Monday, November 30, 2009

A Talent for Serendipity - Proverbs 3:5-6

Word of the Day
Serendipity: the effect by which one stumbles upon something fortunate, especially while looking for something entirely unrelated. It is also considered the ability to convert what others consider accidents or misfortunes into something useful.

(5) Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; (6) in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

There are times in life when we stumble onto something good when we least expect it.  I believe this comes as a result of trusting God to lead us, guide us and direct us, even to the point of not understanding the big picture, much less understanding what is before us.  Is a serendipitous discovery simply an accident or divine intervention? 
I believe it truly takes practice to find the good in an unfortunate experience.  It reminds me of the t.v. show years ago called Hee Haw when the barber would tell a story to his customer sitting in the barber's chair.  When the barber related an unfortunate part of the story to the customer, the customer said "oh, that's bad".  The barber would say "no, that's good" and go on to explain why it was good.
It's the same thing in real life.  It's all about action and reaction.  Something happens and we react to it.  It's our choice whether or not we convert what is considered unfortunate into something good and useful.  Much wisdom can be attained using this method. 
Whatever comes your way today, find the good in it.  I believe that when we don't find what we are looking for or when we don't get something we want, that simply means we must keep looking, because God will send something even better when we keep our focus on him and his will for us.
Take care and have a wonderful day!  Love, Nan

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Heart Condition - Luke 24:32

Quote of the Day
God says He wants to make you something more than your human excellence can ever be.  He wants to love you into wholeness.  You will rise to the level and degree that you sense His love in your life.  That's why I can now invite people to my home, cook for them, speak to them, and write to them.  I don't have to worry about being perfect because the perfection of Christ is manifested by His love flowing through me..
taken from Stormie Omartian's book Lord, I Want To Be Whole

(32) They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he (Jesus) talked with us on the road (to Emmaus) and opened the Scriptures to us?"

I have a heart condition, one that burns with a deep desire to share the Living Word of God, the love of Jesus and the truth of salvation to every man, woman and child who will listen.  I do not consider myself qualified to be a preacher (not in the formally educated sense of the word qualified).  I would not be so bold as to make assumptions in that area.  However, I do believe God equips me with whatever is necessary to reveal His truths to His people.
Speaking of truths....many years ago, I became a pro at lying.  I lied in order to protect myself and my loved ones.  The terrible truth was more than I could accept, so I lied to be able to cope and survive.  Thank God the lies of my youth did not leave permanent mental damage.  When I was strong enough to leave, and when it was no longer necessary to lie, nor to keep wearing the invisible mask that kept me safe, I began to understand the truths of which God teaches and to apply those truths in my life.  All along, I loved the Lord, and I believe He forgave me for the lies.  I know without a shadow of a doubt, the Lord healed me in mind and spirit.  I can't tell you the exact time I understood that God had made me whole again, but oh, what sweet relief!!
If you are still living with anything that gives the devil one bit of pleasure, give it to God to deal with and ask him to forgive you, then forgive yourself.  Love yourself, accept yourself and truly begin to live the life God has planned for you.  You can't even imagine the awesome blessings awaiting you!  Let go and let God do His work in you. 
Sometimes, I wish everyone in the world knew my whole story as God already knows it.  I don't know what tomorrow will bring, but I praise the Lord for today and that He holds my heart and will safeguard it from all harm.  I thank God that I have a heart condition (figuratively speaking).  God knows the condition of my heart.  What is the current condition of your heart?  Remember, we're all a work in progress.  It's ok that we haven't reached the highest level of perfection.  As we strive to live more in the likeness of Jesus, the condition of our hearts grow more into His likeness.
Have a wonderful day as we begin the season of Advent.  Love, Nan

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Our Citizenship - Philippians 3:20-21

Quote of the Day
Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die.
Joe Luis

(20) But our citizenship is in heaven.  And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, (21) who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
Chapter 4:1 Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!

 It's the middle of the night and God woke me up to write this message for you.  Had I awaken at my usual time, this may not be the message of the day.  It's a mystery.  Both Allen and John are peacefully sleeping and Mr. Kitty is in from the cold, happily snoozing in the chair next to me.  All is peaceful and quiet around me.  I've been led to a book I recently bought at the nearby Goodwill store.  It's called Love, Medicine, and Miracles by Bernie S. Siegel, M.D.  It is a fascinating book.
The few pages I've read have brought about a particular thought of mine.  It's not a new thought, but one God wants me to share with you now.
I'm not afraid to face the day of my death.  Yes, I do want to go to heaven, but I'm not afraid to die.  There was a time when I couldn't say that.  I was 12 years old when one of my sisters died at the age of 21 and I was 16 years old when my brother died at age 20.  Not long after my brother died, I made the connection of their age at death;  she, 21, and he, 20.  From the time I was 16 until I was 23, I was afraid I would follow the number pattern of their death; either I would die in my 19th year or I would die in my 22nd year.  I thought a death pattern had been formed and I would be next.  That is a long time to be afraid of death.  I breathed a sigh of relief when I reached my 23rd birthday, only to leave home at 23 with the clothes on my back, in fear I would be killed (there was abuse in the home-not spoken of until many years later).  I was determined I was going to live.   All those years of living in fear, took their toll, but my will to live was so strong, I overcame the fear of death. 
Our minds do control our physical body.  I want to live a very long, healthy life, serving God and praising him all my days.  Every day I live and breathe is a day I didn't believe would happen when I was in my teens and early 20's.  I am not controlled by the fears of my youth. 
If anything from your youth has a hold on you, let it go.  Overcome it.  Rise above it.  Prove it wrong.  If it was something someone said or did, it can't have power over you if you release it.  If it's something you said or did, forgive yourself and let it go once and for all.  Hold on to it and it owns you. 
There is incredible power in our thoughts.  I encourage you to think  positive, healthy thoughts.  I pray for an abundance of positive influence in your life right this minute.  Because you are reading this message, God knows who you are and he knows my heart.  I want only the best, most positive influences to remain in your own life.  I want all the negative, painful memories you have stored up, to fade away from your memory.  Those negative images in your mind will be erased by God when you believe he has the power to do just that.  I believe he has the power to use me for his purposes and that I will fulfill his purposes for my life.
Yes, I want to go to heaven, and no, I'm not afraid to die.  I believe my citizenship is in heaven. The day that the last breath leaves my body, will be the day I enter through heaven's gate, Lord willing.  I like the body  I'm in right now.  It's a perfectly good body; though it isn't perfect, it's good enough.  I believe when I die, I will be transformed and God will give me a new body. 
Every day is a blessing and and a gift.  Don't take this day for granted.  Enjoy it to the fullest.  Don't waste one precious minute of it on trivial things.  If you have fears, face them and then let them go.  I only speak of what I know and of what I am sure. 
And now, may the grace of God which surpasses understanding be with you now and always.
Love, Nan

