around the frame aug 2014 – our experiences

a bowl of sea shells

Lovely shell story, Frances.

Somewhere I read that we come from the sea and to the sea we shall (shell) return. Perhaps your shell interest isn’t about your mother or even souvenirs. Instead, it’s a sign of just that connection to the place of our origin.

Happy safe summer!


Gail (July ‘14) adds, “The cycle of life causes me to yearn for home. Perhaps, the closer I get to that time, the stronger the yearning.”


Dear St. Frances,

Your July reflection, “Cockle Shells” got me to thinking. When I am at the beach, I’m interested in shells. When I am in the mountains, I search rocks to look for fossil signs of an ancient sea. When I’m at a creek, I look at the banks for high water signs: debris, sticks and rubbish.

I think tides and other waters’ ebb and flow affect me. I am sensitive to water changes and drawn to investigate.


Malaina (Mar.’14)adds, “On the other hand, on windy days, I also look at the trees to see how the leaves are fluttering. When they turn upside-down, that often means rain is coming.”


Dear Frances,

It’s rainy. I’m listening to old tapes and CD’s. Fun. I don’t watch TV much. I’d rather listen to music.

When we went to “The Truck Show,” two of my brothers were in campers with their wives. I stay in a cabin with my brother Bill and his wife. They have been wonderful. (They take me everywhere!)

You said you weren’t much for camping. I’m not either, but the cabin was alright. It was good to be with my brothers. They have this tradition of going to the same campground every year for the show. One told me, “Even Mom came to ‘The Truck Show,’ once!”

You asked if I still see my counselor. I don’t. Had to give it up–no ride.

One step at a time.

God Bless.

Love and Prayers,


LindaSue (July ‘14) adds, “It’s a new life, but stability is important. Baby steps.”



I was cleaning when I found in the bottom of a drawer, this definition of depression written in an unfamiliar handwriting. “Depression is an emotional reaction to loss.”

The loss for me (and I think many other women) is the “sacrifice of self” to preserve relationships and family harmony. I adopted the “sick role” which kept me from being able to take action to create a different life. In part, I didn’t know quite how to be any other way.

Even now, I’m still working hard at preserving my relationships with my sons. Many times, I want to add my two-cents’-worth or challenge something one has said, but I stay silent. I think I’m afraid he’ll think I’m still mothering him. Maybe I am.

The thing is, I’m usually glad I kept silent because nothing I would have said would have influenced him. I’m still trying to keep the peace. Also, I seldom share the challenges of being a single woman and single homeowner. The family thinks I’m “doing well.” They are happy for me, but they really don’t know the big picture.

Again, I don’t share the bad news, because I believe no one wants to hear it. This reminds me of how hard it is to ask for help. So very, very hard.


Elaine (July ‘14) says, “Maybe a friend was trying to help me and shared those words I found.” 


Hello Frances,

It is wonderful to hear from you. I congratulate you on keeping a couple of weeks a year in which to “find yourself” at the lake of your youth.

I’ve been looking for myself for quite some time! What a lovely search it has been–fraught with mystery, intrigue, and trunks filled with old worn-out items.

I’m currently reading The Signature of All Things by Liz Gilbert. What an interesting and well-written novel. Her main character, Alma, is tall and homely and a self-taught scientist who was born in 1800. She really gets rolling in her life once she gets into her fifties.

I can’t recall ever reading a book centered on a fascinating old spinster.



KarenLouise (May ‘14)) adds, “I feel at home in the Pacific Northwest. It was a lovely spring here with plenty of roses.”


Hello, Frances!

I’m returned home after a ham radio convention, had a good night’s sleep and I’m regrouping.

Busy with the catch-up thing this morning, but figured that I would drop you some lines.

Since we aren’t going to Bermuda, Bill and I are talking about taking the Corvette on part of Route 66 combined with the Natchez Trace Parkway.

At this point, nothing is set in stone. We have a ton of work right now and summer is so short.

Nothing seems like a replacement for that Bermuda trip. Plus, I feel over-worked, underappreciated and mildly unhappy. I really wanted Bermuda! The disappointment will pass, but until then, UGH.

I enjoy our correspondence.

Take care,



Linda (July ‘14) adds, “I got a short personal vacation in June and another in July. A good thing! I miss my ‘alone’ time.”


