Monday, June 30, 2008

The Kingdom of Self-Pity

by Donna L. Watkins
Originally Published in A Healing Moment

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Pigeon in San Jose, Costa Rica

It's so easy to get caught up in self pity when things go bad. All around us we see and hear advertising that tells us life and we are to be so beautiful --- and if it's not that way, it's hard not to whine about it.

Self pity is an awful world to live in. I see it as a kingdom and it's a dark evil one with muck and mire like quicksand and dark caverns of dungeons with wailing and grief and guilt. It's such a low place to live because it's a domain that is beneath the earth. We are doomed to a life of depression if we live there.

We have a choice. We don't have to live in that kingdom or even visit.

There are evil spirits who stand at the edge of the entrance to this kingdom. They call to us with all the familiar temptations:

" Poor baby - withdraw - come to me"
" You're not being treated right - come to me"
" Things never turn out good for you - come to me"
" You'll never be able to have true joy - come to me"
" Life's not fair, so don't play in the game - come to me"
" You've been told you'll never amount to anything. They were right - come to me"

Temptaion is not sin. We will always be tempted. It keeps our spiritual muscles strong. If we laid in bed for months we couldn't use the muscles needed to walk. Life will never be without trials, but Jesus died so that we could overcome through His blood.

The entrance to the kingdom of self pity is right by the meadows of joy and peace that God provides for us, but sometimes it seems so hard to walk in a meadow when life has become such a valley. Christ died so that we could always walk in the sunlight and the meadows of fruits of the Holy Spirit.

We have to make that choice though. The same as people make a choice on whether to accept the gift of salvation, we need to make the choice to accept the gift of victory. We have to speak the Word to activate the power in His resurrection.

Sometimes people drift through various Scriptures and try to remember too much for those times of temptation. Ask God to give you a Word for what you need. We all have different reasons for slipping away from the Light .... but the Word is to hold us steady in His Kingdom. You can memorize and jab at the devil with one Scripture. It doesn't get old and it never gets dull.

That Sword will always keep the enemy at bay and we will always have the strength to continue to fight if we rely on God's strength and not our own. Choose the meadow full of bright yellow flowers with birds and butterflies and horses to carry us swiftly away from the darkness of sin. There is room to dance in the meadow! He turns our mourning into joy and dancing.

In the kingdom of self pity we can't hardly move with our feet sunk in the mire. The instant we allow any self pity to enter in, it's like our feet have been grabbed and set in drying concrete. It's so much work to get back out.

We get to choose which Kingdom we live in. In the USA we have freedom to move where ever we want to go. We can choose a state or city and go to live there. In the spiritual realm we get to chose where we live also. Our lives are actually guided by our spiritual choices because we are spirits - that live in a body and have a soul [mind will and emotions]. We have to remember that these body are temporary. We have been created as a spiritual being above all else to fellowship with God, The Creator.

Our spiritual choices will determine our health and even our choices of where we live and work. When we choose the Self-Pity Kingdom ruled by a legion of unloving spirits we attract the same environment around us on a physical level.

We get the muck and mire of life in our homes and our jobs and our relationsips and we look around in self pity and say, "Life is hard and painful, so why bother to pull myself out again. I just get thrown back in." It's really a choice. We have so much more power than we realize because we listen to the devil instead of God.

Deut. 30:19 - "I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants."

Ps 16:11 - "You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever."

Take God at His Word and seek His face. Maybe the first step is to realize that life doesn't have to be perfect or according to our plan for it to be good. It's not about ME -- it's about JESUS. James 1:2 says, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials." Are we even attempting to obey that Scripture? With the world around us shouting that all needs to be wonderful for us, it's certainly a challenge.

I pray that we will redefine what makes life good for us. That we can catch the vision of what God has for us and that it's not about what I want, but about what God allows into my life to exercise my muscles so I will be spiritually strong for what He has put me on earth to do.

"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

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.
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Bleach or Vinegar

From Pat Veretto

Vinegar neutralizes bleach and any other chlorine products, which is very useful to know if/when you accidentally spill bleach somewhere where you don't want it! Grab the jug of vinegar and use it liberally. If used immediately, vinegar will even keep bleach from destroying the color on dyed clothes.

Do NOT mix bleach and vinegar except in small amounts, as it produces chlorine gas which can be deadly.

Vinegar is a bleaching agent in its own right on the order of lemon juice, so take caution if using it on really fragile surfaces.

I experimented with a stain on my kitchen counter: A piece of colored paper had been left on the counter and water had been spilled on it. It was several hours before it was discovered, and by that time there was an orange square on the counter top. I dribbled vinegar on the stain and went to do other cleaning. When I returned in about a half hour, the stain was completely gone. It takes more time to work than bleach, but it's many times safer to use.

You won't get bleach spots on your clothes and you won't have to worry about pets and children getting into it. It won't hurt rubber (elastic items) and it won't burn your skin. If you get some in your eyes, splash with plain water and wait for your eyes to water to clear it up - no need for an emergency room visit!

Other bleaching uses: Vinegar will usually get rid of rust stains on clothing and other items. Soak the piece with it, sprinkle with salt and put it in the sun to dry. Wash as usual after this treatment.

Vinegar will sanitize your laundry as well as any surface - just like bleach. Visit Pat's Blog.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

5 Symptoms Men Shouldn't Ignore

Women listen to their bodies and go to the doctor when something isn't right. Men tend to seek medical attention when they're at death's door -- or when their wives prod them into going.

"I think it's a macho thing," says Dr. Barron Lerner, professor of medicine and public health at Columbia University. "Or maybe it's denial. Maybe they think if they deny a problem, it doesn't exist."

While the list, according to these physicians, is endless, here are the top five symptoms men ignore -- sometimes until it's too late.

1. Chest pain - You'd think this would be the last thing a man would ignore, but our men's health experts say it happens all the time.

2. A big belly - "Belly fat is the worst fat you can have," says Dr. Harry Fisch, a professor of clinical urology at Columbia. "A big belly is a sign a man has low testosterone levels. And the lower the testosterone, the greater the risk of diabetes and coronary artery disease."

3. An unenthusiastic penis - Impotence may be purely psychological, but it also could be a sign that a man has cardiovascular disease.

4. More frequent urination - Urinating more frequently can be a sign of prostatitis, or inflammation of the prostate gland.

5. Prescription drug addiction - Dr. Joel Heidelbaugh, a family medicine specialist at the University of Michigan Medical School, says, "Maybe they're taking medicine for back pain, and a couple of years later they're still on them. They can't function without them, and they don't even know it."

Read the entire article.

Relief From Chronic Back Pain (May 19, 2007)

Chronic back pain is a condition that affects a significant part of the population, with patients falling into three major groups; those with herniated discs, spinal stenosis (a nerve affecting narrowing of the spinal cord), and complications from failed back surgery.

Radiofrequency thermolesioning is a widespread treatment for chronic back pain, but because of its neurodestructive nature, it is often considered an unsuitable treatment.

Building on earlier work, a new study led by Dr. David Abejón investigates the use of an alternative treatment known as pulsed radiofrequency (PRF) in treating chronic back pain. It finds that the treatment yields significant improvements for herniated disc patients and notable improvements for those with spinal stenosis. Since PRF does not involve drugs, it may be repeated multiple times. This study appears in the journal Pain Practice.

While the preexisting conditions that accompany chronic back pain, such as neurological lesions or neuropathic pain, make conventional radiofrequency a controversial treatment, Abejón notes “the use of PRF could reduce or potentially even eliminate these risks,” providing safe, effective pain relief for patients with a variety of lower back pain conditions.

Source: Blackwell Publishing Ltd. (2007, May 19). New Treatment Offers Relief From Chronic Back

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Where NOT To Shop

The Responsible Shopper website helps you to avoid the worst places to shop if you care about social justice and the planet environment. It's like the flip side to the popular that helps you find the best companies to reward with your business.

