Monday, April 22, 2013

The Lazarus Experiment - Day Twenty- Two

Will you risk losing what he gave to you?

If you lose your cell phone, and you go for four days without it, and then your husband finds it in the planter by the front door, you will probably learn your lesson and keep better track of that phone. You won't let it get far from your purse.

If you lose your credit card, and you don't know where it is for four days, and you have to make all the calls, and then the barrista at Starbucks calls you and says you left it on the table, you will make sure you never do that again. You won't take it out of your wallet.

If you lose your kid, and he's missing for four hours, and you're frantic and panicked and about to lose you mind, and then a neighbor finds him walking with a stranger, and brings him home, you will tie a leash around his waist and make sure they're never out of your sight again.

If you lose your life, and you're dead for four days, and then Jesus brings you back to life, you may determine that you will do whatever it takes to protect yourself from disease, from ill health, from danger, and from anything that might threaten to take life away from you again.

And you'd be wrong.

I wonder if Lazarus ever thought about these words from Jesus: "Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it." I wonder if he thought, What if it's my second life? Does that count?

If you have been handed your life back after it was taken away, would you hoard it and protect it and keep it in a little bottle so that no one could ever take it from you again? Or would you give it up?

We're going to get real serious now. We've been at this thing for over twenty days. We've been celebrating new life. And it's fun, and it should be.

But it's not yours. You've been handed a life, one you didn't deserve, and it belongs to the one who gave it to you. And in order to keep it, to hang onto it, to make sure it's not ripped away from your hands by the Ultimate Enemy, you can't keep it; you're going to have to give it up. You're going to have to give it back to the one who gave it to you. It's the only way to make sure you will keep it.

Yeah - it doesn't make sense.

When Lazarus finally got around to asking the question -- What now? -- I think he must have considered the options. Keep it safe, don't take any risks, use a lot - A LOT - of hand sanitizer, and never, ever hang out with those Jesus fanatics who are just looking to get themselves killed. Or . . .

Or lay my life down; surrender it, sacrifice it, call it done, and give it over completely to Jesus.

One way you'll save it. One way you'll lose it. Again.

Suggested Scripture For Today: Matthew 16:21-28

Suggested Ideas:
Give something precious away.
Make a plan to give time to a stranger or a needy person. Don't make it easy. Pick something to do or someone to help that you don't really like.
Do something embarrassingly silly and childish.
Express your love for someone in a way that is uncomfortable for you, but is easy to see for them.

Question of the Day: According to traditional accounts, Lazarus became a missionary, spreading the news of Jesus. Have you felt God's tug to completely change the course of your life and do something risky and outrageous for him? How did you respond? If God were to call you today, how would you react?

His grace is good enough,

I gave in........ I have a hard time with my daughter in laws sister.  She has proven herself to be untrustworthy and has caused a lot of drama in my life and in the relationship I have with my daughter in law.  I have every reason in the world to not allow this girl in my house..... but I caved.  After careful consideration after careful thought, I caved in and let her back in.  It took everything in me to say this was okay but I think Lazarus would have given her another chance.  God forgives.  I must also forgive.  My daddy used to tell me, "Sweetie, think about the Lord's Prayer.  Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.  You have to forgive sweetie so you will never be deprived of your entrance into heaven."

Daddy's not wrong.  I'm okay with it all.  I'm okay with forgiving and doing the right thing because I know I've done what God would want me to do.  And I know it came from my heart and that, I know, is good.....

The Lazarus Experiment - Day Twenty-One

Your worst day with Jesus is better than your best day without him, and your worst day alive is better than your best day dead.

Lazarus gained a working heart, a functioning brain, and five or more senses that worked when Jesus re-issued his permission to live. But he also gained one amazing view - the panoramic vista of abundant life.

Do you have a picture in your mind of a scene that changed your life completely?

I have several burned into my memory. The first time I saw the Grand Canyon as an adult. Looking out from the Capital Building in Washington D.C. at the space between there and the Washington Monument filled with hundreds of thousands of men. Holding my daughter, April, in my hands on the day she was born. The breathtaking sight of my wife, Linda, coming around the corner of the doorway on the arm of her father on our wedding day. To say these moments were life-changing reduces them to a cliche. They leveled me, and I have never recuperated.

They also have framed my life and my perspective. Every moment of my life is cast with the color of these scenes, like lights on a stage play.

Now, translate all that to Lazarus and the bandages removed, the eyes open. He would never forget. And everything else is sawdust.

We here at TLE 2013 have already seen this perspective alive and active in the hearts of our participants. Lissa and Kimberly have shared their Lazzie perspectives. And Debora is right now going through what is without question one of the worst possible experiences life could throw at you.

And there are others, some whose stuff we know, and many whose stuff we will never know, but they're hanging on to this central truth - I have today, and I have Jesus, and that is enough.


Debora used these words: "living in the now." Now can be brutal. But you have Grand Canyon eyes. You have new baby eyes. You have wedding bliss eyes.


The rest? Sawdust.

Suggested Scripture For Today: Psalm 116

Suggested Ideas:
When the ebb and flow of your day brings you to the lowest point, stop and be Lazarus in that moment. Tell us about it.
Share some of your life-changing moments with someone who's never heard them before.
Write a thank-you note to Jesus for the life-altering Lazarus perspective.
Dance with someone you love. Or a stranger.

Question of the Day: Do you think Lazarus outlived Mary? Martha? If he did, how would he have experienced the death of someone he dearly loved? How would his experience with Jesus re-frame his outlook on loss, death, and grief?

Do something outrageously loving tomorrow!


Talked about my mom's passing with a darling young lady who has had a terribly tragic life with her own mom.  She asked me how I can believe in a God who has let such didficult things come to pass in my life after hearing my story.  I told her that it wasn't about the difficulty of the things that have transpired as much as it is the lessons I was able to learn and the things I was able to accomplish in spite of having been knocked down time and time again.  The beauty of my mom's story is that it was the full circle of God's love for me, bringing me back home to a complete understanding of His love and living with Him as my very best friend.

The conversation was hard.  Tough to really say and experience with someone who was searching for a  reason to continue believing.  Fortunately she has a pretty good foundation and a pretty strong faith but like most young people who have suffered some of life's harsh realities, she is struggling to hold on.  I feel very blessed to have been received well and to have been taken seriously enough to have made a difference.

Indeed God puts us in the right place at the right time - what wisdom!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Lazarus Experiment - Day Twenty

You're half way through this experiment! How are you doing?

I don't know some of you. I may know your name, but I don't know your life. But I can be certain that right about now some or all of these things are true:

You're wondering about what you got into with this whole Lazarus thing.
You're feeling guilty because you're not keeping up.
You've had some kind of major upheaval or life problem.
You've run out of ideas for The Experiment, and you're just looking back on your day and trying to come up with something that seems like something that maybe Lazarus would have done.
You're tired and weary and worn out and you don't have any energy left.
You wish Lazarus was around so he could try The [insert your name here] Experiment and see how he liked it.
If Lazarus was really alive, and you met him in the street, and he started in about how wonderful life is and how everything was just going great and that if your life is with Jesus then you have the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in your heart -- well, you might just have to punch him in the nose.
This will not help, but you may want to know that this happens to me every year. That's why I want you to do one thing.

Don't give up.

Here's what I've noticed: if I keep at this thing and get through to the end of the forty days, something amazing happens. Lazarus gets into my head. The whole idea of looking around me and seeing things through the eyes of a resurrected person takes hold and begins to be a more permanent thing. Each time I do this Experiment, my life gets reoriented a little more, and I get a better hold on what abundant life is engineered by Jesus to be.

So keep at it. Determine that you will hold on to the end. Cut loose of all the guilt and pressure. Sit with Jesus a few minutes. Read John 11 again.

And then tomorrow, set about to do one thing that gives dramatic evidence to your life in Jesus.

You can do this. I'm with you. You'll be happy you stuck with it.

Besides, punching Lazarus in the nose would only hurt your hand.

Suggested Scripture For Today: John 11

Suggested Ideas: 
Take the day off TLE.
Grab a song book or hymnal and sing for 30 minutes to yourself.
Write a love letter you didn't intend to write.
Call a friend and take them for an ice cream sundae.

Question of the Day: Would Lazarus have anything to be embarrassed about after he came back from being dead? Would he have more inhibitions or less? Would he have cared about what other people thought of him?

May God back up his dump truck of grace and unload it in your front yard,


Just a short response today - I just want to say I'm thrilled to have been able to share conversation with someone who knew and loved my husband.  He said that he missed Kevin and he and Kevin had had many opportunities to discuss spirituality.  He was relaying his beliefs to me (or lack thereof really)  and why.

I told him about a recent experience I had and then started talking about Lazarus.  We ended up in a 30 minute conversation about living a life of faith.  It was awesome...... He hugged me and thanked me for not being judgmental but showing him how to remain firm without a being a thumper and making him feel like he was (in his words) a lower form of life.  Then he followed that with, "I love you Lissa!"  I just smiled winked and told him I thought he was really "getting it".   It was a great conversation! 

The Lazarus Experiment - Day Nineteen

Do you think Lazarus ever got tired of telling his story?

The first week was probably exciting, and I would assume that Laz told anyone willing to listen all about his real-death experience. Scripture makes it sound like word about Lazarus spread quickly, and there were probably loads of people who were gathering to touch "The Man Brought Back From Death."

I'm sure Lazarus was asked hundreds of times, "So, how did it feel when you were dead?" and "Did you know right away that it was Jesus calling your name?" and "What was the first thing you wanted to do when you came back to life?" (How do I know that people wanted answers to these questions? WE'RE STILL ASKING!)

