Saturday, October 25, 2014

Counting our Blessings on Faith's 11th Birthday

Faith's birthday always causes me to reflect on the events surrounding her "untimely" birth. Medically speaking, Faith was born eleven weeks prematurely. But when thinking about everything that happened eleven years ago, I'm more inclined than ever to say she was born in God's perfect timing.
Faith wanted to spend a quiet day with her mom and dad for her birthday
I've been working on writing my book, Having Faith. In doing so, I have spent hours pouring over all that took place before and after my daughter was born. Some of the details I had nearly forgotten until I went back to my journals and read my entries.

I arrived in Rochester, Minnesota on Saturday, October 4th. After being there for a couple of weeks without going into preterm labor again, the doctors were actually thinking about sending me back home. I lived in Watford City at the time which is about 700 miles from Rochester. I was waiting to meet with my cardiologist and obstetrician one more time before getting the okay.

It's really scary to think what could have happened had I gone back home. If I would have gone into preterm labor in Watford along with a placental abruption with no experienced medical care nearby, it would have been detrimental to us both.
Cupcakes too!
And now today with much praise and thanksgiving, we got to celebrate Faith's 11th birthday! While our lives have been filled with many challenges, Rob and I are grateful for our "bundle of joy" who makes us both laugh at least once every day!

In our adventures, we have also been learning something new every day. Today I learned not to send my husband to get Faith her birthday cake and ice cream because he'll come back with an ice cream cake plus ice cream cupcakes. Happy eleventh birthday Faith!

Faith getting ready to end her day in new birthday jammies

Monday, October 20, 2014

Photos From our Trip to Canada

We just returned home a couple of days ago from our trip to Canada. In just 12 days, we drove about 3,100 miles traveling to Ontario and back. It was a wonderful trip and we are thankful our van ran great, we didn't get into any fender benders, we didn't hit any wild animals and we got to enjoy traveling during the most beautiful time of the year.

We feel especially blessed we saw so many of our friends and family. October 13 not only marked Canada's Thanksgiving, but Rob's parent's 50th Anniversary. As if that was not enough, David baptized his only grandchild during our visit. Instead of describing our trip in words, here are some photos that portray our long but wonderful journey.

It wasn't easy to get Faith out of her comfy home to drive 1,500 miles to Toronto but she did it!
Our second hotel of the trip in Crandon, Wisconsin
Driving along Lake Michigan
Faith having fun on her very long field trip going over the Mackinaw Bridge
The bridge connects the Upper Penninsula to the rest of Michigan and is over four miles long
We finally make it to Gaylord, MI - home of the first Tim Horton's on our route
Oh Canada!
Thanksgiving dinner at Rob's cousin's home (Ken and Angela)
Faith with cousin Alexandra 

Socializing before dinner with cousin Brock
Nearly 60 members of the family sit down together for Thanksgiving dinner
A surprise cake and toast to David and Jean to celebrate their 50th
St. James Cathedral in downtown Toronto where David works as a minister
Queen Elizabeth II visited the cathedral during her trip to Canada in 2010
Faith was baptized by her grandfather during a small ceremony
Just outside of the peaceful church - lots of noise, buildings, people and traffic
The CN Tower appears through the fog while leaving downtown Toronto
Jean and Cari Jean shopping at the mall in Mississauga
Me with my beautiful and amazing sister-in-law Johanna
Meet Rosie the Greyhound - the newest addition to the Bousfield family
Breakfast at the Perkins Restaurant attached to our hotel
Saying goodbye to Grandmother
An Amish family's horse and buggy parked at a store in Ingersoll, Ontario
At the border going over the bridge to the good 'ol USA
Getting ready for bed in Lapeer, Michigan
What in the world are Pasties? They sure are popular in the U.P.!
Rob finding out what a pastie is - potatoes, rutabaga, onions and meat inside a pie crust
Our ladybug infested stay at the Barron Motel in Wisconsin
Crossing over from Wisconsin into Taylor Falls, Minnesota
Stopping for more coffee in Waite Park, Minnesota
The most beautiful sight of the whole trip - North Dakota sky near Bismarck!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Meeting Cal and Michelle Pierce of the Healing Rooms in Spokane, WA

It has been a truly amazing weekend! I am feeling tired but have so much peace right now. Today we had the honor of meeting Cal and Michelle Pierce, directors of the Healing Rooms Ministries. They were also the speakers at the Love Unleashed conference held by the Healing Rooms of the Northern Plains.
Me, Rob and Faith with Cal and Michelle Pierce
Yesterday, Rob, Faith and I ventured to the Belle Mehus for a couple of sessions of the conference. We knew it would take some coaxing to get Faith there as she generally isn't too sure about new ventures. It helped she's been to the Belle Mehus before so at least the venue was a little bit familiar to her. 

