Saturday, January 29, 2011

Rejection & Unloving Spirit

by Henry W. Wright

What people do not realize is that Fear, stress and anxiety many times are coupled with the Unloving spirit. Fear is directly tied to not being loved and not feeling safe.

To be free of Fear, you must be able to receive love and feel safe in it, regardless of whether anyone loves you or not. God loves you. An Unloving spirit and the spirit of Fear are anti-christ spirits because they debate and dethrone the Word of God in your life. They cast down what God has said about His faithfulness to you. You must get to a place where you understand and believe that you are accepted of God and loved of God. If you are not perfect in the love of God and you have Fear within you, torment comes. It is torment of the spirit and torment of the soul. That is the mind body connection.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 1John 4:18

When you have Fear, you are not made perfect in love. You are unable to give and receive love without Fear. Lack of love and the presence of Fear go hand inhand. If there is no Fear in love and you are complete in love, Fear has to go. You have to accept that you are loved of God and you are eternally preserved for Him forever. If you are complete in God's love, why should you fear?

Faith represents your future. Fear represents the destruction of your future. Faith and Fear are equal in this dimension: they both demand to be fulfilled.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Your hopes motivate you because that is what faith is. Faith involves God's plan for you. Your hopes need to be based on the known will and knowledge of God as revealed by the Word of God. Fear will try to create your future. It projects into the future, based on your past. What you are meditating on or thinking about every day occupies your mind. You may be meditating on the good things or you may be thinking about all the things that will go wrong in your life today and tomorrow. The object of your fear is not only being projected into tomorrow, but also yesterday's projected fear is here today. If Fear is a form of faith and you believe what Fear says and not what God says, then according to your Fear-faith so be it unto you. Both are demanding to be fulfilled.

Faith will always defeat Fear, because faith is a work of the Holy Spirit. Fear is a work of the created being named Lucifer, who fell and became Satan.

When we feel rejected, we are agreeing with Satan's kingdom. An unloving spirit is right there and says there's a good reason that we are rejected. We must be evil and unclean and no good. We find justification for our rejection. We fear we are going to fail. We fear what others may think. We fear they won't love us. Going under rejection brings bitterness, jealousy, envy, fear, unloving spirits and ultimately disease.

Love and acceptance is the antidote to Rejection. The reversal of Rejection is accepting God's love and acceptance without exception. According to the word of God, you are designed and created on purpose for His pleasure because He foreknew you before the very foundation of the world.

Know who you are in Christ. Knowing who you are in Christ is of prime importance. This is the antidote to an identity crisis. The Father has accepted you, but have you accepted yourself? Rejection will not allow you to accept yourself. Self -Rejection, Self-Hatred, Guilt, Unloving spirits, images, impressions and emotions will tell you that you are not the "fairest of them all". Jesus dealt with that in Isaiah 53. It said very clearly that He was not a man that you would desire Him after the flesh. He was not comely, and there was nothing in His physical appearance that would appeal to you.

Isaiah 53:2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

You have get rid of Self-Rejection. If God be for you, who can be against you? You have no right to reject yourself if God has accepted you. He has accepted you through Jesus Christ.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

The Lord had to deal with Rejection. He showed it was possible to defeat it and not make it part of His life. In His strength, as a work of the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Father and the Holy Spirit will be there to meet you and remove Rejection from your life so that you can be free from it and have your peace.

The prerequisites for freedom from Rejection are:

1) Making peace with God once and for all.
2) Making peace with yourself once and for all.
3) Making peace with your brother once and for all (even if it is 70 times 7 in your relationship of forgiveness).

Visit the BeInHealth website for more of Henry Wright's teachings.

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Scripture Cards - Part Two

The explanation and beginning of the Scripture Cards can be found here.

No weapon formed against me shall prosper. I will refute every tongue that rises against me in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord. (Isaiah 54:17) The Lord watches over me, the Lord is the shade at my right hand, the sun will not harm me by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep me from all harm. He will watch over my life, the Lord will watch over my coming and my going both now and forevermore. (Psalm 121:5-8)

I stand victorious on the ground Christ won for me. I have a purpose in life. I have a place to be. Thank you, God, for showing me the way. I praise You for guiding me and that the devil's wiles against me have already been destroyed. Lead me. Open my eyes and ears to follow only Your will for my life. I submit myself as a willing servant. (Donna Watkins)

His steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 118:4) There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear. (I John 4:18) God is for me, so who can be against me? (Romans 8:31) My soul finds rest in God alone. My salvation comes from Him. (Psalm 62:1) I shall not die, but I shall live and recount the deeds of the Lord. (Psalm 118:17)

Whoever belittles another lacks sense; an intelligent person remains silent. (Proverbs 11:12) A good wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness to his bones. (Proverbs 12:4) Rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Proverbs 12:18) Those who guard their mouths preserve their life. (Proverbs 13:3) A gentle tongue is a tree of life. (Proverbs 15:4)

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. (I Corinthians 2:9-10)

God gives the peace that passes all understanding. (Philippians 4:7) Fear not! I am with you; be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10) The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him. (2 Corinthians 16:9)

Jesus took my infirmities and bore my sicknesses, and by His stripes I was healed. (I Peter 2:24) Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God. (Psalm 43:5)

The Lord is my strength and might. There are glad songs of victory in the houses of the righteous. (Psalm 118:14-15) Save me, O Lord, I beseech You to cleanse and heal me. Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 118:29) I will trust in the Lord for He is my help and my shield. (Psalm 115:9) Faith is the bird that senses the light and sings while dawn is still dark. (Unknown)

Isaiah 40:28-31
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and wearing, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of love and of power and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)

Self-control is responding to sin the same way a dead man does. (Romans 6:2, 11)
Self-control is transforming desires to please myself into desires to please God. Self-control is more than moderation. It is absolute resolve to discontinue self-indulgence. (Institute in Basic Life Principles)
I remove the provisions for indulgences so I will not fulfill them.