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thank You, Lord - 1 Chronicles 16:34

Quote of the Day
Thank you for your promise that you will shine your glorious light upon me.  As I focus on you, O Lord, I know you are leading me forward.  Thank you for your goodness shining through me, your shield before me, your glory a protection around me.  Thank you for guiding me with your wisdom and counsel, now and in all my years to come.  Someday, by your grace, I will get to praise you forever in Heaven. 
I'm ready to let you change my fear to faith.  I place my hand in yours and look forward with great expectation to the future you have prepared for me.
taken from the book entitled When I'm On My Knees by Anita Corrine Donihue

(34) Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Few things in this life are more important than having a thankful heart.  When we accept our reality and realize that as bad as we may think life is at this moment, and are thankful that it isn't worse, we truly begin to understand life from a more godly perspective.  It really comes down to a matter of perception.  If I perceive my circumstances to be hopeless, then they surely will be hopeless.  If I perceive them to be temporary, then they will surely pass. 
Before you lay down your head on your pillow tonight, make sure to thank God for all you have and for all you don't have that he doesn't want you to have right now.  Be content with what you have, because God has said that what he provides for us will be sufficient.  Even though we don't know what tomorrow will bring, we can trust God that our needs will be met and whatever we have will be enough.
I'm thankful for so many people in my life who care about me, but most of all, I'm thankful for the God who created me and loves me.  I'm thankful for your presence in my life.  Yes, it's true.  Many who read these messages of faith, hope and love have never met me in person, and some of you think you know very little about me, but you can all consider me a friend.  God knows you and led you to Nan's Calendar to give you hope.  In my humble way, I share what I have learned and do my best to give thanks and honor and praise to God for without him I am nothing. 
We all have something for which to be thankful.  Give thanks with a grateful heart.  We don't have to wait another year to have a day of thanksgiving.  In my life, every day is a day of thanksgiving and every day is a reason to celebrate Christmas in my heart.  Thank you, Lord.
Love, Nan

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Wellspring of Life - Proverbs 4:23

Quote of the Day
But God tells us that it is even more important to guard our hearts. If we don't it can lead to spiritual ruin! Who we are in Christ is being formed in our hearts. If we let them be filled with perverse or unrighteous things we live at odds to God's purposes. Caesar Kalinowski, Pastor

(23) Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

This metaphor for the heart is one of great import.  I'm talking about the heart of the human spirit, not the organ itself.  In biblical times, it was thought that the heart was the source of intelligence.  It was believed that life-changing decisions were made in the heart.  Just as water can become polluted and not fit to drink, so too, can our thinking become corrupted if not securely guarded.  Thoughts lead to words.  Words lead to actions.  Caught up in the middle are the emotions that either stir things up or have a calming effect on us and others around us. 
I wrote the poem/song last year.  It speaks of more than our spiritual heart.  It speaks of our whole spiritual self....the very essence of the soul.  I believe that someday it will be set to music.  As you read the words, let them come from your very soul and sing it with your own special melody. 
Guard your heart.  Let only goodness enter and only goodness will come forth. Have a wonderful day in the Lord!  Love, Nan

My Spirit
By: Nan Forehand

mind of my spirit, teach me today
now I beseech thee, teach me to pray
ears of my spirit, oh let me hear
footsteps of Jesus, he is near
eyes of my spirit, open for me
to see my Savior, oh let it be
feet of my spirit, don't fail me now
take me to Jesus, take me somehow
heart of my spirit, open wide
please Jesus enter, come inside
hands of my spirit, lift high in praise
ready to praise You all of my days
voice of my spirit, teach me to speak
though I am humble, lowly and meek
others must know, dear, others must know
my love for others, you must show
teach them to love me, teach them today
so lost and lonely, show them the way

Monday, November 23, 2009

Give Thanks - Psalm 100

Quote of the Day
A bell is no bell til you ring it.
A song is no song til you sing it,
and love in your heart
wasn't put there to stay ---
Love isn't love
til you give it away.
Oscar Hammerstein

(1) Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. (2) Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.  (3) Know that the LORD is God.  It is he who  made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.  (4) Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.  (5) For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Short, sweet and to the point; this is Psalm 100.  Give thanks to the One who matters most of all.  Be sure to click on the link at the right to listen to the Maranatha Singers with their rendition of the beautiful song entitled Give Thanks. 
Love, Nan

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Be Strong - 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

Quote of the Day
You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, "I've lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along." You must do the thing you think you cannot do. --Eleanor Roosevelt

(8) Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  (9) But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness"Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  (10) That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Paul was speaking of a "thorn".  This may have been a figurative or literal thorn.  We don't know for sure.  There are times in our lives when we suffer from a "thorn", be it a spiritual problem of anxiety, temptation or guilt over something we haven't given over to God or anything that would cause us to boast about ourselves.
We are all a work in progress.  We will have days when we feel weak and others when we feel strong.  During those times of weakness, we can rest assured Jesus walks with us.  Click on the Youtube link I have provided for you on the right of this page and enjoy Randy Travis singing Just A Closer Walk With Thee.  "May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." 2 Cor. 13:14
Love, Nan

Just A Closer Walk With Thee

I am weak, but thou art strong; Jesus, keep me from all wrong;
I'll be satisfied as long As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.
Just a closer walk with Thee, Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee, Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.
Thro' this world of toil and snares, If I falter, Lord, who cares?
Who with me my burden shares? None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.
Just a closer walk with Thee, Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee, Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.
When my feeble life is o'er, Time for me will be no more;
Guide me gently, safely o'er To Thy kingdom shore, to Thy shore.
Just a closer walk with Thee, Grant it, Jesus is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee, Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Good Company - 1 Timothy 4:7-11

Quote of the Day
The only mistake is not to risk making one....He (God) lavished you with strengths in this life and a promise of the next.  Go out on a limb; he won't let you fall.  Take a big risk; he won't let you fail.  He invites you to dream of the day you feel his hand on your shoulder and his eyes on your face.  "Well done," he will say, "good and faithful servant."  From the book by Max Lucado entitled Grace For The Moment Volume II

(7) The end of all things is near.  Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.  (8) Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  (9) Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  (10) Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.  (11) If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.  If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.  To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever.  Amen.

