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,


Your Comments

83 Comments so far

  1. stevie says:

    You go, Ethan!! Love you guys!!

  2. Tori says:

    Awesome post Ethan!! I love that verse and need to apply it to my life more.
    GOOD LUCK!!!!

  3. Emily says:

    Go Ethan! I love your family!

  4. Monica says:

    I am so proud of you both. None of those critics include childhood friends like me who know you both, know your families, your beliefs, your sweet hearts. Continue to follow our amazing God. Glorify him in all you do and show the world we are all human and we all stumble at times but our God will always be our rock. Love you guys.

  5. Stephanie P says:

    Well said Ethan! We walk by faith, not by sight. You guys are a great example to many!

  6. Abby says:

    Just keep doin’ what you’re doin’. All 6 kids are lucky to have such great parents. and rember-Haters are your biggest fans! :)

  7. Taya says:

    Ethan, you are spot on! We’ve all been there, done that! But you have the answer that turns the mistake into success.
    Just remember Jeremiah 29:11 “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”
    If you seek His fatherly guidance every day of your lives, He will give you success. He may well use your TV program as a ministry to reach the masses of poor lost souls.
    God bless!

  8. Amie says:

    Great post!!!

  9. Natalie says:

    Very well said! I can’t wait to watch your family’s success through your new series. Your family “had me at hello”, when I saw you guys on your first t.v. specials! You are two amazing parents. I have 7 kids, although none are multiples, and you and Casey both inspire me to be a better parent! Keep on keeping on. I know wonderful things are to come for you and your family!

  10. Rachelle says:

    Very well put! I can’t wait to see your show tonight!

  11. Joy says:

    I wish you and your family the very best.

    Please, spend some time watching the Jon and Kate saga, as it played out over the years. They were given a similar opportunity and it destroyed their family. I hope you have the strength and wisdom to always place your family first.

    I didn’t mean to sound so negative, but be very aware of pitfalls. The worst thing would be another Kate, the second worse would be another Jon.

    That said, this could be a wonderful opportunity to help you provide some financial stability for your children. I hope you enjoy the filming and that your show does well.

  12. Patricia says:

    Awesome post. Only YOU two know what’s best for your family. End of story! May God be with you throughout this journey. Enjoy every minute!

    Good luck from a fellow Baylor grad :)

    Go Bears!

  13. Barbra says:

    I stumbled across your show tonight and immediately pulled up a bit more info on my laptop.

    Let me just say your post was incredible. I never thought I’d come across your personal blog, but I understand all those “mistake” questions and scenarios. You’ve got it just right. Pursue life. Let the M&Ms be. Unless someone has gone down the fertility road also, like my husband and I have…you just can’t understand. It’s a righteous desire to want to have children and it’s a very personal decision as to what choices you will make to expand your family. Personally, we had to do IVF and thankfully, so thankfully, it worked…and we have two beautiful twins, one of each. As hard as it’s been, they are only seven months old, my husband and I know we made the right choice and our own M&Ms can take a hike.

    We understand you, and your personal thoughts here are so natural, so right, so poignant, thanks for being brave enough to share them with us.

  14. Justina says:

    Show or no show, this is one of the most inspiring things I have ever read. Thank you.

  15. Elizabeth says:

    I am definitely one of those M+M’s and naysayers who still think that babies/children should not be put on reality TV for any reason. HOWEVER after watching tonight’s episode I must give credit where credit is due.The show was done tastefully,(although we could have done without the bathtub scene)
    informative and showed a loving relationship between Ethan, Casey and the children which was enjoyable.

  16. Barb says:

    I really liked the shows tonight. I even set my DVR to record the series after I watched. You all look to be enjoying life to me. Go for it. Cute family. Just know when to stop if needed. God Bless.

  17. Barb says:

    PS. Bathtub scene was so normal as in every house at night. Silly people sometimes.

