Monday, June 4, 2012

"Marmie" Comes to Germany

Happy Monday friends!
 I hope you had a lovely and relaxing weekend and are ready to face your new week (either in the office, at home, or wherever you might find yourself) with positive thoughts and determination to be thankful for even the smallest of things when the biggest of things try to get you down. If you can't tell this has been my challenge/mantra to myself the past few weeks, haha. 

Between dealing with my health issues seeming to get worse and my new husband gearing up for a deployment later in the year, I have been battling fearful thoughts left and right.

Due to Kiwi needing to leave for a "handful" of time, we all decided very recently (along with my current 3rd Dr., three times might actually be the charm!) that I needed to have someone with me and not be alone while I am having these low blood pressure/blacking out, etc.symptoms.

Sooo, I am currently finding myself sitting next to my mother who traveled all the way to Germany with only about 48 hours of notice! She packed her bags and hopped on her first plane to Europe like a trooper!

Could I look anymore happy and grateful to have her on the ground by my side?!
"Marmie" flew in this past Friday and the next morning we were buying goodies at my local farmer's market for a yummy dinner on my balcony. I must admit that I have been relying on my husband to do most the chatting with the locals; but thank goodness I had been stepping out of my comfort zone more the past few weeks and learning a little more German while he and I were out and about. By the time mom and I were walking away with our bags full of yummy treats my brain was in full on German mode (to the best of my ability and current vocabulary, ha).

Here were our goodies:
weiss spargel (white asparagus), cantaloupe, carrots with tops, beet roots with tops, olives, goat cheese, dolmas, stuffed peppers, and tzatziki sauce. I mentioned my veggies that had their tops because that required a very humorous and "charade like" discussion to keep those tops for my juicing purposes! LOL

After dropping off our purchases at the apartment we met up with my friend and neighbor to take a stroll around town...
This is a beautiful church that is near the markplatz (where the farmer's market is held). You can hear the bells chime daily and they are especially cheerfully dancing on Sundays.

This is a statue of what seems to be a good Samaritan handing money to a poor local. 

After a little stroll  though part of the town we took a relaxing walk through a beautiful park where there are water fountains, ponds, and landscape that made you feel like you had stepped into one of Monet's paintings...pretty close to it anyways ;).

In the middle of the park there is a quaint little "beergarten" where I must admit I had to buy mom a small Ratler so she could experience the German specialty of a lemonade beer!

After all of this excitement and walking around I was pretty worn out (my energy level is low due to whatever is going on with me) and mom was just as ready to head back to the apartment to taste our smorgasbord of food from our market trip.

When all was said and done we had quite a fun filled day as "Marmie's" first day in Germany. And who would have guessed that she would be over here being my buddy in almost just a snap of the fingers...

I share all of this because I believe that God watches out for his "children" just like our real parents do. He is ready and willing to be there in just a blink of an eye, especially when we are willing to ask for His help.

Even though my current health issues are a mystery to the doctors (for the time being) and I have heightened fear because of Kiwi's impending deployment, I will not be ruled by these fears- no matter how many times they try to sneak up and overwhelm me.

I believe that we have power and victory over fear and anything that tries to steal away our joy, peace, and happiness. God has given us the ability to move above and beyond our circumstances. It's up to us though if we are going to sit and camp in our fears or stand up and tell them to take a hike!

I don't have all the answers and I deal with my fears every day, but I am also learning more each day about how to "give 'em the boot" and live my day with peace instead. God want's us to live a full and long life filled with all the happiness and peace we can possibly contain.Sometimes he's just waiting for us to give him a "call" and say: "I need you. Can you come stay a while".

 I guarantee that no mater where you are in the world He will be there in a jiffy :).

-Meg (and "Marmie")

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Remembering Tyler's Deployment Day (3 Years Ago)

3 years ago today I said goodbye to an amazing man that I loved dearly. He was on his way to war but even that couldn't wipe the smile off his face. I remember we sat in the little building on post, with our friends Eric Edstrom and Lindsay Marchbanks, as Tyler played around on his guitar and strummed favorite songs by Johnny Cash

He was ready to walk into the future and tackle whatever came his way. After about and hour of waiting on post they announced that we had a few last few seconds to say goodbye. Tyler packed up his guitar and as we said our final goodbye in the rain I clung to the last grasp of his fingers and then he slung his weapon over his shoulder and joined formation. He was was right in front of me but he was gone.

