around the frame dec 2010 – our experiences


My dearest and most glamorous Francatta,

I was reading the Nov.’10 Ninepatch and when I got to Lotte’s story, “Second Love”, I was so stunned that I had to stop reading. God bless her and her son.

I keep thinking of the boathouse from your story of Nov. ’10. It seems mysterious, dark and cool. I hear waves lapping against the pilings. Sea/lake weeds cling to the old wood.

The boathouse seems a safe haven and a launching point for a journey.



Liz/Moascar (Nov.10) adds, “I am always ready to launch the next journey – travel! Change! Excitement! I share Mr. Toad’s mantra from Wind in the Willows.”


Hi Frances,

I can’t believe it’s November already. I’m not worried about Thanksgiving this year. We’re not traveling, and I think — I hope — my husband will cook everything since cooking is not one of my favorite things to do.

I’m not particularly looking forward to Christmas. For one thing, we don’t have much money for family presents — and also one of my brothers is coming to visit. He’s just eighteen years old and while his visit will be fun, having to entertain him will just mean more work for me! My brother is a bit crazy — in a fun, nerdy young guy way. But having him recite physics to me over and over can get a little old.



Christa (Sept.’10) says, “My husband was away for business and a family visit not long ago. It was nice for him to go back to his hometown since many of his friends still live there, but it was hard for me to handle all my work responsibilities and everything at home along with the baby. I eagerly watched for his return!”


Dear Frances,

You asked about my dream experience after reading Roger Kamenetz’s book, The History of Last Night’s Dream. I’ve reread it a few times.

He is the first dream teacher who wants a person to accept dreams and images as they are. He doesn’t believe dreams are a project of the daytime ego containing secret coded messages that need to be decoded. Rather, dreams are extremely personal and show me the state of my soul.

I’ve had recurring dreams about suddenly finding out a project, final exam, or difficult task is due right now. My dreams show how anxious I can be to get things done. My dream self is often far more upset and less in control than my waking self — sometimes comically frantic.

Dreams come from a place of mystery and depth. It’s good to pay attention to feelings and sensations within a dream. Is it hot or cold? How do textures feel in the dream? Who else is in the dream? How does my dream-self interact with them? Does my dream-self behave differently than my daytime-self?

I think paying attention to dreams helps me grow. After reflecting on the exaggerated nature of the “I-have-a-final-due-today” dream, I can laugh at myself when I begin to worry about my “to do” list.

Please take care,


Karen Louise (Oct.’10) adds, “I have seen ‘my soul child’ a few times. My animus (inner male) and anima (inner female) — they remain mysterious to me. I more easily recognize blocks or hindrances — what Kamenetz calls our pathology.”


Hi Frances,

I have been thinking more about the topic of dreams. Over the past sixty years, I have spent countless hours wondering about dreams, enjoying dreams, and attempting to analyze dreams. I still am just as amazed and awed by the mind’s ability to create parallel universes within our brains as I was as a young boy.

One universe we call reality which follows rules about the structure and limits of this “real universe”; the other is the dream state where the mind is free to explore any and all of the wide varieties of imagination, creativity and sometimes abject “horror” that flows within the deep recesses of our soul. Each of us has a dream landscape that can vary from just a bare glimpse at our inner world to epic adventures worthy of Homer. Some of us are very fortunate in having a wide open, rich mosaic of light, form, patterns, stories and hints as to what should be important in our wakeful state of mind.

More later.


Wallace (Oct.’10) adds, “Dreams allow us to experience two forms of existence — one ruled by gravity, the other unlimited.”


Last night I dreamt of God. He said, “Everything is as it should be. It’s alright. Don’t worry about anything.”

I said, “But you’re male. I haven’t believed in a male deity for at least ten years now.”

He said, “That doesn’t matter. Don’t worry about that either.”


Sherryl (Nov. ’10) adds, “No joke, that was the dream.”


Dear Frances,

Thank you for your letter, ideas and reading suggestions. I went to the library looking for one book and found another that looked interesting! It’s an Amish story by Ann H.Gabhart called, The Believers. She also wrote one called, The Outsider.

