He is not here, He is “RIZZZEN”…

Don’t tell me children don’t learn a LOT at an early age!  And watch out, THEY are watching YOU!  And horror of all horrors:  THEY will imitate you!!!

Our third-born son, named Woodford, a/k/a Woody, is a blast.  Now nearly twenty-one years of age, he still makes me laugh every time we’re together.  He’s currently a junior at the University of Kentucky, so we miss him dearly and always look forward to our next visit with him.


One Easter weekend, when Woody was  two years old, we’d just returned home from church.  Scurrying to get a meal on the table, we asked our oldest son to entertain the younger two boys.  Thankfully this wasn’t the year before, which nearly did me in…

That particular year before, John and I chose to take two cars to church since the Easter Bunny’s arrival was postponed ‘til after church.  (Don’t ask me how we explained that one.)  “The Plan” was that I would hurry home, ahead of John, hide the eggs, and be ready for the boys.

Problem is my husband tends to drive a tad speedier than yours truly, so I was barely ahead of them.  Hurrying in heels isn’t a gift of mine either, so I was literally hurling eggs thru’ the air in the back yard.  To top it off, my heels were sticking in the grass, and well, it’s a good thing none of our neighbors were within earshot.

Darned if John and the boys didn’t arrive while the eggs were flying thru’ the air.  Our  oldest son, John Jr., more astute than anyone needs to be, said, “Look Daddy!  It’s raining Easter eggs!”  Well, let’s just ADD to that big web of lies we’d already woven, throwing in one more far-fetched explanation.


Now while I know there’s not really a “time out chair” in Heaven, I still envision myself spending time there for some of these antics…So sorry, Lord. (Don’t you know He thinks we’re completely crazy sometimes?)

So back to the year Woody was  two:  The boys were playing upstairs and I ran up to get something.  Woody was marching back and forth across the hall, while holding a big plastic telephone, just-a-chatterin’ away.  (I’ve been known to walk thru’ the house while talking on the phone….hmmmm.)


Woody was shaking his head, back and forth, emphatically saying, “NO!”… pause, pause….”He is not here!” …LONGER pause….”He is RIZZZEN!”, prolonging the ‘s’ into buzzing ‘z’s!

That spectacular Easter Sunday, the Sunday school teachers were teaching the precious children about Jesus’ resurrection.  As Liz Curtis Higgs said in her blog last week about the resurrection, “This truth changes EVERYTHING!  His heavenly Father ‘has raised him to life’ (CEV). Hallelujah!  God be praised!  He who was dead is now alive forever!”… And even two year olds can begin absorbing this.

450x150 for The Women of Easter

To read more of Liz’ excellent, eye-opening teaching on “The Women in Search of Jesus”, here’s the link to get you there: http://www.lizcurtishiggs.com/2013/03/the-women-of-easter-in-search-of-jesus/

This Easter week, let’s celebrate TWO important points:

First, and foremost, let’s celebrate that the tomb is EMPTY!  Christ indeed has risen!


An angel of the Lord announces to Mary Magdelene, Mary the Mother of James, and to Salome in Mark 16:6  “Don’t be alarmed…You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified.  He has risen!  He is not here…” (See also Matthew 28:6, Luke 24:6 and John 20:11-18.)

BLOG Three Marys

The Life Application Bible points out the importance of the resurrection by calling it “the KEY to the Christian faith.”  Let’s look at 5 reasons WHY the resurrection is “vitally important.”

 1 – “Jesus kept his promise to rise from the dead, so we can believe he will keep all his other promises.

 2 – The resurrection ensures that the ruler of God’s eternal kingdom will be the living Christ, not just an idea, hope, or dream.

 3 – Christ’s resurrection gives us the assurance that we also will be resurrected.

 4 – The power of God that brought Christ’s body back from the dead is available to us to bring our morally and spiritually dead selves back to life so that we can change and grow.

5 – The resurrection provides the substance of the church’s witness to the world.  We do not merely tell lessons from the life of a good teacher,  we proclaim the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

 Don’t miss these truths held within the verbs in each of the above five points:  we CAN BELIEVE…; we are ENSURED ; we are GIVEN THE ASSURANCE ; Resurrection power IS AVAILABLE to us; it PROVIDES THE SUBSTANCE  so that we can PROCLAIM THE REALITY OF THE RESURRECTION….

Let’s take time this week, with Good Friday approaching and Easter Sunday on the horizon , to be still, to reflect on this resurrection power available to us, and perhaps pray about a friend or neighbor who needs to hear this GOOD NEWS.

 Country Church

Which  brings me to the second point:  Let’s all be ever watchful for ways to teach our children, or our grandchildren, or nieces and nephews, or neighbors, about the Lord and His powerful Word.

Remember, Woody was just two years old at Easter time that year, and he clearly  “caught” the Scripture being taught.  We mustn’t forget what little sponges these children are. 

You won’t believe this, but in the past four months, I have five, yes FIVE, close friends (two of which are my sister-in-laws!) who have just been blessed with granddaughters!  (Think pink! ) These are all strong-in-the-faith Christian women and I can hardly wait to see what these little angels will learn about God from their grandmothers.

Look at their beautiful names and please say a prayer for them and their families:  Caroline, Maria, Lucie, Emmeline and Emerson.  I  suspect you, too, may know of a newborn to pray for!  Pray for them and their parents to raise them up knowing the Lord.

grandmother with baby

One of my many sins over the years in attempting to raise these boys is I tend to compartmentalize my faith.  I need this Scripture forever in the forefront of my mind:  Deuteronomy 11:18-21  says,

 “FIX  these words of mine in your hearts and minds;

  TIE them as symbols on your hands and

 BIND them on your foreheads.

