Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Belief and Faith

by Donna L. Watkins

Sometimes it feels like our whole life is falling apart. My mental picture is of the old cabins here in the Blue Ridge area of Virginia. They've been around a long while and weathered many a storm. It just seems "fair" that they should be restored.

When I want something to happen now, I have a very hard time being still on the matter. My time table never matches with God's, so I have to continually give the problem, circumstance, trouble, desire or issue back to the Lord. I know that He has all things planned for my good and His timing is what I truly want because He has my best interests at heart. I have to remind myself of that also because the devil will talk to me just like he did to Eve and try to make me believe that God is keeping things from me that I could get if I just stepped out and took a bite.

A. B. Simpson said, "Often there is nothing as godly as inactivity on our part, or nothing as harmful as restless working, for God has promised to work His sovereign will."

We get weary so easy. This world of instant everything has brainwashed us into thinking fast is good. Jesus didn't think so. He never hurried. We need to stand strong in our faith knowing that there is a time appointed. From our past the devil can bring up an account of all the things that didn't go the way we wanted them to go. He'll remind you that God cannot be trusted with our lives. That He doesn't really care about us. That He's busy with other people that are more important. If we've been disappointed because God's best for us was not equal to what we thought was best, then he's got a strong foothold into our life of faith and into our relationship with our Father.

Don't let him have it! When he reminds you of the past, remind him of his future. Give him the book of Revelation!

God has a schedule and His priorities have to do with His promises and His purposes in your life and in my life! That's His focus. We don't see the entire picture. What we think is a simple fix will produce no lasting fruit in our lives and the inability to hold onto the desire that we requested.

Only time will change our belief systems and remove the strongholds that we have so that we can truly be changed. Many times what we want in other people -- the changes we want to see in them -- are all dependent on us changing ourselves. Whatever change we make in life changes the entire realm of where we live. This is especially true of any children we have because these things are passed down in a spiritual realm.

Don't be impatient for God to act. He's moving along daily but we don't see it. We have to keep on focusing on faith and His Word and our belief because the Bible says that without faith we have nothing and Jesus said all we need to do is believe to have what we want. When we doubt and grumble and whine, we are not in faith or belief, so we only hand over our blessings and promises to the devil to burn. Stand firm with your shield around you. Memorize whatever Scripture it takes to allow you to keep standing on the battlefield.

We have to learn our roles. Let God do what only He can do while we focus on Truth and feeding that in day after day.

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, for more articles and free email subscription. Link URL:

Poop Paper - The Ultimate in Recycling

Dung-based paper products help fund conservation programs. Elephant dung paper is a huge tourist product in Africa and Asia. In Scandinavia elk poo paper is the stationery of choice in most offices.

Dung paper is marketed through the Original Elephant Dung Paper Web site, which states that "Our paper is 100% bacteria free, 100% odor free, 100% recycled, & 100% handmade - with the exception of some help from the elephants."

"Over 50 percent of what they eat comes straight out the other end," the company adds. "The elephants are kindly doing the first stage of any paper making process - getting the fibers."

Read more at the website.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

China Recalls - Choosing Supplements

If you’ve been watching TV, reading the newspaper or surfing the web, you have surely seen some of the truly scary stories about health and quality concerns regarding products originating in China.

Toys, pet food, cups, raw materials and other products from China have been recently scrutinized after incidents that have forced some U.S. companies to issue product recalls due to concerns about heavy metal, chemical and foreign material contamination.

Although these stories have been making the rounds in the media, there is no concern for those using Nature's Sunshine (NSP) products. Their Quality Assurance experts have spent years developing some of the most sophisticated QA testing protocols in the industry. Nature’s Sunshine always stays a step ahead in issues of quality.

The NSP manufacturing facility is TGA certified, which means they meet the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration Pharmaceutical Standard requirements - the highest standards in the industry. They also test and validate based on the most recent Food and Drug Administration Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs).

Every incoming raw material is tested to ensure quality and activity (potency), and to ensure ingredient integrity through identification testing (test for certain activity markers and ingredient attributes), stability testing and micro testing. They even test for pesticides.

The vast majority of NSP's ingredients are sourced from countries other than China, but the very popular line of Chinese and Chinese TCM products are all sourced from China. The materials that comprise these products are tested, just like all materials, and required to meet all specifications before being used in any products. If there's ever find a batch of material that fails the Quality Assurance process, it is immediately rejected and not used.

Undoubtedly, there are products on the market that are manufactured with poor-quality materials that may prove to be inactive and ineffective. Costly, inefficient and potentially dangerous for consumers who think they are buying one thing, but are really getting another. This problem is not new to the market, and it isn’t isolated to Chinese materials.

Unfortunately, some U.S. companies are buying low-quality materials for their products and selling them to the unsuspecting consumer. The good news is that Nature's Sunshine customers can rest assured knowing that Nature’s Sunshine tests every material that comes through its doors and guarantees that every product that leaves its facilities will meet the highest specifications in the industry.

That's why our family chose Nature's Sunshine 25 years ago and have stayed with it.

New Fabric Smell Is Toxic

Many people notice a new fabric smell on just-purchased clothes. That "new" smell is a potent mixture of chemicals such as formaldehyde and urea resins. The chemicals are used to 'finish' fabric for a range of purposes, including stain resistance, wrinkle-proofing, and even disinfecting. Most contain volatile organic compounds that are often sensitizers and suspected carcinogens.

To get rid of those chemicals, place clothes in the washer with enough water to cover. Sprinkle one cup of baking soda into the washer and soak clothes overnight. When convenient during the soaking, agitate the machine for a few minutes. Launder as usual.

Some imported clothing companies are now dousing their clothes with long-lasting disinfectants. If the clothing you are about to purchase smells more pungent than usual, put it back on the rack.

Source: Real Money

Monday, October 29, 2007

Truly Healthy Dog Treats

If you're going to give a treat to your dog, make it a natural treat. Make it healthy! Empty calories are putting on a lot of weight in our pets, so let's make every morsel count for good.

Dogs love the taste of peanut butter and cheese and Antioxidant Health Bars have a lot of nutrition to go along with the taste. Check out the list of ingredients:

Stabilized Rice Bran
A whole food that has over 70 phytonutrients and adds significantly to the overall antioxidant value of each bar.

Flax Seed Meal and Oil
One of the richest sources of alpha-linoleic acid, one of the types of fatty acids in the omega-3 family, which are considered super-unsaturated fats. Also included is 10 I.U. of Vitamin E in each bar.

A whole food high in natural antioxidants. The cranberry is rich in flavonoids and vitamin C that help to strengthen the immune system. Additionally, this berry contains nutrients called proanthocyanidins, which also support a healthy immune system and contribute to a healthy urinary system.

Whole Food Antioxidants
The natural nutritional goodness of apples, carrots and spinach.

