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*

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 Quick Autumn Catch-Up

Hello, all those out there on the interwebs and happy First Day of Autumn! It truly has been a long time since I’ve written on this blog, and I’ve definitely missed it! Things have been crazy; as I mentioned in “OSR 2017, Amongst Other Things!” the boyfriend has now turned fiancee!

YES! I KNOW!

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Truly, truly, it is a nutty, but good time! Frankly, I never knew how complicated planning a wedding could be, especially when I’m trying to launch my writing and bookkeeping careers! Lordy!

Furthermore, there are some things in the works–wedding and random–that will be life changing by the end of the year. I truly pray they work out for the best.

Speaking of writing, I am very pleased with how my technique is progressing, even if life tends to keep me from my office more than I’d like. There are some really good, concrete things happening in my novel and I do hope to be sharing it with you, soon! (Alas, if only money wasn’t an issue; I would write full-time in my pajamas and get my book out there faster! Wouldn’t that be wonderful?)

So, not that I’m trying to make excuses, but I adore you, dear readers, and I don’t want you to even imagine that I might’ve abandoned you all. I will see you soon. The next blog post won’t be too far off!

Have a happy, cool, crisp Fall, one and all!

I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO WEARING MY SWEATERS AGAIN!

Exciting News! (+ OSR 2017)

I will tell you: things are so chaotic right now, I feel like I can’t catch up! Honestly, part of a reason for this is because I was sick this week, but it was worth it because my longtime boyfriend Dan and I got ENGAGED!! 


View this post on Instagram

 

So… A thing happened today!!! #engaged #bfturnedfiance #thefutureisbeautiful

A post shared by Katie L Mortimer (@katielmortimer) on

Yes! We did!! My mind is in a mix of rejoicing and daydreaming about our near-future lives as newlyweds.

However, I have so many things going on before we take our vows next year: working on my career, losing the rest of my weight, and other things.

One of those “other things” is attending Ideal Event’s gathering at Ohio State Reformatory this weekend. I’m honestly excited to experience the haunted prison at a different time of the year (the previous three events there have been held in May, not August). I expect the vibes will be awesomely different for multiple reasons.

First off, it’ll be close to fall, which is always the time of year I feel more energized, both physically and spiritually. Second, because of this, the event will be taking place a month before the prison shuts down for their annual haunted house–this year dubbed “Escape from Blood Prison!” Personally, I’m wondering if it’ll have an affect on the ghosties or not. Surely, because there are some intelligent haunts, it’s possible they could pick up on the change of seasons? Who knows. The experience will tell!

All in all, I’m excited to see what will happen. I’m especially excited to be investigating with Steve Gonsalves and Dave Tango again–although I am a little curious as to why they were the only celebs that came back this year.

HOWEVER, in addition to their awesome selves, we will also get a lecture about the history of the Ohio State Reformatory! I’m very giddy about that as well; even though I’ve researched a lot into the infamous prison, I still want to see if I’ll learn something else!

We’ll see how the night goes. See you all soon!

A City of Many Colors

It’s funny how quickly time passes, especially when you get older. Here we are, headed back to New Orleans yet again! (It’ll be the fourth time for me!) Apparently, it’s going to be an adventure getting down there; tropical storm Cindy made landfall yesterday and the system is headed up here to Ohio. We’ll see if our plane gets delayed or not. Hopefully it won’t be cancelled!

Earlier I had a gent who was replacing my windshield wipers ask me what I love most about New Orleans. I always have trouble pinning down something specific in answer to those questions, but I would say, simply, I love the vibes. As a country gal with a back-door Catholic upbringing, I am not all I seem. I’m always pushing myself, headed on the next adventure; I embrace my eccentric spirit wholly, and, I like to think, people like that about me. I am myself.

And that is what New Orleans is; she is herself, there is no other way to describe her. She embraces the creepy and weird, the adventurous, the musical, the artistic, the mystical, and makes no apologies about what experiences you may have. She is colorful, extreme, fantastical, and a city with her own thing going. I love every bit of her!

This year, I’ll absolutely explore my usual haunts: Cafe Du Monde–BEIGNETS!– Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, the Houses of Voodoo, and even the plantations! (It’s been a  while since I’ve been to Oak Alley. I’d like to go back!) I’ll also explore some new locations: Kermit’s Treme Mother-In-Law Lounge, recommended to me by Dustin Pari, is definitely on my list. I also want to catch a cemetery tour and see Marie Laveau’s tomb. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now.

We’ll see what adventures I go on this time around. I’m sure, though, that it’ll be a fun, relaxing experience, as it has been the past four times! I do adore you, New Orleans.

Sincerely, as I prep for my departure, I am praying for those affected by tropical storm Cindy. May all souls in turmoil find strength, may you be blessed in your rebuilding. And may all those who have passed too soon find their ways to Heaven.

See you guys in a few weeks!

Your turn: What are some of your favorite locations/things about New Orleans? Comment below!

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

NOLA 2016!

Hip hip hooray!
It’s here at last!
The week I’m in
Good ol’ N’awlins
It’ll be a gas!
– A quick, weird, possibly terrible poem by yours truly!


Yes! The marathon prep has officially ended and I’m boarding a plane to New Orleans! I’m honestly pleased and surprised at all that I got done. It surely gives me perspective of what a to-do list, a lot of elbow grease, and stubbornness can get done! I’m so excited; I haven’t written so much in ages!

Now is time to rest, recuperate, and enjoy the spoils of my hard work!

Honestly, there’s not a lot planned around this New Orleans trip. Really the only activity I reserved is seeing a psychic with my sister-in-law, which, hey, it’s NOLA and I’m always curious about what will be said! I know there’s also talk of visiting the shops (including the voodoo ones), seeing the bayou and going to a plantation, which I haven’t done since 2011. (Unfortunately Myrtles is too far away from the French Quarter, so that’ll have to wait for another time… again!)

We’re also looking at taking another Haunted History Tour, preferably the New Orleans Cemetery History Tour and I’ve had my eye on Ghost City Tour’s New Orleans Ghost Hunt Experience, but that one will probably wait until another trip.

Oh, and on another note, I definitely want to see what Pokémon GO looks like down there; maybe I’ll bring home some ghost Pokémon!

All I know is that we’re set to relax and explore, to soak in the wonderful blend of culture that is New Orleans. The music, food, accents, and, of course, legends that surround this place are amazing! It’s such a different vibe from my Ohio hometown, but I truly adore it. Plain and simple: I just love New Orleans! 

I’ll definitely post another video, at some point during my week in NOLA, on my Youtube Channel and I’ll be sharing pictures, of course, over on Instagram which will then feed to my other social media accounts.

Hope you guys have a great week! New Orleans, here I come!

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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