Saturday, February 28, 2009

11 Fast Food Junkies

Packaging symbolizes the disposable society we have become. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the fast food industry. Order up some hot and spicy environmental responsibility today at Stumpy's.

The Southern U.S. is the largest paper producing region in the world, and our forests are too important to be wasted for fast food packaging. These vital forests and their biodiversity are in danger!

Encourage the The 11 Fast Food Junkies to fix the paper packaging problem. The 11 Fast Food Junkies are....McDonalds, KFC, Long John Silver, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, A&W, (all of those owned by Yum! Brands), Jack in the Box, Arbies, Wendy's, Bojangles and Quiznos. Act today!

Ideal Dog Schedule

If you could give your dog the schedule he or she wants, what would it be? What schedule would make a dog the happiest? In this article, we will try to answer that by helping you understand the way dogs like to eat, sleep, play and live!

Read the entire article.

Friday, February 27, 2009

How To Be Adventurous

Tired of doing the same old thing? Want to spice things up? It's healthy to learn new things and change your routine.

There's more to being adventurous than traveling and climbing mountains. The formula for adventure is really quite simple: Novelty + courage = adventure. So what are you waiting for? Read up and embark on your next adventure without leaving home.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Junk Food Alert

Burger King settled the lawsuit filed by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) by agreeing to warn customers that its grilled chicken entrées contain PhIP, one of a group of carcinogenic compounds called heterocyclic amines that are produced when meats are cooked at high temperatures, as in grilling or barbecuing.

PCRM had filed the lawsuit in 2008 against Burger King, along with McDonald's, Chick-fil-A, Applebee’s, Outback Steakhouse, Chili’s Grill and Bar Restaurant, and T.G.I. Friday’s in January 2008 for knowingly exposing their customers to PhIP without warning them of its risks. Read the entire article.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Costa Rica: Back Among Friends

by Donna L. Watkins

© 2008 Collard Peccary Juvenile with Bread Fruit
I arrived in Costa Rica at the place I call heaven on earth ... La Selva Biological Station. There are so many great things being done within the almost 4000 acres here; surely that has something to do with the energy of the place. There is so much life within it that it makes you feel so full. God has created so much for our enjoyment and here at La Selva, I catch a glimpse of what God had in mind. View La Selva photos and more in Costa Rica.

When I visited last year I quickly made friends with the Collared Peccaries. They're also known as Javelinas or Musk Hogs. They delighted me almost every time I went in and out of my room since there was always some around the cabin. The main reason seemingly being the nearby Bread Fruit Tree (Fruta de Pan).

They hung around waiting for one of those huge fruits to fall to the ground so they could tussle over who got first bite ... or who had the biggest mouth to selfishly haul it away.

Since I miss my cat while I'm here, I think of "my little peccies" as pets hanging around to delight me as my cat lives to do. Okay, so she's not all that attentive, but I still delight in her being around ... and the peccaries being at ground level fills the bill. I can walk beside them so I feel like they're walking with me.

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - Collard Peccary Family - Loving Hugs
The mothers and babies have very close contact with each other and form a clan of their own with the group that travels together.

One of the first photos I took upon arriving this time was this one with a young 'un rubbing up against the mom. And then the mom leaned into it to love on it also. It was one of those "awwwhhhh" moments.

How carefree life seems when you head out into the natural world. Times stands still and you learn so much from watching how it all works. God gives us so many of life's lessons in Creation. There is much to be seen if we ask Him to open our eyes as we seek to find more of who He is in this world He created to reflect His love for us.

Animals care for their young as we human mothers do. They protect, they grieve loss, and they make sacrifices so that another generation can grow up and carry on. All within the command of "be fruitful and multiply."

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - Collard Peccary - Mom and Two Offspring - Group Hug
Although the little one in front was busy enjoying some morsel on the ground, it didn't take long for her to realize she was missing out on a love moment, so she soon joined in. Then I thought to myself, "group hug."

Some cultures always hug upon greeting and some never do. I think we should pass a law that hugs are mandatory for all greetings. We get too wrapped up in thoughts and mental lists we're tracking and don't take time to enjoy each other.

God is all about relationships. It's what He's all about when you think of the Trinity. Three in one ... that's relationship at it's finest and we're invited to be part of that relationship when we accept Christ and He lives within us. The mysteries of the Trinity.

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - Collard Peccary Mom with "The Look"
Well, moms always know best, right? So you can see even this peccary mom has something that looks familiar to all moms who have at one time also been children. It's "The Look."

Later one of the little ones was barking and fussing and bugging the mom for something and finally the mom turned around and squared off face-to-face and gave the little one "The Look." That photo wasn't a keeper, but you can get the idea from this one. Who would want to disappoint this mama?

I've been enjoying the time here even when it rains ... and it has rained. But then isn't that why they call it the rainforest? They get 152 inches of rain a year. That's 13 feet. Amazing! It's been wetter than usual for February but it comes and goes and my umbrella works fine. It makes photography a bit more challenging, but then the shadows of the jungle are quite challenging anyway.

What I enjoy most while I'm indoors is the continual sounds of the it all. It's like a heavenly chorus. The Mantled Howler Monkeys are my alarm clock and the birds all begin soon after making my head swim with joy. There are 420 species of birds here at La Selva. Last year I recorded the sounds of some with my camera's video feature. What a treat to take a break from work, close my eyes and listen to the sounds of the jungle. Instant transport back!

I had no agenda when I arrived, other than to be with God and seek His direction for my life. I've been enjoying The Green Bible that our son gave me for Christmas. Very unique. The Bible makes 490 references to heaven and 530 to love, but did you know it makes over a thousand references to the earth. If anybody has one of these, leave your comments below on what you think about it. I was so very impressed with the content of articles and references as to where to begin and resources available.

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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
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Build Birdhouses For Spring Nesting

What a great project before the bluebirds get to looking for a place to nest. They are early nesters beginning in February in our area.

Building a great birdhouse doesn’t have to be complicated. Try this one-board birdhouse, perfect for first-time builders! Although the design is for a bluebird box, the size will meet the needs of many species of birds that visit your backyard. Start building.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Top 10 Foods For Healthy Hair

When it comes to healthy hair, it’s not just what you put on your tresses that count -- it’s what you put in your body, too.

"Lather, rinse, repeat" may be standard advice, but shampoo and conditioner alone won't give you the healthy hair you crave. For the most luxurious locks possible, you'll need to step out of the shower, and into the kitchen.

"Your hair grows about 1/4 to 1/2 inch every month, and the foundation of all of our new hair, skin, and nail growth is the nutrients we eat," says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, a Chicago-based dietitian. "If you eat a healthy diet, you will grow stronger and healthier cells throughout your entire body -- inside and out."

If you were born with fine, thin hair, you'll never have rope-thick tresses -- no matter what you eat -- but a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of growth-promoting protein and iron can make a difference, say nutrition and hair experts.

And beware of dietary supplements often marketed to thicken hair or make it grow faster. They may backfire. Read the entire article.

Petland Linked To Puppy Mills

In case you missed this story back in November:

After an eight-month investigation, the Humane Society of the United States accused Petland, the national pet store chain, of selling dogs bred under appalling conditions at puppy mills around the country.

The animal protection group made the charges at a news conference in Washington Thursday. The investigation involved 21 Petland stores and dozens of breeders and brokers. The Petland stores are being supplied by large-scale puppy mills, although customers are routinely informed that the dogs come only from good breeders, the Humane Society said.

"They are buying from puppy mills where these dogs are not treated like pets," Michael Markarian, an executive vice president with the Humane Society, told a news conference. "They're treated like a cash crop, where mother dogs live in wire cages, sometimes stacked on top of each other in filthy, dirty, cramped conditions, where they receive little socialization or human interaction or exercise."

Read more.

Maybe you'd like to be part of the solution. There are rallies being held across the country at Petland stores. Be part of the public outcry over this cruelty. More info.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Square Foot Gardening

Square Foot Gardening is a uniquely simplified method of gardening that produces 100% of the harvest in only 20% of the space -- AND -- without all the hard work and drudgery of single row gardening.

This type of gardening out produces every other method known. The book is the largest selling garden book in America, but all the information you need is on the website.

Look at the benefits:

* Requires very little space; 80% less than conventional gardening.
* Can be done in as little as 4 feet by 4 feet - or as large as you want.
* Your existing soil doesn't matter because you won't use it.
* Uses much less water - only about 20% compared to conventional gardening.
* No fertilizers or pesticides to handle - it's all natural.
* The planting method requires no thinning and very few seeds.
* Can be started in any season.
* Produces 5 times the harvest of a conventional garden.
* Can be done by those with physical or mental limitations.
* Makes a great family project - all ages can participate - kids love to garden.