• Proudly made in the USA with all-natural, human-quality American ingredients.
• Contains no corn, wheat, wheat gluten, soy or soy gluten.
• No chemical preservatives, artificial colors or artificial flavors.
Get more info on these treats

Essential Oil Recipes: Nasal Spray, Colds and Flu

Recipe: Nasal Spray Recipe

10 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
10 drops Marjoram Essential Oil
1 tablespoon of water, distilled if possible

Don't blow your nose for at least 5 minutes after using the spray. The effects of the formula should last for several hours.

Recipe: Colds-Flu

10 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
10 drops Pine Essential Oil

Add to the bath or put on section of paper towel so you can benefit by inhalation. Inhale frequently. Place on pillow beside nose. This opens the sinuses and helps clear the head of congestion. Eucalyptus is also a natural antiseptic.

This is a good blend to use in a plug-in like the AromaBall. Kill germs all night long and promote deeper sleep by using this nightly in bedrooms.

100% Pure Essential Oils

Sanitize Home or Bedroom Day and Night With an AromaBall

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Birds Sing In Their Sleep

© Donna L. Watkins - American Goldfinch
Scientists believe the birds practice songs in their dreams, which pays dividends in the end, despite causing a temporary "loss of direction." Zebra finches - like many song birds - go through a critical developmental period of "brain plasticity" when their brains are ripe for song learning. They only engage in singing lessons during the day - at night they sleep. But researchers have noticed that, for juvenile birds, something interesting happens during slumber.

An important clue is that brain areas involved in singing are active during the night. "Neurons which are activated when the bird is singing are activated when the bird is sleeping," explained Dr Deregnaucourt. "So it is possible that the bird is dreaming about his song during the night."

Read the entire article.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Healthier Non-toxic "Dry" Cleaning

Dry cleaning or wet cleaning? Liquid CO2 or GreenEarth? Here’s the lowdown on which dry cleaning methods are best for people and the planet.

Read the entire article.

The Lord's Prayer

by Donna L. Watkins

This is the model prayer that Jesus gave us while He was on this earth. It is well known and many Christians who have not memorized any Scripture can quote this portion of the Bible. It's so common, we often pass it up for "something else." What else could be more important than how Jesus taught us to pray?

As I was reading it a couple of weeks ago, I saw these P words that could be used to further encourage my soul.

I now begin and end my day with this prayer. It seems to open my spirit to hear better and to pray deeper for others. Maybe it will inspire you also.

PRAISE: Our Father who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy Name.

PURPOSE: Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.

PROVISION: Give us this day our daily bread.

PROMISE: And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against us.

PROTECTION: And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.

POWER: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.

PEACE: 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, for more articles and free email subscription. Link URL:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

How God Chose My Husband

by Donna L. Watkins

The day this is posted will be my sweetheart's 53rd birthday. We'll be on a convention cruise that we earned from Nature's Sunshine Products. My hubby loves to cruise. I tolerate it since I do enjoy getting to see friends and I get a lot of walking in. Every cruise we've taken I've come back weighing less or at the most a pound more. This time we have a balcony which I will enjoy tremendously since I love to have fresh air around me. Listening to the waves splashing while I drift off to sleep will be delightful.

To surprise my one great and terrific man, I thought I'd tell all the world our love story. God had a special plan for both of us in bringing us together. He always says that he got things in his wife that he didn't even know to ask for (and he means it in a good way), but I tease him that my list of 21 items was not long enough. You'll have to read the rest of the story to know about the list ......

I was living and working in Atlanta. Randal came from Oklahoma City for various sales schools in the IBM Education Building where I worked. I remember him inviting my friend and me to a party at the end of one of the classes, but we declined. The schooling process took about a year, so he was patient knowing that he would be back.

One day in the hallway he stopped me and mentioned he'd be back in two weeks for another class and wondered if he could give me a call and get together. My only response was, "What for?" Randal says that he was glad he had completed a few sales schools so he didn't skip a beat in his response. His answer was, "For a coke and some fellowship." That's an answer I never had before so I certainly had no training to stand on. I said, "Sure." He asked for no phone number and that was the end of the conversation.

At the time I was studying Spanish and was breathing and dreaming it because I liked the language. I was in touch with friends in Mexico that I'd met prior to taking the course so I used it anytime I could which included answering the telephone by saying, "Bueno!"

Randal had come back to town and proceeded to look my phone number up in the phone book. There were several Powell listings and he had gone through them all but one without finding me. He called the last option and when I answered in Spanish, he figured he may as well hang up ... but he didn't. (All that sales training, right? :-)

Our first date was early November and we were married early April of the following year. This may not seem too odd except for the fact that I never intended to get married. I had dated a guy for 3 years and another for 4 years, but would not consider marriage. I still have no idea how all of this transpired mentally other than to say it was just Providence. This was surely the man of my dreams, right?

At one point while we were dating I did come across a piece of paper on which I'd written 21 things in a man that I wanted. Reviewing them, Randal had 19. In case you're wondering what he didn't have, it was black hair and being a great dancer. Actually most of our dating was talks on the telephone since we lived so far away.

Randal bought me a beautiful locket with a diamond chip from Bailey, Banks and Biddle for Christmas. I thought it rather extravagant for knowing me such a short time, but when I left for Spain with my Spanish class for New Year's Eve, I was thinking about getting him something while I was there.

What a challenge it was for me to come up with what to get. I looked at leather things and practical things and I kept going back to a jeweler down the street from the hotel. There was an 18K gold cross there that was very unusual and hollow with open ends. I thought it was unique, but Randal had been a Christian since childhood so I figured he had a drawer full of crosses and I didn't want to add to it. Randal had just led me to the Lord shortly before leaving for the trip. There continued to be a tug towards that cross and the only logical reason I could come up with is that he wouldn't have an 18k gold cross since gold in the USA was generally 12K or 14K, so I bought it.

Randal didn't know that my return ticket had a diversion from NYC to Dallas before returning to Atlanta. We had talked on the phone at the airport and I gave him that telephone number to call me after my flight came in from Madrid. That was when I would surprise him and tell him I'd be arriving in Dallas in the amount of time it would take for him to get there. When I got to NYC the terminal that the telephone was in was locked down. Closed! He was going to be calling from work since they allowed use of the line after hours for long distance calls. That was still in the days of switchboards, rather than entering a extension number, so there was no way for me to reach him.

Dragging and hauling my bags around the airport trying to find some way and somebody that could let me into that terminal seemed to take forever and it was getting close to the time my flight was to leave for Dallas. I did get in, I did get the call, and I did fly to Dallas, and Randal did meet me. Providence again, I'm certain.

Late that night I gave him the gift I had purchased and he opened it and had a strange almost shocked look on his face. I rehearsed again what I'd already said many times in Spain, "Oh! Another cross!" He recovered quickly and said he liked it and I left that behind. The next evening he asked me to marry him. I was a bit shocked and said I'd have to think about that. In the meantime, he wanted to tell me a story. So I listened to this:

"Since I was a teenager I have prayed for my wife. That she would be safe and God would watch over her and prepare her for our marriage, etc. While I was in college I began asking the Lord how I would know my wife when I saw her. After one of these conversations I remembered the Bible story about Abraham sending out a servant to find a wife for Isaac. (Gen. 24) The servant upon arriving near the town well with his camels prayed, asking God for favor and to know which of the daughters of the townspeople was to be Isaac's bride.

