Faith

Daring Timidly…huh?!

83 Comments 30 August 2010

Hmmm, where do I begin?  I think I’ve said that before in starting off a new blog post.  Oh yeah, that’s how this one starts:  “Where Do I Begin…?“  I apologize for being repetitive, but I seem to have a lot of thoughts swirling in my head at the moment, but no consistent theme or direction for where they may be going.  All of which leads me to wonder just where to begin?

Maybe I should start with the probable catalyst for those swirled thoughts:  the impending premiere of our show on TLC, “Quints by Surprise.”  Certainly something like this, as surreal as it still feels, can be at least partly to blame for the tempest between the lobes so why not start there?

It is an exciting time to be a member of our little family…exciting, bewildering, happy, stressful, fun, chaotic…surreal.  It seems like this day, the one that is coming on Monday, has been coming for a long time.  I won’t really say it is the achievement of a goal we have been aiming for because we did not set out on this journey with a TV show as the ultimate goal.  I know, I know – the cynics and skeptics are all rolling their eyes right now because surely that has been the aim all along for this fame-seeking, child-exploiting, Bible-relying-only-as-a-means-for-selling-our-story family of ours.  But let’s all just pretend for the moment that I’m actually telling the truth when I say this has never been a goal of ours and that we did not intentionally have quintuplets so that we could be on TV.  At least allow your disbelief to be suspended for the sake of the drama of this blog post…deal?

Though the response to our decision to do the show has been 99.99% positive there are still those, even among the supporters, who question why we would go this route.  “Haven’t you learned anything from Jon and Kate?” they say.  “What will make your show different?”, “How will you protect your family?”, “Do you think you’re ready for this?” are other versions of the same question.  These are all reasonable questions (though generally not reasonable when issued in the tone in which they are usually uttered by the M&M’s – that’s my new name for them, the cynics…it stands for “The Miniscule Minority”) and I assure you we have considered all of these things and more.  And here is one other thing I can assure you:  we don’t have the answers to those questions and many of the others we have considered.

Have you ever made a mistake?  It’s a silly question, I know, of course everyone on this planet has made many mistakes big and small.  But have you ever known you were making that mistake while you were in the act of doing whatever it is you were doing?  I know there are those times when you make a decision you know you’ll probably regret (binge drinking and the hangover the next day, the fight you got into and the bruises that took forever to heal, skipping school to go shopping and the detention that followed), but that’s not the kind of mistake I’m referring to.

What I mean is have you ever done something, maybe something like handling a customer service complaint at your job, taking a client out to lunch, meeting up with a boy or girl after school, or something else like those scenarios I mentioned that “seemed like a good idea at the time”?  But then you told your boss how you handled the complaint, you told your wife that you took your female client out to lunch, or you told your boyfriend that you hung out with that other boy after school and you knew by their instant reaction that it really wasn’t a good idea after all?  Or how about this – have you ever taken a job that you later wished you hadn’t?  Have you ever given a girlfriend a second chance only to be later dragged through a second round of hell when things don’t turn out as you had hoped?  Have you ever told your boss that you would like to take on a new project thinking it will kick start your career only for it to turn into an unmanageable debacle that short circuits the path you were on?  Those are the kind of mistakes I am referring to – the kind that were well thought out and pined over – advice-seeking, life-changing kind of decisions which later turn out to be painful lessons in how not to do something?  Some would say that our decision to use fertility drugs to get pregnant was one of those mistakes though you would have a fight on your hands if you said it to us directly.

So now you know the answer to my original question is no.  No, you did not know you were making a mistake at the time you were in fact in the act of making a very big mistake, possibly one that would impact you for years to come.  I have made those mistakes and then some.    I have taken a job I later regretted taking.  I have had the hangover the next day.  I have taken on the career-kick-start project.    And then I have found myself stuck in a situation of my own creation, struggling to find a way out of the consequences I have brought on myself.  And what is funny is that in each of these situations I have been able to look back with startling clarity and almost always point to the exact moment my thinking, planning, and pining took a turn down the wrong path.  How I could have missed that point the first time around, I’ll never know, but miss it I did!

