Sunday, November 30, 2008

GM Crops Threaten Human Fertility and Health

A long-term feeding study commissioned by the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety, managed by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Health, Family and Youth, and carried out by Veterinary University Vienna, confirms genetically modified (GM) corn seriously affects reproductive health.

Non-GMO advocates, who have warned about this infertility link along with other health risks, now seek an immediate ban of all GM foods and GM crops to protect the health of humankind and the fertility of women around the world. Read the entire article.

What we can do is simply try to avoid the GMO contaminants altogether and be extremely vigilant of how we spend our money and which companies we are choosing to support. Read five simple and effective ways to decrease your contact with untested, toxic and dangerous GMOs.

Choosing A Tankless Hot Water Heater

Tankless water heaters, also known as "demand" or "instantaneous" water heaters, are indeed very efficient. In fact, they're up to 34 percent more energy efficient than storage tank heaters, because tankless heaters heat water as needed, unlike conventional storage heaters that heat water and store it in a tank where it cools and is reheated over and over until you get around to using it. That standby heat loss can account for up to 9 percent of your water-heating costs.

This says nothing of tankless heaters' water efficiency—particularly important when so much of our country is experiencing drought. According to a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, households waste 6.35 gallons of water a day just waiting for water to heat up. Tankless heaters can deliver steaming hot water in as little as five seconds, as opposed to 30 seconds or more with storage tanks. Learn what steps to take to determine which one to choose.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Relief For Bad Knees

Arthroscopic surgery may be no better than nonsurgical treatment to relieve arthritic pain in the knee, concludes a study in the Sept. 11 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers treated 178 people who had moderate to severe chronic knee pain with both physical therapy and medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen; 86 participants also had arthroscopic surgery. After two years, both groups reported nearly the same levels of pain, disability and stiffness.

“Exercise, weight loss, physical therapy and over-the-counter pain medications are first-line alternatives to surgery,” says John H. Wilckens, M.D., an orthopedist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “Arthroscopy may provide some benefit to a very select group.”

Source: AARP article.

Having rheumatoid arthritis, I find essential oils of great comfort since they are safe and easy to use topically. Tei Fu Lotion has been such a benefit to the amount of pain I need to deal with and I've avoided even over the counter medications with this topical relief along with my supplement program. My neighbor has had knee problems and she orders three of these at a time and has shared it with others also. I love it when you can find something "simple" to make such a big difference in your life.

Dog and Cat Holiday Gifts

Our Healthy Pet Net website has some great gift baskets for dogs and cats.

The gift packages include toys and treats. Something for under the tree for your special furr balls ... or maybe a grandpuppy or sponsored pet.

I wouldn't put them out until you've got the tree area under supervision. The aroma may get your furr friend a bit too anxious. Patience is not generally a pet virtue.

View gift options.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Evolution vs Creation

Some time ago, a news article described how scientists had studied the genetic material of a magnolia leaf that supposedly died 20 million years ago.

It might seem amazing that scientists would be able to duplicate the genetic material of a fossil, but the technique does seem to work. However, we reject the 20 million year date in favor of a biblical history of life on Earth. In fact, what scientists found out about this leaf supports the biblical history.

The genetic information in living things contains the instructions for making that living thing. The color of your hair, eyes, skin, your height and all of your other features are contained in your genetic information. Scientists are not able to read that information in all its detail, but they can tell the difference between one kind of creature and another. They can also compare similarities and differences in great detail.

When they compared this supposedly 20 million year old magnolia leaf to modern magnolia leaves, they discovered that even in its genetic detail it was virtually identical to the modern magnolia. Scientists freely admit their surprise. No evolution had taken place!

As science increases its ability to study the genetics of ancient creatures, it will continue to fail to find evidence of evolution. That’s because all creatures were originally created in finished form, according to their kinds, just as the Bible says.

Source: Creation Moments.

Detoxing The Bathroom For Health

Rub a dub dub, what's that in your tub? Soap scum may be annoying, but it's not as gross as what's in some common bathroom cleaners. And since skin-care and hair-care products aren't always quite as beautiful as they appear on the surface, we'll show you what look out for in those products, too. Get tips from the entire article.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Grieving For The Planet

by Annie B. Bond

I am a bleeding heart when it comes to the Earth. I well up with tears when I see a deer dead on the side of the road, when I see a pond choked with algae from fertilizer runoff, when I hear of a newborn whale too entangled in plastic to drink its mother’s milk, when I think of polar bear cubs drowning without icecaps, when I think of maple trees dying.

The truth is, my grief about the disintegrating environment is overwhelming sometimes, it just seeps out of me. This must be what it means to be a bleeding heart. You feel like you are losing your life blood about something.

I am not sure how to manage the grief I feel for dying trees, when I hear that the songbird population is dwindling. It crushes my heart so that I can hardly breathe.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross introduced the five stages of grief as a way to help in the process of recovery from terrible loss. When it comes to the losses on the Earth I have long since evolved past the first stage, the denial stage. The “this can’t be happening,” stage. H-e-l-l-o. I read the newspapers and witness the destruction with my own eyes. I’ve also gotten past the anger stage, the “I can’t accept this” stage. I made that transition when I went from the rage I felt from being poisoned by pesticides that were so neurotoxic they were eventually taken off the market, to wanting to help others avoid being damaged by the accepted policy of putting products on the market until they are proven unsafe. I will forever be a proponent of The Precautionary Principle.

OK, so what about the third stage, the bargaining stage? In the case of the Earth, maybe the bargaining stage manifests in haggling with a school board to stop toxic VOC use in the schools, or with a neighbor to stop spraying their lawn with herbicides. I am not sure I am over this stage, because I know every little bit helps, and I will speak up when I am threatened or asked to help, yet in the end the greenhouse gases relentlessly keep growing and the haggling didn’t really make much difference.

I presume I am at least partially in the fourth stage, the depression stage, hence my need to share my feelings in this forum. I dip in and out of this. “We’re not going to be able to fix it, so give up.” Actually, I never dip into the “give up” part, so maybe I am not as depressed as I thought. Actually, that isn’t true. I am very depressed when I see a well-intentioned mom put toxic insect repellent on her child thinking she is doing the right thing. I am very depressed when I see politicians blindly squander our Earth’s resources, all for money in the now, not thinking of the future.

And the fifth stage of recovery from grief, acceptance? I wonder if I will ever be able to accept how human beings are degrading the Earth. But I know someone who has reached that high pinnacle of grief and been able to move on productively. I once went to hear the primatologist Jane Goodall speak. If anybody knows about the grief felt because of humans’ impact on the Earth, it must be her. How can she bear it when she hears about her beloved chimpanzee’s being slaughtered? How can she stand to hear about the bushmeat trade? When someone in the audience asked that question, she answered, “I just do the best I can every day.”

I had placed that quote on my desk for a number of years. I need to put it back, so I, too, can remind myself to just do the best I can for our planet. Every day.

Annie asked others to share how they cope with this difficult time in history. Read those comments here.

© This article is copyrighted by the author.

Green Wikia vs Wikipedia

Green Wikia strives to become a trusted central place to share our growing and evolving body of knowledge about environmental topics and issues with people who want to inform themselves and live in a more sustainable way. The community also believes that the threats to our environment are real and that they require action.

Green Wikia content differs from that on Wikipeda in three main ways:

* The content is written from a green point of view.
* The content is focused on things you can do.
* The content is more accessible and relevant to an average reader.

Take a look.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Fight The Flu

The flu strikes up to one-fifth of Americans each year, according to the National Institutes of Health. A yearly flu vaccine may help you dodge the dreaded virus, but gentle herbs and supplements also offer targeted prevention.

Remedy How it works Dose
Beta-carotene Feeds the mucous membranes so they can better slough off viral invaders in the nose. Drink an 8-ounce glass of beta-carotene-rich carrot juice daily. Or take an antioxidant formula with 10,000 IUs beta-carotene every day.
Echinacea Boosts the immune system, preparing it for battle against viruses. Take two dropperfuls of a tincture combination of Echinacea angustifolia and E. purpurea every 2-3 hours the first day you start feeling sick. If you don't feel better the next morning, resume dosing.
Rosehips Strengthens immunity with antioxidant properties. To make a tea, steep 2 tablespoons of dried rosehips in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Drink a couple of times a day during flu season.
Vitamin C Decreases oxidative stress on cells, making them more resistant to viral intruders. During flu season, take 1,000 mg three times a day. Choose a supplement with bioflavonoids, which increase C's efficacy.
Zinc Works similarly to vitamin C. Take 30 mg a day during flu season.

