Thursday, July 31, 2008

States Passing Laws Against Trans Fats

California and Oregon have laws banning trans fats in meals served at schools. California has now became the first state to ban trans fats from restaurant food, following several cities and major fast-food chains in erasing the notorious artery-clogger from menus.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation that will ban restaurants and other retail food establishments from using oil, margarine and shortening containing trans fats. Violations could result in fines of $25 to $1,000. Food items sold in their manufacturers' sealed packaging would be exempt.

New York City, Philadelphia, Seattle, Baltimore and Montgomery County, Md., have ordinances banning trans fats, but California is the first state to adopt such a law covering restaurants, said Amy Winterfeld, a health policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Read the entire article.

Identifying Ticks - Lyme Disease

Tick identification is important. Everyone is worried about Lyme Disease. So how do I protect myself, my family -and my dog- from this terrible plague? Knowledge. Tick repellent. Tight clothing. Inspections. But what if you've done all that, and you still find an engorged tick? You need to be able to differentiate, or identify, between the different tick species to avoid unnecessary worry and unnecessary trips to the vet.

The tick that primarily carries lyme disease is I. Scapularis, also called the Black-Legged Tick, or the Deer Tick. The deer tick is very very very tiny, approximately the size of a fleck of black pepper. They are very nearly impossible to see on a dog, and can still be difficult to see even when engorged.

The common dog tick can range in size from very small, but clearly visible, to quite large. Then when they're engorged, they blow up like a big greyish/greenish blob.

Read the entire article and view photos.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Green Guide: Laundry Savings

Here's how to get clean clothes and leave a lighter eco footprint in the process.

Read the Article
Watch the Video
Take the Quiz
Calculate Your CO2

Source: The Green Guide -

More Bird Species - Less West Nile Cases

Here's proof that biodiversity is good for your health: Having more bird species present in a given area reduces the incidence of West Nile virus infection in humans.

That's the finding of a new study analyzing every U.S. county east of the Mississippi River where human cases of West Nile virus infection have been documented, and comparing each with a neighboring county where human West Nile cases have not been reported.

Applying statistical analysis while controlling for socioeconomic factors and how urbanized each county is, John Swaddle and Stavros Calos at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., found that bird diversity and other factors related to the bird population could explain 50 percent of the variation in West Nile cases. "We were surprised by how high it was," Swaddle said.

Read the entire article.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Health Advocates Help

Currently, the health advocacy business is an industry with about $50 million to $75 million in annual revenue but only about a half-dozen companies of any significant size, said Richard Rakowski of Intersection LLC, a Connecticut-based investment and development firm that has researched the field.

But those numbers have grown from a few years ago, and it may be on track to become a $1 billion industry based on the demand for the service, said Rakowski, the firm's principal.

The field is blossoming in the wake of cutbacks in corporate health benefits, an overhaul of Medicare and other changes that have forced medical consumers to shop more for medical care.

More than ever, people need help negotiating the medical system, said Jessica Greene, a University of Oregon health policy analyst.

"We're asking consumers to make more complicated decisions, but the numeracy and health literacy skills of many consumers are not at the level needed to handle this new responsibility," Greene said.

Health Advocate claims to be the largest of these companies. Founded in 2001, it now has more than 3,500 companies, unions and other organizations as clients, including Johnson & Johnson, American Express and The Home Depot Inc.

Altogether, about 2.6 million employees, or members, are signed up with Health Advocate. But the number who can use it is actually higher: Members can share the call-in number with spouses, children, parents and parents-in-law — including elderly kin who need help picking a Medicare prescription drug plan, finding a nursing home or arranging transportation for health care. With all relatives added in, Health Advocate's membership as roughly 12 million, Fischer said.

Read the entire article.

How To Prune Tomatoes

When growing tomatoes, the ultimate goal is getting the maximum yield of crops, with the best flavour possible. If you're growing indeterminate or "vining" varieties, pruning your plants to remove unwanted shoots and leaves can be an important part of ensuring that all the nutrients are going to the fruit. Read the entire article.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Natural Burials - A Better Way To Go

The coffin, the hearse, the black clothes, granite memorials, burial gowns, drapes and, most of all, the job of the funeral director are all essentially a Victorian invention. More and more people are considering different sorts of funeral as an alternative to traditional religious services and cremations.

A modern natural burial is an environmentally sustainable alternative to existing funeral practices where the body is returned to the earth to decompose naturally and be recycled into new life.

The body is prepared for burial without chemical preservatives and is buried in a simple shroud or biodegradable casket that might be made from locally harvested wood, wicker or even recycled paper, perhaps even decorated with good-bye messages from friends.

A natural burial ground often uses grave markers that don’t intrude on the landscape. These natural markers can include shrubs and trees, an engraved flat stone native to the area or centralized memorial structure set within the emerging forest that provides places for visitors to sit. As in all cemeteries, there are careful records kept of the exact location of each interment, often using modern survey techniques such as GIS (geographic information system).

Planting native trees, shrubs and flowers on or near the grave establishes a living memorial and helps form a protected wildlife preserve. A completed natural burial preserve is a green place with trees, grasses, and wildflowers, which in turn bring birds and other wildlife to the area.

Get more information and find locations around the world.

Non-Toxic Flea Options

Fleas are a common concern for pet owners. Flea Powders Do Kill pets, but just because your pet is still alive after use of the chemical flea and tick products, doesn't mean their health has not been compromised.

Educate yourself a bit on this topic and choose a natural alternative.

Here's some links:

Spot On Flea Killers Not Safe

Eco Pet Care Resources

Fleas, Ticks and Mosquitoes

Parasite Proof Your Pet

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Make Yard Safer For Family and Wildlife

Our backyards are our private spaces, but also part of a larger landscape we share with our human and wildlife neighbors. With the right tools and information, we all can do simple things to create a healthier place to live for our families, our communities, and birds, plants, and other wildlife.

5 Simple Actions Can Make a World of Difference

1 - Eliminate or Reduce Pesticide Use
2 - Conserve water
3 - Protect water quality
4 - Remove exotic plant pests
5 - Plant native species

Recycling, Reusing Newspapers Saves Millions of Trees

If everyone in the U.S. recycled just 1/10th of their newsprint, it would save approximately 25 million trees a year!

38.2 percent of our total waste is from paper and paperboard.

Recycling is great, but you can even get some benefit from them by reusing them. There are many things that newspapers can be used for around the home and especially in the garden.

View some ideas here.

Remember the old-fashioned school paper drives? Nothing says we can't begin doing that again!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Hang On To Passion

by Donna L. Watkins

A couple weeks ago a battle began here in our community to come against the Board that wants to kill off the deer because some of the residents want to garden in ways that worked in the city, but do not work in the country woods. Actually this battle has been going on for over two years, but a recent ruling made it obvious they would set a date for the killing in September.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Yellow-bellied Slider Turtle - Costa Rica
As you might guess I am passionate about wildlife. If you don't want to live with it, that's fine, but don't take away the rights of those who move to the country and woods because they want to live with it. And don't talk to me about shooting guns or arrows in my backyard.

I can't express in words what the birds and critters around our home mean to me. Some days I feel as though they are the fine line between sanity and the craziness around me. They teach us so many of life's important lessons if we "tune in" to listen.

