ZELLAZM   102,090
100,000-149,999 SparkPoints
ZELLAZM's Recent Blog Entries

Check-in from Florida

Friday, August 03, 2012

Hi folks!

Sorry that I haven't been able to keep up on blogs and posts much lately. I'm somewhat settled in here in Florida but my online time is limited. I'm actually enjoying the hiatus: it helps me to be away from email, Facebook, and even Spark once in awhile so that I can reexamine my usage and prioritize. I will be back, though, when I get home to Germany.

In the meantime, I'm loving the heat and sunshine. I have to time my exercise for the cooler times of the day - that means getting up early and walking/running/pole-walking (on the beach - yay!) before it gets too sultry. Or evening walks. I did run once in the middle of the day and that was pretty brutal.

Dad is doing well but has really gotten HARD OF HEARING. I'm getting tired of SHOUTING ALL THE TIME and am VERY GLAD that he has another appointment with the ear doctor coming up before I leave. I know that hearing aids can be a pain but he REALLY NEEDS TO DO SOMETHING!

Does anyone else find the Olympics very motivating exercise-wise? Now if they would just cut down on the commercials - but I don't expect that to happen this side of heaven!

I miss chatting!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JAXMOMMY 8/6/2012 12:11PM

    Oh Michelle! I just love the beach! Glad you are enjoying your visit! Look, one people get hearing aids they often won't wear them! My mom was so stoked about getting hers and loved them at first, but now doesn't wear them due to that background noise problem! I just shout and go on! They are my parents after all and a little shouting won't kill us I suppose! **sigh** Good to hear from you! Keep Sparking!

Report Inappropriate Comment
BANDMAMAPC 8/4/2012 8:11PM

    I should be motivated to move, but I have been in the slumps lately, plus having my visitor wasn't helping. My husband is running at least three miles almost everyday. I know that I have been so lazy. I need a goal, motivation. Enjoy Florida.

Report Inappropriate Comment
JERSEYGIRL24 8/4/2012 9:49AM

    Both of my parents are very hard of hearing. I can cut my father some slack because he has a myriad of health problems, Alzheimer's being the overarching one. But my mother is just as bad. We got her hearing aids at Costco about a year ago (not her first pair). But she pretty much refuses to wear them. Then she does things like gets her hair done and forgets to remove them while being shampooed, so they have problems. She has her tv turned up to the highest volume, and she has close captioning turned on!! So what is the point of the high volume? It is very frustrating to have to shout all the time. Once I was at work talking loudly to my father, and he's telling me to speak up. I had to tell him that I cannot shout like that when I am at work.

I love watching the Olympics, but I can't stand NBC's coverage. Especially the Today show. I used to watch the Tonight show religiously, but now I seldom do. The Today show may be heading in the same direction for me. But yes, the Olympics themselves are very motivating. I am especially inspired by Cullen Jones (swimmer). He grew up in the same town that my husband grew up in. It is now a terrible urban community. As a young child, he nearly drowned at a water park. The next day, his mother signed him up for swimming lessons, and the rest is history. What inspires me is that she could have just told him that he couldn't swim any more, but she gave him lessons so he could. In turn, he could have learned just enough to avoid drowning, but he went on to do so much more than that.

Glad you are having a good stay.

Report Inappropriate Comment
HAKAPES 8/4/2012 6:31AM

    Same here in Austria, lots of heat, exercise in the morning. But I guess it's hard to beat the Florida sun.

I love to watch/read the olympics for motvation!

Report Inappropriate Comment
EATVEGAN 8/4/2012 1:22AM

    My ex has had three pair of hearing aids. He just recently got some that actually work. BUT...he has never consistently worn any of them. For a while he wore this last pair, but no more. And he has begun turning his whole upper body to look at me when I say something, and asking "what?"...when he is driving!!! emoticonHELP! Enough kvetching. Glad you're enjoying your time in Florida. What is pole walking? I am imagining stilts. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment

    Thanks for sharing with us - great to hear from you. :)

Report Inappropriate Comment
VISUALLYRICS 8/3/2012 6:03PM

    emoticon on all that walking/running/pole-walking!!! emoticon
So glad you have quality time with your dad....I miss you here at SP, but get all that relaxation &
emoticon emoticon that you can here in the states!

...and YES, I LOVE the Olympics....so much!! Those incredible athletes inspire me long after the Olympics has come and gone!

love, Laura emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
RUNNERRACHEL 8/3/2012 5:25PM

    Great that you're enjoying your time!

