Friday, March 27, 2015

7 Foods & Herbs to Fight the Common Cold


While some people only experience the sniffles during the cold season of sickness, most individuals will undoubtedly battle a nasty cold or even the flu.

And while we’re conditioned to praise vaccines and pharmacy solutions to survive, you really don’t have to load up on over-the-counter medications to feel better.

There are plenty of foods and herbs that can reduce the severity of your symptoms and even help you get over the cold more quickly.  Read the entire article.

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Copyright and Reprint Information - All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins, but may be used with proper credit and link back to the website, Articles written by Donna L. Watkins may also be reprinted with proper credit and link back to the website,

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Amazing Resident Within Us

by Andrew Wommack

John 18:20 "Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing."

The truths of God are hidden for His children, not from them. The Holy Spirit has been instructed to teach us all things (Jn. 14:26) and has given us an unction so that we will know all things (1 Jn. 2:20). We only have to appropriate what is ours.

What God desires His New Testament saints to know, that the Old Testament saints could not know, is "Christ in you the hope of glory."

The coming of the Messiah was predicted in the Old Testament, but the idea that He would actually dwell in us was beyond anyone's imagination. 

However, the New Testament is clear that Christ, by the Holy Spirit, takes up permanent residence in all believers. This is a wonderful truth that some fail to fully appreciate. Solomon said at the dedication of the temple, "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?"  (I Kings 8:27)

We could say, "How much less this physical body?" This is truly amazing!

The Lord's commitment to dwell in us and never leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13:5), must be taken as an indication of His great love for us. If we continually thought upon this, with all its implications, how could we ever be lonely or discouraged? We couldn't! Depression and self-pity would cease!

Why would it matter what others thought of us if we truly understood how much Jesus thought of us?

Our attitudes and fears reveal that this revelation of "Christ in us" is not a well established revelation in most Christians. However, this verse makes it clear that our Father wants to make "the riches of the glory of this mystery" (Col. 1:27) known unto us. We should all be seeking a greater revelation of this truth.

Visit Andrew's website.

5 Foods NOT to Eat While Sick

From Natural Society

It’s that time of year, where we start passing around colds like we pass around the holiday dishes. While there are numerous sources out there for natural cold remedies (garlic, ginger, hydration, etc.), it’s also good to know which foods to avoid while sick or battling a cold.

By eliminating these foods, while hopefully consuming immune-boosting foods, you can recover more quickly and reduce the severity of your symptoms. Read the entire article.

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Your Cat May Be Smarter Than You Think

 by Dr. Jane Bicks

If you count a cat among your closest friends, you have some idea of just how intelligent they are. But it’s a unique sort of smarts. Unlike dogs, who are generally keen to please their people, cats are more strategic thinkers.

In this post from Dr. Jane, our good doctor examines the reasons, and expressions, of feline cleverness. Plus, there are loads of great references if you’d like to learn more! Don’t wait another moment … Read this Dr. Jane post now. 

Butterflies in Wildlife Habitat

Butterfly Identification in a Wildlife Habitat
by Pat Sutton, Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens

Photo Credit:  Donna L. Watkins
Design and plant a butterfly garden and they will come. Planting native plants is key, since most of our butterflies (and moths) lay their eggs on native plants to create the next generation.

Almost immediately butterflies will respond and visit your garden. Some will settle down, find a mate, lay eggs, and you may enjoy multiple generations throughout the warm months.

Our 37-year old, one-half acre wildlife habitat in Cape May County, New Jersey, has attracted 78 species of butterflies. You will want to budget in time to “play” in your garden getting to know and understand your guests.  Read the entire article.

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Copyright and Reprint Information - All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins, but may be used with proper credit and link back to the website, Articles written by Donna L. Watkins may also be reprinted with proper credit and link back to the website,

Friday, March 20, 2015

Belief in God = Better Health

It Doesn't Matter Where You Live, 
If You Believe in God You Will Be Healthier

Written by Dr. Caroline Leaf

Over the last few years research has been showing that a belief in a loving and benevolent God has many health benefits. A large proportion of these studies have been done in the USA but now in a large Norwegian longitudinal health study called HUNT, researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) were able to find a clear relationship between time spent in church and lower blood pressure in both women and men.

