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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Today Is The Day

             I posted this pictures asking what would Today Is The Day mean to you. I have heard so many responses and each different. When I thought of it my feelings were not those of hope filled with the beauty of life. I had begun to feel hopeless and tired. When I say tired, it is more than a lack of sleep. When I say tired, it is an immense feeling through and through. I have hurt so long with no way to escape the constant pain. I have tried to adapt and adjust and find ways to go forward and find meaning in life. In the last few years I have survived cancer, heart issues and even more than that. I began to feel tired.

            When I wrote the book telling the story of part of my life called I will Not Give Up...Not Today...Life is a Journey    ( US     and UK   I  intended to not just tell about my life or things I had done or plan to do. I wanted to share the thought that as hard as life can become, we can not give up. There may be so much beauty and happiness ahead we would miss if we fail to find ways to reach out in life. I still believe that and have been delighted at the responses to the book. I wanted to write something that could reach beyond the pages and touch or help others. I wanted to be able to use words to share life and created hope.

            That brings me back to this post Today Is The Day. I had said so many times that I would not give up....not today, but had begun to question if that day was near. Is Today the day????? It is not a suicidal thought but one of lost hope. I have worked most of my life to overcome problems and try to go forward in life. I have worked very hard to not just be alive but to live life the best that I can. I do have some health issues to deal with. I do not have to do anything but quit working so hard to keep going and find my health declining.

            Living every hour in pain takes a toll. I finally was able to find a doctor who prescribed medication to help but the pain is still unending. I think of my beautiful grandsons and children and see the trees beginning to change color and realize what a wonderful world and precious life this is.

            I recently had a procedure done to block the pain in a portion of my back that radiates all the way down to my foot. I have to admit I was afraid. When you deal with nerves and the spinal cord there are so many things that can go wrong. My foot still has broken bones that after being pinned re-broke. My bones are now too fragile to hold the pins. Every step has been with pain and even sitting resting, it often throbs.

           I had been warned that the procedure was painful and it was. What happened after that amazed me. I did have some numbness down the leg as if it was partly asleep but I did still have feeling and could tell if it was being touched but I felt no pain. My back in that area was not hurting, my leg did not have the terrible cramps and pain and even more than foot did not hurt. For 14 years I have lived with the pain in my foot. It did not hurt. I must have appeared unhinged as I sat moving it back and forth watching it and even thumped it on the floor. My husband looked concerned and asked if I was alright.

            I had to smile and laugh saying “Oh yes. I am more than alright. It does not hurt. I can not believe it. It does not hurt.”

            I know there are many more procedures to go and there are no guarantees but I have hope. I do not hope to be fully healed and young and healthy because I know that is not to be. I hope to be able to enjoy the wonderful people and times in this life. I hope to be able to make a difference and do many things. I hope to be able to share the love of those around me.

            Yesterday is gone and will never be again. Tomorrow is not yet here but Today is the day..... May we live for today, learn from yesterday and look forward to tomorrow with hope and joy in our hearts.

            Today Is The Day....... yes it is. Every new day is the day to remember we can do so many things if we do not give up....not today.

 I love to use my water color paintings to be able to add words to share....

Monday, August 4, 2014

From Then To Now and On To Tomorrow

          I have wanted to write this for some time but finding the right words to share this part of a journey in life has been a challenge. There are so many things to tell and complicated in many ways.

          I first walked into St. Bernard's Health and Wellness center almost a year ago. I say that I walked but I hobbled, shuffled and struggled every inch of the way. I was dragging my little trolly thing that held the big bottle of oxygen I have had to use since the cancer made it necessary to remove so much of my lung. Constant fatigue was something I had been living with as I tried to survive but the heart issues were almost more than I had the strength to overcome and continue to believe I could do it.... what ever 'it' was. The building was beautiful, clean and has fantastic huge windows all around. The impressive sight lasted only moments before the fear of falling took over making my way to begin sessions my cardiologist has scheduled for rehab, after I had problems resulting in 4 stints in my heart.

          I can try to explain how tired I was but the truth is that I was almost bed-fast at that point. I had become so weak that just being alive was a challenge. The thought of an exercise program seemed almost impossible but the doctor thought it necessary and I was going to try my best. I was trying my best to stay alive.

          Many people go to a gym to get into shape or loose a bit of weight. The outlook and pressure to accomplish goals is quite different from someone who feels they are working to live or die and have no way to tell what the future would hold and those who enjoy health and vigor with no understanding of the feeling when those wondrous things in life are no longer theirs to enjoy. The moods and reactions also may differ from person to person. I saw some people bursting with energy and health ready to do amazing things. Other people seemed almost angry feeling pressured by doctors to endure things they felt were beyond them. Seeing the changes after they began their routines was amazing. I had no idea what to expect or what to do. I felt vulnerable and fragile but determined to try with all my might.

          From the moment I first entered there were people there smiling, helpful and supportive. Working with the public allows a person to develop a professional demeanor being friendly and helpful in what ever capacity they have but these people radiated warmth and welcome. That helped but I had a long way to go even to get from the front door through the lobby and up the elevator to the place I needed to be.

          You can try to be brave but I was afraid. I was afraid I would not be able to do what I knew I had to do to regain my strength and improve the circulation and keep the stints open. I was intimidated in unfamiliar circumstances and surroundings. The last thing I wanted was to have another heart attack. I knew no one there. Everyone where I was going had suffered their own problems and health issues. Each one was there working toward goals of their own and for their own reasons. Some seemed determined to push through their hardships with amazing courage. They were not doing it for their doctors or others who might see or know of their work. They were working to survive. Some seemed almost angry and appeared or expressed their feelings of hopelessness and fruitless efforts doing things so difficult for them they were miserable. Those attitudes and irritated angry individuals were met with the same smiling encouraging attitudes of supportive help from the staff as those who arrived smiling and ready to begin their work. I do not know what I appeared to be when viewed by others. I was just so very tired and afraid.

           The staff was supportive and caring as they made sure I safely made it to the cardio rehab area. What I found there was amazing in many ways. Every precaution was taken to protect me and help me. The medical staff there for us were so competent but also radiated such a positive and professional manner you could not help but smile and know you could give it a try. When we arrive they took our blood pressure and pulse, respiratory and hooked up the monitor for the ekg I would wear whenever I exercised. Knowing they could see what the heart was doing was a bit more reassuring but also knowing there was such caring and competent staff who were not only there but attending to each of us the whole time and a doctor also in the building had me ready to see if I could do this thing what ever it was.

          They have an amazing array of machines to exercise in many ways. I have a crippled foot and severe back problems. I live in a world of pain and every step making this thing I was about to do a challenge. Walking on a treadmill is impossible. Many of the things some can do I can not. They did have a machine that held my back in alignment and worked not only the legs but arms as well. It was work. It was a lot of work.

