Categories
America Arizona Culture Holidays Lake Havasu Life My Family Patriotism Photography

Fireworks Finale at Lake Havasu

Finale, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

Chloe was worn out from senior camp and from our long trip back home, so she slept until after 10:00 yesterday. After solidifying our plans for the day, she and I went to Dillards…found awesome bargains. I’ll take pictures later and show you, but she found a couple of pairs of shoes for $9.95 each; one pair had been $100.00. We were ecstatic at such finds. Bought her a few tops, then back home, where after a bit of lunch, I sought out a napping spot!

At 6:00 we joined Dustin and his family at the lake, ate hamburgers, the girls swam, then around 9:00 began the fireworks display. It was gorgeous. Aren’t they always?

Love the shot at the top of this post. Look closely to the far right and you will see Chloe and her friends watching the display from within the cool waters of Lake Havasu. Click on the picture, where over on Flickr you can see the picture in a larger size.

Bokeh Visits the 4th by you.
Categories
America Holidays

The Day!

I’m ahead of Independence Day a few hours, but because I am so in love with my country, and because I appreciate living here so much, and because I so enjoy this video, I am posting now. Tears streaked my face as I listened to this magnificent music and gazed at the images of our countryside, the flag, the cities, the courage, the honesty of our sterling people.

Live well! Eat hot dogs! Love America! Love your family! Shoot Roman candles and light sparklers and bang firecrackers! Sing, shout, rejoice! It’s Independence Day…here…here in America, the greatest country on God’s earth!

Listen to speeches! Honor the military! Wave flags! Eat from red plates with blue spoons and white forks! Slurp red watermelon and white ice cream and blueberry pie! Barbecue in the back yard, drink lemonade and diet Coke and strong coffee in the evening! Watch a marching band at the village parade and cheer for the babies on tricycles and the old men in vintage cars! Clap when the firemen come by on the red truck and when the policeman struts along and when the mayor waves!

When THE FLAG passes by, stand up, remove hats, slap hands over hearts, and if you have the chance, sing loudly God Bless America or the Star Spangled Banner, or

My country, ’tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From every mountainside,
Let freedom ring!

My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills,
Like that above.

Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees,
Sweet freedom’s song;
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.

Our fathers’ God, to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing;
Long may our land be bright
With freedom’s holy light;
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God, our King.

It’s Independence Day in the United States of America! Glad to be here! Glad you’ve joined me. Hope your holiday is tops–blessed and safe!

Republish from July 4, 2008 S. J. Buxton

Categories
Animals Culture Holidays My Family My Home Photography

Coyotes in Crestline

My beloved Crestline, CA. lies within the San Bernardino National Forest, and within its ranging miles are many varieties of wildlife. Among other species, the area abounds with bear, raccoons, deer, coyotes, numerous birds and a few mountain lions. I’ve never seen a deer in our area, nor a cat or bear, although I’m assured they are all around us.

“Experts say there are 4,000 to 6,000 mountains lions in the wild of California.”

Daisy Nguyen of AP

I have seen many birds, several raccoons and lots of coyotes.

We don’t really worry about the youngsters playing outside, for attacks from these animals are rare, and as I said, we seldom see any of the large animals–excepting for the coyotes, which come by frequently. I’ve tried to get good pictures of them, but until last week, failed at that.

Then on one of the snowy Christmas days, I glanced from our living room to catch this view: fortunately I had camera in hand, and snapped a picture of this beautiful animal.

dsc_0003

I went then to the dining room and through that window snagged a great shot.

dsc_00042

Isn’t he (she?) beautiful.

One more shot.

dsc_00051

P. S. After reading Lorraine Bertram’s thoughtful response, I found these helpful instructions:

If a coyote approaches you:
Be as Big, Mean, and Loud as possible
-Wave your arms and throw objects at the coyote
-Shout in a deep, loud and authoritative voice
-DO NOT RUN or turn your back on the coyote
-Face the coyote and back away slowly
-If attacked, fight back with your fists and feet

Categories
California Children Crestline Family Holidays Home My Family My Home

On The Second Night of Christmas

“Granny, we’re not cold.”

