Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Nagging Ruins Even Healthy Relationships

The Wall Street Journal recently claimed that nagging — which the WSJ defines as "the interaction in which one person repeatedly makes a request, the other person repeatedly ignores it and both become increasingly annoyed" — is the biggest marriage killer and likely to lead to divorce.

Yikes!  I used to be the biggest nag ever, constantly trailing behind my fiancĂ©, repeatedly telling him to wash the dishes, mop the floor, put his clothes away, etc. He listened less than half the time. After I consciously made the effort to stop ... Read the entire article.

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Losing Our Joy In Nature

From Dean Ohlman (October 15, 2012)

In Pollution And The Death Of Man: The Christian View Of Ecology, published over forty years ago, Francis Schaeffer recounted that Charles Darwin near the end of his life found that two things had become dull to him: his joy in the arts and his joy in nature. Schaeffer comments on the irony of this great naturalist losing his enthusiasm for the very thing he had made his life’s calling. Then he continues:
We are seeing today . . . the same loss of joy in our total culture as Darwin personally experienced: first of all in the area of the arts, then in the area of nature. The distressing thing about this is that . . . Christians often really have had no better sense about these things than unbelievers. The death of joy in nature is leading to the death of nature itself (p.11).
Schaeffer also tells the story of visiting a Christian school in the 1960s that was located across a ravine from a “hippie community.” Curious, Schaeffer crossed the ravine to learn more about the settlement. He discovered that the commune was clearly a pagan one—even conducting pagan earth rituals common to the New Age Movement today. But he was also struck with how attractive the community was and how carefully they kept the land. The difference between the grounds of the two communities was extreme.
The leader of the pagan commune even commented to Schaeffer about the “ugliness” of the Christian school. Schaeffer tells of his reaction to that comment:
It was then that I realized what the situation this was. When I stood on the Christian ground and looked at the Bohemian people’s place, it was beautiful. They had even gone to the trouble of running their electric cables under the level of the trees so that they couldn’t be seen. Then I stood on the pagan ground and looked at the Christian community and saw ugliness. That is horrible. Here you have a Christianity that is failing to take into account man’s responsibility and proper relationship to nature (p.42).
Schaeffer’s book was not just another commentary on the decline of Christianity; it was a call to apply biblical principles to the world’s growing environmental problems. It was an invitation to rediscover the wonder of God in creation. It was a reminder that we are not as likely to care for one another if we have forgotten the high calling of God to appreciate and care for all that He has made.
It’s not too late to find joy and renewed worship in an awareness that was expressed by George MacDonald more than a hundred years ago:
If it were not for the outside world, we should have no inside world to understand things by. Least of all could we understand God without these millions of sights and sounds and scents and motions weaving their endless harmonies. They come out from His heart to let us know a little of what is in it (What’s Mine’s Mine, p.29).
The capacity of God’s awesome creation to reveal knowledge of himself and His goodness is so obvious that children are almost the first to notice—something Peter Illyn of Restoring Eden discovered a few years ago when he was out in the wilderness with his young son.  As they were walking, the joy of the experience prompted the boy to say, “You know, Dad, it’s easy to believe in God when you’re outdoors, isn’t it?”  A sermon from the lips of a child.
How long has it been since you’ve let your voice join with the voices of the mountains and rivers singing for joy at the promise that our Redeemer and Creator will indeed come and judge the world with both righteousness and equity.
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; 5make music to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn– shout for joy before the Lord, the King. Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity (Psalm 98:4-9)

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Humane and Healthy Doghouse Ideas

Whether you visit a big box store or look for more specialized dog houses online, you will be faced with an amazing array of options.

You can expect to spend anywhere from around $50 for what is essentially a crate, to well over $450 for a designer doghouse that looks like a modern home complete with front porch, a log cabin, an A-frame house, or even a barn.

There are also “green” doghouses that are made up of a composite of recycled plastics and wood fibers. You can have your dog house pre-made or assemble yourself. Many new dog house designs don’t even require tools to assemble.  Study the options before you decide.

Sponsored by Healthy Pet Corner

Honesty Pays Off

A homeless man has received over $165,000 and counting after returning a woman's missing engagement ring.

