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/ 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 Top Tens http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5704546 I teach a course in English composition at a Bible School. My five students are from four different countries - two from Russia, one from Albania, one from Romania, and one from Germany. <BR> <BR> At the beginning of the course, I gave each of them an inexpensive journal and I've been encouraging them to write in it daily. Some of them are finding it difficult, though, especially the two young men. <BR> <BR> A couple of weeks ago, there was a special event at the school that was attende... Tue, 27 May 2014 17:08:39 EST Remembering Dad on Memorial Day http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5703605 <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/2/0/l2039846276.jpg"> <BR> <BR> He was a handsome youngin,' wasn't he? <BR> <BR> Here's the abridged story of his enlisting in the Navy, told by a dear friend at Dad's funeral: <BR> <BR> His journey into the Navy was prompted by an incident when he was a senior in high school. Periodically Jerry, and a friend named Murphy, would push the family car out of the garage and down an alley and start the engine out of range of Jerry’s sleeping par... Mon, 26 May 2014 14:18:37 EST This Week's Firecracker Challenge - Day 1 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5702002 As part of the 5% Challenge this week, we'll be given points for each day that we blog. I'm going to go for it and post a short update each day this week. <BR> <em>249</em> <BR> Today was weigh-in and I'm still stuck at 154 pounds. But I've been successful at getting more sleep this past week and have been victorious over the snooze button. I'm already starting to feel the difference in my stress levels. I'm hoping that will carry over into more successful tracking and more energy to get ... Sat, 24 May 2014 09:47:20 EST The Big Snooze http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5697050 I've had to make some hard decisions this past week. One of them was to leave the BLC. I was getting so far behind on the various steps of the challenge that it was becoming more frustrating than fun-encouraging. I just wasn't able to keep up, let alone contribute. <BR> <BR> Some of you have probably heard me quote my former pastor who used to say that "not every good idea is a God idea." Looking back, I realize that signing up was not a God idea. I have been so super busy with my new tasks... Sat, 17 May 2014 13:11:15 EST BLC 25 - Azure Island Goal-Setting http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5686275 Yes, I'm back on Azure Destinations for the Biggest Loser Challenge's 25th round! I was on the team for round 24, and then took a break because I was overwhelmed and because I would have been away for 4 weeks in the middle of the challenge period. <BR> <BR> Actually, I’m wondering what on earth I’m doing in this round because I’m just as busy as I was before, if not more so! But I know that the mutual support of my Spark buddies and teams (shoutout to the Firecrackers and Polewalkers, too!)... Sat, 3 May 2014 08:03:15 EST Happy Sparkiversary to Me! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5676854 Seven years on Spark - on again/off again but mostly on (65% login statistic). Lost a bunch of weight, gained some back, but mostly gained healthy habits that should last a lifetime. <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/6/9/l694228419.jpg"> <BR> <BR> I've gained some great friends, too, including some people and prayer partners who've seen me through a lot of difficult times including the death of both my mom and my dad. You've been there through the good times, too - like cel... Mon, 21 Apr 2014 08:11:07 EST I Know How to DO This! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5675525 I KNOW what works and what it takes to get to goal because I’ve done it before. So why don’t I do it? There are lots of reasons; some of them are really excuses. <BR> <BR> I need to discern between the two, then accept the reasons, and STOP making the excuses. Monday will be my 7th Sparkiversary! I’m tired of being stuck at the same weight without making progress. I think I’m ready to start pushing again and access the Resurrection power that we celebrate tomorrow. <BR> <BR> This is a ve... Sat, 19 Apr 2014 06:56:50 EST 5% Firecrackers http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5597625 Yes, I'm tackling another challenge even though I was overwhelmed during the last round of the 5% and the BLC. I didn't gain! And, with all that was going on during those months ---trip to the States, the sale of my parents' condo, heavy schedule at the language school, some issues with a friend that caused me some emotional stress --- I consider maintenance a success! Thanks to everyone who walked through those months with me and gave me their prayers and support. <BR> <em>104</em> <BR> ... Sat, 18 Jan 2014 04:28:17 EST Decluttering Tune http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5591397 I've been doing some decluttering lately in preparation for