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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View Posts By Topic

Posts Since Last Newsletter

Guard Against Deception

Are Animals Aware of Death?

A Furry Friend is the Best Medicine

Garden For The Monarch Butterflies

On Nature & God  (DLW)

Depression Caused From Wrong Thinking?

Another Canadian City Bans Fluoride

Facts About Poop

Newsletter - 3/1/13  (DLW)

Previous Posts You May Have Missed

Newsletter - 2/1/13  (DLW)

Valentine's Day Reminds Me of God's Love  (DLW)

Helping Feral Cats in Winter

Reaping Your Harvest

New Health Food for Large Breed Puppies

The Star-nosed Mole - A Face To Love

Why Shop-a-holics - Where It All Began

A Focus on Love  (DLW)

7 Ways to Curb Your Addiction to Stuff

Cause of Chemical Imbalance & Depression

Most Store Brands Honey Isn't Honey

So Great a Faith

Stand Against The Darkness  (DLW)

Crows Can Distinguish Faces In a Crowd

17 Easy Ways to Simplify Life

Growing in Grace

Do You Know How Big God Is?  (DLW)

Equal & NutraSweet: Leukemia & Lymphoma

Consumer Reports: Bugs & Drugs in Pork
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