Category Archives: Reflections

Puritan Wisdom from John Flavel

John Flavel (1627?-1691) was a 17th-century Puritan Presbyterian minister. He accepted a call to a church in Dartmouth, England in 1656. I am currently reading The Method of Grace, a book of 34 of his (long!) sermons, and I find their content substantive and compelling. I am reprinting this brief excerpt because I find it especially so.

First, One that is truly burdened with sin, will not allow himself to live in the secret practice of sin; either your trouble will put an end to your course of sinning, or your sinning will put an end to your troubles. Consult 2 Corinthians 7:11 –John Flavel: The Method of Grace, Sermon No. 9

John Flavel

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Mlle. Moutardier: Heroine with humility

I hope most of my readers recall with admiration and gratitude Mlle. Hermis Moutardier. Mlle. Moutardier, a senior flight attendant, led crew and passengers in disarming Richard Reid, aka the Shoe Bomber, on an American Airlines Paris-Miami flight in 2001.

I have admired Mlle. Moutardier for the past 16 years since the incident. The hapless, thankfully thwarted Reid is serving 10 consecutive life sentences plus 110 years (the rationale of Federal corrections formulas gets a little arcane for me).

I wrote a post in 2015 celebrating once again the admirable Mlle. Moutardier’s actions. Yesterday, Mlle. Moutardier herself submitted a comment to my two-year-old post! I was teary that she would thank me for honoring her; I felt she was honoring me, for which there was no reason at all. She was the hero; I was a mere reporter, years after the fact.

I have always thought of Hermis Moutardier as an inspiration. This is the crew member who led the capture of The Shoe Bomber! She poured a pitcher of ice water on his head and backup arrived from all over the plane. I believe one of the three captains in the cockpit even came out to help secure the inept Reid.

Hermis Moutardier’s comment is posted on my 2015 article at the above link. It is very brief. Her humility is stunning. I believe she must have simply been doing a search for her own name, as many people do, and come upon my blog. And wow! She thanked me for writing about her. How many people thank people they don’t know for anything?

Hermis Moutardier remains a heroine to me, as well as an example of humility. I am  grateful our paths have crossed  in space.

It seems sometimes that space is where real people are.

Related imageHermis Moutardier
Image is from Time.com

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Filed under Action & Being, News, People, People, Places, & Things, Reflections, Thoughts & Reading

A small county murder’s nexus with a Puritan

My husband was  counsel to the defendant in a murder trial this week. The trial ran from Tuesday morning through today (Friday) around noon. The jury convicted the defendant of second-degree murder after deliberating an hour and a half. The slaying occurred a little more than two years ago.

The defendant, who has Parkinson’s Disease, testified that he feared the victim, with whom he was friends, because, he claimed, the victim had walked into his house, and because, he alleged, the victim had once shoved him (“threw me down”) on the stairs. The defendant also testified that the victim had robbed him at various times.

Things evidently didn’t improve, so when friend victim walked in, friend defendant shot him.  The .45 caliber bullet took quite a tour through the victim’s chest, heart, aorta, and arm. A medical autopsy expert testified and showed grizzly slides showing a very great deal of blood. I attended only Thursday morning; my chief interest in the trial was hearing the expert’s testimony.

Sentencing negotiations are underway. The defendant told me yesterday that he looks forward to prison.

I was reading The Bruised Reed by Puritan Richard Sibbes (1577–1635) today, recovering from the rare occasion of sitting in on a trial, even just one day, for just a few hours. I was there because I like the defendant. He thanked me very graciously for a roll I served him at the jail’s Thanksgiving dinner last year. My husband and I were among several people who helped serve the dinner. It was my favorite Thanksgiving of all time. But Sibbes had something serious to say that seemed connected to friend defendant:

“All light that is not spiritual, because it lacks the strength of sanctifying grace, yields to every little temptation, especially when it is fitted and suited to personal inclinations.” (Richard Sibbes: The Bruised Reed)

“Personal inclinations.” They should probably be treated like flashing signs at railroad crossings. Ignore them at terrible, bloody peril.

 

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Vibrantly sunny flowers for a vibrantly sunny day

Sunflowers seem to invoke cheer, the way roses appeal to our sentimentality.

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Filed under Gardens, Nature, Photos, Reflections, Seasons

Anticipating a sunflower

For the several years my husband has planted sunflower seeds in the spring, they have come up tall and strong by the onset of summer in all their Sunflower Yellow glory. Ours are now forming flowers in their still-green stage. Their stalks are straight, tall, strong, and prickly.

I was trying to recall who wrote a poem with a refrain, “And I am waiting for the rebirth of wonder,” and came up with Lawrence Ferlinghetti, in whose poetry I lost interest while I was still in high school. I Googled the quote anyway, and it seems lots of people have used it, and it wasn’t expressly clear whether Ferlinghetti was the first.

Whoever wrote this line, it enters my mind when I await the bloom of sunflowers, and other wondrous and beautiful bounties with which our Creator blesses us, for nothing we have done.

A sunflower begins its complex process of blooming: it will undergo   metamorphoses from verdant to gold, and prickles to petals.
“I am waiting for the rebirth of wonder.”

Another fitting line: “Death is the mother of beauty.” (from Wallace Stevens’s poem, Sunday Morning).

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Spiritual and other reasons we fish for trout

Since last Saturday, weather and work squeezed out any fishing time for my husband and me until today. This morning we finally had time to go to the nearby pond. The legal limit for trout there is five per day per person. I caught the limit in less than an hour. None seemed to want to hitch on to Vic’s line, though we were using similar lures.

One trout rode my hook, and I reeled him in to shore, only to have him jump back into the water. After a brief time, he evidently regretted his escape, and swam back to the shore and stopped there. I reached in with my grippy glove and lifted him from the water. He was passive or exhausted. I handed him off to Vic for dispatch. He discovered the source of the trout’s passivity. In a previous encounter, he had swallowed a hook and escaped with it. The hook was lodged in his stomach. How sad; but I suppose he appealed to us to end his misery. Vic has read that fish have no nerves in their mouths, but that is not to say that a hook in the stomach doesn’t hurt.

We returned home with the five and Vic prepared them for canning. They filled three quart jars.

Fishing is such a blessing. I’m violently allergic to fish, but I love fishing. My husband also enjoys fishing, and fish is a healthy component of his diet, as well as a food he finds very agreeable.

Our Lord shared fish with His disciples after His resurrection. Fish is a Gospel food, and all we catch is thankfully consumed.

Preparing fresh-caught trout for canning

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Filed under Action & Being, Fishing, Home Life, Nature, Photos, Pneumatos, Reflections

Our weather drama in three acts

After yesterday afternoon’s 90°+ heat, we attempted to sleep through a lightning storm flashing brilliantly, even through our opaque Roman shades. There was no thunder or rain, only lightning.  Normalcy resumes; the temperature is in the 60’s and clouds cover the sky with no blue in sight.

Effie naps. She spent a few hours in Effieland earlier this morning. The bugs are returning from their winter holiday, and Effie was digging up beetles. She prefers crickets and mantises, but they will arrive later.

Spring asserts its hold for now. Winter is not inclined to return;  summer put in a preview performance yesterday, but after taking  her bow, she properly conceded the stage to Spring.

Effie looks forward to tasty bugs. I look forward to watching her make amazing leaps catching them, on the wing and on the ground. My own aspiration is almost as dramatic: I look forward to catching a Steelhead.   >><<<<<>°

I wish I could learn this skill from Effie. . . .

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Filed under Action & Being, Cats, Effie, Home Life, Photos, Reflections, Seasons, Weather