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Be Gone, Ye Thanksgiving Boxes!

Happy Thanksgiving Greeting, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

Yesterday I spoke of our success in accumulating lots of food and a large amount of cash to buy turkeys and hams, but of our concerns about finding people to whom we could distribute our gifts. I should not have worried–by 12:30 today we had given away all 21 of our boxes!

The boxes turned out beautifully: Each contained staples, bread, oranges, bananas, celery, potatoes and a ham. Of course we tucked in a Thanksgiving flyer and a church card.

Was Mike’s old Volkswagen van not the most charming of vehicles in which to make our deliveries. He loves that old thing, backed it right up to the doors, and he, Jerry and Darin Craig (who owns Craig’s Plumbing and the Tiger Trenching building, and who so graciously lets us use it for nothing!) loaded the boxes into the Vdub. They put 3 boxes in our car, and Brandon took a couple. Jerry went to make a hospital call and to deliver his 3 boxes, Brandon took off with his, and I jumped in the car with Janey and we followed Mike to the Shakespeare, a sort of residential hotel.

We had spoken with the owner who graciously directed us to those who were in need.

Through delivering his boxes, Brandon helped at the Shakespeare.

“Good people live here,” the owner told us. “They’re just down at the moment and living a bit on the edge.”

This gentleman, whose name I do not know, graciously received our offering. I hope he feels our love, and that our simple box of food, and an invitation to church, will help as he maneuvers his way through this complicated space called life.

Great news! About an hour ago, Robert called. He lives at the Havasu Motel where Mike had stopped and given out a couple of boxes. Robert had received one and wants a ride to church tomorrow.

“8:30,” I told him. “Someone will be there to pick you up between 8:30 and 8:45 in the morning.”



My devotional blog is here.



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The Saga of Unwanted Food Gifts

A few weeks ago, Melody decorated the box and placed it in the recreation hall here at DJs. Since then she has emptied it several times and now we have a large accumulation of staple food items.This afternoon Jerry is picking up enough bread and pastry for 25 families. People have placed envelopes of money in our box in the office, and Michael has collected several hundred dollars to buy turkeys. Melina has decorated the individual boxes and this evening we will all meet at the church to assemble them.

This is our first Thanksgiving at Christ Alive church here in Lake Havasu and we are preparing food baskets to give to needy families here in the area. We’re all set, well organized, everything at the ready–except for one glaring problem: We don’t know how to distribute our gifts.

When we first began planning this project, we had thought to take the baskets to neighborhoods around the church, randomly knock on doors and present the food. As we considered it further, we reckoned that some might be offended by this action. Our strategy then changed, and we contacted a social service agency, where we had a personal contact.

She was ecstatic about our program. She would not be allowed to give us a list of people, but we could go with her to deliver the baskets. That was fine with us. Then she called to say, “No, we could not go with her, but we could insert a church card and the special greeting we had planned.”

“That’s fine, also,” we agreed.

Then she called again. “I’m so sorry, but my superior has said that we can’t actually take any food, but we can deliver a letter or flyer that invites the families to pick up the baskets at the church.”

“That will work,” we said, and she came by the RV and picked up the material we had prepared. She called yesterday with the news that every one of her contacts and those of her colleague who was helping out were already connected with a food bank and could not be involved with our distribution. I’m not clear as to whether this is a regulation, or the people just don’t want to appear greedy.

Anyway–bottomline, as is said–we have this beautiful food ready to distribute, and we don’t know what to do with it. Any suggestions? If we don’t think of anything else, we will revert to plan one, and kindly and cautiously offer food to any neighbors we think may be in need. We do have a community service announcement in the newspaper that came out today saying that we will be at the church from 8:30 to 11:00 on Saturday to give away food. Maybe some will show from that.

Working perfectly, we believe, is our plan to give a turkey to every family who attends Christ Alive this Sunday. You’re all invited. Hop on a plane, but let me know, so I’ll be ready to pick you up at Havasu Regional airport. You should get a ticket for a thousand or two. Small sum to pay for such as you to worship with such as I on Thanksgiving Sunday.