Time away from the computer is restful for the soul.

And no commercials? Well, the only solution is to record and fast forward. But then you wouldn't have the live coverage.

Glad you are having a good rest! And good that your dad is going to the doctor emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon Enjoy the Olympics!

Report Inappropriate Comment

    My husband has hearing problems and got hearing aids about two years ago. What a relief not to have to "shout" to talk and to repeat everything. One thing we learned was that Costco and Sam's Club both carry high quality hearing aids for about half the price of the "private" places. A year after my husband got his hearing aids, my son got the same thing through Costco for about half the price. We felt the service and followup was actually better at Costco too.

Report Inappropriate Comment
JOANNKW 8/3/2012 1:11PM

    Zella, I hear you on the SHOUTING! My DGrandmother was quite hard of hearing by the end of her life. She loved to travel and took grandkids. I was the last 'solo' traveler. I was exhausted at the end of the trip. Constant shouting/repeating myself. I went again w/ a brother and it was easier on everyone!

Report Inappropriate Comment
CAROLYN0107 8/3/2012 12:37PM

    I'm glad you are spending some time with family in Florida. It does one good to be on this side of the ocean once in awhile. I'm enjoying the Olympics. I'm not sure if it is motivated me to exercise more. I'm just relearning to WALK!!

emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
EJOY-EVELYN 8/3/2012 12:35PM

    Trying to make horticulture appointments so I can return to the heat (and air conditioning) of SW Florida. I pray for extra patience, as I work with my Dad with the many disabilities that come with age. Enjoy this beautiful hiatus -- I'd like to sip on an ice tea under the waterfront Tiki hut with a gentle tropical breeze with you. Ahh...a tiny piece of heaven.

Report Inappropriate Comment
THEEXERCISER 8/3/2012 10:54AM

    Have a great time!

Report Inappropriate Comment

Ireland! Germany! USA!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tomorrow I'm flying to Ireland for 4 days. It will be my first trip there and I'm very excited! I'm more than 1/4 Irish (my dad's mom's maiden name was McGrady) and I've always wanted to go there.

This will be a "working vacation" as I've been invited to speak to the singles at a family church retreat. I think it's wonderful that the church is offering some special teaching times to the singles, and I'm grateful to be a part of it.

In fact, this trip is an answer to prayer and exactly the kind of thing I had been hoping to do when my studies were complete - the invitation came during the week of the finals! It's as if the Lord is saying, "Go for it!"

I come back to Germany on Monday, work a day at the language school on Tuesday (one of my English students is having a minor crisis preparing for a standardized test), repack on Wednesday, fly to Florida, USA on Thursday, then take the bus from Naples to Orlando on Sunday to attend my denomination's biannual conference.

Remind me to breath, OK!?

P.S. Will try to post pics, also of the 50's diner where I went for my birthday last week. But today I'm writing from the language school during a break between English lessons so no pics available.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TANYA602 7/13/2012 11:29AM

    Have a wonderful mini holiday. It sounds like you will be quite busy, so be sure to find time to take it all in and enjoy!

Report Inappropriate Comment
SJG1953 7/13/2012 1:25AM

    Happy Belated Birthday Michelle! I am so glad for you!! Praise God for His lovingkindness and care for us as His children! It's like His Blessings are upon you dear.

Enjoy your trip and adventures!

Blessings and prayers,

Report Inappropriate Comment
WALKINGBYFAITH2 7/12/2012 10:22PM

    I am so excited for you, Michelle! I pray that all of your travels will be safe and that you will have a wonderful time enjoying the gifts and surprises that God is bringing your way!

Report Inappropriate Comment
FRESKA 7/12/2012 8:22PM

    emoticon sounds exciting!! congrats to you on all the adventures!!! ENJOY!!! i have irish roots too! one day i'll get there! lol
hope its amazing!


Report Inappropriate Comment
MTNGRL 7/12/2012 7:59PM

    Wow, I am so happy for you. I know you are going to have a great time. I will be looking forward to the pictures!

Report Inappropriate Comment
LIVE2RUN4LIFE 7/12/2012 6:38PM

    Have a great time!

Report Inappropriate Comment
LAURAKATE76 7/12/2012 6:23PM

    Sounds like you've got quite a few adventures planned! I'd love to go to Ireland someday...my family is from there, but I've never had the opportunity to visit. Someday! Have fun!

