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Friday, December 25, 2009

In Germany, the big celebration is on Christmas Eve. I was invited to join some friends and their family for dinner and fellowship after church. It was a lovely meal and lovely evening. I overdid it on the sweets AGAIN. I've taken a break from tracking just to make my hectic week a little less stressful with all the special occasions going on. I'm back to tracking today. And tomorrow the last of the cookies will be leaving the building!!!

Today, I made the decision to stay in my jammies ALL DAY LONG! It felt great to have a day with no outside commitments. That may be the best Christmas gift I got this year! I had a good time of prayer this morning, caught up on emails and on Spark business, updated my budget and spend some time checking out flights for my trip to the States in February. That's about IT!

Tomorrow, there's another little event - a white elephant gift exchange with some friends from church, a yearly thing we do. It will be fun. I will NOT eat cookies.

There's so much I love about the Christmas season but I'm always glad when the holidays are over, too. Life can get back to "normal," though I continue celebrating Jesus, knowing his presence with me, and his power at work in me every day. That makes "normal" very special!

I hope all you dear Spark friends have been enjoying the holidays!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SJG1953 12/26/2009 3:31AM

    This is a beautiful blog Michelle. I think Christ makes the 'normal' special too. He is an AWESOME God! I enjoyed reading about your special laid back day. It sounded so relaxing! God bless you my friend, Shirley

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PIANO*LADY 12/25/2009 7:40PM

    What a beautiful blog post, Michelle! I thought about you when I talked over an hour to Beth over Skype this afternoon. I would love to experience Christmas with her in Germany, but I think she'd rather experience it here at home.

She described how everyone seemed to stop what they were doing to make cookies early in December - Dec. 1 maybe? I got tickled because the way she talked, it seemed almost like a national holiday! And she's been overwhelmed by cookie gifts.

I also stayed in my jammies today and it was wonderful. I'm gearing up to get serious about weight loss, though. I love getting back to the "normal" that Christ's birth makes special.

Love, Carole

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    A jammie day. Several people posted comments about that lately.

One of our groups at church has a white elephant gift exchange at their Christmas party. When it's our turn, we can steal any of the gifts that have already been opened or choose an unopened gift. Some gifts are so crazy and seem to get stolen often. It gets hilarious, and we laugh so much.

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MRSJARI 12/25/2009 6:56PM

    Merry Christmas!

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CTEMPLE 12/25/2009 5:03PM

    Dear Michelle thanks for all your good wishes, they really count. I dream of a day in my pyjamas but having a business at home it's not possible, someone could come to the door even if you don't expect it!
I tracked my Xmas food and it was a high number, back to basics now and I won;t do weigh in this week, to give myself the chance to loose what I must have put on this week. I'm so relieved that Christmas is over. The best day of the year when Christmas is as far away as possible.

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RAYLINSTEPHENS 12/25/2009 4:50PM

    I like to do a "Jammies Day" as a special treat to myself sometimes too!

WTG on giving yourself the gift of today!

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TRYINGHARD1948 12/25/2009 4:24PM

    Yes it is a lovely time of year but it is nice to get back to 'normal'. So glad you enjoyed your day.

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BGARLIPP 12/25/2009 3:18PM

    Enjoy your restful day! A day in jammies is always good for the soul :-)

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Passing on a link...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

...to another Sparker's blog that I just recently discovered and have been enjoying the past few days. EDWARDS1411 is posting a Christmas song every day this month, along with the history or story behind the writing of the song, some trivia about various versions, and a link to a recording. If you like Christmas music like I do, these blog posts will be right up your alley!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SJG1953 12/12/2009 2:38AM

    Thank you for the link Michelle. I've haven't had a chance to watch it yet but I will. I love Christmas music. Hugs, Shirley

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KATELJM 12/11/2009 5:02PM

    Thanks, that's just my style!

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TRYINGHARD1948 12/11/2009 5:18AM

    Thanks for sharing Michelle. How lovely to read about the story behind the song.

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DDOORN 12/10/2009 10:13PM

    Some of my favorite holiday music is Windham Hill's Winter Solstice series and along the same vein Tingstad & Rumbel's holiday albums. All instrumental, acoustic, sometimes folksy sometimes new age-ish. Tingstad & Rumbel are a duet of guitar and oboe...wonderful combination!

One of the most special things about this season is the music!


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Christmas in the "woods"

Monday, December 07, 2009

Every year, the Royal Ranger (Christian boy and girl scout) troop in town puts on their "Waldweihnacht" presentation. I went for the first time this year. It was cold, rainy and the path through the woods and along the little fishing lake to the Ranger cabin was dark, and full of puddles and mud. But it was so beautiful and sweet how the kids and their Ranger leaders told the Christmas story on the way, acting out the parts of Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, the three wise men, the angels and the innkeeper. Some of the Rangers carried torches to light the way. Everyone had been working hard all afternoon to prepare the venue, get their costumes together and to fix mountains of food.

