Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Love that Multiplies by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar

I mentioned in my pregnancy update post the other day that I just finished reading "A Love that Multiplies" by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar. I've always been a fan of the Duggar family and love watching their show on TLC. I'm not trying to idolize them or put them up on a pedestal, but rather just share my thoughts about the book and their family in general. I realize they are just people and sinners just like you and me. But I'm thankful they live a life in service to God and in proclamation that they are sinners saved by grace. Psalm 107:2 comes to mind, "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so." 

I have always been in awe of how loving, tender, and gracious they seem to be on the show. As with any "reality" show, you wonder what really goes on behind the camera. I've heard many people doubt that the family is really like that, but rather they are just really good putting on a show. I've never bought into that thought and I am even more convinced after reading the book. As I was reading the book, I felt like I was getting a closer look into their family and having a good conversation with Jim Bob and Michelle. I truly believe they strive to show the love of Christ in their home and in their daily life. There's no doubt they fall short and human nature gets the best of them. In fact, Michelle very candidly opens up about some of those experiences in the book. But she didn't just share those moments and move on. She shared deep, life-changing lessons she has learned from those moments. It is truly encouraging to watch a family show such love to one another versus much of the "normal" families depicted on television. I would rather watch a family showing the love to one another and have possible doubts than to watch a family constantly fighting and know that it's probably reality.

One of the most convicting parts of reading the book was Michelle's section on parenting. Again, it has always amazed me on the show how quietly and calmly she speaks to her children. Even when she is correcting them or teaching an important lesson, she speaks in such a calm manner. In the book, she writes about her decision to parent in this way. Proverbs 15:1 is her reasoning: "A soft answer turneth away wrath; but grievous words stir up anger." What a convicting thought! Is yelling the correct response to handling your child's misbehavior? If you think about it, yelling is usually the result of letting emotions take over reasoning. If you're yelling, you're more than likely not using good reasoning. It definitely isn't showing the love of Christ to your child. And your child probably can't even understand or fully comprehend what you're telling them because you're yelling. (Just a side note: I realize I have absolutely NO experience in parenting, so I have little credibility. I'm not trying to say what I think is the right way to do things. I'm just sharing my thought process and my reactions to what someone I consider an expert has to say.)

Mrs. Duggar shared several experiences when her children misbehaved and she reacted by yelling or getting upset. In the end, she realized her reaction was just as wrong as what the children did and she wasn't able to effectively get the point across. She realized the point to disciplining children isn't to prove that you are in control as the parent. The point to disciplining is to teach your children that they need to obey their parents even when they don't understand or agree. They need to learn to trust their parents because they have wisdom about situations that come with being a parent. That wisdom might regard safety or morality. Mrs. Duggar shared that her goal in disciplining her children with a soft and calm response is for them to realize they are being disobedient, give correction and reasoning for what they should have done, and affirm that they are being disciplined out of love.

Another aspect of the Duggar family that I have always admired is their approach to homeschooling. They have a hands-on approach to teaching their children. They value the learning that comes from real life experiences and teaching in the moment. Of course, they do have more "formal" aspects to their education that involves textbooks, computer tutorials, and organized curriculum. But the kids are encouraged to take learning into their own hands and find lessons in daily life. One of my favorite stories from their book was about their oldest son, Josh. When he was about 12 years old he earned a reward for doing something good (I can't remember if it was chores or what, but it doesn't make much difference). As a reward, he was given the option of receiving $20 or an old, rundown truck his dad had. He picked the truck. Over the years, he learned how to make repairs on the truck, worked to buy new parts, and made the truck usable again. By the time he turned 16, he had a truck to drive. I just love that! That experience then developed into him working on cars and now he owns his own used car lot. Talk about preparing a child for the future when they're young! Jim Bob and Michelle aim to prepare their children for adulthood. They encourage and focus on helping the boys work toward a career that will allow them to provide for a family. The girls are encouraged to learn skills to be wives, mothers, and helpmeets. This doesn't mean that they're stuck in the house learning to cook, do laundry, and wash dishes. They do learn those skills at a young age, but there are so many other ways they can learn helpful skills. A couple of the girls are involved in the volunteer fire and rescue service. They are studying to be midwives. They are in school for music education. Their heart is toward serving God and being wives and mothers. They aren't focused on having lucrative careers. That is something I admire greatly.

I could go on an on, but I would rather you just read the book for yourself. Again, please understand that I am not trying to idolize or put this family on a pedestal. I am sure there are many other families who live such a great example. And I even know some. I guess my point is to share that I am encouraged by this family's willingness to live a public life in service to the Lord. I feel like their testimony is inspiring to many. Sure there are doubters and critics, but isn't that what we're guaranteed as Christians? Do I think every Christian family should publicize their life? No. Honestly, I don't know that most family could do it in such an humble and honest way. I think the Duggars are able.

The bottom line is: live your life as a child of God so that others don't have reason to doubt, show the love of Christ, and go read about the Duggars.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Everett James

My nephew, Everett James, was born while I was visiting my family in Illinois. It was special to be at the hospital when he was born and be able to see him at just a couple hours old. He is adorable!

Everett James
7 lbs. 1 oz. 
22 inches
September 11, 2012

Everett James 

Mum and Pop admire their first grandson

Future golfer, just like Daddy

Meeting Aunt Tasha

Bright, beautiful eyes

Cute little yawn!

Monday, September 24, 2012

14 Weeks

Woohoo! We've made it to the second trimester! I have to admit, I was hoping that once I hit 14 weeks, the nausea would magically disappear and my energy would reappear. So far it hasn't, but that's alright. I am thankful both have improved. I am just enjoying being pregnant and so thankful to be in this position, that I will gladly take the nausea and naps!

This week I've spent a lot of time thinking about the reality of the impact this will have on our lives. A lot of time has been spent debating over which doctor to use, decor for the nursery, names, what to register for, and other less important issues. I just finished reading "A Love that Multiplies" by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar (more to come on that in another post) and it brought to mind many areas of parenting and child-rearing. I have enjoyed spending time in thought, prayer, reading, and meditating over some of these areas. My approach with this pregnancy has been to educate myself as much as I can about a variety of topics. I use this same philosophy when considering parenting. I realize that I won't have a full understanding until I am knee-deep in parenting and experiencing it first hand. I realize that some of my thoughts, opinions, and goals will change. And I'm alright with that. However, I want to be intentional in how we raise our children. I find it worthy of much thought, prayer, studying, and discussion. So, that's what's been on my mind this week.

Oh, and picking out fabric for the nursery. :)

Sunday, September 09, 2012

12 Weeks

Woohoo! We have hit 12 weeks! I am so excited for the second trimester to be right around the corner. I'm already feeling like I have a little more energy, but I do still enjoy my naps! :) I'm looking forward to  heading home to Illinois to meet my niece and (hopefully) nephew this week. We're anxiously awaiting my nephew's arrival into the world.

Monday, September 03, 2012

6 & 11 Week Baby Bump

As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to document my growing belly. I love seeing pictures of women as they grow and change throughout the pregnancy. I took a picture a few days after I found out at 6 weeks to show the starting point. I got it all ready to post, but knew it would have to wait until after we made the official announcement. Since there haven't been  many changes between 6 weeks and now, I waited to take another picture until I reached 11 weeks. It's my hope to take a picture each week and share a few things I want to remember.

Last time wearing that dress for a while!

I think the dress makes the picture a little deceiving!