They comb through reports from the news media, the government (from the EPA to the FDA), and their environmental and social justice nonprofit allies to compile comprehensive data on some of the largest corporations in America. Then, they put it together in an easily searchable website, so you can make informed purchasing decisions on everything from cosmetics to groceries to clothing and much more.

Through Responsible Shopper's “Go Green” feature, they also link you to strategies for shifting your purchasing and investing to more responsible options. The site provides you with the real story about abuses by well-known companies, gives you actions to promote corporate responsibility, and helps you green your life and world.

Visit Responsible Shopper.
Visit Green Pages.

Essential Oils - Nature's Perfume

With the continual bombardment of viral, bacterial, parasitic and fungal contamination in our world, essential oils are a great benefit to help protect our bodies and homes from this onslaught of pathogens.

Essential oils are frequently referred to as the "life force" of plants. Unlike fatty oils, these "essential" oils are volatile, highly concentrated, substances extracted from flowers, leaves, stems, roots, seeds, bark, resin or fruit rinds. Only pure oils contain a full spectrum of compounds that cheap imitations simply cannot duplicate.

There's a world full of bath and beauty products that you can make which not only saves lots of money, but they will not contain any of the chemicals that are in so many of the bath and beauty products.

Get more essential oils tips and recipes to blend your own fragrances and natural health solutions.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Horseweed Attracts Beneficial Bugs

Otherwise known as Canada Fleabane this plant is from the Composite or Daisy Family (Compositae)

Wasps and flies are the most common visitors of the flowers, where they seek nectar. Among the wasp visitors, this includes Sphecid wasps, Vespid wasps, and Ichneumonid wasps. All beneficial wasps.

Ichneumonid wasps, introduced into the United States to control the European corn borer during the 1930s, are a valuable ally in controlling many caterpillars and other destructive larvae. The dark-colored adult wasps vary in size from less than 1 inch to 1-1/2 inches, and they have long antennae and long egg-laying appendages — called ovipositors — that are easily mistaken for stingers. The adults need a steady source of nectar-bearing flowers to survive.

Among the flies visiting Horseweed are Syrphid flies, Thick-headed flies, Tachinid flies, Flesh flies, Blow flies, and Muscid flies. A few small bees may also visit the flowers.

Syrphid flies are an important natural control agent. They feed primarily on aphids and other soft-bodied insects, such as scale insects.

Although they look similar to house flies, Tachinid flies are very important enemies of cutworms, armyworms, tent caterpillars, cabbage loopers, gypsy moths, sawflies, Japanese beetles, squash bugs, and sowbugs. Growing pollen and nectar plants to attract them builds a balanced and easier to manage garden.

Horseweed also attracts parasitic nematodes. These tiny, worm-like creatures live in the soil and are effective against the scourge of many gardens — Japanese beetles. The nematodes prey on the grubs, the larval stage of the beetle, as well as on armyworms, cutworms, onion maggots, raspberry cane borers, and sod webworms.

One thing to consider is that it can be an invasive plant in some areas of the country. We have not found that to be a problem here in Central Virginia.

Here's a link to photos of horseweed.

Why Do We Need Wilderness?

From NCC Eco-Justice Programs

Wilderness is a place where God meets us, sometimes most powerfully. Whether as the site of Moses’ call, the Israelites’ freedom and consecration, the inspiration of prophets, the testing of Jesus, or our own experiences today, wilderness often provides a divine reality check.

One of the gifts of wilderness to Christians is deepening our appreciation for the significance of wilderness stories in the Bible. Wilderness is also an excellent place to reconnect with God—to understand God’s invisible qualities and divine nature from what God has made (Rom 1:20), to be still and appreciate God’s presence (Ps 46:10), and to remember the ways that God provides for us.

Wilderness is a special place for refuge, rest, renewal, and inspiration. For these and other reasons, Christian theologians since antiquity have extolled the “Book of Nature” as a complementary resource for knowing God, reinforcing and enhancing what Christians can learn of God through scripture.

But in contrast to biblical times or the early period of the American frontier, the status of wilderness is changing. Wilderness no longer looms at the edges of all our habitations, no longer "“threatens” to overtake our pre-modern efforts to withstand the elements, survive and flourish.

Instead, wilderness itself is now threatened on all edges by suburban development, resource extraction, and even in some cases by irresponsible recreational use. Our wilderness lands and the national system of public lands that supports them remain an impressive part of our national legacy, but preserving and maintaining that legacy is a challenge.

The character of the American people and indeed of the biblical story would not be the same without wilderness. From Moses to Daniel Boone, biblical and American pioneers alike were shaped and tested by their experiences in wild nature. We cherish this heritage and its rich blessings, whether as a shaper of identity or as a source of beauty, recreation, refinement, and inspiration. What is wilderness? Visit this eco-justice site for a definition.

As we realize this earth was given to us to steward, we must take action to preserve that heritage for future generations. Get more information on campaigns and initiatives.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tell Us About Gainesville, FL

We're considering a move to Gainesville, FL, for health reasons. Many people move to Florida for health reasons since it's a warm climate and many health problems don't do well in the cold. For me, it's rheumatoid arthritis.

I love trees so having forests nearby is important to me since it's the ultimate entertainment along with strolling through gardens. We will be doing both while we are down there.

If you live there or have visited there, let us know your thoughts, likes and dislikes. You can post comments down below by clicking on the word "COMMENTS" and typing your thoughts or helpful advice. Weather, taxes, schools (although we won't need them), culture, shopping, organic foods, vegetarian dining, good neighborhoods, utility rates, green communities are all areas of interest.

We will certainly treasure the input as I know others will also. Relocating to a place that you normally wouldn't move to without health issues, is not an easy move, so advice is needed.

We had a wonderful 4 days down there and really love the town and nature preserves that are so close. The city is definitely forested and that was very nice. View Gainesville Photos.

Frugal Voice Lessons At Home

A few years back I began taking voice lessons since I saw an ad for a teacher in our neighborhood that was only a mile away. She was very nice and very good at what she does, but I was much too impatient with the little that I was learning at each week's half-hour session. I began wondering how many thousands of dollars I would have to invest to really "get somewhere."

Singing Success CourseWith the internet providing so much to our lives these days I thought there should surely be some kind of answer out there to make this process simpler. After some hours of research I discovered Brett Manning's Singing Success Vocal Course for At-Home Study.

I wasn't interested in a professional career, but wanted to improve my voice to simply enjoy singing more. When I saw the potential with this course I knew it would meet all the desires I had and more.

This would be a good investment. One that I could learn from and allow others to borrow and learn also. I began imaging using it with my grandchildren (and I don't have any yet :-)

The only problem I had was that I didn't want to waste any money, so when I read I had six months to use the course and return it with no questions asked, I was ready to give it a try.

If you've got somebody in your family that wants to learn more about singing, this course offers methods that have been proven to be effective and much easier than the long process taken by most vocal instructors.

Increasing the vocal range is one of the huge benefits with this course because the technique used makes it possible. I have been quite surprised how much I have learn from the course and how much more I enjoy singing.

The nice thing is that I can use it when I want to. I don't have to make a commitment to weekly lessons. Since I love to garden I spend more time outdoors during that time of the year, but in the winter I love having things like this to focus on.

If you've also purchased this singing course, leave a comment below with your thoughts. I'd love to hear from others using it. I do have one friend who ordered it and enjoys it also. She too uses it as she wants to practice, feeling good about not "having to" do it when life holds other business to attend to.

Here's a few Q&A that Brett Manning answers:

Aren't voice lessons like pulling teeth? Every lesson I've had was a miserable experience where I was criticized for every little "wrong" thing I did.

Answer: You are so right. Unfortunately, most voice teachers are still training their students to look and sound like classical singers, using techniques that have nothing to do with developing a contemporary sound. That's why students who don't enjoy older styles of music often find voice lessons frustrating and fruitless. Brett Manning will never stifle your unique sound and style. In fact, the Singing Success Program provides tools and techniques that will allow you to sing with more style. Besides, who wants to listen to someone who sounds like every other "proper" singer?

