Olive Leaf Ministries » Nancy Douglas is a Christian speaker and author. She is the mother of an Autistic child and breast cancer survivor

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  • Nancy Douglas

    Nancy speaks and writes through the Olive Leaf Ministries where her testimony of God's mercy and grace amidst life's trials touches the heart of her audiences. Familiar with life's challenges, Nancy raised her Autistic daughter for 26 years, battled breast cancer and only recently lost her daughter to an immune disorder. Nancy and her husband Jimmy also have a son, Drew. They have been married for 31 years and currently reside in Kansas City, Missouri.

    "Thank you so much for your ministry. I continue to receive very positive comments from our ladies. Your tremendously transparent blend of testimony and applicable scriptures are so effective in your teaching." Joyce Cowell, Fayette, MO

Two One-Stars

One Starone starI haven’t read any of my book reviews lately. When your world stops you tend to assume everyone else’s does too.

Last night I found myself reading two reviews on Amazon for Freedom. They were not good.

Shall we?

Maria states, The word God appears in every single page of this book.” I’m not sure that’s true but she could be close.

Doctor Wheat writes, The writer has a really bad attitude. We bought it for a friend and will not consider giving it to them.” - This one got me.

I woke this morning thinking about my attitude while writing Freedom. How did DW see it as bad, so bad they would not give it to the intended? I feel awful he/she bought the thing. They deserve a refund at the very least, but then again perhaps better yet some insight because I think I see why he/she feels this way. Freedom was written from a truthful perspective and one must always be well braced when meeting up with honesty.

When our daughter was very young in the early 90′s the only books I could find were stories of mothers who successfully beat Autism. They were few and far between and my only examples at the time. I tried every therapy, enzyme, supplement, and behavior modification that came our way and nothing worked. Our daughter wouldn’t heal and I felt like a failure until one day the Lord (here I go again mentioning God) spoke clearly to my heart that He would not heal her for two reasons: ONE – I wanted it more for my self than for her and TWO – He could do more through not healing her than if He did.

I then realized not all healings occur this side of heaven. Some are saved for heaven in order to do a greater work on earth. I would have to work through the immense sense of loss. Our daughter had not died but the normal one I’d hoped for vanished and it hurt. I was moving through the stages of grief and sometimes it was ugly.

Perhaps the honest account was too much for DW. Maybe my pain only magnified hers I don’t know. All I know is I tried to always point to God because He is the one who got me through. He listened to me gripe, complain, cry and fight. I’d regress and He’s propel me forward. He loved me when I was most unlovable and no human on earth could have handled the intricacies of my pain, nor should they have. Only our heavenly Father is equipped for that load.

Yes, I mention God a lot. This isn’t going to change. When all is said and done I will have to answer to Him not the stars on Amazon.

As far as as bad attitude, that’s opinion. DW feels I have one and I’m glad she can voice what she thinks. She is no enemy (unless she is in fact a he which then I could be labeled a presumptuous feminist; a whole other ball of wax). DW is being honest and I appreciate it. Maybe some day she’ll/he’ll change his/her mind, maybe not. Either way’s fine. No hard feelings.

This goes for Maria too. God bless her. (sorry)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Empty Oreo

XPRO8325Sometimes when life changes rules must too. After Peanut passed away things took an abrupt turn. We’d been running full throttle night and day for nearly a year to stabilize her health and suddenly she was gone.

Poof.

We were stunned. It felt as though we were in a fog, nowhere to go, no direction. Jimmy and I had been married 32 years and very much in love, certainly dedicated to our family, but super glued for 26 of those years through Dani. She had become our purpose, the hub of our wheel. Now our wheel wobbled and it was scary.

If life was a cookie we were an Oreo. Dani in the middle, her father and I on either side. No one ever really knew us. We’re boring. They knew her, the sweet velvety middle. With her gone our identity and purpose felt threatened.

A change of rules seemed in order so I offered up the first. “Dear, since Dani is gone let’s make it a rule that we always try to eat dinner together. If one can’t, at least check it out with the other.”

Agreed.

I was the first to break the rule but its still important and active. What with missing our sweet stuffing in between it would be so easy to fall apart. Making conscious decisions not to drift apart is crucial.

So I made a few more.

List (thus far)

