Cluster of wheat image Grapes and vines image Cluster of wheat image
June 25th, 2011


A few days ago my son commented that he had been watching me grazing in the back yard.  Well, when you think about it, I guess that is what I do do.  I think it’s hereditary.

Way back when I had a Mommy one of the rites of spring was to dig up young dandelion plants before they bloomed, or even budded, clean up the leaves and boil them to prepare what Mom called “a mess of dandelions.”  They were quite tasty with butter on them, not yet bitter as older dandelion leaves tend to be.  Back in the day, after a long winter, people somehow knew they needed something green inside of them.  There were, of course, no supermarkets laden with salad greens of many sorts in cello bags.   Dandelions were right  there in the yard,  edible, and, of course, free.

Just last week coming out of church I noticed that purslane had started to grow where the daffodils had died down.  I picked a little piece and said to friend, Jim, “This stuff has lots of Omega-3’s.”  “It’s fresh,” he said.  “Are you going to eat it?”  And I did.   At this time of year, mid-June, purslane starts growing all over the place.  Many consider it a weed but I welcome it and I expect that I was nibbling on purslane when my son caught me.  You have to get your Omega-3’s when and where you can.  It has a bland taste, interesting texture, and makes a fine addition to any salad.


Health benefits of Purslane

This wonderful green leafy vegetable is very low in calories (just 16 kcal/100g) and fats; but is rich in dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Fresh leaves contain surprisingly more Omega-3 fatty acids (?-linolenic acid) than any other leafy vegetable plant. 100 grams of fresh purslane leaves provides about 350 mg of ?-linolenic acid. Research studies shows that consumption of foods rich in ?-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and also help prevent development of ADHD, autism, and other developmental differences in children.

It is an excellent source of Vitamin A, (1320 IU/100 g, provides 44% of RDA) one of the highest among green leafy vegetables. Vitamin A is a known powerful natural antioxidant and is essential for vision. This vitamin is also required to maintain healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural vegetables and fruits rich in vitamin A known to help to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.

Purslane is also a rich source of vitamin C, and some B-complex vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine and carotenoids, as well as dietary minerals, such as iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium and manganese.   Read more

As kids somehow we had all learned that “sourgrass” was edible. It, too, is everywhere, with its clover-like leaves and little yellow flowers. On looking it up, I find other people know much more about plants than I do but it is described as pleasantly sour and “palatable.”


We kids used to pull at the tall grasses and nibble at their tender white insides. Purple clover, too, would provide a sweet nectar when you pulled the flower apart and sucked at it. (I wonder what happened to purple clover — haven’t seen it around lately.) Back in the day,  children would  spend time out in the fields investigating “things”.   Fields? What are those?

When my great-granddaughter was here a month ago she informed me that you can eat violets – the flowers, that is, not the leaves. Her Daddy told her that.  He takes her out exploring.

Another thing I tend to “graze” on when available is milkweed, especially the tenderest little tips. On investigating, I find that milkweed is much more edible than I knew.   Chickweed and lamb’s quarter are also free and nutritious in most back yards.  Here is a link to edible “weeds.”

Do something different today.   Go outdoors.   Graze.


June 24th, 2011



Could the two be more diametrically opposed?

The President and First Lady hosted the first-of-its-kind LGBT Pride Month reception at the White House yesterday. On the heels of the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the reception brought together LGBT families, volunteers, community leaders, lawmakers and heads of LGBT organizations to celebrate the LGBT community. (video here)

Every generation of Americans has brought our Nation closer to fulfilling its promise of equality. While progress has taken time, our achievements in advancing the rights of LGBT Americans remind us that history is on our side, and that the American people will never stop striving toward liberty and justice for all.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2011 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.


(see entire proclamation here)


Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me.  If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.  But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul. — Ezekiel 33:7-9


June 24th, 2011


My daughter, Wendy, lives in Cerrillos, New Mexico. Just west of her in Arizona thousands of acres are burning and burning and hundreds of homes have been lost. At last report, close to five hundred thousand acres are involved. Wendy has the dubious privilege of looking at this angry sun trying to shine through the smokey air each evening.

It is now reported that the fire has crossed into New Mexico. Wendy keeps us up-to-date on Facebook.

