Inspiration Haven


I saved these stories and reflections from past experiences in my music ministry.  I write about my trips to England, Hawaii, Streator, Illinois, and many other places.  There are recipes, such as, "Scripture Cake", God's Survival Kit, scripture readings to help those who are grieving, Christmas and Easter reflections, and much more.    

Special thanks to Rev. William Hanson, my family, and my church family, for their support of my music ministry, through the years.  

Thank you for visiting "Archives" and reading my "Inspiration Haven"! 

Inspiration #14
Humble Roots

Hi, friends,

Thank you for your prayers.
I am in Streator, Illinois, which is two hours south of Chicago. St. Paul's Lutheran Church aired the morning service on Streator's Christian radio station. First Baptist Church videotaped my concert onto video and DVD, to
show at nursing homes and for shut ins.

I was blessed this trip with two drummers! Mark Nettleingham, from Little Silver, NJ, made his conga drums sing! Roy Frank, who now lives in Illinois with his wife, Georgette, reflected his love for God, playing drums with sensitivity and excellence.
Roy and Georgette shared Phil Stories, stories about their beloved son, Phillip, who was killed in Iraq. Roy said that he could not believe that anything good could come of such a tragedy. But he and Georgette said, on the contrary. Instead, many beautiful stories blossomed! Something good came out of something tragic. Here is one story: Phillip's former teacher contemplated suicide -- the same day, she heard of Phillip's death. She said she felt embarrassed
by her feelings, after hearing how this young man gave his life for her, and for our country. She no longer wanted to commit suicide, and accepted a new teaching position. Her life was changed, transformed....

Streator is a small town, and reminds me of how our country began,our humble roots. When we lived and worked in the same town, when we knew everyone's name. Here in Streator, I was surprised that the streets are empty on Saturday. Because the community lives and works in the same town, they can do their errands all week long. On the weekends, they stay home. Imagine that!  In our commuter society, we all seem to scramble to get to the stores, run our errands, and catch up on the weekends!

I shared my music ministry at two worship services at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, and gave a concert at the First Baptist Church. The attendance was great! The whole town knew I was coming. When I heard stories about President Reagan's humble roots here in Illinois, I could not appreciate it, until I experienced it myself. There is a strong sense of community here; where you are a name, not a number. Where the pace of life is slower. For miles and miles, you see nothing but open space, where farms and cornfields abound. I want to remember these humble roots, and take a piece of it home with me, to cherish and to hold in my heart. Slow me down, Lord, to appreciate what You have given us, and to live with a thankful heart.

Thank you for reading my story.
God's blessings to all of you!

Inspiration #13
A Time for Everything
Ecclesiastes 3: 1 - "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven."

As I reflected on the year that has passed, I remembered a special concert I gave in North Carolina. Before the concert began, a member of the church approached me, and said that a family was waiting to speak to me. They apparently knew me. I was confused, because I did not know anyone in Hickory, North Carolina.  I was not able to speak to them before the concert, but as I entered the room, I was thrilled to see my friends from New Jersey!  I gave voice lessons to the daughter, and the rest of the family also came! They had read about my concert in my newsletter.  What made this concert so special, was that the mother, Darlene, got to see her uncle one last time, before he died.  She had been putting off the trip to North Carolina, until she read my newsletter, and found out I was giving a concert in Hickory, where he lived. Darlene decided to surprise me, and also visit her uncle.  It was God's plan that Darlene traveled to North Carolina.  At the time, her uncle's illness was not serious. But when she and her family arrived, his condition got worse.

At the concert, Darlene prayed for her uncle.  Later, she told me that she believed the Lord used my concert as a way to unite Darlene and her family, and to spend time with her uncle, who soon died.  It was God's timing - - in this season of Darlene's life, He made it possible for her to see her uncle one last time.  She no longer put off her trip to visit him - - she read about the concert in Hickory, and made her plans.

My heart was touched, when Darlene shared her story with me.  I had only seen her and her family at my concert.  It was not until weeks later, that I learned what had happened.