I wonder if the thrill wore off. After countless questions about the same thing, and press conferences covering the "Amazing Events at Bethany," and the conspiracy theorists hatching plots about zombies and cannibalism and "The Dead Amongst Us" - I think Laz must have tired of the whole thing. At some point, maybe he just answered every question with "Jesus - it was Jesus."

And then, of course, Jesus himself died. What would that have meant to Lazarus and telling his story? Would he hole up at Bethany, pulling into the countryside to hide for fear of the Jewish leadership and the Roman cross?

We have fair evidence that Lazarus eventually told his story again. He became a prominent advocate of the gospel - the good news - and was responsible for helping get that news out to the world. And who better to do that than Lazarus? He knew first-hand - literally first hand - what it meant that Jesus came to save sinners from the devastating consequences of sin.

If you know Jesus enough to have tasted the same death-to-life experience, you know the gospel first-hand, too. Your story may be tired and old to you. Or you may not think it's especially exciting or germane. Lazarus may have come to the place where he considered his story weary and worn. "You don't want me to tell you that whole thing again, do you? Really?"

But I think people genuinely wanted to hear it. I want to hear it!

So to, your story needs to be told.

There's a great old gospel song that starts with this phrase: "Sing them over again to me - wonderful words of life."

This story - the one where Jesus makes you all new - this story never gets old.

Tell someone. Tell everyone. God did something great with you, and he deserves the credit.

Suggested Scripture For Today: John 9:1-25

Suggested Ideas:
In two or three paragraphs, write your story, then mail it to five people who've never heard it before.
Ask someone you know as a Christ-follower to tell you their story. We may know several believers, but we may not have ever heard their story.
Arrange to take a meal to your neighbor, or mail a treat to a distant friend.
Take one hour to spend with Jesus alone, with the express purpose of thanking him specifically for all the things he did to hunt you down and love you into his family.

Question of the Day: Do you think Lazarus got discouraged and frightened when Jesus died, or did he have more awareness of Jesus power than the disciples?

Please continue to pray for Debora and her husband. It sounds very bleak. But Martha said that about her brother, too, and Jesus turned that whole thing around. He can do the same here, if he chooses. Let's ask him for that.


Today I shared... I shared a lot.  I shared the word of God, I shared my testimony.  I shared through prayer, I shared through conversation.  It felt good to share and have conversation filled with similar testimony, testimony that was not the same, testimony of a few who don't believe the same testimony of some who have no faith, testimony of some who are learning to have faith...  What a blessing to be having that kind of conversation and be able to participate and seemingly to make a difference.  No matter what I saw with my eyes today.  I know what hearts saw as opposed to minds and I know it made a difference.  God is so very good....

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Lazarus Experiment - Day Eighteen

There may be no surer evidence for grace than friendship.

I love the descriptions, scant as they are, of Jesus' relationship with the Lazarus family. It sounds so easy, so warm. I like the eating and the relaxing and the hanging out. I think it would be great to have dinner with Jesus and just occupy with each other for a couple hours.

But that's probably not going to happen soon, unless Jesus decides to return this week or call me home. Until then, it could get lonely - very lonely - and I need the flesh-and-blood evidence of his grace and acceptance. So do you.

That's what friends are for.

It would be a Lazzie thing to do to connect with your friends. To say a random "Hello!" without warning. To send a card or a token of love. To hide a surprise or to plan a trip. To share coffee or tea or a beer. Those connections are grace-fuel, and we dare not go too long without tanking up. We're not made to run on fumes.

If you know me, you realize that I am a devout proponent of Facebook. I think it is amazing, and one of the most innovative and radical technologies in the last decades. It promotes connection for me and it's been so very good to make friends across all kinds of barriers - space, time, relational. It's easy.

And that's why I would say that if your relationships - especially those that are grace-rich - are on Facebook only, and if that's the only way you're making the connection work, you need to step it up. Sure, you can pull grace from that. But you need more. You need face-to-face. Somehow, Jesus lives in those moments.

We've already seen that one of the first things Lazarus did when he was up on his feet was to throw a party and be with his friends. He knew they needed to see him, to touch him, to talk. He needed it, too. And I think that, once Jesus was removed from earth and caught up into heaven, Lazarus probably hosted many more gatherings.

Need grace? Jesus is the source, but he often uses other people as his delivery system.

Suggested Scripture For Today: I Corinthians 12:12-26

Suggested Ideas:
Connect in a surprising way to a friend. Go out of your way to show grace.
Take a loaf of homemade bread to your neighbors.
Take a lonely person to a ball game or shopping for groceries.
Carry a pack of post-it notes everywhere you go today and write encouraging notes - could be for specific people you know will find them, but could be for anyone who might wander by and see them! Leave them everywhere!

Question of the Day: What political involvements would Lazarus have had? Did they change after his sure-death experience?

Have a great day,

This is a good one for me today.  I have recently met a young lady who, through no fault of her own, is so very damaged in her heart but she clings to a powerful hope that He will never leave her and will always walk beside her no matter what.  We had an occasion to talk while lunch was being prepared and it was so obvious she is searching for validation from a woman - a mother figure because she never had that.

I'm in a position to afford little, but time I have to spend.  We spent the entire day together.  We did things and talked about things and shared things.  She asked me my thoughts on things and though I really didn't validate or invalidate things to her, I tried to gently direct her to decide for herself what should be right or wrong based on her faith and not on her experiences.  We had such a blessed day and I felt so amazing after having had so much wonderful time with this young lady.  She is a darling and wonderful girl and I really admire her.  We have both come to understand that thinking with our experiences closes doors to some really special and awesome opportunities because we think in terms of consequences rather than in terms of the rewards of living through Jesus.   It's a fear driven thinking rather than being based on the faith that Jesus will walk beside us through anything we do with Him first.

If she had not stepped out in faith, we would have never met.  I hope she continues to take the risks her faith will allow and not take the risks that her experiences have taught her are fun in the moment but have lasting repercussions with self recrimination and discouraging consequences sometimes.  God is so good to have put us together today!

The Lazarus Experiment - Day Sixteen

Joyous and happy, Lazarus floated through the first week of his post-death existence with a smile on his face and a dance in his heart. He woke up smiling, and he didn't stop with that silly grin all day long. He would catch himself shaking his head in full-out wonder, and then offer praise to God audibly and in front of anyone who happened to be close. He did not blush to praise Jesus; to tell the story. He must have told that story a thousand times if he told it once. He could not come down off his new-found abundance. Life was full, faith was energized, joy was abounding, and then he sinned.

Not a another single person knew. It was Tabitha again, with her cloak pulled back just so and her shoulder bared for just a fraction of a minute. And that look. THAT LOOK! Martha had to poke Laz in the ribs to get his eyes back to his work, but later that day he nursed the glimmering memory, and it became sin.

Do you remember the first time you sinned after you came to Jesus? How did that make you feel? What did it do to your new life?

I think Lazarus may have been blown away.

"All things new" and all that--sounds peachy keen--but this is not new. This is old. This feels as familiar as a stick in the eye. I've been here before. I thought all this was over, that I was a "new man," that Jesus was enough. And now I've spoiled it all. My new life isn't so new after all. It's back to the same-ol', same-ol'. So much for a new and improved Lazarus. Crap.

He may have become physically ill at the thought that he had betrayed everything Jesus had just accomplished. The awareness that sin was still possible and probable and that guilt still smelled just as foul as before crushed him.

"Hey, Jesus and the boys will be coming back from their camping trip today, and I've invited them over for a little get-together tonight," Mary announced. "Hope that's OK."

No. Not OK, Lazarus thought. What will I say? Where will I go? How can I hide?

Visit the scene. Lazarus is lounging, visiting with neighbors as the party gets going. Jesus walks in, surrounded by his disciples. Lazarus moves away a little. He avoids eye-contact. He finds a corner and munches on some grapes, head down. But Jesus manages to get back there without being noticed.

Before Laz can dodge him, Jesus grabs his elbow and pulls him around. The eyes of these two close friends lock, and Lazarus searches there. It is clear that Jesus knows. There is sorrow and pain. But there's more. Jesus' eyes brighten, a smile forms, his face lights. Jesus wraps his arms around Lazarus and pulls him tight and whispers into his ear.

I've already taken care of that, Lazarus.

Sin lurks around, waiting for a chance to bring death back, to resurrect guilt and shame and fear, to repaint the blackness of our hearts. Jesus' gift of new life powers the battle to fend off sin's advances and deliver them empty.

Lazarus had a choice: believe that Jesus had accomplished what he could not do for himself, or go back to the losing battle and cycle down the familiar path of guilt.

You have that choice. What will you do when you sin?

Suggested Scripture For Today: Psalm 51

Suggested Ideas:
Creatively express the truth about sin and your new life using words, music, art, or photography. Be sure and share the results with us.
Take time out of your day to sit with Jesus and confess what he already knows.
Tell a close trusted friend that you need them to sit in for Jesus today. Tell them that you just need to have Jesus present while you tell about some things that are tempting you, tripping you up. Explain that sometimes you long for Jesus to be physically present, but you know that's not really possible yet, so your friend will have to do. Then spend an hour unloading your junk.
Cheer and clap all day long for anyone who does anything remotely good and right -- the checker in the grocery store, the McDonald's drive-through worker, your kids, your spouse, the bank teller, the customer. Holler and clap and draw genuine attention. (People will be suspicious - try to do it in a way that is authentic or someone may thing you're being facetious.)

