We throw off the lie of perfection and cling to our identity in God as we strive to be whole, healthy, and fit. Our goal is wholeness, not perfection.

4th day

…my blogger friends gave to me: The permission to Move

That sounded weird when you read that, didn’t it?  Permission to move?  Aren’t we usually being told that we have to move? Especially this time of year.  Take a leisurely scroll through your Instagram or Facebook feed and you’ll likely be bombarded by images telling you to “work off” your Christmas indulgences.  How many times this holiday season did you eat something and think “That was x number of calories, so I need to do y number of laps/miles/burpees to burn it off”?

But the truth is that movement is a gift.  We get to move, we don’t have to.  Just ask anyone whose ability to move has been limited or restricted.  Unfortunately, movement can seem like a chore when we lose sight of the fact that it’s a gift.  Too often we approach exercise as a means to an end instead of simply enjoying the act of moving.

Why? I don’ know about you, but over the years I have succumbed to the pressure of the ever changing idea of “fit”.  At some point I went from liking exercise to needing to exercise.  I always had more pounds or inches to lose.  Bondage.  That’s what that is.  God sent Christ to free us for freedom, not to get caught up in bondage again. {Galatians 5:1}

So, if one of your goals for the new year is to move more, that’s great.  Just remember to move in a way that is enjoyable.  A way hat doesn’t lead back to bondage, but celebrates the gift of movement.  Here are two programs that focus on wholeness, not just fitness:

revelation_motto

Revelation Wellness

2014-WHAT-IS-REFIT

REFIT Revolution

Are you currently moving on a regular basis?  If so, what do you like to do to celebrate your ability to move?

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3rd Day

…my blogger friends gave to me: The permission to Rest

No book or blog recommendations or photos needed for this one.  Rest looks and feels different for each person.  Over the years, rest has looked very different for me.  Walking while jamming out to music.  Shop therapy at Loose Lucy’s (feels like a lifetime ago now).  Reading magazines while drinking hot tea at Barnes and Noble.  Napping when my oldest son used to nap in the house (now it’s only the car).  Morning quiet time in the kitchen spending time in God’s word and watching the sun rise.  Vegging out on the couch watching back to back episodes of my favorite television series.  I am currently back to napping when the twins do.

You know what rest looks for you right now in this current season.  So do it.  For your own well being, and the well being of those you love, take time out of your crazy busy schedule and rest.  Pencil it in if you have to.

I don’t think you need convincing that resting is good for you.  But, like me, you may not always believe it’s a worthwhile endeavor.  The world around us is vying for our attention, lying to us “If you just get this one more thing accomplished…” – you fill in the promise.  The biggest lie I fall for is “…you’ll be all caught up”.  As a teacher, a mother, and a wife I’ve come to suspect that there’s no such thing as “all caught up”.  There’s always more to do.  Even the hamster on the wheel takes a break from time to time, right?  So, as 2014 winds down, and before we gear up for 2015, let’s give each other permission to rest.

Full disclosure: The 3rd Day of Christmas was yesterday. I took a two hour nap and went to bed at a decent hour rather than stress over hitting the publish button on time.

2nd Day of Christmas

…my blogger friends gave to me: The permission to Dream

Dreams can be scary.  God dreams tend to be scary, but scary good.  You know He’s got something big in store for you.  Like Ephesians 3:20 big and you’re scared that it’ll shake up your life a bit too much.

Dream BIG

If the fear of stepping out of your comfort zone has you frozen in your tracks, check out Jon Acuff’s Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, Do Work that Matters.  That’s by far the best title of a book.  Ever.  Start not only dares you to dream, but gives you the courage to make your dreams come true.  Acuff also provides homework in the appendix to put some action behind that newly found courage.

Start Book

I’m not sure if Lara Casey has read any of Jon Acuff’s books or attended any of his speaking engagements, but her PowerSheets seamlessly pick up where Start‘s homework leaves off.  The sheets walk you through introspective prep work (daring you to once again punch fear in the face) and then setting goals to tackle every day, week, and month.  Midway (after the third month) through the sheets you’ll go through a “refresh” process (similar to the initial prep work) to assess your progress and adjust your goals as needed.  In her 2015 PowerSheets video, Lara Casey stresses that the sheets are “about progress, not perfection” which is something we strongly encourage at Catalyst Movement.

