Monday, February 28, 2011

Coming Out of Egypt

by Donna L. Watkins

I have received so much good from many health issues I've had and have.  Although healing is God's desire for us as we uncover the sins and iniquities of our own or past generations passed down, but God's promise in Romans 8:28 ("And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him ... ") is true in my life, because after running all around the world for answers, I've come to realize that loving God with all my heart, soul, strength and mind (Luke 10:27) is the true answer.

Let me assure you, I have not arrived yet and I believe there is no arrival here on earth since we will not be able to fathom His holiness and glory until we are in His presence and then it will take eternity as He reveals layer upon layer of His glory to us.

I have been so very blessed by many books that I've read over the years, but there are few that have totally changed the way I see things. The first relating to health was Henry Wright's book, "A More Excellent Way" which showed me that there are spiritual roots to most diseases and that disease is usually a spiritual issue. It took years to absorb and renew my belief systems about that, but it has made my healing path possible. We can't expect something to happen if deep inside we don't believe it can. That book turns the head around about what is at the root of many many diseases.

Now, I can say another book that I've read two times has certainly changed my world and life around again, along with my husband's, praise God. That book is John Bevere's, "A Heart Ablaze: Igniting a Passion for God" that I've also read twice.   I began with another of his books, "The Fear Of The Lord: Discover the Key to Intimately Knowing God," that I've also read twice.

These are books that require you to make a choice for God or the world. They are not light-hearted books, but I believe in these times, God is drawing more of us to His heart and we will desire more of Him as He does so. The end result being that nothing else will satisfy our wounded and longing hearts that have been battered and bruised by this world. He truly can be a shelter for us in the midst of any storm and He will bring us out renewed and restored, able to truly do all things, in the circumstances of our world, through Him.  I'm not talking about legalism here ... it's freedom and grace living at its finest.

God gave us promises that we would not have the diseases of Egypt (a prototype of the world system then and now) for all in the Old Testament is a prototype of what came in the New Testament through Jesus. We remember the promises He gave us in Deuteronomy ... but we don't always focus on the "if clause" to know what was required to activate those promises and we surely don't want to consider that we may be doing the things that God said would bring curses.

It's easier to say the Old Testament is 'old' and not for today, but the Bible says, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto good works" (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

We live in a culture of being told we can have it our way and get whatever we desire with our own intelligence and strength. We don't want to read much about obedience and God's requirements for success, prosperity and health because it takes away our "rights" of getting to do as we please. We can become a subculture of the world's system, separated only by the designated titles of "saved" or "Christian" without any change of behavior or renewing of the mind.

We look and act just like the world (Egypt) rather than being "separate and holy" as God required (2 Cor. 6). Do we want to be a child of God or a child of the world? God desires to live with us and walk with us, but He's a holy God and cannot do so if we choose to live "of the world." Separate means unconnected, not united, distinct. Are Christians distinct from non-believers? Does anybody know we're a Christian without our saying so?

These are things to think about .... and I've been grateful to have John Bevere's book paint a picture for me and my husband. We want to be one of the brides that are ready for the bridegroom when He comes. I never thought much about this Scripture (Matthew 7:23-24):

"Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'"

Do you realize Jesus is talking to those who believed in Him. These were Christians that performed miracles, healed and cast out demons and called Him Lord, but when it came time to enter into eternity, they got a reply from Jesus asking them why they called Him Lord, when they did not do what He said. They were doing their own thing. Maybe good things in the church and for the church ... but not what Jesus' words had told us to do and be.

Often "good" is the devil's best tool to drive us to Hell. We can do good things to fulfill our own desires of what makes us feel good and what fits well into our schedules, but are we sincerely open to do and be only what Jesus wants us to be? A sobering question.

Jesus said, "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock" (Matthew 7:25). How much time do we spend reading His Words? These days you don't even take your Bible to church on Sundays. Some messages from the pulpit are so culturally relevant that they don't even include a Scripture, or it's misinterpreted to fit the culture.

We are in the times when Jesus return could be today. All the prophetic signs given by Jesus have been evident and have come to pass and are coming to pass. Will we be like those in the day of Noah? "For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark" (Mattew 24:38). Are we spending time with the one we expect to spend eternity with? Do we truly know Him as Lord? Do we desire to be with Him more than movies, magazines, newspapers, email, Facebook and Twitter? How easy it is to get carried away with the toys of this world.

God created us for fellowship with Him. That is the first and foremost calling on our lives. He can't use us if we are not in tune with His desires for us. We can be busy with church, volunteering and sacrifices in all areas of life ... but God desires obedience, not sacrifice. Consider Hebrews 10:8-9: "Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them (although the law required them to be made). Then he said, 'Here I am, I have come to do your will.' He sets aside the first to establish the second."

