Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Newsletter - 7/1/10

Hello Friends!

A week ago I saw a Tufted Titmouse on the ground hopping around with a wing hanging down.  Oh no!  I'm such a whimp when it comes to injured wildlife.  I've taken so many little critters to The Wildlife Center for restoration, only to find out that it cannot be helped.  But this was just a broken wing, so I knew I would get to return for it and release it back to the woods behind us.


© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - Tufted Titmouse After Bath
Well ... it didn't turn out that way.  The wing was broken at the joint and that wasn't a break that could be repaired, so it was euthanized.  I was 100% sure it would be okay, so it was quite a blow to be told it was already dead.  It took me the week to get over it.  I kept seeing those tiny black eyes looking at me as I told him was going to be okay.

I lied!  I thought I was telling 100% truth, but it turned out to be a lie.  Randal and I have been in a season of life where God has us going through our Truth and Lie files.  We all have them.  The sum total of what's in those two boxes regarding God is how we see Him and what we believe about Him.  Sadly, many have turned their backs on God because they saw the wrong picture from what they filed into their Truth box.

We've been amazed at how much we had filed in the Truth box that was misfiled.  I Corinthians 10:12 tells us that those who think they are standing firmly should be careful that they don't fall and Philippians 1:6 says we are to be confident of one thing ... He who has begun a good work in us will carry it on to completion. Praise God for His faithfulness!

Yesterday and today I've been able to have the doors and windows open all day and night and I even slept outside on the screened porch the past two nights ... at least for part of the night until it got too chilly.  What a delightful break in the official summertime.  Central Virginia has wonderful weather for 7 months of the year ... it's the 5 months of bone chilling that I don't handle too well with the rheumatoid arthritis.

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - Mantled Howler Monkey in the Rain

That's when I'd like to head for Costa Rica's jungles and forget all about winter.  I reviewed a video of Mantled Howler Monkeys that I took last year.  Actually it's a video I made up from a lot of videos with my Apple iMovie feature.

I really love howler monkeys ... or I wouldn't have bothered with the techie software to get the job done.  But now it's on the website and you can view the video of "my" howler monkeys.

I've also added to my backyard photo albums for critters and garden.  View Critters.  View Garden.

Until next time ... make every day a blessed day!
Donna

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Being Loved

by Donna L. Watkins

I've been reading a book on relationships because God's shown me that we all have a different definition of what relationships are, but He has only one definition ... it's all about love. The greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul and mind and then others as ourself. WOW! So all the law and the prophets rests on Love. (Matthew 22:37-40) I'd say we better get that quality down within us and make it a priority as Jesus did.

© 2010 Donna L. Watkins - Male Eastern Bluebird - Decatur, GA 

Jesus told us in Matthew 24:10-12 that in the last days "many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold."

Jesus also told us we would know the real Christians by their fruit (Matthew 7:6). Galations 5:22-23 tells us what the fruits are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Are we looking like the real thing? Will people know we are Christians?

Back to relationships ... we were created for relationship with God in the Garden. God realized that it wasn't good for man to be alone on earth, so He created woman for relationship. God took her out of Adam which left Adam with a missing piece. Our wives and husbands are to be our missing pieces in life. Ever wonder why God puts opposites together? So we can be whole. One flesh. But do we produce marriages that look like one flesh? Usually not, as evidenced by the divorce rate. We find our missing piece recognizing it with our hearts, then marry and begin to want our spouse to be just like us.

We generally have relationships that are with people like we are ... or with family that fits our past way of living life - the way that was programmed during our childhood, but don't you know that all programs need to be updated and relevant to new relationships. God says when we get saved we are a new creation. We are to then focus on renewing our minds (databanks) and become more Christlike because we've given our lives to Christ.

Many Christians never turn away from the "traditions of their elders" (family). We live according to a false religion, the spiritual system of the family we grew up in, which is generally not a Godly system. In order to renew our minds and grow, we must renounce the theology of the dysfunctional part of our family training and adopt the spiritual principles of God's family.

Remember the story of Jesus' mother and brothers coming and He was told they were outside and Jesus said, "Who are my mother and my brothers?" That's always bothered me, like He ignored His mother ... and I always wondered how you honor your parents with that type of attitude. What I didn't see what that after his "lesson" on this ... He could've gone outside and talked with them. Maybe it was just a "pause" for a lesson ... Jesus was always into lessons and using every opportunity as a teaching experience.

