Saturday, May 31, 2008

Comments From Subscribers

We all have a bit of wisdom and I love when you share yours. You're each a blessing to me. Thanks for being a part of my world.

Here's some recent comments about The Nature In Us. Any ideas and all suggestions are willingly considered! :-)

"I love your writing, no matter what is going on in life, you make it better ... thank you so much!" Anonymous

"Donna, the truth is you never cease to amaze me with your openness to new adventures and beginnings; your endless zeal for life and the ever-ongoing-journey! You are special and it's true, I get to vicariously experience all of this through you. I am blessed knowing a sister like you! Praise God! Such a gift! Thank you." R.

"I stumbled upon your website a couple of years ago while researching information on how to simplify my life and better show my appreciation for the natural world. Since that time I have subscribed to several of your and Randal’s newsletters. After reading the June 17th issue of The Nature in Us, I felt compelled to write to you and say thank you. You take your precious time regularly to write about topics that are relevant to everyone in their day-to-day journey in this life. You infuse your writings with a Christian faith and understanding that I find refreshing. After reading your newsletters, I often feel as if we are kindred spirits in Christ and His creation, as we share so many similar sentiments about nature and living lightly on this planet. Thank you, Donna, for ministering to those of us who are searching for ways to live in harmony with Christ, nature, and each other. May God bless you with the good health to continue such wonderful work. Sincerely, Tracy in Indiana"

"I wanted to take a few minutes to thank you for the blog postings you do, they are such a blessing to me and to others. I got a smile out of the one I read today "Stop Worrying." The Lord showed me a while back there there are three types of thoughts, and I have hung onto that every time my mind begins to wander away from the truth. There is opinion - everyone has one. There is imagination - everyone has one. Then there is the truth, and that only comes from God. Basically, if you are not reaching 'up' for truth, all you are doing is reaching 'inside', and that will only lead you astray. I pray that your day will be a pain free one, and the blessings of the Lord will be found everywhere you look." Faye

Don't know if I already mentioned before, but I have enjoyed your articles and things on healing. I have fibromyalgia/chronic myofascial pain as well as hormonal imbalances and chronic depression and have been seeking diligently to find answers and healing from these problems. It's been a real journey, and the way has been dark at times, so your articles are like beams of light! So thanks! :)

"I was just going through your last email you sent out. There was a short article in there about forgiving yourself. Boy, some of us need to read a book on that! Anyway, I just wanted to let you know I have appreciated you being a part of my life. I know that it is by no coincidence that God brings people into our lives. And I am thankful He has allowed our paths to cross. Be confident in the Lord in knowing that you are indeed reaching many through your emails." Kerry

"I think this was one of your best releases to date! I especially love "Life Got In The Way". I'm going to forward that to my priest. GREAT articles! As always, I am always excited when I see mail from you! Blessings of health and happiness" D.D.

"Thank you very much for sharing this powerful newsletter. This newsletter is packed with a lot of valuable information." R.A.

"Thank you so much for the article, Faith vs. Control, I truly needed to read was more help than you know, sometimes, something straight forward and direct is better than all of the so called, "politically correct" types of articles. Thank you again for this wonderful website, your hard work, and love for us all." Anon

"Thank you again for all of your hard work and dedication to the newsletter and for providing me with hope and inspiration when I needed it most. You are a true blessing and I will keep you in my prayers and ask God to continue blessing you and your family. I hope to stay in touch through your blog and will continue to browse your website for natural remedies I might need." L.A.

Save 10-15 Percent On Gas

With the ever rising price on gasoline at the pump world wide people need to know everything they can do to lower their costs to run their vehicles. While there are many things one can do, two simple maintenance tips can save you 10-15% on gas costs. They are replacing the air filter and checking the tire pressure to make sure its up to manufacturer's standards. While these seem very simple, they are the two car projects people seldom get to. And they're so easy anyone can do them! Tips On Saving Gas.

How Microchipping Works

Although this article is about pets, the process is the same for human microchipping and it does include a segment called: Can a microchip cause cancer?

The answer is yes and Katherine Albrecht, who founded Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering (CASPIAN), wants the microchipping of humans to end, so she has been pushing these types of studies into the public eye.

Another way to keep tabs on a straying dog is to purchase pet collars with a GPS device attached. Using measurements from satellites and cellular technology, these devices can send messages to your computer or cell phone to alert you that your pet is outside of their "virtual safe zone" as well as tell you exactly where your dog has strayed.

Read the entire article.

More cancer information at another site.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Stroke Warning Symptoms

Do you think sudden chest pain is a symptom of a stroke? If you answered yes, you're not only wrong, you're not alone.

A telephone survey of more than 71,000 adults has revealed that shockingly few people know the warning signs of a stroke. The CDC found that only 16.4% of persons surveyed correctly recognized all five stroke warning symptoms, knew to call 911, and could identify an incorrect symptom of stroke.

According to the CDC, the five warning symptoms of a stroke are:

Sudden weakness or numbness of the arms, legs, or face, especially on one side.
Sudden vision problem in one or both eyes.
Sudden dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, or difficulty walking.
Sudden confusion or trouble speaking.
Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

Read the entire article.

Forgive The Unforgivable

One of the hardest, thorniest and most difficult things we humans are ever called upon to do is to respond to evil with kindness, and to forgive the unforgivable.

We love to read stories about people who've responded to hatred with love, but when that very thing is demanded of us personally, our default seems to be anger, angst, depression, righteousness, hatred, etc.

Yet study after study shows that one of the keys to longevity and good health is to develop a habit of gratitude and let go of past hurts. Want to live a long, happy life? Forgive the unforgivable. It really is the kindest thing you can do for yourself.

Your enemy may not deserve to be forgiven for all the pain and sadness and suffering purposefully inflicted on your life, but you deserve to be free of this evil. As Ann Landers often said, "hate is like an acid. It destroys the vessel in which it is stored." Read the how-to steps at

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Do Ladybugs Bite?


Would you please be so kind as to settle an argument between my Mother and I? Do Ladybugs (the garden variety ladybug we all know and love) bite? My mother insists that she received a nasty bite from a ladybug. I say "hogwash", there's no way these sweet little girlies would ever bite - she must have had a run in with some other mean old bug in a ladybug costume.

Sorry, Feona—looks like the lobster wins this time. (And NEVER bet against your mother—that’s as bad as a husband thinking he can ‘win’ an argument with his wife!) Steve is correct about the ladies’ ability—and perhaps propensity—to nibble away, although he’s several continents off on his geography. The ladybugs invading homes almost everywhere in the country this time of year are from Asia, not South America.

They were released years ago to combat crop pests, but promptly disappeared. Then they showed up again years later—gaining notice when they began invading our homes to hibernate over winter, as they used to do in caves back home. As with the ones Steve’s parents are battling, their markings can be all over the place compared to those of the “Convergent” ladies we’re so familiar with. That’s why this strain are called “multicolored Asian ladybugs.”

And yes: I too, was at first suspicious about the biting stories. But many people have emailed to ask about it—and to report being bit! So I turned once again to one of my favorite entomological experts, former beneficial insect specialist for the Canadian government, and now private IPM Consultant Dr. Linda Gilkeson, who lives on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia.

She replies: “You bet those little critters can bite! They don't have any kind of venom or irritating saliva (like mosquitoes, black flies, etc.), but they are just big enough for us to feel it when they pinch our skin.

“I suspect the reason people are so shocked,” she continues, “isn't that they got nipped (a minor insult compared to the bites of most other insects), but that it was the famously friendly ladybug of song and legend that did the nipping. It REALLY freaks some people out. I have heard of soccer games (played by hearty guys, all) being scrubbed because so many Multicolored Asian lady beetles were getting onto the player's white shirts.....oh the horror!”

Thank you, Dr. Linda. So we can now say, with sound scientific backing, that multicolored Asian ladybugs do indeed ‘bite’. Although I would prefer we use a less aggressive term—like ‘nibble’. (Or maybe “Harmonia hickey”—a tribute to the Asian lady’s scientific name.) I’m not just semanticizing here—these aren’t really ‘bites’ in the true sense of the word. The ladybugs don’t break the skin (not even close), and many researchers feel they’re really just kind of ‘testing’ the surface (human skin) they’re on. So don’t be freakin’ out like them wussy soccer players—you may feel a little nibble, but these ain’t yellowjackets, folks.

