Categories
America California Christianity/Religion Church Crestline Culture Family Food God Home Lake Gregory Life Photography San Bernardino Mountains seasons Weather/Nature Winter

Another Foggy Sunday

Our home sets at an altitude of nearly 5000 feet in the San Bernardino Mountains of southern California with winters that are typically mild with only three or four significant snows in a season. Around 40 inches of rain fall during an average year. This has not been a typical year. We’re at 60 inches, and the winter–which season I generally love– hatefully drags on, as persistent as the ring of robocalls. The fog–since first light to this hour of early evening–has been as thick as cowboy coffee, and the thermometer hanging just outside my kitchen window refuses to stretch to the 40 degree mark. Within the last hour I saw a report of tornados touching down in central California, an extremely unusual situation.

So, for the second Sunday in a row, we did not go to church. We just don’t do fog. Last Sunday on my Facebook account I mentioned what a blessing internet live-streaming of church services is to Jerry and me, and how it provides the opportunity of being with groups of people all over the United States as they worship God. First thing this morning we went to church in Indianapolis with Pastor Mooney, then to Alexandria, La. with Pastor Mangun. We watched both Brother and Sister Larson minister in San Diego, then this afternoon Cherie Wilkins texted me a link to her church in Texas, pastored by Brother and Sister Tuttle.

Because we couldn’t go to regular church, we ate. Splurged. Indulged.

Sorghum Molasses

We’re now a bit on the lethargic side.

We’re warm and cozy.

Weather forecast: Rain all night. Possible snow from 1 to 3 am. Rain all day tomorrow.

Hmm. . .wonder what I can whip up!

Categories
Art/Architecture Christianity/Religion Culture Devotionals Family God Life Pentecostal Photography Religion

Beauty from Slag

I’ve had this beautiful piece of glass for many years; so many years that I don’t have a memory of buying it. Many of you will recognize it as being a specimen of slag glass.

Production of slag glass originated in late-19th-century England, where glass manufacturers are thought to have added slag from iron-smelting works to molten glass in order to create a range of effects—from tortoiseshell to marbling. Among other uses, slag glass was a popular material for lampshades. This purple and white is one of the more common colors and swirled design.

Slag. Depending on where you’re from, it may be an insult, a term meaning trash. Slag is typically an iron calcium silicate type material, which is liquid in the furnaces and is poured or siphoned off the top of the molten metal. When it cools it forms a solid glassy looking substance and when added to molten glass creates such beautiful pieces as this one of mine.

When I came to Jesus, I was little more than bits and pieces of humanity–as are we all. My mom and dad told me about giving my life to Him and it seemed right to me, and I knew I wanted to do that. So this scrawny straggle-haired child knelt at an altar in a store-front church and surrendered up, and Jesus took me. He accepted my pitiful offering, scooped up the slag of my life, and added His spirit to what I had handed him. I was transformed. That’s why I can look at my life–now exceeding eighty years–and say, “Thank you sweet Jesus. Thank you for vision, for abundance, for a beautiful life.”

Categories
cancer Cancer journal Courage Family Flowers/Gardening Friends God Life Medical/Technical overcoming adversity Photography Science & Technology

Two Significant Papers

His nurse preceded the doctor into the room where we waited. “When he comes in, feel free to ask him anything you would like.” She was quite matter-of-fact, but very friendly.

We immediately liked Dr. Victor when he came in, and before he would leave the small room after we had talked, Jerry would ask if we could pray together. The doctor readily agreed.

It was my receiving this piece of paper in the mail that had led to our meeting.

After the introductions and shaking of hands, Dr. Victor sat on a rolling stool and faced a computer screen. He then rifled through a few documents, reported the results of some blood work and some other things.

“The biopsy, Dr. Victor. What does the biopsy show?” I asked.

In the quiet caring way of Dr. Victor, he said, “Mrs. Buxton, you do have a form of cancer.” And before the visit was concluded, I learned there was a cancerous tumor in my right breast, that there were numerous pre-cancerous lesions there also, and that the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes. He recommended an immediate mastectomy.


Glorious flowers arrived at the hospital and at our home. These pictured here were sent by Brother and Sister Sam Emory, and remain the most magnificent floral arrangement I have ever seen. I photographed and made enlargements of some of the individual flowers. Dried a few of them.
My first day of chemo.

