Tag archive for "Quints by Surprise"

These Days

Good Times

These Days

35 Comments 23 September 2012

As of this moment, not the one in which you are reading these words, but the one in which I am typing the words into my computer, it has been nearly 313 days since our family was last in front of the cameras filming a new episode of “Quints by Surprise.”  I know that it probably seems like it has been forever since we’ve been on your TV screen, but really, can you believe it has been nearly a year??  We miss filming the show – we miss the crew and we miss the energy that percolates through the atmosphere on filming days.  We miss having a soundtrack playing in the background of our lives and we miss being a front row spectator to the creative process that transforms our daily routines, challenges, victories, and frustrations into something that is at times fun, funny, and faith-filled, heartwarming, uplifting, and hopefully, always very, very real about the very real ups and downs of life with quints plus one…

When we last filmed, Eliot was keeping us all busy with another soccer season and getting settled in to her new school year (2nd grade) as her super-infatuation with all things Taylor Swift was beginning to overtake her life (that’s her in the picture below, head on my shoulder, Taylor’ed out – before the concert was over!).  This time last year, Eliot was ready to rock it in her vampire costume for Halloween, the seeds were being planted for a cheerleading future when she got to hang out on the field with the Baylor Bear Cheerleaders, and she was wearing the “missing my two front teeth” look with pride and warming up to sing about it at Christmas time!

The Fab Five, meanwhile, had Casey and me neck deep in potty training (and life training!) – the grip of the terrible two’s clinched oh so tightly around our lives!  When they weren’t scheming new ways to keep us on our toes, they were enthusiastically taking on every new experience we could think to throw their way – learning how to ride their bikes and how to dance ballet like Eliot, getting their first real taste of football season in Texas and what it means to be a Baylor Bear football fan, and preparing for the ultimate experience of their 2-1/2 year old lives – dressing up as the Wizard of Oz characters for Halloween!

It should now go without saying (though I’ll say it anyway) – the show has been a positive force in our lives and hopefully in yours, too.  It has helped us to create and of course document amazing memories for our family; it has opened our world up to interactions with people all over the world – some who check in just to say they love the show and appreciate our family, others who are looking for advice or encouragement, and still others who simply want to share their story, their struggle, and their joy, and  want to thank us for inspiring them in some small way to keep smiling and to keep the faith.  Judging by these messages and the many others we have received through Facebook and Twitter, the show has had a positive impact on the lives of many others outside of our little clan…truly an answer to our prayers!

Also judging by the many, many messages we get on the subject, I can tell you that there are many out there wondering the same thing you may be – will the show ever be back??!  Well, the honest answer is that we don’t know for sure, that we hope that it does, and that with each day that passes without a call from TLC, the prospects of the show returning grow weaker and weaker.  There are times when it absolutely kills us to not have the cameras around, to know that what we are experiencing at that moment with the kids is not being captured for the show.  The quints’ 3rd birthday party, our attempts at teaching them how to swim, our first family trip to the beach, funny little games the kids make up, Eliot’s development as the best big sister on the planet – Facebook and Twitter are great, but we would really love to share these experiences with you in living color!!

But the choice is not ours to make…it’s not in our hands.  And those whose job it is to make decisions such as these aren’t committing and they aren’t saying exactly why.  Nonetheless, no matter what happens with the show, we are incredibly grateful to have had this experience and we are incredibly grateful to all of you who have watched and followed along with our little adventures…

So since you won’t be seeing us on your TV screens anytime soon, I thought I would fill you in on what defines “these days” for the Jones family…

These days, those “cheer” seeds that were planted at the Baylor football game a year ago have produced a Four Points Pop Warner Mighty Mite Viper Cheerleader!  Eliot’s soccer days are behind her and it’s nothing but pom-poms and high kicks for now…she loves the cheering, hates the Texas heat she has to endure while she’s cheering on her team!  Eliot has also just started her new school year (she’s a 3rd grader!) and in spite of some struggles getting to know all of the new faces in her class, she is completely in love with her new teacher and is off to another great start!  And how about this – only in our family does a cheerleader have her very own cheer section…

These days, we are still struggling to get all five 100% potty trained…grrr!!!  We made a huge push a year ago to get this done and we had pretty good and pretty immediate success, getting all five completely trained has proven to be really, really difficult…and frustrating!  We’re trying to be very, very patient and not push them too hard, but oh my gosh we are tired of cleaning up pee off the floor!!!!