Question of the Day: Was Lazarus present at Jesus' crucifixion? What was he feeling? What was he thinking? Would his thoughts and feelings be different than anyone else's?

Here's a special note to you - you know who you are:

I know you're still wondering what this crazy thing is all about. You may just feel like you don't have time for this thing. You may feel like you have nothing to offer and nothing to say. You may feel like you're already 15 days behind and you can't catch up. You may be wondering - when will all these posts stop showing up in my Facebook?

I get it. But can I encourage you to just jump in? Maybe just for a day, or the next several days. Just try it, give it a little time, interact a little bit, and see how it goes. I'd love to know your impressions--positive or not.

If you don't try it out, that's OK. There have been participants in TLE who never post at all, but read all of it everyday and tell me later that God used this little band of former zombies to change things in their hearts. So please, lurk on and keep reading. It's OK.

Have a great day you Lazzie peeps,


Well my goodness this is a great one.  How do we hold our heads high when we know we are wrong?  How to do look people in the eye?  How do we move forward when sin can drag us down so badly we can't even move much less move Forward!

I gave this one some long long thought.  I'm not perfect by any means.  Not even close.  That being said, I'm also pretty good about recognizing what I've done and taking steps to NOT do that again or at the very least to modify my behavior so I don't consciously do that "thing" what ever it was.  I realized, while giving this some serious thought, that I have a few things that I do over and over, not really consciously but I do them, that I really shouldn't.  It is time to bury a few things.  It is time to just rid my life of a couple actions that really need to be eradicated from my days.  They don't come up every day.  They come up occasionally though and need to change so, today I will begin being more aware of my words, my actions, my thoughts and try had to make sure those things that are frequented that need to go away do just that.  Go Away!

I know it's a process and I know it takes time.  Rome wasn't built in a day and neither did my little habits become habits in a single moment.   How blessed am I that God is patient with me because I am human and as long as I am "working on it", He is pleased?  I am very very blessed...

The Lazarus Experiment - Day Seventeen

Ever watched an episode of Hoarders?

Then you'll know where we're going here. You may even decide you can skip this because, a) You already get it that clutter if of the Devil, or b) You don't want to get it at all, and you're just fine with all your devil-worship and stuff.

I know. Sounds extreme. But really, you haven't seen my garage. The devil may live in there. But if he does, he'd be hard to find.

Lazarus would have spent a significant amount of his new-found life the first month or so getting rid of clutter. The stuff in his closets. The junk in his garage. The mountain in his yard. The amazing gathering of seemingly inconsequential crap in that one drawer by the phone that holds keys that don't work, batteries that don't fit, coins that jumped from my pockets, bent paperclips, rubber bands, pens that don't have ink, a grocery list from 1987, the business card of a guy who wanted to interest me in some investments and I thought, Hey, maybe someday! and I stowed the card but I no longer have any money to invest because of all the junk I've bought since then.

Wait, we were talking about Lazarus! When did this get so personal?!

Here is what I surmise: Once you're on the other side of that tombstone, all the junk doesn't add up to much. It may have before -- in fact, it may have been your whole life. But now that your whole life has been spent, and a new one has taken its place, all that clutter just tends to muck things up and make life go slower. And if there's one thing you don't want in your new life, it's to be weighed down by a bunch of junk.

The Lazzie thing to do is to start right away and clear it out. Here are some places to begin. Pick one. You may need some help. And a counselor who specializes in hoarding:
Bedroom closet
Hall closet
Crawl space
Car trunk
OK. So I already posted a picture of a closet I cleaned out. I bared my soul to all of you! Now it's your turn. Show us a picture. Time to de-clutter your life. Call the refuse trucks and let's get started.

Suggested Scripture For Today: Hebrews 12:1-2

Suggested Ideas:
Pick a drawer and clean it out. You'll be surprised how good it feels.
Do a de-clutter of your email inbox.
Take a look at your Facebook friend list and make some decisions.
Walk through your house on a thanksgiving journey, thanking God for each thing by name. This will help in two ways: it will stimulate your gratitude, and it will clarify your real need for any more stuff.

Question of the Day: Did Lazarus have enemies after his resurrection? Why? Why not? What would he have done about them?

It's been a painful 24 hours because of the Boston tragedy. It gives us another perspective on the shortness of life and the value of getting things straight. I'm sure you have already, but pray for the victims and perpetrators again.

Grace and peace,

Decluttering... I need to do this in so many rooms of my house including my own room.  It has to begin one drawer at a time, so that's just what I did - the "junk" drawer in my kitchen.    I have to tackle this drawer once or twice a year because it just collects "junk".  Things people don't know what do with go into this drawer.  All manner of things...

Today I found batteries of all sizes, birthday candles, pennies, screws, a screwdriver, two pairs of scissors, picture hanging hardware, pressure slides from two paintings, a handful of miscellaneous items that I have no idea what they are, a hammer, a pair of pliers, two tape measures, nails, scotch tape, a clothespin and a fairly big ball of twine.

I took stock in all these things and had to chuckle at the myriad of fun in the drawer.  It makes me so happy to see the life in that drawer.  The birthdays that are represented because I love my family members so much; the evidence of things that hang on walls which means I have walls on which to hang things and "things" to hang!  The riches, every penny counts!  The clothespin means I have clothes that I have hung on hangars that needed that clothespin at one time.  This probably means I shared what ever item that was with someone else and that makes me happy.  I have all my skirts hanging right now so I've evidently given this one away.  Batteries mean that I've had things that need batteries to function - the tv remote, the remotes for the game consoles, board games - and that means I've had something to help occupy my time or someone else's too but it also means I've been blessed enough to have those things.  Not every one has a television or a game console or even a board game!

Twine means I've used it to cook a stuffed loin or mailed a package to someone.  Both of those things bring me joy to know that I've shared my things or my food with others.  Scissors and tape help me to think of the packages I've wrapped for birthdays and holidays and the excitement that also brings to me and to others.  I LOVE giving a gift.  It makes me so happy to give someone something they really want or don't expect.  What fun!

All in all, even though I didn't throw anything away (how can you throw away a miscellaneous item you're not even sure what it is?) I did put everything in it's rightful place.  Which also made me happy!
I think if Lazarus had had a junk drawer, he would have enjoyed going through it and thinking of the blessings that are represented within.  What a smile he would have worn as he gave thanks for all those little items!'

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Lazarus Experiment - Day Fifteen

Space. The final frontier.

I'm not talking about a trek to the stars. I'm talking about the space in your clock; in your calendar; in your day.

It's the final frontier because everybody seems unfamiliar with the territory and afraid to go there. Those who do go there are labeled as lazy or crazy.

Space is all the holes we think we must fill or die trying. The twenty minutes in our day that is not scheduled. The one evening this month where you're Daytimer is blank. The rare minute that may slip by without a detailed agenda for its budget.

You are overbooked. Overstressed. Over-planned. Over-scheduled. Overdone.

And overwhelmed.

Lazarus would have tossed his watch and his calendar in the Dead Sea.

"But," you say, "what about redeeming the time, making most of every opportunity? Doesn't Jesus demand that we stay busy for the Kingdom?"

It never ceases to floor me that Jesus needed space. Sometimes he just dropped everything and took off. He even dropped his closest friends and went alone, because friends can take up too much space.

We have been taught that idle time is the devil's playground. What if he claimed it because he knew that we needed the space to connect with God?

In our busy-every-moment-or-we-will-fail-like-a-toothless-bum-in-the-gutter-of-life world, space makes us feel guilty, like we're not doing anything.


We even go to great measures to plan our free time, so that it's not free anymore -- it's planned! Booked! Spent! Expensive! Not Free!

When is the last time you just sat and looked out a window. No book. No computer. No friend. No pet. No music. No TV. No Bible.


Lazarus, to his administrative assistant: "Cancel my appointments. For the rest of the day I'm doing nothing. Not one thing."


Do the same. Boldly go where no man (or woman) has gone before.

Suggested Scripture For Today: Psalm 131

Suggested Ideas:

  • Carve out 15 minutes a day for a week and do nothing during them.
  • Take off your wrist watch for a week.
  • Go camping alone, or take a long walk without your iPod.
  • Sit in a coffee shop where you can see the door and pray specifically for every person who walks in.

Question of the Day: What would Lazarus' attitude be regarding his work? Would he have quit is job? Would he have made changes in his hours? Would he have determined to work harder and longer? How would he see his occupation differently?

Don't be discouraged, friend. We're getting into the hard part of The Experiment. It would be easy to give up. Don't. The best rewards are yet to come. Hang in there and fight it out to the end. You can make it.

Okay so my days, being what they are with so many people in them, tend to be kind of hectic.  I have decided that in order to think about this properly, not only will I take my watch off and purposefully do nothing for 15 minutes but that I be also watching for another 15 mins and reflect and pray for all those people in my path.  I tend to be a lot of different places and see a lot of different people from all walks of life.  One thing I've noticed is the levels of gratitude and how they differ from "class to class".  In Williamsburg, we tend to only have two classes... the wealthy and poor. We have pretty much lost the middle class here.  What was once considered a lovely middle class neighborhood has begun to show it's age and where middle class family once lived, we are finding more and more rental properties with folks living paycheck to paycheck struggling to make it monthly.  We are seeing more and more very expensive homes being built and we have shoved out the middle class from or sweet town.  Odd for the birthplace of our nation really but true.

