Saturday, May 28, 2011

Growing Up Quick in Christ

by Donna L. Watkins

I continue to realize that I've known a lot about Jesus and the Scriptures, but I have not been totally dead to self. Life is a daily battle for all of us and if we choose to fight it in the soul and body without the spirit ruling, we will more likely feel beat up and bent out of shape each night as we lay down to a restless sleep.

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Bronze Sculpture by
W. Stanley Proctor - Brookgreen Gardens, SC
We must realize how crucial it is that we place that cross before us to make the right choices. Christ has already won the victory for us, all we have to do is to stand with the armor and victory He's given. We are to be "strong in the Lord and in HIS mighty power" (Eph. 6:10). We don't do this in our own strength. He's already given the ability and desire to live by the spirit.

That's what grace is! We put on our armor daily and stand in the victory (Eph. 6:11-17). When Christ said, "It is finished," it was finished. The spiritual work was done and the physical death was atoned for; now we maintain our position in Christ by walking according to the desires of the spirit and not the desires of the flesh.

Our minds are so used to running the show. We are used to going with what feels good and sometimes we attribute that to "walking in the spirit" but does it match the Word of God. The only way to give the spirit rule is to use the only tool that divides soul and spirit: The Word. "For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart" (Heb. 4:12).

Only the Word of God can do it. Why do you think it's such a battle to spend time in the Word? We read a multitude of books, listen to CDs, watch videos, do small groups on topic issues, attend sermons, and read devotional books each morning. Yet we still struggle with making life work. I'm not against books. God can use them to impart revelation when somebody speaks to us in a manner that allows more understanding while we are learning to allow the Holy Spirit to be our teacher in everything (John 14:26).

As I write this we are still in winter and winter is a time when I love to spend more time snuggling up with the Lord and good books. I've learned to qualify a good book by seeing how much of the actual Word is in it. One that I am finishing up now by Dutch Sheets: Becoming Who You Are - Embracing the Power of Your Identity in Christ. Let me share a few excerpts from the next to last chapter:

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Sleeping Red Fox
Brookgreen Gardens, SC
"For some reason we think completing a course on inner healing or finishing a study on forgiveness should somehow immediately result in our emergence as masters of those areas .... we frequently want results without embracing the process that will yield them .... perhaps something deep in you continues to whisper, 'This is it! This is finally the answer to my soul problem.' In the same way that we long for the 'finished product,' we also need to undertake and embrace a passion for the path, the journey, to our completion.

Faith is believing that what God says is true; obedience is conforming to His means just as much as to His ends .... if you keep on abiding and abiding and abiding, it will happen. The Truth will make you free. Why? Because God's Word has a perfect track record (Is. 55:11)."

After attending a service that really had Dutch's hopes real high, he left knowing that life would never be the same. Finally he saw the way to be free from the strongholds and have permanent change. Well, a few days later ... you know the rest of the story because we've all been part of the story many times. What God said to him when he cried out asking why this isn't working was this: "Because all Truth comes to you in seed form."

Do you get it? All the real stuff we may see in other people's lives that we want is the fruit of their discipleship without tending to the seed like they did to get it. We obviously expect an impartation without any sacrifice, but Romans 12:1 tells us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. I used to think that it meant I was to do good works until my body felt as if it was going to die. Yep, that was when we were in a church filled with a lot of legalism many years ago. I like the way John McArthur, Jr. says it.

"You say, 'What is a living sacrifice?' Well, I’ll tell you -- give you an illustration, one that I always think of: Abraham. God said to Abraham, 'You’re going to have a child;' he had a child … Isaac. Abraham loved Isaac, didn’t he? Oh, he loved him. The child of all his promise, the child of his dreams! The hope of all the fulfillment of God’s plan! God said to Abraham, 'Take him up in a mountain and kill him. 'Take him up in a mountain and kill him? After all we went through to get him? Wasn’t born until I was 100 … Only son I have, legitimately by Sarah.' But he obeyed -- took all the sticks and tied them on Isaac’s back. Isaac is like a picture of Christ carrying his own cross. Isaac goes up the mountain. Abraham goes with him. He gets up on the mountain, lays Isaac out on the altar, and Isaac’s probably saying, 'Gee, you know, I’m not sure what’s going on here…' Abraham lifts his dagger.

Isaac was about to be a dead sacrifice, right? But do you know who was making a living sacrifice? Abraham. You know why? He was about to kill all his hopes, all his dreams, everything he ever wanted because that’s what God told him to do, right? Do you know what a living sacrifice is? Not somebody who dies for God, but somebody who submits to God’s will whatever the cost. That’s a living sacrifice. He [Paul] says, 'Because of all that God has done for you, present your bodies a living sacrifice. Listen; you’re already holy, you’re already acceptable -- who made you holy and who made you acceptable? Who did? Christ! So will you just present yourself? That is your required spiritual worship! God wants you! He doesn’t want bulls and goats and He doesn’t want dead animals … He wants you. And He wants you to be a living sacrifice; that is, willing to pay the supreme price for Him.'"

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Bronze Sculpture by
W. Stanley Proctor - Brookgreen Gardens, SC
Not an easy concept to absorb into the soul structure, especially in our generation of having it our way and right now. Maybe that's why Jesus said "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven' (Matt. 7:21).

There's some Scriptures that my soul really doesn't like and that's one of them since it challenges the "once saved, always saved" theology that I set my earthly flesh on for a long time. Jesus is laying out what it means to be a follower of Christ in these chapters of Matthew. He also says in verse 14 of the same chapter, "But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

When you take the statistics of how much of the world claims to be Christian, that "few that find it" doesn't make sense, does it? There is much to ponder against some of the beliefs that have been instilled in us as children, or by churches that may not have had a sound foundation of grace and discipleship? We'd like to just grow up in Christ instantly at salvation, but that's not the way it was laid out for us. While on earth, we still have this earthly war between the spirit and soul on who's going to be in charge.