Sarah Darling accidentally gave her diamond ring along with the coins she meant to give from her purse. She forgot that she took her ring off and temporarily stored it in her purse. Darling did not realize the ring was missing until the next day. She traced her steps and ... Read the entire article.

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Take It All, It's Yours!

by Donna L. Watkins

When we choose salvation through Christ, our spirits are immediately changed. We receive forgiveness of sins, healing, deliverance and all things that are promised through Christ. We receive these in our born-again spirits. [What Part of You Rules Your Life?]

© Donna L. Watkins - Black-crowned Night Heron
Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, SC
When the Bible tells us we are a "new creation" (2 Cor. 5:17) it is speaking of our spirits, not what we see in the body or mind. If we were fearful of many things we will still be fearful unless we were supernaturally delivered from a fear. If we were an overeater, we will still be an overeater. For some, the revelation of the love of God at the time of salvation takes away the root of some of our physical or mental problems and things in the physical realm do get healed.

However, for the most part, we may wonder if salvation "worked" if we don't see any outward changes. That's why some people continue for years re-dedicating their lives at every opportunity, to be sure they really will go to heaven. In many denominations, salvation is simply presented as a way to avoid Hell and get your ticket to Heaven, so we don't expect to see any change.  God never intended for us to remain the same as we were before salvation. Jesus told us He came to give us "life abundant" (John 10:10).

Matthew 26:41 says to "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." The flesh is our carnal nature. What could be called the "old man." That old man doesn't just die at salvation. It will keep on kicking for the rest of your life, wanting its way above the way of the spirit. Depending on how many years your mind has ruled your body and feelings, you may have quite the battle to bury that old man and live in the newness of eternal life.

The way to bring out all that God provided us in the salvation package is done by renewing of the mind. Our outward (healed) and inward (personality) will change in direct proportion to how much we renew our minds. We are commanded to do so in Romans 2:2 which says, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." We renew our minds by replacing old beliefs, or no belief, with the Truth of God's Word.

© Donna L. Watkins - Large Burl on Tree
Scheier Natural Area, Fluvanna County, VA
If you saw this tree at eye level you would think it really has
serious problem and was surely going to die.  However, 
if you look up, it is alive and well.  Don't let what you do not
understand rob you of what you do understand ... that God's Word
Is TRUE!  Don't rely on the 5 senses alone.  The Word is alive!
There is now research that our brains record every conscious thought we have on our internal hard drive known as the cerebral cortex. Each thought scratches the surface. When we have the same thought again, the line of the original thought is deepened, causing what's called a memory trace. With each repetition the trace goes deeper and deeper, forming and embedding a pattern of thought. When emotion is tied to this thought pattern, the memory trace grows exponentially stronger. [Changing Our Thought Patterns]

It's often been said and written about that "the battle is in our minds." We often accuse the devil of speaking things to us when it's simply what we already believe in our own mind that is coming forth to operate as it always has. We have to CHOOSE to react differently. We are a result of our own thoughts and the actions we choose based on those thoughts.  [Who's In Charge Of Your Thoughts?]

If we think on gloomy things and have a pessimistic attitude, we will believe nothing goes right and that life is basically futile. All of God's promises go down the drain in those lives because He gave us free will and if we use that will to think on negative things, we will have negative results.

Think back ... how many times were you having a nice day and then you heard something that disturbed you and you began to think on it. You began to add thoughts to it and imaginations about it. In a very short period of time you can be in a state of despair, depression and fear.  We can be our own worst enemy.  I often think about the thoughts I've had towards myself and realize that the devil must be quite pleased not having to bother to condemn me since I was good at doing it all by myself.  [Do You Believe Life Is Tough?]

The only way we can avoid having our feelings control our days is to go to the Word and find out what it tells us to do. 2 Cor. 10:4-5 says "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."

We have to choose the Word. The Bible is our instruction manual and we have to live in it and by it. We can't just pick it up when we have a problem. We have to fill ourselves with Truth every day over and over and over. We have to renew the ruts in our minds so we can live victoriously.

The Word is Truth and when our bodies, minds and feelings don't line up with what it says, we simply KNOW that the Word is true and we are being deceived by the devil.  We don't have to figure it out, but we have to stand on the belief in our hearts that God's Word is true no matter what. Some things we won't understand till we get to Heaven. [The Bible Is Confusing]

We have to make sure that what we do not understand doesn't rob us of what we do understand.  