Disclaimer edit: The turkey we give you on Sunday morning will be naked, wrapped up modestly in plastic though. Sorry if the picture led you to believe our presentation would be such. 🙂


My devotional blog is here.

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Record Breaking Sunday!

Christ Alive Congregation, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

Eighty-five was the count! Eight months ago, Jerry and I came to Lake Havasu to start a new church. Two people beside Jerry and me were in the first service. Today, we had 85!

There are more pictures and details of the service under My Church Activities.

Jerry and I with part of the group after the worship service.


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Fire Threatens My Home

Those of you who follow my blog know Jerry and I are temporarily living in Lake Havasu, Az, and that we maintain our home in Crestline which is in the San Bernardino Mountains of southern California. You may be aware that at this moment much of California is burning, including parts of San Diego where two of our sons and many friends and other relatives live. A few minutes ago we learned that in the last few hours fires have sprung up in our mountains, and that all roads to our home are now closed. The residents of the near-by community of Lake Arrowhead have been ordered to evacuate. Jerry just spoke with our neighbor Nancy who says the area is smoke filled and they are preparing themselves in case they too must evacuate. Late Sunday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in seven Southern California counties.

Anonymous submission to

San Diego County Officials Order Mass Evacuations Ahead of Raging Wildfires

Hundreds of hospital, nursing home patients evacuated in San Diego as blaze approaches.


Four years ago when we were gone from our home, deadly fires raged through our area, and at that time Crestline was evacuated for eight days. (Edit: “It’s worse than the fire four years ago,” said Maurice Luque, a spokesman for the San Diego Fire Rescue Department.”) Andrew had just gone from our home when the fires turned toward our place and the evacuation was ordered. He tried to get back to our home for pictures and documents, but was turned away. I have written at other times about challenges from fires in southern California and the involvement of arsonists in these tragedies. Here I wrote about firefighters who gave their lives to fight the Esperanza fire.

  This is just over the mountain from our home.

I recall dealing at that time with the thought of losing our home, as I do now. The only irreplaceable things of course are pictures and other mementos. Houses can be rebuilt and new furniture ordered, but the losing of our pictures would cause me deep grief. But I really don’t think that is going to happen. Although the whole area is threatened, chances are excellent that the fires will not reach our home or the homes of my family.

Let us remember those who today have lost their homes, though, and for the others who will. “Many people will lose their homes today,” a fireman just spoke over the radio. A couple of hours ago I listened as pastor, Greg Hughes, told of seeing his church burned to the ground. My prayers are with that pastor and his congregation.

Edit 12:20 Monday The source of the problem are Santa Ana Winds which are unusually strong this year.

Southern California wildfires blamed on unusual Santa Ana winds

By ALICIA CHANG AP Science Writer



LOS ANGELES—Wildfires breaking out across Southern California are being fueled by stronger than usual Santa Ana winds roaring out of the region’s canyons, scientists said Monday.The fires have killed at least one person, burned thousands of acres and forced hundreds of thousands of people out of their homes.

The powerful, dry winds typically blow between October and February and peak in December.

A stubborn high-pressure system over the Great Basin, the vast expanse of desert that covers much of Nevada, Utah and southern Idaho, fanned at least seven major wildfires this weekend and was expected to last through Tuesday. Typically, Santa Ana conditions last about a day.

“For it to be this strong for so many days is unusual,” said Stuart Seto, a weather specialist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

California has been bone-dry this year and many communities have imposed water use restrictions.

Edit 4:30 pm Monday: Our neighbors, Ken and Nancy, have evacuated, although it is not mandated yet in Crestline.

Our son Andrew, his wife and children are stranded in Modesto because the highways to their home in San Diego are blocked because of the fires.

Edit 9:00 pm Monday: All roads into the mountains are now closed, even to residents, although evacuation in Crestline is still voluntary. Jerry just talked to Lex, one of our neighbors, who says the fire is now 3 and 1/2 miles from our house, but the wind at the moment is not blowing in our direction. Lex’s wife was working down the mountain and tried to get home, but was turned back.