I will freely and openly admit this to each and everyone of you out there reading these words right now:  it is entirely within the realm of possibilities that we are making a mistake by deciding to do this show.  There, does that make you feel better?  No, I do not have a magic mirror that tells me all that lies ahead and we do not have a special protector watching over us to ensure that we cannot be harmed by the decisions that we make.  Therefore, it is wholly realistic to believe that we might be making a mistake.

But we don’t live our lives making decisions simply to avoid the possibility of making a mistake and neither do most of you.  Most of you are no different from us in that you are presented with an opportunity, you gather the best information you can, you analyze that information as best you can sometimes with the counsel of others, you pray about it, and then you make the decision you believe will be the best thing for you and your family based on the information you have gathered, your analysis of that information, and hopefully on the direction God is calling you to go.  And that is exactly what we are doing here.  The risks and benefits have been assessed, the safeguards have been put in place, the continued counsel of good friends and advisers will be sought…yet the possibility of mistake still lies in wait, lurking on the other side of every corner we encounter.

I have taken on a motto for myself and the way that I approach living since Christ turned my entire world on its head two years ago and it is this:  Pursue Life.  I got it from Matthew 8:22 which says, “First things first.  Your business is life, not death.  Follow me.  Pursue Life.”  Good stuff, right?  And yes, it was printed in red.  I do not know what that passage means to you when you read it, but to me it means to seek every opportunity that Christ puts in your path and pursue those opportunities with vigor until the day that Christ directs you in another way.  It means to move forward without reservation, focus your eyes on Christ, and dare to take the road less traveled if that is the road he is leading you down.  It means to get out of the boat and truly believe that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.  It means to control what you can control and leave the rest up to him…

Yes, it is possible that we are making a mistake with the choices we have made.  I’ll give you that.  But it is equally possible, if not more so that our life will never be better because of these very same decisions.  It is also just as likely that there is someone out there who will be positively impacted by our story and that alone makes the effort worth the risks it brings (In fact, this has already happened.  Read here if you’d like to hear some of their stories:  “This is Why We Do It“).  How will the show be different and how will we avoid the pitfalls of those who have gone before us?  Honestly, I don’t know.  But doing just those things is something we have given a lot of thought to and something that we are committed to achieving.  More importantly than any thought or effort we can put into making a difference is the fact that we define ourselves as Christians and we believe in a different way of life than many out there.  And hopefully through the simple daily acts of trying to follow Christ’s example we will make a difference by showing that there is in fact a difference in the way you can choose to live your own life.

Why are we doing this?  Well of course we are doing it for ourselves.  And we are doing it for others.  Most importantly we are doing it for our faith and we are even doing it for the M&M’s – the cynics, the holier-than-thous, the judgmentals, the moralists, and the pessimists.  Because we know you’ll be reading these words and rolling your eyes.  We know you’ll be watching the shows and shaking your head.  You’ll be paying attention, waiting to pounce when we stumble.  We know this, I can’t explain why you would want to spend your time doing this, but you’ve proven time and again that you will always be with us.  And so, yes, we also do this for you.  To hopefully show you a different way as well.  I am not guaranteeing anyone that we will be successful in our pursuit, but I will guarantee you that there is no stopping us from pursuing the life that we believe we are called to lead.  Pursue life…to me, there is no other way to live!!

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

Teddy Roosevelt

God bless,

Ethan

Your Comments

83 Comments so far

  1. Nadia in Canada says:

    I really wish you all the best. There is so much to learn from you guys… right now I’m working on patience and I don’t have half as many kid as you do. If you are doing the show for people like me, Moms, Parents, that try to be the best parent you can be… thank you, for the inspiration.

  2. ziggy says:

    I’m a big fan of Kate Gosselin and I like your show.

    It reminds me of the first Jon and Kate shows, before Jon lost his marbles.

    Your kids are adorable!

  3. JonesLife says:

    Linda Original – I’m shocked that my email to you bounced back…really, really shocked… Provide me with a legitimate email address and I will be happy to send you my response to your questions. But no, your comment(s) will not be posted.

  4. JonesLife says:

    Linda Original – Yep, once again it bounced back. There are ways to contact us without posting to the blog, you know. Our email address is listed on this site.