Consult your health care practitioner for advice before taking any supplement.

Source: Delicious Living

Death In The Garden

If life draws us into the garden, death—not to be too dramatic about it—waits there too. That’s part of the gardener’s education. Take leaves, for instance.

As the great Brit Graham Stewart Thomas wrote, with admirable English restraint, “If you garden hand in hand with leaves — either green and growing or brown and decaying — you will find gardening much easier.”

Blazing autumn colors reflect exposed sugars and carbs that leaves were producing all summer under their cloak of chlorophyll. When they fall, bacteria and fungi break it all back down into basic nutrients of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (the iconic N-P-K you see on fertilizer bags) that complete the cycle by replenishing the plants that produced them. Read the entire article.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Rosehips For Osteoarthritis

Powder made from rosehips is more effective at reducing osteoarthritis pain than Tylenol, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of California, and Fredericksburg Hospital, Copenhagen University Library and the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and published in the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis - painful joint inflammation - and is believed to be triggered by injury to cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis, a different condition, occurs when the body's immune system attacks its own joint tissue. An estimated 21 million people in the United States alone suffer from osteoarthritis, with studies suggesting that nearly 50 percent of the population will experience symptoms of the disease by age 65, while 80 percent will have asymptomatic arthritis.

Researchers reviewed the results of three prior studies on a total of 287 patients and found that after an average of three months, powdered rosehip was nearly three times more effective at reducing osteoarthritis pain than paracetamol, also known as acetaminophen and marketed as Tylenol, Panadol, Anacin-3, Tempra and Datril. Combinations of paracetamol with other drugs are also sold under a variety of brand names.

Rosehip was also 40% more effective than the common alternative osteoarthritis remedy glucosamine.

Read the entire article.
Purchase Rosehips in capsules.

How to Help a Smelly Dog

Does your dog smell wet even when he’s not? Is the odor getting worse? Does the odor return even after bathing? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” read on for the causes and solutions by Amy Shojai in New Choices in Natural Healing for Dogs and Cats (Rodale, 1999) to help keep your dog from smelling like stinky old socks. Read the entire article.

My Recommended Product Suggestions On Article:

Life's Abundance Pet Foods have NEVER HAD A RECALL.
Liquid Chlorophyll
Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids
Sunshine Concentrate For Baths

Monday, November 24, 2008

Stop Smoking Drug Risks Suicide

the popular anti-smoking drug Chantix has been linked to an elevated risk of suicide. This warning comes months after the FDA first expressed concerns over the psychiatric effects of the drug.

Chantix helps people quit smoking by simulating the effects of nicotine in the brain, while at the same time making real nicotine less effective. As early as November 2007, the FDA warned that many people were experiencing changes in emotions and behavior, including depression and suicidal thoughts, within weeks or even days of starting the drug. By February, the agency had strengthened its message, saying, "it appears increasingly likely that there may be an association between Chantix and serious neuropsychiatric symptoms."

At least 40 cases of suicide and another 400 attempted suicides have been reported among those taking Chantix.

Read the entire article.
Quit smoking with herbs: Lobelia.

Video: Bee On A Sedum Flower

What fun I have working on the screened porch. When I need a visual break from the computer, I walk a few steps to the deck to watch the butterflies and bees busy about their own work. This video shows the bee drinking nectar and also cleaning up while looking at my camera lens only 2 inches away. The audio from the forest provides the soothing backdrop of birds busy with their vocalizations. The crows sound like monkeys. View Bee Video.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Making Life Changes

by Donna L. Watkins

When I met my sweet husband in 1976, I was working for IBM in Atlanta in the Sales Training Center. He came for a series of classes and swept me off my feet.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Baby Bunny In The Woods
That was no easy task since I had always said I would never marry. Regardless, our first date was in November and we were married by April of the following year. Don't you love making 180 degree turns in life?

Randal was more career-oriented than I. My life choices were generally made from the heart, rather than from the mind or any structure of climbing corporate ladders. So, I decided I would be the one to move since I had lived in various states and Randal had lived in Oklahoma all his life.

Looking back it seems it was much easier to make life changes in younger years. Do you find that so? I have always enjoyed change to the point where I will rearrange drawers or cabinets just for a different look, not to mention furniture. When I discovered I was pregnant, my brain couldn't quite comprehend the amount of change that would bring, and having a tendency towards perfectionism, I knew I would insist on being an at-home mom. I was raised with a mom at home so to me it was right, although I also knew I was a high achiever and would need some kind of work to keep my brain stimulated and my administrative skills challenged.

Things I became involved in turned into a home business and being into natural foods, I also started food co-ops where ever we moved, so I flowed along creating our lifestyle around home and family, which included home schooling. Many choices, decisions and change of directions ... and then ... it was all over. Benjamin was grown and had moved out of state and we filled the empty moments with a new business venture of transferring our business from retail to an online environment. We stayed busy since we didn't know how to adapt to life without Ben. He was an ADHD profile so life was always high energy and challenging with his brilliant mind keeping us on our toes. It was good to have the challenge of The Herbs Place online development and then created Healthy Pet Corner as an outlet for our love of pets.

Being on a roll with major lifestyle changes, we made a move further north out of the heat of Alabama as we'd often talked about, and settled in Virginia. The area around Charlottesville is lovely and bucolic in many ways. A sense of true beauty for the soul rests upon me any time I drive anywhere. Although we down-sized greatly, I love my home, and we've worked hard to have what friends call a "lush garden" focused on attracting birds and wildlife.

My visual views are surrounded by beauty most of the year, but for 5 months, when the leaves are gone, we view a shopping center that's yards behind our home. Worse than that we're in a wooded community of 4400 homes and we've been battling for years to save the deer, which some homeowners want killed because they can't grow hostas, daylilies and rose bushes. It appears a decision is imminent on the deer kill, even though surveys have showed there's no overpopulation, disease, accidents, or any valid reason.

My Daddy used to say, "Let it roll of you like water off a duck's back." I've seen ducks dive and come back up with water just disappearing from their backs. It's such a fascinating thing to see and I've certainly wished my Faith level trusted God more and what I could do in such situations a lot less. But my Daddy also knew that I was high-strung and a high achiever and if there was something to be done or accomplished, I was in the heat of the battle working away.

That went well in my younger years ... with some health issues aggravated by stress, it doesn't work well. My husband's a duck. Not a drop of water on his back. Don't we generally marry the opposites? God gives us the half we're missing so we can both work towards middle ground. I'm definitely a dog in the rivers of life. I get saturated with whatever I'm wading in, and although I come out desperate to shake it all off, I still end up wet, dripping and bedraggled over issues I am passionate about.

As my body has slowed down with arthritis, I didn't have the resilience I once had, I misplaced the strong confidence I once carried around, and settled into this rut of a lovely place with wonderful neighbors and a husband happy with what he's involved in. But no matter how much you try to convince yourself that life is okay, to "be content with such things as you have," it doesn't work when it goes against your purpose and passions of life that God placed within. God created us uniquely and we're not from a mold.

I ask myself, 'If I can't have what I want, can I learn to be challenged by what I have?' High achievers have high expectations of themselves. It's part of their toolkit for God's plan in their lives, but it's often misunderstood as lack of contentment, or misused in being performance driven for self-esteem.

I'm naturally wired to plan, organize and administrate. I see details, so it's harder for me to ignore the environment around me. It all jumps and squirms in front of me begging for attention and some kind of order that aligns with my own values and desires. I realized the health issues were a result of my lifestyle choices. I may mental process it as okay not to live out my purpose, but inwardly, physiologically, my body is portraying the truth.

I've been reading, How Much Is Enough? Harness the Power of Your Money Story - And Change Your Life, by Pamela York Klainer. It's a book about money, but I thought I might get other direction from it since our lives tend to revolve around money decisions. In it she mentions:

"A big part of happiness is a sense of "fit" between you and the world around you. If you don't have that sense of fit, you're probably not happy and need to consider a change - even if a legion of others would give a lot to be where you are, and even if you hear voices in the background telling you you're an ungrateful wretch." Hang On To Passion!

God places desire in our hearts and when it stays steady and doesn't move no matter how much you pray to be somebody different, you've got the wrong prayer and wrong focus on life. Most of us don't trust our emotions or intuitions or dreams. If you've been a mom and wife for a long period of time, you're used to sacrificing and after awhile, it's a behavior pattern rather than a need. Sometimes people get into those roles because they need to be needed, but then do not feel appreciated no matter how much they do. Anybody there? If you're dissatisfied with what you do, you may not be doing what God's called you to do. Many times we have the answer at our fingertips but we won't consider the options.

