Thursday, January 31, 2013

Lesson 11 - Learing to Turn it Over to Jesus

Do you have a hard time turning things over to Jesus?  I did too.  I learned over a series of lessons I felt He brought me through to have the faith I needed to go through our daughter's cancer journey.  The posts are in order, Lessons 1 - ?.  Go back and catch up, none of the posts are too long.

Lesson 11 - Learning to DEPEND on Jesus

A year of protocol, cross that off.  As we sit waiting for Dr. McManus to come in, I look at the worn and folded piece of paper we originally received from the Mayo Clinic.  I remember when she first gave this to me, "how are we going to do this?"  Now, I look at all the X's marking off the procedures, treatments, tests, surgeries, radiation and office visits.  The sheet was "done!"

"Anna, your levels look good, your port site healing nicely, you are done with treatment."  Dr. McManus is kind and soft spoken - we love him.  We have seen him every week for over a year.  "I want to see you in 3 months" he says.  "Go do the activities you love and be happy, you did it."   His staff had a celebration party for completion of treatment and we were on our way.

I must admit, it was going to be nice not to have to drive about an hour away each Friday.  I will miss the St. Vincent visits, but to be able to stay home will be nice.  What next?  I didn't have a sheet to look at, no calendar to follow - I was kinda lost.  Are we doing everything we are supposed to?  Are they sure?  Will her cancer come back?  These were some of the questions popping up over and over in my mind.  I knew I wasn't in control of anything, but somehow when I had the sheet - I was in control of crossing stuff off.  I didn't have that.  Only "we will see you in 3 months."  

Uncertain, cautious, distant; a few words to describe me at that point.  Words not associated with faith.  I felt so strong going through the treatments.  Isn't that how it goes, when we need Him the most - we are our strongest.   Now, we just had to wait.  I'm not good at that - waiting.  

Sunday morning service.  Lesson on loaves and fish - "And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks and brake them and gave them to the disciples and the disciples to the multitude."  Matthew 16:36.  The miracle of feeding the multitude, yep I've heard it before - yawn.

However, that isn't where the sermon was going...our pastor continued.  "And they did eat and all were filled and they took up the broken meat that was left seven baskets full."  Matthew 16:37.  The message was on the seven baskets full.  

After Jesus feed the thousands, He and the disciples set forth across the sea.  The sea had a storm and the disciples were afraid.  Imagine the boat rocking, their crying out and Jesus asleep.  Our pastor then said "they did not look around the boat and see the seven baskets full - was it just the day before that Jesus fed them and the crowd - did he not take care of them and still have seven baskets full."  The message was about looking back at the previous blessings in times of trial and having the faith it takes to know "well, he took care of me then, I have the evidence (seven baskets) and he will take care of me now."  

This is just what I needed to hear.  I had my seven baskets - a ratty, folded piece of paper - protocol with X's marking off those things Jesus helped us through.   At the beginning of this journey, our pastor preached "he will give you the shoes you need for the path you are on" and he did.  Now, all I need to do was "look at the seven baskets full."  Oh, how God gives us the words we need - just when we need them.

Lesson 11 - Learing to DEPEND on Jesus - looking back at his blessings.

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Lesson 10 - Learning to Turn it Over to Jesus

If you have just started, these posts go in order - Lessons 1 - ? They are, what I feel, built up my faith in Him and His plan for my life.   These lessons are about my daughter's cancer journey.  Go back and catch up - none of the posts are long.

Lesson 10 - Being BOLD in Jesus

We were following the plan for protocol.  Five months in with the chemo and now time to start the radiation.   

I waited in the waiting room while they took Anna back for her first radiation.   I looked around the room at all the others "waiting."  I noticed this young pretty girl, she was working on some small letters with envelopes.  I wasn't sure what she was doing, announcements, thank yous...something like that.  I was drawn to her, thinking about why she would be here.  Who was she "waiting" for?    Anna came out and we went home.  We would return each week day after that for 30 days.  The first radiation was a Friday.