We already have all we need from God. It's not a matter of praying for Him to do things. He's already done them through Christ. He has placed inside of us the gifts of the spirit that Christ had. We have love, joy, faith, patience, etc. but we have to release them into our soul (mind) so that our body will present the evidence of it. Don't get depressed and give up because nothing seems to be changing. Put all that energy into the Word and following the instructions given to us in it.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires" -- Galatians 5:22-24.

Notice it says we who belong to Christ have crucified our sinful nature. We are the ones to make choices according to what is life and godliness, not according to the passions of our minds and the desires of our feelings. We can't let those things carry us away when we have a choice to increase in strength daily. But daily is how you must build. I guarantee you it's worth every second, minute and hour!

Related Resources
Who's In Charge Of Your Thoughts?
The Bible Is Confusing
What Part of You Rules Your Life?
Do You Believe Life Is Tough?

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Prayer Power

by Andrew Wommack

Luke 11:1 - "And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, 'Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples'."

When you consider that Jesus was the greatest miracle worker who ever walked the earth and the greatest preacher who ever lived, it is amazing that His disciples asked Him to teach them to pray. Why didn't they ask Him to teach them how to work these miracles or how to preach and amaze the people with their doctrine?

It's because Jesus' prayer life was even more powerful than His miracles or His doctrine. Indeed, it was His union with the Father that gave Him His power to work miracles and His authority to speak as no man had ever spoken before. Jesus said repeatedly that it was His Father who was doing the miracles through Him and that His doctrine was not His own but the Father's.

The same holds true today. Jesus said in John 15:5 that without Him, we can do nothing. There are many things that we should do in addition to prayer, but there is nothing that we can effectively do without prayer. Prayer is one of the main ways of abiding in Him (John 15:7). Therefore, our request should be like these disciples' — "Lord, teach us to pray."

We should come expecting to receive answers to prayer. The Father is ready and willing to answer our prayers. Just ask and you shall receive.  View videos or listen to audios of Andrew's series on A Better Way to Pray.

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Study Supports Eating Wheat, Despite Gluten-Free Trend


As more Americans shun wheat in favor of gluten-free diets, a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 2013, gives insight into why giving up grains may not be the answer to our growing health problems.

The research studied the effects of replacing standard whole grain products in subjects’ diets with ancient khorasan wheat, and found that doing so reduced their metabolic risk factors, raised their antioxidant capacities, and decreased inflammatory activity.

 Khorasan wheat, known under the brand name of KAMUT, is a grain unlike most of today’s versions of wheat because it has not been genetically modified, hybridized or grown with chemicals or pesticides, so many people allergic to other brands of wheat can eat it without ill effects.

 “This grain has not been altered by man since ancient times and therefore remains virtually the same as it was when first gathered from the wild when man first transitioned from a hunter/gatherer to a farmer,” said Bob Quinn, founder of KAMUT International.  Read the entire article.

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10 Tips for Taking Great Pet Photos

As a photographer, one of the questions I am asked most often is: “How do you take such animated portraits of dogs and cats?”

I have always felt strongly that being a good photographer comes from instinct and experience. I don’t believe that you can teach someone to “have a good eye.” However, you can learn techniques that are helpful in taking good portraits of your pets, and you don’t even need a professional camera.

Here are tips to help you take great photos. Remember, practice makes perfect.

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Newsletter - 2/15/13

The Nature In Us Newsletter

Hello Friends!

I hope each of you had some happy moments on Valentine's Day.  It was a sweet celebration with my honey of a husband.   As mentioned in the last newsletter, we had scheduled to go to the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond and to see the IMAX film, Born To Be Wild, at the museum.  All of that for $16 through Groupon.  What a deal!

Donna and Randal at Science Museum of Virginia
Richmond, VA
The museum was interesting and a great place to learn new things, but the IMAX film was really inspirational.  Years go by without us going to a movie, but this one was so awesome.  It's about two different women, one in Borneo who rescues orphaned orangutans (due to rainforest destruction deaths of mothers) and another in Kenya that rescues orphaned elephants (due to poaching of mothers).

