Previously: Linda, her husband and tour group visit Israel and find Bethlehem a city of complexity and concern.

Fortunately, the wrecked cars along the road didn’t mean anything to our tour that day.

The new Palestinian guide took us to the Church of the Nativity. The church was quite elaborate -it’s impossible to describe and it had many beautiful icons.

Pilgrims were fairly thick and jostling to get into the space where Jesus is believed to have been born. While waiting to queue up for viewing, my husband’s step-mother leaned over and said, “One of the priests came up to me and told me to uncross my legs.”

My eyes opened wide. “What?” I just shook my head. The Orthodox priests who are custodians of this and other sites elsewhere in Jerusalem are wrapped too tight! Again, I returned to the fact that Israel is a complicated country!

When our turn came, we had a quick peek and touch of the place where the manger was supposed to have been. Then we were spirited off to a local Palestinian gift shop.

Linda Rosenthal (Jan. ‘19)“I bought several mementos at the gift shop from a young woman who barely hid her contempt for me.”



Back toward the end of May 2018 I took a walk. The day was chilly and rainy with thick fog moving like a cloud bank off a stormy lake or ocean. I felt like exploring so I took one of the outdoor kitties and we walked over to a neighbor’s back pasture. I hoped to see a deer or tom turkey. Maybe even spy a hawk, eagle or osprey that hung out back there,

I didn’t see any critters until I noticed a slight movement in tall grassI reached for my camera and zoomed in on the dark object busy digging, its nose to the ground. It lifted its head to sniff the air, then went back to digging, again.

At first, I thought the critter’s long tail covered in thick black hair was its body. The creature was all black except for a startling white strip from its two front legs over its shoulders down to the spine to where it met in a point.

I figured this lovely (Yes, indeed lovely!) skunk was between two and three feet long from the tip of its nose to the tip of its tail.

Malaina (Jan.’19) adds, “Undoubtedly, the skunk was out in the marvelous heavy fog hunting grubs and roots.


I walk home feeling like my brain is jammed in neutral. The same thoughts keep running though my head –thoughts about family and friends. I have hurts and fears of disappointing or letting down those people God has placed around me. It’s like a record player inside my brain and it is repeating songs over and over

I feel God’s presence, I know He knows all I am going through. I also know I am wired this way for a purpose

I try to pray but at times like this my prayers are mechanical. I want to break the barrier that has me locked in.

I don’t want this repeating brain. I keep praying.

Bookworm (Jan. ‘19) adds, “I know God is a healer. He is more powerful than even my spinning brain.”


For Christmas, my Ohio daughter gave me a 29-page paperback, Family Favorites Gubernatorial Edition cookbook. It is written by wives of the governor and lieutenant governor of Ohio: Fran DeWine and Tina Husted, respectively.

Following is a recipe from, Tina’s mother you might enjoy:

“Diana’s Italian Soup Recipe

INGREDIENTS: 1lb.roll of Bob Evans Italian Sausage,1-2 grated carrots, 1-32 oz. can tomato juice, 1tsp. salt, 2tsp. dried basil, 1-2 Tbls. brown sugar, 2-16 oz. cans drained beans (kidney, etc.), ½ tsp. pepper, 1 tsp., marjoram, 1-16 oz. can beef broth, 4 oz. cooked macaroni.

DIRECTIONS: Brown meat with onion. Drain fat. Add remaining ingredients (except macaroni). Simmer 45-60 minutes. Add cooked macaroni; stir and cook 5-10 more minutes. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese when serving. (Even better the next day!)”

Kay (Dec.’18) says, “Fran DeWine has written (with this latest) fourteen cookbooks! The recipes I’ve tried, I love!”


Dear Mom and Dad-

During the past year, I lost a person I cared about. By lost, I mean she passed away. She was 26 years old. She was the mother of my great grandchildren.

She didn’t have cancer. She didn’t have a heart attack. She wasn’t in a car accident. No drive-by shooting. The devil that took her was heroin.

She had a long list of issues and challenges in addition to her heroin addiction. It would be very easy to blame and criticize.

