What About the Duggar Children?

Here’s what we know about Josh Duggar:duggar

  1. He molested young girls as a teenager. Several were his sisters; young ladies who didn’t so much as hug, let alone kiss their fiancée. There are varying accounts of how the situation was handled with police and the type of treatment provided Josh. Fourteen isn’t all that young. And molesting girls isn’t a normal part of sexual development.
  2. He is a liar and hypocrite. Unfortunately, people lie. This man built a career advocating for family values and his Christian faith; and was quite vocal in condemning others for their choices. All the while, he was hiding appalling behavior. Had he not been so critical of others, he there likely wouldn’t have been as much of a backlash over his failings.
  3. He had an Ashley Madison Account. Bad form considering his widely touted Christian values.
  4. His latest confessions: viewing pornography, sexual addiction, and cheating on his wife. Again, bad form considering his widely touted Christian values.
  5. He (and his parents) agreed to a television show knowing what was buried in the closet. He chose to be on the TV show, and pursued a public career, knowing that what he was hiding would destroy his wife and children, and publicly humiliate his family, siblings, nieces, and nephews. Let’s not forget this is news. There is no way to erase or delete the stories. His children will be able to look them up forever, read all about this. They will be taunted years from now, as will other family members.
  6. He and his family are reportedly in hiding. The leaked Ashley Madison data is probably going to get worse. What’s next? That it was actually child pornography? That the affair(s) were with underage girls? Anybody’s guess, but it can’t be good that he made a public statement admitting so much, so quickly. I get keeping the children out of the public eye, but he is an adult. As adults, cowards hide.

Breathing Fire?

A Facebook posting written by Jessica Kirkland went viral over the weekend. Her letter to Anna Duggar was well written, powerful, raised some excellent points—whether one agrees with its sentiments, or not. I’d go a step further than teaching my daughter to “breathe fire”  because I also want my son to understand what it means to be a man, and someday a father.

Link here for those who missed the post. Jessica’s Facebook is unavailable at the moment, but this is a link to an USMagazine.com article that shares the entire post.

This is where I’m going to get myself into trouble…

What about the children? Who is protecting the Duggar children?

These are very young children. And there is clearly something wrong with their father. Somewhere along the line, Josh’s sexual development went off track. There is obviously a psychological issue here, something deeper, needing addressed. Perhaps as a man, he should step away from his family (wife and children) and get himself right? Until he does, it’s unlikely he is equipped to raise four young children.  Whatever treatment methods have been employed since Josh was fourteen, seem not to be working.

What about Anna?

Anna (at some point) learned of her husband’s teenage misdeeds. Now this man adds lies, betrayal, sexual addiction, infidelity, and only God knows what else? That’s a lot to cope with. Prayer and spirituality are powerful healers, but the pile of garbage dumped on Anna and her children is outrageous, emotionally devastating. However she is an adult woman, and deal with it she must, as it was her decision to join her life with Josh and bring the children into this world.

I’m not faulting her choices. But as a mother, her duty is to her children at this time. Period.  Whether she chooses to stay married to her husband isn’t the biggest issue right now. Her first responsibility is to protect her children, possibly from their own father. At least until she gets her bearings, has time to sift through the facts and information, to figure out what exactly has been going on? She must be reeling. Anybody would be.

If I sound unsympathetic to Anna’s plight, I’m not.

After graduating college, I married young, had two children and was a stay at home mom for about 15 years. During those years, I didn’t have a career, never had a full time job—and maybe that wasn’t the smartest choice. I was cheated on, blindsided; know intimately how that type of betrayal affects a family. I was open to mending the marriage, but I couldn’t do it alone. I chose to walk away. I got a job, rented a house in the same town, packed up the children and dogs, and left. I filed for divorce, and the children and I embarked on quite the adventure. Our lifestyle changed drastically, but I’ve never regretted my choice. In the end, the children respected me for taking a stand. The deciding factor for me? Had I stayed in that situation, the example I would have set was not good enough for my son or daughter; I wanted more for them.