POWERSHEETS

She also mentions how sharing our goals – via social media, with trusted friends, in the FB PowerSheets group, and small groups (online #2015GoalSetting or in person) – fosters accountability and can provide a source of encouragement. Which is exactly what the inneractive™ Fit Club F.O.C.U.S. leadership series does.  It’s not about making more or even doing more. It is an opportunity to tap into your God given abilities – gifts and talents – and use them to be more.  Be more what exactly? That depends on you and what God’s called you to do. Everyone of us has a passion that God has knitted into the very fabric of who we are.

Maybe you want to monetize whatever it is you’re passionate about. Perhaps you simply want to explore it and see how God can use your story to bless others. Or maybe you have so many ideas about your goals that you don’t know where to start. This mentoring program will help you with all of that and more.  Click the image below for more details.

FOCUS

So, as you reflect on 2014 and dream about what’s to come in 2015, do your dreams scare you?

There are many goals for Catalyst Movement, with the foundational goal being to help women live out loud.  To help each woman, regardless of her age, to live her life on purpose, with purpose.  Unfortunately, as women we often feel that we need permission to focus on ourselves.  The 12 Days of Christmas Health and Wholeness Challenge is us at Catalyst Movement giving you, and ourselves permission to do just that.  So let’s reflect on 2014 and intentionally spend the last six days of it, and the first six days of the new year in order to enter 2015 worry and guilt free.

1st Day of Christmas

…my blogger friends gave to me: The Permission to get Focused

In the spring of 2013 a God friend introduced me to the idea of choosing one word to guide your year rather than making a New Year’s resolution.  Granted, it was spring when she shared this with me, but I had long forgotten my resolution I set in January.  Having the opportunity to start over, almost half way through the year, motivated me to check out what this One Word movement was all about.  The fact that two of the authors are involved in FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes – an organization I have been involved with over the past six years) made it all that more attractive to me.  The authors recommend that when choosing a new word for the year, that you not completely scrap the previous year’s word.

My word for 2013 – Stewardship

Funny story.  I became painfully aware of all my resources I was wasting – time, energy, money, health, etc. – and told God that I wanted to become a better steward.  I asked him to help me organize and manage my personal space (both at home and at work), my time, my energy, my sleep, and what I ate.  My prayer went something like this “Lord, please help me to take care of all that You have already given me, then expand my territory. I do not want to squander what You have already given me only to do the same with what You are going to give me.”  Apparently He knows me better than I do, and decided to expand my territory first by blessing me with identical twin boys.  I didn’t have a choice but to spend my resources more wisely! {Matthew 25:14-30}

My word for 2014 – Intentional

Building on Stewardship, I focused on being intentional with the resources God has blessed me with.  Especially my time.  Juggling newborn twins, a seven year old, a marriage, and career has been challenging, and I wanted to make sure that I was fully present wherever I was.  Although I haven’t been 100% intentional 100% of the time, having the word as my focus for the year has served as a much needed anchor for my attention. {1 Corinthians 10:23-33}

My word for 2015 – Finish

It is a call to action not only to finish several projects I’ve started over the years, but also to finish some God assignments that I was too afraid to see through.  In order to finish these projects and assignments I will definitely need to be intentional with my time and a good steward of my time. {1 Corinthians 9:23-25}

One Word

Are you already utilizing One Word in your life?  If you are, comment below with your word for the new year.  If you aren’t, visit the One Word site learn more about finding your word for 2015.

12 days of christmas

I thought I was behind on the whole “12 Days of Christmas” thing, but thanks to the Interweb I learned that the 12 days don’t start until after Christmas – on the 26th.  Which is perfect, because then I’ll have plenty of time during the Christmas break (which by the way all school district employees MUST say Holiday break thanks to a lawsuit) to compile my “Health and Wholeness Challenge” tips. The tips will range from healthy cooking hacks to simple DIY home spa treatments.  There will be no post holiday shaming or guilt tripping you back into the gym.  As always, wholeness is our goal, not perfection.

