Monday, March 29, 2010

Nancy

One day a year or so ago Elle and her friend were bored.

They had baked cookies, had a lemonade stand and had taken some good bike rides around the neighborhood. But it was a long day and new ideas for fun were coming on quite sluggishly.

I gave her all the regular suggestions: "How about you guys help me make dinner?" was greeted with a glum face, and then "How about you guys write up some imaginative story?" was greeted with the same blank stare.

Then I thought of Nancy: the sweetest lady ever who is in our ward and who has MS. She lives in a care home right in our neighborhood and loves to have visitors. She is one inspirational lady. She can't move and can only talk very softly, yet each time I visit I feel uplifted and inspired by her words. She is one of the kindest, most optimistic people I know.

I had taken my girls to visit Nancy before, and although they were curious, they hung back in the shadows while we talked as I fed her one of the cookies we had brought.

"How about you go visit Nancy?" I suggested. I fully thought the girls would turn their noses up at my latest suggestion, especially since I was in the middle of something or other and couldn't go with them. But their ears perked up. They were intrigued.

Before I knew it they had packed up a little treat, tucked the "Friend" magazine into one of their bike baskets and they were off to Nancy's care home...by themselves.

They came back looking how I remembered feeling after visiting Nancy. Radiating and excited.

After that they made a tradition of visiting Nancy each Sunday after church. They've done it for over a year now. They go over there and read her stories and bring her goodies. Once they bought her a journal and every so often they ask if she wants to dictate something for them to write in there for her. They have gathered additional friends and often bring one or two of their little siblings.
Now their friends at the care center include all the residents. They tell stories about each of them all the time and act like it's just as normal as can be that a handful of girls would go spend much of their time visiting people in such a different stage than they are themselves. (I wish you could see the cutest little man whose feet are visible on the right...he just sits in his lazyboy and sleeps with his cheeks spreading out on his shoulders...I have a little crush on him).

I know we're not supposed to be "proud" but I am. I'm so thankful for this girl of mine and her conscientious and thoughtful friends, and that they know the joy of giving part of themselves...and that when they give they get back more than they could ever ask for.
And I'm so thankful for Nancy who is optimistic and kind and good even when she has every reason to be bitter, and who's beautiful spirit shines through each time we see her.

26 comments:

  1. THAT is awesome.

    good mom--good daughter--good friends.

    beautiful.

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  2. you have an awesome daughter!
    you should be proud!
    tara

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  3. I would be so proud too!
    It makes me cry thinking about how the elderly they visit probably look forward to every Sunday, just to see those sweet girls!

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  4. That warms my heart. What a wonderful thing for the girls to do. I'm sure Nancy loves visitors as much as the girls love visiting her. Good on ya girls.

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  5. Your children are amazing and you are such a good mom. What a wonderful service.

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  6. I have to tell you that you have one special family! I know I don't KNOW you, but I am so encouraged by you all. Last night I was telling our 5 yr old boy about your family and how all your kids help and encourage with Lucy. He was inspired and came up with a list a mile long on how he can be his big brother's best friend, I told him he would be his hero...he lit up like the sky on the 4th of July! Thank you for investing the time and love to teach your children compassion!

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  7. That is the coolest thing ever! What an example these young girls are. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. That is the sweetest thing ever! Grace at activity days mentioned visiting Nancy quite a few times. I didn't know they went every sunday!

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  9. Man...I look up to Elle! What a sweetheart! I pray my kids turn out like that!

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  10. Guess what? She learned to be wonderful like that from her Mother, just like you learned it from your Mother. Your family will forever be blessed because of your example... especially your sweet girls. How lucky they are to have you and how lucky you are that they chose you! Have a great day!

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  11. I'd just like to thank your daughter and her friends for visiting Nancy. My grandmother, aunt and uncle all have died from MS and I know how long and painful this disease can be. Visits from friends mean so much when the body is broken...more than you can ever know. So thank you.

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  12. Nancy is a wonderful person! I love going to visit her with Elle and our other friends!

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  13. You are such a role model for me. Thank you!

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  14. Truly inspiring. I loved your book. I read it all the first day, and now I am taking notes. What a dork:)Thanks Shawni!

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  15. WOW...what more can I say? I think that's the kind of pride that Heavenly Father OK's for us, after all, I'm sure He's quite proud of those beautiful little girls!

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  16. How fun to see these darling girls and their wonderful "hobby"! What a beautiful face that cute Nancy has!

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  17. What a wonderful post... and what a wonderful daughter you have! You have every right to be very proud.

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  18. This is why I love coming to your blog! What a beautiful thing for your daughter to want to do~you should be very proud! Thank you for sharing & all the beautiful pictures you share. You have such a beautiful family & I just love lil Lucy! Praying for her & thankful she has such a wonderful family that is doing something to help raise money to find a cure.
    I lost a close friend to MS a little over a year ago & I wish she would've had such sweet girls come visit her. That is such a wonderful way to teach our children it's not always about "me"...really loved the post!
    Have a wonderful week!

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  20. I think that is the nicest thing I have heard in a really long time. Darn tootin you should be proud!

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  21. I'm so glad you journal these special moments. That group of girls is one in a billion, I tell you! Glad you're home, safe and sound. Are you sun-kissed to your bones?

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  22. This is the sweetest little story ever! We have a similar care home in our ward but not bike distance for my girls. What a lovely tradition!

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  23. Ok, now I'm all teary. My grandmother had MS and lived with us for years before she passed away. I miss her every single day and your sweet girls may not every truly realize what a service they are giving to Nancy. I know she looks forward to those visits, I watched my own grandmother light up when people besides family came to visit her. It's what kept her alive for so long, she had so much love to give. Your girls and their friends are filling their lives with very special memories.

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  24. Shawni bo boni-I just posted about deciding to give up my cool job writing the show notes for mommmycast and being their community manager and I wanted to tell you how much your posts about giving up professional photography helped me make that decision. Thanks for sharing, it really influenced me for good! Love and miss you.
    Shelley

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  25. THAT's MY MOM THEY VISIT! Just wanted you to know that I knew about the visits and hear about them all the time! My mom LOVES them! The residents there LOVE them! It's not easy visiting people with handicaps...it can be scary and intimidating! Those girls are angels! And I want you to know...they not only uplift mom and the residents, but their visits help ME too! What a burden lifted off of my shoulders to know that she is being cared for even as I am not there all the time! I don;t even know them, and my heart swells with love for them.

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  26. I'm tearing up at this post.
    You and the other moms are raising some wonderful girls. I'm sure that soon they'll be just as great young women.
    Me being totally over-emotional isn't helped by the fact that I'm listening to Jenny Oaks Baker's album right now.

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