Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Doom and Gloom or Peace and Provision

by Donna L. Watkins

Science is finding that nature has ways of healing that they didn't see before. So, you see all the "gloom and doom" news has no purpose for your life other than to make you despair and be depressed about "everything being so bad."

Worse than that we tend to share that doom and gloom maybe thinking that the more people you tell, the more it will dilute itself within your own heart and mind. It's quite the opposite. Whatever you focus on is magnified in your mind. Continual bad news can take you into depression.

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View Butterfly Exhibit Album
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Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens
Focus on the fact that God has provision for every generation and even when man is the culprit, God still loves and gives as any good parent would. That doesn't mean the planet is in the condition He originally desired it to be by any means ... but the doom and gloom that we see, hear and feel may not be as deep or hopeless as we think.

Although we have thoughts that we are all “connected,” for some reason, we have not fully seized on the full implications of what this all means. When we do, we come to realize that nature has a way of reversing things - built in by a Creator that spoke the whole world into existence with simple words.

The amazing wonder of it all is enough to realize that a God that could and would create all of this would have a "backup plan" knowing that our earthly flesh can become very selfish and self-centered.

If you didn't read the post that I sent out for Earth Day, you may want to reconsider. (Earth Day: Celebrate God's Provision For Us)  It wasn't just a list of events or tips to save the planet.  It had mention of a film (9:40 minutes) called, Restoration

Another topic of doom and gloom is food. The GMO issues, organic vs inorganic, pesticides, etc. I share some of these "earthly facts" but my belief behind them is that God has provision for us.  Many choose not to have fellowship with God to hear His voice, but will still benefit by sticking with the "good news" on the opposite side of the doom and gloom media rants.

Some research says "nature" got there first, before GMO ever entered into the minds of the inventors.  You never know who's doing or paying for the research ... but that's the case of everything we see in the media.  It's time to regain our sense of intuition and "knowing" inside.  Gut feelings or hearing the Holy Spirit in my case, not what makes sense to our brains and memory, or what's on the news.  All things (news) should be lined up beside the Word and what it says. 

Do we see the world becoming more toxic, or do we see God's promise to daily load us with benefits ("Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah." - Ps. 68:19).

Our food supply is surely one of the things at the top of His list. The only problem is that people aren't even eating the foods that God made for our bodies.  Junk food, fast food, sodas, chemical sweeteners, etc. are not God-made. The food that is most toxic are those that are processed and produced by man. So our first issue has to be to choose fresh foods and withdraw from the addictions of the ones that make us sick.

Fish used to be considered a good food. I've been a vegetarian for 36 years so it's not something I eat. However, the issue with fish is the mercury content since the oceans are filling up with so many of our world's man-made toxins and overuse of them. (Read: Roundup Weedkiller Article)

The article reports that among other health issues, the glyphosate in Roundup is linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In the Earth Day article that I linked above, there's mention of a plant called Rosy Periwinkle that has been used for this. Not in its natural form, but as a drug the pharmaceutical companies sell that is being used successfully against this type of cancer. God's provision available in nature or drug form.

So what do we do with amalgam fillings? I had a friend who had all her teeth removed because 90% of her teeth had fillings. She knew she would wear dentures the rest of her life ... however, she didn't know that the dentures would never get a proper fit.  So she didn't want to wear them since she couldn't talk right or eat well. She spent the next 20 years of her life blending every meal into mush to be able to eat. Imagine putting your take-out box into the blender and turning it into your next meal.

What do we do with eating fish? When you discuss eating healthy food, many folks say, "There isn't any healthy food. It's all toxic in one way or another." No argument there ... but we're not seeing the whole picture. We are such intellectual beings that if we don't know something we sometimes think it doesn't exist as a possibility.

There are various research reports that selenium binds to mercury. "In scientific jargon, selenium has an unusually high “binding affinity” for mercury. In layman’s terms, this means that when the two elements are found together, they tend to connect, forming a new substance. This makes it difficult for the human body to absorb the mercury separately. So when mercury binds to selenium, it’s no longer free to bind to anything else – like brain tissue" (Source: EvenBetterHealth.com)

The following types of fish have very high selenium, containing between 10 and 25 times as much selenium than mercury. High quality servings of the following fish can be expected to lower blood levels of mercury along with providing a healthy amount of selenium:  Yellowfin Tuna, Albacore Tuna, Skipjack Tuna, Mahi Mahi and Wahoo. (Source: NaturalNews.com)

Photo Source: Unknown - Received in Email
Nature Will Not Give Up
We Need the Same Attitude Toward Helping It
My point?  Philippians 4:6-7 - "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

And then Paul tells what we are to think about instead of worries in vs. 8-9:

"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you."

