Sunday, June 16, 2013


In my prior posts, I have explained the situation with our foster children (the State has removed our foster daughter, B, from our home and will not return her even though her attorney and doctors say the State is wrong and she should live with us).  Two weeks ago, a hearing was scheduled to determine whether it was in B's best interests to return to us.  Unfortunately, the judge decided not to have a hearing.  So, everything has remained the same (3 boys live with us and B lives with some friends).

Now, we need more prayer for a hearing scheduled for tomorrow (Monday, June 17, 2013) in the afternoon.

The family caring for B is leaving for vacation.  They will be gone for 2 of the next 3 weeks.  They cannot take B as these plans were made months ago, before B lived with them.  So, the State wants to put her in another home; a place where she does not know the people and they do not know her.  A place where both parents work all day, so B will spend most of her time in day care.

B's attorneys want B to live with us for those 3 weeks.  The State is refusing.  So, B's attorneys are asking a judge to order the State to place B with us for the 3 weeks.

I am asking that you pray for us and the situation.  Obviously, I would like prayer for the judge and for the attorneys.

Today, the burden on my heart is that God will give mercy to B.  She is a precious 3 year old who may be forced to live with people she does not know for 3 weeks.  My heart breaks just thinking about it.  I pray that God will show her mercy and place her with people who love her.

I ask that you join us in praying for B and her brothers.  Pray that God will show mercy on them allow them to live with people they love.

Friday, June 14, 2013


            "Let's go!" Jack yelled as he sprinted for the car.
            Jack quickly jumped through the window, as Calvin followed.  They found Willie kneeling next to a woman's head and shoulders.  A large wooden crate sat on the rest of her, pinning her down.  They saw her beard and recognized her as Ingrid.  Her head and shoulders were covered with blood. 
            "She's not moving," Willie blurted out.  His chest was heaving up and down.  His eyes were open wide.  "But, I think she is breathing.  Go get help!"
            Jack scrambled through the window and jumped off the wrecked train car.  He ran towards a group of people, frantically waving his arms over his head, and yelling, "Help!  I need a doctor, ambulance!  Someone is hurt!  Hurry!  I need a doctor!"
            People, scattered throughout the wreckage, heard Jack's cries and started running.  The first person to arrive was a man wearing the uniform of someone from an ambulance.  He stopped in front of Jack, "I’m a paramedic.  What's wrong?"
            "The bearded woman is in her car!  She's hurt and trapped under a crate!  She’s all bloody and not moving!  We think she’s breathing!"
            "Show me where."
            "This way!" Jack waived his hand and ran to the woman's car.  He pointed to the window.  The paramedic jumped on the car, knelt down and looked in the window.  "Stand back," he instructed Calvin and Willie, as he jumped through the window, stepped over debris and knelt next to the woman's head.
            "We'll help you move the crate," Willie volunteered.
            "No, we can't move anything yet.  I have to examine her first."  He placed his fingers on her neck and announced, "Her heart is beating.  She's alive."
            Calvin and Willie looked at each other with relief. 
            Jack, looking through the window, yelled, "Great!"
            The paramedic turned his head and looked around.  He noticed the car was small with debris scattered everywhere.  "Not much room to work in here," he mumbled to himself.  He looked at Calvin and Willie, "You boys need to get out so other medical personnel can get in and help me.  It is too cramped in here."
            Calvin and Willie obeyed.  Calvin climbed out first and saw a crowd of people gathering around.  Another paramedic was at the window.  "Get out of the way," he instructed.  Calvin jumped clear of the area. 
Behind him, Willie stuck his head through the window.  The paramedic grabbed Willie by the shoulders and pulled him out.  "Give me a break," Willie squealed.
            "Sorry.  I'm trying to get down there fast."  The paramedic disappeared, jumping through the window.  Two more paramedics followed.
            The crowd wondered what was happening.  Jack decided to get some glory, "Hey everyone.  Ingrid is in her car and she’s hurt.  We called the paramedics.  She’s bleeding and is trapped under a crate.  She’s alive and we hope the paramedics will get her out safely."
            From the back of the crowd, Jack heard someone pushing his way through and rudely barking, "Get out of my way.  I need to get through.  Move!"  Jack turned his attention to people getting pushed aside.  The crowd opened and the Sheriff stepped through.
            "What are you doing here?" the Sheriff bellowed, as he glared at Jack.  He turned and scowled at Calvin and Willie.  Willie stepped backwards and looked down at his feet.
            "Nothing," Willie mumbled. 
Jack defended himself, "We’re just looking around.  We weren't doing anything."
            "If you weren't doing anything, then why were you in a wrecked train car?  You shouldn’t be in there."
            "We just poked our heads in.  We’re just looking around.  Honest!"
            "Just looking around, eh?  Then, how do you know the woman's name?  If you were just looking around, you wouldn’t know her name."
            "Well, uh . . ."  Jack was caught and knew it.  He thought, "How do I get out of this?"  He looked at Calvin, his eyes begging for help.