The passion of this wildlife project that has hit my daily agenda has made me more alive than the focus I've had on trying to find a winter home for this health issue of rheumatoid arthritis. The former being a great passion of my life, the latter being a negative necessity of my temporary current life.

We all need a mission - every day! It keeps our minds healthy with the flow of good-feeling, pain-relieving neurotransmitters (hormones). My body flows well when I'm in the garden watching the bees, hummingbirds and butterflies buzzing about. Their flittering and glittering make me feel carefree and happy. Most of us can't spend the entire day in a garden, so what we do with our lives has to make us just as happy as that setting. We need to be involved in what we are passionate about.

The world is a delightful place when we find a part of it that fits into our heart and very being.

Sometimes we let ourselves get bogged down by the things that are not quite right for us at this time of life. That's the pathway to gloom and doom. If you're a parent you've got plenty of opportunity to walk that path wondering and worrying over your children and grandchildren. They are in God's hands and if get too deep in the muck of trying to control their lives, we find ourselves covered from head to toe with the devil's slime.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Yellow-bellied Slider Turtle - Costa Rica
Come out of your shell! Focus on your passion in life and your example will change the lives of your entire family. Psalm 112:1-2 says, "Blessed is the man who fears (trusts in, honors and obeys) the Lord, who finds great delight in His commands. His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed."

Wonderful promises, but did you see the purchase price? There's always an "IF clause" before God's blessings. We have promises of delight all around us, but we spend too much time whining over the promises and not enough time purchasing our tickets to redeem for them.

"The just shall live by faith" is a lifestyle. We have to hang in there when the going gets rough. Remember Daniel was in great distress for his people (Daniel 10) and he fasted and prayed for three weeks. When the angel came to him, he was told that he'd been dispatched right away, but Satan blocked him. Satan will always be against us.

Prayer in faith is our breakthrough. We only join the Enemy's side when we are down-trodden and depressed. We stand and watch all the people in line getting tickets to their promises and whine and cry to ourselves that we're not getting a chance, or we're not being blessed. All we have to do is step out and purchase the ticket. It's not an easy walk uphill in the heat of the battle, but how easy is it to wallow? It produces physical pain and mental torment.

Leave it behind! Walk in Faith. If you have to spend 15 minutes out of every hour in the Bible or walk around continually muttering a Scripture that lifts your heart, do it!

What will lift your heart and mind faster than anything else is to walk in your passion. Don't let anybody tell you what you are passionate about isn't important. God places in our hearts what He calls us to do. There's a reason your very being burns with desire toward a certain thing. A daily mission will change your life even if you only get to invest a small amount of time in.

Even if it's just visually reviewing your dreams and continuing to plan for living them out, while you go about your daily tasks ... that in itself will make a difference in your life, your health, and your mental outlook on life.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Bromeliad - La Selva B.S. - Costa Rica
Hang on to your passion! "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and being certain of what we do not see." (Hebrews 11) It's just how it works in the Kingdom. Don't give it up! You will die cell by cell and waste away. Revive it. Write about it.

Share your passion to bring life to it. Use the comment section below to write down what your dreams and passions are. You can do it anonymously, but it will inspire others.

It's said that writing something down makes it more certain that it will come to pass. Get it out and focus on it. Keep a copy of what you write beside your bed so you can go to bed dreaming and counting on your passionate future. Do it now!

Copyright and Reprint Information
All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins and may not be republished without written permission. You may forward or use this copyrighted article on a website if you include the following credit and an active link back to this site:
© 2000-2008 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission. Visit the author's website, for more articles and free email subscription.
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Hair, Skin and Nails

Hair, skin and nails provide a look at the inner health of the body. These outward "signs" can tell you a lot about the condition of your inward health. Often we may have problems with our skin such as dull skin, skin likely to break out in blotches or skin that dehydrates easily. All of these problems and many more indicate the lack of proper nutrition.

Poor diet, drugs, alcohol, excessive sun exposure, environmental toxins and tobacco smoke increase free radical damage and decrease enzyme activity. Both free radical damage and the reduction in enzyme activity can hasten the appearance of the following problems; wrinkles, age spots, sagging skin and ultimately to serious skin problmes.

Free radicals oxidize cells, making normal cell metabolism impossible. Enzymes can help prevent or treat skin damage by fighting these free radicals and reducing stress on bodily systems.

The skin reflects our overall health and acts as a barrier against the outside world, is the largest organ and is composed primarily of collagen. Collagen fibers form an elastin network that makes up connective tissues. The skins elasticity, strength and smoothness come from the makeup of the collagen fibers.

Read the entire article.

Sleep Problems In 67% Of Women

A 2007 poll by the National Sleep Foundation found that 67 percent of women frequently experience sleep problems and 29 percent use some type of sleep aid at least a few nights a week. Other surveys have consistently found that nearly half again as many women as men complain of insomnia.

Yet 75 percent of sleep research has been done on men, and until recently the researchers have been primarily men. The major texts for sleep studies have had, until recently, little to say about women's sleep. Read the entire article.

More about insomnia.

Try a natural approach. Feed the nervous system and relax the body with Herbal Sleep.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Heal Your Home and Protect Your Health

Heal Your Home: The Case For Precaution is a download available from

Get solid information on cleaning supplies that don't contain poisons and lots of information on non-toxic living from Annie Bond. Other experts offer answers to many common questions.

The Precautionary Principle is revolutionizing business and politics. No longer does do people want to take chances with their life and health when there are safe and effective choices without the toxic chemical.

Download the free 40-page publication to your desktop.

Walking Sticks

by Donna L. Watkins

Growing up and as an adult I was terrified of bugs. When we moved to "the woods" at age 40 I fell in love with all the trees, birds, and wildlife. Even snakes. But bugs were an issue that I needed to work on. Loving all of Creation that was now around me, I knew I could love bugs also.

They had a purpose and design and it was ridiculous to be fearful of something so small compared to my size. The Walking Stick is one of the first bugs I became fascinated with (along with the Praying Mantis).

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Walking Stick - Bluebird Cove
Although Walking Sticks are common, they are often overlooked, because it is not a pest to farmers or gardens. It uses camouflage for protection since it takes on the appearance of some other object.

Although predators can easily distinguish it from its surroundings, because the insect looks like an ordinary twig, it gets ignored. When disturbed stick insects will sometimes 'play dead' for a few minutes to trick predators. These insects have suckers and claws on their feet which allows them to go up and down vertical surfaces even upside down, but they move very slowly.

There are 2700-3000 stick insects identified in the world, depending on which study you read, and they are found mostly in temperate and tropical regions.

They are from 3-7 inches long depending on the specific species. They have six slender legs that can easily compress against the body to look like a stick or mimic smaller twigs coming from the main body.

These peaceful insects are strict vegetarians eating only plant foods such as berry, cherry and rose leaves. These critters generally feed in the dark, so they usually spend their days hanging from leaves or bark waiting for evening. They emit a foul smelling odor from glands on the thorax which also discourages things from eating them.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Walking Stick - Bluebird Cove
If there are no males in the area, a female Walking Stick can lay healthy eggs which hatch, but this has disadvantages. The young are identical to the female, allowing no random variations.

Stick insects find mates easily in groups, but scattered females attract mates by emitting a pheromone, which is a seductive scent. The two then mate while clinging to a twig or leaf.

