A continuation of posts in a series of thoughts looking back on our life and experiences with the Advanced Training Institute and the Institute in Basic Life Principles (hereafter, ATI / IBLP)…
I want to say at the outset, that it wasn’t all bad — ATI / IBLP — for I cannot really accurately recount the good things we learned in the ATI / IBLP years in our family or the blessings we reaped from what we experienced. And I don’t want to belabour an increasing list of negative points or excuse some of the more egregious errors in the teachings and programs — this isn’t an airing of dirty laundry or a rant of yet another disgruntled ATI family indulging in mudslinging. But error is error and a whole lot of error causes a whole lot of problems — error begets error and down the way a bit, error causes an avalanche of problems.
Errors ought to raise red flags.
The have with me… and if you/your family was involved in the program, probably with you, too. It may seem a moot point to bring all this up, now, but actually, I’ve shared much of this in the past and stuff keeps resurfacing. And then there’s this strange unspoken cardinal rule that one doesn’t question the Institute or Mr. G. (Yep, and that oughtta be a red flag for ya!)
From our old AChristianHome.org website:
“Our family was involved with the various ministries of the IBLP and ATI for many years and we determined that some of the teachings, the errors of those teachings were destructive to our walk with the LORD and therefore no longer supported the “ministry” and the myriad of programs of, or associated with, IBLP. There were MANY, MANY benefits for which we are grateful but the erroneous teachings forced our decision. We no longer support much of the work of this organization—however(!) we DO support our brothers and sisters in Christ and pray the LORD’s will for them and do not seek to divide over this matter. We believe that the erroneous teaching leads to an erroneous view of the Word, the grace of God, His design, the sovereignty of God, teaching “character” [the Character First* program] to unregenerate souls, and the methods of lifting Scripture and its Truths and application and therefore do not endorse, as a whole, the ministry…”
And I linked to numerous articles (on the AChristianHome.org website) in the early days, some 10-12 years ago; many links are broken now, so the articles would require some searching — even then, I was reluctant to say much so I let other’s articles do the talking, so to speak. One of the articles I linked to was on the Personal Freedom Outreach site, an article regarding issues with the Institute and some ongoing communication Bill Gothard and his team. And over the years I’ve had communication with Don Veinot of Midwest Christian Outreach and the work dedicated to bringing error to light. Here’s a most recent article he’s written regarding some more current matters and past issues with the institute and with Bill Gothard.
If you clicked the last link and read the article, you’ll readily see why people are so reticent to say anything, to comment or to question the work of the institute. Just like hush money is paid to keep people quiet, sometimes “hush verses” are cited by different ones to insulate people/organizations from scrutiny. But lately, many have been speaking out and the mounting accusations have been increasing. And these must be taken seriously. Even today as I have written this, a turn of events has come about. Bill Gothard has resigned from the ministry he founded after allegations of abuse and sexual harassment. Here is Recovering Grace’s response to the resignation.
So, why talk about this whole thing any longer? Error. Truth. And the ATI/IBLP Institutes are carrying on. That’s why.
I wrote of some of the ATI /IBLP baggage in another post… here’s another bit of baggage—–careful here, there’s a lot that’s good—which is why, initially, one might embrace the teaching and become a loyal advocate. But watch…
What Are Basic Life Principles?
[the "seven non-optional, universal basic principles of life taught in the Basic Seminar." ]
1. Design: Understanding the specific purposes for which God created each person, object, and relationship in my life and living in harmony with them. Thanking God for my design brings Self-Acceptance.
2. Authority: Honoring the responsibilities of parents, church leaders, government, and other authorities and learning how God works through them to provide direction and protection. Honoring my authorities brings Inward Peace.
3. Responsibility: Realizing I am accountable to God for every thought, word, action, and motive. Asking forgiveness of those I offend brings a Clear Conscience.
4. Suffering: Allowing the hurts from offenders to reveal blind spots in my own life, and then seeing how I can benefit their lives. Fully forgiving offenders brings Genuine Joy.
5. Ownership: Understanding that everything I have has been entrusted to me by God, and wisely using it for His purposes. Yielding my rights to God brings True Security.
6. Freedom: Enjoying the desire and power to do what is right, rather than claiming the privilege to do what I want. Regaining ground surrendered to sin brings Moral Purity.
7. Success: Discovering God’s purpose for my life by engrafting Scripture in my heart and mind, and using it to think God’s thoughts and make wise decisions. Meditating on Scripture brings Life Purpose.”
Pat answers. Neatly fit in a box answers. Formula in, success out. No need for any other material–just the booklets. It all seemed so biblical, seemed to be the Bible fleshed out, so to speak. There were so many biblical references, so of course it was a biblically based program! That was the hook. That was the draw.
