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Sunday, May 30, 2010

As many of you know, my mother has been struggling mightily with her health over the past few years - COPD, then a serious head injury, hip surgery, carotid artery surgery, two stays in rehab. Last night, that struggle finally ended, quietly and quickly.

She had been admitted to hospice in-patient care for respiratory trouble a few days ago and we hoped she'd improve enough to go home. She had gained weight over the past few months, her memory had improved, and she had begun to use a walker again sometimes instead of the wheelchair. Then a bronchial infection got a hold of her and her body just didn't have the strength to fight it anymore.

I got to speak to her on Friday when she was still lucid, and could tell her I love her one more time. God's amazing grace.

Now I'm packing to fly to FL to be with my Dad and my sister, and to help with all the things that have to be done when someone dies --- someone with a BIG circle of family and friends who live all over the USA. The next week or two is going to be busy --- probably a good thing. I know that I can count on you all to pray for us. Thank you!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHICADEE26 6/3/2010 11:09AM

    Praying for you.

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PIANO*LADY 6/3/2010 10:19AM

    Michelle, all I can say is that my heart goes out to you in love and I'm lifting you up in my prayers. I know what it's like to lose your Mom. Take comfort in the fact that she is physically with our Savior now and has a new body.


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RURAL3 6/2/2010 12:58PM

    I just got back and saw this Michelle. My prayers are reaching the heavens. I know that our God is big enough to handle your every need. I pray that He comforts you during this time and helps you to draw on Him for your every need.

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SONJASTWIN 5/31/2010 9:54PM

    So sorry to hear this sad news. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Josie emoticon

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_MAOMAO_ 5/31/2010 8:36PM

  Zella, I'm so sorry for your loss. Here's another prayer for you and your family, and a prayer that this world's sad state will be done and we'll all meet again with perfect, restored bodies soon!

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KATHYKIM 5/31/2010 7:01PM

    I am very sorry for your loss - you are in my prayers.

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MOM2KNL 5/31/2010 6:59PM


I am so sorry to hear this sad news. Please know that I will be praying for you and your family as you grieve. Praying that God will comfort you and hold you all very close. He is faithful!


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NEWLIBRARIAN 5/31/2010 4:01PM

    Will be praying for your travel and time at home. Sorry to hear of your loss.

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BKWHITE3 5/31/2010 12:10PM

    I'm sorry for your loss. You and your family will be in my prayers. emoticon

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SARAHTAIT 5/31/2010 12:01PM

    So sorry-my heart goes out to you and your family. Praying for you and your family!!! May God's comforting arms circle all of you during this time. So glad you got to see your mom and tell her you love her....what a blessing.

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NOEILAND 5/31/2010 11:53AM

    My heartfelt condolences to you and your family.

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JCOLUMBINE 5/31/2010 11:44AM

    I am so sorry for your loss. I will be praying for you and your family. Safe travels. God bless.

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REYNJANET 5/31/2010 10:23AM

    So sorry to hear of your loss. But isn't God good to take them quietly and quickly without lot of suffering and to give you the opportunity to express your love to her one more time.

You and your family will be in my prayers! May your loving memories help to ease your sorrow at this time!


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FIT4HISGLORY 5/31/2010 9:15AM

    I'm so sorry for your loss. Praise God for His goodness in allowing you to get to talk with your dear mom one more time before He took her home. Praying for you and your family during this time of sorrow. Look to Him...He will sustain you.


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SJG1953 5/31/2010 1:14AM

    I am so sorry for your loss. I am glad you were able to talk to your mother Friday. Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. May God wrap you in His loving arms, give you strength and comfort. Love in Christ, Shirley

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BFITNHAPPY 5/30/2010 10:20PM

    Oh Michelle..I am so sorry. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. I know that your strong faith will get you through this.

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    I am so sorry for your loss - of course I shall say a prayer for you and your family.

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FORMYDARLINGS 5/30/2010 8:37PM

    Michelle. I wish you and all your family peace. Know that your Darling mother has her's.

Love Gini

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ASMPP1 5/30/2010 7:18PM

    emoticonSorry for your loss. Will you and your family in thoughts and prayers during this time.

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 5/30/2010 4:35PM

    I am so sorry for your loss.
emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 5/30/2010 4:36:17 PM

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LIGIRLATHEART 5/30/2010 4:16PM

    Oh I am so very sorry. I wasn't aware that your Mom has been fighting this horrible illness. I am going to send you a Sparkmail....

Though I've only gotten to "know" you through sporadic comments here and there, and through some of your blogs, one thing that clearly came through was the love you and your Mom shared. Let that love carry you through the difficult weeks ahead.

Will keep you close in thought and prayer.


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VIVIANJ5 5/30/2010 4:09PM

    I'm so sorry about your mom, and thank you for letting us know. Sometimes it is hard to share the sad details of life, but that's what we are here for, to give support and comfort when needed.

