Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Detoxing Your Thoughts to Renew Your Mind

by Donna L. Watkins

We were made to be spirit-led beings. We were created in the image of God who is spirit and He designed communication to us through our spirits. Adam received God's words through his spirit and his soul (mind, will and emotions) stored the knowledge away, but Adam's Fall in the Garden turned the design upside down. His soul was no longer being led by his spirit, but the other way around. It would be a never-ending battle of desiring more and more. As it was with Satan, pride -- the pleasing and preserving of self -- became man's ultimate driving force.

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Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly on Butterfly Bush
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Now man lives life based on information (what he can discover) instead of revelation of what God can reveal to him. Logic rules decisions. If we can't see it or feel it or naturally prove it, we have difficulty believing it. When our only source of knowledge is from the natural realm, it will inevitably be influenced by demons. When we have operated so long in the natural realm, it's a long road back to living and being led by your spirit.

But Christ paid the price for you to have that kind of relationship again. The long road back is a battle in the mind. God has given us the power to transform our thoughts and beliefs with a brain that He designed that would allow us to make choices to renew whatever was stored in it. If you wired it in, you can wire it out. That's the journey I am on with the 21-day brain detox program by Dr. Caroline Leaf. I'm on my fourth detox issue.

Each detox you take a specific issue to focus on and the Holy Spirit reveals all kinds of branches, roots and entanglements that are wired in your brain ... so that you can wire them out with the power of the Word of God and His direction in you. When the toxic thought is dead (at the end of the 21-day cycle), you reinforce it for another 42-day period, while you work on other toxic thoughts.

I can't put into words the changes that I already see. At the end of the entire 63-day cycle the toxic issue has been placed in the subconscious mind and is so much a part of you that you don't have to choose any more as to how you will respond, so that also makes it hard for the "old you" to stand out that you notice what you did before.  You have literally renewed your mind so it's not the old mind you had on that issue and it is hard to put into words.  It is such a gradual, yet noticeable by you and those around you, but it's too subtle for words.

Before we had to will ourselves to respond correctly and most of the time we simply went ahead and said what was on our minds, regretting it later, promising to try harder next time. When it goes into the sub-consious it's like tying shoelaces. You don't have to think about how to do that. It can be done while you're having a conversation and you barely know what your hands are doing.

This has me so focused on God that the health issues fade into the background. When we get our eyes on Jesus and our mind renewed in the way we believe, then the body will respond with healing. As long as we focus on the problem, we become it. With the many long-term diseases I've lived with, they have actually become part of who I am. It's hard to separate the two with long-term illnesses or deformities and things that you look at day after day into many years. But suddenly when our mind is renewed, we will be able to accept the Truth and then the Truth will set us free!

People who have thinking personalities, or those with high IQ's, have a harder time believing simple things that can't always be explained. God lives in a supernatural realm and 1/3 of us is spirit, but 2/3 of us is off course from that spirit. But God is faithful and steadfast in His love for us. He will guide us when we seek Him with all our heart!

This program was my leading. That doesn't mean it's somebody else's but I wanted to share it with you. I don't make any money if you subscribe. I simply want to share what is changing my life. God will direct you if you seek Him.  But if you do decide to sign up, please let me know!  It would be fun to know we're on the journey together.

Dr. Leaf's Video Introduction to the Program

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The Intelligent Design of Birds

by Donna L. Watkins

I was very excited when asked to review a DVD release of Flight, The Genius of Birds, which is based on intelligent design. I'm not being paid to do this (other than the wonderful gift of the DVD), so my comments are truly from my heart.

The poet William Blake wrote that to see an eagle in the air is to observe "a portion of genius." My thoughts are that it's more than simply genius, which is a term used for humanity. The science behind the video shows the evidence of intelligent design, purpose and plan.  It was filmed in North America, Peru, England, Greenland and Antarctica.

"All nature cries aloud that there is a supreme intelligence." -- Voltaire

More than a million animal species have been identified. Five times that number may await discovery. The scope of this variety is only partially defined by color, behavior and size. Concealed beneath the skin is an orchestration of amazing functions for survival.  Instincts being put into the genetic design.

We will never exhaust the wonder and magnificence of our God and Creator of the Universe. The ingenuity of a bird's behavior and biology shows the artistry of our Risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse." -- Romans 1:20

From microscopic organisms to blue whales the menagerie of creatures that inhabit the earth is truly incredible! The elaborate network of a million component parts that make a bird's feather an aerodynamic masterpiece is not even a drop in the bucket of the awe and wonder found within the natural world. The intermittent music is lovely, seemingly taking you into the air with the birds.

