Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Heavy Laden With Misery

by Donna L. Watkins

"Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28)

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - Thirsty Squirrel
God offers us rest, but like any gift, we have to take it. Being someone who had endless energy and loads of goals, I was always in motion. Always a doer, not taking much time for simply being.

Childhood, single life, early married life, and not even motherhood slowed me down. Each new role just added more things to the list of stuff to be done. And of course, I was the one who had to do it all. Such are the thoughts of workaholics and perfectionists. I felt as if there was no other way. Nobody else was going to do it all. Never did I ponder for long how much of it truly needed to be done.

Those seasons of life seem so long ago. Our only son, Benjamin, turned 30 yesterday. It was a bit disturbing to him since most of his friends are in their 20's, but it's been disturbing to me also as I ponder all those years of parenting. Every parent looks back with longing to change some things, but if you let those thoughts linger it can bring on a heavy burden of guilt.

Why do we think we could've been the perfect parent when there has never been such a person in the world? Our parents mistakes, our mistakes, are used by God to mold and shape us for our purpose in life. We can turn it all around for good when we see it through His loving eyes.

We don't need to look back unless we are rejoicing in what God has done in our life. God uses every day of our lives for good if we trust Him and dedicate it all to Him, rather than mull over it in misery. Do you think you're doing your children any better by being miserable about your past? What example does that give them?

Are we doomed to have a miserable future because we made wrong choices in the past? No, we'll have a miserable future as long as we make the choice each day to not let go of the yesterdays. God calls us to come to Him and lay our burdens down at the Cross. Christ died so we could leave the past behind.

Look at all Paul had to leave behind. As Saul of Tarsus he persecuted and killed Christians. Yet, God called him to be a great man of God and to write most of the New Testament. But Saul had to make the choice to allow God to turn his life around. If he held on to the guilt of the past, he could not make anything of his future.

If you're waiting for your children's forgiveness to change your future ... or hoping that you can change the past by feeling bad long enough about it, so that your future will finally make sense ... you're living a life ruled by the devil. The Bible tells us that we can't serve two gods. We only have one Holy and True God. The everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the Earth, who does not grow tired or weary and His understanding no one can fathom (Is. 40).

Will you allow God to take your burdens? He's been beside you all the time, but we have to make the choice to turn things over. To let go of what's been comfortable no matter how miserable. We think God causes these messes to happen in our lives and so many times it's simply the choices we make. If we were to listen to His voice calling, we would turn and walk a different way, but we condemn ourselves and open ourselves up for the devil to rule by the choices we make.

"I see the Lord always before me, for He is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken; therefore, my heart is glad, and my tongue rejoices; moreover, my flesh will live in hope" (Acts 2:25-26).

John Maxwell says, "You can spend your life any way you want, but you can spend it only once."

Carl Bard says, "Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending."

What will your ending be? Misery? Is that how you want to be remembered? 'She suffered miserably her whole life for her mistakes in younger years' ... or 'she had a rough beginning, but she turned it around and finished well.' Doesn't the latter inspire you? If you need inspiration go to the library and get some books that will inspire you. There have been many people who overcame. We were built, designed and drawn to overcome, but we also have free will to make our own choices.

Your first step will be to stop blaming everybody and everything else for your problems. Some fall into that pattern because they can't handle the entire load of guilt if they didn't spread it around. The Blood has freed us from guilt. Christ made the payment. We do not have to make payment.

When I want to go back to something in the past that didn't go well, I see Christ hanging on the cross asking me, "Isn't this enough for you?" I make Christ's death for my sins worthless if I choose to die daily over my sins and mistakes.

Lay down that heavy burden of misery, guilt, perfectionism or whatever it is. God wants us to rest. I didn't slow down until my flesh gave out, but I am so thankful that God stayed beside me even as I was beating myself into the ground. When I was willing to reach out for a helping hand, He was there, is there, and will always be there.

God, help my brothers and sisters to reach out before so much of their lives are taken and used by the devil's schemes. Speak to them, show them where they can make changes, give them courage and discipline and tenacity to walk on your restful woodland path to wholeness. Thank you for sending Christ to take our sins and guilt away and to be in us and with us. Help us to recognize that He is within, not out there somewhere, but that we are actually one with Christ and you. For those who do not know Christ, I pray they would seek you now and choose to turn their life over to you. Amen

Hearing God's Voice
The book that is having a monumental impact on my life and way of living is one called, How To Hear God's Voice by Mark and Patti Virkler. The clear and detailed content with loads of Scriptural backup, along with the interactive process of applying what you are learning, is yielding a lot of spiritual fruit in my life and the life of my husband, the counselor, who is now promoting the book to everyone he knows. Your view of the present, past and future will never be the same when you begin to commune with God as He always intended us to do since He walked with man in the Garden of Eden. For those who yearn for a deeper relationship with the Father, this book will take you there if you read and apply it. The author promises that and I do too!

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
The link URL is:

Black Dots on Monarch Pupae

I've seen a few Monarchs today, which is about three weeks early for our area of Virginia. At Monarch Watch, Ann made an interesting observation in the lab this week concerning the black dots that appear close to the cremaster on a monarch pupa. The cremaster is the black “stalk” that attaches to the silk pad spun by the caterpillar prior to pupation.

See the graphic that shows how you can tell whether a monarch is male or female while they are still in the pupa. Read the entire article.

Warning: Greenies Pet Dental Chews

I've been seeing a lot of info online about the recall of this most popular treat nationwide. It's rather old news, but it's news to me and may be to some of you. Although they say they're only being sold through veterinarians now, I did a search on Amazon and Petsmart and found them for sale. I'm confused. Recall article. A 2006 CNN news article lists 13 dog deaths linked to Greenies.

Monday, September 28, 2009

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Egypt Bans GMO Foods

In a surprising move, Egypt announced that it won't be importing or exporting any genetically modified foods. Period. Plenty of traders both inside and outside the country were stunned, seeing as how Egypt's main agricultural imports currently include many GMOs. Can the nation realistically succeed in cutting out genetically modified foods on such a large scale?

According to Reuters,

Any agricultural imports to Egypt must have a certificate from the country of origin that the product is not genetically modified and the rule will also apply to Egyptian exports, the official news agency said on Wednesday.

