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America boating California Children Christianity/Religion Church Crestline Death family celebrations Food Goodness of man Grief Honor Life Photography Social

A Happy Day

Melina said it correctly, “This is a bittersweet day.” Indeed it was, for its curious boundaries metered funeral flowers, eulogies, and graveside committal words. Flowing tears and grievous expression held hands with mirth and laughing aloud.

Two of our sons, their wives, and one grandson, along with Jerry and me, had attended the funeral of our dear friend, Rev. Paul Walker. It was a beautiful service, where loving honor was paid to this great man of God. Jerry was honored by being asked to speak during the graveside service.


Jerry’s birthday had been the day before. He had already celebrated with birthday dinners and breakfasts, a myriad of phone calls from family and friends, and by opening packages received in person, and in the mail. These particular youngsters, though, had not seen him on his special day, although they had communicated by mail and by telephone calls.

“Dad,” said Andrew at the conclusion of the services. “Let’s go eat somewhere. Celebrate your birthday a bit more.”

No one knew a close-by place to eat, so Andrew and Shauna consulted maps and recommendations on their phone, and we all pulled up in front of Billy Qs in Palm Desert. It was a tiny pizza place, with not a table to seat us all, except for one with high stools, so we scurried around, and helped Jerry get seated up there. After we had received the drinks we had ordered, Andrew leaned in, and said, “There’s a really nice place next door. Want to pay for our drinks and go there?”

“No.” I said, “Let’s don’t do that.”

All agreed, and what a dynamite decision we made. The food is outstanding, and the people are fantastic. The female partner of the man/wife owners of the little place was our waitress . . .and she is a hoot.

My husband has a line he loves to use in restaurants–one which causes the rest of us to smile wanly, and take on an apologetic look. Sometimes we tuck our heads. “Do you take food stamps?” he asked Darnelle.

She missed not a beat. “Yes we do. However, you need to provide three forms of ID.” Wide-eyed, Jerry was speechless. The rest of us were howling.

The upward momentum never faltered during that fine hour. When Darnelle learned this was a birthday celebration of sorts, she went next door to Cold Stone, bought an ice cream cake, and set it at the end of our table. She scurried up a make-shift candle, and we sang. Before we left this charming place, Darnelle was in the middle of all of us, and we were hugging and promising to see each other again.

For part of the summer, she and her husband take an RV to Big Bear Lake, which is about 20 miles from where Jerry and I live. “We take a portable pizza oven there, and cook up pizzas for everyone in the RV park.” She wrote her phone number on the back of a card. “Call me. We also take a boat there. Love to take you out on it.”

I love living.

Categories
family celebrations Family time Food Friends Goodness of man love Love of Family Photography

And Now I am 80

Today I am 80. Eighty and one day to be exact, for yesterday was my official birthday, and although I have been pulled kicking and snorting into the century with old people, here I stand. I am 80!

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Even though my birthday was not until the 24th, the festivities began on Saturday the 14th with my four children and their spouses working together to execute a family party with the number 80 connected to it. My eldest son opened their beautiful property for the event which was a dynamic success. Grand kids bounced about, along with four dogs, all Shih Tzus.

My brother was there: my brother who lives in Pennsylvania, and who a few days before had been in Australia! He strolled from the house to meet me on the patio when Jerry and I arrived, grinning. “You rascal,” I said, “surprising me like this.” I thumped him on the chest. What a guy he is. You will never meet a finer man on this earth.

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They brought presents, food, five or six cakes, fried chicken, couches for pictures, funny items for photographs, a clothesline with my childhood pictures on it, old-fashioned candies, including a moon pie tree. The grandkids told funny stories–one is so great_DSC0126that afterward I went to Chris, and said, “I want you to tell that story at my funeral.” (Stay tuned!) Won’t bore you with all the details. Trust me. It was magnificent. Perfectly done.

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That’s me in the middle in case you didn’t recognize me.

