Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Poll Results

The poll is now closed.

I had intended to have it run for a month but did not realize SurveyMonkey.com only allows the first 100 responses to be seen.  

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Survey Results of Topic Votes

I didn't realize when I signed up for the survey website at SurveyMonkey.com that I was limited in seeing only the first 100 responses which we had in only four (4) days.  I wanted to run the poll for a few weeks to get a better average for what the 2000+ subscribers want.

However, it's comforting to me that for the most part I seem to be on target for what you want.  The real surprises were on the topics of simplify-frugal and newsletters.  The results and my comments are shown below along with the optional comments section of the poll.

Your Votes - Popularity of Topics

76%  health
62%  my healing journey
Since my close encounter with the medical world and relating my personal healing journey.  Due to the response I will continue to do so.  If you are interested in more health information, I also do TheHerbsPlaceNews.com website with health information.  Sign up to "Stay In Touch" (left side of website) in a variety of ways.  There are three (3) new posts added weekly, plus any sales that Nature's Sunshine Products announces.

62%  simplify-frugal
A real surprise to me was the high percentage of people liking the simplify-frugal topic.  I don't actually post a lot for that category since I do posts for TheFrugalLifeNews.com website. Randal and I swap off each month as editors.  Sign up to "Stay in Touch" (left side of website) in a variety of ways.  There are three (3) new posts added weekly.

This topic was included because we love living a debt-free simplified budget and lifestyle. Besides the frugal news website mentioned above, we have maintained TheFrugalLife.com website for over a decade. It has lots of frugal topics and a forum to search for answers or ideas. Check it out!

61%  creation-nature
60%  spiritual-written by me
These topics are my real passion for the website.  Sharing about our Heavenly Father and all the amazing things He created for us.  The title of the website, The Nature In Us, came from the idea that we have the very nature of God with Jesus in us.  Our journey on earth is to renew our minds to walk in that nature every day in every situation.

59%  gardening
Since there's an abundance of websites that specifically focus on the how-to of gardening, I share what's going on in our garden/habitat and photos related to it.  I love to promote gardening for wildlife.

45%  going green
Living more gently on the earth are ways to focus on Creation and the planet, but I had already cut back on these posts, so it's nice to see that I was in tune with the subscribers.

44%  photos
I love to take photos to remember moments of my life.  I add them to articles I write and use them in the twice-monthly newsletter.  It's nice to know that many of you do enjoy them with me.

44%  pets
Because we've always had pets, they are a part of our lives, but I realize not everybody has a pet.  I will be posting something twice a month for this topic.

41%  spiritual-written by others
Although many of you mentioned loving Andrew Wommack's articles, you obviously prefer articles written by me (I'm blushing ;-), so I will reduce his and other authors' articles and begin to write more myself.

20%  newsletters
I was most surprised by this response since I get the most email regarding the newsletters that I do on the 1st and 15th of the month.  Although I only began the newsletter category about 2-1/2 years ago, in the nine (9) years that I've been doing The Nature In Us website, there's never been a topic that has had more response/emails from readers telling me they love it.  I have been pleasantly surprised actually!

I can only guess, regarding the poll, that maybe it was confusing as to what I meant by newsletters.  Since it consists of only two (2) posts a month and the obvious popularity of it outside of the poll, I will continue to do this.

19%  travel
I already knew that this topic would not be of great interest to the majority since we have subscribers across the U.S. and in other countries.  My little excursions don't "fit" for everybody, so that's why only 6.7% of the total posts on the website are of this category.

Comments (From 32 of 100 voting)
(I have removed names that were on some of them for privacy reasons.)

really enjoy your posts, pictures. It has been fun reading about your travels, the history of places,and seeing the pictures. I have not been able to travel much the past few years, your travels have been fun to read and hope that someday I will be able to go. Thanks!
10/26/2012 11:23 PM
have 2 disabled sons trying to get healthier things for them
10/25/2012 1:41 PM
Love it all - especially how God has healed and is continuing to heal you. It really encourages the rest of us out here that need to receive healing and hear how God did it for you. Love all you send us.
10/25/2012 10:13 AM
Love it if you could have more from other countries. There are things in the US that will never apply to me in Australia: products, some of the climate, lots of the plants and animals... If you like, I'm happy to put in some articles.
10/25/2012 1:03 AM
I look forward to all of your articles, and enjoy them very much. 
10/24/2012 9:47 PM
I think your newsletter is perfect..... Just as it is. Be Well God Bless
10/24/2012 8:31 PM
Love it all!
10/24/2012 8:30 PM
Thank you for all you write! I enjoy it so much!
10/24/2012 8:22 PM
I love it the way it is. I enjoy the variety of things you write about & the beautiful photos. 
10/24/2012 7:38 PM
I appreciate your attitude and you writing about what has gone on in your life. I always smile after reading know how God must smile at your faith and attitude and how willing you are to help others.
10/24/2012 6:15 PM
anything you do, I like, ,,,,,I LOVE the Andrew Wommack articles you include when you summarize his teachings. I listen to him almost every day, and you do such a great job of summarizing and bringing it to a personal level. Thank you! Keep it up!
10/24/2012 4:51 PM
anything you do, I like, ,,,,,
10/24/2012 4:05 PM
I am on my own healing journey and interested in health, gardening, love pets and I try to be frugal. I listen to Andrew Wommack every day and buy his training guides. I am interested in most things you have listed above. My husband has some health problems, diabetes, 2 mechanical heart valves, and is on his 2nd pacemaker. I thank God for His healing promises (my husband doesn't believe as I do).
10/24/2012 3:44 PM
Thank you for your faith. I was so pleasantly surprized. I am sure that you shall be blessed. I do believe that we can be healed and that it isn't just in the bible. I join you in prayer for your good health.
10/24/2012 3:41 PM
I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of your "posts." You are an inspiration to us all in many ways. I wouldn't change a thing! Thank you so much for sharing.
10/24/2012 2:44 PM
10/24/2012 2:06 PM
I like the fact you do not only use what you know off the top of your head yet you add stories from other sites as well to get more in depth information.
10/24/2012 1:30 PM
Ok, what can I say. I like them all.
10/24/2012 1:17 PM