The female scatters her eggs which fall to the ground and each egg, protected by its seedlike appearance and hard shell, may stay on the forest floor for up to three years. Eventually the young insect emerges. Young walking sticks are usually olive green and turn brown as adults.

The Walking Stick has the unusual ability of partial regeneration. If a leg is lost or damaged it will grow back after several successive molts, or shedding of its skin. By molting the walking stick is able to grow quickly in size in just a few months. The Walking Stick eats its own molt.

Copyright and Reprint Information
All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins and may not be republished without written permission. You may forward or use this copyrighted article on a website if you include the following credit and an active link back to this site:
© 2000-2008 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission. Visit the author's website, for more articles and free email subscription.
Link URL:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Are We Beautiful or Twisted?

by Donna L. Watkins

I was enjoying the garden one morning with scissors in hand, dead-heading plants so they continue to bloom on and on. After all the blooming stage of a plant is the most glorious, right?

Our Blackberry Lily (which is actually part of the iris family) provides lots of snips each morning since it is profuse with flowers daily. It's one of the plants that the deer have never nibbled on.

The progression of the flowers from bud to being snipped particularly fascinated me on this particular morning.

I looked at the tiny little buds that would soon be spread wide open and they reminded me of the infant stage of our lives.

As babies we are so "perfect" looking with all toes and fingers presented and it doesn't matter what your definition of cute is, there's something about a baby that is just precious and "perfect." Innocent and naive, total abandon and expectations that strain and drain the strongest of mothers.

There's a stage generally around the time we graduate from school that we've come into full bloom.

We've gotten through the awkward years and hopefully learned that our identity is not about what we wear or how we look. There is a maturity about us adorned with the cap and gown of graduation.

Dreams, goals, future plans ... all looks bright and all is possible. There's an air of immortality in us at that age. Life is full of living well.

As you can see the expired bloom wraps itself up and the seed pod would continue to grow and take energy from the plant. I do let some seed pods grow into full size, but it's at the end of the summer for the Fall berry pickings of the birds preparing for winter. In summer they've got plenty of food choices and aren't as interested in these berries.

As I was clipping away at these twisted flowers I thought about another stage of life. Somewhere along the path we hit the bumps and dips in the road or sometimes a concrete wall. Life has a way of kicking you when you're down so it's easy to revert back to the not-so-great moments of childhood during the difficult years.

After all, issues that are not dealt with only mount up to become mountains to climb later in life, so it's always best to spend some time working through things ... stuffing them back inside doesn't work at all.

At times like this nothing makes sense and you feel twisted and hung out to dry. We get better or bitter. It's our choice.

The best choice is to reach out to God and His promises will hold you up. His Word will sustain you each and every day if you spend time in it.

There is truly grace sufficient to keep joy in your life regardless of the circumstances.

I noticed a few expired blooms reaching out and hanging on to a stem or other bloom. It reminded me that we can reach out and grab hold of anchors. There are friends and family to help you make it through. It's not the time to bury yourself in self-pity and shrink away. Reach out and touch someone. You've got something to offer them and they've got something for you.

More Info on Blackberry Lilies

Copyright and Reprint Information
All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins and may not be republished without written permission. You may forward or use this copyrighted article on a website if you include the following credit and an active link back to this site:
© 2000-2008 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission. Visit the author's website, for more articles and free email subscription.
Link URL:

Convert Cat Years to Human Years

Use this handy chart for quickly finding your cat's age in human years. It will help you understand the physiological changes your cat encounters as she ages, as well as anticipate and forestall age-related health problems before they start.

Our sweet FIV cat turned 12 this month so that means she's 64 in human years. We're so happy to have her two and a half years after the vet told us she would die in a few days.

She looks healthier than ever, and with the herbs she uses to support her immune system, she should be. Our program has changed since she became stable after the raging infection, but she seems very willing to take whatever we put on her food, like she knows it's keeping her healthy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Causes Of Acid Reflux

What are the common causes of acid reflux disease? Doctors aren't always sure. Triggered by an increase of acid in your esophagus, acid reflux disease may develop for a variety of reasons. Here are some of the common causes of acid reflux disease.

Consider Stomach Comfort. How does Stomach Comfort compare to other options?

Voluntary Simplicity

The movement for voluntary simplicity (or simple living) is still somewhat under the radar, but it is growing in strength. The basic philosophy is to "downshift" from a high-pressure, high-cost lifestyle to one that is more spiritual, humble, and less materialistic.

For example, a person who is practicing voluntary simplicity may give up a large, expensive "McMansion" to move into a smaller home that needs less energy to heat in the winter and cool down in the summer. Instead of driving a luxury car to work at a distant office requiring a long commute, a worker might take a cut in pay to work closer to home or telecommute. Then, instead of needing to spend large amounts of money on gas and car payments, public transportation or bicycling could be used for travel.

Critics of voluntary simplicity suggest that it requires too much "sacrifice" and as such, is unappealing and counter to the "American Dream." Others hint that simple living could hurt the American economy, which is dependent on consumer spending to run effectively.

Yet, for those who practice voluntary simplicity, the rewards can be more free time, better family relations, and an enhanced spirituality.

Enjoy the entire article which includes a segment on Simple Ways You Can Enjoy Simple Living.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dangers For Off-Leash Dogs

So many of us know the joy of seeing our dogs run free and enjoy the wide open spaces--even in the city. But, how often have you seen dogs running off-leash in a public park and wondered whether they have any impact on the local wildlife? Is this just harmless fun? Maybe not.

Unfortunately, people, birds, squirrels and other wildlife are not happy to have a visit from your dog. From their viewpoint, dogs constitute a threat.

Generally speaking, your dog should be on leash unless in a designated off-leash area. Some cities set aside certain parks or natural areas for dogs to run free. Check with city offices to see if this is the case for your area.

Keep in mind that because there are so many dogs running free there are many dangers to consider.

6 Tips For Dealing With Unleashed Dogs

Coca-Cola Offsets Water Use

Coca-Cola announced it is funding a $20 million project to try and offset the 76 billion gallons of water it uses each year to make Coke, Sprite, Fanta and its other drinks.

According to the Coca-Cola's press release, they will work to conserve seven major rivers worldwide and will also revamp its bottling practices to reduce pollution and water use. The campaign was announced at the World Wildlife Foundation's annual meeting in Beijing.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Lowering Cholesterol With Fish Oil And Red Yeast Rice

A great deal of scientific evidence shows that cholesterol-reducing medications known as statins can help prevent coronary artery disease. Although the safety of these medications has been well documented, as many as 40 percent of patients who receive a prescription for statins take the drug for less than one year.

In the July issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, a group of researchers from Pennsylvania examine whether an alternative approach to treating high blood cholesterol may provide an effective treatment option for patients who are unable or unwilling to take statins.

Researchers followed 74 patients with high blood cholesterol who met standard criteria for using statin therapy. Patients were randomly assigned to either the alternative treatment group or the statin group and followed for three months.

Results? The researchers noted that there was a reduction in LDL cholesterol levels in both groups. The alternative treatment group experienced a 42.4 percent reduction, and the statin group experienced a 39.6 percent reduction. Members of the alternative therapy group also had a substantial reduction in triglycerides, another form of fat found in the blood, and lost more weight. Read the entire article.