Can I improve my tone quality?

Answer: Tone quality improves when the correct musculature is engaged in the singing process. Feel underneath your chin with your forefinger and slide it inwards to the point where your neck meets the muscles under your chin. Now swallow. Notice how your larynx (Adam's apple) raises up and the muscles under your chin tighten up as you swallow? These muscles that are engaged in the swallowing process are opposed to those engaged in the singing process. The use of these muscles while singing creates a myriad of problems that can take years to correct if left unchecked. For good tone quality, you must learn to sing without the outer muscles of the larynx. Doing so will set free your natural voice, drastically improving tone quality and ease of use. Naturally, the Singing Success Program contains techniques that will help you do this.

Is it really possible to teach style?

Answer: Until now, there really has not been a comprehensive system of teaching vocal style. There have been scales played to reflect certain genres, such as the Blues Scale, but that's really not enough. Brett Manning worked with hundreds of brilliant vocal stylists to co-develop training techniques based on their various skills. Using these techniques you can develop style skills so prolific that you'll be able to reinterpret any song you wish into a unique masterpiece. Think of it this way: As a singer, you are the artist and the final "painting" is up to you. Brett Manning's style training just gives you more colors to work with.

What's the proper way to clear my throat?

Answer: Some say that you should never clear your throat, but excess mucous inhibits free vocal cord coordination. The trick is to find a way to clear your throat without irritating it. Do a gentle "whispered cough" (without tone) and then swallow. Repeat. If this doesn't work, you need to deal with the excess mucous production. Squeeze a 1/4 of a lemon in a tall glass of water and sip over about 20 minutes. This should cut through a lot of the excess mucous. Furthermore, watch your dairy intake... especially cheese. You should never eat it on the day of a performance!

Are falsetto and head voice the same thing?

Answer: No. Falsetto is the lightest vocal production made by the human voice. It is limited in strength, dynamics and tonal variation. Usually, there is a considerable 'jump,' 'break' or 'disconnect' between your chest (speaking) voice and your falsetto.

Noted vocal coach and voice therapist Randy Buescher of Chicago defines falsetto as: "a coordination where the outer layer of the vocal cord (mucosa, i.e. internal skin or muscular covering) is vibrating, creating sound, but without engaging the actual musculature of the cord. Also, there exists no medial compression. In other words, during the vibratory cycle, the cords never fully approximate.

In head voice, the cords approximate, but the vibration of the cord moves away from the full depth of the vocal cord (chest voice) to a pattern that involves less and less depth of vocal cord as you ascend toward the top of your range. The highest notes of your range involve only the vocal ligament. However, there is no consensus among experts on the official definition of vocal registers."

Read more about Brett Manning's Singing Success Vocal Course for At-Home Study

Do NOT Leave Pets In Car

Number-one rule of automobile safety for pets:


Overheating can kill an animal.

It only takes ten minutes on an 85-degree day for the inside of your car to reach 102 degrees Fahrenheit, even if the windows have been left open an inch or two.

Within 30 minutes, the interior can reach 120 degrees - and even when the temperature is a pleasant 70 degrees, the inside of your car may be as much as 20 degrees hotter than the air outside. Parking in the shade offers little protection, as the sun is constantly shifting throughout the day.

Pets who are young, elderly, or obese are particularly at risk of overheating (hyperthermia), as are those with thick or dark-colored coats, and breeds with short muzzles.

This same precaution carries over to the winter months, too. In cold weather, a car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing an animal to freeze to death.

Read this article.

A Merry Heart Is Medicine

by Donna L. Watkins
Originally Published in A Healing Moment

Solomon had wisdom in that statement from Proverbs 17:22. The human body, which God designed, can produce it's own disease fighting chemicals. God has created us "fearfully and wonderfully."

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Finca Luna Nueva - 7 Little Piglets
These bodies that we walk around in are truly amazing! Evolution is just not smart enough to equip us with the mind-boggling intelligence that our bodies contain!

For example, when you are joyful, your body secretes two types of chemicals that fight cancer and other diseases. When you experience that exhilarating feeling of being truly joyful, it does "good like a medicine."

One type of chemical released in your body when you are joyful is called "neuropeptide." These neuropeptides are the same kind of chemical that cancer patients are injected with at the cost of up to $40,000.00 per shot! And God created our bodies to produce them naturally by having a joyful heart!

Another chemical secreted into the bloodstream, by having a joyful heart, is known as "opioid." (You can see the root word for "opium" which can be a dangerous drug but produces a calming effect.)

Opioids when secreted into the bloodstream enhance the immune system to help fight the common cold. So, is there a cure for the common cold? Yes! A merry heart!

You see, our minds, bodies and spirits are all connected. We are a walking network of amazing super-intelligence! We are not "gods," but we are created "in the image of God."

God has created us so unique. When we are joyful, our minds, bodies and spirits are effected by it. Your mind can sense true joy coming from your spirit, and when your mind senses joy on the radar screen, it sends out "opioids" into the bloodstream which connect with "monocytes." The monocytes receive messages from the opioids which trigger a Pac-Man like response and they begin to eat bacteria and viruses that tear down your immune system.

If you are plagued by fear, worry, stress and anger, you are opening the door to sickness. Your body is not secreting what it needs to keep you vibrant. Is it any wonder Jesus tells us to stop worrying? (Matthew 6). Is it any wonder that the Apostle Paul tells us to stop worrying? ( Phil. 4). Seek first His Kingdom and righteousness and all of your needs will be given unto you. (Matt. 6:33)

Take care of your mind, body and spirit. Have a joyful heart. Stop killing yourself. Allow that wise body God gave you to release those wonderful chemicals in order that you may experience optimum health and performance for His glory!

Proverbs 17:22 - "A merry heart does good, like a medicine."

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:

Have You Forsaken Me?

From The Word For You Today.

Matthew 27:46 NIV
"My God, Why have you forsaken me?"

Jesus knew that Judas would betray Him, yet He didn't stop him. He could have summoned twelve legions of angels to help Him, yet He didn't call on them. Under the weight of our sins He cried from the cross, "My God, why have you forsaken me?" That's because He understood it was all part of God's plan for Him. His words, "God where are you?" teach us that:

a) You can be in God's plan, yet at times feel overwhelmed and alone.

b) When God doesn't answer, you must stand on the Word He has given you.

c) The pain of this season will eventually give way to the joy God has awaiting you on the other side of it. So stick to the plan; that's what disciples do.

The word "disciple" means to be disciplined. It means sticking to the plan when you're under attack. It teaches you how to function when you don't feel like it. The enemy will come against the plan of God in your life, because that plan is like a hedge of protection around you.

As long as you stay in God's plan, nothing that the enemy does can deestroy you. So,when you feel like you've reached the end of your rope and can't go another step, do what Jesus did - pray, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit" (Luke 23:46).

Give it to God! Look up and say, "Lord, I'm trusting You to do what I cannot do. Bring me through this. Here it is; I'm turning over to You. My life, my future, and my all are in Your hands!"

Remember this Scripture and stake your life on it:

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV - "I know the plans I have for you."

I know it would be great to be included in the details of those plans, but Father knows best. Hang in there. We're both going to make it through our trials and come forth as gold for His Kingdom.

Buying a Birdbath

by Annie B. Bond

Adapted from Natural Gardening for Birds by Julie Zickefoose and the Editors and Writers of Bird Watcher's Digest.

Interest in birdbaths and water features in the backyard landscape is growing. Many birders say that it is much more fun to watch birds bathe than it is to watch them sit on a feeder and stuff their beaks.

When shopping for a birdbath, look for three key features:

1. The bathing basin should be less than 3 inches (8 cm) deep—and you should fill it with only 2 inches (5 cm) of water. Most songbirds won’t bathe in water that’s any deeper than that; they prefer to hunker down in a depth that barely reaches the bottoms of their bellies.