And so it seems they were not, even though much of the day was sliced with knife-edged wind, intermittent rain, and then finally in the evening two inches more of snow. The black trash bag full of dsc_0014boots of all sizes and sorts had been taken from the basement to thedsc_0016 garage, and each child was responsible for finding a pair to fit his feet, and to scurry up suitable jackets and snowpants. I had intended to go out for a while and take pictures, but it was so cold and blustery, that the extent of my snow adventure was to take a few steps onto the front deck, so that I could snap a frame or two of the youngsters playing in the front yard.

“It’s freezing out here,” I complained as, with my camera, I turned back to the house. And because of my wimpiness, I didn’t get any good pictures of them in the snow.

It really was miserable, and I was shocked that they stayed out in it for the better part of an hour, finally coming in and stripping off their soaking clothes. Shawnna, dsc_0025busy mom that she is, spent a great part of her day drying clothes, and handing out fresh things. Brady gave me a hand at the chopping for turkey tetrazzini…sans pants!

We have a snowsuit that would fit baby Ella, but she has a terrible cold, so she stayed inside, spending much of the day on Pappy’s lap. dsc_0032The green? She’s a budding artist, and is quite taken with markers–found a green one somewhere and painted her face.

Andrew had gone early in the morning to work with Adam at Wrightwood, and as he left San Bernardino to come back up the hill in the evening, he stopped to pick up Nathaniel, as Rebecca isn’t coming up until today, and the cousins here were frantic to have him up here NOW!

We were waiting dinner for them, and it was past 6:00 o’clock when Andrew and Nathaniel finally arrived. “That was the scarriest trip I have ever had in my entire life,” Andrew said. “We had thick heavy fog all the way up the mountain. Couldn’t even see the middle line, a complete white-out.”

“Granny, I was holding onto the dash, shaking, I was so scared,” Nathaniel chimed in.

Not long after dinner when we had cleared up the kitchen again, we heard noises from outside, and when we opened the glass door to see better, we saw coming down sleet and icy rain, mixed with snow. Finally it was just snow, adding to the sparkling, pristine mounds we have already.

Ipods are the talk of the big dsc_0037boys around here…and the little ones, too, I suppose. Before bedtime, they were gathered about one of the computers as Andrew helped them with some downloading.

In cycles, we all went to bed; first Ella Claire, then Pappy, then Brady and Cole, then about 10:30 the big ones were marched off to their sleeping places, and only left were Andrew, Shawnna and me. We didn’t linger long, though. One by one, I turned off the lights, then found the way to my bed in our darkened bedroom. For awhile I listened to the wind, envisioning what I could not hear; slanting snow blowing into the tall oak limbs, and a glorious accumulating, that come morning, would no doubt rest in the extended arms of the fragrant pines.

Categories
California Children Christmas Crestline Family Food Holidays Home My Family My Home

On The First Night of Christmas

“Jerry, I’ll probably talk myself out of it, but I’m considering making cinnamon rolls.”

“You what?”

“I’m thinking of making cinnamon rolls.”

It was around 6:00 Sunday evening. Jerry and I sat before a blazing fire in our home in Crestline.

The day had started early, and with a fast pace we had moved; through loading all the wrapped presents and other paraphernalia from the motor home into the car, the Sunday morning church service, good-byes and Merry Christmases to all there, then another stop at Walmart for the final stash of milk and meat that we would need in Crestline. The roads were a mess, neighbors had told us, so I wasn’t counting on making any quick trips down to the store once we got home.

We probably weren’t 50 miles out of Havasu when we started seeing snow. First it was visible on the distant mountain peaks, then shortly there were patches beside the road, and by the time we were 50 miles east of Barstow on Highway 40, there was massive snow everywhere, finally coming right up to the freeway edge. I have never seen such wide-spread snow in that high desert area.

dsc_0031

No one could have a better neighbor than we do in Ken McDaniel, who lives directly across from us. After the second recent snow, he cleared our driveway, knowing we would be arriving.

“Shirley, it is so thick, and its been so cold, that the bottom layer is ice, and I wasn’t able to get it completely cleared,” he warned a few days ago as we spoke on the phone.