Omega 3 Fish Oils
Red Yeast Rice

Ailanthus Webworm Moth

by Donna L. Watkins

The Ailanthus Webworm Moth (Atteva punctella) is often mistaken for a beetle because of its unusually bright coloring and habit of being on flowers in the daytime.

© 2006 Donna L. Watkins - Ailanthus Webworm Moth
These moths keep their wings rolled up tightly against their bodies, unlike other moths we are used to seeing with wings outspread.

Its native habitat is South and Central America where they build communal webs in native trees. Another exotic species imported into the United States from China for the silk industry in the mid 1800's.

This moth is of little consequence ecologically but the host plant, Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) brought along for food is a major invasive noxious weed tree along roadways and everywhere else its seeds and suckers can find disturbed soil in Virginia.  View Tree of Heaven.

This insect has now spread through most of the United States where the caterpillar stage uses the introduced tree known as Tree of Heaven or Paradise Tree (Ailanthus altissima) for food. This 'Tree of Heaven' has turned out to be anything but heavenly since it is displacing many of our own native trees and is especially difficult to eradicate because of its root structure.

The larval (caterpillar) stage of this moth feeds on the leaves, flowers, seeds and even bark of this tree. It will also feed on other deciduous trees and shrubs. The caterpillars make loose webs on their food plants and live inside them.

The colorful adult Ailanthus webworm moth pictured here on a Butterfly Bush (buddleia) is a pollinator. They visit flowers of many different species during the daytime. They mate at dawn and lay eggs at dusk producing one generation per year. It is unlikely that it overwinters in our area, but rather migrates here each year.

Copyright and Reprint Information
All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins and may not be republished without written permission. You may forward or use this copyrighted article on a website if you include the following credit and an active link back to this site:
© 2000-2008 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission. Visit the author's website, for more articles and free email subscription.
Link URL:

Sunday, July 20, 2008

We're In Birds and Blooms Magazine

We certified our habitat as a Monarch Waystation a few years back and have so enjoyed being a part of it and encouraging others to do the same.

© 2006 Donna L. Watkins - First Day Monarch With Chrysalis Beside
Chip Taylor, the director of the program, emailed me a couple months ago that Birds and Bloom wanted to promote the Monarch program and he was recommending me for them to interview and use some of my photos.

He gave me the person's name and email to get in touch if I was interested. Of course I was interested. Monarchs really need help!

I dug out a bunch of photos and answered all her questions. She said I'd receive a copy of the magazine but didn't tell me when it would be run.

Two days ago I got an email from a friend in GA who told me she got her August/September issue in the mail and was totally shocked to see our photos there. Actually I was totally shocked also since I never knew for sure if they were going to use anything or not. The girl was leaving for vacation a couple of days after the interview and I never heard from her again.

The article in Birds and Bloom has a photo of Randal and me but none of my Monarch photos, however it's also published on their website with two of my photos.

© 2006 Randal and Donna Watkins - Certified Monarch Waystation
So, as my Auntie says, now I'm famous. And my reply to her was, "only for today." Fame certainly doesn't last long, so there's no use in clinging to it. I'm just grateful that the Monarch Waystation Program will reach such a huge audience. Birds and Blooms magazine has 1.6 million subscribers in the U.S. and Canada.

Have any of you seen it? Do you think it promotes the program well? I'm sure looking forward to my copy in the mail. If we go to town before it arrives, I'll check it out at a newsstand. We don't subscribe to magazines for environmental reasons (boreal forest and birds), but it's nice to think about the good they do in getting the word around on ways to make a difference for Creation.

Free Green House Plans

Think you can’t afford an architect to design your green dream home? Now you can get Free Green Home Plans from The eco-minded architects at FreeGreen are giving out free designs for green homes. Just hand them over to your builder and you're good to go.

Hawks and Owls Eat Dogs and Cats

From Birder's World Magazine's Website

Large hawks prey on small mammals. The Red-tailed Hawk feeds on rodents and rabbits but also catches larger animals, including pheasants, hares, and jackrabbits. Likewise, Ferruginous and Harris's Hawks chase rabbits, rodents, and ground squirrels. Swainson's Hawks eat mice and large insects.

Of the prey items I've mentioned, jackrabbits are the heaviest. They weigh no more than 10 pounds, less than your pet. Since a small dog could look about the same size as a hawk's usual prey, however, it's possible that a hungry raptor might at least attempt to capture the dog, injuring it in the process.

Be more cautious, though, about leaving your dog outdoors at night. Great Horned Owls are powerful hunters that eat a wide variety of prey, including raccoons, porcupines, and house cats - all of which can weigh as much as your pet.

Recently in Great Britain, a Eurasian Eagle-Owl made headlines when it repeatedly attacked at least five dogs. The owner of one of the dogs, a miniature wire-haired dachshund, said, "It is very frightening for Heidi to have this giant bird trying to eat her all the time. I have no doubt that it wants to make her into its next meal. I guess Heidi looks like a rabbit or a tasty snack." A falconer captured the bird, which was believed to have escaped from an aviary.

Editor's Note:
Please read comments below since I have added a lot more info on this problem with links to even more information. Protect your pet with knowledge to keep it alive.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Gratitude Attitude

by Donna L. Watkins

It's so easy to grumble about our daily circumstances. It can become a habit, especially when you attract others who love to grumble. That turns into being "pegged" as a negative person. It doesn't do your health any good either.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Early Morning Passion Flower
Everybody has bad circumstances going on in their lives in one way or another, and some more than most, but that doesn't mean we have to focus on and rehearse mentally and verbally all that's wrong.

Do you consider yourself a positive or negative person?

There is always a list of things to be grateful for. I read somewhere that Oprah always wrote down 5 things to be grateful for before going to bed each night. That's certainly a good way to get better sleep, but I think more importantly, you need to list 5 things to be grateful for when you get up in the morning because that's when we choose our mindset for the day.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Paul writes, "In everything give thanks for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

John MacArthur gives us some insight into this Scripture:

"Paul simply says very directly, "In everything give thanks." No exceptions, no excuses, nothing is outside those parameters, in everything give thanks. That little phrase enpante in the Greek means in connection with everything that occurs ... in connection with everything in life give thanks no matter what it might be, with obvious exceptions of personal sin. He is saying no matter what happens to you in life, be thankful. No matter lot, no matter what circumstance, no matter what struggle, vicissitude, trial, testing, be thankful, give thanks. No matter what the situation we are to find reason to thank God. This is not some nebulous thanks fired off into space, it is a thanks given directly to God."

God doesn't ask us to BE thankful, but does require that we GIVE thanks. In trusting Him to make all things good (Romans 8) and surrendering to His providential will brings forth the words of thanks regardless of our broken heart. In return, God fills us with peace and comfort and enough grace to endure through the situation.

Gratitude changes our attitude. It only takes a moment to turn your attitude around.

At a Women of Faith conference, they were short of space for 150 attendees and had to bring in chairs which weren't as wide or comfortable. Everybody had a seat, but it was cramped, so there was an unhappy buzz covering the auditorium. The director asked Joni Eareckson Tada to help calm the crowd.

