ZELLAZM   96,004
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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Just in case you haven't heard from my other blog posts, message board posts, or status updates, today is my 4th Sparkiversary! Somehow this year it seems particularly significant.

Maybe that's because it's been a particularly rough year and I managed to survive it. Thank you Lord for being faithful even when I've stumbled along trying to do things my way.

Maybe it's because I've realized more than ever that the Spark plan works and that the community is the bestest.

Maybe it's because I have the week off and needed something to celebrate to keep from getting bored!

Anyway, thanks Spark friends for being here and for celebrating with me today! Here on SP, I sent goodies to some of my Class Team members, am in the process of earning 100 points to meet the One Day Challenge, hung some new wallpaper on my Spark page and updated my bio. Onward to year 5!

In real life (whatever that is!) I had lunch with a friend at the Chinese buffet here in town - and behaved myself admirably, thank you very much. This afternoon I washed Louise (my car) because she really needed it, was covered with spring pollen, and I'm taking some friends to church tomorrow and didn't want to be embarassed. Then this evening, I went for a nice, long Nordic walk in the woods near my home. Yep, it's spring and I'm glad!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 4/24/2011 8:48PM

    Cheers to #4 (from your fellow "classmate!) and to getting out with the Nordic Poles!

Here's to many more years with our SparkFamily!!


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CTEMPLE 4/22/2011 8:48PM

    Congratulations dear M!

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CMPEARL 4/22/2011 7:49PM

    emoticonHappy 4th sparkiversary! Thank you for being such an amazing leader on the BUGS!!! emoticon emoticon

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KATHYKIM 4/22/2011 12:24PM

    Happy emoticon

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JANETELIZABETH1 4/22/2011 6:29AM

    Happy emoticonMichelle....you are a great encourager and inspiration to us all!!
Wishing you every success and blessing for your next spark year!!!

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TRYINGHARD1948 4/22/2011 3:44AM

    Congratulations Michelle, happy Sparkversary. emoticon

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 4/22/2011 12:33AM

    Happy Sparkversary!!
emoticon emoticon

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SJG1953 4/21/2011 10:47PM

    Happy emoticon!!!

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BANDMAMAPC 4/21/2011 8:03PM

    Happy emoticon! Since the start, you have always been there for me, now it's my turn to turn the favor.

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 4/21/2011 6:02PM

    Congratulations again on your anniversary!!! emoticon

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BELTONWALKER67 4/21/2011 5:40PM

    Happy, Healthy Sparkversary! May year #5 hold all you want it to be! emoticon emoticon

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FRANNIEDID 4/21/2011 3:40PM

    Happy 4th Sparkiversary!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

Mine was Tuesday and it is amazing that we have been here that long, here is to a successful and healthy 5th year!!!

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Metro Etiquette - More Prague

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A new friend of mine (thanks, Sabrina) who I met at the conference in Prague took these pictures in the Metro. Thought you might enjoy seeing them: They must have struck me as being funny because I'm working on a course in Intercultural Communication. You know the old saying, "a picture is worth a thousand words." Somehow, the people who put up these signs must have been thinking - "a picture AND a thousand words (in Czech) is even better."

Yep...and summer's coming!

Oh! I see a word with "respekt" in it. I know that word!

On the train here in Germany, I know I've had the same expression as the girl in the pic. Often. Too often.

This one could have been referring to me with my big suitcase, backpack and handbag. At least I didn't have the guitar with me this trip.

Tomorrow's my 4th Sparkiversary. I'm home all week, so will be updating my page and stuff in honor of the day, maybe take a nice long hike somewhere after (healthy) lunch with a friend. Now where was that Spark article about how to manage at buffets!?

By the way, my black eyes healed up just fine. One was gone within a day or two. By Friday when the picture-taking started getting into full swing at the conference, it was just a shadow. The mark where the cyst was removed is still healing, but my glasses pretty much covered it in the photos.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANGORA4 4/21/2011 11:46AM

    Happy 4th! emoticon

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SJG1953 4/21/2011 1:41AM

    Cute cartoons. Happy 4th Sparkversary!! emoticon

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 4/20/2011 8:34PM

    Love the pictures....thanks for sharing them.

