Arizona Pentecostal Photography

Feet and Faces of Phoenix Ladies Conference

It was a dynamite ladies conference–the one I just attended at the Marriott in Phoenix. Powerful speakers, smooth operation, magnificent music, fine facilities, good food, superb friends…just a perfect conference. Take a look at some faces and some feet.

I “stole” this picture from Sister Wagner’s site. (Easier to get forgiveness than permission, I have been told. 🙂   )

It was lingering prayer. It was dancing in the spirit. It was a burden. It was seeking after God. It was babies. It was magnificent music. It was fun and skits and laughter. It was beautiful young women, and those aged ones of wisdom and of honor.

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I remember them. There were several whose names I can recall, and whose images are clear in my mind–well at least it seems clear to me these many years later. They were my friends. There were Shirley Snow, Barbra Day and Novella Cagle, among others.

Barbra was my friend in school and once when we were in second grade, the principal came into our class, called for Barbra and me, and took us to the third grade classroom. Every afternoon we walked together part of the way home, and on that day, when we reached the spot where we went our separate ways, I said, “Bye, third grader.”

She grinned at me, her dark brown eyes flashing and returned the words, “Bye, third grader.”

Her parents deliberately spelled her name differently: Most whose names sounded the same were spelled Barbara, and I recall her explaining to me that the spelling Barbra excelled that of Barbara. I was impressed.  Her dad’s name was Raymond, and I think they were a little richer than we were. Once as I spent the night at their place, there was a pencil laying out on a surface, and I asked, “Whose pencil is that?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Anyone who wants it, I guess.”

I still don’t know why that made such an impression on me, but I recall it to this day. Perhaps it was because we didn’t have spare pencils laying about at our house. Sounds silly today, I know. When we were a few years older, one afternoon after school, Barbra and I walked to the hospital and visited with her mom who was very sick. She died a bit later…and I recall an occasion when Barbra and I stood on the sidewalk and cried together.

Of all my childhood friends, I probably spent more time with Shirley Snow than with anyone else. We were about the same age and attended the church in Springfield, Mo. that my dad pastored. The Snows lived in the country near Strafford, Mo. and Brother Snow worked for O’Kino’s Dairy. Shirley was beautiful and had long, curly hair, which I envied a lot, except after we had been running in the wind, and her mother sat down, positioned Shirley between her legs, and began the fierce task of brushing out that tangled hair. Shirley yelped. Sister Snow made delicious Pineapple-Upside Down cakes, whose taste I can fairly feel in my mouth as I write this.

Novella Cagle also attended our church, and was a year or two older than Shirley and me. I recall gawking at her when she had her first boyfriend, and I remember a beautiful green outfit she wore. She seemed so wise and so superior.


They left a few minutes ago; long-time friends of Jerry’s and of mine–friends we have known since before we were married. Pat and Wendell Meyers live in Washington state near Seattle. They arrived here in Lake Havasu on Saturday and were in service with us on Sunday during which time he brought a wonderful message. The past few days we have talked at length–about earlier days, about politics, about God, about the Bible, about God’s people, about computers and motor homes and travel and growing older and faith and promise and health and death. We’ve talked extensively of our children and have bragged about their accomplishments and have sorrowed over their struggles. We’ve eaten at fine restaurants, and ones not so fine, took the ferry to the California side of the lake, ate ice-cream cones in an ice cream parlor after we had already eaten a tasty meal, worked on the faltering Hammond organ in our church, (at least the men did) and shopped at Dillards (at least Pat and I did, and we didn’t spend a penny, and the men were bug-eyed and smiled pleasantly when we told them of our diligent restraint.)

Stop a minute and consider your friends. Need to call one? Send a card? Say a prayer? Buy a gift? Provide a check or a 20-dollar bill? Offer help? Drink a cup of tea with one? Take a meal to a friend’s house…for no reason…or for a great reason?

They’re great to have, those friends. 🙂

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Black-eyes and the New Year

Late this afternoon we dropped by Mike and Mel’s house where her family had gathered to exchange Christmas presents. It was the usual, happy family scene with food everywhere, men slouched on couches, women in the kitchen and kids pounding about everywhere.

“Had any black-eyed peas?” Mel asked as I sat at their bar.