A couple of runs at it were required, but about 3:00 in the afternoon as Jerry adroitly managed the spinning tires, our trusty four-wheel drive Jeep responded properly, and in a few minutes we were inside our garage.

Up the garage stairs all that stuff must be carried: we considered leaving it because we knew some strong youngsters were scheduled to make an appearance in a few hours, but we flexed our muscles, called up resolve, and managed the whole thing ourselves. Finally, our kitchen was mounded with grocery bags, the inside stairs were covered with the wrapped packages, the laundry was propped beside the washer, and Jerry and I wilted into chairs. I brewed a strong pot of coffee, and before I tackled storing all those groceries, and starting the laundry, I sat before one of our glass doors and admired the “winter wonderland” in which we would spend a few days. I believe this is the most snow I’ve seen since we’ve lived here. The last storm alone dropped 18 inches, and atop what had fallen only days before, we have between 3 1/2 and 4 feet of snow. The berms are massive.

Anyway, here it was about 6:00, the groceries were stored, our personal things had been put away, I had started the laundry, and I had this wild idea to make cinnamon rolls.

“Why do you want to make cinnamon rolls now, Shirley? You’re going to wear yourself out.”

“Oh, I was just thinking of Andrew and his dsc_0020family driving up from San Diego and how neat it would be if when they get here around 9:00 or 9:30, hot cinnamon rolls would be waiting for them.”

I didn’t talk myself out of it, and about 9:15 when they roared up the driveway having to make a couple of runs at it as we had, I was just putting the cinnamon rolls in the oven.

Pappy already had on his robe when up the garage stairs Andrew’s five bounded. Chloe was the first to get a hug.

Christmas has begun!

dsc_00041

Categories
America Christianity/Religion Christmas Church Goodness of man Holidays

The Real of Christmas

It happened in the past, but I was there, and the memory of the faces and more of the atmosphere remain clear in my mind. It is a Christmas story, not only because there was a Christmas tree in the room, and because it was mere days before the 25th of December, but because the happening was of love, of human pathos and need, of giving…and receiving.

We knew something was wrong when the new people missed two Sundays in a row and then they didn’t show for another mid-week function. We called and learned the story; a story of almost no work, utilities being shut off, prized possessions pawned, dark depression, embarrassment…and Christmas was in a few days and a small child was involved, as was an elderly parent.

The pastor made a phone call. “Don’t you think we should assist them? Shouldn’t we take money from the church to help them out of this jam?”

The pastor and the person listening both knew there was no abundance in the church accounts, and that in the near future there were obligations for every penny that had been banked, but is this not Christmasis this not what the church teaches…is this not a challenge to our faith…is this not opportunity to reveal Jesus to hurting people?

From a file cabinet, we took the small checkbook, and the pastor wrote a check for $500.00. We drove to their house, and when they opened the door, it was obvious they were surprised, and after they asked us in, she scurried about, speaking thoughts of an unkempt home (which it really was not). “Sit down, here. Please sit,” they spoke.

The man was standing now, and after a time of small talk, the pastor walked over, drew from his shirt pocket the check, and said, “Here, we’ve brought a little money to help you out.”

Stock-still, the man stared. There was no speech in him. He gazed long into the pastor’s face. “No, no, I can’t do that.”

He continued to look at the pastor, his sight locked into his face, as he persisted in his refusal of help: the pastor pressed him to take the money.

“No, I can’t do that,” the simple modest man protested.

Trembling and crying, the wife spoke. “I didn’t tell you our problems so you would give to us,” she said to the pastor’s wife. “We didn’t have this in mind…not at all.” Her eyes were red-rimmed with purple shadows beneath. Her face was pale.

“We know…we understand. We know you weren’t asking for money.”

The man now threw his arms around the man with the check. “Oh, Pastor, Pastor.” He still had not brought himself to take the check, but pulled himself back and, again, stared long into the eyes of his pastor.

I wept, as I watched.

“Here, you must take it,” the pastor insisted, and at last the check had been transferred.

That precious man again wrapped the pastor in his long arms, exclaiming, “Pastor, oh Pastor.”

Soon we left.

As lights twinkled on the Christmas tree in a 2113643703_03377eef6fsimple living room one afternoon in the past, as people wept together and loved each other, as they gave and received, I think I heard a faint rustle–as of angel wing.

