Wednesday, October 28, 2015

It Is Never Too Late To Be What You Might Have Been

by Donna L. Watkins

Life is full of many challenges.  Relationships, finances, health, a job we don't like, death of family, friends and pets.  If we focus too much on the problems, we won't see outside that very limiting venue.  We all know people who have had problems and rehearsed them so much that they became rather "sour" about life itself.  Figuring that "if something's gonna go wrong, it's gonna happen to me" type of mentality.  We can't allow ourselves to go there.  God tells us in His Word that we have many promises.  Jesus came so that we might have life and have it abundantly.

"The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).

We can't afford to speak death over ourselves and others around us when there is such a better alternative.  If we keep our focus on things above rather than the things of this earth, we will be able to have a greater vision for the future. 

"Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things"  (Colossians 3:2).

I imagine seeing Jesus with my problem and ask myself, "Is He worried over this?"  My answer is always "No."  If we trust in Him, we can avoid the worrying over it also.  It's incredible the amount of peace you can bring into your soul when you sit at the feet of Jesus.

The tough part is being able to stay there ...

How Hospital Gardens Help Patients Heal

From Scientific American

A much cited study, published in 1984 in the journal Science by environmental psychologist Roger Ulrich, now at Texas A&M University, was the first to use the standards of modern medical research—strict experimental controls and quantified health outcomes—to demonstrate that gazing at a garden can sometimes speed healing from surgery, infections and other ailments.

Dismissed as peripheral to medical treatment for much of the 20th century, gardens are back in style, now featured in the design of most new hospitals, according to the American Society of Landscape Architects.

In a recent survey of 100 directors and architects of assisted-living residences, 82 percent agreed that “the design of outdoor space should be one of the most important considerations in the design.”

But can gardens, in fact, promote healing? It turns out that they often can. Scientists around the world are now digging into the data to find out which features of gardens account for the effect.  Read the entire article.

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Pets: Symptoms of Urinary Tract Illness

 by Dr. Jane Bicks

Urinary tract problems aren’t just problems for humans … it’s just as likely your dog or cat may suffer from a bout from time to time. Not only can they be painful, they could signal a more serious problem.

In the latest from Dr. Jane, our holistic veterinarian takes a closer look at this all-too-common illness and investigates some of the many potential causes.

In addition to sharing what to expect from a veterinary exam, Dr. Jane reveals some steps you can begin taking right now to help avoid your pet kid’s discomfort. For almost everything you need to know about UTI’s, read this Dr. Jane post now ... 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Secret Place

by Clint Byars
Forward Ministries

Clint Byars - Forward Ministries
Do you have a "secret place" where you withdraw to commune with God? You may have a special place in your home or you may have an imaginary place that you visualize. The experience of a secret place is very powerful in developing an intimate relationship with Jesus.

Often times when I'm counseling people I will take a little time to help people "see" Jesus and hear what he has to say to them. This is a powerful exercise that usually helps people realize they have the capacity to connect directly to their Lord with just a little focus.

The good news is believers are never separated from Jesus, we only get distracted by circumstances and emotions. Finding your secret place can serve as a place where you go to shut out the world and imagine that you're in Heaven or some place where you're safe with God.

Even if you don't have a physical secret place or you have a hard time connecting with God in your heart, you can rest assured that you are right in the middle of the secret place that Christ has created for you through his death, burial and resurrection.

Take a moment and think about this passage:

Psalm 91:1 He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

What a promise!

But have you ever asked, where is this secret place? How do I actually abide under the shadow of God? Is this poetic or can it be literal? I say there is a literal, spiritual reality to this promise. Keep in mind the psalmist didn't know what it was like to be born of the spirit (born again). He didn't know what it was like to be indwelt by the spirit of God. He hadn't been raised with Christ and seated in Heavenly places in Christ. He wasn't yet the kind of being that is hidden with Christ in God. To him it was a mystery. These passages from Colossians 1 speak to the mystery of this secret place the psalmist prophesied about.

"I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." Colossians 1:15-27

The secret place is actually within you. The mystery of the secret mentioned in Psalm 91 is that Christ has taken up residence within you! You don't have to try to find where God is hiding and you don't have to coax his spirit our of the shadows. He is in you. You are actually God's secret place. For ages the prophets sought to know this mystery and we now have this treasure within us.

Paul then tells us how to experience this secret place:

Colossians 3:1-2 "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden WITH Christ IN God."

Say it out loud with me, "I am the secret place of God because Christ lives within me. I am hidden with Christ in God. In this place I am safe."

Take some time and listen to this full length message where I talk in detail about these ideas.


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Looking at Nature Can Help Your Brain Work Better

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Carraba's Green Roof - Gainesville, FL
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While still relatively novel in the United States, so-called “green roofs” — urban rooftops covered with grasses, plants and other types of greenery — are becoming increasingly popular around the world.

In France, newly built commercial rooftops must sport either greenery or solar panels, according to a recent law. Facebook, meanwhile, recently installed a massive 9-acre green roof at its office in Menlo Park, Calif.

The logic is obvious: Green roofs can reduce the retention of heat in urban areas, help to cool down buildings and thereby lower their energy use, and even pull some carbon dioxide from the air and feed it back into plant growth.

