Thursday, February 27, 2014

Michelle Duggar's Battle with Bulimia; Hopes to Help Others

In an interview with People Magazine, Michelle Duggar opened up about her struggle with bulimia as a teenager. 

Her oldest four daughters talk about their mom's battle in their book, Growing Up Duggar, which comes out next Tuesday. (The book tour starts March 12; click here for the full schedule.)

The girls introduce their mother's story by disguising her identity, but they eventually reveal who Marie really is:

On the outside, Marie had what everyone else wanted, but on the inside, she felt sad and empty. She began to envy the girl who tried to control her weight through what turned out to be a destructive eating disorder. Not realizing how dangerous it was, Marie thought it might work for her, and soon her obsession to stay thin started controlling her life.

"I have been open with my struggles with the kids before," Michelle, 47, told People. "We talk about how God has brought us out of different things along life's way. When the girls were writing their book, they brought this up and I thought, if my sharing it is going to help another young lady, then I want to share it."

As a teenager, Michelle spent an average of three hours a day involved in school sports but still struggled with her weight. In her search for self-acceptance, Michelle said she found herself consumed by this emotional battle.

"I found out that genetically I could put on weight easily, but with my activities, gymnastics and cheerleading, it was important for me not to," she said. "I would look around and compare myself to my friends, saying, 'oh my, she's so small,' or 'she has such skinny legs.'"

At age 14, Michelle began forcing herself to throw up after consuming what she deemed to be too many calories, believing that she had found a solution to her struggle with weight.

"I didn't tell any of my friends what I was going through," she said. "I was doing it sometimes on a daily basis, or sometimes I would go a week. I felt this was the answer to my problems."

At age 16, Michelle Ruark started dating her future husband and knew she needed to tell him about her battle with bulimia.

"The freedom came when I talked about it," she said. "I met Jim Bob, and he and I were in a dating relationship, and I loved this guy and wanted to marry him. We were talking future together and I remember that I felt like I had to tell him everything, everything about myself. You can't keep secrets from the man you want to share your life with. I shared this struggle with him, and he said he would help me and help keep me accountable."

And Jim Bob kept his promise. He became Michelle's accountability partner and would even join in on sweets-fasts with her. The future mother of 19 said that whenever she was tempted to force herself to throw up, she would call Jim Bob.

"He told me to call him anytime," said Michelle. "I just know that I would be tempted and I would have the crazy thought that I wanted to throw up, not hold onto the calories. Thank God it didn't go on longer than it did or I could have done horrible damage to my body."

Michelle admits it was a difficult time for her and that the struggle did not end immediately, but her her battle with bulimia helped her grow closer to her future husband. She and Jim Bob will celebrate 30 years of marriage in July, and Michelle, a lifetime member of Weight Watchers, thanks God for her health. 

"That solid accountability with another human being, a deep love and strong focus, was where I found freedom," she says. "I was willing to be accountable before God and man. But the struggle was still there. That accountability was powerful."

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Duggar Girls' Book Tour...More Details

The Duggars just sent us the remaining details of the Growing Up Duggar book tour! Over a period of two weeks, the girls will sign books in nine cities and speak at a church in South Carolina.

*Growing Up Duggar will hit the stores on March 4th. Click here for details.

March 12 - Harrisburg, PA
Barnes & Noble Book Signing
Camp Hill Shopping Center
Camp Hill, PA 17011

March 13 - Alexandria, VA
Family Christian Book Signing
7714 Richmond Highway
Alexandria, VA 22306

March 15 - Raleigh-Durham, NC
Family Christian Book Signing
5950 Poyner Village Pkwy
Raleigh, NC 27616

March 15 – Spartanburg, SC
Christian Supply Book Signing
1600 John B White, Sr. Blvd.
Spartanburg, SC