The hummingbird section was totally incredible with their maneuverability. The wonder of a hummingbird almost transcends language. Our response is more on the level of soul and emotions. Words can't do it justice, so you just stand or sit and mentally applaud.  There is no other bird that can fly like a hummingbird. To keep the muscles powered, the bird's heart has to beat as much as 1250 beats a minute. Hummingbirds eat every 10-15 minutes to consume twice its body weight in food each day. The detailed information on its tongue was awesome.

There are 9000 species of birds and every one of them is equipped with specific traits to help them survive. Birds' eggs range in weight from an ounce to three pounds, but all develop very similarly with the definition of the bird's head being seen by day two. The amazing photography of what goes on inside an egg transcends anything we can imagine. To see that little heart beating is priceless.

A flock of 200,00 Starlings in England is like a ballet seemingly without a specific leader. For such a common bird, it's an incredible display of our Father's choreography. Another stimulating account is of the Arctic Tern which migrates from pole to pole each year. The flight path and distance of 43,496 miles (70,000 kilometers) round trip wasn't published until January 2010. They spend most of their lives in the air, flying almost non-stop for two months in each direction which is 300 miles a day.

I was excited about being able to review the DVD, but never expected the emotional connection that we spiritually have with all Creation. There is never an end of learning more about the natural world that God, our Father in Heaven, made for our enjoyment.

"Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,' even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:7-14

This is the first film in a new series called, The Design of Life, from Illustra Media which produces video documentaries that examine the scientific case for intelligent design. Each episode of this new series will explore a different realm of the animal kingdom and the remarkable biological systems that make life on Earth possible for them.

Be sure to view the film trailer.  You can purchase this amazing DVD at the same website.

I have also been asked to review Metamorphosis, The Beauty and Design of Butterflies. I'm super excited to get that DVD when it arrives.  You will see that post pretty soon after the DVD gets here.  Take a sneak peak at the website and sign-up to get a free download of the book that is a companion to the film.  View the Metamorphosis trailer.  It's an incredible account of the beauty and wonder of our Lord's design of these magical little creatures.

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Free From The Law

by Andrew Wommack
Luke 16:16-17 "The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail."
The Bible teaches that there are different dispensations or divinely ordered ways of God dealing with mankind throughout the ages. A dispensation is simply a period of time in which God deals with mankind in a certain way.

The Old Testament law was only a temporary dispensation and ruled from the giving of the law (Ex. 20) until the ministry of John the Baptist. When Christ came, He put an end to the law for righteousness (Rom. 10:4).

Anyone who advocates the keeping of the law for the purpose of right standing with God is going back to an Old Testament system of law that has been abolished and is making the work of Christ void in his life.

The New Testament believer is under the dispensation of God's grace. We are not under the law. That doesn't mean the law has passed away. It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for the smallest part of the law to fail. The law hasn't failed. It has been fulfilled (Mt. 5:17).

Christ fulfilled every jot and tittle of the law for us and imputes to us that righteousness is not based on our performance but on our faith in Him. The law was never given for the purpose of justification. It was totally powerless to save. It only showed us our need and pointed us to a Savior.

The law was not made for a righteous man and it still serves a purpose for those who are not born again. For those who do not accept Jesus as their Savior, the wrath of God, which the law produces, abides on them.

In this present age, Jesus has come not to condemn men but to bring them grace and truth. Those who do not believe on the Son are presently under the wrath of the Old Testament law, and, unless they repent, will suffer the wrath of God eternally. Thank God for His grace today.

Visit Andrew's website.

Monarch Migration Questions

The Northward Migration: when does it end?
Author: Chip Taylor

There are numerous unanswered questions about monarchs. What causes the migration to start in the fall? Why do they fly to Mexico? Why do the overwintering colonies form where they do? Why do the monarchs halt their southern flight at 19.5N? Why not go further? These, and other unanswerable questions, are asked of us frequently. We have to admit that we don’t know the answers but offer speculation and a best guess when we can. Curiously, though many of those we talk to know that monarchs do not continue to migrate through the heart of the breeding season, no one asks – when does the northward migration end in the spring and early summer? Well, it’s a good thing no one asks that question — because we don’t know the answer to that one either.

So when does the northward push by first generation monarchs* end? If there is a celestial component to when monarchs stop moving such as day length or the rate of change in day length or some other factor, is it possible for monarchs to arrive too early in the northern latitudes such that they fly beyond the limits of milkweed? Or, the converse, do conditions during some springs limit northward flight such that the monarchs do not reach the northern limits of milkweeds? In other words, is it possible during extremely cold springs that the “stop signal” whatever it is, is perceived before all the breeding habitat is effectively colonized? I think both things happen but I can’t argue effectively for these possibilities because there is virtually no data on this subject and relatively few credible observations. 

