Saturday, January 30, 2010

Nature in Wilmington, North Carolina

Last month Randal and I had a meeting in Wilmington, NC and decided to go a couple of days early to see the nature areas and the beach. We're not 'fun in the sun' folks so it's rare we get to a beach but there is something magical about them when the crowds are not present.

As we approached the sand a pelican flew only 10 feet above my head and that certainly set the mood! Later we saw him gliding along the waters looking for something to scoop up for lunch. What precision!

We stood there thinking realizing that the ocean we stood before went all the way to Africa where Randal had stood on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean in Liberia just weeks earlier. Incredible!

Isaiah 40:12 says that God "hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand." All that expanse of ocean could be held in God's hand. Now that's a BIG God. How can we doubt that He will take care of things for us?

View Wilmington, NC Photos.

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Burnout and Boundaries

This article has been posted before a couple of years ago ... but at this time of the year, I think it's quite appropriate to post it again.

Burnout and Boundaries
by Donna L. Watkins

We're a bit of the way into a new year now and we can evaluate whether or not our lives are matching up to what we thought about at the end of last year and the beginning of this one. I find that end of years is a time when I do a lot of pondering about what my previous year looked like.

© 2007 Donna L. Watkins - Roadrunner in CA Desert
What did I accomplish? Did I set my priorities correctly? Did I set boundaries on how I would use my time and finances? Did I enforce those boundaries on myself and others so that I could accomplish what I felt was my God-given assignment for that year?

If we don't put the important things in life first, they will never be included in our days run by "tyranny of the urgent." Do you ever complain about your busy schedule and how much there is to get done? Who made the schedule? Oh, I know! I've been there loading up my schedule because of all the things I "had to do" or my segment of the world would fall apart. I felt like my family required so much, but looking back I can take full credit for putting that pressure on myself. It all had to be done my way which, of course, was the "right" way. :-)

I remember somebody telling me that Martha Washington was dead for 200 years but Mount Vernon was still being cleaned and cared for. That visual image has stayed with me for many years.

Tony Campolo talks of a time when he was a child and had a close relationship with the guy who ran The Franklin Institute. He retained that friendship until the man died. He made it to his bedside after a stroke, telling him he came right from the airport because he had been speaking. The man replied, "You go all over the world to people, who 10 years from now won't remember your name, but you haven't time for those who really care about you."

Tony could've been offended, but he took those words to heart and changed his life. As always when we change our outlook on life, we attract others who have done the same. He had a friend who got a call from the White House asking him to consult with the President. His friend said no because he'd promised to be with his granddaughter. The nation survived and with this kind of grandfather, I'm sure that little girl learned a lot about doing what's truly important in life.

We are influenced by advertising and books that tell us we don't have any self-worth so we must spin ourselves trying to create it. Do you take time for what's important in life? Are you spending time with those who care about you? Maybe you don't believe anybody cares for you, so you run to and fro seeking acceptance and praise for what you accomplish. I can ask the question .... I've been there.

Most of my life was spent believing that it was what I got done that was all important ... and yet when I look back, I don't find that the ones I was performing for were even noticing. Oh yes, I got a few comments from "the crowd" about how much I got done and that my Super Woman cape was always without wrinkles.

If I had the choice to choose again, would I trade those hectic to-do-driven years for those few comments? Never! May I presume to guess that you won't either, so maybe you'd like to turn around before looking back is so far away.

Jesus never rushed about and he took plenty of time for rest and relaxation. He spent time with those most important to him and His mission on earth.

What is your mission? Jesus honored Mary who sat at his feet while Martha was caught up in the duties of the moment having to "do it all now." Do we get our timing and priorities mixed? I still struggle with it. I had too many years of doing it wrong. I now have to make sure my boundaries are secure.

We can resent the people who pressure us to do what they want, which feeds our silent anger and causes physical, emotional and spiritual problems. We are called to determine what is right in our own heart and to act on it. We need to take responsibility for our lives, learning to put first things first.

Don't expect everybody to understand, and don't do it with arrogance. If there are people who depend on you, work it out. Make a plan to bow out and work the plan. If you lose some friends, you'll know they had their own agenda. You are losing nothing and gaining all.

