Category Archives: Books

Friday Favorites Roundup week of 8/21

Yippeee! It is Friday! I am so dang excited for the weekend. On Saturday and Sunday, our family likes to go on little adventures, whether that is hiking, trying out a new lunch spot, the beach, or just chilling and watching a movie. We do our very best to spend time together in the middle of being so busy with activity. I don’t want to miss a single moment with my family.

On to my favorites!

I am really, really wishing for Fall to hurry up and get here. I have a few Duster cardigans in my closet that need to be worn and I can’t wear them in ninety degree weather. Not happening.

If you don’t have one, you need one or a few! I am searching for a leopard one for myself to add to my collection (so if you spot one, let me know!) because it would be perfect for Fall and for date night in some cute black skinnies and heels. I have already envisioned the outfit I would wear with it. Does that make me weird? Please tell me I am not the only one!

Anyway, the one I am wearing is from Lularoe (my sister, Sheena Roark is a retailer) but here are some other duster cardigan options here, here, and here.

I am currently reading and finishing up Cultivate by Lara Casey. I took a brief break from it to read Be Obsessed or Be Average. These two books are completely different, but I love them both. Excited to share my thoughts and what I learned from Cultivate.

I like simple meals as much as possible. But I have also been digging making Eggs and Kale for breakfast. It is so easy and I just feel so good after eating it. I can’t explain it!

It is especially hardy after a workout. I use my favorite organic spices, Balanced Bites Spices. My husband loves to use the Taco and Fajita seasoning. I love the Savory, Diner, or Italian.

Speaking of workouts, lately, I have been enjoying the 17 Minute HIIT workout by Joel Freeman (co-creator of Core De Force). When I say it is 17 minutes, I mean it. It is intense. It gets the job done, and then you get to go on with your day. It is only available for BOD members, so if you aren’t one, and you would like a free 14 day trial (and you don’t have a coach!) you should check it out! I took this workout (and more) with me to Laughlin this past week and it was awesome to kick butt and not have to figure out what to do for my workout while on vacay. Winning at life!

That is all for this week, sister friends!

What are you loving this week? Please share or tag me on your social media posts so I can see all your favorite things.

Be a Size You,


Books for Leaders: Be Obsessed or Be Average

I am a HUGE reader.  I try to read one new book each month as I like to learn new things and get different insights on how I can be a better Wife, Mother, Leader, Business woman, and so much more.

I fully believe in constantly growing and not getting comfortable for too long. Life changes in an instant and you want to be alert and teachable, should you need to do something new or change direction suddenly (been there once or twice!)

I recently finished the book Be Obsessed or Be Average by Grant Cardone and can I be completely honest with you? I didn’t think I would like it.

I thought the title and cover was obnoxious. Hello, sitting and all happy on a jet? Whatever.

But, they say never judge a book by its cover, right?

I absolutely loved this book. It really resonated with how my personality is wired and often I am a bit too much for certain people.

I want you to read the book to decide for yourself, but basically the author is a man who struggled growing up. His father worked hard to provide them an incredible life, then he died, and his mother struggled to provide the best she could. He grew resentful, became addicted to drugs and homeless, until he decided to be obsessed about doing it differently. He became obsessed about being the best at what he could be the best at and going for his dreams and what he wanted his life to look like.

This attitude of being obsessed flies in the face of most people and what they will tell you.

The word obsessed leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths.

For myself, growing up, I have always been an intense individual.  I really do enjoy competition and working hard to be better. To get the lead role.  To earn a scholarship or even to be crowned in a pageant.  I work hard and I focus on my goals because that is what I want.  I have watched my parents, as incredible of a life they tried to provide for us and it was indeed wonderful, they struggled financially.  My Dad, who worked in computer programming and was self taught, when he lost his job, he was always overqualified for. It was a struggle for a long time.

I had decided then that I didn’t want that kind of life for my family. I knew I couldn’t prevent bad things from always happening, but I could work hard to have the kind of lifestyle I wanted. But it wasn’t going to be handed out to me and I sure as heck was not going to rely on the government to help me!

This book will hit a raw nerve with some people.  If you are prone to excuses, if you are one who complains about your past a lot and blame others for your lack of success in life, you will hate the author. Ha! I am not kidding. He is straight up and direct and he doesn’t give you a ton of fluff.  He does tell you what you should do, why you should do it, stop complaining and get to work.

Which is what I like to hear because I like that type of direction.  I am a no nonsense gal and I am a bit intense, so when someone is direct and tells it like it is, I listen up.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I finished it in about two weeks (I tried to read about a chapter a night), and I highly recommend it for leaders and business women who are really truly ready to go after what they want in their business, their life, their marriage, for their families and so much more.

I will leave you with one quote (of many!) that stood out to me throughout this book:

“The world is filled with people who have given up on their dreams and now spend their lives trying to get others to give up on theirs.” 