          There were many other people there with their wires and electrodes in place ready to start their own routines. I felt the outsider but that feeling was short lived. There are many things in life that are contagious. Attitudes can be something that is shared too from one to another. Even the other patients had such a positive outlook and a smile for the new comer. Jim and Vicky and all of the others who worked there made you feel not only cared for and protected but encouraged and supported in an understanding but encouraging manner. They may think they work there and are doing their jobs but they are doing so much more with the way the work with people. They are touching lives and helping others to find a way to not only stay alive but live and smile, feeling hope.

          My first session I worked as hard as I possibly could and lasted 5 minutes before I was literally shaking and feeling as if I had hit the limit of my strength. I felt a fear not knowing if I would even be able to walk to leave and go home but I knew they did have wheelchairs if needed and they would be there for me. I did not want to have to have help or a wheelchair. I wanted to make it on my own and walk out just as I had walked in, however slow it may have been. I did and I made it but I noticed they watched after me making sure that I was alright That was the beginning.

          The insurance only allowed a certain number of visits and I was determined to get the most out of each visit that I could. There were times that I hurt. I was always tired. The tired I felt was not the same as I had know in healthier times. This was a tired that felt as if the life had drained from me leaving very little left.

          I suffered several set backs with times I could not go to do the work so necessary for me to improve. I did not just have the heart issues to deal with. I had the limited pulmonary function from not only COPD but also the removal of the whole upper lobe of my lung from cancer. I had a mass under the aorta that gives a bit to think about and great concern about blood pressure. I had been on many medications trying to control the blood pressure but had been known to run 220/110 from time to time and most times ran unacceptably high no matter what we had tried. I believed and they saw from different times in the hospital that the level of pain greatly affected the blood pressure. I lived in a world of pain from the back, foot and many other areas of the body. They were afraid to give pain medications because one of the major issues was the fact that in reducing the level of pain, the medications also reduced lung function. I understood the general idea that it would not do any good to stop the pain in the patient if I went to sleep and lung function decreased killing the patient. Most times I would have gratefully taken that risk just to ease the pain. The doctors were not willing to take that risk so I pressed on with this new program to keep the blood flowing and stints open.

          When I said that I suffered several set backs, they were ones that were not just limiting or inconvenient but things that put me back in the hospital. A simple cold can become a big issue for me and pneumonia can be life threatening. If I thought I was tired when I started, that round gave me time to wonder if there was any hope at all to keep going. Was all of the pain, work and effort just making me more miserable for nothing? When I got back to the sessions at St. Bernards Health and Wellness Institute where I had been doing the sessions the doctor had ordered, I was again met with people who seemed so confident and encouraging it made no difference if I believed it would help or not. Their continued care gave me the strength to do one more more minute on the more stroke of the handles. One more. One more session, one more day, one more reason to hope I had a chance to live.

          I will not tell you that I am an optimist who suffers no doubts or depression. When I fell, everything on me hurt. Falling was a fear that was a very real threat for me. I ended up not only in the ER but admitted. When they had finished the X-Rays and tests the doctors had a serious talk with me explaining what all they had found and seen. The condensed version is that I am getting old and worn out. They did not say it in that manner and were very kind and trying to not depress me with the diagnosis and prognosis but I had demanded honesty. The only way I can emotionally deal with all of this, is if I understand what I am facing to try to make a plan of what I will do. They did not want me to give up but to understand there are limitations to what I can do or expect from the work ahead of me. Nothing they told me was news but it confirmed how difficult it would be to accomplish improvement and how painful and demanding it would be.

          I went back and continued to work one session at a time and minute by minute with amazing results. The blood pressure was coming down. It helped with the back problems and the breathing became much easier and greatly improved. I began to feel a passion with every visit. The other patients or people there in the programs of their own were such a blessing with their friendly and courageous attitudes working and pushing forward. 

          One day as I was sitting at the table off to the side where my blood pressure was checked and the electrodes for the ekg were put into place I watched. Before me were row after row of machines of all kinds. A group of other heart patients were steadily walking on the treadmills there. Step by step they continued each at their own pace. As I watched the people, their expressions and their progress, the thought occurred to me that they were not walking.....they were marching. They were not marching forward to a destination of location or to a challenge of event such as a soldier would in battle. They were marching to an objective of health and life. They were an army of people working side by side to survive each encouraging those around them but also in a solitary mission of their own.

          I had an occasion of what they diagnosed as a TIA or some call a mini stroke. It is more than the loss of movement and feeling. At the time I felt such confusion and could not understand why my left arm would not move. I did not understand why my body had become so heavy and I felt numb. I know what the symptoms mean especially with the problem I have with blood pressure but could not think any better than I could move.

          It took a lot of work to get it all going again but the program and people there were a life line for me and I was able to go back and work on more more step, one more repetition, one more minute.

          There were times I wanted to quit but feared I might not only decline in health and ability to function but actually die. The thought of death does not hold the fear for me it does for some. There are times I wondered why I had worked so hard and hurt so much when I could have just given up and let it all end. Let all of the pain and hurtful things in body and mind be over was a thought that battled with the desire to try just a little longer and harder.

          I would get online on the computer and hear such wonderful kindness and thoughtful words across the screen from so many people. They will never know how much it meant to me seeing their encouragement and expressions of hope. I would look at my family and friends and see that something special that makes you try a little longer or harder. I would look at my grandson and know I could not give up. He is my little ray of sunshine. He makes me smile and feel in my heart there is more in life that I need to do. He believes in me and I could not give up and leave him.

          When he was little he would rub my hands when they hurt and it always brought such a smile to my face and did ease the pain. Was it the feeling from the rubbing, the relaxation from having the hands messaged, or the feeling of love he radiated as he did what he could to make his grandmother feel better that made it all better? I told him he had magic in his hands and it made me so much better. Love is magic. Love can do amazing things and this little kindness and effort did so much and brought a smile not only to my face but to my heart. He believed in the magic.

          As the years passed he grew older and smiled at me one day. “Mamaw (That is what he calls me) I don't really have magic in my hands, do I?” I had to laugh before I answered.

          When I told him Mom, my daughter about the conversation she frowned and asked me why I tell him such things? I told her exactly what I told him. “To me, he has magic in his hands and I will tell you why. When he rubs my tired old hands they do feel better. Is it magic, rubbing or knowing he does what he does because he loves me. Feeling like you are loved is a magic feeling and it makes the world brighter. Love can make you feel better. That is magic. Yes I do think he has magic in his hands.... and he makes me smile.”

          She had to laugh when I told her and he thought on it for a while before he answered. “OK Mamaw. If you think it is magic I guess I will believe in magic. I do love you.”