Check it out and begin planning your Spring garden now.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Beyond Imagination

From Smith Wigglesworth Devotional

Are we children of circumstances or children of faith? In our humanity, we may be troubled by the blowing of the wind. As it blows, it whispers fearfulness; but if you are "rooted and grounded" you can stand the tests, and it is only then that you "May be able to comprehend ... what is the width and length and depth and height; to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge" (Eph. 3:18-19). It is an addition sum to meet every need, to display God's power, and to enlarge one's faith.

What does Paul mean by the width of Christ's love? It is recognizing that God is sufficient in every circumstance. The length of His love indicates that God is in everything. God is in the depths and the heights! God is always lifting you, and the truth in this verse is enough for anyone in any circumstance to triumph.

He "is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think," not according to the mind of Paul, but "according to the power that works in us" (v.20).

Simplicity of heart can broaden one's perspective, but this fullness is an ideal power of God in the human soul, enlarging every part. God is there instead of you to make you full, and you are full as your faith reaches out to be filled with all the fullness of God.

The power of the Lord was present to heal. His fullness of power flowed out of the disciples to others. In Acts 1, we see the power of God revealed as Jesus was lifted up to where He was before - into the presence of God. Jesus Christ showed the power of God in human flesh.

The fullness of the Godhead was bodily manifested in Jesus (Col. 2:9). John said that "in Him was life, and the life was the light of men" (John 1:4). His substance revealed the fullness of God. How can it be fulfilled in you? The Scripture provides the answer: He is "able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think" (Eph. 3:20). It is filled there in the glory. But it's a tremendous thing. God will have to do something.

Beloved, it is not according to your mind at all but according to the mind of God, according to the revelation of the Spirit. "Above all that we can ask or think." The blood has been poured out.

Truly, we are not worthy, but He is worthy. He will do more than we can even ask. How can it be possible? God puts it in your heart. He can do it ... If you are willing, if holiness is the purpose of your heart, it will be done, for God is in His place.

Will you be in the plan "according ot the power that works in [you]" (Eph. 3:20)? Whatever you are at any time, it will be by His effective power, lifting , controlling, and carrying you in constant rest and peace; it is "according to the power that works in [you]."

Buying A New Space Heater

I am looking to purchase two new electric heaters, to be used with timers, for my children's preschool. Do you have any suggestions?

Electric heaters are the safest kind, according to the Department of Energy, so you've made a good choice, especially since children are involved. Other types of heaters, such as kerosene or gas, pose greater fire risks and may expose a room's occupants to carbon monoxide and other combustion byproducts.

Before you select any model, read the Consumer Product Safety Commission's brochure What You Should Know About Space Heaters and check with school administrators to determine what type of space heater—if any—is permissible.

If electric space heaters are allowed, look for heaters with thermostats, so you have more control over the temperature. All electric heaters use a maximum of 1,500 watts and put out approximately 5,200 Btus, which means that they all operate at the same level of efficiency. Which type you choose depends on your lifestyle and the kind of heat you're looking for.

Read the information on different types.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Diabetes Slows Brain Function

Mild diabetes slows mental function, even when kept under tight control, a Canadian study shows.

It's not a huge cognitive defect, but it seems to appear early in the course of type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, the defect does not snowball over time, at least for those with mild or moderate diabetes.

The finding comes from a study of 570 adults aged 53 to 90, including 41 patients with "relatively mild" type 2 diabetes, who undergo mental function exams every three years.

Earlier studies have linked diabetes to a decline in mental function. But not all mental functions are affected equally, find Roger A. Dixon, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.

Diabetes patients had normal reaction times and normal perceptual speed. But they were slower on tasks requiring rapid and precise processing of new verbal information. The defects involved speed and not verbal fluency.

"There could be some ways to compensate for these declines, at least early and with proper management," Dixon says in a news release.

The good news is that the gap in mental function between people with and without diabetes did not increase with age. Although the defects Dixon and colleagues detected were not "clinically significant," the researchers' more recent work suggests these small defects may foreshadow additional decline in mental function for some patients.

The findings appear in the January issue of Neuropsychology.


Housetraining The Older Dog

Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Specifically, if you adopt or already own an older dog who isn’t housetrained, will you be able to train him not to use the house as a toilet? Gina and Dr. Marty Becker say yes, and tell you how, in this week’s Pet Connection syndicated column.

Friday, February 20, 2009

How To Feed A Vegan

With the increase of vegans within everybody's social circle of friends, here's a WikiHow on feeding a vegan for several days. Maybe you'll have somebody visiting this year or maybe there's a family member. With a few tips and a bit of understanding, you'll sail right through the meals. You may even find out how delicious vegan food is for yourself. Read the entire article.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Value of Encouragement

by Donna L. Watkins

Who do you spend the most time with? These people have the greatest influence on you. They speak opinions you set your beliefs on. They keep us on track with discipleship and holiness ... or they lead us away from it.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Univ. of Florida Chapel on Lake Alice
Make a list of your closest friends and family that you rely on. Ask yourself this question of each of them: What does he/she bring out of me? Are they inspirational and encouraging, always leading you back to seeking and doing God's plan for your life?

We tend to become what those who are important to us believe that we can be. Do they encourage you to fulfill hopes and dreams or do they discourage you because they are no longer hoping or dreaming? We embrace the opinions of those we respect. And parents ... that includes the relationship you have with your children. If you don't believe in them, they will not believe in themselves.

The writer, William Alan Ward, wrote: "A true friend knows your weaknesses, but shows you your strengths. Feels your fears, but fortifies your faith. Sees your anxieties, but frees your spirit. Recognizes your disabilities, but emphasizes your possibilities."

Chuck Swindoll writes about a time when he took his first attempt at skiing with a positive attitude, believing he would be the first person to learn to ski without falling down. That thought lasted only a few minutes into the lesson with the ski instructor, whom he says was the "world's most encouraging ski instructor." He writes of the experience:

"That dear, gracious lady helped me up more times than I can number. She repeated the same basics time and again - like she had never said them before. Even though I was colder than an explorer in the Antarctic, irritable, impatient, and under the snow more than I was on it, she kept offering words of reassurance.

That day God gave me a never-to-be-forgotten illustration of the value of encouragement. Had it not been for her spirit and her words, believe me, I would've hung 'em up and been back in the condo warming my feet by the fire in less than an hour. What is true for a novice on the snow once a year is all the more true for people we meet every day.

Harassed by demands and deadlines, bruised by worry, adversity and failure; broken by disillusionment and defeated by sin, they live somewhere between dull discouragement and sheer panic. All of us need encouragement, and the beautiful part about encouragement is this: anybody can do it!"

So get out there and begin doing it. It doesn't cost you anything ... unless there's a price of pride to be paid, and that's something you want to empty yourself of anyway, considering this verse: "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble." (James 4:6b) Be an encourager, even if you have to humble yourself to begin the task!

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

New Method For Monitoring Wildlife

Scientists from the University of Bristol have introduced a novel method of monitoring wild animals which enables researchers to gather population data without having to capture and tag individual animals. The capture and tagging of animals can cause them undue stress and may interfere with their ability to evade predators, find mates, or capture prey.

The new technique side-steps these ills by placing a sophisticated camera system into the animal's habitat. The system collects images of animals as they pass by and then sends the data to a central server for analysis and archiving. Individuals can be identified by comparing visual data among the captured images and estimates of the population size can be constructed from the captured data.

The new camera system was installed on South Africa's Robben Island as part of the Penguin Recognition Project. Since African penguins have unique chest patterns and these chest patterns do not change throughout the adult life of the bird, they make good candidates for visual recognition monitoring. The Penguin Recognition Project enables scientists to fine tune the new monitoring system. When complete, this technology can be used to monitor a wide range of species who possess patterns unique to each individual. This includes butterflies, whales, zebras, and sharks. Read more about the penguin project.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Returning To La Selva And The Jungle

by Donna L. Watkins

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - La Selva Rainforest Shack
As many of you know, I've been preparing for a trip to Costa Rica that God arranged, and the only thing I know about the details is that it's not going to be like last year's trip. I've not felt at liberty to plan details and orchestrate it all. I'm returning to a place I spent 19 days at last year after spending five weeks in San Jose, the capital city, for a Spanish immersion language school.

