Friday, April 30, 2010

Duggars and Modesty and TLC - Just What Does That Mean

We all know the Duggars believe in dressing to show their "countenance" and most people, the first time they heard that, probably didn't know what that meant--for the record, it means to dress to attract attention to the face. The controversy with people that want to stir up controversy, seems to be that "the Duggars claim to be so modest yet they always talk about their sex life, cervical softening, show live births, and talk about breastfeeding non-stop and Michelle's inverted nipples--nothing modest about any of that, all while Michelle won't let any of her skin be shown during an exam but her stomach is shown during a c-section, what hypocrites!"

So let's put some of this into perspective a bit and discuss exactly what all of this means in TLC-land and Duggar-land, or at least what we think it means. First of all with their dress, we all know what their manner of dress means. They do dress modestly and have stated that over and over again. Mama is very modest about her clothing and so are the children, in fact Michelle says when the girls pick out clothing for themselves while shopping, they tend to choose things even more modest than what she, herself would choose for herself or for them. They have decided that skirts go below the knee, but the girls have latched on to the ankle-length style lately, although some of the girls do wear them a bit shorter. The toddlers are wearing almost mini-dresses and leggings as those are easier to play in, and be filmed in. We've seen the boys in shorts once, that I remember, and that was on the truck in El Salvador, when Jim Bob didn't go while Michelle was hospitalized, and those were the "board" shorts--below the knee. They wear modest bathing apparel. I wonder about the safety of those bathing dresses, but that's another blog post, the boys' suits have built in floatation devices, but the girls' suits don't.


Discussing those subjects for educational reasons, for medical reasons, and to inform family members is not immodest in anyone's religion--even mine. I can discuss those things with my Rabbi's wife, since she has 8 kids, to gain her advice and that's perfectly acceptable. Their children know where babies come from. That is not a lustful discussion, that is an educational one, especially when your mother has had 19 kids.

Breast-feeding is a very passionate subject for Michelle, one she takes very seriously, as she's had a lot of trouble with it herself. She will do anything she can to share whatever information she has with the viewing public to help other women. This isn't just a show for entertainment value--it's on "The LEARNING Channel" for a reason. They are trying to share information with people. Yes, she has inverted nipples, no it's not something everyone wants to hear about, but to those other women that do have that problem and cry themselves to sleep because they feel guilty that they can't nurse their newborn, knowing that their is someone out their with the same problem that can sympathize and share information with them is helpful, and that's what Michelle and Jim Bob are all about--being Christ-like in their character--having servants' hearts, even if the subject matter is embarassing.
People complain that she breast-feeds on camera but isn't bonding properly by covering the baby with a blanket, or her drape. That goes back to the modesty. She isn't going to show the entire world on camera her bare breast. While I don't have proof, I'm sure in the privacy of her bedroom, or without cameras around, she does nurse without the drape and bond eye to eye. Most mothers out in public use a drape, how many mothers nursing in the mall or restaurants do you see with a drape? Do you go up and tell them that they aren't properly bonding? No. You just tell Michelle she's a bad mother because you can.

They do talk about pregnancy related things on this show. Amazing. Why? Michelle is often pregnant! And she isn't just talking to hear herself talk--this show, while a reality show, is also a documentary format, she's speaking to the audience. The idea behind it is that people in the same situation (i.e. being pregnant, not necessarily, but possibly also having large families) will also be watching, therefore will be garnering information from her while she's speaking about her experiences. We're sorry if cervical softening seems immodest to you, but it can be necessary for the birth of a child. Some women out there would like that information, if you aren't one of them, maybe this show isn't for you. I understand the comment about when Josie was conceived was a little bit more info that some people wanted, but I maintain that it wasn't meant for our ears as they weren't speaking to the camera they were speaking directly to another adult married couple, probably forgetting the camera was even there, as they were still sitting well within the exam room and the camera was barely inside the door. Nice coup for the editor, but a bit of a peek inside a private world we didn't need to see.

As for the usual Michelle comment of "no Mama skin" and then we saw her stomach during the c-section, well that really stirred up a lot of controversy on the blogs. Frankly I have no answer for that. Other than, a) she was probably not aware that her stomach was showing as her face was behind a drape and (if I remember correctly, covered with a gas mask) and b) it was an emergency c-section and there wasn't a lot of time to think about those things and c) it was THE LEARNING CHANNEL WHERE YOU SEE LIVE BIRTHS IN EMERGENCY SITUATIONS AND THINGS LIKE THAT HAPPEN. So yes, when it can be avoided, she does take care not to show her skin, like during the ultra-sounds, and breast-feeding, and other exams, but in an emergency situation, an occasional "oops" can be forgiven can't it?

Yes the Duggars do maintain their modesty, and no I don't think they are at all hypocritical about it. Except maybe once. Their visit to Dollywood. If they cover the TV when provocative women are on the screen so the boys can't see them, and if they whisper "NIKE" when scantilly clad women/girls walk by so the boys will avert their eyes, why on earth would they pose for a picture with Dolly Parton so readily when they didn't even know who she was?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Duggar's Gift to The Bates - Tell us More Part II

Ok this has been bothering me since the story arc began. Who, exactly is paying for the extension on the Bates' house? From watching the program, the Bates' were given a gift from the Duggars and the Wilsons. The Bates had no idea it was happening. Also from watching the show, we heard that Zach was in on it, because he had been down to get permits for the construction. So we heard at the beginning of the program that the Bates could have a small room added on to their home, courtesy of the Duggars and the Wilsons--what would they like? More living space or a laundry room? They picked more bedroom space. Now anyone watching this would assume that the Duggars would be footing the bill, afterall, since the Bates seemed to have no clue this was happening, why would they be expected to pay for it?

But the story doesn't end there. The project grew to mammoth proportions. The addition became bigger than their original house. Ok, now who is paying for it? Did the Duggars say during planning, "Ok here's what we'll put in, after that it's your baby?" It seemed like the Bates had some money saved up to put in an addition, they just hadn't done anything to prepare for it, prehaps the Duggars were just there to "get the ball rolling on it." Obviously having Jim Bob there helped and hindered the project--Jim Bob does nothing small--they all said that in their interviews--but he does know where to find bargains and how to negotiate for deals and we saw that when they went shopping for supplies. We also saw people from the community come donate time, supplies, and money when they saw news stories about the project.

So I have to wonder...was this really a gift? Do you consider it a gift? Was it more of a push to get a project started that the Duggars knew the Bates wanted to get started but hadn't had the time to get started? I don't see "gift" because I don't see them staying to see it finished--call me crazy, but that's just rude. Ok, it's a massive project, but then don't call it a gift. Also, if the Duggars aren't then paying for it as the card implied, don't call it a gift. Their labour of course was a gift in the beginning, but after, it's just encouragement. They left a few of their kids there for awhile to help, but not to see the project through. I don't know, that just bothers me. Especially since we heard Michelle say, more than once, "Kelly is pregnant and we want to get this done before the baby comes so she doesn't have to deal with this stress." Obviously that didn't happen and now Kelly is pregant again and from what I've heard rumour-wise, it still isn't finished as the Bates are finishing it as they get the money to do it step by step--again, not a gift.

Opinions anyone?

Duggar Advice Line: We Love You, But This is What Bugs Us

Most of us here have a genuine affection for the Duggars, a few of us don't, so this post will be of particular delight, but in any case, we're going to switch places with the Duggars and instead of letting them advise us, we're going to advise them. From reading the comments on different blog posts, even the most devoted of fans have certain things about them that we wish they would change. I'm not talking about their faith, their convictions, their deep moral fiber. We can't change their religious convictions, their beliefs in home-schooling, their beliefs in birth control, or desire to see their children court (even though they've said they can date if they want to.) But there are things in their day to day lives, little quirks that we've all mentioned here and there that it's time to put in one place, so let's do it now! Here's your chance to add your 2 cents!

Your Food Budget: My big Duggar advice bits have to do with their shopping budget. I know they have more to spend and probably don't need to be as frugal as they once did, but frankly, they still do have children in nappies that won't be 18 for....18 more years, so saving money on food is always a good idea. I wish they would stop buying those small cans of beans and start soaking beans in their crockpots that they are so in love with and cooking them the next day. They would save soooo much money and it wouldn't be any more work than opening up 16 cans (I've read the recipes, they're opening up way more cans than they need to!) I also would love to share with them my recipe for pizza dough--the amount they spend on frozen pizzas they could make a ton of home made pizzas with their commercial kitchen with very little work, especially with all that great equipment--I do it by hand and it's not that big a deal! Some argue that gardening wouldn't save them any money, but done right, and with proper canning and freezing, they'd save a fortune! If they learned to raise their own animals and slaughter they'd probably save some money there too. Or they could be buying in bulk from a butcher--sides of beef or pork--if they aren't already why aren't they sharing the news--they tell us other ways of saving money?

The Kids' Futures: During one of the 1 hour specials, each child was introduced, along with what they wanted to be when they grew up. Since everyone in Duggarland still thinks that the grownup teens still want to be what they wanted to be when they were little kids, it might be nice to set the record straight and fill all the fans in and tell us what the kids want to be now, if anything. Do they still want to be chefs, beauticians, midwives, pilots, missionaries, nurses, firemen, policemen, etc. Or have they changed their minds, as kids often do!

Your TLC Paycheck: We totally get that this is ABSOLUTELY none of our business, but since none of us will shut the heck up about it, clue us in on what kind of green you're getting from TLC and where it's going. Or at least insinuate what is going on with TLC. Is it a family thing? Is each Duggar paid individually? Do the kids over 18 get to do whatever they want with a paycheck? Ok I admit this question goes far out of bounds of politeness, but Duggarphiles really want to know and it bugs us that we don't.

