MARY SAID YES TO LIFE

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

THE DUGGAR COUPLE LETTERS TO MOTHERS & FATHERS. (taken from their site duggar.com)

Message to Mothers from Michelle
It was 1:00 AM in the morning as I stood folding laundry with tears streaming down my cheeks. Feelings of being overwhelmed flooded my mind. I cried aloud, "LORD I NEED YOUR HELP, I can't do it all! I feel so inadequate! Diapers, dishes, laundry, meals, cleanup, school lessons, baths, hugs, kisses, correction..." My list seemed to go on and on.
Then it was as if a still small voice said, "Michelle, it's easy to praise ME when things are going good, but are you willing to praise ME now?" Immediately the scripture that says, "Offer up a sacrifice of praise", came to mind.
I said, "OK Lord, I will praise you even now! It really is a sacrifice!" So through the tears I began to sing, "The joy of the Lord is my strength". In my heart there was a release as if a burden had been lifted. I finished the laundry at 2 AM and went to bed.
Days later, I was at our piano teacher's home (at 7 AM) trying to catch up on paperwork while the children were taking their lessons. Instead, I kept drifting off to sleep! The teacher noticed and asked, "Are you OK?" I replied, "I'm fine, I'm just tired. I was up late finishing laundry."
As we talked more she said that she actually enjoyed doing laundry and that she would be glad to come and help me! That weekend when she arrived we had mountains of dirty laundry, and when she left we had nice, neat, orderly stacks of clean laundry! For 12 years now, our piano teacher, whom we consider a part of our family and loving call "NaNa" has faithfully come (now twice a week) to help us with laundry! GOD sent "An angel" in answer to my cry for help.
He is faithful to hear the humble cries of his children. "Humble thyself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up." God lifted my burden (literally mountains of laundry!) and freed me to meet the more urgent needs of my family. "Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory..."
Remember mothers, where God guides He provides!

With Love,
Michelle
Proverbs 3:5-7

A Message to Fathers from Jim Bob
When Michelle and I first married, we thought we might have one or two children. Four years into the marriage, we had our first child. After that, Michelle went back on the birth control pill. She ended up getting pregnant while on the pill and had a miscarriage.
We were so grieved. We did not know that sometimes the pill allows you to get pregnant but then causes a miscarriage. We thought we could set our own timetable for having children, for example- when we were "financially able," or when we "had all our ducks in a row."
We read in the Bible that God says that children are a blessing and a reward from Him (Psalms 127:1-5). We had been rejecting His gifts. At that point, we prayed and asked God to forgive us and we gave Him this area of our lives. We said, "Lord, help us to love children the way that you love children, and Lord we want to receive each one as a gift from you."
At the same time we made this commitment, we attended a Financial Freedom Seminar conducted by Jim Sammons. Mr. Sammons challenged us from God's Word in Romans 13:8 to "owe no man anything but love." So we purposed to get out of debt and stay out of debt. We have seen God do miracles, as He has multiplied our children, He has multiplied our provisions and met our needs every step of the way.
May God bless you as you follow His Spirit and purpose to give Him every area of your life.


Sincerely,
Jim Bob Duggar

P.S. A great way to start being the spiritual leader and coach of your home is to ask Jesus to forgive you for the things you have done wrong (1 John 1:9) and ask Him to take over the steering wheel of your life. (Ask your wife and children for forgiveness also.) God has promised He will freely give the ability to make wise decisions to anyone who asks and seeks Him (James 1:5). Purpose to read the chapter of Proverbs that corresponds to the day of the month with your family daily. Also, commit to pray with your wife everyday. Start protecting your family by removing books, magazines, television, or internet that have worldly or sensual content. Replace them with good things like wholesome music, biographies of great Christians, good old-fashioned family fun and games. Love God with your whole heart and look for opportunities to serve others as a family and tell others about our Saviour.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

DUGGAR FAMILY FACTS (Taken from website duggar.com)

Bob & Michelle Duggar married July 21st, 1984. At that time, they chose to use the birth control pill. They thought, “We don’t want children right now. We can’t afford them. We want children in our timing, when we’re ready.” Four years later they decided to have their first child. Then, Michelle went back on the pill, but she conceived and had a miscarriage. At that point they talked with a Christian medical doctor and read the fine print in the contraceptives package. They found that while taking the pill you can get pregnant and then miscarry. They were grieved! They realized that their selfish actions had taken the life of their child.
They prayed and asked God to forgive them, and to teach them to love children like He loves children. They asked God to bless them with as many children as He saw fit in His timing. Right after that Michelle got pregnant with twins! To date they have been blessed with 19 children, (10 boys and 9 girls) Joshua (& wife Anna), Jana & John-David (twins), Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy-Anna, Jedidiah & Jeremiah (twins), Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johannah, Jennifer, Jordyn-Grace and Josie.
Over the years the Duggar's have been asked to do many interviews and have always accepted as they are excited to share with everyone how children are a blessing from the Lord.