But it was also the underlying problem, tension and reason we could never fully buy into the program and eventually had to reject much of it. So many of the biblical references were lifted and twisted to fit the neat packages, the neat boxes. And, in a fast moving seminar, you take in so much in such a short space of time, that discernment often lags behind as the screen shots keep changing… but you take home your Red notebook, mull it over, line it up behind Scripture and you begin to see… O, wait-a-minute, this isn’t in line with Scripture. But you press on trying to figure out how to make it fit. Kinda like the Emperor’s New Clothes. And then you can’t do it anymore. At least that’s where we were.
But, interestingly, there was more baggage to sort through when we no longer received our $675. wisdom booklets, newsletters and additional offers for more
slick New! exciting information and materials. There was a bizarre longing to belong— but it was a bad fit, it was something we didn’t even want — but isn’t it curious that we had that longing? This period of time was to last a couple of years for us, but when it passed, by the grace of God, it was incredibly freeing — so incredibly freeing. That baggage was so heavy and so confusing.
We didn’t exit the faith—no, not at all. We didn’t exit conservative homeschooling. Not at all. We didn’t walk away with nothing from all that we’d learned. We had gained a great deal and God, in His mercy, was continually rebuilding what He’d begun years earlier. We give Him glory.
But what to do with all the rules. The unspoken rules… the ATI village lore... I think these were the hardest things to grasp, sift through and sort through, to stop carrying and to reject! These were the inferred, unwritten regulations and rules. And then there were outsider’s interpretations of the ATI rules… sort of like rumors about the rumors and village lore. So then, ATI-ers were confused or maybe even duped into believing the rules really existed — many did, though, by the way — that’s why it was such a tangled web to know what was what. Seriously… these were some of the greatest bondage makers and some of the hardest to break. These rules were often not questioned — just accepted — publicly, at least. Sort of like the rule of never questioning the actions/activities of “ministers of the gospel” when the conduct is made public or when there is clear evidence of violations of scripture, etc., etc. See the dangers here? These are but a few of the dangers of following a man – instead of seeking the Lord.
If you’re carrying the baggage of ATI / IBLP… I pray for you—I pray you will have freedom from the bondage, freedom from carrying that baggage of legalism, fear, error, man-centered programs and from following after a man’s program instead of following after the Lord Jesus. I pray you will be set free—and be free to walk hand in Hand with the Lord and hear His voice. He says you will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free. ♥
What I’m writing about these days isn’t sensational and isn’t unique to me. It’s not isolated and it’s not rare — at least not in homeschool and/or conservative Christian circles. It’s probably going on all over the place to one degree or another. Most everyone who’s been caught up in a particular group/movement/method comes to a day of reckoning and has to unpack the baggage they’ve intentionally or unwittingly picked up and carried as their own along the way. And it’s in the unpacking that some things — some ideas or ideals — are seen for what they are: good or bad — valuable or harmful, truth or lies.It’s my hope that the unpacking of some of the ATI / IBLP baggage will be a freeing experience — that it will be an encouragement to other women to be done with wondering if you’re doing the Christian walk right enough
or — if you’re in, or formerly in, ATI: whether you’re good enough, charitable enough, hard-working enough, orderly enough, diligent enough, attentive enough, thorough enough, bright eyed enough, smiling enough, industrious enough, virtuous enough, resourceful enough, wise enough… or any other enough
of the 49 character qualities.
I’m not mocking character qualities — seriously, I’m not — but if the source of character
thing or any
one but the Lord Jesus, then it’s just flesh
. It is walking/operating in the flesh. It’s just like what Eve did… it’s wanting to make self wise and using personal resources and personally determined logic or reason to attain a desire — and in the case of
lots of ATI families, usually the desire is meet the ideals set by the Institute… superior appearance, accomplishments/achievements, the appearance of goodness and righteousness, honour and purity, etc., etc., all the while personally battling (unbeknownst to others
) inferiority, lack of accomplishment, lack of measurable achievement, failure, incompetence and depression.Giving the World a New Approach to Life? No need to try and do that any more. One man — one man alone
did that and that man was/is Jesus. He alone
is the only
“new approach” we need for life. ATI and IBLP boasted of “giving the world a new approach to life
” over and over again. A group of people following the standards of a man will not succeed in giving the world anything but *another* approach of behaving/believing and that other
approach will likely lead them away from, or will inoculate the ‘followers’ against, the Truth of the gospel.
