around the frame jan 2018 – our experiences

Dear Frances,

I’m thinking about your recent mid-month reflections. I enjoyed comparing the November and December 17 photos of the view from your deck in Goshen, Indiana. 

I do the same thing with my camera in my back yard.  It’s fun to capture the seasons in photos and then make comparisons across the seasons and through the years.  What trees grew? What was that storm like?  How blue or cloudy was the sky?

  This year the oak leaves fell later than usual.  (Global warming?)  I captured some leaves in flight, then compared the pics of the same subject I took back in 2013. 

The two sets of photos have a very different feel, because there was some blue sky through the clouds in 2013, compared to billowy gray clouds blanketing the sky in 2017. 

The subject still fascinates me.  


Carol (June ‘17) adds, “I want to try to take more pics of falling leaves again, but will have to wait for another autumn.”


Dear Frances,

Childhood memories of wintertime are sweet or bitter cold!  I grew up in the Green Mountains of Vermont. I have fond memories of skating on the frog pond across the street, dodging rocks that might hamper my flight.

Sledding on the long steep hill of the huge field across the street was another fond memory.  That hill was so huge that we could only go up half way to start our slide. One time I froze my toes while my folks had gone shopping.

Our neighbor friend took me in, thawed my feet while I whined. 




Gail (Dec. ‘17) adds, “It took a village then and it still does, but we’ve forgotten.”



I am so sorry that you have your aunt’s hospitalization, death and funeral to deal with. You said you liken your chaos to Alice in Wonderland when Alice visited the Red Queen and the whole pack of cards rose into the air and came falling down on top of Alice. Sometimes life just throws so much at us that we can feel like running for cover.

That, of course, is when we are often given special graces that see us through. I know that you have a reservoir of faith and, I hope, a reservoir of strength/ stamina.

My condolences to you and your family. I am thinking of you!

Love and Prayers,


Chantal (June ‘17) adds, “I am thinking of you!”


Dear Fritzie,

What a shock your Auntie Alma died! Thank you for telling me. I can’t remember when you didn’t speak of her. It’s as if I knew her without knowing her. This must be so sad for you, and I’m glad your son David was with you to help honor her.  And, I wish I could be there with you, too.

I’m wondering who is left to mourn her at 94. Thank goodness for church members.

I will keep Auntie Alma and you and David in my prayers. I will not forget.

God bless Auntie Alma.



Elaine (Nov. ‘17) adds, “While sitting at a memorial service this week, I thought of so many family and friends who have passed. Later, talking to the minister, he said that is what is supposed to happen. Of course this is true, but it doesn’t always happen for me. I’ll be wondering about your experience.”


Dear Frances,

We’re starting the day here in Michigan with wonderful sunshine. What a difference it makes in my winter life to see it shine.

I am sorry to hear about your aunt’s passing. Funerals are powerful, even simple ones. So many precious moments come up to look at and cherish. Also, the things not said, roads not taken as well as the many joys of knowing and relating to the person as a family member.

My condolences to you.


Linda Rosenthal (Jan. ‘18) adds, “Bill and I are making preparations for escape to the sunny and warm south.”


Hi Frances,
Auntie Alma passed? I’m so sorry to hear of another grand family matriarch leaving this earth. Eternal rest grant to her, O Lord.

We had a happier Thanksgiving than you: a nice little Texas vacation. However,

the weather did not cooperate much. It wasn’t cold, but cool and so breezy. One night the wind howled!

Take care of yourself,

Georgene (Dec. ‘17) adds, “Not as much to do in Texas as we hoped, but that meant there was a decent opportunity to rest.”


Thank you for your concern about my health.  I’m better.

I have further news on Bryan, my son who still lives on the streets.

I talked to the director of the open shelter where Bryan eats. He said Bryan is adamant about not wanting to talk to me but he wanted me to send him cards with notes to him.

I am hoping to begin a conversation with my son that way. 

I have already sent two but I am afraid Bryan might feel he is being stalked. I’ll call the director and see if he agrees that I should not send cards every week. Perhaps every two weeks would be better.

Before Bryan slipped into his mental darkness that was how often we talked.  I am also afraid he will not keep in as close touch with the shelter if he feels I am stalking him.

I’ll keep you posted.  While Bryan’s there for lunch, he has conversation with the director.

That man said my son was “doing well.”  

I was grateful for that bit of information.

Going to close now my friend.  Take care.


Patricia (Dec. ‘17) adds, “My doctors agree all my tests were good. Everything seems fine.”


Linda Rosenthal (Dec. 17) adds, “Life here is good. Bill’s father gave us a motor home! We are now its official owner. What a blessing!”


Dear Frances,

Every time I think I know how my life will go, something goes “wrong” or changes.

First, I lost my dad to cancer. Next, I sprained my ankle. The injury messed up all my plans with my new lady-friend. For a week and a half I had to sit indoors with an icepack on my foot set on top of pillows.

Now, I have lost my nephew, Steve, to cancer! (He was only 41 years old!) We didn’t know he had cancer. I knew only he kept getting weaker and weaker.

The doctors took x-rays and ran lots of tests, but they could not locate the trouble.

Steve was my brother Bill’s son. When my helpers Bill and his wife went to Florida every year Bill always said, “Just call Steve.”

His son took me on my errands, hooked up my TV and answering machine. He fixed things when they didn’t work. He also came in once a week to clean and check on the fish.

(He was a member of a “fish club” and has a friend who owned an aquarium shop.)

Since his funeral in June, friends from my new church have helped me a lot.

Life goes on, one way or another.

Love and prayers,


LindaSue (Nov. ‘17) adds, “I like my adult coloring book, but have been too tired to color. Lately when I rest, I go to sleep!”


Dear fritzasubbingathighschoolandtheypostedatimethatwastooearly!

I set my alarm for 5:30 get to substitute teach at 7:00 a.m. It turned out I didn’t need to be here till 7:20! (I could have slept twenty minutes more!) I also have first period planning and no kids till 9:30. 

Anyway, you were in my dreams last night! In that night story I was at a coffee/tea shop with a group of friends. I saw you at another table with your group of friends. You were wearing a fuchsia colored cardigan and a long dangly necklace. I went over and hugged you. That’s all I remember. (Somehow, I don’t see you wearing that color in real life.)

There goes the bell for first period. It’s nice that schools here have melodious jingly bells rather than those intrusive single blasts that we used to have. (Now they are playing “Dancing in the Moonlight” over the PA!) 


<3 Liz

Liz/ Moascar (Dec. ‘17) adds, “I went to visit Key West and see my rental house in December.”


Dear Frances:

I held onto the candle I sent you for quite a while. Bill and I saw the church it came from on our first trip to Germany a few years ago.

I didn’t buy the candle, but my now-deceased brother-in-law did. He gave it to me, after I mentioned I regretted not buying one.

I have sent it to you, now. Perhaps you will light it for someone dear to you or keep it.

One thing I have learned in my many years of estate buying is we are caretakers of objects. They can give us memories, burden us, control us, or bring us great joy.

I hope you can also enjoy the little story about Wieskirche, which is where the candle came from.

Hope you had an uneventful return to Florida! Be well and happy, my friend.

Love and respect to you,


Linda Rosenthal (Dec. 17) adds, “Life here is good. Bill’s father gave us a motor home! We are now its official owner. What a blessing!”


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