Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Continual Peace

by Donna L. Watkins

How often I catch myself whining and grumbling ... sometimes it seems almost unconsciously ... but it's there.

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - Squirrel Eating Black-eyed Susan Seed Heads

Leave an open window in your mind and the devil will slither in to tell you how awful things are and that God is mistreating you and from the looks of things, He's not interested in the entire world. On and on and on and on he will go if you allow him to.

But we are to take thoughts captive: "...For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One)..." (2 Corinthians 10: 4-5).

Do we obey this command? Do we think we are strong enough to battle the devil with human reasoning and willpower? Oh how proud we can become. But the more proud we become the further away God seems because "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble" (I Peter 5:5).

Our only effective weapon is The Word (which is a two-edged sword cutting the devil into ribbons). If you haven't memorized enough Word to do battle, carry some Scripture cards with you. When I was in grade school, my mother would always make sure I had a few tissues in my pocket because I had allergies and she knew I'd need them.

We know we need The Word to battle through our days, so make sure you have a few Scripture cards in your pocket before you leave your bedroom in the morning. I use index cards and write down things the Lord gives me during my time with Him. Over the years I've got a whole box full of them and I pick and choose according to the season of life I am in.

How do we practically keep our thoughts in line? It seems my brain is always thinking. Philippians 4:8 tells us to think, but it also tells us what to think: "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things" (Philippians 4:8). We are told to think, so it's important to have such things continually on our minds. If we fill our mind with good things there is no room for the bad.

Philippians 4:7 says that "the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ jesus." Boy, do I need my mind guarded! I could use a whole troupe of guards on some of those really rough days.

If you read what comes before this promise of peace, you'll have the real victory in the battle. Philippians 4:6 tells us: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

Our minds are going to think on something. We have the choice to worry (fear) or pray (faith) on every issue in our lives. We all know that fear blocks the blessings of God because we have given ourselves over to the enemy when we fear and our supernatural power to find joy and peace in all circumstances is non-accessible.

So, we have a way to stay out of worry, whining and wailing. We pray instead. We fill our minds with things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable. Refuse the negative junk. Stop watching and reading the bad news. You can't expect to have a peaceful mind if you are continually feeding on war, death, destruction and horror. You have to make the choice to focus on good news or bad news. If you need some kind of news fix, subscribe to Happy News.

If we are anxious for nothing, and in everything, pray with thanksgiving (knowing God's reply is always good - not just wanting our own way in the situation), then we are promised the Peace of God. How much more could we ask for? We will not be rid of the trials and tribulations in this world ... but being able to stand in the midst of them with peace and joy intact is a testimony that will guide others into the Light of God and into an eternity in Heaven, rather than Hell. You could be the influence that determines the destiny of many people.

When you allow the devil to take you down to his level, you're not only giving yourself away ... you are taking others with you. Stand strong in the Lord. We are sons and daughters of the King. Let's act like it.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices.

The photo(s) and article are copyrighted. You may use either of them if you include the following credit and active link back to this website:
© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from The link to use is:

Take The Clutter Challenge

Each week for eight (8) weeks, AARP will address specific clutter problems - paper overload, dead electronics, outdated pharmaceuticals, cranky spouses - whatever makes it hard for you to get rid of the stuff you don't need and organize the stuff you do.

Join the Clutter Challenge community for this short period of time. There's a forum for questions, sharing strategies, and you can upload before and after photos. You can even be eligible to win some terrific prizes. The Grand Prize is a one-hour consultation with Ciji Ware and a $1,000 gift certificate to spend on storage solutions and equipment. Find out more and join in!

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices.

Global Warming Not Simple

The whole global warming thing is certainly "real" but the data and assessments and solutions are not that simple. My perspective, from a Biblical standpoint, forces me to consider God's promise to us in Genesis that He would never flood the earth again. My position as a Christian is that God is still in control and we are not always going to understand everything we see with our finite minds.

My neighbor, Ken Bushell, sent an article from the U.S. Weather Bureau of November 2, 1922 which read:

"The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consul Ifft, at Bergen , Norway . Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers, he declared, all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met with as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm. Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared. Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts, which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds."

Ken offered some great thoughts and assessments from a non-Christian perspective that are certainly been worth pondering. With permission from Ken, I share them with you here:

My current book on global warming is called "The Discovery of Global Warming" by Spencer R. Weart. It is very readable and interesting, you can borrow it when I'm done if you wish, I am about 1/2 way through. He has a large website which he says is his main scientific work, the book being a short summary since the website has 5 times the amount of information, and the book is just over 200 pages. I have not read through the site yet, just checked that it is indeed there. You can take a look of course to see if it interests you.

My feelings on global warming are:

It is real - plenty of evidence such as disappearance of glaciers

Partly caused by the world coming out of the last ice age of 10,000 years ago

Probably influenced in the past 40 years by mankind.

China is now a larger contributor to greenhouse gases than the US (which was the worst) and it has only just got started on its development and energy use. Opens up a new coal fired power station every 2 weeks on average.

India is catching up China and could soon be a greater producer of greenhouse gases than the US. Has similar build of new coal fired power stations.

Global temperatures not likely to be reduced measurably the relatively minor things being currently proposed by all countries (so far).

If the US stopped producing ALL man-produced CO2, it would not make a measurable difference. Changing our light bulbs and driving Prius's is not going to hack it! Of course we can get much better, more efficient, less wasteful, have smaller homes etc. which is all good but it is nowhere near enough to offset China and India, or the additional power needs of the US for the future population growth. Also these changes are long term.

The main energy source in this country is electrical power and we use a lot of it and will need more in the future. More efficient sources are needed than coal, one of these is natural gas, ultimately we need a radical new source. Second source is home heating, again most efficiently supplied by gas.

Natural gas is cleaner and is now much more plentiful than oil (and getting close to coal) in the US due to new drilling and extraction methods and ought to be our main source of energy until some better solution is found such as solar or nuclear fusion - or ??????

The trillions of $$$ that will be spent on trying to offset global warming could be much better spent on things such as clean water resources and health for the underdeveloped areas in the world.

Of course new power supplies must and will be developed before the world gets really short of oil (it will not run out, just get too expensive) The gas (petrol) engine came along to rescue London from sinking in horse manure from the horse-drawn vehicles in the 1980s.

Wind energy is OK but only for small locations and is not the saviour for the whole country (or world). It is a tiny contributor and now the transient power it provides it hard to feed into the national grids. (Just read that only 30% of available wind energy can be used).

I feel in my bones that solar might be our saviour if the problem of storage can be overcome to provide power during the night. There is enough sun energy coming to the earth for everyone, if only it can be harnessed efficiently.

Interestingly, I read that the melting of the arctic and Antarctic ice could cool the oceans to the point where another ice age is triggered, so the ultimate problem could be an ice age, which I think would be worse than global warming!!

By the way, one large business jet tank of fuel would power my Lexus for 12,000 miles a year for 100 years. So if I buy a Prius, could you detect the difference in the world? I haven't worked out what amount of fuel is used for the typical race car/NASCAR meet, but I suspect it is much more than the example above. What a very weird world it is.

Another alternative view about global warming.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Living Simply For What Matters

Living simply is not a new idea. The Shakers, a celibate sect founded in the 18th century, believed that, “Tis a gift to be simple.” In the 19th century, Henry David Thoreau went back to basics on Walden Pond. “Less is more,” proclaimed Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the renowned post-war minimalist architect, a century later.