It was initially thought that the large cultural and religious differences between the US and Norway would make it difficult to apply findings from the US to Norway. However, despite these differences, and the fact that only 4% of Norwegians (as opposed to the 40% of Americans) go to church on a weekly basis, the findings of the health benefits of believing in God were almost identical: those who were religiously active were healthier than those who were not religiously active!  Click here for related article

Other research shows that those who attend church were 30% less likely to suffer depression and those who believe God have a sense of purpose and are 70% less likely to be depressed.  Click here for related article

For many, religious activity changes between childhood and adulthood, and a new study finds this could affect one’s mental health. According to Temple University’s Joanna Maselko, Sc.D., women who had stopped being religiously active were more than three times more likely to have suffered generalized anxiety and alcohol abuse/dependence than women who reported always having been active religiously.  Click here for related article

Now a new national study by two Brigham Young University sociologists finds that religious involvement makes teens half as likely to use marijuana. The research showed the protective effect of church and the influence of parents.  Click here for related article

Missouri University health psychology researchers have found that religious and spiritual support improves health outcomes for both men and women who face chronic health conditions. The research showed that both genders may increase their reliance on spiritual and religious resources as they face increased illness or disability.  Click here for related article

Research also shows that religion and spirituality are linked to positive physical and mental health; however, most studies have focused on people with life threatening diseases. A new study from the University of Missouri-Columbia shows that religion helps many individuals with disabilities by enabling them to adjust to their impairments and can give a new meaning to their lives.  Click here for related article

More than 20 percent of atheist scientists are spiritual, according to new research from Rice University. Though the general public marries spirituality and religion, the study found that spirituality is a separate idea — one that more closely aligns with scientific discovery — for “spiritual atheist” scientists.  Click here for related article

A dose of God will help medicine. Research shows that many patients do not feel the medical system adequately meets their spiritual needs,” said Cadge. “By shedding light on how religion and spirituality connect to the practice of medicine, this study is a first step toward addressing such needs of patients and their families during a profoundly threatening chapter of life.  Click here for related article

More than half of physicians believe that religion and spirituality have a significant influence on patients’ health, according to a report in the April 9 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. Physicians who are most religious are more likely to interpret the influence of religion and spirituality in positive ways.  Click here for related article

In times of economic distress and plenty, ninety percent of Americans pray, more than half of us once a day or more. We pray for big things—to stay healthy, to keep our jobs, and to strengthen our relationships. And we pray for small things—to find parking spaces and missing items. Some of us are sure God exists and others pray simply to cover the bases.  Click here for related article

These are just a few of the studies showing that no matter who we are, what is happening or where we are…we NEED to believe!

Visit Dr. Leaf's Website and/or 21-Day Brain Detox Program

Copyright and Reprint Information - All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins, but may be used with proper credit and link back to the website, TheNature Articles written by Donna L. Watkins can be reprinted with proper credit and link back to the website,

10 Ways to Reduce Radiation from Cell Phone Use

The world loves its cell phones – so much so that there are more cell phones on this planet than people!

Cell phones emit radio-frequency energy, a form of non-ionizing radiation. Our bodies absorb this radiation and have a difficult time processing it – leading to numerous bodily complications.

One study found that 10 years of cellphone use resulted in an average 290% increased risk of brain tumor development. Interestingly, the tumor development was found on the side of the head in which the cellphone was most used.  Get some tips on reducing the radiation:  10 Ways to Reduce Radiation from Cell Phone Use

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Copyright and Reprint Information - All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins, but may be used with proper credit and link back to the website, Articles written by Donna L. Watkins may also be reprinted with proper credit and link back to the website,

Music Therapy on Dementia, Alzheimer's and Amnesia

Music and the Brain

Oliver Sacks, M.D., noted neurologist and best-selling author of Musicophilia, discusses the impact of personalized music on people suffering from Alzheimer’s and severe memory loss.

