Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Newsletter - 5/15/13

The Nature In Us Newsletter

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Good friends are hard to find, harder to leave and impossible to forget. -- Anonymous

Hello Sweet Friends!

I prayed that Mother's Day would be special for all mothers out there, but I know in reality there are many people who suffer through this day.  Possibly because of a child that has died or a child that lives but doesn't seem to remember you do also.  Mothers spend an awful lot of time raising children and often we may have a hard time transitioning from that role to focusing on ourselves.

We can have high expectations from our children, but the best way to deal with that is to turn them over to our Loving Father who loves them more than we do.  He will guide and watch over them even in their own seasons of right or wrong.  You did all you could do ... your best at the time ... and that's all that could be done.  Don't allow yourself to linger in regret and sorrow on this beautiful holiday.  You don't have to only consider those you birthed as children, but you can celebrate pets you have nurtured and cared for, children's lives you've been involved in over the years, and even being a mom to a grown person who needs mentoring.  Choose to celebrate it, don't dread it!

My sweet husband cleaned the kitchen floor for me and the big master bathroom tub that only gets used twice a year, but needs regular cleaning.  I'm not a bath person.  Love a shower.  Randal uses it a couple times in the winter just to warm up to the bone as he calls it.  If we ever build another house I will put a larger shower in and not have one of those whirlpool tubs that you're supposed to put in for resale.  Apparently they're not that popular now, so if you're in the process of remodeling or getting ready to build, consider this article:  Toss The Tub.

Cicada Nymph Skin - It's Empty!
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For the past month I've heard mention that this is the year for the 17-year Cicadas to come out here in Virginia. Over the weekend I had heard that they had begun merging. Well, the 17-year Cicadas have officially arrived here at Bluebird Cove. I guess you could say they've been here all along since they emerge from the ground by the billions in the USA after a long nap.

As I strolled the garden on Monday I saw oodles of the nymph skins hanging from leaves on bushes and from low tree branches. They climb up from the ground to find a spot where they attach their feet pretty solidly (you have to give a good snatch to get them to detach). Then they begin to crawl out of that skin and become a full-bodied Cicada with beautiful red eyes and large wings. Some folks call them Locusts but they are a different species. Get more info on Cicadas vs. Locusts.

Adult 17-Year Cicada
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I decided I'd like to gather 17 Cicadas to place in a container but got a bit carried away since they were so easy to gather. I think I have about 25 of them now. I collect bugs to put in various little containers that women sometimes keep on the shelves. Since I used to be terrified of bugs it's a continual smile for me to realize that we can be healed of emotional things also, including phobias we've had for many years. Not only delivered but turned around all to the opposite end of extreme, to actually love them and find them interesting.

Cicadas eat foilage so they're not welcome guests on properties and gardens. There is a predator however and that is the Cicada Killer Wasp. It's one of the largest wasps measuring over 1-1/2 inches long. The large abdomen is black and yellow, much like a yellow jacket. This wasp lives at the edges of forests, in gardens, and in waste places. Fortunately for us we know our neighbor has them nesting every year along his stone garden wall.

© Donna L. Watkins
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Cicada Coming Out of Nymph Skin
The females use their sting to paralyze Cicadas rather than to defend nests which is unlike most wasps and bees. They don't attempt to sting humans unless they are roughly handled. They get their energy from flower nectar. It's the larvae that actually eat the Cicadas. The male dies as soon as he mates and the female digs a nest and then kills Cicadas one at a time as she lays an egg and puts one Cicada with each one. That food source will feed the larvae for about two weeks until it is ready to go into pupa stage and come out as an adult the following year.

A few days after gathering the nymph skins and getting photos of the adult, we had just finished eating dinner and I said to Randal, "Let's go outside and see if we find any more adult cicadas."  So we did and now I know it was the Holy Spirit prompting us to go and delight ourselves in Father's nature.  We saw two separate cicadas coming out of their nymph skins.  It was awesome to watch them merge and then for their wings to fill and grow.  Amazing to think that our Heavenly Father created all these magical things for us to see and enjoy.

The American Goldfinches are singing throughout the day. I know our House Finches can go on and on like a group of silly teenagers, but the Goldfinches seem to offer some competition with them. To me it sounds like they're fussy or trying to argue with each other. It seems to get so noisy. I've always loved the Scripture about God feeding sparrows so I think of birds as peaceful beings, but they sure can have long conversations.

We are not to be anxious about anything either. One way to avoid this is to not speak forth the negative thoughts that come to mind. We can get pretty noisy with our own verbal expressions. Doubts and fears will come, but we do not need to entertain them in our thinking. It's so important to watch what we say. God created the heavens and the earth and everything that's in the earth by His words (Hebrews 11:3). Our words, when spoken in faith, release either life or death (Proverbs 18:21) and they affect people, things, and circumstances. We can release faith and power within us through our words.

