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Birthday Number 86

Occasionally the celebration of a significant event aligns so well with the vision in my head that its conclusion brings about glowing chatter, face-stretching smiles, and a sated sense of perfection. Such were the days surrounding Jerry’s 86th birthday.

It began with The Nieces.

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Three of them live in Louisiana, the other two in Texas. “We’d like to come out and visit Uncle Jerry for his birthday. Would that be a convenient time?”

Of course it would, so although I hadn’t planned to throw a party, that these dear ones would make that long trek to California certainly called for a major celebration. I told Jerry I had decided on a birthday party, but I told him nothing of the trip his nieces would be making. Debbie flew to San Antonio, Nita and Pam drove to the area in Texas of Linda and Sharon’s homes, where, with their mounds of luggage, they all piled into Linda’s van and headed west.

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Rebecca and Holly beautifully decorated the room we reserved at The Claim Jumper in San Bernardino. The party was scheduled for 2:00 on Saturday and all the guests had arrived when I drove Jerry into the parking lot. My children knew of the secret guests, passed the word to the others as they arrived so that the only ones seated at the table when Jerry walked into the room were his dear nieces. He was stunned.

The party was perfect in every way. The food was delicious, pristinely presented, and served without a flaw. The guests consisted of a sweet mix of family, ministers, neighbors, and other friends from Crestline. During the meal various persons stood and in moving ways–sometimes humorous–spoke accolades to Jerry. It was a glowing, memorable afternoon.

Although we would be a bit cramped, the nieces and Michael and his wife went home with us, filling up all the guest rooms, and throwing down mats and blankets for sleeping. We had a blast.

Jerry opened his gifts.

DSC_9313We ate breakfast . . .and more meals. We went to Stater’s, bought a whole brisket, and Jerry cooked it all Sunday night. On Monday we feasted.

DSC_9315Some had to leave. Others came.

DSC_9343We did lots of this.

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On Tuesday morning, these precious women headed home, to their families, to their jobs. They left behind magnificent memories of hugs and kisses, of deep and meaningful conversations, of  tender tears and of uproarious laughter. Jerry has said more than once, “I just can’t believe they drove all the way out here to celebrate my birthday.”

There are some really fine people in this world. Several of them belong to the Buxton family.

 

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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.

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Christianity/Religion

Honoring My Preachers

October has been designated Clergy Appreciation Month. While, of course, we should appreciate our pastors and other ministers at all times, and frequently tell them we do, it is admirable that a particular time has been set aside to especially honor these people.

Two have been most influential in my life: My husband and my father.

20141030-untitled (1 of 1)Farrell E. Forrest, pictured here on his 80th birthday, was a dynamic preacher of the Gospel who loved the Word and who studied it at length. He baptized me in Jesus name, and from my earliest days taught me the ways of God. How thankful I am, how very thankful . . .He’s in Heaven tonight.

20141031-untitled (14 of 14)I looked across the room a few minutes ago where my husband is sitting in his favorite lounge chair and remembered how grateful I am for his ministry, for his spiritual guiding of me through most of my adult years, and for his godly ways. To love God with all their hearts and to put God first in their lives were dynamic lessons Jerry taught our four children. I honor him for all the sacrifices he has made for the Kingdom of God. I honor him for his consistency, his strength, his loyalty. I honor him for every prayer he has prayed, every sermon he has preached, every saint he has tended, every tear he has shed, every sacrificial dollar he has given, every long hour of counseling in which he engaged, and every song he sang with his magnificent voice.

I know he’s really a Christian for I live with him, and although he no longer is active in the ministry every week, I know that’s where his heart is. When one of his sons said, “You’ll always be my pastor, Dad,” it touched him deeply, for that is who he is. His heart is that of a caring man, a pastor, a minister. Within the last few days he made arrangements to drive hundreds of miles to insure that one of his elderly friends will have a happy Thanksgiving. Appreciate? How could I not?

Scores of preachers have significantly influenced my life, and while I will not name any, I truly am thankful. Thank you for preaching to me, to my husband, to my children, to my grandchildren. You mean a lot to me, you who now pastor my children and grandchildren. You who give counsel.

Clergy Appreciation Month: How grateful I am.

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Christianity/Religion Courage Death God Medical/Technical

A Thousand Pieces Anniversary

At the recent camp meeting in Santa Maria, (which by the way was off the charts in excellence,) a lady came to me wanting an autograph of my book on backsliding, The Bitter Bite of Beelzebub, which she had purchased from the Pentecostal Publishing House booth at the camp meeting.

