Christianity/Religion Food Holidays My Family Photography

A Thanksgiving Report

Thanksgiving Centerpiece, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

At the registration table for Andrew’s Thanksgiving service at his church, was this beautiful centerpiece fashioned by Elena. Andrew is into the second year of planting a church in La Mesa. At this special service the Sunday before Thanksgiving, they had 92 in attendance, served a beautiful dinner, and gave away six or seven baskets of food and 60 turkeys. We attended that service which was at 1:00 pm.

We had come from Steve’s 10 o’clock service in Chula Vista. They also served a huge meal after the worship service, deep frying 15 turkeys and presenting scores of other dishes. Their attendance that morning was more than 350, and the service was wonderful with beautiful music and dynamic preaching by Steve.

Food Holidays My Family My Home

‘Twas the Day Before Thanksgiving…

…and all through the house all the creatures were stirring…and stirring…and stirring.

We’re into the hectic countdown before the big day, and I’m loving every minute of it. Okay, okay, almost every minute. Rebecca, my only daughter, arrived last night, and as reported before, Chloe and Gentry have been here since Sunday afternoon. Their parents, Andrew and Shawnna, were scheduled to be here last night, but Andrew worked late, so they delayed coming until today. Right now they’re on their way and should walk through the door at any minute.

What’s stirring?

Jerry has gone to the post office to buy Christmas stamps and mail invitations to our annual (almost annual–missed last year) Christmas party.

Rebecca, Gentry and Chloe have gone to the local grocery store, where they will pick up more food for this already stuffed pantry and refrigerator. Rebecca is cooking pumpkin pies and refused to use the pumpkin I had already bought. “Nope, this is my contribution…I’ll buy my own,” she spoke in a definite way.

Tena, Lennie and their boys (Shawnna’s sister and family) arrived here in the mountains last night and are at a bed and breakfast in the area. They’ll be here later in the afternoon.

This morning when I checked on Tom Turkey, who had been stuffed into the refrigerator last Friday as a frozen ball, I found him to be still not completely thawed. Snatched him out, and put him in the sink and surrounded him by cold water. When I pressed on his thigh a few minutes ago, it had a certain give, suggesting complete thawing. He will be submerged in a brine in a few hours where his tangled strands of flesh will become loose so that his cooking juices will be absorbed, making succulent slices of meat when he is carved.

The cornbread is cooked and partially crumbled, awaiting the sage, onions, celery and turkey drippings that will bring about the delectable transformation that will produce a savory dressing to be tucked into Mr. Tom.

The cranberry salad is mixed and dished into a crystal dish and awaits in the freezer.

Four loaves of banana bread have been baked and are securely wrapped. Tasty, too. I know for I checked on one.

What’s stirring at your house this day before Thanksgiving? I’d love to know.

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Good News for Today

I know a couple of good news stories today that I want to share with you. The first is that despite our concerns that protesting against evil in society sometimes does little good, the outcry of the American public blocked O. J.’s TV special, and his outrageous books are being destroyed. YES!

Murdoch blocks O.J.’s multimedia comeback

Tue Nov 21, 2006 4:03am ET25

By Paul J. Gough and Nellie Andreeva

NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – After a firestorm of criticism, News Corp. has scrapped its plan to release a controversial O.J. Simpson book and television special, with chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch taking the extraordinary step of personally apologizing for the pain it might have caused the families of the victims of 1994 double murder.

“I and senior management agree with the American public that this was an ill-considered project,” Murdoch said in a statement Monday. “We are sorry for any pain this has caused the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown-Simpson.”

“If I Did It,” the book in which the former football star “hypothetically” discusses how he would have committed the murders if he had done them, was to be published November 30 by ReganBooks, an imprint of News Corp.-owned HarperCollins Publishers. The publication was to have been promoted with a two-part, two-hour interview of Simpson by ReganBooks publisher Judith Regan. It had been scheduled to air on News Corp.’s Fox Broadcasting Co. over two nights, November 27 and 29, the final night of the November sweep.

Brown-Simpson, Simpson’s ex-wife, was slain along with her friend Goldman on June 12, 1994, at her home in Los Angeles. Simpson was tried and acquitted of their murders in 1995 but was later found liable for their deaths in a civil court and ordered to pay $33.5 million to the victims’ families.

In light of Murdoch’s decision, the copies of the book that already have been printed will be destroyed, a News Corp. spokesman said. Regan’s interview with Simpson will not air on Fox, the spokesman added.



My second point of good news is here:

Ex-Drug User Finds Ring of Salvation

Press-Enterprise November 20, 2006

Sam Valdez knows what it’s like to be a Salvation Army bell ringer.