So, today and for a week, I will pray for each person I see during those 15 mins and I will do so every day for a week and hopefully, this weekly journey will become a habit!  That's such a great habit!   I know I could do much worse!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Lazarus Experiment - Day Fourteen

From Ron:

As I write this morning, the boundaries of my backyard have moved. I did not make this happen. It was not my choice. I have no guarantee that the boundaries once established will ever return the way they were. We've had a flood.

Don't be concerned. It happens every year. And every year the majority of my yard goes submarine for a week or so. Most of the time, it returns to normal. But there are always subtle changes under there. Water just pushes things around.

Crises in our lives are like floods, pushing the boundaries around. Sometimes the changes are slow, and not dramatic--just gentle tucks and pinches here and there on the landscape of our relationships and our time.

Major turmoil, however, can completely dismantle the shape of things. Boundaries are rocked by earthquakes, seismic shifts radically alter where we say yes and where we say no. Storms and floods make changes in who we allow to love us, and who we decide to love.

Death is the Great Boundary Shifter. Nothing rearranges the landscape of our personal lives like death. Except maybe for life after death.

The life-death-life reality for Lazarus must have disturbed his boundaries.

Boundaries are those places where we draw lines in our lives. They are the borders of where we can say "Yes - I can do that," and "No, I won't do that." Boundaries help us to determine "You can be an intimate friend," and "You are going to have to stay away."

Finding new life at the command of Jesus - like Laz did or like we did - means that a powerful force is now active and working and pushing things around. The boundaries will never be the same.

How have your boundaries changed because of new life in Jesus? What boundaries need to be changed still? If you were Lazarus, what boundaries would you re-do after you'd been brought back from death?

You're alive. Now. Maybe it's time the edges of your life reflected the truth.

Suggested Scripture For Today: Matthew 5:33-:37

Suggested Ideas:
  1. Push some edges of your life out as far as you can take them. Stop holding back.
  2. Make a list of relationships. Score them on the basis of "Promotes new life in Christ," or "Diminishes new life in Christ." Where can new boundaries be established? Where can old ones be removed?
  3. Try going through one day without saying "no" unless it causes you to sin. Say "yes" to everything else.
  4. Do something today that you would do if today were the last day you were alive.

Question of the Day: Would Lazarus's bank account change after his Jesus-experience? How?

I prayed for you by name today. Tell me what the answer was.

My day fourteen:

Death - what a subject for me.  It's a very sensitive subject.  When my dear Kevin died, life got turned upside down.  Not just for me but for my kids too, particularly Little Boy who was only 10 and looked at his Daddy as though he was a saint - his own personal hero.  That's just as it should be for a little boy.  For me, my husband was everything.  He was my husband, my lover, my best friend, my soul mate, my playmate, my housemate, my helpmate.

Suddenly, your life is invaded.  Your door seems to open and close constantly with well meaning and kind church friends, neighbors, relatives and even people you've never seen before coming to "check on you", "bring you food", "sympathize", "pray with you".  You are going through the motions and truthfully, I remember nearly nothing from these days.

What do I recall most?  My family members.  My sister in laws who came from PA and NC; my brothers and brother in laws who came from the same; my sons and their beautiful girlfriends; my sister and my closest friends who had become my family.  I remember in particular a couple of them who put plates of food in front of us, protected us from guests we were too tired to chat with, who loved us through the most difficult time in our lives.

I also recall feeling like I was somehow public property.  That our lives were somehow public fodder for inspection from every angle.  We became the stuff of gossip, of well meaning conversation and scrutiny.  It was so frustrating when all we wanted to do really was to be left alone to grieve and mourn and figure out how in the world we would move forward with our lives.

The first of my friends to confront me was supposed to be my best friend.  She got angry with me about three months after Kevin passed away and said to me, "You've changed.  You're not my best friend any more.  I don't feel like I know you.  I don't know how to act or what to say.  I don't like it."

I was so angry.

How dare you.  He was your friend but he was my husband.  My children's father and step father.  He and my children were my world and you have the gall to talk to me about me being "off kilter" and changed so much you don't know what to say?

That was the first time I considered boundaries and necessary changes in our lives.  I had to take serious stock in our friendships and decide what was a positive influence, what was a negative influence and what was flatlining... neither positive nor negative but taking up energy just as a matter of space reservation.  Those in the positive could remain, those in the negative had a small window of opportunity to show they could move to the positive column, as did those in the "flat line" column.  It really wasn't hard to see who would truly fill those spaces properly and honestly, the negative influences weren't hard to put away.  There were a few flat liners who were difficult to decide where they belongs and one in particular I'm still on the fence about.

However, I made it very clear that we had all changed and it was expected and normal and I absolutely would not tolerate anyone in my family being berated as a result of the necessary (and yet not necessarily conscious) changes we had all made.

We are still struggling two years later.  It's not an easy place learning who you are without the other piece of your heartbeat.  It's not easy putting together the pieces of your life with such holes in the weave.  But we stay strong, dependent on each other to understand and help pick up the slack, make up the difference, fill in the gaps and love each other through the tough decisions and darker moments.  But love we do and thankful we are for each other and those who have remained in the positive column.  God bless them.

The boundary lines are drawn and set and I'm guarding the borders with love and faith.

Peace to all!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

In the midst of the Lazarus Experiment...

I feel so small and overwhelmed by the magnitude of His love for me.  I am blessed beyond measure and yet there are times I am not grateful like I should be.  There are times I am not happy with what I have, focusing instead on what I don't.  Not that I covet things or belongings or money or wish for a different life.  I don't do any of that with the exception of wishing my pockets were a little greener than they are but that need too will be met.

As I read over this, I am overcome with the idea that I do have a tendency sometimes to be sad over the what if's.  More specifically, the "what if the doctor HAD listened to me about Daddy?"  "What if Kev's doctor had been on top of his medical tests like she should have?"  "What if the doctor in Richmond had been able to get to the root of the problem 8 months ago instead of having to find YET ANOTHER doctor who could?"

So I examined those "what ifs"...

What if the doc had listened to me about Daddy having a scooter.  Surely I was right but does being right make it right?  By that I mean, okay, I was right about Daddy needing a scooter, a man of 86 with Parkinson's should have a scooter with which he can get to the dining room, the little on site store, the on site barber, the post office, the trash, to Physical Therapy, his doctor appointments and live completely independently without the threat of falling and sustaining a life taking injury.  What would that have meant in the long run?  It would have surely prolonged his life.  It would have surely given me another Christmas with my daddy.  It would have given me so many more days of conversations, of I love you's, of fatherly advice, of so much wisdom.  It would have given me insight as to how to be an awesome grandparent.  It would have afforded me an opportunity to enjoy his company in a relatively carefree environment uninhibited by worry over lawn care, replacing linoleum, getting to and from the mail box at the end of the driveway, him driving his car (Oh mercy what a thought) and more.

But what would have it meant to Daddy?  It would have given him concern over the cost. (Daddy was a Depression Baby - he worried endlessly over the cost of things and how it affected his bottom line - though he could have well afforded it.).  It would have given him even more loneliness than that to which he had become accustomed because at least at his house he had his memories of Momma in every room he entered.  It would have given him even more time to wish he was with her after 15 years of living without her.  It would have given him time to will himself to death, regardless of the fact he would never have done that willingly.  

Daddy was a fierce and devout Christian.  He knew his Lord and he put his complete and total faith in Him.  He was always helping me see lessons from God in little events and happenings.  His stories he told and retold to me and to others were rife with examples of how wondrous and marvelous God is.  He knew where his beautiful wife was and he had lived long and lonely in this world with out her.  They were best friends, soul mates, lovers, pals, housemates, playmates.  They thought as one most of the time.  I have never in my life seen anything like the relationship my mom and dad shared.  They were as close to perfect as any two people on this earth could be and anyone who knew them will tell you the same!  Daddy knew when his time came exactly where he was going because he learned a long long long time ago that it was not his life to live but a life borrowed from the very breath of God, given freely with love and without reservation.  Complete with free will to make decisions on how to live, with the tools to make good, biblically sound choices.  

Dad's "Manual for Living"?   The bible of course.  Now Daddy didn't read it daily though he had read most of it multiple times.  He had moments where he quoted his favorite passages and gave you examples of how and why it was important in his own life and help you see why it would be helpful or important in your own.  He never made a single major decision in his life without prayer.  (And most not so major ones too!)  Daddy's mother was a devout Christian, my dad was a devout Christian.   That's how it worked for him and despite his opportunities to live in the world and not the word, it was to the word he always turned.  His entire life was a testament to his faith.

So why was it important for me to be right about the scooter?

In hindsight, it really wasn't.......

Just like in all the other "what if's" it wasn't important.  In the grand scheme of things, the what if's don't really matter.

There are things I would like to change but to what end?  I would have loved to had my sweet husband for longer.  I would like for my little boy to have had his Daddy a lot longer.  I would like to have had my daddy a lot longer.  I would love to have had my momma a lot longer and in every situation there are what if's that aren't even mine to ask.

It was not my life, not my choice, not my opportunity, not my place to even ask.  It IS my place to have faith.  Plain and simple.  it is my place to believe that God in His infinite wisdom has the answers to the questions that burn in my head and heart; the questions that I will have answers to one day when life in this world ends for me and begins in the next and I am reunited with my loved ones.

Today's lesson says to me that I have to continue to make myself NOT look at the what ifs.  I have to  take these what if's out of my life completely and instead take my thoughts - the beginnings of my what ifs  - place them at the feet of Jesus.  He is the only one who can strengthen my wavering.  He alone can take my what if's away and replace them with a strength of faith and character that won't ask only trust. Additionally, while developing my faith and trust, I can also develop a spirit of discernment that will allow me to know when it is appropriate to voice that nagging feeling inside my gut that says it's time to ask the question, voice a differing opinion, ask God to put knowledge, strength, courage, a right spirit where it needs to be.