“Do you have more books,” she asked. I told her I have written three other ones, but was not sure if they were available at the camp meeting display area. Others have asked, so I’m taking this opportunity to give you a link to my site where you may order any of my books.

It so happens that today, August 6, 2013, is the 19th anniversary of the event that led to the writing of my first book, A Thousand Pieces. That book is in its 4th printing and has proven to be a faith-builder of rare effect. A quick summary is that my husband Jerry was struck by a truck driven by a drunk driver as he stood by our disabled car. He was knocked 86 feet through the air and landed in the street, dead. A lady revived him, but he had almost unbelievable injuries including a broken neck, bleeding into his brain stem, compressed spinal cord, bruised kidneys, bruised heart, punctured lung, broken hip . . .and more. He was paralyzed, only able to move his toes and a couple of fingers. He spent five months in the hospital, but through the mercy and healing power of God, coupled with excellent medical care–if you saw him today, you would never know anything had happened to him. Many people refer to him as a walking miracle.

It’s all in the book, A Thousand Pieces, whose opening lines are:

Screaming brakes slashed the afternoon air. Tortured wheels whined at high pitch digging into the hot pavement as the truck careened crazily, strewing debris in its path.

Closing lines:

Life beats us all. Mysterious and vaporous in creation, a new being spurts forth, its plump flesh rosy, gushing with Adam’s juice. The quick intake of breath and the sharp wail are but the front edge of a grim continuum. Invisible yet, the deadly claws have revealed their tooth, for insidious and relentless, they work their scheme of death and decay. For now, though, Jerry and I had escaped. Just ahead of the whirlwind, we had danced a frantic cotillion, swinging always toward the passage of life and avoiding that of death and its greed.

That it was done with grace, let it be said.

We are forever grateful.

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Christianity/Religion Culture Goodness of man Life love My Family Pentecostal Photography Valentine's Day

Our Love Story

Sometime back either on facebook or on one of my blogs, someone asked me to tell our love story–Jerry’s and mine–and a few days ago she reminded me of that for I had promised to do so. This is the perfect time: Valentine’s Day 2013.

I had graduated from high school and just turned 17 when I packed up my things at home in Springfield, MO. and was driven to Apostolic College, a bible school in Tulsa, OK. I had always attended small to moderate-sized churches, so when I arrived at that great school that was a ministry of a dynamic, unusual church pastored by Brother C. P. Williams, and in addition lived on campus in the girl’s dorm, it was so wonderful I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

The stars were aligned, romance for me was in the making, for Jerry was already a student there. He had enrolled the year prior after already graduating with a BA degree with Northwestern State College in Natchitoches, LA. The first time I recall seeing him was in the basement of the church where we had prayer meetings before services started. Someone had received the Holy Ghost and he was dancing as he stood atop two opened folding chairs. He was already a leader among the student body, spoke in some of the services and led in worship. I was a peon from Mo. Somewhat later, someone said to him, “I know someone who has her eyes on you.”

He dismissed the news.”Aw, she’s just a kid.” I must have been a pretty effective kid, though, for soon it was obvious the attraction was mutual. Strict rules were in effect concerning dating, one of which was that a new student could not have a date during the first semester there. We were with each other in the dining room, snack bars, chapel services, other church and school activities, until after the first semester when I could have a date. All dates, though, were chaperoned, and everyone was eager to pick certain chaperones–those who weren’t too strict or too “eagle-eyed.”

I don’t often have extra-sensory, unique things happen to me, but once during this time, I walked into a room where Jerry was–don’t recall exactly the room–and a kind of knowing came over me, and I knew I would marry him. Strange. I didn’t tell anyone–didn’t even tell Jerry until years later that had happened to me. We didn’t have many actual dates, for Jerry left before the end of the school year to go evangelizing. We communicated extensively by letter.

…and then came the day at Swan Lake when he had come back to Tulsa. We were in the back seat of a car, chaperones were in the front, and he asked me to marry him. I said yes. I don’t remember saying it, but Jerry says I answered, “You knew the answer before you ever asked.” 🙂

Flowers at the Edge

We were married in a preacher’s home a few weeks later: June 27th, 1956. We had a two-day honeymoon traveling by car to our first revival in Russellville, Ky.