I'm sure it was a blessing for you to be able to speak to her one last time. Take care of yourself, and have a safe and blessed trip.

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CHRYS13 5/30/2010 2:59PM

    Sincere sympathy to you and to your family. May God give you peace and surround you with His strength.

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BANDMAMAPC 5/30/2010 2:35PM

    I am so deeply sorry for your loss. Please try to take care of yourself so you can take care of your dad. Your mother is at a better place and in peace. Prayers for you and your family. emoticon

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NIGHTSKYSTAR 5/30/2010 2:34PM

    Prayers for your Mom and family. I am sorry.

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ANGELLACOLE 5/30/2010 2:33PM

    I'm so sorry for your loss. I will be praying for you and your family.

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LADY_DONKEY 5/30/2010 2:33PM

    I'm so very sorry. My heart weighs heavy with your sorrow. :-( I will keep you and your family in my prayers. In fact, going this evening... Will pray hard.

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JANETELIZABETH1 5/30/2010 2:30PM

    Oh dear Michelle, I'm so sorry to read about your mum....
Please accept my sincere love & condolences and I pray the Lord comforts all your hearts at this time.
Thankfully you got to speak to her even though you couldn't be there with her.
Praying also for travelling mercies to you.
Love Janet

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Pentecost Roses

Sunday, May 23, 2010

That's what peonies are called in Germany. I just snapped this one in my neighbor's garden. The color didn't photograph too well - the blooms are actually a deeper shade of wine red. And they smell so lovely!

Today IS Pentecost Sunday - happy birthday to the Church! Thank you, Lord, for sending your Holy Spirit just as you promised!

And thank you that the weather finally looks and feels like May and not November. I enjoyed my long run in the woods this afternoon and actually working up a sweat instead of running to keep warm!

My test on Wednesday was tough. I don't know how well I did. I do know that I didn't do a very good job on the last essay question because I spent too much time on the first four. We'll see. At least it's only 5% of my grade. The term paper is more heavily weighted, 45% I think. Tomorrow is Pentecost Monday, a German holiday, so I'm going to start my research for that project.

I had a horrible week as far as eating is concerned. I don't quite know what my problem was, but I found myself eating all kinds of sweets and things. I've taken Spark breaks before where that wasn't a problem. I'll chalk it up to the lack of sleep and exam stress. I'm back on track today and hope that my next Thursday weigh-in won't be too shocking!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REYNJANET 5/24/2010 9:47AM

    Beautiful flower! I'm joining you in a bad week last week. Hopefully with school winding down I can get things back in track.

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FRANNIEDID 5/24/2010 8:59AM

    The flower is beautiful! I find when I don't get enough sleep I have a really hard time controlling my sweet craving! When you get a chance to get rested it should be better!

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BANDMAMAPC 5/24/2010 8:09AM

    You know, it's really hard to be a woman. Going to school, tending to the home, keeping us all in a positive attitude, and keeping fit. Sometimes when you think you didn't do well in an exam, you'd be surprised that you worried for nothing. Enjoy the spring weather. I am getting rain on this end of the east coast.

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CTEMPLE 5/24/2010 7:22AM

    Very hard to go through exams eating well. We can always start again.
Enjoy your spring!

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_VALEO_ 5/24/2010 4:32AM

    So I guess I have my answer: you're in Germany right now.
Beautiful flower.

It used to be a holiday in France, maybe it still is, I'm not even sure but I know they took off one of our May holidays a few years ago. I don't really pay attention to that as it has no meaning to me and as a self-employed, well I don't have those days off anymore.

Wish you a great weigh-in and being back on track!

Comment edited on: 5/24/2010 4:33:33 AM

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TRYINGHARD1948 5/23/2010 11:54PM

    Oops I asked how your test went in my comment but I see that it was tough. Hope it all works out okay, timing is always hard and at 5% of the whole not too worrying. All the best with the studying for the term paper. I always found it hard to eat properly when studying, I don't know what it is about it but I think many people have the same problem, too many other things to think about. Have a great week, hugs.

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    Wow I had NO IDEA they were called Pentecost Roses. Very neat! Sorry about the exam. You probably did better than you thought . . . and like you said it was only 5%. Stress is probably it, you've had alot of back-to-back stresses with school, voice, etc.

So since it's a German holiday . . . how is it there?, as over here we hear The Church is stagnant in Europe and UK, but then, we are so corrupt here that there are 21 nations sending missionaries to the States! Would be interesting to get your perspective since you're a true believer but also there in person.

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FORMYDARLINGS 5/23/2010 9:01PM

    Sometimes being overdone can lead us to do the wrong things because we are too tired to care. I know this means a lot to you and I know you will get back on track as soon as you get yourself reoriented. Take care and remember to use your workout time to help you relax mentaly.