I kept thinking about that young girl all weekend.  I didn't get a chance to see who she was waiting for - what the story might be.  I just knew she looked sad, keeping herself busy filling out those cards.   I just had this feeling all weekend long that I needed to talk with her.  As previous lessons taught me, I needed to listen to that small voice inside me.  I knew the Lord wanted me to talk with her - I felt it.  

You know,  when you feel you are supposed to do something - being led to do something - this is what I felt.  However, I was afraid...hey, didn't a previous lesson teach me that He would give me the words.  "OK Lord, if you want me to talk with her....give me an opportunity."  

There we were Monday afternoon and there she was.  The t.v. was on - news about Hurricane Katrina.   She was watching too - "isn't that terrible"  I said.  She agreed.  "I grew up in the South" she says, "we moved up here to be close to my husband's family."   O.k....the story was starting to fill in..."I've been working on these thank you cards while I wait for him" she says.  She politely starts working again on the cards.  I shouldn't bother her.

For some reason, I think of my nephews, Ben and Bob.  "My nephews are in bible college 'down South', St. Louis" I tell her.  "I went to bible college in St. Louis too," she says.  "It probably isn't the same bible college, they go to Gateway Bible College" I said.  Her eyes widen - "that is where I went."  (light bulb moment here).  "Hey, don't think I'm weird, but I think the Lord wants me to talk to you."  

We started talking.  Her story isn't that different from many who have grown up in the church, including mine.   Being raised going to church, yet wanting to experience "things", rebelling a bit, but wanting to return to what you know is "best for you."  She tells me that she met her husband, they were married and were just starting their life together.  He had childhood cancer and now it had returned. He needed to move back up here to be close to his doctor and family.  They were living in Wisconsin Rapids.  She wanted to find a church like the one she grew up in, however she couldn't find one.  I knew that there was a church like this there - a boy from our church was now the youth pastor.  The church name didn't say Pentecostal or Apostolic in the title.   I told her I would let her know the name of the church tomorrow when we returned.  

Timing is everything, as you would guess, the next day was his last day of radiation.  I went home, called my brother, asked him the name of the church and contact information.  The next day I gave this to her.  She was so happy.  She knew they "needed" to go there.  I later heard from her, they were attending when they could and were thankful for all the prayers and help from this church.  

"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in a time of need."  Hebrews 4:16

I might not have been able to be so bold to talk with her, had I not learned from my previous lessons.  Don't be afraid to be used or feel like you can't be used.  After all, it is the broken that needs to be fixed - including me!

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Lesson 9 - Learning to Turn it Over to Jesus

I'm writing a series of posts about lessons I learned that built up my faith.  These posts are about our daughter's cancer story.  If you want to catch up, the lessons are in order.

Lesson 9:  To REST on Jesus

We returned home from round 1 of chemo.  The protocol was broken up in weeks of 3.  The rounds of chemo required a visit to the doctor each Friday with the third Friday a hospital stay to receive the "bad one" as Anna called it.  

We returned to the Mayo Clinic the next Friday.  The oncologist came in and said her "levels" looked good and that we were right on track.  She asked us again where we lived.  I said "Ringle, Wisconsin"  she shook her head - "No."   This didn't surprise me - no one knows where Ringle is.  "What other cities are around you?"  she asked.  I said "Wausau."  "No" she shook her head again.  I didn't know why she was asking or what she was doing.  She asks me "what else?"  I said "Marshfield" - I don't even know why I said Marshfield.  I never go over there, I'm not familiar with the city.  I've done a few craft shows there, but that is it.  She looks at me, points her finger and up in the air and says "I know just where to send you?"  

