Two Rosebuds Flourishing in the Light

Two Rosebuds Flourishing in the Light

Several weeks ago a couple came over for dinner (yes, we had invited them; they didn’t just show up) and brought us a potted miniature rose plant. It had some pretty red roses blooming, and was healthy and thriving. Which actually made me feel bad that it was now going to have me for its owner, as I do not generally do well with indoor plants. (Well, outdoor ones, either, but we’ll stick with indoor ones herein.)

However, the sweet beauty of this plant made me that much more determined to not only keep this one alive (like for more than a week), but to have it flourish! So I have done my best to water it with the “right“ amount of water – not really knowing what that is, but trying anyway.

I do remember my plant-whisperer mother-in-love saying something about watering plants when they’re dry. Okay, maybe she didn’t mean “dry for three weeks,” so I touched the surface of the dirt every day, and when it felt dry, I watered it.

Plants seem to enjoy light, as well, but living in the non-sunny (I’m trying not to actually say “cloudy and dreary”) Pacific Northwest, and specifically living in our house that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight anyway because of being in the woods, I had to get a bit creative. I thought it might help to put it in a spot where there was more light – specifically directly beneath an under-cupboard fluorescent light in my kitchen.

As you can see, I put it in a mini red crock pot, (which matches my Mary Engelbreit kitchen,) but it is not turned on, so that had no effect on its growth. That was just the only counter space available below any of the fluorescent lights under my cupboards!

Well, I am thrilled (more than you know!) to announce that my rose plant has thrived in this spot! It not only stayed alive, but it has actually GROWN!!! (I kid you not!) Three times its original size!!!

The original mini roses eventually matured and I picked them off, but that’s normal. The rest of the plant still grew. No more mini roses, but, in faith, I knew they’d eventually come. At least I had a green plant in the meantime.

While working in the kitchen one day, I happened to bend down further than I usually do and noticed something interesting: Two darling little roses right at the top of the plant, the spot that was closest to the light!

I looked through the rest of the plant, and did not see any other rosebuds anywhere else! (I’m pulling them down to get a picture of them, so that’s why they don’t appear to be right at the top by the light. This is a few days after the picture above, which is why they’re bigger.)


Whether or not this is the norm for miniature roses (growing in mini crock pots directly below fluorescent lights in Pacific Northwest kitchens), it wasn’t hard to run with and “interpret” this analogy!

Obviously, the closer we position ourselves to the Light ~ Jesus Himself ~ the more we will blossom and grow in our walk with Him!

There are many good reasons He uses “light” to refer to Himself. Many more than I thought as I discovered when searching for Bible verses about light. I was delighted to find that the Word even get very specific about how, as “the Light of the World,” Jesus:  (For your graphic-viewing pleasure, I made scripture-graphics of some of these verses.)



…helps us.

“Many say that God will never help us. Prove them wrong, O Lord, by letting the light of your face shine down upon us.” (Psalm 4:6

…keeps us from stumbling.

“Jesus said to the people, “I am the Light of the world. So if you follow me, you won’t be stumbling through the darkness, for living light will flood your path.” (John 8:12)   “Your words are a flashlight to light the path ahead of me and keep me from stumbling. (Psalm 119:105)

…gives us life.

“Answer me, O Lord my God; give me light in my darkness, lest I die.” (Psalm 13:3)  “He floods the darkness with light, even the dark shadow of death.” (Job 12:22)


…counsels us.

“Your laws are both my light and my counselors.” (Psalm 119:24)

…gives us wisdom and joy.

“God’s laws are perfect. They protect us, make us wise, and give us joy and light.” (Psalm 19:7-8)

…dispells our personal darkness.

“You have turned on my light!  The Lord my God has made my darkness turn to light.” (Psalm 18:28)...

…warns us of danger.

“For their [it’s actually referring to parents’ advice, but because many parents are living ungodly lives, I’m using the word “godly” instead] advice is a beam of light directed into the dark corners of your mind to warn you of danger, and…” (Proverbs 6:23)

…gives us a good life.

[For their advice is a beam of light directed into the dark corners of your mind to] give you a good life.” (Proverbs 6:23)

.…leads us.

“Oh, send out your light and your truth—let them lead me. Let them lead me to your Temple on your holy mountain, Zion.” (Psalm 43:3)

…blesses us with good things.

“For Jehovah God is our Light… No good thing will he withhold from those who walk along his paths.” (Psalm 84:11)

…protects us.

