Friday, December 30, 2011

Bears In My Attic!

Bears In My Attic

Written by Nan Forehand
Thursday, December 29, 2011
There are bears in my attic!
I’m really quite ecstatic!
More than two hundred!
Yes, that’s what I said!
Some cuddly and some not so much
Sparkles in their eyes and soft to the touch
Red bears, blue bears, Winnie the Pooh bears
To see these bears you have to go upstairs
Some cotton candy white, others dark brown
Hundreds you’ll see, but not one with a frown
Been doin’ more than wishin’
I’m a woman on a God given mission
Boyds, Bearington, Dakin, Gund and Gerber
they will help a child rest; no need for Dr. Ferber
his sleep method we won’t need to use
take away the fear and a child will snooze
washed top to bottom and behind the ears
known to bring comfort and dry little tears
people have donated bears or given me money
that’s what I call generosity, honey
I love to shop and I love teddy bears
A cartload of bears brings smiles and stares
Of Nan’s good will bears, I’ll share the story
To comfort a sick child and give God the glory!

Author’s note: Since the first delivery of Nan’s good will bears to the Iredell Memorial Hospital Emergency Room on July 22, 2011, more than 200 bears have been given to sick children and some adults as appropriate.  God has provided more than 553 teddy bears as of December 29, 2011.  Just when I think “Wow! Can it get any better than this?”, God says,  “Wait, there’s more!  It gets better than this!”
I’m excited! How about you?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Mustard Seed Faith

I learned to really practice mustard seed faith, and positive thinking, and remarkable things happened.
Sir John Walton

"a mustard seed faith ministry"; that's how our pastor described Nan's good will bears recently when giving new comers in the congregation an update.  As I type this message today I am wearing a big, warm smile.  I cleaned 24 teddy bears this morning.  Allen and I took his parents shopping before lunch and on the way home, we stopped at a nearby Good will store.  Yes, you're right!  We came home with 24 teddy bears!  We did leave some on the shelves, too.  This mustard seed ministry began with 12 bears and as of today, has grown to more than 530 bears since July!  We've given over 200 through the Iredell Memorial Hospital Emergency Room since July 22nd.  I encourage you to visit to read my poem entitled Nan's good will bears to learn the history of how this ministry came to be.  The parent of the sick child receives a copy of the poem and the child is given the teddy to keep and take home.  If surgery is necessary, the teddy goes in with the child and is the first thing the child sees in the recovery room.
 Little did I know at the end of 2010 how the Lord would use me and a few cuddly teddy bears in 2011 to provide comfort to so many children and some adults, as well.
Practice your own mustard seed faith, think positively and you will see how remarkably God will show Himself to you and countless others.  All we have to do is what is possible and let God do the impossible!  Would you have ever thought that God would put 530+ teddy bears in my hands in five short months?  And He won't stop at 530 bears!!  This is only the beginning!
I pray God's blessings on your new adventures for the Lord in 2012!
I have a few teddies in need of minor repairs and then off to the attic they will go until cleaning time!  I have to sit down long enough to write a poem that is dancing through my mind entitled Bears in My Attic!!
Take care.  Love ya! Nan

Friday, December 16, 2011

Bearabbit serves his purpose

Just a quickie tonight as it is getting late and I need to get to bed.  I have written my thank you card I'm sending to the gentleman I met in Raffles as he was getting a haircut.  He's the one who donated $50.00 to go towards buying more teddy bears for the sick kids who come through the hospital ER.  I am also sending bearabbit to comfort him this Christmas as he mourns the loss of his mother to cancer recently.  I have to prepare the box for mailing and then I'm off to bed.  I love giving surprises!!  I hope he will enjoy bearabbit.  I don't think it's a silly idea to give this gentleman a stuffed animal because I believe in my heart that it is what God wants me to do.
It will go out in the mail tomorrow after I leave my office.
I talked with a lady on the phone today in my office who said "I hate Christmas".  She has four children and she wears an invisible mask on her face.  She thinks no one sees beyond this mask, but I believe her children do.  Please pray for this lady and her children.  God knows who she is and when you pray, He will know the lady you lift up in prayer.
Please continue to pray for my brother Woody who is in the hospital (and wife, Judy) and also for our friend Diane who struggles in the hospital with a weak heart.  One more, please.  We heard from Allen's Aunt Nell.  She has been very ill since Nov. 12th.  She had to have emergency surgery and reports doing much better, but she still needs prayers.
It's 12:55 am and I have to get up from here.  Take care and be safe out there.  Get lots of rest and enjoy the true spirit of Christmas.  We are, after all, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ!  Thank God!
Love, Your sister in Christ, Nan

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The saga of the good will bears continues!

