Thursday, June 27, 2013

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

by Donna L. Watkins

Yellow-billed Cuckoo
What a delight to get to see this bird in a tree out from our breakfast window. I began taking photos but the windows have so many decals on them (so birds don't hit the window) that it's hard to get an empty space when you consider the window has grills in it also. So I wasn't happy with the photos I took, but salvaged a couple that weren't too bad.

It's really rare to see one of these birds which inhabits woodlands with dense vegetation and is quite secretive. It's much easier to hear their song. Listen to this vocal recording.

This bird waits for long periods motionless watching for prey to come by, and then they run and dash to catch the prey.  They are common in southeastern United States, but populations are declining. They are rare in the West and listed as endangered in California due to destruction of the woodland habitat.

© Donna L. Watkins
Yellow-billed Cuckoo - "Praise the Lord, I Get to Live"
View Enlarged Image
The first time I saw this bird was not a pleasant experience since it had hit the deck door because a hawk was chasing it. It died in my hands. Very sad with such a beautiful bird that I'd never seen before.

One of the amazing things about this bird is that the entire period from egg to fledgling is a total of 17 days. Quite incredible! Within a week of hatching with shiny black skin with no down, the feathers of the young birds simply burst out of their sheaths, allowing the nestling to become fully feathered in about two hours. The word amazing seems to fit well with this bird.

The diet consists of large insects, caterpillars, and some fruits and seeds. We have plenty of all of that here in our wildlife habitat. Right now there are fuzzy Buck Moth caterpillars all over the place.

Both parents build the nest, incubate the 1 to 5 eggs, and brood the nestlings in equal proportions except at night the male rests on the nest alone. They incubate and brood equally during the day, but the male takes the night shift. It was a surprise to me to read that they sometimes lay an egg in another species nest. Sounds like the Cowbird, but at least they lay it in a nest where the birds are about the same size and appetite.

© Donna L. Watkins
Yellow-billed Cuckoo - "Thank You, Ma'am"
View Enlarged Image
It's been found that they have laid eggs in at least 11 different species, most commonly the Black-billed Cuckoo, but also in the nests of robins, wood thrush and catbirds. Seems the Yellow-billed Cuckoo receives a deposit from a Cowbird now and then, so maybe it's a nasty behavior learned from one of its peers.

The second time I saw this bird a hawk again chased it into the deck door but it didn't hit as hard and flew back and landed on the ground. I immediately went out to protect any further attacks and was greeted with an amazing display. I instantly thought of the bird offering up praise to God for surviving the attack and for the "angel" who came out to be sure it had time to recuperate.

Later the bird resumed a normal position on the ground and gave me a "thank you" and "see you later" look before flying off.

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Tenacity Of a Black Willow Tree

by Donna L. Watkins

Have you considered planting a Black Willow tree? Here's a story to consider ....

Black Willow Two Years Ago
View Enlarged Photo
About ten years ago a couple of Black Willow trees dropped into our yard and it was perfect timing since we had a wet area in front of the garage portion of the house that needed something that wouldn't "drown" in that spot.

We had already lost a dogwood tree before realizing that we had a pretty wet spot there. As it grew we had to keep cutting branches off since it wanted to spread out and we didn't want the branches reaching into the porch beside it or have any roof damage.

It dropped hundreds of twigs into the 9 holly bushes and all over the walkway and ground each Spring and Fall. I considered it good exercise, but each year got worse as it took many hours on many days to get all the twigs up one by one.

But, I simply couldn't imagine taking it down. The birds delighted in resting there (not that they didn't have numerous other trees, but they seemed to like the maze of branches. The White Admiral Butterfly laid eggs on it , but we had plenty of other host plants it preferred.

Flower Bed Border Made with Willow Branch Logs
View Enlarged Image
It became evident when the tree had outgrown the roof line that we were going to have some serious problems now that it was growing beyond the reach of our tallest ladder.