I'm skipping the city this year and going straight to La Selva Biological Station for three weeks of photographing and writing and being in a piece of heaven on earth. It stirs my passion to share more and more of God's Creation and the importance of preserving it.

When this posts I'll be on my way to Costa Rica. What differences will there be from last year's trip? I don't know but I'm certain God has something special and I'll be looking for it.

Finding A City For A Move

I found a website for people who want to find a place to live that really fits them. You fill out a quiz about details of what you like or don't like, and you instantly get a tailored list of great places that fit your unique interests and lifestyle. Living in a place you love certainly makes a difference in emotional and physical health.

Be sure to check off that you do NOT want businesses or realtors to contact you and there's nothing but helpful information. You can save the quiz before finishing and you will also get a log-in and password so you can return to view and study later.

Even if you're not moving, it may give you some ideas for a vacation area that is suited to your interest.

It's interesting, fun and very helpful if you're looking to make a move and don't have a set town for a job or family. That's where we're at right now, so I've gotten a few new towns to consider. Go to Find Your to check it out.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Home That Heats Itself

An architect in Berkeley, CA has constructed a home that heats itself from the warmth of its appliances. Apparently homes like this have been popular in Germany, but they are only just starting to catch on here in the States. Read the entire article.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Scientific Research: Omega-3s

As you will see from the scientific paper below, if you can take just one supplement, this one goes a long way for health. Consider these scientific statements from research done:

• 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).

Scientific Research on Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids

Omega-3 essential fatty acids are a form of polyunsaturated fats. These are one of four basic types of fat that the body derives from food. (Cholesterol, saturated fat and monounsaturated fat are the others). Consumption of high amounts of food rich in saturated fats has been associated with degenerative diseases such as heart disease and even cancer.

However, consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids such as omega-3s is actually good for you. Omega-3 essential fatty acids are reported to be beneficial in controlling many metabolic disorders such as cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, psychological disorders, inflammatory conditions (including arthritis), skin disorders and non-insulin-dependent (or type II) diabetes.

Omega-3s are considered “essential” fatty acids because they are essential to human health but cannot be manufactured by the body. They must be obtained through the diet or supplementation. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are two important omega-3 fatty acids. Both EPA and DHA are found primarily in cold-water fish.

Cardiovascular Benefits
Omega-3 essential fatty acids may be helpful for a variety of health concerns. Its best-documented benefits are for heart disease and problems that contribute to heart disease.3 The body uses Omega-3s as one of the primary structural components to form membranes surrounding our cells.1, 2 Without a sufficient supply of
polyunsaturated omega-3s, the body will use saturated fat to construct cell membranes.

This results in cell membranes and blood vessels that are less elastic, which has a negative effect on the cardiovascular system. Studies suggest that EPA and DHA found in fish oil aid in reducing risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Studies have shown that the more omega-3 fatty acids people consume, the lower their overall blood pressure is.4, 5 Those who live in areas of the world where consumption of omega-3s from fish is higher tend to have higher levels of HDL (or good) cholesterol levels and decreased levels of triglycerides (fatty material that circulates in the blood).6, 7, 8

Supplements containing EPA and DHA have been shown to reduce LDL (or bad) cholesterol and triglycerides. Strong evidence also suggests that these substances can help prevent and treat atherosclerosis by inhibiting the development of arterial plaque and blood clots, which both tend to clog arteries.9, 10

Omega-3 fatty acids have the ability to decrease the stickiness of blood cells (called platelet aggregation).11 This reduces such complications as blood clots and stroke. DHA and EPA also act as antioxidants.12 These effects prevent damage to the heart and reduce the risk of heart diseases.

Joint Health
Omega-3 fatty acids may decrease inflammation and reduce pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis.13 EPA and DHA are successful at keeping the body free from inflammation because they can be converted into natural anti-inflammatory substances called prostaglandins and leukotrienes, compounds that help
decrease inflammation and pain.14, 15

While most research has focused on the positive effects of Omega-3 essential fatty acids on rheumatoid arthritis, they may also be helpful for osteoarthritis and other joint conditions. In some laboratory studies, omega-3 fatty acids decreased inflammation and reduced the activity of enzymes that destroy cartilage.16,17

Diabetics may benefit from taking supplements that contain EPA and DHA. Low HDL and high triglyceride levels tend to be associated with people who have type II diabetes. Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils have been shown to help raise HDL (good cholesterol) and lower triglycerides (fatty material in the blood). 18,19

Studies suggest that people who are lacking in certain essential fatty acids (like EPA) are more likely to suffer from bone loss than those with normal levels of these fatty acids. Omega-3s such as EPA help increase calcium absorption in the body, in part by enhancing the effects of vitamin D, reducing urinary excretion of calcium and increasing calcium deposition in bone. All of these improve bone strength and enhance the synthesis of
bone collagen. These effects from essential fatty acids will benefit menopausal women, who are prone to bone loss, and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Supplementation with calcium and omega-3 essential fatty acids has been shown to be effective in reducing and preventing osteoporosis in the elderly.20

Skin Health
Essential fatty acid metabolism seems to play a crucial role both in the pathogenesis and treatment of skin conditions such as psoriasis.21 One study showed that people treated with medications and omega-3 fatty acids for psoriasis did better than those treated with medications alone.22 Another study administered
over a 12-month period indicated that that EPA could be beneficial for the long-term treatment of psoriasis.23

Eye and Nervous System Health
DHA plays a critical role in the development of the visual and central nervous system.24 Increased intake of
omega-3 fatty acids has been associated with a decreased risk of developing macular degeneration,25 which is a leading cause of vision loss in the elderly. Lower levels of brain DHA is associated with cognitive impairment.26

In 2001, the FDA allowed DHA to be added to infant formula. Not only does DHA help infant brain development, it may also prevent post-partum depression in nursing mothers.27 Human adults maintain a constant level of DHA in brain tissue. Supplementation of DHA may be helpful in the prevention of psychological disorders such as depression, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease.28,29 Scientific studies
have found that low levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood are associated with depression.30

While DHA plays an important role in the development of the nervous system, it also protects nervous tissues31 and may be of benefit in preventing nerve damage.32

Buy a quality product that's digestible. Nature's Sunshine Omega 3 EPA has lemon oil for digestion so you can assimilate it without burping fish oils. If you're burping, you're not assimilating the fish oil for use.

