Establishing Routines

Coming off the heels of the summer, most people find it incredibly hard to re-establish school-year routines. Whether or not you have kids in school, our minds naturally tend to relax a little bit more in the summer, which can be such a healthy and needed break. After summer ends, the hard part is adjusting back to reality and remembering what routines set you and your family up for success. 

Some people love routine and some people hate it, but we are all better with a little bit of structure in our lives. How do we establish what works and stick to it? It is easy to look at someone else’s life and think you want that person’s routine. However, the truth is that what works for one person may not work for you. Each one of us is created so uniquely with different gifts and abilities; therefore, it is our own job to figure out how we best thrive. 

When you are looking to bring some routine back into your life, here are some tips to remember: 

  1. The best mornings start the night before.
    The most productive days I have always begin with a little forethought the night before. Write down what needs to be accomplished tomorrow and when, including meetings, calls, appointments, etc. From there, set a schedule based on what is most important. For example, if you have a set meeting at 10:00 AM and you need to prepare for it beforehand, block out whatever time you need on your calendar for prepping. If you know that your only chance to work out the next day is at 8:30 AM once you drop the kids off, block it off, book your class, and treat it like a mandatory meeting (for your mental and physical health). When you see your day planned out the night before based on what has to get done and what you would like to get done, the list allows you to set yourself up to be successful with planning and to finish the day feeling accomplished. 

  2. Visual reminders are your friend.
    When you are establishing a new routine or even an old routine that you have strayed away from, visual reminders truly are your saving grace. For example, if you are trying to remember to drink more water when you wake up to start your day, try filling up a bottle of water the night before and placing it by your toothbrush. That way, the water is the first thing you see when you start your day, and it is already prepped for you in advance. If you are trying to plan ahead, place your planner by your nightstand as a little reminder to plan your day before your head hits the pillow. Maybe you are trying to snack on vegetables instead of chips. You can try making the vegetables the first item you see when you open the refrigerator. Of course, you still have to make the choice yourself, but a little friendly visual does only helps. 

  3. Fighting the late summer nights.
    Summer nights usually mean late nights and lazy mornings, which make adjusting back to a normal bedtime and wake-up schedule a little more difficult. Whenever I need to hit the hay a little earlier, I like to start winding down for bed about an hour beforehand. Some people can hit the pillow and fall asleep right away. But chances are, that may not be the case for you (especially if you are a woman). Our brains like to work in overdrive, especially when it is time to turn it off for the night. A helpful tip I have learned is to stop checking work emails an hour before bed. This practice will allow your work brain to slow down and hopefully to turn off before bed. It is also helpful to turn your phone on “nightshift” mode. This setting basically helps limit the amount of blue light that comes from your device, aiding your natural melatonin production. Lastly, if possible, turn off all electronics at least 20 minutes before you would like to be asleep. The more time without any blue light, the better, but 20 minutes is better than nothing. These habits will also allow your brain to being the resting process and will prepare you for a great night’s sleep. 

  4. Surround yourself with accountability.
    In almost every area of life, when we have someone or something pushing us to the finish line, we are so much more likely to succeed. Even the most disciplined people need accountability in some form or fashion. If you are trying to get back into an exercise routine, find a friend to exercise with you or find a place that requires you to sign up for a class in order to go. When you know someone is waiting for you and counting on you to show up, chances are you will make it happen. Maybe you are starting a big project at work and you need to figure out a system to find the time to get it done. Ask a friend to meet with you once a week or even call you once a day to go over the steps you have taken to get closer to finishing. This practice will not only hold you accountable for achieving what you have set out to do but also give you another brain to discuss ideas. Two heads are always better than one. We are called to be there for each other and to sharpen each other every day. 

Routines can be hard to form, but with a little planning, they can absolutely be done and can make your life a little (or a lot) less stressful. You owe it to yourself to give these strategies a fair shot to see all that you can accomplish with a little consistency! 

A Different Kind of Mother's Day - Kelly Meier

When I was little, as every young girl does, I dreamed of my future that included a husband and children with specific names. But as my husband and I began our journey, we found that infertility was part of that dream.

