2020: Beauty in Imperfection

December 31: the one day where humankind as a whole reflect on the memories made and lessons learned during the year. I’m sure we can all say that 2020 was a doozy, thanks to COVID. But I do hope some good things happened to you along the way–whether those moments be small or big. For me, this year was a surprise blessing

Are there things that aggravate me at times about the restrictions we have? Sure. I miss seeing friends in person, and would love to stop panicking every time I forget a mask when I open the door. Most of all, I yearn for the day where we can wander freely in public again. Especially when the husband and I want to partake in our favorite tradition of dinner and a a trip to the movie theater. Or when Mom and I want to spontaneously go out to lunch, or take part in our annual trip to the Hallmark store. (And don’t even get me started on how much I miss Barnes and Noble!)

Yet, despite all the things I could complain about, I’ve found myself in almost a miracle situation. Because of COVID, my workplace closed in March, I was furloughed in May, and by autumn I was unable to return. It caused the husband, Mom, and I to talk. It caused us to conclude that, blessedly, I could stay home. I could write full-time. I could catch up on projects that have long endured the cobwebs of time. And… we could even start a family.

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So here I am, reflecting on 2020 and I can honestly say my heart is lighter. I have hope; I am exactly where I want to be. Sure, I miss my colleagues and the children I interacted with at the library. But I know I’ll see them again, as a patron who has her own little one running around the department. And I know all the restrictions we have are temporary. So, I’m going to make the most of my time, finish this manuscript, and get it into the hands of an agent, then a publisher. (And pray when it’s all out of my control!)

A lesson I’m going to take with me into 2021 is to try and let things develop as they will–to go with the flow. To not hold on tightly, trying to every little detail in my life and those around me. Especially with a little one on the way, I can’t be a perfectionist anymore. Things will not go as planned. I will be interrupted. The day will get away from me. And there will be days where writing just isn’t possible, for whatever reason that may be.

Along those lines, I want to share with you a quote–a mantra–that came out of my mind. It helps me remember that imperfection is okay:

“The beauty is in the imperfection.”

– Katie L. Mortimer.

So go out there with a lighter heart. Notice the imperfections of life; let them give you a smile, make you feel at peace. Take advantage of this time where the world stops. Make 2021 your own. And when COVID is over, breathe the free air and don’t take a second of your life for granted.

Blessings to you all. Happy New Year!

Carry On, Wayward Son

Almost ten years ago, I began to binge-watch a show featuring two brothers who drove a ’67 Impala and battled supernatural forces. Haunted houses, demons, angels, old gods, human spirits, cannibals, and so much more; the boys versus the darkness we so fear to tread. Leading the way. Saving us from apocalypse after apocalypse. All while continuing to be there for each other.

And now that show is coming to an end.

Supernatural has been there through the most chaotic periods of my life. Not only when I was freshly graduated from college and trying to figure out where I go next, but also during my father’s long illness. The Winchester brothers and their adventures have been a blessed relief for not only me, but my mom, during our darkest, most anxious and stressful time.

It has also been a leading factor of my connection in the paranormal community. It inspired a friendship that has lasted for years, as well as being a driving factor for me to research spirituality, urban legends, mythology, and other walks of life.

Put simply: I would not be the same person without Supernatural.

Which is why it is so heart-wrenching to see it end. I only hope for a peaceful resolution for the Winchesters. Maybe the last minutes will be something akin to what Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles imagined: the boys driving down the road, continuing on their adventures, still “saving people, hunting things.”

Thank you to Eric Kripke for bringing this show to life. I hope, one day, I will be able to follow you and create something so unbelievably amazing in my own writings–maybe even a TV show. Thank you to the cast: team free will, the guest stars, the recurring ones, and everyone in between. And thank for to the others: the crew, the producers, showrunners, directors, etc.

God bless you all in your future pursuits. I look forward to seeing them.

Carry on, wayward son.

Remember to Look at the Stars

Do you ever have bouts of anxiety that never seem to stop? You resolve one worry–oh I’m so glad I remembered I get paid tomorrow!–only for another to body-slam itself into the forefront–but what about that basement toilet that needs fixing? 

I seem to be the queen of these kind of thoughts. Especially nowadays with the COVID-19 pandemic, the general unrest of social media, and the doom-and-gloom of the news. If left unchecked, it’s the perfect storm for uncertainty and stress; a nightmare where everything appears to be falling apart at the seams.  

Last night, that familiar territory began again: Will COVID ever end? Is the US in decline? Will social media ever calm down? What if my novel never gets published? What will our future look like for our kids? If we start trying for a family now, will it be safe?  

Then I looked up at the stars.

