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THM ♥ mama’s recipes

teacuppamela

It’s a beautiful day here!  Sunshine always seems to change my outlook — sort of, no matter what I’ve got to do, if the day’s a sunny one, generally, my attitude is sunny, too!  It’s taken me all these months of ‘working at’ the Trim Healthy Mama plan to get confident enough to begin sharing some of the different recipes or how I’ve learned to use the different recipes in the book — but every day I learn something new!  Ever a “free-styler” I have to really work at following the recipes.  But I’ve come to see and really appreciate the beauty of the THM plan is that once you have the basic understanding of meal guidelines, you can adapt the plan to your personal tastes, etc — and the recipes can be tweaked to fit your personal THM-style.  I have begun to call THM a method rather than a diet.  A diet (for most of us) is a temporary fix that is repeat over and over with the same results — some weightloss and the inevitable return of weight.  And then some.

Learning a method of doing something and having good results over a length of time seems to replace the old way of ‘behaving’ or doing things.  Most of us cannot stick with a *diet* bcz we miss so many things or we are overcome with temptation, we cheat, we figure we can never lose weight, we give in to the temptations that made us fat and unhealthy in the first place and then, to make matters worse, we give up.  And get fat.  And unhealthy.  And the cycle repeats.  Over and over again, we recycle the same problem.   The bizarre thing is that when we’re not dieting at all, we don’t call eating a cookie or candy: cheating.  We’re just eating.  We’re just eating cookies and candies… O, we might feel like we shouldn’t eat many of them, but we don’t generally call it cheating unless we’re on a diet.

That ought to spark a lightbulb going on in our minds!  How can we stop dieting and start eating so that we stop the enticement of cheating?  And stop loathing our food decisions?  And our bodies?    Intro: THM.

rosecolouredglasses

The beauty of the THM method, of eating and living is that you will learn and continue learning and exploring all sorts of new ways to prepare and eat healthful and satisfying meals.  I wouldn’t tell you this if it weren’t so—I couldn’t tell you this if I hadn’t already been traveling this path.  Perhaps that’s why I’ve waited this long to really delve into sharing specifics and, now, recipes.  I thought it wise to start right in with:  Candy!

skinnychocolates

In the book, the basic recipe is on page 371… I know, right?!?!
All the way to page 371 and you find out about  (S) Skinny Chocolate?!?!  Yes.

I make these and call them Mama’s Candies… The candies are in a jar (or two) in the fridge if you want one. Or two.

I make them in my “mini muffin” pans lined with mini-muffin papers.  I do this primarily bcz it’s easier to pop them out of the pan with they’re set and it’s easier for me to take them where I’m having a cuppa coffee. :o)

I quadruple the recipe in the book and make 72 candies — they’re approximately 50-55 calories each.   Though the THM plan is not a calorie counting plan, it’s wise to know approximately what the value is so that you don’t go overboard eating stuff.  In this way, I know that I am perfectly, perfectly fine with having a couple of these each day with no worries at all.  In the beginning, as with *cream* in my coffee, until I calculated the calorie content, I was a bit more freestyling! ~smile~  And am still okay with all that early learning… it all worked out fine.

So here’s my recipe — I line 3  24-cup Mini muffin pans with mini muffin papers or liners (thus the 72 candy size recipe).  Determine a flat area in the fridge to set the filled pans.

And then, in a measuring bowl I place…
2 Cups very warm Coconut Oil
1 Cup Cocoa
4 Tblsp. *ground Truvia
1 tsp. Sea Salt
1+ tsps. Vanilla

I either use a whisk or my stick blender to thoroughly blend all the ingredients.  Then, I pour the chocolatey-goodness to fill each lined muffin cup.  Then you’ll see that there is still some chocolately-goodness left in the measuring bowl.  Lick your fingers clean. Unplug the stick blender… yes, you know you wanna… then wash it, too.
Set the filled muffin pans in the predetermined level place in your refrigerator — stack, but stagger them so the cups rest slightly  beside each other not *in* each other.  I know. ;o)
In an hour or two, you’ll have “mama’s candies.”  Proceed with caution.  And… these are an *S* And you won’t feel well if you eat all you think you want.

