The Nature In Us Newsletter
"What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart,
and this is what defiles [a man]." -- Jesus (Matthew 15:18)
and this is what defiles [a man]." -- Jesus (Matthew 15:18)
Hello Sweet Friends!
|Donna L. Watkins|
Randal will soon be leaving for his annual visit to Oklahoma to celebrate Father's Day and spend three weeks enjoying Father/Son activities with Benjamin, spending some time with his brother and niece, visiting with high school and college friends, and doing a lot of labor since he will be helping his parents clean out the attic and begin the process of ridding themselves of too much stuff so they can sell their large home and move into something smaller.
I get to have three weeks alone with my favorite roommate, Jesus! The first week is always glorious since there's the silence created with no business activity going on in the house. I can spend hours at a time with my "invisible roommate" without anybody else to consider. I call this my Self-Absorbed Week [grin].
|My Honey and Me - Crabtree Falls - 2012|
In the May 1st issue of this newsletter, I promised a link to the photo album of our visit to Maymont Estate in Richmond, VA. There's been so much going on here with the cicadas and wildlife that I forgot all about working on those pictures to get them up to the gallery in an album. I apologize.
The event was titled, At Home, which included free admission to the mansion. Sadly they did not allow photographs inside the home which belonged to James and Sallie Dooley. There were a lot of beautiful things and the decorating style was quite amazing, but all I could think about was "too much stuff."
Outside they had historical period costume performers which was really nice. Walking the grounds with elegant Victorian ladies and distinguished gentlemen with those huge top hats was fun. Mrs. Dooley loved flowers, so they built a lot of gardens that were quite opulent. We learned a lot about architecture during that time, the late 1800's, and how much hard work it was for the servants to keep a Gilded Age mansion running.
View the entire Maymont photo album of all of our visits, which has parts of the estate that we didn't visit this time, like the Carriage House, Japanese Gardens and Wildlife and Farm Animals Area.
|View Maymont Photo Album|
Period Costume Performers at Maymont Estate
View Enlarged Image
In another part of Virginia ... something else is going on this summer. Many people across the country are familiar with the famed wild ponies of Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, which draw large crowds every summer. A friend told me that there is a book or series of books about these ponies. The herd is now a tourist attraction and the annual Chincoteague Pony Swim is the highlight of summer for visitors.
We've been to Chincoteague since we moved to Virginia a dozen years ago, but never to the Pony Swim. It would make me nervous. I'm always too overly concerned when it comes to animals. What we didn't know was that the Virginia mountains also have wild ponies. Now that sounds much better to me! Nestled in the majestic, rolling slopes of the Appalachians lives a remote colony that half a century has forgotten. In the far reaches of southwestern Virginia, wild ponies playfully scamper across the pristine meadows and enjoy a freedom few animals now experience. Read the whole story!
The excitement in our own backyard for the past month has been the progressive stages of the 17-year cicadas that have emerged. The choruses of cicadas has been ongoing during the daytime hours. Strange that they don't sing at night. The singing is solely to attract females to the chorus trees where the males are for mating. This orchestra can be so loud that it affects human behavior. I read that Indiana University nearly cancelled one of its graduation ceremonies because the cicadas were so loud that the speakers could not be heard. I've been enjoying the sound as I think of their short-lived lives after waiting 17 years in the ground to emerge and reproduce. Another creation of God doing what it was designed to do.
|View All Cicada Images (begin here and click arrows)|
Cicadas Mating on Our Deck
View Enlarged Image
After about 6 to 8 weeks, the eggs hatch within the twigs where they were deposited and the minute cicadas fall to the ground and dig into the soil. There they'll spend the next 17 years feeding from tree roots. I read something written in Eastern Virginia, back in 1920, by entomologist H.A. Allard, it resonated with my own feelings about when this experience will end:
"I felt a positive sadness when I realized that the great visitation was over, and there was silence in the world again, and all were dead that had so recently lived and filled the world with noise and movement. It was almost a painful silence, and I could not but feel that I had lived to witness one of the great events of existence, comparable to the occurrence of a notable eclipse or the invasion of a great comet."
The birds dropped in a couple of Black Locust trees not so long ago and they have really grown, especially the one that gets the most sun. The one along the driveway was beginning to bloom in early May when I took the photo. Drooping clusters of white blossoms soon swung from every twig, from her crown to the lowest limb. I've read that an average full-sized tree produces a few hundred pounds of flowers. Amazing!
|View Our 2013 Garden Photo Album|
Flowering Black Locust Tree
View Enlarged Image
Yep! These blossoms are considered a wild food for humans. It is said that black locust blossoms taste like sweet peas with a hint of vanilla. We don't take advantage of this since we want to see all those flowers turn into seed pods filled with yummy wildlife food. Most people don't like them because the seed pods are messy, but we have not had a problem with them since the deer clean them up during the winter. Seeds also provide food for turkeys, quail, grouse, pheasant and song birds from Autumn to early Spring. We rarely see the turkeys around here, but as you know we have a lot of songbirds.
It seems the weather went from the 40's to the 80's overnight, so it's t-shirt time again here in Central Virginia .... FINALLY! Again I have to decide which t-shirts really need to be converted to rags. Not using paper towels for cleaning makes it a bit easier to cut something up into rags that you really liked since our rag drawer would be empty without them.