Will we set aside the first (love of ourselves) for the second (obedience to God)? It's an individual choice that we all make. Consider what 2 Timothy 3 says, "But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power ... "

Do you find yourself in that list anywhere? I certainly do. When we bow before a holy God each morning, He will reveal to us things that we knew not were present within ourselves. The god of this world would have us enjoy the world and forget about eternity ... but it's time to depart Egypt and come into the Promised Land of milk and honey. Will you go? Israel left the ground of Egypt, but they never got Egypt out of their hearts and all of God's promises to them remained unfulfilled, not because He wasn't willing, but because they weren't willing. They died without seeing the Promised Land.

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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:

Canine Joint Disease - Does Your Dog Have It?

Unfortunately, arthritis is one of the most common conditions affecting dogs in America today. In 2008, arthritis was listed among the top ten disease conditions in dogs (source: VPI). According to recent data, there are as many as 10 million dogs currently suffering from the chronic pain of joint disease, and one in five dogs will develop arthritis or joint disease during their lifetimes.

Otherwise known as degenerative joint disease, arthritis is caused by the loss of cartilage that covers the tips of bones in movable joints, such as the elbow, shoulder, hip, knee, etc. Arthritis is generally a wear-and-tear disease seen more often in older dogs. As a result of continual rubbing, the cartilage wears away leaving bone ends exposed to each other. Since there are no nerve endings in the cartilage, no pain is felt until the cartilage is worn away; but when that happens, the edges of bones rub together causing pain and inflammation.

Arthritis can also occur in younger dogs as a result of genetic conditions, such as hip and elbow dysplasia. Canine arthritis is similar to human arthritis in that it cannot be cured, but the silver lining is that arthritis in dogs is not a hopeless condition. There are many effective treatments available to ease symptoms, slow progression of the disease and to help ensure your dog’s quality of life.

In this video, Dr. Sarah explains how to determine whether or not your dog might be suffering from this all-too-common disorder, as well as tips about how to manage pain and other symptoms should your dog be diagnosed with degenerative joint disease. View video.

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GreenScaping Our Yards Saves Time and Money

Our yards are our outdoor homes: fun, beautiful, great spaces for relaxing. By taking care of our lawns and gardens properly, we can save money, time, and help the environment.

GreenScaping encompasses a set of landscaping practices that can improve the health and appearance of your lawn and garden while protecting and preserving natural resources. In nature, soil recycles dead plants into nutrients for new plant growth. Plants are adapted to the water, sun and soil available in their site.

Maintaining a wide variety of healthy plants, soil organisms, beneficial insects and animals can keep most pests and diseases in check. By working with nature, you can have a great-looking yard that's easier to care for, cheaper to maintain and healthier for families, pets, wildlife and the environment. How? Start with these five steps.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pray This Prayer of Peace Over Yourself

From Roy Lessin's Website.

Lord Jesus, I thank You that You are the Prince of Peace and that You have promised to give me Your peace. I receive Your peace, the peace that passes all understanding, the peace that assures me of Your presence, the peace that confirms Your love, the peace that guards my every thought and each emotion.

Thank You that You have come, not to trouble me, but to give me Your rest; not to confuse me, but to give me clarity; not to bind me, but to free me; not to stress me, but to quiet me. Thank You for a peace that endures the trial, overcomes the battle, conquerors the foe, and keeps me steady through the storm.

Thank You, Lord, for complete peace, for perfect peace, for a peace that keeps my heart from being troubled. Come now and fill me with Your peace. Thank You for the perfect peace that comes when I put my trust in You. Let it wash over me and flood my innermost being. Show me the ways of peace, keep me in the paths of peace, guide me in the decisions that lead to peace. Jesus, be my peace today.

Scriptures: Isaiah 9:6, John 14:27, Luke 1:79, Philippians 4:6-7, Psalm 29:11, Psalm 55:18, Psalm 85:8, Isaiah 26:3, 32:17, 54:10, 57:19, Romans 14:17, 15:33, Colossians 3:15

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Scripture Cards - Part Four

The explanation and beginning of the Scripture Cards can be found here. This is the last of them. Thank you to those of you who encouraged me to do this and for your appreciative emails. I've been blessed by it also.

I memorized Psalm 91 many years back and it has served me extremely well in many, many situations. I did it one verse at a time meditating on as much as I knew daily. I would say it out loud every morning and at night when I went to bed. It's the only entire chapter in the Bible that I've ever memorized. Don't let the length of anything that the Holy Spirit leads you to memorize discourage you. It can easily be done over time.

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High God shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, 'My God, in Him I will trust." Surely He shall deliver me from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover me with His feathers, and under His wings I shall take refuge. His Truth shall be my shield and buckler. I shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day. Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall by my side and ten thousand at my right hand, but it shall not come near me. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. I will make the Most High my habitation, even the Lord who is my refuge - then no harm shall befall me, no disaster will come near my tent. For He will command His angels concerning me, to guard me in all my ways. They will lift me up in their hands that I might not strike my foot against a stone. I will tread upon the lion and the cobra. I will trample the great lion and the serpent. "Because she loves me," says the Lord, "I will rescue her; I will protect her, for she acknowledges my name. She will call upon me and I will answer her, I will be with her in trouble, I will deliver her and honor her. With long life will I satisfy her and show her My salvation." (Psalm 91)