1. Stillwell W, Wassall SR. Docosahexaenoic acid: membrane properties of a unique fatty acid. Chem Phys Lipids. 2003 Nov;126(1):1-27.
2. Broughton KS; Morgan LJ. Frequency of (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acid consumption induces alterations in tissue lipid composition and eicosanoid synthesis in CD-1 mice. J Nutr. 1994 Jul, 124:7, 1104-11.
3. Richter WO. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids from fish reduce sudden cardiac death in patients with coronary heart disease. Eur J Med Res. 2003 Aug 20;8(8):332-6.
4. Ait-Yahia D, Madani S, Savelli JL, Prost J, Bouchenak M, Belleville J. Dietary fish protein lowers blood pressure and alters tissue polyunsaturated fatty acid composition in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Nutrition. 2003 Apr;19(4):342-6.
5. Woodman RJ, Mori TA, Burke V, Puddey IB, Watts GF, Beilin LJ. Effects of purified eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids on glycemic control, blood pressure, and serum lipids in type 2 diabetic patients with treated hypertension. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Nov;76(5):1007-15.
6. Wolfram G. Dietary fatty acids and coronary heart disease. Eur J Med Res. 2003 Aug 20;8(8):321-4.
7. Dallongeville J, Yarnell J, Ducimetiere P, Arveiler D, Ferrieres J, Montaye M, Luc G, Evans A, Bingham A, Hass B, Ruidavets JB, Amouyel P. Fish consumption is associated with lower heart rates. Circulation. 2003 Aug 19;108(7):820-5. Epub 2003 Aug 11.
8. Marchioli R. [Omega-3 and coronary heart disease]. Minerva Cardioangiol. 2003 Sep;51(5):561-76. Italian.
9. Masley SC. Dietary therapy for preventing and treating coronary artery disease. Am Fam Physician. 1998 Mar 15;57(6):1299-1306, 1307-9. Review.
10. Hasler CM, Kundrat S, Wool D. Functional foods and cardiovascular disease. Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2000 Nov;2(6):467-75. Review.
11. Galan P, De Bree A, Mennen L, Potier De Courcy G, Preziozi P, Bertrais S, Castetbon K, Hercberg S. Background and rationale of the SU.FOL.OM3 study: Double-blind randomized placebo-controlled secondary prevention trial to test the impact of supplementation with folate, vitamin B6 and B12 and/or omega-3 fatty acids on the prevention of recurrent ischeamic events in subjects with atherosclerosis in the coronary or cerebral arteries. J Nutr Health Aging. 2003;7(6):428-35.
12. Barbosa DS, Cecchini R, El Kadri MZ, Rodriguez MA, Burini RC, Dichi I. Decreased oxidative stress in patients with ulcerative colitis supplemented with fish oil omega-3 fatty acids. Nutrition. 2003 Oct;19(10):837-42.
13. Adam O. Dietary fatty acids and immune reactions in synovial tissue. Eur J Med Res. 2003 Aug 20;8(8):381-7.
14. Heller AR, Theilen HJ, Koch T. Fish or chips? News Physiol Sci. 2003 Apr;18:50-4.
15. Calder PC. Dietary modification of inflammation with lipids. Proc Nutr Soc. 2002 Aug;61(3):345-58.
16. University of Maryland Medical Center. Omega-3 Fatty Acids. 2008. Available at: Accessed January 27, 2009.
17. Curtis CL, Hughes CE, Flannery CR, Little CB, Harwood JL, Caterson B. n-3 fatty acids specifically modulate catabolic factors involved in articular cartilage degradation. J Biol Chem. 2000 Jan 14;275(2):721-4.
18. Shimura T, Miura T, Usami M, Ishihara E, Tanigawa K, Ishida H, Seino Y. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) improved glucose and lipid metabolism in KK-Ay mice with genetic non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). Biol Pharm Bull. 1997 May;20(5):507-10.
19. Lichtenstein AH, Schwab US. Relationship of dietary fat to glucose metabolism. Atherosclerosis. 2000 Jun;150(2):227-43.
20. Kruger MC, Coetzer H, de Winter R, Gericke G, van Papendorp DH. Calcium, gamma-linolenic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid supplementation in senile osteoporosis. Aging (Milano). 1998 Oct;10(5):385-94.
21. Das UN, Vijaykumar K, Madhavi N, Suryaprabha P, Sravankumar G, Ramesh G, Koratkar R, Sagar PS, Padma M. Psoriasis: current concepts and new approaches to therapy. Med Hypotheses. 1992 May;38(1):56-62.
22. Danno K, Sugie N. Combination therapy with low-dose etretinate and eicosapentaenoic acid for psoriasis vulgaris. J Dermatol. 1998 Nov;25(11):703-5.
23. Kojima T, Terano T, Tanabe E, Okamoto S, Tamura Y, Yoshida S. Long-term administration of highly purified eicosapentaenoic acid provides improvement of psoriasis. Dermatologica. 1991;182(4):225-30.
24. University of Maryland Medical Center. DHA. 2008. Available at: Accessed January 27, 2009.
25. Seddon JM, Cote J, Rosner B. Progression of age-related macular degeneration: association with dietary fat, transunsaturated fat, nuts, and fish intake. Arch Ophthalmol. 2003 Dec;121(12):1728-37.
26. Lipids. 2000 Dec;35(12):1305-12.
27. Medscape Medical News. ACS Abstract: AGFD 28 (495307). April 8, 2002.
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29. Arch Neurol. 2003 Jul;60(7):940-6.
30. Jellin JM, Gregory PJ, Batz F, Hitchens K, et al. Pharmacist’s Letter/Prescriber’s Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. 9th ed.Stockton, CA: Therapeutic Research Faculty; 2007.
31. Neuroreport. 2003 Dec 19;14(18):2457-61.
32. Diabetes. 2003 Oct;52(10):2578-85.

7 Rules of Taking a Nap

The whys of taking naps are that they improve mood, creativity, memory function, heart health, and so much else, but some people claim they’re unable to nap during the day; they just can’t fall asleep, or when they do nap, they wake up groggy and unable to work.

The first thing you should know is, feeling sleepy in the afternoon is normal. It doesn’t mean you had a big lunch, or that you’re depressed, or you’re not getting enough exercise. That’s just how animals’ cycles work — every 24 hours, we have two periods of intense sleepiness. One is typically in the wee hours of the night, from about 2am to 4am, and the other is around 10 hours later, between 1pm and 3pm.

If you’re a night owl and wake up later in the morning, that afternoon sleepiness may come later; if you’re an early bird, it may come earlier. But it happens to everyone; we’re physiologically hardwired to nap. Read on for the rest of the tips.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Seeing The Best

by Donna L. Watkins

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "The glory of friendship is not just in the outstretched hand nor the kindly smile nor the joy of companionship; it is in the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him."

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Homestead at Morningside Living History Farm, Gainesville, FL

A devotion from The Word For You Today tells of a wonderful friendship between husband and wife:

Johnny Cash recorded more than 1500 songs, had 14 number one hits, was awarded 11 Grammies and sold 50 million albums. Much of the credit goes to his wife, June, a committed Christian.

At her funeral Johnny's daughter said:

"In her eyes there were only two kinds of people: those she knew and loved, and those she didn't know and loved. She looked for the best in everyone; it was a way of life for her.

If you pointed out that a particular person was perhaps not deserving of her love, she would say, 'Well, honey, we just have to lift him up.' She was forever lifting people up. It took me a long time to understand that what she did when she lifted you up, was to mirror the very best parts of you back to yourself. She was like a spiritual detective; she saw into all your dark corners and deep recesses, saw your potential, and the gifts you didn't even know you possessed, and she lifted them up for you to see.

She did it for all of us, daily, continuously. But her great mission and passion was lifting up my dad. If being a wife were a corporation, June would've been the CEO. It was her most treasured role. She'd begin every day by saying, "What can I do for you, John?" Her love filled up every room he was in and lightened every path he walked. Her devotion created a sacred, exhilarating place for them to live out their married life. My daddy has lost his dearest companion, his musical counterpart, his soul-mate and best friend."

That is the power of a great relationship! Paul writes in I Corinthians 13:7, "Love never gives up." Is there somebody you've given up on? Somebody that hurt you and now your withdrawal from them will get revenge? Somebody who didn't live up to all you expected of them? Sometimes children, young and grown, get dumped out of our realm of love because they're not acting the way we wanted them to. They're not what we hoped they would be, which often is what we never achieved for ourselves. What chances do they have to achieve anything without the support of their God-given parents?

What hope do we ever have of true peace and joy when we're not in fellowship with them? Or maybe we've given up on our marriage because it's not what we dreamed it would be. Don't we have a long list of expectations when we marry? How could anybody meet them? We have certainly not met the list brought into the marriage by our spouse.

What we need is to focus on others and to begin lifting people up. Everybody has something good in them. You can find it and mirror back to them God's love in way. Often, the one you give love too will work at being rejected all the more because it's the only comfort zone they know. It's a slow walk in the beginning, but if you hang in there, I know you could do as good a job as June Carter Cash. What a delight and legacy you would leave behind! Be a light in somebody's darkness, and your own shadows will fade away in the reflection of the light you're giving.

Maybe the place to begin is with yourself? We are told to love others as we love ourselves ... there's not much to give out in some folks. If you don't love yourself, it's impossible to truly love anybody else, so maybe you need to begin Being You.

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Indoor Air Check

Bud Offermann's targets are invisible contaminants, like dust mites, mold spores, or volatile organic compounds, that homeowners worry might be damaging their health.
Cleaning, ventilating, even buying some plants, are easy ways you can improve indoor air quality.

Cleaning, ventilating, even buying some plants, are easy ways you can improve indoor air quality.

"People come to me with all sorts of concerns," says Offermann, president of San Francisco--based Indoor Environmental Engineering, an air-quality consulting firm. "They have small kids with allergies, or they are having symptoms themselves."

For $1,500, he conducts a complete air-quality checkup. If the complaint is a respiratory ailment, he checks for mold in bathrooms, kitchens, and air-handling systems. If nothing turns up, he'll explore inside wall cavities and take air samples for laboratory analysis.

Offermann's more chemically sensitive clients sometimes call complaining of a generalized funk he terms "brain fog." In those cases, he tests for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), chemical compounds that can be emitted by wall-to-wall carpet, finishes, plywood, and other construction materials.

"It's kind of like detective work," he says. And these days, Offermann is busier than Mike Hammer after a triple homicide. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the air inside our homes and offices is up to five times more polluted than even the smoggiest industrial town.

Asthma in children, who inhale 50 percent more air per pound of body weight than adults, has been directly linked to the presence of dust mites, mold, and pet dander.

