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Flat Cats

Saturday, August 27, 2011

When the weather's nice, the neighbor kids like to do chalk drawings. I loved these and thought I'd share.

Not quite flat as the drawing goes up the stairs.

I like the loooong whiskers that extend over the curb!

Somebody better warn that bird!

P.S. I lost a pound this past week and got my other grades back: A- again! Woohoo and big sigh of relief!

P.P.S. For those in Irene's path, know that you are being prayed for!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEBBIEDAY 9/3/2011 2:37PM

    PHEW I saw 'Flat Cats' and thought a poor kitty had gotten 'flattened' as squished by a car....glad to see these 'Flat Cats'....CUTE!

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EBLOOMING 9/3/2011 12:47PM

    What a neat idea....flat cats!! emoticon

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DDOORN 8/31/2011 11:06AM

    Cool cats, great trends! May they continue! :-)


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TRYINGHARD1948 8/28/2011 6:25PM

    Loved the cats and congratulations on the A. , and the pound lost. A very successful week. emoticon

PS I love the mini squash on your bookshelf.

Comment edited on: 8/28/2011 6:26:24 PM

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VISUALLYRICS 8/28/2011 5:05PM

    emoticonon losing a pound!! emoticon

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IDLETYME 8/28/2011 7:05AM

    Good blog. Congrats on your grades! emoticon emoticon

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    Thank you for sharing those, they are so great! Congratulations on your achievements, Michelle. Hard work really does pay off.

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PLAINJANELLEN 8/27/2011 8:36PM

    Love the cat drawings - especially the way the kids worked around changing topography. Congratulations on the weight loss & the excellent grade!

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CTEMPLE 8/27/2011 6:39PM

    Congratulations dear Michelle what an excellent student you are, nothing better than following what's most important for one.
Those cats in chalk are enchanting, the neck on the step, the whiskers, the smiling faces.

Very worried about the people in the east coast. Must go and watch the news. As for fathers breath in.... breath out... om... om... om.

Comment edited on: 8/27/2011 6:42:43 PM

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    Those are really cute. I like looking at what gets drawn on the sidewalks that I run on. They always make me giggle and sometimes motivate me!

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NEWLIBRARIAN 8/27/2011 4:48PM

    With a title like that I had to look! :)

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CHRYS13 8/27/2011 11:52AM

Congrats on your grade, and in being another pound down!! emoticon

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ASMPP1 8/27/2011 11:45AM

    Thanks for sharing. Most kids in the neighborhood are older, now. So, no more chalk drawings. emoticon

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NEWNAC304 8/27/2011 10:49AM

    Thanks for sharing the cut drawings. Congrats on your pound lost and another A!

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 8/27/2011 9:49AM


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CMPEARL 8/27/2011 8:57AM

    Sounds like you had a great week!!

I love it when my kids get creative with chalk drawings...so much fun!

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GARDENCHRIS 8/27/2011 8:36AM

    how cute!

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I love summer

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Taken the other day at the market in downtown Stuttgart. Many have an array of berries, but I like how this particular fruit-seller gets creative. Bought some raspberries - yum!

In other news, my dad (86) was in and out of the hospital over the weekend. He called 911 on himself because of an attack of vertigo. We're thankful that it wasn't a stroke, but they still haven't found out what is causing the vertigo. He's actually had some balance and dizziness issues on and off for quite a while. He's now on Plavix and has an appointment with his cardiologist.

This whole event, of course, raises the question of his living alone and what steps need to be taken when he is no longer able to drive or otherwise care for himself. Bringing up these subjects always seems to end either in an argument or some vague promise on his part to take action, so I've pretty much stopped trying to address these issues. Prayers needed for wisdom.

Here in Germany, we're having a little heat wave which I am thoroughly enjoying after all the cool, rainy weather we've had so ar this summer. The heat is nothing like what the US experienced earlier this month, and it's supposed to cool off again over the weekend so I'm enjoying it while I can. Celebrating with a daily fruit smoothie!

I finished and turned in the work for both of my July compact courses and have already got one term paper grade back: yay, an A-minus! Now I have to figure out what to do for my final project and begin studying for the exams that loom on the November horizon.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DLG0505 8/28/2011 12:35AM

    Howdy! Love the picture of the fruit - so colorful. Course I don't eat berries (it's that texture hangup I have with fruit). I could possibly use some therapy to get over that hangup!

I fully understand about your thoughts with your dad. My step-dad is 87 and we have him convinced to not go out on the highway and luckily he just drives around our small home town of 500 people. My mom is 76 and can still drive but she finds excuses not to. I wish she'd still do things because I do believe it keeps one young.

Way to go on your A-! You should be very proud!