Contentment is realizing that God has already provided everything I need for my present and future happiness. The secret of contentment is enjoying the presence of the Lord. (Institute in Basic Life Principles)

The chief end of man is to know God and to enjoy Him forever. (Westminster Shorter Catechism)

When we expect from possessions and people what only God can give, those become idols. (Unknown)

The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; Your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of Your hands. (Psalm 138:8)

You will keep me in perfect peace, because my mind is steadfast and I trust in You. (Isaiah 26:3)

Last year we had a wonderful time visiting the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, NC, and although we don't normally buy souvenirs, we felt led to purchase a mug for each of us with a Scripture on it. We had been wanting larger mugs for our herbal tea so it was a good fit. They were each packaged in a box, so we were surprised when we opened them at home that they each had scripture cards to go with the scripture that was on the mug, and a mini-devotional related to the scripture. What a treat since both of ours were different, and mine have been a continual encouragement to me and a great addition to my Scripture Cards stack. The following are the three that were in my box:

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) Before time began, God created a design and plan for our life. This design weaves us into the tapestry of history. We bring unique gifts and talents to the design, and add to its richness of color and texture. Only we can fill that section of the pattern. But sometimes, sin gets in the way, unraveling God's design. Only when we submit again to the Lord and ask for His guidance in our life will we truly understand the hope that comes from fulfilling the plans God created just for us. (© 2008 Lighthouse Christian Products Co.)

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9) When we face difficult or challenging situations, we can crumble into our weakness or we can choose to trust God. He's already promised us that He's with us at all times. He won't leave us alone. Now, it's up to us to take Him at His word. If we trust Him day by day, He'll give us the strength and courage we need to face whatever comes our way. Wherever we go, we can tap into that strength and courage so we can do anything. It's His power that flows through us with every step we take. (© 2008 Lighthouse Christian Products Co.)

Put your hope in the Lord. Travel steadily along His path. He will honor you by giving you the land. (Psalm 37:34) God's timing isn't always our timing. We tend to want things to happen now. We don't want to wait. From our finite viewpoint, we can't see the entire picture. But, God has an eternal perspective. From His point of view, the things we think are important don't amount to much. God thoughtfully created us with a specific purpose in mind. And, His timing is perfect. So when we think things are moving too slowly in our life, we need to wait. God is moving everything into its proper place. (© 2008 Lighthouse Christian Products Co.)

O how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me. (Psalm 119: 97-98)

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Eco-Schools USA

Eco-Schools is an internationally acclaimed program that provides a framework to help educators integrate sustainable principles throughout their schools and curriculum.

The Eco-Schools program was started in 1994 by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) with support by the European Commission. It was identified by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) as a model initiative for Education for Sustainable Development in 2003. The Eco-Schools program strives to model environmentally sound practices, provide support for greening the curriculum and enhance science and academic achievement. Additionally, it works to foster a greater sense of environmental stewardship among youth.

As of October, 2009, Eco-Schools is currently being implemented by 46 delegations in 47 countries around the world, involving 30,000 schools, 8 million students, 400,000 teachers and 4,000 local authorities. Read the entire article.

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The Great Wind Scam

Thanks to my friend, Genevieve Frere in Canada, who submitted this post.

The Great Wind Scam
By Jack Kelly

11 January, 2011

England is experiencing its coldest winter in a century. The cold has been all the more biting for some because many of the 3,150 wind turbines Britain increasingly depends upon to generate electricity haven't been working.

"With demand for power at record levels because of the freezing weather, there have been days when the contribution of our forests of wind turbines has been precisely nothing," wrote Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail Dec. 27.

"It gets better," Mr. Littlejohn continued. "As the temperature has plummeted, the turbines have had to be heated to prevent them from seizing up. Consequently, they have been consuming more electricity than they generate."

No nation has placed greater emphasis on wind and solar energy than Spain. On eight separate occasions early in his presidency, Barack Obama cited the "green" policies enacted by Spain's socialist government as the model for what he wants for America.

President Obama doesn't talk so much about Spain anymore. Could this because Spain has, at over 20 percent, the highest unemployment rate of any major country in Europe? (The average for the 27-member European Union is half that.) Because Spain has a debt so huge it is on the brink of default? Or because Spain has the highest electric utility rates in the EU?

When Gabriel Calzada, an economist at a private think tank in Spain, issued a report in 2009 which said each wind energy job the government created cost Spanish taxpayers $1.4 million in subsidies, and destroyed 2.2 jobs in the private sector, the Zapatero government went ballistic. But a government report leaked last May indicated the job loss has been even greater than Mr. Calzada feared. Spain is now cutting subsidies for wind and solar power.

The Calzada study also prompted panic in Obama appointees in the Department of Energy, who worked with wind energy lobbyists to craft responses to the study and to a column George Will wrote about it.

"What this shows is a shameless politicization of what should be a professional bureaucracy," said Investor's Business Daily in an editorial. "Instead of staying objective, they sought to scupper facts for ideologically motivated junk science."