I stood there, as though the rain froze me in place, and watch him as he became part of a sea of ACUs and weapons. For a few seconds I lost him in the group of men but then finally there he was- with a smile still grinning from ear to ear. I will never understand what makes a man excited to go off to war, but what I do know is that it takes character to face an unknown future with a smile on your face.

I didn't know that morning what was in my future, or that that moment was my last goodbye in person to Tyler. I didn't know that barely 4 months later I would have to say the hardest goodbye I've ever had to utter to someone who was already gone.

We never know what is in our future, and I've spent the past 3 years trying to learn how to live more in the moment, as Tyler did. He was sure and steadfast in his faith in God. When I think back on conversations that we had I can't help but wonder how much of what he said to me was him, or God talking through him. His words before deployment and letters throughout deployment were full of strength, hope, and peace.He was always reminding me to place my trust in God and "enjoy the journey of life".

I have struggled many days since we lost Tyler in Afghanistan, but I have also seen the Lord pour blessings over my life. I remember the very first words I managed to say to my family the day after we lost Tyler and I flew home to Virginia. As they all huddled around and cried with me all I could say was that there was nobody else out there for me. There was nobody that could love me the same and understand me the same. My heart was shattered and I couldn't see how there ever would be hope for a future with love...

Tyler told me something very important a few days before he left. He looked me square in my eyes, only inches away, put both hands on my shoulders, and said: " Meg, if something happens and I don't come back I want you to find a man that loves you as much as I do. You need someone that will support you and push you to do all that you are able to do. Find someone that will encourage you to do something with your writings and help you pursue your dreams...". I was so emotional during this conversation that my mind wandered elsewhere while he was talking and I can now only remember bits and pieces of the rest of what he said. What is important though is that he set free with that conversation. He prepared my heart for what was ahead and he planted a seed in my heart that would one day be able to bloom into a love for someone else.

That someone else is now my husband of almost 4 months. 'Kiwi' is everything I was so determined wasn't out there for me, and everything I know Tyler would (and did) wish for me to have in this life on earth. My husband is my rock and my forever. Now that I can look back, I believe God placed Tyler in my life to help prepare me for who he had planned for me to live life with all along. I can't claim to know all the reasons things happened the way they did, but I do know that Tyler was in my life for very specific reasons. He made me stronger, challenged me to dig deeper into my faith, made me laugh, made me cry, taught me to trust a man again, made me feel beautiful, with God's help he restored my self worth, and he helped me understand God's heart just a little more each day. He made me come alive and feel again after going through so many bad relationships and shutting myself down. He made me strong again. He helped me be what my name means- 'strong at heart'. In the year that we were together he prepared me for my future without even knowing it.

I now have an incredible man that I am blessed to call my husband and I have a future I can walk into with him. He is loving, patient, supportive of my writing, encourages me to follow my dreams, and is always there for me. He loves me despite my "uglies" and is more than I ever dreamed I would have in my life. Kiwi is truly the answer to many wordless prayers that were simply cries from my soul.

I still have sad days and moments when I miss Tyler, but I remind myself that this is not the end and I will see him again one day. Here and now though I will continue to live my life just as he asked me to do that day; and I am beyond blessed to walk this earth hand in hand with my adoring husband.

Living with purpose, faith, and love,

Monday, May 21, 2012

Rise and Praise

Good morning sweet friends!

I wanted to share a little bit of what's on my heart and my latest health experiences. I know some of you that read my postings also deal with anxiety, depression, grief and more. I share my personal experiences in hopes that I might be an encouragement and companion to you along your own journey towards healing. It is a lonely road when you travel on your own and I personally have been so encouraged when I have met other people/friends that are on the same path as me. It makes our experiences feel less lonely when there is someone there to listen and who truly understands what emotional and physical health hurdles you face each day. I hope that in some way my blog is a way for you to feel less lonely on this journey, and that the various health tips, recipes, strange concoctions :), quotes, and my personal experiences I share will bring your body and soul strength and encouragement.

The latest hurdle in my journey has been two Dr. visits on the military base here. It has been hard to switch from a caring holistic doctor in the States, who took lots of time with me and understood my approach to wanting to heal my body as naturally as possible (she would even give me a hug at the end of each visit; which I believe is some of the best medicine!), to now seeing a standard doctor that is more used to prescribing pills that only focus on the symptoms. There have been times I needed those, but I believe that it is extremely important to find the root of the problem and to have total physical and/or emotional healing.

