--1--Our family pilgrimage to Italy in March-April 2011 tops the list of Best of 2011. The boys and I received the airfare to Italy as a surprise at Christmas from Tim. Armed with the know-how of our dear friends and our pastor (all veteran travelers to/residents of Italy), a friend's great book with must-see pilgrimage sights, and the generous gift of a few nights' stay at a fancy Marriott near the airport from Grandma Billie and Grandpa Cliff; our time together traveling throughout Italy will not soon be forgotten. And hopefully someday repeated!
--2--Bringing up the gifts during the preparation of the altar at the Latin Mass at St. Peter's Basilica tops the Best Moments of 2011. Imagine being ushered to the very front row in the Chapel of the Chair of St. Peter and having the honor of presenting the gifts of bread and wine on behalf of the whole Church... right there under the Chair of St. Peter, one of many Bernini treasures! As there were only four allowed in the procession of the gifts, Tim humbly bowed out, insisting that the three boys and I have the honor, and watched us proudly respecting a strict 'no photographs' allowed.
--3--Visiting the earthly resting places of so many of our heroes and patrons: St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Mark, St. Augustine, St. Pio, St. Catherine, St. Francis, St. Clare, St. Anthony, St. John XXIII, St. Lucy, St. Benedict, St. Scholastica, St.Rita, Blessed John Paul II; and seeing Eucharistic Miracles on display in Cascia and Lanciano tops the Best Faith Builders of 2011.
--4--Accepting our first 3 official foster children tops the Life Changing Decisions of 2011. These 3 children from 2 different families are still with us today, though they are in a formal process of transition home which may make Zachary's bedroom available come St. Valentine's Day.
--5--Our return to Bowron Lakes Provincial Park as leaders of a Boy Scout high adventure canoe trip tops the Best Family Wilderness Experience for 2011. With Zachary as the crew leader, and having made the 75+ mile trip as a family with the troop in 2007, we endured the trials of stormy weather and choppy lakes and found this canoe loop to be as beautiful and challenging as ever.
The beginning of actual work on Zachary's Eagle Project tops the Best Dreams Come True in 2011. This carport project, conceived in 2008, stretched the leadership abilities and limits of human patience of perseverance unlike any other Eagle Project known to me. The work parties scheduled over this Christmas break mostly fell through due to the inherent business of the season and Zachary's swim team trip to California.
--7--Completing Zachary's Common Application for university admission this week tops the Best Home School Accomplishment of 2011. As the 'couselor' on his online application packet, my role included submitting a high school transcript, a full letter of evaluation and summaries of his academic career, reasons we chose home schooling, philosophy of our home school and our grading scale and methods of evaluation. Let's just say this was no small project for someone like me who is fairly lax at record keeping. Without the amazing help of my friends and fellow home school moms Johannah, Laura, and Kimberly, this project would have been impossible in the short time frame allowed after Zachary decided to apply to Notre Dame by the December 31st regular deadline. Zachary still has several university applications to complete, some take the common application and others don't. Pray for us!
Happy and Blessed New Year to you.
You are in my prayers...
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