Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Newsletter - 4/1/10

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Hello Friends!

I am now home from my three-week road trip to FL, AL, and SC.  It was a whirlwind of a trip but it was great fun getting to spend time with so many people.  What a blessing relationships are - truly the 'spice' of life.  I enjoyed visiting some natural areas and gardens also, so if you'd like to 'remember' the trip with me, here's the photo album links:

Mobile Botanical Gardens, Mobile, AL (100 acres of various habitats)
Savannah River National Wildlife Refuge, SC (an awesome place)
Riverfront Park and Columbia Canal, Columbia, SC (revitalized downtown area)
Glencairn Gardens, Rock Hill, SC (a private garden turned public with water features)
Jacksonville, FL (the beach and some city photos)

I've also enjoyed photography the busy birds around our home.  I caught some wonderful Robin pictures with berries in their mouth and great profiles.  They are very photogenic birds!  View Bluebird Cove Critters.

I haven't taken many garden photos since garden time has been to clean up.  With the harsh winter we had there is much to be done and my honey of a hubby is checking it off.  I do especially love the rose-colored Hellebore which bloomed for the first time this year.  I'm very excited about them and took some close-up photos to enjoy since they're in front of Randal's office window, not mine.  View Bluebird Cove Garden.


I missed getting to see two friends in Georgia during my trip, so we'll get to see them in April.  We're going to SC to celebrate our wedding anniversary (#33) and we'll drive down to Georgia from there.

I hope you're having a grand and wonderful Spring time.  This season stirs so many emotions and so much renewal in my life.  I suppose it's going through the winters of our lives that makes Spring so beautiful.  I pray for each of you that you are entering into a Springtime season spiritually, physically and emotionally.  May God bless every day with a bit of joy that you simply have to share with somebody!

Love and Hugs,
Donna

New Posts Since Last Newsletter

God Loves Trees (DLW)

Roundup is Deadly to Human Cells

Grow $700 of Food in 100 SF

Unforgiveness - Sin Unto Death

Birding in Iraq

The Best Tomatoes for Your Area

Jesus' Message on Healing Today

The Story of Bottled Water

Why Do Animals Play?

Align Your Thoughts

Pets May Predict Your Personality

Previous Popular Posts














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God Loves Trees

by Donna L. Watkins

Have you ever thought about how many times trees are mentioned in the Bible? I love trees so any time I see something about them, I notice it.

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - Eastern Fence Lizard on Stump
The Bible begins and ends with the Tree of Life. It's mentioned in Genesis as being in the center of the Garden of Eden. In Christianity, the tree of life is symbolically seen as Jesus Christ. Revelation speaks of it as being on the side of the river with 12 kinds of fruit and leaves for the healing of the nations.

Trees are a beautiful part of God's Creation. Genesis 2:9 tells us that "The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow from the soil, every tree that was pleasing to look at and good for food."

 Trees are also our source of oxygen. If we didn't have trees, we'd have no oxygen and that would mean no life for humans. The Tree of Life is aptly named since for every breath of life we must be grateful to trees. Talmudic writings about the Tree of Life say that it's so big that it would take 500 years to climb it.

Many of the Bible stories were witnessed by trees. Abraham met angels and the Lord while sitting in the shade of oak trees (Gen. 18:1). The prophetess, Deborah, held court under a palm tree (Judges 4:5). David sought safety in the forest of Hereth (I Sam. 22:5). Elijah took refuge under a broom tree when he experienced 'burnout' (I Kings 19:4).

As a blessing, God gave Solomon the knowledge of all Creation. I Kings 4:33 says, "He would speak of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows in the wall; he would speak of animals, and birds, and reptiles, and fish." The man that God gave great wisdom to, took time to speak of nature. I wonder if God revealed wisdom as Solomon spent time in the forest. Don't you feel like something is being downloaded into your soul when you walk through a forest? You know the presence of God is there and all confusion, frustration and the many details of life just fade away the deeper you go into the woods.

In Judges 9 trees speak for themselves with a debate on who should be king. Zechariah 11 says, "Wail, O cypress, for the cedar has fallen, for the glorious trees are ruined! Wail, oaks of Bashan, for the thick forest has been felled!"

Do trees cry? I've cried when trees were cut down. They are so symbolic of God in my life. I don't worship trees, but I worship the God that made them and shows Himself to me through them and all of His Creation. It was all made for us. What diversity! Enough to delight us every day and hour of our lives.

Consider these words by Hermann Hesse:

“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree.

When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured.

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

A tree says: 'A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. I was made to form and reveal the Eternal in my smallest special detail.'

So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them.

But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.”


There is much peace in a forest or under the branches of any large tree. Lie back, look up and see the immenseness of life outside yourself. Isaiah 61:3 tells us that we "will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory." Even God compares His glory to a tree. In the presence of a forest, or even a large oak tree spreading its arms around me and it's crown toward Heaven, I am drawn to worship and dance and celebrate the love of God. Thank you, Abba Father, for the trees.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices.

The photo(s) and article are copyrighted. You may use either of them if you include the following credit and active link back to this website:
© 2010 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from TheNatureInUs.com. The link to use is: www.TheNatureInUs.com.

Roundup is Deadly to Human Cells

Used in gardens, farms, and parks around the world, the weed killer Roundup contains an ingredient that can suffocate human cells in a laboratory, researchers say

Used in yards, farms and parks throughout the world, Roundup has long been a top-selling weed killer. But now researchers have found that one of Roundup’s inert ingredients can kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells.