  • The nest is not empty. There are still two Oreo outsides rolling around this home. We are important. Our relationship is important. We still have a son who needs his mom and dad happy and intact. Our marriage is our family’s stability with or without the creamy filling. Neglect it and we will crumble.
  • Dinner together if at all possible. I broke this one hungry evening and will never hear the end of it but it provides a good laugh and that’s family bonding so it’s all good.
  • Do something fun every day or at least get out of the house. It’s normal for grief to take hold but it can whip up into a Tasmanian devil. Slow at first, it will gain enough volocity to ruin your day, week, month, or more. Nip it in the bud. Shift the tide. Take a walk, run to the grocery store, grab a Coke, anything to lift your mind from the grief that will inevitably return once again. Grant yourself a breather.
  • All thoughts of Dani must end on a sweet note. There are plenty of reasons to cry: our baby suffered greatly, one hospital nearly killed her, she was exceptionally innocent and helpless and it was excruciating to not be able to find a cure for her immune deficiency. Her essence is all over our home, photos, hair ties, coats, kleenexes tucked in obscure spots, little fingerprints on car windows, condolences, and doctor’s appointments next year still yet to be cancelled. She’s everywhere. It hurts and we cry but try to always end on a sweet note. The note that sings, “She is in heaven! All her needs are met. She does not hurt and is safe and warm with our Lord. She waits for us and is busy as a buzzing bumble bee talking up a storm with family and friends.” – We praise God for this sweet song.
  • Enjoy freedom. We are free because she is free. There is a reason we are still on this earth. Throwing away a single moment is a terrible waste. It’s time to enjoy life, move about, help others, stick close to one another and share the goodness of God that prevails even in the most dire situation. We are living testaments to this truth.

If your cookie is crumbling perhaps you need new rules in place. Rules that provide balance to mind, body, and soul. Life is always changing, some rules should too. Make healthy choices and live by them.

Above all, tag your thoughts with a sweet note, something true and uplifting. Life is tough but God is good. He is in your situation, in every detail, working out a wonderful plan.

Choose faith.

It is God’s grand gift.

“As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future,nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans: 36-39 (NIV)

 

October 27, 2014 - 10:44 pm

Cheryl Barker - Nancy, love how you’re sharing the bits of wisdom you’re learning as you wade through these days of heartbreaking grief. My heart hurts for you as I think of how you’re surrounded by reminders of Dani and how your heart must ache. But oh, what a wonderful idea to end all thoughts of Dani on a sweet note. Such a positive approach. Sending hugs and ongoing prayers!

October 27, 2014 - 5:29 pm

Cheryl - This is a beautiful illustration of life Nancy!

A New Normal

I wondered what I was going to do with Dani’s room after she died. Would I close the door and avoid it all together or keep it open and face the void each day. No one can predict what they might do, all anyone can do is what seems right for them when the time comes.

For me it’s been a slam dunk in the opposite direction I anticipated.

I thought I’d have to keep her door closed to avoid falling apart every time I walked past her room into ours, but not so. My heart insists that her door and window blinds be wide open so her room is lit, happy, and visible. She was so ill for so long that her room was dark and depressing. She slept and hurt continuously. I kept her room dark so she could rest.

Now, on the other hand, since she resides with God in His eternal light, a bright happy room is apropos.

A natural daily routine took root from the very start.

First thing in the morning after waking up, I go to her room and open the blinds. Her room sits this way till evening when I close her blinds at sunset. Since I don’t like her room dark, I turn on a scented warmer at her bedside. Soon the smell of warm vanilla fills the air. When I go to bed I turn off the little light and put up a baby gate so her door can remain open but the dogs can’t stop in for a sleep over.

On certain days I take a moment to sit on the edge of her bed, look around her room, and remember her precious life. All medical paraphernalia is now gone (it was the first to go) so only her favorite things remain. Her former dwelling is peppered with pinks, whites, stuffed animals, jewelry, pillows (we called them squeezers), and lots and lots of giraffes. She collected giraffes. They were unique like her.

Come with me.

Let’s take a tour.

“The Queen” pillow says it all.

She was our queen and serving her was a privilege.

Dani

(Below) Dani loved to turn her radio on and listen to our

Christian radio station KLJC.

Her pink tiered jewelry box is full of rings and bracelets.

They were her joy and delight. She was all girl.

Dani

(Below) My sister, Phyllis, drew this picture of Dani.

It’s a perfect reflection of when she was healthy and strong.

The frame glitters pink, Dani’s style.

Dani3

(Below) This banner was hanging for Dani when she

returned to her day program after a long stint off ill.

Little did we know her return would only be for two weeks.

She was never able to return.

This giraffe collection is extensive but not complete.

More delicate giraffes reside in other areas of the house.

Dani4

(Below) This scented light keeps her room lit at night till I head off to bed.

I often whisper into the air, “Good night my sweet baby girl.”

scentlight

Navigating through grief is very personal. My way may not be yours and yours may not be mine but it is important. The pain of loss can destroy our life if we do not funnel it properly and I don’t do what I do with Dani’s room blindly. I’ve thought about why I go through these motions and have come to the conclusion that it feeds the need in me to tend to her. I know she doesn’t need me, God has all her needs met, but I still desire to care for her in some way. This is how I accomplish it at this stage in grief.

If you are in pain I pray you find your own way through the grief. I encourage you to honor your loved one however you need to but above all remember one thing, this is not our home. We were designed by Perfection for perfection. In heaven every tear will be wiped away and joy will be our new never-ending normal.

Until then keep your eyes on Christ, our maker and perfecter.

