God/Spiritual

IF I CAN GET TO HEAVEN

I never bought a lunchbox MICHAELS WINGSwhiter

for your first day of school

or had a teacher conference

and saw artwork made by you.

.

You never graduated

or attended your first prom

you never got to marry

and you never called me mom.

.

We had just a whisper

and then you slipped away

I try my best to honor you

by living better every day.

.

If I can get to heaven

after paying my life dues

I will rush right into heaven

and find my way to you.

.

If I can get to heaven

I hope that God agrees

that I belong in heaven

with you right next to me.

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* Although I am a writer and not a singer, I have made a recording of myself singing, “IF I CAN GET TO HEAVEN”, in honor of my son, Michael Steven Kovach, on his birthday, July 8th: http://youtu.be/J9HdClGW97E

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The photograph in this video is by Fine Arts Photographer, Patricia Izzo, of Izzo Photography. Visit her on Facebook at:  https://www.facebook.com/gbatch1?composeropen=1#!/PatriciaIzzoPhotography?fref=ts, or visit her website at: WWW.IZZOPHOTOGRAPH.COM. Her work may be purchased at River’s Edge Gallery, in Wyandotte Michigan; visit owner, Patt Slack, and her crew at River’s Edge Gallery on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/gbatch1?composeropen=1#!/RiversEdgeGallery?fref=ts.

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Categories: Family, God/Spiritual, Grief/Healing, Holidays/Birthdays, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

PLEASE, MISTER, CAN YOU SPARE SOME CHANGE?

PLEASE, MISTER, CAN YOU SPARE SOME CHANGE?.

Categories: Addiction, Family, God/Spiritual, Grief/Healing, Inspiration/Motivation, Kindness & Compassion, Love, Mental Health, Suicide | Leave a comment

WHY LIVE IN OKLAHOMA? I KNOW WHY!

WHY LIVE IN OKLAHOMA? I KNOW WHY!.

Categories: Family, God/Spiritual, Inspiration/Motivation, Kindness & Compassion, Nature | 2 Comments

WHY LIVE IN OKLAHOMA? I KNOW WHY!

I have never been to Oklahoma, but my niece lives there with her husband and three children. She tried to tell me once how special the people are, and being a Michigander and just a bit miffed, I said something stupid like, “Honey, we all think that of where we live.”

oklahoma-map

The State of Oklahoma highlighted on U.S. map.

I didn’t know . . . so much.

I’m embarrassed to say that until I Googled this map, I didn’t really know exactly where Oklahoma is. My uneducated impression was that it looks hot and dusty, has lots of snakes and big spiders, and gets a lot of tornados.

I could never wrap my brain around the whole tornado thing, even when I see them on television. I just can’t imagine.

moore-OK-5-20-2013

Then, on May 20, 2013, it hit a little closer to home. Moore, Oklahoma, a suburb of Oklahoma City, was hit with a monstrous cyclone, called an EF5 tornado. It was 1.5 miles wide, traveled approximately 210 miles an hour, and was on the ground for nearly 44 minutes.

It was a monster.

It tore through tracts of homes, two schools, and a hospital. And it killed 24 people. Nine of them were at Plaza Towers Elementary School, of which seven were very young children.

Oklahoma Tornado

The destroyed Plaza Towers Elementary School is seen in aerial photos during a mission flown by the Civil Air Patrol Sunday, May 26, 2013, in Moore, Okla. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel).

Thankfully, my niece and her family were safe. We talked that night for three hours.

We cried together in relief. And for the fear she had felt for her husband who was out working and almost didn’t reach a shelter. And for her in-laws who were away and didn’t know if they had lost their home or their cherished family dog. We cried for the children. And for the heroes.

I waited until the next day to watch the news coverage. It was heartbreaking.

Journalists interviewed residents wanting to hear about the massive storm, their near escapes, their fears, and their heroic stories. And they wondered, as many of us Americans have:

Why in the heck would anyone want to live there?  

I don’t wonder anymore.

I know why.

They call it The Heartland. And the Bible Belt. And there’s something to all of that.

I watched the interviews and I heard some incredible stuff.

There was a man and his wife standing in front of a pile of rubble that was once their home. It was just flattened. There was nothing recognizable. They stood in front of the camera looking dusty and winded and grey. We would expect them to be overwhelmed, exasperated, and emotionally devastated. And they were. But there was something else.

