Donna Lee Powell Watkins - 1978Hello Dear Friends,
This photo was taken in 1978 after a year of marriage and a year before our only child, Benjamin, was born. Life seems so carefree until you have the responsibility of raising another human being for the planet. Benjamin gave me a run for all I was worth, but fortunately I had almost as much energy as he did. So many memories, and photos, from those years. Makes life really special.
I hope everybody had special moments celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday. We have so much to be thankful for. We seem to have become a nation that continually gripes about how the country is being run, but there's no other country in the world I would rather live in. Sometimes we are much too busy complaining to notice that we are surrounded by blessings.
If you click through any of the photo links, you will notice that my Gallery looks a lot different. It was a required change and was a frustrating process to convert everything to transfer into the new site they designed. Upgrades are not my cup of tea, but I muddled through with their GREAT support staff and got it done to look as much like my old site as I could get it. I would love your comments/thoughts - good or bad. It will help me to know if I left anything undone ... or what you, the viewer, prefers. Thanks!
One of our blessings are the birds that we only see in winter. The White-throated Sparrows, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and the Dark-eyed Juncos. Did you know the Junco was in the Sparrow Family? We don't have the large flocks we usually do. I've only seen one here and there. We didn't see the Grackles come through this Fall at all.
Now that chilly weather is here I am making more hot herbal tea. Just having a cup beside my computer makes me feel warmer inside. It also reminds me of how wonderful tea time with friends can be. Charlene, a subscriber friend in Northern California, sent me a great article with clever ways to reuse tea bags and coffee grounds. Sure, composting is great, but check out the 10 creative ways to repurpose those items.
I am so inspired by Abraham's strong faith in believing that what God said was Truth and would come to pass. He esteemed Godâs promise more than he valued anything else. We need to be like that when it comes to a Bible promise for us. That's where I've been with these health challenges. We have to choose who we are going to believe. Do we believe the doctor who says "you're going to die?"
I had that choice on March 3, 2012 when the ER doctor told my husband to call Hospice because if I was refusing surgery, there wasn't any way for my heart to move off the 21 pounds of fluid that was in my abdomen drowning my organs, in my lungs keeping me from breathing, and in my legs and feet. These words can't stop somebody from being healed unless we place a higher value on them than what God says.
If we glorify God instead of the sickness, we retain the belief of His Word that tells us we are already healed and sickness will have to flee, because âto be spiritually minded is life and peaceâ (Romans 8:6). So begin to magnify the Lord instead of the doctor's report. We can do this by controlling what we believe in our heart, and we control that by controlling our thinking.
Our mind will magnify whatever we focus our thinking on. We have to meditate in the Word day and night as Psalm 1 instructs us to do: "whose delight is in the law (The Word) of the LORD, and who meditates on His law (Word) day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither -- whatever they do prospers" (Ps. 1:2b-3).
We often quote Ephesians 3:20 without the entire verse. It says, "Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think (this is where we usually stop but it goes on to say), according to the power that worketh in us." God works through the power that He has placed in us when He placed us in Christ on the Cross. We have the power within for all His precious promises. However, it seems that most Christians look like powerless and pitiful people instead.
Lord help us! We need revelation on what You have accomplished on the Cross for us. Paul prayed for us in Eph. 1:18 that "the eyes of our understanding would be enlightened, that we may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints."
We need to go to Godâs Word and magnify what God says, instead of what we see. The enemy gets open doorways into our lives and enters in to steal, kill and destroy us, but his evil is not strong enough to overcome God's good for us. I haven't arrived yet, it takes time to renew our minds, but I can see how far I am from a year ago and God's grace amazes me.
View Enlarged Image Cicada Coming Out of Shell In May I took a few short videos of a Cicada that was coming out of its shell on a pine tree. It was so fascinating to watch the miraculous escape. I can understand why people want to help butterflies come out of the chrysalis, but just as with the butterfly, the Cicada would also be helpless if he didn't have the struggle to break free. It's all part of the process.
I wanted to combine the three videos of various stages into one and since my computer is a Mac, it comes with iMovie, a program that does this. However, I'm not real fond of such things and have been avoiding it. But a couple weeks ago I took the plunge and was surprised to find it only took me a half hour. It's a little over a minute in length.
I had to laugh at myself for the length of time I avoided the task. What do we miss out on in life by postponing the inevitable? I didn't think I had a procrastination cell in my body, but when it comes to computer programs, I can beat all! View the Cicada Video.
Squirrels are endless entertainment, along with a bit of naughtiness now and then, but lately they've not gotten into any trouble. We moved our feeders and it's too close to a tree, so a couple of them are flying from the nearby tree over to the feeder, but the show is such a delight we don't mind. It's quite a distance and a drop also and the metal reception they get should be deterring them, but what else do they have to do all day?
One day I looked out and there was a squirrel sitting on the baffle with the longest bushiest tail I'd seen in our backyard. He kept dancing around the pole flipping that tail like a fan, so I called him Squirrel Fan Dancer. I grabbed the camera and took a video. It seems he was upset with one of the squirrels on the ground, but I couldn't really tell why he kept dancing around the pole, but it was cute! View Squirrel Fan Dancer Video.
View Enlarged Image Moth With Mohawk HairdoWhen I was a child my mother used to scream when she saw a moth. My dad would have to catch it. You can see why I grew up with a fear of bugs until I renewed my mind on that subject. [Read: Freedom From Fear] Now I am fascinated with bugs! Proof that God did make our minds to be renewed and what was wired in we can also wire back out.
