ZELLAZM's SparkPeople Blog http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal.asp?id=ZELLAZM ZELLAZM's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community SparkPeople.com http://assets2.sparkpeople.com/assets/nav/logo_spark.gif http://www.sparkpeople.com/ My Weekly Blog Post...one week late http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6252358 So much for that October resolution! I will do better! I've been to Switzerland and back. It was an awesome retreat, as it is every year. What was special this time around was the large number of "newbies" and the way in which members of the organizing team are coming alongside the couple who started this ministry. B and E are getting up there in years, and it's been a question in many minds whether the next retreat might be the last. It seems like God still has a plan for these "Times of Ref... Sun, 16 Oct 2016 11:25:59 EST Me again - October goals http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6245241 Love this! I had never heard this quote before today! <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/b181b72f-ab16-4990-9294-757b61d3a9c2.jpg"> <BR> <BR> And it's a perfect tIme to set some monthly goals. Haven't done that in ages, but it's a good habit, so here goes: <BR> <em>465</em> Daily nutrition tracking (even if guesstimating) and staying within ranges <BR> <em>465</em> Step goal 10,500, increasing to an average of 12,500 by month end <BR> <em>465</em> Get at least 7 hou... Sun, 2 Oct 2016 17:06:59 EST Good morning, Weekend Warriors! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6244484 <em>244</em> <BR> I'm on vacation! I have the long holiday weekend to catch up on stuff here at home and then pack for a short trip to Switzerland for a 4-day retreat. Yes, Monday is the national holiday here - Day of Germany Unity. Tuesday I take a 7-hour train trip, spend the 4 days in the beautiful Alps with a bunch of crazy American missionaries, then return on Saturday, again traveling some 7-8 hours. The train ride is actually fun and relaxing as long as I make all my connections. I ... Sat, 1 Oct 2016 03:56:05 EST Where on earth have you been? http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6240957 Hi, all! Since my last blog post, I've been here and there: <BR> <em>652</em> <BR> Naples, FL <BR> Atlanta, GA <BR> Nashville, TN <BR> Anderson, SC <BR> Jacksonville, FL... <BR> <BR> and back to Germany, namely a small town near Stuttgart, with Mondays spent in the Black Forest. <BR> <em>673</em> <BR> I went to the States at the end of July to attend an international church conference. I did a major road trip, first one in ages, and had a great time, stopping along the way from FL an... Sat, 24 Sep 2016 06:31:27 EST 24 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6198441 I just checked in for my flight to the States. I have 24 hours to do a bazillion things. Why write a blog NOW, you say? Good question! I guess I just want to be accountable and let folks know why my posting may be spotty for awhile. Sometimes I actually post more when I'm traveling, but this trip I won't have free wifi at the apartment where I'm staying in Florida. I'll also be taking a road trip to Tennessee and then back to FL. I'm sure there will be wifi in the hotel in Nashville, though. ... Mon, 11 Jul 2016 05:54:08 EST Who needs cake? :-) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6195208 <link>www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dAy9u0_9nM </link> <BR> <BR> Enjoy! <BR> <em>491</em> Tue, 5 Jul 2016 11:26:00 EST It's Raining, Cats and Dogs! Restart Week 2 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6181291 Comma placement is important! <BR> <em>239</em> <em>241</em> <em>240</em> <em>200</em> <em>338</em> <BR> Seriously, it would be nice if it would let up. While my little town is fine, there are neighboring areas that have suffered seriously flooding. I'm sure there are those of you in rain-washed parts of the USA who would agree with me. <BR> <BR> So....in my last post, I committed to blogging at least once a week. So here I am. I dove back into my work schedule head first a... Sun, 12 Jun 2016 08:26:38 EST BLUNE Restart http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6175576 BLOG + JUNE = BLUNE <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/e31d2d23-700d-4623-b87c-9dd3b18ea0b9.jpg"> <BR> <BR> Last Friday, I started showing symptoms of a cold that turned into bronchitis and even resulted in my losing my voice for a couple of days. I had to write in sick for the week, but am feeling much better. Not as good as I had hoped by now, but I've avoided taking the antibiotics the doctor prescribed so far. I hate being out of action for so long, but I know w... Fri, 3 Jun 2016 06:48:02 EST Blame it on the jet lag... http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6101290 ...if I start to ramble as I write. I got back from Florida on Friday, took a four-hour nap, then slept 12 hours that night. Of course, that was too much, so last night I only got about 4 hours. I forced myself to get up and go to church in hopes of getting back on a more regular schedule. I think I'll be able to go to bed at a decent hour tonight. My next class at the language school is Tuesday afternoon, so I have some time to get back in sync. VERY glad of that! <BR> <em>102</em> <BR> ... Sun, 21 Feb 2016 13:41:59 EST CAMO Boo is back! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6071829 I'm already rolling with the fabulous Firecrackers in the 5% challenge and this week BLC 30 starts up again. I also volunteered to support a Spark Class team on short notice, and have been spending time responding to posts from new Sparkers who are finding their way around the site. I try not to think too much about the fact that there are 41,000 people on the team. <BR> <BR> The next couple of weeks will be, um, interesting as I fly to the States for a missions conference and visit to frie... Sun, 17 Jan 2016 13:45:55 EST Drum roll~~~~ http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6056622 My word for the year 2016 is TRUST. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/03346107-33d7-4dc3-afd9-8bc5958ce1cf.png"> <BR> <BR> TRUST is what I settled on. The other candidates included TRUTH, but that sounded a bit daunting. I also thought of REST, but that was probably just wishful thinking! And I like ABIDE, too. But TRUST includes aspects of all three of those words, doesn't it?! <BR> <BR> The image above is a collage/photo I took after looking online for somethin... Fri, 1 Jan 2016 08:12:26 EST Watch this Space http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6054783 Last year for the first time I chose a "word of the year" - THRIVE. It's been interesting to look back at how the word and the images associated with it have accompanied me through the days, weeks, and months of a year that I could actually describe with a lot of other words: words like "hectic," "disappointing," "scary," "frustrating," "confusing," and, sometimes, "lonely"...but also with words like "rich," "full," "surprising," "fulfilling," "sweet" and "joyful." <BR> <BR> THRIVE served a... Tue, 29 Dec 2015 15:43:10 EST Happy 3rd of Advent http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6046691 It's Sunday and I'm home all day today. There's a special event at church that I've chosen not to attend. I find that I just can't go to all the parties at this season so I try to go to those where I'm most blessed and can most be a blessing! We're having another celebration next Sunday at church, sponsored by the whole town, where we'll be hosting about 100 refugees. I'll be helping out with translating and serving cake. By then, my own schedule will be less hectic and I can be more "there."... Sun, 13 Dec 2015 05:41:19 EST Snow and all that http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6039369 Sunday Greetings, Spark friends (Fall Firecrackers included - see the end of this post for a special message!) <BR> <em>283</em> <BR> I hope everyone in the States is enjoying the long weekend. I'm feeling refreshed after a mini-vacation. I usually teach Mondays at the Bible school in the Black Forest. There was a faculty meeting scheduled for Wednesday, and a big Thanksgiving gathering for faculty and staff planned for Thursday evening, so I decided on short notice to use up some vacati... Sun, 29 Nov 2015 07:57:24 EST In case you were wondering... http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6024246 ...about my new profile picture, it's a pair of size 6 jeans that I should be fitting into soon. I tried them on the other day and they're still too tight to be comfortable, although I could probably get the zipper closed if I really tried! <BR> <BR> I've been going up and down for the past couple of weeks, losing and regaining the same pound or two. First, it was vacation and travel, then an infection at the beginning of this week. I felt I needed a visual reminder of one of my weight loss... Sat, 31 Oct 2015 14:42:44 EST Just a closer walk... http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6022013 I've stayed home from work the past couple of days. Yesterday, I went for a walk in the late afternoon and took some photos. Resting today, back to work tomorrow. <BR> <BR> Casting a long shadow with the sun at my back: <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/cb8db0c7-49c1-405d-8c02-f135369fb3d7.png"> <BR> <BR> Shooting into the sun and love how the haze over the fields created this mood: <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/d823100f-67a9-4a75-a180... Tue, 27 Oct 2015 10:47:33 EST Swiss Pix http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6020849 I got back from the retreat in Switzerland two weeks ago, and am just now getting around to posting a few pictures as I said I would. Sometimes I wonder if going on vacation is such a good idea! Kidding really, but I have been struggling to get back into my good routines. It's just been the past few days, maybe since Wednesday that I've been consistent again. I can happily report that the weight I gained is gone again, though, so I'm