I suppose it is natural for politicians to be attracted to wind power, since so many of them are blowhards. But if you think wind energy could replace a substantial amount of the fossil fuels we use, you must have slept through physics class in high school.

John Droz Jr. is an environmentalist who wants to find replacements for coal. But John Droz Jr. is also a physicist. All energy sources should be evaluated on their technical performance, the economics of the power produced, and their full environmental impact, he thinks.

"All independent evidence to date indicates that industrial wind power fails on all three of these critical counts," Mr. Droz says on his Web site,

Shivering Britons could give you an earful about technical performance. The wind doesn't blow all the time. Our Department of Energy assumes wind turbines will operate at about 30 percent of capacity, but actual experience in Europe and America has been much lower.

Further, the wind often doesn't blow when energy is needed most. Extreme wintertime cold comes from high pressure weather systems, which don't generate much wind.

According to the Energy Information Administration, the cheapest way to generate a kilowatt hour of electricity is to burn natural gas in a combined cycle unit. Clean coal is 43 percent more expensive; nuclear is 50 percent more expensive; wind is 88 percent more expensive.

The biggest problem with wind turbines is environmental. They're eyesores. They kill a lot of birds and bats. And they can make humans sick.

Dr. Nina Pierpont (an MD with a Ph.D in biology), in her book, "Wind Power Syndrome," documents that "low frequency noise and vibration generated by wind machines can have an effect on the inner ear, triggering headaches, difficulty with sleeping, tinnitus, learning and mood disorders, panic attacks, irritability."

Industrial wind turbines require enormous space. The electricity needs of a city of 300,000 can be met by a 500-megawatt coal plant, which would cover about 300 acres. Science writer Kurt Cobb estimated the wind turbines needed to generate 500 megawatts of electricity would cover 55 square miles (35,200 acres).

The only thing "green" about wind power, Dr. Droz says, "is the substantial profit being made by the developers and their paid supporters" as a result of government subsidies and mandates.

How high do you think the odds are that the 112th Congress is going to put an end to the Great Wind Scam soon?

Note: TTPer Skye on the Forum has posted a comment to this column that makes such a great addition you've got to see it. Thanks, Skye. Here it is:

Wind power has another inherent problem: big turbines increase water loss from the soil by about 30% downwind. Note that the wind belt in the US is a huge agricultural producer, and that in many years, rainfall is the limiting factor in crop production. A drought that could be tolerated without wind turbines could become a total loss for farmers downwind of the turbines.

Why does this happen? Simple - and unavoidable - physics. Because of friction, winds near the ground have less velocity than those a couple of hundred feet higher. That is why wind turbines are put on tall towers. The wind turbines necessarily mix higher altitude higher velocity air with lower altitude lower velocity air, thereby raising ground level air velocity.

Yes, energy is extracted from the wind, lowering its velocity at higher altitudes, but nevertheless, ground velocities are increased when towers of practical heights are used and the blade radius is a large percentage of the tower height. The increased ground level wind velocity causes increased evaporation from the soil and increased evapotranspiration from vegetation. The increased water loss is about 30%.

Lets suppose that you are growing wheat, and normally have 30" per year of rain. Let's suppose that you have a drought year that reduces the rain to 24" - big problem, but you can still bring in a reduced crop. Now suppose that your wheat farm is near to and downwind from a wind "farm". The increased water loss means that you now have, in effect, 17" of rain - wipeout.

In areas where irrigation is used, this means increased pumping and draw down of the aquifer. Oh-oh.

The environmental costs of wind power exceed the obvious noise and dead birds; in the American Midwest and West, increased water loss will be a big problem, particularly in years with below average rainfall.

Note, too, that the extensive subsidies (and State renewable portfolio mandates) will increase the use of this energy source and hence increase its environmental harm. The US has huge supplies of natural gas, and combined cycle (gas turbines with the hot exhaust heating a boiler that powers a steam turbine) power generation is most economic and environmentally sound.

Unfortunately, these subsidies have created a market for political influence peddling, just as has happened with the corn fuel ethanol mandates and subsidies. If the Republican house cannot defund the corn ethanol subsidies and enforcement of the Federalie mandates, there is little hope that they will be able to do the same for wind power.

In the case of corn fuel ethanol, the environmentalists - even including Al Gore - are unanimous in their opposition. Corn fuel ethanol will be a test case as to whether the House Republicans have the political will to eliminate a truly terrible program.

IMPORTANT: A great many investors - including farmers - have put huge amounts of their savings into corn-to-ethanol plants that would become worthless if the corn fuel ethanol subsidies and mandates are killed.

Under current tax law, capital losses can be written off against regular income to the extent of only $5,000 per year. A simple tax law change would make the end of corn fuel ethanol more palatable to these investors: allow the capital losses to be written off against regular income without limits, and allow these tax losses to be sold to the highest bidders.