"Where to send you"...what did that mean.  I felt we were right where God wanted us.  He sent us here, I was confident in that.  "Since you live so far away, the tumor is removed, I feel comfortable enough to send you for chemotherapy closer to your home"  she said.  That sounded good to us, Rochester was over 4 hours away.  We were scared to leave her - the world's leading specialist, pediatric oncologist in Rhabdomyosaracomas.  "I have just the right person to send you to" she says.  "He studied his fellowship here, he is in Marshfield."  I couldn't believe it.  She made all the arrangements and we had an appointment to go to Marshfield the next Friday.  I was still unsure about leaving Mayo, but had faith to know God would lead us where we needed to be.

The following Friday, we checked in at the pediatric department and were ushered into a small room.  The nurse came in to draw Anna's blood for testing.  She was pleasant, smiling and happy.  She giggled as she talked.  She looked at me rather "funny" as she asked the necessary questions.  Honestly, it was a bit weird. 

NOTE:  I need to explain something here.  My family, I guess, is a little different.  My dad, Native American, my mom not.  We attend a church that has modest dress - I guess, at times  we do look different.  So, people sometimes stare.  Growing up people would say "you Ritchie kids all look alike" - personally I don't see it, but on with the story....
Then she says "do you have a brother named Henry."  Oh boy, here we go again.  "Yes, I do" I told her.  "Well, I went to Bible college with him."  "He was such a good looking....(ya, ya,...I've heard it before)....fellow."  I actually couldn't believe it.  She goes on telling me her story, testimony, of salvation.  To me, it was a sign that we were at the right place.  When we met Dr. McManus - we knew it!  

We actually continued all of Anna's treatments with Dr. McManus over in Marshfield.  We never returned to the Mayo Clinic.  However, Anna is still in a "study" with them.  

So, we learned to REST on Jesus.  Trusting He had us where we needed to be.

"The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy, he will rest in his love,..."  Zephaniah 3:17

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Lesson 8 - Learning to Turn it Over to Jesus

If you are following in order, Lesson 8 is still following the PLAN.  If you just started on this post, go back and catch up, the posts are in order.

Still on protocol - following the PLAN

The first round of chemo wasn't too bad - yet.  Anna was feeling good, so we went down to the family play area.   As we were looking at books, playing some games, I noticed another mom with her daughter.  This little girl had some physical challenges and I wondered about their "story."

I began to make small talk with the mom as our girls played.   She tells me she is from Iowa and they are on one of many return trips to see the specialists at the Mayo Clinic.  I mentioned that I was from Wisconsin.  She looks at me and says "I grew up in Wisconsin."  She turned and studied me a bit more and said "you don't have a brother named Frank do you?"  I was shocked, "yes, I do."  Well, come to find out, she  went to high school with my brother.  I'm all the way over in Rochester, MN, she is from Iowa and we had a connection with my brother Frank.  Small world right?  Or, is it?  

After all my previous "lessons,"  I knew this wasn't a coincidence.  She began to open up and share her story.  I listened, it was a sad situation.  Hey, I'm not the smartest person, I didn't have answers for her, what could I do to help?  So, I shared with her some of the amazing things I felt God was doing in our lives.  Yes, my daughter had cancer and God was still doing amazing things.  

She tells me that growing up she knew Frank was a Christian and that there was something special about him.  I told her that the special thing she saw was Jesus.  "Jesus is special not only to us, but can be to you as well."  This was an opportunity for me to share Him with her.  I did.  We BOTH left that play area more encouraged than when we came in.

It was at that moment I realized that this experience had to serve a "purpose."  I prayed that Jesus would use it and our family in some way.  I wanted to have the right spirit and be sensitive to those around me.  Over the next year we had opportunities to be used by Him.  I will share a few in the next couple of posts.

"For thou shalt be a witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard."  Acts 22:15

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Lesson 7 - Learning to Turn it Over to Jesus

Thus far, I've learned some vital lessons that have been for my good.  I learned to NEED Jesus, I can do nothing with out Him.  I've learned to TRUST Jesus, he will take care of my problems, I only need to give them to Him.  LISTEN to Jesus or that still small voice inside me.  WALK with Jesus, he has given me the shoes I need for this path.  To follow His PLAN. Following the plan took several lessons.  The plan/protocol was 42 weeks.  I would like to share a few with you.

