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 :)...is 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 family...as 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!