I was 32 when my husband and I began to think about starting a family. It never occurred to me that we might have trouble. One month turned into two and two turned into a year, and before I knew it, we had been trying a year and a half with no result.

When our doctor decided to begin the first step in infertility treatment. I felt relieved because we seemed to have a plan. The joy I felt when I took what seemed like the 1000th pregnancy test and it said "pregnant" is something I am unable to describe. My husband and I both cried. 


We were on cloud nine the day we went in for our first ultrasound. Finally, a good doctor visit, one filled with happiness. One that didn't throw me deeper into a depression. I knew right away by the ultrasound tech's nonreaction that something was gravely wrong. I made her tell me even though she wasn't supposed to say anything. There is no possible way to describe what the words "there is no heartbeat" did to me that day. I actually don't remember the rest of the appointment, but I remember crying harder than I have ever cried. I remember feeling lost and hopeless. I remember going home and not knowing what to do. My husband, the love of my life, saved me that day. Lying down next to me, he never left my side. I am sure we were there for hours, but I have no idea.  

I prayed to God to give me joy. Without Him, there is no way I would have found it. I knew that God would not put the desire in my heart to have children if He were not going to fulfill that longing in some way. Four months later, I was pregnant with our first child. A year later, our daughter was born, and a year after that, our youngest son. God is faithful. God is good. To those struggling with infertility, let me assure you, even in your darkest hour, He is there. 


To those who are hurting, I know from experience that Mother’s Day can seem like a reminder of something that is missing. We want you to know that you are not alone. Will you join us in celebrating differently this year? We challenge you to invite any woman who is special to you to class this Saturday. It may be a sister, mother, mentor, friend, grandmother or co-worker. We don’t want anyone left out, so all classes will be free this Saturday. Help us make this weekend special for everyone in all walks of life.

Understanding Nutrition Labels

Fat free, all natural, made with whole grains…What does it all mean anyways? Understanding nutrition labels and titles can be very overwhelming when you are trying to fuel your body well. There is so much information that you may find yourself getting lost. I hope that these hints help you simplify the information so that you can have the tools to make the best decision for your body.

The easiest place to start: check the ingredients list.

  • If you look at the list of ingredients and cannot pronounce most of them, that is probably a good indication that may not be the best choice for consuming real foods.
  • The item you think you are purchasing should be the first ingredient listed. For example, if you are buying guacamole, the first ingredient should be avocados.
  • A list of 5 ingredients or fewer is a good place to start when trying to consume real whole foods.

Then, check the serving size.

  • If the sugar content on the back of a Coke bottle says 20 grams of sugar, double check how many servings are in each bottle. If there are 2 servings, that would make 40 grams of sugar. 

Here are some of the most common labels you may see and what they mean. We hope you will use this information as a guide on deciding what is most important to you!

“A Good Source of ____:” This means that there is just 10% of that ingredient in the product (i.e. Vitamin B, C, D).

“Natural:” For meat and eggs, this means that there are no artificial ingredients, coloring agents or chemical preservatives and is minimally processed. However, if a product does not contain eggs or meat, there are no standards or regulations for labeling something as “natural.”

“100% Organic:” This means that 100% of the ingredients used in making the product are organic. It is the only label that certifies something as having completely organic and completely GMO-free ingredients.

“Certified Organic:” This means that at least 95% of the total weight of the product is organic. The remaining 5% still must contain only ingredients on the USDA’s National List. No hormones are used and no genetic modifications.

Five Steps to Take When You’re Just Not Motivated

Let’s face it. I do not know one person who is motivated to be 100% healthy every single day. Even though I am a fitness instructor, there are days that if I were not on the schedule to teach, I probably wouldn’t make it out of my bed. I think sometimes we believe that motivation will just come to us when, in reality, we have to just act out of pure will. The good news is that motivation develops motivation. When we force ourselves to do something that is good for us even when we don’t necessarily want to, we feel accomplished and inspired to do it again.

One of the strongest forces against motivation in fitness and many other areas is a rigid mindset: we are either all in or all out.

“I’ll start on Monday.”

“When life slows down, I’ll start to exercise and eat healthier.”

