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.

The 2010’s: A Decade in Review

Well here we are at the crux of 2019 merging into 2020–and I’m lying in bed with a low grade fever. While others are celebrating a decade ending, I’m binging the final three episodes of Hellier season two. (If you haven’t seen this show yet, you should! It’s AMAZING!) Ah, well. I guess there are worse ways to welcome in the new year. And, frankly, I’d rather be sick on New Year’s than Christmas. Good ol’ stomach issues.

Learning to be more in tune with my body’s limitations has actually been a struggle I’ve dealt with since I was born. Blessed with something my family dubs “The Yankello Stomach,” I suffer from a sensitivity to high oils and fats. When balanced with a healthy diet of other foods–a bland lunch mixed with a rich dinner, for example–then I’m usually all right. But if I indulge a bit too much, then I’m stuck in stomach ache limbo.

Being more in tune with my body is one of the many goals I’m focusing on in 2020 and beyond. I mean, this is the only body I have so I better make it last! Right?

Looking back at this decade, I’ve realized it’s been one full of growth. I can see God’s hands–along with some other Beings–helping shape me into the person I am today. The one with family values, a fascination with the paranormal, weather, and travel, who loves to celebrate storytelling, and who always does her best to respect life and death. The person I was always meant to be. Through pain, discovery, loss, gain; a dualistic tango that led me here, right here, to this very moment.

As Dustin Pari posted on his twitter once:

All in all, I think it’s been a valuable ten years.

In this next decade, I want to focus on fine-tuning myself:

  1. To publish my novel: to hold a physical copy of my book for the first time, smell its pages. (Yes, I’m one of those bibliophiles.) And to continue my character’s stories.
    1. Note: I also want to produce more regular content here and on Youtube.
  2. To keep travelling: to visit old haunts and explore new places.
  3. To feel healthy. I want to feel capable of climbing a mountain. And, especially, I want my back to be stronger. I want to feel stronger.
  4. To learn more about our property: to always show it as much love as it shows us.
  5. To become more involved in the paranormal community: to be more verbal about my theories, my experiences. To help others as I have been helped. And to connect again to my sensitivity.
  6. And, of course, a big one–perhaps one of the most important things a person can do on this world: I want to raise a family. Which is equally excited and terrifying!

I hope you all have a happy 2020. I hope this next year–this next decade–is everything you wish it to be, but that it’s also what you need it to be. Even if it’s unexpected. May it be good. Plain and simple.

What are your resolutions? Your goals for 2020-2029? Let me know in the comments!

Let Me Handle The Rest

WOW! So, I’m 29! Wow!

A year away from 30. Wow.

I mean, I always knew I would reach my late 20’s, but when you’re a teenager, it seems like an impossible feat. Now, here I am: with a secure income, a wedding in the works, and planning out “grown-up things.” (Take a look, little me: it’s not so bad after all!)

This week was the way to start birthday weeks! For one thing, I’ve been slammed with job hunting. Then, lo and behold, by the guidance of God and my Guardians, I’m there! I get the call Monday that I have a job with the local library! The hunt can end! I can move on! The plan is set, the pathway is in motion!

F I N A L L Y!!!

Of course, as is the nature of life, there’s still concerns–some of them pretty major, such as my father’s steadily declining health. Yeah, that’s always on my mind and in my prayers. (Side note: if you all could pray for my family, that would be wonderful!)

But, as for me, myself, and I? I’m doing pretty all right.

It astounds me that all of this fell into place. Not even just for me, but so much more is continuing to settle, that has been years in the making. It all seemed to start after I heard the words of God and my Guardians in my head on Sunday, which had been a stressful day. However, I remain firm in this: it was a challenge because a lot of pent-up negative energy had to be released. It was only when that energy had left the situation that I heard the words:

“Are you doing the best you can? Yes? Then let me handle the rest.