redoing my entry hall and bedroom. I came across this little song today and will be humming it when I go back to work on the closet tomorrow. Enjoy! <BR> <em>335</em> <BR> Too Much Stuff <BR> Words by Janet L. Janzen <BR> To the tune of “Three Blind Mice” <BR> <BR> Too much stuff, too much stuff. <BR> More than enough, more than enough. <BR> It’s out of the closets and filling our space, <BR> It’s growing and spilling all over ... Sun, 12 Jan 2014 16:27:29 EST Do You Have a Spark Routine? http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5590367 With the arrival of the new year, I’ve been inspired to do a lot of tweaking in a lot of areas. I’ll post more about that later, but I have a question: Do you have a Sparking routine? <BR> <em>38</em> <BR> Let me explain - many of us spend quite a bit of time here on the site, tracking, chatting with our friends on our pages and blogs, participating in challenges, watching and exercising to the videos, reading interesting Spark content, commenting on each other’s statuses, etc., etc., We'... Sat, 11 Jan 2014 14:50:12 EST How cool is this?! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5574754 <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/1/4/l1452763552.jpg"> <BR> <BR> This is how I would like to be entering the new year - with a great big, energetic, motivated, healthy, fit and forward-looking leap! Unfortunately, I'm still struggling with some of the basics of my healthy lifestyle and fighting (another) cold. All the more reason to post this, with faith that things will get better, that I'll find my focus and that 2014 will be an awesomely wonderful year. <BR> <BR> I'm not w... Sun, 29 Dec 2013 15:45:40 EST Disclaimer :) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5548202 <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/1/0/l1000056885.jpg"> <BR> <BR> I feel the need to post this picture of my Spark weight report (dating back to beginning of 2013)! Some of you may think I've been losing a LOT of weight due to the automatic status updates that Spark posts when you take off the pounds. I know that the scale is not the ultimate measure of our success. I just don't want to mislead anyone (myself included) into thinking I've been shedding lots of weight when I'm not... Sat, 23 Nov 2013 06:39:33 EST Bye Bye, Jet Lag http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5543496 Thanks to Jess, I just realized that I haven't posted a blog since the first few days I was in Florida! I've been back in Germany since Tuesday, hit the ground running (figuratively) at the language school, found myself falling asleep on the train commute home from the city, but unable to get to sleep at night. Ah, the delights of jet lag! I'm feeling pretty much over it now, after two nice long nights of 9+ hours each. <BR> <em>102</em> <BR> I've updated on some of my team threads about ... Sun, 17 Nov 2013 13:45:48 EST Welcome to Florida http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5524092 I arrived on Wednesday late evening. In spite of some craziness at the gate in Atlanta for my connecting flight, the trip was fine. It was a little chilly that first day, Thursday, but it's back to 80+ and sunny today. Just perfect. <BR> <BR> My message from the Bible this morning was "pursue peace" so that's what I've been keeping in mind today. I certainly needed that advice: I finally made contact with the man-with-the-financials, and made arrangements to meet with him yesterday at noon ... Sat, 26 Oct 2013 18:58:44 EST On the fly http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5519535 I got back from Switzerland over a week ago and now am packing for Florida. What a contrast! In the middle of all the travel, I managed to get a UTI and a nasty cold. The UTI is gone, the cold is not but I'm feeling better and got more meds this morning at the doctor's office. <BR> <BR> The trip to the Alps was wonderful and not what I expected. Usually, I spend the afternoons hiking and enjoying the views. I get up early and walk before breakfast, too. But we had thick fog the whole 4 days... Mon, 21 Oct 2013 15:56:34 EST Mini-Blog http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5507197 I'm off to the Swiss Alps for a 4-day retreat tomorrow. It will be a 7-hour train ride. I look forward to it - time to relax, read, listen to music and some sermon tapes, enjoy the scenery. Good fellowship, times of worship, food and fun await me at the top of the mountain! <BR> <BR> When I get back, it will be time to start the 5% challenge - my goal is to lose 7.5 pounds. I can do that. Glad to be back with the Firecracker team this time around - some familiar faces among the members and l... Mon, 7 Oct 2013 16:47:54 EST A goal by any other name... http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5503620 I posted September goals but with two big challenges and various sub-challenges going on and multiple ways to track, report and - of course - achieve them, I'm not going to make a separate list for October. My Is that OK with everyone? Good! I'm glad you all agree with me on that one! <BR> <BR> Basically, the plan is to stick to the plan. On the BLC (Go Azure!) we post Course goals each Wednesday, then report back the following week on how we did. Then we post what we need to tweak, add, or... Thu, 3 Oct 2013 15:25:25 EST Truth in Tracking http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5498452 <em>67</em> <em>465</em> <em>334</em> I've been back to tracking my food on SP this month and have been doing well about 80% of the time. As I think I mentioned in an earlier post, I do well at the beginning of the week because I plan and prep meals on the weekend. Pretty simple strategy that just involves making a big batch of something, portioning it out, and eating the "leftovers" for packed lunches and/or dinner. <em>286</em> <BR> <BR> Towards the end of the week, though, aro... Sat, 28 Sep 2013 11:04:39 EST Cruise Goals for BLC 23 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5496603 Posting again to add my BLC Cruise Goals: Where do I see myself in 12 weeks? <BR> <BR> I would like to be 8 pounds lighter. 12 would be nice but 8 is probably more realistic because of travel plans for October and November, and because of the plantar fasciitis that is cramping my exercise style. <BR> <BR> I would like to be able to go shopping in my own closet for my size 6's! <BR> <BR> I would like to have my good, healthy habits back in place consistently including sleep, tracking food... Thu, 26 Sep 2013 07:31:26 EST Fly-by Post and BLC 23 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5495072 Gearing up for my first BLC as a member of the Azure Destinations team, and feeling a mix of trepidation and excitement. I'm sticking with my September goals but adding the 3-post-a-week requirement to the list. <BR> <BR> Now, I'm on my way to bed after a very long work day. Today's summery weather was lovely but also made me tired, I think. These temperature ups and downs are hard on the system sometimes! <BR> <BR> Looking forward to trying out my new insoles tomorrow and hoping that they... Tue, 24 Sep 2013 16:16:09 EST I don't know what to think... http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5491772 ...so I'm not going to think about it too much. Pray some instead. <BR> <BR> I just got a call from the director of the Bible school where I taught some 15 years ago asking me if I could imagine coming back to teach in the spring 2014 semester. I won't go into details, but this is rather amazing when you consider the circumstances surrounding the end of my time there. I said yes...but the details will still need to be worked out. It would be a chance to teach in my field of study - missiolog... Sat, 21 Sep 2013 09:06:41 EST I love Germany http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5488329 So, this morning I left my groovy, neoprene, imported-from-the-USA, BUILT lunch bag on the train. Funny, because I usually have so much to carry and I remember to gather all my things before I get off. But today, I only had my shoulder bag and the lunch bag and somehow left the latter at my seat. I didn't notice till I got to work because there was some kind of technical problem with the trains and I had to make a different connection, using the underground. <BR> <BR> Losing the bag made m... Tue, 17 Sep 2013 13:42:19 EST One year ago today...(long!) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5486142 A year ago today, early on a Friday morning, my father died one month after suffering a debilitating stroke. Although his speech was severely impaired, and he had difficulty swallowing and walking without assistance, we had hopes that he would recover. But he contracted pneumonia while in the hospital. This weakened him even more but he continued to struggle to regain some mobility. Even the efforts of the staff of the rehab facility where he spent his last few days were not enough to turn th... Sun, 15 Sep 2013 11:31:44 EST Upsanddowns http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5484830 Tomorrow will be a much-needed free day after a strenuous week at work, and dealings with the lawyer, bank and real estate people who are back in Florida working to get my parents' condo sold. <BR> <BR> I've wavered on some of my September goals but am still hanging in there on most of them. One thing I need to do is rework my meal-planning and prep. I do well at the beginning of the week because I generally cook a big batch of something that will last for two or three days, cut up lots of ... Fri, 13 Sep 2013 18:05:35 EST A pretty good week! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5479533 Here's an update on my progress toward the fitness goals I set for September. <BR> <BR> 1. I tracked food and exercise every day except yesterday (Saturday) but I think I was within my ranges nonetheless, and posted on the 5% challenge thread as well. <BR> <BR> 2. I cut WAY back on the Coke Zero, drinking a glass here or there, but probably consumed half of what I have been drinking and had none at all on at least one day. <BR> <BR> 3. Got in my 30 minutes of exercise a day. My feet... Sun, 8 Sep 2013 13:28:29 EST September Goals http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5472220 <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/1/6/l1669502357.jpg"> <BR> <BR> Translation: Keep your head up! <BR> <BR> I've had this postcard on my wall for several years. Time to take the advice - again! <BR> <BR> I wanted to measure today but forgot and got dressed so will do that tomorrow. I like to do that first thing in the morning. <BR> <BR> So, back to basics fitness goals for this month: <BR> <BR> 1. Track food and exercise daily, and post exercise on the challenge thread. ... Sun, 1 Sep 2013 03:42:59 EST Late Summer Check-In http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5471725 Preferring to call it that instead of "early fall." Or does "early fall" sound more optimistic? with the "early" and all? <BR> <BR> 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 t... Sat, 31 Aug 2013 13:34:10 EST Saturday Breather http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5427166 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. <BR> <BR> Update on the update in my last post: <BR> <BR> 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.... Sat, 20 Jul 2013 09:07:02 EST Sunny Germany http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5382116 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 al... Sat, 8 Jun 2013 06:31:18 EST Another Day http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5359552 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! <BR> <BR> 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. <BR> <BR> I've made some progress on some of the items on my lists of lists, b... Fri, 17 May 2013 17:23:47 EST Transitions http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5358141 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 :) <BR> <BR> 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 dco... Thu, 16 May 2013 03:12:46 EST As the new year approaches... http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5181269 Just thought I'd share this quote from Christian writer Francis Frangipane: <BR> <BR> "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 ... Sun, 30 Dec 2012 19:12:40 EST Thanksgiving in the USA http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5143509 Waking up a little later than usual (over the jet lag!) to a sunny, breezy, cool south Florida day... <BR> <BR> Reading posts on Facebook from friends around the country and the world... <BR> <BR> Watching the Macy's Day Parade and smiling to think of how my German friends would react to this very American tradition... <BR> <BR> Baking mini-muffins in my Mom's kitchen... <BR> <BR> Talking with the neighbors about our outdoor Christmas decorating plans for the weekend... <BR> <BR> Gett... Thu, 22 Nov 2012 13:17:58 EST Packing and "putzing" http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5131458 "Putzen" actually means cleaning in German, but I'm doing the English version when I should be doing more of the German version. <BR> <BR> 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. <BR> <BR> 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 ... Sun, 11 Nov 2012 11:21:53 EST Booked http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5103323 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! Thu, 18 Oct 2012 06:05:56 EST One month later... http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5099985 ...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. <BR> <BR> 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... Mon, 15 Oct 2012 13:48:30 EST Reunited and at peace... http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5061636 <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/5/5/l55131530.jpg"> <BR> <BR> My dad passed away quietly yesterday morning at 5:30 AM. We had been able to move him to his hometown for rehab, and there were signs of improvement over the first few days. In the end, I think he was tired and ready to go. It's hard to know how much he understood his condition, but he would not have wanted to continue in this state for long. He may have known better than we did that he wouldn't be able to paint aga... Sun, 16 Sep 2012 13:49:44 EST A week later http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5029669 ...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. <BR> <BR> We are prayi... Fri, 24 Aug 2012 18:14:11 EST Prayers for my Dad http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5019888 Dad fell the night before I was to leave for Germany. In fact, I had already checked in online. <BR> <BR> 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. <BR> <BR> I'm so grateful that I was still here ... Fri, 17 Aug 2012 19:45:05 EST Check-in from Florida http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=4999393 Hi folks! <BR> <BR> 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. <BR> <BR> In the meantime, I'm loving the heat and sunshine. I have to time my exercise for the cooler times of the day ... Fri, 3 Aug 2012 10:51:01 EST Ireland! Germany! USA! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=4966612 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. <BR> <BR> 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. <BR> <BR> In fact, this trip is an answer to pr... Thu, 12 Jul 2012 05:22:19 EST