Saturday, October 15, 2011

Newsletter - 10/15/11

Hello Dear Friends!

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Snuggling Carpenter Bee
Tucked Into Bed
Our mornings and evenings are getting a bit more chilly now that Autumn has arrived, but we've had beautiful days and I'm enjoying them to the maximum.  If I linger into dusk, I can find the bees already tucked in since they require warmth to do their foraging, so this time of year, they are early-to-bed and late-to-rise.

They snuggle themselves into a flower and sleep for the night.  I've always wondered whether they choose the flower and position, or if they just run out of the energy of the sun and just hang on till the sun comes up again to warm the air.  Regardless, they are so cute to see.

I'm glad I have a nice soft and cozy mattress with a pillow.  I'd certainly not sleep a wink if I was hanging onto something.  It reminds me that we need to trust our Heavenly Father when we tuck ourselves in.  There are all kinds of fears we could have at night, but if we meditate on God's Word, He will fill us with His peace and we will sleep well.

David said in Psalm 3:4-5, "I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me."  My favorite verse when I used to have a challenge going to sleep was Psalm 4:8, "In peace I will lie down and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety."  I would meditate on that as I got into bed and go to sleep on it.  I wasn't concerned for physical safety, but I had quite the busy mind in my more hyper days, so it reminded me that I didn't need to give my mind over to the devil for the night and that God would cause me to dwell in the safety of His Word, not what the devil would like to whisper in my ear while I slept.

© Donna L. Watkins - Dark-eyed Junco
The Dark-eyed Juncos and White-throated Sparrows return here in Virginia later this month.  That surely makes me think of winter since they're not here the nicer times of the year.

The Junco is a ground dweller and feeds on seeds and small fruits in the open. It also moves through the lower branches of trees and seeks shelter in the tangle of shrubs. Until recently the many geographical forms of this bird were considered separate species, but since they interbreed wherever their ranges meet, they are now considered one species.

The range is shown as:  Breeds from Alaska east across Canada to Newfoundland, south to mountains in Mexico and Georgia. Winters south to Gulf Coast and northern Mexico.

© Donna L. Watkins - White-throated Sparrow
The White-throated Sparrow has already arrived.  I saw my first two this past Thursday.  This very common sparrow is known in the United States primarily as a winter visitor and a migrant.

During the colder months every hedgerow and thicket seems to be filled with White-throats, and on warm days one can readily hear their plaintive song. When evening comes and they gather to roost in dense thickets.  The song always sounded cheery to me on cold winter days.

Maybe you've heard them singing and wondered what it was?  Since they like to forage among dead perennials and in thickets, you sometimes hear them more than see them.  You can listen to their song here.  Their range is shown as:  Breeds from Mackenzie, central Quebec, and Newfoundland south to North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Winters in much of eastern United States and in small numbers in southwestern states.

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Male Deer
I made another trip to the local orchard with a friend to pick up a bucket of apples for the wildlife. You get to pick them from the ground for $2.50 a 5-gallon bucket. What a deal! And it's great fun to watch all the wildlife come to visit. Even some species of butterflies like rotting apples. For that reason I always pick up some that already have rotten spots.

We had another visit from two male deer. Seeing the bucks during the day is a real treat. They will soon be mating. I love to see the unique designs of their antlers. I wonder if there's never been two antlers alike? God is like that. He's so creative that every person and every thing is totally unique in some form or fashion. It sure makes me realize what an awesome God we have when you look at His artistic creations. (Related Article: Destroying God's Art)

The latest and greatest news in my spirit results from my Mac crashing at the end of September. It seemed every time I turned around, I'd think of something else that was "only on the computer."

After basically grieving for four days of all the known losses and those I had not even thought of yet, I decided it was ridiculous to put so much concern into data. My life is hid in Christ, so whatever was hidden on the computer should not be so important. I have not enjoyed computers as much as many people so I realized I'd cursed my machine often with my words and rarely ever gave it praise or blessing.

Have you ever thought about the fact that God SPOKE everything into existence?  What amazes me is that on Day One, He said, "Let there be light" and it was so.  But did you ever notice that He didn't create the sun and moon until Day Four?!  WOW!  We are children of an awesome and amazing God.  I love the Scriptures that talk about our mouth, because I've had a hard time keeping mine on a leash.  Here's a few favorites:

"Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body." (Prov. 16:24)

"Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin." (Prov. 13:3)

"Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble."  (Prov. 21:23)

and my current favorite that rests on the backsplash of my bathroom sink:

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord."  (Psalm 19:14)

Randal has a super backup system and always encouraged me to backup regularly. He has to backup daily for the business, but when I did backup in earlier years, it didn't seem to have what I needed when I lost something of my own fault. His current system does not have that problem, but my faith in technology didn't change my choice of behavior. My opinions have changed. I will now be faithful to backup. And when I turn my machine off at night, I speak blessings and appreciation over it.

© Donna L. Watkins - Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly
Romans 8:28 promises that if we love God all things will work out for our good, and this one certainly has.

Randal was able to restore my data on to my older computer and I'm going to stick with this one since I am moving a step further into simplicity by removing some things I was doing on the computer and keeping them on paper again. Not only to be sure to have it, but also to have less time on the computer.