The new findings intensify a debate about so-called “inerts” — the solvents, preservatives, surfactants and other substances that manufacturers add to pesticides. Nearly 4,000 inert ingredients are approved for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Glyphosate, Roundup’s active ingredient, is the most widely used herbicide in the United States. About 100 million pounds are applied to U.S. farms and lawns every year, according to the EPA.

Until now, most health studies have focused on the safety of glyphosate, rather than the mixture of ingredients found in Roundup. But in the new study, scientists found that Roundup’s inert ingredients amplified the toxic effect on human cells—even at concentrations much more diluted than those used on farms and lawns. Read the entire article.

Here's a few non-toxic 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.


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Grow $700 of Food in 100 SF

As I was assembling statistics to show the wastefulness of the American obsession with turf, I wondered what the productivity of just a small part of American lawns would be if they were planted with edibles instead of grass.


I wanted to pull together some figures to share with everyone, but calls to seed companies and online searches didn’t turn up any data for home harvest amounts — only figures for commercial agriculture. From experience, I knew those commercial numbers were much too low compared with what home gardeners can get. For example, home gardeners don’t toss out misshapen cucumbers and sunburned tomatoes. They pick greens by the leaf rather than the head, and harvests aren’t limited to two or three times a season.

For years, I’ve known that my California garden produces a lot. By late summer, my kitchen table overflows with tomatoes, peppers and squash; in spring and fall, it’s broccoli, lettuces and beets. But I’d never thought to quantify it. So I decided to grow a trial garden and tally up the harvests to get a rough idea of what some popular vegetables can produce. Read the entire article.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Unforgiveness - Sin Unto Death

It is important to forgive and understand it isn't the person that hurt you. It's the sin that lives within him. It is manifesting through them making a victim out of you.

So how about you hate their sin, but love them? How about loving yourself? We have an opportunity to. If you have these feelings and breaches, please get right with God. Please make your peace.

Why should you die because of sins of another? I refuse to take other people's sins into my body. Unforgiveness is a sin unto death, which produces disease unto death. It is critical that we be like our Father and forgive all manner of sin... Read the entire article.

This website is sponsored and supported by The Herbs Place where you get wholesale prices every day.

Repair Your Dog-Damaged Lawn

Dogs maybe man's best friends, but they certainly aren't friends to your lawn. Dogs urinating on the lawn can cause brown, dead spots. Dedicating a certain area for your dog helps, and watering the spots after Lassie has finished is a good idea.

Now there's more you can do to repair damaged lawns and prevent further problems. Rascal Spot is a new product that contains a naturally-occurring bacterium that helps your lawn recover from damage by consuming the ammonium in the urine and binding the salts it contains. It also increases soil permeability to enhance grass growth. In addition to treated damaged lawns, you can also apply Rascal Spot every eight weeks to prevent damage.

Rascal Spot can be used in all climates on all types of turf. This product is safe for kids, animals, and wildlife. A one quart bottle will cover a 5000-square-foot lawn. More info on Rascal Spots.

This website is sponsored and supported by The Herbs Place where you get wholesale prices every day.

Birding in Iraq

U.S. soldiers cooperate with local scientists and conservationists in an effort to protect Iraq’s rich wildlife heritage, including a marsh that provides vital habitat

Jonathan Trouern-Trend, who has been birding avidly since he was 12, was on his initial tour of duty in Iraq when he saw his first whiskered tern. The seabird was one of several Middle Eastern species that had fascinated the 41-year-old Connecticut National Guardsman long before he spent a year west of Baghdad with the 118th Medical Support Battalion. During that year he discovered that, despite Iraq’s decades of war, the region still harbors a rich diversity of wildlife. Read the entire article.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

37-55% Off: Candida Cleanse and Chlorophyll

One Day Specials - Thursday, March 25, 2010 - Ends at 9 PM EST



Get Three (3) 32 oz. Bottles of Liquid Chlorophyll 
for $25.00 - 55% Off!




Get $25 Off - Candida Clear Cleanse
37% Off




Find these special offers on the Weekly Specials area of our website.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Earth Hour - Turn Out Your Light

In 2009 hundreds of millions of people around the world showed their support by turning off their lights for one hour.

Earth Hour 2010 will continue to be a global call to action to every individual, every business and every community. A call to stand up, to show leadership and be responsible for our future.

Turn off your lights for one hour, Earth Hour, 8.30pm, Saturday 27th March 2010.

Read more ... .

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices.

The Best Tomatoes for Your Area

From Mother Earth News

Last fall, we conducted an online survey asking readers about the tomato varieties that grow best where they live. More than 2,000 people responded, telling us their favorite varieties and offering helpful tomato-growing tips.

The surest way to have a successful tomato crop is to grow varieties with a proven track record in organic gardens in your area. Last fall, we conducted an online survey asking readers about the best tomato varieties for their regions, and we got even more great information than we expected!

In addition to naming names, our 2,000 respondents offered up a treasure-trove of useful tips. Read the entire article.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices.

Jesus' Message on Healing Today

From: Creation Moments.

Mark 8:24: "And he looked up and said, 'I see men like trees, walking."

When Jesus healed people, they were usually immediately and completely healed. In several instances, He wasn't even in the presence of the person He healed.