"The past which is not recoverable in any other way is embedded, as if in amber, in the music, and people can regain a sense of identity." — Oliver Sacks

Alzheimer's and the Power of Music
Music and Amnesia Recovery
Visit Oliver Sacks' Website.

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How To Use Self Sowers To Fill Gardens


Self-sowing plants reseed themselves and offer a new crop of beautiful plants the next growing season. What can be better than free plants? Plants that self seed allow annuals to mimic perennials and save you money every year they volunteer.

Often self seeders can become nuisance plants, so it is important to choose wisely or just adore the crazy spread of the plants. Using self sowers to fill gardens is an old-time honored practice invoked by modern gardeners who spread wildflower seed in disturbed or unused fields and beds.

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 3/15/15

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  The Nature In Us Newsletter - 3/15/15 
  by Donna L. Watkins  

"I want creation to penetrate you with so much admiration that wherever you go, the least plant may bring you the clear remembrance of the Creator ... One blade of grass or one speck of dust is enough to occupy your entire mind in beholding the art with which it has been made." 
-- Basil the Great (329-79), Hexaemeron, Homily V, The Germination of the Earth.

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Hello Dear Friends!

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Honey Bee on Stonecrop Sedum
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Creation & Bees - It's beginning to look a lot like Spring and I'm grateful for that.  Have seen some bugs flying around which is quite refreshing.  The multitude of birds we have in the winter is very nice ... but I do miss the bugs, lizards, frogs, butterflies, and longer daylight hours to see the evening critters arrive.

I've been thinking of bees lately.  There is such an amazing variety of them.  It sometimes astounds me all of the beauty that God created for us like this honey bee feasting on the flowers.  He made provision for all of us in one way or another.  Our God is an awesome God!

The honey bee eats nectar (sugary water) and pollen (yellow to brown protein powder depending on the flower) which are made by flowers. Babies are fed tons of pollen, to provide the protein they need to grow. The abundance of flowers in the spring (and lots of pollen), make it so that most bee babies are born in the spring. The nectar collected is what the worker bee uses to make honey. 

The bee arrives at a flower, and proceeds to drink as much nectar as she can hold. She then passes the nectar to another worker bee (the nectar is held on her tongue) so the water in it can evaporate. This way it is highly concentrated, and never spoils. When most of the water has evaporated, the sweet nectar becomes honey, which is then stored in the hive. When all the moisture is gone, the bee then caps the honey for long term storage.  

During winter, when there aren’t many sources of food in blooming flowers, bees use this stored honey for food sparingly. One of the most amazing things a bee does is in the spring and summer, when there are plenty of flowers, bees tell each other where to find nectar and pollen. Isn't that pretty cool?

If a worker finds an apple tree for example with lots of flowers, she marks it with a pheromone (scent). Then she flies back to the hive and does the wiggle dance  in the hive. This dance tells other workers what direction to fly in and how far to go depending on the moves chosen.  (Information Source:

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Male Ruby-crowned Kinglet Enjoying Suet
View More Photos of Ruby-crowned Kinglets
Birds - There was one bird during my Great Backyard Bird Count time that I couldn't identify since it kept hopping all over the place like a warbler and I was never able to get a photo.  I had several opportunities since it seemed to be staying around, but every time I'd grab my camera, it's like somebody would shout "Camera Time - Fly!"

Finally I got a few good shots and when I uploaded them to the computer, I found it to be a Ruby-crowned Kinglet.  This bird moves constantly, even when it's feeding.  It's definitely a hyperactive bird.

They are only 4.5 inches long so it was small like some warblers.  We've never seen them here in winter, but research shows that they do winter in Virginia.  We usually had them in the Fall.  This one was all over the suet feeder when it could gain access between the bluebirds and a wide variety of woodpeckers.

