Jill, Jessa and Jinger Duggar: "Experiencing freedom teenagers rarely taste."

by Vyckie

Charlie Richards ~ the creator of the Christian video series, “Life at the Pond” ~ recently shared on his blog about his experience of working with the Duggar kids ~ particularly the three oldest girls, Jill, Jessa & Jinger, whom he describes as, ” sharp, fun and informed.”

They know what’s going on out there. But it isn’t at all a part of their every day life. And, to the shock and dismay of so many, they’re okay with that.

While, admittedly, I admire the Duggars for much of what they do, I didn’t expect what I saw in these three girls. The world has yet to beat them into submission. They don’t watch the Disney Channel, so they’ve yet to learn that adults are buffoons and parents are embarrassing. They don’t listen to the local rock station, so they’ve yet do discover life is supposed to be one promiscuous event followed by another. They don’t attend public school, so they’ve yet to learn teenage girls are required to be filled with angst and riddled with insecurities.

As we spoke to the three of them, one word kept jumping out at me: Freedom. These girls were experiencing freedom teenagers rarely taste. Completely free to be themselves. The exact opposite of the words so often used by media folk to describe the 19 kids.

While many times teenagers can’t wait to get away from adults, these three were anxious to engage in conversation. And they were delightful. All of the Duggars were.

Wow ~ this takes me back to my Quiverfull days! Watching the Duggars & other “big, happy families” ~ catching that VISION ~ the appeal is just.so.darn.strong!!

Richards’ praise of the Duggars and his insistence that the older girls are “experiencing freedom” brought to mind Jill Cozzi’s poignant summary of the QF/P “freedom”: The problem with Quiverfull isn’t in its advocacy of large families, it’s in its view of women, and in questions about just how much “free will” is involved with women who become embroiled in its clutches.
[Read more...]

Debt-Free Duggars ~ Pt. 1: How Quiverfull Couples Support All Those Kids!

by Hopewell

The Duggar Income Stream [minus TLC]

Before TLC and their reality TV show offer came on the scene, Jim-Bob and Michelle Duggar were already on their way to financial security—a situation not normally found in homes with no college-educated adult. But, like the people profiled in the book the Millionaire Next Door, Jim-Bob and Michelle have always lived BELOW their means and have always had common sense about purchases.

They also share a vision for the type of family life they wanted to lead. While Jim-Bob did hold a job, and a mortgage, at the time they married he soon realized this was not a sensible way to live. His love of buying cars, fixing them up himself, and reselling them for a profit was the first step to a secure future. Although he acknowledges that the used car business is not looked on with much respect, he decided to set up a car lot and run it in a Christian manner. Soon he was making enough off used cars to quit his day job. Eventually, they rented out the mortgaged house and moved into a tiny house on the car lot to increase their income. Along the way, he made a few good decisions [and a few bad ones]. (Duggar, chapters 1 & 2 and “17 Kids and Counting: Cheaper by the Duggars”).

One good decision was to buy a tow truck. While the first model he bought wasn’t worth the money, unlike many college-grads he knew enough about cars and other equipment to buy the towing equipment and winch off another tow truck, hold on to it, save up for a truck to put it on and eventually he had an excellent tow truck and no loan. The towing business grew fast and he had to hire help. Finally the collateral supplied by the car lot inventory, a bent for strong and creative negotiations and the savings from their income allowed the Duggars to enter the true source of their security: REAL ESTATE. (Duggar, chapters 2 & 3).

Jim-Bob’s parents were in real estate and soon Jim-Bob and Michelle also got realtors licenses. Jim-Bob discovered he had an eye for investment properties and the stomach for deal making. After saving up $65,000 to pay cash for the home they would still be living in when they filmed their first TV special, the Duggars went on to make several profitable real estate deals. One deal, which cost about the same amount as the house, netted them a profit of nearly $200,000 after Jim-Bob put in a few hours on a backhoe clearing the site. They also bought a 20-acre parcel of land with an old chicken hatchery on it. They converted the building into commercial rental space and used part of the land for their dream home. The rent collected from the rental properties was their main income for several years. In their show (“17 Kids and Counting: Cheaper by the Duggars”) he shows viewers the property he owns and leases to a cell phone company for their transmission tower. In addition to the real estate deals, Jim-Bob often buys and sells other items. While building their home, he acquired and resold a bucket-lift truck and a scissor-lift among other equipment (Duggars 20 and Counting and elsewhere).

Jim-Bob figured out how to efficiently provide for his family by being observant, staying debt-free and having assets that could be quickly liquefied to provide cash for new ventures and by using all his negotiating skills to get great deals when he did buy big ticket items. Without a high-paying white collar profession, Jim-Bob would have been routinely away from his family for 80 or more hours a week to try to earn the income they needed. Instead, he found a way to provide a level of income for the family God would send him and still be at home to help with that family as much as possible.

[Read more...]

Time Heals All Wounds ~ Part 9: Draw Near to God

All beautiful the march of days, as seasons come and go; The Hand that shaped the rose hath wrought the crystal of the snow

by Shelly Cruz

It was not until a period of distance was placed between my family and Cecilia’s, that I began to see the blessing that Cecilia gave me. It was an ABUNDANT blessing in disguise! At the time, I felt sad, lonely, depressed and even angry with her and with her whole family. I felt that Cecilia divorced our friendship, and I had no idea why.