Then we come to a curious instance of a healing in the Gospel of Mark. Mark 8:22-25 tells us that Jesus was asked to heal a blind man in Bethsaida. After spitting on His hands and touching the man's eyes, He asked the blind man if he could see anything. The man announced that people looked like trees. After Jesus touched his eyes again, the man could see clearly.

Why couldn't Jesus, Who created everything in six days, Who could raise the dead, heal this man instantly and completely? Of course, He could have done that. But He seemingly chose not to. Perhaps He wanted to send a special message to people today.

First-century medicine knew of no way to restore sight to those born blind, but modern medicine can sometimes restore the sight of those born blind. On receiving their sight, such people usually suffer from a condition known as agnosia. They can see, but their brains have not yet developed the connections necessary to interpret what they are seeing. Such people often say, when seeing for the first time, that people appear upside down and look like trees. Over time, the connections form between perception and reality.

So the healing of the man born blind was really two miracles. Perhaps Jesus wanted those of us who live in a time when such knowledge is available to recognize that these stories of miracles are not just simplistic stories. They are medically accurate.

Prayer: Dear Father, I glorify You for preserving Your Word, which tells me of salvation in Jesus Christ. Amen.

References: Creation, 9-11-99, pp. 54-55, "Walking Trees."

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Story of Bottled Water


Today is World Water Day, and to mark the occasion I'm joining promotion on the release of the latest Story of Stuff Project short film.
 
Like The Story of Stuff, this new film uses simple words and images to explain a complex problem, in this case manufactured demand:  how you get people to think they need to spend money on something they don't actually need or already have.

Over the last two decades, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Nestle and other big beverage companies have spent untold millions of dollars making us afraid of tap water. They've told us that if we want to be sure what we drink is pure and clean-not to mention hip and fashionable-we should buy bottled water.

Unfortunately
, it worked.

InDrinkingWater the United States alone, we consume approximately 500,000,000 bottles of water each week. Imagine that: while 1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water worldwide, other people spend billions of dollars on a bottled product that's no cleaner, harms people and the environment and costs up to 2,000 times the price of tap water.

But there's good news: Last year, for the first time in a long time, bottled water sales fell-not that much, but they went down. Consumers who want economy, portability and convenience are switching to refillable metal bottles.Restaurants are proudly serving tap water. And cities, states, companies and schools around the world are ditching the bottle to save money and do their part for the environment.

Still, we've got a ways to go.

So please, take a minute today to watch The Story of Bottled Water. Then pass it along to your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers-anyone you think might be interested.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Why Do Animals Play?

by Brian Thomas, M.S. - Science Writer at Institute for Creation Research

A 19th-century poet spoke of "nature red in tooth and claw,"1 and the sometimes gruesome deaths that became integral to the concept of Darwinian evolution certainly occur. But sometimes animals play. If nature is inexorably locked in a battle for the survival of the fittest, where did frolicking come from?

Humans are probably most familiar with the playful behavior of dogs. Some breeds seem to have a greater affinity for playing, but dogs are generally fond of frolicking, either with people, other dogs, or even other animals. In a National Geographic video documentary series "Unlikely Animal Friends," Surya the orangutan met Rosco the hound dog at a river park, and the two "carry on like long lost friends," wrestling, running, hugging, rolling, and being silly.2 Did God engineer this behavior as an instinct, or is it an accidental byproduct of natural forces?

Many animals play, and possibly all mammals do. Squirrels scamper, kangaroos kid around, monkeys are renowned clowns, and even turtles seem to engage in slow-motion silliness. Nor are sea creatures immune to fun. Sea otters spend an inordinate amount of time twirling about, seemingly to just express their joy in being able to do so.

Crows play pranks on other creatures, and even team up to play. One report stated that a group of crows "would fly toward each other, drop the tin plate and a member of the other team would swoop down and catch it in mid air, turn and fly back toward the other team, drop the plate and continue this game while they were being very vocal. What fun it was to watch."3

Animal play "has challenged students of behavior for a long time."4 Researchers typically presume a Darwinian history of life in which all traits, and even behaviors, evolved in response to selection. However, experts in animal play behavior admitted in 1998 that this question remains unanswered: "What exactly does play do for a young animal?"5 An even more fundamental question is: Does play really do anything to help a young (or old) animal become a fitter survivor, especially considering the energy and risk that it involves?

If the answer is negative--if animals play perhaps for enjoyment and not to enhance their survivability--then it would come as no surprise that researchers still do not have an answer to their evolutionarily-biased question. With such blinders on, they are no nearer the true answer, despite decades of "much previous and subsequent speculation."5 If animals play just to be silly, then Darwinism is at a loss to explain the behavior's origin. If they evolved by purely natural forces, as mainstream scientists believe, then every creature's features should be purely pragmatic. Fun does not fit this formula.

Could creation suffice as an alternative explanation? What kind of God condones playing? According to the Bible, it is the God of creation. Psalm 104:25-26 states,

So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts. There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein.

Exactly what kind of creature the leviathan is or was is no longer known, but it was apparently "made to play," which can also be translated "fashioned for sporting jest." Animal play, like those overdressed peacock feathers which bothered Darwin so much, adds to a long list of features that appear to have been designed not for survival, but to display attributes of the Creator.6

References

1. Tennyson, A. In Memoriam A. H. H., Canto 56.
2. The Orangutan and the Hound. National Geographic Channel Video. Posted on channel.nationalgeographic.com, accessed November 30, 2009.
3. Crows Playing Catch with a Pie Pan. Observation report posted on crows.net August 28, 2009, accessed November 30, 2009.
4. Bekoff, M. and J. A. Byers, eds. 1998. Animal play: evolutionary, comparative, and ecological perspectives. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, xiii.
5. Bekoff and Byers, xiv.
6. "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:20).