On several occasions, I found myself angry, confused and disappointed.

When I was calm, I recognized that none of us know or understand the struggles and challenges of another. I do know that she had experienced much pain, abuse and rejection. I was able to see her with hope and compassion. I prayed that she would heal.

I tend to think that I don’t know much about Heaven. I figure it will be a wonderful surprise. However, I do hope she connects with my beloved parents in that place. Even though this sounds a little far out for my usual thinking, I pray that happens.

Even though just about a year has passed, the depth of my pain continues.

Here I am more than twice her age and she will never turn 27.

Her story on earth is over.



Dorothy (Sept. ‘14) adds, “Judge not lest you be judged.”

around the frame feb 2019 – our experiences

Dear Frances and Ninepatch readers,

Happy New Year! May you be blessed abundantly. I sure appreciate the concern for me Ninepatchers have shown. That’s very meaningful. I’m very grateful. I need to provide you with an update for them. I’ve had no bad news. Things are going pretty well actually.

The investigators have not had any leads on apprehending the individuals who hurt me, but I have been feeling better. I can’t attribute this improvement to anything other than the love of a couple of friends -Frances and David being two of them –checking up on me, praying for me.

But most of all I attribute my healing to the goodness of God.


Louisiana Mary adds, “I’ve still not relocated but I’m consistently looking for a place and I’ve had some leads. So far none have worked out. However, I’m working towards meeting Frances and David for a few days this summer.”

Editor’s note: As I do with all living persons whose stories I use in this newsletter, I asked for and received permission to use parts of Mary’s story in the November ‘18 issue.


Dear Frances,

Thanks for your letter and the proposal. Hope you are having a good day!

You asked where I met my friend, Charlene. It was through my sister-in-law Barb. They used to work together and had been friends for a long time.

Charlene picked me up for church the morning of my birthday. She had a bag full of gifts and a balloon on my seat!

I had fun that day.

You asked if I had painful memories crop up. Oh, yes! Once on a road trip with Charlene, I thought I saw my ex-husband Harold. I had to go to a quiet place for a while and calm myself. I am not sure why thoughts of him still bother me, but they do.

Love and Prayers,


LindaSue (Jan.’18) adds, “I read many mysteries I get from Barb. She also gives me some Amish books. I think I like them best.”



Today I kayaked with a diverse group of women. One is 82, has a PhD in mathematics, and is peevish because her new husband can’t keep up with her. Another, who is about 66, wears bikinis, a cowboy hat, and dark eye shadow when she kayaks. (I’m the understated one.)

I’d love to get you out on a kayak one day. Just say when.

       Love you,


 Our kayaks beached on a riverbank.

Our kayaks beached on a riverbank.

  Elaine (Jan.’19) adds, “My resolution for 2019 is, for security purposes, to log out of Face-book each day.”


Dear Frances,

My husband Harry is choosing a hospice soon to help with his lung cancer.

          Life is changing. We are living each day as if it is Christmas.

          All is well in divine Order.


          Gail (Jan.’19) adds, “Acceptance is the order of the day, one day at a time.”



Nice hearing from you!

So strange. The weather is like a spring day but before nightfall the temp is going to drop from 55 to the 30’s accompanied by snow and winds of 50 mph.

I have been feeding the birds, ducks and geese that hang out in the lot behind our house. There is a small pond they swim in. The birds aren’t coming around. They stopped showing up about 3 months ago.

However, we have a young buck that comes eats the bird feed -mostly corn and sun flower seeds. We bought a block of salt for him, too. He is so sweet. He and a raccoon keep setting off our motion light out back.

I love watching them. I like the birds, too, and will be glad when the warm weather brings them back. (Less than two months until spring!)

Going to close my friend.

Will talk to you later.


Patricia (Oct.’18) adds, “Our cat, Mr. Gray has kidney disease. He is in early stage but he also has arthritis and doesn’t get around like he used to. He is 16 this year. He is a real lap cat and just wants to be on a lap all the time. I don’t care. I like him on my lap. So does Bob.

We both dread the time when we have to say goodbye to him. That will be tough.”


