Life Lessons from a Naughty Dog

...and her family...who's always awaiting her next adventure!


I can still hear the giggles and squeals as they would tear through the path that laid out through the woods to the house next door. Daisy, our Golden was never far behind. "Remember the diiiii---…", I would yell, as one of the boys would pile up face-first in the dip in the path that was hidden by snow. We were on a mission…well, they were, I was headed to check in on the neighbors' house as I did throughout the winter months. The boys had more serious task ahead of them---looking for daffodils. If the little green shoots were popping through the snow covered ground it meant one thing: The motor home was headed north. The motor home that carried "Grandma Jan" and "Grandpa Frankfurt" . The motor home that signaled it was "safe"-- the cold was gone, flowers were here--and most importantly--the freezer was restocked with fudge sickles!

We had all moved to the Hollow within months of one another, never becoming acquainted until the surveyor laid our line very close to their back porch. What could've been a very stressful situation, was made good with four sodas and an evening of pleasant conversation on their porch overlooking a beautiful flower garden. Friendships were planted that evening. Friendships that sprouted and grew into so many gifts for Wayne and I, and then rooting out to our boys as they were born and brought home to the Hollow. (Grandma Jan was there for both of the boys' births…and little did she know her RN experience would come in mighty handy with Ashbaugh boys right next door!)

I can still hear the boys giggling while they ran up and down, around through the paths in her garden, Daisy right behind them, only stopping to catch a frog from the pond or squeal over a snake slithering through, occasionally taking a detour to the garage to see what Frankfurt was up to. I am reminded of time that has passed--a season that is gone, only to be relived in my heart. A time of little boys with fudge sickle plastered faces and little black barn boots. A time of warm, summer afternoons, with a coke, on the porch with a dear friend…and my golden at her feet.

I miss my friend. I miss my boys being small. I miss being a mom of little giggly ones. But if I chose to focus only on what I miss---I am unable to embrace what God blessed me with through that particular season. I also miss out on the blessings He has laid before me right now. (I try to say that wholeheartedly--as one young man just announced he shot orange juice all over the kitchen ceiling, and the other is “wrapping the cat up like a taco”???)

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace." Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 

Seasons change, people come in and out of our lives. We grow old. Our kids grow up (if they survive all the INSANE things they try!) We can't control any of these things. We can control how we choose to survey the life we are living and where God has placed us--our perspective. We can run this path looking over our shoulder at what has already passed, what has been lost….or we can embrace the life God did allow us to experience, learn from it, be thankful. Even when the winter is long, cold and snowy, we can always look in anticipation for the daffodils.

"Finally brothers, 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 Philippians 4:8"

grandma jan's garden...