The red patch on the top and back of the head that gives this species its name is not easily seen unless the adult male is excited or raising it in his display to other birds.  Since there's no mating for the Kinglets here in Virginia I had never seen any red patch. They mate in the coniferous forests of Canada or the Rocky Mountain states.  However, I was so surprised to get a view of the patch a few days later and a not-so-bad photo of it.

Seven (7) Mourning Doves on the Pond Rocks. Can you find the 7 doves?
Click here to view enlarged image.
Critters - Mama Love Deer arrived in 2012 as a "teenager" with broken front right leg at knee.  Prayer and hope and loving thoughts surely have aided her in still being able to get around and feed herself.  The other deer didn't like her which was really sad to see.

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Mama Love Deer with Friends
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I would share some of the ground birds corn with her and then others would arrive and chase her away and eat it.  We aren't allowed to feed deer in our community so this wasn't a normal practice. There are also health considerations for not feeding deer in the same place, not to mention them getting dependent on an instant meal.

One several visits lately she was with a herd of deer (5-7) and seemed to be fitting in, but then a week later she was out back after the ground birds were fed and came around the back of the house alone.  Not for long ... I think the deer smell the corn in the cool winter air.  Anyway, they chased her away.  It was sad ... I wanted her to have friends.  She looks good though.  Not thin.  We've not had a harsh winter as far as temperatures go and snowfall.

We all need friends to hang with, even when we think we're just fine alone.  We weren't designed to be alone.  God made us for relationships.  It's a sad world being all alone.

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Spring Peeper Frog 
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On March 9th it was a warm enough day and evening to hear Spring Peepers.  Our first sounds of Spring ... besides the titmouse's constant call for a missy.  Oh how lovely!  What I miss most in winter is the colors and blooms of the garden and butterflies and the sounds of the night.  Even when inside, a moth fluttering on the window is such a beautiful sound to my ears.

Spring Peepers are usually found in wooded areas, grassy lowlands, and near ponds and swamps in central and eastern Canada and the United States.  These tiny (mature at 1.5 inches), well-camouflaged amphibians are rarely seen, so my getting a picture of one was a very exciting day. They are nighttime creatures spending their days hiding from predators and emerging at night to feed on such delicacies as beetles, ants, flies, and spiders. 

At mating time they lay their eggs in water and go back to the forest to live the rest of the year.  Since we have a small frog pond (as we call it - it's 5 x 10 feet), they must be attracted to our back woods because of the proximity of the pond. They mate and lay their eggs in water and spend the rest of the year in the forest.  In the winter, they hibernate under logs or behind loose bark on trees, waiting for the spring thaw and their chance to sing.

The mid-March chorus of nighttime whistles from amorous males is a sign for me that winter is over.  If you've not heard Spring Peepers ... or maybe heard them and didn't know what they were, here's a YouTube closeup video of a male singing away with his dewlap huffing and puffing.  What is a dewlap?  It's a loose flap of skin on the neck of frogs and other vertebrates. On frogs it's part of the vocal sac and makes the calls of the male louder.  These calls can be heard for miles sometimes.

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Sculpture Outside of Theatre Building
View Album of Helsinki, Finland
Travel - Being a distributor of Nature's Sunshine Products has given us many award trips that we have so enjoyed.  Sometimes it wasn't a location that would normally be of interest, but I was always surprised at what you can find if you are truly looking for good in life.

We had an 11-day Baltic Sea Northern Europe Cruise on Holland America.  It had many stops in various countries but all cities and being into forests and wilderness I didn't think there would be much to photograph.

Fortunately I like architecture, so we ventured out into every country and by the end of the trip it had been my favorite cruise of many that Nature's Sunshine gave us.  View Helsinki, Finland Photos. 

The only one that rises above this one is the Alaska Inland Passage Cruise where we saw so much wildlife. We visited a Raptor Rehabilitation Center in Sitka where we were able to see eagles face-to-face only a couple feet away.  Amazing birds when you're that close.