The servant asked the Lord for it to be that when he said to a girl, "Please let down your jar that I may have a drink," that she says to me, "Drink and I will water your camels also," that this be the one you have chosen for Isaac. Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came with a jar on her shoulder, went down to the well to fill it, and on her way back, the servant hurried to meet her and asked his question. She gave him a drink and afterwards said, "I'll draw water for your camels too, until they have finished drinking."

Upon pondering this Biblical scenario, Randal asked the Lord to do the same for him. Not having wells or camels, his "sign" was to be the first girl that gave him a cross. So .... you can see I was a bit off on how I translated his reaction to the cross, but I was certainly right to bend to the strong impression in Spain that I was to purchase it.

Oh! To hope that I would have the servant's heart that Rebekah had. The Bible tells us he had 10 camels, which can drink up to 21 gallons of water in 10 minutes. She volunteered for quite a bit of dipping and hauling for a stranger, but what a great reward she had. She became the beloved bride of Isaac, inherited the wealth of Abraham, and became the mother of the nation of Israel.

The example that Rebekah sets is that whether we realize it or not, our actions and attitudes determine our future. So the next time you get an opportunity to serve, think of Rebekah. God may use it to get you to the next level of living. Always do more than is required of you and do it cheerfully.

You  may enjoy this book, "Praying For Your Future Husband - Preparing Your Heart For His."

For the guys, who may be seeking a wife, keep this Scripture in mind:  "Seek not a wife" (I Cor. 7:27).  Just as God brought Eve to Adam and Ruth to Boaz, He will give you good wives if you will seek Him first and not a mate.  A wife is a good thing according to Proverbs 18:22: "He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the LORD."  Seek the Lord, and He will give you the right wife and she will be a good thing.

Author Bio
Donna lives in Central Virginia with a wonderful husband and a cat named Squeek. She is a lover of God, nature, wildlife, birds, gardening, photography, travel, simple living, natural health, pets and seeking a peaceful, healing lifestyle. Life has many hurts and sorrows but within "the [divine] nature in us" we CAN overcome. You can also find her posts on  and Twitter.

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:

© Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission. Visit the author's website, for more articles and free email subscription.
Link URL:

Sponsored by The Herbs Place - Wholesale Prices Always

Monday, October 22, 2007

Your Ultimate Dream

by Donna L. Watkins

When we're under attack it seems the entire world is falling apart around us. Nothing makes sense. We get tired of the burden that weighs on our thoughts about it and those thoughts become more of the burden than the attack. What we choose to think about our problem defines the intensity of it and delays the path out of it.

The level of warfare over your life tells you how much God has planned for good from your life. The devil will do all he can to put you in a pothole and bury you with grief and misery. Again, we have the choice whether to accept those thoughts as our own, or to choose to stand on Faith and what God's Word says about us and bad circumstances. God sees the beginning and the end so He is always after your good and will use all evil for good if we choose to love him (Ro. 8).

Have you had a dream or vision of something you believe is from God ... but you see no way that you can make that happen. It even appears that even God cannot make "that" happen. As your mind says "I can't" to the vision, your spirit says, "I will." The problem enters in when God gives a vision to a "doer" (somebody who likes to get things done) and that person can't see how he can accomplish it.

Back in 2000 (more than 7 years ago) I believed that God gave me a vision for something in the future. A retreat called "The Heritage" that would be for families to get away into Creation and learn more about who God is, and to get some practical experience in organic gardening, vegetarian cooking, living more simply and being debt free. There would also be workshops on healing from hurts, habits and hang-ups. A place to renew our innermost being -- to connect to Abba Father, our Papa.

I won't bore you with the grueling details of my trying to "find" this place for years, but God is so patient. He uses every moment of our mistakes for good when we seek Him. At some point along the way, I realized this was a God-sized task that I could not create and I let go to allow Him to work the plan on His schedule.

Sometimes we charge out and try to do something that we were never meant to do. Sometimes we retreat because the task overwhelms us. Either way we know that the vision takes us beyond our own competency and we are forced to remind ourselves that God is saying, "Not by might or power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord." (Zec. 4:6)

God wanted Gideon to save Israel. He called him a "mighty warrior." When he appeared unto him while Gideon was threshing wheat, Gideon said that the Lord had abandoned Israel and put them into the hand of the Midianites. God tells that he will deliver Israel from the Midianites and Gideon's responded, "My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family." God told him, "I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites." You know the rest of the story.

Gideon had so little faith in himself that he needed confirmation from the Lord with the wet and dry fleece. Then God stretched him even further by cutting his army. He began with 32,000 men and ended up with 300 to save Israel. With God's might and power, we don't need all we think we do. The only thing we need is to obey.

Gideon was seen by God as a "mighty warrior." That's not how Gideon saw himself. All Gideon needed was to start from what he had, and then let God handle the details. If you aren't willing to move until it all looks exactly as you picture it getting done, you may be waiting forever for that dream to come true.

I always get in the way. I have a busy mind with so many ideas and methods and details and ways to do things. God doesn't need my help to fulfill HIS vision. Maybe that was my turning point ... realizing this was His vision, not mine. If He wanted it done, He could do it. Rather than my attitude of "let's get this done," I needed to say, "Gee, Lord, that's an awesome idea! I know I can't accomplish it, but I'm willing to be part of it if You want to lead the way."

Maybe you've been trying to make things happen that you can't possibly accomplish. It can cause a lot of stress, health problems and heartaches, especially is you're a person who likes to accomplish things and check it off the mental list. God is more interested in who we become in the journey to the vision, than our getting the tasks done. It's God's vision, right? Even if it's a desire for a son, or daughter, or husband or wife, or somebody else you love. It can only be God that will change them. You can't! But letting go and focusing on what you really want to do (love them with all your heart), will give you and them a lot more peace than you've had. You do what you've got the ability to do, and let God do the rest.

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, for more articles and free email subscription. Link URL:

Painted Lady Butterflies

©Donna L. Watkins - Painted Lady Butterfly
From Creation

The painted lady butterfly gets its name from the beautiful design in orange, black and white on its wings, which average about two and a half inches in full span. Every year millions of these little creatures are seen in full migration. The painted lady is the most widespread of all species of butterfly. It is found in Asia, Africa, and South America. The species familiar to North Americans migrates from Mexico all the way to Canada. This is a one-way trip, because the female butterfly lays her eggs in Mexico then migrates for Canada where she eventually dies. In some way the following year, each newly-hatched butterfly in Mexico knows exactly when and where to migrate, but this is one of the great mysteries of migration. Read the entire article. Listen to this article.