Notice the words peace?  There isn't much of that around these days in people's minds and hearts, but God says we can have it.  It's all about what we think on.  We turned off the sources of doom and gloom to enjoy more of what the WORD says than what the WORLD says.  It's brought a lot of peace into our home without television reception, radio or newspapers.

Some people are aghast that we would not be "in touch with the real world."  I guess it's what you consider the real world.  How much of what you hear on the news really happening?  People share information that may be lies every day and build fear not only in themselves but in others.

I'm not trying to condemn ... I just want you to "consider."  Where do you want your hope to be?  In God or in what the news is saying?  You can't expect to closely connect to God when the world falls apart as the Bible tells us.

It's a relationship process, but it's one that is well rewarded every day of our lives.  Being at peace with God and ourselves has great value.  Knowing Him as our source of provision requires belief in it (or you could say faith).  I can guarantee you that you are not building your faith by tuning into what the world's report is.

Jude 1:20-21 tells us this: "But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life."

Now is the time to make room for God.  Leave the "nod to God crowd" and experience His family life. 

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Delicious 3-Day Detox Smoothie Program

If you'd rather have a cleanse that is all capsules and no beverages, the TiaoHe Cleanse (15-day cleanse) is the most popular one. You can split it into two  programs if you want.The important thing is to eat a "clean" diet while you're cleansing.  No fried foods, sugar, white flour.  Lots of fruits and veggies and fluids.  If you're going to cleanse, get the most out of that you can.

Remember that any cleanse you do requires drinking a lot of water so you can move the toxins out of the body. Otherwise you get that sick feeling that many people talk about when cleansing.  The toxins circulate too long and you don't feel well.  You should feel good on a cleanse with more energy and noticeable weight loss if you've got unwanted pounds.

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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, TheNatureInUs.com. Articles written by Donna L. Watkins may also be reprinted with proper credit and link back to the website, TheNatureInUs.com.

10 Reasons Why Your Pets Should Take Fish Oil

 by Dr. Jane Bicks

You do everything you possibly can to ensure the health of your pet kids. But have you heard the top ten reasons why they should be taking fish oil?

If you’re unfamiliar with the latest science behind omega-3 supplementation for dogs and cats, you should definitely check out the latest from Dr. Jane.

In this post, she explores the health incentives for providing a quality fish oil supplement that’s formulated just for them. Read this Dr. Jane post now. 

Bluebird Babies in Springtime

© Photo:  Donna L. Watkins
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Male Bluebird at Heated Birdbath
View More Bluebird Photos
If you live in Florida you've already had bluebird babies to watch.  If you don't, you can read this article with lots of photos and information on bluebirds.  

Bluebirds begin nesting earlier than most birds. We've had them nest here at Bluebird Cove, but lately it's grown even more woodsy and that's not the chosen nesting territory for bluebirds.  They like flying out into open spaces. 

They are certainly a beauty to behold.  Such pretty colors.  God makes everything beautiful! 

Read the article:  Bluebird Babies Shepherd In Spring

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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, TheNatureInUs.com.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Roundup Weedkiller Now a Probable Human Carcinogen

For years, chemical reps assured farmers that Roundup was safe and “biodegradable.” Farmers now spray more than 185 million pounds of glyphosate—the active ingredient in Roundup—on U.S. food crops. It’s also the most popular weedkiller used in yards, gardens, parks, and playgrounds all across America.

The problem with all of this? The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer just reviewed the latest non-industry-funded science and concluded that glyphosate must be labeled a “probable human carcinogen.” Specifically, exposure to the chemical is linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Farmers use so much glyphosate that it’s been detected in the air, rain, our food, and yes, even us. In a separate study just released, New Zealand researchers found that Roundup actually has the ability to change pathogenic bacteria in a way that makes important antibiotics less likely to work when they cause infections.  Read the entire article.

How about a simple, non-toxic way to kill weeds? 

