Saturday, January 31, 2009

Getting A New Television?

Many people are rushing out to switch televisions because of the new digital broadcasting about to begin on February 18th. It's expected that this switch will send millions of analog television sets containing toxic components like lead-filled cathode-ray tubes to landfills.

Keep your TV if you can, but when it dies and you really do need a new TV, consider the flat screen choices out there have a vast difference in energy use. Choices include LCD, plasma or rear-projection TV's.

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) recommends avoiding energy-hog plasma tv's. The average plasma TV uses more energy per year than a refrigerator, which is the biggest energy user in most U.S. households.

Your most efficient option is an LCD TV less than 42 inches. rated 128 flat-screen TVs by their energy use in October (find these ratings at Among the very best is the Philips Eco-TV.

Use a responsible recycling program if you need to discard a television. Samsung, LG (Goldstar and Zenith), and Sony have the most robust recycling programs. Consumers can drop their Samsung electronics at 174 locations. Goldstar and Zenith have 160 drop-off sites.

Source: Real Money, Nov/Dec 2008

Friday, January 30, 2009

Gluten-Free Menus

From the blog at Delicious Living

Another great gluten-free tool is GFree, an online gluten-free menu planning service, from the creators of Relish.

These smart people teamed up with longtime GF expert Carol Fenster to provide menus, easy recipes, and even budget-conscious shopping lists (with predetermined gluten-free brands; no more studying the teeny print on every label) to take the guesswork and monotony out of making GF home-cooked meals.

For those of us who find meal planning tricky even without going GF, this is a hassle-free godsend — and a steal at only $10 a month for the subscription, for which you get five already-tested dinner recipes (from a choice of ten), plus access to recipes for baked goods, desserts, side dishes, and more. Visit G Free Cuisine.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Adapt and Adjust

by Donna L. Watkins

A well known Bible teacher says, "We can only walk in peace if we're willing to be adaptable and adjust to people and circumstances." You can't keep losing your peace over every little thing that goes wrong in life.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Kanapaha Gardens
Some people have so much cortisol flowing in their body that they can't slow down. They're in explode mode throughout every day. Caffeine pumps them up and they sleep little at night because their body's clock is altered by it. Maybe it's not caffeine ... maybe it's just a learned personality that's based on a poor self esteem. Regardless, the little things in life cause them great anguish.

There's a phrase, "go with the flow," but for some that flow is like Niagra Falls. It goes over the edge with great force and sinks to great depths. Stressful lifestyles can be changed. They truly are a matter of choice even when it seems we have none. I used to be in hyper-gear all day long and though to sleep as something to avoid for as long as possible. No wonder my body reacted and began to show the toll of my choices by the time I was 40.

It didn't seem so at the time, but I was always moving to prove something to myself. What it was had many options and I've addressed all of them, but the makeover was only by choice. There's no reason to live in the fast lane. God surely doesn't ask us to. Jesus had an amazing mission and only a few years to accomplish it, but He never hurried.

Each day we have to take back ground that the enemy has stolen from us. We have to close our mind to the lies that we need to be more, do more, have more .... in the end we have so much less. We lose our health and many times we lose the ones we loved the most. Stuff is never favored over love and time to enjoy.

Our self-worth is in God. Ephesians 3:14-21 paints the picture. It tells me that I will be strengthened in mind, emotions and will. It tells me that my Father will do exceedingly and abundantly above all I could ask or think, because He's working in me and that my self-worth will be based only on His love for me.

Do I believe that? Can God manage to accomplish things when you back off from tasks that you think only you can accomplish? Mentally we would say, Yes, since God can do anything He wants. But inwardly, in our heart, we don't believe He will, and certainly not in our timetable. Can we find our sufficiency some place else other than in being Superwoman or Superman?

Keep in mind, any time you try to make YOUR mark, you'll attract erasers. Why not let God lead? Slow down, list your real heart-desired priorities and work them. You can redesign your life and God will help you do it!

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© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from
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Plant A Rainforest

The Revive a Rainforest campaign in Costa Rica is part of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) BioGems initiative to save wildlife and wildlands across the Americas.

Costa Rica is best known for its lush rainforests and spectacular wildlife. Yet many of those species -- spider monkeys, jaguars, ocelots, and yellow and blue macaws -- are in great danger of extinction.

The major culprit? The destruction of forests.

And deforestation hurts more than wildlife. The slash-and-burn clear-cutting of forests across the globe emits more CO2 than all the world's cars, trucks and planes combined.

For only $10, you can be part of bringing a bare field in Costa Rica’s Turrialba region -- which was once a lush rainforest -- back to vibrant life by planting 20,000 trees.

This rejuvenated forest will be a sanctuary for rare and threatened Costa Rican wildlife including toucans and monkeys. It will also help fight the climate crisis by capturing carbon pollution from the atmosphere and storing it away for centuries.

When you plant a tree in your own name … or as a gift in the names of your friends and family … you'll be planting a better future for our planet. Learn more about this breakthrough new project.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sugar And Health

I once read that "sugar is the most prevalent drug in our society." While some may disagree with the analysis of sugar as a drug, how many know about the way which the body deals with C12H22O11 (table sugar) and when you understand how it deals with it, what's the most useful way to prevent the damage from sugar? Read the entire article.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Biodiesel Fuel From Coffee Grounds

From Low Impact Living

Researchers are reporting they have successfully made a high quality biodiesel from spent coffee grounds. They estimate that the coffee ground biodiesel industry could generate as much as $8,000,000 in profits annually using waste from US Starbucks stores alone.

One of the main limits to the acceptance of biodiesel as an alternative fuel is its price premium above regular diesel. To bring the price of biodiesel down, the industry uses as much waste material from other industries as possible to make it — such as used fryer oil and animal fats from poultry processing.

In holding with the idea of cheap biodiesel feedstocks, a team of researchers in the Chemical and Materials Engineering Department at the University of Nevada figured that maybe spent coffee grounds would fit the bill too.

And boy do they ever. Not only do spent coffee grounds have a relatively large amount of oil (about 15% — almost all of which can be converted into biodiesel using standard methods), biodiesel made from the grounds has a long shelf life due to the large amount of antioxidants in coffee. Antioxidants slow the process of rancidification.

There’s a bonus too: at the end of the biodiesel extraction and conversion process, the leftover grounds can be turned into fuel pellets for wood stoves and boilers, closing the waste loop (or at least putting most of the carbon and nutrients that had recently been used by the plant to grow back into the atmosphere where they can again be used by plants to grow).

Given that Starbucks generates 210 million pounds of spent coffee grounds per year in the US, the researchers calculate that it could amount to 2.92 million gallons of biodiesel and 89,000 tons of fuel pellets. After taking out operating costs, and assuming a sale value of $4.50/gallon of biodiesel and $225/ton of fuel pellets, that amount equals just over $8 million of profits per year.

Source: Low Impact Living

Sunday, January 25, 2009

New Product For Candida Cleansing

Created by Larisa Wright

Cleansing the digestive system is an important part of a health maintenance regimen. To accommodate individual needs, cleanses are often formulated to target specific issues. The Candida Clear cleansing program was developed to help balance the colonization of Candida albicans.

Candida albicans is a yeast-like fungus. Candida is a natural part of the body’s gut flora and is also present on the skin and in mucous membranes. Under normal circumstances, Candida coexists without harmful effects. However, factors such as stress, weakened immune function, a diet high in refined carbohydrates or the use of antibiotics can lead to Candida overgrowth.

Candida Clear is a 14-day cleansing program that helps the body maintain a natural balance within the digestive system. Its dual-action approach consists of the Candida Clear Combo pack and the Candida Clear Enzyme pack.

