Monthly Archives: November 2017

Ordinary is Good

I follow quite a few lifestyle, health and fashion bloggers on social media.  I do that because I love to be inspired and see what they come up with in terms of their content.  I like to learn from those who are running their online businesses well and providing value to those who follow them. As a woman with two online businesses, it is important for me to constantly be learning how I can provide the best value and the greatest content to those who choose to be a part of my online community and share with them what I have to offer.

But, if I can be honest with you, sometimes, I feel that sting of comparison.

I don’t have an extravagant budget to work with in terms of my closet, my photos, my travels.  My home isn’t the most beautiful and it isn’t often photographed to show off it’s amazing décor.

We don’t travel to all of these amazing places, like these influencers do.  I am a homebody. I love being at home.  I love relaxing at home with my family and watching a movie. If we do go anywhere, it is usually for family events/holidays/annual vacations or I am attending an annual work conference.

Or our weekly outing at church.

When I get down on myself about how I don’t have a big enough audience, or my photos aren’t glamorous enough, or I don’t attract enough likes, or I don’t travel to amazing places….it is then I need to be reminded by God why He has me doing what I am doing. What my most important role right now is.

“Please hear me, Girl: The world has enough who know how to do their hair. It needs women who know how to do hard and holy things.” Ann Voskamp

Hard and holy things. And perhaps, even a little ordinary.

It is hard to raise two human beings to love the Lord, and to serve Him and to follow Him all the days of their lives. Because as we know as parents, they will grow up with wings and minds of their own, and they may choose a way that breaks your mama heart.  I look at those two faces in that picture above and my heart aches.  I long so much for them to avoid the mistakes I made as a girl, but while I can guide and direct, someday I will have to let them make their choices.

The ordinary work of being a wife to my husband.  To support him, no matter how frustrated I may be with him. Whether in good times or hard times, being his partner and helpmate is vital and important and hard and holy. Our world glamorizes romance, the wedding and lust.  It does not value marriage and the hard and holy work that it is.

The ordinary is good.  I remember smiling on a late Thursday night, after my son’s final baseball game of the Fall season.  He was devastated because they lost and therefore they were eliminated from the tournament.  So my husband wanted to cheer him up with a dude hangout and grab some baseball cards.  We didn’t have hundreds of dollars to spend, but we had $30.  We didn’t travel to the World Series or even to Los Angeles to somewhere glamorous in order make our son smile.

It was at an ordinary Target in our hometown.  Then we went back to our ordinary home, on our ordinary couch, in our ordinary living room (that will never be featured in a magazine) and just spent time together.

I smiled because it was one of the best evenings.  It was simple.  My son was happy and he was now excited for baseball again in the Spring.

While I love reading my favorite blogs and seeing all those beautiful photos on social media, and as much as they inspire me to better myself as a business woman, I have to keep it in perspective that my ordinary life is good. It is good because God made it good.

He gave me a wonderful husband.  An amazing little home to take care of. Two awesome children who keep us busy and entertained and who love us and want to hang out with us.

I don’t need thousands of likes on a post to show I have influence. I use the words God gives me and the lessons He teaches me to share with all of you, in hopes that my humble attempts lead you closer to Him.

God is teaching me that there is nothing wrong with having a beautifully crafted Instagram page.  But, we must be willing to share the hard and the holy, and even the ordinary, because that is where most of us lie.

Most of us are not living these glamorous lives that we see plastered all over the blogospheres.  We are deep down in the dirt of the every day.  We are traveling to and from work or school, trying to get dinner on the table or make it to a practice or recital on time.

We are changing diapers or kissing our children goodbye as they head off to college.

We go to grocery stores that offer us the most bang for our buck so that we can feed our families well, and if it is organic and healthy, heck, it feels like a win.  We do our best with what we have.

We don’t always get to dress up.  Most of us live in active wear or leggings.

We read books on how we can be better mothers. Less angry wives.  Better listeners. Better leaders. Be less busy and more present. On how to choose joy. How to share the gospel with a friend.  All ordinary things, but good.

So Sister Friend, if you are looking at your Instagram page and feeling like you are too ordinary to make a difference, can I tell you that you are? That there is a fellow gal looking at your feed right now and thankful that your ordinary heart shared something extraordinary in her and encouraged her in some way.

As much as I would love to have a beautiful insta page, I am thankful for the ordinary photos, because they are evidence of God’s work in my life.

Tiffany

Come Shop With Me!

I am so excited to share more about what I have been up to and open up about some dreams I have had for the last YEAR!

If you follow me on Social Media, you may have noticed on my posts and on my instastories, that I have been posting about Poshmark and having sales in my “closet.”

