Saturday, November 2, 2013

GF Carrot and Zucchini Muffins

Good Morning Lovelies!

It's a quiet and drizzly day here in our little corner of Germany, so the hubby and I have been spending the morning lazily listening to Jack Johnson while getting grownup chores done.

I took a break from cleaning, hanging laundry to dry, and filing nutrition forms for clients to try a new recipe and make some fresh carrot and ginger juice. Here is the recipe I followed. A few months ago I ordered coconut flour and ended up with 6 bags instead of 4; which was a lot already! I have been searching for coconut flour recipes ever since and hadn't come across many that sounded tasty until this one. The recipe includes 6 eggs, so the end result is a little "eggy", and dense (which is to be expected from a lot of GF recipes), as my hubby and I discussed- haha. I think I will try to make them again but next time just use 4 eggs, add some lemon or ginger, and see what happens.

We have been adding more and more gluten free meals and recipes into our nutrition for the past 4 months. So the one thing I have learned already is that often times going gluten free means there is a lot of trial and error. I thought I would share this experience today so that hopefully, if you are trying GF recipes as well, you are encouraged that you are not alone in the quest to find yummy grain free food : ). My motto is: If your baked goods fall too flat- get your spirits up and try try again. Hahaha.

We are not going gluten free completely, but we have wanted to go 50/50 just to see how we feel. So far we have definitely noticed a difference in how our bodies digest and process glutenous products. We often feel like we swallowed a brick (in my terms) after a meal that involves wheat pasta, etc. Our favorite GF past is a quinoa pasta. It's delicious and satisfies our carb craving like a flour pasta used to for us. This is probably the one permanent change we have made with a gluten free product. We've eaten quinoa pasta the whole past 4 months so we are used to it and often forget it's not a flour pasta.

Anyhow, back to today :). After putting the muffins in the oven I juiced about 8 carrots, 2 inches of ginger, and half a lemon. We enjoyed our juice while we waited for the muffins to be done.

Now we are back to work on our 'To Do' lists while the pup sleeps lazily.
Happy weekend!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

'All Treats & No Tricks' Giveaway!

Though I am not a huge fan of Halloween, I do love to give away toys and healthy GMO free candies to little ones that ring the doorbell. There aren't very many little goblins, princesses, or superheros that trick-or-treat from door to door here in Germany, so I thought I would be creative and host a giveaway on my facebook page The Nourished Sparrow ( keep in mind that I am in the middle of transitioning from this blog to my website The Nourished Sparrow, so there are times when the two names will be mingling until I am fulling moved in and able to make my little 'nest' over at that website domain nice and neat :). Until then keep checking my posts here for updates and giveaways!

To enter the 'All Treats No Tricks' free 1 hour (via Skype or in person) nutrition and wellness consultation, please click the fb link in the paragraph above for more info. Once you read the description, 'Like' and then share the post to your own facebook page, I can enter your name in the raffle for the consultation giveaway. It's that easy! I will be picking the winner on November 1st at 6 PM CET (Central Europe Time).

Best of luck and may you have a happy, healthy, and festive eveing dressing up as whatever your little heart desires!


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Exciting Changes and a Hopeful Heart

Well hello there faithful readers!

This little bird has been so busy lately!There has been so much going on that my poor little blog has really been left in the corner of my mind all by it's little self! Well, dare I say it... 'I promise' to not leave you my dear readers in the dark anymore :). There are a lot of changes about to take place, one of which is that I will be moving myself from this little corner of the internet to a new spiffy website sometime in the next few months. I am currently trying to either 1. obtain a copy of Website Designing for Dummies, or 2. find a wonderfully creative person to help me make my little site the perfect home for all the great recipes, health info, and personal stories I have to share with you! Either way it will happen-haha.