          What does it take for a person to find the strength to go on and keep trying when life gets hard and things cause pain? I really do not have the answers but believe it is a combination of things. I can not refrain from expressing how much I believe in a higher power. We can call God by many names but for me he is ever there and I believe in the power of prayer. Is it the combination of positive thoughts from others or an answer from above? When I hear from all of those who remembered me, there is a power to inspire me to never give up. To each and every one of you who have taken the time to communicate with me, weather I was able to answer or not, I hear you and feel so much from you that I want to thank you and let you know that you make a difference. Finding the strength to go on for me is a combination of many things but it is not giving up each and everyday. I do not know what tomorrow will bring but I want to live the best that I can for this day.

          I am not eligible for the continued cardio rehab program the doctor prescribed but have been able to continue working through the St Bernards Health and Wellness Institute as a member there and now have finally been able to find a pain management doctor that seems to be doing his very best to help me find a way to survive in this body and this life. With all of this time working there, amazing things are occurring a little at a time that are in themselves like small miracles. Combined exercise and medications are showing my blood pressure near normal. That is something I have not seen for so many years I can not remember when it was something for me to have. I could breathe easier. I could do more. We had always checked and kept constant monitoring of my oxygen levels as I worked but we were seeing it holding in not only safe numbers but really good numbers. After all of these years I could actually exercise and still breathe and not have my oxygen level drop. We did a night study to see if I could survive on the pain meds while sleeping without the oxygen level dropping..... and this is without the oxygen. I did good. I did really good. Is it the work or a miracle? I am the same person with the damages of life and illness but doing so much better is so many ways.

          The new doctor is working with me as a whole patient and not just the complaint of pain. He seems concerned to help me as a person and not just complaint or number on a chart. I had one doctor who ignored all about me except his own narrow view and was determined to treat me like with a total disregard for other health issues and go into the spine doing what ever he decided I needed to do. I asked what would happen to my spine when he went in with me on all of these blood thinners and he ignored it. I demanded to know if the excessive bleeding would not be a problem and he arrogantly announced I was to quit the blood thinners for two weeks and he would …....I have never felt so frustrated and endangered. This man could kill me and his whole attitude was that my problem was that I was lazy. If I worked harder I would be in better shape and I needed to get an exercise bicycle and forget the wellness center that had seemed to help so much. He said it was a waste of time and I should do as he says if I do not want to live in severe pain for the rest of my life. I could go on for hours about this man but will keep it short and say there is no way to describe my disgust and anger for such a person who is called doctor. Who knows how much suffering, despair and damage this man has caused to others? When I asked him if he would guarantee I would not have a heart attack or the stints close up killing me he glared at me. I reminded him the cardiologist told me not to miss a single dose and he prescribed the rehab that had helped so much, he did not answer for some time as he gave me what I thought was a look of contempt. He finally told me he would check with the cardiologist and then begin what he had planned for me.

          The cardiologist made it clear I was not to stop the blood thinners or anyone go into my spine at this time. I decided I would never go back to this man or allow him any treatment for me no matter how bad the pain was. I could quit taking my heart and blood pressure meds anytime, lay down and die and suffer less than in his hands. He had left me feeling so helpless and hopeless that I faced a future with no relief at all from this body that trapped me in pain even in the late night hours robing me of sleep, peace and hope to keep going.

          I did not know if the new doctor would accept me or what to expect from him. What I have seen so far is a competent and caring doctor that is working with me and the other doctors to safely help me. I am now on mild pain meds and muscle relaxers that help. I can not take strong medications and safely be sure to breathe through the night and an addiction to the drugs would only result in building a tolerance requiring higher doses with more side affects. Physical therapy has been prescribed in addition to the medications. We were back to the problem that it is not one nerve involved but the whole lumbar and sacral region and the respiratory problems and other health issues including a crippled foot. Working in water was what was finally decided. Working to strengthen and increase flexibility without doing more damage to old joints and bones seems safer in water. I know it will tire me and make me sore and hurt but the pain from working to get stronger is so much different that pain from more injuries in falls or as inactivity slowly or quickly erodes what strength and ability I have left.

          I am doing it. I am in a program of physical therapy at the same place and going to continue to use the machine that has helped me so much so far too. I have been so pleased to meet and am getting to know them in this department too. It is a relief to be in the hands of competent and caring people who encourage and inspire you to go forward in challenges that could make a whole new future enabling me to do more and not only be alive but live life. Each and everyone I have met in this place from the first I see when I come in the door to the professionals who care for me and help me work to the wonderful people there working each in their own way sharing a smile and encouraging word are a blessing.

          I am ever so thankful for the caring and dedicated physicians that have worked to help me stay in this world and do better. The nurses and medical personnel are often overlooked in all that they do but I will never forget all they have done for me.

          Knowing that yesterday is gone, tomorrow may never come but today is the blessing I have to do with as I am able and choose, is a thought I keep near to me. I may not be promised tomorrow but I will look for tomorrow and things I have in my heart to do. I want to continue to be here on the internet for as long as I can sharing things and grateful to all of those who share with me. I want to finish the book I am working on and the next two novels after that I already have in mind. I want to be able to help my grandson with the book he has started and the story he is working and developing. I want to be able to laugh and share good time with family and fiends. I want to work with children and schools and share the idea to never give up. I want them to realize that what they learn is not only the grade that they get but a gift that can help them in all of their lives. I want them to see that they too can make their dreams come true if they are willing to learn all that they can, work as hard as they can, believe in themselves and never give up. I can try to do these things and have hope for the future.

          I know I will never be well or young again but I can and will try to be the best that I can be and do all that I can for as long as I can. I came so close to giving up. I almost thought it was time to finish the books about my life I had started with the one I called I Will Not Give Up....Not Today....Life Is A Journey and write I Did Not Give Up...But Don't Know About Tomorrow...This Journey Is Almost Over. I wrote that book not to tell about my life but to share the idea we can not give up. I tried to be honest in sharing thoughts of good times and some that were almost more than I could endure. I can honestly say now that I am not writing that second book and not giving up.

          There is so much more in life I do not want to miss. There is so much more that I want to do. There is so much I am grateful for and feel blessed. I will be back soon but am wishing you each happiness, health and bright days ahead.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

An Adventure In Writing

Summer is here. The day is warm and beautiful outside. It reminds me of last summer and a project that my grandson and I had been working on for some time. Actually most of his little life he loved to work with me making his own little books. When he was so young he just colored pictures he would make up stories to go with them and I would staple them together. As he grew older he had a burning desire to make what he called 'a real book' of his own with his own story. He would look so serious and explain that it is not a real book until you have your picture on the back. I had to laugh and reminded him there was more to a book than the cover or picture on the outside. It is what is inside the cover that makes a book.