If this sounds like a critical, bitter rant, believe me, it’s not. And I’m continually stopping to assess what I’m saying so that this does not become something of a mudslinging session. I desire, above all, to be faithful to the Word, to sound the alarm, as it were, to a parallel society that uses much scripture, pat answers and formulas to enforce and require adherence to particular behaviours and beliefs and one that fosters a false sense of spiritual ‘security’ that is based on works, appearance and surperior ideals instead of shedding light on the Scriptures and exhorting the simplicity of walking day by day in the faith of the Lord Jesus, in light of the Scriptures by grace, because of the finished work of the Cross: our salvation, redemption, sanctification and continued daily guidance of the Holy Spirit because of that finished work and our relationship with Jesus, our Lord.I want to be very careful in this series of articles to encourage a faithful and sincere walk with the Lord—-and not to encourage throwing away *everything* you’ve believed to be true. Sift it out, examine it, weigh it before the Lord, but don’t walk away—leaving *everything* of faith behind you. Take the hand of the Lord and seek Him to guide you into all Truth and be willing to lay down the burdens you were never meant to carry.
The different components, unscriptural teachings, formulas, programs, diagrams and charts in the ATI / IBLP baggage may take years to unpack, examine, sift and discard. Seriously. Years. I’m only going to touch on a couple of pieces of that baggage today.
One of the heaviest pieces to unpack is the gravest burden of all — the weight of works. Works look very different in different people, situations or in practice or expression. But it’s a heavy one, I tell ya! Unpack and leave that one!
For by grace are you saved by faith; and that, not of yourselves:
it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.
And surely not to be overlooked is this other heavy piece of baggage—probably the most egregious, really and this is the baggage of misunderstanding the doctrine of grace. You really gotta take this one out, examine it, and throw it away if you’re carrying this one. You get the definition/understanding of grace wrong and you enter into a quagmire of misinterpretation and application of what is anything but grace!
ATI Grace defined: the power and desire to do God’s will. But that’s not grace at all — that’s not what God’s grace
is. That grace is like self-created pixie-dust, a lightsaber or whatever other imagined or self-willed tool, action or reaction is — but whatever it is, it isn’t the grace the Bible refers to — it isn’t the Grace of God which has appeared to all men. Get that wrong and you miss the precious gift of the Lord Jesus… His grace manifest in your life through redemption in Him — not by works of righteousness which we have done, but by His grace, He saved us; when we deserve(d) wrath, it was/is His merciful grace that saves us, it is His sovereign work in us, through us, round about us, carrying us, working all things together for good for us… His favour, His particular presence, that we can know Him — this is the grace of God in Christ Jesus. This is what Jesus gives us, works in us, does for us.Other erroneous teachings… the chain of command. You gotta dump this baggage and study what God really says about authority. And who our authority is/authorities are. Those images in the booklets and on the screens from the overhead projector are still indelibly imprinted on my mind—-and I keep having to unpack them, take them out and look and them through the lens of Scripture to see what God really says
, what He really intends
for me and how dangerous it is to swallow error laced truth
. Makes a real mess of things. But, by the grace of God and His mercy we can sift through all this and walk with Him.
Every once in awhile there comes a stir on the internet about Bill Gothard or ATI (the Advanced Training Institute) or IBLP (the Institute in Basic Life Principles). Welp… things sure are a-stirring… and seem to have finally come to a point of boiling and bubbling over. If you’re not familiar with all this, then this mess probably will just seem like yet another airing of grievances by former ‘cult members, or grown children of ______ parent(s), or divorced people talking about their former mates. I chose those different categories bcz most of us have either been in those situations or are intimately familiar with one of all of them.
As the Bill Gothard – IBLP – ATI mess unfolds (again!), I’m mindful that there are a whole bunch of things — failures, systems, legalism, fears, formulas, etc., etc., that happened to, or in, people’s lives that may well have happened at some other time or in some other way regardless of the influences of Bill Gothard, IBLP or ATI. So… as the stories unload in the days to come, I don’t want to jump on the bandwagon and pin ‘em all to one guy and his enormous structure of causes, effects and solutions for life’s *conflicts.
My husband attended “the Basic seminar” for the first time in 1987. We were raising our young family, had come to many conclusions about faith, marriage, family, children, etc., etc., and so when the different seminar topics were presented, we tended to accept them as affirmation or confirmation of things were were in the process of already living or deciding or working to implement. It was, as it were, a perfect storm.
As different things came up, what should have been red flags to us, we just dismissed some things as “not for us.” Problem is, it’s these very things sometimes that come back to bite you in the backside. Kinda like when you watch a “made for TV” movie and you recommend said movie to friends and they rent it from Blockbuster and think: Wow….! and forever question your morals, etc., etc. But, I digress.
