Eclectic, quirky, and sometimes edgy…this is how things look from my front porch.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Cutest Little Peanut in the World

...Just sayin'.


I haven’t been able to write about this for a few weeks, but our beloved malamute, Francis, died just before Christmas.

Francis was a special boy who appeared on an exit ramp while I was driving home from work on the proverbial “dark and stormy night.” We really don’t know how old he was, perhaps five. He was sitting in the middle of the ramp, so I got out of my Jeep. As I talked to him, he calmly walked past me and jumped over into the passenger seat. And that was that.

We named Francis after St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and after Frank Sinatra, because our Frankie also had blue eyes. He was so beautiful, even in old age, that people frequently stopped us to comment on him. He had a creamy white chest and big, snowshoe paws.

Francis was a very vocal dog and we always knew precisely what he wanted. He was a picky eater of epic proportions. We had to entice him to eat kibble by adding other things, but he clearly preferred people food. Or road kill.

Croissants were among Francis’s greatest loves, along with meat loaf, Spam, (eeeeww) and canned chicken. Last year, he realized that there were croissantsin the fridge and “talked” to me for 45 minutes about them until I broke down and handed them over.

Francis had slowed down during 2008, but he still loved his walks, his croissants and chicken, and his family. He was very kind and often put his big, puppy head down in my lap when I was troubled. He had a little spot near the fireplace where he spent most of his days and it comforted me to see him there.

It is a cruel irony that dogs only live for about 12 – 15 years on earth. One of the things I most look forward to in heaven is that I will never have to say goodbye to a dog again. I firmly believe that I shall see Francis again, along with Lupa, and our beloved Alex.

As I heard Chuck Swindoll say, “Anyone who doesn’t believe that there will be animals in heaven will have a hard time with the big, white horse Jesus comes riding on.” The Psalms say that the Lord protects both man and beast. All creation sings the praises of God.

I was reading in Jonah yesterday and noticed two things I hadn’t noticed before. Scripture says that God himself spoke to the great fish and asked the fish to um “get rid” of Jonah. Actually, it is said a little less delicately in the Bible.

In Jonah 3:8, Amplified version, the Word says, “But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth and let them cry mightily to God.” Animals and people can cry out to God. I know God is watching over Francis and that his hips don’t hurt anymore. And I can’t wait to see him again.

No Vile Thing

Not long ago, I heard my mentor, author Anne Ortlund, via Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s website; Revive Our Hearts at It was a broadcast from a number of years back, but so timely.

Anne was commenting on Psalm 101:2-3, which reads:

I will walk in my house with blameless heart. I will set before my eyes no vile thing.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about accountability in my television and movie watching. The verses quoted resonated with my spirit.

While it is true that not every situation we encounter is covered specifically by name in the Bible, the Bible is able to provide all the insight we need to make correct life decisions. Watching television is not specifically mentioned in the Word, but setting no vile thing before our eyes surely is.

I have to confess that I’ve been setting a lot of vile things before my eyes. Mindlessly….casually…in the background…I’ve been parading vile things before my eyes. Not only are many of the things on TV vile, they are mind-numbing, enticing (think of all the food commercials), create in me desires for things I don’t need and can’t afford. Much of TV is an intellectual wasteland, a desert. Finally, most of what is on TV is a complete waste of time.

Bruce and I are making a concentrated effort to turn the TV off. When Psalm 101 mentions “vile thing” it is referring to house idols; the little statues that the Israelites often kept in their home, just to hedge their bets and make sure they got everything they thought they needed. If the Lord, the God of Israel didn’t give them everything they wanted (like the big Santa in the sky), then maybe Molek or Asherah would.

The Israelites were commanded to have no other God but the Lord, but they stumbled again and again into idol worship. The psalmist wasn’t exaggerating when he called these gods vile. Many of the gods required the sacrifice of children and other detestable practices. Come to think of it, don’t we often sacrifice our children to the “God of TV” when we park them in front of it as a babysitter?

Today I had a few minutes and found myself mindlessly using the remote to breeze through the many channels we have on cable. Then I saw an image of a man in bed with two beautiful women. At two in the afternoon. I don’t have any premium movie channels, this was on basic cable.

I stopped clicking without thought and started paying attention. Next we had an unmarried couple making love on Sex and the City. Then I landed on The Real Housewives of Orange County, which repels and fascinates me all at the same time. The only important things on Real Housewives are physical appearance, silicone, and conspicuous consumption.

I won’t bore you with too much more, but two channels were selling things I didn’t need and a cable news network was castigating Israel for trying to exist. As if Canada and Mexico would start lobbing bombs into NY State or CA and we'd do nothing.

Finally, there was a chef whom I usually think is cute as a button on Food Network. Her blouse so low cut that my niece, age six, commented that her “bosmums were hanging out.” Not so YUM OH. I shut it off.

Bruce and I have been cutting down on the mindless TV for about a month, now. We’re not zealots. We’ve watched some things. We are keeping up with the news from Israel with prayer and tears for all of God’s people there. We watched a Sherlock Holmes mystery on PBS tonight and enjoyed it thoroughly. The History Channel often has wonderful things and you can’t miss “Jon and Kate + Eight.”

What do we do instead? We’ve talked over dinner. I’ve set the table with my grandmother’s majolica and fresh yellow roses. We’ve read the Word. We’ve done Bible studies, read books, caught up on projects, studied, spent time with family, gone to the gym, walked the dogs, listened to our favorite Bible teachers on the computer while doing chores, wrote thank you notes, encouraged other Christians, organized dining room cupboards, fixed a kitchen drawer, written out our prayers, and made multicolored cupcakes with our nieces.
I don’t think I’ve missed one thing on TV.

Finally, sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Phil 4:8)

And I don’t think that could possibly include Sex and the City.

With love from,
The Real Housewife of Portsmouth, VA