“I just ate four donuts, so why exercise today?”

When you find yourself having any of these thoughts or not feeling motivated, try these 5 steps:

  1. Find a friend to go with you. Everything is more fun with a friend!
  2. Write down two reasons why you want to exercise.
  3. Write down one person besides you who benefits from your good health.
  4. Just do something. Even if it’s just for five minutes, something is better than nothing at all.
  5. Be accountable. Make a bet with someone, sign up for a class, or give yourself a small reward for following through. It’s amazing what just a little accountability will do! 

What if we get rid of that perfectionist mindset, allow ourselves to work in baby steps and celebrate those? Maybe you can’t commit to an hour, but can you go on a walk with your kids around your neighborhood? It may not seem like much, but if you do that every day for a month, you’ve logged potentially 30 miles under your feet and have spent time with your family in the great outdoors. Success! No, you may not have time to cook a gourmet, organic, grass-fed meal every night. However, can you grab the frozen vegetables that take two minutes to microwave them instead opting for fast food? If so, that is a win! Celebrate the little steps you decide to make every day and watch them get easier and start to grow into bigger leaps towards the healthy lifestyle you desire.

Nothing Good Happens in Your Comfort Zone

Anyone who has been to one of my cycle classes has heard me say this before because physically, it is spot on. Our comfort zone is exactly what it sounds like – a place in which we are comfortable. Our bodies like routines and will naturally take the path that is most familiar unless we tell it to do otherwise. So, if we are wanting to change any part of our bodies, getting out of that comfort zone is really the only option. For some, going a walk is challenging your body beyond its comfort and for others it’s giving your spin bike an extra turn of resistance. The beauty of it is, everyone’s body is different and your job is just to know your own.

Don’t we all wish every area of change were that simple? Unfortunately, our comfort zones go beyond our physical bodies. Change is not always fun. It’s actually very tough and sticky more times than not. It can come in all kinds of shapes from getting married and combining two imperfect families to receiving a new boss with a new set of expectations to moving into a brand-new city and everything in between. In this world, we can count on two things: Jesus and change. Change pulls us out of our comfort zone all over again and many times, we fight it with all our might. As uncomfortable as it is, I have never known someone who did not come out on the other end better than when they began. There is always a lesson to be learned even in the worst possible situation.

I love the analogy of the book “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson. He paints the picture of these two little mice in a maze with a beautiful buffet of cheese. Until one day, the cheese is all gone. One of the mice thinks about it for a second and then just takes off in the maze to search for the cheese in another place. The other one however, throws a big pity party for himself, complaining about someone else moving “his cheese.” (Anyone guilty of being the second mouse, besides me)? This happens a few different times, but the point is, our plans in life will always being turned upside down at some point or another.  In these cases, we have two choices: mope around and blame someone else or take off and find another way. It’s much easier said than done, but the author speaks the truth when he says, “It is safer to search in the maze than to remain in a cheeseless situation.”

What if we all had this attitude towards change? How would it affect the world we live in? Instead of being afraid and digging our heels into the ground, let’s take the effort to face it and embrace it head on. The cheese that you’re missing might just be found outside of your comfort zone.  

Summer Travel Tips

With summer around the corner, we know that traveling speeds up quite a bit and packing can get quite overwhelming. Here are a couple of things to "Refine" your packing and make your trip easier and enjoyable!

  • Roll all pants and jeans to save room in your suitcase
  • Wrap ponytail holders around the rolled pants to hold in place and have handy
  • Put socks inside shoes and extra handbags to save room
  • Throw a resistance band in so that workouts can be quick and easy in your own hotel room
  • Pack neutral tanks and workout tops that double as workout clothes or layering pieces

Bon voyage!!