The more I delve into my Bible and read the words of Peter, John, David, Jeremiah, Moses, Isaiah and so many others who fully believed in God and his plan for our lives, I realize that I am in very good company.  I don't consider them dead any more than I consider Mama dead.  Their spirits are alive and active to this day.  They are living the eternal life of which we read in the Bible. 
As I pour out my heart and soul to you each day through Nan's Calendar, I realize that I am writing The Book of Nan.   You are getting a daily taste of my very essence.  I don't just throw these messages together.  I don't write for profit or out of selfish gain.  I write because it is God's purpose for me and I do it with a happy heart.  I was recently told that I need to shorten the messages, that some of them are too long.  I believe that what I share with you is exactly as short or as long as God intends in order to reveal a particular truth to all of us.
I believe that because you are reading this message at this very moment, you are a believer.  I am a believer.  We are in good company.  You have your own thoughts and beliefs.  Write them down.  Share them.  Spread the Good Word to a world starving for the Bread of Life.  Give it to them in the way God instructs you to do.  Freely you have received.  Freely give.   May you be richly blessed.  Love, Nan

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wordchimes - 2 Timothy 2:15

(15) Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

The poem featured today was written by one of my favorite poets whose poetry is published at   My dear friend, Mr. Quentin Clingerman is the originator and administrator of this awe-inspiring website where you'll find poetry that honors God and offers inspiration and encouragement.  It is my honor and great pleasure to be counted among them.  Poetry is God's gift to these wonderful men and women who give so generously of themselves. 
If you dabble with words and are so inclined to share your own words of inspiration and food for thought, please send Que some of your writings.  Your words will be music to the ears of an interested audience.  This poetic form of praise to the Lord is intended to be shared with the world and not kept hidden in a folder in the backside of a drawer.

The alphabet is spectacular
The letters from A to Z
They make up all the words we use
That are contained within ones head
Just look at a common dictionary
To see how many you know
You'll be surprised by the number of them
And the list continues to grow.
Some words are used for emphasis
Some words are used in slang
"Shut up and get outta here,
You no good rangatang"
A cautionary principle
When you use your words... be discrete!
You never know the day may come
Those words you'll have to eat!
Copyright Gary James Smith

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Blank Canvas - 2 Corinthians 5:17

A blank canvas is a holy thing. Each moment, each day, it’s yours.
Author Unknown

(17) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

As a new day begins, we are as a blank canvas.  God is the master artist.  He holds the palette, the paint and the brushes.  Based on each word we speak, each tone we use, each decision we make, God lays the brush strokes on, not only our lives, but the life of each person we touch.  Our canvas is a reflection of our true colors?  Are we helping others see their own true colors?  We are all a masterpiece in the making.  Mama used to say "pretty is as pretty does".  I want the colors on my canvas to be pretty and bright, but even the dark colors are necessary in order to show depth. 
Where others see a dark, drab world, I see a world of great beauty each and every day.  God not only paints the canvas of our lives, he also paints the canvas of the world around us.  It's up to us as to how we interpret what we see.  Sometimes, we are standing too close to truly absorb the beauty.  We need to step back and ask God to help us see the true colors on the canvas as he sees them.  What do you see when you see me? 
Be sure to notice the photo of Meadow Lake in the right margin and go down to the bottom of this page to see another breathtaking sunrise on the lake.  I've seen my reflection on this beautiful lake many times.  It's a piece of heaven on earth to me.

True Colors

By: Nan Forehand

used to be, but no longer shy
give me a moment and I'll tell you why
for years, others saw brown and gray
unknowing eyes glanced and turned away
didn't realize the depth of the prism within
buried deep inside because of the wrongness of sin
ever so gently Allen peeled away the layers so drab
genuine beauty crafted by God - not created in a lab
on our first date, he could barely get me to talk
forever and always, beside him I'll walk
God told him to look beyond the gray
he must have known his destiny that day
reached way down deep inside
brought to light the colors of his new bride
pure honesty - color of white
thanks to God he saw the light
laughter and joy to share - the color is teal
this love of ours is true and real
love in our hearts - the color of red
November twelfth - the day we wed
warmth to care - glowing hue of yellow
dear me - such a handsome young fellow
a bit of solitude - the color of blue
reflection in the light of this lovely hue
keeping it all in check - the color green
no room here for jealousy or being mean
loyalty that knows no time
the last color is purple in my rhyme
my true colors you now see
because my love believes in me
I'm not afraid and I'm not shy
you've listened well and I've told you why

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Power of Prayer - Romans 8:26-27

Quote of the Day
"Want to worry less?  Then pray more.  Rather than look forward in fear, look upward in faith.  This command surprises no one.  Regarding prayer, the Bible never blushes.  Jesus taught people that "it was necessary for them to pray consistently and never quit" (Luke 18:1 MSG).  Paul told believers, "Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart: (Col.4:2 NLT).  James declared, "Are any among you suffering?  They should keep on praying abut it" (James 5:13 NLT).
Rather than worry about anything, "pray about everything."  Everything?  Diaper changes and dates?  Business meetings and broken bathtubs?  Procrastinations and prognostications?"  Pray about everything."
taken from his book entitled Grace for the Moment Volume II by Max Lucado

(26) In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.  (27) And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

