Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 2/14/15

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

"When we direct our thoughts, we can control our emotions." 
~ W. Clement Stone

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Hello Dear Friends!

Holidays - I'm sending this out a day early so I can say "HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!"
I found this article titled, "God's Valentine Promises to Us."  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

I've always loved this day, although growing up I'm sure it was because it was a candy holiday and chocolate candy at that!  My Daddy would bring home a big box of chocolates for my mom and me.  I thought those huge boxes with a pretty ribbon and all looked so beautiful.  What was inside couldn't be beat though. 

Those were the days of my growing chocolate addiction, which I struggled with until November 1998 when I got delivered.  I'm not saying chocolate is a bad thing ... it has some nutritional properties ... but for me, it was something that had control over me and I didn't like that feeling.  I'd get off of it for a year and then blow it while on a trip deciding to have "one chocolate dessert" and Bam!  Just like an alcoholic, I was back to daily consumption.  My flesh never had enough of it. 

Don't Give Up!
I had a talk with God one day and vowed that I would not eat chocolate again if He would take away the craving.  I'd prayed many times before over this issue, but I felt this time was different.  I was willing to trust Him to do this and I believed it would happen.  Don't give up hope when you are facing a battle of any kind.  God is always there for you, but it's really us that is the block to emotional or physical healing - it's our faith that will carry us through and we get that faith by God's grace within us.

My end of the deal was that physiologically I knew my body wouldn't stop the cravings instantly, so I had my part in this deliverance to say "No!" when I saw it and I calculated it would be a couple of weeks to change my heart. 

It was.  The cravings were gone and I've never had a problem since.  It amazed me that I could look at a display case of all things chocolate and not have a desire for it.  I would remember sweet memories of partaking, but they always quickly ended with a visual of how sick I would get eating "the whole thing" and how wonderful it was not to be controlled by my flesh.  Hallelujah!

View Enlarged Image 
Bald Eagle 
View More Eagle Photos
Birds - Don't forget the Great Backyard Bird Count has begun.  You can count any day or multiple days through Monday, February 16th.  More than 100,000 people of all ages and walks of life have joined in for this event that creates an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds. Participate!  It's a lot of fun.  You tally the numbers and types of birds you see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count.  If you’re new to the count, visit this Get Started area of the website.

The first Bald Eagle we ever saw on our acre property arrived during the last 5 minutes of my bird count one year.  How awesome that was!  I was so excited to be able to report it.

Since our backyard and beyond is wooded, we have a variety of woodpeckers.  The Downy, Hairy, Red-bellied, Red-headed, Pileated and also the Northern Flicker and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker which are both a part of the woodpecker family. 

The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker arrived later this year.  He's pretty much finished the drilling around the plants that are close to the house, so he may have some other favorite location this year that he's resided near and I've just not seen him till a couple of weeks ago.

My favorite sight is to see the Pileated on one of the suet feeders.  They're more than twice the size of the feeder, but don't mind spinning a bit to get that good high-energy food.  View Video of Pileated Woodpecker on Suet FeederView More Woodpecker Photos.

Health - The GMO issue has certainly escalated in America.  There is now an open letter endorsed by more than 60 million people (at the time of this writing) asking both US and UK officials to be more prudent in questioning the hazards of genetically modified crops.  It isn’t a small minority anymore asking our regulators to limit biotech’s far-reaching power. Verified GMO-free food sales were $3 billion in 2013 and $8.5 billion in 2014!  Organic food sales overall are projected to grow another 14% by 2018, and this is a modest estimate.

This is no surprise, as the term ‘non-GMO’ was expected to surpass even ‘organic’ as a buzz word in 2014 when it came to food sales. One study by Progressive Grocer showed that consumers want Non-GMO now even more than ‘organic.’ A staggering 80% of consumers sought out non-GMO products in their survey. The non-GMO issue has emerged as a consumer hot-button.  One example of how consumers are demanding change can be seen in that non-GMO Project Verified foods have more than doubled since 2013.