I want to give you a little update on my health and what has been happening since I last wrote. The most recent blood work done by an endocrinologist, which is who I've wanted to see for a looong time (the military medical system has it's protocol though), has come back and I am meeting with her tomorrow to discuss what exactly the results could mean. There is definitely some significant evidence that my adrenals and pituitary gland are struggling to maintain homeostasis; which is the most probable reason I have been struggling with near syncope episodes, low blood pressure, fight-or-flight malfunctioning responses, etc. the past 2 and half years. We will find out more details tomorrow and hopefully know how to go about healing my adrenals even further than what I have been doing on my own (I will write a post soon about what my daily regimen for this has been.).

Some studies show that it is possible that nearly 80% of people suffer from Adrenal Fatigue; which can result from chronic ongoing stress in a person's life, a medical crisis, or even the intense stress your body suffers when you experience the loss of a loved one. In my case I truly believe that the loss of Tyler in Afghanistan in '09, and all the additional emotional stressors associated with that experience, was what threw my adrenals into this whirlwind of a ride. I suffered from panic attacks for a while as I journeyed through the initial grief, but eventually I was able to heal from that by using 5-HTP (and lots of prayer!); which I learned from the book The Mood Cure. Before Tyer died I had never had much reason to see a doctor and could count on one hand the times I was in a doctor office. Now I have lost count of how many trips I have made and tubes of blood I have given, in the desperate hope I would find a answer and feel normal again.  

I have been on this journey to find those answers and heal from my near syncope/"scary episodes"  for the past 2 and half years. It's been exhausting and oftentimes quite discouraging, but I refuse to lose hope- no matter how much I may feel it is slipping from me. In one of Tyler's facebook posts, and an e-mail that he sent while he was deployed, he said: "Tough days make the good days that much better". That is what I cling to...the faith that the trials I face now are only going to make my future days even better :). 

Stay tuned for more posts, updates on when I am moving to my official website, and even my You Tube channel that is in the works! I'm looking forward to making some videos and hosting giveaways from affiliates on there! 

My hubby surprised me with these wildflowers when I recently returned home from a trip to the States for my beloved grandad's funeral. Flowers have a way of lifting the spirit and making you smile even when you don't feel like it. Don't underestimate the power of buying some for yourself too ;). 

With hope, Meg

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sounds of Healing

What we think, speak, and even sing has so much power over the body. I have talked about this fact, and shared books on the topic, in many posts before.

A friend recently told me about music artist Julie True who has been gifted with the ability to write music that quiets the mind and soothes the soul.

I have already bought a few of her songs on iTunes and one of her CDs I ordered on amazon just showed up today :).

Definitely check her music out and be prepared for a wave of encouragement and relaxation to take over your worries and stress. It's like water for the soul's little sprout :).


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Laid Back Lemons

I'm sure you've heard the phrase- 'When life gives you lemons make lemonade', right? Well, better yet how about making some Lemon Balm tea instead?

Lemon balm tea is known for being extremely helpful with anxiety and stress. I have wanted to try it out for a looong time but I could never seem to either remember it when shopping, or find it when I did remember to look for it! Ha
However, I have finally been successful in placing a order on amazon and my little box of Traditional Medicinals tea has arrived!

This morning I have successfully boiled and poured hot water into a nice big mug and steeped my first tea bag of luscious Lemon Balm. If you would like you can scroll down to the first pic below and join me in reading today's devotional as I sit here waiting for it to steep to perfection :).

Okay, so lets taste this little 'cuppa'. Well it's a soothing lemony aroma and creates a warm sunny glow on the way down the hatch...okay maybe I got a little carried away- haha. Still, it is very pleasant and refreshing. Definitely a must try if you are searching for a little something to help you relax and get rid of some worries.

Here is a link for a little more scientific research:

So go buy or order yourself some Lemon Balm tea and when you do make sure you come back here and listen to this encouraging and relaxing song while you sip and relax!

Love and lemons,

Friday, March 22, 2013

Journey Through the Desert

Today you get a little treat...and that would be the fact that I have absolutely no idea what the following sentence is going to be!


