Tag Archives: Lisa Harper

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

Drop and Give Me Twenty!!! (Growing Grateful and Staying There for Thanksgiving – Part 1 of 2)

Getting bused to a brand new school is no fun. Our little neighborhood in Lexington, KY, just because it was on one side of a certain road, suddenly became a part of a different school district, busing us to an unfamiliar high school.  Of course now, Henry Clay High School is near and dear to my heart.


Knowing very few students there, a friend of mine and I signed up for summer school to meet some new friends, thus making the transition less painful.

Confession for vanity’s sake: We signed up for P.E., so we wouldn’t have to be groty (as we used to say back then) during regular school hours. Who cared during the summer?

Much of the summer P.E. class involved swimming. I’d been swimming for years. Piece-of-cake, right?

Ready swimming pool

Yes, until….we met the teacher. Turns out Mrs. Rentz was a former coach. Think of the toughest type of coach you’ve ever known and he/she would be a veritable wimp compared to Mrs. Renz.

The first morning of class, Mrs. Rentz had us arrive super early at a local public pool. Early and teenagers don’t mix.

“Let’s warm up with twenty laps!” She barked.

Man swimmer swimming crawl in blue water. Portrait of an athleti

“Oh, nooooooooo.” We’d groan.

“WHO just groaned?” She screamed.

“Ummmmm, we did…” Several of us sheepishly replied.

“This class will not tolerate complainers!!! DROP AND GIVE ME TWENTY!” She spewed.

Instructor with group of fitness class doing push ups in the par

As in twenty push-ups. Like girls can do that….come on. Well, some of you can. I can from my knees. But that was unheard of in the 70’s.

Somehow we survived that summer. We did more than our fair share of push-ups, too. Looking back, Mrs. Rentz taught us more than swimming. She taught us respect. Respect for our teacher. Respect for our classmates. Thankfully, her bark was worse than her bite.

While “Drop and give me twenty” has one connotation, I’d like to offer you a newer, and nicer phrase, thanks to Lisa Harper. Her most recent book is:

Overextended and Loving Most of It: The Unexpected Joy of Being Harried, Heartbroken, and Hurling Oneself Off Cliffs. It’s one you don’t want to miss.


We’ll be hitting highlights for part of a series coming in December on “Surviving the Season of Christmas”. Truthfully, this book is excellent for any season you may be in.

I’ve been blessed to hear Lisa Harper speak on several occasions. One of her many God-given gifts is teaching the Bible. Reading this book is a blast because she writes like she talks. You’ll howl one minute and cry the next.

One part in particular will help us as we prepare to be grateful Thanksgiving hostesses, wives, Moms, Mother-in-laws, sisters, sister-in-laws, daughters, daughter-in-laws, etc. (I’m often tempted to pose the question, “Is ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ an oxymoron?” Shhh, don’t tell!!!)

Lisa tells us she and her road manager, Sharon, have come up with a simple game when they’re traveling. She says, “It’s for when one of us notices that the other is especially grumpy or negative. We call it the ‘Stop and Give Me Ten’ game.”

Good news? It has nothing to do with push-ups!!!

Lisa explains: “The ‘ten’ in the title refers to all the fingers on two hands’ worth of things we’re grateful for.”

Recently when Lisa and Sharon were traveling to a speaking engagement, everything that could go wrong did, and then some. After listening to Lisa whine one too many times, Sharon “commanded in her best impression of A Master Army Sergeant: ‘STOP AND GIVE ME TEN!”

Mature Soldier Shouting Through Megaphone

Lisa said, “…then I submitted, held my hands up, and raised all ten fingers and stated in quick succession:


(I’ll give you my favorite five of her ten, but you’ll get the idea…)

“I’m thankful our flights were only delayed and not canceled.

I’m thankful we’re in a car instead of on foot.

I’m thankful I get to see women launch themselves into the arms of Jesus for the first time almost every weekend.

I’m thankful God is so strong when I’m being such a weenie baby.

I’m thankful He’s slow to anger and rich in compassion.”

Compassion sign with a beautiful day on background

Lisa concludes, “It’s amazing how just thirty-six seconds of practicing gratitude totally changed my mood. I went from Eeyore to Tigger in less than a minute!” She says this works even when you’re in ultra difficult circumstances.

She adds, “…extending past the pain of life to reach for the joy God promises is so very, very worth it.”

Footnote: Ann Voskamp further expounds on this concept of counting your blessings in her book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.

One Thousand Gifts

Finally, Lisa concludes with an awesome visual and Scripture:

“Thankfully, the Holy Spirit motors around in a big four-wheel drive truck with a winch. After He pulls me out, He leaves notes like this on my windshield:

Notebook page2

Stop and give me ten!!! Try it….you’ll like it.