It seems New Mexico also has a fire of its own, per Wendy’s Facebook report:

Wendy Beck
Pacheco Canyon Fire Update 6/18/2011 4:30 PM
Crews from the Santa Fe National Forest are responding to a wildfire in Pacheco Canyon north east of Santa Fe, NM. The fire is reported to be 5-7 acres at this time and burning actively. Smoke is visible from the city of Santa Fe, US Highway 285 and I-25 north of Santa Fe. 2 additional Air Tankers, 1 Type 2 Helicopter, and 1 Type 2 IA crew ordered.

This, too, was accompanied by a photo:

It beats me why the sunset is so small and the FIRE! so humongous when I used the same procedure on both. The sunset, enlarged, is a really great photo! Anyway, I sure prefer the continuous rain we’ve been having in the East to that dreadful hot dryness out West.

Wendy says this fire will have to go through Santa Fe before it reaches her.

Lord, please send some of our rain westward.

June 27, More photos from Wendy:
Early am difference between the massive smoke cover and clear skies, which are rapidly being overtaken by smoke.

The massive smoke cover from the Jemez Mtn fire. Fire is rapidly approaching Los Alamos and voluntary evacuations are currently in place. PRAY there is no repeat of the last fire there!

Update: July 2 – from Facebook
Wendy Beck
Rudely awakened by shrieking smoke detectors.
Sky is totally overcast with smoke, but it doesn’t seem as if ground level is smoky enough to keep setting off the smoke detectors.

Richard Pijnenburg what happend?? are you okay?

Wendy Beck It’s all the wildfires raging in NM right now. We are rather surrounded by them, even if the nearest one is 20 miles as the crow flies. Hundreds of thousands of acres burning.


June 23rd, 2011



After his blockbuster success with Tuesdays with Morrie, a week-by-week account of the slow death of his old professor from ALS, Mitch Albom seems to have death on the mind. Morrie was followed by Albom’s first novel, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, and then For One More Day, (about one more day with his dead mother), and then Have a Little Faith

All of Albom’s books were Best Sellers and except for the last one have been turned into successful films. I’ve just finished the Five People You Meet in Heaven which was based on his Uncle Eddie who seemed to live a rather nondescript life as a Maintenance Man in an amusement park.

In Heaven Eddie meets people whose lives somehow transected his and sees how he influenced them without intent and totally unknown to him. There is a strange beauty in the interconnection of lives and you get a glimpse of the tapestry that is being woven.

When asked where he gets his inspiration, Mitch Albom wrote:

I look to the moments in my life when I was overwhelmed by emotion, when I felt tears behind my eyes or when I felt my breath leaving me. And then I think what was behind those moments: what happened to push me to that point? I try to see if it is something universal, something many people feel. If so, I know I am I standing in the soil of something inspiring, and I begin to create a story from that moment.

There’s an old saying that hindsight is 20/20.   Often is is only in looking backwards that we can see there was a plan, after all.


Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. – 1 Cor. 13:12

June 19th, 2011


Euclid alone
Has looked on Beauty bare. Fortunate they
Who, though once only and then but far away,
Have heard her massive sandal set on stone.
–Edna St. Vincent Millay

I regret that I have not been privy to the beauty of mathematics in the way that Einstein may have been. I do, however, appreciate the simple beauty of arithmetic in that 3 + 5 is aways 8. If I think 8 is the right answer, I am not accused of being judgmental. Nor am I pressured into being tolerant of those who prefer a different answer.

There is a beauty in Sung-Bong’s voice that immediately resonates with the audience. One may think of John McCormack singing The Lost Chord, Debbie Boone’s You Light Up My Life, Susan Boyle’s debut on Britain’s Got Talent, the popularity of Il Divo, the way a beautiful rendition of the Lord’s Prayer or Shubert’s Ave Maria touches hearts.   As in The Lost Chord, it reaches some inner responsive place and is called “beautiful”.  Whatever it is that Lady Gaga does for her immense popularity, I have never heard it described as  “beautiful.”

Listen to Sung-Bong Choi and tell me what it is in his voice that immediately touches others, that strikes that inner chord. His musical debut on Korea’s Got Talent has gone viral, as they say, and has already been heard by 7.5 million people.  His life has been forever changed and he will need our prayers.   Lord,  please guide him through these perilous waters.

Bonus:  An oldie, Deanna Durbin at age 18, thrown in for good measure, not because of the quality of the rendition but because she delighted me as a child. I much preferred her to Judy Garland!  See my contemporaries, Judy Garland and Deanna Durbin,  debut in Every Sunday (1936) here.


Beauty is a harmonious relation between something in our nature and the quality of the object which delights us. — Blaise Pascal

June 18th, 2011


He is 25, she is 84. An unusual dance team – meet Barbara and Spencer.