Have you ever been to the desert? The only time I was anywhere near a desert type of enviroment was when I hiked the Grand Canyon with Tyler (see About Me page). We drove through the night from Colorado Springs to get to the Grand Canyon at sunrise. Well actually, we didnt plan it that way, but by the time he got off work from Ft. Carson and we were finally all packed up (He probably would have interjected right here in a loving tone and say: After YOU were finally packed up...and then laugh in his southern tone.) it was 9PM and we decided we might as well drive straight through until morning and not have to deal with traffic on the 6 hour drive (I think it was about that long.). Tyler was a trooper and navigated his way through the night, and the various States, as I slipped in and out of sleep and tried my best to think up entertaining conversation while he ended up doing all the driving (My husband is probably going to laugh when he reads this and say: Yep, that sounds about right!). What I remember the most about that drive with Tyler are the endless hours of him quizzing me on song and band names as he blasted every oldies radio station he could find. When one faded out into static there was always another one to scan to on the radio! Needless to say I became quite an expert after repeatedly mistaking one of his favorite bands, Old Crow Medicine Show, for one band or another. A little side note- they are one of my favorite bands now :).

After a long and very entertaining road trip, we finally made it to the Grand Canyon with two hours to spare to sleep in the car before the sun rose over the rim. It was a little foggy but it was still worth the push through the night. We grabbed a quick breakfast and then strapped on our packs to begin our descent into the bottom of that majestic great big hole, ha.

I'm not sure exactly why I shared part of this story with you. Before I sat down to write I was thinking about how sometimes it feels like I am emotionally and spiritually traveling through a hot dry desert and God seems to be a million miles away...

My husband 'Kiwi' and I have some big pressing desicions to make about his career and our life as a couple in general. What is his next career move, what do we want our future to look like, what is God's best for us, is there a ministry overseas where God can use our passions and knowledge, do we have enough faith to leave Kiwi's secure job and rely on God to provide whatever we need? I have prayed until I can hear my prayers echoing over eachother in some vast canyon in my heart. There has been no response, answer or leading yet. I have traveled through deserts like this in my life before, and God has always been faithful to provide the perfect answer or oportunity, but often it is in the 11th hour and when I have just about given up hope for a answer. It is because of the deserts I have already weathered in my past that I know God will eventually answer me, it just won't be on my time. Right now I feel a little parched and tired. In my spirit I am weary and questioning if I really know true North, but there is a very quiet warm wind inside my soul that is whispering: be still and listen. I have learned that sometimes God allows us to spiritually and emotionally travel through dry valleys and deserts so that we have less distractions and can hear His voice with more certainity when He does speak. When you are in the desert there isn't much noise is there?

When I was hiking into the Grand Canyon I was in awe of how vast and beautiful the landscape was. I was even more amazed that something so dry, and seemingly lacking life, could be so visually captivating. About half way down I could finally see the well known Colorado River flowing through the valley in the canyon. As I stood there surrounded by red clay (I couldn't even see the origional color of my hiking boots because they were so red!) I was mesmorized by the oasis of a green blob that we were hiking toward for our camping destination. It's amazing what water can bring to a desert-mhmm. Water=life.

Here is what I'm thinking and being reminded of as I write this- God is life. His word (the Bible) is our daily water and without it we will quite surely be spiritually dehydrated (become extremely unhappy, bitter, etc.) as we make our best attempt to journey across the dry patches in life on our own...without 'water'. Our deserts can be: difficult jobs, lack of a job, family issues, loss of a loved one, hopelessness, depression, anxiety, fear, unforgiveness, and the list goes on. These are all things that can, and will cause our hearts to become dry, brittle and broken.