Impartial Editing: While we love you, you may notice you get some bad press. Unfortunately Michelle gets called some very rude names--bad mother being the nicest of them. And most of us personally think it has to do with poor editing choices. We're all mothers and we know she does more than her fair share of the work in that home--unfortunately the camera doesn't seem to show any of it. Especially this season all we've seen is her coming and going to the hospital, or hooked up to a milking machine, yet we all know she's doing far more than that. It would be nice to see some of it to prove to the world that she still is a mother to the rest of her children--afterall it IS reality TV is it not? I'm also of the opinion that Josh must have ticked off someone on the TLC editing staff, maybe because he's getting paid as a video/audio guy, because they constantly show him in bed just waking up, giving everyone the impression that he's a lazy, no good, do-nothing.

TELL US: We understand that there are things that happen in your lives that we will never get to see and you don't want us to really see. We know the kids have friends and lives outside the show, but you can just mention that and let it go. Because NOT saying that leads your detractors to believe that you're keeping your kids trapped at home and that your raising them in some kind of cult. We all know that's not true, that you're trying to preserve some kind of private life for them that's seperate from the show, but just mention it---"the girls were off with their friends last weekend." It's not something you'd film, not people we'd see, but it's something we'd know. And it would shut up those nuts who think YOU are nuts. We also know that there are things you do film....around. For instance you went to church with the Bates but the sanctuary was practically empty. That smacked of people not wanting to be filmed. Either don't film it, or mention it, because it looked really really bizarre and almost WORSE than not showing it at all. Some things need more explanations than you're giving. Oh, and we'd really like some explanations about things like Josh's house--was it a gift or did he buy it? Does he rent or own his car lot space? What happened to all the cats you've had over the years--that's a lot of cats in such a short time?

DON'T TELL US: On the other hand, some things we don't need to know. Those of us that have been watching since the first 1 hour special understand that you've had cameras in your face for years now and you probably don't remember they are there anymore. We also have gotten to know your personalities a little bit and know which of you speak without thinking sometimes. Just remember, sometimes you can keep certain things to yourselves. Conception dates being one of them. While it didn't bother me, I got it, you weren't talking to us, you were talking to your son and his wife, remember that the cameras ARE following you and remember up above---impartial editing.

Above all, we love you and look forward to the pleasure of sharing your lives as long as you continue to allow us to glimpse into your world.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Are the Duggars Your Friends?

Trolling the message boards I see post after post asking about "How do I send little Josie the so-and-so I made for her?" and it really makes me wonder about people. You know that these women have kind and loving hearts, watch the Duggars every week, see Michelle do her interviews and probably think she is speaking directly to them. In fact, during some episodes you see her speak to perfect strangers as if they were her best friends. So it's easy to see how a person can get drawn in to feel that the Duggars really are your own next door neighbours and you know them---but what you forget is--they don't know you.

I'm sure the Duggars would love to know that their fans are out in the world praying for them and wishing them well. I'm also sure that if and when they do meet their fans on the street that greet them with a smile, and if they have time, even talk to them. They've said they don't have time to answer emails, which is the reason they wrote their book and began their website (which has long ago been rather abandoned--for good reason if you ask me--they do have a lot on their plate right now!) But until that day comes when you actually meet and greet the Duggars in person, they don't know you and this "relationship" we all have with them is terribly one-sided. They've let us into their lives, but we haven't let them into ours.

Now I have to admit I've had those weird moments where I've thought "I should send that to the Duggars." I really want them to have a copy of "The Tightwad Gazette." Which is a book of money saving tips that would help them save even more--a lot of which they use, but they aren't using to their full advantage--I think Jim Bob would devour it. I was also watching an Israeli movie called "Ushpuzin" and thought "Wow I should send them a copy" because they were always looking for family-friendly movies they could watch. This was after watching the episode when they went to the Christian film festival. Yes it was in Hebrew with subtitles, but it was a family-friendly movie with a good message that would have bridged a gap and taught their kids a good lesson. It was also religious and took place in Israel. But then, I'm not their friend, I don't know them, why would I send them things in the mail? Like I said, I've read many many posts on the Facebook message board asking how to send them gifts, and I even wrote on one "Springdale is so small I'm sure if you just wrote "The Duggar Family, Tonitown, AR" and the zip code, I'm sure it would get there." Afterall, I'm sure their local post office is used to getting plenty of fan mail for them with all kinds of unusual addresses for them.

Now this next part I'm stealing from a message board, but apparently one woman did send a gift to the Duggar for the baby, the box had been opened and a note inside said "Thank you for thinking of us, but no thank you". Please donate to your favorite charity, place of worship or children's hospital" It was signed, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar Family. I have to tell you I cried and have stewed over this. I know they are celebrities and there are some sick and weird people out there, but we are offended. "

My opinion of this is that the Duggars did the right thing by sending it back. Could the note been a bit friendlier? Possibly. Frankly at this point I'm amazed they don't have some printed up by now en masse--you'd think they have tons of stuff rolling in from fans. But the point is, if you analyze it from a truly Duggar standpoint, they stayed true to their values. They don't need anything for Josie--so keeping things they don't need would be wrong--they have plenty in every sense of the word. It would be wrong of them to donate the item on the other person's behalf, because they don't know that person, in a way, that would be even more rude. The gift was acknowledged and they let the person know their wishes.

When you think about it, in the age after 9/11 and if they read the message boards at all, you wonder why they open any packages at all--they are aware they have NON-fans out there. In this day and age it wouldn't surprise me at all if all things were sent back unopened "returned to sender." So if you look at it from that point of view, the sender was lucky to have received an acknowledgment at all.

It would be great, if the Duggars had the time and thought, to put a message out there on their website and the TLC website to have fans stop sending gifts and/or to send them to a specific charity or charity of that person's choice. It would stop, or slow, the mail flow and stop the "hurt" feelings.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Duggar Episodes I'd Like to See Part II

Here's a continuing list of episodes I'd love to see the Duggars involved in, some more comical and now some more serious...

1) Seeing the girls in intership programs--like undercover boss, undercover Duggar--send them in to see what it's like being a midwife, a chef, a beautician

2) Here at a local airport, with just a California driver's license and a single lesson, you can start flying a specific kind of sport plane. I'd love to see the Duggar boy who was interested in piloting a plane take flying lessons--seriously, not just riding in a helicopter.

3) I do want to see a crazy excuse to go visit the Bates so we can see the house! And watch Jana blush some more!

4) I'd love to see them visit some serious gardeners....and learn about home gardening---they have the space and they have the manpower--it isn't that expensive---my mom does it all on her own and she's 75 and cans and freezes and eats and gives away fresh a TON of vegetables every year from her summer garden...we all eat like kings from her bounty...and that's just one woman's hobby garden...they could, produce their own food if they'd learn how. It's not as expensive as some will lead you to think. And canning jars/rings are reusable.

5) A day in the life of Josh and Anna...the good the bad and the annoying! I know we've seen a little here and a litle there--but more than Josh getting up late and Josh at the car lot---what do they really do?

6) While we're at it a day in the life of Amy--spend the day with the girls--a girls day out...really make it annoying! Let crazy cousin Amy take the girls out for a day of "corruption" cousin Amy style.

I had to add another one after reading someone's comment:

7) an updated "Ask the Duggars" ...ask the kids NOW "What do you want to be when you grow up?" that it's been 4 years since the 1 hour special that we heard what they wanted to be...let's hear NOW what they want to be and stop the speculation!

What other ridiculous things can you come up with....ok some serious ones too?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Josh Duggar: Shiftless Layabout or Financial Genius?

The general concensus seems to be that Josh is a camera hog, he is riding daddy's coattail's, and he's hoping that TLC is his ticket to fame. He says on the screen that as a carsalesman sometimes they have money and sometimes they don't. He also says he wants to hire someone to work at the car lot so he can spend more time with his family. He also wants to invest in real estate to help build his financial portfolio. A lot of those statements seem to counter each other. So somewhere in there we have to ask: is Josh a shiftless layabout or is he a financial genius?

First off, there is a period of time between the 1 hour specials and the TV show where Josh was a graduated teen and out earning money. He has said on film that he had done enough construction work to know that he didn't like it enough to do it as a career and he wasn't speaking of the house they built as a family--he meant as an outside job. He has also said he has a political consulting business. He has an audio/visual business and gets come credits for it on the TLC documentaries before the 30 mintute shows started. So before he opened the car business he did have some capital saved up with which to do so.

There are four years from the time he got his GED to the time he got married when he was earning money and saving money--he had no expensives to speak of--his parents were paying his living expenses before he got married (food, clothing, shelter) so everything he made would have been wisely invested, as taught to him by his parents from a very young age.

I personally don't know when he opened the car lot. From watching the TV show (I do own the first 2 seasons and have the 3rd on You Tube) it seems that it was started before the TV show started. Jim Bob paid rent for his original car lot, so it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility for Josh to be paying rent or leasing the space for his car lot--just as long as he isn't going into debt--rent/lease isn't considered debt by Dave Ramsey (I'm not sure what Jim Sammons considers rent.) It's possible the space that Josh is using is a commercial property owned by his father--his father owns a lot of commercial property, not just the chicken ranch. It's also possible that Josh bought the property himself--afterall he had been saving up his whole life (allowance, etc) and was taught how to invest. Until someone comes out and just asks, we'll never know.

