Year of a Hundred Things – “Thing” #79 – “Spirituality and Fairy Dust”

[Featured Image by “miss_minn_deviant” of DeviantArt]

I’ve started #79 five times. I couldn’t really get my hooks into anything meaty, and then I spent four weeks on an IT contract, away from home, focused hard on a single problem. Perhaps, the effort to focus at that level exercised my mind. I’m not sure. But as I puttered around the kitchen this morning, making breakfast for my family, I had a single, but repeated theme coursing through my head: religion is destroying spirituality.

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Year of a Hundred Things – “Thing” #80 – Cooking

Before my son was born, my husband and I were avid SVU, CSI and NCIS watchers. We’d binge watch several episodes on the couch after dinner. Just us. It was a routine.

But a funny thing happened after my son was born. Suddenly, I personalized everything I watched on television. Every episode of SVU turned me inside out thinking, God, what if that was my child? The persistent negativity of destruction made me very depressed. Maybe it was the mommy hormones, but it was visceral. So, I stopped watching anything even remotely associated with mayhem and turned to, dare I say it, The Food Network.

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Year of a Hundred Things – “Thing” #82 – “Pinterest”

I remember a couple of years ago when I was begging my friends to “invite” me to Pinterest. I’d like to reach back through time and slap myself for my haste in submitting myself to that level of torture.

Oh, it’s a bittersweet form of torture, without doubt. For hours, I can get lost in the sheer brilliance of the millions of creative minds that contribute to the hoards of content. I stare in wonder and my heart breaks a little thinking I’ll never be that good. It drives me absolutely insane.

Why do I keep going back for more???

Well, inspiration, I guess. I see something, many times something really simple, that inspires me to create something else. It seems to me that all art has to be somewhat derivative. Not fully imitated, but inspired by something the artist found appealing.

So, as much as I am inundated, and often overwhelmed with Pinterest, I am always hopeful that the spark hits my eye and my creativity is satisfied for just one more day.

I know I am not alone in this. I know that it is to a well-membered sorority that I belong.

Hello, I am Lisa and it’s been ten minutes since my last pin. Yes. I feel my shame.

Year of a Hundred Things – “Thing” #83 – “Solitude”

"Solitude"  Copyright Lisa J. Shorts, CPP
Copyright Lisa J. Shorts, CPP
Until I had a child, I had no idea how much I needed solitude. I had always seen myself as social and needing the company of others. I had always sought people I believed were like me, thinking that I’d needed to be part of a group. Turns out, I was wrong and discovering the truth was an interesting revelation. Continue reading

Year of a Hundred Things – Thing #84 – “Green Stuff”

In 1998, I bought a little African Violet for my newly acquired apartment. The only bathroom was tucked away at the top of th stairs, functional and uncomplicated, as they were designed in 1928. The hurricane-proofed, cinder block walls made for a deep window sill in the shower, and here is where I put the 4″ plastic starter pot, overflowing with deep green, velvety leaves and royal purple flowers. 

  African Violets love east/west light. In the right environment, they need little care and they will last years and years. Somehow, I happened upon a plant that is perfectly suited for my pale green thumb. Every time I need to undo some kind of stress, especially that particular type caused by narcissistic, careless humans, I go over to my violets and inspect them. I remove dying leaves. I check the soil to make sure that it is just moist enough. I nervously and reluctantly repot if it is “necked.” And then, when I see them bloom, I breathe deeply a satisfaction that surprises even me. I now have 7 flourishing plants, two of which are the result of my own propagating efforts.

There is a school of thought, a philosophy, even a science called sun gazing. It expresses that idea that we are physiologically connected to the sun and everything that grows from it. It’s a bit new-agey, but to me, it makes sense that we are connected to the planet in a very organic way. That, I surmise, is why tending to and breathing on my violets has such a zen effect on me. Everyone should find some plant with which they connect. It’s good for the soul.

Year of a Hundred Things – Thing #85 – “Speaking in Images”

During his reign, Leopold II had enslaved much of the Congo in order to produce rubber to meet the demand of the newly developed Dunlop tire. Leopold’s overseers were particularly brutal, killing and mutilating even children.

In 1898, young missionary Alice Seely Harris arrived in the Congo Free State – as it was then known – to teach English to the native children. So appalled was she at the corruption and exploitation that she documented it in photographs. For three years, she amassed a collection of imagery that would change policy in the Congo forever. Her photographs were seen all over the world at speaking engagements and in publications. She was the first photographer to harness the power of mass media to promote change.[1]
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Year of a Hundred Things – “Thing” #86, “Island Girl”

Jumping the Waves

My sister sent her DNA into back in December. I was only slightly surprised at the results since I’d been researching our family history for a decade. The report listed ethnicities of which I was already aware and gave percentages that I thought coincided exactly with our origins.

What I found amusing about the report was that it illuminated a fact that had escaped me while listing countries of origin for my ancestors. Nearly ALL of our DNA came from around the Mediterranean and a large majority came from islands, including Sicily, The Canaries and Menorca. Suddenly, I had an explanation for my need to be near water all the time and my ability to tan in the shade.

It makes perfect sense now that I sleep better on or near water than I do anywhere else. Even a simple water feature will do it. But nothing has more pull for me than the beach, which is also the only place on Earth that I awake at the crack of dawn. And it’s not just me. It’s my whole family and all my friends whose families had similar migrations to sunny Florida. Every summer of our lives has been marked with a stay at one of the gulf coast beaches.

There are so many familiar places and traditions that have been borne of these summer days, and now I get to share them with my own child. So, please excuse me now, while I go pack for another relaxing weekend on the water.