And He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God; many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord. (Psalm 40:3)

Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits - Who forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases, who redeems my life from the pit and crowns me with love and compassion, who satisfies my desires with good so that my youth is renewed like the eagles. (Psalm 103:2-5)

The Lord is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works. All they works shall praise thee, O Lord, and thy saints shall bless thee. (Psalm 145:9-10) You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. (vs. 16)

From John Piper:
Incline my heart to Your Word and not to selfish gain. (Psalm 119:36)
Open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of Your Word. (Psalm 119:18)
Unite my heart to fear Your name and say 'Yes' to all You reveal in Your Word. (Psalm 86:11)
Satisfy me in the morning with Your steadfast love that I would be satisfied with You and not the world. (Psalm 90:14)

Continue Scripture Cards - Part Three

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Join Me in The Great Backyard Bird Count

February 18-21, 2011 

It's that time of year again.  Put these dates on the calendar and begin making plans by getting the information needed.  It's a fun event to anticipate and be a part of.

It's easy to participate and great fun for the entire family. What an educational experience for children. When they begin to see the detailed beauty of the world around them, they can find beauty in their own lives in places that may not have been noticed.

This is all it takes:

• Plan to count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count.

• Count the greatest number of individuals of each species that you see together at any one time. You may find it helpful to print out your regional bird checklist to get an idea of the kinds of birds you're likely to see in your area in February.

• When you're finished, enter your results through the web page.

If you've got a camera, be sure to grab some shots which you can enter in the photo contest.

There's lot of other helpful tools and information at the Great Backyard Bird Count website.

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Recipes For The Birds

February is a tough month for birds since they've already used up their stores of fat they attempted to put on in Fall. Make sure you put out high fat foods such as suet, cracked peanuts, black oil sunflower seeds, and safflower seeds. The beauty of the dining crowd will more than reward you for the time and investment in nature.

Mockingbird Muffins, Bird Bells, Mix and Serve .... these are all names of some recipes created especially for the birds. Readers of Birds and Bloom share some of their best recipes for homemade bird treats.

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Our Heart's Desire

by Donna L. Watkins

Between other great books I've been soaking in, I return now and again to continue reading in When I Don't Desire God by John Piper, a wonderful book that will guide you into living in the realm of true joy. The Bible tells us that Jesus endured the Cross for the joy that was set before Him (Hebrews 2:2).

This means that the joy sustained Jesus even through the intense circumstances and suffering of His choice to choose the Cross on Calvary.  How much could it sustain us in our own trials?  If you don't have this type of joy, John Piper's book will help you answer that question.

I have some friends who are interested in astronomy but do not know God. It's always been such a vast and wondrous subject that I could not get beyond the incredible God that made such a universe, to be able to have an interest in the actual details of astronomy. The vastness of space and the glory it directs to our God overwhelms me when I begin to consider a small piece of it.

Piper mentions in this book something that gives me hope for those who enjoy His Creation without enjoying the Creator Himself ... he says, "The heart may not even believe that the heavens are telling the glory of God. But it knows, deep down, that they are telling something more than meets the physical eye."  Piper says, "If we weren't afflicted with persistent sleepiness of soul, we might see all the glory there is in nature. But as it is, we need help from creative artists."

©2010 Donna L. Watkins - Pansy Smile
Richard Foster voices his concern "about the state of the soul in the midst of all the cheap sensory overload going on today. You see, without what Alfred North Whitehead called 'an habitual vision of greatness,' our soul will shrivel up and lose the capacity for beauty and mystery and transcendence ....  To find the right word, to capture the perfect imagine, awakens the spirit and enlarges the soul ....  The ancient Hebrew prophets cared enough about their message that they frequently delivered it in poetic form. May new prophets arise in our day that will call us to faithful living in words that are crisp and clear and imaginative."

Many churches have left behind the role of the prophet. Prophets are not Old Testament figures.  Prophets are a part of the five-fold ministry that Jesus established for His church for maturity.

"So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." -- Ephesian 4:11-13

Prophecy is one of the gifts mentioned in I Corinthians 12, the most in-depth discussion of gifts and their use. The prophetic voice helps us to "see through" all of the "cheap sensory overload" that Foster writes about. We are Kingdom children and we need to be prepared for the return of Christ. How do we endure these end times challenges and trials without the joy of the Lord that fills us with grace sufficient for all things? I do not see that we can humanly succeed in maneuvering these troubled waters without it.

How deep are you wanting to go with God? Is there a difference in your life from those of unsaved people you know?  It's so easy for us to live life as if the instruction manual were the television and magazines, instead of the Word of God.

It seems "everybody's doing it" but in reality, following the masses is not the direction Jesus calls us to take. Jesus said, "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it -- Matthew 7:13-14.  I've been pondering "only a few find it" for quite some time now.

We are told to take up our cross and follow Him. What that means will be different for each person, but at the foundation of all crosses is obedience and holiness. We are a nation of doing what feels good and according to our desire because self has been glorified greatly in our society. But, let's not fall short of seeking what this life on earth is all about, so that we may be assured of a life in eternity.

Some people define grace as God's love covering over all the sins we choose to commit, as if He excuses it all and "makes" us holy.  Grace is the ability and desire to do the will of God - the enabling or strength to do what a holy God requires of us.

 Do we tend to think of God like a big Santa Clause or the adoring grandparent who dotes over our every action? Do we need to seriously ponder whether our heart matches God's call to us in His Manual of Life. What is more important than that?  The Bible tells us many will be deceived in the end times.  It's easy to exclude ourself from the many ... but yet it would seem that if we look like "the many" we may also be considered that by a holy God.

