Tag Archives: Ed

Your Third Place

Caribou Coffee didn’t waste any time getting out of Chicagoland. I drove by my local coffeehouse last week, and the windows were already covered with brown butcher paper. I’m a little sad about this development. Sure, we still have Starbucks, but Caribou is a little less trendy and less expensive, which suits some of us quite well. One of my favorite columnists, Mary Schmich from the Chicago Tribune, wrote an article about Caribou Coffee’s retreat, and something she said about coffeehouses struck me. She describes coffeehouses as “a third place.” Your home is your first place and your work is your second place. (As a mostly stay-at-home mom, my first and second place seem to be the same–home.)

Schmich writes, “A third place is generally an unpretentious spot filled with regulars but open to anyone, where people of all kinds and social ranks mix, for little or no money.” People in my generation will imagine the coffeehouse of Friends, which was shown so often on that TV show that I think it was Rachel, Monica and Phoebe’s first place. However, I don’t think a coffeehouse qualifies as my third place. For one thing, I prefer to brew my own coffee at home. For another thing, when I go to Starbucks, Emmy wants me to buy her a cake pop for $1.25, which seems ridiculous even though I can’t make cake pops on my own. Trust me on this one.

Caribou Coffee

In October, Caribou offers a special blend for breast cancer awareness.

Where is my third place, then? Unpretentious and open to anyone? In the past, it certainly would have been the bar where my husband and I would grab a pizza and a beer every weekend.

Before I met my husband, my third place was the public library. I loved the hushed reading area in the stacks at my library. The building was old and creaky, and there were French doors leading out to a small courtyard. It was a great place to spend a Saturday afternoon. The library became my third place again after our first child was born. I was a new stay-at-home mom, and didn’t quite know what to do with myself. The second story of the large, suburban library was perfect to find a quiet nook to nurse my newborn and read. As Lily grew, so did our time at the library. We went weekly to check out books and attend story time. Now that Lily and Emmy are both in school, we don’t go to the library as often as we did back then. One day, school was canceled when the power went out. Our first stop was the library. We saw many of Lily and Emmy’s friends there that morning!

The third place where I spend the most time, however, is my church. You can find me there every weekend. I’ve been attending the same church since 1981.  I attended junior high at the parochial school.  My first overnight trip without my parents was with my seventh grade class. When I was sixteen, I went on my first date with a boy in Youth Group (not my husband, but we are still friends). I met my husband, got married and baptized my children at St. Andrews. Now I teach Sunday school and direct VBS at my church.

Yes, I think my church is my third place.

Where is your third place?

signature

 

 

 

Wearing Blinders

I always say that when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was single. That’s not entirely true; I had a boyfriend. I don’t talk about him much. He was a very nice guy and I thought I loved him. He, however, didn’t love me back. I stayed with him for much longer than I should have.

There’s this phrase that I couldn’t stop thinking about in the years after my mastectomy. “Damaged Goods.” It means different things to different people, and in my case I just couldn’t believe that anyone would love me after my breast cancer surgeries. It’s one of the reasons I stayed with a man who didn’t love me.

A relationship can’t last long without love, and after we had been dating for about two years, that boyfriend and I finally broke up. I had a couple of dates, but I never got to the point where I told another man that I had had cancer.

love after breast cancer

Then along came Ed.

Ed and I knew each other for years. We both went to the same church and said “Hi” to each other every Sunday. I had a little crush on him. Finally, I worked up the nerve to ask him out for coffee.

It only took one date to know that we were going to start seeing a lot of each other.

And when I saw him smiling at me from across the gym Easter morning during our church’s brunch, I knew.

I knew he didn’t care what I had gone through.

I knew he didn’t think of me as damaged goods.

He gave me a smile that was just for me.

Two years into our relationship, he pulled out a ring and asked me to be his wife.

A long time ago, I asked him to write about how he feels, being married to a breast cancer survivor. Ed wrote,

I seldom think about my wife’s history with cancer. Maybe it’s because I’m wearing blinders, or maybe it’s because there’s really nothing different about her that’s due to her cancer. Although it’s a part of who she is, I tend to focus on other things a whole lot more.

Ten years into our marriage, we both focus on a whole lot more. We focus on our daughters and our family. We go through highs and lows, like any other couple. We fight. We make up. He’s not perfect; I’m not perfect. But never once in our whole relationship have I ever thought about those words again.

I’m not damaged goods, and Ed’s love proves it to me.

Second Blooming

I’m writing today about “Love” for the Spin Cycle at Second Blooming. Click on the button above to read more about love!

signature

Then and Now: 2003 to 2013

Ed and I were newlyweds ten years ago. Ten years seems like such a long time; we’ve been married for a whole decade. And yet those years have passed by quickly at the same time. How can that be?

Ten years ago we lived in a condo and we were wondering if I would be able to have children after all my past health issues.