Duggar Family FAQs
1. Please tell me how you and Jim Bob met and fell in love. When, where, etc...
Jim Bob attended a dating seminar at his family’s church in Junior High. In the seminar, teenagers were encouraged to make two important commitments: first, that they wouldn’t date anyone who wasn’t a Christian, and second, that they wouldn’t date anyone who didn’t love Jesus as much as they did. Jim Bob made both of those commitments—and at the same time, began praying for the girl, then unknown, who would become his wife.
Michelle’s family didn’t go to church during her growing up years, but one evening while her friend Janet Smith spent the night at her house, they discussed the end times and life after death. Michelle realized her need for God in her life. Janet invited her to attend a Michael Gott crusade at her church the following evening. Sitting there at the revival church service, Michelle heard that she could be forgiven for everything she had ever done wrong. She also heard that God loves her and has a special plan for her life. So, at the end of the service when the pastor invited those who wanted to give their lives to Jesus to come to the front, Michelle jumped out of her seat and flew down the aisle to accept that invitation. She remembers at the age of 15, singing from her heart, “I’m forgiven, now I have a reason for living, Jesus keeps giving and giving, giving till my heart overflows!”
About a month later, Jim Bob went out on Tuesday night church visitation with a friend named Fred Pearrow. Jim Bob was attending Shiloh Christian High School and Fred went to Springdale Public High School.
Jim Bob and Fred had three cards of people to go see. But no one had answered the doorbells at those homes. So Jim Bob and Fred prayed about who to visit. Then Fred said, “Hey I know a girl that just became a Christian, and she is a cheerleader.”
Jim Bob said, “Let’s go and see her!”
Fred just happened to know where she lived. Jim Bob and Fred drove to her house.
That’s how Jim Bob Duggar, Fred’s friend, ended up sitting quietly in Michelle Ruark’s living room that night, making almost no impression on Michelle at all. He was so quiet that today she barely has a memory of her future husband even being there.
Jim Bob, on the other hand, was completely smitten. He thought Michelle was the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen. He was even more impressed with Michelle’s desire to learn more about God. Terribly shy and still very short (today he’s six feet tall, but during his school days he was usually the shortest in his class), Jim Bob let Fred do all the talking while he sat, smiling nervously and nodding his head.
But while his lips were silent, his mind was soaring. As he and Fred left that night, he paused one long second in Michelle’s doorway, completely convinced he’d just met the girl he’d been praying for without knowing who she was. Oh, God, he prayed in that doorway, from the depths of my heart, I ask that Michelle could be mine and that I could become her spiritual leader.
A year went by. A year! Throughout that time, Jim Bob kept praying for Michelle, for their future together and for God’s guidance.
But did he call her? No.
Did he go back to her house with Fred for another visit? No.
Occasionally he spotted her from a distance when she visited their church with one of her friends, but he was too shy to say anything.
Then, because his family needed some extra income his mother took a job managing a frozen-yogurt shop. One day when Jim Bob picked up his mom after work, she mentioned that a girl named Michelle Ruark had applied for a job. She asked if Jim Bob knew her.
“Yes, I know her,” Jim Bob told his mom. “And you need to hire her!”
Michelle started working at the yogurt shop, and occasionally Jim Bob came by to pick up his mom or help with a repair job at the shop. Eventually he got up enough courage to overcome his shyness and ask Michelle for a date. He was so nervous and so shy he could barely get the words out. But when he finally did, she said yes.
They went to the junior-senior banquet at Jim Bob’s small Christian school. Although Michelle had gone out with other boys, this was her first “car date.” Jim Bob picked her up in his family’s little Mazda GLC. Neither of them ate much at the banquet, and their conversation there was polite but limited to chitchat. On the way home, Jim Bob let Michelle drive. She was just learning to drive a stick shift, and he told her the Mazda was so old and beat up it wouldn’t hurt if she had a fender-bender and added a few more dents. The real reason, he admitted later, was so he could cover her hand with his when she needed help shifting.
They drove to Michelle’s house—and talked for four hours. A lot of their conversation focused on their faith. Jim Bob shared a principle he’d learned in the dating seminar, about the relationship triangle that’s formed when a boy and girl set their hearts on God. God being at the top of the triangle, then the closer each one moves toward God, the closer the boy and girl move toward each other.
Michelle loved what she was hearing. That night, two hearts were knit together.
After Jim Bob left, Michelle stood in the doorway of her family’s home, watching him leave. Not knowing that Jim Bob had paused in prayer in that same doorway a year earlier, Michelle stood in the same spot and prayed, Lord, if this isn’t the one you have for me, I can’t imagine anyone better.
2. How did you come to the decision to have such a large family? Are you and Jim Bob from large families yourselves? Are each of your families supportive and involved in your lives with your children?
Jim Bob has one older sister that is three years older than him. Michelle is the baby of seven children.