Thank you SO much or your posts. They have really helped me along in my spiritual life and quest for healing!
10/25/2012 10:21 AM
Just keep 'em coming!
10/25/2012 10:13 AM
thank you for all the info
10/25/2012 3:45 AM
The reason why I love your emails is because you have a Christian bias and you are a greenie - same as me! And we're continents and an ocean away. Thank you for all that you do and share. May God richly bless you.
10/25/2012 1:03 AM
I think your newsletter is perfect..... Just as it is. Be Well God Bless
10/24/2012 8:31 PM
don't change a thing. you are such a blessing 
10/24/2012 7:51 PM
I don't know what feed or feedburner email is.
10/24/2012 7:38 PM
not sure what feedburner email is. I recieve by email (same thing?) smile.
10/24/2012 6:22 PM
10/24/2012 6:15 PM
You're the bestest. Whatever you write is a reflection of who you are, and what's not to love there? Blessings!
10/24/2012 3:47 PM
It is hard for me to choose!
10/24/2012 3:15 PM
thank you. I'm very encouraged by your newsletter.
10/24/2012 1:54 PM
I really like your articles
10/24/2012 1:30 PM
Love to read you newsletter! Thank you!
10/24/2012 1:20 PM

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My Thyroid Isn't Healed .. Yet!

by Donna L. Watkins

(Note:  There's an update to this article below also.)

After reducing the amount of Nature-Throid I was using based on some symptoms, and believing it might be totally healed, I noticed some symptoms indicating low thyroid.  My thyroid was "zapped" with radioactive iodine when I was 25 since it was hyperactive, but they destroyed too much of it, so I was then low thyroid requiring a prescription.  I switched to the more natural glandular but it still required a prescription to get it and annual blood work I get at a walk-in clinic.

My short haircut and botanical perm
Awhile back I was thinking I was having symptoms of taking too much of the glandular prescription, so I cut the dosage.  After a month I was noticing some symptoms of it possibly being low.  I intended to have blood work done after five weeks, so I went in hoping that my thyroid was totally restored. I was wrong ... not yet.

After getting the call with the results, the battle was not to be discouraged. I could feel my heart sinking and wanting to have a pity party. So easy to dress up for it mentally. But I know that every minute I allow it only makes it harder to leave the party, so I gave myself an hour of dwelling on "poor little ole me" and then played a spiritual message we had started and it was exactly what I needed.

It's easy to praise God once you've crossed the Red Sea and seen all that was bad drowned and dead, but the real Life within us comes in when we can praise Him before stepping between the waters. It's all done, it is coming forth within me according to my faith ... but the problem is that my doubts and unbelief from what I've been looking at in the physical realm all these years counterbalances the faith.  We don't need more faith, we just need to get rid of the doubt and unbelief, so I will keep building it up with the Word that renews my mind.

Just like Jesus didn't get to the disciples until the 4th watch of the night ... it may be later rather than sooner, but it's all happening within me and the more I stand in faith rather than fear and worry, the quicker it will be. Any second it can all be over. I know one thing .. if I give into despair I will remain there and nothing good will happen. My whining doesn't move God, only believing and receiving works since all things come by faith. I know I'm walking this path with many others, so I don't want to lose what I've gained.

One of the nurses at the clinic where I get the blood test done saw my book, "God Wants You Well," and asked about it so I was able to tell her that I didn't have the surgery for the heart valve and a few of the details that went on after the ER doctor told my husband to contact Hospice. She said her church is getting into a health and wellness program and she wrote down the name and author so she could recommend it.

