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As the new year approaches...

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Just thought I'd share this quote from Christian writer Francis Frangipane:

"We’ve heard, and even valued the counsel, “Leave it in the past.” It is advice that promises we can unburden our minds of grievous pain or loss. Yet, “Where is the past that I might leave my sorrows there? Is the past in some ethereal realm?” The truth is, we cannot leave the past, for the past is in us; it is in our mind and heart. It is often a place of torment, where “specters [haunt] the scene of past transgressions” (Prov 9:18 Amp). Yet our souls can be renewed. The issues of the past can be brought to Christ. Even now, if we will be honest, all issues from our past can be forgiven and redeemed."

This really spoke to me when I read it yesterday. Will share a bit more about why in a future blog, but wanted to at least peek in today and wish all my Spark buddies a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year 2013.

And yes, I had a good eating day today...have been within all my ranges. Now I need to go to bed so I won't snack - but it's only 7 PM?!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SJG1953 1/20/2013 2:13AM

    You are so right Michelle about the past being in us. My sister and I talked about this very thing a couple weeks ago. You are also right that we have a loving Saviour, to whom we are able to bring our issues. I thank God everyday for that! Much love, Shirley

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SUNNY332 1/1/2013 4:57PM

    You are so right about the past being a part of us. We are so blessed to have our Faith to see us through. I will be checking your future blogs to see where this is going.

Do have a Happy and Healthy New Year.

Hugs, Sunny

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TRYINGHARD1948 12/31/2012 6:11PM

    How very blessed we are in knowing the love of Christ, His warm and forgiving embrace. Wishing you every happiness in 2013.

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CAROLYN0107 12/30/2012 11:58PM

    A Happy and a Healthy New Year to you!

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VISUALLYRICS 12/30/2012 8:54PM

    Thank you Michelle for sharing this thought.
Just today::... I was reminded of how God rewrites our the tablets of our lives....
He covers our sins with His forgiveness, and has that Perfect ability to "forget" the past too...beautifully rewriting our lives!!
I rejoice in His Love and in His Truth! emoticon ...::::How thankful I am that even though I cannot rewind the clock, He makes ALL things new and through Faith I receive that Blessing.

May 2013 be a Blessed year for you....:::Laura emoticon

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BROOKRIVERS 12/30/2012 8:14PM

    Special thoughts to start the New Year with. Thanks!

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EJOY-EVELYN 12/30/2012 8:06PM

    If we do not learn from the past, I hear we are doomed to repeat it. The past is part of who we are -- it's our history. With that, it's all part of the life-long learning process that brings to light that even greater truth and walk we so desire. I'm grateful for my past (warts and all) and find that God allows me to build on the past in ways that can glorify Him. Merry Sixth Day of Christmas, dear friend. Hug, hug -- Evelyn

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SPIETZY1960 12/30/2012 7:25PM

    Thank you for your insight.

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TONYVAND1 12/30/2012 7:19PM

  Forgiving oneself and moving on is so Important

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Thanksgiving in the USA

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Waking up a little later than usual (over the jet lag!) to a sunny, breezy, cool south Florida day...

Reading posts on Facebook from friends around the country and the world...

Watching the Macy's Day Parade and smiling to think of how my German friends would react to this very American tradition...

Baking mini-muffins in my Mom's kitchen...

Talking with the neighbors about our outdoor Christmas decorating plans for the weekend...

Getting ready to drive three hours with family members who I seldom see and some little second cousins who I've never met...

Looking for a good version of this song by Siegfried Ochs (attribued to Haendel) and coming across a lovely dance with young ballerinas being guided by their "father" dancers: www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIjr3aODhg0&

So much to be thankful for...enjoy your day!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FRANNIEDID 11/26/2012 12:13PM

    Glad you had a good holiday, we did too. The song is beautiful!

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JERSEYGIRL24 11/26/2012 12:02PM

    Sounds like a wonderful Thanksgiving. Hope all is well.

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ZELLAZM 11/23/2012 2:49PM

    I corrected the link in the original post - sorry about the mix-up!

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CAROLYN0107 11/23/2012 7:08AM

    It looks like you had a good Thanksgiving. Day. I did too.

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VISUALLYRICS 11/22/2012 9:15PM

    Just found your song....how lovely! emoticon
...:::so glad you are in the states...safe and sound.

love, laura

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 11/22/2012 8:05PM

    I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving with your family....family seems extra precious after losing someone we love.

Thinking of you,

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SUNNY332 11/22/2012 1:43PM

    I could not get the video to come up but still wanted to say Hope you have Blessings too numerous to count today.

Thanks be to God! Do enjoy your day.


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EJOY-EVELYN 11/22/2012 1:30PM

    Have a blessed Thanksgiving with new and old loved ones! You have lots of wonderful memories that will make you stronger in both faith and love as you remember loved ones who are now in heaven or far, far away. For me, it will be a day of hot and spice food with my honey at a local Chinese Buffet, then off to re-supply our prayer shawl yarns on the super-dooper late Thursday and Black Friday sales at nearby craft stores. To God be the Glory on this day and every day! Hug, hug -- Evelyn

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Packing and "putzing"

Sunday, November 11, 2012

"Putzen" actually means cleaning in German, but I'm doing the English version when I should be doing more of the German version.

