Pat Frandsen is a member of the media team and shares her skills as a videographer. When I interviewed her, I found she widely shares much more than that. Her words jumped out at me, “Our umbrellas need to be larger and incorporate people from many different backgrounds.” The more I learned about her, I realized she could have written the lyrics, “Please share my umbrella,” from The Hollie’s hit, “Bus Stop.”
Pat’s umbrella is huge and incorporates everyone who crosses her path. One example is her last-minute decision to join the Big Ocean delegates at CSW in 2017, her first experience in Big Ocean. A month before CSW, board member Ann Takasaki requested that her son, who directs commercials in New York, do some videos. He was unavailable, so Pat took a crash course, borrowed his equipment, and stretched her umbrella out to the world.
The women of Nigeria have earned a place of respect under Pat’s umbrella. When she asked one of the women from Nigeria at CSW why there are so many of them at the conference, the woman said it is because they are not relying on their government to fix their problems; they are going to fix their own problems.
She became more involved in photography because two of her children became professional photographers. For several years, she took pictures and put photo journals and year-end movies together for the local choir teacher. Yet another use for her umbrella.
Her family is at the center of her umbrella. She met and married Tracy Frandsen 41 years ago in college. Though their six children have left the nest, she continues to share her life and love with them and her 18 grandchildren. Her family umbrella is a veritable big top, complete with posters of their yearly theme, Club Frandsen t-shirts, fairy gardens, activities, and birthday videos created for each of the kids and grandkids. It’s no surprise that her favorite Big Ocean tenet is, “We greatly value the unique and contributing roles of families.”
Pat said, “The innate need that a child has to feel like they belong, and are a part of a greater whole, is a powerful part of my belief system. Raising children is very difficult and requires a lot of sacrifice. I grew up in a home where my mom was not emotionally present, because of health issues. I knew I wanted my home and life to be different than what I experienced.”
Her husband, Tracy, is her hero. “He is someone that I can always count on and he has integrity. He always gives people the benefit of the doubt and does not ever speak unkindly of others. Once a week, he sends out a family letter…I cherish the memories he has recorded.”
She also values this month’s tenet, “We seek after knowledge and wisdom.” Pat explained, “We have used music as a vehicle for our children to learn to work hard at a skill and gain greater knowledge of life.” Pat’s formal education gave her the opportunity to teach school for a few years, where she loved doing plays and musical programs with her students. She is also considering starting her own Internet business and has a goal to do a service mission with Tracy in Jerusalem.
If you spend much time with Pat, you will also learn about another group with whom she shares her umbrella: Rotary Club. Tracy had been involved in Rotary for over 30 years and persuaded her to join. “I have been so impressed with their work on polio, which they have almost totally eradicated,” she said. She and Tracy have attended two international service projects, one in Russia and one in Mexico. She loves the four-way test repeated at every Rotary meeting:
- Is it the truth?
- Is it fair to all concerned?
- Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
- Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
“Wouldn’t the world be a far better place if we all lived by this test?” she mused.
Pat combined Rotary Club and Nigeria to set in motion a project to provide sewing machines for the women in Nigeria, giving them knowledge and a life-changing skill. See related story here.
A bit closer to home, neighbor and Big Ocean chairwoman Ann Takasaki describes how Pat shares her umbrella with the people in her local church congregation. “ … for more than ten years now she has organized a gift for every person who loses a parent, a spouse, or a child in our congregation. It seems incredible that a person would be that thoughtful. She organized a way to collect a small donation from every family who would like to participate in the gift. And then she selects the perfect, thoughtful gift for that family – sometimes a painting, sometimes a sculpture, sometimes a locket with a photo in it. Lately she has been taking notes at the funeral and putting the words as headings under pictures that she puts into keepsake books. She is truly amazing.” Ann also describes her as empathetic, positive, and non-judgmental.
Circling back to the center of her umbrella, we asked Tracy to share his thoughts about his amazing wife. “There is a brain phenomenon where people’s brains communicate back and forth within a certain distance, void of speech or written word. Pat’s ability to communicate with other people, via silent communications, is the basis for her empathetic actions. She intuitively knows when someone needs a listening ear, when someone is hurting or happy, and moves to be a support for that person. As such, she is an integral part of our neighborhood and community. At the same time, it is tiring to be in tune with people. She also knows how to recharge herself physically, emotionally and spiritually, a key to being part of a vibrant group of people seeking the better welfare of those around them,” Tracy wrote.
Pat believes trials in her life taught her that we all have shortcomings and we all need to feel supported and loved, in our imperfectness. This is where she made that plea for us to enlarge our umbrellas. Here’s proof that she has taken her own advice. Tracy describes her umbrella in these words, “Don’t be surprised to see Pat dancing with a two-year-old, hugging a 90-year-old and crying with a 40-year-old.”
Written by Norma Hendrickson