A farmer in the 25% tax bracket could sell his capital investment loss in a corn-to-ethanol plant to someone in the 35% tax bracket, thereby mitigating that loss. Yes, this would cause a reduction in income tax receipts - but the law that limits the capital loses that can be deducted against regular income is terrible and should be repealed anyway. The Federalies are taxing capital gains without limit, but limiting the capital loss write off against regular income to only $5,000 per year. -- Skye

Jack Kelly is a former Marine and Green Beret and a former deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration. He is national security writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette .

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Great Fun Doing the Backyard Bird Count

I've been having a wonderful practice day with the annual Great Backyard Bird Count coming up.  The first bird I saw was a Cooper's Hawk landing on the black willow tree in front of the front porch.  I have a bird food buffet set up on the porch, so I know he watches over it now and then.  Diving into the bushes beside it hoping for one of the ground feeding birds.  So far, I haven't seen him get anything.

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Juvenile Cooper's Hawk in Black Willow Tree
First Bird on the Annual Great Backyard Bird Count

I've watched and counted as I have done my kitchen work and things around the house and just settled down to work at 2 PM, so I've been able to see 15 species today.  The highest count species was the Pine Siskins at 40 at one time.  I will count for all the days of the bird count, but you can do it for only 15 min. one day only and still be part of it.

The process is very simple.  You choose a time and count as many birds as you can during that time, taking the largest number of any species seen at the same time.  You don't add them up over the period of time you're watching. Get the Easy As 1, 2, 3 Details Here.

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Self-Hatred Is Sin

by Pastor Henry Wright

When you have Self-Hatred and you do not love yourself, even though you are commanded to love yourself, you have rejected the gospel of Christ and created another gospel. If you reject the knowledge that you are commanded to love God, yourself and others, and choose to participate with Self-Hatred, then God cannot bless you while you are living and thinking a gospel that is heresy to Him.

Self-Hatred is sin. It is occult because it establishes a way of thinking that is not God. Fear is incredibly occult because Satan is the most fearful being in the universe. Many diseases are the result of these character deficiencies and spiritual roots when you allow them to become part of your life.

When there is Occultism in a person, there is no rest. There is no mental peace. There is no spiritual peace with themselves, or with God or with others. Where there is a leavened thought process, there is only torment and fear. That is a tremendous proof of the power of occult influence. We become a god unto ourselves, even in our own health. It is just another form of disease management.

I consider most disease management to be occult in nature. Even though it seems to give relief, it does not give the solution. Everyone needs relief. But if you preach relief as being the finality of the gospel, you have erred and that is occult. Cohabitation with the enemy-just to have a better day-is occult thinking. To remove the enemy and just have a good day without him is superior thinking and that is the gospel.

Occultism can become a religious artifact to create a form of godliness and to manage you spiritually. Occultism has to be broken in a person's life in order for them to be totally healed. One of the Blocks to Healing is continued involvement in occult practices and mentality.

John 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

The truth that becomes a way of life for you always brings a place of rest; it always produces a fruit called rest. Jesus is called the Prince of Peace and said, "My peace I give unto you....." Hold out for that rest from heaven-that peace from heaven, not the peace that men can give.

Isaiah 28:12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.

Occultism always takes away and divides. The Kingdom of God always adds or multiplies things that are good for you.

Visit the Be In Health Website.

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Airships Returning For Transport

The world is becoming increasingly environmentally conscious but has thus far been unable to find a truly environmentally friendly solution for transporting. 609 million tons of pollution are estimated to be caused by this business sector each year.

Enter airships .... constructed without the need for a fossil fuel or other harsh contaminants and they can be recycled after their useful life.

Sounds too wonderful to be true!

The use of airships over long-haul trucking routes, cargo ships, and jets would reduce the demand for oil by 29% and dramatically reduce the need for offshore oil rigs. Imagine no more major catastrophies like the Exxon Valdez and the more recent accident in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s time for the world to push oil into the history books. Visit for more information.

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Pet Digestive Problems & Bleeding Intestines

This formula was originally developed by Jeanne Burgess because she had problems with chemical and food allergies, nerves, stress, flare-ups of colitis, crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome with inflammation and infection that caused the ileocecal valve to become inflamed and swollen. She needed a solution for intestinal bloating, indigestion, heartburn, spastic colitis and ulcers. Intestinal Soothe and Build was the relief for her.

Jeanne helped a lot of animals also since she was well known for herbal remedies for pets. Herbs work for our pets too. Here's a good news story from a cat owner that was sent to me:

"Our cat, Juliet, had problems with digestion and bleeding from the anus. I began using Intestinal Soothe and Build to deal with it herbally. I sprinkle one capsule over her dry food every morning. She has had no bleeding and her little rear end looks very healthy (she used to have some slight redness there, but that has gone away). She seemed rather suspicious of the herbs at first but I think she has gotten to like them. As a matter of fact I think she is becoming a real herb lover. I brought home a fresh cutting of peppermint and Miss Juliet went wild for it. It was very cute." S.F.H.

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146 Dams Threaten Amazon Basin

Although developers and government often tout dams as environmentally-friendly energy sources, this is not always the case. Dams impact river flows, changing ecosystems indefinitely; they may flood large areas forcing people and wildlife to move; and in the tropics they can also become massive source of greenhouse gases due to emissions of methane.