Anyway, if you currently have the indoor Ladybird Beetle blues, here’s a link to last year’s Question of the Week detailing removal strategies. One addition to that invaluable info: Whatever do you, don’t smash, squish or squash them! They make a stain that can be difficult—often impossible—to remove.

Nature's Lessons For Life

by Donna L. Watkins

With our world that buzzes from the sounds of technology and traffic, it's more important than ever for your brain and eyes to experience some green space on a daily basis. Stress-filled lives wear and tear on the adrenals and other areas of health until we "get sick."

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Zebra Longwing - Costa Rica
Just as taking a bit of time for meditation, mild (non-competitive) exercise, and deep breathing can stop your body from continually living in the "flight or fight" response mode, time in the natural world balances out the mind and body. It helps us to get back to the basics and simple ways of life.

Maybe taking care of a small patch of earth with flowers would entice you. It's amazing to watch the bees, butterflies and hummingbirds that will visit a small flower garden. How satisfying it is to be able to provide refreshment and a source of life itself to these small, but so very important, creatures of our earth.

You can't watch a butterfly flutter and float around feeding, as it travels on a seemingly leisurely journey, without feeling a bit like you're making life too complicated. With such a short time they still have to mate and lay eggs for the next generation, but they sure do seem to enjoy the entire process. Maybe we need a shorter lifespan to appreciate each day so delightfully.

Watching the lifestyles of birds, insects and animals gives us a lot of insight into our own life choices. Somewhere near you there is a patch of the natural world that can fascinate you. If it's your back yard, it's exciting to know more about what is going on around you. To notice the cycles of life for a particular species. Spring is a great time to notice that with so many birds courting, breeding, feeding, releasing their children out to the world.

With a bit of time each day or even a few times each week, you'll be linking it all together one piece at a time ... and it will help you to piece your own life together. Be a part of its harmony by watching and listening to what's going on around you. It's critically therapeutic in our hustle and bustle world.

The Bible tells us to consider birds to know how to live this life on earth. Matthew 6:25-27 says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"

Worry is empty and gets you nowhere. We need to learn to trust God. He gave us our life and he will sustain it. An example is the birds of the air. Birds don’t plant any crops. Birds do not store any food in barns or silos. Birds do not shop at supermarkets and they don’t use refrigerators or freezers. Each new day they must hunt and gather food, yet they don’t seem to worry. They are up every morning singing joyfully.

It seems to me, they just believe all is well. They go about their day with a "knowing" that they will find their nourishment. When some tragedy happens to their nest and they lose their young, they spend the day flitting about looking and searching and seemingly grieving over it.

And then, the next day, they begin again to court, mate, nest and bring forth more young. They move on with life. Oh! to be able to emulate their example to us. Only by watching with daily wonder and understanding can we be changed and encouraged to believe that life is always good! Then, we can get up each day joyfully singing also.

Please share some of the life lessons you are learning from the natural world by leaving a comment with the link below. It will remind you how precious it is and will encourage others to get out there in it. Thanks!

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:
© 2000-2008 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission. Visit the author's website, for more articles and free email subscription.
Link URL:

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

ADHD and Additives Revisited

The notion that artificial colors and preservatives in foods may play a role in hyperactivity has been largely dismissed within conventional medicine, but there are signs that this is beginning to change.

A recent controlled trial showed an increase in hyperactivity among children without ADHD who were fed a diet high in food colorings and the preservative sodium benzoate.

Last February, editors of the American Academy of Pediatrics publication AAP Grand Rounds cited the same study as evidence that it is time to revisit the issue.

Read the entire article.

Pets and Your Hidden Personality

What type of pet are you most attracted to? Did you know that research shows your choice of a pet reveals your hidden personality traits?

Take this pet personality quiz to find out more about yourself.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Importance of Dead Trees

Standing dead trees, called snags, provide birds and mammals with shelter to raise young and raptors with unobstructed vantage points.

Over 500 species of birds, 300 species of mammals, and 400 species of amphibians and reptiles benefit from snags for food, nesting, or shelter.

Only 30 species of birds are capable of making their own nest cavities in trees. Another 80 animal species depend upon previously excavated or natural tree holes for their nests.

The insulation of a tree trunk home allows many animal species to survive high summer and low winter temperature extremes.

Tree cavities and loose bark are used by many animals to store their food supplies.

Insects living in dead wood eat thousands of forest pests which can harm living trees.

Fish and amphibians hide under trees that have fallen into the water.

Woodpeckers and creepers feast on the wood-eating insects and provide "sawdust" for ants to process. Deer eat the lichen growing on the trunks.

There's a literal world of life evolving in and around dead trees. Don't remove your dead trees unless absolutely necessary. Even then, if one threatens roof damage, you could have it cut off at 14' or higher so it could still be used for nesting and many other uses.

Source: Snag Facts with Impacts, US Forest Service

Rosemary, Dementia and Stroke

Rosemary is an herb with a distinctly woody taste and fragrant evergreen needle-like leaves that can deliciously transform our food.

In addition to its food enhancing properties, rosemary is a potent brain protector. Ancient Greeks believed it profoundly improved memory. Greek students used to wear a wreath while sitting examinations for potent brain power.
Researchers led by Dr. Stuart Lipton of Burnham Institute in La Jolla, CA, and Dr. Takumi Satoh of Iwate University, Japan, say rosemary contains fights off free radical damage in the brain.

The active ingredient, known as carnosic acid, can protect the brain from stroke and degeneration due to free radical damage that not only contribute to stroke andneurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s, but also to the ill effects of normal aging on the brain.

Rosemary is one of my favorite bushes in the garden. I use it's branches to make flower arrangements as you can see from the photo. In the winter when everything seems so bleak and bare, I continually cut rosemary branches for my kitchen table and they bloom beautiful purple flowers. Matter of fact, the bush seems to bloom best when I cut branches.

Rosemary essential oil can be purchased to make skin conditioners and it's especially good for circulation which means it can be used in shampoos to guard against hair loss and also on the joints and extremities for better circulation. Essential oils should be used in a carrier oil. I like the properties of this massage oil best. With no chemicals it makes a wonderful totally natural moisturizer for use anywhere on the body.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

New Disease In Pig Processing Workers

We now have a new horrible disease brought by the same insane meat-raising industry that brought Mad Cow Disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, both implicated from the brains of sheep and cattle. It's known by two terms, Progressive Inflammatory Neuropathy and Immune Polyradiculoneuropathy (IPR). Neither is really a name, but more of a description. They indicate that the disease involves inflammation of the spinal cord, has multiple neurological symptoms, gets worse, and affects the immune system.

Symptoms are remarkably similar to multiple sclerosis and arachnoiditis. They include pain, especially in the legs, weakness, fatigue, and sensory disturbances.

All of the victims are employees in pork slaughtering plants. It's believed that aerosolized pig brains, which are breathed in by the workers, are the cause. At this point, there is no explanation of what it is in pig's brains that cause such symptoms. In Mad Cow Disease, the cause is likely prions, which are protein particles that have no material associated with cell nuclei. There is no known treatment for prion-caused diseases, and they are consistently degenerative and fatal.

Read the entire article.

Do Animals Go To Heaven?

Recently on an ABC Nightly News broadcast, news anchor, Peter Jennings, said that with their partner,, ABC News had polled visitors to the Web site. They’d asked the question: Do animals go to heaven? To their surprise, this poll received a tremendous response. 47 percent of people, who live with pets, think they will meet the animal in heaven.

This news that so many people see animals as souls was pretty exciting. What felt sad to us, though, was the fact that 53 percent can look into the eyes of an animal in their home and not see a soul there. That’s pretty amazing, as far as we’re concerned.

So for those of you who already recognize the spiritual nature of animals, we’re asking you to consider another aspect of the soul. We’ve observed that in addition to transcending death of the physical body, as souls, animals also make choices. Because free will is a characteristic of the soul, animals also have free will.

Do you think animals have souls? In my studies on the Bible's account of creation, animals don't just have a soul, they exist as souls.