That was the beginning of a very big challenge. Zander was 8 years old when we began to seriously begin the task of helping a child that young to do something that was real and he could be proud of creating. There was so much more than just putting his story or idea into words on a page. I wanted him to not only do it but understand and work to make it the best it could be. That part about understanding is more of a challenge than you might think because of his age.

You might not think that legal issues would be one of the first challenges but with a child who loves cartoons and movies we had to have an understanding that he could not use characters belonging to someone else. They story and all involved in it had to be his own ideas and things he did not get from anywhere else.

I think one of the most important aspects of learning is the ability to learn to think. We can memorize many things. We can read and we can listen. We can learn. We also need to think about all of those things. To be able to use the things we learn, to do something we desire to do or accomplish that something special that has alluded us, is bringing learning into a new light of utilization of acquired skills and knowledge. We need to expand from accepting all we hear, to thinking about what we hear and learning from life.
Whenever I read the little book I wrote called The Pumpkin Field, we always end up talking about many things. We discuss thoughts, ideas and it goes on from there. Some tell of the their fears such as the fear of darkness and we see how the story helps us to understand those things. We almost always talk about writing. When they ask me about writing the book I see such excitement and enthusiasm. Zander has always had enthusiasm about writing and it was time to see what we could do.
We reviewed somethings we had already learned and discussed new ideas. We talked about what kind of stories we wanted to write. We talked about characters and also not using other people's ideas and characters. Our story will have to come entirely from our own imagination.
I told him anything worth doing is worth doing well and also worth working as hard as we can. He agreed we will spend this time not only doing a book but learning about books, words and many things we can use to write.
I am not going to go into every detail here but thought about keeping a journal of the study pages, discussions, topics and ideas as we worked became a reality . I wanted a book to help other children learn to write or just have a joy and being able to create with words. In writing this book it is not just theory or what might work or be of interest to learn and use in writing. This is what we did and how we did it together.
As I discussed all of this with him he frowned and mentioned it might be nice to have a book so that other kids could make their books too. “Can you teach them and help them with a book?”
“I guess I could, but it would take a lot of work.” He smiled at me as I smiled in return, thinking of how I might be able to do this project and help him make his book a reality at the same time.
I reviewed some of the vocabulary I wanted him to remember. I asked him if he remembered what a protagonist was. “Sure I do. That’s the one the story is about.”
I then mentioned that the main character would be the protagonist and asked if he remembered how to spell protagonist. He thought for a moment and I could see his little lips move as he silently sounded it out and spelled it perfectly. We did a few other words and definitions including talking about how he could use these things. He asked me why he could just not call them people instead of protagonists. I explained the story might have a main character that was an animal or maybe even an alien. By using the proper term we can more easily understand each other. We lean new things all the time and in school they are always learning new words. Think how limited life would be if we only learned a little and never learned any more. Words can open a whole world and echo through the ages of time. We never know what we can do until we try and then keep trying and learning.
I hope this journal type book and the study pages,discussions, topics and ideas as we go it might be something that could help others too. For all of those who have a love of writing or just enjoy creating something special this is a special time shared with our adventures in writing.

When I worked teaching him new words and the meanings it was a challenge. To memorize would be boring and he would not remember or remain interested. Using the words almost like a game made learning more fun.

I have told much about what we have been doing but I would like to tell a bit more about the author. I want to introduce my co-author Zander Figueroa. Zander is my grandson but he is also an amazing young man of exceptional gifts and character.

Zander was in third grade in school but finds life a learning experience. In books, in conversations, outside or just sharing special time with family and friends he learns, shares and is a delight to all who know him. I do not have to say I am a very proud grandmother but when you read his stories I hope you will enjoy them and share in my enthusiasm for what he and I are doing and plan to continue to do in many books to come. He makes me smile and lights up my life.

Zander loves to write and think up stories but he loves so many other things. Swimming and playing outside will always be one of the things he loves.

We live in a rural area so when he is here visiting we have fun inside and out. With large trees in the yard and limbs that fall a bonfire in not only fun but clears and cleans the yard. A few hotdogs and it is fun for all. There is also wooded area around us with wild life. He has been told he can never go into the woods alone. He has gone with his Papaw and seen many animals and they even take some pictures of them. We often get ideas to write from things that we know. His story is about two young children who were not allowed to go into the woods alone but did not listen. They did not think it would hurt just that one time. He can describe the woods and what it looks like from memory of the times he and Papaw explored learning about many things found in nature at the same time.

Zander loves to fish with his grandfather. He is even learning how to cook deep fried catfish and when they are done to perfection.

He calls him his Papaw and I am his Mamaw. My parents, his great grandparents were the ones he called grandma and grandpa. That has made a challenge online. People know who the grandparents are but Mamaw and Papaw are something he has always used between him and us. He is learning many things about more than the writing. He has his own fan page now and twitter account. When he talked about writing with me, his grandmother he frowned. Not long ago he decided he could no longer do that because I was his Mamaw and that is what he will start calling me online too. I told him it might be confusing to others who did not know us but he wants to be real and he said eventually they will understand or not … but I am Mamaw and he is Papaw and that is the way it is.

I like that he is real. We had a lot of concerns about his age and being online but have worked it out pretty well. He is never online without one of us with him. He got excited as he saw more followers and the people would talk to him through messages and tweets. One day he leaned back and told me he did not think he wanted to do it anymore. I told him that was fine but wondered why the change in his attitude.

He rolled his eyes and told me it was because “They are not real. They are not real people. They are just on the computer.” He loves his games. The games can look so real but they are just games. In some odd way I think he related those things and had decided that the people leaving messages and tweets were not real. It was like a game.
I do not want to frighten him but explained that they were real people. We have been so lucky and almost everyone has been so wonderful, supportive and encouraging.....almost. I always go online first and look to see who followed or is following and read the messages before he gets online. There was one individual I promptly reported. The man sent a message saying if he wanted to learn and see some really cool things all he had to do was click on the link and he could even help him get condoms. I did not click on the link but pretended to be Zander and told him I did not know what a condom was. The man quickly responded that he could teach all kind of new and fun things. I asked if he knew that I was only 8 years old and he said he did but we can never be too young to learn new things and have a little fun. I not only reported but also took screen shots of him and the urls.

I never told Zander about that warped individual but did explain that when we talk online we are talking to real people. Some of his followers are those in my writers group and he knows them. Donna Watkins always makes cakes, pies or something special when we visit. He thinks the world of Carol Dabney and so many others. There are also those I may have never met in person but think of as my friends from online and he knows about them too.

A terrified look came on his young face when he said, “Well there is no way I can do this. When I am on twitter or my fan page those are real people?”

I assured him that they were and wasn't it nice to hear from them and get to know them?