The best books I've read this entire year have both been by John Bevere:  The Fear of the Lord and A Heart Ablaze:  Igniting a Passion For God.  If those titles don't interest you, you need to be concerned. We're all looking for happiness and good feelings ... there is no better place to find it than in the true joy that God gives as we snuggle up close to Him, and the more holiness we choose the closer we get and the better He looks.  Amazon allows you to "look inside" the books, so click on the links and take a look.

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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 The link to use is:

Hummingbirds Staying Around For Winter

When Annabeth and Donald Proctor first started feeding hummingbirds near Charleston, South Carolina, more than two decades ago, they would take their sugar-water feeders down each September.

Like their neighbors, they assumed the ruby-throated hummingbirds that summered in their magnolia and live oak-filled yard were about to head south to the Tropics.

But a funny thing happened about ten years ago: “I started hearing hummingbirds during the winter,” says Annabeth. “Eventually I realized there were some here all year.” Soon she began to leave one feeder up during the autumn, then another and another. Today she hangs a dozen or more feeders during the coldest months, and it is not unusual for the Proctors to have as many hummingbirds in December as they do in June.

Similar reports have come from backyards across the Southeast, piquing the curiosity of scientists and casual birders alike. Read the entire article.

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Take Charge of Your Attention

Do you struggle to find time your family or even yourself? Do you not have the spiritual life you truly desire because you don't even have time for the Creator of the Universe? Do you feel good about what you accomplished each day, or simply frustrated at what is still not done on your "to do list?"

Society is screaming for your undivided attention. You can just say no! Consider the choice with these tips from AARP's article, "May I Have Your Attention, Please."

Welcome to the Attention Crisis—also known as the "culture of distraction," information-fatigue syndrome," or simply "modern life." It's what happens when technology's flashing, beeping, dun-dun-daaahhhing stimuli scramble your focus, shred your nerves, and squander your productivity. Add an understaffed workplace (or the stress of job hunting), dealing with kids at home and aging parents, and other demands of 21st-century life, and it's no wonder your attention strains at the seams.

"We're really facing the limit of human ability to cope with stimuli in our environment," says Maggie Jackson, author of Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age. And the stimuli keep multiplying. Researchers at the University of California—San Diego recently found that, on average, Americans hear, see, or read 34 gigabytes worth of information a day—about 100,000 words—from TV, the Internet, books, radio, newspapers, and other sources. That figure has grown more than 5 percent annually since 1980.

What's worse, our coping mechanisms may increase our stress levels. We multitask frantically, but our to-do lists only grow. We pay "continuous partial attention," according to former Microsoft executive Linda Stone, who writes a blog called The Attention Project: we skim furiously, hoping not to miss anything.

We fall into black holes of time and emerge blinking, hours later, having accomplished nothing. We forget appointments, abandon projects, and risk our safety (16 percent of auto fatalities in 2008 were linked to distraction, up from 12 percent in 2004, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports).  Read the entire article.

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sudden Bird Deaths Explained

A quarter of the 836 species of birds protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act are in serious decline. For a third of the other birds there is not enough information to be sure about the health of their populations.

The death of 5,000 birds in Arkansas was a great tragedy, but human-induced bird deaths are many. Please read and be informed ... maybe there's something you can do different with the knowledge gained.

Read the New York Times article: Conspiracies Don't Kill Birds, People However Do

“It is the story that the press and the public have largely missed, and it is important, and timely, given the current concern,” she said. “And it is what gets those of us who work in bird conservation motivated every day to try to deal with human-induced changes to our habitats, our landscape and our very climate.”

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Are You In a Desert or Wilderness Time

A special friend in Canada sent this to me and I find it so explicit of a description of our own personal time of being in the desert for our wilderness experience. God is so faithful when you cry out to Him for more. He gives it to you, but before you get to the "more" you may need to spend some time as a slave and prisoner, like Joseph did before becoming second in command next to Pharoah in Egypt, which also resulted in him saving his entire family which became the twelve tribes of Israel. That story always encourages me that God has big plans for all of us ... but most of the time spent is in preparation and being trained unto righteousness.

I pray for those of you who are in dry desert times now ... that you would see where you are in this journey through the phases mentioned below and that you would get some insight on how to get out of it. There is a choice, you know. Israel came out of Egypt, but they never entered into their promises because of their choices.

The Four Phases of the Wilderness
by Yves Perriard

In this rather long article, I would like to show you that periods of involuntary isolation are usually divided into 4 stages. It can be helpful to precisely identify them, so that we have hope and perspective of what we should feel and do.

1) Stripping and breaking

We are typically led into desert times by surprise, or by ... progressive shocks that get us deeper and deeper down into what seems like "the valley of the shadow of death". Positions, possessions or securities are usually lost in a way that we never expected, such that shame, anger and confusion are feelings which are not uncommon at this early stage. There can be various painful means that force us to enter desert times: a severe sickness... the loss of someone or a secure job, or even persecution...

One way that makes it particularly painful and confusing is after we did something righteous, we end up being treated unfairly. For instance we wanted to improve things within our church, our job or our family, and we end up being criticized, misunderstood or even rejected. Moses, for example, tried to do something for God and he got "rewarded" with the unfair treatment of being led into a long desert time. The same happened to Elijah after he spoke to Ahab, as well as Joseph when he shared his dream.

2) Struggling to find God and ourselves

The second phase determines whether we simply have a life crisis that will eventually pass, or we have entered a desert time.

