I am pretty well convinced that Nancy and I were meant to meet in this vast world. Though we lived only about 20 minutes away from each other, we had never met. By chance, one of her daughters was in town and attended church when I happened to be the cantor. She came home, told her family about my voice, and suggested the family come back to listen to me the following week. I didn't know any of this until after the following mass when I sang again. As it turns out, that mass became my audition to sing for their daughter's upcoming nuptials. Nancy and her husband Bob went from strangers to very dear friends, and ultimately became like a second set of parents to me and another set of grandparents to my kiddos.
Nancy moved recently to downsize from the absolutely gorgeous home in Pittsburgh. I, being the sentimental sap I've become, convinced Nancy that we needed to document her time in that home-- which was where they raised their four children and had so many dear memories.
This home was always one of my favorite places to go, and I knew I'd miss it. Having moved out of two homes I've owned, I can tell you I still can picture every corner of each room and I still miss aspects of each of them. I can only imagine how much more you'd miss a home after living there for over 40 years. How many memories!!
One of the many reasons I adore Nancy is her upbeat spirit which practically jumps off the page with this next image!
Nancy is kind, generous, an amazing listener and an amazing laugh-er! We had a ball traipsing through her yard for these photos. Anytime my family went over for a dinner (which always turned into hours on end!), I would enjoy walking through the yard-- looking at Bob's vegetable garden and seeing how much Nancy's flowers had grown. Now, with the photo shoot, each item or area in the yard brought on a memory of the house, or their kids and blessed me to even hear all of the stories and share in the bittersweet emotion of moving on in life.
We laughed and laughed while we took many of these! These flowers smell rather malodorous ( a fancy word Nancy would often use! ), but they are so pretty! She reminded me the smell wouldn't come through the photos. That's just like Nancy-- to find the silver lining in everything! My daughters would often refer to Nancy as "fancy Nancy", often oohing and aahing over her and some of the habits she had. Anytime we read a "Fancy Nancy" book, I find myself thinking of this real life example!
Bob had built this bridge around the little stream in their front yard and Nancy enjoyed caring for the flowers she'd plant around the bridge. A favorite habit of hers, and one I'm sure she'll miss as well!
This post is titled "God Gives you who you Need". I am a firm believer that God guides us toward particular people around us. When I think back on our relationship, I can see that God clearly wanted me to know Bob and Nancy. They have been treasured friends to me over the years and all because their daughter happened to attend a mass that I happened to sing at, and we happened to keep in touch after the wedding.
What a joy to know people like them-- a true blessing for which I'm eternally grateful. May everyone be so fortunate as to meet the people who will help them grow, broaden their horizons and encourage them to fly as high as they can and to have an amazing laugh along the way!
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*This post originally was published on a previous blog, now copied over here. Original post November 4, 2014.