Old Wire Fence Is Now Hidden In The Tree
The Same As Our 'Old Man' Should Be Hidden in Christ
Scheier Natural Area, Palmyra, VA
I realize my brain is still so works-oriented. I keep thinking there's something I haven't done. When we condemn ourselves, the devil doesn't even have to bother. But there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus, so that has to go. Of course he hounds us with all kinds of negative chatter, but we overcome him by the Blood of the Lamb.

The only way we can be victorious in this earthly life is to be hidden in Christ.  Finding out who we are in Him and living through Him.  God says we are awesome and wonderful and He loves us so much.  There is no condemnation towards us.  He is not angry or mad.  He sees us through the shed blood of His Son, and His Son resides in us if we have made Him Lord and Savior of our lives.  He has become for us a New Covenant of Grace.  No longer under the Old Covenant.  Why would you call it new if you were just adding to the old?

We used to be hanging out there on our own struggling to make it through this world.  The law could not save us from sin.  It was never intended to do so.  God used it to point out to man that we cannot in our own power be righteous, and then He provided a way for us through Jesus.

Now we can live life abundantly by receiving all that God has for us into our spirits.  It first has to pass through our minds to renew them.  We are a new creation in Christ, but that is in the spiritual realm.  Obviously not the physical since we still look the same.  But at that point of conversion as far as our Father is concerned we are hidden in Christ and we are all that Christ is.

Sure we still have troubles and always will, but we now have the power and authority He's given us to overcome them.  Believing that is a major challenge if it's never been in the teaching you've received.  No wonder that people who just get saved and get the 'whole truth' are so much more victorious than those who have been Christians for decades.  So much of the brain to renew when it's been fed wrong.

Jesus told us that we would do even greater works than His.  That's a grand and marvelous goal to picture.

UPDATE - 11/28/12

I have wonderful news on the thyroid results of my retest.  The doctor at the clinic where I go for blood work only increased my dosage by a 1/2 tablet (which made it a total of 1-1/2 tablets) even though I was previously on 2 tablets.  I felt like this was going to be a long process since I figured I'd have to go back to 2 tablets to bring it back to where I was, so I didn't have much hope on the retest results six weeks later.

"Oh me of little faith!"

Normal TSH is from .27-4.2
My results after I messed it up: 18.27
Results 6 weeks later: 1.46

I couldn't believe it!  Such a huge spread!  Not having to go back to 2 tablets means MY THYROID IS HEALING!  Actually it's being totally restored since it was zapped with radioactive iodine in 1976 and was destroyed.  This has been a great encouragement to me on my healing journey.

No matter what we see in the physical realm it doesn't make it so in the spiritual realm.  When we renew our minds enough to bring the healing Jesus gave us with His stripes, we will see it all in the physical realm.  I have a lot of renewing to do from previous teaching.

Do you know each time the brain records something it leaves a path and if you repeat that it "cuts" it in deeper, so I've got a lot of ruts to fill in with new Truth.  [Read Changing Our Thought Patterns].

The devil continually fills my head with lies about my body, but I've got the Word and that is the Truth I shall live by. "By His stripes I WAS healed" (I Pet. 2:24). "He sent His Word and healed me and delivered me from all my destruction" (Ps. 107:20.

It's not a cake walk, but the results are worth it.  I just keep reminding myself that the only other option is to give up the spiritual battle and lay down waiting to die.  Not that Heaven won't be a grand place to go and be, but I don't want to enter my welcome party earlier than my Father has scheduled it for me.  So, I decided that, "I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD (Psalm 118:17).

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Friday, October 26, 2012

What Part of You Rules Your Life?

by Donna L. Watkins

When the Autumn breezes gently touch your face, close your eyes and imagine Jesus caressing your soul, bringing forth the health and healing that is within you. He provided healing in this life, along with a ticket to heaven. Study the Greek word for salvation in the New Testament Scriptures. The Greek word "sozo" was used over 100 times in the New Testament. It's an all-encompassing word for salvation, often rendered “save” or “saved."

Juvenile Double-crested Cormorant
Huntington Beach State Park, Murrells Inlet, SC
Sozo means “to save, heal, and deliver.” The meaning includes, “to make well, preserve, or make whole.” This is what Jesus came to bring us. The writers of the New Testament showed what this word encompasses by using it in different contexts to show us what The Cross gave to us.

Here's a few examples of New Testament verses that use the word “sozo” defining the three areas that Jesus shed His blood for: salvation, healing, and deliverance.


"Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved (sozo)." -- Luke 8:12

“That if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you shall be saved (sozo)” -- Romans 10:9.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save (sozo) what was lost.” -- Luke 19:10


"And the prayer of faith shall save (sozo) the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him." -- James 5:15

“For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole (sozo). But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, 'Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole (sozo). And the woman was made whole (sozo) from that hour." -- Matthew 9:21-22.

"If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole (sozo). Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole." -- Acts 4:9-10


“And those who had seen it reported to them how the man who was demon-possessed had been made well (sozo).” -- Luke 8:36

Study it yourself at the BibleTools.org website.

