Tag Archives: encouragement

Hope In Front Of Me

Lately, I have been having heart breaking conversations with friends and those I have connected with via social media. 

Loss, marriage struggles, job loss, financial struggle, parenting, and so much more.

It seems walking out our faith takes a lot out of us. It is hard some days.

And for a lot of us, it may feel like those days are never going to come to an end.

Music has always been an encourager in my life. I know I have mentioned before, but when a song comes on with just the right words that match what my heart is feeling, it is like I am strengthened or moved to action. It is like God allows powerful words into my life that will remind me of the hope I have.

We were cleaning the house today, and the song by Danny Gokey “Hope In Front of Me” came on.
I was touched by these words:

There’s hope in front of me

There’s a light, I still see it

There’s a hand still holding me

Even when I don’t believe it

I might be down but I’m not dead

There’s brighter days still up ahead

Even after all I’ve seen

There’s hope in front me

Danny Gokey “Hope In Front of Me” 2014

You might be down, but girlfriend…you are not dead!

The same God who created the heavens and earth sees you and loves you.

The same God who can raise the dead to life can raise you from whatever valley you find yourself in. As painful as it is and hurt as you may be feeling right, God absolutely 100% hears your cries for help. It may not come in the time you wish, but He has not left you alone. 

I remember those long nights when my heart was so broken, I was so unsure of what tomorrow would bring. I wasn’t sure I could take much more. But sister, that is the point. We cannot rely on our own strength in hard times. It is in His strength and power that we are able to overcome. He did not call us to be wonder women. He called us to be His. 

And when we allow our brokenness and pain to be laid bare at Him who can heal, you see the glory of who He is and just what He is capable of doing in the lives and hearts of His precious daughters. 

So you are not dead. There is hope for those of us in Christ.

Be a Size You,

Tiffany 

When Opportunities Arise, Do We Pray Boldly?

Mug from CrossTraining Couture

The morning I took this picture, it was after a pretty exciting night of opportunity for my family.  Let’s just say, if God so wills, it could be a pretty amazing thing for Dan and for our calling into ministry.

I woke up excited, slightly anxious (I hate the waiting and the unknown).  I texted a few soul sisters of mine who I could count on for their prayers and encouragement.

I prayed boldly. I have been praying boldly. When you pray, do you pray bold prayers?

I know so often, we pray generic prayers like

“Lord, if it is your will, then let it be done.”

Which is true. We should be praying in all things for it to be God’s will. That it is because what we are praying for is for Kingdom glory and not for our own. But get specific. It is okay to ask for something specifically.

When Dan decided to leave the Ranch, and he had not job in sight at the time, we prayed boldly together for the opportunity to get back into the local church. That is where our heart was and that is where we wanted to be.  I have always believed that God has specifically called Dan to local church ministry.  He has had his fair share of tossing around other career ideas, but you can’t burn out the flame of God’s call on your life.

Ministry is Dan’s calling.  It won’t die out until God says it is time to be done.

During that time, while in my In Laws home, I created a prayer door.  I would use post it notes and place my prayers on that door. I prayed for my kids while they attended school. For our transition into ministry. For provision.  I prayed for Dan’s call into ministry.

I prayed for my team.

When Dan got the job at Cornerstone Church, I prayed for a place for us to live. I was even specific about what we would love to live in.  I prayed for the education choice I was going to have to make for my kids.

I didn’t get everything I wanted. But I got everything I needed.

That is what prayer does.  It is our way of communicating with our Heavenly Father who sees what we need and even sees what we want.  We get to lay it all out in front of Him. And in His goodness, like a loving daddy who desires to give good gifts to his children, that is what our Heavenly Father does. We don’t get everything we want, but we get everything we need.

I see too often women who love Jesus afraid to pray bold prayers because they think that if they do, then it won’t happen. No, sweet sister. Pray your bold prayers! Get on your knees before Him and share those heartfelt desires of yours. What are those needs? What are your dreams?

Do you get excited about the opportunities that come your way? Do you pray boldly for them? Can I challenge you to do that?

Let’s get excited about the possibilities God places in front us to serve His people. Love God. Love His people.  Whether they are job opportunities, ministry opportunities, or just the chance coffee date with a new gal pal, get excited about it.

You may not get everything you want. But you will get everything you need.

I am constantly encouraged when I read in Matthew 21:13

“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

I am also encouraged to pray boldly when in Psalm 37:4 calls us to:

“Delight yourselves in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Delight in my heavenly Father. When I spend time kneeling before Him and pouring out my heart to Him and digging into His precious Word so that I can be more and more like Him, the more my prayers are molded to reflect His heart. I don’t spend time with Him or delight in Him because I want to get what I want.