It's never too late to change. Klainer, who began indoor rock climbing at 50, has this to say:

"You can't launch and hold on at the same time. You can easily get to the top of a beginner climbing wall keeping three points of contact with the wall at all times and stretching the other hand or foot until you grasp the next hold ... there will come a point at which you have to let go of two or even three points of contact with the wall. For an instant, it's like being poised in thin air. Then, counter to the pull of gravity, you thrust your body upward or sideways to grab the next set of holds ... You have to plot your course, and come up with a reasonable plan. Then, when you're ready, you have to let go of what you know - move counter to the pull of all the built-up expectations that hold you where you are - and go for it ... The goal is not to avoid falling, but to master how to fall and recover without hurting yourself."

If we get stuck in a life situation or health problem because we haven't recovered from a fall, it doesn't have to be lifelong. We can always recreate our life and begin afresh. It doesn't seem that way since it's easy to box ourselves up and see no way out even though the windows and doors are not locked around us. They may appear to be, but God always has a window of fresh air and hope for all who look to Him. Within us we know what we must do, but, like me, maybe you feel like you're not worth the trouble. Why should I expect to live out my passion and purpose if it means too much change, not only for me, but for others. It affects our husbands and sometimes other family members, but high achievers can also become overly responsible people, expecting so much more of themselves than anybody or God could ever want.

Whether it's age, health problems, loss, or grieving about the past, we don't have to slow down as we age. We don't have to let go of dreams, desires and passions for life. It's only the devil who would agree with that because his job is to discourage us and prevent us from being all that God placed within us to be. God is always saying, "Come!" There's more ahead. You're future is not bleak. The choice is yours!

"The last of the human freedoms is to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances." — Victor Frankl: was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist

Copyright and Reprint Information
The photo(s) and article are copyrighted. You may use either or both of them on a website if you include the following credit and an active link back to this site:
© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from
Link URL is:

Tree Stump Troubles

Turn a problem into an opportunity: Make that old stumpy thing a food factory or ornamental showplace!

Q. I have a tree stump in my yard that is about four feet high and approximately ten feet around. It couldn't be cut any lower because the tree grew around old fence posts and the chain saw blades were getting ruined. Is there any way to speed up the rotting process?

Q. Do you know of a way to get rid of tree stumps? I have two large ones from pine trees that were snapped off in a windstorm last fall. They are about 4-5 feet across, so digging them out is not really possible. I would like to plant something in their space.

Get the answers at Gardens Alive.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Acne and Milk

We all know the advertisements where celebrities sport the milk mustache and ask `Got Milk?`. However studies suggest that a more accurate question would be: `Got milk? Got acne?` This article explores how hormones and allergenic proteins in milk could contribute to acne.

At least three large-scale studies reported in the American Journal of Dermatology found a link between drinking milk and acne. NaturalNews reported about a study that found those who drank two or three glasses of milk a day had 44% higher chance of developing severe acne.

Most studies on acne and milk were conducted on teenagers. But anecdotal evidence from thousands of adults suggests that milk also affects adult acne. As many adult acne victims report their skin gets better after quitting milk and dairy products.

But how can a glass of `nature`s perfect food` wreck such disaster on your skin? Read the entire article.

Cocoa Mulch - Poison to Animals

Please tell every dog or cat owner you know. Forward this by email below.

Over the weekend a doting owner of two young lab mixes purchased Cocoa Mulch from Target to use in their garden. They loved the way it smelled and it was advertised to keep cats away from their garden. Their dog Calypso decided that the mulch smelled good enough to eat and devoured a large helping. She vomited a few times which was typical when she eats something new but wasn't acting lethargic in any way.

The next day, the owner woke up and took Calypso out for her morning walk. Half way through the walk, she had a seizure and died instantly.

Although the mulch had NO warnings printed on the label, upon further investigation on the company's website, this product is HIGHLY toxic to dogs and cats.

Cocoa Mulch is manufactured by Hershey's, and they claim that 'It is true that studies have shown that 50% of the dogs that eat Cocoa Mulch can suffer physical harm to a variety of degrees (depending on each individual dog). However, 98% of all dogs won't eat it.'

The website (where you can verify any stories you get by email) gives the following information:

Cocoa Mulch, which is sold by Home Depot, Foreman's Garden Supply and other Garden supply stores, contains a lethal ingredient called 'Theobromine'. It is lethal to dogs and cats. It smells like chocolate and it really attracts dogs. They will ingest this stuff and die. Several deaths already occurred in the last 2-3 weeks. Just a word of caution, check what you are using in your gardens and be aware of what your gardeners are using in your gardens.

Theobromine is in all chocolate, especially dark or baker's chocolate which is toxic to dogs. Cocoa bean shells contain potentially toxic quantities of theobromine, a xanthine compound similar in effects to caffeine and theophylline. A dog that ingested a lethal quantity of garden mulch made from cacao bean shells developed severe convulsions and died 17 hours later. Analysis of the stomach contents and the ingested cacao bean shells revealed the presence of lethal amounts of theobromine.

Keep in mind that neighbors may have this type of mulch, so keep your pets on your own property and notify your neighbors and friends NOT to use this.

Friday, November 21, 2008

How Food Cravings Work

Food cravings don't dictate everything we eat. We are naturally driven to eat for survival, but cravings go beyond the simple need to quench hunger.

In fact, many times, hunger doesn't play a prominent role in where cravings come from since most revolve around the hedonic, or pleasurable, aspects of dining. Rather, they're a confounding cocktail of body, brain and chemicals that can send us dashing to the grocery store for a tin of anchovies in the middle of the afternoon.

Just about everyone gets food cravings, but gender differences do exist. In general, women are more likely than men to experience food cravings. Read the entire article on how food cravings work.

Jet Recycled Into Hotel

Jumbo jets are magnificent machines, but when they go to die they bake in the desert, perhaps get converted into houses, or scrapped. At the same time, people are sleeping on airport floors as airlines go bankrupt, overbook or get caught in changing weather patterns.

So what could be more logical than to take an old jumbo and turn it into a hotel? That is what they did in Stockholm and it opens this December. This one is all hostel accommodation, three beds to a room, but there is also the flight deck, set up as a private, more high-end suite. Read the entire article.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Spirit Sustains

I believe in healing and I know that our faith ("only believe" as Jesus called it) brings things from the spiritual realm into the physical. But, I also know that I do not know and understand all things, so inspirational stories from those who have endured life's challenges valiantly are always a delight. It's another picture of faith and spirit that God places within us.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Bee On Rose Of Sharon Bloom
I hope you'll enjoy this short devotional from The Word For You.

"The strong spirit of a man will sustain him in bodily pain or trouble." Proverbs 18:14

David Rabin was a professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University. When he was 46 he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease. He knew what would happen. Stiffness in the legs, then weakness; paralysis of the lower limbs and then the upper. Eventually his body would no longer obey his commands. He could form words only with the greatest difficulty, and eventually not at all.

He lost his ability to treat patients and could no longer go to the hospital to work. He would have had a brilliant academic career; now he couldn't even turn the pages of a book. But there was one thing he would not surrender: his spirit!

One day he heard from a fellow physician who also had Lou Gehrig's Disease, about a computer that could be operated by a single switch. That switch could be operated by anyone, however physically challenged, who retained the function of just one muscle group.

David Rabin still had enough strength in one part of his body - his eyebrow. So for the next four years he used it to speak to his family, tell jokes, write papers and review manuscripts. He carried on a medical consulting practice. He taught med students. He published a comprehensive textbook on endocrinology and achieved a prestigious award for his work. And he did it with the only thing he could control, a single eyebrow.

With a spirit that refused to give up, and one eyebrow, he served God and blessed the world around him!

Notice all he accomplished in the four years he had till he died. He surely focused on the moment determined to do what he could do "today" and not worrying over tomorrow as Jesus told us not to. What an inspiration for our own life challenges.

Plant Native Trees

The fall seems more like a time for harvesting than for planting, but before the frost hits or the leaves drop is the perfect time to put in trees native to your area. The summer heat, which puts stress on newly planted trees, is over, and the cold isn't yet a threat.

The benefits of going native extend beyond the beauty of the trees themselves: there's also their cooling shade, and the boost they give to native insects, such as caterpillars, which in turn support indigenous birds and animals. Non-native plants, on the other hand, often bring pests that proliferate because they have no natural predators.