2. Make sure the bottom of the bathing basin has a rough surface. Many birdbath bottoms are often too slick to provide secure footing for birds, especially when a coat of algae forms on submerged surfaces. If you can find only a smooth surface basin, rough it up with sandpaper or the claws of a hammer (for plastic basins only!) before filling it with water.

3. Make sure the basin fits securely on the pedestal and won’t be subject to tipping by thirsty dogs, raccoons, deer, or, in wilder reaches, bears. No one wants to pick up an overturned birdbath every morning, and few folks want to replace a broken basin every time in thirsty critter tries to scale the pedestal.

You can search for a one-piece birdbath, or you could use a waterproof adhesive to attach the basin to the pedestal. Also, weight the base or sink it in the ground to minimize tipping over.

Read more nature and wildlife articles by Annie B. Bond.

My personal thoughts on bird baths are to make sure it's something that's easy to clean. Having a rough surface for the birds also gives the bath many crevices to grow and hold on to algae. If you are willing to dump and refill with fresh water every other day, you can scrub the bath quickly with a brush to keep the algae from beginning to form.

To be able to maintain your bird bath in this fashion you will want it as close to the house as possible, which makes it more visible for the entertainment also.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Private Health Records Now Online

Imagine stumbling upon your own personal health information online: annual mammograms, visits to the podiatrist; prescription drug use, and more.

Every diagnosis, treatment, and doctor's appointment is on the Internet. All you need to get them is a phone call to your insurance company and information other people might know, such as your Social Security number, date of birth and address. An employer could try to do the same. And what about hackers?

Would you want your files online? There are five questions to help you decide. Read the entire article.

Injured Veterans Regrow Body Parts

In an operating room in Texas, a wounded American soldier underwent a history-making procedure recently that could help him regrow the finger that was lost to a bomb attack in Baghdad last year.

Army Sgt. Shiloh Harris' doctors applied specially formulated powder to what's left of the finger in an effort to do for wounded soldiers what salamanders can do naturally: replace missing body parts.

Read the entire article.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Title This Photo: Ducks

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

This is what "having all your ducks in a row" looks like.

What's your title for this photo?

My first thought is: Duck Ballet Class

Add it in the comments area below.

What Fascinates Your Pets?

What do dogs think about?

We've been pondering that question lately. Of course, the obvious answer is that they think about food, play, and their responsibility to sniff everything in sight.

But lately we've been noticing a certain fascination, might we call it - obsession - that our dog Leaf has with ducks. Being a cocker spaniel, he has a strong chase instinct. Oddly enough, he doesn't always strain at the leash and try to run after the ducks. Instead, he sits by the side of the lake and stares at them with wonderment.

The other day he registered shock on his face when the ducks he was observing "ducked" down under the water and became invisible for an entire minute. He kept looking over his shoulder at us as if to ask, "Where did they go?"

Read the rest of this amusing article at the Angel Animals blog.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Importance of Cleansing

Millions of us suffer from disease, sickness and pain because we simply don't know this truth about our own health: our bodies are not properly eliminating poisons and environmental toxins.

The colon's job is to hold waste before it is evacuated from the body and to reabsorb water from the waste. Years of poor eating habits, low-fiber diets, sedentary living and other lifestyle choices can slow the digestive processes.

If waste sits in the colon too long, toxins build up there and are eventually absorbed back into the body. A toxic colon eventually leads to a toxic liver, which pollutes the tissues and the bloodstream, making a person very sick.

Learn more about your health through your stools.

Body tissues must be free of toxins that can get in the way of normal bodily functions. Like a precision-crafted machine, dirt-free internal workings are far more critical to health than cleanliness on the outside.

Dr. Alvin Segelman, Vice President of Nature's Sunshine Health Sciences, says, "I like to think of colon cleanses as whole-body cleanses, because cleansing the colon helps virtually every tissue and cell in the entire body."

Harsh, over-the-counter laxatives hardly constitute a cleansing program. A gentle, but thorough, natural approach is easier on the body and stimulates other body-cleansing mechanisms besides the bowels.

This approach should include balancing ingredients (to prevent unwanted side effects) and should replace minerals that may be removed during cleansing. Nature's Sunshine's Clean Start meets all of these requirements! It comes in Wild Berry or Apple Cinnamon flavor.

Each drink packet contains the following:

Psyllium hulls (Plantago ovata), a soothing, high-fiber herb, is used in weight loss and is especially beneficial for absorbing bowel toxins and normalizing cholesterol.

Bentonite, a natural, highly absorbent clay, is often used to improve colon conditions including impaction and parasites.

Aloe vera juice (Aloe barbadensis) acts as a general tonic to soothe and protect bowel tissue.

Chlorophyll (Sodium Copper Chlorophyllin) is a natural bowel "sweetener;" it helps prevent odor, increase blood oxygen and counteract bowel toxins.

Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) is a nontoxic, non-fattening herb containing stevioside, a natural constituent that is 300 times sweeter than sugar (sucrose).

Each packet of capsules contains:

1 capsule Enviro-Detox™. This herbal combination cleanses the body of many common environmental pollutants we may unknowingly ingest. The formulation includes sarsaparilla, milk thistle, red clover, dandelion, yellow dock, burdock, marshmallow, fenugreek, ginger, echinacea, cascara sagrada, pepsin (a protein-digesting enzyme) and Lactobacillus sporogenes (helps keep putrefactive bacteria at bay).

2 capsules LBS II®. A combination of strong purgative herbs and protective, 'gentle and soothing herbs, LBS II helps enhance elimination, increase production of digestive enzymes and soothe the digestive tract. LBS II contains cascara sagrada, buckthorn, ginger, licorice, Oregon grape, red clover, dog grass, turkey rhubarb and capsicum.

Nature's Sunshine gives a free membership so you can buy at wholesale prices so your price is $45.75. The retail price is $68.65 so that's a savings of $22.90. They offer weekly specials on their 500+ supplements. View all sale items here.

The Slow Movement - Taking Back Time

Edgar S. Cahn is fighting for your right to be lazy. Other activists might devote their time to reversing global warming or saving the whales. But the 73-year-old attorney is battling to preserve a commodity that he says is more fragile than the environment and more precious than oil -- time.

Cahn is a leader in the "slow movement," a national campaign that claims that speed kills. Its leaders say that Americans are so starved for time, our need for speed is destroying our health, families and communities.

Slow movement members don't fit one profile. They're journalists, lawyers, chefs, farmers. Yet they cite the same factors for our inability to slow down: longer work hours, longer commutes and technological advances like BlackBerrys that keep many employees chained to work.

They suggest people combat "time famine" by practicing random acts of slowness: turning off the BlackBerry, cooking unhurried meals with friends, cultivating a garden and taking long walks.

Read the entire article.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Bad Results of Lasik Surgery

Perfect vision without glasses or contacts sounds wonderful. Before considering having Lasik surgery, though, it would be wise to ask how many people actually do have good results and how many will suffer bad effects years after Lasik surgery. The advertisements give the impression that it's a perfectly safe -- nearly foolproof -- procedure. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Interestingly, people who end up with corrected vision but permanent eye pain are considered successes by the surgeons who do the procedure.

Long term results are proving to be even worse. Lawsuits are popping up now as a result of problems developing years later.

Colin Dorrian was a 28-year-old patent lawyer. In the summer of 2007, he killed himself, leaving a note that blamed constant pain from Lasik surgery. He wrote, "I just cannot accept the fact that I'm supposed to live like this."

One optometrist, Chistine Sindt, who is also a University of Iowa associate professor of clinical ophthalmology, says that she has seen depression in people with vision problems caused by Lasik. "It's not just that they lose vision. They paid somebody... who took their vision away."

Read the entire article.

Clean Mildew, Wax and Grime Without Chemicals


You can forget the steel brushes, rolled up sleeves, dirty clothes, elbow grease and toxic solvents you think you need to clean black mildew off outdoor furniture and old grime off cooking grills. Our great-grandmothers knew the right stuff for this sort of heavy-duty cleaning job, and it is non-toxic, easy and cheap.

