Category Archives: friendship

Hearing vs Listening

I started writing this a while ago. I am compelled to finish it now.

Hearing is simply the art of perceiving sound by the ear. Hearing just happens. Listening is something you consciously choose to do or not do.
With listening you need to not only comprehend what the person is saying to you but then you need to decide if you care enough to do what needs to be done. It’s something you need to do or not do. It can be as easy as putting the toilet seat down to stopping a behavior that the other person is unable to handle.
I wrote a blog about owning what you say & if you hurt someone with those words, apologize. https://ppetroline.wordpress.com/2013/04/15/own-it/ There is another part that is very important, your actions.
Your actions and your listening skills are very important. When someone tells you how they feel or how your actions make them feel…listen. Don’t blow it off thinking, “Oh, she’s just being over sensitive”, “He doesn’t really mean it”, “That can’t be true”. Well guess what? She isn’t being over sensitive! He did mean it! It is true!
Own it! Don’t play victim because someone hurt your feelings by telling you the truth about how you make them feel.
Don’t let it get to the point that someone bites your head off because you’ve pushed them over the edge. Listen to what people say to you. Don’t just perceive a sound, comprehend it and do something.
Sometimes it can go years before one gets backed into a corner and can’t handle the inconsiderate actions of the other. Relationships need to be based on listening, comprehension, actions and love.

The End of Another Year

2013 is coming to an end. As I look back on this year, there were many things that made me smile (or laugh out loud) & a handful of things that broke my heart.

I seem to have lost a dear friend that can’t let go of an issue, that has been blown way out of proportion, to comfort me on the anniversary of the worst day of my life. I am so thankful for a few close friends that got me through not only that day but also several other days/things that snuck up & knocked the wind out of me.

I am so thankful that my blessings, by far, surpass the crappy things this year. A whole new world was opened up by the purchase of two Canon Rebels. I can’t wait to see what adventures the Rebels focus in on in 2014! I’m also looking forward to a few much needed road trips.

I’m also thankful for a dear friend that has awakened part of my heart that has been asleep for too long.

For everyone reading this, I pray for a healthy, happy & safe 2014.

Own It

2012 was a crazy year. It started out uneventful. When we got to the last 3-4 months…totally different thing.

It seemed to spiral out of control. Words, like hairball & smile, to be exact, were a large part of what saddened my heart as 2012 started to wind-down.

The first word, ‘hairball’, was so offensive to a person that it ended an 11 year collaboration and friendship.

The other word was ‘smile’. As words go, smile isn’t a word you would think could cause such a problem. Timing is everything and the timing of the word smile on my Facebook page knocked the wind out of me, added to my heartache, and almost ended a 52 year friendship.

It’s one thing to make a comment that makes someone cry but also lightens their heart. It’s another thing to make someone cry and crush their already broken heart.

If yours words, no matter how innocent you think they are, come across wrong or are taken in a way you didn’t mean them…correct it. Not only correct it, do it quickly. Own it and apologize.

Some people don’t realize the power behind words. The person dishing them out may think the other person is being too sensitive…it doesn’t matter.

A half-hearted apology will lead to a half-hearted acceptance. That will leave a huge elephant in the room.

Words can hurt or words can heal.

Choose yours carefully.

To Everything There is a Season


Standing up for a friend and/or doing what is right can lead you down a path you didn’t expect to travel.

The author, a mutual friend, poured her heart out on the page to give the reader a glimpse of what she was feeling. When asked if I thought it was alright to remove part of a sentence in the piece…I said no. I tried to explain how important it is to leave the piece as it was written.

I felt a whirl-wind of emotions while making my way through the chain of events that happened after that meeting. After a series of emails…the piece was pulled from the program. The short list of emotions I was feeling included: disbelief, heartache, frustration, and love.

My disbelief was mixed with heartache and frustration as I tried to understand how some people could be so closed-minded that they will not listen to facts. By digging in her heals and not listening to me, she would throw away over a decade of friendship and collaboration. I also had a hard time understanding how another friend would turn into “Switzerland” so not to get involved.

I am thankful for the undercurrent of love that was flowing through me during this time. The love that gave me the strength to follow this path. Also the love for the author and for what she had written.

As God says in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, for everything, which includes everyone, there is a season.

I am sad that what I have done for 11 years…seasons…has come to an abrupt end. I know that God will lead me and guide me through my next season.

THE HEALING BRICK
By: Julia Kovach

Nervously, I approach the Angel Statue thinking I’ll have to search for my son’s recently engraved and installed paving brick, but I look down and there it is, nestled in amongst all the other little angels, his name in print, for the entire world to see.

This sight provokes something unfamiliar in me; deep in my soul, in my very core. I kneel down and through my thin grey slacks I can feel the cold, hard, roughness of the bricks on my knees.

“My knees could bleed as I pay homage”, I think, as if atoning, “Let them, I would almost be grateful.”
I touch the words, ‘MICHAEL S. KOVACH, PRECIOUS SON’.

