Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Stay Clear of Bird Nests - You Attract Predators

From Down Nature's Trail newsletter

Raccoons learn quickly how to follow the scent of a human, because it often leads to something to eat. My daily path to the bird feeders leaves a scent that leads the coons to a tasty treat of bird seed. There's really nothing that can be done about it, it's something I just have to live with but keep in mind.

There are places that I walk where I don't want the coons to follow. The solution for me? Don't go near these places.

For example, there are several brush piles on the property, and the birds often build their nests concealed deep in the protection of the branches. I always try to avoid getting too close to these piles of sticks during the nesting season. I rarely go near a bird house during this time for the same reason -- I don't want to leave a scent trail for a predator to follow.

It doesn't make sense to me to provide a place for the birds, only to put them in jeopardy by inviting trouble to follow me.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Nature Deficit Disorder

It’s no secret that kids these days are seeing less green space and more screen space.

A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that the average American child spends 44 hours per week—more than six hours a day—staring at some kind of electronic screen. According to the American Obesity Association approximately 30 percent of children between the ages 6 to 11 are overweight and 15 percent are obese.

Richard Louv, author of Last Child In The Woods, refers to this growing problem as “nature deficit disorder.” He believes nature-deficit disorder is causing more problems than just obesity. He argues that many mental and spiritual health problems facing kids and adolescents today stem from a lack of connection to the outdoors.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Wanting It Now

by Donna L. Watkins

So many people have told me how lucky I am to be able to travel so much. I am definitely a blessed woman, but not at all lucky. I've made sacrifices to get to do what's important to me. We all do that, don't we? Some sacrifice for a big screen television or a new car.

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - Crested Guans - La Selva, Costa Rica
Some of us don't have enough patience in some areas of life. I certainly have little in many areas, but it's human nature to want it now, whether it's stuff or some form of healing for health or relationships. Deferred gratification is not a popular topic, and long-range goals don't get any easier than they've been for the generations before us.

Often, we don't believe in ourselves or love ourselves enough to live within the framework of our dreams. I've certainly had a challenge doing that ... even with my recent three weeks in Costa Rica. If it weren't for health issues, I probably would not have gone this year or last year. I can always come up with more practical things to do ... and life escapes your grasp pretty fast, so don't stay in that rut too long.

For far too many, dreams are forgotten. People give up their dreams because we've been ingrained with instant gratification, not only from the media, but with the speed of advancement in technology, the cultural climate demands instant access and continual upgrades/newer versions of what we already have.

There are dreams that you can't make happen today, you've got to plan for them and work towards them, and yes, you'll have to sacrifice for them. If your mentality is not trained towards delayed gratification, you simply think it's not possible. Patience is not a virtue I possess, but I've learned to wait out the necessary time frames to do things I truly desire to make happen.

For some, if you can't have it now, then it's not worth having. That's okay, as long as your heart doesn't pine away wanting something more than the now you have. Many trade in their future dreams for what they can have now. Better cars, bigger houses, the newest gadgets and toys, a bigger and best resolution television screen, eating out, and the list goes on and on. And if you're charging any of this on credit cards, your dreams are being fed to the banking system of interest payments.

So, how do we get into another way of living? One that thinks and plans for the future and not just simply today. One that will light your passion and desires within to be able to stay focused long enough to make your dreams come true. Those dreams will keep swirling in your head, and as you age, they'll become more like nightmares because you begin to realize you're probably not going to make them happen.

However, regardless of your age, you can still move towards your dreams. They're still not going to come about NOW, but in five or ten years from now, every day will have a date on the calendar just like today ... and at that point in time, it will be today, and it will be now. So, with a little bit of patience not every today has to be lived without your dreams coming true.

If your dreams require somebody else to change or be something they are not, then that's not a dream, that's simply control and codependency. You can only live your own life. God didn't give us any deeds of ownership of somebody else's life, not even our own children's. Just because we birthed them, doesn't mean we own them. They were created to be who God wants them to be, not who we want them to be. We all have enough managing our own life - get off the control command center of everybody else's.

If your life revolves around needing people to change, you might want to consider a workbook called, Conquering Co-Dependency: A Christ-Centered 12-Step Process. My husband has used this workbook in many of the groups he's facilitated. There are a lot of churches using it, so call around and get plugged in if you'd prefer a group setting.

If your dreams are packed away due to financial issues, they're very much possible. If you have income, you may be able to live well on less than what you're making, so you can put away for your dreams and future. Join The Frugal Life community which has over 16,000 members in the forum. The website can help you find ways to save money, to reuse things you already have, give you tips on making things or fix-it-yourself projects.

You can learn a lot about living frugally so you can save for your dreams. Search the website, search the forum, visit the blog. When you believe in your dreams, you'll dig deep to find ways to make them happen.

We did it, so I am speaking from experience. Our dream was not only to be able to travel more, we wanted to be able to support more Christian organizations involved in projects and programs that we were passionate about. We decided to get out of debt and not have even a mortgage payment since the amount of interest we paid to the bank was more than enough to cover travel and contributions.

We had just built a new home and had made $11,000 the year before. It didn't look possible on paper, but it was nothing less than a miracle that in seven years we had the home and all credit paid off. Focus will make things happen when you take God's hand. Read the related articles below for details on our journey.

We learned a lot and have become more of who we enjoy being by being out of debt. And God did amazing things when we just took the step towards Him by setting up a strict budget and living within it. Our dreams were more important than our day-to-day desires and wants.

Because one of my dreams many years before that was to stay at home with my child, I began an at-home business with Nature's Sunshine because I believed in natural health principles since they had changed my life around when the doctors could not. I also liked the possibility of earning award trips and in 27 years with them, we've traveled around the world.

Dreams do come true, but like anything else you have to work at it. Sitting a few recipe cards on the kitchen counter in the morning will not turn into a gourmet 5-course dinner ready to serve when you walk in the house in the evening. I'm still thinking that method will work for some of my dreams, and regardless of how many you make come true, God doesn't stop giving them to you, so it's always a choice to keep stepping up to the challenge.

The Bible tells us the poor will always be with us. My thoughts on that are that God knows that some people will never believe in themselves to pull themselves up to where they desire to be. Probably because nobody believed in them while they were growing up. Our roots have the ability to keep us planted without hope, but you do have the choice to Uproot Yourself and Move On.

Maybe you need a dream. You've surely had some, but you abandoned them so long ago, you don't even remember what they were about. Get alone with God one day at a park or on a nature trail or if you live on the coast sit by the sea. Take a notebook and be prepared for God to pour out your very heart and soul into that journal, if you will simply ask Him what His dreams are for you.

Most people know what their dream is, but they don't consider it a "sensible" thing. Surely something we would enjoy so much could not be what we're here for. It seems it would be so selfish. Isn't life supposed to be challenging and a bit rough and tough? Dreams make life look too easy and make-believe, like a fairy tale story that is only meant to entertain the mind when things are low and heavy and we accept the invitation to our own pity party.

Not so! God puts those dreams within us to stir us up to move towards them so He can create something more out of and through them then we could ever imagine. Doesn't it make simple sense that if we're living in our dreams, we'll be more alive and on fire to share the hope of Christ within us? No wonder the devil tells us to give up and stuff them away.

Dreams tend to be filed in the elusive someday mentality file ... but some days never come unless they're planned for. Develop a bit of time each week to think about and plan a pathway towards your dreams. It's not going to happen now, especially if finances are involved, and especially if you've allowed yourself to get into a lot of debt. We can all blame the economy, but if you look around your home, you'll see what you exchanged for your dreams lying scattered about or crammed into drawers and closets or boxes in the attic.

How often have you purchased something that you already had ... just to have one a little bit different or better? Much of what is purchased are simply "upgrades" on what's already owned, and what's already owned is already in excess (clothes, shoes, books, music and movies, gadgets, even food). Use the library. We get books, videos, DVDs and music free. We don't have a need to own it all. Matter of fact selling a lot of what we did own was one way of paying off some debt.