            Calvin stepped in between Jack and the Sheriff.  "The important thing is," Calvin interjected as he started pushing Jack off the train car, "we saved this woman's life.  We’re going to step down and watch you guys rescue her.  We'll be out of the way."  Calvin continued to push Jack, as he retreated as well.  "Why don't you go and oversee the rescue?  Don't let three young boys distract you from saving a woman's life.  You're a hero."
            The Sheriff gave the boys a surly stare as they stepped off the train car.  "Go home and don't come back!"
            Calvin pulled Jack and Willie behind some people and simply waved an acknowledgment to the Sheriff.  Through the bodies of the crowd, they saw the Sheriff disappear through the window. 
            "Thanks for getting me away from the Sheriff," Jack whispered.
            "Yeah, well, you just had to show off didn't you.  What did you think was going to happen?"
            "I thought everyone would want to know about Ingrid.  I was trying to help.  How was I supposed to know the Sheriff was around?  I thought he was with the tiger."
            "You wanted everyone to treat you like hero.  Now, we have to figure out how to continue our investigation without the Sheriff catching us."
            The people around the window started stirring and moving back.  A voice said, "Move back, please.  Make some room."  Two paramedics emerged from the window.  They bent over and reached into the window.  They pulled a long board through the window.  Ingrid was strapped to the board.  She had a large white collar wrapped around her neck.  Once the board was completely out, the paramedics carried her to a nearby ambulance.  Blue and red lights flashed as it drove away.
            Calvin turned his gaze to the window and saw more people emerging.  "Quick," he whispered to his friends.  "The Sheriff will be getting out.  We need to hide.  Run to the woods."
            Jack and Willie complied silently.  They ran into the woods and dove under some brush.  They rolled over and poked their heads up just enough to see what was going on.
            "Let's wait here," Calvin suggested.  "When people leave, we can sneak back to Buster's car.  I think it’s next to Ingrid's car."
            "Sounds good to me," Jack responded.
            Willie nodded.
            They waited silently, lying on the ground.  After a few minutes, Willie put his head down, resting it on his right arm, and fell asleep.
            Jack nudged Calvin with an elbow and pointed at Willie.  "Look at him."
            "Leave him alone. We'll wake him up when we are ready to move."
            Calvin and Jack continued to watch.  Two people climb into the car and the rest of the crowd slowly disbursed.  Eventually, everyone was gone except the two people in the car and three people standing on the far side of the car, who were engaged in a conversation with their backs to the boys. 
            "I’m tired of waiting," Jack whispered.  "I think we should go."
            "Yeah, it's time to move.  We can make it without being seen.  Wake up Willie.  Be gentle."
            Jack nudged Willie with his elbow.  "Hey, wake up.  We’re gonna go to Buster's car."
            Willie moaned for a few seconds.  He had forgotten where he was.  It took a minute to remember he was in the woods at a train wreck.  "What are we doing?"
            "We're going to Buster's car," Jack responded.  "Let’s go."  Jack crouched as low as he could and shuffled his feet as fast as he could to Buster's car.  He quietly crawled onto the car, moved towards the window, and slid into the car.  Calvin and Willie followed, copying his movements.
            Once Willie dropped into the car, Calvin spoke, "We made it."
            "Yeah.  Now, what are we looking for?" Jack asked.
            “Like before, I don't really know.  Just anything that might connect Buster to the theft."
            In the corner, Calvin noticed drawers tipped over with papers scattered around.  He walked over and flipped through them.  "He could be hiding things.  Why don't you guys look through his drawers and anything else?"
            Jack saw a dresser and searched it.  Willie opened a luggage trunk and found some papers.  He sat down on a mattress and paged through them.
            "Hey, guys," Calvin interrupted the silence.  "I just found a receipt for a train ticket.  It’s a ticket heading to New York.  He’s leaving from Brownsville at 6 o’clock.”
            "Brownsville?  That’s only a few minutes from here," Jack observed.
            "It proves he’s leaving today.  He planned to crash the train here so he would be near Brownsville.  He must be the thief," Calvin concluded.
            "I think we should get to the train station and stop him.  He must have the money and is getting away," Jack suggested.
            Willie rotated his head between Calvin and Jack as they spoke.  "Don't you think we should just tell the Sheriff?  I mean, this guy is really strong.  This could be dangerous."
            "Call the Sheriff?" Jack exclaimed.  "Are you kidding me?  After the way he treated us?  I say we go capture this guy and get some respect."
            "We already know," Calvin inserted, "the Sheriff doesn’t listen to us.  This guy is at the Brownsville train station and we’re not positive he’s the thief.  I think we should find him and confirm he’s the thief.  Then we can call the Brownsville Sheriff."  Calvin turned to direct his comments to Willie, "Nothing dangerous, okay?  Are you with us?"
            "Yeah, I guess so," Willie, still sitting on the mattress, sheepishly muttered.
            Calvin saw something protruding from under the mattress.  "Stop!  Don't move!"

