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Trip to Lake Havasu

“We’ll be there between 5 and 6,” I had told Michael earlier in the day.

“So you’ll be here for dinner. Good.”

Jerry had a late-morning eye exam in Redlands; just before noon he was finished and we pulled onto the 10 freeway heading to Arizona. A heatwave had clamped down around us, so we knew it would be hot in Lake Havasu. It was. When we drove into the city limits, our sleek new car registered the outside temperature as 118. At Mike and Melina’s home we greeted each other, finding it impossible to avoid the usual jokes about the heat, including the line, “See we don’t need our jackets today.”

What a great time we had those days last week visiting with our son and his dear wife. We ate at home. We ate in restaurants. We talked. We played. We went to church. We discussed serious matters. We laughed. We discussed death, and  we talked of Kelly’s baby who will be born in December. Once when we were looking at something he owned, I said to Michael, “You’re a blessed man.”

“Yes, I am, Mom. Far more than I ever expected.”


Melina’s dad Ralph lives across the street, and he and Michael recently flew to Colorado where he bought a red hot rod. We all tootled around in his garages admiring his toys.


He’s working on that old Winnie which Mike says he probably will never take out of the driveway.


We indulged in a fair amount of this.

DSC_0005On Saturday evening Mike helped us onto his beautiful vessel, and we boated 30 miles or so down the Colorado river to Havasu Springs where we had dinner. It was truly a delightful time. The burning heat yielded to the cool of the water as we roared over its surface. The sky lay clear against the mountains that rose in the distance.

“About 35 miles an hour,” Michael answered when someone asked how fast we were going.

DSC_0035Mike and Melina.

DSC_9986Gorgeous loves being on the boat. She is a rescue dog that could not be more lovable.DSC_0054Arizona boasts magnificent sunsets. Added to the beauty of the evening as we headed back to Lake Havasu was this giant orange ball, that as we watched, sank behind the Whipple Mountain Range. Amazing. Truly.

DSC_0072.jpgMichael was up and out of the house by 5:30 on Monday morning. The plan was that at 9:00 we would meet him at Rusty’s Cafe for a final meal before we headed home. I saw Melina scurrying around in the kitchen, and when we prepared to tell her good-bye, she handed over this bag loaded with food. “Don’t want you to get hungry on the way home”

It was filled with fruit, cheese, pecans, fried chicken, fat cookies, and icy drinks. Ate some of the snacks on the way home, and saved the fried chicken for dinner that night. What a family God has blessed us with. What a life.


Christianity/Religion Family Lake Havasu My Family Photography Social

Evin’s 15th

Evin is cool, a polite young man, my oldest great-grandchild. Yesterday was his 15th birthday and we celebrated with a little family dinner at Dolce, an Italian eatery, Evin’s favorite here in Lake Havasu.

His parents presented him with a new jet ski, and had already spent a couple of hours on the lake playing around in the water with the new toy.

“Brody, you’ll understand later. It’s like this being 15!”

Brody is 4 and having a celebration of his own on Thursday evening. He’s graduating pre-school! I admired his mom as she polished his manners and refused to talk to him as long as he had a whiny voice. He is beautiful and with a little coaxing sang part of a piece from the graduation ceremony. I picked up a few words…”we have worked hard…”

Proud daddy Ryan beamed from the head of the table.

Grandpa and Evin.

Grandma and Evin

As we prepared to leave, I watched Evin walk over to thank his Pappy for the gift and for helping him celebrate. I was touched, thinking of the life-challenges that inevitably Evin will face. I love him. Prayed for him at that moment, and do so now.

Arizona Lake Havasu Photography Weather/Nature

Moon Night

As the evening’s end, Melina said, “We should have had Moon Pies.”

How right she was, and how I wish I had thought of such a treat. You see it was the night of the biggest full moon of the year and to our Crystal Beach property in Lake Havasu where we are staying in our motorhome we had invited the Jarrid Younkin and Mike Buxton families. I prepared a few snacks, then we visited while we waited for the moonrise for we had been told it would be magnificent. We had the perfect place to view the sight.