My favorite picture follows here. I was sitting on one of the couches with Steve and Rebecca beside me when my Michael leaped and spread himself across us. Andrew handed his camera to someone else, and joined his siblings. My four exceptional children. Aren’t they gorgeous! Not a picture of my dear hubby in sight, but he was there in fine form.

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_DSC0030My favorite part of the weekend festivities? On Sunday morning we all went to church together. Yep, that was my absolute favorite part. I have a great video I want to post here that would help you understand how special that was, but I’m not sure I know how to get it to this page. I’ll keep trying.

After church we went to a great Italian restaurant in Chula Vista where they serve outstanding food, one of them being an asparagus dish with a delicate cheese sauce. The first time I ate that lusciousness I threatened to lick the plate. Well, now that I’m 80, and not quite responsible for my actions, I . . .you guessed it . . . licked the plate! The owner came to our table for a hug and a picture. The chef emerged from the kitchen and with a great baritone voice, in Italian, belted out Happy Birthday.

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On Sunday, the 22nd, as Jerry and I worshipped with the wonderful people of The Lighthouse Church in Yucaipa, I was called to the front and presented with a huge basket of presents in celebration of my impending birthday. I was stunned, having absolutely no idea they would be making such a presentation. So sweet, so very sweet.

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Yesterday. The day. My 80th. One of the first messages I received was from my greats, Franky and Gabby, who by way of video sang Happy Birthday. I cried, it was so dear to me.

Jerry planned a dinner down the hill at The Claim Jumper, where I thought we would be eating only with Rebecca. When we arrived, though, there were our very special friends, the Garretts, and Kate, one of my Crestline friends. We ate delicious food, they gave me presents, we took pictures and ate cake, then Jerry gave me his gift. A banjo! Yep, a banjo. When several weeks ago he asked what I wanted I told him about my wanting a banjo. I took it out of the box, and played it! (I’m quite sure all the Claim Jumper guests enjoyed such rare dinner music!)  Before I went to bed I watched a YouTube video to help me learn to play it. Have to get me some picks first, I believe.

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DSC_0464So there you have it. I’m 80. Hard to comprehend, can hardly believe it is me. It’s old, I know that. I am now an old lady–no denying the fact. But I’m thankful for life, glad God chose me to be born, grateful for my wonderful husband Jerry, for all my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, other relatives, and my multitude of friends. God has been good to me–so very good.

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Culture family celebrations Food Holidays Home Humor Life Photography

Cinnamon Roll Saga

How is it that sugary goo tangled arm-in-arm with sunshiny-yellow butter morphs into a creation that snaps our tastebuds into smiling salute, but at the same moment prompts our doctors to caution, “Watch it now, Easy does it.”? Ah, life. Incredibly wonderful, yet patently unfair as regards the consumption of such things that at their origin told of golden-grain fields, herds of glossy girl cows, cackling hens, and not to forget the standing forest of trees whose bark yields the aromatic twirled spice that is basic to a notable cinnamon roll.

DSC_0347For some time now I have observed the practice of foregoing the creation of these and similarly cautionary delectables until Jerry and I have company . . .or some analogous festive occasion that might beg for such formation. Through the years I have tweaked recipes until I have settled on a basic yeast roll, and in so doing, have wondered if said dough could serve as foundation for a master cinnamon roll. The problem lay in the fact that while reserving such for guests, I also have an aversion to test-driving on company. (What’s a girl to do?) So, a couple of days before Independence Day I announced to a few persons of interest that on that day–this special holiday–I would conduct a cinnamon roll test-run. Perfect!

DSC_0352DSC_0353About mid-morning Rebecca called saying her earlier plans had dissolved, and she’d be up for a visit. I smiled, told her of the cinnamon roll experiment, and what time we would be eating.

“I’ll be up to help you judge, Mom.”

I had told Jerry we would have one for breakfast, but although I was up at 5:30 to get them started, things happened, and we wound up eating a regular breakfast, holding the thought that the rolls would be great for a coffee break. Or dessert for our big meal if worse came to worse.