I went from being a babe in Christ, to a woman, desiring nothing more, than to love my Savior Jesus. God was changing me little by little each day. I began to pray for specific things, and within weeks, sometimes days, prayers were being answered.

As I spent time in prayer, I started hearing the Lord speak directly to me. I became sensitive to hearing his voice. Good things began happening in my life. It felt amazing! I felt on fire for the Lord, and wanted to scream it from the rooftops! I felt that I had been lost, walking around in limbo for so long, but now I was found.

I clung to this verse: “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.” (James 4:8)
[Read more...]

Time Heals All Wounds ~ Part 8: Somehow, I Lost My Entire Identity

All beautiful the march of days, as seasons come and go; The Hand that shaped the rose hath wrought the crystal of the snow

by Shelly Cruz

There was so much to read about this man; I didn’t even know where to begin. I stumbled across a message board that had a whole bunch of people who grew up following his teachings. They were adults now. The thing that perplexed me the most, was that these folks were calling him a religious cult leader, and that did not seem right to me.

Cecilia and her family were very strong, mature Christians. They would never get involved with something cultish, would they? The time I spent reading about this man, seemed so déjà vu to me. Everything I was reading from these strangers, was stuff I had heard before, from Cecilia herself, and it all began making sense.

Some of the things I was reading were things that I had no idea about. Things such as: there were 100+ chosen ones that were taught under this man back in the early 70’s. They signed up voluntarily, and some paid a small sum of money and were ministered too. They were given books, and literature to take home and study with their children. This was the first generation of Bill Gothard followers.

A lot of these former followers were very anti-Christian nowadays. Some were even atheists! This did not make any sense to me. Some were confused, and just strayed from religion altogether, yet some, managed to find their way back to the Lord, and were ministering to the ones that left the warped teachings of this man.

I could not spend more then several minutes at a time reading all this. I kept taking breaks, and then would go back and read some more. My heart wept so much while reading the stories. These poor helpless children had been taught that God was harsh and unloving. Who would ever want to worship a God that demanded such harshness? Who would want to remain faithful to a God that was just waiting for his children to mess up, so that he could punish them?
[Read more...]

Quiverfull Daughters: The Making of a Helpmeet

TLC’s 19 Kids & Counting: The Duggar Family on How To Prepare For Courtship & Marriage

by hopewell

“Helpmeet” is such an odd-sounding word to modern ears! But it resonates well in the lingo of the King James Bible. Girls born to Quiverfull families begin their training for the life’s calling as a Helpmeet [aka wife and homemaker] almost at birth.

Girls are born for one and only one reason: to serve a husband. In that capacity, as his helpmeet, she will bear and raise his children, feed as many children as God sends on whatever income he earns, may raise a garden and animals or run a home-based business [with his approval], may home birth and will certainly homeschool all of her children.

Becoming a successful, multi-tasking helpmeet is not something you just “do.” Something that important cannot be left to chance. The training starts almost at birth with “child training.” Moms have a number of helpful “ministries” to turn to for child training guidance. For infants and toddlers two of the best known are Ezzo and the Pearls—both of whom are very controversial to the secular world. We’ll briefly look at each.

Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo developed the popular and often criticized programs “Babywise” and “Growing Kids God’s Way.” As with any program there IS some good and helpful information as well as a lot that many people find abhorrent. “Babywise” teaches new parents to adhere to rigid schedules and rules for bedtime, breast feeding on a parent-friendly schedule and bedtime rigidly enforced with few, if any, interactions with parents after “lights out” no matter the tone of the child’s cry.

“Growing Kids God’s Way” is a huge undertaking for parents. Both parents must attend each session and both must complete weekly homework. This program met tremendous success in conservative churches and megachurches during the late 90s and on. [They also do offer a single-parent version now.] Parents are taught to take back their lives by having a parent-centered, rather than child-centered home. [For the gist of the controversies see www.ezzo.info, but please note this IS a biased site.]

Michael and Debi Pearl of “No Greater Joy Ministries” are some of the most controversial child training advocates in the world today. Several deaths have occurred in homes following the Pearls advice. [NOTE: I am NOT saying in any way that the Pearls are responsible for the deaths, just that the parents were known to follow their methods.]

Their book, To Train Up a Child, advocates corporal punishment to a degree seldom seen today. The idea is to compel instant, willing and cheerful obedience at all times from even the youngest children. Failure to comply results in physical punishment. Parents are taught that children are born with a sinful nature and that they must begin early to “train” the child in the “way he should go” as is taught in Proverbs 22:6. Therefore, it is appropriate to even “chastise” babies with a switch—even one made of plumbing supply line. Parents are told

Training does not necessarily require that the trainee be capable of reason…”[Pearl & Pearl, Chapter 1.]

With this background in mind we can now try to piece together the “training” of a future helpmeet. In her infancy the girl we will call “Jerusha Faith” may be enticed with a toy and swatted for reaching for it. She may be fed only when Mama says and not when her tummy says she is truly empty and hungry. She may be left in the throes of colicky insomnia to cry it out alone for hours on end. In short, she is learning, like a Nun, to deny her “self.”[Note: it is important to remember that ALL families are different not all my use these practices and some may even agree with the critics!]

This dying to self will include seemly innocuous phrases like the one the Duggar family uses which is summed up by the acronym “JOY”—Jesus First, Others Second, Yourself LAST. (Duggar family website, FAQ) Even in infancy little Jerusha Faith is learning that she is not important as herself. She is merely important when she is doing the will of her authority figures—in this stage her parents. [Read more...]