The Candida Clear Enzyme pack is a unique, proprietary formula designed to break down candida’s defenses. Candida cells are well-adapted to environmental extremes because of the protection afforded by their cell wall. Candida’s cell wall is a rigid structure composed of a variety of components, including carbohydrates and proteins. The action of the carbohydrate and protein-digesting enzymes in the Candida Clear Enzyme pack may help discourage the colonization of Candida by disrupting the cell wall. Cellulase, hemicellulase, amylase and glucoamylase enzymes aid in breaking down its cellulose and carbohydrate components. Protease and bromelain specifically target proteins.

The Candida Clear Combo pack is a blend of ingredients specifically selected to help balance Candida levels. Black walnut hulls, pau d’arco, elecampane, garlic, echinacea, red raspberry leaves and oregano are renowned for their digestive system-cleansing properties. Historically, black walnut hulls and pau d’arco have been relied upon for multiple fungal concerns.1,2 Studies have shown that elecampane helps maintain an optimal balance of gut flora, and has specific activity against candida.3 In addition to immune system support, echinacea and garlic have been shown to inhibit the activity of multiple fungal species, including candida.4 Red raspberry leaves have a long history of traditional use and were frequently employed for bowel complaints.5 Oregano is an aromatic herb commonly used to flavor foods. Carvacrol, an active constituent present in oregano, helps to promote balance within the digestive system. Caprylic acid, sorbic acid and sodium propionate have demonstrated efficacy in addressing fungal concerns. These natural substances may disrupt the integrity of fungal cells and inhibit their function.6,7,8

Several components of the Candida Clear Combo pack also help support immune system health. Echinacea, garlic, zinc and selenium may boost the body’s defense mechanisms. These ingredients are important in protecting against free radical damage and in the function of immune cells.

Product Info on Candida Clear

1. Spoerke, D.G. Herbal Medications. Santa Barbara, CA: Woodbridge Press Publishing Company, 1981.
2. Enotes. Pau d’arco. 2008.
3. Bourrel, C.; Vilarem, G.; Perineau, F., “Chemical Analysis, Bacteriostatic, and Fungistatic Properties of the Essential Oil of Elecampagne (Inula helenium L.).” Journal of Essential Oil Research 5, no. 4 (1993): 411-417.
4. Jellin JM, Gregory PJ, Batz F, Hitchens K, et al. Pharmacist’s Letter/Prescriber’s Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. 9th ed. Stockton, CA: Therapeutic Research Faculty; 2007:pg 462, 562-3, 956, 987, 1142, 1395-96.
5. Willard, T. The Wild Rose Scientific Herbal. Calgary, Alberta: Wild Rose College of Natural Healing, Ltd. 1991: 283.
6. Hendler SS PhD, MD, Rorvik D MS et al. PDR for Nutritional Supplements. 1st ed. Montvale, NJ: Thomson PDR; 2001: 79-80, 416-17, 535.
7. Ghumra A. School of Chemistry: Universtiy of Bristol. The Antimicrobial Activity of Sorbic Acid. 2008.
8. Chemistry Daily: The Chemistry Encyclopedia. Propionic Acid. 2005.

Only Today

This is the day The Lord Has made.
The Lord?
Yesterday perhaps could claim your craft
or hopefully tomorrow, but not today,
this disappointing day so filled with problems, needs, despair and doubt.
This is the day the Lord has made
and making it He'll give me strength and hope to take me through.
This is the day the Lord has made
so I'll be glad and I'll rejoice in it.

--- Joseph Bayly

It's only a day. Life changes by the moment, so don't lose heart. When you do these kinds of days go into weeks and months. Don't look with your physical eyes, look with your spiritual eyes.

In 2 Kings 6, Ben-Hada, an Aramean king was at war with Israel. His military methods were being found out and he was told that the prophet, Elisha, was responsible. So he sent troops out to capture him. They surrounded the city and when Elisha's servant looked out and saw them, he hurried to Elisha, saying, "Oh, my Lord, what shall we do?" Elisha responded, "Don't be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them."

Elisha saw with his spiritual eyes and saw "the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha."

Even in our darkest hours, God has us surrounded. Our problems are not too big for Him. He sees something good in it all and will mold it into you if you allow Him to. Don't get bitter or angry. Have spiritual vision and by faith, with God's provision, we will always come through the battles victoriously.

Those that are with us are more than those who are with them!

PBS on Monarchs - Journey of the Butterflies

Don't miss this incredible show about Monarch Butterflies!

Overall, the coverage of the monarch story has been spotty bits and pieces, and Americans have not been exposed to an in-depth treatment of the amazing monarch migration, nor the people and cultures that encounter monarchs on their yearly north and south passage across the continent. This is about to change.

NOVA's "The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies" will be aired on PBS at 8PM (check local listings) Tuesday, January 27 2009.

If you missed it, you can watch the entire program on the PBS website (only after the program has been aired). View online version.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Wet Sock Cure

To clear out nasal congestion, wear wet socks to bed. Believe it or not, this soggy strategy can help ease a fever and clear congestion by drawing blood to the feet, which dramatically increases circulation. (Blood stagnates in the areas of greatest congestion.) Best method: First warm your feet in hot water. Then soak a thin pair of cotton socks in cold water, wring them out, and slip them on just before going to bed. Put a pair of dry wool socks over the wet ones. The wet socks should be warm and dry in the morning, and you should feel markedly better.

To clear out nasal congestion, wear wet socks to bed. Believe it or not, this soggy strategy can help ease a fever and clear congestion by drawing blood to the feet, which dramatically increases circulation. (Blood stagnates in the areas of greatest congestion.) Best method: First warm your feet in hot water. Then soak a thin pair of cotton socks in cold water, wring them out, and slip them on just before going to bed. Put a pair of dry wool socks over the wet ones. The wet socks should be warm and dry in the morning, and you should feel markedly better.


Get more health tips at the Dollar Savvy Health section of the website.

Car Maintenance Poison Exposure For People and Pets

As you read this information, keep in mind it applies to pets also.

Cold weather car maintenance can lead to poison exposures from a number of common auto products, warns the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC). Windshield cleaner fluid and antifreeze both contain substances that can be deadly if ingested.

Windshield cleaner fluids typically contain methanol, which is extremely toxic if ingested. Blindness or death can be the consequence of ingesting even small amounts.

Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol, a toxic liquid with a sweet taste. Following ingestion, the symptoms of ethylene glycol poisoning start with intoxication and vomiting and may end in kidney failure if treatment is not sought.

“The danger of poisoning by such products is especially acute for children,” according to AAPCC Board Member Edward P. Krenzelok, PharmD, director of the Pittsburgh Poison Center. “More than half of all poison exposures occur in children under the age of 6. Curious young minds may not realize that an attractive color and sweet taste doesn’t mean something is safe to drink.”

A tragic result of methanol poisoning is permanent blindness through destruction of the optic nerve. Toxic effects take hours to start, however, and effective antidotes can often prevent permanent damage.

The sweet taste of antifreeze increases the likelihood of large ingestions by young children. Any product that is spilled should be cleaned-up immediately. Like children, pets may be attracted to antifreeze’s sweet taste and become severely poisoned.

“You should call your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222 if you think you have a poisoning emergency,” advises Dr. Krenzelok. “Time can be crucial in such situations to avoid permanent damage.”

The AAPCC suggests the following precaution:

· Keep potential poisons in their original containers.

· DO NOT use food containers such as cups or bottles to store household and chemical products.

· Keep all chemical products in a locked cupboard that is out of the reach of children. Never let children play with the containers.

· Never cover up or remove labels. Keep all safety information.

· Make sure that child-resistant closures are working properly.