            "You're sitting on something.  I think it’s a bomb.  If Buster’s the thief, he used some bombs.  I think he left one here and you’re sitting on it.  Don't move.  We don't want to blow up."

Thursday, June 13, 2013


            The boys stared as the motorcycle bore down on them.  They froze, unable to move.  Willie closed his eyes, turned his head, and dropped his hamburger.  By doing so, he missed seeing the motorcycle turn slightly to the right, then back to the left, and run over a board sitting on the ground.  As the motorcycle hit the board, the motorcycle flew into the air, rising over the boys’ heads.  Jack and Calvin gazed as it passed over their heads, tumbled backwards and completed a summersault in mid-air.  They turned and watched it land on two wheels.  It popped a wheelie and sped off.
            "Wow!  Did you see that?"  Jack, in awe, spoke first.
            "Yeah, that was incredible," Calvin responded.
            Willie opened his eyes, "Aaahhh, wwwhhhat happened?  Are we alive?"
            Before anyone could answer, the motorcycle did a 180 degree turn and roared back at them.  Willie yelled, "Oh no!  Here it comes again."
            Calvin tried to calm him down, "I think we’re okay.  If he was going to hit us, he would’ve already done it."
            "Yeah," Jack interjected.  "It’s the circus stuntman."
            As Jack finished talking, the motorcycle skidded to a stop, kicking up dust on the boys.
            "Wow!  That was so awesome," Jack exclaimed.
            The rider pulled off his helmet.  "Hi, guys.  I am Rocky, the circus stuntman."
            "I knew it." Jack congratulated himself.
            "I heard you were looking for me," Rocky continued.  "So, I decided to give you a show."
            "That was really good," Calvin chipped in.
            Willie shook his head, "I missed it.  You scared me to death."
            "I didn't mean to scare you.  Well, maybe I wanted to give you a little scare.  I thought it would add some drama to the stunt.  I hope you enjoyed it and that I did not scare you too much."
            "It was too much for my liking," Willie complained.  He looked down, saw the rest of his hamburger sitting in the dirt, and shook his head.  There were still two bites left.
            "Never mind him. He’s scared of everything," Jack said.
            "I am not," Willie defended himself.
            Not liking the direction of this conversation, Rocky interrupted, "Well, I’m glad two of you liked it."  He looked at Willie, "And to you, I am sorry I got carried away.  I do that sometimes.  Well, I have to go."  Rocky twisted his right wrist, revving up the engine.  The rear tire spun, kicking up more dirt.  Rocky sped away.
            Jack smiled as Rocky road off.  "That was really cool."
            Calvin nodded his head in agreement.  "Yeah, but if he’s here, then he’s probably not the thief."
            Seeing his chance to be right, Willie remarked, "I told you it wasn't the stuntman.  It’s the bearded woman."
            Not yet ready to jump to conclusions, Calvin cautioned, "We don't know if it’s the bearded woman.  She is missing, so it could be her, but the elephant trainer and the clown are also missing.  It could be any of them."
            Jack, knowing his guess was wrong, wanted to add something to the solution of the crime, "Well, at least we can rule someone out."
            "You're right.  Now, let's get to the office car and continue our investigation," Calvin instructed as he started walking.
            Jack and Willie walked next to Calvin.  As they walked, Willie mumbled, "I can't believe I dropped by hamburger."
            The boys arrived at the office car and crawled through a window into the car.  "What do you want us to do?"  Jack asked energetically.
            "We need to find files on the missing people," Calvin instructed.  "My dad works for companies and he says companies have files for the employees.  The files should tell us about the missing people.  I hope there is something that will show who the thief is."
            Jack found a file cabinet sitting on its side with the drawers partially opened.  "Hey, Willie, help me set this cabinet up."
            Willie stepped over some debris and joined Jack.  They reached their hands under the top of the cabinet and lifted.  Within seconds, the cabinet was upright.  Jack pulled open the first drawer and found files with the names of different people.  "Okay, let's find the file for your bearded woman.  Do we know her name?"
            Willie pulled out his program and ran his finger down the list of performers.  His finger stopped at a picture of the bearded woman.  "The program says her name is Ingrid Bergmeyer."
            Jack's fingers pulled files forward in the drawer until he found a folder with a label, "Bergmeyer, Ingrid".  He pulled it out and opened it.  The first page had the title, "Employment Application".  A picture of a bearded woman was stapled next to the title.  "Freaky," Jack uttered as he handed the file to Willie.  "Here is your bearded woman."
            Jack turned his attention back to the files.  "Does anyone know the last name of the clown?  The first name is Rudy.  These are filed by last name."
            Willie was flipping through pages in Bergmeyer's file and simply shook his head.  Calvin responded, "No."
            Jack noticed that after the last name, the first name was also on the file.  "Okay.  I'll find it. It’s just going to take longer."  He proceeded to methodically flip through each individual folder searching for the name Rudy.  Near the back of the drawer, he grabbed a file, "Got it.  Rudy Schneider."  He handed the folder to Calvin.
            Jack turned his attention back to the drawer.  "Who's next?  The elephant trainer is missing right?  Calvin, did you get the name of the elephant trainer?"
            They told me, but I can't remember.  It sounded foreign, maybe Indian.  I think it started with an A"