A childhood accident left Joni a quadriplegic confined to a wheelchair. She came onto the stage and said to the audience: "I understand some of you don't like the chair you're sitting in. Well, neither do I! But I've got a 1,000 handicapped friends who'd gladly trade places with you." Immediately the complaining stopped and the hall was quiet.

A spark of gratitude changed the attitude of the entire crowd. After all, Isn't Happiness A Choice?

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All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins and may not be republished without written permission. You may forward or use this copyrighted article on a website if you include the following credit and an active link back to this site:
© 2000-2008 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission. Visit the author's website, for more articles and free email subscription.
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Paul Newman vs. Robert Redford

Robert Redford and the Law of 1900

Robert Redford is now about as sexy as an orange that's been forgotten at the back of the refrigerator. It seems a shame. Robert Redford says he was born in 1937, and yet he looks far more used up than Paul Newman, born in 1925. It's not necessarily Newman that's the outlier; Joanne Woodward, born in 1930, looks pretty good, too.

So what will you look like when you're, uh, well, 83 years old, just like Paul Newman? I'm hoping to not look like a little plot of grass, six feet long, with a hunk of granite at one end. I've been struggling with "health foods" and so on for more than four decades, and it's finally all coming together in a few rules, but most important is the Rule Of 1900.

Read the entire article.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Weight Loss Food Diaries Work

The study, published in the August edition of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, included 1,685 overweight or obese U.S. adults aged 25 and older.

For six months, they kept food diaries and were encouraged to eat a healthy diet and be physically active. They also met weekly in groups to share their food diaries and brush up on skills like how to judge portion size.

After six months, participants had shed almost 13 pounds, on average. The most powerful predictor of their weight loss was how many days per week they kept their food diary, says Victor Stevens, PhD, senior investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore.

Those who kept food records six days a week -- jotting down everything they ate and drank on those days -- lost about twice as much weight as those who kept food records one day a week or less, Stevens tells WebMD. Read the entire article.

The Four Pillars of Weight Loss

Video: Squirrel Eating Apple

We throw our fruit and veggie scraps out for the wildlife and we often catch great entertainment for the small effort. No reason to throw food into the landfill when it can provide life for an animal.

We also notice that we don't have problems with raccoons getting into our trash can. I guess we have an unspoken agreeement. View video of squirrel eating apple.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Teach Your Dog To Swim Safely

There are certain things we assume dogs know by instinct. Sniffing, for instance, sometimes in embarrassing places. Barking, too, and begging for food scraps are also downloaded onto dogs’ internal computers at the factory.

Then there’s swimming. It seems so integral to being a dog that we’ve even named a stroke after them, the dog-paddle — so you’d assume that’s another thing that every dog is born knowing how to do.

It turns out that you’d be wrong. Not every dog knows instinctively how to swim, and some can’t swim at all, Wendy Diamond, the founder and editorial director of Animal Fair magazine, told TODAY. Dogs’ aquatic abilities are so misunderstood, in fact, that she put together a list of water safety tips for dog owners.

Read the entire article.

Best Green Cities in USA

Country Home magazine, in conjunction with Sperling's BestPlaces, reveals that Burlington, Vermont is the 2007 Best Green Place to live in America.

Burlington is located on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain between the Adirondack and Green Mountains in northwest Vermont and has a population of 40,000. With programs like Burlington Eco Info Project, the community of Burlington, including the residents, businesses and government, values a green lifestyle and makes it a priority.

"We are seeing a real interest, by both our readers and the marketplace, in exploring a green lifestyle," said Editor-in-Chief Carol Sheehan. "We wanted to find out who in America is actually taking action, where they are, and what they are doing."

1. Burlington, VT
2. Ithaca, NY
3. Corvallis, OR
4. Springfield, MA
5. Wenatchee, WA
6. Charlottesville, VA
7. Boulder, CO
8. Madison, WI
9. Binghamton, NY
10. Champaign-Urbana, IL
11. Ann Arbor, MI
12. San Diego, CA
13. La Crosse, WI
14. Pittsfield, MA
15. Eau Claire, WI
16. Durham, NC
17. Norwich-New London, CT
18. Eugene, OR
19. San Francisco, CA
20. Chico, CA
21. Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA
22. Barnstable Town, MA
23. Utica-Rome, NY
24. Missoula, MT
25. Asheville, NC

The Best Green Places study, which is based on data discovered by Sperling's BestPlaces, examines 24 data metrics in 5 major categories -- including air and watershed quality, mass transit usage, power usage, farmers markets, organic producers, and number of green-certified buildings -- to determine which metro areas are the best places to live a green life. Sperling's BestPlaces ranked the 379 major metropolitan areas, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. Over 80 percent of all U.S. residents live in these 379 metro areas.

Data was collected from sources which include the Census Bureau, the U.S. Green Building Council, Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the online directory.

Among its unique green attributes, Burlington has developed a compost facility that collects food scraps from restaurants, supermarkets, institutions and food manufacturers, and the yard clippings and leaves from local residents and landscapers. Once finished composting, local farmers, gardeners and landscapers purchase this nutrient rich soil to use.

Read the entire article.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Geo-Thermal HVAC Right For You?

Another form of renewable energy you might want to consider for your home is a geo-thermal heat pump. There's been quite a bit of interest in geothermal heating and cooling lately.

People have questions about what those options are and whether they should consider them as an eco-friendly heating/cooling option. If this describes you, then read on - these systems ARE incredibly promising technologies to heat and cool your home, but they're also more complicated than your typical AC or furnace unit.

Is Geo-Thermal Right For Your Home?
Geo-thermal Directory Of Providers

Cholesterol Test At Home

High cholesterol can have serious and even lethal effects on the body and too many people ignore testing. Personally I don't go to the doctor to get many tests since they want to run you through a long list of them once you begin. So, I make use of the at-home tests available. For many tests, an at-home setting is more valid since you're in your normal comfort zone.

For cholesterol testing, we use the Cholestrak® Home Cholesterol Test Kit to measure our cholesterol levels easy, quick and inexpensive ($12.50).

Fear Of Failure

by Donna L. Watkins

Having to consider a warmer climate for health reasons, we recently visited Gainesville, Florida. When you're making decisions based on health and not true desires, the view gets a bit muddled.

In reality, I didn't want to move to Florida so I was willing to go part way (to South Carolina). Vitiligo prevents me from being in the sun. Florida is called the Sunshine State, so it didn't seem to fit in my mind.

God has so much mercy with us. When we found the lot in Greenville we were certain "it was God" because it felt so good and fit us so well with it being a conservation community.

Then we had problems with the architect and builder in trying to get plans for a small home. They've been used to building huge for so long, I don't think they grasped our belief of "less is more."

Most of the time when I'm having my morning time with God I find such encouragement and delight in His Word and I praise Him for who He is, not just what I want. God is near when we praise Him. At other times He points out that I've been a naughty child and there is correction, repentance and His forgiveness. A simple process for Him, but so humbling for me.

James 4:13 says, "Come now, you who say, Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit."

Although our need to move is not a business one, this Scripture hit me dead between the eyes for my assumption that all would go smoothly in Greenville. We thought it was a good fit, but God sees further. We get so excited at events and circumstances (or so disappointed) that we let go of His hand sometimes and head down the highway alone - definitely trouble in the making. We could see that what our hearts truly wanted (to garden for a wildlife habitat and encourage others to do so also) would not be fulfilled with this lot or neighborhood.