Categories
Arizona Christianity/Religion Christmas Church God Holidays Lake Havasu Life Photography

Of Manger and Drywall, and of Cement

To our eyes it was a temple, and when any little improvement was accomplished we stood about admiringly. We voiced plans for the remaining cement block walls to be covered with drywall and paint, and of a finer rear entry with classy double doors, so that when our growth had caused us to utilize the other parking lot, a tiny foyer will be part of that entrance.

We dreamed, smiled often, made phone calls to brag on our new place, as at the same time we thanked God and gave Him credit for the progress. Tell the truth, we’ve lived the past few weeks in a jeweled, rosy haze.

Then one late afternoon, I stood alone in the budding sanctuary, and for a minute–just a minute, mind you–saw our new church project as it actually is–humble, and quite unremarkable, paltry and negligible. How could we have thought it worthy of a King?

For stripped of dream and imagination, the sight was dismal, the gleaming illusion barely visible. The construction grade plywood platform, the two small steps, whose height had been carefully calculated, the lean line of keyboard stand, and the spare pulpit, dsc_0136cast its own vision–one definitely lacking in grandeur. The sight spoke instead of reality; of struggle, and of less than infinite resources.

I was struck by the vision–a vision so at odds with those of recent hours and days–that I went for my camera so that I could fairly capture the moment.

During the intervening days, I have thought often of that fading afternoon, and have stared at the picture. Although I knew the lesson at first sight, during the passing time since the event, I have examined thoroughly its elements, and have come to understand.

It is the Christmas Story again. It is a manger filled with hay. It is a stable.

Incredibly, she is led to the outbuilding, a young girl racked with pains that cannot be ignored: “Yes!” a stable will do. So, soft-eyed cattle stand and continue their chew, and sheep nuzzle and gaze unknowingly at the most momentous birth in history–that of Jesus Christ, our Saviour.

“Where will we place Him, Joseph?” the young mother asked.

“Here, Mary. Here in the cattle manger. I’ve fashioned Him a snug place.”

They wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in the manger.

The stable was now a temple; directly overhead a pointing star suspended itself in the black night spangling the barn roof with light. In the nearby hills, angels shouted from the sky. Shepherds cowered, and listened, and sped to where lay the Christ-Child.

We don’t know how long the young family remained in the stable, but when they bundled up baby Jesus and left, I’m quite sure the hay was still hay, the

manger was still recognizable as a feeding trough, and the floor was still dirt. Hinges creaked, and wind and sun beat down on the structure…as before.

For of little consequence is the building. It was not the stable that struck still the overhead star, nor was it the manger that drew the shepherds; neither did the humble town of Bethlehem cause angels to swarm its night skies. No, it was That Baby. Baby Jesus. The Messiah. God, made flesh.

So, seen in context, our new building and our pitiful improvements reek as inconsequential: perhaps they may be seen as stable and as manger. But though it is little, is that not enough? For we have fashioned Him a house, and though His favored abode is the heart of man, it is here–in our humble place in Lake Havasu–that we hope to attract those who don’t know about that yet. We who do know will congregate, think on Him, dream our dreams, and fashion our visions. During these last days before Christmas we will again marvel at that night, when, incomprehensibly, God became a man.

Categories
America California Children Christianity/Religion Crestline Firearms Food Holidays Home Life

Happy Thanksgiving!

3:45 Thanksgiving Afternoon

I’m thankful:

That after the delicious dinner we just finished eating, my children chased me away, and from my spot here on the couch in our bedroom I hear animated and lively conversation amidst the rattle of pots and pans as they clean the kitchen.

dsc_0050I’m thankful that since Sunday evening when we drove from Lake Havasu we have had 15 family members visiting here in Crestline, that we have so many youngsters and, that, for our Tuesday evening dinner,  Chloe and Nathaniel created beautiful centerpieces for our dining table.

dsc_0065

I’m thankful that our bedrooms are all full and that the study floor looks like this:

dsc_0073I’m thankful for wood-chopping and for the boys who carried the pieces up the front stairs and made a fine stack just outside the living room door.

dsc_0086I’m thankful for Sage who wanted to help, but found it too cold, so she watched from the top of the deck.

dsc_00971

I’m thankful for wrestling in the living room, for youth and strength.

dsc_0143I’m thankful for God, for Jerry and for the rest of my family, including these little ones who last night piled all their toys on Pappy’s lap.

dsc_0139

And for you, my friends,  I wish much joy and happiness.