“Oh Mamaw..... I am not allowed to talk to strangers. My mom says to never talk to strangers.”

Now that was a problem I don't think too many authors have to deal with especially when we think of ways to promote our books. I could not tell him that it was alright now to talk to strangers. I thought about the one that I had reported and that as a child they do not differentiate with the books and life. You can or can not talk to strangers........

His mom, Papaw and I talked together and came up with a solution. We explained that he will not be talking to strangers since we are always with him. He will be talking with us to others.

We did a local author fair and he was priceless. I was so proud as he sat beside me and did his best to look professional with all of the other authors. When a time came that we each introduced ourselves and told somethings about our books or things that we write he looked horrified. I felt sorry for him but quickly stood and introduced us both. A look of pure relief came across his small face.

Lat year I was invited to the local school to speak about writing and the books to the 4th and 5th grade classes. Zander was invited to go with me and tell about his book we were working on. As the time neared he became more and more nervous. When we walked in I swear he looked like he might actually faint. He had explained that they were the older kids. He was only in third grade.

His Papaw was with us and has been very supportive in all of this and Zander leaned a little closer to him as I began to talk to the children. I just love their interest and enthusiasm. When I explained about the project Zander was doing and that I was going to write a book telling about it all to help others with what they might decide to do, the interest and excitement became so intense the teacher had to quiet them down. Their questions flooded out to Zander asking all about his story, book and how he was doing it. Many told that they too wanted to write books.

When you talk about our books or writing, all of the fear of speaking to the group evaporated. A smile came across his face and he was right out in the middle of them telling and showing the books and all about it.

Those were times I cherish and am so proud of him. Those times and so many more make me smile. We share many things in life. We share the love of writing, family, friends and every day as something special. I hope that This book will be something others not only enjoy but might be helpful in their own special projects of learning and creating.

When we finished writing the book we had to find a cover for it.The day that I was invited to read and talk to his own class at school he stood proudly beside me.  He had told them all that he was going to write his own books too and books with me.  When he put his little arm around me it was a special moment and his teacher took the picture for us.  I knew that would be the cover.

The day the proof arrived I think we both almost had tears in our eyes. For a moment he was totally silent and then the smile and excitement kicked in. Papaw had the camera ready and it was another of those special moments,

This is a unique book written as a journal, workbook, guide in writing, and preview of work as it progresses from the two authors, Linda Nance and Zander Figueroa. We are attempting to create books that the readers may find interesting to read and excited to share in the creative process during the actual writing and collaborative efforts between both of us.
This book will share insights to the writers and the stories. Learning and working together we have only just begun.

I know I have been slow at getting the things done I have in mind to do and share. I caught a summer cold and that may not sound severe but it can sure slow a person down. Some days are better than others but I still think that every day is special. I had planned to share not only about the books I have been writing but also about life as I do. I have tried to share honestly and am happy to say it has been an adventure. I have met so many wonderful people along the way and want to wish you all.....all the very best. I will be back soon.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

All The Books Around The World.. ..A Journey In Writing...Part Three


As I begin this third part of the blog about the books that I now have, I find it difficult to begin. If I were to tell you what the books were about, it would be easy but there is so much more to these books than the story inside. These two books are a part of my life and that of my grandson. One is titled Down The Path and it is not my story but his own story, that I worked with him to make it become a real book. The other is An Adventure In Writing. It has been an adventure in writing but more than just the book we wrote together. It has been an adventure through the years before we ever evolved to this point in life.

I think before I begin I will share a bit about us for those who have not read my book I Will Not Give up....Not Today....Life Is A Journey. I had often been asked questions such as how long did it take you to write your first book, do you have a special way of writing such as a designated number of words or pages a day or time of day, where do you get your ideas, and many more questions that are not easy for me to answer. That book tells a lot of not only me but why I write as I do and how life can get in the way.

I had even started a writers group here locally to try to help others with their projects. I did not focus as much in sharing what we have done as finding ways to help one another with what we were doing. So many, seem to have invested so much money that they or their families really could not afford and found the results not what they expected or even with their books so high priced no one could afford them, including themselves. There are so many things involved in trying to do for yourself, what professionals normally do with whole staffs of people who really know what they are doing. Everywhere we turn there are so many 'experts' who tell you how it is. It seems everywhere you look they are all best sellers and doubt, despair and eventually all of the business side of writing or self publishing becomes overwhelming. So many give up. I am an expert at nothing. I am a little old lady that loves to write, wishes all that I do could be more perfect, can not afford the professional help I so desperately need, but feel that my stories and what I have to say is worth the effort and opportunity to not give up and make a dream something real.

I wanted this, what I call a journey, to share an idea with others to never give up. Never give up on our dreams and passions but understand that what ever we do that is worth doing, is worth the work and effort it takes to make it a reality. We also have to have a passion to persevere. We have to have the determination to overcome the obstacles life often puts in our way. Everyone has a story, good times and bad, things they have to deal with or overcome. Those are the times we need to believe and be willing to not give up.

By now you can tell I am an old lady that does ramble on, since I am writing this part of my blog to tell you about the two newest books. That and all of the medications I am having to take right now, seem to affect me in many ways, good and bad. It is time to tell you about the books and the author Zander Figueroa.

                                   UK    AND    US    

By Zander Figueroa and Linda Nance

When you look it up on Amazon or elsewhere you will see it as Linda Nance and Zander Figueroa. There are legal issues in publishing and we could not have a book with the author as only an 8 year old child. The story is really his, but I have worked with him all the way to turn his idea and story into a book... A real book that he can hold in his little hands.

I had an idea. Many people have contacted me with questions and asking for help with their writing projects in the authors group and online. When my health got so bad I could hardly get out, let alone continue a writers group in person. I did not want to give up on it. I receive so much from them as I try to give and continued it online and on the phone sharing information and encouragement. I called it a mentor program. Zander's idea for Down The Path followed that idea of mentoring one another. For me it was kind of exciting to see him as he learned and worked to make something real of his idea.

If an 8 year old child could do this, and it really be him working, instead of his idea and me using it to write a book..... I wanted to share that too. That is the next book I will tell you about.... An Adventure In Writing.

How did Down The Path become a book? Here I go trying to share what was so special between grandson and grandmother. He calls me Mamaw. He started calling me that when he was learning to talk. I like it and to him I am his Mamaw.

When Zander was barely able to hold a color in his little hand, we would make coloring pictures. I would do drawings and he would scribble across, excited as we talked about what ever the picture was that he was coloring. As we did that, he not only was entertained but he was learning. He learned colors and numbers and many things. Some day I want to publish the Easter Book I did originally as coloring pages but later did the pages that would be perfect for a book about an Easter Bunny and all of the eggs. It is a wonderful way to learn colors and counting. They can also use it to develop their own imaginations and stories as you ask them about what they are doing. Where did the path go, how many colors were the eggs or what ever comes to mind involving them and allowing them to use their own thoughts and imaginations to make it more. “What else do you think they found down the path is a good question to get them going.