As for me and my house, we have chosen to serve the Lord and in that choice, we must determine and choose to abide in the Word of God and die daily as a living sacrifice to our own desires, wants and dreams, so that we can be all that God created us to be. And in the end, what we get is so much more than anything we ever dreamed or desired to have. Our Creator who designed us on purpose for Himself (Col. 1:16)) knows a lot more about what will bring us true joy and peace. Think about it ... aren't all of those desires we create in our minds related to wanting joy and peace? Why not take the narrow path and find it!

It almost sounds too simple? Maybe you don't know where to start in reading the Bible and it overwhelms you, so you choose spiritual books and workbooks. The Spirit will direct you to what you need. If you've never read the book of John through, do so and keep doing it because it in itself has a lot to chew on. Meditate on a small portion each day. This is not about getting through the entire book as quickly as possible.

Growing up takes a bit of time and work. We want it quick, but it's not how the world was made. Everything begins as a seed of some sort and seeds need to be nurtured to grow into what they are to be. Stay in the good soil and grow the seed of the Word within your soul so your mind, will and emotions will agree with your spirit and life will be made a lot less confusing and frustrating. It's truly the quick way to grow up in Christ ... because you can spend your entire life in many books without going anywhere. I spent a good portion of mine that way.

This Website is Sponsored by The Herbs Place - Wholesale Prices Always
On Sale Now * Online Catalog * Women * Men * Children * Essential Oils

Leftover Hotel Soap For Impoverished People

Clean the World was founded in February 2009 by two individuals, Shawn Seipler and Paul Till, with a two-part mission:

• Collect and recycle soap and shampoo products discarded by the hospitality industry every day.

• Through the distribution of these and other donated hygiene products to impoverished people, prevent the millions of deaths caused by hygiene-related illnesses every day.

So Clean The World collects, sort and processes discarded soap, shampoo, conditioner and lotion products that are generally found in hotel rooms.

When we travel, we mention this program to the hotel clerks and have them write down the website address for the manager.  Do you know of a hotel that is throwing their toiletries away? Send them a link to this information and help prevent hygiene-related illness. Visit the website.

This Website is Sponsored by The Herbs Place - Wholesale Prices Always
On Sale Now * Online Catalog * Women * Men * Children * Essential Oils

How Gardening Changed My Life

Just seven short years ago, I wasn’t a gardener. Not really. I helped my husband plant vegetable seeds, but the only things we really grew were sweet corn, green beans, and sometimes, carrots. There were entire summers where I didn’t even plant one flower.

Then I became a gardener. I don’t know exactly why all of a sudden it was something I wanted to do, but I dove in head first and it consumed my life. I could never have dreamed of all the ways growing a garden would change the way I did and thought about things. Read the entire article.

This Website is Sponsored by The Herbs Place - Wholesale Prices Always
On Sale Now * Online Catalog * Women * Men * Children * Essential Oils

Monday, May 23, 2011

5 Essential Nutrients for Skin and Coat Health

by Dr. Jane

Keeping your companion animal’s skin healthy and coat shiny can prove challenging. Even though you might already feed a quality food, and brush and shampoo regularly, there’s more to this area of pet care than you might think. Veterinarians will tell you that the condition of the skin can be a good indicator of a pet’s overall health and nutrition status. That’s why wise pet parents should monitor their companion animal for any of these tell-tale signs:

• Dry, flaky skin or a dull, brittle coat
• Oily, foul smelling skin or a matted coat
• Thin coat, excessive hair loss or red, blotchy skin
• Excessive scratching (especially, seasonally)

The skin is the largest organ in the body and requires proteins and other nutrients. It’s not surprising that subtle changes in the amount of nutrients supplied to the skin can have a noticeable affect on its overall condition. Read the entire article.

This Website is Sponsored by The Herbs Place - Wholesale Prices Always
On Sale Now * Online Catalog * Women * Men * Children * Essential Oils

Video: Bird Identification by Behavior

From Cornell's Lab of Ornithology

There are many ways you can improve on your birding skills in the area of identification. Cornell University's ornithology lab has a great video helping you to identify birds by their Behavior.

This Website is Sponsored by The Herbs Place - Wholesale Prices Always
On Sale Now * Online Catalog * Women * Men * Children * Essential Oils

Monarch Caterpillar's Heartbeat

Have you ever seen a monarch caterpillar's "heartbeat"? Check out this blog post about Monarch Butterflies that shows a short video explaining blood circulation in the Monarch caterpillars. Fascinating! View video.

This Website is Sponsored by The Herbs Place - Wholesale Prices Always
On Sale Now * Online Catalog * Women * Men * Children * Essential Oils

NATO Living

Excerpt from The Deepest Freedom by Wayne Jacobsen

The trick is learning how to live each day in the expectancy of God's working in the circumstances of my life, without giving in to the expectation that it must look any particular way to satisfy me. I have begun to taste of the freedom of that kind of trust, and it is the most incredible reality I've yet to find in His love.

Imagine the freedom of no longer having to try and manipulate God or others toward your desired outcome. Instead, you can simply find out what He is up to, and though it will often seem more painful in the short-term than you might want, His ways are always the best -- not only in resolving our circumstances but transforming us through them.

A number of years ago I read a book about a man playing the last rounds of golf with his terminally ill father around the famed courses of Scotland. Early on that trip he realized how little he enjoyed golf because his only goal was to shoot the lowest score possible. Whenever he got an unlucky bounce or hit a bad shot he'd sulk for the next few holes and play even worse.

That's when his father taught him to play NATO golf--Not Attached To Outcome. In other words, his father told him, don't worry about the score, just enjoy the challenge of hitting each shot as well as you can. When it goes off track, go find it and figure out the best shot you can hit from there. Let the score take care of itself and even if you don't have a good round you still get to enjoy a walk in a beautiful park and the friendship of your partners.

Perhaps we should learn to live each day Not Attached To Outcome. Wouldn't we be truly free if we could do the same on our own spiritual journeys? Instead of being so focused on the outcomes we desire, we could simply trust that regardless of the outcome, God is doing his work in and through us. Now instead of wasting our time with Him trying to get Him on our page, we can simply enjoy our fellowship with Him as he moves us to His. And believe me, it is a lot more peaceful walking with God on His page, than constantly trying to figure out how to get Him on yours.