  5. Patty Jennings says:

    Hi Ethan & Casey. I’ve been watching your show, and I think it’s great. I love watching the daily life struggles and successes. Like the former comment, it reminds me of the early days of John & Kate too before they started having all the trips planned and got away from just living life. I enjoyed watching that. Some people might think it’s boring, I like it. Sometimes I get ideas on how to make my own family life run smoother with my four boys!! Anyway, good luck to the family. The kids are all adorable!

  6. Emily says:

    Ethan and Casey,

    I love your show! You seem like the sweetest, most genuine couple ever. It’s completely apparent that you’re overwhelmed with the babies and the money, but that’s part of what makes you endearing – you’re real people dealing with real life issues and handling it with incredible grace. (I was watching the show and my boyfriend came in and was transfixed. He would never voluntarily watch a show with babies but he said, “I’m guilty. I’m watching.” His favorite is Jack.)

    Keep doing what you’re doing. Your family is beautiful! Eliot seems to be a great big sister and the quints are adorable. I will continue watching and supporting and doing what I can to silence the M&Ms!

    A fan,
    Emily

  7. Barbara says:

    Ethan & Casey,
    I’ve seen two shows and am hooked…your children are blessed to have you both as much as you are blessed to have them…God is good and I thank you for sharing your lives with the world…God Bless you for having the courage to do so!

  8. Kathy says:

    I absolutely love your show!!! I think you make it seem “real” on how to raise kids without the drama. I can see the love your whole family has for each other!

  9. Candy says:

    I absolutely love your show. You guys are such good parents and I love how you rely on your faith in Jesus Christ. You are special people and you have a big fan up here in Alaska.

  10. Nicole says:

    Ethan & Casey,

    I happened to catch your show the other night when I was scrolling through our list of recorded programs. I tried to ignore it. I can not get addicted to another reality program. But my husband was taking forever getting the ice cream and it was a football game we were watching so I gave in and now I am stuck! No seriously…..

    The real reason I am commenting is it looks as if you guys are being given a lot of unsolicited negative feedback. I wanted to let you both know that I think that it is so very important that this world be able to witness a marriage that is happy and joyful. I know that no marriage is perfect and though I do not know you personally I recognize that you have in your marriage what two people can have only if they put Christ at the center of it.

    Four years ago while giving birth to our second child my heart stopped for 24 minutes. My husband was in the room for the c-section and saw it start to happen. They pushed him out of the room and though they were able to restart my heart I spent a week in ICU with all of my organs failing before they knew I would live. It was purely God’s hand that saved me. During that time my husband spent his time on his knees begging God to save me. We also have a daughter who was 6 at the time. He was desperate at the thought of being left alone to raise her and the new baby as well. I saw in your face Ethan the same sense of how very serious Casey’s medical condition was as well as the quint’s.

    I am not sure what your relationship was before all of this but if it was anything like ours it grew exponentially. The things that were important before especially for me fell away and putting Christ at the center became the focus no matter the cost. I could not imagine this before. I believed in Christ before but the thought of putting Him before my desires for a new purse or house or car well those ideas were foreign to me. I understand that your circumstances are probably entirely different but I just want you to know that I believe that there is a true Blessing in being able to show people that they can actually find happiness in their own marriage and family. The ability to show others that is a true gift. I know that you are receiving a lot of criticism but that usually comes from a place of misunderstanding.

    Remember even until the moment Jesus died on the Cross he was mocked. So if people are willing to judge and question the Son of God we can not expect anything less.

    My husband and I have found when it comes to the big decisions for our family such as you are facing we Pray that God will only allow into our lives what will hold us together as a family. Knowing that he can see the end of each path it is always better to let Him close the doors to some things. This has been disappointing at times. I have heard it said best “Faith is something that can only be understood in reverse.”

    It sounds like you both have put a great deal of thought and prayer into this and are Blessed with a great circle of friends to draw from. I did not mean to go on with unsolicited advice but I could tell how much it affected you emotionally when Casey was hospitalized. I felt prompted to share in hopes of encouraging you that this opportunity could have the potential to change marriages.

    Many Blessings,

    Nicole Hughs

  11. Elle says:

    Praying that God gives you both strength and peace as you stand boldly for your decisions, your values, your family and your faith. I respect and admire you both very much!! The M&M crowd will always be the vocal minority and the seek to destroy. Stand strong and give your burdens to the Lord. He will carry you through – to Him the glory always! :) Love you guys!!