It was rated G so it didn't have any of the gory details of the bad events.  You can contribute to these efforts also.  I knew from the moment we were walking out of the auditorium that I wanted to be a part of something so magnificent.  Enabling the hands that can do the work to be compensated and full of provision is such a blessing that God allows us to have.  I highly recommend this movie.  View the trailers.  Find a location near you.

I also took advantage of another Groupon deal for our lunch at Baker's Crust.  Apparently it's a chain restaurant, but we've never seen one and we don't have any here in our town.  We loved the Portabella Panini with roasted portabella mushroom, goat cheese, fresh spinach, roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella and sweet chili mayo on house-made foccaccia bread. It was a sweet day!

My love for Valentine's Day probably began with lots of goodies being in the house when I was growing up. Goodies being sugary junk food. Why do we call such a thing a "goodie" anyway? Maybe because we were bribed with them to be good? We gave up white sugar in 1978 so our goodies now are truly good with whole grain flours and local honey as a sweetener.

I don't eat chocolate, so I use carob powder for anything chocolate. I baked a German Carob Pie as a treat for my honey of a hubby.  It was the night before Valentine's Day and we were listening to a message by Cecil Paxton on healing.  The dishwasher, which is the loudest one we've ever had, even though billed as quiet, was running nearby so I didn't hear the timer go off.  The crust got a bit brown but the flavor is still scrumptious.  It's a favorite for both of us and to everybody that's tasted it.  Carob tastes like chocolate without the addicting side effects. If you want the recipe and a photo, you will find it in this blog post, A No Chocolate Valentine's Day.

Robin At Our Backyard Wildlife Pond
Maybe you know somebody who can't eat chocolate due to an allergy or one who has chosen to no longer be a chocoholic as I did. Be sure to share the recipe with them. It's truly really really good! The article also mentions more on sugar and chocolate addiction and a spiritual approach to getting free. Praise God, 14 years ago I gave up chocolate for good! Now that's what I'd call a real "goodie."

The Robins have been nice to see.  To me they've always been a picture of Spring on the way.  I love their big bright breasts and that white eye ring.  Since they come in flocks it's quite the show seeing them all around.  They prefer to drink from the pond rather than the birdbath.

The Tufted Titmice seem to think it's Spring.  They've got their super songs going to attract females.  We had a lot of them born around our property last year.  Couldn't believe how many we've had at our feeders this winter.  We had a lot of cardinals last year also.  I guess all of our plants growing bigger and bigger provides more and more food supply for various species and they make more babies.

We haven't seen the naughty raccoon that damaged our screened door, so I'm thankful for that.  Maybe he was just in a really bad mood that night.  After all, we've lived here over twelve years and we've not had them do anything naughty.  Oh yes, they do work their way around our birdfeeder baffles now and then, but they don't make it a regular habit and if they're that hungry, it's okay with me.

Squirrel on Mailbox in Backyard
Oh, Mister Postman, look and see … 
is there a letter, a letter for me...
Our "old" mailbox painted and placed in the backyard
for whomever wants to nest in it.
Squirrels are the ones I would often call naughty.  You never know what the new batch coming in is going to be interested in.  Like the one that preferred to chew on our new vinyl deck rail.  Randal was actually praying for the fox to make more frequent visits.  I couldn't do that but it sure was disappointing to see the ruts in many places around the top and bottom rails and even on the post caps.

And then at the same time, there was another one that chewed on the metal furniture on the deck.  It was painted black and made of aluminum, so not only could you see the bright shiny aluminum, but they actually dug away the metal.  I painted the pieces last summer and it now looks like there's "designs" all around the table and on the arms of the chair.

Now we have one that enjoys eating dried mealworms that we have out for our beautiful bluebirds.  My goodness!  There's always something exciting going on here.  I guess the name WILDlife is a good one for these critters.

© Donna L. Watkins - Eagle In Our Front Yard
View Enlarged Image
Don't miss the 2013 Great Backyard Bird Count.  It's today through Sunday.  You only have to participate for 30 minutes on any day or you can do more counts and then submit the one with the best numbers.  It's a fun family project.  Randal and I look forward to it every year.  Two years ago we had an eagle come in during the last five minutes of one of the times I was watching.  You can be sure I chose that day and segment to report!  We were so excited!  You can really learn a lot and it's fun to see what kinds of birds visit your property.