We must give Him time to talk to us. It's easy to let fear come in and as my devotion book said one day last week, fear causes a loss of perspective. Fatigue (which is the daily challenge I have with the RA) strips us of our courage.

Fear causes us to forget the power of God because our perspective is messed up. Add exhaustion to it and you will feel hopeless and without options. Remember Elijah after his great victory against the 450 false prophets? He was exhausted and that stripped him of courage, which made him fearful until he became isolated, depressed and suicidal.

We can't let things go that far. At times like this we need to surround ourselves with those who support us and will help us to see the options more clearly. Isolation will make us our own worst enemy. Do not allow it!

Reach for God knowing that He is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow. Reach for strong Christian friends who can offer wisdom and encouragement. Stay in touch! That's been a key factor in staying focused on Truth and not feelings.

God knows that life can get you down now and then. He didn't lecture Elijah for his lack of faith. He gave him time to rest and fed him by sending ravens. God led Elijah into some alone time with Him.

Do you hear God calling you to sit and rest to allow Him to feed you His Word? When all seems lost and the world is falling apart, God will give you perspective and hope. He'll also send somebody to help if you're open to it (and sometimes even if you're not).

Too often I have the "I can do it myself" attitude. It's not a weakness to work together with others. God made us to be part of a team. Jesus came and one of the first things He did was to choose a "team" of disciples. Surround yourself with people you love and make sure they're positive people.

When you're down and out, you can easily attract others to have a pity party and that's not the way out of the wilderness. Truth will lead us down the right path and will help us to make right decisions. Sometimes the actual decision isn't as critical as we make it. Many times we are afraid of failing, like one choice on a decision may not go 100% right so then it might be considered a mistake. We learn from mistakes.

Mistakes are just a traffic sign to guide us to an alternate path, but it doesn't mean they weren't part of the path. God uses ALL for our good if we love Him, so don't freeze up and avoid decisions thinking there is one right answer. Very often there is more than one good choice! Remember God's sovereign will. He will only allow into your life what is good and necessary, so get up and set your feet on the path. He will direct. There's no time to think of failure.

Copyright and Reprint Information
All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins and may not be republished without written permission. You may forward or use this copyrighted article on a website if you include the following credit and an active link back to this site:
© 2000-2008 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission. Visit the author's website, for more articles and free email subscription.
Link URL:

Disinfectant Wipes Spread Superbugs

First came word that popular antibacterial hand soaps are not only unnecessary (old fashioned soap and water is the best way to keep germs from spreading) but the chemicals in them can harm your health and environment. Now a new study says instead of killing potentially dangerous infections, disinfectant wipes may actually spread drug-resistant and sometimes deadly bacteria.

The research, recently presented at the American Society of Microbiology's General Meeting in Boston, zeroed in on bacteria that included the dreaded "superbugs" -- methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. MRSA infections range from so-called "flesh eating" disfiguring skin infections to life-threatening and difficult to treat infections of the bloodstream, lungs and surgical wounds. The majority of cases are associated with hospitals, nursing homes or other health care facilities –- exactly the places where wipes are frequently used to try to prevent infections.

While the new study covered bacteria in hospitals, the information is also pertinent to the use of wipes in the home. You can't assume that by wiping down a cutting board, sink and counter top with a so-called disinfectant wipe that you have killed all potentially dangerous bacteria especially that associated with raw eggs and meat.

The best line of defense against infection? Wash your hands and surfaces with hot water and soap. Natural soaps and detergents with no added antibacterial agents zap the numbers of potentially troublesome bacteria adequately and quickly.

Read the entire article.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Attracting Butterflies

Butterflies, with their gorgeous colors and lilting flight, are such a joy to watch. They add so much beauty to our summers, like seeing flowers flying.

It’s easy to invite more butterflies to make a seasonal stop in your yard. Find out which plants they just can’t resist — and learn a few fun facts about butterflies that you may not know. Read the entire article.

Tofu And Dementia

The study focused on 719 elderly Indonesians living in urban and rural regions of Java. The researchers found high tofu consumption - at least once a day - was associated with worse memory, particularly among the over-68s.

Soy products are a major alternative protein source to meat for many people in the developing world. But soy consumption is also on the increase in the west, where it is often promoted as a "superfood".

Soy products are rich in micronutrients called phytoestrogens, which mimic the impact of the female sex hormone estrogen.

There is some evidence that they may protect the brains of younger and middle-aged people from damage - but their effect on the aging brain is less clear.

Read the entire article.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Pileated Woodpecker Nest

One of our delights of woodland living is that we see so many varieties of woodpeckers. The pileated are the largest and their hairdo is representative of the Woody Woodpecker we all know from cartoons.

© 2008 Ken Bushell
This year our neighbor hosted a nest in a tree that blew down two weeks after the woodpecker family departed. It was very interesting to see the inside of the nest and to imagine that huge cavity being dug out with only the chisel of the male woodpecker's beak. What a craftsman!

View photos of the nestlings and parents. Click on the double arrows to the right to continue the "story."

View a video of a pileated woodpecker near our front door.

Green Weddings or Reunions

Get information on location, event planners, invitations, food and beverage choices, rings, dresses, gifts and favors, and even where to recylce the mess. Read the entire article.

How about some green birthday party ideas also?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Dried or Fresh Fruit?

Do dried fruits contain more nutritional value than fresh fruits?

When you dry fruits, you lose more than just water. You also lose nutrients. For example, when it comes to berries, much of their uniqueness is derived from their phytonutrients. Flavonoids like peonidin, petunidin, malvidin, and many others found in berries are susceptible to damage from heat, light, oxygen, and time-since-harvest. While some drying processes are harsher than others, no drying process can leave the phytonutrient content of these berries significantly unchanged.

Since fruits lose water (and therefore volume) during the drying process, their nutrient, calorie, and sugar content becomes concentrated once they are dried. When you eat a handful of dried fruit, you are consuming more calories than you would if you ate that same amount of fresh fruit.

Read the entire article.

The Outhouse

While we were in Florida we visited an old homestead farm. As I took a photo of the outhouse, I realized that many outhouses had those symbols on them. The sliver of a moon and the star. I thought surely there was some meaning to it.

Google helped to find this trivia fact:

Cut-outs of a moon and a star were used in colonial times on outhouse doors to designate the gender of the intended user. Originally, the moon cut-out was for women and the star was for the men. But men's outhouses were usually such a mess that men preferred using the women's outhouses. So, eventually the use of stars were phased out.

Ever wonder about the history of these buildings? How they were built. What happened when they got full? What did they use before toilet paper came into the world? What about flies and was there some way to control the smell? Visit this site to learn more.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

9 Tips For Training Your Dog

You may not realize it, but you’ve been training your puppy from the first minute you got her! For instance, each time you say her name and she moves from where she is to where you are, she is learning the command “Come.“ You just have to add the word “Come” routinely so she makes the association.

With 10-20 minutes a day to work with your dog, you'll be surprised at what you can accomplish. This article provides nine great tips to help you successfully teach your puppy the basics.

Plants Communicate With Other Species

Plant communication is more widespread than thought, in fact, researchers suspect that it is almost universal among plants. Plants not only communicate with their own species, but with other plants and even with animals.

