The Start Of Blue Sky Ranch
What do parents say to their three-year-old daughter that refuses to ask Santa for anything except a real horse -especially when they are a middle-class family living in the city? Clearly, Santa’s sleigh is not big enough to bring everyone a pony. After sharing that grown up wisdom, we told Camber that if God had put that dream in her heart, He would give her that horse. And with childlike faith she began to pray every night for that horse.
Five years later, we had moved to Wichita, Kansas and Camber was taking horseback riding lessons from our insurance agent’s wife. After talking Paul into purchasing two one-dollar raffle tickets to win a horse at the EquiFest, Camber came bounding inside, plopped down on the couch, and announced with 100% absolute faith that the horse on her flyer was her horse that God was going to give her – even looked like the horse in her dreams. Being the awesome parents we were, we immediately helped her to understand, “No one ever really wins those things. Do not be discouraged if you do not win…everything we could think of to protect her dream.” A few months later, at the EquiFest, God gave Camber the horse she already knew was hers. And she still owns her today. A couple of weeks later, while I was doing her hair for school, Camber matter-of-factly announced, “I know why God gave me my horse. He wants me to have a horse farm and help kids who don’t have good parents and special kids.” While I stood speechless trying to wrap my head around the bigness of the way God was developing His own relationship with my little girl, I had no idea that He was preparing Camber, Corbin, me and Paul for a time and place 14 years later where all of our life journeys would collide into one perfect story that would make everything make sense.
10 years earlier, when our first and only precious son took his first breath of life, Paul and I took our first step into the most amazing world of autism. When they told us Corbin had a 25% chance of life in the next 72 hours, we prayed like crazy. We told our beautiful, perfect, preemie baby boy that if he would fight for his life, we would fight for him the rest of his life. Not one of us locked in that moment in time had even the tiniest ounce of understanding what any of that really meant. Corbin is, and always has been, one of our biggest heroes. He is a strong, amazing and extremely intelligent young man. He taught himself to read using numbers and letters. He is so gifted in things like fixing equipment, working on engines, etc…with no instruction from anyone. He has the most soft, gentle heart, and his beautiful blue eyes see this world completely different than we do. He is exceptional and his world is extraordinary. He has taught our family that we all have special needs – and ours was to learn how to adapt and understand that this world is so much more that what we had the ability to appreciate. He did not allow us to stay in our little box. Our son has challenged us to look deeper, see bigger, love larger, accept wider, and trust our God further – all in his act of love toward us, allowing us into his profound, brilliant, fascinating world. We are still on this journey today, and we are blessed.
Paul and I have been in the ministry since we were married. We have worked with kids at risk, and been advocates for exceptional kids for over 25 years. Paul is extremely gifted in working with boys and men who need to be respected and loved so that they may find hope, peace, and joy. We have always believed that God was preparing us for something much bigger than we understood. We both pursued our Master’s Degrees while working full-time – simply because we strongly felt the urgent need. Paul’s is in Education/Administration, and my MBA is in Leadership/ Management. Every part of our long journey prepared us for the miracle of becoming the owners of Blue Sky Ranch. This journey was not without the fabulous good times, but there were many times that we did not know how or if we were going to survive it. We learned that pain and struggling help you sincerely appreciate the good times. We grew stronger and wiser, and the end result for us was always realizing that the only good in us is God, and we are absolutely nothing without Him. He taught us how much He loves us unconditionally. God put each of us in our family (including our oldest daughter, Chassidi, and her husband, Dallin) on our own parallel journeys to prepare us for this story. He used an incredible lady named Susan Selby (the lady that built this place) and two of our favorite people in the world, Glenn and Carolyn White to complete His miracle. Chassidi and Dallin are our biggest fans and support group, and have blessed us with our precious grandchildren: Madallin, Zoey, Gunner, and Wyatt. Our family believes that He has blessed us so that we may give this place away. We are only the keepers. Our purpose is to share the love, peace, hope, and joy that we know to the people that entrust us with their care. Blue Sky Ranch is not about us. It is not a Christian organization, but it is run by people who are in love with their Heavenly Father. May we never forget 2 Timothy 1:9, “…not because of anything we have done, but because of His own purpose and grace.”