I started using Poshmark out of a desire to reorganize my closet, get rid of items that I no longer wore but were still in really good condition, and see what I could make by selling my gently loved items.

Lo and behold, I made a few hundred in a few weeks of using the site (and I didn’t have thousands of items posted either!) and I knew I was on to something.

If you don’t know me well, know this. I love to shop.  I love finding beautiful clothes.  I love sharing what I find with my friends and family (stay tuned for my holiday wish list for the people in your life!) It is a way for me to express myself creatively by finding cute clothes and wearing them out.  Plus, when you feel good in what you are wearing, you suddenly find yourself far more productive.  I don’t know if that is really true, but I feel that is definitely true for my personality!

Poshmark is a free buy/sell app where men and women can buy clothes at online or you can be a seller and sell items from your own closet, resell items you find at thrift stores, or even open your own boutique on Poshmark if you qualify! (I will get into that in a second.)

If you don’t already have the app, you can download it and use the code tiffharper143 to save $5 on your first purchase!

I have been praying for new ways to bring in additional income for my family during our season our wait, and I knew I wanted to do something in regards to fashion. My husband has always teased me that I should have a job that pays me to buy clothes. And truthfully, I was looking at several companies that were not MLM’s, but would allow me to purchase clothing and accessories in order to sell them outside of my home.  I was so excited about the possibility, that I spent a good deal of time researching and praying and going over which company would be a great fit for me and for my family.

Poshmark, like I had mentioned earlier, had happened upon me and was initially just a way for me to move the gently loved items out of my home and declutter, and make some really easy and fast cash.  After two weeks of using the site, thanks to having plenty of sales in my closet and having 5 Star ratings, I was notified that I was eligible to open a boutique on Poshmark.  Which leads to this:

Olivia Rhea.

Olivia Rhea is the name of my little boutique on Poshmark.  I chose that name for one because it was the name that, should the Lord had given us a second daughter, I wanted Olivia Rhea to be her name. Rhea (pronounced Ray)  is my middle name.  I wanted something personal. This feels like another baby to me, but it is so much fun and I am enjoying it so much. It is fun and it is, for the most part, brainless, and I am really thankful that I get to do this!

I now have a boutique on Poshmark. Which means that each week, I will be adding new, beautiful clothing and accessories to my shop for you to buy.  And you can do it all from the comfort of your home, via an app. You don’t have to show me your credit card and you will get your items via priority mail….which means you get them quick!

Right now, I have the softest sweater EVER (seriously, you need it to layer over all the things as you go about your daily errands or after your workouts) and comfy leggings. More will be added in the coming weeks (including a new item today, so be watching my insta-stories)

Every item will be wrapped personally by me and with a special note, just to thank you for shopping with me. And if you are feeling brave and want to show off how amazing you look, don’t forget to tag me in your outfit photos!  I would love to see you!!!

I will also give you guys the chance to be the buyer!  I want to be able to add all sizes, so don’t be afraid to let me know what you want to see in my shop so I can try and get that for you.

A question that I will probably get a lot that I thought I should answer right now:

Will I always be selling my items on poshmark?

In short, no.  I have really big dreams and vision about where I want Olivia Rhea, the name of my little shop on Poshmark to go. For now, though, it works easiest for me and for all of you.  Easy shopping and fast shipping.  I will share more as those dreams become closer to becoming a reality, but for now, all shopping will happen on Poshmark (unless you are one of my friends and family and are local…obviously, come hang out and shop with me! I will have coffee and snacks!)

I cannot wait to share more with you gals and to offer even more pretty things so you can look and feel your best.  Because we are women who live with purpose and we wear so many hats, let’s dress ourselves with purpose and do the things we are called to do.

Be a Size You,

Tiffany Harper

 

When Being Brave Means Disappointing Others

“Do not think that you can be brave with your life and your work and never disappoint anyone. It doesn’t work that way.”- Oprah Winfrey

I am not typically an Oprah Winfrey fan, but I fully believe that you can learn from others, even if you don’t necessarily agree with everything they believe in.

This quote from Oprah Winfrey, which she shared when interviewed by Brene Brown awhile back, really struck a cord with me.

I wouldn’t say that I am necessarily a people pleaser.  I tend to march to the beat of my own drum and am fairly confident in the things that I want to pursue.  I am a classic INFJ (even my husband was shocked at how well this description pegged me) and when my gut feels strongly in a direction, I do not hesitate to walk towards it, even though odds may be against me.

I am a dreamer. Details tend to bore and overwhelm me, but that doesn’t mean I don’t find them important. They just aren’t my strengths. I don’t seek advice a lot, unless I really, really need direction and wise counsel in an area.  I want the best information possible if I have to make a big decision and I find myself stuck.