If you end up delaying, plant in spring after the last frost. (For that matter, burlap-sacked trees with a good root ball can go in at any time of the year.) However, it's always advisable to talk with a licensed arborist in your area. Read the entire article.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Waistline Inches or Pounds

If you’re only looking at the numbers on your scale or calculating your body mass index (BMI), you might not be as healthy as you think. Here’s why: Both methods measure your body’s overall weight—not where fat has amassed on your body. And believe it or not, location matters.

Research continues to show that fat that accumulates at your waistline may be more dangerous for long-term health than fat that shows up elsewhere on the body. A recent study found that middle-age women with a waist measurement of more than 35 inches increased their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 92 percent and cancer by 53 percent. Read the entire article.

Get more details on measuring your waistline and measurements for men also in this article.

Noise For Pets While You're Gone

You may be tempted to leave on the radio, stereo, or television when your dog is home alone. This is not necessarily a bad idea, but you want to make sure that the resulting sounds are going to reduce your pup’s anxiety, rather than make things worse. In the book Through a Dog’s Ear (Sounds True, 2008), authors Joshua Leeds and Susan Wagner talk about using sound to improve the health and behavior of dogs.

In most cases, people hope to help the animal not feel too lonely while they’re gone, or they may wish to provide some form of stimulation during long hours of isolation. These are good intentions, however, there are right and wrong ways to do this. Get tips in the article.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Release It

As children bring their broken toys with tears for us to mend,

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Female Pileated Woodpecker with Young
I brought my broken dreams to God because He was my friend.

But then instead of leaving Him in pace to work alone,

I stayed around and tried to help through ways that were my own.

At last I snatched them back adn cried, "How could you be so slow?!"

"My child," He said, "what could I do? You never did let go."

Author Unknown

Feeling Tired? Moody?

By Dr. Mark Stengler

The epidemic of exhaustion affecting so many Americans today may have at its root a condition that is common and easy to correct — yet that condition often goes unrecognized by medical doctors. The culprit is adrenal fatigue (AF).

Adrenal glands produce stress hormones in response to stressful situations. With AF, the hormone response mechanism is so overwhelmed that it becomes ineffective. AF is usually triggered bylong periods of mental, emotional, or physical stress, and it is worsened by poor nutrition and unhealthful lifestyle choices.

In my estimation, 20% of Americans suffer from some degree of AF. And I find that this disorder often causes — or contributes to — the development of numerous other illnesses, particularly chronic fatigue syndrome and diabetes. When AF is correctly diagnosed and treated, the other conditions are often relieved as well.

Read the entire article.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Downy Woodpeckers Build New Home

My dear neighbor, Ken Bushell, and I share photographs of the natural world. He and his wife, Yvonne, are both fascinated with the antics of the wildlife around us, as we are.

© 2008 Ken Bushell - Downy Woodpecker
Recently Ken sent me a photo documentary of a pair of Downy Woodpeckers that were building a home in a nearby tree at his house.

Unlike most folks who like to take down dead trees, we all enjoy leaving them up so the variety of woodpecker species we have here in Central Virginia will have plenty of places to set up housekeeping. And that provides endless hours of enjoyment with no admission charge.

I know you'll enjoy Ken's photo story as much as I did:

We have just had the delight of watching a pair of Downy woodpeckers build a home right in front of our eyes. They chose a small dead tree (trunk 4 inches diameter) situated 50 feet from our living room window and with the nest hole conveniently facing us.

All photos were taken with a Panasonic FZ18 with x 18 zoom (= 504mm in equivalent 35mm terms).

© 2008 Ken Bushell - Downy Woodpecker
My initial photos were taken from inside the house and later I took some outside. The close-ups at the bottom have digital zoom of approximately x3 (making it over 1500mm equivalent).

We are not exactly sure when work started, but we think it was on October 18 when we first noticed activity and when the first photo was taken. The red head signifies the male bird. The second photo shows lots of speedy drilling which provided many fuzzy shots like this.

Downy Woodpeckers readily visit backyard feeders where suet and peanut butter are offered. Their familiar drumming rolls are commonly heard in the spring, and have awakened many when they choose a drain spout, mailbox or other metallic surface to announce their territory and attract a mate. One might think that the woodpecker is trying to hammer a hole in the side of the house, but this type of drumming is much different than the drilling that they do to excavate a cavity nest. It's purpose is to send out a mating call.

© 2008 Ken Bushell - Downy Woodpecker
The female usually selects the nest site in a dead deciduous tree or branch, but they will also use fence or utility poles if necessary. The location can be from 8 to 50 feet high off the ground. Who excavates the cavity is of differing opinions when you research the topic. Some say it is mostly accomplished by the male, some the female, and other that both of them drill.

From our observation and these photos, this pair of Downies are doing it together. On October 19, this female was spotted helping with the digging.

This couple was building in the Fall to have a good roosting place for winter in a spot that was near seed and suet feeders. They will most likely choose a different location for their nesting season.

Downy Woodpeckers begin nesting in late Winter and some are known to mate for life. Some pairs stay together through the year, and the supply of food available seems to be a factor in determining whether mated pairs stay together past the breeding season. Where food is more plentiful it is more likely that pairs will stay together year-round.

© 2008 Ken Bushell - Downy Woodpecker
As the day progressed, the male got further and further inside as he regularly inspected their work being done. Late in the day, they had excavated enough for the male to get almost totally inside for the first time.

Seems they would be drilling in the dark after they get the entrance tunnel built and then have to head downwards for the nesting area.

On October 20 the male continued the task of drilling, but at one point a White-breasted Nuthatch came by to inspect the cavity also. These birds also nest in natural cavities or abandoned woodpecker cavities.

When the birds are drilling the initial entrance, the chips of wood fly about and get on their feathers. After they begin drilling downward for the cavity, they have to remove all the fragments chipped away, so they are seen carrying them out as evidenced in this photo.

All research online stated that it takes about two weeks to excavate a hole big enough to start a nest; however, this one seems to have been made in three (3) days. We can only surmise that building a roosting place is much different than building a nest.

© 2008 Ken Bushell - Downy Woodpecker
Photographs of the inside of the hole showed that the excavation did go deep as a typical nest would. Maybe it was completed so quickly because this particular tree is in pretty bad shape with many holes on the backside. Matter of fact, you could see light coming through the rear of the area they had just drilled.

When they are finished with an actual nesting cavity they don't furnish it with anything fancy. They just drop wood chips into the hole. The male is shown here removing wood chips from the excavation process.

Woodpeckers depend on fungi to weaken dead wood before they start excavating it. Polypores, such as the Spongy-toothed Polypore, are the main types of fungi which prepare dead trees for woodpeckers.

Some people believe woodpeckers are killing live trees when they see them climbing and pecking away, but they are actually providing a service by getting any bugs out of the wood that might injure it or create a disease problem. Keeping dead trees is important because they not only provide sites for nesting, but also provide food for the woodpeckers. One of the special anatomical trait of woodpeckers is the long, barbed tongue that searches crevices and cracks for food. The salivary glands produce a sticky, glue-like substance that coats the tongue and, along with the barbs, makes the tongue an efficient device for capturing insects.

© 2008 Ken Bushell - Downy Woodpecker
Woodpeckers are a family of birds sharing several characteristics that separate them from other avian families. Most of the special features of their anatomy are associated with the ability to dig holes in wood. The straight, chisel-shaped bill is formed of strong bone overlaid with a hard covering and is quite broad at the nostrils in order to spread the force of pecking.

A covering of feathers over the nostrils keeps out pieces of wood and wood powder. The pelvic bones are wide, allowing for attachment of muscles strong enough to move and hold the tail, which is important for climbing.

What fascinates me most about the entire process is how they get the hole the exact diameter that's recorded for the species to nest in. Incredible!

Get Rewards For Recycling

What if you could be rewarded for recycling? Just think about it: a frequent-flyer program for recyclers. Put your recyclablest in an electronically tagged bin for pickup by a truck, which weighs how much you are recycling--and transmits the data to a web site. By the time you've reentered your home, you can retrieve the points online and redeem them for discounts at stores like CVS and PETCO, or on brands like Stonyfield Farms, Sun & Earth and Green Mountain Coffee.