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ASMPP1 5/23/2010 7:53PM

    emoticon for sharing. That is new info for me. emoticon I am sure you did fine on your exam.

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WATERMELLEN 5/23/2010 7:40PM

    Love peonies -- and did not know the term "Penecost rose" for them. Ours will be in bloom soon!!

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 5/23/2010 5:16PM

    I bet you did better on your test than you think. Thanks for sharing the info on peonies and the great picture. I didn't know that about them either.

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TEXASLYNN 5/23/2010 5:02PM

    We celebrated Pentecost Sunday at church today as well. I didn't know this fact about peonies but isn't it fitting they are so sweet-smelling?

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On a mission

Monday, May 17, 2010

I have an exam in missiology on Wednesday. I need all my "spare" time (whatever that is!) to study, so I'm going to be taking a break from Spark for a couple of days.

I even plan to overnight at the school where I'm studying so I don't have the long commute in the Wednesday morning traffic. It evens out expense-wise since I'll save on gas. And I'll be fresh in the morning for the test.

I'll be peeking in, though. I may be on a Spark break but I'll still be Sparking - watching my food intake and getting my daily exercise in. But I won't be posting till the end of the week.

Just wanted to let y'all know!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CTEMPLE 5/19/2010 4:08AM

    All the best and good luck Michelle!

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TRYINGHARD1948 5/18/2010 7:33AM

    All the best Michelle.

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SJG1953 5/18/2010 3:08AM

    Praying you do well on your test.

I love all those lavender flowers and background!

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 5/17/2010 10:37PM

    I'm sure you will do great on your test. Breath deep.......

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CHRYS13 5/17/2010 8:07PM

    Blessings to you!

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ASMPP1 5/17/2010 5:41PM

    emoticonYou do well on your exam.

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LIGIRLATHEART 5/17/2010 5:36PM

    You are awesome - healthy foods and exercise (and a good night's sleep) will all contribute to your test success! Good luck!


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FRANNIEDID 5/17/2010 4:46PM

    Good luck! Love your Wordle!

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CHICADEE26 5/17/2010 3:52PM

    Good Luck with the test!

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I Oughta

Sunday, May 09, 2010

I really OUGHTA write a blog today because it's been two weeks since my last post. Some other Spark friends have posted great blogs this past week. If you'd like a sampling, here are a few links:

SPUNKYSPARKER had some good insights about binge eating: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo

In her post, TJOEYMO shared a link to a very touching story and video about a special mother who was honored on Good Morning America. Have your tissues handy:

And SONJASTWIN set a goal for this week that is going to be my goal as well. The title of her post alone is worth a click:

emoticon emoticon
It hasn't been a good eating week for me. I realize that I've been doing some emotional eating and haven't really been sure why. One thing is that I got too tired. I'm still recovering from that long bout of whatever it was that caused me to lose my voice. Another thing is that I'm starting to see that my summer trip to the US is probably not going to happen. Sure, I could put it on a credit card but I've made a commitment to pay off debt and not incur any more. I'm in the midst of cash-flowing my MA degree so any "extra" money for the next year is going toward tuition, books and paying down the debts I do have. The Lord has blessed me with a precious financial support circle and a tent-making job that are going to make this possible. AMEN! But the trip to the States is just not in the budget.

This stirs up feelings of guilt because I feel I OUGHTA be checking in with my parents. I also OUGHTA attend my denomination's biannual conference. These are not only things I OUGHTA do but WANT to do. I want to spend time with my parents and also visit my friends there in FL. The conference is a wonderful time of networking, fellowship and worship, and for showing support for our leaders as they determine policy and strategy for the years ahead. I really WANT to go. But I also want to reach my financial and educational goals.

The little girl in me wants it ALL! But I need to prioritize and say NO to some good things. As my pastor says, not all GOOD things are GOD things.

What I have to remember is that eating won't solve the dilemma. It won't produce a financial miracle. It won't make the need to MAKE hard decisions go away. It won't ease the hurt of having to make hard choices. On the contrary, emotional eating just makes me feel more helpless and bogged down. And I OUGHTA to be turning it over to the Lord in prayer and moving ONWARD! That's my plan for the week ahead.
emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SONJASTWIN 5/16/2010 10:30PM

    Thanks for the shout out on my blog! I feel like a celebrity! LOL


Amazing how emotional eating sneaks up on us! There are so many things that pull us all in many directions that taking a break with something tasty seems like a nice escape. If only...

I hope you had a better week. emoticon

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FRANNIEDID 5/10/2010 9:48AM

    It is hard to say no when it is your parents! I have been there. Hang in there, getting out of debt will help you say more often!