Thought for the Week:  There is a time for everything in your life.  Cherish every moment with your family and friends.  May you be open to His timing, and His plan for your life, and your loved ones. Take time to share your experiences of faith with others.  Tell others about the times God has used your life, your talents, and your resources, to help others.  In every season of our lives, the Lord is alive, and guiding us every step of the way!!

Resources: The Quest Study Bible, Zondervan Press

Inspiration #12
Revival of the Heart - An Undivided Heart
From Psalm 85: 6 & 7 - "Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your unfailing love, O Lord, and grant us Your salvation."

While reading this psalm in The Quest Study Bible, I came across a description of what the word "heart" refers to, throughout the book of Psalms. The word "heart" refers to the center of the human soul or spirit. From this center flows our emotions, thoughts, and attitudes.  An "undivided heart" means that these expressions reveal a heart that is pure and unselfish.

There are many signs in our world today, of a "revival of the heart."  Even though we are bombarded with ads and commercials, to buy and consume, many times beyond our means, at the same time, we also receive E mails and informative articles that touch our hearts.  Technologically, we are advanced, yet we crave the heart of God.   I read E mails every day that reflect how God is active in the lives of His people.

Families spending more time together; volunteers reaching out to those in need in hospitals, nursing homes, and prisons; church members welcoming the unchurched into their churches and communities - - all are signs of the revival of the heart.  Responding to human need, out of a sincere love and concern for society, is growing each day.   It is our Lord who revives us, and makes our hearts pure, and undivided.

Radio programs, such as "Slice of Infinity," written by Ravi Zacharias, highlights the renewed attention that religion is getting, even in unlikely places, such as the Presidential race.  I again viewed this as a sign of a revival.  Psychology professor David G. Myers writes: "We now have massive evidence that people in active faith communities are happier and healthier than their unchurched peers.  Recent studies reveal they even outlive their unchurched peers by several years."

Yet, the most important issue is truth.  Jesus Christ offers us His truth - - that He walked among us, to show us how to love, to live, and to forgive. In the words of Mr. Zacharias: "He alone satisfies both the demands of the intellect and the cries of the heart."

We are realizing our need to slow our lives down, and open our hearts to the Lord. We long to take more quiet walks with loved ones; to hug a troubled child; to embrace the sick and the lonely; to stand up for justice.  The yearning of our souls to reach out to a hurting world, contradicts the desire for more material wealth.   An undivided heart, striving to serve God, seems to be a priority for more and more Christians, in this complex and fast paced world.

May your hearts be open to Christ - - only He can sustain us, and show us the way to His Heavenly Kingdom.  May we continue to build His Kingdom here on earth.

Thought For the Week: Take time for the little things in life -- show your love to family, friends, and neighbors.  Take time to smile, to give hugs, to lend a hand, and to help those in need.  Let's have a revival of the heart, and share the love of Christ with everyone we meet!

Resources: The Quest Study Bible, Zondervan Press; "A Slice of Infinity", by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries:

Inspiration #11
Growing in Grace
From The Message, by Eugene H. Peterson: Psalm 92:12-14

"Good people will prosper like palm trees, grow tall like Lebanon cedars; transplanted to God's courtyard, they'll grow tall in the presence of God, lithe and green, virile still in old age".

My friend helped me with a Bible study on "Growth."  In the book A Christian's Secret of a Happy Life, by Hannah Whitall Smith, the book the Bible study was based on, the chapter on growth is inspiring.

Hannah writes that to help us grow in grace, we need to completely put our growth into the Lord's hands, and not think about it.  Sometimes we may feel like a desert, and wonder how we can grow and bear any fruit for the Lord.  But He can take our weaknesses and transform them into our growth.

If we put every moment of our lives into His hands, He will nourish us - - the dry desert will become fountains and springs, flowing with His promise of love and grace.  The hardest part, is to learn to trust the Lord, always, and completely, so that we can become rich, fertile soil.  Than we will "grow tall in the presence of God."