As I write this message, my pastor and his wife are in the hospital.  We were all at a church function tonight when he got the call that she had called 911.  It's too early to tell if she had a stroke, a heart attack or a seisure, because right now, she can't speak.  I believe in the power of prayer of one and I believe in the power of prayers of many.  Please pray with me that the doctors will get to the root of Debbie's health issues and that the almighty hand of God is upon Debbie and Pastor Mike and those professionals caring for her needs tonight. 
This special lady has had many health issues in the past several years and she needs our combined prayers tonight and in the days ahead more than ever.  It's too early to know exactly how serious this is, but I will keep you informed as I am given updates on her health.
Likewise, I want to know your prayer needs.  I believe in the power of prayer.
Love, Nan

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Soul Restored - Psalm 23

Quote of the Day
Mine is a wonderful life and I look forward to each new day. Don't mourn my death - I will live with the LORD for all eternity in Heaven. I hope to see you there....  Nan Forehand

 1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Of this, I am sure.  Of what are you sure?  Is he your shepherd?

the 23rd Psalm in relation to Nan's life
1) The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
(I am happy to have a personal relationship with God. He provides for all my needs.)

2) He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.
(Because of God's love and protection, I could sleep anywhere in peace; I love to sit by the creek which runs softly through the woods on our property. Every day He lifts my spirit.)

3) He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
(He keeps me on the straight and narrow path to Jesus.)

4) Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
(I have walked through the valley and He was with me. He is my protector. The rod and staff are symbols of God's strength and authority in all situations.)

5) You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
(A hedge of protection is always around me. I am no longer afraid. Actually, You anointed my head with oil through Pastor Melanie. I am continually filled with the Holy Spirit.)

6) Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
(Mine is a wonderful life and I look forward to each new day. Don't mourn my death - I will live with the LORD for all eternity in Heaven. I hope to see you there....)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Cup of Blessings -1 Thessalonians 3:12-13

Quote of the Day
The smallest blessings often become the greatest treasures.
Anita Corrine Donihue (an excerpt from her book entitled When I'm Praising God

(12) May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.  (13) May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.

It's really all about perception.  I perceive your comments to be blessings.  You are a blessing to me.  Make no mistake about it.  My heart leaps for joy and my blessings overflow when I receive a comment from you regarding a message I have written to you.  Each and every comment you send becomes a treasure to me.  You may consider them small blessings, but truly, they are treasures to me because they are a part of you that you have shared with me. 
When you read and absorb one of my messages, you take a part of me with you.  My heart and soul are poured out before you in these messages of faith, hope and love.  Our capacity to give and receive love knows no limits unless we impose limitations on the giving and receiving. 
God wants us to enjoy all aspects of our life here on earth.  Even the small, mundane, sometimes distasteful task of cleaning our toilets is a blessing.   My first memory of a toilet was in the form of an outhouse.  Yes, though I was a very small child at the time, I lived in a house with no toilet inside.  Mama, for a time, washed clothes on a wash board in a tub of water on the back porch.  I came from humble roots, but those roots were deeply imbedded in faith, hope and love and above all, a deep and abiding love for the Lord.  So, you see, even cleaning a toilet is a blessing and we should clean it with a happy heart.  And washing clothes in a washing machine, in the warmth of a home is a blessing. 
In all the years of my childhood, we never had a phone; didn't have carpet on the floors; didn't have air conditioning; didn't have a dishwasher.  But, because of my Mama's love, I was rich.  I never knew my daddy; never even saw his face until 2008 (in a picture), many years after his death.  I have so much to be thankful for and I am.  I adore my husband and our children.  I am blessed with a wonderful family and good friends.  
Count your blessings.  I could go on and on and on about mine.  I pray your blessings are so many that your life overflows with them all.  But, remember, Jesus said, "it is more blessed to give than to receive".
Take care and be the blessing in someone's life today and be blessed.  Love, Nan 

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Listen With Your Heart - Mark 12:30-31

Quote of the Day
"Soul reading is a particular kind of reading in which, through the literal level, one tries to hear, or to live in the listening question: “What is being said to the soul in this speaking?”
In order to read this way, it is necessary to pause a lot in your reading. In the pauses, let what you just read sink down from the region of the head into the region of the heart. Then, listen within and try to be aware of the response you are hearing from within the region of the heart. Try to hear, in an inner way, the soul’s repeating of what was read, of what was understood mentally when you read the text."
Adapted from Facing The World with Soul, by Robert Sardello (Lindsifarne Books 2004).
(30) "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  (31) The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no commandment greater than these."
It is my earnest hope and desire that when you sit down to read the latest Nan's Calendar message or an older one,  that you allow yourself time to "listen to the message with your heart" and absorb the spiritual meaning of the message.  As well, use your imagination to visualize the message.  Your inner sense of touch and smell can also come into play.  Plan your reading time so that you aren't rushing through the message and only skimming the surface of it.  Remember, these messages are love letters from God through me to you and should be regarded as such. 
Sometimes, I write late in the evening when my guys have gone to bed.  Other times, God wakes me up early in the morning when all is quiet and this room becomes a sanctuary.  God requires my undivided attention until he has achieved through me a particular truth he wants you to carry in your heart (already deeply ingrained in mine) and then share with someone else. 
Each day's message usually begins as a mystery to be revealed to me by God.  My Bible (Quest Study Bible NIV) is naturally, my main source of inspiration.  God has equipped me with countless styles of literature from which to glean wisdom and insight.  The thoughts I share with you are my very own.  After a time of deliberate meditation and communion with God, I reach for my Bible and he leads me to the message intended to nurture not only my soul, but also your soul. One thing leads to another and the mystery is unraveled before my very eyes.
When you come upon one who is in need, suffering, bent down under a heavy burden, the first thing you want to do is reach down to help lift the burden and lift up the one suffering.  At the time, the suffering one is too weak to stand, so you find yourself  empathizing with the sufferer, on the same level; both on bended knee.  Then, drawing on a God-given strength from within yourself, you  rise above the suffering in order to truly be of service and of assistance.
When you open your own Bible and begin to read, God wants you to "listen with your heart."  Nurture your soul in a way that goes beyond human intellect and goes to the very depths of your being.  As God breathes his Holy Spirit into your soul, it rises and is filled.  At the same time, the ego is deflated and drifts downward to its proper place.  It is at that moment you create peace within yourself and become one with God.
(finger to lips...shhh) still.....listen.....