His reply wasn't to reject His natural family, but to emphasize the higher priority of His spiritual relationship to those who believe in Him. We have a higher priority than our family. When we give our lives to the Lordship of Christ, we are part of a new family that is our highest priority. We gave up our own rights to be a living sacrifice according to the will of God.

In a real sense, God's saying we need to get family support from our new spiritual family, from those who are doing His will. We have to renounce the rules of relationship we learned in our childhood years (the first spiritual system) and learn God's ways of relationship. This causes conflict, as those of us who have "withdrawn" from ungodly family relationships to get healthy know.

That's why Jesus said, "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law .... a man's enemies will be the members of his own household." (Matthew 10)

This is another verse that puzzled me since we are to honor our parents. Obviously the word honor is defined much more differently than we define it having been bred within our own family's commandments. Think back to what your family code includes. What commandments were drilled into you? List them. Do they match up with God's ways of relationships?

Jesus said, "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." (Matthew 10:37) Tough words, but we have to choose between following "the traditions of our elders" or following God's ways of love, mercy and grace, things that most people did not grow up in within the kingdom of the family.

We must seek out people who walk the Kingdom way before us modeling the likeness of God, so we can walk behind them. Are our relationships helping us grow into the image of Jesus? Saying no to bad relationships and yes to good ones is difficult if you are tied to the bad. One of the ways I've been focusing on walking in Kingdom ways in my life is to focus on the fruits of the Spirit mentioned above. Are these qualities evident in the people we surround ourselves with? Are we building them into the relationships we nourish? If not ... it's something to ponder.

We can run about using our gifts and doing good ... but in effect, it's all religion because God says people will know us by our fruit. I heard one preacher speak the other day that we need to put away our Bible (and knocking people over the head with Scripture) and produce enough fruit in our lives that Christ will be recognized in us and that will draw more men to Christ than our words. That's how it works in raising children, isn't it? They watch who you are and become what you do. "Don't do as I do, just do as I say" doesn't work in reality.

It's the "goodness of God that draws men to repentance (Romans 2:4). Love, grace and mercy draws us. Human nature does not follow rules easily. Laws make us realize that without Christ (love and mercy) we are hopeless. Loving God gives us a spirit and desire for obedience. It's not the list of rules posted on the wall that will make an obedient child. It's the love that makes a child want to obey his parents and makes life good, purposeful and fulfilling.

It's love that will do that for us. Christ told us the most important thing to do ... because He knew we would be doers, always thinking and reasoning that we must DO to be accepted, so He gave us something to do ... love God with all our heart, soul and mind, and love our neighbor as ourself. That's a big task just loving ourself, which I don't think can be done without loving God, and we surely can't love our neighbor before we love God and ourselves. So ... do you think your "to do list" reflects what Christ is telling us to do?

Selah (which means pause and ponder this).

Recommended Book:  Changes That Heal


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.

New Uses For Wildflowers

Wildflower Seeds Are Not Just For Meadows Any More
by Ray Allen, Founder - www.AmericanMeadows.com

Property owners have been planting wildflower meadows for years, but did you know these wildflower seed facts?

• They’re perfect for landscapes:
Wildflower seeds offer a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly alternative to lawns.

• You can save money:
Use wildflower seeds and replace expensive annuals.

• Plant when you want:
Wildflowers can be seeded spring or fall. Let your schedule decide.

• Container gardening?:
Try wildflowers for easy, impressive results.

• Wildflowers are great space fillers:
Plant seeds anywhere you’d like to add amazing color.

• Top your bulbs with wildflowers:
Plant wildflower seeds when you plant fall bulbs and help prevent spring maintenance.

• Seeds for specific uses:
Mixtures are available for both specific regions and uses, such as deer resistance or dry areas.

Read success stories from all areas of the country.

ID Hummingbirds with Free Poster

Learn to identify the hummingbirds of North America with the free poster showing easy ID details.

Download the poster in PDF format at Cornell's Website.


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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Shenandoah Park - Pres. Hoover's Rapidan Camp

I enjoy working and enjoy spending time in our own backyard.  There's so much going on this time of year ... but now and then I am committed to scheduling "girl days."

Those girlfriend days provide lots of sweet warm memories of fun times when I get to be a bit of a child again ... because I never act my age when I get out. [grin]

My neighbor, Kathy, recently came up with a great idea to visit President Hoover's camp in the Shenandoah Park here in Virginia. It was a beautiful day.  The views from Skyline Drive were magnificent and there was a lot in bloom to enjoy.