The way to find out is through the following 3 signs:

1- The first one is that after spending enough time to forcefully change our situation, with every possible wisdom and discipline, we eventually realize that we are "stuck". Nothing has really changed, and we have absolutely no perspective of when it will ever finish. We have been put aside, isolated, most people cannot really relate to what is happening to us, and our professional situation is definitively not what we had chosen. Worse, we start to have this nagging feeling that God Himself had a plan to bring us into this dry and isolate place where no one will want to join us (isn't that what deserts are?). As it is written: "the Spirit led Jesus into the desert" (Matt. 4:1).

2- The second sign of a desert is that we are being tested in how we see ourselves. For instance, the three times that Jesus was tempted in the desert always had to do with his identity ("if you are truly the Son of God...."). The reason that we go through an identity crisis is that before we entered our desert time, our whole person was tied and shaped by an environment and responsibility; once those have been removed, we have a hard time to know who we are.

3- The third and most evident characteristic that we have entered a desert time is the confusing feeling that God is somehow silent. He does not seem to hear our prayers, and worse, we cannot really recognize His familiar voice. In the worst cases, some Christians start to even battle with the emotions of loneliness, depression and "spiritual cynicism" that are so very precisely described in the third chapter of Lamentations:

"I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of his wrath. God has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than light; indeed, he has turned his hand against me again and again, all day long. He has made my skin and my flesh grow old and has broken my bones. He has besieged me and surrounded me with bitterness and hardship. He has made me dwell in darkness like those long dead. He has walled me in so I cannot escape; he has weighed me down with chains. Even when I call out or cry for help, he shuts out my prayer. He has barred my way with blocks of stone; he has made my paths crooked. Like a bear lying in wait, like a lion in hiding, he dragged me from the path and mangled me and left me without help. He drew his bow and made me the target for his arrows. He pierced my heart with arrows from his quiver. I became the laughingstock of all my people; they mock me in song all day long. He has filled me with bitter herbs and sated me with gall. He has broken my teeth with gravel; he has trampled me in the dust. I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is. So I say, 'My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the Lord.' I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me."

Of course, the primary reason that we cannot HEAR God is that we cannot SEE ourselves clearly. Since we do not know any more who we really are, we cannot hear God in the same way as before, such that He seems to be silent. In other words, because our identity is being changed, so is the way in which we perceive God.

During that confusing period, many Christians are forced to ask themselves: "What has God really created me for? Who am I now that no one recognizes me any more for what I used to be?" In essence, we struggle with the following question: "Who am I now that I have no past and no future, and how much God means to me in all this?"

3) Finding genuine intimacy and peace with God

There comes a point when eventually our mourning and bitterness must cease. We can either keep on with the depressive feelings of the second phase, or we can cry out to God until we find enduring peace and real intimacy with Him. We cannot remove ourselves from the desert, but we can choose our attitude in it. This, in turn, determines how long we will stay in it.

For instance, most Israelites were meant to go through a short time of wilderness after Egypt, but because they chose idolatry, bitterness and unbelief, their desert became a long process of 40 years and most of them never entered the Promised Land. Deserts are not meant to kill us spiritually, but to prepare us for a better stage in life. They cannot be shortened, but our attitude can make them longer.

This is when we must choose to seek God with a different attitude. This is the kind of situation where we have absolutely no other choice. Either God is nowhere, or God is now here! We desperately need God, and a quick fix through Him will not do it. However long it may take, we must press on through surrender, prayer, worship, fasting or whatever "breakthrough" that works for us, until we finally start to perceive His voice and find real peace.

Now, it is very important that if we are going to seek God, we seek him with the right motivations. Often, even unconsciously, we pursue Him for the following 2 wrong reasons:

1 - The first wrong motivation is to seek Him so that He gives us a precise plan of action of what to do for Him. The reason is that unconsciously we want to do something so at to redefine our lost identity. In itself there is nothing wrong to build our self-esteem through some activity, but there is a danger that we miss the whole point of the desert. During such times God wants us to slow down, take a lot of time in prayer and discover who we really are as we discover who He really is.

At this point in our lives, our being matters more than all our doing. God wants to transform the way we see ourselves through Him. He does this by revealing all the prideful and egocentric motivations we had in our "former life", to show us that He does not see us through our jobs, our positions or even through all the people we loved. In the desert, God does not see us as "the prince of Egypt", as "the preferred son of Jacob", or as "the prophet of Israel". He sees us as we really are - sinners who do not need to prove ourselves to Him or to others.

At the same time, we are not just sinners, but dearly beloved children of His, who have a priceless value to Him. The more we understand this paradox of our identity, the deeper we are being transformed. It is precisely because in desert we have nothing to show for ourselves that we can understand our true value before God. It is a time when our self-esteem cannot be defined by our accomplishments, and therefore we must find it in our intimacy with God.

2 - The second wrong motivation we have in seeking God may be the fact that we seek more temporal and earthly answers than God Himself. Unconsciously, we seek Him to get back the job, the house, the mate, the ministry or the situation that we have lost.

Now, there is nothing wrong with seeking such blessings, but there is always a danger that they become more important than God Himself. Idolatry is never a danger with bad things, but with good ones. We get so much blessed by God that we forget Him and become self-centered and self-deceived. Desert times are meant to bring us back to seek God just for Himself, beyond all that He can give us: the Giver is more important than all His gifts. When a human being has reached the point that God's presence matters more than all other blessings, pleasure and securities in this life, then such a person is truly blessed.

This is why Christians who have endured long times of prison with God usually come out with an authority, a peace and a love that cannot be explained in human terms. This is why God allows even his best people to be thrown in prisons. From time to time the reset button of isolation-desert times needs to be pushed, so that we see life through the Giver rather than through His gifts.

The most obvious sign that we are "successfully" going through the third stage is the sense of peace and surrender that characterizes us. If we can genuinely say to God: "however long you want me to stay in that unchangeable situation, I trust you and praise you for this, because your presence matters more than anything else in my life", than peace will certainly rule in our hearts.