I hope this song will help you, as you grow in His grace:

Growing in Grace
It feels like you are planted in a desert soil
Where nothing can grow,
But if you put yourself into His hands,
Your desert will blossom as the rose.


You'll be growing in grace,
You'll see the Master's face,
The dry and sandy place
Will become fountains and springs.

Growing in grace,
Time cannot erase,
The promise rooted in love,
That the Father brings,
That the Father brings.

Growing, you're growing in grace...

You wonder how you ever set
Your foot upon the desert sand?
The Lord will take your troubled heart,
And change your life in the palm of His hand.

Repeat Chorus


You'll be like a tree,
Rooted in the soil of grace,
Living waters will nourish
The fields of your faith.

Repeat Chorus

(c) 2000, Growing in Grace, Words & Music by Nancy Scharff

Thought for the Week: Put yourself into His hands this week, and every day of your life. The Lord loves you and will help you. Reach out to others -- they may need your encouragement to help them grow in grace. Together, we can bear fruit, and build His kingdom here on earth, with love, kindness, and a gentle spirit, in a world crying out for the Lord's love and grace. "If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain; if I can ease one Life the Aching, or cool one pain, or help one fainting Robin unto His nest again, I shall not live in vain."
(Emily Dickinson - Chicken Soup For the Woman's Soul)

Thank you for reading Inspiration Haven! May the Lord bless you always!

Inspiration #10
Bible Reading: Luke 2:11 - "Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ, the Lord."

Merry Christmas!!
I came across a beautiful reading in the narration of our church's Christmas cantata, entitled, "Canticle of Joy". The theme is "We Are His Gold." I was so inspired, I wanted to share it with all of you:

"Kings from the East also came, bearing gifts of frankincense, myrrh, and gold. Consider why the Son of God would leave the riches of His kingdom to be born into the household of a poor carpenter.  He came in search of the greatest treasure of all, a treasure He would one day lay down His life to purchase.

This is the great mystery:  We are the pearl of great price.  We sparkle like jewels in His crown.   And our praises rise to heaven like incense, their perfume fragrant and pleasing to God." (From:" Canticle of Joy", Joseph M. Martin, BMI )

Here is another reading, by a medieval mystic and theologian.  I found his writing quite up to date in thought, as if it was written today, in our time: "We are all meant to be mothers of God," wrote Meister Eckhart, a medieval mystic and theologian. "What good is it to me," he said,"if this eternal birth of the divine Son takes place unceasingly but does not take place within myself?  And, what good is it to me if Mary is full of grace, and if I am not also full of grace?   What good is it to me for the Creator to give birth to His Son if I do not also give birth to Him in my time and my culture?  This, then is the fullness of time:  When the Son of God is begotten in us."

Thought for the Week:  To bring the love of Christ to someone who needs Him - - perhaps a neighbor, a friend, a relative, or even a stranger.  During this busy season, may we take the time to help others find Jesus, the Savior, so He may be born in their hearts.

Have a blessed Christmas, and a happy, safe, and healthy New Year!  God bless you!
Thank you for visiting Inspiration Haven!

Bible Source: The Quest Study Bible, New International Version

Inspiration #9
Bible Reading:John 15: 12 - "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you."

Last week, I returned from my trip to Hawaii. I gave concerts and sang at church services for three churches - - two on Oahu, and one on Maui. In this pristine place, many call paradise, I experienced love all around me - "Aloha," is what the Hawaiian's call it.

In my reading one day, I came across a wonderful quote, by The Reverend Abraham K. Akaka, from his speech, on the day Congress granted statehood to Hawaii in 1959.  "Aloha" has many definitions, and no single one:

"Aloha ke Akua, God is Aloha...We do not do good only to those who do good to us. One of the sweetest things about the love of God, about aloha, is that it welcomes the stranger and seeks his/her good. A person who has the spirit of aloha loves even when the love is not returned...the real Golden Rule is al oha."

When I first arrived in Hawaii, my heart was still heavy, having heard the news about the shootings in Honolulu, and then the Egyptian airline crash in New York. Tragedy was all around me, and I tried not to think about it, or allow it to weigh me down. God was in control - - I knew that in my heart, but my mind could not let go of the events taking place.