Friday, November 13, 2009

Conscious Endeavor - Matthew 28:19-20

Quote of the Day
An athlete was never made by mere instruction.  No soldier was ever trained by the mere study of his manual, but by practicing his drill.  Not the hearers of the law, but the doers are justified before God.  We must be going forward, not standing still, simply listening and learning.  Where our duty is seen God is revealed.  Duty is always the will of God.  To see it and not do it, is a most disastrous thing for the man, as well as being an offense against God.  Outlook

(19) Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

I am continually amazed and in awe of God as I come to my computer each day to compose a message for you.  Some are of the opinion I write Nan's Calendar for myself.  On the contrary, I write for you.  It is not for my own personal gain.  I have learned to put ego in its place and that is not at the top. 
In order for me to have any positive influence on others, I must and do, think of others first.  I trust God explicitly to direct me as to the content of these messages that they will be worthwhile and valuable for teaching what he has taught me about life and how to live as he would have us live.
Each time I sit here with fingers to keys, it is a conscious endeavor to remain active in honoring my vows to God.  As long as there is life and breath in me, I will praise him and actively bring his word to a world in need of positive influence and love.  There are people dying of spiritual starvation right before our eyes. 
I've heard there's no such thing as "try".  We either "do" or we "don't do".  As I have shared with you, go out and share with others what you have received.  Talk the talk and walk the walk.  Love, Nan

Spiritual Starvation

By: Nan Forehand
rampant across our nation
epidemic of spiritual starvation
utter tragedy - souls in despair
food in His hands - He's holding it there
starving for so long - numb from the pain
to take the Bread of Life would be your richest gain
open wide and feed the soul inside
don't give up - I know you've tried
slow and easy - you don't want to choke
believe me, spiritual starvation is no joke
this starvation is no laughing matter
spiritually feed on this heavenly batter
risen to it's highest perfection
accept this bread - feel no more rejection
to those of you who already partake
nurture these souls - make no mistake
keep feeding the needy and in due course
our Heavenly Father will surely rejoice

John 6:34-40
"Sir," they said, "from now on give us this bread." Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I have told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and who ever comes to me I will never drive away.  For I have come down from heaven not to do my will, but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Perfect Peace - Philippians 4:4-9

Quote of the Day
"In spite of your difficult circumstances and regardless of how unsure the future might seem, your peace of mind will only be secured when you become still before the Lord in prayer.  Prayer and meditation, in conjunction with praise and thanksgiving, is the only infallible method to ensure that you will be able to accept and overcome life's challenges.  Do not rob yourself of this opportunity to find peace!"
taken from Promises From God When You Doubt (Compiled by Wilma Le Roux and Lynette Douglas-Designed by Christian Art Gifts

(4) Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again;  Rejoice!   (5) Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  (6) Do not be anxious  about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition,    with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.   (7) And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.    (8) Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is  pure, whatever is lovely,  whatever is admirable ---- think about such things.  (9) Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me ---- put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.

It really comes down to conscious choices.  We will surely, at times, have negative thoughts, doubts, become discouraged, but it is what we choose to do with those thoughts that makes all the difference.  Our thoughts will either rob us of peace or bring about peace within our hearts and minds when we deliberately choose to let go of the negative thoughts and replace them immediately with positive ones. 
We don't know the future, but God does.  Look up in your Bible, Jeremiah 29-11 and read what God says to us about our future.  Don't stop there.  Continue reading.  Become absorbed in God's Holy Word.  Meditate on his promises.  They are for you and me. 
As a thief in the night, negative thoughts come unannounced.  When we practice self-discipline and make these conscious choices to move through, beyond, above, away from those things that would steal our joy and our peace, our peace and our joy return to us and we are restored.
The sooner we come to God and admit to him that we are not in control and allow his almighty hand in our lives, the sooner we experience peace.  We don't have to know everything before making decisions.  We just have to trust God to lead us, guide us and direct us in the way according to his will for us.  
I surely am not a "know it all"; far from it. But, I know what I know.  I only speak of what I know; of what I am sure.  When I have a concern, I go to the one who helps me every time.  He never fails me.  Yes, there are times I have concerns, but I don't worry anymore.  There is no room for doubt in my life anymore.  I won't allow it.
Life is exciting!  Bring back the excitement by giving your life to God , by giving your worries, your doubts, your cares, your insecurities, your past, your present, your future to him!  Peace is as close as your next breath and your next thought! Peace be with you today and forevermore!  Love, Nan

No Room For Doubt
By: Nan Forehand
in my life, there's no room for doubt
my Savior, Jesus Christ, has ultimate clout
developing my faith has taken a lifetime
for years I was silent as a mime
buried so deep inside, words I couldn't express
life was a complete and utter mess
I've fought my battles, that's for sure
each time, I turned to Jesus, holy and pure
through all my trials, I've learned
embers of faith always burned
yes, faith - ultimate and absolute
stronger now - my thoughts, Satan can't pollute
I don't worry and doubt what God can do
with Him, nothing is impossible for me and you
through Him, I'm saved - of that, I truly believe
He gave me power to tell Satan to leave
God has given me a voice to speak
I'm here to encourage - at times, we're all weak
to doubt my God, I'm not inclined
I won't allow negative thoughts to linger in my mind
in my life, there's no room for doubt
all I have to do is tell Satan to get out
he's a thief, a liar and a mocker
from a worldly view, he's no debaucher
to God, I submit a prayer of supplication
lead, guide and direct our great nation
though Satan has his day
close to me he will not stay
Jesus is mine - He's my all in all
He catches me each time I start to fall
in my life, there's no room for doubt
Jesus, my Savior, has ultimate clout

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Reaching Out ~ Touching You - Matthew 14:35-36

Quote of the Day
Most physicians realize very well indeed what a decisive part faith plays in the overcoming of sickness.  This faith is activated from the mind, the intellect.  If your heart and your head will share in a common real belief, the result is faith, and through faith all things are possible.
Albert Cliffe from his book entitled Let Go and Let God steps in victorious living

(35) And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country.  People brought all their sick to him  (36) and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed.