“Well, the day cannot end without you two having some black-eyed peas.”  They had feasted on them the day before, and from the refrigerator now she pulled the leftovers, and into a plastic container she scooped some, snapped on the lid and handed it to me. An hour or so ago, I heated the peas, divided them into two small bowls, and Jerry and I ate the prescribed New Year’s Day black-eyed peas. I’ve heard of this before, of course, but it’s not a tradition our family has kept, and I’m not clear on the significance, although, I’m quick to say I didn’t need to understand why I was doing it to enjoy the little morsels this evening. They were delicious.

Guess I’ll Google the subject later, but for now any of you who want to school me, I’m open to hearing from you about the black-eyed peas and the New Year.  One more thing: Is there something about eating these peas under the table? Anything like that? I thought Mike said in passing that yesterday he snapped pictures of someone under the table eating peas. (Mel’s sweet family are likely to kill me when they read this, and I probably have that under the table part totally wrong. I’m asking forgiveness at this moment if I’m utterly confused. 🙂  )

Anyway, happy New Year. Be good people…and eat your peas! Not just sure why, but you must do this before you go to bed.

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The Ugly of Sin

“Mom, you need to call Marcine. She’s in some kind of trouble.” I recognized it to be Michael who had left the message on my phone. I promptly called the woman. (Marcine is a pseudonym.)

She was crying so that I could hardly understand her. “What’s wrong? What’s wrong, Marcine?”

I could not understand her words, and pressed her to speak more plainly. “Tell me. Tell me what is wrong.”

At last I could understand her and knew what needed to be done. We worked through the necessary details so that finally we were all at the church–Jerry, Marcine and I. She sobbed and trembled as she told us the story, a story whose details I cannot divulge, but whose details really do not matter, and whose knowing or not knowing changes not at all the impact of the tale. For the story is identical. The story is unchanged. The story is of sin and fallen man and wretched ugliness; the ugliness of sin; the hopelessness of life without Jesus Christ.

We sat in the lobby of the church as she sobbed and eked out the words–words which later we found to be lacking in veracity and completeness. “I need a cigarette,” at one point she said.

“Well you know we can’t help you with that, Marcine,” I said.

“I know. I know…I have one cigarette; the rest are at the house. I”ll smoke half of it.” We watched as from her purse she drew a leather holder, clicked it open and removed the single cigarette.  Through the glass that stretches across the front of the church we saw her walk across the blacktop area, and respecting our plea with our CIP students not to smoke on our property, she trudged into the rocky lot next to ours. She slumped, then sat flat among the scattered stone and sand. She lighted half a cigarette. My aching heart bled.

We took her into the sanctuary after she had smoked, seating her on the edge of the platform; she wept and sobbed. Gently we talked with her; inquired and soothed, then I knelt beside her and grasped her hand as she bent forward into a position of black despair.

“Do you know how to pray, Marcine?” Jerry asked.

“Yes.” And so…we prayed and wept and mourned.

Later she called her probation officer, who advised her to call the police and surrender herself. Marcine wanted to do it at home, but just as she positioned herself in herDSC_0001_2 friend’s car for the ride home, two police cars pulled onto our parking lot…and then after more weeping and hugging and whispering words of courage into her ears, the officers handcuffed her and led her away.

I’ve written before, and no doubt will do so again, concerning the ghastly and mistaken thought that serving God and abiding by His law is a form of bondage. Bondage, you say? Bondage it is to live in a holy and godly way? Bondage to refrain from stealing and promiscuity and drunken brawls and hideous addiction? Bondage, you claim? Bondage to dress in a modest way, to erect a family altar, to read often the Word of God? Bondage to attend church, to give generously, to minister to the less fortunate, to be kind and caring? This is bondage? No friend, let me tell you of bondage.

“I wonder if they might have a cigarette,” Marcine said at one point yesterday, as she stood looking across the street where two men stood on a parking lot.

“They tried to force me to join a gang,” Eric told my husband a few minutes ago. Eric received the Holy Ghost four weeks ago, and the next day had to go to jail. He was released only yesterday.

“There was every kind of drug you can imagine in the jail,” Eric continued.

“How do they get it in there?” Jerry asked.

“Pastor…by hiding it in body orifices.”

