Jasper's Adventures is a short story series about a mischievous Basset Hound who views life as one giant adventure! Follow along as Jasper makes friends and faces his biggest fears to bring joy and hope to the lives of others.
Story 1: Wyatt and His Dog: This is a heartwarming story about a man who finds purpose and companionship in his beloved dog, Jasper. Their story resonates with the love that many of us experience within our own canine families.
Jasper's has proven to be quite the adventurous hound! The original short story quickly expanded into a series. Follow Jasper to the river in story 2, Woodland Friends.
Story 2: Woodland Friends: The adventure continues when Jasper wanders off into the forest, and a game of chase becomes a skill of hide-and-seek. Along the way, he'll discover new friends, stumble into mishaps, and gather the courage to brave his strongest fears!
Story 3 in the series, Jasper's Adventures! Ruby Jane is tasked with the initiative to begin a pet therapy program for the residents of, Magnolia Gardens. Follow Jasper through the halls as he makes new friends, and brings laughter with hope through a game of doggie-dodgeball. Of course, his adventure wouldn't be complete without a few hang-ups and belly laughs along the way. Sit and stay awhile, as Wyatt discovers a new purpose in life through the eyes of others. You never know what, or who you will find at Magnolia Gardens. Come along, won't you?
Oh, boy! Jasper is making a ruckus in the garden! Will Mr. Fluff free the pint-sized gourd from its net of tiny vines in time to make it home for breakfast? What will become of Wyatt and Mae?
Find out this Autumn in, Mae's Flowers!
Who says it has to be Christmas to enjoy this Hallmark-Style cozy story?
Bixley ended up in a shelter soon after his owners passed away. With the sad prospects of a delayed adoption, Bixley used his quick thinking skills to escape into a new world of Christmas wonder! His moves are anything but senior, and he soon finds out that he is not the only one alone in need of a companion. Help Bixley find his forever home in, Bixley's Christmas Wish.
Frosty's Christmas Adventure By: Shannon Hoffman-Lewandowski
Every time you hear “left” or “right”, you'll pass your gift accordingly.
Frosty the Snowman,
Was a jolly, happy soul!
With a corncob pipe and a button nose;
And two eyes made out of coal... Frosty the Snowman,
Is a fairy tale they say.
He was made of snow,
But the children know,
How he came to life one day... There must have been some magic in
That old silk hat they found.
For when they placed it on his head
He began to dance around... It was blustery day just right outside of the North Pole! Frosty was headed to the town square right in front of Santa's workshop to celebrate the countdown to Christmas, at the Tree Lighting Ceremony. Karen was standing at his left when suddenly a billowing gust of wind blew Frosty's hat right off of his snowy head and into the left side of the ditch! Karen said, “Don't worry, Frosty! I'll go get your hat right away!” Frosty exclaimed after her, “Don't forget to look left, and right, Karen before you cross the street!” When Karen returned with Frosty's tall silk hat, she noticed the left side was a little wet and muddy, so she used the right side of her scarf to wipe it clean before handing it to him. “Thank you, Karen! You know, without my magic hat, I'd be left here in this snow bank until next Summer!” “You're welcome, Frosty! I'm so glad we were able to reach it before it was blown away, or worse yet, ran over by a big truck from leftfield!” Even though Karen and Frosty were a little late, they still arrived to the town square just in time to enjoy a few left-over chocolate chip cookies. They were still warm, because they were the last batch that had just been taken right from the oven. There was a hot chocolate stand to the left side of the entrance way. “Oh, Frosty look, hot chocolate! My favorite! Let's go right over and have some!” Frosty looked surprised and worried as he reminded Karen, “Oh no, Karen. I can't drink hot chocolate! I'll melt right away!” Karen looked sad because she wanted to be sure that Frosty wasn't left without a drink to enjoy with his snack. “I would like some refreshing cold lemonade if they have any left.” Karen was so happy to see that they had found something for Frosty to have with his chocolate chip cookie snack. “Attention everyone!” Now here stood, right in the middle of the snowy blanketed courtyard, the most colorful elf that you ever did see! He was right-fully dressed in his little green costume with right even spaced red and white striped tights. His little elf shoes pointed to the left; and they jingled with every little bounce as he eagerly summonsed the crowd. “Step right up and gather around! It' is time for our 43rd annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony!” To his left, was the mayor and to his right was yep, Santa himself! What an honor to have been left in charge of organizing such an event! “We were blessed to have a local family living just right outside of the town square, donate this amazing beautiful tree for our annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony!” A rush of Ahh's and applause circled right around the square, in appreciation of that tree which was left for their pleasure. The little elf was bouncing on his left toes, “We're going to take a count down right before we flip the switch for the lights.” He motioned to his left for Santa to begin. “10,9,8,7...” Karen's eyes were right wide with delight and anticipation as she chimed in, “6,5,4..” Frosty turned to his left in excitement sharing in the moment, “3,2,1!” The lights flipped right on! Right on cue! The tree was 20 feet tall and there was almost not enough lights left to complete the decorating! It was filled with shiny ornaments, left, right and everywhere! They glistened so bright, that Karen could see her own reflection. As well-wishers gave hugs, shook hands and words of Merry Christmas rang around the square, it was only right, that Frosty offer some of his time for the children who were still left, and eager to ask questions about winter, the North Pole and his funny hat. Before they knew it, the evening was over and it was time to go home. “Frosty, I sure had a good time!” Karen reflected as she put her garbage right into the can.” I did too, Karen and I sure hope we can do this again next year!” Frosty tipped his hat to the left and motioned to make a right at the exit. Down the street they skipped, “left, left, left, right, left!” Frosty chanted as they headed right for Karen's home in anticipation of the new day ahead. The countdown to Christmas was on!