With all the hours I'd spent with the willow twigs I added that to the list of concerns trying to convince myself that we had to do this. We had already cut off large portions of the tree to keep it from reaching for the roof, but it was just a tree that loved to spread out.

It was also now blocking the sun from the front flower beds by the walkway which had plants that needed sun to bloom, so it was affecting our hummingbird and butterfly situation too, besides bees and wasps.  Since we garden for wildlife, it soon became apparent that the number of reasons were mounting against it.

Willow Logs Are Still Growing
Two Months After Being Cut From Tree
View Enlarged Image
It wasn't easy but I finally pronounced the judgement and made sure I wasn't present when Randal cut it down on April 13th. I comforted myself having decided to use the wood from the branches to make logs that would put a pretty border around the rear flower bed we viewed from the breakfast area window.

He cut up the big branches into small logs and built a border around the verbenas that we have put in last Fall. But that didn't seem to be the end of it. Those little log pieces began to grow as if they were a tree, even though they had no roots. 

The photo was taken two months after the tree was cut down. It makes me want to cry to see it so determined to live and not die. I dead-head the verbenas every week and talk to those little logs. How silly is that!?

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Know Your Spiritual Gifts

Introduction to Spiritual Gifts

It has been said, "He who buries his talent is making a grave mistake."

How true this statement is for so many Christians. God has given each believer a spiritual gift that He wants us to use for His glory, but we often don't use it. We may deny that we actually have a spiritual gift or if we do acknowledge it, we may doubt its usefulness to glorify God, and then just bury it. But we must realize that God wants us to be involved with His work. He is so gracious that by His Holy Spirit He freely distributes gifts to all who are saved. He not only wants us to know our spiritual gifts, but He expects us to grow in them each day.

The Bible says in Ephesians 4:7 "But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift." Also in 1 Corinthians 12:7 it says "To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good." Then in verse 11 it states "But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills." So it is clear that each Christian has a spiritual gift. You may ask, So what are they for? How do I use my gift (or gifts)? Does God really want to use me?

Let us first look at the question: Why do we have spiritual gifts at all? This will help us to determine the importance of the gifts. To answer this let's take a look at Scripture. In Acts 1:8, Jesus says, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."

Here He is sharing with us a primary purpose of the gifts of the Spirit: to give the church power in order to preach Christ to the entire world. Paul says another purpose of the gifts is to equip the church for "building up the body of Christ" (Ephesians 4:12). He also reminds us in 1 Corinthians 14:12 that, "So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church." Therefore our goal should be to establish, build, and uplift the church with our gifts.

Still this doesn't quite answer the big question of why. Why build up the church? For this answer lets again see what the Word says. Revelation 4:11 says, "Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by your will they existed and were created." Colossians 1:16 says, "For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him."

We exist to glorify God. We were created by, through and for Jesus Christ. To testify of His love, grace, and power. God wants to reconcile with us through His son Jesus, and not only with us, but all of His chosen people! That is why we, by His Spirit, are called to be a part of His work on earth. In John 15:8 Jesus says, "By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples." By bearing much fruit, we glorify God, and we can do this by abiding in Him and using our gifts to serve Him and bring others to Christ.

Why you?

You are a special part of the body of Christ. If you are a Christian and are not serving in some way, the church as a whole suffers. It's like missing a part of the body. You may be able to live a normal life with just 9 out of 10 fingers, but you wouldn't be able to do certain things as well as you would like. The truth is, the body of Christ has missing parts. They are attached but are missing in action. The church is called the "body of Christ" for a reason. We are connected by our faith in Jesus Christ and sealed by the Holy Spirit.

Being members of the body, we need to work together. In 1 Corinthians 12:12 it says, "For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ." And in verse 14, "For the body is not one member, but many." Each of us is a specific body part. It sounds strange but it is a great analogy of the church.

In verse 27 Paul says, "Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it." If you read verses 13-27 you will see that Paul affirms the importance of each member. He also declares that we need each member to function properly as a whole body. He says, in verse 26, "And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it."