“The gang leaders tried to force me to shave my head,” Eric said.

“We were introduced to hard drugs by our parents,” the trio told Michael. One at 12, one at 13, one at 14.

“My mother left us when I was a child to go live with a lesbian,” said one of our CIP students who looks about 13, but who is actually 19. “I’ve been to about 30 psychologists and psychiatrists,” he added. He pled with me as I enrolled him some months ago. “I have to smoke marijuana. It’s the only thing that calms me down.”

“Have you been drinking?” Michael asked the student as he attempted to enter the class. “No, but she has,” he said, pointing to his female companion.

“I’m sorry, but she can’t be here,” Michael explained.

“Okay, I understand,” said the student, and he led his staggering friend away and seated her in his truck on the parking lot.

Relapse, jail time again. Prison. Visiting hours, books, magazines.

I sat in a court room and watched one of our students–shackled hand and foot–as she shuffled to her spot.

Excuses, embarrassment, cries, troubled children, community service. High on drugs, dropped from class, re-enrolled. Teeth rotted from methamphetamine. Emergency dental calls. Pain. Disappearance. Broken promises. Fines. Failure to pay. Failure to appear. License revoked. Eight siblings–all different fathers. Violations. Probation officer. Judges. DSC_0005Chains. Bars. Cigarettes, beer, cheap wine, hard liquor. Stagger. Divorce, mistrust, broken windows, unmarried mother unmarried daughter–both pregnant–due two months apart. Emergency room visits, stomach pumps, prescription pills. Little boy killed by drunk driver, his father and friend nearly killed, still having surgeries, not able to work. Sleep into the afternoon. Violated. Nightmares. Sleeping pills.

Speak not to me of bondage associated with serving Jesus Christ my Lord. Say no such thing to me. For it is only through Jesus that Freedom and Peace can envelop the human soul, can straighten the twisted life, can right dreadful wrongs, and can apply the sweet balm of Gilead.

I’ve told of yesterday’s grisly afternoon at Christ Alive. Compare it please with yesterday’s evening Bible study where we worshipped, prayed for friends and relatives, rejoiced that in the past few hours Eric had been released from jail and that he was eager to be in church Sunday, studied God’s word, sang a great hymn of the Church and laughed; where new converts testified, finally having to declare they just couldn’t explain how wonderful they felt, and where after church we just hung out for awhile, admiring the moon and the beautiful sky…and loving each other.

No. Do not speak of bondage in the same breath with which you speak of God’s church. You have come too late, you have come to the wrong person. Positively I affirm that it is the grip of satan that chains the human soul and that  drags him into everlasting, hideous bondage and torment. But in Jesus, my Saviour, my Lord,  is absolute and glorious Freedom, whose glittering highway leads into Life everlasting, where we will forever to be in the presence of God.

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Happy Birthday, Michael


This is a good time to again thank God for this fine man, a man of talent, of a wonderful disposition, and of a heart after God. For more than 25 years, though, he wandered about, untrue to his calling, his training, and paying less than respectful heed to God. Then he “woke up,” and for several years now, he has been a dynamic servant of God.

Fifty years ago today, Heaven sent Jerry and me our second child. We named him Michael. He was nearly bald at birth, but soon golden curly locks covered his sweet head. I’m wishing him a happy day.

Well worth repeating, so again I say this is a good time to again thank God for this fine man, a man of talent, of a wonderful disposition, and of a heart after God. For more than 25 years, though, he wandered about, untrue to his calling, his training, and paying less than respectful heed to God. Then he “woke up,” and for several years now, he has been a dynamic servant of God.

He is a witness for God, the likes of which Jerry and I have never seen during all our years of pastoring. To the wealthy and well-placed of Lake Havasu, to the homeless and penniless alike, Michael shares the story of Jesus, and of the remarkable change that has come to his life. He teaches upward of 70 persons weekly in our Christian intervention program, he leads the worship in our services, and has recently assumed the position of counseling in our church.

Happy birthday, Michael. You are a dear and precious son.

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Jessica’s Birthday Pizza Party and Photo Shoot

Her birthday is Saturday, and she is so sweet and so beautiful, that Tuesday night I asked Jessica, “Want to go out for a little photo shoot?”

“Sure, Granny. Like that a lot.”