You can count somewhere else if you are in an urban environment and want more diversity to view.  You can join a group of people doing it also.  Click here to see if there's something in your area.

Nobody is more excited about seeing Spring than me!  I've been reading since November.  Our daffodils should be up before mid-March arrives.  Daylight Savings Time is a big day on my calendar.  It seems that when the days are lighter longer it shouts of Spring.

Donna and Randal
A Beautiful April 10, 2010
Our 33rd Anniversary
Downtown Greenville, SC
I've been getting more interested in quotes, so here's one of my latest:
"Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you'll ever regret."--Lawrence J. Peter
Our mouths can certainly get us in trouble.  James wrote a lot about the tongue being so unruly.  Proverbs mentions the challenge also.  I like Proverbs 17:28:
"Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue."
I will close with one last quote since it's one to truly ponder and consider for a lifestyle change.

"The dryness in a Christian's life comes when we substitute other things for the living water that only Jesus can give. Anytime a Christian begins to thirst again, it is not a reflection on the living water that Jesus gives, but rather an indication that we have been drinking from some other source." -- Andrew Wommack

Only Christ can satisfy every need we have.  "As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God." (Psalm 42:1)  There is none but thee, O Lord!

Love, Hugs & Blessings!

P.S.  Know somebody who needs to see something in this newsletter? 

Send them the link to the website:  
or the link to this newsletter post.  Thanks for sharing!  

View Posts By Topic

Posts Since Last Newsletter

A No-Chocolate Valentine's Day (With a Recipe)  (DLW)

75-98% of Mental & Physical Illnesses Come From Thoughts

Pesticide Turning Males Into Females

Dung Bettles Use Milky Way to Navigate

A Sure Win Over Our Troubles  (DLW)

Mystery of Christ in Us

2013 Great Backyard Bird Count (*TODAY - SUNDAY*)

MYTH: Milk Is A Good Source of Calcium

Newsletter - 2/1/13  (DLW)

Previous Posts You May Have Missed

Valentine's Day Reminds Me of God's Love  (DLW)

Helping Feral Cats in Winter

Reaping Your Harvest

New Health Food for Large Breed Puppies

The Star-nosed Mole - A Face To Love

Why Shop-a-holics - Where It All Began

A Focus on Love  (DLW)

7 Ways to Curb Your Addiction to Stuff

Cause of Chemical Imbalance & Depression

Most Store Brands Honey Isn't Honey

So Great a Faith

Video Pet Talk - Winter Care Tips

The Web of Love

How Do Birds Survive the Cold?

Newsletter - 1/15/13  (DLW)

Stand Against The Darkness  (DLW)

Crows Can Distinguish Faces In a Crowd

17 Easy Ways to Simplify Life

Growing in Grace

Do You Know How Big God Is?  (DLW)

Equal & NutraSweet: Leukemia & Lymphoma

Consumer Reports: Bugs & Drugs in Pork

Tips and Tricks For Brushing Pets

Newsletter - 1/1/13  (DLW)

When The Devil Returns  (DLW)

Sufferings and Eternity  (DLW)

Mix Up Your Routine to Boost Your Mood

The Art of Essential Oils

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: © Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from The link to use is:

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A No-Chocolate Valentine's Day (With a Recipe)

by Donna L. Watkins

Valentine's Day is my favorite holiday. Don't know exactly why, but surely it all began with the substance of chocolate as a child. My Daddy would bring home a big red heart-shaped box of candy for my mom, which she would share with me. Every holiday was celebrated with sugar treats at my house, like chocolate-covered cherries for George Washington's birthday (he's the one who cut down the cherry tree). What a hoot! My mom definitely liked to celebrate holidays and it was all about sugar and generally chocolate.

No wonder I ended up with an addiction to chocolate ... well, the fact that my dad's whole family worked at Hershey Chocolate had some influence since we got 25 lb. "Hershey bars." They were actually the milk chocolate melting blocks that they used in manufacturing. I guess employees could buy them and we kept one on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator at all times.  We used an ice pick to keep the "chocolate bowl" full of chunks of chocolate. Oh my goodness!

