ZELLAZM   93,063
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Down to the Wire

Sunday, April 29, 2012

I've set myself a May 7 deadline for completion of my master's project. It's going to be a stretch but I can do it. I'll probably take a vacation day or two to chain myself to the desk. One thing I've learned through my studies is that it's hard for me to finish things because of perfectionist tendencies. I need to find the balance between doing my best and doing things "perfectly."

This is especially hard on things like this teaching project - it won't be finished until I've actually taught the class in Albania this fall. The project is the PREPARATION for the class and not teaching the class itself, although I'm doing a couple of teaching units beforehand as rehearsals (one was a workshop on Friday, the second a home group study on Thursday).

Even after I've taught the course this fall, it won't be finished because I'll find things that I want to do differently the next time I teach it. I'll need to adapt it to the next group to take the course in the next setting. Setting the boundaries for the project has been one of the biggest challenges for someone who needs a lot of time to make decisions!

Even though I'll be busy, I'll be Sparking -- although I may not be very chatty. More than ever during times of pressure, I need exercise as a release and energizer, and good food as fuel! All prayers appreciated!

...from www.icanhazcheeseburger.com
The weather here went from winter to summer within about three days. Yesterday was AMAZING and the perfect day for a 12 km walk (about 7 miles). This was an organized thing here in the wooded hills around our little town. It takes place each year. Businesses pledge funds for each kilometer that is run or walked and the proceeds go to an organization that's building a school in Ethiopia.

I sweat so much that my skin was sandy with little grains of salt! Good thing that they had a water station. I had drunk a couple of glasses before the race and took a bottle with me, but my supply was gone about half way through the hike! Forgot to mention - I didn't run, I pole-walked along with my usual Saturday-afternoon pole-walking buddies. Fun day!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JERSEYGIRL24 5/6/2012 8:42PM

    I know you'll do great... I just know it.

Great to set the deadline for yourself. Great that you can exercise a little in between.

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DDOORN 5/3/2012 2:48PM

    I'm sure you're gonna NAIL this project! Go for it Michelle!

Kudos to the hike! I'm a terrible "sweater" too. One advantage to cycling is that I get "blow-dried"...lol!


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MAMASUDS 5/3/2012 1:51AM

    That sounds like a great hike! Today should be great weather for NWalking since it has cooled off a bit. I hope you are able to find the perfect balance between exercise and work this week. Hugs and blessings!

Comment edited on: 5/3/2012 1:52:20 AM

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HAKAPES 5/2/2012 1:28PM

    Some exercise inbetween your sessions?

It boosts energy levels to a great extent!

I recommend a short exercise in the morning, a short after lunch, and a short in the evening to close the day.

Keep us posted on your progress!
I'm checking back until May 7th then!

Comment edited on: 5/2/2012 1:29:19 PM

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SJG1953 5/1/2012 2:18AM

    Good for you, Michelle!! I am so happy for you. You are just about there!! I have no doubts you will be successful! Prayers going up for you dear friend!! God bless you! Shirley

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    Good for you! I have heard of the salt grains, they rub marathoners' skin raw.

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WALKINGBYFAITH2 4/30/2012 6:56PM

    You will no doubt do great on your final project. I have great faith in you. You know yourself well enough to know when it is time to stop fussing and admit that you are finished. Congratulations in advance!!

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NEWLIBRARIAN 4/30/2012 9:15AM

    what a nice community project to be a part of.
Good luck with the project.

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FRANNIEDID 4/30/2012 8:44AM

    I so understand, however, my problem is procrastination. I realized, as an adult, that I was the poster child for that girl who was never identified with ADD. I am still working on my degree and it has taken years because of procrastination! I am going to follow your lead and set my finish date for September 1st!

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TRYINGHARD1948 4/30/2012 5:47AM

    Sending lots of positive energy to help you through to the finishing line. Loved the walking. We are fluctuating between Autumn and mid Winter at the moment.. so we are still getting some beautiful days.

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GETTINGFIT4HIM 4/30/2012 12:56AM

  emoticon and I know you will do a emoticon job! Praying for you!!

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ABETTERSOUL 4/29/2012 9:59PM

    Praying that you finish your project on time and that it is close to "perfection"...LOL!
I agree with fitness being an outlet!

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REDRUNNERMOM713 4/29/2012 9:45PM

    I'm a perfectionist too so I know how hard it is to find balance. You will do great though. Way to go on the walk!

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VISUALLYRICS 4/29/2012 8:43PM

    emoticon on your 12 km walk !! Nice going...I can relate - fitness is a release for me too....& it always energizes me.

