Categories
Lake Havasu Photography Weather/Nature

On the Ground; In the Sky

There is a very nice walking path on the island, and as I prepared to get into the car after Jerry and I had walked a little over 30 minutes there this morning, high in the distant sky I spied something. I pointed my camera skyward.

…and saw this cute little thing. I hoped it would turn our way.

It did, passing right over head, so that we got a great look.

…and then it was gone. And so were we. Drove to our motor home, had a simple breakfast and prepared for the day.

It’s beautiful in Lake Havasu this time of the year. Moderate weather…and take a look at those skies. Not one hint of smog.

Note: Not sure what kind of plane this is. Ultralight?

Categories
Family Lake Havasu

Second Birthday Party–Cajun Style

It was on his actual 78th birthday when Mike and Melina hosted Jerry’s party, and I can’t imagine anyone putting more thought and effort into a celebration than did these two–our second-born son and his beautiful wife. They chose a Cajun theme; had flown in from Louisiana shrimp, crawfish, sausage, and a boudin mix that when Melina fried little balls conjured from that mixture–and when I ate one–I declared it the best thing of the night. It was an amazing party. Around each of our necks, Melina placed red beaded necklaces whose main ornament was a replica of a crawfish. There were Cajun banners flying, red kerchief napkins, crawfish bibs, Creole mustard, and Tabasco bottles. Zeydeco music wafted from stereo speakers.

The weather was perfect for outside dining, and against the coolness which would come, Mike had started a fire in the outdoor fireplace.

Mike had two big cookers going outside and when everything was finished, he carried over the pot insert and dumped onto the table a veritable feast of shrimp, crawfish, potatoes, boiled eggs, mushrooms, corn on the cob, sausage, onions and artichokes. Amazing.

Ryan, Lindsay and Brody helped us celebrate. (The yellow tape? A couple of people at previous gatherings had missed the deck step and had fallen. Mike decided to put up warning tape. 🙂 We giggled, but no one fell!)

Mac came to the party too. Although he is not allowed to eat “people” food, he was dressed for the occasion.

Beautiful Brody, one of my great-grandsons.

The Birthday Pie was Razzleberry flavor. Whoops. Snapped the candles from the wrong side.

(Click on the thumbnail pictures to see them in large size.)

Categories
Lake Havasu

The Promise of Spring

The mulberry tree growing in our small space here in Lake Havasu only recently dropped all its leaves; actually there are still a few crinkled up brown ones attached to the small limbs. A couple of days ago, I noticed among the barrenness a glimpse of green, and when I checked closely this morning, I found new leaves and buds.

The promise of Spring is now visible. In a few weeks buds will burst and flowers will paint the earth.

These leaves of both decay and birth reminded me of the profound scripture in Ecclesiastes where the wise man spoke of Time and of our need for understanding of the seasons of life.

Are you feeling the cold blow of winter today? Despite the promise of spring’s green leaves and bulging buds, do you feel a barren heaviness and decay? Take heart. Even as fresh leaves appear on the tree, at times, the brown ragged of the old season remains.

Be encouraged: Spring is coming.

<< Ecclesiastes 3 >>
King James Bible

1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Categories
Addiction Alcoholism Arizona Bible Christianity/Religion Church Courage Culture Family Grief Lake Havasu Life Photography Religion Social

The Ugly of Sin

“Mom, you need to call Marcine. She’s in some kind of trouble.” I recognized it to be Michael who had left the message on my phone. I promptly called the woman. (Marcine is a pseudonym.)

She was crying so that I could hardly understand her. “What’s wrong? What’s wrong, Marcine?”

I could not understand her words, and pressed her to speak more plainly. “Tell me. Tell me what is wrong.”

At last I could understand her and knew what needed to be done. We worked through the necessary details so that finally we were all at the church–Jerry, Marcine and I. She sobbed and trembled as she told us the story, a story whose details I cannot divulge, but whose details really do not matter, and whose knowing or not knowing changes not at all the impact of the tale. For the story is identical. The story is unchanged. The story is of sin and fallen man and wretched ugliness; the ugliness of sin; the hopelessness of life without Jesus Christ.

We sat in the lobby of the church as she sobbed and eked out the words–words which later we found to be lacking in veracity and completeness. “I need a cigarette,” at one point she said.

“Well you know we can’t help you with that, Marcine,” I said.

“I know. I know…I have one cigarette; the rest are at the house. I”ll smoke half of it.” We watched as from her purse she drew a leather holder, clicked it open and removed the single cigarette.  Through the glass that stretches across the front of the church we saw her walk across the blacktop area, and respecting our plea with our CIP students not to smoke on our property, she trudged into the rocky lot next to ours. She slumped, then sat flat among the scattered stone and sand. She lighted half a cigarette. My aching heart bled.

