Christianity/Religion Photography Travel Weather/Nature

To Minister in Colorado

It will be in the 30s there tonight, and when I checked the website a few days ago, and understood that, I selected different clothes from those I had originally planned to take. Jerry and I are flying to Denver this morning. From there we will go by car to Keystone in the resort area of Colorado.

Nearly everything is packed, including two suitcases full of books, which are already loaded into the car. I say again: it is much easier (and more fun) to write books, than to sell them. But, it must be done, I know. Our flight is at 10:45, and the United Airlines clerk says to be there 90 minutes early. We’re leaving here at 7:00, and will be at Rebecca’s at 7:30. We’re taking her and Nathaniel out to breakfast, then she is driving us to the airport, and taking our car back to her house.

Tomorrow evening begins the Colorado District Ladies Conference, and I will be speaking there a couple of times. On Sunday in Colorado Springs, Jerry will preach for Ed Cantu at his church, then on Monday, we fly home.

I’m looking forward to this trip for a couple of reasons: we’ll no doubt be a part of some wonderful services, we’ll visit with friends, the resort looks dynamic, and on Friday, Michael is coming in where he will join me in speaking on Saturday morning.

As is the usual story when I travel, I’m not sure about being able to post every day (or any day), but I suspect there will be a Starbucks around somewhere, and there may even be high speed internet service in the resort. I’ll try to stay in touch.

Pray for Jerry and me that we will be safe and that we will be a blessing where we minister.

My Home Photography Weather/Nature

Caladium Leaf

Caladium leaf, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

On our back deck table sets a Caladium plant, a striking image of green and red, distinctly veined.

I never get over God and His mighty works. I have yet to lose my awe at the incredible performance of a tiny seed buried deep in dark and dank earth, which suddenly bursts into such a plant as this. Amazing, simply amazing.

My Home Photography Weather/Nature

Lone Plum

Lone Plum, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

Back in the Spring, Jerry went to the local nursery and purchased a fine plum tree. It had one plum on it, that we cherished, admired, and whose growth we carefully observed. Ready to pick it, I took my camera outside and took a picture of our stunning singular plum.

See the next post for another picture.

Animals My Home Photography Weather/Nature

Alas, Someone Ate the Plum

Alas, Someone Ate the Plum, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

After I took a picture of the lone plum before we picked it, I went to the other side of the tree and sadly saw that someone had beat us to its succulent and delicious taste.
Probably one of the sweet, beautiful, but pesky squirrels.

Animals My Home Weather/Nature

Two Striking Redheads

A few minutes ago, from my bathroom window, I saw a woodpecker perched on the edge of our birdbath that rises from a garden of hypericum. As I watched, another woodpecker joined the first, and they began to drink, dipping and lifting their heads in a Sabbath-Day rhythmic pattern. I’m sure they were slurping, for I saw water sling through the sunny air around them and fall onto their sleek backs. They were beautiful birds, shiny black with patches of snow white. Their splendid heads were scarlet.

My Home Social Weather/Nature

A Sinful Meal?

We had planned to eat on the back deck when our guests arrive at 4:00 this afternoon, but it’s rather windy today, and, too, during a certain portion of the summer, we are bothered with bees. Unfortunately, this seems to be the time. While I was in Louisville, Rebecca, Chloe and Nathaniel came up, bearing chicken breasts that Jerry grilled on our back deck, and where they all commenced to eating, once the food was ready. The bees zoomed in on the meat, so that my family had to pick up their plates and head for the dining room. Don’t want that to happen with our guests, so although Jerry will go ahead and grill the steaks outside, we will eat in the dining room.

I’m thinking of food this morning, of course, so when I saw this article about food at community fairs, it struck my fancy. I’ve always cooked quite a bit, but I have never entered any contests. Jerry calls me a gourmet cook, but he doesn’t understand what being a gourmet cook is, and it embarrasses me when he says that. I cook plain, down-home type food, which I admit is quite tasty, but certainly is not of the gourmet variety. Jerry’s just sweet, and brags on me a lot.

Our Menu Today

Hors d’oeuvres
Texas Bites: (Small chicken pieces stuffed with a sliver each of onion and jalapenos, rolled in dry Ranch dressing mix, wrapped in half a slice of bacon, then grilled. These are absolutely scrumptious!)

Grilled Rib Eye Steaks (my favorite steak…probably because they are so well marbled with–guess what?–fat!)