Years ago I directed one of the undergraduate students I was working with to make daily observations of directional flight by monarchs moving through this part of eastern Kansas in late May and early June. To our surprise, all directional flight appeared to end around the 5-7th of June. Monarchs present in the area were decidedly non-directional after the 7th. Day length is 14h 49m here on the 7th but the amount of change per day is declining rapidly (47 seconds from 7th to 8th) as we approach the summer solstice on the 21st. On that day the daylight period is 14hrs and 54 minutes.

This observation raises some questions. Do monarchs stop moving when the rate of change in day length drops substantially below a minute per day, and does this mean that monarchs stop directional movement progressively with increasing latitude?

The day-to-day differences become progressively smaller as one approaches the equinox. For example, at Duluth, MN, day-length increases by 25 seconds on the 14th and by only 11 seconds on the 18th.
Let’s see what happens at different locations as we move northward:

Daylength in June
Lawrence, KS
14h 49m
14h 54m
7th-8th 47 seconds
Des Moines, IA
15h 06m
15h 12m
7th-8th 48 seconds
St. Paul, MN
15h 30m
15h 37m
9th-10th 48 seconds
Duluth, MN
15h 45m
15h 52m
9th-10th 49 seconds

Note that the rate of change (less than 50 seconds per day) shifts from the 7th to 8th for Lawrence to the 9th-10th for St. Paul. Thus, if migration northward ends as a function of latitude and rate of change per day, we would expect the most northerly monarchs to still be showing directional flight even though directional flight has stopped further south.

This is certainly an interesting possibility but we need data and, as I said, there is virtually none. So here is where those of you making observations of first sightings can help. If you see a monarch, note its flight behavior. Is it nectaring, searching for oviposition sites or is it showing directional flight? And, if it is showing directional flight, what direction is it moving – that is, what is its compass bearing (approximate bearings would do for a start**)? Directional flight is particularly difficult to observe in the spring. In most cases the butterflies are flying quite fast at a height of 3-4 meters. If you are driving on east -west roads during May and June look for monarchs crossing in front of you from S to N (or NE) at a height just above your car or pickup.

Observations of directional flight are valuable and will further our understanding of monarch behavior. Such observations could be shared with our email discussion list (Dplex-L) or reported to Journey North. Systematic studies by students or even groups of citizens of directional flight over a series of weeks in the spring and early summer at different latitudes could resolve this question. An alternative approach would be experimental releases with monarchs that had been reared under specific natural conditions or by using a flight simulator.

*First generation monarchs are offspring of monarchs that overwintered in Mexico. The first of these monarchs begin moving north in the last week April, with most moving north in May and early June.

** Many smart phones have a compass app available to them. To obtain the bearing of a monarch moving directly away from you, point the phone at the monarch and take a screen shot of the compass. The image should be time-stamped and may even include latitude and longitude so it can be reviewed later.

Visit the Monarch Watch Blog website.

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

God's Word - Use It!

God's Word: Use As Directed
by Andrew Wommack

"Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God."

Read:  LUKE 8:4-11

This parable illustrates the importance of the Word of God. God's Word contains total power, but it has to be planted in our hearts and allowed to germinate before it releases that power.

The seed is God's Word, and the types of ground are the four major categories of men's hearts. The Word was the same in each situation, but there were different results in each case because of the condition of men's hearts - not because of the Word.

The Word doesn't work for everyone because not everyone will allow the Word to work. The variable in this parable is the condition of these hearts. God's Word is always the same. It has the same potential in every heart.

Good ground doesn't just happen; it must be cultivated. This is the reason why only one out of four persons in Jesus' parable brought forth fruit. It takes a lot of time, effort, and diligence to be a fruitful Christian. The Christian life is not like a hundred-yard dash but rather a 26.2 mile marathon. It's quicker and easier to raise weeds than it is to raise tomatoes or corn.

In this whole parable, it was the Word that produced the fruit. The ground simply gave it a place to grow. If we will simply put God's Word in our hearts, protect it, and give it priority in our lives, the Word will produce fruit of itself.

Satan has deceived many people into thinking that they don't have the talents or abilities to be fruitful Christians, but they are not the ones who bring forth fruit; it's God's Word. When we protect the Word sown in our hearts, it will do the rest.

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8 Foods We Eat In U.S. That Are Banned In Other Countries

This brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “food poisoning.”

#5 - Azodicarbonamide
Bleaches flour, plastic, and induces asthma as an added bonus.

Found in:
Breads, frozen dinners, boxed pasta mixes, and packaged baked goods. 

Why it’s dangerous:
Used to bleach both flour and FOAMED PLASTIC (yoga mats and the soles of sneakers), azodicarbonamide has been known to induce asthma.

Where it’s banned:
Australia, the U.K., and most European countries.

Read the entire article.

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Rid Mold Growth with Natural Materials

As many people know, mold is pretty ubiquitous: It can be found on last week’s loaf of bread or discovered in an old container way back in the fridge containing some mystery food. It can often be found along the lower edges of your shower and in your garage.