“For Jehovah God is our Light and our Protector. He gives us grace and glory. No good thing will he withhold from those who walk along his paths.” (Psalm 84:11)

…sheds glorious light on us, healing us, leading us forward.

“If you do these things, God will shed his own glorious light upon you. He will heal you; your godliness will lead you forward, goodness will be a shield before you, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.” (Isaiah 58:8)


WOW! I knew that what I’d find when I looked up “light” would be good, but to see all these verses ~ and benefits of light ~ in one place is just a deLIGHTful BLAST of BLESSING!!!

Which my darkened-in-some-areas thinking could certainly use! I am on the path of getting my mind renewed, especially as it pertains to food and eating, but I need much more light to illuminate and correct my wrong thinking.

For others, maybe it’s a different addiction ~ shopping, alcohol, drugs, porn, too much of anything, be it TV, computer, games, entertainment, even exercise.

Any of these can be a little-g god in our lives, and, without them being exposed to the healing light of God’s truth, can (and will) keep us in darkness in that area, which will eventually spread to other areas.

Of course, to receive this new thinking, the very mind of Christ, we have to actually draw near to Him, who is the Light!

Which brings me full-circle back to my rosebuds and what they did. They drew near to the light, not because of how smart they were, but because of how attractive light is. By its very nature, light draws living things to it. 

But that doesn’t mean all living things ~ including us ~ always make the choice to draw near to the light! It takes time and effort. And denying what our flesh gravitates toward, which feels good for the moment, but is not ultimately good for us. Nor is it what we really want; what our spirit longs for. But it is sooooo worth the time and effort! And what valuable rewards come of it!

There’s one other little detail that did not go unnoticed by me…  There are two rosebuds side-by-side! If any of you have an active, growing relationship with an accountability/prayer partner, you will get this right away! As it says in Ecclesiastes:

“…(O)ne standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer; three is even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

It is the Lord ~ that Third Strand of the triple-braided cord ~ who binds us together and strengthens us! I love how He uses other sisters to help strengthen us! I know that, for me, having an accountability partner helps me “walk in the light” ~ which brings me full-circle to the focus of this article…

That nothing but good can come from drawing near to the Light of the World! He IS Light, He is FULL of Light, and He brings light to our darkness ~ whatever it may be.

When we go into a totally dark room, grope around on the wall for the light switch, and flip it on, there is no argument between the darkness and the light. Get that? NO ARGUMENT at all! The light always wins.

This is true in both the natural realm as well as the super-natural.

So let’s take hold of what God has for us, stop stumbling in the dark, and receive more of the wisdom, joy, protection, good things and GOOD LIFE that God has for us, if we’ll only choose Him and allow Him to shed light on ~ and thus pull us out of ~ our “personal darkness” ~ whatever area that may be for us! He is stronger and brighter and bigger than anything that, heretofore, has kept us in the dark! 

“Lord, You have turned on my light!

You have made my darkness turn to light.”




Thin Within Coaching Group: Scholarship Available for One Blessed Participant!

This could be YOUR lucky week! 🙂

Heidi and Christina welcome you to join them for a 10-week Thin Within small coaching group experience!

We’re giving away a scholarship to the upcoming Coaching Group session!!!

A $350 value! 🙂

(Actually, we think that it is worth way more than that! At least to US as we LOVE LOVE LOVE our coaching group participants!)

To qualify, please comment below with your answers to the following questions.

  1. Why do you need this coaching?
  2. How will this coaching change your life?
  3. What food, that’s been on on your “no-no” list, will you be able to enjoy freely?

Please be sure to scroll on down and answer these questions in the comments to be considered as our Grand Prize Winner! 😀

WHY do we consider Thin Within Coaching Groups the ultimate Thin Within experience?


1.) Two coaches join together with 8 students for an intimate, deep dive into Thin Within for 10 weeks. We will provide you with more inspiring input and supply more effective strategies than Heidi offers even in 1-on-1 coaching!

2.) The other 7 students will contribute to your journey just as you will have insights and wisdom that may shed light on theirs!

3.) Heidi Bylsma works with Judy Halliday extensively, having collaborated on the writing of the Thin Within book and also the Thin Within Workbook series. In 2006 to 2007, using the Thin Within principles, Heidi released 100 pounds and kept a healthy size for 7 years. Heidi has joined you in the trenches, now, as she seeks to release weight that has returned to her frame due to a lack of diligence to renew her mind during a health crisis, and all that has been entailed in the dismantling of her 33-year marriage. She wrote the Fresh Wind Fresh Desire curriculum to share insights gleaned on her 18-year Thin Within journey.