Praying you will find the Balance you are looking for, Michelle, Laura emoticon

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EJOY-EVELYN 4/29/2012 7:48PM

    You can do this and I wish you the best as you find just the technique to make it happen. You've developed some great habits and they will serve you well.

emoticon emoticon

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NDTEACHER1 4/29/2012 6:49PM

    I understand that perfectionist streak entirely! I'm proud of you, you can do it!

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MTNGRL 4/29/2012 5:22PM

    The deadline is right around the corner and I know you will meet it. If you need a few vacation days to get it done by May 7th then take them. If you are missing we will know what you are doing, lol!!

It was down right freezing here the last few days. Today is so pleasant..is it really Spring time now?

Way to go on your walk! I am glad they had water stations along the way.

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 4/29/2012 4:43PM

    Good for you for setting a deadline for yourself to get your graduate work done! You can do it!

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CYCLINGSANDY 4/29/2012 2:51PM

    I kind of start and stop when I doing my graduate work too. I have a tendency to compare what others have written in the assignments since we post our comments with our small group online. I want it to be just so, and writing is not so easy for me.

I will praying for you this week as you finish your Master's strong and with God's strength and power caming through you. The teaching part of the project in ALbania sounds exciting.

Yes, it was warm to the point of hot at times in the sun yesterday. What a fun fitness time you had too.

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NEWNAC304 4/29/2012 10:43AM

    Good luck on the project, I'm sure you'll do fine!

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Five Years

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Yesterday was my 5th Sparkiversary!? How did I miss that?! A new Spark friend had to point it out to me. Now, I knew it was in April but I thought it was coming up sometime in the week ahead.
Anyhow, happy Sparkiversary to meeee! One day late. About par for the course these days ;)
Profound reflections on the occasion may or may not be coming up in a future post. As they say, don't hold your breath. Instead, get out and exercise or something!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

A very happy 5th Spanniversary to you!!!!!!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 4/30/2012 7:56:47 PM

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SJG1953 4/28/2012 2:45AM

    Happy Sparkversary!! You sound a lot like me lately. I've been too busy working to notice much of anything these days!

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CAROLYN0107 4/27/2012 7:24PM

    Happy SparkVersary!! My 5th will be next January.

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CHICKEYBABE 4/24/2012 12:40PM

    WTG! Just think you are light years ahead of where you were five years ago. emoticon

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JERSEYGIRL24 4/24/2012 7:01AM

    emoticonon your emoticon. To borrow a song from a popular 80s sitcom, thank you for being my friend. I am sure that you have accomplished much, even if it is not as much as you would like (as is the case for most people). Many more!!!

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MAMASUDS 4/23/2012 4:24PM

    Congratulations! Thanks for letting us share in your journey!

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FRANNIEDID 4/23/2012 11:13AM

    OMG, mine was last week and I totally missed it! Anyway Congratulations, you have inspired me so much the last 5 years! emoticon

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M77355 4/23/2012 9:34AM

    You're great proof of what sticking to it can look like!
Congratulations on a life well lived!

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TRYINGHARD1948 4/23/2012 7:33AM

    Happy. Sparkversary. Amazing how the time slips by, all the best for the next five.

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VISUALLYRICS 4/22/2012 10:26PM

    Happy 5th Anniversary!!! emoticon
emoticon Go Progress Maker, Michelle!! emoticon

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 4/22/2012 8:19PM

    Happy Sparkversary indeed!

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JAXMOMMY 4/22/2012 7:44PM

    Congrats Michelle! Hard to hold your breath and exercise! Good advice! I am so happy to have "met" you on the Firecracker team! Keep Sparking; Keep Firecracking!

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MTNGRL 4/22/2012 7:34PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
Time flies when you are having fun with friends!
Happy Sparkversary!

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ABETTERSOUL 4/22/2012 4:21PM

    emoticon Happy anniversary!!! emoticon

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JANETELIZABETH1 4/22/2012 4:16PM

    What an achievement Michelle!!
Many emoticonon your emoticon....I'll be there too in a few weeks! Wow!!!

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PHYLISSCR 4/22/2012 2:45PM

    Congrats to you!

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EJOY-EVELYN 4/22/2012 2:15PM

    I'm not far behind you. Happy 5-Year SparkVersary! May the healthy living habits you've developed take you well into the next several decades!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 4/22/2012 2:16:03 PM

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REDRUNNERMOM713 4/22/2012 1:44PM

    Happy Sparkversary! emoticon

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CYALE76 4/22/2012 1:04PM

    Happy Sparkaversary!! emoticon

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RUNNERRACHEL 4/22/2012 12:42PM

    Happy Sparkversary!

emoticon emoticon

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GNABNSHAPE 4/22/2012 12:40PM

    emoticon Here's to another 5!

Comment edited on: 4/22/2012 12:40:50 PM

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Don't look

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sometimes it's just not a good idea to click on the 10-day forecast button on the weather website. They're predicting rain and cold weather for the next week and a half! I take that back - the sun is going to shine on Tuesday - or maybe Wednesday. But that's it.

