Tuesday, October 31, 2006

At Risk - Common Household Cleaning Products

There are three ways toxic chemicals enter the body: by swallowing, by breathing, or by contact with the skin or eyes. An EPA report concluded that toxic chemicals in household cleaners are three times more likely to cause cancer than oudoor air pollution.

In one study conducted over a 15-year period, women who worked at home had a 54% higher death rate from cancer than women who had jobs away from the home. The study concluded that the increased death rate was due to daily exposure to hazardous chemicals found in ordinary household products.

What is not being reported are the slow poisonings that occur in every home from continual exposure to household cleaning chemcials. Cancer, birth defects, heart disease, genetic changes - almost any symptom imaginable, both physical and psychological, has been associated with certain chemicals in common household products. At greatest risk are fetuses, children, the elderly, pets, and those who are already ill.

Sunshine Concentrate Household Multi-Use Cleaner

New Life for Old Clothes & Shoes

Have you seen the piles of clothing when you drop off bags at the Salvation Army or Goodwill ... the larger organizations that take donated household items? It's very discouraging to realize that much of our "stuff" goes into warehouses. It gives me a feeling of not having done anything by donating.
Why not try something different?

Dress for Success takes women's suits, shoes and briefcases, which are passed on to economically disadvantaged women entering the professional world. www.dressforsuccess.org/how_to_donate/suits.asp

Jobs for Youth, a Chicago-based organization helps young women and men from low-income backgrounds integrate into the business world. They take donations of men's and women's business clothing.

Fairy Godmothers (NY, VA and PA) takes gowns, shoes and accessories to provide girls, who are unable to afford outfits for their proms, a chance to go. After all isn't that what fairy godmothers are for? www.fairygodmothersinc.com/donate/index.html
Enchanted Closet in Atlanta or Princess Project in San Francisco are similar organizations.

One World Running provides running shoes and gear, soccer cleats, and baseball equipment to athletes in Africa, Central America and Haiti.  If your shoes are still wearable, this is a great place to recycle them:  www.boulderrunning.com/oneworldrunning/about.php

If your shoes aren't wearable, send them to Nike (no matter what the brand) to be ground up and recycled as playground mats, basketball courts and running tracks. Better use than the landfill, eh!?
www.nikereuseashoe.com   Read the entire article.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Growing An Indoor Herb Garden

It's that time of year when you are winding down in the garden and looking forward to winter. You can still garden indoors and an herb garden is a lot of fun and really greens up winter in the home, besides providing fresh herbs for those delicious warm winter soups.

Here's an article by Kate Gilby to tell you how it's done.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Screech Owls

We were up very early one warm morning a couple of weeks ago, so I had the door to the screened porch open in our bedroom as I got ready for the day. I heard this odd sound in the woods that I'd never heard before and it drew me outside to get a closer listen. I thought it might be a cat, but our Squeek, who was sitting out there, showed no interest at all.

I tuned in a bit more and thought about it and it just "felt like" it was an owl. It was like a short call with a whinny on the end of it. I called Randal out to listen to see what he thought and he said it sounded like a tropical bird that a neighbor might have. I guess it was too early in the morning for his "birding" brain to get into gear, so I headed for the computer.

What a blessing the internet can be in such times as these. I entered "owl +whinny" and came up with a description and sound bite of what I was hearing. It was indeed an owl. An Eastern Screech Owl. I was so excited to hear a new sound in the woods. Listen to the sound or get detailed information on this owl.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Shake It Off

by Donna L. Watkins

Do you begin your day with a shout of, “This is the day the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it?” Or do the words of your mouth sound less than hopeful for a good day?

© 2006 Donna L. Watkins - Carolina Wren
Perhaps you are on a spinning wheel going from one awful thought to the next. Even at night, your mind is troubled with negatives thoughts.

How we see the day when we arise in the morning has a lot to do with how it will look all day long. If we look for good things in each day, we will find them. If we focus on our aches and pains, physical or emotionally, we will not find joy.

Habits are hard to break and if you begin your day by saying, “Oh! My aching back!” you may miss the kind of days you dream about. Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so he is.”