Don't let life slip by. Seek your heart on what you truly want your life to look like when you are 10 years down the road looking back. What do you want your children and grandchildren and spouse to remember? More important than that is this: What do you want to remember? Only you can make your life what you want it to be. I believe the reason some people age so much as they get older is the regrets they carry. We all have time to make it different. Each day is a gift.

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Bamboozled by Bamboo Fabrics?

FTC Consumer Alert

Looking to be a more environmentally conscious shopper? You’ve probably heard about bamboo. Bamboo stands out for its ability to grow quickly with little or no need for pesticides, and it is used in a variety of products, from flooring to furniture. But when it comes to soft bamboo textiles, like shirts or sheets, there’s a catch: they’re actually rayon.

The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, wants you to know that the soft “bamboo” fabrics on the market today are rayon. They are made using toxic chemicals in a process that releases pollutants into the air. Extracting bamboo fibers is expensive and time-consuming, and textiles made just from bamboo fiber don’t feel silky smooth.

There’s also no evidence that rayon made from bamboo retains the antimicrobial properties of the bamboo plant, as some sellers and manufacturers claim. Even when bamboo is the “plant source” used to create rayon, no traits of the original plant are left in the finished product.

Companies that claim a product is “bamboo” should have reliable evidence, like scientific tests and analyses, to show that it’s made of actual bamboo fiber.

August 2009

Related Article: Picking Apart Bamboo Couture.

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Winter's Garden Pondering

From The National Gardening Association

Let's make one thing perfectly clear: winter is not my favorite season. It's cold and there is ice and snow. Yet I find myself enjoying it for a variety of reasons. For one thing, it is the interlude when I'm not totally wracked with guilt for not working in the garden 24/7. (Already the plant and seed catalogs are luring me into thinking I can, once again, have and do it all.)

But from a more positive perspective, winter actually makes me more aware of plants, the landscape, and my environment. Read the entire article.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Destroying God's Art

by Donna L. Watkins

When Benjamin was little, we had drawings and schoolwork papers all around the house - on the refrigerator, walls and doors. We made our greeting cards for each other and I still have some of those close at hand in my night stand beside the bed. Benjamin is now 30, but I treasure them even more now than I did when they were being given abundantly.

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - Macro of Bull Thistle Flower
What causes us to decorate with such silliness? These drawings are obviously worthless in the realm of the art world. The ceramic mug that sits on my desk that our son made would not bring a dollar at an auction, and yet you couldn't buy it from me for a million dollars. Why do we value such things? Because we value the people who made them.

Romans 1:20 says, "For 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, so that men are without excuse." NIV

This passage of Scripture tells us that we see God's eternal power and divine nature in what He has made. Do we value that? Christians are known as the most heartless of peoples when it comes to preserving God's Creation. This turns an enormous amount of people away from The Church because it's unfathomable to them that these people who call themselves children of God place no value on the things that He created for us all so that we might know Him. That we might enter into a realm of knowing the invisible qualities of God, 'His eternal power and divine nature' which is clearly seen in what He has made.

Edward Brown, in Our Father's World, says this: "The biggest reason for caring for God's Creation has nothing to do with the extent or the severity of the crisis, the number of people affected, or even the ultimate future of the human race. It has to do with one simple fact: I know the God who made it all. And I love Him. If I can place a high price on things that have little or no objective value simply because they were made by one of my children, how much more ought I to value and care for this amazing world God made - this world that is precious because He made it, and that represents an excellence and beauty far beyond anything that any of us could begin to comprehend, let alone make on our own."

Colossians 1:15-16 says, "He [Jesus Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him." NIV

The person of the Trinity that created it all was Jesus. By Him all things were created. He is the sustainer of Creation, the power that holds it all together. Scientists have studied electrons and atoms and DNA, forever trying to figure out how things are held together, especially when you consider the entire universe. We who have accepted Him as our Savior have a covenant relationship with Him. This relationship should be much deeper than any other relationship we will have on this earth. How can I not have a passionate love for all He has made to show me who He is and to be able to know Him better through it? Should we care so little about it being destroyed?

God didn't make the world for you or me. His Word says He made it for Himself, but He put us in charge of it. We were commanded to steward it. But why are we to steward this earth? Most Christians say that the earth will burn up anyway, so why care? Edward Brown says, "This is hardly a serious point of view, and usually evaporates with a simple analogy. I will sometimes pretend to hand such a person a pack of cigarettes and ask them, quite seriously, why they don't smoke. 'Your body is just going to die anyway - and rot in the grave. So why not?' We know we have to care for our bodies, as temporary as they are, and almost everybody understands immediately that the same logic applies to caring for creation."

