Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving at God's House

This less than 3-minute video says a lot about God's love for us and His provision.

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Dancing With Jesus

Know Your Role
By Aria Fischer

It has never ceased to amaze me how incredibly breathtaking a pas de deux is…well, can be. If the roles of the danseur and ballerina are not clearly defined, what is meant to be an incredible feat of strength and beauty turns into a huge, potentially painful mess. Our relationship with God is a lot like a pas de deux. If we are not confident in the grace of our partner, Jesus, and that He is going to catch us after a huge leap of faith, our dancing may not be as powerful as it could be.

The struggle with whether to solely trust in the grace of God or solely operate in faith is ultimately an identity issue. As Andrew relates in his teaching Living in the Balance of Grace and Faith—

The body of Christ is basically divided into two groups: those who emphasize grace (God’s part) and those who emphasize faith (our part). One group preaches that everything is totally up to God. The other group teaches that there are many things that we must do. Both contend that the other group is totally wrong (p. v).

In ballet, this is like asking, “What is my role in this dance?” Another way to phrase this question is, “Who am I?”

When a ballerina is cast as a specific character in a ballet, she does not ask the director to make her what her role already is. Instead, her job is to learn how to become who she has been cast to play; she has a whole persona to learn. While dancers know they are roleplaying, Christians aren’t. However, many believers are still petitioning God to help them become something they already are by His grace. They want to be healed, have peace, be favored, be forgiven, and have blessings—when He already died to accomplish that 2,000 years ago. It is now their part to stretch, balance, and leap through faith as they function in their new role, the one they received the moment they accepted Jesus.

As Andrew mentions in the same teaching, “Grace is what God does for us independent of us” (p. 77). Grace is the persona we have been given in this dance. It is the role our Director gave us to operate in. “Faith reaches out and appropriates what God has already provided for us by grace” (p. 115). Faith is learning how to operate in the role God has already put us in—not only as the healed, favored, and prosperous but also as those who bring healing, favor, and prosperity. That is who we are and what we do.

Learn more about the role you’ve been cast in and how to “stay in character.” Check out Andrew’s Living in the Balance of Grace and Faith teaching. It’s available in many formats: CD series, DVD series, book, study guide, and television broadcast. If this teaching has encouraged you, please share below. You have an amazing role to play in this dance!

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Thanksgiving ... Remembering

Give Thanks ... It's Good For Your Health!
By Lorie Johnson 
CBN News Medical Reporter

Thanksgiving is the one day of the year that we set aside for the purpose of giving thanks. It's a good start, but what if we showed our gratitude throughout the year? We could have better marriages, stronger faith and even better health.

For thousands of years, scripture has been very clear: give thanks. Now health experts are saying the same thing. Dr. David J. Jennings, Jr., Assistant Director of the Psychological Services Center and Assistant Professor at Regent University says scientific research definitively links a persistent sense of gratitude with good physical health.

"Studies have shown that people with a more grateful disposition actually engage in more exercise. They eat better, they take care of themselves better by getting regular physical examinations," he continued, "It's also been shown to be helpful to people who are actually having some kind of physical ailment, actually reduce negative health symptoms and increase sleep."

Grateful people also handle adversity better, experience less P-T-S-D, clinical depression and anxiety.

"Gratitude has been shown to actually help to cope with stress and negative life events, which of course, stress can be a major contributor to physical problems," explained Dr. Jennings. "Stress certainly tends to depress our immune system, makes us more vulnerable to disease, sickness."

As a bonus, Dr. Jennings says showing gratitude towards your spouse strengthens your marriage.

"Research is showing more and more that the quality of our relationships has a tremendous impact on the quality of our health," he explained, "And gratitude has actually been shown to help improve the quality of one's relationship."

Unfortunately, gratitude does not come naturally to most people. Instead most of us have the tendency to focus on what's wrong with our lives, rather than what's right with them. That's why 'Revive Our Hearts' ministry, emphasizes the importance of learning how to develop a grateful attitude and how to practice it until it becomes a habit.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss leads the ministry, which includes the daily, nationally-broadcast radio program, "Revive Our Hearts." She says gratitude starts by confessing to God, "You don't owe me anything good."