Fill your mind with good things and every cell of your body will get the message that life is good and worth living. We are commanded to renew our minds.

Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer 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.”

If you watch the news or read the newspaper in the morning, ask yourself if that’s what you want to believe about the day. The media will fill your heart with fear and trembling and make you think that life is evil. Just because “everybody else” watches the news and reads newspapers doesn’t mean you need to. I realized a few years after I got saved in the late 70’s that if I was going to get out of the many fears I had, I was going to have to give up things that kept feeding them, so we have not gotten newspapers since then and I have not watched the news.

If you’re watching soap operas, you will definitely believe life is full of misery and you will think that romance is the answer to it all. Both are lies.

Take the time you spend in newspapers and television and dwell on the Good News instead. Read God’s Word to you and memorize it so you can fill your mind daily and be renewed.

Do you want to know what God’s will is for your life? Are you looking for your purpose? Read again the words of Romans 12:2: “Do not conform any longer 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.”

Notice the good things of the day. It will be hard to do at first if you’ve been rehearsing all the bad things about life, so journal the good you see in each day for a month until you form a new habit of looking for and seeing the good in life. Your mind and body will respond in ways you never dreamed of. There is no way to be depressed when you begin to see God’s love for you in the Scriptures. Your physical body will respond and be renewed also.

Consider Proverbs 4:20-22 which says, “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.”

You can do this. You already do it all day long in some form or fashion. People look daily for their winning lottery number. They watch the clock at work to be able to go home. Some young folks are looking intently for the one they will marry. Make it like a scavenger hunt.

I always loved this as a kid and still do. We called our home in Alabama, The Refuge, and we would have gatherings of our Nature’s Sunshine managers and distributors and do fun things outdoors because most of them lived in the city. At one of the gatherings I designed a scavenger hunt and it was so much fun to see a group of adults act like kids again.

When things go wrong, don’t allow the devil to tell you that God did it. He is the deceiver. God can only do good. He sent His only Son to redeem us because He loved us and through Christ we are now children of God. He is not doing evil to you. He is a good Papa.

Life has its challenges and bad circumstances, but don’t let it get you down or kill you. Kick back! The Bible says in Psalm 91 that God’s Truth is our shield and buckler. This is our defense against the devil. Use it!

For a visual illustration of what to do with bad circumstances, consider the donkey that fell into a dry well and the owner could find no way to get him out. Thinking he was dead anyway, he decided to fill in the well with dirt to make it a memorial to his faithful donkey.

He threw one shovel of dirt in at a time and unbeknownst to him, every time that dirt hit the donkey, the donkey shook it off and stepped on it. As the owner looked to see how much more dirt he needed to add, he saw the donkey alive and well on top of the dirt. Of course, he continued throwing in dirt until the donkey was beside him again.

The moral of the story is, when life throws dirt at you, shake it off and step on it and keep doing it because you will rise to the top alive and well.

Copyright and Reprint Information
All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins and may not be republished without written permission. You may forward or use this copyrighted article on a website if you include the following credit and an active link back to this site:
© 2000-2007 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission. Visit the author's website, TheNatureInUs.com for more articles and free email subscription.
Link URL: http://www.TheNatureInUs.com

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Grooming Senior Dogs

Grooming is an important aspect of your pet's health care throughout his life. As your pet ages, taking an active role in grooming becomes even more important. Older pets often groom less, may have trouble cleaning those "hard to reach places," or may develop skin conditions that require extra attention. You will have to take a more active role in keeping your pet clean and monitoring for any changes in skin and coat that may signal medical problems. Grooming your senior pet.

Japan Producing Electricity from Train Station Ticket Gates

The East Japan Railway Company, as part of research aimed at developing more environmentally friendly train stations, is testing an experimental system that produces electricity as people pass through ticket gates. JR claims that this sort of human-powered electricity generation system may provide a portion of the electricity consumed at train stations in the future. Read the story.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Searching for Non-Toxic Paint?

