Thursday, March 28, 2013

His Great Love For Us

Seek Greater Revelation
By Andrew Wommack

The truths of God are hidden for His children, not from them. The Holy Spirit has been instructed to teach us all things (Jn. 14:26) and has given us an unction so that we will know all things (1 Jn. 2:20). We only have to appropriate what is ours.

What God desires His New Testament saints to know, that the Old Testament saints could not know, is "Christ in you the hope of glory." The coming of the Messiah was predicted in the Old Testament, but the idea that He would actually dwell in us was beyond anyone's imagination.

However, the New Testament is clear that Christ, by the Holy Spirit, takes up permanent residence in all believers. This is a wonderful truth that some fail to fully appreciate. Solomon said at the dedication of the temple, "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?" We could say, "How much less this physical body?" This is truly amazing!

The Lord's commitment to dwell in us and never leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13:5), must be taken as an indication of His great love for us. If we continually thought upon this, with all its implications, how could we ever be lonely or discouraged? We couldn't! Depression and self-pity would cease!

Why would it matter what others thought of us if we truly understood how much Jesus thought of us?

Our attitudes and fears reveal that this revelation of "Christ in us" is not a well established revelation in most Christians. However, this verse makes it clear that our Father wants to make "the riches of the glory of this mystery" known unto us. We should all be seeking a greater revelation of this truth.

Used with permission from Andrew Wommack Ministries.
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Cinnamon and Honey

Comments From Donna:

Thank you to my friend, Elva, for sending me this information.  I've known about a few benefits of Cinnamon mainly for cholesterol and blood sugar problems.  This information was interesting to read since I love cinnamon and my husband has been using it in his VitaMix Morning Mush (my fond name for it) for years.

When I was growing up I loved the candy called Red Hots.  Now thinking of it makes me say, "YUK!"  Nothing of any food value in there since they most likely didn't even use real Cinnamon with any medicinal properties to it.  Most flavored candies use synthetic flavorings made in a test tube.

I use Cinnamon in most of the things I bake including some health cookies that have high protein in them allowing me to consider them "breakfast cookies."  I have two with tea in the morning during my quiet time with the Lord, and after my protein smoothie and rebounding have been done.  We buy Korintje Cinnamon in a one-pound package from Frontier Herbs.  Their products are not irradiated or laced with formaldehyde as the grocery store spices are.

Honey is something we've used since the late 70's when we got white sugar out of the house and switched to using honey for anything requiring sugar.  There are so many health benefits from honey.  We buy it by the gallon making the price better and when it's fresh it won't quickly turn to sugar.  There is a great variance among what is called honey these days.  Don't waste your money, get the real stuff.  Read Most Store Brand Honey Isn't Honey.

Before you seriously consider doing any of the recommendations below, be sure to Google online to gather more information than just what this article says.  There are two kinds of Cinnamon, so learn a bit more about that:  Cinnamon - All spices are not created equal.

I read quite a few articles but one item that appeared in only one of them was this benefit:  "It is particularly useful for people who tend to feel hot in their upper body but have cold feet."  That's definitely ME and maybe some of you also.  My legs and feet are always colder than my upper body, so I expect to notice a difference in that as I continue to use Cinnamon and Honey as a tea daily.

Since I enjoy the many benefits of Hawthorn Berries for my heart, I put it all together and truly enjoy the flavor.  When it gets warmer I'll turn it into an iced tea instead of a hot tea.  I get excited when I can set up a habit of doing something really healthy for myself.  I guess that's how we've stayed on a vegetarian diet for over 30 years and stuck with the whole grains and honey switch from white flour and sugar.  Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and honoring that and desiring to be a good steward of the body the Lord gave me is an important part of my dietary choices.

Again, I remind you to do more research.  I don't agree with everything stated below and besides that there are no research sources to validate the statements.  With an online search, you will find comments from people that are using Cinnamon for a variety of things.

If you're using Cinnamon or have any words of wisdom about its use, please leave a comment on the blog.  Readers love to know how it's working for real people.  I'm more interested in that than double-blind scientific studies, but having both sources of information makes it better to make decisions for our own health choices.