Talk to Me, Jesus
Talking With Jesus - I have an aunt in Pennsylvania that delights in giving gifts.  She's got a knack for it too cause it seems everything she sends is something that just fits who I am.  Not long ago, she sent me a spiritual devotional journal by Marie Chapian.  It's titled, "Talk to Me, Jesus - His Words For You."  It's absolutely awesome.  I love it! 

When I spend time with Jesus in my secret place, He always has awesome and encouraging things to say to me.  Never condemning, drawing me to a higher place of intimacy with Him, which is exactly what the cover of the journal says on the back.  Currently my secret place is an abandoned beach with a huge rock that we sit on and watch the water swirl and splash into a little cove below.  Nice place for winter, eh?  Before that we would stroll through a hardwood forest and it had benches here and there where I would sit on the ground at His feet and simply adore Him.  I've always preferred ground to benches.  God loves us so much. 

Here's one of the devotionals that I particularly enjoyed.  As you read, ponder the words being spoken only to you:

I love how you make things beautiful, dear one.  I love how you can turn ordinary things into things of beauty.  You are My heart because I love to turn ashes to beauty and mourning to joy.  You do the same, My dearest one.  And another thing, I love your love for color and art and nature because I love color and art and nature, too.  When you thank Me for trees and sigh how magnificent is the sunrise, I sigh, too.  Remember, I said, "it is good," when I created the earth for you to love and care for.  But even more, when I created you and told you to be fruitful and multiply, I sighed twice and said it is VERY good.  (Genesis 1:26-31; Matthew 5:13-16, 7:18)
Artistic - We talk with our son, Benjamin, on weekends and he's always a barrel full of information.  He always was a "busy" child with a bright mind and he continues to use that brain to absorb more and more helpful information to share with others.  We've learned a lot from him and I can always count on him knowing the latest in techie news and beneficial things online that may make life a bit easier.  He's a joy and a blessing to us.

One of the things he shared on a previous conversation is a site that has "sculptures" made out of hubcaps.  The artist lives in Brighton, England and gathers hubcabs from roadways and turns them into amazing and beautiful art forms.  The owl you see was one of Ben's favorites and he thought I would greatly enjoy it also.  Not as in actually buying ... but enjoy looking at it.  The prices are pretty steep, but it's wonderful to get to look at no charge at all. 

The Arctic Wolf is another one that is quite amazing and was his favorite.  The cost converted to US Dollars?  $11,580!  It's almost 4 feet tall.  I very much enjoyed exploring the website and seeing how detailed these creations are.  Interested in seeing more?  I enjoyed the Buy Work and Previous Work links the best.  Visit Hubcap Creatures website.

Closing Thoughts - Spring officially arrives on Friday.  It's incredible to me how quickly this winter has flown by.  I know it's because I changed my attitude about winter.  I didn't do anything different but look for the good in each day and express thanksgiving and praise for the sun on days when it would shine, and that was most days.  We didn't have very many dreary days of winter.  Had 4 snowfalls all 6 inches or less.  Very blessed compared to the rest of the northeast area.

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Donna at Boxerwood Nature Center
View Photos of Boxerwood
Oh! to see leaves and flowers again.  How wonderful is God's creation!  It's time for nature walks!

Until next time ..... 

May God Increase Your Blessings Daily,


P.S. Anything in here that might help somebody you know?
Here's a link to the online version of this newsletter. Click on it and on the left sidebar there will be an option to share in various ways. The top one is to email it to somebody.  

If you simply want to copy and paste the link into an email, here it is:

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Posts Since Last Newsletter

New Solutions For Weight Loss Questions

Hearing God's Voice

Lasagna Gardening Composting

The Powers of the Canine Sniffer

Sovereignty Redefined (DLW)

Plant Alternatives for Steep Banks

How Do Birds Survive Winter?

Help with Neurological Disorders & Reverse Fluoride Damage

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 3/1/15 (DLW)

Previous Posts You May Have Missed

Investigation of Herbal Supplements Results in Recalls

Using Cornmeal To Kill Weeds and Ants

The First Law of Love and Relationships

Video: Tips for Improving Kitty Behavior

7 Natural Teeth Whitening Home Remedies

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 2/14/15 (DLW)

10-Minute IQ Test for Dogs - Video

Who Do You Say I Am?