Faith received a very warm welcome when we arrived. She was happy to see so many volunteers from the Healing Rooms all gathered together at the same time! She also seemed to enjoy the worship. That was familiar to her too since the members of the worship team were from our church!

We were delighted to hear Michelle Pierce speak on Saturday afternoon, the second day of the conference. Faith was laughing right along with everyone else. Michelle is a very funny lady and she is also very sincere and not afraid to tell it like it is!

When we got home from the afternoon session, we were surprised when Faith said she wanted to go back for the last session. After an amazing time of praise and worship, Cal Pierce gave a truth-filled message about how religion has become man's substitute for the Kingdom. 

The best part of the night though was when Cal went throughout the entire auditorium, giving an impartation and anointing everyone who was there! There was lots of laughter and "being happy" as Cal and Michelle went down every row, anointing each of us with oil. Faith had an absolute blast! We didn't get to bed until close to midnight but were super excited about hearing Cal speak at our church the next day!
Bob and Lola Copenhaver, Directors of the Healing Rooms of the Northern Plains
Cal Pierce speaking at the opening session
Monica and Sarah leading the awesome worship!
While Cal was speaking at New Life's celebration service, Michelle came back and asked if she could pray for Faith. Then after Cal was done giving the message, we went forward for more prayer. Cal came over and prayed with us and we got a chance to talk to him. I told him it was an incredible honor to meet him.

I explained to him that it was ten years ago Faith was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. That same week, a friend who was also a pastor, handed us some VHS tapes and told us to take them home and watch them. The tapes were of Cal Pierce's teachings on healing.

Since first seeing those tapes, Rob and I have both been through the Heal the Sick Training at the Healing Rooms. During the classes, we watched Cal Pierce discussing the Biblical truths of healing. We have heard his voice and have seen him on video so much throughout these past ten years that it's almost like we knew him before meeting him in person today.

After the service, Michelle came over and prayed for me and my heart. Both she and Cal are completely genuine and have a strong desire to see the sick healed and the captives set free. It was an amazing experience, one I will truly cherish forever. (I did get a picture of all of us but unfortunately, for some reason it turned out a little blurry!)

To learn more about the Healing Rooms or see if there is one in your community, simply go to their website, International Association of Healing Rooms. You can also read Cal's story about how he came to revive the Healing Rooms in Spokane, Washington in his book, Preparing the Way: The Reopening of the John G. Lake Healing Rooms in Spokane, Washington

I find it perfect that I can close out this post with a testimony. All week long Faith seemed to be struggling as if she was fighting off a cold or some sort of infection. She has been feverish, very tired, pale-looking and not her normal, cheery self. I am thankful to say that after all that prayer this weekend, she is seeming more energetic than ever and is looking, feeling and acting like her normal self again!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Season of Change

It seems the only time I've been updating my blog lately is when the seasons change! This time, though besides the season changing from summer to fall, there are some changes happening with us as well.
Faith in her new chair - another recent change for us!
Many of you know I quit my full time job in the spring. My last day of work as a customer service representative for a health insurance company coincided with Faith's last day of school. I have been focusing on freelance writing full time. It has certainly been a time of depending on God to continue to supply for our every need!

As a new school year approached, we decided not to send Faith back to school. After praying about it all summer, we made the decision to home school her instead. As I dropped off our paperwork to inform the school district of our intention, I felt an incredible amount of peace. To me, this is a sure sign that we made the right decision.

Faith and friends at a library event
Faith with Clifford the Big Red Dog! She asked where Emily Elizabeth was!
We have gotten so much support as there is a Bismarck Mandan Area Home Educators group, which is a Christian organization. There is also the North Dakota Home School Association. We have taken advantage of being a part of both and have found people who knew all the answers to our many questions.

It has also helped to have many good friends who home school and also members of our church. I have a very good friend who is a special education teacher who we have gotten input from as well.

Faith and her new teacher!
Currently, Rob is doing most of the teaching. We are really trying to focus on teaching her to read. We truly believe she'll be able to do it, it's just a matter of finding what works. A few people recommended the book. Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons . So far, it is going well and I am happy to say Faith is making progress.

What about you? Have you ever prayed about making a major change in your life? How did God help you know you were making the right decision? I would love to hear about it!

Changing leaves - a sure sign of Fall and a new season

Thursday, August 28, 2014

There Goes Summer!