I had published my own book. I told him he could too, if he was willing to work hard enough and learn so that he could one day have his own book. We made hundreds of 'books' if not more, by coloring pages and thinking of the stories that go with them and then I would staple them together. He was writing and making books. He was such a little guy working with his Mamaw.   One day he looked up with a sad expression on his face after we had worked making his pictures with the story for his book, we stapled together. I asked him what the problem was.

He looked so sad. “I love to do these with you, Mamaw. They are not real books though.”

I asked him why he thought they were not real books. He came up with the stories and even colored the pictures. I may have been the one to draw them but it was he who decided what the pictures were to be with the stories.

I almost laughed but knew I could not as he answered. “It is never a real book until you have your picture on the back.” I think back to that time and it makes me smile. Having a real book is so much more than having your picture on the back but at that time, for a young child it was what made it real for him.

I tried using my copier to make a last page for the stories he was doing with his picture on it before I stapled then together but he told me sadly, “It is just not the same thing, Mamaw.”

In many ways he was more right than I realized at the time. To make it a real book, is not what is on the cover, but what is in the pages within. It is more than just a story in a book, but working to make it the best that it can be. I tried to share what we were doing and hope it helps other young and old in writing.

Many years ago I wrote a poem about a haunted pumpkin field. I have told about that in the first part of this 3 part blog. The Pumpkin Field has entertained family, friends, neighbors and even been used in a State Park during their Halloween program.

I realized the only thing that kept it a poem instead of a children's story, were the illustrations. The illustrations may be simple pictures but you would not believe the heart that I put into each one. Little Zander grew up with that book and story. (It also has my picture on the back)

I have said many times that that book was written to inspire children to share thoughts, feelings and learn. I took such delight with my little grandson I did as his mother before him with the story. As the years passed there were different questions and thoughts shared but the little book remained a part of his interest and life. We talked about fears and how to conquer them such as fear of the dark. We also talked about the witch. She hurts no one and look scary and different. People assume she is a witch. Maybe she is and then maybe she is just different. She is old, ugly and dresses oddly. If someone is different, it is not always a reason to hate of fear them but so many people react in that way. In that story, the character follows a path into a pumpkin field and then the story begins.

I may at times ramble on and get off track but this time there is a reason for me sharing all of this. Down that path in the pumpkin field sparked something in this little boy's imagination. He told me, “That was not the end of the story.” He said it with such passion that he had my curiosity up.

Tell me more. What do you think happened?”

He was so excited as he told me, “Things are not always as they seem. The pumpkins seem so nice, but there is one that is not nice at all. There is one that in nothing but trouble.”

I remind him that in the end of the story it says maybe it was only a dream.

He got all excited and told me, “It was not a dream. There is more to this story. There is a lot more.”

At that time he had one idea but time passes. He still has the idea for what we had talked about but as he got a little older and his reading ability increased so did his desire to write in the same way. He explained that we could still do a picture book for the little kids but he had so many more ideas we needed to do a different story. There is still a path and a child that goes down that path to an adventure. He already had the idea for Beyond The Path with the origional story.

This story of Down The Path is written for children to read but I am amazed and inspired to think that adults can also find meaning and interest in the story. There are so many little aspects he found a way to incorporate that relate to children and adults.

We live in a very rural area with vast areas of thickly wooded areas behind our house. It would be easy for anyone to get lost in the woods. We often see wildlife of many kinds. For many years I had a creature that would visit me that I thought of a friendly that was a bear. It is no place to get lost or for a child to adventure alone. He comes here each day after school until his mother gets off work. He has been raised understanding you do not go into the woods alone. In reality he is rarely outside playing alone but we have taught him this since he was a wee one.

In his story the children did not listen to their parents. The did not think they were doing wrong, as they followed their little dog down a path into the woods. The did not intend to get lost. They were just having fun.....but.....they went down the path. Once they got deeper into the woods they were lost and frightened and alone. They did not know how to get home. They did not know what to do.

I do not want to spoil the story for you. It is written so that a child could read it, but also so an adult could use it to share many things. I have been pleasantly amazed with the complexity of his story line and the depth he found for his characters. He had reasons for every part of his story.We worked very hard developing and talking about making the story feel real.   Knowing that he and his 'Papaw' grandfather have always talked about nature, animals and many things like and adventure, gives an insight into how he wrote what he did. We had a pet squirrel that Albert (Grandpa....Papaw) had rescued for a long time.Little Zander can look at the foot print or track of a deer passing in the woods and tell if it is a buck or a doe.

This is a tale for young and old alike, sharing the story of two young children and the discoveries they make down the path they take. In the end, I do hope I am not spoiling the story, but can not resist explaining some things. I asked him, “Was it an angel, a ghost, or just their imagination?”
He did not hesitate saying what he believed. He said, If we say a prayer to God, he will always hear us but not always answer like we think. Sometimes we just have to believe. Sometimes we have to stand up to mean people who want to hurt our feelings too.”
He had said things better in that moment and with his own little story than I ever could have done alone. He saw things through the eyes of a child about issues much bigger. He knows he should listen to his parents and grandparents but sometimes we all make the mistake of thinking it will not hurt....just this one time..... 
 The faith of a child and the ability to share it, makes me smile.  We may each have different beliefs but to see this pure expression from one so young, is an inspiration to me, even if he was not my grandson.
Having the idea and the story was just the beginning. I explained that he knew the story and he had an idea, but to make it into a book would take a lot more than what we had. He would have to learn new things and how to use them. He would have to find a way to make the characters real and the story come to life.
To do all of that we worked. We worked for a long time learning and writing and developing it to be more than it started. I decided to write also about that. I included him as a coauthor, because it was about him and our journey and adventure in him making real books with his picture on the back too.  That book is called An Adventure In Writing.


I had said that this would be a 3 part blog but I am really feeling distress and it is nearly time I can do no more. I think it will be a 4 part blog. I want to share the first part of his story and let you decide for yourselves if he really has developed the characters, story, and if you would like to read more sharing this adventure of a little boy who loves to share his stories........