As I began to unwind, and shared my music ministry with the churches, I could feel the Lord's presence all around me.  His signature was everywhere - - countless rainbows of breathtaking beauty; magnificent mountains and volcanoes; spectacular sunrises and sunsets; moonlit nights, under the canopy of God's awesome universe.  Just as Scripture promises, out of the darkness, comes the light of Christ.  Nothing can separate us from His love and Truth - - despite tragedies and sorrow, the sun will continue to shine, rainbows of hope will always be abundant, and the wonders of His love and mercy will conquer all evil in our world. For my entire trip, I felt the comfort of God's love and peace. The people around me, expressed their aloha's, with sincerity and grace.

Even in the face of danger and fear, we need to trust the Lord. In Him, we are healed. Mahalo, (Thank you, in Hawaii), dear Jesus, for Your constant love and forgiveness.

Thought for the Week:  Take time out this busy Christmas season, to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. Extend your "Aloha," your love, to everyone you meet along the way. It is a challenge today - - waiting on long lines, sitting in traffic, trying to keep up with the demands of the season. It's hard to be cheerful and positive in such a whirlwind of activity!  The other night, I took a walk in my neighborhood, gazing at the decorations and beautiful lights. After about ten minutes, I realized I had not seen one decoration or display about Jesus. Then, I turned the corner, and there was one lovely Nativity scene, all lit up, right ahead of me!

May we all remember to "turn the corner" this hectic season, and see the baby Jesus, lying in the manger. May He be the focus of Christmas - -"the reason for the season." Aloha, and Merry Christmas!!

Thank you for reading Inspiration Haven!! God bless you!

Bible source: The Quest Study Bible - New International Version

Inspiration #8

Replenish the Source Within
Bible Reading: Psalm 104:30
"When you send Your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth."

I love the summer months!  Whether I'm on a vacation, or just taking a day trip somewhere, it's a chance to relax and reflect on God's creation.  Last week, my friend and I took a day trip to a beautiful and unique town in New Jersey, called Ocean Grove.  Founded by the Methodist Church, it is a place reflective of God 's spirit, love, and His passion for music.   In one day, you can enjoy the sand and surf, walk the boardwalk, eat nutritious food, and in the evening, attend spiritual, uplifting concerts!

Feeling rejuvenated by this experience, I returned to Ocean Grove a few days later, to walk the boardwalk.  As I passed by a machine containing bottled spring water, I noticed a phrase written across the front, which read "Replenish the Source Within" - - Wow!

My friend and I, just a few days before, were discussing how we can take something secular, and make it holy and spiritual.  Here was an example!   What joy, what fun!! I thought about our relationship with our Lord, and how He is the source within - - and I needed to replenish the source within.  The following poem I wrote, expresses what I was feeling that day:

Replenish The Source Within

The sand and surf
Beckon us to enter
This paradise called Ocean Grove.
Lord, You created this place,
To revive and replenish
The source within.
The source of our lives,
Is You - -
Like the ocean,
Deep and teeming with life,
You fill our lives
With refreshing and healing water,
To cleanse and to feed our souls,
And bring us back to life
With Your love, Your vision,
Your purpose for our lives.

In our pursuit of life's demands,
We can lose touch with You,
And thus, cut off the source within us.
But here, in this unique oasis,
We merge with You,
And unite our souls with You.

We swim in Your waters;
We drink the cup of Nature's wonders - -
In the sun, the sand, the wind,
And the sky - -
Filling us with the purity
Of Your creation,
To recreate Your holy source
Of life
Within us.

Soothing music, fills the air,
Taking root in our hearts.
The memories, the songs,
Will grow and blossom within us,
For years to come - -
Heartstrings, never to be silenced,
But to be played gently by the angels,

We leave this place,
Under the spell of Your mercy,
Your joy, Your love, Your symphony of grace - -
For it is You, Lord,
Who will
Replenish the source within...