Evidently, debates over food quality have erupted in Egypt after an import of Russian wheat was rejected by officials. Shortly after, the ban on genetically modified foods reportedly emerged. But what are the ramifications of such a ban--and is it even possible to completely cut GMOs out of a country's food imports? Read the entire article.

The Need For Bugs

Insects perform countless functions that improve our environment and our lives in ways that researchers are only beginning to understand.

PICTURE THIS: You’re sitting around, having a tailgate party before the big game, when yellow jackets swarm around the apple cider. Or: You’re up on a ladder, washing the storm windows, and you find a big wasps’ nest under the eaves. How do you feel? Bugged?

Most of us react to insects with annoyance or fear—and the instinct to swat—but according to a couple of enterprising entomologists, deep appreciation would be a more appropriate response.

Cornell University’s John Losey and Mace Vaughan of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation recently sat down at their computers, drew up a really big spreadsheet and toted up the cash value of some ecological services that native insects provide right here in the United States.

By ecological services, these scientists mean real work, done for free, by the six-legged creatures we ordinarily feel compelled to swat—work such as pollinating crops (native bees do $3 billion worth of pollination that would otherwise be assigned to hired honeybees) and pest control (when native insects chow down on alien invaders, farmers avoid $4.5 billion in crop losses). Read the entire article.

Be a Crowning Success

From The Word for You Devotional

Are You a Workaholic?

When you experience rejection early in life, you feel like you constantly have to "prove" yourself, so you become a workaholic in order to gain people's acceptance: One woman writes, "I can still hear my father yelling, telling me I'd never be any good, never amount to anything. The more he yelled, the more determined I became to prove him wrong."

Do you have voices like that in your head? It's true that you'll succeed by working hard, but to experience lasting satisfaction you must know that you're fulfilling God's will for your life. When all I said and done, what matters most is knowing you're loved and accepted by God. What can top that?

God measures with a different yardstick.

He won't ask what kind of car you drove, but how many people you gave rides to.

He won't ask the square footage of your home, but how you raised your children and treated your family.

He won't ask about the brand names in your closet, but who you helped to clothe.

He won't ask about your salary, but how much you invested into the bu8ilding of His Kingdom.

He won't ask about your job title, but if you tried to perform with excellence and integrity.

He won't ask how many friends you had, but how many people you were a friend to.

He won't ask what neighborhood you lived in, but if you loved your neighbor.

He won't ask about your politics or the color of your skin, but about the quality of your character.

So don't just work hard, work hard for the right reasons!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Deceitfulness Of Riches

by Donna L. Watkins

In Mark 4:18-19 Jesus said, in the parable of the sower, "Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth, and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful."

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - Squirrel With Watermelon
Do you remember when you were young, single and broke? Maybe you're old, married and still broke, but most likely you've got more stuff than you had when you were single. Younger years can be consumed by the wanting of more ... and then when you find yourself down the road with a house and children to care for, a job producing a good income, a bit of money stashed away for rainy days, you would think things would be as you wanted them when you were in those "wishing years."

Did acquiring more wealth or stuff make all your worries go away? No. In many ways you've got more worries. A house to maintain and pay for, debts from providing for your family and education, people you love and don't want hurt ... the list goes on. If you're going to worry, you'll always have something to worry over. The more stuff you have the more you have to maintain, protect and find places to put it all. Lives get cluttered with things and sometimes it's hard to see relationships in the realm of importance that they truly are. Advertising tells us we need all this stuff ... God tells us we need Him and we're to love others.

If your significance is in what you have and accomplished and your security lies with how much you have stashed away, then you're anchored to the wrong piers for a fulfilling life. Worry will choke the life right out of you, but making God first in your life, allowing Him to provide and protect through the use of your hands and heart, will make life what it was truly designed to be.

True happiness is in trusting God for your needs, allowing Him to determine which "wants" to have, and knowing that His timing for stuff is more accurate than yours. You may not get what you want, but you'll get something better.

We had a long list of wants in our young years of marriage and at times we would wait and pray for God to provide them and He did so in miraculous ways, but like Israel wandering in the wilderness, forgetting their crossing of the Red Sea, we too would allow our wants to overshadow God's provision. It ends in debt no matter how much money you make. The wealthy just have a higher expectation of wants that are more costly. Nobody is immune to the deceitfulness of riches.

Don't let the television, magazines and newspapers tell you what you have to have. We stopped all of those things in our home for a period of time when we chose to get out of debt. We wanted to hear God's voice on what we were to have and focus on what was more important to us - to be debt-free. That want was higher than all the rest because we knew it would provide as true a security factor as the world would give us. You can go a long way without a job if you don't have a mortgage, car payments and credit card debt. God never intended for us to live in debt and provide for ourselves through the banking systems which are totally focused on providing for themselves.

Have you been deceived also? It's never too late for God to work in your life. As long as you're still breathing He is there willing to guide you through. Take a day to get away and ponder this. Get God's Word on it and make a commitment to change your lifestyle. Simpler living is so gratifying and peaceful compared to what the world and advertisers have to offer.

Haven't you already discovered that most of what you wanted, and now have, didn't satisfy even until the time it was paid off? Don't get deceived by the one who desires you to look everywhere but to God, our Maker, Creator and King. Choose ye this day whom you will serve (Joshua 24:15). You cannot serve God and money (Matthew 6:24).

Get some tips on being frugal at The Frugal and The Frugal Life
For motivation, watch this video on The Story of Stuff.

Hearing God's Voice
The book that is having a monumental impact on my life and way of living is one called, How To Hear God's Voice by Mark and Patti Virkler. The clear and detailed content with loads of Scriptural backup, along with the interactive process of applying what you are learning, is yielding a lot of spiritual fruit in my life and the life of my husband, the counselor, who is now promoting the book to everyone he knows. Your view of the present, past and future will never be the same when you begin to commune with God as He always intended us to do since He walked with man in the Garden of Eden. For those who yearn for a deeper relationship with the Father, this book will take you there if you read and apply it. The author promises that and I do too!

