For Memorial

Three of my four children, along with some of their families, came to our home–Jerry’s and mine–during the Memorial Day Weekend. We had a fabulous time.

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On Friday afternoon Andrew and his clan fought such traffic from San Diego that the typical two-hour or so drive took more than four. Rebecca, Nathaniel, Michael, and Melina made it in on Saturday. Jerry had smoked a turkey on Thursday–best turkey I ever tasted–then on Saturday spent most of the day tending his smoker and grill so that when we sat down for our evening meal we were treated to exceptional ribs and juicy steaks. The kids brought food, Jerry tended the grill, and I cooked some things. We feasted.

But the best part was not the steaks, nor–to be honest– the flags, neither the bunting, or the chocolate cake or Bek’s special oatmeal cookies. The best part was time. There was time to reflect and talk about the meaning of the flags and of Memorial Day itself. Our children gave us, and each other, the gift of time. Time to talk, to laugh, to reminisce. Time to speak of plans, of failures, of successes, of God, of our babies growing now into adults, of death of parents and other loved ones . . .of life.

DSC_7161Those who follow my blog know I am an amateur photographer, although pretty serious about it. However, in these family gatherings at my home I get so caught up in other things that I take very few pictures, then later I’m sad at the dearth of images that are mine. Andrew snapped this one of Mike and me a short while before Mike and Melina left . . .

DSC_7175. . .and on the front deck I preserved this image of Andrew and Shauna. Little more.

Time included us piling into cars and plying the roads, streets and lanes of Crestline and its neighbors for the annual Memorial Day Mountain-Wide Garage Sales. We all scored.

DSC_7247 This antique game bird collectors plate is Bavarian, and is one of five I bought for the grand price of $3.00. Not each. For all! (Told you we scored.) Along the side of the road as we meandered about was a box with free items in it. I was riding with Gentry when I wondered what it might be.

“Do you want it, Granny?”

“Yes.”

Brady jumped out, and popped the box and its contents into the trunk beside our other treasures. Turned out to be a George Foreman large grill with interchangeable plates–about $100.00 new someone said when they checked the internet . . .and so we had waffles from our found treasure. Had waffles on Sunday evening, and they were so delicious we ate such fare again on Monday morning before everyone left.

The highlight of the weekend was Sunday morning when three Buxton families worshipped at a nearby church. As we stood together in the altar area near the end of the service, I was happy for this time, for this Memorial Day weekend.  Thankful.

At the lodge by the lake, by myself on Monday morning at 11:00 I attended a service honoring those who have fallen, who have given their lives. Stories wafted through the air, as did films, and other presentations. Veterans marched with guns, flags were posted and presented. Tears glistened in the eyes of a hundred or so people as we watched and as we listened. We stood and sang God Bless America, then the poignant, unmatchable tones of Taps sounded through the room, and the time was over.

DSC_7213I walked a short distance on Lake Gregory shoreline yesterday, and as I rounded a corner near this log, I saw two turtles. One of them eyed me, so I sat down on a likely spot and communed with the critters for 20 minutes or so. They move slowly, do turtles, deliberately and with no appearance of haste. They have time. So did I.

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?

Honor to Whom. . .

Since I was a friend of his, Holly had said more than once to me, “I need to meet him. I want to thank him and remind him of how he has influenced my life,” or words to that effect. Then when she heard that he and other dear friends would be at our home on Tuesday, she asked, “Do you think it would be okay if Patrick and I come up and talk with them?”

The situation was this: Quarterly, we three couples–friends for most of our adult lives–rotate to our homes where we share dinner, and a breakfast the following morning: Stevensons, Hodges, and Buxtons. Holly and Patrick Garrett, our young friends who pastor a church in Yucaipa, CA., had not met either the Stevensons or the Hodges. It was in particular Johnny Hodges that Holly wanted to meet.