"Thought For the Week" - Have fun reading signs, billboards, soda machines, advertisements, etc., and find phrases that could have spiritual meaning. It's amazing how many things we do read each day that may be secular, yet, we can interpret them as spiritual, depending on their meaning.

Thank you for reading Inspiration Haven.

May you continue to feel His presence in Your life, and replenish the source within...

Inspiration #7
Inspiration Haven
Bible Reading: 2 Thessalonians 2:13 - - 3:5

"But the Lord is faithful; He will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one." (V. 3)

In this reading, we reflect on the hostility and savage treatment the early Christians received, as Jesus' apostles preached and taught.  In this section of Paul's letter to the church of Thessalonika, he expressed words of encouragement to those being oppressed.

We can feel discouraged today, surrounded by a culture that causes great discouragement, at times.  But as we read Paul's letter, we too, in today's world, can find hope and comfort in our Lord. It is tempting to just give in to despair.  But God will strengthen and help His people - - it is a promise we know we can depend on. There is evil around us - - but the Lord will guard and protect us when the days are dark and uncertain.

Our most recent example of the Lord overcoming our discouragement, was when Cassie Bernall witnessed to the world, her faith in God, by saying she believed, and then was shot, in the Colorado tragedy.  Her Christian witness blossomed even amidst evil, and overcame it, sending shock waves of hope into the entire world.

On my flight home from England this past April, I thought about how evil tries to unravel the "tapestry'' of God, yet it still remains intact.  I wrote this poem in reflecting on God's awesome power over evil!

Tapestry Of God

Our lives are woven Into the tapestry of God;
The Lord yearns
That our fabric
Becomes like His;
That we weave love, forgiveness,
And the joy of His grace
Into the tapestry
That holds our lives together.
Suddenly, we are threatened,
As an evil hand of hatred, fear, and violence
Tries to unravel God's precious design.
Such irrational acts try to tear us away
From our Lord,
To pull out all the love, hope, and security
We have cherished with our Heavenly Father.
But, no -- The tapestry is still intact.
Nothing can separate us
From the living God.
As we love, we are stronger - -
Our fabric becomes thick
With God's presence.
The tapestry of God,
Our Almighty Lord and Savior,
Will remain a work of art forever,
For eternity,
As we keep our lives intertwined
With His - -
The Artist of our souls...

Thought for the Week: Reach out to those who may be discouraged, either from worldly events, or personal experiences.
What joy we have, knowing our Lord will help us, and give our lives meaning and purpose!!
God is so good!
What an exciting time to be a Christian, and help each other overcome discouragement!
Anything is possible with God!!

Thank you for reading Inspiration Haven! May the Lord continue to bless you and bring you the peace and comfort only He can give.
Cassie Bernall witnessed to the world, her faith in God. 

Inspiration #6
Inspiration Haven May 10, 1999
The Littleton, Colorado Tragedy


From Psalm 102: "Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry for help come to you.  Do not hide Your face from me when I am in distress."...
(Bible source: The Quest Bible Study, New International Version)

Dear friends:
I left the United States two days after the Littleton, Colorado tragedy shocked our nation. I traveled to England to give concerts - - one at St.Anne's Lutheran Church in London, and the other at The United Church, in Winchester, one hour from London.   I wanted to express my apologies that I was not able to respond to the tragedy, since I was away from April 22nd to May 1st.  My thoughts and prayers were with all of you, as our country mourned this terrible loss.

I found Psalm 102 in my devotional booklet this morning. The author of this particular Psalm was not David - - it is believed the writer was an exile living in Babylon, feeling alone and friendless, and without a country.  He wrote to probably express his hope that the Lord would one day restore himself and his country.

As our nation and the world continues to grieve over the horror and senseless tragedy of the Colorado shootings, perhaps we can find comfort in verses, such as those found in Psalm 102.  This Psalm reflects the outpouring of emotion of a man in deep distress, just as we are deeply distressed today.  As we express our feelings to our Lord, we too, can find hope, that our country, our schools, our children's well-being, will be restored.