Categories
America Awards Children Christmas Courage Culture Death Family Firearms Goodness of man Grief Holidays Honor Integrity Life Patriotism Uncategorized video

The Flag on the 5th

Every year after Christmas in newspapers around the globe are pictures of deserted Christmas tree lots,  and residential shots of trees stripped of their glitter and dragged to curbside, where, forlornly, they await pickup by the local garbage truck. Oh, there may remain a whisper of glory–a flutter of tinsel or a hint of angel hair–but the precious ornaments have been boxed, the sparkling lights are disconnected, and the music boxes have been silenced. The Christmas tree is spent.

“Nothing more useless than a Christmas tree the day after Christmas,”  someone has said.

Not so with the flag. Not so with the Red, White and Blue. Not so with the Stars and Stripes–the banner, the ensign–of the United States of America. Not so with that cherished piece of cloth that in itself has negligible value, but that becomes a storied tale of honor when pristine strength and gallant endurance  is woven betwixt its threads.

Today, the 5th of July, within our enduring banner reposes all honor that reflected there at yesterday’s dawn and at dusk of evening. For our prized flag, today, the 5th of July,  there is no place in the mud of gutter or in the decay of trash heap.

Today, the 5th of July, that amazing signal beats in the wind–an agent of hope and equity and freedom. Today, the 5th of July, with absolute assurance, flies the symbol of the greatest country on the planet. No stripping of agency, no negating of authority, no cowardice, no subjugation. 

Today, the 5th of July, the day after our birthday celebration, where, across the land, we pull out all stops; where we march parades and mount long and loud speeches and grill our finest meats and launch our hottest firecrackers–today, the 5th of July, there is no cessation of flag waving, no poverty of spirit, no paucity of patriotism. The flag lives, the flag waves. There is none like it.

There is no place on earth like the United States of America, just no place. On this, the 5th of July, there are yet people who love this country and who willingly offer their lives for its hallowed truths.

Navy Seal Mikey Monsoor was one such gallant young man.

The flag is safe. The flag endures.

The voice of President Bush breaks with emotion as he awards posthumously the Medal of Honor to Mr. Mikey Monsoor.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

My devotional blog is here.

Categories
America Children Christianity/Religion Culture Family Food God Goodness of man Holidays Home Honor Life love Patriotism Religion Social video

I Love America

I’m ahead of Independence Day a few hours, but because I am so in love with my country, and because I appreciate living here so much, and because I so enjoy this video, I am posting now. Tears streaked my face as I listened to this magnificent music and gazed at the images of our countryside, the flag, the cities, the courage, the honesty of our sterling people.

Live well! Eat hot dogs! Love America! Love your family! Shoot Roman candles and light sparklers and bang firecrackers! Sing, shout, rejoice! It’s Independence Day…here…here in America, the greatest country on God’s earth!

Listen to speeches! Honor the military! Wave flags! Eat from red plates with blue spoons and white forks! Slurp red watermelon and white ice cream and blueberry pie! Barbecue in the back yard, drink lemonade and diet Coke and strong coffee in the evening! Watch a marching band at the village parade and cheer for the babies on tricycles and the old men in vintage cars! Clap when the firemen come by on the red truck and when the policeman struts along and when the mayor waves!

When THE FLAG passes by, stand up, remove hats, slap hands over hearts, and if you have the chance, sing loudly God Bless America or the Star Spangled Banner, or

My country, ’tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From every mountainside,
Let freedom ring!

My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills,
Like that above.

Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees,
Sweet freedom’s song;
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.

Our fathers’ God, to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing;
Long may our land be bright
With freedom’s holy light;
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God, our King.

It’s Independence Day in the United States of America! Glad to be here! Glad you’ve joined me. Hope your holiday is tops–blessed and safe!