The moon will officially become full on May 5 at 11:35 p.m. EDT. And because this month’s full moon coincides with the moon’s perigee — its closest approach to Earth — it will also be the year’s biggest.
The moon will swing in 221,802 miles (356,955 kilometers) from our planet, offering skywatchers a spectacular view of an extra-big, extra-bright moon, nicknamed a supermoon.
Eliana and Josiah helped us scan the sky for signs of the rising of the moon. Oh, and Mac looked too.
I used the term breath-taking advisedly, for when that spectacular orb began its first showing in the far mountains, it was a stunning sight.
Bulging, and rising quickly, the moon peered over the mountains, the city lights, fastened securely below.
The night was dark; the moon a magical light.
Melina had a little magic going on when she held that brilliant orb in her tiny hand.
It hangs by nothing, does that dazzing moon.
It was time to leave then, and that’s when Melina said, “We should have eaten Moon Pies.” She was right.
Arizona Family Lake Havasu Photography RV Travel Travel Vacation Journal

Summer Road Trip–Lake Havasu City, AZ. (Day 1)

“Two o’clock,” I said to Jerry as I closed the door to our car and settled into my seat. “We’re half an hour early.” And so we were, as we had planned to leave at 2:30.  I’m hoping that early beginning portends smooth traveling for our summer motor home trip that will take us through Arizona, across several states, and that will wind up in Louisiana, before we begin the return trip to California.

Our Jeep was crammed with clothes, books, cameras, computers, a printer, and a few groceries from the fridge in Crestline. Mike had called and wanted us to pick up a 3-burner camp stove at Costco, so we pulled into the store in Victorville to see if they had what he wanted. They did, and while Jerry paid for it, I bought us each a Very Berry ice cream sundae at the Costco snack bar. Delicious, huge, and a bargain at $1.65.

It was around 6:30 when we pulled into beautiful Lake Havasu, and since we hadn’t eaten since lunch (strawberry sundaes don’t count 🙂 ) we stopped at Bad Miguel’s. Every Thursday after 4:00, every item on the menu is at half price at this neat little Mexican place.

Take a look at that sky. This place has incredibly beautiful sunsets.

Our motor home had been parked at Mike’s in Lake Havasu for a couple of weeks, and shortly after we pulled into their driveway, both he and Melina came out to greet us and to help unload everything into the motor home. What a help that was.

So here we are, first day into the trip, safely parked in Mike’s driveway. Jerry is asleep. I will be shortly.

250 miles today.


Christianity/Religion Lake Havasu


Jerry had removed the two keys from my keychain, and now I taped them onto a paper where I lettered the words, NURSERY and CHURCH OFFICE. I slipped the keys into the folder that was positioned on the desk that had been Jerry’s. It was for the new pastor. At 1:30 on Tuesday, September 28th, 2010 we closed the church door behind us and got into our loaded-down car. I was crying.

Bittersweet. It’s a compound word that has been bandied about for weeks now since we knew for sure that another family would be taking our place at Christ Alive Worship Center. It’s been a wild ride, these 3 and 1/2 years since we began the planting of a church here in Lake Havasu; an unforgettable time, remarkable, exhausting, unexpected, “gut-wrenching,” and fulfilling.

We were highly honored at the final services on Friday evening and Sunday morning, with the Arizona District Superintendent Gary Hogan preaching on Friday, and our youngest son, Andrew, preaching on Sunday morning.  All our children were there, and each of them spoke at one time or another during the weekend services. Most touching were those Lake Havasu persons who, touched by our pitiful efforts, have been won to God, and whose lives have been drastically changed. Three such men who spoke briefly are shown here; David Rowe, Kevin Brown, and Eric Grey. PLEASE pray for all the new people in Lake Havasu. They are so precious, so fragile, so needy.

…and so Jerry and I have transitioned once more into a new phase of our lives. A new pastor and his family are in place in Lake Havasu, Rev. and Mrs. Steven McDaniel. We’ve emptied and parked our motor home, and are now enjoying our home in Crestline, Ca. I feel sad. I feel happy. It is a bittersweet time.

Books/Library Lake Havasu

The Allure of Bookstores

Of truth is the acknowledgement that “the best things in life are free,” and it pleases me when I see indication of people’s understanding of this, and of their indulging in such  worthy opportunity. Consider book stores, and in particular modern-styled book stores which boast of couches, free wi-fi, and in-house coffee shops where may be purchased a myriad of coffees, from a straight cup of black to the most exotic of blended versions, with or without a cloudy smother of cream, with or without a jolt or two of espresso. Peach smoothies and iced berry drinks whirled into delectable treats are offered alongside slender cellophane-wrapped Biscotti and a tender Danish selection that is visible on the shinning glass shelves. Have no money? The aroma is free, as are the sounds and sights, and on opening the door to enter the noble place one is besieged by the incomparable perfume of freshly ground coffee beans, by splendid light, and by the sharp rattle of spinning ice.

The best part though, are the long shelves of books and magazines, free for the taking; well, I mean free for the taking down to read, and then either to purchase, or to place back in its spot. Glossy periodicals on any subject thinkable, from photography to cooking to current events to home decorating to fashion. Books of every genre to peruse. Ample rich chairs to settle into with your trove for skimming, examining, browsing, or even for serious study. Ah, yes. A bookstore. One of life’s greatest gifts. Free.