            "Well, that’s a big help."  Jack said sarcastically as he peered at the folders.  He remembered seeing a strange name beginning with an A.  His eyes scanned the folders and froze on a folder with the name "Assad".  He pulled it out and looked at it.  It has a picture of a dark skinned man with a turban on his head.  The position listed on the application was "Elephant Trainer".  Jack exclaimed, "I got it."  He closed the drawer and started flipping through the pages.  "What exactly are we looking for?"
            Calvin continued reading Rudy's file and mumbled, "I don't know.  Anything that makes him look like a thief.  We already know he works with animals, so he might be comfortable letting the tiger loose.  Is there anything else that makes us think he could do it?
            "I found something about Ingrid," Willie offered.  "She is from Romania.  There’s a note in here that says she’s going to quit the circus."
            Jack, always skeptical of any contribution by Willie, scoffed, "So what?  The lady was going to quit.  I hope she shaves."
            "If she’s quitting, then she might not care about the future of the circus," Willie explained.  "Remember, Mr. Barnes said that everyone is like a family and wouldn’t want to hurt anyone.  But, if she’s leaving, she might not care about anyone else."
            "And, if she’s leaving," Calvin interjected, "she might want one big pay day before she leaves."
            "Her file also says," continued Willie, "she grew up in a circus.  Her parents were animal trainers.  So, she probably knows the animals well.  Her mother lives in Romania and is dying.  She’s leaving the circus to be with her mom.  She probably needs money to return to Romania and care for her mother."
            Calvin nodded, "Sounds like she is a good suspect."
            "I hate to admit it, but it sounds good," Jack said reluctantly.  Hoping there was a better suspect, Jack asked Calvin, "So, did you find anything in Rudy's file?"
            "No.  In fact, the circus really looks like family for Rudy.  His parents are clowns and his sister is a tight rope walker.  If he stole the money, he’d be hurting his family.  What about you and the elephant guy?"
            "I don't see anything either.  He works with animals, so maybe he let the tiger loose, but I can't find any other reason for him to be the thief."
            "So, it must be Ingrid,” Willie confidently concluded.        
            "She’s a great suspect, but I just thought of someone else we haven’t seen."
            Now, Willie was disappointed, "Who?"
            "Remember the muscle guy who grabbed us earlier?  I didn’t see him when we were outside.  Did anyone else see him?"
            Willie and Jack shook their heads. 
            Jack, happy there was another suspect, asked, "What’s his name?  I’ll get his file."
            Willie pulled out the program.  On the last page, he found a picture of the muscle bound man.  "The program says his name is Buster Lewis.  It also says he’s the World's Strongest Man.  That's why he has so many muscles."
            While Jack flipped through the files, Calvin thought out loud, "When we saw him, I noticed that his belt was worn on two notches."
            "So what?" Jack muttered as he pulled out Buster's file.
            "I think he’s been losing weight.  He used to wear his belt in one notch, so that notch became worn.  Then, he lost weight and had to use a different notch, so the belt would be smaller.  That notch became worn.  He kept losing weight and is now using a third notch.  The worn notches show he’s losing weight."
            Jack was still puzzled, "I understand what you are saying, but I don't know why we care if he’s losing weight."
            "I also noticed his shirt and pants were loose.  What if he’s losing weight and his muscles are getting smaller?"
            Even though Calvin was not really looking for an answer, Willie was eager to contribute, "Then, he wouldn’t be the World's Strongest Man."
            Calvin continued, "Right.  Maybe he’s also leaving the circus and he has no reason to keep his large muscles.  It’s okay if he loses weight and gets smaller."
            "If he’s leaving the circus, he doesn’t care about the future of the people in the circus either," Willie asserted.  "Just like Ingrid."
            Jack, while reviewing the file added, "There’s even more from his file.  He used to be a Marine and was trained in explosives.  He could’ve set the bombs."
            Calvin gave a little whistle, "Wow, we have two good suspects.  Either could have done it."
            "How do we know which one?" Willie questioned.
            "Let's go to their cars.  Maybe we’ll find a clue," Calvin suggested.
            Jack threw the file on the cabinet and started climbing out of the window.  "Sounds good.  Let's go."  The other two followed.
            Once outside, Calvin instructed, "Let's walk along the train and look for the cars for Ingrid and Buster.  Whichever one we see first, we’ll check for clues."  The boys agreed.
            Willie was the first to see the bearded woman's face painted on the side of a car.  "This is Ingrid's car," he claimed as he started running for the car.  Quickly, he found a broken window and started to climb through it.
            Calvin and Jack trailed along behind him.  "We'll let him go first," Calvin said as he put his arm out to slow Jack down.  "He hopes Ingrid is the thief so he can be right.  Let him have the first chance to find something."
            "All right," Jack mumbled, not really wanting to wait.
            They watched Willie place his hand on the sides of the window, stick his feet through, and slowly lower his body.  Eventually, he let go of his hands, his body dropped, and his head disappeared.
            "So, how long do we wait before we go in?" Jack asked.