I listened to the stories; teachers lying on top of children and using their bodies to protect them from debris, a neighbor getting harmed trying to help another neighbor, emergency help being right there immediately afterwards. In interview after interview, I saw the same people, with different faces, saying the same things over and over again.

They were devastated. And they were standing in front of the wreckage that used to be their living room, or bedroom, or bathroom.

“It is just stuff.” They said.

Long before the government appeared or produced any help, the many Churches of Oklahoma had already hit the roads with food, water, supplies, and help. They were ready. And they didn’t waste a minute.

“I thank God that my family is safe.” They said.

Some of them ran towards the storm, knowing that their help would be urgently needed.

“We were much luckier than others were.” They said.

It just blew me away.

I cried as I heard the stories.

But I was never so proud to be an American as I was watching them.

They are so genuine and humble, so strong and devoted . . . and so grateful.

And although I am quite the liberal gal, and I imagine these Bible Belters to think quite differently than me, none of that matters. Not a bit. We could all learn a lot from them.

They are our fellow Americans.

They are Oklahomans.

And they are a beautifully unique breed of something I have yet to see anywhere else.

“It is just stuff.” They said.

I’ll never forget those words.

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TO HELP THOSE IN OKLAHOMA:

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross has several shelters open in Oklahoma and Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles have begun delivering hot meals throughout the affected areas. The Red Cross is also working to link loved ones in Moore who are OK through a website called Safe and Well. Text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief, donate online or by phone at 1-800-RED CROSS.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is activating disaster response teams and mobile feeding units to help residents and rescuers in Moore, as well as in other locations in the Plains and the Midwest that were impacted by tornadoes. Donate online or text STORM to 80888 to contribute $10 to the Salvation Army’s relief efforts or make a donation by phone at 1-800-SAL-ARMY. If you’re sending a check make sure you put the words “Oklahoma Tornado Relief” on the check, and mail it to: The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 12600, Oklahoma City, OK 73157.

AmeriCares

AmeriCares has a disaster relief team working with first responders and local health care organizations on the ground in hard-hit Oklahoma City suburbs. Shipments of water, medicines, and emergency aid have been sent, with more shipments underway. You can help by donating through the AmeriCares website or by phone at 1-800-486-HELP. Text LIVE to 25383 to make a $10 donation. You can also mail a check or money order to: AmeriCares, 88 Hamilton Ave., Stamford, CT 06902.

 

Operation USA

Los Angeles-based international relief agency Operation USA announced it’s providing emergency aid where needed to community-based health organizations across Oklahoma. Donate online, by phone at 1-800-678-7255, or by check made out to Operation USA, 7421 Beverly Blvd., PH, Los Angeles, CA 90036. You can also donate $10 by texting AID to 50555. Corporate donations of bulk quantities of disaster-appropriate supplies are also being requested.

Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief

Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief says it has deployed at least 80 volunteers to respond to severe weather in Oklahoma. Those interested in helping can make a tax-deductible donation to the BGCO’s Disaster Relief ministry online or call (405) 942-3800. You may also send checks to: BGCO Attn: Disaster Relief 3800 N. May Ave. Oklahoma City, OK 73112.

Feed the Children

Feed the Children, which is headquartered in Oklahoma City, has transported bottled water and food to the impacted area. The organization is accepting diapers, canned goods, non-perishable food, snack items, water, sports drinks, and cash donations. Text “Disaster” to 80888 to make a $10 donation. After receiving a confirmation message you must type “yes” to complete the donation. Cash and corporate donations can be made online or by phone at 1-800-627-4556.

Samaritan’s Purse

Samaritan’s Purse, which provided relief to residents of Moore after the devastating tornado in 1999, deployed two Disaster Relief Units from their North Carolina headquarters before dawn on Tuesday. One will be based in Moore, and the other in Shawnee. Samaritan’s Purse is looking for volunteers to help with the relief effort. You can donate online or by phone at 1-800-528-1980. To give by mail, please send donations to: Samaritan’s Purse, P.O. Box 3000, Boone, NC 28607-3000.

Save the Children

Save the Children is mobilizing staff to provide support, relief and recovery services to communities and families in Oklahoma. The organization is prepared to deploy their Child Friendly Space kits in shelters, creating safe play areas for kids. They are also ready to deploy infant and toddler hygiene materials to support young children displaced from their homes. Text TWISTER to 20222 to donate $10 to Save the Children and help the response effort. You can donate online or call 1-800-728-3843.