When Randal was gathering up the outdoor furniture from the front porch for everything to winter over on the screened porch, we found a moth had come off of one of the chairs in the process of carrying it through the house. It was very still having been out in the cold. I put it on the table and took some photos and then got some sugar water since it had was now awake and surely needed some energy stores to be able to be placed back outside so he could crawl under something else for the winter.
I didn't realize it until I viewed the photos how unique this moth was. It had all kinds of feathering on its back and looked like it had a mohawk hairdo. You could see him looking right at me also. Seeing that photo made me think about all the moths my dad caught that lost their lives because of our fear. Seeing the look he was giving me simply endeared my heart even more to not only moths, but bugs in general. Be sure to view the larger images in the gallery to see the detail on this unique moth. I couldn't find it in my moth field guide so I don't know what its name is.
If there's a hawk in the backyard it doesn't take long for the birds to let me know. Most of the time the crows are on guard and they will get it off the property, but one morning this hawk was sitting in the tree only 6 feet from the deck rail. I noticed all the birds flying around it before I noticed the hawk itself. I couldn't believe how close the birds were to the hawk. They were hopping all over the branches as close as 3 feet away. There were Tufted Titmouse, Black-capped Chickadees, and Cardinals. It sure made me nervous.
View Enlarged Image Red-shouldered Hawk After taking a number of photos through the window I opened the deck door and was surprised he didn't fly away. Actually I got half way across the deck, stopped to take a few more photos, and then when I went to move closer, he took off. What an awesome thing to see them lifting off so effortlessly when they look so big and heavy. In reality, an adult Red-shouldered Hawks weigh only 1.5 pounds. Makes you want to let it sit on your arm, but notice the claws (on the enlarged image) that you wouldn't want holding on to you.
Here's some facts about this raptor from AllAboutBirds.org: Although the American Crow often mobs the Red-shouldered Hawk, sometimes the relationship is not so one-sided. They may chase each other and try to steal food from each other. They may also both attack a Great Horned Owl and join forces to chase the owl out of the hawk's territory. The Great Horned Owl often takes nestling Red-shouldered Hawks, but the hawk occasionally turns the tables. While a Red-shouldered Hawk was observed chasing a Great Horned Owl, its mate took a young owl out of its nest.
Red-shouldered Hawks eat mostly small mammals, lizards, snakes, and amphibians. They hunt from perches below the forest canopy or at the edge of a pond [this hawk was facing the pond and it was a warm day so it had hopes a frog would appear]. They sit silently until they sight their prey below and then descend swiftly, gliding and snatching a toad, vole or chipmunk off the forest floor. They occasionally eat birds, sometimes from bird feeders; recorded prey include sparrows, starlings, and doves.
A few days before this I heard a Great Horned Owl hooting most of the night hoping to find a partner for mating season. We've had Barred Owls and Screech Owls mostly so I was surprised to hear a Great Horned Owl, but it was only for one night. Now I understand why he didn't stay since they don't like to share territory with the Red-shouldered Hawk. These hawks return to the same nesting territory year after year and our back woods have served that purpose for them since they are year-round residents here since about 2007.
Who We Are In Christ
â¢ I was predestined by God for success. Romans 8:28-30.
â¢ I am placed and seated with Him, a king and priest,
part of a chosen generation, a peculiar people. 1 Peter 2:9 â¢ I am blessed coming in and going out. Deut. 28:6 My children are blessed, my flocks are blessed (thatâs my pets!). Deut. 28:4
Do We Believe It?
Donna on Butterfly Bench A Gift From CharlieIn the last issue I had a link to an unusual picture of Jesus and asked that you comment on it. We didn't receive very many comments, but if you'd like to see what was submitted, take a look. You can still leave a comment if you'd like.
Until next time ....
May you find peace throughout the month of December as you celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. How about making that long list of 'have to's' and 'shoulds' a bit shorter this year? It's all about HIM, not us. Donna
P.S. Anything in here that might help somebody you know?
Here's a link to the online version of this newsletter: Newsletter - 12/1/13 www.thenatureinus.com/2013/12/newsletter-12113.html
Shenandoah National Park
- Big MeadowsThistle with
Bees on FlowersView
Enlarged Imageby Donna L.
WatkinsSometimes we can
place too much
responsibility on the
Lord and not take our own
stand in a
God gave us the Holy
I read an article about
friendly birds and found
information on a few
Birds have such
great personalities and
very varied ones too.
They are not only
fascinating to watch, but
lovely to hear a
Rejoice in the Lord -
Alwaysby Andrew Wommack
John 16:33 "These things
I have spoken unto you,
that in me ye might have
peace. In the world ye
shall have tribulation:
but be of good cheer; I
have overcome the
experiences joy and
Video by Dr.
Sleet. Snow. Ice. These
things make most folks
want to huddle indoors
cozied up by the fire.
But dogs are not most
people. Often, the chill
in the air sparks their
anticipation for ...
A stainless steel tank
the size of a basketball
court lies buried in the
sandy soil of
state, an aging remnant
of U.S. efforts to win
World War II. The tank
holds enough radioactive
waste to fill an
The Olympic Peninsula is
d forests and many of our
iconic creatures. To keep
healthy, WEC and our
st and Olympic Forest
Care2 Activists and
!After one day and 6,000
signatures...now at a
voices were heard and a
made!! That is what