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New Semester

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The new semester at the seminary starts tomorrow. I'll be teaching 11 students in Intro to Christian Education. This is a new course for me and I'm putting the finishing touches on my syllabus tonight. Procrastination has been raising it's ugly head once again but it WILL get done. I also teach English Composition but I have a feeling it will be a small group this time around. I won't know till I get to class tomorrow. That makes it a little hard to prepare, but if there's one thing I've learned about teaching, you've gotta be flexible!

I'm really looking forward to meeting the new students! --- Nervous and excited at the same time. I also have a new English group starting on Wednesday. On Saturday, one of the young women at my church is getting married. The next 5% challenge starts up on Saturday, too. Lots of new beginnings this week.

At the same time, tomorrow marks the second anniversary of my father's death. The grief is still so fresh sometimes. Miss you, Dad!

One of my favorites of his paintings, "Sea of Galilee."

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PATTISTAMPS 9/19/2014 12:44PM

    What a lovely painting! And I still miss my Dad after 7 years. I hope this week has been successful for you - both in teaching and in the rest of your life! Ready or not, tomorrow we start!

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CHOCOHOLIC2276 9/16/2014 1:02PM

    Lots of new beginnings but I know you will do great!!! emoticon

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4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 9/15/2014 4:41PM

    Lots of potential for good to come from all those new beginnings. Have fun!

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FRANNIEDID 9/15/2014 3:12PM

    It doesn't seem like it has been that long, anniversaries are hard!

Hope your new semester is a good one, it sounds like it will be full of wonderful challenges!

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DDOORN 9/15/2014 9:28AM

    I have some of my father's paintings too, including a "selfie" which I'm sure I'll treasure forever. Thankfully both parents are going strong @ 80+


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ALICEART2010 9/14/2014 3:41PM

    What a beautiful painting! Christian Education sounds like a really good class and you will make a WONDERFUL teacher!

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68ANNE 9/14/2014 3:02PM

    How exciting yet scary! You'll do great and I'll be thinking of you

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VISUALLYRICS 9/14/2014 2:44PM

    Flexible is right on when it comes to teaching.....::::praying you have a emoticon first day!
....:::huge emoticon coming your way as you remember your dear father.

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RURAL3 9/14/2014 2:28PM

    what a beautiful painting. It is so good to have tangible things to remember him. When we have those special relationships they are always tender. My dad passed away 11 years ago and if I sit and think about it it could have been yesterday.

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CIPHER1971 9/14/2014 2:20PM

    A beautiful picture to remember him by.

Have a great semester.

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NANASUEDEE 9/14/2014 1:38PM

    You're a busy lady. Good luck with the upcoming semester - I'm sure all will go well.

Sorry about your Dad. Anniversaries are always so difficult. I'm sure he's looking down on you with a big smile and a heart full of love.

I'm glad that you're a Firecracker again - it's such a great team.

emoticon Sue

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ARNETTELEE 9/14/2014 1:32PM

  sorry for your loss.... but have a great semester!

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New Shoes

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

I got some new trainers yesterday. I had to throw out a pair while I was in Florida. They were getting pretty old anyway, but all the salt water and sun caused them to develop a less-than-lovely aroma that I couldn't get rid of.
So, I went to one of the sports stores on the way home from work yesterday, not really expecting to find anything on the sale rack in my size, but there was a pair of Asics Gel Kumos a lot like the ones I had to toss. They were marked down from 120 to 85 euros. Still a bit price-y but running shoes are something I don't like to skimp on, especially after my bout of plantar fasciitis last year, and my struggles to find shoes that I can wear with my custom insoles.

When I got to the register, they rang up at 60 euros! Thank you, Lord!

I'm breaking them in today. New shoes are a great impulse to get up and moving. At that price, I don't even mind that they're purple! emoticon emoticon

In the interest of full disclosure, I had an awful snack attack last night and went 1000 calories over my range. What was I thinking? I wasn't, I was just eating. I'm not even going to go into great throes of self-examination to figure out why. I'm just going to do better today. And tomorrow. And the next day. And keep those snacks out of the house. There are times when I can keep certain things - not necessarily "junk" food - in the cupboards and only eat a small portion. I'm in a phase right now when if it's there, I tend to eat ALL of it - the whole box, bag, package, whatever. Just realizing I'm in that phase and need to avoid those foods for now.

And, hey, did I tell you about the great deal I got on a new pair of shoes! (Wanting to end on a happy note!)
emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FRANNIEDID 9/11/2014 2:07PM

    Love a good deal on shoes! I have the same issues with eating snacks, sometimes I am good and others I eat the whole bag of oreos. That is the one snack I cannot have in my house at all! Good for you for recognizing the issue and trying to work with it rather than throwing up your hands and saying I can't!