It’s really hard to give the reigns of our life to Beings we don’t even fully comprehend.  That’s been the biggest challenge this year for me. Yes, we have to do the work. We can’t pray and expect gifts to fall in our laps, that’s not how life works. Truly, it’s scary to put your life–your livelihood–in the hands of something unseen, especially when you’re like me: a person who holds on to worry and stress when things are uncertain and wants to control all that she can.

Despite being a Christian and professing that we “put all our worries at God’s feet,” it’s still hard to do when it’s something that could make or break you. It’s hard to relinquish control.

But, really, truly, through all of this, I’ve been reminded that God’s got this. He’s always looking out for us, and molding things out of the paths we journey down; making the best of every situation and teaching us lessons we need to pick up along the way.

Additional lessons that I have learned, or expect to be learning in the near future:

  1. Realizing exactly how frugal I can be. And that’s something I’ve needed to learn for a while now.
  2. Juggling two part-time jobs, my social life, family activities, all while working on my wedding and the completion of my novel. WOO DOGGIE, that’s going to be a doozy!

But, with the help of God and my Guardians, I’ll take it one step at a time, knowing I’m being guided, by them, towards a better future, with more lessons to learn, and more life to experience. I’m looking forward to seeing all the ways I develop, and what new lessons I learn, in this next birth year. I’m going to work hard–I’m going to do the best I can–and I’m going to put my trust in God and my Guardians. They have the rest.

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.

A Shack-Inspired Birthday Reflection

Ever since I saw The Shack this weekend, I haven’t been able to get its themes out of my head. Frankly, would I even want that? Nope. I think it’s great that the story sticks with me so much!

The Shack is a heartfelt story about a man, named Mack, who is lead back to life by God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Literally, they appear in a shack in the woods and spend the weekend with him. Whether you’re Christian or not, it’s a good story that can reground the best of humanity within you: being good to one another, forgiving those who do wrong against you, and spreading love.

Every time I read–or now watch–The Shack, I feel like a child again.

And, especially now in my life, it’s a message I need reiterated to me.

I have found myself, especially in the past, in seemingly hurricane-like chaotic years, not focusing on love–or trusting in God–as much as I really should’ve been doing. Since Choy, my beloved feline companion died, events have transpired that have shaken me. Frankly, they’ve taken me, unwillingly, a bit away from focusing on God. My belief in him has still been strong, of course. It always will be. However, I realize in hindsight that I was going through the motions of living a strong faith; specifically, I focused on my worries rather than putting my trust in Him. It’s amazing how we can get lost in our own battles, and our fears of the future, and forget to put our trust in God–to trust things will work out the best way they should.

Truly, it’s hard to put your trust in something you can’t see. And that’s the theme of The Shack: God is always with you, his love will guide you, just let him show you the way. (Or, for those who prefer, let “her” show you the way.)

This year, as my birthday approached, I’ve been feeling more emotional as of late. Last year, I spent my special day at Cleveland Clinic Main Campus, watching my father go in for melanoma surgery. Mom and I left my dad late that night, after we knew he was safe, settled and the surgery was successful. On the way home, we stopped at Olive Garden and I blew out a candle in an apple crisp dessert.

A simple, small, somewhat melancholic birthday that fell right in place with the rest of 2016.

But it’s not that specific day itself that makes me bittersweet about my birthday, it’s how the year went after dad’s surgery. That landmark moment seemed to catapult my family and I into a variety of stunning developments that grew me into a stronger Katie today. In part, I wish that some things didn’t happen; mom’s brain bleed last April, for example. But, for the most part, I’m happy for how much I’ve grown out of my shell. For example, I’ve found a hidden talent in bookkeeping that I could hone to subsidize my writing career and support my family.

All in all, even if my birthday feels a tad bittersweet, I still remain stubbornly optimistic to see the good that this new birth year brings.

I fervently aim to finish my book and get it out to agents by the time I go to New Orleans, but I am also, now, looking forward to pursuing this bookkeeping career. (If I’m being honest, I wasn’t entirely set on it until now.) I’m excited for Dan, the boyfriend, and I to get engaged and set our combined goals in motion. And I aim, with God’s help, to let my life–and the lives of those around me–be as little stressed as possible. (Especially after the taxes are completed! Hah!)