The answer is washing soda!

I first learned about the wonders of washing soda when I needed to peel wax off a floor. I’d read that this mineral was the basis of old folk formulas for tough cleaning jobs, so I decided to give it a try. Wow, did it do the job! I used a thick, damp paste, let it set for 3-4 hours, and it peeled the wax right off. I’ve been sold on the product for heavy-duty cleaning jobs ever since.

Read the entire article.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Avoiding Bird and Window Collisions

One hundred million to one billion birds die each year due to collisions with human-built structures across North America alone. It is the reflective and transparent characteristics of glass that make windows invisible killers. Birds see the tree reflected in a window, or the plant behind the window, not the glass itself. To stop these collisions one must make glass visible to birds.

Here's one option: A unique window film dubbed CollidEscape which is presently used for commercial and retail advertising on glass will protect birds and allow you to enjoy the great outdoors from inside. This film adheres to the exterior surface of a window. Thousands of small perforations in this covering allow ample light to pass through the window to the interior, while substantially reducing the window's exterior reflectivity and transparency, the two characteristics that cause birds to collide with windows.

Get more info on CollidEscape.

Bird Facts

In the South, Eastern Towhees may produce three broods in one breeding season.

Purple Finches are chunkier than House Finches, and the males are a deeper, raspberry red.

Finches prefer to eat from hanging or post feeders located at about eye level.

The Northern Mockingbird has been known to change its tune as many as 310 times in 15 minutes, interspersing 114 notes and phrases of 29 other birds.

About 30 different North American bird species will nest in birdhouses.

Native Americans thought Roadrunners had special powers because their toes form an "x" print. Male and female Roadrunners make purring noises.

Chickadees obtain 75% of their food from the wild, even if bird feeders are available.

Black-capped Chickadees nest in tree cavities, but may use a birdhouse located in a small tree thicket.

Adult Rose-breasted Grosbeaks share nesting duties, including incubating eggs and feeding young.

Source: Various issues of Birds and Blooms magazine.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


FDA Requests Seizure of Animal Food Products at PETCO Distribution Center

Today, at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Marshals seized various animal food products stored under unsanitary conditions at the PETCO Animal Supplies Distribution Center located in Joliet, Ill., pursuant to a warrant issued by the United States District Court in Chicago.

U.S. Marshals seized all FDA-regulated animal food susceptible to rodent and pest contamination. The seized products violate the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act because it was alleged in a case filed by the United States Attorney that they were being held under unsanitary conditions. (The Act uses the term "insanitary" to describe such conditions).

During an FDA inspection of a PETCO distribution center in April, widespread and active rodent and bird infestation was found. The FDA inspected the facility again in May and found continuing and widespread infestation.

"We simply will not allow a company to store foods under filthy and unsanitary conditions that occur as a direct result of the company's failure to adequately control and prevent pests in its facility," said Margaret O'K. Glavin, associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. "Consumers expect that such safeguards will be in place not only for human food, but for pet food as well."

The distribution center in Joliet, Ill., provides pet food products and supplies to PETCO retail stores in 16 states including Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.

FDA has no reports of pet illness or death associated with consumption of animal food distributed by PETCO, and does not have evidence that the food is unsafe for animals. However, the seized products were in permeable packages and held under conditions that could affect the food's integrity and quality.

As a precaution, consumers who have handled products originating from the PETCO distribution center should thoroughly wash their hands with hot water and soap. Any surfaces that came in contact with the packages should be washed as well. Consumers are further advised as a precaution to thoroughly wash products sold in cans and glass containers from PETCO in the 16 affected states.

If a pet has become ill after eating these food products, pet owners should contact their veterinarian and report illnesses to FDA state consumer complaint coordinators.

Get the reporting telephone number for your state at this website.

Stand Up & Fight for Health

by Donna L. Watkins
Originally Published in A Healing Moment

I was reading one of my favorite devotional books, "My Utmost for His Highest" by Oswald Chambers, and came across an entry that caused me to picture something a little bit differently. I pray it will do the same for you.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Finca Luna Nueva - Great Guan

We have learned that Jesus died on the cross to free of from our sin. That salvation is given freely - all we need to do is ask and mean it in our heart and we receive salvation with eternal life.

All that Jesus did on the Cross that day is available to us ... freely! The Bible says He bore our sins and our diseases (Ps. 103:3, Is. 53:5). We accept salvation as a gift ... and we must also accept healing as a gift. It was part of the early church. Somewhere along the way it was left behind.

What brought all this thinking to pass was this part of what I read in Oswald Chambers book:

"When we are born again of the Spirit of God, the note of testimony is on what God has done for us, and rightly so. But the baptism of the Holy Ghost obliterates that forever, and we begin to realize what Jesus meant when He said - "Ye shall be witnesses unto Me." Not witnesses to what Jesus can do - that is an elementary witness - but "witnesses unto me." We will take everything that happens as happening to Him, whether it be praise or blame, persecution or condemnation."

I thought to myself: He would take none of the sickness and disease upon His healed body. Why should we take it on ours?

Why should I not believe that Jesus died for my sins and my diseases? Will I stand up and fight for the health that Jesus died to give me? Does it make a difference in how I face this battle to wellness?

It should! Give it some thought and prayer.

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.
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Tomato Hornworms and Braconid Wasp

When you've got hornworms (big fat green caterpillars with a red horn on one end) on your tomato plants you don't want the damage, however there are times when they are part of the process that makes them beneficial. Before you spray consider the hornworm's relationship to a beneficial wasp in the natural world.

Braconid wasps are considered beneficial bugs to your garden. They parasitize and kill aphids, flies, coddling moths, elm bark beetles, cabbageworms, hornworms, corn borers, armyworms, and other pest insects. Getting a garden in balance with nature working to protect your plants is a great way to garden in the rhythm of things. Avoiding all those chemicals makes you more healthy also.

These tiny wasps are not brightly colored like some other wasps, but generally come in black or brown with thin waists and long antennae. Their larvae are pale-colored grubs. They are rarely over inch long. The external cocoons they weave resemble insect eggs, but are actually made of silk.

Some attack the host internally, others feed from the outside of a host insect. Different species of braconids attack insect eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults.

With the tomato hornworm, the female wasps inject eggs into the caterpillar’s body. The larvae that hatch from the eggs feed inside the caterpillar until they mature and eat their way out through the caterpillar’s skin. They then spin the characteristic cocoons from which adult wasps later emerge.

Leave parasitized caterpillars with cocoons alone so the wasps can emerge to attack more hornworms.

Attract the adult braconid with nectar and/or water. It is particularly attracted to plants with small flowers, such as dill, fennel, parsley, Queen Anne's lace, clover, and yarrow. If you see caterpillars with attached cocoons, leave them so that the wasps can continue to develop.

Here's a great photo of a hornworm with the cocoons.

The die-off of bees and bats from the use of pesticides presents a challenge for our food supply being pollinated, so using natural methods to garden makes a big difference for the planet considering the dangers of pesticides.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Mayo Clinic Finds Optimistic Live Longer

An optimistic outlook on life could result in a longer and healthier life, Mayo Clinic researchers found in a 30-year patient study. The researchers found that the pessimistic group of patients had a 19 percent increase in the risk of death when comparing their expected life span with their actual life.

Toshihiko Maruta, M.D., a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist says, "It tells us that mind and body are linked and that attitude has an impact on the final outcome, death."

Read the entire article.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Composting Resources

Composting is cool because it makes use of things you would normally throw in the landfill so it feels good. If you garden, it really saves you money on water and fertilizers. If you don't, you can sell it to gardeners and earn some cash.

Some people get real complicated on the methods of composting, but it's really simple. Here's some websites that will give you enough information so you can do it any way you want:

Composting 101
Compost Guide
How To Compost
Worm Composting
Compost Made Easy

African Bird Scouts Honey For People

From Creation Moments.