There Anna was, sitting on the hospital bed, silly red head and all.  She looked so healthy, laughing and smiling - how could she be sick?  They removed the tumor, why do we need to put her through chemo.  I had to trust that was, what was best for her.  I struggled with letting them start the medicine that ultimately would "hurt" her.

As the nurse came in to start the first chemo I turned to her and said, "I need to pray."   I proceeded to pray aloud, openly with nurse and needle by my side.  I didn't know what else to do...she looked at me and said "what faith..."  I didn't know her, what she believed and at that time - didn't care.  I only knew that I had to make the decision to start the chemo - I couldn't do it by myself.  Jesus had to be there with us - so I called on his name.  The protocol was for 3 different drugs - with each new  drug the nurse brought in - she actually asked "shall we pray?"  We sure did, right there, openly and aloud, the 3 of us with Jesus.  I had peace and Anna was at peace.  Oh how wonderful to trust in Jesus.

Anna had many, many more rounds of chemo left.  I looked at that protocol sheet - we could cross one off the list - only 41 more weeks to go.  

Psalms 9:10  "And they that know they name will put their trust in thee:  for thou, Lord hast not forsaken them that seek thee."  

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

Lesson 6 - Learning to Turn it Over to Jesus

I've been posting about some lessons that helped build my faith in Him.   I feel He was preparing me, rather giving me the tools I would need to help my child go through bladder cancer.  If you want to know the steps he used in order, please go back and read lessons 1 - 5.  Lesson 6 - Still following the PLAN - (Protocol).

We returned to the Mayo Clinic to begin the treatment protocol for Anna's bladder cancer.  She had a surgery scheduled to put in a port and another biopsy of the tumor.  I didn't even know what a port was, that she had to have this device put into her chest in order to receive chemo.  This was a whole new world of terms and procedures we had to accept.  

As the surgeon came out to see us, he said everything went good with the procedure to place her port.  However, he had some good news.  You see, the protocol for treatment, was to have 12 weeks of chemo, to reduce the tumor and then return for the surgery to remove it.  Then more chemo and some radiation were part of the next 30 weeks.  I didn't like the idea of the cancer still being inside Anna - but, that was the protocol.  He said to us, "we NEVER defer from protocol, EVER, but while I was doing the biopsy, I could see that the tumor was growing on a stem like a cauliflower.  I thought, I can scoop this out, so I did."  "We removed the tumor today." 

Wow, the tumor was removed first, before the chemo.  He said it was a good thing and I believed him.  You see the doctors have their protocol, but God has his too.

We placed our lives in the hands of professionals, trusting they knew what to do - always praying for His guidance.   We knew Jesus healed her, we just had to live through the procedures.  With His help and lots of prayers we were going to "do this."  

"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."  Romans 8:18

It was our hope and prayer that somehow we could glorify Him in this trial.  We totally placed our child in His hands.   I surrendered all my "mama control" over to Jesus - she is His not mine.  

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Lesson 5 - Learning to Turn it Over to Jesus

If you have been following my posts, I have been writing about the things I experienced and how it gave me the faith I needed to turn my problems over to Jesus.

What I recognize now is that Jesus was preparing me for something "bigger."  I didn't know while I was taking those steps that they would help me have the skills needed to tackle my daughter's cancer.   If you would like, go back and read the other "Lessons."

1 - NEED Jesus
2 - TRUST Jesus
3 - LISTEN to Jesus
4 - WALK with Jesus

Lesson 5 - Follow His PLAN

I had only heard of the Mayo Clinic, I had never been there.   Many people we talked with said "why are you going all the way over there?"  "We have great doctors in Madison and Milwaukee."  I couldn't  answer that, something kept telling me to go to Mayo.    If you have never been to Rochester, MN or the Mayo Clinic, you might not know how big it is.  There is a massive system of underground network from one building to the next - it goes on and on.  Overwhelming for these country folk.   