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Everything stopped. I could hear frogs groaning, birds chirping, feel the coolness of the night on my skin. And I stared at the stars. They blinked down upon me. I knew that none of my worries mattered in that moment; they were insignificant. 

The anxiety stopped. It went to sit in that corner and think about what it had done. 

Sometimes we get so bogged down by our fears that we forget to listen. We forget that other humans are our partners, brothers and sisters, in this walk of life. We ignore the wise words of whatever Being we believe guides us. Unintentional, but it happens. I’ve experienced it many times, firsthand. 

So here’s my advice to you, dear reader: remember to stop and look at the stars. Take a breath, wave to a friend. (When COVID dissipates–because it will–make it a hug.) Step away from social media when the world seems too heavy. Read a book, watch a favorite show, play a game. Pet your furry companion, if you have one. 

We are all climbing this mountain together.  None of us are alone. 

“I was given something wonderful, something that changed me forever… A vision of the universe that tells us, undeniably, how tiny, and insignificant and how… rare, and precious we all are! A vision that tells us that we belong to something that is greater then ourselves, that we are not… that none of us are alone!”
– Jodie Foster, Contact. 

This Too Shall Pass

Here I sit, in my bed, typing away, on Quarantine Day 7.

Don’t worry. I don’t have COVID-19. At least I’m pretty sure I don’t.

For the past 24 hours, I’ve been having strange symptoms: a general unease mixed with a tightness square in the center of my chest that comes and goes. I saw a homeopathic doctor who told me I have bacterial bronchitis; not anything viral and probably brought on by the damp weather, mixed with allergies. Still, I’m doing to responsible thing and isolating myself from the husband and my mother, only allowing Boo a few head-scratches and Pippy to lay next to me. You know, just in case.

I’ve really been thinking about how much our mindframes have changed since that first case in Wuhan, China. How rapidly our world has become something akin to a disaster movie. Last week, in fact, I was being told that it would be my last day at the library “until further notice.” Looking around at my colleagues, I had become so emotional, realizing I didn’t know when I would see them next.

That’s what we’re all faced with: an uncertainty of how long this all will go on.

Today, I found hope. I rediscovered my strength. All thanks to a little book called Rediscovering The Saints by Matthew Kelly.

“We are capable of so much more than we think. You have no idea what you are capable of. None of us do. God is constantly trying to open our eyes to the amazing possibilities that he has enfolded in our being.” 

Whether you’re Catholic, nondenominational, pagan, or other, these are words to  remember in this stressful time.

Remember: you are strong. Believe that we’ll get through this. That, someday soon, all this craziness will be something in history books, a story we can tell future generations with an air of thankfulness that it’s finally over.

Trust in God, in the current of impermanence that flows in our universe.

This too shall pass.

Welcome to 30!

Yes, oh yes! You’ve read that right: I’m 30! Long gone are my 20’s, now makes room for a whole new decade of adventure and discoveries!

There’s a lot of connotation about turning 30. In our society–especially in pop culture–it seems to be something to dread: our 20’s are at an end, the partying is done, now we have to grow up and be responsible.

My mom quoted an interview that Madonna gave when she turned 30. When the iconic diva was asked about turning 30, the interviewer probably thought “Oh. This will be so dramatic! She’s going to hate this question!” but they were shocked at Madonna’s response. “Frankly, I’m relieved.”

To me, that is exactly how I feel: 30 isn’t about being scared to turn old, it’s about the excitement of the decade to come. Sure, I have more aches and pains that I didn’t have when I was in my teens. But that’s solved easily.

No. On the eve of my birthday, I felt the distinct clap of a book being shut. To me, each decade is a new book in the series of my life. I look forward to seeing what I accomplish in my 30s, taking the lessons of my 20s with me. It was a hard decade full of many struggles and sleepless nights, whether due to studying abroad in England or the all-nighters taking care of my ailing father. I don’t take any of those experiences for granted. I’m proud of who I’ve become. And I can’t wait to see what happens! I want to get to the peak of my physical health, and, most immediate and important: becoming fully-fledged, published author.

I just need to get this book done first!

Speaking of, away I go to the cave. Radio silence initiated. See you guys on the other side.

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Favorite TV: Blue Bloods

Back when dad was in a facility–mom, dad, and I would sit down and watch Blue Bloods. We would leave the TV on for him as he slept, tuned to ION Television. (Dad loved watching crime dramas and that station always had something good on!)

Then, mom and I sat down with him. Gradually, we became immersed in the lives of the Reagan family, a distraction for our own chaos that was happening at that time.

We became engrossed in Jamie’s journey as he went undercover with a crime family. We held our breath when Erin was almost raped and tortured by that serial killer. And Danny? Well, I just love his spunk, more and more in every episode.