I attended the Basic in 1988. The couple who had invited my husband to attend the week-long seminar the year before had offered to watch our children so we could attend. We would attend the seminars each year for the next six or seven years. Every year getting more and more ‘training’ and every year setting aside more and more ideas we just couldn’t get. Sometimes when I didn’t get an idea, I thought, maybe someday I will be spiritual enough to get this! Maybe I just need to mature in the Lord. While I did/do need to mature in the Lord, many of those things were not of the Lord and maturing in the Lord would later prove this.
In 1991 we enrolled in the Advanced Training Institute. I say with all sincerity, it really did seem like the best thing for our family as we were already homeschooling our children and we really wanted them to have a full-well-rounded Christian education. At home. I see now how easy that program was to get lured into desiring. We’d already been receiving much training through the seminars and materials and so it seemed the likely next step. As we saw the ATI materials and the bright, smiling faces — who wouldn’t want that for their family?!? I sincerely thought they were all h.a.p.p.y. And I wanted to our children to be well educated, smiling, grounded and h.a.p.p.y. like that. I know, I know, some of you are, at this point, taking a break to throw up in a bucket. Sorry if your keyboard is a mess. But I guess I just want you to understand — or, really, I just want to recall to mind what really was going on at the time. And subsequently.
The stuff that was going on behind the scenes we would not know about for a few years in. And the stuff that was slowly dawning on us was to become the turning point for us to back out. But in the meantime, we pressed on trying to get it. This is all hard to write or hard to dare to share bcz I know there were and are a whole bunch of people who thought or think that our mistakes and our failures as parents are probably the result of that construct. Or our rigid rules. Or our legalism. Or _____. Actually, like I said at the onset, I know me… and I believe I could have made a mess of things with or without IBLP/ATI. And, but for the grace of God, His mercy and His sovereignty, I’d have no hope today. Nor would our children.
I share this all as sort of an introduction and want to encourage other former ATI mothers and ATI kids to have a little mercy and understanding as to the why we (all?) were drawn to the program and what we’ve learned from those experiences and to trust the Lord for His work. To not be bitter or, more importantly, to not reject the Lord. Go ahead and reject the Institute, reject the false piety, the religiosity, but seek the Lord God and His Truths. Be in the Word. I’m not minimizing or excusing anything… but if one is to understand someone else, they’ve got to, I believe, have a little mercy and attempt to understand a bit of where they’ve been. And why.
More later. This mess will take time to unpack.
*The Institute in Basic Life Principles was formerly called the Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts — seminars that were (are?) held in cities that used to draw tens of thousands of people. Night after night, polished presentations to give the world a new approach to life; the premise that all troubles/patterns/etc., etc., of life can be traced back to the flawed structures of our youth, rebellion, unresolved conflicts, rejection of authority, rejection of personal unchangeables, etc., etc., etc.
Consider the spider who spins a web and yet begins with no thread. My friend, Margaret, told me that a long time ago. I’ve considered it many times. I’ve considered other sorts of webs through the years, too. Webs of good intentions. Webs of ignorance. Webs of deceit. Webs of understanding. Webs of desires. Webs of guilt. All sorts of webs in our lives… these are the webs that connect good things and blessings to other blessings, lessons learned, desires realized, etc., etc. But there are also a lot of tangled webs that only eternity can sort out. ATI/IBLP is probably one such web.
What’s to follow is sort of a synopsis of some aspects of our ATI days. Man was it a sticky mess sometimes. Problem with good things is that they are so often a substitute for best things—good things are so often the enemy of best things —– we see the good things and grab onto them, not taking the time to fully weigh them to see if they are best things. So we settle for good things… thinking they are best things. This analogy breaks down, of course, but thinking in analogies is one of the good things in the tangled web of ATI/IBLP [Advanced Training Institute / Institute in Basic Life Principles]. Thinking in analogies (life situations seen in light of Scripture) was a valuable life lesson for us and a critical thinking method or understanding we needed to learn to implement in our lives. Sincerely, there were many valuable lessons and benefits for our lives personally and for our family as a whole. This blog entry gives the mix of ‘em.
When we were planing to attend the ATI conference in Knoxville, Tennessee and a few people asked us, what about the facial hair? What the heck? Facial hair? What do you mean? You’re not allowed to have facial hair in ATI. I can’t remember what my mustached husband’s reaction was, but it was probably something like, so send me home. Or something like that.
So we got there. And upon filling out the student application form for our son, we stumbled over different questions and statements. What the heck? Boys must this…? girls must this…? wait, what? Long, soft curls? I’m thinking, well, this is a strange thing. What happens if you’re not able to grow long hair and/or have soft curls. A curious mix of what I believe about hair and this
requirement suggestion. There were all sort of things on that student leader in training application—I sincerely cannot recall what they are today, but at the time we noted the odd questions.
