Children Christianity/Religion Holidays Social Travel

My Tribute

Rev. Billy and Mary Wilkins Wedding Picture, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

Today, Jerry and I drove to the small town of Boron to help celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of Billy and Mary Wilkins. We visited with them and with other friends, ate good food, laughed, prayed and cried.

We have known the Wilkins for many years, and though we are not bosom buddies, since the day we met decades ago, we have maintained a friendship. Jerry and Billy both pastored churches here in California, and we often attended conferences, seminars and other church functions together.

On the way to Boron, Jerry and I discussed our friends, remarking of their steadiness, their positive outlooks, their faithfulness, their pleasant and upbeat attitudes. I cannot recall ever seeing either of them without a smile or without a cheerful word.

Life is not fair, let me tell you right now. I have lived long enough to declare myself an authority on the subject, and with all the power vested in me as a self-proclaimed expert, I tell you, LIFE IS NOT FAIR. Silver-spooned, the Wilkins are not, and every particle of ground they ever claimed, required staking in their heels, pulling, pushing, and straining. Knocked backwards, they grappled with failure, reared their heads, staked in their heels, and pushed, pulled and strained anew. They never pastored flourishing, prosperous churches, and both of them in recent years have experienced life-threatening medical situations. Should you give but a cursory glance to this couple, you might pass over them, and, you probably would not mark them as modern-day movers and shakers.

You would be wrong, very wrong.I learned something about them today that I had never known. In the early days of their marriage, a woman once called with these words, "I've turned on the gas jets and my seven children are sleeping in their beds. Shortly, they will be dead."

A stunned and stammering Billy Wilkins somehow persuaded this strange woman to reveal her location. He rushed there, tore into the house, shook the children awake, and led them from that evil place. The seven children had six fathers–all had abandoned their families, and now, the youngsters had no mother. ( I wasn't able to get the complete story today, but understand there was mental illness and just plain wickedness involved.)

Billy and Mary took the seven children into their home, introduced their two biological children, and reared them into adulthood. I never knew that before. I was aware they had been involved in foster care work, but they are so unassuming, so cheerful, so godly and uncomplaining…I did not know they reared those seven children as their own.

Today, two of the seven spoke at their parent's anniversary celebration. The first was a lady, now a pastor's wife herself. I believe she said she was seventeen when she was taken into the Wilkin's home. Overcome with love and emotion, she could hardly speak as she expressed her love and gratitude for her parents–Billy and Mary Wilkins. Her brother spoke then, burly and red-faced, a man who stood helpless before us. He tried to speak, but could not. It hurts to see such a man cry. I could bend over now and weep for love and life as I recall his piteous look and desperate attempt to speak. Finally, he did. "Could I search the world over," he said, looking straight into his parent's faces, "I could never find two other people I would rather have as my mom and dad."

I tucked my head–it was too private and too dear for my intrusive stare. Around me, men and women wept.

Happy anniversary, Billy and Mary Wilkins. You are the salt of the earth.

Children Holidays My Home Photography

The Wealth of a Family

Jerry and Andrew on his 35th birthday, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

Perhaps you will excuse my bragging today and let me tell you how wealthy I am. Oh, my riches are not revealed by checkbook, CDs or stock portfolio, and were you to scrutinize our balance sheet, you would look askance at my claim, perhaps tagging me as lacking in veracity, and a tad on the goofy side. You would be wrong, dead on wrong.

I persist in my assertion of extreme riches and point to last evening as documentation of such claim. We met in Temecula, a close to half way point between San Diego and Crestline to celebrate Andrew's 35th birthday. It was a small group who could make it on this Tuesday night–close family, and Sharon and Adam, Andrew's best friend in the whole world. Adam's youngsters, Andrew's four, and a three year old cousin thrown in reveled in the place that Shawnna had chosen for the celebration. Lumpy's Sweet BBQ was the name of the joint–cheerful people who had set about pots of unshelled peanuts, making it known that accepted protocol in this fine place was the pitching of spent peanut shells onto the painted cement floor. The youngsters loved the opportunity to cast aside Miss Manners training for an evening, and many tiny peanut-mounded-up hands were seen. Giggling, the children poked their mouths full, then dutifully tossed the shells to the floor. Occasionally they gave a firm stomp to finalize the deal.

The presents were simple ones. Lumpy's closing time was 8:00, so a few minutes before the hour struck, we dug into our purses and wallets to leave a generous tip for these delightful people. But we weren't through partying, so we got into our cars and drove a few blocks to a Starbucks for the grand finale of the celebration.

We had been home only a few minutes when the phone rang. "You and Dad get home all right, Mom?" Andrew quizzed. "Just wanted to check on you."

Yeah, I'm rich. Don't think otherwise.

Holidays Social

Disdain For America

upsidedown flag, Mexican flag atop US flag, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

I had thought to post this yesterday, along with the other flag images, but I decided against doing so. I didn't want to muddy our significant holiday with this dispicable picture.