A Better Agenda
What God has been doing in you since the day you came to know Him, is to liberate you from the tyranny of self. He knows that your ability to live in His rest, peace and joy, will not come when you get everything you want, but when you forsake all your wants and embrace His.

Through most of my spiritual journey, I've been an insecure person about God's love for me and my significance in the world. Most of what drove my life in those early years was trying to be successful, in my own eyes and the eyes of others. My prayer life focused around those insecurities, trying to get God to arrange my circumstances so that I would not have to be afraid or risk failure.

It always amazed me when He seemed to ignore my most ardent prayers, especially for those things I was certain were part of His vision for my life. How could He not change the things that angered and frustrated me?

Thankfully He had something far better in mind. I wanted Him to change my circumstances so I would never have the need to feel insecure or afraid. He wanted to change me so that no circumstance would ever make me afraid again. If my security was going to be based on circumstances, He knew I would never follow Him to the incredible places he wanted to take me.

How did He do that? He allowed circumstances to confront my greatest insecurities over and over again. In spite of my cries for relief, He just kept showing up for me every day, swallowing my pain with His love and gently pointing me toward a better way.

The Joy of Freedom
I feel like I can walk into most situations now with a freedom to live without catering to my agenda. I am more excited about what He might do than what I think he should do.

I don't find myself haunted by the same insecurities or plagued by the sleepless nights of anxiety. I don't walk into difficult conversations with that knot in the pit of my stomach because I know the outcome is not in my hands but His. Without all that bondage, I find it much easier to recognize His hand and flow with it.

Yes, there are still times I would like Him to change some of my circumstances in ways that would make it easier for me. Now, however, I have a healthy suspicion that the way I would go about anything in my life and the way God would are probably polar opposites. I still let Him know my requests of him, but I listen more intently for His of me. I know that what He's up to in every circumstance will be far better than anything I could conceive.

So if you find God defying some of your most passionate expectations, just consider that He is doing something more extraordinary in you than you have yet grasped. He is expressing His love to you at a deeper level so that you will no longer have to bow to the tyranny of self.
By opening your eyes to that reality He is showing you how to be truly free -- not just from legalism, works or religious obligation, but from a more powerful foe still. He wants you to be free of you, and only by doing so will you be able to know the person He created you to be.

Editor's Note
Wayne Jacobsen has written a book that I've recently read entitled, He Loves Me.  I believe we all need a new revelation of how much God truly does love us.  Within that love we will be able to fulfill the greatest commandment.  It's a free download.  Click the last link below the picture of the book.

This Website is Sponsored by The Herbs Place - Wholesale Prices Always
On Sale Now * Online Catalog * Women * Men * Children * Essential Oils

Will USDA Allow Crop Contamination?

Monsanto's New "Drought-Resistant" Corn:
Tell USDA, "Don't Approve Failure"

Why deregulate and risk contamination of organic and non-GMO crops for an experiment that didn't work and has no foreseeable benefits?

Monsanto's years of investment into so-called "drought-resistant" biotech crops has been a nothing more than a risky and very expensive failure.  

Based on company data submitted to the US Department of Agriculture for deregulation, it is clear that Monsanto's new genetically-modified corn variety does not perform any better than non-GMO varieties. The findings come from a US Department of Agriculture draft environmental impact assessment, produced as a step towards approval of the new GM crop, MON 87460.

This proves, as Dr Helen Wallace director of GeneWatch UK wrote this week:

"[Bio]technology has been spectacularly unsuccessful at delivering complex traits such as drought tolerance, which involve multiple genes and complex interactions with the plant's environment. Meanwhile, conventional breeding and new techniques such as marker-assisted selection - which uses knowledge of the plant's genome to inform breeding, without engineering the plant - have produced a long string of successes."

The danger is, if MON 87460 is deregulated, it will inevitably contaminate truly drought-tolerant varieties of organic and conventional corn, destroying the rich genetic diversity that the world's farmers have cultivated for millennia for the planet's infinitely varied micro-climates.

Take Action - Participate in email campaign.

Sponsored by The Herbs Place - Wholesale Prices Always
On Sale Now * Women * Men * Children * Essential Oils * Cleansing * Weight Loss

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Insights Into Addictions

by Henry W. Wright,

Some of the spiritual, and eventually psychological, battles of the soul can foster addictions. Addictions do not occur just because a person has taken a drug.  They have taken the drug because they have a problem.  There is a kingdom set up to bind them.  Many people have made quality decisions to stop the addiction, but they have not been delivered from the spirit of addiction.  They still have the same spiritual problems.  It is an unloving, unclean spirit that will not let them accept God's love, will not let them be at peace with themselves on this planet in the new birth and will not let them give and receive love from others like they need to.  The armor that feeds it has to be dismantled. It's not just a matter of conversion; it is a matter of restructuring their entire spiritual personality by removing the armor that has become part of their lives spiritually and psychologically.

The need to be loved is built within us from creation.  The ability to give and receive love is part of our creation.  But because of the breakdown in our families, we have not loved God, ourselves or each other. We try to nurture ourselves and it is being driven by the need to be loved.  The sucking reflex of eating, of something touching the lips, has a nurturing effect.  Not many people understand the depths of this need.  It is difficult to walk away from addictions while still feeling unloved.  When a person tries, there is something called cross addiction, where they lay one addiction down and pick up another addiction.

A person must choose their freedom or their bondage.  God has given us the ability to choose so we must understand how to defeat the strong man behind addiction.  A person has to understand that it involves recognition, taking responsibility, repentance, and they are going to have to take a stand no matter how much their body is pitching a fit.  It takes 28 days and a change in a person's heart.  We can get rid of bad habits by making new good habits.  The Bible says choose this day what you shall have, blessings or curses, life or death.

Deuteronomy 30:19 "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live."

Hopefully some insight has been gained through this teaching so that God can provide a foundation for people to walk away from their addiction, whatever it is, and be of service to others they meet, when they wish to walk away from their addiction.

Find the CD or book of this series in the Be In Health website store.