Here's a few other ideas:

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

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

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

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Jesus Lifts Us Up When We Don't Bear Fruit

by Clint Byars, ForwardMinistries.org

Has this passage ever worried you?  John 15:2 "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away."

You’re not alone, but I have good news for you. The phrase “takes away” doesn’t mean throw away, it means something entirely different. The Greek word for this phrase is 'airo.' It means to lift up, raise up or carry. It also means “to take upon one’s self and carry what has been raised up, to bear.” This sheds new light on the dreaded idea of not bearing fruit.

It’s really that simple, if you don’t bear fruit in Jesus He’ll lift you up into Himself and carry you. Jesus is not looking for opportunities to cast you aside. He promised to never leave you. Unfortunately, poorly translated words and phrases have stuck, but a simple browse through any concordance will reveal the actual meaning of the idea being communicated.

When we find obscure passages that seem to contradict other passages we need to just do a little digging, find some context, and not isolate any one passage to prove a point whether it be comforting or fear based.

The heart of Jesus is to come comfort you, not threaten you for failing to perform up to a standard of impossibility.

John 14:16-20 "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you."

He promised to comfort us, not leave us. He promised to glorify himself through us. The only way to do so is to be in Him.

John 15:5-6 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned."

Let’s think about this for a minute. In verse 2 of John 15 the KJV says Jesus will take you away if you don’t bear fruit but just a few sentences later he says the only way to bear fruit is to be in Him. So … if the only way to bear fruit is to abide in Him and he’s “taking you away” if you don’t bear fruit, how can He expect you to bear fruit?

He’s not setting you up for failure, He'll stick with you even when you mess up. You can rest easy if the spirit of God is within you. Remain confident in His love for you and allow the indwelling spirit of Christ to grow in you and continue to transform you outwardly.

Listen to the free full length message on this subject.

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 InUs.com. Articles written by Donna L. Watkins can be reprinted with proper credit and link back to the website, TheNatureInUs.com.

Renamed High Fructose Corn Syrup Contains Mercury

From NaturalSociety.com

 Not only has the infamously-unhealthy additive gone through a ‘renaming’ process by corporations in an attempt to fool you into eating it, but it is also known to hold some tremendously toxic baggage.

Now branded as ‘fructose’ in processed foods thanks to the whole issue of the public absolutely avoiding high-fructose corn syrup like the plague, it’s important to look back at one landmark study that revealed the presence of ultra-toxic mercury within the ingredient.

.... the study found, nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products that listed HFCS as the first or second ingredient were found to contain it.

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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, TheNatureInUs.com. Articles written by Donna L. Watkins may also be reprinted with proper credit and link back to the website, TheNatureInUs.com.

Creating a Butterfly Garden

Do you love seeing butterflies? Planting a Butterfly Garden is not difficult and there's a lot of info out there to help out. Get some visuals on butterfly garden design from a search on Bing.

Here's a few articles that will surely inspire you:

Butterfly Garden Design Step by Step
What kind of butterfly garden plants should you include in a garden for butterflies ....perennials or annuals? Perennials come up every year and therefore are more carefree. Annuals need to be planted every year, but have the advantage that they usually bloom longer, often all summer. It is best to have a combination of annuals and perennials in your butterfly garden design.

Attracting Butterflies to Your Garden
Bright colors seem to attract more butterflies, but more importantly, large swaths of color will make it easier for them to find your garden.

Grow an Herbal Butterfly Garden
Attracting butterflies, bees and birds to your herb garden is an added benefit to having the fresh herbs. Because butterflies and bees can not tolerate toxins, they are also a good indicator that you have a fresh, healthy garden. To attract butterflies, you will be focusing on brightly colored blooms and a safe environment for them to enjoy the nectar, rest, and have a drink.

Butterfly Garden Design - HGTV
Use a two-pronged approach to your butterfly garden by including attributes that attract adult butterflies, as well as their young.

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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, TheNatureInUs.com. Articles written by Donna L. Watkins may also be reprinted with proper credit and link back to the website, TheNatureInUs.com.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Earth Day: Celebrate God's Provision for Us

by Donna L. Watkins

Photo: ©Donna L. Watkins
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Stream in the Rainforest - Amazing Biodiversity
La Selva Biological Station
Do you celebrate Earth Day in some way?  Even if only to take time to acknowledge and ponder God's creation of the earth and how you can do more to preserve it for future generations and make it better for those of us who live here right now.  Here's a website with 40 tips to help sustain God's Creation.

