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Of Summertime, Dragonflies, and Little Girls

The Captain, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

After last week’s Wednesday night service, Jerry and I drove to Crestline, getting to bed around 2:00 am on Thursday.  We were delighted that Melody, one of our neighbors here in Lake Havasu went with us. We spent a couple of cool, wonderful days with the thrust of our time–at least for Melody and me–being spent in scouting around the countryside experimenting with photography. We’re both enthusiastic amateurs. My favorite shot is this orange dragonfly. I love this picture. Click on it to go to Flickr where you can see a larger version and where you will observe his little “feet” clamped around the stick, and his “hands” clasping the “steering wheel.”

On our way home from Lake Gregory on Friday I spied these two little girls playing in the water. I checked with their dad and he DSC_0123said, “Sure you may take a picture of them.” The picture is not too good as I was standing above them, but it made me happy to see those children playing, probably  with few cares in this world.

It’s summer. Relax, gad about, have fun…and for a few minutes or an hour or two, try to forget your troubles. Admire a dragonfly. Stop to watch little girls who play on the sandy shores of Lake Gregory…or on one of the ocean beaches, or a riverbank near you.

Edit: Wednesday evening   Jay, take a look at these. I’m really wanting a good picture of one of these neon blue dragonflies, but so far I have not had a spectacular shot.

DSC_0012 Just a fair shot in my opinion.

DSC_0035 by you.
Now this one up here, though not very colorful, is talented–an acrobat. Is this the kind you have in your neck of the woods, Jay?
DSC_0090 by you.
One more long blue one. Look closely and you will see his gossamer wings folded neatly.
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Huge Mountain Lion Visits Downtown Crestline

We’ve been in Crestline since Sunday evening, and I saw the bold headlines through the plastic door of the vending machine as we prepared to enter the cafe tonight. “Look at that, Jerry. There’s been a mountain lion attack here in Crestline.”

And so there has. A few days ago, a massive mountain lion whose size was judged to be 3-and-a-half to four feet long went on the attack right in the downtown area of our village of around 8,000 people. It occurred about images2:00 Tuesday morning on the property of a couple who, about that time, heard their cats begin crying. Thinking it was probably a dog pestering their cats, they went outside to the pen where they were kept, and there was this huge mountain lion inside the pen.

“I was at my computer and I heard this heinous scream,” the woman’s husband said. “I didn’t know if it was a raccoon or my cats. I went outside and saw a huge mountain lion trapped inside the pen. It bucked its head at me. I think it felt threatened. It didn’t seem to like me at all. At that point I ran into the house and called 9-1-1.”

The sheriff was there within minutes, and arrived in time to see the mountain lion while it was still in the pen.

“The sheriff’s spotlight was trained on the pen, and it startled the cat,” the man said. “It bucked the pen. It used its head to move it, and it (the pen) flew in the air. I haven’t seen a mountain lion this big since (I went to) the San Diego Zoo. It’s as big as the ones at the Mirage (in Vegas). When the pen went flying I ran inside the house.”

Later as deputies searched, they again saw the lion heading toward Crest Forest Drive, and at that point contacted the California Department of Fish and Game. They’re reminding residents to guard their children and pets, by supervising children when they are outside, and by keeping pets inside at night.

Additionally, they have extended the following general information and warnings:

“As a reminder,” a sheriffs’ press release states, “if residents see a mountain lion they are not authorized to shoot the animal, but immediately notify the sheriff’s department and the DFG.”

The DFG offers this information and these tips to stay safe: More than half of California is mountain lion habitat. Mountain lions generally exist wherever deer are found. They are solitary and elusive, and their nature is to avoid humans.

Mountain lions prefer deer but, if allowed, they also eat pets and livestock. In extremely rare cases, even people have fallen prey to mountain lions.

– Don’t feed deer; it is illegal in California and it will attract mountain lions.

– Deer-proof your landscaping by avoiding plants that deer like to eat. For tips, request a Gardener’s Guide to Preventing Deer Damage from DFG offices.

– Trim brush to reduce hiding places for mountain lions.

– Don’t leave small children or pets outside unattended.

– Install motion-sensitive lighting around the house.