 TEACH them to your children,


 when you SIT AT HOME and

 when you WALK along the road,

 when you LIE DOWN

 … and when you GET UP.  

 WRITE them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.” (NIV)

 Now you can see what I’m emphasizing above….again the verbs:  fix, tie, bind, teach, talk about when you sit, walk, lie down, get up, and write.  Don’t miss the fact that IF we do these things there’s a promise…”so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land…”

I pray you and your families have a most blessed Easter and Spring (even tho’ it’s snowing as I type). May we all rejoice that “He is not here, He is risen!” 

 ‘Til  next time!

(This post is dedicated to our youngest whipper- snapper-son, Woodford Lee Hoagland.  And for those of you parents out there who have more than one child and fret over treating each child equally, hang in there, I’ll be writing about our other two awesome sons in the future!!!  John and I are also forever grateful to the ministry of Campus Outreach on UK’s campus which has discipled Woody  to focus on Christ, rather than chaos which we all know can come with college experiences.  Checkout www.colexington.org for more information.  I love Campus Outreach’s mission statement: “Glorifying God by Building Laborers on the Campus for the Lost World.”  Amen.  Happy Easter everyone!)

Eliz and Woody


Filed under Family, Holidays, Life Lessons

19 responses to “He is not here, He is “RIZZZEN”…

  1. Pingback: From Easter Chicks to God Chicks… Avoid the Comparison Trap! | Worship with Words

  2. Amy Lund

    This is one of your sweetest posts yet. Thanks so much for doing this. Woody is as adorable today as he was as a two year old.



  3. Debbie Weiss

    Loved reading this and love how your son has pours into so many- including my son! Happy Easter to you all!
    Debbie weiss

    • Debbie! Aren’t you sweet to comment? So fun Woody & Justin can be @ UK together. Hope y’all had a Blessed Easter. We had so much fun. Had 26 adults and 2 of the 5 new little angels I talked about above over. We passed the babies around like footballs. What a blessing! Hope to run into you again soon. Blessings.

  4. Mary Lou Leidgen

    Loved reading this Elizabeth. It was very inspiring about the importance of sharing Jesus with our precious grandchildren no matter how young they are.

  5. l

    Loving your blog- loving Gods words of wisdom and yours that always pull at my heart strings! Xo

  6. What a little cutie that Woody was and what a handsome young man he has become. Now I have a face to go with the name I’ve heard often. I figure the woman with the baby is a picture of a sister-in-law, but she sure looks like you!

    I’m reminded that Pharisees like Nicodemus took your Scripture very literally. They wrote the words on tiny bits and rolled them into little boxes (phylacteries) that they literally tied on their heads and hands. Oh, that they could understand that these were words to put in their minds and hearts – in their being and their doing. May we understand that as well.

    • Wow, Joyce….what a picture re: the Pharisees….sorta like me draggin’ baggage around sometimes that I should drop at our Lord’s feet. Good reminder. Happy Easter! Enjoyed seeing you at Book Club! (Oh & the pic of the grandmother w/ a baby is a generic one….don’t know her…wanted to have pics of all 5 babies, but realized that wouldn’t happen quickly! Two of them are coming over on Sunday! I’m a Great Aunt now!) Hugs

  7. Aletia Thompson

    Elizabeth……precious beyond precious posting!! Our children truly are the hearts of our hearts. Thanking God for His greatest gift of all “….Christ in you, the hope of Glory!” Colosians 1:27 He is RIZZZZZEN!!!!! Love that, “out of the mouths of babes”. Easter Blessings, hugs and love to you’all 🙂

  8. Stephanie Paulin

    I love reading your blog, Elizabeth. This post was especially great. Hope you and your family have a wonderful Easter! 🙂

    • You, too, Stephanie! Especially w/your new baby! I stopped in your store this week & missed you. The gal who helped me said you were coming in the next day. I was getting Easter goodies for the boys’ girlfriends. =) I pray you and your sweet family have a most Blessed Easter! (Saw you from afar at Book Club this week! Hope to see you soon!) Love,Elizabeth

  9. Nancy Aguiar

    How I LOVE this child of “ours” at every age! Yes, Woody….He is RIZZZZEN indeed! And never forget it! We worship a RISEN Savior! Hallelujah!!!!! Thanks for your great contribution to my life, Elizabeth! With profound gratitude… Happy, Healthy, Holy Week!

  10. Judy Russell

    Well Elizabeth, you didn’t disappoint again!! How many of us remember Easters of the past when our children were young and innocent? And then Grandchildren? What memories!

    A little comment to note for those young moms or grandmothers reading. Need an idea to use for the annual Easter Egg hunt? Don’t use candy! Instead, fill the eggs with coins and use one color of egg for each child. So, much easier and healthier and fair! We have 10 eggs per child. Although, we usually hide inside! Just in case we hid them too well! 🙂

  11. Carol Bonura

    Love your stories and enjoy hearing about your precious family. Your Easter story reminded me of the Easter that my son Nick wanted his family to experience Easter with a staging of the Resurrection. So, they made a cave (or tomb) out of the dining room table, and on Easter, his little ones crawled into the cave to find that Jesus was not there. When we (the grandparents) arrived for the Easter meal, little Carey (then only 4 years old) greeted us with, “He’s Alive! He’s Alive!” True story, and we always remember it on Easter.
    Happy Easter,
    Carol Bonura

    • I love that story! And what a good sport you are to create a cave out of the dining room table! Very fun. I pray you & your sweet family have a wonderful Easter. Loved hearing about the books y’all did on your Souljourner Excursion. Big hugs over to you.

  12. LT Thompson

    I love this story about Woody and I love reading your blog!!! You’re the cutest Mrs. Hoagland and I’m so thankful for your wisdom:) love and hugs!!!!!

  13. How precious and I love he photo of the two of you together. What a blessing this child is!