Healing comes from within us. When we believe and accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we get what the Atonement provided for us which includes eternal life that begins at that moment, healing and deliverance from demonic oppression or possession. It is implanted within our spirit along with the very nature of Christ who now resides within us.

God made us spirit beings that live in a physical body. When we die our spirits go directly to heaven, our bodies remain here. They are not part of our eternal life. We also have a soul (mind, will and emotions) which is many times called "the flesh" in the Bible, or the "carnal nature." That's why Jesus preached that whether we murder somebody with a knife or our thoughts murder them in any way, we have committed the sin regardless.

Fern - Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve - Decatur, GA
We were designed to be spirit-led. The body will take orders from the spirit or the soul. For many years before becoming born-again, our bodies were used to being commanded by our soul. We lived by our five senses. We believed only what we saw, tasted, smelled, heard, or what our feelings told us to believe. We are to believe what The Word says above all else because it is the only thing that will empower our spirits. Jesus said that we don't live by bread alone, but by every Word that comes from God (Matthew 4:4).

Jesus never let his physical body get in the way of obeying His Father. The Bible says that to worship God we must worship in spirit and truth. God isn't relating to us on a physical level. That's why Jesus told us He would send the Comforter (Holy Spirit) and that would be better than having Jesus (in the flesh) since He (Holy Spirit) would guide us into all truth (John 16:13).

The Bible tells us we are a new creation, but when you got saved, you looked and acted pretty much the same as before you were saved. If you were tall, you're still tall. If you had some extra pounds, you still had them. If you were an angry person, you'll still be an angry person. What is now available is the total ability to be like Christ. His very nature is within us.

Everything that God has done for you has already been deposited into your born-again spirit. Although it’s already there, you must draw it out of the spirit and into the physical realm. Galatians 5:24 says, "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." Notice it says 'they' have crucified the flesh. We have to apply what God has given us through the power and authority Jesus gave us when He defeated Satan's control over the earth.

He tells us in Luke 10:19, "Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you." God created our earth and all that was in it and gave dominion over it to Adam and Eve, who through The Fall, turned their beautiful planet over to Satan.

When Christ won our victory through The Cross and obedience to every Word from the Father, He stripped the enemy of all his power (Col. 2:15) and he is now powerless over us. As Luke 10:19 says above, He gave us power that is over all power of the enemy. Nothing can hurt us if we stand in that position of authority and rest in His love. He is a shield around us. Not that we won't have troubles. The more we become like Christ the more the devil will want to mess with us, but we don't have to be depressed and passive and allow him to tread all over us.

Our minds need to line up with the Word, with the absolute Truth, so that our mind is in agreement with the spirit, which should be ruling the body. Our bodies need to take direction from the spirit, not the soul. We have to believe more in what The Word says than in what we see. The devil is still alive and kicking every believer in the butt who tries to become more like Christ. He may not be able to take our salvation away, but he can deceive us in so many ways and make our lives miserable.

"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." -- John 10:10

I don't know about you, but when I was at times a depressed, oppressed and miserable planet dweller, I couldn't say my life had any abundance at all, especially emotionally. Being a mom is tough so child-raising years are always an emotional struggle, but it seemed that no matter what season of my life I was in, it was never an abundant season.

I'm not saying I have arrived by any means! I still have to choose NOT to allow my feelings to rule, but now I understand I have the power to do that and can choose how I feel. If I want to pout over something or grieve for a bit about something, I can do so, but I also realize that any moments I spend there can become a slippery slope downward, so I use The Word to encourage myself and realize the awesome and amazing power we have through Christ.

Suggested reading or listening:
Harnessing Your Emotions - article
Harnessing Your Emotions - audio

I continually remind my body that it's going to take orders from my spirit. It doesn't matter how much my soul whines and throws a fit, I am going to choose Life to live more abundantly. God has His hands out with all we need. We just need to reach out and receive it.

Possible Male Slaty Skimmer Dragonfly
Phinizy Swamp Nature Park - Augusta, GA

How many times did Jesus tell us to believe and receive!?  First we have to renew our minds, get the eyes of our hearts opened up for understanding.  But sometimes even after we truly believe (in our hearts, not just our minds), we have a problem receiving because we've got unworthiness buried in our soul.  Some of us aren't able to receive with child-like faith.  We conjure up our mistakes of the past.

When Jesus came down the mountain from the Transfiguration, He rebuked His disciples for not being able to heal the epileptic son, the disciples later asked why they couldn't heal him and Jesus said because of their unbelief. (Matthew 17:14-20)

Even He couldn't heal with dominating unbelief. When Jarius asked for Jesus to come heal his daughter (Matthew 9), before Jesus arrived at the home, Jarius' servants come to tell him the girl was dead. Jesus told him to "fear not, only believe." He knew that the father had to have some belief for his daughter.