"'All I deserved was hell and you've given me so much more. You've given me heaven and eternal life and Christ Jesus and your Holy Spirit,'" she prays, "'Oh Lord, if you never gave me anything else good in this life than having saved me eternally from sin, I am one blessed woman and I will spend eternity giving you thanks.'"

DeMoss says developing a spirit of gratitude is like building a muscle. It takes work.

"Gratitude is, it's supposed to be a lifestyle. It's a habit," she explains, "And unfortunately it gets eclipsed by bad habits: the whining, the complaining, the murmuring, the pointing out things that we wish were different. But we can change that, as we lift our eyes upward off of our circumstances and say 'Lord You are amazing. Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.'"

In her book, "Choosing Gratitude," DeMoss recommends making giving thanks a priority for an entire month. She says a great way to do that is by keeping a daily journal, listing things for which your are grateful, both big and small.

"And I found that that discipline helped me to be conscious of, mindful of, things that othewise I might have forgotten, I might not have noticed," she said, "And I think that's why Psalm 103 says 'Forget not all his benefits.'"

While you have your pen out, DeMoss also recommends writing thank-you letters to people who have blessed you.

"It can be emails, it can be texts, I do it that way, too, but I try to write some old-fashioned, long-hand thank-you notes to say 'I'm so grateful that you thought of me, for your kindness, for what you invested in me.' And you'll find if you write that kind of note you'll probably shock some people because it's so rare today."

In addition to writing words of gratitude to God and to others, DeMoss emphasizes voicing gratitude, speaking or singing them, in prayers, songs of praise words to others.

"We're much better at saying what we wish we had, what we have that we wish we didn't have, rather than saying thank you to God and to others for what we do have," she said.

So for better health, make a conscious effort to give thanks...a lot of it...every day. It's not easy, but well worth the effort.

See the original blog post here.

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10 Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

It's that time of year when extra calories lurk around every corner -- frosted cookies at the office, eggnog at your neighbor's, jelly doughnuts for Hanukkah or chocolates in your stocking. All these extras add up.

According to researchers at the National Institutes of Health, most Americans never lose the weight they gain during the winter holidays. The pounds add up year after year, making holiday weight gain an important factor in adult obesity.

It is possible to enjoy holiday goodies without putting on a single pound. "Portion control is the key," says Susan Finn, PhD, RD. Finn serves as chairwoman of the American Council for Fitness and Nutrition. "I don't believe you can't eat food that you like -- even indulgences -- but it is the amount you eat," she tells WebMD.

Of course, it's not easy to go on portion patrol when the temptations are endless. That's why WebMD compiled .

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Video: Canine Winter Boredom - What To Do

Puppy It's Cold Outside
by Dr. Sarah

What can I do to keep my dog entertained indoors? It’s a question many pet parents will be asking themselves now that cold weather, possibly the worst in many seasons, starts setting in.

Lucky for us, Dr. Sarah is here to show us eight easy ways to eliminate canine boredom. As always, be safe and fight the arctic blast with a blast of fun!

Don’t miss this episode of Pet Talk to keep you, and your pup, entertained for countless hours.  Watch the video now!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

7 Everyday Mistakes on Your Digestive System

7 Everyday Mistakes Can Wreak Havoc on Your Digestive System
by Dan Bischoff

There is nothing more frustrating than a stomach ache on a busy day. Upset tummies distract us from our work, ban us to the bathroom and leave us begging for a cure.

The gut is a sensitive organ made up of millions of nerves, and little things you do every day could be what throw your stomach into chaos. Who knew that when you were trying to be healthy, you were actually dooming your tookus to the toilet?

We’ve found the most common daily habits that can wreak havoc on your digestive system. Are you guilty of some of these tummy-turning mistakes?

1. You don’t test your diet

Even if you aren’t lactose intolerant, the protein in dairy called casein can still cause unhealthy digestive. And overdosing on beans or fruit can also result in tummy troubles. You won’t know what food is giving you grief until you test it by eliminating the food from your diet and seeing if your symptoms improve. We know you’re scared to find out that your favorite food is now on the do-not-eat list, but it’s worth knowing.

2. You don’t treat your anxiety

The connection between our brain and our stomachs is stronger than many think.

“There is definitely a connection between the brain and the gut,” says Francisco J. Marrero, MD, a gastroenterologist with the Digestive Disease Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. “The gut is called the little brain—it’s the largest area of nerves outside the brain.”