While waiting to see the doctor, I looked around at the other families waiting too.  Each had their own challenge - each a story.  What was waiting for us.  

We went to the office, a friendly young man was waiting.  No words were spoken yet - he looked at us - we looked at him - and sat down.  He turned to Anna and said "I'm so sorry you have to go through this"...he looked at us and said "but we know Jesus heals."  Yes, a Christian.  He was the doing is fellowship at Mayo, learning to be a pediatric oncologist.  He proceeded to tell us about the physician we were going to see.  "She just returned from a seminar in Europe where she was the guest speaker.  She is the world leading authority on Rhabdomyosaracomas.  It is her speciality.  No one else in the world has studied this type of cancer more than her."  Could you believe it, a Christian resident and the world leading authority on Anna's type of cancer.  Now I knew why I had such a strong feeling to go over to Mayo.

After many days and many tests, we returned to her office.  She began to explain to us what this cancer was, where it liked to grow, how we would treat it, loss of hair, sickness - it was just so overwhelming.  "Only about 3-4 kids in the United States each year have a Rhabdomyosaracoma in the bladder and rarely are they girls" she said.  She then handed me a sheet of paper with a calendar of dates and acronyms for drugs I couldn't pronounce much less spell.  "What is this, I asked."  "This is a protocol" she said.  "It is the recipe or plan we have followed before for treating this type of cancer."  I had no idea.  I just thought we would go over to Rochester, they would take out her tumor and we would be on our way.  I looked at the calendar it was 42 weeks.  42 weeks....of drugs, tests, surgeries and radiation.  As I held this piece of paper - all I could think about was - how are we going to do this?  

She told us to go home, come back the next week and we would get started.  Get started....for 42 weeks of unknown.  Little did I know then, how much this protocol - PLAN would shape our lives.  

"I know the plans I have for you, plans of hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Lesson 5:  follow His PLAN

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lesson 4 - How to Turn it Over to Jesus

These posts about "How to turn it Over to Jesus" - are a series of lessons I feel go in order - a part of His plan to build my faith.  Please go back and read them.

Lesson 1:  Learning to NEED Jesus
Lesson 2:  Learning to TRUST Jesus
Lesson 3:  Learning to LISTEN to Jesus

and Lesson 4:  Learning to WALK with Jesus

There we were in the hospital waiting room, waiting for the urologist to talk to us.  "Mr. and Mrs. Luetschwager?"  "Come into this room and wait for the doctor."  Wait, wait to hear what he found...wait to hear an answer.....wait to hear words I  didn't understand.  "In all my years as a physician, I've only ever seen this one time,  it was during my residency fellowship at Detroit Children's Hospital.  I believe what your daughter has is Rhabdomyosaracoma, a soft tissue tumor - cancer."   He proceeded, "do not go home and look this up, do not research this, it will only scare you.  This is a very rare form of cancer.  You will need to go to a pediatric oncologist."  

A Rhadomyowhat???  No....but, I knew already....the day before.  We left the hospital that day with words we didn't understand, heads full of - what next - and Anna carrying her urine bag in a purse.  That was a Friday.

We went home, made arrangements to go to Mayo Clinic on Monday, Al took off work and we told our family.  No one knew except our family and close friends.  

At this time our pastor was leaving.  His wife's dad was pastor of a large church in Eau Claire.   Our pastor would take over that church.  He was gone this weekend and we had a guest minister.  My brother Frank lead worship service, we planned on having the church pray for us at the end of the service.  No one knew yet....then the guest pastor came up and preached his message.   The title of his message was  "God will give you the shoes you need for the path you are on"   I couldn't believe it - I felt like it was a message straight from Him to us.  Honestly, I couldn't tell you the passage of scripture used, what all he said, only...."God was going to give us the shoes we need to go on this cancer journey."