Valdez, of San Bernardino, spent several weeks in 1997 outside stores, greeting holiday shoppers and seeking donations for the needy. Valdez recalled he was not very good at it.

But the experience helped Valdez, a former methamphetamine maker, in his effort to shake 15 years of drug abuse.

Read the rest of this uplifting story here.

God is yet in the heavens. Our world is still beautiful, and each of our lives is touched by grace and mercy.


Gentry (8) and Chloe (11) came home with us from San Diego on Sunday afternoon. This morning, as I was mixing up cornbread for the Thanksgiving dressing, Jerry came in the kitchen, pulled a pan from the cupboard and began taking breakfast orders from the youngsters…whipped up a pot of oatmeal for him and Gentry and pulled down the box of Raisin Bran for Chloe…set Gentry to making toast.

“I never saw Pappy cook before,” Chloe said. “Have you, Granny?”

“Well, yes, I’ve seen him cook a time or two, but I believe this is the first time he ever cooked for the grandkids.”

As I said before, this is a day full of happy reports. 🙂

Food Holidays


I think I have heard of it before, but a few minutes ago, on the Malinda Lee cooking show as she was discussing thanksgiving meals, I heard her mention turducken. I’m off to church and can’t thoroughly check it out, but maybe you can. Made you a link here.

Have a blessed sabbath.

Food My Home

Biscuits and I (or is it me?)

Since Jerry and I arrived home late Monday after traveling for more than five weeks, I have not been to the grocery store, and unfortunately, since we had no bread in our freezer, this has led to my making biscuits every morning. They are so yummy, and “Anyway,” I rationalized to Jerry yesterday as we sat at the bar indulging, “they are probably no worse than eating a slice of toast.”

Today is the last day I will make them, for I have used the final puff of flour, and in a few hours I will make a grocery store run. My excuse for making biscuits for breakfast every day will be gone for I will have purchased whole wheat bread, bagels and English Muffins.

“My sister Grace made biscuits every morning,” Jerry said to me yesterday. “And Jim (her husband) lived to be 100 years old.”

Hope I have talked you into whipping up a batch and I’m even giving you my scaled down recipe which makes 5 or 6 biscuits.

Heat oven to 450 degrees

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon soda

Mix well the above listed ingredients.
Cut in 2 1/2 tablespoons of shortening or butter

Add buttermilk to make a very soft batter.
Put a couple of tablespoons of oil in a heavy pan and heat on stovetop.
Pat out batter on floured board and cut with biscuit cutter.

Place biscuits in heated pan. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown.

Shirley’s biscuit making secrets:

1. Bacon drippings for the oil in the pan are delicious.

2. I use a small iron skillet to bake my biscuits.

3. I use waxed paper over my board, so that when I am finished, I can just roll up the whole mess and toss it. No cleaning!

4. A very soft batter makes exceptional biscuits. They should be a little difficult to lift from the board to the pan. They may even get misshappen, but don’t worry; it won’t hinder their delectable taste.

5. A few months back I had a large amount of milk sour in the refrigerator. Instead of throwing it away, I placed it into small freezer bags, and use it when a recipe calls for buttermilk. Works great.

6. Thanksgiving, I will make cornbread dressing for our turkey. I add a bit of bread to hold it together, and biscuits are the best. So the last few days since we didn’t eat all the biscuits every morning, in our freezer I have saved five biscuits for my Thanksgiving dressing.

Bon Appetite

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Dynamite Grilled Shrimp

Dynamite Grilled Shrimp, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

Remember my telling you of the hospitality and the fabulous meal served to Jerry and me by the Connells. I now have pictures to prove it. Eat your heart out!

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Perfectly Grilled Filet Mignons

Perfectly Grilled Filet Mignons, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

These delectable steaks were part of the memorable meal.

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Mel Serves Us


Mel Serves the Food, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

Because Jerry’s mother died when he was four years old, I have never had a mother-in-law, a class about whom many jokes are concocted and laughingly told, especially among men. Of course, I’m a mother-in-law, having three daughters-in-law, but only they can judge the mother-in-law part; however I can tell you of daughters-in-law and say truthfully that each of these young women is of a superior calibre. At a later time, I will write of the others, but today I want to speak of Melina–pronounced Mel-e-na, not Me-lina. We call her Mel.

Mel is pictured here on Monday evening carrying out the food from their kitchen to the patio. (See the next post for another picture.) She had made a lasagna dish that involved both marinara and a white sauce, spinach, the addition of lots of cheese and tiny meatballs. It was scrumptious. For dessert she prepared strawberries in balsamic vinegar, served atop thick pound cake slices and mounded with hand-whipped cream. A crisp butter almond cookie, (so thin I could see through one as I held it toward the light) crowned the presentation.