These days, The Wizard of Oz is still one of the faves in our home, but it has serious competition from Peppa Pig, Max & Ruby, and The Fresh Beat Band.

These days, Eliot is still a superstar big sister – both in our eyes as parents and in the quints’ eyes as adoring little super fans!  Eliot loves to take the kids into her room, one at a time, to have special little play dates with each of them which they all absolutely love.  She has also started to join me at bedtime so that she can read to them, help tuck them in, and give them a giggle before she bolts downstairs.  And her maternal instincts have kicked in – she’ll often jump in to help settle disputes, soothe hurt feelings, and correct the kids when they are going astray…Eliot, the caretaker – who would have ever guessed?!

These just-ending summer days, the kids got more than their fill of sun, sand, swimming pools, ice cream treats, trips to the zoo, sprinkler fun in the backyard, kite flying, and all of the other summertime fun you can think of!  The 5 got their first trip to the beach when we made the trek with both sets of grandparents to the Texas coast…they loved it, they wore us out, and now they wear us out everyday asking when we can go back!!

These days we have finally managed to get the whole family to church and Sunday school on a regular basis…hallelujah!!  The quints love going to church and get excited every week to get to see Miss Kelly and Miss Allie who shower them with good love every week!  Eliot thinks the youth pastor, Todd, is as cool as they come and Casey and I are just plain happy to be back to the church we love so much.  We really can’t say enough good things about the warm, loving, and Christ-focused environment that greets us every time we get the opportunity to be on the Riverbend campus…God has been so good to us through our church home!

These days, there is nothing better for me than to watch Eliot and Jack play together…it is endlessly fun to watch these two go at it!  Jack will come out of nowhere to tackle his big sister, catching her completely off guard!  But you know our little spark plug isn’t going to let him get away with it so the chase is on!  They laugh and giggle and tackle and  chase and poke and punch and then do it all again…it’s awesome and it is totally unique to these two!  None of the girls gets after Eliot the way Jack does and though I know Eliot loves it, I really think part of her doesn’t know exactly how to handle this rambunctious little brat that won’t give up, won’t stop messing with her, and won’t stop giggling is curly little head off when he does is coming after her…so so so cute!

These very recent days, The Fab Five have started attending a “Mom’s Day Out” program two days a week…YAY FOR CASEY!!!!!  The program is held at a local gym, 3F Fitness, and the kids learn tumbling and stretching as well as their abc’s and 1-2-3’s…and I’m sure you guessed this part – they LOVE it!!  Thank you so much to the owners, William and Haley, for putting this program together and inviting our family to join!

These days, sleep is much less difficult to come by though we had to go through fire to reclaim the blissful treasure that comes with a full night’s sleep!  Earlier in the year, the quints put us through every trial you could imagine – Britton waking up at all hours of the night in a screaming fit, Lila waking up at 5:00 or 6:00 am day after day after day, Jack waking up everyone in the room at 3:00 am to tell them all that he has to go potty, Ryan waking up at 5 am so she could wake Lila up who would then make sure Britton, Brooklyn, and Jack got the memo that it was 5:00 am and time to torment mommy and daddy….it was BRUTAL!!!

And because sleep is more consistently available now, these days, life has become almost routine in our usual chaotic sort of way.  Casey’s and my morning workouts have become pretty regular and the kids usually don’t get up until about 6:30 which is a godsend to us…though we long for the days that it will be 7:00 or 7:30.  And since we got rid of nap time, bedtime has become much more consistent (and much less intensely chaotic and stressful!) – the kids are in bed, lights out by 7:30 every night and they’re usually all fast asleep by 8:00.

These days, we still have a handful of committed, loving, and totally awesome volunteers who have been with us from the beginning and who continue to provide loving care to our little ones, giving Casey and I much needed breaks from the perpetual craziness that defines our life.  To our volunteers, past and present:  thank you, thank you, thank you….THANK YOU!!!!

