Wednesday, July 16, 2014

WSBR Is Going to Florida!

It's happening, it's really happening!

Now, things do look a little different than we had planned as you read in my last blog post; but trust me, it's much better than we had been hoping for.

  • First of all, we had originally been planning to take the boys before school for just four or five days. Now, we will let their teachers know so we can get homework made up and all that jazz, but we are going for A WHOLE WEEK at the end of August/beginning of September.
  • Originally, we were going to just take Jon and Whitney and their boys, plus Blake and I and our boys. Now, thanks to generous donors, we have enough money to also be able to take our relief parents and their three kids with us, too! 
  • We originally asked for help raising about $1200 for gas and some "fun expenses" (going out to eat, snorkeling gear or something, etc). We had enough petty cash to cover the rest that we needed. Well, WSBR wants to give the biggest "thank you" ever to those who gave so generously, because we have enough money that we don't have to use ANY of the petty cash for housing or anything--donors paid for all of it! We can now use the petty cash for a family outing or getting school stuff for the boys, or even things we need for the Florida trip for the boys. What a huge blessing!

So, in case you are wondering what you have paid for, this is the place we are all (as in, all 17 of us) are staying! There are two master bedrooms for Jon, Whitey, and baby Henry, and Blake, Adeline, and I; there is a room with four bunk beds for our boys; a room with two beds for two of J&W's boys, and another room with a bed for J&W's third boy. Attached to the big house is a guest house for our relief parents and their three kids. It comes equipped with an amazing kitchen and dining room, and (as pictured above) a balcony from which you have an awesome view, and even our own private pool! The person who owns the house even gave us a $700 discount!

All this to say, we are absolutely blown away by God's provision, so beautifully and timely given through all who have donated. If you still wish to donate to the trip, you can use paypal via the website or send a check; we can always use your gifts for groceries or buying things the boys may need for the trip. 

From all of us here at Willow Springs, thank you so much! We are so grateful!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

An Adventure Awaits!

First of all, before I tell you the exciting news I have, I just want to shout out a HUGE thank you to the reader responses I received in just mere hours after mentioning things that could be donated to the ranch. We have three bikes awaiting some TLC by my awesome can-fix-anything husband, we have an abundance of embroidered towels in the works, AND we are waiting at this very moment for a queen bed AND a bonus futon to be delivered to us for the guestroom for our superhero relief parents. God is good, and He has shown that through the generous hearts of those who took the time to read about life on the ranch and do what they could to be involved. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your generosity! You are a blessing to us!

So, our exciting news is....*drumroll please*

WSBR is going to Florida!!!!!!!
(P.S. TJ has no idea why we took this picture. Because the boys don't officially know yet.)

So, here's the story. We have a thing called "petty cash" that we receive from generous donors so we can do fun things together as a family that our budget wouldn't normally cover--go out to eat, go see a movie, etc. Recently, both houses received enough petty cash that we thought, "Hey, why don't we save this and all go on a vacation together before school starts?" Jon and Whitney brought up that their boys have never seen the ocean, and we think only one of ours has ever seen it, and we don't even know if he has. Blake and Jon began looking for a place we could afford to go where the boys could get to have the adventure of seeing the ocean. 

We have managed to find a place that we can afford to all stay, and Whitney and I are working on a grocery budget that can feasibly feed all of us without breaking the bank. We are so excited about this opportunity! Taking six boys, two babies, and four adults to Florida is going to be one (crazy?) fun adventure! But we are missing one little thing.

Plane tickets are totally out of the question. However, we think if we can raise the money for gas, that this trip will definitely be doable. We are in contact with some friends of WSBR to see if they can cover gas, but after seeing the loving generosity of you all with the bed, bikes, and towels, I thought I would reach out to see if anyone is willing/wanting to give. To give you an idea of numbers, we need about $900. Ideally, we still need about $1200 total for gas PLUS entertainment stuff (i.e. renting a wakeboard or surfboard, if we all wanted to go out for dinner together one night, etc.). If you are interested in giving toward our trip financially, you can go to the website link I put in the last blog post (but, PayPal will charge you a fee). You can also write a check for whatever amount you like (which we will gratefully and happily accept!) payable to Willow Springs Boys Ranch, and mail it to 880876 S. 3390 Rd., Chandler, OK 74804. 

