Just a few weeks later, our year hit a low point, when the State took B away from us. She had lived with us since she was nine months old, for a total of two and half years. This devastated us. The State attacked us and tried to take the three foster boys from us. The Law Guardians, the attorneys for the children, battled the State and were able to keep the boys with us. But, despite their efforts, the State would not relent with B and they would not return her to us. The efforts to get B, and the devastation of losing her, dominated the year.
On December 12, God performed a miracle. Prior to that date, the State decided to move B to a new home because she was having behavioral problems and her new foster family no longer wanted her. During the afternoon on the 12th, B had been taken to the hospital because her doctor thought she may have pneumonia. Even though she did not have pneumonia, the State decided to change her foster home. Without our knowledge, the Law Guardians heard of the move, and made an emergency application to a Judge to have her placed our home. At about 4:45 p.m., out of the blue, the caseworker called and asked us if we could pick up B at the hospital. Immediately, my wife and I wept for joy. We praise God for her return. We don’t know how long she, or her brothers, will be with us. So, we will daily take care of them.
I achieved some of my goals for the year. For example, I read 18 books. I lost 28 pounds and now weigh 170 pounds. I started running again; I ran three 5K races and the Broad Street Run. I increased my speed and endurance to the point where I have run 7.5 miles in less than 60 minutes (less than an 8 minute per mile pace). I bought a second refrigerator for my wife.
Some goals were not met. I did not memorize all the bible verses that I wanted that I had planned. I did not get my house painted. I blogged some, but not as much as I wanted to. I guess these will re-appear on this year’s list of goals.
I did something unexpected. I wrote two books. I never anticipated writing a book but was challenged, by my daughter Alyson, to write 100 words a day for 100 days. The books are aimed at a 4 to 6 grade audience and are about 3 boys who solve mysteries. Growing up, I loved reading Hardy Boy books, so I wrote a book that I would have liked to read when I was that age – lots of action, danger, and mystery. I read the first book to my children and they loved it. I had so much fun with the first book that I wrote a sequel and am getting ready to read the second book to the kids.
While I learned a lot this year, I am learning and appreciating God’s care and protection. In January, we were driving our 12 passenger van to Ohio during a snow storm. While on the Interstate, the back end of the van slid around, I lost control, and the van turned about 300 degrees. It was scary, but God protected us. We did not hit anything. We did not end up in a ditch. No one hit us. We were able to continue driving and arrive at our destination.
A few days ago, my brother and his family were traveling on the Pennsylvania turnpike. Suddenly, a “white out” occurred and nearly 40 vehicles, including a propane truck, collided. A truck rear ended my brother’s car. Another car ended upon on the hood. They walked away, unharmed. God protected them.
God’s protection is more appreciated when I see that life is fragile. A few weeks ago, I was parked on a street waiting for two of my children to come out of youth group, cross the street, and get in my car. While I waited, a boy crossed the street and put his guitar in his mom’s car, which was two cars ahead of mine. He remembered that he left his bag in the building. As he returned across the street, about 20 feet ahead of me, he was hit by a car and dragged 100 feet. I stood with my kids as EMT desperately tended to him and he was taken to a hospital. A couple of hours later, we learned that he died. We tend to live our lives thinking that we, and our kids, are reasonably safe. The reality is that life is fragile. When I realize this fact, I become more appreciative of God’s protection.