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How that both photographs and memories enable us to relive events has often been discussed, and since I’m in agreement with the premise, I take lots of pictures, and, I often engage myself in memories–both of recent happenings and of those from long ago. We’re blessed with a relatively large house, and we have rather given one of the rooms to memories. In that room are stored thousands of pictures, both bound neatly in albums and filed into boxes, ranging from those designed for pictures, to ordinary shoe boxes. In the closet of the room is a slide projector and hundreds of slides. The picture room also stores and displays mementos from our travels. My old cameras are there. It’s a great room, gets to be a mess easily, (especially during the holidays) for all the family know they are welcome to rummage around in there, and sometimes the “rummager” is less skilled at returning things to their spots as he is at taking them out. 🙂 The room has an ordinary blue and grey sofa, (complete with cushions that tend to slide off if one is sleeping on it) plenty of lamps, and when our house is full of grandkids and great-grandkids it also becomes a bedroom, utilizing said sad couch, and with blankets, sleeping bags, and little people covering every suitable inch of the floor.

Images in that room run the gamut from baby pictures of our latest great-grandchild to austere images of Jerry’s grandparents and of mine. Memories galore. Jerry and I; young and handsome, our babies, our churches, our friends, our trips…  Priceless. These images and objects enable the replay of the occasion; a reflection of the day’s mood, color, scent, sound, and emotion, so that in actuality I live again that day.

The wonderful winter holidays approach, and this morning I’ve thought extensively about Anticipation, and how that such a sense adds another element, another layer of enjoyment to any occasion. I’m rollicking in Anticipation of Thanksgiving. A couple of my granddaughters called today telling me how they will be here with us, and how they are looking forward to it, and how my great-grandchildren are wanting to be here. I’m loving it. I’m thinking of the bed situation, and asked Jerry a few minutes ago if in the next few weeks, he could take a look at our two inflatable mattresses that we have to use when a bunch of us are together. The last time Chris and Christina slept on one of them, by morning, they were flat on the hard floor. I believe some of the little ones had been using it for a trampoline. 😦

I’m smelling savory turkey and dressing. I’m catching whiffs of spicy pumpkin pie as it nears a finish in the oven. I’m hearing youngsters yelping outside, and roars of laughter as we engage in our favorite board game, Balderdash. (One year we laughed so loudly, Ken and Nancy heard us from across the street!) I’m hearing the chop of onion, the whir of the mixer, the gurgle of a fresh pot of coffee and the clink of crystal. I’m seeing the house in an upheaval. I’m thinking table cloths and china and mashed potatoes.

And so–certainly for me–this Thanksgiving has begun. I’m thinking I will experience it at least four ways: I will continue with my anticipation of that bountiful day, I will experience it fully when the day  comes, later I will stare at pictures we snap, and in my mind, many days and years from now, I will again explore its depth, using the blessed memory God has so graciously given us.

But for now, I have only the Anticipation. Know something? It’s cool.


8:00 pm Tuesday edit

I’m not the only one in anticipation of the big day. My 13-year-old grandson Nathaniel was just up here visiting us and told me he has cut a huge stack of papers to use in playing Balderdash! That’s my kind of grandboy. 🙂

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A Blessed Week of Thanksgiving

It was almost a week–a week of Thanksgiving–beginning Sunday the 22nd after the beautiful Thanksgiving dinner at our church, Christ Alive. It was mid-afternoon when Jerry and I drove the 4 1/2 hours to our Crestline home. Our home is situated in such a way that we pass the rear of the house before making a sharp turn and pull into the driveway in the front. As we drove past the backyard, both Jerry and I noticed lights on in the upstairs area of the house.

“Rebecca must have left on a light,” I thought. She had gone up a couple of days before to oversee carpet cleaners who tackled all our downstairs carpets.

As we pulled up the driveway and into the garage, though, we noticed lights everywhere…and then we saw her car. Our sweet daughter and her son, Nathaniel, were already there, with the house warmed–a crackling fire roaring in the living room fireplace.