After he spoke, my brother Frank came to the pulpit....he too was overwhelmed with the message...."what a great sermon for us all, but especially the Luetschwager family"  and he proceeded to tell the church about Anna.  We came up for prayer as a family - we all were in this together - they laid their hands on us and the church prayed!

The guest minister that day....became our current pastor.

So, with a set of sturdy shoes, we set out for Rochester, MN and the Mayo Clinic.

"And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known; I will make darkness light before them and crooked things straight.  These things will I do unto them and not forsake them."  Isaiah 42:16

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Lesson 3 - How to Turn it Over to Jesus

If you have been reading, these lesson posts go in order. 

Lesson 1:  Learning to NEED Jesus
Lesson 2:  Learning to TRUST Jesus
and now;
Lesson 3:  Learning to LISTEN to Jesus

Life was pretty good; kids doing well in school, Mom and Dad back home from nursing homes, business growing, farm life busy, planning a know, normal life.  Well, that all changed too.

Anna, our youngest daughter was 11 at the time.  She had been having problems with urinary tract infections.  It seemed like one right after the other for about 3 months.  Then she started to have blood in her urine.  The several trips to the doctor, only sent us home with more antibiotics.  

Anna was having problems at school because she was having to excuse herself to use the bathroom so many times.  I remember the day so clearly, the school called, Anna wasn't feeling well and I went to pick her up.  I was determined to find out what was wrong with her.  I drove over to our doctor's office and said...."there has to be something wrong here."  Our doctor called his friend, a urologist and they made an appointment for that afternoon.  

As we entered the clinic - Urology Associates of Wisconsin - they had a bulletin board all decorated and it said "Bladder Cancer Awareness Month" - we had some time, so I read over all the symptoms.  You know that pit in your stomach feeling...that still small voice in your head - it was a spiritual thing.  I instantly knew that Anna had bladder cancer.  I looked at her and said;  "Anna, you have bladder cancer, Jesus just revealed it to me, but it will be O.K.  We will make it through this with His help."  We didn't even get into the doctor's office and I had my answer.  

I ran out to my car, called my sister, Lynn (she is a nurse).  I told her "Lynn, Anna has bladder cancer."   She said "No, how do you know?"  I said "We haven't been into the doctor yet, but Jesus just revealed it to me."  She said "don't claim that yet till you hear him say it."  I tried to explain to her what I had just experienced in that waiting room - it was a Jesus thing - and I couldn't explain it.

They called us into his office, he examined her and said her bladder was FULL.  He had his nurse put a catheter in.  Poor Anna filled not only 1 huge cylinder, but another half way as well.  He looked at us and said I want to do a cystoscopy of her bladder tomorrow.  We agreed to go to the hospital in the morning for the tests.  

I didn't tell him what Jesus revealed to me.  I decided to wait on that.  How was I able to know that Jesus revealed this to me?  I looked back at the lessons He already brought me through.  I had the faith to say:  Lesson 1:  To NEED Jesus - we sure did, cancer is scary.  Lesson 2:  To TRUST Jesus - I couldn't control what I was going to do or say in Court - I didn't have to - I instantly knew I could trust Jesus and turn the control of this situation over to him.  I had peace knowing that Anna isn't my child, she is His.  He knows what is best for us.  He is in control.

Lesson 3:  Learning to LISTEN to Jesus.  When I read that bulletin board and knew Anna had all the symptoms - I heard it in my heart - Jesus revealed it to me, He gave us peace!

"The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty."  "The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace."  Psalm 29: 4 & 11

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Lesson 2 - How to Turn It Over To Jesus

Lesson 1:  Learning to NEED Jesus

Lesson 2:  Learning to TRUST Jesus

I'm an antique dealer and folk artist.  I quit my job in 1996 to be an "at home" mom.  I chose to change my career from something I was paid to do, but really hated; to something I wanted to do because I loved it.  

