Monday, 17 November 2014

A Block For Their Birthday

What a day. 

This time 8 years ago I was adjusting to the fact that Ben and I suddenly had two tiny girls and one tiny boy. Three babies that were totally dependant on us.. I would never have imagined in what way, and for how long. I had no idea of what lay ahead.. 

Now 8 years later I shake my head in wonder- at many things, but today I am amazed- how many 8 year olds get a 5 acre block on their birthday? 

It seems that the long wait, of patiently hoping and praying for this block to build on, has finally come to fruition. And of all days, settlement took place yesterday- the 17th of November- on the kids 8th birthdays. It was just what they had been hoping for! 

Let me introduce our new block:

A miraculous story in itself, we have been able to purchase a 5 acre block of land on which to build a specially designed, accessible house for Anwen, Mahalah and Gideon's special needs! 

Mahalah waves to some friends as she gets out at the block for the first time.

Anwen got out of the van on the block for the first time and said: "The first thing I intend to do is to go for a run!" 

Gideon and his friend go trooping off together straight away.

 Tucked away on the western edge of town, and up a slight rise, the block feels peaceful and removed, yet is within walking distance to the main street and the high school. Almost a year in the making, 'the block' is the right combination of mental space, physical space, and accessibility to town, all things that our family really needs.

Now that we officially own this land, the next stage is designing a very special type of house..

There are many things to carefully consider to make a house truly accessible for one power wheelchair- let alone three. All I can say is we are glad to have an experienced building designer on the job. Actually we are very grateful for Dick Clarke, director of 'Envirotecture', based in Sydney, as he has volunteered his time and skills to help make our new house a reality.

Dick and Ben taking measurements on the building envelope.
At this stage the house fundraising is up to about $70,000- over a third of the way towards our initial goal of $200,000, to begin building. (We are hoping to be able to cover the other half of the estimated total cost on our own).

Thank you *very much* to all the businesses, friends and strangers who have all pulled together with such a beautiful community spirit to help make this 'miracle house' become an amazing reality for Anwen, Mahalah and Gideon. 

I can't wait to post you the next update. Whether it be house designs, earthworks, foundations or tree planting, we'll keep you updated. 
At each stage along the way you may know of something or someone that could potentially help. Please be invited to join in on our adventure. We really can't do it on our own. I think that's the beauty of it.

And who knows, maybe this time next year we might be celebrating Anwen, Mahalah and Gideon's 9th birthday in our new, accessible 'miracle house'?

L to R, Mahalah, Anwen and Gideon exploring the block on their 8th birthday with friends. 

In Other News: 
  • You may have noticed this blogs' shiny new-ish Donate button. It is also directly linked to the house fundraising account via PayPal.
  • The 'miracle house' account details, for those wishing to use them directly are; Bank: NAB Canowindra, Account Name: 'Read Triplets Special Needs'  BSB: 082 500, Account Number: 396 905 753  

With much gratitude and gladness, 
Jemimah Read. 
On behalf of Benjamin, and Anwen, Mahalah and Gideon. 

Saturday, 25 October 2014

In The News!

Strangely, in just this week, two happy media coincidences have meant that our story is spreading far and wide..  

Also included in this post: an exciting fundraising update, including the total raised so far, (steadily rising). 

We are so grateful.. 

After recently meeting Bob Holland, the enthusiastic editor of the local 'Orange City Life' magazine, he generously volunteered to write a full page story about our unique family and our accessible, purpose-built, house project. His excellent article is in this weeks edition of 'Orange City Life'. Follow the link below to read online. (Click on the magazine). See page 18.

Our story will also be in their sister mag 'Bathurst City Life' next week, and also later on in Dubbo Photo News. Thanks so much Bob and Jackie Holland! 

The Salvation Army's 'WarCry' magazine has also coincidently chosen this week to feature a double page spread about our family and our 'miracle house' project in their weekly edition! Thanks so much once again Glynne from Orange Salvo's, and Faye the lovely editor of the national magazine.

Thanks to the extra coverage, there has been extra donors giving generously to the 'Read Triplets Special Needs' fund, for the kids 'miracle' house. Thank you very much to those people who have responded with such kindness, especially Matt and others from Orange. Thanks also to the regular donors who have been giving each month, thank you very much for your encouraging support, especially Pam and Bill.