The other question people ask is why are his hours only 10-5 M-F: how is he going to sell any cars with such weak hours of operation? There are a few things people need to remember. First of all, as a religious man, he is following in his family's footsteps and saving Saturday as a sabbath day to spend as a family day and Sunday to spend as a worship day. The other obvious thing people need to remember is--in that part of Arkansas, Josh Duggar is famous. He isn't just some kid selling cars, he's a guy with a national TV show selling cars. If you don't think people are coming from all over Arkansas just for that reason to buy a car from him, or at least test drive one of his cars, you're kidding yourself. He is selling plenty of cars just because his name is Josh Duggar and he is on TV. He can play that "we're just poor ol' folks starting out" all he wants to, but in the REAL reality, he's a nationally known reality TV star and that WILL sell cars--plus his family HAS been in that town for a couple generations and his name is trusted--THAT will sell cars too.

The other unknown out there is "Does he make money from TLC and if so, how much?" I'd say yes he probably does and it's probably plenty. Because he is over 18 and because he has a family entity seperate from that of his father's, I'm sure he has to sign a deal seperate from that of his father's. He also has, I've heard, gotten some credits for audio/video production on some of the episodes so he will earn a paycheck for that.

Josh Duggar will never go into debt. While he may say he's struggling week to week, or month to month because of the car lot (as any car lot that size probably does) that very well could be true, because as he's probably learned well from both his dad and those Jim Sammons videos he's watched over and over from childhood, any money he's made could very well be in untouchable investments---cds and money market accounts. He and his wife may have also decided that they are going to "make it on their own" and not use any TLC money to pad the monthly budget, but rather put that money into investments--which would be the smart thing to do--which is probably what his father is doing--scooping up investment properties in this down real estate market and turning them into rentals.

Josh Duggar will probably never have to work as hard as his father had to to make the money his father has. Of course that is the dream of most parents. However, his father did do a good job of teaching his son the value of a hard day's work (Josh learned the hard way that he doesn't want to be a carpenter, plumber, or electrician, but at the same time he does know how to do all of those jobs and can do all of those jobs for any properties he owns.) Right now, as their family is being filmed, the Josh Duggar family really does have more than one job--TLC is a job. Even though they've moved out on their own, they still travel on all the field trips, get drop in visits from the film crew to the car lot, their home, and get followed to Anna's parent's house in Florida.

It would not surprise me one bit if he had the cash stashed away somewhere to buy up investment properties in Arkansas. I haven't done the research (you know me, I won't because one of you will) but I'm sure it's cheap and since he's paying cash and buying it without any loans he can buy it "as is" and do any and all repairs himself and with the help of family and friends. He knows where to go to buy cheap and used and recycled building supplies and he knows how to negotiate for deals--he also has a father that owns a complete set of tools that he can borrow from.

So on one hand he may look like he's lazy---he doesn't seem to put his best foot forward on TV, but you have to look deeper and really analyze the situation. It would be nice if they'd explain themselves a little more, but they don't and probably never will. I doubt we'll ever know how much any of the Duggars get from TLC. But seriously, as annoying and off the cuff as Josh is, I'm starting to lean more towards financial genius than shiftless layabout.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Duggars: Why Don't They Just Adopt?

So many people just say "If they want such a big family, why don't they just adopt? There are so many kids who need a good home. They are being selfish having all those kids and not adopting." As a child who was adopted, I have a real problem with statements like this. Adoption is not something you just tell people to do like "Why don't you just buy that coat?"

Not everyone was meant to be an adoptive parent. I'm not saying the Duggars wouldn't be FABULOUS adoptive parents, they probably would be. The point is, being an adoptive parent is something you are called to do from within. It's something your heart tells you to do, not something society tells you to do, something you're pressured to do, or something you feel you should do.

I was a very lucky girl. My parents wanted me very very much and I was told so on a daily basis. I was treated like one of the family, having an older sister who is natural to them. I knew I was adopted, but was not TOLD I was adopted--it wasn't something I was reminded of on a daily basis. In fact it was something I was allowed to forget. People told me I looked like my mother and it didn't occur to me that I didn't. Now at the same time, coincidentally, my best friend growing up also happened to be an adopted child and sadly she did not have the same good fortune I did. Her parents also had children natural to them and she also was the baby of the family. Unfortunately for her, she was reminded almost daily that she was adopted. If her grades were poor, if she did something wrong, it was almost said as an excuse, "well she's adopted." She was also introduced as their adopted daughter. Now I can understand doing that if she had come from another country and you had to explain it to people who might have asked why you had an Asian child or something, but she was as white as they were. It was almost as if they were trying to gain some recognition for their "good works." (I should add that daddy was a preacher, and frankly, not a very good one--hey, I sat through enough of his sermons I'm allowed to judge.) So was it any surprise that she was a terror all through high school, jumped the first guy out of town after graduation, and was never heard from again? Why not when you're treated like a second class citizen in your own home? I also worked at a summer camp one summer and one of the counselors had a 5 yr old she had adopted and she was just so proud that she had adopted that she couldn't stop telling everyone. She introduced her daughter as her adopted child. When her daughter had little tantrums, as 5 yr olds sometimes do when it's beeen a long day, she'd joke "don't blame me she's adopted." I would just cringe. I have no idea how that girl turned out, but it wouldn't surprise me if that woman continued talking like that, her daughter would up a nightmare of behaviour issues. Seriously, what could hurt a child more than constantly telling him/her "you're not really mine?"

My point here is, adoption is something personal and it's something major. You either do it whole-heartedly and full-on, or you don't do it at all. You make that child a complete part of your family or you forget the idea completely. Now again, I would never say the Duggars would be anything but wonderful parents to any child they took into their home. I'm saying that NO ONE should tell ANYONE they should adopt. Adoption should come from within your own heart. Only you can decide that for yourself.

I was told all through my 20s it would be hard for me to conceive. I just figured I wouldn't have kids. I was reconciled to not having any. Adoption never entered my mind. I didn't want children enough--it wasn't in my heart to adopt. Now that I am lucky enough to have been blessed with a child, I find that I would love to have another. It's still not in my heart to adopt. Adoption isn't for everyone and I don't feel guilty, in fact I would feel guilty if I adopted not feeling 100% about it.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Duggars, or Duggar children do adopt someday, they are loving, giving, compassionate people. But having people TELL them they need to makes my heart hurt. Decisions like those are private and personal. Make those yourself.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Duggars and Bates in Worship: 10,000 Hours in 20 yrs--That's All??

This is a guest entry from Cyn--Thank you Cyn for your post!

Marybeth has graciously allowed me to post this over here as a stand along blog thingy instead of just putting this in the comment section. I saw this on the other blog but my answer was and is just WAY to long to post in a comment section so I didn't even bother trying. The commenter was making the comment that the numbers made the Duggars seem all high and mighty... I took it completely the opposite way and here is my response below.

Why do we care that the two families have logged 10,000 hours of church in 20 years?


I haven't seen the show so I didn't get to see the blurb. If those numbers are right (for the Duggars and the Bates) I am appalled, they are too LOW.

1 hr Sunday School + 1 hr Sunday Morning Service + 1 hr Sunday Night Service +1 hr Wed Night (mid week service) = 4 hours a week.

This is typical of your ‘core’ church goers. (more later).

4 hrs a week x 52 weeks a year = 208 hours a year.

208 hours a year x 2 families = 416 hours a year x 20 years = 8320 hours.

8,320 total hours for both families, TLC only says 10,000. Reality numbers should have had it closer to 24,000.

Each church has several kinds of members attending: Christmas and Easter only, Sunday morning service, Sunday school and Sunday Morning Service, Special speakers, ect ect.

‘Core’ church members are the ones that are there for most services, sometimes helping out as well, but unless on vacation, or sick they are in service when services are offered.

Then you have the 'backbone' people, the ones that are there every time the door is open; they usually have a key cause they are opening the church, and locking it after everyone is gone. Those people have closer to 20-30-40 hours a week in the church (higher in the summer lower in the winter but it averages out). These were the kinds of numbers I would expect for the Bates and the Duggars. Smaller churches are built around these types of families (350-2500 member churches). In most of your smaller churches, this takes more time than a second job would. I always assumed the Duggars and the Bates where somewhere in the middle of ‘core’ and ‘backbone’ leaning harder to ‘backbone’

The ‘backbone’ people are there from 6:30 AM (turning lights, heat, and air on) to 1pm (regular Sunday) and are back again by 3:30pm for 6pm dinner (someone is cooking, setting up the tables, doing the dishes,…) and not leaving till 8-9pm that night. Some are setting up the choir room, checking the sound systems, dusting, cleaning the nursery (you get the idea). Not everyone is there the entire time some come early others stay late. These were the people I was expecting in the Duggars and the Bates.

They portray being the "backbone" people in a church. It doesn't make them better or worse than anyone else just who they are.

Every church needs them it’s what makes the church run, and most do it so quietly, and efficiently you don’t even think about it.

I remember as a child spending entire Sundays at the church going home only long enough to change out of “Sunday Morning Best” into other clothes (taking them with me on picnic days) and going back by 2 for choir practice, Sunday dinner, Sunday services, visiting after and home again by 8:30 pm. That’s 8-10 hours. But that was also only me, my brothers rarely attended church because they simply didn’t want to they had other friends, nor was I forced to it was where MY friends were.

