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Male House Finch View Enlarged ImageThe House Finch was originally a bird of the western United States and Mexico.
In 1940 a small number of finches were turned loose on Long Island, New York, after failed attempts to sell them as cage birds (âHollywood finchesâ. They quickly started breeding and spread across almost all of the eastern United States and southern Canada within the next 50 years.
The total House Finch population across North America is staggering. Scientists estimate between 267 million and 1.4 billion individuals.
The red of a male House Finch comes from pigments contained in its food during molt (birds canât make bright red or yellow colors directly). So the more pigment in the food, the redder the male. This is why people sometimes see orange or yellowish male House Finches.
Females prefer to mate with the reddest male they can find, perhaps raising the chances they get a capable mate who can do his part in feeding the nestlings.
Read more info on the House Finch, watch a video of the female, and listen to its beautiful song at AllAboutBirds.org.
Donât Let a Stinky Coat Ruin Your Holiday ... Just in time for the holiday season, we are pleased to introduce our latest product: Stainless Steel Odor Remover.
When you think of stainless steel, the image of pots, pans and kitchen sinks might come to mind, but have you ever seen a stainless steel bar of soap?
Due to its amazing odor removing properties, chefs all around the world use stainless steel instead of soap to remove the lingering smells of onions, garlic and fish.
Weâve taken this fascinating science a step further by adding contoured nubs. Now, you can treat your companion animal to a gentle and relaxing massage while eliminating pesky smells from their skin and coat.
John 11:44"And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go."
Symbolically, Lazarus is like many Christians. The Bible speaks of us passing from death unto new life when we get born again. But it is also true that in the physical and emotional realm, we bring our "graveclothes" from our old life with us (i.e. habits, attitudes, etc.), and we need to be "loosed" to fully enjoy our new life.
Our emotions and attitudes follow what we think. When we focus our attention on our problems, they are magnified out of proportion. When we neglect our problems and think on God's provision, the answer is magnified and the problem shrinks.
Whatever we think upon is going to dominate us. If we think on depressing things, we'll be depressed. If we think on uplifting things, we'll be uplifted. If we think, "by His stripes, we are healed", we'll be healed. If we think on sickness, we'll be sick.
Godly contentment isn't dependent upon circumstances. That is totally opposite of the way most people think today. No one really desires depression but very few feel any responsibility or authority to maintain positive emotions in the face of negative circumstances. They think emotions follow circumstances. That's not true.
Emotions follow the way we think, and we can chose to think on things that are lovely, true, of good report, and so forth regardless of our circumstances. As we think, is how we respond emotionally.
Focus your attention on the invisible truths of the spiritual realm that are eternal, instead of the visible things of this physical world that will pass away.
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
Did you know that thinking plays a huge role in eating? In fact you shouldnât eat if you are feeling stressed, worked up, angry, facing or trying to bury a toxic thought (never a good idea anyway!), upset or dealing with major issues or decisions because the toxins generated by toxic thoughts interfere with the proper workings of the digestive system.
Now why on earth am I daring to bring up eating, as we are right into the holiday season involving a lot of eating! Eating is a highly emotional and cognitive event, so what we are currently thinking about as well as what memories have popped up from the past will not only affect our food choices, but also how our digestive system actually processes the food. This is an emotional seasonâ¦ and â¦being toxic free in spirit soul and body will make this season abundantly special (and to keep and even get rid of that excess weight!
The act of eating - and the choices involved in eating - comes first from our minds. Therefore, if we make bad and unhealthy decisions concerning food, this reflects the state of our minds. Unhealthy minds open up the door for many more problems to develop, thus it is essential to keep our minds healthy and our bodies junk food free. The two most extreme cases of the unhealthy mind-body connection, gluttony and anorexia, start in the mind.
We are thinking beings made in the image of a thinking God. Thoughts are real and God expects us to bring all thoughts under His control: "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" 2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV
We are thinking and building thoughts all day long and at night time we are sorting out our thoughts. Research shows that 75-98% of physical, mental, emotional and behavioral illnesses come from toxic thinking. So what we think affects our physical bodies and spiritual development and feeds back in to our minds in a continual feedback loop.
Our large and small intestines are lined with neurons, neuropeptides and receptors enabling them to respond to how we are thinking. The pancreas releases more than 20 different emotionally laden neuropeptides (brain peptides) that regulate the assimilation and storage of nutrients and whose function is affected by our thinking. A structure in the brain called the insula is very important in the translation of information between the mind and the body as well as between thoughts (memories) of the past moving into the present.
The mind is in a unique position between the spirit and the physical. It is through the mind we choose to harness the neuroplasticity God has designed in our brains and choose to rewire âor renew â our mind (Romans 12:2).