I impart this wisdom to all of you: hope is never gone, love never leaves, God never deserts you, unless you let it go yourself. As the infamous Dustin Pari says: “#NeverGiveUp!” 

 

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 room. Some people have told me that it’s too cluttered; that it’s good to clear out some wall space. However, while I have had my purging moments and have been deeply satisfied, my walls are truly a reflection of me.

Heck, whenever I change rooms (or houses), I’ll probably cover those walls with quotes too!

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. (See: “Coping With Loss, Partnering With Change” and “Normal vs Abnormal; Recovering and Renewing”)

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.

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.

Normal vs Abnormal; Anxiety or Something Worse?

A flurry.
Inside my chest.
Instead of my heart,
Butterflies.They escape a cage.

Two nights ago I settled down to sleep. Only for that sweet relief to be paused by my heart literally fluttering in my chest for a few seconds. Honestly, I’ve had this happen to me before — it is, in fact, a common thing for all humans — so I waited. My heart went back to its normal rhythm. I thought nothing more of it.
The next morning, I called my doctor with the aim of getting some advice on how to deal with stress. The struggle to get an appointment with my family physician ended with me confessing to chest pressure and heart palpitations. Thusly, the nurse suggested I immediately go to the emergency room.
*sigh*
Although I do realize she had to legally suggest that, I was still frustrated. I knew I wasn’t having a heart attack. I don’t have underlying conditions. My biggest physical problem? A 26 year old girl who is progressively losing her 50 – 60 excessive pounds. I consider myself lucky.
Through a series of pokes, prods, and stickies, the doctor examined me. She stated at the beginning of her evaluation that she, too, thought it was anxiety related, but wanted to check my overall health anyways. She tested me for all the “emergenices”: heart problems via an EKG and X-ray, the possibility of thyroid problems or blood clots via a blood test.
Everything was normal. Perfectly healthy. The doctor prescribed me some temporary anxiety medication to “take the edge off”. She said that it was rare for a 26 year old female with no history of heart disease or ANY underlying conditions at all, to have a heart attack.
Well, at least I walked out of the hospital knowing that I wasn’t going to be surprised by anything. My main concern was the thyroid test. I had been misdiagnosed before with a thyroid disorder and really didn’t want to go down that path again.
As a Spiritual friend told me a couple weeks ago, “You are very sensitive.” She was implying that I was an Intuitive. I think, in some ways, I have always known that. I’ve always been sensitive to the environment around me. Whether it be the emotions of those closest to me, allergies, having a respect of other’s lives before my own, and, of course, my own paranormal experiences.
Honestly, I had a pretty good handle on letting go of stress these past couple months. I was happier. I let it EXPLODE outside my body and never return. However, losing Choy has put my emotions in flux. The loss of my boy struck me, so strong, that it broke me to my foundation. Add my previous worries, whether they be about my future finances and writing career or about two [sometimes] intense anonymous family situations, and it’s no wonder I have anxiety.
This hospital visit was a wake-up call. God telling me to “quit putting off writing, your meditating, your Betterment Development, and–
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(Not saying that Shia is God or anything, but he does have it right.)
So. I work on me. Write. Meditate. Travel. Rebuild.
Father Steve spoke in his Homily this weekend about Mary letting go of her own worries. Of leaving them in God’s hands. What a strong woman! The moral of the story? “Don’t try to control everything.” As Father Steve paraphrased. Follow in Mary’s footsteps: give it to God. He’ll take care of you.
The death of Choy, has, in some ways, left me emotionally vulnerable. I want to hold everything close to me, protect it, and keep my own control involved. Not that I don’t trust God, I always have and always will. But… I guess it’s just a coping mechanism that I need to change.
“A normal reaction.” My doctor said.
Well… let’s work on strengthening my abnormal.

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