Melina nearly always prepares something quite special and different when we visit—and when others visit also. She does so with class and obvious ease. I know she worked hard on that meal, but it did not appear so. It always seems as though in a dreamy easy way, she has produced such gourmet dishes. Always, there are appetizers setting around, and both she and Mike are quick to offer drinks and in every way make us feel truly welcome in their home. She watches many food network shows, peruses cookbooks and gourmet magazines.

Their home is always beautifully decorated with changing arrangements and decor to match the season and/or the holiday. Today there are pumpkins, a multiple variety of squashes, leaves, and fall flowers throughout all the rooms. Mel takes great care of Mike and of herself. She “works out” at the local gym every day (? not sure about the weekends), and sweet-nagged at Mike until for the last few months, he also visits the gym daily.

I’ll stop now, for if I continue, Mel will seem to be perfect and you won’t believe a word I have said.

Edit: The dog is a white lab named Marley.

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Dinner on the Patio at Mike and Mel’s

Dinner on the Patio at Mike and Mel’s, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

Monday evening was so beautiful, that after Mel had prepared dinner, we moved everything outside and ate our lasagna on their patio. Mike set the outdoor fireplace to blazing, the air was mellow and the food was delicious. One major problem: that table and those stools are high and hard to move around, so after I clambered up, I was having a hard time scooting my stool to the table, so Mike bounced off his chair, came around the table and shoved me up. I felt like a little kid!

Christianity/Religion Food My Family Social Travel

A Three-Church Sunday

Jerry may have done so before, but if he has, that recollection lies so far back in my memory cache, that I am not able to bring it forward: On October 8th, the first Sunday we were here in the Bay area, he preached three times.

10:00 am Pittsburg is a well–established church pastored by Don and Abbie O’Keefe, our long time friends. They urged us to go out to eat with them after the service which ended around noon, but we knew we didn’t have time. We dashed by our motor home to retrieve something Jerry had forgotten, grabbed a bite of food from our cupboards and headed up 18th St. which turns to Highway 4 and on into Oakley, where our friends, Peter and Carol Connell pastor.

2:00 pm Four years ago, the Connells left their home church in Fairfield, and began the establishing of a new church in Oakley. The building they use for their services is a very old beautiful school house that was moved from another location to the commanding spot where it now stands, highly visible as one enters the town of Oakley.

“You must eat something,” the Connells insisted at the end of their service, and though we were sure we didn’t have time, they persuaded us to go by their place for food. “It’s on the way to your next church.” Carol had prepared a pot of delectable green beans with potatoes, and Peter stopped off at a market, bought three rotisseried chickens which he expertly dissected with poultry shears at the island in their kitchen.

“I called the pastor at Brentwood and told them you may be a few minutes late,” Peter Connell said as he urged us to enjoy our food.

5:00 The church in Brentwood was established many years ago, but in recent times has suffered reverses and the attendance had dwindled. A few years ago, Joel Bryant and his wife assumed this pastorate, and under their leadership the church has flourished. The parking lot was full, and cars were lined up and down the street when we arrived about five minutes late. Ushers were waiting for us, whipped aside a large sign that said “Brother Buxton” and waved us into the designated spot near the front door. The ushers took charge of us, carrying in our books and setting them up on a display table, and directing us to our seats.

The church was packed and the service was vibrant. When later I commented to Joel Bryant about the sterling quality of the service, he said, “Sister Buxton, ninety percent of these people were not in the church a year ago, and they have come from all walks of life. Many of them were prostitutes, drug dealers and gang members. Believe me,” he continued, “they are thankful to be here.”

8:00 pm (or so, can’t really remember) Our last stop before bed was Mimi’s restaurant where the Bryants took us, and where the Connells met too, and where many from the Brentwood church also congregated. We filled a very large room and had another wonderful hour or more of laughing, eating and talking.

Before midnight:  A late night drive took us back to our motor home at the fairgrounds in Antioch. Guess what. Neither Jerry nor I had trouble sleeping that night!

My significant observation from a Three-Church Sunday: God is near and dear to us no matter the size of the church, its length of duration, its location, or the make-up of its people. I often say that church is my favorite place to be, and that truly is the sentiment of my heart. Oh, I know God is everywhere, and we can worship Him and feel Him and commune with Him no matter where we are, but I find something dear and precious in gathering with His people, and corporately joining in the worship of our magnificent LORD.

“Oh, what a Saviour. Oh, hallelujah.

His heart was broken on Calvary.

He gave His life’s blood for even me.

His hands were nail-scarred, His side was riven

He gave His life’s blood for even me.

(I don’t believe those words are exactly right, but the story is right, and the sentiments are just so.)

2nd observation: Jerry is a pretty tough 74 year old to be able to preach three times on one Sunday!