            Before Calvin could answer, Willie scream, "Help!  Help!  I need help!"

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


            "Stop!" Jack yelled.
            "Don't shoot him!"  Calvin screamed.
            "What are you doing?" Willie hollered.
            The man ignored their cries.  His finger gently pulled back on the trigger.  The gun fired.
            "Why are you shooting him?" Jack cried.
            "I can't believe you killed him!  Especially after we captured him," Willie bellowed.
            Calvin started to yell, but realized the gun was not very loud.   He took a second look at the tiger and noticed a red thing, like a small flower, sticking out from his neck.  "Guys relax!  They didn’t kill the tiger."
            The man lowered his rifle and turned to face the boys.  "No, I didn’t kill him.  I shot him with a tranquilizer to put him to sleep.  We need him asleep so we can take him back to his cage."
            "Wow!  I didn't know why you were killing him," Willie murmured.
            Calvin turned his attention to the Sheriff, "So, did you guys figure out who stole the money from the train?"
            "No.  We haven't had time to investigate the theft.  We’ve been too busy making sure people are okay from the wreck and trying to catch the tiger."
            "You’ve really helped by catching the tiger," interjected the man who appeared to run the circus."
            "Thanks," Calvin responded.  He then introduced himself and his two friends and asked, "So, what’s your name?"
            "My name is Joseph Barnes.  I own and operate the circus.  We’re very thankful you caught Lilly, the tiger.  We’ll have to do something to show you our appreciation."
            "That would be great.  By the way, do you have any idea who robbed the train?" Calvin inquired.
            "No, I don't.  Like the Sheriff said, we haven't had time to look into it."
            "Do you have any idea how much was stolen?"
            "Again, I haven't had a chance to check, but it was probably around $1 million."
            Jack whistled in amazement.
            "That's a lot of money," Willie said in astonishment.
            Mr. Barnes continued, "You're right it is a lot.  It’s more than we usually have.  Once a year, we do shows near New York City.  Those shows are the biggest of the year because New York is such a large city.  We just finished those shows, so we had more money than usual in the safe.  If it’s all gone, I don't know how the circus will survive.  I’ll probably have to shut it down."
            Willie shook his head in despair.  "That would be terrible."
            Calvin questioned, "Who would know that you had so much money right now?"
            "Not too many people.  Like I said, we don't normally have that much.  About the only people who would know would be people in the circus.  They all know the New York shows are the biggest and we just finished there."
            "Do you know of anyone in your circus who would commit the robbery?"
            "No.  We’re like a large family.  Everyone knows the money is for everyone.  If someone steals it, then no one gets paid and may lose their jobs.  I can't believe anyone would do this."
            Have you noticed anyone from the circus missing?"
            "No, but its been chaotic."
            "Stop it, Calvin," the Sheriff interrupted.  "You’re not the investigator.  We’re glad you boys caught the tiger.  Now, it’s time for the three of you to go home and let us catch the thief."
            "All right.  Whatever you say.  I was just trying to help."  Calvin turned and walked away with Jack and Willie following him.
            The boys walked to their bikes.  "What are we going to do now?" Jack asked.
            "We’re going to the train wreck and see if we can figure out who stole the money," Calvin responded.
            "But, the Sheriff told us to go home," Willie cautioned.
            Jack looked at Willie, "Don't be a baby."  He turned to Calvin, "I knew you wouldn't give up.  Let's roll."  He jumped on his bike and peddled up a path leading them out of the woods.  Calvin and Willie followed.  The boys rode to the small highway, followed the highway to the railroad tracks, then followed a path next to the tracks to the wreckage.
            "What do we do now?" Jack asked, directing his question to Calvin.
            "The thief is probably someone from the circus.  Mr. Barnes said no one else would know that $1 million was in the safe.  At this point, the thief has probably already left, hoping to escape during the commotion.  Let's see if we can figure out who is missing."
            "That’ll be hard.  We don't know who is supposed to be here," Willie pointed out.
            "Maybe the office car will have a list of people who are in the circus," suggested Calvin.
            The boys walked along the overturned cars until they found the office car, where they had discovered the missing money.  They crawled in and started going through papers.  It was hard to find a list of everyone.  After a few minutes, Willie held up a piece of paper, "Here is a circus program.  We can probably guess who should be here by looking at the acts they perform."
            "It’s probably not the best, but it will give us a start," Calvin said as he started climbing out of the car.  Jack followed.  Willie grabbed two more programs and some pens, before he climbed out.
            The boys started walking around looking at different circus performers.  When they identified a performer, they crossed the person off the program.  Since they were not in costume, it was hard to identify everyone.  Calvin saw four thin ladies and two small, but muscular, men sitting under a tree.  He walked over to them, "Hi.  This train wreck is terrible, isn't it.  Are you performers in the circus?"
            One of the men responded, "Yes.  We’re the trapeze team."
            Calvin smiled, knowing he had identified some performers.  He asked a couple of more questions about their act before he excused himself.
            Once he was away from the trapeze team, he turned to Jack and Willie, "We probably are going to have to start asking people who they are.  We can do it just like that."
            The boys walked around some more and kept looking at the program and crossing names off the list.   
            They saw three men and three women pulling boxes out of a train car.  Jack walked over, "Hi.  I am guessing you work for the circus.  What do you do?"
            One man put down a wooden box and replied, "We’re clowns.  Do you live around here?"
            "Oh, I love clowns.  How many clowns are in the circus anyway?"
            "There are twelve of us."  The other five clowns stopped their work and gathered around Jack.
            "This is so cool.  All of you are clowns?"
            "We sure are," a woman chimed in.
            "As clowns, what exactly do you do in the circus?  Besides being funny, of course."
            The woman responded again, "Some of us do juggling.  Some ride motorcycles.  We ride around in tiny cars.  We do some funny skits like being in a marching band and using a fire truck to extinguish a fire.  We come out often, in between different acts so that no one gets bored."
            "I heard there are twelve clowns, but I only see six of you.  Where are the other clowns?  I would like to meet them."
            "Well, there are two over there," the woman said as she pointed to two men.  She then re-directed her pointing finger to some women, "And there are three more."  She paused and looked around.  Then, she looked some more.  "Huh, I don't see Rudy."  She turned to the other clowns with her, "Have you guys seen Rudy?"
            One guy responded, "No, I haven't.  I can't remember the last time I saw him."
            A lady spoke up, "I saw him right after the crash, but I haven't seen since then."
            The other three clowns shook their heads and said they had not seen him either.
            Jack took a mental note that Rudy, a clown, was missing.  He wondered if Rudy was the thief.  Jack turned to walk away, he hesitated, turned around, and said, "I think I saw a stuntman in the program.  I have always wanted to meet a stuntman.  Do you know where he is?"
            "Oh, you mean Rocky," one female clown responded.  She looked around and shook her head.  "I don't see him either.  Sorry."
            Jack turned and walked away.  Then, he started to jog to Calvin and Willie.  Willie was eating a hamburger.  Jack approached, "Where did you get that from?"
            "I was investigating the kitchen staff.  They had some hamburgers, so I had to have one."
            "You were investigating the kitchen staff?  Really?  I’m supposed to believe that?"
            "Yes!" Willie responded emphatically.  "And, no one from the kitchen staff is missing."
            Jack shook his head, "Is that all you learned?"
            "No, I was also looking at the program and think I found someone who is missing."
            "And, who is that?  Don't keep us waiting for your great discovery."
            "Don't mock me.  Do you want to know who is missing?"  Willie paused while Jack and Calvin shook their heads.  "The bearded woman is missing."
            "What?"  Jack exclaimed while shaking his head.
            "Yeah.  See here in the program, the bearded lady is listed as someone on the Midway.  I haven't seen her anywhere.  If she was around, I would have noticed a bearded lady, trust me.  And, I think she is the one who did it.  I mean any woman with a beard has got to have something wrong with her.  She stole the money."
            Calvin added, "Now that you mention it, I have not seen a bearded woman either.  But, that doesn’t mean she’s the thief.  Good job.  What about you Jack?  Did you find out anything?"
            Jack looked at Willie, "I didn’t find any hamburgers."  He then faced Calvin, "But, I discovered two people who are missing.  One of the clowns is missing.  His name is Rudy.  Also, there is a stuntman named Rocky.  No one has seen him either.  Did you find out anything?"
            "I spent some time with the animal trainers.  It is hard to figure out if anyone is missing because several went to get the tiger.  But, it seems like no one has seen the elephant trainer."
            "Well, we know who Willie thinks did it.  What do you think?"  Jack asked.
            "I don't know yet.  We’ve identified four missing people.  It could be any of the four.  Plus, there may be even more missing people.  I don't know, but we need to figure it out."
            "I think it’s Rocky, the stuntman," Jack speculated.  "He’s used to danger.  So, it would be natural for him to set explosives and let a tiger lose.  Also, he rides a motorcycle for his stunts, so it would be easy for him to use it to escape and get out of here."
            Even though he had his own guess, Willie admitted, "That makes a lot of sense."
            "So what do we do now?"  Jack asked Calvin.
            "I think we go back to the office car and try to find files on these four people.  Maybe there will be something in their background that will make someone a prime suspect."
            Calvin started walking to the office car.  Jack and Willie sprinted forward and walked next to him.  The three walked side by side while Willie took another bite from his hamburger.  Some ketchup was smeared on his lip and right cheek.  He reached up with his left hand and wiped the ketchup from his face, getting ketchup on his sleeve.

