Monthly Archives: March 2012

MY PLACE IN THE SAND

Do you remember the doggie-paddle; the canine swimming technique copied solely to keep even the simplest of human heads above water?  

Well, I’ve spent most of my life doing it.

And apparently while I was doing this desperate and undignified dance, and expending the endless energy required just to keep my feet paddling, my lungs inflated, and my big fat head afloat, life had somehow slipped right. . . on. . . by.

I was so busy treading life’s tumultuous waters that I failed to see the lifelines that were all around me. I was so frantically intent on staying up, that I inadvertently forgot about standing up.

But today is a new day and I have finally reached the shore! This rudderless wonder now resides contentedly on the soft and yielding warmth of a safe, new beach. My exhausted paddling feet are now retired deep beneath fine, cool granules of pure white sand, while once heavy shoulders blush in appreciation at the sun’s affections. New eyes look at the ocean today and through remembered treacherousness, they now see beauty. My heartbeat has slowed and my soul is quietly and gradually healing. 

I am very protective of my little stretch of beach. I’ve spent a lifetime paddling my way, earning my way, to this treasure.

This is my time . . . and this is my place . . . where loving and compassionate friends gather to uplift, heal, and celebrate life . . . and one another.

So, when I extend my hand to you in invitation, it is because you are my friend and can be trusted to respect my priceless little home here in the sand.

Even Heaven’s greatest delight is in the sharing.

So I thank you for joining me.

Now please take off your shoes.

Categories: Humor, Inspiration/Motivation, Mental Health, Nature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

WHEN PAINTING . . .

I went to an art show recently and felt just like Dorothy did when she first saw The Emerald City. It was magical! I am so inspired by their “Homage” exhibit that I’ve decided to pay homage to them by painting my interpretation of the yellow brick road and Dorothy’s ruby slipper and gifting it to the owner of the Rivers Edge Gallery. 

But honestly, I’ve never painted a thing in my life.

Oddly enough, I have the art supplies in my bedroom closet.

In December I purchased some stuff for a friend and bought extra for me, although I’m not  sure why. But the weeks passed, and turned into months, and each time I opened my closet door, I saw the paints, brushes, and canvases.

“Julia, bring us out into the light! Use us!” They taunted me.

“I’m afraid! I can’t! I don’t know what to do with you!” I replied and promptly closed the door.

But, now inspired, I reluctantly begin.

One thing becomes crystal clear: I can’t draw a shoe or a brick. I begin with a smudgy, yellow, abstract road. But something is off and I can’t figure out what. I try again and again.

Frustrated, I put it aside and go watch television. As I flip through the channels, I see a mountain scene with a winding road, and a vast blue sky.

Excited, I return to the dining room table to paint another canvas. This time I add the sky and the picture gains depth. I go out and buy a sticker of a high heel shoe and “MacGyver” it with some red glitter paint and then glue it to a toothpick so it will protrude from the canvas.

Now covered in paint and tickled pink,  I complete my somewhat juvenile rendition of Oz’s yellow brick road.

Okay, so it isn’t a masterpiece.  I can live with that. And I’ve learned a few things along the way.

Whether you’re creating your first painting . . . or painting the canvas of your life, remember these simple rules:

  • There are no rules. Only advice. And it never hurts to listen; it might even save you some trouble. Either way, paint your picture the way you want to.
  •  Don’t get trapped by your own labels. I had to stifle my inner voice that said, “I’m a writer, not a painter!”
  •  There’s no avoiding it, things have to come out of the closet.  🙂
  •  Proper lighting is vital. Good painting and good living both require clear vision.
  •  Sometimes you have to briefly step away to gain a new perspective. A patch of sky, (or a breath of fresh air), can bring new ideas and help you to focus.
  •  It’s good to improvise. Be flexible. Embrace your mistakes. Have fun!
  •  If you don’t like your picture, just start over.
  •  And finally, when you gift a painting, you’re gifting a part of yourself, and the recipient will surely smile in appreciation of your efforts.

And that, my friends, is priceless.

4”x4” acrylics, “Homage to Rivers Edge Gallery, Wyandotte, MI”, by Julia Kovach, Writer and Artist.

Categories: Adventures, Art, Inspiration/Motivation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

PLEASE, MISTER, CAN YOU SPARE SOME CHANGE?

My sister, Teri, was the eldest of six kids. She was popular, pretty, and had long, black hair that she used to iron on an ironing board to straighten, or sometimes she wrapped it around orange juice cans atop her head to achieve a perfect wave. She was beautiful, bold, and brave, and gosh, I loved her.

At the age of 17, rebellious and troubled, she hopped in her car and began her journey in search of herself and her place in the world. But after many years of wandering, some failed marriages, and an untreated mental illness, she ended up living in a drafty wooden shack, on a tiny patch of dirt, in an obscure little Texas town.

She forever struggled as a recovering alcoholic and was once a homeless panhandler. She was outside of the store begging for money the last time you went shopping; with dirty clothes, tangled hair, and a chipped, grey smile, she humbly asked you for spare change. That was my sister you turned your face from.

Most would judge her as a weak person. I do not.

She was one of the strongest people I’ve ever known. Because of many failures and misfortunes, she fell down often. But she would get up again . . . over and over and over. She just kept getting up. Imagine the kind of energy and tenacity that takes.

Teri passed away in 2006 of lung cancer. She was 52 years old and 34 days sober.

We are not all born equally into this world; some arrive with the odds already stacked against them; others are given no survival tools, or are beaten down by cruelty or bad luck.

So please, when you see a homeless person or someone asking for food or money, instead of judging and turning away, remember that they are someone’s child. And be kind. Be giving. Act like God is watching you.

Because HE is.

Categories: Addiction, Family, God/Spiritual, Grief/Healing, Inspiration/Motivation, Kindness & Compassion, Love, Mental Health | 15 Comments

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