Just wanted to check in and ask my Spark friends to pray for me tomorrow when I fly back to the States. It's hard taking the trip this time, knowing that Dad won't be there when I arrive, just the condo and the stuff.

It will all be OK, though. I know the Lord is with me and that he'll help me step by step through the process ahead. I've got some good friends there who have been such a support and I know that I can count on their continued help and company. I expect new, different experiences that will only help me grow stronger, although they might be hard to navigate. I already have a couple of possible part-time jobs, and with the holidays coming, there will be music and ministry opportunities galore.

And I look forward to Florida weather, beach walking, and whatever other adventures are in store. It's starting to get cold and nasty here, typical for this time of year here, although we have mostly had nice weather during the month I've been back. Thankful for the fall visuals, with the sun shining almost horizontally through the brilliant-colored leaves. But ready for some warmer temps.

OK, back to packing. I leave in 14 hours and there is TONS to do...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOANNKW 11/12/2012 1:51PM

    Zella, I've been keeping you in my prayers. I think you are probably on your way, or have landed by now. (((Zella)))

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FRANNIEDID 11/12/2012 9:43AM

    Good luck Michelle, You will be in my thoughts. I wish I knew what to say, I know that you will get through this with strength and grace like you do everything that comes your way. Your dad will be with you in your heart, hold him close!

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TRYINGHARD1948 11/11/2012 11:57PM

    Safe journey!

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WALKINGBYFAITH2 11/11/2012 8:55PM

    Blessings on your journey! emoticon

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SUNNY332 11/11/2012 8:06PM

    Praying Michelle as you make this journey. I will be praying as I know what a difficult job you have in front of you. It is also pretty exciting time and I hope you approach it open to learning more about your Father. I felt like I got to know a part of my Dad that I had never known.

Take care and know you are covered in prayer.

Keep in touch.


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JANETELIZABETH1 11/11/2012 4:12PM

    Praying for your journey Michelle and all that lays ahead for you....hope it won't be too long before you find time to check in with us here again. emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/11/2012 4:13:19 PM

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VISUALLYRICS 11/11/2012 3:20PM

    dear Michelle.....:::: emoticon

I will continue to pray for you as you pack & travel. Your steps are ordered by God. What a comfort that is!

emoticon ...Love you! ....think of you fondly, Laura

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CAROLYN0107 11/11/2012 3:14PM

    Enjoy you trip. I pray you'll have a good one and that you'll find a part time job when you get to Florida.

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NEWNAC304 11/11/2012 2:05PM

    You'll be in my thoughts. It will be hard going through your Dad's things. I'm glad you have friends to help you get through these hard times.

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 11/11/2012 12:53PM

    Hugs....I'll be thinking of you in the coming weeks.

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LINWINAGAIN 11/11/2012 11:35AM

    Your posts are a blessing! sending good thoughts your way in wrapping up your father's estate. and thanks for the German lesson, my last name may be German but that is all I fear and I need to get putzen!

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

I just finished booking my trip to the States. I'll be leaving Germany on November 12 and plan to stay in Florida til after Easter, almost 6 months. Walking on water, folks!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SJG1953 11/3/2012 12:38AM

    Just keep your eyes fixed on the Lord Michelle. He will keep you atop the water! God is still on the throne and is still in the miracle business as you have already said. Remember your friends and Spark family love you and are still praying for you. Blessings, Shirley

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HEALTHIERKEN 10/30/2012 3:32PM

    Travel safely.

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TRYINGHARD1948 10/18/2012 7:23PM

    That is great.

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JOANNKW 10/18/2012 3:06PM


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JANETELIZABETH1 10/18/2012 1:33PM

    Glad your plans are working out Michelle...be blessed!!

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REYNJANET 10/18/2012 1:33PM

    You are in my prayers. I can understand the task before you as we just had closure on all of Mom's things. Now my house looks like Mom's did.

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CYCLINGSANDY 10/18/2012 12:02PM

    Praying God will bless your socks off!

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FRANNIEDID 10/18/2012 10:16AM

    I hope you have time to do what you need to do. Hold close the wonderful memories I know you have of your Dad and your Mom. It is really hard to do but it can also be so worthwhile and somehow satisfying.

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VISUALLYRICS 10/18/2012 8:54AM

    Hand in hand with the Lord.... emoticon Phil 4:13 emoticon

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CAROLYN0107 10/18/2012 7:46AM

    I've booked my tickets from Nebraska to Africa for December 11 so I'm going the opposite direction, finally!! I'm not ready for the Firecrackers yet though.

Comment edited on: 10/18/2012 7:47:18 AM

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SUNNY332 10/18/2012 7:18AM

    How wonderful! Looks like you have allowed ample time to get everything done that you need to do. It will be a daunting job but also one that will bring back many wonderful memories of your Father.

