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Motivation for Today: Looking at what I weighed a year ago!

Monday, July 25, 2011

I do weigh myself most days and record it on a paper calendar.

(But I usually record my weight on Spark People once a week.)

So today, just to get a little motivation, I peeked back at what I weighed on July 25, 2010.

I was 44.4 pounds heavier than my weight today.

Maybe I will start my day looking at how far I have come in the last year.

Seeing that number helped me realize how far I have come.

I don't want to un-do all that hard work!

Today I am 5 pounds below my Spark People goal (the one set when I started this journey on June 16, 2010.)

I would like to lose 4 more pounds and then start the next step of maintaining that weight for the long haul.

I have lost weight too many times in my life to count. I can do that.

It's maintaining my weight that is going to be a real challenge for me.

But, like this entire journey - I know I have the resources and tools to find my way.

I have YOU - my Spark Friends & the wonderful Tracker Tools and abundant information at my finger tips.

I will try not to fear what comes next - but embrace it and strive to live my life in a healthy and happy manner.

Thanks, Friends for all your support!

Have a wonderful week!

We ALL CAN do this!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ROSEWCI 7/29/2011 6:57AM

    Woohoo Maria!!! CONGRATS on all you've accomplished! You've been my inspiration buddy here on SparkPeople! You're my "go to gal", by golly!

I am struggling a bit as I approach my goal weight... but I know I've come a long way! Yet, I know the journey is a life long one & I need to maintain my efforts & diligence if I intend to keep the weight off! So,I must strategize & keep the momentum! We CAN do it, you & I! One day at a time!!! We CAN by reminding ourselves of where we've been! And how far we've come!!!

emoticon emoticon

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WENIGER06 7/27/2011 2:47PM

    Such a great idea! I have just started and cannot wait until I can look back and feel proud, too!


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MYSTERY4EVER 7/26/2011 10:13PM

    Congratulations! That is a real accompishment.

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1BEACHWALKER 7/26/2011 5:17PM

    emoticon emoticonThanks for all your support too! We can do this!

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TERIANA 7/26/2011 12:51PM

    WOW! This is a great idea...I am going to check my weight a year ago as well. My progress has hit another stone wall (I could be queen of plateaus). I have 7 pounds to go to make my goal, so our stories are similar (although your 44.4 pound loss is much greater than mine-- pretty darn impressive!!!) Thanks for the idea, I needed a kick in the motivation-maker today.

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LILLYPILLY24 7/26/2011 1:26AM

    Such is the power of tracking - how motivating to look back and see how far we've come. You CAN do the maintenance, Maria ... you know this time is different!

Great blog!

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ARTPRINTER 7/25/2011 11:23PM

    emoticon Maria! This time you've got all the tools you need to reach your new goal and maintain your weight loss... and so do the rest of us! Hooray for SparkPeople!

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SMILEYBEE 7/25/2011 10:57PM

    You've had a great year Maria, and I am confident you'll soon move into maintenance with continued success! emoticon

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ALESHABEE 7/25/2011 10:03PM

    emoticon

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MRS.CARLY 7/25/2011 9:52PM

    great job!

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CHALLENGER15 7/25/2011 8:22PM

    emoticon

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GAILMJ 7/25/2011 8:20PM

    Good job. YES, YOU CAN Do IT

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Wonderful Salad Recipe: Signature Salad at Cosi

Sunday, July 24, 2011

While in Washington DC last week we had lunch at the restaurant chain Cosi.
My daughter suggested that I try their "Signature Salad."

It was superb!

Mixed greens, red grapes, pears, dried cranberries, pistachios and gorgonzola cheese. Served with a Sherry Shallot Vinaigrette. It was so yummy!

So off I went in search of the recipe.

I am making it for dinner tonight to go along with a nice lean piece of grilled sirloin steak. I have opted to use a bottled Red Wine Vinaigrette instead of the one in the recipe for tonight. I found Wish Bone Red Wine Vinaigrette for 70 calories for 2 Tablespoons.