Reselling junk and creating things is my passion.  It actually is in my genes.  I knew I had a talent for finding things to sell or recreating them into something new.  I decided to do that as my "job."  This has developed over the years to what I currently do.  

Alan built me a shop/studio on our farm.  It was always my dream to have my own shop.  I decided to open one week a month and call it:  Town Hall Trinkets a Monthly Market.  Each month I had a theme and created items and redecorated my shop to reflect that theme.  I LOVED it. 

During that time, I had some really good customers.  It was one such customer that introduced me to a "picker."  A "picker" is someone who goes out and finds items to sell to an antique dealer, who in turn sells it in their shop.  

I had many opportunities to buy from several different sources.  However, I decided to meet this picker and see what he had for sale.  This person worked for a very well known estate sale company in the Wausau area.  He had opportunities to purchase items before the sales.  He had a list of buyers that he sold to.  I really can't think of a dealer in our area who didn't purchase from this person.  He was well known in the antique circle.

When I first met this person, I felt sorry for him.  God had been so good to me with the success in my business that I thought I should help him out and buy some stuff from him.  I had many difference sources for my inventory, but I felt he needed the business too.  So, I purchased some stuff from him over the course of a few months.  

During that time, there was a terrible series of garage fires in the Wausau area.  These arson fires where scary for the people living on the east side of Wausau.  An elderly lady was even found dead outside her burning garage.  This was terrible and unsolved over many months.  

Little did any of us in the antique business know that it was actually this "picker" who was responsible.  

I still remember the night the officer called me and said that he needed to come out to my house and ask me a few questions about this person.  You could have hit me with a ton of bricks as this deputy told of the evidence in this case.  

This ugly story unfolded over the course of a year.  A year of investigations, questions, "good cop bad cop", accusations - it was horrible for all parties involved; including me!  I actually distanced myself from many in the antique business.  I was scared, worried and angry that my reputation would be defined by this horrible situation.  I spent years building my business on honesty.  My story never changed, it didn't have to, I was telling the truth.

I wrestled with myself, rehearsing my testimony for many, many months.  It all came down to the fact that I wanted to control the situation.  "Well, if they say this...I'm going say this" (I had worked for an attorney years prior and knew some dirty secrets about some pretty powerful Marathon County individuals, and I was willing to share that if need be).  I can not tell you the time I wasted on this - it consumed almost my every thought.  

As terrible as this was, I kept saying to my family and friend, Lisa, that I know Jesus loves me and he wouldn't put me through this unless I am supposed to learn something from it.  I just kept saying that over and over.  I knew there was more to this lesson than just not to buy from a thief.

So, it is the day before my testimony in Court.  I grabbed my bible, put it to my lips, closed my eyes and said aloud...."Jesus, if you love me, can see me right here in my kitchen...give me something...a sign, a verse when I open this bible...please."   Well, you would not believe what I opened to, where my eyes fell.  Mark 16:9 - 11.  "But take heed to yourselves; for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten; and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them.  And gospel must first be published among all nations.  But when they lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate; but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye, for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost."

What I got out of that was profound...."when they shall deliver you up to councils (court); don't think on what you will say....for in that same hour that you speak I will give you the words."  I screamed!  I'm an idiot.  I didn't need to worry what to say, Jesus is going to give me the words.  I had instant peace.  I only wish I had done this in the beginning - turning it over to Jesus instead of trying to do it myself.

I went the next morning, sat in the waiting area for my turn - just moments before I was to take the stand, the district attorney's secretary came in and said that I was free to go....they didn't need my testimony, the person before me told them all they needed to know about my portion of the case!  I didn't have to testify!  

Lesson 2:  Learning to TRUST Jesus.