* I grind Truvia & the Sea Salt in a coffee grinder I have dedicated solely to this (and herbs)  purpose.  When I don’t grind the salt, also, it’s kind of grainy in the smooth chocolate.
You can make these on a flat lined cookies sheet, too… but I found that the snapping off a piece here and a piece there was too much freedom for me.  I needed the discipline of a couple of pieces – not part of a slab of chocolatey-goodness.  I’ve also used candy molds, too.  Choose your best method…

Next time, Good Girl Moonshine !

http://store.trimhealthymama.com/default.asp

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THM = preparedness; sincerely.

NEW!  TrimHealthyMama Online Store

Mteacupany women are enjoying great success following the Trim Healthy Mama book & eating style or plan.  But many women aren’t.  I notice this many times as I read the different posts on the Facebook THM group “encouragement page” [my description] and the number of comments  that are either negative or reflect a lack of being able to stick with the THM meal plans.  Many women are simply feeling defeated as they try to “stay on plan.”

I don’t know why this is, exactly, but I think it has a lot to do with the proliferation of diets, programs and diet foods many women have tried (and failed) or have tried with  some success but as soon as the diet was ‘over’ or abandoned, the weightloss was erased and the weight increased.  Again.  There’s some strange psychological phenomenon that seems to occur with weightloss — especially major weightloss.  It’s like there’s a goal weight or a certain length of time for the ‘diet’ and then when either are achieved, the dieter rewards herself with food  — lots of the old “recently forbidden” delicious foods — and, just like that:  all that work, all that sacrificing, all that time spent straining toward the goal… Poof! Gone.

I know.  I know this all too well.

So what’s made *success* with THM different?  Is it the actual plan?  Is it all the camaraderie and support?  Is it the Thirty-Five dollars for the book?  Is it sheer desperation? Is it Skinny Chocolate? Is it all the incredible before/after photos?  I don’t know.  I really don’t know what it is specifically.  But one thing I do know — and that is, for me, it’s been a Spiritual journey.  And a preparedness journey.  Sincerely, both.

It’s been a Spiritual journey bcz the Lord has met me every day “where I’m at” food-wise.  It’s taken me years and years to realize that one of my natural bents has not been discipline or preparedness.   My ‘natural bent’ is not discipline — it’s haphazardness, really.  My natural inclinations are to just do whatever, whenever and eventually cover all the bases.  My natural inclination is to wing-it and hope for the best outcome.  So, I sincerely must determine to not follow my natural bent, to not fall into my natural inclinations.  And to do this, I have to intentionally determine I will or won’t do something, I will or won’t think something.  And, that’s where the Spiritual component (for me) comes in.  I’ve really had to seek the LORD and His work in my life to get to this point and, by the grace of God, He has met me at every single turn — He has already been there at every single point of need.   Sincerely, He has.

And, it’s been by His grace that I have been able to be prepared —– even when I didn’t think I was prepared!  He has enabled me to gather what’s been needed, He’s enabled me to make the choices I’ve needed to make and He’s given the grace to turn from things I *never* *ever* *ever* thought I could turn away from.    And so, much to my great amazement, I’ve stayed “on plan” for five months.  For five months I have not strayed from the plan—–even though I’ve done it feebly, or probably not 100% correctly — I’ve probably had incorrect proportions for meals, eaten meals in an incorrect order or time-frame, etc., etc.  But what I mean to say is that for five months I’ve not had any of all those things I thought I could never do without, all those foods I thought I loved and all those foods I thought I had to have.  And, five months of not knowing the taste of *many* foods and meals I’ve prepared.  For a taste-as-you-go sort of cook, for a taste-and-see-if-it’s-good sort of cook, this is nothing short of amazing for me.   To not have tea with milk and honey every morning and every evening before bed is amazing.  To not have a grande mocha coffee or two, every single morning is also amazing to me. Sincerely, it is.

So about THM preparedness… you gotta know that this is probably (second to the Spiritual aspect) the most important thing.  A failure to plan is truly a plan to fail.  If you can’t get this, then probably no “diet” anywhere is going to help you.  I know this personally—with many years of assorted “diets” behind me —– many years of wishing to lose weight or, rather, to maintain weightloss or many years of hopelessness for weightloss behind me.    But THM is and has been different for me… because it’s a way of living, planning, eating and succeeding.   Sincerely, it is.