I start counseling this week on Wednesday, my day off work. This time it is closer to home so my husband won’t complain so much about how far he has to drive and the cost of gas.

In your last letter you said that life is about following God’s will, not searching for happiness. I heard this before. When I was a little girl, my aunt told me that we were not put on this earth to have fun.

I know God’s will is what counts — what He has planned. He knows what’s best. Dad and I pray and wait.

You say to keep track of my dreams. First, I was dreaming about falling. Next, I dreamed about getting married and weddings. What does that mean? I never want to get married again!

Oh well, it’s something to think about. I keep taking life one day at a time. Thanks again for listening. God bless you.

Love and prayers,


LindaSue (Nov.’10) adds, “I also have an appointment to get my hair cut. My daughter is taking me. We are going out for lunch, too. Fun to look forward to time out for myself!”



I’m just back from a trip to Ecuador. Indian food was a taste delight and I made the most of every eating opportunity. Elizabeth Gilbert wrote a book of a trip she took, Eat, Pray, Love. My trip was more, “Eat, eat, eat!

I also enjoyed Indian markets and buying interesting art and crafts. I had a day-trip to Quito’s “Old Town,” an 1800’s Southern Colonial city. Been there before. Streets are narrow and cobblestone. Some are closed to traffic.

Old buildings, and convents were more beautiful than any I have seen. The churches were beyond belief — somewhat humbling.

Planned on being there ten days, but it turned out to be thirteen. I was two minutes from walking onto the plane when they closed the airport. Riots in the city. Just my luck.

The bright side is I got to stay in a Marriott — most elegant and expensive hotel in town.

M.Joan (Aug.’10 ) adds, “The rest of the story about the riots is that the police themselves were rioting because the government was cutting their bonuses!”


Hi Frances,

I got a cold and wasn’t sure I was going to the Woman Within weekend retreat until the last minute. Now, I’m glad I went as the weekend was tremendous! This was a four-hour drive, but meeting up with three women in Indianapolis made the journey very rewarding for the final two hours. It also gave us the advantage of sharing our experi-ence on the way home.

This was held at Kavanaugh Life Enrichment Center (Methodist owed) in Crestwood, Kentucky, set in a country area with a large pond and bridge. Our rooms and eating area were a five-minute walk from the beautiful main building where most of our sessions were held. The weather was fabulous with the beautiful fall leaves and tiny lights along the path.

I can’t state the retreat details as it would take away from the experience of girls who might attend in the future, I can tell you it was all about discovering myself — my future intentions and goals. Inspiring, life-altering and interactive, it was clearly, the best retreat I’ve ever been on. I am in gratitude for the experience.

The thirty-two women who put this experience on were unbelievably giving of their time, gifts and experience. Four professionals were in charge and twenty-eight of us “in training.”

As a side benefit, this experience has made my two-hour weekly sessions with my E-Circle of 9 women more empowering.

Best wishes.


Dottie (Dec.’10) adds, “It was humbling hearing the stories of other women.”

Hi Frances!

My husband and I are just back from downstate where he had a successful gallbladder surgery at the VA Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We are so grateful that there were no complications. So grateful.

Following surgery, his daughter and son-in-law made his recovery wonderfully

comfortable at their home nearby. On the third day, Harry was free of pain meds and able to drive home.

I can’t drive due to a driving restriction since I shattered my left wrist in a fall off a 2-step stepladder earlier in October. When I fell onto our concrete floor I also jangled my already weak thighs — last summer’s total hip replacement.

So we laugh at ourselves, a couple of aging jalopies! For a while I had to type without looking at the screen, but now I’m back to normal typing, although my left wrist sports a fracture brace hiding yet another (the third) steel plate in my left arm! Do you remember when I broke my arm in two places in 2007 while trying to ice skate?

I think it was Tolstoy who said, “We die the way we live.” I’ve always been a kid, I guess!

Wish you the very best always,

Friend Gail

Gail (Oct.’10) adds, “We are in good shape for the shape we are in!”

 “How” and “why” are the parents of “what.”

James (Nov.’10) adds, “What happened is the result of the how and why something happened.”

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