Check out the Earth Day website for things happening locally around the world.  You can search by zip code.  Not all events will be on this website so be sure to check your local news or Google a search:  Earth Day Events _______________ (enter your city and state).  Make it a family holiday that children and adults look forward to.

On Earth Day, April 22, there will be awareness-raising events across the world attempting to connect people to the planet we live on and to seek solutions or "the little things" you can do to preserve God's provision for us within our connected eco-systems. At some point there must be a pause button pushed.

There are species that God has provided for us for a reason that are going extinct. There are herbal remedies and solutions all around us. We need to use native plants in our gardens rather than invasive ones that cause natives to go extinct. Ornamental plants don't often feed birds and other living "beings" like the natives do so that causes species to die out also.  Our small gardens can truly make a difference.

New solutions are found daily for the benefit of man. Did you know that the rosy periwinkle flower from Madagascar is used in drugs for cancer treatment and has helped increase survival rates for childhood leukemia from 10% to 95%? The down side is that these medicines have proved very profitable for global drug companies, but virtually none of this money finds its way back to Madagascar, one of the poorest countries in the world.

We need to protect the places that are wild and beautiful, not only to walk within them, but to sustainably harvest things that God gave us for good. A lot of good things are going on around the globe to renew things that humans have destroyed. I've always felt that God had a provision for every generation in His Creation. We may not yet see it but God is God ... He created all this amazing stuff to be here and then to replicate itself.

Photo: ©Donna L. Watkins
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 Chestnut-sided Warbler Taking Bath In Rainforest Puddle
Our Song Birds Need a Place to Migrate in Winter

La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica
But as I've said many times when people begin to tell me the "gloom and doom" state of the planet .... "God has provision." Simply sharing all the gloom and doom with others and doing nothing about it yourself is not a healthy practice for you or others you influence.

There's a plan behind it all to last as long as it needs to until the return of Jesus. That doesn't mean it's in the condition He originally desired it to be in by any means ... but that the doom and gloom that we see, hear and feel may not be as deep or hopeless as we think.

A short film (9:40 min.), "Restoration," is the 4th episode in the Green World Rising series narrated by actor Leonardo DiCaprio and created by Tree Media.

Here's a short part of the article promoting the video:

"And in this moment, a ray of very powerful insight has emerged. Our next film, “Restoration,” addresses the idea that if we stop superimposing our 19th-century industrial logic on the landscape, the earth’s systems can reverse the damage of thoughtless industrial growth . 

Even though systems thinking has been with us for decades, as well as deep ecology and thoughts that we are all “connected,” for some reason, we have not fully seized on the full implications of what this all means. 

We must stop for a moment and go deep into the understanding of the way soil works, the way trees work, the way mushroom mycelium work, the way the oceans work -- among countless others systems. 

When we do, we come to realize that all these things can literally reverse what many now know is the -- at minimum pathological, at most suicidal -- path we are on."

View the film now.

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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, TheNatureInUs.com. Articles written by Donna L. Watkins may also be reprinted with proper credit and link back to the website, TheNatureInUs.com.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 4/15/15

  The Nature In Us Newsletter - 4/15/15 
  by Donna L. Watkins  
“If I will not direct my thoughts, I cannot direct my life.”
 ~ Dr. James B. Richards

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Hello Dear Friends!

Neighbors - We're blessed with many good neighbors here in Virginia. We had a couple of wonderful neighbors, Ken and Yvonne, who years back moved to Tennessee. Yvonne had emphysema and was on oxygen, but Ken was an amazing attentive husband and was her caretaker which meant he didn't get out and about hardly at all.  He's one of those guys that loves talking with people and being on the go, so I know it was difficult for him but you would never know it.  They were from England and his attitude was that she traveled the world for his career, so now it was his turn.

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Donna in Singapore
Albino Ball Python Snake

View More Snake Photos
All of that to say Yvonne died in January and recently he sent a couple of pictures of her more adventuresome side.  One of them was her holding a baby alligator and having a huge snake around her neck from a place in Florida back in 1982 and the other in Florida again on her knees petting a larger alligator in 1993.  I told Ken I knew why we were kindred spirits and sent him this photo of me with an Albino Ball Python.