Poison control centers around the country are prepared to respond with information and treatment advice about poison exposures. To reach a local poison center call 1-800-222-1222. More information about poisoning prevention may be found on the AAPCC’s Website at

Friday, January 23, 2009

Statin Meds Causing Eye Disorders

Statins are known to cause side effects in some users, including neurological symptoms and muscle pain. Now a new study headed by F.W. Fraunfelder, MD, of the Casey Eye Institute of Oregon Health and Science University, is the first to report on eye disorders caused by statin use. The reserach group documented double vision (diplopia), drooping of the upper eyelid (ptosis), and loss of full range of motion of the eyes (ophthalmoplegia) in people taking statins. The disorders were totally reversible when the statins were stopped. Read the entire article.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Choose Your Own Way

by Donna L. Watkins

Your ability to succeed in this life often comes down to one single thing: your attitude.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Monarch at Montpelier Gardens

How you react to what life has thrown at you in the past, or what's going on right now, will make or break you. It's not the circumstances in life that get us, it's how we perceive and react to them. Do we consider God has a plan and purpose in it all far beyond anything our minds can comprehend ... and in that knowledge, do we trust in Him to deliver us, while in faith we look for the lessons to be learned?

Something as awful as the Holocaust produced a variety of outcomes for people who experienced the same situation. Did God do this awful thing against the Jews? Of course not. There are heavenly powers that create the evil in this world, and the only way we can survive it is through faith that God will use it for good in our lives. But! the choice is ours on whether or not it is used for good in our own life.

Romans 8:28 promises us it will be, but there is an "if clause" that involves our choice: "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God." We have to make the choice to love God in good and bad circumstances.

One of my devotions told this story of a survivor of the Holocaust:

Dr. Viktor Frankl endured the Holocaust by this principle. The Nazis killed his family, placed him in a concentration camp, starved and beat him. When the war ended Frankl was neither broken, bowed nor bitter. When asked how he endured such treatment with a positive outlook he said, "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms, to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way"

Often, we expect God to turn the world around on our own whims. On whose whim does He do this? We all have our own design of what life should be. Life on earth is a drop in the bucket compared to eternity which never and never and never ends. We are here for reasons we know not of ... and our choices most often create the pathway that we will walk on while we're here.

David had a good attitude that I myself have adopted to begin my day: "This is the day the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it" (Psalm 118:24). It's a choice! There's only two attitudes: good or bad. I choose to be naming my blessings rather than recounting my woes. Make that your choice also! It places a realm of protection around you and troubles don't look as we thought them to be. It's quite incredible! A change of attitude gives you the ability to choose your own way.

Copyright and Reprint Information
The photo(s) and article are copyrighted. You may use either or both of them on a website if you include the following credit and an active link back to this site:
© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from
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Greener Electronic Guide

Greenpeace publishes a periodic report on electronics. The report ranks the leading mobile and PC manufacturers on their policies and practices for eliminating harmful chemicals and for taking responsibility for their products that are discarded by consumers.

The news is not good. According to the report, “Very few firms are showing true climate leadership. Despite many green claims, major companies like Dell, Microsoft, Lenovo, LG, Samsung and Apple are failing to support the necessary levels of global cuts in emissions and make the absolute cuts in their own emissions that are required to tackle climate change.”

Nintendo and Microsoft own the bottom of the rating scale, and Nokia scores the highest. Learn more about the individual ratings of the companies and overall information on the Guide To Greener Electronics.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Have A Green Cleaning Party

Did you know that many household cleaners contain toxic chemicals linked to asthma and reproductive harm? You can wipe out unsafe chemicals by mixing your own cleaning products!

A green cleaning party is a fun event where you and your friends learn how to make non-toxic cleaners from common ingredients like vinegar, baking soda and essential oils. Host a green cleaning party.

My simple green cleaning choice is Nature's Sunshine Concentrate. I use it for laundry, soap pumps, countertop cleaner, shower gel, floor and wood trim wash, dishes, and more.

Cats Need Training Also

For the kittens dashing and tumbling around the room, the Washington Humane Society's first Kittengarten class is all about the playtime.

But for the humans and the shelter there's a bigger goal: making sure that cats are healthy and happy in their adoptive homes — and that they stay there.

Kittengarten is just like what it sounds, a class for kittens and their owners. Along with kitten socialization and grooming, the four-week class covers basic health and behavior facts, including nutrition.

While dog owners have long taken their charges for training, cat owners don't always know that they and their pets could use some guidance too, organizers say. Article continues here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Take Time For Your Health

by Donna L. Watkins

Since I've made the decision to spend more time on myself and my health-building program, I've had great rewards. Too often we believe the needs of others are more important than our own, even when others are not even asking for anything.

© 2009 Christina Bethke - Lucy Who Knows How To Have Fun
My mother's days evolved around my father's schedule and all my many needs, desires and wants. I saw a woman who sacrificed her life for her family and that's an honorable mindset, but God tells us to love others as we love ourselves. I do not believe we can truly be a blessing to those we love or others if we don't treat ourselves with as much care and concern.

I was always one that didn't fuss about myself ... there were too many things to be done, and I enjoyed the process of doing. However, my health obviously paid a price. Now, I'm learning to do better and regaining the ground that the devil stole from my health.

One of the things lacking in my program was exercise. With weak adrenals you can't do aerobics or machines since they only make you tired, when exercise is supposed to give you energy. Walking is the best form of exercise, but I'm not a repetitious type person. My husband has been walking with a neighbor at 6:30 in the morning for years. The same two mile route. It drives my mind dizzy to even imagine it.

Take away the asphalt and replace it with a woodland path and I'd be hitting the ground daily - same path, but so many different things going on in nature that each day would be a new experience. Woodland paths are miles away so that's not a daily option for me. So, I went back to rebounding.

I had forgotten the many benefits of it. Since I'm fighting an auto-immune disease I have to liberate my cells which get bogged down with the toxins of hypersensitive allergenic reactions. Rebounding has an amazing way of cleaning up the body and it builds muscle at the same time, which is something I definitely need since rheumatoid arthritis attacks the muscles also. I was having difficulty holding a jug of water to fill my glass.

I began slow but I noticed such a difference quickly. No more severe fatigue and the muscle strength is very exciting. Since I would get easily bored with this daily routine, I use it as a time to accomplish more than exercise in my health program. I have Scripture cards so I can memorize and meditate on the powerful Word while my body is in the process of focusing on healing.

I bounce and say, "Happy, Healthy, Holy Cells" and see happy faces within each of my cells. I've read so many stories of people who spent time visualizing what their bodies must do to get rid of a disease ... and with the power we know we have with our minds, it can only do good and speed the process, so why not!?

The results are becoming so evident. I have so much more energy and with more time focused on the Word, my spirit rejoices in life and healing. Even though I'm spending hours each day on eating right, taking all my supplements, drinking all the water I need, exercising, spending longer periods in the Word ... I am able to get more done than I was doing before I made myself my first priority.

God loves us and wants us to love ourselves. Getting busy with tasks and people before we care for ourselves is not a good thing. Although it would seem that the sacrifice is beneficial, I have not found it to be so. I know that my mother showed no joy in her own life ... and many who run themselves ragged from morning to night have no peace or joy to share either.

Although it's winter, a time that in the past I've dreaded, my mind is busy with more important things and I am not experiencing more pain because of the cold. I'm actually doing so much better than I was even in the summer. I know this is because of what I am choosing to think and believe. How awesome it is to use our mind for what we truly want in life, rather than to allow it to run wild.

I'll close with one of my favorite Scriptures. Memorizing Scripture has been easier doing it over and over as I bounce, so that's a great side benefit. It makes me smile and want to shout for joy!

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the Everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not grow tired or weary and His understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall,
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will mount up on wings like eagles, they will run and not be weary,
They will walk and not faint.

We can all rise up like eagles! Capture the energy of your thoughts and keep it positive. Come fly with me!

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

Monday, January 19, 2009

Life Isn't That Serious

by Donna L. Watkins

Health challenges have taught me so much about living life better. We all need to take ourselves less seriously. Circumstances need not control whether we have a good or bad day.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Skipper Butterfly - Montpelier Gardens

One of my new attributes is that I'm sloppy since I can't hold onto things well and pouring is not a good time. In the past, I might have three different recipes going, but the kitchen would look neat as a pin. For years, my inabilities would make me angry and create a lot of negative self-talk because it also vividly reminded me of the progression of the disease.

