FIRST MONDAY: Do What You Can!

Last night I had dinner with a woman whose 9-year-old niece has a best-seller on Amazon!

As I listened in polite amazement I was thinking back over the past 20 years
of my own life and wondering where did I go wrong? 

·      How many TV shows did I watch instead of sitting
down to write?

·      How many dishes did I wash instead of sitting down
to write?

·      How many papers did I grade instead of sitting
down to write?

·      How many days did I spend doubting instead of sitting
and writing?

What did this little girl figure out in her few short years that I haven’t yet in my long life?

And here I am at the end of another year with an unfinished manuscript on my night stand. What is wrong with me if a 9-year-old can write a best-seller and I can’t even finish a manuscript?

It’s easy to get discouraged, isn’t it?

I work with students all the time who start out strong, then get lost somewhere
along the way.  The first few weeks of the semester they’re smiling and engaged. They tell me they made straight A’s in high school and plan to be doctors, lawyers or computer engineers. They sit in the front row and turn in their assignments on time, but then just before the mid-term their attendance gets a little sketchy. They become less engaged in class discussions and start turning in late work! By the time the semester skids to a close the A student is clinging to a C and bargaining for bonus points.  While their appearance on the first day was clean-cut, by the last day they’re wearing tattered sweats
and sunglasses to hide the dark circles–too many sleepless nights—maybe spent studying not partying—it just depends if the A student is still striving or if she’s given up.

I get it.  There are a thousand and one reasons why that thing you were hoping to accomplish didn’t pan out—it turned out to be harder than you thought, required a bit more time and effort than you anticipated. Now you have to regroup and decide whether you want to invest that much of yourself to get it.

How bad do you want it?

Sometimes unforeseen circumstances derail you, take you off course and the thing you’re going for gets pushed farther from your reach. Now you have to wait. But the same question applies: 

 How bad do you want it?

If the goal that we’re after is worth having, there shouldn’t be anything strong enough to keep us from attaining it.  Here we are at the end of another year, but this is not the time to wallow.  This is the time to do what you can. 

If you’re a college student, recognize that this is not high school. There are different expectations, different study habits, different responsibilities. You may have to re-group and try again, but do what you can.

If you’re an adult pursuing a dream, recognize that failure is not the end. There are many pathways to success and myriad ways to accomplish your goals. Fear less. Trust more, but do what you can.

It’s amazing that a 9-year-old could write a bestselling book, but you know how she did it?  By following directions for a class assignment.  She began by simply doing what she could and she did her best. I believe if I just did what I could there’d be room enough for her talent and mine on Amazon’s best seller list. 

I won’t stop pushing. What about you?

Phillipians 4:13

 

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

The Hurricane!

Recently a high school English class read Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 in which he compares his love to a Summer’s Day. Then the teacher asked the students to do likewise–that is, choose someone to write a description about using an analogy.  This high school student chose to write about her sister and I think she did a pretty good job, so I’ve decided to share her piece with you here. Enjoy!

Have you ever been in or experienced a really bad storm? Such as a tornado or hurricane? Tsunami maybe? They’re pretty destructive right? Blowing things away, tearing up stuff, throwing things across the room–just making everything look messy. They’re destructive and can be very harmful. Well, I have a storm that lives in my house. Yes–just down the hallway to the left. She’s 11 years old, loves the color pink and coincidently hates any idea of a storm. She’s my sister,  or as my family likes to call her, “The Hurricane.”

My 11-year-old sister claims she’s princess Rapunzel and she’s an aspiring baker. Even though I hate to admit it, she is a great person with a cool personality, but when it comes to staying organized, she is not your average princess. Her room is always messy with stuff all over the floor. In the kitchen, she finishes dinner and leaves her plate.  You would think she would take special care of someone else’s room when she brings all her stuff in for a visit, but I’m usually tripping over her stuff that she left in MY room because she didn’t pick it up. Honestly. If you leave her in a room by herself with everything she loves, I guarantee that room will look like hurricane Urma came in! She pretty much does everything a hurricane does and I, unfortunately, have to live with it.

Not only is she physically a hurricane, she’s also emotionally a hurricane. Her moods can switch before you can snap your fingers. The slightest thing can make her upset, so be careful– fair warning! She also can be very fiesty.  She’ll lash out at you in a way that is scary, but hilarious at the same time. Just like she destroys our house with her stuff all over the place, she can destroy you with her actions and words. Don’t underestimate her!

Cover Photo credit: pixabay.com

For more student writing check out: Flash fiction: Life’s a Challenge–Face It!

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Keys

Here’s another installment in the Irene Latham iconic images poetry! Tyhara Tyrell is another one of my lovely and talented students who chose this striking image and wondered about the significance and symbolism of keys.

What do your keys unlock?
do they unlock anything at all?
or do you simply like their antique jingle?
why do you have so many?
must you compartmentalize all aspects of your life

into separate boxes…?

are they tangible expressions of the secrets that you keep?
are they there to comfort your fingers when you feel lost?
do they reassure you of yourself

to know you hold the key,
the answers,
the truth,
knowing that they are yours
to share,
to never be used if so you choose,
to never be touched

by any other fingers other than your own.
They are yours.
your secrets,
and you don’t owe us any answers.
You don’t owe us any keys.

-Tyhara Tyrell

Check out my other creative student, Darlyze’s, poem “Woman Enough” and other creative works here on Books & Coffee!

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