Our ranger guide was excellent and we learned a lot. The Byrd Visitor Center provided the free three-hour trip with a shuttle down to the camp and back.  I saw a deer near the visitor center after we returned from the camp and it was so enthralled with whatever it was eating that I got within 12 feet of her.  I could've continued getting closer, but I don't like to make wildlife nervous.  She was quite tolerant and I appreciated that rare opportunity.  We have deer in our backyard that I can get that close to, but I've never been that close to a deer in the wild.

Rapidan Camp (also known at times as Camp Hoover) in Shenandoah National Park in Madison County, Virginia was built by U.S. President Herbert Hoover and his wife Lou Henry Hoover, and served as their rustic retreat throughout Hoover's administration from 1929 to 1933.

Excellent Park Ranger/Guide - Jovial and Knowledgeable 

The first family's residential cabin was known as the "Brown House" in contrast to their more famous residence, the White House. Rapidan Camp was precursor of the current presidential retreat, Camp David.

He and his wife had lived together at mining camps for over 10 years, and appreciated the isolation of remote accommodations.

He instructed his secretary Lawrence Richey to find a secluded retreat site within 100 miles (160 km) of Washington, D.C., at least 2,500 feet (760 m) above sea level, and—most importantly—close to an excellent trout stream for fishing.

I took a lot of photos with signage information from the displays, so if you're into history and/or just the natural world, view the Rapidan Camp photo album

Resource:  Wikipedia

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

This Saturday: Great American Backyard Campout

Join the Great American Backyard Campout on Saturday, June 26, in your backyard, parks, campgrounds or even your balcony! No site is too big or too small to spend a night sleeping under the stars.

The website offers an option to join an existing campsite if you don't want to use your backyard. It's a fun memory for children and a great educational experience too. And for the adults ... it's a rediscovery of the simpler things in life. If you need a little encouragement, read Why Camp Out?.

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Help Gulf Migratory Birds in Your Yard

Powerless to stop the oiling of migratory bird habitat along the Gulf of Mexico, homeowners can provide havens for migrants in their own yards.

Beyond the immediate shock of seeing hundreds of oil-soaked seabirds, one of biggest concerns about the BP spill—for biologists, conservationists and birders alike—is the ongoing destruction of critical stopover sites for migratory shorebirds and songbirds.

Particularly for birds that migrate across the Gulf of Mexico—a journey that can take 18 hours or more—the barrier islands and wetlands along the U.S. Gulf Coast provide critical areas for resting and refueling before continuing the journey north to summer breeding grounds or south to winter habitat in Latin America.

Over the past several decades, scientists have detected declines in the populations of many Neotropical migrants. Initially, the major culprits were thought to be destruction of tropical forests in the birds’ wintering grounds, combined with forest fragmentation in their summer habitat.

Now researchers realize that the loss of stopover habitat may be at least as important, if not more so. Migratory birds spend as much as half the year traveling between their summer and winter ranges. Read the entire article for ideas.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Abiding in Christ

by Steve McVey

When I wrote my first book, Grace Walk, in 1995 there were things I said then that I'd say differently today. Things I think I could have made clearer. The topic of abiding in Christ is one of those subjects.

I wrote a lot in the book about the importance of abiding in Christ. My jumping off place for that was the words of Jesus in John 15:4 where Jesus said, "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me." The metaphor Jesus used was the vine and the branches, with the point being that our only role is to "hang out" with Him and depend on Him to be the One who produces whatever fruit comes through our lives.

Over the past 15 years, many people have asked me exactly how it is that we are to "abide in Christ. It's a good question that deserves an answer. The paradox in telling people to abide in Christ is that they may think there's something they need to do for that to happen. The reason it's a paradox is because the very idea of abiding in Christ moves us away from doing something to a place of rest, trusting that He's the One who does what needs to be done.

Simply put, to abide in Christ means one thing: To relax and trust His indwelling Life to motivate and mobilize our actions. It means to know that it's not up to us to make something happen. It means to trust Him and stop worrying about ourselves. In fact, it means to take our eyes off ourselves and just look at Him, knowing that there's nothing we have to do and that He will show us when to act and what to do when it's time to do it. It's a life of rest.

The irony of it all is that we really can't do anything but abide in Christ. After all, our very life is found in Him. So there's a sense in which we abide at every moment no matter what. To be told to "abide" simply means to recognize the reality of our union with Him and to give up any silly notions we may have that we have anything to contribute to this arrangement.