*Also, if you don't like the gorgonzola cheese, you could use feta cheese.

Here's the recipe:

The Signature Salad:
Makes 4 main course servings, or 8 side dish servings

8 ounces mixed greens
2 cups red grapes, sliced in half
2 pears, peeled, cored, and diced
2/3 cup dried cranberries (Craisins)
½ cup shelled pistachios
2 ounces gorgonzola cheese (*feta is a good substitute if you don’t like gorgonzola)


Sherry Shallot Vinaigrette:
1 medium shallot, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup sherry vinegar (if you can’t find sherry vinegar, substitute red wine vinegar)
½ cup olive oil

To prepare the salad, combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl.
Combine all dressing ingredients through the vinegar in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Whisking constantly, slowly pour olive oil into the vinegar mixture in a steady stream. Pour over salad and toss to combine.

Serve immediately.

Enjoy

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SMILEYBEE 7/25/2011 7:23PM

    That does sound good Maria! You come up with the best things!

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CARRENK 7/25/2011 12:14PM

    That sounds delish! May need to stop at the grocery for some pears on my way home!

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1BEACHWALKER 7/24/2011 9:22PM

    emoticonDo you have any leftovers?! My kind of salad! emoticon

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ARTPRINTER 7/24/2011 8:10PM

    This sounds like a winner! Thanks for sharing.

emoticon

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COOKWITHME65 7/24/2011 7:33PM

    That sounds really yummy. Will have to give this a try. I just bought some crasins. Thanks for sharing Maria!

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CHALLENGER15 7/24/2011 7:33PM

    Oh, yum! Thanks for posting!

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ROSEWCI 7/24/2011 7:10PM

    Oh my Maria! This sounds HEAVENLY! emoticon
Gotta/Gonna try it as soon as I get back from vaca!

Yummy! Yum! Yum! emoticon

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I'm Back from Washington DC!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hi! Everyone!
A quick 'Hello!"
I am home from our trip to Washington DC.
I'm happy, hot and tired.
I spent the last few days traveling with my 2 sisters and one of my brothers.
This is something that we have never done before. It was such fun!

We got there around 1:00 p.m. on July 16th and my daughter immediately got us site-seeing. We used the Metro system and did lots of walking.
We walked 18.65 miles on Saturday alone. (Yes, I did have blisters & thank heavens we didn't walk that much each day...but still walked for a total of 47.5 miles in 4 days. I am taking it easy tonight. Resting my feet so I can go back to work tomorrow. LOL!

Just wanted to check in tonight and say "Hi!"
Chat with you more soon!
~ Maria

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

COOKWITHME65 7/24/2011 1:36PM

    Wow that alot of walking. Sounds like you had a great time.

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SMILEYBEE 7/23/2011 12:58PM

    Hi Maria! WOW! That was a lot of walking ... you must have seen everything! A trip with your sisters and brother sounds so nice ... I love it when adults still enjoy their siblings (that's not always the case you know). So happy you had a good time in DC! emoticon emoticon

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1BEACHWALKER 7/23/2011 5:09AM

    emoticonGlad you had a nice time with your family! Happy to have you back sparking! emoticon

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MYSTERY4EVER 7/22/2011 9:14PM

    I'm glad you had a good time here in DC. You left just in time. We are over 100 degrees today.

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PRETTYLILHEFFER 7/21/2011 10:01AM

    Welcome back! That sounds like some serious walking! Glad it was a good visit!

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ELISADENK 7/20/2011 10:00PM

    Welcome home!

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ARTPRINTER 7/20/2011 9:01PM

    I'm glad you had such a great time! We missed you!! Welcome back!! And good job on all the walking... especially in that heat!


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DIDIDIHU 7/20/2011 8:31PM

  Sounds like fun being with family.

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ROSEWCI 7/20/2011 8:25PM

    emoticon back!! You were missed!
I'm so glad you had a nice visit ...& got in ALOT of walking!!!