I prayed the prayer and will continue to pray the prayer of strength, of trust, of faith that I will not question His will but have Faith in it; that I will not question His wisdom but rely on it; that I will be able to know without doubt when it is appropriate to question the wisdom or authority of a decision that is being made that could possibly be detrimental to the health or well being of myself or my child and when it is more appropriate to examine what my motives are and what outcome I am expecting.  

Thank you God for these amazing people who are helping me remember to live more according to your will, your way, your word and not my own.  Thank you God for the wisdom they each impart on each of us from their own walks of life, their own trials, their own tribulations from which they have learned and grown as people, as brothers and sisters, as daughters and sons, as husbands and wives, as fathers and mothers, and as friends.   Thank you God the opportunity to fellowship when they share; for the opportunity to feel and show empathy, sympathy, compassion; for the chance to share our own.  Thank you God for your spirit that flows through each of us into the other and washes over the world one person at a time like a tsunami of strength, courage, faith and love,  born from your love, your joy, the wonder of your ways, your forgiveness, your compassion.   Thank you God for all your blessings and lessons and help us to always be aware of your path, your tutelage, your wisdom.  Help us to be vessels by which others come to you.

All honor and glory to you Lord Amen.

The Lazarus Experiment - Day Thirteen

Lazarus was one lucky fella.

I wonder if, on his last birthday, Lazarus blew out all the candles on his birthday cake with one breath?

Or, at the big Bethany Rosh Hashana party, did Lazarus dig into a Vassilopitta and find a coin?

Maybe Laz carried around a rabbit's foot. Maybe he hung a horseshoe upside down over his front door to gather in the blessings. Maybe he grew a lucky bamboo.

After all, something was going Lazzy's way. Something tilted the scales of fate in his direction. Lazarus won the Beat Death Down Mega Millions Lotto. Maybe it was because he never stepped on a crack in the dusty roads between Bethany and Jerusalem. Or maybe it was because he always stepped on the cracks, and therefore, broke the devil's back.

I know you probably don't believe all that tripe.

But we sometimes catch ourselves thinking that if we only do something right, even something spiritual, in the right order, in the right way, with the right words, using the right scripture, sitting in the right place, and if we make sure we say, "In Jesus name," or "Lord willing," at the end, Jesus will magically appear, the bucket at the end of the rainbow will be full, and everything will turn out OK.

Actually, the story of Lazarus' death leads us to the exact opposite conclusion. We can't breeze past the obvious: Lazarus died. Mary didn't want that to happen. Martha knew it didn't need to happen. Even Jesus understood that it wasn't a good thing. We might say, "His luck ran out."

Martha seems to think that maybe if things had been different, Laz would still be alive. "If you had just listened and come when we called you, Jesus!" Sure, she plays the diplomat and tries to be all nicey-nice. But you know what she's thinking: "Hey! Pay attention next time, Jesus! My brother's dead and it's all because - why? You wanted to spend a little more vaca time with your buddies in the wilderness? The golf course was calling your name? It was more important to feed the nameless hoards some more bread and fish? YOUR BEST FRIEND IS DEAD, BUCKO! THANKS A MILLION FOR BEING HERE!"

(And then she made lunch.)

The thing is, this Jesus-life, it's not about the timing or the luck or the ritual or the manipulation of the stars and the universe. It's about leaning into him, in relationship.

Magic is when we do something religious to force the gods to do what we want.

Faith is trusting the One and Only God that whatever he does is the best for us.

Lazarus threw his rabbit's foot away after he died and came back. There is no need for luck when Jesus is in the picture.

Suggested Scripture For Today: Psalm 103

Suggested Ideas:

  • Do you have a lucky shirt? A pair of lucky shoes? Some kind of object that is a talisman--that you think gives you an edge? What would Lazarus do with that stuff?
  • Spend an hour with God, asking him to show you when you've traded a relationship with him for a formula for success. It could even be a spiritual formula. Ask God what he wants you to do about that.
  • Identify five rituals you perform routinely in your life. It could be the way you brush your teeth, or the route you take to work, or the phrase you use to your kids when they go to bed. It could be one of hundreds of things we do ritually, habitually. Pick out five of them and don't do them today.
  • Tell ten people today that it's Jesus who makes you smile.

Question of the Day: What do you think mad Lazarus sad? Was there a difference in his sorrow after he returned from death? If so, why? It's time to step it up, out there! Let's do some intentional, outrageous stuff over the weekend! And we want PICTURES! VIDEO! EVIDENCE!

This is truly amazing. I hope you're relishing these days.

Day 13... I realized after much reflection with God that I have, repeatedly (and we wonder why we keep doing the same things to the same unproductive end), been consumed with "What If's" that I am positive would have changed a situation for a better outcome. Such as "What if I had insisted on the scooter for my dad?" "What if I had insisted on that person's removal from the situation?" "What if I stayed away like I had planned?"

What if's have consumed me, in some cases, and filled me with anger, regret, frustration and unproductive emotion.

Today, after much reflection with God, I am making a conscious effort to stop the what if's during or after a situation and - more importantly - before. What if's are simply a method by which we attempt to control an outcome. When we surrender that control, the what if's don't matter because we'll realize in each and every situation it will be God's will. I am a typical woman who thinks things should go a certain way and that as a mom, a nurturer, a compassionate, intelligent person and a "fixer" of all things related to boo boo (psyche or physical) I feel a need to help control the outcome.

Natural consequence, natural reward ethereal results. That's got the be the name of the game. Perhaps sometime this century I'll actually master doing that 24/7... Wish me God's Best!

The Lazarus Experiment - Day Twelve

“I must say a word about fear. It is life's only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease." Yann Martel, Life of Pi.What are you afraid of?

Whatever it is that brings me fear has a finger on the control switch of my life.
Whatever causes us to be afraid has power over us.

Awareness came to Lazarus, I think, in waves--like the strips of graveclothes being removed. The dawning of resurrection, that he was alive, followed the reinvigoration of his senses; touch first, then hearing, then smell, taste, sight. He came out of the fog in his brain, memories popping back into place, a lifetime of learning reestablishing the library of his intellect.

Put yourself in Laz's place, and imagine the process of coming back to life. Step by step, you emerge from the tomb on Jesus' command. Step by step you regain the elements of life - your breath, your heartbeat, your mind, your heart, your fears.

What about those? What would Lazarus do once he came to full awareness and remembered? All at once, his situation, his illness, his wound, his death -- all that came rushing into his re-collection. Including the fear. I should be afraid . . . Shouldn't I?

All the things that Lazarus had ever feared waited on the edges of his consciousness for his permission to enter and reclaim the power they once had. Just waiting. Just over there. All he had to do was say, "Come."

We're not told what Jesus' first words to Lazarus were. Maybe he said, "Welcome back, friend," or maybe Jesus just whispered Lazarus' name in his new-claimed ear. Someday maybe we can ask Lazarus what it was Jesus said.

But I've got a guess. I think I know what Jesus would say to me, if he raised me from the dead. I think I know what I would want him to say, if I had been dead four days and then was alive again. I would want Jesus to look at me, right in the eyes, and speak.

"Ron, you don't need to be afraid anymore."

And if Jesus spoke those words to Lazarus, what would be the proof that the words were true?

Life. New life. Life after death.

Look - once "death has been swallowed up in victory," is there anything to fear? If Enemy Number One has been put down, what else is there to be afraid of? All the fears of all of life from infancy to death are like so many dominoes, lined up across the landscape of our histories. And when Jesus screams, "Come out!" at the mouth of the tomb, all the dominoes fall down, impotent and powerless.

At some point, Lazarus faced a choice: open the gate to all those Big Scary Things waiting impatiently to rush in and take control again of his life, or believe that what had just happened to him was the new reality, and allow Jesus to have the control instead.

If you've found new life in Jesus Christ, there is nothing to fear. You have a choice.

Listen. You have no reason to be afraid anymore.

Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

Suggested Scripture For Today: Psalm 27

Suggested Ideas:
Make a list of things that you will be happy to not fear anymore when you're in heaven. Then identify which of those fears are worthy of your concern since you have new life in Jesus.
Do something that makes you scared. Public speaking, holding a spider, riding a roller coaster, what?
On a deck of playing cards, write with a permanent marker your fears. As you write on each card, stack it up. When it's high - take a picture to post. Then smack it all down, just as if Jesus was in the room.
Fill in the blank: If I wasn't afraid of anything, I would feel great about taking a risk to ____________________ . Then go do it.

Question of the Day: Where was Lazarus when Jesus was tried and executed?

It is so cool to be learning about each of you, getting to know other people around the world. As you can see, The Lazarus Experiment has assisted in making some close lifetime friendships! Be sure and interact with all of us online, and you'll make some Laz-buddies for eternity.

I really appreciate your being here,

Oh my this is so huge for me... I have fears - who doesn't.  But wow this was huge and took me some time to think it through.

Day Twelve:

This is awesome! I have struggled a little today with my fears. I'm not sure that my fears (other than the whole "dont want to disappoint anyone" fear or my "please don't make me go to a social event without anyone I know because I'll turn into a wall flower" problem) are rational enough for this. This definitely will cover the two mentioned above but my other fear is deeply seated in a nearly catastrophic event that happened the same year I saw Jesus for the first time - within days of it actually and now that I think about it, I'm CERTAIN that was no coincidence.