 Anna needs to woman up–make her children the priority.

Doesn’t matter what her parents prepared her for, or whether she has a career. Doesn’t matter if she has four young children and raising them alone is hard. Doesn’t matter what others think of her. Her actions at this moment, today–are critical to her children’s futures. If I was Anna, I’d be praying for the strength to care for the children I chose to bring into this world. Their father has made the already difficult task of raising children that much harder.

For the moment, Josh can pray for himself. His actions created mayhem–for his wife and children, his family. It’s up to him to fix it, to get himself right. He is the ONLY person who can do that and it is going to take commitment, hard work…and time. Once he does that, decisions can be made about the future of the marriage. For now, who cares about Josh? He’s weak, a terrible example of manhood–and fatherhood.

And if Josh and Anna aren’t strong enough to do what needs done, then somebody best step in and champion those children for the time being.

1st Day of School Pictures …

THROWBACK POST: Originally posted in August of 2012. These are my favorite back to school pictures. Love them! Love these children. 

In many cities it’s the first day of school…

There are smiling faces all over Facebook this morning. Children in new clothes. With backpacks. And sports bags. Ready to go.

This year both of my children are in high school. One starting as a Freshman. One finishing up as a Senior. And today was their first day.

100_3190

What is wrong with this picture? And these children?

They weren’t in the mood to do 1st Day of School pictures. The ones I take on the front steps every year.

I tried to get them to coöperate. Asked them to turn around. So they did.

100_3192

 

But with their eyes closed.

And it wasn’t planned. They both sort of turned their backs to me when I pulled out the camera. Then I asked them to turn around. So they did. But with their eyes shut.

Classic Daughter & Son move. Also classic that they worked together, without words…

So all the other parent’s have ‘nice’ pictures of their kids heading of to school.

And I’ve got these beauties for the family photo album…

One of My Favorite People…

File Mar 05, 1 58 01 PMOne of my favorite people ever is my daughter.

I’ve called her Darling Daughter in this blog for the 5+ years I’ve written it.

Since the day she was born and still to this day, I feel lucky. I love every bit of her personality–wouldn’t trade her for any other little girl in the world. She is Perfect. Just as she is. Not like anybody else;  unique, and unique in her outrageousness, always has been. Never what I’d call an “easy” child, but I LOVE that about her. Her sense of humor, intelligence, drive, guts, compassion, kindness, her softness with little kids and dogs, her generosity with her brother, and her (sometimes) patience with me. And that whole mix of complexity that is Darling Daughter. I especially love the “college” version of her, because she’s matured, grown into her personality, and she’s far more relaxed than she was in high school, her younger years.

Riding in the car…

Riding in the car not too long ago, she was mumbling.

ME: Huh?

DARLING DAUGHTER: I’m praying. For patience.

ME: What prayer?

DARLING DAUGHTER: Not saying a specific prayer. Just talking to The Lord.

ME: Oh.

Driving with me apparently didn’t “feel safe” to her.

Speaking of cars…

We tend to have a lot of cars in the driveway, a lot of the time. Last fall, I got a new Mazda. Only had it a few months when I noticed a large dent in its side. The kids were both home on Winter Break (Christmas vacation).

ME (TO SON): Did you see the dent in the car?

SON: Yeah. Just noticed it. Did you hit something?

ME: Me, too. And no, I didn’t hit anything.

Son and I were at the dining table. Daugther was at the stove, scooping dinner onto a plate.

SON: Maybe it got hit in the school parking lot?

ME: Could be.

DARLING DAUGHTER: Yeah. Let’s go with that…

Son and I turned (at the same time) to look at Daughter. Her back was to us. She was still loading her dinner plate.

DARLING DAUGHTER (Heading over to table): That might have happened.

SON: Did you hit it?

DARLING DAUGHTER: Yeah, but I didn’t know it left a dent–with all the snow on it.

ME: When?