DSC_0355We would eat at 3:00. Jerry grilled brats. I fried potatoes, made a salad, and Rebecca put together a green bean casserole, using Mozzarella I had in the fridge instead of the Swiss she needed. Saved a market run.

We dined on the back deck, and well before we had cleared the table after eating the tasty food, I announced there would be no interval between dinner and dessert. Too eager. We made coffee, I plated the huge rolls, and carried them out. They were soft and gooey. . . And! perfect.

DSC_0358DSC_0359DSC_0364Rebecca decided against taking any home with her. I wrapped two, placed them in the freezer, and placed one on a dish, covered it with a glass dome and placed it inside the oven.  Should stay fresh like that and Jerry would have it the next day for a snack, I was sure.

DSC_0371I believe it was around  8:00  in the evening when I detected movement in the kitchen, and as I watched a gentleman moved from said area, a well-filled plate in his hand. Jerry grinned.

“Where did you get that cinnamon roll?” I asked.

“In the freezer.”

Well, here we are on July 5th, and this nice cinnamon roll  I saved for Jerry is still available. I suspect in a couple of hours, though, that it will not remain in such fine form; rather it will have become a sweet, gooey memory, and its origin of flora and fauna will be a forgotten speck of the ages.

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Crestline family celebrations Food Humor Life Marriage/anniversaries Photography San Bernardino Mountains

The Surprise Anniversary Dinner

“Don’t plan anything tomorrow,” Jerry had said to me the day before our anniversary. And yesterday, the big day, he told me his plans for us to go to a very fine restaurant in Lake Arrowhead. Our daughter Rebecca would be coming up around 2:30 and would join us for an early dinner.

So, a rather routine day found us eating bacon and eggs for breakfast, no lunch, just snacks here and there, and around noon I tackled a yard job of raking up pesky leaves from our multiple oak trees. I filled a large, heavy duty black bag, swept the stepping stones, hosed everything down, and watered all the plants in the back yard.

A bit after 2:00 Jerry and I were relaxing in the living room when Rebecca drove up and came in with her charming dog, Paisley, and a beautiful basket of strawberries, chocolate candy, and green beans she had picked up at a farmers market. We kissed and hugged and I read aloud the sweet card she had brought.

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“Well, I suppose I’d better get dressed, ” I said some time later. I paused, then added, “I feel like ordering in McDonald’s.”  I grinned.

“Or pizza,” Jerry said.

We  looked at each other, snickered a bit, then I said, “Why don’t we do that! Nothing says we have to go out anywhere.” We had nothing to prove, no one to impress, and besides I could stay in my less than spectacular clothes, and my dusty feet would be just fine for a few more hours.DSC_0082

Rebecca looked up the number to the local pizza joint, Jerry pulled out a credit card, and over the phone we ordered our 62nd anniversary dinner. Rebecca and I made a salad, we grabbed drinks from the fridge, and carried our dishes and pizza carton to the back deck. We dined!

DSC_0085And kissed.

DSC_0092Rebecca smiled.

We watched as our finches joined in the celebration by chowing down on the seeds  they pull from the sock that swings from the deck rails. Nearby, hummingbirds swigged their sweet nectar. A beautiful, balmy summer day in the San Bernardino Mountains. Perfect setting for a significant meal.

DSC_0091The air grew chilly, a bit of wind picked up, so we moved inside. I took a carton of fine vanilla ice cream from the downstairs freezer. Rebecca poked about in the cabinets, found three decent cookies, cleaned the strawberries, then piled them on the ice cream I had plunked into three glass dishes. The Keurig gurgled, and whiffs of fresh, strong coffee swirled among the items of celebration.

“I’d better go,” Rebecca said. “Want to get down the mountain before dark.”

Thanks, hugs, kisses, good-byes to people and to dogs concluded the Buxton family celebration. How sweet it is.