In a study published in the journal Environmental Psychology, the University of Melbourne’s Kate Lee and a group of colleagues found that interrupting a tedious, attention-demanding task with a 40-second “microbreak” — in which one simply looks at a computerized image of a green roof — improved focus as well as subsequent performance on the task.  Read the entire article.

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10 Tips to Improve Your Heart Health

It's great that so many people get involved with World Heart Day which was on September 29th this year.  Just because that day has come and gone, your heart health doesn't need to suffer.  Here's an article with 10 tips to improve your heart health.  I grew up with the comment being made, "If you don't have your health, you don't have anything" and that is certainly true with many heart issues.  The heart runs the body and when it is weakened many not-so-nice things begins to happen. --- Donna

10 Tips to Improve Your Heart Health


By ensuring that everyone has the chance to make healthy heart choices wherever they live, work and play, World Heart Day encourages us all to reduce our cardiovascular risk, and promotes a heart-healthy planet for those around us.
It's not too late to get involved!
Because heart disease and strokes claim the lives of 17.3 million people each year, World Heart Day was founded in 2000 to help people around the world improve their heart health. This year, in honor of World Heart Day, heart-health-daywe are sharing 10 tips on what you can do to improve your heart health.

Stop smoking. 
Smokers have a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. Studies have shown smokers are 2 to 4 times more at risk of a stroke, among other serious health issues. Once you give up smoking, the risk of a heart attack reduces and after one year your heart disease risk is cut in half.

Get active.
The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every day. By getting your heart pumping, you will push blood effectively throughout your body, helping cells get the necessary oxygen they need.

Manage your stress.
Stress can have a negative impact on your heart as well as body. Chronic stress puts your body in high alert, speeding up your heart rate and making your blood pressure rise. Find ways to de-stress through positive thinking, meditation, exercise, unplugging, or whatever helps you relax.

Know your heart numbers.
Take preventative steps in your heart health by knowing your HDL (good cholesterol), LDL (bad cholesterol), triglycerides, blood pressure, weight, and BMI (body mass index) numbers. If you know where you stand, in terms of health, you can begin to make better choices for a longer, healthier life.

Reduce salt intake.
Lower your blood pressure through reducing your daily salt intake. Cook with herbs instead of salt and take a moment to read food labels to see exactly how much sodium is in prepared foods (the numbers may surprise you). Health professionals suggest shooting for less than 2.3 grams (about a teaspoon) of salt per day.

Meditation.
Regardless what meditation technique you use, meditation can be an excellent practice for calming your mind and reducing stress. Take 5-10 minutes to close your eyes, focus on your breathing, and allow the stress of the moment to pass.

Eat fish.
Fish, such as salmon and anchovies, is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which has been shown to lower blood pressure and improve blood vessel function. If you aren’t a fish eater, you can also get your recommended intake of omega-3’s in vegetable oils, nuts (walnuts in particular), flax seeds, flaxseed oil, and leafy vegetables.

Book a date night or an evening out with friends.
Close relationships can have a positive effect not only on our mental state, but on our overall health. People with stronger connections to friends, family, or their community have fewer cardiovascular problems and tend to feel more relaxed and at peace. However, there are some friendships that can be a great source of stress so it is important to chose your friends carefully.

Cut back on sugar.
Sugar is highly addictive and can cause heart attacks, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and is the leading cause of liver failure in the United States. Each year the average American consumes 152 pounds of sugar. Protect your heart and improve your health by cutting down on your sugar intake. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 5 to 7.5% of added sugar to our daily diet.

Get your sleep in.
People who get less than 7 hours of sleep each night are more at risk of having higher blood pressure and higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol which can lead to plaque build up in the arteries. Improve your sleep by avoiding caffeine in the afternoon and developing a wind down period right before bed. This could include taking a bath, reading a relaxing book, or meditating before you go to sleep.

There are many ways to live a heart healthy life. Encourage others to join you in setting heart specific goals and build a support group where everyone can improve their health.

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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, TheNatureInUs.com. Articles written by Donna L. Watkins may also be reprinted with proper credit and link back to the website, www.TheNatureInUs.com.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 10/15/15

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The Nature In Us Newsletter
October 15, 2015
By Donna L. Watkins

“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

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Hello Dear Friends!


View Enlarged Image
Silvery Checkerspot (Chlosyne nycteis)
View More Photos of Checkerspot Butteflies
Butterflies - The Silvery Checkerspot Butterfly visited our deck one day enjoying the Black-eyed Susans which is one of their larval food plants for the caterpillars, so I imagine it was laying eggs as it fluttered around the flowers because it has no nectar for them.  A few weeks later I noticed some chewed up leaves but no caterpillars.  They had already grown up and gone to turn into butterflies.

This butterfly is not as flighty as some of the butterflies that you can't get close to so I was able to get a few close photos.  They are common and widespread in the Eastern species, found in moist woodland openings and along streams, flying low and perching close to the ground.  It's not a large butterfly measuring in at a wingspan of  1-3/8 to 1-7/8 inches.  It flies late spring to fall and produces 1-3 broods in the east and 1 brood in the west.  Plants that the adults use for nectar are cosmos, common milkweed, tall verbena.  Larval food plants are Black-eyed Susan, wingstem and related plants. (Source: Kaufman Butterflies of N. America)

Tidbit - Birds - Have you seen some videos where people smear Vaseline or some kind of grease on the pole when they have problem with squirrels and raccoons raiding their feeders?  They work and they're funny, but definitely NOT good for the birds. If it gets on a bird’s feathers they cannot preen it out, and when feathers cannot be preened, they don’t work well for flight or insulation.  That leaves the bird vulnerable to predators, bad weather, and disease.