This Website is Sponsored by The Herbs Place - Wholesale Prices Always
On Sale Now * Online Catalog * Women * Men * Children * Essential Oils

Wasps Carrying Ants Away From Food

What's a wasp to do when ants are ruining its picnic? Pick the little pests up and airdrop them out of the way, according to a new study.

That's the strategy of the common yellow jacket wasp when competing with ants for food, researchers report today (March 29) in the Journal of the Royal Society Biology Letters.

The wasp, also known as Vespula vulgaris, is native to the Northern Hemisphere, but has invaded temperate areas in the Southern Hemisphere, including New Zealand, where the drag-and-drop behavior was observed.

This is the first time wasps have been seen physically relocating ants in an attempt to compete for food, said study author Julien Grangier, a postdoctoral fellow at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. The unexpected flight, which leaves ants confused but usually unharmed, also reveals the invasive wasps' cleverness, Grangier said. Read more.

This Website is Sponsored by The Herbs Place - Wholesale Prices Always
On Sale Now * Online Catalog * Women * Men * Children * Essential Oils

Video: Bird Identification by Habitat

From Cornell's Lab of Ornithology

There are many ways you can improve on your birding skills in the area of identification. Cornell University's ornithology lab has a great video helping you to identify birds by their habitat.

This Website is Sponsored by The Herbs Place - Wholesale Prices Always
On Sale Now * Online Catalog * Women * Men * Children * Essential Oils

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Newsletter - 5/15/11

Hello Dear Friends!

It's very odd to still be having rather chilly weather at night and in the mornings ... and some days that have been cloudy and rainy are downright cold and damp.  However, I bundle up and insist on being outside as much as possible and have the doors and windows open for the fresh air.  With five months of a closed house here in Central Virginia in winter, I will tolerate a lot when it gets to 60 degrees.

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Ladybug Larvae on Pyracantha Flower
Fortunately, although Randal is very cold-natured, he bundles up also so that I can have the fresh air I crave so much.  What a man!  He's a definite gift from God for me.  Although ... neither of us would have always made that statement about each other.

You don't celebrate 34 years of being married without having walked a long road of compromises and lots of sacrifice, but that's what God calls us to do with agape love, which is His kind of love.  The kind of love that loves without anything in return.  It's not motivated by "tit for tat" or "I'll scratch your back, if you'll scratch mine."  What God calls us to is total sacrificial and unconditional love.  WOW!  It's certainly not attainable in our own human strength.

God loves us unconditionally and when we can abide in Him as He abides in us, then we can walk in that kind of love also, but we have to let go of thinking we can do it in our human strength.  It's a God thing and God within you can do it when you die to self and let go.  I guess it's pride that delays that process.

We live in a world of super achievers and it seems to be considered a weakness to "let go and let God" but we are told that is what we are to do.  To allow His grace within us under the direction of the Holy Spirit, to enable us to do all things in Christ.  I'm not there yet, but I'm determined to stay on the right road and not rely on my own understanding, which is so limited when it comes to operating in all that God knows.

The yellow tree pollen is now gone.  Thank you God for trees and the need for pollination, and for the herbs that have helped me through this allergy season so I could work outside all day on the porch.  I love trees, but I sure don't like yellow pollen all over everything.  It's nice when it's gone.  We've had days of rain to wash it all away on the porches and window sills too.

Next weekend we're scheduled to take a Medicinal Plant Walk at a nearby preserve area.  Knowing what's growing in your own backyard for medicines seems to be more and more important these days with the health care system going down the tubes.

Wishing You Were Coming to Visit!
This has been a lush Spring for our yard and habitat, as it has been with the neighbors also.  It's the frequent rains I know, but it's wonderful to see it all.  It takes me to the really hot season of summer to get over being so enthralled with green all around me.  If you haven't visited my photo gallery lately, here's links to my favorite albums.

View all of Bluebird Cove's Garden and Critter Albums.

If you're looking for trip ideas, visit the Travel Gallery to see albums of places we've visited in various states.

All seasons of the year God wraps His arms around me, but when it's green outdoors I so enjoy His creation and artistry in nature.  It shows so many characteristics of who He is. We have regular visits from the white-tailed deer. When I see their tail go up and flash that warning to get out of the area and follow the white tail like a flag, I think of the Holy Spirit and how He prompts us when we need to turn and run from sin as we follow after God. I doubt He has a tail at all, but I like seeing God's illustrations and thinking about what they may be telling us.

Squeek is been doing well and eating up a storm.  Prayer for direction led me to add Slippery Elm to her food and that seemed to be the key for her.  FIV cats have a challenge with mouth ulcers and I just learned that fact AFTER I began the Slippery Elm.  The tip came in a little cat calendar sheet that an aunt sent me.  Doesn't God just piece things together nicely?  Others would say, "I just happened to get this in the mail."  Nope!  I declare that God guides and directs in all our ways if we ask Him and lean in for His whispers.

I hope all the mothers had a good day.  Holidays can be very emotional.  I was blessed with a call, a Facebook post and several gifts this year.  Of course, I'd trade it all for a few hours with my son, but he's in Oklahoma and that's not too easy.  Thank God for the internet and phones and the ability to share photos so easily.

Continue to have a grand and glorious Spring!

Love and Hugs,

View Posts By Topic

Spiritual • Creation-Nature • Pets • Go Green • Newsletters • Photos
Gardening  •  Health  •  Simplify-Frugal  •  Travel  •  Costa Rica

Posts Since Last Newsletter

Abiding In Victory  (DLW)

Video: Bird Identification by Size and Shape

Pets - Tips for Better Skin Health

Calculating the Value of Bats

Bats Sing and Mice Giggle - Really!