The Enemy delights in knowing God's children are not caring for His Creation, just as he is delighted when we abuse our bodies with drugs, junk foods and bad thinking. What would happen to the poor if we got involved with social justice and stopped the chemical dumping. Environmental issues are not just for the earth, they are all about the poor who suffer most from the destruction. Mobilization of a church takes no resources that aren't already established. Activities and programs in place can include this aspect of relationship with God.

When our mindset is on the world around us, we will spend less on ourselves because we will feel connected to each other and God. That will give us more to contribute to the causes our hearts want to give to. Because we are so disconnected from the way God intended us to live, we spend our money on ourselves continually trying to fill those empty spots that nothing but God can fill. We don't have to live in poverty to be able to give the lost and dying. My point is that we don't have to live with the enormous burdens of debt that accumulates from a superficial lifestyle.

Mary Ellen Edmunds says it well: “We buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like.”

Where do you go when you want to retreat with God? To one of the beautiful places in His Creation. Those places are becoming more and more polluted and many of them have been totally eliminated. When we preserve those "green spaces" and begin to reforest and replace them, we are creating temples to meet and deepen our relationship with our Father as we visit with the Master Artist surrounded by His handiwork.

No church ever lost money conserving energy. Families who recycle take notice of how much "stuff" they go through and begin thinking "less is more." When we reconnect to The Garden, we find that we don't need the gadgets to keep our minds numb, the excess food to nurture our souls, or the busyness that destroys family time. We can come back to not only a walk in The Garden with God, but into a more peaceful inner and outer lifestyle. Will you ponder these words and share your thoughts in the comments area with others? Will you be a steward of what God has created for Himself?

Related Articles:
How God holds everything together: Laminins Are God's Cellular Glue

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Magnetic Monarchs

Psalm 89:12: "The north and the south thou hast created them: Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy name."

Scientists have always wondered whether monarch butterflies have built in compasses to help them in their fantastic migrations. After wintering in Mexico, monarchs head to their northern breeding ranges in the eastern United States and Canada.

Flying 1,000 miles a day and never having seen their breeding range, they find it every year. By the time they begin their migration south, they are the great-great-grandchildren of the individuals who left Mexico the previous spring. Yet, never having seen their wintering area, they find the same area in which their distant relatives wintered.

Researchers placed monarchs that were migrating south into a room shielded from the Earth's magnetic field. When the Earth's magnetic field was allowed to be normal in the room, released butterflies flew to the southwest, as they should.

When researchers set the room to have no magnetic influence, monarchs flew in all directions. And when researchers generated a magnetic field in the room opposite that of the Earth's, the butterflies flew northeast. Researchers add that this demonstration of compasses within the monarchs still does not fully explain the wonders of monarch migration.

Here at Creation Moments, we would say that it takes more faith to believe that monarchs and their migration habits evolved than to believe that these are the work of a wise and intelligent God Who also gave the Earth a magnetic field.

Prayer: Father, I am filled with wonder at all You have made. Thank You. Amen.

References: Science News, "Monarch butterflies use magnetic compasses," 11/27/99, p.343.


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River Detects Pollution in Real Time

Nature has gone wireless in Ireland, where scientists have outfitted a major river with sensors that detect spikes in pollution in real time.

Sensors recently placed at various points in the River Lee, near the city of Cork, send information on pollution levels back to a data center. Water managers can keep tabs on pollutants entering the river and, if need be, mount an immediate response.

Called the DEPLOY project, the program was developed as a cheaper alternative to sending out scientists to collect water samples several times a day. In addition, the technology can identify a disastrous influx of pollution, such as toxic industrial-chemical spills, before fish go belly up. Read the entire article.

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Growing Things In Winter

Are you an intrepid winter gardener? Get some ideas and share your own cold-weather growing tips with others on the Mother Earth News website.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Secrets of Resilient People

Everyone goes through tough times. Some people just navigate them better.

