Their wedding was on Sept. 26, 2008, at Buford Grove Baptist Church in Florida and was really pretty……and frugal, which is always close to my heart! A lot of donated time and materials went into the wedding from the Keller’s circle of church family and friends. The Bates family and the Duggar family helped as well. Anna, her sisters, and a few of the Duggar daughter’s made the bridesmaid dresses. The wedding dress was a loan from Anna’s older sister Rebekah Keller McDonald (according to Rebekah’s husband, Joshua McDonald) and Mr. Keller purchased all of the suits that the boys and men in the wedding party wore at a discounted rate.
Josh and Anna’s wedding was great, but the biggest claim to fame for this otherwise normal wedding was that they saved their ‘very first kiss’ for marriage. I think that is just the sweetest thing I have ever heard of. Yes, I will admit that it was a bit awkward to watch when the monumental event occurred on television, however for me and my family, it opened up a whole discussion about the courage it takes for a young couple to follow God and not the world.
After their honeymoon, Anna came home to a house that the Duggar’s let Josh and Anna live in, a car business that Josh had already established, and her new husband told her that she could pick any car that she wanted off his lot :-). She did not have to worry about where they would live or how they would make money. Through Josh’s diligence, he made sure that all of that was taken care of before he proposed to Anna. Some would call this old-fashioned, but as a woman who started her young marriage off struggling, I think it was such a blessing to the beginning of this couple’s life. I can only pray that the values of marriage, and the guidance that we are trying to provide to our children on how to prepare for marriage, will help my two teens jump off on the right foot.Pregnancy came pretty quickly for the newlyweds, and soon after their first wedding anniversary, Josh and Anna had their first child, Mackynzie, on October 8, 2009. This little darling was also the first Duggar grand-baby, and the whole family practically sparkled in their excitement over her. It was after this birth that Anna really started to come out of her shell and blossom into the woman that she is now.
Three pregnancies followed, with one ending sadly as a miscarriage in 2010. Anna told People Magazine that it was through thanking God in the good times and the bad times that had helped her to not only understand what happened, but to also help her heal after it. Happily, their third pregnancy went full term and they welcomed little Michael to the world on June 15th, 2011…….and the first Duggar grandson was born. At the time of this post, Anna is just days away from her June 7th due date for her third child……which is another boy! All of the children’s genders were revealed to the couple in creative ways, and this child was no different. Mr. Jim, the sound man that was entrusted with this baby’s gender during the filming of the ultrasound, in turn gave the ‘secret information’ to Pastor Howard of Restoration Church in Arkansas. The preacher chose to tell the whole Duggar clan, who were all in attendance of the service, the big news during his sermon. Another big TV moment, as the Duggars do love their pivotal family events to be filmed for all of their fans to see……and we love watching them!
For me, I am not so sure that I would like what I see, if someone showed up at my door with videos of me 17 years ago; speaking every thought that was in my head or my personal views at the time. All young people, and definitely myself included, have said many things that we wish could be taken back. As we mature and grow older, our circumstances change, we ourselves change, and our opinions of the world and our surroundings change…..all because of our experiences. Josh and Anna are no exception to this, but because of their public platform and the permanency of television and the internet, they are unable to forget past verbal remarks and views (and many of their critics make sure that they don’t forget either). Here is a short list of some of the changes that we have seen over the last few years:
1. Josh watches what he says now. In earlier documentaries and episodes, his youthful exuberance tended to let his mouth run away with his sense of caution. He said what he felt, whenever he felt it, even if it was not something that he should say. I am all about honesty, but there is a time for honesty, and a time for biting your tongue. Hey, I was the same way when I was 18 and 19, so it is without judgement that I point this out. I find it refreshing that he now has the maturity and self discipline to be mindful of all that he says. You can definitely see God at work in His life.
2. Josh is no longer a ‘camera hog’! I love Josh, so all I will say is that as Josh has grown in his years and perhaps in his faith, he no longer seeks to be the center of attention with the film crew. Anna talks more than Josh does now, which is sometimes hard to believe as she was so quiet in the beginning. However, I think the couple have finally found their groove on how to handle an interview with grace.