Teenage Mary rode on a live horse, guided by her "husband." As we followed, we were greeted by the other players who told us their part of the story. There was a big bonfire when we got to the cabin. But there was no room for Jesus and his parents there, as the innkeeper shouted from the upper story window. Instead, we made our way around to the back of the cabin, where a tent "stall" welcomed the little family, and a narrator read us the rest of the story from Luke.

Afterwards, grilled sausages, gingerbread, and hot fruit punch were served to all us pilgrims. There was a nice little crowd of about 80 people there. For some, participating is an annual tradition.

The picture shows one of my little piano students, Gina, hanging from a tree as the "Fear Not" angel. If you look closely, you can see her rubber rain boots and jeans under her golden finery. That seems so fitting - the beauty of one of God's heavenly beings contrasted with the humblest of conditions that Jesus met when he arrived on earth to carry out his mission of saving the world. Jesus had to get his feet dirty, too, when he came. In fact, he continues to do so often, as he slogs through the mud of our trials with us, even carrying us through the roughest patches of the trail. Thank you, Lord!

Today, I had a nice surprise when I logged on to SP - I was awarded Community Team Leader of the month! Perfect timing because I had been kicking myself around for sampling too many sweets these past few days and (maybe) blowing my weight loss of last week. The award was both an encouragement and reality check. I know how to do this and I can do it better than I did over the weekend! Getting back on track today.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CKENTFIELD 12/9/2009 10:07AM

    Just like your little angle we try to be shiny and good but underneath we are all just human. Hence don't beat yourself up when you slip, just get back too it as soon as you can.

Congratulations on community leader!!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CTEMPLE 12/9/2009 5:14AM


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FRECKS96 12/8/2009 7:54PM

    What an amazing event! Thanks for sharing.

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RURAL3 12/8/2009 1:32PM

    I love Royal Rangers and Missionettes. They are such great programs for the kids. Congrats on your award. Keep up the good work.

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MOM2KNL 12/8/2009 11:27AM

    Wow! I would love to bring my children to this! Congrats on your award too. Way to go!

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FIT4HISGLORY 12/8/2009 10:32AM

    Beautiful Christmas tradition! Even more beautiful is the fact that the story is not mere "tradition" but reality! Praise God for His unspeakable gift to us, undeserving though we are!

Congrats on the award! It was well-deserved!


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HOMEBUNNY 12/8/2009 8:56AM

    The program that they put on seems like a wonderful thing to see & take part in (even in the rain - LOL). Congrats on team leader of the month!! You are a wonderful person. I am glad to have you as a friend.

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SJG1953 12/8/2009 3:37AM

    Michelle, the story is so wonderful! What a testimony for the children. I was touched by it too.

Also, Congratulations on your award. I think you so deserve it!

Hugs, Shirley

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CGDINASIA 12/7/2009 11:26PM

    emoticon on being chosen Community Team Leader of the month!! What an honor! Love the Spark!

Also, thanks for sharing the tradition in Germany with us here. What a blessing to be able to see that.

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DDOORN 12/7/2009 10:16PM

    That's one of the things I LOVE about SP: I'll "stray" a bit from what I know works for me and before you know it somebody is giving me kudos or high fives for my accomplishments and I'm like: "Wow! I'd better live up to my own standards!" Talk about getting more flies with honey than vinegar! :-)


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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 12/7/2009 5:27PM

    Thanks for sharing about the tradition. It sounded very moving. Congrats again on your award!

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FORMYDARLINGS 12/7/2009 4:46PM

    What a beautiful way to bring in this season of joy. I would love to have been there with you. It does not surprise me that you are Team leader of the month. You are TOPS with me every day!!! Have a wonder ful time this Christmas and just keep your mind on your wonderful progress so far.


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KATELJM 12/7/2009 4:28PM

    emoticon on receiving the Community Team Leader of the month award. Of course you deserve it! Thanks for getting our SP Class of June 28- July 4, 2009 going. We would have been lost without you!

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TRYINGHARD1948 12/7/2009 4:18PM

    Thank you for sharing this delightful time in your life, and congratulations on your reward. WooHoo.

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ANGELLACOLE 12/7/2009 4:14PM

    What a neat celebration!

(Oh, and congratulations on your award! emoticon)

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 12/7/2009 3:55PM

    emoticon on your award. Well deserved!
emoticon emoticon

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I had to run...