Bat Update - White Nose Syndrome

Revealing The Emotional Lives of Bats

Do NOT Kill Ladybug Larvae - Know What It Looks Like  (DLW)

Aquatic Worms in Our Pond  (DLW)

CBS News - Radon In Granite Countertops

A Detailed Look at Chickadee Nests

Suffering Prepares Us To Meet God

GMO Plants and Problems With Livestock

Previous Posts You May Have Missed

Newsletter - 5/1/11

Touching Baby Birds Is Okay When Necessary  (DLW)

Being 60, Dreams Do Come True #46-50  (DLW)


Flowers and Plants to Use in Water Area

The Joy of Letting Go

Contribute To Holocaust Archives

New Research on Outdoor Cats

34th Wedding Anniversary Celebration in Virginia  (DLW)

Yellow Rat Snake  (DLW)

A Vet Speaks on Feline Hyperthyroidism

Newsletter - 4/15/11  (DLW)

Extraordinary - Believe It!  (DLW)

Walking On Ground Provides Health Benefits

The Beauty of Today

Being 60, New Adventures Keep You Alive #42-45  (DLW)

Myrtle Beach State Park, Myrtle Beach, SC  (DLW)

Atalaya Castle and Huntington Beach State Park, Murrells Inlet, SC  (DLW)

Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, SC  (DLW)

Allowing Yourself to Dream  (DLW)

J.C. Raulston Arboretum, Raleigh, NC  (DLW)

Sponsored by The Herbs Place - Wholesale Prices Always
On Sale Now • Online Catalog • Women • Men • Children • Essential Oils

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: © 2011 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from The link to use is:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Abiding In Victory

by Donna L. Watkins

When we accept Christ as our Savior we now there's something different inside because God's spirit has been quickened within us as we had an implant of the DNA of the Creator of the Universe. Our spirit is now resting in all the joy it was designed to have. We want to know all about God and the Bible and Jesus and how to please Him.

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Psalm 139:10
God Will Uphold Us With HIs Victorious Right Hand
Well ... that is we do if we've not only mentally accepted Christ from a fearful message about salvation being the way to avoid Hell. There are many churches that preach God's love and desire to bless us without mentioning our love towards Him which creates a relationship to receive those blessings.

God loves us no matter what we look like or what we've done and that love caused Him to be willing to sacrifice His Son who was part of Him, so I picture it that God gave us part of Himself, His very life, to come to earth and rescue us from this sin-driven world that the Bible says is ruled by Satan (John 12:31). That's a love that takes a lot of pondering to absorb into the heart, so as not to be satisfied with it being just a mental fact.

Our spirit desires to grow and learn how to once again control the soul and body while we live on this earth in the flesh. In the Garden, Adam and Eve's spirits controlled their thoughts and actions. Our body doesn't make a move without our mind having a thought first. That's a good thing since you wouldn't want to climb over a balcony rail on the 50th floor and drop to the sidewalk below before you could convince your body not to do that. We may be out of control in some areas of life like I was with chocolate.

I wanted to stop eating chocolate because the sugar gave me mood swings and the caffeine factor played with my energy and brain. I tried all kinds of ways to quit chocolate, but the fact was that I desired it more than I wanted to quit. I didn't take captive any thoughts about chocolate (2 Cor. 10:5) . Actually one thought took my mind right down the same road it always went until I purchased chocolate. I didn't keep chocolate in the house, but I never changed my mind about it. My mind believed I wanted chocolate and my body complied.

That's not how God made us to be, but the Fall allowed sin (not being spirit-led, but soul-led) to enter into all mankind because Eve and Adam allowed pride to be in control that day when they walked outside of God's commandment to them. The result was that they died spiritually. What finally got me free of chocolate in 1998 was making a choice that my soul did not like. You can read that story in the referenced article below.

We have free will and only we can choose to allow our spirit up to have control over our soul (mind, will and emotions) so that what we do and where our bodies go are determined by God's desire for us. We truly must die daily as Jesus said:

Mark 8:34-35 - "Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it."

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Brookgreen Gardens, SC
Christ never told his disciples to make converts; His command was that they make disciples (Matt. 28:19). Taking up our own cross is to place our soul structure on a cross and sacrifice it, just as Jesus sacrificed Himself for our sins. To keep from living in sin daily, this is what we must do. Jesus' death has provided us with forgiveness of all our sin, but Paul tells us we don't continue to sin just because grace abounds to forgive us (Romans 6:2). Disciples are disciplined ones. mentions a definition of "any follower of Christ" and/or "a person who is a pupil or an adherent of the doctrines of another."

To be a follower of Christ or adhere to His doctrines, we have to know them. We have to dig into the Bible and get a good concordance to understand the deeper meaning and get to know the Truth that sets you free. Many churches are providing all kinds of topic small groups with books and theoretical discussions, but only the Word offers lasting change. Jesus said, "If you remain in Me and My Words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you" (John 15:7). I guess that sounds a bit too simple because it's not being promoted in many realms of Christianity these days.

Let me share a story from Dutch Sheet's book, Becoming Who You Are - Embracing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.

He was talking about the rewards of abiding in the Word and he began to think of all those he knew who were clearly bearing fruit in certain areas of their lives. He says,

"I thought of a young man who had been horribly scarred by drugs. He'd used so many that his mind was "fried" - damaged. He gave his heart to Christ and immediately began to immerse himself in God's Word. And I do mean immerse - he spent hours every day reading, meditating upon, memorizing, and speaking Scripture. Sure enough, after a few months, not only was this young man completely free of any temptation toward drugs, his mind was completely healed. In fact, I'd say he was brilliant."

How about another story from Dutch?

"I recalled another young man who'd come out of a lot of bad "stuff" - he was a really good sinner. Not only did he get free of the sin strongholds in his life through abiding in God's Word, but he experienced a freedom of a completely different kind: He was set free from a poverty mentality. Coming from an extremely poor background, he firmly believed he would always be poor. And he was proving it. He couldn't keep a job, was always lacking money, never had anything nice - you get the picture.

Then he heard a man speak on true prosperity, being blessed by God to be a blessing. So he found several Scriptures on God's provision, sowing and reaping, etc., and began to feed and meditate on them. He did this for days, then weeks and months. You guessed it. Before long that stronghold was broken and in its place was an incredible faith for finances. He became one of the most prosperous men I know ... and one of the biggest givers."

I could relate to that a lot since I grew up in Pennsylvania Dutch Country where poor seemed to be equated with spirituality living among the Mennonites and Amish. We always lived in an apartment and the family members I was close to were very frugal, although I didn't know if we were poor since I didn't do without anything or I simply didn't know that I was supposed to have it.