The Hebrew word for soul in Genesis is "nephesh" (neh'-fesh); and is used not only of Adam in Gen 2:7 but also of all the other creatures in Genesis 1:20, 1:21, 1:24, and 1:30.

I think this online article and tribute says a lot. I've read the referenced book, There Is Eternal Life For Animals and it's a good one. I'm totally confident now about what the Bible says about animals and Heaven.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

4 Ways To Freshen Air

By Sid Kirchheimer at

Indoor plants: Place at least two tropical houseplants per 12-by-12-foot area to absorb airborne toxicants, including formaldehyde. Air-purifying plants such as areca and lady palms, bamboo, ferns and spider plants ideally should be placed close to your bed, favorite chair or other “breathing zone.”

Air purifiers: Whole-house air-cleaning systems with good filtration do a better job than stand-alone, portable room purifiers, says John Spengler, an environmental health researcher at Harvard. For even cleaner air, he recommends locating the newer air-to-air heat exchangers—either built in or as window units—in the bedroom, living room or wherever people spend most of their time.

Open windows: Opening windows and doors for about 10 minutes each day—with the heat or air conditioning turned off—will help circulate away indoor pollutants, says Catherine Zandonella, who writes about environmental health for the Green Guide. It’s best to open all doors and windows at once for maximum cross-ventilation.

Air out new purchases: “Televisions, computers and laminate or particleboard furniture give off hundreds of chemicals, and the newer they are, the more out-gassing you get,” says Bill Wolverton, president of Wolverton Environmental Services in Picayune, Miss. “Before you bring these items inside your house, remove all wrappings and let them sit outdoors or in your garage for a few days to reduce your exposure to these vapors.”

Strawberries: Anti-inflammatory

The fragrantly sweet juiciness and deep red color of strawberries can brighten up both the taste and aesthetics of any meal; it is no wonder they are the most popular berry fruit in the world. Although strawberries have become increasingly available year-round, they are at the peak of their season from April through July when they are the most delicious and most abundant.

Strawberries, like other berries, are famous in the phytonutrient world as a rich surce of phenols. They serve as potent antioxidants that have repeatedly been shown to help protect cell structures in the body and to prevent oxygen damage in all of the body's organ systems.

Strawberries' unique phenol content makes them a heart-protective fruit, an anti-cancer fruit, and an anti-inflammatory fruit, all rolled into one. The anti-inflammatory properties of strawberry include the ability of phenols in this fruit to lessen activity of the enzyme cyclo-oxygenase, or COX.

Non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen block pain by blocking this enzyme, whose overactivity has been shown to contribute to unwanted inflammation, such as that which is involved in rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, and cancer. Unlike drugs that are COX-inhibitors, however, strawberries do not cause intestinal bleeding.

Read the entire article.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Having Enough Of Today

by Donna L. Watkins

Most people wake up each morning with a knowledge that they've either got too much "today" on their agenda, or not enough.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Painted Wood Turtle - Costa Rica
For those in the rat race, there are generally restless nights, with minds that never shut down, and long days and lists of things that never get done, which cause the mind to run the agenda all night long. It's a mad circle that ends in sensibility or health problems. Somewhere you hit the proverbial brick wall. There's that moment of realization that not all tasks and responsibilities have your name written on them ... and the startling fact that life truly does go on without you.

Haven't you had an experience of somebody at work not being there for a period of time for surgery or more permanently a death? Did you notice that in only a few weeks everybody has adapted and moved on? Martha Washington has been dead a very long time, but somebody is still managing her house.

Stress comes from micro-managing your days and the lives of others, and from taking on responsibilities that were never meant for you. The reason we keep "doing it" is because we don't allow the necessary time for life to adjust to what you desire to be your "new life."

We aren't as important as we think we are. For a visual representation of this, take a bowl of water, put your fist and lower arm in it. You'll notice how the water moves to allow you space to move about. Now remove your hand and notice how the water fills the "gap" you thought you would leave. Life happens and moves on. Often our busyness is our own need to feel fulfilled from activities, but it never satisfies.

Only God is enough to fill our soul's empty cup. Overeating only makes us feel guilty. Shopping creates debt or at the very least takes away opportunity to make a true difference for the poor. The world seeks a full cup from many wrong roads.

Those racing through life would say they don't have enough today for all that needs to be done, but there are some who wake up each day hoping to have a reason to get out of bed. They don't have enough to fill a day. Having struggled with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), I know that health problems can make mornings and life a real challenge, when you awaken to find, yet again, that you're not the person you used to be.

That can be a good thing. Bad circumstances can turn into great moments in our lives if we look at them from a different angle and allow them to mold and shape our rough edges. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen said, "Nothing creates more deep-seated anxiety than the false assumption that life should be free from anxieties."

If you can't find anything to get out of bed for every day, work on it! It's written everywhere that focusing on something other than your own problems gives you perspective. It also takes your mind off of you. Health has a lot to do with our mental outlook and it's impossible to get well if we wake up each day with a groan that never ends till we go to bed.

The incredible fatigue that comes with RA has been my greatest challenge since it sets up a fear that if I schedule to do something (like volunteer or make plans with a friend), I may not have the energy to do it when the day arrives. Taking the initiative closes the door to fear. We all have fears, but the question is, are we going to control them or allow them to control us?

I've found that if I make plans and spend time looking forward to them (not worrying over them), I always have the energy needed. As a matter of fact, I have noticed that I am energized by the very fact that the day holds something exciting. That encourages me to make sure I have something planned for each day.

It takes a bit of faith that refuses to back down, back up, or settle for less than what God has promised. And that's the path to healing. If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything changed. You can't wait until your fear subsides. You must take the initiative.

So what needs to change in your own todays? Give it some thought and begin to remove some things from your schedule, or add to it. Life is best lived in balance. Remember that any change takes time for adjustment, so don't give up or settle for less! Overcomers understand that momentum is their friend.

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:
© 2000-2008 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission. Visit the author's website, for more articles and free email subscription.
Link URL:

How to Identify Birds

Are you amazed at how quickly birders can identify birds? Actually, it's just like getting to know your human neighbors.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Costa Rica - Blue & Gold Macaw
When you move into a new neighborhood everyone is a stranger, but soon you learn to tell people apart as you unconsciously catalog their characteristics. Their habits, shape, styles of walking, and "habitats" become familiar enough that you can recognize each neighbor immediately, even at a distance.

Paying attention to individual differences can help you identify birds, too. You can recognize many birds simply by noting their shapes, even if seen only in silhouette.

Other useful characteristics are a bird's posture, size (easiest to judge if you use familiar birds as a size reference), flight pattern and/or head-on flight profile, and the kind of habitat in which the bird was seen.

Start by learning to identify general groups of birds- warblers, flycatchers, hawks, owls, wrens- whose members all share certain similarities. As your observation skills improve, familiarize yourself with the field marks- colored or patterned areas on the bird's body, head, and wings- that help distinguish species.

Use the following features to help you:
Field marks
Flight pattern

This information comes from the web site of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Get details on these features at their All About Birds website.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Snack Ban Gets Kids Eating Healthy

Banning all unhealthy snacks in schools is the best way to get pupils to eat healthy, according to a study from Cardiff University in the UK. They say the findings highlight the need for schools to put policies in place to back up healthy eating.

Read the entire article.

Foods With Most Pesticides

In 2006, the Environmental Working Group released an updated report that identified foods in the conventional, non-organic food supply that contained the highest number of pesticide residues.

The following 12 produce items have the highest pesticide residue.

  1. Strawberries
  2. Bell peppers (green and red)
  3. Spinach (tied with number 2)
  4. Cherries (grown in the United States)
  5. Peaches (grown in Chile)
  6. Cantaloupe (grown in Mexico)
  7. Celery
  8. Apples
  9. Apricots
  10. Green beans
  11. Grapes
  12. Cucumbers
Here's the list of worst and best so you can choose wisely on what you want to buy organic.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Your Dreams

by Donna L. Watkins
Originally Published in A Healing Moment

Do you take time for dreaming? You need time to get away to where the birds gather ... to dream!

Dreams are of God. When you dream you go beyond human limitations and today's realities. You see beyond what you can accomplish and begin to imagine what God can accomplish through you.