 

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Christianity/Religion Courage Family family celebrations God Goodness of man grandparents Integrity Life Marriage/anniversaries

My Jerry of 62 Years

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credit for photo to Buxton Photography

Vividly I recall the moment. Tulsa was the place where my eyes first swept across  his image.  A chapel service. Apostolic College. Both of us students. A number of days (maybe weeks) later, I looked across a room and had this “knowing.” I would marry him.

And I did. Sixty-two years ago. At Swan Lake he had asked the question, and on June 27th in Marshfield, Mo. a pastor said his words, we told our vows, and we became a couple.

Doubtless God ordained this coupling, for our lives together have been unusually happy, and I like to think we have made positive contributions to God’s work, and to our society in general. I know he has. He has taught in both public and private schools, pastored two churches, founded a still-thriving Christian school in Rialto, CA., then when he was 75 years old, well after he had officially retired, we went to Lake Havasu City, AZ. and there he planted a church. When we left 3 and 1/2 years later the group averaged 40 to 50 people, and our top attendance had been 92. Statistically, this represented a remarkable accomplishment.

Husband. He was–and is– my husband. I was young, so very young, lacking a few days being 18 years old, naive, not worldly-wise at all; I could have been utterly fooled. That June night as I changed into a lovely negligee in the small bathroom of the Circle C motel we had selected at random as we traveled on our three-day honeymoon toward Kentucky where we had our first revival scheduled, I recall a panicky moment. For a sudden understanding had come to me. I really did not know this man with whom I was about to share a bed.  (No one knows. Ever. For scarcely do we know ourselves.) But God had directed both of us. We had listened, and today find ourselves elderly, showing a few physical imperfections, happy, still full of faith in each other, and in God, who throughout all these years as been the center, the core of our home.

We started with little. Everything we owned was in that car of Jerry’s –well, it was sort of his, his and the finance company’s. One suitcase held all my clothes, Jerry’s outfits were meager, and his wallet was far from bulging. My dad had cast a doubtful eye on the car tires, and before the wedding had seen to a new set being mounted. We climbed, stared-down challenges, were faithful, kept our vows, and that wonderful husband God gave me has carved out for us a beautiful home. Our four children are of the highest calibre, all God-fearing, upright peoples of this earth. Our grandchildren are beautiful and smart. They leave notes around when they visit and occasionally they call us. Our little greats show promise, no doubt on their way to being exceptional!

No better husband could ever be than my Jerry. He is kind, thoughtful, giving, handsome, consistent, romantic, grateful, and humble. He is a man of God. How blessed, unusually blessed I am.

And so at this moment, in this way among others, I will say I love you to my charming, unusual man, My Jerry. My lover. My husband. Happy anniversary!

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California Family affection family celebrations Food Friends Goodness of man Life Photography Travel

Birthday Number 86

Occasionally the celebration of a significant event aligns so well with the vision in my head that its conclusion brings about glowing chatter, face-stretching smiles, and a sated sense of perfection. Such were the days surrounding Jerry’s 86th birthday.

It began with The Nieces.

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Three of them live in Louisiana, the other two in Texas. “We’d like to come out and visit Uncle Jerry for his birthday. Would that be a convenient time?”

Of course it would, so although I hadn’t planned to throw a party, that these dear ones would make that long trek to California certainly called for a major celebration. I told Jerry I had decided on a birthday party, but I told him nothing of the trip his nieces would be making. Debbie flew to San Antonio, Nita and Pam drove to the area in Texas of Linda and Sharon’s homes, where, with their mounds of luggage, they all piled into Linda’s van and headed west.

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Rebecca and Holly beautifully decorated the room we reserved at The Claim Jumper in San Bernardino. The party was scheduled for 2:00 on Saturday and all the guests had arrived when I drove Jerry into the parking lot. My children knew of the secret guests, passed the word to the others as they arrived so that the only ones seated at the table when Jerry walked into the room were his dear nieces. He was stunned.