With my ADD tendencies, keeping things neat allowed me to be better focused, but I can tell my mind something different about that and gradually overcome it. I spill and splash around and instead of directing words of condemnation, I laugh at myself. Everybody likes being a child now and then, so I just laugh that I'm children-like and God says we're all to be that way, so I figuring I'm getting better at life. There are things that I can no longer do, but I'm focusing on what I CAN do and lightening up on life in the process.

"Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves, for they shall never cease to be amused."

It makes me more humble and gives me more mercy about the inabilities of human kind in general. That classroom is one that God's been sending me through again and again. We are all inept at so much of what life throws at us. Being able to take it more "Lightly" allows us to shine our Light more brightly.

Count your blessings - focus on what you can do, laugh at what you can't. It will bring healing about so much sooner than whining and complaining. Negative thoughts and words don't heal anything - they only tear down. Keep your focus on what's important and at the top of that list is: Keeping Your Joy."

Our choice is attitude. Keep a blessings list nearby or keep your image of whatever if pure joy to you in your mind. When you want to go down Moaning Road, flash your image. Is it your grandchild? Your pet? A lovely scene of the beach or mountains? A stream taking away all your troubles.

Put yourself in a peaceful moment and smile. Smiling produces hormones that makes you feel better even if you're forcing yourself to do it. Studies have shown that the immune system instantly weakens when you frown and put on a tragic face. When you smile your immune system and your entire body perks up.

Turns out that there are various pressure points in your face that affect your entire system when you flex certain facial muscles. That should make you want to smile every chance you get. Smiling will make you more attractive as you age also, so get used to wearing a smile all day, every day. You'll be amazed at how many people will smile back and give you unexpected good energy.

Copyright and Reprint Information
The photo(s) and article are copyrighted. You may use either or both of them on a website if you include the following credit and an active link back to this site:
© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from
Link URL is:

Making Birdhouses

If you're getting cabin fever and need a project that makes you think about Spring ... how about making some birdhouses? You can even put them out when you're finished for the birds to use as warm(er) roosting spots during the winter.

Birds and Blooms has several you can make out of one board of wood, coffee cans, gourds, etc. If you've got some extra time, join the chat with others who love birds and gardening. Free Birdhouse Plans.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Can Cancer Go Away On Its Own?

by Susan Morse, formerly with the Washington Post, writes about health and consumer issues at AARP.

In our zeal to fight cancer early, are we treating some tumors that might simply vanish? It’s possible, according to a study of some 200,000 Norwegian women.

Researchers in Oslo and at the Dart­mouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice in Han­over, N.H., compared breast cancer rates in two groups of women. One group had three mammograms over six years; the other had one. All the women were matched in age and reproductive history, so tumor rates in each group were expected to even out at the study’s end. But the rate in the women who had one screen was 22 percent lower, leading researchers to speculate that some cancers had disappeared before they could be detected.

The findings, reported in the Nov. 24 Archives of Internal Medicine, are controversial and require more study, say some cancer experts.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Story Of Stuff Goes International

Four and a half million English speakers have seen The Story of Stuff, but until now, the rest of the world has been left in the dark.

Thousands of offers from volunteers to translate the movie now makes it available to share with your international friends.

If you don't find your language below, and would like to help translate, please email to this address: Make sure you put this in the subject line:"Offer to translate: your language"

The 25 countries with the highest numbers of online viewers are listed below, with the number of views recorded in each.

1. United States 2,627,202
2. Canada 600,312
3. United Kingdom 135,477
4. Australia 100,454
5. Mexico 98,384
6. Germany 95,794
7. Israel 84,897
8. Brazil 83,037
9. India 66,330
10. Spain 60,624
11. Portugal 46,427
12. France 45,422
13. Netherlands 43,971
14. Romania 43,891
15. Argentina 33,352
16. Sweden 32,500
17. Italy 31,648
18. Singapore 27,105
19. Turkey 24,746
20. New Zealand 23,045
21. Colombia 22,147
22. Switzerland 21,673
23. Belgium 19,927
24. Austria 19,147
25. Greece 17,086

Visit The Story of Stuff International Website

Friday, January 16, 2009

Fast Food Has High Price On Health

“Value meals” at fast food restaurants may not be such a bargain when you look at the potential health costs.

Many of these low-cost menu items are packed with fat, salt, cholesterol and processed meat, notes The Cancer Project, a nonprofit cancer prevention organization. The group has produced a list of what it says are the five unhealthiest items sold at the nation’s largest fast food chains.

The organization’s dietitians reviewed so-called value menus at five of the largest fast food chains in the nation, awarding points for such unhealthy characteristics as sodium, fat and low-fiber content. Read the entire article.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Vitamin D Update

by Curtis Walcker

This fat-soluble vitamin is best known for its roles in preventing rickets and maintaining proper levels of calcium in the blood. The “sunshine vitamin” is generally acquired by the body in two ways:

• exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays
• dietary intake

The latest research reports are announcing ways that vitamin D may be involved in protecting against the development and progression of several common diseases. Unfortunately, many of these new disease connections are being made because of newly found widespread deficiencies of vitamin D in the U.S. population.

The current recommended daily intakes (RDIs) for vitamin D are 200 IU daily for those up to 50 years of age, 400 IU daily for those between 51 and 70, and 600 IU daily for those over 70. It has generally been thought that if you get enough time in the sun and eat a diet with foods like vitamin D-fortified milk, deficiency will not be a problem.

However, many factors come into play when it comes to your body receiving UV exposure to the sun and processing that into vitamin D in the body. Things like time spent in the sun, age, genetics, use of UV-blocking sunscreens, and even where you live can all have an effect.

In fact, much of what is being discovered about vitamin D has come about from population studies that have correlated increased risks of certain diseases to populations living in more northern latitudes that receive less sunshine. In attempts to correct deficiencies, it is being found that the RDIs may not be sufficient. The topic of officially increasing vitamin D intake recommendations is current under review.

A link between vitamin D and several types of cancers has been known since as early as the 1940’s, but the mechanisms through which it works are now under rigorous investigation. In a prostate cancer study, researchers found that vitamin D may link to a gene called glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6DP), which release antioxidant enzymes that protect against DNA damage (1). A role for vitamin D in combination with calcium has been identified for colon cancer as well. In patients that consumed sufficient amounts of vitamin D and calcium, expression of the biomarkers E-cadherin and betacatenin associated with the disease was significantly different than those with low intakes(2).

A large breast cancer study demonstrated vitamin D’s anti-proliferative effects on hormone-receptor-positive cells (3). Higher levels of vitamin D intake were associated with 24 percent risk reductions in these types of tumors. In a study following 3,299 patients with fatal cancers for nearly eight years, those with the highest blood levels of vitamin D were 55 percent less likely to die from their cancer (4).

Research on vitamin D on cardiovascular disease was just as impressive. Vitamin D intake was linked to fewer heart-related deaths, lessened heart attack risks, and better health of the arteries. For the first time ever, it was demonstrated that higher levels of vitamin D are associated with lower all-cause and cardiovascular mortalities (5).

A blood level of 20 ng/mL was advised, and intakes of about 3,000 IU of vitamin D per day were needed to raise a low level to this level. Patients in this study with the lowest average blood levels of vitamin D had 122 percent increase in the risk of cardiovascular mortality compared to the group with the highest average levels.

Potential mechanisms of action were discussed in two other recent studies (6,7). Vitamin D has been proposed to improve smooth muscle health, reduce inflammation, reduce vascular calcification, and improve blood pressure.

Additional new areas of vitamin D research have included diabetes, longevity, skin health, mood, and Parkinson’s disease. In two separate studies involving children, development of diabetes was correlated to vitamin D status (8,9).

Further supporting a study published in 2007 regarding vitamin D’s association with telomere length and the slowing of the aging process and the onset of age-related diseases (10), a new study looked at data taken from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES III) (11). This study took into account a population of 13,331 health men and women over 8.7 years, and found that low levels of vitamin D were associated with increased risk for all causes of mortality, as well as a host of other health conditions.

