August 2010

Um, so remember when I said I’d provide the recipe for this?


I’m finally coming through on my promise. So Cheryl, this one’s for you! 🙂 And by the way, this loaf is amazing with nutella on it for breakfast. That and a latte … breakfast of champions right there, baby! 🙂

Braided Loaf

From The Great American Baking Book

Makes 1 loaf

I package active dry yeast

I teaspoon honey

I cup lukewarm milk

4 Tb butter, melted

3 cups flour

I teaspoon salt

I egg, lightly beaten

I egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon milk, for glazing

  1. Combine the yeast, honey, milk, and butter, stir, and leave for 15 minutes to dissolve.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture and egg. With a wooden spoon, stir from the center, incorporating flour with each turn, to obtain a rough dough.
  3. Transfer to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a clean bowl, cover, and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 ½ hours.
  4. Grease a baking sheet. Punch down the dough and divide into three equal pieces. Roll to shape each piece into a long thin strip.
  5. Begin braiding from the center strip, ticking in the ends. Cover loosely and leave to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the bread in a cool place while over heats. Brush with the glaze and bake until golden brown, 40-45 minutes. Set on a rack to cool completely.

Listened to a sermon tonight on the unpardonable sin from Mark 3 (yep, trying to figure that out and get down to the bottom of what I believe). This message was recommended to me by a friend/co-worker who attends Grace Baptist Church. Was struck by this from the end of the message …

“God cares about our view of Jesus Christ. He cares deeply that we view Him as Lord and Master, and that the Lordship of Christ that we claim in our lives not be seen just as duty and obligation, but it grows into a position of a great excitement and delight as we come to understand that what Jesus Christ asks of us is always best for us. God cares about how we submit to Him. God cares about the way our lives testify to the fact that Jesus is Lord.”

“We are here for one reason and that is to magnify the glory of the God who has sent Jesus Christ to be our Savior.”

– David Hegg, “The Unpardonable Sin” – 9 May 2010

Just read this email from Frank, with the most recent update on Luigi. As I read it … I was marvelling at the goodness and kindness of our great God. I am reminded of these verses … Psalm 35:28 – “Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long,” and Psalm 71:8 – “My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day.” Who would’ve thought a few weeks ago that this would be the outcome??! 🙂

August 18, 2010 – Report #14
It’s been two weeks since our last update on Luigi. Rehab each week day has been very intense, painful and sometimes discouraging. It was even dangerous the first day when he fainted and could have hit his head where the piece of skull is still missing. We are SO grateful to finally be in this phase although there are still big challenges to face ahead. Luigi is able to walk some with a walker (for safety precaution).
Despite the distance and inconvenience to reach the island rehab hospital, a number of believers have been going to visit him and that really helps his morale! Brain trauma often affects one’s emotional stability. Even the kind lady doctor from the initial hospital (that I have mentioned before) came to visit him and brought some homemade jam. I think I can assume that is going the 2nd and 3rd mile and certainly shows her concern for Luigi and Felicia! She said she could count on one hand the patients she has known that had a critical trauma to the brain like Luigi who have survived! Again we praise the Lord for His goodness!
He will have approximately two more weeks of rehab after which he will be transferred back to the first hospital to have the removed skull piece put back in place around September 1st. Luigi is still having a significant amount of back pain but his being able to walk does help alleviate the pain some. His left arm and hand are making slow progress. Please keep praying!
It was such a delight to have our daughter Elizabeth back here in Italy for a brief nine-day period! She was a great help to Luigi and Felicia and big encouragement. The time together as a family was wonderful (though it went all too fast!). Before her return to the States (August 13th) she shared what a privilege and blessing it is to serve others (something I, too, had been meditating about). God’s Word says that through love we should serve one another (Galatians 5:13). As Christ’s servants, we need to be patient (Psalm 37:7) and flexible in meeting others’ needs. Although Luigi no longer needs someone to assist him each night, Felicia is with him each day at the distant hospital and still needs our assistance with their two little ones. By the way, during this time in the hospital, Luigi has been formulating the first sermon he wants to give once back in church!