– Provide sturdy, covered shelters for sheep, goats, and other vulnerable animals.

– Don’t allow pets outside when mountain lions are most active—dawn, dusk, and at night.

– Bring pet food inside to avoid attracting raccoons, opossums and other potential mountain lion prey.

Staying Safe in Mountain Lion Country

Mountain lions are quiet, solitary and elusive, and typically avoid people. Mountain lion attacks on humans are extremely rare. However, conflicts are increasing as California’s human population expands into mountain lion habitat.

– Do not hike, bike, or jog alone.

– Avoid hiking or jogging when mountain lions are most active—dawn, dusk and at night.

– Keep a close watch on small children.

– Do not approach a mountain lion.

– If you encounter a mountain lion, do not run; instead, face the animal, make noise and try to look bigger by waving your arms; throw rocks or other objects. Pick up small children.

– If attacked, fight back.

– If a mountain lion attacks a person, immediately call 9-1-1.

Mountain lions that threaten people are immediately killed. Those that prey on pets or livestock can be killed by a property owner after the required depredation permit is secured. Moving problem mountain lions is not an option. It causes deadly conflicts with other mountain lions already there, or the relocated mountain lion returns to the area from which it was removed.

Source: Crestline-Courier News/Photobucket

I love our small town of Crestline here in these San Bernardino Mountains, and have always understood there to be a certain risk from wild animals when one lives in such a place. My grandchildren visit frequently when we’re here, and for years we’ve walked through the woods, pulled wagons with drinks and lunches aboard, picked up sticks, mounded pine cones and played games among the trees. I’ll continue with these activities, I suppose, but this cat sighting has made me quite cautious, and I probably won’t be prowling around by myself, nor will I let any grandchild wander about alone. I’ll keep my eye on Jerry, too. 🙂

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Retreat to Rincon

Because it was 4:30 on Tuesday afternoon before our motor home repairs were finished, Jerry and I debated whether to stay another night in San Bernardino or head on up the Pacific Coast. Our annual church camp meeting convenes next Monday in Santa Maria and we had planned to spend a couple of days in Rincon, a regional beach park near Ventura. The issue with going in the evening, is that it is not possible to make reservations at Rincon and it is difficult to exact a spot during the summer. Usually those who leave a site do so early in the morning, so by 10:00 am, most spots are gone for the day.

Onward! was the decision and luck (or God or something) was with us, so that a few minutes before 7:00 as we slowly moved down the camping strip, peering about for an empty spot, a motor home pulled onto the roadway.

“Get out, Shirley. Run over and save the spot.”

I slid my feet into shoes, crossed the highway,  and while Jerry drove to a place where he could turn around the rig, I stood our piece of ocean-front property.

From our open motor home door after we had set up, I viewed and photographed the sunset. Shortly after dark, Jerry and I plopped exhausted into bed, windows open, the cool ocean air wafting over our faces as we slept.

On Wednesday morning after breakfast, I scrambled down the rocks and walked along the beach for a couple of hours. Magnificent and a’roar with power.

At the place where I had to turn around, I spotted this limb whose curve and sandy position attracted me (and my camera, I could tell.) I crouched, snapped two shots and just as the third view was in my lens, the branch began moving, was knocked down by a crashing wave (as you can see) and rushed me, so that the lower part of my body was drenched. I think I’m not the best judge of the essence and trajectory of ocean energy.

The tide was definitely coming in, I decided: I could see the beach was narrowing. Wisely, I headed toward our rig.


My devotional blog is here.

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McKay Hatch Continues With His Notable Mission

Among my hundreds of posts over the past two years, the story of McKay Hatch probably was the cause of more negative responses than any other–some comments were bad enough so that I deleted them. During the early days of McKay’s work, his own blog was hacked, and his righteous posting was replaced with that of derogatory remarks and vile overtones.

EDIT–Thursday am: Again, I want to emphasize the depth of fierce response this story has caused. My original post is continuing to draw vile and hateful remarks. Some I have deleted because of their filth, but I have left as many as seems wise. If you’re interested, please check the ongoing comments here. The passion aroused is amazing, and unfortunately very telling.

