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.

Current Status: In Love with American Gods

Oh my good lord I am in love with American Gods!

Well, ok, let’s be frank here: it doesn’t take much to get me excited about Neil Gaiman. I know I’ve exclaimed my love for Josh Gates on this blog in the past; Gaiman is my author version. Meaning, he’s my most favorite author. Hands down.

Gaiman’s always surprising me in each new story that I read–and making me chuckle at some of the descriptions he weaves together. His characters are always colorful and unique, generally with some element of sass and innocence thrown in. (I adore sass!)

Furthermore, his plot catches me by surprise, especially the endings, which is a hard thing thing to do anymore. And his world-building is so phenomenally complex.

Basically me, after I finish a Gaiman story:

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But American Gods!

American Gods takes it to a whole new level!

I mean, I finished American Gods last week and I’m still obsessed with it! In fact, I am currently blasting my way through Anansi Boys because I want to soak in so much more of this world Neil Gaiman has created.

One of the biggest reasons I’m so intrigued by American Gods is because it takes world cultures and mythology and places them in a universe where gods and supernatural beings really exist. Those kinds of stories are always huge draws for me.

In fact, my own novel series operates on a similar kind of platform; one where angels, ghosts, and other beings walk freely among us. (Although the difference with my series is that these entities are free to be themselves, while in American Gods, the gods are incognito.)

Another thing I love about American Gods is how delightfully gritty it is. I adore gritty, no-holds kind of stories. James Patterson, Stephen King, the later Harry Potter books, The Hunger Games. The stories that chill you right down to the core. The ones that get right down to the primal nature of things, where there’s truly nothing to hold back.

Side note: I realized this the other day when the boyfriend and I were talking about whether American Gods or Anansi Boys were our favorites. He enjoys storylines that are goofier and less lurid, while I like reading and writing darker things. With exceptions, of course. (His “job” as my editor is going to be very challenging! *snerk snerk*)

All in all, I absolutely recommend American Gods. Whether you enjoy fantasy or more “realistic” narratives, the book fits all types of people’s interests. I’m not surprised it’s a bestseller.

Just, be warned, it’s an adult book. There’s a character called Bilquis who, well…

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You get the idea.

For a more visual feel, catch the Starz trailer for American Gods (premiering April 30th):

I cannot wait for more Mad Sweeney!!!

Another side note: I love how involved the cast and crew have been with Neil’s story. It’s always really cool to see those who are adapting the work make an effort to include the creator in some way.

Take care, fangirls and fanboys.

Remember: it doesn’t matter if people agree with your views or not, you just need to be yourself, express your passions, and be respectful and love one another. BE. YOU!

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!” 

 

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