 

To answer the question we get quite often – no, these days are not any easier than the days that have gone before…though we’re hoping that the 5’s 5th year of life will bring some relief to our weary souls!  I’ll repeat:  no, it hasn’t gotten any easier; rather, the challenges have changed.  Gone are the sleepless nights, hello mega-attitude and meltdowns from 5 hyper-sensitive little beings trying to find their place in the world.  Gone is the endless parade of dirty diapers, hello pee accidents by the handful and the joys of taking 5 tots to the bathroom 5 times when we dare venture out of the house.  Gone are the days of bottle feeding and burping, hello knocked over milk cups, protests over what has been provided for a meal, food thrown across the table, and ginormous messes left at the dinner table…and the dinner floor…and the dinner clothes…and the dinner hands and faces…and so on and so forth.  No, things are definitely not easier by any barometer we can measure by…just different.

But as I write these words, I am reminded that in many ways life these days is no different than those that are past.  We are blessed, abundantly so, and that is no different than before; we are challenged, abundantly so, and that is no different than before.  It has been said that to whom much is given, much is expected.  Well, to put it simply:  we have been given much!  This is something that has not changed and will not change – life with quints plus one is a rare and awesome blessing in every sense of the word.  And no doubt, we will continue to be given much as we face the challenges of raising these 6 to be 6 happy, healthy, respectful, caring, well-adjusted, and God-loving tweens, teens, and beyond.  Let the blessings flow down!!

God bless,

Ethan

 

 

Don’t Blink (and have a happy Thanksgiving!!)

Good Times

Don’t Blink (and have a happy Thanksgiving!!)

18 Comments 21 November 2011

I hope you haven’t blinked yet…if you did, you may have already missed 2/3 of season 3 of ‘Quints By Surprise’ on TLC.  And if you blink again you may miss the final two episodes which air this Tuesday night, the 22nd.  So whatever you do, don’t blink!! :)

I know, I know…our “seasons” go by so quickly they are gone before you have a chance to settle in and enjoy the experience!  As far as we can tell, our ratings have simply not been good enough to warrant a more significant commitment.  So while we would definitely love to do more shows and more seasons, we are extremely grateful for the opportunity we have been given so far and have loved being able to share our family with you all!!

So I’ll say it again – don’t blink!!  The final two episodes of season 3 of ‘Quints By Surprise’ air Tuesday night on TLC!!!  Here is the link to this week’s TV schedule:  Quints By Surprise on TLC.

And in other news, our favorite photog, Elle Mendenhall of Ella Bella Photography, spent some time with us at the park recently and you are seeing the fruits of her labor on this very page!  We can’t say enough how much we love working with Elle and how much we especially love the photographs she manages to capture of our wild bunch!!

And finally, we want to wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving!!  This is without a doubt my favorite of all holidays though I know there is no one in this family who will agree with me on that.  It’s the perfect holiday – no songs to get stuck in your head, no gifts to give or to get, not a whole lot of decorating…just food, football, and family – LOVE IT!!!!  So from our family to yours, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

God bless,

Ethan

Back From The Brink – ‘Quints By Surprise’ Lives On!!

Good Times

Back From The Brink – ‘Quints By Surprise’ Lives On!!

21 Comments 06 November 2011

If you follow this blog, you know that ‘Quints By Surprise’ was nearly canceled after season 2 aired back in May…or actually I think it really was canceled…either way, the show’s future was not looking so bright.  But then someone somewhere threw a Hail Mary and somehow connected with the powers that be who decided to give us another run (read more about that here:  The Snake in the Barn).  However it went down, the Jones Family thinks it was a great idea to bring the show back and we hope you will agree!!

To say that our lives while filming this season’s shows have been a bit hectic would be an understatement.  To say those same hectic days have been overflowing with  fun, excitement, and cuteness that is almost too much to bear would be a huge understatement!!  In fact, if I had to describe the experience this time around in just a few words, they would be:  exciting, fun, and over-the-top cute…and once again I hope you agree!!!

Click here for the schedule:  TLC TV Schedule – Quints By Surprise!!