Heidi – Before

Heidi – After (She has temporarily gained weight since this photo was taken!)

4.) Christina Motley has coached others with Heidi Bylsma for the past 2 years. Christina has been involved in Thin Within for a long while and uses her experience and enthusiasm as well as her brilliance 🙂 to contribute to the Fresh Wind Fresh Desire curriculum and to our small coaching groups in a powerful way. Her “Porch Chats” provide continued encouragement and inspiration to our coachees–all new content created each week, often in response to questions or concerns raised during our group coaching calls. Learn the tips, tricks, tools that both of these women use for victory.  Discover (and avoid) the pitfalls that keep you from victory on your journey. (Heidi has learned the hard way that when she stops using the tools, over-eating becomes an issue again…even after 7 years of maintaining a healthy size!)

5.) Facebook Group support all day every day where the 10 of us meet:

  • Use the group for accountability by checking in each day if you like!
  • Share prayer requests and praises about your journey specifically.
  • Ask questions and get feedback from 9 others, including at least 2 veterans (the coaches are veterans, but many of the people who sign up for the coaching groups are veterans as well)
  • When you need immediate prayer support and encouragement, you can post to our Facebook group.
  • Porch Chat videos by Christina available and uploaded 2x a week.
  • Heart 2 Heart videos by Heidi available and uploaded once a week.
  • Other helpful files made available in the Facebook group

6.) This is the closest thing we have to an “Insider’s Club!” 🙂 All of us in the coaching group will become great friends with one another over the 10 weeks together. Many of our participants so far have continued to meet together!

7.) You WILL experience victory if you participate! We know this will UNSTICK you! If you haven’t seen ALL the details, including a video or two to show you what’s up, visit this page.

What questions do you have about our coaching groups? Christina and Heidi will be hosting a Facebook Live event on Thursday, March 29th at 10am PDT, 11am MDT, 12pm CDT, 1pm EDT. Visit Heidi’s profile page and keep refreshing until you see a live video. If you miss it, you can always catch the recording.

Remember! To be considered for a full scholarship in a coaching group this Spring, please answer the questions at the top of this post by typing your comments below and we will be selecting a “blessed winner” who will get free access to be in a coaching group from the week of April 2-June 3rd.

FAQ: Confused? Thin Within: Where do I BEGIN?!?

FAQ: Confused? Thin Within: Where do I BEGIN?!?

We continue to ask (and answer) questions here at the blog in a new series…called our FAQ series! These will be questions that are relevant to you. In fact, we would love to hear from you! If you have a question about Thin Within, chances are, someone else has the same question! Please share your questions with us using the form at the very bottom of this blog post and we hope to get an answer out very soon!

Question from Marcia (Thank you for your question, Marcia!):

I am brand new to TW and do not yet have any of the books or workbooks. Where would you recommend for a newbie to start? I am hoping to join the next FB group in maybe May, but right now I am just gleaning from the blog and videos. Thank you!

The absolute best place to start is with the Thin Within Jump Start Training! It can be sent to you via email or you can access it at the Thin Within Academy. We are upgrading it a bit (version 2.0, don’t ya know! :-))  and I think that is the best way to go personally. But click this link to find the Jump Start Training at the Thin Within Academy. Or you can click the photo at the top of this blog post!

The Jump Start training is a great way to get your feet wet in Thin Within. So that is the best place to begin. We have 30 days of emails (or posts at the Academy) that you can do. It breaks down some of the basics into the most manageable bite size pieces. We cover a bit about mind renewal, about the mechanics of eating the Thin Within way, activity and it’s place, ways to think differently about food, eating, emotions, etc…and more!

Why not join us by starting with this easy-to-do beginners training? Or, if you are a veteran who needs a “refresher” course, you could try Jump Start as well!

What questions do YOU have?

We are eager to continue this FAQ series with questions that you have and would like an answer to. If you have a question, please use the form below. No one else will see your question or email address.

[gravityform id=”4″ title=”false” description=”false”]

Thanks so much! Let us know how we can help or serve you!

FAQ: What IS “Thin Within?”

FAQ: What IS “Thin Within?”


Welcome to our series of “Frequently Asked Questions” about Thin Within.

Over the next few months, we will be asking (and answering) questions here at the blog in a new series…called our FAQ series! These will be questions that are relevant to you. In fact, we would love to hear from you! If you have a question about Thin Within, chances are, someone else has the same question! Please share your questions with us using the form at the very bottom of this blog post and we hope to get an answer out very soon!

