A New Perspective
By Betsa Marsh
February 2010 Issue
Bookstores are filled with cancer survivors’ tales of courage and hope.
Most of them are written by women.
The Rev. Larry Kreps wants to help break that literary mold. A recent bout with prostate cancer inspired him to pick up his pen and add his voice to the tomes on the shelves: In December, he published a guide with men in mind. Cancer is a Four-Letter Word: A Pilgrimage into the Emotional, Sexual and Spiritual Aspects of Prostate Cancer
chronicles his journey with the disease, and questions at the end of each chapter encourage dialogue between men battling cancer, their loved ones and friends.
Kreps, who now lives in Findlay, was a pastor in his native Cincinnati when he was diagnosed with the illness in 2006. While recovering physically from the robotic surgery he chose as a treatment option, Kreps felt himself succumbing to the depression that often haunts survivors.
“The prostate is in the center of the male body,” he says, “and I felt like emotionally the core of my male identity was hit a blow.”
A faithful journal writer, Kreps, now 56, turned again to the blank page. He asked for a year’s sabbatical to attend writer’s workshops. A seminar in Santa Fe, New Mexico, was particularly inspiring. Like cancer, it became a family affair for Kreps and his wife, Marti, a photographer. He spent his days writing under the clear desert air, while she photographed the surrounding vista.
After the week out west ended, Kreps continued writing. The result is the family effort the couple envisioned. Her evocative black-and-white photos launch each chapter, and the cover shot of a solitary figure walking in the rain at Cincinnati’s Sharon Woods “catches part of the depression,” he says.
“But,” he adds, “the umbrella [in the photo] is protection. And the walking means the person is moving through.”
Reinvigorated by his sabbatical, Kreps himself moved on to become pastor of St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church in Findlay.
“I want to choose joy,” he says of his recovery process. “I want to be present to God, present to others and experience the joy of life.”
For information about the book, call 888/519-5121 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Rachel Nebozuk
Margaret Hensel never knows what a day of bird-watching will bring.
And, she says, that’s the fun of it.
The Arcanum resident’s passion for her pastime began 30 years ago when her brother-in-law showed Hensel and her husband, Cliff, the ropes of bird-watching as they vacationed in Oklahoma. Fast-forward three decades, and Hensel can proudly proclaim that she’s spotted 3,500 of the 10,000 bird species existing in the world –– truly a feat to those of us feeling lucky just glimpsing a pigeon at the park.
Hensel, however, isn’t satisfied with her accomplishment. “I’m only a third of the way done,” the 61-year-old says with a smile.
A world traveler who’s journeyed to seven continents, Hensel has seen some of Earth’s rarest birds. The most elusive one she was able to sneak a peek at was the Antarctic petrel, during a trip to the southernmost continent 17 years ago. Other special sightings include the Nicobar pigeon she saw in Thailand in 2007 and the Striated Caracara, spotted during a trip to the Falkland Islands in 1993.
But, although she has adventured across the globe, Hensel’s favorite place to visit with feathered friends is right in her own back yard.
“I love seeing the cardinals that come to my feeder,” she says, admiring the brilliance of Ohio’s state bird.
For Hensel, bird-watching is all about finding beauty and accepting the challenge of learning to identify new species.
And, she adds, hers is a hobby that anyone can engage in. “Get outside,” Hensel says. “Put a feeder in your yard and get a pair of binoculars and a book on birding. You never know what you’ll see.”
Learn more about Hensel’s expeditions and get tips for bird-watching when she presents “Travels with Margaret” at Shawnee Prairie Preserve Nature Center on Feb. 18. The nature center is located at 4267 St. Rte. 502, Greenville 45331. Call 937/548-0165 for more information.
By Jennifer Rogers
When it comes to shopping chic, Paris reins supreme — and it’s this belief that Stash Style was founded upon. The unique Chagrin Falls boutique, which opened in 2004, is noted for its vintage ambiance, and shopping here feels akin to browsing through an impeccably fashionable friend’s French-inspired boudoir.
According to owner Shannon Vance, many customers describe Stash Style as “an authentic Anthropologie,” referring to the trendy apparel and home accessories chain.
“The pieces look new, but they’re actually old,” she explains about her eclectic collection, ranging from Parisian textiles, vintage hotel silverware and horse ribbons to antique crystal chandeliers, candles and decorative hardware lining the shelves and walls. To add to the authenticity, Vance hosts an annual Paris Flea Market, showcasing merchandise made exclusively of products from The City of Light.
“Our collection is ever-changing,” says Vance. “Many people note that the shop looks different every time they come in.”
In addition to her home décor and gift selection, Vance expanded the store last year to include knitting and crocheting supplies. She also added a café that features Intelligentsia coffee, and 20 mouthwatering flavors of cupcakes baked at Cleveland’s West Side Market (favorites include Reese’s Cup and Red Velvet).
For more information, visit stashstyle.com