About two years ago Ryan’s youngest brother Jared started uploading videos to YouTube, documenting their struggle with infertility. It was so awesome for us to see, those of us praying for them and thinking of them but too far away to know what was happening on a day to day basis.
The middle brother of the family, Matt, started vlogging with his wife and two crazy boys this past fall. His wife lost her Dad to leukemia in early 2014 and the very first video they uploaded was to cheer up Grandpa Pearl in the hospital. He passed away shortly after.
People related with them and were drawn to their stories and their personalities. Jared and Ellie finally had a baby–then got pregnant again on their own! Matt and Emily, who have been blessed with two boys, had a third miscarriage. They started sharing more and more of their lives, talents, and heartaches with so much goofiness, laughter, and joy. They eventually decided to start vlogging on a daily basis. Here’s what went through our heads:
Is it safe?
Will they have their identities stolen or have dangerous people interested in them?
Will it be too stressful to work full time AND do youtube?
Will they be secure financially?
Will they drive each other crazy?
Will they still have fun? Will they feel a lot of pressure to work all the time? Will they ever feel like they get a break?
Will it make them happy?
Will it change them from the people we adore into a more egotistical and self centered version of themselves?
Will the kids turn into egotistical versions of themselves?
When they become successful, will they forget about their roots? Will they forget about God? Will it keep them from being the people they are meant to be?
I wasn’t so much scared that they wouldn’t succeed—I was more scared that they would. The last thing you want to see is someone amazing turn into the worst version of themselves.
Now, keep in mind fear can be a healthy tool for good. It can help us take precautions (like wearing a safety belt and not posting your address on the internet) or keep us from making really bad decisions altogether (like using our retirement to play the lottery). It can also bring us to our knees.
I’m grateful for the questions that fear brings because it gives us something to think about, to plan around, to precaution against. I’m sure many of these questions went through their heads and prayers as they were contemplating what was best for their family. The trick is to not let it freeze you in place.
What really helped us calm down was just trusting them. Both of Ryan’s brothers have always made excellent decisions with and for their families.
Jared was still in high school when we got married ten years ago so I feel like I have seen him change the most. I remember very specific instances where he had tons of people he respected and trusted opposing major decisions he was about to make. These were people who cared about him and just wanted the very best for him. He listened to and respected their opinions but, in the end, he listened to his heart and went for it anyway—-and totally made the right decision. What would have happened had he let fear take over? I respect him so much for the good head on his shoulders.
The whole thing has certainly not been what I expected. I feel like the success they have seen has made them different people, but in a good way. I have never seen them so humble, so grateful, empathetic and more able to see another’s perspective. They have come into contact with people from all over the world with so many different backgrounds. They are more down to earth. They seem to laugh more, to trust more, to be more positive and hopeful.
I’m not saying it’s all roses and that life is perfect because no life is perfect, but it’s such a relief to see them happy and thriving. And to see people responding to something good! There is so much nastiness and filth in the world. We could all add a little more goodness to it.
So far no one has taken out any credit cards in their name or hidden in their attic. So that’s a plus.
In any case, we just wanted to say that we love them. It’s so crazy seeing what life has to offer.
UPDATE April 2017: Aaaaaand now we are vlogging too. We are fledglings and we are weirdos. We are still trying to remember what we normally do with our hands when the camera’s on. Or how to access basic co-ordination skills. Or what words are. If you’re into that kind of thing come join us. You won’t regret it. Or maybe you will. I don’t know you! (yet) But I can’t imagine it’d be in your life’s top ten regrets.
Our Channel: Click here! Or don’t. I’m not the boss of you.
- Anne’s most requested Ellie and Jared Video “The one where we went to Lowe’s”
- My favorite Ellie and Jared Video The Moment We’ve Been Waiting For and the one where my husband rocks at shooting a 9mm
- Anne’s most requested Matt and Em Video “The One With the Pie in the Face” and Tricks with Kids. I am pretty sure when we go visit in March Anne fully expects Matt to be a human target again. Expect some more pie, people.
- (update 2-8-16) My favorite Matt and Em Video “Elf on a Shelf Cut My Hair ” and “Emotional Pregnancy Announcement“. The first one always makes me laugh, my pint-sized ballsy friend who really had her hair cut and the second always makes me cry.
- P.S. They are so stinkin awesome.