Some, like the wild tobacco, even know not to communicate when the intended recipient of the message is not around. It does not emit its anti-caterpillar scent until night time when nocturnal moths are liable to be around to lay eggs on them. Should the moths lay eggs on the plants the plant will signal to an all-purpose insect ally to eat the eggs. That same ally will also eat other insect pests that harm the plant.

Scientists say that not only are the plants’ messages specific, it appears that an individual plant will vary its message based on its experience.

That plants even communicate with other species is a wonder that cannot be explained by chance mutations. That their messages are so specific bespeaks the intelligence of their Creator.

I always talk to my plants as I work amongst them dead-heading or pruning, explaining why I'm doing what I'm doing ... but then maybe they already know from knowledge passed down within the seeds.

Certainly a fascinating and amazing subject for scientists to be studying, but didn't we gardeners already know that plants communicate with other species? Mine have communicated with me for many years.

Source: Creation Moments.
Reference: Discover, 4/02, pp. 46-51, Sharman Apt Russel, “Talking Plants.”

The The Secret Life of Plants is the book that opened my eyes to the incredible ability of plants to communicate. There is so much in Creation that we know nothing about.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Coconut Oil For Health and Weight Loss

Research indicates, animal fats have long chain saturated fat, while coconut oil contains healthy, healing, medium chain triglycerides (MCTs).

This incredible food boosts immunity, kills bacteria and viruses, protects against cancer and other degenerative diseases, and prevents osteoporosis by promoting calcium absorption. It also slows down aging and is good for skin radiance.

American farmers attempted to plump up their cattle by feeding them coconut oil. Instead of gaining weight, their cows lost weight!

Read the entire article.

Red Meat Study and Cancer

A new large-scale study has provided more strong evidence linking the consumption of red and processed meats to an increased risk of cancer.

All participants were between the ages of 50 and 71. The highest red meat consumption group had an intake of 62.5 grams (2.2 ounces) of red meat for every 1,000 calories consumed.

Red meat was defined in the study as any meat originating from a mammal, including beef, pork and lamb.

Researchers found that people who consumed the most red meat had a 25 percent higher risk of developing colorectal cancer in the study period compared with those who ate the least, and a 20 percent higher risk of developing lung cancer. The risk of esophageal and liver cancer was increased by between 20 and 60 percent.

Read the entire article.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Cell Phone and Bluetooth Protection Available

We don't have cell phones and don't intend to get them with all the research on the brain cancer, blindness, deafness, etc. Prevention truly is priceless, but our son has a cell phone as do most of the people we know. I've been told that Bluetooth is safer but it's been based upon this reasoning:

The FDA approved Bluetooth Technology for use by consumers without any regulations or premarket testing, which is exactly how cell phones were approved. However, as of 2006 the FDA felt a need to revisit its approval on cell phones in lieu of a recent study conducted by the Swedish National Institute for Working LIfe that showed cell phone users have a 240% greater risk of developing brain tumors on the same side of the head where they use their phone. Bluetooth headsets function in the same radiowave frequencies as cell phones.

I'm getting to where I feel very uncomfortable talking with somebody on a cell phone with this knowledge. Convenience seems to take priority in today's lifestyles. People sacrifice their health and diet to convenient junk foods and surround themselves with technology to have more time, when in reality there is less and less time in these kinds of lifestyles.

Out of concern for our son, I did some online searching to find out if Bluetooth was safer than cell phones and came up with a website that not only has a lot of information on health and EMFs, but also cells inexpensive solutions to block the EMFs from the brain and head. Visit to find out more.

Campaign Ads Use Fear

Terrorism, a slow economy and rising gas prices are issues that can keep American voters awake at night.

Political strategists know that the most successful candidates are masters at capitalizing on fears such as these, and that can make a huge difference at the polls.

In 1964, Lyndon Johnson was running for president against conservative Barry Goldwater when his campaign unleashed the "daisy ad." It showed a little girl counting as she plucked a daisy, charmingly mixing up her numbers. Then a baritone voice takes over, counting down to an overwhelming nuclear explosion. It's followed with a warning that the stakes are too high not to vote for Johnson.

The ad, which ran only once, was so chilling and effective, analysts say, it helped Johnson win the presidency by one of the widest margins in U.S. history.

CNN recently gathered eight undecided voters to see how they would respond to attack ads and how the ads might affect their choices. They met at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, where psychologist Drew Westen studies how brains react to candidates' messages.

Westen, who wrote The Political Brain, said fear-based attack ads are effective because they tap into a voter's subconscious.

Read the entire article.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Take Time

by Donna L. Watkins
Originally Published in A Healing Moment

What does it take to get healthy?

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Passion Flower - Costa Rica
The first thing I had to do was TAKE TIME!

What would it do for our health if we scheduled the Lord as a priority for a week? Arranged our schedule to make a few hours each day for a week to have a "retreat." You don't have to leave the house to have a retreat, but you do need to be diligent to get it done. Everything will come at you when you begin to plan this project. You have to decide WHAT is most important?

Have you prayed and prayed for good health and grumbled throughout the days about not feeling well? I spent many years doing that and using every ounce of energy that I did have DOING rather than BEING. I realized that if anybody could get me well it would be Jesus. So why did I run everywhere and accomplish all I could when the most important thing I wanted was to feel better? I guess we think that by DOING things, we feel better....but I've had enough of those experiences to realize that I really don't....most likely nobody notices 90% of what is done in those times anyway. Why didn't I choose to take time to spend time with Him seeking answers on my health.

Not "fast food" answers. We like to toss up an order and grab the answer as we go about our DOING. I believe God wants us to BE, which means we have to sit still and listen.

Do you spend your time with the Lord continually asking questions or making prayer requests or reading the Bible and then rush off waiting for the answers to come about? Hoping they'll fly into a "holding bin" waiting for you to stop by long enough to pick them up. I realized awhile back that I didn't spend much time listening to the Lord..I was always talking. He has a still and quiet voice. I wasn't sitting quietly awaiting His voice. My quiet time was just an item on my checklist.

Charles Stanley has some great comments from a devotional on this topic:

"Who or what holds the greatest place of importance in your life? What consumes your thoughts? Do you feel as though you are on a production treadmill that is geared for high speed and there is no way off? Does the Lord have a place of honor within your life? Do you spend quality time with Him on a regular basis? Jesus instructed His disciples to "Seek first [God's] kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you" (Matthew 6:33).

"Often the problems we encounter with time management have more to do with our own striving than the demands others make of us. We like being needed. We enjoy "fitting in." When someone makes a request of us, and we squeeze it in an already booked schedule, we make a horrendous mistake. Misplaced priorities rob us of our peace and contentment.

"Jesus never hurried from one place to another. He did not carry a cell phone nor did he worry about "picking up His e-mail." Yet He changed the world. What happens if you do get the long sought-after promotion at work, or you are elected as chairman of some committee, but miss the blessings of God's intimate love? What have you gained? Nothing. In fact, you have lost the greater opportunity - a chance to personally know and be known by the Savior of this world."


I challenge you to schedule time to get well. You will do it when you have to go to the hospital for surgery or a bypass operation. Why not do it BEFORE things get worse? Whether you have small children and a busy household which makes it a real challenge, or you live alone and it is easy, what it takes is making it a PRIORITY. It's a matter of choice!