– Amy Akins

Mother's Day from Four Points of View

The Journey of Adoption –Melissa McKenzie 

The journey of adoption looks different for everyone.  God calls each of us for different reasons.  The call of adoption has been such a beautiful story knitted into my family.  The joy and blessings that it has brought to our lives amazes me in so many different ways.  But the journey was not always easy and did not always feel joyful.  I can remember when we started the adoption process, I entered into it with feelings of excitement and anticipation, but they were also met with feelings of sadness.  The sadness was that I wanted to a mom so badly and wasn’t.  Was I really meant to be a mom since I couldn’t naturally carry a baby?  Would the birth mom love me for me?  Would she accept us?   These are questions that I kept quiet.If I shared would anyone understand?  I can remember going to showers and fighting back tears.  Admittedly, I spent some time in the bathroom at some of those showers in tears.  I cast all these fears at the feet of the Lord.  All the brokenness that I had in this process God so beautifully and sweetly addressed.He brought a beautiful birth mom into our lives that loved Brent and me for who we are.  They embraced my story of infertility.  The moment when she chose us was on Father’ Day, a day that has been so painful for me for years because of the loss of my dad.  God took that brokenness and made it into something beautiful: the moment I held our precious child for the first time!Words cannot even explain the joy I felt.  I know that it can be painful in the waiting.  You wonder, ͞When will my time come?When will the pain of infertility be replaced by an overwhelming joy?͟Please know it will be—in God’s most beautiful and perfect timing.  He sees every tear and hears every prayer.  We have now been blessed twice by adoption.  Each experience was met with different emotions, but at the end of both, God revealed His beautiful story and perfect timing.  I want to end with a verse that spoke so much to me during both of our adoption journeys.  ͞But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently͟– Romans 8:25.  This verse reminded me daily to wait on the Lord and His perfect timing.  I pray if you are reading this and it speaks to you that my words would bring some comfort in a season that the Lord may have you.  Just know you are His and you are so loved.

Grace During Grief – Lindy Reamer

Mother’s day is approaching.  Around Mother’s Day it seems like my social media feed is flooded with long happy posts about motherhood. Often we pretend that Mother’s Day is as simple as a Hallmark card or a dozen roses. We assume that everyone on Facebook and Instagram have these same happy feelings. But, not everyone has the privilege of being a mother or having a mother they can celebrate. 

I lost my mom when I was 21 years old, on May 12th 2015... just 2 days after Mother’s Day. My mom was 53 when she passed away from metastic breast cancer. An avid traveler, a full time psychologist and a woman full of adventure, she wasn’t supposed to die so young. It is hard for me to hear people around me complain about their moms; sometimes I want to say “well hey at least you have a mom”, but I hold back. When I hear people talk about fighting with their moms over wedding details, I don’t say how much I wish my mom could meet my future husband. She will not even attend my wedding, she did not see me graduate from college and she will not be at my law school graduation, and she will not meet her grandchildren. Those milestones are when I particularly notice my mom’s absence and support. I never understood the pain and grief of losing a parent until I experienced it myself. 

And through losing my mom, I have learned more about extending grace and receiving grace than I ever thought I could know. I receive grace from my friends when my grief and that lack of support leads me to be grouchy and angry. I extend grace to them instead of letting bitterness and jealousy grow in me as I watch them connect with their wonderful moms. In 1 Thessalonians Paul explains about resurrection through Jesus stating, “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him”.  Jesus is clear in his exaltation, so I have hope resting in the understanding that my mom is with Jesus. But even as I hope, I’ve learned to be sensitive to the grief others may feel, and the way my actions could be harmful to their healing process.

My Mother’s Days are tinged with nostalgic longing; wishing my mom could embrace me for a quick hug. While I know that appreciation of mothers on Mother’s Day is a good thing, it is important to make space for those who have a different story, one that might be filled with sadness and pain. Just for one Mother’s Day, instead of posting something sticky-sweet on social media, I challenge you to sit down face-to –face with the woman you call mom: enjoy physical time with the one you love. I can tell you – you’ll never regret that kind of celebrating. 

Managing the Chaos – libby Starr

When I found out I was going to have my fourth child in five years, several worries popped into my head. How am I going to get my kindergartner to school on time with three babies/toddlers to manage? How long is the dinnertime/bathtime/bedtime routine going to take? Will I have enough love and energy to devote to ALL of them? How on earth am I going to manage four different schedules for the next 18 years? My youngest child is now 4 ½, and I’m happy to say that we made it through the infant and almost through the toddler stages. I can lovingly say it was a beautiful whirlwind, but I know it seemed like more of a crazy disaster while it was happening. Nonetheless, our family has moved onto a new stage in life, and with Mother’s Day being celebrated this weekend, I wanted to share what I feel like has nurtured and helped me as a busy mom of several little ones.