2. Anna has gone from the timid mouse, to the chatty cat, and is now evolving into the elegant swan. As a young mother, she has tried to make her way through the vast valley of parenting, homemaking, and marital advice that has been thrown her way. She has made mistakes, yet she has also triumphed in her own right. That is not to say that I don’t think she had picked up a few bad habits from Josh, especially in vocalizing her thoughts before thinking the subject through. We must remember that Anna was completely new to the whole, ‘everything-you-say-and-do-is-going-to-be-recorded-for-the-whole-world-to-hear’ department. Josh was a TV veteran when he married Anna, so she was entitled to make a few mistakes early in her television career. Yet, out of everything she has said or done, there is really only one snafu that caused a lot of bad publicity:On one episode called ‘Duggar Day Out’, she brought up the fact that she was driving a Hummer vehicle. She stated that it was her dream car, so when Josh had traded for it they decided that she would drive it around until he sold it. After admitting that she had spent more money on gas than on that day’s shopping, she said that she wouldn’t keep it. The comment that really stung a few regular viewers and a lot of critics (who are really just looking for any mud to throw at the Duggars…..but hey, that’s just my opinion) was “I may be driving a Hummer, but my baby has on a cloth diaper.” Ok, that sounded a tad like justification, which we have all done when we really, really want something but we feel bad about it, because it may or may not be the best thing to do. The hypocrisy is that the family is still driving the Hummer today, but the cloth diapers were exchanged for disposable ones. Yet, I still think that she learned a valuable lesson. If you are comfortable with a decision that you are making or have made in the past, then stand by your convictions…….people will respect you more for your honesty. 3. Josh loves to eat……just like Jim Bob :-). It would appear that Josh and Jim Bob have eaten a bit too much Tater-Tot Casserole over the last few years. They both realized it though, and during this season of ’19 Kids and Counting’ they are rectifying the situation. By making a challenge out of it, they really pushed themselves to lose weight through diet and exercise so that they could look better, feel more energetic, and bring down their risk factors (such as developing diabetes and lowering their cholesterol). After bringing in a personal trainer, Steve Conley formerly of the Pittsburg Steelers, they both achieved success…….and *SPOILER ALERT*: Jim Bob won the challenge and Josh delivered the reward of serving the winner breakfast in bed. Great job guys! 4. They are ready to spread their wings and fly away from home :-(. I, for one am very saddened by this, but I don’t like change, so I am probably the only one that almost cried when Josh and Anna made their big announcement that they were heading to Washington D.C. Perhaps it is time that they venture out on their own and follow their own paths, being that Josh has been on his family’s documentaries and television shows since he was 15 years old!
However, one thing really cooks my goose about Josh’s announcement to accept the ‘Senior Executive Position’ with the Family Research Council organization. Naysayers are outraged that Josh was even considered for this job (let alone offered the position) because he does not have a college education. Forget the fact that he has more ‘life experience’ than most of these young kids coming out of college could ever dream of having. He has been a successful business owner for several years, and as a former business owner, I know all of the dedication, hard work and absolute faith in our God that you have to possess in order to be successful out there. Jim Bob Duggar taught Josh those skills, along with what it takes to be involved in politics; from the elections, lobbying, and passing bills, to losing with dignity and trusting God with His plan instead of trying to push Josh’s plan. Furthermore, Josh was raised in a home that shares most of the same values that this company stands for, personal experiences that could never be taught in a classroom, and faith that cannot be tested by an exam, but only through diligence and grace.But, that’s the problem isn’t it? This is the issue that a lot of homeschoolers face: The perception that if a child or young adult is not taught in an institution for learning, than that child most likely does not have a superior education. A disturbing trend is growing, that the vast majority of kids who go to college forget all about their Christian upbringing (A few years ago George Barna conducted a study revealing that “65 percent of high school students stop attending church after they graduate.” To read this great article where I obtained this information about why students abandon their faith, go here: http://www.cpyu.org/Page.aspx?id=361896). In addition to this ‘superior education’ that a college graduate can obtain, there is also the opportunity to witness or partake in Drinking 101, Drug Use 101, Recreational Sex 101, 102, and 103, and so many other worldly courses that our culture has cooked up. Folks, this goes for many Christian colleges as well, please don’t fool yourselves.
I pray that Josh will be an asset to this company that he is going to work for. History points to many, many people who have done tremendously great things, all without a ‘formal higher education’, so it is entirely possible that Josh will also do wonderful things. Anna will flourish as well, I pray, despite having to learn many things about being a mother in a big city. Josh will no doubt be a little homesick for a while, but I do not worry for Anna, as she was separated from her family back when she married Josh, and she did just fine. Jim Bob and Michelle, on the other hand, might have difficulty losing their first-born and all of those grand-babies to a big city like Washington D.C……..I know that I would.
So pray for them, as prayers are going up from my family. We will be tuning in…..of course!