Vitamin D supplementation has been found to improve skin conditions such as itching, redness, and scaling through increased cathelicidin production; an antimicrobial peptide (12).

Also, low levels of vitamin D have been reported on recently to be associated with mood disorders (13) and the development of Parkinson’s disease (14).

Related Articles:
Vitamin D Deficiency Health Issues
MS Linked to Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D Minimum to Be Increased

1. Bao BY, Ting HJ, Hsu JW, Lee YF. “Protective role of 1 alpha, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 against oxidative stress in nonmalignant human prostate epithelial cells.” Bao BY, Ting HJ, Hsu JW, Lee YF. Int J Cancer. 2008 Jun 15;122(12):2699-706.
2. A. Thomas, C. Dash, R.M. Bostick, Associations of calcium and vitamin D with E-cadherin and β-catenin expression in normal-appearing rectal tissue; markers of adenomatous polyps II (MAP II) case-control study, American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting, 13 April 2008, Abstract 565.
3. Blackmore KM, Lesosky M, Barnett H, Raboud JM, Vieth R, Knight JA. “Vitamin D from dietary intake and sunlight exposure and the risk of hormonereceptor-defined breast cancer.” Am J Epidemiol. 2008 Oct 15;168(8):915-24. Epub 2008 Aug 27.
4. Pilz S, Dobnig H, Winklhofer-Roob B, Riedmüller G, Fischer JE, Seelhorst U, Wellnitz B, Boehm BO, März W. “Low serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D predict fatal cancer in patients referred to coronary angiography.” Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2008 May;17(5):1228-33. Epub 2008 May 7.
5. Dobnig H, Pilz S, Scharnagl H, Renner W, Seelhorst U, Wellnitz B, Kinkeldei J, Boehm BO, Weihrauch G, Maerz W. “Independent association of low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin d and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin d levels with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality.” Arch Intern Med. 2008 Jun 23;168(12):1340-9.
6. Giovannucci E, Liu Y, Hollis BW, Rimm EB. “25-hydroxyvitamin D and risk of myocardial infarction in men: a prospective study.” Arch Intern Med. 2008 Jun 9;168(11):1174-80.
7. Melamed ML, Muntner P, Michos ED, Uribarri J, Weber C, Sharma J, Raggi P. “Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and the prevalence of peripheral arterial disease: results from NHANES 2001 to 2004.” Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2008 Jun;28(6):1179-85. Epub 2008 Apr 16.
8. Zipitis CS, Akobeng AK. “Vitamin D supplementation in early childhood and risk of type 1 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” Arch Dis Child. 2008 Jun;93(6):512-7. Epub 2008 Mar 13. Review.
9. Svoren BM, Volkening LK, Wood JR, Laffel LMB. “Significant Vitamin D Deficiency in Youth with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus.” Journal of Pediatrics. 2009;154:132-134.
10. Richards, B. et al. “Higher Serum Vitamin D Concentrations are Associated with Longer Leukocyte Telomere Length in Women.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2007;86:1420-1425.
11. Melamed ML, Michos ED, Post W, Astor B. “25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and the risk of mortality in the general population.” Arch Intern Med. 2008 Aug 11;168(15):1629-37.
12. Hata TR, Kotol P, Jackson M, Nguyen M, Paik A, Udall D, Kanada K, Yamasaki K, Alexandrescu D, Gallo RL. “Administration of oral vitamin D induces cathelicidin production in atopic individuals.” J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008 Oct;122(4):829-31.
13. Hoogendijk WJ, Lips P, Dik MG, Deeg DJ, Beekman AT, Penninx BW. “Depression is associated with decreased 25-hydroxyvitamin D and increased parathyroid hormone levels in older adults.” Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2008 May;65(5):508-12.
14. Evatt ML, Delong MR, Khazai N, Rosen A, Triche S, Tangpricha V. “Prevalence of vitamin d insufficiency in patients with Parkinson disease and Alzheimer disease.” Arch Neurol. 2008 Oct;65(10):1348-52.

Stroke of Luck

I was so impressed with this short article in AARP that I reserved the book at my library and ended up writing 6 articles because of it. They've all been posted so many of you have been reading along. The story has been a real inspiration to me in many ways. I hope it might be the same for you if you're just joining us. Knowing how our brain works gives us many advantages to using them wisely in reference what we allow it to think about.

The article from AARP Magazine, Nov/Dec 2008:

By Mark Matousek

In her bestselling memoir, My Stroke of Insight (Viking, 2008), Harvard-trained brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor, 49, tells of the rare form of stroke she suffered in 1996 that shut down the left hemisphere of her brain (where language, logic, and linear thought are based). For months she was unable to walk, talk, read, write, or recall the events of her life. Remarkably, this shutdown—and silencing of mental chatter—left her in a state of bliss. After eight grueling years of rehab, she regained full brain function yet could still access at will what she describes as a state of complete peace and well-being.

Q: Can a person tap into this bliss without suffering a stroke?
Absolutely! When you’re really paying attention to the richness of the present moment, that’s right-minded awareness. The left hemisphere is preoccupied with past and future, projecting fears, contemplating ideas that aren’t relevant to the here and now. Once you realize you have these two different brains, you can learn to choose, moment by moment, how you want to live. Of course, you do need the push as well as the pause to function properly.

Q: “The push as well as the pause”?
I use the tools of the left hemisphere to push into the world, but as soon as it becomes stressful, I can feel that in my body, and I switch to the right hemisphere to pause. I may prefer the pause because it feels better. I’m more joyful, cooperative. People like me better. As I recovered my skills, I consciously chose not to let that left-brain circuitry dominate again. Stress is a frame of mind. If I’m in traffic and there’s no solution in sight, I relax and enjoy the few moments I have. Standing in line at the store, I observe rather than engage. You can say, “If I pull the plug on this circuit, I don’t have to think [stressful] thoughts anymore.”

Q: How can the rest of us learn to pull the plug?
One way is to use your senses to pay closer attention to your environment. What does the air smell like? What are the sounds, the colors? What’s happening in the distance? Take a walk outside and don’t focus on details. The other great thing is to awaken your body by jiggling your head, your shoulders. I guarantee you’ll feel different after three minutes. You’re pumping the nervous system, encouraging the cerebral spinal fluid to move around. Or try dancing.

Q: How do you spend time these days?
I work on brain-cancer cases, particularly with children who come for proton radiation therapy, at the Midwest Proton Radiotherapy Institute in Bloomington, Indiana. During the spring I teach neuroanatomy at Indiana University School of Medicine. Then there are many keynote speeches at medical conferences.

Q: You haven’t exactly slowed down.
I do have a very busy schedule, but it’s filled with what I love to do. I’m a teacher at heart, helping others get their brain to do what they want it to do. Down the road I want to do educational programming that will teach children how to tend the gardens of their minds from a younger age.

The articles I wrote are these:
Your Amazing Brain
Power To Change Your Mind
Stroke Of Genius On Emotions
Taking Thoughts Captive
Getting Out Of Negative Loops
Fighting The Darkness

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Herbal Medicine Integration

According to a report by Functional Ingredients, the World Health Organization has called for greater integration of traditional herbal medicines into national health care systems.

“Governments should establish systems for the qualification, accreditation or licensing of traditional medicine practitioners,” said WHO in the declaration. “Traditional medicine practitioners should upgrade their knowledge and skills based on national requirements.” Read the entire article.

Saving Money On Pets

Our animal friends depend on us for food, water, shelter and love. When money is tight, there is plenty of love to go around, but the other essentials may be a little harder to come by. This doesn't mean you have to live without your four-legged buddies. Here are a few ideas to try, many of which will save you money in the long run. Read the entire article.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bones and Muscles

Giving The Body Structure and Movement
By Courtney Hammond

The structural system does exactly what its name implies; it provides structure or a framework for the body. It gives the body its form and the ability to move. The structural system is comprised of bones, connective tissue and muscles.