We have also had a generous offer from a tile business owner who could potentially cover all our tiling needs for the house, approximately $3,000 or more of product! Thanks so much Dennis.

It all counts, and it all goes directly towards the house project. 

So far we are up to $38,906, with a target of $200,000 to cover the gap we cannot afford. That's an adjusted goal of $161,094. Yaay!

There could be some more exciting news in the not too distant future, perhaps nicely coinciding with the week of the kids birthday in November??.. 
I can't believe the year has gone by so quickly since their last birthday.. 
I wonder what will happen next..? 
Stay tuned! 

The adventure continues...

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Winter Adventures and Fundraising Update!

It's a welcome relief to see our tree out the back starting to blossom, and the first whispers of Spring are floating through the open window.

 It was a long winter for a while there!.. People down the street have been asking me where I've been, so I better poke my head out of my little burrow and explain..! 

We've been very busy this term, hibernating inside to stay warm and well. Then when the sickness finally found us, Ben and I were kept busy around the clock actively helping the kids to stay on top of a respiratory virus. 
It eventually got the better of Anwen, so she and I spent a week in the lovely children's ward at Orange hospital while she won back her full lung function from the virus..
I am so thankful to be living in this day and age, I tell you! Thank you Aunty Deidre and 'Aunty' Katie for your encouraging visits, as well as the lovely staff on the ward.

Anwen in hospital, July

Then about a month later it was Gideon's turn! He recently spent a week at Westmead Kid's Hospital after having both of his hip cups and femoral heads operated on. It was scheduled since last December, and we knew what to expect as Anwen had the same operation last year (to stabilise dislocating hips).
Even still, it was a big strain on our family, being separated from each other, and helping Gideon recover and deal with the pain post-op, now that he is home.

Thank you very much to all the family and friends involved in supporting us through that time. We would've really struggled without you -especially Nanna Mereen and Aunty Judy.

Gideon 5 days post surgery, August
Now that we are all home together, and the weather has been kinder, it's been nice to venture out again as a family- we still love getting outdoors when we can. Last weekend we took a picnic lunch to the reserve out of town and I thoroughly enjoyed watching the kids wander off along the bush tracks- until daddy took them down a 4wdriving ravine and they did a bit of mud slinging themselves!
You don't know *how long* it took me to hose the mud off their tyres so they could come inside - but it was worth it! 

Ben builds a bridge for the return journey..
So that is where I've been!.. Now for the update:

Despite our attention being elsewhere, things have been progressing along really well with the kids 'miracle house' project. We have put a deposit down on a block of land, and are awaiting settlement- more info to come..!
 Every week there is donations continuing to come in to build the new house, as well as many different fundraising ideas and events.
So far over $35, 000 has been raised in 6 months! Thank you *very* much to all those who have got behind us- it is hard to say thank you to you all, but we are very grateful..

Thanks especially to the lovely people at the Salvation Army Church in Orange for their overwhelming support and generosity! Thanks also to Kathy and Stuart of Collaroy for hosting the recently successful High Tea Fundraiser, and all those who attended and donated at that event! Big thanks also to St Faiths Anglican Church in Narabeen for their support, and especially to David and Carol, and all of our family- you have all been so encouraging.
Just like the tree out the back, things are stirring... Spring is coming, and hope is in the air!

Our Golden Elm waking up!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Our Story Explained in 8min Video!

Only have less than 10 minutes and would like to quickly find out what is going on around here?

Here is a gorgeous 8 min explanatory video professionally crafted by the talented Katie Stiles. 

Enjoy! (& share!) 

-Jem xo

Saturday, 7 June 2014

The Daily Grind? -an insight.

It was just one of those cold, miserable weeks...Where each morning felt like a laborious grind.. A repitition of the one before..
 had many an opportunity to serve, to help beautiful children who can't help themselves..

Welcome to my world. 
Every day I get the same opportunity; usually woken by one of our 7yr olds needing help of some sort. Maybe a nebuliser and assisted coughing. Usually to roll over or sit up in bed. Because they are too weak to do any of it themselves.  

Then it's toileting time, as two out of the three are unable to toilet themselves unassisted. 
This week I made the mistake of thinking too far into the future, and I wondered if they would still be needing help to go to the toilet as teenagers. Yes probably, definitely. 