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
The link URL is:

Dog Training With Humor

I'm a blessed woman. I know a wonderful gal that is incredibly gifted with animal training ... and I know another gal gifted with writing. The first has written a book and the latter has written an article about it. If you've been reading the pet topics of this website, the author's name will be known to you.

From the article:

Anyone who has trained with [Cheryl] Falkenburry knows she is never dry or theoretical. She uses humor to make her point and instead of training the dogs, she trains the owners, making them see life through their dog's eyes.

Falkenburry has an ability to understand all the components of the canine mind and the tried training methods that often fail to produce the desired behavior owners seek in their pets. With her background in psychology and education, knowing and understanding the human mind with all its quirks helps with training as well.

Having her St. Bernard Delilah tell the story is not only humorous from Delilah's perspective but shows us that we need to communicate with our pets on another level, not our own.

At one point in the book, Delilah is having too much fun outside and refuses to come in and soon realizes Falkenburry is angry, admonishing her for not listening and obeying. While Delilah gazes at her during her ranting, Delilah thinks to herself, “The words sounded like blah, blah, blah to me. All I knew is she was angry - very angry.” Delilah goes on to speak on her own behalf and in complete innocence.

Read the entire article

Debt-Free and Living Fabulously

Tight times are hitting older Americans directly in their wallets. With the nation’s jobless rate spiking at 8.1 percent and likely to continue rising, nearly 5.6 percent of workers 55 and older are unemployed, and many are struggling to find jobs. Those on fixed incomes have seen their retirement savings shrink by 30 to 40 percent in the market meltdown. No wonder the country is in a belt-tightening mood, with consumer spending down to the lowest levels in decades.

But people like Sky Yardley and his wife, Jane Dwinell, aren’t panicking about today’s tough economic times—they learned long ago to live well on less. A few years ago, the Montpelier, Vt., couple saved enough to quit their jobs, volunteer on projects that interest them, and cruise the canals of France on their 28-foot houseboat for several months each year.

To achieve this lifestyle, the couple followed the nine-step program outlined in Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship With Money and Achieving Financial Independence, a New York Times bestseller written by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez in 1992 and updated in 2008.

Read the entire article with several stories of how to get the good life.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Xylitol Inhibits Growth of Bacteria

From Creation Moments.

We hear many warnings these days that tell us not to eat this food, it's full of cholesterol or that food, it's loaded with fat. It's easy to come to the conclusion that the curse of sin has turned the whole creation against us. But God is a merciful God. He has given us the ability to learn about many of the beneficial foods and medicines that He has created.

One good example of this is Xylitol, also known as birch sugar. Earlier research showed that birch sugar, used more in Europe than America as a sweetener, inhibits growth of bacteria that cause tooth decay.

Researchers in Finland wondered if birch sugar inhibited any other bacteria. They gave one group of pre-school children sucrose-based chewing gum and a similar group birch-sugar gum five times a day.

The group that used the birch sugar (xylitol gum) had only about half as many ear infections.

Scientists aren't sure how the birch sugar reduces ear infections. They suspect that it somehow prevents the bacteria that cause the infections from attaching to cells in the mouth and ear. If this is what happens, there is an added bonus. Since the sugar does not attack the bacteria directly, the bacteria would be unlikely to develop any defense against it.

In His mercy, God has given us more than just solutions to our problems in this life. Through His Son, Jesus Christ, He grants us the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. And through His Word, He tells us what salvation means.

References: N.S., A sugar averts some ear infections, Science News, v.154, p.287, October 31, 1998

Visit Creation Moments.

Carbon-Neutral Gardening

With proper planning, native plants and some appropriate actions, homeowners can create carbon-neutral landscapes.

The Manhattan Beach garden is a case in point. Kent designed it to be carbon-neutral, though you might not know it by looking at it. Like many suburban yards, it has several shade trees, including an impressive California sycamore that casts a leafy canopy over much of the backyard. California flannelbush (Fremontodendron californicum), golden monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus) and fuchsia-flowering gooseberry (Ribes speciosum) are just a few of the wildflowers growing on the property that attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

The landscape’s mostly native plants require very little water, and no chemical pesticides or fertilizers—only homemade compost. What the garden does not have is a lawn, which can be a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions depending on the products used to maintain it.

Gardeners unwittingly contribute to the problem of global climate change in a variety of ways. For starters, we consume energy directly, by deploying the entire panoply of power equipment deemed essential for a proper modern landscape. These tools, particularly gasoline-powered equipment, collectively can generate large amounts of CO2 emissions. Read the entire article.

Wildlife Habitat Corridors

Wildlife populations across the country are suffering from habitat loss caused by urban sprawl, drought, wildfires, invasive species, pollution, and other threats. When humans fragment natural landscapes that provide habitat to so many species of plants and animals, we isolate wildlife from the food, water and shelter they need for survival.

The Flyway Cities Coalition is an innovative approach towards creating healthier environments for people and wildlife living in wildlife habitat corridors, or “flyways.” Targeting key urban areas throughout the United States, each city’s Coalition brings together the efforts of local stakeholder groups, magnifying their individual strengths as they work towards common sustainability goals.

Flyway Cities Coalitions will restore viable habitat for native wildlife and plant populations, educating others about local and regional environmental issues, and encouraging communities to engage in projects that create a better urban environment for everyone.

Flyway Cities Coalitions have already been launched in Atlanta, Georgia, Fort Lauderdale, Florida and San Diego, and California. Coalitions are in the planning stages for Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, and Seattle.

Learn more about this plan for wildlife.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Someone Has To Pay

From The Word For You Today Devotional.

A lady was upset because her mother-in-law forgot to ask her to a family picnic. So when her son called on the morning of the event to invite her, she replied angrily, "It's too late -- I've already prayed for rain!"

When we're hurting we want someone to pay, so we lash out at the wrong people. One lady writes, "I was so angry I spent years trying to collect what I thought was due, from people who'd nothing to do with my hurt. Finally God caused me to realize that I was trying to collect a debt from my husband that he didn't owe. When I accepted this, God began to bless me beyond anything I could ever have imagined."

One night after preaching about forgiveness, Corrie Ten Boom recognized that the man approaching her was a former guard from Ravensbruck, the Nazi prison camp where she was tortured and her sister Bessie starved to death.