We enjoyed our time together… additionally, we received valuable instruction. While I was already using a pretty good day-planner method, I received many tips and suggestions for ordering my days, family’s schedules and meal planning. Couldn’t go for the “playpen in a purse” method of blanket training babies, but I did glean some valuable training on helping young children learn to do their chores. This is also where we first learned of the cool teaching method of making Lap Books for different subjects and Scripture memory helps — in addition to hearing Ray Comfort and a few others who’ve proven to be reliable teachers. Many of the teaching tools are ones we would keep utilizing long after the ATI materials were added to landfills. We were accustomed to dumping things in landfills… you know, most all of our hundreds and hundreds of record albums, tapes and CD’s were dumped one day after an extended music fast. But that’s a story for another day.
Then there was that dream fulfilled of seeing our boy sing in the homeschool choir. I didn’t know what a high place that was for me… the sight of all the bright and smiling faces, hearing the beautiful music and seeing right before my eyes, youth who didn’t *seem* to be concerned with worldly things. Only later would I recognize this potential red flag concerning outward appearances masking inward hurt, rejection or rebellion. All I could comprehend at that time was the breathtakingly beautiful voices and attractive students. I’m still Polyanna-ish about this one sometimes. It really was beautiful to me… but at the time I didn’t know what was going on behind the scenes. I’m glad.
We worked on our Wisdom Books (the numbered homeschool materials/books that each family received, one for each child, covering a myriad of subjects all centered around a specific theme based on the Sermon on the Mount) faithfully each day. We’d get “wrong answers” which were puzzling to us sometimes. Again, I hoped to one day gain enough wisdom and spiritual maturity to understand the questions and get their answers. After awhile, my husband began to say—I believe this other answer is the better one, so, you may mark your answers accordingly, even though “they” say it’s incorrect. At first it felt like we were sneaking around the institute’s rules… but, Ah, our first taste of freedom (though it would be a few more years before we dropped the program entirely).
Regarding the “academic” portion of ATI (not all things ATI were academic), we truly did see the wisdom in the method of tying all the subject matter together around the basic theme or word from the verses contained in the Sermon on the Mount—that aspect (but not the specific material) is something I very much miss today. It’s what made us interested in the program in the first place — thinking it was just a homeschool curriculum instead of a new way of life. But as we studied, and sifted through all the different aspects that were ATI, the lifting and twisting of Scriptures became intolerable — unbearable, really, bcz we so highly value the preserved Word of God and the bizarre or conveniently rearranged Scripture was painful to endure. I can’t even go into the giant 3 volume Character Sketches. While we can glean from animals/nature (Consider the ant, thou sluggard…), to attribute reasoning/motive/character qualities or wisdom to animals/nature… bleck.
We developed the suggested activity of having daily family Bible study every morning — a practice we’ve kept to this day. We called it Wisdom Searches in those days. We do not call it that today.
We didn’t finish all the allotted books each year. We never went back for the annual pilgrimage to Knoxville. We still paid $675. for the privilege to be in ATI. And for the newsletter. Eventually we qualified for our next box of Wisdom Booklets. We never made it to completing WB 49. Another high-place.
Only one of our children went to headquarters and to the Oklahoma Training Center. While he was there, strange contradictions began to spell the beginning of the end—-though his invaluable education seemed to outweigh the questions we had at the time. We began to see the attention to outward appearance (trainees wore specific clothing *if* they were going to be seen by parents/others who might be visiting the training center), they could not go to the mall — but on occasion they were sent to the mall so that visitors could tour the facility. I know this all sounds so petty today… but I share it simply to say, it took little things like this to open our eyes to the duplicity…
The end-end came after the last Seattle seminar… when none of it made sense anymore…
Four months ago I began the THM journey and what amazes me is how simple it’s been to stay the course with no intention or temptation to quit or get it over with. I’ve never stayed with a plan in my life—but that’s not to say I’ve not tried a whole bunch of plans, diet-shakes, crash diets — only sticking with them for a few days or even a few weeks but always going back to the whatever, whenever way of eating. The THM plan is so simple… the freedom is incredible. There is so much freedom — but that freedom is totally NOT a whatever-whenever way of eating. If it were, it would be the “fat, sick mama” diet… that’s pretty much where many of us, to one degree or another, have come from—and isn’t that what we never want to be again?!?!
This is the freedom I mean: freedom from sugar and food addiction! It’s staggering. Freedom from a mocha or two every single day… freedom from tea with milk & honey every morning and every evening… freedom from snacking and snacking and snacking… and never feeling satisfied. Freedom from cookies, candy, cakes and bread. And yet… and yet! I do have alternatives to these favourites—delicious alternatives to these favourites! And I never feel like I don’t “get to have” this or that… bcz I do get to have so many delicious foods. All the foods I get to have are delicious foods! Freedom to control eating food instead of being controlled by eating food is unbelievably freeing.