Your stomach reacts to your brain and daily habits, and it’s incredibly sensitive to any change. When your noggin gets nervous or stressed, it goes into fight or flight mode, signaling your body to do the same. This slows your digestive system to repurpose that energy to other parts of your body. When this happens for a brief moment, you hardly notice, but with chronic anxiety, your digestive system is constantly interrupted.

If you suffer from anxiety, you may experience constipation, diarrhea, gas and bloating regularly. Learn how to control your anxiety through deep breathing and relaxation techniques. Some doctors even prescribe antidepressants to help relax the stomachs of anxiety-ridden patients.

3. You skimp on sleep

If you aren’t getting enough sleep, because of stress or other reasons, your body suffers on multiple levels. A lack of sleep can really affect your digestion. When you sleep, your body can evenly appropriate energy to the places that need it most, including your gut. Food is passed through your stomach at the right pace and your hormones and enzymes are recharged, which help you continue to break down food during the day. Robbing your body of this time to regulate can cause you to suffer the consequences the next day.

4. You let stress get the best of you

Chronic anxiety isn’t the only stressor that can affect your gut health. In fact, small, daily stressors can have just as destructive a result. Stress is to blame for many digestive problems, says Dr. Nick Read, chairman of the IBS Network. “It takes blood away from the digestive system, drying up the secretions that help us digest food and also sending the muscles into spasm, hence that stomach ache.”

Stress management is an important skill for many reasons, but keeping your digestive tract in good health should be a primary motivator. To help eliminate daily stressors that could be causing your tummy to overreact, don’t take on more responsibility than you can handle, get comfortable saying “no” to people, and prioritize your responsibilities so you don’t feel overwhelmed. These daily techniques should help you keep stomach aches at bay.

5. You have bad posture

When you slouch or slump at the computer desk all day, you not only put unnecessary pressure on your back and hip muscles, you also compress your digestive system and your lungs. The digestive system is already fairly compact, and compressing your organs makes it difficult for the intestines to pass food properly.

Keep good posture in mind all day, and especially after lunch. Stand and work for 30 minutes after eating if you can to aid digestion. If slouching is a chronic problem for you, try getting a posture chair or back brace that will help you sit upright and well-supported all day.

6. You over-hydrate

Yes, water is very important to drink every day, but over-hydrating can cause just as many issues as not drinking enough water.
“There seems to be a craze that we’ve got to drink three liters of water a day, but it’s a complete scam,” says Dr. Peter Fairclough, a consultant gastroenterologist at the London Clinic. “I see many patients who say they drink this amount, yet they are still constipated.”

Water is absorbed into the bloodstream before it reaches the large intestine, where the consistency of your stool is determined. Sometimes your body needs more than water to move food through your bowels properly. “Drinking a glass of prune juice could also help ease constipation,” says Fairclough.

7. You use painkillers regularly

Commonly prescribed painkillers, such as codeine and morphine, are known for causing constipation because they stop all signals, not just pain, but the messages that tell the stomach to keep your bowels moving too. Blood pressure drugs and iron supplements have been known to have the same effect.

One of the worse painkillers for your tummy? Ibuprofen. Instead, go for an antispasmodic drug or natural alternative like peppermint oil. And avoid gut-irritating foods such as coffee, fat and chocolate if you have to take any of these medications.


Healthy digestion means not making these 7 common mistakes. It’s important to educate yourself about how the gut functions and test possible foods and medications that could be causing your stomach to suffer.

One of the most important takeaways for maintaining stomach health is to manage your stress. The negative effects of chronic stress are numerous—it ages your skin, deprives you of sleep and aggravates your temper—but perhaps one of the most harmful is how stress affects your gut.

Support your digestive system with a healthy diet, plenty of sleep and stress management techniques. You’ll quickly notice that more than just your tummy feels a lot better. You can also aid digestion and promote immunity with Bifidophilus probiotics, a natural immune booster.

Digestive Aids On Sale Through 11/23/15 at The Herbs Place
Food Enzymes, Proactazyme and Stomach Comfort 


About Dan Bischoff
Dan is a fanatical health nut who religiously takes supplements every day. And when he's not taking supplements, he's reading just about every health article he can find. He's addicted to NSP's Nature's Harvest, Ionic Minerals, Relief Formula and Chlorophyll ES.