It has long been known that an African bird known as the honeyguide leads badgers to bees' nests, where the badger tears the nest apart to eat the honey. The badger always leaves more than enough for the honeyguide.

Now it has been learned that the honeyguide has a similar relationship with the Boran people of Kenya. When the bird has found a bees' nest, it will alert the Boran, bidding them to follow it the honey site. On the other hand, if the Boran want to know where honey is, they know how to whistle and call for a honeyguide.

The honeyguide also calls to the people so that they know which way to go. When the Boran reach the honey, they always make sure that they leave some for the honeyguide. Researchers also reported that they saw honeyguides scouting out bees' nests at night so that they had good sites to lead the Boran to the next day.

While the honeyguide does get its reward of honey in return for its help, the intelligence of the honeyguide in establishing these relationships with human beings is impressive. But while the honeyguide can help teach us that the creation is the Work of an intelligent Creator, it cannot teach us how to have a relationship with Him. For that we must go to the Bible.

References: Honey Hunters Follow Bird to Reach Bees. Science News, vol. 135. P. 172.

Listen to the audio of this story.

Kitchen Sponges Toxic

Whether you're doing the dishes or wiping down the counter, be sure that your sponge isn't leaving behind a toxic mess.

Though soppy kitchen sponges and dishrags are notorious breeding grounds for bacteria, avoid the temptation to pick up an antibacterial or antimicrobial option.

Antibacterial products are usually treated with the pesticide triclosan, which provides no additional protection beyond that of plain soap, according to researchers at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and may even contribute to the rise of some drug-resistant bacteria.

Not only that, but when triclosan is exposed to water treated with chlorine (and most municipal water is ), it can form the probable human carcinogen chloriform.

There are "greener" ways to lighten the bacteria load in sponges.

Read the entire article.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Dancing Cottontail Rabbits

by Donna L. Watkins

One morning I walked out the front door and looked out over the yard and saw two rabbits doing their mating dance. What a delight! That's the way a day should begin every day.

Well, not really considering how many rabbits there would be and how much food they would require from our flower gardens.

Since we also have deer that eat our plants, I learned how to know whether it was deer or rabbits eating our plants. Examine the plant where the chomping occurred and look at the edge of it. A deer tears the plant off leaving a ragged edge. A rabbit bites it off in small pieces so it’s a smooth edge. Sometimes you can see tooth marks.

The mating dance is part of the process as the male chases the female who eventually stops and faces him to box at him with her front paws. Then one of them will leap straight up and the other will jump into the air also. Instantly my mind said "jump for joy." As soon as they saw me, they froze.

I don't know the difference between male and female rabbits and if anybody does, please leave a comment below for us all to know. Since one of the rabbits seemed to have a bite out of his ear, I called him Tough Boy. Males will often fight with each other.

Since the other rabbit had laid down while I went inside for the camera, I figured she was a Slinky Sue. So, I had a rabbit couple that made my day delightful. All day I pictured myself leaping for joy.

We should have some baby rabbits since it only takes a month for the female to give birth. She can have up to 9 little ones, but generally it's 4-5. They are born with their eyes and ears closed, without any fur, and unable to walk around. She'll feed them twice a day for about three weeks and at seven weeks of age they leave the nest.

Since females can mate again only hours after birthing the babies, and the fact that females only need to be three months old to begin mating, we could have cottontails dancing everywhere here at Bluebird Cove. We might need to change the name of our place to Rabbit Run.

Actually, since rabbits are near the bottom of the food chain, it's nature's way of ensuring survival of the species. Young rabbits are an important food source here in Virginia for many species from foxes to hawks. Actually a Cottontail that lives more than a year is sadly not common. Not that a rabbit is a helpless victim since it can jump up to eight feet and make lightning fast changes of direction to elude predators.

The Eastern Cottontail prefers habitats that are between woods and open land. You'll find them in bushy areas, fields, woodlands, swamps and thickets.

The bank they were on was bare when we moved in over seven years ago, but we moved every little pine and cedar tree on our property to the bank so we'd have an evergreen habitat for the birds and critters.

Birds love the area for nesting and the cedar berries are a delight of many birds also. Now that the front shields the land behind it we can let a few briers begin to grow to provide more berries. Keeping only a "few" briers takes some attention.

Cottontails enjoy a variety of plants and will eat just about anything green. They'll eat the most nutritious foods first, such as clover, legumes, fruits, and young flowering plants. They love violets in our garden so I rarely get to see them bloom.

A young rabbit will consume large amounts of grass and weeds like dandelions and ragweed. In the winter it eats the woody parts of plants like the twigs and the bark of brambles, birch, oak, dogwood and maple trees.

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:

Avoid Bee Killing Pesticides

The massive honeybee colony collapses are threatening the world’s food supply and has worried farmers everywhere. Up to 70 percent of honeybees have disappeared, and many hives have died off completely.

Ninety-nine percent of bees in a die-off in Germany carried pesticides of the neonicotinoid family, and Germany has now banned these pesticides from being used. France banned them in 1995 because of their toxicity to bees.

Neonicotinoid pesticides are a synthetic version of nicotine. They are applied systemically to the plant and is highly neurotoxic to insects. All of these pesticides are classified for general use. Imidacloprid was first registered for use in the U.S. in 1992 and is possibly the most widely used insecticide of the group. It, and Thiamethoxam, are highly toxic to honeybees.

Neonicotinoid pesticides are commonly available as dusts, granules, seed dressings, soluble concentrates, and suspension concentrates. Brands include Assail®, Tristar®, Acetamiprid®; and for Imidacloprid, Admire®, Advantage®, Gaucho®, Merit®, Premise®, Touchstone®; and for Thiamethoxam Cruiser® and Platinum®.

Source: Annie Bond at

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Joy & Health

by Donna L. Watkins
Originally Published in A Healing Moment

You and I were created to have joy. Many times we get ourselves into health problems trying to meet everybody's expectations.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Bromeliad - Costa Rica
We live in a society that has high demands on us in all areas of our lives. Our youth are suffering from diseases that used to be categorized for the elderly. It's so easy not to match up to what the world says we should be ... and that results in our not accepting ourselves either ... which results in health problems.

Jesus said when He was about to leave, "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." (John 15:11). His Spirit gives us the power to believe that joy is our birthright because the Lord has made this day for us to be joyful. We have the power to accept our day as His gift or to reject it as "not good enough!" We can make everything okay in our mind and bodies, even if things are sadly wrong around us. We have that power, but we must choose to use it. "This is the day the Lord has made, I WILL rejoice and be glad in it."

Keep your focus on what God expects of us and not what the media, and people, and we expect of ourselves. He made creation for us to enjoy and if you spend some time in it on a regular basis, you will find the power to slow down and find aspects of God that you never knew. I'm convinced that Nature itself tells us more about God than any books.

Get alone in a piece of woods and you will be amazed at how much God can accomplish in you if you give Him your undivided attention. Don't let the day-to-day details get you down and unable to dedicate time to your health and well being. If you had a crisis situation you would drop everything and make the time to handle it. Don't wait for a crisis. Take time to let God make you healthy.

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:

Being A Terrific Person

From Attracting Terrific People - How to find and keep the people who bring your life joy - by Lillian Glass, Ph.D.

This woman wrote a book entitled, Toxic People. I haven't read that book, but this is a follow-up to it. Looking back on my days of work in corporate America, I recall many toxic people.

Just being around toxic people can put you into a bad mood, while being around terrific people can make you feel great. This is especially true for those who are highly influenced by others because they tend to mirror the body language, verbal expressions and attitudes of the people around them.

You can begin to look for terrific people as you shop, walk, attend social engagements, work, or in your daily routines. It's much easier to see them if you begin to apply some traits of terrific people into your own life. The book has these 20 traits and types of terrific people for us to work on. Quite the challenge ... but then isn't it fun getting to recreate a better you? We should never be satisfied with 'status quo,' but don't beat yourself up trying to be perfect either. Enjoy who you are and always work at improving is my motto.