I would also use the word “natural” to describe the shows this time around as well.  The kids turn three in January and so they are old enough now to know what it means when we describe what we are going to be doing for the day…and then get really, really excited about it!  For some of the past episodes, like taking them camping or to the water park, they had little concept of what that meant and so the fun didn’t really begin until we got to what we were doing.  But this time around, when we told them they were going to get “big kid beds” they had an idea what that meant and they were giddy with excitement from the word go!  And when we said we were going to go to the fire station to meet the firefighters who helped save our neighborhood during the recent Texas wildfires, they knew what a firefighter was, no explanations necessary, and they were ready to go…immediately!

And that is how it is with most everything these days, whether it’s going to a Baylor football game, taking a ballet lesson with Eliot, dressing up for Halloween, or getting them training bikes.  These kids, Eliot included, get so into whatever it is they are doing we just have to get them started and then sit back and enjoy the show…it is so fun to be a part of!

For those of you who have watched the show from the beginning, I think you will be shocked to see how much the kids (yes, they are kids now, not babies anymore!) have grown and hear how much they are talking, interacting, and running wild with their imaginations!  Like I said, over-the-top cute is definitely a theme of the season!!

As always, we cannot forget to mention how thankful we are for everything that is happening in our little world!  The love and support we continue to receive is nothing short of amazing and we thank you all for inspiring us to be better and do better with our lives!  The Lord has blessed us beyond belief with our six little miracles and life is oh so good!!!

So tune in this Tuesday, the 8th, at 10/9c on TLC to see how the kids have grown and hopefully how the parents have as well…

God bless,

Ethan

 

The Fab 5 Hit the Terrible 2’s…(just in time for the return of Quints By Surprise)!!!

Good Times

The Fab 5 Hit the Terrible 2’s…(just in time for the return of Quints By Surprise)!!!

17 Comments 26 September 2011

If you are wondering why it has been nearly six weeks since I last updated the blog, wonder no more. Our lives have changed dramatically…again…and we have been trying to keep our heads above water ever since!! This change was not unexpected, but it isn’t necessarily a welcome one, either – the Fab Five has collectively hit the terrible 2’s and we are entrenched in daily battles for dominance of the Jones domicile!! And so far, the kids are winning the war…

There is the usual whining, fighting, and fussing that comes along around this time in any two-year-old’s world and of course there is defiance, stubbornness, petulance, pouting, hitting, biting, and kicking as well…it’s a lovely, peaceful existence…

The attitude swings, defiance, and constant need for attention, the need for the EXACT right thing at the EXACT right moment from the EXACT right person is difficult enough, but what has taken its toll on the time we have in the day (and therefore my ability to update the blog) is the kids’ ability to outwit, outsmart, and outlast every attempt we make at getting them a nap and a good night’s sleep on a regular basis. Gone are the days of putting them in their cribs, zipping up the tent, and walking away knowing that they’ll fall asleep soon, safe and sound in their beds; hello to the new normal of putting them in their beds, leaving the room, then returning to their room to put them back in their beds (the crib tents proved to be no match for the 5) and leaving the room, then returning to their room to put them back in bed and repair whatever damage they have caused in the two minutes you were out of the room, leaving the room, then returning…you get the point. Multiply that routine 40 or 50 times and you really get the idea! Oh my Lord, have mercy on us as we attempt to confront this new challenge with love, patience, and understanding!!!

The good news in all of this is that it is happening just in time for the cameras to catch the action – cameras will be rolling once again in the Jones house and Quints By Surprise is returning soon to TLC for season 3!!! We are really excited to start filming and share with you all what we have been up to lately! Can you believe is has been almost 9 months since we last filmed??