After healing the woman with the issue of blood, Jesus proceeded with Jarius, but it says He only took Peter, James and John (the three that were present at the Transfiguration). He left behind those who had unbelief and couldn't heal the boy for the father. When He got to the home, He also told all the people proclaiming the girl was dead, to leave the house, knowing unbelief is a power source that works against belief and faith.

Remember when he preached in His own country and Mark 6:5-6 says, "And he (Jesus) could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief." Matthew 23:37 shows the sorrow of Jesus in not being able to do anything for Jerusalem when he said, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!"

THEY would not. It shows we have a choice and their unbelief prevented Christ from giving them what He came to give.

It shouldn't be a surprise to us, although much theology implies that God is in charge of everything, yet there is so much in the Bible that shows us that our own free will makes the decision on what happens in our lives. God gave us free will. He didn't make robots because He wanted a relationship with us. He created us for that so that when we love Him and desire to be all that He wants us to be, He can pour into us all the provision He has which is endless. The more we love, the more He pours into us. That's easy to understand with our own children. When they do things that please us we want to give them everything.

So, what part of you rules your life and body? What is determining the state of your health? How well are you weathering the storms of life? Do your feelings control whether your days are good or bad? The Bible says we are blessed with all spiritual blessings that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3), so do we tell ourselves that is what we believe ... or let our emotions rule the show and have our bodies drag around behind them, like a person with a ball and chain around their leg?

Our feelings can definitely place chains around us and bring us into the bondage of the enemy. We listen to his condemnation as he steals our life abundant provision away inch by inch. Eventually we believe that he has all power when the Bible tells us otherwise. 

Maybe it's time to change the ruler in your life? I've replaced my CEO and throughout every day I am mandating what rules this body. If it's not in the Bible, it's out the door and that definitely includes feelings. It's a process and one that may take a long time ... but how long do we need to be sick, diseased, depressed and heartbroken before we want something different?

Free will ... it's all about choice.

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Exchange Hotel Civil War Museum & Historic Churches - Gordonsville, VA

by Donna L. Watkins

When we moved here 12 years ago it was quite odd to me that the name of the town we were now living in was Palmyra, VA. Growing up in Lebanon, PA, most of my aunts and uncles lived in Palmyra, PA, so I thought that intriguing how life comes full circle at times.

Exchange Hotel Civil War Museum - Gordonsville, VA
Then after a short period of time I learned that Gordonsville was only a half hour from our home. My grandfather that raised me was born in Gordonsville.

His family lived over in the Shenandoah Valley, but in those days women didn't use hospitals to deliver babies, they delivered at home. I assumed that he was born in Gordonsville because his mother was visiting family as she was about to deliver. I can only speculate and will not know till I get to Heaven and it probably will take hundreds of years for me to come to such a trivial question as this one.

Last month we passed through Gordonsville on our way to Orange, VA, so I decided to visit a couple of places for photos and the "feel" of many of these historic places. You have to wonder if the ground wants to cry out for all that has been done on the land. I enjoy architecture more than the interior of homes so I'm happy to gad about outdoors while folks visit historic homes inside.

The first stop was The Exchange Hotel Civil War Museum. It's Virginia's only standing Civil War receiving hospital. Sadly the Exchange Hotel only had its first two years to be the grand place it was for folks traveling on the train which ran in front of the house. Grand ladies with hooped skirts and waist-coated gentleman were treated to the sight of the hotel's handsome architecture of wide verandahs and stately columns.

When the Civil War began, the hotel was converted to a hospital. Here's the timeline for this property:
1840-Tavern built on Hotel site
1859-Tavern burned
1860-Exchange Hotel built
1862-Converted to Hospital
1865-Hospital closed
1865-Freedman's Bureau
1869-Returned as Grand Hotel

Gordonsville Presbyterian Church, Est. 1845 - Virginia
The photographs have a lot more historical details in the descriptions, so be sure to view the Exchange Hotel Photo Album.

While we were in Gordonsville, we stopped at the oldest church in town, established in 1845:  Gordonsville Presbyterian Church at 406 N. Main Street.

This is where General "Stonewall" Jackson worshipped during the Civil War. His pew is still preserved within the church.

Across the street stood the Gordonsville Methodist Church, established in 1873.

The photos of the churches are in the Gordonsville, VA - Miscellaneous Photo Album along with a photo of the restored downtown shopping area.

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Aging for Pets - Factors in Lifespan Determination

Video by Dr. Sarah

The final installment of our Successful Aging Series, this episode of Pet Talk is one you won’t want to miss. Dr. Sarah is devoting a few minutes to one of the great debates in science … nature versus nurture.

Many people believe that genetic determination plays more of a role in overall health than other factors, but recent research paints a slightly more complex picture. As a pet parent, you’ll be interested to know how all of this impacts the longevity of companion animals.

Dr. Sarah also covers a deceptively simple dietary technique that could help add years to the life of your furry four-footer. Watch the latest episode of Pet Talk now … .