When I knew I would lose my hair, I told Steve I wanted our pictures together when I was as bald as he!

Last day of chemo! I wore my gorgeous wig. Holly provided the crown. The 25 radiation treatments were not nearly so torturous as was the chemo! Nasty stuff. I had terrible reactions, so that some of the drugs had to be stopped. (But I would do it all again. . .because…..

A few days ago, I received this piece of paper–a darling, sweet, cherished piece of paper. I give thanks. Most of all I thank God, for although I give credit to my doctors, to medications, to surgery . . .God is in charge. He is supreme, the One who has given me life. I’m forever grateful.

(During those times I set up another blog which chronicled my cancer treatment. You might be interested in reading over there. You would need to scroll down to get to the beginning posts. Shirley Buxton’s Cancer Detour  

Categories
Blogging California Crestline Death dogs Family Food Photography Weather/Nature

A Snowy Day

The months have been dry, even to the extent that a severe water shortage had been declared, and we were admonished to use restraint in our usage, especially when irrigating our lawns and flower beds. The drought has continued through the winter, and here we were into February, little rain, and our snowfall of less than an inch had been disappointing. A couple of weeks ago it started raining. And raining, and then again, until I threatened to gather gopher wood, and I thought I glimpsed a thin line of animals trekking down our lane. Last night came heavy snow, mounding on our deck tables, ledging on our window frames, and spreading over the new daffodil shoots that bravely this morning are still pointing skyward. Snow is forecast to last throughout the day. Yes! We need it, and I love it.

Winston hates the rain. When he must go out, I give him a little shove down the back steps, he does his business and shivers his way back up the steps. But snow? He loves snow! Trots rapidly, pushes it around with his nose, and when we were almost home after our walk this morning, he turned in to Ken and Nancy’s across the street and barked for Shelby, their golden retriever. “Come out and play,” but Shelby didn’t like the snow too much and when Ken opened the door to let her out, she held back on the deck while Winston loudly barked at her.

“What shall we have for breakfast?” I asked Jerry after Winston and I were back inside, and he suggested waffles and bacon and that was deliciously fine with me.

Do you know about our waffle iron? I suspect not, for I have been dilatory about posting faithfully on this blog, and have a hunch I have not told you. Since I’m positive you want to know, I’ll tell you now!

During the Memorial Day holiday here in our mountain communities we have mountain-wide garage sales. Hundreds of people organize (or sometimes not!) their things, set them out on tables or blankets on the driveway, or . . .you know the routine. and we shoppers cruise by and if someone’s offerings appeal to us, we park our cars (often with great difficulty here) and browse through the items. It was three or four years ago now when Andrew and his crew were up for the event, and we were involved in said activities, when by the side of the road we spied a mound of boxes and bags and a sign that snagged us: FREE. There among the stuff set this beautiful, red waffle iron. Now I have never owned a waffle iron, and I said, “Look at that!”

“Want me to get it, Granny?” said dear little Brady.

“The rest,” as they say, “is history.” The perfectly operating red iron has now waffled out scores of crispy treats, its count increased this morning when Jerry and I chomped down on a couple of our own.

Those daffodils? They’re vulnerable. Because it is in their DNA, they have pushed through the cold earth . . .but they are fragile, and before their blooms burst into their intended glory, death and destruction will try to snag them. Disease. Rodents. The stomp of a hard-soled shoe, the wayward strike of a hoe.

I care about those plants on my front bank, and will see to them. See to their safety and to their progression.

We’re all daffodils. We lean on each other.

Categories
Animals Culture Family Food Holidays Life Love of Family neighbors Shih Tzus Shirley Buxton Photography Social

Do Nothing Monday

I’ve been tearing around here during the last few weeks, more than usual and that’s saying a lot. Just to fill you in, during the past month Jerry and I hosted a dinner party for seven–counting us, then a couple of our children and their families were here for four days for Thanksgiving, then last Saturday, we held our annual Christmas Open House and I whipped up a huge pot of soup and spent a couple of days baking goodies. There were 28 of us. Now understand, I am neither complaining or bragging about all these festivities that have been carried on here at the Buxton home. For the dinner party Jerry grilled ribs on his back deck smoker, and it just feels to me that if someone else cooks the meat, I can whip up the rest of it handily. Very dear friends have graced our home during these days–some of long duration, others of newly established relationships, and I’ve loved sharing meals around our table. It’s one of my favorite things to do, and I feel honored when such people come to our home . . .and happy. And my kids…to have them here . . .well, it is just the best. So, as I say, the point of this piece is neither to complain, or to brag about all my doings, rather to press a point.