Fruit on the vine doesn't struggle to grow, to be tasty or anything else. It just hangs there and the nutrients from the earth come up through the vine into the branches and the fruit is the natural (actually, it's supernatural) result. That's how it is when we understand abiding in Jesus Christ.

Don't sweat it. Just take your hands off your own life. Off your circumstances and your challenges and your self effort and your attempt to navigate your present life and design your future. He has it all under control. So just relax and say, "thank you very much" and when you've done that, you are abiding in the active sense of the word.

Visit Steve McVey's website.  View his Grace Walk book, 2005 version:  What You've Always Wanted in the Christian Life.

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Take Kids Hiking - Tips To Make It Fun

Hiking with kids is a great way to get them connected to the outdoors at a young age, but it can also be intimidating for the parent planner. Following are ten tips to make that hike go smoothly and keep mom and dad on the kids’ good side.

Keep it easy and feature-friendly. For at least the first few times, select a hike that isn’t too long or too strenuous – remember that for kids, the hike is about the experience. Picking a trail that has some features – be it a lake, stream, waterfall or something else will keep kids occupied and give them a goal to reach.

And remember, it’s about the journey not the destination. If your child is more interested in getting down on his or her hands and knees to explore the undergrowth, then that is the experience for the day – there will always be a next time. Read 9 More Tips.

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Share Your Birdwatching Observations

NestWatch is a nest-monitoring project developed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in collaboration with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, and funded by the National Science Foundation.

Why is it important?

Global environmental monitoring must include monitoring of biological organisms if we wish to understand the causes of and solutions for species declines. As a result, the need for large, continent-wide databases tracking survival and reproductive success of a wide range of species is increasing. NestWatch aims to provide a unified nest-monitoring scheme to track reproductive success for all North American breeding birds.

What is involved?

NestWatch teaches people about bird breeding biology and engages them in collecting and submitting nest records. Such records include information about nest site location, habitat, species, and number of eggs, young, and fledglings.

“Citizen scientists” submit their nest records to our online database where their observations are compiled with those of other participants in a continentwide effort to better understand and manage the impacts of environmental change on bird populations. Create a free account and get more info at the NestWatch website.

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Thomas Jefferson's Monticello Visitor Center

After nearly a decade of planning, the Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center and Smith Education Center had its Grand Opening last year on April 15, 2009. We visited a month after it opened and visited again a couple of weeks ago. View Thomas Jefferson's Monticello Visitor Center Photo Album.

Information about the center from their website:

The new center serves as the 21st-century gateway to Jefferson’s timeless Monticello, with multiple components that transform the visitor experience by preparing guests for their trips to the historic mountaintop through dynamic content presenting fresh perspectives on Monticello and the enduring significance of Jefferson’s life and ideas.

Emphasizing the power of place and the strength of ideas, these all-new features highlight Jefferson’s accomplishments, his beliefs about liberty and their global relevance today, the wider community of people – both enslaved and free – who lived on the plantation, and the remarkable house and landscapes of Monticello. Curators and historians on the Monticello staff developed the content of the interpretive and educational elements.

Located on the lower slope of Monticello mountain, the center comprises five pavilions around a central courtyard. The three-level, 42,000-square-foot complex follows the contour of its hillside setting and blends into the wooded landscape with natural building materials, two “green” roofs, and other environmentally sensitive elements.

The center’s visitor amenities include a cafĂ© with indoor and outdoor seating, a spacious gift shop, and an indoor ticket and information counter.


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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Newsletter - 6/15/10

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Hello Friends!

I hope you're enjoying the good weather.  Here in Virginia we had a very chilly week which was a wonderful surprise (although I was concerned about the bird babies with nights in the 50's).  We're back to "normal" which is hot in the afternoons.  The cool mornings make it okay though.  I get to be comfortable outside until about 11 AM and then it's time to close up windows and doors.  At night ... it's cool again to sleep with fresh air.

© 2006 Donna L. Watkins - Gray Catbird at Kitchen Window

Don't you wish you could design your own weather environment around your home?  Wouldn't that be fun?!  If you looked at a neighborhood from Google Maps' satellite view, it would be very interesting.

Yesterday I took a video of a Gray Catbird singing from a bare tree branch. Their song is made up of a long slow series of warbled notes ranging from squeaks to whistles, poorly imitated songs of other birds and the raspy “mew” call, which is how they got the name catbird.