You glorify God by getting involved.

God wants to use you! He has chosen you for the purpose of doing great things for Him. In Ephesians 2:10 it says, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." God already has plans for you. He wants you to listen to His calling and make yourself available to serve. Not only that, He expects you to use the gifts He has given you.

In Matthew 25:14-30 Jesus tells the parable of the talents. It is a parable about stewardship of the grace that God has given to all believers. In the story, a talent equaled about 75 pounds of coinage and would be the equivalent of 15 years of normal wages for one person. This was an enormous responsibility for each of the servants to bear. The master was leaving on a journey and to one of his servants he gave 5 talents, to another 2 talents, and to another 1 talent according to their ability.

What happened when the master came back to settle accounts was this: The first two servants had put the money to use and were able to double their amounts and present the master with his principal and profits. But the servant with one talent hid his master's money and was afraid to use it. His talent was taken from him and given to the one who had ten talents. This parable shows us that Christ wants us to use the gifts He has provided to us, not to bury them. Spiritual gifts are also called "grace gifts" and should be valued as gifts of God's grace toward us. We are called to "bear much fruit" that lasts, and our spiritual gifts play a significant role in doing that.

So what's next?

The first step is to pray. Pray for God's guidance and ask Him to use you for His will. Ask Him to open your eyes and ears to His call on your life. He will undoubtedly put some direction or calling upon your heart. There are many existing places and ministries to serve in, or He may tell you to start a whole new one! Whatever God calls you to do, be confident that He will provide a way for it.

Discover your gifts. You may already know what your spiritual gifts are. But, if you don't, or just want to clarify what they are, we have both adult and youth spiritual gifts tests to help you find out. These [FREE] tests do not guarantee what gifts you have, but they are helpful tools for you to get an idea of how you are gifted.

We encourage you to take the test, and then talk to other Christians in your church or community to assist you in discovering your gifts. Try serving in different ministries to see what fits and how you can glorify God in your gifts. God may have given you gifts that you didn't think you could ever have. Or He may transform some of your known talents into spiritual gifts. He will provide gifts for you to accomplish every goal He has for your life. Our spiritual gifts are to be developed as we mature. Philippians 1:6 says, "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." Don't be afraid of what He will do with you. Step out in faith and let Him use you. The rewards will be great.

Find a church.
If you are not attending a church, find one that is Spirit-filled, teaches the Bible and glorifies Christ. Also, if you are not sure what specific ministry you are led to serve in, but you know what gifts you have, make sure that there is a place for you to serve there. God will use your service to strengthen your gifts and will work out the details in His time.

Be faithful, bold and humble.
Faithfully serve in the small things and allow God to work in and through your life at His pace. Boldly use your spiritual gifts whenever needed, and humbly seek after His kingdom and righteousness.

Be a good steward of your gifts.
God says if you are faithful with few things He will make you a steward over many things. 1 Peter 4:10 says, "As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace." Use your spiritual gift or gifts at every opportunity to show the love, grace and power of God to others. This will produce fruit that remains and will glorify Him.

Most of all, love.
Use your gifts in love for the glory of God and the building up of His church. 1 Corinthians 13:13 says, "But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love." Put on love in every situation and every time you serve, may God be the focus.

Learn more.
Check out the Spiritual Gifts and FAQs pages for definitions and descriptions of each spiritual gift and answers to common questions.

Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory, for the sake of Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness! Psalm 115:1

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

19 Years and No Pet Food Recalls!

By Donna L. Watkins

It is so heartbreaking every time I hear of another recall from the mega-pet food industry brands like Natura's 3rd recall within the past 12 months.  There's simply no excuse for that!

Regardless of what brand you go with, make it one that's never had a recall, PLEASE!  Take the time to search this out as we did.  In the end it will save a lot of heartache and pain for both of you!  Life's Abundance has NEVER HAD A RECALL!