When we first got married we thought we would have maybe two or three children...
Michelle started off our marriage taking the Birth control pill so we could plan when we wanted children. After three years, Michelle went off the pill and we had our first son Josh. We loved being Josh’s parents and getting to spend all our time with him, but we didn’t think we were ready for more children yet. So Michelle went back on birth control pills after Josh was born.

Then the unexpected happened, followed by the unthinkable: Michelle got pregnant, even though she was still taking birth control pills. We thought that was impossible, but we were surprised to find out different! Between her second and third month, Michelle miscarried. When the doctor told us the miscarriage probably happened because she had conceived while still on the pill, we were devastated. To us, it meant that something we had chosen to do—use the pill—had caused the end of the pregnancy.

As conservative Christians, we believe every life is sacred, even the life of the unborn. Due to our lack of knowledge, we destroyed the precious life of our unborn child. We prayed and studied the Bible and found a host of references that told us God considered children a gift, a blessing, and a reward. Yet we had considered having another child an inconvenience during that busy time in our lives, and we had taken steps to prevent it from happening.

We weren’t sure if Michelle could have any more children after the miscarriage, but we were sure we were going to stop using the pill. In fact we agreed we would stop using any form of birth control and let God decide how many children we would have. Just a couple of months later, Michelle became pregnant with twins. A double blessing!
At first our families had a lot of concerns for Michelle’s health and how would we be able to take care of and support our family. But over the years they have warmed up to the idea and have been understanding about our heart commitment to love children like God loves children.

“The Hidden Message of the Lost Pearl,” had a tremendous impact on us after experiencing our miscarriage. It’s used here by permission.
THE HIDDEN MESSAGE OF THE LOST PEARL
"When I was eleven years old, my family took a vacation in Florida. One morning my brother and I went swimming. The shallow water revealed an oyster bed. We began digging up oysters. It was great fun. During the morning we accumulated quite a collection.
"Our greatest finds were not the live oysters, but dead oysters which still had both halves of the shell joined together. Many were closed shut, and we didn't know until we had pried them open whether they were alive or not.
"The live ones we threw back. The empty ones usually did not reclose, but remained partly open. These we set aside as our most prized treasures.
"Toward the end of the morning, I dug up a very nice, complete oyster shell which was in perfect condition. It was obviously dead because it was already open about an eighth of an inch and seemed empty. It was definitely one that I wanted to keep, except for one flaw-it had some kind of object trapped inside that rattled. I thought it detracted from the quality of my shell.
"The halves of the shell were still very tight and were hard to budge with just my fingers. It took all of five minutes to remove this rather large, round, perfectly smooth object. Having successfully removed it, and being pleased with my now empty and unblemished shell, I threw the object toward the end of the pier.
"At about the midpoint of its flight, a horrifying light dawned in my mind. I was old enough to have known, but young enough to have overlooked the value of what I had just thrown away. I had treasured what was secondary and had lost what was real. My focus had been wrong.
"I visually marked the location of the splash. With great care I slowly approached the spot, trying not to disturb the bottom. For the next half hour I searched diligently.
"Finally, when it was time to leave, I told my parents what I had done. Then we all looked for it. Our efforts were useless and our time was up. Our schedule demanded that we leave.
"When I was twenty-five years old, I got married. For some undefined reason, I rejected for seven years the suggestion that we have children. I thought I had valid reasons, but no one had ever talked to me about it. I had received no counsel or teaching from family, friends, or church. No one seemed to consider it to be a critical issue. In addition, the world had all kinds of new medical methods for preventing pregnancy.
"As I look back, I don't remember hearing one dissenting voice. Down deep I always knew that I wanted children someday. I didn't really want to be childless all of my life. Eventually, I decided that I wanted five children. So, after seven years of some very difficult decision-making, we had our first child-a girl.
"To my great amazement, I found that I actually liked having children. In fact, having a child is one of the greatest things that has happened in our lives.
"The fears which had prevented conception for so long proved to be mostly imaginary. This new member of our family changed our lives. We discovered a multitude of rewards that we had not known we were missing.
"My wife and I have just been told that it now looks medically impossible for us to have any more children! Suddenly, all of our newly established family dreams have been erased. All of the excitement and anticipation of a newly discovered future have vanished. It seems as though there is a void in our lives-like four of our five children have just been killed.
"What makes the burden so heavy is that we had the treasure within our grasp and we threw it away. We saw the outer shell and mistakenly overlooked the treasure within. With our hands we plucked it out and cast it away. We tried to take God's timing into our own hands." (Taken from The True Significance of the Wedding Covenant, Copyright IBLP - used by permission)