When he asked her to forgive him, Corrie thought about Betsie, and felt she couldn't do it. Nevertheless, she knew she must, otherwise, everything she'd preached would be meaningless.

So she told God, "I can extend my hand, I can do that much, but You'll have to supply the feelings." Taking the man's hand she felt God's power rushing through her, enabling her to wholeheartedly say, "I forgive you, brother."

Corrie never experienced God's love so intensely as she did that night. Although she'd been badly tortured, she let God heal her and then went on to help others.

The truth is - forgiveness is the ONLY way to have peace! Will you take time to get alone with God and ask where you've been gathering evidence to justify not forgiving someone? Deal with it today. There's nothing more important.

My first exposure to Corrie Ten Boom was reading a book called "The Hiding Place." Shortly after that I saw the movie with the same title. It was a long time ago, but I have etched in my mind a few of her statements that astounded me at that time. Find more books about Corrie Ten Boom at where you can read inside some of them.

Be a Part of Wildlife Watch

National Wildlife Federation’s Wildlife Watch is a national, nature-watching program created for people of all ages. Through the program you can share details that help National Wildlife Federation track the health and behavior of wildlife and plant species nationwide.

In return, the Wildlife Watch website keeps you up-to-date on wildlife news and facts, and new ideas for attracting wildlife to your backyard and community.

Stay connected with Wildlife Watch:

• Compile a list of what you've seen by checking off the photos of animals, plants, trees, or other critters

• Share photos of your outdoor adventures with the Wildlife Watch Flickr group

• “Tell Your Story” about wildlife you see on a special message board

• Get up-to-the-minute info about wildlife through the Wildlife Watch Twitter page

Through Wildlife Watch, you’ll gain first hand experience with plants and animals in their natural environment. Don’t forget to invite your family and friends to participate and join in year-round.

Join the hunt at Wildlife Watch today!
Find local spots to watch for wildlife near you at the NatureFind website.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

National Adoption Day Scheduled for Wild Horses

More than 25 locations across the United States will host wild horse adoptions September 26, the date of the first National Wild Horse Adoption Day in the United States. A goal of 1,000 adoptions has been set for the first National Wild Horse Adoption Day with events taking place in 19 states across the country.

Nearly 33,000 mustangs roam federal lands across the West. In order to manage the herds and maintain both land and herd health, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) oversees the adoption of wild horses and burros through public adoptions held throughout the United States. Since 1973, more than 220,000 wild horses and burros have been adopted.

Horses between the ages of 1 and 6 years old are typically selected from the herds for adoption, but a horse of any age can fit into the right farm or ranch. For many mustang adopters, having the opportunity to work with a horse or burro with a storied past and an unconventional upbringing brings a unique and special element to their relationship.

The groups supporting National Wild Horse Adoption Day, in addition to the BLM, include Wild Horses 4 Ever, the American Horse Protection Association, the Mustang Heritage Foundation and The Humane Society of the United States.

The groups are working together to educate Americans about wild horse issues while promoting adoption of BLM wild horses through adoption events, training programs and motivational experiences.

“In actuality, every day is adoption day in the United States, but National Wild Horse Adoption Day is designed to bring attention to the need for adoption to the American public, and especially those who have an interest in horse ownership,” said Julie Bryant, event coordinator. “BLM facilities across the nation offer wild horses for adoption on a regular basis with adoption fees starting at $125. With National Wild Horse Adoption Day, the BLM along with trainers and other mustang advocates, will be able to offer both saddle trained and halter trained animals.”

The goal of 1,000 horses adopted through a National Adoption Day program could create a savings of more than $1,500,000 for the BLM and the American taxpayer.

State BLM offices, as well as rescue centers, wild horse groups, and volunteers will be engaged in activities leading up to and on September 26 to promote an understanding of and interest in opening new homing opportunities to these magnificent animals.

Activities will not only include adoptions, but will also include educational events and wild horse expos. More than 25 events will take place across the country in support of national wild horse adoption day, and other events may apply to be included on the calendar through the event web site at

For more information on location of the events or how to volunteer, go to the National Wild Horse Adoption Day website, or call 817-559-5650.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Avoiding The Tormentors

by Donna L. Watkins

Judging is a lifestyle that puts others down so we can feel better about ourselves. In a world where the prettiest, smartest, fastest and wealthiest are promoted as most valuable, judging is part of living and breathing.

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - Squirrel - Time to Pray

Matthew 7:1-2 says, "Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you."

Is it any wonder that our lives are filled with trials, tribulations, challenges and continual disaster? How much mental time do you spend judging others? Judging yourself? God doesn't say it's okay to judge ourselves, other than to make sure we compare our actions against Godly character. It's not okay to hammer ourselves into the ground for mistakes and blunders. If you grew up with parents who could find nothing right about what you did, you have a challenge to overcome, but God tells us we are overcomers, so don't use it as an excuse for a miserable life.

Smart people do stupid things. Good people do bad things. Misguided people don't even know what they're doing. That's why Jesus told us there's no limit to forgiving, not even the same person day after day. In forgiving we gain a lot. It is now being counseled in the secular world that forgiveness has the power to transform lives. We've got to learn to hit the "delete button" when we're offended.

On the other side of the coin, those who do not forgive have everlasting turmoil and torment in their lives. Do you remember the story in Matthew 18 of the servant who owed his master 10,000 talents? A talent was 15 years' worth of labor. The master was going to sell his wife, children and all he owned, but the servant begged forgiveness and the master felt compassion and released him and forgave the debt.

Not catching the compassion of the moment, the servant went to find one of his fellow slaves who owed him 100 denarii. A denarius was a day's wages. He began to choke him demanding that he pay back what he owed. When the fellow slave pleaded for mercy and promised repayment, the forgiven slave threw him into prison.

The master heard of this and asked the forgiven slave if another did not deserve the same mercy and forgiveness he had received. Moved with anger, he did not wait for a reply, but instead "handed him over to the torturers (tormentors) until he should repay all that was owed him." Obviously he couldn't repay 150,000 years of earnings.