$6 Million Donated for Stray Dogs In Taiwan

A Taiwan businessman is donating $6 million (US dollars) over a three year period to a relief program that cares for stray animals. What a delight this brings to my heart! Taiwan is one of the countries that eats dog meat.

Read the entire article.

Trading Songbirds For Junk Mail

My Auntie Carolyn sent me a quote that I've seen before but that I really love remembering:

"Live simply, so others can simply live"

How we live on this earth does have an effect on other people and nature around the world. When you think about rainforests being destroyed for beef and the boreal forest being clear cut for catalogs, it matters what we eat and the lifestyles we choose to live. Recycling is a good thing .... but eliminating the need to cut down forests is a better thing. When you get a catalog that you are not going to order from, take the time to call the toll-free number and ask them to take you off the mailing list.

Take the time to read ways you can reduce your junk mail and make a difference for the birds that rely on the boreal forest. Here's a site that tells you how you can eliminate your junk mail. Do something for the songbirds you enjoy! Getting Off Junk Mail Lists

Half of our North American Birds Need Boreal Forest for Breeding

We are Trading in Songbirds for Junk Mail.

Eco-Friendly Flooring

Want to replace your carpets or flooring with a product that's safe for your health and the planet?

EPA studies have shown that indoor pollutant levels can be two to five times higher than they are outside. To find the source of many of these pollutants, just glance down.

Installation of new carpet and flooring can fill the air with hundreds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including known and suspected carcinogens like formaldehyde and benzene. It can take years for these substances to dissipate.

In addition, carpets are often treated with toxic chemicals for mothproofing or to repel soil and moisture. Carpeting is also notorious for trapping toxic lawn chemicals, VOCs, and allergens tracked in from outside.

Get the scoop on what to buy and where to buy it. Once you know what you're looking for you can find local stores that sell it. These products are becoming quite the trend.

Read the entire article.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Citizens Should Not Bear Risks of Nuclear Power

The partial meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979 left many Americans with grave concerns about the risk of nuclear power – concerns that were only magnified seven years later when the Chernobyl disaster forced the evacuation and resettlement of nearly 400,000 people, with thousands poisoned by radiation.

By then, Three Mile Island was still only halfway finished with a clean-up that would last until 1993, at a cost that ultimately topped one billion dollars. The first few years after the Three Mile Island disaster likewise saw the plant’s owner, the General Public Utilities Corp., teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, struggling to finance the clean-up while battling lawsuits from its shareholders and utility customers. This should have marked the end of the nuclear industry in the US.

Unfortunately, bills passed in both the House and Senate would ease the way for nuclear energy companies not only to perpetuate the grave health and public safety risks associated with nuclear power, but also to expose American taxpayers to the financial risks that nearly buried General Public Utilities Corp.

Read the entire article.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

4 Mice and Counting This Week

We've had mice setting up housekeeping in our garage many times. There are no cracks for them to get in other than through the doors being open. Sometimes we wonder if they stake a lookout and wait till we're out gardening and make a run for it.

We can tell they're in there when we pull something out like an old garden boot to find it filled with sunflower seeds. Storing up for a long winter. We wouldn't mind them being out there, but it's no place for mice.

They like to chew anything for nesting materials and one time they built their nest under the hood of the car. Fortunately they weren't in there when we found it. They seem to make many nests in the area. I guess they are part gypsy wanting to roam about and sleep where ever they get tired.

We have a humane trap that we use and the best temptation for them seems to be some whole wheat bread with real peanut butter on it. I guess we attract the health nuts of the mice world. It gets them every time.

In the past week we have caught and released 4 deer mice. We always spend time looking closely at them to be sure it's not the same one coming back in. This week it's been easy to notice they are all different since not much time has passed since we saw the last one.

Deer mice are an important link in the food chain because, when abundant, they are a major food item for a variety of predators. For example, at times owl pellets have been found to contain more than 40% deer mice bones.

They are cute little things, but their poop can be extremely toxic, so be sure to dispose of it quickly and carefully. If there's huge quantities of it, you could get a virus by breathing because deer mice are the primary carriers of the hanta virus.

The hanta virus pulmonary syndrome was first recognized in 1993 and, since that time, a total of 131 people have been reported to have contracted this illness in the United States. Of those affected, half have died. In 1996, two South Dakota men were diagnosed with hanta virus. As of 1996 there was no cure for the disease. For this reason, it is recommended that people do not handle wild mice or frequent areas where large amounts of mouse droppings are found.

It appears that there was a Mom that had some little ones. We've already noticed that some of the popcorn we tossed out, to see if there was another one about, has been eaten. So, tonight the trap went down again to get #4. Litter size varies from 1 to 11, with typical range being 4-6. Goodness! We could be busy for awhile.

I have an Auntie in PA that has mice visitors and she traps them and releases them also, but they have a way back in at her place. I think she likes the company and those cute little mice grins.

Not everybody thinks mice are cute since most of us have been trained to scream and run with the mention of the word. But, they are animals and deserve a life. They serve a great function for us and especially for the owls and wildlife that rely on them for food. So, if you have to get a mouse or mice out of your home, please consider doing it humanely.

Here's a link for more ideas on how to rid your home of mice humanely.

12/15/07 - Update: We trapped and released 7 of them. It's important to get them all because they can begin reproducing at 7 weeks of age and they produce year round.

Pets - The Scoop On The Poop

Some people have thought that pet waste makes good fertilizer, but this is not true. Pet waste left on the ground breaks up when it rains and can make its way into groundwater. The bacteria in dog waste can cause serious diseases in humans, including cholera and dysentery, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Garden fertilizer manure comes from animals that have vegetarian diets so they do not have the harmful bacteria in their digestive systems that carnivorous animals do.

The best option is to scoop up waste and flush it, so it can be treated by a sewage treatment plant. Or it can be put into a biodegradable bag and thrown into the trash. Even if thrown into a compost pile, the bacteria is not all killed and should not be used.

The Blame Game

by Donna L. Watkins

© Donna L. Watkins - Male Green Frog
Every choice we make produces results. It may not be the results you want, so be sure to choose carefully. If you choose to scream and yell and argue your way out of situations, you will live a volatile life with a lot of anger.

If you don't take things personally and try to see and understand the other's person's viewpoint, you may get pretty good at being a peacemaker with the side benefit of being more at peace.

Rejection is something we have all dealt with. There are no perfect childhoods. Choosing to leave the past behind is a good choice. It changes your life forever and helps you to enjoy today rather than making all of our tomorrows a reflection of our past.

People deal with rejection many ways, one of which is by blaming others. The Blame Game was played in the Bible from Genesis on. Remember Adam blamed Eve for his choice to eat the forbidden fruit, Eve blamed the serpent for tempting her to disobey. Israel blamed Moses for the miseries of the wilderness when it was their own disobedience and discontentment that kept them in the wilderness 40 years for a 40 day trip. Elijah blamed Jezebel for his depression.