A newborn baby has about 300 soft bones—some bones are actually cartilage at this stage of development. As the baby grows, the cartilage calcifies as calcium phosphate permeates the bones. Eventually the calcified cartilage is replaced by true bone, and some of the baby’s bones fuse together. An adult has between 206 and 209 bones, depending on the number of ribs and an extra bone in the tailbone.

Bones stop growing in size during the mid-teens for girls and around age 20 for boys, though the growing process lasts as bones constantly rebuild themselves. Bones contain two types of cells—osteoblasts and osteoclasts—which work together to build new bone material on the outside and remove old material on the inside. To sustain this regenerative effort, the body must receive sufficient supplies of vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus. If a shortage of these minerals occurs in the bloodstream, the body will pull them from the bones, which can lead to weak and porous bones.

Connective Tissue

Some of the most important connective tissues in the structural system are those that make up the joints. Joints are designed to permit movement between bones that must meet, but not touch. These engineering marvels bind two or more bones together while cushioning and lubricating them to withstand a lifetime of bending, twisting, swinging and lifting.

The body has many different types of joints. Some allow for a wide range of movement, such as the hinge joints of the elbow and knee, or the ball and socket joints of the hip and shoulder. Other joints allow for more limited movement, such as those found in the spine. Most joints are composed of similar elements. The joint is enclosed in a tough fibrous capsule filled with synovial fluid to lubricate the moving parts of the joint. Ligaments surround the capsule to protect it and provide stability to the joint.

Cartilage is a type of dense connective tissue. It is made up of chondrocytes that produce a matrix of collagen and elastin fibers. Cartilage provides support and structure to body tissues without being as rigid as bone. It also serves to cushion the joints.

Bones and joints provide the framework for the body and determine how it can move. Muscles create the movement by converting chemical energy from food into physical energy. There are more than 600 muscles in the body in three basic types: cardiac muscle, smooth muscle and skeletal muscle. Each muscle is made up of countless fibers, and each fiber is composed of minute filaments that vary in length.

Muscles produce movement by contracting. They never push; they pull, which means a pair of muscles is required to make a full range of movement. Muscles grow through use. The effort it takes to use muscles signals the heart to supply them with more blood and nutrients, which in turn stimulates the growth of the size of each muscle fiber.

When Things Go Wrong
Damage to the structural system can affect the way you move and enjoy life. Three of the most common problems occurring in the structural system are osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia.

Osteoporosis is characterized by low bone mass and a loss of bone tissue, leading to weak and brittle bones that are prone to breaks. Osteoporosis is especially common among post-menopausal women, but men also develop osteoporosis. While it is usually thought of as a disease for the elderly, research shows that peak bone density is achieved by age 25. It is vital that men and women alike develop strong bones by that age so the bones can remain strong throughout life. While the best defense against osteoporosis is to build strong bones during childhood and adolescence, other steps can help you lower your risk, such as getting adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D, engaging in regular weight-bearing exercise and choosing a healthy lifestyle free of smoking and excessive alcohol.

Arthritis is a general term for a group of conditions involving damage to the joints of the body. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, and this is the leading cause of chronic disability in the United States. Osteoarthritis is caused by an abnormal wearing of cartilage in the joints, a decrease in the synovial fluid surrounding the joints, and chronic low-grade inflammation. Since the bone surfaces in the joint are inadequately protected, osteoarthritis sufferers experience pain with weight-bearing activities, including walking and standing.

Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic muscle pain. This disorder is not entirely understood and is often referred to as fibromyalgia syndrome because researchers are learning that pain is just one element of fibromyalgia. Associated pain can present itself in a variety of ways, from muscle pain, spasms and weakness, to sleep disturbances. Other sufferers also experience brain fog and depression. The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but certain triggers such as stress, physical exertion and lack of deep sleep seem to exacerbate symptoms.

A healthy structural system is built on basic principles of good nutrition, particularly adequate vitamin D and calcium intake, and regular exercise. The structural system gives your body strength and the ability to move. Taking care of it will allow you to engage in your favorite hobbies and activities for a lifetime.

Related Article: Structural System Support

Monday, January 12, 2009

Making Better Decisions

by Donna L. Watkins

Are you making the same mistakes over and over again? Does your life seem to attract trouble? What kind of internal communication do you have with yourself all day long? Do you rehearse the troubles and proclaim them to others also?

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Fern Growing In Brick Wall at Montpelier Gardens

Thinking logically, do you think this is wise? Is it the environment where your health and spirit can grow and be strengthened?

If you continually sow and paint a picture of trouble, tragedy and trials .... do you think that may attract more trouble, tragedy and trials?

It's said we will find what we're looking for. And that "What you are in the present, was determined by the decisions you made in the past. If you want to change your future, learn to make better decisions."

Don't let your expectations exceed the possibilities of where you are right now. Often when we choose to take a course out of our own misery, we set up such a program that we are sure to fail. It dumps us right back where we were. Allow yourself 10% risk of being wrong, 50% likelihood of betrayal, and a 100% commitment to trust God. Then you will be able to go forward and survive anything!

You've been gifted with many abilities and talents. Focus on them. The best way to crawl out of despair is to succeed in things. The best way to succeed is to walk in the realm of what we do best. It comes so naturally that we don't even value it ... but others will ... and their value will be directed towards you, and that will allow you to see how needed you are. Focusing on the needs of others is the quickest way to get our focus off of our own problems.

Time if your most limited and valuable resource. Don't waste it rehearsing the Enemy's workings in your life. Keep your mind in the Word. Do not miss a morning quiet time and before you go to bed pray and meditate on Scripture. Take time to listen and get instruction from our Father. As you unclutter your mind of idol brain chatter, you will find yourself becoming more in tune with the still small voice of His Spirit within us.

God designed a plan for our lives. That includes YOU! Get still before Him daily and He will reveal it to you step by step. Not in one big huge picture of your entire future, but in steps, so you can focus on today's step and not worry about tomorrow. Decide to follow Him and leave that negative brain chatter in the gutter.

Copyright and Reprint Information
The photo(s) and article are copyrighted. You may use either or both of them on a website if you include the following credit and an active link back to this site:
© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from
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Shade Grown Coffee

I don't think coffee is an acceptable substance for a good diet but there are many passionate people that would argue with me. Coffee has some good points, but for me they don't come near overcoming the down side. With all the coffee that is consumed, my passion is for coffee drinkers to buy and drink shade-grown coffee. It's healthier since it requires less chemicals and it saves bird habitat in countries where our songbirds go for winter.

Shade-grown coffee is much easier on the environment than sunny coffee plantations. They require less fertilizer, prevent soil erosion, require fewer or zero pesticides, the list goes on.

From NPR's Science Friday:

Shade-grown coffee is sometimes called "bird friendly coffee," but a new paper in the journal Current Biology suggests that the plantations also help maintain the genetic diversity of native tree species.

NPR's Science Friday has a cool podcast about how shade-grown coffee farms also help with biodiversity of the areas, with a higher number of native tree species flourishing. Be sure to check out the video when you read the entire article.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Go Green For Babies' Health

Many women discover the green lifestyle when they are expecting, or become moms. Wanting to do the best you can for your child includes considerations that you make before your baby is even born. Everyone knows that eating right and getting enough rest will help both mother and baby be healthy, but the green movement has opened our eyes to the effects that the world around us can have as well.

Back in 2005, a frightening study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found chemicals in the blood of the umbilical cords from 10 newborn babies. These chemicals were linked to cancer, birth defects, and hormone disruptions, and included lead, mercury and PCBs. Since then, moms-to-be have demanded more information about reducing the impact of the chemical soup that we all live in. Read the entire article.

Our favorite product, to transform the house from toxic to non-toxic fast, is Sunshine Concentrate. I've used it for 20 years now. It's wonderful for laundry. My husband used to get rashes from the chemical detergents because when you sweat those chemicals are absorbed into the body.