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.

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Align Your Thoughts

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE

"For as he thinks in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7, NKJ)

TODAY'S WORD from Joel and Victoria Osteen - Visit their website.

Do you ever stop to think about what you're thinking about? The Bible tells us that what happens on the inside of us—our thoughts, attitudes, and motives—are more important to God than what happens on the outside in our actions.

You can fool people all day long by saying the right things, but the scripture tells us that God is looking on the inside at our hearts. He wants our thoughts and attitudes to come into alignment with His Word so that we can see His promises come to pass in our lives.

Remember, your life will follow the course you set with your mind. When you align your thoughts with God's thoughts, your life will follow the course He has prepared for you.

Jeremiah 29 tells us that His thoughts are for our good. His thoughts are for our peace. His thoughts are for our victory! So today, align your thoughts with His thoughts by meditating on His Word.

Let His promises sink down deep into your heart so that you can move forward in the life of victory He has prepared for you!

A PRAYER FOR TODAY

Father God, today I surrender every area of my life to You. Help my thoughts to line up with Your Word. Bring your promises to my remembrance today as I meditate on You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices.

Pets May Predict Your Personality

Are you a ' cat person' or a ' dog person'? Even people who don't own either pet tend to self-identify as one or the other, and the answer may say something about their personalities, a study shows.

As a rule, dogs are more social and eager to please, while cats are more introverted and curious.

In the new study, self-described cat and dog people appeared to share these traits.

'Even though we have this widely held idea that dog people and cat people are somehow different, we haven't really known how they are different and previous research has failed to tell us,' psychologist and study researcher Sam Gosling, PhD, of the University of Texas at Austin, tells WebMD.

He believes this is because earlier studies examined personality differences in cat and dog owners, failing to account for the fact that a dog person may actually own a cat and vice versa. Read the entire article.

This website is maintained by TheHerbsPlace.com.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Newsletter - 3/15/10

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Hello Friends!

It's been great getting to see some of you while I've been on my road trip.  When you see this I'll be on my way from Mobile to Montgomery, Alabama, so I am officially heading back north and will be seeing my sweet hubby's face next week.

We lived in the Montgomery area for 18 years, so I will be meeting with many friends and business associates, so I'm excited. I'm also excited that I am now on my way back north and officially headed home to my honey.

It's been a whirlwind of visits with family, friends and our Nature's Sunshine family ... so I've had a grand time and some warmer weather for which I am grateful. Mobile has had plenty of things blooming and that's been a real treat. My friend that I'm staying with has camellia bushes and she made an arrangement with branches of them that is absolutely gorgeous!

The photos from the trip may be on the gallery by the next newsletter I do.  I have not had time for photo work on the computer.  I hope all of you are seeing signs of Spring in your backyards.  Get out and take some time in a forest or garden or park.

On Friday, my friend, Dianne, and I visited a botanical gardens with a 100 acres.  It was mostly woodland, but had an herb garden and a Japanese garden. Just beautiful. If you're going to be in the Mobile, Alabama area, be sure to include Mobile Botanical Gardens.

New Posts Since Last Newsletter

Dead But Hanging On

Safe Lawns Across America

Plants That Deter Bees and Wasps

Determine Whether Your Dog's Overweight

Christ Shed Blood 7 Times For Us

Individually Created

Eco Vehicles and Alternative Fuels

Healthy Soil with Crop Rotation

Through the Swamps of Life

Stop Cats from Catching Birds

Vertical Gardens for Small Spaces

Poverty, Trees and God Calling

Turn Around Travel

Previous Popular Posts

The Root Of All Grief

Canine Winter Exercise

Monitor Wildlife and Warming

Gardening with Physical Limitations

Buying Guide for Plastics

Air and Surface Sanitizer for Health

Smell and Taste Deficiency in Cats

Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkey

Thoughts on Tattoos

In Touch With God's Creation

Students Happier with Plants

How Bad Is Monsanto?

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Dead But Hanging On

by Donna L. Watkins

Have you ever looked at a winter forest and noticed a few trees that seem to be holding on to their dead leaves? The forest behind us is mostly oak and oaks are known for doing this. Although there are hundreds of trees behind us, only a few are holding on to their leaves. What is God showing us in this pattern?

One cold winter day I was looking out at the bleak appearance of the forest. I so miss the leaves and the dense growth of the other three seasons. You might think that the trees that are holding on to their leaves provide a better view of what I long for, but dead brown leaves do not light up my heart with the image of life. The forest harbors and fosters all sorts of critters, creatures and creepy crawlers, but in winter, it looks so seemingly dead.

We tend to feel dead in the winter of our lives. We go through tremendous pain and horrendous trials and if we're not careful we'll hold on to those events long after we should've released them, like dead leaves. Sometimes we don't process through them well. When Israel left Egypt it didn't take long for them to grumble about their road trip, and that grumbling spirit remained with them. That generation never seemed to look at the promises of God ... they were always looking at the current circumstances that led the way to the promises.

A trip that would've taken 11 days took 40 years. Do we extend our wilderness time by hanging on to the dead stuff in our lives rather than focusing on Life and Truth that the Word offers us?