Who are you blaming? When it comes down to our problems in life, it's not about our childhood or our current relationships. If we're choosing not to let go of the past, there isn't going to be any good relationships, so don't let the devil deceive you into thinking that "if only my husband would .... if only my children would ....." are actual solutions to the problem.

When it comes right down to it, I have had to see that I am my only real problem. My choices about today are creating my tomorrows. I was such a busy person before rheumatoid arthritis slowed me down. Nobody I knew could accomplish near as much as I could in a day's time (which included half the night since I didn't need much sleep).

Busyness was my way of dealing with the hurts that I didn't want to think about. So I pushed and pushed myself thinking that checking off another task would make me feel good enough. Apparently it never fulfilled that need because I kept adding more and more tasks. Of course, I had a high level of expectation to how the tasks would be performed also. Perfectionism enters in when we are trying to make accomplishments make us feel good, instead of God's love being all we need.

I deceived myself into thinking that I "had to" do all these things. People depended on me. After all I'm a Christian and need to be involved in good works. The Bible tells us that good works won't get us to heaven and the greatest commandments are to love God and to love others as we love ourselves. Sounds like a huge task ... loving ourselves. So we bury ourselves in good works so others will tell us they love us and that seems like enough. But it's not ... our mind is forever busy with more, more, more. Are you staying busy to avoid dealing with issues?

What is bearing fruit from your daily efforts and tasks? Are you doing what you really want to be doing? Many times what looks 'good' is the enemy of the 'better' thing that God has for us. Are you truly walking in your mission in life .... or is it only a shadow of what God created you to experience?

If you waste your entire life reacting to the past, you will still never understand it all, but if you give all those awful and horrible events and memories and wounds over to the Lord, you will begin to see why they were allowed into your life. Evil will always be on this earth till Jesus returns and reigns, but God promised us that He will use it all for our good if we love Him. IF we love Him. Loving Him is trusting Him. Do you want to let the rest of your life pass by because of what somebody did to you in the past?

How can you condemn, judge and rage against the people who hurt you in the past, when you have done the same thing to each and every day since it's happened? You can't hate the people who harmed you without hating yourself for doing the same thing. God is there to work it all out if you will let Him. He really will! Let go, trust, and stop the busyness.

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, for more articles and free email subscription. Link URL:

Essential Oil Recipe: Deodorizer and Disinfectant

6 drops Rosemary
6 drops Grapefruit
4 drops Lemon
2 ounces purified water

Combine oils and water in a 2-ounce glass spritzer bottle. Shake well before each use and spray liberally into the air. This spray will combat odors and kill infectious organisms. During cold and flu season, add 2 drops of Eucalyptus. The blend also works well in a diffuser without the water.

100% Pure Essential Oils

Calming Mist For Overactive Pets

30 drops Lavender Essential Oil
30 drops Chamomile Essential Oil

4 oz. of purified water or distilled

Measure essential oils into an empty and clean 4-oz spray mist bottle. Add the water until it is filled. Put on cap and shake well before each use. Spray around the pet and even on its coat since Lavender is a good essential oil to repel mosquitoes and fleas. This is great for use in a car with a nervous pet or at any time your pet is over-energized. Avoid spraying near eyes.

Find more recipes and buy essential oils at this website.

Using Natural Remedies for Children and Teens

Children are by their very nature rambunctious and often throwing caution to the wind. However, as parents we often have to pick up the pieces after they have gotten sick, or injured themselves. Choosing to use herbs and nutritional supplements can often go against everything we have been taught. Our parents usually teach us to not take responsibility for our health problems as we are growing up. As we get older, we have our own children and follow the same pattern of reliance upon the medical profession.

At this point, we can keep this same mindset or we can choose to change because we know medicine only treats the symptom. We often learn this because we take our children back for the same problems repeatedly. Many people are deciding to try a different approach with their children in this generation of the "discovery" of the effectiveness of herbs and supplements in health care.

Prevention is the main issue. Poor nutrition can make our children more susceptible to sickness. Sugar, preservatives, colorings, white flour and dairy products all have the tendency to weaken the immune system. Dr. Teresa Allen, D.O. says, "Drinking the sugar from one soda renders the immune system inactive for over 6 hours." This is verified by blood work. Is it any wonder our children have weakened immune systems? Good nutrition can help keep the immune system functioning and able to fight off foreign invaders.

You can't always monitor what your children eat and with some family time schedules you can't always feed what you want to. That's where supplementation comes in. You can fill in with the nutrients they are missing. Basic supplementation should include a multi-vitamin formula with minerals. With the spread of so many viruses, it's now wise to support the immune systems of children.

Nature's Sunshine Herbasaurs has a great line of chewable products that children love. For teens and adults, Super Supplemental is one terrific formula with a lot of nutrition and whole foods added

Friday, October 19, 2007

Diet Sodas Cause Metabolic Syndrome

Drinking more than one soft drink daily - even if it is the sugar-free kind - may be associated with an increased incidence of metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster of risk factors linked to the development of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, a study finds. Read the entire article.

Pond, Ducks, Fawn and Migrants At Bluebird Cove

by Donna L. Watkins
© Donna L. Watkins - Mallard Ducks
We have an oval pond we put in that is 5 feet side at the most width and about 8 feet long. We've been thrilled with the sound of frogs each year and the dances of dragonflies besides the thirsty wildlife that it attracts.

Last year on Mother's Day we had a pair of Mallard Ducks visit the pond. This summer I was on the screened porch and heard a bunch of splashing to look up and find a little fawn trying to get out of the pond. I have no idea how it got in unless it slipped in while drinking.

The mother stood at a distance and watched. It came out shaking itself off and using its rear hooves to clean out its ears. It was rather a funny site, but the mom didn't seem to think anything of it. I've been told deer swim across the nearby lake, but I've never seen them. Anybody else seen deer swim?

We've had a lot of fussy birds this year at Bluebird Cove (our name for our little acre). Certainly a year for more nests and babies than any other in the 6 seasons we've been here. I've also noticed more birds chasing others away, whether its from nearby nests or food sources I don't know.

This year's new chasing sights have been a Mockingbird dive-bombing a Crow, Gray Catbirds chasing Brown Thrashers, and Tufted Titmouse chasing a Flycatcher. It's common to see the Crows chasing a hawk away which is always a sight to behold. It's the sheer numbers that cause the hawk to flee, since they could certainly tackle a Crow for a meal.

Our feeders are currently very busy as we see migrants travel through and our locals that are storing up for winter.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Operation Migration

Seems we're seeing less migrating birds now. Thoughts of winter are coming to mind. Not my favorite time of year. Migration is an awesome thing.

Bill Lishman became the first human to fly with birds, using an ultralight aircraft to lead a small flock of Canada geese from Ontario, Canada to Virginia, USA. The unassisted return migration of these geese the following spring garnered world-wide attention that led to the making of the hit movie "Fly Away Home" with Columbia Pictures. This led to the formation of Operation Migration.