In my own heart, I have found comfort in the knowledge of"restoration" - - that Christ will restore our schools and our country.   Already, we have seen miracles of prayer and an outpouring of love and concern that has restored our faith in God and in each other.  Restoration has begun!  May the Lord continue to strengthen and heal us during this most difficult time.  As one songwriter has written: "Stretch out Your hand, and heal this nation..." The Lord will restore and heal us!!

Thought for the week:  Reach out to others, and be a friend.  My friend,Karen, recently reminded me of a book I had bought last year, called Always Friends. There is a wonderful story about the friendship between Helen Keller and her teacher, Anne Sullivan. The first lesson taught was obedience; then learning to spell words, followed by naming objects.  Then Helen learned that feelings could be described and shared with others.  Most of all, Anne desired Helen to understand the concept of love.  Early in their relationship, Anne put her arm around little Helen, and signed into her hand, "I love Helen."  So simple, yet extraordinary!  This week, and every day, find someone to sign into their hand, "I love you."

We can help to restore our nation with love!

We continue to pray for Columbine High School students who remain in Denver hospitals:

Patrick Ireland, 17, fair condition - wounds to the head
Richard Castaldo, 17, fair condition - wounds in the chest, back, and arm
Anne Marie Hochhalter, 17, serious condition - wounds and injuries to the chest,liver, and back
Sean Graves, 15, fair condition - wounds in the back and abdomen.
Lance Kirklin, 16, critical condition - wounds in the face, chest and legs

We continue to pray for all the victims and families devastated by the shootings at Columbine High School, Colorado.

Thank you for clicking into Inspiration Haven!

God bless you!

Inspiration #5
Grief: The Source of the Soul's Water
From Isaiah 53:4

"Surely He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows..."
(Holy Bible,King James Version)

A week before Easter, one of our church members, Leah Adler, died

Her death was a shock to everyone.  I had to sing at Leah's funeral...even
amidst grief, the service was uplifting and full of hope.  One reading in particular was especially meaningful to me.  I'd like to share this quote with you, found in Bernie S. Siegel's book, Prescriptions for Living, pgs. 138 & 139:

The Source of the Soul's Water:  The value of sorrow, grief and suffering. "Just as you cannot escape life's problems, you cannot avoid painful feelings and emotions. What can you do with sorrow and grief?  You can accept them into your life the way water is accepted into the ground and taken up by the tree.  Let these emotions become a part of your life without asking why.  Accept life and death, experience the rituals of grief and sorrow, and free yourself to live.  Grief and sorrow bring forth the tears that are the water the soul needs to survive.  If you feel no sorrow or grief, you will dry up and wither away as the tree does in a time of drought..."

When I heard this message at the funeral, I felt the Lord was speaking to me, to help me deal with my grief.  I had been questioning God, distraught over the death of Leah.  But this passage helped me to understand the value of grief and sorrow. Without tears, our souls would dry up.  Jesus was well acquainted with grief, as the Bible reading says above.  When we remember His death on the Cross, our tears flow, and fill our souls with living water.  Through our grief and sorrow, we draw closer to the Lord.  At the funeral, everyone drew closer to Him, as our tears provided the water our souls needed to continue to survive.  Now we can find comfort, knowing our souls will be filled with living water.

Thought for the Week:  We do draw closer to the Lord in troubled times.  But we also need to work on our relationship with Him in good times, too!  During your quiet time, begin a long term project of reading the Bible, from beginning to end.  My friend Karen and I, have decided to read the entire Bible, reading one chapter each day.  We found a wonderful study Bible that helps you plan your reading.  As you read the chapters, there are excellent explanations on the side of the pages that clarify what you are reading.  It makes Bible reading a lot of fun! Here is the name of the study Bible: The Quest Study Bible - New International Version, Zondervan Press.

Special thanks to Pastor Bill Hanson, who lent me the book by Bernie Siegel. Thank you, friends, for stopping by Inspiration Haven!!

Inspiration #4
Three Simple Words That Changed the World For All Time: He Is Risen!!
The Crucifixion - Matthew 27:32-66
From Matthew 27: Verse 54

"When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified and exclaimed, "Surely He was the Son of God!"