Praise God, 14 years ago I gave it up with a promise to God that if He took away the cravings, I would say NO to chocolate forever more. And we have both kept that agreement. I also felt that spiritually it would keep addiction out of reach for my only child. It was also a great motivator.

Once I gave up chocolate, sugar has not been as tempting. It seems most of what I loved about sugar was also chocolate. We booted white flour and sugar out of our home in the late 70's so I wasn't baking or using sugar at home. Fortunately we order our pantry and frozen food in bulk every six months so I don't have to frequent the grocery stores other than an occasional visit when there's a great produce item on sale.  Generally I use a produce market that has great prices and local fruit and veggies.

If you've got a problem with sugar, you may be interested in: Overcoming Sugar Addiction. There's also a link in that article to My No-Chocolate Anniversary (the 11th year so it was written 3 years ago).

The good news is CAROB!  Most folks have heard of carob by now. It's a chocolate substitute and I've cooked with it in place of cocoa for a long time. There's a pie that I make with it that is out of this world good. I always make a note on my recipes the first time I make it (in this case July 1990) a valuation of whether we liked it or not.  This recipe has:  "Delicious!  Marvelous!"  Any friends who have tasted it also drool and ask for the recipe. So, here it is:

German Carob Pie

One whole wheat pie crust (you can use your favorite recipe or frozen brand)

Filling:  Combine
3/4 cup honey
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup carob powder (Chatfield is my favorite brand)

4 eggs

1/4 cup melted butter
1 T. vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk (I use coconut milk)

Add to honey mixture, then add:
1/2 cup each of shredded unsweetened coconut and chopped walnuts

Turn into the pie shell and sprinkle lightly with coconut for decoration.  Bake 40-45 minutes at 350° and then cool.  Refrigerate at least two (2) hours before eating.

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75-98% of Mental & Physical Illnesses Come From Thought Life

This doctor's website is awesome.  A Christian view of scientific discoveries.  It shows science is lining up with the Word of God.  Hallelujah!

She has a book called, "Who Switched Off Your Brain, Solving the Mystery of He Said/She Said."  Randal and I decided to get it as a Valentine's gift to each other.  Here's one of her articles:

You are What you Think: 
75-98% of Mental and Physical Illnesses Come from our Thought Life!
By Dr. Caroline Leaf

This is a staggering and eye-opening statistic because it also means that only 2-25% of human mental and physical illnesses come from the environment and genes! Scientists are discovering the precise pathways by which changes in human consciousness (thinking) produce changes in our brain and bodies.

This consciousness activates our genes and changes our brain. Science even shows that thoughts, with their embedded feelings, turn sets of genes on and off in complex relationships. We take the facts, experiences and the events of our lives and assign meaning to them through thinking—we are reacting to the events and circumstances of life.

.... when we make a poor quality thinking decision—i.e. a toxic thought—such as unforgiveness, bitterness or irritation, we change the DNA and subsequent genetic expression affecting the shape of the wiring in our brain in a negative direction. This immediately puts the brain into protect mode and the brain translates these poor quality toxic thoughts as stress. This stress will then manifest itself in our bodies. Read the entire article.

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Pesticide Turning Males Into Females

Atrazine has already turned male frogs into females that can even produce eggs and offspring.  Read more on the frog research.

Human exposure to atrazine is linked to a number of serious health effects. A potent endocrine disrupter, atrazine interferes with hormonal activity of animals and humans at extremely low doses.

Endocrine Disruption: 
The science on atrazine's effects on the hormone system continues to grow. It alters the levels of key hormones in rats and can delay puberty. In male frogs, exposure to atrazine causes a kind of "chemical castration," causing them to develop female sex characteristics. Researchers hypothesize that atrazine singnals the conversion of testosterone to estrogen, demasculinizing the frogs.

Reproductive Effects: 
Because atrazine disrupts hormones, it's not surprising that epidemiological studies find associations between exposure to the herbicide and reproductive effects including increased risk of miscarriage, reduced male fertility, low birth weight, increased chance of any birth defect, and higher incidence of abdominal defects.