More formidable airborne enemies include radon, an invisible gas produced by uranium in the soil under your house; secondhand smoke; and poisonous gases like carbon monoxide, which can be emitted from poorly maintained gas stoves, furnaces, or fireplaces, and can cause headaches, chest pains, even death.

Read the entire article to gather some tips on your indoor air quality.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Eggs Safe For Heart and Weight Loss

In a recent study, eating two eggs for breakfast, as part of a reduced-calorie diet, helped overweight or obese adults lose 65 percent more weight and reduce their body mass index (BMIs) by 61 percent.

If you 're really fond of eggs, then you need not worry about relishing one too many. An egg a day's contribution to the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) in healthy adults is just one percent, according to a new study funded by an industry body.

Poor diet, smoking, obesity and physical inactivity contribute a whopping 30-40 percent to heart disease risk, depending on gender.

The study, funded by the Egg Nutrition Centre and published online in Risk Analysis, substantiates decades of research challenging the myth that the cholesterol in eggs is linked to increased heart disease risk.

This study adds to more than 30 years of research showing that healthy adults can eat eggs without significantly affecting their risk of heart disease. Read the entire article.

No Kill Rabies Test For Dogs

Until now, the only way to test for rabies in an animal who is suspected of harboring the disease has been to kill him and wait 10-14 days for the results of testing on his brain tissue. All that’s about to change, with good news about a new instant saliva test that works on living animals:

Dyne Immune, LLC announced their new, portable Rabies RAPID™ (Rapid Antibody Portable Immunodetection) Screen, which can detect the presence of rabies in an animal saliva sample within 30 minutes, providing vital information much sooner than traditional testing methods. The screen allows veterinarians, animal control officers and other professionals to check for rabies in animals that are still alive, eliminating the long wait (10 to 14 days) and hefty price tag associated with typical post-mortem rabies testing.

“This test can reduce the number of animals destroyed and save doctors and animal control organizations from the costs associated with traditional testing,” said Dyne Immune CEO, Dr. V. James DeFranco, MD. “Most importantly, though, it enables them to screen for rabies and get an answer quickly — and that’s essential when it comes to preventing the infection from spreading.” Read more of the article.

6/2/09 Update:
After being contacted by a pet owner wanting to know where to find this test, I searched a bit further and found another article which references the company that makes the test. If anybody is in need of finding a location for the screening, they may be able to help. There is a link at the bottom of the article to the company website. Article: New Rabies Test

Friday, February 13, 2009

Diabetic Children Low In Vitamin D

Almost 75 percent of children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes have insufficient levels of vitamin D, researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston report. A deficit in vitamin D can lead to bone problems later in life, especially among those with type 1 diabetes.

Diabetes is associated with a reduction in bone mineral density, which can make bones more fragile, Svoren noted. Vitamin D deficiency can increase the risk of fracture in these children later in life, she added. In addition, vitamin D may have a role in the risk for developing type 1 diabetes. Read the entire article.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Good and Bad of Denial

by Donna L. Watkins

Richard M. Cohen writes in Lifting a Life Above Illness - Blindsided - A Reluctant Memoir, about his process of the journey with a degenerative autoimmune disease.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Palamedes Swallowtail at Bivens Arm Nature Park
Although not written with a Christian viewpoint of healing, and with a bit of cussing, the book was very inspirational to the fortitude and mental processing of diagnosis and progression of a devastating disease.

I have determined from the beginning that the disease would not be the end-all to the diagnosis, but that Jesus died for our healing and that we can walk it out if we listen closely and seek the path towards it. We must all find our own "method" of living with such a life change, so there is no one path to seek in finding our way out.

He writes his thoughts after getting the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis by phone: "At that moment, my journey to a strange new land began. That place would be both exotic and rude. There would be no certain return. 'Illness is an unexplored frontier,' Virginia Woolf wrote in a 1925 essay. Sickness would take its place with love and war and jealousy as the forces of a newly defined life. They would be joined by coping, a word I did not really know."

Disease can bring about a lot of good in one's life. It certainly has in mine. I would not want to have lived without it, because I feel I would have never really lived. I was always in super speed mode. I am actually grateful to have been given a chance to slow down and really choose what I wanted my life to be all about.

God promises to use the bad circumstances in our lives for good, but often the "systems" of the world tell us that something is impossible, when in reality it is not. God's Word is more Truth to me than what the world (or medical system) has to say, and so my goal has always been healing ... although I can't claim that it's always been my focus. More on that later.

Obviously, any person with a disease that affects every waking moment requires learning a lot about living in a manner other than what they were used to. Having rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has required that of me. There is the realm of denial that all must process through in various ways and various lengths of time. I thought Cohen made a grand analysis of this word that is generally thought of as being bad for us:

"Serious sickness was a large reality sandwich for a skinny young man to swallow. I seem to have viscerally and quite accidentally stumbled upon a coping mechanism of some value. Denial. Misused by amateur shrinks. Misjudged by those who just think it is bad. Misunderstood by those who have not thought it through. Yes, denial can put the brain to sleep, anesthetizing the mind that refuses to face the truth and see the approaching freight train hauling the heavy load of hard reality. But denial has two sides, and I have been favored by its more attractive side.

For me, denial has been the linchpin of the determination to cope and to hope. Denial allows any individual with a problem to invent his or her personal reality and to move forward with life in the belief that he or she is in control and can do what needs to be done to keep going. Denial encourages anyone to test perceived limits and, as a consequence, to postpone concessions.

There is nothing wrong with that. MS lasts a lifetime, and I have learned that self-knowledge and coping arrive in their own time. I was setting out to prove to the jury of one, me, that I was just like everyone. I was not like everyone anymore, of course, and would not be again, but I could not bring myself to face that simple fact. Not yet."

Months back I realized that I have lived too comfortably in a suite of denial rooms with pieces of my life tucked neatly away into each of them. I had found a supplement program that managed the pain well enough, although the deformity and destruction of RA moved right along. My energy pattern resembled a jackrabbit, a day of darting about to catch up on tasks, or a sloth, sitting frozen still with severe fatigue.

My focus was on being strong and managing with the disease, staying close to God, with my emotions held captive in the dungeon, not allowed to see the light of day because what we allow ourselves to dwell on will become who we are.

In being strong and working hard to ignore the destruction, I was quite cozy with denial of some sort. What I recently realized was that I had not faced the disease head-on for battle. I'm pretty independent and strong-headed, so my conclusion on dealing with RA was to find a way to live with it, although my heart and soul wanted to live without it.

I can relate to Cohen saying, "Human endurance is a vast proportion that most of us do not realize. We think we are weak, failing to recognize our intrinsic strength. I was stronger than ever I realized."

During this period of many years, God has done so much in my life and personality and giftings. While the devil stirs up strife and sickness, God is all the while using it for our good (if we will love him through it as Romans 8 explains). Oh! the glorious Light of His love in the midst of all our darkness.

Cohen's father also had MS and he recounts that his father simply went about his business saying, "When limitations came on, I just went along with them ... I did not involve myself with histrionics, saying, 'Oh lord, I am going to be a cripple.' I just went day to day." As Richard Cohen states, "That is the crux of the coping challenge, to keep the ball in play and the door to dramatics shut tight."

What a great ball game that is. It's like ignoring the elephant in a small room, but yet you know if you acknowledge the elephant you will also be trampled by it.

For now my comforts of denial have been thoroughly cleaned out, no longer of use, and the dumpster now even holds the passiveness I've lived in, as I am now in direct battle with the disease. I scheduled the attack on every front. A prayer session at church, a dear intercessor friend who stands with me, an herbal program that is not just pain-centered, but healing and building, along with rebound exercise that keeps the lymphatic system cleaned out as the Silver Shield kills off the microorganisms related to RA.

It's paying off. Seeking the Lord daily for His direction, because there's never one set program for healing or regaining health. We are created unique and our bodies mend uniquely.

I was rewarded quickly noticing a difference in energy almost right away, but now that it's been months with steady energy and the ability to do things I've not done for many years, I know in my heart that I'm on the path. My diligence is to stay in such a state of worship realizing how much life has returned to my world and mystically wondering how God will use me when I've completed the path back.

For now ... it's still one day at a time, but they seem to be in a chain rather than solitary, and each one is a warm hug from Papa God. Don't give up! Many of you are fighting illnesses of your own. Don't ever give in and believe it's always going to be this way. Don't allow it! May God give you the insight and determination necessary to mount your own battle against disease ... or maybe join in somebody else's battle.