When I was 14 I was at an amazing summer camp for two weeks called Nature Camp. It was an awesome learning adventure where you study nature sciences like Limnology, Herpetology, Botany, Ornithology, Ecology, Nature Art, Wilderness Survival and more. On one of the hikes (the Geology hike to be exact) we were scaling the side of a cliff to traverse into a cave that had an interior cave trail to another cave higher up on the cliff. We then had to exit the cave and climb the face of the cliff to the third cave. All without ropes. I entered the first cave without incidence. I traveled with the group leader (one of them) into the second cave and was exiting on the face of the cliff to climb to the third. I was, up until this point fearless of these types activities. I just loved nature and being in it and doing things in it. this was giving me a tremendous view of the South River and it was just exceptional.

As I exited the second cave, the class instructor and second leader was just about to enter the first cave from the cliff face. I noticed them and didn't want to scrap rocks into their paths so I was trying to be cautious about my footing. I thought I had found a stronghold but the rock that I climbed out on had been worked loose by so many passing in front of me and gave way and down I went.

yes - I was falling down the face of a cliff to what lay at the bottom - nothing but jagged and jutting boulders.

I was going to die and I knew it.

Out of nowhere a hand - a very large hand - grabbed my wrist and held me tight. I slammed into the face of the cliff, scraping and cutting my face, arms and legs, knocking the wind out of my lungs but I was somehow dangling in mid air.

That's when I noticed Lars had caught me by my wrist as he was half in the cave being held onto by others so he wouldn't lose his grip on me and we both went down.

Indeed God is SO VERY GOOD!

There is no reason what so ever Lars should have even made it that far into the cave to have gotten a foot hold, or others to help. there is no reason he should have even seen me. (Unless that rock that broke free hit him or anyone else which they said it had not.) There is no reason he was able to catch me as I was falling through the air. It was NOT LOGICAL!

Needless to say, I did NOT continue climbing and neither did he. He held me, a scared and inconsolable girl of 14 who should be dead were it not for an angel. I knew it was an angel. It had to be! There just wasn't any way possible for this to have had a happy ending. And yet, it did...

Three days later I saw Jesus for the first time. I know in my heart - NOW - that it was God letting me know "He's Got This".

I've been placing my faith in His hand ever since. It doesn't mean bad things or dificult things or sad things or things that brought me to the edge of my sanity haven't happened. It doesn't mean that I haven't had trials that caused me to think I could handle things on my own and had to accept my lot as a result.

It does mean that no matter what, I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I have big things to accomplish, Faith to share, His word to bring to others and a lifelong ride on a bus that ONLY God can drive, only God knows my stopping places, only God can get me there. I have to remind myself sometimes that I do have fear but I have to allow Him to handle it for me. it doesn't mean I have no reactions to it because I do... I still can't drive through the mountains even though the mountains are my absolute favorite place to be without having to pray the whole way through. (I seriously pray all the way through a mountain pass or down a mountain road because otherwise I'd never make it...) My backbone turns to jello... my legs turn to mush...I begin to hyperventilate, my heart begins to palpitate, I begin to perspire... Same thing on bridges - particularly those unmercifully high ones with the drawbridge in the middle. Gad it's hard to handle...

But I let God do the driving and little by little I make my way to the other side.

Little by little I know God is going to get me to the other side.

Tonight I'm reminding myself to not be afraid. I will say extra prayers for anyone dealing with irrational fears like heights, bugs (from which I also suffer as a result of being tormented with locusts as a young girl), spiders, the dark, or anything else. I will pray that God will watch over all of us who suffer fear in our lives for any reason to continue to hold us up, to reassure us that He indeed has "got this" and that we can surrender everything to Him and just allow Him to get us to the other side.

With God all things are possible...... Tonight I will give extra rations to my faith and hopefully beging starving everyone's fear!!!

The Lazarus Moment - Day Eleven


One of the recurring questions that I've dealt with over the years as a pastor is, "How do I know that Jesus is for real?"

It's a great question. And it has millions of answers. You're probably one of them.

Lazarus was one of them. After being raised from death, Lazarus settles in for a nice quiet life in the Jerusalem burbs. But unfortunately, news got out real quick about what had happened. Someone went and told the Pharisees. Bad move.

John 11 tells us that the religious leaders were all aghast at Jesus' actions - the great Bethany Boo-Yah! - and they accelerated their plans for extermination of the pest. Jesus decided to take his closest friends on a camping trip to Ephraim to avoid the hassle.

But Passover was approaching, and Jesus knew Jerusalem was the final destination. John records that six days before the celebrations, Jesus brought his followers back to Bethany, and Lazarus and his two sisters threw a little soirée. (Side note: Martha served; Mary "wasted" some perfume).

According to John 12:9 - "When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead."

Lazarus was now proof. Living, breathing, walking, talking, partying proof that Jesus was the real deal. Lazarus was dead. Now he's alive. Jesus did it. What more do you need?

Our lives - having been raised from the dead ourselves because of Jesus - are the proof that Jesus is who he claims to be.

I am all the evidence anyone needs to verify the accuracy of Jesus' claims.

Oh my.

As I sit here at my desk writing these words, it burns me that when people look at me they might see more death than life. They might notice more proof against Jesus than for him. I so want people to see that Jesus has redeemed my life from the pit. But often my life looks like I'm still living down there, wallowing in self-pity and wondering why life is so crappy.

At TLE, we've been pushing ourselves to live like we really are. If you know Jesus, and have anchored your whole life on him, you've been brought from death to life, just like Laz. Who knows this? Who is chasing you down to find out what happened? When is the last time you had a party at your place, invited Jesus and a few of his friends, and then invited the whole town over to tell the story again about your own personal BOO-YAH moment - your resurrection?

Here's an interesting thing: Lazarus never says a word. NOT ONE WORD. Because of that, I think Lazarus was a shy person. He let Mary do the talking, I think.

But I think Lazarus lived out the proof of Jesus' actions on his behalf every day of the rest of his second life. In fact, rumor has it that he eventually lost his head in France because he would not stop telling people about what Jesus had done.

The proof that Lazarus provided made the enemies of Jesus angry and frightened--so much so that Lazarus was added to their hit list. First, take out Jesus. But that's not enough, because as long as Lazarus is still around, there's undeniable proof. They decided to kill Lazarus "because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus."

Have you made any enemies of Jesus upset lately?

I long to have it said of me, "As long as Benson is around, there's undeniable proof that Jesus is the real deal."

What if that could be said of all of us on The Lazarus Experiment? We could change the world.

Suggested Scripture For Today: John 11-12

Suggested Ideas:
Write out the story of how you came to Jesus and how he saved you from death. Mail it to three people who may not have heard it before. Just tell them, "I really wanted to make sure you knew about this, because you're my friend."
Host a Lazarus party at your house. Invite Jesus and a few of his friends, and invite some people who have never met him. You'll never know what might happen.
On the back of several Laz cards, write out a one-sentence testimony and your phone number. Leave them in places where people might find them. (Yes, this is risky. Lazarus would have taken some risks). 

Answer this question by making intentional changes TODAY in your life: "What could I do to make my BOO-YAH new life more outrageously visible to others?"

Question of the Day: What would have made Lazarus more angry AFTER his resurrection than before? Anything?

You - yes you! - are changing lives through TLE. Your posts, encouragements, comments, and prayers are making an eternal difference. Keep living like Laz!


This is HUGE to me.  Bigger than even I have realized before.  I've got a few testimonies - some true life changing events in my life that are really tremendous.  I try hard to make every day count and be grateful for the days the Lord has given me.  Knowing my book is already written and my pages numbered, I want to make the best of each and every page, each and every opportunity.  As a result of that, I attempt to make sure that I emulate the goodness, love and joy in the lessons and blessings God has given me.  I do share the Lord with others daily.  Not shove it in your face stuff, not bible thumping that others refer to as so rude and don't like that "in your face" type of religion.  That being said I think spirituality and religion are two different things.  I think that my life shows my spirituality and my love for God.  I think my reverence is evident.  And, I am not shy about sharing my heart, my thoughts and my God with others.

I think my take on Enemies is evidence of my love, my reverence, my fear of His wrath should He so impose it.  

Day 11 - enemies -

This is a toughie for me. I've lived my whole life in fear of making enemies and yet I do. We all do. It's unreasonable to think that we are going to be loved, liked, respected, enjoyed, etc by ALL people. But we can try!

And yet, no matter how hard we try, we make enemies. We don't intend to and in fact it might not even be our own fault. Often it's not our fault.

I have very few real fears.. but they're big. One - to not teach my children how to have a real relationship with God. I can't imagine my kids not seeing how living through God is so much easier than trying to do it on your own.

Two - I cannot imagine being a disappointment to someone. I know how unrealistic that is. I truly do know how unrealistic it is. However, I've worked hard - really hard - my whole life to not disappoint anyone. Do I let someone down? Yep - guess who - You ready? Me...... I let myself down. I let myself down because the things I really need to do for ME are the things I neglect. How sad is that... all because I don't want to disappoint someone.

Three - Someone passing away or walking away without knowing how I really feel about them. Despite my best efforts, I sometimes am not great at this but I never ever end a conversation with people without letting them know they are important to me. If it's an aquaintenance, it's a wish for a blessed day. If it's a loved one or a cherished friend, it's an I Love You!. If it's a good friend it's a wish for all good things and a "Bless you!" Yes, I do that. Even my email ends with "Peace and Blessings, Lissa"

So that brings me to enemies - little boy and I have enemies - typically because we get called "Goody Goody" and "Always listening to his Mooooommmmmyyyyyyy" and "He's no fun - he always does what he's supposed to." he's berated and bullied for being a good person. When he gets to high school it will be somewhat different, but for now, in middle school, it's social suicide apparently.