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron
I do believe being frugal in many ways is linked to spirituality because waste was never in Jesus' mentality. I marvel at how he had the disciples gather up the crumbs of bread after feeding the crowd from the five loaves of bread and two fish. Here's the Son of God that can make food appear at will, yet He left this example for us as a model.

We made it a household rule to never wasted food in our home and when people say, "what's the big deal, it's not like you can send it to starving children," I would say, "Yes, you can feed starving children if you don't waste." You pay for what is wasted and if it wasn't wasted you could have the funds to sponsor starving children or give to organizations that work in that field.

My husband's family spoke a lot about growing up in poverty so when we heard about a "poverty mentality" we thought it warranted some study. For the same reason as the man above, we got excited about wanting to be able to give more and truly make a difference for "our neighbor" as Jesus called everybody else. Over the years the combined effort of being frugal and soaking in the Word about money, we were also able to make our dreams come true in the areas of giving.

The Bible says that the love of money is the root of all evil (I Tim. 6:10) and I have wondered if we can remain in poverty because of the fear of a love of money. The rich young ruler that came to Jesus and went away sad at not being able to obey His Words (Mark 10:17-27) is an example that would feed that fear. I often wonder what the world would look like if all Christians could manage finances well enough to be able to have a world without starvation.

Such dreams are surely also the dreams of God. I know that Jesus wants us to live victorious lives because He has paid the price to win the victory. Our part is to stand in it by abiding in Him and His Word abiding in us. The only thing that allows us to make a spirit choice is to abide in His Words. Have you asked yourself lately what you're abiding in? How much time do you meditate on the Word?

When you have a problem, do you find a Scripture to write down, meditate on, memorize and instill into your soul to rewrite a belief that is not based on Truth? Why are there so many people walking around with stacks of self-help books? Have they forgotten that Christ said He would leave us with the Helper (John 14:26)?

Read and absorb John 15. If you're running to shop or overeat, read the entire book of John over and over again until you fully comprehend the love that God has for you, then nothing else will satisfy. I pray peace and joy to flow in and through you at all times. Take the victory won for you and stand in it!

Related Article:
My No-Chocolate Anniversary (this was written two years ago)

Related Websites:
The Frugal Life
The Frugal Life News

This Website is Sponsored by The Herbs Place - Wholesale Prices Always
On Sale Now * Online Catalog * Women * Men * Children * Essential Oils

Video: Bird Identification by Size and Shape

From Cornell's Lab of Ornithology

There are many ways you can improve on your birding skills in the area of identification. Cornell University's ornithology lab has a great video helping you to identify birds by their Size and Shape.

This Website is Sponsored by The Herbs Place - Wholesale Prices Always
On Sale Now * Online Catalog * Women * Men * Children * Essential Oils

Pets - Tips for Better Skin Health

Canine and feline skin shares many similarities with human skin, but there are significant differences. They do have three layers of their skin, with the same nerves and blood vessels running throughout. They have apocrine glands (similar to human sweat glands), however, dogs do not sweat like we do. Instead, dogs have eccrine glands in their paws, which secrete a watery substance like sweat, although this typically only occurs when they are nervous and under stress.

As the body’s first line of defense to environmental factors, the skin is subjected to all sorts of insults and injuries. Critters of all stripes, from fleas to ticks to parasites (like mange mites) bite and damage the skin. Additionally, skin is under repeated assault by foreign objects, nibbling teeth, scratching claws and constant licking, all of which can weaken and impair the skin’s protective barrier. Skin can also be affected from the inside out by infections, hormonal imbalances, allergies and immune disorders.

The bottom line is, healthy skin is a vital part of pet health, and its condition is a reflection of a pet’s overall well-being. Vulnerable to attacks on all sides, it’s very important that pet parents regularly monitor their pet’s skin health.

In this VIDEO episode of Pet Talk, Dr. Sarah reviews some common causes of skin and coat problems in dogs and cats, and reveals some safe and natural home remedies that promote overall skin health. Read the entire article and view the video.

Sponsored by The Herbs Place - Wholesale Prices Always
On Sale NowOnline CatalogWomenMenChildrenEssential Oils

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Calculating the Value of Bats

Assigning a dollar value to nature is a complex undertaking, but it's often worth the effort. "Such numbers can show how much our human economy depends on nature's indiscernible economy," says an editorial in The New York Times.

"Take bats. A study in Science magazine reveals just how important they are to American agriculture." Each night, the editorial noted, countless bats consume great quantities of insects, including many that attack farm crops. A team of scientists previously calculated how much more money cotton farmers in one region of south-central Texas would spend on pesticides if bats weren't present, The Times reported. That study concluded that bats save cotton farmers between $12 and $173 an acre annually.

"Extrapolating from those numbers," the editorial said, "they estimated that bats save American farmers somewhere between $3.7 billion and $54 billion a year, most likely about $22.9 billion." Learn more.

This Website is Sponsored by The Herbs Place - Wholesale Prices Always
On Sale Now * Online Catalog * Women * Men * Children * Essential Oils

Bats Sing and Mice Giggle - Really!

by Donna L. Watkins

Have you seen this book or read about it? The actual title is: Bats Sing, Mice Giggle: The Surprising Science of Animals' Inner Lives.

There was an article in the local paper and a friend cut it out for me. What a delight! The scientific world is catching up to Creation.

At a cellular and molecular level they've discovered that all the receptors of cells and the structure of cells and neurons, all the way from ants to humans, are basically the same. Scientists have said for years that animals don't have feelings and they aren't very intelligent, but rather have a lot of good instincts. They are now actually realizing that it's not instinct, but actual intelligence as they study in the field with the animals.

Anybody who's ever had a pet will understand animal intelligence. There's a video on a dog who knows 1022 words learned in three (3) years and is still eager to learn more. Watch the amazing video.

If you want an in-depth look at some of the research, here's a Larry King video with one of the authors of the book. If you watch nothing else, don't miss this one!

By the way, bats really do sing and they compose songs. They also rock their young. When a mouse is tickled, it giggles. Isn't that something? Ants play, have hospitals and even cemeteries for their dead.