Just because I am not hearing an answer from God right now (there are many ways to 'hear' Him) doesn't mean He isn't with me, or more importantly that He doesn't care. I think sometimes God wants us to take a 'walkabout' and learn exactly how and why we need to rely on Him for our fresh supply of 'water' to keep our souls and and hearts strong for the journey. He wants us to cry out to Him and ask for His help. He WANTS to hear our voices echo into the canyon for help. He longs to helps us and lead us, and He loves it even more when we have the faith of a blind man in the desert and rely on him to lead us into a green oasis for rest.

How we travel through a desert has everything to do with who we put our trust in. I can either choose to trust myself and hope my internal compass leads me in a direction that provides a oasis of oportunity, or, I can make the desicion to trust God with my weary body and soul and know that the time I dedicate to filling my canteen with His 'water' (studying the Bible) will give me just enough strength for each day; and eventually in His perfect time He will lead me (my husband and me) straight to the perfect job, oportunity, etc.

So my challenge to myself, and to you my dear reader, is this- Are you spending time in the Bible daily and getting your supply of' water' to sustain you? Don't get caught with a empty canteen in a desert on your journey through life! He is by your side and will answer you in His perfect timing. He will bring you out of the desert just as he provided water for the Isrealites and brought them out of their desert (Exodus 17). He is Faithful and Loving!

"Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst—not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.” The woman said, “Sir, give me this water so I won’t ever get thirsty, won’t ever have to come back to this well again!” -John 4:13-14 (The MSG)

"And He said to me, “It is done!I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts." - Revelation 21:6

"And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb."- Revelation 22:1

Love and Happy Trails, Meg


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Herbs for a Broken Heart

I came across this article today and I thought you might like to take a look at some great herbs that are known to help with emotional healing. I have been wanting to try Lemon Balm tea for quite a while but had never gotten around to ordering it. I did a search on amazon today and found one of my favorite brands offering it with free shipping- big bonus :). I'm looking forward to putting the kettle on and enjoying a 'cuppa' of lemony goodness as soon as it arrives!

Check out the article:

Here is the Lemon Balm on Amazon:

Cheers to a cup of healthy goodness,

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Diving into Fearlessness

Hi sweet friends!

I simply can not believe it has been so long since we caught up! I wanted to let you know I am still around and I am excited to share with you everything I have been learning about health, wholeness, positive thinking, faith, and love these past months. The last time I wrote was when my mom came to spend the month of June with me in Germany. She came to stay while my husband was away for work and I was going through some difficult health issues of constantly feeling like I was passing out. It was so great to have her company and thankfully I had a few random days and weeks that I felt well enough, as the month went by, to do some traveling with her.

If you have been a reader for a while you know my story and that I went through a time of unrelenting panic attacks and grief; and that I started this blog in hopes to help others heal emotionally and physically; and to be encouraged. You might also remember that I was incredibly fearful of my husbands upcoming deployment, due to already losing Tyler in Afghanistan (see About Me page).

In the months that I have been absent from my little blog 'garden' I have learned so much and grown into a much stronger person than I dare say I've ever been before. I have been determined to face my fears with authority and learn the art of positive thinking and speaking.

I am now in the midst of my husband's and my first deployment together; and though it is hard to be away from him, I know that I am more than able to get though these months and not just by barely surviving them. It is a trilling feeling to be able to look at yourself and know you have conquered a variety of fears and worries.

To be completely honest, it wasn't until a few days after my husband 'Kiwi' had deployed that I realized how much stronger I had become. I was a little concerned that I was emotionally detached and not processing things in a healthy way. I completely expected to feel as though I was unraveling at both ends, but I was quite calm and collected in the days and weeks after we said "see you later" (I refused to say "goodbye") and he boarded the bus. I flew home to the States the next day to be with my family for a while and I kept thinking I would finally break down when I got there, because surely there would be a point when this odd peace would dissipate...right?!