When Moses sent men in to search out the Promised Land and bring back fruit, it took 40 days. Two men came back with a good report (Joshua and Caleb) and the others were fearful. Take note that you can't grumble and gripe and be faith-filled; it will only enhance the level of fear in your life. When you speak your feelings, rather than what God says about things, you will always find fear. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). So, Israel stayed in the wilderness for 40 years, one day for each day they searched out the Promised Land.

We all have promises of God. Close your eyes and ask the Holy Spirit to bring to mind the promises God has given you. You know them in your heart ... but your heart may not be ruling your life in these troubled seasons. Often our mind takes over and we think too much and when we allow the mind to rule, we won't be walking in faith. The mind will consider all options and possibilities, with the very limited realm of the physical world. God is totally supernatural, so we cannot reason the results that God has for us, if we allow our minds to rule through the wilderness journeys of our lives.

There's a lot of self-help stuff out there, but the most we can get from it is to stir up our flesh to be strong, determined and tenacious! To believe that WE CAN do all things, but the actual power of that promise is that it's .... "through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil. 4:13). There have been many seasons in my life where I quoted that scripture, but was not operating in Christ's strength. It was all Donna's flesh. Sometimes what we consider to be strength, determination and tenacity is looked upon by God as stubborn, stiff-necked and rebellious.

Those oak trees that hang on to their dead leaves remind me that often I hang on to dead things in my soul (mind, will and emotions) that serve no true purpose or promise for the direction God is taking me. I may still be 'hanging on' but where is the fruit in that area of my life? If I don't rise above the trial with what the Word says, then I will wallow there much longer than necessary. 11 days or 40 years? Many times using our own strength in these battles delays deliverance.

Have you given up on God's promises because you didn't see them by working with your own flesh? The flesh profits nothing. It's our heart dedicated to God that brings life into us. We have to look up out of the circumstances to bring life back into our lives. Let go of all those dead leaves that are still hanging on to "the old" and stretch out your arms for new growth and life in His Word. Only the Bible will bring life. It is the only manual for success that will ever work. There's a lot of good books out there and I love to read what others have to say about God and a faith walk, but if we don't spend as much time in The Word as we do in other materials, we will surely not find our way out of problems and troubles.

"So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it" (Isaiah 55:11). All that God speaks to us in His Word has power and life and as we speak it and meditate on it, it brings life and light into our dearkness. Get rid of the dead and produce new life in your tomorrows!

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices.

The photo(s) and article are copyrighted. You may use either of them if you include the following credit and active link back to this website:
© 2010 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from TheNatureInUs.com. The link to use is: www.TheNatureInUs.com.

Safe Lawns Across America

In the spring of 2006, with water quality, chemical exposure and global warming emerging as mainstream issues, Paul Tukey, founder and publisher of People, Places & Plants magazine contacted a group of motivated and qualified professionals from the for-profit and non-profit sectors to try and figure out how to take organic turf care and grounds maintenance in the United States to the next level.

Sixteen people gathered together at the American Horticultural Society’s River Farm in Alexandria, VA the following in July to help work out the vision that would become SafeLawns.org, and in less than one year, SafeLawns has touched literally millions through the Internet, print and broadcast media, and face to face contact at green industry shows, conferences and garden club meetings across America.

In April 2007, Safelawns launched a three pronged campaign to fundamentally change the way that American turf care and grounds maintenance are done. Held on “America’s Front Yard,” the National Mall in Washington, DC, it marked the emergence of a strong movement toward halting the pollution of our soil water and bodies by toxic lawn fertilizers and chemicals. Visit the SafeLawns.org website.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Plants That Deter Bees and Wasps

Plan ahead for this year's stinging insect concerns.

A reader asks:

What plants, bushes or trees deter bees and wasps?


The Exterminator replies:

There are loads of articles with recommendations on how to control various kinds of insects in gardens. However, very little is written on ornamentals that will repel bees and wasps. (Yellow jackets are wasps.)

Yellow jacket nests are often found in the ground. We usually don’t become aware of their presence until late in the year as the adult yellow jackets become more aggressive in their search for food to stockpile their nests.

Natural plant defenses don’t repel bees because bees are necessary for pollination. Wasps are also not repelled because wasps frequently feed on the small insects that otherwise would destroy various plants and flowers.

Herbs are most often mentioned as insect repellents. For example, garlic and chives will repel aphids. Basil repels flies and mosquitoes. Marigolds ward off nematodes. Mint stops ants. Pennyroyal deters fleas, mosquitoes, ticks and chiggers. Petunias control leafhoppers, certain aphids and tomato worms. Rue repels Japanese beetles in roses.

The only plant that is even mentioned as a wasp repellent is Wormwood (Artemisia). When planted as a border Wormwood is said to keep animals and many bugs out of the garden.

Source: Ask The Exterminator.com.

Related Posts:
Living With Beneficial Paper Wasps
Non-Toxic Pesticide Solutions For The Garden

Determine Whether Your Dog's Overweight

Just like in humans, obesity is rampant in America’s pet population. When dogs carry too much weight they place an extra strain on all their organs, and they can be at an increased risk for diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure and pancreatitis. Unsurprisingly, excess weight gain can interfere with a pet’s quality of life and actually shorten their life span.

Fortunately, dogs respond very well to simple weight-loss programs. By increasing your pet’s exercise and reducing the amount of calories he or she eats, you can help reduce your pet’s weight and the risk of health problems associated with obesity.