As I sit here contemplating the words I will use, I have chills on my body.  The temperature in the room is comfortable, but my body/my spirit is experiencing something that goes beyond words.  The chills aren't goose bumps to me.  They are my glory bumps; glory bumps because the way my spirit is responding to the events of recent days is absolutely a God thing and my spirit is fully aflame!  Please "bear" with me!!
Where to begin???? Ok, long story short......I found myself with four teddy bears that were beautiful and undoubtedly too large to use for the kids who will come through the Emergency Room.  To honor the intentions of those who wanted me to have these bears, I came up with an idea and presented it to Greta, the Director of the Emergency Department.  She thought it was a great idea and we proceeded.
The idea was for me to clean these four bears and take them to the hospital.  Greta would take them to the off-site Christmas party for the employees of the Emergency Department.  They would be auctioned off as Christmas gifts for four lucky children/adults.  The proceeds would then be used to purchase more teddy bears.  Greta called me yesterday evening and I was overwhelmed with her news!  That, my friends is an understatement!  Greta told me the bears brought in a total of $120.00!!!! She said one of the ER nurses took the mike and before she began auctioning the bears, shared with the group the story of Nan's good will bears and of her experiences as she gave teddies to those who needed this wonderful expression of God's love.  She got the crowd involved and the fun began!  Do you have any idea how many teddy bears I can purchase with $120.00!!!??  Well, let me tell you that when my bank, RBC Centura brought in $100.00 in September at a fund raiser bake sale, I spent all the money and purchased 138 teddy bears.  Now I will be able to purchase even more bears!!
God says, "wait, it gets better! When you think it can't get better, just watch and it will!" Another long story short..... well, maybe not so short....but you need to hear the details of this one.  I paid a visit to my hair dresser this evening after leaving work 15 minutes earlier than usual. There was only one customer in the shop and he was in Denise's chair.  She knows all about the teddy project and I filled her in on the news about the destiny of the four big  bears and the generosity of the Emergency Department staff.  The gentleman in her chair was interested in our conversation and Denise told me to share the whole story of Nan's good will bears with him.  He was a very involved listener as Denise snipped away at the hair that curled around his ears.
I told them, also about a very special "bear", which I actually had in my car at the time.  This teddy bear  began as a brown bunny rabbit given to me by a very sweet lady last week.  She couldn't find a teddy bear so she purchased this beautiful rabbit.  Well, you know I use only bears, not bunnies.  I wanted to honor her intentions to give this bunny for the sick children so I decided to transform the bunny into a teddy bear!  It is an awesome teddy now.  Mind you, it was a beautiful bunny.  I opened the stitches in the back and removed the fluffy white bunny tail and sewed up the back.  Then I opened the stitches on the head and removed the bunny ears and cut them into the shape of teddy bear ears and then sewed the new ears in place.  The beautiful pink nose was removed and I sewed a dark brown nose in its place.  It still has the oversized bunny feet, which makes it absolutely adorable!!  They were so impressed that I told them I'll run out to the car and bring it in to show them.  They loved it!!
I understood from Denise that the gentleman is a shy person, but he sure didn't seem like it as we talked. As he paid for his haircut, he told us two family members had passed away very recently, one being his mother.  He lived with her all his life, and now she is gone.  This will be his first Christmas without her.  He took care of her in the last months of her life as she dealt with cancer.  Denise hadn't seen him in months until this evening when he came in for a hair cut.  He said he hadn't been out in months because he was taking care of his mother in the final stages of the cancer.
As he walked toward the door of the shop, he turned to me and asked if I would take a donation to buy bears.  I told him yes.  He then pulled out his wallet and gave me $50.00 cash.  He smiled at me and as we shook hands I thanked him profusely, all the while holding that precious bearabbit.  I was taken aback at the whole scene that took place in the beauty shop tonight!  Surely, God was present with us and smiling!
I stood in stunned amazement as he walked out into the dark night.  I walked up to the counter and saw his name on the customer sign in sheet.  An idea flashed across my mind!  As Denise had no other customers, I asked her for a phone book.  We looked up his name.  It wasn't listed in the phone book as we read it on the sheet, but one entry caught our attention.... a man's name and a lady's name beside it.  We wondered if the lady might be his mom.  I took out my blackberry and googled her name, our town and the word "obituary".  It brought it up and I searched the obit. for a clue.  Sure enough, there he was, listed as her son!  I wrote down his name and address.  I will be sending him a very special thank you card in the mail and along with the card will be the bearabbit!  His generosity astounded me and his sadness at being alone without his mom this Christmas touched my heart deeply.  He doesn't know it yet, but he surely will be getting an unexpected package in the mail this Christmas.  When he is lonely, he can see and touch this bear and know "the rest of the story" as to how this bunny became a bear and I hope he will be comforted.
I hope you did "bear" with me until the end of this story.  I will clean the bear and on Friday, I will put the package in the mail containing the thank you card and the special bearabbit.  I love giving surprises to people even if I'm not there to witness the receipt of the gift.  Rest assured, God will be there as the box is opened and the bearabbit is revealed to the generous man who selflessly gave money to a woman he only met moments before.
Remember this, God puts us where He needs us, when He needs us there and for as long as He needs us there.  Amen!
It's getting late and the dishes in the kitchen are in need of attention.  Take care.  Remember, also that God prepares for your blessings long before you receive them.  Give a blessing.  Be a blessing.  Accept a blessing!  Love you! Nan
Please keep my brother Woody in your prayers and his wife, Judy.  As I type this message, he is in Duke University Hospital being admitted for excessive fluid build up in his body.  The meds aren't working and the doctor wanted him in the hospital tonight rather than wait another day.
I also have a friend, Diane who is in Baptist Hospital.  She is a very sick lady and needs your prayers.  She is 55 and had a heart attack in her 20's.  Due to complications during a four hour surgery, they had to stop due to a drop in blood pressure.  She was put on a ventilator.  She continues to struggle.  Allen and I visited her last week in the hospital and I took her one of Nan's good will bears and she was so appreciative.  I have been told that as folks have gone in to visit her, she has continued to hold onto her teddy bear, stroking it all the while.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Four Agreements