            Suddenly, the boys heard a loud engine roar behind them.  They quickly turned around and saw a motorcycle screaming toward them.  Jack yelled, "It’s going to run over us!"

Monday, June 10, 2013


            Willie's back was to a rock wall.  He had nowhere to go.  The tiger stood about 25 feet away from him.  The tiger's eyes stared into Willie's eyes.  The tiger smelled the meat in Willie's hand.  The tiger stuck out his tongue and licked his lips.  It took a step towards Willie.  "Help," Willie whimpered some more.
            "Calvin, we have to go help Willie!"  Jack started running.
            Calvin started running towards the tiger trap.  "Jack, go to the net!  Get the tiger's attention and try to lure him to the net!"
            The tiger continued staring at Willie.  It took another step forward.
            Jack arrived at the net first.  He started jumping up and down, yelling, trying to get the tiger to turn around.
            The tiger never turned its head.  Instead, it took another step forward.  "He's coming!  Guys, help!"  Willie's whimpering became more of a cry.
            Calvin ran up next to Jack and stopped. 
            "I can't get its attention!"  Jack complained to Calvin.
            "We have to do something!"  Calvin looked around trying to get an idea.
            The tiger took another step toward Willie.
            Calvin thought of something.  "Throw some meat at it.  That should get its attention."
            "Okay."  Jack grabbed some hamburger from the bag.  He rolled it into a ball, the size of a baseball.  He was a pitcher on his baseball team, so he knew he could throw a meatball accurately.  He stretched his right hand out behind him, stepped forward with his left foot, brought his right hand over his shoulder, and threw the meatball as hard as he could.  The meatball flew through the air and hit the tiger on the left side of its face.
            For the first time, the tiger diverted his gaze from Willie.  He turned his head over his left shoulder and looked at Jack and Calvin.  Suddenly, the tiger let out a blood curdling roar.  Willie, Calvin, and Jack felt the ground vibrate under them.  They could feel the roar pass through their bodies.  It seemed like the sound of the roar would never end.  When It ended, the tiger turned around, stared at Jack, and started approaching.  Jack was the tiger’s new prey.
            "Uuuuuhhhhhh, its coming this way.  What do we do now?" Jack asked Calvin.
            "You weren't supposed to hit the tiger in the head.  I just said to get his attention."
            "Well, that got his attention."
            Willie stood silent watching the tiger walk away from him.  He sighed in relief, but was too scared to move.
            The tiger walked towards Jack and Calvin.
            "Calvin, we need a plan quick."  Jack was desperate.
            "Throw some meat out in front of him.  Back up off the net.  Get him to keep following you until he gets on the net.  When he is on the net, I will spring the net and capture him."
            "Okay."  Jack began walking backwards away from the tiger, keeping the net between him and the tiger.  As he back peddled, he kept his eyes on the tiger and reached into his bag for more meat.
            "When you throw the meat at him, make sure you don't hit him again."  Calvin locked his eyes on the tiger, but slowly moved to where the rope was tied.
            "I'm not going to hit him again.  I really don't want to be his lunch."
            Jack used an under hand motion and tossed some meat towards the tiger.  Jack continued to walk backwards.  The tiger kept walking towards Jack.  When the tiger got to the meat, he paused and ate it.
            "It's working," Calvin whispered.  "Keep it up."  Calvin was now hidden in some bushes waiting for the tiger to reach the trap.
            "That's easy for you to say.  The tiger is not walking towards you."  Jack stepped back some more.  He tossed another meat ball in front of the tiger, still leading him towards the net.
            The tiger stopped and ate another meatball.  He looked up and, again, walked towards Jack.  Jack backed up two more steps and lobbed another meatball in front of the tiger.  "Here kitty, kitty, kitty," Jack encouraged.
            "He's almost to the net.  You almost have him," Calvin whispered.
            The tiger ate another meatball.  Jack backed up some more and tossed another meatball, this one landing right in front of the net.  The tiger walked forward and ate the meatball.  He looked up at Jack and then back down.  He saw a small pile of steaks sitting a few feet in front of him.  He walked forward, looked at the steaks, opened his mouth, lowered his head and bit into them.
            At that exact moment, Calvin unleashed the net holding the rocks.  Before the tiger could react, the rope pulled the four corners of the net up, capturing the tiger inside.  The tiger roared with rage.  His paws clawed at the net trying to get free.  He continued to roar, sending shivers down the spine of the boys.  He kept pawing the net, but to no avail.
            "We did it!  We did it!"  Willie yelled as he jumped up and down.
            Jack ran over to Calvin and gave him a giant hug.  Willie sprinted to them and jumped on the top of them, knocking the three of them to the ground.  They rolled around on the ground screaming with joy, smiling, and laughing.
            After a few minutes on the ground, the boys finally stopped rolling around.  They sat in silence and stared at the tiger, as he still scrambled trying to get out of the net. 
            "I am going to call the Deputy and tell him we captured the tiger," Calvin announced.  He walked to his backpack, grabbed his phone, and made the call.   He turned his back to his buddies and walked away from them and the tiger.  Willie and Jack heard the beginning of the conversation, "Deputy, we caught the tiger."  Calvin briefly stopped talking, then he continued, "Seriously, we caught him."  Calvin walked farther way and told the Deputy their location.
            Calvin ended the call and walked back to Jack and Willie.  "They’re on the way."
            In a few minutes, the boys heard sirens from the highway.  They knew it would be awhile before anyone got there because no roads led into these woods.  They figured everyone was driving as close as they could.  Then, they would walk through the woods.  Eventually, they heard people walking along the trails.
            The first person they saw was the Sheriff, the same guy who told them to go away because he did not have time for twelve year old boys.  Jack whispered, "It is kinda funny.  He didn’t have time for us earlier and, now, he’s rushing to get to us.  Can I rub his nose in it?"
            "Be good," Calvin whispered back.  Then he yelled, "Over here, Sheriff.  The tiger is in a net over here."
            The Sheriff, and men with him, started running.  The boys saw the Deputy, the man who was in charge of the circus and some other people.  A couple of people looked like they might be animal trainers. 
            "Wow!  You boys really did it," the Sheriff exclaimed when he saw the tiger suspended in the air.
            Jack knew this was his chance, "Yes, we did.  Do you have time for us now?"
            The Sheriff stopped smiling and glared at Jack.  Calvin gave Jack an elbow to the stomach.
            "I can't believe you guys did this," the Deputy remarked.
            A man who appeared to be an animal trainer stepped up and said, "I’m glad we got the tiger.  We'll take it from here, Sheriff."

