Comments are welcome but please have the courtesy to sign your name. Unsigned comments will be deleted.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Back Home

The best part of any trip is coming home. Whenever I come home from a trip and see my nice familiar home I wonder why I ever wanted to go anywhere else. This trip to Mexico was no exception. We walked through our door about 7:45 last evening, two weeks after we left. A thoughtful son had come over a bit earlier to turn the heat up and leave a Welcome Home note. 
Today was consumed with unpacking, getting things in place, and back on track. The first order of business was laundry as everything came home dirty. The final urgent matter was taking my glasses for repairs. I managed to squash them the night before we flew home. I was thankful it didn't happen earlier in the trip. Leroy taped them together well enough to keep the pieces in place so I could see my way home where I promptly exchanged them for my old pair until the smashed frames can be repaired. I will need another day to get everything squared away. By Monday I should be ready to pick up and go on with the rest of my life.
Unfortunately, I will not be able to share any pictures on this post because I left my camera on my nephew's desk in San Diego. I should get it back sometime next week and can make a photo post then. After smashing my glasses and forgetting my camera, I decided I was getting dangerous and it was time to come home before I hurt myself.
The campground where we stayed was nice and well cared for but it was rather inconvenient to have the kitchen so far from the dining hall. We would make the meal in the kitchen, load everything on a van, drive up to the dining hall, unload, set up for serving, and then haul everything back to the kitchen afterward. Someone should show them how to make a kitchen next to a dining hall with a serving window between the two rooms. The log cabins were the size of a large mini-barn and were nice. Each one had a bathroom and two heaters---which we really needed. I sure was glad I took my sweat pants along to wear under my nightgown because the nights were cold. There was frost a couple mornings. One afternoon it got warm enough that I shed my sweater and knee socks for a couple hours. It just was not as warm as I expected it to be in desert country. I guess Tacate is a a higher elevation and being further from the coast than Tijuana is what makes the difference.
It was good to see the Shining Light Children's Home. It is a jewel of a children's home in comparison to the homes where the crews worked. I didn't get to see any of those but I did see the old people's home where some of them worked. It was SO depressing. The people are fed but get very little personal care. One of the things the young people did was bathe the residents. They said the only time they get bathed is when a volunteer comes, which isn't very often. The rooms are dingy with about four beds in each small room. Our girls did laundry, trying to catch up on the pile. There are no dryers and the washers have to be filled with buckets. They hung the clean clothes on lines to dry and then folded the clothes and put them in a storage room. There is no difference between men and women's clothes. They just wear whatever they get. I can't imagine actually living in such a place. But if they weren't there they would be on the street so it's better than the alternative. Seeing that place gave me a feel for the work the young people were doing. 
Leroy went out on a work crew a couple days but I was pretty well tied to the kitchen and laundry the whole time. We cooked tremendous amounts of food to feed 60 young people three meals each day. I lost count of the amounts of most things but remember we went through 23 gallons of milk, 44 dozen eggs, a case of tomatoes, 22 large loaves of bread, and similar amounts of other things.
The young people began leaving at 6 a.m. Monday (23rd) to catch their flights home. We stayed to help the two leaders pack up everything and take it to Shining Light for storage until the next crew goes down in February. The weather was about as miserable as it could get with a cold rain falling. It was one of those times I was thankful I wasn't a man. Leroy was the only one with a plastic poncho so he stayed fairly dry while the other men got soaked. The work was not completed until 9 p.m. Then we finally headed north, crossed the border at 10 and got to my nephew's house in San Diego at midnight. 
We stayed in San Diego Tuesday for a day of sightseeing. The weather was gorgeous and warm. We went to the Creation Museum at Santee, Old Town in San Diego, and the Imperial Beach to watch the sun go down. The best part (to my thrifty German genes) was that all these things were free of charge.
We got to the beach around 4:20 and were just in time to see a whale surface a couple times. Others who saw it were exclaiming about the rarity of seeing a whale so close to the beach so we knew we had not been imagining things. That was a special surprise. I've seen the sunset on the Pacific several times but it is always different and a stunning show.  It was the perfect way to end a lovely day and a two-week (working) vacation.