Actual Article:

It is found that a mix of honey and Cinnamon cures most dis...eases. Honey is produced in most of the countries of the world. Scientists of today also note honey as very effective medicine for all kinds of diseases. Honey can be used without side effects which is also a plus.Today's science says that even though honey is sweet, when it is taken in the right dosage as a medicine, it does not harm even diabetic patients. Researched by western scientists:

HEART DISEASES: Make a paste of honey and cinnamon powder, put it on toast instead of jelly and jam and eat it regularly for breakfast. It reduces the cholesterol and could potentially save one from heart attack. Also, even if you have already had an attack studies show you could be kept miles away from the next attack. Regular use of cinnamon honey strengthens the heart beat. In America and Canada, various nursing homes have treated patients successfully and have found that as one ages the arteries and veins lose their flexibility and get clogged; honey and cinnamon revitalize the arteries and the veins.

ARTHRITIS: Arthritis patients can benefit by taking one cup of hot water with two tablespoons of honey and one small teaspoon of cinnamon powder. When taken daily even chronic arthritis can be cured. In a recent research conducted at the Copenhagen University, it was found that when the doctors treated their patients with a mixture of one tablespoon Honey and half teaspoon Cinnamon powder before breakfast, they found that within a week (out of the 200 people so treated) practically 73 patients were totally relieved of pain -- and within a month, most all the patients who could not walk or move around because of arthritis now started walking without pain.

BLADDER INFECTIONS: Take two tablespoons of cinnamon powder and one teaspoon of honey in a glass of lukewarm water and drink it. It destroys the germs in the bladder....who knew?

CHOLESTEROL: Two tablespoons of honey and three teaspoons of Cinnamon Powder mixed in 16 ounces of tea water given to a cholesterol patient was found to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood by 10 percent within two hours. As mentioned for arthritic patients, when taken three times a day, any chronic cholesterol could be cured. According to information received in the said Journal, pure honey taken with food daily relieves complaints of cholesterol.

COLDS: Those suffering from common or severe colds should take one tablespoon lukewarm honey with 1/4 spoon cinnamon powder daily for three days. This process will cure most chronic cough, cold, and, clear the sinuses, and it's delicious too!

UPSET STOMACH: Honey taken with cinnamon powder cures stomach ache and also is said to clear stomach ulcers from its root.

GAS: According to the studies done in India and Japan, it is revealed that when Honey is taken with cinnamon powder the stomach is relieved of gas.

IMMUNE SYSTEM: Daily use of honey and cinnamon powder strengthens the immune system and protects the body from bacterial and viral attacks. Scientists have found that honey has various vitamins and iron in large amounts. Constant use of Honey strengthens the white blood corpuscles (where DNA is contained) to fight bacterial and viral diseases.

INDIGESTION: Cinnamon powder sprinkled on two tablespoons of honey taken before food is eaten relieves acidity and digests the heaviest of meals

INFLUENZA: A scientist in Spain has proved that honey contains a natural 'Ingredient' which kills the influenza germs and saves the patient from flu.

LONGEVITY: Tea made with honey and cinnamon powder, when taken regularly, arrests the ravages of old age. Use four teaspoons of honey, one teaspoon of cinnamon powder, and three cups of boiling water to make a tea. Drink 1/4 cup, three to four times a day. It keeps the skin fresh and soft and arrests old age. Life spans increase and even a 100 year old will start performing the chores of a 20-year-old.

RASPY OR SORE THROAT: When throat has a tickle or is raspy, take one tablespoon of honey and sip until gone. Repeat every three hours until throat is without symptoms.

PIMPLES: Three tablespoons of honey and one teaspoon of cinnamon powder paste. Apply this paste on the pimples before sleeping and wash it off the next morning with warm water. When done daily for two weeks, it removes all pimples from the root.

SKIN INFECTIONS:Applying honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts on the affected parts cures eczema, ringworm and all types of skin Infections.

WEIGHT LOSS:Daily in the morning one half hour beforebreakfast and on an empty stomach, and at night before sleeping, drink honey and cinnamon powder boiled in one cup of water. When taken regularly, it reduces the weight of even the most obese person. Also, drinking this mixture regularly does not allow the fat to accumulate in the body even though the person may eat a high calorie diet.

CANCER: Recent research in Japan and Australia has revealed that advanced cancer of the stomach and bones have been cured successfully. Patients suffering from these kinds of cancer should daily take one tablespoon of honey with one teaspoon of cinnamon powder three times a day for one month.