Don't expect anybody to give much credence to your dreams. Remember Joseph's brothers who mocked him and even sold him as a slave because they were sick of hearing about his dreams. Those who don't dream will always minimize those who do.

Dreams that stretch you to the point of discomfort are more God than you. He wants to be involved. Actually, a better mindset on it would be that He wants you to be involved in His dream. Sometimes we leave dreams behind because we don't see how WE can make them happen. As usual when it comes to God things, "it's not about me."

What has God allowed you to see? He won't lift you up and plant you in the middle of the dream, and you won't be able to make it happen with your own abilities, so dreaming isn't always comfortable even for the dreamers. The nation of Israel had a dream of getting out of slavery. Don't you imagine as the taskmasters loaded more and more work on them that they pictured being able to walk away from their heavily-laden lives and start over afresh someplace else?

Their dream came true when God sent Moses to deliver them ... but they had to walk through the wilderness to get to their dream. Many of them grumbled and complained and dreamed of the food they had to eat back in Egypt. Their stomachs made their minds willing to give up freedom for a bigger meal. After all the hardships they'd lived with in Egypt, you would've thought they'd have more stamina to make the trip, but human nature wants life easy and memories of "how it used to be" are very altered in our minds from the reality of it all.

To make your dreams come true, you will have to refuse to turn back. You'll need to go the distance and many times with God only revealing one step at a time. Most of the nation of Israel never stopped complaining and they never entered into their dream. It took them 40 years in the desert because they grumbled. It was only a 40-day walk through that wilderness to the Promised Land.

How many times have we allowed grumbling to steal our dreams and visions? How much of our lives have we handed over to be stamped "Not Fulfilled." Regardless of what advertising and the media want you to believe, life isn't handed to you on a silver platter no matter how much money you have. We are here to work our way through, but it can be done in joy and peace and with God's favor upon us. Joseph went through the betrayal by Potiphar's wife and imprisonment, but his dream carried him to be ruler of Egypt. He trusted God to fulfill it but always kept his eyes on it.

Dreams hold the joys of today and the hopes of tomorrow. Protect them and feed them with The Word. Don't set your time table to them. Let God reveal the timing.

The Word For You Today had these three things to remember about dreams:

1) Dreams are specific, not general; personal, not public
2) Dreams are usually outside the realm of the expected
3) Dreams separate winners from losers. Dreamers are always a minority.

What are the dreams that God has shown you? Have you tried to make them happen and given up? Renew them and relive them in your mind, and then let God show you what the step for today is. Not how to make it all happen ... but what needs to be done now.

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:
© 2000-2008 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission. Visit the author's website, for more articles and free email subscription.
Link URL:

Avoiding Pet Scams

If you have ever loved -- and then lost -- a pet, you know how devastating the experience can be. If you are then a victim of pet scams, the loss is even more devastating.

There are unscrupulous people who have found ways to capitalize on your lost pet situation in order to dupe you out of money. Read the entire article.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Don't Cook With Olive Oil

All types of olive oil (including extra virgin) contain a large amount of monounsaturated fat. In fact, 70-80% of the total fat found in olive oil is monounsaturated. This monounsaturated fat comes from the monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) called oleic acid.

In general, monounsaturated fat increases the stability of a vegetable oil in comparison to polyunsaturated fat. Even though the high-MUFA composition of extra virgin olive oil increases its chemical stability, it does not protect this wonderful oil from most stovetop or oven cooking temperatures.

It is worth noting in this discussion of MUFAs that the oleic acid found in olive oil has been the subject of expanding research interest when it comes to insulin resistance, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Recent studies have made it clear that oleic acid can directly alter the activity of certain cancer genes and appears to have anti-cancer effects that may be part of the Mediterranean diet's health benefits.

This primary MUFA in extra virgin olive oil may also help to lower a person's risk of insulin resistance as well as favorably altering some of the blood fat patterns that can be associated with risk of cardiovascular disease. Yet, to get these benefits it's important to enjoy extra virgin olive oil when its MUFAs are best protected, which means at heats below 250˚F (121˚C).

Read the entire article.

Formaldehyde In Diet Soda

Now that you've learned about all the health risks associated with formaldehyde in the news, would you be surprised to learn that millions of consumers are actually drinking it? It's true:

Formaldehyde is one of the chemical byproducts of aspartame breakdown in soft drinks. When diet sodas are stored at higher temperature (generally over 95 degrees F), the chemical sweetener aspartame begins to break down, forming small amounts of formaldehyde right in the soda can. When this chemical is swallowed by consumers, it becomes a potent neurotoxin.

This explains why aspartame is currently responsible for 75% of all consumer complaints to the FDA. It also explains why diet sodas are linked to seizures, blindness, fuzzy vision, headaches and other neurological disorders.

Read more about formaldehyde.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Create a Butterfly Garden

Add beauty and life to your garden with the inclusion of flowers and plants that attract butterflies. There is a range of specific plants that entice butterflies, are easy to care for and are attractive for the garden. It is important to include "Host Plants" to ensure that the butterfly larvae (caterpillars) have a home and "Nectar Plants" for the butterflies to feed upon. Get "how to" info here.

Postal Service Provides Free Recycling

A pilot program launched in March by the U.S. Postal Service allows customers to recycle small electronics and inkjet cartridges by mailing them free of charge.

The “Mail Back” program helps consumers make more environmentally friendly choices, making it easier for customers to discard used or obsolete small electronics in an environmentally responsible way.

Customers use free envelopes found in 1,500 Post Offices to mail back inkjet cartridges, PDAs, Blackberries, digital cameras, iPods and MP3 players – without having to pay for postage.

Postage is paid for by Clover Technologies Group, a nationally recognized company that recycles, remanufactures and remarkets inkjet cartridges, laser cartridges and small electronics. If the electronic item or cartridges cannot be refurbished and resold, its component parts are reused to refurbish other items, or the parts are broken down further and the materials are recycled. Clover Technologies Group has a “zero waste to landfill” policy: it does everything it can to avoid contributing any materials to the nation’s landfills.

The free, postage-paid Mail Back envelopes can be found on displays in Post Office lobbies. There is no limit to the number of envelopes customers may take.

The pilot is set for 10 areas across the country, including Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles and San Diego, but could become a national program this fall if the pilot program proves successful.

Find out more at the Postal Service website.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

5 Natural Pest Repellents

By Sid Kirchheimer, at

Here are safer alternatives to commercial pesticides:

Ants: Sprinkle cinnamon, bay leaves, cayenne pepper or baby powder in problem areas and along baseboards and windowsills.

Cockroaches: Sprinkle equal parts of baking soda and confectioners’ sugar in problem areas.

Mice: Place cotton dipped in peppermint oil near problem areas. Used kitty litter is another repellent.

Mosquitoes: Mix 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water placed on your deck or balcony or dab lavender oil on your wrists and elbows.

Flies: Small sachets of crushed mint placed around the home will discourage flies. So will a potted sweet basil plant.

Prayer for ADD & ADHD Children

I dedicate this post to our son, Benjamin, and to all the generations of our family that come after him. If it were not for prayer and our faith in God, we would not have made it through the difficult challenge we had as a family. My prayer for each of you is that you could look beyond the mundane tasks of the day that need to be accomplished, to the more important issues of life, and be able to discern between the two.

An ADD/ADHD child in your home will certainly demand much attention and time, but it is time well spent. A grandmother said, "There's nothing wrong with ADHD kids, it's just that the world doesn't move fast enough for them."

They were created by God for a special purpose and to that we must assign our own focus.
If you'd like to get to the spiritual/emotional roots of this disease, I'd recommend a book entitled, "A More Excellent Way" by Henry Wright.

These Prayers Are Adapted From "Prayers That Avail Much" by Word Ministries, Inc.

Prayer for the Parents/Caregiver
Caregivers of ADD/ADHD children often find themselves in situations that far exceed their parenting skills. Much prayer and faith are required to see the ADD/ADHD child as God sees him/her. The emotional turmoil and disruption to the household often become overwhelming and caregivers sometimes discover that the challenges are greater than themselves.