                                              DOWN THE PATH

A New Adventure

         Cooper just had a birthday and turned ten years old. He had a friend that was a girl named Jenny. Jenny was only seven years old but they had fun playing together and loved to play with Cooper's dog.
        His dog was named Floppy because he had big floppy ears. Floppy loves to go with them on adventures.
      The children loved to play in the yard and could go for short walks from Cooper's house to Jenny's house. They were not allowed to go far and were never allowed to go into the woods near where they lived.
     Their mom's and dad's were afraid they might get lost or something bad could happen to them. They wanted them to always be safe.
      They were playing in yard with Floppy when began to bark and ran into the woods behind Cooper's house. 
   “I think he wants us to go with him or follow him. I know we are not supposed to go in the woods, but we will only go a little way. We have to see where he is going and what he is doing. Do you want to go?” Cooper asked Jenny with a big smile. Copper was excited and thought it would be fun.
Jenny looked at Floppy jumping up and down at the edge of the woods as he wagged his tail. She smiled as she answered, “Let's go.
We will not be gone long or go far.” Jenny had no sooner finished answering when Floppy ran back to the children wagging his tail and barking lively. Before she could say more Floppy ran back to the woods and down the path into the woods.
Both Cooper and Jenny got excited and ran to follow. They were in such a hurry they did not notice a wooden sign beside a big tree near the path they were on. The sign was old and part of it was broken. The letters on
the sign were faded. The letters on the sign were a warning. The sign said, “DANGER.” The part of the sign that said what the danger was had broken off years before. Who knows what danger lies ahead, but danger was waiting.
           Chasing after the dog was fun but the children ran farther than they had planned down the path. Some places in the path would have more than one way that they could go. The could go to the right or they could go to the left. Some places had brush that had grown up and the path
was hard to see at all. They were having so much fun they did not pay attention to what way they were going or what way they had come.
Floppy was having fun too. He had chased a pretty butterfly down the path. He had chased leaves that the breeze had blown down the path. He really had fun when he found a little squirrel.
He did not want to hurt the little squirrel. He wanted to play. The squirrel was very fast. It ran across and up a tree. The squirrel dashed to a big branch running out to the very tip of the tree limb. The little squirrel looked like a fuzzy little toy with bright eyes. It had a big fluffy tail that twitched back and forth as it peered down from the branch at the children and barking dog. It had paused at the very tip of the long branch looking at them for only a moment, as Floppy pranced and barked with his excitement.
Jenny giggled as she watched both the dog and the little squirrel. “I think I will call that little squirrel, Fuzzy Tail.” As soon as she spoke, they little creature made a might leap into the air landing on the very tip of a long branch in the tree next to where it had been.
The adventure began as little Fuzzy Tail jumped lively from branch to branch and tree to tree.

Floppy chased the squirrel and the children chased the dog laughing and having fun. The little squirrel they called Fuzzy Tail, finally got high enough and far enough away that Floppy lost interest.
Floppy sat down to take a break from the chase with the two children joining him. Jenny gently petted him and rubbed his ears. She loved to rub him on the ears because they were velvety soft. He loved to have her attention and did loved if she rubbed his ears, tummy or back. Cooper sat on one side and Jenny sat on the other enjoying their adventure.
The shadows of the trees seemed to be getting longer. As Cooper looked off into the woods, he noticed it seemed darker than before. Jenny noticed the pretty colors in the sky that she often saw at supper time as the sun would set before it got dark for the night.

Story Break and a Little Fun

I will tell more of the story but before I do we could have a little fun.

How far from home had they come? Could they find their way back home? What were all of the turns in the path they had taken that brought them to where they were? How would they find their way back home? How much longer would it be before it got dark?

How dark was it way back in the woods?
I hope you will join me with Cooper, Jenny, and Floppy on their great adventure down the path in the woods but there is one problem.

I want to wait before I tell you the rest of the story. What if this is as far as I got when I was writing? If you think about it and can imagine what they must have been thinking and feeling, there are so many ways the story could go. If you want to have a little fun... try to make up your own story from here and see what you come up with for an ending. Writing is fun.
Do they ever see Fuzzy Tail again? How long does it take for them to find their way home? Will they have to be rescued? What else do they find in the woods? When it is over will they remember to listen and do as their mothers and fathers tell them?

Do they find out what the danger is the sign warned them about when they first started down the path?

So many questions and so many possible answers before they find their way back home and the end of their great adventure DOWN THE PATH.

I hope you have fun if you decide to write your own ending but it is time for me to continue with this story and go back DOWN THE PATH on the adventure of Cooper, Jenny and Floppy.

Lost and Alone?

Floppy looked up at Jenny wagging his tale. She paused petting the little dog frowning as she looked at the beautiful colors of the setting sun. “Cooper, It is getting late. I think we should get back home. It will not be long before it gets dark.. We are probably already in trouble if mom and dad noticed we are not still in the yard playing.”
Cooper had not noticed the setting sun but quickly got to his feet stretching from where he had been comfortably resting. “Wow, I did not realize how late it is getting.” He looked into the thick woods first one direction and then another as a frown creased his brow.
You do know how to get back, don't you?” Jenny was beginning to worry as she saw him looking first one direction and then another.
Sure I do. I think we need to go back down this path here.” He pointed and began walking. Floppy followed wagging his tale.
The little path soon became almost impassable and they knew with out a doubt that was not the way home. Jenny felt an urge for tears thinking they might actually be lost. “This is not the way home. I have no idea which direction home even is. We made so many turns this way and that I don't know how we will ever find our way home and it will be dark soon.”
Cooper stood close to Jenny feeling the same fear gazing at the setting sun. “It will be alright. I know we will find the right path. We can go back to where we started and just follow the other way.” He did not feel the confidence he was trying to share with Jenny as they quickly tried to retrace their way back. Floppy had had a fun day and was tired enough he had stopped looking for adventures and things to follow as he happily trotted between the two children.
Jenny could not longer contain her anxiety as she looked at the long shadows the trees cast and the darkness that lay beyond in the woods that surrounded them. “What are we going to do? We should have listened to our mom and dads. Nobody even knows we are here. We don't even know where we are. I will be dark soon.”
Tears welled up in her eyes. Cooper felt responsible. It had been his idea to have an adventure. “We will be alright. We may be in trouble when we get home but we will get home. We just have to stay calm and get going. We need to go this way here.” He pointed to a narrow path leading into the woods and hoped it was the path that would lead them home.
Every little opening in the brush looked like a path to the children and they hoped it would lead them home as the went this way and that, working farther and farther into the dense forest. The two children and little dog stood quietly thinking their own thoughts and feeling their own fears.
Floppy felt no fears. He was just tired from a full day chasing butterflies and Fluffy the squirrel.
Standing still they heard foot steps beyond in the forest. Fear shown in their eyes as they dared not utter a sound.
Floppy had no fear and felt a surge of energy for the chase after the unknown footsteps. He bounded into the thick brush as a large dear dashed away from the little dog and the chase was on. Cooper ran after Floppy calling for him to stop but the little dog was quickly out of sight.
It was a relief to know that the footstep sounds were that of the deer and not some terrible monster but the relief was short lived. Cooper could feel tears burn his eyes as he was the shadows growing darker and his hopes dimming. “I don't know what to do. I thought we could find our way home but have no idea which way to go.”
When he saw the tears slowly running down little Jenny's face and the tremor of her shoulders he quickly put his arms around her. “Even if we yell as loud as we can I don't think anyone would hear us but last Sunday in Sunday School, our teacher told us when ever we say a prayer and talk to God he always listens. He could hear us. He could help us get home.” Cooper watched as Jenny dried her tears.
Do you really think God will listen and help us?” She reached out and held his hand in hers.
He smiled and hope she felt encouraged as the fear he felt seemed to dim all hope he really felt. “I can not see how it would hurt. Do you want to say it or me?”
She tightened her grip on his hand. “You say it. I don't know what to say other than I want to go home. It is getting dark now and I am so afraid.”
He smiled. “Our teacher said he always listens and when he answers it may not be as we expect but he never forsakes us. I'll do the best prayer that I can.”
They held hands and closed their eyes as he began. “Dear God, I know we should have listened to our moms and dads and we are very sorry but we need your help. We need your help real bad. We are lost, God. We are lost and don't know how to get home. Please God, help us find our way home. I promise we will never go into the woods again unless Mom and Dad are with us. One more thing, could you please bring Floppy back. We love him and he needs to go home with us too.”
As he finished his prayer they heard a sound that put a chill in their hearts. A long drawn out howl of a wolf pierced the stillness of the forest. The children uttered not a sound as their fearful gazed locked one to the other. Cooper wanted to call out to Floppy but was afraid to make a sound.
In a whispered voice Cooper spoke in urgent tones. “Dear God, please help us. We need to get home. Help us, please. Amen.”
As he finished his prayer they again heard the chilling sound of the wolf but it was closer. It was so close both children crouched between the closely growing trees near where they were standing. The three trees grew so close that the base of the trunks nearly touched with the children cowering in closely between them.