Coldplay seems to be pleased with the attention this Youtube video is getting. Though they are called dancers, it is apparent that Spencer is the dancer and Barbara his very flexible prop. At 84 she is unlikely to have the sure-footedness and strength to really dance, but what she does she does well. With amazing trust, she allows Spencer to flip her, lift her,  spin her and drape her. It would be really interesting to learn how she was able to maintain such flexibility at her age. Her posture and figure are striking, though she wears a flesh-colored garment to smooth out her body.

It is not easy to find out much more about the pair — how are Barbara and Spencer (or Gene) related? Was she at one time a dancer? Did she even have a last name?  I would love to know the backstory on this team.   Anyone?

Coldplay have revealed the inspiration behind the surreal new music video for their new single and current [V] Ripe clip, ‘The Hardest Part’. Of course, the hardest part for viewers is understanding the band’s motivation of using footage of a scantily-clad geriatric dancer and a buffed mullet-boy. There’s no doubt the video has generated more discussion and laughs than any previous Coldplay video and already lapped the world several times over via email. In an interview with the clip’s director Mary Wigmore in the band’s e-zine, she reveals the original dance routine by Spencer and Barbara was taken from a morning talk show called ‘Attitudes’ filmed in Miami, Florida in 1990. The band were then blue-screened in as the house band, with great care taken to replicate the original talk show camera angles. Similar plants were brought in and huge fans used to recreate the wind effect. According to Wigmore, Barbara passed away several years ago, but Gene still resides in California. Wigmore had been sitting on the video footage (not literally) for over five years, waiting for the perfect opportunity to use it. While it may have viewers scratching their heads as they watch captivated, Coldplay, by all reports, were thrilled with the result. “They were very enthusiastic about the idea from the beginning,” says Wigmore. (Source)


June 17th, 2011


I was at the first SUMMER OF MERCY which was held in Wichita KA in 1981. Thousands of pro-lifers traveled to Wichita to protest abortion — and especially the late term abortions for which George Tiller of Wichita was famous. His facility was considered the late term abortion capital of the world.

In 1991 70 local pastors in the Wichita area covenanted to “continue to speak out with urgency until the killing of innocent children is outlawed and Wichita becomes an abortion-free city.” A parade for life was held and it was heartwarming to see the pro-life sentiment in the mid-West, especially as compared with the cold hearts in the northeast United States.

There were, then, three abortuaries in Wichita. Now but one is left, the infamous Women’s Health Care Services run by Mr. Tiller, where women from far and near come to have late term babies “delivered” still-born. (The babies get an injection while in the womb to be sure they are dead on arrival.)

That was twenty years ago. Tiller is dead and his abortuary (sporting its own incinerator) no longer functions. This year the Christian Defense Coalition, headed by the Reverend Pat Mahoney, believes God is issuing a similar call.   Summer of Mercy 2.0, is focusing on Tiller’s successor in the late term abortion busines, LeRoy Carhart, of Germantown, Maryland. It will take place from July 31 through August 2.

Rev. Mahoney writes, “We prayerfully ask that you consider joining us for this historic season of prayerful and prophetic witness for life outside of Washington, D.C. Some of the events will include:

  1. 24/7 prayer right across the street from Carhart’s clinic.
  2. Evening worship and prayer outside of the late-term abortion clinic of Leroy Carhart.
  3. Rallies featuring nationally known speakers and musicians.
  4. Cutting edge public and prophetic events for life.
  5. “Live” ultrasounds of pre-born childrn.
  6. A major media and public education campaign.
  7. Daily morning prayer and liturgy outside of Carhart’s clinic.”

It is our hope that The Summer of Mercy 2.0 will be a spark to help ignite a nationwide spiritual awakening concerning the ‘Culture of Life.’ “

The event is being planned by a coalition of pro-life/pro-family groups, including Operation Rescue, the Christian Defense Coalition, the Maryland Coalition for Life, and several local churches.

If you can’t be there, consider helping — Christian Defense Coalition, P.O. Box 8148, Fredericksburg VA 22404.   You know how these  Christian things happen — lots of prayer, lots of Holy Spirit, and a few dollars.   But a few dollars are needed.

Below a late term abortion is described by the late Dr. Bernard Nathanson.  In the early days of abortion in New York City Dr. Nathanson was responsible for many thousands of abortions.  His book, Aborting America, describes his journey to being an ardent pro-life advocate and a Catholic.