We took her into the sanctuary after she had smoked, seating her on the edge of the platform; she wept and sobbed. Gently we talked with her; inquired and soothed, then I knelt beside her and grasped her hand as she bent forward into a position of black despair.

“Do you know how to pray, Marcine?” Jerry asked.

“Yes.” And so…we prayed and wept and mourned.

Later she called her probation officer, who advised her to call the police and surrender herself. Marcine wanted to do it at home, but just as she positioned herself in herDSC_0001_2 friend’s car for the ride home, two police cars pulled onto our parking lot…and then after more weeping and hugging and whispering words of courage into her ears, the officers handcuffed her and led her away.

I’ve written before, and no doubt will do so again, concerning the ghastly and mistaken thought that serving God and abiding by His law is a form of bondage. Bondage, you say? Bondage it is to live in a holy and godly way? Bondage to refrain from stealing and promiscuity and drunken brawls and hideous addiction? Bondage, you claim? Bondage to dress in a modest way, to erect a family altar, to read often the Word of God? Bondage to attend church, to give generously, to minister to the less fortunate, to be kind and caring? This is bondage? No friend, let me tell you of bondage.

“I wonder if they might have a cigarette,” Marcine said at one point yesterday, as she stood looking across the street where two men stood on a parking lot.

“They tried to force me to join a gang,” Eric told my husband a few minutes ago. Eric received the Holy Ghost four weeks ago, and the next day had to go to jail. He was released only yesterday.

“There was every kind of drug you can imagine in the jail,” Eric continued.

“How do they get it in there?” Jerry asked.

“Pastor…by hiding it in body orifices.”

“The gang leaders tried to force me to shave my head,” Eric said.

“We were introduced to hard drugs by our parents,” the trio told Michael. One at 12, one at 13, one at 14.

“My mother left us when I was a child to go live with a lesbian,” said one of our CIP students who looks about 13, but who is actually 19. “I’ve been to about 30 psychologists and psychiatrists,” he added. He pled with me as I enrolled him some months ago. “I have to smoke marijuana. It’s the only thing that calms me down.”

“Have you been drinking?” Michael asked the student as he attempted to enter the class. “No, but she has,” he said, pointing to his female companion.

“I’m sorry, but she can’t be here,” Michael explained.

“Okay, I understand,” said the student, and he led his staggering friend away and seated her in his truck on the parking lot.

Relapse, jail time again. Prison. Visiting hours, books, magazines.

I sat in a court room and watched one of our students–shackled hand and foot–as she shuffled to her spot.

Excuses, embarrassment, cries, troubled children, community service. High on drugs, dropped from class, re-enrolled. Teeth rotted from methamphetamine. Emergency dental calls. Pain. Disappearance. Broken promises. Fines. Failure to pay. Failure to appear. License revoked. Eight siblings–all different fathers. Violations. Probation officer. Judges. DSC_0005Chains. Bars. Cigarettes, beer, cheap wine, hard liquor. Stagger. Divorce, mistrust, broken windows, unmarried mother unmarried daughter–both pregnant–due two months apart. Emergency room visits, stomach pumps, prescription pills. Little boy killed by drunk driver, his father and friend nearly killed, still having surgeries, not able to work. Sleep into the afternoon. Violated. Nightmares. Sleeping pills.

Speak not to me of bondage associated with serving Jesus Christ my Lord. Say no such thing to me. For it is only through Jesus that Freedom and Peace can envelop the human soul, can straighten the twisted life, can right dreadful wrongs, and can apply the sweet balm of Gilead.

I’ve told of yesterday’s grisly afternoon at Christ Alive. Compare it please with yesterday’s evening Bible study where we worshipped, prayed for friends and relatives, rejoiced that in the past few hours Eric had been released from jail and that he was eager to be in church Sunday, studied God’s word, sang a great hymn of the Church and laughed; where new converts testified, finally having to declare they just couldn’t explain how wonderful they felt, and where after church we just hung out for awhile, admiring the moon and the beautiful sky…and loving each other.

No. Do not speak of bondage in the same breath with which you speak of God’s church. You have come too late, you have come to the wrong person. Positively I affirm that it is the grip of satan that chains the human soul and that  drags him into everlasting, hideous bondage and torment. But in Jesus, my Saviour, my Lord,  is absolute and glorious Freedom, whose glittering highway leads into Life everlasting, where we will forever to be in the presence of God.

Categories
Arizona Children Holidays Lake Havasu Life love My Family

Happy Birthday, Michael

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This is a good time to again thank God for this fine man, a man of talent, of a wonderful disposition, and of a heart after God. For more than 25 years, though, he wandered about, untrue to his calling, his training, and paying less than respectful heed to God. Then he “woke up,” and for several years now, he has been a dynamic servant of God.

