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.

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

Amateur Juggler (October 4th)

I need to take care of myself.  What does it look like to you to take care of yourself?  There’s basic hygiene, water, nutrition – you know, the basics.  I’m just wondering how other full time working moms take care of themselves.  I remember doing it when my son was a toddler up until the time I got pregnant with the twins.  I did it with the help of having a membership to the Y, and then being a group fitness instructor.  So that kept me accountable because if I didn’t show up to class then class didn’t happen.  But now that I have twins and I’m back at work, I don’t really know what it looks like to take care of myself during this season.

I know sleep is a huge priority (as I yawn).  I know that spending time with God is a priority, but it seems like it’s something I don’t ever get around to, not how I used to, not how I’d like to.  I haven’t worked out in a really long time and I can feel my body craving all the good chemicals I get from working out.  I know I need to go out on a date with my husband.  It feels like it’s been forever since we went somewhere that wasn’t church or with family.

I know there are things I can do to take care of myself, I just don’t see how to juggle it all.  I’m missing margin in my day.  I need white space.  I need…how do you clear things off of your calendar and to-do list when all of the stuff has to be done?  I have a friend of mine at work who used to joke with me “Reina, all you need to do is get yourself a wife.”  All I know is I feel overwhelmed and spent.  So if you’ve got tips or suggestions on how to refocus energy and time, I’d love to hear them.

#NoFilter – Part 2

So I decided to take this self-presented challenge for the month of October (clearly failed didn’t meet that goal so I’m trying it for November).  I’m going to start writing unedited.  I’m not going to take the time to bold sections that seem important that stand out for some reason.  Quite honestly I don’t know why I started the practice of bolding  words.  I’m a little bit anal retentive a little obsessive compulsive.  So I just kept it up because the idea that there wouldn’t be consistency from one post to the next kind of gave me a nervous tick.

I’m just going to be writing and not really worrying about coming off as clever or witty.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, if people find humor or some wit within the words I string together, that’s cool.  That’s awesome.  That’s great.  But it’s not going to be my intent or my focus for the month of October (November).  I’m just going to write.  I just feel really overwhelmed right now (not writing during October did not help this feeling go away) and I feel worn.  It reminds me of the song by Tenth Avenue North.  I already liked the song, but then when Mike Donehey explained that it was written because of – or not because of, but in response to – something his wife shared with him when they had a newborn.  Which was she was just worn out.  Late nights with the baby and all the things that having a newborn brings.  And I can relate to that right now.

Although I am overwhelmed and feel worn out, I also feel burdened with a lot of things I want to put on paper, or rather, onto my computer screen.  Just a lot of ideas, and feelings, and thoughts.  And again, I’m not going to be concerned about an audience.  I don’t even really think I have an audience.  Maybe some really loving friends and loyal…yuck, I hate the word followers.  But anyways, there are maybe a few people who read this.  And thank you for reading.  I appreciate seeing that it’s been read, commented on, or liked.  But I’m going to be a little selfish here and just write for myself.  And if people can relate, that’s awesome. That’s great.

Right now I can’t concern myself with an audience or how it’s received, because then I start second guessing myself and I start editing while I’m writing rather than just putting down the words.  I start focusing on the reception of the words rather than the words themselves.  And what I write loses a little bit of its authenticity.

So that’s my self-imposed and self-accepted challenge for the month of October (I had all sorts of reasons to not start writing again in October).  I don’t know if anyone else, any other bloggers, or Instagrammers, or Facebook posters can relate to feeling burdened with the concern of how their words or pictures are received.  Focusing on the presentation rather than just sharing without filtering, without constantly editing.  So, if you’re up for the challenge, I’d be happy to have some company.

side note – On October 4th I recorded three different blog entries using an app on my phone.  I thought that if I spoke the words and then transcribed them it would help with trying to edit while writing.  I like the practice and I think I’m going to stick with it for the rest of 2014.  Crazy how that isn’t a very long time.

Are You a Grownup or Adult?

I was a little thrown off guard when my seven year old asked me Saturday afternoon, “Are you a grownup or adult?”  I wasn’t sure what to think of the question at first.  So I asked for clarification “What do you mean?”  He went on to show me the book he was reading (one of the many Captain Underpants books he’s gotten from his school library) and there was a picture of a presentation type poster board showing that “Adults = three peanuts” and “Grownups = one screw + one baseball”.  There was no further explanation given, but he knew there must be a difference between being an adult and a grownup since his book used both terms.

To be honest, I kind of recoiled in shock when he used the word grownup.  I think I audibly gasped when he suggested that I might be one.  I don’t know if you’ll agree with my explanation or not, but this is how I broke it down for him.  