June 16th, 2011


Reputedly views from a trolley traveling down Market Street in San Francisco, 1906, four days before the earthquake.   It does not seem possible that even before I was born (1923) there were motor vehicles and “moving pictures.”  In our family we did have a “wind-up” Ford when I was about 5.  With the onset of the depression we drove that Ford to death when we left Detroit to live in Pennsylvania after Daddy lost his job as a carpenter.   We did not have a radio until I was about 13 and no phone until later than that.    I got my first job after graduation  (1940) at the Hotel Barnum in Bridgeport CT and for the first time had to deal with a telephone, because we had none at home.  And our family  did not get another car until after I left for college in Chicago!


This film was “lost” for many years. It was the first 35mm film ever. It was taken by camera mounted on the front of a cable car.

The number of automobiles is staggering for 1906. Absolutely amazing! The clock tower at the end of Market Street at the Embarcadero wharf is still there. … How many “street cleaning” people were employed to pick up after the horses?

This information came via email along the film:

Great historical film!
This film, originally thought to be from 1905 until David Kiehn with the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum figured out exactly when it was shot. From New York trade papers announcing the film showing to the wet streets from recent heavy rainfall & shadows indicating time of year & actual weather and conditions on historical record, even when the cars were registered (he even knows who owned them and when the plates were issued!).. It was filmed only four days before the Great California Earthquake of April 18th 1906 and shipped by train to NY for processing. Amazing, but true!

June 10th, 2011


A Canadian couple, the Witterick’s, are keeping the sex of their baby, Storm,  secret for the time being.  They don’t want their child programmed by society into being either a boy or a girl.  I presume they will provide the child with both trucks and dolls and dress “it” in unisex clothes.  The idea is to let “it” choose its identity.    We all know this can’t last long.  Sooner or later (certainly by first grade)  the child will be “outed” and “it” will learn that she is a girl or he is a boy.  Because the fact is, she IS a girl, or he IS a boy.  The kids will look at each other and decide, or the teacher will send he/she to the girl’s or  boy’s bathroom.

Human beings come in two genders, male and female. The males have penises and eventually can produce sperm.  The females have uteruses and eventually can produce babies.  The bodily structure, inside and out,  is determined by the genetic make-up.  Normal males inherit an X and Y chromosome while females have two X’s in every single cell of the body.

Abnormalities in the sexual chromosomes occur so seldom (0.2% to 0.02%) that they are rightly described as rare.

A single Y chromosome is sufficient to produce maleness while its absence is necessary for femaleness.  Female abnormalities are due to variations in the number of X chromosomes.  Male abnormalities are the result of irregular numbers of either the X or the Y chromosome or both.

If it is a fact that humans come in two genders, why are elementary school kids in the following video being taught there is a gender spectrum, depending upon how you feel?  In a previous post, I have described how others have come up with anywhere from 6 to 23 genders??

This program in a California public school is ostensibly being done  in an effort to prevent bullying. In my humble opinion, it is really being done in an attempt to normalize sexual perversions.   Of course, bullying should be discouraged.  Instead if multiplying genders, to me it makes much more sense to teach children to treat others as they themselves would like to be treated. There are accidents before birth, and some children are born with defective or missing parts. Ask children how would they want to be treated if they were born that way? There are accidents after birth, and people are broken, burned, handicapped, etc., etc., through no fault of their own. Ask children how would they want to be treated?  Teach children the Golden Rule.   At this age they have no need to confused about their gender and learn about sexual abnormalities.

We do well to celebrate the diversity among human beings. A boy may do needlepoint, ballet dancing, build huge buildings, or fly across the ocean. A girl may do needle point, ballet dancing, build huge buildings, or fly across the ocean.  Intelligence, beauty, abilities, inclinations, choices — these are the things that have a spectrum, not sex.

The sexual life of the clown fish (even Nemo!) is not relevant.  Clown fish lay eggs and all are born males.  The dominant clown fish will replace the female when she dies.  Who cares?  It has nothing to do with human reproduction.  It is introduced into the classroom to make it seems normal for a human being to change from one sex to another.

All of which brings us to the meaning of normal.

In his article on The Meaning of Normal, in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, C. Daly King writes: The Average may be, and very often is, abnormal.  The normal, on the other hand, is objectively and properly to be defined as that which functions in accordance with its design….Averages from a medical point of view do not define a normal state of health; it is the absence of malfunction which does so…….