Evidence for the carcinogenic potential of atrazine is growing — exposure has been linked to elevated risk of breast and prostate cancer. The recent President's Cancel Panel Report notes that atrazine has possible carcinogenic properties. In response to concerns, U.S. EPA is currently re-evaluating atrazine's carcinogenic potential.

Synergystic effects between atrazine and other pesticides may also render health harms more severe.

Atrazine in drinking water
Atrazine is one of the most widely used herbicides in the U.S., and is found in 94% of U.S drinking water tested by the USDA — more often than any other pesticide. An estimated 7 million people were exposed to atrazine in their drinking water between 1998 and 2003.  Read entire article ...

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Dung Bettles Use Milky Way to Navigate

While I was in Costa Rica a few years back rambling through the rainforest at La Selva Biological Station, I came across a trio of students from Chapel Hill that were studying Dung Beetles.  I had never heard of the bug before and was rather fascinated by the dedication to know more about such a bug.

Now I find something even more interesting about Dung Beetles.  They use the Milky Way Galaxy as a map.  View this video that's just over a minute.

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Sure Win Over Our Troubles

By Donna L. Watkins

It seems the more I fall in love with the Father, the more lies the devil throws at me. I think of the words of Jesus in John 16:33: "In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world."

© Donna L. Watkins - View Enlarged Photo
Penguins, Albert Laessle (1877-1954), Bronze, 1917
Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, SC
How refreshing and hope-giving is the knowledge that Jesus has cleared the way for us. God's Word will overcome all things because it is alive and active. Ponder that for a moment. WOW!  I know the Scripture is a common one in Hebrews 4:12, but I get transfixed on the words, "alive and active." The Bible is our life's manual.

Jesus said in John 6:63, "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you, they are full of the Spirit and life." We can take God's Word and be filled with the Spirit and life. Notice Jesus said that the flesh counts for nothing.

We are in a daily battle to make way for the Spirit to rule our lives and not our flesh. My husband and I have begun to say out loud, "Shut Up!" when a fleshly thought comes up. Like walking through the produce market and seeing the baked goods not far away. My mind says, "Yummy! Let's go over there and find something to take home." 

That's when one of my quiet "Shut Up" comments arises. It's been more of a fun game with the verbal expression rather than just fighting thoughts, but it's not fun for the devil because it works better speaking it out loud knowing you're making the devil flee.  It also tells the flesh that it is not in control of who you are.  I don't like to eat sugar, so when my flesh gets what it wants, my soul and spirit are not very happy.  Why not stop the process at the initial thought!

I grew up with sweets being a pacifier. Any time life wasn't exactly what was wanted, my mom turned to sweets. After her parents both died on the same day a few hours apart, sweets became an all-day scenario and I was happy to join in. What I remember most about those years is eating and watching TV.  Maybe that's why I command good self-control over eating and don't have TV reception in our home.  

In the late 70's I got into nutrition and got rid of white sugar and flour in the house and we became vegetarians gradually into the early 80's. I know plenty of health reasons for avoiding sugar so I don't want to give into the desires of my flesh.  After all, when you know something is bad for you, why would you do that to the temple of the Holy Spirit?  

I'm not saying I never have sugar.  I never have chocolate, but I do allow myself a sugar-laden item now and then, but I make sure it's not because I think it's going to console me, and I've never brought white sugar or flour back into the pantry.

I was a chocolate addict and broke that when I gave up trying and asked God to do it for me in November 1998. The deal was that He would stop the cravings if I said "no" to chocolate for the rest of my life. [Read "My No-Chocolate Anniversary."]

We have to realize "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Eph. 6:12). Self-control is not a character quality that has been emphasized in many years. We try to handle things with our self-will. We think we're strong enough to lose those 40 extra pounds. In ourselves we have little success at most things unless there is a driving force within us with great motivation.

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© Donna L. Watkins - Like a Bee Drawn to Honey
Meems Covered Bridge, Mount Jackson, VA
If you want a sure win, consider Phil. 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." God's Word is true and remember, active and alive. It works for us when we apply it. First we have to believe it! You wouldn't think you'd have to tell a Christian to believe God's Word but I've met many Christians and even pastors who don't believe it's the inerrant Word of God. If you don't validate our life manual, where do we turn for instruction? Sadly most are turning to the world's media to shape and form their character, but that's a whole new can of worms.