Related Article: Victim Of A Disease

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Go Green To Get Green

From ING Direct Newsletter, October 2008

ING offers $25 for opening an online saving or free checking account with a $250 deposit. That's an instant 10% earnings. Email me and I'll have a referral link sent to you for this promotion which must come from a current account holder. There's no general link to post for this opportunity.

Get the lint out – Save 5% on your electricity bill by making sure there’s no lint in your dryer lint trap before you hit the dry cycle.

Give it away instead of throwing it away – It’s called freecycling and it keeps landfills from loading up on things someone else could use (find or start a local group at

Pay your bills electronically – In addition to helping you become a prompt payer, which
will help your credit score, you’ll also be protecting yourself from identity thieves who peruse curbside mailboxes for personal information. And because you’ll be able to make payments later in your billing cycle, your money will have more time to earn interest.

Buy fresh instead of canned – If every U.S. household chose one pound of fresh fruit instead of jarred or canned for just three months, the total energy saved could operate the kitchen appliances of over 21,000 households for an entire year.

Source: ING Newsletter, October 2008

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Is Your Pet Overweight?

Pet obesity is currently one of the top health concerns for our pets, and a quick assessment of optimal body weight could be the start to lengthening your pet's life. Here are some tips to tell if your pet tips the scale, and what to do about it.

Working with your vet to rule out other medical problems is the first step. While some drugs and some disease conditions (i.e. hypothyroidism) may cause a pet to be overweight, more often obesity is caused by overfeeding and high calorie foods. Your vet will help you devise a diet and exercise plan for your pet to get on the track to health and fitness.

Here's an article that will help you determine whether your pet is overweight: 7 Ways To Tell if Your Pet Is Overweight.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Your Wonderful World

Happy Valentine's Day!

Don't miss out on what God has given us in Creation. Take time to renew and refresh your body, mind and spirit. Spend some time in the forest. You'll leave with a renewed outlook and rewards not expected.

Antibiotics Now In Vegetables

For half a century, meat producers have fed antibiotics to farm animals to increase their growth and stave off infections. Now scientists have discovered that those drugs are sprouting up in unexpected places.

Vegetables such as corn, potatoes and lettuce absorb antibiotics when grown in soil fertilized with livestock manure, according to tests conducted at the University of Minnesota.

Today, close to 70 percent of the total antibiotics and related drugs produced in the United States are fed to cattle, pigs and poultry, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. Although this practice sustains a growing demand for meat, it also generates public health fears associated with the expanding presence of antibiotics in the food chain.

People have long been exposed to antibiotics in meat and milk. Now, the new research shows that they also may be ingesting them from vegetables, perhaps even ones grown on organic farms. Read the entire article.

Green Shoes At Payless

Payless ShoeSource, the discount footwear retailer, will launch Zoe & Zac, their first “green” line, as part of their Spring 2009 collection.

Summer Rayne Oakes, Planet Green’s fashion and beauty adviser and author of Style, Naturally: The Savvy Shopping Guide to Sustainable Fashion & Beauty, has been brought on to serve as an Eco Consultant for Payless’ eco-friendly venture.

Read the conversation with Summer Rayne Oakes.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Disappointed Dropouts

by Donna L. Watkins

Life holds many disappointments. Depending on what level of expectations our mind sets itself upon, some of us have a lot of them. There are millions wandering around angry at God, having given up on Him, because He didn't answer their prayers or didn't come through in the way they expected.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - South Carolina Welcome Center Greeter
The definition of disappointment is:

"defeat or failure of expectation or hope; miscarriage of design or plan; frustration."

What makes one strong in leadership is that they can handle disappointments. They can see around them. Good leaders stay focused on the goal and keep moving forward.

Even if your not in a leadership role, you can be strong in handling life's disappointments ... especially when you have God as the Commanding General to direct you.

"Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed on an equal or greater benefit." — Napoleon Hill

Think about Moses. His life was full of disappointments from the time he killed an Egyptian and had to flee for his life. He was defending a fellow Hebrew, but things didn't work out the way he might have hoped. He spent 40 years in desert training. The world is so full of stuff and busyness that God has to take us to the deserts of life to get our attention.

He's faithful to keep trying to get our attention because we were born for a purpose and God wants to build us into that design so we will stay strong in the battles. We must grow up and become responsible for making our own lives what we want them to be, and to be an example to the next generation.

Back to Moses. While he was at a "summit meeting" with God, receiving the 10 Commandments, the people took no time to lose faith. This group of God's children has been called, "The First Church of the Critical and the Ungrateful," a congregation of former slaves, that had been delivered from bondage and abundantly blessed with miracles and provision from God.

This group was on the way to the "promised land" but were like dumb sheep. It seemed nobody took responsibility for themselves. They looked to Moses for everything, but have not a shred of gratitude. They continue to turn on Moses, blaming and accusing him for any expectation not fulfilled.

And now Moses is with God and Aaron is in charge. Moses had been gone too long according to the people and they wanted Aaron to make gods that would go before them. And so they did. Moses returns to find Israel in anarchy, idolatry and unspeakable perversion, and Aaron, Moses' requested co-leader is leading them in the rebellion. Not only have the people been a disappointment to Moses, but now Aaron is also.

What does Moses do with disappointment? The same as he did every time the people got to be too much for him. He goes to God seeking resolution and direction, but also prays for forgiveness for this rebellious people. Being continually berated for not fulfilling their expectations, Moses is often disappointed and hurt, but did he drop out? No, he went to God and any mention of quitting was not an option. He received new ideas and fresh direction to return to the work he was called to do.

This is what God-called men and women do when they're disappointed and feel like giving up. You can't let your mind wander off in a pity party. You will only end up in shreds doing that. Focusing on disappointment and things going wrong will only bring more of it into your life. It won't take long until you are no longer able to see any good in your life. You'll miss the blessings all around you.

You become one of the many "Disappointment Dropouts." Don't do it! We have disappointments in life and we have choices on how we will perceive them and manage them. We can give our lives over to them, or march on to the promised land. Come march with me! There's nothing that can hold us back when God is on our side. Look to Him, stay in His Word, listen to uplifting preaching and teaching, and move forward! I'll see you at the "Finish Line" where our Papa will say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

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Cold Weather Survival For Birds

Question: How do birds survive in cold weather?

Answer From George Harrison at Birds and Blooms:

Birds that reside in the North in winter are well equipped to survive the cold. Their winter plumages contain twice the number of feathers as their summer garbs. Plus, they can fluff up their feathers to further insulate their bodies and then shiver.

At night, birds conserve energy and heat by putting themselves into a state of hypothermia, which slows down their breathing, heartbeat and metabolism. Get more answers here.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Growing Food Anywhere

What happens when two women in a small town realise that vegetables could be planted in the flowerbeds of the local parks and along the edges of the town's cemetery. A revolution, of a planting kind, is born. That's what happened in Todmorden, in Yorkshire. The women started planting rhubarb and chard and other vegetables in municipal tubs by the bus stop, on the railway platform, at the school, in the cemetery, outside the doctors' office. Their goal was to inspire others to start growing vegetables wherever they could: in their own back gardens, on balconies, outside their offices.

They launched their organisation "Incredible Edible Todmorden", with the goal of increasing the amount of local food grown and eaten in the town. Their aim is to have the town self-sufficient in food by 2018. The response has been overwhelming. The local council, to its credit, has given permission to plant 500 fruit trees around the local playing fields and is looking for plots to turn into new allotments. The town used to have 44 allotment sites and now it has only four. Read the entire article.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Eco-Friendly Flooring For Health

If you need to replace your carpets or floors, choose materials that are safe for your health and the planet.

EPA studies have shown that indoor pollutant levels can be two to five times higher than they are outside. To find the source of many of these pollutants, just glance down.

Installation of new carpet and flooring can fill the air with hundreds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including known and suspected carcinogens like formaldehyde and benzene. It can take years for these substances to dissipate. In addition, carpets are often treated with toxic chemicals for mothproofing or to repel soil and moisture. Carpeting is also notorious for trapping toxic lawn chemicals, VOCs, and allergens tracked in from outside.

There are several sustainable flooring options that can minimize indoor pollution and mitigate health problems caused by toxic carpets. You can now choose from a rapidly growing line of carpets and flooring made from recycled and eco-friendly materials.

Durable, stylish, and often less expensive than conventional floors and carpets, these sustainable options provide a responsible and healthy way to enhance your home. Learn more.

Friday, February 6, 2009

EverFlex For Joints

by Shannon Larsen, Health Sciences, Nature's Sunshine Products

EverFlex is a natural dietary supplement for joint support that combines glucosamine, MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), chondroitin, devil’s claw and hyaluronic acid for healthy joint function.