May we grow grateful and stay grateful as our Thanksgiving Day quickly approaches.

Next week, we’ll hear another grand idea to help with Thanksgiving from none other than Max Lucado.

‘Til next time!



Filed under Book Reviews, Friends, Life Lessons

Let’s Wrap Up Women of Faith’s UNWRAP THE BIBLE Conference with More Great Bible Teaching…

How do you unwrap a gift? Do you rip the paper to shreds, hurriedly, to find out what’s inside?

Or, like my sweet husband….

Do you shake it,

feel it,

barely, barely sever the tape,

slowly, ever-so-slowly, painstakingly remove the paper…

until we’re all about to pull our hair out??? (You’d think he’d never opened a gift before in his life, poor baby.)

Or, if you wrap like I do, that translates into stuffing the gift in a gift bag, fluffing up some terribly tired tissue, and zip! Out the door you go in sixty seconds or less…Thence unwrapping this kind of gift takes no time at all.

Gift Bag

What we’re about to discover, thanks to some fantastic Bible teachers, is:

To unwrap the Word of God, we must…


every single word,

every single phrase,

every single paragraph,

very slowly, akin to how my husband slowly unwraps gifts.

Women of Faith’s (WOF) Unwrap the Bible Conference, held in Houston, TX February 21-22, gifted each attendee with five gifts from the Bible to unwrap from five fabulous teachers. Beth Moore and Lisa Harper got us started. (See Part 1…). Then all five of them spoke together on a panel to help us with reading, studying, and quiet times, plus we got to hear a separate talk by Priscilla Shirer. (See Part 2…)

Unwrap the bible

This week, we’ll finish up with the last two gifts coming from Sheila Walsh and Christine Caine. All five of these gals equipped us with Scripture and lessons to keep us standing firm as we walked back out into the wild world in which we live.

Sheila Walsh is what I call the “Steady Eddy” of Women of Faith. Speaking with them from the beginning, more than seventeen years ago, you can count on Sheila to pick you up where you are, no matter the circumstances, and give you the Godly boost you need.

Sheila pointed us to John 15, showing us we must remain in Christ from the Vine and the Branches passages. She said, “Our source of strength comes from God’s Word.” She assured us, “You have not been forgotten. God is bigger than your circumstances.” 

She also warned us: “Beware of compromise…”

Her first lesson was: “We have an enemy hell bent on destroying us, but we have a Savior who became earth bound to deliver us.”  Significant to call upon our Savior.

Sheila walked us thru’ the Book of Esther, pointing us to Esther’s bravery shown in Esther 4:15-16: “Esther sent back her answer to Mordecai: ‘Go and get all the Jews living in Susa together. Fast for me. Don’t eat or drink for three days, either day or night. I and my maids will fast with you. If you will do this, I’ll go to the king, even tho’ it’s forbidden. If I die, I die.’” (MSG) Gulp…would you do this??? Esther’s complete trust in God is inspiring.

Sheila followed up with this lesson: “When you’ve done everything you know to do, then stand and watch the deliverance of the Lord.” 

Storm Inside

Next up, and brace yourselves, was Christine Caine. This was my first time to experience Christine’s teaching. I think my hair is still standing straight up on the back of my neck. My toes are still bruised. My ears are still ringing. This girl packs a punch. Oh, and it’s a Heavenly one at that…

Christine chose Sarah, specifically from Genesis 18:10-14 where God hears her laughing at the thought of becoming pregnant at her very old age. Never mind she “laughed to herself”, but God heard her anyway!

The key Scripture we focused on came from verse 14, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”  She cited case, after case, after case, where God showed up in uncanny situations to care for impossible situations.

After showing a hilarious clip of a boy going thru’ his parents’ pantry and frig, discovering numerous items more than expired, Christine pointed out: “The Promises of God do not have an expiration date.“ 

Then Christine looked out at all eleven thousand of us and asked, “So how’s your posture? How’s your belief? We must strengthen our womb of faith. Because….if it’s not strong enough, you’ll abort and miscarry.” 


Let’s just stop and think about this for a second. What a beautiful picture of our faith. Our “womb of faith” constructs a growing process for us to faithfully feed from this day on into eternity.

Christine further encouraged us to “be intentional about being in God’s Word, knowing God’s Word.” She said, “We’ve become blind to God’s ability to do the impossible…Remember, “Is ANYTHING too hard for the Lord???” 

She frequently adds, “Keep it fresh and keep it real.”


My most amazing discovery happened after the conference when Liz Curtis Higgs and I were asked to join the speakers and some WOF staffers for lunch. How fun is that?

