Category Archives: God’s blessings

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.

Mother’s Day

My heart is full of love but feels empty at the same time.

I miss my mom & daughter and love my sons more than words can express.

I feel empty, loss, love & blessed all at the same time.

When someone asks how many kids I have, my heart skips a beat.

Sometimes I will just say three & end the conversation. Other times I will elaborate on the details.

There are also times I say “Two…boys”. In my head, I finish the sentence, “and a baby girl in Heaven”.

The joy & sadness that I’m feeling intertwines. There are times joy wins & other times sadness overtakes me.

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

I will get through this

I get to choose how I act and react to the things around me. I know that all things work together for good because I love God and I’m called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

I need to make internal changes not just external ones. My heart is a key part in this. My heart needs to be transformed. I need to throw out bitterness, judgement, resentment, discouragement, depression, and anxiety. I need to guard my heart because out of it springs issues of life (Proverbs 4:23).

I know God will use my brokenness. What I’m going through is a gateway to get closer to God. The times I feel alone and unloved, I need to remember, God always loves me and is always with me. I need to be strong and not afraid. My Lord is always with me and He will never leave me (Deut. 31:6-8).

I need to remember God is with me and His comforting arms are around me to shield me from the things that are hurting me. I know God is going to get me through this. His comfort and His strength is always available to me.

When I get to the end of this chapter of heartache and tribulation, I will be stronger and able to comfort others with the same comfort I received from God (2Corinthians 1:3-5).

This is the day the Lord has made; I will…I choose to… rejoice and be glad in it (Psalms 118:24).

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

Only By The Grace Of God

Between the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic on April 14th and the 97th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on April 24th, I have been doing a lot of thinking.

My Grandmother, on my Dad’s side, was born April 8, 1900. In 1912, she traveled to England with her mother, to sail on the maiden voyage of the Titanic. I can only imagine the thrill and excitement they were experiencing traveling for their home in Istanbul, Turkey to Southampton, England.

Their excitement quickly ended when they found their papers were not in order and they were not allowed on board. What must have been going through their minds and their hearts when they found out what happened four days later.

Three years later, on April 24th, was the beginning of the Armenian Genocide. This time it was my Grandmother, on my Mom’s side, turn to have a brush with death. I don’t know a lot of the details on what happened to her. The little I do know sends a chill down my spine and makes my heart swell with pride.

My Grandmother along with many, many other Armenians were forced to march…to their deaths. 1,500,000 Armenians were sent on death marches, raped, beaten, starved, crucified, butchered or sent to a certain death in concentration camps.

It is almost impossible to comprehend the inconsolable terror that must have be racing through the mind of this teen age girl. My Grandmother was wounded and played dead on the side of the road. The strength she drew, to lay still and control her breathing well enough to be left for dead, could have only come from God.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

I am so thankful and blessed to be part of these two families!

Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, Who delights greatly in His commandments. 2 His descendants will be mighty on earth; The generation of the upright will be blessed. Psalm 112:1-2

Poppy’s House

Sundays, when I was growing up, meant visiting and having dinner at my grandfather’s house. My sister and I called him ‘Poppy’. When my sister was quite young she couldn’t pronounce ‘grandpa’ so she said ‘Poppy’ and the name stuck. Even though it has been over three decades, I can remember Poppy’s house as if I was there last Sunday.

The red brick colonial house sat on a street lined with old oak trees; in the middle of a quite, quaint neighborhood in southwest Detroit. Ten wide steps led up to a long porch painted gunship gray. The front door was oak with a large, oval-shaped, leaded-glass window in the center. Walking through the doorway, you were greeted with an oak paneled staircase with a chunky oak banister and stairs leading to the bathroom and three bedrooms on the second floor. The smell of cherry pipe tobacco was mingling with the aroma of the chicken roasting in the oven and the rich buttery rice pilaf simmering on the stove; in the kitchen where I could always find my grandma.

In the living room was Poppy’s chair with wooden arms and red fabric, worn from the years. Next to the chair was a glass ashtray on a two-foot-high metal pedestal. On the far wall was a brown brick fireplace with a wooden mantle and recessed shelf. On the shelf was a Zippo lighter, cigar box, a canister filled with cherry pipe tobacco and a brass-and-wood pipe holder. In the holder, was a silver pipe cleaning tool and two pipes. The bowl of one pipe was white with a carving of a lion’s head on it. The other pipe was dark brown with a much worn mouthpiece. To the right of the fireplace was a steam heat register, painted the same color as the porch.

Beautiful oak molding framed the archway which led to the dining room, where there was a large stained-glass window above the china cabinet. Behind the beveled-glass doors of the china cabinet sat a half-dozen china tea cups, each with a different floral design, and a crystal bowl filled with butterscotch candies. On the opposite wall was a large rectangular gold-tone frame with a oval opening and a black and white photograph of Poppy in his World War I uniform.

On the long dining table was a white laced tablecloth with the Sunday-best china and silverware. A large bowl of lettuce, tomatoes and onions tossed with oil and vinegar was placed next to a small crystal bowl of tart pickeled cauliflower, carrots, celery, and green tomatoes. The empty space on the table waited patiently for the roasted chicken and rice pilaf to join in.

After dinner, coming from the living room were the sounds of Poppy banging his pipe against the ashtray to remove the old tobacco, then the crinkling of the tobacco pouch to refill the pipe, and the distinctive click and smell of the Zippo lighter igniting. Then, the popping and clicking of the tubes in the television sounded as it warmed up just in time to hear Sonny Eliot give the weather report.

For many years now, my grandparents have been spending Sunday dinners with Jesus. Time has taken it’s toll on the house and the street is not as quaint as it was when I was younger. I will always remember Sundays at Poppy’s house consisting simply of dinner and television, but memories so sweet they will stay with me for a lifetime.

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

Spencer

When my son, Spencer, was in kindergarten he asked me if I knew what he wanted to be when he grew up. Since it was already past his bedtime, I figured…stall tactic. I let out a sigh and asked “What?”. His response melted my heart. He said “I want to be a pastor so I can teach people about the Bible and how important it is to have Jesus in their heart”. Wow! I had pools of “I’m so proud” tears in my eyes the rest of the night.

For graduation, his class did a program titled “When I grow up”. The teacher randomly passed out cards printed with different professions. There were three police officers, two teachers, two firemen, two doctors, two plumbers, and one pastor. Spencer got the card for pastor! He said he hadn’t told his teacher about his future plans.

Graduation came and went. (He did an awesome job) Summer vacation flew by as well and the beginning of first grade. Spencer was in the chorus for the Christmas program. During a break at one of the practices, the teacher asked the kids a question. If they were traveling with the Wise Men, what gifts would they bring for baby Jesus. Answers started flying around the room. Hot Wheels, video games, basketballs, footballs. Spencer raised his hand and said, “I would bring myself to worship Him”. Another ‘wow’ moment.

Over the years, Spencer has had many ‘wow’ moments and I have had many ‘I’m so proud’ pools. One that comes to mind happened when we were out for dinner. Spencer stopped in the middle of his meal, put down his fork, and said “You know, even if someone says they’re a Christian if they don’t have Jesus in their heart, they’re going to hell”.

This year, Spencer told me he wanted to be a doctor. I asked him why. He answered, “I seem to get sick every winter and feel terrible. I want to be a doctor so I can help people feel better”. Whether Spencer becomes a pastor or a doctor, he will make a huge difference in the lives of those he meets.

I know either way, he will be working for the Great Physician!

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.