We can never repay what God has given us through forgiveness and provision of the blood of Christ. There is no way, but we can "payback the compassion" by extending forgiveness to those in our lives that have offended, hurt, injured, abused, misunderstood and belittled us. We can't expect "them" to make the first step. Often they are oblivious to their own behavior. They have rationalized it to be the good guy at the center of their world. No amount of incoming data will challenge that rationalization or change anything.

Serial killers think like this. Politicians, too. Also thieves, social outcasts, actors, perverts, and scammers ... And you and me too. Yep, it's part of being human. All of us have areas in our life that we could call black and would not want others to know about. Areas we struggle with, things we did that we're not proud of, things said that we can't take back.

My thoughts turn to .... "there but for the grace of God go I." Instead of focusing on the offense and behavior, turn the view back around to yourself and realize that given the same life they've had (of which you will never know all the details of), you could've been the same. Yes, you made some better choices, but God's grace gave us the choice. Haven't you been in a time of life where you know you were only a hair's breadth of going the wrong way?

There is no excuse for not forgiving. It's certainly a choice we can make ... but next time you wonder why so many things in your life are going wrong ... you might wonder if the tormentors have the upper hand. And if they do, ask God to show you why.

The promises of God were for a people who confessed their sins and had a heart to live in righteousness and holiness. We may live in a "do your own thing" kind of world, but as Christians we are to live disciplined, merciful lives filled with God's grace for ourself and others.

I've been focused on keeping a thought in my mind to repel the instantaneous action of judgment. The thought is from Psalms 17:3: "I have purposed in my heart that my mouth will not transgress."

James 3:6 tells us that "the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell." Sounds like a good part of the body to focus on since it can cause so much trouble.

Like David I want to be able to say to God, "Thou hast proved my heart; thou hast visited me in the night; Thou hast tried me, and findest nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress" (Psalm 17:3).

Hearing God's Voice
The book that is having a monumental impact on my life and way of living is one called, How To Hear God's Voice by Mark and Patti Virkler. The clear and detailed content with loads of Scriptural backup, along with the interactive process of applying what you are learning, is yielding a lot of spiritual fruit in my life and the life of my husband, the counselor, who is now promoting the book to everyone he knows. Your view of the present, past and future will never be the same when you begin to commune with God as He always intended us to do since He walked with man in the Garden of Eden. For those who yearn for a deeper relationship with the Father, this book will take you there if you read and apply it. The author promises that and I do too!

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
The link URL is:

Free Gardener's Guide

Will Your State's Tree or Flower Continue to Grow in Your State?

Plants across the nation are affected by global warming. You have probably seen that many plants in your backyard are blooming earlier. Global warming will mean that many native and iconic plants may no longer find suitable climate conditions in major portions of their historic range.

Download Free PDF Guide and Check Your State's Flower and Tree Status.

Squirrels Raiding Your Feeders?

From National Wildlife Federation

For many Americans, Public Enemy Number One is a one-pound busybody with industrial strength teeth and a bushy tail: the gray squirrel.

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - Squirrel in Falls Park, Greenville, SC
While killer bees and marauding bears occasionally capture headlines, the gray squirrel has been quietly disassembling the infrastructure in some of the nation's backyards, as well as vandalizing homes, sabotaging U.S. businesses and even occasionally assaulting innocent bystanders.

It is a prime suspect in half of all unsolved fires, an acknowledged perpetrator in most nonweather-related power failures and a wire chomper responsible for twice bringing stock trades on the NASDAQ to a halt.

Given these creatures' remarkable abilities and destructive power, it's no wonder many homeowners have gone to ridiculous lengths to try to outwit, outmaneuver and out-think the gray squirrels that plague their bird feeders. For some people, it's an all-out war.

Case in point: Ed and Jean LeRoy, who not long ago set up their first bird feeder on a post in their New Berlin, Wisconsin, backyard in the hopes of attracting beautiful songbirds. Their excitement was short-lived, however, when a gray squirrel completely emptied the feeder even before the first bird arrived.

By the second day, the couple was hosting a squirrel convention in their yard. On the third day, Ed LeRoy purchased a squirrel baffle to put on the pole below the bird feeder. Within five minutes, the crafty animals found that they could jump over the baffle and onto the feeder from a nearby tree limb. So LeRoy started cutting tree limbs. The squirrels then jumped from the tree trunk. In response, he cut down the tree. But the squirrels merely jumped to the feeder from another tree further away.

Exasperated, LeRoy was not about to give in to the creatures, ..... read the entire article.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Praise Your Way Through

by Donna L. Watkins

When times are rough and tough, I don't naturally think about praising God. It's more likely He'll be hearing grumbling and murmuring as He did with the Israelites every time they had a challenge.

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - Tall Mushroom in Woods
Hopefully, I'm learning to reprogram my human nature and not end up like they did, banned from the Promised Land, doomed to die in the desert because of their stiff-necked rebellious hearts.

The Bible says we're to "offer the sacrifice of praise to God" (Hebrews 13:15). The more it costs us, the more it pays off. After all, life's challenges are meant for lessons to grow us into maturity so that we may be able to handle life's battles while here on earth, and be prepared for eternity in Heaven.

Learning to praise Him in all circumstances shows we don't see God just as somebody to provide all our wants and needs. He's the God of the Universe, the Creator of the ends of the Earth. He is to be praised for who He is and what He's done for us in the redemption plan through the blood of Christ. Life's daily details don't need to be perfect to praise this everlasting God who has a steadfast love for us that surpasses our earthly parenting of not wanting to see our children suffer for their own good.

Besides, a praise-filled environment stops Satan dead in his tracks because he knows that "God inhabits the praises of His people" (Psalms 22:3). God is always near to us, but His presence is especially close and healing (emotionally and physically) when we are praising Him.

At home we can dance, sing and bow down in worship to our Lord and King as we praise Him, but when we're in situations where we need to see Him in all His glory to defeat the thoughts and pictures that the Enemy is launching our way, we can close our eyes anywhere (not while driving) and picture Him sitting on the throne of Heaven surrounded by praise all day.

Put yourself in that throng of heavenly beings and draw near to the one who can comfort you like no other. List His names (Shepherd, Provider, Healer, Everlasting God). Remember His steadfast love and faithfulness in your life. Don't let the devil tell you He's always failed you. It's a lie. God has never failed you. The most awful time in your life He was with you to comfort you if you would allow it.

