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Christmas Crestline Culture Family Food Friends Holidays

Of Home, Family, Friendship, and Food

Our house is on the large size, rather more than Jerry or I need in our later years, but for the most part we enjoy having it, for often we have others here with us in Crestline, including our family of four children and all those who now trail along with them, including grandchildren and great grandchildren.  Friends. Neighbors.

20141225-untitled (79 of 114)We’re into our fifteenth year of living in these beautiful San Bernardino Mountains, and I’m not exactly sure in which one of those years we met Robert who lives down on the part of Wabern that merges into the woods. We were walking when we met him–sure of that–for it was years before we coaxed him into our home, so our relationship was cultivated as we walked past his house, and as we lingered to talk if he happened to be outside. I estimate his age as being in the late 40s, he’s of a reserved nature, of few words, and he shows a kind spirit. During these years Jerry had a serious heart attack even to the extent of a cardiac arrest in the ambulance as it headed to the hospital, and of course over the years, we told Robert of Jerry’s severe accident in 1994, and sometimes we discussed his residual problems, so maybe because of those things Robert assumed a posture of gentle concern for Jerry. Robert’s dark hair is styled into a ponytail that flows down his broad back. He is a recently retired operating room nurse. Sometime throughout these years, he married Jennifer, a charming, friendly young woman.

Much goes on at our place; a fair amount includes Winston, our grandchildren, and food.

20140805-untitled (62 of 187) 20140821-untitled (165 of 187) 20140824-untitled (171 of 187)Some of our oldest friends, both in age, and in the length of friendship, are Sam and Lil White. They live in Arizona now, and because he understood they would be by themselves for Thanksgiving, Jerry drove to Arizona and brought them to our home. They are each 92, vigorous in mind, but failing in their bodies. When Jerry had helped Lil into the house, she immediately sat down in a chair near the door and began crying. “What’s wrong, Lil? Why are you crying?” I asked.

“Happy, Shirley. These are tears of joy. I’m so glad to be here.”

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During the Christmas season nearly every year, Jerry and I host an open house for our friends and neighbors. 20141213-untitled (97 of 119)Usually we have around thirty people or so attend. I cook lots of food.

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This year Robert and Jennifer came. (Not pictured.) As they prepared to leave and as I gave them a small gift, wrapped up in a tiny beautiful Christmas bag, I sensed they were very touched. Something about people loving their neighbors enough and loving Jesus enough to spend a bit of time and money and arrange for a winter’s evening of joy for a couple dozen people touched them deeply. I could tell. I don’t understand it, for lots of people go to lots of parties, and Robert and Jennifer are certainly not backward people. Perhaps I had just forgotten, though, maybe I had not fully understood, how sometimes an open door, a hand on the shoulder, a slice of cake on a fine plate, a direct look in the eye can move another human.

A couple of days later, Robert and Jennifer knocked on our door. They brought a gift, a tiny holly plant wrapped in festive paper, and as we sat together on the couch, Robert said, “Thank you for inviting us. Thank you. We had a wonderful time.” I believe both their eyes glistened.

20150112-untitled (25 of 25)This has been a difficult post to write, and I’m not sure even now, I have expressed what I am feeling. Hope you “get” it. ūüôā Did you? Please tell me.

Categories
Culture Photography The World Travel

Visual Snippets of Israel–Part 2

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Categories
Children Culture Life Photography The World Travel

Transition to Italy

It is just after 3:00 on Wednesday morning, and we’ve spent a few hours in an airport hotel in Amman, Jordan. At 3:30 our luggage must be in the lobby and our bus will take us to the airport where around 6:00 we begin a series of travel today–air flight to Istanbul, then another to Rome, where we will transfer to a train and end in Florence tonight.

Our days in Israel have been such that I have not been able to write about everything, but I will get to them all. Part of the challenge has been the fast pace of the trip, and often I am not able to get on the internet.

A happy group of girls ran our way as we walked toward the Jordan River. They were smiling, so I stopped to talk and take pictures.

“What is your name?” I asked this sweet young girl.

“Elizabeth,” she said. “What’s your name?” She lives in Bethlehem.

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Categories
Culture Photography The World Travel

Food in Israel

For lunch every day we’ve had nearly the same thing: salads, most of which I cannot identify, hummus, a delicious eggplant dip, served with chips which is probably fried pita bread. Stacks of pita bread are at every lunch. Meat served is chicken, lamb, and sometimes beef. Breakfasts are wonderful (but to tell the truth, this morning, I could go for a nice little plate full of crispy bacon!) eggs, boiled or scrambled, bowls of olives –every meal–cheeses, and little hills of freshly baked rolls and very fresh butter. All the hotel meals we’ve eaten have been buffet style. The olives! Exceptionally delicious. Dinner is the same type salads with the same variety of meat. We’re in Jordan now (I’ll fill you in later on everything I missed talking about in Israel) and last night we had beef stroganoff and a great variety of desserts. Cheese every breakfast. Coffee is robust. Exceptionally delicious tangerines.