I spent quite a bit of time in prayer about how this event would benefit me and the direction I have now means I can dedicate three days a week as "no computer days" rather than the one on Sunday. I still have a certain number of hours for work even though God has revealed ways to accomplish that in less time. It's quite amazing.

I am more focused with less time on the computer, so I've been able to get more done in a more peaceful mode.  No worries, I'm not changing anything to do with the blogs that I do, especially this one.  From all the comments I get I'm very well aware that God is in it and I am humbled to think it makes a difference to anyone since my view of it is that, "I am, therefore, I write."  It's just something I enjoy, like a hobby.

Please don't decline to email me either, since I thoroughly enjoy hearing from my subscriber friends.  It's part of the fun side to being on the computer.  I am no longer anxious about "all the emails" since I can now respond as my time allows. Why do we think NOW is the time for everything? That's a big part of all the anxiety and insomnia people deal with.  It's been more than 10 years that I've gone to bed reviewing what I didn't get done or thinking about what I needed to do the next day.

So, continue to email me, but don't expect a quick response. Quite awhile ago, I realized that staying in touch with somebody doesn't require a daily basis contact, but I'm understanding more of that since this event. It's lovely to stay instantly in touch with good friends, but the reality is that to do that we have to sacrifice something else and generally it's something that, if we were asked about priorities, we would not want to sacrifice. Just because the option to communicate instantly has most of the world in a tizzy trying to keep up, doesn't mean we have to join the "lemmings to the sea."

Lemmings became the subject of a popular misconception that they commit mass suicide when they migrate. Actually, it is not a mass suicide but the result of their migratory behavior. Driven by strong biological urges, some species of lemmings may migrate in large groups when population density becomes too great. Lemmings can swim and may choose to cross a body of water in search of a new habitat. In such cases, many may drown if the body of water is so wide as to stretch their physical capability to the limit. (Source:

© Donna L. Watkins - Hopeland Gardens, Aiken, SC
Adult Male Five-lined Skink in Breeding Color (Orange Head)
Sounds rather like humans being driven by biological urges (to excel - "if it's to be, it's up to me"), migrating in large groups (popularity), sometimes crossing water (meeting everybody's expectations) and may drown if the body of water is such that our physical capability is not able to cope.

In today's world, there's no way to keep up with all that demands our attention, so we have to choose wisely in managing the affairs of life so that we still have a major portion of time to spend with our Father and Jesus, for whom we were created. The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy and today's pace of living is taking its toll on many.

My dilemma is not uncommon.  I hear so many people talking about "having to keep up" with email, text messages, phone calls, etc.  Since we have refused cell phones, I have not had to deal with that realm.  I am delighted with the fact that in my slower response, I will be lessening the load on others with more time between emails.

I love staying in touch with people and all of you, so please don't misunderstand me that I don't value what I get on this wonderful machine.  We are blessed to have the ability to make friends around the world, but we also have to nurture the friends and family that God has surrounded us with outside the computer world.

I managed my time quite well with on and off time with the computer since I love housework and administrative tasks, but the reality is that when the computer is totally off and my mind knows that, my days are totally different, with much more peace and joy and a slower way of looking at life.

I'm loving it, so let me encourage those of you who are looking for another layer of simplicity, it works amazingly well.  You will receive revelation from the Lord on how to actually make it work if your heart so desires to do so.

There are many exciting things in the "real" world and now I have found more time for special moments here and there.  They're available all around us, if we pause to grab them. I also get special moments on the computer since my attitude is different towards it also.

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - View From Ravens Roost - Blue Ridge Parkway - Nelson County, Virginia
Nelson County is the most beautiful place I've ever been in the United States and I've been to 48 states. There is a peace and stillness and beauty that simply reminds me of what some of Heaven must be like.

View some Nelson County photo albums at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia.

• American Chestnut Restoration Project - Lessane Chestnut Forest
• Crabtree Falls, Tyro, VA
• Swannanoa Palace
• Festival at Oak Ridge Estate
• The Wildlife Center Rehabilitation and International Training
• Ravens Roost, Greenstone Overlook & Humpback Rocks Visitor Center
• Miscellaneous Views

Donna at Flippin-Seaman Apple Orchard, Montebello, VA
I went with a friend to get a bushel of apples from Nelson County at Flippin-Seaman Apple Orchards.  Yep!  That's the name.  We were certainly flippin' happy to be there.  This time I didn't pick them from the tree, but instead gleaned from the bins of a variety of flavors.

My choices were Jonathan, Fuji, and Jonagold.  Wish you could come and eat one with me.  I'm having apples every day, just plain.  We don't use them for sauce or pies or fritters - we just like them raw.  An apple a day keeps the doctors away.  There's validity in that phrase.

Apples have a good claim to promote health. They contain Vitamin C, which aid the immune system and phenols, which reduce cholesterol. They also reduce tooth decay by cleaning one's teeth and killing off bacteria. It has also been suggested by Cornell University researchers that the quercetin found in apples protects brain cells against neuro-degenerative disorders like Alzheimer's Disease.  (Source:

So ... anybody ready to visit Virginia for a great locally-grown apple and a cup of herbal tea?

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Love and Hugs,

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

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