getting back on track for the 5% and BLC. <BR> <BR> This i... Sun, 25 Oct 2015 10:52:44 EST Me, Again http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6008955 As I wrote yesterday, I'm leaving on Tuesday for a retreat in Switzerland. This is the view I'm looking forward to, posted on Facebook by a friend who is already there, setting up for the event: <BR> <img src="http://photosaws.sparkpeople.com/guid/73cfe39c-d207-4884-a2a1-eeb93e0c6544.jpg"> <BR> Today, I'm packing, but also doing some mental preparation for all the food and feasting that will be going on. The BLC Weekend Challenge asks me to plan my fitness and meals for the week, so here goe... Sun, 4 Oct 2015 08:07:04 EST On Track http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=6008539 I've been on a good trend, losing around .5 - 1.5 pounds a week for the past couple of months. Passed a landmark with today's weigh-in - the halfway mark on my Spark Ticker. <BR> <em>244</em> <BR> For the current BLC weekend challenge, we"re supposed to talk about how we track nutrition. I've always used the Spark nutrition tracker (with all its foibles) and it has served me well, I think. There may be are better systems out there, but over the past 8 years on SP I've entered so many fav... Sat, 3 Oct 2015 11:20:54 EST Fall Beginnings http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5995817 With the BLC starting up in just a few days (September 14th!) and the 5% Challenge a week or so later, I decided it was time to update my Spark page. My new profile pic is CAMO Boo (Go, CAMO!) and the background is a reminder of my word for the year - Thrive. Will update again when the 5% starts - Go, Firecrackers! <BR> <em>256</em> <em>295</em> <em>283</em> <BR> I also got bold and reposted a photo of myself from 2008 at my goal weight. Something finally clicked over the summer, Iâ... Sat, 12 Sep 2015 04:27:27 EST Long Time No Blog http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5983914 Today I signed up for the Fall 5% Challenge. I'll be a Firecracker again, and have signed on to be on the team of leaders for this round. If you want to know more about the challenge, read this great blog post by my Spark friend KATELJM: <link>www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo<BR>urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=5983779 </link> <BR> <em>283</em> <BR> I've probably been more active on SP the past couple of months than I've been since my first couple of years here --- not here on my blo... Mon, 24 Aug 2015 14:31:43 EST Reset http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5951711 Once again I'm pushing the reset button. Last week's challenge helped me better see the changes I need to make. Sometime in the weeks ahead, I'll write about the decisions I need to make in the year ahead as I reach retirement age. I don't plan to stop working, but there may be a move and there will certainly be shifts in my schedule and priorities. <BR> <BR> Today, I'll keep this short, but it's the first day of the Summer 5% challenge and I just wanted to say how I'm looking forward to re... Sat, 27 Jun 2015 09:35:38 EST Special Ops and Flower Box Update http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5948061 This week on the CAMO team of the BLC, we're doing a Special Operations challenge. We choose the areas we want to work on in the week ahead, work our plan then report back at the end of the week. <BR> <BR> My Special Op is REGROUPING. The end of the semester at the seminary has been very stressful and my eating has been erratic. I have one or two good days, then my plan goes kaplooie. Exercise has been OK, but lacking intensity for the most part. I'm enjoying getting in ST in the evenings, t... Sat, 20 Jun 2015 06:10:03 EST Back and Forth http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5937127 My weight line on the Spark tracker keeps jiggling up and down, but still I'm showing a 7-pound loss for the 8 weeks of the 5% challenge. Back and forth is OK as long as it's mostly forth! Congrats to the other 5% losers and thanks to my fellow Firecrackers for the fun and good times on all our journeys! I had a blast! <em>283</em> <BR> <em>295</em> Now that BLC has started, I'm counting on the support of my CAMO team to help keep me going. I'll be back with the Firecrackers when they s... Sun, 31 May 2015 07:22:52 EST Cold Sophie http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5927980 Today is a day off for me - it's Ascension Day and a bank holiday in Germany. Tomorrow is "Kalte Sophia", the day for Saint Sophie, and thus the name day for an old friend. I have to remember to call her - in Poland where she's from, name days are celebrated much like birthdays are. <BR> <BR> Why "cold"? - it's the last of the name days in the spring for what they call the "ice saints." Traditionally it's the day when it's finally safe to plant your garden because the season of hard frosts ... Thu, 14 May 2015 09:33:45 EST Blogworthy Occasion! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5912716 Happy 8th Sparkiversary to me! <BR> <em>244</em> <em>252</em> <em>244</em> <BR> I celebrated by getting myself a new scale the other day, something I've been meaning to do for a long time. <BR> <BR> I love my new scale. It reads almost 4 pounds lower than my old one. <BR> <em>212</em> <em>192</em> <em>212</em> <BR> However, I know I didn't lose 4 pounds in 24 hours, much as I would like to believe I did. It would sure get me a lot closer to my goal! <BR> <BR> The thing ... Fri, 17 Apr 2015 03:20:41 EST Take Off and Spring 5% Challenge Motivation http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5905220 <em>283</em> <em>244</em> <em>283</em> <em>244</em> <em>283</em> <em>244</em> <em>283</em> <em>244</em> <BR> Today is the big day! We're starting the 5% challenge and BOY do I need it, because I've actually gained a couple of pounds since signing up. I also got behind on some of the pre-challenge assignments, so will be catching up on those over the long weekend. <BR> <BR> Here's what a whole bunch of fireworks going off at the same time looks like. You might want to turn down the... Sat, 4 Apr 2015 09:16:13 EST Spring 5% Challenge Exercise Commitment (Not a Diet!) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5897527 <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/6/4/l647407686.jpg"> <BR> <BR> This is the second of two pre-challenge activities we're asked to do. I usually just wait and jump in when the challenge starts, but I need to get started NOW, so have decided to work on these as they're posted in the 5% Challenge Community. By the way, lots of the teams have filled up already, so if you're still on the fence, now is the time to make your move. <BR> <BR> So, no, I'm not on a diet. I'm not a big fa... Sun, 22 Mar 2015 12:57:54 EST Spring 5% Challenge Exercise Commitment http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5896841 <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/1/8/l1831933326.jpg"> <BR> <BR> Here's a link to the 5% Challenge Community Team where you can sign up if it sounds like something that would "spark" you. (If all goes well, I'll be a Firecracker again): <BR> <link>www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/groups_i<BR>ndividual.asp?gid=64746 </link> <BR> <BR> The challenge starts April 4, but we've already been challenged to put together an exercise plan. So here goes: <BR> <BR> CARDIO: <BR> <BR> 30 m... Sat, 21 Mar 2015 06:34:36 EST I lied... http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5885358 In my last blog post, I said I would be posting from Florida. I lied. I'm back in Germany now, having arrived last Friday after a long trip that took me from Minneapolis to Philadelphia to Frankfurt and finally back to my little home town near Stuttgart. The trip went super smooth for which I am VERY grateful. The trip from FL to MN also went smoothly, but was rerouted through Charlotte because Dallas/Ft. Worth was shut down on the day of my trip. 900 flights cancelled because of that ice sto... Mon, 2 Mar 2015 08:30:46 EST 24 Hours http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5864200 <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/4/8/l488213069.jpg"> <BR> <BR> In about 24 hours, I'll be getting in line at the Frankfurt airport to board a flight for Dallas/Fort Worth on my way to Florida. I'm not sure about the logic of that, but at least I only have to change once and not twice. The other options would have taken me on even more of a goose chase! <BR> <BR> Before that, I'll be taking the 5:00 AM train from the little town where I live. I'll need to change trains in St... Wed, 28 Jan 2015 04:15:20 EST "Doe, a Deer" http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5856948 This blog has nothing to do with "Sound of Music", Julie Andrews or deer. It's about starting at the "very beginning." My trusty scale told me this morning that I've lost another two pounds making a total of 5 since I made me most recent restart in December. I'm happy about that, but it's also a bit anticimatic. <BR> <em>244</em> <em>24</em> <BR> I won't go into all the math and ticker setting, and I'm not going to let the numbers discourage me. I will tell you that the PLAN in Septemb... Sun, 18 Jan 2015 08:32:59 EST Hold that thought! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5851777 So far, so good. I've lost another pound after losing 2 pretty quickly in my personal challenge just after Christmas. Better still, I've been sticking to my other goals and am often reminded of my word for the year - "thrive". When things are not going according to my liking, I find myself asking, "Are you thriving?" Or "how can you continue to thrive in spite of this set-back or this situation?" What a difference an attitude makes! <BR> <BR> I'm especially enjoying my mornings. They had bec... Sun, 11 Jan 2015 12:25:53 EST Thriving in 2015 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5844470 Happy New Year, Spark friends! <BR> <BR> My “Fitter By First” personal challenge went pretty well. I lost three pounds and about half an inch off my waist and abs. More important