Books/Library Children Culture Life love My Family My Home Photography

The World’s Best Cooker

Some of my family have been visiting us here in Crestline, including Brady who is ten years old. Today I was polishing a lamp table on which rests a book in which house guests sometimes write notes.

untitled (12 of 12)I flipped through it and, on the last page, found this.

untitled (11 of 12)-2“Dear Granny. You are the best cooker in the world. That pork was so good and the corn. From Brady Buxton

A thing may appear simple and inconsequential to one person, but is called priceless by another. This page addressed to me sets among the latter category.

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Fathers and Sons

A father who has a son who says, “Let me pray for you Dad,” is blessed beyond description. If he has three who do so, it is as though rubies have been heaped about him, and he is a rare man, indeed.

A father who has a son who then says, “Pray for Shawnna and me, Dad” and then the two kneel before him, has been granted life in an elevated plane.

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Christianity/Religion Culture Goodness of man Life love My Family Pentecostal Photography Valentine's Day

Our Love Story

Sometime back either on facebook or on one of my blogs, someone asked me to tell our love story–Jerry’s and mine–and a few days ago she reminded me of that for I had promised to do so. This is the perfect time: Valentine’s Day 2013.

I had graduated from high school and just turned 17 when I packed up my things at home in Springfield, MO. and was driven to Apostolic College, a bible school in Tulsa, OK. I had always attended small to moderate-sized churches, so when I arrived at that great school that was a ministry of a dynamic, unusual church pastored by Brother C. P. Williams, and in addition lived on campus in the girl’s dorm, it was so wonderful I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

The stars were aligned, romance for me was in the making, for Jerry was already a student there. He had enrolled the year prior after already graduating with a BA degree with Northwestern State College in Natchitoches, LA. The first time I recall seeing him was in the basement of the church where we had prayer meetings before services started. Someone had received the Holy Ghost and he was dancing as he stood atop two opened folding chairs. He was already a leader among the student body, spoke in some of the services and led in worship. I was a peon from Mo. Somewhat later, someone said to him, “I know someone who has her eyes on you.”

He dismissed the news.”Aw, she’s just a kid.” I must have been a pretty effective kid, though, for soon it was obvious the attraction was mutual. Strict rules were in effect concerning dating, one of which was that a new student could not have a date during the first semester there. We were with each other in the dining room, snack bars, chapel services, other church and school activities, until after the first semester when I could have a date. All dates, though, were chaperoned, and everyone was eager to pick certain chaperones–those who weren’t too strict or too “eagle-eyed.”

I don’t often have extra-sensory, unique things happen to me, but once during this time, I walked into a room where Jerry was–don’t recall exactly the room–and a kind of knowing came over me, and I knew I would marry him. Strange. I didn’t tell anyone–didn’t even tell Jerry until years later that had happened to me. We didn’t have many actual dates, for Jerry left before the end of the school year to go evangelizing. We communicated extensively by letter.

…and then came the day at Swan Lake when he had come back to Tulsa. We were in the back seat of a car, chaperones were in the front, and he asked me to marry him. I said yes. I don’t remember saying it, but Jerry says I answered, “You knew the answer before you ever asked.” 🙂

Flowers at the Edge

We were married in a preacher’s home a few weeks later: June 27th, 1956. We had a two-day honeymoon traveling by car to our first revival in Russellville, Ky.

In the summer of 2011, just after we had celebrated our 55th anniversary, we revisited Swan Lake in Tulsa. Click on either of these pictures to see many more pictures.

55 Years Later

A few days ago as we drove over to Lake Arrowhead, we stopped to admire the scenery and I snapped this picture of my beloved. Lucky, aren’t I.

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(Did I tell you that once in the snack bar, he kissed me! A terrible thing!)

Update: 2/14 12:18 pm Jerry just read this and reminded me he did not kiss me in the snack bar. It was in the ping pong room! 🙂


What about you? Today is Valentine’s Day. Let’s hear your story.

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Sometimes it is because of friends–more often it is my family, my children, my grandchildren. A memory can do it or a clouded eye, an averting of the face. Little noted, except perhaps to the mother, the telling wisp of a smile, the brave mask. The aborted dream, the reach that didn’t make it.

…It bends me over and I cry.

Secrets I know. Boulders I see on the trail the young ones will take. Swamps and dark places.

. . . it bends me over and I cry.

Christianity/Religion Culture love My Family Photography Road Trip Journal

Jessica and Robert’s Wedding (Day 2 Summer Road Trip 2012)

On her wedding day is there something that happens to a bride to make her exceptionally beautiful? It seems so, for many brides appear unusually radiant on their special day. Jessica was no exception as she married Robert Besso. Brother Sansom, her dad Mike, and Jerry participated in the simple ceremony that was held in the beautiful yard of the Besso family in Scottsdale, AZ.