WOF2014 Group

Here we are right before we left for the airport, after lunch. From left to right: Beth Moore, Liz Curtis Higgs, Priscilla Shirer, Lisa Harper, Michelle Parrozo (she’s on staff with WOF), Lisa Bevere, Melissa Moore (Beth’s daughter who writes brilliant additions to Beth’s Bible studies), and Christine Caine. (Priscilla’s cousin and I were the photogs!)

It was fascinating…and while I would have thought the girls would totally kick back, be wiped out from being “on” for eleven thousand attendees…certain they’d talk about food or shopping or when they’d be getting home …Not so…

They all talked about books and resources that help them when writing, whether writing for a book, or Bible study, or for a talk to teach, as well as future writing projects! I just sat back in awe.

One gal, who also speaks for WOF, did like Liz did which was to attend the conference purely to soak in these girls’ teaching. She sat next to me at our luncheon and was the most precious thing. I had no idea who she was.  She was so interested in how Liz and I’d become friends, what I did, etc.

I was so stunned at her interest,  I didn’t think to ask about her ministry!!! This same girl, who knows no strangers, wound up on our flight from Houston to Atlanta, and in similar fashion, became acquainted with half the plane’s passengers. Not kidding.

Who was this? None other than Lisa Bevere. Bet some of y’all know of her husband, John, too. They have written several books and have an awesome ministry. Checkout their website:

Alas, Liz and I landed in Louisville, back into the Real World. Hey, but we were still STANDING….and equipped with anointed teaching from gifted teachers.

As God would orchestrate, my small group recently began Priscilla’s Gideon: Your weakness. God’s strength. Bible study. IT IS POWERFUL!!! Let’s close with her prayer from Week Two, Day One:

“Today, Gideon’s story encourages us to seek the Almighty in the midst of normalcy. Ask the Lord to make Himself visible to you just as He did to Gideon. Pray that He will open your spiritual eyes over the next twenty-four hours so you can see Him more clearly than ever before.” And may I add, all the while standing firm in Him.


Finally, you must know the good news that WOF has already booked an Unwrap the Bible Conference for February 20-21, 2015, back in Houston, at Lakewood Church! Make plans to attend now!!! (Go to: www.womenoffaith.com )

‘Til next time!!!

(This post is dedicated to all five Bible teachers from Unwrap the Bible: Beth Moore, Lisa Harper, Priscilla Shirer, Sheila Walsh and Christine Caine.   You enlightened, taught, and empowered Liz and me and 10,998 others to stand firm in our faith and to take our stand daily. May God Bless you and your families and your ministries abundantly!!! Plus let’s not forget my dear friend, Liz Curtis Higgs, who extended this most gracious invitation to attend in the first place!!!  Hugs across town, Lizzie!!! ‘Twas a blessed BLAST!!!)


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Filed under Book Reviews, Conferences, Travel

Inspirational Book Recommendations You’ll Love! (Part 2 of 3 on Women of Faith’s Unwrap the Bible Conference)

“I thought two books arrived yesterday.” Hubster John commented while nearly wiping out on two more packages that arrived today.

“Yes, well, …I ordered used books thru’ Amazon and they’ve shipped from all over the place. They are much cheaper as some of these books look like they’d be textbooks for Seminary.” I pleaded my case.

“And we know for sure,…” John teased, “YOU, of all people, need more books…”



Book addiction noted, I’m delighted to report in on one of many favorite parts of Women of Faith’s  “Unwrap the Bible” Conference from February 21-22.  Last week we unpacked Beth Moore’s and Lisa Harper’s  talks.  (For more information, please see Houston We Have an Answer….. )

This week we’ll hit highlights from the Panel Discussion with all five speakers:  Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, Lisa Harper, Christine Caine and Sheila Walsh.  We’ll also discuss points from Priscilla’s talk.

Sheila facilitated the Panel by asking the girls what their favorite, most helpful books were, as well as what their daily time with the Lord looks like.  (This was rapid-fire-away-time bustin’ with resourceful  information!!!)

Priscilla Shirer mentioned two books she’s very fond of.  One is The Epic of Eden: A Christian Entry into the Old Testament by Sandra L. Richter and the other is The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbathby Mark Buchanan.  She says both of these made huge impacts on her.

Epic of Eden

Rest of God

(I’m currently reading The Rest of God and am highlighting paragraphs on every page as well as consulting an on-line dictionary…quite the vocab Mark has!  I’ll be writing about this eye-opening book soon.)

Regarding her quiet times, Priscilla said, “We must be in God’s Word even if we don’t understand it!  Continually search it out.  Keep placing your face before Him. Pray for understanding.”

Baby Holding Dad's Finger On Bible

Sheila said one of her all-time favorite books is by Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew. Haven’t met a book by him yet that hasn’t been well worth your time.