Relax & EnJOY the evening my friend! emoticon

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RECIPE: Traditional Churrasco (Brazilian Barbecue )

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

We celebrated our 23rd Wedding Anniversary on Saturday, July 9th by going out for dinner at Carnaval Brazilian Grill in Sioux Falls, SD.

It was a very interesting experience: lots of different cuts of beef, chicken, pork, lamb and even grilled pineapple. Simply wonderful!

Here's a little background on Brazilian grilling:

*Brazilians were the first to raise cattle in South America, imported from Cape Verde to São Paulo in the 1530s. Churrasco (pronounced shoo-RAS-koo) or Brazilian barbecue was the traditional staple food of the gaúchos or cowboys of Southern Brazil for centuries before it spread to Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. It has become very fashionable and there are excellent churrascarias (restaurants specializing in Brazilian barbecue) all over Brazil and around the world. These are called churrascaria de rodízio because waiters move from table to table bringing different types of meats on skewers from which they slice portions onto your plate.

The meat was originally cooked over coals, usually in a pit dug in the ground, skewered in metal spits. The only seasoning was coarse salt and each gaúcho had his own churrasco knife which he used to cut pieces of meat from the spit. People in southern Brazil have churrasco pits built in their backyards with bricks or incorporated into a wall with decorative tiles around the edges. (In the U.S., you can use a gas grill.)

The meats used most often are Brazilian sausages, different cuts of beef, pork tenderloin, and chicken. In the U.S., you can use chouriço or a good spicy pork sausage if you can't find Brazilian sausages, t-bone steaks and sirloin strips, chicken thighs and drumsticks, and the pork tenderloin or pork chops. In Brazil, there'll be chicken hearts, turkey breast, different cuts of meat wrapped in bacon or filled with cheese, etc.

White meats are marinated overnight in a mixture of garlic, salt, and lime juice. The red meats are seasoned with sea salt only. There are two traditional methods for doing this (we prefer the first one): press a good amount of salt into the sides of the meat and once the meat is cooked knock it off with the side of a large knife, or baste the meat with salt water using a bunch of parsley or bay leaves as a brush.

*Source of this information is from: maria-brazil.org

You would have thought that after eating all the meat on Saturday evening, it would be months before I touched beef again...well we had a nice piece of sirloin and I thought I would try this recipe tonight. It was very simple to prepare and the results were a super tender and moist piece of meat. I served it with Cuban Black Beans and Jasmine rice on the side. We also grilled a pineapple that was marinated in a little brown sugar and cinnamon and then finished with some lime juice. It too, was very good!

Now for the recipe I used tonight:

Traditional Churrasco

This is the traditional Brazilian recipe for grilled beef on skewers. The salt-water baste keeps the meat moist and delicious while it cooks without adding as much salt as you might think.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: Serves 6

Ingredients:
•2 pounds beef tenderloin
•2 tablespoons kosher salt
•2 cloves garlic, minced
•1 cup hot water

Preparation:
Preheat grill. Cut tenderloin into about six pieces. Reduce heat and place tenderloin pieces on the grill. As the meat started to cook dissolve the salt in the water and add the garlic. When the meat is browned on the outside baste. Keep basting throughout until the meat is done.

Almost any kind of meat can be used for this recipe. If you wish you can place the pieces on a rotisserie.

Enjoy!

~Maria

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

1BEACHWALKER 7/23/2011 5:11AM

    emoticonYummy!
Happy belated Anniversary! emoticon

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GRACEISENUF 7/15/2011 1:31PM

    mmmmmm,making my mouth water!

emoticon

HAPPY BELATED ANNIVERSARY!

Comment edited on: 7/15/2011 1:31:48 PM

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COOKWITHME65 7/13/2011 1:18PM

    I have been to a brazillian dinner before. It was awesome. So many different meats to chose from. They carved it right at our table. This recipe sounds awesome. May have to give it a try this weekend. I just happen to have a golden pineapple sitting on the counter waiting to ripen.