When looking for nontoxic paint, you'll want to find a brand that is low in volatile organic compounds (VOC's), which are a class of chemicals that evaporate at room temperature and can cause a variety of health problems.

If your local stores don't offer low-toxicity paints or won't order them for you, here are some options:


Carolina Wren, Rough Green Snake, Blue Heron and Leesburg, VA

This Carolina Wren shares his song with us in the mornings. It seems he takes his place on the deck post just to praise the Lord. It certainly makes my heart rejoice in God's Creation.

Life certainly passes by quickly when you look back, although some challenging days seem to last for a very long time.

We have had many events to count as blessings. We drove to Leesburg, VA, to meet family mid-way between them and us. Since we all enjoy the natural world, we visited three parks while there for the day.

At the first one, we saw a Rough Green Snake (click double arrows to the right to see more snake photos). My mind still says 'fear' when I see snakes but I so want to be able to love them as much as I do the rest of God's Creation. So few of them are poisonous but they all suffer for those that are.

We also got to see a Great Blue Heron (click double arrows to the right to see more heron photos) before leaving the last park. That was very special. They are just awesome birds and I had a good view behind bushes so he didn't fly off before I could take a bunch of photos. View all photos of our Leesburg day trip.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Yesterday provided some excitement. I was at my desk in the kitchen by the window when all the birds from the feeder flew towards the house to the safety of the bushes. At the same time I saw a large bird land on the corner of the deck at the edge of the roof only 13 feet away. It was a hawk! I grabbed the camera nearby and he stayed for about 4 minutes looking all around for a birdie lunch, but thankfully he didn't get one in my view.

I think raptors are awesome birds but I don't like to think of my songbirds becoming a meal for one. I know they have a purpose and the birds that are caught are generally weak or old so he's probably a blessing to keep them from later suffering. I like to think so ... and besides I believe birds go to Heaven, so it can't be all bad. One day hawks won't be eating birds. The entire kingdom will be peaceful without fear. View photos of Juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk.

Monday, October 23, 2006

How to Clean Your Cat

There are a variety of reasons why your cat may suddenly be unable to clean itself: gaining weight, orthopedic problems, arthritis, or a secondary problem to another illness. When your cat stops cleaning itself, clumps and matts develop around your cat's rear, odor develops, and if allowed to persist long enough, raw spots develop on the skin. To prevent such discomfort and health problems, you gain a new responsibility in cleaning your cat yourself. Here's a how-to article with step-by-step instructions.

Bamboo-Fiber Clothing

Bamboosa makes bamboo-fiber clothing and baby products that are naturally antimicrobial, hypoallergenic, odor-free and ultra-soft. Products are sweatshop-free and American-made. The styles are nice and the prices are reasonable. Bamboosa.com

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Pileated Woodpeckers

These birds are so fascinating to me. They appear so huge compared to the other woodpeckers we get. They have a loud call that reminds me of being in the jungle.

Pileated Woodpeckers are the largest woodpeckers in North America (with the exception of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, which was thought to have been extinct, but recent findings may discover otherwise in time).

They are about the size of a crow and black, with bright red pointed crests, the red more extensive on the crests of males. Males also have red moustache stripes as you can see on this one, while the females are black.

I had a male visit our small suet feeder and that was very comical to watch since he was more than twice it's size. I shot some close-ups of his large beak and claws. The 5 best photos begin here. Click the double arrows to the right to see them all.

I also posted a short video on YouTube of one digging away at a dead tree in front of our porch.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Sunny Yellow Goldenrod Attracts Beneficial Insects

This photo from our garden shows a Goldenrod Spider on a Coneflower. This is one of the critters that lurks amongst goldenrod waiting for a meal to arrive.

We have several varieties of goldenrod and the last one is in bloom. Soon they will all be drying seeds but even then they will be giving life to the birds that eat them.

I was surprised to find that goldenrod was being sold at the garden center the last time I was there. That's exciting! People are finding out the benefits of this wonderful plant that has been falsely blamed for hayfever and Fall allergies. The bloom of the ragweed that is responsible for the allergy factor is similar to goldenrod.

