The Lighter Side

Vinnie, the Hamster, and Grace (Before I Recognized It)

Maybe you’re curious about my knowledge of all things “hammie” in my previous post. Rightfully so. I omitted some history to keep it focused, but I can’t say I wasn’t tempted to tell a story or two about my fascination with hamsters in junior high. I “had a hamster” like most people have a potato chip. Know what I mean?Teddy-Bear-Hamster

Enter the newest of my collection at the time. He was an adorable, cream-colored, long-haired Teddy Bear Hamster. Introductions had gone well with a potential cagemate, so I assumed all would be well with the two. Then, before I’d even come up with a name, tragedy struck. They had a spat, and a hamster hand grenade went off! The poor newbie got the worse end of the deal, and his damage was pretty severe. As the only body part that really stuck out and had no fur protection, his ear was hurt badly. (I’ll spare you the details.)

After cursing the offending critter (as I’m sure I did at the time), I scooped up the victim. His little ribcage heaved rapidly, as he huffed and puffed from the stress of the fight. The wound was messy, so there was only one thing I could do. I ran down the stairs, calling for help.


As the mom of two boys, I know what that high-pitched, whiny, polysyllabic name means: whatever it is, it’s bad. I’m sure my mom knew that, too. She braced herself for what came next. Then she did the only “sane” thing you can do when your junior high daughter has a pet that’s wounded and in danger and there are tears streaming down her face. She called the vet.

You can giggle just a wee bit here, if you like. The ear was torn. It probably would have healed ugly, but fine. I think my hysterics just pushed her response to my plea. (Note to self: this has application to life…)

Fast forward to sitting in the vet’s office a short time later. Just try to imagine the look on Dr. Whitney’s face, if you can. A tearful junior high girl sitting next to her mom, a hamster with a messy, torn ear on her lap, and he’s gotta be Super-Man. Yep. He does.

The doc’ was honest. He wasn’t a small animal vet, and this was, obviously, a small animal. He would, however, do what he could to help us. If I understood the real danger of anesthesia in very small animals…he would do a quick procedure right then. Out to the waiting room we went.

Sometimes 25 minutes moves like liquid mercury—and sometimes it’s like molasses.

Half an eternity later, we were called back to the exam room, and there was my little, one-eared, long-haired, cream hamster! (A little punch-drunk yet as he wobbled around the table, but alive!) Yep, Doc’ Whitney was Super-Man that day in my eyes! Whether he was uncertain of the outcome of the procedure, or he was an example of grace to me that day, there was no charge—and I went home with a named hamster that day.


As in, Vincent van Gogh.

You probably saw that one coming. I take my clues and cues from situations in my world around me sometimes. Predictable maybe. Vinnie was one of the nicer, non-biters I had during my season of hamster obsession.

No threads of Bible verses in this one. It’s just a story-telling moment. Sometimes you see grace in everyday moments, with everyday people, and you still know it’s grace.

Have a lovely weekend!



Photo Credit: This isn’t my hamster, but the little guy sure looks like Vinnie. Problem is, the photo can’t seem to be sourced. If you know where it came from, let me know!

Edits to the photo you’ll have to imagine: missing right ear.  *grin*

Edited to add:

For those who might like to be entertained by my son’s and my efforts at showing Vinnie more accurately, here you go—

PhotoShop edits by: DJ & JJ

PhotoShop edits by: DJ & JJ

My Word for 2014—and a little searching…

I have a vivid imagination. Sometimes I project on others, too. So, without knowing many of you, I imagine each of you to be a little like me on a good day: thoughtful, intentionally thought-provoking, introspective, and generally “noodlers on various things.” Someday you’ll need to fill me in on who my audience really is! Promise me you’ll do that.  *grin*

Those who have been reading along for a while won’t be surprised when I say I’ve been thinking about this whole “word for the year” thing for a while. I think January’s feed was just chock-full of people declaring loudly and proudly that they had heard their word, or were sure of it, or figured they’d just tackle one. I really enjoyed reading all of those declarations, and I found myself wondering if this might be the “new resolution” for the fast-paced, resolution flunky of this generation. Maybe it is.

