Mom made the journey from NJ to Italy as a 79-year-old and returned as a newly minted octogenarian, as 14-year-old Zoe so kindly pointed out. We couldn’t match the homemade ice cream cake Donna’s sister Ginni treated Mom to, but she said she enjoyed her first-ever horse cake made of brownie and dark chocolate cookie batter baked together. We figured the chocolate would make up for all other flaws in the cake. So thankful to celebrate with her!

Mom had arrived just in time to fly to Naples with us for our last regular swim meet of the season and some sightseeing, which turned out to include Mt Vesuvius covered with more snow than one native had seen in his lifetime.

While snow in the nearby mountains continues to bring enjoyment, we also feel significant struggles. A pinched nerve in Donna’s back has her entire leg partly numb and weak. And the powers that be on the swim team seem to be set on disgracing us personally. While God has clearly worked at times, we hate the feeling that, because we are “church people,” the church and God Himself seem to be getting a bad rap due to the lies that are circulating.

God can redeem anything – just look at yourself and us! Would you pray with us that He would redeem this and be glorified somehow in this mess? And that we would know how to navigate, both each moment and in the big decisions that face us regarding our future? And maybe that Donna’s back would resolve its issues? So many things!

Please let us know how we might have the honor of sharing the load of your joys and struggles as well.

The simple joy of sledding! Matti’s figured out how to avoid a face full of snow, but Zoe loves it – lol!

The girls walk with Mom down memory lane. Thank you to those of you who know Mom and contributed pictures and words to this book!