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Late Summer Check-In

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Preferring to call it that instead of "early fall." Or does "early fall" sound more optimistic? with the "early" and all?

I haven't posted in over a month, I see. I have been working a LOT since I got back from the States at the end of May as I've mentioned in previous posts. That has left little time or energy for anything else, which I also mentioned. These courses for the unemployed are not easy. They are people who are in life transitions (as I am!) and there are emotions and tensions that aren't usually part of my teaching work. It's a good thing I love my work teaching English and am happy that I also get to minister to people at a critical time in their lives...but it can be taxing!

I joined the 5% challenge in hopes of getting back on track Spark-wise. That has been a help only in so far as I haven't gained a ton of weight and have been making sporadic attempts at tracking. My feet (plantar fasciitis) are getting better but it's slow-going. I now wear a boot/brace at night that has helped some. And new orthotics are on the way! I'm able to walk comfortably for most of my daytime activities but miss having distance running and walking as an outlet and stress-buster.

On Friday, I had a meeting with the pastor of the church where I've been serving. I haven't eased my way back into the work of the church yet. He was very understanding when I told him that I'm not ready to go back to doing some of the things I've done in the past, and that I want to see how the Lord leads as far as taking on new responsibilities. I felt relieved, but also sad after the meeting because I would like to be ready NOW to take on new challenges. But I'm just not in that place yet. I'm still quite tired...and with the anniversary of my father's passing coming up in a few weeks...sad. I actually dreamt of him last night for the first time since he died. It was kind of strange, as dreams are, but I think it was a hopeful dream.

I'm finding that Romans 15:13 is a good verse for me to hold on to these days: "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Anyone else setting some monthly mini-goals for September? Something about a fresh month that encourages me to make a fresh start. Will post mine tomorrow.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHERIRIDDELL 9/3/2013 12:38AM

    Grief is an ongoing process and can't be rushed.I enjoy the 5% challenges and find the people really encouraging .

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RURAL3 9/2/2013 9:40AM

    Everything is in God's timing. He will guide you. Sounds like you are getting back into everyday life. God will keep you. Glad to hear your foot is doing somewhat better.

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    Glad to see your post. New goals for a new month. Great work. I am finding that this summer I've had alot of fitness minutes, like you, I am really going through a major life transition. The Summer 5% challenge has kept me on track mentally to eat healthy and stay on the right path to my goals. Thank God for these challenges. They really keep me focused. I applaud you for being honest with your pastor. Just saying "No" when you need to for your own focus and renewal is the MOST powerful thing we can do sometimes. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GETTINGFIT4HIM 9/1/2013 3:42AM

  So good to hear from you! Lots of emoticon regarding your dad's passing and the upcoming anniversary of that. I lost my daddy Jan 2009 and it definitely still hits me sometimes and at unexpected times. Prayers for that as well as your continued healing from the plantar fasciitis and God's will regarding how you will best serve Him and others. I'm also working on some goals for September/Fall/life in general. There certainly is always something about fall and the feeling of a fresh start it brings. emoticon

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    HI Hon !!! TY SO MUCH For positing. It helps as fellow sparklers to know whats happening,, and also as a leader to get U better. :)

WOW !! A LOT has been happening in ur life !! I just went back to last weeks stats,,,and you HAVE BEEN VERY CONSISTANT with the exer !! That's to be VERY COMMENDED esp with the life challenges ur facing. THANKS SO MUCH !!

Please do as you can. This week it's to cut back 100 cals from our daily allowance. Had you noticed that on our tracker,,, our CALS HAVE GONE UP BY QUITE A BIT??? OH MY GOODNESS !! Mine went from 1200-1550 WAY UP TO 1700 to 1850 !! IF I ATE THT !! WOW !! I NEVER WOULD LOSE !! So therefor I've gone BACK down to what it was,,,am hence am LOSING 1 to 2 or MORE each week. WOW !! Y DID THEY DO THAT????? Maybe cos of the maintainers,,, who NEED MORE Cals, but those of us who are interested and VESTED as you and I are,,, we did NOT need an INCREASE !! YO !!

TAKE CARE !! GO at ur own pace on what it is you can do. HUGS !!

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VISUALLYRICS 8/31/2013 1:49PM

    Lots emoticon wrapped around you, Michelle concerning the 1st anniversary of your father's passing.
I commend you for your slow pace of easing back into serving others in your community & church. I know the Lord will lead you in His time - how clever of you not to jump ahead of Him...which is so easy to do . Love Romans 15:13!