VBS was 1 week at our church but if you did it right you could go to all your friend’s VBS too. So K-6th grade we spent our summer nights in VBS for 2 out of the 3 months of summer. We also didn't care if you were Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, or what, you came listened to the story, made crafts, had snacks and played in the church yard (the more kids the better the games) for 2 hours a night (Our town’s churches spaced them out, on purpose as a way to keep the kids occupied in the summer time)

Maybe it’s small town and it’s not like that everywhere, maybe it’s just being in the Bible belt, I don’t know. All I know is those numbers looked WAY to low for me. The Bates live in the same general area I grew up in, I’ve grown up in the smaller to mid size churches (for that area). Their numbers alone should have been MUCH higher as they attend church outside their home, and maybe they didn’t count the Duggars hours in their home church…

I think someone just did rough and dirty math and was way off.... Which TLC is famous for anyway.

Duggar Safety: We Never Had Helmets and We're Still Alive

The constant complainers always bring up safety in the Duggar home. Why doesn't Michelle stop the kids from....being kids? Either these commenters don't have little boys, are totally over-protective, or just have an incessant need to complain about Michelle and will pick any and everything they can.

Little boys play and little boys play hard--that's their job. According to the Duggar interview section on the show only 1 broken (arm?) bone has been had and that was from (i think) falling out of a tree. Seems about right for a boy doesn't it, I mean it's not out of the ordinary--or at least it wasn't before all kids began playing indoors and playing meant sitting in front of a tv with a video game console in front of them or a computer screen glued to their face. The general viewing public is a viewing public that changed with the times--their kids no longer play like Opie and Beaver Cleaver--that is outside with wagons and basketballs and baseballs--kids today aren't satisfied with the simpler toys of yesteryear, while the Duggars, who aren't bombarded with media advertising the latest greatest videogames ARE satisfied with playing outside with swings, homemade forts, scooters, treehouses, and in general, old-fashioned fun that we, in our 40s-50s used to do when we were kids.

For those of us in that generation--now in our 40s and 50s, who had bikes and maybe skateboards---we didn't have helmets or safety gear--the Duggar kids do. We also didn't grow up with seatbelts and car seats--the Duggar kids do. I never lived in a house with an upstairs, but I can bet if I did I'd have played on the steps just like they do--be happy it's carpeted! I'm sure those of us who DID have stairs played on them as well. Who HASN'T riden down a stair handrail at least once in their life?

Frankly, I don't think it's necessary for Michelle or Jim Bob to interfere when the kids get into a scramble every time. At some point they do need to learn to mediate these things themselves. I was very impressed when Jill mediated the spat with Hannah and Jackson (?). Some will say Jill was doing the "mothering" again, but no, she was being a sister--in large families you do learn from your siblings--the good and the bad and it was great to see that a) Jackson didn't retaliate and b) Jill taught her sister that she needed to apologize. Learning that from a sister and not a mother is sometimes a better thing---we always hear things from our moms when we are little, but hearing them from a sister--wow, that's almost like a heroine you want to look up to someday.

And one other thing--they do live in a more rural setting. Like it or not, country kids play differently than city kids. You have the freedom of space, you have the freedom of autonomy, and you have a different lifestyle in general.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cousin Amy: Arkansas' Answer to Paris Hilton?

I'll admit I have no idea what the point of cousin Amy is. Other than she's family and lives up the road a piece, why is she around? Does she show up on purpose of her own volition? Or is she called upon by TLC? Do the Duggars want her there? Or is she a party crasher? Sometimes Jim Bob looks at her like she's definately talking a little too much ("I think you did a little more than kiss before you got married Unles Jim Bob" during the Josh engagement episode...and Jim Bob walked away rather than strangle her on camera).

Sometimes I get the impression that she just shows up unannounced to get some camera time because she knows they are filming and the family gets those looks on their faces like "oh cousin Amy is here...why?" But other times she seems written into the show as if TLC has demanded that she be there--a double date with her and her boyfriend and Josh and Anna--can you say "awkward?" Although it does show that Jim Bob is not as strict as people claim he is--he allows his daughters to hang out with her because his daughters showed up on the date later that night to play bumper cars with them--why would Jim Bob allow his daughters to be with Amy and her date if he were so strict?

Amy was around with the Bates when they went to Silver Dollar City and sky diving. Why? An extra pair of eyes and hands is always helpful when in a theme park to keep track of all those kids, especially with 2 large families, but making a big deal of bringing her ipod full of heavy metal and country music was a little over the top--and Josh's comments about her as if she was going to corrupt them all were kind of, not rude, but family being family. Again--why was she there, if not to contrast the Bates and Duggars---here we have the modest family, the modest modern family, and Paris Hilton of Arkansas? Was that the only point? She looked and acted bored the entire time.

However she did encourage some girl talk among the older girls when the Bates boys were around--so having her around may have helped in the courting department---she's the one you want around when you need to talk about boys. I'm sure Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger will get lots of details from Amy when it comes to boys and dating.

People have suggested that Jim Bob keeps Amy around as a "what not to do" for his girls. He is close to his sister and does obviously love her and his niece. He accepts her even though she was born out of wedlock and is not judgemental. Amy is Christian and respects the Duggars way of life and doesn't mock them when she visits. People have also called her loud and obnoxious--she has made a few comments about trying to get the girls more wild and crazy--some silly comments when shopping for baby clothes with Anna.

I'm just not sure about Amy. I don't dislike her. I just don't understand the point. Who's idea is she? Is she TLC's idea, the Duggar's idea, or does she just show up on her own to get publicity for her singing career? Or maybe a little of both?

Someone fill me in...I've heard people on Facebook friend her because she gives out details about baby Josie that no one else can get...what's your take on Cousin Amy? Is there a point? Cousin Oliver from the Brady Bunch--are the Duggars jumping the shark?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Duggar Shows I'd Like to See

Lately I've be rewatching so of the previous seasons' epsisodes and yes, some of them are a bit contrived, almost forced. They wouldn't have gone to a pro-hockey game if their editor hadn't taken them and made the arrangements. The episode where they went to the ostrich farm was a great learning experience for the younger kids--it reminded me of a field trip we took in grade school, but not an episode I'd really want to watch over and over. So what do I want to see the Duggars do if I could choose some Duggar moments?

1) Well as a Jew, I think it would be great to see them continue to expand their horizons and celebrate a Jewish holiday--start small and maybe celebrate something like Hanukkah. For those of you who aren't aware, it's not actually a holiday, it's a festival, and a minor one at that. Since it falls near Christmas, most people think it's important, and while it does celebrate a feat of Jewish history, Jews in the last few decades have adopted it as a holiday in America so their kids wouldn't feel left out while their Christian friends were celebrating Christmas. But anyway, it would be interesting to see them visit a Jewish family similar to them in modesty beliefs, maybe not an Chassidic family--that would be too hard for them to handle--but a nice Orthodox family who could have them over for a Hanukkah party--I think that would be an interesting episode--the kids playing dreidle...eating latkes and all the fried foods. Of course Purim is another possibility--they could dress up in costumes, we don't celebrate Halloween and I doubt the Duggars do either--but at Purim you wear costumes and read the book of Ester.

2) Continuing my theme it would be great to see them tour Israel. They could see both the Jewish places and the Christian places. Maybe for fairness sake even the Muslim places.

3) Since I'm married to a Brit and gave birth to my daughter in London, I'd love to see them travel to England and tour the museums. We've seen them in El Salvador and NYC--now let's see them take on London. How will Jim Bob explain the dinosaur bones at the Natural History museum? Will they get used to eating beans on toast for breakfast? And please let's take them for a high class meal to one of Gordon Ramsay's restaurants. Should we trek them across the country to stone henge for good measure?

4) Family Feud or Are you smarter than a Duggar...can they take over a game show for a week? It's Duggar week on "Deal or No Deal" Can you see a bunch of Duggars in the desks instead of the usual 5th graders matching wits with Jeff Foxworthy?

5) A real "week in the life" instead of pre-planned TLC us some more documentary style stuff where we see some real life things going on...answer some real questions about where they are shopping now....who they are hanging out with when they have free time...

Now it's YOUR turn...share some episodes or situations YOU want to see the Duggars in!

Duggar Myths and Fallacies

There are so many myths about the Duggars out there that are just not true, but have been talked about that people assume they are true.

1. The Duggars pay no property taxes because they claim their house as a church.--Actually they do pay taxes on their property, this has been proven over and over.

2. The Duggars won't let the girls go to college.--Both Duggar parents have looked into the camera and said they would let their kids go to secondary schools, they were preparing them for life in the non-secular world, but at this time none of them were going.

3. The Duggar parents will choose their daughters' husbands for them.--Jim Bob and Michelle are a love match. Josh and Anna are a love match--their parents had nothing to do with their getting together, other than discussing with them seperately when each asked for counsel (as we were told during the engagement episodes--they discussed praying about a spouse and asking their parents for guidance). Because of this, and because of what they've said, and written in their book, they want their children to find that one person they believe is out there for them--the one person G-d has meant for them. They aren't going to arrange a marriage just because THEY think they belong together, they are going to support their children and listen to them when asked for guidance.

4. The girls are not allowed to wear pants. During the "Ask the Duggars" episode Joy Anna answered that the girls were, indeed, allowed to wear pants if they wanted to. None of them seem to want to. Michelle said that she decided herself to stop wearing pants early in her marriage and that her daughters are only used to seeing her wearing dressed and skirts so therefor they probably only want to wear them. But as Joy Anna said, they are allowed to wear pants if they want to.

5. Jim Bob "gave" Josh his car business and "gave" John-David his tow business. Jim Bob sold his own car business and his own tow business years ago, therefor he didn't give those particular businesses to his boys. While he may have helped set his boys up in business by teaching them how to run them, help them with the legal issues since they were both 16 when they began, he certainly didn't "give" them a business. That would totally be against his work ethic. Why would he teach them how to build a house with their bare hands, teach them how he, himself worked at all those jobs himself to make it where he is today, show them how they "buy used and save the difference" and then when they turn 16 just give them a business of their own. Josh has said that he worked in construction after graduating homeschool enough to learn that he didn't enjoy it enough to have it as a career, so we know he earned money. However it makes sense that the boys would go into a business that they know something about. Jim Bob knows the car and towing business well and the older boys were growing up with Jim Bob working those businesses. Why wouldn't they choose a business that was part of the family heritage as well as businesses that they could work together--two businesses that would compliment each other?