March 16 – Moore, SC
Anderson Mill Baptist Church – Speaking Events
4455 Anderson Mill Rd.
Moore, SC
8am, 9:30am, 11am, & 6pm
*Not a book-signing, but books will be sold at this event

March 17 - Chattanooga, TN
Barnes & Noble Book Signing
2100 Hamilton Place Blvd.
Chattanooga, TN

March 18 - Birmingham, AL
Lifeway Christian Store Book Signing
1672 Gadsden Hwy.
Birmingham, AL 35235
6-8 pm

March 19 - Jackson, MS
Barnes & Noble Book Signing
1000 Highland Colony Pkway
Ridgeland, MS 39157
March 20 – Tyler, TX
Lifeway Christian Store Book Signing
5510 S. Broadway Ave.
Tyler, TX 75703

March 25 – Rogers, AR
Lifeway Christian Store Book Signing
2203 Promenade Blvd.
Rogers, AR 72758

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

"Growing Up Duggar" Book Tour

Growing Up Duggar is set to release on March 4th. The Duggar girls will be in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Camp Hill, Pennsylvania signing books. Here are the details:

Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 7-9pm
Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger Duggar to sign books at Barnes & Noble Booksellers
58 South 32nd Street, Camp Hill, PA 17011
Questions? Call 717-737-0221

Monday, March 17, 2014, 7pm
Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger Duggar to sign books at Barnes & Noble Booksellers
2100 Hamilton Place Boulevard, Chattanooga, TN 37421
Questions? Call 423-893-0186

Sunday, February 23, 2014

"It's not always easy to get along with 18 siblings"

Growing Up Duggar is set to release on March 4th. Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger Duggar have been diligently working on their first book for over two years, and it is finally finished.

"It's not always easy to get along with 18 siblings," the four oldest Duggar girls write.

Growing Up Duggar gives readers an inside look at what it's like to be a Duggar kid, as the girls discuss their perspectives on faith, family, friends, pop culture, and boys. As they look at the different relationships in their lives, the girls share how they resolve conflict with their parents and siblings, their dreams and plans for the future, details on courtship vs. dating, and much more.

"We want to get acquainted with a young man in a normal family setting, where we'll be watching how he treats our brothers and sisters," they write. "We want to see how he reacts to normal family events, such as Josie accidentally spilling her milk in his lap, Jackson unintentionally ruining his board game or Joseph trouncing him in a basketball match."

Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger also talk about self-esteem and how important it is to "accept the girl in the mirror."
The girls--ages 24, 22, 21, and 20--are preparing for their futures. Jessa is in a courtship with Ben Seewald of Hot Springs, Arkansas, and it's only a matter of time before the others follow suit. Like Josh and Anna, Ben and Jessa have purposed to save their first kiss for the altar.

"It is sweet as a mom to watch Jessa go through this," Michelle Duggar told People Magazine. "She and Ben are open to encourage others who may be considering relationships that you can stay morally pure and wait for the one God has for you and then on your wedding day, begin the physical aspects of your relationship."

Growing Up Duggar can be pre-ordered on Christan Book, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Upcoming Season Sneak Peek

Have you heard? New episodes of "19 Kids and Counting" return to TLC on April 1st! (Click here for details.) Scroll down to see preview photos of season eight of the Duggars' show.

Click here to view more photos of Jessa Duggar's courtship with Ben Seewald.

 Ben Seewald and Jessa Duggar

Jim Bob and the Duggar boys put Ben's skills to the test with an afternoon of yard work

 The Duggars enjoy a night out at a pizza restaurant

 Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar play a game of mini golf with Ben and Jessa

 Ben Seewald and Jessa Duggar

 Michelle and Jeremiah Duggar play a game of chess

 Anna Duggar homeschools Mackynzie while Michael and Marcus sit quietly

 The Duggar girls gather around a laptop in their bedroom

 Josie Duggar

Jackson Duggar, Justin Duggar, and Warden Bates show off a painted pumpkin
 Praying at the Bates' house (Ben and Jessa)

 Michelle Duggar and Kelly Bates

Chad Paine and Erin (Bates) Paine pray together before their wedding ceremony

 Chad and Erin's wedding

 Chad and Erin, headed for their honeymoon

Duggar family 
(Missing from photo: John, Jill, and Jennifer).