Speak words that line up with God's Word. You will find it lifts you above the negative and you'll begin to get more positive results. When we speak words of doubt, we eventually believe them and have more negative circumstances. It's almost like we're looking for them to come because we've been feeding our brain on them. (Read: A Sure Win Over Our Troubles)

Our words can be our most powerful weapon against the devil, or they can become a snare of the devil (Proverbs 6:2). Let your mouth speak only things that will encourage your trust, confidence and faith in the Lord. It will encourage others also.

This picture inspires me in so many ways. In my heart that is how I picture myself. Dancing before the Lord in a field of flowers like a little child. We need to think and act like children now and then. Jesus said in Matthew 18:3: "Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Become like children. A child is so humble. They don't mind if a whole audience watches them pick their nose while they're supposed to be singing. They trust blindly in all that is said by their parents.

What an illustration Jesus gave us. We must become like children. Lose all the masks we wear and be real. King Solomon understood this. He was already ruling and reigning. He had executed Adonijah his brother, Joab and Simei. Yet when the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream telling him to ask anything, Solomon said in I Kings 3:7: "And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in." Solomon considered himself a little child before the Lord. That is so awesome!

Jesus Took Our Diseases
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Our guest room is also my worship room and one morning a couple weeks ago, when I was rejoicing in what Jesus did for us on the Cross, I got out my list of health problems and placed them behind the picture frame.  It was like I was placing them on His back.

Through His stripes (wounds) we were healed (made whole) -  I Peter 2:24.  Now every morning I am visually reminded of Him taking my pain, sorrow and sickness. My peace and joy abounds.

Hallelujah! We've found a home for the feral kitty. I know many of you have said you were praying for her. We called her Torti. She is a muted tortoise feline.

On May 2nd a local volunteer organization came with a trap to have her spayed. I had been preparing for this by getting her to eat inside a cardboard box. She was terrified when it was done until they put a big towel over the cage. That quieted her down and they took her to their home hoping she'd get an appointment the following day. However, the surgery wasn't done until a week later on the 9th.

 I had prayed for a miracle that I could find a home for her even though I had contacted everybody I could. But! A miracle is what I got!  We have Squeek who is an FIV cat (similar to the HIV in humans), so she doesn't need to place other cats at risk of getting the disease.  Squeek is going to be 17 years old in July, so she doesn't need the stress of a new cat in the house since stress is what has thrown her into several immune crises and I don't want to go through one of those ever again.

Torti - The Feral Kitty With a New Home
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After a few days of pain meds and assurance there were no complications, the volunteer brought Torti back in a carrier that we could borrow to deliver her to the home she would have. That was on Mother's Day. What a blessing to me! This made my day very special, but I didn't realize how emotional it was going to be.

Maybe it's the mix of Mother's Day emotions since our only child lives in Oklahoma, but I felt like I was abandoning her. Giving her up for adoption as you would a child I guess. It's silly ... and I know I will see her again since I have already visited yesterday.  I know she will do well, but it's been harder than I thought.  The volunteer had told me that she believes cats choose their humans and that doesn't help at all.

All of our cats have been strays that I feel have been led to us.  Since this one has been "mine" for eight (8) months, I guess I have been more attached than I realized. She's been through so much in the past two weeks after going through a cold winter.  I hope she understands that she's going to be one happy girl when she settles in.  It's an opportunity to "count it all joy" because it gives me a chance to trust my Father.  After all He made it possible, so He will take care of her.  I told her that she has a kitty angel watching over her.

I still keep looking for her on the deck before my mind remembers that she won't ever be there again. I will adjust and am so grateful God gave her a home. She's such a beautiful feline!

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Blue-eyed Grass
View Closeup of Flower
I wonder how many of you have heard of Blue-eyed Grass? I had never heard of it before a bird dropped a seed in one of my deck pots years ago.  We got a little clump of grass that produced a few soft blue flowers when I first discovered it. After checking out the field guides, I found it was called Blue-eyed Grass. Rather a lovely name I think.  It has loads of soft blue tiny flowers all over the ends of the grass.

This year it has grown really large. More than double of last year. It's probably because it stayed green and growing all winter long by being tucked into a corner on the deck facing south because I had planted some Pansies in that pot in the Fall.

When Spring came it just kept on growing and bloomed superbly. It's a beautiful delicate backdrop to plants with bright blooms. The pansies in the pot went through the winter also. We're in Central Virginia and get plenty of nights in the 20's and snow, so this was a pleasant surprise to me.  Do any of you grow this in your garden?

Until next issue ....

May You Receive An Abundance of Blessings!

P.S.  Know somebody who needs to see something in this newsletter?   You can share this post from the website at the bottom of the post.  Look for the little white envelope. Thanks for sharing!  

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