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Receiving Healing

Receiving Healing 
By Cecil Paxton - Cecil & Lisa Paxton Ministries

It's not about us, it is about Jesus, but it is for us!

As Christians when we make receiving from God about us then we are seeing ourselves with a problem needing to be free of it. If this is your way of trying to receive healing from God where you really need Him to heal you because of how bad the problem is, then you are going to experience inconsistency in receiving. In fact you are going to make receiving more difficult than it has to be.

Receiving healing, in a very practical way, is about identifying with the spiritual promise found in Christ instead of identifying with the physical problem in our body in this natural realm we live everyday life in. We must establish within the beliefs of our heart an identity of freedom where we see ourselves free of the problem not seeing ourselves in a position of trying to get free of a problem. This will help to open up our heart to the Holy Spirit where we are ready to receive the manifestation of the healing into the natural realm in which we live.

Plant With Purpose

This is an amazing organization that doesn't just provide relief ... but training in sustainable agriculture (organic) that encompasses putting trees back into the lands to prevent mudslides and tragedy with storms.

Families are able to send their children to school, have three meals a day, and extra produce to sell for funds to save. A totally holistic way of changing an entire community with ongoing classes and spiritual guidance through the local churches. 

Watch the video and check out their website:

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Energy Savings This Holiday Season

From Central Virginia Electric Cooperative

The holidays are a time for family, friends, fun and, what else, food! Making that memorable holiday meal is no small feat. From savory sides to delicious desserts, it’s a meal that takes lots of hard work to pull off. And all of that cooking can really crank up your energy use and even your monthly bill.

Follow these simple tips and you can shrink your energy use in the kitchen:

1 - Switch to LED bulbs.
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) use up to 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and are more durable and longer lasting.

2 - Reheat small portions in the microwave.
You'll use up to 80 percent less energy by microwaving smaller servings. You can also use the toaster oven.

3 - Keep your fridge between 35-38 degrees.
Set your freezer to 0°F. If the temperature of your refrigerator is 10 degrees colder than necessary, it can use 25 percent more energy.

4 - Bake in batches.
Baking lots of cookies or a couple pies at one time saves energy. If you’ve got an oven window, take advantage of it! Opening the oven door wastes energy and lowers the temperature as much as 25°F.

5 - Run your dishwasher with full loads.
To save energy and water, don’t run the dishwasher until you have a full load. Be sure to scrape, not rinse, your dishes before loading them.

6 - Fix leaky faucets.
Faucet leaks waste gallons of water. Hot water leaking at a rate of one drip per second can waste up to 1,660 gallons of water over a year – and waste up to $35 in electricity or natural gas.

7 - Cover pots and pans.
Covered pots and pans cook more efficiently and keep the kitchen cooler.

8 - Match the size of pots to the size of burners.
A 6" pot on an 8" burner wastes over 40 percent of the burner's heat. Using the right-sized pot on stove burners can save about $36 annually for an electric range or $18 for gas.

If your appliances are old or need replaced, opt for energy-efficient models. Look for ENERGY STAR® rated appliances.

Source and Reprint Information
This article previously appeared in the Central Virginia Electric Cooperative Energy Sense newsletter, and is used with permission. This material cannot be used in a publication as an endorsement of your products or services. However, it can be referred to as an informational source. As for sharing with family, there is nothing you need to do. That is an acceptable use of the article.

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Pet Video: Holiday Pet Safety

Holiday Pet Safety Video 
by Dr. Sarah

The holidays are a time to celebrate. However, pet safety precautions can get lost in the hustle and bustle of last-minute shopping, decorations and parties.

Lucky for us, Dr. Sarah is ready to share her wisdom about the common holiday treats and trimmings that could prove harmful to your pet kids. From festive, seasonal plants to the sparkling tree decorations, it’s everything you need to be aware of to ensure your holidays are safe as well as jolly.

Stay on Santa’s “nice list” and watch our yuletide episode of Pet Talk now ...

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 11/15/15

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

“The more often we see the things around us - even the beautiful and wonderful things - the more they become invisible to us. That is why we often take for granted the beauty of this world: the flowers, the trees, the birds, the clouds - even those we love. Because we see things so often, we see them less and less." -- Joseph B. Wirthlin

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Hello Dear Friends!

