Frances, Editor   has this to say about “I am (fairly) good at…”

“Organizing must be my forte!   Often when I talk about projects I have or preparations to travel, friends comment, “You are so organized!”  I do not think of myself in those terms. However, I can see why others might.

Life is interesting. Many ideas and activities attract me. I want to participate!  For example, tomorrow I am taking a turn at hosting my Goshen, Indiana spiritual group. It’s usually a potluck, but the host makes the entree and provides drinks, etc.

In order fit this into my active schedule, a month ago I decided which recipe I would serve. Not long after, I bought the necessary ingredients. I also determined I would use my everyday plates, cups, glasses and silverware.

Last week I made a new list of drinks to have on hand: cider, bottled tea, bottled water and coffee. The past Sunday I cleaned the master bathroom “for company” and straightened that bedroom –neither of which I use daily.

            This morning, I took frozen hamburger out to defrost. Later today I will go to the store and buy the bottled drinks and probably grapes, too. Before I go to bed, I’ll grate the cheese for the recipe.

            Tomorrow, the major work beyond putting the recipe together is to Swiffer, wipe surfaces and clean my bathroom.

            I suppose one could call that organized!  To me it’s how I fit many adventures into my one life.”


Christa (Aug. ’18) comments on a previous topic, “The thing I love most about nature is…”

“I love most how being outdoors is the complete opposite of my working life. I spend my days in front of a computer screen, typing away, writing whatever I’m assigned, and also answering emails and managing social media for clients. There are benefits to working from home, but the biggest drawback is that I’m always at work since I’m always near my computer.

Outside, especially at the beach or on a walking trail, I’m far away from the electronic devices that are the shackles of my work life. I can forget about clients, deliverables, word counts, and keywords. I can turn my phone off or even leave it at home.

Out in nature I get fresher air and sunshine as well as interesting sounds and smells. I feel a lot less frazzled because there’s nowhere I need to be and nothing I have to check. I can relax my eyes since there are no screens.  I can really engage with my kids or just enjoy watching them be loud and crazy where there’s nothing to break.

I think that we human beings have gained many comforts by living in an artificial world, but we’ve also lost something along the way. Though I can’t name it or even define it, going into nature gives me a glimpse of what that thing-we-have-lost might be!”


Our Monthly Question for November 2018, “I am (fairly) good at….” will continue. A new topic will join it, “If neither time nor money were an issue, what do you think would be the most enjoyable way to travel from New York to California?”


We carried the star home

Scattered like

Snowflakes on the

Dark velvet of

Our shoulders,

Smelling faintly

Of dew

And orange peel.


Sandy Cosgrave (Dec.’16). Editor’s Note:  Recently three poems by a deceased Ninepatcher, Sandy Cosgrave came to me. This is one.




Sandy in 1999


My mind is ticking,
Not so much in
Though creative words
Are used to dream,
To vision,
Sift the twists and turns,
What is just birthing,
Finding excitement
Once again,
I am dreams awake,
Along a calm river,
Inspiration comes
In waves,
Soft ripples,
No stormy clouds,
All I can say is I am,
As if I am not alone,
As if
…I am one with the water


Gayle Bluebird (Oct.’18) comments, “I see myself next to the river we all would be next to; or to be the river, but then with our words flowing with the river, we can be. We can be the water flowing, being who we are ourselves.”


Your smile may be 

fleeting on your lips,


But it may be

Forever in my heart


Simon Stargazer III (Oct. ‘18) adds, “…and then when I think of you, the first thing I see is your smile…and my heart smiles!”


There is no more holding back.

The Word

shines down upon you,

melts away the

cold, harsh resurrectories you’d


shovels the hurt from your heart,

                sets you

up in a smooth breeze of somersaults

and apparancies. This is not the


you had hoped to invent;

this is better. The Word


beams out from within you,

vaporizes the stacks

of cinderblocks you’d been

stubbing toes on,

the stacks which had cost you

the casting

of shadows, the gray shading

of breath, and the

mad, naked tantrums

of the impassable.


Freedom has finally become you.


you know what it is to let go.

                Like slipping

out of a heavy shirt, the Word

                renders you

weightless. Both a particle

and a wave, you

dance everywhere at once.  There are

                no more empty

spaces –

nothing left to expect –

only Volume…


Brian Janisse ( Oct.’18) adds, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. This is a poem of self- identity and remembering the Source.”