Copyright and Reprint Information
All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins and may not be republished without written permission. You may forward or use this copyrighted article on a website if you include the following credit and an active link back to this site:
© 2000-2008 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission. Visit the author's website, for more articles and free email subscription.
Link URL:

Feline Chronic Renal Failure

Chronic Renal Failure (CRF) should not be confused with acute renal failure, which caused so many deaths in the 2007 tainted pet food recall tragedy.

Extremely common in older cats, CRF is a serious condition evidenced by gradual, irreversible deterioration of kidney function over a period of months or years. The kidney consists of tiny funnel-shaped tubes called nephrons, which filter and reabsorb the fluids that balance the body. When an individual nephron is damaged by any cause, (aging, poison, infection, etc.) it stops functioning.

Fortunately the kidney can still function with as few as twenty-five percent of its original nephrons, as other nephrons can grow larger to "fill in the blanks." Kidney failure occurs when the remaining functioning nephrons drop below 25%. Kidney failure creates several body disfunctions: Toxins, such as urea and creatinine which normally are secreted as waste, build up in the blood.

What are the Symptoms of CRF?

All but one (difficulty urinating) of the symptoms listed below can also be indicative of other disease, e.g., hyperthyroidism. In fact, hyperthyroidism may mask CRF, which points out the need for an accurate diagnosis.

* Weight loss
* Excessive thirst and urination
* Loss of appetite
* Vomiting
* Obvious difficulty in urinating
* Dull or ill-kept coat

Read the entire article.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Health Clues In Food Design

Seems God left us clues to what foods will do for us when we eat them fresh and whole.
This information has been billed as God's Pharmacy, but I don't find any reference for who gets credit for creating this. It is very interesting.

A sliced CARROT looks like the human eye with the pupil, iris and radiating lines. Science now shows carrots greatly enhance blood flow to and function of the eyes.

A TOMATO has four chambers and is red. The heart has four chambers and is red. All of the research shows tomatoes are loaded with lycopene and are indeed pure heart and blood food.

GRAPES hang in a cluster that has the shape of the heart. Each grape looks like a blood cell and research today shows grapes are also profound heart and blood vitalizing food.

The WALNUT looks like a little brain, a left and right hemisphere, upper cerebrums and lower cerebellums. Even the wrinkles or folds on the nut are just like the neo-cortex. We now know walnuts help develop more than three dozen neurotransmitters for brain function.

KIDNEY BEANS actually heal and help maintain kidney function and they look exactly like the human kidneys.

CELERY, BOK CHOY & RHUBARB look like bones and they do target bone strength. Bones are 23% sodium and celery is 23% sodium. If you don't have enough sodium in your diet, the body can't keep blood calcium levels up so it pulls calcium from the bones and teeth, thus making them weak.

AVOCADO, EGGPLANT & PEARS target the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female. They look just like these organs. Today's research shows that when a woman eats one avocado a week, it balances hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight, and prevents cervical cancers. And what about this tidbit: It takes exactly nine (9) months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit. There are over 14,000 photolytic chemical constituents of nutrition in each one of these foods (modern science has only studied and named about 141 of them).

FIGS are full of seeds and hang in twos when they grow. Figs increase the mobility and number of male sperm to overcome male sterility.

SWEET POTATOES look like the pancreas and actually balance the glycemic index of diabetics.

OLIVES assist the health and function of the ovaries.

CITRUS fruits look just like the mammary glands of the female and actually assist the health of the breasts and the movement of lymph in and out of the breasts.

ONIONS look like the body's cells. Today's research shows onions help clear waste materials from all of the body cells. They even produce tears which wash the epithelial layers of the eyes. A working companion, GARLIC, also helps eliminate waste materials and dangerous free radicals from the body.

Tanning Salons Not Healthy

A couple of high school students in my neighborhood recently told me they are getting ready to hit the beach this summer by tuning up their suntans inside tanning beds.

When I asked one of my colleagues here at Penn, Dr. William James, a professor of dermatology, if the high school students had the right idea about getting a head start on a tan, he laughed out loud. A tan, he said, represents nothing more than damage to the skin. It is the body trying to defend itself against an environmental hazard — too much UV light. In other words, indoor tanning gets you ready for the beach in the same way that getting scalded in a hot tub gets you ready to be boiled alive.

Read the entire article.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Finding Green Homes

With chemical allergies, the new move towards green homes is very exciting. Having green building materials become mainstream brings the costs down on being able to buy or build a green home.

There are various ways to find green homes and various programs that have different specifications on what makes it certifiably green. Here's a list of some places where you can begin your own search. Most of these sites have directories where you can track down developments, builders or homes for sale.

There's also links to great resources for remodeling or just making your current home more green as you choose improvements to consider.

LEED Home Certification
U.S. Green Building Council's Green Home Guide
Environments For Living
EarthCraft House Program
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About Bullfrogs

We have a small pond put in for the purpose of attracting frogs. Since it's not very large, we've had mostly Green Frogs in residence with other toads and frogs using it for mating. Back in Alabama we had a bit larger pond and did attract a bullfrog for a few years. They take dominance over a pond, so we didn't see much else those years.

The Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) is the largest Virginia native frog measuring from 3-1/3 inches to almost 8 inches long not including the legs which can be from 7-10 inches long. They are also the largest frog in North America. They are a drab brownish-green color on top with a yellowish white coloring below. The large circles behind the eyes are their eardrums with the females being about the size of the eye and males being considerably larger than the eye.

Territories are emphatically established with calls, postures, chasing, jumping and fighting if necessary. Their distinctive call is said to sound like a distant roar or bellow of a bull.

Bullfrogs will eat almost anything living that it can at least partially swallow. They are voracious predators, feeding on any small animal they can catch, including big and small insects, crayfish, other frogs and bullfrogs, fish, worms, turtles and even small snakes.

There are records of bullfrogs feeding on birds and baby alligators. They have teeth on the roof of their mouth and a tongue capable of flipping prey into their mouth. Bullfrogs can leap up to 6 feet in distance. They help to keep down mosquito populations but they can also have a negative effect on other species of frogs since they don't really have any natural predators.

They can secrete nasty toxic substances from their poison glands (called paratoid glands) that can poison a dog if it tries to eat one. (NOTE:  Read comments below article relating to this statement.)

This frog species prefers larger bodies of water, but will take the territory of a small backyard pond. Warm, calm, shallow waters are their favorite places. They can be found at lakes, ponds, rivers, or bogs.

They breed from May to August in Virginia. During breeding season the throat of the male Bullfrog is yellow, and the female's is white. Male bullfrogs chorus at breeding ponds and females give aggressive calls responding to the breeding calls of the males. The females are attracted to males with territories that provide the most food.

Fertilization is external, with females depositing up to 20,000 eggs in quiet and protected water. The egg mass is a large floating mat with a foamy film up to a yard wide. Fertilization is then accomplished usually by one male.

Tadpoles emerge about four days after fertilization and tadpoles may remain in the tadpole stage for almost 3 years before transforming into frogs. The longer the better for the frog since they will be bigger and have a better chance of survival. Adults reach sexual maturity after 3 to 5 years and have been recorded to live up to 7 years.

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