Personal Journey

Weekend Coffee Share…Lion or Gazelle?

Sometimes I slug the coffee down. Sometimes I sip. Depends on what I’m trying to achieve.

What’s on my mind as I wrap my hands around a steaming mug of superhero? Lions and gazelles. I’ve got Africa fever lately. My sister lives there. My husband’s going there. I just put an Africa-shaped blood stain in one of my stories.

Lions and gazelles. They see each other and a chase begins. Both run as fast as they possibly can. They’re pushing their limits, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. One has to eat to survive. One has to survive, to survive. They have so much in common, the lion and the gazelle.

You’re wondering why I’m going all philosophical on you? I’ve no idea.

So which are you, a lion or a gazelle?* (Truthfully, there’s a third option, hyena. Hope you’re not one of those.)

Like so many people, I made some poor choices in my formative years. Doesn’t that sound benign? Poor choices, formative years. You can tell how old a person is by whom they blame for their imperfections. Under twenty, parents. Twenties and thirties, spouse. Forties, fifties, and beyond, the actual culprit.

For the longest time, I saw myself as a gazelle running to escape my failures. I was running from who-knows-what to who-knows-where, and it was exhausting. The shine of my accolades wore off too soon. My failures loomed like the HOLLYWOOD sign over the valley of my life.

When I mutated from a gazelle to a lion, I don’t know. But I did. Thank God, I did.

You know you’re a lion when the taste of gazelle is enough to get you to sprint. Any time, any day. The only reason the gazelle runs is because she’s being chased. The lion runs because she’s hungry. If you know me at all, you know what drives me, what my personal gazelle looks like.

The gazelle is running away from something and the lion is running toward something.

People who are running toward something can actually get there. People who are running away from something only live to see another anxious day. Thoreau said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation. They die with their song still inside them.”

Sing before you die, Kelly. Or roar. I seriously tell myself these things.

Not that it’s easy street for Lions. 1 in 8 survive to adulthood. I wish the survival odds were that good for writers who want to publish.

The coffee is gone. It’s a chugging sort of day. Till next week, friends. 🙂

*I’m serious. I’d love to know. Lion or gazelle?

 

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Homeschool Life, Poetry

5000 Words Poetry Lesson, 10-13 Year-Olds

img_1589I nearly jump out of my seat when students come up with bold, fresh images that sound like something out of open mic night. A year ago I decided to teach them simile. “A cat is like a kitten,” someone offered. Now I have them churning out similes like: disappointment tastes like rocks. Fourteen tweens gather weekly in my home for writing/literature class. Today we learned how to write a sensory poem and a cinquain, both of which are non-rhyming, formulaic poems. I had to do one (ok, I just wanted to) as an example.

Joy, a tall cup of Starbucks, creamy brown.

Gurgles, burbles, bubbles, “pssst” on the hot plate.

Seared black and oily, cracked beans, smell like possibility.

Bitter, strong, I purse my lips against the steam.

This cup of American optimism and luxury

Feels extravagant in my hands, in my nose, down my throat.

 

For those of you who’d like to try a sensory poem, here’s the “recipe.” If you do, post it to the comments! 🙂

Line 1 – Name an emotion or feeling. Finish the line with a color.

Line 2 – Tell what it sounds like.

Line 3 – Tell what it smells like.

Line 4 – Tell what it tastes like.

Line 5 – Tell what it looks like.

Line 6 – Tell what it feels like.

 

I also wrote a cinquain. I’ll try to post it and some of my student’s writing in an upcoming post.

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              5000 Words Shoes on my Landing
Homeschool Life

Good Morning

feet by fireUpon waking, I sip my coffee either upstairs or downstairs, depending on which living space is less messy.  Today was a toss up.   These are my slippered feet and my PJ’s; that is my cat, and this is what my view usually does NOT look like in the morning.

Warning:  this may sound like complaining.  It’s not.  I really like the destruction.  Just ask my husband.  He’ll tell you how incredulous he finds the fact that I don’t even get mad anymore when the box-spring frame cracks under the weight of someone who MUST have been jumping on it or at my discovery of  firewood splinters all over the carpet (the least of possible evils when it comes to my dog’s chewing habits).  I’m just recording the moment.  In 10 years I may forget how the mornings went.  I won’t remember a time when things I place somewhere don’t stay there.

So I’ll start with the piano.  It’s dusty.  The floor is an ocean dotted with  Lego buoys and their large shallow boxes that remind me of  abandoned barges of perfectly recyclable trash floating along forever (a most deeply branded image on my subconscious, all I’ve retained of my public schooling).  Cups, bowls of cereal cement, an unwanted bowl of spicy black beans, a lemon half, and a frat party’s worth of cups greet me from the kitchen counter.  The cat meows that he wants his good-milk (2%, NOT skim, NOT whole– 2%).  Even the goldfish wiggles excitedly when I come close to brew my coffee.   He always seems to say the same thing.

Someone (I know who) was searching for a cough drop last night before bed, so the first aid box is on the living room dresser, and all its contents remain perched on said dresser, as if the reciprocal of taking stuff out of a container can’t possibly be to place them back in.   Inconceivable.    And this one’s mine:  Katae’s puzzle from Christmas break is still rolled up under the glass coffee table, its refugee pieces in sorted piles.  My defense is I’m leaving it until spring break, when I’m sure she’ll finish it.

Books are everywhere.

I like that kind of a mess because, really, it’s strategic.  Convenient books.  Anywhere you look you can see one… or ten.   I even take the piles apart so a roving eye can get curious about what excitement lies between the different covers.  (That was an unintentional double entendre.)  Not that I encourage judging a book solely by its cover, of course.  Just pick one up.

Where does my Lord fit into this?  I was supposed to be reading the Bible; instead I’m penning this record of state of our home.  All I know is that– before I knew Him, my house was spotless because aesthetics were all I had on which to stand.  Now I know that, more important than a tidy home is a happy heart, lots of them in fact.  They are happy making havoc.  I can’t keep up with their joy, is all.  And I’m too busy having fun myself.  So when I survey the jobs-like-stars awaiting my organizational hand and military bearing, I am not overwhelmed.

And I didn’t even bother to describe the room I DIDN’T sit in this morning. 🙂