3. What’s a typical day in your house like? How do you maintain control over what has to be pretty chaotic? How do you make a household of 19 people run smoothly?
Our #1 goal is to lead our children to seek a close relationship with God & give Him every area of their lives. We purpose to start each day with a family Bible study, reading a chapter of Proverbs that corresponds with the day of the month. We have heart to heart talks with each of the older children regularly. We try to keep up with their attitudes & actions...
We desire for each child to develop a learning spirit & a servant's heart that looks for opportunities to serve others. It is a joy to see our children becoming best friends. If they can learn to treat their brothers and sisters like they want to be treated, then they can learn to get along with just about anyone along life's way.
We try to begin our daily routine with personal hygiene (get dressed, brush teeth, comb hair, etc...). Each older child has a younger buddy (or two) that they help. We eat breakfast & read the Proverb of the day at 8:00AM, then we "quick clean" the house (older child & their buddy work together to clean their jurisdictions).
Throughout the day we try to pickup as we go along, but naturally things tend toward disorder. So, it is a constant training process with "quick clean" times throughout the day. At 9:00AM, the older children help their buddies with their studies in phonics, math, violin & piano (J-O-Y- Jesus first, Others second, & Yourself last!). Then the older children start their music & individual studies - Math, English, Spelling & Typing.
We break for lunch around 12PM. Often one of the older children help prepare lunch & we all help cleanup. After lunch we work to finish individual studies.
Around 1:30PM the little ones go down for naps (4 & under). Momma & older children gather around the table at 2:00PM for Wisdom Booklet group studies - science, history, law, medicine - part of our ATIA curriculm. We work on one subject until we complete the study. We also review & memorize scripture, hymns & operational definitions of character qualities. The children especially enjoy this because they make up motions to help with memorization.
At 4:00PM, we break from group study to complete individual studies, otherwise this is free time. Dinner is scheduled for 5:00PM. Some of the older girls prepare dinner & everyone helps cleanup. We do another "quick clean" of the house after dinner & then have free time. Some may still be finishing up music, seeing we have to take turns on the pianos with 11 students! 8PM is snack time. Then we start getting ready for bed (baths, brush teeth, pick out clothes for the next day).
9:00PM is Bible time with Daddy. This is probably our favorite time of day. Daddy reads the Bible & we discuss the passage together. We talk about the day & bring out points of how to apply what we have learned. We enjoy making up skits & acting out examples of right responses & wrong responses. Often our little ones will fall asleep as Daddy begins Bible time, still they love to be with us at this special time. Bedtime falls around 10:00PM.
We have a master schedule of each family member's responsibilities displayed on our kitchen wall. This idea came from the Maxwell's, "Managers of Their Homes". For each month, we also have individual daily checklists which cover schoolwork, chores, music lessons, & personal hygiene. These were designed by Daddy so we could see at a glance how each child is doing. These checklists enable us to keep our children accountable & also reward them accordingly.
We have goals, but then we have reality! We are learning to practice flexibility -Not setting our affections on ideas or plans which could be changed by God or others! Sometimes we have "Daddy Days" when Daddy overrides the schedule and takes the children out for family time, a field trip or a service project. We try to make each day fun. Everyday is an exciting adventure!
Matthew 6:33 says, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you!"
II Corinthians 12:9 says," My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

4. How do you support such a large family? Especially with the economy the way it is these days, tips on how you manage to support so many people?
We have lived very frugally, and our family motto is to “Buy used and saved the difference!” We shop at thrift stores and garage sales...
About 19 years ago, I (Jim Bob) went to a bank to inquire about borrowing a large sum of money to expand my business. A few days later, a successful businessman invited the men from our church out to his house every Friday morning for breakfast and to watch the " Jim Sammon’s Financial Freedom Seminar". I agreed to attend, as well as 50 other men. After just seeing the first session, the truths from God's Word being taught through Mr. Sammons began to convict me of my need to "owe no man anything but love." I decided right then to postpone the loan. I continued to attend the seminar, and after 20 weeks (to my amazement), God totally changed my view of not only His purposes for finances, but also how we are to be wise stewards of everything God entrusts to us. Later that year, this man had the seminar at our church and Michelle & I were able to attend the seminar together. After we both heard the testimonies of God's methods for finances, Michelle & I purposed to become debt-free. As we have chosen to trust Him, I have seen God provide for our family in ways that are supernatural. I encourage every family to watch this seminar, the testimonies Jim Sammons shares are so encouraging that our family enjoys watching it together. He challenges you to give every area of your life to God. You can now purchase this seminar on DVD and the Men's Manual Vol. 2 textbook that goes with it for only $109. This will be the best investment you have ever made. It has saved us and made us thousands by applying Biblical principles to every decision of life. (We do not make anything off this we just want to encourage others with resources that have helped our family.)
5. You've had nineteen children! How have your last pregnancies been compared to your 1st?
As with any first time birth experience you might have fear of the unknown. As we approach each birth there are still the concerns of the unknowns such as the labor and delivery, each one has been different but having had the experience over and over does help some. Each time we have prayed for the health of mom and baby, and asked for a healthy, easy delivery...
.(As much as possible when were talking about labor!) I’ve had three C-sections, one with our second birth, twins, Jana and John-David, with our 15th, Jackson and with Jordyn-Grace. All the rest have been vaginal births, 13 of which have been VBAC’s. (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) We were hoping to have another VBAC with this last delivery.