Preparedness has meant that I have gotten all sorts of foods I never used in daily cooking.  It has meant that I made a portion of a cabinet solely dedicated to THM foods.  It’s meant that I don’t just eat what ever – when ever – how ever  I want.  It’s meant that I don’t eat everything everyone else is eating.  It’s meant that I have all sorts of special foods to acquire — foods to go along with or in place of all my family’s meals and you know what?  I’m totally okay with that.  Sincerely, I am.

So here’s the net-net for you… get the book.  Read it from page one to the end.  O, I know… it seems so much more efficient to just get the facts— you know, tell me the menu plans, define S and E and FP and Crossover for me.  I don’t have time for all the rest.  I just want to get started.  I know.  I thought those same thoughts.   Here’s the deal:  The facts start on page one.  The conversation begins there and ends with your filling in notes on the several blank pages at the end of the book.    And in the middle somewhere, is the click.  The click where you’ll ‘get it‘ and really begin to follow the plan.  Just remember, if you just want the facts … they start on page one.  Sincerely, page one and every next page thereafter.

And your counter just might look like this on any given day:

THMtruvia

Ground Truvia…
little jars, shakers, etc., etc., and  a “coffee grinder” dedicated to my THM “sugar” etc.
Totally worth it.
And, as my husband recently said, it’s worth it at twice the price. ;-)  Sincerely.

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Someday an Heirloom Marriage

teacup

Someday an Heirloom Marriage
 by pamela spurling
written year-2000

I pray as we sit here at  the kitchen table, that what I share with you today will be a blessing to you and a blessing in your home—I pray it will maybe even change the way you look at your marriage and perhaps it will never be the same again.

So… Your Marriage is an Heirloom. An heirloom that, depending on its value, will be passed down for generations… I think most times, women don’t have any idea the value of what they have in their hand and that it is quite possibly one day going to be an heirloom: a treasure passed on to someone else. Think of all the things you love that once belonged to someone else… things that at the time, probably had little monetary or sentimental value to the owner. Think of treasures from your grandmother or mother… things you highly value that they may have once considered of little worth. Think of the things you now own and use… things your children may one day treasure: things that you now give little thought to using each day…things that you, for the most part, take for granted. Marriage is sort of like this sometimes. Here we have what the LORD  calls a mystery… the mystery of the two becoming one flesh… the mystery that is likened to Christ and the church. A man leaves his father and mother to be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. A mystery… a gift: two people: one flesh.

An heirloom.

Have you ever considered the treasure you have in your hand? O, you may not see it as a treasure today… in fact, you may think your marriage merits little attention and is really of little worth. That may be how it is…or that may be how you see it today. Consider for a moment how it would be if you were to see it and treat it as an heirloom. What if you were to treat it as a precious crocheted covering or an embroidered cloth… each thread carefully stitched in place, each knot tied with precision, the cloth itself handled with diligent care. You know, as people go through their lives, they often don’t consider the things they are collecting to be “heirlooms.” In fact some things we collect, we may not even consider valuable until someone remarks at the beauty or worth of the item. And then suddenly that old thing become like a priceless gem. Some things are only valuable because of their condition or age… not because of their original value or usefulness. Some items may not originally appraise at a very high value but given a few years the increase in valuation is remarkable.

Think of what folks are willing to pay for antique furniture that is overly worn, chipped, and marred. Notice how much people prize this type of furniture that they try to emulate depression era or old furniture by roughing up, “antiquing,” denting, sanding around the handles and knobs, gouging the tops and sides—doing things in *one* day on a counterfeit that took *decades* of wear and use on the heirloom piece.

But what if you treated your marriage as an heirloom… What if you handled it with care… what if you tended to it as a gardener attends to prized roses… what if you tended to it as a mother to her newborn or as a jeweler polishes the gems… what if you protected it as a crossing guard protects the little children in the walk… what if you watched over it as one watches over a sick child… or if you invested in it as some invest time in perfecting a skill… or invest money… or if you protected it as one who protects from harm…or what if you cherished it as one cherishes the wedding kiss… prized photographs… fine gold… flawless gems.

