I know, it has been awhile. Too long. No excuses, just neglectful.
2011 had so many ups and downs, psychologically, emotionally, physically. But just like every other year we made it through.
For us it will be considered the best year ever because of one thing-our first grandchild! Bryan James Berry was born to our son Ricky and his beautiful wife, Jennifer, on December 7. That day is significant for so many reasons-Pearl Harbor Day is foremost in people's minds. For Chris and I it was the day we originally planned on getting married. We ended up getting married November 12 because the preacher who was going to do our wedding had a disagreement with the preacher whose church we were going to use. Great example, right?!
But December 7 is significant to Ricky and Jennifer for another reason. Ricky is a youth pastor at a small church in Crandall. Last February one of Ricky's youth died in a gun accident. Ricky and Jennifer were especially close with him because they had both grown up with him as well. Small towns are famous for these kind of things. The first Bryan had also dealt with many hard knocks in his young life. His parents divorced when he was young, his father constantly threatening and abusing his mother even afterward. His older brother fell into his father's sphere, and left under bad circumstances. Then his mother was diagnosed with cancer and fought the good fight for a couple of years before she gave in to it. Bryan was left with his elderly grandparents. Six months after his mother's death, his grandfather died. So by the time he was fifteen, Bryan only really had his grandmother. Through it all, this Bryan kept a smile on his face and a sense of humor. His last paper for English told the world he knew he was loved by the people around him and by the Lord. He was excited about the future. Six months later, Bryan was looking at the gun his grandfather kept to protect him and his mother from Bryan's dad, and...well you can figure out the rest.
As a mother, I was worried about how this kind of grief would affect Ricky and his walk with the Lord. Looking back, I can say that Ricky and Jennifer grew, actually they leaped, into the role God wanted them in to help Bryan's friends and the rest of the youth group. The small group of kids grew and through their shared grief they learned to trust in the Lord.
In March, Ricky and Jennifer found out they were pregnant. Due date was Thanksgiving Day. They worked hard to help the kids and put up with some really ridiculous behavior and expectations from their pastor. Thanksgiving Day came and went. Finally the doctor decided they needed to induce on December 6. Through the night, Ricky stayed with Jennifer. Still no baby. The next day, all day. Finally the decision was made to do the c-section at 9 pm on December 7. The surgery was quick and there were complications. We almost lost Jennifer. But she came through and is doing well. Bryan James is named after the Bryan whose birthday he shares. Yes, December 7 would have been the first Bryan's 17th birthday. The Lord replaced sadness with joy and gave us all a beautiful little boy to love and cherish and tell about the special young man he was named after. Our Bryan's middle name isn't after anyone in particular, James was given to him because that is Ricky's favorite book of the Bible. So our Bryan has a special angel in heaven and is protected by the Lord. He is highly favored. We know this because Bryan's birthmark was a cross on his forehead.