Hi Fransie,

Want to wish you and the family a good, healthy 2019. It has been a long time since I have written.

I worked as a volunteer for a wonderful organization, Caring Hands. We collected food for people who are disabled, shut- ins due to an illness, or poverty stricken. They get help no matter what their issues are.

Each year it is growing. More and more families need this program so they can celebrate the holidays. Costco donated rotisserie chicken, cookies and cakes, bread and more. Other institutions donated soap, tooth brushes, toilet tissues plus paper towels.  After we filled up the baskets, the delivery began.  Designated recipients were so happy to receive the baskets. 

It is amazing to see more and more young people coming to this organization, searching for knowledge and acceptance.

How have you been?



Lotte (Apr. ‘18) adds, “I have been struggling with many challenges. They have made me a stronger and more mindful person.”


Dear Frances,

Thanks so much for understanding my situation.

No, I haven’t found a new roommate, yet. I’m afraid I’ve been scattered, as I mentioned, and have been having difficulty being in my house after his suicide, let alone getting my head and energy together to search.

So, I’ve been allowing myself to take any chances to be out shopping, visiting, and working –instead.

I do, however, need to focus and get on the ball.


        Lynn D. (Jan.’19) adds, One of the many traits I valued in my departed roommate were his trustworthiness, and the feeling of safety I felt with his being here. Since he did what he did on my property, though, a selfish part of me feels as though he’s robbed me of that sense of ‘safety’, and I’m more ‘spooked’ and vulnerable than I’ve been in a very long time. Of course, this wasn’t his intention, I’m sure, but this has been the result.”


Outside my window the morning was still dark. The laptop’s screen glowed as I opened an email from Julia. She wrote, “Would you be interested and available to participate in this exercise?”

As I scrolled down to the message from a group she belongs to, I pictured my friend. Wearing her shorter tawny hair-do, she was sitting on a stool at her home workstation.

In part, the invitation read,

“…Join us for the 21 days “New Year Challenge of Choice.”

Each day create an affirmation which includes a new choice, perspective or a new thought.

Choice a partner/friend and text your affirmation to one another every day.

We begin on January 1st, 2019”

I sat back in my chair. Am I up to this?

Ever since I arrived in Florida the day before Thanksgiving 2018, my life had been in chaos. Fate had decided to play 52-pick-up with life-cards. They lay scattered everywhere. Disorganized, I was challenged by every task. But, writing a daily affirmation might be good for me!

The next morning, I tapped a reply, “Dear Julia, I can’t take on anything new. These are to be affirmations, not new project ideas, right? ….”

Later that day she replied, “The affirmation is also about choices about perspectives you carry or thoughts that seem to follow you around.  It’s necessarily about changes you want to make….”

On January 1, 2019 the sun peeked over the top of my neighbor’s house as I began the Affirmation Challenge. I typed number 1, “I am managing difficult changes one day at a time.” I sent it to Julia

A few hours later, I receive a message from my friend. She didn’t comment on my words, but sent me a thought of her own. It was quite different from mine and was focused on a theme. She even included attachments from a magazine related to her topic.

She’s thought a lot about this project!

Meanwhile, I continued to sort my 52-pick up cards. Like hearts, spades, diamonds and clubs, there were four groups: one: s-l-o-w computer and scrambled files, two: restocking pantry, washing backup, mold stained driveway and walks, daily meals and general house upkeep. Three were spiritual and physical maintenance: gum surgery check-ups, walking and visiting the gym, study groups, church and last: writing and newsletter projects.

While I worked on my card stacks, each day I wrote a new affirmation:

2. Out of chaos rises new understanding

3. Being outdoors between the earth and sky quiets my being.

4. Truth rises from my heart.

Though I had setbacks and even went without my laptop for an entire week, I felt less downtrodden. I wrote on:

5. The journey of truth from the heart to the mind requires silence.

6. If truth/solutions/answers are sought and do not appear, either I am not ready or the time is not right.

7. I want to focus on my own holy life.

8. Aspects of my path come as I do the next right thing.

Julia’s positive words appeared every day. Though she wrote them for herself, her positive attitude lifted me. I pushed on.