Our Kitty, Squeek aka Kitty Girl
This is why we are so passionate about getting the word out about Life's Abundance pet foods. We left store-bought brands behind in the early 80's and have been horrified at the number of deaths, severe illness and are also concerned about those who didn't have a full reaction since these toxins take a toll on the body regardless.

We began selling Life's Abundance so friends and customers at our shop could have a true "natural" option in a world where the word natural has nothing to do with quality.

That brings up another perk with a truly natural human-grade pet food; your pets will eat less of it and be healthier. We don't have to use tick and flea treatments and it's a rare thing to have a vet visit.  You are what you eat applies to animals also.

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Lord Is A Strong Tower

by Donna L. Watkins
"The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous run into it, and are safe." Proverbs 18:10

Donna at Brookgreen Gardens
Murrells Inlet, SC
This Scripture has been of such great comfort to me many times and very useful. Have you ever had one of those days when you feel like the devil has you cornered? He just doesn't seem to take a break from attacking you. You want to run into the arms of Jesus and bury your face and fill your heart with His peace. Sometimes I imagine doing that. I visualize it and it makes me realize that He is always there, in the good times, in the bad times ... always!

I came across this Scripture one day while I was in my Bible and it stood out to me. You know how you've read over a verse numerous times and then one day it just jumps out at you! This one was it on that day. Talking about visualizing ... this is a good one for that. The NAME of the Lord is a strong tower. The power in that name!

View Enlarged Image
The Brick Church Tower
Jamestown's sole surviving 17th-century structure.
Historic Jamestown National Park, Virgina
Strong towers were built in Bible times for defense. Picture a tower with thick walls and an enforced door up on a hill. It looks like a place of safety and refuge. These towers were erected in the wilderness for the security of the shepherds and to keep marauders away (2 Chron. 26:10) and they also formed part of the defenses of fortified cities (2 Chron. 14:7). Military machines for shooting arrows and stones were mounted on them (2 Chron. 26:15). Citizens found refuge in them when sore pressed by an enemy (Judges 9:51). Within the massive walls the inmates were secure. From the top missiles could be advantageously discharged at the opposition.

The name of the Lord is a strong tower that His children can run into, knowing that He will keep us safe. We exchange our weakness for His strength, our helplessness for His hope, our despair for His peace.

When you have a day or a season of days where you feel too attacked to lift a finger in defense, don't forget the power of the name of the Lord. If we can barely raise our head above water, one Word will bring the armies of Heaven to fight for us. That Word is Jesus!

 There were many in the Bible who called out, "Son of David! Have mercy on me!" The Lord was compassionate to all. He understands what is in your heart without a word from you. Run to this tower, enter in and be at peace, sound and secure against all the arrows of the enemy. You are safe!

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Cardboard Gardening

by Stacy Tornio

And, as anyone who has ever tended a patch of tomatoes can attest, it’s alarmingly easy to spend a lot of money on a garden. So you can imagine my excitement when I discovered a super cheap, super simple way to have a better garden. Cardboard!

A couple of years ago, I heard that cardboard made a good foundation for new garden beds, so that fall I grabbed a few recycled boxes, flattened them in the backyard and waited. In spring, when it came time to plant, the cardboard had broken down and I had a lovely new garden bed of rich soil, ready for planting.

Something that’s free, easy and makes for a better garden? I was hooked ...

But what if cardboard is more than just mulch or a weed barrier? What if it’s the key to a whole new approach to gardening. A few brainstorming sessions later with the Birds & Blooms staff and experts, and we had a laundry list of ideas for our new approach ... Read the entire article.
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The Health Benefits of Smiling

“Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” ~ Mother Teresa

It’s so easy in our everyday lives to become consumed by all the things we have to do, as well as the financial pressures we must endure when money is tight. Feeling down and negative about it all, from time to time strikes all of us, but even when you feel your own stress building up inside you, did you know that perhaps the very best thing you can do is put on a happy face?