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

Lesson 1 "How To Turn It Over To Jesus"

I have several posts I want to share about lessons I learned that gave me the faith I needed to completely turn my "problems" over to Jesus.

I'm the last of 6.  There are 7 years between me and my next older sister.  My mom knew I was going to be her last baby, so she babied me.  Honestly, I loved it!  Growing up, my mom was my everything.  We had and still have a very close and personal relationship.  What a blessing to grow up knowing that anything I ever "needed" my mom would provide.  As I grew, she became my rock for instruction and inspiration in each of my life stages.  

That all changed one morning with a call from my brother Frank.   "Dicky Bird, they took mom to the hospital, we think she had a stroke."   I hung up the phone and fell to my knees. "Jesus, it is your fault you gave me such a good mom that I never really needed you....but, I need you now, don't let my mom die."  Pretty honest and raw right - that's me - that is how I talk.  When you read my blog, you might not know that about me.  

Now, I know, as a blogger, "we" put our most creative and best self on here.  However, in order for me to share these stories with you, I must show you how I was "broken" so that I could learn to let Jesus be my everything.  

Lesson 1:  Learning to NEED Jesus.  

"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."  Phillipians 4:19

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Justine & Josh - Engagement!

Our daughter Justine is engaged!  Josh proposed to her when she returned from Costa Rica.  I'm so happy for them.  I'm not losing a daughter, rather gaining a son.  Justine wants a Winter Wonderland wedding.  The plans are for January 1, 2014 wedding day.   Congratulations - I love you both.

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Flu Bug Too....

Under the Weather

Like many of you, I've been hit with flu bug too.  I found this picture of pinterest...that is how I was feeling.  Doing much better today.  

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Marathon County 4-H Hands On Day

Anna and I taught 2 classes this past Saturday for our county's "Hands On" craft day.  We did a recycling project - woven basket out of newspapers and a needle felting project - snowman.  I will be posting a tutorial about how to make these later.  The extension office kept my samples.  They are doing another Women's Study type day and wanted to show them things we do in 4-H. 
Note to self:  bring band aids next time you do a needle felting class.  If you have will understand why.
All in all, we had a great day.  Blessings from Ringle, WI.

A Primitive Washing Machine Made of Wood

I recently "bought out" some items from an elderly lady's basement.  This wonderful washing machine was one of the items I decided to keep.  I need to oil it up - as you can see in this photo.  I LOVE it not only because it is primitive, but because it was made in Ripon, WI.  I did some research and found out that the company that made this later became Speed Queen.  Pretty cool.  I also love the big 3 on it.  The top opens - I will probably store something in there.  :)

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Saving Sunflower Heads for Winter Birds

The birds and I planted lots of sunflowers this past year.  I dried some of the heads and saved them for the winter birds.  I also put out that bag with my burlap scraps from a project I made.  The birds were too fast when I came outside - but, trust me, they love the feeder - and so do the deer.  One night last week....10 under this feeder.  Not a one during deer hunting...isn't that how it goes.

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Justine - Winterm in Costa Rica

Our daughter, Justine, is doing a winterm in Costa Rica.  She left on December 28 and will return on January 13.  This has been scary for me - after all, it is a long way from home.  However, I know she will have a good time and make lifelong memories.  She actually didn't know anyone going, not even the professor.  I'm proud of how she researched the program and made all the arrangements herself. 

She will be working with ICADS, Institute for Central American Studies:

The focus will be on the cooperative, agricultural farm, dairy, wildlife rescue working with ranchers and farmers.  Something we are familiar with.  They are going to visit an orchid "farm".  That is her favorite flower.

They have a host family that has been helping the group.  They have an Evangelical background - he is the pastor.  She had no idea of this, neither did I.  They have attended their church and celebrated New Years in the church basement with other members.  This just confirms to me that the Lord keeps His hands on His children even when the mamas don't have theirs in it.  This is not a missions trip, rather an educational one.  But, please pray for her as she lets her "light shine" on this trip. 

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.