My first doctor visit on the military base here was so terrible that I left the office in tears and my husband and I immediately went to the office to request a new PCM (essentially my military doctor while stationed in Germany). We were given a new doctor that I could see on post, and I am currently waiting to hear from the office if there is also a holistic doctor on the economy that I might be able to see.

Last week I went to see the new assigned doctor who was at least willing to listen to me and run some tests; instead of the prior one who was shoving me out the door before I could even finish what my symptoms are. The only problem now is that I personally absolutely believe that I am blood deficient, which is causing a lot of my symptoms that are unrelated to anxiety/panic, and so giving 6-7 tubes of blood ended up making me super lethargic and weak for three full days afterwards. I knew I needed to have the tests done but it really feels like I'm between a rock and a hard place sometimes. In the mean time I have been taking lots of iron supplements and making healthy meals that help with blood building. It seems to help me feel better after I eat/take these different things, but I also know that it takes time to build your blood. The past two days have been a little rough and scary due to feeling dizzy and "out of body" almost constantly throughout the day, so I end up feeling like I could pass out any second; which isn't very comforting when my hubby is away at work or on trips.

So, the moral of this story :) that I have been spending a lot of time focusing on verses in the Bible that I can meditate on when fear and anxiety start to creep into my thoughts. Dealing with anxiety and panic attack on their own are difficult enough. Throw in additional health issues and that panic becomes an even bigger monster that refuses to go away. I have found that praise and worship music really helps keep my mind off unhelpful thoughts and reminds me of where to focus my thoughts and put my faith. I know my God is bigger that any health issue or panic filled thought that ever enters my mind. I am determined to win this battle and I know that "nothing is impossible with God."- Luke 1:3

Here are a few of my favorites verses at the moment:

When I am upset and beside myself, he will calm me down and cheer me up.
(paraphrased from Psalm 94:19 in The Message)

"If you'll hold on to me for dear life," says God, "I'll get you out of any trouble. I'll give you the best of care if you'll only get to know and trust me.Call me and I'll answer, be at your side in bad times; I'll rescue you, then throw you a party. 
Psalm 91:14-15 The Message

"Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns." 
Philippians 4:6- The Message

"If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers - most of which are never even seen - don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes." 
 Matthew 6:30-34 -The Message

After the last two frustrating days, including this morning, of feeling unwell (shaky, out of body, dizzy, nauseous, etc.) and discouraged; I am determined to keep my mind focus on what I know to be true. My God adores me and knows my every need. He has everything under control and is just waiting for me to trust Him to provide and heal. I will choose to rejoice in all situations and live each day with purpose instead of fear. It is not an easy task, but I know I am not alone and he will give me encouragement and strength through my friends and well as when I sit quietly to listen to His voice- He will speak life into my soul. 

So, this morning I woke up choosing to have an attitude of thankfulness for a beautiful day and went to make myself a yummy healthy smoothie with my new German blender :). Here are some snapshots of my morning.

Blessings to you along this trail we are on.
Your "hiking buddy" :),

Be blessed, Meg

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Minty Fresh Lemonade with Manuka Honey

Yay! I'm finally able to sit down for a little spell and tell you about the tasty fresh lemonade I made last week and how the moving into our apartment is going! I have managed to reduce the pile of boxes down to just a few that contain clothes and shoes. After maaaany trips to Ikea down the street, we finally decided on two adorable gray 'his' and 'hers' armours for the bedroom. So hopefully those boxes will disappear soon too! It's been quite a challenge to come up with creative storage options for the apartment since Germany isn't big on building closets in their homes. Yesterday we picked up a cute white shelf for the bathroom, which I am very proud that I managed to put together on my own this morning (with only picture directions), and it is now in the bathroom waiting to be super useful :). I will share pictures of that accomplishment in my next post!

While I was unpacking last week....

...I decided I needed a little break, so I stopped to make some tasty mint lemonade with the lemons and mint I had purchased from the local market, and sweetened it with Manuka honey that my mother-in-law sent us from New Zealand. I pretty much threw everything together until it tasted perfecto and viola- mint lemonade in a mason jar!

For those of you who might feel a little more comforted by having a 'recipe':
1. juice about 5-6 lemons
2. chop about a half cup of fresh mint leaves
3. add 3-4 tablespoons of Manuka honey (melt first)
4. shake up and let sit in fridge overnight for a more minty flavor
5. Strain with a cheese cloth the next day and- enjoy!
*I used less honey and added a little bit of truvia to sweeten naturally without the calories. 