 Last month, our group read Eleanor and Hick by Susan Quinn.

In letters between Eleanor and Hick (reporter Lorena Hickok), the book tells the love story they shared.  It also gives a window into the marriage of Eleanor and Franklin D. Roosevelt. In addition, it touches on the events surrounding the Depression and lead-up to World War II.

I imagine some in book club will be quite surprised by the story Eleanor and Hick.  I was aware of their story from seeing Ken Burn’s series on the Roosevelts on Public Television.  (See next page.)

I enjoyed it very much.  I came away with the feeling that people, even famous ones, are much more complicated and multi-dimensional than the way we often think of them.

The book is definitely well sourced and documented.  I am glad I read it.

Chantal (See her note in AROUND THE FRAME.) She says, “I would add that the story may not be for everyone.” 


My latest read of import is A Prayer for Owen Meany by John    Irving whose books are always good. Irving is a great writer.

This one in particular has Owen Meany talking in capital letters. What he says is always pithy and important. He is supremely intuitive and able to get to the heart of any matter –a manager type, able to see the bigger picture.  He and his young wealthy boyhood friend are inseparable, in spite of the fact that Owen’s stunted growth at birth is a liability for him. His boyhood friend is damaged as well, in that his father’s identity has been kept from him.Owen’s chutzpa and “smartz” get him through life.  He has intuited that he will die young saving young people, has faith that this is so, and sees his life through in spite of the Vietnam War and the rumors surrounding his idol, Jack Kennedy.

 It’s a strong message of faith and definitely one to reread.


Gail (July ’18) adds, “Irving’s Hotel New Hampshire was funny, yet a great human interest story. His Cider House Rules was a great movie. The last I knew he was retired and living in my home state of Vermont.” 

best path


James (Oct. ’18) adds, “It’s never too late to seek and follow your life’s best path.”


Back in July, a friend emailed me about a weather phenomenon called a “derecho”– a “bad weather event.”

She wrote. “We had strong thunderstorms with especially bad winds that just built upon each other again and again.” She was in her car riding home. She drove over the mountain in the severe storm. “What an experience.”

Weather geek that I am, I looked up that unfamiliar weather word. Wikipedia defines derecho as “…a widespread, long-lived, straight-line wind storm that is associated with a land-based, fast-moving group of severe thunderstorms.” This is commonly known as a thunderstorm complex that produces damaging wind swaths of at least 250 miles with wind gusts exceeding 60 mph. Not to mention flash flooding.

Can you imagine driving through that? I can because, well, I’ve been there. Only then, we were calling the squalls “severe thunderstorms.” The winds were not quite like a tornado but had near enough hurricane-force winds. They seemed to drill right through me with lashing heavy rains.

I felt like rocks were pelting me. Oh, wait!  Did I tell you I was riding a motorcycle?

            The hubs (my husband) had just gotten me a new (used) motorcycle and we set out in stormy weather. (I had mentioned that it was better to remain home. While I love stormy, non-tornadic weather, I prefer to walk in it.)  But Hubs loves to get out and drive in it, even up here in Pennsylvania.

On that bike ride I glanced worriedly at the clouds and also tried to keep the bike upright in lashing winds when we came to a stop.

Oh the memories!


Malaina (Oct.’18) adds, “I’ll tell you this: if you can bike in rough weather, you can bike anywhere, anytime.”


Here’s a story about God’s goodness, caring, blessing and providing for me.

One morning, I put on my NEAT team t-shirt.( I’m a part of’  special group at work.)

As I often do lately, I walked to the nearby Tim Horton’s café for my coffee and muffin.  Next thing I knew, I spilled coffee all over the front of my shirt!

I was beside myself! I thought for sure I was going to be mocked and made fun of because my shirt was messed up.

It turned out God was already was one step ahead of me. (He always scouts ahead and sees the outcome of the situation and how he’s going to bless me.)

When I got to work, I discovered I had an extra shirt in my locker.  Not just any shirt, but a nice polo shirt.  I thought to myself, “Praise Jesus!”

Bookworm (Oct.’18) adds, “God will take what is a bad situation and turn it into awesomeness.”