1. Feel-Gooders
Terrific people always bring out the best in others. They make them feel good and as though they matter, through their caring and kind words.

2. You, You, and You Anti-Narcissists
Terrific people are more concerned about being "interested" than being "interesting."

3. Generous Givers
Terrific people are consistently generous in actions and words and are always willing to go out of their way to help others.

4. Non-Judgers
Terrific people are open-minded and flexible.

5. Good Mouthers
Terrific people never bad-mouth others.

6. Self-Respecters
Terrific people genuinely like and respect themselves.

7. Class Acts
Terrific people remember the little things that count when it comes to relationships.

8. Honest Abes
Terrific people are honest and straightforward.

9. Lightened-Ups
Terrific people never take themselves too seriously.

10. Cheerleaders
Terrific people are your main supporters - and your cheerleaders.

11. Completely Conscious
Terrific people think of other people's feelings first and know exactly what to say in good times and in bad.

12. Keep-On-Goers
Terrific people recover from rejection more quickly and keep on going.

13. Emotionators
Terrific people allow themselves to be uninhibited, open and vulnerable.

14. Win-Winners
Terrific people are win-win oriented.

15. Loyalists
Terrific people are loyal and compassionate.

16. Immediate Doers
Terrific people earn a lot of respect from others because they are responsible, get things done immediately, and respect other people's time.

17. Calculated Risk Takers
Terrific people are not afraid to jump in and take calculated risks in order to pursue their dreams.

18. Non-Victims
Terrific people know their strengths and weaknesses and take full responsibility for their actions.

19. Life Livers
Terrific people never rest on their laurels. They continue to seek out their passions.

20. Enlisters
Terrific people enroll people who can help them reach their goals - and reward them accordingly.

For more online information on this topic:
Dealing with toxic people
Oprah's Types of Toxic People
Toxic People - What They Are and Why to Avoid Them

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Safer Alternatives to Household Chemicals

When possible, please use a safer alternative instead of a hazardous product. Here are some suggestions:

Air Fresheners
Simmer cinnamon sticks, cloves and/or allspice
Place baking soda at the problem source
Leave a bowl of vinegar out in the area of the odor

Introduce predator insects in your yard
Apply soapy water to leaves and rinse well
Contact local Extension Office for more ideas

Try composting and grass recycling

Bug Sprays
Red chili powder or boric acid at entry source

Window Cleaner
1/2 c. ammonia, 1/8 cup vinegar and 1 quart of warm water in a spray bottle

All Purpose Cleaner
Mix 1 quart of water with one of the following (1 t. liquid soap, boric acid, or vinegar)

Tub and Tile Cleaner
Boric acid (Borax) and water

Heavy Soils
Rub with solution of 2 T. baking soda and 1 cup warm water

Pour boiling water on stains and cover with dry baking soda

A product we use for oodles of our household cleaning and soap needs is Sunshine Concentrate.

FDA Admits Dental Fillings Are Toxic

Mercury from amalgam dental fillings may be toxic to children and developing fetuses, the FDA now admits.

Experts say there's no proof that dental fillings cause harm to consumers. But they also say there's no proof that the fillings -- which are half mercury by weight -- are entirely safe.

On its web site, the FDA has dropped much of its reassuring language about dental amalgam. And it's added what amounts to a warning: "Dental amalgams contain mercury, which may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetuses."

Read more here.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Photo Challenge: Social Flycatcher, Costa Rica

I believe this bird to be a Social Flycatcher. There were quite a few similar flycatchers so if I am mistaken, please inform me us all in the comment option below.

The photo was taken in a San Jose, Costa Rica, suburb in January while I was in a courtyard garden. As you can see the high concrete wall had razor wire and barbed wire at the top.

The contrast of wilderness and city seems to be portrayed in the photo.

© 2008 All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins and may not be republished without written permission.

Hearing Loss In Dogs

Deafness in dogs may result from age or from a hereditary factor. For example, some Dalmatians have an inherited hearing difficulty. This problem does not mean that they cannot be wonderful pets. It just requires a different approach in communicating with the dog.

Read the entire article.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Do MRI's Damage Health?

MRI scans have been hailed as a significant step forward in the diagnosis of medical conditions. But there is concern exposure to the magnetic fields they create may produce adverse long term health effects.

Sir William Stewart, the U.K. Health Protection Agency chairman, said: "MRI scanning has some undoubted benefits in medicine, especially as an aid to accurate clinical diagnosis.

"However we need to bear in mind that the magnetic fields produced by the machines are quite substantial and that these fields are increasing in order to achieve improved clarity of image. The exposures to patients and medical staff from the magnetic fields can be high and there is a shortage of information on possible adverse long term health effects."

Read the entire article.

Cloned Bamboo Saving The Planet

If Jackie Heinricher's Chilean feather bamboo hadn't flowered in her garden 10 years ago, we might be snacking on the latest, greatest gourmet craze: crunchy chips made from bamboo shoots.

But flower it did, a once-in-a-century phenomenon. Inside the pods nestled tiny seeds that Heinricher carefully stripped off by hand and germinated with the help of a local tissue-culture lab. It was a horticultural feat that eventually left Heinricher with 10,000 baby bamboos.

Even more significant? The ideas sprouting in Heinricher's head - ideas that blossomed into a bamboo empire beyond gardens.

Four years ago, Heinricher and tissue-culture expert Randy Burr discovered how to clone bamboo in a test tube after years of arduous experimentation. Now, Heinricher's multimillion-dollar high-tech company, Boo-Shoot Gardens in Mount Vernon, produces more than 2 million plants a year and has launched a "Plant-a-Boo" crusade to curb global warming.

Bamboo sequesters carbon dioxide at far higher rates than an equivalent stand of trees and releases up to three times the amount of oxygen.

Thomas Edison used carbonized bamboo filament in his first light bulb; Alexander Graham Bell created his first phonograph needle from a bamboo sliver. With tensile strength up to 52,000 pounds per square inch, bamboo is stronger than most steel, yet its fibers can be spun into a silky cloth blessed by natural antimicrobials. Unlike cotton, bamboo doesn't require pesticides to flourish.

Since antiquity, bamboo has been cooked as food and crafted into chopsticks, houses, boats, furniture, scaffolding, farm tools, medical instruments and art. It's been gulped as an aphrodisiac and swallowed as a treatment for asthma, kidney failure, venereal disease and cancer.

Read the entire article.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Probiotics Ease Allergy Symptoms

Beneficial bacteria may ease hay fever symptoms according to a study showing that a daily drink can change the immune system's response to grass pollen, a common cause of allergies, and balance antibodies in a way that may provide relief to people with the condition. Read the entire article.

I use Bifidophilus since tests years ago showed a long list of things I was allergic to. Read more about probiotics and allergies.

Killing Weeds Without Poisons

We have an area near a rain spout that seems to grow every kind of weed that we do not want. Even though I consider weeds wildflowers, this area is right by the pedestrian door of the garage and near a bed of low-growing sedum which I do not want "buried" amidst the weeds.

We preferred not to have anything growing in this area but the rain spout seems to dump every seed there that has blown into the gutters and with the moist ground, they take root quickly.

The solution we chose was to use salt in this small patch of ground. It worked. There hasn't been anything growing there for two years, but this year a few things are taking root, so I will again spread some salt in that small patch.

Since my last application lasted two years, it's sure a simple approach to keeping an area clear. I do mean clear. The salt doesn't allow anything to grow so don't use it if it will wash into an area you want to grow things. After all, there is the Dead Sea, in which nothing grows or lives? Makes sense.

This is a great way to keep weeds from growing between pavers and stones. I imagine it would also kill moss which is a common problem on pavers.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Vitamin D Minimum To Be Increased

In addition to vitamin D's well-known function of increasing calcium absorption and thereby helping encourage healthy bone growth, it has shown promise in helping to prevent certain cancers, heart disease, diabetes, and osteoarthritis.