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SJG1953 8/26/2011 1:54AM

    I'm sorry to hear that your dad is having health problems. I know it is hard when your parent does not want to co-operate. Yet, I understand the difficulty of losing one's independence is not easy either. Please know my prayers are with you and your dad. Our God is able to intervene. Just keep your eyes upon Him!

Enjoy your weather while you can. Congratulations on your accomplishments on your term paper!! :)

God bless you, Shirley emoticon

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TRYINGHARD1948 8/24/2011 7:22PM

    Love the fruit display and the book background. I can see why you get A's, congratulations. Looks as if you have a worrying time ahead with your father, it is a hard process, this ageing, for everyone concerned. It will be all the harder for you with distances involved. Do take care, hugs.

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VISUALLYRICS 8/24/2011 4:58PM

    (( What a lovely blog! ))

....I can hear your heart for your father.... sometimes in the end, we just know that the Lord will watch over our parents. ( Lol!! I have a stubborn one too. ) emoticon I will pray for God's direction.

I am drooling over the fresh fruit displayed! Wow!! Hooray for fresh juicy fruit!

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ASMPP1 8/24/2011 4:58PM

    Creative way to display! emoticon on your paper! emoticon It is always difficult when having issues that bring about a loss of independence.

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NEWNAC304 8/24/2011 12:10PM

    The fruit looks so yummy!

I'm glad your dad didn't have a stroke and hope they are able to find out what's causing the dizziness. I know how hard it is when your parents are no longer able to take care of themselves. We went through the same thing with my mom. We were lucky though because my sister was able to move in with her.

Congrats on the A! You should be proud of yourself!

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    Beautiful! I love visiting farmer's markets when I travel. I'm glad your dad is okay, and that you are enjoying your mini heat wave.

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DDOORN 8/24/2011 9:15AM

    Yes...LOVING any heat Mother Nature cares to send my way these days! No complaining! Soaking it up like a squirrel with nuts in its cheeks...gearing up for winter!


ps...thx for stopping by my blog!

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CMPEARL 8/24/2011 9:03AM

    Wonderful job on your paper! Your photo has me wishing I could visit your farmer's market...YUM!!! I wish I had some advice with your father, but the best I can do is be thankful he was alright and pray for an answer.

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CTEMPLE 8/24/2011 8:48AM

    Dear M That fruit display was done by an artist!
That issue of ageing parents having to learn through punches is poignant to me and my friends. I'm in no way going to be like them, all they think about is themselves simply because if something happens to them, there'll be someone having to drop everything to run and take care of the situation. No sympathy for this kind of ageing.
I'd give a lot to have services doing my shopping, cooking etc. I would love help. The ones that could have i,t don't want it. I already know my limitations, especially the physical ones and I live within my physical means and I'm only 58. I really dislike self centredness at the expense of others. Let them rot, my angry self says inside me.

Comment edited on: 8/24/2011 8:50:20 AM

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NANCYBOAT 8/24/2011 8:06AM

    I'm a summer lover as well - and it is quickly coming to a close. I love the picture of those berries - YUM. Sorry to hear about your dad's troubles - but glad he was able to call for help.

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 8/24/2011 8:02AM

    Congratulations on finishing your summer courses and getting an A- on your paper.

Thanks for sharing the picture of the fruit!!! It is so pretty!!! I love it.

I also love summer and will be very sorry to see it go.

I'm sorry to hear about your dad's problems. It's hard to try to figure out what to do when you are so far away. Good for him for calling 911 himself.

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Papers and Pounds

Sunday, August 07, 2011

I'm finishing up the second of three term papers to send off this evening. The other is due next Saturday, but since it's a rework of the present one, I don't expect it to be so time-consuming. After the coursework is turned in, I need to get my final project going, then exams in November and I'm done.

I've been getting kind of nostalgic about finishing my studies. I've been working on this degree, walking up and down the hill to that school for almost 9 years!
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Walking up and down that hill to work in the library - that's been most of my cardio the past week. No running, no gym. Still, I lost another pound, making it five since the Summer 5% Challenge started. It helps that I'm usually carrying a ton of books on those walks and that there are fewer distractions (the kitchen, for example!) in the library and that I planned my food ahead for the most part, including plenty of snacks.

Three more pounds to go in five weeks. I can do that. Then I'll be just one kilo away from goal range and 3 kilos from goal.
I think October 3 would be a nice goal date: It was in 2008 that I first got down to goal with the help of SP and y'all. And it's the German national holiday.
emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CTEMPLE 8/21/2011 7:54PM

    Well done Michelle on the pounds and the essays.
Thanks fr keeping me company!

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    So . . . finishing up school will be transition time for you and you are feeling the angst of it. Change is the only constant . . . good thing we have the Holy Spirit, our Advocate, Counselor, and Comforter to help us!