Gather up some ideas from the related articles. Catch a glimpse of what you want your life to be like. One of the books I've enjoyed along the way to keep me motivated was The Practical Dreamer's Handbook: Finding the Time, Money, and Energy to Live Your Dreams.

Inspiration is needed to make dreams come true. Everybody around you will discourage you and the media will tell you how bleak and hopeless the world is ... but when you live within your dream, there is only peace and joy in all things. Go ahead ... picture a place where you can go and discuss this with God. Schedule it now.

Related Articles:
Having It All
Security - Is It In the Stuff?
There Is A Way Out
Lighten The Load

Copyright and Reprint Information
The photo(s) and article are copyrighted. You may use them if you include the following credit and active link back to this website:
© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from TheNatureInUs.com.
The link URL is: http://www.TheNatureInUs.com

Beetle Reclaims Lake For 30 Million People

Crisis - Lake Victoria, legendary source of the Nile and cradle of early human evolution was finally losing its capacity to support human life.

In 1998 several multi-million dollar harvesting machines were sent to the lake as a European answer to the crisis. Various chemical companies also set up office in Kampala, Uganda, hoping to secure contracts to attack the weed with herbicides. The World Bank had allocated US$9.3 million to solving the water hyacinth problem, as part of a larger Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project (LVEMP), so there was money to be made by the politically savvy.

But by late 1999 the weed, covering more than 12,000 hectares along the shores of Kenya and Uganda, was suddenly dying. To the chagrin of chemicals and machinery salesmen, and local officials hoping for commissions, the weed was already beaten … without fuss and for a comparatively small cost.

Salvation for the 30 million people who rely on the lake for their basic sustenance had come instead from an unexpected partnership – Australian expertise in the biological control of aquatic weeds, small teams of researchers in the three lake countries Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, and two small South American weevils of the Neochetina family which have insatiable and exclusive appetites for water hyacinth. Read the entire article.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Mercury In Products With Corn Syrup

Along with being staples in our everyday diet, they are also among the many food products that use high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Now a new study has shown that this corn syrup often contains mercury. Specifically, two separate studies – one published in the journal Environmental Health, and the other done by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy – have done testing that has led to the discovery of detectable mercury in many popular and name-brand products.

There’s an even uglier fact associated with this discovery: according to the Environmental Health article, the Food and Drug Administration had evidence concerning the presence of mercury in HFCS and did not make any attempts to do further testing or create awareness among consumers about the issue. Withholding this information from consumers – as well as not circulating it among the food industry – is not only irresponsible, but dangerous.

Source: Food and Water Watch.org.

Read more: Studies find mercury in much U.S. corn syrup.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Birds and Climate Change

Nearly 60% of the 305 species found in North America in winter are on the move, shifting their ranges northward by an average of 35 miles. Audubon scientists analyzed 40 years of citizen-science Christmas Bird Count data — and their findings provide new and powerful evidence that global warming is having a serious impact on natural systems. Northward movement was detected among species of every type, including more than 70 percent of highly adaptable forest and feeder birds.

Only grassland species were an exception - with only 38 percent mirroring the northward trend. But far from being good news for species like Eastern Meadowlark and Henslow's Sparrow, this reflects the grim reality of severely-depleted grassland habitat and suggests that these species now face a double threat from the combined stresses of habitat loss and climate adaptation. Read the story at Audubon.com.

Consider this alternative view about global warming.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cellular Health

Cells Need Exercise
By Albert E. Carter

Nobody ever questions that exercise helps to strengthen the striated muscles, the skeletal muscles also known as the voluntary muscles. Health clubs and exercise programs, books and magazine articles depend on the ability of these muscles becoming stronger with increased resistance, but are they the only cells that are improved by exercise?

The other two classifications of muscles, involuntary muscles and cardiac muscles are made up of cells that have much the same material. All muscle cells have the ability to contract enhanced by some type of increased physical stimulation. Aerobic exercises are designed specifically for strengthening the cells of the heart and the cells of the walls of the arteries making them stronger and more elastic.

People who exercise regularly find that their skin (the largest organ of the body) is stronger and suppler. Skin cells are not muscle cells but they do react to various types of stimulation.

Lack of exercise weakens bones of the skeletal system (space flight) while a vigorous exercise program causes the cells of the bones to request more bone material from the extracellular fluid and deposit it in the bone matrix, thus making the bones mineralized dense and strong.

The cells anti-gravity muscles (muscles of posture) are challenged with any kind of consistent body movement and the cells of the vestibular system in the inner ear adjusts to physical activity. Properly stimulated the cells of the balancing mechanisms become more sensitive to any and all body movement. Better balance, coordination, and rhythm are the result.

Vision is a talent and as such can be improved by exercise and proper stimulation. From the time we are born until the time we die we are constantly exercising the cells of the eyes. Sadly we do not think of looking to see as a form of exercise so most people do not concentrate on exercising the cells of the eyes. Rather they prefer to compensate a weakness with glasses. Vision therapists have been using trampolining very successfully to strengthen the cells of the eyes and improve vision for over forty years. Read the entire article.

More on rebounding and eyesight.

Earth Hour on March 28

World Wildlife Fund is asking individuals, businesses, governments and organizations around the world to turn off their lights for one hour – Earth Hour – to make a global statement of concern about climate change and to demonstrate commitment to finding solutions. Read more.

Watch video on previous years. It's pretty cool to see the world join in on doing something ... if only for an hour ... towards global warming. Imagine the difference for migrating birds that are killed because of city lights. What a blessing it is for them. Watch video of previous Earth Hour.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Marked For A Purpose

by Donna L. Watkins

Here at La Selva Biological Station a lot of research goes on in the rainforest. There are evidences here and there of some of the projects, such as plastic colored tape on a tree, although there's not an abundance of it, so it doesn't ruin the look and feel of the jungle.

When I do come upon a tree such as this one pictured, I wonder, "What's the purpose? What is special about this tree? Who is watching over it? How often do they get to see the tree and make their assessments? Is growth being tracked? What purpose does this tree have to warrant it's being monitored?"

When we're born, we're birthed with a purpose from the heart of God. We are designed with special gifts and talents that He has given us to use while on this earth. Many times we consider them so 'natural' that we don't value them. We go off trying to be like those we admire. Desiring more of the things we're not, while spending too much time comparing ourselves.

Advertising certainly encourages us to compare ... but it was a problem long before that because the Bible mentions Cane and Abel, where comparison led to murder. Galations 6:4 tells us: "Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that ... Don't compare yourself with others."

We are each uniquely made and created with natural abilities (talents) that go along with our purpose. Our focus needs to be on discovering more about ourselves, rather than comparison or envy.

I watched a video clip about purpose awhile back and took some notes. I didn't write down the speaker's name, so I must apologize for not giving him credit. His ideas on discovering our purpose included these:

Think about the ending of life. What would you like on your epitaph? How would like your obituary to read? Sometime those questions give direction on what you should be doing while you're alive. Other questions include:

What am I good at? What am I drawn to? What are the lessons I'm here to learn in life? What have you learned in life? You'll probably have a desire to help others learn it also.

Illustrations could be if you grew up in an abusive home, you've learned a lot about dealing with that and many of those people get involved with social work. If you grew up with an ill parents, you may be drawn to the medical profession. If you had an alcoholic parent, it might lead to being a school counselor or a volunteer as a recovery helper.

A good life purpose can be summarized in a life purpose statement. Who are you? You're definitely marked with a purpose and if you haven't discovered it, take some time to do so. Walking, working and living within the boundaries of our life purpose can make a tremendous difference in how well we live our lives.