Have a GREAT day today.


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NCSUE0514 10/18/2012 7:01AM

    Have a lovely visit

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CAROL- 10/18/2012 6:11AM

    emoticon Hope you have a wonderful stay!

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One month later...

Monday, October 15, 2012

...and what a change my life has taken! I arrived back in Germany about 10 days ago, urged by friends and family to make it back to attend my graduation ceremony. I received my second master's in international theological education.

Then I attended a much-needed, 4-day retreat in Switzerland last week. Today I started back to work at the language school and have slipped into planning the annual international worship service at church this coming weekend. But I'm only here for a few weeks to settle my affairs here so that I can go back to the States for a few months.

Losing my dad has been traumatic on so many levels I can't yet begin to describe here. Now I have the challenge of walking through this time of grieving while at the same time handling the executorship of his estate. Those of you who know me know how much I love paperwork and bookkeeping. It is really going to take another of God's miracles to get me through this. But He is in the business of making miracles. In spite of the sometimes-overwhelming sadness, I'm also looking forward to seeing how he is going to work this together for my good and his glory.

I've gained a bunch of weight and am making a gradual fresh start here on SP. Since I'm selling my car here in Germany, exercise will be no problem for the next few weeks. Now that I'm back in my own kitchen, I can also be more careful of my eating and get out of the stress-eating habit. Will be off the prednisone taper soon, too, which will help get rid of some of the extra pounds and puffiness.

When I get back to FL in November, it will be time to inventory all of Dad's artwork, and pack up everything in the condo where he and Mom lived for some 25 years. There will be mementos to pass on to family members and friends, furniture to sell, accounts to settle. Stay tuned for the miracles.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNNY332 10/18/2012 7:11AM

    Thank goodness, my older brother is the Executor of my Dad's Estate. He lives in New York and Dad lived here in MIssouri so we have had to have attorneys in both states.

As far as the grieving is concerned, I have my days. Every time I go to Hannibal, it seems so strange not going by the Home to see him. I know it is going to take time and it is not something I can rush.

Congrats on your graduation. That is awesome.

Hugs, Sunny

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FRANNIEDID 10/17/2012 6:12AM

    I am so sorry you have to go through this. I did get to pack up my mom's house with her as she sold it and moved in with my brother but packing up my dad's things when we did it was so very difficult. I have gained a lot of weight back with my mom's illness too, I guess it just comes with the territory. God will give you the strength you need to get you through this and help you come out stronger on the other side.

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NEWNAC304 10/16/2012 5:23AM


My heart goes out to you. I know how difficult it is. Allow yourself to grieve. It's going to be so hard going through all of his pictures and things. Do you have a good friend ho can go with you to do this? We had to clean out my mom's house after she died and it was months after she died. It was the hardest thing I've ever done. So many memories were brought back. I hate the thought of you going through that alone.

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RUNNERRACHEL 10/15/2012 10:13PM

    God will give you the strength to handle everything. He will carry you through this time. emoticon

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FORMYDARLINGS 10/15/2012 8:05PM


You know what, when your mom died, your dad decided that he would wait until you had finished your degree before he went on to be with her. Take the time now that you need and move forward as you can. You have a mighty force by your hand and all your friends here and there to help you through everything. Love you,


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EJOY-EVELYN 10/15/2012 7:53PM

    Welcome home, dear. May clarity and purpose reign in your season of mourning as decisions continue to be required. I so dislike paperwork, too, so I don't envy all you have to go through! I hope to checkout the Corkscrew Sanctuary and a SparkFriend's consignment shop during my next SWF jaunt and will wave in your direction and perhaps even see if you're available for a cup of java or tea. Hug, hug -- Evelyn

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VISUALLYRICS 10/15/2012 5:42PM

    Dear beloved friend!! ((((HUGS)))) ...just had to give you emoticon cuz emoticon

OK...I have to send you a goodie....my heart is touched by your Beautiful spirit ...your Faith strong & True and your Trust in the Lord!

love you to the moon & back again.....:::::::: emoticon Laura

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CAROLYN0107 10/15/2012 4:02PM

    emoticon I just prayed for you. Keep us up on your whereabouts and activities. Let us know about the miracles you experience.

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HAKAPES 10/15/2012 3:18PM

    Sorry to hear about your loss.
I wish you courage for the grieving.
And welcome back for the restart at SP - nothing better for a restart than Herbst!

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JOANNKW 10/15/2012 2:30PM

    Zella, I'm keeping you in my prayers. It is a day I dread, but I have lots of siblings, and we are all in the US at least.

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 10/15/2012 2:18PM

    I've been thinking about you and know that you have been busy since your dad's passing. I'm sorry you have to go though all that you have to do with regard to closing the estate. Paperwork is my least fun thing to do too....particularly in wrapping up an estate.

I gained about 20 pounds last year at the end of my Dad's illness and after his death. It's an easy thing to do. The weight is coming back off now and it will for you too.


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