Responsible adults involved in the life of an ADD/ADHD child need godly wisdom, spiritual discernment, and mental and emotional alertness to overcome weariness, bewilderment, and anxiety. Words spoken to the child and over him/her can comfort, giving him/her hope - or they can reinforce his/her belief that he/she is bad and that something terrible is wrong with him/her. Words can heal or words can wound.

The prayers of the ADD/ADHD child must be reinforced by those who love him/her. Often, our image of another individual - even our children - can only be changed as we pray according to God's will and purpose for him/her. Remember that through it all, God is faithful!

The Prayer:
Father, in the name of Jesus, I thank You for this very special child. You see my confusion, anxiety, frustration, and bewilderment as I attempt to rear him/her in the training, discipline, counsel and admonition of the Lord. Forgive me for times when I knowingly or unknowingly irritate and provoke him/her to anger.

You see my intense pain when I observe the rejection this child suffers by adults who speak harsh words against him/her and our family. Children refuse to play with him/her, and it hurts even though I understand. I know that those who have never walked in our shoes cannot fully understand.

But, Lord, where others are unmericiful and unkind, You are merciful and kind. Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives, and we shall dwell in Your house forever. Hide us in the secret place of Your presence and keep us secretly in Your pavilion from the strife of tongues.

Lord, perfect the fruit of my lips that I may offer to You effective praise and thanksgiving for this child who is a blessing from You. His/her intellect astounds me, and his/her wit is a delight. I ask You for divine intervention and guidance as I train him/her up in the way that he/she should go. I thank You for the awesomeness of Your handiwork, and the techniques that You have given him/her to survive, to overcome emotional turmoil - and the ability to function in this world around us. Truly, this child is fearfully and wonderfully made. I plead the blood of Jesus over him/her to protect him/her in every situation.

You have a divine purpose for this child. You have foreordained steps that he/she is to walk in, works that he/she is to do. Help me to look at his/her strengths and weaknesses realistically, that I may know how to help him/her develop and demonstrate self-control techniques. Forgive me for times when I lose patience and berate him/her for his/her behavior. Sometimes, I lose sight of who he/she really is. Anoint my eyes to see him/her as You see him/her.

Father, help me to speak words of grace; anoint my lips to speak excellent and princely things about and to him/her. May the opening of my lips be for right things. Help me to give him/her healthy doses of unconditional love, appropriate discipline for misbehavior, and rewards for his/her good behavior. Anoint my lips with coals of fire from Your altar that I may speak words that comfort, encourage, strengthen, and honor him/her. Keep watch at the door of my lips, and forgive me when my patience has come to an end.

Father, You are my Comforter, Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, and Strengthener. Whatever comes my way, help me to consider it joyful, allowing endurance and steadfastness and patience to have full play and do a thorough work, so that I may be perfectly and fully developed, lacking in nothing. When I am deficient in wisdom, I will ask of You, and You will give wisdom to me liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or finding fault in me.

I pray that I may be invigorated and strengthened with all power according to the might of Your glory, and every kind of endurance and patience with joy.

Father, You have seen the tears in the night season, and I know that I shall experience the joy that comes in the morning. You are my Exceeding Joy! You are my wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Thank You for being my constant Companion.

Lord, I see my child, ___________, growing and becoming strong in spirit, increasing in wisdom and in stature and years, and in favor with You and with man. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen!

Coming Against ADD/ADHD
Father, in the name of Jesus, I come against ADD/ADHD and say that I have the mind of Christ and hold the thoughts of His heart. I am able to concentrate and stay focused on each task.
I am a disciple taught by You, Lord, and great is my peace and undisturbed composure. I do not have a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a calm, well-balanced mind with discipline and self-control.
In the name of Jesus, I come against my defiant behavior and tantrums and hyperactivity and speak peace and love to the situations in which I find myself. I cast down imaginations and every high thing that would exalt itself against the knowledge of You, Lord, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
Father, I ask for Your wisdom to reside in me each day as I learn new techniques for handling stressful incidents.
Father, Your Word says not to worry about anything but to pray and ask You for everything I need and to give thanks when I pray, and Your peace will keep my heart and mind in Christ Jesus. The peace You give me is so great that I cannot understand it.
Thank You for keeping my mind quiet and at peace. I declare that I am an overcomer. I am in control. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Making New Friends
Father, I am asking You to supply me with good friends I can relate to, spend time with, and enjoy as You intended. I desire to develop relationships that will be lasting and helpful to both me and my friends.
Father, I will keep sound-minded, self-restrained, and alert. Above all things I purpose to have intense and unfailing love for others, for I know love covers a multitude of sins.
I ask You to help me manage my behavior and attitude so others will want to be around me. I purpose to bridle my tongue and speak words of kindness. I will not insist on having my own way, and I will not act badly. When someone is unkind and falsely accuses me, help me to maintain a cool spirit, and be slow to anger. I commit to plant seeds of love, and I thank You for preparing hearts ahead of time to receive me as a friend and as a blessing to their lives.
Father, than You for causing me to find favor, compassion, and loving kindness with others. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Having a Bad Day
Father, this was not a good day. My scores were low. It was a hard day for me at school and at home. I feel that I messed up a lot. Because I know that You love me unconditionally, and You are not holding anything against me, I come to talk with You.
Father, You expect me to be accountable to You, my teachers, and my parents for my behavior*. I ask Your forgiveness for acting mean and disrespectful to ________________. I acknowledge my misbehavior, and I ask You to forgive me for _________________.
Thank You, Lord, for helping me as I learn good social skills, and how to do unto others as I want them to do unto me.
Father, I release my disappointment to You, and believe that tomorrow will be a great day! In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.
*Note to Parent: Effective reprimands should be brief and directed at the child's behavior, not at the character of the child. Direct him/her in assuming responsibility for his/her actions, acknowledging and asking forgiveness when appropriate.
More ADD/ADHD Information
Read about Focus Attention
Stewards of Our Children's Childhood

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Ankle Biting Cats

Ankle biting and sudden attacks are most often associated with predatory aggression. Cats have a strong natural desire to hunt. Inside the house, there isn't much to satisfy this desire. Mice, grasshoppers and other attractive prey are scarce indoors, so they have to make do with what they have - ankles and other moving body parts of their human companions.

In some cases it is possible to provide a more appropriate toy to satisfy the predatory urge. Toys that work are furry balls on a string, wand, or attached to a small fishing rod for efficient "casting" and interesting motion as it is reeled in. A radio controlled car may work to exercise cats who are not afraid of them. Some people just tie a toy on a string to their belt to provide a better target then their ankles. This also provides a lot of exercise which is a good release of the pent up energy in many kittens.

Most cats will outgrow this behavior by the time they are a couple of years old and are much better if given alternatives objects to attack and sufficient exercise. If your cat doesn't respond to this, it might be a good idea to consult with a certified animal behaviorist to make sure that predatory behavior is the problem.

Friday, May 16, 2008

There Is a Way Out!

by Donna L. Watkins
Originally Published in A Healing Moment

Many Americans are finding that a life of consumption is consuming their own lives. What it takes of their lives to buy all the disposable things available in our world is not really providing what the advertising promises ... more time for better things.

Disposable dishes, diapers, storage containers, rags, baggies, razors, daily-wear contacts, paper towels and napkins and the list goes on and on. All of these are sold with the concept that they will save you time, when in actuality, your time is only spent making money to pay for them and the increased garbage fees to haul them away.

Instead of the simplicity that disposables seem to offer, we become used to buying, and that in itself consumes our time having to shop for something almost every day of the week. We've become used to an instant mentality. 'Have it now' breeds compulsiveness in many areas of life.

Our homes become bogged down with clutter which forces lives to be lived in a continual state of stress. That stress is at the basis of 85% of all of our diseases. People encumbered with unnecessary weights that threaten to strange even the rare moments of happiness. The quest for materialism has diminished the family's values, relationships, and sense of satisfaction of a live well lived.

Even those who want out of this lifestyle seem to find themselves on a merry-go-round that doesn't offer a stop to get off. People seem to feel that if they stop, they'll get stomped and trampled in the process. Many people get false and empty satisfaction thinking their life is important because they run from morning to night, when in actuality they look back at days, months, years gone by without any satisfaction at all.