Birds - We have an American Crow (2015 photo of crow) drinking from the deck birdbath, which is only 20' from our backyard pond where they usually drink.  I think this one is one of this year's babes that has a personality of its own and wants to be different. They're usually not that fond of being close to humans, but this one seems to "know" me.  The American Goldfinches are gone.  When we lived in Alabama, we only had these birds during the Winter.  They would leave as the males were getting their beautiful yellow coloring.  The Catbirds left awhile back.  Sure is hard not to think that Winter is on its way here. 

Our Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have flown away to begin their trip south to the Gulf Coast and an amazing journey across the Gulf of Mexico to Central and South America.  Some of them overwinter in Mexico and sometimes on the Southern Coast of the U.S. Watching their tiny wings at our feeders just boggles my mind with how they do this ... and they do it all alone ... measuring only 3" from tip of beak to tip of tail, with the beak being 1/5 of its length.  They don't fly in flocks as many migrating birds do.  What amazes me most is how does the young that have been born here find their way to "their" migration point?

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Ruby-throated Hummingbird
View More Hummingbird Photos
About a month ago I changed the recipe for the feeders to be 1 part sugar to 3 parts water.  Normally it's 1:4, but when they are tanking up for the migration, the 1:3 is closest to what nature's nectar is.  I have kept my feeders out since there will be others flying through and some that left later than they should, so to spot a red feeder will be a blessing to some on their journey, especially if frost has hit and took out their normal nectar source.  It's a fact that more hummingbirds die of starvation during migration than any other cause of death.

There's a myth that leaving feeders up too long will keep a hummingbird from migrating.  Certainly not!  Keep your feeders out 2-3 weeks since you've seen your last bird.  They need to double their weight for migration.  Imagine doing that in such a short time period.  We'd have to be sitting at the table most of the day, and you could see they were doing exactly that before they left. I already miss them ....

Tidbit - Tree Church - For some people, the worship of nature and the divine go hand in hand. They see the overwhelming beauty in the world around them and can't help but see the hand of God at work. The immense diversity itself is testament to Him.

Brian Cox, a New Zealand native, spent years traveling the world and studying many different houses of worship. He's also the owner of Tree Locations, a company that moves and plants large trees. So when he returned home, he knew exactly what he wanted to do to build his own monument to spirituality and that was to build a Tree Church. Thanks to my friend, Carolyn, for sending it to me. Check it out!

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Walking Palm Trees (Socratea exorrhiza)
View More Photos of Walking Palm Trees
Trees & Spiritual - In the Costa Rica rain forests, you may commonly see extremely old trees that seem to have been consumed by a vine which is known as the Strangler Fig Parasite.  This parasite comes when an infected bird poops on top of the tree.   The parasite then forms vines that grow down the tree to the root system.  Once at the tree’s roots, the parasite takes over and slowly kills the tree, but the vines are left in it’s place.  The vines of the parasite become very large and very strong, almost tree like.   This tree already has a termite nest in it to help the process along (notice the black area center right).  View Photo.

Another unusual tree is the Walking Palm (Socratea exorrhiza), also known as the "stilt palm," has a unique ability among trees; it can actually move itself from one place to another.  It's a palm that is native to rain forests of tropical Central and South America.  Its common names come from the fact that the tree's stilt roots enable it to slowly shift position, up to more than 3 feet (1 meter) a year, when it desires to change it's location.  This tree made me think a lot about life while I was in La Selva's jungle, so at the time I wrote an article, Uproot Yourself and Move On, that included a lot of information on this tree and how we can apply another created by God example to our lives.

Tidbit - Hair Braiding - Do you have long hair ... or children and grandchildren with long hair?  Stuck in a ponytail rut or a plain braid?  The art of braiding has grown leaps and bounds since I was interested in braids in the 60's.  Maybe a new look would be appreciated.  Here's a great article:  23 Creative Braid Tutorials That Are Deceptively Easy

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Donna and Benjamin in the Looking Glass
View Virginia Fine Museum of Art Album
Family - This is one of my favorite photos.  Don't you have some photos that just jump out at you when you think of them.  That moment in time that was so special.  A photo can bring back many memories and smiles and give you a clearer visual than our mind may have of that time past.

My son says he remembers most of his life through my photos.  That's cool.  Many times because I am so busy being "Kathy Kodak" I miss some things going on, but the photo always allows me to get the broader picture and probably even see more than what was going on at the time.

This photo was from his visit for my 60th birthday in September 2010.  He flew into Richmond, VA, so when I picked him up I had plans for us to do the art museum since we both love art museums.  It was an awesome museum with all kinds of artistic presentations.  We were both thrilled with it.  You can view our visit in my photo gallery:  Virginia Fine Museum of Art.