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Categories
Children Christianity/Religion Culture God My Family Photography Religion

Sage Buxton and Mary Birchett

During the morning as I contemplated that this is the day that will contain the ending moments of the year 2013, and as I thought of my considerable blessings during said year, indeed, throughout my entire life, my mind nuzzled down and settled on Sage.

ImageSage is eleven years old and is the daughter of Chris and Christina, which makes her my great-granddaughter. She is a changeling. Yesterday she climbed into this tree with her brother and boy cousins, and she grinned down at me as she held Winston, and as I snapped her picture. At other moments, though, it is evident that she will soon leave rank childhood behind, and in its place will embrace the lady-hood that is nipping at the hem of her skirt.

I stood in a large group gathered at the altar Sunday night, and in a few minutes I sensed that Sage had moved from her parents who also worshipped at the front of the church, and now sidled close to me. She wept. I laid one of my hands on her back, then she raised her own arms in worship, and I saw that she was crying. It was a precious moment as we stood together enveloped in the presence of God on the last Sunday of the year 2013.

Later I was reminded that Sage’s great, great, great grandmother, Mary Birchett, was also a recipient of the precious gift of the Holy Ghost, and that such a remarkable link, such a treasure of heritage has been passed not only to Sage, but to all my other great grandchildren. Have there been failures in our family? Of course. Is there shame in our family? Of course. But overriding this negative reality is the sure Word of God and His sure Spirit that has been protected and treasured by many in our family.

With joy I write this year-end missive, with joy I speak of God’s Spirit, and with joy do I celebrate my remarkable heritage.

Onward! 2014 stands at the door.

Categories
Culture Friends Goodness of man love Marriage/anniversaries Photography

Sam and Lil White’s 70th Anniversary

“Do you know what today is?”

The gentleman addressed the question to his tiny wife who sat across the living room. Always small, she now is tiny, legally blind, and suffering from a painful Shingles attack. She did not answer.

“It’s our anniversary, Lil. Today is our 70th wedding anniversary.”

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And so it was, as my Jerry discovered today when he talked by telephone with his longtime friend Samuel S. White.

I am so sorry I did not recall their anniversary date, and thus did not call or send them a gift, or at least a card for this very significant day. I am sorry they were alone. . . and almost forgot the special day themselves. I am so sorry, for they are dear and precious people and deserved more from me.

Many of you know these exceptional people. Some of you might not have met Jesus except for this rare couple. We have benefited from her leadership among ladies, from his dynamic preaching, and from their generous spirits, and from their sincere love.

I hesitate to post their address, but I know many of you will want to acknowledge this special day in their lives, so I am posting my own address and if you would like to send a card or a letter I will bundle them and send them on to these our friends. Mail letters: Rev. and Mrs. Sam S. White c/o Shirley Buxton P. O. Box 4577 Crestline, CA. 92325

If you’d like to post a message to them here, I will make a copy of your words for the Whites.

Thank you.

Categories
Animals Culture Humor Medical/Technical My Family Photography

Winston’s Visit to the Vet

Winston went to the vet yesterday and just a few minutes ago posted about the trip on his page here.

Categories
Animals Courage Crestline Culture Photography

A Caring Lesson from Winston

I knew from the beginning Sir Winston of Crestline was a very special pup, but I had no idea he would be called into the ministry . . . First clue came when I found him with these in his mouth.

ImageHe has chosen the bottom shelf of a bookcase covered wall as his daytime den and sleeping place. The shelf is positioned beside a large chair I sit in when I’m working at the computer and had a few books on it with a large vacant area. He just took over. I moved the books so he has the whole shelf to himself . . . otherwise there would be no books left. He’s very studious it seems, and besides that he’s teething.

ImageHe conquered the four cement steps from the driveway yesterday and today. He was hesitating to come down, but I encouraged him, and here he came but on the last step got to going so fast he tumbled over and bonked his little head.

I’m eager for his vet appointment on Monday when he will receive his first puppy shots, for he’s at a high risk now for lots of things, and the nurse in the doctor’s office advised me to keep him in at our house. But we go so much . . .and when we went to a funeral last week, Rebecca “baby” sat him, and of course Winston met his cousin, whose name is Sir Maxwell. (Another titled, rather important dog!) Maxwell is a Snauser.

untitled (9 of 56)…and he’s met and played with Sarah who lives across the street. Sarah bounds up our driveway with Winston chasing right after her, his short legs chugging like a locomotive. He tires easily when he does that, though, and will plop down right in the street. (We live on a cul-de-sac with almost no traffic.)

untitled (21 of 56)Winston is fearless.

untitled (22 of 56)Our delightful neighbor Bill lives next door. He walks into the woods every day, blows snow off his sidewalks on blizzardy days, is sharp-witted, as friendly as can be, and is 91 years old. Last week from our back deck, I lifted up Sir Winston and showed him to Bill who was out in his yard. He grinned . . . then yesterday came into our yard and down the steps to meet his newest neighbor who was frolicking with his master.