First time meeting my aunt and uncle's dogs ... I just loved them! (AZ)

I love my Aunt Mar! 3+ years is way too long between visits. (AZ)

Cooking with my mamma! Next picture shows who started it all ... (AZ)

My grandma's friend is Italian. He mentioned to my mom and grandma that his grandmother used to make amazing risotto. My mom volunteered me to make risotto for him one night. Such a blast! And he approved! ; ) (AZ)

Buon Appetito! (ps - my grandma wouldn't really smile and Don wouldn't look at the camera ... quite the pair, haha) (AZ)

The view of the pool and ocean from my lounge chair ... it was rough!

To say that my mom LOVED snorkeling would be the understatement of the year!

Uh ... my uncle and I may or may not have laughed at this child ; )

Our poolside bungalow ... with some sleepy boys

I just can't leave out the shower picture (it was in the bungalow). I don't know who took the pic ... assuming my mom? : )

The Bandit! One of my fave pics from the trip ... sorry Joella : )

Can we say "massive"?? Me, my cousin Abby, and my mom in front of a HUGE fireplace.

Yes, cards ... they are a must have in this family! Thanks for a wonderful trip! : )

Ok, so I was on such a roll with faithfully blogging … and then I went MIA. But I do have a great excuse … I was on vacation! So here are a few updates and a preview of my vacation.


The last update I received was about a week ago. Frank says it so much better than I can, so here are a few snippetts from his email update (dated Aug. 4th).

It was great to hear him be so talkative (those personally acquainted with Luigi know how quick he speaks). It was great to see how well his keen memory has returned. It was really heart-warming to read Scripture together and pray out loud.

This previous Monday was a discouraging day for Luigi as he discovered how weak he had become over the last nearly six weeks. He was to sit up in bed for the first time since entering the hospital. He could only take a few minutes and he was exhausted. He also is still very limited on use of his left arm and hand. Tomorrow (Aug 5), testing will be done to try to determine the reason. Please pray for the doctors to be able to be discerning. Yesterday he could sit up in a wheel chair and feed himself!

This coming Monday (Aug 9), Luigi will be transferred to a hospital that specializes in helping to rehabilitate people who have suffered from brain trauma. This rehab will last for possibly 3-4 weeks. The unfortunate aspect of this highly recommended hospital is that it is located on an island east of Venice and requires travelling on a boat to get there. That will greatly increase the difficulty of Felicia trying to be with him daily (three hours travel coming and going). Pray Luigi will be able to face this difficult period with determined faith and perseverance. Please also pray he will be able to sleep well at nights since rest helps his body heal and his morale to increase. We are very grateful that the brain swelling we asked you to pray about has gone completely down! The right side of his skull will not be reinserted until after the rehab is finished.

We are again so grateful for your continued prayer support and for the wonderful miracle that God has performed thus far on Luigi’s behalf!

Frank also included Luigi’s email address for anyone who would like to write him a note of encouragement. Since Frank offered it, I would be glad to share that if you’re interested … just let me know.


First of all … it was awesome, even though it was a little complicated due to the amount of travel that took place: 4 days of flying within a period of 8 days; a total of 8 flights; 3 delayed flights (I lost track … maybe it was 4???); carrying my luggage and my grandma’s through several different airports; my mother literally praying me to safety as my plane into Tuscon was in the midst of a huge lightening storm; and so on. 🙂

My mom and I first went to Tuscon, AZ. We spent a couple days with my grandma, aunt, and uncle, which was a blast! Then my mom, grandma, and I took off for West Palm Beach, Florida, where we were meeting up with my Uncle David and his family. They were vacationing at The Breakers, and we stayed at my Great Aunt Margie’s condo (literally right on the Atlantic Ocean). This family reunion was so much fun. It had been years since I’d seen my uncle, my cousin, and my Aunt Margie. Also, we got to meet my uncle’s wife and her 3 kids – so great! Here are a few pics (first is AZ, and the others are FL) … more to come … hopefully. 🙂

The Girls ... Grandma, Aunt Mar, my mom and I. Oh ... and it's not just the girls ... the dogs are boys. 😉

Mom and David sitting outside our poolside/oceanside bungalow

Cousins! I felt like I met Abby for the first time since it's been 5 or 6 years since I last saw her!

How many hours of snorkeling did we get in??? ; )