Tidbits - Cats, Rodents & Disneyland - It’s impossible to pinpoint exactly when the first cats started to appear on Disneyland property, but there have been sightings going as far back as 1955. Soon after Disneyland opened, Walt decided that there should be an attraction, Sleeping Beauty Castle, and so brought imagineers into the castle to begin the planning process for what would eventually become the Castle Walkthrough.

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Our Feral Kitty, Squeek (1996 - 2015)
We Sure Do Miss Her

See More of Our Cat Photos
He was greeted by quite the sight—scores of feral cats had set up a home for themselves inside the building. Not only that, but the cats had brought with them an infestation of fleas. It became clear that something needed to be done about the cats, but the Disney company knew they couldn’t exactly “eliminate” the problem. The immediate solution was to adopt out the cats to cast members. They dealt with the flea problem as quickly as possible too.

Meanwhile, being an outdoor theme park with lands meant to simulate rustic situations, Disneyland had developed a bit of a rodent problem. While the irony was lost on no one in the company, Disneyland had mice running around—and we’re not talking about Mickey and Minnie.

There were also still plenty of feral cats on property who hadn’t set up shop in the castle. The cats were smart and realized they’d found a decent hunting ground on a property that was free of all the typical dangers stray cats have to face. They were able to emerge at night to a relatively empty park to hunt in peace.  Someone in the Disney company had a pretty brilliant idea. The cats weren’t bothering anyone—feral cats, by nature, are scared of humans—and they were doing a much better job with pest control than any human exterminators were likely to do. So the cats were put to work. More accurately, they were allowed to continue doing the work they were already doing.  Read the whole story.

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Giant Hornet aka European Hornet (Vespa crabro)
Critters - This little guy sucked his last drop of nectar and died on our deck.  It's a Giant Hornet, aka as European Hornet that was introduced to NY in the mid-1800s. Well established in the northeast, they are expanding their range to the northwest and south. At up to an inch long (18-25 mm) they are much larger than yellowjackets. It is actually the only true hornet found in North America.  I think it has a sweet little smiling face.

They are usually regarded as pests by those humans who come into contact with them. Average nests hold 200-400 workers and are built in hollow trees and other cavities. The nests are made out of surrounding plant materials and other fibers to create intricate paper nests.

We had a beautiful nest in the eaves above the guest room window one year.  Workers are active day and night and may be attracted to lights at night. Adults prey on a variety of insects, primarily wasps, large moths, and other large bees sometimes raiding beehives to rob honey and drink nectar. Larva feeds on insects pre-chewed by adults. It defends its nest from intruders but otherwise avoids confrontations when possible.

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Common Eastern Bumble Bee (Bombus impatiens)
With Heart-shaped Black Spot on Joe Pye Weed

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We are blessed with a lot of bees.  Many of our friends with gardens have a greatly reduced abundance of vegetables because of the declining numbers of pollinators.  I am fascinated by the sheer number of the types of bees and wasps that we've seen here.  Some of them I have identified and others it's just too difficult to be sure.

This Common Eastern Bumble Bee is a pollinator of flowers and numerous fruit and vegetable crops, including tomatoes, blueberries and cucumbers. These days with pollinators being in such demand, I don't think anybody would call them common any more.

They are a bit smaller than the Carpenter Bees we have and although Carpenter Bees are sleek and shiny without hair on their backs, Bumble Bees have fur all over their bodies.  These hairs collect and trap pollen which the bees carry from one bloom to another.

The center of its body, between the first two sets of legs, is called the thorax. On this Common Eastern Bumble Bee the thorax is yellow. Notice the black spot on his back that looks like a heart?  These bees can be found throughout the east coast from Maine to Florida and west through Ohio, flying through the air in spring and summer near gardens, farms and backyards. Their nests are located in woodlands and fields.  (Reference Source: nwf.org)

Not Into Buzzing Bugs?  What critter breathes with its feet, has thousands of jaws but no mouth, has up to fifty arms, and an eye on the end of each arm?

From CreationMoments.org website
 Starfish
No, it's not a new creature for the next Star Wars movie. It's the starfish.  When God designed the starfish, it almost seems as if He tried to see how differently He could make this creature from all the others.  Depending upon the species, the starfish can have from three to fifty arms while there is an eye on the end of each one.

The rough skin of the starfish is covered with tiny jaws to keep parasites from attaching themselves to the starfish. Even more amazing is the fact that each of these thousands of jaws works independently of the rest. To get its oxygen, the starfish takes water in through tubes in its feet, each containing a tiny pump and a pipe system linking it to the other feet.

The starfish presents us with the lesson that our Creator did not have to make the creation in any specific way. This is referred to by theologians as “voluntary creation.” If God had chosen to, you and I might be breathing through our feet — although I'm glad we don't. But the biblical truth of the voluntary creation was one of the crucial ideas that provided the basis for the modern scientific method.  (Source: Bob Devine, Uncle Bob’s Animal Stories (Moody Press, Chicago, IL, 1986), pp. 65-70.)

Tidbit - Wendy's Humane Animal Treatment - We've been vegetarians for 36 years and the reason we switched was based on the horrible treatment food animals were put through to produce our food ... which of course affects the hormones they're producing in their lifetime besides the ones injected to fatten them up quicker and the antibiotics to cover over the crowded unhealthy conditions of the animals ... all of which affects our health by consuming them.  That has also kept us out of fast-food restaurants over the years, although eating out has never been a fun thing to do for me and fast-food places have never had rave reviews for being a nutritional place to eat.  That's been changing in recent years with places like Chipotle, Panera and many others getting into the local and healthy food bandwagon.