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VISUALLYRICS 8/10/2011 1:24PM

    emoticonSuccess....and it's just around the corner!!

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DDOORN 8/9/2011 9:51AM

    Keeping your eye on your Brass Ring! YES! :-)


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JUDIL62 8/8/2011 12:51PM


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CMPEARL 8/8/2011 12:43PM

    emoticon thank you for continuing to be such a wonderful inspiration to all of your SP friends!! emoticon

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TRYINGHARD1948 8/7/2011 6:25PM

    What tenacity, an awesome achievement - a year of completion. You are doing it! emoticon

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RUNNINGOMA 8/7/2011 2:23PM

    You are going to be reaching lots of goals this year! What's in store for you next???

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NEWNAC304 8/7/2011 1:55PM


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    It is kind of sad to be finishing something that has been such a big part of your life.

Congratulation on both your weight loss and your studies.

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 8/7/2011 1:08PM

    What a milestone! Congratulations.

What's next?

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JANETELIZABETH1 8/7/2011 12:48PM

    9 years is a long time but you'll have a wonderful degree to show for it all Michelle. Well done on the weight loss front too and I know you can reach that goal!!

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    It is awesome that you have so much on your "plate" no pun intended, yet you are still achieving your fitness goals. A lot of us fall back when other things arise and we can't or don't make more time available in the day to get the workouts we need and want in. So thank you for showing us it can be done during busy and stressful times!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ASMPP1 8/7/2011 12:35PM

    emoticon emoticon

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Don't get too excited...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

...but I lost three pounds this past week. That means I have just 5 more pound to lose in the remaining 7 weeks of the 5% summer challenge.

How did I do it, you may ask? Tracking, exercising, accountability...you know, the "usual" Spark program. It works! But don't get too excited because these are the same three pounds that I gained during my two summer intensive courses with the birthday celebration (ice cream!) in the middle. So now I have to get down to business and lose the pounds that have been firmly entrenched for, well, for almost 2 YEARS.

This won't be easy because I have to write three term papers in the next two weeks, and when I'm hard at work studying, there's always the urge to snack. Maybe I'll skip meals and just snack on healthy things!!!

One paper is almost finished - it's a personal philosophy of teaching. Actually, it never will be "finished" because new ideas and experiences continue to influence my thoughts on a daily basis. I have five pages and they just need to be fine-tuned. The other two papers for the two different profs are basically the same assignment but I'll need to put the second one in a different format. I'm designing a preparation course for short-term missionaries. In a sense, another project that won't ever be finished...till Jesus returns!

I wanted to take a nap on this fine Sunday afternoon, and then go for a run. However, the annual festival parade is going on in our little town right now, and, although I'm not particularly close to the parade route, the sound of the marching bands may keep me awake. The valley we live in functions like an echo chamber! We're a small town, though, so the parade won't last long...nap ahoy!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VISUALLYRICS 7/29/2011 11:10AM

    Woo-woo!!!! just 5 more pounds!!!! How Sensational!

love ya! ~ Laura

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GINILEE4 7/28/2011 6:57PM

    Michelle. Keep out of those tastey snacks, right now! I have been working hard at eliminating mindless eating and studying eating is just that. Put out those healthy foods and keep them really handy. Who wants to get up to make a snack when there are snacks right beside you? LOL Have a great summer and see you more in September. BTW, congrats on getting rid of that weight. Weight is weight, no matter where it came from. Kudos to you,


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DDOORN 7/27/2011 9:08AM

    Good for you to keep at it...!


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CMPEARL 7/25/2011 9:24PM

    emoticon A loss is a loss...I try to never discount the why part LOL...good luck with the next set of pesky pounds and those papers...AUGH...just thinking about school work again makes me feel heavier (too much snacking, not enough moving!).

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FRANNIEDID 7/25/2011 5:08PM

    Yeah! Good for you. 3 lbs is 3 lbs no matter the why and wherefores. Good luck on your papers, I think healthy snacking is a good idea, especially if you know that you are probably going to snack anyway!

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 7/24/2011 3:16PM

    I don't think skipping meals is smart (it is harder to snack smart when you are hungry). But perhaps dividing your meals into more frequent, smaller meals would be the ticket.

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BANDMAMAPC 7/24/2011 3:10PM

    Awesome Michelle! You rock! You know me and marching band, love them!

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NEWNAC304 7/24/2011 2:31PM

    Congrats on the 3 lost pounds! Good luck getting those papers done. I hope you enjoy your nap today. I love my Sunday afternoon naps.

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ASMPP1 7/24/2011 10:35AM


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    Awesome job bearing down and getting back on track ( not that I thought you got far away anyway). Good luck on the next few pounds and the papers, but I know you will get there too!