That's the simple idea behind RecycleBank, the brainchild of two high-school science-lab partners and one of the "hottest plays" among venture-capital firms. In a word, or four, by "turning garbage to gold," RecycleBank has changed the economics of recycling. In cities and towns where it's operating, like Wilmington, Delaware, recycling rates have jumped tenfold, from 3 percent to 32 percent. Read the entire article.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Dying In The Desert

by Donna L. Watkins

Life is full. Many people say it's full of problems. I think we can look at circumstances as problems or opportunities. I like to call my seemingly bad circumstances "challenges." In essence to me, it's God's way of challenging me into being more like Jesus and into the shape of who He originally designed me to be.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Mushroom In Backyard
Our childhood years often take us away from who we were designed to be. Parents have their own troubles/challenges in life, so not all environments that we grow up in are conducive to producing a balanced person. Each of us must take stock of our own life and make of it what we want.

If we seek to become what God designed us to become, we accomplish the best we could ever hope for in life on this earth. Living according to our passions and purpose creates much joy and peace throughout our entire being. Not having the confidence or character to make right choices often leaves us in professions and places that are not at all fulfilling. Choices ... it comes with free will, and sometimes even choices are a challenge.

I've been bogged down in my troubles many times, not being able to grab hold of them and make the right choices. Although you wouldn't think so on the surface, it feels much better to wallow in self-pity than it is to step up and over our issues. Many of us can even wallow well taking on the role of martyr as we sacrifice all that God intended for us to play a lesser role in life because we just can't face up to the challenge.

"The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him." Nahum 1:7

Trusting in Him. It all comes back to that doesn't it? Is that the real challenge? That there's no way to possibly figure it out on our own, that maybe we weren't even designed with the possibility of it? Like the 12 step programs for addictions, we have to admit we are powerless in our bad circumstances and allow God to use His strength to bring us out.

"The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are safe."
Proverbs 18:10

It often seems to me that the most intelligent are the ones who are challenged the most with making the right choice. The choice to let God be God in our lives. To rely and trust in Him to show us the way. Too often I let my brain fly with options, many of which are probably be tossed at me from the devil. Then there is great confusion and all confusion is of the devil. God's ways are always clear, but to find them, we need to stay in His Word and at His feet.

My first choice most times is to worry, panic and be fearful and feel sorry for myself. Over the years, I've shortened the hours I will allow myself to remain in that place because I realize that it's a trap. If I don't turn from it immediately in my mind, what I think will become reality and I'll be left in the desert alone in my misery, instead of taking the provision that God has for me.

Imagine being in the desert with a sand storm brewing and the cold night approaching that will freeze any human body to death. Our lives are defined by hours left and we fall to the ground in prayer pleading for some miracle now that we are truly at our wit's end. We look up and there a few feet away is a "strong tower" with a warm glow shining through the windows indicating a fire within. You can smell the aroma from a meal being prepared and you're only steps away from experiencing the good life rather than death.

Through any trouble or storm of life, that Strong Tower is always only a few steps away. Sometimes it's just meditating (reading and believing) on a Scripture card you keep in your pocket, or taking a 10-minute Bible break to fill up your cup of hope.

Don't let the devil keep you in the storm and freeze the life right out of you. Stand righteous and run to the tower and be safe! There you will get directions to get out of the deserts of life. How silly of us to think that we can come up with solutions for ourselves. Life comes with an instruction book (The Bible), so be sure to read it.

Copyright and Reprint Information
The photo(s) and article are copyrighted. You may use either or both of them on a website if you include the following credit and an active link back to this site:
© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from
Link URL is:

Help For Injured Wildlife

If you live in the woods or a natural area you may find yourself in a situation with injured wildlife. Until you find a rehabilitation center or certified local person, you may want to provide some emergency food.

Here's a site that will give you the required wild foods for a number of wildlife species. Food Substitutes for Rehab Wildlife Feeding

The following website offers information on what to do with injured wildlife and who to contact. There's a directory to Find a Wildlife Rehabilitator in your area.

Information is provided for the public and for the professional wildlife rehabilitator. Many links are provided to sites of interest relating to the field. Information is also present about wildlife in general that will appeal to everyone. Visit the site now.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tips for 55+ Health Problems

Very soon the first tide of baby boomers becomes eligible for Medicare. According to an American Medical Association report, some 60 percent of the nation’s physicians say they’ll be forced to limit the number of Medicare patients they can treat.

Can our health care system handle the flood? Probably not. That is why more seniors are turning to natural health solutions. Getting at the root cause instead of suppressing symptoms is their best hope for good health.

There are several common health issues those in the boomer category face. Some of the top concerns I see in my office are about circulatory issues such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, memory and brain health, digestive problems, eye health (glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration). Read the entire article.

All products mentioned are available from The Herbs Place at wholesale prices.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Mushrooms Are Super Food

Mushrooms have been used for thousands of years by traditional eastern healers but only recently by western healers in advanced medicine. Mushrooms are often classified as a vegetable or an herb, but they are actually fungi.

Mushrooms provide our bodies with the nutrients, proteins, minerals, and vitamins it needs to generate energy and repair cells. They are one of the most remarkable elements for a healthy immune system. They have been used to cure or improve eyesight, hearing, circulation, impotency, stop migraine headaches, tumors, influenza, and even cancer.

Mushrooms are low in carbohydrates, calories, and sodium and are cholesterol and fat free. High in fiber and protein, mushrooms are also rich in B vitamins to help maintain a healthy metabolism.

Mushrooms are an excellent source of potassium, a mineral that helps lower elevated blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke. One medium portabella mushroom has even more potassium than a banana or a glass of orange juice.

Mushrooms are a rich source of riboflavin, niacin, and selenium. Selenium is an antioxidant that works with vitamin E to protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals. Male health professionals who consumed twice the recommended daily intake of selenium cut their risk of prostate cancer by 65 percent.

Regular ingestion of mushrooms over long periods of time has been proven to decrease the amount of cancerous cells in the body. They not only fight and reduce cancerous cells and tumors, but they help prevent more of those cells from forming in the body.

Read entire article.
One great immune-enhancing formula: Immune Stimulator.

Blue Whales Bigger Than Dinosaurs

Genesis 1:21

And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

Size Perspective: Blue Whale, Man, Dinosaur, Giraffe
Most people would say that dinosaurs were the biggest creatures to walk the Earth. A few of the biggest dinosaurs might have been longer than the Blue Whale, but they didn't compare to the actual body size of the Blue Whale.

At up to 110 ft in length and 200 tons or more in weight, it's believed to be the largest animal ever to have existed. It's as big as an entire town of 2700 people. It has to eat a million calories a day. Their diet consists mainly of small crustaceans known as krill, as well as small fish and sometimes squid.

The blue whale’s tongue weighs more than an elephant and its arteries are big enough for a man to swim through. Its heart, which has to pump the whale's entire supply of eight tons of blood, weighs 1,000 pounds.

Blue Whales were abundant in nearly all the oceans until the beginning of the 20th century. For over 40 years they were hunted almost to extinction by whalers until protected by the international community in 1966. A 2002 report estimated there were 5,000 to 12,000 Blue Whales worldwide.

The whale is intelligent creature. An anatomical feature that scientists correlate with intelligence is the degree of folding of the upper surface of the whale’s brain, the area known as the cerebral cortex. This folding increases the surface area of the brain and is found in other intelligent animals, such as elephants and dogs. Whale brains generally show as much or more folding of the cerebral cortex as is seen in humans.

Besides showing forth God's great creative power and imagination, the whale also shows us that neither size nor other standards of human measurement give us an indication of how God places value on things. We are stewards of His Creation.

References: Creation Moments, Wikipedia

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Making Yourself Sick

From Creation Moments

1 Peter 5:7 - "Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you."

We sometimes hear of a person worrying so much about something that they become obsessed with fear. We talk about someone being “worried sick.”

A number of studies have now confirmed that continued grief, worry, or fear can literally make us sick. Scientists are even learning just how this works. A state of worry, fear, or grief causes chemical changes in the brain, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands. These changes ultimately have the effect of weakening our immune system that protects us from disease. As a result, a wandering cold or flu bug - or even a skin infection that might be easily handled by our immune system - can get out of control.

Continued fear, worry, or grief can also cripple our body's ability to fight cancer - something scientists tell us our bodies are doing all the time. Other changes in blood chemistry during these periods can also increase the risk of stroke or heart attack.

While worry over circumstances will not help in the least, it does mean that we have forgotten - or perhaps never understood - that it is God who is in charge and not ourselves. Yes, He is in charge of everything in this universe. While God always wants us to learn from the circumstances, He loves us and even invites us to cast all our worries and concerns on Him.

Dear Heavenly Father, I confess that I often forget how intimately involved in my life You want to be. Give me increased faith to cast all my cares on You and not take them back to myself after a little while. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Gina Maranto, “Emotions: How They Affect Your Body,” Discover, November 1984, pp. 35-38.