Maybe you're not a real people person but you love beauty and seek to create beauty in lives of those around you? When I was diagnosed with vitiligo, I was into beaches and islands. Fun in the sun. With vitiligo you can't be in the sun because you lose patches of pigment and if you tan it makes it very obvious and having no pigment makes it real risky to be in the sun. It's seemed the activities I love were all taken away, but when we moved to the forest, I found a passion for life that I didn't know I had.

I feel that I was born to love the natural world within forests. I feel totally alive in a forest and I enjoy plants, lizards, spiders, bugs, birds, animals, snakes, and anything that God created. The forest is a world of its own within my soul. Having learned to love forests (a lesson from having vitiligo), I want the world to know how important they are and that we must preserve them. They are restorative not only for the planet, but also for the soul.

Close your eyes and picture a woodland walk. Hear the birds singing, the scurrying on the forest floor, and the breeze causing the leaves to clap their hands? All stress melts away as you drift into a peaceful and healing realm that feels so distant from your everyday life. All of that and more is what God put within the forest just for us.

Green space related to health is now being researched. For children with ADHD, research shows that ADHD symptoms are relieved after spending time in nature. The greener the setting, the more the relief. If they had the diagnosis while I was in school, I would've been an ADHD kid. No wonder I feel so good in nature. I feel like I'm all ME when I'm in a forest, like it's where I was born to be.

What and where is the place that you can be all YOU? Have you discovered it? If you don't you'll dry up and wither from the inside out. The world will crawl all over you and eat you up if you don't live within your purpose. This tree had a purpose at one time. See the red tape that is now covered with algae and moss? It's not being noticed or given any care. Is that the way you feel sometimes?

Take time to find yourself and your purpose ... don't live with just the counterfeits, or in trying to be what somebody or everybody else wants you to be. God wants you to be the you that He designed you to be. Even though it seems a bit too easy ... like life has to be more difficult than that ... it's the place to be. Why else would God put those desires and dreams inside you?

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:
© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from
Link URL is: http://www.TheNatureInUs.com

Backyard Gardening Advice

If you have a backyard dilemma, submit your yard and garden questions to Backyard Living's on-line help forum. You’ll connect with neighbors from across the country who are willing to share answers that really work. Visit now.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Stress and Adrenals

Stress depletes both our energy and our health. In today’s society we are inundated with stress that doesn’t let up. Chronic stress repeatedly forces the adrenal glands to sustain high levels of cortisol.

High cortisol levels also damage healthy tissue. Eventually, adrenal fatigue sets in, and many experience symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue, insomnia, fuzzy thinking, depression, cravings and mood swings. Once the adrenals become depleted, it can lead to adrenal exhaustion.

Some indications of adrenal insufficiency include lagging energy during the day, feeling emotionally unbalanced much of the time, sleeping poorly or sleeping less than seven hours a night, inability to lose excess weight while dieting or frequent need to use caffeine or carbohydrates as “pick-me-ups.” Read the entire article.

Purchase products at wholesale prices at The Herbs Place.
De-stress With Rebounding

Exercise Ideas For Dogs

The importance of exercise in our lives is undeniable and really cannot be understated. This is no less true for our canine companions, too.

Leading experts recommend an hour or more of exercise every day for our four-legged best friends. Of course, the duration depends on several factors, including breed, size, age and state of health.

So what should be your guide in determining how much exercise they should have? Let your dog help you decide. Any new exercise routine is a discovery process. Pay close attention to any potential signs of early fatigue, like panting or slowing down.

Environmental factors, like excessive heat or cold, should definitely influence the duration of outdoor activities on any given day. If you’re planning a hike or some other kind of day trip, be sure to bring along plenty of water for your dog, and provide several opportunities to drink. Additionally, pay attention to your own feelings about exercise periods – in you feel like you’re spending too much time on an activity, and you become anxious about other items on your to-do list, your pet may not enjoy the time (and you might be less likely to commit to further activities in the future).

Exercising with your dog is an important opportunity for you to bond with your companion, so make sure it’s fun for both of you. Together, you can both enjoy a healthy new year.

Source: Healthy Pet Newsletter, a free monthly newsletter for pets.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Ways To Get Rid Of Your Gut

In 1960 the average American man weighed 166 pounds. The average woman weighed 140. Today, the average man weighs 191 pounds, and the average woman checks in at 164. The scariest statistics can be found at the top of the scale: The number of Americans who are considered obese, essentially 30 or more pounds overweight, has almost doubled to around 40 million.

Mom and Dad shouldn’t feel guilty for laying guilt on us. Blame the savvy marketers who created the enormous portions and the extra-value meals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has documented this unhealthy growth in food portion size:

* In 1957, a serving of popcorn at the drive-in was 3 cups. Today a medium-size popcorn at the multiplex is 16 cups.
* In 1957, 1 ounce of cooked ground beef made up your typical hamburger. Today the average hamburger is 6 ounces.
* Muffins were tiny in 1957, about 1 1/2 ounces. Now they typically weigh in at 8 ounces and pack 400 calories.
* A large soda in 1957 measured 8 fluid ounces compared with 32 ounces in 1997, or often 64 ounces today.

Get tips on losing the weight in the article.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Thoughts on Orderliness

“It is amazing how much both happiness and efficiency can be increased by the cultivation of an orderly mind, which thinks about a matter adequately at the right time rather than inadequately at all times.” —Bertrand Russell

“As the beams to a house, as the bones to the microcosm of man, so is order to all things.” —Robert Southey

“Pick up after yourself.” —Mom

“Have a time and a place for everything, and do everything in its time and place, and you will not only accomplish more, but have far more leisure than those who are always hurrying, as if vainly attempting to overtake time that had been lost.” —Tyron Edwards

Source: Character First - January 2009

Vegetable Gardening - This Is The Year

From Christy Wilhelmi, the talented founder of Gardenerd.com

A recent survey showed that more Americans are starting to grow their own food. People all over the country are succumbing to the joys of vegetable gardening. To these folks, there’s nothing more rewarding than walking out into the garden to pick fresh leeks, lettuce, tomatoes and basil. Then into the kitchen they go to create a culinary masterpiece with their harvest. Can you blame them for being so passionate? Surely there is something to this curious hobby.

The environmental benefits of growing your own veggies are great. Planting your own vegetables means you can ensure they are organic and healthy. And getting your food out of your own garden cuts the carbon emissions that would have been required to bring you food from the farm to the store to your table.

If you want to get in on the action, here is a quick-start guide for vegetables that grow best in spring:

+ Asparagus – start once, enjoy for a decade or so
+ Brassicas - cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, turnips, kohlrabi, rapini (Note – if it gets hot early in your area, you may want to have shade cloth handy to keep them from “bolting”, or going to seed too quickly. These veggies grow best in fall in the Southwest because they like to start in warm weather and mature in cooler weather).
+ Carrots and other root crops like parsnips and radishes
+ Cucumbers – start indoors and plant out later in the spring
+ Peppers– both sweet and spicy (start indoors and plant out later in the spring)
+ Eggplant – plant at the same time as peppers
+ Garlic – one of my favorite things to grow at home (can be grown in fall as well)
+ Herbs – basil, cilantro, chives, dill, oregano, parsley, and many others
+ Lettuces and other greens for salads like arugula, spinach and mustard greens
+ Melons – watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, casaba, etc.
+ Onion Sets, leeks, shallots and green onions
+ Peas
+ Potatoes – you haven’t lived until you’ve grown your own potatoes
+ Squash – both summer and winter squash like butternut, yellow crookneck, zucchini
+ Tomatoes – try any of the over 300 varieties available

Read the rest of the article and get lots of gardening info at Gardenerd.com.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Quit Smoking For Pets

Smokers are motivated to quit the habit to protect their pets from secondhand smoke, a new survey shows.