Many beneficial insects are attracted to this plant. Here's an article about gardening with goldenrod:
Autumn Beauties for the Garden

"This Week at Hilton Pond" featured a segment on goldenrod recently. The photographs on his articles are worth the look in themselves, but the article, A Glorious (But Gory) Goldenrod Patch, is delightful, showing you the predators that lurk there. Those predators are welcome visitors for the gardener.

Will Bird Flu Fly Into Our Lives?

Federal and state biologists have launched a massive new monitoring program designed to determine whether wild migratory birds are bringing a deadly virus into North America. At a cost of $29 million in 2006, the Interagency Plan for Early Detection team, composed of biologists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services division, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and state wildlife agencies, took its work to all 50 states. Read more

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Bighorn Sheep Thriving Again in Texas

Bighorn sheep have flourished in the rough and dry West Texas mountains going back to prehistoric times. But unregulated hunting and exposure to disease from domestic sheep had almost wiped out the desert sheep by the 1960's. Now, after years of restoration efforts led by the Texas Bighorn Society there are close to 1,000 of the agile animals occupying the high ground of the Trans-Pecos region, according to a helicopter count this August. Get more info.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Cat Flushing Toilet

Marilee, one of the subscribers, sent me a link to the funniest video showing a cat flushing the toilet and then looking into the bowl as the water went down. The cat flushed over and over and then peered into the bowl and even put its paw in like it was trying to catch the moving water. If you need a good laugh, view the toilet cat video.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

All Of Them

by Donna L. Watkins

© 2006 Donna L. Watkins - American Robin
"And great multitudes followed Him and He healed them all." Matthew 12:15

How many times do we read that Jesus healed them all, everybody, every person? Nobody was excluded. There is a lot written by different apostles about the time they spent with Jesus. Nobody recorded that some people did not qualify for healing. It always says Jesus healed them all.

Why then do we believe anybody that tells us that it may be God's will for us to be sick and unhealthy? Some become martyrs thinking they are suffering for Christ in their health problems. What are they suffering for? How does suffering glorify Christ if the purpose for why you were created and born is not being fulfilled?

Would you believe that God made you to be sick? Can you believe that would be the design of a good God? The intent of a perfect Father? How many of you have children? Would you put a disease or illness on any of them so they could learn more about your love? Of course not.

Jesus said that He did nothing of himself but only His Father's will in John 8:28. If it was God's will for Jesus to heal everybody, would it not still be His will? Do you think Jesus came only to heal those who were "lucky" enough to live when He had His ministry on the earth? He came to die on the Cross for our sins and our healing. By His stripes we were healed. Healed!

Why can't we read that and be healed? Because we don't believe it. Jesus also said to many people, "Only believe." It seems to be a prerequisite for healing. Only believe that He can ... that He has!

The devil doesn't want you well so stop listening to his lies. Yes, God will use your illness for good if you love Him. It's a promise of Romans 8:28, but it's not and never was His will for your life to be ill. His desire for your life was for healing. That's why He sent His son to earth. Healing was as much a part of Jesus' ministry to us as was His preaching and teaching. He never turned anybody away and He has not turned you away.

If you've been reading my writings for very long you know that I believe that what we believe determines what we receive in life. It's what we attract. Even Job said, "what I feared the most has come upon me." Fear attracts evil, faith attracts good. We can't speak with our mouths the words from Scripture while our mind is telling us we believe something different.

We must truly meditate on the Words of God and chew them and absorb them like nutrients from good food until our minds are changed and renewed as our body would be from a good meal. This is the food I crave and seek daily as I search for the "down to the very core" belief that will make me whole in every way.

Smith Wigglesworth says, "God has a realm of divine life opening up to us where there are boundless possibilities, limitless power, and untold resources."

He also says that, "The purpose of all Scripture is to move us to this wonderful and blessed elevation of faith where our constant experience is the manifestation of God's life and power through us."

Abraham reached the place where he became a "friend of God" because he "believed God" (James 2:23).