Now this remarkable young man is back in the news. Because of the influence of McKay Hatch, the mayor of Pasadena, CA. has declared his city a no- cussing zone during this week. Again, I salute this courageous, honorable teen-ager.

South Pasadena is an official no-cussing zone this week.

The designation comes at the suggestion of a 14-year-old boy who founded the “No Cussing Club” in the city.

This fun-loving South Pasadena high school freshman is on a mission to clean up our foul language. McKay Hatch is the creator of the “No Cussing Club” and this week he’s asking everyone to give up their favorite four-letter words.

“I’d like to have a cuss-free week in every state and nationwide,” said Hatch. “People say it’s March 3rd. Let’s clean up our language this week.”

The link to the complete article is here.


My devotional blog is here.

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The Times of Your Life–Part 5

DSC_0111, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

A significant part of almost any Apostolic service is its music, and the recent conference in Visalia certainly reflected this pattern. Karen Harding was the worship leader and she, along with the praise team she had gathered, did a splendid job. The excellence of form was exceeded only by the soul-stirring emotion and spirit such music elicits.

Karen is a joy. She is an artful, ambitious, hard-working, talented, funny, and God-loving woman, and we were distinctly blessed to have her in charge of the music for this conference.

Other outstanding singers used their beautiful voices to worship our God. Summer Schexnayder and Jana Allard who both have incredible voices were among those. Pictured here is Stephany Parkey as she lifted her exceptional voice in praise to our Master.

Adorable Bryn Allard was the youngest singer.
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The Times of Your Life–Part 3

Lil White and Time, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

For more than 30 years, I believe, my dear friend Lillian White was the ladies ministries president of the Western District, and it was under her leadership that our ladies conferences were begun. In the beginning we referred to them as ladies retreats, as they were held in rustic retreat settings.

During the 25th anniversary conference in Visalia she was honored in many ways. One involved calling her to the front and presenting her with an elegant single crimson rose. She is a beautiful and very dear woman of God. I have seen Lillian faced with extreme challenges, and while I have seen her hurt–and expressing such hurt–I cannot recall ever seeing her angry with anyone. Truly, I cannot…and I have known her intimately for more than 50 years.

In this column, I want to add this personal tribute to Lillian White. The richness of my life has been enhanced by knowing her, and any skills I may possess in a similar area are to a great extent a result of sitting at counsel with her, of talking in private with her, of praying and crying and rejoicing together…over a very long period.

She is deserving of any honor and praise extended to her.


My devotional blog is here.

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The Times of Your Life–Part 2

DSC_0093, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

Nita Hodges is the Ladies Ministries President of what is now the Southern California district, and without a doubt she is among the premiere of Apostolic speakers. The highlight of the services yesterday occurred in the morning session when she spoke. Perhaps the word is overused, but there is not a better one to describe those sacred hours than powerful.

The topic had been announced as: The Bible–God’s Word to His people, and her presentation was anointed and impeccable. The conclusion of the service involved women gathering in groups with their loved ones as they presented Bibles to them. Mothers gathered with daughters and grandmothers with granddaughters. It was a dynamic moving service.

Beautiful Sarah fell on the neck of her grandmother, Maxine Wilson, as together they spoke of their love for each other, of the work of God, and of His Word.

Not only was it older women making presentations to their granddaughters, but young women were giving precious copies of the Bible to their daughters.


I was positioned so that I watched Tiffany Groggan as she presented a Bible to her young daughter. I cried too as I watched them cry, and pray and read together.




My devotional blog is here.


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Times of Your Life

DSC_0112, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

Jerry and I arrived yesterday afternoon in Visalia to participate in the 25th annual Ladies Conference of the Western District. It is a significant meeting, a very large crowd is here and I’m happy to be a part. The convocation has bitter-sweet overtones, however, for this is the last one for our district as it stands now.

The Times of Your Life is an apt theme, for 25 years ago, we held the first Ladies Conference for this area. I am blessed to be able to say I have attended all of them. These conferences are always a high-light of my year.

There are a few men here–wives of speakers and board members, mostly–and Jerry will hang out with them. The sessions are open, so sometimes the men attend, usually sitting in the rear of the auditorium.

Fellowship with the people of God? Nothing like it!

My devotional blog is here.