Congratulations on your four year anniversary.

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TRYINGHARD1948 4/20/2011 5:34PM

    Good to hear you are healing and that you enjoyed your Prague transport. Sounds as if you made new friends too. emoticon

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FRANNIEDID 4/20/2011 4:58PM

    I love it, they are very clear in meaning. LOL

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DESERTGEMINI 4/20/2011 2:28PM

    Wow. Love these! Looks like South Park characters too which makes it even funnier. Thanks for sharing!

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CMPEARL 4/20/2011 10:54AM

    Love the subway pics :)

In case I don't catch you tomorrow, happy sparkiversary!!! Sounds like you have a fantastic day planned out!! Enjoy!!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KATHYKIM 4/20/2011 10:47AM


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NEWLIBRARIAN 4/20/2011 8:39AM

    These are a hoot and I can't read Czech.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Here come a few typical tourist pictures from the beautiful Czech city of Prague. We had about three hours to see the city. I was glad I had been there before and that we had a gracious tour guide who knew when to hurry us along!

Castle and Cathedral at the top of the old fortified city hill. (Took my pink raincoat but never needed it for rain!)

From the other side. You have to go as far back as possible to get this shot in the plaza.

Prague trademark - the clock was being repaired (that's the reason for the white sign) so we didn't get to see the Glockenspiel this time. That means I have to go back!

View from the Charles Bridge. It was crowded! Perfect weather and we tourists were out in full force.

Monument to Jan Hus, the forerunner of the Reformation. The flowers were decorating one of the Easter market stands that filled the plaza.

More on the trip and an update in my next post!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUDYAMK 6/26/2011 8:54PM

    Thank you for sharing your pictures. I love History. I was in Israel, Greece & Jordan a few years back. To know the Bible & the places mentioned in them was so beautiful.

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SJG1953 4/21/2011 1:40AM

    Beautiful old buildings Michele. Thanks for sharing. I'm glad you enjoyed your trip. Blessings and hugs, Shirley

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MARAHAB 4/20/2011 10:21PM

    Love it! One of the places I hope to visit soon!

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FRANNIEDID 4/20/2011 4:57PM

    What a beautiful city, thanks for sharing!

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HOMEBUNNY 4/19/2011 11:24PM

    Thank you for sharing the pics! I will probably never see them in person, so I can enjoy them through your lens!

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DDOORN 4/19/2011 6:59PM

    So pleased that the weather held up for you! I'm sure Prague looks MUCH better under sunshiney blue skies! :-)

Enjoy your travels!


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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 4/19/2011 3:48PM


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ANGORA4 4/19/2011 11:55AM

    Beautiful, appreciate you sharing with us!

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BELTONWALKER67 4/19/2011 11:34AM

    Thank you so much for sharing. Love the design of the buildings. You are so blessed to be able to see such beautiful scenery.

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KATHYKIM 4/19/2011 10:56AM


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CMPEARL 4/19/2011 9:51AM

    Just gorgeous...thanks so much for posting!!

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GARDENCHRIS 4/19/2011 7:01AM

    very nice pictures.... have been there myself on holiday. Are you also on holiday? have a great time.

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Monday, April 04, 2011

I have two black eyes today. I went to the doctor to see about having a cyst removed in the corner of my eye. He said, "let's do it now," so we did. And another on the other eyelid. I'm hoping that I look a little more photogenic by the weekend because lots of pictures are usually taken at these conferences!

Today Mom would have turned 84. I planted a few flowers in a pot on the balcony in remembrance her birthday. There wasn't much of a selection at the market yet - the real planting season for balcony blooms starts in a few weeks. I did get some forget-me-nots and some "bellis" - little pink flowers. (Will post a pic when they've gotten a bit bushier).

The good thing is that both will survive even if we have another hard frost. In Germany, the farmers keep track of the name days of the "Ice Saints." Saint Sophie is the last of them on May 15. The gardener's "rule" in southern Germany is that you don't plant your summer flowers outdoors until after "Cold Sophie" (Kalte Sophie) because that's when the danger of a hard frost is past. (I wonder if I ever told Mom about the "Ice Saints"? When we had a garden in Illinois, she bought the Farmer's Almanac every year and also followed a lot of the tips and proverbs in it. I've always wondered how much of the info was really helpful and how much was superstition!)