So incredible is the power of Jesus and the power of faith!  He is so close to you right now that if you wanted to touch him, you could.  You may not be aware of his presence, but he is there, nonetheless.  Being healed isn't the same as being cured.   It is possible to be healed and still not be cured of a disease.
We haven't even begun to understand the incredible power of positive thinking.  There are those, however, such as Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, who have spent years studying the effects of positive thinking and the importance of living a positive thought life. 
Jesus healed those sick people in the Bible because of their faith in him.   Simply stated; they believed in him and were healed.  They came to him, reached out to him, touched him and they were healed. 
Because of my love for Jesus, I am reaching out to you and I pray that I am touching you through my words.  I don't claim to be a healer.  I am an encourager.  I pray that through my positive outlook on life and the things I have learned about life that your faith will be strengthened and you will, in turn, reach out to others and encourage them with the encouragement you have received. 
Have a wondeful day!  Nan

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Let Go and Let God - 1 Peter 5:6-11

Quote of the Day
The Christian way of life is not just sanctity; it is sanity, for you cash in on the promises of God when you learn to walk in His way of life.  Your devotion to Him transcends all other things in life.  You gain a healing from sin and from sickness and develop a happy, radiant, successful personality, confident that all the details of your life, all your needs on this earth are now being taken care of by God.
Albert E. Cliffe from his book entitled Let Go and Let God  steps in victorious living

(6) Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  (7) Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  (8) Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  (9) Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.  (10) And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.  (11) To him be the power for ever and ever.  Amen.

I am a work in progress.  Aren't we all?  Reflection is a good way to see how far we have come from the person we were, the person we are now, and the person we are becoming.   It is necessary to be careful when using it , however.  We sometimes use it as a yardstick by which to measure ourselves.  When we think we don't "measure up" we can become our own worst enemy and begin using the yardstick (reflection) in a negative way rather than a positive way.  We figuratively beat ourselves up with it.  I speak to you from personal experience.  Everyone has a story complete with the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I remember those days long ago.  I reflect on the past without reliving it.  There were some awful experiences the first time around.  I don't want to live through them again.  I'm beyond that time in my life now.  I don't allow myself to ruminate over the worst times of days gone by.  God's miracle of turning the sour taste of bad memories into sweet manna from heaven will remain with me the rest of my life.  He healed me from the ugly details of my past and helps me remember the good times.  I am excited about my future.  It begins today.
We can't get to our future self without going through today.  It is what we choose to do today that has an impact on our future.  We can't see clearly what our future holds, but God can.
Lord, lead us, guide us, and direct us in all we say and do today so that our words and our actions are pleasing unto you.  Amen
Will you be bitter or better today?  The choice is yours.  To choose to live victoriously holds heavenly eternal rewards!

Bitter or Better

By: Nan Forehand

the choice is up to you my friend

it really does matter in the end

as you think - so you are

with a positive attitude you'll be richer by far

you may or may not control the circumstances

mistakes will be made so God allows second chances

in your problems, rejoice

remember, it's your choice

God can use a situation when others are mean

to your advantage when wisdom you glean

put your life in God's hands

He doesn't take kindly to demands

humble yourself before the LORD

within His heart strikes a tender chord

His desire is to make you more godly

He wants you praisin' not cursin'

will you be a bitter or better person

the choice is up to you my friend

it really does matter in the end

Romans 3:3-5

...but, we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perserverance, perserverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Nan's Flowers (A new addition)

Be sure to look up my new blog specifically for your viewing pleasure.  I am posting my favorite flower photos that I've taken over the past several years.  I may include a few living flowers (butterflies) in the mix!  The address is
It is a joy to be able to bring these photos to you.  Remember, I'm not a professional photographer, but I love learning! 

Love ya!  Nan

Never tire of doing good - Galatians 6:9-10

Quote of the Day
Paul teaches that if we live primarily to please our flesh, we'll find ourselves spiritually impoverished now and bankrupt in heaven later.  But if we live by the Spirit we shall see fruit in our present circumstances and also have a rich reward waiting for us in heaven.
(side note in my NIV Bible regarding today's verse).

(9) Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  (10) Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Did you notice the emphasis on "the family of believers"?  Why do you think that phrase was emphasized with the word "especially"?  Caring for believers was a priority in the day of Paul, and it continues to be a priority today.  When we keep each other lifted, the positive power we can unleash and the overall good we can do on behalf of mankind is limitless. 
Let's do our share today, and then some.  Mankind needs all the encouragement it can get!

Love, Nan

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Great is your love - Psalm 86:11-13

Quote of the Day
Learn to endure whatever you need to, knowing that there is joy on the other side.
Joyce Meyer

(11) Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.  (12) I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.  (13) For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths of the grave.

Yes, God truly delivered me from the depths of the grave 26 years ago.  I looked death in the face and every day since then, I have praised the Lord and will continue to do so until he calls me home.  Even then I will sing praises to his name.

An Undivided Heart

By: Nan Forehand

Lord, as I picked up the Bible

and didn't know where to turn

You brought me to a special place

taught me a lesson I needed to learn

it comes from the book of Psalms

here was the place I needed to start

the more I read, the more I learned

Lord, only you can give me an undivided heart

all emotions, thoughts and attitudes

flow from it's center

good, bad or indifferent thoughts

let only goodness enter

I return to you from whence I came

Lord, ready and willing to praise Your name


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Random Acts of Kindness - Ephesians 4:32

Quote of the Day

The true reward for a kindness lies not in the thanks you get, but in the memory it leaves on your hands.
Velma Daniels

Ephesians 4:32

(32) Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

A church picnic was held on the grounds in the Springtime.  Beautiful, fragrant flowers burst forth and painted a picturesque scene.  The far-reaching weeping willow limbs swayed in the breeze and tickled the grass beneath it.  Laughter and gaity were in the air as folks shared food and fellowship in the warm sunshine.  The mocking bird sang a tune from its perch in the uppermost branch of a nearby tree as immense, fluffy clouds drifted by.
A little girl was seen picking a bunch of wildflowers from the edge of the woods.  She smiled as she tenderly carried in both her hands the nosegay of blossoms.  As she reached the blanket where her Sunday School teacher sat, she held up the fragrant bouquet she had lovingly picked and offered them to her teacher.  The teacher smiled and thanked the little girl as she accepted the gift.  She suggested that the girl go inside and wash her hands.   At this suggestion, the little girl replied, "I'd rather not wash my hands, thank you.  I picked these flowers myself because I wanted you to have them.  If I don't wash my hands they will smell nice all afternoon."
Allow the aroma of a random act of kindness to linger on your own fingers today.  You may be surprised how long the kindness will be remembered. 
Take care and enjoy the beauty of God's creation before you today.