Earlier in the evening, I had phoned Holly and asked if they would be coming up. “Yes,” she replied. “We’re finishing drama practice and will be up in about an hour.” Our scrumptious dinner was over. Jerry had outdone himself on smoked St. Louis style ribs, (that’s another great story in itself), we had eaten dessert and had drunk strong coffee, Johnny had removed his shoes, and we had all slumped about in delicious old-time-Imagefriend conversations when the Garretts arrived. We made the introductions, offered food and drink, then rather quickly, Holly addressed Brother Johnny Hodges.

“I don’t know if you remember all the details,” she began, and then summarized the story. Her parents, Joyce and Richard Pierce, were not serving God, but because of family connections in the church asked Brother Hodges to marry them. Then sometime later when Holly came into the family, the Pierces asked Brother Hodges to dedicate their baby daughter to the Lord. He did so, and during the ceremony he urged them to continue to take little Holly to God’s house. Thus began the conversion of the Pierce family. He became a minister, and years later started a church in Costa Mesa, CA. It was there that Patrick Garrett found God, and where he and Holly fell in love. They married, have two sons of their own, and now pastor a church in Yucaipa.

“I want you to see the fruit of your labor, Brother Hodges,” Holly said as she pointed to Patrick, who was listening intently.

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A sweet presence of God surrounded us on Tuesday night in our living room as this beautiful young lady sincerely honored the man who those long ago years reached out to her parents, and thus “effected” her salvation, and those of her parents, her husband, her children, and those to whom she and Patrick minister today. I admired her for her thoughtfulness and for her sincerity. It was an unforgettable moment.

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Brother Hodges is now 82 years old, declining, and in very poor health. Many do not recall the days of his youth when he was an honored district leader, and was a preacher of rare skill, anointing, and distinction. Holly, too, has no memory of those days, but she has listened to the stories, and has heard their message, and has inculcated its meaning into her very soul. May there be more Holly Garretts in this world. May there be more Johnny Hodges.

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A Particular Day

Relationships are the nib and ink whose line pivots to mark the canvas of our lives. Rich are we whose relationships are many and varied; relationships of differing tones, of diverse depth–some many-layered, others thin, a mere wisp as we pass on this universal trail. Congruent–and inevitable–concerning those with which we have a rich connection is certain pain and certain joy. For of such is life, and those who can bear truth must speak these words. Only those so inclined will dare.

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I looked across the table yesterday and admired Shawnna, the wife of our youngest child, Andrew. Yesterday was her birthday–her 41st, so Jerry and I traveled down to San Diego to have breakfast/lunch with Shawnna, Andrew and two of their children, Chloe and Gentry. Andrew chose a place in beautiful Point Loma, and we sat at little round tables near the sidewalk for a couple of hours, munching and talking.

Shawnna has never said an unkind word to me in the more than 20 years that now she has been a part of the Buxton family. She is elegant, tall and willowy and is of a distinct and quiet bearing. She is intelligent. She is a loyal wife, and when their family has faced significant challenges, she has not once complained within my earshot. She has birthed five exceptional children. I’ve never seen one of her babies dirty or neglected.

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“Look at these little vases,” she said to me across the table, and she lifted the tiny arrangement, its orange flower aglow in the ocean air, for of the small she can take notice.

A man walked past us as he left the cafe, dressed in white from head to toe. To Andrew I said, “Wonder what his occupation is?”

“Rich. That’s real. He’s probably very rich.” And on the way to our car, I saw the man again. “His chauffeur is picking him up,” Andrew said. ImageI wondered at his life–his pain, his joy.

A tremendous conclusion to a delightful day was that we brought Chloe and Gentry home with us, and in San Bernardino we stopped by Rebecca’s house, took in three pizzas from Pizza Hut, ate them, swooped up Nathaniel, and roared up Highway 18 to 138, to our home in beautiful Crestline.

We laid easy plans last night for the three teen-age grandchildren. They’re going to the lake today, taking food and fishing poles, and money to rent little boats. Right now, though, they’re still asleep. So much for early morning adventure.