To perfect techniques, and ensure that once released, birds conditioned to follow the ultralights would remain wild, several migration studies were conducted with non-endangered cranes. Like many birds, Whooping Cranes learn their migration route by following their parents. But this knowledge is lost when the species is reduced and there are no longer any wild birds using the flyway.

Operation Migration was asked by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to spearhead a reintroduction of the world's most endangered cranes. In the first five years of the program, approximately 60 birds have been taught a migration route between Wisconsin and Florida. This is 4 times the number that existed in the early 1940's.

Read more about their story.

Bacteria Making Silk, Insulin, Chocolate and More

From Article "Miracle Bugs" at Creation Moments

The silk of the golden orb spider is five times stronger than steel, yet more elastic than any similar material we could manufacture. It could be used to make light and comfortable bulletproof vests and helmets. The problem is, it takes over half a million spiders to make a pound of silk. So scientists have taken the spider gene that makes the silk and put it into a harmless bacterium. When that bacterium divides, it makes more bacteria complete with the gene. Today there are millions of bacteria making usable amounts of spider silk.

This technology has resulted in what has been called the greatest revolution since industrialization. Bacteria are now making insulin, vaccine, and even chocolate. Today, bacteria are mainly used to manufacture medicines.

Visit Creation Moments for entire article.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Life Got In The Way

by Donna L. Watkins

© Donna L. Watkins - Squeek and Doggie
When we were born, God created us to be totally unique. Psalm 139 says, "you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb ... I am fearfully and wonderfully made ... My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

God had plans for our lives before we were born. It seems to take a lifetime to turn full circle and come back to the place where our entire being is willing to bend and be formed into the purposes of God. Sadly, there are many that have to desire to bend nor to be formed by God.

Life gets in the way. From the moment we are born there is a battle for our souls. We grow up in a place that is filled with sin and choices of good and evil, and like Adam and Eve, we don't always make the right choices.

Our childhoods are filled with control, rebellion, and misconceptions. As children we do not have the full picture of what life is all about nor the wisdom behind the reasons our parents do things. Parenting is an incredibly huge responsibility and there's no way to do this job perfectly. All of the desires, dreams and fears of the parent magnify and homes become very dysfunctional.

When we've lived almost 25% of our lives, we are turned out on our own to see if we can do better. Generally in our own minds, better means opposite of what we didn't like growing up. But one extreme is no better than another and so life continues to get in the way of God's plan for our lives.

But God is God and He will never give up on us. If we are willing to let Him take control of our lives, He will clean up the mess we make and regardless of how many years or days we have left to live, He will give us purpose and passion to be who we were designed to be.

The hard part is choosing to let go. Our culture tells us to take control and to manage our own lives ... but wisdom tells us differently. Within we know that we can't do it. It's only a question of long we will keep pretending. Trust is not an easy thing to come by for those who are independent and trying to control their lives. When I come to a place where I know I am not trusting God, I remember the words from a song we sing at church and it makes me smile and release my grip:

Our God is an awesome God. He reigns over Heaven and Earth with wisdom, power and love, our God is an awesome God.

Do I really think I can accomplish something that He cannot? I'm just postponing the victory. Is it worth the sacrifice of my life, purpose and plan to keep the reins? There is One who will do what's best for me if I listen and let Him. I need to believe each event throughout each day has a purpose of good for me, and in that trust and belief, I will come out in peace and joy. It's not about things being perfect and all good. It's about trusting that it's all good no matter what it looks like.

In the Garden of Eden the serpent tempted Eve with the thought that God did not have her best interests at heart and so she wanted to take control of what she could and couldn't do rather than to follow the plan outlined. She grabbed and took control and it was all downhill from there. Jesus came so we could take that garden back and have dominion over the serpent. Don't listen to him. God created us. He knows what we need regardless of what it looks like to us. Trust Him and don't reach for another apple.

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:

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

Martha Stewart - Certified Wildlife Habitat

National Wildlife Federation certified its 80,000th wildlife habitat, and it’s a big one: Martha Stewart’s 150-acre estate in Westchester County, New York.

The property, a mix of woods and open fields, is prime habitat for many native species. Stewart hosted NWF naturalist Dave Mizejewski on an April episode of her television program, where he certified her property and demonstrated how to build nesting boxes for eastern screech owls and barn owls. “One of the reasons I bought this property was because I really love to observe wildlife - especially birds,” says Stewart. She also appreciates the way that owls keep down the populations of garden pests such as voles.

“The biggest threat to wildlife is habitat loss,” says Mizejewski, who also cohosts the Backyard Habitat show on Animal Planet. In order to combat that threat, in 1973 the Federation developed a program that encourages people to equip their yards with the four elements essential to wildlife survival: food, water, shelter and places to raise young.

Formerly known as the Backyard Wildlife Habitat program, NWF’s Certified Wildlife Habitat™ program has expanded to include schools, businesses, places of worship and even entire communities, among others. Certified gardens can be found at Anheuser-Busch Adventure Parks, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and the governors’ residences in Ohio and Indiana.

Read the entire article.

Get information on the Certified Wildlife Habitat program.

Flu Vaccines - Don't Do It

Vaccinations have never made sense to me and now that there's zillions of lawsuits playing out in courts because of the severe health issues that are linked to immunizations, I can't imagine there can be anything good about them.

Atlanta Journal article

Since 1980, death rates in the over 65 age group from influenza have been increasing, while flu vaccination rates since 1987 also increased from 33% to 65%. These figures show that vaccination is the wrong approach for achieving improved health or reducing the number of deaths.

In fact, studies of large scale compulsory flu vaccination in Japanese school-aged children showed the vaccine to be ineffective and conducive to law suits due to adverse side effects.

Here's a site linking to a lot of information.

One thing we keep on hand is Silver Shield. There's a lot of research done on this particular product. Nature's Sunshine Colloidal Silver Shield has a US patent (7,135,195) for it's safe technology.

You can view the information and related claims on the patent site.

This information is part of the claims segment of the patent site:

The composition according to claim 1, wherein the composition exhibits antimicrobial properties against microbes selected from the group consisting of Bacillus anthracis (anthrax), Bacillus subtilis, Candida albicans (yeast), Mycobacteria bovis, Mycobacteria tuberculosis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa (wounds), Salmonella choleraesius (food poisoning), Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA infection), Trichomonas vaginalis, and Yersinia pestis (bubonic plague).

The composition according to claim 1, wherein the composition exhibits antimicrobial properties against microbes associated with diseases selected from the group consisting of malaria, fungal infections of the skin, bacterial infections of the skin, vaginal infections, urinary tract infections, tonsillitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, pharyngitis, gonorrhea, conjunctivitis, otitis, respiratory tract infections, and nasal infections.

The composition according to claim 1, wherein the antimicrobial properties are antiviral properties.

The composition according to claim 11, wherein the antiviral properties are exhibited against a virus selected from the group consisting of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis B virus.