At those moments we come face-to-face with emptiness, frustration, and loneliness from living in a constant state of worry, trying to "see how we are doing" in comparison to others. We assume power (titles) or possessions will end the inner dissatisfaction, but they never do. We are left with the reality that what we thought was living, is actually a slow process of self-destruction.

Families are now very aware that this pace and the children produced from it are not doing the world any favors. You see some of the results as you look at the elderly of our society, as many of them now slowly die alone in nursing homes and retirement centers without calls or visits from family. Our nation now has a disposable mentality for the elderly and the unborn. The definition of what life is all about has to do with being perfect, and many times the old and the unborn don't fit into "perfect" lifestyles.

David Babbitt, in a book called, Downscaling, says, "Downscaling is about margins and limits. We abuse financial limits by living beyond our income. We abuse physical limits by not getting adequate rest nor eating properly. We abuse our emotional limits by subjecting ourselves to more and more stress. Our society has helped us by providing a set of peripheral industries to deal with stress: time management, financial planning, and debt consolidation. Instead of setting rational limits, we hire services to help us continually live beyond them."

Downscaling is understanding that the hunger for money and things loses its addictive power when we become satisfied and fulfilled in other areas of our lives. If you have ever talked with a family that has gone through a fire and lost everything, you will know a little bit more about what life is all about. To see everything somebody owns go up in smoke in just a few hours makes you realize that there is more to life than things.

Often we are afraid to step out of our comfort zones. It's easier to live in the whirlwind than to think about living without one. There is so much fear that we won't measure up to some standard that somebody set for us, whether it's a parent, society or even ourselves. One big step to maturing in Christ is to realize that you cannot be perfect, and to learn to deal with your own limitations. Life will never be perfect no matter how hard you work at it. Even the best perfectionist realizes that there are moments that simply cannot be controlled.

We decrease our enjoyment of life if we are afraid to try something new just because we fear failing. Give yourself some room. Allow yourself a chance to live life as you want to. There are desires inside of you and dreams that have been buried because there is no time for them. The time is there - it's simply being misused. Some of those dreams and desires may be the actual purpose that God created you for. You may not only be giving up your life in this world, but diminishing your life in eternity by not fulfilling what your spirit longs to do.

Here's a few questions to ask yourself. Get a piece of paper and take some time to answer these questions. You have the time! The world won't stop spinning if you just pause a moment to think. Besides, you may be missing the best ride in the whole park! After all, the carousel really isn't very exciting at all when you look at the "real ride."

1. What emotional needs are not being met and why?

2. What mental needs have you ignored that keep you from happiness?

3. What physical needs do you have that are not being fulfilled?

4. What other needs do you have that aren't in these categories?

When you've finished that exercise you will probably feel absolutely miserable because you've actually faced the reality of your life. What you thought was living is not really life at all.

The problem with this merry-go-round is that the operator (the devil) would like you to think that there's no way off and that the other rides are not even available to you. You become so used to thinking there is no way out that you can't see the way out.

You can cover up the reality with more of the same and it will get buried along with all the rest of your dreams and desires, but there is a price to pay and it generally involves your health.

There is a way out! Jesus is the Way and the Truth and you can find life again through His direction. There are books, online articles, pastors, support groups, and more available to you if you truly want to change.

You have to step out of the fear and take the risk that life can be different. Jesus said "my yoke is easy" and if life seems really hard for you right now, you are believing a lie. And if you have a lot of health problems, you've been believing a lie for a long time.

When I look back to the most awful times in my life when everything was falling apart, I believed that the only way out was dying. I truly didn't think that life could be good with all of the pressures it had.

I had to slowly realize that I was allowing the pressure into my life. I was the one controlling how much I had to do, and how well it needed to be done. I had to have a total makeover for my mind, or shall we say, a total renewing of my mind. It's been a process and I still find one foot on the carousel from time to time, but I have purposed never to grab the pole again to board.

I see that it was my choices that put me where I was. I believed I had no other choices, but in reality, I opened up the rooftop for the carousel to come into my home, and in reality, all I had to do was move out and into a place of peace and rest that Christ offered at every moment of time.

Traveling to other countries and seeing the simplicity of most of the world's population has helped me to realize that my view of life from having been born in America was very much distorted. We got rid of newspaper and magazines and limited television many years ago because they have a way of making you believe things that are simply not true.

Step out! There is a place of rest and total healing. You have to step out and walk the path. It's not a "beam me up Scotty" experience. You will have to take one step at a time, but the views are beautiful as you climb the path.

Take the way out!!

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:
© 2000-2008 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission. Visit the author's website, for more articles and free email subscription.
Link URL:

Hawthorn and Heart Health

I've taken supplements and herbs for my health since the late 70's to avoid the drugs that were causing me problems. Now and then something really feels good, like my mind and body knows I need it.

Hawthorn is one of those herbs. I need heart support from problems I had as a child, but mostly now due to the associated cardiovascular complications with rheumatoid arthritis, so I'm grateful to have something natural and effective.

With all the current research I've been reading, I've decided to triple what I was taking since I didn't know it did so much. I already notice a difference in the fatigue and endurance area, so I'm motivated to stick with the program. Hawthorn Berries is currently one of my favorite herbs.

Here's an article with some of the current research information:

Hawthorn is well-known as being a heart-healthy herb. New research supports the heart benefits of hawthorn.

Hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata), a member of the rose family, has been used traditionally for various heart concerns. Leaves, flowers and berries are traditionally used. Hawthorn contains many substances that may benefit the heart.

Two groups of substances in particular - flavonoids and proanthocyanidins - are thought to be most responsible for hawthorn’s beneficial effects on the heart. Flavonoids help dilate blood vessels, improve blood flow and support a healthy heart rate.

Both flavonoids and proanthocyanidins have antioxidant properties. The antioxidant actions of hawthorn may help protect against heart disease and support healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.1

A recent Cochrane Review study found that hawthorn may be beneficial in the treatment of chronic heart failure. In chronic heart failure, the heart is no longer able to pump enough blood throughout the body.

Researchers concluded, based on the literature review, that hawthorn extract showed “significant benefit” for patients with chronic heart failure, and it appeared to be safe.2

According to the Cochrane Review, “Hawthorn extract (made from the dried leaves, flowers and fruits of the hawthorn bush) may be used as an oral treatment option for chronic heart failure.”

The analysis of hawthorn studies “showed improvements in heart failure symptoms and in the function of the heart. The results, therefore, are suggestive of a benefit from hawthorn extract used in addition to conventional treatments for chronic heart failure.”2

Patients in the trials experienced improved maximal workload, increased exercise tolerance, reduced oxygen consumption by the heart, and reduced shortness of breath and fatigue. A few patients reported “infrequent, mild and transient” nausea, dizziness, and heart and stomach complaints.2

Overall, the review showed a “significant benefit in symptom control and physiologic outcomes” in patients who took hawthorn. According to the researchers, hawthorn appears to boost the strength of the heart muscle’s contractions, increase blood flow through the arteries and reduce irregular heartbeats.2

Authors of the review recommended that patients being treated for chronic heart failure use hawthorn only with physician supervision. People with this condition should be under a doctor’s care.

This promising review adds credence to the use of hawthorn to support heart health. Even those who do not suffer from chronic heart failure can enjoy the benefits that have been illustrated in this review.

1 Jellin J, Gregory P, Batz F, Hitchens K, et al. Pharmacist’s Letter/Prescriber’s Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database 8th ed. Stockton, CA: Therapeutic Research Faculty; 2007.
2 Pittler MH, Guo R, Ernst E. Hawthorn extract for treating chronic heart failure. Cochrane Database System Review 2008, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD005312. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005312.pub2.

Nature's Sunshine Hawthorn Berries is the product that I use in capsule form. There is a non-alcohol extract that I have also used when I go on a trail hike or intend to walk long distances. I can take it along and take some as I hike. It's in glycerin so it tastes sweet and I enjoy the quick pick-up.

How to Quit Soda Pop

If you're someone who's drinking eight or more cups of soda pop a day, instead of eight cups of water, then it may be time for a change.

Sweetened drinks are one of the substances linked directly to weight gain, comprising a good portion of daily calorie intake. A possible explanation is that you're consuming calories without feeling full.