FATIGUE: Recent studies have shown that the sugar content of honey is more helpful rather than being detrimental to the strength of the body. Senior citizens who take honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts are more alert and flexible. Dr. Milton, who has done research, says that a half tablespoon of honey taken in a glass of water and sprinkled with cinnamon powder, even when the vitality of the body starts to decrease, when taken daily after brushing and in the afternoon at about 3:00 P.M., the vitality of the body increases within a week.

BAD BREATH: People of South America, gargle with one teaspoon of honey and cinnamon powder mixed in hot water first thing in the morning so their breath stays fresh throughout the day.

HEARING LOSS: Daily morning and night honey and cinnamon powder, taken in equal parts restores hearing.

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Lawn Gone!

by Donna L. Watkins

Have you had enough mowing of the grass in your yard?  Another season is rolling in.  What a boring way to spend hours of your weekend time and how interesting is the look of a lawn to begin with?

Maybe the green grass of rural Virginia horse farms looks very nice and inviting ... but in my opinion a front or back yard full of grass is boring and I see very few that actually look worth the trouble since they all seem to get brown spots and thin out in places and turn to unhealthy shades of green.  Why invest all that time without getting the results you want?

Why not try something different?  Why not convert your lawn into a wild garden?  You can convert one segment at a time.  Add a butterfly garden.  Add a birdbath area with plants around it.  What about a hummingbird garden?  What about bushes that produce fruit for the birds wintering over or migrating through?

When you get diversity into your soil, you'll get diversity in the number of species that frequent your garden.  Here's a few resources:

Shrinking Your Lawn
Native Plant Gardening
Gardening With Buttercups

Lawn Gone!
Beautiful No-Mow Yards: 50 Amazing Lawn Alternatives

Not ready to let go of the lawn? ... at least consider making it a less toxic addition to the environment around you and learn a bit to make it look better.  Here's a few resources:

Safe Lawns Across America
White Clover For Lush Lawns
Eco-Friendly Lawn Care
Repair Your Dog-damaged Lawn
Roundup Is Deadly To Human Cells

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Gator Mating Season

At a time when beaches and theme parks draw boisterous crowds, Florida’s alligators simply want a little peace and quiet—a comfortable log or a sunlit bank on which to bask uninterrupted. They’re resting in preparation for the spring, getting ready to begin an active, noisy mating period that begins about now and during which members of both sexes bellow from the swamps and defend their territories.

Learn more about this creature, whose population has made a spectacular recovery from man’s past predations, by clicking here.

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Dogs - Big or Small?

by Dr. Jane Bicks

There are “big dog people” and “little dog people”. Pet parents love their dogs for so many different reasons – one of the most evident is the qualities and traits that are usually attributed to their size.

But, whether you prefer a small lap dog or a large playful pooch, you may be surprised that they have more in common than you think.

Are certain traits and behaviors reserved for a particular sized dog? Do pet parents treat dogs differently because of their stature? Find out if size really influences the way we perceive our pooches! Read Dr. Jane's article now ...

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Don't Give Up, It's Already Yours

by Donna L. Watkins

Have you ever felt like a mighty victor through Christ of a battle that the devil placed upon you? You stood in faith even as you looked at the physical circumstances around you and in the end you overcame. That was my experience with a battle waged against my heart. The whole world spiraled downward as I was informed of the condition of my heart and the surgery that was required. In the end I decided to believe The Word and not what I saw and not what the doctors told me, even with the Emergency Room doctor telling my husband to contact Hospice. My article, "The Heart of the Matter," along with others after it details my healing journey after refusing surgery and lifetime drugs.

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden - Belmont, NC
Orchid Conservatory
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Then about 5 months after all the symptoms were behind me and life was once again considered normal, but with abundant remembrances of the goodness of God in our lives, the enemy launched some arrows of breathing problems at the same time as the previous year. What's the first thought?  Oh no!  Here we go again!

If you will remain in peace and ponder the attack, you will see that the devil doesn't have any new tricks. He's always been about deception. It's the only way he could get Adam and Eve to respond in Eden and it's the same method he uses with us today.  The breathing problem was not at all like what I'd had in the crisis, but with the arrow tips dripping with words of fear, your mind wanders a bit.

