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A week later

Friday, August 24, 2012

...Dad is still hospitalized and I'm still in the States. He is able to walk with assistance and can understand quite a bit, but is still not completely aware of what happened, and has trouble expressing himself verbally. Today he had a feeding tube (PEC) put in because he's not yet able to get enough nutrition orally. This is actually a good thing, as it's more comfortable than the tube he's had up to know. And, of course, good nutrition is essential to his recovery.

We are praying that he'll be able to be transferred to rehab sometime next week. Right now he's in a hospital that's an hour away and it's a long drive twice a day. It will be nice if friends can stop in for short visits and also easier for me, especially now that my cousin has had to return home. She was here visiting when Dad had his stroke an extended her visit for over a week to be a help and support. We'll really miss her!

When we do get him somewhat settled, I'll need to get back to Germany to square away some of my personal business, and then maybe return to the US for awhile. Lots of things are still very much up in the air!

I'm taking care of me, exercising daily, maybe eating a little too much comfort food. The hospital cafeteria has a great salad bar and good soups at low prices so I've been taking advantage of that . I've had great support, especially in prayer power. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Sometime I'll share all the amazing ways that God has answered those prayers and revealed himself in the past week.

Prayer focus for the next few days -

a bed for Dad in our first-choice rehab place
wisdom for me in sorting out and making decisions, especially financial ones
safe travel for my cousin
no major effects of the upcoming tropical storm to further complicate matters!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NEWLIBRARIAN 8/27/2012 12:51PM

    Sorry to hear about this. I know this must be a hard time for you.

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JOANNKW 8/27/2012 12:20PM

    Zella, I continue to keep you in my prayers.

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JERSEYGIRL24 8/26/2012 9:56PM

    My thoughts are still with you, Michelle!! I was thinking that I don't know anyone on the Gulf Coast, but then I remembered you!!! Also, my son actually goes to school in Louisiana, but nowhere near New Orleans. And my friend's brother in law lives on the Mississippi Gulf coast. Here's praying that you and your dad are ok and that you weather the storm safely!!!

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EJOY-EVELYN 8/25/2012 11:10PM

    Being an hour away may mean your Dad is closer to the area by the river and gulf where I'm at. May the Fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) be a genuine boost to your levels of energy to bring on the healing that is so desired. Your prayers are powerful and I pray that your and your father's schedules come together beautifully during this difficult time of change and healing.

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JAXMOMMY 8/25/2012 8:33PM

    Michelle-- you and your dad were the first people I thought of when I heard of the storm heading your way! Thanks for the update and glad your dad is showing progress. Both of you are in my thoughts as you pray for your needs to be met! I know you are facing tough decisions, but know you will receive the guidance you need to make them! I hope your dad will be transferred to the appropriate facility for all of you and he will continue to make improvements! Also glad you are making sure to take care of you too! Hugs, Melissa

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TRYINGHARD1948 8/25/2012 6:49PM

    Michelle, I am so sorry to hear this. You and your family will certainly be my prayers. Blessings and hugs.

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 8/25/2012 5:26PM

    I will certainly keep you and your dad in my thoughts and prayers.

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REDRUNNERMOM713 8/25/2012 1:59PM

    Thinking of you Michelle! Glad to hear you're taking care of yourself. I hope your Dad continues to have a speedy recovery. (((HUGS)))

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EBLOOMING 8/25/2012 3:59AM

    Michelle, I will be in prayer for your needs ~

a bed for your Dad in the first-choice rehab place
wisdom for decisions

I was reminded today of this verse in Psalm 85:13
"Righteouness goes before him and prepares the ways for his steps."

He goes before you and prepares the way for His steps in these decisions.
Elaine emoticon

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RUNNERRACHEL 8/24/2012 11:42PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WALKINGBYFAITH2 8/24/2012 11:29PM

    Michelle, thanks so much for responding! I just know that the Lord is moving in very powerful ways in your life right now, even if it is not all clear to you. It's a good thing He is in charge of the plans! And I am so happy that you are taking care of yourself! It is so easy to let that go when we are focused on caring for everyone else. I will continue to hold you, your family and friends, and all your prayer intentions in my prayers as well. God's peace be with you as your journey continues to unfold, knowing that He holds you close to His heart. emoticon

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NEWNAC304 8/24/2012 8:57PM

    I hope ypu're able to find a good rehab facility for him. Thinking of you. emoticon

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VISUALLYRICS 8/24/2012 6:40PM

    emoticon dear Michelle for this update. You have been in my thoughts & prayers since your last blog. I will join you in prayer for all your needs to be met. God be with you and give you peace. emoticon

mush love...and I emoticon ~ Laura

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Prayers for my Dad

Friday, August 17, 2012

Dad fell the night before I was to leave for Germany. In fact, I had already checked in online.

