after driving down a steep road that came to a dead end and doing a turn around, I spied wild apple trees. I stopped the car, grabbed my camera and leashed up Winston for a romp. I shook the tree, but nothing fell, so all I left with were pictures. Our picnic area overlooked both Lake Arrowhead and tiny Papoose Lake. No one else was in the area where we were, except that when we first arrived, I saw a gentleman across the road walking his two large dogs.  The day was glorious, our food was fresh, the ambiance remarkable.

It was while I was photographing the gigantic pine cones that Jerry called. “There’s an eagle.” I pointed my camera skyward and caught a shot of this majestic bird as he dipped and wheeled through the magnificent sky.

I also inquire in my mind, and though I would never think of embarrassing anyone, I would love to know why anyone would mutilate his body as has the young man pictured above. We saw him on our first stop of the afternoon trek at a vintage car show where he was displaying the most unusual Volkswagen that runs on, of all things, smoke from burning wood. (I’ll post more of this later.) But why? Why do people want to appear this way?

Right away, there will be some who reject my right to question this action implying that I am judging him, and that I have no right. I’m beginning a thorough study of scripture that warns against our judging others, thinking there surely is a time when we are to be distressed about actions we see around us. Jesus did. Plaited a whip and went into the temple and overturned the tables where deception and dishonesty were being paraded. I’m not suggesting that because of his appearance this young man has low morals or is dishonest. Not at all. I am suggesting that such an appearance likely will make it difficult for him to be gainfully employed.

I’m worried about our country. Concerned about morals and deceit and downward spiraling. I’m curious, so while I fling about the countryside enjoying the splendor, tromp with my great dog through dusty paths, and watch eagles wing and hover overhead, I am thinking. I am gravely concerned.

Rebecca’s Gift

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Someone had said to her, “Let’s go out front. Want to show you something.”

20140920-untitled (38 of 134)“Oh, that’s a really pretty car.” 20140920-untitled (39 of 134)It’s yours, Rebecca. A gift from your brother Steve. 20140920-untitled (40 of 134) 20140920-untitled (41 of 134) 20140920-untitled (43 of 134) Aw, Aunt Bek, we love you so much.20140920-untitled (53 of 134) 20140920-untitled (54 of 134)We were down at Steve’s to help celebrate his 20th pastoral anniversary when last Saturday all this happened–Rebecca’s generous, giving brother Stephen surprised her with a shiny red Cadillac.

20140920-untitled (50 of 134)I believe I have mentioned before that our dear Rebecca has suffered cruel breaks in life, the major one being extreme and deadly health issues. Literally, she has more than one time been at the point of death. She is divorced and not able to work. Her old car was choking and heaving.

20140920-untitled (56 of 134)20140920-untitled (61 of 134)Sir Winston dressed for the occasion.

In the midst of this disheveled, gone crazy world, where only yesterday in Oklahoma a woman was beheaded in her work place…..there are still those who care, who love, who give. Lots of them.

 

At Least This: One More Dawn

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I am but a pilgrim, a rather pitiful one at that, certainly not a sage. So when an isolated few pitch honor my way by consulting me and by speaking of my wisdom, I cringe, for of my extreme incompetence am I aware. I shudder, really I do, to consider what a mess this world is in if I am among the wise, except perhaps if it is understood that I am standing on the bottom rung of such a group. For I easily recall the thinness of the pool of wisdom from which I draw.

At least in one thing, however, do I admit to wisdom, that one thing being the acknowledgement of the wonder and the glory of dawn–the awakening to one more day on this earth.

From my unpublished novel, THE SOUL OF ABRAM CLARK

Fingers of dawn began their scribble over the dark sky, and the sun pulled up the edge of night so that paint of pink and blue filled the sky. Now between the trees could be seen the changeling sky, as its fresh self took to the day, its glow serving to note one more night’s survival.

. . .and from another chapter.

He moved along the trail and now a hint of rising sun played on the canyon walls, the inky blue of midnight having grayed to dawn. A watercolor pallet of sunrise threw its tones about the walls and the hues of the rock named the light and became burnt tangerine and creamy raspberry. Abram snapped the shutter of his camera with such rapidity the buffer filled and he must stop to let the processor catch up. By the second, the light changed and the monuments and temples of stone moved forward and backward as the sun rose ever higher, and shadows came, and then reformed.

Few persons had risen so early. The quiet trail led to a widening of the canyon where in a spot that claimed a panoramic view a bench had been placed. Abram sat. A haunting mood took him and he knew the throaty notes of a flute should whisper, or should be heard the plucked strings of a harp.

Then the sun tipped all the way over the eastern edge of the vista and the sky striped itself crimson. Ice glittered on the trees and a veritable world of magic had been struck.

——————

More than a year ago, I finished the first draft of this novel and made feeble attempts to get the attention of an agent and/or a publisher with no positive results. (My attempts were so feeble that, sorry to say, I didn’t even follow up on all leads I was given. :( See I told you I’m not very wise.) Since then the book has been simmering in my mind, on the hard drive of my MacBook, and printed out on white pages, punched, and inserted into a leather binder. Today, I finished one more draft and believe I have polished the book to the highest sheen of which I am capable. The book is an excellent one, and I plan to try to get it published.