When I was finally with my family and I had a couple days to settle in I began to try and process what the peace was I was feeling; and more importantly if it was either visiting me for a short season or a permanent resident in my heart and mind. I had asked a group of close friends to committ to keeping Kiwi, and me, in their prayers during the deployment. Mostly I just wanted to know that other people were praying for his safety while he was deployed. I had also asked that they would keep me in their prayers as well and pray specifically that I would feel strength and peace during the deployment. I know without a doubt that the prayers of these women are circled around me and my husband each and every day as we push through this deployment; and they play a huge role in my new found strength.

However, I felt there was something else that had helped to set my mind free from all the worry that had plagued me the past few years. Not only did I not feel as much fear about the deployment as I expected, but I also didn't feel as bound by fear about my physical issues of randomly almost passing out, panic attacks, etc. I had been reading so many books on positive thinking and the art of taming my fearful thoughts and worry (Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer); as well as pouring over bible verses promising God's rest and peace. Had I finally mastered it? As I started to think back through the months before the deployment I realized there was something that had helped me let go of the worry I had been holding onto, and it might sound quite odd at first...

When my hubby and I went to Thailand on our pre deployment vacation we decided to sign up for scuba diving lessons...well Kiwi signed up and then somehow convinced me it would be an adventure of a lifetime and that I should consider doing it with him! Originally the scuba diving certification course was supposed to be his birthday gift because it was going to take him away from me for 3 days on our vacation. Kiwi kept encouraging me that I should talk to the dive instructor and consider trying at least the first day. All I could think about was the fact that I had 5 major fears (1. fear of sharks 2. claustrophobia with all the gear on and feeling trapped under water 3. fear of drowning due to a close call on a rafting trip 4. having a panick attack under water 5. blood pressure issues...which the doctors were starting to think were causing my passing out episodes.) that were telling me this was a very bad idea and there was no way I could do it.

The short version of the story is that I somehow worked up enough courage to give it a try, mostly thanks to my persistant husband and a awesome dive instructor that offered to give me a free little lesson in the pool to build up my courage before I committed to signing up for the class which started the next day. After working on calm and collected breathing underwater with the instructor, and keeping a small panic attack at bay, I was swimming around on my own on the bottom of the pool 30 minutes later! I was still super nervous the next day when we had to actually start the course and perform various tasks underwater; and even more anxious the second day when we went diving for the first time in the open water with the fish. All I could think about when we were headed out to the diving site were the 5 major fears I listed above. However, I pushed through each fear one at a time and by the time I came up to the surface I was a new woman. I just didn't know how vastly that one activity had now changed my life...until I found myself in those first few days of the deployment!

What I have realized is that because I pushed through all those fears, during a single activity I might add, I was able to prove to myself very quickly just how much strength I have in me. I left my worries at the bottom of the ocean with the little fish, and they will never surface so easily again. It's so powerful when your mind is able to prove to you what your spirit has always known!

The reason I am sharing all of this is because I have now realized that I conquered a whole other fear, my biggest fear, when I conquered those other 5. I realized in those first few days of the deployment that I wasn't falling apart, and the reason was because I had- hope. I have hope that I will make it through this deployment emotionally and that my husband will indeed come home alive to me. I feel strong and enabled by my faith to face these months with the strength God is pouring into my heart and soul each day. I am not frail and fearful as I was before; because I have proven to myself that I absolutely can make the choice to override ANY fear.

(This isn't the most flattering picture but hey, what can a girl do on a rainy and windy diving day ;).

We all have to power to make that choice each day. We can either live in the fearfulness that binds our hearts and chokes our minds, or we can decide to push through and maybe do something crazy...we can have hope and faith that we are strong enough to get through with God's help and live in victory as we were always destined to do :).

Of course I'm not saying you have to go on a diving excursion in order to be freed from your fears, but what I am saying is that I have learned how important it is to push yourself out of your comfort zone in order to override a fear. Sometimes proving to yourself that your courage is bigger than your fear will remind you that God is bigger than YOU, and able to do far more in your life than you could ever imagine!

"God can do anything , you know- far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us," - Ephesians 3:20 (The Message)

Be Encouraged, Meg