Our little party grew. I invited Melody to go with us because she’s an amateur photographer also, and she’s interested in Jessica and her well-being, and Melody said when I asked her to join us, “Why don’t we have pizza, too?”

I invited Rosalinda and at first she said yes, then remembered an appointment, but she would pick up the pizza and take Jessica to our meeting place at the park. “White pizza would be good,” Jessica suggested for she was familiar with Ken’s pizza place. Around 5:30 we all arrived at the park bench for the hastily arranged birthday party. They giggled as I drew DSC_0016from my bag yellow place mats, birthday napkins, white paper plates (referring to them as our china) and plastic forks (which we pretended was sterling silver, but which no one used!) I also plunked down cans of diet coke and the celebration was ready. It was scrumptious, and Rosalinda was able to stay just long enough for the great meal.

My recent increased interest in photography, and my acquiring a nice set of Hoya magnifying lenses so that I’ve spent a fair amount of time with bugs, flowers and water DSC_0015drops has enabled me to have acquired now a small portfolio of rather nice shots. But although they’re cute as can be, they’re still bugs and rose petals and watery drops. I was wanting now to tackle portraits…and her birthday was coming up…thus the photo shoot with the birthday girl, Jessica.

An indication of my inexperience and ineptitude was that I was lacking in a distinct plan and location for the portraits, but the grassy area just behind our picnic table was beautiful, and the light was perfect. The light was important to me because I don’t have a separate flash unit, and had decided to use only ambient light. We would shoot awhile there, then drive over to the bridge, for the gorgeous sky filled with cotton-candy clouds promised a striking sunset.

Everything went well, and I knew I was getting some good shots, then all of a sudden when my camera wouldn’t snap,  I looked down and my indicator reported a full card. Full? How could that be? Impossible, for I had taken only 30 or so snaps, and had come to the shoot with nearly a full card. But there it was. Full. I took out the card, blew on it, reinserted it, removed and replaced the battery. Nothing…and I didn’t have a spare card. Had one at home. 😦 (learned a lesson there.) I had used that same card for years and supposed it had just worn out.

Later as I loaded my pictures onto the computer, I noted at the bottom of the pictures the word, RAW…and then I knew. Somehow (no idea how it happened) my camera settings had been changed so that I was shooting in RAW mode (which most serious photographers do, but which I had never done). RAW takes significantly more memory that other shooting modes.

So, we didn’t get over to the bridge, didn’t get sunset pictures with beautiful Jessica in the foreground, but we’ll do it all later…and I learned a lot yesterday afternoon.

Later on my photography blog, I’ll post some of the other pictures I took of my beautiful granddaughter. Happy birthday, Jessica.

Arizona Christianity/Religion

Praying for Death in the White House

“We need to talk to you, Pastor,” Jay and Holly said to Jerry on Sunday morning. In the ensuing conversation, they told of seeing a preacher on TV, and that the pastor was praying for the death of President Obama. They were stunned as they listened and watched. “Is that right, Pastor?” they asked my husband.

Of course it’s not right; it’s terribly wrong,” Jerry had told Jay and Holly.

I was shocked when Jerry told me of the event, and when I read the details myself I was saddened, and a nebulous feeling of unrest struck me. What a terrible condition our world is in when a pastor will pray for the death of our president, ask God to strike him with brain cancer, and to hope that he dissolves away as does a snail under a pouring of salt.

“I’m gonna pray that he dies and goes to hell when I go to bed tonight. That’s what I’m gonna pray,” he told his congregation.

I for one as calling on Pastor Steven Anderson to recant and to apologize for such preposterous remarks. Reports are, though, that he is standing by his sermon.

I am disgusted with President Obama and have deep worries about the direction in which he is taking our country, and truly hope he is a one-term president. But I would never want anything untoward to happen to him. On the contrary I wish him health, wisdom and direction from God.

Be wise, people. Be very wise.

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How Tough the Love?


“Because they’re your kids.”

After the guest speaker had finished, Michael went around the circle asking each of the students; “What did you hear from him?” and it was at this point that a lively, profitable discussion had ensued. The guest was Darin Craig, DSC_0018a local businessman whose only son has gone through a serious bout of drug addiction, and who had agreed to address our Christian Intervention groups as he spoke of a child’s addiction as seen through the parent’s eyes. The sessions were riveting.