Lormand Potatoes (sort of scalloped)

Fresh boiled corn on the cob

Sliced tomatoes/onions drizzled with olive oil

Hot crusty bread with butter


Pound cake (I will bake this morning) topped with

Double fudge brownie ice cream

Fresh strawberries

Coffee, iced tea, and (a bow to dieting :)) Crystal-lite lemonade

You know what. I think we are getting ready to sin. Pray for us, hear. And check out the link from the New York Times where you can read about healthy, nutritious food.

Social Travel Weather/Nature

Home from Louisville

Although it was nearly four hours long, the segment of flight between Louisville and Las Vegas was beautiful and comfortable. They had announced that the flight would be full, but somehow I was blessed to have an empty middle seat beside me, and that always makes for added comfort and convenience. I have no fear of flying, actually thoroughly enjoy it, and I always try to obtain a window seat. Two reasons: The wall makes a resting place for my head and I might get in a snooze or two, although I don’t sleep very well on planes, but anyway, early on I asked the stewardess for a pillow. The second reason for a window seat is the spectacular view of the earth from 32,000 feet high. What a beautiful place is ours.

The crew in the pilot’s cabin on this flight were talkative, often pointing out landmarks and spots of interest. Right away, there were Pueblo and Colorado Springs, then Kansas City and not long before our arrival in Las Vegas, there was Lake Powell, clearly visible, dividing its 1800 miles of shoreline between Arizona and Utah. Jerry and I have vacationed there several times, and twice have rented large house boats where, with family and friends, we excitedly explored the historic and intriguing area. The waters are of the Colorado River, whose thundering force through the centuries has carved deep canyons and sharp inlets. It is a spectacular place, much of the terrain being of vivid red sandstone. Clearly visible from the plane are the wide plateaus, whose sides finally give to chiseled outcroppings that step down hundreds of feet onto the valley floor, where still flowing in deep gorges and ravines is the mighty Colorado. In some places, there appear to be rivers of red mud. I could make out the several marinas on Lake Powell, their strips of docking the size of dashes on a computer screen. The boats were bent over commas, tiny blips scattered across the blue waters.

“Take your seats, and buckle up,” now came the word over the intercom. “We have weather ahead of us.” But none developed, just a little wind, and lots of clouds and I was a little disappointed, for I was set for pelting rain against the windows. I can’t figure out clouds. They are so beautifully and clearly formed, pristine white—bluewhite—the color of glaciers, and from a plane window, it seems I would be able to grasp and hold a cloud. Should work to take in a fistful of cloud the same as taking hold of a wad of cotton candy at Disneyland. Hundreds of feet high are many cloud formations, but some are mere puffs of meringue. Others are sharply pointed and extend as arrows many feet into the blue.

And then we were coming into Las Vegas and below us was the strip. I recognized the Stratosphere, New York, New York and Caesar’s Palace. We were 15 minutes early, and after our soft landing, a voice directed our attention to C16. “Charley 16 is our slot, but as you see there is a beautiful plane there, and there’s not room for both of us.” So, on the tarmac we waited, until 15 minutes later, the Charley 16 plane was nudged out, and we moved into our gate.

The inside of the Las Vegas airport was drastically different from the quiet and orderly Louisville airport. There were the clanking and flashing lights of the slots, and crowds of raucous people milling about. I never did figure out why, but people lounged all over the floors, napping, eating, talking on phones, and playing computer games. Plenty of chairs, but some mysterious appeal was attached to those floors—for them—not for me.

I had a 2 1/2 hour layover and had told Jerry I would eat there, but nothing appealed to me, so I just walked around for awhile. I came by this lady who was sitting at a bar, with a green pillow slung around her neck and with tubes from something on the counter running into her nose. I thought she was sick at first, but she seemed pretty animated, so I paused and read the signs around her. Seems I had found an O 2 bar. You just plop yourself down on one of the hard plastic stools, hand over plenty of money, then you are allowed to poke tubes in your nose and get extra gulps of oxygen. Extraordinary energy and a sheer revival of life are promised. Hand over a few extra bills and you can imbibe fruit drinks and other healthy concoctions. I passed on it all.

“Thirty-four minutes from wheels up to wheels down,” the stewardess told us as we prepared for take-off from Las Vegas to Ontario. She began taking drink orders before the plane had been cleared to depart, and after we were in the air, still at a slant, she began handing out the snacks. She had served a portion of the passengers, when sudden turbulence caused her to sway and to struggle with the balancing of her tray and the drinks there. She grinned and said, “I know you guys are laughing at me,” then the turbulence increased so that she bent her knees to lower the center of gravity, and finally she was sitting on the floor. We were all grinning, and some of us never did get our drinks, which was no big deal at all.