The urge to simplify is timeless. What is new is recognizing the ripple effect when we choose a smaller life, explains Duane Elgin, in his new edition of Voluntary Simplicity: Toward a Way of Life That Is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich.

“Contrary to media myths,” observes Elgin, “consumerism offers lives of sacrifice, while simplicity offers lives of opportunity. Simplicity creates the opportunity for greater fulfillment in work, meaningful connection with others, feelings of kinship with all life and awe of a living universe."

In 1977, Elgin was part of a think tank group at Stanford Research Institute that studied the voluntary simplicity movement. Each of the movement’s values identified by Elgin’s group—human scale, material simplicity, environmental awareness, self-determination and personal growth—build on each other. When an individual first chooses to live on a smaller, more human scale, the other values seem to fall in line. Read the entire article.

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Pet Rescues by Tough Guys

In New York’s war on animal abuse, some of the worst offenders are pursued by a group of tattooed motorcycle-riding tough guys on a mission to save animals in danger. They call themselves Rescue Ink.

A few years ago, eight tough guys from the mean streets, who frequented hot rod shows and tattoo parlors, discovered their strongest bond was actually a passion for animals — and they formed a rescue organization like no other.

Some have violent and turbulent pasts, complete with run-ins with the law, but all are seeking redemption and solace in their mission to save animals from human abuse .... these are their stories.

West Africa Giraffes Escape Extinction

A hundred years ago, West Africa's last giraffes numbered in the thousands and their habitat stretched from Senegal's Atlantic Ocean coast to Chad, in the heart of the continent. By the dawn of the 21st century, their world had shrunk to a tiny zone southeast of the capital, Niamey, stretching barely 150 miles long. The numbers of the Western subspecies dwindled so low that in 1996, they numbered a mere 50.

Instead of disappearing as many feared, though, the giraffes have bounced miraculously back from the brink of extinction, swelling to more than 200 today. It's an unlikely boon experts credit to a combination of concerned conservationists, a government keen for revenue, and a rare harmony with villagers who have accepted their presence — for now. Read the entire article.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Hope your celebration is joyous and peaceful. We're keeping it lively and fun as you can see :-)

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Saliva Replacing Blood Tests

From Creation Moments

"But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go out and grow fat like stall fed calves." Malachi 4:2

Someday, instead of having to give a blood sample during your physical exam, the doctor might just ask you for a saliva sample. Saliva is an amazing fluid. Besides helping us moisten and digest food, saliva is able to speed healing and fight bacteria, fungi and viruses. Saliva is chemically almost identical to the clear part of your blood. It even has, in lesser concentrations, the infectious organisms found in your blood.

Let's say, for example that you suddenly find yourself in a stressful situation. The level of the hormone cortisol will increase in your blood in response to the stress. Within 20 minutes, that increase will be evident in your saliva. This means that someday saliva tests may replace blood samples.

In the United States, saliva tests have been approved to diagnose AIDS, illegal drugs, periodontal disease, alcohol and premature labor.

If the hormone estriol rises in a woman's blood before 36 weeks of gestation, doctors know that the woman may go into labor prematurely. Saliva testing is also used to check hormone levels in women who are having a difficult time conceiving a child. Other countries have approved a saliva test for hepatitis B.

Saliva's remarkable abilities are a witness to a loving Creator. He knew that we would sin and thus bring disease into the world. So He gave us saliva that not only defends us against infection but also helps us heal. But the greatest love He has shown us is in sending His Son to give us spiritual healing.

Prayer: I thank You, Lord, for all Your good gifts, especially salvation. Amen.

References: Judy Foreman, The spitting image gains credibility, Star Tribune, September 12, 1999, p.E3.

Visit Creation Moments.
Saliva Test Kits
Saliva testing in Canada

Good News About Environmental Abuse

by Paul Yanosy

The title of this post borrows from Gary Haugen's path-breaking book, Good News About Injustice (one of 3 or 4 books that set the course of my life). At bottom, the good news about injustice is that God is against it - and calls us to join him in His efforts.

I am coming to believe there is something similar going on with our care for creation as well. The good news about environmental abuse and poor stewardship of the creation is that God is against it, and we should be too. Read the entire article backed with numerous Scripture references.

Friday, December 18, 2009

USB Drive Pet ID Tag

Top Tag Pet ID protects your pet more than any other pet tag by providing complete care information to friends, vets, kennels, pet sitters and rescuers who may be responsible for your pet's welfare and special needs.

You can easily write, organize, store and retrieve ALL of your pet’s important care information. And it only takes seconds to access the information on a computer. What a great idea! More info on how it works.

Lessons From Shadowland

I love my dog. His name is Shadow, and he's a beautiful Golden Retriever/Collie mix. My kids named him after the gentle Golden Retriever from the Homeward Bound movies from a few years back -- and for good reason. He is just like him. He has the perfect temperament for children. He's playful when they're playful, and he becomes totally mellow when it's time to settle down.

I always let Shadow out first thing in the morning into a section of our yard that I built just for him. We lovingly refer to this area as "Shadowland." He usually runs right out the door and into the yard. But on one particular morning, just as he was about to dart out into the yard, he stiffened like and board and for a split second the hair on his back raised straight up. I was puzzled by his actions and I looked out to see what was going on, just in time to observe a family of ducks waddling through the yard.

Shadow is a Retriever, so his nature is to pursue these hapless creatures and bring them home for dinner. I looked down at Shadow and noticed that he had relaxed slightly. He looked back at me with those sad Golden Retriever eyes, as if to say, "Everything in me wants to go after those ducks, Dad. But I know that would displease you, so I'm not going to do it."

I was filled with so much love for Shadow at that moment. I got down on one knee, hugged his neck and said, "Shadow, you are the best dog in the world."

Once the ducks were safely out of the yard I let Shadow out into the yard and began getting ready for my day. But throughout the next hours that moment kept playing again and again in my mind.

You see, Shadow wasn't always so obedient. We live on a busy street and I won't allow the dog to go out in front of the house. When I work on the front yard, I often leave the garage door open and Shadow wanders out to watch. He knows he is not allowed in the front yard and so he sits at the edge of the garage with his paws right on the line where the concrete driveway meets the house. He knows what his boundaries are, and he usually obeys ... Read the entire article.

Update on Bee Colony Collapse

Colony collapse disorder has wreaked havoc on U.S. beekeeping businesses (and the agriculture industry) since its devastating arrival in 2006. The veiled killer entered hives across Japan for the first time earlier this year, affecting 25 percent of the national beekeeping association members.

Now the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is being sued by the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) for withholding details about the impact of neonicotinoids — a class of widely used pesticides — on honeybees and other pollinators.

The EPA identifies two specific neonicotinoids, imidacloprid and clothianidin, as highly toxic to bees. Both chemicals cause symptoms in bees such as memory loss, navigation disruption, paralysis and death.

Both chemicals have been linked in dramatic honeybee deaths and subsequent suspensions of their use in France and Germany. Several European countries have already suspended them. Last year Slovenia and Italy also suspended their use for what they consider a significant risk to honeybee populations.

While Bayer CropScience, the primary producer of both pesticides, maintains honeybee deaths reported in Europe were caused by unusual application errors, they don’t dispute the proven toxicity of their products. Read the entire article.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Taking Time To Play

by Donna L. Watkins

We all need to add more play to our lives. We are told this in Matthew 18:3-4 and in Luke 18:17: "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."

Jesus is giving us a command here ... a spiritual truth. We are given orders to humble ourselves like a child. Have you ever noticed children have no pride? They can pick their nose, toddle around without clothes on, pass gas with a smile, or vomit all over you with a crowd of people looking on.