Happy belated anniversary to you and your husband Maria. So glad you got to go away for the weekend.

emoticon - Kristan

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ROSEWCI 7/13/2011 1:07PM

    WOW! Hubby is gonna LOVE this! Sounds yummy! Will give it a try! Happy Anniversary to you both!

emoticon emoticon

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DARBOYMOM 7/13/2011 8:04AM

    Mmmmm..... my mouth is watering. Both from your description of the Brazilian bbq and your recipe. Very interesting!

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ARTPRINTER 7/13/2011 7:58AM

    YUM!!!! This sounds delicious!! We love grilling, and just bought a rotisserie a few months ago, so I've been looking for recipes to try. This one sounds like a winner! Thanks for sharing. What a wonderful anniversary dinner!!!

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SMARGED 7/12/2011 11:10PM

    Sounds delicious, but since I don't "do cooking" (like some people don't "do windows"), I guess I'll never get to try it unless I go to Brazil!! LOL!! No Brazilian restaurants where I live!!

I'm glad you had such a nice anniversary celebration - you deserve it, my friend!

emoticon Marge

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MYSTERY4EVER 7/12/2011 11:03PM

    This sounds great. I will have to try it once it is cool enough to stand the thought of cooking again. LOL

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MEADSBAY 7/12/2011 10:19PM

    I've only been to one of those restaurants once- in Miami - and it was amazing!!!
Happy anniversary, Maria!
xoxox

emoticon

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SMILEYBEE 7/12/2011 10:17PM

    Ummm! Sounds good! Guess I'll have to try it! Thanks for all this great information Maria! I'm happy you had such a wonderful anniversary celebration dinner!

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Spark People has helped me 'weather' the lastest 'storm' in my life!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Spark People has helped me ‘weather’ the latest ‘storm’ in my life.

It was Friday afternoon and I was just about to leave work and head home for the long, holiday weekend.
One of the librarians had been following the weather on the internet and told me that there looked like a storm was fast approaching our area. I figured I'd just go directly home, thinking it would be some more rain and maybe some hail since it had been so hot and humid when I came into work earlier that afternoon.

I was heading home driving my daughter’s little Ranger pickup truck (I’m borrowing it during the summer while she is working in Washington D.C.). Our farm is about 7 miles north-west of the city I work in – not too long of a drive home on a normal day. As I was driving through the industrial park area, I could see that the sky was almost black in the west and a cloud of dirt was rolling across the field towards the outskirts of town. I was in the flow of traffic and thought I’d just drive through it quickly. Almost in an instant, I realized that this wasn’t just a thunderstorm. I’d better turn around and go back into town. I could stay at my parent’s home on the other side of the town until the storm passed. People were stopping and turning around in front and behind me. I drove down the ‘main street’ towards my parent’s home, past a large city park. By now it was raining and there were branches hitting my pickup and trees were falling in front of me. I tried to think of where I could go, because I didn’t think I’d make it to their house. I was finally on their street and as I turned into their driveway I could see a light on in their living room and one in their basement. I hit the horn on the pickup, hoping my Dad would hear that and unlock the door and let me in. Now it was hailing as I ran to the house. The door was open and I yelled down the stairs into the basement. My Mom was down there already. Dad would follow me down the stairs. I had never been out in a storm like this. I thought it had to be a tornado. They had no radio or flash lights with batteries in them. The power was now out. We were in complete darkness. I prayed. We prayed. I tried to call my husband – he was home baling hay on the farm. But my cell phone wasn’t charged. So unprepared for this…no flash lights, no radio, no cell phone. We stayed downstairs for 45 minutes. Dad would go back up and look out every so often. The wind finally started to die down. I finally was able to reach my husband by using my parent’s land line phone (after many tries!). Which I was surprised worked. I just figured if we were without electricity, it wouldn’t.