Glucosamine plays a key role in the construction of cartilage, the connective tissue that cushions the joints.1 Glucosamine is an amino sugar that stimulates the synthesis of glycosaminoglycans (the major structural component of cartilage).1 Glucosamine helps replenish hyaluronic acid and synovial fluid (joint lubricant).2 Animal and human studies demonstrate that glucosamine is capable of protecting connective tissues.3,4

MSM is a naturally occurring sulfur compound. Sulfur is required for the production of cartilage.5 Although MSM is found in many fresh foods, it is easily destroyed in cooking and processing. Thus, it makes sense to take dietary supplements of MSM to ensure adequate supply in the body.

Chondroitin is a sulfated glycosaminoglycan (GAG) that is important in maintaining the structural integrity of connective tissue. Glycosaminoglycans such as chondroitin are the building blocks of cartilage and joint fluid (synovial fluid).6 Chondroitin sulfate is produced by chondrocytes and performs the important function of attracting fluid into the cartilage. This gives cartilage its sponge-like form, thereby making it a good shock absorber and draws nutrients to cartilage thereby promoting growth and regeneration.

Evidence suggests that chondroitin sulfate also protects cartilage by inhibiting cartilagedegrading enzymes such as leukocyte elastase.3,7 Studies show that chondroitin may slow the progression of joint degeneration, stabilize the joint space width and modulate bone and joint metabolism.3 Chondroitin may also prevent cartilage breakdown by decreasing the migration of polymorphonuclear leukocytes to joints.3

Hyaluronic acid (also known as HA or hyaluronan) is a non-sulfated glycosaminoglycan that occurs naturally throughout the body.8 It is found most abundantly in the skin, cartilage, synovial fluid and eyes.3 Hyaluronic acid plays a major role in joint lubrication and in maintaining joint homeostasis2 and is critical for the health of the joints. Hyaluronic acid may also enhance the synthesis of chondroitin,9 and inhibit the release of enzymes that contribute to the breakdown of cartilage.10

Devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) is named for the tiny hooks that cover its fruit. Devil’s claw root has been used for thousands of years in Africa.11 Devil’s claw root contains phytochemicals, such as iridoid glycosides including harpagoside, that have soothing effects.3 Studies show that taking devil’s claw root significantly improves physical functioning in many people.11

The nutrients in EverFlex work together to enhance cartilage repair and improve joint function.

Complimentary products include EverFlex Pain Cream, which features the cooling relief of menthol plus cetylated fatty acid esters and MSM.

1. University of Maryland Medical Center. Glucosamine. 2008. Available at: Accessed December 18, 2008.
2. Uitterlinden EJ, Koevoet JL, Verkoelen CF, Bierma-Zeinstra SM, Jahr H, Weinans H, Verhaar JA, van Osch GJ. Glucosamine increases hyaluronic acid production in human osteoarthritic synovium explants. BMC Muscoloskelet Disord. 2008 Sep 11;9:120.
3. Jellin JM, Gregory PJ, Batz F, Hitchens K, et al. Pharmacist’s Letter/Prescriber’s Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. 9th ed. Stockton, CA: Therapeutic Research Faculty; 2007.
4. Reginster JY, Deroisy R, Rovati LC, Lee RL, Lejeune E, Bruyere O, Giacovelli G, Henrotin Y, Dacre JE, Gossett C. Long-term effects of glucosamine sulphate on osteoarthritis progression: a randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Lancet 2001 Jan 27;357(9252):251-6.
5. University of Maryland Medical Center. Sulfur. 2007. Available at: Accessed December 22, 2008.
6. Available at: School of Anatomy and Human Biology–The University of Western Australia. Connective Tissues. 2006. Accessed December 19, 2008.
7. Baici A, Bradamante P. Interaction between human leukocyte elastase and chondroitin sulfate. Chem Biol Interact. 1984 Sep 1;51(1):1-11.
8. Laurent TC, Laurent UB, and Fraser JR. The structure and function of hyaluronan: an overview. Immunol Cell Biol 74:A1-A7, 1996.
9. Kawasaki K, Ochi M, Uchio Y, Adachi N, and Matsusaki M. Hyaluronic acid enhances proliferation and chondroitin sulfate synthesis in cultured chondrocytes embedded in collagen gels. J Cell Physiol 179:142-148, 1999.
10. Dougados M. Sodium hyaluronate therapy in osteoarthritis: arguments for a potential beneficial structural effect. Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2000 Oct;30(2 Suppl 1):19-25.
11. University of Maryland Medical Center. Devil’s Claw. 2007. Available at:

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Having A Bad Day?

Sometimes a bit of perspective will change our view of things. It can even change our entire outlook on life. I encourage you to watch this 9-minute video without distractions. Give God a chance to change your life through Nick Vujicic.

Take another 6 minutes to see Nick's day-to-day challenges. He meets them with joy and grace. You can do as well! We all have the ability to see life as good.

These videos will beat any motivational speaker you've heard in a long time! Lift your day today ... lift your life!

Serve God, Save the Planet

About the book from Blessed website:

Serve God, Save the Planet is a book written by former emergency room doctor Dr. J. Matthew Sleeth. It is a deeply personal book with far-reaching ramifications for Christians and all those who take their devotion to God seriously. The book presents a gripping account of Dr. Sleeth’s personal and spiritual journey to environmental stewardship. It lays out sobering rationale for life changes, and a “how-to” guide for lifestyle changes that will help care for others and protect the earth.

Five years ago, Dr. J. Matthew Sleeth and his family lived in a big house on the coast, had two luxury cars and many material possessions. As chief of the medical staff at a large hospital, Sleeth was living the American dream—until he realized that something was terribly wrong. As he saw patient after patient suffering from cancer, asthma, and other chronic diseases, he began to understand that the earth and its inhabitants were in trouble. Feeling helpless, he turned to his faith for guidance. He discovered how the Scriptural lessons of personal responsibility, simplicity, and stewardship could be applied to modern life. The Sleeths have since sold their big home and given away more than half of what they once owned.

In Serve God, Save the Planet, Dr. Sleeth shares the joy of adopting a less materialistic lifestyle and reveals what was easy and what was hard about the changes his family has made.

He shares how material downscaling led his family to healthier lifestyles, stronger relationships and richer spiritual lives.

“Although I believed in the ‘environmental cause’ before I accepted Christ as my Savior, my belief did not translate into action,” Dr. Sleeth writes. “After I became a Christian, I went through a process of examining my life, and I found it was filled with sin and hypocrisy. I decided to conduct an assessment and figure out a rough estimate of the actual environmental impact by my family. This honest inventory indicated what the Christian faith required of me.”

“Because of these changes,” Dr. Sleeth writes in his book, “we have more time for God. Spiritual concerns have filled the void left by material ones. Owning fewer things has resulted in things no longer owning us.”

Serve God, Save the Planet addresses the questions:

* How can I live a more godly, equitable, and meaningful life?
* How can I help people today and in the future?
* How can I be less materialistic?
* How can I live a more charitable life?
* What would happen if I led a slower-paced existence?

Dr. Sleeth writes: “Serve God, Save the Planet is meant to elicit personal accountability rather than political change. Its lessons are meant to teach individuals, families, and communities not much larger than a congregation; and yet it looks at larger issues because they profoundly affect each of us.

“I am convinced that when the Church becomes fully engaged in the problems of creation care, we will overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. As all those who consider themselves people of faith grow in their understanding that God holds us accountable for care of his creation, we will begin to see positive changes on an unprecedented scale.”

Download a 10-Week Workbook.

About the Author

J. Matthew Sleeth, MD, a former emergency room physician, felt like he was straightening deck chairs on the Titanic saving one patient at a time while the whole ship (Earth) was going down. Together with his wife and two teenaged children, he began to bring his lifestyle in line with his values, cutting back on their fossil fuel by two-thirds and electricity use by nine-tenths. Following a new calling, Dr. Sleeth resigned from his position as chief of the medical staff and director of the ER to teach, preach and write about faith and the environment throughout the country.

His book, Serve God and Save the Planet: A Christian Call to Action, was released in softcover by Zondervan Publishing in April 2007 and has been chosen as a finalist for a 2008 Christianity Today Book Award in the Christianity and Culture category.