Since the weight loss benefits of diet soda have come into question more and more people are considering giving up their precious pop completely. Read on if you would like to take a step into becoming a healthier person by banning soda from your life.

Read the entire article.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Assassin Bugs

by Donna L. Watkins

© 2006 Donna L. Watkins - Assassin Bug
Assassin bugs are considered beneficial insects because they reduce populations of garden pests. There are nearly 3000 species of assassin bugs and they are found throughout most of the world. They earned this name because of the speed at which they grab and poison their prey.

They come in many sizes and colors and most have two pairs of wings. They have sticky pads on the powerful forelegs which are made from thousands of tiny hairs. This keeps their victims from getting away. One thing they all have is a powerful, curved rostrum, or beak.

They feed by external digestion, which means that they push their beak into their victims body and inject a very toxic, or poisonous, liquid that affects the nerves and liquifies the muscles and tissues of their prey. Most other insects that eat like this have two tubes in their beak; one for injecting the fluid and one for sucking in the food, but assassin bugs have only one large tube that does both jobs. This larger tube allows them to inject a larger amount of the toxic digestive fluid so that prey many times their size can be quickly overcome.

Some of them sit and wait for their prey while others hunt for them. Cockroaches die in 3 or 4 seconds and caterpillars more than 400 times the assassin bugs weight can die in only 10 seconds. A feast this size can last for days or even weeks. Predators that attack these bugs include birds and reptiles. Some of the species have developed a defense-mechanism where they use their beak to squirt their venom as far as a foot at the attacker.

The female assassin bug rubs the resin of the camphor plant on her belly to gather a good store of it. Then, when she lays her eggs, she coats them with the resin she gathered. The resin acts like mothballs do for moths - it keeps ants from eating the eggs. What an incredible God of Creation!

Most assassin bugs lay their eggs in Fall in cracks and crevices filled with leaves. The eggs hatch the following Spring and the nymphs look a lot like the adults, but are smaller. They will pass through five molts becoming a full-sized adult after the last one. These adults generally Winter over and begin a new generation the following year.

© 2006 Donna L. Watkins - Assassin Bug
Wheel bugs (the photo shown here) are rather uncommon, but attract attention when found due to their bizarre appearance. The wheel bug is a "monster" of the insect world being a dreaded foe of other insects. It is an assassin bug that stalks its prey traveling around till it finds something.

They are voracious predators, attacking large caterpillars, such as tomato hornworms. They will not bite humans readily, but most of these assassin bugs, if handled carelessly, can inflict a very painful bite, causing a severe reaction for some people.

Their saliva can cause severe irritation of the eyes and nose and even temporary blindness in humans, so it's best to let them do their garden work for you unbothered.

Stop Testing For Mad Cow Disease?

The Bush administration urged a federal appeals court to stop meatpackers from testing all their animals for mad cow disease, but a skeptical judge questioned whether the government has that authority.

The government seeks to reverse a lower court ruling that allowed Kansas-based Creekstone Farms Premium Beef to conduct more comprehensive testing to satisfy demand from overseas customers in Japan and elsewhere.

Less than 1 percent of slaughtered cows are currently tested for the disease under Agriculture Department guidelines.

Creekstone attorney Russell Frye contended the Agriculture Department's regulations covering the treatment of domestic animals contain no prohibition against an individual company testing for mad cow disease, since the test is conducted only after a cow is slaughtered.

He said the agency has no authority to prevent companies from using the test to reassure customers.

Larger meatpackers have opposed Creekstone's push to allow wider testing out of fear that consumer pressure would force them to begin testing all animals too. Increased testing would raise the price of meat by a few cents per pound.

Mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, can be fatal to humans who eat tainted beef. Three cases of mad cow disease have been discovered in the U.S. since 2003.

Read the entire article.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ginseng and Schizophrenia

A form of Asian ginseng shows promise for relieving schizophrenia symptoms that are difficult to treat.

In a small study, patients had fewer negative symptoms -- such as lack of motivation and a severe reduction in emotional expression known as "flat affect" -- when they took Panax ginseng than when they took a placebo.

Schizophrenia afflicts 3.2 million Americans. Though there is no cure, antipsychotic medications are very effective at reducing what doctors call the "positive" symptoms of schizophrenia -- hallucinations, delusions, and disordered thinking.

Read the entire article.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Obesity Increases Alzheimer's

Older adults who maintain a healthy weight may be preserving their mind and memory at the same time.

A study published in the May 2008 issue of Obesity Reviews shows that weight matters when it comes to warding off dementia. Researchers with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore have found that obese people have an 80% increased risk for Alzheimer's disease compared to those with normal weight.

Being underweight makes you 36% more likely to develop such cognitive disorders.

Read the entire article

Passing Gallstones

Being into natural health methods for almost 30 years, I've heard a lot. The gallbladder cleanse is one of those things that has popped up now and then over the years as I've heard stories of people passing stones during and after the cleanse.

This is the most recent story I've seen. It's certainly nice to know that people are still using simple ways of doing things. Of course, I'm not making any recommendations on whether or not to do surgery, but you can certainly learn a lot by researching on the internet.

I've always heard that the apple juice you need to use must be natural, not the common water-thin stuff from the grocery store. "Real" apple juice has some of the fiber still in it and might be called "unfiltered." I've read there are more antioxidants in this type of apple juice, so I'm sure there are other properties that are important also.

Here's a great place to begin.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Good Bugs In The Garden

There are many good bugs in the insect kingdom and you will want to have them in your garden and yard to eat the bad bugs. If you're spraying insecticides you won't have them. Matter of fact it seems the good bugs don't tolerate poison as well as the bad one, so you can mess up the balance of your garden real easy with chemicals.

Here's a site that lists several bugs you will want to find in your garden. With the photos you will hopefully be able to recognize what you may have already seen in your yard. Sadly, most folks think any bug is a bad bug ... so share this information with your neighbors too.

Take A Look At The Good Bugs

Building Self-Control

From The Word For You Today Devotional

If you let it, your body will lead you off course. It isn't that your body is evil; it's just that it possesses a number of appetites that are always ready to respond to the surrounding stimuli, all of which are terribly appealing and temporarily satisfying.

Restraining ourselves - self-control - is listed in the Bible as proof God's Spirit lives within us. (Galatians 5:23)

Living without restraint is like removing the brakes from your car. It may be exciting for a while, but inevitably you'll pay a high price for the ride. Take away the brakes, and your life, like your car, is transformed into an unguided missile - headed for disaster.

Romans 6:12-16 says, "Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead give yourselves completely to God ... realize that ... whatever you choose to obey ... becomes your master."

Henry Parry Liddon observed, "What we do on some great occasion will probably depend on what we already are; and what we are will be the result of previous years of self-discipline."

Each day look for an opportunity to say 'no' to yourself in some small area. Try it; you'll be surprised how hard it is, but the payoff will come when you need to say no to yourself in some big area of life. Like saving for a rainy day, you'll have spiritual strength to draw on when you need it.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Surgery Videos Online

I happened upon a site that allows you to view surgical procedures in webcast format. These are actual operations performed at medical centers in the United States. The videos last an hour.

I don't consider surgery part of the "natural health" philosophy but they have certainly saved lives at times and none of us can determine what will be the best method to wellness until you're faced with the need to choose.

There are so many types I can't begin to list and even transplant surgeries. Make your choice here.

Heartworms Gone Naturally

"Abby is my lovely, mixed-breed rescue. She tested positive for heartworms. The vet at the time was incredulous that I did not want the conventional treatment for her.

I found Bandit's Buddies website and a very insightful article about the hazards of treating heartworms with Ivermectin. That confirmed my decision to avoid it. I decided to try Bandit's heartworm program.

I am so thankful to those who believed in the healing power of nature. Robin's website provided the affirmation that I needed, actually finding out about other dogs who encountered heartworms and survived.

These testimonies gave me courage!

Abby is now 9 years old and in very good condition. She had tested positive for heartworms for six years, but now is healthy and heartworm free!"

Read the full story (and other heartworm success stories).

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Help Elderly Have Pets

The most serious disease for older persons is not cancer or heart disease - it's loneliness. Pets offer affection, unconditional love, fight loneliness, and can help ease the loss of a loved one.