Dear Frances,

You asked about my new job search. Absolutely nothing new. I was hoping to work for my old boss who got transferred, but he has not forwarded any job description. I don’t know if it’s just held up in budgeting, or if the idea/position has gone away. I think he would have told me if it was not going to be posted. We’ll see.

Working with the new boss is character building. It’s so schizophrenic. I like him, but the learning curve is so steep I get frustrated to the point of panic attacks. That’s just too much sometimes.

It’s a good thing I have the weekends to balance out again. I realize that a lot of the tension is my own issues of how to do things.

This turmoil is putting me in a dry place spiritually. I need to be disciplined to prayer. I see the direction I need to go.



Georgene (July ‘14) adds, “I guess I just want the change to be easier than it is going to be.”


Dear Francaclimber,

Recently, I summited the 8,800 foot Southern California Tahquitz Peak in the San Jacinto Range! Wow! The view from the top was incredible. I looked out across the bowl of the desert to the tip of Mount Baldy, floating above the clouds ninety miles to the north.

This nine-mile round trip hike was the highest elevation I had walked in a while. My lungs and heart were really heaving on the way up!

My hiking buddy, Trish, and I had purchased trekking poles the evening before setting out on this excursion. Such poles enhance stability and support on all types of terrain. I was happy to have them! They stabilized my body as I clambered up and helped to balance me on the descent. I called these poles

my new best friends” and kissed them as I returned to our starting point at the trail head.

Funnily enough, despite our loud moans and groans on the way down, when Trish and I heard a great band playing in the nearby town of Idyllwild, we ended our day out by dancing for hours to the beat of the local musicians.



At the summit! Liz(R) and hiking buddy, Trish

At the summit! Liz(R) and hiking buddy, Trish

Liz/ Moascar (July ‘14) adds, “Congratulations on twenty years of Ninepatch! What a great achievement to keep bringing together such a diverse group who love to share glimpses of each other’s lives. I had a quick peek at Gail and Christa’s blogs you listed in the June ‘14 issue. I am awed by their output and life experiences.”


Hi Fritzie,

Did I tell you about Bob’s and my “free week?” No appointments or anything!

We used the time to freshen up the house. Delightful turn out. I love this place. It is really small, but that is what I like about it. Not so much to keep up.

I have news about my son, who’s living on the streets. I think I told you that his son, Bryce, put his father on the “missing persons” list. The detective handling the case has kept in close contact with us. He calls me because Bryce is so hard to get in touch with.

A few months ago, Bryce thought he saw his dad coming out of a food pantry. He said he wasn’t real sure because, “He doesn’t have the bag of stuff he carries and he looked much better.”

A couple weeks later, the detective called me and said one of the officers at the police department had been called to check a “suspicious person.” When the officer got there, he ran into my son. (I don’t know whether my son made the call or if he was the person being called about.)

The detective said he talked to my son, that he was coherent, polite and answered his questions. My son told the officer he worked with an agency and he had a place to stay. Of course, the detective could not tell me where my son was, but he could tell me if he was all right.

The detective said now my son was considered “found” and was removed from the missing persons list. He added that he would call me if he had any other news.

My child’s situation really saddens me. The mind can really mess a person up when it is out of sync.

Going to close now my friend.


Patricia (July ‘14) says, “My grandson did, in fact, see his dad that day. One day, I hope to see him, again, too.”


Hi Fritzie,

I just finally figured out how to read these newsletters on my computer. (I miss my printer. Guess I am just old school.)

I miss being home, too, but I know this work/travel opportunity is wonderful. I just got back from several countries: Iceland, Romania, Korea, Japan. The list goes on.

I can get exhausted with many personalities, hassles and culture changes. But, then the moments come that remind me why I am here. Amazing.

I just flew thirty-one days straight with only three bags: a tote, a roller bag and a garment bag. I made it. I knew it was time to come back to Houston when I was running low on Q tips!

I truly love my freedom.

Love to all,



Jodi (Feb. ‘14) adds, “The sacrifices to be a stewardess are many, but the blessings are telling me to stay on.”


Everything happens for a reason.

James (July ‘14) “Sometimes it’s important to know why as well as what.”




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