Researchers led by Sharon M. Milberger, ScD, of the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, found that 28.4% of smokers who participated in an online survey said learning that secondhand smoke was bad for their pet's health would motivate them to quit. And 8.7% said knowing the potential adverse health effects of secondhand smoke would spur them to ask their partners to quit.

The results are published in Tobacco Control, a BMJ specialty publication. The researchers write that 3,300 people responded to an online survey for pet owners; 66% were dog owners, 53% kept cats, and 10% had birds. Most of the survey participants were white females from Michigan.

Published evidence is convincing that secondhand smoke is dangerous not only for humans, but for pets, too.

Exposure to tobacco smoke has been associated with certain cancers in dogs and cats, allergies in dogs, and eye and skin diseases and respiratory problems in birds, according to the researchers.

"This new source of motivation could be particularly strong for smokers who, aside from their companion animals, live alone," the researchers suggest.

Source: WebMD.com

Turmeric's Incredible Health Benefits

Most cultures of the world include herbs in their medicinal approach to health. Even the Bible mentions use of spices by the priests in I Chronicles 9:30: "the sons of the priests made the ointment of the spices." India has been using turmeric in their foods and medicinally for 3,000 years. Ancient India healers used turmeric to treat skin wounds, jaundice, indigestion and several other ailments. The flavor you taste in curries has a lot to do with turmeric.

I find it interesting that many cuisines of the world include spices and herbs in their traditional recipes ... while the United States seems to focus on salt and pepper. In knowing the beginning and the end, God knew man would need help battling disease, so He created natural plant medicines to help us.

A lot of research is now being done on turmeric. It's the root of the broad-leaf plant that is being used. Preliminary research shows turmeric lowering total blood cholesterol by 11 percent and increasing good cholesterol by 29 percent. Most hopeful is medicinal use of the spice to treat Alzheimer's, and even reverse it.

The active constituent in the spice is a substance called curcumin. In lab tests, curcumin is shown to aid the body in ridding itself of amyloid-beta plaques that result in Alzheimer’s disease. These results are also supported in a population study done in India. A study of people over 65 years of age in India who ate turmeric showed that the incidence of Alzheimer’s was 25 percent of what it is in Western countries.

Read about more research on turmeric relating to many other health issues.

Personally I don't like the flavor of turmeric since I'm not fond of curries. I prefer to take turmeric in capsule form that includes a blend of herbs to gain the benefits of synergism. I like Nature's Sunshine's Super Antioxidant with turmeric being the main ingredient. Right now I'm using Super ORAC. I like to swap around.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hope For Peanut Allergy

A handful of children once severely allergic to peanuts now can munch them without worry. Scientists retrained their bodies to tolerate peanuts by feeding them tiny amounts of the very food that endangered them.

It's the first evidence that life-threatening peanut allergies one day may be cured. Immune system tests show no sign of remaining allergy in five children, and others can withstand amounts that once would have left them wheezing or worse.

Are the five cured? Doctors at Duke University Medical Center and Arkansas Children's Hospital must track them years longer to be sure.

"We're optimistic that they have lost their peanut allergy," said lead researcher Dr. Wesley Burks, Duke's allergy chief. "We've not seen this before medically. We'll have to see what happens to them." Read the entire article.

Managing Ants In The House

Warm weather is on its way and Spring is a time to think ants. Ants invade homes and other structures in search of food, water, and shelter. Therefore, effective non-toxic ant management needs to be a combination of control methods that involve inspection, sanitation and exclusion, and habitat modification.

It is important to check carefully and thoroughly both indoors and outside to determine areas of ant activity, nest locations, and type of ant present. Indoors, follow ant trails to locate their entry point such as an electrical outlet or gap along a baseboard or around a water pipe.

Outside, check the foundation, walkways, trees and shrubs, and in mulched areas for ant trails. Look for nests in mulch and vegetation next to the foundation. Check under potted plants, patio blocks, and stepping stones, and in piles of rocks, lumber, and firewood.

Inspect the foundation to find possible ant entryways such as areas where pipes enter the building, foundation cracks, and around doors and windows. If swarmers were found indoors, then you could very easily have an indoor infestation, e.g., in a wall void, in the crawlspace or in the ceiling. In those situations, a careful inspection of the crawlspace may also be needed.

Sanitation and Exclusion

Ants are attracted indoors to food and water sources. Make your home less attractive to ants by keeping it as clean as possible. Clean up any food spills and crumbs as quickly as possible. Rinse all food and drink containers thoroughly before placing them into trash or recycling bins.

Remove food debris from your sink after washing dishes and cookware, and clean out strainers that collect food particles in sinks drains. Store food in air-tight containers or keep refrigerated. If possible, do not leave pet food out continuously.

Frequently, ants enter homes in search of moisture. Check both interior and exterior water sources for leaks. “Ant-proof” your home by sealing up any gaps, cracks, or holes around windows, doors, and foundations.

Habitat Modification
Mulch and vegetation covering the foundation provide ants with cover for their activity. “Habitat Modification” involves landscaping and other activities that can reduce the likelihood of ants nesting in areas in the immediate area around your home.

For example mulch often provides an excellent nesting habitat for many ants. It provides shelter, warmth, moisture and it can prevent pesticide sprays from reaching their intended target. Keep mulch, leaf litter and vegetation 10-12 inches away from the house foundation. Store piles of lumber, firewood, bricks, and stones away from the house.

Many ants are attracted to the sweet plant secretions and fruits/berries of ornamental trees and shrubs. Ants also feed on “honeydew” – a sugary material secreted by aphids and other insects often found on ornamentals. Place a band of sticky material, such as petroleum jelly or tape, around the base of trees to trap ants. Trim back any tree branches or shrubs that are touching the house so that ants cannot use them to enter your home. Controlling honeydew-producing insects on ornamental trees and shrubs will help reduce ant food sources.

Reference: NC Cooperative Extension - By Patricia Alder and Michael Waldvogel, Extension Entomology.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Food Companies Not Required To Report Contamination

A federal probe into a deadly salmonella outbreak has exposed a dirty secret: Food producers in most states are not required to alert health regulators if internal tests show possible contamination at their plants.

The legal loophole surfaced this week when federal investigators disclosed internal Peanut Corp. of America reports that documented at least 12 positive tests for salmonella between 2007 and 2008 at their Blakely, Ga., plant, which has been identified as the source of the nationwide outbreak. In each case, the plant did not alert state or federal regulators.

The flaw has infuriated regulators and food safety experts, who are pushing legislation that would require the alerts at the first sign of contamination. They say stricter requirements could have stemmed an outbreak, which may have started months ago and has sickened at 529 people and may have led to eight deaths. Read the entire article.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Greenest Eco-Resort In World

The "greenest ecoresort in the world" is being built in Monterey, California. The resort, called Monterey Bay Shores, will be built on 29 acres of a sand dune that was previously destroyed by 60 years of mining.

It will actively provide habitats for endangered species, boast 5 acres of living roofs, and get 30 % of its power from onsite solar and wind systems. The developers claim that "every single detail of Monterey Bay Shores Ecoresort encompasses principles of sustainability and conservation," and that they've left no eco-stone unturned in pursuit of developing the most environmentally friendly resort ever created. Read the entire article.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Diet Soda Associated With Type 2 Diabetes

If you’re in the habit of drinking diet soda every day – or, like many people these days, several times a day – here’s some important news that could have a significant impact on your health. New research has confirmed what I’ve seen in my practice consistently – there is a link between diet soda consumption and metabolic syndrome, a condition which can lead to development of diabetes.

So, here’s the latest development reported in the latest issue of Diabetes Care. If you drink diet soda every day, your risk of having metabolic syndrome is 36 percent higher than those who don’t drink those beverages daily. Your risk of having type 2 diabetes is 67 percent higher.

