Saturday, December 14, 2013

Choose Joy

Hi, everyone --

First of all, thank you so much for your interest in the Gitzen Doodles Postcards! It has been so fun hearing from all of you and how you are continuing her ministry by sharing her story and talents with others! From the bottom of my heart Thank You...and I know Sara thanks you as well. :)

I have been working a lot on the Choose Joy Women's ministry that I mentioned in an earlier post. It is coming to reality with a date set for kick off on January 10th. What a blessing. Thank you all so much for your prayers.

As I have been working on this ministry, I re-watched the sermon that Pastor Christian Watts did on "Choosing Joy when Life gives you Lemons." He did such a great job using Sara as an inspiration on how to Choose joy in spite of the "lemons" in our life. I am re-posting it for anyone who would like the reminder.

May God bless you today and as we continue to wait for Jesus' coming during this season of advent.

Choose Joy!


Monday, November 11, 2013

A Living Prayer

As I sit here tonight reading through some of Sara's posts for a potential book, I came across one titled "A Living Prayer," and I felt a need to share it again with each of you. Sara wrote that her wish was to be remembered as a Living Prayer.

Sara's joy was contagious, people felt her compassion in both words and deeds, and she was determined to make a difference. Sara was a voice of encouragement and a source of comfort. Sara truly was a living many...and still is!

Another goal met...

Love you sis!

A Living Prayer

Ive never really given much thought to the type of things I want people to say at my funeral. I tend to focus more on how Im living right now and hope that how Im remembered falls in line because of it. That changed a bit this August when Eunice Kennedy Shriver passed away.

In a statement by the family, they described her as "a living prayer, a living advocate, a living center of power. She set out to change the world and to change us, and she did that and more."

I have to tell you, that phrase has stuck with me… to be described as a living prayer. Growing up Catholic, where tradition and posture are a part of worship, my mind went to imagining the actual appearance of a living prayer. I tried to imagine what that might look like in a tangible application, but I couldnt. Ive decided that kind of a life cant be seen in a look or a stature.

What Ive decided instead is that it would be found more in the reflection of others when they are touched by you. It would be seen in the joy that others would find contagious, in the compassion that others would feel in your words and deeds. It would be found in the empathetic nature of a stranger and in the fortitude seen in those who are determined to make a difference. The kind word for no reason, the intentional way of listening, the hand outstretched to give and to receive… the voice of encouragement, the touch of comfort, the openness to share in word and deed… all of these things must be what a living prayer looks like to others.

All we can really do in life is be open to what God needs from us, to be aware and present in our circumstances so we are available to step up when called. Its a daily choice to make this a way of life… but I have to say that now, choosing how I want to be remembered is helping me choose my daily actions.

I want to be a living prayer.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Gitzen doodles -- Postcards

Hi, everyone...Laura here...

I have heard from many of you that there is a continued interest in Sara's canvases...

Well, before you get your hopes too high, I don't have canvases to offer you, but I do have an alternative. I have taken Sara's canvases and developed postcards.

My daughter Becca attends Siouxland Community Christian school, and is fundraising for her senior trip. I thought it would be fun to combine the two interests. Continuing to provide each of you with a piece of our sweet Sara, and support our schools fundraising.

I have created packets of the above 5 postcards into a variety pack of 10 (2 of each card). The packets also include envelopes. Each pack of 10 cards are $21.75 ($20 for the cards and $1.75 for shipping).

If you are interested in ordering postcards, please email me at and let me know how many you are interested in, along with your shipping address. At this point I am only able to accept checks, but if these become a hot item, I'll look into setting up a paypal account. :)

Thanks in advance for your interest and support!

Blessings to you all.


Friday, October 4, 2013

To Alex

I have been reflecting a lot this week. Our family is going through another first. An awesome and exciting first...

The oldest grandson/nephew, Alex, is getting married! Remember that little nephew that Sara has told stories about...
alex tada bw
Yes, he is getting married today, Friday, 10/4.

My thoughts have been focused on what would dad and Sara be doing and thinking...what would they say to Alex on this big and important day?

Dad, a very fun, loving, wise and kind - hearted grandpa, would be doing his share of joking and teasing, only to then get serious with the advise he would give to both Alex and Danielle.  He would talk with them about love, respect, communication and most important of all having God at the center of their relationship, at the center of their marriage. And then, he would probably throw in another joke that would turn them both red, put a smile on their face and love in their heart.

Sara, a very proud Aunt, would be their biggest fan. She would be full of excitement and pride, as if Alex was her own child. Sara posted some words of advice as Alex, Anna and Thomas started college a few years ago. In her post she stated that life is, "... a series of relationships that shape us and others in profound ways."

One of those relationships for Alex has been profound and has shaped him...Alex met Danielle... I think Sara's advice on the lessons we learn are still relevant as Alex prepares for his new life with Danielle...

"Be who you are and don't compromise yourself for anyone. But don't shut anyone out just because they are different. Love them. Listen to them. Meet them where they are at and be who God meant you to be ... an extension of Him in the lives of those around you. And have a lot fun while you do it.

In marriage, you fall in love with someone because of who they are, so continue to be who you are, love each other, listen to each other and meet your spouse where they are at. Be who God means for you to be to each other and as a couple. If you are an extension of Him in this new journey of life with your spouse, your marriage will be blessed!