            Another man, also dressed like an animal trainer, stepped up carrying a rifle. He stopped in front of the caged tiger, pulled up a rifle, and aimed it at the tiger.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


            "You have a plan, right?"  Jack looked at Calvin.
            "Yes.  We’ll ride to where we saw the tiger.  I have three nets and some rope.  We will lay two nets on top of each other on the ground to actually catch the tiger."
            "Why two nets?"  Willie wondered.
            "They're fishing nets.  I don't know how strong they are.  I figured we double them.  Combined, they should be strong enough to hold the tiger."
            "Yyyyyoooouuuu mmmmeannnn you’re afraid the tiger might escape?"  Willie mumbled
            "Knock it off.  Stop being a baby.  Calvin's plan sounds good.  If you don't like it, go home," Jack sneered, still irritated at Willie because of the church talk.  "Calvin, keep going and ignore this baby."
            "Okay.  We’ll tie the two nets to the other net with a rope connected to the pulley.  We’ll fill the other net with rocks and hoist it into a tree.  We’ll set out the meat to lead the tiger to the net.  When he is on it, we will drop the rocks from the tree and the net will go up.  Bingo!  We’ve caught a tiger."
            Willie was worried.  "Are you sure it is safe?"
            Still mad at Willie, Jack responded sharply, "The only way the plan could be better is if you were the bait.  Let's go."  Jack jumped on his bike and started riding.
            Willie did not like the joke but knew the argument was over.  He started peddling.  Calvin pulled in front of him.  The three boys rode single file along a dirt path to where they saw the tiger.
            Jack slammed on his brakes, skidding his tires across the dirt.  Calvin and Willie did the same.  Jack jumped off his bike and walked to Calvin's wagon.  "Calvin, why don't you figure out where to put the trap while Willie and I get the nets and rope out?"  Jack's question was really more of a command.
            "Okay."  Calvin walked around with his eyes looking up at the trees trying to find a good place to set the trap. After Jack and Willie had the nets out of the wagon, Calvin waved them over.  "Let's try this spot."
            Jack dragged one net over to Calvin and spread it across the ground.  Willie followed with the other net.  The two boys took the second net, opened it up, and laid it down on top of the first net.
            Calvin walked a few yards away, still looking up to the trees.  He stopped and looked at his friends.  They were finishing the placement of the second net.  "Let's put the other net here.  I'll get the rope."  With his foot, he scraped an "X" in the dirt, showing his friends where to put the net.  He ran to the trailer to get the rope.
            Jack and Willie dragged the third net to the "X" and spread it out.  Calvin uncoiled the rope.  "Once the net is spread out, we need to fill it with as many big rocks as we can," Calvin instructed.  Calvin, carrying the pulley and rope, climbed a tree located between the nets.  He tied the pulley to a large branch and fed the rope through the pulley.  He lowered himself down a few branches and jumped to the ground.  Jack and Willie rolled large rocks onto the net.  Calvin joined them until the net was full.
            "Let's connect the nets with the rope," Calvin instructed as he started tying a rope to the nets.  In a few minutes, the nets were tied together by the rope that ran through the pulley attached high in a tree.  "Now, we need to raise the net with the rocks."  Jack and Willie helped Calvin pull the rope, hoisting the net full of rocks into the air.  Once in the air, Calvin tied the rope so the rocks remained suspended in the air.  "Looks like the trap is all set."  Calvin smiled triumphantly.  “I love it when a plan comes together.”
            "Don't you think we should test it first?"  Willie suggested.
            "Good idea," Jack agreed.  "You get in the net since you’re the bait."
            Willie did not like Jack's remark.  He could not tell if Jack was still mad or if he was joking.  He started to respond, but decided to keep his thoughts to himself rather than start another quarrel.
            Calvin noted the tension and wanted to stop it. "Testing is a good idea, Jack.  Do you want to release the rocks, or should I do it?"
            "Go ahead, Calvin.  This whole idea is yours anyway."
            "Okay.  Here goes." 
            Jack and Willie turned to look at the empty net.  Calvin released the rocks.  The rocks fell quickly to the ground, landing with a loud thud.  The empty net closed and rose into the air.  The boys imagined a tiger in the net.  The boys exchanged fist bumps.
            "Great!  Let's set it back up," Calvin exclaimed excitedly.  He was thrilled that his idea worked.  Jack and Willie joined Calvin in hoisting the rocks back in the air.  Once the rope was tied, Calvin said, "Now, it's time to catch a tiger."
            "Where do you want us to put the meat?"  Jack asked.
            "Let's put some on the empty net.  That’s where we need to get the tiger.  Then we’ll spread out and scatter some meat.  We just need to make sure the meat leads him to the net," Calvin instructed.
            The boys went to their bikes and retrieved all of their meat.  They walked back to the net and stacked four steaks in the center.  Then, they walked in separate directions, dropping meat in different places, hoping to entice the tiger.  Jack, always in a hurry, worked the quickest, setting out more meat and getting farther from the empty net than the other boys.  Calvin worked faster than Willie and was very particular in the locations for the meat.  He made sure the meat would be easy to find and was never hidden by any rocks or bushes.  Willie was the slowest.  He haphazardly walked around dropping meat anywhere and everywhere.  Without paying attention, he walked towards a steep wall of rocks.  He didn't even care where he dropped the meat.
            As Jack and Calvin laid out the meat, they heard a whimper.  "Aaaaahhhhhh guys.  Guys.  Guys.  I need help."
            Jack stopped, turned, and grumbled, "Stop the whining . . ."
            Calvin turned to see what Willie needed.
            All three boys froze.
            Willie continued to whimper, "I I I I ffffffound the tiger."

