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.

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!

A New Approach to Resolution

A few nights ago I came across a blurb in Women’s Health (by Marta Topran). Basically she was talking about how she’s changed her tactics on new years resolutions: instead of saying “I’m going to lose 30 pounds this year” say something like “I’m going to aim to exercise three times a week.” In short, make progressive goals, not ultimatums. Ultimatums never work.

I found this concept alarmingly simple. Like, in the “why didn’t I think of that?” way.

So, I’ve decided that I’m shaping my life around it: no more long-term ultimatums, no overbearing deadlines. Just progress. Day after day, week after week.

Actually, come to think of it, I’ve already been doing it: I’ve lost a good fifteen pounds this year because I focused on smaller portion sizes and exercising more. And my novel? Well I’m so pleased to say I’m about two-thirds of the way through! All because I didn’t assign myself a date to have it done by. Instead of saying that I was going to have my novel done by Christmas (or some other notable holiday), I’ve been focusing on one simple goal: get two chapters written a week.

HA! I can’t believe I haven’t thought of this until now!

So here are my 2019 goals:

  1. Write two chapters of my novel a week.
  2. Exercise 30 minutes a day.

I feel good about this upcoming year. I feel like some of the things that happened in 2018–especially in the culmination of my father’s passing–have made me a stronger person. I feel more dedicated to my craft. And I feel that I’ve progressed in shaping myself into the person I want to be. I will always hold the lessons from the past, the challenges and joy of the present, and the hope of the future close to my heart. (And my muse!) Thanks for all you taught me, 2018.

For now, I’m buckling down and finishing this novel!

Get ready! It’s coming!

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Happy new year to all of you! I hope you are blessed in 2019.

Sincerely,

Katie L. Mortimer.


For a fun time, check out my list of favorite TV shows and movies I caught in 2018:

TV shows I’ve binge-watched (you know, outside of my usual binges):

  1. Blue Bloods
  2. Madam Secretary
  3. Gravity Falls
  4. Stranger Things
  5. The Kominsky Method

In fact, check out these blog posts I made earlier this year: Favorite TV: Blue Bloods and Favorite TV: Stranger Things!

Fun note: the husband started showing me Gravity Falls this week. (HOW HAVE I NOT WATCHED THIS SHOW?) I currently have its theme song on repeat.


Movies that I want to watch over and over again:

  1. Bohemian Rhapsody
  2. Bumblebee
  3. Ralph Breaks the Internet
  4. Christopher Robin
  5. Black Panther
  6. Incredibles 2

(Note: I have yet to see Mary Poppins Returns, but I’m sure it’s fantastic!)

Going off of Bohemian Rhapsody, my whole family has been obsessed with the soundtrack that accompanies the album. Here’s the thing: it’s actual Queen singing actual songs! Including the amazing Live Aid 1985 recordings. If there was a moment I could go back in time for, it would be to hear Freddie Mercury sing live.

“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 Dungeons and Dragons adventure (he loves that game) and, at some point, I was kidnapped.

In this reality, I have actually been home 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 my 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 bookkeeping to complete, 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*

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 Writer’s Guide to Impending Holiday Interruptions

Well, ladies and gents, I cannot believe it’s December! Honestly, I wish life would move slower–it seems to have picked up pace and left little time for my writing, again. That, and we here in Wooster have yet to see snowfall cover the ground, which adds to the citywide disbelief that the Christmas season is upon us.

Yet time keeps racing forward. I know I feel bogged down when the iconic Willy Wonka quote repeats in my head:

“So much time, so little to do–wait–

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It’s even worse when it’s on automatic replay. Then I know my mind is trying to calm the impending stress-out: “It’s the Christmas season,” It says. “It’s going to be busy. Do your best and regroup in January.”

So I try to take it one day at a time this December; get as much done as I can, try to keep promises.

One of the most common pieces of writing advice I come across goes something like this:

“You will get interrupted. The key is to write every day; whether it’s 100 words or 3,000.”

However, the unexpected events seem to throw that plan out the window.