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68ANNE 9/4/2014 6:48PM

    Woohoo on the shoes
I had to make it a goal to not eat in the bedroom, otherwise I don't stop eating

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4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 9/4/2014 6:10PM

    1. Purple is my favorite color.
3. Don't sweat the snack attack. You have a new plan in place to deal with it. It is over and done and one day won't make or break a lifestyle.

Have fun with your new trainers.

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LUCYCAN7 9/3/2014 2:58PM

  You will get a handle on your snacking.Love the color purple.

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Purple shoes are royal shoes!!! I bought a new pair in the spring. I have ALWAYS wanted some neon pink shoes. I had bright red hair when I was younger and in those days if you were a redhead you did NOT get to wear pink or red. Now I am totally drawn to it. My new trainers are black suede finish with NEON PINK piping. They were made for me. haha
Soon everyone will be saying here comes the queen of the Nordic walk. Those shoes make it easier to be noticed. SO keep losing and inspire someone else.


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EJOY-EVELYN 9/3/2014 11:58AM

    Great find! May these new shoes (and confession) be just the incentive to get back on track and stay there longer. My goal is not perfection, but progress.

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PATTISTAMPS 9/3/2014 11:39AM

    A bad day does not make you a bad person - but you know that! Today is a new day, and hey! You have new shoes! Let's see how they work!!!

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RURAL3 9/3/2014 11:31AM

    I love purple. Climb back on the bandwagon and go for it. emoticon

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VISUALLYRICS 9/3/2014 9:45AM

    emoticon emoticon shoe story! emoticon gotta love it when the price is right!
...:::and yes, spending more for GOOD shoes is imperative...don't I know it. Lol...I am still dealing with my foot injury. I really like my Saucony Omni 12 running shoes.

emoticon on reacting so well to food cravings...I confess I gave in to the too many choc chip cookies that were just lying around the kitchen last night....hee-hee. I used to beat myself up about those times...now I just get back up and move on. emoticon emoticon

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FUNLOVEN 9/3/2014 8:44AM

    Darn those snack attacks. I don't dare have any snacks in my house because I just never know when I will get an attack. The most I keep in my cupboard is popcorn that has to be popped for my DH and Triscuit Crackers.

I love colorful tennis! Mine are a bright coral color :)

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    emoticon emoticon new emoticon at a GREAT surprise price AND awareness of a place you are at and what you need to do about it! emoticon emoticon

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CIPHER1971 9/3/2014 6:19AM

    emoticon for your bargain and emoticon for recognising the phase you are in and doing things to manage it.

Have a great day

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CHERYLHURT 9/3/2014 6:17AM

  I have to keep all junk food out of the house...we both adore crunchy peanut butter and can eat a whole jar!

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Watch this Space - September Goals

Monday, September 01, 2014

Just have time for a brief Spark-related goal list. I'll post other goals later.

Exercise at least 30 minutes daily.
Track nutrition and stay within ranges.
Complete squat and crunch challenges and work out a new, 3-times-a-week ST routine to follow up on that.
Participate in the 5% challenge with the Firecracker team to the best of my ability. I'd like to have at least one 120-minute day a week for the 8 weeks.
Get a minimum of 7 hours a sleep each night.
Blog once a week.

Off to take a nap, then back to work on paaaappppppeeeeerrrrr! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 9/4/2014 8:59AM

    Kudos to your re-commitment to journaling and setting super goals!


Comment edited on: 9/4/2014 8:59:20 AM

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KATELJM 9/2/2014 11:54PM

    Good for you!

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RURAL3 9/2/2014 5:36PM

    goals written down are usually goals we can keep. Go get em! emoticon

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STEPH-KNEE 9/2/2014 6:30AM


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CIPHER1971 9/2/2014 2:40AM

    Great focused and balance goals.

Have a stupendous September

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ALICEART2010 9/1/2014 8:40PM


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LIZ324_NYC 9/1/2014 7:52PM

    Sounds like you got it down! Great goals!
emoticon emoticon

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EJOY-EVELYN 9/1/2014 6:10PM

    What a great way to be back in the swings of lovin' the good life.

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WENDYSPARKS 9/1/2014 12:02PM


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PATTISTAMPS 9/1/2014 12:01PM

    excellent goals! Sounds like you have it together!!

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CHARITYAK 9/1/2014 10:57AM

    Great set of goals!

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Reentry, Starting, Journaling

Thursday, August 28, 2014

I've been back from my trip to the States for almost a week but have been walking around in a fog a lot of the time. I seem to be pretty much past the jet lag. The weather here has been rainy and is about 30 degrees colder than it was in Florida, so that has also been an adjustment!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

I've started back to work at the language school (one day), checked in with friends at church, and participated in the first faculty meeting of the new school year for the Bible school where I teach one day a week.