Now we live in a typical split-level suburban house cluttered with little girls’ dolls and stuffed animals and socks.

honeymoon

Climbing Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica on our honeymoon, ten years ago

The two of us surrounded by family, building snowmen in Iowa

The two of us surrounded by family, building snowmen in Iowa

These ten years have been good to us.

Mama’s Losin’ It

I’m writing about “5.) Find a photo of yourself taken 10 years ago and display it on your blog along with a current photo. How have you changed since the day that photo was taken?” for Writer’s Workshop today.

signature

Scraps

As I was reading blogs the other day, I came across this saying on I Got Nothing by Janice that made me laugh.

fabric stash

I already have a large box full of fabric, which is threatening to overflow. I will need another box soon. I know, however, that my small stash of fabric is nothing compared to other sewists. I received most of my stash from my mom when she died. One of my sisters and I divided it between us.

Mom loved to browse in fabrics stores and buy all sorts of fabric for her quilting. My sisters and I knew exactly what type of fabric she was drawn to, having been to fabric stores with her on numerous occasions. She loved beautiful, colorful fabrics with traditional designs and intricate patterns. She didn’t like yellow or brown, although she used yellow in her latest quilts. She tried to buy some “ugly” fabrics to bring variety to her quilting, but could just never bring herself to do it.

During our visit with our Dad over Christmas, we were looking at a quilt on the guest bed, trying to decide if Mom had made it or bought it. We all pretty much decided that Mom had bought the quilt. My sister Meredith pointed out that several of the fabrics weren’t designs that Mom would have bought, and the stitching was sloppier than Mom’s sewing style of neat stitches.

Mom saved the smallest scraps of fabric. She saved scraps with holes in them from where she had ripped out seams. Worthless scraps. Right? What can you do with a bunch of scraps?

I have those scraps now. My sister has some scraps. We are incorporating those fabric scraps in quilts of our own. Those worthless scraps are turning out to be quite beautiful.

My quilts are more modest than my sister’s. I’m still in the process of making a throw quilt, with a backing and batting, which I hope to be able to throw on my lap this winter as I sit in front of the TV watching Big Bang Theory.Scrappy Dresden Plate

Heather’s quilts are of the artist variety. Her quilts stretch long and tall with intricate designs sewn on the front. Scraps of Mom’s fabric are incorporated into her quilts as well.

Heather's quilt displayed at the Peoria Art Guild in August, 2012

Heather’s quilt displayed at the Peoria Art Guild in August, 2012

Not all scraps are tangible. My sister Meredith’s quilting consists of beautiful phrases of music.

Circle of Geese block (click the picture to hear Meredith's composition "Flock of Geese")

Circle of Geese block (click the picture to hear Meredith’s composition “Flock of Geese”)

We leave intangible scraps of ourselves all over the place. How often has someone told you, “I was thinking about you the other day!” because of something they saw or did that reminded them of you? Or perhaps you smell a certain scent in the air that reminds you of someone you love. (Cinnamon rolls equals Grandma!) Whenever I hear a Def Leppard song, I instantly think of my husband, who has every single album they ever recorded.

Little scraps of us. Not worthless, but meaningful.

(Leave a scrap of yourself below…write a comment!)

signature

Brown Paper Bags for Christmas

My dad saw me running down the aisle toward him. He opened up his arms, and to his surprise, I ran right past him. I had my eyes on what was behind my father on that Christmas Eve. All the children who had come to church that night received their annual Christmas brown paper bag of goodies: peanuts in the shell, an orange, and maybe even a stick of gum and some candy.

Christmas Eve was such a magical night when I was a little girl. The large, old red brick church building was filled with light and children and singing. A large tree, brought in from a local farm, would fill the front of the sanctuary. We would tell the Christmas story as only children can. When I was in Kindergarten, I was a Christmas angel with large, white, glittery cardboard wings, a white robe, and a jealous little sister. (She still remembers how she felt that Christmas Eve!)

Then home we would go, carrying our paper bags which were missing a peanut or two, across the street to the red brick parsonage to eat Christmas cookies and open presents. Both of my parents had always opened presents on Christmas Eve when they were young and so we followed that tradition when I was young. Presents opened, cookies eaten, it was back to church for the midnight service. When I was very little, I remember wearing my pajamas to church and lying down on the pew in the balcony, listening to my mom sing as the organ played.

Ten years ago, my father was the preacher at a wedding. He told the story of that little girl who only had eyes for the brown paper bag, bursting with good things. And how on that day, I only had eyes for my husband-to-be as I walked down the aisle.

When Ed and I arrived at our wedding reception, one of our friends had placed two brown paper bags filled with peanuts and an orange at our table. Christmas had come early that year.

Spin Cycle at Second Bloomingsignature

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
                              Follow on Bloglovin
                              Follow on Bloglovin
Grab a Slice!