Jesus I Never Knew

Sheila emphasized, “Daily quiet times are so essential because one of the greatest lies the enemy spews is that God doesn’t love us, leaving us with the wound of abandonment. “

While she didn’t brag on her newest book, my buddy Liz Curtis Higgs, whom I was with at the conference, said The Storm Inside: Trade the Chaos of How You Feel for the Truth of Who You Are is Sheila’s best writing yet.

Storm Inside

Sheila also armed us with:  Psalm 143:8 –  “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” (NIV)

I love the wording in the ESV:  Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust.  Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.”  The study notes say, “The reminder of God’s steadfast love enables him (David and us!) to endure….The expression lift up my soul is one of deep dependence and allegiance.”

What an endearing verse to start your morning.  Thanks, Sheila!

Christine Caine mentioned two favorite books:  The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative and The Mission of God’s People: A Biblical Theology of the Church’s Mission (Biblical Theology for Life) both by Christopher J.H. Wright.  (These are the seminary-like-textbook ones I spoke of earlier!  True tomes.)

The Mission of God

The Message of God's People

Christine said of her daily quiet time:  “Reading the Gospel transforms us to transform others.  Getting in the Word produces fresh truths and understanding. “  She added, “We’ve got to keep it fresh and keep it real.”

Beth Moore chimed in with a great suggestion:  “Ask God to do the supernatural like He did in Luke 24, where Jesus opened the peoples’ eyes to recognize Him and to Scripture. “ (v. 31)

Beth said she frequently uses Bible software such as www.biblegateway.com , concordances and commentaries, and the book, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem.

Systematic Theology

Lisa Harper also mentioned Wayne’s book as well as books by Craig Blomberg, two of which are on my radar (loads to choose from if you checkout www.Amazon.com  or www.Christianbook.com ):

The Historical Reliability of the Gospels and Preaching the Parables: From Responsible Interpretation to Powerful Proclamation.

Historical reliability

Preaching the Parables

 Beth and Christine also mentioned www.biblehub.com and the NET Bible Reader’s Edition.  Go to:  www.bible.org to see the wealth of information you can access, which is the ministry that created the NET.

NET Bible

Praying this plethora of resources hasn’t fried your brain yet, let’s close out with pearls from Priscilla:

I’ve been blessed over the years to hear Priscilla’s Daddy, Tony Evans, speak as well as her sweet Mother, Lois Evans.  Once in Nashville, other buddies in Women’s Ministry and myself heard Priscilla and her Mother speak.  What a blessed family.  I must say, Priscilla preaches like her Daddy.  Powerful.  Very Powerful.

Priscilla Shirer

For her talk, Priscilla chose Jesus’ Mother, Mary, to teach us a few principles.  She said, “God wars for your soul.  We must stand guard against the enemy. We must not be just believers, but total trusters in Jesus Christ. We must believe He’ll be for us and will do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.”

Priscilla took us to the book of John, chapter 2 where Jesus and His disciples and His Mother, Mary, attended a wedding in Cana.  True to a Mother’s ways, Mary pointed out to Jesus they were out of wine.

Bread And Wine For Jesus

Priscilla enlightened, “Running out is the prefix to running into Jesus.  The primary way to see Jesus is to pay attention to where He leaves us:

If we don’t move,

If we don’t run, and

If we don’t try to circumvent our circumstances.”

Big lesson for those of us “fixers” out there to be patient….Sigh…

Priscilla added, “We don’t always have to try to make sense of Jesus, much less the season we’re in.”  Isaiah 55:8 reminds us, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord.”

Before she closed, Priscilla gave the most powerful case for believing and trusting in God. As if in a chess match,  she began with Genesis and ended with Revelation pointing out Satan’s attacks…But with each one, she beautifully reminded us that “God had another move”…and what He did to counter Satan’s attacks, culminates in His ultimate victory in Revelation.  We all wanted to jump to our feet!

John 20:30-31 says, “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.  But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (NIV)  We must believe…

Priscilla’s pep talk nearly over, she said, “Don’t allow the Cross to lose its’ power.  Redemption is yours.”  Lord, please help us remember this.

Don’t miss Priscilla’s newest book, God is Able. She takes you thru’ Ephesians 3:20-21 in the most fun and gutsy way.  You’ll shake your head and say, “Now why haven’t I seen it that way before?”  You’ll come to believe “HE. IS. ABLE.”

God is Able

Please join me next week as we wrap up Part 3 of 3 of  “Unwrap the Bible” with morsels from Christine Caine, the most enthusiastic fireball I’ve heard recently, plus Sheila Walsh, the “Steady Eddy” of Women of Faith.  You’ll be blessed by their messages.

‘Til next time!



Filed under Book Reviews, Conferences, Travel