A distinguishing characteristic of the gray catbird as opposed to other members of the Mimidae family, such as the mockingbird, is that the catbird does not repeat its song notes. A mockingbird may repeat phrases three to four times, but the Gray Catbird sings most phrases only once.  View video of Gray Catbird singing.  It's the first one in the album.

Last week my neighbor friend and I went to Shenandoah National Park to see Rapidan Camp, which was Pres. Hoover's camp.  It was a lovely place that his wife, Lou Henry, designed and landscaped with fountain and ponds.  The home was placed where two streams met and flowed into the Rapidan River.  I'll have a post about it by the next newsletter, but you can view photos of Pres. Hoover's Shenandoah camp now.

If you missed the last newsletter, there were links for photos to many of the places we stopped at on our down to Florida in May.  View Newsletter 6/1.

Until next time ... make every day a great day!
Donna

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Monday, June 14, 2010

How Big Is God?

by Jill Southern

"He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted."  Job 9:10, NIV

How big is God? How many are His promises to us? How enduring is His love and mercy? How great is His Kingdom?

Today, the word ‘billion’ gets bandied about almost in a casual manner, but a billion, which is 1,000,000,000, is a difficult number for most of us to comprehend.

For example: A billion seconds ago, it was 1978. A billion minutes ago, Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee (1.04 billion minutes to be more exact). A billion hours ago, our ancestors were living in the Stone Age. During the first months of this year, a billion pounds evidently only lasted the British government for 13 hours and 12 minutes!

If we think about God, God owns billions – He owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10). God loves billions of people – He is not willing that any should perish but that all should have everlasting life (2 Peter 3:9). God is almighty – He created billions of people, but He promised Abraham that His descendants would be (billions) greater than the grains of sand on the seashore (Genesis 22:17). He created billions of stars and calls each of them by name (Psalm 147:4). Job 38:7 says that the stars in the heavens are singing. Did you know that now, electronically, the sound of this can be captured – The Bible is really true! And God Himself rejoices over us with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).

Although God is truly the God of billions, He is also personal to me and to you. Jesus says in John 10:4, ‘I speak to my sheep (although there are billions of them!) by name. My sheep know and recognise my voice; they will never follow a stranger’. Isn’t it amazing that Almighty God wants to have an intimate relationship with you and me today, and He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7)?

Prayer: Father, help me today to understand afresh Your greatness, Your mightiness and Your sovereignty, and that while You are the God of the billions, You are also my Father and my God, and You love me personally and speak to me by name. Please help me to walk with You and talk with You today. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Author:  Jill Southern was a successful business woman before becoming the Director of Ellel Pierrepont, home of the Luke Nine Eleven Training Programme (NETS). People from all over the world come for 5 – 10 months and learn to teach and minister on NETS. Jill’s book on Sex: God’s Truth is an essential guide to the restoration of godly order in sexual relationships.

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Dog Ear Infection

Ear infections are amongst the most common ailments to afflict dogs. The reason for this is that most dogs have ears that flop close, which creates a warm and moist environment in the inner part of their ear, where bacteria and fungus can thrive.

The infection may take place in the outer portion of the ear canal and is known as otitis externa. This can advance and spread into the dog's middle ear. When this happens, the infection is called otitis media.

If the infection is severe and aggressive, the inner ear may also be affected. Called Otitis interna, this infection can then spread to the central nervous system, causing systemic infection and death. As seen, dog ear infection can have an unfortunate outcome, but even mild infections cause significant discomfort to the dog and thus must be treated right away. Read the entire article.

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Get Outdoors Nearby or While Traveling

The National Wildlife Federation's website now has an area where you can find a nature place nearby across the United States. Enter your location, check off activities of interest and the type of site ... and bingo, you get a list of options.

We've used NatureFind.com to find places when we're taking a trip. We like to schedule this natural interludes during our driving time. What a great way to stretch your legs. It also makes us more alert for the rest of the trip and there's plenty of conversation about what we discovered on our short walk-about. Try it out now!

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Get $5 or Free $10 Gift Card

Register with Ebates and get cash back every time you shop.  Register now and get $5 cash or a $10 gift card.  When you're ready to shop, you simply go to the Ebates website and click on the store you want to order from.  Registration is free!

There are 1,200 options with well-known online stores such as WalMart, eBay, Old Navy, Land's End, Dick's Sporting Goods, Sears, travel, music, movies, garden supplies, jewelry, flowers, toys, electronics, business supplies, and on and on the list goes.  