No doubt you’ve heard about metabolic syndrome by now. It’s a group of risk factors that predispose you to a variety of health problems – not only type 2 diabetes but also heart disease and stroke. The risk factors include elevated blood sugar, too much belly fat, high blood pressure and low levels of good cholesterol. It’s sometimes called the insulin resistance syndrome because people with these risk factors frequently have insulin resistance that eventually leads to high blood sugar readings. Read the entire article. Read more about diabetes and natural alternatives.

Pellet Stove vs. Wood Stove

Pellet stoves have become darlings of the green home heating world, in some ways; they're more efficient and have fewer particle emissions than their wood-burning stove brethren, but they aren't a perfect solution. Many pellet stoves require electricity, taking them out of service when the power goes out, and pellets and other fuel can be hard to find in all areas.

Wood stoves, on the other hand, burn fuel that is plentiful, and can create heat without electricity. Newer stoves, too, have devices that cut way back on polluting emissions, making them much more efficient than stoves once were. So, which stove is the greener way to go? Read the entire article.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Lift Me Up

by Donna L. Watkins

I see so many stories of life in the jungle and there are lessons to be learned also. Here at La Selva there are many kinds of trails and the ones that have some concrete to walk above the wet and muddy rainforest floor are very nice.

Often there are vines to step over or crawl under, but it all makes for an authentic experience. I love that they don't cut and slash things away just because they're on the path. It all has a purpose and being a biological field station, it is much valued by those studying it.

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - La Selva Biological Station Trail
Wouldn't it be a wonderful world to live in if humans valued each other and the uniqueness that we all have within. The rainforest is a busy place and yet it seems that the many microcosms within it all function together for a higher plan and purpose. As I see it all unfolding before my eyes day after day on the trails, it makes me feel like if I stayed here in the rainforest, life would no longer have rattling problems or issues. All seems to be at peace with itself. Life and death exists but in between is a realm of beauty not only in sight but in purpose. (See related articles below for more about the wonders of the rainforest.)

I love the visual picture of a caring and sharing attitude that this scene displays.

Not only was the vine allowed to survive, grow, and travel straight across the concrete path, but to keep it from being stepped on a metal "bridge" was made so you can walk over it without walking on it.

Oh my! If only we could go through life by walking over and around people and not on them. Too often our words trample somebody's soul and leave scars and wounds that even time do not completely heal. You have some of those scars, I have some of those scars. They seem to grow and have a life of their own, molding and shaping who we are, rather than who we were created to be.

Maybe somebody told you in school that your clothes were raggy. To dress that wound you continually shop for clothes that look good. Your closet is full of things that rarely get worn ... and maybe rarely get found in the size of today's closets.

Maybe somebody called you names and teased you and made you afraid that you would be hurt. Now, you sometimes twist what people say thinking they mean something else - thinking you are still being called names, but in a more deceptive manner. They aren't attacking you, but your perception causes you to attack yourself because that wound never healed.

Maybe you grew up with violence in your household and any time something doesn't go your way, you get that surging, boiling anger coming forth that you had to bury as a child because you were too small to stand up for yourself. Now as an adult you don't take anything from anybody. You're always ready for a fight and although your heart truly wants peace in the midst of your family, you seem to explode before you get a choice to be calm.

Oh, if only somebody had built a bridge over us while we were growing up, so we could've been protected from all those who trampled over us in the process. Remember "My Fair Lady?" Where Professor Henry Higgins turns an English street flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, into a lady? We all want to be transformed into something more beautiful.

Some people can look back and think of a person or people who gave them some comfort or protection as they were growing up. Maybe a teacher, a neighbor, a friend's mom, or even grandparents. It's amazing how much of an effect you can have on a life by taking time to nuture a bit, to comfort, to encourage, to sprinkle with affection and approval now and then.

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - La Selva Biological Station Trail
Somebody took the time to "lift up" this vine and tie it till it grew solid and could hold itself up. You could be a piece of rope to somebody's life. One that lifts them up above the destruction of those they will surely encounter who trample everything in their path.

You can show them they have value and purpose and implant within them a knowing that they are loved and cared for by a Mighty God.

It doesn't mean you stand there holding them up. You tie a piece of rope around them (a Scripture from God's Word) and encourage them. Don't participate in listening to the 100th rehearsal of their problems. Nobody gets beyond their problems if they're going to plop themselves down in the muck and mire of their life. God says He will use all for our good (Romans 8:28), so no matter what we're experiencing we can trust in Him to know better and to seek refuge in Him till the storms are over.

If we choose to sink into the misery and give the devil glory for his work in our lives by rambling on about all the evil he's sending your way ... well, we surely do sink. It can take us to our own private place of Hell on earth if we dwell on the circumstances and not on the hope given to us. Like a gift, we have to reach out and accept it. God's grace is sufficient.

Sometimes just telling somebody they can do it is enough to give them the courage to step out. A few words they can tuck away in a corner of their mind that makes them believe that there is somebody (with flesh) who believes in them. Something to hold on to that enables them to move forward. One step at a time out of the mire they want to be rid of.

I find that at times, just a smile lights up somebody's face from gloom to bloom. Have you noticed that smiles are few these days? You can really brighten up the world just by smiling. And you'll reap health benefits for sowing those smiles.

Smiling produces hormones that make you feel better even if you're forcing yourself to do it. Studies have shown that the immune system instantly weakens when you frown and put on a tragic face. When you smile your immune system and your entire body perks up. There are various pressure points in your face that affect your entire system when you flex certain facial muscles.

So, start a new exercise program today. Smile! All day, every day! You will be amazed at how it makes you feel when you get used to it. It's okay to just smile at yourself.

Related Articles:
The Wonders Of The Rainforest
The Forest Floor In The Rainforest
The Strangler Fig
Making A Difference Improves Our Health
I Think I Can, I Think I Can
Life Isn't That Serious

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:
© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from TheNatureInUs.com.
Link URL is: http://www.TheNatureInUs.com

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Costa Rica: Be Part Of The Rainforest

by Donna L. Watkins

I am in love with a place called La Selva Biological Station which is located in the Caribbean lowlands northeast of San Jose, the capital city of the country of Costa Rica. Currently I'm visiting for the second time having "discovered" it last year while I was in Costa Rica for an immersion language school.

La Selva is covered with tropical pre-montane wet forest which we call rainforest. There is no better place in Costa Rica, and one of few places in the world, to learn about this endangered ecosystem. Species diversity is spectacular, including more than 1,850 species of plants, 350 species of trees, 503 species of birds (there are 886 in the country), and approximately 500 species of ants.

The first time I visited last year, I read about the La Selva's Adopt-a-Trail Program. I knew I wanted to be part of it. The funds go directly to La Selva's trail maintenance and environmental education. La Selva gets much needed funding and you get your name on a trail marker.

There's no administration fees taken out, your $200 donation does $200 worth of improvement and teaching that will not only affect today and this year, but will provide improvement through generations to come by being able to educate others in the hope of creating a vision within them for preserving our fragile world.

We can make a difference whether we can be here or not ... and for those who may never get to a rainforest, it's a tribute to your love for the planet to be part of it. It's a living contribution to the future because our planet's rainforests have a major role to play for the entire earth. For me, it's being a steward of Creation.

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - La Selva's Arboretum - SURA 500 Trail Marker
In The Beginning
Last year when I knew I wanted to be part of this, I instantly thought of a marker deep in the jungle, thinking our names out there in a piece of jungle would bring part of the jungle into a piece of my soul even at a great distance away.

But, after much pondering, I chose a spot that was in the Leslie Holdridge Arboretum. I felt it represented Genesis in a fashion - "in the beginning, God ..." Think of all the species that God created. His desire was for diversity also and it was created for our enjoyment. Scientifically we now know that it was created to benefit and preserve the planet's atmosphere, which is why it's important to save it.

About 75% of La Selva is covered in some of the most pristine old growth tropical rainforest in Costa Rica. The arboretum is in one of the previous cacao plantations and contains 254 species of trees from all over the reserve. The trees are tagged for easy identification. The purpose of the arboretum is to have an example of all the tree species in La Selva represented in the reserve.