The whole Creation was made to praise God:
"the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands" (Isaiah 55:12); "Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!" (Psalm 150:6); in Luke 19 the disciples were praising God and when the Pharisees told Jesus to rebuke them, He replied, "I tell you if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

Praise literally helps to heal your emotions and lift the burden of negative thinking you've been shoved under by our Enemy. Praise Him with your whole heart ... let your mind rest with all the details of what's wrong, and enter into the Holy of Holies that we know have access to because of the blood of Jesus. Don't leave until you are filled with hope. love and a knowing that every thing is right. You just can't see it with your physical eyes, but you can see it with the eyes of your heart.

God is always for you and not against you. 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." Remember you have been called to worship and praise Him and as you express this form of love to Him, regardless of circumstances, He will make all things good in your life!

Hearing God's Voice
The book that is having a monumental impact on my life and way of living is one called, How To Hear God's Voice by Mark and Patti Virkler. The clear and detailed content with loads of Scriptural backup, along with the interactive process of applying what you are learning, is yielding a lot of spiritual fruit in my life and the life of my husband, the counselor, who is now promoting the book to everyone he knows. Your view of the present, past and future will never be the same when you begin to commune with God as He always intended us to do since He walked with man in the Garden of Eden. For those who yearn for a deeper relationship with the Father, this book will take you there if you read and apply it. The author promises that and I do too!

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
The link URL is:

Hats Up For Hummingbirds

From Birds and Blooms Newsletter

It gets very hot here in the summer. The hummingbirds have swarmed to the feeders in the shade, but avoid the ones in full sun. So, I took an old straw hat and fastened it to the top of the feeder with wire and florist’s tape.

Within minutes, the hummers were back! They can sip in cool shade. I have covered all of my feeders with hats and even decorated them with silk flowers and ribbon. It looks beautiful and gets lots of comments from visitors. – Susan Patch, Loon Lake, Washington

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Milkweed and Monarchs

by Donna L. Watkins

Milkweed plants are essential for the survival of the Monarch Butterfly. It is the only plant species that the caterpillar stage of the butterfly eats. There are several varieties of milkweed with most people being familiar with Butterfly Weed.

We have what is known as Common Milkweed. The Monarch Butterfly lays it's eggs on the leaves. They generally place one egg on a leaf so the caterpillar will have enough food to eat and grow before it has to travel to another leaf. The eggs are tiny cream-colored dots barely the size of a pencil point. Here's a photo of a Monarch egg on a leaf.

The caterpillars start off very tiny, as you can see in this photo of one in comparison to my thumb nail. It doesn't take long They will go through 5 stages from 2mm to 45mm when full grown and ready to spin their chrysalis. They grow nice and fat and so colorful.

After they go into the pupa stage (chrysalis), they go from being a caterpillar to a butterfly, ready to begin the process all over again. This is one that I saw one morning soon after he had come from the chrysalis (shown beside him in the photo).

He was stretching his wings with his back to the sun to warm him before he could fly away to begin life afresh as a butterfly.

It is a male which you can tell by the black dots on the lower part of the wings.

Related Articles:
Milkweed For Monarchs
Monarch Butterfly
Monarch Migration Begins
The Incredible Monarch Story
Become a Monarch Waystation

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
The link URL is:

Monarch Populations

From Monarch Watch Newsletter from Jim Lovett.

Gerber Baby Food Containers Used As Monarch Rearing Chambers

Do you or someone you know use Gerber's "2nd Foods" Baby Food packs - the larger, 3.5-ounce containers? If you have access to a supply of these empty containers, consider sending them to us (please rinse them first!) for reuse as monarch rearing chambers. Complete details, photos, etc. are available here.

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - Monarch on Joe Pye Weed
Status of the Monarch Population

As many of you know, the fall monarch migration is well underway. In July when I wrote the text for the Premigration Newsletter (available for download at it was already clear that the fall migration would be modest and certainly no larger than the migrations we have seen for the last several years. It is now clear that the migration this year will be smaller than any seen since the fall of 2004, a migration that resulted in an all-time low overwintering population in Mexico of 2.19 hectares.

The overwintering population this winter will probably be less than 4 hectares and could be much less if the long term drought that has persisted in much of Texas and northeastern Mexico doesn't abate. Monarchs are highly dependent on nectar and sources of water to fuel the migration through this region in October and November and, if the drought persists and nectar resources are scarce during this period, the number of monarchs reaching the overwintering sites will be reduced. There have been some recent rains in Texas but it is not yet clear whether these rains have been sufficient or widespread enough to provide the fall flowers needed by the monarchs.

Monarch Watch Rearing Kits

If you need monarch larvae or pupae for educational programs or display, please visit the Monarch Watch Shop ( for these and other educational or promotional materials. We have developed a new rearing method for monarchs and can easily supply monarchs on a year-round basis.

Get more information about Monarchs at the Monarch Watch website.

Dogs Understand Gestures Like Toddlers

Dogs possess a 2-year-old child's capacity to understand human pointing gestures, with dogs requiring next to zero learning time to figure out the visual communication, according to two recent studies.

The comparison with kids doesn't end there. Due to domestication, dogs appear to be predisposed to read other human visual signals, including head-turning and gazing.

Pet owners often use baby talk, scientifically known as "motherese," with both children and dogs, allowing canines and kids to receive similar social stimulation. Read the entire article.

Safe Homemade Weed Killer

Many people struggle to kill the weeds in their lawns and gardens for the reason that they do not want to use a commercially made chemical herbicide.

The safety of using these commercially available weed killers is not entirely known. While the manufacturers and even government agencies say they are safe the long term affects of the continued use of these toxic chemicals and their affects on people and other living creatures is not entirely known.

For those of us who do not want our children and pets exposed to these toxic chemicals trying to find a way to kill the weeds overgrowing our yards and gardens can be tough.  But here's a few ideas:

Using Salt to Kill Weeds 
Gardening With Vinegar
Using Sugar to Kill Weeds in Lawn
Using Cornmeal to Kill Weeds and Ants
Editor's Note: I have used table salt purchases in 25 lb. bags for areas where we don't want things to grow (under the gravel in the driveway mainly), and it works! If there's not nearby vegetation to creep in, it's lasted for three years. Down by the street in the easement area, the weeds are quicker to grow into the graveled driveway, so it only lasts a year there.