Sunshine Concentrate has so many uses. We use Sunshine Concentrate for our yard and garden also, so we stock up on it. Makes for a great gift to a neighbor. With chemicals being linked to so many diseases, it's a great feeling to share this product with our friends and family.

Cat's Face Reattached By Surgery

Veterinarians in Boston performed an unusual surgery to reattach the face of a cat they believe was injured by a car's fan belt, probably because she tried to stay warm under the hood.

Edgar, a 4-year-old long-haired feline, went missing from her home for three days. When she finally came home, her owner found her in her litter box — with part of her face dangling from her head while she purred to be petted.

The owner recovered from shock and rushed the cat to an animal hospital. Read the entire article. Never doubt the perseverance of an animal.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cell Phone Driving Same As Drunk

Research now shows

Several studies show cell phones are a leading cause of car crashes. It is estimated that cell phone distracted drivers are four times more likely to be in a car wreck.

According to a Harvard University study, cell phones cause over 200 deaths and half a million injuries each year. has collected together cell phone related crash pictures! Driving while on a cell phone does seem to be a serious problem if those photos are any indication.

You probably see it every day: a driver chatting away on a cell phone and not paying attention to the vehicles or pedestrians around them. Perhaps you've even been involved in an auto accident resulting from a careless, inattentive driver who was talking on a cell phone.

Although the risk of accidents greatly increases when a driver is using a handheld phone, few states have enacted laws prohibiting individuals from using cell phones while driving.

In fact, across the U.S., only four states (California, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey) and the District of Columbia have enacted laws banning the use of a handheld cell phone while driving.

Recently, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IHIS) issued a report on the chilling link between cell phone use and the risk of vehicle accidents. The IHIS study revealed that drivers using cell phones are four times more likely to be involved in an injury-sustaining accident than individuals who do not use cell phones while driving. The study focused on drivers who were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries suffered in vehicle accidents between April 2002 and July 2004.

An additional study which used cell phone billing records and interviews with crash victims to form the basis for its data, also found that generally, weather played a nearly non-existent role, and that there was no distinction between hands-free and hand-held cell phones.

Make the decision to put your cell phone away during driving time. A study in which both the participants and the scientists got sloshed has shown that motorists who talk on cell phones while driving are as impaired as drunk drivers.

Holly Brightens My Life

With most things brown in our garden, I am thankful for our green hollies that have produced a multitude of bright red berries this year. One is outside the dining window where I sit typing. I've seen squirrels eating the berries along with many varieties of birds. Even though there's a feeder only four feet from the tree, they enjoy the variety.

Others have used holly to brighten their lives in winter. Thanks to Marilee for sending this to me from!

Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.
John 1:3 NIV

In northern Europe, a walk through a winter's forest is a bleak affair — white, stark, cold, lifeless except for occasional boughs of green holly bearing bright red berries. In Medieval times, these boughs were brought inside to brighten the interior of the small houses.

As Christianity spread, people noticed that the thorny points of the holly leaves could symbolize our Lord's crown of thorns. The red berries, His blood. The green color, the new life He gives. Even the word "holly" resembles the word "holy."

How interesting that all nature points to Him who created the earth and died for the world. Romans 1:20 says, "Since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made" (NIV).

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Happiness Factor

by Donna L. Watkins

Our happiness is not based on what happens to us, but rather on how we view what happens to us. This has been said in many different ways and keeps coming back around in one form or another because it is truth. It is also Truth. If we believe that God always has our best interests at heart, then we must stand in Faith in any situation, knowing that in the midst of the chaos or calamity, God is working.

© 2009 Kenneth Bushell - Boxtop - The Happy Hamster
Our ultimate purpose on earth is not happiness, but rather to be conformed into the image of God. In that process we are promised joy and peace. Amidst the pain of any experience, there is a shelter under His wings. This requires trust, which many of do not have of authority figures. We have not seen good examples in the segments of society that are considered authorities, whether in government, or sadly within The Church.

We can't let other fallen people keep us from being who God designed us to be or from believing and trusting in His promises and principles.

In his book, The Happiness Factor - How To Be Happy No Matter What, Kirk Wilkinson writes many challenging chapters that put us face-to-face with where the responsibility lies for our happiness. He states, "Happiness comes from the inside ... Many people live a fantasy, thinking that the next job, the next promotion, a bigger house, car, or some other material thing will bring them happiness. It becomes a never-ending pursuit ... It is our own thought pattern, or mindset, that creates the framework by which we experience life."

You've seen it in action. The same circumstance happening to a group of people, but yet each one is affected differently and responds differently. That's what is supposed to make Christians stand out in tragedy. There should be evidence of a place of grace, with peace and joy in the midst of any circumstance. The love of God draws men to repentance.

Wilkinson says, "It is a common mistake to believe that what and how we see people, events, and circumstances create our response and feelings. In actuality, it is the reverse. Our thoughts are the source of our feelings and create our experience. Because thoughts are voluntary, we can change what we experience by realizing that what we think is not necessarily reality."

This is what Jill Bolte Taylor did when she was recovering from her stroke. She realized she had the power to change her mind by choosing what she allowed the analytical side of her brain to think. These choices are what painted each day of her life with bright colors or shades of gray and black.

God didn't design us to gather our joy from stuff or people. We were made in His image with a purpose and design for a unique place in this world in this era in time. When we search for happiness in the wrong places throughout our lives, they are wasted. The spot we were meant to fill goes lacking.

Kirk was living such a life and knew he had to turn it around. There's no lack of information out there on finding methods to convert your thinking, but his book certainly gathered the mass of it and broke it down into necessary actions. He addresses perception, emotional generosity, acceptance and abundance, and it will take surrendering. He explains that happiness "is learning to skillfully relate, cope, and dissolve all that is negative in our lives ... Loving and being happy is about learning that peace is available in any situation, regardless of the circumstances."

God has told us that love is what we are to do foremost above all else. The greatest commandment to love Him and our neighbor AS OUR SELF. We can't love others without loving our self. We must fill our self with love before there's enough to flow into other lives and circumstances. That flowing love will change the way you see things and the way people around you see you.

Kirk explains it like this: "Every action or response is either love or a cry for love. We either operate from a fear-centric position or a love-centric position. Love brings with it the power to dissolve all negativity and conflict .. Love attracts kindness, security, peace, and affection and is activated by giving it away and extending it into any situation. Often we think of love as a feeling between two or more people. But it is more than that: love is energy and has the power to transform a situation and your circumstances."

If you're basing your happiness on somebody around you changing so you can be happy, you're wasting your life. It will never happen. NEVER! That's a long time when you're waiting it out day by day and long hour after hour of misery. The only way out is not through anybody else but you. At some point you will have to toss aside the excuses and take responsibility for your thoughts, attitudes and happiness. I say this in love, as does Kirk Wilkinson in his book. He spent a good portion of his life miserable and wants to show you how to move forward to what we were designed and created for.

You need to begin somewhere! Choose a plan and stay focused with it. You CAN do it. Each week is better than the week before. It's like setting a new habit or routine. It's very hard at first, but it does get easier. God will give you the ability and strength to do it. You must have the desire and make the choice. You will find that The Happiness Factor is all about you.

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

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Why Guys Can't Cry In Grief

When it comes to the loss of a loved one, not everyone can feel emotions the same. There are a number of reasons feelings do not get expressed.

Firstly is the personal belief to what feelings are, or what it would be to express feelings in a vulnerable fashion. Growing up some people are taught to try and ignore feelings, that feelings make you weak, and your are not strong if anyone sees you express them. This persons lack of expression can be due to this belief being instilled in him.

Not only does the person have expectations of his or herself in this situation, there are perceived expectations that the people around him, place upon the person as well.

Children learn from parents at a very early age how to express yourself. Whether it is through peaceful self reflection to extreme outburst of anger, children learn how to feel by watching their parents feel. If a child never sees a parent cry, then it is harder for the child to know how to properly express these feelings, as well.