(Be sure to click on the Manuka link above to find out what all this special honey has in it and can do for your health!)

 (ingredients-= simple)

(a touch of pretty lemon to top it off)

(and of course I needed a little slice of poppy seed cheesecake, which we had picked up at the market the day before, to go along with my refreshing homemade beverage :).

Love, Meg

Monday, May 7, 2012

Home Goodies Arrived!

Hi friends!

I haven't had much Internet access(and apparently it might take a while for the German Internet provider to make a trip to our apartment). I will do my best though to keep you updated on our 'setting up home' progress! I simply can't wait to start cooking and making raw treats in my kitchen soon!

In the mean time, check out The Watered Sprout on Facebook for some photos from the other day when our home goodies finally arrived (at 6:30 AM!...So please excuse the 'just rolled out of bed' look, ha)and I was once again reunited with my wonderful kitchen friends :0).


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Moving into Our Nest!

Well we are finally out of the military hotel and in our cute little apartment! We have our "unaccompanied luggage", which has been sitting in our hotel room this whole time, so we at least have our air mattress and basic necessities. All of the rest of our home goods will be delivered tomorrow...and then the real fun begins :0).

I can't begin to express how elated I am to finally have a home here in Germany and feel like we are a "normal" couple. It will also be like a mini Christmas since we still have wedding gifts to unwrap now that it's 3 months later- crazy huh?!

I might not be able to update my blog as frequently the next few weeks, due to temporary Internet restrictions (I am currently writing from my iPhone), but I will try my best to share the latest news! Be sure to check our my Facebook page to stay even more informed in our adventures here!

I must admit I think I am most excited to finally have a kitchen again and be able to make so many yummy and health goodies for my hubby and me!! I look forward to sharing pics and ideas soon...and trying out all those great recipes that I have found on pinterest (boy, I think I could spend days on there and never even notice the time tick by!).

I will do my best to post move in pics tomorrow!


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Running the Race in Life

Happy Sunday friends!

The other day I was moved to tears after watching an extremely motivating and encouraging video of a gal who took a fall during a race on a track field in 2008. What moved me is her determination and how she showed so many people what can still be accomplished when you pick yourself up and run with perseverance.

Stress, worry, anxiety and fear are all crippling and I know from personal experience that it is often so difficult to pick myself up, so to speak, and keep running the race of life every day. This video is so simple but it was an emotional reminder to me that nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37). 

Hebrews 12:1-2
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 

Be inspired by the video.

"Running a race" (in which I mean living every day life, haha) through anxiety and grief, or just every day stress in the modern world, in not a solo race. It is a relay race. I am learning that the heartache and struggles we go through in life are what link us together and allow us to become stronger as a Believers. My life story and pain allows me to understand other women who have suffered loss and anxiety in a way that someone else may not know. No matter what our story, it is our responsibility as a Christan to "carry the baton" by being there to offer words of encouragement, prayer, or simply a listening ear. We all have our own race to run in life, but the beauty of the race is when we learn the art of passing along batons so that either others can help us finish the race, or we can help someone else continue.

And as an added bonus here is another video I just found of an Olympian that was determined to not give up. When his father saw his pain he ran out onto the track and helped his son finish the race. This is what our Heavenly Father does for us.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pretty Paint Colors

(*see photo description below post)

I met the painter yesterday and turned in the final choices for our pretty wall colors! It was quite an interestng conversation due to the language barrier, but thanks to my friend Melissa (Daniel and I met her and her husband shortly after we arrived in Germany; and her husband is currently deployed) we were able to explain which colors go where and that all other walls and ceilings would be "weiss" (white). The painter is a very chipper man and although we could barely understand one another he always had a smile on his face and was making some funny joke in German. After about an hour of playing our own version of German Charades we handed him the apartment key, the colorful wheel of paint colors I had borrowed, and walked out the door and down the hall to...Melissa's apartment! Yep, that's right. We are going to be neighbors...literally only a few doors down the hallway and our balconies are so close that we joke we will be able to pass butter and sugar across. We've also thought about making a tin can telephone :o). It will be nice to have each other so close when the guys are away being little warriors in far off lands.

Stay tuned...I can't wait to show you pics of when the apartment in painted and we finally get to move in and make a homey spot here in Germany!