Once my oldest child entered 3rd grade, our after-school activities multiplied greatly. We entered the world of organized sports, real homework, and divide-and-conquer mentalities for my husband and me. We were constantly running in so many directions that I could not physically keep up with it all. I realized that I was going to have to ask for help from some friends. Not wanting to be indebted to anyone for a favor and most certainly not wanting anyone to think I couldn’t handle this all on my own were initial deterrents, but I soon worked out a few carpools for different activities and realized I was helping out friends in the process as well. Isn’t it amazing the joy you can receive from helping out a friend? I now have  deals worked out with different friends for gymnastics, volleyball, basketball, track, soccer, t-ball, and playdates. My kids have fostered amazing friendships with other kids as well as other adults, and I feel like we somewhat have a little bit of manageability with our schedules. I even have a friend (ok, it’s actually my sister, but I most certainly would call her one of my greatest friends) that will keep my kids so I can squeeze in a Refine31 class, then I will keep her kids another day for her to do the same! 

This is not to say that my family has it all figured out or that we do not ever get overwhelmed, but in the craziness of life with young children and tweens (yikes...cannot believe my oldest is now considered a tween), one of the greatest lessons I have learned is to lean on other moms for their support, encouragement, and help. I look around at Refine31 and see so many fresh, new moms, and I know the baby stage is extremely exhausting and the toddler stage seems never-ending, but you will soon enter a new stage of full schedules (whether you have one child or four), and the late afternoons and evenings seem so daunting. Don’t let it consume you! Find your army of friends to help you through it and for you to help them through it. The benefits you will all receive are countless.

The Other Side of Infertility – kelly Meier 

I am one of the lucky ones.  I am a mom.  I get to go to Christmas programs and on zoo trips.  I get to take a ridiculous amount of pictures and show anyone who will look.  I am one of the lucky ones.  And I know it.  I know it because there was a time when I thought it would never happen...that I would never be a mom.  And it was a heartbreaking journey.

When I was little, as every little girl does, I would dream of my future.  I would dream of my husband and name my future children.  It is a game we all play.  My dream never included infertility.  It never included a life without children.  But as my husband and I began our journey, I found that infertility was indeed part of that dream.

I was 32 when my husband and I began to think about starting a family.  To many, this is late and I was old but that never crossed my mind.  It never occurred to me that I might have trouble.  It never even entered my mind that infertility would be the card we would be dealt.  But it was.  As we began trying to have children, I wasn't surprised when I didn't get pregnant the first month.  I almost expected that result.  But then one month turned into two and two turned into a year and before I knew it, we had been trying a year and a half with no result.

Anyone who has dealt with infertility understands the heartbreak as the months pass by with no pregnancy.  To be completely candid, I took solace in this.  I found peace knowing I wasn't traveling this road alone.  But it was still heartbreaking.

When my husband and I had been trying to get pregnant for about a year, our doctor decided to begin the first step in infertility treatment.  I felt joy in this step because we seemed to have a plan and I followed that plan to the letter, never veering.  The joy I felt when I took what seemed like the 1000th pregnancy test and it said 'pregnant' is something I am unable to describe.  My husband and I both cried.  We were so happy.

My husband and I were so happy the day we went in for our first ultrasound.  Finally, a good doctor visit.  One filled with happiness.  One that didn't throw me deeper into a depression.  I knew right away by the ultrasound tech's nonreaction that something was gravely wrong.  I made her tell me even though she wasn't supposed to say anything.  There is no possible way to describe what the words 'there is no heartbeat' did to me that day.  I felt completely broken.  I actually don't remember the rest of the appointment but I remember crying harder than I have ever cried.  I remember feeling lost and hopeless. I remember going home and not knowing what to do.  My husband....the love of my life...saved me that day.  He just picked me up and we laid down.  I am sure we were there for hours but I have no idea.  But he never left my side.