DARLING DAUGHTER: A while ago. I backed into it, when I was trying to get out of the driveway.

This was NOT a small dent. But we laughed, continued with dinner. It was a newer car, but just a car. Nobody was hurt.

photo 2

Also last winter…

We suspected there might be a mouse (can’t even think of their being mice…) in the house. I was freaking out. Not handling it at all well. Was looking for contact information to call Orkin Pest Control.

SON (Deadpan): Just give Lenny a call.

DARLING DAUGHTER: Nick just referenced a piece of classic literature, one still considered important enough for high school student reading–in regular conversation.

Son smiled at her.

DARLING DAUGHTER: Let’s just take a moment…

ME: Huh?

DARLING DAUGHTER: …to thank me for making him take those classes.

She referred to the Honors/Advanced Placement track she worked out for Son before his freshman year of high school. Darling Daughter has always guided him with his class schedules. I generally have no idea what he is taking.

She also spoils her brother…

Son googled sneakers one evening, while doing homework. I rang my daughter.

ME: What are you doing? Nick seems to be looking at shoes…

DARLING DAUGHTER: I’m not looking for any shoes.

ME: Oh?

DARLING DAUGHTER: But if HE finds them, he can have them…

ME: His homework isn’t done. He’s searching for black PF Flyers (from The Sandlot).

DARLING DAUGHTER: Tell him he can have them after his homework is done.

She is a second mother to her brother. Takes him to concerts, buys him things when they go shopping together, helps him with homework, and talks to him about college, life, relationships, just about anything. She is truly a model Big Sister to her brother. She is often his first call when there is big news–both good and bad.

“Darling Daughter” Daisies…

There’s something about daisies that has always made me happy. When I started playing with stones, fashioning a trail of daisies on a pale green canvas, I was thinking of my daughter. She identified strongly with the piece. Said I couldn’t sell it. That was the fall of 2014.

I ended up having prints made in the Spring of 2015, because many people wanted it. Each time I put a print together with a vintage frame, it’s gone. They sell very quickly. Darling Daugther has the print above her bed at college.

Special Offer Prints

Darling Daughter – Shopify Site

Those are the links for anybody interested in seeing the print. The original is sold.

To celebrate my new Shopify site, my Daughters print is on sale all week.

Thoughts on Raising a Gifted Athlete

RegionalsMy son is competing at the state track meet in Pole Vault tomorrow morning.

He is a gifted athlete. And that’s all very well.

But it has nothing to do with me.

At the spring awards banquet last week, he was MVP and complimentary comments were made about his dedication, work ethic, and such. He got an armful plaques and awards. Yet listening to his accomplishments was strange.

I saw my son through the eyes of others.

He started on the varsity football team as a freshman,  made significant contributions as a linebacker, lettered 3 years in a row, was all conference, even all Ohio as a punter by his junior year. The boy went to state in Pole Vault as a freshman; this will be his 3rd trip to outdoor state. (He’s been to indoor state, as well.) He’ll compete in The New Balance Outdoor Nationals in a couple of weeks with the best jumpers in the country. I know these things.

But I don’t see him as others do. To me, he’s just my son. One of the best gifts I have ever been given.

His athletic ability is God-given. Something he was born with. How he channels it, uses it, is up to him.

The child landed a front flip on my bed when he was two, rode a two-wheel bike with no training wheels at two and a half—then headed straight for the nearest ramp. I had to keep him busy. When he was three, I took him for skating lessons; he put on hockey skates for the first time, took a lap, and they said to bring him back later in the week with a helmet and stick. He skipped lessons, went straight to tot hockey.  If I turned my back, he was 15 feet up a tree. He’s played travel hockey, baseball and basketball; football, soccer, and wrestled. Since age five or six, he’s flipped from high dives, low dives, and snow piles and out of trees—back, front, and sideways. On the trampoline, other kids jumped up and down; with him, it was back flip, front flip, back layout, twisting front flip…there was no jumping, just flipping and twisting. At almost 6’3” and 210 pounds, the boy still does standing back flips in the yard, has been known to do tumbling passes, round off, back handspring, and back tuck (self-taught). He’s always hit the heck out of a golf ball, punted footballs a mile, and quickly picked up skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding. Whatever he tried, he could do. And do well.

