Saturday, November 11, 2017

Wandering With The Wrights

I want to start this blog by thanking all Veterans for their service.  This country is far from perfect but it is so much better than any place else thanks to the sacrifices of our service men and women and their families.  Having been a Navy wife for many years I know first hand the sacrifices many make.  Not us so much we had it easy but we had dear friends who sacrificed so much.  My dad was a Marine, my late husband was in the Navy and our godson is in the Army.  My cousin was career Air Force and three of his children have served.  Many dear friends went to Vietnam and Jerry's son did two tours in Afghanistan.  I don't want to start naming other friends & family as I know I would forget someone but THANK YOU ALL!!

Our last blog had us in Santa Paula, CA near Jerry's sister and step-sister and their families.
Jerry, his sister Deena, Reta & Wally - Reta is Jerry's mom's cousin - we visited them two years ago and made the trip again to Yorba Linda, CA to visit.  They are a delightful couple and we always enjoy ourselves.
Jerry enjoying the beautiful flowers in Wally & Reta's yard.

We brought home fresh oranges
We drove to Yorba Linda during the three day record breaking heat wave here.  I know people laugh about dry heat and if it is 110 it is hot and that is true but without humidity being in the shade is very tolerable and where we are there is usually a lovely ocean breeze.

Jeana turning five!!
And a very tired Halloween princess!
Vincent 8 1/2 months showing off his two bottom teeth
Our Little Pumpkin Vincent

After a week in Santa Paula we drove 35 miles to Forest Home Christian Camp in Oak View, CA - right outside of Ojai, CA (many of you may remember the name Ojai from the TV show Brothers & Sisters
We see dear all around our motorhome every morning and evening - they are relatively tame and as long as we don't walk toward them they just hang around.

The first week-end here Jerry spent 2 1/2 days working on an addition we needed to add to our Jeep to make towing the Jeep easier.  I have no idea how he knows how to do all this stuff but am so grateful that he does.
We started work on Monday morning and at 10:00 we were invited up the the cafeteria.  They had a brunch in our honor with the entire staff.  Everyone introduced themselves and told us what their jobs were and a little of their personal history.
They of course asked us to share which we did.  As we left the cafeteria to go out and take this picture I was overcome with the need to share with the group about my having donated a kidney almost 5 years ago to the day.  I hadn't even thought of mentioning it when Jerry and I were sharing our stories.  So I asked the director if it was okay if I shared a little more and he said sure.  So basically just said I had donated a kidney, it was a God thing for sure and if they ever had the chance to do it for someone that I encouraged them to do it.  Well it was definitely God nudging me to share because low and behold one of the staff was going Wednesday to be tested to see if he could donate!!  Needless to say he had a lot of questions and we have had two lengthy positive discussion about it.  Have to listen to those God Whispers!!
They also gave us a bag of Hersey Hugs & Kisses and the cute note on it says:
We hope you FALL in love with Forest Home!
Hugs & Kisses from
The Forest Home Staff

We have been here two weeks and here is what we have been up to:
Jerry working on repairing the backdrop for their  outside amphitheater.  He has also removed an old wooden small projector table and built a new much larger one with sides so their projector and laptops can't fall off.
He has also added additional electrical outlets. 
They have lent us a golf cart to run around in -  Teddy loves it when he gets to go for a ride.

Two years ago we met a couple in AZ that we became fast friends with - our paths seem to continually cross.  They were in Illinois this summer for two weeks where we camp host.  We had Thanksgiving with them last year and we all did the Reno air races together in Sept.  Then low and behold they ended up in Santa Barbara right after we arrived here in Oak View so we met them one night for dinner.

