January 31, 2008

A Friend Indeed

“Now I know how to better pray for you. I’m so glad we had lunch together!” my friend Debbie said as I dropped her off at her home. As my dearest friend and trusted prayer partner, Debbie is a rare and treasured friend. Every month or so we get together for an afternoon of lunch and shopping. We laugh, cry, and pray together and it’s always a time of refreshment.

As the parent of a disabled child, my life is very restricted. I either need a babysitter for my daughter so I can go out with a friend or I must bring her along with me. My situation is a bit inconvenient and it affects anyone who chooses to be my friend. I don’t keep company with a lot of women quite frankly because I can’t always keep up with them. My life simply doesn’t accommodate a free approach and sometimes I miss not being able to do all the things I would like to do. But one thing is for sure; God has never failed to give me a terrific support system. Of the few close friends I do have, I must say they are the cream of the crop. They understand my situation, help me make the best of it, and pray for me without ceasing. I could not make it without their love and support, nor would I want to try.

Ecclesiastes 4:10 says, “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” I know from experience how true this is. Life is simply sweeter (and safer) with a trusted friend and confidant. Whether it’s a sister, co-worker, mother, or neighbor, a good friend is a must. Without one, life would be too difficult to bear.

Do you have a trusted friend and prayer partner? If not, ask God to send one your way ASAP. Then begin praying and preparing for her. Ask God to help you see her when she enters your life, and who knows she may be in your life already. I pray the Lord will bless you with a good and godly friend today. You deserve one!

Visit Nancy's Website: Olive Leaf Ministries

January 28, 2008


So why would anyone name their dog Ecclesiastes? Well for me it’s like writing a book. The first thing that comes to mind is the topic, then the title, followed by a subtitle, and last but not least…the content. Such was the process of getting a dog. First God quickened my cat-loving heart to the idea of switching camps and then promptly provided a name for the aforementioned dog. Much like a roller coaster ride, I was not sure what all transpired, I just know it was fun, I don’t regret it, and I’d do it all over again.

I must confess, however, the name Ecclesiastes did not come out of the blue or without merit and meaning. He’s named for a very specific reason, because the book of Ecclesiastes represents precisely where I am in life this very moment. With fabulous 50 only a couple of miles ahead of me, I have officially entered the latter half of life and like King Solomon, it’s prompted me to ask a multitude of thought provoking questions. Questions like, “What is my purpose here on earth? What impact does my existence have in the grand scheme of things? Where is God leading me and what’s in store for me once I get there?” Following my mother’s recent death, these questions have hit me full force and proven to push me to a new level of self-awareness of God’s purpose for my life. As I pondered these questions, one book of the Bible kept coming to mind, the book of Ecclesiastes! Hence, the name for our dog.

I am not quite sure what God plans to teach me through our little Ecclesi, but I do know this canine from the tribe of Judah (you’d have to read the prior blog to get this) is going to help me through this next phase of life. I can’t explain it, but somehow God is going to use him to teach me more about Him. I’m not sure how he’s going to do it; I just know that’s the plan and I look forward to it. After all, if God can speak through a donkey (Numbers 22:30), Ecclesi should be a cinch.

With that said, I hear the sound of large paws galloping through the house. Ecclesiastes is awake for the day, which means it’s time for me to go play. My little sugar cookie with two chocolate chip eyes and big prune nose needs me. It’s so good to be needed. Talk with you later!

Visit Nancy's Website: Olive Leaf Ministries

January 27, 2008

"...I Think I Want a Dog"

“Dear…I think I want a dog.” I said to my husband, Jimmy, who sat next to me virtually stunned in the local fast food restaurant. “A dog? Are you sure? They can be a lot of work,” he said to his avid cat-loving wife. “Yes dear I feel the Lord is calling us to get a dog. A yellow Labrador named Ecclesiastes to be exact.” Such a name was the second blow to my man as he sat at our tiny table peppered with French fries and ice cream. Poor guy.

Within a couple of weeks we had a dog. His name is Ecclesiastes, he was born on Jimmy’s birthday, and his owner came from the tribe of Judah (not literally but that was her last name.) With our son off to college, my husband traveling full-time, and me and our daughter home alone, I was ready for a friend and companion. After much prayer and deliberation, God confirmed Ecclesi was the pup He had in mind for us and as usual God’s blessing are abundant. We have not regretted getting a dog for one single moment. His presence has breathed new life into this all but empty nest, put a smile on everyone’s face, and promoted me to a new level of exercise. Everything about him is good for our family and oh how I love waking up to that little smiling face that looks like a golden sugar cookie decorated with two chocolate chip eyes and a big prune nose. Man, he’s a doll! God really knew what He was doing when He told me to get a yellow lab named Ecclesiastes. Oh, and why that name? Well…that’s another dog blog.

Visit Nancy's Website: Olive Leaf Ministries

January 21, 2008

Finally Made it to Church

It finally happened. We all went to church together, as a family! After two long months, we all attended the service and went to Sunday school yesterday and it felt great. Our daughter, Danielle, has battled several health issues for weeks on end and she always seems worse on Sundays. Because of this, Jimmy and I take turns going to church so the other can stay home and care for her. To be honest I am prone to feel sorry for myself. I don’t like going to church alone and I don’t like missing it all together. I want to go with the whole family every Sunday and I don’t want anything to impede the process. I feel sorry for myself when things don’t run smoothly and I invariably blame it on having a disabled child.