Posting some April Fitness Goals just for the sake of accountability:

Track, track, track!
Get to the gym twice a week
1000 Cardio minutes
3x3 ST challenge
End the month having lost SOMETHING (preferably not my mind!)

Happy Monday, all!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IFDEEVARUNS2 4/19/2011 12:28PM

    I'll have to tell my poodle Sophie about this!

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SJG1953 4/6/2011 1:11AM

    Michelle, I hope you eyes heal quickly. So nice to remember your mom with growing flowers. Blessings and prayers for you, Shirley

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ANGORA4 4/5/2011 10:01PM

    I just love Bellis, we call them English daisy here. They are indeed so hardy, and those beautiful little daisies on such a dainty little plant. My SIL has them all through her lawn, an even smaller version than the garden ones, so dainty and beautiful. Mom loved the red bellis, they were her favorites. The forget me nots grew in mom's lawn, I always mowed around them. I started some from cuttings, they're rooted now and ready to come home.

Glad the doctor was able to remove the cysts so quickly, hoping the raccoon eyes heal quickly!

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CMPEARL 4/5/2011 3:25PM

    emoticon...look forward to seeing your memorial flowers blooming

Take care of those eyes and good luck with your goals...I love our 3x3 ST challenge!!! emoticon emoticon

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HOMEBUNNY 4/5/2011 9:32AM

    That was a nice way to remember your mom's birthday. I look forward to seeing pictures of the flowers. Where did you used to live in Illinois? I have lived in Illinois all of my life. Have a safe trip & an enjoyable time at your conference!

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TRYINGHARD1948 4/4/2011 7:46PM

    Hope your eyes return to normal soon and your flowers blossom and fill your home with sweet scent.

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CTEMPLE 4/4/2011 5:11PM

    Oh Michelle too bad about the raccoon look for the conference, can you cover it with make up. Glad you planted the little meteoroid garden. Very sad for you.
Getting over the flu, going to work today and it's cool, what a joy!

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MEGA_MILES 4/4/2011 4:22PM

    The difference between doctors and patients is, for the patient, whatever is going on is usually a big event in their life. For the doctor, it's just another day at the office and compared to his patient last month with the who knows what, your case is pretty run of the mill.

In the mean time you have a couple black eyes.

I hope you heal fast and the cysts don't return.

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SKINNYPOWELL1 4/4/2011 3:25PM

    Great goals for the month ahead, best wishes in achieving them all. And what a sweet way to honor your mom by planting flowers.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DDOORN 4/4/2011 3:06PM

    Don'tcha just love when a doc says something like "well let's just lop that sucker off" as though it's a walk in the park...? Easy enough for THEM!! :-)

Hope the eyes clear soon!

Kudos to the flowers!


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NEWLIBRARIAN 4/4/2011 12:27PM

    I like the last goal too. Big smile
Glad you found a pleasing way to commemorate your mom's bday.

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PLAINJANELLEN 4/4/2011 10:52AM

    "End the month having lost SOMETHING (preferably not my mind!)"

Now that's a goal we can all identify with.. {g}

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Countdown to Prague

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Yes, I'm going to Prague for a missions conference, leaving Thursday and returning on Sunday. I've been there once before - a beautiful city! My last trip was just after the iron curtain came down and there were lots of renovations going on. I imagine it will be even busier and more beautiful than it was back then. We won't have a lot of time between meetings and services, but it looks like our hotel is downtown and close to the sites. Certainly there'll be time to stroll the bridge and visit the city square. And I'm looking forward to good times of worship and fellowship at the conference itself.

I'll be taking the train directly from the town where I live and connecting to an express bus from Nuremberg. The price of the trip is about 1/4 of what it would cost to fly. It ends up being about the same amount of travel time, too, because I don't have to get to the airport which is an hour away. Still I expect the 4-hour bus trip from Nuremberg to be an adventure. I haven't been a big fan of bus travel since my days touring around with the opera when I first came to Germany 26 years ago.

The man who sold me my ticket suggested I think of it this way - I'm being paid 50 euros (about $65) an hour for sitting on the bus instead of the plane!