Have people in your life who have something to say about your dreams? Things like:

*That will be really hard

*Most people fail in doing what you are trying to do

*Most people are younger when they start doing this

*How will you find the time?

*It isn’t realistic

*Why do you need to do this?

He addresses those very comments in the book. Get ready!

If you have dreams or ambitions or goals, many people who gave up on themselves will try to stop you.

Don’t let them.

Be a Size You,


Something For Your Daughters

Every night Dan and I have taken turns to read Madi a devotional or Bible Story before she goes to bed.  We have both honestly tried to make the task of instructing and teaching of our children in the Lord a priority.  

We aren't perfect at it. To be honest, sometimes we just want them to go to bed! But Madi has now become so accustomed to this schedule and to her Bible readings, that she absolutely looks forward to the stories and she DEMANDS that we read them.

I would rather have it this way than any other way.

Lately we have been reading a devotional that we absolutely love and Madi seems to really resonate with its teachings. 


I had heard Sheri Rose Shepherd at our Women's Retreat a couple of years ago and loved her. And I loved that she wrote a devotional for little girls and regarded them as princesses of the King. In fact, these devotionals are written in the form of a letter from our loving God.

Madi loves them and she understands the lessons very well. If you have a little girl, I highly recommend it.  



Reading List for 2011

Every year, I try to incorporate some reading into my schedule.  I love to read.  Nothing can make me think and challenge me in my own life and how I treat others as much as a good book. A good book and Scripture.  Plus, it is great to do while taking a nice relaxing bubble bath.

I am all about bubble baths. And relaxation. Can't get enough of them really.

So here it is, my reading list for 2011:

Grace is for Sinners by Serena Woods

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp (Currently reading)

Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster

Breaking Free by Beth Moore

The Dangerous Act of Worship by Mark Labberton

Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas

The Grace of God by Andy Stanley

Throw It Down by Jud Wilhite

I don't have as many books as I did last year and I included Mark Labberton's book again on this list as I never did get to read it in 2010. So he gets a second chance ;).

What are you reading in 2011?


Things Swirling In My Head

*Began my Christmas shopping last week.  I have also found myself lost in Etsy for hours because of said Christmas shopping. I now have a huge list for family (and for myself..not gonna lie.) I love handmade!

*Been downloading new music to listen to.  I love listening to songs that just feel good to the soul.

*The entire Harper family has or has had a cold this week.  Madi got an infection so we are taking it easy this weekend.

*I stopped by the library to pick up a new read. I have been aching to get some new material in my hands.  I miss the days when I could just easily plop down on a couch, have a warm cup of coffee and read undisturbed for hours.  For now, I will take the minutes I can get!

*In my quiet times, I have found myself to be disturbed by how much we focus on just a couple of attributes of God and so quickly and easily forget the others.  It has been a convicting and refreshing week to say the least. More to share on that later next week.

Daniel 11:32 "…..the people who know their God will be strong." 

*We are kicking off a brand new series on Sunday titled "My Dirty Little Secret".  I am really excited for this series and I believe it will be our most emotional series to date.

*Praying for so many: The Husmann's, Kayla Aimee, Haiti, the family and friends of Sydney….life can be very hard sometimes. But I believe we still serve a great and mighty God.  One who is faithful and full of truth and good.

In His Grace,


Hey There!

I have an interview up at today. Come by to say hello and learn a little more about my role as a Pastor’s Wife and Illuminate!
Plus, you will get to meet some other really amazing women. So if you are a PW or a women in ministry, come on over!

Slightly Book Obsessed

I LOVE to read.  I can read a book rather quickly if I am really into it. 

The Twilight series?  Yeah,  read through all four of those books in a week.  No husbands or children were neglected during that time. 

Okay well maybe for a couple of days…but that was all!

Anyway, one of the things I get really excited about for the new year is a reading plan.  I love having a list of books planned out for the year. 

Here is my list for 2010:

The Dangerous Act of Worship-Mark Labberton

Hearing God-Dallas Willard

Same Kind of Different As Me-Ron Hall

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years-Donald Miller

Renovation of The Heart-Dallas Willard

No Perfect People Allowed-John Burke

Plan B-Pete Wilson (available Spring 2010)

I Will Carry You-Angie Smith (available Spring 2010)

Going Rogue-Sarah Palin (Totally curious what all the buzz is about….plus I totally dig politics!)

The Naked Gospel-Andrew Farley (Not entirely sure about this one yet….still researching)

So tell me!  Do you have a reading list for 2010? Have any recommendations for me?  Please share!


School Bullying

Yesterday I picked up the book Please Stop Laughing At Me. I hadn’t heard much about it but after I read the synopsis on the back I thought this book would be right up my alley and that I would really learn a lot from it.