To this day, it one of the biggest losses I have experienced.  The emptiness I felt was overwhelming.  I prayed to God to give me joy.  Without Him, there is no way I would have found it.

But remember, I am one of the lucky ones.  I knew that God would not put the desire in my heart to have children if He were not going to fulfill that in some way. I knew there was a plan.

4 months later, I was pregnant with our first child and a year later, our daughter and a year after that, our son.

God is faithful.  God is good.  He knows the desires of our heart.  And to those struggling with infertility, let me assure you, even in your darkest hour, He is there.  I know.  Because I am one of the lucky ones.

Looking to heaven

You might be surprised to know that the majority of my teen years were spent on a stage. I know what you’re thinking….. she must be a washed up Broadway wanna-be. Ha! Far from the truth. When I was entering middle school, Steve Seelig, the children’s director at my home church and my very dear friend known as Papa Steve, came up with this wild idea to make children’s worship like a Disney experience so that kids would be so eager to go to church every week. He thought if middle and high school students led children’s church with skits, songs, dances, and games, not only would the teenagers learn to serve and to lead, but also the younger kids would think church was “cool.” So children’s church became known as “JUMP” and the JUMP team was born.

You could say Papa Steve was a perfectionist. He required the Jump Team to practice every week so that every weekend we could give those elementary kids an experience with Jesus they had never had before. He wanted every dance to be clean, every song to be on pitch, and every skit to be just the right amount of funny. A lot of people wondered, “But it’s for kids at church. They won’t notice any mistakes. Does all that work really matter?” But that’s exactly why it matters. I learned something very important in my ten years working under Steve’s leadership: Jesus deserves our very best. So many times I find that people have a misunderstanding about ministry. To be blunt, they think it’s code for “I don’t have to work very hard.” Steve taught me that serving Jesus is quite the opposite. Kingdom work demands the most effort and our hardest work because lives are changed for eternity.

This week, Papa Steve lost his earthly battle with brain cancer but won his eternal victory with Jesus. I can only imagine the celebration that happened when he entered the gates of heaven. You see, Papa Steve knew that this world was not his real home. It’s fitting that Steve’s homecoming occurred as we approach Easter. When you lose someone dear to your heart, heaven becomes so incredibly real. So many times, we blow right through Easter with all the busy festivities without really thinking about the enormity of the sacrifice made because of the gravity of our situation.

Pilate demanded, “What crime has he committed?” But the mob roared even louder, “Crucify him!” So to pacify the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to be crucified. Mark 15:14-15

By this time it was about noon, and darkness fell across the whole land until 3 o’clock. The light from the sun was gone. And suddenly, the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn down the middle. Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” And with those words he breathed his last. Luke 23:44-46

The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead”! Luke 24: 5-6

“For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross.” What was the joy set before Jesus as He bore the weight of our sin? It was you and it was me….. a love so great that no one on earth can understand, so powerful that it made a way for us to spend eternity in His glory.

So this Easter, take time to reflect on the cross and the enormity of His sacrifice. But remember, the story does not end on Good Friday. Celebrate the empty tomb and the magnitude of His victory over sin and death. Pursue Jesus with everything you have. And just like my Papa Steve, don’t give Jesus your second best here on earth.  

He is risen! He is risen indeed!!

From Dreams to Reality

How many times have you set a goal to reach for the stars just to fall short and feel disappointed? 

“I’m going to clean out my attic this summer.” 

“I’d like to save $5,000 in 6 months.” 

“I will go to the gym 3 times a week!” 

You may be surprised to know that 60% of people who set out with a goal abandon it within just 6 months. Is it because they actually could not do what they had set out to do? Not at all. In every case I have seen, observed, and studied, it has nothing to do with the person’s ability to achieve the task. In fact, it has everything to do with breaking the task down into tiny, measurable, and achievable steps that lead them towards his or her big “reach” goal. 

