around the frame jun 2011 – our experiences


I especially connected with your May Ninepatch. I, too, have been struggling with depression

— sadness, the blues, the blahs. Because of a foot pain problem, I can’t use the various high-energy classes that you have embraced, and which I have used in the past.

Anyway, I’m glad you are working with your “black clouds” and I hope you move out of them. I’m trying to be open and share my concerns/fears /issues with people I know are open to such sharing. What a blessing to have this kind of support.

Also, I’m being more disciplined in protecting/ committing to a “quiet time” or meditation first thing every day. When I start my day this way, rather than jumping into tasks to be done, the day goes much smoother and my mood is much less prone to swings from anxiety to the “blahs.”

Thank you for sharing your journey. We all seem to be on a path, whatever it may be.

Linda Kay

Linda Kay (Sept.’09) adds, “Sitting quietly, just being, is a wonderful way to start my day. Why I forget the positive benefit from this simple action and why I lapse from my commitment to this simple routine, I don’t know.”


Dearest Francarlie –

Wow! Your April’11 story, “Dark Night of the Soul” just zinged off the page! It was inspired and inspiring! The sensory descriptions are appealing and the allegory really makes sense: a blessing to dispel fear! I know you have struggled this winter and I wonder if the increased estrogen dose is helping.  Also, I sense you miss your kids.

High adventure in my neighborhood!  A neighbor threatened to shoot me! Yikes!

I have written a letter to her and copied it to the sheriff’s and police department. 

The situation is about my female cat who somehow ended up at the neighbor’s place while I was out of town.

Hope you are feeling more spiritually/emotionally fit. Depression sucks!



Liz/Moascar  (Apr.’11)adds, “ I am a recent hire at school and  haven’t heard anything about my position for next year. I like to think that I am equally ready to stay or go…”

Dear Frances,

One day last month, my husband was gone all day — which hardly ever happens. With him gone, my daughter and I got into a fight. Her husband came home from work and he started in on me, too.  We are all stressed to the max!

You wrote that you and your first husband had your “discussions” in the garage so as not to disturb the kids. I try to talk to my husband in the truck when he takes me to and picks me up from work, going to the store and running errands.  Those talks don’t help. He ends up yelling and I either yell back or cry.

I know my kids and grandkids are not deaf and dumb so even when we don’t fight at home, they feel what is going on. The younger one has trouble in school and the older girl skips class a lot. Her friends are in and out, even on school days. I don’t know what to do.

What did I accomplish by arguing with my husband as I wrote last time? Nothing. Maybe I have even more questions.

I work, eat and sleep to keep a roof over our heads. This is who I am: I’m the mom and everyone else runs and plays.

I appreciate your statement, “God is already opening a door for you, you just can’t see it yet.” It reminded me the Lord works in mysterious ways.

Thanks again for listening.

Love and prayers,


LindaSue (May ’11) adds, “Memorial Day was a weekend full of memories.I used to go with my mother and grandmother to put plants on Grandpa’s grave. They told me it would be my job someday. I was a Girl Scout and some years I marched in a parade that ended at the cemetery. I feel sorry for the veterans. I admire them, too. I am thankful for what they did.”


Hi Fritzie!

My grandson, Bryce, is moving to a smaller, affordable apartment. His dad has been living with him but will now have to make other living arrangements.  Since my son won’t help himself, he will be on the streets. I tried to help him, but he is worse off now than he’s ever been. I can’t do anything more. Thus I’ve been depressed.

Depression takes my appetite away, but I have been forcing myself to eat at least breakfast so I can take my heart meds. I also eat something in the afternoon with my husband — even if it is only a salad.

I have to exercise, too. I walk a treadmill every day as part of my morning routine: feed the cats, give them their insulin, say my prayers and walk the treadmill. (As soon as weather permits, my husband and I are going to start walking the neighborhood.) 

Meanwhile, I pray for my son every day and believe some-thing will develop.  I keep trying to feel better.

Fritzie, I pray for you and JK every morning.  Hopefully your depression goes away, too. 

Talk to you later, my friend.


Patricia (May ’11) adds, “The asparagus is coming up.  Going to pick some tomorrow for Bryce.  He loves it.  Fresh asparagus is so good.”

Hi Frances,

Two jobs… three jobs… I actually have lots of jobs at the moment. Nearly full time now in the office and then three different clients who hire me for fairly regular work. I’m still trying to figure out how to handle it all. It looks like personal projects, like remaking T-shirts for Paloma and other sewing, may fall by the wayside for a bit so I can go to bed early. I have to get up early to get ready for work and make sure we’re all out of the house on time.

    The saddest part of becoming a working mom is that someone else gets to spend the best hours of the baby’s day with her while I’m stuck writing about things like cancers that are 100% fatal and fishing.

Not to say Paloma and I don’t have fun in the afternoons, but she is definitely a morning person and I miss spending those particular hours with her.

Anyway, back to work!