I would say the greatest change that I have seen in the field of obstetrics, and I might add that it is very troubling to me, is the idea that once you’ve had a C-section you must have a C-section for any other pregnancy. It is much healthier for mom and baby to avoid major surgery and all the complications that go along with a C-section if possible. Granted, there are health situations that would warrant such, but for years obstetrics encouraged TOL (Trial Of Labor after previous C-section) with many successful healthy vaginal births. It was quite alarming to be told that I could no longer have a vaginal birth due to hospital or insurance companies regulations. It appears that what is best for the patient is not the priority with this decision. I feel our health care is being jeopardized by this unhealthy approach. Doctors are having to tell their patients that they no longer offer VBAC assistance due to hospital regulations and some might even state to the patient that they are not safe so as to avoid confrontation. Statistics prove much differently. For the many women that find themselves in this situation, ICAN is an organization that is very helpful in gaining more information on this topic. One of which I believe will be reversed in the near future as more women make a clear statement to health care providers and insurance companies as to how they would prefer to deliver there babies in a safer, healthier manner. (Now I will step off my soapbox!)

We are thankful our hospital allows trying a VBAC as long as they have an anesthesialogist on hand in case there is an emergency. On Thursday, December 18th we went to get Michelle checked by the doctor after Michelle had been having labor pains throughout the night. The doctor checked her and said she was dialated to about 4cm, but the baby was transverse like her brother Jackson had been.
Jordyn-Grace Makiya Duggar had to be delivered via C--section. We are thankful Jordyn-Grace is healthy and Michelle is recovering quickly.

6. How does it feel after all those pregnancies? Is it physically easier now than it was in the beginning or more difficult? In what ways?
I don’t think you can call labor and delivery easy no matter how many times you have been through it. Yes, experience helps a lot in working through the whole labor process but like I mentioned previously each labor is different and you just have to prepare yourself health wise and...
in every other way to work toward the goal of having the healthiest delivery as is possible on your part. Good nutrition plays a big part in that. Also, we’ve gone through Bradley childbirth classes and have regular OB checkups throughout pregnancy.

In 2003, I joined Weight Watcher’s and lost 40 pounds! I feel great, not carrying around all that extra weight. I have more energy and am much more active. (The weight gain I experienced kind of snuck up on me! I hung onto just 2 and 3 pounds after each pregnancy.) I needed the accountability to help take it off, and the healthy lifestyle of eating that is encouraged in Weight Watcher’s has been a blessing to me and now to my family as well.

7. When you have to concentrate on running such a large family, how do you allow each child to shine individually?
Praise your children ten times more than you correct them! That is the counsel we received early on and what we have attempted to do all these years. Granted we have not always successfully carried it out everyday but that has been our goal. Praising good character instead of flattering...
is a learned technique! It’s fine to occasionally praise the outward beauty of a daughter, but if that is all you praise, that is all they will focus on. You first have to learn the definitions of the character qualities to be able to effectively praise others. Here is our favorite list. (Click here for the incredible list of Character Quality Defintions.) We keep these posted on our refrigerator and we memorize the definitions as a family with motions. The children enjoy making motions to the definitions.

Encouragement goes a long way in good behavior. Saying comments such as, “I’m so happy for you, what a big girl you are you practiced self-control and went potty all by yourself! Great job!” or “Thank you for taking out the trash without even being asked. I’m so encouraged by your initiative. You saw what needed to be done and just did it! You encourage me to have more of a servant’s heart.” These kind of positive statements will make our children seek to become even more of who they should be.

Remember anger outbursts from parents will push our children away and undermine the very right character that we are trying to teach them. Asking God and others forgiveness when we react in anger is the first step to learning to respond correctly. One thing that helped me (Michelle) was to purpose to lower my voice when I felt myself getting angry. (A soft answer turns away wrath. The wrath of man will not bring forth the righteousness of God.) Meaning my anger will not bring about the right behavior I desire to see nurtured in my children. Secondly, Jim Bob heard another father share that he had an anger problem and he asked his family to help him by keeping him accountable. If they noticed him getting angry he gave them permission to respectfully come to him and put their hand on his arm and whisper in his ear and say, “Daddy, I think you are getting angry.” This has been something that we have practiced for years now and by God’s grace we have been able to encourage each other to speak kindly to one another even when we feel angry. Not just Daddy and Momma, but all of us now hold each other accountable. It makes for a much more peaceful happy home.