Today's events of the splash landing by the SpaceX Dragon capsule, had me captivated and glued to Facebook Live for about an hour and a half. I sat wide-eyed and eager, along with about 110,000 other active viewers waiting for that magical descent into what would make a new history for man kind. Two men, had just completed the first mission on a rocket into space; and they've returned to tell the story. Of course, since Cape Canaveral shares the location of our favorite cruise port, I would like to tell you a little story of my own.
I've had an appreciation for space sciences since I was a little girl. Growing up in Florida, the shuttle launch was always a big deal. The schools would bring in those dinosaur televisions on wheels and fiddle with the rabbit ears, until we could see just enough of the report to follow the story. The classroom was always silent that day. At that time, most people respected an astronauts important role in science. It seemed as if the whole world stopped to watch the space shuttle “go up”.
I was your typical nine- year-old girl in fourth grade. We were the generation X, living in the great 80's of futuristic movies and dream cars! Everything was “rad” or “awesome” and the privilege to view a shuttle launch, was just about as “rad” or “awesome” as you could get at that time. Of course, unless you were the proud owner of a boom box with the ability to make our own mixed tapes. (That's another blog for another day).
My grandparents were avid camping fanatics and they believed in the value of education on vacation. On this particular summer break vacation, they bravely took on the challenge of toting my brother and I to Cape Canaveral. We were going to watch the space shuttle launch! We knew that this was probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; and of course we would go back to school the following autumn and brag to all of our friends about this majestic moment that we were blessed to witness. It was 15 minutes of playground fame and that's where every elementary school kid judged your popularity, so it was important to have the best story!
Grandpa packed his most-prized binoculars to get the best views of the rocket boosters. Nobody ever touched grandpa's things without permission, especially his binoculars. He used them for wildlife spotting, hunting and perhaps some bird watching; but never the less-they were his! Grandpa wasn't a harsh man and he never laid a hand on us, but Lord help you if you got- “the look”. We respected our elders during those times; and all he had to do, was give us “the look” to get our act together. Grandma was a different story. She would let you touch things around the house, but if you touched too much, she gave you a cloth and asked you to dust everything. We didn't touch much at grandma's house.
After being dropped off by our parents (well, it was more like a hit-and-run once they learned we would be gone for two solid days), Grandma ushered us to bring the suitcases to the carport so she could load them up. “I declare!” as she would always say, we had the tiniest suitcases. Remember when the, “I'm going to Grandma's” or “Grandpa's” suitcases were all the rage for kids? We each had one and we were still trying to use them, even though we were well past toddler years. I'm not sure we cared because who was going to see us at “the canaveral” anyway? Grandma was loading up the Dolphin RV in the back yard. Now this beauty, was the latest and greatest in camping because you had everything from a kitchen to a bathroom. We thought we were “it” because theirs had a toilet and a shower. That meant-you didn't have to use a public bath house. Much to our surprise, on this occasion there was no running water available to hook up to for showers; and grandpa said we only had enough water for cooking and flushing. I might have only been a kid, but even I knew by age nine that smells didn't go away without a bath and I was at that age when things were changing; and I was horrified about body odor. I got over it after the shuttle went up, but getting from point A-to point B was not exactly thrilling.
Neither one of us slept a wink that night in anticipation of the big day. It was as if Santa were coming to drive the RV himself and Christmas had arrived early! I'm pretty sure that by the time we actually stayed in the bed, we had “can we have a snack” our grandparents to death. Sleep eventually slipped up on us and the morning hours up to leaving, were filled with “bouncing off the walls”.