I delight in Him because I know, like with any good father, that I may not get everything I want.

But I will get everything I need.

And He is faithful always with what we present before Him.

Pray boldly,

Tiffany

Beauty in the Weeds

When my son was a toddler, he would constantly pluck these yellow “flowers” and give them to me. He thought they were pretty.

He wanted to bless his momma with them. 

They would often come to me crumbled in his chubby hands, but I cherished them regardless.

Because even though most considered them to weeds and most of the time we wouldn’t pay much attention to them, my son did. He noticed them. He stopped to pick them for me and give them to the person he loved. They were pretty to him, even though they may be ugly to the rest of us.

Our family has been through several seasons of wading through the weeds. Whether it be through job transition, parenting struggles, marriage struggles, it is what it is. Being down in the weeds is hard and it can be difficult to find beauty during that time.

I remember one point when Dan had lost his job. We had no income to speak of coming in, except for my very small business which wasn’t making enough to cover rent or really anything else, and constantly stressed about how we would pay the bills and survive. What about our kids? How would we feed them? How do we nurture them when our world felt like it was crumbling all around us.

Then came the “flowers.” My son’s flowers. During that time when he would pick those little yellow buds from overgrown grass, it was at the time when Dan and I were uncertain if the lights would stay on. If we would lose our apartment. If we would have to move in with family (we did, eventually), if Dan would find another job (he did, praise God!). If our marriage would survive (obviously, we are going on almost 13 years of marriage!)

God opened my eyes to see that beauty and His hope is found everywhere. In all of my worry and anxiety and fear, I forgot to cling to hope. I was afraid we wouldn’t be provided for. And yet we were. He provides for us in our need, not necessarily our wants. We had to sacrifice, to be sure. We had to say goodbye to the things we had grown accustomed to. We couldn’t do as many fun things as we had liked or wished. 

But He still provided. And we are still together as a family. We still had each other. God mended our brokenness and brought us closer together so that while our time was hard, we still had our family. We still had love. And that made us fight harder to see beauty in the weeds.

I don’t know where you are today. Struggle seems to be all around my friends lately. I am lifting you up today. 

Can I encourage you, as you wander through overgrown fields of worry, anxiety, fear, uncertainty and more, that you look for beauty. You look for hope. And remember that the God of the universe cares for you? 

For even the flowers are cared for. They have no need to worry about what the day will bring or how to dress. God has taken care of it. 

And He, more so, will take care of you. Is that easier said than done? Sure. But believe anyway. 

“And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” Matthew 6:28-30

Be a Size You,

Tiffany 

Ready for Harvest

Whenever I think of Autumn, I think of the words in John 4:34-35:

“Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work…..Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.” 

After summer, Fall is my next favorite season.  Here in California, we don’t really experience seasons.  Unless you live in more northern parts of our state, it generally stays the same temperature with some variances in heat. But not too much. For instance, last week? We were hitting 90 plus degree temps.

Yeah, Fall doesn’t feel like fall quite yet.

But that is okay.  I think the fields are still ripe and ready.

Especially the fields in your own home, and in your communities, and in the hearts of those you love.

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Our family got to take a break from the mundane and school, and went to our local apple farm in Julian, CA to pluck from the trees that were ready to share their abundance with us.  This is the kind of stuff I live for.  Julian is this perfect little town and it is so cute and I wish that I could visit it all the time!

We got to go with friends from church and can I say that we as a family really needed this. We needed to go on an adventure together. Yes, to most, it was simply apple picking. But to me, to this mama heart, we have been so busy rushing from one activity to the next, our schedules are full and it feels like we are on a hamster wheel. So the fact that we got to bend the rules a bit and get away as a family together to do something fun meant the world to me.

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The Fields are ready for harvest in my own home.  No one else is going to spend as much time as Dan or me to teach my children about Jesus or spend time with them.  It is the will of God who created me and made me a mother to raise up these little humans.   It is my job. It is my main ministry.  I have a heart for women and I am actively pursuing women’s ministry, but my first role is wife and mama.  Family.

It is why going to the apple farm with the kids and Dan meant so much to me.  It was a chance to create a memory that we could talk about together.

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I am also reminded that I am to love other people, especially when their hearts are ripe and ready to hear a message that can be transforming to their lives.  I will let God do all of the heart transforming work. I will simply open my mouth and be available to those who need to hear powerful truth.