I can hear the JOY in your voice across the seas! emoticon

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EJOY-EVELYN 8/31/2013 1:47PM

    Staying in the 5% challenges are a lifesaver for me to both lose and maintain. More recently, new international students went through orientation and I've been busy planning some wonderful trips and tours before classes begin on Tuesday. On Monday, it's off to the Apostle Islands to show off some of the finest Indian Burial Grounds, picnic on some fresh foods, walk the gorgeous waterfront (rock cliffs), and perhaps swim in Lake Superior before heading back to the mainland by Ferry boat. I'm meeting new people, learning about new cultures, and spending quality time with my Dad (and some of his residential friends) as he progresses towards walking a few more steps each week. What incredible joy can be found in taking people through a gorgeous garden. Life is good . . . even with all its hardships. Hug, hug as you make progress in hearing God's will in your life.

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Saturday Breather

Saturday, July 20, 2013

I continue to have a VERY busy schedule at the language school and not much time for anything else, it seems, but the three D's - dinner, dishes and duds. I've spending too much time on the internet, though, now that I'm able to watch videos on my new speedier laptop. That needs to change.

Update on the update in my last post:

The English class turned out to be super stressful, like no other group I've ever taught. Two of the three women decided they couldn't get along. I won't dwell on the issues, but let's just say my background in intercultural relationships and my classroom management skills were put to the test. I also had private conferences with each of the women (not usually part of my job description), offered my support and tried to encourage both of the discordant ones to forgive and move on so that they could all benefit from the course instead of turning it into a negative experience. It continued to be tense, but there were no more outbursts after the talks.

The new group, also culturally diverse, is a piece of cake in contrast. I notice I'm sleeping better since the feuding ladies are no longer in my life!

It took until yesterday to finalize the sale of Dad's car, but am really glad that's done and that I no longer have to pay the insurance bill for a car that I'm not driving. So grateful for the help I had from stateside friends through the process.

On the down side, I am 99% sure that I have plantar fasciitis so there will be no running for awhile. Since I no longer have a car here, I've been walking a lot and have developed serious pain in my right foot. Am taking all the recommended steps and will be going to the doctor on Monday.

This means finding alternative ways to exercise. I still have to do a lot of walking, but need to kick things up a notch cardio-wise to get back to weight loss mode. Swimming pools are too far away for regular visits. My bike needs repairing, but that looks like it might be the best way to go so will move that closer to the top of the To Do list.

Hope you are all enjoying the weekend, too!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUPERSYLPH 7/23/2013 4:34PM

    I'm glad to hear that things have worked out for you.

emoticon I hope your right foot starts feeling better.

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DDOORN 7/22/2013 9:10AM

    Great to hear from you...sorry to hear of your classroom "drama"...who needs THAT?!?

Of course LOVE the idea of dusting off the bike! :-)


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RUNNERRACHEL 7/21/2013 8:41PM

    Glad your current class is more peaceful! That sounds like a real challenge.

Good to hear the sale of the car is finalized. That is probably a relief to not have to pay insurance anymore.

I can relate to the foot pain. Hopefully the doctor will be helpful and you'll get some help there. Biking sounds good. I got a bike recently and I find it is a great way to exercise. It might be a nice alternative to all the walking you've been doing to get around as well. emoticon

Keep up the good work! emoticon emoticon

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 7/20/2013 7:52PM

    I'm glad to hear you got your dad's car sold. It is one less thing to have to worry about.

I hope you get back to biking. I really enjoy it and it burns lots of calories. emoticon

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EJOY-EVELYN 7/20/2013 2:35PM

    Continue focusing on you priorities and with help from above, all should begin to fall in place. You have been anointed with some very special gifts and I'm glad to see others benefiting from your wisdom. I'm beginning to take steps to lessen my online time so that it represents a force for good versus petty busyness. I enjoyed dinner last night at The Chop ... Pointing out where the cove shoppes are less than a mile away as my brother and his wife just closed on a house in that city last Thursday. Family connections (New and old) are awesome.

Comment edited on: 7/20/2013 2:37:11 PM

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VISUALLYRICS 7/20/2013 9:56AM

    So emoticon to see you here at SP Michelle. I hope that emoticon works out for you.
I can identify with easy access to movies on my fast computer....::I need to make a change too.

Thanks for stopping by my blog! emoticon Laura

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Sunny Germany

Saturday, June 08, 2013

If you're trying to keep track, I've been back and forth to the States since my last blog. While in Florida, I was able to get the condo pretty much emptied. That was physically and emotionally very difficult but I had help from some wonderful friends. Now I'm "home" and getting back into some kind of routine. It helps that the sun is shining - after the darkest winter in Germany in 50 years, according to the people who like to calculate such things. The jet lag is just about done and I'm almost recovered from the nasty case of bronchitis I picked up on my short visit last month.

With tornadoes in OK, and major flooding in other parts of Germany, I've been watching the news with thanksgiving for being spared such disaster! I'm praying for those of you who've been affected.