We get to choose: Do we believe the lies the enemy is tossing at us ... or do we believe God's Word and His love for us and use the power and authority that Christ gave us. In Luke 10:19, Jesus said, "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." We can have boldness in the day of trouble because we are in Christ and all that is true of Him is true of us since the Cross. "As He is, so are we in this world" (I John 4:17).

In previous health battles I had taken a different approach of praying, begging, whining, crying and despairing while hoping that God would act and come through for me. I was a Bible-reader, but there were always verses I said I did not understand because life didn't happen the way it said. So I simply chalked that all off to the sovereignty of God.  Sometimes He does and sometimes He doesn't.  That never meshes with our spirits though because Jesus healed everybody.  He didn't look around and say, "okay, you're approved," "yep, you're chosen," "oh, you look pitiful, I'll definitely heal you."

The Bible says He healed them all.  And the Bible tells us that "By His stripes we WERE healed" (I Peter 2:24).  Past tense.  Why do we just skip over words and not chew on them till God gives revelation?  I guess we're just spiritually lazy.  With the format of the church today being one where only a few chosen people speak and everybody else sits as if to be entertained, it gives our mind the impression that we don't have anything to do to participate in making God's Word real in our lives.  The original church was a group of believers that met to share with each other the gifts that God had given each of them.

North Carolina Botanical Garden
Univ. of NC at Chapel Hill
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When I made the choice to believe the Bible and study what I didn't understand, my whole life changed. I realized that what God said had occurred in the spiritual realm, but what I was looking for was instant manifestation in the physical realm.

Faith is the bridge that brings the spiritual to the physical world. It's rather scary to think of my faith being my only resource, but you can't deny the fact that Jesus made it clear in many Scriptures that it was the person's faith that had made the healing happen. He had various ways of saying it, but it was evident that He couldn't do any mighty works in his hometown which He said was because of unbelief.

How about the father who wanted his son healed and the disciples didn't get the job done? He asked Jesus to heal his son "if He can." Jesus turned it right back on the father by saying, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes" (Mark:23). It's the believing part that stumps us. What we think we believe may be only head knowledge, not heart knowledge. Faith is when the heart believes without any doubt. When doubt outweighs our faith, we don't receive what we are promised in God's Word. "But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord" (James 1:6).

Jesus told His disciples that "Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he says shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he says" (Mark 11:23). Did He lie to us?  Did He say it sometimes comes to pass?  It tells us how to make this work.  Unbelief or doubt counteracts faith and that's why we read verses like this that don't seem to work and then get frustrated or give up.

This is easily seen when you've come through a battle as the victor and the enemy comes in to deceive you as mentioned before. This is when we need to stand strong and not consider our five senses to determine what's real. What's real is God's Word and our spirits needing to instill that Word into our heart so that we can truly believe it without any doubts.

It puts a lot of the responsibility onto us, doesn't it? Yeah, and that can bring hope or more despair depending on your personality. But in reality it gives us a lot of answers to "why's" and it sure shines a bright Light at the end of the hopeless tunnel we've been staring at.  It all made so much sense and my spirit eagerly soaked up the Truth. The great thing is that the more you overcome the deception of the devil, the more faith you build.

We have to guard our hearts and our imagination is a part of that. When you have thoughts of fear you begin to imagine those words as pictures, and if you begin to believe it today, by tomorrow you'll be fully convinced of it. You can't let a moment go by without launching a return attack. "Cast down imaginations and take every thought captive" (2 Cor. 10:5). Jesus didn't pause in His responses when the devil was tempting Him in the wilderness. He used the Word to counter those assaults so we could have His example to follow. It is written! We have to know the Word more than we know the circumstances around us.

Toadstool Trillium
The Botanical Gardens at Asheville, NC
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You defeat the devil by taking your sword (The Word) and cutting his head off with it! Don't let him deceive you and steal your kingdom rights. Christ died that we might have life more abundant and we need to take those blessings and operate our lives in them.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places" (Ephesians 1:3). We have all the blessings of God because we are in Christ. God does not consider our shortcomings, our failures, our holiness and righteousness based on ourselves. He sees us in Christ and our promises and blessings are already there for the receiving.  Remember Jesus didn't qualify anybody that came to Him.

Non-Christians get healed all the time and many times more easily since they don't have a head full of wrong teaching that tells them to believe anything but what's being said about "this Jesus."  That's why so many get healed in undeveloped nations that have not known Him.  They simple believe and receive.