The Power of Green Tea

Smiling Rewires Your Brain

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 2/1/15 (DLW)

Living Life Abundantly (DLW)

God, Quantum Physics & The Brain

Trace Minerals are Essential to Optimal Health

5 Ways to Strengthen Your Immune System

Don't Give Up Hope (DLW)

Human and Pet Vaccines: Absolutely Necessary?

The Heart a Treasure

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 1/15/15 (DLW)

Motivational Quotes to Achieve Your Goals

Target That Struggle

Age of Antibiotics is Coming to an End

We Are Complete In Him

12 Ways to Get Rid of Gas & Bloating

Joy in Believing

God Works In The Simple Things

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Copyright and Reprint Information - All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins, but may be used with proper credit and link back to the website, Articles written by Donna L. Watkins may also be reprinted with proper credit and link back to the website,

Friday, March 13, 2015

New Solutions For Weight Loss Questions

Q: How can I turn up my metabolism?

Your metabolism, or the body’s rate of burning fuel for energy, depends on a few factors. Genetics and age definitely play a part. But you can help boost your metabolism with certain natural ingredients.

Bitter orange fruit, yerba mate and guarana stimulate metabolism with synephrine and natural caffeine. Ginger also has a metabolic-boosting effect. These ingredients are present in the MetaboMax® Plus formula.

MetaboMax Plus may help increase metabolic fat burn along with healthy diet and exercise. In addition to the above ingredients this formula contains:
• Capsicum and green tea extract help to decrease body fat.
• Chickweed is an integral component of our popular Fat Grabbers® formula.
Guggulipid herb contains guggulsterones, which help maintain cholesterol levels already within the normal range and decrease circulatory fat deposits. Guggulsterones also have thyroid-stimulating activity.

• MetaboMax Plus may help you burn more calories, burn more fat and boost energy levels. It also provides beneficial antioxidants (EGCG from green tea) and may have healthful effects on already normal-range cholesterol levels.

Q: What if I don’t want any extra caffeine?

MetaboMax Free formula was developed in tandem with MetaboMax Plus for those who desire weight-management support without caffeine. MetaboMax Free contains capsicum, decaffeinated green tea extract, bitter orange fruit, ginger, chickweed and guggulipid.

Q: I love bread and pasta. Is there a way to block starches without Rx drugs?

Amylase is one of the enzymes the body uses to break down starchy foods. Carbo Grabbers with Chromium contains an amylase inhibitor derived from a bean plant, which naturally and safely interferes with the digestion of starchy carbohydrates. This interference means that undigested starches travel through the intestinal tract and are eliminated, thus reducing the calories available to your body. 

We’ve added patented, food-bound chromium, which helps transport glucose from the blood into the cells. Chromium can have a positive effect on blood lipid levels and helps maintain blood sugar levels already within the normal range. Don’t avoid carbohydrates. Grab them!

Q: I’m not a meat lover. Do I really need more protein in my diet?

Protein helps build and repair muscle tissue. And increasing your lean muscle mass increases the rate that your body burns fuel for energy.

If you don’t want to increase your meat intake, try Nutri-Burn®, a delicious, nutritious powder that supplies pure whey and calcium caseinate protein for a powerful, muscle-building meal replacement. Lactose-free Nutri-Burn provides 25 grams of protein per serving and 60 percent or more of the Daily Value of 14 essential vitamins and minerals!

It also contains CLA (to enhance lean muscle mass), l-carnitine and green tea extract for extra fat-burning power, plant enzymes (to break down protein into amino acids for better absorption) and prebiotic fiber (to support gut health). Nutri-Burn helps boost energy levels and tastes great. For best results, use the Power Shaker.

Consider Additional Weight-Loss Products
7-Keto helps increase the body’s resting metabolic rate and stimulates production of T3 hormone, which is essential to metabolism.