We have also used vinegar in a garden sprayer which was much quicker than sprinkling salt and then adding water to it.  You could enjoy a nice time in the rain if you put the salt down while the rain could water it in, but my husband likes the idea of putting it in a "tool" and spraying.  He adds a few drops of Sunshine Concentrate since soap was recommended in one recipe to help the vinegar stick to the plants and roots until it dies off in a few days.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Lawns: The Clover Mix Alternative

My Comments:

After posting about using clover for lawns and mixed with grass areas, we've had a great response, so I've put together more information for those who want to pursue this.

It's time to make the chore of continually tending your lawn disappear! Adding clover to your lawn can take a lot of your troubles and time away, so consider the information and links shown below. We are in the process of converting ours now. Just sowed the seed yesterday.

Clover attracts beneficial insects that feast on other bad insects in your yard and garden. It's also better for pets, children and adults not to be walking on all those chemicals ... not to mention the waterways being benefited greatly, which in turn benefits the aquatic life ... so the reasons go on and on. Give it a try! It stays green in the hottest of summers.

The Article:
The intensive use of fertilizers and pesticides on lawns and turfs provides a good example of how our society is addicted to agrochemicals.

In its natural state, lawn, turf or pasture consists of a mixture of grasses, wild white clover and a half dozen or so herbs that is largely self-fertilizing. As well as beautifying the environment, it performs important ecological tasks: minimizing dust and siltation of waterways; absorbs water quickly and releases it slowly, minimizing flooding; finally it acts as a biological filter, purifying the groundwater by absorbing chemicals in rainwater and excess nutrients deposited by pets and gardeners.

This system works because of the complementary activities of grasses and clover. Grasses produce a mat of fine, fibrous roots in the top 10-15 centimeters of soil giving the lawn its spongy water-absorbing texture. Grass is a heavy feeder and if not overfed by fertilizers, it quickly absorbs soluble nutrients.

Clover is a legume with nodules on its roots.The nodules enable the plant to use gaseous nitrogen from the air to make protein. When clover tissues die naturally, or from cutting or grazing, decomposition releases the nitrogen making it available to grasses."

Read the entire article and get more information at these links:
White Clover For Lush Lawns
Clover Lawns
Grow a Clover Lawn
Lawn Alternatives
Beneficial Clover in Lawns

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Vision and Imagination

by Donna L. Watkins

We can surround ourselves with the presence of God with vision. Using our imagination to picture things He's told us.

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - July Sunrise at Bluebird Cove
Life and death are closer than we think. Don't put your dreams on the shelf.

Similar to children's Sunday School where you use those felt boards to "paint the picture" for the children. We are all to be like children, so vision and imagination is an important part of our walk with God.

Sometimes Christians get nervous about vision and imagination, but if you read the Bible, God uses pictures everywhere. Jesus said He only did what He SAW the Father doing (John 5:19). Jesus is our example, but God gives a multitude of examples throughout the Bible that He works through vision and imagination. It just needs to line up with the Word of God.

Habakkuk 2:1 - "I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint. Then the LORD replied: 'Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.'"

God paints pictures when He speaks to us throughout the Old Testament. "Though your sins be like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool" (Isaiah 1:18). Jesus spoke to us in parables. Don't we picture all of this? We use our imaginations to "SEE" what God is telling us.

We give too much credit to our minds and our own thoughts. Part of Paul's prayer in Ephesians 1:18 was for the eyes of our understanding to be enlightened, so we might know what is the hope of his calling. We sing a song at church with lyrics of "Open the eyes of my heart, Lord." The Bible says that "Mary pondered these things in her heart." She didn't think about them with her mind.

God wants our hearts, not our minds. Man puts too much value into the mind. We can have lots of head knowledge and memorized Scripture, but our hearts can still be cold Not that we do not need to memorize Scripture, but that task is done by meditating on it over and over ... mulling on it and pondering it in our hearts. We need to know The Word so we can test all against it.

Ezekiel 11:19-20 says, "And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them, And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them; Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God." We keep our faith, belief, hope and love for God in our hearts, not our minds. We can make faith statements and quote Scripture from the mind, but if it's not in our hearts, we simply don't possess it.

As you read through your Bible, look for vision and seek God for what He wants you to SEE. Close your eyes and walk by the shores of Galilee with Jesus. Sit with him on the Mount of Olives and seek His face. The Bible says "who can know the mind of God" (Romans 11:34), but it says in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face ...”

Don't be afraid of vision. Vision and imagination are misused and always has been, but that doesn't mean Christians ban it from their theology when the Bible has so much of it. The world uses books for evil things, but does that mean we don't read the Bible? Satan can't create anything, so all he can do is distort it and scare us away from the things that God has given us for wisdom.

In vision, and even dreams (Joseph, Daniel, Paul and others had those too), God leads us and shows us the way. The error is made when we try to assign timelines to vision. Let God be God. Accept what He shows you, but also allow Him to determine the progress of the painting. He will complete things in His own time.

Mark and Patti Virkler's book, ""How To Hear God's Voice" has a lot to say about tuning into God's vision for your daily life. It has and is giving me much insight into the questions I've been asking God for years. You can read or listen to the four keys to hearing God's voice on the Virkler's ministry website.

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
The link URL is:

Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week

National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week is September 14-20, 2009. About 133 million people, nearly 1 in 2 in the USA live with a chronic condition and most of these are not visible.

This week the Invisible Illness Week website takes a look at invisible illness issues, as well as the best of the medical bloggers who update us on everything from new medical gadgets to their personal experiences.

The Nature In Us blog has been featured with an article from my blog. Not only is it one of the 45 articles on the website, it's the first one. I'm am honored and smiling because it has a spiritual emphasis. Yea, God!

For National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week, the website will have a virtual conference with 20 online free seminars between 9/14 and 9/28. Visit now and share with somebody who may need to know. Encouraging others makes you feel good!

Chronic Renal Failure in Cats


Extremely common in older cats, CRF is a serious condition evidenced by gradual, irreversible deterioration of kidney function over a period of months or years.