Visit Creation Moments.

Keeping a Nature Journal

A Nature Journal is a place to grow your thoughts, feelings, ideas, activities, observations, and relationship with the natural world. In wilderness we find healing and insight for physical and mental health.

We can learn a lot about keeping a Nature Journal from John Muir, the inspiration for, and the first president of the Sierra Club. Muir studied and cared about wilderness. He sought to preserve wild places and is considered one of the founders of the modern environmental movement. Muir wrote in his journals about the beauty he saw in nature.

He also drew sketches detailing information about plants, animals, mountains, and landscapes. He used his journals to compose letters to friends, articles, and books to share his love of nature and to enlist people's support to preserve wilderness. Muir's journals gave him a wealth of recorded experience from which ten books and over two hundred articles were published. We continue to gain insight into Nature's beauty and importance in our lives from Muir's writings.

Read the entire article and directions for making a nature journal.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New Non-Drug Approach to ADD and ADHD

Tom Stone has been conducting groundbreaking research into the root causes of ADD/ADHD and anxiety in both children and adults. Stone's methods for treating ADHD and ADD (which don't involve the use of psychoactive or pharmaceutical drugs) recently underwent double-blind, placebo controlled clinical trials, and the results were remarkable. Some children showed near complete relief of their symptoms in just one or two sessions.

A 15-minute video of a popular morning show on Chicago's ABC affiliate features Tom Stone and more information on this technique. There is footage conducted during the clinical studies, and comments from the parents of the children who participated in the study. View video here.

Dogs and Cats Contaminated With Chemicals

High levels of 48 different industrial chemicals were found in household pets in a study conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

The group tested 20 dogs and 37 cats from a Virginia veterinary clinic, and found high levels of chemicals from mercury to fire-retardants and stain-proof coatings.

According to the group, pets are particularly at risk of exposure to toxic household chemicals because they are commonly on the ground or their feet. Infants and toddlers are at similar risk, EWG said.

"We need a better system of regulating toxic chemicals in this country," said Bill Walker, EWG's vice president of West Coast operations. "We need to test the chemicals before they are allowed on the market. Our animals are trying to tell us something here." Read the entire article.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Effects of Noise Pollution

If you have ever lived or worked somewhere that was noisy, you know that it can have a seriously negative impact on your life. While we move ahead with our technological society, there are all sorts of pollution that we didn't have to deal with 50 years, and it is increasingly getting worse. Flights, machines, TV, radio…how often do really get a moment's peace.

Studies are beginning to reveal that noise-related stress can negatively affect our health and wellbeing, sometimes significantly so. According to a recent report from the World Health Organization, noise pollution is causing hearing problems such as tinnitus, causing disturbed sleep, and triggering stress hormones which can play a major role in many illnesses.

Unwanted noise also makes us feel powerless and potentially more aggressive. The risk of having a heart attack or stroke is increased; in fact it is estimated that 3% of ischeamic heart disease, which is the most common cause of death, is caused by noise. Read the entire article.

Build Your Own Solar Panels

When Mike Davis moved to Arizona to get away from the light pollution so he could enjoy his hobby of astronomy, he didn't have any way to connect to electricity. The wind power worked most of the time, but generally not when he needed it.

He used common tools and inexpensive and easy to acquire materials to produce a solar panel that rivals commercial panels in power production, but completely blows them away in price. Read the entire article for step-by-step instructions.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Being Fed By God

by Donna L. Watkins

What a great many good things God can bring out of the ruin of your health! I have been on this spiritual journey of weeding my way through various diseases with the inner thought that I can handle it and I can make it through.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk
God doesn't want us to just "make it," He wants us to overcome and live victorious lives through Jesus' work on the Cross.

Of course, determination provides a lot of strength and stamina ... but sometimes it's not about strength, it's about bowing down and allowing God to fight the battle, as any good Papa would do for his child.

Why do we try so hard to handle our own problems when we have somebody who will take care of them more efficiently and thoroughly than we ever could, and in record time if we allow it? Pride! It takes us down every rabbit trail we can find on the map of life, hoping we'll see the solution jump out at us.

I've done this with the task of finding some place to move that is warmer since the cold has caused a lot of structural damage to my hands and joints. Last year God gave me the wonderful experience of 9 weeks in Costa Rica and it really opened a whole world of love and direction for me ... but getting back into my usual environment, "life" seems to take back over. Pride comes back in to get things done, to administrate and manage. God has given me gifts and natural talents for administration and organization and getting things done in order ... but don't we often misuse our gifts?

You would think in the eight (8) months since I've been back from Costa Rica that I could have found a warmer climate with a home that we want, but it's not happened because I am not able to see the entire picture that God has for us. I change the parameters because I do not know what my needs are and I also don't like making life decisions based on a disease since we are healed by the stripes of Jesus, so it's a weak foundation for planning.

The real "place" is to find out what God wants through all of this and allow Him to work through it to bring about the beauty in life that only He can provide if we allow Him to feed us with His Word, Truth, Peace, Joy and Grace for the journey.

I know Jesus' work on the Cross purchased my healing and that within I am healed ... but to bring it from the spiritual realm to the physical realm is up to me. As one message at church was titled, "I Am The Answer." That can be interpreted to mean I need to act and move and administrate to return to full health, or it can mean that I am to SIMPLY BELIEVE and tune in to what the steps are.

Jesus said, "Everything is possible for the person who believes!" (Mark 9:23)

Our salvation hangs only on our belief as Romans 10:9 says, "For if thou confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thy heart that God hath raised him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved."

We trust our eternal life to a belief, but do not trust our lives here on earth to be determined by our beliefs.

God knows exactly what we need to turn our hearts fully on Him and He allows the devil to do His dirty work, knowing all along that He is going to use it for good in our lives ... as long as we meet the "if clause"" of Romans 8:28:

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

Jesus tells us what the greatest commandment is in Matthew 22:36: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."

When we place ourselves within those parameters we have all the promises of God. What we often don't realize is that just having the emotion of love or the feeling of love towards God is not what love truly is.

Vern Sheridan Poythress comments on this Scripture: "Heart and soul and mind are not three distinct small pieces of ourselves that we may offer. They all point to what we really are. The Bible indicates that our heart is central: 'The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks' (Luke 6:45 NIV). Everything we are and have, beginning with our inmost commitments and all our thoughts, we must devote to loving, adoring, and serving God."

That's where we fall off the Faith Train. We want to deal with life in our own manner and with our own methods, even though we've proven time and time again that they don't work. Our Creator knows so much more about us. He designed us each uniquely and knows our past and future. We were born for a purpose and we have no hope of finding it unless we trust Him to guide us and train us and mold and shape us to enter into that divine purpose.

Look for the extraordinary within the ordinary moments of life. Troubles come and go, but within them is our secret to life. God can turn curses into blessings. He has placed power within us to battle the enemy. That's the only place we should be strong and of good courage and determined. In the spiritual realm! By putting on our armor each day and taking the authority we have in Christ to come against the wrong thoughts and replace them with God's Word, as Jesus did when He was tempted in the wilderness.

Remember when there were 5,000 people to feed and the disciples said there was no food, so they suggested sending the people away so they could eat. The solution was already there. We have to look above what we see (troubles, circumstances, diseases, finances, grief and heartaches). The "loaves of bread" are already in the midst of them. God has solutions in your hands. Don't scurry about trying every idea that pops into your head ... spend more time in prayer and study than you do in actual application and you will find greater results.

For me, I've spent days and nights online looking for "the town" and "the place" and "the home" for us. Because of God's love for me, there's always something that makes me mentally rule them out. As Randal says, "We wouldn't know it if we saw it." The answer isn't "out there" somewhere, it's right here in my heart and soul and to find it I only need to remain with God. He will feed us all that we need. Fear only enters in when we think our own abilities are all we have to work with. Faith is knowing that God is always for us, with us, and molding us to be more of who we truly want to be. Stay sitting at His feet ... your food is on the way!

Copyright and Reprint Information
The photo(s) and article are copyrighted. You may use either or both of them on a website if you include the following credit and an active link back to this site:
© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from
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Teachers, Teach Green

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to help children develop a connection to the environment, through both learning and experience.

School teachers, listen up! This is a call for help. You are one of the first lines of defense in the environmental movement. In a few short years, the upcoming generation will decide the fate of this planet. And when it comes to how to teach children science, math, and geography, you're the best at it. The interdisciplinary skills they learn today will be the planet-saving skills they enlist tomorrow.