Jesus paid it all so we could be free of guilt and shame. In Him we are holy, righteous, joyful, peaceful, kind, compassionate ... the list goes on. All that Jesus is has now become available to us. We just have to stop thinking there's something we need to do to be good enough to receive. We can't add to the work of the Cross. Either Christ paid it all and said "It is finished" or it isn't. If we have to depend on our own flesh to save us or heal us, then we're out of hope.

So the next time the evil one tries to convince you that your victory wasn't real, you tell him that Jesus took all his power back and has now given us power and authority to use it against him. He is a thief, a liar, and anything that is evil comes from the devil, not from God. God has given us The Word. We need to use it and love it and surround ourself with Scripture that relates to whatever circumstances we are dealing with.

That's not a 10-minute morning time of scanning a Bible page and reading a devotion.  Or going through a read-the-Bible-in-a-year program in which you have to scan to get your checkmark complete.  The urgency of your need will determine the time you spend in the Word.  I was spending all day and night in it when I was bedridden and unable to sleep more than a half hour at a time.

Meditate on a verse that the Spirit whispers in your ear.  Chew on it like chewing gum.  The Word is alive and active like a two-edged sword. You really can win the battle with this Sword! You may have left your Bible sit for so long that it's turned to stone, but like Sir Galahad, you can pull it out and wield it victoriously against the enemy. It's a sure win because it's already finished. You aren't fighting to win the battle, your fight is to maintain the victory won for you by Jesus.

Don't give up! God says it's already done! The devil can't take what is yours unless you give it away.

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Creating Bird-Friendly Urban Landscapes

After wintering thousands of miles south in Mexico or Central America, Baltimore orioles will soon show up in parks and backyards not only in Baltimore but across the eastern and central part of the country, where they breed and rear their young during summer.

Because orioles nest and forage for insects, fruit and nectar primarily in the canopy of deciduous trees, “they are more often heard than seen,” says Peter Marra, a research scientist at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center in Washington, D.C. “Yet the birds are relatively common in urban areas.” Marra encounters orioles regularly in his own leafy suburban yard about an hour south of Baltimore. 

“Traditionally, people tended to view metro areas like Baltimore as biological deserts,” says John Kostyack, NWF’s vice president for wildlife conservation. “But it turns out that many of us live where the wild things are.” Home to 82 percent of the nation’s population, cities and suburbs in the United States house two-thirds of all North American wildlife species, including many imperiled plants and animals.  Find out what you can do to improve urban landscapes.

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The Importance of Play for Adults


Our society tends to dismiss play for adults. Play is perceived as unproductive, petty or even a guilty pleasure.

The notion is that once we reach adulthood, it’s time to get serious. And between personal and professional responsibilities, there’s no time to play. But play is just as pivotal for adults as it is for kids.

“We don’t lose the need for novelty and pleasure as we grow up,” according to Scott G. Eberle, Ph.D, vice president for play studies at The Strong and editor of the American Journal of Play.

Play brings joy. And it’s vital for problem solving, creativity and relationships.  Read the entire article.

Editor's Note:
Play is one of the things I have used on my healing journey.  My husband and I love to play card games and board games, so even when I was in the hardest of times with the heart issues, we would play a game each day.  It took my focus off of my body and into "fun land."

We have continued that simply because we were doing it before my crisis.  We both work on the computer for our jobs and playing games or doing jigsaw puzzles WITH SOMEONE really helps your memory.  After staring at a screen for most of the day, my husband really needs this and I love games.

Realizing the power of this, we also schedule outings no matter how short just to have time for play.  In our world there is much emphasis on being driven and not wasting time on non-productive things.  It's not healthy as we all can see with the diseases that are stress-related.  Take time to look at a tree, watch a bird, pet a dog walking by .... live in the moment.

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Pets - Heartworms
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Air Sanitizer

2013 Free Entrance to National Parks & Public Lands


Free Entrance to National Parks & Public Lands in 2013

If it's free, it's for me—and YOU! Experience the beauty of America's national parks and public lands this year for free! On the days specified below, entrance fees will be waived for the following national parks and public lands.