And he's decided to take that out on me and his teacher LOL. We had a bad time - arguing about his attitude yesterday about schooling, his teacher and his cavalier attitude about his responsibilities. Thank goodness God got a hold of him about half way through and he worked it out. By the time he left, he'd gotten his teacher's approval and was ready to tackle the things he needed to tackle. Do I take this as my own Laz moment? In a way yes, because I didn't hold my thoughts back from him and I was very adamant about him resolving his issues. To stand up and face the problem and not try to circumvent it. I stood my ground with little boy and he eventually was able to stand up and face his. Yes - we were both winners yesterday!

Now all that being said, he is realizing making an enemy of his teacher or his momma is not feasible.  It's not in his best interest to do this.  It's not that it's a "goody goody" thing to consider at this point, it's just simply a bad bad decision with decidedly difficult and unpopular consequences.   At some point we have to resign ourselves that it's just easier to do it "the right way".  It's just easier to live according to the "rules".  It's just easier to do what is expected of us the first time.

The same applies to living by the word.  If we live according to the word of God - by the rules so to speak - we take away all the what if's, the potential for disaster, the potential for sometimes horrible consequences.  We experience the rewards, we feel the love and the goodness and we reap the rewards.

Will that still leave the door open to potential enemies?  Sure it will... but these enemies will be the losers; the ones that will always be in our wake, riding the rough waters.  We will be in the boat with jesus at the wheel, enjoying the ride.  I know which I prefer... how about you?

The Lazarus Experiment - day Ten

For most of us, the Lazarus account is a very profound analogy of our new lives in Christ Jesus. Hardly any of us have really been brought back to life after four days of being dead.

At least I haven't. So I can only begin to imagine Lazarus' reactions and emotions. How did he feel when he heard his name? What was his reaction to being loosed from the strips of cloth that held him tight? And this question keeps coming to me: What happened when those who were tending to Lazarus finally began to unwrap his neck, his head, his mouth, his eyes.

That moment right there.

The moment when the final wrap, perhaps with some padding, was undone from around his head, and his eyelids fluttered, and his pupils went ballistic at the daylight, and the blur of morbidity cleared, and his eyes adjusted to life, and . . .




Eye to eye. Face to face. Jesus staring right into his brain, into his heart, into the core of him--now alive. Is that a smile on Jesus' face? Are those tears streaking his cheeks? Is that forgiveness in his features? Is that love--right there--in his eyes?

If Jesus had brought Lazarus out of the grave and then left before the rags were removed, I think Lazarus would have been changed. He would have lived differently, and would have made the most out of his second-chance life.

But I think Lazarus was changed more by that one look than anything else that happened to him that day. I think that look wrecked him. As John in Revelation, Lazarus may have thought he was going to drop dead again, right there.

That look is powerful. Why do you think so many gospel songs talk about seeing Jesus? Having him look into our eyes. Telling us to look into his?

Turn your eyes upon Jesus.Look full in his wonderful face.And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,In the light of his glory and grace.

It's a nice analogy. But I think it's more than that.

We have spiritual eyes that allow us to see him. And that sight can change us forever.

Whatever this Experiment does--whatever changes you make, habits you start, alterations in attitude that result--the one thing that supersedes all else is seeing Jesus.

If The Lazarus Experiment does anything, I want it to reacquaint me to that moment. I was blind, but now I see. I was in a pit, and he rescued me. I was poor and helpless and wounded and dead, and he called my name and brought me out. And I have looked him in the eyes, and I can never be the same.

Everything we do as a part of this exercise springs from that moment. What difference will it make to you?

Suggested Scripture For Today: Revelation 22:1-5 (Ask yourself - what does this picture remind you of?)

Suggested Ideas:
If Jesus were your sibling, or husband/wife, or very close friend, and he wasn't with you physically, you'd probably write him a letter, and part of the letter would include telling him how much you would love to see him in person. Write that letter.
Spend ten minutes with your eyes closed and imagine being Lazarus and opening your eyes to the wonder of Jesus' gaze. How would that change you? What would be different?
Someone helped get Lazarus out of the rags and into the presence of Jesus. Someone helped you, too, to see Jesus clearly. Have you thanked them, lately?
If you're artistic (and even if you're not), can you draw a picture, or take a photo, or write a poem, or a song, describing and illustrating looking into the eyes of Jesus? If you do, POST IT SO WE CAN SEE IT!

Question of the Day: What would Lazarus have done with Jesus' ride on a donkey into Jerusalem? Where was he at that time, do you think? What was his sense of that moment?

We are 25% into this thing! Don't get discouraged - you're doing great. Keep up your spirits, look to Jesus, and tell us about what's going on. The best way to get the most benefit from this endeavor is to interact with each other online. Don't worry about missing some days, just jump in when you can.


On day ten I found myself incredibly busy running about and chose to spend a bit of time with me and Jesus and most of the day with Little Boy. I tried so hard to think about how being raised from the dead would look and I decided to put day 10's assignment off to another day and go back to day nine and complete it. What I came up with was pretty good stuff really...

My day Nine response on Day 10
I took the majority of the day yesterday and rested. I was exhausted from the weekend and needed some time to regroup and restore.  However, the afternoon was different and I feel compelled to include my activities from yesterday as they are and were a complete and total Lazarus moment.

We had a meeting Monday afternoon with little boy's counselor and after having asked repeatedly for little boy to do his work, he had continued to ignore me and his responsibilities.

I kind of lost it at the counselor's office... I cannot continue to feel more responsibility for his success than he does - conversely - the old adage "Your children are a direct reflection of who you are and what you've taught." haunts me.

I am not lazy and my biggest fear - seriously - my BIGGEST fear is letting someone down. I can't say I've never let anyone down, but I try, with everything in me, not to. It's a tough place.

Just after having lost it with LB's counselor, I was invited to participate in a group that meets at the office where LB goes. It was a group of people who are Duelly Diagnosed (addiction and some sort of mental illness) and are trying to live cleanly through dedication to and in recognition of a higher power. They were wonderful. All of them "broken" and yet I saw some incredible growth in these people and saw my own pathway to living more freely through God. What an incredible blessing to me! Their new lives feel like hell to them sometimes and yet they couldn't be more grateful! How inspiring to me! I have had my own "crosses to bear" which to me have been back breaking. In comparison, it's NOTHING. I'm so grateful to God for the life I've led and the troubles I've seen and the faith that He would always carry me through. I've not needed a crutch or a "momma's little helper" to get through it all. I've always known that some how the Lord would ALWAYS carry me through it. I came out of the meeting incredibly blessed....

I suppose my true Lazarus moment was the spontaneity of attendance with the fulfillment it provided. I think Laz would have accepted that invitation too. Not in hopes of contributing or leading anyone to a deeper relationship but simply just to be closer to God.

The Lazarus Experiment - Day Nine

Oh goodness this stuff is oh so good!! Ron's Day Nine Explanation:

Let's say Lazarus started a diary.

Day One. Hello Diary. Today, Jesus called me out of that hole! After I got unwrapped, I went around to everyone gathered for my funeral and hugged them. Lots of good food and good friends. We danced, partied, and generally had a great time until about 3:00 a.m. I'm still wide awake and ready for more! Can't wait until tomorrow!

Day Two. Dear Diary: I love being alive! Today I was itching to get out of the house! Me, Mary and Martha, and a small group of friends took a long hike with a picnic around Gallilee. (Peter could barely stand not being able to cast a net!). After we got back I dug up about a half acre of dirt in the backyard. I'm going to put in a garden!

Day Three. Dear Diary: Went sightseeing in Jerusalem - preparing for the festival. Jesus has plans to head down there - not sure that's a great idea. Worked all day doing errands for him, just to make sure he'll be safe. Haven't been to the city for a long time. Whew! Glad I went, but I'll sleep good tonight.
Day Four. Dear Diary: Decided to get up early and exercise an hour. Got to get this dead old body in shape! Don't want to die (again!) too soon! Had to finally get some work done, since somebody has to pay the bills now that I'm around. (My life insurance company decided to rescind the settlement!)

Day Five. Dear Diary: A couple friends decided to pay me a visit and we went hunting. The old bow still performed amazing - I can take out an antelope from 50 yards out! Felt more alive than ever. But I need to sleep.

Day Six. Dear Diary. What a day! The air was crisp and cool, and it just demanded that I get some work done. So I finally went down to the crypt to clean things out. Scrubbed the walls with vinegar (oh man - the smell I left in there!) and cleaned up some of the spices and stuff that were left around. (Not sure that method works all that well!). Gotta get the place ready, just in case, I guess. My arms feel like they're going to drop off.

You get the picture.

Lazarus, I'm sure, was eager to live life. But somewhere during the first week or two, life reached up and smacked him around. His energy drained. His feet got sore. His back was stiff. It was time to rest.

At some point, Lazarus realized his new body still needed respite care. After several days of pushing it - testing the very edges of the endurance of his new life - I think Lazarus crashed.

At some point, our Experiment needs to factor in some rest. Some of you have already written about naps. That's great. But maybe a whole day of Sabbath is in order.

Since I'm a pastor, Sundays are not ideal for any kind of Sabbath-keeping. I sometimes have to force myself away from work and busyness to get quiet rest. It is not easy to do.