There are no points to redeem, no forms to mail in and no fees.  Stores pay Ebates a sales commission for sending shoppers through and Ebates uses the commission to pay you cash back.  All they need is an email address to notify you when your cash back has been credited.


There are no obligations or fees.  We signed up in 2006 and we have received $446.02 so far.  Part of that is from referrals.  You get a link that you can use in emails, blogs, Facebook, etc. to refer friends to this great deal ... just like I'm doing now :-)

Here's a few common questions:

How quickly is cash back credited to my account?

Most cash back rewards are credited within 48 hours. Some stores, however, cannot confirm your purchase until the return period has elapsed and may take up to thirty days to confirm your cash back.

How can I get paid my cash back?

You will be paid quarterly and only need a rebate of $5.01 accrued to get payment. If you don't have that in one quarter, it will carryover to the next quarter. You never lose your rebates. There are various methods of payment:

1) Big Fat Check: We send a check directly to you – mailing fees are on Ebates.
2) PayPal: We deposit your payment in your PayPal account – sender’s fees are on Ebates.
3) Charity/Organization/Family Member: It’s free and mailing fees are on Ebates.

Giving Up On God

by Donna L. Watkins

We are in what the Bible prophecies call the "end times" and in these last days evil will increase greatly and men will be drawn away from the One True Living God. Even those who might have thought of themselves as Rock-solid Christians. I ask myself, how could that happen?

© 2010 Donna L. Watkins - Daffodil - Glencairn Garden, Rock Hill, SC

One thing that makes it look very easy in today's times is that statistics and polls show that there isn't much of a defining line between Christian and non-Christians. Even vows made before God in marriage are discarded because of incompatibility. "Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate" (Mark 10:9).

We separate because we don't trust each other and we don't trust that God can mend the hurts, wounds, and pain. Most of the pain comes as a result of our childhoods. Things we've never dealt with so God could heal them. We enter marriage thinking our spouse is going to make it all right ... and they enter marriage with the same agenda.

Sadly, second marriages have a higher divorce rate than first marriages. So, the reasons why you leave one marriage carries into the next, so now there is not only your childhood issues that need to be dealt with, but the issues of the first marriage. Higher expectations are placed on second marriage spouses.

It's not just in marriage that we give up on what God can do. We've been bombarded with self-help books, programs and mantras. Again, we rely on ourselves to fix ourselves. How can wounded flesh repair itself? We have wounds that have been buried so deep we don't consciously know about them any more. God is always there for us ... but we don't take the time to dig in and dig deep. The devil has convinced us with fear that it's better to things be buried, swept under the rug, bygones be bygones. The stuff may be buried, but there's an aroma of stench that permeates our lives and we never seem to be able to grab hold of true peace and joy because of it.

It's not the current culture .. it's the flesh. We bend to the flesh, rather than live by the Spirit. Israel did the same thing. They were brought out of bondage and slavery (we were also when we accepted Christ as Lord and Savior). They went out with great wealth and glory and freedom. How marvelous that day must have been when they gathered up all the gold and gifts from the Egyptians! What a miracle! These people who had been slaves for centuries are now being showered with wealth and given true freedom.

Then came the Red Sea. After seeing all the miracles that God performed before Pharaoh, did they stand in wonder and faith at how God was going to get them across? No, fear was their immediate reaction and with fear there can be no faith. Their response was, "Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? .... For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness" (Ex. 14).

What about us? How much tolerance do we have for the Red Seas on our lives? Do we grumble or stand strong in faith? Faith says we love our God and trust Him to take care of us. The more self-reliant we get, the less we turn to God. We have a multitude of ways to figure things out and can live a lifetime trying to make things right in our own strength. Like any Father, God wants to help us. He wants to hold us during our times of trail ... and times of trial are necessary for growth in our lives.

Don't give up on God. Take more time to learn more of Him and His Word and that time will be multiplied to you! Your reasoning mind says you don't have time, but your Spirit is longing for more of the One True Living God. He's the only salvation and hope to make everything okay.

God hasn't given up on you. Return with a zeal to lean in, press in, come apart from the cares of this world, and build that faith relationship that will serve you all the days of your life with hope, joy, peace and power. Choose you this day: Life or Death ... Blessings or Curses. What ground are we sowing into?

Related Article:  
Remembering The Miracles

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