On the weight loss front - I haven't. I seem to start out the week pretty well, but my all-day Thursday course day seems to throw me off. I'll miss this week's class and the last week of the course is the 14th, so I won't have that excuse any more :)

There's an emotional reason behind the not-so-mindful eating, too. Mom's 84th birthday would have been this coming Monday. She was really into celebrating birthdays and holidays, so it's hard to have them go by without her. However, I got inspired this morning by another Sparker, KARLYNCANDOIT. She just recently lost her husband and decided to plant a garden in his honor. Here's a link to her blog: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo

So I thought I would spruce up my balcony with a few blooms in honor of Mom who loved flowers and gardening. Petunias were a favorite of hers, but it's a little too early for them. Will see what I can find at the market today. It's going to be warm and sunny again tomorrow so that will be a fun way to spend some time tomorrow afternoon before my LSD run.

P.S. Actually, most of my runs are LSD, especially the "S" part!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SIMPLELIFE4REAL 4/5/2011 11:30AM

    I hope you have a great time on your trip.

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FRANNIEDID 4/5/2011 11:04AM

    It is hard to remember parents we have lost but it gets much easier. I don't think better is the right word, just easier. I miss my dad terribly after 7 years, I love the idea of a garden for your mother, that is something my mother would love. She is still with me just in TX which is a little far. We have gardened together since I was a little girl and we still talk about our gardens and what we are planting.

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CMPEARL 4/4/2011 10:19AM

    Sounds like the flowers will be a beautiful way to remember your Mom...my aunt did the same thing when my cousin lost her baby to SIDS and she has a magnificent patch of blooms in her angel garden. emoticon

Also wishing you safe and fabulous travels...having never left U.S. soil save for my honeymoon to Jamaica, I will have to live vicariously through my friends! Take care!!

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SJG1953 4/3/2011 1:23AM

    Michelle, I'm praying for a safe trip for you and also that God would be close to you and bless you through your mom's birthday. I know it's hard to be without them especially during special days and holidays. Hugs, Shirley

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CTEMPLE 4/3/2011 12:13AM

    Dear M. I hope the little balcony garden soothes the pain a bit. The hole in the soul is so big!
Have a good time in Prague and hope you have time to think about a strategy for your difficult Thursdays!

Comment edited on: 4/3/2011 12:13:41 AM

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DDOORN 4/2/2011 11:07PM

    Wow...Prague! Many of my family have visited Prague...grandfather came over to the USA from Prague when he was 11.

Honor your mother through every way that makes sense to you and feels right in your heart. Love the flowers idea. But don't stop there! I'm sure there are other ways to celebrate and treasure your memories of your mother.


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    Hi Michele -- I wish you safe travels :-)

And I wish you peace as your Mom's birthday approaches. Planting flowers or doing something you would have enjoyed together is a nice way to honor her memory. It sounds like your Mom truly embraced life's celebrations.

My Mom's birthday would have been this coming Wednesday. She died one week before her 71st birthday 3 years ago.... and while I think of her and miss her every day, this "week" is always a little harder.... and so I am gentler with myself -- I am suggesting that you do the same, be gentle with yourself and allow your pace to slow down a bit.

Will be thinking of you (and your Dad).......


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CATLADY_56 4/2/2011 7:16PM

    this sounds like a really cool trip! Have fun!

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ANGORA4 4/2/2011 4:18PM

    Absolutely wonderful! Have a blessed journey. I love the idea of thinking of it as earning money while you sit on the bus! I used to take quilt squares with me to handsew on the long bus rides. I'd never take the time to do them otherwise, they took very little space, and it made the time fly by. I now have all the blocks for a quilt done, just from riding on the bus! (These trips were 5 hours each way).

I love the idea of planting flowers in memory, I picked some for mom, too!

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 4/2/2011 12:59PM

    Have a wonderful trip. I've heard that Prague is wonderful -- I hope to see it some day.

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NEWNAC304 4/2/2011 10:59AM

    What a wonderful idea to plant flowers in your mom's memory. Have a safe trip.

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MIDORITHOMAS 4/2/2011 8:41AM

    Have a wonderful and safe trip.

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