Travel: Asia and Georgia - In 2002, we had earned an award trip to Singapore which also included a cruise to Langkawi, Malaysia & Phuket, Thailand.  Singapore had a place called Night Safari which was very cool since the animals were all in natural habitats and even had to hunt for their own food (which was aided by the release of "food" by caretakers).

They had a grand buffet dinner which was on our itinerary and various people were walking around carrying animals. You can imagine I was definitely the last person in the whole group to finish my meal.  I saw this guy on the other side of the pavilion and went over to see the snake.  He allowed me to hold it and instantly I put it around my neck because it was VERY VERY heavy.  They can grow up to 20 feet and weigh up to 200 lbs.

We had an exciting tram tour after dinner where I saw animals I'd never seen before, not only up close and personal, but even on television.  It was an awesome place to visit.  Check out Night Safari in Singapore and/or View Photo Album of Entire Trip.  There were some really cool birds and wildlife.

We had been to Malaysia before on a 10-day speaking tour in 1994 which included four cities.  That's when I realized how much I loved Asian food.  The flowers, birds and people were all incredible.  Such joy in their hearts and pride in their country.  In each town we had a different host and got to see so many things.  One of those "pinch me, is this real" kind of events in your life.

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Huge and Very Old Alligator Resident
at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
View More Alligator Photos
We flew First Class and had hotels that were breathtaking.  We would tour where ever the hosts took us, and they all seemed to outdo each other, and then at night we would do the meetings and stay up past midnight to answer questions.  After speaking they gave us three days to just enjoy ourselves.  View Photo Gallery of Malaysia.

The alligator that Yvonne had in both photos reminded me of our visit in 1997 to Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Folkston, Gerogia.  We took a boat ride into the swamp which was very interesting.  It was my first swamp tour.  There was a huge alligator who was a long-time resident and so the boat pulled right up next to him.  I got a great photo I think and was very excited about that.  This was all before the days of a digital camera for me.  View Photo Album of Okefenokee.

Getting Outdoors: National Park Free Admission - One of our country’s greatest treasures is our National Park system, 405 extraordinary and beautiful places to explore and enjoy. Did you know that there are several free admission days for National Parks every year? This means that on certain days every year, the entrance fees are waived, making the National Park experience even more affordable than it already is! Take the opportunity to schedule time at a National Park this year!

Here's the list for  2015:
April 18-19, 2015: National Park Week’s opening weekend
Aug. 25, 2015: National Park Service’s 99th birthday
Sept. 26, 2015: National Public Lands Day
Nov. 11, 2015: Veterans Day

Birds: Creating Temporary Habitats - Since bird populations are indicators of ecosystem health, it's important to track their numbers to determine where conservation efforts are needed most.  Climate changes is threatening some of North America's most beloved birds.  Shifting temperatures could greatly reduce the habitats for 10 of the U.S. state birds.

Bird watchers are helping by entering as many as 8 million bird sightings every month at eBird.com, an online database with nearly 250 million records (you can help too).  The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has come up with a unique was of providing habitat in California.  1 billion birds (350 bird species) migrate along the Pacific flyway each year, many of which need to forage in wetlands, once abundant in California, but now cultivated by farmers.

TNC has a program that pays rice farmers in the northern Central Valley to flood their fields during peak migration times.  These "pop up" habitats are cheaper than setting aside and maintaining permanent refuges.  (Info Source:  National Geographic)  Read more about this good news story.

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Mourning Doves with Tucked-in Beaks
View More Photos of Mourning Doves
Birds: Winter Memories -We had a flock of Mourning Doves during our really cold spell of winter and these two were keeping their noses warm by tucking them in.  Not a safe way to look out for hawks though.  We do have four species of hawks and it always makes me nervous when Mourning Doves look so exposed.  At least the hunters here are only hungry hawks and not people shooting for "sport."  Mourning Doves are the most frequently hunted species in North America.  Every year hunters harvest more than 20 million.

We have had a pair or two as residents and enjoy the cooing sung by the male.  I used to think it sound very sad, but now that I know it signals the beginning of this bird's habits of nesting, claiming territory, and raising young, it's a happy song.  It's fun to see the male chase after the female as she waddles away in front of him.  They are such timid birds, but they sure have a beauty about them.