9. Each new day I dedicate myself to doing God’s will.

10. God’s will is not a straight path.

11. I discern God’s will in the moment or in reflection.

12. I breathe in God’s will and exhale my own.

My stacked burdens dwindled. The dentist said, “Your surgery is healing well.” I enjoyed spiritual group friends and those from church. Though our overnight temperatures made the furnace kick on, the sun shone when I walked.

After running out of concentrated bleach twice, I finished two applications to my mold-blackened concrete. My cupboards held canned goods and the refrigerator’s freezer was full. Extra laundry was done. Routines developed.

New thoughts came every day:

13. Like a miner, I go deep into myself for treasure.

14. As I descend into the depths, I am silent, transforming worldly seeing to feeling and sensing.

15. Transformation requires focus; I concentrate.

16. Transformation takes energy. I save some for inner work.

On January 16th a software disaster hit! I “lost” my entire February 2019 Ninepatch newsletter file. My cloud can help me.

However, my cloud agent said, “We don’t back up thumb drives.” Saving only to my Cruzer drive wasn’t such a good idea. Somehow it crashed!

Faced with redoing the entire newsletter, felt as though a big wind had blown apart my remaining card stacks. Oh, no!

Rewriting this story, I realized many cards were no longer in those piles. And, I found an old copy of February ‘19 I had started in December. It contained several letters to the editor. It’s a start. The crash could have been worse!

The whole experience remined me that, like praying, writing affirmations does not make problems go away. Positive words do not even save me from new challenges. Affirmations remind me there’s more to life than worldly troubles.

Soldiering on to complete the 21-day challenge, I look back at number 12:

I breathe in God’s will and exhale my own.

May it be so!

mid-month game

Dear Readers and E- readers, 

    Ever spin your tires in mud, sinking sand or snow, unable to get traction?

    Frustrating, right?  You work and work. Sometimes you are lucky and grab a toehold. Other times you call for help, still others you work yourself out of the spot.  I recall in my early Northern snowy adventures, I drove forward and back, rocking the car until I –somehow– dove out of the bad spot.

 I was in such a frustrating spot when I came back to Florida in 2017. I was working hard, but going nowhere. Thus, I did not even remember the 2018 game I normally send in the December issue– the Ninepatch GIFT to readers.

 I found it last week. (Since I remembered how busy am when I first return to Florida I had it prepared before I left Indiana.)

 As I said, it’s a game, a get- to- know- yourself- better game designed for your response.     I suggest 1) print the game pages so you can draw /write your answer before you see the game authors’ suggested solutions.  OR, get a piece of paper to respond  when you see the empty box designed for responses.

It’s really more “fun” if you don’t look ahead.

 As always there is no “right” answer.  I  look forward to readers’ results and hope you will share!

 It’s never too late! Merry 2018 Christmas!  The game follows my name.

 Blessings***Frances Fritzie      


Dear Readers,

         Here is yet another game from Kokology, The Game of Self-Discovery, the first book by Tadahiko Nagao and Isamu Saito.

 I chose one I hope you can (and will) draw! I love to see readers’ sketches and hope you will play along with me.  

       This game brought me to my favorite place to visit. I have always felt it was the breath-taking lime, aqua and royal blue colors of Gulf of Mexico’s Florida beaches that touched me so deeply. However, perhaps there is more to it.

As always, I hope the game will help you know yourself better! 

Frances Fritzie

Editor of Ninepatch


Imagine a clear blue sky without a cloud in sight. Just thinking about it should gie your spirits a little lift. Now turn your mind’s eye down to survey the landscape. Which of the following scenes feels most calming and relaxing to you?

1. A white snowy plain.

2. A blue seascape.

3. A green mountain.

4. A field of yellow flowers.

Draw whatever you see below before turning over the page for an explanation.

( My response is a photo of the Gulf at Anna Maria Island, Florida)

“The color blue has power to soothe the soul. Even a blue image in the mind can slow the pulse and make you take a deep breath. Other colors have significance, too.  The scene you pictured contrasts against that clear blue sky reveals a hidden talent that resides in the depths of your untroubled mind.