It was the “tough love” issue that aroused lengthy and conflicting views. “Tough love” was not universally endorsed by this group and when it became so obvious, Mike asked for a show of hands. Interesting. About half of the group thought that a child could do nothing that should cause a parent to refuse to support that child. No matter what he does, he should always be accepted back in the parents’ home.

“Why?” Mike asked.

“Because they’re your children,” was the pointed, adamant answer of one young man.

I disagree, as do all the leaders of our group, our thought being there comes a time when parents must be tough, and say, “This behavior is not going on in this house.”After repeated tries, broken promises, defiance, law-breaking, jail time, drugs in the house, drunkenness in the living room–finally, a parent has the right (even obligation) to say, “No more.” Does that mean that parents no longer love the child? Of course not. A normal parent will love his child to the grave–no matter the behavior.

What say you? Are you a “tough love” proponent, or do you agree with many in our Christian Intervention program who say no matter what a child does, the parent should always take him in again, and again?

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Another One Comes and Goes

Today is my birthday, in some ways, a quiet, calm one when compared to the party my children threw me last year at Balboa Park–the finest party I have ever attended, surprise cellists a major part. Though quite different, today was equally wonderful, for I did a lot of thinking…thinking about how blessed I am, and how wonderful is my life. (You’ll see lots of pictures of last year’s party when you click on that link.)

Today’s activities started fairly early with children calling–a couple of them even singing a birthday song, then after Jerry and I lingered over coffee, I continued with my deep cleaning of the motor home by tackling the living area. I straightened the drawers and the cupboards, cleaned and polished all the wood and the windows, then on my hands and knees scrubbed the carpet.

After a shower and a change of clothes, Jerry and I drove to Needles, the closest California town to us here in Lake Havasu. Why? My drivers license expired today; tried to renew it on line and through the mail, but could not. Off to Needles, only about a 40 miles trip, I believe. Would you believe when I walked to the door of the office, there was a big sign saying they are closed now three Fridays out of the month. (Economy in the tank.) This was one of the closed Fridays. Rats!

We had eaten no breakfast, now we found there were few places to choose from in Needles, so we wound up in Denny’s for lunch, which really turned out to be quite good. Back in Lake Havasu, Jerry stayed in the motor home while I drove to the church where I had to do a little work, and to the computer shop down the street, where my little white Apple had spent the night. Last week as I attempted to copy pictures for Chloe, my Apple decided to swallow the disc into her deep inward parts. Could not get that disc ejected. Called a friend, read on line, followed instruction manual exactly, took out the battery, put it back in, turned the computer off, turned it on, ignored the Apple, glared at the Apple, patted the Apple, pled with the Apple, threatened the Apple–nothing. I had spoken by phone to the computer tech while we were in Needles, and he thought he would have to order a part. But voila, when I reached the shop, he smiled and said the disc had finally dislodged. Turned out that the disc, even though new, was physically damaged and had jammed, I suppose. Anyway, I was happy again.

Jerry took me to Shugrue’s, my favorite place in town for dinner, and it was wonderful. My pictures are not, for they are hand-held with no flash–a bit less than sharp, but you get the idea. I ordered a small steak, a salad with blue cheese dressing, and creamed spinach which was exceptionally yummy. Jerry choseDSC_0105 blackened salmon with a lemon/butter sauce. It also was outstanding. When we had finished eating and were just sitting looking at that striking bridge, our waitress came with a brownie, topped with a scoop of ice cream and a flaming candle. We both dug in.

Yep! Another one has come…and is nearly gone. I’m thankful for another birthday. I’ve had a wonderful life–much better than I deserve.


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118 Degrees Fahrenheit

118 Degrees Fahrenheit, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

I lose sunglasses…and having gone through half the summer with none that are worth a flip, I decided yesterday afternoon to zip to the mall and buy a pair. Jerry and I had been given a gift card from Penny’s, so that would be my first stop.

…Then I saw fountains… and giggling, cavorting children. A bit removed from the gushing water and the laughing children and their doting parents was this scene.

Penny’s was my second stop…and guess what! All sunglasses 1/2 price. Bought two stylin’ pairs.