It was a long way to travel in that family camper for two small kids who only knew four words, “Are we there yet?” Yep you guessed it! We were about to, “are we there yet” our grandparents to death. Eventually we made our way to the public park along the Banana River. For obvious security reasons, that was the closest that observers could get to view the launch pad. I remember it was early summer and sweltering hot. It was so hot, that the air conditioner in the camper could not keep up. Here laid a massive white, rocky field that reflected the heat right into your skin with every step. It was if someone had played a cruel joke on us and all we had to say for the long journey was, “is that it?” I tried my hardest to catch a nap on the sofa while nestled in the shade of window treatments. Grandma did her best to air out our hotel on wheels with fans and open windows to “let the breeze in”, or lack thereof. My brother ran around splashing through the mud puddles and harassing whatever fish were left in the mini ponds along the way. I remember they brought our mother's oldest sister along as a babysitter and subsequently, a referee. We surely had our fair share of sibling rivalry growing up and it didn't take much to irritate two bored kids who had nothing to fight over. Grandpa would save the day by taking little brother fishing to give him something constructive to do with all of that energy; and believe it or not, they had enough for Grandma to fry up a nice dinner.
As the afternoon came to a close, a few neighboring campers were beginning to filter in along the giant landing pad of white rock. People from all walks of life and cultures were parked in their cars looking a for a resting place for the night. I remember being astounded that people actually had plans to sleep in their cars instead of pitching a tent or bringing a camper. Boy, was I sheltered! Grandma began to gather what she needed to fix dinner and soon realized that we didn't have enough frying oil. We were all kind of bummed about it because we had anticipated the victory fish fry all afternoon. My brother beaming from ear to ear about providing the family meal soon turned to a scowl of disappointment. A neighboring couple couldn't help but overhear our conversation and they asked my grandparents if they would “hold their spot” to make a quick trip to find a local convenience store. Some time later, they showed up with a bottle of vegetable oil as a surprise to Grandma; and of course they were immediately invited to dinner. Later that night, a bond would be formed with the exchanges of names, addresses and phone numbers, in hopes of creating a friendship. I still remember their last name; and I believe my grandmother did keep in touch with their family over the years, even some time after my grandfather's death.
As the stars made their debut, the refreshing, twilight breeze was forgiving on our sore and weather-tired bodies. The night fell quickly and the mosquitoes were fast to seek their revenge. Everyone took turns using the leftover, melted, cooler ice for spit baths. By now, none of us were much concerned about how clean we would be for bed because it was all going to be much of the same tomorrow. We hurried into the little house on wheels and Grandpa locked us in tight, while Grandma arranged for pillow fluffing and bedtime prayers. Sweet dreams were right around the corner.
The big day was here! I'm pretty sure we were awake before the sun even broke through the first layer of clouds. Grandma hustled cereal into bowls as we were eager to bust outside into the morning chatter. Thump! Wait, what's wrong with the door? Try again, and thump! “Um, Grandpa I can't open the door!” As several of us clamored to the windows trying to look out, it was apparent that our door had been pinned shut by an unsuspecting neighbor-camper during the night. Their vehicle door was literally up against our camper door. As frustrating as it may have seemed, my ever-calm grandmother called over to her new found friends through the back window. A little ushering had us breaking free within no time.
Whoa! Nothing could have prepared us for what we saw during those first moments outside. There were cars, campers, motorcycles and vans parked for as far as the eye could see. People were packed into every square inch of the rocky, white prairie, ambitiously anticipating the magical moment of 10 O'clock.
The morning marched on as our grandparents and aunt engaged in idle chatter with our neighbors and new friends. There were kids running around everywhere like they had all eaten a leftover bag of Halloween candy for breakfast. Groggy parents passed around instant coffee and soda cans trying to endure the sluggishness of a long night's drive. There were still hundreds of cars waiting to file in and the radio announcer gave a play-by-play of the events underway at the launch site. It was desperately hot and we probably had drank our body weight in water by the time the countdown began. My smart grandmother brought out a beach umbrella for us to sit under; and it wasn't long before others realized that we were the only ones for miles with any sort of shade at all. I remember my grandparents and aunt moved out of the way to offer room for other little ones to cram into the shrinking shade with us. The blaze of ultraviolet waves mimicked a mirage of slick oil on water.
Adorned with hats, sunglasses and slicked down in white, pasty sunscreen, we braced ourselves for the last few seconds. The ground began to rumble like thunder as the engines were engaged. There was a silence among the spectators as we held our breath in excitement. Moments later the rocket boosters ignited with a raging inferno. Just then- Grandpa grabbed my sunglasses and flung his prized-possession binoculars up against my eyes. As I held my head back in awe, I watched the orange blaze billowing through the cloud of rising dust. The crowd had erupted in cheer as my heart pounded wildly inside of my chest. Grandpa just smiled and said, “Now, how's that for a space shuttle lift off?”
In loving memory of Grandpa 1922-1996; and Grandma 1926-2010.
Pixabay (2016). White Shuttle. https://www.pexels.com/photo/white-shuttle-spaceship-takes-on-39603/