8. Your family has their own reality TV series! How did you get involved in that and how do you manage to add TV crews to your home and still maintain a smooth-running family life?
It is an exciting adventure following God. Jim Bob felt God wanted him to run for U.S. Senate in 2002. On the day of the election, a photographer with the media ended up snapping a picture of our whole family walking
into the polling place. We found that a few days later that picture ended up getting printed in the New York Times, with a caption stating that this candidate with a lot of kids ran for US Senate in Arkansas and lost.
Weeks later we received a phone call from a freelance writer that had seen the New York Times picture. She asked if she could write a story about our family for the “Ladies Home Journal”. She wrote the article and then the magazine decided not to run it. Months later the writer contacted us again and stated that “Parents Magazine” wanted to run the article and so they sent out a photographer to take a few family pictures.
Months later after that article ran we received a phone call from Bill Hayes with Figure 8 Films who said someone at Discovery Health Channel had seen the Parents Magazine and was asking if they could do a documentary about our family. We prayed about it and felt this would be an opportunity to share with the world that children are a blessing from God. We said the only way we would do it is if they did not edit out our faith, because that is the core of our lives.
They agreed and our first show called “14 Children and Pregnant Again!” ending up becoming the highest rated show ever on Discovery Health Channel. Then they came back and taped about 20 other shows for a TLC reality show series called “17 Kids and Counting” and now we are in the process of filming our second season. We also have had the opportunity to do hundreds of TV, newspapers, magazine & radio interviews with news crews from the US, Italy, Korea, UK, Australia, Russia and other countries around the world.
The main production company Figure 8 Films has been great to work with the last 5 years. They are like family, and our children are excited when they come over. We love going places and doing things as a large family and they follow along for the ride!

9. What made you decide to write a book about your family? What do you hope people will take away from your book?
We have received thousands of emails over the last several years and it has been impossible to answer all of the questions of how and why we live the life that we live...
the life that we live. Our book “The Duggars: 20 and Counting!: Raising one of America’s Largest Families, How They Do It?,” gives readers a more in-depth look into our family and the principles we live by. Our prayer is that it will encourage families of all sizes to individually seek after a deep relationship with God and give practical tips to help strengthen their families. We explain many supernatural miracles we have seen as we have stepped out in faith. Our desire is that this book will turn the hearts of parents to their children and the heart of children to their parents.

10. Nurturing your marriage must be very important, to set a great example to your children. How do you and Jim Bob make time for yourselves in such a busy household?
We purpose to go out for a lunch or dinner date weekly. Grandma (Mary Duggar) has helped us to keep our weekly date by baby-sitting, for which we are extremely grateful. We also purpose to never allow the sun to go down without resolving conflicts.

11. What is the most difficult thing about having a large family?
The hardest thing about raising any number of children is purposing to keep up with their hearts. With as many as we have that is a fulltime job. We try to have regular talks with each one individually on a weekly basis. It is important to learn how to ask the right questions and not have a condemning spirit. They need to know they have a safe place to share their hopes and dreams, challenges and mistakes. This creates a very close relationship.

12. What is the most wonderful thing about having a large family?
It is fun spending time with 19 of your best friends. It is a blast everywhere we go. There is never a dull moment!

13. What are your top five best parenting tips? (For parents with families of all sizes.)
1. Teach our children to love God with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength, and memorize God’s word together as a family.
2. Teach them to have a servant’s heart, leading by your example. Love your neighbor as yourself.
3. Daily read the Proverb of the Day that corresponds with the day of the month and discuss it as a family.
4. Diligently keep up with each child’s attitudes and actions and ask what is going on in their heart. Pray with them one on one letting them lead in prayer and then you closing the prayer time together.
5. Ask God to help you conquer anger because it can destroy your relationship with your children. Praise them ten times more than you correct them.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

WHY THE WORLD NEEDS SPECIAL KIDS

How many times have you heard an expectant mom say, “I don’t care if it is a boy or a girl, as long as the baby is healthy?” But what happens when the baby isn’t healthy? How does one’s world change when a child is diagnosed with major health issues, either before or soon after birth? Is it worth having a child diagnosed with severe special needs in utero if he won’t live long or will have a poor quality of life?

For the contributors to A Special Mother is Born, edited by Leticia Velasquez, the answer to that last question is a resounding “yes.” As a result of her daughter Christina being born with Down Syndrome, Velasquez has become a pro-life crusader, determined to change the statistic that 90 % of children with Down Syndrome are killed via abortion. The parents who share their stories in this book want to educate others about the value and joy of special needs children.