Mold doesn’t need much to take hold -- just a little moisture and some food. Throw in some warmth and a little time and those countless unseen spores will start to grow and reproduce.

Many people suffer ill effects from exposure to mold, so keeping it at bay is always a good idea. There are many ways to curtail mold’s growth and spread; mold cleanup can range from full-scale warfare using a host of toxic chemicals to a gentler, more common sense approach using natural materials.  Read the entire article.

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5 People Foods to Never Feed Your Cat

by Dr. Sarah

This month’s episode of Pet Talk with Dr. Sarah is just for felines.

Turns out, that myth about finicky appetites doesn’t mean they won’t consume things that can damage their little bodies. You may think you know what human foods a cat should and should not eat, but we guarantee that some of these will surprise you.

We’re talking about more than just avoiding stomach upset; some of these ingestibles may prove lethal to a cat. Because your cat’s long-term wellness is our primary concern, Dr. Sarah is throwing in an extra ‘must-avoid’ product, along with info about what constitutes a truly balanced diet for optimal kitty health.

To learn which people foods should be kept safely out of kitty’s reach, watch the latest episode of Pet Talk now …

National Parks FREE on August 25


National Park Service Celebrates 97th Birthday

Celebrate the creation of the National Park Service this month! National Parks are FREE on August 25!

Birthday celebrations are taking place throughout the country and you're invited. More than 400 National Park Service units will celebrate the 97th birthday of "America's Best Idea" with a "Fee Free Day" on Sunday, August 25.

On August 25, 1916, the United States became the first country to set aside some of its most beautiful places for the whole country to cherish and enjoy. The National Park Service was created under Woodrow Wilson and the 64th Congress to care for, protect and promote all of the national parks throughout the country. Each park represents an important part of our nation’s collective identity and these amazing places belong to each and every American. 
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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Healing: Why Does It Take So Long?

Okay, Lord, I Give Up!
by Donna L. Watkins

God has already redeemed us and healed us through Jesus' death on the Cross. He suffered for all that would ever come on us. He took ALL of the diseases and sickness; He took our sorrows and grief all upon Himself. The Bible says that He was beaten so badly He could hardly be recognized. All that disease was inside His body and all the hurts and sorrows ALL men would ever endure was being poured out on Him.

1 Peter 2:24 says, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sinsand live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”

The Greek word for “heal,” used in 1 Peter is also used in James 5:16 (bring the sick to the elders for healing). The Strong’s Concordance defines it as both sin disease and physical disease:

2390 iáomai – healing, particularly as supernatural and bringing attention to the Lord Himself as the Great Physician (cf. Is 53:4,5). Example: Lk 17:15: “Now one of them [i.e. the ten lepers], when he saw that he had been healed (iáomai), turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice.” -- Strong's Concordance

But this is where we say it doesn't look like much of the church today is healed, so that Scripture must be misinterpreted. Many prayers go up for people and seem unanswered, or worse yet, are thought to be an answer of "No" from the Father. How often do we try to make the Word wrong and our feelings right? Some people don't let the Word change their theology.

God came to earth in human form to provide all that is promised in His Word and it was deposited in us from the moment we were conceived, but we have to choose to receive it. God says we're healed, but we don't see it. God says He wants all men to saved (I Timothy 2:4), but all men are not saved. We have a choice, He gave us a free will to choose relationship with Him.

He says, "Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers" (3John 1:2). Are we all in health? Is God lying? Is the Bible the inerrant Word of God? If we don't believe so, then we can give up our assurance of Heaven, because if some of it's wrong, who knows what else is wrong?

Or, could it be that WE are the ones not taking the time to study to show ourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15). We have to believe the Word in our heart before we can receive it. It's not a mental piece of agreement or tidbit of knowledge. Belief in our heart is what activates our faith to bring it out of the spiritual realm into the physical.

"For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Romans 10:10). How often Jesus said, "Only believe" or "Be it done unto you according to your faith" or "Your faith has made you whole."

Maymont Estate - Richmond, VA 
Pink Ruffled Tulips and Purple Pansies
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Healing is a gift of grace and for those of us who have been confident in ourselves relying on our own strength and wits, it's hard not to make it "works" rather than grace. That's a big block to receiving.

When we operate in our own strength, we can't access His strength. He's not playing power games, it's just a fact of the universe, like gravity. We were designed to trust in Him and we don't we get the results from the seeds of distrust.

I have had a real challenge with trust, which means I'm into the area of pride since not trusting means we think we can handle something better than God can. I've spent a lot of years praying wrong prayers and expecting God to operate on how I thought He should, rather than on what the Bible tells us.  Renewing the mind is a challenge, but we simply have to do it if we want to receive all that God has given us.

