About Nancie Carmichael
I am one of seven children, born to wheat and cattle ranchers in northern Montana. Mom and Dad, stalwarts in the community and our church, gifted me with a childhood under the Big Sky. I spent a lot of time outside, seeing the Rocky Mountains of Glacier Park off to the west…hearing meadowlarks and red-winged blackbirds in spring…going to a country school all eight grades, memorizing poetry…taking piano lessons…being a bookworm, not having a TV.
These things shaped me: To this day, I love being outside—watching for birds, savoring the seasons. My husband and I live in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon, and I love nothing more than to walk along the Metolius River near our home, or hike in the mountains with friends and family. And I still love playing my piano, a form of journaling for me. And I’m still a “bookworm”!
Nancie’s son Chris Carmichael writes this about her:
If you already know Nancie Carmichael through her writing, through her speaking, or because she’s a great friend of yours, then you know what a wonderful person she is. But she’s also an incredible mother, and I know what I’m talking about, because she’s mine.
After all, I’ve been watching Nancie for over 40 years now, and every single day I’m more amazed at how awesome she truly is. (No offense to my father, Bill, who is great too, but there’s a sneaking suspicion among the kids that he really lucked out!)
She had five demanding children that zealously competed for her time. Not only is that a big enough challenge for any normal person, but she went on to edit a magazine and then become a world-famous author and public speaker.
Not bad for a farm girl from Montana. Her siblings called her ‘Fancy Nancie,’ and not because she trounced around in pricey clothes or made herself dainty, but because she carries herself with an innate sense of grace that is still with her today. She’s a great comforter, a marvelous example of patience and love, and yet she still has so much humility that it boggles the mind. No matter how many times she hears a compliment, she simply cannot become conceited — it’s just not in her blood.
Her constant and unwavering faith in the Lord is the prime example of Christian witness that I know of. Both my parents worked very hard to create and foster a house built upon the Rock of Jesus, and any shortcomings we might have are our own — there’s no room in our house for parental blame!
My mom also loves the outdoors — when she goes on a walk in the woods, she’s not consumed with trivial thoughts. She’s deep in reflection with Jesus, praying with every step, giving thanks and praise to the Creator of all the beauty that surrounds her. It’s an experience that changes the way you view God’s hand in everyday life.
I remember one hike in particular, when we hiked Iron Mountain in Oregon. My wife Jami and I had Mom all to ourselves, and we weren’t disappointed. Only a mile from the parking lot, in an ancient grove of trees, several warbling birds caught our attention. My mom whistled at one and it hopped one branch closer, its head cocked slightly to look at her. I held out my hand as my mother whistled again, the the bird swooped and and landed right on my index finger.
This wasn’t a zoo aviary, and these birds weren’t tamed. My mother calmly stroked the bird’s breast as I fought off mental scenes from Hitchcock’s “The Birds.” Nancie talked to the bird like you would talk to a cute dog, and then he flew away. Meanwhile, ten more little birds surrounded us and warbled hellos. My mother sighed, smiled, and said, “Imagine how much God loves these little guys, and then imagine how much he loves you.” She turned and started hiking up the trail again, fully involved with the surroundings. My wife looked at me and said, “I feel like we’re in ‘The Sound of Music.'”
All five of us children (and now 4 daughters-in-law, 11 grandkids & counting) owe a deep debt of gratitude and thanks for Bill and Nancie’s faithful parenting. As the younger generation of Carmichaels moves into parenting, we will no doubt take every kernel of wisdom and passion for God that were passed down to us. All children should be so fortunate to have them as their parents. And I’m not just saying that because Nancie’s my mom. She is one special lady.