Yes, even if it means you have to force a phoney smile.

We feel good whilst smiling and we feel good when we are smiled at. Recently however, studies have shown that the simple, natural act of smiling actually helps our health by lowering our heart rate and relieving our stress levels.

An interesting study from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, required participants to hold a variety of facial expressions while enduring stress-provoking situations. The researchers ... Read entire article.

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Bumps & Lumps on Pets

by Dr. Jane Bicks
Of all the reasons pet parents take their dogs and cats to the veterinarian, skin problems rank near the top. Even though many atypical growths are benign, any suspicious growths should be examined by a medical professional.

For those wanting to know more about skin abnormalities, Dr. Jane’s post addresses some of the finer points. What symptoms should you look for if you’re worried it could be a serious problem? What can you expect to happen at the vet’s office when inspecting a skin problem? These questions and more are covered in this article.

If your pet kid is dealing with a ‘bumpy lumpy’, or if you just want to be better prepared should it happen at some future point, we encourage you to read Dr. Jane's post now ...

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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Newsletter - 6/15/13

The Nature In Us Newsletter

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"Until you make peace with who you are
you'll never be content with what you have." -- Doris Mortman

Hello Sweet Friends!

Donna at Brookgreen Gardens
Murrells Inlet, SC
Quite awhile back I was contacted by a professor who was doing a book on beetles. He had seen one of my photos on a particular beetle and asked if it could be included. No payment, but a free copy of the book when published. Since I never intended to sell my photos, that works for me!  I have people telling me all the time that I need to sell my photos, but taking photographs is a hobby, something fun to do, not something that I want to consider work. I have enough "work" areas of my life, this one is a simple pleasure.

When somebody contacted me for use of the photo for the book, "Beetles of Eastern North America," it was a simple yes in response. All I had to do was send him the full-size image and it was done. Allowing use of the photo would render me a free book, so I was very excited. A couple weeks ago I received the "Permission Request For Images" form to sign, so it's moving right along. Expected publication date is 2014. The book will be about 550 pages and will sell for $30-35. It makes me smile! Especially since this is the year that I've been delivered from the fear of June Bugs, which was based on a trauma I had in my early 20's in Mexico. Now I can pick them up if I need to "relocate" them.

Consider this: Before the age of 42 I had been totally terrified of bugs and could do no more than stand on a chair and scream or run. Isn't God amazing and faithful! Twenty years ago I was delivered from my extreme fear of bugs.  When we trust Him to take away our fears, He will do it when we begin to change what we think about those fears. 

It was when we moved to the woods and I fell in love with so many new things in His Creation that I realized a fear of bugs was not going to fit, so I determined to change my mind on the topic and look at bugs differently. My mind was rewired on that fear and it's been a wonderful experience. I am now totally in love with bugs. Roaches? Yeah, they kinda freak me out, but I can capture it in a cup and put it out. Notice I say "it" because we have wood roaches, not the German kind that arrive in swarms.

© Donna L. Watkins - Squirrel With Watermelon
View Enlarged Image
If you're into gardening, I read a couple of great ideas for containers. Since the deer eat a lot of plants I love, we've got a deck full of pots to hold plants we can't keep in the ground here. Fortunately the deer don't come on the deck, although they have at other people's homes. We put our fruit and veggie scraps out for the wildlife and they enjoy some of them, especially melons of all kinds. I cut off the rind on cantaloupes and honeydews when cutting them up and there's enough flavor and food value in them for the deer. When I finish eating watermelon, I cut up the rind since they really like that. Even the squirrels enjoy the watermelon.

Well ... back to the container ideas. Have you seen those huge tubs with rope handles? Somebody suggested removing the rope handles and drilling holes in the bottom for drainage. They cost about $7 compared to a huge pot that might be $65-70. The person mentioning it painted them with colorful flowers also. The other one I liked was to fill an old wheelbarrow full of dirt and plants. Then you could move it about for a point of interest spot in your garden. Again, you could spray paint it and paint flowers on the outside also.