An Answer to Their Prayers or More Danger

Jenny turned her face to Cooper ducking her head and burying her face against his shoulder. He wrapped his arms around her with his head on hers and tears running down his own face. The children trembled in fear as they heard footsteps coming closer and closer in the brush. The shadows were so dark they could hardly see beyond where they sat and were afraid to look.
Hearing the steps ever so close they sat with their eyes tightly closed waiting for what ever was coming. Jenny's shoulders shook with silent sobs.
The footsteps stopped. They could tell by the sound that whatever it was that had been steadily walking was probably stand right in front of them.
Cooper slowly lifted his head and opened his eyes to bravely see what was there in the woods with them. His breath came out in a gasp.
Standing just a few feet before the children was a large wolf like creature with bright intense blue eyes. The animal did not move an inch. It stood perfectly still gazing at the children. It had massive and powerful shoulders.
Jenny inched her face up to see what was there with them. She could not contain the cry of fear that escaped her.
The animal stood motionless staring at the two terrified children until it turned toward the sound of more footsteps approaching.
The children pressed themselves back as far as they could against the trees but had nowhere to run and no way to hide. The turned their faces trying to hide and clutched one another tighter in terror of the fearsome creature standing right before them.
As they waited to be torn to pieces by the wolf-like creature before them and what ever else had joined it there was no sounds. Slowly they turned their faces to see if it was still there and were surprised and afraid as they viewed a strange old woman beside the creature.
She wore old and torn cloths with a hood on the dark jacket that shadowed her face. She held a crooked stick as if it were a cane in her hand. She stood a motionless as the animal at her side.
Slowly she raised her hand lowering the hood, revealing bright shining blue eyes that resembled the wolf-dog. The children were too frightened to make a sound as she slowly squatted down beside the animal raising her hand and gently stroked it's fur.
Her voice was soft as she spoke. “What are your names?”
At first neither of the children could speak. It was as if their fear had left them paralyzed. They had no place to run or hide and the woman and animal were right in front of them. Finally Cooper tried to clear his voice and answer. “I am Cooper and this is Jenny. Our dog was with us too but he ran away chasing a deer.” He wanted to ask who she was and if the creature with her was going to eat him but could manage no more words in his state of fear.
Why are you here?” She did not smile as she spoke but did not appear angry either.
We were just having fun and wanted to go for a walk in the woods. We got lost and don't know how to get home.” Cooper was afraid but this old woman was their only hope for help. He had said prayers for God to help them but all they could see was a dog or wolf that could kill them without any effort and an old and strange woman with a crooked stick.
Did you see the sign at the edge of the woods that warned of danger?”
It was Jenny that found the courage to answer the woman but her eyes did not leave the intense blue gaze of the animal. “We saw it said danger but could not read what the danger was. We thought if we saw danger we would go back but it was beautiful and we were having so much fun we went too far and got lost. Do you know what the danger is?”
Several moments passed before the old woman answered. As she did a smile slowly spread on her face. “There are many dangers in this world. There are many dangers in these woods. Have your parents never warned you about going far away and dangers?”
Cooper hung his head knowing they were not allowed to go into the woods and had disobeyed what their parents had told them. “Yes ma’am. Our mom and dads told us not to go into the woods and only play in the yard but when our dog ran down the path we followed. Now we are so lost and it is almost dark. We don't know what to do. We just want to go home. Can you help us?”
A mist began to roll in as the chill of the night approached. The woman slowly stood beside the animal they now assumed was her pet. “What did you do when you knew you were lost and could not find your way home? Did you do something to find help?”
We said a prayer to God but I don't think he heard us or maybe he is mad at us too for not listening to our parents. He did not answer and we don't know what to do.” Tears again filled Cooper's eyes.
In her soft voice that was barely above a whisper she answered. “How do you know he did not hear you? Maybe his answers are not always as we expect. Maybe he knows what is best for us and answers in his own way.”
It was Jenny that found the courage to respond to her questions “If he heard us and was going to help, then why are we still lost? It is almost dark and getting cold.”
As she was speaking there was a crashing sound in the brush behind where they were sitting. Their heart raced in terror wondering what creature was coming next. To their surprise Floppy bounded through chasing a little squirrel. It may have been the same one they called Fuzzy Tail or another that looked just like it. The little squirrel raced up the base of the tree they cowered against with the little dog wagging his tail looking up into the branches overhead.
Cooper looked back to the old woman and big animal to explain that was their dog and hoped the wolf like creature would not decide to harm their little dog.
To his surprise and Jenny's there was no one there. They had not heard a sound. The shadows were so intense it was almost totally dark. A cold chill made them shiver. Jenny reached out and clutched the little dog to her and cried. “We will never find our way home. Why did she leave us? What are we going to do?

I will be back soon. Thank you for taking the time to share this adventure in writing and in our lives. I hope you each and everyone have a wonderful day.