We only have one in Lake Havasu; Hastings is its name. Jerry and I go there frequently. We hook into the internet, we read magazines and books, we write, we drink coffee. We gaze. We consider. Board games are tucked about as are boxes of crayons for any youngster who wants to use them.

On Friday evenings, we’ve noticed a group of young people who come in with their own tables, which they set up so as not to block the use of the regular tables. They set up games they have brought with them, and are soon immersed in that activity. Some bring their own drinks.

Last week I wandered about taking pictures in this wonderful place. When I went outside, I noticed this couple visiting in the balmy Lake Havasu night. “May I take your picture?” I asked.

“Sure,” they said, and turned to pose.

“No, just ignore me,” I instructed them. For I wanted you to see another unstaged scene from an evening in a bookstore, an evening available at no charge. Free. A gift.


Click here to read my devotional blog.

Addiction Christianity/Religion Honor Lake Havasu

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.


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.

Children Lake Havasu

Wounded Children of The World

“They can’t wake her up. They’ve tried, but they can’t rouse her.” Her voice cracked as she pled with me. “Can anyone go over there right now?” Clearly, she was desperate, and in a shaky voice, she fed me more of the story. “They need help. Please.”

It happened around 7:00 this morning, and when my phone had sounded, it was the grandmother whose voice I heard, who, from another state, was calling me here in Lake Havasu. “They’re ready to go to school, but they can’t arouse their mother. They need help,” again she pled with me.

I tried to calm her, immediately saying I would drive over and see what I could do. After giving me the house address and directions, she tried to tell me her cell phone number, but she was so distraught, she could not recall her own number. Quickly, both Jerry and I dressed, got in our car and drove to the address. A police car was in front of the house when we arrived. The house was quiet as I stood before the entry door, and I wondered if the children had been taken away already, but after I knocked softly, I turned the handle and it opened. Another couple was there, (trusted neighbors, I learned, whom the grandmother had also called) along with the brightly-smiling little girls who ran across the room, and as I bent down, who enveloped me with their tiny arms. I could not help myself, and although I tried to avert my face so they would not see, I wept.

Drugs, alcohol, drunkenness, fighting in the home, father in prison now–I just can’t go into more details because of privacy issues, but trust me, this is going on in an upper middle class home where live three of the most charming, beautiful, well-behaved children you can imagine. It is tragic.

Smiling the policewoman spoke to the girls about school. “Third day, huh?” she said. “How is it? Like your teachers?”

Beaming, those little girls brightly nodded. “I love my teacher,” one of them said.

The neighbor remarked about how nice they looked. “Look, everything matches,” he said to the little one.

“Pink,” she said. “My shoes are pink.” They were charming. They were pitiful. Standing now beside the couch, backpacks ready, they eagerly scanned our faces, seemingly unaffected (likely this is not so; they are probably extensively scarred) by the chaos surrounding them.

“Your skirt is beautiful,” I said to the middle child.

“I wore it to church Sunday,” she said softly, as she turned her stunning face to look into mine.

“No one’s in trouble,” the policewoman assured the children, who sat now on the couch. “Everything’s okay.”

Once, the policewoman beckoned to the oldest child. I watched, as, with a large backpack on her narrow shoulders, that frail little girl–not yet a teenager–stood before the towering policewoman and answered questions. I ached for her.

The mom was awake now, still in the bedroom,  and the policewoman went back and forth with discussions, the mom finally deciding the neighbors should drive the children to school.

“We’re leaving now,” the policewoman said as she walked down the hall toward the bedroom of the mother. “Shall I lock the front door?”

She had taken my name earlier, and as we stepped outside, the policewoman told me, “She claims she was just so tired she did not wake up. Denies any other problems.” She paused, then added, “I will be calling Child Protective Services, though. They will take it from here.”

The children are at school. CPS has been notified. The grandmother is on her way to Lake Havasu.


I’ve not written this piece merely to report on my activities this morning, but rather to plead for the children of our world. I’m pleading for parents with children in your home to stop drinking and to stop taking illegal drugs. It is likely you are wounding your children. I’m asking you to stop fighting, and to stop neglecting your children. I’m painfully aware of drug problems, and although I have never been an addict myself, I work closely with many, and have a clear understanding of how difficult it is to break these addictions. But it can be done. Others have done so. You, too, can do it.

I’m pleading with others: Grandmothers, mothers, aunts, uncles, friends, neighbors–if we are aware of such wounded children, let us softly, but effectively tend them. It is hard work, risky, frightening, and sometimes unpleasantly confrontational. But it must be done. Some are brave enough to take on this challenge; one is a grandmother who at this moment is on her way to Lake Havasu to fight for her grandchildren.


Yesterday, on the phone my daughter asked if I was okay. I’m fine, I assured her. Why did she ask. Your writings have been so intense and full of angst lately, she said, and that had caused her to worry a little and wonder if everything was okay.