Your marriage is an heirloom… and its condition is dependent largely on how you care for, nurture, guard and protect it. I am mindful today that I am writing to some whose marriages are on shaky ground, whose foundations are cracked and whose walls have been compromised… it is with this in mind that I share from my heart that even a marriage of this condition can still become a treasured heirloom. Think back on that prized antique furniture… whose value increased by the stresses sustained in its lifetime. Even when a piece such as this is “restored,” some of the fractures and scars remain… much like stresses in marriages that God has healed and restored. It’s often the mended stresses that are the strongest and add the deepest meaning and value to the antique—likewise to a marriage. God is still on the Throne and He specializes in restorative work—nothing escapes His gaze and nothing is too difficult for Him.

Patching and mending…

We have a quilt… it’s not particularly beautiful or attractive. My husband has had this woolen hand-pieced quilt for many years. Early in our marriage, I knew he loved this quilt but I didn’t yet understand the depth of his love for both the quilt and the great grandmother who made it. I didn’t know his great grandmother and so with time, in hearing of her love for the LORD and her great faith, I have learned to value this quilt. Something I would like to note to wives is that we often don’t realize the hurt we cause and the damage we do to the heart of our husband when we reject their possessions or treat them carelessly. I am very sorry now for the many times I neglected or discounted the value of some of my husband’s treasures. A wise wife will never make disparaging comments about her husband’s cherished possessions. So, over the years the old quilt has needed mending… and sadly, I have neglected it until the need was obvious. Instead of patching and mending it right away, instead of being careful with and watchful over one of *his* favorite possessions, years would go by and the seams would ravel and some of the stuffing would come out… all because I didn’t value it and tend to it sooner.

Marriage is like this… unless we are attuned to protecting and tending to our marriages, they will become like this heirloom quilt… it shows its age, it shows its neglect, it shows it worn spots, it shows where it lost its stuffing, and it shows where its raveled. Matthew 6:21Matthew 6:21
English: World English Bible - WEB

21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

WP-Bible plugin
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also

You may not have the tangible heirloom quilt in your hand… but you have in your hand the quilt of your marriage… and like freshly sewn blocks in a quilt… things for you may have gone along neatly fitting together for years: piece by piece, square by square, block by block. Your stitches may have started out straight and even… possessing all the qualities of a remarkable heirloom quilt and then with time, the stitching may have become careless and uneven. You may now have in your hand that same quilt that you had so carefully begun stitching… and it now shows evidence of the tears and worn spots, places that needed mending, places where careless use or misuse caused holes and even rips, a spot or two where the stuffing was pulled out and nothing was added back in its place, or other places where the stuffing was put back in and the whole area was retied. You may look around at other quilts and compare the quality and be dissatisfied with the value or quality of your own. Oh how we need to refrain from doing this… this can be so damaging. Instead, we need to be about the business of attending to our own… an heirloom quilt is unique because of the special design of the Master and the love invested in its making.

You may have, in the heirloom quilt of your marriage, places where the patches are brighter and sturdier than the original fabric, the thread used in the mending— stronger and more vivid. These are the places of greatest value to you in the quilt… stronger than the original pieces. You may have places where the ties are stronger than the original ties, you may have a new backing…new binding. You may run your fingers over the quilt and feel the smooth and the rough patches… some of the ties tied into bows and some tight knots… some of the stitches: straight and smooth, others loose and jagged.

Whatever the case, were you to look at the quilt of your marriage as a priceless heirloom, would you do the patching and mending? Would you tend to it with attentive care? Part of my thinking is prompted by watching the blooming of Josh and Kimberly’s marriage… and of watching our son Daniel and his wife Tara’s marriage. I think of the many ways in which their marriages are like a vast canvas—clean and white, and with everyday a brush stroke adds colour and dimension to their “someday an heirloom marriage.” As I have walked through their homes I smile as I see them building their lives… adding things, experiences, joys and sorrows that are all becoming part of the quilt of their marriage. The trials and testings that come their way will either strengthen or weaken the fabric of their marriage. I’m blessed to watch the development of these priceless heirlooms. I get sort of weepy sometimes when I see them and others… the quilt blocks coming together so neatly and so sweetly… as I know there will surely be days ahead—those necessary experiences that will test the strength and construction of their quilt… that will add or detract from the value of their heirloom. Then, I look at our own marriage… I see the beautiful hues, the pinks and the blues, the bright spots and the deep black etchings… the patching, the mended tears and tight knots… all the events of our marriage that make it into an heirloom…an heirloom that I treasure today—an heirloom I desire to be treasured and remembered by our children long after we are gone.