Fortunately between the fighting, the time outs, the fussing, and the fury there are a lot of really fun moments with the whole Six Pack as the kids are really settling into their personalities and preferences. As you’ll soon see when the first new episodes of Quints By Surprise hit the small screen, we have six very distinct, very independent, and very engaging little personalities running the house these days. Here is a funny story that perfectly illustrates the kind of daily fun and frustration we are encountering with these guys…

While I was getting ready to take Eliot to soccer practice one evening, the 5 were having dinner – chicken tenders and sweet potato fries – something they have had many, many times. Britton in her “I’m Little Mighty and I’ll do what I want” sort of way pushed her chicken tenders away and said, “I don’t want chicken!” My response was the same as it usually is – “ok, but you’re not getting anything else” – and we took the chicken off her plate. Eliot and I leave and not two minutes later Casey sends me a text to say that not only had Britton asked to have her chicken back and ate it immediately, but she also asked for more. Gotta love it, but it gets better…

When we got back from soccer, I asked, “Hey Britton, what did you have for dinner?”
“I don’t know” was the immediate response.
“Did you have chicken?”
“No.”
“Really? What did you have?”
“I didn’t have chicken.”
“Oh, ok. But what did you have?”
“Not chicken.”
“Are you sure you didn’t have chicken because mommy said you did?”
“No, I did not have chicken. I had sweet potato fries.”
“Hmm, no chicken, huh?”
“Nope, no chicken.”

I tried every different possible way of asking her if she had chicken and what did she have for dinner to try to get her to admit what she had eaten and that stubborn little thing never wavered…not.one.time.  Can you believe the little cutie in the picture above could pull a stunt like that??  Stubborn, stubborn, stubborn, but fun-loving as well – she had a twinkle in her eye and a little smile on her face the whole time I was interrogating her about her meal! :)

So there is fun mixed with frustration, laughter mixed with something very far from laughter, and scowls mixed with smiles in the Jones house these days. The kids are growing like crazy, exploring and challenging the world around them, and keeping us guessing, running, laughing, and fretting all the while. Look for the new episodes of Quints By Surprise to show you all of this and then some, coming soon to TLC!!!!

The Snake in the Barn

Faith

The Snake in the Barn

13 Comments 22 June 2011

You may or may not know that my little crisis has officially come to an end…and hopefully not just for now.  You are probably not aware that I actually wrote this entry a few days ago, but I was unable to post it to the blog when it was complete.  The little crisis – I was hacked and the site was taken over by someone or something calling themselves “The Viper.”  Creative, huh?  What I do not know and probably never will know is if I was singled out for The Viper’s venomous assault or if I am just some unlucky web junkie who was randomly selected for an attack by an anonymous computer program designed to seek and destroy unsuspecting websites strewn far and wide across the web.

This site is my baby, one of our family’s great prides, and a huge part of what we consider to be our ministry so having it come under attack like this and having it rendered useless both to us and to you caused no shortage of strife in our little world.  I don’t have a computer guy on speed dial and I don’t know much in the way of fixing them myself.  I know homebuilding very well, along with kids and blogging and family and a few other things, but I don’t know computers in the least bit.  The code in which they operate, the lines of seeming gibberish that run behind the curtains of any website you visit and which are actually responsible for everything you see, are complete nonsense to me – I’d have an easier time communicating with an illiterate Russian mime than I would a line of code.   So when the hack attack commenced leaving me utterly useless to counter the assault and restore my baby to health I was frustrated, angry, and………let’s just leave it at that.

In a seemingly unrelated note, another little issue has had us feeling much the same way and at the same time (coincidentally?) has been playing out in our home, our heads, and our hearts.  ‘Quints By Surprise’ is on the brink of being cancelled by TLC – a victim of…well, I don’t know exactly what it is the victim of.  You can say that the ratings haven’t been as good as they needed to be (not true if they are held to the standard by which we were told they were being held to) or you could blame it on placement and promotion (I don’t know the TV world well enough to say one way or another).  You could blame it on the dollars (‘Quints’ is not a cheap show to produce) and you could certainly make a case against society as the culprit (seems that clean and wholesome don’t live long on TV these days) or maybe the show just isn’t that good to most observers (our opinion doesn’t count unfortunately – we’re a little biased).  You could blame the potential demise of our show on any of these things and probably a few more we could think up together and truth is it is probably a combination of all of them (except the part about the show not being very good…   :-)).