Lazarus would have realized, as we all must, that there will always - ALWAYS - be something on your to-do list that is urgent, necessary, and vital to your well-being and the happiness of those around you. But he also realized that, in order to give life his very best, he needed rest.

After the first week, Laz may have put his to-do list on hold, recognizing that life is too short to burn it out all at once. It is true for you, too. New life in Christ is amazing! But he knows we need to stop for a season.

Rest, friend.

Suggested Scripture For Today: Matthew 11:25-30

Suggested Ideas:
Schedule a day, soon, and attempt to accomplish nothing.
Take a day off from The Lazarus Experiment.
Turn off all electronic devises for one 24 hour period. No TV. No computer. No cell phone. No radio. No video games. Go tech-cold-turkey.
Spend half a day with God alone. Take only a Bible, a pen/pencil, a notebook. Get as far away from other people as you can. Make it your goal not to see another person except God for at least four hours.

Question of the Day: What would Lazarus have done with Jesus after being brought back from death? Would his feelings about Jesus have changed? How? And what would he have determined about Jesus from that point on?

I am so heartbroken at some of the junk you all are going through. But I'm thanking God that, for right now, you're here and we're together in this. Be sure and pray for one another as we move into the second week of The Lazarus Experiment.


My Day nine response:

I rested!! I prayed for so many for so many reasons, but today I took time for me. I was quiet and calm and spent the majority of the day with just me. It was so good...

The Lazarus Experiment - Day Seven and Eight

The Lazarus Experiment attempts to define what a person would do, think, feel, say, accomplish, and plan if they had been brought back from death to life. Instead of a bucket list, we have determined to create the opposite. A compilation of abundant living bullet points. 
The phrase, "kick the bucket" has several possible origins. Here's the Roman Catholic version:
After death, when a body had been laid out ... the holy-water bucket was brought from the church and put at the feet of the corpse. When friends came to pray . . . they would sprinkle the body with holy water . . . it is easy to see how such a saying as "kicking the bucket " came about. Many other explanations of this saying have been given by persons who are unacquainted with Catholic custom.—The Right Reverend Abbot Horne, Relics of Popery

The assumption may have been that the bucket was placed prematurely (always be prepared!). This especially makes sense when added with the notion that a person stretches out their legs in the moment of death.  
BAM! Bucket kicked. 
So what is the opposite of kicking the bucket?
Filling the bucket. 
Once Lazarus was unbound and able to speak, I can't imagine anything he'd probably want to do more that say "Thank You!" 
To Jesus, his Lord and close friend, of course. He probably found it hard to stop thanking Jesus.  
But after Jesus somehow pulled away from Lazarus' outrageous expressions of gratitude, I think Laz would have started on his "fill the bucket" list - people he should have thanked before he stretched out his legs and died. 
The way we have the story in John 11, it seems Lazarus' death was fairly sudden. It does not seem that anyone was really prepared for it. So too, Laz himself probably found it a bit of a shock. (Fact is, even if you know way ahead in advance, I think death is still shocking.)
In my mind, I see Lazarus - after taking a long shower, combing his hair, getting dressed - rushing out to the crowd gathered on his lawn. They were there originally for mourning, but now they were waiting in excitement to greet the new man. I think Lazarus would have bounced from one person to another, chatting it up and smiling and saying one thing over and over and over again: THANKS! 
I've got shocking news for you. Are you sitting down? Maybe you should.
I can say that with nearly 100% accuracy. It's just truth. I'm sorry I had to be the one to tell you.  
But you are alive now, and if you've given your formerly sorry, dying self to Jesus, you are now living abundantly. And while it is true that Jesus provides a way to conquer death and give us new life, we will still come to a time when we will be "absent from the body." And when that happens, we will no longer be able to tell people how much they mean to us. 
Shame on me for not telling you how much I appreciate you. Shame on you for not grabbing everyone you know and telling them how thankful you are and what they mean to you. Shame on us for living without gratitude. We have so much to be thankful for - it could fill a bucket.
I don't want to shame you, really. But I'd like to give you - and me - a kick in the butt and say "Go on! Get out there! Tell someone you're thankful for them." 
Mostly, tell God how very thankful you are that he has given you new life through Jesus Christ, our Lord. 
Go on, you bucket-fillers. Say thanks. Use words if you must. 
Suggested Scripture For Today: Psalm 107 
Suggested Ideas:  
Express your gratitude to God, but do not use words.
Make a list and a plan to say thank you to ten people who have never heard or read those words from you.
Send a thank-you note that is not digital.
Designate one day this week and say thank you to everyone you possible can, with a smile, looking directly in their eyes, slowly and deliberately so they can't write it off. Tell us on The Experiment how many people you thanked in one day.
 Question of the Day: Do you think Lazarus was happy about coming back to life?
You can do this!

Day Eight 

The Bible describes death as the final enemy to be destroyed.  
But the Bible also says that Jesus Christ has already defeated death, and that his followers can live in freedom from death. 
Nobody knows what this feels like like Lazarus. 
In the years we've been doing The Lazarus Experiment, I've had people suggest that maybe Lazarus was not happy about being brought back to life. Maybe he was miffed. After all - he may have been in heaven, or on his way there, or at least in a holding pattern. Was life on earth better? Factor also that, once the reality of his new life had settled in, Lazarus was facing off with another death. He would join the very exclusive club of those who have died twice. 
As logical as all that sounds, I'm not convinced. The most compelling evidence, I think, is that Lazarus was Jesus' close friend. If raising Lazarus from the grave was something bad to do, and the only reason for doing it was that Jesus would wow the crowd, it seems contrary to the love Jesus had for his friend. 
Plus, it is God's firm stance that life is good. It is very good! And death is an enemy, a beast, born from the pit of wickedness. To reverse death is always a good thing! 
That is why I believe the overwhelming attitude that carried through every day of Lazarus' second life, for as long as that life lasted for Laz - the thing that stuck in his heart and stayed there forever - was joy. 
Laz knew joy from the perspective of one who knew grace. He didn't deserve what happened; it was Jesus' gift. That alone would make you smile for a long time. 
Laz knew joy because he learned the value of family and friends. He realized the marvel of relationships, intimacy, and love. That would set you up with a light in your heart that could not be extinguished. 
Laz knew joy all around him: in the earth and sky, in the stars and clouds. His post-death eyes fairly beamed with the joy of creation and breathing and the pump of adrenaline when you ride a roller coaster. 
OK. He didn't ride a coaster. But he knew the joy of living. Because he got to do it over again. And he would have determined to never practice joylessness again. 
Did he have bad days. Of course he did. But the bad days were always eclipsed by the thought, I am brand new. As bad as it may get, it's still true that he rescued me.

I wonder - do you know joy? 
You've been brought back from death. You have tasted new life in Christ. Behold, everything is brand new. As bad as it may get, it's still true that he rescued you. 
Joy is not passive; it scr 
I love this quote from Octavius Winslow, known as "The Pilgirm's Pastor"  
The religion of Christ is the religion of JOY. Christ came to take away our sins, to roll off our curse, to unbind our chains, to open our prisonhouse, to cancel our debt; in a word, to give us the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Is not this joy? Where can we find a joy so real, so deep, so pure, so lasting? 
There is every element of joy - deep, ecstatic, satisfying, sanctifying joy - in the gospel of Christ. The believer in Jesus is essentially a happy man. The child of God is, from necessity, a joyful man. His sins are forgiven, his soul is justified, his person is adopted, his trials are blessings, his conflicts are victories, his death is immortality, his future is a heaven of inconceivable, unthought-of, untold, and endless blessedness. With such a God, such a Saviour, and such a hope, is he not, ought he not, to be a joyful man?

Suggested Scripture For Today: Psalm 47 
Suggested Ideas:
Make a joy list. Write out in long hand all the things that are reasons for joy in your life. Post it where you can see it for a week.
Go through one entire day smiling at everyone. Don't just tell us about your resolve to do it. Tell us about what happened after you did it.
Take a slow hike.
Joy is a turn-around emotion; it has the power to turn things around. Find an object that can be a joy trigger. It could be a Bible, a picture, a trinket, a bracelet, a hat. When you encounter things in your day that threaten your joy, use the trigger to remind you of God's immense love for you and your new life in Jesus. 
Question of the Day: How would Lazarus have treated the people in his life differently on the other side of death? 
I can't wait to read what you've experienced tomorrow!

Sometimes life gets in the way of our very best intentions and we have to take some time away.    On this day both Ron and I needed to combine days to allow for some down time.  Here we go for days Seven and Eight:

These days were a little difficult for me because I was participating in a two day Market Event in my little community. Selling my jewelry amongst other vendors selling their hand made goods and others selling darling little farm animals - pygmy goats, regular goats, all different kinds of bunnies, chickens, ducks and piggies.

Saturday I made a point to speak to every single person I saw and compliment them on something they were wearing or their hair styles or shoes or something I heard them say. It's beautiful to watch people's demeanor's change because they got a little "thought" from a perfect stranger - as though a stranger's input somehow means more than someone who loves or cares about us. Then again, perhaps a stranger's notice can help those who are familiar with us notice something new; offer us a new appreciation.

It was so rewarding to watch people and their gratefulness which fed my own heart.

On Sunday I continued my "I really like your..." endeavors and gave out hugs to several people who were kind enough to help me with my canopy and wind blown displays without even being asked!

When I won the raffle (the cutest little home made gift - "Redneck Sippy Cups") I gave out more hugs of thanks. It was a hug fest and it ended up contagious. We were all hugging by the end of the day!

What a blessing! I didn't sell much (and Dalton spent my profits) but it was worth SO MUCH MORE than money!