The Resurrection - Matthew 28:1-20
From Matthew 28: Verse 6 - "He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where he lay."

Happy Easter, my friends!!
I'd like to share a quote from a book entitled, HE IS RISEN, by Bonnie Harvey:
"The dauntless crocuses poke their emerald tips through the last of the winter's snows, and the saffron daffodils sway in the chilly breeze.  Glorious forsythia bushes dot the greening lawns, and bold tulips splash their varied colors in carefully tended beds.  Rosebush stems bulge with the promise of their first buds. After the long dreariness of winter, our spirits are refreshed by the kaleidoscope of colors displayed among the spring flowers."

When I read this beautiful description, I compared the coming of spring to the long winter journey we just experienced during the Lenten season.  Lent began in the cold of winter, as we reflected on Christ's journey to the Cross.  After 40 days, we have gone through the full range of emotions - - on Good Friday, we will weep, as we remember our Lord's cruel death on the Cross.  We will rejoice in the glory of Easter, as we celebrate Jesus rising from the dead!!

As spring comes alive in all its colorful splendor, we, too, come alive, knowing our Lord lives with us, and within us. We don't have to fear death anymore!! He has given us Eternal Life!!

Activities for the Week:

During Holy Week, write down Bible verses leading up to Easter.  Place one reading per day in a plastic Easter egg. Place the eggs in a decorated Easter basket.  Just before or after a meal, family members can select an egg, and read a verse out loud.

Other Activities for Families
- Watch a video on the life of Christ
- Attend a passion play or musical, such as Godspell or Jesus Christ Superstar
- Attend Easter services and concerts
- Play your favorite Christian CD's that focus on the Easter theme.
Have a Blessed Easter!! He's Alive!!

For Fun! Scripture Cake
4 1/2 cups 1 Kings 4:22(flour)
2 TBLS 1 Samuel 14:25 (honey)
1 cup Judges 5:25, last clause,(butter)
1 pinch Leviticus 2:13(salt)
6 Jeremiah17:11 (eggs)
2 cups Jeremiah 6:20(sugar)
1/2 cup Judges 4:19(milk)
2 cups 1 Samuel 30:12 (raisins)
Seasonings,2Chronicles 9:9(spices)
2 cups Nahum 3:12 (figs)
2 cups Numbers 17:8 (almonds)

This is a simple butter cake, but with little leavening except the air and eggs.
Bake it as a loaf at 325 degrees for about 50 minutes.
When it tests done, turn out onto a rack until cool. Slices best after a few hours.

Special thanks to my friend, Karen Brennan, who gave me the book,
HE IS RISEN, by Bonnie Harvey.
Bonnie's words and recipe helped inspire this Inspiration Haven.

Special prayers: Dear friends, Please pray for the family and friends of Lea Adler, who died suddenly on March 21st of a rare and deadly cancer. Thank you!

Inspiration #3

From: Romans 8:28 (Bible source: The Quest Study Bible, Zondervan) "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose."

A few days ago, my friends from Texas E mailed me a list called "God's Survival Kit for 1999." In this list, I highlighted the Bible reading, Romans 8:28, above.  One of the items in the survival kit was a rubber band, reminding us to be flexible. Things may not always go our way, but the Lord will work it out.  Even in the face of negative events in our lives, we need to believe that God does work things out for good, when we love Him.  He can take a bad situation and transform it into something good. His love for us is that strong and powerful.

Here is "God's Survival Kit" listed below. In addition to the rubber band, there are eight other items, with Bible readings.  I enjoyed reading them, as wonderful reminders for the Lenten season.  I hope you enjoy them, too!  Pass the list along to your family and friends!