Friday, January 20, 2012


Our flights from Philadelphia to San Diego on Jan. 11 were on time. We even arrived in Dallas an hour early. How many times do you hear that happening? We spent two nights at my nephew's home in San Diego getting things together to cross the border. Our caravan of three fully loaded vans breezed right over the border into Mexico without answering any questions on Friday morning.
We got to our "Mexican home" at the Rancho Ojai campground below Tecate before lunch time and spent the rest of the day getting our kitchen set up. The young people who came to work in various institutions started arriving Saturday afternoon. We served supper to them as they arrived. Since then we have been cooking breakfast and supper for 60 every day and providing things for them to pack for lunches.
Three couples are doing the cooking and we are thankful to have one young couple with us to run back and forth from the kitchen to the dining hall for things. They have also done all the baking which is a big help. One day they made 10 pies for supper and baked lots of cookies for lunches. Today they baked six cakes. It takes a lot of food for one meal. One morning we scrambled twelve dozen eggs for breakfast.
The cooks also did the laundry for the young people. We do towels every day and did everything on Tuesday and Thursday. We had 22 loads on Tuesday and 18 on Thursday. We are glad most of the girls are doing their own laundry leaving us basically washing for the guys. We hung 46 pairs of jeans on the fence to dry.
It was cool and rainy the first couple days but since then has been sunny and warm. It is around 70 during the day but cools quickly as soon as the sun starts going down. Nights are quite chilly and we are thankful for the heater in our cabin.
We have two more days of cooking ahead of us (after today) and will leave here Monday morning. We'll spend two nights in San Diego again and then fly home on Wednesday.
Until then----

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Edge Of All Light

I'm packed and ready to leave tomorrow for two weeks in San Diego and Mexico. I don't expect to have Internet access so this will probably be my last post for awhile. We will spend the first and last two nights of those two weeks with my nephew in San Diego. The rest of the time will be in Mexico.
We are going to serve as cooks for the Orphans For Jesus project associated with the Shining Light Children's Home in Tecate, Mexico. Every January, and again in February, teams of about sixty young people go to Mexico to do work projects in various children's and old folks homes. We will be staying in little cabins at a campground in Mexico.
We will start early in the morning to cook breakfast before the young people go out to start working. We will provide a packed lunch for them to take along and then have supper ready when they return from their work days. In between, when we are not cooking, we will be doing laundry for them. I don't expect there will be much idle time. We may have to come home to rest. 
My sister and her husband have cooked for this group before. Being the only one of the three couples going to cook, she has worked out menus and made the shopping list of ingredients we need to purchase. Some will be bought in San Diego and some in Mexico. I feel rather green and at this point, wondering what I'm getting myself into and how everything will work out. But it's too late to back out now. We committed to do this last fall and our tickets are paid. So we'll just barge out in faith and trust the Lord to provide what we need each hour.
“When you have come to the edge of all light that you know and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown, Faith is knowing one of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly.”
(Patrick Overton)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

JD Progress Report

Leroy's tractor-building project was on hold most of the summer and fall because other things kept getting in the way. Now that there is no grass to mow, leaves, to rake, or snow to shovel, he is finally finding some time to work on it again. He spent two days at it this week and made some real progress. He cut a hood down to size and set the pieces together to see if they fit. The hood and some other pieces need to be painted but it is actually starting to look like a tractor now.
There's still a lot of work to complete this project. How long it will take to complete it depends on how much time he finds to work on it but it is looking hopeful.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Grandma's Brag Page

We went through the Christmas and New Year holidays expecting the arrival of Gene and Amy's first child but he was too shy to face the crowds at the family dinners and stayed in hiding. Eight days after his due date, Grayson Phares Stauffer finally made his appearance at 1:38 a.m. on January 5. He weighed in at 6 lb. 14 oz. and is eighteen inches long. His middle name is in honor of his great-grandfather.
Some of our friends add grandchildren to their families every year but it's been seven years since we last had a new grandchild. Obviously, we were excited about this baby's arrival and went to the hospital to see him last evening. He seems bewildered by this strange new world and not sure he likes it. But he's a Stauffer and he'll learn to adapt.
A Grandma's Brag Page would not be complete without pictures so here he is in the very first day of his life.

We'll get better pictures after he has time to adjust to living in this world but this is enough to confirm he is a little cutie. We are so thankful for a healthy normal baby.
"Every new child comes with the message that God has not yet despaired of mankind."

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year

The year of 2012 began with the Stauffer family Christmas dinner. We missed those who did not show up but a nice sized crowd gathered to feast and fellowship. The oldest one in the crowd was Leroy's 88 year-old mother and the youngest was the little boy who was due to be born Dec. 27 but was still too shy to show his face.

One of the long standing traditions, the ladies grab bag gift exchange, fell by the wayside this year. Instead, we assembled school kits to be shipped to orphans in Guatemala. They need things more than any of us do.
Today marks 18 years since our son Steve left us. He has now been gone as long as we had him. It's hard to believe 18 years could go by so quickly. I can't imagine him being 36. He's forever 18 in my mind. Two years after he died, grandson Josh joined the family. That's life--a mixture of joys and sorrows. Perhaps today the new little boy we're waiting for will arrive and make tip the balance two-to-one on the joy side.