With the Go Green Initiative's annual Earth Summit, a US national conference focused on going green in the classroom, it's a perfect time to start planning some eco-activities for your students.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Cell Phones - Epidemic of Brain Tumors

A new review of more than 100 studies on the safety of mobile phones has concluded that cellular devices are poised to cause an epidemic of brain tumors that will kill more people than smoking or asbestos.

The review was conducted by neurosurgeon Vini Khurana, who has received more than 14 awards in the past 16 years, who made headlines worldwide with his warnings. He called upon the industry to immediately work to reduce people's exposure to the radiation from mobile phones.

According to Khurana, research demonstrates that long-term use of mobile handsets, more than 10 years, can double the risk of contracting brain cancer. While a number of studies have concluded that there is no such risk, Khurana said that most of those studies only examined short-term use. But because a brain tumor can take 10 years to develop, studies without a long follow-up period are largely meaningless. Read the entire article.

Related Articles:
Mobile Phones and Skin Problems
Mobile Phones More Dangerous Than Smoking
Cell Phone Precautions - Analysis of Studies

Preparing Pets For Cold Weather

During the coldest part of the year most of us will winterize our homes in preparation. But, have we considered preparing our pets to help them meet the challenges of winter?

Perhaps the most important consideration for preparing your pet for winter is nutrition. Outdoor pets in particular require more calories in the winter to generate enough energy to cope with cold. A high quality nutritionally balanced diet is adequate to meet these increased demands, therefore most pets will not require supplementation with vitamins. In addition to a good diet, fresh water should be offered several times a day. Get tips and preparedness list.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Perspective On Stuff From The Amazon

I found an article by a couple that had recently returned from their travels to the Peruvian Amazon. It painted a great picture of how we can simplify our lives in small tiny steps. Here’s what Jessica wrote in her blog:

Speaking of material things, once again I was reminded on this trip that I have an uncomfortable amount of stuff. Sometimes when we go visit the communities, Andrew and I feel like we’re roughing it, but if you ever want a real kick in the behind to simplify your life, unpack your backpack in front of a barefoot 7-year old from an Amazon village.

You will take out your bug repellent, your hand sanitizer, your sunscreen, your zippered bag of toiletries, your 3 pairs of different kinds of shoes, your hammock, your cameras, your bag of clothes, your sleeping sheet and therma-rest, your mosquito net, your books and pencils, etc. etc. and the child will marvel at each thing and it will start to dawn on you that this kid has basically none of that stuff, and he lives here, while you are planning to stay for nine days and somehow need it all. And this is just a small fraction of the things that you have in Iquitos [Peru]. And those are also hardly anything compared to the things that you left behind at home in the states.

When I spend time with them in their homes and on their boats and in their meeting halls, I don’t really perceive these people as “poor,” though I know they do not have a lot ... the unavoidable conclusion is that I have WAY TOO MUCH.

Since it is now so clear, one of our new favorite things to do is look for ways to give stuff away. I know that I’ve always heard that giving is better than receiving, and I’ve always felt ambiguous about that because I really like receiving, but I have been pretty surprised at how good it feels to go around lightening our load.

It’s more than just a pat on the back for being a good citizen. When we can get in this frame of mind, we feel more incorporated, more confident and proud of ourselves, and less clingy and dependent on things that distract from what’s important.

From Life On The Amazon blog.

New Car Smell Toxic

All these years, while we were being offered safety first, last and front, side and rear ways, hardly anyone in the vehicle industry had given much thought to what actually was in that perfume de profit, the new car smell that car buyers sought and bought.

The new car smell comes from toxic gases. Not only that, but like a two dollar cologne, the effects can linger and linger for years, stinking up not only your shiny new car, but the reputation of the entire vehicle industry itself.

Who says so? Just about everyone in the vehicle business these days. In a 2006 industry-awakening report entitled "Toxic At Any Speed: Chemicals in Cars and the Need for Safe Alternatives", this independent green organization declared that much of the material in most car interiors that produce that new car smell is made with toxic chemicals known to pose major public health risks.

The report says these chemicals give off gases that not only contaminate the air, but also coat interior surfaces with toxic "fog," generally seen as that new car film common to new car interior windshields and windows. Read entire article

Friday, November 7, 2008

Birds, Bees and Butterflies Facts

Black-oil sunflower seeds are the best choice for attracting the most species of desirable birds.

The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest avian flier. It's been clocked at 175 mph.

During winter, male Northern Cardinals often won't tolerate females at the same feeder, not even their mates.

A honeybee may collect nectar from up to 10,000 flowers a day, but will make less than 1 T. of honey in its 6-week life.

There are 761 species of butterflies in North America.

Butterflies are most attracted to the colors purple, white, pink and yellow. I've noticed that this is true of the variety of butterfly plants we have in our yard. The purple ones have the most butterflies with the white ones being next.

Butterflies love to drink nectar from lantana flowers, but all parts of the plant are poisonous to humans. We can't keep lantana in our garden because the deer eat it.

Most adult butterflies live about 20 to 40 days. Some, however, only live 3 or 4 days, while others may survive up to 10 or 11 months depending upon weather and migration.

Watching butterflies gives a feeling of carefree living. With such a short lifespan, they sure do enjoy each moment.

Boost Energy Efficiency At Home

Co-op America's “Efficiency First” features 23 ways to boost your energy efficiency at home as well as interviews with energy efficiency experts, ways to get active on energy efficiency in your community, and more.

Reducing your home’s energy use not only makes sense for reducing pollution and the greenhouse gases that cause global warming, but they make good sense for your pocketbook as well.

When you follow the tips to save up to 2/3 of your home’s energy usage, you’re cutting your electric bill by 2/3 as well.

This well done article gives you plenty of easy options to implement and progresses to more dedicated ones. Read the entire article.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Faith Looks Up

My sweet friend, Dianne Frase, emaiiled me the other day reminding me to keep my focus. She sent me this quote: "Winners focus on what they are going to, not what they are going through."

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Juvenile Pileated Woodpecker on Suet Feeder

It's great having friends that will encourage and inspire you. We need to surround ourselves with these people, rather than with people who will whine with us. We don't need more whining, we need more Faith!

I love God's Creation so this example of looking to Him was a real treat. I hope you enjoy it also!

THE BUZZARD: If you put a buzzard in a pen that is 6 feet by 8 feet and is entirely open at the top, the bird, in spite of its ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner. The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of 10 to 12 feet. Without space to run, as is its habit, it will not even attempt to fly, but will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top.

THE BAT: The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkable nimble creature in the air, cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and, no doubt, painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off like a flash.

THE BUMBLEBEE: A bumblebee, if dropped into an open tumbler, will be there until it dies, unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom. It will seek a way where none exists, until it completely destroys itself.

PEOPLE: In many ways, we are like the buzzard, the bat, and the bumblebee. We struggle about with all our problems and frustrations, never realizing that all we have to do is look up! That's the answer, the escape route and the solution to any problem! Just look up.

Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around, but Faith looks up!

Source Unknown

Zinc, Acne and Good Health

According to the American Zinc Association, zinc seals and protects skin:

"Zinc is essential for healthy skin. As a drying agent and astringent, zinc oxide has been used for generations to soothe diaper rash and relieve itching. And zinc is a natural sun screen, protecting chapped lips and skin from the sun's harmful rays. Zinc sulfate is effective in treating some cases of acne. And in a water-based solution, zinc sulfate helps remedy cold sores. Zinc also improves healing of wounds, like surgical incisions, burns and other skin irritations. Used as an anti-inflammatory, zinc soothes skin and skin tissue. Poison ivy, sunburn, blisters and gum disease are all improved when treated with zinc. It is even a natural insect repellent. And zinc stimulates the transport of Vitamin A from the liver to the skin, helping to protect body tissue from damage."

Sounds like it would do a lot of good besides the acne benefits mentioned in medical research results. Read the research article.

Zinc - Essential for Human Health

Zinc is an essential trace element for humans, animals and plants. It is vital for many biological functions and plays a crucial role in more than 300 enzymes in the human body. The adult body contains about 2-3 grams of zinc. Zinc is found in all parts of the body: it is in organs, tissues, bones, fluids and cells. Muscles and bones contain most of the body’s zinc (90%). Particularly high concentrations of zinc are in the prostate gland and semen.

Zinc is necessary for growth and cell division, fertility, menstrual problems and PMS, and the immune system. It's vital for skin, hair and nails; taste, smell and appetite; and is used in the treatment of anorexia.