Jesus is telling us to do something that is against adult human nature. “Converted” is a Greek word (Strong’s 4762) which is translated "turn." We have to make a radical departure from what is normal to us. This command requires us to submit to Him, rather than obeying our natural wants and desires.

Jesus never defines what He means when He says He wants us to become like children. James at has this list of traits that kids have that are typically lost when they transition to adults.

1. are trusting
2. are teachable
3. look to their parents when they hurt
4. are submissive to authority
5. desire to grow up
6. are brutally honest
7. know the importance of playing
8. love to rest on their parents' shoulders

Humility is certainly a large part of being able to exhibit any of these traits. The one I like to focus on is knowing the importance of playing. We are a nation obsessed with doing. Lists and goals and tasks are required, but so is rest and relaxation. We have to know when to shut down and simply play.

Have you scheduled some time for play lately? What have you been wanting to do and just don't get around to taking the time for it?

This elk calf is such a picture of knowing how to play. He was probably walking through the forest with his mom and siblings and saw this large puddle of water and just couldn't resist jumping around and playing in it. Notice he purposely stirs up the water to get splashed. He's taken time to abandon the search for food and favor and simply plays till his heart is content .... and then wanders back to the family and the order of the day. How delightful!

Death by Medicine

By Gary Null, PhD; Carolyn Dean MD, ND; Martin Feldman, MD; Debora Rasio, MD; and Dorothy Smith, PhD

Natural medicine is under siege, as pharmaceutical company lobbyists urge lawmakers to deprive Americans of the benefits of dietary supplements. Drug-company front groups have launched slanderous media campaigns to discredit the value of healthy lifestyles. The FDA continues to interfere with those who offer natural products that compete with prescription drugs.

These attacks against natural medicine obscure a lethal problem that until now was buried in thousands of pages of scientific text. In response to these baseless challenges to natural medicine, the Nutrition Institute of America commissioned an independent review of the quality of “government-approved” medicine. The startling findings from this meticulous study indicate that conventional medicine is “the leading cause of death” in the United States .

The Nutrition Institute of America is a nonprofit organization that has sponsored independent research for the past 30 years. To support its bold claim that conventional medicine is America 's number-one killer, the Nutritional Institute of America mandated that every “count” in this “indictment” of US medicine be validated by published, peer-reviewed scientific studies.

What you are about to read is a stunning compilation of facts that documents that those who seek to abolish consumer access to natural therapies are misleading the public. Over 700,000 Americans die each year at the hands of government-sanctioned medicine, while the FDA and other government agencies pretend to protect the public by harassing those who offer safe alternatives.

A definitive review of medical peer-reviewed journals and government health statistics shows that American medicine frequently causes more harm than good. Read the entire article.

Essential Oil Hair Care

Essential oils are great to add to shampoo for dry or oily hair .... or to massage into your scalp for some problems. This article tells you what the options and results are: visit now. Check out the free newsletter offered.

Tips for Essential Oil Use
All About Essential Oils
Essential Oil Quality and Purity

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Doctor Serves God With Green Ministry

A few years ago, Matthew Sleeth quit his job as an emergency room physician and moved with his wife and two kids to follow a calling from God.

“One day I picked up the Bible and read the gospel of Matthew and learned about Christ and was blown away,” he says. “We began a process of changing our lives to try to be more humble in the way that we lived.”

Sleeth wrote a book, “Serve God, Save The Planet,” in which he details how he and his family adopted a less materialistic lifestyle, and he describes the joy it has brought them.

Making that change wasn’t easy, Sleeth says. “For me, the hardest thing was to give up my identity – both in the way that I lived and in my lifestyle and with saying I’m the chief of staff at the hospital – and instead to say I’m following a path that Christ set before us to become meeker. And I’m hugging trees for Jesus to boot. Read the entire article.

Turkey Vulture

From Lee's Birdwatching Adventures Plus

We get to see lots of Turkey Vultures in this area. I have seen trees just loaded with them. They are ugly to look at, but are very useful.

The following is the October 6th’s “Evidence from Biology” article from A Closer Look at the Evidence, by Richard and Tina Kleis:

“The Turkey Vulture has incredible farsighted vision capable of seeing dead or dying objects several miles beyond what the human eye can detect. Yet it is designed with dull, weak, talons and a thin beak, forcing it to eek out an existence eating rotting flesh or decaying vegetables. Since the vulture eats the remains of animals that have died of disease, it has a digestive tract designed to destroy deadly bacteria (including anthrax!). The Turkey Vulture also has the ability to sanitize itself and its surroundings using a special disinfectant found in its own excrement. The same chemicals which kill the deadly bacteria in its stomach continue to kill the germs outside its body!

Because the vulture’s head is usually covered in blood, pieces of rotten flesh, and bacteria, it is especially vulnerable to disease. Therefore, this particular bird was created without feathers from the neck up. As the turkey vulture stands in the sun, the ultraviolet radiation kills any remaining bacteria.

By removing the carcasses of decaying animals, the turkey vulture serves an important purpose of limiting the spread of disease and preventing potential epidemics among both man and beast. One wonders how the turkey vulture could have evolved all of the specialized characteristics. The creation solution is that they were created with the original vulture-type bird. The survival characteristics needed for our fallen world were either given after the Fall or developed from originally created abilities.”

Character Sketches, Vol. III, p. 121-124

The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works. (Psalms 145:17 KJV)

Lee’s Extras:
We have mentioned the Vulture many times on the blog and especially in the places below. After all, they are one of the unclean birds that the Jewish people were not allowed to eat. After reading the above article, you can understand why they were off the “menu.”

There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture’s eye hath not seen: (Job 28:7 KJV)

Birds of the Bible – Vulture
Vulture Photos
Vulture Videos

© 2009 Lee's Birdwatching Adventures Plus - This article was reprinted with permission from

Artificial Respiration and CPR in Cats


Everyone who loves a cat dreads those emergency visits that are almost inevitable. If not prepared for in advance, the medical emergency is so severe that immediate life-saving measures are necessary. The need to give artificial respiration or CPR is an example of these life-saving measures. I firmly believe that the more we know about handling cat medical emergencies, the better cat parents we can be. Read entire article

More About Vet Emergencies for Cats

Allergic Shock in Cats
Know When to call the Vet
How to Prepare Your Cats for Disaster

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Outrageous Grace

We attended a spiritual conference in Baltimore this month and one of the songs was really powerful to me. It's so easy to look on all that's going wrong ... but when we look with our Kingdom eyes, we see the Truth and have grace for all things. Carefully read through these lyrics.

Outrageous Grace

Verse 1
There’s a lot of pain but a lot more healing
There’s a lot of trouble but a lot more peace
There’s a lot of hate but a lot more loving
There’s a lot of sin but a lot more grace

Oh, outrageous grace oh outrageous grace
Love unfurled by heaven’s hand
Oh, outrageous grace oh outrageous grace
Through my Jesus I can stand

Verse 2
There’s a lot of fear but a lot more freedom
There’s a lot of darkness but a lot more light
There’s a lot of cloud but a lot more vision
There’s a lot of perishing but a lot more life

There’s an enemy
That seeks to kill what it can’t control
It twists and turns
Making mountains out of molehills
But I will call on my Lord
Who is worthy of praise
I run to Him and I am saved

Related Articles:
Grace To Begin Again
Overwhelmed, Fearful, Anxious, and Tired

Copyright © 2000 Thankyou Music/PRS (adm. worldwide by Songs excluding the UK and Europe which is adm. by Kingsway Music All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Shopping Resource for Non-Toxic Products

A nonprofit environmental research organization released results today on over 900 common products tested for toxic chemicals including lead, cadmium, mercury, bromine, chlorine (PVC) and arsenic. Using an XRF analyzer, researchers at the Ecology Center analyzed the ingredients of pet products, cars, women's handbags, children's car seats and more, creating the largest database yet of independent tests of toxic chemicals in consumer goods.