Love, Meg

(*This was the only photo I took on my phone before I turned the color wheel in, so it will have to do until you see the colors on the walls! The teal on the bottom of the strip, closest to you, is going on some walls in the kitchen, adjoining living room, and open loft. The gray with be in the hallway, peach/orange on a wall in the bedroom, and unfortunately you can't see the lovely vintage green that will be in the office.)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Moving Beyond Worry and Anxiety- Joyce Meyer Broadcast

Hi sweet friends!
In a recent post I shared a great quote about dealing with fear, and I told you about Joyce Meyer's book that I am currently reading. My mother has always been a big fan of Joyce Meyer and as a result she has gotten me hooked on her teachings and books. 

The most recent teaching I listened to is called Moving Beyond Worry and Anxiety. The title alone made me get excited to hear what she had to say, haha. A lot of what she talks about is in the book I'm reading, but I found it good to hear her in addition to what I'm reading. It's also nice to see her speaking since her teachings on her website are actual broadcasts instead of just audio clips.

If you need a little pick me up and encouragement to stop being a fellow "worry wort" then pour a spot of tea (or your favorite beverage) and take a listen :o). 

Cheers to staying positive and worry free,

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Nesting Fever

Praise be...after many frustrating set backs, which have added up to two months worth of living in the military hotel, we finally signed for our cute little apartment this morning! Two weeks and counting until move in day. Oh how I can't wait to be surround by the moving day chaos and be buried in brown boxes as they pile to the ceiling! This little birdie is ready to start doing some serious nesting and wedding present opening!

I am most excited about my adorable little kitchen in the apartment and being able to make yummy healthy meals and desserts again. I think I have made just about every healthy'ish' meal that one can make on the two hot pads in our hotel kitchenette. I am sooo looking forward to operating an oven once again and having more than 12 inches of counter space to chop and slice on. It will also be nice to have more than one cabinet again for all my scrumptious Yogi teas and various cooking spices that I've accumulated in the past two months. I have had my share of organizing challenges with the two mini cabinets in the kitchenette. It is no coincidence that IKEA is within walking distance from our new apartment! I will soon be raiding the shelves for handy little organizing gadgets and kitchen ware. Oooh boy, I just can't wait to dig into all those boxes and let the newspaper and bubble wrap fly! What a day it will be!

Stay Tuned, Meg


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Eat Your Oats

This is one of my favorite things to make for breakfast when I'm needing a little extra pep in my step. The natural sugar from the blueberries and raw honey, combined with bee pollen (yes you read that right), give me the perfect amount of energy that I need for a busy morning or a late morning workout.

1 Cup Robs Red Mill Steel Cut Oats
3/4 Cup Organic Blueberries
1/4 Cup Chopped Pecans (or whatever other nut you love)
1/2 Tablespoon of Organic Bee Pollen (sprinkled on top)
Manuka Honey/Raw Honey (about 1-2 Tablespoons drizzled on top)
A Dash of Organic Cinnamon
...and Viola!

 Enjoy, Meg

Monday, April 16, 2012

Don't Worry-Be Happy (Insert Whistle)

I bet you just started singing the tune (or whistling it!) to this familiar song :o). My mom has always sang this little ditty to me when I have needed to refocus my thoughts and stop my unnecessary fretting. 

When I lived in Colorado Springs I attended Woodmen Valley Chapel and LOVED the pastor and warm family of believers there. I always found the pastor, Matt Heard, on target with his teachings and really enjoyed the way he uses props and art in his messages. He is truly a gifted teacher and I never walked away feeling like my mind and spirit hadn't learned anything. I felt richer in knowledge and prompted to think more on the topics that he raised. 

Daniel and I hope to return to Colorado Springs when we are done with his service here in Germany, and I am so excited to be able to attend this wonderful church again. For now though, I will have to settle for his teachings on video and audio clips!

Today I found a really good teaching by the church's associate pastor, Doug Olsen, and knew I had to share it with you. This teaching has some important reminders of what worry does to us and what God desires for us to do to be free of worry. 

Whip out your notepad and take some notes along with me :o).
Love, Meg

Friday, April 13, 2012

And the Award Goes to...40 Healthy Foods!

It's Fabulous Friday!!