Report Inappropriate Comment
MAMASUDS 7/12/2012 3:49PM

    I'm so glad that you found a minute to write to us and share your adventure plans. How exciting. I can't wait to see the pictures. So happy for you!

Report Inappropriate Comment
AEO_SUNSHINE 7/12/2012 1:57PM

    Sounds like a great trip and an opportunity to use your 'education'.

BREATHE and happly belated birthday wishes.

Report Inappropriate Comment
JOANNKW 7/12/2012 1:50PM

    Have a wonderful time!

Report Inappropriate Comment
JAXMOMMY 7/12/2012 1:31PM

    Awesome! You will love Ireland! I was blind when I went, but had a great friend who described the rolling green over the fields to me in great detail! The people I met in Ireland were fabulous too! Enjoy! Enjoy your trip back to the US too! And, oh yeah, BREATHE!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
RUNNINGOMA 7/12/2012 11:54AM

    You have a wonderful time! Stay safe and Lord bless! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
CAROLYN0107 7/12/2012 11:05AM

    Have a great trip! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
JERSEYGIRL24 7/12/2012 10:40AM


Have a wonderful trip. I was in Naples for the first time last November, just before Thanksgiving, and I loved it. Hope you don't get culture shock when you return to the US emoticon!!

Looking forward to hearing about your trip. I wish I could hear you speak in Ireland.

Report Inappropriate Comment
VISUALLYRICS 7/12/2012 10:37AM

    Oh Michelle!!! God gave me this same gift in 1999 when I was able to take an art design college course in Ireland! I loved it ( 3 weeks )....Enjoy!!
I'll be thinking of you every day...my trip was very special I remember it like it was yesterday.
My maiden name is McFarland...I am Scottish & Irish...Lol!...thru & thru!

Comment edited on: 7/12/2012 10:37:33 AM

Report Inappropriate Comment
KATHYKIM 7/12/2012 10:22AM

    Sounds fabulous!

Report Inappropriate Comment
HICIM705 7/12/2012 10:04AM

    Enjoy those adventures!!!
Have fun!!!

Check-in whenever you can!!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
RUNNERRACHEL 7/12/2012 9:00AM

    Sounds great! So happy to hear that you are going to Ireland and get to speak at their single's retreat! Wonderful!!

Have a fabulous trip. Hope to see pictures when you get back.

Have a great trip to Florida as well!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
AAEEFDCA 7/12/2012 8:50AM

    Have safe travels, Naples Flordia area is beautiful, my grandparents lived there.

Report Inappropriate Comment
FLORIDASUN 7/12/2012 8:48AM

    YaY...How much fun is THIS! Prayers are answered when we diligently ask and believe! I've not been to Ireland...but our friends have many times and just loved it...I'm adding it to my 'bucket list' as a place to see. Hugs and happiness shall follow you in your travels! emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment


Saturday, June 30, 2012

***Begin whine***

Couldn't we do the Living the Good Life food tracking challenge in a week OTHER than my birthday week?!?!?!?

***End whine***

This is ACTUALLY a very good thing --- I've learned that how you handle the "special" days is really important in developing that "it's-not-a-diet-it's-a-lifestyle" mentality!

I get to choose where my friend Cheryl will take me Thursday evening. It's a 50's-style diner and the menu is online. I'll make my pick beforehand and stick to it. On Saturday, I'm invited to lunch at a Chinese buffet. Gotta refresh my buffet strategy and I should be OK. Otherwise, I have NO excuses this week to not track because my work schedule is relatively light. Of course, I am getting nervous/excited about my upcoming trip to Ireland --- and praying that I'll also be able to make the Florida trip as well.

I was looking for an article or blog post where I read about dealing with special occasions, and "cheat" days but I couldn't find it. I do remember something that said, if we overeat on 30 days a year (birthdays, Christmas, July 4, Super Bowl Sunday, you name it!), it will take us 60-90 days just to maintain our weight. I'm going to try and remember that this week!

Keep drinkin' that water --- it's hot out there (at least here in southern Germany)!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FRESKA 7/5/2012 12:34AM

    southern germany?! thats a neat place to be living! i hope you have a great trip to Ireland! never been! Hope you post a few pictures when you get back.
you have a great bday and calories dont count on your bday anyway. ;)

have a great day!!!