In his inaugural address, Pope Benedict XVI stated that “Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary.” The children profiled in A Special Mother is Born have Down Syndrome, Trisomy 18, autism, brain abnormalities, epilepsy, deafness, blindness, and other challenges. Yet, they have touched the lives of their families and the world around them immeasurably. Some of the children died at very young ages – their parents speak of them as saints in heaven. These are children who never sinned. They are with God interceding for their family members. As Colleen McGuire writes of her daughter Rita who died of Trisomy 18 soon after birth, “I don’t regret one moment of her life. My daughter lived a novena: nine days of love.”

These parents acknowledge the suffering and difficulties involved in raising a special needs child. No parent ever wants to see their child suffer or struggle through life. Yet, the experience has brought them to greater trust in God. Diane Grover writes, “We realized we must surrender it all to God; we must humbly hand it all over to Him. He created this child for His purpose. He created this child for His plans. Whatever comes will happen in His time and in His way.”

Lisa Barker has learned to endure great suffering watching her daughter die. “I’d like to write that everything is going to be okay. It will be, but there is suffering to embrace that I cannot run from. Without Jesus’ life, example and presence, it is impossible to do. But with Him, it can be done, and there can be a sense of peace and joy even in the midst of sorrow.”

Most often, it is fear of the unknown that causes women to abort their special-needs children. Eileen Haupt states, “If only a mother expecting a special needs child could know who her child really is. If only she could feel the joy and the love that she will feel for her baby if she welcomes her into the world. If only she knew how many hearts would be changed by her special baby’s presence. If only she knew, she would never abort.”

There is currently a war going on against special needs children. While those with Down Syndrome have been the primary targets to date due to pre-natal testing, it is only a matter of time before other abnormalities are also targeted. While there are certainly exceptions, the majority of doctors are far too quick to suggest abortion when something is wrong with the baby. They fail to see the blessings and lessons that these children can bring to the world. They fail to acknowledge the inherent worth of every person created by God. We must fight for life for those who cannot speak for themselves.

(Taken from Catholicmom.com)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

CELEBRATE 14 NOV AS LARGE FAMILY DAY.

Now, third child can land you in jail in KeralaTNN | Sep 25, 2011, 02.43AM IST
KOCHI: This is going to be a tough code of conduct. You can be imprisoned for impregnating your own wife. Worst, you could be branded as a `legally disqualified person'.

This will be a reality if the Kerala Women's Code Bill 2011, submitted to the chief minister by a 12-member committee with Justice V R Krishna Iyer in the chair, is implemented in its letter and spirit.

In a bid to redefine Draconian, the Commission on Rights and Welfare of Women and Children feels that nothing lesser than a fine of Rs 10,000 or three months simple' imprisonment deserves to be slapped on the expectant father of a third child. The recommendation is part of the measures intended to encourage population planning for well-being and children's development.

The Kerala Women's Code Bill 2011 maintains that violation of family norms will be deemed a legal disqualification and parents will not be eligible to receive any benefits from government. It insists on that religious and political outfits should not be allowed to discourage population planning and any such effort on their part should be censured by the governor.

The report reads, "No person or institution shall use religion, region, sect, cast, cult or other ulterior inducements for the bearing of more children".

The commission was constituted following a state government order issued on August 7, 2010 to prepare a code for the rights and responsibilities of children and women. Those parents who violate the norms will be regarded as 'legally disqualified person''. The report specifies that children will not be disentitled to any of their rights or claims. It is also suggested to provide a cash incentive of Rs 5,000 to women who marry after the age of 19 and their first child after 20. This benefit will be available for the first two children. Couples below poverty line, who marry after the age of 20 and have their first child after the mother attains the age of 21 will be given Rs 5,000.

The report also has clauses saying medically safe contraceptives and instructive literature should be available free at the time of marriage. Under the public health code facilities for safe abortion should be made free and through hospitals, health care centres in both private and government sector.

It has been proposed to constitute a commission for the implementation of population regulation policy consisting of ten members. Social activists, public personalities, heads of institutions with commitment to the philosophy and policy of the proposed bill can be appointed members.