I think of the times I have neglected the patching… much like Wes’s woolen quilt originally carefully made by his great grandmother. I think of the times when my carelessness and my haste made for injury and foolish rips in the fabric of the quilt of our marriage. I think of the times when I neglected to be sensitive and the seams raveled and the rebinding and mending was painful. I think of the times when the pressure was tremendous and both of us had to work diligently to reinforce the stressed spots. I recall times when I didn’t feel like adding the extra fabric to reinforce the blocks… even though I knew exactly what was needed and the LORD was supplying all the “material” and “thread” to mend the tear. Even sadder, I look back and see that I sometimes have rejected the pieces my husband was offering to patch up the tear… and I rejected them in pride: thinking I knew a better way. How foolish it is to not accept the love… to not forgive and move on.

“Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” Proverbs 14.1

And so… a “someday an heirloom marriage” requires that I be diligent to know the condition of the quilt… and I must be more than willing to make the first stitch in the needed repair… instead of waiting for my husband to make the first stitch. I need to be daily valuing each additional block… and carefully piecing what God is providing. I need to watch my actions and the things I allow… I need to guard from the damaging words and negligence that destroys the foundation of this heirloom. I need to preserve the treasure and not let carelessness destroy or compromise depreciate the value of this precious heirloom.

Someday an heirloom marriage.

When our children look back on the story of our marriage… I hope they’ll see the quilt of our marriage hemmed in prayer, the seams stitched with faith, the old pieces we both brought and offered to each other that were fitted together and formed each block of the quilt… that they’ll see a marriage built on the secure foundation of faith in the LORD stitched with some sorrow and tied with gladness… all the bright spots to highlight the joys and the dark spots for depth and clarity to punctuate the grief and to frame the forgiveness and the faith. I pray they’ll see it all and praise the LORD for His goodness and His merciful kindness… all the while knowing that without Jesus at the center… the quilt blocks would have separated all frayed and raveled, the pieces would have had no purpose or value… and there’d be no heirloom at all.

So, for today and all the days ahead I pray that you will add to the value of your “someday an heirloom marriage” trusting the LORD for all the pieces… stitched with faith in Him… and treasuring your husband as a gift from the LORD.

© ~ pamela spurling  ~The Welcome Home ~ 2000 ~

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Blue & White

teacuppamelaI love blue and white things.  Blue is my favourite colour.  It’s not my favourite mood, though I struggle with that one.  Sometimes, a lot.  Blue is my favourite for hydrangeas, dishes, gemstones, berries, skies and seas.  And though I mostly prefer to wear pink and black now, navy clothing has long been pretty much the only colour I’ve worn. 

So you can imagine, that when I went to my first Basic seminar (wearing my favourite colour and that favourite colour was the colour of my dress),  I felt right at home that night.   I hadn’t learned yet that how things feel and seem in a situation are both critically important to me—and bcz of this, I, early on, was taken in by all the new information, all the new approach to life.  All the blue and white.

A few years later I would be sitting in a Mother’s Meeting in Tennessee and I would hear a phrase  that would come to have incredible significance to me.   One of the mothers commented to another:  Well, you don’t have to be so blue and white about it!  I let that sink down in my ears.  Tucked it away for some future day… and when that day came, I understood.  I totally understood.

I was not raised “in a christian home” and did not have the background or the foundation of faith that I have today.  I was growing in the Lord and was eager to do the right thing to live right,  to do the right works, to not make mistakes, to have bright and cheerful, obedient children, to not suffer shipwreck.  And on and on.  So… the blue and white!  There was so much blue and white  (remember, I’m not talking colour here)!