Today is my first real day here on Spark with tracking, catching up on blog posts and a few visits to my teams and friends' pages. As for my own blog post, I don't know where to start: I want to write a report on some of the adventures of the trip. I want to talk about where I am in the reentry process. I want to talk about plans for the coming weeks and months. Perfectionists, I read this morning, often have one of two issues: Either they quit when they aren't successful in doing something, or they don't start things for fear that they will make a mistake and their efforts won't meet their high expectations. I'm going to overcome that fear and just start.

I want to write more, if not here, then in my journal, and certainly in newsletters to those people who help me with my mission work. Consistent journal writing has often been a joy to me in the past. Last semester I taught an English composition class and realized that I would be a better teacher if I spent more time writing myself. I know there will be a lot of benefits.

As some of you may remember, I spent the month in the States traveling with a 14-year-old friend, Naomi. (You'll hear more about that trip in a future post.) I challenged her at the beginning of the trip by giving her a blank journal similar to the one I had bought for myself. Do you know that girl wrote two pages every day!? emoticon My own entries were sporadic, although more frequent than they had been pre-trip. So I'm not going to put myself down but rather let her example motivate me.

I recently found what I think is a good, basic post on journaling from Today's Christan Woman. Maybe some of you will join me in restarting or starting the process:


I really like some of the ideas here and, although I'm not sure which one I'll put to use, I DO know that I AM starting. You're reading it here!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Maybe start a gratitude journal you keep by your bed and each night write 3 things you were thankful for that day. I am one of those perfectionists who have beautiful journals and don't want to mess them up so they sit pristine in many cases. Great link; thank you!

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EJOY-EVELYN 8/31/2014 2:07AM

    Journaling is such a healthy part of one's lifestyle. It's the ideal place to open up in ways that public blogs probably should not. Welcome home!

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FRANNIEDID 8/29/2014 1:34PM

    Hope your trip was good, as for your teen writer, I wrote reams when I was a teenager, I hardly write at all now. I always had a diary then and wrote in them religiously. It is funny how we grow up, get busy and something that was so important seems to fall to the wayside. Maybe I will try writing more!

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KARENBROWN6 8/29/2014 7:18AM

I looked back at some old journals the other day and enjoyed reliving and remembering.
Write from the heart and your future self will enjoy the trip down memory lane. 😊

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LUCYCAN7 8/28/2014 7:51PM

  emoticon Zella hope you enjoyed your time in the USA emoticon

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RURAL3 8/28/2014 7:29PM

    you write, we read. No better plan. emoticon

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IFDEEVARUNS2 8/28/2014 2:21PM

    My kids and grandkids have journaled on trips. They are now very happy they have those journals to revisit.

Can't wait to hear about your travels.

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4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 8/28/2014 1:52PM

    Sounds like you had a wonderful time. I love the idea of journaling but never seem to get started. I just received (free in the mail from a promotional company) a blank notebook. Maybe it's a sign.

Have fun! Hope the jet lag is done and you can get back into your routines quickly.

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CIPHER1971 8/28/2014 1:27PM

    Welcome back - I only had 5 days to catch up on, I can't imagine catching up on a month.

I look forward to reading about your adventures in the USA.

Have a great day

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VISUALLYRICS 8/28/2014 12:42PM

    30 degrees cooler sounds lovely to me emoticon
Glad you're back home and ready for the fall semester to begin. . . : :Congrats on starting again with goals! emoticon emoticon

Progress not perfection! emoticon Laura

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68ANNE 8/28/2014 12:36PM

    I always say I'm going to journal but am not consistent and eventually stop all together. You can keep going and I'll get started again

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HOPEFULHIPPO 8/28/2014 12:36PM

    Good ! Looking forward to them :o) emoticon

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PATTISTAMPS 8/28/2014 12:34PM

    Catching up is a lot of work! But glad to see that you are starting your journaling. I have such good intentions about that myself, and not very good at that follow through. Hmm... that is the second time today I have mentioned something I did not follow through on. I need to really take stock... Thank you for giving me little push where I need it!

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Going to USA and Go, Germany!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

I had quite a scare last week. My boss at the language school decided they couldn't do without me and denied my vacation request after I had already booked my flight (July 22 to August 21) and Orlando hotel (July 27 to August 1). This is the first time in 15 years that I've ever had a vacation request denied! Since we merged two schools last summer, there is a much larger volume of work and some special courses that not everyone can teach.

LOTS of prayer went up (thanks to those of you who joined in!)! I wasn't just concerned with the trip and all that involves, but also with my attitude and how I would handle presenting my case to him.