The party was perfect in every way. The food was delicious, pristinely presented, and served without a flaw. The guests consisted of a sweet mix of family, ministers, neighbors, and other friends from Crestline. During the meal various persons stood and in moving ways–sometimes humorous–spoke accolades to Jerry. It was a glowing, memorable afternoon.

Although we would be a bit cramped, the nieces and Michael and his wife went home with us, filling up all the guest rooms, and throwing down mats and blankets for sleeping. We had a blast.

Jerry opened his gifts.

DSC_9313We ate breakfast . . .and more meals. We went to Stater’s, bought a whole brisket, and Jerry cooked it all Sunday night. On Monday we feasted.

DSC_9315Some had to leave. Others came.

DSC_9343We did lots of this.

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On Tuesday morning, these precious women headed home, to their families, to their jobs. They left behind magnificent memories of hugs and kisses, of deep and meaningful conversations, of  tender tears and of uproarious laughter. Jerry has said more than once, “I just can’t believe they drove all the way out here to celebrate my birthday.”

There are some really fine people in this world. Several of them belong to the Buxton family.

 

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Children Christianity/Religion family celebrations Goodness of man Life Photography Shirley Buxton Photography Travel

Stephen Forrest Buxton

Sixty.

Sixty years ago in the delivery room of St. Luke’s Hospital in Pasadena, Ca. Stephen Forrest Buxton yelped his way into the world, and into the hearts of his mom and dad. Jerry and I became parents that December evening, we knew that. What we did not know was the depth of the  treasure that had been lent to us by God.

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From the beginning Steve loved people, and people loved him.

On his report cards, his teachers noted his considerable intelligence and his propensity to chatter. He was a communicator. He communicated with his dad and with me. After a date, or a youth activity, he often would come to our bedroom and talk with us before going to bed. As do many teenagers, he struggled. As do a few, he persevered. He listened to the voice of God. He became a preacher.

And now he’s sixty.

His love for people, his generosity, and his caring ways extend to Jerry and to me. A few months ago to commemorate our 60th anniversary, which we did not celebrate at the time, because of health issues, he financed a trip for us to Africa, Florence, Italy, and to Rome.

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He is a skillful, passionate preacher. Proof that this is not just a mama’s biased observation is that he has preached virtually all over the world.

DSC_6976I bless that long ago day when you were born, Steve. I am vastly thankful to be your mother.

Happy Birthday!

Categories
Children Christianity/Religion Christmas Crestline Culture Death Family family celebrations Food Friends grandparents Life Photography Shirley Buxton Photography

Our Days of Christmas

Early, it began. We scheduled our (almost) annual Christmas party for the first Saturday  in December, and because it was so close to Thanksgiving some of my children and grandchildren who were here for the November holiday helped with our decorations, especially the outside lights that need to drape over bushes that are difficult for either Jerry or me to reach.

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Thirty-eight persons showed for the party, the crew including family, ministers, neighbors, and other acquaintances from our beloved Crestline. Jerry smoked a 19 pound brisket, I cooked a huge pot of pinto beans, and several pans of Mexican corn bread. Of course we had a tray with great cheese, nuts and fruit. A fine array of tenderly baked sweetness and my “go-to” punch of eggnog and cranberry juice rounded out the food. The variety of guests who came and their jolly interaction with each other produced a joyful party that extended from the arrival of the first one to the departure of the last. Although sparkling lights, whiffs of cedar branches, and a beautiful presentation of delicious food certainly contribute to a great party, it really is the people who are the core of such a gathering. Jerry and I talked about that later, and noted again how blessed we are with exceptional family and friends.