  12. Laura T. says:

    Ethan, I hope you read this. Been watching your show and I just love your family. I pray for nothing but blessings to rain down on your every footstep. I stumbled upon this website not knowing ya’ll had one and just read this entry and wanted to let you know that God has already used you to speak to me and to encourage me to “Pursue Life”. Long have I been struggling this past year with so many decisions in my life and not knowing what to do, what path to take, too busy debating the what if’s instead of just doing. I’ve been so afraid of wasting more time, that I wasted time just worrying and not doing! Thanks for the inspiration and for the courage to speak your heart, because you allowed our Heavenly Father to reach right to me in his perfect timing!

  13. Jessica says:

    I absolutely LOVE your show! Yalls relationship reminds me of mine with my boyfriend of eight years. highschool sweethearts, still best friends. Your kids are adorable and a joy to watch. Thank you for allow us to take part in your journey. Keep your head high and your faith strong!

  14. Julie Brymer says:

    I have been encouraged and edified by your show already. I appreciate the way you openly admit your imperfections but strive vigorously to be like Christ. I can see it in your attitude with one another and approach to parenting. You both have a peace about you that shows you understand that you are spiritual beings having a human experience and not the other way around. May the Lord bless others through this show and provide you both with wisdom in the process. Thank you for your example of selflessness! PS, Casey, you are gorgeous!

    In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. -Matthew 5:16

  15. Shannon says:

    Hi Jones Family,

    I have never commented on a TV show before, but I felt compelled to tell you how much I enjoy watching your show and your beautiful family. I am a new mom to one baby and feel overwhelmed at times. Your family is an inspiration! Casey, you are such a patient and caring mom and you take care of your 6 kids with such grace.
    I hope you continue to ignore the negativity and focus on the joy your family brings to others who may face similar struggles. May your wonderful family continue to be blessed!

  16. Ethan and Casey,
    Thank you, thank you for doing this show. It’s so hard as a mother of three young girls to find quality family programming out there that is Christian in nature and affirming in our family values. I will keep your family in my prayers as you embark on this wonderful journey. You will reach and inspire so many people. Don’t listen to the critics. People that push you down are there in your path to prevent God’s message from getting out and reaching the people it needs to reach the most. Know in your minds as you go forward that you have an army of families out there pulling and praying for you.

    God Bless The Jones Family,

    Tricia Kronzer

  17. Danielle says:

    I love your show so far and I think you guys are doing the best you can…..did you expect this ? No….Did you want this ? Probably not….Are you doing what you can ? Yes for sure from what we see you are ! Good luck !

  18. Gail says:

    Ethan & Casey: I love your show! You two seem so incredibly sweet and real! I first caught your show the week it aired by accident and was so intrigued as you live not that far from us (College Station) and was so proud to see Texas represented so well by genuinely nice, intelligent, caring individuals who put family and children first. I commend you for your choices you have made in very difficult financial times, applaud the smiles and sense of humor you keep on your faces, and congratulate you on your beautiful family and the TV show. Much success! I will be watching faithfully!

  19. Norma says:

    Hi Casey & Ethan,

    I love the show!! I pray God’s blessings on you & your family as your start this journey. You both have been blessed with a such beautiful, healthy family.
    As you continue on with the show, I do hope & pray that you continue to put the Lord Jesus Christ first and formost in your lives/home.
    It is truly refreshing to see you openly share your faith & belief’s with the world.

    I wish you and your family all the best in the future.

  20. Rae says:

    Ethan and Casey,
    I absolutely love your show. I know it is hard but try not to let the critics get to you. You seem like you have a great family adn great marraige. As long as you stay true to who you are, you will be fine. Some people are comparing you to Jon and Kate but I disagree. They let the fame and money get the best of them and for some reason I just don’t see that happeing to your family. Best of luck and God Bless…

  21. Congrats on the show! I looked y’all up today to see how you were doing (I’m in ATX) and found your blog.
    I think this is one of the most well-written essays on taking a chance ever. I know I’ve been in situations that had M&Ms shaking their heads, or flat-out disapproving, but you move forward and go with your gut and what you feel God is telling you to do. Hold onto that feeling and you’ll do just fine. :) My motto for parenting has always been “if your child(ren) can look back as an adult and say ‘my parents did the best they could’ then you did ok”!
    May God bless you and yours, Tammy

  22. Tonya says:

    I think your show is great and it’s so refreshing to see a family that is loving, full of grace and faith, and just plain happy. I love your show. It inspires me and it lifts me up. You guys are great people and great parents.