I finished it this afternoon. No babies starved during this time so please do not worry. 🙂

The book retells the story of a young woman who was tormented physically and emotionally by her school peers from 5th grade until she graduated high school. It makes me sick to type that. Reading her graphic details of the kinds of things bullies said and did to her made me angry and I found myself telling her to go kick some tail. I understood how she felt. While I was not teased mercilessly as she was, there were many instances when girls picked on me for absolutely no reason. Really, absolutely none.

When I was in elementary school I had really long hair. It was like down to my waist long. I had one friend who decided that I was concieted. She told everyone that I thought I was better than them and her reason for that was because I kept fiddling with my hair. I thought that so ridiculous and I told her so. But she kept at it and then she started calling me ugly to my face and behind my back. I was so distraught I just didn’t want to even look at her or face her.

There was another incident in the third grade that absolutely horrified me. There was a boy in school that liked me, we will call him O. He spread a rumor that he and I were in the boys bathroom together and that we did things that third graders should not even know about! I was mortified. Kids were constantly coming up to me and asking me if I really did that with him, which of course I denied bit it seemed like they didn’t believe me. Apparently he had given “details” whatever they were and kids bought it. Even my best friend believed him. When I asked her why she simply told me “why wouldn’t I?”. Crushed, I confided to my mom who was so disgusted she contacted the principal.

In 6th grade I wanted to be cool. Unfortunately, I picked the wrong crowd to befriend. These kids already did things like smoke, drink, and sex that the longer I hung around I could see that I just didn’t fit in. And since teens are so perceptive, they could tell I didn’t fit in. There was one girl, we will call her L, who really didn’t like me. I didn’t even know who she was until she decided to pick on me at sixth grade camp. She said in front of everyone in our cabin that she didn’t like me, she thought that I was trying too hard and that I thought too much of myself. She even tried to get some of the other kids to beat me up!!!

In eighth grade I was in an educational video called Cliques, Who’s In, Who’s Out. Ironically I played One of the cool kids who decides to pick on another girl just because she was different. Guess who else was in the video?Yes, L. And she was trying to give an answer as to why some kids pick on other kids and she actually said it was wrong to do that. I almost died because at the time she was still picking on me. Ha!!!!

Fortunately, I had developed a thick skin and found friends whom I could truly relate to and didn’t feel like I had to be someone different in order to fit in. High school came and it was awesome. The college years were the best as I truly blossomed into the woman I am now. I always feel for the kids who are picked on. I was never “popular” although you could say that I was for the most part, with a few exceptions, liked by my peers. But I experienced times when all I wanted to do was beat up the person who picked on me one too many times. Sometimes, even as an adult, I find myself moving on the defensive whenever anyone tries to insult me or those I love. My sister’s and my brother have also experienced bullying. My brother is entering his freshman year in high school and he has by far experienced the worse of the bullying. Kids try to beat him up. The teachers and principal have rarely stepped in to stop it and my mom finally told the board that if they didn’t protect him he would have to do it himself. And she means fight back. And he has. By the way, the school knows who my parents are. My parents don’t mess around. I am so fortunate that I had them to help and fight for me when things go too hard to deal with alone. I know a lot of kids who are bullied don’t want their parents involved because they fear it will make things worse. And sometimes it can. But my parents can be scary so I never worried about things getting worse.

What about you? Did you experience bullying when you were younger? Have your wounds healed or are the scars still so deep it is hard for you to forgive your tormentors? Or if you are willing to be honest, were you the bully? Have you ever sought forgiveness from those you picked on?


The Hole in Our Gospel

Dan recently purchased the book The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns and I have to say….I am unbelievable hooked.  At first glance I thought "whoa, heresy right in front of my face! What was Dan thinking!"  Luckily, my husband explained a little bit more to me about the author and I was intrigued.  I told Dan that if he didn't finish the book in two days then I was going to steal it.

Dan is a slow reader. 😉

I have been reading for the past couple of days and I feel as if my eyes are constantly being reopened.  Richard Stearns is the President of World Vision but before that, he was the  CEO of Lenox.  You know, the expensive china company?  The china in which I only have about 3 pieces of that were wedding gifts for our wedding in 2004?  That Lenox.

So how did a big time CEO of such a multi-million dollar company become president of an organization set to help those in need?  You have to read his story. It is amazing and eye opening and convicting!  I am realizing more and more each day that being a christian is so much more than going to church each Sunday, being in a small group and reading our bible everyday.  Are we willing to let God have His way in our lives? Or are we so comfortable that we feel what we are doing is good enough for God. 

Seriously what are we doing! Being a christian doesn't just stop at the transaction of accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior.  There is so much more to be done until His return.

Another book that I am starting to dive into is Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Another fantastic read so far. 

So tell me, what are you reading right now? What is inspriring you or what verses from God's word are challenging you?