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Durango Vacation Journal Part 9

DSC_0004, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

On our way to church yesterday, as we crossed the bridge, I spied several people floating down the Animas River and wished we had time to stop for a picture. We didn’t, but on the way home, again there were several people visible on the river, and of course we stopped then. The Animas is a beautiful river that runs rapidly through the middle of Durango. There are signs in several places pointing to a river walk, and I believe I read somewhere the walk consists of a paved trail that extends five miles. I want to walk part of that before we leave.

Anyway, yesterday I stood on the bridge and watched the floaters as they developed from specks in the distance to recognizable persons who approached the bridge where I stood, then floated under me and emerged on the other side. One group of young people were friendly and started yelling hi and waving, so of course, I yelled back and snapped lots of pictures. They were so vibrant, I called, “I write a blog and you’ll be on the internet tomorrow.”


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That seemed to please them, and just before they disappeared under the bridge one of them called, “What’s the name of the blog?”

“Shirley Buxton,” I answered. I doubt if they remember my name, but just in case, if any of you are reading here, please tell us so. That surely looked to be fun yesterday, and when Jerry and I got back in the car, I said, “I’d love to do that.” I’ve checked it out and there are a couple of options as far as floating the river is concerned.

Not far from our RV park is the Durango Soaring Club where they tow Sailplanes aloft, then release them to silently glide back to the landing field. As we were passing the field yesterday, there was one taking off, so we pulled in and watched. We didn’t stay long enough for the glider to return, but did watch as the tow plane landed.

While Jerry talked to the people about the particulars of the flights, I wandered around and took pictures. Contiguous to the flight field is old farm equipment and a garden.


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The spectacular sky began to darken and there came a feeling of rain as we entered the car and drove to the RV park. We visited with the Stevenson’s under their awning for a while, then rain squalls began in earnest, lasted for awhile and lifted. Jerry grilled our dinner outside, finishing up the task in sprinkling rain.


My devotional blog is here.


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Durango Vacation Journal Part 2



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Our first day of travel could not have been more beautiful. The skies were electric blue, festooned with ascending domes of silvered clouds, so white they glistened in the shimmering summer atmosphere. Then in the distance thin arrows of lightening danced, and once I saw a double strike, though I heard no thunder. Across the horizon, at one point, Jerry saw a horizontal streak.

Gales of wind commenced and Jerry fought with the wheel of the motor home, and beside the road, I watched the tree branches as they whipped furiously. Wild sunflowers grew there too, and I saw them bent double so that their sunny faces brushed the black asphalt. “Rain, Shirley. There’s rain on the windshield,” and so it was. I took pictures of the precious drops.

Quickly it passed, the wind ceased, and little more than four hours after we left Lake Havasu we pulled into the KOA of Flagstaff. If one wanted to choose a park for an extended period in Flagstaff, I would recommend this one. Passing through and merely staying for the night? I’d say find another place.

The roads within the park are so narrow and lined with trees, that Jerry was fearful he could not even maneuver to our spot. He could easily have hit a tree, or one of the stones that line the paths. It is so bad that someone has tied red warning ribbons around many of the trees, and several of the trees show scars where they have been swiped. We were assured that our assigned spot–#188–was a “pull-through,” meaning that we wouldn’t have to disconnect the Jeep, and there would be plenty of room to pull through. Not! Jerry saw it was hopeless, so without even trying, he disconnected and I drove the Jeep to a parking place. Even just getting the rig into the spot was a challenge. But we’re settled in now, so all is well.

Within the hour of our arriving, I meandered down a road, camera in hand. I had only passed three or four RVs when a lady walked out to meet me…and I found it to be someone I had met before. She thought we had met at a conference, and then she introduced her husband, Pastor Shaffer. They are starting a home missions work here in Flagstaff, and while a house is being built for them, they’re living in their RV.


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Their two-year-old granddaughter wandered over, and she was such a striking child I asked if I could take her picture. She absolutely would not smile at me, but when Jerry said something to her, she flashed him the biggest grin–an absolute flirt. “She likes men,” her grandmother told me. Her name is Alyssa.


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The altitude here is nearly 7000 feet. Bliss! Cool bliss! Great sleeping tonight.


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The Church is No Place to Hide

This story is of particular interest to me for a variety of reasons; one, I am a mother, two, my husband is the pastor of a church, and three, for years I have lived fairly close to the US/Mexico border and the immigration issue is of great concern to me.