I mentioned in the last newsletter that I was concerned about not seeing any baby birds. Since then they have been popping up all over. We have wee little ones from the chipping sparrow family, house finch, downy woodpecker, cardinal, and brown thrasher. This cutie seemed to be delighted with one of the stepping stones. Although it flew away when it saw me with the camera the first time, it returned to continue its antics on the stepping stone and I got a shot between the plants it thought was hiding it. I love these birds after having an up-close-and-personal experience with one.

© Donna L. Watkins - Brown Thrasher
View Enlarged Image
In 2007 I was working at the dining room table and a male (assuming by its behavior) came to the front porch table that was pressed against the window. It was early morning and the sun was shining in on the porch so he must've seen his reflection and thought of it as another male. 

He entertained me for over 20 minutes, although he didn't seem to even know I was there, much less that I had taken 50 pictures of which I ended up with 33 to keep. It is a sweet memory I have treasured since then. View photo album:  Romanced By a Brown Thrasher

The cicada chorus has stopped in our back woods. It had been slowing down as we entered into the month of June and I was seeing a lot of them dead on the ground. Sad ... such a short life and now the offspring have 17 years in the ground before they can emerge and follow the same pattern. We had rain all day on the 5th and until afternoon on the 6th and when it stopped raining I realized there were no more cicada songs from the forest. Definitely a bit of sadness.

I had taken a video of a crow that was right outside our front door on a tree branch and although I was inside the house shooting through a window you could hear the cicada songs loudly competing with the crow.
View Video:  Crow & Cicada Chorus.

© Donna L. Watkins - Female Whitetail Dragonfly
View Enlarged Image
I've been seeing a lot of dragonflies and damselflies lately. Seems to be the time of the year for it here in Central Virginia. My friend, Robin, and I really enjoy them. They look like such cute things with those big eyes and many times brilliant colors. View Male Eastern Pondhawk Dragonfly. There's a link on the description for you to see the more colorful male.

Our small frog pond in the backyard provides the habitat they need to mate and for the female to lay her eggs on a plant in the pond or she will sometimes simply drop them into the water. There's also a method called "pond dipping" where the female continually "beats" the water as she is laying eggs. I was able to get a half-minute video of this last June.  
View Video:  Dragonfly Pond Dipping.

Eight years ago today our cat, Skipper, went on to my cottage in Heaven. Of course, Randal would argue that he will be at his place, but we don't argue, so we will just wait and see. Maybe our places will be next to each other and Skipper will belong to both cottages. Skipper was the first of my eight cats to steal Randal's heart. 

 The cats of the household were always considered mine. Not that Randal didn't enjoy them, but he had never had a cat growing up (only dogs), so he wasn't trained in kitty language.That didn't stop Skipper at all. 

I think he decided early on that he was going to win this man's heart. And he did! I suppose one of the reasons was that he humbled himself and became like a dog. He would come when called and would jump up on Randal's lap when requested. 

Our Precious Kitty, Skipper aka Kitty Boy
View Enlarged Image
What dedication Skipper had to his goal of being Top Kitty to the Top Man of the house. He loved to sleep and snuggle and would lie in the most unusual positions, as you can see from the photograph.

I thought I'd share a girl tip, but most likely everybody out there knows about this even though I only found out a few years back. Did you know when your mascara brush gets really dry and seems to be out of mascara, there's still a lot more in there? It just dries out from the air that goes in when we stick and pull that wand in and out. I recently added water to mine for the second time and it's fresh and dark again. Amazes me every time so that's why I had to share.

Yes, I am aware that they tell you to throw old cosmetics away due to concern about bacteria, but I'm thinking the "they" are the cosmetic companies. If I was going to worry over bacteria, I wouldn't have time in any day to do anything else. I've always used my makeup until it's gone and have never had any skin problems or eye infections.