Robert’s mom Jan made the beautiful cake.

The clan.

Happy grandparents here. Jerry and I are grateful for Brother and Sister Sansom who are ministering to Jessica and her husband. Mr. and Mrs. Robert Beeso, here’s to a godly, enduring, happy marriage.

Culture Grief Life love The World

Last Night a Woman Wept

For the women of the world

Last night a woman wept. A continuum. Eve, of just-born earth and of consciousness and of feel. A taste of salt on her lip for up from her brokenness ran the tears that dripped down and wet her front. Hurt, so that it became anger; unfair, she judged, and yet she reasoned the ripping hurt may cast her incapable of right reckoning. Cycles.  Explosions of grief and hot sorrow a brass hardness so that nothing came from her eyes–they were hot-sand dry–and yet she wept.

The cry tore her and was a bundle–the cry of fissure and Baby Holden and sunsets and peach juice and wound and ascendancy. Of songs unsung and sermons not preached. She wept for her sin and because gathered notes make a symphony and that scrawl by genius has voice. The Louve. And chisel. Chalk on sidewalks and little girls skipping.

Of Trapani and Haney–Brothers both–and rain and first snows and that sometimes on stormy nights the clouds move and the moon is still there. She wept for her sons and for her ancestors and for cruel disease. Last night a woman wept.

Of futility. Except. Except for this and that . . .


Before I had seen this video or heard its story, I had begun this piece. While it is applicable in a broad sense, it is not so in every regard.

Watch only if you are strong.

The Today Show

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Fourth Day of Ten

Today was one of the busiest we’ve had; also one of the most fun. The weather here is definitely into a cooling cycle, so I knew if we would be able to spend any time down at the lake, we should do it sooner rather than later. Just after noon, Rebecca came up from San Bernardino with Nathaniel and Gentry.

We packed up sandwiches, drinks, twinkies, red hot cheetoes and a few other snacks and headed to the lake. It was delightful. Beautiful Lake Gregory. The youngsters romped, strolled, played a bit in the water, pitched a football, hiked about, ate snacks, ate sandwiches, fed the ducks, watched fishermen catch fish…typical lake day doings. After about three hours, we headed home, where they played basketball and other games for awhile.

Chloe went home with Rebecca and Nathaniel. It’s 8:30 now. They’ve all had another meal, ice cream, baths, and three of them now are roaring with laughter as they play Twister right in the middle of the living room. There’s a game room upstairs, but they love to be right in the middle of everything. Love these youngsters. Feel blessed to have them about.

Four down: six to go! 🙂

Family Grief Life love

Pain of the Womb

Little pains me more than to know one of my children is distressed, and while seeing them suffer physically torments me, I’ve come to think their suffering in other ways may cause as much agony as does knowing they are in physical pain. My children are grown, two are grandparents themselves, so I am not speaking of small children who live rather straight-forward lives and who have no adult responsibilities or challenges. In what I believe was a thoughtful and caring way, I swatted the tushes of all four of mine, and while it was unpleasant to do so, even causing me to secretly cry a few times after so disciplining them, the pain I’m speaking of today extends beyond what I ever experienced with my little ones.

I note a flash of anguish, a cast of spirit, a hint of desolation, and my heart tears. Although I am careful not to pry into their business, and while they are cautious about burdening me with their problems, I am their mom, we are a family, so there are times when the edge, the shadow of a grappling is revealed. The hammer of this faltering economy has knocked a couple of them about, and I sense their defensiveness, their pride and their fear. I grieve. The shadowy awfulness of reality has hounded some when they dealt with children defiantly taking wrong direction, and so there was double heartbreak as my now grown child with agony smeared over his face stared at his little one, and I stared at the gnawing agony of my child …and we ached together.

Everything okay? I ask, and the shuffle, the averted eye, the evasion is telling. The contention may be such that I press to know and to help, or it may be that instinctively I turn to silence, and perhaps later I will hear, or perhaps never will I know, except for the shadowed manner, the blue beneath the eye, the hint of a twitch. It tears at me.

Pain of the womb is inevitable, for there are none closer and more dear than these who came from my body. That torment will overtake every being is certain. None escape, and because of this, because my children are part of me, ever tightly draws the bittersweet cord of life and of love. The inevitable result is pain.


Every careful writer when composing such a piece as this considers the feelings of his loved ones, and I am no exception. I have proceeded because I feel this strongly, and because I believe there may be others who read here who will relate to my thoughts. Perhaps such reading may assuage to some degree your pain, for it is helpful to know that everyone suffers. Everyone. There are no perfect people. There is no perfect family. We all struggle as we wend our way through life. Sometimes we make right decisions; other times we do not. Sometimes we glow with pleasure and pride at our children; other times we weep. Everyone. Every family.

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“…a dream, or a gift of God?”