Friday, December 04, 2009

...to catch the underground yesterday, so I wouldn't miss my connection to the train home. It felt really good! It felt good to BE ABLE TO run, and it felt good to just run.

I haven't been jogging this week because I've had a cold. Cardio exercise has been walks. I guess I'm feeling better! I'm glad of it because I've missed my runs. Who woulda thunk it a couple of years ago, pre-Spark?

Oh, and I caught the train!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NEWLIBRARIAN 12/5/2009 9:43AM

    I remember when I first started to miss excercise when I couldn't make a work out. It's pretty amazing. Glad to hear you are feelng better.

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RURAL3 12/5/2009 7:42AM

    Way to go. Glad you're back up to par

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JANETELIZABETH1 12/5/2009 4:16AM

    Good for you Michelle...and not to outdo you...LOL!!
A couple of days ago I ran back down the road...it was such a shock it started the local dogs barking at me!!LOL!!
Glad you're feeling much better now.

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SJG1953 12/5/2009 1:26AM

    That sounds like progress to me!!! You are doing a terrific job Michelle! Hugs, Shirley

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TRYINGHARD1948 12/5/2009 1:03AM

    Well done and so glad you feel better.

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CGDINASIA 12/4/2009 10:48PM

    emoticon emoticon It certainly does feel good. Glad you made the train too.

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 12/4/2009 5:26PM

    emoticon emoticon

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FIT4HISGLORY 12/4/2009 4:31PM

    It's a GREAT feeling to BE ABLE to do things we couldn't do in the past! I must say, though, it's good you caught that train or you may have been running further than you'd have liked! :-)


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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 12/4/2009 11:03AM

    Isn't it great to feel good!

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RAYLINSTEPHENS 12/4/2009 10:57AM

    Awesome blog!! WTG on running and catching the train!!

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LADY_DONKEY 12/4/2009 8:34AM


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DDOORN 12/4/2009 5:45AM

    Had a recent airport experience like that...pushing DW in wheelchair, toting two carryons crooked in each thumb, RUNNING from one end of the airport to the other to make our connecting flight in time. What a sight I must have been!...drenched in sweat, but having made it JUST in time and thinking WHEW! Thx goodness I'm in shape...NEVER could have done that a few years ago! :-)


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CTEMPLE 12/4/2009 5:44AM

    yay you!
Maybe one day I will enjoy running.

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December Goals

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Lots of repeats again!

Progress, not perfection!


*Daily MORNING prayer - continue to work on making this a habit so it will no longer be a goal!

Home and Org:

*TMMO baby step #2 - in progress. Snowflake goal: $200
*Stick to December budget!
*Bring US and German taxes up-to-date


*Pray for the finances to be able to cashflow at least one of the two courses I want to take in January
*Contact adviser - get info on OT course credit
*Contact German adviser
*Practice project present ideas to my adviser and appropriate persons


*Caroling at homes of Seniors and shut-tins
*Lead worship on two Sundays
*Snail mail TYs to TOR donors
*Christmas newsletter
*Continue info search for worship team retreat

Health and Fitness Goals:

*Lose 3 pounds
*AM workouts 2 x a week (am loving this - really boosts the metabolism!)
*1300 Cardio minutes - bumping it up this month from my usual 1200
*3 x 20 minutes ST per week
*Make OB/GYN appointment
*Strovak vaccination series appointment
*Track food 5x week, Fitness daily


*Book flight for January/February

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NEWLIBRARIAN 12/3/2009 10:51PM

    That's quite a list but they all seem manageale. I wish you the best.

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SJG1953 12/1/2009 9:54PM

    Good goals with reasonable expectations! I like that. You can do it with God's help! Hugs, Shirley

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LEEDZ09 12/1/2009 1:50PM

    Good luck this month :o)

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CKENTFIELD 12/1/2009 9:41AM

    Good luck. With focus and perseverance you will make it.

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LADY_DONKEY 12/1/2009 8:39AM

    There's nothing wrong with lots of "repeats" -- sometimes we need to set repetitive goals to make sure that it's ingrained into our schedule as to become habit. A work in progress, if you will

And I love how you have your goals organized. You are doing really well. I look forward to reading about your progress this month!

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    You can do this!

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SLENDERELLA61 12/1/2009 7:06AM

    You are really well organized. Thanks for sharing your sizable list. You can do it!

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CMORISAK 12/1/2009 6:49AM

    Wow, you have a lot going on...good luck...I am sure you will accomplish your goals.

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CTEMPLE 12/1/2009 6:30AM

    Seems like a lot, but it has to be done!
Hope you achieve most of it.

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