We believe we believe, but we have to know that the Bible, God's Word, says that if we believe we will receive (Matthew 21:22). So as much as our brain tells us that we do believe and we have not doubted ... there's still something in our hearts that is causing doubt (maybe hidden fear) which simply counter-balances the faith we have. "God has allotted to each the measure of faith" (Romans 12:3).

In case you don't think your measure was enough, when the disciples asked Jesus why they couldn't cast the demon out of the young boy that the father had brought to them, Jesus told them it was "Because of your unbelief" (Matthew 17:20) and in the same verse He said, "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say unto this mountain, 'Remove hence to yonder place' and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."

Again, do we believe the Word even when it doesn't match up with our knowledge base and theology? Do we seek the Lord to get revelation? Do we care enough about Truth to search it out? Or do we feel more comfortable believing what we've always believed?  When the Bible doesn't line up with what we are seeing, do we seek God with all of our hearts to know Him ... or just ask for miracles?

We can justify our beliefs with statements like, "God brings disease on us to teach us something or to make us a better person." The world doesn't want that kind of God.  Jesus said if you have seen Him you have seen the Father.  There is no record of Jesus ever denying healing or putting disease on anybody.  Jesus showed only love to the people who sought after Him.  The only people He condemned were the religious of His day who didn't want to change their beliefs and see their Messiah.

The word "gospel" meant "too good to be true news."  That wouldn't have described a God that puts disease on people. If you have these kinds of thoughts then you can easily see how they would not agree with Scripture that God provides healing.

All of that is in our hearts on a sub-conscious level and brings unbelief to the situation just as it did for the disciples as they watched this man's child having an epileptic seizure. It rocked their faith and yet Luke 10:17 says that when "the seventy returned [from a missionary journey] again with joy, they said, 'Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name'." They had seen supernatural things and here their eyes and ears got involved and negated their faith as they slipped into unbelief looking at the circumstances.

If we've been a Christian for very long it's possible our minds are full of wrong teaching.  It's also necessary to know that our covenant with God is not the one that was given to Israel in the Old Testament.

Salvation is so much easier to receive, but healing is harder because so often we see and feel the symptoms of the disease and if you've had that disease a long time, it becomes part of you because your brain has made so many adjustments to exist with it, and in that manner, it becomes part of who you are. All of that needs to be renewed in your mind, not with our own works, but by looking unto Jesus as we rest and believe in His promises. It astounds me that the Bible tells us that "Abraham never wavered in believing God's promise" (Romans 4:20).

State Botanical Garden of Georgia - Athens, GA
Hot Pink Orchid
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When you get into the spiritual realm, there's just so much that cannot be reasoned out, so we stay trapped in a gap. We have to determine that above all else we will believe the Word no matter what we see or think, and feelings are definitely not to be considered. They come from what we are thinking. [Read: 75-98% of Mental & Physical Illnesses Come From Thought Life]

We are NOT waiting on the Lord! He is waiting on us. It's our hearts that lack understanding but we can't give up and slide back down into that pit of despair and hopelessness. We're used to operating in our minds and so we think we believe because we look at the Word and comprehend what it's saying and decide it is belief. It's just mental understanding of facts. Out of our mouths our heart speaks (Luke 6:45).

Quite awhile back I was so certain that my belief was where it needed to be and I was getting impatient about seeing complete healing in my body. Every morning I would wake up and try to bend my fingers, or try to wiggle my numb toes, or something else as I praised the Lord for the healing He has provided because I "knew" I was healed.

Well, one morning I woke up and didn't get out of bed right away and in that twilight zone between asleep and awake, I mentally shouted, "When are you going to make this happen, Lord?" I was so surprised and countered it immediately since it is not my loving Father that needs to do something, but obviously it's my heart that is not able to receive. A very rude awakening to what I actually did believe. We have to listen very closely to our thoughts.

We often say, "I just don't hear God." The Bible says, "My sheep hear my voice" (John 10:27) so we know He's speaking. We often have so much clanging noise in our days that we don't hear His still small voice, but He's transmitting. We just don't have our receiver plugged in.

We can fill our minds with great teaching and good spiritual books, but the reality is we're only hearing what God has spoken to somebody else. We need our own revelation of God's word to change our hearts. You've had it happen while reading your Bible ... you get to a Scripture you've heard over 100 times and all of a sudden Holy Spirit speaks it into your heart. It's revelation from Him to you. That's what Holy Spirit was sent to do for us.

If we could visualize sitting at His feet as we read His words, how would it change the circumstances? Do we trust and know that the Father really loves us? Most of us have not been taught that growing up as He was blamed for every news tragedy in the world. We say, "Oh Lord, deliver us from these troubled minds" ... and the Lord says, "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls" (Matthew 11:29).