Photos used with permission from TLC/Discovery Channel

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

New Episodes of 19 Kids and Counting


We just got word from TLC that the 19 Kids and Counting season eight premiere is less than six weeks away! New episodes return on April 1st, 2014, and don't worry, this isn't an April Fools' joke. 

The Duggars have been busy, so there's a lot to look forward to in the upcoming season. Here's  the summary:

Life can get busy with a brood of 19, but the Duggars always make sure to celebrate the special moments in their super-sized family. And there's plenty to celebrate in the eighth season of TLC's 19 Kids and Counting.  In the premiere episode, the Duggars make an exciting announcement - Jessa and Ben are courting! Dating with the intent of marriage, Jessa and Ben refrain from kissing or holding hands and always have a chaperone on dates, phone calls and even text messages. Now that their courtship is official, the Duggar boys put Ben to the test, making sure he's ready to take care of their sister. Later, the tables are turned when Jessa visits Ben's hometown and gets hit with some serious questions during a double date with Ben's parents. And the whole family reflects on what it means that a Duggar daughter may soon be leaving the nest. This 10-episode season of 19 Kids and Counting premieres April 1 at 9PM/8PM CST and airs Tuesdays in the same time slot through May

This season will explore a changing family dynamic as the Duggar children continue to grow up, with many of the older kids considering courtships. The four eldest Duggar girls - Jana, Jill, Jessa and Jinger - announce that they have written a book, and the family attends Erin Bates' highly-anticipated wedding. Michelle spends one-on-one time with each of her children and the whole family visits Josh and Anna in Washington, DC. Throughout the season, cameras will check in on the DC-based Duggars, as Anna begins to homeschool her growing brood and the young family goes on a fun ski outing for a day. Two of the Duggars make a special trip to Nepal, and the youngest children prepare a surprise dinner theatre talent show for Jim Bob and Michelle. 

Duggars to Give Parenting Tips Knoxville

This Saturday, join the Duggars at the B97.5 Parenting Expo in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Saturday, February 22, 2014, 9:30am-4:30pm
Duggars to speak and meet fans at the 3rd Annual B97.5 Parenting Expo
Knoxville Expo Center off Merchant's Road
General admission: $5 per person (Children 6 & under are FREE)
The Duggars will be on stage at 11am and meeting fans from 1-3pm*

*50 tickets will be sold beginning at 9:30am for a guarantee to meet the Duggar family. Tickets cost $5 each and are good for a party of up to 4. Attendees who do not purchase a ticket may still stand in line but are not guaranteed a chance to meet the Duggars.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Videos of the Grand-Duggars

Mackynzie, Michael, and Marcus Duggar are growing like corn stalks in mid-July! Can you believe Mackynzie is already four years old? Here are a couple videos of the grand-Duggars, courtesy of Josh Duggar:)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

How Many Twins?

In honor of Wednesday's post about twins, we have a fun discussion question for you:

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have two sets of twins--Jana and John David (age 24) and Jedidiah and Jeremiah (age 15). Which of the other Duggars do you think look like twins?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Duggars on Intimacy in Marriage

In honor of Valentine's Day, TODAY Moms interviewed Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar on maintaining marital intimacy while raising 19 children. (This post is the edited, more family-friendly version of the original article released by TODAY.)

1. Wives: Make Time for Your Husband

Michelle shares the advice that a friend gave her many years ago: "She said, 'In your marriage there will be times you're going to be very exhausted. Your hubby comes home after a hard day's work, you get the baby to bed, and he is going to be looking forward to that time with you. Be available. Anyone can fix him lunch, but only one person can meet that physical need of love that he has, and you always need to be available when he calls.'"