Being on social media tends to be a popularity contest of sorts.  I don’t want to post so that I can become more popular or gain more likes. I want to post words that will inspire and point back to Him.  My hope is that each person who visits my small corner of the internet, they will be moved to learn more about their Creator and to fully submit to His goodness.

When I take my children out and we go on adventures, my heart isn’t that they will see how much money we spent or all the cool places we get to go.  My heart is that they will see that I love them and desire to spend time with them and to have fun with them and create memories together. Right now, I need to be nurturing and caring towards their little hearts so that as they grow older and one day have families of their own, they will spend the time harvesting in the hearts of their children, as Dan and I tried to do with them.

Often when a lot of read scripture and we see the callings that Jesus placed on the disciples to share and witness, we think of traveling all over the world, or going on missions trips or running non profits.  But God has shown me over and over again that I have my own little field right in front of me that needs attention.

For those fields are white for harvest.

Be a Size You,

Tiff

Moms, Watch the Olympics with Your Daughters

My daughter, Madi, wants to swim competitively.

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She is a fantastic swimmer. I don’t simply say that because she is my daughter.  Obviously, I am proud of her.  But she really is a great swimmer. She loves the water. She looks forward to when the weather heats up so she can grab her swimsuit, her goggles, and head out to the pool and spend hours out there.

It is her happy place.  I love watching her swim.

So when the Olympics began this last week, I was sitting right next to her as we watched women compete in the Olympic games in swimming.

Photo by NBC
Photo by NBC

Fellow mamas of daughters, I want to teach my daughter what strength looks like.  I come from an athletic background.  I played softball and ran cross country.  I was also a dancer, a singer, and an actress. I wasn’t worried too much about the outfits the women would be wearing while competing. I wasn’t going to pester her at that moment about modesty and pick a part the women’s uniforms.

I wanted to show my daughter, who desires to compete competitively in a sport that is very competitive, what it took, what strength looked like, and how these women are strong and they never gave up.

Madison is 10. This is the age where girls become a little bit more aware of the changes in their bodies. They notice that they may look different than the other girls.  They may be taller, bigger, shorter, have longer limbs, thicker legs. Around this age, girls begin to become so uncomfortable with their bodies that they quit participating in sports.

I don’t want my daughter to quit a sport or activity she loves because she is uncomfortable with her body. I want her to see the different bodies of women. I want her to see strong and health women as positive examples.  I am not interested in the Kardashians. They don’t represent strong to me.

Women like Katie Ledecky do.

Simone Biles represents strong to me.

Gold medallist US Simone Biles performs during the Women's Floor Final at the 2015 World Gymnastics Championship in Glasgow, Scotland, on November 1, 2015.    AFP PHOTO / ANDY BUCHANANAndy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images
Gold medalist US Simone Biles performs during the Women’s Floor Final at the 2015 World Gymnastics Championship in Glasgow, Scotland, on November 1, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ANDY BUCHANAN Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images

My daughter sees me working out every day and she sees me try to make the best choices nutritionally for all of us, because I am trying to teach her that a healthy and strong body is capable of so much. It can’t prevent everything. We live in an imperfect world. But God created our bodies and it is right to be good stewards of it.

I want my daughter to love the body God created her to have. I want her to take care of it. I want her to appreciate how different she may look from other girls and I want her to love being strong and to pursue swimming if that is what her heart desires to do.  When you love doing something, it won’t feel like a chore.  You will have hard days, but you will continue to wake up each day excited to do what it is that you love.

We have enough female celebrities who try to sell the idea that nakedness and sex is empowering. I beg to differ.  I want my daughter to see what her body is capable of doing.  That she can be strong and feminine and lovely.  And that she doesn’t have to look like a carbon copy of everyone else in order to achieve her dreams.

Be a Size You,

Tiffany

 

Vacay-The Be a Size You Way 


If you have been following me on IG, you know that the Harper’s are on vacation in sunny Florida. We have been spending a ton of time with Mickey and his friends and we have definitely needed this time away to just enjoy each other and have some fun! 

When on vacation, it is so easy to get stressed out about how you are going to get all of your workouts in, and how you will eat healthier, but remember, the Be a Size You way is about functional fitness and health. Enjoy your time away. Do not stress. But pack some essentials to help you stay on track.

Here is what I brought along with me to Florida:

1. Single serving packets of Shakeology. Chances are, I won’t be eating 100% clean on this trip. That is okay. I want to make sure that I do get good nutrition while away, which Shakeology absolutely provides for me in that area. 