The whole deal is that from these studies, they provide precious insights that suggest we're all in this together. It also provides clues to ways of dealing with human problems. As any animal or wildlife lover knows, we can learn a lot from the other living creatures that God made. We really are interconnected.

View the book at Amazon.

This is all so very exciting. I love it when science catches up with creation.

This Website is Sponsored by The Herbs Place - Wholesale Prices Always
On Sale Now * Online Catalog * Women * Men * Children * Essential Oils

Bat Update - White Nose Syndrome

The plague just keeps spreading. So far this year, White-nose Syndrome has expanded its devastation into four new states and Canada's Maritime Provinces. The latest victims are Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and North Carolina in the United States and New Brunswick in Canada. The Geomyces destructans fungus tied to the disease was confirmed this past month in the province of Nova Scotia.

WNS, which has killed well over a million bats in North America since 2006, is now confirmed in 16 states and 3 provinces. Two other states and one province have confirmed presence of the fungus that is the probable cause White-nose Syndrome. Learn more.

This Website is Sponsored by The Herbs Place - Wholesale Prices Always
On Sale Now * Online Catalog * Women * Men * Children * Essential Oils

Revealing The Emotional Lives of Bats

Only a scientist who realizes bats have an emotional life can see a link between these flying mammals and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.

That researcher is Jagmeet Kanwal, PhD, who heads the Laboratory for Auditory Communication & Cognition in the Departments of Neurology and Neuroscience at GUMC. He says that sounds are processed in the brain’s emotional center, which filters out most of the noise that is not relevant for survival. So in the same way that a bat pays attention to cries of anger and warning from other bats, soldiers listen for sounds that signify danger. A terrifying experience, however, can result in hypersensitivity to sounds that only mimic a threat.

The 2010 book he co-wrote with neuropsychologist Karen Shanor, PhD – Bats Sing, Mice Giggle: The Surprising Science of Animals’ Inner Lives. In the book, he and Shanor talk about how many behavioral and mental traits considered uniquely human are in fact shared with other species.

For example, in one passage they say: Four-to-eight week-old bat pups make long strings of barks, chatters and screeches that represent jumbled-up adult-like calls. Scientists now know that bats, like some primates and birds, babble as babies; and the ability to babble can even be accompanied by giggling. Not only do human infants babble and giggle as they experience feelings and try out their audiovocal abilities, so do babies of other species. New and sophisticated technology is taking our understanding into the secret world of animals where we can detect first-hand bats and mice that do indeed sing. Read the entire article.

This Website is Sponsored by The Herbs Place - Wholesale Prices Always
On Sale Now * Online Catalog * Women * Men * Children * Essential Oils

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Do NOT Kill Ladybug Larvae - Know What It Looks Like

This is the larvae of a ladybug on a leaf of a spirea bush. We have oodles of them all over our plants that normally attract aphids.  Each year we have more and more of these God-driven aphid eaters.

Many people have no idea when they spray their plants to kill these precious critters that they are killing their army of protection from aphids.  They are in this stage, growing from tiny to small, for about two weeks. One larvae will eat about 400 medium-size aphids during its development to the pupal stage.

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Ladybug Larvae - Aphid Gobblers
Every year our spirea bushes begin to put on green and grow new shoots and get filled with aphids. Right behind all of that are these little critters that gobble up the aphids so they can grow into ladybugs, who will then lay eggs and begin the process all over again.

Once the eggs hatch, the larvae will come out and start looking for something to eat. They will look for tiny mites or aphids and they should find plenty because the mother found the perfect leaf to lay her eggs under because of the abundance of food for the larvae to find.

Newborn larvae look sort of like tiny alligators. After only a few days, the larvae will be large enough to begin to molt (shed their skin), and they keep molting for as long as they are growing. You can find the molted skins on leaves if you look very hard.

After a couple of weeks of growing, the larvae will start to change into something that looks like a shrimp. It will find a leaf to attach itself to and it will seem to fall asleep for a few days, but it is not sleeping at all. During the pupa stage, the larvae are going through a metamorphosis into a ladybug.

And we all know what ladybugs look like.


This Website is Sponsored by The Herbs Place - Wholesale Prices Always
On Sale Now * Online Catalog * Women * Men * Children * Essential Oils

Aquatic Worms in Our Pond

by Donna L. Watkins

I was digging around our little pond awhile back and came across some worms. I was so excited since this was something new for our ponds. I generally get some red-spotted newts when I put the net in there, but worms I've never seen. With the first one I wondered if a bird had dropped it in.

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Aquatic Worms
We've had robins bobbing along out back digging up our earthworms. But it was alive and well and seemed quite content in the water. When I put it along the concrete side of the pond, it didn't head for the dirt. After I pulled out several more, I figured I should take pictures and check it out online.

Aquatic worms! I'd never heard of them, but these worms matched the pictures online. It was also mentioned that they tend to curl up when they feel threatened.  Obviously one of them knew I was safe and the smaller one just wasn't assured.

I am thrilled not only to have another new species on our property for the health of our little pond, but to have another adventure as I edge toward the mark of 60 new experiences in my 60th year of life. Gee, every time I type that I think 60 sounds so old.

Back to the worms ...

Aquatic worms are generally found in soft mud bottoms, and in high numbers, are considered indicators of very poor water quality. We like to leave a lot of leaves in our pond for the frogs to winter over in and also for dragonfly larvae which is generally placed between layers of leaves in a pond. We have mostly oak trees around the pond which are high in tannins, so we try to keep as many scooped out as possible without turning the pond into something other than a woodland natural pond that we created it to be.

These worms are generally found in "organically polluted" water, so that makes sense. It's great to know that God's watching over our pond as well as the sparrows that may drink from it. The balance of nature amazes me.

I believe these worms belong to a group Oligochaetes. Oligochaetes are a diverse group, occurring in a wide spectrum of water including nutrient heavy and oxygen deficient. I'm hoping ours isn't oxygen deficient, so we're going to be finding out how to tell if it is. The frogs seem to be laying a bunch of eggs this year and the American Toad males have made many visits. I have a bucket of eggs that I'm giving a head start by putting them in the kitchen until they hatch, eat the mass surrounding the eggs and get ready for the release into the pond as tadpoles.

