around the frame apr 2018 – our experiences

sandy says cover

Hi Fritzie,

I just finished reading March ‘18 Ninepatch.. It is a totally miserable winter day here and I thought reading it would be an enjoyable break …and it was!

I thought what you did for Sandy regarding her “musings” was an amazing gift.

Chantal (See her MONTHLY QUESTION comment in this issue.) adds, “I would like to be able to read it sometime.”


Thank you so much, Frances!

The Ritz cracker “bus-lady” treats are delicious! 

Here in Southern Ohio, we have survived cold, icy weather with much snow and bad roads. Temperatures have hovered around zero. Then we had lots and lots of rain and everything flooded. But the sun is out today!

God bless. 


Your friend,


Carolinelee (Sept.’15) adds, “Please say hello to my daughter when you go to copy the newsletter.”


Dear Frances,

Enjoyed your February ‘18 Mid-month Reflection. I remember the 1950’s, when many of the TV ads were about “dingy whites” in the laundry. Back then, it seems that a woman’s worth was based largely on the laundry, and heaven help you if the neighbors saw a line of dingy whites!

Bless you, my friend,

June Poucher (Mar.’18) adds, “Thanks for the tip about Borax; I’ll look for it!”


20 mule team borax cleaner


Boy, does your Feb. ‘18 Mid-month Reflection about doing laundry bring back childhood memories! 

My mom had a wringer washing machine and used all the laundry products your mom did.  In winter, she even hung her clothes in the basement close to the furnace!   In the summer, the clothes went on the line outside.  I loved the smell of sheets on my bed after they dried. 

I used to hang my sheets on the line when I became an adult.  Then, I became a single mom and did not have time.  I used the dryer. 

Talk to you later my friend.



Patricia (Mar.’18) adds, “I miss the smell of those sheets even today.”  


Dearest Frances,

I’m also sorry to hear about Palma! I didn’t realize. I’ve had my head shoved so far up my own hind end….

By the way, I also looked up the laundry bluing I used to use… when we could still find it in stores here. There is a website, including a page about ‘where’ to find it. Hope this helps…

Also, since you don’t seem to be familiar with Borax, I figured you might want to know that it’s usually available at WalMart and most hardware stores. While it’s great for laundry, it does have other uses. For ex-ample, I add it to my water when washing walls, cupboards, and such, and find it helps lift some grease, stains, and discoloration from painted surfaces.

Meantime, my dear, I hope that you will remember to take care of yourself… do a little self-care while dealing with Palma’s impending death. My thoughts and prayers are with you,




Lynn D. (Mar.’18) adds, “Since I have a dog, and my sister who lived with me did, too, I also found that Borax is great for getting rid of fleas. I sprinkle it on carpets, furniture, between mattresses and box springs. It kills them like nothing else!”


Dear St. Frances,

April is the month of opening, when nature literally reawakens –at least, in our Northeastern mountains. Spring growth is pushing up and out and over us. On my section of the mountain, the crocuses are in bloom, with the forsythia covered in bright yellow blossoms, and the little glories-of-the-snow dotting parts of the yard. I normally see them peek through snow but no white stuff this year.

However, we still have the rest of this month and May to get through! With the weather here being somewhat fickle at best and stormy at most, who knows!

So enjoy whatever beauty you see! Take a breather. Sit back and put your feet up while reading!


Malaina (Mar. ‘18) adds, “Be sure and have your cuppa’ cha or joe within reach!”


Liz on Mt. Cuyamaca, a replacement hike

Liz on Mt. Cuyamaca, a replacement hike

Dear Fritzaspringiscoming!

I thought I was going to Death Valley last weekend but the trip fell through since we couldn’t find a four wheel drive to rent.

No matter. I did three back- to-back day hikes –one with my longest term hiking group and two with my friend Brigitte who is equally as fanatic as I am!

We hike and talk about our kids, relationships and such. It’s a good feeling. 



Liz/Moascar (Mar.’18) adds, “I am sick at heart at the latest school shooting –any shooting really. I’ve been contacting my congress people….”


Dear Frances,

Thank you for your words of sympathy when my brother died. It’s been a couple of months now and I am coping.

I do not grieve openly. My grief runs more in the background –or “underground.” I know it is there, but I am busy and need to focus on each task. I’m making mistakes which I know come from the divided attention of my mind.

You wrote you find help in the idea that God has a plan. I’ve never found comfort in that concept. I don’t really embrace the idea that each life is predestined.

Our world is broken. I know that God knows where all things are in the universe and can bring good from evil through the faithfulness of His people –though he often chooses not to do so.

For me, “God has a plan” is less comfort than “I will not leave you or forsake you… my peace I give to you.”



Georgene (Mar. ’18) adds, “In my sorrow, I cling to that quote.”


Hello Frances,

My sincere apologies for not responding or keeping in touch. Life has been and is very hectic.

I have been involved in an organization that wants to support families of “Special Needs” kids. Also, I’m putting food baskets together for them

Still teaching in the morning and monitoring (babysitting) the kids in the after-care school program. (Those kids act as if they are entitled to being here. Have a hard time with that attitude.)

Have been writing about nursing homes for an organization. I’ve also written a song. Now a lady who sings for nursing home residents is helping me put music to the words. Exciting!

My dearest greetings,



Lotte (Feb. ’14) “ I still enjoy reading Ninepatch.” 


Hi Frances, 

Since starting my own business in August 2016, I’ve had almost NO TIME TO MYSELF!  Winter 2018, however, has been super slow. I’m finally beginning to get caught up on some housework and home im-provement, as well as taking the time to read a few novels by my favorite new novelist, and reading through my large stacks of Ninepatch.

  I began with February ’18 and I’m reading backwards.  I wanted to take a moment to let you know that I appreciate your stories about your adult son and the struggles he is having with his own son.  It was interesting to hear how you pause and think carefully before texting your replies –making sure that you stay grounded in your ultimate desire of being supportive and staying positive.  Although texting was your son’s request, it seems to me that texting gives you the space to take a breath and keep yourself on track.

  I also strive to communicate carefully and lovingly with my own son, who is turning 30 in March and does not yet have a wife or children of his own.  I realized a few years ago that he is an adult, and that any ideas I might have had about how his adulthood would look are irrelevant. 

He is my only child, and he is precious to me, and I can see his progress and his striving and I am proud of his caring nature and his ambition.  It is rewarding to watch him taking more and more responsibility for making his own life better.  There are times when I wish things were easier for him –but I stop those thoughts and reassure myself that this is HIS PATH and HIS GROWTH and I can trust it’s unfolding and his response to that unfolding. 

Not that it’s easy, but as soon as I move my compass to that point where I trust his unfolding and his own abilities to create his own life –I feel better.  That feels like the right place for me to be.

  In reading your February ’18 story, I see that life goes on, and issues cycle back around with the next generation.  May I be as wise and thoughtful as you are when facing the ever deeper layers of issues as they peel away down through the years. Motherhood is tricky at every stage.  Awesome–but tricky.

Love to you as you let all your cyber frustrations wash over you and away.  Spring is here.

  Love and Hugs,


Sherryl (Oct. ‘17) adds, “It’s nice to have time to listen to other people’s stories.  They are often mirrors that help me to clarify my own commitments to mind my own business, which is usually to listen and love, period.” 





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