Despite these concerns, the Amazon basin—the world's largest tropical rainforest—is being seen as prime development for hydropower projects. Currently five nations—Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru—are planning over 146 big dams in the Amazon Basin.

Some of these dams would flood pristine rainforests, others threaten indigenous people, and all would change the Amazonian ecosystem. Now a new website, Dams in Amazonia, outlines the sites and impacts of these dams with an interactive map.


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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Newsletter - 2/15/11

Hello Dear Friends!

I hope you had a wonderful Valentine's Day.  It's a favorite holiday of mine and we had a very nice time celebrating.  One of the posts in this newsletter is about our celebration day which turned out a bit different than we had planned it.  

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Female Pileated Woodpecker
What we were most grateful for is that we were together and had each other ... so the setting for anything beyond that takes back seat.

One rare visitor to our front porch bird buffet is the huge Pileated Woodpecker.  This female is beginning to store up some fat for nesting season.  They've been drilling a tree in the back woods for a new location of a nest.  We had babies last year from another nest, so I guess part of that brood is staying around.  The males have a red "mustache" along the sides of their face, whereas the females are just black and white.  We have many different woodpeckers here, but these big ones (15-19" long) are such a treat to see.

Our flocks of American Robins have arrived and are working on eating the rest of the holly berries we have around the house.  The two trees in front of our porch were already cleared off by the bluebirds, mockingbirds and squirrels, but we have other bushes that have been full of berries this year.  They have been guzzling them down since they arrived last Friday.

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - American Robin at Birdbath
Robins are so pretty.  Some birds are easier to photograph and I consider robins one of the best.  I don't know if it's the coloring or the patterns that make some birds look better in photos than others, but robins sure do look great with those orange breast, white streaks under their chin and white rings around the eye.  

When they give you a dead on stare, they are just beautiful! I got one of those while I was filming a video of the robins drinking water from our small pond in the backyard.  View video.  They're also birds that will pause and ponder the situation, so you have time to get a shot without a blur of wings and movement.

This week's weather has been beautiful so far and it's supposed to last all week with Friday being 73.  Spring has arrived here at Bluebird Cove ... well, I can pretend for a little while.  I take one day at a time and enjoy the warm ones like there is no tomorrow.  

We've had a lot of game nights at our house since winter began.  We love to play games and are fortunate enough to have several sets of friends who do also.  Randal and I play games several times a week in winter and summer ... we play outside in the summer.  Our favorite games are RummiKub, Sequence, PayDay, BananaGrams, Monopoly Card Game, Blink, and Gin Rummy.  We have two card games that friends have taught us called Hand & Foot and May I?  So with all that variety, we're never bored.  

What games do you enjoy playing?  We'd love to have some new recommendations?  Leave your comment on the post page at the website (click on title of this post to get there if you're getting this by email).  The comments section is at the bottom of the post.  That way others who love games will be able to enjoy your favorites also.

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - 11 Pine Siskins Feeding on the Table
This winter we've had Pine Siskins for a long time.  There has been a huge flock visiting us front and back so I'm thankful we keep thistle seed since it seems to be their favorite.

At times there are 25-30 of them on the front porch feeding on the hanging thistle socks, on the porch floor, and from the pie pans filled with thistle and safflower seeds and sprinkled around the table between them.  

People visiting say, "The birds sure make a mess, don't they?"  My response is, "Actually I make the mess.  I sprinkle the seeds all over the table so there is more space to feed.  But the reality is that if I didn't do it, they would.  Especially the Carolina Wren.  They like to dig through the dishes for the dried mealworms and toss out all the seeds in the process.

Spring is soon here ... I'm looking for the daffodils!


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Country Drive With My Valentine

Randal and I had a wonderful day planned to visit several natural areas not far from home, recommended in the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail book for the Piedmont. Seemed that since we lived here over 10 years it would be quite appropriate. The area we chose was the Green Springs Loop although we were only going to cover stops two, five and six.

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - View From U.S. Highway 15
Green Springs Historic District, Virginia
Well, it was a pretty day as promised although cloudy now and then and a bit cooler due to the wind. We set off with high hopes of seeing a loon at our final stop along with a few more water birds that we'd never seen before.

We knew it would be a nice country drive and that we would find out what the Green Springs Historic District was all about. We'd seen the sign on the highway that we had traveled many times. We learned it encompasses over 14,000 acres in the piedmont of central Virginia. The homes and farms are a continuum of Virginia rural vernacular architecture, reflective and respectful of their location, preserved in their original context with little alteration. Here the landscape has been enhanced, rather than despoiled, by the presence of civilization.

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Brackett's Farm, circa 1790
Green Springs Historic District, Virginia
The highway that goes through it, U.S. Route 15, was always the area of the highway that we loved the most. When you passed the sign for the historical district, there was so much open beautiful land interspersed with forests and obvious historical estates at a far distance which enhanced the view of the whole scene.