They feed busily on the ground, swallowing seeds and storing them in an enlarged area of the esophagus called the crop. Once they’ve filled it they can fly to a safe perch to digest the meal.  The record seed count is 17,200 bluegrass seeds in a single crop.  Quite amazing!  We feed them millet and they enjoy the droppings of sunflower seeds from the feeders.  I've also seen them eating cracked corn.
Health: Essential Oils - Last week Nature's Sunshine unveiled an increased line of aromatherapy products—28 singles, 8 blends, 2 kits (not available yet) and more!  Also including many that are now in larger 15ml bottles and better pricing than the original 5ml. They are also on sale at 15% off through April 20, 2015.  Take a look at the "on sale" products!

A truly authentic essential oil is one of the plant kingdom’s greatest gifts. For centuries they have been prized as remarkable flavors, fragrances and most notably as potent remedies. Wellness seekers through the ages have discovered that when these precious aromatic liquids are delivered in their original, unaltered state, they profoundly and safely cleanse, protect, rejuvenate and elevate the body and mind.

Tidbits: Glowing Tampons - In the United Kingdom, a University of Sheffield research team has sought to answer one of the eternal questions facing humanity — how female hygiene products can be used to detect sewer misconnection discharge.  Yep!  This is for real.  They want to use glowing tampons. "Tampons are untreated," said Professor Lerner. "They have not been exposed to the processes which affect most other cotton products, they come in clean packets and they've even got a string. They are the ideal objects for this."

Discovery of Most Undisturbed Rain Forest - In a scene straight from Raiders of the Lost Ark, archaeologists believe they have found the fabled lost White City of the Monkey God in Honduras.  Aided by former Special Air Service (SAS) soldiers, the team of scientists uncovered the location in the Mosquitia jungle, along Honduras's eastern coast, over 500 years after the last time it was visited, according to National Geographic.  The rain forest surrounding the area is so primeval that the animals appear never to have seen humans before.  Mark Plotkin, ethnobotanist, said: "This is clearly the most undisturbed rain forest in Central America. The importance of this place can’t be overestimated."  Read more about it.

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Donna at Huge Old Tree
Annette Kagan Healing Garden
Norfolk Botanical Gardens
Celebrations - Our 38th anniversary was on the 9th and in an impromptu moment we decided to do an overnight in Norfolk, Virginia.  It's 3 hours away so we left on the Saturday before Easter.  We had a free night's accommodation at a Residence Inn Suite that was going to expire and it seemed quite appropriate to use it.  I wanted to celebrate Resurrection Sunday on a deserted beach with the Lord (and my sweet husband).  I found one within a state park and although not totally deserted, there were only dog walkers and a family flying a kite too far away to hardly see. 

It was a beautiful day to be with Jesus.  We got to rejoice in our cat's passing on to her heavenly body in joy and playfulness again.  She was such a sweet kitty.  We were blessed to have her so long.  She was an FIV kitty (like HIV in humans) and in the last 3 years had kidney issues, but she lived to be 19 years and 8 months old.  That's 95 in human years when you using a Cat Calculator since it's not just a certain number of years for each year. 

We visited the Norfolk Botanical Gardens on Saturday when we got into town.  What a huge place that is!  Fortunately there are benches or stone walls everywhere to sit and rest.  It was a chilly day for the morning but warmed up nicely.  We took a picnic to eat somewhere along the paths on one of those garden benches.  Plenty of things in bloom and of course it hit my photographer's passion on the spot.  View Norfolk Botanical Gardens photos.

I especially loved this one tree we came upon.  Huge as you can see from the photo.  How much that tree could tell us about the storms of life, how to deal with them, and how to move on.  Trees are such a grand expression of God's mighty power.  Norfolk Botanical Garden is home to many notable trees. 

61 trees are now listed as state champions in the Virginia Big Tree Program and 5 trees are listed in the Remarkable Trees of Virginia Project.  I love it when places and towns place importance on trees.  God gave them to us for so many reasons and without them our lives are precarious, as evidenced by countries who have removed much of their forests and now have so much destruction from winds, floods, hurricanes, etc.