The results can be found on the user-friendly website: Visitors can look up products by manufacturer, brand, or product type and easily generate lists of highly rated and poorly rated products. tested for chemicals based on their toxicity, persistence and tendency to build up in people and the environment. Such chemicals have been linked to reproductive problems, developmental and learning disabilities, liver toxicity and cancer.

"The more we test, the more we find that the presence of toxic chemicals is widespread in everyday consumer products," said Jeff Gearhart, Research Director at the Ecology Center, who created the site. "It should not be the responsibility of public health advocates to test these products. Product manufacturers and legislators must take the lead and replace dangerous substances with safe alternatives."

For the past several years the Ecology Center has spearheaded groundbreaking research on toxic chemicals in toys, cars and children's car seats at and is a compilation of all of these findings and more.

New Key Findings From

  • Pet Products – tested over 400 pet products, including beds, chew toys, collars and leashes. Since there are no government standards for hazardous chemicals in pet products, it is not surprising that alarming levels of toxic chemicals were found. One quarter of all pet products had detectable levels of lead, including seven percent with levels higher than 300 ppm – the current Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standard for lead in children's products.

  • Automobiles – tested nearly 700 new and used vehicles, from 1980 to 2010 model year vehicles. The US-made Pontiac G5 and Chevy Cobalt rated best overall 2009 vehicles. Levels of some chemicals found in vehicles are 5-10 times higher than in homes or offices. Since the average American spends more than 1.5 hours in their car every day, this can be a major source of toxic chemical exposure.

  • Children's Car Seats – Infant and child car seats contain chemical additives that can have adverse health effects on babies and young children. Over half (58%) of car seats contain one or more hazardous chemicals, including PVC, BFRs and heavy metals. Three examples of car seats that had none of the chemicals tested for are: Baby Trend Flex-Loc; the Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat; and the Graco Turbo Booster. Despite the toxic chemicals, it is vital to use a car seat for your child because they do save lives.

  • Back-to-School Products – screened over 60 common back-to-school supplies, including backpacks, pencil cases, binders and lunchboxes. Far too many of these supplies are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and 22% contained detectable levels of lead. Overall nearly 90% of back-to-school supplies contained one or more chemicals of concern.

  • Women's Handbags – tested over 100 women's handbags and detected lead in over 75% of the bags analyzed. Sixty-four percent (64%) of the bags contained lead over 300 ppm – the CPSC limit for lead in children's products. Over half of the handbags contain more than 1,000 ppm lead.

Reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act

In response to increasing consumer demand for safer products, Senator Frank Lautenberg and Representative Bobby Rush are expected to introduce a new bill this Congressional session to reform the outdated Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) – the current federal law for regulating chemicals. These reforms would phase out the most dangerous chemicals from the manufacturing process; require industry to take responsibility for the safety of their products; and use the best science to protect vulnerable groups. To date the EPA has required testing on only about 200 of the more than 80,000 chemicals that have been on the market since the law was passed 33 years ago.

"A Made in the USA label should be a guarantee, not a warning," said Charlotte Brody, National Field Director for Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, a coalition working toward toxic chemical policy reform. "This database of products is further proof that our system of testing and regulating toxic chemicals is broken. We have an opportunity to reform federal law this year and start putting common sense limits on harmful chemicals to protect the health of Americans."

" is an invaluable resource for busy parents who are concerned about toxic chemicals in children's products," said Mom's Rising President Joan Blades. "But it shouldn't be up to parents to look up every single item to find out if toxic chemicals are used. We need reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act now."

For a summary of key findings, click here (PDF download).

Gardening Resource Website

Oh My Bloom is a brand new social network website dedicated to gardening. Somehow it ties into Facebook, but I don't know how to figure all that stuff out. Now that your gardening hours aren't being spent outdoors, you can invest some time to share photos and information with other gardeners across the country.

What a great resource for gardening. There are a variety of options for participation:

My Page
Groups - all kinds of specific topics

Check it out: Oh My Bloom.

My First Christmas In Heaven

I know that many of you have lost special people this year and holidays are an emotional time that tends to make it harder without the loved ones that have gone on before us. My mom died on Christmas Eve and somebody gave me this. It's been a treasure to me every year. I hope it brings some peace to your heart.

Author Unknown

I am having my first Christmas in Heaven
A glorious, wonderful day!
I am standing with saints of all ages,
Who found Christ, the truth and the way.

I am singing with the heavenly choir
And, oh what celestial music
We bring to our Savior and King.

I am singing the glad song of redemption,
How Jesus to Bethlehem came,
And why they called His name Jesus,
That all may be saved through His Name!

Oh, loved one, I wish you could be here!
No Christmas on earth can compare,
With all of the rapture in glory,
I witness in Heaven so fair!

You know how I always loved Christmas,
It seemed such a wonderful day,
With all of my loved ones around me,
We were so happy in every way.

Yes, now I can see why I loved it,
And, oh what a joy it will be,
When all of my loved ones are with me,
To share all the glories I see!

So, dear ones on earth, I send greetings,
Look up! Til dawning appears,
And, oh what a Christmas awaits us,
Beyond all our partings and tears!.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Screech Owls and Priority of Children

The screech-owl is probably one of America's favorite owls. You can even attract them with an owl house. A large birdhouse in which to roost and nest will work or wood duck houses work well too (10 inches square and 24 inches tall with an elipitical 4-by 3-inch entrance near the top.)

Screech owls may also use birdbaths at night. Learn how to attract the screech-owl to your yard, and listen to its song at Birds and Blooms. There is an Eastern Screech Owl and a Western Screech Owl.

More from Creation Moments:

The screech owl is one of the smaller and more inoffensive members of the owl family. While most owls have a large variety of calls and screeches, the screech owl is one that seldom screeches. Usually the screech owl is little bother to anyone except its lunch.

However, when it is time to raise a family, the personality of the screech owl changes and they can upset many lives. Screech owls don’t build nests, they simply look for a good sheltered place to lay their eggs and protect their young. This could be a natural hollow in a tree or an abandoned woodpecker nest. After about 28 days, the eggs hatch into hollering baby screech owls.

The parents know that their work is cut out for them now. If they don’t provide enough food for their youngsters, the hatchlings will eat each other right in the nest. So parents pay single-minded attention to their young’s needs. They will raid area bird houses and even attack people. In one instance, a screech owl came down a chimney and yanked a canary out of its cage to take back for its hungry youngsters.

It seems that the normally inoffensive screech owl will use all of its resources to provide for its young. Has the Lord provided us with a reminder in the screech owl about how we should place our own children on a little higher priority in our own busy lives?

Gift Baskets For Dogs and Cats

Our companion animals give us love all year long, and the holidays are a wonderful time for us to give back. Holiday Baskets are the perfect gifts for your pets and your pet friends.

This festive basket contains an entertaining plush toy and an assortment of our most popular treats, including: Wholesome Hearts (low-fat, heart-shaped sensations), Gourmet Dental Treats (honey peanut butter recipe), Antioxidant Health Bars (oatmeal and apple recipe), a bag of Tasty Rewards (savory chicken and venison jerky) and a Porky Puff (hickory-smoked chew) to top it all off.