Father, guide me to the Scripture you want me to consume. Show me what I am to eat, and meditate on, and digest until it renews my mind as Your Word promises it will do. Thank you for making healing available to all and for loving me in the midst of all the pain and heartaches of life. Guide and direct and remind me to choose to stay at your table for a steady diet of Your Word. As I renew my mind by choosing to believe Your Word, rather than my own thoughts and what the world and doctors say, I will deepen my relationship with You and become more like Christ. Thank you for your plan of redemption, salvation and healing. Amen.

Copyright and Reprint Information

All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins and may not be republished without written permission. You may forward or use this copyrighted article on a website if you include the following credit and an active link back to this site:

© 2000-2007 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission. Visit the author's website, TheNatureInUs.com, for more articles and free email subscription.

Link URL: http://www.thenatureinus.com

Sunday, October 15, 2006

On The Previous Topic Of Groundhogs

We had contrasting opinions of this segment of my last issue as you will see from these emails I received:

#1 - "Donna, I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your newsletter, A Touch of Nature. I absolutely loved this one and found the story about the groundhogs delightful. I also discovered Nature's Sunshine through you and I feel so much better! Thank you so much for sharing the wonderful, natural things in your life!"

#2 - "
Your article about groundhogs. I do not consider these animals cuties and neither would you if they lived in your yard and dug under your sheds and porch and destroyed your garden and plants. These animals are a pest and I hate them. They have even come on our deck and took the plastic off our chairs, I guess to help build thier nest. They are very difficult to get rid of and against the law to kill in Indiana and in the mean time they are continually multiplying. You can catch them in a cage and remove them and 2 days later either they are back or others have come. They may be cute to you as long as they are bothering someone else but see how cute you think they are when they invade your property." Kathy

These critters are not cuties to everybody as one of the subscribers pointed out. I can understand how cuteness wanes when your hard work is being rewarded only by damage from wildlife. We've got major problems in our own community with deer and squirrels and have had to make a lot of changes to the way we garden.

Not planting the things that they eat has taken a lot of time and labor with trial and error, and it has meant we can't have every plant we would like to grow. The choice had to be made whether we wanted to garden for wildlife or garden for us. We've found gardening for wildlife has brought more joy than we could ever have imagined and the loss of not being able to grow many things we wanted to turned out to be no loss at all compared to the entertainment that we get from the wildlife.

Here's an article that may give you some ideas on finding a balance:
Gardens and Wildlife: Making Everybody Happy

For anybody else with groundhog problems, maybe this article will be of some assistance: Getting Groundhogs Out of Gardens

Pine Warbler and Black-throated Blue Warbler

The Black-throated Blue Warbler you see here was a first sighting for me. I'd never seen one and this one spent almost a half hour on the deck petunia planters.

I took almost 50 photos of it and ended up with the best 12 of the Black-throated Blue Warbler on the website. Click the double arrows to go from one photo to the next.

While sitting out in the garden, I saw a
Pine Warbler in our Pyracantha bushes eating cottony scale. It's so exciting to see how nature balances itself out.

We don't like the use of chemicals in our yard since we garden for wildlife and pesticides kill birds, so getting to see nature take care of itself is always an exciting event for me.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Migrating Birds Visit Bluebird Cove

I'm still seeing hummingbirds here in Central Virginia and we still have Monarchs coming through. Yesterday I was working while sitting on the ground and a female Ruby-throated fed right by me. I could feel the wind from her wings. She was busy storing up energy to continue her long trip down to Mexico or Central America.

I always have my camera nearby. This is a photo from her visit.

Migration is an incredible thing! I've had a personal first sighting of a Black-throated Blue Warbler here at Bluebird Cove. He was such a joy to watch as he scampered around the petunia pots on the deck rail. He was eating bugs from the underside of the leaves. View the Black-throated Blue Warbler photos. Click the double arrows to go from one photo to the next.

There have been a couple of Pine Warblers visiting the Pyracantha bushes eating cottony scale. They have this beautiful white eye ring and they have not minded being only a couple feet away from me.