Foods naturally rich in vitamin D are scarce. However, while many in the scientific community are excited about its promise, they have yet to agree on how much you need and where to obtain it.

Vitamin D behaves like a hormone in the body, relaying chemical messages -- something no other vitamin does. For example, vitamin D signals the intestines to absorb calcium from foods and to regulate its uptake by bone cells.

"Vitamin D is a key component in helping the body respond to many different kinds of assaults and stimuli," says Robert Heaney, Ph.D., professor of medicine at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. "In the absence of it, you're asking the body to defend itself with one hand tied behind its back."

How much do you need?

The Institute of Medicine, a group that uses scientific research to formulate public health policies, currently recommends an Adequate Intake, or AI, rather than a specific daily amount of vitamin D. The AI for vitamin D is 200 International Units for adults under age 50, 400 IU for those 51 to 70, and 600 IU for those age 71 and above.

A group of leading scientists are calling for an "urgent need" to increase the AI for vitamin D. Among them was Walter Willett, M.D., the widely respected chairperson of the Harvard School of Public Health's department of nutrition. "The range we are talking about -- 1,000 IU per day -- is still a small dose," Willett says.

A fair-skinned person can manufacture 15,000 IU or more of vitamin D in as little as 30 minutes of optimal sun exposure.

Patsy M. Brannon, Ph.D., professor of nutrition at Cornell University, says "The current recommendation is a decade old. There's been a lot of research in the last 10 years. Whether there is sufficient strength of evidence to increase recommendations is where scientists disagree."

Until they reach a consensus, you have three options for obtaining vitamin D: food, sunlight, or supplements.

Source 1: Food

Foods naturally rich in vitamin D are scarce. Seafood options top the list -- cod liver oil, salmon, mackerel and tuna. (Bonus: they also contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.) After that, fortified foods help fill the gap. Milk is fortified with 100 IU per 8-ounce serving. Some yogurts and cheeses also contain vitamin D, as do breakfast cereals and juices.

Source 2: Sunlight

Every time sunlight warms our skin, your body produces vitamin D. However, sunlight is unreliable and several factors influence its ability to induce vitamin D production, including: the angle of the sun, the latitude in which you live, you skin pigmentation, age, and use of skin-care products containing sun-protection factor (SPF). Also, there's the not-small matter of skin cancer risk, which is heightened by exposure to sunlight.

Source 3: Supplements

Supplements are a reliable -- and safe -- source of vitamin D. The key is buying the right type of supplement. Most multivitamins are fortified with the current AI for vitamin D; 400 IU. Check the label to make sure the vitamin you choose is made with the D3 form (it may be listed as cholecalciferol).

Read the entire article.

Eagle Gets New Beak

More than three years after a poacher shot off her upper beak, a bald eagle named Beauty can finally live up to her name -- with the help of volunteers.

A team attached an artificial beak to the 15-pound eagle in mid-May, improving her appearance and, more importantly, helping her grasp food.

A final beak made of tougher material will be created and attached later, though her saviors don't plan to release her back into the wild. They say that she has spent too much time with humans that the final beak will still not be strong enough to tear flesh from prey.

But getting this artificial beak now was key to Beauty's survival. A wild eagle that must be hand-fed by humans would eventually have to be euthanized, especially since her life span could run four more decades, said Jane Fink Cantwell, who took Beauty to her raptor recovery center in Idaho two years ago.

The bird was found in 2005 scrounging for food and slowly starving at a landfill in Alaska. A bullet had taken from her curved upper beak, leaving her tongue and sinuses exposed, with a stump useless for grasping food. Cantwell said eating with her beak was like using one chopstick. She also had trouble drinking and couldn't preen her feathers.

Read the entire article and see a picture of Beauty.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Recycle or Use CDs and DVDs

We have been saving junk CDs and DVDs for years figuring we'd have something creative to do with them, but now that our mind is on moving, we're ready to recycle them.

I found this service that provides free recycling of CDs/DVDs. All you pay is the postage to get them there. Instructions are:

Please remove and discard paper inserts. Jewel cases will be accepted, but must be separated from CDs/DVDs.

Write "Free CD/DVD Recycling " on the shipping label and send to:


If you want more info, visit the website.

If you'd like to find ways to use these items in creative ways, visit The Frugal Life website to search for other ideas.

Low-Salt Not Good For Heart?

Surprising new research suggests that a diet low in salt may be worse for your heart than eating lots of salt, but don't start eating potato chips just yet.

The study, published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, doesn't confirm that a low-salt diet itself is bad for the heart. But it does say that people who eat the least salt suffer from the highest rates of death from cardiac disease.

Read the entire article.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Get Rid of the Hounder

by Donna L. Watkins
Originally Published in A Healing Moment

Have you ever had somebody "hound" you to do something? Relentless nagging that just drains you and makes you want to do nothing at all!? There's a Scripture that describes this in Proverbs 19:13 which says nagging is like a continual dropping.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Passionflower Butterfly with Pink Cattleheart Butterfly Behind

Think of that literally. The word in Hebrew means "dripping." How would you feel if you were standing in a place where water dropped on your head continually? It wouldn't take too long to feel totally unfocused and everything you did would be affected by this dripping. When somebody is nagging us in life, it affects our entire day because we keep hearing the message long after they have gone their way.

The devil is a "dripper" in your life. He comes to you while you are awake or asleep and continually drips evil tidings on your soul. He speaks things into your ear day and night and if you don't take those thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) you begin to believe them ... and then you begin to make decisions based on them ... and then you build your life around those lies and eventually you call them truth.

You have got to get rid of that hounder! There is no joy in life if you are seeing it through the lies of the devil.

I have had a challenge with being driven since I was young. Always had several jobs and even when my health failed, I would plow on in pain and allow the devil to torture me with thoughts of "not enough" no matter what I accomplished.

God is always there for you and wants you to be free of strongholds. If you are willing to ask and willing to change, He will meet you. Jesus died so you could be free. Only you can allow yourself to remained chained.

I asked God where the drivenness came from many years ago and found it might have been from listening to my Dad call my Mom lazy on many occasions. I found out very late in life that she had some health problems that caused great fatigue but she was not a complainer and didn't go to doctors so my Dad probably never knew about them.

Those words he directed at her dug a ditch in my mind to not be lazy if I wanted the approval of my Father (which every child does). As with most strongholds, they are twisted. My Dad actually told me throughout my adult life to slow down or I would burn myself up. You would think when my Daddy died, that I would be free of that drive at last, but it took root into how I viewed my Heavenly Father ... and I continued being driven to please Him without even knowing it.

When you agree with the devil that life is normal with its continual dripping on you all day long .... your body and mind takes up the task of dripping on yourself, and physiologically your body begins attacking itself and you have autoimmune disorders. Why are there so many diseases now being considered autoimmune? I think our mind follows our beliefs and that puts our immune system into hyper-alert. We can no longer find peace in this world that runs at super speed 24 hours a day.

We listen to those messages of "your don't measure up," "you're not getting enough done," "your life is so disorganized and is falling apart," and "you should be doing more." Those kinds of messages are arrows from the devil. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus.

Did you accept salvation just to get into Heaven? Why not take all the benefits that came with the gift? Take that freedom available to you. The peace and joy too!

I've had to cover that old belief system with a lot of my own verbal assaults to take those thoughts captive and replace them with the Truth of God's love. To allow myself to be ME - the person that God created to BE, not only to DO. God is more interested in us becoming Christ-like than He is in us doing things for Christ. We are here to worship and fellowship with our Creator and Father.

Don't let the Hounder keep you from your first purpose in life - to be more like Him and to make each day a day of being with the Lord. Begin talking to yourself! Speak back to those thoughts. Grab a statement or Scripture that you can stand on and fire away. Remember how the lepers had to go about saying, "Unclean! Unclean!? Go about saying, "Untrue! Untrue!" when your thoughts do not match up with the Word of God.

You will find joy replacing anxiety and mental torment. You'll even find yourself sleeping well!

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