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!

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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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.

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 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.

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.

R.I.P. Robin Williams

Well, I was trying to think of something to blog about today…

… guess I didn’t have to look too far…

I logged on to Twitter literally five minutes ago. And I saw this:

I thought: “Okay. There’s a chance this could be fake.”

So I Googled: “Robin Williams dead.”

And… well…

Robin Williams Dead: Beloved Actor Dies In Apparent Suicide

Jeez.

He was one of my most favorite actors. I absolutely loved him as Genie. He was my Captain. My Mrs. Doubtfire. And… my Peter Pan. But the remarkable thing about Robin? I continued to love him as I grew. Which I think is the case for my generation. The ones who started with Aladdin and ended with Night at the Museum.

Whether it was a drama or a comedy, I always looked forward to his films. And in college, I discovered his stand-up comedy routines–that were even more hilarious (although for very mature audiences). And he always brought a smile to my face, and a laugh to my heart.

I will miss you Robin Williams. I did not expect this. No one did. And I’m sorry this happened. I was looking forward to seeing your future endeavors. I always did. And I was hoping to meet you, one day, to say how much I admired you. And laugh about how I couldn’t do comedy… in writing or in acting… because you were the King.

… I think you always will be the King. The King of Comedy, the King of Jesters.

You brought magic to our hearts and souls. And you took some of that with you, when you departed from this world.

May you be flying in Neverland. May you be laughing with the angels. May you be at peace. May you have happiness. May you have adventure. May you have love. I pray for him, and for his family, in this very tough time. I pray for the world. We have all lost someone who was remarkable. Rest in peace.

I’m… I’m going to… I don’t know. Maybe finish watching Psycho. Although my taste for it has diminished.

I leave you with this thought: Isn’t it strange? How we expect people we see on television, or in movies, to remain immortal? Forgetting that they, themselves, are also human?

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