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The Luminance of A Durable Friendship

Even though one of their characteristics is a certain ebb and flow, it is important to maintain them lest they be lost, for once completely unraveled, the knitting back into form may be difficult. Constraints of time and various responsibilities will push against their keeping.

From the relationship laughter will result. So will tears.

Jerry and I have been at this one–this friendship–for about 65 years. At least segments of our friendship with the Stevensons and the Hodges have been that long-lasting, for Jerry and Johnny Hodges met when they were still in high school. Our friendships are sterling, and on Friday they drove up from San Diego and spent the night with us.

Snippets:

untitled (3 of 26)Johnny lost his phone, so strong man Jerry tipped over the chair where Johnny had been sitting, and there underneath was the phone.

Nita wasn’t able to come as she had gone to northern California to visit with her sisters. To punish her we almost planned a dinner engagement at her house…but being the sweet friends we are, LaVelta and I had mercy on her and didn’t mark anything on our calendars.

I’m above tattling on anyone, (by name) but the two diabetics in the group refused the sugar-free ice cream and strawberries I had prepared, and licked up instead wide wedges of lemon meringue pie.

untitled (8 of 26)………………………….   Three Precious Cronies   ………………………………..

Lavelta leaned toward me across the table where we lingered after breakfast on Saturday morning and said,

People like to be appreciated, don’t they?

untitled (9 of 26)………………………….Beautiful friends, the Stevensons……………………….

We talked into the night of our families, our churches, vitamins, and antibiotics. One of the diabetics injected the other with insulin. I grinned. We ate, and drank iced tea and pots of coffee and spoke of Boston and general conferences over the decades, and one rolled his eyes heavenward as he recounted the long waits on the other. Financial reports, board meetings, and the Mary Kay in St. Louis. Jerry and Berl argued about exactly where they were when Jerry prophesied about a certain sort of private matter. 🙂 We talked about holy living and doctrine and motor homes, and about missing Brother Gray. Lavelta showed me pictures on her phone, and from a table I picked up a picture of Nathaniel and showed her how handsome he is, and I bragged about his goodness. Lavelta spoke with pride of the three Manzano children and how involved in the work of God they are. We talked of progress and of dangerous regression. We asked rhetorical questions and pontificated at length on answers.

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We spoke of strokes and of dishes and of souvenirs from our trip to the Philippines, and Berl played with magnets we had bought once on a trip to Silverton, Colorado. We spoke lovingly of Sam and Lil White and I reminded them that Sister Francis had recently celebrated her 100th birthday.

I recalled that from both these men who visited in our home I had heard profound preaching. . . . and I added in Jerry, and excuse me . . . you may want to tune out for a minute, but I knew I was sitting in the presence of three holy exceptional men.

Johnny slept late, and as Stevensons and Jerry and I lingered over breakfast, Berl picked up my Bible which lay close and prepared to read Ephesians 4:32. “This is my life goal now,” he said. “This is how I want to be.” “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

I lined them up on the deck for one last picture. We had prayed inside, our hands joined.

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My Tribute to Soldiers

I pay tribute today to those loyal and courageous men and women of the military forces who have died in defense of our exceptional country, the United States of America.

I pay tribute today to those loyal and courageous men and women who have given themselves in defense of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. . .

. . . . .such as Pastor Delmon Sansom of Phoenix, AZ. whom I observed last evening as he waged war against satan, a cruel enemy of Brother Sansom’s tiny daughter, Reannah . . . and of his son . . . and of your son . . .and your daughter. With heads bowed, we fight!

One Changed Life

When I wasn’t there, she had come by the church to leave the money. When it was handed to me, I placed it in a bank bag to go into the top drawer of the filing cabinet. It would be deposited on Monday. Later in the day I spoke with her.

“Sharon, thank you for dropping off the money at the church.”

“Oh, you’re welcome,” she responded. “Thank you for helping me out.”

“Sharon, over the years we’ve lent lots of money to people, and we’ve learned to take the attitude that it is likely it will never be repaid. Just a fact.” She looked intently at me as I continued. “But you’re different and we’re very proud of you. You’re making such progress with your life.”