And, don't forget your Grandpa and Aunt Sara are still there if you need them...just talk to them. Any time.

They love you and so do I... All the way around the world, into the heavens and back.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

In memory of our Sweet Sara "Gitz" Frankl...

I thought you might enjoy this video we played at Sara's wake.

So many beautiful memories.

So many reasons to be grateful.

So many reasons to miss her so!


Thanks to each and every one of you for all your prayers, love and support!


Friday, September 20, 2013

Following Christ. Finding Joy. Fulfilling Dreams.

My dear sister Sara...

On September 24th, it will be two years.

Two years since I have been able to call and talk to you.

Two years since I have been able to see you and give you a hug.

Two years...

I have been trying to figure out why I have been feeling more emotional lately...Why do I feel like something is just not right?

Then it hit me. I felt the same way last year at this time. We are coming up on the anniversary of your death. Your journey to meet our Heavenly Father. It is amazing how those events can affect us, automatically, without us even realizing it.

In James1:2-3, Jesus says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance."

Even though you are no longer with us on earth, I continue to learn so much from your amazing life. What is means to truly choose joy... My prayers have always focused on living a life that is reflective of Him and the path He wants me to walk. And then, faced with the trial of losing you and dad...
Little did I know, I was barely touching the surface of my walk with Christ. Little did  I know what "pure joy" and "trials" truly meant.

One of the last things you said to me was that you want people to continue learning, you want people to continue reading the messages you have written...but, you said, they must know, "It's not about me, it's about Him." That's the message you wanted people to hear.

Hope... Romans 12:12 says, "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."

In your post from April 29, 2011, you wrote 5 minutes on "If I knew I could, I would..." In that post, you wrote, "If I knew I could, I would write the book everyone says they want." 

I have been joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer... I am working on getting that book published. I am working on getting your words... your words that have touched so many people, your words that came to you through Jesus...published. 

I am also trusting and finding joy in fulfilling a dream of continuing your discipleship through the development of a choose joy women's ministry. I am a bit nervous and overwhelmed... I am walking into unknown territory for me. But, I want to be intentional, I want to be patient, I want to be faithful in following the calling.

Being intentional...those words continue to run through my mind. If we are intentional about talking to Him, listening to Him and walking the path he has laid out for us, we will find joy and dreams will be fulfilled.

Thanks, Sara...for choosing to be intentional, for choosing joy, for choosing to witness to us. As you and dad are now so close to Jesus, please continue to guide me as I walk this journey...into unknown territory. :-)

All my love...your sis,


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Advent -- HOPE

As we begin this advent season, I am reminded of the following post that Sara wrote.

At our chuch service this morning we had a portrayl done by "Joseph" reminding us as we begin this first Sunday of advent, that because Joseph and Mary said yes to God so many years ago , we can have HOPE.  Blessings to each of you during this advent season.

Reposted from December 13, 2010

“You gotta just try to do every thing you can, when it’s your time to do it.”

I was watching Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, who is from a small Iowa town not far from me, receive the esteemed Medal of Honor for bravery shown in active duty. Sal had told President Obama that he was just doing his job, and following advice he had gotten when he first became a soldier.

During his first tour of duty in Afghanistan, his Team Leader said to him:

“You gotta just try to do everything you can, when it’s your time to do it.”

It struck me as the most profoundly simple statement. And while I’m sure it is essential advice for a battlefield, it also occurred to me it’s advice that works in every circumstance for every person trying to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.

And those of his parents.

I am thinking of Mary, frightened and scared, not knowing what to make of this angel standing before her. But she said yes. She did what she could when it was her time to be asked.

And Joseph. Being asked to marry a woman who was pregnant – and not with his child. He was being asked to sacrifice his life and all he had been taught… and he said yes. He did everything he could when it was his time to be asked.

They did their duty. They traveled for the census to be counted. They continually did the next right thing – not because they were promised riches or status or rewards. They traveled, they suffered in a stable to bring a baby into the world without any idea of how they were going to manage next. But they did everything they could, because it was their time to do it.

I hear the story so many times that I begin to assume they knew what the end result of their sacrifices would be. Sometimes I lull myself into thinking I would have made those sacrifices if it meant the Savior of the world could come to do His work.

But then I remember that Mary and Joseph knew no such thing. They knew no more of their future than we do. They didn’t know Jesus would get lost in a temple. They didn’t know he would turn water into wine and heal the sick and bring sight to the blind. They didn’t know their precious baby boy would be beaten and ridiculed and hung on a cross.

They were simply doing everything they could, when it was their time to do it.

It pierces me. It pierces me to know they simply said yes because it was the right thing to do. It pierces me that I, in this life, have so many chances to say yes. It pierces me that every moment of my life could be my time to do everything I can. I may not change the world, but I might change a life. I might be called with an urging in my spirit, and if I choose not to pay attention and act on it, I might miss my moment.

My time to do what I can.

That’s what I am thinking about this Christmas. I’m always overwhelmed and grateful that Jesus came to this world as a baby to save me – thousands of years later – a simple soul not unlike any other.

But this year, I’m wondering how I can be more like Mary and Joseph. How I can do everything I can… now… when it’s my time to do it.

Will you take that challenge with me? Will you look beyond the celebrations and the wrappings and the carols we hum as we busy about our lives – and pay close attention to the little details in the lives of those around you?

Because you never know when it may be your time to do everything you can.