Our first stop was Brackett's Farm which was established in 1790. As we entered it felt like we were riding on somebody's private driveway although it was part of the Trail, but when we came to the house and parking area, a sign did say something about Monday through Saturday, so we turned around and left. Much to the chagrin of a lonely-looking dog that had walked part way over to our car while we stopped to assess the situation.

So ... nothing at stop one.

We then proceeded through the towns of Louisa and Mineral skipping the town parks offered on the Trail, not expecting to see much in the winter there. When we arrived at the second stop, we realized that we might stay on the trail too long to really get a good long time at our third and most exciting stop, so we decided to skip that trail that led to a beaver pond and keep moving while we still had good light and it wasn't too cold.

We arrived at Lake Anna's Dike 3 which was a holding area for a nuclear power plant, so the water was warm which is why it attracted migratory birds. It was obviously full of fish to attract the birds also since the parking lot was pretty full of cars and it didn't take long to realize their weren't any birds to be seen. We crossed the bridge, with fisherman lined up even there to fish, and pulled off the road where there was a cove off of the main lake. I saw some birds in the water and our new binoculars told us they were Canada Geese.

Oh well ... at this point we were wondering what the celebration was for Valentine's?

We decided to head back home to cook our Valentine's meal, going back a different way than we had come, thanks to the GPS taking us in the wrong direction. But God brought some giggles into the ride and a feeling of His gift of love for Valentine's Day.

The first Valentine's God indicator was when we thought we'd gone too far on a gravel road. Since we were traveling slowly on the gravel, we felt like it had been enough time, so when we came to an intersection that wasn't the county road we were to turn on, we wondered if we'd passed it and decided to turn around. Then we saw what the road name was: Valentine Mill Road.

Sweet Heart Farm For Sale
Of course at the time, we didn't know this was going to be a first of others, so when we saw a farm for sale with a sign that had a heart on it, we had to pause and take a photo.  They had the same heart above the barn doors also.  Within the heart were the initials JAJ.  We wondered what it meant.  John and Jean?  Jack and Jill?

Then we noticed the actual name of the farm was also above the heart.  It was called Sweet Heart Farm.  How sad!  Were they having to sell because of our current economy?  Had they grown old together and died and now those who inherited it were selling?  All my possible answers only increased the sadness.  But we traveled on.

Although we had no bird photos that were acceptable from our Birding and Wildlife Trail excursion.  The geese were too far away for a clear picture and a lone seagull on a lake we passed by was also not very clear.

Our last surprise before we took a faster route home by the interstate, was a Valentine's bear in front of a house along the road.  The bear had a message to us from God which is our message to you also:

I Love You! 

Hoping you had a special day with people you love.  What are some of your traditions for Valentine's Day?  Let me know about them and/or how you spent this year's Valentine's by leaving a comment below the post.  If you're getting this by feed or email, click on the title of the post to go to the website.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

How Do We Love?

by Donna L. Watkins

Many times people, sadly, especially Christians, minimize efforts to save the earth or that loving the earth has anything to do with loving God.  

Psalm 140:12 says, "I know that the Lord maintains the cause of the needy, and executes justice for the poor." 

God also says in Proverbs 29:7 that "The righteous know the rights of the poor; the wicked have no such understanding."

"Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker" (Proverbs 14:31).

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - Hampton National
Historic Site - Towson, MD
Most of us in America don't realize the plight of the poor around the world and how it connects to the earth.  The poor always live on the margins of God's creation.

Culturally it used to be a shared Christian value to live in moderation, avoiding excess and sharing our resources with those less fortunate.

Now under the influence of advertising we store our "riches" in homes with twice as much space as is being used for anything other than to store more stuff.  The list goes on, but you can paint your own picture similar to the guy in Luke 12 who tore down his current barns and built new ones big enough to hold all he was being blessed with.

Dump sites aren't established in wealthy areas, toxins aren't dumped in lakes of resort communities, and death from environmental injustices (such as mountaintop mining) can't be fought by the poor, such as Appalachian people affected by it. Some three million pounds of explosives are detonated each day in West Virginia for coal mining, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, and the process shears up to 800 feet of elevation off each mountain peak. (Reference: Mountaintop Mining)

One lady, Judy Bonds, stayed to fight the battle of mountaintop mining, but in the process of the fight for over a decade, Judy died of lung cancer. She was the 9th generation of her family to reside in Marfork Hollow in West Virginia.  Her inspiration and motivation for the fight was her grandson who was 7 years old when she began.

© 2007 Donna L. Watkins - Ivy Creek Preserve Barn
Charlottesville, VA
There are hundreds of thousands of such stories around the world and in our own nation. Unless we, who are supposed to love, as God's representatives "execute justice for the poor" it will all go unnoticed because large corporations wield a lot of power in a consumeristic society.

Which brings me to excerpts from an article by Gordon Aeshliman, President of Target Earth International, that is titled, "Loving the Earth Is Loving the Poor."