I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: “Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They’re his people, he’s their God. He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone.” The Enthroned continued, “Look! I’m making everything new. Write it all down—each word dependable and accurate.” ~ Revelation 21:3-5 (MSG)

October 23, 2014 - 9:59 pm

Cheryl Barker - Nancy, thanks for sharing so beautifully and honestly one way you are managing your grief. So much wisdom here in your advice for everyone to find their own way through grief. My Dad, sisters, and I are still each one on our journeys through the grief of losing Mom one year ago this week. I love the things you’re doing to still tend to Dani and feel connected to her and honor her. My heart is with you!

We’re Going to the World Series!

RoyalsIt’s been said to me and I’ve said it myself, “We’re going to the World Series!”

Truth is the Royals and Giants are going, the greater lot of us will watch from afar.

I’m a fair weather baseball fan. Our blue guys have not been so good in recent past and it hurt too much to watch. I remember 1985 when our team won the flag-rimmed trophy, it sat where my husband worked for all to see. That year in particular everyone in Kansas City was super proud of the Royals.

Twenty nine years later, it’s the same song second verse and our city is singing it loud.

Why do so many of us include ourselves in the we of who’s going to the World Series? Because each of us have a need to succeed, belong, and be a part of a group. Living vicariously through our home town’s team is one way to strike all three of these reasons out of the park.

It’s up to the Royals to help us feel successful; we the fans pull up the rear feeling like we belong when we display team paraphenalia like decals, car flags, mugs, banners, shirts, hats, jackets, socks, flip flops, necklaces, tie clips, baby bibs, boots, bows, sunglasses, and I actually saw with my own peepers…Royals Crocs.

It’s difficult not to hop on the band wagon with our team. I feel attached to these players in a motherly kind of way. I want them to do well and feel proud of their so far good behavior. They are just out having fun and it’s rubbing off on the whole town.

So tonight. What’s for dinner? Hot diggity dogs with all the fixings’ (of course), BBQ beans, chips, dip, and a piping hot flat screen suspended on the living room wall.

It’s good to be going to the World Series!

A Time to Praise

PathIt’s been a month and a half since our baby girl went to be with our Lord. Life is different down here; a new normal that enables us to get out into the world. Since it’s time to close the pool our yellow Lab will need daily walks to exercise his arthritic hips. I made a casual commitment to walk him each day even if only a jaunt around the block.

As I walked “Blondy this morning it dawned on me that blessings abound even on short outings. Things like:

  • How great it is I am physically able to walk Ecclesiastes. I need to move just as much as he does, I’m glad I can.
  • Walking amidst God’s grand creation is prime time for praise. It lifts my spirit, softens my soul, and perks my ears to hear His gentle whisper.
  • Treks are perfect to fill with prayer for myself, family, friends, the ill, grieving, depressed, and unsaved. I even pray for those driving by because I know all to well how trying a day can be.
  • Walks removes me from home’s controlled setting to the outdoors that stimulate the senses and awaken my lazy parts.
  • Lastly, little journeys tend well to the grief. I find myself truly thanking God for the time He gave us our queen Dani. I inevitably smile up into the sky thinking about how proud I am of her. Oh, the immeasurable joy knowing she is in the presence of our Lord. I never grow tired of the thought. She deserves the very best and she has it, she has God!

Though the Holy Spirit lives inside each who believe in Him through Jesus, we cannot see God down here on earth as Dani sees Him now. We must wait. It doesn’t mean we cannot see Him at all however. God reveals Himself through His Word in the Bible, through the life of Christ, through other believers, and through Creation.

Perhaps that is why walks and prayer go hand in hand.

Guide me in your truth and teach me, 

for you are God my Savior, 

and my hope is in you all day long.” 

Psalm 25:5 (NIV)

 

October 20, 2014 - 8:11 am

Cheryl Barker - Nancy, being out in God’s creation ministers to us in so many ways — so happy to hear He is ministering to you through it in your grief. What a tender Father we have, huh? Much love and continued prayers!

October 19, 2014 - 6:47 pm

Nancy - Thank you Annette for your faithful prayers. They are so powerful in God’s hands. I can honestly say I have never loved God more than now, after such loss. It is supernatural, something not of human strength. We appreciate your intercession. Much love!

October 19, 2014 - 6:43 pm

Nancy - Kay your prayers continue to be answered faithfully. We feel God all around, close, loving us through each day. I do not ever want to experience pain without the prayers of saints such as yourself. Blessings sweet friend.

October 19, 2014 - 4:26 pm

Annette Bartle - Nancy, you and Jimmy remain on my daily prayer list. Your faith and perseverance amazes me! May God hold you closely and shower you all with blessings. BIg hugs.

October 19, 2014 - 4:25 pm

Kay - So blessed to be able to read your posting. Your words are beautiful. I pray our Lord has His arms around you and your family.

October 19, 2014 - 2:44 pm

Nancy - Thank you Leah. I can honestly say I’ve never loved the Lord more. In the worst of pain He gently revealed more of Himself to me. I appreciate your prayers. Blessings!

October 19, 2014 - 2:39 pm

Leah Adams - Bless you, my friend. How often you have come to my mind these last few months. I pray the Lord is holding you closely, just as He is sweet Dani.