untitled (15 of 56)He bent over then, and lifted up the tiny pup.

untitled (18 of 56)I didn’t notice the lesson as I snapped the picture, but as I processed it and saw Bill’s feet and his hands grasping my little pup, the understanding of the helplessness of Winston and to some extent the neediness of Bill occurred to me. Winston taught me another lesson, that of caring for those who have difficulty caring for themselves. Last week Bill hired a young boy to rake up leaves and acorns, and by the time he was finished he had more than a dozen large, black bags full of debris. Today was the day the huge trash trucks would come on our street. Led by the charge of my caring husband, a few men of the neighborhood grabbed up those bulky, heavy bags and set them out for Bill. Too many for the collectors to take, so Jerry put some bags with our trash, Ken put some with his, Mary some with hers, as did also Kerry.

A nation–a people–are known by the care they give to those who cannot care for themselves.

Winston adds his greetings.

Categories
Culture Death Goodness of man Life love

Relief Sites for the Philippines

In addition to church organization compassion and relief sites, the following are programs have been set up to aid the desperate people of the Philippines. Taken from Fox News. Photograph by Reuters

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Visit these links to learn how to help victims of the deadly typhoon in the Philippines:

WORLD FOOD PROGRAM

The World Food Program is working to bring food to refugees around the world and people facing hardship due to natural disasters. The organization is mobilizing quickly to reach those in need in the Philippines, according to its website, and donations will help provide emergency food assistance to families and children in the area devastated by a typhoon.

PHILIPPINE RED CROSS

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has deployed assessment, rescue and relief teams to evaluate the damage from the typhoon and to support rescue efforts.

AMERICAN RED CROSS

The American Red Cross, which responds to about 70,000 natural and man-made disaster each year, is accepting donations to help people affected by the Pacific typhoon, according to its website. Donations can be made in honor of or in memory of an individual.

AMERICARES

AmeriCares is a non-profit emergency response and global health organization.  In a statement on its website, AmeriCares says it delivers medical and humanitarian aid to people in need worldwide in times of epic disaster or daily struggle.

SALVATION ARMY

The Salvation Army is accepting donations specifically for Typhoon Haiyan.  According to a Salvation Army statement, cash donations allow disaster responders to immediately meet the specific needs of disaster survivors without incurring many of the costs associated with sorting, packing, transporting and distributing donated goods.  The relief services are funded entirely by donors and the Salvation Army says it uses 100 percent of all disaster donations to support disaster relief operations.

MERCY CORPS

Mercy Corps is deploying emergency responders to the Philippines and will be working with partners on the ground to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of survivors, the organization says on its website.  Mercy Corps says donations will help survivors meet their basic needs and begin rebuilding after the typhoon.

INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has dispatched an emergency team to the Philippines to respond to basic safe water, hygiene and sanitation needs. The IRC plans to expand its response as determined by needs on the ground.

Categories
Animals Culture Family

Sir Winston of Crestline

ImageLadies and Gentlemen of the world: Meet Sir Winston (Buxton) of Crestline!!

ImageThe last time a puppy lived in our home was when Andrew was still in school, and through out our retirement years we have said, “No, we don’t need a dog, travel too much, cold weather here, expensive…etc. . . . Then into my presence, cast before my eyes was this vision of a pup . . and I caught my breath, and I immediately fell in love. So when we pulled away from the beautiful home of the Bob Allen family in Tucson, heading toward California, I was in possession of this magnificent Shih Tzu puppy.

Sir Winston (by the way, as we traveled in the car I cogitated concerning the appropriate name for such a gem of perfection, and as I communicated with the subject of the puzzle, trying this name and that, he somehow let me know that, “Yes, Sir Winston is my name.”

“That’s your name, isn’t it?” I inquired again . . .and he gazed straight into my heart by way of his round glossy eyes, and said, “You got it! My name is Winston!”

Oh, what I started to say is that Winston has a little brother . . . and the little brother is how this all started, but I’ll have to tell you the whole story later, for people are waiting to hear . . .and the little brother is now named Milo, and he belongs to Chloe our granddaughter who was with us in Tucson, and here she is meeting and falling in love with him.

On Saturday, Mike and Mel met Sir Winston. Today, before we made the announcement public,¬† we drove by Rebecca’s, Steve’s, and of course Andrew’s, where we took Chloe home. They’ve all met the new member of the family.

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I believe I felt the earth move. For sure I know things have moved around in the Buxton home in Crestline. We have papers on the floor, a box with soft towels, a basket with soft towels, puppy shampoo, Purina Puppy Chow, a purple chew toy, a red bow tie collar (that is too big, so I’ll show you later), a little water bowl, and a puppy food bowl. And snuggled up at this moment in front of the blazing fire in our living room is Sir Winston (Buxton) of Crestline. He is six weeks old and weighs 32 ounces. I’m in love. (Don’t tell anybody, but at the moment I hear Pappy talking baby talk to Sir Winston. He tries to be an old meanie about little dogs, but I know the truth: He is in love too!)