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - La Selva, Costa Rica - Area of STR 200 Trail Marker
Wide Paths For Education
This year I figured I'd get my deep jungle location, but was led to choose a marker only 200 meters from the central area, and on one of the two widest trails. It's still dense rainforest, as you can see .. just not deep into the jungle.

What it represented to me was 'wide paths for education' because I imagined groups of people whose soul and spirit have been switched on to the importance of preservation and conservation. With education the masses can understand the importance of our tropical rainforests to the entire planet.

Adopt-a-Trail Program
The Adopt-a-Trail Program is an exciting way to be part of making a difference daily, even when I can't be here to experience it. I have often said that La Selva is my favorite place on all the earth, and I've been blessed to have traveled around the world and to 47 of our United States. There's something mysteriously wonderful at La Selva, and I think it's God's presence amidst a preserved old-growth forest. God is said to have a "still, small voice" so it's a place where it's easy to hear it. The incredible diversity of plant and animal species ... well, it's a little bit like the Garden of Eden ... and in my mind, a vision of what Heaven will be like.

Sponsor a piece of salvation for the planet through La Selva's Adopt-a-Trail Program or learn more about La Selva Biological Station.

More about rainforests:
The Wonders Of The Rainforest
The Forest Floor In The Rainforest
The Strangler Fig

More articles from Costa Rica
View La Selva photo albums and more in Costa Rica.

Copyright and Reprint Information
The photo(s) and article are copyrighted. You may use either or both of them if you include the following credit and active link back to this website:
© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from TheNatureInUs.com.
The link URL is: http://www.TheNatureInUs.com

Smokers Have Rapid Aging Defect

Cigarette smoke causes the same cellular defect seen in people with Werner's syndrome -- a rare genetic disease that makes people age very fast.

Smoking speeds the aging process, causing smokers to die about 10 years before their time. Now researchers may have found a clue to this process, giving them unexpected new paths to treatment.

The clue comes from the observation that smokers aren't the only people who age too fast. In their 20s, people with a rare genetic disorder called Werner's syndrome get gray hair, thin skin, and hoarse voices.

They soon develop cataracts, diabetes, hardening of the arteries, and weak bones. In their 40s or 50s, they tend to die of heart disease and cancer.

Smokers also age prematurely and tend to die of heart disease and cancer. Might there be a link? University of Iowa researchers Toru Nyunoya, MD, and colleagues say yes. Read the entire article.

Vaccinating Pets At Home

Personally, I'm not in favor of the excess vaccines being given to pets, but many people are, so I provide this as information to those who might be considering this.

Is it safe for the owner to vaccinate their own pets?

I see offers on that very popular cat site that sell animals supplies, where you can buy the vaccine and they give you instructions on how to do it.

In my considered opinion, at-home vaccinating of cats should only be undertaken by someone who has a complete understanding of the various vaccines available, as well as their delivery methods; how they work; and which vaccines might NOT be a good choice for any given cat. Read the entire article.

Read more about the dangers of vaccinating at home at The Pet Center website.

Friday, March 13, 2009

ADHD Brain Develops Differently

A National Institutes of Health study from November 2007 found that in youth with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, the brain matures in a normal pattern. However, it is delayed three years in some regions, on average, compared with youth without the disorder. The researchers used a new image analysis technique that allowed them to pinpoint the thinning and thickening of sites in the cortex of the brains of hundreds of children and teens with and without the disorder. The findings bolster the idea that ADHD results from a delay in the maturation of the cortex. Read the entire article.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Is God Destroying The Earth?

Dominion Over Animals
Richard T. Ritenbaugh

To environmentalists, letting man have dominion over the animals and being told to subdue the earth means that God gives man free rein to do anything he wants to the planet—bend it to his uses and abuses, rape it of all its beauty and diversity—for his own benefit. "Does not the land have any rights?" they cry. "What about the plants and animals, birds and fish? What gives us the right to mine and burn and kill without care for nature?"

Certainly, God did not give man the authority to degrade and destroy His earth. Environmentalists are correct in saying that mankind should consider and address environmental concerns. They are quite wrong, however, to blame God for the earth's ecological problems; He is not responsible for man's destruction of the natural world.

To think that God gave man carte blanche to plunder and destroy the earth is simply ludicrous. He is its Creator! Why would He immediately command Adam to ruin it? Would any woodworker, upon just finishing a beautifully stained piece of furniture, tell his son to break it up for firewood? No! Just as God desires for His creation, the woodworker would put his handiwork to use and also care for it by keeping it waxed and dusted to prolong its life.

This is exactly what God told Adam. Genesis 2 contains a parallel account of creation, adding detail to certain parts of the narrative of the first chapter. Notice God's expanded instruction: "Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend [dress, KJV] and keep it" (verse 15). This greatly modifies the force of "have dominion" and "subdue it" from Genesis 1:26, 28.

Tend (Hebrew 'abad) means "to work or serve," and thus referring to the ground or a garden, it can be defined as "to till or cultivate." It possesses the nuance seen in the KJV's choice in its translation: "dress," implying adornment, embellishment, and improvement.

Keep (Hebrew shamar) means "to exercise great care over." In the context of Genesis 2:15, it expresses God's wish that mankind, in the person of Adam, "take care of," "guard," or "watch over" the garden. A caretaker maintains and protects his charge so that he can return it to its owner in as good or better condition than when he received it.

To Noah, God gives a similar command after the Flood:

So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand." (Genesis 9:1-2)

Once again God gives man dominion over all other life on the earth, and with this renewed authority comes the implicit responsibility to tend and keep what was explicitly given to Adam. In this post-Flood world, God gives mankind a second chance to use and preserve the resources He had so abundantly provided. To that end Noah, after 120 years as a preacher and shipwright, took up farming and planted a vineyard (verse 20). We can assume, from what we know of human nature, that this attitude of stewardship did not pass to very many of his descendants.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Vitamin D Deficiency Health Issues

Vitamin D deficiency is common across populations and particularly among people with darker skin. Nutritional rickets among nursing infants whose mothers have insufficient levels of vitamin D is an increasingly common, yet preventable disorder.

In a paper entitled, "Does Vitamin D Make the World Go 'Round'?" the authors point out that vitamin D is now viewed not simply as a vitamin with a role in promoting bone health, but as a complex hormone that helps to regulate immune system function. Long-term vitamin D deficiency has been linked to immune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, type I diabetes, and cancer.

"Vitamin D is a hormone not a vitamin and it is not just for kids anymore," writes Ruth A. Lawrence, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Breastfeeding Medicine, from the Department of Pediatrics, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, in an accompanying editorial. "Perhaps the most startling information is that adults are commonly deficit in modern society. Vitamin D is now recognized as a pivotal hormone in the human immune system, a role far beyond the prevention of rickets, as pointed out in the article by Wagner et al in this month's issue of Breastfeeding Medicine."

The newly recognized disease risks associated with vitamin D deficiency are clearly documented in a report in the December issue (Volume 3, Number 4) of Breastfeeding Medicine, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. (http://www.liebertpub.com), and the official journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (http://www.bfmed.org). The paper is available free online.

Source: www.medicalnewstoday.com

Related Articles:
Vitamin D Update
MS Linked to Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D Minimum to Be Increased

I personally use Nature's Sunshine Vitamin D3 daily.

Giving Animals For Easter

From Cheryl Falkenburry, Animal Behavior Coach

With Easter fast approaching, we see images of cuddly rabbits and cute chicks hopping around on green grass littered with colorful eggs. Children see these adorable creatures and beg their parents for one of their very own. Before you dash off and purchase a live animal for your child’s Easter basket, really consider your decision.