Faith is to trust, rely on, and depend upon God. The Word declares that the object of our faith, Jesus Christ, can never fail us and also says that "faith works by love" (Galatians 5:6). Love allows us to put our faith in a person. We naturally trust those who truly love us. To have a revelation of God's unconditional love for us will make faith leap from within us.

If you're struggling with faith, you may have a deficiency in understanding how much God loves you. Worship Him and imagine all that He is and all that He's done for us.  He holds the entire universe in the span of His hand.

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Emotions Can Change Your DNA

Scientific evidence in the last half century clearly shows that your emotions – the good ones and the bad – affect you in multiple ways: health, schoolwork, job performance, relationships and much more. Whether you feel them naturally or intentionally – today I will think only good thoughts – your emotions are kind of like the old adage, "you are what you eat."

It was not until the 19th century … that substantial written empirical analyses of emotions began to emerge, when noteworthy figures such as Darwin and Freud took more scientific approaches.

After being within the domain of philosophers for thousands of years, emotions are now closely scrutinized in 21st century research laboratories, where scientists can actually observe their effects on human DNA.

Cell biologist Glen Rein … and IHM Research Director Rollin McCraty conducted a series of experiments in the early 1990s involving DNA and intentionally generated emotions ... "The results provide experimental evidence to support the hypothesis that aspects of the DNA molecule can be altered through intentionality," Rein and McCraty wrote.

"To our knowledge, this study was the first to correlate specific electrophysiological modes with the ability to cause changes in a biological target (DNA) external from the body. The data indicate that when individuals are in a heart-focused, loving state and in a more coherent mode of physiological functioning, they have a greater ability to alter the conformation (shape or structure) of DNA."  Read the entire article.

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Bringing Home a New Puppy

So, you’ve decided to adopt a puppy … great idea. Now what?

If you don’t know the answer to that question, you should definitely check out the newest episode of Pet Talk with Dr. Sarah.

Accompanied by a cuddly fur-ball of cuteness, our staff veterinarian will share her insights and helpful tips to get you and your family up-to-speed on the ins-and-outs of welcoming a new puppy into your home.

Sarah covers all the basics, from what products your new puppy will need to be comfortable, how to make your house safe from curious, ground-level eyes, tips on communication (the cornerstone of training), ideas about diet and health, and much more, all covered in this short video. Watch the latest episode of Pet Talk now!

Goldfinches & Thistle Down Connection

I've mentioned in previous posts that American Goldfinches begin nesting around the end of July here in Virginia and that is because they only use thistle down to make their nests.  

There's something about that "fact" that never settled too well with me, and now I find somebody who has pondered the question well.  There may be no connection at all between the Goldfinch and the Thistle Down other than a preference for a soft nest.  Thanks Ronald for taking the time to talk to God about this.

From Gardening For Wildlife
Excerpts by Ronald Patterson

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© Donna L. Watkins - Bull Thistle with Bee
View More Garden & Critter Photos
Bull Thistle (Cirsium vulgare) is often used in photos and paintings with goldfinches.  Bull thistle is a widespread biennial thistle originally from Europe and Asia, but now introduced throughout North America.

Now if I remember my history, possibly 300+ years have passed since the weeds were introduced along the eastern coast of North America.  That means that these noxious thistle plants have been around for maybe 200 years or less for many locations.  Maybe 100 years in the western regions of North America.  I believe in creation, but that isn't even a blink of an eye, even in evolution terms.

So, what did American goldfinches do, or use before thistle plants came along, if it is all about thistle down that is?  Are there actually enough thistle plants scattered about to line all the goldfinch nests?  What about suburbia where thistle plants may be rare?

If plant down is an issue here, why not nest in the spring when there is plenty of down.  Anyone that lives near a female Cottonwood tree, knows there is more than enough plant down in the spring to line all the nests in your county or region you live.  Wild willows provide down in the spring and countless native plants and weeds provide down as well throughout the season.

So my question is this ................

How can plant down be the reason these birds nest so late in the season?  And why do so many promote this belief?

The answer .................

Plant down isn't the answer for late nesting at all.  It's all about food, period.  American goldfinches are 99.9 percent seed eating birds.  Virtually everything they eat is some kind of seed.  Even newly hatched Goldies are fed a regurgitated mix of seeds.

Now then .... What time of year do most plants go to seed?

How often do you see goldfinches gleaning from your sunflower heads or your coneflowers?  Goldfinches enjoy Liatris, Coreopsis, Rudbeckia, Gaillardia, etc. as well.  Late summer offers seeds from Goldenrod, Asters and a host of plants and weeds.

Are you getting the picture?  So many of our plants and weeds go to seed in mid to late summer, and into fall.  Makes sense that our Creator would dovetail the two.