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I'm a Firecracker

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

...in the Summer 5% Challenge that starts this weekend. It's a challenge where several teams compete each other. Our united goal is to lose 5% of our weight over 8 weeks.

Wow, are the Firecrackers a lively bunch! You can really feel the motivation and the excitement as the start date approaches.

Personally, however, I've been feeling overwhelmed by all the posting going on as people prepare for the challenge. I've been reassured by one of the Firecracker leaders (thanks again, Mariean!) that I don't have to participate in all the stuff going on. The two main things are to check in with your weight and report your exercise minutes, the two factors that determine the winning team. I can do that!

After I've finished my papers and assignments for my two courses, and made a start on my integrative project, I'll have some time to play. Due dates for the papers are July 29 and August 6. Making good progress so far.

Thanks for all your support and prayers!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

INTOTHESOUTH 7/18/2011 3:05PM

    I get overwhelmed by the threads and forums every challenge. I keep up with the weigh-ins and daily challenges. I just check-in with everything else. The most important part is to realize we are here when you need us. Welcome to the team.

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NEWNAC304 7/18/2011 2:24PM

    Welcome to the Firecrackers! I'm excited that we're part of the same team. Don't feel obligated to post on our chat thread, and please don't let it overwhelm you. It seems like the message board is much busier at the beginning of the challenge. Just stop by when you can. Good luck in the challenge!

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DDOORN 7/18/2011 9:42AM

    Good for you to keep pushing and keep challenging yourself!


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CMPEARL 7/17/2011 11:00AM

    Ah yes...unfortunately we have RL deadlines that take precedence over sparking! I understand how that goes! I know when I started in the spring I jumped in with both feet, but this time it's been more difficult and I haven't posted much at all. The nice thing about the challenges are that your team is there for you when you need them, and are very understanding about how much everyone can participate. Good luck with the papers and as a firecracker! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 7/16/2011 4:56PM

    We'll get through this Firecracker challenge together!

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SHARON2014 7/15/2011 10:27PM

    HI,I'm a Firecracker too -- can't wait to get started and getting to know you beter. Love your page background - I am a bookworm...trying to read all those titles on your shelf is hard!! emoticon

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JERSEYGIRL24 7/15/2011 8:56PM

    Welcome, fellow Firecracker!!!

Part of my problem in previous challenges has been feeling overwhelmed by the boards. It can be difficult to keep up, especially when there is a lot of posting. To be honest,, the level of posting varies a lot. Sometimes it is fast and furious. Other times, the boards go inexplicably quiet. I've been on another challenge with some of these teammates, and I assure you that they are absolutely wonderful!!!

Don't worry about commenting on other people's posts if you don't have time to read them. I am going to try in the least to stop by and say emoticon if nothing else almost every day. We are all here to support each other. And good luck with your work!!


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ANGORA4 7/15/2011 7:50PM

    You're doing great! And so true, you don't need to reply to every post, you do what fits into your schedule, and your allotted time! Like everything else, do what you can, and don't sweat the rest!

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VISUALLYRICS 7/15/2011 11:46AM

    emoticonFirecracker!!!!! emoticon

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INDIANAGIRL61 7/15/2011 10:18AM

    Helloooo Firecracker!! I know what you mean about the chit chat it does seem overwhelming--at first! Trust me on this, it dies off by about the 4th week. Not that I or anyone wants it to. Right now everyone is pumped up and excited about the challenge so we're all posting then when you check in you go "OMG how can I reply to all of these posts and people?" Here's the really COOL thing: You don't have too! I mean if you want to sure stop in say just say "hi" once in a while that's fine too! you don't have to comment to all of the posts...I was on the Spring challenge that just ended and all I ever did was posted on the Challenges, posted on my weight, and I posted on the huddle wall cause I do like to cheer people on! Now this time around I'm going to be a little more active on the community thread. It's all about what you want to do!!
Good luck my friend and well wishes for your school papers too!

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SJG1953 7/15/2011 1:20AM

    Prayers going up for you Michelle. emoticon

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FRANNIEDID 7/14/2011 1:16PM

    Have fun! Sounds like a great challenge. I am a Periwinkle in the BLC summer challenge! Same sort of set up.

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MUNCHIE718 7/14/2011 8:52AM

  Welcome to the Firecrackers! emoticon

The great thing about the 5% challenges is that you can be as active on the boards as you'd like. Some folks find that chatting with the team & sharing helps them stay on track. Others aren't into that, and just want to post their weight & exercise and skip the chit-chat. Do what you need to do to make the challenge work for you. Have you ever heard the expression "Take what you can use and let the rest go by"? Think of it that way. Good luck!

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ASMPP1 7/14/2011 8:45AM


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