And so it began…an exceptional week of Thanksgiving with our family and friends. Except for Michael, who was with Mel at her family’s home, on Thanksgiving day, all our children were with us, along with our grandson Chris and his family. Friends Jay and Holly rounded out the group of 18 who were seated for our traditional luscious Thanksgiving dinner.

Chloe had set the table, choosing to use these combination napkin rings and place cards. Shawnna did the calligraphy. I always want to have the children sit with the adults, but our table just won’t stretch that far, so we set a children’s table…using red plates! (Click on any of the pictures to view them in a larger size.)

You can’t see Gentry at the table, but he is pictured well in the kitchen with his beautiful yeast rolls which he made totally “from scratch.”  Everyone pitched in to cook this exceptional meal. When Steve and Dearrah came in from San Diego, he was bearing two large ham butts which were coated with a scrumptious Cajun glaze. Rebecca bought a huge tom, and together we chopped and mixed and seasoned until the giblet gravy and the cornbread dressing were perfect. Chloe peeled, boiled and whipped potatoes into a fluffy, buttery mound. Shawnna prepared two large casserole dishes of her famous, cheesy green beans, and before Friday night was over, there wasn’t a green bean in sight. Desserts abounded, but before we began to eat, Jerry stood at the head of the table, expressing his love for everyone there, and calling on Nathaniel to read portions of beautiful Psalm 136 that speaks so eloquently of thankfulness.

Gloriously inevitable were the games where we hooted and howled with laughter, and one night after Jerry had gone to bed and we were still at the “gaming table,” open swung the bedroom door on the landing, and the sweet Patriarch growled, “You’re being too loud! Woke me from a sound sleep.” We snickered, and said…sorry…and went right back at it, until finally we were all tuckered out and went to bed.

Friends came by; we ate leftovers and ordered in pizza. We encouraged everyone to take at least one bite of the myriad desserts, never forgetting Chloe’s beautiful chocolate meringue pie. We hugged and patted and washed dishes…and did it again…and again…and went to the store one more time, and put jackets on the babies, and took them off again, and matched up gloves for the cold hands and found boots that fit the growing feet. We opened the second pound of Starbucks coffee beans, made another pitcher of tea, and unloaded the dishwasher and put clothes in the dryer.

I had been disappointed to read weather forecasts that predicted moderate, dry weather…and the forecasts were accurate. But I knew the beautiful weather was a blessing in a way for the youngsters had a great time playing outside, even to a late evening football game. Daddies and one grandpa were running about and huddling with Ella-Claire who is two and with Drake who is three. It was a delight to watch.

But on Friday evening, a cold rain began, and during the night a blustery storm blew in with thunder and lightening that is unusual in our part of the country. Our house shook so that some persons got out of bed and spent part of the night in the living room. I awoke to the crashing of thunder and when our bedroom was illuminated with brilliant lightening but promptly went back to sleep.

Silently and without my being aware, began the snow, so that when I peered from the bathroom window early Saturday morning, the ground was blanketed with two or three inches of that pristine covering. It was a fairyland. The trees were white and icy. The temperature had dropped 23 degrees from Friday morning…and so ended the Thanksgiving week. Snow suits and boots came out in earnest, snow ball fights ensued, and one beautiful snow man was built, sporting carrot features and a bright red scarf and hat.

The day had cleared with peeks of blue overhead, but just before we left, the sky lowered and dark clouds built. Hurrying now, we finished packing and as we drove away, fresh snow was falling. We left Rebecca in our home, and when I checked on her yesterday, she was still there. “Nathaniel doesn’t have to be in school until Tuesday. We’re just hunkered down here. It’s so nice.”

I knew there was plenty of food for Rebecca and Nathaniel; there were fresh coffee beans and lots of wood for the fireplace. I consider it a pretty nifty way to finish up the Thanksgiving week. Hope yours was as delightful as was ours…Now on to Christmas, my favorite time of the year!

