Surviving the Season of Christmas: Part 2 of 4 When You Get Trapped in a Dress…(Overextended…and Loving Most of It! The Unexpected Joy of Being Harried, Heartbroken, and Hurling Oneself Off Cliffs by Lisa Harper)

Any claustrophobes out there? I succumb to claustrophobia almost every time I step into an elevator. The one at my in-laws’ condo’ in Naples was slower-than-a-snail, without air conditioning. Certain we’d perish while suffocating, I bravely learned to take the stairs.

The year our family stopped to see Ruby Falls (Please tell me, how many times can you see that billboard and not GO SEE Ruby Falls???), I had no idea what I was getting myself into…

Ruby Falls

(Notice we are all five smiling…this was before the interminable elevator ride…)

The boys thought it was the coolest thing ever, but… as we progressed our way into the deep, dark abyss toward the Falls, I was more than ready to make a fast exit.

The elevators also have chains rather than doors, so you can “see” the depth of rock you’re descending down, down, down into….

Oh yeah, I was the first of our family of five to return to the fresh air up top. Yes, Ruby Falls, one thousand, two hundred and twenty feet under the top of Lookout Mountain, was a sight to behold. Let’s just say I’ve beheld it and will cling to that sweet memory F-O-R-E-V-E-R…


Fast forward several years and you’ll find us forty-eight hours prior to our middle son’s wedding. This afternoon was D-Day to ensure my dresses fit okay, accessories in place, etc. as we’d be packing up soon for Lexington, Kentucky, where Lauren and Gordy’s wedding was to be held.

I slipped into my Rehearsal Dinner dress. Zipper was super slow. I wound up getting it probably 9/10 of the way up when it held firmly at a stand still. Uh-oh. At each attempt, “Zippie” wasn’t budging.

Red zipper isolated on white

Hating to, but doing so anyway, I hollered at Hubster John who was working out in the yard, “Honey? Could you please come in here for a minute?”

“Right now?” in his I’m-in-the-middle-of-a-project voice.

“Yes, it’s sort of an emergency….”

I could feel the lining of the dress beginning to stick to me…Weather was warm and claustrophobia was quickly closing in

“Zippie” wouldn’t behave for John either. He suggested, “Just pull it over your head.” No way.

Next idea, “Just pull it down to the floor.” Not a chance.

About ready to cut it off…I fetched the scissors. More-patient-than-anyone-needs-to-be-John was mercifully able to cut the lining out of the zipper and somehow get it undone.

Even more amazing, he was able to get me in and out of it successfully for the Rehearsal Dinner. (I’ve since had a new zipper put in. Life is good.)


Author and speaker Lisa Harper has written a must-read for your sanity and survival:

Overextended and Loving Most of It: The Unexpected Joy of Being Harried, Heartbroken, and Hurling Oneself Off Cliffs.

Given my “gift” of overextending myself, particularly at the last minute, (lest you forget the above dress snafu), I snatched this book right off the shelves.


I’ve been blessed to hear Lisa speak several times. Her gift of teaching the Bible is amazing. (For notes on her talk in Houston at Women of Faith’s Unwrap the Bible, please click here.)

This book will help us better survive the Christmas season, or any busy season you may be blessed to be in.

Here are a few of the great questions Lisa answers in the book:

“When is it worth being stretched beyond my comfort zone?

When is it worth ‘overspending’ myself for the sake of the Gospel?

If I erased all the commitments on my calendar this month, would anybody besides my dentist or the pest control guy really care?”

Lisa confesses, “My calendar is so often double-booked that I have alerts for my alerts. ..All too often I live like I believe busyness is a spiritual fruit.”   Hellooooooo…Anybody relating???

Multi-Tasking Concept

One of my favorite chapters is: “Blasting Through Burnout”.  It teaches us an acrostic for “BLAST”.  (I’d go so far as to say read this chapter first–Everything else then falls into place.)

Before we ever get into the chapter, don’t miss the quote Lisa offers from Tim Hansel:

“Quiet minds,

which are established in stillness,

refuse to be perplexed or intimidated.”

Here’s where we must stop and camp on Psalm 46:10a which tells us to “Be still and know that I am God.”

The CEV says, “Our God says, ‘Calm down, and learn that I am God!’”

TLB says, “Stand silent!…”

The NASB says, “Cease striving!…

Let these Scriptural reminders establish us in stillness…

Here’s Lisa’ acrostic for BLAST:

B – “Breathe – Inhale God’s peace and exhale anxiety.

L – Listen – And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. Isaiah 30:21

A – Ask God for clarity

S – Smile

T – Take the next step…”

Lisa adds, “When life is tough or taxing, it doesn’t mean we should try to bust thru’ it like a linebacker trying to flatten a three-hundred-pound defensive tackle.

Football Tackle 1

Nor does it mean we can bury our head under the covers and the hard or hectic parts will disappear.

Funny Young Woman Lying In Bed Under Blanket

Instead, we have to put our hand into the outstretched, nail-scarred palm of our Redeemer and allow Him to lead us. Simply by doing the next right thing.”

Helping hand - hiker woman getting help on hike smiling happy ov

Purposefully make time to savor this book this season!

Your survival skills will improve leading you into a much calmer Christmas and a much-improved 2015!

‘Til next time…


Filed under Book Reviews, Family, Holidays, Life Lessons, Margin

3 responses to “Surviving the Season of Christmas: Part 2 of 4 When You Get Trapped in a Dress…(Overextended…and Loving Most of It! The Unexpected Joy of Being Harried, Heartbroken, and Hurling Oneself Off Cliffs by Lisa Harper)


    I have a new email addy! It’s Advent blessings with Love! Robin Chaddock

  2. LOL re: “Zipper King”!!! I’ll have to tell John that. Yes, don’t you love that: “Inhale God’s peace and exhale anxiety.”??? I need that today. We’re off soon for John’s office’s Christmas Luncheon. Tra la la…..
    Blessings & hugs to you, Joyce, for a super Christmas!!!

  3. Your Zipper King is quite the knight in shining armor!
    I can’t wait to have some extra moments to listen to the Lisa Harper talk. Meanwhile, I think I’ll park on the “B” of “Blast” – Inhale God’s peace and exhale anxiety. I’m going to memorize that one today. You share such wonderful helps from all your readings. Thanks, Elizabeth.