Every human has the desire to feel accomplished and successful. On the same note, every human dislikes the feeling of failure. So it makes perfect sense that when someone starts to feel like that “reach” goal is just too far out of site, that person gives up. However, when we achieve a tiny victory, we feel successful, giving us that motivational boost to keep pushing on. That small victory leads us to the next small victory, all the way until that daunting goal has been checked off our list. 

The purpose of this Success Tracker is to give you the tools to be successful at whatever goal you’ve set. Print it out weekly and update it to reflect a big dream, followed by small, measurable daily steps to get you closer to making your dream a reality. 

We have included a sample for you to get started. 

Walking in Freedom

Growing up, I was always an active girl. I took gymnastics and played basketball for as long as I can remember. My siblings and I ate fairly healthfully, but my parents were firm believers in “living a little” so Shipley’s Donuts became a Saturday morning tradition. It wasn’t until my senior year of high when I started attending group exercise classes that clearly fell in love with the idea and practice of fitness.

During this season, my best friend since first grade, Leslie, and I registered for our very first half marathon. We decided to run it together before heading off our separate ways to college. About this time, I also decided I was going to try out for the Baylor coed cheerleading team the spring of my senior year. I had never “dieted” in my entire life, but as I started reading more about clean eating, I decided I was going to watch my calorie intake and give up sweets before tryouts. On top of all this, I was training for the half marathon, and I unknowingly started to lose some weight. I had always been very average in size, so people started to say things to me like “Becca, have you lost weight?” and “You look really good!” Who doesn’t like to hear compliments?

Before I knew it, “watching what I ate” turned into a full-blown obsession.

I thought if I could lose “just 5 more pounds,” I would have some cushion because everyone had told me girls gain weight in college. Over the course of the next 5 months, those 5 pounds turned into about 25, and before I realized what was happening, I weighed 95 pounds and looked dangerously thin. I still ate, but probably only 700 calories a day, and I made sure to work out enough to burn off every single calorie I ate. I also became obsessed with the scale, weighing myself 3-5 times per day. Every time the number went down, I felt accomplished. But if the number went up, I felt like a failure. Before this time, I had never understood people who went through eating disorders. I simply thought, “Why can’t they just eat a hamburger?”

Then, an eating disorder hit me straight in the face, and I learned that it truly is an illness. My parents are amazing and were worried sick about me. My dad is one of the strongest men I know, and I have vivid memories of when he sat me down with tears in his eyes because he was so concerned. I knew I had a problem, but I also didn’t know how to get out it. The thing that many people don’t realize is that most people going through eating disorders are very aware of the issue and want so badly to be free. But they don’t know how. I remember sobbing in my room on my hands and knees praying, “Lord, please free me of this. I am miserable, but I don’t know how to be free.” I will never forget the Lord speaking over me in a way I had never experienced before that moment. As I cried out to Him in desperation, I heard His gentle yet powerful words: “Becca, I can do anything, but you also have want it and work with me. You have free will to walk in this sickness or to take steps towards freedom.”

A couple verses convicted my heart heavily during this time: “Both go to the same place – they came from and they return from dust.” Ecclesiastes 3:20

“Don’t you realize that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

In the battle, my chains were the scale. I knew in that moment exactly what I needed to do. I stood up from my puddle of tears and threw my scale away. I’m not going to lie and say ever since that moment I have been completely healed. It’s never that easy….But, from that point on, I took steps toward freedom, starting with the scale. Still to this day, I don’t get on a scale. Even when I go to the doctor, I turn around and say, ”Don’t tell me.” I know my body by the way my clothes fit. I also started to eat small meals multiple times a day so that I never got into that “starvation” mode because I knew that skipping meals would trigger me back to my past. I still love to exercise, but now, I exercise because doing so makes me feel better and stronger. I use exercise as a time to pray through decisions and think about my day, not just to burn off every calorie I have eaten. I still eat very healthfully, but I allow myself to “live a little” because I know that treating myself every now and then is not going to kill me. I still battle the “be thin” mentality every day, but something that keeps me fighting the good fight is the desire to build a legacy for any future daughters Clark and I may have. I want them to know that they are beautifully and wonderfully made, not because of the number on the scale but because of the grace that covers their hearts through Jesus Christ. I desire to teach them through my actions, not just my words, that the inside is truly their most beautiful identity. And I desire to hear the words from God when I enter the gates of heaven: “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

So sisters, keep fighting. Let’s stand together to love each other for our souls, which last for eternity, and not for the size of our skinny jeans. Let’s set examples for the girls of this generation and the generations to come that we are not measured by the size of our bodies, but by the size of our hearts.