Are you prepared to care for this animal for an entire lifetime? Rabbits can live 10 – 15 years when properly cared for. Pet chickens live around 10 years and stop laying eggs around 3 - 4 years. Children, no matter how many promises they may make, are not able to care for animals on their own. They loose interest quickly. Animals also cost money for proper housing, food, and veterinarian care. Perhaps a chocolate bunny or a marshmallow chick or duck would be a better idea.

People often don’t realize what is involved with caring for an animal. I talk a lot about training dogs and cats, but other animals that are kept for companions need to be trained and cared for as well. Rabbits can make wonderful companions when cared for properly, but most people don’t realize what is involved. Just throwing a rabbit in a small cage and bringing her food and water every day is not enough. Rabbits need proper nutrition like fresh greens, fruits, and timothy hay; a large clean enclosure; plenty of time to romp outside of their enclosure; and lots and lots of love and training.

Yes, training. Rabbits can be housebroken in order for them to have supervised time outside of their enclosure. They can be taught proper manners of how to get your attention (a hard nibble is not appropriate, a soft nibble is, in case you are wondering how rabbits try to get your attention). Time must be spent teaching a rabbit to be handled by a human so you can safely check the rabbit’s teeth and trim nails. Some rabbits may never learn to be held by humans — it’s just too scary. Can you imagine a big giant coming down and swooping your entire body off the ground? Scary stuff if you ask me.

Animals also go through different stages of life that cause changes in behavior -- just like humans. Many people will call me and say their animal has suddenly become possessed. The first thing I do is inquire the age of the animal which reveals clues to the reason for the behavior change.

When adolescence occurs depends on the type and size of the animal. For rabbits it can occur as early as five months (sometimes earlier) for the dwarf breeds and as late as a year for other breeds. Rabbits need to be spayed and neutered usually somewhere around 5 to 6 months (although some are altered earlier). An altered rabbit is much easier to train and will remain healthier than an unaltered one. Unaltered rabbits cannot live together no matter what sex they are. The aggression problems will be numerous not to mention the number of rabbits that will be produced with opposite sexed pairs. There are enough homeless rabbits in the world, so a responsible family will always spay and neuter.

And what about a cute cuddly little chick? Fortunately, new laws have decreased the number of chicks that are being dyed Easter colors and sold at Easter time, but the giving of chicks still occurs. Chicks given as presents at Easter often die within the first week because they do not receive the proper care. Chicks require a heat source, a clean enclosure, and quality food and water every day. Hand-rearing a chick takes a minimum of 10 minutes a couple of times each day in order for the chick to bond to the human family.

They must be vaccinated against a variety of diseases. Many people do keep chickens as pets, yes pets, but as with any animal it takes time and care. Housebreaking is difficult but not impossible. Chickens can be trained to do a number of tasks. (Most positive training methods used today started with studying chickens!) However, a pet chicken is not something to jump into lightly.

Any animal is a major commitment and responsibility, not a novelty. Research what is needed to care properly for an animal before having one join your family. If you do decide you have the time, money, patience, and commitment to care for an animal, please consider adopting one from a shelter or local rescue. There are many wonderful animals, including rabbits, looking for a wonderful forever home.

If you have young children or aren’t ready for an animal to join your family, consider a nice little stuffed (fake fur) animal for your child’s Easter basket this year. Chocolate is a sweet idea too!

Cheryl Falkenburry, Animal Behavior Coach, helps make sense of mind-boggling animal behavior. Visit her website for other behavior tips. Set up a private session to work directly on your pet's problem.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Contaminated Meat

Exotic Meats USA of San Antonio, TX is initiating a voluntary recall of Elk Tenderloin because it may contain meat derived from an elk confirmed to have Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

CWD is one of the Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies, which includes BSE — “Mad Cow Disease.”

Of course the FDA says concerns about the safety of the meat are purely “theoretical." At the present time, FDA believes the risk of becoming ill from eating CWD-positive elk or deer meat is remote.

What else could they say when they already allow cattle with cancerous tumors to be processed for human consumption? In 2000 the ruling was made that cancerous tumors and open sores were to be reclassified as "aesthetic" problems.

However, the FDA strongly advises consumers to return the elk meat product to the place of purchase, rather than disposing of it themselves, due to environmental concerns.

Here's another story with Colorado contaminated elk.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Costa Rica: Uproot Yourself and Move On

by Donna L. Watkins

Do you ever feel like you didn't get a fair start in life? Your family tree doesn't have the kind of roots you're interested in knowing more about.

View Enlarged Image
The Walking Palm - La Selva, Costa Rica
View More Walking Palm Photos
Ever feel like you'd like to cut your roots and move to a better growing environment?

The "walking tree" (Socratea exorrhiza), also known as the "walking palm" or "stilt palm," has a unique ability among trees; it can actually move itself from one place to another.

It's a palm that is native to rainforests of tropical Central and South America. Its common names come from the fact that the tree's stilt roots enable it to slowly shift position, up to more than 3 feet (1 meter) a year, when it desires to change it's location.

With the poor quality of the soil in rainforests and the struggle for sunlight amongst plants, this tree has the advantage of being capable of heading towards a more ideal environment for growth.

The walking tree forms stilt-like roots which, over time, can provide movement for the tree so it can move out from under fallen trees or towards more light. It lacks a central root system, so it will grow in the direction of its preference, allowing the roots to rot on the side that keeps them anchored away from its desired location.

View Enlarged Image
New Roots of Walking Palm Reaching For The Ground
Old Roots Are Covered In Moss - La Selva, Costa Rica

Do you see the old roots covered with mosses in the back of the tree? The new roots are bursting forth from the trunk of the tree and reaching for the ground near the trail which has more light.

Psychologists, such as Alfred Adler, believe that personality is formed in the first 5 or 6 years of life, and that it's often formed as a direct response to family situations. Certain patterns of behavior work, others do not. Whatever works within the child's family will be repeated and become a personality.

For example, some children always get their way by being nice and this trait forms a more sociably acceptable style of life. We know people that are always nice. Other children learn to manipulate their parents or siblings by whining and complaining. If parents give in, the result is a so-called "spoiled child." The resulting adult whines, complains and expects somebody to make things right, while lacking any concern for others.

To Adler, the "style of life" was a "habitual social orientation," a distinctive approach to situations involving other people. An individual will tend to be consistently helpful, exploitative, dishonest, ingratiating ... pick your adjective. The style of life tends to be consistent and reflected throughout the individual's life.

Sounds kind of permanent, doesn't it? Like what you get is what you got and it's what you'll have until you die. I've heard people say, "That's just the way I am." or "That's me, take it or leave it."

Bet you thought once a tree was rooted, it was there for life. God's Creation shows us many things from which we can gather a visual aid of His provisions for us here on this earth. Those woodland and meadow walks aren't just de-stressing, they'll also give you a closer look at who you are and who God is in you.

When we accept Christ as our Savior we are told that we have a new life. We don't have to keep the old "style of life" that we had. We are a new Creation in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17).

View Enlarged Image
The Walking Palm Roots Reaching The Ground
For A New Spot In The Forest - La Selva, Costa Rica

Like the walking palm, we can choose to allow those old roots to whither and die off as we produce new roots that reach for the Light of God. We don't have to act the same old way. We can plant ourselves in better soil and grow more like Christ daily. New roots will bring more nutrition to the body and you will find better physical and mental health with a new outlook of life's possibilities.

Jesus gives us plenty of examples of what our new life should look like. We can set our roots down in the Light of His Word and and become rooted and grounded in love. May Paul's prayer encourage you to walk away from the old and turn to the new that is available to you.