But I have another thought.  There is something out there that is possibly behind my little crisis, the struggle we are having with our little TV show, and just about everything else that doesn’t quite work out the way we hoped.  This thing, this thought, this theory or belief or superstition or whatever you would like to call it doesn’t get much play these days, but it is a possible explanation despite the fact that it is often ignored, marginalized, mocked, or denied whenever it is brought up in most situations.  I’m going to walk carefully through this one so y’all don’t think I’ve gone off the deep end so bare with me a bit.  Here goes…

“Who, in their right mind, Kevin, could possibly deny the 20th century was entirely mine?  All of it…all of it.” – John Milton (aka: the Devil) from “The Devil’s Advocate”

C.S. Lewis called this ground we walk on enemy-occupied territory and its master is described in Revelation as a “great dragon with seven heads and ten horns”.  The Apostle Peter called him a roaring lion who is looking for someone to devour.  And in Genesis he is nothing more than a snake in the tree, hissing his lies at the genesis of our kind.  He is Satan and this is his playground.  You know him well from books and Bible class and TV and movies, but do you know him on a personal level?  Do you consider him to be your enemy, the ruler and master of a dark, unseen world or do you think of him more like how you think of the boogey man – just a harmless child’s story that you no longer believe in now that you’re a big boy or girl?  Do you consider that the Bible teaches that he has declared war on this world and the sons and daughters of God who live in it?  Or do you marginalize him as a myth or a metaphor, as anti-intellectual or nothing more than a scare tactic for overzealous Bible beaters?

We all know that this world is broken as are many, if not most of the people in it.  I don’t need to recite the statistics or recount the stories of death, destruction, and depravity that permeate every aspect of our lives for you to believe that.  Christians, Hindus, Jews, and Muslims alike can all find agreement on one thing:  this world is a mess.  Good grief, we don’t even need to consult the religious of our day for proof – atheists hold up the newspaper and highlight the headlines of war and disease and sex gone wrong, teen pregnancy, and the hypocrisy of the next fallen church leader as exhibit A in their trial against the existence of a benevolent being we call God.  And while we’re at it, let’s consult the agnostics among us who honestly admit they do not know if there is a God or not and are simply trying to hold themselves to a high standard of conduct – if you know one ask them how they think the world is getting along these days.  Save yourself the trouble and trust me, I’ve already given you their reply – this world is a mess.

But forget about the obvious signs of evil on display in our world today – you won’t find many to disagree when you proclaim that Osama Bin Laden or Jeffrey Dahmer are evil men who committed evil deeds.  Let’s take it down to a more personal level – what about that boss of yours that continually marginalizes you in company meetings?  What about that mean girl at school who always has something awful and loud to say about your hair or your clothes…or the way you breathe?  What is the force behind their hatred of you?  What about those dizzy spells that won’t go away and can’t be explained by the doctors?  Or how about the chronic pain in your hands that prevent you from holding your grandbabies?  And what about the flat tire you got on the way to lead your small group Bible study, the horrible night sleep you got the night before final exams, or the car accident you got into on the way to your performance in the high school play?

Are some of these simply examples of bad people living bad lives and doing bad things while the rest are just plain old bad luck?  Or can we write it all off as an unfortunate fact of life – that it sometimes sucks and sometimes bad things happen to good people?

I think that it is safe to say that none of us have the answers to these questions.  And I think it is also safe to say that anyone who has lived more than about 5 or 6 years in this world would concede that sometimes life is hard and no fun at all.  In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I think we can all agree that pain and suffering is universal, that bad things happen to good people because that is the way of this world, and that many times life and the people who live it are mean, cruel, jaded, embittered, and sometimes outright evil.

So why do we all, Christians and non-Christians alike, refuse to accept the possibility that there is a larger hand at play in the very brokenness we all agree exists and is progressing at unprecedented levels in spite of equally unprecedented attempts to stop it all (I just read somewhere that 2010 was a record year of giving for Americans)?  If pain and suffering and cruelty and evil are among the few universal truths of this world, why is it so difficult to accept and acknowledge (or even consider!) that there is a common denominator, a single hand stirring the pot, an accuser, attacker, and advocate of evil, darkness, destruction, and death?