CLA helps sustain lean muscle mass and enhance fat burning. It may help support cholesterol levels already in the normal range.
(Each of these products is available separately.)
Collatrim Plus provides protein and amino acids to help rebuild muscles and support lean muscle mass.

• Nature’s Cortisol Formula helps support the adrenal glands and maintain cortisol levels already in the normal range. This product may help the body manage stress, which can affect metabolism.
Dieter’s Cleanse helps the body remove toxins and waste from the colon, which can affect nutrient absorption and weight loss. The best way to start a weight-loss program!

Sponsored by The Herbs Place - 30-45% Off Retail Prices

Copyright and Reprint Information - All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins, but may be used with proper credit and link back to the website, Articles written by Donna L. Watkins may also be reprinted with proper credit and link back to the website,

Hearing God's Voice

by Andrew Wommack

Read:  JOHN 10:1-21

John 10:2-3 "But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out."

This verse promises all who are God's sheep that they not only can, but that they do, hear His voice. Many born-again people doubt the truth of this statement based on their experience. They don't think they can hear God's voice. However, the Word of God is true - not our experience.

The harmony between what this verse says and what our experiences say is that it is our new born-again spirit that hears God's voice. Although God has spoken and still does speak in an audible voice at times, very few people experience this.

God speaks to our inner person (spirit) and our inner person hears Him. The problem comes when we aren't sensitive to, or controlled by, our spirit but are walking in the vanity of our mind. The Bible calls this walking in the flesh instead of the Spirit (Gal. 5:16-18).

Man is a spirit, soul, and body. Our spirits are as perfect as they will ever be in heaven. If we will change our thinking so that we believe what God says in His Word about who we are and what we have, then this agreement between our spirit and soul forms a majority and our flesh will experience the life of God that has been deposited in our spirits.

Prayer, Bible study, fasting, fellowship, etc. are ways of refocusing our mind's attention away from the voice of this world and back to the voice of our Shepherd who is constantly communicating with our spirit.

If we fail to renew our minds, we can live our entire time on this earth without experiencing the abundant life that Jesus provided for us. Listen, and you will hear His voice speak to you through His Word today.

Visit Andrew's website.
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Lasagna Gardening Composting


You know those barren, sloped, stony, weedy, sandy or clay compacted places where you look at aghast and wonder how you could ever get a garden going there? That's where lasagna gardening proves its worth.

Just toss down layer upon layer. That's what a lasagna garden is — layers. The layers are not so planned as a no-dig raised bed garden, where the compost is pre-made and added.

With lasagna gardening it is done by sheet composting whereby the scraps and weeds and old boots if you like are all dumped in one spot... well, layered on top of each other. It's all recycled in one spot.

It really looks like a pig's breakfast, but boy oh boy does it work! Start with whatever materials you have; maybe old leaves, then 5-10 layers of newspaper, or some thick cardboard, next a bucket of kitchen scraps, seaweed, some grass clippings, then straw. Soak it well with water. OR...    Read the entire article.

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The Powers of the Canine Sniffer

A Keen Nose for Helping Humans  
by Dr. Jane Bicks

In this Dr. Jane post, she explores new avenues of research into the powers of the canine sniffer. Cited as having one of the animal kingdom’s top ten scent detectors, dogs are capable of astounding olfactory feats.

Every year, more evidence is uncovered that suggests humans have yet to harness the full potential of doggie smelling smarts.

Learn how canines are making our lives easier, healthier and safer, simply by taking a whiff. Read this post from Dr. Jane now

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Sovereignty Redefined

by Donna L. Watkins

The sovereignty of God is often defined as God controlling everything, or at the very least allowing things to happen through the devil, like Satan is His errand boy. This does not promote good feelings toward God as a loving Father.  There are different definitions for the word sovereignty.

God is certainly sovereign in many ways including absolute power.  What is not considered is that He doesn't violate His own word.  When He established free will or free choice for man, it wasn't meant to extend just until man messed up and God says, "Kings X - I think that was a bad decision on my part." 

