California Crestline Flowers/Gardening Life My Home Photography Uncategorized Weather/Nature

Lessons from a Sunflower

Surprise, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

When we are able to spend time at our home in Crestline, one of the first things I do when we arrive is go to our gardens in the back to see how the plants are prospering. They have done exceptionally well during the more than two years we have been in Lake Havasu, for our house has set empty, and the yards have mostly taken care of themselves. We do have rudimentary sprinklers, but they don’t cover everywhere, and we have lost some plants. All in all, though, given the circumstances we are pleased.

A couple of weeks ago, I walked into the back, and there in a graveled area where is a swing and other lawn furniture, had sprung up this magnificent sunflower. We don’t have sunflowers anywhere on our property, nor am I aware of any in the neighbor’s places, but somehow a seed had blown in or had been carried by a bird and dropped there. While we weren’t looking, the determined seed burrowed into the little-watered earth, clamped down, rooted, and then, from within the decaying shell, there pushed up green tendrils, so determined, so healthy that a stalk formed, and, still while we weren’t looking, buds formed, and then one opened. And there it was, a glorious, golden sunflower.

Amazing, isn’t it. A whole knot of stunning lessons is here.

First, don’t try to be something you are not. Be who you are. A sunflower is not an exotic plant, but a rather common flower, probably even considered a weed in some circles. Think about it, though. Should he DSC_0094try to be an orchid or a petunia or a tomato, he would certainly fail. But at being a sunflower, he excels, he flourished, for that was his purpose, his destiny.

Second, don’t complain about conditions. Dry earth? Dig in a little harder. A deserted garden? You never know who will visit some time. Lack of fertilizer? Look within yourself, engage your inner strength and resources.

Third, don’t worry that no one is seeing you do your work. Just keep at it. Not a human in this world knew that little seed was working in our patch of land, never an eye saw the little fella push up through the earth and poke out his tender head, not one ear heard the cracking of the bud and the sprouting of the leaves. Finally, though, I saw it, and admired it, and took its picture, and watered it, and thought about it, and wrote its story.

Think about it, though. Think harder. There are thousands of sunflowers who do their magnificent job…and truly no one ever knows, no one admires nor snaps pictures, nor picks for a bouquet. Is their work wasted? Energy expended in vain? No. DSC_0095God knows; He who spoke and who gave the seed and ignited the germ sees and notes…and one day, perhaps through the wind of a thunder, may blow a seed, un-noted, unexceptional, common, mundane–into someone’s garden and bring joy.

Number four. Your lifework creates a place for others. When I went out in the morning to take pictures of my sunflower, I looked closely, and deep within its parts were tiny insects and water drops that had settled into the glowing compartments. Oh, you may not know, never be aware, but your sterling life, your integrity, your living to purpose creates a dwelling place for others…brings peace and trust and refuge. As I watched, DSC_0086_2_2insects scurried about in the golden place of a common ordinary sunflower, a sunflower that was living to purpose and to destiny.

How about us? Wonder how we’re doing. Is it possible we can learn today from a common glorious sunflower?

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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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117 in Lake Havasu Today

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In a good natured way, Jerry says, “None of the preachers in Lake Havasu preach against hell.”

Quizzically, people wait for him to answer the obvious question: “Why?”

“Because they’re not afraid of it,” he finishes with a grin.

It’s a bit after 5:00 in the evening this Saturday. The temperature is 116. Actually we’re having a heat wave all over the west. In our beautiful, generally cool Crestline which sets at 5000 feet in San Bernardino mountains, the high yesterday was 93.

Hope it’s cool where you are.


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Prayer is Needed

…so, within the hour, Jerry and I are on our way to Crestline. Coming in tonight are Andrew, Shawnna, and their five youngins’ who range from 13 to just over a year old. We’re babysitting while Andrew and Shawnna go to St. Louis where they have been invited to participate in a Home Missions Conference.

Tomorrow after Nathaniel is out of school, Rebecca is coming up to join all of us for a turkey dinner (had one left over in the freezer since Thanksgiving.) Depending on what his teacher says on Monday, Nathaniel may also spend the rest of the week with his cousins and his Granny and Pappy. Rebecca will be in and out…

Andrew and Shawnna will leave in the evening sometime–flying out of San Diego at 6:00 on Tuesday morning.

Pray for Jerry! Pray for me!

We’re planning on a delightful time, got the bicycles up and running, the portable basketball hoop set up, lots of food laid in; plans to make ice cream, walks in the woods, a trip to the “dump,” maybe to the lake, and to the Oaktrunk.

Talk later……..prayer, remember, I need prayer. 🙂


My devotional blog is here.

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The Surprising Progression of a Day

Sprouting Sweet Potato, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

They’re better for you than white ones, you know, so I reached in a cupboard in my motor home where I knew I had one more I could bake for Jerry and me to eat for dinner. As I grasped the long tuber, my hand grazed across something lacy, and when I looked, I saw our dinner had taken on a farming specter.

Perhaps it would have been okay to eat had I carefully trimmed the potato, but when I saw those sprouts, I recalled having sweet potato plants in our home when I was a child. From its place on the outside table, I brought this green pot, filled it with water, and am hoping for the best. I can’t remember exactly how to do this–seems we inserted toothpicks to suspend the potato over the water. Not sure.

Then it was off to Crestline again, and when we were approaching Victorville and the Cajon Pass, we saw this heavy appearing cloud of fog lying in the valley ahead of us. Wisps of fog began blowing around us, and within a ten-minute period, the temperature dropped 28 degrees–from 78 to 50. It was uncanny.

The fog stayed with us as we turned onto the mountain road to take us to Crestline, and as we passed trees that had turned now into ghosty beings.

Sometimes the fog would clear, then close in again. It was clear as we passed this station, but the sight was so ugly, I turned my head.
I had brought a few groceries, and as I opened the cupboard to place a couple of onions in the onion container, I was greeted with this sight. A forgotten bulb startled me, but he is so pretty, I took him out, posed him and snapped his picture.
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Never thought it would happen this way, but it’s snowing on Christmas day! Yesterday, here in Crestline, the high temperature was 60–beautiful blue skies–perfect weather…that is for Easter. Awful Christmas weather. But, although I certainly did not expect it, change was on its way.

The house was quiet as Christmas dawned. I was the only one astir as I peered through my kitchen window and saw the thermometer to read 29 degrees. Yes! And just a few minutes ago, here an hour before noon, it began snowing! Snowing? Yes, snowing.

Well, sort of. Look across the lake through my dining room window and I’m afraid you’ll see clear blue skies and not a hint of cloud. Yes, the temperature has dropped drastically, and strong winds have blown in. It’s blustery and chilly, but…the…snow…I must confess it to be only observable on the computer pages of WordPress. Wonderful Matt with the Christmas Spirit exuding from his youthful geeky mind noted my needs, somehow caused snow to drift in and even sent a message on my screen, so I would be sure to notice.

Thank you, Matt. Thank you WordPress. Thank you Jesus for Christmas. Thank you my friends and family who read my words today. Might consider pulling on a jacket, and pouring a dark, sweet cup of hot chocolate for the remainder of time on my site. It’s chilly around here. It’s snowing!