6. TLC paid for their new house. This one bothers me the most. TLC showed up to film the Duggars and found out that they had already ordered the steel frame kit and had the land already grazed and ready to go. The first speacial had the house building prep in it! The house was a project before TLC ever showed up! I will consent that the decorating was a TLC project and only because it helped speed up the production dead line. The free things that were provided were not necessarily TLC but because the decorator herself had an "in" with the dealer (the kitchen appliances in the "pretty" kitechen.) And the reason the final move-in shot of the pantry was full of Sara Lee/etc brand products was because the Duggars didn't personally have enough food to fill the entire new pantry themselves. So TLC got on the phone and made sure the pantry was stocked full for the documentary shot. The Duggars don't buy name brand items. If you look closely at the shot itself, you can see their own "off" brand items mixed in with the name brand stuff. Also during the episode where Jim Bob took the boys to a thrift store to buy a used bunk bed to replace an old bunk bed he said that the old bunk bed was over 10 years old. That meant that the bunk beds in the boys room were brought from the old house, not a gift from the decorator.

These are just a few of the Duggar myths out there that people love to bandy about. I'm sure there are more, so PLEASE feel free to share your favourites and we'll debunk those as well.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Buy Used and Save the Difference--Sometimes They Get to Treat Themselves

It makes me angry when people use "Duggarisms" that are generally good and then throw them back in their face. For instance: "buy used and save the difference." The Duggars still do that, even though they are now famous and even though they now make more money than they used to. Why? Because even though they make more money, they still have a growing family and they still have growing needs and a need to budget properly.

I read on another blog the other day someone complaining that Michelle buying brand new layette items for Jordyn's birth was such a disgrace and they were so phony and their "buy used and save the difference" was such a lie. I would like to point out that buying brand new things for Jordyn's birth was actually something special Jim Bob did for Michelle because they both thought that it would probably be her last pregnancy. And if you'll remember during that episode as she was oooing and aahhhing over everything and wanting to buy out the entire store, Jim Bob did in fact mutter those famous words "umm what happened to buy used and save the difference?" This person also complained about the family buying each child a brand new bike in one episode. That was also a special event--I believe, and correct me if I'm wrong--was it Christmas? It was some holiday they bought each child a brand new bike. And they did make a HUGE deal out of it and made sure to remind the viewers and the kids that "this never ever happens."

So let's point out that those are the only two events I can remember them buying new items. We saw Josh and Anna buying something new--it turned out to be Joy Anna's birthday present given to her in the episode previous (bad editing.) Otherwise we've seen Michelle take the boys out shopping for used shoes and we've seen Jim Bob take the boys out to buy a used bunk bed---to replace bunk beds that DID NOT come from TLC's massive shopping spree when they bought furniture for their house. Jim Bob did say that the bunk bed they were replacing was over 10 years old--therefor it came from their old house, so not all the furniture that was moved in came as a gift from TLC or TLC's contacts.

Other people pointed out that the kitchen appliances were new---those were gifts from a contact that the designer had--the fancy NY designer. Jim Bob himself knows how to work a deal. We've seen him go in and get a deal for tires, installations, and hotel deals. He has taught us how to work auctions and price down retail. We also saw the women go to a used baby sale. Just because they have more money doesn't mean they are spending it on brand new things.

However, it wouldn't surprise me that on birthdays and holidays new items were given as gifts. Afterall, they aren't "cheap" they are frugal. There is a difference :)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Are the Bates the New Duggars?

Full disclosure alert--I haven't seen the latest episode about the Bates visit to Little Rock, but be that as it may, I've read allllll about it. And I've been rewatching the Duggars visits with them in previous seasons. So I'm now going to discuss the Bates themselves. Are the Bates the new Duggars?

The latest blog comments seem to favour the Bates over the Duggars--aren't they just so sweet? Yes, they do seem very sweet. But then I think the Duggars are sweet too. People seem to like the Bates for the fact that both parents went to college, yet interestingly, Gil Bates still works a "blue collar" job and makes far less money than Jim Bob (TLC money not factored in). Also for those liberals who are always sniping at the Duggars, the Bates are actually far more strict with the rules, apparently.

People, including me, do wonder if a Duggar/Bates engagement is looming. Most people seem to think it's between John-David and Erin, however I just don't see that. I guess people see Erin gazing at him (??) but she's 18 still and she seems so cereberal to his shy "man's man." I'm more for the Jana/Zach match even though I know nothing of Zach. But that's a different blog entry.

There was controversy over Kelly Bates comment over continuing to trust G-d in her pregnancies--she too has had trouble with her last few--I believe she miscarried the pregnancy she announced while they were visiting during a visit with the Duggars (not the ice storm visit.) And I also believe that wasn't her first miscarriage. However she did say in the last season that all her births were home births, except for the one we all got to see--in a hospital. Her comment was something about "we never know when we could die, we could step off a curb and get hit by a bus tomorrow" so by her logic they trust in G-d that if He keeps giving them pregnancies, that He will watch over her. I actually have that same kind of faith in Hashem, so I'm not going to argue it.

Now because I didn't see the show---is she pregnant again or did she have another baby since the baby we saw arrive? Someone will have to clear that up.

A lot of people think that either TLC is trying to woo the Bates family into their own show or the Duggars are trying to arrange one or more marriages. Frankly I think they are just 2 families that are friends. Why can't they visit and help each other--especially in times of need? The conspiracy theorists don't buy that because they haven't seen each other in about a decade before the first visit in the show--why all of a sudden all the visits now?

Someone commented that it was rude of the Bates to visit in the Duggar rental house while they were going through such a tragedy. I pointed out that the Bates family wouldn't just "show up" without an invitation. In fact during the ice storm Gil said that Jim Bob had to beg them to come when Gil said they would be imposing--and even with an invitation to Little Rock I'm sure the Bates family would have still said "are you sure???" And even after I pointed that out, someone said "yeah of course Jim Bob begged, he wanted the Bates boys to do all the work on their trees!" So you can't win for losing. And Michelle commmented during the interview portion of the Bates visit that the Bates "did all the work" and of course THAT was taken all out of context. It just meant that as guests, the Bates cleaned up after themselves and didn't expect to be waited on hand and foot like some houseguests do. Afterall, they are a huge family that you would notice---not your typical family of four coming to visit you know?

And the Duggars did do them a huge favour with the Wilsons by going to help remodel their house. We have no idea who foot the bill, but because they gave them a card saying it was a gift, I'd say that the Bates weren't paying for it, Jim Bob was. There also seemed to be the implication that they were getting deals, community support, friends pitching in, and i think the Bates had some funds saved up to do a "small project" that Jim Bob decided to turn into a big one.

After reading a lot of comments I did get the idea that people thought if they saw enough of the Bates family that they would probably feel about them the way they feel about the Duggars now. Is too much Bates a good thing or a bad thing---frankly I'd like to see more of them, but with the Duggars. But it remains to be seen---is TLC trying to go after the Bates family? The Bates have started a website that isn't "up" yet. It is still under construction last I went there.

Will the Bates give the Duggars a run for their money on TLC? I'm inclined to say n o...what do you think?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Duggar Danger Zones: Let's Play "What If?"

Ok this one is completely for fun....we're going to play "what if" in what if a Duggar child did any of the following and how do you think the Duggar family would respond?

1) Came out as gay--do you think they'd have the nerve to even come out at all? Would they instead remain single and be what was once a "confirmed bachelor" or just a single missionary working in a far off country? ....I have a theory about 2 of the Duggar children myself...and odds are that at least 2 of them will be how do you the Jim Bob and Michelle would handle that conversation?

2) Married outside their faith--they do travel out of the country, a few have said they want to be missionaries when they grow up, so what if one does become a missionary and marries someone from another country, for example, who isn't a Christian...or what if they meet someone through the TLC crew--a son or daughter of the crew--who happens to be Jewish or Hindu or something? Or maybe a Duggar child does go off to college and meets someone of another faith and they decide to get elope? Imagine that conversation?

3) Opted for a secular life of fame--one of the kids decides they like life in front of the camera and want a life in television--even as a preacher...but maybe on the Broadway stage!

4) Decided to wear pants and be more like cousin day one of the girls comes downstairs for breakfast in jeans and a t-shirt and announces she's moving in with Cousin Amy and going to be the keyboard player for her band

5) Announced an out of wedlock of the boys knocks up a girl? One of the girls gets knocked up? Afterall, they were/are very pro-Sarah Palin and it happened in her family...

Ok so these are all hypotheticals....but what do you think Jim Bob and Michelle would do...they have always professed such love and devotion to their family, always spoken of Christ-like would they act, how would they respond, in situations like these? Any ideas? Kind of fun to imagine isn't it? I'll give you my thoughts after you all play around with it for awhile.....

Number 20 on the Way? or Duggar Diet Gone Wrong?

Already the rumours are going that Michelle is already pregnant. Afterall the 80 days have passed and so she could be as far along as 6 weeks. A few bloggers were saying she looked a bit thick around the middle--is she alrady pregnant? I doubt it.

Remember how much milk she's been producing non-stop for Josie? She has to keep fueling her body to produce all of that. So instead of sticking to her usual post-baby weight watchers plan, she's increasing her fluids and protein. While she may not be gaining any weight, she certainly hasn't had a chance to lose any of her pregnancy pounds yet.