But my favorite character? Frank Reagan.

That speech, up there, is one of the many reasons why I love this character: he’s very straightforward, to-the-point, he is honorable, a rock to his family (and his family is a rock to him), and, of course, he is a man who you do not want to piss off. He exudes all of these qualities.

Also, my dad had a very similar disposition to Frank, so I’m very easily drawn to him.

There is one descriptor that I would associate with Blue Bloods: strength.

The show is strong: strong characters with firm family values and it has a steadily growing, consistent plotline. I have trouble finding any holes to poke in this show. And, because of it’s solid family values–something I’ve grown up with myself–I’m always anxious to watch another episode.

Blue Bloods is one of the best shows out there. Hands. Down.

I can’t wait to see what happens next episode!

“Wedding, A Wedding, We’re Going to Have A Wedding!”

WELL that’s certainly something I didn’t expect!

Full disclosure: I just finished listening to my fiancee’s voicemail. He is entirely smashed, drunk, silly, and out of his mind! The only thing I know about this bachelor’s party is that it has been crafted as a LARP-like Dungeons and Dragons adventure (he loves that game) and, at some point, I was “kidnapped.” Not in real life, of course. I’m actually writing this from the comfort of home, where I’ve been hard at work prepping for our wedding in t-minus six days!

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YES!!

SIX

FREAKING

DAYS!!!!

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*breathes in, breathes out*

In six days, I’ll be walking down the aisle and taking this silly goofball, caring soul, and intelligent nerd of a man as my “lawfully wedded husband.” In six days, I will declare with joy “to have and to hold him, for rich or for poor, in sickness and in health.”

And I’m totally excited!!

And nervous.

But not a bit apprehensive, for I do love my future husband.

All the freaking out I’m doing? Not in response to marrying him, no; it’s only because I have so much I want to get done in six days! Not all of them are wedding-related things: I have cleaning and packing to do, and three submissions I want to write to Chicken Soup for the Soul (Because I’m a complete masochist and writing is my life!)

*DEAL WITH IT face*

But in all honesty, I’m excited to be getting married. I love my future husband–more than I’d ever dream I could love someone–and I can’t wait to be his, or him to be mine. I’m eager to see what the future brings for both of us. I know there will be hard at times, but we will be able to get through it because we have a good support system in each other (and our families).

God bless all you married couples out there.

I will see you on the other side of the ceremony!

*runs off to complete more pre-wedding stuffs like a crazy person*

A Story About Spirits

“It has been a difficult week.”

It seems that those words have left my mouth much too often the past few years; there have been a lot of struggles, whether it be through deaths, life changes, concerns for the future… the list really is endless.

This Tuesday marks the week anniversary of Sir William Oliver’s passing. He was our last Golden Retriever of a long line of five dogs. (His legacy will be carried on through Brutus, who is adored by his human, my cousin Jon.) I realized, though, that this was the first time in my life there hasn’t been a canine in my household. It’s a sad thing; no more large scampering paws on tile floor, random barking that signals a potty break, or trying to navigate the kitchen without plummeting to the floor due to the sleeping body right in front of the refrigerator.

I know it’ll be a long time before I have another dog in my life. Our Goldens were just that: golden. They were loving dogs that never asked for anything in return, but we gave it to them because they were a part of our hearts. Yes, there was the random annoyance of cleaning deer poop out of their hair after they romped through the woods, and poison ivy was always a possible side-effect of their hugs, but we did it anyways because we loved them with all our hearts.

It’s been a week and I seem to be coming out of my mourning; instead I am celebrating the lives of Scuttle, Goldie, Jewel, Baby, and Oliver that touched us deeply. They are no longer suffering. Instead, they’re on the other side, their presence always around us, supporting us, loving us, being there when we cry.

If we listen quietly, we can witness their spirits thriving–feel their breaths on our face, hear their scampering paws, and, for a split moment, try to catch ourselves as we almost trip, seeing, for a moment, a large golden body lying on kitchen floor in front of the refrigerator.

Our loved ones are never gone. They’re in the reality that we will, one day, reach as well. This life is temporary and, sometimes, full of pain. But it’s also filled with blessings; furry, fuzzy, human, canine, feline, or other joys that make this journey magical.

Love makes life worthwhile.  It’s why we’re here; to learn, to love, to try, to fail, to get back up again. Love is God, the Creator, the source of the Universe.

I love you, Sir William Oliver. Say hi to the gang and tell them I love them all. And I will try to love others, as you so selflessly loved me.

Rest. In peace.