Bright tears welled up, though none were shed. She smiled.

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Although this is an exact account of a young lady who has come through our drug and alcohol program, who has received the Holy Ghost, and who has completely turned around her life, the name has been changed. Please pray for her, for she has a long ways to go; among other things, she is fighting against a cigarette addiction. She is a single mom with four small children who every day struggles financially. We are extremely proud of her and the progress she is making.

Red Robin Restaurants, TV Sets, and Beauty

Yesterday, Jerry and I traveled to Safford, AZ, and for lunch stopped at a Red Robin in Mesa, AZ. It wasn’t a first visit to Red Robin, although it was our first time to be in this particular one. But it was a first for other reasons; a television set was in the men’s restroom, and an embedded television set was in the floor of the entrance. I didn’t notice one in the ladies room, but maybe one was there and just was not turned on. We’ll be going back that way on Monday, and if we have time, I’d like to stop in and take a shot of those strangely placed television sets. (Well, I won’t go in the men’s room, and I doubt if I can talk Jerry into taking a picture in there!)

Downright strange. As we left the facility after a delicious lunch, Tiger Woods was saying his apology from the entrance floor of the Red Robin in Mesa, AZ.

It wasn’t strange outside, though. The setting was beautiful, boasting a sunny day with temperature in the high 60s. The landscaping was splendid; beautiful shadows and tracery on the walls.

Well, if you’re hankering to watch a television program in the floor, stop in at the Red Robin in Mesa. Might as well have a hamburger while you’re there.

Brother Hyde Has Gone To Heaven

fhydeHugo, OK – December 28, 2009. Hyde Frederick Kimmons Hyde, also known as “Brother Hyde”, 87, has gone to a new life with his Lord Jesus on Dec. 25, 2009 in Edmond, OK. He was born August 16, 1922 in Tulsa, OK to Jasper and Vessie (Bowdoin) Hyde. After his dad passed away he entered John Brown University in Siloam Springs, AR for a short time. He served his country joining the U.S. Army from Feb. 14, 1943 to Feb. 13, 1946. He was a Line Corporal in the military police at Camp Wallace, TX. During WWll, he guarded German Prisoners of War.

Reverend Fred married his Sweetheart, Betty Jo Billingsley on August 8, 1951. He was an ordained minister with the United Pentecostal Church International living in the New Orleans, LA area for over 60 years. He retired from The Spirit of Freedom Ministries in 2006 and moved to Edmond, OK in Dec. of 2007. His life was changed when he received the infilling of the “Holy Ghost” and was baptized in Jesus Name on Sept. 19, 1958 just a half block off of Canal Street @ 122 North Dorgenois St. in New Orleans, LA. There he taught the Junior Boys Sunday School Class. In 1960, he and his wife moved to Slidell, LA where he started a church and pastored until 1970. From 1970-1978, he served as a missionary in Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Hong Kong and other areas of Asia where he was known as the “Singing Missionary”. He also served as a Missionary Evangelist all over Asia, Australia and the South Pacific. He returned to the United States and on August 28, 1978, at the age of 56 he founded the Spirit of Freedom Ministries with a tape of his testimony, his guitar and the Lord Jesus Christ.

He is preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Jack, William Earl “One Punch Billy Hyde”, Jimmy, Lewis “Tuffy”, Truman, and Harry Hyde. Sisters Kitty Bell Yates, Viola Flemming, and Mildred Harper. He is survived by his wife, Betty Jo Hyde; son, Michael Lynn Hyde; daughter-in-law, Tina Marie Hyde; sister, Miona Sullivan; brother, Skipper Goins. Viewing will be on Wednesday, Dec 30th from 2-4pm at Southern Oaks United Pentecostal Church 6501 S. Walker Ave.; OKC, Ok 405/634-2991. Services for Reverend Fred will be at 4:00 pm, Wednesday, Dec. 30th at Southern Oaks United Pentecostal Church. Burial will be 10:00 am, Thursday, December 31, 2009 at Mt. Olivet cemetery in Hugo, Oklahoma.