She also mentioned a few episodes ago that Jim Bob was back to his usual stress eating--gaining back a lot of the weight he lost from his recent foray into weight watchers. I wouldn't doubt that Michelle has probably joined him in some stress eating as well. Who of us wouldn't? Add to that the strange home, the inconvenient kitchen meaning they are probably eating quickie meals that aren't as healthy as they could be. And most people don't think they eat healthy to begin with.

Frankly I think she just hasn't lost the baby weight and is packing on some extra with the stress and emotion and the need to add calories for the milk production.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Michelle Duggar: Mother of the Year?

This latest bit of Duggar news seems to have people up in arms. A highly fundamental religious organization is naming Michelle Duggar "Mother of the Year" and presenting her the award in July. There seem to be two reasons why people are up in arms over this award. Number one is that Josie is barely out of the NICU (and now recently back in the hospital) and number two is the group giving the award itself.

Logic will tell you that the Duggars have no control over who gives them what awards. Of course they have the option to decline, however in this case they seem to have chosen to accept the honour. Blog comments from detractors seem to indicate distate with the acceptance because in their minds Josie shouldn't be traveling across the country so her mother can accept an award. They are acting as if this ceremony is happening tomorrow, not 3 months from now. They are also acting as if the Duggars won't opt out if Josie's health hasn't improved and she isn't well enough to travel.

One thing about the Duggars, for those of you who haven't watched them from the beginning: they are positive people. They look forward, they look onwards, they look upwards. It is not beyond reason that they would look towards something with positive thoughts and hope--after all they have been through. This is something they can "look forward to" while they have been dealing with so much stress and emotional upheaval. And once again, when the time comes 3 months from now and things aren't quite right with Josie, they can say "Sorry, we just can't come, but thank you for this kind honour."

The other reason people are having an issue with this award is the group giving it. The Vision Forum Ministries is giving a tea in her honour and charging $25/person, or something like that--who knows how much the Duggars get, if any of that. Apparently, they are pretty fundamental and conservative, so of course, those among us who are a bit liberal are supposed to be outraged. Now of course this private group can do whatever they choose--name whomever they want, whatever they want and do it whenever they want. Because they are a private group, their beliefs can be whatever they want them to be, within the law.

This is where I get confused. If this is America where we are free and where we celebrate our diversity, why is it when people choose to be conservative and fundamentalist, all of a sudden those who are pro-choice and liberal want to take those freedoms of choice away? I've always considered myself to be pro-choice, that way everyone can decide (and I'm not just talking about abortion here folks, pro-choice in religion, politics, same-sex marriage) and everyone gets treated fairly. But when it comes to groups like the one giving Michelle the award, all of a sudden it's the pro-choice liberals who want to shut them up and denounce them. Why does that seem wrong to me?

I was always taught that you should be willing to fight to the death to defend the right to speak even for those whose speech you oppose. Because that is what free speech is all about. Why else would I be defending a family like the Duggars when everything they stand for is everything I actually oppose?

Duggars Parenting Called into Question: MSNBC Article Gone Horribly Wrong:

I opened up todays MSN to get email and there was an "article" titled something like "What the Duggars are Doing Wrong." Of course that's where I went first. As you read through the article, you will find that the writer never actually interviews the family, never meets the family, never talks to anyone who knows the family, or speaks to anyone with TLC. What does the author do? She (i believe it's a she) goes to their website, watches a few shows, and reads some recent articles about them and writes an opinion based on how she feels they probably parent their children.

And then it gets published on a web site for the entire world to see. On the plus-side, if you read the comments, most of them are from people who see through the author's bias and lack of proper research. Seriously, how do you call yourself an honest journalist and report on a family you don't even interview? At best call yourself a.....blogger!!!

I can accept people who actually observe the family and THEN complain about their parenting. But this person quoted their website and complained about their parenting. Seriously?? And anyone who's anyone knows that website hasn't even been updated recently. I think the last time I went there they were acknowledging the grandbaby's birth.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spin the Bottle: When Do We Get Another Duggar Wedding?

This one is a conspiracy theory, because no one actually knows the answer and all we can do is guess. But of course that's what makes it so fun. First off, who do you think who's first--John David or Jana? And who do you think they are marrying? A Bates? But what about the Wilsons? The Wilsons have kids too!

Of course they also venture to a lot of ATI conferences and weekends that never get filmed and I do believe there are teen weekends as well that the girls go to. You have to wonder if they have "mixers" where they get to meet each other. Is there an ATI matchmaking service? I'll admit that my husband and I met through a matchmaker, but that's quite an oldschool Jewish custom that few people use anymore....

Do you think that Josie's premature birth pushed back an engagement announcment for Jana? Afterall you can't really announce your engagement when your baby sister is clinging to life in the NICU.

I have a feeling, personally, that we'll see Jana go before John-David. John-David is way too shy. And if Jana goes first I think it will be a Bates. Why else do the two families who live so far apart spend so much time together--unless TLC wants to do something with the Bates family. The Bates are coming to visit soon, will we hear something?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Growing up Duggar: Puberty, Hormones, Braces, and Zits on Camera

The funny thing about growing up on television is that the whole world gets to see the good the bad and the ugly. And the really funny thing about growing up Fundamentalist Christian on television is people that disagree with your family's beliefs get to blame your hormones and moods for you being at odds with what's going on with your family.

All of a sudden the talk is of Jana and Jinger. Jana is depressed and Jinger is cranky. We didn't see Jana in very many episodes for awhile and Jinger used to be all bubbly and cute when she was a pre-teen and now that she's in her mid-teens she's more subdued. But of course the detractors don't blame her age and hormones they immediately latch on to the fact that she must be bored and ready to bolt at any moment and just wants to be done with her entire family's lifestyle.

I'll throw one more thing out there. Production of this show takes time. It's been noted that they can do takes over and over--getting out of cars again and again. Standing around to film something more than once. Waiting in line to do the interview portions. And you wonder why every once in awhile in a 30 minute TV show you get a film clip of a teenager looking bored??

I also clearly remember one show where they had to get up early and Michelle was sneaking out of the girl's room and wouldn't let the camera go in because the girls weren't ready. And she made it clear "you know how girls are if their hair isn't just so." That right there is probably another reason why some of the older girls avoid camera shots on certain days--OR TIMES OF THE MONTH?? Seriously, would you want to be front and center on camera with a giant zit on your face?

There are so many obvious things going on in life that Duggar-detractors avoid looking at--it would be nice if they'd realize they are a real family with normal issues that have nothing whatsoever to do with their religion.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Slaves to the Grind Part II: Duggars Doing Time?

Lots of comments in the "Slaves" post has prompted a Part II. We're going to talk specifically about higher education and is it really necessary in the whole scheme of things. And once again we're going to debunk some famous Duggar myths.

Now because this is my blog HA! I reference my life. It's been brought to my attention that not everyone has lived their life like me. No kidding. In fact, I should hope not. Who on earth would want to be divorced twice before they hit 30, have no marketable skills, live off their trust fund, find their true religious faith at 30, and just drift until 36 when they marry "the one?" So now that we've passed that "duh" moment, I'll get on with the blog....

If you read comments on other blogs by people who clearly aren't Duggar fans, you clearly get the impression that the non-Duggar group feels the girls are literally trapped inside that home, held hostage, they have no access to money, couldn't go to any type of college/higher education course if they wanted to, and are just working for their parents inside the home until they are married off to proper husbands. Some readers here may feel that way too, although so far I think we have mostly fans, but who am I to say. I'll go on the record to say that I don't feel that way.

As for being held hostage? Well as was also pointed out in a comment, there is cousing Amy, Michelle's large family, and any number of fans out there who'd be willing to offer shelter and help to any one of the girls should they desire to "escape" the Dugger stronghold. Don't think for a minute these girls have no outside family or friends to turn to if they don't want to live at home anymore. And don't think for a minute that Jim Bob is keenly aware of that.

I will say that in my world growing up, I was forced to go to college. The only choice I had was where I could go. People think that's funny, I did mention it on another Duggar blog and the same people who say the Duggar girls aren't allowed to leave--they have no money and can't go--said I could leave and how could I say I was forced to go to college--no I didn't have any money, my parents held the purse strings. They failed to see the irony in their statements. If one thing could be true for the Duggar girls NOT being allowed to go to college, why couldn't it be true for me being FORCED to go to college? So yes, I had no say in the matter--in my family you went to college, the end.

I went to a very well-respected, highly prized "west coast ivy league" school in Portland, Oregon and got a Bachelor of Science in English. I chose the major because I could complete it in 4 years, not because I could do anything specific with it. My mom kept saying all that mattered was that I had a degree--that's all employers look at--little did she know the world would be changing. But let's move on. I do have some background with research skills, writing papers, and drinking tequila in excess. But I have the piece of paper.

In the 18 years since I have graduated I have had 3 jobs and the longest of those last 3 years. None of them required a college degree. The degree GOT me one of them because the owner was an alumni, but that was it. I still made $10/hour part time and the dot com bust killed us 10 months later. The most I ever made was $13.73/hr dispatching for the cable company and to be honest, the degree almost hurt me there, because being one of the only ones with a degree in a place where no one else has one, they tend to look at you like "what do you think you're better than me?"

So I'm not saying that college degrees are useless. I'm saying mine hasn't been worth the $80k my parents put into it. I'm saying that without a clear career goal at the end of it, it's probably not a good idea to just go for the sake of going. Dave Ramsey won't tell you to just send your kids to college for the sake of sending your kids to college unless they have a clear idea of what they are going to do with the degree when they come out on the other side. The world economy has changed and degrees don't matter anymore in the workplace unless they do something specific.