Unlike the male clownfish which is able to become a female and lay eggs, no matter how much a boy or girl may want to be the opposite sex, no matter how many male or female hormones they are given, no matter how their external parts are surgically  removed or re-arranged, genetic males will NEVER produce ova, and genetic females will NEVER produce sperm.   On a cellular level, kids born male will always be male and kids born female will always be female.

What we need to teach our children, in the final analysis, is to love one another.  An anti-bullying program should teach respect for all human beings, however odd or different they may be.  We should listen to them, speak truth to them, be patient and kind.  How simple!


The White House has a special web page, It Gets Better, directed to people who are bullied, especially LGBT folks.

Research reaffirms traditional understanding of gender.


A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. — John 13:34,35

June 4th, 2011


In mid-February Oprah’s guests were a 7-year-old boy, Zach, and his mother, Laurie.  Since a very early age Zach had been subject to bouts of extreme rage, shouting, screaming, throwing things, even injuring others, to the point where his mother was actually afraid of him.  At the time of the taping Zach was in a state which he described as calm and peaceful because he had learned to invite a white light into himself which kept away “negativity” to which he was very sensitive.  The negativities, he said were outside of him and the white light kept them away.

At that point in the program Oprah Winfrey told Zach that she, too,  during her morning meditation  invites a “white light” into her.  She seems to want it to cover her, protect her, fill her, perhaps even lead her.  She obviously invites it in because she thinks it is good and beneficial.

What is Oprah’s white light?  We all wondered about that.

Of course the white light is not unique to Oprah.  In Sanskit there is a greeting,  namaste, which essentially means, “The light in me recognizes the light in you.”    I remember David Arquette commenting once on seeing the light in Oprah’s eyes.   Is Oprah’s light Jesus, the light of the world? Or some other light?

For many years I have tried not to miss an Oprah program and I’ve written about her before. It has seemed to me and to  many that Oprah, once a Christian, has been moving toward new age Christ-less teachings.  Here are some random quotes:

“She used her endorsement to sell everything from millions of books to a spirituality-without-religion viewpoint that’s now the norm.”

“Oprah is a funny, smart, charismatic, and real American woman who has found commercial success by tapping into a human need for “soul food.”

“Oprah – a misspelling of the biblical name “Orpah” – was a modern-day prophet in the American church of the self. “

So, a few days ago, when a rumor started on Facebook that the guest on Oprah’s last program (after 25 years) was going to be Scott Hahn, there was considerable excitement.  Who, you would ask, if you were not in the Catholic loop, is Scott Hahn?  Catholics know him well and consider him the quintessential bible scholar/apologist for Catholic doctrine.   Facebook was a-buzz!  Could that be?  It would be a miracle if she ever had a serious dialog about religion with Scott.   All we could do was hope and pray.

Oprah has moved away from a Christianity that says no one is saved except through Jesus.  She could not accept that a person who had never been told about Jesus would go to an everlasting hell.  If anyone could straighten Oprah out on that, Scott Hahn could.  He knows that Catholic doctrine lets good people into heaven who have not  heard the gospel.

Oprah also moved away from Christianity when she read that our God is a jealous God.   I don’t know what she understood “jealous” to mean, but I think it means that God loves mankind and doesn’t want to see anyone lost.    Whatever her problem with Christianity, Scott Hahn could only shed light.

We waited, impatiently, for her last program, Wednesday, May 25.   She had no guest.  Or, rather, she was her own guest.   No Scott Hahn.

Clips from Oprah’s last show are available online on her website.     Sorry, but they do not seem to be embeddable.


Here is a recap of Oprah’s story:

CBN had the following comment on Oprah’s spirituality as put forth in her final program: 

Yes, Oprah gives credit to her team and to Jesus for her 25 years of success. “The hand of God has made this possible for me.” What God is she talking about? “The one and only G-O-D, that’s the one I’m talking about.” “I have felt the presence of God my whole life, even when I didn’t have a name for it.”   “God is Love. God is Life.”

There is no questioning Oprah’s sincerity. But we still don’t know, do we, if Jesus is to her a great teacher among many, or a historical person, Emmanuel, God-with-us,  who spoke with the authority of God, worked miracles, started a church, was crucified, and rose from the dead.   What you believe about Jesus makes a big difference in the amount of weight you give to his words.

At the end of her program Oprah put her hands together in prayer and said


Amen to that.

Thank you Oprah for your love,  for all you have done. and for your  email address:

Oprah, you can find Scott Hahn on Facebook.  Or, I’m sure your “peeps” can get you a direct line!  God love you.