This is the epitome of disdain for our flag and for our country. I am saddened…and angered.

For more pictures and discussion go here

After reading from the above referenced page, a reader identified only as TMJ writes as follows:

I live in a small farm town in Nelson County, Virginia, and will retire from the Virginia Army National Guard in April 2006, after 22 years. I have spent almost one half of my adult life preparing myself and my soldiers for a time, such as now, that our country might successfully face our enemies, foreign and domestic. Looking at your webpage this morning and seeing the pictures of the high school students raising a Mexican national flag over an upside down American flag saddened me terribly, insofar as there are American soldiers, Marines, sailors, and airmen currently putting their lives in danger in order to provide these "citizens" the comfort of knowing that their protests will not result in being lined up against a wall and executed for their behavior, as they might in other countries around the world. What would be interesting to know is if these young men and women are enjoying their educations on the back of the American taxpayer at a public school, while denigrating the country that provides these benefits to them, and so blatantly desecrating the flag that serves as a beacon to draw them to America in the first place.

 Tags: American+flag, Mexican+flag, upside+down+flag, America, disdain+for+America

Holidays Social

A Memorial Day Tribute to Our Troops

America IS America the Beautiful. We are a generous people, God-fearing souls, who, with love for mankind, strive to do our best, as we endeavor to scribe a positive mark on our world. On this Memorial Day holiday I salute America, my beloved country. With distinct pride in them, I pay tribute to our troops around the globe.

In a spirit of joy and thanksgiving, I bring words from Sgt. Mike Stutzke, 1st Cavalry Division, Baghdad, Iraq. May his upbeat words of thankfulness ricochet through our land, and ignite anew a spirit of gratitude and honor among us. Despite our dissimilar views on war, may we this day, be in peace, and may our breasts swell with pride in our country and in the men, who today, stand in harm's way…for you…for me…and for our babies.

I am a member of the Washington National Guard, an infantry squad leader, assigned to the 1st Calvary Division, in Baghdad Iraq. After spending approximately 6 months in Iraq, I got to go home on leave. I had many people, strangers, walk up to me and thank me in a variety of different ways. I would like to share some of the experiences I had while traveling across our great country.

Some of the people would look at me, and quickly look away when I looked at them, eventually they would say something. Some would see me from across the airport or wherever I was, and make a B-line to me and say something. They all appeared to have nothing in common, some were old men, old women, young men and women and children. I enjoyed the children the most, the way they look at a soldier, with wide eyes and open admiration. I told each of them about my daughter who was at home who I was getting to see after a long time of being away from her.

Most started out the conversation by asking where I was going, or where I was coming from, others asked if I had been in Iraq. When I told people I was on leave from Iraq, they all made some kind of physical contact, shaking hands, putting a hand on my shoulder or arm, and a surprising number hugged me.

Some bought me drinks, some bought me lunch, some gave up their first class seat to me, some shared stories about their family members or friends who were in Iraq, and each asked me if I knew their family member or friends. Some asked for my address to send care packages to me and my platoon. All were incredibly polite, thankful, and inspiring.

Some, who spoke to me, did so with a red face, some with tears in their eyes, some crying. Each were, once again, inspiring.

The people who I spoke with made a lasting impression on my life, to me it was awe inspiring. I wish everyone could experience the love and appreciation I felt while traveling home to see my family.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank the people who have inspired me.

To the people at the Bangor Maine airport, who where there at 5:30 am with coffee, cell phones, cookies, a handshake or a hug. THANK YOU!

To the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport fire department (real American heroes), who showered our plane with water, with their lights flashing, giving us a "heroes welcome". THANK YOU!

To the people at the Dallas/Ft.Worth airport, who applauded, shouted, held up "welcome home" banners, handed out water, and made us feel great. THANK YOU!

To the bartender who bought me a drink at the Sacramento airport, who only said to me, "Thanks" THANK YOU!

To the man at the Sacramento airport who spent almost 2 hours just visiting with me and insisted on getting my address so he and his company could send me and my platoon care packages. THANK YOU!

To the woman at the Sacramento airport who shared her stories of her family members who were in Iraq, shared her fears, hopes and dreams for when they came home. Who hugged me to the point where I didn't think she was going to let go. THANK YOU!

To the cab driver in Portland OR., who was a Vietnam vet., who I had to argue with to pay my cab fare. THANK YOU!

To my daughter, who nearly knocked me over at the airport. I LOVE YOU! THANK YOU!

To all my family who traveled from all over the state of Washington to have BBQ's with me. I LOVE YOU! THANK YOU!

To the TSA lady at the Spokane airport who shook my hand and hugged me on my way back to Iraq. THANK YOU!

To the maintenance supervisor at the Spokane airport who visited with me and bought my lunch. THANK YOU!

To the women who were going on vacation from Spokane who invited me to be in their group picture. THANK YOU!

To the many, many people at the Denver airport who spoke to me, thanked me, and told me they will pray for me and all the soldiers in Iraq. THANK YOU!