It's so exciting to see how nature balances itself out. I was concerned our Pyracantha berries would be affected by the cottony scale and the birds would suffer. Instead the birds are eating the cottony scale .... so we just provided yet another type of food preference by letting nature handle the scale.

Crabtree Falls in Nelson County, Virginia

I had a friend visit for a week and we had such a grand time even though it rained two of the days. We had some butterfly bench time and hammock, enjoyed games and a puzzle, the garden, and two visits to the Blue Ridge Mountains. We picked grapes in the Shenandoah Valley, visited a couple of historical sites and went to a mountain-top orchard for an apple harvest festival. Her last day here was spent at Crabtree Falls - the highest vertical-drop cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River. The day was gorgeous with leaves getting brighter with color as we climbed higher. View the photo album of Crabtree Falls.

Friday, October 13, 2006

How to Start a Fire With Sticks

Ever gone camping and forgot to bring the matches? Planning a Fall campout? Even if you take matches, why not take the challenge of starting a fire without matches. You can do it with sticks using the "bow drill" method. It would be a fun lesson for children too since they are so used to having everything instant these days. Here's a How-To Article.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Pine Warbler Is One Natural Predator For Cottony Scale

Every now and then we have a bush that gets cottony scale which is not a good thing. This year our pyracantha bushes have had a heavy infestation of cottony scale.

There are lots of chemicals to kill these critters and there are some more natural products also recommended. I always wonder what benefit something is that we may not know about, but it's hard to just let things be "eaten up." The bushes were heavily fruited so I kept thinking that maybe the fruit would not get to ripen and all those berries would be lost.

As the cottony scale multiplied, the berries continued to ripen and turn bright orange, so that seemed to indicate it wasn't killing the bush or the berries.

Today Randal and I were in the garden and saw a small bird dart into the pyracantha bushes. We both knew it was something we don't usually see. He went for the camera while I kept my eye on the bird, and then another that joined him. After many photographs, I identified it as a First Year Pine Warbler. The interesting thing is that it was eating the cottony scale.

One of the photographs shows him with a grin on his cottony scale face. This was an exciting event for Randal and me because we realized we would not have seen these birds if we'd sprayed to kill the scale.

Those who use chemical sprays not only kill the scale but contaminate the berries and bush. Randal wondered whether birds know not to eat from a bush that has been sprayed. Do their instincts tell them not to visit certain yards because chemicals are there? I doubt it since we know that many birds die from the poisons. It's not a research project I will do. I like to learn about the more exciting and positive topics.

The more we add to our experience list with such events as this the more I am grateful that we've chosen to take a "nature's balance" approach to our gardening for wildlife. The rewards have been so great and so far, we've never lost a plant doing it this way. We may not have perfect specimens, but maybe perfect is not in wildlife vocabulary.

The insects eaten by the Pine Warbler include grasshoppers, grouse locusts, moths and their larvae, beetles, ants and other Hymenoptera, bugs, flies, and scale insects. It has been known to eat the cotton boll weevil, aphids, and the eggs and larvae of other insects. This bird obtains most of its food from pine trees, so it's obviously very useful in keeping a pine forest healthy.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Saving Money, Saving Energy

Here are five easy things you can do suggested by Consumer Reports:

1. Turn down the heat during winter. Lower the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees when you're sleeping or out of the house; a 10 degree decrease can cut your heating bill by as much as 20 percent.

2. Let the dishwasher do the work. Don't bother pre-rinsing dishes. Consumer Reports has found that this added step can waste 20 gallons of heated water each day.

3. Put your PC to sleep. Keeping your computer and monitor in sleep mode can cut your energy use by as much as 80 percent. To find out how to put a PC with Windows XP to sleep, click here (for other versions of Windows, click on the link and search the site for that version); to put an Apple computer to sleep, click here.

4. Set your water heater to 120 degrees. It can save up to 10 percent in water-heating costs compared to a 140 degree setting.

5. Don't overdry your laundry. Clothes will need less ironing and hold up better if you remove them when they're just a bit damp. Or better yet, consider using a clothesline or drying rack. Hanging even some of your clothing items can help you save energy.