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“Tell the Gang Hello”

Jerry had to go to his doctor’s (in California)  for a routine check-up, so Wednesday night after church here in Lake Havasu we drove to Crestline and spent a couple of days in our home there. I went down to Redlands with him on Friday and while he was with his doctor I popped over to WalMart and to Berean Bible Book Store.

Anticipating that a gaggle of family members will find their way to our house for Thanksgiving, I filled my WalMart basket to the brim–paper towels, tp, laundry detergent, apple juice, soft drinks, cocoa, yeast, canned goods….and the like. Only one person was behind me in the checkout line–a gentleman in a wheelchair. My checker was a somber, slow lady, looking over my purchases, then, in a sauntering way, reaching here and there for an item that would fit nicely into the bag she was filling. Once from the corner of my eye, I saw the gentleman behind me back up his chair, as though to change lines, then, I suppose having a change of mind, pulled it back in line behind me. I smiled at him.

Finally there was a space on the counter behind my groceries, and there the gentleman placed three small items. “Yours is easier than mine,” I said to him.

“Yes, I’m buying only for myself. Looks like you have quite a gang there.”

“I do,” I responded. I thought to tell him there really is only Jerry and me, that we live up in Crestline, and that mostly these days we are in Lake Havasu, but that we have a large family and I’m hoping many of them will come for Thanksgiving, and about the week I just had with some of the grandkids…but I didn’t say anything. Just stood there thinking. Thinking of my great family…and wondering about the gentleman in the wheel chair. Did he have family? Children? Live nearby? Spend Thanksgiving together? A rather lonely air accompanied him.

I paid the clerk, took the receipt she handed me, and before I placed my hand on my basket to push it away, I turned to the gentleman. “Hope you have a good day.”

His face brightened. Then he spoke. “Tell the gang hello for me. Tell them hello”

Brought up short, I paused for a minute, then responded. “I will. I will tell them.”

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Happy Thanksgiving!

3:45 Thanksgiving Afternoon

I’m thankful:

That after the delicious dinner we just finished eating, my children chased me away, and from my spot here on the couch in our bedroom I hear animated and lively conversation amidst the rattle of pots and pans as they clean the kitchen.

dsc_0050I’m thankful that since Sunday evening when we drove from Lake Havasu we have had 15 family members visiting here in Crestline, that we have so many youngsters and, that, for our Tuesday evening dinner,  Chloe and Nathaniel created beautiful centerpieces for our dining table.


I’m thankful that our bedrooms are all full and that the study floor looks like this:

dsc_0073I’m thankful for wood-chopping and for the boys who carried the pieces up the front stairs and made a fine stack just outside the living room door.

dsc_0086I’m thankful for Sage who wanted to help, but found it too cold, so she watched from the top of the deck.


I’m thankful for wrestling in the living room, for youth and strength.

dsc_0143I’m thankful for God, for Jerry and for the rest of my family, including these little ones who last night piled all their toys on Pappy’s lap.


And for you, my friends,  I wish much joy and happiness.

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To Granny’s for Thanksgiving

Ella-Claire Buxton, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

Meet Ella-Claire Buxton, who at nine-months-old just spent her first Thanksgiving at Granny and Pappy’s house. She tasted mashed potatoes and gravy and loves cinnamon roll frosting.

I think all of them will be chefs. When they scrambled into the house on Wednesday, yelping and shouting, I was making pies and immediately they took possession of the rolling pins.

Chefs Cole and Brady here.


My devotional blog is here.



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A Glowing End to Thanksgiving Day

Although my thoughts and conversation today have been full of happy and eager thanksgiving, I would feel badly not to speak the same sentiments here on my blog before the day has passed. There is so much for which I am thankful. I want to bring to your attention three persons whose dire situations emphasize the overwhelming blessings which have been heaped on me.