There's nothing like an old comfy t-shirt to snuggle into as you prepare for the day. I wanted to share what I've been doing for the past few years when it comes to rag time for my t-shirts. It's not only the comfy feel of the t-shirt, but sometimes there's something really special about what's on the t-shirt, so I decided about four years ago to cut that part out and keep it. I have these cut-outs in my nightstand in a small box so I can still enjoy the memories of the shirt. It's made it a lot easier to "let go."
Summer is surely on its way and although I love the warmer seasons, Summer always reminds me of memories of the beach. I used to be part fish is what my Daddy used to say. When I was growing up I was at the YMCA for every swimming class they had.
We moved when I was a teenager and the city pool was within walking distance and that's where I spent the summer days in Pennsylvania.
However, in 1976 I was diagnosed with vitiligo and that put a stop to loving the sunshine and water. Fortunately I'm very light-skinned so it's not as obvious as on somebody dark-skinned.
|Donna's 30+ Years Old Swimsuit|
Since I've learned that God Wants You Well (video series), I've been motivated to know and experience more and more about our Abba Daddy's love for us, so that I can have the healing that has already been provided by Jesus in the spirit realm, manifest and come forth in the physical realm. Vitiligo has no physical pain associated with it so all the years that I've dealt with rheumatoid arthritis that did come with pain, was much more of a focus than the vitiligo.
But now! I wanted a visual reminder of being at the beach again so I can meditate on that and see myself there, so I got out my bathing suit and strung it up on the chest in the bedroom. Granted it's more than 30 years old, but that only means it's had enough time for it to come back in style. Maybe not ... my friend, Elva, tells me you don't see much of any clothing on bodies at the beach. When I get to go play in the sand and run in the surf, it will not be at peak season for sure. I will probably choose a piece of beach that is part of a wildlife preserve or park. I just want the experience in the sunshine to check it off on my long list of what I'm going to do as I become more and more healed. Dreaming is a good thing! God wants us to dream. What we picture and think about becomes who we are.
My friend Louise who died years ago always talked about and did "dream boards." She encouraged people to cut out pictures of things they wanted to do and put them on poster board with words and Scripture and then hanging them in a very visible spot. She had many dreams come true from doing dream boards. She was an inspiration to so many. One of those people you didn't know you'd have a hard time living without until they were gone.
|I Simply Love This Picture!|
So many people don't believe that God loves them. Maybe Jesus, but not God, but Jesus said many times that He was here to show us the Father. I John 4:8 tells us that "God is love." Jesus told Philip in John 14:9, "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father." The whole New Testament is filled with actions of love and compassion. Jesus healed everywhere He went. He didn't have to pray over them to know whether it was the Father's will. He knew it was His will and healed in many different ways, but never by prayer because He already knew the will of the Father was that God Wants You Well [the book that rocked my beliefs about healing].
We have the Creator of the Universe as our Abba Daddy and He can hold the entire universe in the span of His hand. That should take your mind off of any troubles you're having, to know that He is always with you directing and guiding you to make the right choices so you can walk in the abundant life that Jesus died to give us. Renewing the mind ... sometimes it seems like a lifelong journey ... it is! :-)
Until next issue ....
May You Receive An Abundance of Blessings!
P.S. Know somebody who needs to see something in this newsletter? You can share this post from the website at the bottom of the post. Look for the little white envelope. Thanks for sharing!
View Posts By Topic
Posts Since Last Newsletter
God Answers Every Prayer
Nonnative Plants: Ecological Traps
Does Open-Heart Surgery Really Work?
Free Photography Workshops at National Parks
Don't Miss God's Supply (DLW)
How Can Birds Sing Without Pausing To Breathe?
Feline Illness - FeLV and FIV
Spring Cleaning Tips for Backyard Birds
Newsletter - 5/15/13 (DLW)
Previous Posts You May Have Missed
Doubt Comes Gradually
Ten American Native Plants You Can Eat
What Happens To Young Birds When They Leave Their Nests
Through The Name of Jesus (DLW)
Pentagon to Court-martial Christians
Soaring Bee Deaths Decrease Pollination of America's Plants
A Bear, A Bridge, and God
RECALL: Many Brands of Pet Food
Safe Handling Tips for Pet Products
Tips for Gorgeous Garden Photos
Newsletter - 5/1/13 (DLW)
Jesus Used The Word As A Weapon
Be a Friend to Bees
Will Animals Be In Heaven?
The Birthday Kindness Movement
Coming To The End of Myself (DLW)
Gigi's Herbal Heartworm Success Story (DLW)
Dangerous Pesticides Found in Celestial Seasonings Tea
Frogs Need Our Help, So Hop to It!
Newsletter - 4/15/13 (DLW)
The Positive Impact of Religion on Health
Loneliness Taxes Immune System
Oppressed By The Devil (DLW)
Grow Your Own Birdseed
Outdoor Exercise is Best!
Natural Remedies for Swollen Feet & Ankles
73 Million Packages of Poisoned Bird Seed Sold
Long-term Sad Effects of a Happy Meal
His Great Love For Us
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