On Saturday afternoon as I was lighting candles, stuffing yeast rolls into my hot oven, and doing a couple of other very last minute things for my guests, I got tired. Just kind of sudden-like, I felt this fatigue threaten me. What is this?  I kicked the rascally feeling out of my being, lifted my head, and soldiered on. But at that moment I decided I would take Monday off. Flat do nothing. Today was Monday–The Day. And I have done nothing. Well, very little.

It’s been kinda cool. When they came to our Open House Craig and Sandra presented me with a beautifully wrapped box and when I opened it, I found this.

DSC_0833DSC_0807

This morning I spread out the pieces on a small desk that sets between the kitchen and the dining room, pulled up a little bench, and have spent a great portion of the day there. I’ve connected all the edge pieces, except that I seem to be missing one. Expect it will show up before I’m finished. I’ve called Alexa to play Christmas carols, we’ve listened to cowboy shows on XM radio, I’ve scratched together a couple of meals, and heard beautiful comments over the radio about the late President Bush. What a commendable life he lived.

DSC_0804

DSC_0832Winston took Monday off too, but such activity is not terribly unusual for him. He’s snuggled down here between Jerry’s legs that are stretched out on his recliner. Snoozes throughout the day. Rallies to eat and take in tasty treats.

I’m within a couple of months of the finish of a book I am writing. The book will be titled Dream Shards. The thrust of the book is that we all have dreams that from time to time are broken. What then we do about that? Pick up the pieces and rally, or wallow around in our grief and disappointment? Toward the end of the book I speak of ways to dream again and one of my points is that it is important to stop dashing around so much, rather indulge in slow chunks of quiet hours and quiet days.  Frequently. Restores us. Refreshes us.  I already know I’ll have a hard time writing that part. Definitely will be feeling  hypocritical!

But I did it today, and it has been wonderful. Try it. You’ll probably like it.

PS The puzzle is beautiful. The artist has a website: www.dowdlefolkart.com

Categories
Christianity/Religion Culture Family Life love Photography Shirley Buxton Photography

The Phone Call

“Calling to check on you, Mom,” the adult child said when the woman answered the phone.

DSC_9560

DSC_9561

The mother smiled. Ordinary conversation ensued–the mundane, the heat, how are the dogs, slim talk of daily activities, progress, and regression. Then the child said the other  words.

A tense sliver of silence. “That hurt me. You should have told me about that.”

“I’m sorry, Mom. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I apologize.” The child told explanatory  words that went to the heart of the matter for the child had tried to spare the  mother the sorrow of the untold fact.

Again. “I’m sorry, Mom.”

“I know you are. I forgive you.”

“I know you do. I would never hurt you on purpose.”

“I know you wouldn’t.”

______________

Hours later, I think on this scene. It makes me happy. Happy? you ask. Yes, for by now you must know that life is imperfect. People are. People who love each other, with no intent for hurt, do just that thing they would never intend to do. DSC_9550

At  that moment, each person has a litany of choices. We can continue with the hurt, or not. We can apologize or refuse to do so. We can gather in the sorrowful words, or reject the apology, We can dredge up prior hurts, or not. We can sulk, feel old, not needed,  rejected

Or not.

My child and I chose the high, logical road. No hurt was intended, indeed quite the opposite, no hurt would be nursed.

Such is the good life. How blessed, truly blessed I am

DSC_9499

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

My Jerry of 62 Years

DSC_0081.jpg

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!

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.

DSC_8923

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.

DSC_8783DSC_8804

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.)

DSC_8941

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.

DSC_9058

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
Family Marriage/anniversaries The World Travel

The Makings of a Sudden Trip

I write this first segment aboard a Lufthansa plane, at an elevation of 37,200 feet. Set against a crystal blue sky, the surging aircraft–with me in it–is traveling at a ground speed of more than 500 mph. Far beneath us I see a river. The screen attached to the seat ahead tells me the river is called the Nile, and I think of Moses, and bulrushes, and a floating baby basket. We will reach our destination in 2 hours and a half. The city of the airport is Nairobi, the country is Kenya, the continent is Africa.