Some good things going on:

- Dad's car has been sold! It's an answer to prayer that I got enough to pay off the loan. It's also going to a good home - the daughter of a friend. We did the long-distance negotiating in PMs on Facebook. That's gotta be a first!

- My neighbors here gave me a TV. I got rid of mine last summer and wasn't really planning on getting a new one, but it was such a nice gesture. They have also offered to take me to the grocery store since I don't have a car here anymore.

- I have good hours at the language school for the next 5 weeks which will help get the finances stabilized a bit. I started teaching this 6-week course on Monday. The participants are three women who are unemployed and need English to prepare for their job searches. All three are very motivated and work well together so far. It's always important to be encouraging as a teacher, but in such situations even more so.

No big plans for the rest of the day - a little housework, laundry, a walk, maybe finally finish unpacking? I also started on the windows that haven't been washed in a year. I do a room a week. And I'm going to try a new salad recipe from Oh She Glows.

Happy Weekend, everyone, and thank you for all your comments, prayers and good thoughts!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPARTAN40 6/11/2013 1:07PM

    Michelle it is great to hear from you again. I hope you get settled back in and are feeling better (bronchitis can be pesky). Sounds like your teaching will be good. Keep Sparkin!

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FRANNIEDID 6/11/2013 11:58AM

    Michelle, it is always good to get an update, especially where you are in the world right now! Glad all went well in Florida, that must have been very difficult.

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EJOY-EVELYN 6/9/2013 10:46PM

    Welcome home, dear! Glad you're home safe and sound (although it's not uncommon to wonder about the sanity of it all). Your papa was precious to the SW Florida community he lived in and I pray his legacy will carry on as a valued part of that artistic community. I know I will cherish your father's art as one who will only display original artwork on my walls. It was a delight to meet you and hope that your health continued to show great improvement as you return to the calling you've been anointed for. Shalom!

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RUNNERRACHEL 6/8/2013 9:12PM

    Glad to hear you are back home after much traveling. It sounds like you've been blessed by your neighbors and were able to attend to very important matters.
Nice that you were able to sell the car and bless someone else with the vehicle.

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FORMYDARLINGS 6/8/2013 10:33AM

    Michele. I am so glad you are finally home and things back in FLorida are coming together. It will be good to finalize everything there and then get on with your new life. Have you decided what or where you are going or doing? I know it has been a whirlwind of intercontinental flights and jetlag for you plus a highly emotional time. I think of you often and pray you are settling in and are happy. We also have to do our shopping without a car, as we don't want to own one. Way too expensive. We live close to town, about a 20 minute walk and so DH usually walks to town twice a week, with a bundle buggy, for groceries. There are times in the winter we really would like to have a car but......
I am getting better at walking now. I did some physio therapy for a while and was able to strengthen my leg muscles and we addressed the pain in my lower back. I can walk for about 15 minutes now. I am not ready to go to town, unless we take the bus but I am getting there. I have just finished restarting my program to get me going again. How is your weight doing? Do you need to get on track with us on that issue? Love that you are here on SPark and hope to be able to converse with you more often now. Enjoy your summer in beautiful Germany.

Love and peace,


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VISUALLYRICS 6/8/2013 9:58AM

    Michelle! ...::so nice to hear from you!

emoticon on the sale of your Dad's car, on safe travels many times over between the USA & Germany....you must have jet lag overhaul! Lol!
I will be praying for you in these next few weeks as God ministers to your heart.

I know you will be used to bless these 3 ladies and I pray they are able to find work. God bless your heart's service to Him!

emoticon Laura

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CAROLYN0107 6/8/2013 8:24AM

    Happy Weekend to you too. I am glad it's going well with you.

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SUNNY332 6/8/2013 6:50AM

    So good to hear you are feeling better.

Sounds like everything is going well. Enjoy that emoticon !

Out soldier has requested another tour in Germany (He loved it there) and will be finding out soon if that is where he is headed.

Take care and good to see the update.


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Another Day

Friday, May 17, 2013

Yesterday, I was feeling pretty clear-headed and in control. Today, I've been feeling more emotional and helpless. I woke up feeling like a cold was coming on. I do NOT need a cold right now!

So, I'm taking massive doses of C, drinking a lot of fluids and trying to stay warm even though it's quite chilly here in Germany today. I don't feel any worse, so that's good. Maybe a good night's rest will do it.

I've made some progress on some of the items on my lists of lists, but not as much as I had hoped. Yes, I need to cut myself some slack. Grace, I think God calls it! :)

Then again, I have to get on a plane again in about 36 hours!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FRANNIEDID 5/20/2013 12:33PM

    You are only one person and there are only so many hours in the day. Sleep is a key part of staying healthy so don't let a lack of time keep you from getting the rest you need. Take care of yourself, I know the last year has not been easy!