Leading up to Thanksgiving, we at the Mortimer household were thrown into another jumble; emotions included. I’m not talking about the holiday or dad’s birthday, but our love of the household, Vito. Vito passed on from this world on November 28th, two days after Thanksgiving. For me, his passing was bittersweet: it was a sadness to say goodbye to a loving friend and yet also a kind of relief. He had suffered from diabetes for the majority of his seven years. To see him be at peace from the vet appointments and twice-daily injections, to hold a strong belief that he’s romping around Heaven’s meadows with Choy, gave me hope…

… but I still couldn’t concentrate on my writing. While my outward facade consisted of peace and prayer, inwardly, my thoughts couldn’t gather. Every time I sat at the computer last weekend, my mind would not settle, my concentration: static awareness. So, instead, I sat working on my Christmas presents.

Now I’m progressing smoothly through my crafts, determined to give homemade gifts this year rather than store bought. It saves on money and is a great meditative tool. Maybe I’ll make a stock of scarves, gloves, dish towels and washcloths and put them on Etsy for you all to buy? We shall see!

In any case, the goal of this Christmas season is to not stress about the interruptions it might bring; to continue to write, as much as possible, with the time I have. Oh, and also, not to overthink my future goals.

Just take it one day at a time.

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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.

Coping with Loss; Impermanence at its Best.

Let’s see. It’s been:

  • 3.5 months since leaving Dollar Tree
  • 1.5 months since New Orleans
  • 1 month since the work on the property commenced
  • And… one week since my kitty died.

This summer has been a flurry of emotions. Some excitement, some sorrow. Eventful, to say the least.

Last Monday, my bathroom’s remodel was completed… and arborists started to cut down our Blue Spruce trees.

However, the big shocker came with this beautiful boy:

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I still… I can’t believe he’s gone. He was seven years old and full of vibrancy. By 11:30 that night, he had passed on.

The first 24 hours were brutal. I slept, only from sheer exhaustion. I had been hysterical for almost four hours. He was my boy, I was planning on grooming him later that week, taking him to the vet to get a lump checked, cuddling with him every night, seeing him the next morning, and just like that… GONE. No signs. Just a groan and then, like that, he was with God.

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The act of change, of death, brings into question my own mortality. Sure, I’ve lost family members (some also canine, rabbit, and feline). However, never has one hit me this hard. Usually, and not out of disrespect, I say “I know they’re happy. So I’m going to continue. I will one day see them again.” Because I believe that.

Choy was different, though. He was an unexpected blessing to my life, and left so suddenly. He was, in no truer words than my brother’s, “A gentle giant.” He was such a force to my own heart that sometimes I now think “But I don’t want to wait to see him again. I want him back!”

I always understood death. A friend of mine complimented me, when I talked about death in a college lecture, that I “had a maturity about death.” I still believe this is true… but I also believe that there’s that one death that knocks us down — derails us — and we have to fight, for a long time, maybe even every day for the rest of our lives, to keep going.

I still look to the positive.

That helps. It always will. It’s my method of coping.

  • I know Choy is happy. So I will be happy for him and continue on. However, I will never forget him.
  • I loved my old bathroom. However, I’m excited to experience this new one.
  • The Blue Spruces were a tragedy. However, a beautiful Oak was discovered in the middle of the decay. She now has a chance at life… and will soon have a few brothers, sisters, and cousins surrounding her.

Within the last couple days, mom and I sat down and watched a beautiful 1993 film called “Little Buddha” with Keanu Reeves and Bridget Fonda. Basically a movie where this American boy and two Indian children are thought to be reincarnated souls of Lama Norbu’s teacher, Lama Dorje. The plot is woven around the origin story of Siddharta, who later becomes The Buddha himself.

Through this movie, I learned the concept of Impermanence. Wikipedia explains it as such:

“Impermanence is one of the essential doctrines or three marks of existence in Buddhism. The term expresses the Buddhist notion that all of conditioned existence, without exception, is transient, or in a constant state of flux.

More can be read about it here, via Urban Dharma: “The Buddhist Concept of Impermanence”

Death is imminent. Loss is a given. Change is constant. And, for some strange reason, that gives me comfort. Maybe because I know that, in this world, we are always in movement. Even when we try not to be. The world beyond, the afterlife, Heaven, is what awaits. Peace. Adventure. Freedom from life’s restrictions.

Choy, I will always miss you, always remember. I’m glad you’re happy. That you’re playing with loved ones over there. And I am glad you are without pain. Check in on us from time to time, ok? I know I’ll be checking in on you.

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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