Tune into your thoughts, stand outside of yourself and observe you thoughts, words, actions and emotions but most importantly, use your mind to develop an ongoing internal conversation with the Holy Spirit about everything including what your body needs to eat, when and how much it needs and what to eat. We need to detox our thought life to detox our brain to detox our bodies and lose that excess weight or get healthier.
To help you with this I have a developed a 21-day brain detox http://21daybraindetox.com that applies both scientific and spiritual principles and is an application of the programs I used with my patients in my clinical practice to help with emotional issues, learning, trauma, anxiety, health and so on.
It takes 21 days to break down a negative toxic pattern and an additional two cycles of 21 days minimum to automatize (make a habit) of the new way of thinking. This is 63 days minimum. Most people give up at day 3 or 4. Few push beyond day 7. We can actively choose with our mind to change anything, we can actively choose to allow the Holy Spirit to help us change anything. This anything can include reaching your ideal weight.
According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, up to 1 billion birds may be killed annually by colliding with windows. By knowing how to minimize these collisions, birders can protect their backyard birds without losing the benefits of windows from which to watch them.
Despite having exceptional sight, birds have a difficult time seeing glass. Instead, they see the reflection of the sky and plants in the glass, which they think indicates a safe area to fly, particularly if they are startled or threatened.
While a strong window collision can kill a bird on impact, many times birds are stunned and appear to recover and fly away. Unfortunately, these injured birds may later suffer internal hemorrhaging and brain swelling that leads to death. Stunned birds may also be less agile fliers and more disoriented, making them vulnerable to predators. To prevent these incidents, birders can take many easy steps to make their windows more visible â and avoidable. Read the entire article.
Donna at Brookgreen Gardens Murrells Inlet, SC"Then He came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him. So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything. And he looked up and said, âI see men like trees, walking.â Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly. Then He sent him away to his house, saying,âNeither go into the town, nor tell anyone in the town.
In Mark 8:22-25 above, the story is told that in Bethsaida some people brought a blind man to Jesus and begged Him to touch him. I find it interesting that Jesus took the man by the hand and led him out of the village.Â Bethsaida was a Hellenistic-Roman city and is most known for Jesus' healing a blind man that wasn't healed the first time He put His hands on him. Read more Â»
Luke 19:8 "And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold."
Zacchaeus was rich but Jesus made no demands for him to give away all his goods to the poor as He did with the rich young ruler. Zacchaeus had already repented and money was no longer his god, as was revealed by his actions. It seems that Zacchaeus was going above and beyond the requirement of restitution as stated in Mosaic law by offering to give half of his goods to the poor and to repay fourfold for his theft.
Publicans were hated by their fellow Jews. They were especially despised by the religious Jews as the epitome of sinners and Jewish religious laws prevented devout Jews from keeping company with any publican. To eat with a publican was unthinkable as the Jews considered this actually partaking of the publican's sins. This is why the people reacted so adversely to Jesus eating with Zacchaeus.
Jesus did not eat at Zacchaeus' house to participate in his sin but to extend mercy and forgiveness to him. This is always the criterion whereby we can judge whether or not we should be involved in a certain situation.
We must not participate in other men's sins, but the Lord doesn't want us to retreat to monasteries either. We are the salt of the earth (Mt. 5:13), and to do any good, we have to get out of the "salt shaker." If we can be in control and minister the love of God, then we are right to associate with sinners. But when we are being controlled by the ungodliness of sinners, we need to take control or withdraw.
There are a lot of hours and minutes in our lives and in the process of living it we can make some big messes. Some people get stuck in those messes of life and don't move beyond the heartache and grief of them. The devil can convince us that we're worthless after making so many mistakes. There's no way that God can use us now, so we may as well crawl into his slime pit to whine and dine.
Donna on Butterfly Bench A Gift From Our Friend, CharlieThat's not what the Bible says about our God. From the moment of conception God had a plan for our lives and He never gives up on fulfilling it in us as long as we don't give up. We have a choice whether to follow God and desire His will for our lives and He won't interfere with that, but when we truly desire to be what He created us to be, God will always come through.
God had chosen Saul to be king over Israel, but Saul sinned and instead of repenting justified his behavior of operating in the role of a priest instead of waiting for Samuel as he was instructed. When Samuel came Saul told him that he "forced himself" to do it because of the people. So he compromised his obedience. Read more Â»
Did you know that sugar
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I am sure, that the Group
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This is why, I resisted
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About the Song
While at the mall a
couple of years ago, my
then four year old
nephew, Spencer, saw kids
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Claus. Having been taught
as a toddler that
Christmas is the holiday
that Christians celebrate
the birth of J...
About the Song
While at the mall a
couple of years ago, my
then four year old
nephew, Spencer, saw kids
lined up to see Santa
Claus. Having been taught
as a toddler that
Christmas is the holiday
that Christians celebrate
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