'We cried for two solid months.' That's how Deborah Robinson describes the painful period in 2002 when her husband, Jim, was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. Just 57 at the time, Jim was soon unable to work or drive, and Deborah became his primary caregiver, while continuing to work for the Disney Corporation in Orlando. Yet she survived the inevitable progression of Jim's disease, and his death in 2007, by reframing the situation in the most positive terms possible.

'I decided that we would rise above it, and it would be our finest hour,' says Deborah, 54. She signed up for an Alzheimer's education program, joined a support group of partners of Alzheimer's patients, and asked for help from friends and family members. 'It was a time to focus on the limited number of years we had left and make the best of them,' she says."

Robinson could be the poster child for resilience, the ability to rebound quickly from a crisis or trauma. Highly resilient people don't fall apart—at least not for long. They call on their inner strength and recruit outside resources to keep moving forward. And they tweak their future expectations to fit their new reality, be it the loss of a loved one, a life-changing diagnosis, or a devastating financial blow. "Resilient people are like trees bending in the wind," says Steven M. Southwick, M.D., professor of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine. "They bounce back." Read the entire article.

Earth Ministry How-To

Every day we are faced with making choices. We must balance all of the competing demands on our time and our wallet, from our family and our work. We must make decisions that benefit ourselves, our family, and the environment.

So what are we to do as individuals concerned for the environment? Just as it describes in I Corinthians 12, each of us has different gifts and different roles to play in the body of Christ, and so too it is with creation care. We must learn to embrace the gifts we have been given.

If you are looking for your place in the faith-based environmental movement, we want to help you find your way. There are several ways for individuals and families to take part in caring for creation. Read the entire article.

Therapy Dogs and Hospital Superbugs

Therapy dogs that visit hospital patients and nursing home residents can readily spread dangerous, antibiotic-resistant microbes unless handlers take careful precautions.

Researchers at the University of Guelph in Canada followed 26 pet therapy dogs on visits and looked for the antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria called MRSA and two other types that have become entrenched menaces in health care settings.

In tests prior to visits, none of the germs showed up on dogs or the people working with them. But during a hospital tour, one dog's paws picked up Clostridium difficile, a sometimes deadly stomach bug that plays a role in hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations each year. The greyhound had shaken paws with several patients. Read the entire article.

Silver Fights The Germ War

Antibiotics are becoming more potent and dangerous as their failure rate increases. They are also the cause of new strains of superbugs, like MRSA. Health care costs are rocketing out of control and bioterrorism is a real threat. We've stocked up on this item because of it's effective for many health ailments.

With a variety of viral flu outbreaks, e-coli contamination, and a host of other potential pandemics that create a strain on health in America, the new Silver Shield solution and gel offers a fighting chance in germ warfare.

"Silver has undergone rigorous testing and has been found to kill anthrax, bubonic plague, hospital staph and SARS. In short, we currently do not have anything with such a wide spectrum of efficacy in our inventory." General P.K. Carlton, M.D., Director of Integrative Center for Homeland Security. Read the entire article.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ridding The Clutter of Your Life

From AARP Magazine

All those memories of things past can be a real deterrent to moving forward. Tossing things we don't need can free up more than closet space. A hallowed New Year's tradition occurs each January, when millions of us start kidding ourselves. We vow that this will be the year we keep the one resolution that invariably appears on our personal to-do list:

Clean out the clutter in our basements, attics, closets, and home offices. We can't even bear to think of what's stashed under beds or in the borrowed storage space in a relative's garage.

We all have cherished possessions that are freighted with meaning, and until we understand what that meaning is, we resist dealing with the messes that surround us. So can what I call future syndrome: "I might need this again sometime." But once we find a way to clear out what is no longer relevant to our lives—whether that be objects, activities, or even people—we open a path to look at all the parts of our lives and determine what matters to us now, not in the past or in the future.

So how do we let go of all that irrelevant stuff? The most effective way in my experience is to face the practical and emotional aspects of the problem at the same time. Read the entire article.

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Get Close to God This Year

by Donna L. Watkins

I love my God time every day, but there are times and seasons where God just seems to be so near.
© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - Juvenile Yellow-rumped Warbler

I know God speaks to us all the time ... but depending on where our hearts are, we may not always hear or hear correctly. I love being led of God as to what books to read and recently I ordered a book titled, "The Fear of the Lord," by John Bevere.