But how do you determine whether or not your dog is overweight? And, if your dog is overweight, what can you do about it? In this short video, Dr. Sarah shows you how to learn if your dog is carrying too much weight, and gives advice on how to help your dog shed unwanted pounds. View video.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices.

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

Christ Shed Blood 7 Times For Us

One of my favorite ways of studying and learning the Bible is through types, shadows, symbols and Biblical numerical meanings of hidden truths. The Word of God tells us in Proverbs 25:2 that, “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing, but the honor of kings is to search out a matter.”

The Bible proclaims in Revelation 1:6 and Revelation 5:10 that we are kings and priests. The Apostle Paul writes in Colossians 2:3 for the searcher of truth there are found to be, “The treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” To have wisdom and knowledge from the Word of God is more valuable to us then any earthy treasure Proverbs 8:18-11.

What I would like to share with you is how important and significant the number seven is in our Redemption. Redemption means the deliverance of a prisoner or hostage upon payment of a ransom. The number seven has the Biblical numerical meaning of perfection and completeness. The Lord Jesus Christ, in paying the price in full for our total redemption thus purchasing for us resurrection life, shed His blood seven times for us during the hours surrounding His Crucifixion.

Resurrection life does not just begin when we get to heaven, but resurrection life is for us now on earth. That is why it was so important for Jesus to have shed His blood seven times for us on His road to Calvary. Our redemption and resurrection life were made perfect and complete through the shedding of Jesus’ blood those seven times.

So let's look at each one of the seven ways in which The Lord Jesus Christ shed His blood for us and God’s Divine purposes for their significance in our lives today.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Individually Created

From Creation Moments

"You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created" (Revelation 4:11).

Are you shy or bold? Actually, if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that we all have areas where we are bold, and other things were shy about. A person can be bold in willing to fly in any aircraft, and at the same time terrified when crossing a high bridge.

Now scientists have surprised themselves by discovering that the same is true of sunfish, crabs and the octopus. Evolutionary scientists had always assumed that since "survival of the fittest" is the driving force behind evolution, evolution would favor boldness.

But scientists found that when they introduced a novel object a stick with a red tip into a school of sunfish, about a quarter of the fish fled from it, while another quarter of the school boldly nipped at the stick.

But those fish who were shy toward the stick were no more likely than any other individuals in the school to be shy when introduced to unfamiliar food. Those who nipped at the stick didn't prove any more likely to be bold when introduced to unfamiliar food. Other researchers have concluded that studies show the same behavior in crabs and in the octopus.

The researchers marveled that even so called simple animals showed individually unique traits just as humans do. As one said, "There must be something very special here."

There is something very special here. That these creatures have individual personalities says nothing about evolution. But it does remind us that all living things have but one divine Creator.

Prayer: Father, I thank You for my unique personality and ask that it would be better conformed to Christ, my Savior. Amen.

References: S. Milius, Fish Nature: Sometimes shy, sometimes bold, Science News, v. 154, p.263, October 24, 1998

Visit Creation Moments for more wonderful stories about God's Creation.

Eco Vehicles and Alternative Fuels

This information is provided by BlessedEarth.org. The organizations and websites are not necessarily endorsed by us since we've not viewed every single resource here.

Eco-Smart Vehicles and Alternative Fuels

http://www.whatwouldJesusdrive.org
Web site dedicated to reducing CO2 emissions by promoting environmentally friendly transportation. The Web site is a discussion initiated by the Evangelical Environmental Network and Creation Care magazine.

http://www.greenhybrid.com
Information and forums on hybrid vehicles.

http://www.cleammpg.com
Web site with articles, tips, and forums on improving gas mileage.

http://www.epa.gov/greenvehicles
EPA's green vehicle guide.

http://www.greenercars.org
Site with listings of the "greenest"€ and "€œmeanest"€ cars.

http://www.biodieselamerica.com
Site to locate retail pumps, distributors, co-ops, etc., for biodiesel fuel.

http://www.biodieselnow.com
Learn more about biodiesel initiatives in your area.

http://www.bikesatwork.com
Information and sales of bike trailers and a €œcost of car ownership€ calculator.

http://www.commutesolutions.com
Calculate your direct costs per mile, carbon dioxide emissions, and land-use impact of driving to work.

http://www.bicycleforaday.org
A charity founded by Matthew Modine to inspire people from all walks of life to join the worldwide movement to reduce global warming and carbon emissions caused by gas-powered vehicles.

http://www.erideshare.com and http://www.carpoolworld.com
Connect to a carpool or start one yourself.

Source: BlessedEarth.org Blessed Earth is an educational nonprofit that inspires and equips faith communities to become better stewards of the earth. Through outreach to churches, campuses and media we build bridges that promote measurable environmental change and meaningful spiritual growth.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices.

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

Healthy Soil with Crop Rotation

From Mother Earth News

You can increase soil fertility in your garden soils and cut down on plant disease by rotating the vegetables in your garden plots on a three-year crop rotation cycle.

You can plan your crop rotations by using a paper template to simulate your crops and growing areas. There’s ample research showing that crop rotation results in better harvests for potatoes, tomatoes, beans and many other crops.

One of the rules of good organic gardening is to rotate plant families from one season to the next, as best you can, so related crops are not planted in the same spot more often than every three years or so. The purpose of crop rotation is to help the soil maintain a healthy balance of nutrients, organic matter and microorganisms. Of these three, the invisible world of soil-dwelling micro-creatures is the one that most benefits from crop rotations. Read the entire article.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Through the Swamps of Life

by Donna L. Watkins

I packed the car and headed out from the hotel on my journey with a few stops scheduled at natural areas along the way. My first was Colleton State Park in South Carolina for a short walk about a Cypress Swamp Trail.