All of these delicious treats are nestled in a lovely, reusable basket. This Holiday Gift Basket is beautifully presented with a colorful ribbon and a cute holiday gift card that you can personalize. Makes an absolutely wonderful gift for a canine friend. (Toy may vary.) ONLY $17.95 - RETAIL VALUE $30.00

This lovely basket contains a delightful assortment of playful toys that will keep any furry feline happily occupied during the holidays. For the proud cat parent, we included an adorable hand-painted cat photo frame so you can proudly display your cat's photo all year long. And last but not least, we’ve included a bag of Life’s Abundance Gourmet Cat Treats for Healthy Skin & Coat.

The toys and treats are nestled in a lovely, reusable basket. This Holiday Gift Basket is beautifully presented with a colorful ribbon and a cute holiday gift card that you can personalize. Makes an absolutely wonderful gift for a feline friend. (Toys and frame may vary.) ONLY $12.95 - RETAIL VALUE $21.00

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices.

Purpose: Building Reservation Homes

Robert Young once was a successful Seattle business owner who thought poverty was “someone else’s responsibility.” But a visit in 1994 to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota changed his thinking—and the course of his life—dramatically.

“Pine Ridge looked like a Third World country,” recalls Young, 45, who was shocked at the widespread poverty he saw: homes with no heat, no electricity, no running water. He returned to Seattle vowing to do something about the problem.

A year later, he came back to Pine Ridge, along with a crew of volunteers, to build a new home for one of the residents, Lakota elder Katherine Red Feather, 75. “It was the hardest work I’ve ever done,” Young admits. But it also was the most meaningful, planting the seeds for the nonprofit organization that Young would start to assist American Indians in improving housing conditions on their reservations. Read the entire article.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bats Use Cologne

From Creation Moments.

Psalm 141:2 - "Let my prayer be set before You as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice."

When a young man prepares himself to meet his young lady, he slaps on a little cologne, hoping to please her. It turns out that the males of at least some species of bats do the same thing.

Researchers have recently discovered how a small North American tropical bat prepares to attract and keep his harem of up to eight females. In late afternoon the bat begins a ritual that takes more than half an hour to complete. The bat starts by licking scent sacs in its wings. Then it gathers secretions, including urine, from various parts of its body, depositing each secretion on its wing sacs. Despite what you might imagine, the resulting odor is sweet and spicy.

Once he is finished primping, the bat goes to his harem and hovers above them like a hummingbird. The bat can hover for up to 15 seconds. As he hovers, he flaps his wings hard enough to disturb nearby leaves, and he chirps at each female. At the same time, his frantic flapping distributes his special scent.

The females respond to the scent by chirping back at him. Males will also spread their scent around, hoping to attract more females to their harems. Researchers think this behavior is more than just ritual. They point out that the complex mix of scents in urine can indicate whether a creature is in good health. For example, female mice will not respond to males whose urine indicates that they are ill.

Many creatures communicate through scent. Scripture even speaks of our prayers as rising to God as sweet-smelling incense. But only the cleansing blood of Christ can sweeten us before God.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for taking away the stench of my sin. Amen.

References: "Male bats primp daily for odor display," Science News, 1/1/00, p.7.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices.

The photo(s) and article are copyrighted. You may use either of them if you include the following credit and active link back to this website:
© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from The link to use is:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sticky Lives

by Donna L. Watkins

We'd all like to have a smooth-sailing kind of life with few bumps or waves to rock our boat. Sadly, some of us even expect life to be this way, so when a ripple comes our way, we're discouraged, depressed and despondent about why life is so hard.

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - Spider and Web
As we go through life, there will be seasons when the emotional and physical trials of life seem too much for us to handle.

Suffering comes in many forms. Death. Divorce. Wayward children. Natural disasters, persecution, illness, job loss, financial ruin. We as Christians are not exempt from the sufferings of this world. We were destined to suffer.

Peter encourages us with, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you” (1Peter 4:12). We should be prepared for trouble by building our faith so we won't be caught off guard in times of trial and testing.

Jesus once said, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). In Christ we can overcome our circumstances and rise above reality to a spiritual realm of peace and even joy in the midst of it all. We can "soar on wings like eagles, run and not be weary, walk and not faint" (Isaiah 40:31). It won't make sense to anybody around you, but your heart and spirit will rejoice.

Trials are not meant to produce anger and bitterness. They are for building our faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for. We need faith in our lives and troubles will build it in us if we lean into God and trust. In these trials, we can rejoice because we know that Christ has promised us something far better.

We are instructed to give thanks in all circumstances: "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (IThessalonians 5:18). That doesn't mean we have to be thankful ... we give thanks in faith that God has a plan and we are willing to trust Him for our lives each day, not only when things are going well.

When life gets sticky, we have to move into the spirit realm for the resources provided for us. Have you ever wondered how a spider can walk all over that sticky web and not get stuck, while its prey flies in and is trapped? The provision God gave the spider is oil. It's tiny suction cup shaped feet exude fresh oil with each step. For us, oil represents the Holy Spirit, who will guide us at all times if we listen with our heart.

Don't get trapped like the spider's prey. Rise above the circumstances and rest in Him. Allow Him to soothe your broken heart and show you the good that is coming out of the situation. If we look with our eyes of love toward the Father, He will always comfort us. Jesus said in John 14:16, "And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever."

We have a different option, a different calling in the way we respond to trials and troubles. Ask God to anoint you with His fresh oil each step of the way as you walk to victory over the circumstances.

Hearing God's Voice
The book that is having a monumental impact on my life and way of living is one called, How To Hear God's Voice by Mark and Patti Virkler. The clear and detailed content with loads of Scriptural backup, along with the interactive process of applying what you are learning, is yielding a lot of spiritual fruit in my life and the life of my husband, the counselor, who is now promoting the book to everyone he knows. Your view of the present, past and future will never be the same when you begin to commune with God as He always intended us to do since He walked with man in the Garden of Eden. For those who yearn for a deeper relationship with the Father, this book will take you there if you read and apply it. The author promises that and I do too!

Copyright and Reprint Information
The photo(s) and article are copyrighted. You may use them if you include the following credit and active link back to this website:
© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from
The link URL is:

Costa Rica: Lizard Walks On Water

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Basilisk Lizard - La Selva, Costa Rica
My first visit to Costa Rica offered a view of the Basilisk Lizard that walks on water, and every visit since I've been fascinated with them. They are commonly called Jesus Christ Lizards.

Here's some great information about this very cool lizard from

"Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea." Matthew 14:25

Would you like to be able to walk on water the way Jesus did? The closest human beings have come to walking on water is water skiing, which some even do without skis. But they still need a powerful and noisy power boat to do it. But there is an animal that can walk on water without help of any kind.

The basilisk lizard is yet another tribute to God's unlimited creativity, knowledge and power. Basilisk are found from Mexico to Ecuador and are equally at home in the trees, on the ground and in or on the water.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Basilisk Lizard - La Selva, Costa Rica
The basilisk is an excellent climber and can outrun any enemy on the ground. Since its back legs are proportionately longer than its front legs, when it needs extra speed, it can run just on its back legs. It runs so fast that it can run across the surface of a body of water that's up to 100 feet wide. That's impressive for a creature that can reach two feet in length!

Skin flaps on both sides of its back toes, as well as scale fringes on the toes, help the basilisk to stay on the surface. Should the basilisk run into danger while crossing the water, it sinks beneath the surface and either swims or runs along the bottom in a different direction. The lizard is able to stay underwater for several hours.