I'm taking consolation in the fact that the weather here in Germany in April is extremely unpredictable - they even have a saying "April, April, der macht was er will!" = "April, April, does whatever it wants." So maybe it will want to be a little warmer and sunnier?

Not complaining, really, just saying. It's also not bad running temperature weather, as long as the rain stays in the clouds and doesn't pour down constantly.

Time for the "Annie" song!

Have a good tomorrow and rest of the week, everyone! And if you're going to be in southern Germany, don't forget your umbrellas!

P.S. You looked! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAMASUDS 4/22/2012 10:23AM

    You have to try harder than that to keep me away.
The sun is shining as I type, but I can see the black clouds both to the east and the west, so it won't last long. Yesterday was crazy with like 15 minute intervals of sun and rain. Since our fitness studio is in the attic of an old factory, I am enjoying the mild weather while it lasts. Once it hits 30 outside, there is no way you will get me up there again until fall. emoticon

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EJOY-EVELYN 4/17/2012 7:53PM

    I love the Queen's total look here. Love the hat the most, then enjoy the matching colors.

We, too, have had 79F the other day, then snow and ice yesterday, followed by beautiful but cool sunshine today along the Lake Superior region. May however our days be . . . may we be a blessing to all that we have to accomplish. Blessings to you!

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FRANNIEDID 4/16/2012 10:52AM

    It is much the same here, the next week is cloudy and not very warm! Summer is coming though and this like all things will pass!!!

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LIGIRLATHEART 4/16/2012 8:51AM

    I look at 10-days too.... (We desperately need rain in New Jersey!)

"Rain is grace; rain is the sky condescending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life." ~ John Updike

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NEWLIBRARIAN 4/16/2012 8:09AM

    Great Pic to add to your blog
My weather is pretty erratic too.
Let a smile be your umbrella

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RUNNERRACHEL 4/15/2012 11:38PM

    Rain or shine you'll have the warmth of your kind heart and great personality to light your environment.

Sorry to hear about the predictions for the weather. I really can't complain here in Southern California! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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VISUALLYRICS 4/15/2012 11:26PM

    I looked! emoticon .... LOL! emoticon rain...rain go away ...come again another day.

love the Annie song. emoticon

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DDOORN 4/15/2012 9:53PM

    Yeah, I hear ya...I glom onto the weather forecast all the time and allow it to buoy or sinker my mood way too much!


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TRYINGHARD1948 4/15/2012 7:51PM

    It was just too tempting, that don't word!

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JODIRICHARDS 4/15/2012 5:41PM

    Weather is not fun to work with, I've been cold ever since I've returned to the US.

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ENIGMA13 4/15/2012 4:07PM

    They say the same thing in MN! LOL

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Caption, please

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZELLAZM 4/10/2012 1:08PM

    Pleeeease release me, let me go!

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NEWLIBRARIAN 4/6/2012 9:28AM

    This is a baaaaaaaad situation

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HAKAPES 4/6/2012 2:56AM

    I love Christmas!

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TRYINGHARD1948 4/5/2012 7:07AM

    It's BAAAA....D news week, for lambs.

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DDOORN 4/4/2012 12:27PM

    "You all ARE vegetarians, right?"


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VISUALLYRICS 4/4/2012 11:27AM

    You gotta be kidding...."this" is my new home? emoticon

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FREELADY 4/4/2012 9:23AM

    Come baaaack and scratch behind my ears!

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RUNNINGOMA 4/4/2012 8:44AM

    Let me out AFTER Passover!

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ZELLAZM 4/4/2012 7:12AM

    It's a lamb - you guys are making me LOL!

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MIPPY265 4/3/2012 10:46PM

    is it a goat or a lamb?? If its a lamb the caption should b.. "hope Im not someones Easter dinner!"

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    I have a nose for these things....

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MTNGRL 4/3/2012 6:53PM

    Let me out, it's time to Spark!

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CHICKEYBABE 4/3/2012 4:43PM

    What the heck? A cute little goat? Mmmmmmmmmmm goat cheese!

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Egg Therapy

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Just one more week of March and it looks like I will survive! My schedule at the language school eased up a bit due to some cancellations. Having the 5% Challenge as a focus has also helped - my team, the Firecrackers, are great encouragers. We had our first weigh-in yesterday and I'm happy to report that I lost the kilo that I gained shortly before the challenge started. Now to attack those kilos that are more settled in!

I haven't made as much progress as I wanted to on my master's project. But I have a vacation day on Tuesday and plan to dedicate that time to writing. I write best when I have a bigger block of time for it. I may even take the day off from the internet that day --- with the exception of posting my air miles, of course!