The Pets For the Elderly Foundation (PFE) is a non-profit organization that provides finances to senior citizens in need, while saving the lives of many pets that would otherwise be euthanized.

More than 6 million animals are destroyed every year because homes are not available and many times that's because people don't have the fees necessary to adopt a companion dog or cat from a shelter. This organization pays those fees.

Get more info or donate to this worthy cause.

Healthy Pet Corner sells natural pet foods and donates 10% of gross income from the sale of these foods to organizations that benefit animals.

Canada Bans Use of Pesticides

Something big has happened in Canada. Ontario and Quebec have both banned the use of cosmetic pesticides. That would be the pesticides you use on your lawn or spray on rose bushes. Those used to "make things look better."

Home Depot announced on April 22, 2008 that they would voluntarily phase out pesticides across all of Canada by the end of this year and provide consumers with over 50 options in natural lawn care. Read about Home Depot's commitment.

My question is, "What about the USA?"

The reason for the ban is to protect pregnant women and children. Research shows that children exposed to pesticides and herbicides have a higher risk of leukemia, among other things. More on Pesticides and Children

Find alternatives to health-destroying chemicals with these articles at
Five Steps to a Lush Lawn
Beautiful Alternatives to Lawns
Flowering Lawns
Keep off the Grass

Friday, May 9, 2008

Who He Is

by Donna L. Watkins
Originally Published in A Healing Moment

Some seasons of life seem to be particularly long and when we experience a Winter in our lives, we long for the life and color of Spring to return us to happiness.

© 2007 Donna L. Watkins - Paper Kite Butterfly
Happiness is based on happenings, unlike joy which is always available to us.

Looking back on my life, I find that I could complain about any season I was in for one reason or another ... but the winters of our lives do seem to be the most difficult because they look so barren. People become more isolated because they're not out and about seeing neighbors on the street or at outdoor community events.

At times like that in our spiritual lives/seasons, we are tempted to doubt that God is there with us, and we question if He is for us at all. We feel so isolated and barren. As the rest of the world continues around us, we want to scream, "STOP! Somebody take this pain away!"

Isaiah 45:3 says, "I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name."

A.W. Tozer says, "It is as if God were saying, 'What I am is all that need matter to you, for there lie your hope and your peace. I will do what I will do, and it will all come to light at last, but how I do it is my secret. Trust me, and be not afraid.' "

We have to know who He is. We can't base His character on what we saw as a Father here on earth. Our image of God is greatly established by how our parents portrayed parental love. Like it or not, that leaves us generally with much lacking in knowing who God truly is. I believe that's also the basis for why we pour ourselves into trying to control our circumstances.

Why do we not trust the One who has promised to take care of us? Our earthly parents were incapable of doing a perfect job, but that's why being a Child of God is so awesome!

The many names for God in Scripture give revelation of His character, His works, and His relationship to us based on His character and works. The names which God chose for Himself in the Word are there so we may know and relate to God the way He wants us to.

We must be diligent to renew our minds with who He is and to know Him. Not with a head knowledge based on the turbulence of childhood, but with a heart knowledge.

Until we absorb who He really is, we will always be wanting something else. We will never be satisfied with life unless we have his peace and joy, and the only way to those gifts is to find the Giver to receive them.

I've gone through the names of God many times in the past, but a few months ago I realized I never viewed them with a focus on His character as my Father. Many people even struggle with thinking of God the Father ... the cross-over to their earthly childhood is too painful to associate the same name.

Jesus said in John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God...."

I spent many years speaking what the Bible said about God, but what I literally believed in my mind was shaped by childhood experiences. It's been a great and wonderful renewal process ... reminds me of Springtime when everything looks so fresh and green after a long dreary Winter.

When you read and experience in your heart who God really is as our Papa, there is great peace and joy in each day and circumstance of life. We can let go of all the useless control we think we have, and trust Him to be a good Papa, an all-knowing and loving Papa who is actively at work making our lives what they should be. He created us. He knows us intimately and cannot do anything but good for us.

We believe the lies of the devil if we think life is bleak and hopeless. We can have eternal Springtime in our minds and hearts with the eternal renewal He offers us.

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:

More Tree Quotes

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. ~ Bill Vaughn

If I knew I should die tomorrow, I would plant a tree today. ~ Stephen Girard

No town can fail of beauty, though its walks were gutters and its houses hovels, if venerable trees make magnificent colonnades along its streets. ~ Henry Ward Beecher, Proverbs, 1887

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing which stands in their way. ~ William Blake

Why are there trees I never walk under
But large and melodious thoughts descend upon me?
~ Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, 1892

The oaks and the pines, and their brethren of the wood, have seen so many suns rise and set, so many seasons come and go, and so many generations pass into silence, that we may well wonder what "the story of the trees" would be to us if they had tongues to tell it, or we ears fine enough to understand. ~ Author Unknown, quoted in Quotations for Special Occasions by Maud van Buren, 1938

There are rich counsels in the trees. ~ Herbert P. Horne

God in the whizzing of a pleasant wind
Shall march upon the tops of mulberry trees.
~ George Peele, David and Fair Bathsabe, 1599

It is well that you should celebrate your Arbor Day thoughtfully, for within your lifetime the nation's need of trees will become serious. We of an older generation can get along with what we have, though with growing hardship; but in your full manhood and womanhood you will want what nature once so bountifully supplied and man so thoughtlessly destroyed; and because of that want you will reproach us, not for what we have used, but for what we have wasted. ~Theodore Roosevelt, 1907 Arbor Day Message

The best part of happiness is the pines. ~ Terri Guillemets

Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money. ~ Cree Indian Proverb

To heal mine aching moods,
Give me God's virgin woods.
~ Clinton Scollard

Many people, other than the authors, contribute to the making of a book, from the first person who had the bright idea of alphabetic writing through the inventor of movable type to the lumberjacks who felled the trees that were pulped for its printing. It is not customary to acknowledge the trees themselves, though their commitment is total. ~ Forsyth and Rada, Machine Learning

Oaks are the true conservatives;
They hold old leaves till summer gives
A green exchange.
~ Roy Helton, Come Back to Earth

A tree never hits an automobile except in self defense. ~ American Proverb

Long, sparkling aisles of steel-stemmed trees
Bending to counterfeit a breeze.
~ James R. Russell

Trees are much like human beings and enjoy each other's company. Only a few love to be alone. ~ Jens Jensen, Siftings, 1939

Newspapers: dead trees with information smeared on them. ~ Horizon, "Electronic Frontier"

They kill good trees to put out bad newspapers. ~ James G. Watt, quoted in Newsweek, 8 March 1982

Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it. ~ Henry David Thoreau, "Chesuncook," The Maine Woods, 1848

A tree which has lost its head will never recover it again, and will survive only as a monument of the ignorance and folly of its Tormentor. ~ George William Curtis

Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars... and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful. Everything is simply happy. Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance. Look at the flowers - for no reason. It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are. ~ Osho

Will urban sprawl spread so far that most people lose all touch with nature? Will the day come when the only bird a typical American child ever sees is a canary in a pet shop window? When the only wild animal he knows is a rat - glimpsed on a night drive through some city slum? When the only tree he touches is the cleverly fabricated plastic evergreen that shades his gifts on Christmas morning? ~ Frank N. Ikard, North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, Houston, March 1968

You can't be suspicious of a tree, or accuse a bird or a squirrel of subversion or challenge the ideology of a violet. ~ Hal Borland, Sundial of the Seasons, 1964

Plants are the young of the world, vessels of health and vigor; but they grope ever upward towards consciousness; the trees are imperfect men, and seem to bemoan their imprisonment, rooted in the ground. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays, Second Series, 1844

Death is a low chemical trick played on everybody except sequoia trees. ~ J.J. Furnas

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
~ Joyce Kilmer, "Trees," 1914

We say we love flowers, yet we pluck them. We say we love trees, yet we cut them down. And people still wonder why some are afraid when told they are loved. ~ Author Unknown

Bread and butter, devoid of charm in the drawing-room, is ambrosia eating under a tree. ~Elizabeth Russell

More quotes.

Share This Post