Zinc is also used as an anti-inflammatory agent and can help sooth the skin tissue, particularly in cases of poison ivy, sunburn, blisters and certain gum diseases. Zinc may also protect from night blindness and prevent the development of cataracts.

Sources of dietary zinc are red meat, poultry, fish and seafood, whole cereals and dairy products. Zinc is most available to the body from meat. The bioavailability of plant-based foods is generally lower due to dietary fibre and phytic acid which inhibit the absorption of zinc.

As a vegetarian for almost 30 years, zinc is a dietary supplement I use. Zinc Lozenges can also be used especially for those who tend to get a lot of colds. Research on sublingual administration of zinc to be very effective against colds. Read The Handbook for Curing the Common Cold.

Mild zinc deficiency symptoms include dry and rough skin, dull looking hair, brittle finger nails, white spots on nails, reduced taste and smell, loss of appetite, mood swings, reduced adaptation to darkness, frequent infections, delayed wound healing, dermatitis and acne.

Since I take Chelated Zinc tablets in a formula that helps with assimilation of it by adding herbal and mineral co-factors.

The upper limit for zinc is set at 40 mg per day for adults over 19. Doses up to 30 mg per day are generally well tolerated. Be sure to take zinc with a meal. If taken on an empty stomach it can and probably will make you throw up.

Reference: American Zinc Association

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Alert! Health News Fans

In the recent poll on The Nature In Us, the topic with most favored was Health-Wellness.

The newly formatted Health Tips and Weekly Specials mailing will inform you of product specials at The Herbs Place, but also has a link to all of the recent Health-Wellness posts placed on The Nature In Us.

Subscribe now to give it a try.

Adding A Kitten With An Older Cat

Especially if you're adding them to a household that already has an elderly cat. The concept is that the kittens will entertain themselves and leave the older cat alone. This gives the established alpha cat a chance to choose to establish relationships with the new kittens and residents. That's how it went for Fannie's household. Read the entire article.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

FDA Approval and Pharmaceutical Marketing

Four modules have been created that detail the extent and effect that pharmaceutical marketing may have on prescribing behaviors.

The content of the video modules includes information on the FDA and the drug approval process, promotions and marketing activities by pharmaceutical companies, and the ethical dimensions of prescribing.

Experts from the fields of nursing, medicine, bioethics, health care policy and journalism are interviewed in the documentary. Dramatic vignettes are also presented with a humorous interplay in order to create a format that is educational, thought provoking and entertaining.

Module One - Why and how are drugs approved?
Overview of drug research and development in the United States; the FDA drug approval process.

Module Two - There’s no such thing as a free lunch…or dinner
Overview of pharmaceutical marketing practices, scientific evidence on the effect of marketing methods on prescribing behavior (drug samples, free meals, interactions with drug industry representatives, industry sponsored CME and lectures at national conferences, free gifts, office supplies).

Module Three - Is this the right thing to do?
Overview, discussion and presentation of opposing views regarding the ethical dimensions of pharmaceutical marketing and direct-to-consumer advertising; conflict of interest debate; effect on costs to patients and health care system as a whole.

Module Four - How can I improve my practice?
Overview of strategies to improve prescribing, i.e. evidence-based prescribing vs. market-based prescribing; cost-effective prescribing; strategies to improve interaction with representatives; critical evaluation techniques of pharmaceutical company information (data and claims).

America Recycles Day

This is a national celebration set each year at November 15 to remind us that recycling and buying recycled goods is of utmost importance. Many events are scheduled throughout nation on this day. In addition, many prizes are awarded to those who make a commitment to recycle or buy recycled products. Get more info at

Monday, November 3, 2008

On And Off The Potter's Wheel

by Donna L. Watkins

Life brings adversity because we live in a fallen world and the devil never gives up trying to keep us from becoming who God intended us to be.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Bee in Rose of Sharon Bloom
Free will gives us many choices, but with choice there is always good and bad. I often choose bad simply because I'm stubborn and hard-headed. We folks with these types of personalities are harder to keep on the Potter's wheel.

When troubles come, we jump on the wheel and beg God to fix it ... to fix us ... to make everything okay again. I was raised by grandparents so I was definitely spoiled. What a great choice of words to describe a childhood that doesn't give a realistic view of life. Although my Mom (grandmother) was the disciplinarian and tried to rule with rules and spanking, my Daddy (grandfather) always considered his role was to simply adore me. He made everything right. He was always there to fix it just the way I wanted it and never had a harsh word towards me.

What a wonderful thing to have somebody who loves you that much ... but love holds many responsibilities and with it comes times when a loving Father does not respond to a child's every desire. That's our Perfect Heavenly Father. He sees beyond our wants, desires, and short-sighted requests and does what true love would do. The ultimate best! But it's in God's viewpoint, not ours. There comes the rub against that spoiled nature of always having it your own way.

The problem with spoiled children and adults is that they don't know how to process "No" or "Wait" very easily. God has many promises in His Word, but there are requirements for the promises. There are many "if clauses" in the Bible.

When I came upon Henry Wright's book, A More Excellent Way, it spoke to my spirit confirming that the root of most health issues is our emotional status. What we think, what we say to ourselves, and how we process life. Research has now confirmed this as they link stress, personalities and lifestyles to the major diseases.

I've had health challenges my entire life and found ways to work around them with my headstrong and determined personality. When both of my parents died suddenly within 5 months of each other, Fibromyalgia set in. When I came upon the aforementioned book after 4 years with the pain, the profile fit for sure. I made an appointment at Pastor Wright's ministry and woke up the next day with it gone. As long as I kept my mental state affirming the destruction of the root causes of the disease, all went well.

But life has a habit of nipping at your heels and a series of tragedies entered the picture and I went into Rheumatoid Arthritis. Auto-immune diseases are said to be based on the person attacking themselves and guilt and grief are a form of attack, besides the thoughts and words we speak to ourselves.

We moved to another state and transitioned the business from retail to internet with a lot of stress in the process since my role in the household is organizer and administrator. I seem to take on responsibilities that nobody else can find. Being first-born and an only child makes one quite independent.

In my case, I hear God calling it stiff-necked. There are not good words that go along with that profile in the Bible, so I've made my path through life very hard on myself by not trusting God. He just didn't move fast enough for me. I'd jump onto the Potter's wheel begging to be fixed and then jump off before He got far with the reshaping. I've been doing that for a long time. As you know from my writings, I usually write to preach to myself. It is said you don't learn something until you teach the information to others.

It's so very evident that when my thoughts are controlled (2 Corinthians 10:5) my health improves. When I am willing to stay on the Potter's wheel and trust God, life goes well. Keeping your thoughts under control is the key to staying on the wheel. Consider this:

"Those who are careful about what they say protect their lives." Proverbs 13:3 NCV

Matthew Henry's commentary on this verse is this: "He that thinks before he speaks, that suppresses evil if he have thought it, keeps his soul from a great deal both of guilt and grief. Many a one is ruined by an ungoverned tongue."

I would say we are done in by an ungoverned mind. The mind is so much faster than the tongue and it can keep going 24/7 if we allow it to. Insomnia is an epidemic in our nation. Almost 12% of people are known to have insomnia. What about the others who aren't on the charts? We are a nation that has left God behind. We have taken our struggles and troubles into our own hands and they're too big to handle. We were never designed to be able to handle them and trying to do so is certain insanity of some sort.

How long it's taken God to get me to where I willingly give up! It's a daily event. The trouble and crises and tragedies will come as long as we're outside of God's protection. We place ourselves outside of it when we live in the sin of pride. The belief that we can accomplish it on our own. In essence we set ourselves up as God, by worshiping what we can accomplish ourselves.

God wants to create a new you. What we go through is the process. How many times we have to take each classroom depends on how quickly we learn. Funny .. I'm a quick learner on things that I want to know how to do ... but I've been slower than molasses on learning that God does a better job of running my life. I know it in mind, but have not been willing to live by it.

God wants to raise us up to better relationships, jobs, ministries, and life experiences. We can't fix ourselves, but we've got a Master Fixer who has parted seas, turned water into wine, kept the sun from shining for a day, and raised the dead. How silly for us to ever consider we can fix ourselves. We are already healed because of Jesus' work on the Cross, but we have free will. We have to apply it to our lives and minds and it's all about Faith. Without it, it's impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). So our part is to believe and let God do the work.

Pray with me that I will remain on the Potter's wheel and I pray that if you've been jumping on and off yourself, that you will remain with me. Spinning with peace and joy of being a loved and cherished Child of God!

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