Now the things the kids have all said they want to be are specific. Some of the little boys want to be firemen and policemen. JoyAnna has said once in an early interview (when she was younger--much younger) that she wanted to be a nurse. Some of the girls, who are now older, when they were pre-teens said they wanted to be things like chefs, beauticians, and midwives. Now they are in their late teens and 20s. Well guess what? When I was a pre-teen I wanted to be a Solid Gold Dancer. When I was in high school I wanted to be a nurse. When I got to college I wanted to be neither of those things. Your ideas change as you get older. Most little boys want to be cowboys and firemen when they are little--if they stayed true to those goals we'd have herds of firemen and cowboys running around. How many 7 yr olds do you know that say they want to be CPAs? Yet we seem to have enough CPAs to go around.

I'm just entertaining the idea that it's possible they don't really want to be those things anymore. Josh said he wanted to be a lawyer when he was 16. He's not 16 anymore. Things change. Notice they haven't asked them THIS SEASON what they want to be? The "what you want to be" question was posed during a 1 hour special that occured before the 30 minute show even started....they are now on season 4. It would be nice to know what the kids think about NOW instead of a lot of speculating and remembering dreams they had when they were much younger. Frankly I'd be a bit annoyed if you kept holding me to my pre-teend dream and throwing it in my face on, I'm not going to be a Solid Gold Dancer, so maybe beautician also fell by the wayside and she's on to some new idea?

I have to agree with the comment made on the "Slaves" post...It would be really sad if the Duggars caved in to their detractors and enrolled one or more of their children in higher learning simply because people feel they should, not because it's something their child(ren) truly want or need at this particular time. Just because this family has chosen to share their lives with us on TV doesn't mean we get to dictate their lives, direct their lives, or comment so harshly on their lives that they question their own decisions.

Please, just try to entertain the idea that the Duggar girls are actually enjoying the fact that they are on a TV show right now and life is pretty good. Besides the fact that they have wonderful new baby sister at home that they've been waiting months to get to know. Just because this kind of life is foreign to you, doesn't mean they don't love living it.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Michelle Bashing: #19 at Home and Already a Controversy

People Magazine seems to have bastardized an interview with poor Michelle Duggar about the home-coming of her newest daughter, Josie Brooklyn. I think we can all agree it's a sheer miracle this little girl is even alive and we should be saying praises that she's getting to come home. Baruch Hashem and Mazel Tov!

Now here's the problem, a quote from Michelle in People reads: "I will be her main caregiver," Michelle says, "and we'll have a lot of helpers around to take turns feeding her and getting her to sleep." So what does this mean? Well it can mean a lot of things, depending on how the interview actually went. Was the interviewer asking about having hired help or was the interviewer referring to the Duggar practice of "buddies," or was it just Michelle making an off-handed comment because she's just jumping out of her skin excited that her child is ALIVE AND COMING HOME!!!!!

Can we please for a moment remember that for the first 4 months of this child's life her own mother hasn't been able to do ANYTHING but pump breast milk as a way of caretaking? So by saying that statement out loud she was acknowledging that she was finally going to be the one feeding her and changing her, not the nurses in the hospital? She did also acknowledge earlier in the interview that they were "running on adrenaline" so how coherant an interview would that really make?

I think we need to cut her some slack and let her have some time to hold, love, and nurture her child. She's been through a lot, something no mother should ever have to go through, and for those who think she deserves it, she's been punished enough.

Jim Bob Duggar: Quiverfull Cult Leader, Shameless Self-Promoter or Spreading the Word

Now I think way back in the beginning, Jim Bob found ATI, Gothard, and heard of Quiverfull and all of it made a little sense to him and he and Michelle began to build it into their faith. As they did their faith began to grow as their family began to grow. They attended ATI conferences on a regular basis, connected with families and went to the seminars, read the books, bought the homeschool materials, raised their kids with the values, and life was good. Jim Sammons taught them how to manage their money and they became debt free and life was even better.

Jim Bob went off to the State House and helped shape the government of the great state of Arkansas. His family continued to grow. They kept homeschooling, living by their beliefs in moral character, Christ-like qualities, and how many ATI conferences they attended while he was in office is anyone's guess as it's not documented for us anywhere--but they stayed in touch.

Jim Bob ran for a state Senate seat and lost and went back home to Springdale. Their family continued to grow, they continued to homeschool, they remained debtfree, they bought a huge chunk of land, and they decided to build themselves a house. Then TLC came knocking on their door and asked if they could do a 1 hour documentary.

It's been said that in the 1st documentary some footage was cut where Jim Bob spoke up about Gothard and Quiverfull and now that footage is no longer available. Of course there are conspiracy theories about Kennedy's assasination too, but of this we will never know unless someone posts a You Tube clip--of either. Since Jim Bob and Michelle currently don't espouse either Gothard or Quiverfull associations, my guess is this: They grew up.

Even Bible-believing Christians are allowed to come under the influence of someone, maybe even borrow a few ideas, then decide it's not really for them and leave. If I had to compare it to something I'd compare it to all those weird cults in the 70s, but on a much milder level. Kids would join all excited, then opt out, or their parents would drag them out. With this situation I'd say that Jim Bob is far too much of a personality to "follow" any person. I don't know if you've noticed or not, but politicians and carsalesmen have pretty strong personalities and don't make good cult-fodder.

I think they remain tight with ATI because it's a good experience for them as a family and their kids enjoy it. How often do they get a chance to bond with other large families with similar goals and beliefs, share homeschool information, and worship together as a large group? ATI makes perfect sense to me. I can also see why Jim Bob would promote the Jim Sammons seminar--it did make him financially sound--it's the same reason people praise Dave Ramsey when they use his program to become debt-free.

I've never truly believed they had anything officially to do with the Quiverfull movement. I think because they have the quote from the Bible on their website people assume that they do. A bible quote and a membership in a movement do not two things make. For one thing, Jim Bob is way way way too vocal, too public, and too ON TELEVISION for anything as private as a movement like that. There's a reason why the show "Secret Lives of Women" did a show on Quiverfull--they don't openly talk about their movement. Why? I have no idea. You'd have to ask the producers of "Secret Lives of Women."

But for those of you that think Jim Bob is raising his own cult--again--he's too loud, too vocal, and too public. Cult leaders don't let their kids roam around in public, roam around on a TV show, have a website, cell phones, and leave the country. Yes he's a protective father, some say over-protective. Detractors say he keeps his daughters hostage until he chooses their husbands for them. Frankly, that I don't see, especially since his and Michelle's marriage was a love match and so was Josh and Anna's. But that's another story. So just because they have orthodox religous beliefs doesn't make them a cult--are Chassidic Jews then a cult? The Amish?

I think I'd go along with a shameless self-promoter before cult leader, but that's pretty harsh language. I'm only giving it to the detractors, and because he's well, a politician and carsalesman deep down inside.

But to be honest with you, he's a businessman. From the time they got married they have opened one business after another with the goal of having a home-based business so they could be closer to family. The reason they sold the tow business was that Jim Bob would just sit down to dinner and inevitably get a call for a tow. They wanted a wholesome family life. So now they've built up a real estate 'empire' and they have the cell phone tower, and now they have their TV show. There is nothing at all "unChristian" about being a capitalist. So i think he's just using the tv show to show the world you can live your life believing your faith, living debt free, and still have the family life you've always wanted--happily.

But then of course there could have been a second shooter.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Duggars: Let's Find the Positives Today!

It's the last day of Pesach and Nicole gave me a great idea (thank you Nicole!) Today we're going to focus on the positives we see in the Duggar family. So even if you're already "pro-Duggar" or if you're a "non-Duggar" try to see in them some of the good today.

For me, personally, I have given you a list of what I disagree with on them (not being Christian for example) but if you want that list you can ready "What this blog is all about." But today I'm going to tell you why good I see in them. And point out that absolutely no one anywhere has the perfect family and challenge you to think how your family would rate given a film crew invasion to your private world.

I see a great deal of organization where there could be nothing but utter chaos. Even with 17 kids living at home and many of them young and energetic boys, the Duggar machine seems to run forward with school work getting done, meals getting prepared, eaten, and cleaned up, housework getting done, and laundry washed and folded. They seem to know where things belong and how to put them away. Oh if only my 3 year old could learn that "clean up" was more than a song we learned!

I see a great deal of marital love. When I see the look on Jim Bob's face when he looks at his wife, it's not the look of ownership, or the look of a man who wants to create some master race, it's the look of a man who is still head over heels, puppydog IN LOVE with his wife--something I only hope for when my marriage hits the 25 year mark. And when Michelle looks at him it's as if she's in another world. That is devotion and a healthy loving marriage that gave them 19 kids, not some religious belief.

Marital love builds a loving home. Their kids love each other and honestly care about each other. The boys and girls look up to their older siblings and for that I do feel pangs of jealousy--my sister is 10 yrs older and so when she left for college when I was 8 I pretty much never saw her again and now as adults, we aren't even friends. These siblings will be close for life and the sisters will definately rely on each other for advice and a shoulder to lean on for all of their days. The boys will always know they will have big brothers to look to in Josh and John-David when ever they need a helping hand with something. I don't believe it's because the siblings "raised each other" I believe it's because this family raised a close and loving bunch of children to respect each other, care for each other, and more importantly, KNOW each other. I really do wish that I KNEW my sister--I'll always love and care about her, but I'll never really know her.