I am not a people pleaser, but at the same time, I really don’t enjoy disappointing people. I never want to make someone upset about my actions or decisions, even if they are the best for ME and MY Family.

But the reality is, I will disappoint people.  And so will you.

I have to imagine that when David decided to take on Goliath, even after well meaning people told him not to because he was young, not a soldier, and inexperienced, that it took some bravery. (Read 1 Samuel 17 for more insight onto this…plus, the story of David and Goliath is always a good one.  So many great lessons we can glean from this!)

His own brother was angry with David and mistook David’s willingness to go up against the giant as selfish and as a means to gain popularity and ranking, instead of seeing that David loved His Lord and wanted to serve and defend Him and state the truth of who God was and about Israel. David had faith that God was leading this incredible moment. Just a note, you will have family members who will mistake your bravery and direction with motives you didn’t intend.  Do not be afraid, but understand that it will happen.

365 times do the words “Do Not Fear” appear in the bible.  God says that to His followers many times, as a way to encourage them as they navigate the often treacherous and uncertain waters of their lives, or they find themselves in situations they are unsure about.

God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and of self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7

Lately, due to the many changes going on currently in our life, I have found myself embracing new opportunities and asking new questions about my life, my dreams and what I want to pursue.  I am not necessarily leaving behind current obligations, but being open and praying about how I can best utilize my gifts, talents, dreams and abilities to serve God and serve His people.

I have been writing more, which while does not bring me a paycheck, it has allowed me express my heart and share what God has been teaching me.  If I could never work again in my life, writing and blogging is what I would want to do.

I have also been taking advantage of my love of fashion and shopping and selling clothes on a fun little app called Poshmark.  This is another way to help bring in additional income for my family, and try out something new.  Many people will view it as a waste of time, but I am not really concerned with that.  It is fun for me and I have found myself enjoying the process of finding cute items to list, sell, then wrap beautifully and ship to a customer.  I enjoyed working in retail as a teenager, and I don’t think I would mind working in a retail store or boutique.

I am still working as an online health and fitness coach through Be a Size You.  I have really stopped focusing on challenge groups and have found that most of those who follow me are needing more individual attention and guidance and encouragement.  They are willing to buy a plan, but they aren’t comfortable yet with sharing with an entire group of women they don’t really know (and truthfully, it is hard to really know someone online.)  This allows me to build  a better relationship with the woman I am serving, and really help her be the hero in her own health and fitness story.  This decision goes against the grain of “do more challenge groups” and “sell a bunch of fitness plans and shakes.”  I love our fitness programs and I love our nutritional products, and those who do my 1:1 sessions do need to invest in one or both of those in order to get started, but we will journey through it together and they will have my full attention.

Are you about to embark on something new, and are afraid of disappointing others?  Be brave, sister friend. You are bound to.  But when others express disappointment in you because you are choosing to go down a different career path, goal, adventure, whatever……understand that most of the time, they just can’t understand what you are doing because they aren’t willing to do it themselves.  You aren’t doing it for them.

My WHY is always my family.  Every business decision, every relational decision, every heart decision….my family is the biggest motivator for them.  My dream is to serve them and take care of them. To create something wonderful that I could possibly pass on to them.  To live a life of faith and trusting in God’s goodness and mercy and grace and teaching my children to embrace all that the Lord has for us and for them and for their future.  Others will not understand it or your bravery, but it will be okay.

Be a Size You,

Tiffany

 

How Does God Lead Us?

This past Sunday, at church, I really enjoyed the message that the Pastor shared with us in regards to listening to the voice of God.

I feel like it is a topic that regularly needs to be taught upon, because there seems to be a great deal of confusion as to the voice of God, what that looks like, sounds like, and there is a lot of noise.

And truthfully, if I can be honest Sister Friends, we seem to believe that our feelings align, when more often than not, our feelings can lead us astray and away from God’s perfect will for our lives. I loved this quote from Sunday:

“Sometimes we are so focused on seeing signs and the spectacular, that we miss the simplicity of God’s voice.”

YES!  Have you ever spoken to someone who constantly declares that they had a sign from God that they were supposed to go in a certain direction (even if that direction is sin) and give God the glory for it? Friends, God will not lead us in a way that is contrary to His word. He is not a God of confusion. But, they falsely believe that it was from God because their vision or feelings were so spectacular, they only assumed it was from God, not their own fleshly wants.

I want so badly to be a woman who is lead by God and can discern His voice in my life. These ways listed, I believe will help me and many of you!

Pastor Gary shared that there are 5 ways that God will lead us-and it isn’t always how we might think.