Dr. Gordon Pedersen stated that this special patented colloidal silver worked in 1.2 minutes against the bubonic plague. In the lab they used 160x more plague cells than normal and it killed off 99.9%. This plague killed off 1/3 of Europe. We are going to have modern day plagues ... and we suffer a modern day plague now with MRSA (staph infections). Antibiotics are not helping and people are dying.

This substance has been presented to Homeland Security by Senator Orrin Hatch. General P.K. Carlton, MD, the Director of Integrative Center for Homeland Security has stated in written form,

"I would like to bring to your attention a resource that I feel can be used utilized in the area of bio-defense from bio-terrorism to infectious diseases such as SARS. The ABL antimicrobial has undergone rigorous testing and has been found to kill anthrax, bubonic plague, hospital staph and SARS. It's the first new antimicrobial for the hospital in many years. In addition the product is non-toxic to humans, EPA approved for hospital staph and bubonic plague and currently awaiting section 18 approval for anthrax. In short, we currently do not have anything with such a wide spectrum of efficacy in our inventory. As such, I recommend that the antimicrobial be evaluated for addition to the national pushback stockpile."

I guess you can see why we rely on Silver Shield for our immune protection.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Our FIV Cat - Nutrition and Immune Support

© Donna L. Watkins - Squeek On Ruggie
Since we have an FIV kitty, I make sure she gets a very balanced diet and add supplements that will keep her immune system running well to avoid the complications of FIV. I rotate on various immune-enhancing herbs like Spirulina, Thim-J, etc.
We feed Life’s Abundance and Instinctive Choice to provide an excellent nutritional foundation, it’s also true that no two cats have precisely the same nutritional requirements. Breed, age, activity level, environment, genetics and other factors determine your cat’s special needs.
As pet parents, we recognize the wildness in our cats. They hide behind the sofa and pounce on a toy mouse or perch perfectly still while observing a bird. And with the majority of companion cats confined to the home with little or no access to the outdoors, they are repeatedly exposed to household cleaners, the impurities of tap water, herbicides and pollutants that we bring in the house on our shoes and clothes, and even from the repeated use of prescription medicines. All of these elements can have a negative impact on a cat’s bodily organs and immune system.

This comprehensive approach to supplementation helps our cat to thrive and meet her unique feline requirements. At the last visit to the vet they couldn't believe she was an FIV kitty and that she looked so good at 10 years old.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

When A Euroclydon Hits Your Life

by Donna L. Watkins

(Photo Info At Bottom)
There are several storms mentioned in the Bible, but only one is named. That one is Euroclydon, which translates to "typhoon." It's the one that Paul sailed through thinking there was no chance for survival (Acts. 27:20).

What do we do when a typhoon hits our lives? Storms sure show us the stuff we're made of. If we've been stuffing issues rather than deal with them, this will be the time they all break lose. When a typhoon hits your life, you are totally out of control and you know it. It's definitely an "in your face" time of life.

I've had a number of health issues over the years which is what got me into natural health. I had previous health problems that weren't dealt with too well in the medical system, so I was very open to a natural approach, especially since I'd been brewing teas for my husband's migraines and seen how effective they were for him. I can't get something nasty beyond my eyes and nose, so I preferred capsules.

We reap the consequences of bad behavior allowing the devil to sift our lives. It doesn't make us bad kids. Job was considered a righteous man, but he had a lot of pride and he was very anxious about his children. We open doorways for the devil when we don't keep our minds renewed in Christ and aligned with His Word.

Sometimes we can find our way around the symptoms of health issues with drugs or supplements, but the issues within will continue to wear away at our bodies if we don't deal with them. I've always liked being busy and loved checking off one task after another. It was part of my personality. Under it all I knew that God wanted me to slow down. My dad told me to slow down, my husband told me to slow down, and some of my friends were a bit overwhelmed with my activity, but I believed it was "who I was."

Or was it!? I wrote an article called Walking Like Jesus years ago because there was always this "little voice" that was telling me to slow down. As long as I could keep on keeping on, I didn't slow down. Somewhere inside of me I knew that even I wasn't enjoying the rush-rush pace any longer and I began longing for more peace. Sometimes it's only ourselves that keeps us from having peace, although I blamed the demands of the world around me. Yet, I could see many people not bow down to it and I wanted to know how to get there.

God is always faithful. He'll guide us if we allow Him. The storms in life reveal whether we're connected to God or not. Like Paul on the ship, I had to toss a lot of stuff overboard. When we moved to Virginia we downsized to 2/3 of the space we had to a house with less than 1600 sf. I've always loved being a good steward of what I owned, so keeping house here in VA has been a whole lot easier with all that less space and stuff. I'm not one to store it all in the attic, so what we couldn't fit in we gave away.

Recently I've had to throw my job overboard also. I began the business 25 years ago so it was definitely a part of me, but it was a part that kept me from being well. I was too distracted with business to take time for me. Taking time for me has always been a challenge, but it's becoming a fun thing to do. It's like having a girl day every day and after only one month I'm settling into the idea. When my mind completes its adjustment, my body will follow.

I have more time to be in touch with the Lord also, since my mind isn't busy about business. My spirit is excited at what God can accomplish.when I walk in obedience. I heard Him telling me to get out of the business 6 years ago and over time I did get out of a lot of it, but partial obedience is still disobedience. God's mercy endures forever, but our bodies do not. Now that I have obeyed entirely, my spirit can rejoice and there is a freedom of heart and mind that I was not experiencing before.

Do you have a typhoon in your life? God can take it away if you'll yield and toss some stuff overboard and pray for His will in your life. Then when you get to shore, like Paul, you will be amazed at what God does with your life. Paul shared the gospel with the people of Malta and when it was time to leave, the people honored them and provided all the supplies they needed.

God does provide for us in ways that will amaze you, but just like with our own children, we cannot reward bad behavior and God will do no less. It's incredible to me how many blessings we continue to have in our lives even when we walk in disobedience in one area.

You're not a victim of your circumstances. Take time away with the Lord, as much as you can arrange with your commitments. He will tell you which way to go. Hearing is really the easy part ... obeying what you didn't want to hear is the challenge. Your future is not in the hands of others, it's in the hands of God and He will take care of what He owns, if you will turn ownership of yourself over to Him. Truly make Him Lord of your life and get out of the typhoon.

Photo Information: Chambered Nautilus
The nautilus can withdraw completely into the shell, and even close a hood, or it can extend 90 sensor-laden tentacles to detect and catch tiny crustaceans. In the center of the tentacles, the beak rips food apart before swallowing. Efforts are underway around the world to protect this sea creature by discouraging the sale of its shells.

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, for more articles and free email subscription. Link URL:

21 Things You Can Recycle

Americans produce more and more garbage every year, when we need to be producing less. Even the most dedicated recycler feels overwhelmed by what is still put into the trash toter. Maybe there's more to be reused and recycled that you haven't thought about. Here's an article to give you more ideas.