I gave him opportunities to explore his athleticism, encouraged him, talked with him about safety, and often got him stitched up. But that’s about it.

He’s been successful in sports because he wants to be. There is something inside of him, some drive that pushes him to get better, stronger, and faster.  To “Make it Happen,” as his track coach says.

I couldn’t produce any of his coaches contact information, his training schedule, or his practice schedules, if my life depended on it. He’s always dealt with that, let me know where he needed to be, and at what time.

What’s my role?

  • I pack sandwiches, fruit, snacks, water and Gatorade.
  • I make sure he has Advil and if he needs uniforms dropped off at school, I do that. (Much of the time, he washes his own clothes, and he rarely forgets them.)
  • I keep an eye on him; if he needs something checked out, I make a doctor’s appointment. He wants to compete. Always. But there are times he needs to wait until we get an x-ray or MRI.
  • I sit down to dinner with him each night, make sure he has a comfortable home, that he knows he’s loved, my priority.
  • I sign waivers, fill out the forms he leaves on my desk.
  • I eat funnel cakes at track meets, popcorn at football games.
  • I clap from the bleachers.
  • I tell him to clean his room, feed the dogs and let them outside. And to please bring the stack of cups (crusted with dry Gatorade powder) down from his bedside table.

Things I DON’T do:

  • I don’t weight in, or break down performance; I’m lucky to jump over a puddle. I know squat about Pole Vault. The boy has top-notch coaches to guide him.
  • I don’t spend hours trying to learn how to coach him. I’m just his mom.
  • I don’t ask questions; He comes in after games, practices…and if he wants to talk about something, he will. If he doesn’t, I don’t push. He’ll share when he’s ready.
  • I don’t criticize him.
  • I don’t question his training/preparation: He knows what he wants, where he’s at, what needs done to reach his goals. If he’s off track, he talks with his coaches. I trust him to know what is right for him, and know that he’ll come to me if he needs my council.
  • I don’t set his goals, track his progress, put expectations on him; he does that for himself.
  • I don’t take video, because I’m horrible with it; get footage of the sky and ground, because I’m watching him.
Family Fan Club

Family Fan Club

The state track meet starts tomorrow…

I’ll sit on the sidelines with my family and friends, probably eating a funnel cake. Long ago, Darling Daughter instructed me to sit in the bleachers and be quiet–at both her and her brothers sporting events. Done.

Doesn’t matter if my son is fantastic or terrible. (Though I realize it matters to him.) I’ll clap whether he takes first or last place.

I won’t take photos, because nobody wants my photos. They suck.

Here’s what matters to me…

He’s a nice young man, kind, compassionate, well-mannered. He hops on the mower when the grass looks long, without being asked. When I pull up with groceries, he runs out to help me. When his sister lugs her crap downstairs for her trip back to college, he stops her—handles loading her car. Has been known to fuel up her car, get her an oil change, or a new battery before she heads out. If I’m cooking, he fires up the grill and brings everything back inside, cooked. He’s a hard worker, a loyal friend, brother and son. He’s got principles. He’s a leader. He doesn’t leave the car on empty. He’s respectful. He’s funny, has a great sense of humor, is quick to smile, and a joy to be around. These things matter.

If he never played another sport starting now, it matters not to me. When he and every kid on the field of play come off the field in one piece, as they went in—that’s a successful day.

He plays sports, trains, practices because HE wants to. I’m not sure where the inner fire and drive come from, but I know I have nothing to do with it.

When he gets home from the state track meet, I’ll be there to greet him.

I’ll be happy to see him because he’s my son, and I’m always happy to see him.

I’ll probably ask him if he wants a sandwich, or something to eat.

I’ve Lost All Control

Today I’m sharing my secret shame.