Another sign is that we become transparent and humble. We do not have any more to prove ourselves to anyone.

Another encouraging sign is the miraculous favor of God for our physical needs as we learn to supernaturally depend on God. For instance, Jesus was served by the angels and Elijah was fed by the ravens.

Directly related to this is the ability to walk in the supernatural. Joseph became an expert at giving interpretation of dreams, Moses had his burning bush experience and miraculous signs, and Elijah was raising the dead and multiplying flour and oil.

4) Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and patiently exiting

At the beginning of this final stage, God usually gives us some signs in advance that our situation will end, in order to encourage us. It can be a supernatural revelation, a dream or an intuition that shows us that things will take a different turn, or it can be through people or conditions that give us a clear confirmation of what is already in our hearts. Usually, if we have fully surrendered and not put false hopes in people or circumstances (as we used to do in the early stages of our desert times), then we can recognize God's voice for ourselves.

It is very important in this final phase that we keep on with the same attitude of trust and peace that we had in the third stage, by not forcing out the final outcome. Often, when we see the light at the end of the tunnel, we can be tempted to speed up the final process, instead of having the patience towait on God. He has the perfect timing, and sometimes this final stage of the whole process may take longer than we hoped.

The reason we do not have to speed up things is that desert times usually finish with dramatic turn-around:

After 14 years the slave Joseph becomes prime minister overnight; after 40 years the long forgotten Moses suddenly comes back and within days two nations are completely shaken; after 3-4 years Elijah radically revolutionizes everything in one day at Mt Carmel; after 30 years, Jesus, who is not known before, ends up his desert and starts his ministry with a spectacular demonstration of miraculous power. God may keep us a long time in the waiting, but when He moves, it is fast and with power!

The way I described each sequence may not be as "extreme" for some of us, but they still include the following characteristics:

Summary of the 4 phases

In the first phase, we are progressively or suddenly being removed from our secure environment and role.

This leads us in the second phase in which we experience some "dark night of the soul" as we struggle to find God and our real identity through Him.

The third phase begins by a desperate seeking of God until we finally find surrender, peace and genuine intimacy with God.

In the final stage, we receive early on encouraging signs that the whole process of isolation will eventually finish.

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Ghosts and The Bible

by Donna L. Watkins

After we visited Westover Plantation in Charles City, Virginia, I read more information about it while I was adding historical information to my photos. I happened upon a forum post mentioning the ghosts that have been reported at Westover. I think ghosts are too lightly discussed by people without the understanding that is behind the reality of them.

Let's begin with what was reported at

© 2010 Donna L. Watkins - Westover Plantation House
Charles City, VA
This stately plantation is said to be haunted by the lovely, Evelyn Byrd. Miss Byrd, was born in 1707. She was the daughter of William Byrd II. Mr. Byrd was a very prominent statesmen during the colonial era. He was an advisor to the governor of Virginia and the founder of the city of Richmond, to name just a couple of his jobs during his lifetieme.

Evelyn when she was young, was considered an intelligent child, but on the other hand she was also considered to be spoiled. Although, Evelyn has been dead for over 250 years, many witnesses have reported seeing her at Westover.

When Evelyn turned 10 years old, her father sent her to England to be schooled. It was here that Evelyn fell in love with a man, many historians believe to be, Charles Morduant. But her father was adamantly against the relationship. He ventured as far as telling Evelyn, "as to any expectation you may fondly entertain of a fortune from me, you are not to look for one brass farthing...Nay besides all that I will avoid the sight of you as of a creature detested."

So with heaviness of heart and reluctantly, Evelyn returned to Westover in 1726, forgetting the romance. But William Byrd would live to regret his decision. Because in 1737, Evelyn Byrd, many say died of a broken heart.  Evelyn has been spotted at Westover over the years. The first time was in about 1738, when Evelyn's dear friend, Anne Harrison, saw Evelyn walking towards her in the gardens of Westover.

Another relative of the Byrds, committed suicide here in 1777. William Byrd III was distressed over financial matters and committed suicide at Westover sitting in his favorite chair in his bedroom.  The first wife of William Byrd III, Elizabeth, was killed at Westover when a heavy cabinet fell on top of her, crushing her to death.

It is said that William Byrd III can still be seen at Midnight slumping over his favorite chair in his old bedroom. Elizabeth, it is said, you can hear her wailing still echoing through the halls of Westover, still waiting for someone to help her.

This caused a discussion between my husband and I on why ghosts inhabit such places. Believing them to be actual spirits that obviously did not go to Heaven at the time of death, since "to be 'absent from the body' is to be present with the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:8), we could only assume they were demonic spirits.

Randal decided to do a bit of digging online and after he sent the information to me to read, I thought it would be a good thing to share this topic here on since many people discuss ghosts without knowing anything about them.

So, here's a few links to review:
What Does The Bible Say About Ghosts/Hauntings from
What Does The Bible Say About Ghosts from
What The Bible Says About Ghosts and Psychics from

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Smartphones Tap Into Data With Spyware

Your smartphone may be sharing your secrets. Using 'spyware' that sells on the Internet for as little as $15, other people can hijack your phone. This allows them to hear your calls; see your text messages, e-mails, photographs and files; and track your location through constant GPS updates.

Your phone can even be turned into a surreptitious microphone. 'When the phone is off — in a pocket, purse or on a table — it can remotely be turned on so conversations around the phone can be heard,' says Tim Wilcox, owner of International Investigators Inc., an Indianapolis security firm. Read the entire article.