They are amazing when it comes to money. Some call it luck, Jim Bob says he doesn't believe in luck. But if you read their book, they call it prayer. I call it good timing at least. However you want to chalk it up, they made some amazing real estate investments that paid off fantastically and enabled them to move ahead with building their house and invest even more. They know how to buy used and resell at the retail level on things he gets at auction (industrial type items) and they are great when it comes to the thrift store on 1/2 price day! I'd say agreeing to do the TLC show was a pretty good idea as well. It hasn't seemed to do their moral and theological core any damage (except maybe Josh's ego--ok one negative slipped out) and I'm sure it'll build a nice financial cushion for them when it's over, as you know they aren't spending it as it comes in. I'm sure when the rainy day comes that they are saving for, they'll be able to build an ark big enough for all of them and more!

And they have no problem in TEACHING others how to do what they do, sharing information is another wonderful thing. They teach how they did what they did making it seem like we could do what they've done, if we're willing to work as hard as they did. They do and did work hard for their income. And they also have shown us how to be more frugal at the grocery store--I'd love to teach them how to be even more frugal!

They are kind. They go out of their way not to make negative comments about others, even when you can see they are trying to find ways not to when asked questions in interviews. That is why some of Jim Bob's answers sound vague--he's trying not to say a negative word about others--a Christ-like quality he's passing on to his children.

They are teaching their children to be kind. While kids will always be kids and you see a skirmish break out here and there. Kind words are spoken more often than not. They are polite to strangers they meet and speak to them and answer their questions, even though it's usually the same thing over and over, they do it politely as if it's the first time they've ever heard "aren't you that family with 100 kids on tv?" or "are all those kids yours" and "how big is your food bill?" and lets not forget "don't you get tired of doing all that laundry?" They are sweet kids.

They are giving people who teach their kids to give back as well. They volunteer for all kinds of local and international charitable events. They go to El Salvador regularly and spend their own money to do it, bringing gifts to the kids, buying food and clothes for the families, and helping to build and repair homes. They participate in the fun runs, they speak up in political situations they deem important--participating in the process of government which we all need to do regardless of our political views, they go as green as they can to help the environment, and they are always willing to invite people into their worship service, lend a hand to a friend in need, or donate whatever they can when they can.

Let's make the last day of Passover a positive one--share with us your "Duggar Positives"!!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Visiting Josie: Duggar Denial or Duggar Confidence

There have been a few blog comments that when Jim Bob and Michelle go visit Josie they seem to almost be in denial over the fact that their newborn could have serious problems for the rest of her life. They just visit her as if they are visiting any other newborn baby. Michelle is quite emotional, but that is more the emotion of a mother who is unable to be doing the mothering--watching nurses do the things that she as a mother feels she should be doing. Jim Bob stands proudly over his newborn daughter smiling. And because they are just smiling are bringing comments that they are completely in denial.

I don't think they are. Why? Because I know the look on Jim Bob's face, because it's a look I wore for the two weeks I too walked into a NICU to visit my daughter. It was the look of someone who had the complete faith in G-d. Someone who knew that someone else held all the cards and someone who was completely and totally confident. Instead of walking into the NICU and crying, wishing that I had a baby I was taking home with me, I walked in and smiled, cooed, rocked her in the rocking chair, sang to her, and knew in my heart that Hashem knew what was best and would send her home when she was ready to come home. Those of us with faith wear that confidence proudly and I see that confidence on Jim Bob's face every time they show him visiting the NICU to see Josie.

They know full well how Josie is doing; they talk to her doctors daily and get full updates. They are not flying blind on this. If Josie has any health problems, they are fully aware of what they are. Of course she may have some that could come up as she gets older, and her doctors will let them know what those could be, and prepare them for what to look for, and so I'm sure they will be fully prepared by the medical staff before Josie is released. Babies are just released from the NICU without complete and total instructions.

My child was born in London, UK and they actually had us spend the first night in the hospital with her in a special suite before we took her home. That way we got used to how to care for her and we had people to ask in case we had questions. Then the next day they sent her home with us. How they send home NICU babies in the US, I have no idea, but I'm sure they will be giving the Duggars a complete and total list of what to do, what to look for, and what to be aware of.

So no, I don't think they are glossing over any possible future problems Josie may have, I think they just have complete and total confidence in G-d and the medical staff they've entrusted with her care.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Trusting in G-d and Trusting in Modern Medicine: A Duggar Hypocrisy?

This is kind of continuation from the Duggars using iphones--why are they using modern technology if they are such Bible-believing Christians? However, this goes so far beyond iphones that it deserves it's own topic and will go so deep you may need to come up for air.

I was re-watching an episode of M*A*S*H a few days ago and Hawkeye said, "G-d does the work, but the doctor takes the fee." Think about that statement as we go along...

The Duggars say they trust in G-d for the number of their children and don't rely in birth control at all, yet they have no problem relying in medical technology to save their lives. A lot of people see this as a hypocritical statement. A lot of people see them not trusting in G-d to cure Josie. There are several things wrong with this argument.

In the first place, they aren't Christian Scientists--that is they get shots, they go to dentists, they have surgeries, etc. They've never claimed that they didn't believe in doctors, they just don't believe in using birth control.

I would imagine that if any one of you detractors would sit down with any number of trauma surgeons, oncologists, neurosurgeons, neonatologists, thoracic surgeons, and the like, you would find them to be quite spiritual and believing in a higher power--remember the quote above. When my husband had emergency open heart surgery his Muslim surgeon prayed with me, a Jew, not for my husband's recovery, but that G-d would give him the skills he would need to see my husband through--see the difference there?

Now I know I quoted a TV show...and the next line Hawkeye said was, "I'm able to do a lot of things in surgery I'm not really good enough to do" and he was trying to reassure the camp Priest, letting him know that his prayers in the operating room were helpful...but remember this...those writers got their material from ACTUAL DOCTORS, NURSES, AND PERSONNEL from a MASH unit. I don't doubt a conversation like that actually happened. Nor do I doubt that doctors and nurses pray quietly to themselves before they go into surgery everyday.

So let's go back in time even further. You want an example of a sect who's living even further back in time only in the modern age--look at mine. I worship with Chassidic Jews. True Chassidim are worshiping and living as if it were the 1800s, yet they've accepted electricity and telephones and cars. They go to doctors and have their babies in hospitals, only far more modestly than even Michelle Duggar--the husband watches from above the waist! So while they also do not believe in birth control, they still believe in modern medicine.

If you want my honest opinion, I think this is just one more way people who are truly anti-Duggar can complain about them. Truly thought out, no, they aren't being hypocrites. But hey, if you want to argue my points, feel free, I'd love to hear your opinions.

Duggars in the Digital Age

There are a few issues that have people rattled lately and one of them is "Why do the kids have iphones?" If they are so sheltered and so focused on their faith why on earth would any of them but the very oldest of them like John-David and maybe Jana need cellphones, and even then why would they need iphones? Don't they have the internet and the Duggars don't like the internet aren't they being hypocritical? Well I'll address that. Plus, iphones are expensive, and the Duggars are frugal--well I have answers for that too.

Well here are a few ideas, since none of us will ever know the truth, we can sure offer up some conjecture that makes darn good sense:

a) there are 17 people in a house and with landlines, can you imagine the wait to call their friends? Yes they are allowed to have friends! During the episode with them introducing Josie on the "Today" show, Jinger said she called her friends to ask if they noticed her taking Jordyn off camera when Jordyn got fussy. So there's one reason why--they call their friends.

b) so they can keep track of each other--right now they are a bit scattered--Josh has moved out and married, John-David and Joseph are living back at their main home in Springdale and Mom and Dad are frequently at the hospital. This way they can all keep track of each other, support each other, and just call to say "I love you" and "please pick up some milk on the way home."

c) as for them being iphones and having the internet--just because a cell phone offers an application doesn't mean you have to have it activated. I have a simple Motorola Razr (yes oldschool!) that offers camera and internet access. We don't pay for either service, therefore we don't get either service. My phone simply places and receives phone calls--imagine that! You can do that with an iphone too! Since we've seen them texting I'm willing to bet that they have the texting feature. But that doesn't mean they have internet. If they do, you can bet it's filtered to within an inch of it's life! You can filter iphone internet, just ask Dave Ramsey! The Duggars allow only about 75 approved websites on their home computers and if someone wants to go beyond those, they have to get the password entered by either Michelle or Jana and then have someone sitting with them to chaperone while they are "going rogue." There is no way their iphones are internet capable without being highly filtered.

d) as to where the iphones came from that could be anywhere---the Duggars have a cellphone tower on their land--is it an ATT tower? do they get free minutes? Did the phones come from ATT as a product placement for the show? Did TLC give them the phones to use as part of the production only to use during production, afterall Jim Bob is listed as a Producer, that offers some perks. Or they could have been purchased used, reconditioned, and they may be the original old style iphones, not the new fancy ones. No one has seen them up close.

e) also texting each other within the family especially can be cheaper on a phone plan than actually niece's plan has unlimited texting but very few calling minutes and she prefers you text you just never know what they have, who is providing it, and what the thought process is.

It could be a temporary situation while they are in Little Rock. The phones you see the kids using could be "family phones" not each kids own phone, as well. Just because you saw Jinger using a phone and Josiah using a phone doesn't mean they each have their own phone.

Once again, just because the Duggars are believers in the literal translation of the Bible, doesn't mean they have to live as if it was still that time in history. They can dress in modern, if modest clothing, they can drive cars, they can have a nice home, they can use medicine and doctors, and they can appreciate modern technology. Even Charles Ingalls appreciated advancing technology when he had his wheat harvested and he did buy his wife a sewing machine!