  18. Shiela Halvorson says:

    Saw your show-Loved it ! Because I am a Life Lover I am attracted to babies,their full of life!
    As I was watching I felt your pain of down sizing,no work,the fear in your eyes. I have been praying for all of you.
    Amazed at your website-good job!
    Wanted to give you a scripture: The Lord is near to all who call on him in truth.He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;He hears their cry and saves them!
    Holy Spirit exudes out of all of you and these are the days when the world needs to see what and Who Love really is ! Remember who you are when times are hard. A Very Favored and Loved Son and Daughter of The Most High !

  19. Elizabeth says:

    I agree with you that bathtub scenes are so normal in every houses at night. And that is where they should stay- in the house. As a Human developist and early childhood educator chances are the bathtub footage will come back again to be an embarrassment for the babies once they are older. Why do reality show find the need to shoot footage of babies in the bathtub, meltdowns and parents fighting?
    At least this show did not focus on meltdowns and parents fighting, which is a breath of fresh air and an enjoyment to watch.

  20. Tiffany says:

    Anyone that would compare you two to Jon and Kate is out of their mind! You two are not even close to them. It’s more than obviouisly that you two love each other and it’s a give and take relationship. Your foundation appears much more firm. You guys seem so down to earth and realize many other people, such as myself, face the same situations you face every single day. Even though I have 1/2 the number of kids you have my house gets crazy too, money is short, but God is #1 and that means the most!

    God Bless you and your family as you embark on this journey and I look forward to watching you prove to the world what an amazing family you are!

  21. Mom24 says:

    Wow. Well said. Good for you. I thought the first two episodes were great. I hope there’s nothing but good ahead for all of you, but either way, I’d admire your willingness to LIVE.

  22. KRISTINA says:

    I just wanted to say that I enjoyed watching your new show and your cute family. It seems like you and your wife have a good partnership. Good luck!

  23. KS Dallas says:

    Great post. I think you know how I feel about the M&Ms… they are just people that choose to be hateful. Anyone can express an opinion of agreement or disagreement without being hateful IF they opted.

  24. Joy says:

    I think it’s a bit unfair to label everyone that expresses concern as an M & M.

    There are very valid reasons to advise caution. Not out of malice or anything unkind. Many of us are simply concerned about your family falling into the trap we’ve seen before. It’s sad to watch and it would be tragic to see a repeat of the Jon and Kate nightmare.

    I’m sure, at this point, it seems like TLC has not only rescued you from financial hardship, but added a bit of celebrity to your lives. MY hope is that you can enjoy these changes and that they continue to be positive.

    I am cheering you on and wishing you success.

  25. Kelly says:

    I saw your show last night and loved it. What really struck me was the obvious love and respect you and your wife have for each other. That is what helps get you through the hard times. For all of those comparing you to Jon and Kate, you are very different. The tone with which you and your wife communicate is different. The affection is different. I was tearing up at your Baylor University speech when you choked up speaking about your wife. It’s precious.

    I wish you and your beautiful family the best.

  26. rebekah jones says:

    I stumbled up on your show tonight with my daughters (1&2) and they wanted me to stop because they saw “babies”. The first thing I saw was the nursery with the giant cross and I thought okay- must be Christians and then I heard you talk and thought- oh must be from the south =). I enjoyed the show and after reading your post I definitely think that as long as God is your center and you love and respect each other, then this is a great opportunity.

  27. Rita says:

    I loved watching your show last night. My 6 yr old daughter enjoyed it also, and her favorite member is Eliot (of course-same age)! We also have a 4 year old son who’s favorite is Jack. I also enjoyed Jon and Kate but always knew their relationship would never survive. As a Christian, I hoped they would lean on the Covenant they had made with Christ pertaining to marriage, but Kate’s lack of respect for her husband was against Christs teaching. I applaud your family and as long as you rely on prayer and the prompting of the Spirit, your family will be blessed.