Friday, October 19, 2012

In The Rough Now & Now

by Andrew Wommack

MATTHEW 6:10, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."

We do not have to live a beggarly existence here on this earth and just wait till we all get to heaven to begin to experience the benefits of our salvation. Jesus told us to pray "thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven." In heaven, He will "wipe away all tears from our eyes" (Rev. 21:4), so here on earth we can pray and believe to receive "joy unspeakable and full of glory" (1 Pet. 1:8). Healing, prosperity, and all the other benefits of heaven are ours here on earth to the degree that we can believe and receive them.

It is God's will to deliver us from this present evil world. The Lord didn't save us from our sins so we could be "saved and stuck" until we go to heaven. He made provision for our success in this life as well.

Our salvation is effectual in this life too, not just the one to come. Some people have relegated all the benefits of salvation to, "when we all get to Heaven." But that's not so. Through the atonement of Jesus, we have been delivered from sickness, poverty and demonic control, as well as sin, in this present life.

To the degree we believe that, we will begin to experience the physical benefits of our salvation in the "rough now and now," not just in the "sweet by and by."

Our salvation is not just "pie in the sky," but it is victory in this present life. Today believe God to start receiving every benefit of your salvation here in this life, and help others to receive what has been purchased for them also. We don't have to wait until we get to Heaven.

Subscribe to the One Year With Jesus Daily Devotional email.

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Cigarettes Effects on the Brain

by Donna L. Watkins

In the late 1800s, Washington Duke started a small firm which eventually became The American Tobacco Company, one of the world's largest tobacco manufacturers. It was called the "golden weed" and transformed North Carolina into the heart of a world-wide tobacco empire.

During our visit to Durham, North Carolina, we visited Duke Homestead and Tobacco Museum. Having a grandfather that smoked for 54 years and died of lung cancer, I barely scanned the museum displays, but I did watch the film presented in the auditorium. Within it was all the wonder of the giant world of tobacco and what it did for the city of Durham. However, they balanced it well with the reality of the dangers.

The last cigarette rolled out of Durham in 2000. Many of the old factory and warehouse structures have been converted into housing, retail, restaurant and office spaces. The city has changed its motto from "City of Tobacco" to "City of Medicine," based on the high concentration of medical practitioners and researchers at Duke and in Research Triangle Park, the Durham County special tax district formed in 1959 to attract high-tech jobs to the area.

I noted the author of a couple of quotes within the film and was refreshed to find that not everybody was ignorant of the effects of tobacco many years before medical science caught up with the reality of it.

Thomas Edison's famous 1914 anti-cigarette memo to Henry Ford about cigarettes' adverse residual brain effects was actually a cable sent on April 26th:

Friend Ford,

The injurious agent in cigarettes comes principally from the burning paper wrapper. The substance thereby formed, is called "Acrolein." It has a violent action on the nerve centers, producing degeneration of the cells of the brain, which is quite rapid among boys. Unlike most narcotics this degeneration is permanent and uncontrollable. I employ no person who smokes cigarettes.

Thomas A Edison

A Counterblaste to Tobacco is a treatise written by King James VI of Scotland and King James I of England in 1604, in which he expresses his distaste for tobacco, particularly tobacco smoking. As such, it is one of the earliest anti-tobacco publications.

Have you not reason then to bee ashamed, and to forbeare this filthie noveltie, so basely grounded, so foolishly received and so grossely mistaken in the right use thereof? In your abuse thereof sinning against God, harming your selves both in persons and goods, and raking also thereby the markes and notes of vanitie upon you: by the custome thereof making your selves to be wondered at by all forraine civil Nations, and by all strangers that come among you, to be scorned and contemned. A custome lothsome to the eye, hatefull to the Nose, harmefull to the braine, dangerous to the Lungs, and in the blacke stinking fume thereof, neerest resembling the horrible Stigian smoke of the pit that is bottomelesse. — James 1604 from A Counterblaste of Tobacco

Tobacco not only cuts lives short, but there is a great Cost To The Economy also.

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Reducing The Cost of Pet Care

From DollarStretcher.com

With dogs and cats being a part of the family, the cost of pet care, pet food, and pet supplies must be incorporated into the monthly budget. Just as with all other monthly expenses, finding ways to keep this expense as low a possible is essential to a frugal living lifestyle.

However, you do not want to sacrifice the care of your pets. You may be surprised at the healthful and easy ways that you can reduce pet care costs. Read the entire article.

Sponsored by Healthy Pet Corner.

How To Make Better Nature Photos

by Rob Sheppard

When I first started making photos with a digital camera nearly a decade ago, the LCD display on its back was new to me. Nothing like it was part of the film equipment I had used for years, so I tended to forget about the LCD and relied on the new camera's viewfinder.

I remember setting up a shot of a basswood tree during autumn that looked quite interesting through that viewfinder. I took the picture and collapsed my tripod as I walked away.