  1. God will lead us by our knowledge of right and wrong.  Doing what is right and allowing God to work out the details.
  2. By His Word. This seems to be a no brainer, and as a Christian woman, one would think that we are constantly in His word for guidance, peace, hope, direction. But too many instead seek wisdom from “Christian” bloggers and authors and social media accounts, instead of going to the source.  That source is the Bible! Psalm 119:105 . Do you believe God’s word is ALIVE? Because I do!
  3. Leads us by His peace.  Colossians 3:15 One of the reasons God puts peace in our hearts is to help us navigate the challenges in our lives. When the peace is destroyed, I need to get alone with God and find out WHY. Pastor Gary compared God’s peace to  like playing umpire in your life.  I loved that comparison, especially as a sports mama. Allowing God’s peace to play umpire in my life will help me see Balls and Strikes in my circumstances and the challenges.
  4. Through the Godly counsel of other people. Yes to all of this!!!!!  We don’t need to seek counsel from everyone, but we should be discerning enough to seek counsel from people who love the Lord. To dig deep and draw from that person, like a person drawing water from a well for living. When we don’t seek advice from others who love the Lord, especially when we need to seek advice, it is PRIDE. Don’t be prideful.  Draw it out!
  5. Lead us by His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was given to us upon our confession of faith.  It will be dropped into our spirit.  These are not your feelings, but a deep longing that is only stirred by God. The Holy Spirit will never disagree with the Word of God.

If you want some additional reading and studying on this topic of listening and being led by God, read 1 Kings 19:1-13.  Pay attention to how God leads and speaks and works in Elijah’s life and circumstance.

Dig deep into the well, sister friend.  There is living water there.

Be a Size You,

Tiffany

The Habits of a Fit Person

This question was answered on social media today by one of the fitness trainers I follow, and while her answer was “technically” true….I want to add more to the conversation.

Her answer was that a fit person doesn’t skip workouts, even when on vacation or during holidays.

Yes, it is true that, for the most part, those who consider themselves fit, don’t cancel their workouts for things like holidays or vacation.  But, I think a fit person’s habits go much deeper than just not skipping their workouts.

I am in a season of my life where my workouts are at a much slower pace than before.  I don’t really have a specific physical goal in mind right now.  With the constant change our family is experiencing, God is directing my heart towards other areas that need nourishing and a health check up.

Things like dealing with stress effectively, my attitude when things don’t go my way (again), and how to stop hanging out with worry and doubt and start clinging to faith. (Watch this awesome Video that I saw this morning….it inspired me so much!)

The habits of a Fit person is one that looks similar on the surface (the workouts, the nutrition, etc), but very different in terms of their emotional state and well being.

A fit person has:

*Faith in the process– they realize that some seasons are going to be about goal setting and goal reaching and other seasons will be slower. But they understand the value of moving their body for their overall health

*The wisdom to rest– They know when their body has reached its limits. When it is time to slow down. To put aside the pressure of looking or feeling a certain way.  That maintenance is a healthy by-product of the fit life. That their LIFE is not a fitness competition.

*The ability to be present and enjoy those they are around, even if they are surrounded by food they should refrain from- This one, I think is hardest because we live in a diet minded society.  We constantly hear and see the list of Don’t Eat This in magazines, social media and nutrition plans. The fit person recognizes what works for them.  What doesn’t serve them, and they are experiencing FREEDOM to abstain and still enjoy being in the presence of their friends and family. This is especially true during the holiday season.  All those baked goods and rich foods are tempting, and they are delicious!  But, the fit minded woman will choose her favorites without guilt and happily say no to the things that she doesn’t enjoy or need in her life.

*Joy and Freedom– She is not in prison to her fitness plan or her nutrition program.  The whole point of her deciding to embark on this journey to being healthier was to bring her freedom.  Freedom from foods dictating her emotions and keeping her in chains. The joy of God directing her steps as she stepped outside of her comfort zone and treated her body with care for the first time in who knows how long.  She is working to break free from the chains and the lies the enemy has told her for so long about her body, her worth, her appearance, her value……and she hears the truth for the first time in a long time.

When I started the mission of Be a Size You, it was so important to me that women experience true freedom and joy and have faith in the process.  I get frustrated with fitness programs and nutrition programs sometimes, because they can seem rigid even if they weren’t designed to be so, and when a person is just beginning their journey, their old habits are hard to break and the lies are still very loud in their minds.  It takes time, it takes encouragement, it takes a lot of grace, and it isn’t just as simple as saying “fit people don’t skip workouts.”

It is so much more than that. So much more.  I have been guilty of saying “No Excuses” before as a virtual health coach, but I am thankful that God has been laying me low to teach me how to better love and serve those who want to live well and truly “Be a Size You.”

Praying for each of you as you embark on your own personal journey of fitness, faith, and health.  I am always here to help you. It is my greatest joy to serve you in that way.

Be a Size You,

Tiffany