Hi. I’m Nancy Oehlert,
Before you read anything I’ve written, you may want to know a bit about me. How can you trust what you’re reading if you know nothing about the author? I need to share some of my history.
I was blessed to be born to wonderful parents. I often joke that my three older brothers and I won the ‘parent lottery’.
My mom and my dad gave us a loving, gentle start on life. They taught me about God, my creator and sustainer. The older I get and the more people I meet, the more I realize what an extraordinary family I was born into. It helped to equip me for what I would face in life.
I got married at a young age to a tall, handsome man from Denver. We met at college. Once we started dating, his grades steadily improved while mine plummeted. Meeting Mark and imagining a future with him changed all of my previous plans. Personality wise, we were polar opposites, proving the old adage that ‘opposites attract’. But it wasn’t long before those opposites stopped attracting and started annoying. So, like many young couples, we spent some time trying to ‘fix’ and ‘mature’ each another. We were a mess. But God was kind and put us in a place where we could learn from older, wiser couples.
We’ve had some amazing mentors through the thirty-five years we’ve been married. Now, we try to pass along what we received to younger couples who ask.
We walked, crawled, cried and stumbled our way through eight and a half years of infertility. We had always assumed that starting a family would just ‘happen’ when we were ready. We were wrong. Thirty years ago, insurance didn’t cover treatments for infertility, so we spent money we didn’t really have, lots of money, trying to get pregnant. At one point, we were less than fourteen days from losing our home and our car. I was in a deep depression and all Mark knew to do was worker harder. How we managed to get out from under that is still a blur. One thing I know for sure, God was gracious.
About a year later, having abandoned hope of a pregnancy, we were in the process of adopting when we learned that Mark had cancer. I was told that he had a one-in-three chance of survival. He was thirty-two and I was not quite thirty. Without going into a lot of detail, Mark survived. He had surgery and radiation. He would live and we were so thankful. We have shared this part of our story with lots of people in the years since, in an effort to give hope to others.
We were told that with a history of cancer, no birth-mother would ever choose us to raise a child. We pleaded with the agency to keep our file open anyway. We prayed for a miracle. Angela, our miracle, was born less than a year later. After reading our profile, her birthmother said, “It HAS to be this couple”. Once again, God provided! We share this story often to offer hope to those who see no future, who have no hope. Our family is proof of the song that says, “God will make a way when there seems to be no way.”
Two years later, against all medical odds, I gave birth to our second miracle, Michelle. “Exceedingly, abundantly, far beyond anything we could ask or imagine” we have been blessed! Raising our girls was a joy. I relished the role of ‘mother’. If I had the energy, it would be great to go back and do it all again! We share our story to those who need hope, who face the ‘impossible’.
I cared for my precious parents in the last nine years of their lives. What a pleasure and a privilege that was. It was utterly exhausting, but also a great honor. My brothers and I laid both our mom and dad to rest this past year. We take great comfort in each other and in knowing that they are now pain-free in bodies that have no limitations. I believe with every fiber of my being that I will see them again, this time in the presence of our Creator. I have shared my story of caring for aging parents with many who are facing the same struggle. I offer encouragement and practical advice that can ease their burden.
In the midst of raising my teenage girls and caring for my parents, we discovered that I have a brain tumor. (a non-producing, macro pituitary adenoma, for you medical types.) It’s a benign tumor but started growing and causing trouble. The biggest concerns were that if it didn’t kill me, it might leave me blind. Long story short, I’ve had two surgeries and a round of radiation treatments. The doctors and we hope that this will give me ten to twelve years. God has done the ‘impossible’ in my life many times, numbers don’t mean a whole lot to me. All the days that were planned for me were written down before I was born. (Psalm 139:16) So I take each day as it comes, give thanks for all the good stuff, and try to live life to the fullest. This approach to life is something I try to pass on to others.
For the last 40 years, I have been a teacher in Sunday school, public school, private school, and homeschool co-ops. For the last twenty-three years, I have been raising our two daughters. And for the last nine years, I was caregiver to both of my parents.
Our younger daughter has graduated from college, and our older daughter lives about an hour away, near her work. My parents are no longer here to require my time and energy. I am now faced with ‘re-inventing’ myself.
I love teaching. I get a charge out of passing something on and watching others benefit from it. So I’m launching a new career as a speaker and a blogger. With my years of experience in classrooms, raising two young women and being a care-taker, I have something to offer others. I hope that these blog articles and my speaking engagements will inspire you to create an extraordinary life. My parents provided a loving and gentle start and experience has taught me a thing or two. Now I’m ready to share some of what I’ve been given with others.