We never know how comforting hedges are
until we stop kicking against them
and start seeing them as protection.
I can agree with the Psalmist, the lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places… (Psalm 16) Somehow, the Lord is helping this girl — this carb addict to press on and to have freedom from the things that weigh me down.
For me, the journey to health has been a spiritual journey—I truly was not sure I could do it. So, you see, it truly has been a spiritual matter for me. Food’s had me in bondage and so I’ve had to pray for freedom from bondage to food. Interestingly, it’s not that it’s the THM but what God’s doing in me using this method. I shared this with a friend of mine the other day. The whole book’s been a training ground for me—it’s forcing me to face and SLAY these giants in my life. Every day I am attempting to follow the plan as best I’m able with the ingredients I have — it may seem feebly or haphazardly done sometimes. But I do it every day and I press on every day and I will keep on pressing on every day. And God is with me, strengthening me and helping me to say yes to what I ought to do and to say NO to what is not best for me. Sincerely, it’s amazing to me—bcz I am not given to regimens—it’s a battle for me for every regimen I’ve ever followed. And this? Yes, this one… I was *SURE* I was going to fail — SURE of it! But I have not failed–even following it very clumsily — very blindly — I have pressed on — every day I have pressed on and it’s astonishing to me to look back now on four months of this way of living & eating… pressing on each day.
And isn’t that our walk? To press on? To press on even if we have feeble knees? To press on even if others aren’t with us? To press on even if we don’t have all the whatever it is we think we need? To press on even if the way isn’t as smooth as buttah??? To press on even if others mock what we’re doing? To press on even if we ‘feel’ like we’re alone?
We press on in faith bcz this is the day the Lord has made and we will rejoice and be glad in it—-and if He uses a method to retrain and renew me such as the THM plan, then I’m thankful for His provision to help me do what I could not do on my own. ♥
Remember: Gwen’s got a terrific Trim and Healthy Quick Start page that will show you how to get started and basically give you four weeks of basics — a page I wish I’d known about in the beginning of my journey. Go take a look = print it!!
There are so many Trim Healthy Mama resources to give you all the tools you need to succeed in changing your eating lifestyle and find “your trim” or you level of healthy weight and energy. Along with all that, you’ll see that all these resources will give you ample instruction, inspiration to press on each day as you explore all the many meal and snack options along with daily doses of encouragement and a push now and then to run the race… or to get back up and keep running the race if/when you fall off course. Joining the Facebook THM group will give you fantastic resources and inspiration — so will the Trim Healthy Mama author’s page.
Gwen has written such an invaluable book review — her synopsis, observations and beautiful photos and descriptions will ‘flesh out’ the book for you—-her investment and numerous resources she’s made available in the last year will become invaluable to you. I could not more highly recommend you get the THM book—read it—and use Gwen’s site and resources. ♥
ALSO————See a whole bunch of Pinterest pages… here’s ♥ mine and then here are some others for you — just to get you started, the following links are “S” meals and snacks!
♥ S Snacks
♥ S Beverages
♥ S Breakfasts
♥ S Main Dishes – Hot
So, what’s an “S” meal or snack? An S meal is a Satisfying meal or snack — S meals have a foundation of protein and the fuel source is fat… fats like coconut oil or butter or nuts and seeds and some dairy products like cheese and eggs. These meals have very limited carbs–but that’s not going to be a problem when you see the beauty of the plan and how you’ll have those options when you enjoy an “E” meal or snack. Many nay-sayers think eating fat makes you fat–or fatter. Not so. You’ll soon see that food in the wrong combination and out of balance is what’s made you fat in the past and will make you fat in the future if you continue to eat that way. I’m truly no expert in this, but I am really beginning to grasp the whole proper intake and combining of fuels for meals and snacks. I’m finally getting the whole fat and sugar connection–the whole high carb connection to poor health and weight that’s not in balance. I’m finally seeing it, living it, understanding it—and you will, too, once you read the book and start implementing the plan.
Here’s my hot tip for you———-do yourself a favour: Work at eliminating or just stop eating sugar. Seriously—sugar will sabotage health and any sincere desire will be squashed and weightloss will fail when sugar’s in the mix! Right next to heredity issues, it’s probably the biggest culprit behind the big behind, the big belly, the bad heart, the sluggish metabolism, sluggish bowel and the sluggish mind. It’s probably the primary culprit behind a lot of infertility problems and insulin resistance. Yep, I just said all that. And yep, I’m not a doctor and not a clinician. And, nope, nothing I write should take the place of your own studies, doc’s opinions, advice and recommendations. Well, maybe I don’t exactly believe those last three (the opinions, advice & recommendations part). But, they usually don’t agree with home-birth and/or home-educating children, either. But, in the interest of total transparency, I had to add all that. Nothing here should be construed as professional or medical advice, counsel or diagnosis. That, too.