Once again everyone in North Dakota is lamenting the near-end to another busy summer that is quickly fading away along with the hot summer sun. A couple of days ago we had an unusually cool late August day and I actually had to put a sweatshirt on Faith before going outdoors. I was reminded this would soon be the norm everyday and it wouldn't be long before we are digging around in the closet to find hats and mittens.

Where DID summer go? This seems to be the question everyone asks each year as if there might be just one summer that lasts forever. I think most North Dakotans would relish at least one year-round summer considering winter weather lasts over half the year. But alas, it's never going to happen so we can either move to Arizona or grin and bear our near-approaching cold weather.

Spending time with family - me, my sisters and dad at Perkins
For us, we had a summer of transition as I quit working my full-time job at the health insurance company. Both my husband and I are now full time writers. These last three months have consisted of lots of prayer, trust and being completely dependent on God to meet all of our needs. And of course, as always, He has come through.

Besides focusing on our business, we have had some great visits with friends and family. While I didn't make it to Watford City for their Centennial Celebration, I did get to see my sister who came up from Lincoln to join in on the festivities. We even had a visit from Rob's cousin and her husband who flew here from Vancouver on their way back home to Waterloo, Ontario. It was the first time they had ever been to North Dakota. Someone else Faith had lots of fun seeing was our friend from Kansas who used to do respite care for us.

Faith and Kimberly
Faith and I have made a point to go to the library at least once a week. Her favorite books to check out are Arthur and Franklin and of course we have to get a few DVDs too. I've enjoyed having a much more flexible schedule and it's been fun to spend more time with her. We even have fun going to our weekly chiropractic appointments together!

Between me and Michelle, Faith also enjoyed going to several parks in town where various churches held special events. We discovered that face-painting is a pretty popular attraction and she never failed to get something colored on her face. Another very special time she had was going to a tea party for our friend JoAnn's birthday.
Faith getting her arm painted at the park
Faith having fun with friends and a kitty cat at a tea party
All in all it was a good summer and as the leaves get ready to change color, we too anticipate some changes taking place this fall. Stay tuned!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Five of Faith's All Time Favorite Books

We've been reading books to Faith ever since she was a baby.When she was little, she had to wear an eye patch for 30 minutes a day in the hopes it would help strengthen her eye muscles so they would no longer turn inward. Reading a book to her while she was wearing the patch was a great way to keep her distracted from having to wear it. Even after she no longer had to wear the patch, she continued to love being read to.
Reading to Faith when she was little
As Faith got older, we had hopes she would learn to read on her own. She is ten and that still hasn't happened. We continue to pray and try to find ways to help her be able to read. Her music therapist is trying to do all she can to help us with this endeavor. We know her vision is fine but we think her eye muscles might not be working properly to enable her to focus on seeing a word long enough to read it.

Instead of reading, she spends a lot of time memorizing. For this reason, she likes shorter books and even though I've tried to read chapter books to her, she quickly loses interest. She even memorizes the name of the author and the illustrator which is handy when we go to the library to look for books!

Daddy reading one of Faith's favorite books to her
Through the years, she has especially liked these five books:

Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish - Even though there is a younger and more modern Amelia Bedelia, Faith still likes the old-fashioned funny housekeeper who works for Mr. and Mrs. Rogers and has a habit of taking things way too literally. There are a lot of times I roll my eyes at Amelia Bedelia's silly antics but I must admit, she is pretty hilarious.

The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone - I was amazed to see that this Sesame Street book featuring Grover was first published in 1973. That means the story is older than me! One of Faith's former respite care workers loved this book as a child and I'm glad she recommended it to us. Ever since Kimberly came for a visit last month, Faith has been wanting to read this book again almost every night.

We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen - This modern classic is not only a book but a video as well. There are a ton of videos on YouTube where kids do their own rendition of this popular book. (Check out one of our favorites below). I must admit when I first read it to Faith I wasn't overly impressed but she absolutely loved it. It started to grow on me though and for as many times as we've read it, I'm still not tired of it.

Curious George's First Day of School by H.A. Rey - Curious George is a cute little monkey "who's also very curious." Faith loves the most of the Curious George books but the one where he goes to school to be a helper is one of her favorites. She also likes to watch Curious George on DVD and Netflix. It's also on PBS at 7:00 a.m. but that's a little too early for us!

Franklin Makes a Deal by Paulette Bourgeois - Franklin is a cute little turtle who has lots of animal friends. There are lots of Franklin books but this one is Faith's favorite. I think it's because we're always saying to her, "OK Faith, here's the deal..." She also likes to watch Franklin on DVD.

I'm curious to know what some of your child's favorite books are. Also if your child has special needs, what are some things you are doing to help them learn to read?