Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Children

Where have I been?

Floating to the surface
Gasping for air
Seeking the sun
Tethered to my roots
By a single umbilical cord
Drifting but not far from home
Dancing in the sunlight
Unfurling my heart to the sky
Far above I rest floating
For what feels like a heartbeat
Of undiluted peace and contentment

* * *

For the last two days, D and I were Read the rest of this entry »

The Angels and the Tiger


Here’s another Amy poem for children everywhere. Especially, but not only young children in unsafe situations. Amy Carmichael spent most of her life in South India living with and for young Indian children.

Most were girls; some were boys. Many were temple children, Read the rest of this entry »

Reality check | Dear Diane

In this piece, Diane shares two moments of truth about her life with ALS. I add a moment I remember in my response to her.

Reality check

Two experiences reside permanently in my mind, moments when the reality of what was happening to my body came crashing in and seemed suffocating. They were both points of dramatic transition in the disease process.

I remember literally walking away from the job I loved on a Friday afternoon. I was grateful all the men with whom I worked happened to be out of the office. I didn’t think they would know how to respond to the situation and I didn’t want to deal with awkwardness. It was difficult enough to walk away from the women in the office.

Clay was with me and my second son just happened to return with others from a church activity as we walked out the door. I wanted to hide, especially from my son. Instead he became a source of comfort as we walked silently to the car. He understood. He shared my loss.

Another moment of truth came three years later as I was wheeled toward the operating room for a tracheostomy. I’ve never felt anxiety over surgery, just a desire to get on with it. I felt the same about this procedure but my unexpected tears wouldn’t stop. I was grateful they hadn’t started until I was out of sight of my kids. They might have misunderstood. They had enough of their own emotions to process. I feared Clay would misunderstand as he walked with me through the endless corridors. I shouldn’t have worried.

When the medical personnel with me tried to calm my apparent fear, Clay became my voice explaining my tears. I wasn’t fearful or anxious. I had no second thoughts about my choice to extend my life with a ventilator. I was grieving yet another major transition, another loss. I was recognizing the cumulative enormity of our losses and wondering where it would all end. Somehow Clay understood. Perhaps he had the same thoughts.

June 2000

Dear Diane,
“The enormity of your losses,” yours and Clay’s together, hits me in the gut. It’s a place I know nothing about. There’s you. There’s Clay. And then there’s whatever that magic reality is that’s called Diane and Clay. Together. Husband and wife, parents of three beautiful children. All of you living with ALS.

I can’t forget the day they brought in your single hospital bed. The delivery and setup men were all business-like as they invaded your bedroom. You wept as you watched them dismantle the bed you and Clay had occupied for decades. You said it was like watching them take your marriage apart.

Nor have I forgotten what happened to your bed—yours and Clay’s. It got set up in the guest room. Now it was mine to sleep in. That first night it seemed I was betraying you by sleeping in it. Somehow I was desecrating it. Becoming one of ‘them.’ Those people and machines who were relentlessly invading your life and pushing you and Clay farther and farther apart in your bodies if not in your spirits.

There’s something about ALS that’s different from other diseases. It brings sudden death over and over and over again. Without warning. Here today, gone tomorrow. Little things. Big things. Including the death of hope that ALS will stop its relentless invasions.

I also witnessed moments when Clay and your children ‘got it.’  Each in his or her way. The ever-growing collection of Beanie Babies from one of your sons, the quiet coming-alongside of your other son, and the faithful sunny presence of your daughter as she became a young woman and mother.

And then there was Clay. Quietly attending to yard work, shrubs, flowers and bird feeders for your enjoyment. Working away on your computer or some other machine to make sure it did what it was supposed to do. Looking into your eyes, touching you.

If this seems a sad letter, it is. I loved accompanying you on your journey. I didn’t love what ALS meant for you and your family.

Love and hugs,

“Once in a granite hill. . .”


Here’s a happy poem from Amy Carmichael.  It reminds me of creation, Sabbath rest, children, and what it takes to survive in a sometimes desolate landscape.  These bluebells are in the British Isles.  Amy grew up in Ireland, and doubtless enjoyed bluebells like these when she was growing up.

Texas bluebells, the state’s flower, were one of Diane’s favorites.  On one of my spring trips to Houston, which happily included our daughter, Diane and her family drove us out into the country to view spectacular Texas bluebells.  This post is in honor of Diane, whose eyes were as blue as the bluebells of Texas.

I think Amy wrote this poem especially for children, of which she was one at least in spirit.  You might try reading it out loud–just for fun!


Once in a granite hill
God carved a hollow place,
Called the blue air, and said, “Now fill
This emptiness of space.” 

Or was it angels came,
And set among the fells
A crystal bowl, and filled the same
With handfuls of bluebells? 

Hot hours walked overhead;
Our valley grew more sweet,
Though elsewhere gentle colors fled
Fearing those burning feet. 

Those burning feet—the fells
Are withered where they go,
But still the misty blue bluebells
Only the bluer blow. 

O God, who made the bowl
And filled it full of blue,
Canst Thou not make of this, my soul,
A vase of flowers, too? 

Let not the hot hours make
Thy child as withered fells,
But fill me full, for love’s dear sake,
With blue as of bluebells. 

*  *  *

Amy Carmichael, Mountain Breezes:
The Collected Poems of Amy Carmichael, pp. 132-33
© 1999, The Dohnavur Fellowship, published by Christian Literature Crusade.
Published in Pans (prior to 1917) and Made in the Pans (1917)

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 24 January 2015
Photo credit:

The cattle are lowing…

Sing, Choirs of Angels!

The cattle are lowing,
the baby awakes,
but little Lord Jesus
no crying he makes.
I love thee, Lord Jesus,
Look down from the sky,
and stay by my cradle
’til morning is nigh. Read the rest of this entry »

Favorite Nativity Scenes

Here are a few of my favorite nativity scenes.  Just looking at them brings me joy.  In fact, I’d be happy to leave them out all year round!

These are the smallest items–made in Peru.
An egg and a candle. Read the rest of this entry »

I Don’t Do Dreams | Part 2 of 2

This blog is about connecting the dots in my life. Part 1 reminds me of something I share with thousands of young children.  Here’s my attempt to show and tell what I mean. Read the rest of this entry »

Prodigal Parents

Every now and then something simple changes everything.  Not reality itself, but the way I view it.  Usually it’s already sitting right in front of me, waiting for me to get it. Read the rest of this entry »

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