I used to refinish furniture and home decor. Since 2012, I’ve created Beach Art on canvas, with what I find while walking on the beach. Somehow, I’ve lost all control of my rocks, sticks, beach glass, beach wire and plastic. But I always turn my finds into something. (Eventually.) I have workspace in my basement, but I never work there. I try hard to contain the mess.

And yet…

We cannot eat at the dining room table much of the time. On a good week, we’ve got use of half of it. We have to be careful to walk around the piles of vintage and antique frames neatly stacked against the dining room wall, in a corner.

Mantle Disaster

The mantle used to be attractive. It’s perpetually a mess now. I set completed pieces up there to make sure I’ve got the right colors and nothing needs added; if something is off, I eventually figure out what’s wrong by walking by it enough times. Also, propping pictures up ensures that my Beach Finds are securely attached to the canvas or canvas board. If they get loose after a few days, I fix them.

mess3

 

Lucky me! Our mantle wraps around a corner, with a bookcase below it, giving me more square footage of mantle to ruin.  We used to have family photos there.

Most people store fancy items in their china cabinets. Mine? Full of sticks, beach glass marbles, artists proofs of prints, and more projects in the works.

My desk has a triangular jug of beach glass and random stones on it most of the time.

Sticks on China Cabinet

I do have a couple of china plates in the cabinet–my mom’s china. It isn’t just beach glass that’s a problem for me. I can’t resist old glass; Carnival Glass, Early American Pattern Glass, and glass vases. I do have a few such items in the china cabinet, but it’s mainly books (I’ll spare you photos of the books stacked all over the house, that’s an “issue” for another day) and the junk I find on the beach.

Notice the branches on top of the china cabinet? Even have to walk under sticks to enter the kitchen.

photo 2 (2) giant tree

We used to have art on the walls. Quite a few of my favorites paintings are packed in bubble, being stored. We have no wall space for them. My Beach Art is on our walls now, because I don’t want anything damaged. Once completed, wired on the back, it’s safer to hang on a wall until it sells. Of course, I have my favorites–that I won’t sell. (Ugh!)

The driftwood and metal tree above the park bench is enormous, about 3 feet wide and 5 feet tall. I could have sold it too many times to count, but I won’t part with it.

The upside? 

My Beach Art sells easily, faster than I can create it. Which is why I started having prints made. Yes, signed, numbered, “fine art” prints–of sticks, rocks, and beach glass.

Almost too shameful to admit…

I keep seeing photos on Facebook of local beach cleanups going on in our area. Good stuff, kids and families getting out there and spiffing up our beaches. But what if they throw away something good? Seriously, that’s what I think when I see the photos.

It’s been suggested I play with Legos. Truth. My kids friends sidestep my mess like it’s no big deal, they’ve gotten used to it. Not too long ago, I was arranging stones, coming up with a new design, when one of my son’s buddies said, “Mrs. Lauria, you should invest in Legos. It’s kinda the same thing, right?”

This hit close to home as Legos were my favorite toy as a kid. My very favorite!  The only thing better was going outside–I rarely came inside unless it was dark out.

A new workspace?

I’ve started pinning barns on Pinterest. I’ll need to do something soon! My house is overrun…

barn

 

I dream of having a workspace outside of my home; a barn, an outbuilding, anything with a bit of wall space to hang a gallery of finished work, my stash of vintage frames. Perhaps with shelving to hold supplies. I typically use pretty clear vintage and antique glass jars/vases to hold my stones, beach glass, metal and such. Makes it easy to sort by size and see what I have. I also use ball jars for storage, and even to mix paint in.

My “mess” wouldn’t look like a mess in a workshop. It would look attractive, possibly even stunning.

For now I have a home. And my mess is anything but pretty. It’s destroying the vibe…

Interested in checking out my projects? Head over to my website.

Workspace ideas? Comment below or Contact me. In the meantime, I’ll keep pinning to my “Dream Girl Cave” page on Pinterest.