Source: Consumer Reports Greener Choices - Great website and free newsletter.

Monday, October 9, 2006

At-Risk Teens Care for Homeless Dogs

Kids caught in the juvenile detention system in Albany, Georgia have a chance to change their outlook on life by caring for and training homeless dogs. Project Hero coordinator Marty Harris says she's seen a positive change in the young people's lives:

"A lot of them have not grown up with a nurturing aspect toward animals, so by helping them to understand how to work with animals and care for animals they learn to care for other human beings." Here's the whole story.

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Rebates For Shopping

At eBates.com you can shop and earn rebate checks. They send you a cash check. You can shop at over 800 stores and besides the rebates, some stores have exclusive coupons, free shipping offers, and limited-time sales!

You get $5 just for joining and if your friends sign up and use it, you will get $5 for every referred user. Nice way to earn extra shopping dollars. The rebates are up to 25% off. Pretty cool!

Here's the eBates link

Friday, October 6, 2006

Alone With God

by Donna L. Watkins

© 2006 Donna L. Watkins - Gray Catbird - Bluebird Cove
What are your days like? Do you run from morning to night? What kind of things are you saying to yourself all day? How much joy are you experiencing? Do you feel peaceful at any point in your day?

I'm convinced that your answers can easily be determined by how much time you spend alone with God.

I am a doer so it is easy for me to get caught up in the flurry of activity, but I have learned after many classrooms and tests that I simply can't feel peace in my day or have joy in my walk without time with the Lord each day. I'm not talking about a legalistic or ritualistic exercise.

There's a knowing in my heart that this world is too full of the devil's works to enter it without time with my Lord. I have to suit up with the armor before I can have a successful day that has a balanced amount of work and play with a continual theme of meditation on His Word. It's like filling the car up with gas before heading out to the country. If you're going to make the drive a pleasant experience and get done what you planned to do on the trip, you don't forget to get gas.

There is something about the stillness of morning that allows the thoughts of God to enter into my heart more readily. It's like the quiet allows me to hear Him. Listen to Him before the hum of the electronic home gears up, the phone begins ringing, and the people who want to push your buttons show up.

I have allowed the Enemy to deceive me many times into thinking that I will have my time with the Lord mid-morning when I need a break, or after lunch when I can use a recharge, and before I know it I'm crawling into bed picturing God still waiting for me in the chair where I have my daily time with Him. Satan is here to kill, steal and destroy and he is like a roaring lion who will devour your life if you let him. God gives us the armor to defend ourselves.

Smith Wigglesworth says, "When we get God's Word in our hearts, it absolutely changes us in everything. And as we feast on the Word of the Lord, eat and digest the truth, and inwardly eat of Christ, we are changed every day from one state of glory to another. You will never find anything else but the Word that takes you there, so you cannot afford to put aside that Word."

Our human mind doesn't desire time with a God we cannot understand fully. We want to have control in all areas of our lives, and God is something we cannot control and cannot fathom, so the human nature tends to avoid what is considered complicated. We were never designed to be able to figure out God. He is there for us and he offers us power that we cannot comprehend. It doesn't all have to make sense.

Isaiah 40:28-31 says, "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding, no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint."

Don't let your life get weary. Take what God offers to us in the power of His Word. You don't have to understand it all. Just take it as Truth and take His love for you as fact. Wouldn't you like to soar through each day with renewed strength? It's available to you. Spend time with your Creator each day asking what He wants you to do today. You do not need to be stressed out and overworked. Jesus got all His work done at what we think of now as a slow pace. You can do all that God wants you to do without scurrying ..... and after all is said and done, is there really any reason to do all the things that He hasn't told you to do? What lasting value will it have?

Look back and re-evaluate what's important and plan your future accordingly. If you don't, you will run out of gas far from where you desire to be.


God I ask you to slow me down! I will make a commitment to meet with you each morning and ask what you want me do with each day. Help me to see the priorities and to discard the busyness that I've added to my life. Let me focus on the pace of Jesus and see the real value of each day not based in how many things I can accomplish. Show me Kingdom value as I choose between tasks on the To Do list. As I trim down and simplify my lifestyle, let me be a living heritage of who You are to those around me. In Jesus precious name, I ask. Amen.