"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19)"

Reference: Psychology: An Introduction by Russ Dewey

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:
© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from TheNatureInUs.com.
Link URL is: http://www.TheNatureInUs.com

A Garden For All Seasons

While driving along a picturesque country road, Joe and Ann Studer came across a tiny cabin surrounded by beautiful acreage. Further investigations led them to a one-room cabin with 17 acres of pasture and trees. Instantly, they fell in love with it and soon bought it. For the last 32 years, they have been busy making the St. Joseph, Missouri yard the thriving garden it is today. Read their story with photographs at Birds and Blooms.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Growing Your Own Fresh Air

Kamal Meattle used three just three indoor plant species to increase oxygen, filter air, and boost general health at a a New Delhi business park. You can use them, too, in any indoor environment.

Meattle's presentation at the TED 2009 conference details a large-scale success, using thousands of plants for hundreds of workers. In any living or working space, though, the three plants — Areca palm, Mother-in-law's Tongue, and a "Money Plant" — can be used to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, remove organic compounds, and generally filter and freshen the ambient air.

A single person looks to need a minimum of 11 total plants, and certain climates with less sunlight could require a bit of hydroponic growing, but Meattle swears by the health, productivity, and atmosphere benefits. Meattle lived in India and his lung capacity had gone down to 70%. He became allergic to the indoor air. Check out the detailed slides from his TED talk.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Cave Mysteries

From Creation Moments

Have you ever been in a cave? If you have, perhaps someone has told you that the rock formations hanging from the ceiling - called stalactites - are thousands or even tens of thousands of years old. Scientists tell us that stalactites take 100 years, on the average, to grow one inch. But just how accurate is this figure?

Stalactites grow where water seeps through limestone rock, dissolving limestone in the process. When this water containing dissolved limestone emerges from the roof of a cave, it hangs for a moment. In a current of air, some of it evaporates, causing the limestone to deposit. Finally, the remaining water drops to the floor of the cave and continues to evaporate and deposit. The deposit on the floor is called a stalagmite.

A concrete railroad bridge in Wooster, Ohio had a stalactite growing under it that was over 12 inches long! Had the railroad bridge been standing for more than 1,200 years? Obviously not - in fact, the bridge had been cleaned of stalactites only 12 years before! Nor is this situation unusual. More than 300 stalactites were counted growing under bridges in just this one city, and stalactites are not hard to find under concrete bridges in most cities.

We take so many things at face value that evolutionists tell us about the world, even if they contradict the Bible. Before we start taking human words on faith, we should take at face value what the Creator says in the Bible. He knows more than all scientists put together and is to be trusted above any human teacher!

Listen to this in audio.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

My Favorite Health Supplement

Since I don't use drugs for rheumatoid arthritis, people ask what I do use. The main product that is a top performer on my program, is Nature's Sunshine Omega 3 EPA. There is an immense amount of research, some provided below, done on the benefits and necessity of having these nutrients in our body. Studies relating to rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular, diabetes, osteoporosis, skin health, nervous system (learning, depression and brain function) and even eye health.

Nature's Sunshine adds lemon essential oil so there's increased digestibility and no burping. If you're burping your fish oils, they're not being assimilated to be of use to your body. There's the factor of how the oil is processed and that affects digestibility. If you've had your gall bladder out, you will need to add fat-digesting enzymes to digest and process fat in your diet ... or you'll be storing it away in additional weight. Hi-Lipase digests fats and is of great benefit to those without a gall bladder.

Flax seed oil contains omega 3 oils and is a less expensive source for these essential fatty acids (EFAs), but it does not come close to the benefits of the fish oils, and it can even produce more inflammation. It requires specific enzymes to break it down and convert it to use and if they're not present, it actually gets converted to the inflammatory form of eiconsanoids, rather than the anti-inflammatory that the Omega 3 fish oils provides.

Consider these research findings:

• 1,000 mg a day of a fish oil concentrate reduced the risk of sudden death from heart‐related causes by 45% - April 9, 2002 issue of Circulation

• Women who consumed a minimum of five servings of fish per week over a 16‐year period lowered their risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) by more than a third, and reduced their risk of fatal heart attack by half. - April 10, 2002 issue of JAMA

• Men without heart disease were 81% less likely to experience sudden death due to fatal arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) when their blood levels of omega‐3 fatty acids were high regardless of their age, smoking habits or amount of other types of fatty acids in their blood. - April 11, 2002 New England Journal of Medicine

• Patients who ate fish and had high serum levels of alpha linolenic acid (ALA), (EPA), and (DHA) reduced their risk of all‐cause mortality in direct relation to the amounts consumed. Patients who consumed the most omega‐3 had a 55% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke, and a 51% lower risk of death from coronary artery disease. - American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (July 2003).

Read About More Research on Omega-3s
Buy Quality: Nature's Sunshine Omega 3 EPA.

Learning To Live Loved

by Donna L. Watkins

In a previous post, In The Darkness, I mentioned "dark moments, dark dreary days, dark seasons, dark circumstances and awfully dark spiritual times as we struggle to be faithful to God during this sojourn of life on earth."

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - Striped Skunk in Backyard

Life does hold many dark moments and sometimes people get trapped in them. It's been so long since they've seen the Light ... or maybe they've never seen the Light.

God says His goodness draws men to repentance. Not His condemnation. We get enough condemnation on our walk through life. God wants to offer love. Not learning to live large or learning to live well or learning to live in comfort or learning to live in health and wealth ... but simply, living loved. Not that all those other things are not available or important, but to build your entire world around the knowledge that you are loved with a love so deep that it's beyond our human comprehension. That kind of living will make living all that we could ever hope and dream for it to be.

The reality of the love of God is hard to grab hold of when life is difficult and dark. It would seem that God could make all the pain go away, like we would want to do for our own children or somebody we loved. That makes us question God's love for us. If He truly loves me, why doesn't He do something about this?

We compare our parenting with how God should do His, but He is a Perfect Parent. We are not. We are influenced by feelings, emotions and generations of family behavior and traditions.

Have we thought of turning the tables around from our accusations to include ourself in the judgment we wish for God to take. Of course we don't want justice. We have all sinned in many ways and through repentance we find our way back to Abba Father again. This is possible because of Jesus.

Evil will be with us until the new Heaven and Earth. Free will gives man a choice to do good or evil and we all live in the same world. God does promise to use everything in our lives for our good (Romans 8:28) if we love Him and that promise is so key to trusting in Him. To be able to rest in His love through grief with Him preserving our tears in a bottle, rather than raising our fists in anger and blame and refusing His comfort.

So, how do we make our way back to God? Every circumstance, trial and tribulation we've experienced has built a brick wall heaven high between us and God. In the spirit, we can pass through those walls. We don't have to break them all down brick by brick. Because of His love for us, His arms are always open and waiting to meet with us. They are always there for us.

What about you? Do you really want to be God's judge? Does it bring you any satisfaction or freedom or comfort? What about learning to live loved? Does it sound tempting? Does it feel warm and inviting? It's a re-turning process and re-training of the mind that has gone off track. We still have choices, don't we? Don't we choose evil when we allow it to rule our life and paint our days?

Who would you be if you let go of all the guilt, shame, grief, despair and anger at God? These things wash away all the beautiful colors that our paint our life's story. Have you used acrylic paints? I don't paint, but have friends who do, and when they make a mistake or change their mind, they just paint over what was there, coloring it with what they now want their painting to be. We have that option too. Seek the Master Painter today and choose to re-turn and learn to live loved.

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Beef And Global Warming

If you are already a vegetarian, or at least don't eat beef, we tip our hats to you. For beef-eaters out there, beware: these statistics will shock you. For example, beef contributes more than 13 times as much to global warming as do the gases emitted from producing chicken. And it's even more shocking when you compare beef to potatoes – the multiplier is 57. Read the entire article.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Behavioral Choices Affect Aging

Genes play a role in your appearance as you get older, but the real villains of the wrinkles of aging involve behavioral choices such as smoking, eating, and sun exposure, a new study shows.

The study is published online in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Environmental factors and personal lifestyle choices more than genes can add years to a person's appearance. Read the entire article.

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