While the basilisk's method of walking on water is different from our Lord's, its abilities come from the same God. This lizard shows the wisdom and power of God to do things that seem impossible to us, including giving forgiveness of sins and eternal life to us through His Son, Jesus Christ.


Euthanasia Alternative: Pet Hospice

Up until just a few years ago, people had one treatment option for their terminally ill pets–euthanasia–and the average veterinarian thought it better to get it over with sooner rather than later.

But if Eleonora Babayants had listened to the veterinarian who advised her to put her dog Lima to sleep immediately, she and Lima would have lost out on their additional three years together. Instead of euthanasia, Babayants elected to care for Lima at home, using a relatively new program for dying pets called “pet hospice.”

Pet hospice allows a dying animal to live out the rest of its life at home, pain free and surrounded by its loved ones.

"Human hospice and pet hospice are very similar ideas, because pet hospice is modeled on human hospice programs,” says Kathryn Marocchino, president and founder of Nikki Hospice Foundation for pets, a nonprofit organization that links sympathetic veterinarians with pet owners and provides education and advocacy concerning pet hospice.

“The basic tenet is that you live each day until you die, and you make the best of it. And in both humans and animals, making the best of it revolves around pain management,” she says." Read the entire article.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


As Christians, we recognize the abundance of which Jesus spoke is essential to our wholeness. Yet more often than not, we don't experience or feel that abundance.

Could it be that in seeking and attaining more things, we have actually lost something of inestimable value?

A loss that comes from the misunderstanding that this abundance is essentially and primarily material; a loss that may in no small measure result from confusing our society's ideal of the 'good life' with the 'abundant life.'

If the good life is materialism and the pursuit of the American Dream, the abundant life is authentic wealth. If the good life is individualist and me-centered, the abundant life is characterized by the extension of compassion to all of creation.

Voluntary simplicity must call people to a broader vision -- a vision that sees the connections between ecological and social decline; between environmental and social justice, between personal choices and global issues -- that emerges as a prophetic, compassionate response to today's world.

Related Book: Simpler Living, Compassionate Life: A Christian Perspective.
I have this book and it's really an inspiration of what life here on earth is all about.

Check Your Mouth

From The Word For You Today

Check what's coming out of your mouth. Paul writes, "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). What are you taking in? What are you giving out?

Faith or fear, hope or discouragement, joy or sadness, truth or error, love or bitterness? The Bible says, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof" (Proverbs 18:21).

Notice two things in this Scripture:

(1) This is a life and death issue.
(2) Your words are like seeds; they always produce fruit.

You can't believe God for the best, then go around expecting and expressing the worst. When what you say consistently, contradicts what God's Word says, you're sabotaging yourself.

The words you speak have power - and consequences. So begin to correct yourself. Instead of saying, "I can't change," or "I'll never get out of this mess," start saying what God's Word says. Do what jesus did in the wilderness: open your mouth and declare, "It is written."

Jesus knew the Scriptures so well that He was able to tell Satan, "It's written that I don't have to bow to you. It's written that I don't have to come to you for what I need." And what was the result? "The devil left him, and angels came and attended him" (Matthew 4:11).

When you're under attack open your mouth, declare God's Word, and the forces of heaven will come to your aid!

Most Efficient Use of Solar Power


Dear Pablo: I was wondering what is the most efficient use of solar power? is it small arrays of panels used to heat water, large residential arrays used to power homes, or large solar thermal arrays in the desert?

The answer to this question is a complex 'all of the above.' The use of solar for hot water and electricity on a residence, as well as the use of utility-scale Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) in the desert, are not mutually exclusive.

By far the most cost effective source of hot water and electricity is conservation, that just needs to be said. Reducing electricity and hot water use through behavioral changes costs nothing, and therefore has an immediate benefit in terms of cost savings and environmental impact. Energy and water efficiency technologies such as energy efficient light bulbs and water-saving shower heads have a relatively low cost and a short payback period. Read the entire article - Hot Water From The Sun and more links.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Radically Boost Your Pet's Immune System

Our recent diagnosis of pancreatitis and inflammatory bowel disease had us focusing on probiotics for our kitty, Squeek. There was a lot of research online about the use of them for both of these diseases and a lot more.

We have always believed in probiotics as an important part of immune health. Anytime we travel to a foreign country, we prepare for a week ahead taking Bifidophilus and then use it morning and evening while we're gone. We don't have to worry about drinking the local water or eating fresh fruits and vegetables which are our favorite foods, being vegetarian.

Since Squeek had gone through a few days of antibiotics, we also wanted to repopulate the natural flora in her intestinal system while we used Silver Shield to keep the immune system killing off the foreign invaders. I know it made a difference for Squeek, but here's a great article strictly related to pets.

One Simple Step to Radically Boost Your Pet's Immune System

At long last, the benefit of probiotics for your companion animals is receiving the attention it deserves in the traditional veterinary community.

Probiotic therapy has been scientifically studied and proved beneficial in the treatment of pets with diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic renal disease, and pancreatitis.

Just as exciting are studies which indicate probiotics positively influence the development and health of your dog’s or cat’s immune system function.

According to Susan G. Wynn, DVM, of the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, University of Tennessee:

“... it is increasingly clear that manipulation of the ecology of the gastrointestinal tract has powerful systemic effects. Use of probiotics clearly enhances immune function in a number of species, including dogs and cats, and appears to have a role in the treatment of animals with certain gastrointestinal conditions.”

Dr. Wynn goes on to say the use of probiotics in humans in the treatment of recurrent urinary tract infections, the prevention and management of allergies, and other conditions, suggests further potential benefits for our four-legged companions. Read entire article.

Affordable Shipping Container House

Shipping containers are at the forefront of a new era of usefulness. Traditionally used to carry goods via cargo ship, train or truck, these steel boxes are capable of withstanding huge amounts of pressure and weight. This makes them structurally stable, fireproof, mold-proof and weather-proof.

Unfortunately each has a lifespan of only 20 years for its original purpose. That means when their work is done hauling stuff, they get retired and sent to junk yards or landfills even though they are still structurally solid.

Now architects and designers recognize their usefulness as building blocks for homes, offices, apartments, schools and more. This home in Quebec was built by a couple intent on reducing the amount of wood that goes into building homes and also saving money. View photos and rest of the story..

How to Hear God

Have you ever thought God was saying something to you, but you weren't sure it was really His voice you were hearing? Have you found yourself thinking, How do I know it was really God I heard and not my own imagination—or worse, the enemy?

God's solution is simple: ''If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him'' (James 1:5, NIV). When we need to know if we are hearing God's voice, all we have to do is ask Him!

We can go to God, tell Him what we think we heard Him say, and then ask Him to confirm it or correct our hearing on the matter. God wants to give us an understanding of what He says to us because He wants to communicate with us. He is eager to teach us to correctly hear His voice.

What are some steps we can take to make sure we're hearing God?

Hearing God's Voice
The book that is having a monumental impact on my life and way of living is one called, How To Hear God's Voice by Mark and Patti Virkler. The clear and detailed content with loads of Scriptural backup, along with the interactive process of applying what you are learning, is yielding a lot of spiritual fruit in my life and the life of my husband, the counselor, who is now promoting the book to everyone he knows. Your view of the present, past and future will never be the same when you begin to commune with God as He always intended us to do since He walked with man in the Garden of Eden. For those who yearn for a deeper relationship with the Father, this book will take you there if you read and apply it. The author promises that and I do too!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ultimate Flea Trap

I just stumbled upon this product at, but after hearing several friends talk about the ordeal of their flea problems, I thought I'd share it to give all pet owners some hope and relief.

