Holiday “Doings” at the Buxton’s

A few days before Thanksgiving, I opened the closet in the study where much of our Christmas decorations are stored and began setting out boxes. At ground level of our front deck, I ducked my head, walked under, opened a storage door and pulled out a couple of boxes that hold outdoor lights. Never before Thanksgiving had I festooned our home for Christmas. This was a first–a glorious first. I reasoned (in case someone would complain, which they did not) that last year because of my cancer surgery, my Christmas celebration had been limited. I’d make up for it this year.

What a season it has been.

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Rebecca brought up a lighted bare-limbed tree and felt leaves on which each of us could write down one blessing, and at the table before the sumptuous Thanksgiving meal, we read aloud our thanks. (Imperial Sir Winston knows he is a major treasure in our lives, and thus positioned himself.)

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The weather described perfect winter holidays. Cold, foggy and snowy. Some of us piled into our trusty Jeep and drove the mile or so down to the lake, where Andrew and I braved the cold and ice to take pictures.

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A soup so great that at the end my guests were tipping the huge crockpot to scoop out one more bowl was central to the food we served at our “almost annual” neighborhood party the first Saturday of December. Twenty-six relatives and other friends graced our home.

dsc_5259Among them was this gorgeous baby boy who resides with our new neighbors who live just around the corner on the street that leads to the woods.

dsc_5153            Mrs. Claus dropped by, as did the “real” Santa, another new neighbor, but I didn’t get a good picture of him. You know how sneaky Santa can be sometimes

And . . .wonder of wonders . . .for a few hours before Christmas Day was done, each of my children was here in our home.

Before we opened our gifts that Sunday morning, our patriarch led us in a simple time of worship. He wept as he spoke of the love of God, and for the love of his family. Each of us, except the very youngest, told words of love and blessing. Jerry asked Nate to read from Luke the story of the nativity.

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The gifts were distributed by a very skinny Santa. Gentry is 6’3 and almost 19 years old. These are his legs.

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Our gifts to each other were simple, for we are a simple family, and are old enough and wise enough to understand value and deep joy lie in places other than within the contents of beautiful boxes tied up with elaborate bows.

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Even a couple of greats showed up with their dad, Chris, and because we were out of beds, they joined the others who had stretched out camp bags and quilts, or snagged a couch for sleeping on Christmas night.

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dsc_5441Winston (and us) was blessed to have four of his dog cousins join us for the holidays. He liked some of them; others, sadly, he did not. You’re seeing Charley here, who lives with Andrew and his clan in San Diego.

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During all the holidays, no one had won a game of checkers against Cole. He is the family champ. On the day before they were to leave after Christmas, he challenged me to a game. He had beaten me badly during their Thanksgiving visit. Embarrassing, and I had escaped him . . .until now. Guess what! I beat the little rascal . . . whipped the socks off him. He grinned, and said, “Want to play another one, Granny?”

You must be kidding, I thought. “Nope, I think not,” I very wisely said.

The deed is done. The 2016 holiday season is finished, and we have moved seamlessly into the year of our Lord Twenty Seventeen. None of us know what the days ahead hold. Both joy and sorrow will visit us; success and failure; good days and bad ones; laughter and wretched tears. For us, the extended Gerald Buxton family, we put our trust, our confidence, and our faith in God, in Jesus Christ, the righteous

Blessings to you and yours.

Days 13 and 14 of 16 with the Grands *The Last Weekend*

Since he was a small boy, Cole has been quite a checker-player, and when he brought the thick board down from the game room to challenge me a couple of days ago, he said he had not played checkers for a long time. Throughout Saturday and Sunday he and I played many games. Sometimes he beat me, and from time to time I “laid it on him.” He also played with Brady, and kind, big brother that he is, he even took time with Ella and instructed her a bit.

One day Ella helped me peel apples and I made a couple of pies. Rebecca had invited the crew to spend the night with her, but Nathaniel was not going to be home, so only Ella accepted the invitation. One of the pies was for Nathaniel and Rebecca, so we drove down to San Bernardino where to Aunt Becky’s place we delivered an apple pie and sweet Ella.

On Sunday we went to church at the Garretts in Yucaipa; afterward we ate together at Farmer Boys, a chain here in California (elsewhere?)  that serves great hamburgers, and a few other things. Had a great visit with Holly who had just spent a week in New York and had lots of pictures to show me. Cole and Brady sat with Zac and Ian, and seemed to have a good time with them.

I continue to be plagued with a cold, and now Brady has joined me in this little fight against pesky cold germs.

These grandchildren of mine are wonderful human beings; responsible, kind, and loving. They’re missing their parents somewhat I believe, but do not seem to be terribly homesick. Every day–sometimes more than once–they FaceTime their parents.

Moving the Detour

I am finding it difficult to write what I need to, and to read your comments utilizing a page on this my main blog that I have had for years; it’s just a bit too convoluted. Not as smooth as I would like.

So, I’ve established a blog given entirely to My Cancer Detour, and I think you will appreciate the change. Link here will take you there. I will no longer be posting about my cancer on this site. I hope you’ll follow me over, and as always I do appreciate your comments. (That reminds me of the one downside of moving; I will lose all the comments you have made here.)

If you want to be notified when I make a post on my new site, leave your email address in the place provided there.

Blessings always.

 

 

 

 

The Beauty of Authentic Friendship

The magnificent view from the living room of Berl and Lavelta Stevenson, where on Thursday and Friday we three couples had dinner and breakfast. We Stevensons, Hodges, and Buxtons are uniquely blessed, for now in our 70s and 80s, we have been friends for decades, and three times a year we rotate, entertaining the others in our homes.