What is Thin Within?


  • Thin Within is not a diet.
  • Thin Within is not an endorsement for severe restriction.
  • Thin Within has no rules and no off-limits foods lists.
  • Thin Within is not a “quick fix” for extra weight or to cure eating disorders–please be sure to check with your medical and/or mental health professionals before starting this program.
  • Thin Within does not work well in combination with a diet.
  • Thin Within is not for the person who wants to keep their spiritual life separate from their eating and emotional life.

What Thin Within is…:

  • …a non-diet approach to lasting peace with your body, food, eating.
  • …a mindful, intuitive method for eating each meal (ANYtime food crosses your lips it is a “meal,” an opportunity for delight and nourishment!).
  • …liberating, as you enjoy any food you desire between the parameters of physical hunger and satisfaction.
  • …a refreshing way of being drawn into closeness with God.

Thin Within…

  • …requires no weighing and measuring of your food, no counting points, blocks, grams, calories, and absolutely no purchasing or preparing special foods for an event or on vacation.
  • …leaves label surfing behind forever.
  • …teaches you to begin to notice how different foods make your body feel when you are physically hungry and have a small portion and, when hungry, to select more and more of the “whole body pleasers” that you enjoy and that are beneficial for your body.
  • …encourages being adventurous in trying new recipes, new foods, new ways of preparing wholesome foods that you select!

Heidi “Before” Thin Within

Heidi – “After” Christmas 2007

Since 1999, when I stopped dieting and exercising obsessively, I have learned wonderful tools for teaching myself to think differently. This has had a huge impact on me as I act on what I BELIEVE and what I BELIEVE is drastically impacted by what I tell myself all the time. So, if I speak TRUTH to myself ALL THE TIME–that my body is fearfully and wonderfully made, that my body is remarkably efficient and needs less food than I can imagine, if I tell myself the truth frequently that I am being strengthened by the Holy Spirit to do “all things” through Christ, including stopping overeating, then I will begin to believe it and if I believe it, I will act on it.


I need to speak the TRUTH to myself and reject all LIES I tell myself. // The more I speak the TRUTH, the more I will BELIEVE the truth.// I will then ACT on what I BELIEVE.

So, while Thin Within is very much about an alternative to dieting, it is so much more. It isn’t an “eating plan” like many other programs. It is, more accurately, an entire discipleship program! If you want to connect with God, this is a great choice whether you have food, eating, body image issues or not!

We have a number of resources:

  • Thin Within Academy – has 4 programs available (a 5th–our “vault” will be opened soon and it includes all of Christina’s Porch Chats and all of my Heart 2 Hearts).
    1. Think Thin Within – a digital program about how to think differently so you can act differently
    2. Thin Within Book Digital Companion – a fresh spin on a tried and true presentation of Thin Within from the 2002 or 2005 edition of the THin Within book.
    3. 30-Day Jump Start Training – our free introduction
    4. Thin Within: Fresh Wind, Fresh Desire – Currently available only for our small coaching group participants, this curriculum brings anything and everything about Thin Within and puts it all in one place!
  • Books 
    1. Thin Within – A Grace-Oriented Approach to Lasting Weight Loss
    2. Hunger Within – A Biblical Approach to Weight Management
    3. Raising Fit Kids in a Fat World – Written by the founder of Thin Within, Judy Halliday, and a pediatrician, the “Fit Kids” book is written for parents of kids to teach them how to pass on Thin Within eating and principles to their children.
    4. H.E.A.L. Healthy Eating, Abundant Living – Your Diet-Free, Faith-Filled Guide to a Fabulous Life

(Email me to purchase the pdf files instead. (Heidi Bylsma at gmail dot com))

We are eager to continue this FAQ series with questions that you have and would like an answer to. If you have a question, please use the form below. No one else will see your question or email address.

[gravityform id=”4″ title=”false” description=”false”]

Thanks so much! Let us know how we can help or serve you!

What to Expect When You’re Expecting #03 (a.k.a. “Pregnantly Thin Within”)

What to Expect When You’re Expecting #03 (a.k.a. “Pregnantly Thin Within”)


Back to Square 0!

One of the biggest challenges I have discovered in my third trimester with Thin Within, is that I am having a very difficult time finding and waiting for 0. Such a basic concept. I’ve been doing this for years, but suddenly now, I feel like a newby and needing to get back to the basics—back to Square 1, or Square 0 as the case may be.