– Becca McCormack

New Year's Blues

If you’re like many of us, you have started each new year with high hopes and expectations for yourself. Lose 20 pounds, get out of debt, earn a promotion, fill in the blank. However, the second you eat your first sweet of the year or receive one Christmas bill in the mail, you instantly have a sinking feeling: “I can’t do it.” It’s overwhelming to set these big goals with no realistic steps to achieve them in between. None of us can reach our end goals without a good, feasible plan.

Eating healthy (or healthier) doesn’t have to be stressful. And guess what? You don’t have to be perfect! It’s a simple swap, like trading the chips for almonds or ice cream for Greek yogurt, which will set you in the right direction toward a healthier lifestyle. Make a choice to trade one item out this week. Do that for a week and feel how much confidence you gain in yourself for that simple swap. Then next week, trade two items out for something that provides a little more fuel. Before you know it, you’ll have created a whole new lifestyle, and doing so didn’t overwhelm you. To make your life a little simpler, we’ve created a shopping list for you with healthier options to choose from. Print this out, pick your favorites, and use it to guide you through the temptations of the grocery store. It’s our hope that by initiating these small and practical changes, you’ll start to create new habits that will stick with you and transform your self-confidence to meet your 2017 goals!

Physical Health


We know that life is busy. Many days it seems like we aren’t able to catch our breath from work, family and extracurricular responsibilities. However, because of these days with never-ending to-do lists, it is all the more important to take care of ourselves. We fully believe that if we aren’t caring for our bodies, minds and spirits well, then we are unable to care for others well. Making time to escape the worries of the world and exercise our bodies is often exactly what we need. Taking time to plan meals ahead of time so that we aren’t too rushed allows us to give our bodies the needed nutrients. Finally, saving time to rest each day, whatever that may look like, is essential for recharging our batteries.


Oftentimes, we make excuses: we simply don’t have the time to exercise, eat well, or rest. Here at Refine31, we encourage you and provide a place to take care of these essentials. We fully believe that by following this simple plan, you become empowered to conquer whatever is set before you. If we don’t put gas in our cars, then our cars won’t run; if we don’t put fuel in our bodies, then we can’t expect our bodies to “run” well or to “run” at all. But when we live a lifestyle that promotes good health, we begin to see a difference in our days—the days become less daunting, we have more energy, we feel capable of truly being present, and we can actually care for others. So today and for the remainder of this week, we want to encourage you to take care of the body God has given you!

Welcome to Refine31!

It is with much joy that we open our doors, but before we hop on the bike or the barre, we want to share with you the heart and mission of Refine31! If you are like me, sometimes life seems like you are on a hamster wheel, spinning and spinning with no breaks in sight. We so often jump to help everyone around us but neglect the things that are necessary to keep ourselves healthy. Our hope is that as you walk through the doors of Refine31, you will be able to close out the distractions of the world for the time you are with us to refresh your mind and give yourself an hour to recharge your batteries. 

In the fitness world, we all too often put so much pressure and focus on our outward appearance. Now do not get me wrong; exercise is very important for our physical bodies. It provides energy, strength, endurance, and mental sharpness so that you can give your very best to the most precious priorities in your life. However, we believe there is more to the picture than fitting into a size zero. We provide upbeat and challenging workout experiences with our barre and cycling programs that will not only strengthen your body, but also invigorate your mind and heart so that you will leave feeling empowered to conquer whatever comes before you.  

“Refining” yourself is a beautiful thing because every day you are able to make the choice to develop a better version of yourself.

“…We went through fire and flood, but you brought us to a place of great abundance”
— Psalm 66:12

In life we sometimes we go through times that are tough and never seem to get easier, but let’s build each other up in Christ “to a place a great abundance.”