20150129-untitled (17 of 43)20150129-untitled (22 of 43)20150129-untitled (20 of 43)On his neat infrared cooker, Berl grilled thick, boneless pork chops, which had first been marinated by Lavelta, and which were nothing short of delicious.

20150129-untitled (26 of 43)20150129-untitled (11 of 43)We ladies admired Lavelta’s new dishes she had bought from a neighbor who was moving. The lady’s mom had hand-painted these, but her children did not want them, and she could not keep them. Each cup and dessert dish had a different fruit depicted, and on the underside of the cups were written appropriate lines. Mine read, “You’re the berries;” Jerry’s read “You’re the apple of my eye.”

20150129-untitled (30 of 43)We were seated for breakfast on Friday morning, when Berl said, “This may cause us to eat cold food, but I want to say a few things.” He proceeded to tell how much he loved all of us, how he respected us, and how through the years, we had been nothing but Christians in his eyes. His words were quite touching. Then he asked us three ladies to say a few words, and before we were finished, we were all crying.

20150129-untitled (39 of 43)20150129-untitled (42 of 43)We are not youthful any more, and some of us are struggling with serious health issues, but our love and affection for each other has not waned, and our dedication to God and to His work continues to be what centers us. How blessed we are.

Tuesday’s Shoes

After dinking around with a Dillard’s gift card that didn’t work out, Jerry wound up giving me $100.00 for Christmas, and I knew right away what I would buy with those sweet dollars; new dress boots. Rebecca and I went shopping the Monday after Christmas, and at Nordstrom’s Rack she found a perfect pair of boots for herself. I? Nothing. Well, nothing in the line of boots, but at Hobby Lobby where all Christmas items were reduced by 80%, I garnered quite a collection of items until finally I was pushing about a heaped up shopping cart.

A couple of days ago, I was feeling the urge to get out and find my boots, thinking of the after Christmas sales that would be slipping away and such as that, so on Tuesday in our trusty white Jeep I headed down the hill with DSW in Redlands in mind. By email they had sent me a $10.00 credit, and I’ve had luck finding what I needed there before.

I had the clearance rack in mind so I headed toward the back of the store where it is situated, choosing on my way to walk down the aisle where the boots are displayed. I stopped to peer at a couple of styles that interested me, keeping them in mind as I pointed my size 7s toward the bargain area.

No doubt I have blogged before about scripture that indicates women are to look well to their households, to be wise in the “doings” of their homes . . .that sort of thing, and since I am a follower of Jesus, when I’m out shopping and great bargains find their way within the reach of my searching hands, I seem to always recall that portion of scripture. Tuesday was no exception.

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20150107-untitled (1 of 5)These black boots are exactly what I had in mind. Perfect sized heel. Fine leather.20150107-untitled (4 of 5)These brown boots are soft and buttery, and although I had not planned to buy more than one pair, just take a look at that color. Gorgeous.  20150107-untitled (5 of 5)And then I spied this adorable little number that I will wear in the heat of summer.20150107-untitled (3 of 5)Five pairs! All from the clearance rack where each pair was marked down 30 to 40% off the original clearance price. Would you not think that God was directing me in this situation? Tell me now. 20150107-untitled (1 of 1)As I left the store, two large bags swinging from my hands, I clutched the receipt that proved how much I had saved my sweet hubby. He would be so grateful, I felt sure.

I had to run by Rebecca’s before I started home, and as I drove to her place, I considered taking all my shoes in to show her. “Kind of silly and childlike,” I argued with myself. Childlike won. I wagged in the two bags and we sat in her living room, rubbed our hands over the smooth leather and the fuzzy parts, and laughed together.

You may be wondering about the hundred dollar bill. Actually what happened is that it was not quite enough to purchase the five pairs of shoes, even though they were all from the clearance rack, so I used my debit card. Convenient little thing. The big bill? Still in my wallet. Should I offer it back?

Missing Bacon

On that first morning in Tiberius, and after our worship service in a boat on the Sea of Galilee we walked off the small sea vessel and climbed a gentle incline to a museum. untitled (86 of 228)

untitled (82 of 228)Along the way I learned that the area we were treading was near the place where the Gadarenes lived, and where that pitiful man, (probably more than one) the demoniac, dwelled among the tombs, and where Jesus healed him, and the devils that had possessed him sprang into a herd of swine, which then ran into the sea and were drowned. The keepers of the pigs were scared out of their wits as they spread the tale about the countryside. What a beautiful story, for Mark 5, verse 15 reads thus: “And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind . . .” What a sad story, though, for verse 17 tells that the people responded by urging Jesus to leave their countryside. Strange. I guess the pig meat was more important to them than the healing of their friend.

untitled (90 of 228)In the museum sat an ancient boat that had been excavated and restored as much as possible. The boat was of the style and age that was used when Jesus sailed with His disciples on the Sea of Galilee. I stared, and tried to imagine the eternal God during those years when He became a man. When He was hungry and tired and when He fished with Peter and John. Amazing.

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untitled (87 of 228)Striking to me during this delightful trip was the ordinariness of this, The Holy Land. Farmers still plow. Mothers still cook meals for their families. Daddies go to work, and children go to school.

untitled (92 of 228)The countryside is quite lacking in quaint beauty or majestic scenery or abundant flora and fauna. Israel is a simple place, but to this day, the eyes of the world focus there. All because of Jesus Christ, the righteous.

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Click on this line to see more pictures that I posted today in Flickr.