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Dog Treat Sampler Pack

Dog Treat Sampler Pack from Life's Abundance

In this amazing collection you’ll find:

* Three (3) Antioxidant Health Bars - Oatmeal-Apple Recipe (with oatmeal, flaxseed meal, peanut butter, apples, honey, eggs, cranberries, carrots, vitamin C, beta-carotene and vitamin E)

• Three (3) Gourmet Dental Treats – Honey Peanut-Butter Recipe (featuring harvest grains, top-quality proteins, calcium, vitamin C and parsley)

• Three (3) Wholesome Hearts – Low-Fat Treats (with pumpkin, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, apples, yellow field peas, cranberries, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg)

• One-quarter-ounce of Tasty Rewards Nutritional Training Treats (mouthwatering morsels containing high-quality proteins, lecithin, vitamin B12 and pumpkin seeds)

• One (1) Porky Puff, delicious, hickory-smoked pig snout.

Dogs will rejoice with our Dog Treat Sampler Pack!

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Newsletter - 1/15/11

Hello Friends!

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - White-throated Sparrow
We're not far into winter and I've already had enough, especially with the unusually cold weather we're having, but I can't complain since Central Virginia's temperatures recently have been better than Georgia and Alabama.

I read and study longer in the mornings and work longer in the afternoons to keep from being bored since I am not a fan of winter, but it's a season of life and we need to find the blessings in every situation.

The avian entertainment is one of my winter blessings and they keep me smiling all day, since we have so many birds visiting our front porch.

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Hairy Woodpecker
What a wonderful idea it has been to turn it into a winter bird station for the third year.  Word has definitely been spread about and the new thistle feeders have been a huge hit!  Having the food out of the weather and the birds out of the view of the hawks while feasting is a treat for them, and for me, it makes it easier to fill and change out the water.

Every week or so the squirrel checks out the feeding stations disappointed that there's nothing in them for him, which keeps them available for the hungry birds. The squirrels and ground feeders have their own seed and corn mix on the ground under the overhang around the porch.

Back in the Fall I promised some folks who asked me to put my "scripture cards" on the website, that I would do so as a winter project. I began last week keying in the ones I'd meditated on each day and I will continue to do so until they're all typed in. The first segment (Part One) you will find below.

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Yellow-rumped Warbler
So, how many of you reviewed your dreams as the new year began? Have you ever thought about making up a "dream board." The same person who started me on scripture cards also encouraged people to make dream boards. You could use anything as the board or even use the inside of a pantry or cabinet door; some place that you will definitely view daily to keep those dreams alive. Begin to gather pictures that relate to your dreams.

Dream boards not only keep dreams alive, but it teaches us patience and persistence in prayer. It helps to remind us that we are involved in making dreams come true. They don't just drop out of the sky. Sometimes people give up because they don't see the tiny steps they can do to make their dreams come true because they're unrealistically expecting it to all happen at once dropping down from the open sky.

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins
Male House Finch with Seed in Mouth
Reminds me of when I was growing up and there was discussion of the money tree that did NOT grow outside our door. God gives us creativity and energy to work. We apply our self-discipline and muscle to the tasks. Don't give in and don't give up.

Maybe all you need to do is share your dream "out loud" by adding a comment to this post about it.  I'd love to hear and pray over your dreams along with my own.  If you're in email mode right now, click through to the website post and add your dreams to the comment area below the post.  You can do it "anonymous" but it's important to put a "voice" to your dreams.

Only a month till Valentine's Day.  Not sure why, but I always felt this was my favorite holiday.  Maybe in the simplicity of celebrating it.  It's all about love and that's a free gift we can give everybody.  I also liked the chocolate that came with it, but since I am a recovered chocoholic, it's not part of the celebration, since I quit eating chocolate 12 years ago.  There are many things that can turn into addictions.  That was it for me.


View Posts By Topic

Posts Since The Last Newsletter

My Scripture Cards - Part One  (DLW)

Free Weekend Admission to 100+ National Parks

God's Calling to Come Apart (DLW)

Overcoming Sugar Addiction

Green Tips for 2011

VIDEOS: Polar Bears and Dogs Play

Being 60, Seeking An Adventurous Life #31-35  (DLW)

Computer and TV Time Equals Psychological Problems

Resolve to Do More For Wildlife This Year

Newsletter - 1/1/11  (DLW)

Previous Posts You May Have Missed

Pets Depend on You to Stay Healthy

Plant Therapy for Chronic Diseases

Being 60, Making Life An Adventure #26-30 (DLW)

The Emotional Lives of Animals

Health Risk: Cell Phone Touching Body

Grumble and You Crumble (DLW)

Pain Brings Desire (DLW)

Cat Hairballs and Its Remedy

Doctors Prescribing Nature

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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 The link to use is:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Scripture Cards - Part One

Over the years, I've mentioned my "scripture cards" many times and I get emails asking what they are or where they can be bought. These cards, which began on index cards and now include scraps of paper, envelopes and whatever else is at hand, are Scriptures that I knew in my spirit that I should write down and meditate on.

I have done that in various ways over the years. I've used them to memorize verses and for over a year now I've been meditating on them as I use my rebounder. It's much more fulfilling and rewarding than watching TV while you exercise. Building up your faith is great exercise for the body, soul and spirit.

Numerous people have asked me if I would post them on the website and last year I committed to do so as a winter project. Since I've been doing this since the late 80's there's a lot to type in so I will combine many of them in segments and will make several posts as I get them keyed in. If you'd like to print them, save paper by choosing the ones that are meaningful to you and then copy and pasting them into a document to print. You can then keep it as a sheet or cut them into "cards" to use in any way you desire.