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Andrew, Shauna, and three of their children came to our home the week before Christmas where he spent a couple of days doing repairs to our house. Water had leaked behind the siding and caused significant dry rot on the front of our house that faces the lake, so he and Gentry pulled off the siding, repaired the leak and replaced the ruined lumber and the siding. While all this was going on Ella and I made gingerbread men. Hmm…they turned out to be a sad lot, but we loved them anyway. (Isn’t that how it is with those we love? People I’m talking about now, not cookies.  Maybe they’re not quite perfectly shaped, or perhaps a crack or two shows up, a limped walk, a drooped head . . .yet they’re ours and they’re sweet and special, and we guard them and love them, and pray for them.)

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A couple of weeks before Christmas Day, my brother Nathan surprised me with a phone call telling me that he and his family wanted to visit for a day or two, so here they came on the 21st, and what a great time we had. What a delightful family; sweet, intelligent, accomplished, ambitious, and God-loving.  Only one negative thing about them. They make me look like a midget!

DSC_9010Came early Christmas morning when traditionally we exchange gifts and only one of our children was with us, Andrew and his family. Rebecca and Nate arrived around 10:00,  Michael was quite sick and could not come at all, and Steve will be visiting us later in the week.

DSC_9038Andrew’s gifts to us were exceptional. Two reasons: They were handcrafted by him, and they are beautiful. He presented me with a professionally framed and matted photograph of his dad, which he had taken in an earlier visit. A priceless gift. Andrew also made the knife Jerry is holding, a new skill Andrew is developing. He also made knives for each of his brothers.

When Rebecca arrived she handed around gifts for everyone. Always thoughtful and generous is my only daughter. She is a treasure to her dad and to me.

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In the middle of the afternoon, Jerry called us to gather in the living room where he spoke, encouraging all of us, especially the grandchildren, to be upright people, and to love and obey God. He called on Chloe to read Luke’s beautiful words depicting the Christmas story.

DSC_9062We cooked. We ate.

DSC_9051DSC_9067Cole’s gift to his family was a game named Baconopoly. I played with them a couple of times as did their dad. They loved that game and played it multiple hours

DSC_9076Once when we were playing yet another round, I looked about the room, gazed at the sparkling eyes, the grins, the occasional spat over a move,  and considered the quite firm draw that board games has on families. I reckoned again the inestimable value of families and friends who eat and play together. It’s really not the prime rib, or the bacon trivia, or the yeast rolls. It’s not even a carefully selected treasure of a gift. No, it is time and love and connection.

And so, these few days past Christmas, I, as did Mary, ponder these things in my heart, and know how very blessed I am.

And to my readers, I wish you every blessing of God. May 2018 be a year of joy and of peace. I would love to hear from you.

Categories
Children Christianity/Religion Crestline Family affection family celebrations Food Home Mom's love Photography

Buxton Family Days

Some of you may recall that Jerry and I have four children, all grown now, of course, and you probably also have heard me tell of their excellence, their upright and godly ways, and that I am extremely proud of them. You may or may not, though, have heard me express how difficult it is to get them here to visit their mama and daddy all at the same time, and how that distresses me.  Now I know how busy each of them is, especially the three sons. (Our only daughter Rebecca lives alone and has more free time than anyone else in the family.) Steve, the eldest, pastors a thriving church of a few hundred persons in Chula Vista, CA. In addition to that, he is in charge of several churches in the Philippines, to which country he flies several times a year. He also makes other trips throughout the year–both in our country, and abroad. Our second son Michael is also incredibly busy. He is the founder of Buxton Drywall in Lake Havasu, and in addition he manages a construction retail store in Lake Havasu, and for awhile managed (maybe still does) one in Kingman, AZ. Andrew, my youngest, has five children, all still at home, works “9-5” in construction and sales, and is on the ministerial staff of The Anchor, a United Pentecostal Church, in San Diego.

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They’re busy. I get it. But we all have the same amount of time–24 hours each day, and we get to choose how we fill those hours. And I had decided I wanted them to be here with their parents for a fair chunk of hours, and all at the same time. So, this MAMA took things in hand, and around Memorial Day placed a call to each of them.

“Labor Day weekend. Check your calendars. Do you have anything planned?”