Jerry and Jeff
Nancy and I
I love what they added to the side of the camp gift store - anyone can post prayer requests

Jerry switching fluorescent lights in the kitchen to LED's

This is what it looks like when Carol let's the fluorescent roll off the counter and they go boom, boom, boom

We love the looks of these pepper trees - soft leaves that flutter in the breeze and the bright red berries

Last Saturday the camp had their yearly picnic open to the local community - they had a great turn out and it was great fun.
Jerry and I offered to help so we were in charge of the S'mores
They were enjoyed by young and old alike - several people had never had S'mores before!
They even heated the swimming pool so people could swim

Climbing Wall

Zip Line 
Pictures just don't do it justice but this was Thursday - blue sky, clouds over the mountain 
When I am not helping Jerry I have been organizing a linen and maintenance storage area.

Still have a way to go but making headway!

One of the hard things with this life style is finding someone you like to cut your hair.  Two years ago Carol cut my hair and she remembered me when I walked in the shop yesterday.  It was great to catch up and to not have to explain what I wanted done.
There hasn't been any fire danger since we arrived but several months ago they did have fires nearby.  You always see them dropping the red fire retardant out of the airplanes - well this is what it looks like on the mountain side.
Today Jerry's sister came up and we went to the quaint town of Ojai.
This is the Early Bird Shopper
In the beautiful park in the center of town in the Trimpin Sound Arch
It is a sculpture that plays music when you walk under it.

Some of the shopping area in Ojai
Loved the vines growing on the roof of this shop
That pretty much brings you up to date.  Once again we are so enjoying serving at this Christian Camp.  The staff is awesome and whenever there are groups here we get to eat with the staff.  This allows us to really get to know the staff and to understand better how the camp runs - it also means I don't have to cook and clean-up!!!  The chef has been awesome about looking out for Jerry and his special dietary restrictions.  We have one more week to "work" here and will then stay another week so that we can enjoy Thanksgiving with Jerry's family.  

Our home church in Gurnee will once again be serving a full Thanksgiving meal to many recruits from the Great Lakes Naval Station on Thanksgiving Day - know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.  It is such a wonderful gesture - lots of work but worth it when you see the smiles on the young sailors faces when they leave - give them all a hug from me.

We hope that you all have a Wonderful Thanksgiving - Jerry, Carol and Teddy

Sunday, October 22, 2017

October 22, 2017

Starting today's blog with grandchildren pictures:

Vincent 8 months
Bella & Lily Vincent's precious sisters
Just love this picture of Vincent!!

The last blog left us one week into our three week mission project with the SOWERS - I didn't think things there could get much better as the first week was outstanding - but Sugar Pine just continued to embrace us and we hated to leave.

The welcome sign states Impacting Lives for Christ and they sure do - including ours.  When we work with SOWERS the men work all day with two breaks and lunch.  The women only work until lunch time so I was home one afternoon when I noticed three ladies walking around looking at the campground area we were in (at this point there were only two campers there).  I stuck my head out and asked if they needed anything and turns out they were looking into using Sugar Pine for a women's retreat.  We talked for awhile and I shared that we were SOWERS and one lady whose husband is soon to retire said they wanted to go full-time and were very interested in SOWERS.  I got her a brochure and we all said good-bye.  We are standing in a beautiful setting, tall-tall pine trees, a babbling brook right behind us, the sun just shining through the tall trees, not a sound to be heard - as they walked away one of the ladies stopped and said is there anything we could pray for you for today?  Kind of took me by surprise but we had just learned the night before that our daughter-in-law had left her job and was looking for direction.  So these three women I never met and I stood in this beautiful setting, held hands and prayed for Amy!!  I also prayed for their retreat.  I can't put into words how special it was.  Definitely a reminder that there are good people in this world and how incredibly blessed I am to be living my life right now.
This is a photo of the layout of Sugar Pine.  It is very large with many cabins and wonderful activities for youth and adults.
On the weekend Jerry and I took a ride on this powerful locomotive that once hauled massive log trains through the Sierra Mountain where lumberjacks felled these mighty pines.
I am still amazed at the size of the pine cones
Jerry and I on the train

Half way through the trip we stopped to fill with water - these engines work hard going up and down the mountain.