Or, maybe it’s more than that….

The story behind my word makes me chuckle a little bit. I have a lovely friend who has connected with me face-to-face, via Facebook, and in the blogosphere. You might like her musings, too, by the way. Check out Tracy’s place HERE. I enjoy what she shares.

Anyway, back to the main thing…

I was whining loudly about my 2014 Word woes, and my beautiful friend suggested perhaps my most frequently used word could be an indicator. For those who see my personal Facebook, that word just might be *Sigh* a noticeable percentage of the time. I’ve known this, and yet I’ve overlooked it—until my lovely friend pointed it out.

That started me thinking…

I ran the gamut as I prayed. Highly distractible person that I am, I began with breath, traipsed through breathe, investigated inhale and exhale…and came back to breathe. All my reading wasn’t for nothing, though. I loved what I found, and I wanted to share my journey with you.

So, breath was the first of my steps (since a good, old fashioned sigh is just a deep breath).

Then ADONAI, God, formed a person [Hebrew: adam] from the dust of the ground [Hebrew: adamah] and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, so that he became a living being. Genesis 2:7 CJB

Ah, I love that the first breath of life is from Abba, my God. Say what you want, CPR can only restart breath. We just don’t have creative power like in Genesis 2:7.  I’m reminded each of us is a unique, precious display of the amazing power of our Maker.

Then, there was breathe—

When they breathe their last, they return to dust; on that very day all their plans are gone. Psalm 146:4 CJB

This was an attention getter among the many references to breathe in the various translations. There is a time when each of us will breathe our last, and it’s an “Unfinished Symphony” for us all. I’m reminded I have no idea how many days I am given. Teach me to think seriously about my days, God (Job 14:5; Psalm 90:12).

The word inhale isn’t used in common translations, so I defaulted to gasp, and that got challenging fast. When I found this in The Message, I was reminded of something so important:

When I’m far from anywhere, down to my last gasp, I call out, “Guide me up High Rock Mountain!” Psalm 61:2

If you give a blogger a cup of coffee…

Then you end up here in Psalm 121:

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

I’m willing to grant that this isn’t the most sound method of study for lots of reasons. Sometimes I think I’m led along in order to discover where I should end, and this was a discovery process for me. So, you’re wondering how I take this and wrap it up with a pretty little bow by now, I suspect?

I am not just any person. None of us is ordinary, really. I am given the gift of the breath of life on this planet for a span, one which I cannot even guess the length of. How precious is a day when it could be my last? Which words (more puffs of air) would I choose to speak in light of that perspective? Knowing I am a unique expression of my Maker’s creative power, will I treasure me, my days, and the people in my life? When I am in trouble (and my days are full of trouble!), how will I use my gasps? Will I cry out to the one who can really help me?

You see, my life is out of my control. Pretty much all of it. While I do my best to draw near to the One who can help me, things will continue to be a struggle at times. That’s a given. That’s life. That’s my life! Maybe it’s yours, too.

Yeah, I just need to slow down and breathe this year, I’m thinkin’—


Sharing is Caring:

If you had a word you felt led to focus on on 2014, what was it? I’m so curious!

If you’ve done this kind of thing before, what was your experience and benefit in focusing on a word for a year?

Scripture from
I also visited my favorite study site,
Random thoughts are mine; any good ones, if there are any, are probably a blessing from God.

Playing Follow the Leader

Because we all need a reality check once in a while…

“Oh brother, we’ve been following a tumbleweed this whole time.”

Who are you trusting and following?

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27 NIV

I hope your Monday has been productive and grace-filled. Have a great week!


*Photo credit goes to the author/artist. It is unfortunate the information isn’t legible.