“Is it a dream, or a gift of God?” the mother asked.

The absolute silence was broken as the judge announced the lab results of the DNA study. She listened intently, hardly able to breathe…then Yes! fifty-eight year Fatima Mohammed Salih knew for sure it was her son who stood before them. Her son. Twenty-one year old Ali Pour, the only remaining one of her seven children; the others, along with her husband, having died on that horrific long-ago day. A lethal chemical attack by Saddam Hussein’s regime had wiped out the family…except for the mother and her infant son.

She recalled the day Halabja was attacked. The family was at home. There was utter panic. They first ran into the streets and then went back inside.

“We didn’t know where to go,” she said. “Zimnaku, the 4-month-old, was on my lap and suddenly my older son screamed saying, “Mother, I feel like I’m burning.’ I tried to help him and my other sons, too. But it was in vain. I saw them dying in front of me. I collapsed and the next thing I remember is lying in a hospital bed in Tehran.”

The reunion Friday in Iraq’s northern Kurdish region was the rarest of artifacts from Halabja: a moment of joy from the day the city became an open cemetery for an estimated 5,600 people killed when lethal gas was dropped by Saddam’s military.

It was part of Saddam’s brutal 1987-88 campaign to crush a Kurdish rebellion. Nearly 200,000 people died in Baghdad’s scorched-earth offensive.

Source: AP Fox News

And now for the first time in more than two decades, the two people embraced, 21-year-old Ali Pour comforting his weeping mother. And then she repeated her son’s birth name: Zimnaku Mohammed Saleh.

Later, through translators, Ali told what he knew of his story, and the bits and pieces were fitted together for a final picture. The infant Ali had somehow survived the initial attack, and was found three days later by Iranian military who took him to a hospital from where he was adopted. When he was six years old his wonderful adoptive mother told Ali his history, making him aware that he had been born in the Kurdish part of the country, and suggesting that once he was grown, he might want to find his relatives. Four months later, she was killed in an automobile accident.

As an adult, Pour contacted Iranian officials, and through painstaking study, perusals of records, and finally of a DNA examination, Ali was reunited with his mother.

From across the world, from a unique perspective, from another mother’s heart, and with truth, I believe I can answer this precious mother who stammered the question: “Is it a dream, or a gift of God?”

It is a gift of God, dear friend, dear mother. It is a gift of God.

And what a season for us to know your story, the beautiful, poignant account of a mother whose family, in a heinous evil act, was snatched from her, but who, through the persistence of a loving son, and through the grace and mercy of a loving God, has allowed this remarkable reunion…

Children Christianity/Religion Family Home Integrity Life love Religion

Tough Love and Jesus

“But what would Jesus do?” the man challenged.

In recent days I spoke with a parent who many times past the first has taken the “tough love” approach with his young adult child. He grieved as we spoke, was quiet and pale. I tried to console him by validating his actions, “You did the right thing, though.” I know this man well, am privy to all the sordid, long-lasting actions; know of his love and kindness and care of his now adult child. He has been more than fair, long-suffering, loving and supportive.

He stared at me. “Did I? I’m not sure.”

Seems that at the last encounter with his child, someone else was there, and that person castigated the father for not continually taking back into his home his adult child. It does not matter what actions have taken place; the blatant disrespect does not count, nor does the lying, drunkenness, disregard for others, disappearance for months on end, laziness, lack of dependability…“None of it matters,” in essence said the man. “This is your child, and no matter what he does, you should always provide a place for him.”

The man concluded his argument by looking straight into the father’s eyes and saying, “What would Jesus do?”

And now the hurting father looked into my eyes and said, “I’m not sure I’m doing the right thing. What would Jesus do?”

What would Jesus do? How would He respond? What steps would He take?

The Bible gives us at least two hints.

One.        He left the safe flock of sheep, went into the night, and brought home the wandering one.

Two.     He plaited a whip and drove from the temple the money changers who were disrespecting God’s house, who were making it a den of thieves.

Since my conversation with the troubled father a day or so ago, I have thought much about this subject, and, trying to be objective and fair have considered: “What would Jesus do?”

I believe He would do as did my friend, for He is a loving, kind Father. But He is not a wimp, and although His teachings include “turning the other cheek,” and “giving away a coat,” it also encompasses driving cheats from the temple, and saying to the rich young ruler. Give away your riches, or you can’t walk with me. And when the young man could not make that dedication, he walked away–sorrowfully, yes–but he walked away. Nowhere in scripture do we find that Jesus ran after the young man, saying, Oh now I’ve changed my mind. If you find my sayings too hard, just ignore what I previously said. Just do what you can. Come on now and walk with me.

It’s a grievous subject, one that causes deep inside weeping as I write. I know we have spoken of this before, but today it weighs heavily on me.

What do you think? What would Jesus do?