One of my Scripture cards that I have by my rebounder is Proverbs 3:7-8: "Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones."

I have strong bones. I've never broken anything in 59 years, but my joints sure aren't doing too well. I've also been asking god to show me where I am wise in MY eyes and not seeing through HIS and anytime I see "fear of the Lord" it puts a blip on my mental screening since what we think of as fear, is not what this Hebrew word means. The fear of the Lord means profound love and deep respect ... most people tend to think of Him with a big hammer when they read this verse because many earthly fathers were like that.

So ... God always listens to us and chooses the best timing for all things. I guess my heart was really open and ready to receive some answers to these questions and I've been truly enjoying this book that has included a few surprises.

Have you ever wondered how somebody can preach and people respond for salvation or healing or whatever ... and yet you know, or find out at some point in their lives, that they're not walking in holiness? Well ... here's a segment from John Bevere's book that dug deeper into that topic:

"We must remember that the gifts of the Spirit can be in operation in those who are still not pleasing to the Lord. When the anointing of God comes, it does not necessarily mean that it is accompanied by the approval of God. Jesus warned that many will come to Him in the day of judgment and say they had cast out demons, prophesied, and done many wonders in His anme, yet He will say to them, "Depart, you who practice lawlessness!"

We must keep in mind God's purpose for creation. He did not put Adam in the garden to have a wonderful preaching, healing, or deliverance ministry. No, Adam was placed in the garden so God could walk with him. God wanted a relationship with Adam, but the relationship was cut off due to Adam's disobedience.

We have been created for God, to coexist with His glory. But disobedience cannot exist within us if we are to please God. The accurate measurement of our true spiritual condition lies in our actual obedience to His will. There can be an anointing on our lives, yet we may still be far from God's heart. Consider the examples of Judas, Balaam, and King Saul: each operated in the anointing but fell short of walking in God's glory because of their selfish motives.

God does not raise His children for the purpose of performing miracles. God spoke through Balaam's donkey in the Old Testament, but that did not make this beast of burden a habitation of God's glory! For the past six millennia God has been patiently working on a temple for Himself, formed by His obedient children who love and fear Him."

We are to be His temple. God is definitely a lot deeper than we understand with our finite minds, but 2 Corinthians 2 says, "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man, The things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit."

The Holy Spirit will tell us. John 14:26 Jesus said, ".. the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." We need to invest the time into knowing Him more than we know anybody else in our lives because He will be the only one that will carry us through every day of our life ... with a guarantee we can have for life to never end, since salvation allows us to begin living in eternity at the moment of conversion. We never see death.

A new year always gets me interested in digging deeper into the things I have a passion for ... and God is always on that list. I hope you've set some spiritual goals and resolutions. Regardless of what the year brings ... you will have the grace to be filled with peace and joy.

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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:
© 2010 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from The link to use is:

Build a Greenhouse or Guesthouse

The idea behind my greenhouse/guesthouse concept is to build a greenhouse that has everything you need to live, and not a centimeter to waste. But you don’t have to use it as a greenhouse. It can be a guesthouse or an energy-efficient small home.

The design is flexible, so you can incorporate whatever recycled materials you can find. Even if you buy some of the materials and hire a bit of help, you can build a greenhouse for about $3,800.

If you plan to use the building as a greenhouse, use insulated, wood-framed windows that aren’t coated with low-e or solar film, because the coating limits heat gain. Adequate thermal mass and a well-insulated floor and walls are necessary to store enough heat for a couple of days without sun. Thermal mass, such as concrete, brick or stone, helps moderate heat, tempering the thermal swings throughout the day and night.

To make a guesthouse, include a loft large enough for a double bed upstairs — the warmest part of the building — for cozy winter nights. Read the entire article.

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Inherit Peace

From The Word For You Devotional

Paul said, "Let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your heart" (Col. 3:15). Peace is your birthright. Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you" (John 14:27). Just because Jesus left His peace to us doesn't mean it automatically operates in our lives.

It's a reserve we must draw from every day. And the enemy will do everything he can to deplete it. He knows when you're in turmoil you do and say things you later regret, plus, when you've lost your peace it's harder to hear from God.

Anxiety is often our first reaction to conflict or problems. In those moments getting peaceful may seem disloyal or apathetic. Subconsciously we think "if I care, I'll worry. If this is important, I must stay upset." It's a misguided belief that the outcome will be positively affected by the amount of time we spend worrying.