The Best Journeys

If you’ve ever taken a moment to pause one of my YouTube videos, you’ll find I have a lot of sayings floating around my room.

Literally.

Roald Dahl’s quotation of “Watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you…” perches on the wall to my left as I type, while Josh Gates and Tom Hiddleston sayings flash above my mirror in the early afternoon sunlight. And that’s only scratching the surface of my decorated four walls! Whether they’re artwork or sayings from TJ Maxx, paintings friends have crafted, or a mural pieced together by my own hands, each piece of decoration on my wall has its own purpose, its own story to tell.

God, I love being in my office. Some people have told me that it’s too cluttered, that it’s good to clear out some wall space–and every now and then I do. However my walls are truly a reflection of me. And it makes this room my sanctuary.

This month, a box quote that occupies the windowsill behind my laptop is particularly reaching out to me. I see it every day; it inspires me not only in adventure but in life.

“The best journeys answer questions you didn’t even think to ask.”

This quote is what I would pick to describe my most recent years. There have been some good, adventurous, life changing moments… and some that have been absolute crap. But all of them have answered questions that I didn’t even think to ask in the first place.

Funny how God works, isn’t it?

This Monday, actually, was an anniversary for me. Two years ago, I started talking to my guardian angel (Zadkiel) and really opened up spiritually. And that’s when things started making sense. It was kind of like a puzzle; I found answers to some weird stuff that happened to me in the past, I gained more confidence in who I was–and in my soul and spirituality–and the pieces all clicked together.

In turn, I started to see the magic in the world around me and I stopped wishing I was somewhere else.

Yes, I did actually have moments in my life where I prayed to God that he would whisk me away to places like Middle-Earth or other alternate realities where I could hang out with characters I loved. Where I could adventure, romance, and just escape the responsibilities of our world. Even at the expense of my own family.

But, now, in the present, I really do love our world, and I’m eternally grateful that I do. I love to explore it, whether through travel or spiritual work. (That’s where I find the magic; the best in human kind.) It’s not solely black and white. You can do something so much deeper than a 9-to-5 job and pay bills. We’re here on this Earth to do important; to love, to live, and maybe even to leave a legacy behind. God has put us all here for a reason, it’s up to us to find it and persevere.

The answers will unveil themselves as long as you’re open to them.

Elton Pope from Doctor Who said it best:

“When you’re a kid, they tell you it’s all… grow up. Get a job. Get married. Get a house. Have a kid, and that’s it. But the truth is, the world is so much stranger than that. It’s so much darker. And so much madder. And so much better.”

There’s so much to explore! There’s so many journeys to be had! We only have one life to live, what are you waiting for?

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Love, Katie

A Year Of Rebuilding; Choy’s Death Day

This time last year, I was a complete mess: my kitty, Choy, whom I had grown completely in love with, passed away unexpectedly.

I was not only broken emotionally, but physically and spiritually as well. It took a good couple weeks to stop feeling a pressure in my chest, a good few months until I started exercising again, and only recently have I renewed my confidence in my spiritual practice. Although, the thing is with this kind of loss, it will never really leave. I will carry it until I die, and I’m happy to do so; that’s how much of an impact Choy made on me.

Frankly, I do miss Choy every single day, but I take comfort knowing that he’s in Heaven, pain free, romping and playing with his brother and our other family members. One day I’ll even join him.

But my job isn’t done here on Earth. Frankly, it’s still only beginning. I still have things to do, people to help, stories to write!

Honestly, I’m proud of the growth of strength I continue to see in myself every day. Sure, I’m not invincible; there are still times where my anxiety takes over and I second guess myself.

A few months back, a distant friend of mine offered me these words of encouragement:

Motto #1: “Don’t let the bastards get you down!”
Motto #2: “The tough times are what define us.”

I cannot begin to express my awe and gratitude at receiving these words at that point in my life; they were exactly what I needed to hear. Mom, dad, and I had a lot of challenges hit us all at once in the first few months of 2016. Ones that we never saw coming.

I firmly believe now that, in a way, we needed these events to happen. Too long had we been at a standstill, too long had I been mourning; we needed to be jolted out of our rut and thrust back into living. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I really, really wish that some of these events hadn’t happened. But, like my friend said, they truly defined us… they truly showed me the kind of person I am, what I need to work on, and where my true values lie.

So, don’t let a horrible circumstance get you down. Eventually you’ll find your way out of it–maybe not as quickly as we’d want, but the Universe has a way of sending us what we need. God is always watching over us and just waiting for us to ask for help. I know I wouldn’t have gotten through Choy’s death, these new circumstances, or anything that might surprise me in the future without Him. And Zad. And new friends, old, and family members.

It’s only life after all.

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