Everything is fine, I assured her, and on considering my recent writings, I somewhat agreed with her, and decided to write something light today…until my phone rang around 7:00 this morning….

Christianity/Religion Devotionals Lake Havasu Photography

God, Believers, Unbelievers and Arizona Skies

Good-bye July 2010, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

To one who reads widely, and who ventures beyond the thought and commentary of those with whom that person closely relates, and who chances the amble on the far side of those whose philosophical and spiritual leanings are the much the same as his, will inevitably bump up against strident controversy. As have I. As have I, recently.

A writer I read rather regularly wrote a piece in which he
posited the concept that sometimes a person who calls himself a
Christian, in reality cannot be so called, because of that person’s lack of accepting the basic tenets of Christianity. I agreed, and engaged in the conversation, and in so doing found the following statement from one of his visitors who was objecting to his thoughts: “Frankly, I think Jesus is secretly a Radical Agnostic who has not spoken with his dad for quite a few years.”

I made the observation, by which I yet stand, that a person who would make such a statement is just unable to understand those certain writings of that particular blogger. I got lots of flack for saying that, many scriptures presented to me, the latest of which involved the appellation of the term hypocrite.

I’m thankful I’m a believer in God. I’m grateful for my parents who taught me His ways. It is precious to me that His Word is my base, my foundation, and my comfort. I’m glad I have this knowledge without considering myself better than anyone else in the world. I’m grateful. I’m thankful I know I don’t have all the answers, yet have had the greatest resource in the world placed in my reach. I’m glad I have faith, glad I’m not an agnostic, nor an atheist. I’m glad I have pity for those who don’t have faith in God, glad I’m not trying to be their judge, glad that in my very soul, I feel compassion for them. Glad that when scripture is presented to me, I have the capacity to honestly read it and try to the best of my ability to understand it, and to apply it to my life.

Gentle cooling winds came with a slight decrease in temperature here in Lake Havasu on Saturday, and in the early evening Jerry and I drove to the church to open up all the doors in order to let that welcome breeze cool the sanctuary. Before we left we turned on the coolers to run through the night so that on Sunday morning the church would be comfortable as the worshippers entered His place.

The sky was indescribably splendid. Every direction, 380, any way we looked, held such beauty as to leave one speechless. I am in awe to this moment when I see these pictures. God did that. With His Word, He spoke this majestic world into existence. With a thought, He created it all, with a wave of His hand, declared it to be. I’m glad I believe that. Glad I understand how illogical it is to consider that these exceptional Arizona skies just happened. Glad I’m a Christian, one who follows Jesus, one who accepts His precepts…and treasures His love for me…and for you, whether we believe it or not.

I love to hear your responses. Please leave them here and not on Facebook. 🙂

Lake Havasu

A Day With Friends

They had been saying they wanted to come visit us, so when Gary Hogan called a few days ago saying they would arrive in Lake Havasu on Thursday, we weren’t surprised. Before we met up, though, they had dinner with another minister in town, and checked into one of the local hotels for the night. On Friday morning we met for breakfast at Makai’s. We had wanted to eat in the outside patio area, but already it was very hot, so we elected to eat inside.

It was the beginning of a relaxing day with our dear friends Gary and Elaine Hogan, who pastor a great church in Phoenix. (Only eight months ago, they completed the construction on a new, beautiful sanctuary.) Gary Hogan is the superintendent of the Arizona district of the United Pentecostal Church, and  he is doing an exceptional job as he leads this district into an elevated place of effectiveness and caring ministry. It is a state where the ministers are united and focused. A dear and precious place.

Most of the day we just talked; spoke of our families, of God, of His work and our involvement in it, of travel, and humor and food. We spent hours in Hastings Book Store over Frapps, Smoothies and Dr. Pepper. We drove about our beautiful city, did a couple of church errands, and sat in our cool sanctuary for a bit. In mid-afternoon, we took them to their hotel. In our motor home Jerry and I took a short nap, learning later that our friends did the same.

A little before six we picked them up at their hotel, and went to the bridge area where we caught the ferry, crossing the lake to a restaurant on the California side where we ate dinner. As we lingered at the table, we began to see lights flickering on in distant Lake Havasu; the beautiful town stretched along the shores of the glistening water and rising into the gentle hills beyond.

“Look, there’s the moon,” Elaine said, but when I looked I couldn’t see it.


“That round ball. Isn’t that the moon?”

Finally I saw it, barely pushing above the horizon, huge and dim at first, then rising quickly into the clear sky. Brilliant. Full. Spectacular.

We prowled about the grounds a bit, then the ferry was there, and we headed to board. Just then I saw this stunning scene, and as the others walked onto the boat, I stopped and snapped this photograph.

One last stop: Ice cream!