Live oaks led the way to the path that began with river birches, loblolly pines and plenty of wax myrtles. It was still too early for the wildflowers to awaken from their winter naps and the chilly breeze put a quicker step in my feet to complete the short trail.

The black waters of the swamp with reflections of the life above them led my mind to wonder what my life was reflecting. Sometimes we don't walk through life as we planned. This diversion to the driving was pictured as a leisurely slow stroll, taking time to share the wonders of Creation with my eager mind. However, the cold breezes caused my mind to think hike rather than stroll. I picked up the pace picturing the end of the trail rather than enjoying the journey.

Seeing the Edisto River ahead I joyfully headed for a close-up view hoping to see evidence of wildlife. Nothing made a sound other than a few songbirds high in the trees. It seemed that the cold morning had chilled even the wildlife.

The quiet flowing river reminded me once again that life passes by quickly and every moment of it should be precious.  My feet wanted to quickly pass through the cold and get back to my car, but in hurrying along, I was missing my entire desire and purpose for this scheduled interlude away from interstate driving.

Sometimes the cold wintery times of our lives cause us to get our eyes off the reason for the journey as we rush through details and tasks scheduled to distract us from the reality of troubles and trials. We miss the beauty that's around us even in the midst of our winter seasons, even the beauty that is to be produced by tribulations.

God has plans for our every day and breath of life and He uses all circumstances for our good. It seems a better thing to be able to slow down and view the pain with a new mindset, seeking that which God wants us to learn from it. As we rest ourselves in His love and grace, we will see the bridge that leads us across the swamps of our lives.

Just as my mind decided to slow the pace down again and enjoy the journey, the path turned into a wet drainage area since it was the path of least resistance for the earlier rain. Isn't that just like life! You spend some time in deep thought, maybe by a river, and decide to head into life with renewed interest and determination, ignoring the winds that threaten to chill you, and then something else happens. Another bad circumstance to discourage you. This is the level where life really happens.

It's where we decide if we are going to stand in faith or fall back into despair. Can we see the good all around us and make our choices based on that ... or do we wallow in the pit the devil offers us every morning, noon and night? We can choose to stay in one place too long, whining and begging for a miracle when God has given us all power and ability to walk out of it. We can begin to grow moss like a tree that stands in the same place. Year after year passes as we add another layer of fear, self-condemnation, disbelief or grief. Like moss these things cover us until the person that God created us to be is no longer visible.

Life's choices determine our daily joy. Our focus determines our circumstances -- it's not the troubles, it's the perspective of it all that makes life what it is. So slow down, put on your hiking boots and dig into the trail and keep your eyes on the beauty along the way.

We will turn our lives around by leaning in, not by running away. God has great plans for you if you are willing to work your way through the classrooms that life offers to build us into what we need to be.

Spiritual gifts are great and we have them because God wants us to use them, but they don't work too well without the Fruits of the Spirit. To produce fruit, a tree has to take some pruning ... and we do too. Lean in!

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices.

The photo(s) and article are copyrighted. You may use either of them if you include the following credit and active link back to this website:
© 2010 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from TheNatureInUs.com. The link to use is: www.TheNatureInUs.com.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Stop Cats from Catching Birds

It's that time of year when birds are getting ready to mate and nest and produce babies.  Cats do not need to be around.  Cats kill millions of birds each year and it's not their fault ... it's ours if we leave them out to do what they instinctively do.  It's not a hunger thing ... it's a chase and kill thing.  Please be a responsible pet owner.  Maybe you'd like to convert your cat to be an indoor kitty.  Learn How!

3230aCats are cute and cuddly, but they still are felines. Their instincts are to hunt. Many cat owners are horrified to find their cat stalking and killing birds, especially those at the bird feeder. It’s estimated cats kill more than 4.4 million birds a year. Unless you keep your cat indoors 24/7, there is a possibility they will go after birds in your yard.
Now there’s a new product that will allow your cat to roam the property freely, yet prevent them from catching and killing birds.
The catbib is a lightweight neoprene material that attaches to the cat’s collar. It hangs down in front of your cat to disrupt their hunting while allowing the cat to run, jump, eat, sleep, and act normally. The brightly colored bib alerts birds to a cat’s presence before they strike.
Tests at Murdock University, Western Australia, showed the catbib prevented 81% of cats from catching birds. It also reduces small mammal predation as well.
Purchase at CatGoods.com.

Vertical Gardens for Small Spaces

It's that time of year when we're longing to get back outdoors and begin planning our gardening tasks. Here's a way to grow some food without a lot of space.

Space is a precious commodity, especially now that so much of our backyard or balcony space is occupied by containers for growing organic vegetables. For those of you out there getting tight on space, but who still want beautiful flowers and plants to look at, consider a vertical garden. It’s organic art for your indoor or outdoor wall space and is a beautiful way to help filter air naturally and add humidity to your environment. Check out these beautiful and inspiring small vertical gardens.

Poverty, Trees and God Calling

Recently the world has been made aware of the poverty of Haiti after such devastation. Sometimes we can't put our thoughts on hold to forget about those who have so little while we rush about having so much. We try to push those God-given thoughts about poverty to the recesses of our heart, but when tragedy hits so severely we are simply compelled to be part of the restoration work.