When I reached my husband by phone he was already out walking in the yard. Accessing the damage: horse barn roof and back blown off – two heifer cows that were temporarily living there had gotten out the back way and were walking in the farm yard. These are two very tame cows – as they were ‘bottle babies’ and they came right to him when he called them. He was able to put them in a pen with a few other young heifer cows – until we get things fixed. The horses were ‘summering’ in a pasture and were both fine. Our high tunnel greenhouse where we grow tomatoes and peppers to sell commercially was a total loss. Twisted metal and the plastic were ripped from the hoops. Some of the plants, however, don’t look like a complete loss. Trees…we had trees and branches all over. There were 3 evergreen trees that were over 30 feet tall that were snapped off either half way or three fourths of the way up. We have several out door dog kennels and play yards. Trees smashed sections of those. Only one basset hound (Boris) was trapped in his yard, but not injured. Our Welsh corgi pen was totally demolished. Thank heavens that Mickey and Teddy were in the indoor kennel in our basement, since it was too hot for them to be outside that afternoon. The old barn was still standing!

I stayed in town until the city took snow plows and pushed trees and branches off the streets – so people could leave. It must have been 9:30 p.m. or so. I drove my usual route home. Past my brother-in-law’s farm. They had just built a new machine shed last fall. It was totally gone – blown to pieces and scattered into the field across a major highway from where they lived. We were without electricity and water for 48 hours. We had to haul water for the cattle from town. We would discover on Saturday morning that there were some problems with our house’s roof. When we went to bed Friday night it was in the dark. When we woke up Saturday morning – we noticed water inside the light fixture over our bed. Steve had already talked with our usual contractor the night before about the high tunnel and the horse barn. To ‘put us on the list’ for repairs. So he called him back and told him about the water. He came out that afternoon and climbed up on the roof – to discover that part of it was missing all its shingles and was ripped down to the plywood. They were going to start repairing that today…but we are still waiting to hear from our insurance company to get the ‘go ahead.’ Not surprised we are now waiting.

We have spent the last three days pulling out trees and picking up branches. Piling up debris. Just as all of our neighbors have been doing. We are quite fortunate. Some have lost large machine sheds, garages attached to their houses have been hit by large cottonwood trees. It was determined that there was a tornado in our neighborhood. Our farm was hit by ‘straight line winds’ that were 75-80 miles per hour. I can’t imagine a hurricane where the winds are over 100 m.p.h.

My brother lives 15 miles away in the country (3 towns away) and they, too were hit by the storm and had terrible damage too. My hairdresser who lives near the Minnesota River lost all their out-buildings and their house sustained some damage too. She lives over 20 miles from us. It just was a wide spread, very destructive storm.

I know I couldn’t have done what I needed to do physically these last days before I joined Spark People. 50 Pounds ago, I wouldn’t have had the stamina to do the ‘heavy lifting.’ And while this has been very hard to ‘deal with,’ I feel more positive about life in general and that has helped me tremendously. I can truly look on the ‘bright side’ of this: We are all okay and so are our family and neighbors; we have a house (damaged yes, but repairable); I have a body that is healthier and stronger to cope with all of this.

We were planning a trip to the northern section of Minnesota this week to a convention for my husband’s work. It’s an annual convention that I so look forward to. Visiting with friends we don’t get to see but once a year. So I am feeling sad about missing that. But realize that we are so fortunate to have people helping us get thing back to normal as quickly as possible. I know we will get this roof repaired. The yard doesn’t look too bad considering what it’s been through. The animals are all healthy too. My parents are safe. We are well, just sore from all the unexpected clean-up work. It’s been a way to get my fitness minutes in. LOL!

Life is good! Thank you, God for providing for us, always!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PRETTYLILHEFFER 7/12/2011 1:52PM

    I'm a little late but so glad to hear you were okay! Luckily it didn't hit my area, but I had techs(co workers) up in Marshall/Willmar/St. Cloud I had to call, and they were quite scared. Glad none of you were hurt, and none of your animals either!

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MYSTERY4EVER 7/6/2011 4:15PM

    I am so glad you are all okay. How wonderful that you are crediting SparkPeople for you fitness. Of course, really it is all you - you found the strength within you to work at getting healthier.