Love, Nan

Friday, November 6, 2009

God of all Comfort - 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Quote of the Day

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.  Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.  It is more important than the past, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than success, than what other people think or say or do.  It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.  It will make or break a company....a church...a home, or an individual.  The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for the day.  We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The ony thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.  I am convinced that life is ten percent what happens to me and ninety percent how I react to it.  And so it is with you...we are in charge of our attitudes.
Chuck Swindoll - Bible teacher

(3) Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, (4) who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  (5) For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.  (6) If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.  (7) And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

Especially noticable in the past several weeks, death and dying have been all around me.  As I turned to the left or the right, I have been made aware of death in our own church family; the death, by car accident, of a beautiful young sixteen year old girl in our community; the death of a 25 year old young woman who suffered from a life long battle with disease; the murder-suicide of a family, husband killing his wife and two teenage children in a near by town; a lady I know who mourns the death of her child through miscarriage; the death of a woman whose new born twins are now motherless; and most recently, yesterday, senseless deaths of soldiers and civilians at Fort Hood, Texas.

I pray for all these people and loved ones mentioned above that they are comforted by someone willing to be comforters as the afore mentioned verses attest.  There are many mysteries in this life not to be understood this side of heaven.  As Elisabeth Kubler-Ross described in one of her books, the acronym DABDA, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance is something we all experience at some point(s) in our lives.  To different degrees most people, through exposure to such tragedies as cancer or sudden death, experience some or all of the above expressions of emotions. 

I share the minor details of these sad and tragic headlines simply to solicit your prayers for our fellow citizens and soldiers.  The following excerpts from a book entitled A Lifetime of Wisdom by Joni Eareckson Tada are meant to shed light and give a clearer perspective regarding suffering:
"Suffering is used to increase our awareness of the sustaining power of God to whom we owe our sustenance." Psalm 68:19
"God uses suffering to refine, perfect, strengthen, and keep us from falling." Psalm 66:8-9 and Hebrews 2:10
"Suffering allows the life of Christ to be manifested in our mortal flesh."  2 Corinthians 4:7-11
"Suffering bankrupts us, making us dependent on God." 2 Corinthians 12:9
"Suffering teaches us humility." 2 Corinthians 12:7
"Suffering imparts the mind of Christ." Philippians 2:1-11
"Suffering strengthens and allows us to comfort others who are weak." 2 Corinthians 1:3-11
And there are many more examples in this book of how we are to look at suffering through a different perspective.  We give suffering a new meaning when God is glorified and another brother or sister in Christ who is suffering is encouraged and comforted.
Be the comforter today as you have been comforted in the past.

In sincere Christian love, Nan

The Beauty Within - 1 Peter 3:3-4

(3) Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.  (4) Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross once said "It is not the end of the physical body that should worry us.  Rather, our concern must be to live while we're alive -- to release our inner selves from the spiritual death that comes with living behind a facade designed to conform to external definitions of who and what we are."

I want you to experience wonder, enthusiasm, joy, and excitement as you travel through life.  You can't go back in time and change an event where you were dissatisfied and unhappy.  You can let go of anything that is holding you flat against the ground.  You deserve to be happy, fulfilled, loved and joyful.   Yours is a choice to be happy.  So be happy.  There are a great many ways to be fulfilled. Find those ways and embrace them. Smile.  Laugh.  Buy yourself some flowers, just because they're beautiful and you enjoy them. 
Speaking of flowers.... Last night I stopped by the grocery store on the way home from work.  I noticed some bunches of roses.  As I lingered there for a moment, I realized why they were on sale.  Some of them were beginning to age out and couldn't be sold for the original price.  I especially liked the yellow roses.  There was only one of them beginning to wilt.   The rest were gorgeous.  It was the only bunch of yellow roses so I picked them up and placed them in my shopping cart. 
As I strolled through the store, an older man of color commented on their beauty.  We exchanged pleasantries and he went on, humming a lovely tune as he left.  I had to wait a couple of minutes in line to check out and who appeared behind me, but the same man, still humming his happy tune.  He commented again to the clerk how beautiful were my roses. 
I decided then and there to give him my dozen roses.  I simply wanted him to have them.  I wondered if he had a wife at home.  I wondered what made him so happy that he was humming out loud as he did his shopping.  Upon paying my bill, I picked up the roses and turned to him.  I said with a smile "these roses are for you."  He was quite shocked at my words and spluttered that he couldn't possible take them.  I said "ok, how about taking one rose?"  He said "ok, I'll take one rose, but the rest are yours."  As I smiled at him and tugged at one rose, another came up from the bunch with it.  I told him "oh, look, another one is coming up with it.  You have to take both of them now."  The grin on his face was priceless.  He reached out his arm and gently gave me a polite hug.  I hugged him back and smiled as I left the store, the clerk and the older gentleman smiling, too.  I could feel them smiling as I left the store with my groceries. 
Long after the petals fall from his two yellow roses, he will remember that a lady he had never met before shared something of great beauty with him and asked for nothing in return.  Perhaps, later on, he will be in another store and see yellow roses and a beautiful memory will be rekindled.  Yes, there are still nice people in the world.  He was one of them.  It was my pleasure to be the vessel God used to bring roses to him.  Maybe he has a wife at home who was as surprised to hear his story as he was when he received them.  Maybe, he is a widower whose spirit is at peace with the world.  Maybe those two roses brought a ray of sunshine into his world.  Maybe.....
A beautiful bouquet of yellow roses....a beautiful thought....a beautiful gesture.....a beautiful gift....just because.....beautiful...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Nature takes its course - Ecclesiastes 3:1-14