Is there anything specific you’d like to be included in the 12 day challenge?  Any area you’re seeking some motivation, encouragement, or accountability?

I love how God can use anything and anyone to spread His message.  Especially social media.  A woman named Audra (met her in October at the Refresh retreat) posted in the Facebook Refresh Summit South group about a verse memorization board kit, I contacted the Kisja (a mom blogger and creator of the kit), and here I am sharing her challenge with you.

The 12/28 Challenge

The 12/28 Challenge

So what is the 12/28 Challenge, you ask?  I could quote Kisja word for word, or you can click here to go directly to her site where she explains it beautifully.  I’m excited about the challenge because my son is off from AWANA until January and we can use some verse memorization motivation.  And although I’m not a Pinterest kinda girl – well, to browse but not to attempt recreating people’s pins – I do love “easy to” crafts and the kit looks like it’s Reina proof.

Is memorizing verses something you do?  Do you think you’d be more likely to do it if the verses were posted in your living area?  Do you think you’d remember more verses if they were set to music?  I’d love for you to join this challenge with me and to hear your tips for memorizing scripture!

Disclaimer: I still have to choose my memory verse.  I want it to be related to my ONE WORD for 2015 but I haven’t chosen that word yet and don’t want to rush into choosing one.  So as soon as I choose my ONE WORD and my verse I will post accordingly.

Permission to Be a Mom

My body is not my own.

My name’s Reina and I’m a recovering fitness addict, image addict – I’m not sure which one is more true.  The last time I was regularly active, it wasn’t so much of an obsession as it was a really positive outlet.  But once upon a time, I was a fitness addict.  I was more concerned about the end product and it overshadowed the joy and blessing of being able to move and breathe.  I pushed my body’s limits just a little passed comfortable in order to get stronger, and faster, and build endurance.  And let’s face it, I wanted to look good in jeans.

I’m definitely a recovering image addict, and I think that’s something I’ll struggle with as long as I’m on this side of heaven.  It changes, the degree to which I struggle with it.  And also the specific focus of the obsession regarding image, that changes.  There are better seasons, better days, and then there are those days and seasons when I really struggle to let go of the opinions of others.  I truly do believe that it’s an illness, disease, whatever you want to call it, that women are prone to be effected by more than men. Or maybe we just reflect it or act out on it in differently than guys do.  In ways that are more noticeable.  I don’t know.

One of the unexpected benefits of being a new mom of twins is that my twin pregnancy really humbled me in the area of obsessing over my fitness and image.  I was teaching fitness classes when I became pregnant with the twins.  I really enjoyed it.  I loved the endorphins, the comradery of teaching group fitness classes, the whole group dynamic – and it could be a class as small as two people.  One person actually, when it came to my 5:30 in the morning classes.  It was awesome to have other like minded people allow me to partner with them in the endeavor to get healthy and fit, to strive for progress over perfection.  We formed real bonds, created real community.

When I got pregnant I thought, “This is awesome!  I’m going to keep teaching classes and I’m going to teach until it’s time to give birth.”  Then we found out I was carrying twins and I was told that wasn’t going to happen.  The last class I taught was in early August and the next fitness class I participated in was in October.  And in those two short months I could tell the difference in what I could handle, or rather couldn’t handle.  The next time I worked out again was in December and whoa buddy, what I could do was limited even more.

During this time (August to December) I was gaining weight (to be expected) and battling pregnancy acne (as if I wasn’t self-conscious enough already with the rapid weight gain).  It was becoming more and more evident that my body was not mine.  My body was a home to the two lives growing inside me.  It was a cafeteria to feed them.  I was also processing their nutrients, their blood, their oxygen, their waste.  There were so many things my body had to regulate, and my body’s needs took a backseat.