April 22-26: National Park Week

National Park Service

June 8: Great Outdoors Day

US Forest Service

August 25: National Park Service Birthday

National Park Service

September 28: National Public Lands Day

National Park Service, Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and US Forest Service

October 13: National Wildlife Refuge Day

Fish & Wildlife Service

November 9-11: Veterans Day Weekend

National Park Service, Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and US Forest Service
As noted above, many free entrance days apply beyond just the national parks. There are fee-free days at several federal public lands, including those managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, theBureau of Land Management, the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Reclamation.
Saving money doesn't just stop here! During fee-free days, many park partners will also offer discounts, saving you money on food, lodging, tours and souvenirs. Your wallet will thank you!
Did you know that 258 of America's 398 National Parks NEVER charge an entrance fee? Make your own fee-free days at parks near you any day of the year.
To find nearby parks, use the free Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder app, or search our public lands database
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Friday, March 15, 2013

Newsletter - 3/15/13

The Nature In Us Newsletter

Hello Friends!

As you can see by the caption, this picture was taken over 22 years ago. Photographs have an amazing way of reminding you of the good times in life. It makes you realize you've lived a lot of days and you can hopefully say that you feel you've learned a lot along the way.

Flashback From the Past:  Randal and Donna
Nature's Sunshine Convention
Long Beach, CA Aug. 1-5, 1990
When we can count our blessings and remember the good times, our thoughts will be more healthy and our bodies will respond to those positive thoughts.  It's called "remembered wellness."  I'm reading a book by Herbert Benson, M.D. titled, "Timeless Healing: The Power and Biology of Belief."  What we think on truly does make a difference in keeping our bodies healthy.  I love it when science catches up with what the Bible has been saying all along.  We are literally wired for God.  I also like to see doctors who are willing to enter the faith realm in their study of healing.

Here's a quote by Dr. Benson from the book:

The painter Marc Chagall once said, "Do not leave my hand without light."  My search began to persuade me that light is to the painter what faith is to humankind.  More and more I became convinced that faith and hope are our primal instincts, a kind of life to which we are naturally drawn.

Dr. Benson also noted research on the "Positive Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer in a Coronary Unit."  How awesome!  We've been listening to a series called The Power of Hope by Andrew Wommack and have been so encouraged by that in seeing how God uses hope and faith together to bring about His desires for our life.  We are such an active part of all that goes on in our circumstances and health.

I've been scanning prints as one of my winter projects. I began doing them last year and it's been a real trip down memory lane. I bought my first digital camera in 2004, so I've been working backwards from there. I am now working on 1989, but I've got a long way to go.  I began taking photos in 1960. I don't know how well those prints will scan in since I'm using a small photo scanner that you feed photos through.  The images go onto one of those SD camera cards. Makes it real simple which is the only way I would get it done. And for those who want to know, this is the scanner I'm using: Kodak P460 Personal Photo Scanner.

Orchid From Our Neighbors
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Some neighbor friends have left for a long cruise and asked if we wanted some orchids they had purchased.  They said the blooms may last a few more days or so.  They had purchased it without thinking about leaving. I did some online searching and found that the orchid species is Phalaenopsis. This entire genus is called 'Moth Orchids' since they supposedly resemble a moth. It blooms up to 3 months and they bloom annually. They're considered the easiest of orchids to care for. So, although our friends didn't want the orchid back (not thinking it would survive most likely), I will be excited to return it with it still blooming. It is beautiful sitting on our dining room table, although there is no scent to it. Flowers without a scent seem so weird to me. I suppose it's been bred out of it so that some other benefit (longer blooming?) can be had instead.

Are there any Irish folks out there? How do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day? As I mentioned in a previous newsletter, my mom celebrated every holiday she could with sweets of some sort. I don't have any Irish in my family line - mostly German and English - and we weren't Catholic. All I remember about St. Patrick's Day was that a lot of men headed for the bars to drink green beer. Growing up in a small town with a lot of German heritage, beer was a popular beverage.

St. Patrick's Day is always celebrated on March 17, the saint's religious feast day and the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over 1,000 years. On St. Patrick's Day, which falls during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived and people would dance, drink and feast on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage (now it's mostly corned beef and cabbage). More Facts on St. Patrick's Day.

Injured Squirrel Looks Much Better
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About a month ago I saw a squirrel getting water at the heated bird bath which is at the dining room window. His front left leg was very swollen and bright red and all the hair had been taken off. He held it up the entire time and when he jumped down from the water or over into a tree branch, he would avoid using it. It looked so painful so I prayed knowing there was nothing to be gained by my dripping pity.