    Tonya

  23. Kacie says:

    I love your show! It is so amazing to see your family dynamics and how you take care of your children with such patience and love! I wish you and your family the best in all you do. Sometimes taking a chance is a good thing! Keep on going Jones family! :)

  24. Stacie says:

    Just wanted to let you know how much I have enjoyed watching your show. My husband is also a builder and was layed off about a year ago and we just recently downsized. You are an inspiration to me in how you handle what you are going through and how you deal with your children and each other with patience and love and still seem to keep Christ firat in your life. I really hope you are back for a second season !

  25. Joyce says:

    I wanted to let you know how much I have enjoyed watching your show. I have been married to a building contractor for 33 years and how I remember the struggles we went through when our sons were young. You are doing a great job in raising your family. I enjoy every minute watching your show and hope you are back for another season if that is what you as a family want. Thank you for sharing your family and may God bless you.

  26. Karen says:

    Hi Ethan and Casey. I don’t watch much TV and I’ve never replied to a blog post but for some reason your cute little family captured my attention! Maybe it’s because I’m a new mom to a 9-month old and love everything baby or perhaps because I think we’d be friends if we lived nearby. Thank you for sharing your lives with us! There are always going to be critics, *try* not to let them get to you. I’ve never watched “Jon and Kate” but from what I’ve heard about them and what I’ve seen from your show, you guys are nothing alike. I’m impressed with your parenting skills and touched by your love for each other. I hope we will see more episodes, if that is what your family wants. May God continue to bless you richly!

  27. Lori says:

    To the Jones Family,
    My husband and I are currently struggling with infertility. We are doing the same treatments as you did, only we are on our 6th attempt. You are our inspiration. You make me feel like it will all work out for us. I am not scared to have multiples because I know that everything will all work out in the end. Your show could not have been aired at a better time for us. Please know that you have accomplished your goal in helping others. Thank you for giving us hope!

  28. Lorna says:

    Your show is so wonderful and your family life, your love for each other as husband and wife and your faith are inspiring to see. I was impressed when I first saw the show and even more impressed as you openly shared about your faith. As a fellow evangelical Christian I am very inspired and impressed by how you handle your challenges and your joys with faith and with God’s grace. Thank you for being who you are and showing your love for the Lord on a huge stage!

  29. Jessica says:

    I think you are showing another way. I think you are following a similar path as the Duggar Family. They only do press with certain news agencies and stick to thier core values and have NEVER strayed from them. I hope and pray that you guys are strong enough and faithful enough to stick to YOUR TRUE core values. There is no comparison to J&K + 8….you are not depending on this for your livlihood you are depending on this to be a vessel and example of life with GOD and LOVE to show others.

  30. Ana says:

    You can’t be afraid of what’s around the corner. You’re living moment by moment and you and Casey will know when to call it quits. For now, trust yourselves, your heart, your faith, and it’ll all work out. Be cool! Looking forward to Season 2.

    It’s a once in a lifetime ride, enjoy it!!

  31. Jodi says:

    I love your family!! I love seeing that true love does exist, and with a little faith anything is possible. Love your show, and hope it continues for as long as your willing to put it out there.

  32. Katherine says:

    First of all, thank you for your encouraging words…your written thoughts are eloquent and heartfelt. As a viewer we only see what is edited for us to see. In your own written word I can see your heart. God is in the details and I can also see that.

    It is no one’s business how you handle “your business.”

    God bless you – and thank you for reminding me to keep God as the guide of my life…and my family’s life.

  33. Lara Kaiser says:

    I think your children are just precious little human beings. As the mother of one colicky, premature baby I really am in awe of how you made it until the kids were sleeping through the night! I know you have no coice when you are doing it, you have to just push through, but it is really hard to be sleep deprived, as you know first hand!

    I wish you something simple for the next year: Lots of SLEEP. You deserve to rest, and just enjoy your beautiful children.

    I think it is fair to say that Casey looks like one of those moms who can handle anything that life throws at her. What a great team you both make.

    Best wishes,

    Lara


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