  28. Emily says:

    Maybe God has given you and your family this opportunity to be on television to show the world that a family can trust in God and have a joyful life! Although believers are not perfect, and life is not always easy, we still have faith and a reason to persevere. Keep running the good race-I know you are both ragged from the demands but your family is precious!

    sic ’em bears!

  29. Trissa says:

    Great post! Chock full of self awareness and LOL at Miniscule Minority.

    Loved your show. Congratulations on the MBA. That’s very impressive. It must have been a tough time with you studying and Casey doing much of the childcare.

    The babies are adorable. Eliot has star quality and Casey is cute as a button. She looks fantastic. I hope you tell her so.

    Anyway, just wanted to offer my support and luck. I hope you find success and opportunities for your family. Keep pursuing life!

  30. Kristine, Dallas says:

    First and foremost, may God continue to bless you and your family.

    And if for some reason the show turns out to be a mistake (wonderful, thoughtful post), because God brought you to it, He will bring your through it.

    In His name,

  31. jennifer rogers says:

    I loved the episodes and can’t wait to watch more! I think ya’ll are a cute, fun family and you deserve all of the praise and monetary rewards that you recieve! You have earned it, raising one baby is tough to do let alone 5 at the same time with a sibling and financial difficulties! God Bless and keep on keepin’ on!

  32. Marianne says:

    Keep up the good work! You have been given an incredible opportunity to live out your faith and encourage others while doing it. We enjoy your show and pray that your lives will be blessed even more abundantly through your decision to step out in faith! Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

  33. Courtney`Ford says:

    You hit the nail on the head. There ARE people waiting for you too stumble and there ARE people hoping you will fail and there ARE people saying the nasty holier-than-thou things that you spoke of, and you know why? When God has something good in store for you, it’s the devil who seeks to destroy. He will come and try and tear down all that is good and from above. Why would the Devil want yur family to be an witness and a blessing to all who watch your show…what good would that do for his agenda?
    James 1: 2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

  34. Alissa says:

    One word…WOW! I am totally blown away by this website. I have goosebumps!!! I saw your first special in March and saved it on my DVR. Why?…because I had just brought home our 5 baby boys in January. They are now almost 9 months old now. We also have a 5 year old girl. Our story is so similar to yours it is amazing. I have to admit that I am finding it hard to watch the show (I’m half way through episode 2), if I do have a moment to myself I not sure I want to watch other quintuplets cry!!! :) Your FAITH is so evident, your mission so clear…it is what we want most in our lives too. We want to be able to know God is using us in this new life we have. Life is so wild now, but a blessed wild!! Congrats you two and stay strong!!!!

  35. Annastasia says:

    I agree about the bath scenes,yes,innocent enough,but until they are grown up, you can’t ask the children if they want to be seen like that,so best to just not show them like that.Why cause a problem,now or in the future? Remember the Garden of Eden,and the fall that occured,and how God said we must cover our nakedness? I am sure He would want the children covered.

  36. Oh my lord. Who cares about babies in a tub??? It’s adorable and completely normal.

    Y’all will be just fine. I really enjoyed the first two episodes.

  37. sandy says:

    Truly have enjoyed your first episodes! I love the fact that you surround yourselves with the grace of your faith- on your walls, and in your words, and your love for each other, as well, with each of your precious little ones!

    May God continue to bless you along this new journey!

  38. Susie says:

    Always enjoy your posts. When we see a negative outcome it’s easy to attribute it to the most obvious prior action, which is not always just. There is no way to determine what the outcome of a different action would have been nor how the small choices along the way steered the ship. Praying for your small choices!

    Also, Casey inspires me. When my husband asked me how the screaming children in your episode weren’t stressing me out (we also have some screamers), I told him to watch Casey. “I need to respond more like that” I told him. He stopped and watched and was impressed as well. I have to be careful not to become impatient with my young children. Thank you, Casey, for being a level-headed example!