This Website is Sponsored by The Herbs Place - Wholesale Prices Always
On Sale Now * Online Catalog * Women * Men * Children * Essential Oils

CBS News - Radon In Granite Countertops

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, next to cigarette smoking. Radon is naturally present in granite, but the various levels in different brands is wide ranging. Some of the popular granite countertops may emit radon at dangerous levels. A CBS news clip discusses ways to test countertops with an expert in radiation testing.

The EPA doesn't believe sufficient data exists to conclude that the types of granite commonly used in countertops are significantly increasing indoor radon levels. While radiation levels are not typically high, measurement of specific samples may reveal higher than expected levels on a case-by-case basis.

How long did the EPA look away at cigarette smoking while others presented research opposite to their thoughts that second-hand smoke posed no risks to people around smokers and indoor environments. If you already have granite countertops, you might want to do an at-home test kit to find out what your level of exposure is. View the video.

This Website is Sponsored by The Herbs Place - Wholesale Prices Always
On Sale Now * Online Catalog * Women * Men * Children * Essential Oils

A Detailed Look at Chickadee Nests

From Cornell University's NestWatch Program

At NestWatch we are often asked what materials birds use to build their nests. A recent study in Ohio focused upon the construction of Carolina Chickadee nests.

© 2010 Donna L. Watkins - Chickadee
After chickadee chicks had fledged, researchers collected nests, dissected them, and identified their components. They found that only 10 of 215 locally available species of moss and 2 of 85 local liverwort plant species were actually utilized in nest construction.

The most commonly used species typically were those that anchor tightly to tree bark and are known to cause skin rashes when touched by humans.

It is theorized that even though these particular species are difficult for chickadees to harvest, they are specifically selected because they produce an irritating chemical that repels nest parasites, although further research is required to confirm this.

Andreas, Barbara K. 2010. Use of Bryophytes by Carolina Chickadees (Poecile carolinensis) in Nest Construction. Evansia, 27(1): 23-29.

This Website is Sponsored by The Herbs Place - Wholesale Prices Always
On Sale Now * Online Catalog * Women * Men * Children * Essential Oils

Suffering Prepares Us To Meet God

by Joni Eareckson Tada

Used With Permission From Heaven, Your Real Home Publisher

Suppose you had never in your life known physical pain. No sore back, twisted ankle, or decayed molars. What if you never had to use those crutches or that walker? How could you appreciate the scarred hands with which Christ will greet you.

For "we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory." (Romans 8:17)

"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me." (Matthew 5:11)

If our perfect Savior endured suffering, why do we feel betrayed when we experience hardships?

Perhaps we would bite our complaining tongues more often if we stopped to picture the scene in heaven. The examples of other suffering saints are meant to inspire us upward on our heavenly journey home. I love reading the biographies of missionaries like Amy Carmichael or J. Hudson Taylor, people who considered it a privilege to bear their sufferings with grace so they might share in Christ's glory.

Suppose you had never in your life known emotional pain. No stained reputation. No bruised feelings. No pangs of guilt. What if no one had ever offended you deeply? How could you adequately express your gratitude when you approach the Man of Sorrows who was acquainted with grief?

If you were never embarrassed or felt ashamed, you could never grasp how much He loved you when He endured the spit from soldiers, the spinelessness of His disciples, the callousness of the crowd, and the jeers from the mob. All for the love of you.

Lastly, suppose you had never in your life known the struggle against sin. He took your shameful sins and made them His. You will be able to say, "Lord, I'm grateful that I felt the piercing stab of guilt. I can better appreciate how You were wounded by sin on the Cross!"

I want to be as happy as possible in heaven. Bishop Ryle is on target when he warns, "Heaven is a holy place. Its inhabitants are all holy. Its occupations are all holy. To be really happy in heaven, it stands to reason...our hearts must be somewhat in tune, somewhat ready for it." How could we be thrilled to meet the Lord face-to-face after clinging on earth to the very sins for which He died? It is impossible to hold onto sinful habits while, at the same time, holding on to the desire to touch the nail-scarred hands of Christ. No one can hope for heaven while consciously clutching onto sins he knows to be offensive.

True, holy living is rugged and demanding, but its heavenly rewards are precious. The entire seventh chapter of Romans assures us holy living will always be a struggle, but think of it as the best way of showing love to Christ! I want to cut away every sin that entangles.

When you meet Jesus face-to-face, your loyalty in your hardships will give you something tangible, something concrete to offer Him in return. For what proof could you bring of your love and faithfulness if this life left you totally unscarred?

© Used With Permission From Heaven, Your Real Home Publisher

Sponsored by The Herbs Place - Wholesale Prices Always
On Sale NowOnline CatalogWomenMenChildrenEssential Oils

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

GMO Plants and Problems With Livestock

From Food Democracy Now

In 2010, more than 365 million acres were planted worldwide with genetically engineered (GMO) seeds.

The U.S. leads the world with more than 165 million acres of GMO crops, mostly Roundup Ready® crops.

Monsanto owns patents on the genes of more than 93% of soybeans, 80% of corn, and 95% of sugar beets planted in the U.S. -- all genetically modified to be resistant to the weed killer Roundup.

In 2007, more than 185,000,000 lbs. of Roundup were applied to U.S. crops, the year the Bush administration halted reporting of the herbicide's application rates.

In 1992, U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle announced that GMO foods would not be "hampered by unnecessary regulation", freeing Monsanto of the burden of independent testing or labeling of GMO foods for the American public.

Are you eating GMOs?

On January 17, internationally recognized plant pathologist Dr. Don Huber, wrote a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack warning of the discovery of a new pathogen and a possible link between Roundup Ready® (GMO) corn and soybeans and severe reproductive problems in livestock as well as widespread crop failure.

Less than 3 weeks later, the Obama administration approved 2 new Roundup Ready® GMO crops, set to be planted this spring. Read on about Dr. Huber's discovery.

This Website is Sponsored by The Herbs Place - Wholesale Prices Always
On Sale Now * Online Catalog * Women * Men * Children * Essential Oils

Share This Post