No, your best problem-solving resource is peace. Solutions arise more easily and naturally out of a peaceful state, whereas, fear and anxiety block solutions. Anxiety empowers the problem: it doesn't help to harbor turmoil.

God's peace is available if you choose it. So, refuse to let negative emotions run amok in your life. The Bible says, "When the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce in us peace" (Gal. 5:22). Jesus said, "Do not let your hearts be troubled" (Jn 14:1). That means you have the option of choosing between peace and inner conflict. So choose peace - it's your inheritance!

Help For Dogs Who Hate Thunderstorms

Dog owners who spend many a stormy night struggling to get some sleep while a panting, drooling, trembling pet climbs around on top of them know that the fear of thunder can be a tricky problem to solve.

Dogs with the condition often look to their owners for comfort, yet are in such a state of panic, they are inconsolable. And it can be hard to know how to soothe an upset dog without unwittingly reinforcing its anxiety.

Potential remedies include medication, desensitizing the dog to thunder and training it to retreat to a safe place when a storm hits. There is also canine 'thunderwear' such as earmuffs, head halters and swaddling attire, including a snug leotard for animals called a sheep suit, that can help calm stressed-out dogs.Read the entire article for unique options.

Brown-headed Cowbird - Murderer

From Lee's Birdwatching Website

If you were a bird, you wouldn’t want to become friends with this Brown-head Cowbird. No sir-ree, Buckaroo. It would exploit you to no end! Cowbirds are users and movers, especially when it comes to moving with cattle. They received their name due to the fact they feast on bugs flushed from the grasses of grazing cattle and buffalo. They know how to get an easy and cheap meal.

Brown-headed Cowbirds are aves belonging to the genus Molothrus in the family Icteridae. They are brood parasitic New World birds. (Parasitic involves taking advantage of the hospitality of another or others without providing any proper return. Birds of certain species, known as hosts, will raise the young of other birds—including Cowbirds.)

Brown-headed “Cowgirl” birds will take hosting advantage of songbirds by laying eggs in their nests, which enables them to remain mobile and secured to a herd of cattle. No female Cowbird has been known to build a nest and brood her own young, therefore this appears to be the original way God created her. She believes her only duty is to place her eggs in a nest where her chicks will receive proper care. Cowbird mothers seem to detect that small songbirds are quite receptive. Usually she will implement small Sparrow nests—placing one egg in each nest.

To explain the process, the calculating female Cowbird will locate a potential host by perching in a location that has a great view during the early morning hours. She will observe the behavior of possible host females that are building nests.  Get lots of information on birds at Lee's Birdwatching Adventures website.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Green Living Saves Money

Nancy Sleeth is the author of Go Green Save Green, a book that reminds people that taking care of the environment is actually about respecting God and your neighbor.

She and her husband Matthew, a former ER physician, are the co-directors of Blessed Earth, a non-profit organization that draws attention to the issue and the practice of creation care. It’s been a long journey for this eco-friendly couple, one which Nancy says was both environmental and spiritual in nature.

Now, Nancy has published her own thorough guide to the green life. Go Green Save Green includes chapters on everything from transportation to church, with practical tips and charts on how one can begin living a conscious and communal life.

“My main goal is to have people love God and love their neighbors by taking better care of creation,” said Nancy. “That’s absolutely it. It’s about my journey, and sharing it with other people. Read the entire article.

Miracle of Cells in the Womb

From Creation Moments.

Job 10:10-11: "Did you not pour me out like milk, and curdle me like cheese, clothe me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews?"

We all know that we each started out as a single cell in our mother's womb. Then those cells began to divide and within 21 days we had a working nervous system and a beating heart. How did all those new cells know how to hook up to each other to knit together our nerve connections? How did other cells know to hook up with each other to make our circulatory system, or form the heart?

A fascinating new theory has now been proposed, based on the fact that every cell in your body has the same active genes that your nose uses to enable you to smell. Known as olfactory genes, these genes have no known reason to be active in every one of your cells. Mammals and humans have more than a thousand different olfactory genes.