Want another hot-hot tip? Work at spacing all eating to 3 hours apart. Seriously. You’ll be surprised — if you’re not the skinny-mini type who forgets to eat or gets so busy she doesn’t know if she’s had anything to eat since yesterday or whatever — how often you eat. Stop it. I’m telling you, I had to/have to say this to myself *so* many times—pamela, stop it… you’re not going to die… you’ll eat again in an hour or two. ♥ So, clean your house, study your Bible, teach your children, go for a walk with them, finish one of your bazillion craft projects, clean & organize your pantry, bathroom, closet, school supplies, photographs, garage, fridge, dresser drawers… whatever… the point is that an idle mind with idle hands thinks of food, snacks on it and doesn’t even realize how much and how often it’s happening.
How about an “E” meal?
“E” meals are Energizing meals… meals that have a base of protein and moderate carbs. E meals have very little fat (one to two teaspoons at most!). The possibilities for E meals and snacks as endless as your imagination and supply of vegetables! There is a catch here, however, and that is the high starch potato. So no. Not that one. You will never miss it once you find out all the benefits you’ll reap by not eating it and by discovering all sorts of other foods you’ve been neglecting bcz you’ve opted for potatoes out of habit. You’ll be able to break the potato habit, trust me. If I can eliminate sugar and honey and potatoes and chocolate syrup, you can do it, too. Seriously.
You can give these E Breakfasts a go! Or, these E Dinners, or these E Snacks.
Or, again, remember: you can go to Gwen’s Nest and find just about anything you’ll need for the THM journey… she’s careful to explain S meals, E meals, FP meals, S Helpers and Crossover meals. Click here for her excellent Quick Start Guide to THM — and her more in-depth pdf/printable Trim and Healthy Quick Start page that will show you how to get started and basically give you four weeks of basics — a page I wish I’d known about in the beginning of my journey. Go take a look = and print it!!
I share all this to tell you, you’re not alone, you can do this, you can be trim and healthy and you can access loads of resources so that you can be done with excuses for why you can’t lose weight. Or why you can’t lose weight and keep it off. I know, right?!?!? I sound like a reformed__________ who thinks they know it all and everyone else should, too. Yep, it sounds like that… but I don’t know it all — but I feel like the blind man who received sight… and said (paraphrasing), this I don’t know and that I don’t know… but I know that whereas I was blind, now I see. The Lord has helped me to grasp something I previously could not grasp, He has helped me to do and keep doing something I’ve never been able to do.
If I can do this, you can do this. Truly. ♥
♥ It’s Tip Time! ♥
These tips fall under the categories: I’m so glad I saved _____ ; and the category: Ooooo… saved myself a whole bunch of time and energy by planning for future needs! Yay!
Continually in the mindset of thinking efficiently, make a conscious effort to consider the needs of others–your husband, family, etc., etc. ♦ A kitchen log and/or a journal will help you put it down and out of your mind = eliminate worry. Pray the Lord will guide you as you plan, pray He will give you insight for what you need or what you will need.
♦ Planning for daily meals = eliminate mealtime shortfalls and stress; ♦ planning for events = more smoothly transitioning from whatever point a to be, etc.; ♦ planning for future needs/seasonal needs = not fearing for the snow for your household; and rainy days. Sorry, rainy days will come and you’ll necessarily face those with the Lord, on your knees and waiting on Him — maybe in tears, but as you set your days in His hands, you will find solace there.
So… tip time:
♦ Jar lids—-if a store-bought item has a flip lid and fits on a mason jar, save that lid! Consider, some plastic containers for parmesan cheese have flip-top lids that fit regular mason jars — Truvia jars, too… some salad dressings and some tomato/pasta sauce jars, too, just to name a few.
♦ Pumps for soaps/lotions/shampoo — some of these fit other bottles that you might want a pump for. Now, this is just friend to friend advice, as I’m sure there are purists who wouldn’t think of reusing a soap or conditioner pump for any food item–all the leeching etc., etc. = anathema! So, cover your ears and don’t listen to this. I use pumps or reuse pumps all the time———makes so many things easier! From the kitchen sink to the pantry to the bath! As an example, I use the pump from a (costco size) bottle of Pantene conditioner—thoroughly-thoroughly-thoroughly washed, soaked, rinsed, washed and rinsed again—for some bottles of oils I use in cooking. They fit perfectly and not a drop is wasted. I reuse pumps on bottles of shampoo, etc., and put them on bottles that didn’t originally come with a pump. Saves money from going down the drain in the family’s shower. Sometimes I use the pumps I’ve purchased for coffee syrups—I use them on the syrup bottle, but when the syrup’s gone, sometimes I use the bottle fitted with a pump for sauces, salad dressings, etc., etc. This has been simple for me since I was able to purchase a quantity of pumps for a low price. So, all this to say, if you purchase pumps or whatever other time/food-saver you purchase, be sure you save those items to reuse in the future.