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Cedar Waxwing with Holly Berry
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Birds - On November 9th we had a flock of Cedar Waxwings come through as we usually do during migration time. They travel in flocks and the beauty of the bird is magnificent when you see a whole tree full of them. We usually get to see them coming and going as they say, but they are quick to get about their business and move on. Cedar waxwings are very social birds. This time they all landed around the backyard pond drinking from it and then flying up into the trees to wait for others. Then they went around front to have some holly berries and cedar berries, the berry they were named after. Their breeding range is the southern Canada to the northern half of the U.S. The winter range is from the U.S. and Mexico south to Panama.

They mostly eat berries which sets their ranges depending on supply. They will eat some insects and sap, but they are known for berries. They have been photographed lining up on a branch and passing berries back and forth to the rest of their fine-feathered friends on the branch. They have even been known to groom each other. I've seen them line up on branches, but never passing berries. They migrate according to where they know there is a supply of berries.

We have had oodles of holly berries since we have many bushes and we had 4 trees. This year 3 of them died so we only have one which has very few berries. The bushes seem to be full of them, but they're rather prickly to get to, although it doesn't seem any of the birds mind that. Get more info here.

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Dark-eyed Junco
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The Dark-eyed Junco appeared on November 6th. They're rather striking with their neat tuxedo gray in varying shades with their pink bills.  Their bright white tail feathers flash when in flight.  For several years we've had one that had quite a large white spot on it's rump, but I haven't seen that one this year yet.  They come from Canada, the Western mountains and the Appalachians. During Winter they appear in most areas of the Eastern United States. They are a forest bird and like to feed at feeders and the base of feeders.

Tidbit - Air Toxins and Indoor Plants - Did you know that NASA and ALCA (Associated Landscape Contractors of America) conducted a study on the benefits of plants on indoor air? The results were outstanding. Houseplants were able to remove up to 87% of air toxins in 24 hours.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Missing The Butterflies

by Donna L. Watkins

Now that the colder weather has taken away our blooms and the buzzing pollinators, hummingbirds went south in October, frogs are digging into the mucky part of the pond for a long winter's nap, lizards, skinks and toads are tucked under rocks or logs. I'm missing the butterflies which are so precious to behold throughout the warm months.

So here's a few of the photos of visitors from years past to our abode ... to give you a Butterfly Moment ... or we could say Butterfly Kisses. Enjoy!

The enlarged images are much clearer than these.
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Black Swallowtail Butterfly on Butterfly Bush
More Photos of Butterflies
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Buckeye Butterfly
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Monarch Butterfly on Butterfly Weed
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Question Mark Comma Butterfly (Polygonia interrogationis) Winter Form
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Red-spotted Purple Admiral Butterfly Eating Rotten Apples
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Red Admiral Butterfly at Rotting Apples We Put Out
View More Photos of Butterflies
View Enlarged ImageWhite M Hairstreak Butterfly (Parrhasius m-album)
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If you'd like to take off for a warmer spot on the planet, visit the Travel section of my gallery and drift away. 

South Carolina is a bit chilly now also, but there are many sunny warm visits to plantations, preserves and beautiful cities.

Florida is still nice and warm enough for us to be wishing and hoping.

Honolulu, Hawaii was an award trip to a Hilton hotel that had wildlife.

Want to get out of the country? Check out the international area of my gallery.  Costa Rica will be filled with all kinds of critters, birds and butterflies.

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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,

Stop Trying to Believe and Rest

by Arthur Meintjes, Kingdom Life Ministry

As a rule, the majority of believers in the church do not really understand faith!

Many have come to believe that living by faith is virtually inaccessible for them and only really meant for the Super Saints. Others believe they have to “grow faith.”

Still others feel that they are too weak or fallible to ever experience something good from God through faith. But nothing could be farther from the truth!

Whether you are cultured or uncultured, educated or uneducated, rich or poor, strong or weak, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is for you and will work for you!

I like what Paul says in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth;...” But guess what? He also says that faith comes by hearing the Gospel or the Word of God!

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Our word for salvation comes from the Greek word soteria which speaks of “a condition where nothing is missing, nothing is broken and nothing is withheld—wholeness.”