It was amazing how much he had adapted his mobility to the problem. I continued to pray for him and saw him in the yard now and saw the swelling and bright redness go down and then hair coming back. Now the hair is mostly back, but he still doesn't use the paw. It almost looks a bit deformed, so I don't know if it was an injury or what, but he's still getting around well and was even chasing another squirrel last week on the front porch. The squirrels don't seem to bother him any more than any other.  I know when there's a weak or injured deer, the others try to run them off and that's very sad to watch.  There is a lot of compassion between animals though, like elephants.  You will love this article:  Are Animals Aware of Death?

I think I mentioned that there's a squirrel that enjoys our mealworms, but now we've had another surprise visitor. The Red-headed Woodpecker comes daily to grab a mouth full of the dried mealworms and fly off to share them with his bride I suppose. It is a male and it is courting time and just like most guys, they don't understand what females enjoy, so he gets her worms. That's like a new can opener for Valentine's Day. I hope there's nobody out there that got one of those.

Common Grackle at Back Yard Feeder
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Fortunately for me my husband had an experience while he was growing up where his dad took the boys along to the department store to get a vacuum for his wife for her birthday. As you might guess, that didn't go over too well.  Randal definitely remembered that day and assumed that women don't like household appliances as gifts. I am blessed!

We've been seeing Common Grackles back which means they're in migration. We get them in the Fall and Spring. Their glossy-iridescent bodies are so sleek. They walk around our yard like they own the place and are on patrol. Many people don't like grackles since they come in large groups at times, but ours have always been sociable. Maybe it's because we have enough feeders to please everybody. They eat many crops (especially corn), so they're not welcome visitors for farmers.

I also saw a male Red-winged Blackbird in the backyard. Did you know that it's time for hummingbirds to return?  We only get the Ruby-throats and they begin showing up in Florida in February and make their way to the Midwest and East around mid-March to early April, so I'm putting my feeders up these weekend.

All these signs of Spring being soon here. If I were to rely strictly on the cold March temps and the snow we had last week, I'd say it's definitely winter, but we've had warmer days now so I imagine myself playing in the garden very soon.  I'm making a very long list of things for Randal to do. He is so good at attacking a list and getting things done, not in a panic or driven mode, but one thing at a time. He's been a great balance for me over the years so I can now think that everything does not have a "do it now" label on it.  If you're making your list of new plants for your garden, consider this article:  Garden For The Monarch Butterflies.

Speaking of gardening, the most recent puzzle we completed was one with seed packs. It's only a 300-piece puzzle and the pieces are large. It's one that you think will be done in an hour, but you get stumped with all the different shades of green and red, etc. Then there's the fact that you have different tomato packages for different varieties, so it becomes more of a challenge than you thought it would be, but we don't like fast puzzles anyway. After all we're doing them to challenge our brains so the more therapy the better.

Puzzle:  Garden Seeds
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I recently read a couple of ideas for keeping squirrels from eating tomatoes before they ripen or from birds pecking on the ripe ones. 

Slip a plastic bag over the ripening fruit and seal it near the stem (with a twistie tie) so the squirrels can't pull it off and you've got an instant hot house and a soon ripe tomato that the squirrels couldn't get to.

The idea for birds was to hang red Christmas tree bulbs on the tomato plants before they got red. That would lead the birds to come and peck on the bulbs and discover it's not food, so when the tomatoes ripen, they won't be interested.

Let me know if any of you try these ideas. We gave up growing tomatoes since the squirrels always picked them green and carried them up trees. We must have Southern squirrels that like fried green tomatoes. :-)

As to a health update, I finally decided to go to the doctor on the breathing.  Not knowing for sure what the issue is doesn't help me to decide on how to attack it alongside the spiritual.  He said it was because my heart was in Atrial Fibrillation again, although not as radical as a year ago (up to 145 beats per minute), still more than it should be (which is between 70-80) and it is enough to cause the breathing problems (currently up to 95 beats per minute). Exercise should be described as vigorous but not violent, so still rebound and garden work is now being added to my days. No other nightmare symptoms like last year, so I am super blessed and trust the Spring days will get me back to normal.