Would love to hear feedback from you!

A Moment of Thanks

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Reluctantly I pulled the word from that dark place where it lives, for certainly I must examine its aspect and its whole being, knowing it was unwise–indeed impossible–to ignore what the doctor had spoken to me: “Mrs. Buxton, you may have cancer.”

I recall those moments in that cold ultrasound examining room (where I shivered so much until they gave me a warm blanket), and remembered when Dr. Mikhail spoke that sentence I did not feel overly anxious, nor did I have a sense of fear. I was calm as he pointed to the screen that showed multicolored wavy lines, and when he indicated the places of concern. In two weeks I would check into the Ontario Outpatient Surgical Center for a biopsy. “I don’t believe for sure it is cancer, but it could be,” he had finally said.

I told my husband and my four children that more testing was required, and although they probably sensed it was serious, I didn’t use the word cancer. I did ask one of my sons to be with Jerry while I was in surgery, knowing it would be a blow if the surgeon came out with a devastating report.

The Sunday before the procedure we attended church at Brother Claborn’s in San Bernardino. His sermon astonished me, and reminded me again how personal God is, and how He truly and absolutely keeps track of us, His children. He is divine, and this life we live is supernatural, unexplainable, definitely of another world. No doubt others in the congregation were ministered to that Sunday morning, but had I been the only one in the building, not one word would have been wasted, not one word would have been extraneous: instead the words flew as shot arrows to minister to those vulnerable places in my being, my heart, my soul, my emotions. During the altar service I whispered to Brother Claborn that I would have a procedure the next day for which I needed prayer. He laid hands on me and prayed.

The routine: Nothing by mouth after midnight, charming hospital gown, cute little paper hat, IV started, sweet nurses, visit by the surgeon, visit by the anesthesiologist, questions, answers . . . waiting. Finally they let Jerry and Andrew come where I was, and once I said to the nurse, “My husband and son will be praying for me before I go to surgery. Would you like to join us?” She smiled, and as we prayed she also did. “This opportunity has made my day,” she said to me. “Thank you.”

“Here’s your cocktail.” The friendly nurse grinned as she fed another medication into my system, and quickly I became woozy and hardly remember the gurney ride to the OR.

The procedure lasted about 20 minutes. The surgeon’s eyes were full of hope and his words were positive as he spoke to my husband and to Andrew. “I don’t believe there is cancer at all. We’ll know for sure when we receive the biopsy reports.

A few days ago I sat in one of those little rooms and watched the door open as Dr. Mikhail came in. He carried a sheaf of papers in his hand, later telling me they were my copies. “All benign, Mrs. Buxton. We biopsied three places. All benign.” He smiled. I smiled. We shook hands.

Today, I give thanks.

 

 

Of Fathers and Sons

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Cole had asked to stay with us a couple of weeks ago when their entire family were here; however it wasn’t a good time, but last Monday was. Jerry and I trekked down to Temecula which is roughly halfway between here and San Diego where we met Andrew and Shawnna who delivered two boys to us: Brady and Cole. I don’t believe any of us had thought about this week as being the one that would lead up to Father’s Day, but a better week could not have been chosen. I’ve watched the interaction of Jerry with these two grandboys, and I’ve thought of leadership and heritage and godliness and progeny and transfer of mantles and of undeserved family blessings. Image

In the kitchen I made pancakes and eggs and tacos and poured orange juice by the gallon and fried chicken in a big skillet. We filled ice chests and these gentlemen in training carried down the heavy things and loaded in the folding chairs and took them from the car when we reached the picnic area at the lake and set them up for us.

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They climbed trees and poked at crawdads and didn’t catch even one. They threw sticks into the water, and when their cousin Nathaniel had been doing lawn work for Bill next door, they both helped him finish his job, and at the end when they had earned no money, I gave them each five dollars. Ambitious, hard working Brady earned seven more dollars from me because the $5.00 job I had assigned was bigger than I thought and because he worked so hard.

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The entire family were away from their home several weeks during the school year, so the boys came to us Monday with online and contract makeup work assignments. Cole works studiously. He also is quite an artist, so down at the lake I let him use my camera, and with his excellent eye, he fashioned a fine portrait of his pappy.

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Blessed. Here is a father who has a heart after God, who has led his family into righteous living, who worked long and hard to dress the bodies of his children and to give us nice houses and good food and days of fun and who read scripture to us and prayed for us . . . and who does to this day.

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And now are the sterling grandsons who weep in the presence of God, who say thank you Granny after every meal and who say thank you Granny and Pappy for taking us to the lake . . . and who take their dishes to the sink . . . and upon whom, perhaps, the end of the world will come.

Shoes. Feet. Paths to follow.

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So . . . yesterday Pappy took his boys down the hill to Big Five.

ImageFor there remain long, treacherous, happy, rocky, important paths ahead. And one’s feet must be shod . . .

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