I just read through the March magazine from Natural Health (the magazines available on post can be a little behind, ha) and I wanted to share this article that they put together on 40 yummy and healthy foods. Some of these I have tried before and didn't care for, like Sea Snacks, but then others have become my favorites. I'm a big fan of Udi's gluten free bread, as well as Justin's almond butter and Applegate chicken breast tenders. I probably won't find these other ones, that I haven't tried before, in my local commissary or German grocery store, but I will definitely be looking for what I can order from good 'ol amazon. I hear that amazon has one of the quickest websites that ships to where we are stationed. Apparently most of the other on-line orders can take up to a month to receive. Yikes! I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that this is true for amazon so I can order some yummy organic treats and have them on my plate soon :o).

Happy Snacking!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Feed Your Faith

"Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death."- from Spiritual Inspiration Blog

I found this great photo and quote while I was checking out pinterest. I have only just joined the creative website's bandwagon and I must admit...I'm addicted!!! 

This quote really stuck with me and I am planning on taking my own version of this photo so I can put it on canvas with the quote and hang it in my home. 

I struggle with my fears daily, and they often feel like vines that are trying to choke the life out of me; but I know from experience that the more time you spend reading the Bible the more you will be replacing the fears with God's promises. When my head is full of His promises of unending love, protection and deliverance then there is less room for my fears to grow and overtake me. 

I recently started reading a book by Joyce Meyer called Living Beyond Your Feelings. I have made it half way through in the past 3 days and am excited to share what I am learning about overcoming negative feelings. I highly suggest this book...and make sure you have a trusty highlighter in hand!

Love, Meg

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Take an Exhale!

(photo from

Good morning ladies! I was reading through some articles on Mind Body this morning and the last one of their highlights today is about learning simple breathing exercises to help calm your anxiety and nerves. I gave it a try and absolutely feel much more relaxed. The exercise simply involves exhaling longer than you inhale. When you do this you are telling your brain to turn on your parasympathetic nervous system (which controls how your body can rest and relax, as well as your digestion) and dial down the sympathetic nervous system (which elevates your heart rate, quickens your breathing, and is responsible for pumping cortisol hormones into your blood stream so that you are ready for whatever you are 'fighting or flighting').

I will be giving this technique a go every time I start to feel stressed or overwhelmed this week. I am going to keep a log of how long I do the exercise and what my mood is like after I am done. I would love to hear your feedback if you try it as well :o).

When life becomes to stressful and you start to feel the panic rise- take a breath...and then a LONG exhale!

Love, Meg

Friday, April 6, 2012

Scentsational: Sniff Your Way to Bliss

I recently read about a study of the power that citrus scents have over us. Our sense of smell is a part of our limbic system, and this is what processes memories and emotions. There are billions of perfumes and colones out there with various hints of flowers, herbs, fruits and more. But did you know that studies find that "citrus notes have been found to have an uplifting, antidepressant effect" as mentioned by Karen Gilbert, author of A Green Guide to Natural Beauty? 

My own little sniffer has always been more attracted to perfumes that have a light citrus scent to them, but I never would have guessed that these favorite scents may be helping to spiff up my mood. Maybe our little noses are naturally attracted to what our mind and bodies need sometimes :o). 

My favorite chemical free perfume is Pacifica. They have so many fun combinations to choose from and it makes my skin happy just knowing that I'm not putting harmful toxins on my body. I have been using their California Star Jasmine roll-on for about a year now and I absolutely love it. I actually found out from a gal in my holistic nutrition course last year that Jasmine oil is great for women to connect with their femininity and also helps in when dealing with grief.

In the article I read they gave some great suggestions for healthy beauty products that are citrus scented. They included Pacifica's Tuscan Blood Orange Perfume in their list and I am super excited to try this one now that Spring and Summer are on their way!

So not only is it good to eat lots of oranges, lemons and the like, but don't be afraid to smell like a walking fruit stand while you're at it as well :o). 

Cheers to citrus bliss!

Also, check out my favorite face wash by Avalon Organic- Vitamin C

(This was a fruit stand near the hotel we stayed in for our recent honeymoon in Paris.)

Love, Meg

Monday, April 2, 2012

Be Strong and Carry On

Hi gals! If you are feeling frazzled and discouraged then grab a spot of tea, or your favorite coffee concoction,  and join me in repeating the verse below until it spins through our minds like a broken record :o). Here's to positive thought and taking authority over the dark gloomies! Have a marvelous Monday!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Unwanted Feelings Can Make Room for Blossoms of Hope

My wonderful friend Jenn shared this poem with me the other day and it was the perfect reminder that even the ugly and sorrowful emotions that visit me can make things beautiful, whether or not they are invited.  I'm slowly learning that it is in welcoming those often unwanted feelings that I can clean out space and make a little more room inside to let love and positive thoughts grow in my heart. Be encouraged and let's not be afraid to make some room for new blossoms of hope.