“Oh sweetie, look at you; you’re finally here.” I whisper.

Humbly, I bend down and kiss his name. Instantly I flash back to the hospital and he is in my arms again, and now I am not feeling the cold textured brick, but am kissing his face.

I open my eyes, tears streaming.

Like a cat coughing up an unmanageable hairball, thirty years of guilt, grief, and torment begin to rise, large and ugly, from deep within and catch in my throat.

I remember when I was pregnant with him and how I didn’t watch my diet and I didn’t reduce my stress and I didn’t get enough sleep. And I remember laboring, and how I screamed, “Don’t let me die!” but I didn’t scream for the life of my own son.

“Please forgive me.” I whisper.

I hear a guttural animal groan escape from inside me; as the words allow my agony to detach itself and release.

I was like a broken bone that had healed misaligned and needed to be re-broken so that it could be set right and mend properly.

Michael’s brick has been my one quick SNAP! I am now re-broken, re-set, and relieved.

I am deeply comforted and grateful, and finally healing well

Unresolved Grief

I started seeing a therapist regarding the depression and anxiety that has started to get the best of me. It didn’t take her long to diagnose me with unresolved grief. My journey through grief started when my mom died sixteen years ago from breast cancer.
I was just limping along through my grief over her death. About one month shy of the second anniversary of losing her, my daughter, Sara, was stillborn at 38 weeks. The grief I felt right then hit the grief I was already dealing with like a freight train. I ended up with a mangled mess of grief.

The grief I was feeling over my mom and my daughter were a jumbled mess of emotions. I wanted to hold my daughter, look into her eyes and tell her stories about her Grandma in Heaven. I wanted to be able to cry with and talk to my mom about my heavy heart and the piece that was missing because her Grand-daughter was in Heaven. I couldn’t do either and it was tearing me apart.

The stages of grief were jumbled together. I tried to separate the two so I could work through them. Looking back, I think I was close to the “acceptance” stage of grief before Sara. After Sara’s death, when my grief was tangled together, working through the stages of my grief, flew out the window. Since I couldn’t untangle my grief, I went straight to “anger” for both losses. I thought maybe it would be easier to work through if I was at the same stage for both…didn’t work. Fourteen years after the death of my daughter, I’m still in the same place.

Through my therapy sessions and some self-reflection, I have realized I have been trying to work around my grief instead of through it. The pain doesn’t really go away, you just make room for it.

God has blessed me with a few true friends who have helped me on my journey through this train wreck. They have been there to talk to me, listen to me, hug me or just sit with me. They have seen past my “I’m okay”.
God has also blessed me with His promises. He will comfort me and make me stronger. He won’t take away my grief but He will help me make it through it.

H. Norman Wright said, “The hard news is the only road to true healing is through the grief process. The good news is God travels that road with us”.

1 Samuel 30:6 …David strengthened himself in the Lord his God

Tomato Juice & Hashbrowns

The first time I met Julia was over lunch with a mutual friend, Nancy. We all had an awesome time! There was a connection and level of comfort that is usually reserved for old friends.

She sent me a Facebook message afterword, apologizing if she talked too much. I told her she didn’t and the fact that I’m a good listener didn’t hurt. 😉

We have had a few marathon lunches since our initial meeting. There are a few things, important things, that we have in common. We have both lost a child, share a passion for writing, and share in God’s savings grace.

From what I understand, she can get “snarky” and get her bipolar “feathers” ruffled. So I’ve been told. I have not seen it. What I have seen is a very creative person who does have a tendency of over-thinking things. She has taught me that a yam isn’t just for Thanksgiving anymore.

I seem to ground her and she has given my creativity wings. I would still be in the ‘I really should start putting my ideas down on paper’ mode. Well, not really paper. You know what I mean.

I thank God everyday for the opportunity to be Julia’s friend.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (TNIV)
9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 I
f they fall down, they can help each other up. But pity those who fall and have no one to help them up! Continue reading

What I learned in church today (12-4-11)

Before I went to church today, I stopped at McDonald’s. I ended up sitting there sharing my coffee with my tears.

When I got to church, I set down my bible, said hello to the pastor and took my coat off.

Pam walked over to me and asked how I was doing. I guess I wasn’t too convincing when I said “ok”. She asked me what was wrong. I barely got the first words out of my mouth before I started crying. “My daughter was stillborn 14 years ago. It’s seams to be getting harder for me every year”.

She wrapped her arms around me and started to pray. She prayed for the spirit of grief to leave me, for God to show me that Sara was safe, healthy, happy and dancing with Jesus. Also, that my baby was safe in His arms and that, when I needed to, I could come to Him and He would wrap His arms around me and wipe away my tears.

While she was praying and declaring what was true, I had healing tears streaming down my face. I already knew it, but hearing Pam say that one day I will be with my daughter again and that we will both dance with Jesus. Wow, my tears of sorrow turned into tears of joy. The joy of the Lord is my strength. – Neh. 8:10.