The first is Army Spc. John Austin Johnson, a wounded veteran, who as he lay in an Austin, Texas hospital lost three children to a deadly rollover automobile crash. Mr. Johnson’s wife and children were on their way to visit him in the hospital when she lost control of the car and it rolled four times, killing the children. He was recovering from his fifth wounding by an improvised explosive device during his two years in Iraq. Associated Press has the complete story here.

A short while ago, my daughter, Rebecca, began working for Inland Home Supportive Services, a government funded organization whose goal is to assist disabled or very sick persons to remain in their own homes as long as possible.

“You must meet TM,” (not her real name) Rebecca told me a few days ago. This woman ia 54 years old, is 5’7″ tall and weighs 95 pounds. She was born with cerebral palsy, has no use of her legs, has an issue with gender identity, and has celiac disease. Although she uses a wheelchair for some things, for the most part when she is home, she crawls on her hands and knees to get around. She shows streaks of brilliance, but because of severe problems through her life, in many ways, she acts as a 12 year old child. On her wall are documents that indicate that at one time she took the vows of a nun. Her house is spotlessly clean, Rebecca reports.

“I’ll bring you some food from our Thanksgiving meal,” Rebecca told her, and when Rebecca left here an hour or so ago, she had prepared a plate of food for TM.

The third person I want to mention is Bethani Roam. Bethani is 24, a minister’s wife, the youngest daughter of some of our good friends. A couple of weeks ago, she suddenly became very ill, and within a few days was diagnosed as having complete liver failure. She was airlifted to a hospital in San Francisco and lay near death until a liver donor was located. Miraculously one was found within a day, she had a complete liver transplant, and is now successfully recovering at home. A blog site has been established and there you can follow the daily developments of this event.

Those are only three out of tens of thousands similar stories from around the world. And here I sit tonight in a warm home, grandchildren on pallets, in cribs, and eating snacks at the bar. I’ve played several games of checkers with grandboys, flames are blazing in the fireplace, and our fridge is chocked with leftovers from the sumptious Thanksgiving meal we enjoyed a few hours ago. Hand lettered Happy Thanksgiving signs are stuck on windows and on the mantel, toys are scattered on the floor and paper airplanes litter the place.

Yes, I’m blessed…and thankful.


My devotional blog is here.

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Home for Thanksgiving

Welcome Home, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

We’re home–our home in Crestline. I was excited as a child when around 5:00 last evening we turned onto our cul-de-sac to make our final approach. I was driving and when we were a couple of houses away, I began honking the horn, both to let Ken and Nancy know we had arrived and to shout my own celebration. Our neighbor Ray was in the street, so we stopped and talked a few minutes. Got a big welcome from him, but Ken and Nancy weren’t home to grin with us and laugh and hug. A couple of hours later they returned. Ken called and he and Jerry talked at some length.

The first thing I saw as I entered our living room was this sign stretched across our fireplace mantel: Welcome Home. Immediately I suspected Nathaniel and when I called to inquire and to thank him, he said, “Aw, that’s nothing, Granny.”

But it was something, and it will stay up through the Thanksgiving holiday. Sweet Rebecca had come up and dusted and vacuumed the house, so we’re all set for the celebrations. I will spend the day down the hill shopping; main items on my list are Christmas presents, groceries and a macro-lens for my camera.

Our first Thanksgiving service at Christ Alive was a great success. We had four first-time visitors and we gave away 20 turkeys. One of the rascals now resides in our fridge, doing his thaw and awaiting his brining procedure.

A happy day to all of us as we enter this week of Thanksgiving celebration and festivities. I want to hear from you and of your plans and travels.


My devotional blog is here.

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Living in Mortal Danger

“I don’t think they can see us here.”

“Okay, I think we can make it now.”

“Here they come. Run, Baby, run.”


John has submitted this piece to Digg. Click here if you’d like to digg (vote) for the turkeys!