Then it occurred to me: I could see the photo by playing it back on the LCD. And that’s when I discovered that my shot was not as good as I thought. I went back to the tree and set up everything again, using my first image as a reference, and got the result I was hoping to achieve.

Using the LCD playback to make more compelling images is not a novel idea, but as I’ve discovered in the nature photography workshops I teach, people often overlook it.

 Here are some other tips you may find useful as you head outdoors with your camera.

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Newsletter - 10/15/12

Hello Sweet Friends!

© Donna L. Watkins - Flying Squirrel in Bluebird House
Click photo for enlarged view and more photos.
What a thrill for us when Randal was doing the annual cleanup for the bluebird boxes. He opened the first one and nearly fell off the ladder when this flying squirrel with large black beady eyes was staring at him.

What an exciting day!  We've never seen flying squirrels here in this habitat. They are nocturnal so its not that easy to see them. We did see one in our Alabama backyard habitat after they clearcut some land behind us. He was hanging in the corner of our back porch, probably terrified, not knowing what to do for a home.

I took photos and when I went to put the cap back on the lens it took the opportunity to fly out of the box and up the tree. What was more amazing was that when Randal finished that box and went to the next, he found another one that was curled up with his back to him. I took more photos and it woke up looking for a way to leave, thinking the front opening would work, but Randal stood there. I've put a lot of info on the photos about flying squirrels and about our short exciting adventure. View beginning of the photos here.

We decided to go back to Kemper Park to find the two letterboxes that we didn't find on the first attempt back in August. We did find them this time! Yay! More exciting than finding the letterbox was to find a beautiful slug (yes, there are slugs that are gorgeous :-). This one is called a Leopard Slug and is one of the biggest in North America.

© Donna L. Watkins - Leopard Slug
Kemper Park, Charlottesville, VA
Okay, I know compared to the cute flying squirrel up here, many of you will be gagging on this one, but try to look at it from God's angle and with His creativity and design. This one was hidden under a rock preparing for the winter season I guess.

It made me think that we like to "hide out" sometimes when we want to winter over from a hurt or rejection. Life can be cruel, but God is always there to give us hugs and hold us tight when we feel like we're slipping away from the real world. He is ever faithful.  Jesus told us we would have troubles in this life, but He has overcome it all, so we need to rest in Him.

I didn't know that slugs had breathing holes or that they had eyes on the end of those front antennae. I put a lot of information about them on the photos if you'd like to learn more, begin here to view these photos. Click the arrow to the right at the top to see all four photos.

© Donna L. Watkins - Jagged Ambush Bug on Salvia
Click to view enlarged photo.
Talk about unusual critters, I saw a new bug in our habitat, or at least new to me. There could be oodles of things out there that I've not yet seen, which makes it a great incentive to keep strolling and looking around. This new one is called a Jagged Ambush Bug.

Although considered by some to be a beneficial insect, beekeepers don't consider it so since they eat bees. It's like God put all kinds of left-over parts on this one. A head like a sea turtle and forelimbs like a praying mantis. They lay in wait on or near flowers ready to jump their unsuspecting prey, which may be several times their size. They also seize butterflies and wasps with their strong foreclaws before paralyzing them with their bite. Don't like that part.

I painted our front porch shutters with black paint and had many more things I could use the paint on. I continued with the exterior lighting on the house, and then moved to the deck where we have some black aluminum furniture given to us by a neighbor before their move. This year the squirrels decided it was where they were going to file their teeth down. They need to do that or they will grow too long. They used to use the gutters which was fine with us, but for some reason they were attracted to the metal furniture this summer, so it needed quite a bit of paint to cover up all those marks.

It's amazing what a bit of paint will do to make things look nicer. I love "keeping house" and being a good steward of all that God has given us. I guess I learned from my grandfather that taking care of what you own is important. And God does tell us" He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon (money), who will commit to your trust the true riches?" (Luke 16:11) I've always felt that if you have more than you can maintain, maybe you've got too much.

The day after I painted, I noticed a really unusual bug on the bottom of the globe for the light on the front porch. It looked like a cross between a green lacewing and a praying mantid. I got my insect field guide out that my loving son bought me last year and it was very easy to find being as unusual as it is. A Green Mantidfly (Zeugomantispa minuta). They live throughout much of eastern United States and are found in a variety of habitats from late June through early October.

© Donna L. Watkins
Green Mantidfly Laying Eggs on Base of Porch Light
To view larger image, click here.
Adult mantidflies capture and eat all kinds of small insects in captivity, but little is known of their food preferences in the wild. The larvae are also predators and this particular genus preys on the eggs of spiders. We love our spiders since they are bug-eaters, so not too crazy about that.

Seems there's always good and bad in many things we discover, but that's the way it's going to be until Jesus comes back and makes the world right again. It will be awesome to walk around seeing lions lying with lambs and no more "eat or be eaten" mandates in effect.