I find it hard to believe I am here.

Jerry called from the living room, where he sat with Steve, to me in the kitchen in the afternoon following lunch, Easter Sunday 2017. “Want to go to Africa tomorrow?”
“What?”
“I said do you want to go to Africa tomorrow.”
“What are you talking about?” I questioned as I walked into the living room.

And so began the trip. I knew Steve and Dearrah were flying on Monday to Nairobi, Kenya where Steve would preach during a church conference, then on to Rome for a few days of sight-seeing. I knew that, and that a few people from his church would be going with them. But we had not figured into those plans in any way.

“Why don’t you and Mom go with us,” Steve had said after Jerry casually asked of the airline price for the trip. “We bought rooms at a group rate, and it was cheaper for us to add a room we didn’t need, so your rooms would be paid for.”
Jerry and I stared at each other. Then we grinned, began talking of appointments, hotel reservations and such we had for the coming days, and that we could cancel them all, how that our passports were up to date, how much fun it would be, and that because of my cancer treatments last year when our 60th wedding anniversary rolled around we hadn’t really celebrated it, and this trip could take care of that little lapse, and that the fares were exceedingly reasonable . . .

Steve made phone calls to his secretary, Evette, to assure that seats were available on all the flights we would need. They were. We said yes. We were laughing, Dearrah and I hugged, and Steve reminded us we would have to cancel our plans to attend a drama that evening, get home as quickly as we could for Evette needed our passport numbers, visas must be arranged, travel insurance bought, packing for us, phone calls, and such. Our drive home before we could even begin the process was two hours and a half. The first flight was out of LAX at 11:00 on Monday morning, we needed to be there at 9:00, and the airport is a 2 hour drive from our house, so we would leave at 6:30 am, take Winston to Rebecca’s and transfer our luggage to Nate’s car.

I called Rebecca to ask her to keep Winston and to get Nathaniel to drive us to the airport. “We’re going to Africa tomorrow.” Stone silence. “We’re going to Africa.” When she could finally talk, it was to say how excited she was for us, and that of course she and Nate would help us with the airport trek, and with looking after Winston.
Panic set in a few minutes after we walked into the house. I could not find our passports. I keep mine in a desk drawer in a folder named Important Documents; Jerry keeps his in one of his dresser drawers. Neither passport was in its place. Expired ones were, and a copy of our current, valid one, but I could find neither of our passports. I was trembling. Called Steve. Asked how much time we had. Could the airline tickets be cancelled? “Keep looking, Mom. I’ll make phone calls.”

I tore the house apart, checked in pockets of all our luggage, pawed again through the places they should be, checked folders in the desk, and finally out of two drawers of a four-drawer file I took  every file folder and plopped them on the floor, thinking maybe mine had slipped out of its file. Nothing. I went upstairs to the room where we keep our pictures and travel mementos. Same word: Nothing. I was sick.

Back to the study. I opened again the bottom file drawer, took everything out of there, and discovered a large file with ISRAEL/ISTANBUL scrawled over its face. I looked through it, and there among maps, cards and notes was my passport. I grabbed it up, ran in the bedroom. “I found mine.” Poor guy, Jerry had pulled a chair up to the dresser, still searching, and was just pulling out the entire big drawer when I walked in. “Maybe it’s behind there.” IT WAS! I reached my hand far to the back, and there wedged against the rear wall was Jerry’s passport. Somehow it had slipped over the edge of the drawer and had jammed there.

Categories
Crestline Culture Family grandparents Life

Day 11 of 16 with the Grands *The Savages are Restless*

A touch of tension in the ranks today. Youngsters appear to be growing bored and are pushing the limits Pappy has set for using the computers and the iPads. “Two hours a day is your limit,” he growled a little bit.

“Go upstairs to the game room and get out a game or two. Find something we can all play, and I’ll play with you,” I told them.

So, for much of the afternoon, we four played Phase 10. I love games, so it was not a sacrifice for me . . .except that finally I was a bit bored.

Yesterday I developed a sore throat and an ear ache; today I finally admitted to have caught a cold. Quite a surprise, for it has been years since I’ve had either a cold or the flu. Not bad, though, I’m still functioning.