Then, after a quick coffee, Ben and I set too work getting everyone dressed. He helps Gideon, I help the girls. Now it's winter, they are susceptible to the cold and sickness, so there is 4 or 5 layers to put on. And each layer means helping arms that cannot push themselves through the sleeve unaided. 
There are also 6 feet that need socks pulled up, AFOs (ankle foot orthosis) strapped on and shoes crammed on over the top. Two out of the three pairs are clean shoes that don't actually touch the ground. 

I feel like I've accomplished something big as the girls emerge from the bedroom in clean, warm clothes and shoes. 
But we're not out the door yet.. 

Thick beautiful hair needs my brushing, breakfast needs our making, cumbersome bags need our help to get packed, and not to mention the final jumble of big jackets, beanies & scarves that need placing. 

I would get them to do it themselves If they had the strength to. Not a chance - especially with all those clothes on!  

We were late to school everyday this week. (Getting myself ready is an after thought). And I went home to the dishes,  again.. 

 More often than not, in my weakness and selfishness, I grumbledI *really* didnt do too well at all.. 
The lies filled my head in my worn out state: "I can't do this.." "Will my time ever come?" "I've got nothing left for this" And they cut and drain. It's a downward spiral that leads to anger and pain and isolation..

After another round of tears today, thankfully Mr Benjamin came through for me once again; "What if instead you say 'Thankyou for this opportunity to serve'.."

Because the truth is, as I've decided to say; "Yes, I'm really tired of this, but I've been entrusted with this and I can do it. 
Thank you Jesus for this opportunity to serve You and and Yours.." 

Anyway, Imagine how much good could be missed!  So much potential.. 

P.S (Ben and Gideon made a 'hot air ballon' this evening! The kids called it The Dutchess. "Isn't she a beauty mum!" Gideon kept saying. It was the highlight of his day.) :) 

P.P.S: thank you very much to the beautiful recent donors to the house fund, so blessed! :) 
The house funds are at $13,770. The cost of building will probably be in the hundreds of thousands

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

The Miracle House Doco!

Let me introduce you to the latest release: The Miracle House motion picture! 

 Thanks to a talented young lady, a beautiful short doco has been made that accurately portrays our daily reality.. (oh my).

Katie manages to capture it all so skillfully that critics say watching it doesn't 'feel' like the 19 minutes it is. 
(A shorter 3min version is currently being made and will be posted here in the near future.) 

This doco was originally created for close friends and family, but after watching it Ben and I were so happy with the content that we decided to send it 'out into the ether'!  

Happy viewing! (And feel free to on-share with those who may be interested).

On behalf of our family,
Thanks and cheers,
Jem. xo

Ps: Gideon and Anwen have a rare hug.. (Because usually both of them are in wheelchairs. Anwen is in a standing frame and Gideon is sitting on his bed.) 

Pps: We recently had some of the kids friends over and decorated cupcakes! Needless to say Mahalah loved it! 

Friday, 7 February 2014

A Place To Call Home

On a recent visit out to the farm where Ben works, it was apparent again, how physical SPACE is so important to our family's well being. The kids had a blast, racing across the paddocks unhindered! (No curbs or steps in sight!)

Large open spaces like these evoke an encouraging sense of freedom and 'welcome home' for us.. Hard to describe, but I love it!

So, the planning and dreaming for an accessible house continues!...

Anwen, Mahalah and Gideon have just started Year 2 at Canowindra public school and have settled into the year well. I wonder what this year will hold?!..

They are growing up fast. I'm sure they have grown over the summer holidays. The other morning I came in to Gideon's room to help him start his day, and in my minds eye I saw him as a lanky teenager. I had to smile. 7 is such a precious age, pity kids grow up so quickly.

Anwen plays in the river

Mahalah, so happy to be down by the water.

Gideon drives a tractor with Dad!

We have been looking at potential land and thinking through house materials and designs..

Ben has been busy researching all the various options. There is much to decide on, and we are taking things one step at a time. We have been very grateful for the help of some talented friends and benefactors. 

As I've mentioned before, we've set up a special account for this project, and it's gradually accumulating.
Thanks so much to those who have helped so generously already! It all helps! Please feel free to pass on our blog/ details to your friends. We greatly appreciate any assistance in helping to raise this accessible 'Miracle House'.


Our adventure continues..!

We'll keep you posted.

With gratitude!

Jem. xox

(for those interested here are the account details)

Acc name: Read Triplets Special Needs
Acc BSB:  082 500   (NAB Canowindra)
Acc number: 3969 05753