All the stuff I didn’t agree with or that didn’t set well with me or things I didn’t/couldn’t grasp, began to pile up—but instead (in the early days) of discarding or walking away from those things, I kept thinking I would/should/could try harder.  The blue and white appeal was so alluring, so compelling—I felt I must strive to do/think/be better.  I thought if I worked harder, I could get it… I could finally get to a successful, faithful Christian life. That was a lie.  It would, in time, become clear to me.

The trouble with cleverly orchestrated, tightly controlled information, firmly established methods and the appearance of righteousness  is that somewhere along the way, that original, sincere desire to know and serve the Lord God, to understand His Word and to observe it and to walk in His ways, to give Him honour and glory, to live in faith by the grace of God, to know and love the Lord Jesus and to obey Him… well, all that gets set aside or gets redefined by following all the rules instituted by a man  instead of simply seeking to know and do the will of God by daily seeking Him in the Word and in prayer and following the Lord Jesus Christ in the light of the Holy Spirit.

As I’ve written in some previous posts, it’s been a long time since I(we) sat in one of those Basic or Advanced seminars.  It’s been a long time since we’ve read anything the Institute publishes and a long time since we began to question and throw off the shackles of IBLP / ATI.  But, like an onion… or any engrained erroneous teaching or any engrained bad habit or patterns of thinking, there are layers and layers and layers that need to be peeled away, cut back and removed in order for the truth to have preeminence.  

With each passing year… I see yet another thought or principle that is incorrect or is a false teaching that I’ve believed and I’ve had to stop, see the error for what it is and repent of the practice of the teaching/idea/etc.  Freedom comes from each exercise of faith, each revelation of Truth. 

What I thought was freedom was really a cage… what I thought was a solid foundation of truth was really a slippery slope and the new approach to life was really an intricate web of false teaching.   You gotta understand, it all seemed so good… life seemed so much better when it was all blue and white… I thought we were doing all the right and best things for our home and family.  We were so sincerely seeking to know and do the will of God and thought that the careful constructs of the Institute were the ones to follow.

A battle I’ve had to fight through the ensuing years has been the battle of what if’s.  What if we hadn’t been in ATI?  Or what if we’d never followed the principles of the Institute?  What if we’d not been so legalistic or so rigid in our parenting?  What if we hadn’t been so blue and white?  Would we have been able to escape some of the problems we’ve experienced?  Would we have been able to avoid some heartaches?  I don’t know.  I don’t know the answers to the what if’s.  But I do know this:  God is and has been faithful to us.  And I trust His word.  And what the devil intended for evil, God intends for good and so… the what if’s?  Eternity will sort them out.  I cannot.

So the last 16 or 17 years have been sort of a free-fall *into* the everlasting, strong Hands of the Lord.   We’ve clearly seen God’s tender mercies and work in our lives:  we’ve been weaker and we’ve been stronger… we’ve been more sure and more doubtful of different Christian beliefs/practices… we’ve made a bunch of blunders and have had a bunch of good things happen… but most of all, we’ve come to the place of looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, by the mercy of God, seeking to live daily following Him and Him alone and by the grace of God we seek to finish well.

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More ATI / IBLP Baggage & Freedom

teacuppamelaA 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. flag_red
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…

quoteWhat 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. ♥

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Unpacking The ATI / IBLP Baggage

teacuppamelaWhat 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 is anything or anyone  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 most   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.
ATI baggage…
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!
quoteFor 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.
Ephesians 2.8-9
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.

More later.

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The ATI-IBLP Mess

teacuppamelaEvery 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.

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ATI / IBLP Tangled Web

teacuppamelaConsider 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. flag_red 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.flag_red  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. flag_red

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 flag_red 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 flag_red 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 flag_red 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 flag_redtwisting 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.  flag_red While we can glean from animals/nature (Consider the ant, thou sluggard…), to attribute reasoning/motive/character qualities or wisdom to animals/nature… flag_red 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 flag_red 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…

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the comforting hedge

teacuppamelaFour 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 foodsFreedom 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.

THMbookshelf

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!!

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so many THM resources

teacuppamelaThere 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 bookread 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. ♥

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Thank you for joining me here today, may the Lord bless you and your home.