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!

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. 

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.

Meeting My Guardian Angel

As I write, the arborists are taking down another set of Blue Spruces trees. In the midst of all of them, there are some healthy ones too. There’s this one tree they have yet to take down. I labeled him the “chair” tree. Its base curved in its growth, causing it to appear like a chair.

Sigh. I think it’s next on the list. I was hoping they would keep it. (Edit: they did not.)

My spine tenses as I hear the saws work. I can see just a corner of the patch they are cutting. No. Clearing.

Choy’s sister, Wella, is rubbing, lovingly, against my shoulder as I type.

Zadkiel, my Guardian Angel, is speaking words of comfort. Almost continuously.

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Last year I was coasting: spiritually, and, in some ways, with my book. I remember I wrote a lot of my book — inspired by Midwest Writers. But… something was missing. There was a disconnect. My book focused largely on angels, but I didn’t know if I was portraying them accurately. If I was writing what I should be writing.

And then, last August, I met my Guardian Angel. After months of praying to God that I could talk to him (or her), be friends, learn. Remarkably, I did. Amazingly, he’s been around my whole life. Waiting. Helping. Guiding. Protecting.

This past year has been absolutely amazing. It’s been a year of renewal and remodeling. Zad’s shown me so much. Every day I see more — experience more. My mind has been opened… sometimes to things I was afraid of doing before. But knowing that he’s there, that I’m protected, I feel like I can finally learn. And my book is becoming something powerful. Something that might inspire, help, change, make people think. Which is what I’ve wanted from the beginning: to help and inspire.

The trees being taken down, yes, it’s very, very hard to watch. But through hardships one can learn. Sometimes through things we can’t bear, God educates us, leads us to a better life. Even if it means taking it down and starting over.

Next year, after the Blue Spruce’s air has cleared, we are going to plant new life. My mom wants to plant a circle of Redwoods, surrounding a carefully tended, brand new, Blue Spruce. Coincidentally enough, that is almost an exact copy of The Fur Circle in my novel. Mom didn’t even remember.

“Further evidence that it’s meant to happen.” Mom said, referencing both the trees and my novel.

This is just the start. While we may not understand what is happening here, in the present, one day we’ll look back from the future and see the lesson. See what we were meant to newly understand. I look back now and feel blessed that I am one of the individuals who have opened their mind to wonder. That I have learned new things about the world around us, and the multiple worlds that lay beyond. I get the feeling that the world is changing. Spiritually, for the better. That something amazing is coming. That one day we will look beyond our daily needs and focus on bettering each other, the environment around us. Maybe, in that sense, the Mayans were right.

I can’t wait to see what happens.

“Have faith.” As my grandmother would say.

I will.

Hello Spring!!

There have been some AMAZINGLY WONDERFUL Spring developments here at the Mortimer house (affectionately titled “Monte Azul” by my mom). Through this blog I will probably be posting about nature-type-stuff too, in addition to my novel and… just random things. Yeah, nature will be another one of those random things. Considering I live in the middle of a forest.

If you live in one of those, and love it, and want to always be there, how can you not love nature? (Things about nature I DO NOT LOVE: wasps, yellow-jackets, spiders, deer flies, ticks, mosquitoes. Honey Bees and can stay. They’re cute and fuzzy and help things grow.)

ANYWAYS sorry. Speaking of cute and fuzzy, some landscapers here pointed out that we have BABY OWLS LIVING IN A DEAD TREE in our ravine.

Yes. You read correctly. CUTE. BABY. OWLS. BAAAABIEEES. Omg.

Literally my reaction:

A few days earlier I had come from a… *sarcasm is evident* wonderfully wonderful day at work *end sarcasm* … and I saw two black birds chasing one of our resident owls around the ravine (there are two, used to be three) and trying to fight them off. I drove up to the edge of the ravine, stopped my car, got out, slammed the door, and made as much noise as possible verbally and physically to get them away. The owl landed and looked at me. Kind of grateful but cautious at the same time.

“There you go. You’re okay.” I said to the owl and drove up to the remaining 20-ish feet of our drive to the house.

Fast forward to yesterday where my mom calls me on the phone on my way to work.

Mom: “Katie! Katie! The most amazing thing has happened!!”

Me: *alarmed* “What Mom??! Oh and by the way, thank you for the mini-heart attack.”

Mom: “Katie, you are truly Mother Earth! You were protecting the owls babies when you chased off the black birds!”

Me: “WHAT??! We have babies??!!”

And I proceed to fangirl and annouce it on Facebook.

So, naturally, today I want to share this ADORABLE picture of one of the babies! Mom says that they’re a good luck charm, and I believe that’s true.

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