We are very excited that we have a new-to-us beneficial insect though. It's wonderful seeing Creation balance itself out in this fallen state of the world. She was laying eggs in the daytime, although I learned they are nocturnal creatures.  View closeup of the eggs.  Isn't it amazing how they can space them as they lay them when their eyes aren't even back where the eggs are coming out.  God's design of things is simply astounding.

One of the things we did here on our Virginia property was to put in a small frog pond. We had one back in Alabama and enjoyed it so much! I love hearing frogs calling and the sound of a small waterfall is nice too. I'm blessed to have a husband willing to dig the hole with a shovel and we're both blessed to have an Alabama friend, Charlie, who helped Randal to concrete it. I've had so many discoveries in the pond. I never knew how alive it was with so many species. Even the insects are amazing.

Last month while in the front garden, I saw a plant move and headed that way to see what was happening. It was a small baby frog that had made the leap for an Alianthus Webworm Moth, a moth that looks more like a bug since it's out in the daytime and has wings that fold down like lightning bugs. They are so colorful!

I didn't know what kind of frog it was, but I knew I hadn't seen one before in our habitat so I got quite excited. It turned out to be a Spring Peeper. How cool! I hear them every Spring singing a chorus from across the road at the big pond or in our back woods where there's a bit of a ditch. The sound is mesmerizing since it's one of the early signs that Spring has arrived.

© Donna L. Watkins - Spring Peeper (Hyla crucifer)
Click to see enlarged image.
This is a very small frog with a length of only 3/4-1 1/4 inches (1.9-3.2 cm). The 'X'-shaped dark mark on the back is a great clue. Their coloring varies like the Eastern Gray Treefrog we have here with the belly totally unmarked.

They are actually members of the swamp treefrog. Notice how the "Peepers" face is pointed. Very unusual as is the fact that their fingers are unwebbed. This is probably because they frequent shallow pools of water. They mate from April to June here in Virginia, laying 800+ eggs singly on fine grasses or other plants near the bottom of the pool. They eat small insects and other invertebrates.

Although I like toads also, they don't live in a pond setting, but they do visit to lay their eggs. I was blessed to see a pair of American Toads mating one year and they didn't seem to mind an audience at all.

There was another male getting some exercise swimming around while he waited his turn.  As you can see, the male toads are much smaller than the female. That holds true with frogs also. The eggs float for awhile so I was able to take photos of them also. With the American toads, the eggs are like strings of black pearls.

The last newsletter mentioned I had stopped the thyroid I was taking because I was having symptoms of taking too much. However, the day after I wrote it and it went out, I decided to go back on it so I could go for the blood test to be sure. Problem is I've had to wait until enough time has passed since I cut it in half, so the test results are correct. 

The good news is that I will be going tomorrow. I am believing in my heart that my thyroid is healed. I feel like I've reached a standstill in things changing in my health, although I know every cell of my body is being replaced, renewed and restored to God's original design.

Donna L. Watkins - Waller Mill Park - Williamsburg, VA

I love huge, old, beautiful trees that have provided so much for so many years.
Thanks to Mary Wright for the perfect sized backpack for our letterboxing journals and stamps
with all kinds of compartments for snacks, water, wet wipes, tissues, herbal bug spray, etc.

We had a Saturday day trip planned to do some letterboxing in Williamsburg, VA, at Waller Mill Park.  There were quite a few letterboxes stashed away on the Bayberry Trail.
Photos will follow in next newsletter when I get them put into the gallery, but here's one of me which is the last one with my hair quite long.  It was cut a week ago when I had my scheduled botanical perm, Biotera.  It lasts me 9 months since the curl never leaves, it just grows out.  My hair now doesn't even reach the bottom of my chin.  I'll have Randal take a photo before the next newsletter.

I've been meditating on Hebrews 6:12 since it is so easy to get antsy and impatient for things to happen with my health. Although I still rejoice and offer up praise and thanksgiving for every detail that has been healed on the heart crisis. I shall never forget the state I was in early this year, so I am grateful for what has been healed, but as anybody with long-term illnesses, I feel like I've already lost a part of my life and I want to "get on with the show," now that I know Jesus provided healing for "all of these diseases." I want to be all that God has planned for me to be.  The devil has taken enough and I'm ready to live life abundantly.

Hebrews 6:11-12 reminds me, "But we desire that each one of you have this diligence for the perfection of your hope until the end, and that you should not lose heart, but that you would be imitators of those who by faith and patience have become heirs of The Promise" (Aramaic Bible in Plain English). So I am diligent in hope and pursue adding patience to my faith to get all of the Promises that God has provided for us.

Thank you for your continued prayers and encouraging emails! You have been such a treasure to my spirit and comfort to my soul.

Love, Hugs and Many Blessings,

P.S.  Know somebody who needs to see something in this newsletter? 

Send them the link to the website:  www.TheNatureInUs.com.  

or the link to this newsletter post:  

Thanks for sharing!  

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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: © 2012 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from TheNatureInUs.com. The link to use is: www.TheNatureInUs.com.

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