Even when Michelle is exhausted after a long day of homeschooling, disciplining and keeping up with her brood, she purposes to set aside time to spend with her husband. "That has been such a lifesaver for our marriage," the mom of 19 told TODAY Moms.

Jim Bob agrees: "We're like a newlywed couple every day!" said the dad of 19.

Jim Bob (19) and Michelle (17) on their wedding day in 1984

2. But give it a rest sometimes.

Jim bob and Michelle have chosen to follow Old Testament principles of abstinence, not because they feel the have to, but because they have found that abstinence makes the heart grow fonder. They abstain for a week each month, as well as for 80 days after the birth of a girl and 40 days after a boy is born. "When you've missed it for seven days, you look forward to it even more," said Michelle.

The Duggars as newlyweds
3. Treat your wife like a queen.

In addition to physical intimacy, the Duggars also stress the importance of emotional intimacy. They send each other "I love you" texts when they're apart, and Jim Bob likes to surprise his wife with flowers and other tokens of his affection.

 The Duggars in the early '80s

"That's key in a relationship, the husband needs to cherish his wife and always treat his wife like a queen," said Jim Bob. Michelle responds by showing her husband the respect and support that he deserves.

4. The strong, silent type is overrated.

"He shares his heart with me, his struggles, his fears and his dreams," Michelle told TODAY Moms. "Many men would not do that, but God's word says that before honor comes humility. When he learns to humble himself before God and me, it builds him up so much in my eyes."

Jim Bob and Michelle in 2012

5. Perfectionism kills romance.

According to Jim Bob, "Expectations ruin relationships." He has made it his personal goal to leave his perfectionism and detail-oriented tendencies at work. That allows the father of 19 to develop an attitude of love towards his wife and children and to praise them as often as he can.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar before their marriage in 1984
6. Make time for date night. 

You've heard them mention this many times before, but Jim Bob and Michelle have made weekly date nights a habit. Their date nights usually take place on Saturday evenings, but with 19 kids and a loaded schedule, the couple often has to get creative to squeeze in their time together. When they are at home, Michelle has a favorite ice cream shop that she likes to visit.

Still sweet on you: Despite a literal bus-load of kids, Michelle and Jim Bob make time for a date night every week. 

7. Never stop learning.

That's one of Michelle's favorite mantras. "Life is a classroom," she tells her kids. "You never stop learning." This advice rings true in her marriage, as well. Although it might seem like the Duggars have it all figured out, they will be the first to tell you that they don't. After almost 30 years of marriage, Jim Bob and Michelle are always on the lookout for marriage advice.

Once of their favorite pieces of advice came from an Amish couple who had been married for 50 years. According to this man and his wife, the secret to a healthy marriage is remembering the phrases "I was wrong" and "Will you forgive me?"

A shared love of fantastic hair kept the Duggars together over the years: Just kidding, their shared values and faith in God were probably more important. Still, the hair doesn't hurt.

Happy Valentine's Day to all of our lovely readers!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Duggar on a Mission

John-David Duggar, the third oldest of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar's 19 children,  is currently out of the country.

Nathan Bates, the fifth oldest of Gil and Kelly Bates' 19 children, was compelled to service when he heard about the tropical storms that hit the Philippines in November. He immediately began raising funds and gathering supplies for the typhoon victims.

To take his efforts one step further, Nathan organized a mission trip. John-David Duggar and Lawson Bates, Nathan's older brother, were eager to help, so the three men headed out to Tacloban. They rise at 6am, doing medical mission work by day and teaching Bible studies by night. (John and Nathan are able to administer medicine because they are trained first responders.)

 John Duggar and Nathan Bates fill prescriptions

 Lawson, John, and Nathan take a picture with two storm victims

John hands out medicine to thankful recipients

 Ready for another day of work!

Photo credit: Gil and Kelly Bates