1.       A white snowy plain.

Your are blessed with a special sensitivity that allows you to comprehend situations

at a glance and decipher complex problems without needing any proof or

explanation.  You have what it takes to be a clear-sighted decision maker and even

something of a visionary. Always trust your first intuitions; they will guide you well.

2.       A blue seascape.

You have a natural talent for interpersonal relations. People respect your ability to communicate with others and the way you help bring diverse groups together. Just by being around, you help others work more smoothly and efficiently, making you an invaluable member of any project or team. When you say, ‘Nice job. Keep up the good work.’ People know you mean it. So it means that much more to them.”

3.       A green mountain.

Your gift is for expressive communication. You always seem be able to find the words to express the way you feel, and people soon realize it’s exactly how they were feeling, too. They say that joy shared is multiplied, while shared grief is divided. You always seem able to help others find the right side of that equation.

4.       A field of yellow flowers.

             You are a storehouse of knowledge and creativity, bursting with ideas and almost

               infinite potential. Keep attuned to the feelings of others and never stop working on

                     building your dream and there is nothing you cannot achieve.


Dear Readers,

When I read this game, I imagined my favorite vacation spot where my younger son and I go nearly every year for a long weekend –after the peak season.  However, when I read what the Kokology authors wrote about the seascape, I could hardly believe it described me.   

Maybe my attachment to the sea is more about being on vacation—not cooking or running errands,. A Gulf Beach is where I imagine going for consolation if I were in dire trouble and for generally being closer to my Higher Power.

Thanks for playing the game! I am eager to see your choices and hope you will haul out your colored pencils or markers. (A magazine photo would do as well.)



Following are our Facebook Ninepatch Topics for January 2019.

Week 1: “As I grow older, I am looking forward to…”

Week 2: “The way I like to eat a sandwich is…”

Week 3: “The last time I really had fun was…”

Week 4: “My first kiss…”

We look forward to seeing your responses!


Following are several detailed comments from ourNinepatch Facebook Group topic,Memorable teachers.”

Georgene (See Monthly Question) “Fred Jacobs, hands down! I had a monster school girl crush. Mr. Jacobs was my teacher for high school 
American History, Government, Sociology –anything he taught. Eight years after high school I ran into Fred and we went out for a drink, which led to a few dates, and finally a talk about our age difference. (15 years, if I remember right). He let me down easy but I held that torch for a long time. Great teacher and a very nice man.”


Simon Stargazer III (See his poem in THREAD.): “My favorite high school teacher was Paul Zavits who taught Physics, Chemistry and Shop in ways that truly related to the real world. (I was the only one in my class who could run up almost vertical stairs fast enough to generate horsepower!) I also learned about the piezo-electric, a characteristic of quartz crystals. Doppler effects are based on these characteristic’s behaviors. I later used these ideas in my Ultrasound careers.

Of course I learned which elements could be used to create fun powder (slow-burning gun powder) that burned in different colors without blowing me up! That was great for homemade Roman Candles in my dorm room and set off in the middle of campus to impress my girlfriend! Oh yeah, and Shop taught me how to do repairs and projects around home without visiting the ER!”


Gail (Nov.’18) “The question asking about our favorite teacher reminded me of Mr. Paul Brooks, my Sophomore Plane Geometry teacher, whose favorite line as he chalked the formulas on the blackboard, was, “Now, can’t you see the logic of this!” 

He would say it with a big appealing athletic-looking smile.  Math of any ilk was not my favored subject, but he made math more interesting, showing that there was a reliable formula to solve a problem, math being the only exact science.

English was my favorite subject.  I love words. Vocabulary words to memorize was a fun way to learn.  Our English teacher was excellent.  She gave us the assignment of practicing our weekly words on our fellow students.  ‘Scintillating’ was one of my sparkling stand-out enjoyable words to share.  ‘You gave a scintillating account of cheer-leaders performance last night!’   She taught a Shakespeare play each of our four years in high school.”