My Scripture Cards - Part One

I believe free will is the delight of sinners, but that God's will is the glory of saints. There is nothing I desire more to get rid of than my own will, and to be absorbed into the will of Him who is most good, most true, most wise, most mighty, seems to me to be heaven. Let others choose the dignity of independence, I crave the glory of being wholly dead in Christ and only alive in Him. (Charles Spurgeon)

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. CHOOSE life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to Him, for He is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers. (Deuteronomy 39:19-20)

You sent Your Word and healed me and delivered me from my destruction. (Psalm 107:20)
Oh Lord, my God, I cried unto Thee and Thou has healed me. (Psalm 30:2)
I am healed. (I Peter 2:24)

I will not fight this spiritual battle on my own strength. I submit myself to God and resist the devil and he will flee from me. (James 4:7) I surrender to and put my trust in my awesome God. (Donna)

They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. (Revelation 12:11) Why do I hurt and why am I offended if I truly love others. I love not my own life unto death, Lord. I surrender to Your love. (Don Mohler)

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh and strength to your bones. (Proverbs 3:7-8) I am strengthened with might by Your Spirit. (Ephesians 3:16) My Lord knows the way through the wilderness. All I have to do is follow. (Unknown)

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; He bestows favor and honor. No good things does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. (Psalm 84:11) Grace is the "divine empowering" that creates the desire and the ability to obey. I confirm Your total control over my life and circumstances for Your purposes. I acknowledge my need and helplessness and I wait for Your impartation of Your enabling strength (grace). I am willing and desire to be obedient. (Wade Taylor)

John 14 - If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. (verse 15) I am in My Father and you in Me and I in you. They who have My commandments and keep them are those who love Me, and those who love Me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal Myself to them. (verse 20b-21) Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not let them be afraid. (verse 27)

I put away all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and I am kind to others, tender-hearted, forgiving others, as God in Christ has forgiven me. (Ephesians 4:31-32) I let no evil talk come out of my mouth, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that my words may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29) I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress. (Psalm 17:3c)

Who Am I? - Ephesians 1-4
I am chosen by You, my Father.
I am holy and without blame.
I am Your child according to the good pleasure of Your will.
I am seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
I am Your workmanship.
I am rooted and grounded in love.
I am renewed in the spirit of my mind.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty, which was and is and is to come. Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for Thou has created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created. (Revelation 4:8, 11) That means You created me on purpose, Lord. You designed and created me for Your pleasure. The LORD My God is with me, He is mighty to save. He takes great delight in me, He quiets me with His love, and rejoices over me with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17) I know and believe the love that God has for us. (I John 4:15)

Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be unto our god forever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 7:12) Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time. (Oswald Chambers)

Take delight in God and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act. (Psalm 37:4-5) In repentance and rest if your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength. (Isaiah 30:15)

I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul. (Matthew 11:28-29)

You are Jehovah-Jireh, the One who meets my need. You are Jehovah-Shammah, the Lord who is present. You are Jehovah-El Shaddai, the Lord who is more than enough. You are Jehovah-Rophe, my healer and you are Jehovah-Nissi, our provider. More information on the names of God.

Continue to Scripture Cards - Part Two

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Free Weekend Admission to 100+ National Parks

By Sarah Roos
Travelzoo Staff, San Francisco

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., more than 100 of the country's national parks will offer free admission this weekend (Jan. 15-17).

Guided tours and outdoor activities from hikes to nature talks will be held Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Some parks will offer discounts on lodging, food and souvenirs.

Participating parks include:

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona (regularly $12-$25)
Yellowstone National Park, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming (regularly $12-$25)
Yosemite National Park, California (regularly $10-$20)
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado (regularly $10-$20)
Everglades National Park, Florida (regularly $5-$10)

Click here to find parks nationwide.

Travelzoo Tip:
Other free admission days this year are April 16-24 (National Park Week), June 21, Sept. 24 and Nov. 11-13.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

God's Calling to Come Apart

by Donna L. Watkins
© 2010 - Female Eastern Pondhawk Dragonfly - Ellel Ministries, Lithia, FL
Have you been hearing this call as you spend time with the Lord? Maybe you don't spend time with the Lord and you've heard Him calling as you sit in traffic, or take a shower, or while you're falling off to sleep after another hectic, busy and doing-filled day. Maybe you're not hearing God at all any more and feel like He has abandoned you. God never abandons us ... we are the ones that walk off the path to follow our own ways.

Jesus said if we love Him, we will obey Him. Do you read the Word daily to know what you are to obey? To know what it means to love Him? We get instant access to so much information it may seem archaic to spend so much time in the same book, but this book is our Instruction Book of Life. Would you attempt to run an intricate complex machine without consulting the manual?

We hit the ground running with enough pride to believe we can figure it out as we run the rat race. Is it no wonder we have one catastrophe after another? Where do you find true peace and joy outside of a relationship with your Creator?

I always said I was born to be a doer, but health issues took a lot of doing out of reach years ago and I was forced to find that God was enough ... or not. I found it was my choice. He is always there for us ... but are we there with Him? He has a still small voice and won't run the rat race with us. He desires to be the most important thing in our life. He desires to provide you with the promises of the Bible, but you can't leave out the qualifications for those promises by quoting the promise without the prerequisite to appropriate it.

God is a holy and just God and He is GOD! The God that made this entire world! We treat Him so lightly and so arrogantly, as if He is to bow to every wish and prayer we have.

©2010 Donna L. Watkins - Great-crested Flycatcher
Mepkin Abbey, Moncks Corner, SC
Oh, how He must grieve for our true love for Him. God always longs for us to be with Him. He made man for relationship and gardens for fellowship with Him. How long has it been since you've walked in the woods, a garden or park and noticed hundreds of things He created just for your pure enjoyment and to show His love for you?

I am grateful that God didn't give up on me and I'm grateful for health problems that allowed me to stop and take more time for what my heart and spirit longed for ... the abiding presence of my Lord. Sometimes our childhoods create within us a need to perform and show how "good" we are because when we grew up somebody continually told us how "bad" we were.