2. Beachbody on Demand. I like the ease of not having to carry around DVD’s on flights and on vacation. Too much for this mama to remember! Since I already have my iPad and smartphone with me, viola! Log in and start working out. No excuses. I have chosen to do more low impact exercises and ones with minimal equipment (Cize, Piyo, etc) since I am not near a gym, but if you are fortunate enough to be near a fitness center with plenty of equipment, go for a more challenging workout on Demand! 

3. Comfortable shoes and clothes.  I pack my workout clothes! I pick the ones that inspire me to get moving. I love Cross Training Couture tanks and colorful bottoms and my favorite sneakers so that I will see them and get motivated to move! Also, I will challenge myself to take it outside for a run if I can!

4. Consider your location. We are in Florida and walking a ton of hours throughout the theme parks. That is a ton of activity. So if you can’t get a traditional workout in, count your steps for that day in mileage while on vacay. You won’t always be able to do a traditional fitness program on vacation. That is not realistic and remember, your focus is purely functional fitness. Enjoy your time with your family. 

5. Don’t stress about 100% clean eating while on vacation. There are a ton of incredible options for food when you are out and about. I will often pack healthier snacks and even lunches for our trips to to theme park so we can save money, and then splurge on fun treats that we may not get at home. And guess what, you still get to have fun!

Fitness and health on vacation doesn’t have to cause you stress. That is not freedom. Being a Size You isn’t a prison. I don’t believe that God sent His son to die for us and to free us from our sins, just so we can go and put ourselves in a prison of our own making when it comes to physical fitness. 

I hope those tips helps you a bit! I also like to keep myself accountable within my Bootcamps. The support there helps me as well to remember why I do this each and every day!

Be a Size You,

Tiff 

Your Commitment Matters

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People have a hard time wanting to commit.  Whether that be in a dating relationship, ministry, exercise program, playdate, you name it.  People are afraid of commitment!

It is like they fear that if they commit, they will be stuck doing it forever.  But friends, that is far from the case!

Some commitments are a long time and some are simply for a season. But your YES matters. Why?

Your credibility is at stake.  If you are someone who finds yourself saying yes to everyone, but you don’t follow through, or you flake out after things get tough, then I can guarantee that people will be leery of approaching you with other commitments.

I am always brought to this verse when I pray about commitments in my life that I am being asked to consider:

“Let what you say be simply ‘yes’ or ‘no’, anything more than this comes from evil.” Matthew 5:37

Here is why this verse always gives me pause when it comes to decision making.

God is not fickle. He does not ask us to do things for His Kingdom, and then turns around and says never mind when things get difficult. He doesn’t tease us. He doesn’t make promises He cannot keep.

We are created in His image. For those of us who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, we reflect Him.  We rely on the Holy Spirit (that was promised to us at conversion) to guide us and enable us to do His will. That means, if we say yes to something (so long as it is not illegal, evil, or sinful), don’t you think the Holy Spirit can empower us to finish through with our yes?

Sometimes, saying yes will be uncomfortable. Sometimes, we are not going to LOVE what we are doing.  It can be hard.  Most people don’t like hard. We like easy. We like little risk. We don’t want to sacrifice our time, treasures, or talents for the good of others if it doesn’t automatically bless us or make us look good!  (That sounds so harsh, but it is a reality! I have been in ministry for nearly 13 years.  The stories I could share, but won’t!)

That doesn’t mean we say yes to everything that comes our way. Some opportunities, no matter how good they may be, just don’t fit either because of our current season or interests. Say yes to those you can honestly commit to and with a joyful heart, even if it means someone else is blessed!

And when you say yes, or no, stand by it.  Don’t go back and forth. Remember, God was not and is not fickle. We are more like Him when we do this because then we are trustworthy. Just as God is trustworthy.

Be a Size You,

Tiffany

 

 

 

Fight Back Against Fear

Fight the Fear

I was  listening to some  old school Christina Aguilera this week (Don’t judge) and the song “Fighter” came on and y’all, that was my jam nearly 15 years ago!

I know Ms. Aguilera sings about a relationship gone bust and that did her wrong, but it made me think about our relationship with fear. Yes. FEAR.

Think about it:

“You were there by my side

Always down for the ride

But your joy ride just came down in flames

‘Cause your greed sold me out in shame.”

Fighter (Stripped 2002 Christina Aguilera)

Fear is no friend of ours.  It hangs around like it is a close friend. It tells us lies about ourselves and about others, making us believe that it is out to “protect” us from harm but in reality, its big goal is to keep us from moving  forward.

So let’s fight against it sister.