Some of the more intellectual types complicate matters further by trying to analyze what is going on with our hearts. I admit, I am one of these, but I have recognized that the need to understand something can be another facet of denial. This safety feature carries over to my day to day life. I compartmentalize my feelings and do not express them until I am alone and to what stimuli I am reacting to. I find this is the best way I can protect myself emotionally. Read the entire article.

Make A Difference For Pets

What an inspiring story of a gal who took a bit of time from her life to help a shelter dog that would be euthanized because there were no funds for an operation.

In less than 5 hours with suggestions from a website, this person was able to raise the money for the operation and make this dog adoptable.

Read the entire article but don't stop there. Make a difference for a pet in your area. Get involved at a shelter. If you can't handle the emotional tug of war seeing the pets that have not been adopted, then volunteer time in the office, or see if you can raise a few funds for the shelter at work. One child that is involved at the shelter we volunteer at decided rather than gifts for her birthday party, she wanted people to bring food and toys for the shelter. What a grand birthday party that was!

Don't you have enough stuff that maybe you could throw your own party and gather some goods for others less fortunate. Maybe it's a pet owner that's struggled right on your street or in your neighborhood. You can help them to not have to part with their animals in these rougher economic times. Give it some thought and spend a few hours doing something that will make you and many others smile.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Stop Junk Mail - Value Your Time

From Stop Junk Mail website:

"After returning from vacation I pushed through the post office doors. Stood in line patiently. Once at the counter I requested my mail which was held till my return. The customer service rep. left and soon returned with a box two thirds full of mail. I stood there in shock, looking down at the volume of mail I had received in five days. I acknowledge the fact that its become extremely annoying daily to separate the unwanted mail, but never put any serious thought into it till now.

I went home, and after 45 minutes of sorting the mail, I determined 95 percent was junk mail. My time is valuable, and looking at the time I spend annually sorting out the junk mail, I decided to research and determine a way to eliminate the junk mail madness. Telemarketers have been reduced by the no call list. There had to be a way. I have completed research and along with my staff have developed the necessary tools to accomplish the task.

Its time to put an end to this ridiculous amount of waste of material and resources. Stop Junk Mail will assist you with the reduction of your unwanted junk mail.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Precaution For Health

Some time ago, Co-Op America published an article called “The Ugly Side of Cosmetics,” detailing why many experts are concerned about the vast number of potential toxins in body care products.

That article cited studies showing that many of the body care products we use on a daily basis—from make-up and hair care products to soaps and baby wipes—contain known or probable carcinogens, hormone disrupters, and other potentially harmful substances.

A group of individuals started discussing the article on an Internet message board. At first, they were concerned - until a young woman popped in and reassured everyone that “I’m a chemistry major, and all of these products are safe. The government wouldn’t let them be on store shelves if they weren’t.”

Like that student, many people have considerable faith in the government to protect them, assuming that if a product of any type is sold in the US, it must be safe for human health and the environment.

That faith is misplaced. As evidenced by the recent news reports about ingredients and products made in China. In October 2007, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics discovered lead in several trusted brands of lipsticks still sold today in US stores, from drugstore stalwart L’Oreal to the more exclusive Dior brand.

We have more than just lead to worry about. There are now some 80,000 chemicals registered for use in the US, and more than 2,000 new chemicals are introduced each year. While the government does require health studies and pre-market testing on prescription drugs, it does not do so for most other chemicals.

Take a close look at the cleaners we use in our homes; the pesticides that we spray on our food; the hormones ingested by our meat or dairy animals; the paints and stains and finishes we use on our cars, furniture, mattresses, or walls; the body and hair care products we use on ourselves, you’ll find that very few of them are independently tested to ensure they won’t harm human health or the environment.

While corporations may save money by not conducting health and safety tests on the ingredients they use, it’s consumers who pay the price. “So much of public health and environmental policy relies on what I call the ‘dead body’ principle,” says Carolyn Raffensperger, executive director of the Science and Health Environmental Network (SEHN).

“When you wait for proof before you take action, the proof is usually in the dead bodies and the sick bodies. When you let the chemical out and haven’t tested it, you’re using our bodies as lab rats.”

When Carolyn Raffensperger was a young girl, her father, a pediatric surgeon, came home from work and made an announcement that would reverberate throughout her life.

“He said he believed the birth defects and childhood tumors that he was a world expert on were caused by pollution,” says Raffensperger. “And when he told me he couldn’t do anything about it because he couldn’t prove it, I was stunned. He was seeing suffering in babies, and they hadn’t done anything to deserve it. Why, I wondered, did he need proof before he could take action?” Read the entire article and also learn more about the Precautionary Principle.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Fighting The Darkness

by Donna L. Watkins

The only way we learn to fight the devil in this world is to speak up and do so. Until we do he takes us down because we've got so much Light in us that he wants to keep hidden forever.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Cabbage White Butterfly - Montpelier

Christ died and gave us the power. I would rather He keep the power and just zap everything to make it right. No battles to fight, no determination and character shaping of my soul. I want the easy way out like we all do --- human nature. God knows our weaknesses but tells us to stand throughout Scripture and win the battle of our mind.

The Word is truly powerful and will keep back the baying wolves. We have to focus on one thing at a time. Keeping one scripture that you can use and repeat and repeat until you feel like you're crazy with it ... in reality it will be the only thing that keeps us from going crazy. Keep adding more Scriptures - it increases the size of your shield that God commands us to take up (Ephesians 6:16).

"God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of love and of power and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7

The mind does not sleep, so if you have allowed yourself to be filled with fears, doubts and worries and are rehearsing the evil things of your life rather than the blessings, you will have a fierce battle at the onset, but I assure you it gets easier with time. And with time you will have results that are glorious. You have walked far enough along the dark path to know that what you are focusing on is not getting you anywhere but deeper in the pit of darkness and fear.

Nights are hardest when you want to sleep, but being off guard allows your mind to wander back to old tapes you played over and over. Those tapes have to record new tracks of hope, faith and Light, but it does take time. One easy Scripture that most of us already know is the one I used and still use. It has done amazing things for me. You have to catch it even before you fully wake up because the devil speaks loudest while we are in that in-between sleep and awake zone.

I shout, "This is the day the Lord has made, I WILL rejoice and be glad in it." as soon as I begin to wake up ... and any time I turn over during the night. "I will not be afraid of the terror by night" (Psalm 91:5). If I don't take control of my mind instantly and focus on God's blessings of each day (picturing sunrises and birds feeding and flowers blooming) the brain chatter will go down an evil trail about the disease and visual images of the deformity I already have and make a list of all that I CANNOT do and all that I will not be able to do.

If I allow all of that, my body is in great pain and the disease progresses much faster. I can feel the difference and I don't like the results of allowing the brain chatter. At first I had to stand my ground all night long because I would wake up with night terrors and Scripture is the only thing that will take all fear away - no herbs to help sleep would silence the chattering mind.

We all have troubles, problems and circumstances. I call them challenges because they can create in us more of who we were designed to be. Human nature is lax and lazy. We don't gain much faith and character in good times.

God's Word is powerful:

"For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit" (Hebrews 4:12).

It does the job. It brings the spirit forward and shines Light in the darkened areas of the soul. My choice to shout my rejoicing of the day and my life switches my brain gears and finds joy, rather than dread. The power is there, my dear friend! But it's totally our choice -- as it was with Eve. Return to the Garden with the Word!

I read the book, My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey, by Jill Bolte Taylor, and published a few posts from it. If you're the type that needs a visual picture of what's happening with the brain to qualify you working on it, these articles (links below) should prove very beneficial.

The book really helped me to see how God wired us with amazing abilities and functioning and it confirmed to me how this occurs within the physiological and anatomical realms. It's set my brain in concrete on the reality of 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 being undertaken with our earthly abilities.

"The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

The articles:
Your Amazing Brain
Power To Change Your Mind
Stroke Of Genius On Emotions
Taking Thoughts Captive
Getting Out Of Negative Loops

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