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ISHIIGIRL 7/6/2011 1:59PM

    Oh my goodness, thank God you are ok. What a harrowing experience for you! We do not get crazy weather like that out here very often but every once in a while we get a doozy. Glad no one was hurt and you had the presence of mind to get to your Dad's house and out of harms way. Take care Maria. Hugs, Paige

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ONEGREATCAT 7/6/2011 9:55AM

    Oh my goodness! I did experience a hurricane many years ago when I lived in the D.C. area. It was frightening. I could almost "feel" everything you mentioned.

I am so grateful that there wasn't more damage and the animals are safe, along with you, your families and your town.

And I can also understand how you have so much stamina now that you've lost weight. With every couple of pounds, I seem to find more energy and more strength...so I know you were probably astounded at what you could do!

My prayers continue to be with you and all concerned. And I agree with Ewestcott that Mother Nature is taking its toll, not only here in the U.S., but elsewhere in the world, with all the fires, floods, tornados, etc.

Take care Maria and emoticon Gwen

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KARRYB1 7/6/2011 9:40AM

    So glad you came through the storm and are coping with the damage. God Bless.

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NPDSLEUTH 7/6/2011 9:32AM

    Thank God you're all safe. My prayers continue. N.

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ARTPRINTER 7/6/2011 7:58AM

    Maria, thank God you're all okay! The destruction in your area sounds horrific! I think it's wonderful that through all of this you can still see some good (being able to work at the cleanup because you're so much healthier now thanks to your weight loss). I'm so glad that no one was hurt. It's amazing that even the animals avoided injury with all that damage to their surroundings! I hope the wait for your repairs isn't too long.

emoticon Terry

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ROSEWCI 7/6/2011 6:44AM

    Oh my Maria! What peril! I'm so grateful everyone was okay after the ordeal! It sounds so scarey! Hugs & love to you!



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COOKWITHME65 7/6/2011 6:12AM

    My goodness Maria, such a scary experience for you, your family and town folk. You were so smart to turn around and head to your parents. Your husband must have been so worried about you and you he. So sorry about all the damage and missed trip but we all know that's really not what is important in life. You are all safe. I can for see your parents getting a care package soon filled with fresh batteries and a battery operated radio. May God continue to bless you Maria as the days move forward. Be careful not to over due it.

emoticon Kristan

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WARMSPRINGDAY 7/6/2011 5:35AM

    So thankful you are okay. And what a positive attitude you have.

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1BEACHWALKER 7/5/2011 9:24PM

    Wow! We have seen video of that storm! You are really lucky to be ok! When you see a wall cloud like that again, run for the basement! Those are bad and tornados always come from them! Don't work too hard, be careful! Hugs.

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MEADSBAY 7/5/2011 9:08PM

    Holy moly!
Thank goodness you and yours are all ok.
This is the THIRD similar blog I have read in the last few days about severe damaging storms from different parts of the country- one in Colorado, one in Wisconsin and now your incredible story from Minnesota.
Is Mother Nature trying to tell us something?
emoticon

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MARZIPAN22 7/5/2011 7:05PM

    Wow !! We live where there is very little rain, much less storms like you described (very well, by the way !) I felt like I was right there, and am so glad that no one was hurt... emoticon

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GRACEISENUF 7/5/2011 5:57PM

    What a great testimony you have given to answered prayer and giving God the glory!



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SMILEYBEE 7/5/2011 5:46PM

    Oh Maria ... I had no idea there was so much destruction. I am thankful you and your family and your animals are all safe and sound. I'm praying for your continued strength and stamina and that he insurance company will respond quickly. God bless and keep you through these trying times!

(I'm sorry you're going to miss the conference too!

emoticon Betty

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LNSYLVSDOGS 7/5/2011 5:38PM

    I'm glad you were able to get to your folks' house during the storm!! There sure have been some SCARY storms this year & ALL over the country!! Many trees down here last month in areas that just don't look the same anymore. Amazing and very sad.

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CHALLENGER15 7/5/2011 5:32PM

    I am so thankful everyone is okay.

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