I've had a passion for the poor for a very long time. I know God gave it to me because my nature would be to spend all my money on me ... to keep my want list long enough that I don't have any money to share. But God changes our hearts and gives us spiritual gifts and we choose to use them. One of the ones He gave me a long time ago was a desire to change the circumstances for those living in poverty. Making somebody else's life a bit more meaningful after being able to provide food and basic needs.

Living more simply ... so others may simply live.

There are so many great Christian organizations doing good work out there. Providing micro-loans so people can be self-reliant. God gives brilliant ideas to those who are poor, the same as to those who have wealth. They just don't get the few dollars it takes to fulfill dreams and provide for their families.

Recently we discovered Plant With Purpose (previously Floresta) and wanted to be part of their work. Here's some information about them from their website:o

For us, the breakthrough came when we saw first-hand the connection between poverty and the environment. Many people think of poverty and the environment as separate issues, but in fact they are hugely interdependent.

Most of the world’s poor are rural poor. Many are subsistence farmers, completely dependent on their environment for survival. But as a result of widespread deforestation, the land isn’t providing like it used to. Land that once bore bountiful crops that could be sold or eaten, isn’t producing. Streams that used to provide water to drink, now run dry. Out of desperation, the poor cut down more trees to sell as firewood, even though doing so means further destroying their one chance of survival.

By reversing deforestation, Plant With Purpose helps the poor restore productivity to their land to create economic opportunity out of environmental restoration. Since 1984 we have helped more than 100,000 people in some 230 villages lift themselves out of poverty through our holistic approach to sustainable development.

We hear a lot about environmental issues, but we don't understand how it all relates to us as Christians. We don't understand the big picture and that it's not just about clean air and water. It's about starvation and death for many.

I encourage you to read Scott C. Sabin's book, Tending to Eden: Environmental Stewardship for God's People. Open your heart and seek to understand what God really wants from us regarding His command to "tend the Garden" and how we can take small steps to do so. Those small steps will make a bigger difference than you can ever imagine!

About the book:

Tending to Eden: Environmental Stewardship for God's People offers a global perspective on the theological foundation for caring for the earth and its people. Throughout the book, Plant With Purpose Executive Director Scott Sabin recounts his personal journey of helping the poor and the environment and brings the reader into poor rural communities in Haiti, Mexico, Tanzania, Burundi, the Dominican Republic, and Thailand through compelling language and eloquent story telling. The book also includes a creation care study guide.

"Port-au-Prince loomed all around us, as if the tide had come in over the cinderblock-and-iron architecture and stranded garbage and rubble on every horizontal surface. Human beings spilled out onto the broken streets, in every sort of dress imaginable. A naked man walked past a gentleman in a pinstriped suit, who was picking his way through the debris. People filled each alley and turned every sidewalk into an impromptu market. Rotting fruit and raw sewage odors combined with the smell of frying meat and exhaust. UN convoys of white SUVs and armored personnel carriers pass frequently… Today I know those mountains, and I know the people who live in them. I’ve developed a deep love and a great deal of respect for these people. I know their dreams, their courage, and the incredible persistence with which they work to take care of their families. I know the lack of opportunity that has made the destruction of this land inevitable." — from the Preface

Here's a few excerpts from the book:

The lie of the world, reinforced by the media and believed by millions, is that the poor are worthless. The global economic system measures worth in dollars—you are paid according to how society values your contribution. The message is that as a Haitian farmer, no matter how bright you are, and no matter how hard you work, you will never be worth more than a few hundred dollars a year.

We need to defeat the lie that says worth is measured in dollars. Sadly, the poor and many of those who try to help them have unknowingly bought into this lie. For the poor, it is manifested in a lack of self-confidence, self-esteem, and initiative. For those seeking to help, it manifests itself in condescension and patronizing attitudes.

Unfortunately, when outsiders offer help, whether through foreign aid, short-term missions, or donations, we often reinforce this lie. We bring used clothes that put local tailors out of business and give away free food that undercuts the local farmers. We construct buildings for people, putting local masons and carpenters out of work and implicitly sending the message that it takes outsiders to get things done. We may even encourage small businesses based on models that work in the United States, but because we don’t understand the culture and local economics, these businesses fail. And that failure reinforces the lie that the local people are incapable of succeeding.

I don’t mean to disparage anyone who gives to the poor. We are commanded to do so. There are times when a handout is the most important thing a person can receive. People need assistance when they are sick, or after a disaster, or helpless. Children who have no families clearly need someone to care for them. But if we do for others what they can and should do for themselves, we rob them of their dignity and reinforce the lie that they have nothing to offer. We create dependency.

A story is told of travelers who come into a community during a famine and ask for something to eat. They are told there is nothing. The travelers take out a pot and begin to make soup by boiling some stones. When asked about it, they explain that they are making “stone soup” and only need a bit of garnish to improve it. One by one everyone in the village brings something to contribute. In the end a fine stew is made, with everyone eating their fill.

Similarly, the members of a community often have the materials and resources needed to change their situation. Sometimes people just need a catalyst and a little organization to create something far better than any of them could have imagined.


– from pages 26 to 28 in Tending to Eden by Scott C. Sabin, Executive Director of Plant With Purpose

Purchase the book, Tending to Eden: Environmental Stewardship for God's People, at Amazon.com now and even your purchase will benefit the organization.  Visit the Plant With Purpose website to see what other opportunities there are for you to make a difference in our world.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices.

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