than the numbers is that I revisited and reestablished some of those good ol' Spark habits that WORK. Yes, they really do! Exercise, tracking, avoiding evening eating, etc., etc. You know the drill. <BR> <BR> Looking back over the past two weeks (I've been unofficially on vacation), I can't believe how far off I h... Sat, 3 Jan 2015 06:05:46 EST Fitter by First http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5836724 I started out on an online challenge about two weeks ago called “Fit by First” but found very quickly that it was NOT for me. It sounded fun, but I found that the workouts consisted of exercises many of which I’m not able to do for a number of reasons and that got me discouraged. Frankly, I think burpees should be against the law. I tried modifying, but then I figured I could just design my own workouts and/or use my DVDs and online videos as I have in the past (duh!) <BR> <BR> Diet and nut... Mon, 22 Dec 2014 09:09:31 EST (Not) Hopelessly Behind http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5832682 There's always hope! This semester at the Bible school has really kept me hopping. When I took on this new "project" in the spring, I didn't know how time and energy-consuming it would be. I'm loving it, but it has meant that other things have taken a back seat. I haven't been making the best choices in eating. Exercise has been a challenge, too, because of my schedule and a variety of minor health issues. <BR> <BR> Now, I'm sooo looking forward to the holiday weeks because I'll have very f... Sun, 14 Dec 2014 05:52:09 EST Falling into fall... http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5791507 Long time, no blog! This has been a really rough couple of weeks for me. I had a deadline for reporting on my father's estate. I’ve been struggling for months to get the documents together. Not only am I NOT good at bookkeeping, it has been a really emotional process as, from time to time, it has also meant revisiting the grief at the loss of my parents. THEN, on Monday the lawyer informs me that we can file for a waiver of full accounting! This, after nights of lost sleep, searching for rece... Fri, 3 Oct 2014 06:34:28 EST New Semester http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5779686 The new semester at the seminary starts tomorrow. I'll be teaching 11 students in Intro to Christian Education. This is a new course for me and I'm putting the finishing touches on my syllabus tonight. Procrastination has been raising it's ugly head once again but it WILL get done. I also teach English Composition but I have a feeling it will be a small group this time around. I won't know till I get to class tomorrow. That makes it a little hard to prepare, but if there's one thing I've lear... Sun, 14 Sep 2014 13:27:55 EST New Shoes http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5772379 I got some new trainers yesterday. I had to throw out a pair while I was in Florida. They were getting pretty old anyway, but all the salt water and sun caused them to develop a less-than-lovely aroma that I couldn't get rid of. <BR> <em>20</em> <BR> So, I went to one of the sports stores on the way home from work yesterday, not really expecting to find anything on the sale rack in my size, but there was a pair of Asics Gel Kumos a lot like the ones I had to toss. They were marked down f... Wed, 3 Sep 2014 06:13:42 EST Watch this Space - September Goals http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5771060 Just have time for a brief Spark-related goal list. I'll post other goals later. <BR> <BR> Exercise at least 30 minutes daily. <BR> Track nutrition and stay within ranges. <BR> Complete squat and crunch challenges and work out a new, 3-times-a-week ST routine to follow up on that. <BR> Participate in the 5% challenge with the Firecracker team to the best of my ability. I'd like to have at least one 120-minute day a week for the 8 weeks. <BR> Get a minimum of 7 hours a sleep each night. <BR>... Mon, 1 Sep 2014 10:54:05 EST Reentry, Starting, Journaling http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5768706 <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/1/9/l1939915657.jpg"> <BR> I've been back from my trip to the States for almost a week but have been walking around in a fog a lot of the time. I seem to be pretty much past the jet lag. The weather here has been rainy and is about 30 degrees colder than it was in Florida, so that has also been an adjustment! <BR> <em>67</em> <em>259</em> <em>257</em> <BR> <BR> I've started back to work at the language school (one day), checked in with f... Thu, 28 Aug 2014 12:03:56 EST Going to USA and Go, Germany! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5737110 I had quite a scare last week. My boss at the language school decided they couldn't do without me and denied my vacation request after I had already booked my flight (July 22 to August 21) and Orlando hotel (July 27 to August 1). This is the first time in 15 years that I've ever had a vacation request denied! Since we merged two schools last summer, there is a much larger volume of work and some special courses that not everyone can teach. <BR> <BR> LOTS of prayer went up (thanks to those of... Sat, 12 Jul 2014 05:32:46 EST Green Beans to the Rescue http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5728763 <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/8/7/l877537339.jpg"> <BR> Saturday evening, during half time of one of the World Cup soccer matches, I went for a walk. I had been stuck inside most of the day because of the rain, and wanted to get in a spot of exercise and fresh air. I walked a big circle around my neighborhood. It's familiar and generally well-lit so there should have been no problem. But on the way home, I tripped over a curb that I didn't see and fell hard. I walk fast and I... Mon, 30 Jun 2014 05:23:18 EST 1 Guinea Pig Down and 3 Elephants to Go http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5722574 ...and about 4 to go if I'm going to reach my 5% challenge goal. The weight loss is important, but it's even more about firming up my healthy habits and routines. I'll especially need them when I travel to the US this summer. <BR> <BR> I had three goals for this past week and only partially met two of them. I did lose another pesky pound, I did ST twice instead of three times, and I tracked except for the day-and-a-half I was away over the holiday on Thursday. There really was no reason NOT... Sat, 21 Jun 2014 06:55:19 EST Losing a Guinea Pig http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5717943 <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/5/1/l517630156.jpg"> <BR> (Source: http://www.guineapigcorner.com/weight) <BR> <BR> Once again, I have lost that pesky pound that takes me below 70 kilos and down to 153 pounds. I'm determined NOT to gain it back again. And I plan to take off at least one more before the 5% challenge starts up again a week from today. <BR> <BR> I thought it might help to visualize what a pound looks like, so I played around on google and came across a list th... Sat, 14 Jun 2014 16:08:40 EST Heat Wave http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5714267 Yes, even in southern Germany, we can have heat waves! In fact, I haven't been outside today except to take out the trash. I've been working on a book translation and prepping meals for the extremely busy week ahead. It's 8 PM and it's still too hot for a walk, so I'll wait another half hour or so. According to my weather app, it got up to "felt" 98 today! <BR> <BR> Folks, I'm almost afraid to say it, but my motivation is coming back. I've had some time off this past week and it's helped me ... Mon, 9 Jun 2014 14:08:22 EST Aaarghhh! and Conviction http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5707282 So, I read on one of the threads that Spark is eliminating the Planner. A number of Sparkers are up in arms about this. If your are someone who uses that Spark feature, you may want to save the information you have there to another place, just in case Spark does go through with the change. <BR> <BR> I have to admit that I've seldom used the Planner, Journal or Calendar features myself. I had a couple of fellow Sparkers' birthdays saved, so I transferred those to my wall calendar. And I had ... Sat, 31 May 2014 07:28:54 EST Just some roses... http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5706587 This is the last day of the 5% challenge. Tomorrow will be the final weigh-in. I don't expect any surprises. I've been stuck so long but am happy not to have gained with all that has been going on for me since the start of my semester at the Bible school. <BR> <BR> The "Living the Good Life" part of the challenge this past week has been to blog every day. I missed one day, but am glad that I was able to check in on the other days. It's helped me to stay connected with the Spark community and... Fri, 30 May 2014 08:03:17 EST It's Me Again http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5706073 Today is a holiday in Germany - Ascension Day. I just got back from a good walk (with poles) with a friend. That felt good! <BR> <BR> I did not want to make the mistake that I often do on weekends - make a huge ToDo list and then get frustrated with myself when I can't accomplish everything. I've been needing my weekends to rest and the list was just making me feel guilty for doing what I really needed to do. <BR> <BR> So today I went easy on myself and have probably gotten more accomplis... Thu, 29 May 2014 13:27:21 EST Journaling http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5705335 I appreciate the comments on yesterday's blog with the top 10 list. I think I'm going to make that a daily thing for awhile. I wrote in my paper journal on the way home from work today. My writing was a little shaky as the train bounced along, but the half-hour commute is often a good time for me to do a little writing and reflecting. Or snoozing, but today I wrote. <BR> <em>102</em> <BR> Have I shared here yet that I'm going to be accompanied by a 14-year-old friend when I travel from Ge... Wed, 28 May 2014 15:50:25 EST