(This was a flower shoppe near our hotel in Paris when we were there on our honeymoon. Looking at this always makes me smile and adds a little color to my day.)

The Guest House by Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Transparency, Vunlerability, and Positive Thought the past few months my new hubby and I have moved from the States to Germany, and then traveled from Germany to Paris France, France back to Stuttgart Germany, Stuttgart to Munich; and now we are home for a week before we go back out the door.

I must admit we have learned valuable lessons in our marriage as we have traveled and driven in these wonderful and strange lands. One thing is for sure, I am probably not the best navigator/co-pilot in the world and we will definitely make sure we have a handy dandy GPS in the car when we embark on our next thrilling adventure :o). 

There has been lots of fun since we moved to Germany, but there have also been many difficult and trying moments. Europe is grand and we feel so blessed to have to opportunity to travel and see many wonderful things in the world. However, the price we have to pay to be here seems to be growing larger and gloomier each day. The tour that Daniel is serving in Germany will soon start requiring him to travel quite often throughout Europe for training; and then eventually the day will come when we will have to goodbye as he heads off to Afghanistan towards the end of the year. As most of you know this is something that will be super difficult not only because all deployments are, but also because I lost Tyler in Afghanistan 2 and a half years ago.

I still battle anxiety, as well as iron and adrenal issues,  so it has been a huge struggle to focus on positive thoughts now that we are starting to see a broader list of Daniel's itinerary for the next two years. Even though we are a ways from November I am finding that my emotions are ping-ponging all over the place and I seem to need a box of tissues every couple of days. 
I don't share this because I want to be a 'Debbie Downer', but I simply want to be transparent with friends and readers so that you can see into my heart and daily struggles a little easier.  

I started this blog as a result of my battle with anxiety after Tyler was killed in action; and even though sharing these struggles is an extremely vulnerable place to be, I want to make sure I am being honest about what I am still going through. When I first started searching the internet for answers and help to me deal with my panic attacks and grief I didn't find much at all that I could relate to or take helpful information from. I was constantly looking for people who might be dealing with the same emotions, grief, and physical reactions to their loss. I searched for hours to try and find healthy and holistic alternatives to anti-depression or anxiety drugs. Eventually I found a book that started to answer my questions a little and it at least got me started on some sort of path to healing. If you have been following my blog a little you know that I share a lot of the information I found in The Mood Cure in my earlier posts.

I still need answers for my physical healing, and I know that my emotional healing will always be a challenging journey. When you lose someone you love the experience you have gone through is forever a part of your being; and though you can find strength and healing as time goes by you will always feel the scar. 

I know that I never could have made it through my grief without my faith in God and the belief that He would mend my brokenness. I don't have the answers that I've wanted since September 10, 2009, but I know that I am not alone on this journey. I know that my God is there, whether I feel him or not, and he will carry me through if I am too weak to walk. There have been many times I can't hear his voice and many times I have questioned his love, but I have been through enough to know that He has been there as my rock in my time of deepest need. He has been there even when I didn't want him. He has blessed my life once more with an amazing man (that is now my adoring husband) when I thought that love had been forever stripped from my life. I know enough to know that I am broken- but I am blessed.

My biggest desire is that my experience with grief and anxiety will somehow encourage you to never give up if you are on the same journey for physical and emotional healing. I never want to be negative in my writing but simply share my thoughts and be completely honest. I will always try to find something positive to share along with the difficulties so that not only can I encourage you, but I can also remind myself of my blessings and triumphs. 

 (On our way to our new home in Germany- February 2012)

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Real Page Turner

It is my most favorite of all out there and it speaks to me like no other can. It is the best dressed in the group and always wears the most dreamy "jacket". It treats me with respect and always knows just what I need to hear. I used to dabble in some of the other 'crafty' ones, but recently it has won my heart. 

Okay, all kidding aside, this is a really super wonderful magazine that is just full of great advise when it comes to homemaking, organizing, decorating, travel, clean eating/detox ideas, and even encouraging Bible verses. . . yes. I said it- Bible verses. The magazine 'life:Beautiful' is like a Christian version of all of Martha Stewart's best magazine issues put together. It is a best friend in the form of a magazine.