Religious Minorities Resist Harsh Population Control in India
Christians and Muslims in Kerala, India are protesting a draft law which seeks to control population growth through fines, jail time and loss of government benefits.
The Kerala Women’s Code Bill would impose a fine of 10,000 rupees (US$200) or three months in jail for couples having more than two children, and bar such couples from receiving social benefits from the government. The law, which is being drafted by a committee headed by former Supreme Court Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer, would also bar religious and political organizations from discouraging the use of contraceptives and other “family planning” measures.
Religious minority leaders are strongly opposed to the population control agenda in Kerala, and see the proposed law as an attack not only on their families, but on their religious values. Kerala, located in southwestern India, has a majority Hindu population, with Muslims comprising about 25 percent of the population, and Christians only 19 percent of the population.
The Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council (KCBC) responded to the proposed law saying it was “anti-democratic and an infringement on the parental rights of the people.”
The law is an attempt to “undermine family values and divide society along communal lines” according to KCBC spokesman Father Stephen Alathara.
“It’s an attempt to curtail religious freedom and faith. We will oppose it,” said Muslim leader Abdul Samad Pukkottur of the state Sunni Youth Federation about the proposed measure.
A Catholic parish in Kerala is offering financial incentives for couples to have large families despite the intentions of some government officials to severely limit population growth.
“Every fifth child born in the family in our parish stands to get richer by 10,000 rupees,” said Salu Mecheril, regional coordinator of the program launched by St Vincent De Paul Forane Church. “It will be deposited [into a fund] in the name of the child.”
“I applaud our brothers and sisters in Kerala for standing up to these draconian anti-life measures,” said Father Shenan J. Boquet, president of Human Life International (HLI). “Punishing families for bringing life into this world should be the last thing on the minds of any government body, and the threats to freedom of religion and freedom of speech must not be enshrined in law.”
“Christians, Muslims and all who respect the dignity of human life must resist the radical population control agenda being imposed in Kerala and around the world,” said Father Boquet.

Kerala bishops respond to ‘two-child policy’ with huge day celebrating large families
Tue Oct 11, 2011 15:53 EST
KERALA, India, October 11, 2011
(LiferSiteNews.com) - The Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) has announced that it will organize a day to recognize and celebrate large families, in response to a recently proposed state bill that would penalize families with more that two children.
“We are planning a very big get together of large Catholic families in Kerala on November 14 in Kochi,” said KCBC spokesman, Sabu Jose Chekkontheyil.
“The main aim of the event is to spread the message of life and that a big family is a happy one,” he said according to a CathNewsIndia report.
Chekkontheyil said that some dioceses had organized events to honor large families in the past, “but this will be the first time that we are organizing an event on this scale to convey the message that a large family is bliss and not a burden.”
“Over 5,000 large families from dioceses across the state and from the three different rites will take part in the event,” Chekkontheyil said.
The Kerala Catholic Bishops Council is an association of three rites of the Church in Kerala - the Latin, the Syro Malabar and the Syro Malankara.
Kerala, located on the Malabar coast of southwest India, is considered the most developed state in the country, but has the lowest rate of population growth.
The draft of the Kerala Women’s Code Bill, produced by the Commission on Rights and Welfare for Women and Children under the direction of former Supreme Court Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer, recommends punitive measures including fines of up to 10,000 rupees ($203 USD) or three months jail time for couples who have more than two children. Couples could subsequently be branded as “legally disqualified” from government services.
The proposed bill also seeks to ban religious leaders from encouraging the faithful to have more children.
The KCBC said that restricting the number of children was a violation of human rights and called the draft bill “anti-democratic and an infringement on the parental rights of the people.”
“It is the right of a couple to decide how many children they need, not the state’s. The Catholic Church cannot accept the recommendations made by the committee headed by Justice Iyer,” KCBC spokesman Fr. Stephen Alathara said when the bill was proposed in September.
The draconian two-child policy may never become law, however, because the Kerala State Law Minister, K.M. Mani, rejected the proposal as both not legally sound and harmful to the country’s biggest asset: its people.
“The recommendation to legally restrict the number of children in a family could not be accepted in a democratic country like India,” Mani said at a Kerala Congress (M) Party function last night, according to CathNewsIndia.
“Ours is not a dictatorial system. We cannot impose small family norm by means of legislation. Self-control is the ideal method for family planning,” Mani said.
Other Indian states have initiated and then dropped coercive two-child policies. Although none had previously considered legal sanctions against large families like the Kerala proposal, laws that barred families with more than two children from receiving housing loans, holding government jobs, or gaining admission to public schools were common.
In 2005 the central states of Chattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh declared that they would no longer require adherence to the two-child norm for candidates in local elections. In 2006 the northern state of Haryana reversed a child-restriction law that barred people with more than two children from running for political office or serving as politicians.
Haryana state authorities admitted that the two-child limit has had “disastrous” social consequences, with couples aborting third pregnancies, giving children up for adoption or failing to register a child’s birth, and that the policy had “adverse effects” on women, particularly in poor areas.
The Kerala Catholic Bishops Council’s large family celebration will take place at the Pastoral Orientation Centre (POC) in Kochi on November 14th.
Contact Info:
Secretariat, Pastoral Orientation Centre
P.B. No. 2251, Palarivattom, Kochi - 682 025, Kerala, India
Phone: +91 484 - 2805722, 2805815
Fax: +91 484 - 2806214
Email: kcbc@kcbcsite.com, poc@kcbcsite.com