You can add your own endorsement (signature) to the letter.  The open letter is signed by celebrities, scientists, farmers, academics in various fields, business tycoons, and every day people like you and me. It’s called the letter from America, but it is getting global attention. We are clearly voicing our disdain for GM crops in ever growing numbers.  I

n our country, GM crops account for about half of harvested cropland. Around 94% of the soy, 93% of corn (maize) and 96% of cotton grown is GM. (Source: USDA)  Read the letter and add your signature here.

Until then .... don't forget to pray over your meals and bless them with health and vitality and cancel any toxic effects from it.  God didn't leave us helpless in this generation or any other.  It's our faith that will carry us through.  God is for us, not against us, and is certainly wanting to "fill our mouths with good things" (Psalm 103:5), so blessing your food is a great habit to start if you haven't already done so.  It also gives everybody at the table a few moments to settle down and relax before putting food into stomachs.

Where does that leave you if you happen to be one of those finicky eaters who values your immune and reproductive systems, and don't want your kids to end up with the organ damage common among GMO-fed lab animals?  Go to and peruse the long lists of non-GMO and GMO brands by category. Download a two-page version, order the pocket guide, or even equip your iPhone with the new app "ShopNoGMO".

Simple Tips - is an online, family-owned business, used book buying service.  Their website says they are committed to providing a simple, secure, and convenient way for anyone to sell books and textbooks with confidence and receive instant price quotes, fast payment, and exceptional customer service.  A reliable and trusted buyer of quality used books since 2004.   They have purchased over 2 million books from 350,000 customers.  They primarily offer their services to students selling used college textbooks, but have also purchased hardcover/paperback fiction and non-fiction.  It doesn't hurt to plug in a few ISBNs to check and see.  If you're interested in buying quality used books and textbooks, use this link.

Spiritual - Remember the story of the disciples trying to cast a demon in a boy that the Father had brought to them?  Jesus was up on the mountain with three of the disciples, but the rest were down in the valley doing what Jesus normally did.  However, they didn't get the job done in this particular case. 

The Scripture says, "Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?  And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." (Matthew 17:19-20)

Dr. Jim Richards had some thoughts on this that I found rather enlightening after studying them out:  "Jesus said we only needed faith the size of a mustard seed and we could do the miraculous. Unlike the religious leaders of the day, Jesus knew the greatest changes happened at the quantum level ... the smallest level. A change in attitude can bring more sweeping change than the change of one hundred actions. A simple change in a thought can turn the tide of any situation. The greatest power is expressed from the smallest factor.

Elijah looked for God in the fire, in the wind and in the earthquake. But He wasn't found in any of those places. He was found in the still, small voice. Some of the greatest changes in your life will come from some of the most subtle adjustments. Some of the greatest discoveries will be heard in the still, small voice. Your time of daily stillness, peace and reflection is the best time for you to hear that still, small voice.

As a young boy, playing in the hills of Tennessee, I would toss a small pebble into the still, smooth pond. I was amazed at how one pebble could make so many ripples. And they were each distinct and noticeable. As a young man I stood on the shores of the ocean. When I tossed in a large stone, the ripples were indiscernible among the tumultuous waves. And such is our lives.

The life that is filled with chaos, with no time for stillness, never notices the obstacles that are thrown into the equation of life until it has grown into a full-blown disaster.  As you wait quietly before the Lord, like that still pond you will notice the slightest ripple.  You will take action when problems are small.  You will never need more than a mustard seed faith to move the largest mountain when it is only a ripple."

I love the image of the still pond relating to God's still small voice.  He longs for relationship with us.  He loves us beyond what we can ever imagine.  The more time you spend with Him, the more you will fall in love with Him too. 

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Spring Daffodils
Glencairn Gardens, Rock Hill, SC
Winter has gone by so quickly this year.  Funny .... that has never happened before, but this year I changed my attitude and decided I was going to enjoy Winter, or at least have no bad comments or thoughts about it.  It's incredible that my attitude change has given me a whole new perspective.  Our thoughts truly do create our surroundings.

Have a fabulous February in the last half of the month.  It will soon be March.  Think daffodils.

View Enlarged Photo
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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Copyright and Reprint Information - All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins, but may be used with proper credit and link back to the website, Articles written by Donna L. Watkins may also be reprinted with proper credit and link back to the website,

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