Green Onions Regrowing After Cutting
Only 3 Days of Growth on Kitchen Counter
Kitchen Gardening - Somewhere I was searching online for information and found something else.  Isn't that a common thing?  It's been an exciting thing though since I love green onions and since we don't go to town every week, I don't always have them handy and ready to use.  I saw an article that said you could grow green onions in water.  For some they're even growing without sunlight, so you can just sit them on the counter.

You put a bunch in to fit tightly in the open jar, then you cut them off as you want to use them leaving a good nub on the bottom above the roots (1-2" is best) so they can grow right back again.

Make sure the water doesn't cover the whole onion or they will rot.  This is a great way to get continuous onions without buying them and without even having a patch or pot of soil to grow them in.  I got 3 bunches of green onions and put them in various jars and on the first one cut off all of them and then let them sit changing water every other day.  As you can see from the photo, they've grown amazingly fast!  Read the article.

Nostalgia - I was born in 1950 so I could really relate to this 4 minute slide show of that era that my friend, Rainbow, sent me.  Since it's the age of Baby Boomers, there's a lot of you that can relate also.  Enjoy seeing things you've forgotten about:  Lost in the 50's - Another Time, Another Place.

Spiritual - Psalm 91 is a chapter of the Bible that I memorized many years ago and it has served me well in many situations.  I recently read Dr. Jim Richards discussion of it and got even more insight into this beautiful passage of Scripture that tells us how we get this Psalm 91 protection.

Everything God gives us is activated by our faith to come forth, so it's not just a simple prayer when a tornado is on its way that brings the truth of this chapter to reality.  If we're not dwelling with the Lord on a regular basis, our faith will not be ready to face a tornado and believe for protection.  Consider Psalm 91:1-2:  

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.”

View Enlarged Image
Great Mormon (Papilio memnon) Butterfly
Exhibit at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens
View More Butterfly Photos
In the Hebrew language, these verses are so powerful. Following are definitions for some of the key words in this passage.

Dwell = to sit in quiet, to sit still
Abide = to stay permanently
Shadow = protection
Refuge = place of hope
In Him = because of Him
Will Trust = feel safe, have hope

With those definitions in mind, lets look at this scripture again to add depth to it.  

“The person who sits still and in quietness in the Secret Place of God will stay permanently under the protection of the Almighty. He can say of the Lord, He is my place of hope and my fortress, because of Him I feel safe and have hope.”

Today, in your Secret Place, sit still with God! As you sit in stillness and quietness, realize that you are permanently protected. With Him you are safe and with Him you can always expect good things (hope).

Until next time ...  

May God Multiply Your Peace Every Day!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ God's In Love With YOU! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs."  (Zephaniah 3:17) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

P.S. Anything in here that might help somebody you know?   
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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, TheNatureInUs.com. Articles written by Donna L. Watkins may also be reprinted with proper credit and link back to the website, TheNatureInUs.com

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

3 Days and 3 Nights - Ending the Confusion

by Donna L. Watkins

I've been reading the New Testament desiring to know more about the things that Jesus spoke about while He was here.  He taught on the Kingdom of God.  I used to think He preached the Gospel .. but reality is, the Gospel wasn't spread until after the resurrection.  He was talking to Jews so the Kingdom was His topic.

I read until I get to a verse that I really want to meditate on. Then I ponder what it says because it doesn't match up with the traditional interpretation I've known in the churches I've attended. One of those verses recently was Matthew 12:40:

"For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."

Sent to Me By a Friend
Thank you, Marilee in Minnesota!
First of all I've often wondered about somebody being in a whale's belly for three days and nights. Sadly, I seem to have been trained to twist something at a different angle if it isn't something I could understand. This is a dangerous thing since Paul says in Colossians 2:8:

"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ."

We put too much pride into our mental beliefs. Just because we can't understand something or we have a previously held opinion or belief on it, doesn't mean it's wrong. When I come up on something in the Bible that doesn't match with my thinking and beliefs I am instantly alerted that MY beliefs are wrong.

There's a lot I don't understand with my mind and I acknowledge that. It's actually exciting when I realize a Bible truth that doesn't agree with what I think is true. It allows me to become more like Christ to renew my mind as He commanded. But sadly, there are many that don't let the Bible get in the way of what they believe. Many go with the traditions of what they've been taught without a thought to check it out and dig deep to understand it.

