Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 2/1/15

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  The Nature In Us Newsletter - 2/1/15 
  by Donna L. Watkins   

"God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars." -- Martin Luther (1483-1546)

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Hello Dear Friends!

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Blue Jays on Garden Bench
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Birds - I love taking photos of blue jays.  If you catch them looking straight at you, you get a really weird view.  All those black lines on the face seem to be the problem.  I love seeing the pretty pattern on the lower back too.  They are beautiful birds (can't think of a bird that's not).  I love seeing them and this winter they have been almost daily visitors early in the morning.

They are forest dwellers but highly adaptable and intelligent.  I like their boisterous calls which include excellent imitations of several hawk calls.  We hear one for the red-shoulder hawks quite often.  These hawks nest beyond our backyard into the deeper woods.  I've wondered if they mimic these hawks trying to frighten the other birds away from the feeding area.  There's no aggression with the blue jay and other birds.

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Blue Jay on Tree
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Blue jays sometimes eat eggs or nestlings, and this practice has tarnished their reputation. They are largely vegetarian birds. Most of their diet is acorns, nuts, and seeds, although they also eat caterpillars, grasshoppers, and beetles. Blue jays sometimes store acorns in the ground and may fail to retrieve them, thus aiding the spread of forests.

Common in much of eastern and central North America, blue jays are gradually extending their range to the Northwest. They are fairly social and typically found in pairs or family groups or small flocks. Most northern blue jays  head south for winter and large flocks of up to 250 birds to make the long journey, but some birds may migrate one year and not the next. It is unclear what factors determine the decision to migrate or not.  (Info Source: National Geographic)

Recipes - I found a new website for vegetarian recipes.  Yes, you can make a vegetarian dish without using tofu [grin].  The site has a post for a collection of vegetable curry recipes from around the world including Thai vegan curries, Indian curry and some non-traditional vegan curry recipes. Curries can be eaten plain, but I always make brown rice to serve with mine.  You can also use another preferred grain if you like.  Most of the recipes have user-rated reviews. Check out the many options.

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Harlequin Bugs Mating on Salvia
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House & Garden Tips - At any given time, there is an estimated ten quintillion (10,000,000,000,000,000,000) individual insects sharing the planet with us. This isn't a problem for most folks until they consider your home a nice place to settle in and get cozy.  Cockroaches are a common problem in apartments, townhomes, etc. where they can go between homes and they become very difficult to get rid of.  Although we would be wiped out by a nuclear explosion, experiments show that roaches can survive up to 10,000 radon units.  That's equal to the strength of gamma rays given off by the first atomic bomb.  They can also live up to 3 months without food and water.

Since we've lived in the woods for the past 25 years, we have wood roaches that like to head for a cozy place to winter over in the Fall. Wood roaches don't have the problem of coming in droves of hundreds and thousands, they may have a family structure of some kind, but the numbers are not overwhelming and we usually only saw one at a time.  We had read about them surviving long periods without food and water so being a home-schooler, I figured it would be a nice science project to have a roach in a jar to see how well he fared.  After two months we released him back outside.  I was beginning to feel real guilty about his living situation.  [grin]  But for those who don't have such a guilt complex, here's an article that will give you a number of ideas for garden and home:  How to Get Rid of Bugs Organically.

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Closeup of Silver Dollar Fern
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Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens
Spiritual - John 15:4 says, "Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me."

Ever feel like there's not much satisfaction in your day as it disappears into the past when you retire for a good night's sleep?  Being so task-oriented, it's easy to get a bunch of stuff done and yet not feel like I've really accomplished anything meaningful.  The time I spend with my Lord is all I can count truly useful and joyful and yet each day I need to CHOOSE that I want to do that instead of getting the empty gratification of yet another list of tasks having been accomplished.  Reviewing those tasks makes me see why it makes for an empty day.  Most of them will be redone again within a week's time or even a day's.