I realize that there are a few factors in play here. One is decreased space. Remember the illustration in TW about your stomach being the size of a fist? Well…my fist-sized stomach has gotten squished by this beautiful growing baby boy! Secondly, indigestion—a companion of many pregnant women, especially in their third trimester.

What I found was that the difficulty waiting for or finding zero was wreaking havoc in my heart and in my walk with Jesus. Much of this problem was not physical…it was a heart issue that I was “blaming” on the changes in my body. As a friend from our Small Thin Within Coaching Group “Fresh Wind Fresh Desire” says—“One of the enemy’s favorite tactics is giving me great justifications for breaking my boundaries.” So here was a great justification, when the Truth, I know deep in my soul, is that zero WILL come, when my body is ready and that my eating rhythm* may change, but it is still God’s design for me to wait until I feel physically hungry. This is best for so many reasons. (*Technical note: I have found that my rhythm looks like smaller meals, more frequently)

It all started with difficulty waiting for 0.

It’s been a challenging month. Health-wise, I’ve had a mean case of bronchitis. I’ve had sick kids. My husband’s work schedule is at a fever pitch.

Nothing like throwing a pity party for yourself to poison your thinking and sneakily lead you down a road you don’t want to be. After two major eating episodes in one week, I got the message:

Wake up my child! Your mind and your soul need tending.

 But Lord, I don’t know where to start!

Create in me a clean heart…

 Oh Lord, cure my heart of this ungratefulness—this “take take”ing—this entitled attitude. It sits heavy on my soul like so many unenjoyed cookies—scarfed greedily and without a thought. I have done the same with the gorgeous view here—your gift of creation—devouring it without a thought toward you. Or with the precious moments with my children. So sweet. So valuable. Meant to be savored with a grateful heart and a song of praise. But I’ve just devoured them thanklessly—not enjoying and wanting “more”, wanting “what’s next”.

When I hear these gritty, real thoughts coming out of my mouth, I feel so unlovely. Yet you say your love for me won’t ever stop or give up. When I feel like everyone (including me!) is tired of my short-comings, you remind me of your Faithfulness that doesn’t grow weary of me or walk away.

Don’t we all hear these self-condemning, doubtful thoughts at times?

I found this in an old journal entry from last year:

“I’m so imperfect, LORD. I’m struggling with this over and over again and the weight of my own short-comings, failures and sinfulness is crushing.


This was never going to be about your righteous life anyway, Emily. There is glory in perseverance, sanctifying shades of transformation as you look to me, again and again. Keep coming to me, coming back, coming closer. As I peel off layers of your human nature to reveal my glorious new creation in you…it may be painful. It may seem messy. I have eternal eyes. And in my sight, you are beautiful and your heart that loves me is precious.”


So another layer of my human nature—you’re asking me to trust you with this season, this challenge, of finding 0 with a baby stuffed inside of me, this dying to myself again. And you have promised that when I do, you will not waste a single struggle, a single stumble.


Now, it’s down to the dirty work. I need a quiet moment to ask God—What is this really about? What is the emotion, the aching emptiness that I’ve avoided addressing? And then…what do YOU say about that?   What is true in this moment LORD?


God, this is tough work. And I’m really not sure I’m up for it. I’d much rather sit here with my coffee and my Reeses’ peanut butter cup and read a book about someone else’s’ journey finding freedom from her besetting sin through real connection with herself and you.

Thankfully, God did not leave me there. It’s been three weeks since that conversation with the LORD. He actually has used that good book to work in my life as well! But mostly, it’s been my cooperation with His Spirit in me, that has peeled back new layers of callous around my heart. It has felt messy, and been a bit painful, but God has drawn me closer to him, renewing that “right spirit” within me and reminding me that I WANT to find and wait for 0.

Emily lives in South Korea with her husband and 2.8 children. She enjoys being the token American in her neighborhood and baking for the Korean neighbors. She is grateful for the chance to lead worship in their small “expat church.” Like most mothers, she’s also good at multitasking–like cooking and putting on bandaids, rubbing four feet while reading two books and driving while chewing gum and talking on FaceTime with family back home. 

Thanks, Emily!

If you are a pregnant mom, won’t you post here and let us know? We would love to have a little support community right here on the blog for you all who are hoping to navigate the waters of your pregnancy (and after) while applying the Thin Within principles. Not only does Thin Within “work” during pregnancy to minimize weight gain, but many women LOVE the way they feel when they do this! EVEN when pregnant!

~ Heidi