We also attended church on Sunday's where several ladies from the retreat I mentioned in the last blog attend so was great worshipping with them.
My mom with Vincent!!

This is the maintenance crew at Sugar Pine - wonderful Christian men.  They start every morning with devotions and pray for each other's needs.  While at Sugar Pine Jerry worked with this crew.  They repaired heaters in both cabins and staff residence, started a new tiling project for the dining hall, started work on the dining hall expansion and he assisted with various other repairs.
Here we are with Debbie and Ferrin who run the camp.  When I wasn't assisting housekeeping with cabin cleaning during fast "turnaround" days, I washed, dried and folded linens for the cabins and the dining hall and also worked in the office with Debbie inputting info into the computer system and filing.  Also gave the office a good cleaning.
We enjoyed the cute decorations in the dining hall.

We left last Friday and traveled down and through mountains.   We were at roughly 4,700' and now at 279'
It rained the night before we left - the first time in the three weeks we were there - as we headed, up, down and through what they call the Grapevine it was extremely cloudy but about half-way through we switched back to the beautiful blue skies we were used to

We arrived in Santa Paula, CA Friday late afternoon.  We stayed at the park we are in 2015 when we were here visiting Jerry's family.  It is a small park but very nice and we are only a half-hour from Jerry's sister Deena and her husband Tim and Jerry's half-sister Betsy and her husband Dick.  Visiting family this week is the main reason we are here.  It worked out beautifully that Jerry and his sister's school was having a multi-class reunion the day after we arrived.

Jerry Class of '69 and his sister Deena class of '82.  Saturday morning we went on a tour of the high school.  The man who put it on did a wonderful job and it was very interesting.

There was a scrimmage football game going on while we were there and they stopped the game, the two teams lined up on the field and they played the Camarillo High School Song for all the alumni there.  Everyone was touched and stood and clapped when it was over.
After the tour we all went over to the Camarillo House(more about Camarillo House later) for lunch.  Both Jerry and Deena knew people there and they had a great time reminiscing.  Jerry's 50th is in two years and based on his delight yesterday I am guessing we will be back for that celebration.
Teddy was left alone quite awhile while we were in Camarillo so when we got home we took him for a bike ride to a nearby park.  He was a happy puppy.  He gets SO excited when he sees the bikes come out.
Today started with our surprising Jerry's step-sister and brother-in-law at church.  Dick is a pastor at the Camarillo Presbyterian church and Betsy is very involved like most pastor's wives.  It turned out she was greeting and the look on her face when we walked up was priceless.  Dick was up leading the choir.  When he turned around and saw us his face just lit up - I think our surprise worked.  Dick led a bible study after the service so we stayed and enjoyed the special time.  I know we will see more of them during our time here.

Earlier I mentioned the Camarillo House and the town Jerry attended high school in is Camarillo, CA.  So where did the name come from.  We have actually toured the Camarillo House on previous visits and it is beautiful.  It is a Queen Anne-style Victorian.  It was built in 1892 and is 6,000 square feet.  Adolfo Camarillo operated his ranch for 78 years.  He employed 700 workers.  He was greatly respected in the community and bred white stallions.  He was a good employer and his beautiful home was the center of many community functions.  Today, Oct. 22, 2017 would have been his 153rd birthday and every year the foundation puts on festivities to honor him.  So after church we went over.
The Camarillo House today (if you look up in the middle you will see cut outs of Adolfo and his wife) looking down and enjoying the celebration
There were many piƱata for the children 
The beautiful white stallions

Mariachi band that was superb

All of the porches around the entire house were decorated

Fun entertainment

Beautiful dancers
We will be here in town until Friday and then move a short distance, 26 miles, to our next SOWERS project.  So we will be able to remain near Jerry's family for another month!!  And incase you are wondering that is a good thing!

Before closing I want to wish my brother Brian a Happy Birthday tomorrow - Love you - your much older sister - Carol :-)