And although I was okay with it during the pregnancy, I really did think that once they were born and I reached the six weeks recovery period (really eight with a Cesarean) that I’d be able to jump right back into working out.  More than trying to get back in shape, I was trying to get active again.  It took me several months of chiropractic care to get my hips and pelvis to stay put and not jostle out of place.  I started doing well for a few days at a time, which became a few weeks.  I was doing at home workout programs and seeing some real improvements in my endurance and muscle tone.  And then the boys went to daycare and I went to work.  They got sick and lovingly gave their stomach bug to me and my husband.  After that, it just seemed like every time I put two days together of working out that something else would pop up.  It really feels like – not as an excuse, but as a reality check – that God’s telling me that now is not the season.  Now is not the time to focus on my fitness, but to focus on being a mom.

Although they are not living in me anymore, and I’m not their house anymore, I’m still their number one source of nutrition.  I’m still supplying the majority of their nutrients through nursing or expressing milk and sending it to daycare.  So I really felt God focusing my attention on my nutrition and food intake.  Unfortunately, when I lost a few pounds in September, my babies lost weight, too.  I’m not sure if my weight loss was tied to their weight loss or if it was just the timing because they had another touch of the stomach bug.  Honestly, I wasn’t heartbroken about not focusing on my nutrition.  It’s not easy to eat 3,000 calories of healthy food every day.  It’s time consuming and it’s costly.

But that didn’t change the fact that I felt torn between being okay with wearing my maternity jeans and wanting to hurry up and “bounce back” to my pre-pregnancy body.  There’s a lot of pressure in our society for women to “bounce back” and look like their pre-pregnancy self with a quickness.  Never mind the magazines that feature new celebrity moms who have lost their pregnancy weight and more in less than three months.  Those magazine covers have been around for years.  When comparison rears its ugly head I’m able to remind myself that those celebrities have nannies, personal chefs, personal trainers, and they do not have the schedule normal moms do.  What gets to me is when I see normal moms on Instagram and Facebook talking about hitting that pre-pregnancy mark.  It’s much easier to get caught up in the lie of “Well, if she can do it I should be doing it.”  It seems like getting back to pre-pregnancy size or smaller isn’t just a goal anymore, it’s an expectation.

I know I’m not the only new mom (or new again mom) who is looking for, waiting for, aching for permission to be okay with walking in the truth that our bodies are not our own.  To be okay with the current season of life.  Not that there isn’t a time to lose fat and tone up. I just know now is not that season for me.  I’m not willing to give up what little sleep I get to wake up super early in the morning to work out before my house wakes up.  And after a full day – waking up around 4 to either nurse or pump, getting myself and everyone else ready for the day, working 9 hours, doing Mommy stuffy with our oldest, nursing and getting the twins ready for bed when they get home from daycare*, putting our oldest to bed, cleaning the kitchen and preparing all bottles and pumping supplies for the next day*, and spending time with my husband before going to bed by 11 – I’m spent and working out is the last thing I want to devote my time and energy to.  If you’re a mom out there and you’re able to juggle working full time, a newborn, older kids, a husband, nutrition, and fitness – mad props to you.  I’m just not there right now and that’s okay.

Since having the twins I’ve noticed that what and how we feed our kids is a huge deal.  I see plenty of debates via social media about breast feeding versus exclusively pumping versus formula and mushy food versus baby led weaning and all sorts of craziness.  I regularly see posts where women lovingly give one another permission to feed their children however they see fit, to do whatever is best for their family.  People say things like “As long as the baby is happy, healthy, and thriving, let’s encourage one another and not tear each other down.”  I see plenty of those posts.

We may not talk about it outright but I definitely sense that there’s this issue of “bouncing back” from a pregnancy and how long it takes.  I’d love to see just as many, if not more posts, of new moms (and new again moms) giving each other permission to enjoy being moms and not having to feel the pressure of to do so within a certain time frame.  Giving each other permission to be present for the very, very short period of time when our children rely so heavily upon us.

So if no one else out there on the interweb can relate, then so be it.  But if you can, please hear me when I say you have permission to be a mom.  Because that’s so much more than enough right now.

*when my husband’s schedule allows he helps out with these tasks

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