  39. Sonya says:

    My dad and I watched your show the other night and all I have to say is your faith speaks so much louder then half of the “so-called Christian families” that have graced our television screen the past few years. The way you act as a couple together even when things are looking hairy and how you interact with your children. I am always encourage reading your blogs especially in moments when people make you feel like you have made a mistake and all you can do is look at them and say I guess God will decide that. Keep up the great work. You guys are doing an awesome job and some day Jesus will be able to look at you both and say well done good and faithful servant. Just stay faithful to the calling God has and everything that is negative will lose the fight.

  40. Kathleen says:

    Beautifully stated and absolutely true!

  41. Swissmiss says:

    After watching your trip to Iowa (and back), I’m in awe of your courage. I’m so glad it worked out ok. Did you consider maybe renting a mini-bus and driving rather than having to take so many types of transportation (and taking off their sandals at the airport, for Pete’s sake). Maybe the babies would have slept more.

  42. Melanie says:

    I’m not normally one to comment, but I accidentally found your show last night and I loved it! I was most impressed by the love you all show for each other and by your faith and family values. Sadly, those things are all becoming harder to find these days–and especially on TV. I wish you and your family success in avoiding pitfalls as you navigate this new adventure. I really hope it is as positive an experience for your family as it is certain to be for those who watch. Thank you for your examples. Thank you for being willing to show the world that family still matters.

  43. Linda M. says:


    Remember two things:

    1) It’s not your job to please man: the M&M’s, the naysayers, etc. It is your job to please God. The rest can go fly a kite because you don’t answer to them.

    2) God teaches us also via mistakes. IF this be a mistake, then the lesson shall be a big one and it shall be very memorable. Your lesson shall be something you needed to learn and you probably would not have learned it any other way. IF this is a mistake — and I certainly don’t believe it to be because I LOVE your show — then it is God’s will that you learn the lesson coming. But He teaches not with a stick, but with a glove of silk and it shant hurt.

    Either way, if you did NOT do the show, you would be out of God’s will and your lesson would not be available to you. So the naysayers and the M&M’s are wrong either way!

    Put that in their pipe for them to smoke!

  44. Jamie Hart says:

    Good post…and the show was a wonderful surprise! What I saw was very encouraging…patient, sacrificial, and genuine love. Looking forward to how Christ will be glorified! Thanks for taking the bold step.

  45. Lisa - MN says:

    Was not planning on watching another quiver full family, however, glad I did. I noticed an immediate difference in your family that did shine through the TV screen – . Your faith and love to/for each other and your family is refreshing. I especially like your “drama”, it’s what all us parents have gone through only times 5. May the Lord bless you and keep you in His tender care. May He also give you encouragement and an extra measure of patience as you travel your journey.

  46. Lydia says:

    Awesome post! I’m not in the US so unfortunately can’t watch the show, but still love reading this blog! You’re doing a wonderful job and have such a beautiful family.

  47. Laura says:

    Great post, I’ve been watching your show and found your blog online. I’m so excited to see how God leads your family :) Continue to rely on His strength, as I’m sure you do, and you will be used to be a blessing to so many! Thanks for sharing!

  48. Jackie says:

    My husband and I have watched your show the past few weeks and I love it. (For the record I could never get him to watch Jon & Kate). God has a plan for everyone, so ignore the critics and enjoy every minute with those precious children, because with science or not- he is in control.

    Great post- we have one six-month old and your show keeps me going on rough days. I cannot imagine five babies crying at once or learning to do everything (we’re in the crawling phase now) at the same time. Thanks for sharing and God bless all of you!!

  49. elizabeth says:

    You guys are amazing. I don’t know what else to say. I have so much respect for you. You are really a lovely couple and I wish you and your family the best.
    God bless.

  50. ann - a mom in Oregon says:

    You’re great parents…keep loving those kiddos and just keep praying!

    Life’s journey is awesome & being a parent makes it difficult at times, but oh so rewarding. Focus on the positive & be grateful in all things!

    God Bless your family & friends!

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