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SARAHTAIT 5/10/2010 9:25AM

    I'm there with you on all those "I oughta's" which often lead me to feel guilty like you. I could really realate to your blog!!! Thanks for sharing your feeling. Knowing that there are others out there who feel the same as I do on things makes things a lot easier to deal with.

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LIGIRLATHEART 5/10/2010 8:30AM

    Great, honest blog -- I hope it all works out for you. Thanks, too, for the links to the other inspiring blogs. Glad you are starting to feel better (physically), which will transfer to other aspects of life as well.

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NEWLIBRARIAN 5/10/2010 7:56AM

    Hey I like that quote, "Not all good things are God things" I may put it on my fridge.

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SJG1953 5/10/2010 2:50AM

    Michelle, I can understand your concern. Sounds like you know what you have to do and are relying on the Lord to help you accomplish your goals. That's a great thing. Love and prayers, Shirley

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ASMPP1 5/9/2010 8:02PM

    You are heading in the right direction for you. Saying "no" is difficult to do! Keep faith! emoticon

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TRYINGHARD1948 5/9/2010 5:13PM

    Taking the emotion out of prioritising can be very difficult. One thing is for sure anyone who knows you will fully understand the decisions you make, there is no need for guilt. All the very best my friend.

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ALICEART2010 5/9/2010 2:23PM

    emoticon FROG = FULLY RELY ON GOD

It's so hard to say no to something that's fun like travel but it sounds like you've got your priorities straight and you will be blessed for it.

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    Michelle, the Lord will give you the best plan because it will be His.
Praying for you,

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GHOSTFLAMES 5/9/2010 8:06AM


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DENNISBISHOP 5/9/2010 8:02AM

    I like your plan for the week ahead!

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Second Opinion

Monday, April 26, 2010

I went to the new ENT today and I do NOT have nodes on my vocal chords. They are somewhat swollen and very tired which is why they don't close properly at phonation. But there are no cysts, polyps or nodes. Now that I've taken the antibiotics and am on the downward phase on the prednisone taper, and have been resting the voice, things are looking better.

Funny, this year is our national church's "Year of Stillness" - I didn't think I'd be taking it quite so literally.

THANK YOU for your prayers and encouragement! Just a short blog today to let y'all know! God is good!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ASMPP1 5/5/2010 6:46AM


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SONJASTWIN 5/3/2010 12:36AM

    Excellent news! Here's hoping you're 100% soon.


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    It could also be an answer prayer (I mean even more than it already is) because the nodules may have gone away after prayer.

I am concerned about you, I remember antibiotics for sinus issues wasn't that last fall? You seem to have alot of ENT issues. It would be nice to get to the bottom of them, find and solve the root cause. Spoken from a former sufferer.

Just a warm hug of concern from me.

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FRANNIEDID 4/28/2010 9:21AM

    I am so glad that you are on the upswing. Rest your voice!!!! Take care of yourself!!! Sometimes stillness is a very good thing.

Comment edited on: 4/28/2010 9:21:31 AM

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SJG1953 4/27/2010 2:54AM

    Praise the Lord for your improvement!! Yes, God is indeed good! Still praying for you.

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HEALTHY_CAROLYN 4/27/2010 1:40AM

    Keep resting that voice, my friend! I'm glad you're on the way to being better. The one good thing about being sick is that it makes us appreciate being well that much more. I can't wait to hear that you're all healed!

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CHRYS13 4/26/2010 10:18PM

    Glad to read that you're on-the-mend! Keep resting....I've had nodes (when I was teaching choral music) and it was a long road to recovery!
Yes, God is indeed good!

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CTEMPLE 4/26/2010 10:11PM

    Great News dear Michelle!
Claudia emoticon

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TRYINGHARD1948 4/26/2010 6:43PM

    That is wonderful news Michelle. So glad you are recovering, have a still and wonder filled week, hugs.

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 4/26/2010 5:59PM

    Glad to hear your voice is better. I had problems for about 3 months last winter. Turned out the steroid in my inhaled asthma medication was causing it. The doctor adjusted the dose and I'm perfectly fine now. It's no fun not being able to talk!

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SARAHTAIT 4/26/2010 4:57PM

    Didn't know you would take the National day so seriously......
Glad to hear that things are going so well and that you are on the mend. emoticon

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SISTERDEAR 4/26/2010 4:47PM

    Be still and at rest, praising our wonderful Lord!!!

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NANC304 4/26/2010 3:36PM

    I'm glad it's nothing serious. Continue resting your voice and drinking hot tea.

Feel better soon!

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RURAL3 4/26/2010 2:54PM

    God is good all the time

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JOANNKW 4/26/2010 12:53PM

    Great news Zella! I'm so glad to hear it - now keep resting those chords!

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NEWLIBRARIAN 4/26/2010 11:36AM

    YEAH! That is good news. Keep resting up.

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