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Corsage Orchid
(Rhyncholaeliocattleya 'Sybil Farewell')
Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens - Richmond, VA
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God definitely operates under a "government" that He set up at the time of Creation when He gave dominion of the world to Adam or man in general. He didn't take it back after Adam sinned. We still have free will and choice as humans.
In Acts 10:38 Peter gives a very descriptive summary of the life and ministry of Jesus. He says, "Jesus was anointed with power and with the Holy Ghost." Pretty simple. If you read the Gospels you will quickly notice that Jesus used this power to do good, not evil. Jesus told us that "if you have seen Me, you have seen the Father" (John 14:9). This makes it easy to discern what comes from God in this life and what comes from the devil. God is a good God and the devil is a bad devil. If it's good, it's from God. If it's evil, it's from the devil.

Did Jesus ever refuse healing to anybody?  Did Jesus condemn anybody ... even a woman caught in the very act of adultery? He didn't condone adultery and told her to go and sin no more, but He didn't condemn her or punish her.  He showed compassion and love to all except those who were religious and stuck to their own opinions and ideas of what the Messiah would be like.

We have to realize that bad circumstances and tragedies don't always come from the devil. There's natural laws to consider like gravity. If somebody drives recklessly and kills himself, it's not God or the devil that killed him. He violated natural law and thus paid the price. When a car full of drinking teenagers crashes into a tree, it's not God deciding he needs them in Heaven. They violated natural laws and ended up with the consequences. Sometimes we, even as adults, just do stupid things.

It is incorrect to believe that God controls everything. We were given free choice. If we think God makes everything happen or allows it, then we will not be able to have a true loving relationship with this God. Psalm 78:40-41 says, "How oft did they provoke Him in the wilderness, and grieve Him in the desert! Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel." If God controls everything, why couldn't He control His own people that He had delivered from Egypt out of bondage?

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Gorgeous Leaf Colors
Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens - Richmond, VA

If God hadn't given us free choice, He would make sure that everybody is in good health because 3 John 1:2 says He "wishes [why would God need to wish if He was in control of it all?] above all things that we may prosper and be in health, even as our souls prosper."

Notice the requirement for good health? Our souls have to be prospering. Our soul is our mind, will and emotions. Current scientific research over the past ten years has been showing us that our thoughts determine the lives we create around ourself. 75-98% of mental and physical illnesses come from our thought life!

There is mounting recent evidence for neuroplasticity, that is, the ability of the brain to change according to experience. The anatomy and physiology of the human brain is much more malleable and plastic than we once thought. This shows that the brain changes according to how we use it. Thinking, a mind activity, effects gene expression. Gene expression produces proteins. Proteins are fashioned into structural elements and enzymes (biological catalysts), which change brain anatomy (structure) and physiology (function).

Seems God was very specific when He said we need to "take every thought to the obedience of Christ." How do your thoughts line up with what Christ provided for us? Do you believe you can be "anxious for nothing" (Phil. 4:6) or do you believe that "everybody lives with stress in this world." Do we even bother to take those thoughts captive? To think on what the Word tells us we should do?

He has also told us that we can "renew our minds." He says to us, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will" (Rom. 12:2).

So many Christians say they can't hear the voice of God. It's because we're so used to hearing our own thoughts without any challenges towards them. This verse says that transformation will take place and we will know "His good, pleasing and perfect will." We will be able to communicate with the God of the Universe who created us in His image to have a loving relationship with His creation.

Thinking that God controls it all allows us to be complacent and without any responsibility for our lives. It will lead us to ignore the devil which gives him a free hand to destroy our lives. We will attribute his evil to God and will be passive about accepting all that the devil dumps into our lives, thinking that it's for our good that God is allowing it.

Spend some time in the Bible. Read through the New Testament looking up Greek words so you can know what's in the Bible instead of believing anything that is preached to you. Become a disciple of Christ. That's what He wanted us to be.

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Copyright and Reprint Information - All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins, but may be used with proper credit and link back to the website, Articles written by Donna L. Watkins may also be reprinted with proper credit and link back to the website,

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