In the summer of 2011, just after we had celebrated our 55th anniversary, we revisited Swan Lake in Tulsa. Click on either of these pictures to see many more pictures.

55 Years Later

A few days ago as we drove over to Lake Arrowhead, we stopped to admire the scenery and I snapped this picture of my beloved. Lucky, aren’t I.

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(Did I tell you that once in the snack bar, he kissed me! A terrible thing!)

Update: 2/14 12:18 pm Jerry just read this and reminded me he did not kiss me in the snack bar. It was in the ping pong room! 🙂

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What about you? Today is Valentine’s Day. Let’s hear your story.

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Animals Christianity/Religion Conferences/Seminars Family Friends Pentecostal Photography Religion Uncategorized

Final Face of Camp

It would be foolish to neglect picturing both the day and the night speakers at our recent camp, for truly, the preaching was the high point of that exceptional gathering. Rev. Bill Davis is a prolific writer, (including, surprisingly for some–Westerns) and preaches in a unique, unforgettable manner. Beginning on Tuesday, a different pastor preached each morning, followed then by Brother Davis. Every sermon was exceptional.

Rev. Jerry Jones is known around our fellowship for his studied, dynamic preaching. He is amazing, and was no disappointment in Santa Maria.

My two favorite men at camp: Jerry and Michael

The cute lady with a hat!

A little girl was tugging along this bull dog, whose name she told me, and whose I have forgotten; I know it was a lady name, maybe Madeline or something like that. Anyway, the dog did not want to walk, her owner insisted she would walk, and after I snapped a few pictures, that little girl tugged on her lazy pet, urging her down the driveway. Reluctant dog probably weighed as much as did her owner. It was hilarious.

I could go on for days posting pictures of camp, but it must end here. Come by my place sometime and I’ll show you dozens more.

Cheers!

Edit: Because it is important that all of you see this, I’m moving here a comment and my response .

Steven Saiz // August 11, 2008 at 7:51 am (edit)

Sis. Buxton, great coverage of Camp Meeting. Thank you for attending and being a part of this great meeting. You and Bro. Buxton are dear friends and it was great to see you there!

IMPORTANT NOTICE TO ALL MY READERS: Pastor Steve Saiz was the coordinator for this excellent camp meeting, and it probably is impossible to calculate the time, energy and money he expended on producing this momentous event. As you come by here, (or go to his site) please leave a note of thanks and appreciation for both Steve and Debbie, two sweet, remarkable people.

Many of you know a new district has been formed–called the Southern California District. I understand, Brother Saiz, that you will be the coordinator for our first camp there next year. Any hints? Where? When? Who? How?

Now don’t be reluctant to let us in on early plans. You know any secret is safe here. )

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My devotional blog is here.

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America Christianity/Religion Church Culture Goodness of man Honor Life My Family Pentecostal Photography Social

Ordination of Joel Buxton

By the Laying on of Hands, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.
Nothing in my life is so precious as the distinct realization of God’s having honored us to such degree that several of our family have been divinely called into the ministry. It is with profound humility that I even consider such reality, and it is with the absolute knowledge that none of us, in any way, deserves such holy honor and opportunity to be consecrated for such mission. I am awed by our extraordinary circumstances and hallowed benefits.
My grandson Joel is the latest to be so privileged, and on Sunday night at Hilltop Tabernacle, my eldest child, Steve, preached the ordination sermon to his son, Joel. He’s my son, and you know how mothers are, so take it with a grain of salt, but I doubt you will ever hear better preaching than that coming from my son, Steve. He is singularly gifted by God…and with all meekness do I say this, for such gift is only from God, and without Him, we are but stammering, vacuous beings.
Jerry had the rare and blessed opportunity to pray the ordination prayer. Such a moving moment this was, and I was especially touched, as Jerry laid his hand on Joel to pray a beautiful prayer, to see Joel reach out and grasp the arm of his beloved Pappy. Joel is a fourth generation preacher and he has been quick to seek counsel from his elders. God blessed Joel with the most beautiful, elegant, humble, talented, sweet wife. Aisha is her name.
Pictured here are my four favorite preachers: Andrew, my youngest who is planting a church in LaMesa, Ca., Joel, Jerry and Steve.
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Joel has been elected pastor of a church in Carson City, Nevada. Today, from San Diego, with their three beautiful boys, they will drive to their place of ministry. Please pray for this couple–indeed for all God’s ministers around the world.
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More comments and pictures of the ordination service are here.