I came upon a headline of Wendy's being concerned about humane animal treatment, so I had to follow it hoping things are getting better out there.  It is encouraging to know they are.  Others will also follow.  Here's a bit of the news:  "One of Wendy’s chicken suppliers, O.K. Foods in Ft. Smith, Arkansas, has installed an innovative system that significantly improves the welfare of chickens. Called LAPS (low atmospheric pressure system), it produces permanent unconsciousness in the bird before any handling by plant workers. It also replaces the industry standard practice of electrical stunning of chickens.  Wendy’s is the first quick-service restaurant chain to embrace the LAPS system, and we encourage all chicken producers to embrace this practice."  Read more about their other practices.


Spiritual - God has a plan for your life.  I've been thinking a lot lately about how I have not received all that He has for me over these years I've been on the planet.  I was a strong-willed child and very independent being raised as an only child.  Things seem to pretty much go my way as I was growing up and I carried that over into my adult life and into my spiritual life after accepting Jesus as my Savior.

I realized that I certainly had not accepted Jesus as my Lord ... meaning that I would follow Him.  That I would "lean not to my own understanding, but would acknowledge (submit to) Him in all things, so He could direct my paths" (Prov. 3:5-6).  Do you ever wonder why you have so many "issues" to deal with in life?  Shouldn't it be a lot simpler than this?  Notice how some folks glide on through barely being touched with trials and bad circumstances?

I can definitely see that I brought on most of my griefs and sorrows by my own leading.  Instead of following Jesus, I basically set my course and assumed He'd follow me.  Well, it's never too late for Jesus.  The spiritual dimension has no time.  There is no time in Heaven.

I always thought it interesting that astronomers could hear music in space ... old music.  It's like the galaxies absorb every sound of our planet.  That's quite a humbling thought when I consider some of the things I've said ... some of the things I've spoken over my child as a mother ... some of the things I've spoken to my husband as a "contentious wife" (Prov. 25:24).

But life isn't over until it's over, so there's always time to repent and change.  The word "repent" (metanoēte in Greek) actually means "to change your mind."  All we are asked to do is to change our mind to the will of God.  I thought I had to grovel at the Lord's feet begging forgiveness for every sin I could think of.  Now I consider that Jesus bore ALL of my sin -- past, present and future.  Nothing is a surprise to Him and "nothing can separate me from the love of God in Christ" (Romans 8:38-39).

Donna on Screened Porch
Hope = Confident Expectation Becoming My Reality
Today ... consider with me ... 

Are You Following Jesus?
Have You Made Him Lord?
He Knows What We Need, Trust Him!
We are His sheep .... baa!
Have you been one of the sheep that have gone astray? (Is. 53:6)  Repent ... 
change your mind to His will for you.

May God's Blessings Surround You Every Day!

Donna

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.

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

http://www.thenatureinus.com/2015/10/the-nature-in-us-newsletter-101515.html


Posts Since Last Newsletter


Filling Up With God's Love

What Sleep Deprivation Does to Your Brain

"Take Two ‘Doses of Nature’ & Call Me In The Morning

Signs Your Pet Kid Has a Hormonal Problem

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 10/1/15 (DLW)

Previous Posts You May Have Missed


Take Ownership of Your Emotions

5 Essential Supplements You Should Be Taking

Tests Show Most Store Honey Isn’t Honey

Keep Wildlife Safe In Your Yard

The Special Bond Between Cats and Women

A Position of Rest

Ready to Start Your Sugar Detox?

Baby Boom for Killer Whales

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 9/15/15 (DLW)

Canine Rehabilitation

Tiny Blackpoll Warblers Make Mind-boggling Migration

Focusing on Problems Is Dangerous (DLW)

Why Create a Backyard Wildlife Habitat?

Mind Max for Mental Ability

Butterflies Help on the Battlefield

Biking With Your Dog (Video)

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 9/1/15 (DLW)

Kidney Problems From Too Much Iced Tea A Day

18 Remedies to Relieve Headache & Tension

8 Poison-Free Ways to Get Rid of Mice

Can The Devil Hinder Your Prayers?

How Blame Is Exhausting You

How to Help a Fearful or Anxious Dog

Nuts & Seeds Protect Against Heart Disease


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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, TheNatureInUs.com. Articles written by Donna L. Watkins may also be reprinted with proper credit and link back to the website, TheNatureInUs.com.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Filling Up With God's Love

Fill Up With God
by Andrew Wommack

John 17:23 "I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me."

God loves us the same as He loves Jesus. A true revelation of this will quicken our faith and allow us to walk in the fullness of God. God's love is the key that opens the door to everything that God is. "God is love" (1 Jn. 4:8).

God's love is not one dimensional. There is width, length, depth and height to it, which can only be comprehended through the revelation and knowledge of the Holy Spirit. Those who only have a superficial knowledge of God's love are like a person who looks at a one dimensional picture of the real thing.

In Ephesians 3:19, Paul prays for us to know the love of God which passes knowledge. How can we know the love of God if it passes knowledge? This sounds like a contradiction. The Greek word that is translated "know" in this verse is GINOSKO, which is a verb expressing experiential knowledge.