I originally discovered the magazine this past Christmas and knew right then that a subscription would be the perfect gift for my mom. It's turned out that she loved it so much I decided to give it as a gift for my sis, and now finally I am ordering a subscription for myself. One of the things we all love about this magazine is that not only does it include so many ideas, but it also has a Bible study guide and is full of amazing photography. The pages are also always brimming with great recipes that I swear you can smell when you turn the page. 

As an Army wife, I can guarantee that this little magazine is going to be keeping me lots of company on lonely nights and will do a great job of filling my head with positive and encouraging thought.

So when all those other magazines out there start yelling for you to pick them from the stands, just remember to stay strong and pick the one that will truly fill your life with some beautiful :o).

'Night xox,

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Living in a Snow Globe. . .Searching for Fresh Organic Produce

Hi Friends!

So here we are on our military post in Stuttgart, Germany, as Mr. and Mrs.! Our wedding, on January 28th, was wonderfully beautiful and was so much more than I ever dreamed it would be. My mother and some close friends worked from sun up to sun down to make everything look beyond perfect! Just a little over two weeks ago I married my best friend and started my adventure by taking on the role to be his loving and supporting wife as we serve not only each other hand in hand, but also our country. Today has been my first day of military briefings as a military wife. I have to say that I now feel quite officially accepted into the military as my husband's significant other!

We have been here 5 days and there are a few challenges that we have already faced. Finding quality, healthy "living food" on post has been the most difficult task so far. Since all of our belongings and our car are still being shipped over, we are reliant on whatever is available to us here on post near our hotel. There is a food court that consists of Popeyes, Pizza Hut, and the like; and there is a Commissary (a mini military grocery store) that has a selection of fresh produce and organic foods that can be carried out of the store in one hand. Needless to say, our options for healthy eating are severely limited. I have had to pick the lesser of the two evils- scrubbing non organic produce until it is nearly drunk on bubbles, and selecting eggs and meats that are at least not super full of hormones and chemicals.

I have definitely noticed my body having a super hard time adjusting to the limited selection, mostly because it's used to a much cleaner diet that was readily available at the nearest Whole Foods or small organic grocery store. I'm sure all the stress from the wedding planning, getting things ready to move here (military PCS move), and emotional goodbyes to our families after the wedding, is finally catching up to me as well. I have had to take my Clonazepam almost every other day since we have been here (which I hate doing), but I have definitely learned over the past year that it is far better to take the small doses I have instead of suffering through scary "attacks". . . which my Doctor in the States still doesn't know what to label under. I can feel that my adrenals are super maxed out and like I said, I know its from a combination of things. The items that seemed to help me feel "normal" back home (organic whey protein, organic grass fed beef, liquid iron supplement, a truckload of organic teas, some of my probiotics, etc.) were not easily packed into my luggage for various obvious reasons. So until I can order a magic wand and "kalamazoo" some of my key necessities over here, I will have to make do with the little amounts of organic foods that I have managed to find on the Commissary shelves over here; and keep my fingers crossed that my body plays nice.

Last weekend Daniel and I ventured off post and walked 45 minutes, in 20 degree weather, to see what we could find in the nearest town. I had at least three layers of clothes on every body part, so I wasn't completely  freezing. . . except for my nose! We ended up finding a charming little "produce stand" once we reached town. Since this was our first adventure on German soil we knew that our encounters with the locals would involve pretty limited conversations. As Daniel and I selected some fresh eggs, tomatoes, onion, carrots, and various other things (that we may or may not have known the names off-haha), the owner of the charming tiny "grocery store" made the first move- a string of German words that flowed out of his mouth like alphabet soup to my ears. I'm sure though that the looks on our faces somehow said even more than the German had spoken! In the moments that followed we all somehow communicated, with made up sign language and sounds much like a child learning to speak, that we definitely do not speak the same language; and that it was indeed okay for him to chop off the green carrot tops that we were trying to purchase. I had really wanted to keep the vitamin rich green tops, but at that point I figured it would be harder conveying that I wanted to keep them for their nutrition value! It was quite the experience!

So, moral of the story is that there are little fresh veggies out there in Germany, just waiting to be placed into my little backpack and taken home; however, we may have to spend a little more time learning to speak German if we would like to know everything that we are purchasing, and whether or not I would like to take my green carrot tops home for juicing :o).

For now, I will keep practicing my German (especially phrases pertaining to grocery shopping) and continue to let the local German food work it's magic- even if it's only medicine for the soul! 

Tschuss!/So Long (pronounced chewss), Meg