So now I have scores of seed eating, fledged goldfinches coming to my yard and in the fields (other critters preparing for winter too) and Nature's table is set for the bountiful feast.

If Goldies fed on insects, berries and other stuff like most bird species, they would have different nesting seasons.  But they don't ... they are seed eating birds.

The same holds true for Cedar waxwings that are heavy berry feeding birds.  Waxwings nest later than most, as they require berries for the main part of their diet.

Strictly insect eating birds migrate long distances for the bugs.  They also leave early to follow the insect trail back to winter homes.  The same goes for hummers that feed on nectar and small insects.  They follow the food sources.

Supply and demand.

I Love Creation, it is so amazing how God put it all together, without missing a beat.  It is silly we we try to explain things any other way.

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The Nature In Us Newsletter - 8/15/13

The Nature In Us Newsletter
The Nature In Us Website

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"In heaven we are going to continue to study God
because the ideas of God go on for all of eternity." 
-- Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)

Hello Dear Friends,

We went to one of our favorite produce markets and they had huge cabbages. I'd never seen any that big. The one I chose was 11 inches wide. 

Biggest Cabbage I've Ever Seen
I love cabbage and at the time I flashed back to my childhood on a food that I enjoyed as a child: Pepper Cabbage. It's a Pennsylvania Dutch recipe. You have to like vinegar, but it's really easy to make once you have the cabbage shredded.

I used my shredder to get that done and it seemed to take forever. But once I had a huge bowl full for us and a huge bowl full for the wildlife (deer seem to love cabbage too), I could add the chopped bell peppers.  Then I made the dressing to pour over it. It tastes better if you allow it to sit in the refrigerator for a day.

We have a neighbor here that lived in the Pennsylvania Dutch area as a child also and he enjoys this. That was my motivation for getting it made. His birthday was coming up and I thought it would be a nice treat for him.

Here's my rendition of the Pepper Cabbage recipe:

Green pepper (can use red or yellow too)
Apple Cider Vinegar
Honey (less than the amount of vinegar - keep tasting for preference)
Spices: Real Salt, Celery Seed and Black Pepper

Grate as much cabbage as you want, chop as much pepper as you'd like and add. Then mix the vinegar, honey and spices in a jar, tasting it till it's sweet enough for you.  Shake until well blended and pour over the cabbage. I use as little dressing as needed since I can stir the mix now and then while it's in the refrigerator. You won't have a lot of wasted dressing that way.

We thoroughly enjoyed it, as did our neighbor. It was a labor of love with the difficulties I have in the kitchen. My hands are in rebellion since the middle knuckles don't bend. I believe they shall line up with the Truth of the Word as I renew my mind. Then I will spend lots of time cooking which is something I always loved doing.

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Tiny Orange and Yellow Spider
Life can become quite the challenge as bad circumstances seem to mount up the more we focus on them. I finally made a long-needed choice to renew my mind on circumstances. There are some that I can change and there are many that I cannot. 

God says I can have peace and joy in any circumstance, so I have decided to invest my time into something I can control. The more I spend time with God and His Word, the more my reaction to life changes for the better. For me, much of the issue is trusting Him.  [Read: Do You Know How Big God Is?]

I can meditate on the Word, or I can meditate on the things the devil throws into our lives to take our attention and love away from God. I chose to meditate on God's Word. Worry is meditating on what the devil is doing and it's something you can do even while you work or do household tasks ... so you can turn that time into meditating on God's Word which is alive and active. What that means is that the Word has the power to change our lives. And you will find that it does the more and more you fill your mind and thoughts with it. We can sing praises to God all day long. How awesome is it going to be ... to worship Him for eternity. Why not get started now!?

One day Randal called me saying, "get the camera" so I grabbed it and followed his voice. He hadn't seen an orange spider before so wondered if I had. I had not. I couldn't see the detail of this spider until I took the photo and then magnified it. It was about 1/4" and all I could see was orange, but look at all the detail with the yellow-black pattern and those pretty legs. If I had to name it I would call it a Bee Spider. 

After having had such great fear of bugs for over 40 years of my life, I am so in love with the unique designs of bugs. It's such a huge avenue of seeing God's artistic creativity. Just imagining the millions of species of bugs and each one having a unique design of its own chosen by our loving Lord. It's a whole new realm of wonder to discover and the camera makes it so much more exciting!

View Enlarged Image
Cecropia Moth Cocoon (Hyalophora cecropia)
View Photo of the Actual Moth
I finally got around to identifying this "blob" on a holly tree that I had pruned off before seeing it. It was very fibrous but looked like something had to have been inside it.

I submitted it to and found out it is the cocoon of the Cecropia Moth. I actually had the opportunity to photograph this huge beautiful moth about 5 years ago.  There was one resting on the trim at the pedestrian door to the garage. We disturbed it coming out that door and it flew down to the concrete. Amazingly beautiful. Although it was a bit dark outside the unique pattern on this big moth was impressive.