The good news is that with careful management, CRF cats can live a fairly good quality of life for months or even years after diagnosis. Management and treatment may include diet, medication for associated conditions, and fluid management. The bad news is that more cats pass away from CRF than from any other condition. Read entire article

More About CRF in Cats
CRF Support Group

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Bird Brain Memory?

From Creation Moments.

Luke 12:24 - "Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?"

Do you remember how much milk is in your refrigerator? Do you remember which leftovers you have in there, and where you put them? This kind of memory is called episodic memory. It allows you to travel back in time with your mind to remember the details of a past action.

Until now, it was thought that only humans had this kind of memory, although some researchers were convinced that monkeys and rats had episodic memory. Now, to researchers' surprise, several species of birds that store food have convincingly displayed episodic memory and more.

The scrub jays' favorite food is waxmoth larvae. Researchers allowed some of the jays to learn that the larvae rot after a few days. The jays also like peanuts. Researchers gave scrub jays the larvae to hide in sand filled ice cube trays. After five days the jays were given peanuts to hide.

Later, the birds were allowed to collect their buried treasures. The birds who had learned that the larvae rotted after a couple of days didn't even bother to collect them. They looked only for peanuts, and remembered where to look for them. The jays who didn't know that the larvae rotted, looked for them first.

In another research project, Clark's nutcrackers remembered where they had buried food morsels nine months earlier. This is something evolutionary scientists never expected in what they consider animals that are lower forms of life than we are.

God has seen to the food needs of these species by not only providing them with food, but also by giving them extraordinary episodic memory like ours.

Prayer: I remember and thank You for all Your goodness to me, Lord. Amen.

References: S. Milius, Birds can remember what, where, and when, Science News, v.154, p.181

Visit Creation Moments.

Doves Nesting On Ledge In NYC

by Shelley Goldberg

It was the 4h of July and I was still asleep. I heard something drop on my air conditioner or in my air conditioner. It was a small noise but it was not a noise I had ever heard. Shortly after the plunk, I heard the cooo-rooo-hoooooo of a Mourning Dove. I went quickly to the window and raised the shade to discover a street smart and tough looking Mourning Dove staring me down. Hmmmm, I thought, "Now that’s strange, they usually fly away when I open the shade." I took a closer look and discovered that this poor dove had dropped an egg on the vent on the top of my air conditioner.

Young Inexperienced Dove Asks, "What Do I Do With These?"

Something inherently seemed out of order but I wasn’t exactly sure what, and I am not exactly a bird expert, so I called the Audubon Society and the Wildlife Bird Volunteers. Rita, the kind bird lady who answered the Bird Hotline informed me that Lovey Dovey (that’s what I named her) was a newbie at the whole egg routine. She politely asked me if I saw Lovey’s mate.

Well now, I thought, "How would I know what the husband would look like? Do they wear wedding rings? Would he have a mustache? How would I know?" Then Rita asked me if Lovey had a nest for her egg. No was the answer. The outlook was grim and Rita was quick to tell me that she sounded like an inexperienced dove who really didn’t quite know the drill in the whole egg routine.

I hung up the phone somewhat devastated. From what Rita said, Lovey was a totally unfit mother and the egg didn’t have a nest or a father or for that matter much of a chance to make it.

I refused to receive such a gloomy prophecy for Lovey’s egg and I prayed. I thanked God that quickly a husband would come and that a nest would be built. I went to the kitchen to make some lunch and, lo and behold upon my return, there stood a tall dark and handsome mate with twigs in his mouth and within the next 10 hours the two built a lovely little nest for the egg.

I sat in sheer amazement at the goodness of God and the answer to my prayer. The little egg had hope and sure enough all this on the 4th of July. Seemed fitting. I soon came to discover, however, that I could not possibly run my air conditioner without the very likely chance of disrupting the egg’s development.

Patiently Awaiting The Birth of The Twins
So, now it was 7:30 PM on the 4th of July and I was hot. I ran to my laptop and did a quick search on where to buy an air conditioner on July 4th in New York City. No help. My next thought was that K Mart never closes. I ran over to Astor Place as a very sweaty New Yorker and purchased a big air conditioner to put in another window and bought a rolling cart to haul it home.

Lovey sits on her eggs all day patiently awaiting the birth of her babies (eggs hatch in 14-16 days). It been a lesson I wasn’t quite expecting.

First is the lesson of Patience. This dove sits there all day long and never moves. The sun bares down on her, the wind blows, the rain pours and she never budges until Mr. Dovey comes to relieve her. She is truly a patient little being, never seeming upset, bored, or overwhelmed.

I am a tad ashamed to say that I am not quite sure which one is Lovey Dovey and which one is Mr. Dovey, but I do know there’s two. I am told that the male spends about 8 hours a day on the nest, so it sounds like an equal opportunity project.

How funny these two are, getting the whole thing backward. Just like any crazy New York couple might do, they made good when the male showed up, twig in mouth, and began to build.

Dovey and The Wee Baby
Life has its ups and downs. Along with life comes death and it's all part of the process. The two eggs hatched with two wee littles one that I named Umbirdo and Umbirda.

Unfortunately one of the siblings didn't make it. Being witness to this was very upsetting, but I know that nature has its reasons. Better young than older if it was a deformed bird in some way. Again, Lovey Dovey and Mr. Dovey seemed to take things in stride much better than I was. The lessons that nature can teach us ... even in a New York City apartment building.

I was scheduled for vacation time and left before the whole story finished, but my friend kept an eye on things and while I was gone, the family "flew the coop" to continue on with the process of life.

There's so much to learn if we keep the eyes of our heart open to life and all Creation in it.

Copyright and Reprint Information

The photos and article are copyrighted by Shelley Goldberg.

Hummingbirds From Nest To Air

Somebody named Maggie did a wonderful job of tracking the entire process of hummingbirds in the making. From the nest to the air, she's done a great job of it.

At the time I viewed the process, the counter was over 12 million, so it's possible you've already seen it. If not, don't miss out. Keep in mind the scale of hummingbirds. The eggs are barely the size of a pea and babies are only 1/2 long, about the size of a jelly bean. It's simply incredible. View the photos.

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