Fifty years ago today, Heaven sent Jerry and me our second child. We named him Michael. He was nearly bald at birth, but soon golden curly locks covered his sweet head. I’m wishing him a happy day.

Well worth repeating, so again I say this is a good time to again thank God for this fine man, a man of talent, of a wonderful disposition, and of a heart after God. For more than 25 years, though, he wandered about, untrue to his calling, his training, and paying less than respectful heed to God. Then he “woke up,” and for several years now, he has been a dynamic servant of God.

He is a witness for God, the likes of which Jerry and I have never seen during all our years of pastoring. To the wealthy and well-placed of Lake Havasu, to the homeless and penniless alike, Michael shares the story of Jesus, and of the remarkable change that has come to his life. He teaches upward of 70 persons weekly in our Christian intervention program, he leads the worship in our services, and has recently assumed the position of counseling in our church.

Happy birthday, Michael. You are a dear and precious son.

Categories
America Arizona Lake Havasu Life love My Family Photography Social

Jessica’s Birthday Pizza Party and Photo Shoot

Her birthday is Saturday, and she is so sweet and so beautiful, that Tuesday night I asked Jessica, “Want to go out for a little photo shoot?”

“Sure, Granny. Like that a lot.”

Our little party grew. I invited Melody to go with us because she’s an amateur photographer also, and she’s interested in Jessica and her well-being, and Melody said when I asked her to join us, “Why don’t we have pizza, too?”

I invited Rosalinda and at first she said yes, then remembered an appointment, but she would pick up the pizza and take Jessica to our meeting place at the park. “White pizza would be good,” Jessica suggested for she was familiar with Ken’s pizza place. Around 5:30 we all arrived at the park bench for the hastily arranged birthday party. They giggled as I drew DSC_0016from my bag yellow place mats, birthday napkins, white paper plates (referring to them as our china) and plastic forks (which we pretended was sterling silver, but which no one used!) I also plunked down cans of diet coke and the celebration was ready. It was scrumptious, and Rosalinda was able to stay just long enough for the great meal.

My recent increased interest in photography, and my acquiring a nice set of Hoya magnifying lenses so that I’ve spent a fair amount of time with bugs, flowers and water DSC_0015drops has enabled me to have acquired now a small portfolio of rather nice shots. But although they’re cute as can be, they’re still bugs and rose petals and watery drops. I was wanting now to tackle portraits…and her birthday was coming up…thus the photo shoot with the birthday girl, Jessica.

An indication of my inexperience and ineptitude was that I was lacking in a distinct plan and location for the portraits, but the grassy area just behind our picnic table was beautiful, and the light was perfect. The light was important to me because I don’t have a separate flash unit, and had decided to use only ambient light. We would shoot awhile there, then drive over to the bridge, for the gorgeous sky filled with cotton-candy clouds promised a striking sunset.

Everything went well, and I knew I was getting some good shots, then all of a sudden when my camera wouldn’t snap,  I looked down and my indicator reported a full card. Full? How could that be? Impossible, for I had taken only 30 or so snaps, and had come to the shoot with nearly a full card. But there it was. Full. I took out the card, blew on it, reinserted it, removed and replaced the battery. Nothing…and I didn’t have a spare card. Had one at home. 😦 (learned a lesson there.) I had used that same card for years and supposed it had just worn out.

Later as I loaded my pictures onto the computer, I noted at the bottom of the pictures the word, RAW…and then I knew. Somehow (no idea how it happened) my camera settings had been changed so that I was shooting in RAW mode (which most serious photographers do, but which I had never done). RAW takes significantly more memory that other shooting modes.

So, we didn’t get over to the bridge, didn’t get sunset pictures with beautiful Jessica in the foreground, but we’ll do it all later…and I learned a lot yesterday afternoon.

Later on my photography blog, I’ll post some of the other pictures I took of my beautiful granddaughter. Happy birthday, Jessica.

Categories
Addiction Alcoholism Arizona Courage Culture Family Lake Havasu Life love

How Tough the Love?

“Why?”

“Because they’re your kids.”

After the guest speaker had finished, Michael went around the circle asking each of the students; “What did you hear from him?” and it was at this point that a lively, profitable discussion had ensued. The guest was Darin Craig, DSC_0018a local businessman whose only son has gone through a serious bout of drug addiction, and who had agreed to address our Christian Intervention groups as he spoke of a child’s addiction as seen through the parent’s eyes. The sessions were riveting.

It was the “tough love” issue that aroused lengthy and conflicting views. “Tough love” was not universally endorsed by this group and when it became so obvious, Mike asked for a show of hands. Interesting. About half of the group thought that a child could do nothing that should cause a parent to refuse to support that child. No matter what he does, he should always be accepted back in the parents’ home.