God did not give us a spirit of Fear.  He makes it clear, Fear is not our friend. The Holy Spirit wants to give us a spirit of power and love. Perfect love casts out fear.

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18 ESV

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7 ESV

I love the imagery in the  song of coming out stronger and not allowing this person, even though they did her wrong, keep her from moving forward and growing and become stronger.

God’s word is that powerful as well.  If we allow ourselves to be captivated by who He is and if He get to know Him by knowing His word and living it out, then we too are fighters.  We come out a little wiser because we know the truth.  We come out a little stronger because we are armed against the arrows of the evil one.

Imagine yourself, girlfriend, in a boxing ring with Fear staring you down.  As Fear tries to deal you blows full of lies and deceit and shame, your hands will deliver blows that will disarm and place fear where it belongs.

Defeated and Bruised.

Be a Size You,

Tiff

P.S. I bet you never thought I would tie in Christina Aguilera and Jesus. LOL!

 

How to Reach Your Goals

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“Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.” Proverbs 23:12

What is it that you want to achieve?  Your goals and dreams. They can be about anything, not just health and fitness.

How clear is your vision?

The biggest difference between leaders and followers is their vision.  Followers get distracted and discouraged easily. They take their eyes off the road that will lead them to where they need to go, in order to find something that will help them achieve it faster. Leaders understand that sometimes, okay, most of the time, there are not short cuts to the road they are on. Which is why they have a clear vision of what they want to achieve and the steps they need to take in order to achieve it.

Let’s chat about your health for a second.  You may have a goal of getting in better shape.  But do you actually have a plan of action in order to get in shape? Just writing down that you want to workout 5 days a week won’t cut it as a plan. It is a good start, but do you know what workouts you will be doing those 5 days? And what about your nutrition. Do you have a meal plan mapped out for the week in order to help you get there so that your diet doesn’t outdo all the hard work you will do during the week?

Let’s chat about your life, now.  What about your time spent reading God’s word?  Just writing down that you want to be in your bible each morning won’t cut it. Again, that is a great start.  But in order to help you stay on that commitment, do you have a bible study you will go through, or a daily reading plan so you will know what to read that morning?

Vision. Focus. Staying on a plan is what will help you reach your goals. It more than likely won’t be the fastest way or the easiest way.  But it is the BEST way.

Be a Size You,

Tiffany

P.S. For those of you who want the best of both worlds, and you have health goals and you want to grow in your walk with Christ, signups for my Be a Size You bootcamp are open until May 23rd.  I hope you will join us (I only have a few spots left!) For a plan and vision that will help you reach your goals, this community is where you will find it!

Show Them Grace

 

Photo by Suzy Collins at Freedom Grace & Fitness
Photo by Suzy Collins at Freedom Grace & Fitness

How excited are you right now?

You have just begun your journey into Being a Size You. I know this decision comes with a lot of nerves and decisions, and learning new tricks along the way, but can I encourage you in one thing?

One thing so simple, but is truly one of the hardest parts of your journey?

Show grace.

For yourself. For your family.

When I began my journey towards Being a Size You, I have to admit that I wasn’t very sensitive.  My husband had graciously allowed me to purchase a plan that cost us a great deal of money.  It was what I needed and he knew I needed it.  So it was a sacrifice for both of us, especially him, since he was the only one providing income for our family at the time.

In my selfishness, I automatically took the position that if I was going to be cooking all of these new recipes and educate myself on eating healthier and working out more, then my family better follow suit.

Because I was not about to cook different meals just because they didn’t like what I served. I was not their slave!

But, sister, that is the wrong approach.

I am in no way telling you to make several different meals in order to appease your family. This is not about you slaving in the kitchen. But remember, just as this is all new to you….it is also new to them.

My poor husband was shocked when I started buying all of these vegetables that we both had never heard before. In my eagerness to try Quinoa because it was all the rage, I served it undercooked. He literally thought he was eating birdseed.

He thought I had fed him birdseed!

Looking back, I was not very considerate of my family and the changes that were about to happen to them as well.  Being a Size you is not just about you.

Your entire family will be involved. Change will have to happen for everyone. So show a little grace. Have some patience. Not every meal you serve that is healthier for you will necessarily be a winner for them. They may hate it and swear off veggies for the rest of their lives! But they will come around. Some people make the adjustments better than others.  But have patience with your family. Have patience with yourself. Go with the flow as much as possible while still working towards your Be a Size You goals.

This journey is to be a lifelong process because truly, I want you around for life.

So show them grace.

And have fun. Enjoy the process.

Be a Size You,

Tiffany