So, the moral of the story is ... if you ever see something like this on a bush please don't destroy it. There's something beautiful inside!

The injured female deer that I've mentioned before is still coming to visit our garden and back woods. We see her often since she travels about during the day. Deer usually graze at night but I'm sure she avoids doing that since the other deer are not tolerant of "abnormal" deer. When we first saw her they were chasing her off any time she came near trying to get some of the food put down for the doves and squirrels and the dropped food around the bird feeders.  Recently we've seen her with two little fawns.

View Enlarged Image
Love Deer - Previously Known as "Limpy"

View Photos of Other 2013 Critter Visitors
We love Poke Weed plants since they provide so many berries for the birds in late summer and Fall. The deer enjoy eating the young leaves. We had one come up last year in the garden area in front of the house where we have plants for the hummingbirds and bees.  I let it grow because Love Deer enjoyed it.

As you can see from the photo, she's at the walkway that's in front of our front door. She stands there and looks in the windows beside our front door.  

This year the Poke Weed has more than doubled in size with all the rain we've had, so she's had a lot to nibble on. As long as she (and others) are keeping it pruned back, I'll leave it there. One day I will regret it since they form very deep roots and are a challenge to get out. But she is well worth that trouble, but after that day she may be knocking at our door.

The Big Deal of wildlife enjoyment was a Gray Fox. What a treat to see a shaggy tail when I looked out of the screened porch. There was a Gray Fox at the veggie scraps enjoying a late lunch. I talked to it and didn't scare it off, so I ran into the house for the camera and began shooting photos through the window. 

We have had foxes in our yard many times, especially around the pond, but they are so fast you can never get a really good photo of them. This time was an exception. This fox seemed to really enjoy the cucumbers scraps. Whatever else it was choosing out of the pile was meticulously done. They certainly have preferred tastes.

View Enlarged Image
Gray Fox in Backyard
View Video
This precious creature was so alert to any noise and seemed to easily distinguish whether it was a threat or not. I was so surprised to see how beautiful the fur was when I cropped some of the photos for a close-up view. It looks like it just had a day at the spa. I was really excited that I was able to get a video.

After it was finished with lunch, it came up to the deck to look around. Went right to the living room door and looked in which I thought was very strange. Then checked out the other end of the deck near the screened porch and left. What a wonderful surprise of the day! View Gray Fox Video.

Some people are afraid when they see foxes during the day, thinking they have rabies, but they are diurnal (meaning they are out day or night). When we lived in Alabama, we had a female that had her den at the back of our property. You could hear the pups yelping when she was gone and in our yard eating the peanuts that we put out for the squirrels. What a quick source of protein for her while she was feeding the young ones.

We've had some very hot days and then some really cool days.  I just put on some slacks and a sweater since the temperature is 62 on the porch and a cloudy high of 77.  Tonight will be 57.  Is it really August in Virginia?  Much of our July was this way also.

The one thing that doesn't seem to have much of a variable is the rain we've been having since April.  There must be some records being set in our area for this.  I wish we could share our water with Austin, Texas.  Although necessity is the mother of invention and Austin Water has certainly come up with some innovative ideas, like allowing customers to get cash to let their grass die and then wisely replant with a seed that is drought-tolerant (read story).

It's been a really wet year, which has created some problems in our crawl space.  Randal has been dealing with that for a few weeks fixing some things and then gathering info.  You can't imagine how many varied opinions there are on wet crawl space issues.  Our minds are swirling with options and it seems each of them has a group of folks online having issues with it.  I guess each crawl space and home is going to have many variables.

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Squirrel Having a Cool Break in Summer
Homeowners have many things to think about as their homes begin to age, but our squirrels certainly seem to be carefree.  They work hard at gathering food most of the day, play hard, and then they know how to take a break.  They love the concrete benches on our property for a break now and then.  We have four of them.  This one is right behind the pond so a drink is nearby.

We could certainly take some lessons from the squirrels. We need to balance our days the way the squirrels do. Eat, play and relax. It should all be in our daily schedules. Stress and adrenal fatigue wouldn't be so rampant, nor would it have such a huge impact on our health.

If you've not visited our habitat Critters and Garden albums lately, here's the links to take a look at what we've been seeing this year:

Bluebird Cove Critters 2013
Bluebird Cove Garden 2013
Bluebird Cove Videos 2013

Any trips on your upcoming calendar? Maybe we've visited the same area. If we did, you can be sure I took some photos. Check out the Travel Album and choose a state or international country.

May God give you wisdom for each day and understanding of His love for you every moment of the day.

Until next issue .... get in The Word!

P.S.  Know somebody who needs to see something in this newsletter?  Share this link with them! 

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