An adult is responsible but still a kid at heart.

A grownup takes themselves too seriously and has forgotten how to have fun.

Jesus compares the kingdom of God to the faith of a child.  For me, faith involves childlike imagination, risk, and humble dependence.  Grownups trade in optimism for cynicism and call it being pragmatic.  Maybe I’m over thinking it.  Maybe I’m reading into it too much.  While everyone should aspire to be a responsible, contributing member of society, I believe everyone should strive to remain a child at heart.  That’s my goal at least.  

I’ve been back at work for three weeks now.  Of those three weeks, we have had grandparents from California (two different sets) for all of four or five days.  Which means that dinner has been prepared for us one way or another for most of the last five weeks.  It’s been great, but we’re not slated to have house guests again until late October.  As our leftovers have been dwindling, reality has been setting in. I’ve got to start cooking again. But the idea of cooking now that I’m back at work seemed daunting and completely overwhelming.  So I did what any working mom of three would do – I scoured the Interweb (yes, another Jon Acuff reference) for ideas.  

Before getting pregnant with the Floyd Twins, I was eating clean – at least 80/20.  But the combo of exhaustion + hunger = anything goes diet has rewired my taste buds, and not for the better.  As a nursing mom of twins I still need to eat about 3,000 calories a day and what seems like a ridiculous amount of protein.  So, rather than trying to go super clean, I’m focusing on eating more real food in the most convenient way possible.

So after doing a search for “frozen to crock pot paleo meals” I found the Paleo Made Simple site.  I decided to prepare 6 of the 7 freezer to crock pot meals (no one in our house is a fan of stuffed peppers). I have no clue if they’re going to be any good, but so far I’m sold on the process.  With the help of my seven year old son, Minifleeze, I prepped SIX MEALS in under 2 hours.  I cleared the counter after every meal bag so by the end there was very little clean up needed.  

 Frozen Meals

We’re having a meal each day this week and hopefully there will be enough leftovers for me to take to work for lunch.  I’ll report back with everyone’s thoughts.  

Do you have any good freezer to crock pot recipes or resources?

I knew I couldn’t handle watching the awards show live so I recorded it.  I had to watch it in two sittings.  My senses couldn’t take the show in just one.  It can be difficult enough listening to lyrics that celebrate debauchery, but to watch the choreography that goes with it can be a bit much.  I just finished watching it and feel like I need to take a shower.  Yuck.

I don’t even know where to start.  It was a parade of flesh.  Specifically big bare booties.  As in practically naked booties.  I remember when Madonna rolling around on the floor in a wedding gown singing about sex made everyone gasp.  In comparison, the women performing this year made Madonna in 1984 look like, well, THE Madonna.

As gratuitous as Nicki Minaj’s “dance” moves were, I was most offended by Beyonce’s performance.  How can any woman prance on stage like a stripper, treating herself like an object, and dare to call herself a feminist?  I’m not a huge fan of the feminist movement, especially what it’s become in mainstream media (future blog post).  But I found her use of the word to be ridiculously hypocritical.  Laughable, really.  You don’t want to be exploited?  Exploit yourself before someone else has the opportunity.  You want to be in control?  Use your body and your sex appeal to show ’em who’s boss.  Yuck.  And the adoration she received from the audience?  Super yuck.  The fact that her baby daughter was in the audience watching her mom on stage made me want to cry.

THIS is why I teach my 7 year old, and will do the same with the babies, that he is to treat EVERY girl as a lady, even if she doesn’t act like one.  I remind him that he may be the only person to show a girl that she is special, not because he thinks so, but because God does.

THIS is why I feel called to work in ministry full time with girls ages 11 to 21.  To walk alongside them and speak life and truth over them.  “You are loved.  You are beautiful.  You are a princess, the daughter of the Most High.  Your body is not your own.  It is not yours to throw around like a piece of meat.  You were made for more than this.”

Stepping off my soapbox now.

Did you watch the MTV Video Music Awards?  If so, what did you think?

So How Do You Blog?

I’ve really enjoyed blogging this summer.  I set out with the reasonable goal (thank you, Jon Acuff for the recommendation) of posting once or twice a week.  Some weeks I posted more.  But it’s August now and real life has officially returned.  So how do you do it, you non-SAH bloggers?  How do you keep up with the demands of work and family and find time to blog? 

I considered journaling again.  I thought that once a week I could post a journal entry.  Would that be cheating?  Any and all tips would be greatly appreciated.  Ooh, maybe if I compile enough tips I can blog about it!

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