As for me, I couldn't believe in salvation if I didn't believe in the Word. If I believe something that has no physical evidence to be seen and base it on a book's words that may or may not be true, I would say I'm not a very smart person. But we have an unseen world battling all around us for our very life and soul. If we don't find something to stand on, we'll not live joyful and peaceful lives on this earth.

Jesus spoke the parable of the seed in Mark 4 and He gave illustrations of various ways the Word goes out and brings a harvest ... or not! God made seeds to produce life. He's not making plants, trees, birds, animals, frogs, or humans any longer to replace those who have died. He made everything with a seed that would reproduce itself after its own kind. How amazing!

So, Jesus speaks of planting the seed (Word of God) into our hearts so it can produce a fruitful life. The Bible does us no good if we don't plant it in our hearts so that our minds can be renewed according to God's desires for our lives. It doesn't happen immediately. You can't put a seed of corn in the ground and get corn on the cob the next day. There are stages to growth. It takes time. Mark 4:28 says, "first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear."

The Word is alive and as it saturates your heart and mind it will change who you are. It will remove bad attitudes and perceptions. It will fill you with love and peace and joy. It's not a lasting instant fix ... it takes time to produce good fruit. It's not about scanning through a chapter in the Bible or doing one of the many "read the Bible in a year programs." It's about meditating day and night on a verse that the Holy Spirit points out to you and chewing on it until it brings life changes to you.

Certainly many of you have taken a Scripture from James 3 about your tongue and tried very hard on your own strength to keep your mouth from speaking things that are not edifying. We absorb the Word on this topic and agree it's a problem, and then launch out in our own strength to stop it. 

Jesus provided another way. Write the verse down, read it day and night, memorize it, ask the Holy Spirit to bring it to mind at every given moment it is needed, and then when He does, choose to speak life, rather than death about someone or something.  Proverbs 18:21 says, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue."

This is what I've been doing to battle the devil's attempts to rule over me. I have hundreds of Scriptures written down on cards over the years and for a long period of time I would just read through them all. It felt good while I was doing it and I felt very victorious also, but if they are not planted in my heart, they will not bubble up at the very instant the devil speaks something into my ear. I now choose one or two for whatever is going on at the time and stick with them day and night until they become a part of me.

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© Donna L. Watkins - Bennett House
Bennett Place Historic Site - Durham, NC
If you get overwhelmed opening the Bible as many do, choose a verse or two from the ones I've posted on the website awhile back. I had been writing about Scripture cards and some subscribers asked if I could put some of them online for them to choose from, so I gradually did four posts of them. You can find the first one here: My Scripture Cards - Part One. There are links to take you through all four posts.

There's also a book that I enjoy that breaks all of Jesus' words down into 200+ topics. You can look up love, fear, peace, healing, etc. and see all that Jesus said on those topics. "The Greatest Words Ever Spoken, Everything Jesus Ever Said About You, Your Life, and Everything Else."

In case the devil is whispering that this sounds like a long time project, consider how many years you've been doing nothing about those voices that drag you down all day long. The voices that tell you you're worthless. The temptations that cause you to overeat when you so desire to lose weight. How long has your mouth been saying things that you wish it would not?  If you change one major thing about yourself each year it would be worth it, but it won't take a year, I promise you!

Much of this is our own thoughts of condemnation from the devil telling us how worthless we are for so many years. We believe it and he doesn't have to give us those thoughts ... they have become our own, but regardless whether the evil is coming from within or without, the Word is alive and active. We renew our mind to believe the Truth. We pull down strongholds with the Word to believe what Christ says about us and to believe that God is a good God who loves us so much. [Read "Does God Punish Us?"]

"The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing" (Zephaniah 3:17).

Memorize that verse if you struggle with knowing God loves you. Say it to yourself in the mirror. It's truly more effective doing it that way. Look at yourself in the eyes and continue to tell yourself that God loves you. If you feel uncomfortable with this, you really need it! If we don't believe God loves us, we can't trust Him or believe that His promises are for us, and that puts the whole world on our shoulders. It's too heavy for us.

The Word and God's love for you will give you a sure win over your troubles. The promise is in God's Word. Won't you believe it!?

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