When you consider the chemicals in many of the makeup brands, that would be a more major concern if you want to worry. I've used many cruelty-free (not animal tested) brands in the past 20 years, but found a brand online that's really exciting since it uses fruits and botanical as ingredients. When I went to get the link for 100%, I noticed the mascara I have has been featured on the Today show. Nice! I'm sure this is the brand that Eve used in the Garden. :-)

I have an aunt in Pennsylvania that is a kindred spirit.  She lives in the woods and greatly enjoys all the wildlife around her and provides a "cabin" for a number of stray cats that she has had spayed and neutered.  Heart of gold when it comes to loving animals.  

She sent me a book years ago which I used last year when I was going through my heart battle.  It has amazing photographs of God's Creation, and lyrics to a hymn, and a Scripture.  The rest of the space is for journaling.  I wrote in all the Scriptures that people sent me and all that I found in God's Word about healing and hearts.  This made it an instant source of strength when I would be jolted awake from not being able to breathe.  It kept my mind in the Word and in faith since it was so easy to stay focused on God's Truth with all of that before me.  I wanted to share one of his comments from the book:

For as we rejoice in God's creation and extol Him for the works of His hands and the words of His mouth, we act as a mirror that reflects the glory of those creations back to their Creator. -- Ric Ergenbright from Reflections, Devotional From The Art of God.  

Isn't that awesome!?  We reflect glory back to God, our Abba Daddy.  We honor Him by rejoicing in the works of His hands.  If you look at this book, be sure to check out Ric's other books in this series ... amazing!

Here's a tidbit of information to close with.  Don't cut yourself short on sleep hours.
Sleeping only 4-5 hours a night induces mental impairment equivalent to a blood alcohol level above the legal driving limit. (Reference:

Until next issue ....

Receive An Abundance of Blessings!

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Posts Since Last Newsletter

Living Holy Lives

Butterflies and Other Invertebrates  (DLW)

Great American Backyard Campout

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Understanding the Trinity

by Andrew Wommack
John 8:19 "Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also."

The scriptures teach Jesus' oneness with the Father. This oneness is more than singleness of purpose and actually denotes "a single one to the exclusion of others" as in the statement, "There is one God" (1 Tim. 2:5).

This truth is so well established in scripture that some people make no distinction between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit but believe they are simply one God expressing Himself in three different ways. However, Jesus makes a distinction between Himself and His Father here and uses Himself and His Father as two different witnesses to fulfill the requirement of Deuteronomy 17:6. Jesus would have been deceiving these Jews if there was no distinction between His Father and Himself; and yet, they are one (Jn. 10:30; 1 Jn. 5:7). This is a great mystery and yet a very well established fact in scripture.

One of the great statements of the Old Testament from Deuteronomy 6:4 says, "The Lord our God is one Lord." We do not have three Gods, but one God, clearly identifiable as three persons. This is a great mystery, which has not been adequately explained. Scriptures reveal the truth of the Trinity, but make no attempt to explain it. We simply accept this revelation as it is, until we know all things, even as we are known (1 Cor. 13:12).

Jesus said that the witness of His Father was the greatest testimony of who He was. Everyone can hear His testimony of Jesus through the scriptures.

Moses and all the Old Testament prophets spoke of the coming of Jesus, and Peter said the written word of God was a more sure word of prophecy than the audible voice of God. Read the Word today.

Visit Andrew's website.

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Cleansing * Weight Loss

Roundup Carcinogenic Facts Increase

An alarming new study finds that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup weedkiller, is estrogenic and drives breast cancer cell proliferation in the parts-per-trillion range.

Does this help explain the massive mammary tumors that the only long term animal feeding study on Roundup and GM corn ever performed recently found?