Thank you all so much for the prayers you offer so faithfully, and the gifts you give so abundantly. We trust that God will provide to give these boys who have been given too many bitter memories one really great memory together as a ranch family. We look forward to seeing how He makes it happen!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

A Full(er) House

On Monday, July 7 (exactly one month since IG moved in), the Liddell house will be getting our third boy! KS will be here, and we are so excited! He will be sharing a room with IG, as they are almost the same age and will be going into the same grade when school starts next month. Please be in prayer for KS (I am not sure if his name starts with a C or a K, as I haven't seen the official form for him yet; bear in mind his initials may change :P) as he moves in and begins adjusting to life on the ranch. He has never lived at the ranch before, but has visited several times and is already somewhat familiar with it; I think this could help him adjust. Also, please pray that he and IG will hit it off well; they could potentially be really great influences on each other, or end up being really competitive because they are so close in age.

Something I said in the above paragraph has just really occurred to me--that the boys will be back in school next month! Where has the summer gone? There have been a few extra long days here and there, but the weeks have been short. We work hard and we play hard. The summer has been a great time of learning to work together as a family to get things done, and learning to have fun together when the work is finished.

I have been asked frequently what it is like to have rambunctious older boys and a toddler all in one house. Our one-year-old daughter, Adeline, has played a very special role in our ministry at WSBR. What a blessing it is that even at her young age, I already see how God can use her to minister to others (obviously she isn't aware of this--but her mother is). The way her eyes light up and she smiles or laughs when she sees TJ or IG seems to fill them instantly with joy. They will just chase her in the living room or try to coax her to walk or do everything they can to get giggles out of her for hours! It seems like she is good medicine for the wounds they have endured in their lives before moving to WSBR. As for how the boys are for her, I was worried for quite a while before we moved to the ranch that I would have to constantly run damage control, but I knew that God would protect Adeline more than I ever feasibly could. The boys are absolutely wonderful with her--we seldom need to remind them to be gentle with her. They are extremely protective of her, and always hate when it's her naptime or bedtime because they want to keep playing. However, neither of them ever seem to be around if she needs a new diaper. ;) I am confident that, even if it doesn't happen as quickly as it has with TJ or IG, that KS will also adore Addie, and that she will love him just as much. :)

Here is a list of prayer requests and needs you can be aware of if you wish to be a part of what God is doing here at WSBR:

  • As stated in the first paragraph, please especially be in prayer for KS this week as he moves into our house.
  • Prayer for TJ and IG to remain open and welcoming as they adjust to KS becoming a part of the family. 
  • It isn't really a ranch thing, but we are weaning Adeline off of her pacifiers. She may still need to take one to the nursery at church, though, or I have a feeling she will borrow one from another baby. :/
  • For good attitudes about the balance of work and play and being a family to continue, and on some days improve ;)
  • For whatever future boys God will bring to either the Mac house or the Liddell house. When KS moves in, there will be three boys in each house--so there is definitely room for more. :)
Some needs which you may consider donating:
  • As always, if you would like to give financially to WSBR, you can go here
  • We had one bicycle for a while that was quite old that our boys used to all share, but it was already on its last leg and quickly became unrideable. There is lots of room for riding bikes at the ranch, and I know the boys would just love if a bicycle (or bicycles, plural) were donated. If you have a bike sitting in your garage that is taking up space, we would love if you considered giving it to WSBR. 
  • Our relief house parents just had a baby girl a few months ago, and have two young boys as well. All of them share our guest room when they come to do relief for our days off once a week. The bed in our guest room is fairly old, and is only a full size bed. If you or someone you know has a queen sized bed in good condition they could donate, it would certainly be well received! 
  • This isn't really a need, but if you're one of those women I envy who have a talent for embroidery, Blake and I thought it would be really neat if the boys had two or three towels with their initials, name, or a monogram of their initials embroidered on it so that they could always see whose was whose. Just an idea :)
If you are reading this, thank you, thank you, thank you for investing your time in these boys and in the ministry of WSBR to catch up and be aware of what God is doing, and of needs that need to be met. Yours prayers are coveted and appreciated!