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Do Nothing Monday

I’ve been tearing around here during the last few weeks, more than usual and that’s saying a lot. Just to fill you in, during the past month Jerry and I hosted a dinner party for seven–counting us, then a couple of our children and their families were here for four days for Thanksgiving, then last Saturday, we held our annual Christmas Open House and I whipped up a huge pot of soup and spent a couple of days baking goodies. There were 28 of us. Now understand, I am neither complaining or bragging about all these festivities that have been carried on here at the Buxton home. For the dinner party Jerry grilled ribs on his back deck smoker, and it just feels to me that if someone else cooks the meat, I can whip up the rest of it handily. Very dear friends have graced our home during these days–some of long duration, others of newly established relationships, and I’ve loved sharing meals around our table. It’s one of my favorite things to do, and I feel honored when such people come to our home . . .and happy. And my kids…to have them here . . .well, it is just the best. So, as I say, the point of this piece is neither to complain, or to brag about all my doings, rather to press a point.

On Saturday afternoon as I was lighting candles, stuffing yeast rolls into my hot oven, and doing a couple of other very last minute things for my guests, I got tired. Just kind of sudden-like, I felt this fatigue threaten me. What is this?  I kicked the rascally feeling out of my being, lifted my head, and soldiered on. But at that moment I decided I would take Monday off. Flat do nothing. Today was Monday–The Day. And I have done nothing. Well, very little.

It’s been kinda cool. When they came to our Open House Craig and Sandra presented me with a beautifully wrapped box and when I opened it, I found this.


This morning I spread out the pieces on a small desk that sets between the kitchen and the dining room, pulled up a little bench, and have spent a great portion of the day there. I’ve connected all the edge pieces, except that I seem to be missing one. Expect it will show up before I’m finished. I’ve called Alexa to play Christmas carols, we’ve listened to cowboy shows on XM radio, I’ve scratched together a couple of meals, and heard beautiful comments over the radio about the late President Bush. What a commendable life he lived.


DSC_0832Winston took Monday off too, but such activity is not terribly unusual for him. He’s snuggled down here between Jerry’s legs that are stretched out on his recliner. Snoozes throughout the day. Rallies to eat and take in tasty treats.

I’m within a couple of months of the finish of a book I am writing. The book will be titled Dream Shards. The thrust of the book is that we all have dreams that from time to time are broken. What then we do about that? Pick up the pieces and rally, or wallow around in our grief and disappointment? Toward the end of the book I speak of ways to dream again and one of my points is that it is important to stop dashing around so much, rather indulge in slow chunks of quiet hours and quiet days.  Frequently. Restores us. Refreshes us.  I already know I’ll have a hard time writing that part. Definitely will be feeling  hypocritical!

But I did it today, and it has been wonderful. Try it. You’ll probably like it.

PS The puzzle is beautiful. The artist has a website:

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A Rather Fine Day

We met Elinor a few years ago at the lodge down by Lake Gregory where often on Tuesday we go at noon for a meal served to adults of senior age. She is charming, spunky, beautiful, and 85 years old. During one of our noonday conversations, as we talked of gardening and plants, she indicated she had a dogwood tree seedling.

“Would we like to have it? Did we have a sunny spot?” she asked.

A few days ago Nathaniel had prepared a hole on our back bank in which to plant the little tree, so we were ready.  This morning we drove to Elinor’s place, following the perfect map she had drawn. Jerry was outfitted with gardener’s gloves, a bucket and a hefty shovel.

DSC_3279First, before we tackled the transplant, Elinor showed us about her place. Flashing her majestic smile, she stood behind her glorious rhododendrons for my first photo of the day.


Both the rhododendrons and the dogwoods are past their prime for the season, but the light was so beautiful on this branch, I snapped a shot anyway. Our seedling is from this mother tree which Elinor planted 40 years ago. She has lived in this same place for 47 years. Amazing.


As Jerry prepared to dig up the little plant, she kindly pushed him aside, saying, “Let the old woman do it.” Jerry stepped back a bit, and as they both bent back and forth, scraped, and scooped, the little fella was soon in the bucket and placed in the back of our Jeep.


Late this afternoon, Jerry maneuvered our rather steep back bank and settled the two-year-old dogwood tree into its prepared place. Sets now on Buxton property. One day it may reach a height of 40 feet, and perhaps there will be someone around who will say, “Yeah, Jerry Buxton–remember him?–he planted this great tree.”

I had the ingredients I needed, so early this morning, I baked four loaves of banana bread. I took one to Elinor, still warm from the oven, along with a small note thanking her for her friendship.

A fine day? Yes, rather a fine one.



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.

Lake Havasu

A Day With Friends

They had been saying they wanted to come visit us, so when Gary Hogan called a few days ago saying they would arrive in Lake Havasu on Thursday, we weren’t surprised. Before we met up, though, they had dinner with another minister in town, and checked into one of the local hotels for the night. On Friday morning we met for breakfast at Makai’s. We had wanted to eat in the outside patio area, but already it was very hot, so we elected to eat inside.

It was the beginning of a relaxing day with our dear friends Gary and Elaine Hogan, who pastor a great church in Phoenix. (Only eight months ago, they completed the construction on a new, beautiful sanctuary.) Gary Hogan is the superintendent of the Arizona district of the United Pentecostal Church, and  he is doing an exceptional job as he leads this district into an elevated place of effectiveness and caring ministry. It is a state where the ministers are united and focused. A dear and precious place.

Most of the day we just talked; spoke of our families, of God, of His work and our involvement in it, of travel, and humor and food. We spent hours in Hastings Book Store over Frapps, Smoothies and Dr. Pepper. We drove about our beautiful city, did a couple of church errands, and sat in our cool sanctuary for a bit. In mid-afternoon, we took them to their hotel. In our motor home Jerry and I took a short nap, learning later that our friends did the same.

A little before six we picked them up at their hotel, and went to the bridge area where we caught the ferry, crossing the lake to a restaurant on the California side where we ate dinner. As we lingered at the table, we began to see lights flickering on in distant Lake Havasu; the beautiful town stretched along the shores of the glistening water and rising into the gentle hills beyond.

“Look, there’s the moon,” Elaine said, but when I looked I couldn’t see it.


“That round ball. Isn’t that the moon?”

Finally I saw it, barely pushing above the horizon, huge and dim at first, then rising quickly into the clear sky. Brilliant. Full. Spectacular.

We prowled about the grounds a bit, then the ferry was there, and we headed to board. Just then I saw this stunning scene, and as the others walked onto the boat, I stopped and snapped this photograph.

One last stop: Ice cream!

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Two Men I Know

“The difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.”

We’re in the San Francisco Bay area visiting with our long-time friends, Bob and Shirley Robison.

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The Nourishing and Filling of Friends

Empty, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

Jerry and I have been here in Santa Maria since early afternoon on Friday awaiting the beginning of our annual church camp which convenes this evening at 7:00. It has been a quiet, delightful time of rest, relaxation and fellowship.

Our summer family camp is my favorite church meeting of the year: The best of speakers come our way and it is a relaxed informal gathering.

My friends come.

The morning I spent along the beach at Rincon, I sat in one spot and, for a good half hour, watched this hole. Empty, it waited the surging and filling of the water…and as I watched, it reminded me of friends.

Drained, spent, we wait for them.

Filling by you.
They come or we go to them, and then there flows the anticipated rushing interchange and engagement of spirit and intellect: Restorative give and take as of fresh water pouring into our souls and into our minds.
Already, I feel nourished.
Residual 1 by you.
They leave, the conversation is done, yet always, a notion of them remains.