(1) There is a time for everything,
      and a season for every activity under heaven:
(2) a time to be born and a time to die,
      a time to plant and a time to uproot,
(3) a time to kill and a time to heal,
      a time to tear down and a time to build,
(4) a time to weep and a time to laugh,
      a time to mourn and a time to dance,
(5) a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
      a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
(6) a time to search and a time to give up,
      a time to keep and a time to throw away,
(7) a time to tear and a time to mend,
      a time to be silent and a time to speak,
(8) a time to love and a time to hate,
      a time for war and a time for peace.
(9) What does the worker gain from his toil?  (10)  I have seen the burden God has laid on men.  (11)  He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  (12)  I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live.  (13)  That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil -- this is the gift of God.  (14) I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it.  God does it so that men will revere him.

We can't rush the changing of the seasons nor can we rush through grief.  It requires the proper time needed in order move from one stage to another.  Don't worry yourself as to how long will be the time of grief.  Rather, embrace each moment of the day.  Find something for which to be thankful and cast your thoughts on someone else.  We are helped when we help others.  Even in the midst of grief, we can be of service to others.  Everything will be beautiful in its time; even grief.
Embrace the day.  Treasure life.  Be the best you that you can be.  Do the best you can and it will be enough.  Who can ask for more than that?     
You are in my thoughts and prayers.  Love, Nan

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Labor of Love - 1 Corinthians 15:58

(58) Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

I am employed in an outpatient mental health office.  We only see adults in our practice.  I am usually the first person behind the desk when someone enters the office.  My employment has been secure with Dr. Mastor for four years and I can truly say I love my position.  It is the job God called me to according to his purpose for my life.  I don't hold a college degree. I'm not a professional counselor, but I've been asked by many people if I am a counselor.  When I answer that I'm not, the response is "well, you should be one, because you sure are good at what you do."  We aren't pill pushers.  I spend my day with people on the phone and in person who are in dire straits and who sometimes think that a pill will cure all their ails.  It is imperative that I fully and actively listen to their cries for help.  Sometimes, they need to be directed to a professional counselor and not toward a medication.  When God directs accordingly, I am able to (without crossing boundaries) influence them in a godly way, giving them pause to think differently than they have conditioned themselves to think.  I can't always give them what they want, but I take the time to listen and direct them as best as I am able.  Invariably, their spirit is lifted before we end the conversation and they are thankful for my time and interest in their quality of life.
I am employed by an outstanding physician, but I work for the Lord.  I thank God for allowing me the opportunity to assist my fellow citizens in this capacity and to serve the Lord in my current position. Sure, I would appreciate a higher income, but I bring home a paycheck that is sufficient for our needs.  I know I don't labor in vain, because it's not about the money.  It's about the peace and joy I experience in my heart on a daily basis, because I know whose I am and for whom I toil.
Writing Nan's Calendar is also a labor of love.  I don't do it for the money, because there is no income involved.  I don't have to wait to write a book and have it published in order to encourage others.  I don't dream of getting rich by writing a best selling self help inspirational book.  I am fulfilling my purpose in life now.  There is no time like the present and there is no time to lose.  Now, today, people need to be encouraged and inspired.  I am a missionary who sits right here at my computer, reaching out to people all over the world, by the miracle of the internet.  I didn't set out to become a missionary.  It wasn't a vision or a goal.  It is what it is because God is in the center of it all and because he has given so much to me, I want to share what I have received.  I write because I love the Lord and I love you, my neighbor.  You may live in Canada, but I consider you my neighbor and my friend.  You may live in Anytown, USA and you are still my neighbor and my friend. 
The Nan you know from Nan's Calendar is the real deal.  I am the same Nan in church, at work, and in the grocery store as the one who presents before you right now.  I am real.  I have been hurt and I have healed by the grace of God and you can, too.  Nan's Calendar is a labor of love. My life is a life of love.
Desire to become the person you want to be and by the grace of God you will become that person.....beautiful on the inside and outside....Mama always said "pretty is as pretty does". If Mama were alive today, she would be proud of me and the woman I am becoming. Somehow, I think she knows.
You have to want to be healed more than anyone wants healing for you.  To be healed isn't the same thing as being cured.  To be healed in spirit is the greatest healing of all. 
I pray for your spirit to be healed, for you to be whole and filled with the glory of the Lord.
Take care.  Love, Nan

Sunday, November 1, 2009

O Perfect Love - 1 John 4:15-18

(15) If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.  (16) And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.  God is love.  Whoever lives in Love lives in God, and God in him.  (17) In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.  (18) There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 

More is involved in true love than feelings.  When we consistently maintain an attitude of giving ourselves for others, we exemplify true love.  Even though we make mistakes, true love and true beauty can be ours.  For example, the photograph at the bottom of this page is the result of a mistake I made recently.  However, I see great beauty when I gaze upon it.  Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  It's true.  You may not see an object of beauty when you look at the photo, but I truly want you to take a moment to ponder this photo and tell me what is your interpretation of the photo.  Sit back in your chair and study it.  What is your perception of the image?  Things aren't always as they appear to be, but if we look at something with an open mind, the possibilities are without limit.
There is more to this story than close examination of the photo.  When you look back on the realities of your life and don't see beauty, I want you to remember God sees beauty in your life; past, present and future.  It takes shadow and light to make a beautiful image.  Just because your life may contain dark shadows, that doesn't mean beauty isn't present.  Look at your life with a fresh perspective and find the beauty among the shadows.
After I have received several comments from readers regarding personal interpretation of the image I will tell you the rest of the story. 

Shadow and Light

By: Nan Forehand

it takes light to bring out a shadow

a shadow isn't visible in darkness

in darkness -- one feels all alone

all alone, searching for the Light

the Light is always within reach

within reach, is the Light of God's love

God's love illuminates the darkness

the darkness of sin consumes the soul

the soul longs to be drenched in Light

in light or darkness, God is always there

always there in shadow and light

II Samuel 2:29

You are my lamp oh Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light.