The best part is that there's no poisons involved. Nothing to damage the health of your pets, children or you. And no residual toxins in the carpet or pet's bloodstream. I love a natural solution! And a frugal one to boot!

Product Info:
This flea trap monitors and controls flea infestations. The patented design features produce the high efficacy of the trap. Lured in by the trap's color, the heat and light from the bulb, and the sweet odor inserted in the specially formulated sticky glue disc, fleas don't stand a chance.

This flea trap lets pet owners see results. The non-poisonous and odorless trap enables safe placement around children and pets and comes fully assembled and ready-to-use. Refills are also available.

The reviews on it are really good ... View the Ultimate Flea Trap

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices.

Dealing With Difficulties

by Donna L. Watkins

Life is full of them ... trials, troubles, tragedies, tribulations, difficult seasons of life. How we react to them is key to our survival and navigation through them.

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - Blue Ridge Country Cow
If we don't learn how to “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18), then we just become more and more bitter with each event. I also believe that bitterness of soul makes for a bitter life. We tend to attract the environment we feel comfortable in ... and in a sense, if we're bitter, that's the environment we feel comfortable in.

Similar to those who grow up with alcoholic parents, a dysfunctional and sometimes abusive lifestyle that any child would want to escape. However, statistics show that those children generally marry somebody with similar (generally not identical) issues. We mentally want to be somebody different, but we don't know how to live life outside of the dysfunctional view of things, so we attract somebody that we're comfortable with. And the beat goes on ...

I like what Louisa May Alcott says: "I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail my ship."

When we give our lives to Christ, we are given a new life. As with any gift, we don't have to take it. We don't have to believe that things can now be different with Christ in us and we in Christ. We don't always spend the time needed to see how to implement this new lifestyle. We can read a lot of Scripture and do Bible studies, but we need to be doers of the Word, not hearers only, so it takes time to internalize each principle and facet of our new lifestyle options.

Being a Christian doesn't protect us from the same troubles the world has. The promise given us is that Jesus will be with us every minute and step of the way. His comfort can make the difference in our joy and peace through the journey. Nothing stays the same, life is always changing and challenging. Our birth certificate came with no guarantees. Eventually, we will have to let go of everything when we die, so why not learn to hold all things lightly, instead of tightly, in our hands?

We have a special little kitty that God sent to me 12 years ago and awhile back we had to go to the Emergency Vet in a nearby city because our cat had stopped eating right before the holiday weekend. She will do that for a day or so at times so we weren't concerned at first. She's just a wee little thing at 8.5 pounds and has never had an absorbed interest in food. The weekend was long watching the clock in 30 minute segments to give her droppersful of water. At 6 days without a morsel of food, we couldn't wait it out and headed to a strange vet. Not an easy situation for me or her.

I'm not fond of medical situations since my mother was taken into the hospital for a minor foot issue and was given diabetic meds when she wasn't eating the meals, so she went into a diabetic coma and never came out. I found out the details from her very kind doctor who had talked her into her first hospital visit rather than outpatient treatment. She died on Christmas Eve. Only five months later, my father was in the hospital and ready to be released the next day and died an hour after I was told of the release. No explanation. I do know my daddy was totally lost without my mother and had Alzheimer's progressing, so mercy it was to have him be in Heaven instead of this earth. Blaming is not a healing force.

I don't remember having any bitterness about the situation since I know the timing for death is God's and His mercy is beyond our understanding. I had more self-condemnation, like there was something I could've done to not allow it to happen. Isn't it funny how we sometimes think we can actually control our own lives and the lives of others? I've not done that well with plenty of other situations in life. Seems death is more understandable to me than troubles.

Our choice in all situations is to believe that God knows best for us and all the intricate connections surrounding each of our lives. His purpose for us is to mature us in Christ so we can live eternity in a better manner than we have on Earth.

Believing God knows best ... trusting He has only goodness in the situation for us ... easier said than done, I know. Many people have blamed God and accused Him of being mean and uncaring. There is no one to turn to that will bring peace into your life once you turn away from God.

We do reap consequences for our actions. If we judge we will be judged. God is just as any good parent should be, but He sent His only Son so that we could have comfort and peace and love and mercy and compassion all wrapped around us in the arms of Jesus.

What I do is continue to ask Jesus to show me where He is and I see Him in the situation. I did that with our vet visit. Waiting for an hour for the vet in the exam room, I continually asked Him where He was and my mind would picture Him somewhere. It was a great comfort to know He was with me and I knew it was a comfort to Squeek also -- even if only because I was much calmer. Animals do pick up on our energy and anxiety.

Not too sure about vision and imagination? Consider how much Scripture relates to visions in the Bible. That wasn't just for those people. God gave us to ability to visualize so we can see Him in our lives. Don't you remember as a child, when you heard all those Bible stories? You would picture the scenes happening as the story was read. Was that evil? God says we are to be like children, maybe because children have such great imaginations.

We can accept His comfort or we can turn away in anger and blame. Which one do you think will heal your heart? What kind of picture do you see of God and Jesus? Does your picture agree with what the Bible says? Maybe it's time to go back to those situations that have left scars on your life, and ask Jesus to show you where He was in the situation. Make time for this. Your assumptions have not brought you any peace in life. Why not try something different?

Related Article: Vision and Imagination

Hearing God's Voice
The book that is having a monumental impact on my life and way of living is one called, How To Hear God's Voice by Mark and Patti Virkler. The clear and detailed content with loads of Scriptural backup, along with the interactive process of applying what you are learning, is yielding a lot of spiritual fruit in my life and the life of my husband, the counselor, who is now promoting the book to everyone he knows. Your view of the present, past and future will never be the same when you begin to commune with God as He always intended us to do since He walked with man in the Garden of Eden. For those who yearn for a deeper relationship with the Father, this book will take you there if you read and apply it. The author promises that and I do too!

Copyright and Reprint Information
The photo(s) and article are copyrighted. You may use them if you include the following credit and active link back to this website:
© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from
The link URL is:

Green Non-Toxic Pest Control

Do you have any creepy crawlies in your house you need to get rid of? You know - termites, roaches, or bats? Well if you do PLEASE educate yourself about the health dangers of chemical exterminators.

Incorporating non-chemical control measures into a treatment protocol reduces the amount of chemical pesticide applied. Using least-impact, low-toxicity products and confining treatment to pest harborages will considerably reduce the hazard of using chemical pesticides. While effective pest control can be achieved solely by non-chemical means in some instances, there will always be a need for professional pest control services. You can find an eco-friendly pest control service near you by doing a Google search for "eco-friendly pest control."

Other resources for less harmful ways to control pests, is and

Missing Acorns Concern for Wildlife

The idea seemed too crazy to Rod Simmons, a measured, careful field botanist. Naturalists in Arlington County couldn't find any acorns. None. No hickory nuts, either. Then he went out to look for himself. He came up with nothing. Nothing crunched underfoot. Nothing hit him on the head.

Then calls started coming in about crazy squirrels. Starving, skinny squirrels eating garbage, inhaling bird feed, greedily demolishing pumpkins. Squirrels boldly scampering into the road. And a lot more calls about squirrel roadkill.

But Simmons really got spooked when he was teaching a class on identifying oak and hickory trees late last month. For 2 1/2 miles, Simmons and other naturalists hiked through Northern Virginia oak and hickory forests. They sifted through leaves on the ground, dug in the dirt and peered into the tree canopies. Nothing.