Report Inappropriate Comment

    Interesting blog....perfect timing! I just set my goals for July in a blog and included a cheat meal each week. I'm going to have to figure out what I mean by cheat meal...I think for me, it's going to mean including some sort of processed food that I don't normally eat. However, another of my goals this month is for my total number of calories to be in range for the week. I'm thinking that my meeting my total weekly calorie goal, my "cheat meal" can't be too crazy or pull me too far out of whack!

Report Inappropriate Comment
WALKINGBYFAITH2 6/30/2012 6:21PM

    Happy Birthday Michelle!!! You will absolutely be able to have a great week and meet your goals! You have achieved so many greater things, that this one will be simple in comparison!

I am drinking lots of water here too. It is hot through much of the US right now, and I am hoping we will see cooler temps soon. I am trying to actually really implement the LTGLs as we go along the challenge this time. Usually I am so focused on the exercise that I just do each one during the week that it is part of the challenge. But I have decided to see if I can put the whole package together by the end of the 8 weeks this time.

Enjoy your birthday celebrations! I thank God for placing you in our midst! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
JOANNKW 6/30/2012 2:41PM

    Zella, for a while I used to just go ahead and either a) eat what I wanted then make it up during the week or b) eat carefully, but w/o concern for the range. I've then done some calculating, and find that I stay pretty much w/in the range either way. It is when I do it all the time - so when my birthday shows up, I'll be eating cake!

Report Inappropriate Comment
TANYA602 6/30/2012 1:39PM

    Happy Birthday!
I do find it interesting that we put food first, and I think I will try to remember this and plan around it in the future. But in the meantime, ENJOY! Celebrate! Live and Love!
Ireland?!?! How fun is that!

Report Inappropriate Comment
NEWNAC304 6/30/2012 11:33AM

    Happy Birthday!

Report Inappropriate Comment
ABETTERSOUL 6/30/2012 11:08AM

    Happy Birthday Michelle.... emoticon emoticon emoticon

Enjoy your time out...I am sure you will do fine with what you eat.

It's hot here in New York also..90's . emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
HAKAPES 6/30/2012 11:06AM

    I see that somehow in this Western culture of ours, we associate celebration with eating a LOT. Although I think this comes from times when there was war, there was the financial depression, or food was in general scarce, to celebration meant to eat finally on that special day without cravings. But today, every day is a good day food wise.

What I'm doing for myself that I switched my birthday and other special day rewards to other things. Sometimes I just count how much I would spend extra on food, and use it for something else I didn't do before. Books, magazine subscription, watching a movie in the cinema, buying sports equipment, make a trip.

Or if it really has to be food, I go to an expensive restaurant, where good food is about the special taste, and plates are a visual journey.

Alles Gute zum Geburtstag! ;-)

Report Inappropriate Comment
RUNNERRACHEL 6/30/2012 10:52AM

    I'm with you there--finally learning not to make excuses for Special Days...and keeping things in moderation.
I tracked on my birthday and still enjoyed and went out to eat, just ate smaller portions and kept track of everything.
I'm also reworking my buffet strategy!
Keep up the great work!

And have a wonderful birthday!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
VISUALLYRICS 6/30/2012 10:36AM

    Happy Birthday to you Michelle ( a tad early ) ... emoticon emoticon
Enjoy the treat of eating out with a friend...I know you will be mindful - what an example YOU are to me!
Yes, it IS HOT emoticon emoticon here in Texas....a whopping 109!

Keep cool, Laura emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment

All's Well

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I posted on my status but not here on my blog. Both exams went just fine. I was amazed at the score I got on the written test because I felt like I had run out of time before I got in everything I wanted to say. But I guess I covered everything the examiner was expecting. He gave me a 99.

I was nervous for the oral but it went fine. The two readers asked me questions about my final paper. They felt that I was very strong on the pragmatic side and not as strong on the abstract side, in both the paper and the discussion. That's not really anything new!

Next Tuesday I have a final meeting to discuss my practical project and then I'm done, done, done! All that's left is to pay my tuition so that I can graduate on October 6.

Anyway, thanks again for all the prayers and good thoughts and congratulations! I'm not going to be spending much time on Spark the next few days until the Summer 5% challenges starts on Saturday. As you might expect, I need to regroup and get some things done that I've been postponing. See y'all soon!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SIMPLELIFE4REAL 6/24/2012 9:05PM

    Congratulations!!! I knew you would do great!