"However, as it is written: 'What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived' the things God has prepared for those who love him - these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, 'Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?' But we have the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:9-16).

Yes, there is a lot in the Bible that seemingly seems contradictory and confusing ... but not when you really dig in and ask the Holy Spirit for revelation. The problem is to take the time to do this. God is not generally into the New York minute devotional time. We may need to meditate on it for awhile before we can understand what He tells us, but we are promised in our relationship with the Lord that we can know all things, but often we just don't take the time to get to class.

I John 2:20 tells us that "we have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of us (Christians) know the truth." How often did I shrug that off as being "impossible."  Who am I to come against the Word of God!?  We need to make His Word more important than other books, tapes, devotionals and many optional things published other than the Bible.

Am I saying that we shouldn't listen to or read other materials? No! of course not ... as long as they agree with the Word, but the Bible should be our mainstay and have the most command of our spiritual hours. It gives us the most return since it's the only words you will read that comes with a definite promise:

"For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12). That could be a verse to begin with when scheduling some time for meditation (pondering, chewing on, seeking insight into).

Even in a worldly sense, I don't really understand some things happening around me since seeing is believing to my mind. What comes to mind as I think that is a place we visited the Maritime Provinces in Canada (New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia) for our 20th anniversary honeymoon. View Photo Gallery for This Canadian Trip.

There was a place in Moncton, New Brunswick called Magnetic Hill. Back into the 1880's stories passed around about a strange road where the wagons would run up on the horses' heels when going uphill. In 1933 more stories were added about cars rolling uphill without power. Obviously something nobody seemed to understand, especially when magnetic properties were ruled out in place of an optical illusion. View the Website and Click on Magnetic Hill at the BottomView a YouTube video.  You can imagine that it twists your brain a bit trying to figure it out.

So ... let's get back to the original verse about Jonah with this interesting piece of news:

"A Mediterranean fish has been caught, whose head alone weighed six tons and whose jaws had an opening of eight feet. In the April 4, 1896, Literary Digest, a story was recounted of a whale in the Mediterranean Sea that destroyed a harpoon boat and swallowed a sailor named James Bartley. A day and a half later, Bartley was found alive in the whale’s belly with only his skin tanned by the gastric juices. Another fish, caught off the coast of Florida, weighed 15 tons and had a 1,500-pound fish in its belly" (The Dake Annotated Reference Bible).

Now that I have knowledge and belief that it was possible in a physical sense for Jonah who was an Old Testament type and shadow of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection that would occur in the New Covenant, I can go on to the rest of the verse where Jesus says He will "be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Matthew 12:40 above). It has been traditionally taught that Jesus was crucified and buried on a Friday and resurrected on a Sunday, the first day of the week (Matt. 28:1, Mark 16:2, Luke 24:1 and John 20:1).

Photo Credit: Christine Caine
The crucifixion was set on Friday because of a misunderstanding of verses like Luke 23:54 that talk of the Sabbath being the day after, however, as seen in John 19:31, the Sabbath spoken of was a high (or special) Sabbath, specifically the feast of the Passover. We already know that Jesus was the Passover lamb. These special feasts were also called Sabbaths regardless of the day of the week it was (compare Mark 15:42 with John 19:14).

Considering the three days and three nights, that would mean the crucifixion was on a Thursday or possibly on a Wednesday, depending on when you believe Jesus was resurrected.

John 20:1 says that Mary Magdalene saw Jesus while it was still dark on Sunday. That means Jesus actually rose from the dead some time during the night prior to sunrise. If Jesus’ statement in this verse is interpreted as meaning three complete nights, Saturday night could not be included and would thus push the crucifixion and burial back to Wednesday. At any rate, Friday could not have been the day Jesus was crucified.

I love finding things like this because it makes me realize that the Bible really is not confusing and can be understood through our spirit, our heart and even through research in commentaries and concordances that give you the original Greek and Hebrew language. With the promises that God gives us about meditating on His Word day and night, we should be making it more prominent in our daily scheduling.

If you can make time for your "favorite TV show" you can make time for something that brings life into your heart and environment. We seek peace in many things ... but only from God can it actually reside in you daily.

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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, TheNatureInUs.com. Articles written by Donna L. Watkins may also be reprinted with proper credit and link back to the website, TheNatureInUs.com.

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