♦ Flip lids to toothpaste or lotion or whatever—these are another saver! Flip lids from spice jars—some come without a flip lid/shaker and so I always save assorted jar lids that have a shaker/ flip top so I can replace the lid with the better/more effecient lid. Saving these sorts of lids, helps so much bcz there are so many uses for them. I save assorted sized bread ties and bags, too — along with other things that ♦ make food storage easier. Saving unique jars and bottles with lids is also a great way to plan for food storage — gallon jars with lids make organizing and storing foods in the pantry so much easier. You can also save bottles with lids for juice, syrups, gravy, salad dressings, etc., etc. In this way, you’ll be glad you planned ahead for future needs!! Instead of giant hodge-podge
mess bin of “tupperware” or whatever-ware, you can reuse items your food came in in the first place and reuse them for other foods or left overs or whatever until the containers wear out. Or get lost. Or become a hodge-podge mess. Don’t be afraid to recycle. As in, throw away.
The big deal is that you continually learn (and re-tune/refine) to plan ahead and know when to be, and be determined to be, ♦ content with the amount of stash you have—too much and you’ll have oodles of chaos instead of contentment and all your planning will backfire as an unintended consequence. Too little planning and/or stash and you’ll have discontent and waste time and money over last-minute spending instead enjoying the contentment you originally longed for. ♦ Balance. That’s the big deal. Balance.
Have you been making plans for Valentines Day? Are you looking for some ideas? Well, for the last couple of years I’ve occasionally pinned some ideas on my Pinterest – Valentines Day – page and have been reviewing some of them this morning — so many great ideas, so little time to do them all!! Maybe there’ll be some baking or craft ideas to spark your imagination or give you some inspiration to try something new. Before Pinterest, I posted things to my old website on the Valentines page. Now, the things there are many, many years old, but I pretty much never seem to tire of the oldies but goodies in life. ♥
I’m thankful to have woken early this morning… long before my alarm was to ring (and more thankful now, that I didn’t disregard the purpose and attempt to go back to sleep). I’ve come to see that, in these sorts of times, the Lord has work to do in me — though, sadly, I often don’t see it or acknowledge it at the time. In such times, I know it’s sort of a wrestling match when I awake, instantly aware of the presence of the Lord — and then, almost simultaneously, I’m conflicted and reason (or attempt to negotiate with the Lord) that I’ve had less sleep than I planned on. You know… He gives His beloved sleep. Ah… you’ve tried that, too?
He Giveth More Grace
by Annie J. Flint
He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.
When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.
His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.
I want to share a really simple, delicious and inexpensive alternative to “store-bought” almond milk. I hope you try it and enjoy it. I’ve made this twice now and am really thankful for it! You’ll find a number of recipes in the Trim Healthy Mama book calling for almond milk. I found it to be pretty expensive at the grocery store — plus, from time to time I haven’t been able to get to the store, so this method is a nice alternative for me.
I fill a quart mason jar about 1/3 full of raw almonds and then I fill to the top with water. I let this stand over night and pour off the water in the morning–refilling with fresh water. Before bedtime, I pour off that water and refill with fresh. The following morning, I pour off the water and put 1/2 of the soaked almonds and 1 and 1/2 cups of fresh water into my food processor and blend (with the blade attachment) for several minutes. Pour that portion off into a strainer over a bowl.
I then pour the rest of the soaked almonds into the food processor along with another 1 and 1/2 cups of water and, again, blend very well for several minutes. And then pour the final amount into the strainer over the bowl.
If I had a blender, I might be able to do the whole process in one blender pitcher. But since I don’t, I just use this method. It works out pretty well.
After I allow that mixture to strain through the strainer, I take a clean strainer and line it with a paper towel and put that over a clean bowl and then I pour the strained almond milk over the paper lined strainer in order to more finely strain the milk.
I let that strain for several minutes and lightly squeeze or press out the milk.
Then I have some beautiful almond milk to chill in the fridge or use in a smoothie or whatever other recipe I might like to make! Try it! I think you’ll like it! You can add some vanilla to it, too! Yum!
You can dry the “mash” in the oven — and then use it as ground almonds or almond flour in your recipes.