Don't Feed Your Dog Xylitol

Reported in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, there is clinical evidence indicating that canine consumption of Xylitol can cause precipitous drops in low-blood sugar, bleeding disorders and severe liver damage, including liver failure. In the data collected, every dog that accidentally ingested Xylitol grew ill, and some had to be euthanized due to the severity of the damage.

Xylitol is a sweetener commonly found in sugar-free food products, like chewing gum, baked items and candies, as well as toothpastes. You will want to take particular care not to leave these products within the reach of your companion animals.

Authors of the report stressed that all members of families with dogs should be aware of the possible negative health consequences. Consumers should be aware that any product claiming to be sugar-free may contain xylitol. The researchers also noted that there was no information available as yet to indicate the same kind of reaction in cats.  (Taken from this free Healthy Pet Newsletter.)
Get people xylitol products (gum, mints, chocolate, etc.).

China's First National Park

The Conservancy has helped China establish its first national park which is now a model for a national park system in China. See a slideshow and get more information on this park.

Vegetarian Black Bean Vegetable Soup

From Recipe Zaar

Here's a hearty soup for these colder evenings. This also has lots of preventative power in the garlic and a great health-building source of protein in the black beans and soymilk. Serve with some whole wheat bread (or other grain) to make it a complete protein meal.

Vegetarian Black Bean Vegetable Soup

2 cups water
4 medium carrot, sliced thin
1.2 cup onions, diced
2 medium bell pepper, diced
8 garlic cloves, chopped
8 cups spinach, raw
1 teaspoon ginger
2 cup black beans, home-cooked, frozen
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 cups soymilk

Put carrots in pot and cover with water (no oil or butter needed). Cover and cook on medium heat until carrots just start turning soft. Add onion and red bell pepper. Cook, uncovered, on low heat for a couple minutes, stirring occasionally. Throw in garlic and spinach. Continue stirring occasionally on low heat until spinach is mostly cooked down. Add ginger.

Remove from heat once spinach is cooked. Strain vegetable mixture into bowl; reserve juice. Place vegetable mixture in microwave to keep warm.

Place black beans and reserved vegetable juice in pot on stove. Cook, covered, on medium heat until black beans are no longer frozen. Add turmeric and cumin; stir and simmer briefly. Add milk, reduce heat, and stir. Mash some of the beans using fork or spoon, if desired. Cover and cook 1 minute.

Return vegetable mixture to bean soup base in pot. Cook uncovered 1 minute longer, stirring occasionally.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Create A Family Health History Portrait

My Family Health Portrait is a free interactive software online that allows you to create a personalized family health history report from any computer with an Internet connection and an up-to-date Web browser.

Information you provide creates a drawing of your family tree and a chart of your family health history. Both the chart and the drawing can be printed and shared with your family members or your healthcare professional. Used in consultation with your healthcare professional, your family health history can help you develop disease prevention strategies that are right for you.

This Web-based version was developed in collaboration between the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General and the National Human Genome Research Institute, a part of the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services.

Seize The Day

by Donna L. Watkins

Saul was zealous in his religious state and yet he was wrong. He was persecuting the followers of Christ believing he was doing what God would have him do. How could that be? How could he so desire to do the will of God and miss the mark so badly? Saul was a very intelligent man and I'm sure he was a great thinker. One who's mind is always flowing with details, ideas and thoughts.

I'm one of those busy-minded people also. It's so easy to move through life following my own thoughts and desires and spend my days doing what I "think" is good and of God. My life has changed so greatly since the rheumatoid arthritis began progressing. It seems that the thinkers and doers of the world need a Damascus Road experience to get them to stop doing and really tune in to what God is trying to do in their lives.

It's so easy to keep on doing. The list of tasks, projects and activities are endless. Is being busy a sin? After all, doing good things is what God would have us do, right? Maybe our mind is imagining stacking up points in the great bank of Heaven to redeem for rewards when we get there.

Good things are not always God things. Would I ever find out what God really wanted me to do if I didn't have the rheumatoid arthritis to slow me down enough to change gears? I'm so grateful that God uses all the evil the devil does against us for our good as He promises in Romans 8.

I like what Smith Wigglesworth writes:

"I can see as clearly as anything that Saul, in his mad pursuit, had to be stopped along the way. After he was stopped and had the vision from heaven and the light from heaven he instantly realized that he had been working in the wrong way. And as soon as the power of the Holy Spirit fell upon him, he began in the way to which God wanted him to go. And it was wonderful ow he had to suffer to come into the way. (Acts 9:15-16) A broken spirit, a tried life, and being driven into a corner as if some strange thing had happened (I Peter 4:12), these are surely the ways in which we too get to know the way of God."

Where in my life am I missing the mark so badly that what I think I am doing for my Lord is not what He would have me do at all? Now that I've left the business world there's a lot more room in my thinking cap for God to get in. Busyness sure does fill up our minds with details. As I look back even during my quiet times I was making mental lists of what I needed to do for the day at work.

I left the business a month ago so I'm not quite adjusted yet, but I delight in the extra time with God and I can only imagine that I will enjoy this slower pace so much more than the busy one, which for most of my life would've been unthinkable. I'm realizing more and more how much I valued what was "done" rather than was "is." Even in the garden where I adore walking with my Heavenly Papa, I see more of what needs to be done than what is finished and available for my enjoyment NOW.

I've given up so much of the present while planning for the future. "Carpe Diem" is Latin for "seize the day." I've always liked that because for me it meant that I should get more into each day, and so it should be. But the definition of "more" is the word in question.

More tasks or more life?

This new realm of living that I am now in has been like entering a whole new world! I'm not quite sure how to function in this world. Even as I type that, I grin as I hear God's gentle voice tell me that function is not the word He's focusing on. Being is the word. I have had so much doing in life, it's time to think about simply being. That's all God created man for. He placed them in a garden to be and to delight in His Creation and to fellowship with Him.

It's a totally different culture and way of life. Taking the last pieces of the rush-rush out of my day has brought a peace that I've not known before. Although I did not know that the peace I had was not enough. It's like finding a gold coin as you're walking a new path. It entices you to stay on the path to discover what other treasure you may find.

Who would've thought that I could say, "Thank you, God, for allowing the rheumatoid arthritis into my life" and truly mean it. The Bible tells us in all things to give thanks (I Thess. 5), but usually that's simply an act of obedience for me, it's not a heartfelt conversation.

Life is truly short and what we do with each day does matter.

As you grow older, you'll find the only things you regret are the things you didn't do. ~ Zachary Scott

The question is did I do the things that I really wanted to do? The things that nagged away inside of me that I didn't take time to do. Those things are my regrets now, but God in His mercy will provide the time for them as I turn towards obedience to that small voice that got crowded out with my many tasks in the past. Although I had great satisfaction when I went to bed each night, there was always a knowing that I was not following my heart.

If something rings true with your soul and spirit, maybe you'll want to consider painting your life's picture differently. What meaning will you apply to the phrase, "Seize the day?" I pray you'll go with your spirit on this. Don't let the devil have his part in the matter. Seek God and obey that small voice ... today!

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