The interesting thing I learned yesterday, however, is that our family is not the only one suffering from poor attendance. Many families, especially during the winter months, are going through the same thing. Families with multiple children are hit the hardest as they pass germs around as if it were a popular toy. They say misery loves company and for me, during times of trial, it is true. It was a blessing of encouragement yesterday to discover we are not the only family who struggles to make it to church. As much as I wish we could all be at church every Sunday, sometimes absenteeism is simply unavoidable. I don’t know why God doesn’t pave the way for those of us who want to attend so badly, I only know that I need to work on having a more positive response on the days we cannot attend and learn to pray for others who are in the same boat. If you suffer from this same scenario I encourage you do the same. Let us pray for one another without ceasing!

Visit Nancy's Website: Olive Leaf Ministries

January 18, 2008

"Draw Me Near" Bible Study

I just wrote in my “Internet Journal” yesterday, but heard some fantastic news I want to share with you. Four years ago I wrote the 10-week Bible study, "Draw Me Near", which God promptly stored away on the shelf. I had the privilege of teaching it again last year, but back on the shelf it went again. I’ve often wondered why He had me write it in the first place for I’ve had so little opportunity to get it out to the women it was written for. “Just trust and wait” God would say. So I did, as if there were any other choice.

Well…I just got wind that my study is being taught in one the largest churches in our area. Though not video based, it does come with a leader’s guide designed to help anyone (and I mean anyone) lead this study. To say the least I am tickled pink. It warms my heart to think a church would offer their women a study written by a new author and that some brave soul is willing to lead it herself. I just know the Lord will bless this courageous woman for stepping up to guide His flock in this new study.

It’s a good study if I must say so myself. I say this not to brag, but because I know who really wrote it, God. I am but His secretary. My job is not to think up things to write but to listen closely to hear what He has to say. This of course is why He has me home alone with a disabled child. To block out the noise of the world so I can hear Him when He speaks. I heard Him well when He dictated “Draw Me Near” to me. That’s why I am so excited for these women. I’ll give you one guess who I’ll be praying for over the next 10 weeks!

Visit Nancy's Website: Olive Leaf Ministries

January 17, 2008

"Freedom, Healing for Parents of Disabled Children"

What a relief! My second book, Freedom, Healing for Parents of Disabled Children, is now complete. Written for and in honor of parents with special needs children, I wrote what I wish my husband and I had when we first started our life with a disabled child; an honest account of what it’s really like. I still don’t consider myself a writer. In fact I prefer to think of myself as God’s secretary. Somehow it’s sounds less intimidating and a whole lot more accurate. Whatever my title, the job is complete and I believe the Lord is pleased. From the get-go I knew I didn’t want the book to be about Autism, our family, or me. I wanted it to be about God. After writing the book once, I started to re-read the final print only to discover I couldn’t see enough of God in the content. Since I refuse to release a book that does not first glorify God, I proceeded to re-write the whole thing. By the time I reach the last chapter I was absolutely exhausted. So ready to be done, I honestly thought I’d never sit down at a computer again. But I was determined to finish strong and that’s exactly what I did. I persevered to the end and I am so glad I did, because the next time I'm tempted to quit or give up, I'll remember this blessing of pushing forward in all God has called me to do. Now many hurting parents of disabled children have a little more comfort and understanding. What a good thing!

Visit Nancy's Website: Olive Leaf Ministries

January 10, 2008

I'm Back!

My how time flies. I created this blog almost two years ago and then promptly forgot about it. Running a home, writing books, raising a disabled child, and starting a new women’s ministry is more than enough to keep me busy. My last post was in May 2006 and in my defense, much has happened since then. Four months after my last blog my mother went home to be with the Lord, my sister, brother, and I took over the care of our father, and our Autistic daughter began what has turned out to be over a year of aggressive hives.

So what prompts my return? Believe it or not, it’s my husband. As one who is far more than a spouse, Jimmy is my photographer, promotional assistant, website designer, and advisor. He’s more computer savvy than anyone I know and is forever pushing me to new heights. The world of blog is no different. He says I need to do it, so I’m doing it. And you know what? I think I’m going to like it. I think we are going to have great time and trust the Lord is going to bless us all in the process. Since blog sounds too much like a huge stain on my carpet or a sound no one should make in public, I prefer to call this my “Internet Journal.” I’ll share what’s going on in my life if you agree to do the same. With God in the mix I have no doubt it’s going to be fantastic. Talk with you soon!

Visit Nancy's Website: Olive Leaf Ministries

January 2, 2008

"This is my Son"

Matt. 3:17 “And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (NIV)

As I entered the dairy section of my local supermarket suddenly something caught my attention. My son’s name was being paged over the intercom. “Oh yes, he is working today. Maybe I’ll see him before I leave” I thought to myself. Just hearing the name of my first-born heightened my stature as I lifted my chin and smiled. That was “my” son, the one whom I love and whose name is like music to my ears.

I can only imagine the joy of our Lord as His Son ascended from the waters of baptism. The task ahead, though grueling, would not only change the world but also bring salvation to all of mankind. The Father’s voice spoke to humanity “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” But few respond to the name of the Jesus as His Father did that day. Like the shoppers who heard the name of my son, never blinking an eye, many hear the name of Jesus and continue on unchanged.

What does the name of Jesus signify to you? What impact does it have on your life? Jesus isn’t only God’s Son, He is our bridegroom and we are His bride. Our hearts should flutter and our chins proudly lift at the very mention of His name. He is the pure reflection of the Father and we, His children, are called to be like Him.

Visit Nancy's Website: Olive Leaf Ministries