When I look back at my harried and hurried days, I wish I could go back and slow down the tape so that I could really be "there" for my child and even for my grandparents who raised me. I did a lot for them, but I wonder if they cared as much about that as my just being there without doing anything. Life has become a super highway without a speed limit and vanishing rewards for passing as many others on the highway as you can. Worthless rewards of stuff that is dumped in the landfill before it even begins to decays or of titles and positions that mean nothing to your children. What lasting rewards do you get for staying on the fast track?

In the Fall of 2009 I began to hear God loud and clear to come apart. I didn't know what that meant. I was already spending time with Him daily and often more than once a day. I felt I was interested in spiritual things. I kept my spirits high regardless of the fact that Rheumatoid Arthritis was eating up my joints more than one at a time. I had faith for healing and was well acquainted with Scripture memorization and Biblical principles. What was God talking about?

If we come, He will build it. Before the end of 2009, my husband and I both decided there must be something more than just being "spiritual" and made a commitment to set apart more hours in a day for what we verbally considered the most important relationship in our life. What a journey it's been and certainly will be until we get to the Gates of Heaven. There are not words to describe. Since I'm a writer, so often during this season I would ponder how I would put into words what God can do when we give up our lives and follow Him, but there hasn't been a way to describe it.

Jesus is still calling, "Follow Me," and I believe His voice will get louder because He wants a spotless Bride. I don't want to be one of the bridesmaids that didn't bring enough oil and missed the entrance to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. What we become while we're on earth will be what we are for eternity.

When we leave here, our earthly body and mind remains. All we take with us is our spirit at whatever level we've developed it. We weren't put on earth to party and work and accumulate stuff. Hit the exit door to the world of more stuff and tasks and enter in, to a world within our world ... the Kingdom of God.

Wade Taylor's article on this topic is an urgent call to step back and come apart while He is still calling in this present age. The world is going crazy in many ways. The only stability and security we have is to rest in the arms of Jesus. Doesn't your heart long for this? Come apart mentally for a few minutes and read Wade's article: A Call to Come Apart.

Related Article:
Our Personal Coming Apart

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Overcoming Sugar Addiction

Thanks, Ben, for the great advice on sugar addiction introduced by Gwyneth Paltrow on Sugar addiction has certainly been an issue for me, especially chocolate. Since childhood I struggled with the love of chocolate and I certainly knew the power it had over me in my 20's and 30's.

 I struggled to quit in many ways and many times. I would be off of it for months or even years at times, but then I would believe I was off of it long enough to indulge "just one time." That never works ... with alcohol or chocolate or any other addiction. Addictions create a spiritual issue with our soul and spirits since we are to be slaves to nothing.

So, the end of my story is that I did overcome the addiction and November 2010 was twelve (12) years since I've had chocolate. Let me assure you that when you are free, you are free indeed.  I have no cravings at all since I settled the issue.  True Freedom - to love nothing more than the Lord my God! Read My No-Chocolate Anniversary article from 2009 which was 11 years.


In the past generation we’ve seen the amount of sugar we consume grow exponentially. Until recently, we had been eating sugar mainly found naturally in foods. It was used as a treat or in small quantities and was never a problem.

But today, over a third of the calories we consume come from sugar or white flour, which is highly refined and acts just like sugar in our system.

Our bodies cannot cope with such an enormous load. Sugar gives you an initial high, then you crash, then you crave more, so you consume more sugar. It’s this series of highs and lows that provoke unnecessary stress on your adrenals. You get anxious, moody (sugar is a mood-altering drug) and eventually you feel exhausted.

Sugar is also associated with many chronic problems that include decreased immunity, some chronic infections, autoimmune diseases, heart disease, diabetes, pain syndromes, irritable bowel syndrome, ADD, chronic fatigue, and candida.

Research suggests that one of the main causes for decreased immunity is that sugars inhibit the entrance of Vitamin C into white blood cells, which then inhibits immunity. The more sugar, the less productive your white blood cells are and thus, the less immune you are.

Furthermore, sugars stimulate insulin secretion in the pancreas, which in turn stimulates the liver’s triglyceride production. Triglycerides are linked to stroke, heart disease and obesity. The list goes on and on. Dr. Frank Lipman provides us with all the info on how to curb a sugar addiction.

Related Articles
Indulge Yourself

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Be a Backyard Scientist-Naturalist

From Beautiful Wildlife Garden

Becoming an ecologist of your yard, your habitat will help you understand better and as a result, provide the best habitat possible for your specific yard. Perhaps just as important or even more so, you will gain knowledge and data that can be useful to others such as neighbors, the city or conservation organizations.

Participate in Citizen Science
You’re not alone, there are dozens of citizen science projects already ongoing throughout North America. Among the many include:
Participate in them and if you have a local species of concern or interest, start your own project, start local groups, be a local citizen scientist.

Share and Teach
With your expertise, data and experience, share the knowledge with your neighbors, local organizations such as Audubon, parks department, the city or anywhere it can be beneficial. Be confident with your recordings and data to speak at public hearings or to encourage other local homeowners and organizations to participate, especially when discussing a wildlife species on a watch list or threatened status.

With your knowledge you will arm yourself with data to help wildlife not only in your yard, but in your neighborhood, region or in fact the entire world. With many citizen scientists and their data, city planning departments may change that next road placement or have to protect that wetland from a shopping center.

Your data may help a conservation organization or Department of Transportation, plan and design a suitable wildlife crossing for the proper species. In addition, your knowledge and observations will also help to continually improve your own habitat by observing what works and what doesn’t. So go observe, study and record!

This was an excerpt from the entire article at

About the Author:
Kelly Brenner writes The Metropolitan Field Guide, a blog for ideas, thoughts and resources for the design of urban wildlife habitat. She has a landscape architecture degree from the University of Oregon and has studied and watched wildlife from a very young age in the great Pacific Northwest.

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