One or another of these crisscrosses each of your cell seven times. Researchers already knew that these genes were crucial to the development of your sense of smell as you formed in your mother's womb. As you formed, the nerve cells in your nose sent out growths, called axons, toward your brain. Each of those axons finally grew into the part of the brain called the olfactory bulb. Once there it hooked up with the cell designed to sense the specific scent detectable by the nerve cell in your nose that sent it out.

It has now been proposed that olfactory genes are active in every one of our cells because this same method of wiring our noses for smell is used to link all our cells as we form in the womb. If so, this system of knitting our unborn bodies together is an elegant and precise product of a loving Creator. You weren't put together by chance or by mindless forces.

Prayer: Father, I thank You that You hand made me and still love me. Amen.

References: John Travis, Dialing up an Embryo, Science News, v.154, p.106.
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Winter Hanging Basket

From Birds and Blooms

Instead of purchasing a winter flower arrangement, I made my own from a hanging basket. I used different varieties of holly, blue-spruce cuttings, magnolia leaves and pinecones. The arrangement lasted several months and was attractive from both inside and out. -- Janet Walsh, Bel Air, Maryland

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

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Toxic Industrial Chemicals Found in Cats And Dogs

In the first study of its kind, Environmental Working Group found that American pets are polluted with even higher levels of many of the same synthetic industrial chemicals that researchers have recently found in people, including newborns.

The results show that America’s pets are serving as involuntary sentinels of the widespread chemical contamination that scientists increasingly link to a growing array of health problems across a wide range of animals—wild, domesticated and human.

Just as children ingest pollutants in tap water, play on lawns with pesticide residues, or breathe in an array of indoor air contaminants, so do their pets. But with their compressed lifespans, developing and aging seven or more times faster than children, pets also develop health problems from exposures much more rapidly.

The National Research Council has found that sickness and disease in pets can inform our understanding of our own health risks (NRC 1991). And for anyone who has lost a pet to cancer or another disease potentially linked to chemical exposures, this sentinel role played by pets becomes a devastating personal loss. Read the entire article and see toxicity charts.

God's Army of One

Everybody has a dream .... and reading about others who accomplish great things, even at a young age ... and even without a group to guide them. Read this inspiring story of Emily Blake who wanted to help children ... thousands of children ... and read about how she did it!

From Compassion Magazine:

"It never ceases to amaze me how diverse the army of God is. I think in our adult minds, we all too often differentiate between “adult tasks” and “children’s tasks,” but God doesn’t think that way. His foot soldiers include people of all ages from every nation.

Consider for a moment the job of fundraising. Now, I’m not talking about the summer phenomenon of lemonade stands that offer a refreshing cup of the tart but sweet drink for 50 cents. I’m talking about the task of raising tens of thousands of dollars. Most of us would not consider that a child’s job.

However, one 14-year-old wasn’t hindered by the adult mentality of the impossible. God instilled in young Emily Blake a passion for the possible.

While attending a church summer camp in 2007, Emily, then 12, heard the disturbing statistic that more than 25,000 children living in poverty die each day from such preventable causes as poor hygiene and lack of food. The young preteen looked around at the world she had grown up in and knew it didn’t have to be this way, so she .... " read the entire article.

Creation Care Info for Churches

This information is provided by The organizations and websites are not necessarily endorsed by us since we've not viewed every single resource here.
An independent ecumenical agency that helps churches answer the call to care for all of God's creation and to develop ministries that are faithful, effective, and relevant in working toward social justice and environmental sustainability.
Creation Care for Pastors, a Web site designed to serve pastors who are interested in a growing emphasis within the Christian community called "Creation Care” applying biblical principles of stewardship to the environment.
Contains reviews of sixty-six references encompassing study guides, interactive exercises, and videos to be used in church and school classrooms. This is a service of eco-justice ministries.
Greening Congregations Handbook: Stories, Ideas, and Resources for Cultivating Creation Awareness and Care in Your Congregation (Earth Ministry) A toolbox for fostering creation awareness and care in congregations. The handbook has a greening congregation process to help develop an enduring, creationhonoring focus within all dimensions of congregational life.
Creation Recorded sermons specifically centered on God's view of creation. Some recordings are free, while others may be purchased for a minimal fee.

Blessed Earth is an educational nonprofit that inspires and equips faith communities to become better stewards of the earth. Through outreach to churches, campuses and media we build bridges that promote measurable environmental change and meaningful spiritual growth.

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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