Enjoy a "debt free" relationship with God!
It is more than simple forgiveness and going to Heaven; it includes deliverance, protection, prosperity, peace, and healing. And according to Paul, faith is the agent that activates it in our lives.

“But I just don’t have that kind of faith,” you say. That’s the beauty (and power) of the Gospel—it’s not about you! It’s about Jesus!

I remember a time in my life when I was just beginning to grasp this concept.

One spring while we were still living in South Africa, I realized that no one in my family had been to the doctor all year. (This was very unusual for our family.)

It stopped me in my tracks. Because as a faith preacher, I realized that I hadn’t purposefully believed God for healing, so I couldn’t understand how I was experiencing the benefits of salvation without “fighting the ‘so called’ good fight of faith.” That’s when God revealed and explained the true definition of our fight of the faith to me.

He said, “Arthur, the scripture says when you are rooted and grounded in my love, you experience the fullness of my benefits!” (Eph. 3:17-19)

I realized it wasn’t so much about my “faith,” but it was about me becoming fully persuaded and absolutely convinced of God’s extravagant, unconditional love for me in and through what Jesus did for me on the cross!

So I stopped trying to do faith and began to believe and rest in the fact that God completely and unconditionally loves me.

Because faith and living by faith will not make any sense, unless in the depths of our hearts we become fully persuaded that God “LOVES US UNCONDITIONALLY AND EXTRAVAGANTLY—without respect, boundaries, caution, limits, and without regret!"

This is the true message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

No matter what has happened in your past, or what is happening right now, or what might happen in your future, God cannot and will not (He refuses to) stop LOVING YOU!

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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,

Healthy Holiday Gift Sets

Healthy Happy Holidays
Share These Unique and Healthful Gifts

 Order early! Supplies are limited to stock on hand.

Refresh and Invigorate Travel Gift Set

Back by popular demand!

Take Peppermint oil and Tei Fu® oil blend everywhere! These versatile oils make perfect gifts. Includes custom travel wallet and gift box.

Our Direct Cost Wholesale Price:  $29.00
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Energy On The Go Gift Set

Give a box of Solstic® Energy and a branded Nature's Sunshine 20 fl. oz. glass bottle with grey protective silicone sleeve for no-slip grip.  Includes gift box.

Dishwasher safe.

Our Direct Cost Wholesale Price:  $46.00
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Silver Shield Rescue Kit

This zippered go-anywhere tote is loaded with Silver Shield products:
1 - 6 fl. oz. Liquid Silver Shield
1 - 1 oz. Silver Shield Rescue Gel
1 - 1 oz. Silver Shield Purifying Cleansing Gel

PLUS an assortment of sterile bandages, gauze, wrap, tweezers, scissors and tape.

Keep one in the car and give one to your favorite college student!

Our Direct Cost Wholesale Price:  $55.00
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Authentic Essential Oils Kit with Mini Diffuser and Travel Bag

Get five single essential oils (Lemon, Peppermint, Lavender Organic, Tea Tree and Frankincense) and five blends (Inspire, Essential Shield, Core, Refuge and Recover) each in a 5ml bottle.

PLUS a FREE USB Travel Diffuser, perfect for home, office or vehicle and a FREE Travel Bag that holds 10 of your favorite authentic essential oils or blends.

Our Direct Cost Wholesale Price:  $124.95
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Order early!
Supplies are limited to stock on hand.

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Have You Heard of Medi-Share?

From Donna L. Watkins

Shopping for insurance? Have you heard of Medi-Share? It's the New Testament version of what we know as insurance. Christian members share each other's medical expenses through their "monthly share."  Medi-Share is a not-for-profit ministry that began in 1993.

Medi-Share members (154,000+) have shared $1.1 billion in medical bills since the ministry's founding. It's not insurance in any form or fashion. Much easier than all that paperwork since Medi-Share is also an advocate for you to get lower rates in your medical bills since the provider is not having to file all those forms to collect on insurance or Medicare.

The Affordable Care Act includes a special provision, so Medi-Share members are exempt from the mandate to purchase insurance or face financial penalties. Plus you can join any day of the year. You can also choose your own Provider or use the Medi-Share Provider database.

After the Affordable Care Act took effect, we figured paying the penalties would be better than paying for insurance since we had not had any insurance since 1987. Instead we had put a monthly amount into a bank savings account for any medical care needed. When you pay cash (which is what payments from Medi-Share are handled), you get from 30-50% off your medical bills.  We experienced that over the years as we paid cash for any medical bills.

