It has been an interesting year indeed with seemingly constant change. Early in the year we witnessed extreme cold and ice (remember the Superbowl?) followed by one of the hottest driest summers on record (70 100+ degree days). That of course is not the excitement of the year but merely examples of the ups and downs that can be found in anyone’s life.
At the beginning of the year we knew a couple of things for sure, 1. Our family was going to get bigger and 2. Josh would be leaving for Africa at the end of the year on another deployment. It’s amazing what we think are facts that have yet to happen.
On May 7th, Lynette started feeling contractions. Josh, in the mean time, was having difficulty reaching the midwife who would be accompanying us at our third homebirth. No big deal, we are pros by now and Lynette had been training and was in top shape. The midwife was reached and made it to the house. Shortly after midnight on Mother’s Day we delivered our precious little Levia Joy into our hearts, our family, our home and the world. What an emotional rush to deliver your own child into the world, we hardly noticed the “help” in the background. Then the observations from the midwife… Something wasn’t right. The heart beat was a little off and there were other characteristics. What would follow would be more trips to various doctors and specialists than the Berger family is accustomed to making. Levia was born with one valve and a hole in her heart, called complete AV Canal Defect. She also has pretty much the rarest form of Down syndrome; she is one in a million. It is those other characteristics that helped the heart problem be caught, leading to proper treatment and an October surgery that left Levia much stronger and energized. It also demonstrated to us the amount of love and support that surround us here in Texas.
Due to the additional care needed in proving fact number one, fact number two was proven false. Josh had plenty of officers willing to go to the Horn of Africa in his place. His team and his unit were very gracious in understanding that family had to come first and supported his decision not to deploy.
Caleb (7 yr) continues to amaze us. In February, at a Team Impact event, he went forward at an alter call and accepted Christ as his personal Savior. We have had many discussions and it is abundantly clear that he understands what he has done and it was his personal choice. He knows that only his relationship with Christ can save him, not mom, dad, grandma or grandpa’s faith. In AWANA he devours the Scripture verses showing a love and gift for Bible memorization. He continues to home-school and will be starting second grade level studies in January. His reading and math skills are incredible and he loves learning. He is still training in Taekwondo and loves sparring. He also cannot leave his new little sister alone.
Eliana (5 yr) is becoming quite the little lady. She has a large nurturing streak, always wanting to care for Levia; she can’t leave her alone either. She is starting to do more and more in the kitchen with mom and is always looking for mommy things she can do. Although she has not formally started her schooling she is a prime example that children learn by being involved in life and pick up so much from their environment. She likes writing and has some of the most legible handwriting in the house. Ellie was given a chance to try ballet this year, but after a couple months decided she would rather take that time to do things with mom. She has demonstrated her own ability at AWANA and surprised us with how confidently and accurately she recites her verses to the other leaders.
Caedmon (4 yr) is the clown. It’s hard for anyone to be around him and not end up having the best day ever. He is learning karate by watching big brother and is anxious to start next year. Like his sister he has picked up on all the basic pre-school type things (numbers, letters, colors) without a bit of formal education. He is showing his own love of scripture by memorizing his verses for Cubbies. He wants to drive monster trucks when he grows up, except he hates noise so that should be interesting.
Lynette (I won’t say) besides making giving birth look easy, has continued running and racing. She not only runs for herself but has also paced other runners- helping them achieve their best times. She is ‘the everything’ in the family from teacher to chef to seamstress and so much more and like most moms and wives probably does not receive enough credit.
Josh tested for and received his Black Belt in Taekwondo and started instructing part time at a local Dojo. He was selected for promotion to Master Sergeant in the U.S. Army just days before this letter was published. The low of the year for him was not being able to hunt.
So from our family to yours, we want to wish y’all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!