“This award, given by Christianity Today magazine, honors authors and their books that help people understand the important ideas and events that shape the evangelical conversation.” Dr. Sleeth is a graduate of The George Washington University School of Medicine and has two post-doctoral fellowships. He is currently Executive Director of Blessed Earth and the Visiting Scholar in Creation Care at Houghton College in Houghton, NY.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

1 in 200 U.S. Kids Are Vegetarian

Many parents have had to ride out their kids' food jags — periods when a son or daughter favors mac and cheese over all else or refuses to eat anything that isn't breaded and fried. Those periods usually pass, but what if a child decides to make a permanent dietary change, such as foregoing meat?

It's a question that more and more U.S. parents are facing: a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study reports that some 367,000 kids — or about 1 in 200 — are vegetarians. For the government's first estimate of how many kids avoid meat, researchers interviewed with about 9,000 parents data on their kids' eating habits.

And these numbers might just be part of a much bigger picture: Other surveys suggest the vegetarianism rate could be four to six times higher among older teens, who have more control over what they eat.

Most vegetarians say that it's concern about animal welfare, not health, that prompted them to stop eating meat. The CDC reported anecdotally that adolescent vegetarianism seems to be rising in part to explicit animal slaughter videos found online, but says there isn't enough long-term data to prove that. Read the entire article.

Nail Clipping For Pets

From Cheryl Falkenburry, Animal Behavior Coach

Our Chihuahua does not like having her nails clipped. She goes nuts the minute she sees the nail clippers and bites and growls at us when we try to clip her nails. Is there anything we can do to get her over her fear?

Nail clipping can be a pretty fearful process for animals. Many animals don’t like to be held tight and have someone touch their feet. If the nails are cut too short, the quick may be cut causing the animal pain and leading to even greater dislike of the process.

To help animals get over the fear of having their nails clipped, you need to start with some handling exercises. Get your animals used to be touched all over. If your animal is sensitive to touch (some cats get over-stimulated and lash out), just touch your animal a few times for the first few sessions. Slowly increase the amount of touching. Don’t just touch your animals on the back and head. Handle their feet, look in their ears, lift their lips and look at their teeth.

Get your animals used to all sorts of touching, looking, and holding. Start the process when an animal is young so they will think it’s natural to be touched all over. This will make vet visits and grooming much easier.

As far as a fear of nail clippers, start associating the clippers with good things. Put them next to her food dish as she eats. Show the clippers to her and give her a treat. Touch her nails with the clippers, but don’t cut them. Give her a treat.

Desensitizing a dog to any kind of fear takes time. This process cannot happen in just one day. Spread it out over a few weeks. If your animal is not ready to go on to the next step, take a few days extra. Don’t push too fast and always end on a positive note.

When you do get around to clipping the nails, only do one nail the first day. Give lots of praise and a treat. It may take over a week to get all her nails done at first, but a least they are getting clipped. Long nails can damage an animal’s foot. Eventually you will be able to clip more nails at a time.

The idea is to leave things on a happy note. Cats usually do a good job of keeping their nails sharpened, but some people like to snip the tip so they won’t be too sharp. If you have a senior cat, you may need to cut their nails more often as older cats often don’t use the cat scratch anymore.

To meet important grooming and health needs of animals, it’s important to get both cats and dogs used to handling. Along with nail clipping, your animals should allow you to brush their teeth and hair, clean their ears, and easily bathe them. If your animal is overly aggressive during any of these times, please get professional help before proceeding.

A muzzle may be necessary to keep everyone safe and should be introduced properly so that the muzzle does not become another trigger for aggression. Private sessions are available at Center Hill School to help with aggression and other behavior problems.

Remember that prevention is the key to most behavior problems. Proper training and handling exercises early in life will make living with your animal a pleasant and happy experience. However, it’s never too late to teach an old dog (or cat) new tricks, so don’t give up on them because there’s a behavior problem. Seek help and learn new ways to relate to your furry companion.

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, February 3, 2009

Banish Bad Moods

By Lisa Marshall,

Call it “the blues,” “a funk,” or “waking up on the wrong side of the bed,” we've all felt it at one time or another: For no particular reason, you feel sad or anxious for a day, a week, maybe even several weeks. Muddled thoughts and low energy slow your productivity and wreak havoc on your days. You scour your brain to try to pinpoint what's bothering you, but come up empty.

Americans today fill more than 232 million prescriptions annually for antidepressants — up fourfold from a decade ago. But as rates of both clinical depression and more transient day-to-day mood problems climb, some mental health experts say evaluating diet, lifestyle choices, and your attitude could be key in kicking a persistent bad mood.

“Consider your symptoms a wake-up call,” says psychiatrist James Gordon, MD, author of Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression. “Something in your life is out of balance.”

It isn't just a hunch that these factors play a role: For decades scientists have believed that depression arises from deficiencies (some of them genetic) in brain chemicals like serotonin. But researchers now realize that blue moods can also be a product of an unhealthy brain structure made up of withering brain cells that, consequently, have trouble communicating. One primary factor that contributes to cell atrophy? A poor diet, says Alan C. Logan, ND, author of The Brain Diet: The Connection Between Nutrition, Mental Health, and Intelligence.

Read entire article with five dietary factors and other lifestyle habits that can mess with your mood.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Victim Of A Disease

by Donna L. Watkins

The book, Lifting a Life Above Illness - Blindsided - A Reluctant Memoir, by Richard M. Cohen, is the story of a young man's journey with multiple sclerosis (MS).

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Morningside Living History Farm - Jersey Cow
I could very much relate to this autoimmune disease since I've dealt with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) for a couple of decades. Illness takes away our identities in a sense and forces us to adapt and become who we need to be. All in all in actuality we become victims of a disease.

Cohen writes, "My life with MS has now been under way for more than sixteen years. Coping with multiple sclerosis by now had become the long march, surviving and trying to shield the important people in my life from having to deal with it any more than necessary. Managing illness was routine, a day-to-day affair. Exacerbations were more challenging than they were upsetting. MS patients learn to wait patiently for trouble, recognizing inevitability but in no hurry to suffer."

As the disease progressed, Richard had to give up pieces of his lifestyle. Things he could no longer do. I look back and see so much of that .. and am even more aware of what I cannot do, simply because I am now able to do some of those things again. Getting out of denial helps to move one forward when it's time.

However, I saw so much of myself in Richard's book when he went hiking in the mountains at a time with the disease that wisdom would've said not to. He says, "My illness, so long centered in my eyes, was moving firmly south to my legs. More would follow. My calm felt different from numbness. I felt. I accepted. [This] incident gave evidence to the sad fact that hiking across any rough terrain .... should be and would be out of the question. And there was little but tough climbing before me in my life. My mission, as always, had been to prove that I was fit and right as rain, that I could still do things with the best of them. I could not pull it off, however, and the time to learn that lesson was as high in the sky as the desert sun."

I look back at how hard I tried to keep life normal, although normal became whatever the lifestyle was that fit with the progression of the disease. The switch from the retail store to the internet business and working at home. When kitchen work was no longer bearable, I claimed to need a new season of life after having spent so much of mine in the kitchen.

My lifeboat and life vest was my husband, Randal, who flowed with the ever-changing routines like it was just a bend in the river of life. Always willing to help and assist, although rarely were his offers accepted. Anybody with such health challenges knows that the coping is a family event. Each member is also a victim of the disease in some form or fashion, especially a spouse and children within the same household.

After Cohen's neurologist announced him in deep denial, he shouted back, "I deny that," saying, "the weak attempt at humor obscured my flash of anger that this man would so dismissively deconstruct my carefully choreographed defense against the psychological ravages of MS. Of course, the neurologist was correct about my denial. But he did not understand its evolution. I was selectively ignoring limitations. I knew what I was up against. My life was changing. I wanted to keep up with the change in my body by fighting the word no."

I am grateful that this body of mine is working hard to leave the symptoms of RA as a memory. More than that I relish the wonder of the glory of God in my life and His grace to have walked this path. Our days on earth are a drop in the bucket compared to eternity, but we do them them moment by moment and some moments are agonizing for many - emotionally and physically. My heart is with those called "the sick" not only for the disease they carry within their bodies, but for the acceptance of it.

I was blessed to have a doctor for a friend when I lived in Alabama and was diagnosed with the disease. She knew I had no interest in medical treatment since I'd lived a natural health lifestyle for more than a decade before knowing I had RA. I would not consider swapping one disease for a list of side-effects that would require yet more drugs.

My mantra now as I do my rebound exercise daily to keep my energy high and the rebuilding moving along, is Psalm 91. Memorizing Truth is key to keeping your mind filled with it.

Related Article: The Good and Bad of Denial

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