I know I know…I get it – it’s kind of weird to talk about angels and demons and supernatural intercession and interference into our lives.  It’s kind of goofy, isn’t it?  Talking about the Devil and his army of demons attacking you feels about as sane as talking about the latest sighting of Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster as real events that are proof of their existence.  And it gets worse for us Americans – not only is it goofy, it is blatantly un-American.  We are the Marlboro Man and John Wayne on steroids.  We are self-made, individualistic, and we are responsible for our own destiny.  We believe in hard work, freedom, and liberty, and we’ll be damned if someone thinks we’re going to let the Boogey Man hold us back from fulfilling our self-inspired and self-created destiny.  We are masters of one and slaves to none… (And to that, I say yeah, right!)

Sidebar – now that I think of it, in a way, blaming the Devil for evil in this world is a very American pastime after all.  Look at all of the evil and oppression and violence and hatred that has been spread in this country alone “in God’s name”.  Could anything be more blatantly evil and dare I say, Satanic, than subverting the beauty and grace and love of Christ into something that is used to oppress and intimidate and destroy?  Americans certainly do not have the market cornered in the economy of zealous authority, but we have certainly advanced the cause over the course of our history.

Look, I’m not saying that the Devil personally attacked my blog or is the puppet master holding the strings and controlling the players who are advocating that ‘Quints’ ends up on the TLC cutting-room floor.  I do not look for the devil in every detail of my life, good or bad, and I do not suggest that you do either.  And I am certainly not suggesting that you waste your time cowering under the covers or looking around every corner, constantly afraid of the next attack and seeing Satan’s hand in every harsh thing that happens in this world (any of y’all reading this have Saturday Night Live’s “Church Lady” in your head right now?).  But still…I believe he’s out there and I know he’s up to no good.  So if I am saying he is out there and he is plotting against you, but I am also saying that it really doesn’t matter because you can’t live your life in fear of him what exactly is it that I’m saying…?

Let me ask this, if you were a 10-year-old and your father ran a farm and he told you to go out to the barn and get a shovel for a ditch he needed dug, you’d do it right?  Sure you would…you’d amble out to the barn, chase a few chickens along the way, hop up on a hay bale once you got into the barn, and declare yourself king of the mountain before grabbing the shovel and making your way back to your father, ready for some serious digging.  Piece of cake and kind of fun, too…another day of hard work with your dad and a little adventure to the barn to liven things up a bit.  But what if, while you were making your way across the chicken coop to get to that barn and the shovel within, your father hollered out, “be careful, there’s a snake in that barn and he’s been up to no good.”?

Gulp!  What kind of snake exactly?  How big is he and what kind of no good has he been up to??  And if there is one, wouldn’t there be others?  Are there lights in the barn so I can see him if he comes after me?  Can I have a weapon to protect and defend myself – a knife, a gun…a suit of body armor and a bazooka maybe???

That snake kind of changes the stakes of the game…kind of takes the gitty-up out of your get-along, doesn’t it little buddy?  Instead of ambling, you’re creeping your way to the barn.  And instead of chasing the chickens you’re cussing them for sneaking up on you and scaring the bejeezus out of you.  You’re no longer king of the mountain – you’re the meekest of mice on the molehill.  But you can’t let your father down so you summon the courage and convince yourself that he wouldn’t send you off to certain death; and with fierce resolve you make it into the demon’s den, retrieve the shovel…………………..then turn and run faster than your 10-year-old legs have ever carried anything in their young lives and get back to the task at hand, shovel-ready, digging away…all the while hoping your father noticed how bravely and dutifully you worked to fulfill the mission he set you out on.

You did it.  You survived.  You faced evil and evil did not win…not today, not on your watch.

But what really changed after your father warned you about the snake?  It was just a warning, right, not a guarantee?  Did knowing the snake was in there somewhere certify that you would be attacked, bitten, wrapped in his coils, and dragged off to the snake’s lair someone past the seventh gate of Hell?  And if that is the case, why on Earth did you still go in??