Report Inappropriate Comment
SJG1953 6/24/2012 1:13AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
KATHYKIM 6/22/2012 9:57AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
JANETELIZABETH1 6/21/2012 5:30PM

    Wonderful news!! PTL... emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
LIVE2RUN4LIFE 6/21/2012 5:08PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
FORMYDARLINGS 6/21/2012 2:56PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

Whoo Hooooooo!!!!!


Report Inappropriate Comment
FRANNIEDID 6/21/2012 1:22PM

    emoticon Congratulations, you deserve this. I know you have worked very hard!

Report Inappropriate Comment
JOANNKW 6/21/2012 12:01PM

    WTG Zella!

Report Inappropriate Comment
JERSEYGIRL24 6/21/2012 11:50AM

    emoticon Michelle. All I can say is .. Wowzer!!! emoticon on getting such a great score. I can feel your relief all the way across the pond here.

Good luck in the upcoming challenge!!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
VISUALLYRICS 6/21/2012 11:33AM

    So proud of you, Michelle!! You did it!
I can just feel your relief from across the sea... emoticon

love you!, Laura

Report Inappropriate Comment
NDTEACHER1 6/21/2012 10:52AM

    Way to go!!! Proud of you!

Report Inappropriate Comment
REDRUNNERMOM713 6/21/2012 9:52AM

    What relief you must be feeling to only have one meeting left. Congrats on getting such a great score!

Report Inappropriate Comment
NEWNAC304 6/21/2012 8:37AM


Report Inappropriate Comment

Testing...1, 2...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Tomorrow is the 2-hour written final for my master's and Tuesday is the oral exam. Just two days of testing, not three!

The written test could be on just about anything, so there's really been no way to study. I'm just going to trust that the Holy Spirit will "call all things to remembrance." Could you pray in that direction - that I have a clear head and good focus as I answer the test questions tomorrow and respond to the interviewers on Tuesday?

I've reviewed some of my old course notes and have been spending time in the book of Acts this past week. It seemed a good place to be for someone working on a degree in "Intercultural Theological Education" - the beginnings of the church, the cross-cultural mission and ministries of Paul and Peter and the others as they followed the leading of the Holy Spirit. For the oral exam, I'll be responding to questions related to my paper on the challenges of multicultural ministry.

So, the plan for the rest of this lovely Father's Day (having just spent about an hour on the phone with my Ddad in Florida) is to take a nap, go for a Nordic walk and then do some ironing while I watch Germany beat Denmark in the last group game of the European soccer championship. Sounds like a good Sunday to me. Hope you are enjoying yours!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SIMPLELIFE4REAL 6/20/2012 8:47PM

    I'm sorry that I didn't read this sooner. By now, you have got is all done. I can't imagine that you did anything but great on both tests. What a relief it is to have it all over with!

Report Inappropriate Comment
HAKAPES 6/20/2012 4:30AM

    So how did it go?
Let us know!

Report Inappropriate Comment
JOANNKW 6/18/2012 1:13PM

    I know you've got this one down. Will be thinking of you as you ace your oral exam!

Report Inappropriate Comment
AEO_SUNSHINE 6/18/2012 10:11AM

    Hope your test went well today and the questions were where the answer came easily to you. Will be thinking of you tomorrow as your defend your paper in your oral exam.

Report Inappropriate Comment
REDRUNNERMOM713 6/17/2012 8:58PM

    You will be in my thoughts and prayers the next few days. You will do great!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
WILDNTEXAS 6/17/2012 7:22PM

    emoticon and emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
VISUALLYRICS 6/17/2012 4:15PM

    Dear Michelle,
I am agreeing with you in prayer....& where 2 or more are gathered.... emoticon
I trust the Holy Spirit to direct your mind during this test.

lifting YOU up to Jesus, Laura emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
RUNNINGOMA 6/17/2012 2:47PM

    Will be praying for you over the next couple of days.

Report Inappropriate Comment
FREELADY 6/17/2012 2:13PM

    It blesses me to hear your thoughtful & orderly plan. I aspire to that.

What a exhilarating, worthwhile topic for investing so many hours of study & research! I am excited for you, that you are at the finish line! Yes, I will pray.

Report Inappropriate Comment
FRANNIEDID 6/17/2012 1:28PM

    I know you will be awesome, you know my prayers are headed your way! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
WALKINGBYFAITH2 6/17/2012 10:52AM

    Prayers are flying your way for a wonderful exam!! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
LIVE2RUN4LIFE 6/17/2012 10:46AM


Report Inappropriate Comment

First Page  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 Last Page