An alarming new study, accepted for publication in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology last month, indicates that glyphosate, the world's most widely used herbicide due to its widespread use in genetically engineered agriculture, is capable of driving estrogen receptor mediated breast cancer cell proliferation within the infinitesimal parts per trillion concentration range.[i]

The study, titled, "Glyphosate induces human breast cancer cells growth via estrogen receptors," compared the effect of glyphosate on hormone-dependent and hormone-independent breast cancer cell lines, finding that glyphosate stimulates hormone-dependent cancer cell lines in what the study authors describe as "low and environmentally relevant concentrations."

The results were broken down by the researchers as follows ... Read the entire article.

Here's a few ideas for a non-toxic way to kill weeds:

Using Salt to Kill Weeds 
Gardening With Vinegar
Using Sugar to Kill Weeds in Lawn
Using Cornmeal to Kill Weeds and Ants

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

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

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Living Holy Lives

by Andrew Wommack
JOHN 5:1-15

John 5:14, "Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee."

In saying this, Jesus shows that sin causes the tragedies that come into our lives. The reason for holiness in the life of the believer is that when we obey sin, we yield ourselves to Satan, the author of that sin. Yielding to sin is yielding to a person - Satan. God doesn't impute the sin to us but the devil does. Our actions either release the power of Satan or the power of God in us.

Although God is not imputing our sins unto us, we cannot afford the luxury of sin because it allows Satan to have access to us. When a Christian sins and allows the devil opportunity to produce his death in their life, the way to stop it is to confess the sin, and God who is faithful and just, will take the forgiveness that is already present in our born again spirit and release it in our flesh. This removes Satan and his strongholds.

The sins of a Christian don't make him a sinner any more than the righteous acts of a sinner make him righteous. Sin is a very deadly thing that even Christians should avoid at all costs, but it does not determine our standing with the Lord. A person who is born again is not "in" the flesh even though he may walk "after" the flesh.

What is the motive for living a separated life? We live a separated life because our nature has been changed. We were darkness, now we are light (Eph. 5:8). Many people argue for holiness in order to obtain relationship with God.

We need to live holy lives because of the relationship that we already have. It's the nature of a Christian to walk in the light and not in darkness. If Christians were rightly informed of who they are and what they have in Christ, holiness would just naturally flow out of them. It's their nature. It's our nature.

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Butterflies and Other Invertebrates

by Donna L. Watkins

Donna at Brookgreen Gardens
Murrells Inlet, SC
There's always something new to learn each day.  It's astounding the amount of information that roams around the world.  A friend left me one of her newsletters on The Xerces Society.  It's a nonprofit organization that protects butterflies and all invertebrates through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat.

The society was named for the Xerces Blue Butterfly (Glaucopsyche xerces), the first butterfly in the United States known to have become extinct as a result of human activity.  This small, beautiful creature was once common on the San Francisco Peninsula's sandy dunes, where its host plants, lupine and deerweed, grew.  The expanding metropolis eventually overwhelmed this delicate coastal habitat, and the butterfly was last seen in 1941.

When I read that I just cried.  To think of anything that God made becoming extinct, when we were told to steward His Creation, makes me sad.  There's been so much of what God gave us for beauty and all that He made has His imprint on it.  Each having a purpose to show us something about the creativity and love of our Heavenly Father.

Butterflies, dragonflies, beetles, worms, starfish, mussels, and crabs are but a few of the millions of invertebrates at the heart of a healthy environment.  I never knew there was an organization dealing specifically with this segment of Creation that is so critical to all of our habitats.

Invertebrates build the stunning coral reefs of our oceans; they are essential to the reproduction of most flowering plants, including many fruits, vegetables, and nuts; and they are food for birds, fish, and other animals.

Yet invertebrate populations are often imperiled by human activities and rarely accounted for in mainstream conservation.

Over the past three decades, they have protected endangered species and their habitats, produced ground-breaking publications on insect conservation, trained thousands of farmers and land managers to protect and manage habitat, and raised awareness about the invertebrates of forests, prairies, deserts, and oceans.Visit the Website For More Information.

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