Approaching Ontario, I looked down and saw Lake Silverwood, which as the crow flies sets ten miles or so behind our house. Tried to see my sweet home, but I don’t believe I did. We landed ten minutes early. On the way to the baggage claim area, I was jolted to harsh reality as I passed a young man, outfitted in a national guard camouflage suit, and holding straight before him a rifle, no doubt loaded and at the ready.
I lifted my luggage from the carousel and went to the street to wait for Jerry. After a few minutes, here came our blue Jeep, Jerry pulled up to me, and helped me with my luggage. We didn’t kiss until I was in the car, for security was heavy, and they were warning that the cars must be moved out quickly.

I was home!

My Home Weather/Nature

A Different Kind of Sabbath

If we have clear vision and scrupulous honesty, within the most dismal and disappointing of times, we may find positive turns and opportunity. Such has been the case with Jerry’s serious infection that hospitalized him for four days. He has been home now for almost a week and it really has been quite a pleasant time.

Even though Jerry and I live much more quiet, less hurried lives than we did in the years before our retirement, we still are quite involved with ministry, with study, with writing and with lots of traveling, so we find ourselves scurrying about a bit. Sickness strikes a radical halt to such activities, and obscures any objective save for the grasp of life and for the recovery of ones health. Though the sickness itself is unpleasant and often frightening, it carries long-side its troublesome self, an opportunity–indeed a demand–for slowing down, for long resting and musing; musings that likely will envelop both the mind and the spirit.

Our living room has a sliding glass door that opens to a large deck, and Jerry has spent much of his recovery time ensconced on a comfy chair there. Our weather is perfect, a breeze nearly always difts across the lake, over the front deck and through our house. Our study is at the rear, also has a sliding door that opens to another deck, and we rarely have completely still days. Instead, a breeze enters the front slider, meanders through the living room, the halls, crosses the study and skirts onto the rear deck. It’s downright delightful.

The neighbors see Jerry on the front deck, climb the 14 stairs, seat themselves on the platform swing and visit with him. Ken and Nancy and Barry and Sam (across-the-street and next door neighbors) had garage sales yesterday, so all day there was a soft flow of customers into our little cul-de-sac. Coffee and lemonade and good food and icy glasses of sweet tea make their own contribution to the pleasure of the close-to-perfect days.

Rarely does a Sunday come but what we are in church. Today was the exception, as we had our own service on the back deck–just Jerry and I. He picked up his Bible, and as we reclined in lounge chairs, Jerry read aloud the beautiful 23rd Psalm. He then voiced some thoughts about that magnificent poetry, and asked to hear any of mine. Not your typical Sunday morning service–certainly not for Pentecostals :), but proper and fitting and precious for this day.

Yes, it’s a different kind of Sabbath today. And of course, it’s been quite a different week, a drastic variance from what we had planned. But my clear and honest vision marks this period of time as being extremely blessed, profitable and pleasant.

Medical/Technical My Home Photography Weather/Nature

My Pear Tree and the Mysteries of Life

Pear Tree Crestline, 2006, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

I love this picture I captured in the Spring when our pear tree was blooming and showing its full glory. Its filmy undefined appearance speaks of mystery and of the unpredictability of our lives. Unknown to either Jerry or me…or to the pear tree, I feel sure…was the massive attack with which that tree would be assaulted.

Leaf Rollers moved through our garden spinning silk threads and draping their gossamer hangings over trees and deck railings and garden pots. These small green worms gulped down tender impatients I had planted, so new effort was initiated, and it was back to the nursery for new plants and for insecticide. As I fussed over my barrels and fummed about hungry worms, the Leaf Rollers also attacked our pear tree, and before Jerry and I noticed, the tree was nearly stripped of its leaves.

Similar workings may be observed in our own bodies as was Jerry’s case a few days ago when Insidious, invisible bacteria infiltrated his being and brought him down. Of greater consequence and often more difficult to rout are assaults of the devil as he attempts an evil infiltration into our hearts–hearts that we have dedicated as temples of the Holy Ghost. Vigilance is required and strong applications of the insecticides of faith and prayer. I have good news! A generous dose of this spiritual medicine works every time. Apply as directed and the works of the enemy will be destroyed–always–without fail.

More good news! Jerry is improving, and I’m thinking he may be released from the hospital by tomorrow. 🙂

 9:30 Better News: The doctors are releasing Jerry today. He will be home by mid afternoon. Yes! 🙂

My Home Photography Weather/Nature

Finch on Feeding Sock

Finch on feeding sock, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

In San Diego, the home of our friends the Stevensons backs up to a golf course and birds abound near them. I have seen their feeding sock completely covered by finches. Usually, we only have one at a time on ours, but I have seen three. Wild finches are feisty. Ours are aggressive and try to keep others off the sock.