Didn't want to do the lifelong recommendation of digitalis and aspirin and have gone back on the Lily of the Valley & Blessed Thistle formula that I took last year.  The wonderful doctor that I have was agreeable to that, knowing how opposed to drug use I am, and apparently being familiar enough with herbs to tell me I could try that.  It did a good job before along with all of your prayers, so I trust the Lord to use it again now and do appreciate your prayers as the Holy Spirit brings me to mind.

I am ready to get a lot done in the garden pruning, trimming, and digging and also some outdoor painting to get done.  I've already started on the gardening and don't like getting out of breath which takes away a bit of the delight of Springtime.  Research I read about what causes a recurrence can be weather.  You know weather is very important to me since I find no delight in winter.  I have my mind on Spring from the time Fall arrives and spend the winter working at "being content" with each day as it comes, but it's definitely difficult as much as I love being outdoors.

Look at these statistics:  There has been found a 33% increase in heart rhythm disturbances in the winter, 28% in the fall, 15% in the summer, and 15% in spring, people who live in warm locations such as Florida are less likely to suffer the winter-time increase in rhythm disturbances (Ref. 1996 Medical Tribune News Service).  Well, no wonder I don't like winter!

Rare Snow Day in Central Virginia
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We had some snow here in Virginia last week.  From varying accounts from neighbors it was from 6-9 inches.  The snow on our deck posts looked to be 6 inches high.

I grew up in Pennsylvania with snow common, but fortunately here in Central Virginia we don't get much.  Usually an inch or two at a time.  I'm not fond of it but it sure brings in droves of birds and the trees in the forest behind us look so beautiful.

The photo I took is actually in color, although it seems to be a black and white picture with the clouded sky, snow-filled branches and dark tree trunks.  Since it got windy after the snow stopped the snow was gone from the trees very soon after I took the photos.  Nature has so many moods and changes.

I'm always fascinated with things you can make by recycling something that was thrown away. The most recent surprise is a gal who takes discarded hubcaps and turns them into works of art. I initially saw this mentioned in an issue of Birds & Blooms magazine and when I Googled for more info I found her website and also noticed she's here in Virginia. Her website is called Rehubs. Cute name and lots of beautiful options.

We've never had a dog since we're married.  Randal had one growing up but I've never had one.  Always cats.  My dog hero friend, Robin, is now training therapy dogs.  Those that are taken into nursing homes to cheer folks up.  Besides that she has her regular dog training sessions and recently I sent her this amazing video of a Jack Russell Terrier that did housework.  It's a real dog trained as a service dog.  I would've never believed any dog could do all this stuff, but I know Jack Russell's sure do have the energy for it.  View the wonder dog, Jesse. Thanks to Adriana for sending it to me!

I'll end this newsletter with a bit of humor since laughter is good medicine and exercise for the body.  One study showed that laughing helps blood vessels to function better.  Even if we fake a laugh it makes a difference!  So here's a dose of medicine for you that doesn't have to be swallowed.  What I find even funnier than the joke is that I can relate to Watson's answer.  A simple question and I can come up with numerous theories, ideas and details ... and totally miss the whole picture.  Simplicity in life is shown in many different forms.

The Camping Trip

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went on a camping trip. As they lay down for the night, the fire dwindling nearby, Holmes said: "Watson, look up and tell me what you see."

Watson said "I see a fantastic panorama of countless stars."

Holmes: "And what does that tell you?"

Watson: "Astronomically, it suggests to me that if there are billions of other galaxies that have roughly similar stellar population densities as represented by my view, that, potentially, trillions of planets may be associated with such a galactic and, therefore, stellar population. Allowing for similar chemical distribution throughout the cosmos it may be reasonably implied that life-and possibly intelligent life-may well fill the universe.

Also, being a believer, theologically, it tells me that the vastness of space may be yet another suggestion of the greatness of God and that we are small and insignificant.

Meteorologically, the blackness of the sky and the crispness of the stellar images tells me that there is low humidity and stable air and therefore we are most likely to enjoy a beautiful day tomorrow.

Why? - What does it tell you, Mr. Holmes?"

Holmes was silent for a minute, then spoke: "Watson, you idiot. Someone has stolen our tent!"

Get outdoors and find the signs of Spring all around you.  The tiny buds at the tips of trees, the bursting energy of the growing leaves of upcoming bulbs, the love songs of the birds ... Spring is bursting out all over as the song goes and watching it brings the winter in my life into internal Springtime as well.

Love, Hugs & An Abundance of Blessings to YOU!Donna  

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