I was able to stay calm, my boss was understanding and they've found a solution. It looks like we'll all have to make our vacation requests much earlier from now on. I've already applied for 4 days in October to go to a retreat!
Exciting weekend with the big football (soccer) match between Germany and Argentina in the World Cup happening tomorrow evening. I was cheering for the underdog USA in the quarterfinals, but I've been a bit of a German National Team (DFB) fan since 1990. It should be a good match, not a snooze fest like Holland/Argentina the other night. If Germany wins, it will be their fourth World Championship title:

My knee is better, but still giving me a twinge, as is my left wrist. I guess it will just take awhile to heal. In spite of that kink in my exercise routine, I'm down two pounds since the beginning of the 5% challenge. (Go, Firecrackers! emoticon)

I've always been a big advocate of tracking and still am, but this past week, my mindset has been different. I'm eating my 3 meals a day and keeping the snacks to a minimum, but instead of thinking about what I'm going to eat next, I'm thinking more about NOT eating. And I'm especially focused on NOT eating in the evenings. This is good practice for the US trip when tracking will be difficult. It seems to be working!

Thanks for reading! Have a great weekend! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DUSTYPRAIRIE 7/20/2014 4:55AM

    Glad it is working out. God is so good to us, his children.

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TERESA159 7/16/2014 1:49PM

    Wow, close call! If it had been me, I'd have been bawling my eyes out in his office. Glad you handled it with aplomb. Where will you be visiting in the US? And what it the goal of the trip?

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FRANNIEDID 7/14/2014 4:27PM

    I haven't been on for a couple of weeks because of work commitments, glad you got to go on your vacation!

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68ANNE 7/13/2014 8:47PM

    Oh yes, getting that vacation time can be tricky with some places. Glad it worked out for you. Have fun and enjoy

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KATELJM 7/13/2014 9:08AM

    First of all, I am glad that your knee and hand are improving.

So glad that your vacation was approved, finally. When I was still working, I had a heavy September workload, and waited until I had things under control to request leave for a reunion. I was not allowed to go, and it cost me.

For the U.S., not only will you need to watch snacks, but make sure you know portion sizes. Most U.S. restaurants serve double portions. If eating at a franchise restaurant, most of the dinners might be pre-made and frozen. But if you dine at a restaurant that has real chefs and real food, you can order what you want, even if it isn't on the menu.

Since I visited Sea World last year, they have opened an Antarctica exhibit. I bet it is amazing!

Comment edited on: 7/13/2014 9:08:50 AM

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4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 7/13/2014 12:09AM

    Glad to hear you are doing better and healing. I'm also glad that you are able to take your vacation. That reminds me I need to put in my request as well. I want to take a couple of weeks at the end of the year.

Have fun!

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AALLEY2 7/12/2014 10:54PM

    Very glad your plans worked out for the best. I think I'll try what you are doing and see if it works. Have fun in Orlando!

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MARILYNROBERT 7/12/2014 9:06PM

    Glad your vacation worked out emoticon

I think it's good to shake things up in the way we do them at times. Even though tracking helps me a lot, I also like to know that I can get by with not tracking when it's best not to try to track at that time. emoticon

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RURAL3 7/12/2014 3:27PM

    so glad it all worked out for you Michelle. Not sure how I would have handled that. Keep up the good work.

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PATTISTAMPS 7/12/2014 12:37PM

    So glad you are going to be able to take your vacation! Still hoping for us to meet up! 2 pounds - WOO HOO!!!! My scale barely budged this week... but better than a gain!

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EJOY-EVELYN 7/12/2014 12:11PM

    I hope your solution did not involve too many sacrifices. Your strength in the Lord is admirable. You set a fine example on how we grow in the ways of the Lord. Tracking is also essential to me, but I have learned that eating three meals a day or snacking healthy while going outside the ranges we set are somewhat counter productive. May our walks with God bring us all growth. Hug, hug - Evelyn

Comment edited on: 7/12/2014 12:12:43 PM

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LAURAKATE76 7/12/2014 9:58AM

    So glad your vacation is going to work out!

I don't know quite who to cheer for in the World Cup final. I was cheering for the USA, obviously, but also Costa Rica because that's where I went to school. I don't really have any attachment to Germany or Argentina. My husband lived in Germany for many years, but I suppose, as a Spanish teacher, that I ought to root for Argentina.

I don't know...I'll probably just watch and enjoy. :)

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VISUALLYRICS 7/12/2014 8:56AM

    emoticon Excellent mindful eating Michelle! ....I need to work on evening eating too. The summer schedule has us eating dinner at the oddest hours...Lol. But I'll figure it out.
So glad you get to have your vacation emoticon after all and that your body is healing if ever so slow( I know all about slow). emoticon emoticon

Have a great weekend, ....many blessings to you! ~ Laura emoticon

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JAROL7 7/12/2014 6:44AM

    Way to go.

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CIPHER1971 7/12/2014 5:59AM

    Glad you got your leave approved.

I will be cheering Germany on in the footie, to be honest if the Holland / Argentina match is any thing to go by then Germany will win.

Have a great day

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GHOSTFLAMES 7/12/2014 5:41AM

    emoticon emoticon

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