The Greek word that is translated "knowledge" is GNOSIS, which is a noun denoting the act of knowledge. Simply, Paul is praying that we will experience the love of God which passes mere knowledge of it.

Since a true revelation of God's love makes us full with the fullness of God, then a lack of being full of God must mean that we lack understanding and experience of God's love. The end result of having understanding and experiential knowledge of God's love is that we will be filled with all the fullness of God.

Visit Andrew's Website.


What Sleep Deprivation Does to Your Brain

From Mic.com

If you yawn during the day, conk out as soon as your head hits the pillow or re-read this sentence a few times to absorb its meaning, here’s some bad news: You need more sleep.

Scientists still don’t know exactly why we sleep, but according to a near-constant stream of research, most of us need between six and eight hours of shut-eye each night. Unfortunately, only about 30% of us are getting it.

Sleep deprivation takes an enormous toll on our bodies, including bloodshot eyes, increased blood pressure and a fuller waistline. But what’s equally alarming is the negative impact of sleep deprivation on the brain.

This infographic explains what happens to your brain ...


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"Take Two ‘Doses of Nature’ & Call Me In The Morning

In the future, doctors may tell you take two ‘doses of nature’ and call in the morning - Washington Post

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Sarah P. Duke Gardens - Durham, NC
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Stop and smell the roses along the way, American singer-songwriter Mac Davis advised in a top 10 hit in the 1970s.

In the more than three decades Davis imparted that wisdom, numerous studies have confirmed the link between exposure to nature and improved physical, psychological and social well-being.

They have shown that greenery has been associated with reduced levels of asthma, improved healing times and even with making people more likely to exercise.

To address this demographic trend, a team of scientists has begun to study how to define a "nature dose" in an effort to develop recommendations for minimum levels of exposure in the same way doctors do for things like Vitamin D, vegetables or medicines.

At a macro level, that information could be used by public health experts, ecologists, sociologists, and urban planners to help figure out how to plan and manage cities in a way that could boost health outcomes.  Read more in the Washington Post...

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Signs Your Pet Kid Has a Hormonal Problem

 by Dr. Jane Bicks

Many pet parents are familiar with the unsettling feeling caused by the sudden appearance of symptoms like weight gain or loss, hair loss or increased thirst in their pet kid.

Though we often fear the outcome, getting an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan from your family veterinarian is essential.

In this post, Dr. Jane will explore some of these common symptoms, the possible hormonal culprits behind them and steps toward prevention. Read Dr. Jane's post now!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 10/1/15

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The Nature In Us Newsletter
October 1, 2015
By Donna L. Watkins

“And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.” – William Shakespeare

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Hello Dear Friends!


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Donna on Ropes Course 50' Above Ground
View Entire Album of Wilderness Experience
Memories - 26 years ago ... Looking through my photo gallery for some photos for our son, I saw the album from a week long Wilderness Journey we took in Utah back in October 1989.  They had to drive us in on jeep and then we hiked 13-18 miles a day for different "events."  Never saw another person out there.  Apparently it's VERY MUCH WILDERNESS and that's why they call it a Wilderness Experience.

Our son, Benjamin, had this 3-week experience scheduled at 10-years old with the son of a friend of ours who was over the program. We joined him on the last week. This was primitive type camping which meant leaving the area the way you found it.  Even ashes were packed out.  No bathrooms, no toilet paper, no showers, and drinking water from the stream, etc. had me in a very uncomfortable setting. Exciting experience (hmmm...), especially on the last day when we got back to the hotel room and took a shower.  I still look at toilet paper and say, "Thank You, Lord."  It's so much better than juniper bark.

The photos were taken with a print film camera and scanned in.  The one you see here is me on part of the ropes course they had us do.  I had climbed 40 feet up a huge pine tree to get to the ropes I was to walk across to the other pine tree.  Can't say any of us made it, but I'm sure we got the "experience" down pat in our minds.

We were so 'blessed' to be able to experience all the challenges that Ben had experienced other than being left out overnight with only the stars and Jesus to talk to.  There was actually a counselor nearby, but he didn't know that at the time.  It's one of those "rights of passage" things to do when you live in such a wild area. 

Tidbit - Sugar Alternative - There have been so many synthetic sweeteners hit the grocery shelves and in products that I've lost count.  Fortunately we have no problem since we got off sugar back in the late 70's and have used wild honey ever since.  I do know that there's a definite need for something natural that doesn't spike blood sugars for diabetics, so when I saw a clip on a product called "Erythritol" I gathered a bit of info to pass along to y'all.  It's a pure, non-GMO, pleasant tasting natural sweetener, zero calories, low glycemic impact and naturally sweet.

Here's a bit of info from a website:  "Erythritol is a naturally-occurring sugar alcohol derived from a corn source and is naturally found in small amounts in various plants, fruits and fungi, including mushrooms. It contains virtually no calories (95% less calories than table sugar), has a low glycemic impact, and doesn’t contribute to tooth decay. Basically all the bad things about sugar are absent in Erythritol, yet it tastes just like sugar and is about 70% as sweet."  Read more:  Erythritol vs. Stevia vs. Xylitol

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Praying Mantis Waiting For Lunch
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Critters - Praying Mantis - The word mantis comes from the Greek "mantikos," which means prophet.  They certainly do look mysterious and spiritual when they have their forelegs together as if they were in prayer.  The coolest thing about this bug is that it has the ability to turn its head around 180 degrees which gives it another mystical trait.  You can approach from behind and watch it turn its head to face you.  Not to mention that those bulging "cheeks" which are actually eyes on the mantis make its facial appearance so cute.  It kinda takes the fear of bugs right out of you.