LOS ANGELES — An immigration activist who took refuge in a Chicago church for a year to avoid being separated from her son has been deported to Mexico, the church’s pastor said.

Elvira Arellano was arrested Sunday afternoon outside Our Lady Queen of Angels church in Los Angeles. She was deported several hours later, said the Rev. Walter Coleman, pastor of Adalberto United Methodist Church in Chicago, where Arellano had taken refuge.

“She has been deported. She is free and in Tijuana,” said Coleman, who said he spoke to her on the phone. “She is in good spirits. She is ready to continue the struggle against the separation of families from the other side of the border.”

From Fox News

The entire story is here.

Have you been to Tijuana, a city exceeding one million persons, lying just south of San Diego, Ca? Have you been to any third-world country? Have you sensed the poverty, sniffed its peculiar scent, heard the low murmur of its people, observed the haunting faces, bent low to eye street beggars, or brushed against their outstretched hands? Have you felt a tug at your skirt and looked into the smudged face of a pleading child barely of weaning age? Have you startled when the smooth American highway gives way to rough gravel or to the jolt of deep potholes in the ragged asphalt? Have you observed the skyline of San Diego as it resolves into shabby hillsides ticked with cardboard shanties?

(Photo removed at John Crosley’s request)

Tijuana Poverty Trap — Trap of Death
by John Crosley

I have. And I have wept.

My commitment to truth wrenches from me the admission that were I a mother of small children and we lived in Tijuana, I would consider the use of any available means to insure that my children crossed that border and that they became citizens of the United States. Don’t press me. Would my conscience and godly striving convince me that I must not break the law, and thereby circumvent my illegally crossing the border? Could I beat into myself the idea that I must obey American (and Mexican?) laws, or would I press and maneuver and strive in hope of grasping a self-serving loophole? Could I at one understand the decadent and ignoble government which ruled me, while having heard whisper of America and having glimpsed its people and its glory, and yet stare into the face of my children and be at peace and reconciled to our fate? Or would I have the brilliant courage and strength to fight where I was, to infuse my children with enthusiasm and grit so that they, in their native surroundings, could break the chains of poverty and ignorance? Honestly, I don’t know.

I feel deeply for this mother. But, she has broken our laws, and her deportation should stand. (Hey! I hear you shouting. Should you not then be deported had you been the Tijuana mother of your thoughts? Yes. Absolutely.) While admittedly one of compassion, the United States of America is an independent and sovereign nation, and it is not within the liberties of other governments to direct our laws, our thoughts, our customs. While a sanctuary for millions, we cannot be a sanctuary for all.

No church should be an asylum for one who is a blatant law-breaker. Such a person is Elvira. On August 15, 2006, she defied a deportation order to report to the Department of Homeland Security. Instead she sought refuge in the Adalberto United Methodist church in Chicago, knowing full well that a judge had issued her original deportation order in 1997. Elvira knew exactly what she was doing. More than once she had entered this country illegally and had obtained a false social security number. Yes, she should have been arrested yesterday, and yes, she should have been deported.

Telling, is that although she uses the horror of dividing families as a base for her protestation of our immigration laws, she, herself, left behind her nine-year-old son when she went from the country yesterday. True, he is an American citizen, but as far as I know, such a position does not preclude his going to Mexico with his mother. She kissed him good-bye and left.


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Satan Hates New Life Center

By the scores are they scheduled–cutting-edge seminars, conferences and workshops in which is taught every imaginable angle to facilitate the advertisement of churches. Rarely have I met a pastor who is not interested in utilizing the method deemed to be the most effective. Signage, newspaper ads, and radio clips are commonly used. But until today, I have never heard of anyone who had taken the step of involving Satan in these endeavors.

Mike Lewis wants you to know that Satan hates the New Life Center in Cedar Grove.

He wants you to know it so much that his church has put up a billboard along U.S. 60 outside Rand saying just that.

The sign has caused a bit of controversy, said Pete Conley, owner of Conley’s Hair Styling across from the sign in Rand.

I don’t appreciate the word ‘hate,’” Conley said. “I have to look at that sign every day and I can appreciate the message they are putting out there but not the way they are going about it.”