            The tiger stood a few feet from Willie.  It stared at him.  It stepped forward, toward Willie, and opened its mouth.

Foster Child Struggles and Confusion

It's a little past 10:00 a.m. on Sunday.  I should be at church now.  Instead, I sit on my couch watching my 4 year old foster child play on the floor.  Between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., he had three separate blow-ups.  I have been hit and kicked numerous times today.  When he acts like this, there has to be consequences.  We warned him that he cannot go to church if he continues to act this way.  He continued; now, we are home.

I have a headache from his screaming and hitting.

I'm confused.  Does God want us to care for these children?  If so, then why is the State trying to take them from us?  If He wants us to care for them, then why won't He just let us do it.

Does God want us to stop caring for these children?  If so, then why are they still here?

Does God want us to continue to fight to keep the kids in our home?  Or, does He want us to stop and let them leave?  Why won't He give a clear answer.

As I write, my computer plays the song "Do Something" by Matthew West.  God, I am trying to do something.  Is this what You want me to do?  If so, let me do it.

The 4 year old is playing quietly now.  He  has a great smile.  My head still hurts.  My heart hurts.  My head spins with confusion.

Monday, June 3, 2013


A couple of months ago, I asked everyone to pray for the situation with our foster kids.  I greatly appreciate everyone who prayed.  We clearly saw God working.  For the past couple of months, things have been on hold, but now it is time to go into serious prayer mode again.

A quick review:  In August 2010, we became foster parents of a boy, C, who was 19 months old, and his sister, B, who was 9 months old.  In July, 2011, their mother had a baby boy, J, and he was placed in our home directly from the hospital.  In June, 2012, their older brother, D, age 8, was placed in our home.

In early March, 2013, the State removed B from our home alleging that we were not adequately taking care of her medically.  Despite their allegations, every treating doctor says that she is healthy and has been doing well in our home.  The State also planned to remove the three boys.

Since we are foster parents, not natural parents, we have no rights to contest the removal and try to keep the foster children.  We have no right to appeal or do anything.  It should have ended right there.

But, the children have lawyers, Law Guardians, who are to represent the children.  The Law Guardians believe we were taking great care of the children, the children should stay with us, and the State is harming the children by removing them.  So, the Law Guardians asked the Court to stop the State and keep the children with us, which hopefully will result in our adopting them.  Law Guardians almost never fight the State.  This is really unprecedented.

Normally, a Judge will not intervene.  In March, the Judge intervened.  While the Judge would not put B back in our home, in case the State was correct, he did order the State to place B with some friends of ours.  He also ordered the State to keep the boys with us.

Finally, he ordered that a trial would be held.  Again, this never happens.

Now:  The trial will take place on Wednesday and Thursday (June 5, 6).  Please pray.  It is always difficult to win a case against the State, so we really need God to intervene.  I believe the Law Guardians are optimistic and, even when I try to look at this matter from the State's perspective, I do not believe they have a case.  But, as I said, it is nearly impossible to beat the State in these situations.

My Wife and I will have to testify.  Pray for us as we testify, especially my Wife. We both feel we are being attacked by the State, but as a Mother, she is especially under attack.  Pray for us to have peace and not to give up.  So many times, we have felt like giving up rather than go through this battle.

Pray for the Law Guardians.  As an attorney, I wish I had control of the case and that I was handling it.  But, I cannot.  We are not even allowed to have an attorney represent us.  We are completely dependent upon the Law Guardians (in reality, I am not relying on them, but on God).  Pray that they will do a good job.

Pray for the witnesses.  Our friends who are currently caring for B will testify.  Pray they will have peace and the Judge will listen to them.  Doctors will testify.  Pray they will tell the truth and explain that B is healthy while in our care.  Pray the State workers will testify to the truth.  For 2 1/2 years, they continually told us we were doing a great job, they asked us to take 2 additional children, and wanted us to adopt all four.  They never criticized our care.  Suddenly, when they decided to remove the children, they became critical.  Pray that they will tell the truth about the care we gave B and her brothers.

Pray for the Judge.  Pray that she will discern the truth and have the courage to enter a Judgment against the State.

Even though I feel we have a good case, I also feel it is impossible to beat the State.  I feel like Elijah who wanted his altar to catch fire even though it had been drenched with water.  Like catching a wet altar on fire, I feel like we are facing a nearly impossible situation.  But, God received greater glory when he burned up the wet altar.  While this matter is tough, I pray that God will receive greater glory as He works in this tough situation.

Finally, pray that God's Will be done and we will accept it.  We believe God wants these children to be raised in our home, where we can help make them disciples.  The 9 year old already accepted Christ as his Savior (just days before the State decided to remove the children).  But, maybe God has another plan.  We pray that His plan will prevail and we will submit to it.

Thanks for praying and for your encouragement.  When we are in court on Wednesday and Thursday, I will try to post Facebook updates when we have the opportunity.