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 5/17/2013 10:37PM

    You have a lot on your plate right now. It makes sense that your body is more susceptible to a cold. Take care of yourself first and foremost.

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 5/17/2013 10:28PM

    You have a lot on your plate right now. It makes sense that your body is more susceptible to a cold. Take care of yourself first and foremost.

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VISUALLYRICS 5/17/2013 9:34PM

    Grace is right.....:::just what the Doc ordered! emoticon emoticon

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SUNNY332 5/17/2013 5:51PM

    Yes, the time to take care of you is now. Hope your proactive steps help curb that cold.

Sounds like a couch, a quilt and a good book day to me!


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CAROLYN0107 5/17/2013 5:38PM

    I do know the feeling of having lots to do before flying out. Maybe sleeping is what you need most.

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

I am back in Germany - but only for a few days. I need to go back next week and do the final clear-out of my parents' condo where I've been living the past 6 months. The brief return to Germany has to do with securing my visa and also with frequent flier miles :)

But it also gives me a chance to get a mental distance from the unfinished business in the States. I was having a hard time getting focused. I already notice that NOT being in the house is making it easier to plan. My dcousin (whom I call "my sister from another mother" because she has been such a rock over the past few years) will be coming to help with the last bit of packing and cleaning. It will get done!

I apologize for being out of touch here on Spark. I haven't been very consistent about keeping in touch with anyone except occasional posts on Facebook. On the other hand, I have maintained the FB page for my father's business. A good deal of my time and energy over the past months has been invested in keeping that going for the winter season and closing it down at the end of April. Being the manager of a small art gallery was certainly not part of my plan. It seems to be part of a commitment to "honor my father." I've come to understand that this commandment doesn't expire when someone dies.

It will soon be time to get on with my life here in Germany, which is also in flux. I completed my second master's last summer. The plan for the fall was to reenter local church ministry (I had given up most of my responsibilities in order to finish my studies), to start doing some overseas teaching (Albania) and begin to work part-time in the regional missions office. I would have picked up my English teaching job again as well. Now, I'm seeking the Lord for how he wants me to proceed.

Will continue this post tomorrow...don't want to write a book today!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LIGIRLATHEART 5/21/2013 10:12AM

    Wishing you peace and blessings as you consider your "next steps".....

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RUNNINGOMA 5/18/2013 9:07AM

    I'm glad to hear what is up with you.
I loved hearing that statement, " I've come to understand that this commandment doesn't expire when someone dies." That was somehow profound to me - never saw that before, but so true.
I'll be praying for your flight and the decisions that still need to be made. The Lord will lead. emoticon

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REYNJANET 5/17/2013 2:12PM

    good to hear from you. I can understand what you are going through. It takes time for all these details and arrangements. I still have a room full of mom's things to sort out.

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IFDEEVARUNS2 5/16/2013 2:39PM

    Let life unfold!
Yes, some distance does help.

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REDRUNNERMOM713 5/16/2013 11:50AM

    So great to hear from you! The good Lord will lead you to where he wants you to be. I hope things go smoothly for you and settle down soon. Take care of yourself!

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EBLOOMING 5/16/2013 11:21AM

    Trusting God's direction is the right thing for sure. He will not fail you. Just keep the Spark... in other words keep the faith in His plan and keep yourself in God's love. (there is the real SPARK) Great blog!! Thanks for sharing with us her on Spark. emoticon

Comment edited on: 5/16/2013 11:22:17 AM

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CAROLYN0107 5/16/2013 10:22AM

    It sounds like you've been busy. Transition is always difficult and time consuming. I have 19 months before I leave Africa for good so I'm trying to start early to get rid of everything but a few suitcases of things I'll take with me.

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VISUALLYRICS 5/16/2013 9:52AM

    So nice to read your blogs again....::I always loved your blogs - you are so creative!
What a beautiful testimony of seeking God for direction....::::He has a Plan for you, for sure. Looking forward to seeing it develop. God bless you and give you discernment and wisdom.

love, Laura

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FRANNIEDID 5/16/2013 9:15AM

    It is good to hear from you, when your life is disrupted it is difficult to maintain old routines. Too many changes to digest and too much turmoil to deal with. We miss you and will be here when you are ready.

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AEO_SUNSHINE 5/16/2013 8:33AM

    Glad to hear from you - I am sure your father is watching and saying 'well done and thank you'.

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 5/16/2013 5:15AM

    I am really glad to hear from you. I stopped blogging regularly here after my father died too. I know and understand how it is.

Your life is in great flux these days. I'll be thinking of you.


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    Good to hear from you! It's always interesting being in the Lord's hands and seeing what's next . . .

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