"I'm used to seeing so many acorns around and out in the field, it's something I just didn't believe," he said. "But this is not just not a good year for oaks. It's a zero year. There's zero production. I've never seen anything like this before."

The absence of acorns could have something to do with the weather, Simmons thought. But he hoped it wasn't a climatic event. "Let's hope it's not something ghastly going on with the natural world." Read the entire article.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Best Food For Birds

The most frequent visitors to your backyard will be seed eating birds. Black-oil sunflower seed is the most popular choice of seed eating birds. In fact the experts at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service endorse sunflower seed as the #1 choice for most wild birds.

Black-oil sunflower has a higher percentage of meat and is a very nutritious source of high quality protein. The softer outer shell makes it easy for smaller birds like chickadees, nuthatches, titmice, goldfinches, pine siskins and finches. The seed also boasts a high concentration of oil which is especially important in the Winter. Birds will use their oil glands to spread the oil over their feathers to keep them buoyant, dry and warm.

Sunflower seed will disappear first in your feeding station. If you have ever offered a wild bird seed mix to your birds, you may have noticed that your birds will push aside the other seed in pursuit of the sunflower seed. Get the maximum enjoyment out of your wild bird feeding by offering black-oil sunflower seed!


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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Which Seeds Are Best For Birds?

As the weather turns cooler, it’s time for backyard birders to start cleaning out feeders and stocking up on supplies for winter feeding. Trying to decide which bird seed to buy?

Surprisingly, the answer is not clear-cut. Despite our enthusiasm for backyard feeding—more than 50 million people feed wild birds in the United States alone—very little science has gone into understanding the nutritional needs of wild birds or even which seeds they like to eat. Here are some of the most recent findings.

How To Brush Your Dog's Teeth

While many people like the smell of puppy breath, the same can’t be said for “Dog breath”. It’s almost universally considered as eye-stingingly unpleasant. This phrase has even been used as a play-ground insult! While it’s a joke to some, when you look at the science behind foul panting, it’s clear that bad breath is anything but funny.

In fact, bad breath is epidemic, affecting four out of five companion animals over the age of three. Additionally, this condition could be a sign of dental disease, which can lead to health consequences throughout the whole body, not just in the mouth.

As some veterinarians have rightly noted, infections of the gums and teeth can spread to other parts of the body, including the heart, kidneys and intestinal tract … even the joints! Read the entire article and watch the instruction video.

Monday, November 16, 2009

My No-Chocolate Anniversary

It's now eleven (11) years since I've had chocolate. As an anniversary celebration, I am posting this previous article that I wrote three years ago. Today is also my deceased mom's birthday. She was actually my grandmother who raised me. She would be 99 years old today. I know she is rejoicing in my no chocolate celebration also.

Let me encourage you to not stop trying to overcome. There's always a way out! God will speak to you to tell you where to find your exit door. Don't give up!

Escaping Temptation
by Donna L. Watkins

What temptations are you challenged with? Too much shopping, television, food, anger at not being able to control others around you? I was trapped by chocolate. It seemed to rule my life. When I wanted to celebrate I thought chocolate. When I was miserable and needed comfort, I thought chocolate. When there was a holiday, it was all about chocolate. I grew up near Hershey, PA, and my dad had relatives working in the factory, so we had 25 pound melting blocks of chocolate in our refrigerator. We used an ice pick to chop off pieces and placed them in a bowl kept in the refrigerator for ready access.

I watched my mom eat chocolate until she was so sick from so much of it in her system. I learned well the pattern that you ate food for comfort. Why would I continue to eat anything beyond my mind and body screaming for my hand to stop feeding my mouth? I was compelled to finish "the whole thing." Looking back my life seemed to revolve around this addiction. I didn't see it then, but so much of my thinking was about chocolate. I struggled with this while single and when I married and changed to a natural food diet in the late 70's sugar was no longer on the approved list of household foods. That didn't take it off of my mind.

Funny I never noticed that eating for comfort brought any comfort to my mom .... nor myself, but for a fleeting moment. Those first few bites of delectable joy would turn into sickness and guilt at being so out of control. Self-control is at the basis of any life goal whether diet, finances, or relationships. It's a learned behavior and it provides grand and wonderful results in life. Self-control will allow you to reach the goals and dreams you have. If you want to be the picture of health, you'll need to control what you eat and consider the amount of exercise you get. If you have a financial goal, you will only attain it if you have self-discipline to save rather than spend. If you need instant gratification of surrounding yourself with many little things, you will never reach the goal of getting the big things.

If you win the lottery, it will not solve the problem if your pattern is to get what you want now. You will burn through those lottery bucks as fast as you do your own paycheck, because it's self-discipline that determines where you get to in finances or any other area of life.

God provides a way of escape for the temptations that steal your life away. He knew you would have them and when you got saved it was part of the package to have a way out. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 11:3, "I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray." Paul struggled with temptations, the new and old nature, and he chose to press toward the mark (the goal), forgetting what was behind and looking ahead. (Phillipians 3)

In I Corinthians 9:27 Paul said he beat his body and makes it his slave. We do not have to be carried away into debt, a search for acceptance in wrong places, or obesity. You can't watch much television, read newsprint and magazines, or spend time walking in malls and shopping centers if you want to listen to other voices than what the world is saying. The world around you is in financial chaos. Companies will try any way they can to keep you consuming. Most credit card debt is for purchases that are gone before the debt is even paid off.

You can live in the world, but not be of it. It's still a choice! God says, "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it." (I Corinthians 10:13) I think we make deals with the devil every day when we don't live true to ourselves. I struggled with chocolate for many years battling the thoughts for many months before I would allow myself to have "just one piece" and then fall into the addiction all over again. I tried to do it only on my own strength.

One day I humbled myself and told God that I couldn't do it. I needed His way of escape and made a deal with God. If He would take away my craving, I would always say "NO" to chocolate. I had just eaten some so I knew I would need some time to physically withdraw from the chocolate. I didn't expect to immediately not crave it. It was in my system, so I had to continue to take that way of escape and say 'no' until it was out of my system. As I remember it was about three weeks. After that I never had the craving for chocolate again. That was in November 1998. In January of the following year, our son "left the nest" and moved from Alabama to Oklahoma, and I was also dealing with menopause.

I kept my eyes on the Master, on my commitment. I didn't crave it and I didn't want it, but my mind could not believe either of those facts. It seemed as though I could have eat it and not be bothered by it, but I had a commitment and a deal made with God. It's been over 8 years and my mind still can't believe it. We earned a cruise trip last year and they had a chocolate night with everything chocolate, besides all the chocolate on the dessert tables every day. Nothing moved me. It's a settled issue. The devil can't take me there again. No more ups and downs with mood swings, no more battles in my mind for needing chocolate.

Police Dogs TemptedDog trainers begin by throwing the dog a piece of meat. As time progresses the dog is trained to desire obeying the "master" more than his desire to eat. The trainer teaches him to keep his eyes on the "master" no matter what is put before him. This photo has traveled around the internet many times.

As you look at this long line of German Shepherds with a cat walking five feet in front of them, you will notice various levels of the obedience mentioned above. None of them have left the line to go after the cat. However, there is one just about dead center that is standing, the rest are still sitting. Some are looking at the cat, some are looking at the trainer. What a great example of the power within us to do right. Not right because of some law or rule, but to do what we really want to do in our heart. Let God's "escape" allow you to set your coarse for your goal and make it!

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices.

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