How Can I Explain Nanny?!

How Can I Explain Nanny?!

I’m sitting here trying to figure out if I can write anything that is even close to worthy of my beloved mother-in-law Nanny (Dorothy Wood.) How can my limited writing ability explain to those who didn’t know her how she was the godliest woman I’ve ever known? I’m not sure I can, so I’ll give you some highlights that might help.

The only thing little about Nanny was her physical size. Other than that, she was larger than life! Her heart was bigger than she was. With that heart, Nanny loved the Lord, her family and everyone to whom she came in contact. I’ve always known she was incredible. But over the past few days, with the outpouring of love from friends and acquaintances, it was unmistakable how much she touched innumerable lives.

It almost seems oxymoronic that the heart that she used to touch so many people is the same one that caused her so much trouble. Yes, I do believe as the Bible points out, the heart is both physical and spiritual. And Nanny’s spiritual heart was as strong as an ox!

From the moment I met her, I knew she was different. She had a way about her that made you feel … like she was home. You know, the place you feel comfortable. The spot you want to go to get away from the world. Being with Nanny was like sitting in your comfy clothes with a cup of hot chocolate and a fire in the fireplace. Being in her presence just felt … like homemade chicken-noodle soup – good!

You could be in the worse mood ever and one look at her smile would change your whole day. Her laugh made you giggle inside. It was full of joy! Her eyes were ALWAYS shining. Well, I think they were. When she smiled, they disappeared. Her hugs were fantastic. Although, when she put her arms around your waist, she had a slap that landed on that soft part of your lower back that could bring you to your knees! Ow. Ow. OW! OK Nanny, thank you!

But the greatest thing about Nanny is what you see when you look at her grandchildren. There is no doubt she left large portions of herself in each and every one of them. Cortney has her love for people. Chad has her adventurous side. Chelsea has her love for teaching children. Crysta has her sense of style. (Nanny always looked good!) Caila has her determination. Chase has her ability to tell it like it is. 🙂

To hear some of that impact she had on so many, I thought you might want to listen to what the grandchildren said about her at the funeral. If you would like to listen, be prepared to laugh and cry. It was beyond amazing. Nanny’s Funeral – The Grandchildren

It’s funny how a blog post just doesn’t seem to do the job of “summing” up Nanny Girl. (That’s what I liked to call her.) I would say that you just had to know her. But from the responses I heard over the past few days, apparently knowing of her was enough. If there’s one thing I know for certain, my life is forever changed by Dorothy Ann Russell Wood!

Thank you Nanny Girl! We miss you!!! Put in a good word for us up there.


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Chris has a heart for changing lives by helping people discover the life and business they really want.

Decades of personal and leadership development experience, as well as running multi-million dollar businesses, has made him an expert in life and business coaching. personality types, and communication styles.

Growing up in a small logging town near Lake Tahoe, California, Chris learned a strong work ethic at home from his full-time working mom. He began his leadership and training career in the corporate world, starting but at E'TRADE.

27 thoughts on “How Can I Explain Nanny?!”

  1. Seeing this picture of her totally makes sense now…I have always thought Debbie was just so beautiful…natural beauty…and look, I see why now, she looks just like her beautiful mother!

  2. Nanny certainly understood Jesus’s command to “make disciples” because it sounds as if she really taught her grands how to follow Him.

    Those of you who are feeling her absence so acutely right now might find comfort in reading the book “Heaven is For Real”.

    Thank you for letting us have a little peek into the life of a true follower of Jesus.

    p.s. How interesting that every grandchild’s name begins with C. That took some cooperation among her own children!

  3. My condolences for you and Debbie. She was lovely. I am so happy for her though! I’m sure she is making Jesus smile around the clock!

  4. She definitely a spiritual giant that Debbie and you are standing on the shoulders of. Her life and legacy is alive in both of you.

  5. Thinking about you and Debbie. What a tribute. I have a Mother-in-law (Grammy) of the same order as Nanny. What a blessing she’s been in my life. I can only imagine how grateful you are to have had her in your life.

  6. Thanks for sharing Chris…I would have loved to have met her, she sounds like a lovely lady!!! May the Lord give you and Debbie the strength to face the loss and appreciate the memories.

  7. Chris – I have to tell you – when I read this blog, it touched me to the core. No, I did not know your mother-in-law…..but what a tribute to her. As part of an exercise in creating my life plan, my coach with Building Champions, had me write my obituary. Sounds morbid – but it makes you think about what legacy you are leaving. It sounds to me as if Dorothy left quite a legacy to her family.

    As I was reading this post about Dorothy – I thought that this would be the legacy I want to leave to my children, grandchildren, son-in-law.

    How touching it is that a son-in-law would see into her heart as you did. God bless you all – she will be deeply missed.

  8. Nanny Girl’s spirit and love lives on in your memories and sharing- thank you for keeping her spirit abundant and letting her love shine through your eye.

  9. Would have loved to have met her, sounds like the kind of person, you’d want around you all the time. Thanks for sharing a little bit about her, it’s a nice way of celebrating her and her life. May the lord be with your and your family.

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