“Why?” Mike asked.

“Because they’re your children,” was the pointed, adamant answer of one young man.

I disagree, as do all the leaders of our group, our thought being there comes a time when parents must be tough, and say, “This behavior is not going on in this house.”After repeated tries, broken promises, defiance, law-breaking, jail time, drugs in the house, drunkenness in the living room–finally, a parent has the right (even obligation) to say, “No more.” Does that mean that parents no longer love the child? Of course not. A normal parent will love his child to the grave–no matter the behavior.

What say you? Are you a “tough love” proponent, or do you agree with many in our Christian Intervention program who say no matter what a child does, the parent should always take him in again, and again?

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America Apple Computers Arizona California Holidays Lake Havasu Life My Family Photography Uncategorized

Another One Comes and Goes

Today is my birthday, in some ways, a quiet, calm one when compared to the party my children threw me last year at Balboa Park–the finest party I have ever attended, surprise cellists a major part. Though quite different, today was equally wonderful, for I did a lot of thinking…thinking about how blessed I am, and how wonderful is my life. (You’ll see lots of pictures of last year’s party when you click on that link.)

Today’s activities started fairly early with children calling–a couple of them even singing a birthday song, then after Jerry and I lingered over coffee, I continued with my deep cleaning of the motor home by tackling the living area. I straightened the drawers and the cupboards, cleaned and polished all the wood and the windows, then on my hands and knees scrubbed the carpet.

After a shower and a change of clothes, Jerry and I drove to Needles, the closest California town to us here in Lake Havasu. Why? My drivers license expired today; tried to renew it on line and through the mail, but could not. Off to Needles, only about a 40 miles trip, I believe. Would you believe when I walked to the door of the office, there was a big sign saying they are closed now three Fridays out of the month. (Economy in the tank.) This was one of the closed Fridays. Rats!

We had eaten no breakfast, now we found there were few places to choose from in Needles, so we wound up in Denny’s for lunch, which really turned out to be quite good. Back in Lake Havasu, Jerry stayed in the motor home while I drove to the church where I had to do a little work, and to the computer shop down the street, where my little white Apple had spent the night. Last week as I attempted to copy pictures for Chloe, my Apple decided to swallow the disc into her deep inward parts. Could not get that disc ejected. Called a friend, read on line, followed instruction manual exactly, took out the battery, put it back in, turned the computer off, turned it on, ignored the Apple, glared at the Apple, patted the Apple, pled with the Apple, threatened the Apple–nothing. I had spoken by phone to the computer tech while we were in Needles, and he thought he would have to order a part. But voila, when I reached the shop, he smiled and said the disc had finally dislodged. Turned out that the disc, even though new, was physically damaged and had jammed, I suppose. Anyway, I was happy again.

Jerry took me to Shugrue’s, my favorite place in town for dinner, and it was wonderful. My pictures are not, for they are hand-held with no flash–a bit less than sharp, but you get the idea. I ordered a small steak, a salad with blue cheese dressing, and creamed spinach which was exceptionally yummy. Jerry choseDSC_0105 blackened salmon with a lemon/butter sauce. It also was outstanding. When we had finished eating and were just sitting looking at that striking bridge, our waitress came with a brownie, topped with a scoop of ice cream and a flaming candle. We both dug in.

Yep! Another one has come…and is nearly gone. I’m thankful for another birthday. I’ve had a wonderful life–much better than I deserve.

DSC_0112

Categories
America Arizona Children Culture Lake Havasu Photography Weather/Nature

118 Degrees Fahrenheit

118 Degrees Fahrenheit, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

I lose sunglasses…and having gone through half the summer with none that are worth a flip, I decided yesterday afternoon to zip to the mall and buy a pair. Jerry and I had been given a gift card from Penny’s, so that would be my first stop.

…Then I saw fountains… and giggling, cavorting children. A bit removed from the gushing water and the laughing children and their doting parents was this scene.

Penny’s was my second stop…and guess what! All sunglasses 1/2 price. Bought two stylin’ pairs.

Categories
America Arizona Children Family Goodness of man Lake Havasu My Family Photography Travel

Search of the Changeling

Search, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

Two weeks ago we picked up Chloe in Yuma…tomorrow, again in Yuma, we will return her to her parents, Andrew and Shawnna. It’s been delightful having her, but we actually need a few more days to do everything we want…such as going for lunch by ferry to the California side of the lake.

One last fling today: Our neighbor Melody went to Las Vegas yesterday to pick up her 12-year-old granddaughter…today we’re all going to Keepers of the Wild Nature Park in Valentine, Arizona.

Chloe has developed into a beautiful young lady. She is fourteen–a young fourteen–a changeling, who is at once a child…and then again, a woman.

Demure by you.