In the Scripture above, the word "remain" in Greek means to dwell, continue, endure, be present with, stay in a state of expectancy."  When we dwell in the presence of God and stay in a state of expectancy, we will bear fruit that is sweet to the taste of our spirits.  It's a little word, but the definition for the word "in" is "to give oneself wholly to, rest against openly, stay in a fixed position of rest."  Bearing fruit isn't something YOU do, it's the outgrowth of who you are.  As the life-giving essence of Christ flowing through us, we become an extension of the Vine and He brings forth the fruit.  We just bear it on our branches for all to see.

As I become more and more aware of "Christ in me" I become hopeful about negative circumstances and optimistic about dreams and goals on my mental bucket list.  When we think of transformation we think of all WE must DO to get there because it's hard to accomplish.  However, God says all we have to do is give ourselves wholly to Him, resting in Him as we wait for great expectations to come to pass.  We simply wrap ourselves around Him as our source.  Although the method is simple, our mind rebels against change and will give you a challenge for finding time to spend with God. 

Everything that happens in me, during dwelling times in my "secret place" with Him, takes me to a life that loves God deeper and deeper and His love flows through me to others.  Jesus said to love God with your whole heart, soul and mind is the greatest commandment to obey.  Obedience always takes us to new levels of God's glory and who we are in Him.  I certainly have not arrived, but at least I'm on the way.  Keep yourself connected to the Vine, the true source of expectation for a brighter tomorrow and a more wonderful today.  That expectation will become real and allow you to once again dream and plan for things that have been in your heart for a very long time.  Don't get to the end of your life without enjoying your innermost dreams.

To be able to get past those invisible boundaries that are hidden within your heart from old hurts and traumas, I recommend Dr. Jim Richards book, "Moving Your Invisible Boundaries: Heart Physics: The Key to Limitless Living."  Look inside the book at  It's one of few extremely profound books I've read in my life.  Having gone through zillions of books, videos, audio messages, etc. trying to change myself, this book tells me how to allow Jesus to change me and within a week I was noticing subtle differences in things in my life.  Little glimpses of things that used to be subconscious, never coming to the surface to be thought of, but now exposed by techniques from Jim Richards HeartPhysics program recommended in the book.

You can also get an overview of what's in the book by this video series with Dr. Jim Richards:  Moving Your Invisible Boundaries Videos.

View Enlarged ImageMeadow Farm Veggie Garden
Historic Meadow Farm in Glen Allen, VA
Farming - Bigger isn’t always better and the current toxic technologies of massive farming has taken the fun out of an American way of life for the farmer.  The Organic Farm School and others are creating a new generation of organic, small-scale farmers to the ways of farming that haven't been allowed to thrive for almost a century.

They're teaching people how to hoe, plant, and even fix a broken-down tractor, even in urban areas.  The elders passing on information to the younger generation ensures our nutritious and non-toxic, GMO food continues to be available.  Even an NFL player has turned down a $37 million-dollar-contract to happily dirty his hands in farming.

Closing Thoughts - "Some people, in order to discover God, read books.  But there is a great book: the very appearance of created things.  Look above you!  Look below you!  Read it. God, whom you want to discover, never wrote that book with ink.  Instead, He set before your eyes the things that He had made.  Can you ask for a louder voice than that?" -- Augustine (354-430), De Civitate Dei, Book 16

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Donna at Monticello
 Home of Thomas Jefferson
Charlottesville, VA
View Photos of Monticello
Until next time ..... 

May God Increase Your Blessings Daily,


P.S. Anything in here that might help somebody you know?
Here's a link to the online version of this newsletter. Click on it and on the left sidebar there will be an option to share in various ways. The top one is to email it to somebody.  

If you simply want to copy and paste the link into an email, here it is:

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1 comment:

Gary Antosh said...

Hey there,

This is Gary from

No one likes bugs but it’s important to know which bugs in the garden are harmful and which insects are beneficial.

I'm emailing you today because we just published an article on Bad Bugs in the garden.

I noticed you included

in your post here:

The article looks at 30+ bad bugs and might make a nice addition and resource to your page. What do you think?

Review the article at:

If you have any suggestions to improve the article please let me know.

All The Best,


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