Source: Apostolic News

Arrangements for Brother Hyde:
Visitation:  Wednesday December 30, 2009     2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Memorial Service:   Wednesday December 30, 2009     4:00 PM
Southern Oaks United Pentecostal Church
6501 S. Walker Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK 73139
Interment:  Thursday December 31, 2009    10:00 AM
Mt. Olive Cemetery
Hugo, OKBroth

Arrangements for Sister Freeman:
Viewing/Visitation: Monday January 4, 2010   5:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Memorial Service: Tuesday January 5, 2010  4:00 PM
Emmanuel Pentecostal Church
1200 Poplar Drive
Mesquite, TX 75149
Interment: Wesnesday January 6, 2010
Roseneath Funeral Home
211 Murrell Street
Minden, LA 71055
318-377-3412
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Beloved Nona Freeman Under Hospice Care

This message from our beloved Nona Freeman was posted today  by “Kneemail” in the comment section of one of my other pieces. (There is a video of Sister Freeman in that piece.) I’m taking the liberty of making it a separate post so that these beautiful words may be read by more persons. Sometimes we wait until after persons have gone to tell them how special they are, and how much they have blessed our lives. Let’s not let that happen with Sister Freeman. After you read her letter, if she has ministered to you, please tell of it in the comment section. I will let her family know of this column.

Through the years, Sister Freeman has been a tremendous source of inspiration to me. Now in her waning days, I want her to know that I love and respect her, and that her books, stories, sacrifices and messages have surely enriched our entire Apostolic movement. It won’t be long now, Sister Freeman, until together we will bow before that majestic throne of Jesus, our Saviour, the one who has saved us, and has made us brothers and sisters in Him. Happy day! What a happy day! Come, Lord Jesus.

Dear Friends and Fans of Nona Freeman; December 8, 2009

Greetings in the name of Jesus. This is just to update everyone about my condition. The Lord has blessed me to live 93 wonderful years and as the lyrics record truly, ‘I Don’t Regret A Mile I’ve Traveled For The Lord.’ God has been my constant love and keeper. I marked my 70th year in the ministry April 12, 2009. My life has been one amazing blessing and miracle after another. I had a loving childhood; married a man that I still love to this day and God blessed me with five amazing children.

We were called to Africa but long before we got to go there our hearts were there; then 41 years later we returned to the United States. After the death of my beloved husband ‘E.L. ‘Bug’ Freeman in 1999 my wonderful daughter Sandra Freeman has devoted her life to seeing I have been able to continue my ministry that God called me to when I was but a child. I am blessed to still enjoy the benefits of my new computer my supporters blessed me with for my 70th ministerial anniversary that I am sending this message to you on.

I am sorry but I am no longer able to continue my schedule due to my health from sickness I suffered in January 2009. God has blessed me not only with a wonderful daughter to see I can carry on my ministry but wonderful aides that devote their time to see the work of Nona Freeman; my ministry, my books and messages can still go out.
I am sorry I am not nor have been able to take personal calls as I desire and have done so in the past; my energy just does not allow it now.

For a few weeks now I have been under the care of hospice that comes to my home. Please bear in mind; I am in no pain but I am ready for God to take me. I am getting weaker. I have fought a good fight; I have kept the faith and I have traveled the world in obedience to Gods call on my life to answer the call God placed on mine and Bugs heart to carry this Jesus name gospel. Our ministry has been our life. I have the greatest family a person could ever have but I am ready to see my Jesus, my mother and my daughter Marla now gone to be with the Lord; many other loved ones, prophets and apostles of old. But next to Jesus my heart is so longing to see my ‘Bug’. I miss him more every day.

I am honored for every prayer that has been prayed for me and ask your continual prayers in the days ahead. May all of my precious supporters have the best holiday and my prayer is not only for 2010 but the rest of your lives be filled with the blessings of Jesus. Please remember me and the name of Jesus I have and will always uphold. Until we meet again, Sister Nona Freeman