It turns out he had a "brain bleed" and he is now recovering in the hospital. He is able to speak but confused and his words are garbled. He is aware enough of what's going on to be very frustrated with the situation. We are praying for good progress this first week, as that is supposed to indicate what his long-term expectations can be.

I'm so grateful that I was still here and am able to be here for him now. And for Jesus our Peace and everpresent help in times of trouble. And for your prayers!

(Edited: to clarify that I cancelled my flight and am still in Florida!)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EBLOOMING 8/25/2012 4:03AM

    Keeping you in my prayers. emoticonGod is able to do heal your dad. I believe that. emoticon

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RURAL3 8/21/2012 11:52PM

    God's timing is perfect

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PAMNANGEL 8/21/2012 12:12PM


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JAXMOMMY 8/21/2012 11:31AM

    God always puts us exactly wehre we need to be! Keep us posted. I believe your dad will make a full recovery! Remember to take care of yourself!

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MOMFAN 8/20/2012 3:06PM

    Hugs and prayer.

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JERSEYGIRL24 8/19/2012 1:14PM

    As someone who has had many parental elder care issues, I totally empathize with you!! Thank goodness you were still stateside. All the best!! Keep us posted. emoticon

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TANYA602 8/18/2012 5:21PM

    Sending prayers and hugs your way. Please take care of yourself, as well.

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HAKAPES 8/18/2012 2:44PM

    Tonights prayers go for your Dad!

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JOANNKW 8/18/2012 2:10PM

    Zella, I will keep you all in my prayers. i am so sorry to hear this.

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CHOCOHOLIC2276 8/18/2012 8:53AM

    Sending prayers to your father and your family. What a great blessing you were still there.

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REDRUNNERMOM713 8/18/2012 8:49AM

    So glad you were still there for him. I will keep you both in my prayers. (((HUGS)))

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WALKINGBYFAITH2 8/18/2012 2:46AM

    I'm so sorry to hear about your dad. What a blessing that you were able to stay and had not already departed for Germany. Remember to take care of yourself while you are heling him through this trying and emotional time for him. emoticon

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EJOY-EVELYN 8/17/2012 10:25PM

    May his healing this week amaze even his doctors! Prayers and hugs to you, dear neighbor!

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AEO_SUNSHINE 8/17/2012 10:06PM

    My hopes for a good outcome are with you at this time.

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TAINYC 8/17/2012 9:05PM

    I'll definitely pray for you and your family.

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 8/17/2012 8:55PM

    I'm glad you were still in FL too and able to be there for your dad. My mom always says "growing old isn't for sissies". What you dad is going through proves her point. Those years beyond 80 can be really tough.

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CAYCESMOM 8/17/2012 8:23PM


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NEWNAC304 8/17/2012 8:21PM

    I am so sorry to hear this. If it had to happen, I'm glad you were still there and able to stay. You and your dad are in my thoughts.

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RUNNERRACHEL 8/17/2012 8:02PM

    emoticon prayers for you and your dad!

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IDLETYME 8/17/2012 8:01PM

    Loving thoughts and prayers are coming to your Dad and to your family!
emoticon emoticon

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JUDYAMK 8/17/2012 7:55PM

    I will be praying for your Dad

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VISUALLYRICS 8/17/2012 7:50PM

    emoticon on the way to you & your dad, Michelle. I hope you have a smooth travel experience to Germany and strength for the coming week.

emoticon Laura

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

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

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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

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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!

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    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.

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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!

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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

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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.

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THEEXERCISER 8/3/2012 10:54AM

    Have a great time!

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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!

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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,

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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!

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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!


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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!

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 7/12/2012 6:38PM

    Have a great time!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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JOANNKW 7/12/2012 1:50PM

    Have a wonderful time!

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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!!

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RUNNINGOMA 7/12/2012 11:54AM

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

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CAROLYN0107 7/12/2012 11:05AM

    Have a great trip! emoticon

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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.

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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

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KATHYKIM 7/12/2012 10:22AM

    Sounds fabulous!

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HICIM705 7/12/2012 10:04AM

    Enjoy those adventures!!!
Have fun!!!

Check-in whenever you can!!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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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

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AAEEFDCA 7/12/2012 8:50AM

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

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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

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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!!!

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    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!

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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

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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!

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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!

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NEWNAC304 6/30/2012 11:33AM

    Happy Birthday!

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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

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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! ;-)

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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

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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

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