The sign lists the church’s Web site, In small white lettering it says that the church paid for the billboard.

Often, people read only the main message of the billboard as they drive by and think the sign was paid for by a group that hates the church, Conley said.

Lewis, pastor of the New Life Center, says he has fielded several calls from people concerned that someone was attacking the church. He says they have always gone away understanding and appreciating the message.

“We are doing a little reverse psychology,” he said. “You always see signs that say, ‘I love you.’ This is the opposite.”

Lewis said he feels that those who oppose his church are on the side of Satan, knowingly or otherwise.

Read the entire article here.

Interesting, huh. What is your take on advertising in this way? Do the means always justify the end? If this gets people to church, shouldn’t that be alright? Or, not?

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Santa Maria Camp Meeting 2007 Grand Finale

More than 70 persons received the Holy Ghost during the camp meeting, and much of the credit for this goes to outreach teams who “worked” the streets, the malls and the parks during the hours preceding the evening services. On Friday, Gaylen Cantrell’s drama team was on site at the park just down the street from the fair grounds, so a few minutes after 5:00 I drove over there to observe, and to be support for them. Lively music was playing through the portable sound system, and while the drama teams performed, dozens of other persons were distributing invitations to the evening service. Some approached persons in the park, while others moved up and down the surrounding sidewalks. Young men rushed to cars that slowed to hear the performance, and leaned inside as they handed out the cards. I watched as they gestured toward the fairgrounds in invitation.




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On both Thursday and Friday nights, there were such a dynamic and convicting move of God, that well before the sermon, spontaneously, with no one orchestrating it, throughout the tent, people began receiving the Holy Ghost. One of those persons was my grandson Cole. He’s six years old. There are many people–sincere people, I believe–who maintain that the Holy Ghost, as demonstrated on the Day of Pentecost, is no longer available today, and that speaking in tongues was only for that day and time. If you are reading this and have such beliefs, I wish you could have been in one of those services. I wish you could have seen a child–a child who has not a clue that there is controversy about the Bible and about God–stand in a crowded altar area by his dad, and, feeling the presence of God, raise his slight arms and begin to speak in a heavenly language. Incredible and true. His cousin Joel (in the blue shirt) was actually praying with him when Cole received the Holy Ghost.




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And then it was over, and by the thousands, the chairs were stacked.

But next year is coming. The first week in August. Be here!


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Pentecostal Camp Meeting in Santa Maria–Finale

Well, I told you I’d get back on Friday if I could tear myself away. Sorry, but I was so tied up–bound almost–by joy, excitement, grinning, laughter, eating and drinking with God, my family , and with my friends, that I didn’t even approach my computer, not even to rub my hand over its white smooth cover. 😦

Friday–everything about it–was better than Thursday, which, please recall, had neared perfection. The first thing that made it better was that Steve, my eldest, arrived. Now all of my children were together with Jerry and me in Santa Maria, along with assorted and various grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren tucked in the mix! Talk about wonder and glory and joy! I’ve had it the last few days.


Steve talks with his dad here. Many of you will recognize the other gentleman to be Sam White, who for scores of years pastored a church in Bellflower, Ca.

Camp consisted of lots of this:

Settling Their Decision

…and a birthday party for Thane who turned four.



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…but most important of all, lots of this. I’ve brought over a video from YouTube that you may want to watch, as this shows a typical Pentecostal conference/campmeeting worship service. This is not a video from our camp meeting, as I don’t have one available, but the feeling, the energy, the dynamics were the same. Take a look and a listen. The video was taken at one of our conferences in Stockton, California–sponsored by Christian Life Center, pastored by Nathaniel Haney. Landmark is the name of the conference.

Early in the service on Friday night and other nights, there were a bunch of mine with hands raised (Rebecca) men dancing in the aisle, Andrew, Michael, Joel and Kyle, on the far right (Shawnna’s nephew). Take a look at two little ones who are following in the steps of their parents and grandparents. (Thane–4 years old Ethan–not quite 2)

Rebecca Worshipping

My Boys!




My Grandbabies Worshipping

The preaching was dynamic. Scott Graham, the evening speaker was absolutely powerful


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