Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Conscious Endeavor (The Teddy Bear Project)

I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.  Henry David Thoreau

Yesterday was a glorious day from start to finish!  One of the great things that happened was the result of my conscious endeavor that began as a vision in my mind over a year ago.   I'll get to that part in a minute.  First, I want to tell you of my vision.  I love teddy bears.  I don't remember that I had one as a child.  When I was pregnant with our first child, we decorated the nursery with a teddy bear theme and Allen and I even created a beautiful teddy bear mobile to hang over the baby's crib.
I love to go to our local Goodwill store and it excites me to find that "just right" teddy bear.  I am very particular about the bears I've added to my collection.  I've collected them simply for the fun of it.  I've found some very beautiful bears at very reasonable prices.
Last year I decided I wanted to give them to one of our hospitals in town, specifically the Emergency Room.  The more I thought about it, the more I was convinced it was the right thing to do.  At that time I had collected about 10 or 12 bears.  Little did I know at the time, it would be several more months before the ball really got rolling with my vision.
This Spring, I contacted a lady who is on the Board of Directors of the hospital and told her of my vision.  She was very excited about it, especially when I told her I wanted the teddy bears to be given to little children who come into the ER and are admitted.  When they get to the hospital, they are no doubt frightened and so are their parents.  Knowing that most people would not think to bring their child's stuffed animal at a time like that, I wanted to provide comfort to a child when he or she really needs a positive diversion from all that is happening to them and around them in a hospital room.
I believe that most everyone probably likes teddy bears and will relate positively toward them.  This project  is, in my humble opinion, God's way of comforting the little ones through the soft, cuddly presence of a teddy bear.  I want them to leave the hospital with a positive, tangible gift, and to remember that something special and good came from their stay in the hospital.
This isn't about me getting credit for coming up with the idea.  This is God working through me to comfort the little ones.   I took the idea to the man at my dry cleaners business in town and he was very excited about it.  He has already professionally cleaned the first dozen bears and told me to bring more as I get them and he will be glad to clean them for me.  I couldn't do this project without him.  His part in this project is vital for the comfort of the parents of the children that their little ones are receiving clean bears and also, the hospital staff know the bears are free of germs.
Now, back to yesterday!  I received a call from the director of the ER who had been contacted by the member of the Board.  She and I had a wonderful conversation about the project and is excited to meet me and to get the bears.  I have continued to collect teddies and have about 14 more that need to go to the cleaners.  When I have all of them cleaned I will contact the director of the ER and we will arrange a time for me to bring them to the ER and to meet her.  Approximately 400 children come through the ER each month.  Of course, not all of them are admitted.  I completely trust God and the ER staff to give the teddy bears to the children who have the greatest need.
My collection consists of small to medium bears.    I do a sniff check at the store and check all their parts to make sure they are in excellent condition; only the best quality bears will do.  I remove ribbons from around the neck and clothing if they are clothed so the bodies can be cleaned.
I know this message is a long one today and if you have stayed with me to this part of the message, I thank you!  It really couldn't be condensed to just a short note and do the project justice.  Now you know my vision.  If you have a teddy you would like to include in this project please email me at the address below and I will be glad to send you my office snail mail address or if you are local, we can get together and bring teddy bears and smiles to little sick and injured children being cared for in my home town hospital.  In the meantime, I will continue to search out those "just right" teddy bears.  It is a joy and a pleasure for me to do this for the children of my community.....all because of a conscious endeavor!  Take care and have a wonderful day!  Love, Nan

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