Most of the 2,000 species of mantises live in tropical environments.  Only 18 of them are native species for the North American continent.  They come in a variety of colors and some actually mimic flowers that they rest upon looking for prey.  The ones in the U.S. are typically green or brown in color.  Their wings have a leathery look that folds over their abdomens at rest.  They prefer to walk around rather than fly, positioning themselves for the next meal.

Although sometimes mentioned as a beneficial insect since it eats insects, it is not discretionary and will eat other beneficial bugs as well as those we consider pests.  When they lay eggs the egg case over winters and hatches a new brood of tiny praying mantises.  With their coloring they easily hide amongst the foliage of plants until it's time for an attack.  View more information on the Praying Mantis with photos of them mating and of the egg case.

Tidbit - Power of Words - Are you in for an intriguing, slightly weird experiment?  I write a lot about what we speak and how we think because the Bible has a lot to say about it.  Such as .... "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit" (Proverbs 18:21). 
In other words, whatever we speak, we will be eating the fruit of it, or whatever it produces, life or death in our lives.  Keeping in mind death isn't always about dying.  Things around us can look very dead in many of life's circumstances ... and we all know people who speak all their problems out to as many people as will listen (and we're all in that group at one time or another).  I have a relative who believes the world is against her and nothing can go right when you deal with people.  She has definitely eaten those words all of her life.

Back to the experiment .... what you do is boil rice, but instead of eating it, put some into each of two jars with tight lids filling about half way ..... mark one LOVE and the other one HATE.  Then speak to them according to the label they wear.  I did say it was kinda weird ... but if you want to know the outcome for one of many who have done this experiment ... visit this website.

Have you heard of Emoto's experiments with water being exposed to words, prayers, music and environment. Emoto hired photographers to take pictures of water after being exposed to the different variables and subsequently frozen so that they would form crystalline structures. The results were nothing short of remarkable.  Check it out!

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Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird on Garden Stake
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Pollinators & Birds - I haven't been able to walk in the garden much this year but we have filled the deck that is beside the screened porch (where I live and work all day) with flower pots that attract a lot of butterflies, bees, wasps, and birds for the bird bath.  I rescue bees and wasps from the bird bath on a regular basis.  I can see the water rippling a bit and that's when I know something is struggling to get out.  I just dip my finger in so they can climb on it and then watch them do a drying dance to get all that water out of places they don't want it.  Many wasps have the cutest of faces.

Speaking of bees ... beekeepers won the battle against Dow and the EPA.  Federal appeals court ruled in favor of beekeepers, revoking the EPA's approval of neonicotinoid insecticide, sulfoxaflor, produced by Dow. In a blunt opinion, the court cited the "precariousness of bee populations" and "flawed and limited data" submitted by Dow on the pesticide's effects on beleaguered pollinating insects. The agrichemical industry, as a whole, is flawed. The EPA needs to start protecting people and environment instead of the profits of big industry (note Tidbit section below on Kellogg's cereal containing pesticides and herbicides.  Read the entire story.

Sadly, I also find moths that have not made it till somebody could rescue them since they fly about at night when I'm asleep.  Isn't it amazing that every living thing needs water.  Humans are 60% water.  By the way, if you'd like a deck garden, here's an article, Build A Deck Garden, I wrote back in August 2010 on creating one.  Ours has grown and there's not a missing spot that's not well used.

Since I'm always on the lookout for any rescues, I've always got my eyes on the deck and one day the female hummingbird that feeds at our backyard feeder was sitting on a garden stake that I had sticking in a pot.  I love to see metal artwork.  My neighbor has given me several stakes that have been recycled from other objects.  This one with the female Ruby-throated Hummingbird used an old spoon for a body and it was "just right" for this hummingbird to keep near the feeder to battle any visitors.

That's one thing I don't like about hummingbirds.  They're not social critters as I mentioned in a previous newsletter.  Since I had a lot of information in that newsletter you can read about it in that issue: More About Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

Tidbit - The Structure Of A Forest - We look at forests as beautiful and peaceful places to rest, meditate and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.  We think of them as tree-filled space, but forests are habitats in which the trees are the dominant form of vegetation, however there are six (6) layers of vegetation that make up a forest.  The species composition of a forest is often unique to that forest, with some forests consisting of many hundreds of species of trees while others consist of just a handful of species.  Learn more about forests.

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Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly
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Butterflies - Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele) - A note about its scientific name, Speyeria cybele is that "cybele" means “mountain mother” or “earth mother.”  This is a large butterfly (wing span 2.5 to 4 inches) so it's very noticeable especially with the yellow orange colors.  Their habitat is moist open fields, pastures, meadows, prairies, valleys, and open woodland.  Males patrol open areas for females who lay eggs in late summer on plants of the violet species.