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Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Lift Your Spirits with Lemon Essential Oil

During long voyages, seafaring men often found themselves seized by a debilitating illness they called “scurvy.” It was a most unpleasant and sometimes fatal condition. Symptoms ranged from spongy gums and loosened teeth to bleeding in the soft tissues. Random experimentation by these world travelers uncovered a simple remedy. The ingestion of citrus fruits, mainly limes and lemons, proved to be a miracle cure. Just like the sailors of old, you too can tap into the miraculous revitalizing power of citrus with Lemon Essential Oil.

For many of us, the color and fragrance of a lemon bring to mind freshness and vitality. While the uses of lemon and lemon juice are countless and varied, perhaps the strongest effect Lemon Essential Oil has to offer is that of lifting our spirits, particularly when we face mental fatigue.

Lemon Essential Oil helps the body face physical and psychological weariness, most strongly influencing the mind by supporting concentration and the ability to memorize. In Japan, a test showed a 54 percent decrease in typing mistakes when lemon oil was diffused into an office area. If your concentration needs a lift, get a bottle of Nature's Sunshine Lemon Essential Oil at the link below.

The Essential Facts
Lemon Essential Oil is a powerful antiseptic. Not only has it been used to clean contaminated surfaces, such as a butcher’s cutting block, but it has a powerful antibacterial and antiviral effect attributable to its limonene content.

Lemon Essential Oil also contains antifungal compounds. Some people have even used lemon to disinfect questionable drinking water. Because of its vitamin content, Lemon Essential Oil offers strong support to the immune system.

Rather than exhibit an extreme acidic quality, Lemon Essential Oil works as an excellent stabilizer of the body’s acidity-alkalinity content. Its astringent qualities make lemon oil useful in the home for many conditions, including insect bites, fever and skin conditions.

The Acid Test
Make sure your essential oils are pure. We use and sell Nature's Sunshine Lemon Essential Oil. It is certified organic and cold-pressed from lemon rind. Extracting this precious substance from the lemon peel is costly and time-consuming. The peels of about 1,500 lemons are required to produce one pound of lemon oil. In our competitive market, some companies may be tempted to add synthetic ingredients to their lemon oil, such as those created to approximate a lemon scent in commercial detergents and soaps, but that won't happen with Nature's Sunshine. Purchase 100% Pure Lemon Essential Oil

Regift Those Unwanted Gifts

More than half of Americans polled admitted to regifting.

Wrapping up that unwanted picture frame from last Christmas and giving it to someone else as a gift might not be as taboo as it once was. A survey found that over half of the respondents admitted to "re-gifting" with passing on gifts becoming a far more common and acceptable phenomenon.

78 percent of consumers who were polled felt that it was acceptable to re-gift some or most of the time. According to the survey, the mostly commonly re-gifted items were decorative household items, such as vases, paintings, picture frames and other trinkets.

77 percent of respondents said they re-gifted because the item was perfectly suited to the new recipient. The study showed that 9 percent of people admitted they re-gifted out of laziness to purchase a new gift and 4 percent confessed that they re- gifted out of dislike for the recipient.

Source: Reuters News

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Dogs Used to Detect Cancer

According to a study conducted by researchers at Amersham Hospital in England and reported in the British Medical Journal, dogs with no special training were able to detect the urine specimens that came from bladder cancer patients when placed alongside specimens from healthy patients. Their combined success rate was calculated at more than twice that of random selection. The dogs that were most successful were three-and-a-half times more likely to correctly identify samples from bladder cancer subjects than random choice.

Perhaps the most astounding outcome of the study involved a sample provided by a subject that tested negative for cancer on multiple evaluations. All of the dogs selected this person’s sample as positive for cancer. As a result, doctors conducted further tests and were able to locate a previously unnoticed life-threatening kidney tumor.

The issue under investigation now is how to implement a system that incorporates this amazing canine ability.

Source: Healthy Pet Newsletter

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