No one did, except Michael, and he sweetly said he would change those plans.

This past Friday and Saturday seventeen of our family converged on our home bearing food, smiles, and tremendous attitudes. Children, grandchildren, and great-grands made up the splendid group.

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DSC_8210DSC_8238We laughed, and ate, and ate, and washed dishes, and washed dishes, and washed dishes, and romped, and were funny, and had serious discussions, and took pictures, and collapsed, and ate . . .

I tell you that last Saturday was one of the happiest days of my life.

. . .and in this way the glorious Buxton Family Days of 2017 came to an end. How rich, how very rich, I am.

FullSizeRenderThis annual affair will convene next on Labor Day weekend 2018. All you Buxton and Forrest family members are welcome–actually your presence is coveted!

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cancer Children Christianity/Religion Family affection family celebrations Flowers/Gardening Food Holidays Honor Mom's love Photography

Mother’s Day 2017

Stephen Forrest Buxton is our eldest, thus it was his birth that made me a mother. Over the years followed Michael Ray, Rebecca Jean, and our caboose, Andrew Brian.

Often, I sit in my home and think of those four children of mine, and I must tell you sometimes I weep. I weep not for sadness, but for love, and awe, and thankfulness. How did it happen that these little rascals of Jerry’s and mine developed into the exceptional people they are? Often I am brought up short when I learn of their accomplishments, their gifts, their triumphant over adversity. None have been without challenge, but I tell you they have taken on the garment of upright people who are making positive contributions to society. They care deeply for their father and me; they assist and coddle us.DSC_7102

So, of course Mother’s Day is a significant one in my life. Let me tell you of yesterday. I began its celebration by jumping out of bed early, drinking coffee, and roaming about the house admiring the flowers and cards that had arrived from said youngsters and recalling the drama that Rebecca and I attended on Saturday. RUTH was the simple name of the Lighthouse Theatre production, so well done, so excellent that both Rebecca and I cried. After Jerry had been up a bit and we had our morning talk, I stripped our bed, washed and replaced the sheets, dusted both our bedroom and the living room, and vacuumed both the floors. I had a little time left before we would leave for church, so I went out back and planted our “farm.” Two tomato plants, three stalks of corn, and one bell pepper. The zucchini and yellow squash must wait until another day for I had used all the potting soil.

I subject you to the mundane list of my Sunday morning activities because I am thankful all my energy has returned! This time last year I was recovering from breast cancer and a subsequent mastectomy, chemo therapy, and 25 radiation treatments. The chemo knocked me winding sucking every bit of energy away from me. But now I’m well! My energy and strength are soaring. I’m extremely thankful.

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We met Rebecca at her church in Rialto; afterwards Jerry treated us to a delicious Mexican lunch at Hortensia’s.DSC_7080

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Early on in the church service the staff had sent a lovely orchid corsage to where I sat. Later, as Bishop Booker prepared to speak, he came to our pew, honored me with glowing words, and pressed a significant bill in my hand. Totally unexpected. Gracious and honorable. This morning, I placed water in this piece of carnival ware and floated the beautiful flower there.

DSC_7123When I called Mike to thank him for the present I had received, I teased him. “What did you send me, Mike? Do you know?”

“Uh, I used to, but I have forgotten.”

“A bird feeder. You sent me a beautiful porcelain bird feeder.”

We laughed together, for I know that most of my son’s wives actually buy such presents. Indeed Mike told me that Melina always shows him the present before she mails it to us, saying this is what we bought.

DSC_7115I’m still reveling in the beauty of the flowers and all the other ways my family (including my sweet hubby, Jerry) and friends honored me yesterday. I’ve wandered about the house taking pictures.

DSC_7111One more thing before I let you go! Another reason yesterday was special to me is that on Mother’s Day when I was 10 years old, I was filled with the Holy Ghost . . .and from that day to this God has lived in my heart. Is that not the coolest thing?