Get your mind to a quiet place removed from simply scanning and rushing on to the next email or website ... ponder these thoughts deeply seeking what God is speaking to you personally. Remember the compassion that Jesus had as he walked among the poor and lowly of the earth in His time.

From Gordon:
...our modern lifestyle of consumption puts a heavy burden on the earth.... What that means is we are living outside the capability of our own land to support us. Even worse, we are taking from others to bolster our way of life. We go to another's valley, well, river, forest, mine, and even sky to supply our high level of consumption. Our high level of consumption also means a high level of waste—from all the effluence from manufacturing and packaging to the toys that last for barely a year and the clothes that quickly go out of fashion....

And here's the harsh reality for the poor: it's usually their resources we are capturing to support our lifestyle, and their land, rivers, and lakes where we are dumping our waste....

In the wealthy West we live what is called a "phantom" lifestyle. Rather than relying on the earth around us, we almost invisibly (like a phantom) rely on the earth of others. If we run out of vegetables, we import them from another country. If we need more electricity, we import it from another state or river or region. The same is true for water, minerals, fruit, and meat. 

If we need more petroleum, we import it from abroad. Very often we lose our innocence in the capturing of those resources. We take land that belongs to another group of people; we invade countries; we destroy rain forests. The true cost of living the modern lifestyle is not measured by what we pay at the cash register. Rather, it is measured by what we have done to other people's rivers, valleys, oceans, and land. And, more precisely, what we have done to the poor....

The cultural preoccupation with wealth and its temporal benefits is not founded in the faith tradition. Indeed, that preoccupation is as dangerous to our spirituality as it is to the bodies of the poor. It certainly is not in sync with the character and call of the Creator. Our wholesale destruction of God's creation in the pursuit of our self-defined good life is certainly a curious contrast to the biblical notion of the character of Christians—temperate, self-controlled, compassionate, satisfied, not coveting, not stealing, not harming those who have little....

Becoming free of the "American dream" is no easy task, but it can happen on many levels. The first thing to do is to evaluate our personal consumption and to become free of the idea that our worth and fulfilment are wrapped up in the pursuit of "stuff" and status symbols. (It's hard to imagine Jesus preaching a life of getting all the goods we want or of seeking the approval of the cultural establishment.) 

The less we consume, the less we are taking from the earth of the poor, from the rivers of the poor, from the future of the poor. The less we consume, the less garbage we are dumping into the rivers and backyards of the poor. Developing an ethic of consumption that meets our needs while also defending God's creation and delivering justice for the poor is the frontline biblical work for Christians today.

We are promised that one day there will be no more tears. God will wipe them all away. We are promised a new heaven and a new earth. In this new heaven and earth there will be no more pain (Revelation 21:1-4). That's a world without thirst, without hunger. But that day will not be our doing. What we have is now. And so we reverently keep God's earth. And we seek justice for the poor of God's earth. Nothing less suits our faith, nothing less honors the Creator. And in today's modern world, nothing less makes sense.

...If it's true that to hurt the earth is to hurt the poor, it is also true that being kind to the earth is being kind to the poor. Every time we save another acre of rain forest, clean up another river, recycle another bottle, say no to another frivolous purchase, we are serving God's creation and we are serving the poor.

How innocent is a glass of orange juice?  Gordon tells a story behind some of the orange juice we consume in America. While in Belize on a mission trip, the team was confronted with a lot of intestinal illnesses and rashes affecting Mayan kids in a small village.  These Mayans had lived in the rain forest for thousands of years, but had been kicked out in the early 1990's when their ancestral land was sold to a large orange producer.  (Mayans never kept title to land; they didn't believe you could personally own it).  So they were forced to move some place else which happened to be downstream from the original land.

While investigating the source of the illnesses, they discovered toxins in the river they were bathing and drinking from.  The rain forest that was purchased was cleared and orange trees were put in with pesticides and fungicides leeching into the river, so they were being poisoned by the cultivation of the crops.  

Keep in mind that the many farming chemicals that have been banned in the U.S. are not banned around the world, so it's easy for corporations to find a place where they can use them ... and then import the products produced by them back into the U.S. food supply.  

This was the case of the orange concentrate produced in Belize to make some of the orange juice we drink.  Isn't it ironic that even though America "gets away with something" we still suffer from the consequences.  The toxins won't show immediate symptoms as with the Mayan children since the source is less concentrated, but we are no longer ignorant about the effects of pesticides.

The United States constitutes roughly 4% of the global population, but consumes almost 1/3 of all the world's resources. This is to support our high expectations and demands for stuff. That means we're not using up our own land and resources, we are taking away resources of other poor nations and individual people.

In the United States, close to 85% of all toxic landfills are in neighborhoods comprised of people of lower economic means and people of color. Native American reservations often agree to accept landfill waste as a means to increase income, but sometimes with life-threatening consequences. Consider Dawn Mining Company who bypassed federal requirements by buying land from the Spokane Indians in Washington State to mine uranium and produce radioactive waste pits.

If you have an interest in learning more about social justice, this website provides a Short Course in Environmental Ethics.

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