When you pay cash you get to choose what you want done.  In July 2014 I spent three nights in the hospital and because I was paying cash, I got to choose what tests I wanted done or not done.  Insurance companies have all kinds of rules about what medical providers "need to" do with tests, visits, and prescriptions.  Some things are done daily that don't need to be done but one time.  I'm sure many of you have stories to tell of your own, so I won't pursue that avenue of thought.

However, when I calculated up the amount of the fines to not have medical insurance, it was obviously not going to be the way to go.  Each year it got higher and more prohibitive.  Looked like we'd be draining our personally-funded medical savings by paying all those fines, so we had to look around for a solution.  The first shock was the price of insurance.  I couldn't imagine making those payments.  To me it was money down the drain since we had had very few medical bills in the 28 years since we chose not to purchase insurance after my husband left the corporate world to grow a business of our own.

Besides the "wasted" funds, we wanted to have a choice that didn't include funding abortions.  We also wanted to choose any Provider we wanted. It's been a smooth ride and we absolutely love knowing that our monthly share is being directly applied to medical bills within the Body of Christ. That truly excites me!

Some Christian is getting our money, not some huge corporation.  And our share was 1/3 of what the insurance cost would be ... even if we went through our own corporation for insurance.  Share amounts are based on household size and the Annual Household Portion (AHP) option.  That's what you will pay out of pocket before you submit bills to Medi-Share.

Members of Medi-Share have a God-honoring choice for their health care, and their dollars will never be used for procedures that go against their conscience. With 7 levels of sharing, you can find flexible options to fit for your family and your budget. You also get the advantage that other members are praying for you and encouraging you.

Your monthly share is given to whomever Medi-Share applies it to and you are told their name so you can send them a note or just pray for them or have no contact with them, but it surely puts a smile on your face to know your money served a Christian purpose.

Check out how Medi-Share works and check what your monthly share would be. Watch the video and get more information or check on the amount your share would be at the Medi-Share website.

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Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 11/1/15

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

“He that plants trees loves others beside himself.” – Thomas Fuller

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Hello Dear Friends!

Season of Color - When I was growing up in Pennsylvania, Autumn was my favorite time of year.  We were surrounded by trees and I spent a lot of time at a park only two blocks from our home with my great grandfather and the park was full of trees also.  And the trees were full of squirrels and birds which is the reason we went there .... to feed them.  The store on the corner sold a little bag of cracked corn or the same size bag of peanuts.  What fun it was for me to enjoy those moments with somebody who adored me and whom I adored ... and together we connected to God's Creation and all that resonates with our very souls. 

In Pennsylvania there is a great diversity of deciduous trees that provide longer and more varied Autumn displays of color than anywhere else in the world, due to the ideal longitude and latitude and varied topographies that offer a blaze of color everywhere you turn.  That's what I've read.  The rich reds of Red Maple, Black Gum and Sumac and the golden yellows and burnt oranges of Hickory, Sycamore, Birch and Poplar trees present a vibrant scenery as far as the eye can see when you're driving along the highways. 

In my early 20's I moved from Pennsylvania to Mobile, Alabama and after that to Atlanta, Georgia.  Met a guy there that swept me off my feet, married and moved to Oklahoma where he was from.  Oh, the longing for the trees of the south and northeast.  Central Oklahoma looked so barren to me.  After "four years of duty" as I say, we moved back to Georgia for a couple of years and then to two town in Alabama for a total of 17-1/2 years.  I missed the Fall colors and we had been tired of the extreme heat and humidity of Alabama, so we headed for Central Virginia where we could see some Fall colors again. 

However, we quickly discovered that it was much too cold for either of us, but we had invested quite a lot of time and energy into building a "Backyard Wildlife Habitat" and attracted so much wildlife that we couldn't imagine leaving it all behind.  So here we are ...  November 7th will be 15 years of living with cold weather and no leaves on the trees for six months of the year.  I call myself Goldilocks because it was too hot in Alabama and too cold in Virginia.  We'd like to live in between where it's "just right." [grin]

Sweet Treat Recipe - Whole Wheat Carob Chunk Oatmeal Cookies

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