God's Survival Kit
1. Toothpick -To remind you to pick out the good qualities in others. (Matthew 7:1)

2. Rubber Band - To remind you to be flexible, things might not always go the way you want, but it will work out. (Romans 8:28)

3. Band Aid - To remind you to heal hurt feelings, yours or someone else's.
(Col. 3:12 - 14)

4. Pencil - To remind you to list your blessings every day. (Eph 1:3)

5. Eraser - To remind you that everyone makes mistakes, and it's okay!
(Gen 50: 15-21)

6. Chewing Gum - To remind you to stick with it and you can accomplish anything with Jesus! (Phil 4: 13)

7. Mint - To remind you that you are worth a mint to your Heavenly Father.
(John 3: 16 - 17)

8. Candy Kiss - To remind you that everyone needs a kiss or a hug every day.
(1 John 4:7)

9. Tea Bag - To remind you to relax daily and go over that list of God's Blessings. (Thess 5: 18)

Thought for the week:

Start a prayer group and/or Bible study group at school, work, or neighborhood. Meeting in groups can help us support one another in our faith.  It's wonderful that we have our study groups in our churches - - but let's also try to form groups at school, work, and our neighborhoods.  My prayer partner just started a prayer group at her school, and it's amazing how the idea is catching on, as more teachers and staff want to stay after school and participate for the weekly gathering.  Another friend of mine in North Carolina told me her boss just started a morning prayer session before work.  Just plant seeds and watch them grow!!

May this Lenten season continue to be a time of personal reflection, as we focus on our Lord's journey to the Cross. God bless you!

Inspiration #2
From: Philippians 4:6-7 (Bible source: The Message, by Eugene H. Peterson)

"Don't fret or worry.  Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.  Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.  It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life."

My close friend shared the following poem with me, called "Slow Me Down, Lord." I was so moved by the words, that I set the poem to music for my friend Karen to hear. It reminded me how much we need to slow down, so that we can bring all our worries and concerns to the Lord, and pray to Him about everything.  If you would like a recording of the song, "Slow Me Down, Lord," just click my E mail address below and let me know your name, address, and phone number.

As the hymn "What A Friend We Have in Jesus" says, "What a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer."

Slow Me Down, Lord
Slow me down, Lord.
Ease the pounding of my heart
by the quieting of my mind.
Slow me down, Lord,
Steady my hurried pace
with a vision of the eternal reach of time.
Give me, amid the confusion of the day,
the calmness of the everlasting hills.
Break the tensions of my nerves and muscles
with the soothing music of the singing streams
that live in my memory.

Slow me down, Lord,
Let me look upward
into the branches of the towering oak.
Slow me down, Lord,
and know that it grew great and strong
because it grew slowly and well.
Inspire me to send my roots deep
into the soil of life's enduring values.
That I may grow toward the stars,
Of my greater destiny,
That live in my memory.
Slow me down, Lord...

Thought for the week:  Find a prayer partner, and be accountable to each other to pray for them, their families, friends, and their concerns.  I have found this helpful in focusing on my prayer life.  Before I know it, my prayer partner and I pray for many other people and causes, in addition to our own family and friends!  Prayer becomes more enjoyable, as we grow closer to the Lord and to each other!

May God bless you this Lenten season, as we reflect on our Lord's journey to the Cross.

Thank you for reading "Inspiration Haven."  I pray that this Lenten season will be a time of personal reflection, as you grow closer to the Lord.  I, too, struggle to slow down enough to spend quality time praying to God,reading His word, meditating, and listening to Him.

Inspiration #1

From: Genesis 9:12 – 17

Verses 12 &13: "And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come:  I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth."

As you read the entire passage from Genesis, verses 12 through 17, remember
that whenever you become troubled with the storms of life, and darkness and fear
seems to surround you, look for the rainbow the Lord has promised you will
see.  He has promised His everlasting love, and the sun will always shine
through the rainbow of hope.  As you feel His presence, you can experience a
new beginning, your Genesis, of spiritual renewal.  Your faith in Christ is
like the beautiful rainbow, full of radiant colors and hope.

Thought for the week:  Try writing your own "Joy Book".  Each day, write down
all the joyful experiences you have.  I just started doing this myself, and it
helps me to focus on the all the wonderful things God is doing in our lives.
I become more aware of His presence.

God bless you and keep you in His care!