Christa (Apr.11) says, “In rereading this letter, I got all choked up remembering how she and I used to wake up, have breakfast and just wander — or decide on the spur of the moment to go for a bike ride.”


Hello, Frances:

My husband and I have been very busy. In the spring neighbors go outside and feud over fences and cut trees.  I’m feeling that I am allowing myself to get sucked dry by not getting enough personal time. So I am practicing saying “no” — again.

I also realize how much I have kept my mouth shut even though I don’t approve of how people are acting around me.  I rationalize being quiet, telling myself that it is necessary for some one else’s sake.” 

Yet, in being silent, I am giving away my power and teaching others how to treat me.  When I start pulling my power back, it is ever so hard to do.  Why can’t I just be who I am to begin with? Speak and let the chips fall where they may? 

At least I am aware of what I am doing (not doing). Perhaps I can stop the behavior more quickly than I used to. 

Take care,


Linda Rosenthal (May’11) adds, “When I get tired and busy ‘stuff’ comes up from my childhood. Tough on me, even now.”


Hi Frances,

My husband, died nearly a year ago. Slowly, I am moving ahead with my life. I’m volunteering in two elementary schools, working with struggling readers. I really like it but still have to give myself a push to

get going. Everything seems to require so much effort — walking the dog, making breakfast, showering, getting in the car to go.

I’m also advancing in my recorder ensemble. I’ve pretty much mastered the bass and am working on learning the soprano. The alto is my fall-back instrument.

And last, I’m going to be taking a six-session cooking course. Funny thing, I really don’t like to cook and seldom have anyone to cook for. My purpose is to rekindle an interest in cooking and then have a few people at my home for dinner from time to time.

       On Sunday I visited the National Veteran’s Cemetery. I plan to bury my husband’s ashes there on the anniversary of his death. Now that I’ve taken the first step, I feel I’ve lightened my load.

Again, everything seems so hard to do.  I remind myself of the saying, “This too shall pass.”

I’m off to the gym now — as much to get my endorphins pumped as to stay in shape.



Elaine (Feb.’11) says, “A moment ago I read words from ‘The Postmistress’ by Sarah Blake that reflect how I feel about being alone now. I was startled! She writes that if you are in the world without parents or someone who loves you, you are invisible. No one sees you, because no one needs to. Since my husband died in June ‘10, I’ve often felt invisible. For me it’s not exactly about being loved, but more about having someone witness my life.”

Dear Frances,

Last Thursday, our Woman Within group went to a lecture.  Julie Alvarado, a trauma- consultant, gave a two-hour talk at a college near my home.

Alvarado was interesting and informative. At one point we chose someone we didn’t know and picked a personal aspect we needed to work on – like gossiping or busyness. One of the pair was to be a giver (teller) and the other a receiver (listener.) The one being the receiver was to listen without giving advice or commenting for two minutes.  Then we switched roles and the other of the pair was to be the receiver. 

After the session, several people from the lecture wanted information about our Woman Within group including men.  There is a kind of parallel men’s group called Mankind Project.


Dottie (May ’11) adds, “Last week my boyfriend and I went to hear a spiritual songster, Daniel Nahmod. He’s composed all the songs he sings.  I was teary a few times.”



I’ve been out of touch. We had an electric storm and my computer got fried even though I had a surge protector! Finally, my grandson came over and helped me connect a new one.

       After that I was away helping out an older friend. The poor lady in my old town needed cataract surgery but didn’t know how to find a doctor. I took her to mine and got preliminary tests set up. I also set up her insurance and meals on wheels. Then I came back home.

Time is so valuable and it zooms away. I missed being at home but I am glad I could be of help.  But for the grace of God, there go I.

I am glad I have my daughter and son-in-law living in yelling distance. They also check on me every day. It is a comfort to not be completely alone.


Glenda  (Apr.11) adds, “I enjoyed the last Ninepatch magazine. I will soon get back into the swing of things.”

Dear Frances,

This winter, as part of a road trip to see friends and family I stopped to see one of my sons. Our relationship has been touchy over the years. Considering the stress still in our relationship, my visit with him went well.  I was very careful to just “be”. I did not chatter, ask questions or act “out there”.  It seemed to work well as there were only a few times when I felt tension.  At those times, I would just vacate the area where he was.

His wife was busy with work and some social obligations, so my son and I were together with the children most of the time.  He does the cooking and cleanup. Meanwhile, I was in the living room with  the grandchildren watching National Geographic videos I’d brought, in the basement  playing foosball or outside  at a playground.

One day, I got to watch the youngest at swimming class, and the older two at gymnastics class. The last day I was there I went to see the oldest compete at a gymnastics meet. 

I took lots of pictures and deemed the whole visit a success.

Peace and love,


Palma (Nov.’10) adds, “I credit my Twelve Step Program for serenity, acceptance and being able to choose my behavior during my visit.” 


Time may be

a cruel  master

or a loving friend.

James (May ’11) adds, “Time well-spent brings happiness.”

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