I always want to give you something meaningful each time I write to you.  You are important and you deserve the best I can give you.  I write because it is how God directs me.  More than anything, God deserves my best every day.
That being said, I want to share with you something priceless.  It's value can not be measured, in my estimation.  It is the wisdom of God given to us through the writings of Don Miguel Ruiz.  The book I'm about to share with you is not new.  It was written in 1997.  It is called The Four Agreements.  I recently learned of this book and by the grace of God, I found it in the Goodwill store a few weeks ago.  It took me a while to get around to reading it and now I am almost finished reading it.  I can print the agreements here, but I want you to get your hands on the book and read it cover to cover.  It ranks on my list with Rick Warren's book The Purpose Driven Life...... way up there!  If you're searching for a special gift for someone this Christmas, yourself included, I highly recommend The Four Agreements.  When you learn to apply the wisdom contained in this book, you will find your life has dramatically changed for the better.
1) Be impeccable with your word
2) Don't take anything personally
3) Don't make assumptions
4) Always do your best
There is so much more I could say about this book and the wisdom contained therein, but I want to whet your appetite to get the book and discover this timeless wisdom for yourselves.  Don't hesitate.
I have to get up from here right now and get ready for work!  Before posting this message, I received a call from my daughter and it was an awesome conversation.  Well, I could go on and on!
I have to get ready and get out of here in 30 minutes, so I'll leave you with a smile and a twinkle in my eye!  Take care and have an absolutely incredible day!!!
Love ya! Nan

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.
James Baldwin

Well, for months I have known I need to clean out my inbox at yahoo.  Tonight, I faced my inbox! It held over 1300 emails!  It took a good while to do it, but I faced that inbox head on.  At times, my back began to ache, my eyes got blurry and seriously, I thought about getting up from the computer and "forget about it"!
I have accomplished what I set out to do.  Sure, it would still have needed to be done even if I had not touched the keys.  Yes, it took time and effort and it was a chore I didn't want to tackle.  There will always be more important priorities that anything we dread to do.
Cleaning out my inbox was not the only thing I did this evening.  Among other things, I brought order back into Ashley's room.  It became a staging area for teddy bears.  It isn't in perfect shape right now, but it is much better than it was earlier this evening.
The bottom line is to remember the quote I am sharing with you today.  It's really all about our habits.  We easily get into the habit of saying "I'll do it later".....  I'll face it later..... It really is such a relief when we have faced the giant and knocked him down to size.
Whatever it is that you have to face, like it or not, face it and you will see it never was as big and bad as you imagined it to be.  Remember, our reality will never be as bad as our imagination would have it appear.  Whatever we created in our mind isn't real.  It is imagined.  Give up the inclination to speculate, assume, over dramatize, to procrastinate.  That being said, when I was given the vision of Nan's good will bears, I believe God created the vision.  I am continually amazed at the astounding number of teddy bears I have either in my home now or have had since this vision became a reality.  My hands have touched more than 430 bears to date.  More than 165 teddies have been given to children and seniors with dementia or alzheimers in the Iredell Emergency room since July 22nd.  My attic is overflowing with teddies!  This is by the grace of God.
I wanted to make a change in my community for the better.  God granted me the vision through the teddy bears.  I faced the need head on and God provided the bears and the story continues.
It's 1:12 am and I really need to get up from here and get some sleep.  When the creative juices begin to flow, as with everything, we have a choice to act or not to act.  As I type this message, I pray you are sleeping peacefully.  For those of you working a late shift, I pray you are having a good evening at work.  Always remember you are in my prayers and that I love you.
Until next time.  Love always, Nan