The fact is that nothing changed; nothing at all.  The snake was in there whether you knew he was there or not.  It didn’t matter whether you knew he was there, were fully aware of his presence or were ignorantly bliss…or even if you denied his existence or presence in your life.  And being a 10-year-old without a knife, a gun, or a suit of body armor and a bazooka at your disposal there probably isn’t a whole lot you could do if you found yourself face-to-face with the little devil anyway.  Nothing you could do at all…other than run.  Nothing to do other than run as fast as your 10-year-old legs have ever carried anything back to where you knew it was safe…back to your father.

But knowing the snake was there changed everything, didn’t it, If only in your mind.  Sure, it didn’t change your capabilities or your strength; your ability to outwit or outmaneuver the snake wasn’t changed, either.  But it changed your approach, didn’t it?  You didn’t amble, you crept.  And you didn’t play around, you prepared.  You didn’t eye the top of the hay bale mountain and declare yourself king, you kept your eye out for the king of evil and declared yourself………defeated.

And then you ran.  You ran back to your father, back to where it has always been safe.  Because you know that your father has been there and he has faced the evil that you fear…and he has faced the evil that you deny.  He has been to the barn and he’s been to the battlefield.  He’s been to the boardroom and he’s been to your classroom.  He’s faced the mean girls and he’s faced the mean boss.  He’s faced the devil in all of those places and he’s faced him in places you haven’t and never will.  He’s faced him in Heaven, he’s faced him on Earth, and he’s faced him in Hell.

But through it all, your father is still there watching over you and waiting on your return.   And over the years he sends you out on many more missions to the barn and other places where evil lurks and you’ve managed to survive them all.  Sure you’ve been scarred along the way, bumped your head a few times in your mad dash out of the serpent’s lair, but you’ve survived…every single time.  And funny thing is, you’ve never seen the snake face to face, but you know he’s there.  You’ve seen the destruction around you, you’ve heard his whispers, and you know his scent.  But in spite of this you don’t run from the barn these days, you walk, confident and prepared…

So I guess that’s what I’m trying to say…evil is real.  It is real and it is everywhere, it has a source, it has power, and it has you in its sites.  You know the devil is out there so don’t deny him.  Don’t deny him, don’t fear him, and don’t run from him.  Be aware of him and be prepared for his inevitable assault.  But above all, know that your father has been there where you are now and where you fear to go…and know that he is still there, watching over you, protecting you, and waiting on your return.

God bless,

Ethan

Quints By Surprise Season Finale: Puppies and Christmas – What’s Not to Love?

Good Times

Quints By Surprise Season Finale: Puppies and Christmas – What’s Not to Love?

16 Comments 23 May 2011

Alright, folks, this is it – the last chance (at least for a little while) to see new episodes of Quints By Surprise is upon us!  Watch tomorrow night on TLC for some serious Christmas fun and quint cuteness!!  Here is how TLC describes tomorrow’s shows:

A Quints Christmas

The Jones family goes all out for the holidays including the Quints’ second Christmas. Casey starts some new family traditions in this season of giving, while Ethan goes a little over the top with the decorations.

Dog Daze

The Joneses have a new addition to the family when Eliot finally gets her long-promised puppy. The whole family will learn that with a new dog comes a lot of cleaning up, responsibility and unexpected surprises!

Click here for the TV schedule:  Quints By Surprise TV Schedule.

And of course, we have new webisodes to share!  Click here:  Quints By Surprise Webisodes

Also, I have some exciting news to share for Tuesday – Casey filmed a short segment for The Rachael Ray Show!!  We actually filmed at our house for a few hours and then Casey flew up to New York City to film the rest of it.  We do not know how much of what we filmed will end up on the show, but check your local listings and let us know what you think of the show!

As of right now we have no idea if there will be more episodes of the Quints By Surprise.  Being a part of the show and everything that has been involved with it has been a ton of fun for us and we would love for it to continue, but TLC does a pretty good job of keeping us in the dark about their future plans.  We will certainly let you know as soon as we can of plans for future shows.

If you have an opinion of the show that you would like to share with TLC, click here:  TLC Viewer Relations.

In the meantime, keep checking in right here at JonesLife for updates on the family, pictures of our daily adventures, and as much love and good times as we can possibly share!!  Thank you so much for supporting our family and our show!!

God bless,

Ethan

The Jones Fam

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