The adult enjoys nectar from many types of flowers such as Verbena, Bergamot, Butterfly Bush, Red Clover, Purple Coneflower, Passion Flowers, Milkweeds, Ironweed, Joe Pye Weed, etc.  The plant this adult is on is Stonecrop Sedum.  It attracts more species of butterflies than I've seen on anything else, even the Butterfly Bushes we have around the property.  There was a Painted Lady Butterfly on it a couple of hours ago. View Photos of Stonecrop Sedum and Butterflies.

Another name for these handsome butterflies is Silverspots because of the metallic markings on their wings undersides. It's possible that this pattern, similar to a leopard’s spots, serves as camouflage when they are resting in places of dappled sun and shade spots.  This is the most common fritillary in most of the Eastern United States and are not on any conservation lists.

What's intriguing is that those hatched caterpillars don't feed until Spring when they eat the fresh grown violet leaves.  Caterpillars hatch in the Fall and go to sleep right away without feeding.  They sleep through the winter and will only awaken in the Spring at the same time as violet plants begin to grow. The timing is important to the hungry caterpillar. It is feared that global warming may disrupt this synchronization. Studies are underway to verify whether this is already taking place.

Tidbit - Kellogg’s Cereal Tests Positive For Pesticides - A box of Froot Loops was sent to a lab for genetic testing and found 100% of the corn was GMO, containing both Roundup Ready and Bt corn as well as some Roundup Ready soy. Sugar is also a Roundup Ready GMO. Roundup Ready means the GMOs are sprayed with Roundup (glyphosate), a toxic weed killer [herbicide], which is absorbed by the plant. The lab documented a level of glyphosate residue in Froot Loops that gives significant reason for concern. Glyphosate was also patented by Monsanto as an antibiotic in 2010. Not only is the corn in Froot Loops sprayed with Roundup, but with the Bt trait, it is a pesticide in its own right, registered with and regulated by the EPA. 

Every cell of the Bt corn plant produces pesticides called Bt toxins. When rootworms bite into it, their stomachs rupture and they die. How disturbing is it that Kellogg’s is feeding children pesticides & antibiotics, without their parents’ knowledge or consent? GMOs were released into our food supply without independent long-term studies to prove that they are safe. The FDA ... allows the chemical companies that develop GMOs and profit from their sale to determine whether they are safe. The companies that create GMOs are the same companies that created DDT and Agent Orange, now banned, and which cause serious generational disease and birth defects.  Read the full report on hereSign a petition here.
The EPA’s Chronic Reference Dose (RfD), which is supposed to represent the “safe” daily tolerance level, is nearly 6 times higher than the level set as an Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) in the European Union. The EPA has set our Chronic RfD at 1.75 mg/kg of body weight per day. Despite the fact that children eat more food per pound of body weight, the amount is the same for children and adults, even though children are much more vulnerable.

Donna on Screened Porch
Hope = Confident Expectation Becoming My Reality
Spiritual - " I trust Your unfailing love.  I will rejoice because You have rescued me.  I will sing to the Lord because He has been so good to me." (Psalm 13:5-6)

God is always good to us.  In love He created this planet for man to enjoy.  In love He came to Earth to be a sacrifice, one-time offering, for all of mankind (Hebrews 10:4).  Even before we were born, and even when we were sinners, He chose to save us (Romans 5:8).  What an awesome God!

When you're facing a troubling problem, a sickness or disease, loss of a job, financial troubles, issues with your children or marriage .... magnify the Lord.  Have you ever noticed that David when writing Psalms would often begin with all his problems and then end up praising the Lord and magnifying Him.  Making God bigger in our hearts and minds will make our problems look a lot smaller.  More than that it will build your trust in Him, which is when troubles begin to disappear.

What's more real to you?  The problem ... or already knowing that God can handle it and will.  We connect with God by faith and faith requires trust.  Jesus says we can rest in Him.  First we have to lay that heavy burden down at His feet and choose to yoke up with Him for the journey.  We may un-yoke ourselves every day to worry over it, but the more we focus on Him and His promises, the less we will think about the problem.

"You have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things."  (Col. 3:1-2)

May God's Blessings Surround You Every Day!
Donna

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.

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

http://www.thenatureinus.com/2015/10/the-nature-in-us-newsletter-10115.html


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Ready to Start Your Sugar Detox?

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The Nature In Us Newsletter - 9/15/15 (DLW)

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The Nature In Us Newsletter - 9/1/15 (DLW)

Kidney Problems From Too Much Iced Tea A Day

18 Remedies to Relieve Headache & Tension

8 Poison-Free Ways to Get Rid of Mice

Can The Devil Hinder Your Prayers?

How Blame Is Exhausting You

How to Help a Fearful or Anxious Dog

Nuts & Seeds Protect Against Heart Disease

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 8/15/15


Changing Your Heart  (DLW)

How to Avoid 7 Common Dehydration Symptoms

Men and Women Are Not The Same

6 Ways To Improve Your Pet’s Life With Authentic Essential Oils


Love Conquers Fear

Five DIY Tips for Pet Parents (Video)

See Faith as a Seed

Two Focused Minutes Can Change Your Circumstances

Effects of Household Stress on Pets

Our World of Relationships (DLW)

Amish Farmers Reinventing Organic Agriculture

The Many Uses of Patchouli

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