Operation Blessing International

Operation Blessing International, a Virginia-based humanitarian group, is deploying to Moore, after working on tornado relief in Granbury, Texas, following last week’s storm there. A caravan of OBI emergency equipment was sent to Moore, including a construction unit, mobile command center, trucks full of tools and supplies, and a team of construction foremen. You can donate to the group online or donate by phone at 1-800-730-2537.

PLEASE DON’T FORGET THEM. THEY NEED OUR HELP. THANK YOU.

Categories: Family, God/Spiritual, Inspiration/Motivation, Kindness & Compassion, Nature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

IN A GARDEN . . . AS IN LIFE

We don our gardening boots and floppy hat

and brave the sweaty burning sun.

.

With aching knees and blackened hands

we love the dirt

that nourishes all our promises.

.

From the coldest winds

and driest heat

we protect our unborn bulbs

with acceptance

and a smile.

.

And long before she bursts open

and into glorious song

already we are in love

with the dream.

.

In a garden . . . as in life

our toiling makes no guarantee

of fairness or reward

.

but we do it anyway . . . on faith.

.

And sometimes . . . we are allowed

to glimpse

the gloriousness of a precious petal

only to have it

.

quickly fall away.

.

That is when

we must close our eyes

to see the flower.

LEAF TEARS upclose

Dedicated to all Mothers suffering the loss of a child.

Categories: God/Spiritual, Grief/Healing, Nature, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

CHRISTMAS MORNING

I awaken early. It is still dark. And quiet.

“Merry Christmas” I whisper to the dog as I rise.

Not too many tears this morning. I’m sort of tear-ed out. Although I fight the good fight, it’s been a long pre-holiday week of them.

I feed the animals and take my coffee to the sofa.

I switch on my Christmas angel and she quietly changes from glowing red to green to blue. She is my only decoration.

angel in globe

I pray.

I have already grieved those I’m missing and cried the tears of things that are no longer; the excitement of Christmas morning and gifts piled high around the tree, and the comfort of family gathered around the table for a meal.

Those seats are empty now. Those times have passed. As have too many loved ones. As do all the holidays anymore.

No more celebrations. Just endurances.

But that’s okay.

I think of friends who have risen early to ready themselves for a busy family day of gifts and food. They enjoy their quiet time to reflect and prepare. They fill my heart, but how I envy them.

My thoughts are interrupted by a commotion in the kitchen.

I look up to see that the cat is eating the dog’s food . . . and the dog is humping his Blue Bear.

((Sigh))

This time of year can be rough on some of us.

blue bear

Merry Christmas, my friends.

I wish you love, peace, health, and happiness.

xoxoJulia

Categories: Family, Friends, God/Spiritual, Grief/Healing, Holidays/Birthdays | Tags: , , , , , , | 26 Comments

WOULD I GRIEVE A SUNRISE?

Driving in my convertible, my hair goes wildly to the wind; I honor his birthday with my display of freedom and my disregard for someone else’s thought of it.

The Angel Statue silently greets me, surrounded as she is by a hexagon of paving bricks.

I kneel.

“Happy birthday, sweetie. Mamma’s here.”

006

For many years my grieving was trapped internally; tearing at things as it bounced about trying to find its place.

Today, I wear it on the outside . . . let it breathe and know the air. Without pride or care of observation, I come and kiss his name. It isn’t sad. This memory brick is like a Christmas tree.

CHRISTMAS TREE

Not meant for quiet repose in a solitary heart, it longs for light and decoration, and celebratory songs to warm it. It is in the sharing that the greatness comes.

Would I grieve the sight of a beautiful sunrise . . . because the rising is done and it is now a new day?

“Sunrise in Petoskey, Michigan”, by Julia Kovach.

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For more information on the Christmas Box Angel Statue and the DECEMBER 6TH CANDLELIGHT VIGIL at Angel Statues across the country, please read, “An Author, An Angel & A Healing Brick” at: http://wp.me/p2ckKM-nx .

Any may God bless all our baby angels and the ones who have lost them.

*****

Categories: God/Spiritual, Grief/Healing, Nature, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , | 25 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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