The photos shows what I've been doing in my "spare" time - when I probably should have been doing other things --- but I find it very relaxing to doodle a little with paint, and these are the results. Most will be gifts but I think I may sell a few. "Buy an Egg - Send Michelle to Albania!?" What do you think?

As for travel plans, I've decided not to go to the States this spring and will likely wait till summer when I can combine a visit to ddad with my denomination's biannual conference. I told Dad today and he sounded a little disappointed. I am, too, but with time and financial commitments the way they are, it's just not feasible to visit twice in one year.

So I'm a little sad, but also relieved to have that issue resolved. I reread a good quote today (thanks CAROLYN107!): "You can't wring your hands and roll up your sleeves at the same time." (Pat Schroeder) I'm afraid I'd been "wringing my hands" over the decision and it's been making it hard to make progress in other areas.

Good new week!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    What beautiful eggs!

I understand very much so, about tough finances. Praying for God's blessings in your life, including financial.

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SHARON10002 4/3/2012 6:25PM

    Everyone deserves a break now and then - especially if you're writing your thesis! emoticon
Beautiful handiwork; you are so talented!

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EBLOOMING 4/3/2012 3:01PM

    Beautiful handiwork on the eggs. They are all so pretty, I could not decide which one I loved most. I wish you well on finishing your master's project. I know it was difficult to decide not to see you dad and choose to buckle down to finishing the project. Making that decision was a good thing. Blessings from the Lord.
Have a very blessed Easter! emoticon

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HAKAPES 4/1/2012 3:48AM

    What masters program are you enrolled in, and at which stage are you now?
Alles Gute aus Österreich!

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REYNJANET 3/28/2012 11:49AM

    I love your eggs too! Very, very pretty

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FRANNIEDID 3/27/2012 11:32AM

    I love the eggs, they are so beautiful! You needed to make a decision and you did. You have to try and do what is best and though your dad is disappointed he will still see you!

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TRYINGHARD1948 3/27/2012 4:42AM

    Good to have things resolved and I love your eggs, so artistic.

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MAMASUDS 3/26/2012 2:40PM

    Beautiful! I especially love the white ones. Yes, I definately think you could sell them. Unfortunately, I think it would take more than a few dozen to pay for a missions trip to Albania. Sorry.
Praying that God will give peace to everyone affected by the decision you had to make.

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RUNNINGOMA 3/26/2012 1:38PM

    What talent you have!
Hope you have a very productive day tomorrow.

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CHICKEYBABE 3/26/2012 11:49AM

    I love the eggs! If that is what you call doodling then I don't know what I do.

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ARKPLE 3/26/2012 11:48AM

    What incredible talent. I also like to dabble in arts & crafts. So relaxing and keeps the hands away from snacking! Great job on the blog and on the eggs. ~~ Barbara

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DOWNPORT 3/26/2012 11:08AM

    Love those eggs! So pretty! emoticon

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NEWLIBRARIAN 3/26/2012 10:12AM

    Pretty pretty eggs. How do you make these?

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MTNGRL 3/26/2012 9:48AM

    I know putting off the trip is not in your heart but you are making a wise decision financially. Must mean you are a grown up!
Love Carolyn's quote.
Your eggs are so pretty, I think they would sell very fast!

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DDOORN 3/26/2012 9:38AM

    Nice quote! It's tough when we can't travel as much as we'd like to spend time with family. Not that my family are QUITE as far as yours, but financially they are a long way off! Hoping for some times with them later this summer though.

Gorgeous eggs...what a talent you have!


ps...thx for stopping by my blog!

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LIGIRLATHEART 3/26/2012 9:38AM

    I'll take a half-dozen, please. Truly gorgeous!

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 3/25/2012 8:34PM

    Your eggs are BEAUTIFUL!! I'm very impressed!

Sounds like you made a wise decision about combining trips. Travel is getting so expensive.

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NEWNAC304 3/25/2012 8:24PM

    I'm sorry you're not able to see you Dad this Spring. The eggs are beautiful!

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EJOY-EVELYN 3/25/2012 5:45PM

    Your eggs are gorgeous. You're very talented!

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SALSIFY 3/25/2012 5:34PM

    I love your eggs - so pretty!

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CTEMPLE 3/25/2012 5:27PM

    Sounds sensible dear M. And lovely eggs!

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VISUALLYRICS 3/25/2012 4:37PM

    What gorgeous eggs! emoticon
I'd Love to buy an egg, Michelle....truly. I can send you my info through an SM.

How beautiful....& what a lovely use of time.

Enjoy your Tuesday Off!! emoticon

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ABETTERSOUL 3/25/2012 4:30PM

    Your eggs are so pretty! Such talent!
Way to go on your weight loss!

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