To the woman who approached my friend traveling back to Iraq with me, and said "Thank you." Then later returned and gave us a hundred dollar bill and said "I came across this unexpectedly and want you guys to buy lunch somewhere nice" Then quickly left the area with tears running down her face. THANK YOU!

To Keith, who I sat next to on one of the flights, who visited with me the whole flight, and offered many things, which I could not accept because I was reporting for duty. THANK YOU!

To my new friends at Belo interactive in Dallas. Who took my friend and me out, welcomed us, then opened their business to us, took us to lunch and just spent time hanging out with us. Who also send our whole platoon care packages every month. THANK YOU!

To all the people at the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport who took time out of their schedules to visit with me. THANK YOU!

To all the flight crews who flew us overseas and back. THANK YOU!

To all Americans who support the American soldiers, simply because we are serving all over the world, who we will never meet, or get to personally thank for their enormous support. THANK YOU!

The support, love and respect that I received all across America, is humbling. To be treated like a hero for doing one's job, is something I wish everyone could experience. It is incredible. For the record, none of us consider ourselves heroes, we are just soldiers trying to do a job, then to get home to our families.

I know I've said it many times, but THANK YOU AMERICA.

A grateful American Soldier

Sgt. Mike Stutzke C Co 1-161 Infantry Baghdad, Iraq

Tags: Memorial+Day, Iraq, soldier, Mike+Stutzke, Baghdad, thankfulness, tribute, troops

Christianity/Religion Holidays Social Uncategorized

Our Glorious Flag

Our Glorious Flag, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

This is the beautiful flag of our glorious country, the United States of America. It is being flown here from our deck, where Jerry posts it almost every day. In the background is a glimpse of the San Bernardino Mountains.

This is Memorial Day. Have a great holiday, enjoy your families and be sure to eat lots of good food. Throughout the day, let us remember to give thanks to God for our exceptional country. May we take pride in our troops who are scattered around the world, and remember with gratitude, those who gave their lives for our many and exceptional freedoms.

GOD BLESS AMERICA, land that I love.

Tags: God+bless+America, flag, Memorial+Day, troops,

Holidays Social

Sad Degradation of Our Flag

Sad Degradation of Our Flag, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

We support our troops, is printed on this flag. When it was first hoisted, it was no doubt a glorious sight.

Such a ragged flag should be removed, though, and replaced with a new one. No vision of tatter, nor of failure, or disregard should be connected with our flag, the symbol of America, the greatest country in the world.

Tags: America, American+flag, disrespect+for+flag

Holidays My Home Social

Sad Degradation of Our Flag

Sad Degradation of Our flag, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

This scene is not too far from my house, and, in a passing way, I know the people who live there. I really don’t think they are evil, and they probably mean well. The flag is actually not being flown, but is flopped among empty pots. This is certainly a careless way to handle our flag.

The flag represents our country, the greatest country in the world, the United States of America. It should be displayed with honor and with due respect.

Tags: America, flag, American+flag,

Children Holidays My Home Photography Uncategorized

Thane Reilly Buxton

originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.


Holidays Uncategorized

Resurrection Keys

In hell, Satan gloated, "Our purpose has been accomplished, quite well accomplished, for we have managed to bring him down–the one who called himself God, the Savior, he who spoke of his kingdom and who tried to build the church with cowardly fishermen. Yes, look at him now. We have defeated him!"

Vile laughter echoed through the inky corridors of hell. "Observe him well," Satan surely continued. "Safely crammed away in Joseph's tomb; this king, this so called redeemer lies wound in death sheets." From deep in the bowels of hell, his face smeared with evil grin, Satan led the raucous celebration. He lifted high the key. "Yes, today, I am the master. Only I, now hold the keys of death and hell."

Suddenly, a white hot Being surged through the evil passageways. With blasting power and absolute authority, Jesus snatched away the keys. Thunder roared and lightening flashed.

" In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:

And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay."


(I am sorry for this very late Easter message. I tried to post at 5:00 am, and throughout the early morning, but for some reason I could not do so. I thought to merely skip this post, but I just couldn't leave Jesus in the grave! I know some of you have celebrated all day…but here's to one more recounting of the wonderful story of the resurrection. Forever, will He reign.)

Holidays Uncategorized

Happy Valentine’s Day

Jerry bought me a dozen beautiful red roses yesterday and a funny card. In June we will have been married 50 years! Quite an accomplishment, I would say.

Jerry is not the typical husband. He doesn’t forget special days and often buys me presents. He also does it with a sense of love and of not being forced to do something special because it is a certain day. He is a sweetheart.

Jesus Christ is the greatest lover of all. He loved each of us so much that He left the splendors of glory, robed Himself in humanity and came to earth. The ones He came to save, crucified and reviled Him. Nevertheless, He shed His sinless blood for you and for me–for all of us.

 Quite a valentine story. The love of this Saviour of ours.