Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Continuing the Vision Still - "Where did you go?!"

Hello dear friends!  Since I haven't been posting new material every single week for several months now, I have been asked many times lately, "Where did you go??"  *smile*  I just wanted to give you a little update on why that is.  *smile*

Nothing earth shattering really, don't worry, just some changes in this season of life.  The Lord has been directing me to serve within our blog in three slightly different ways lately.

First, the Lord has so blessed us with an effective ministry in Large Families on Purpose.  I have been able to write over 1,700 pages in these first three years, and the website now averages over 90,000 page views per month. There have been approximately 660,000 individual visitors since we first started which works out to about 620 per day but of course it started at 0 and God has been bringing people here ever since. For comparison, there are an estimated 634 million websites (2012) and based on average daily traffic Large Families On Purpose ranks about 936,143rd world wide and 300,434th in the U.S. While this is small time in the big picture of the web it is a big deal being 100% produced from our living room. *smile*  This growth has produced quite a lot of emails and post questions to me *smile* which I do my best to reply to, since helping others with large family issues, being an encouragement and a resource are why the Lord prompted us to begin this blog and while writing content for reading is important, interacting with and encouraging families directly whenever possible is the real point of what we do.  Ministering through answering questions does take time, though, and for the last several months it has taken most of the time that I have, not leaving much for writing new posts.

The second reason that I've not written as frequently is simply the fact that our children are three years older now which brings us into the teen age years with our older ones, and our youngest "babies" turning three years old this past November 2013.  This means more children are homeschooling with curriculum, the curriculum is more advanced including highschool, and much more life issues need to be dealt with as our older ones begin dipping their toes in to more real life.  Our family is always our first God-given priority and as such it has been drawing on my daily resources physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  Not a bad thing, just more than it used to be.  *smile*

Thirdly, the Lord has opened the door for my my dear husband, Bob, to move into a life-long dream of owning his own business, together with my brother.  In May of this past year 2013 the conceptual seed was planted to expand my brother's company of 10 years, Cleaner Guys - which includes residential and commercial carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, and janitorial services - to include my husband's knowledge and 12 years of experience with fire and water damage restoration, mold remediation, and site clean up (where a rental or investment property has been damaged by vagrants, vandals, or tenants).  The idea began to grow over 3 months and in August the company was expanded by the addition of restoration work and began to flourish!  This has been very exciting - yet time consuming for our family, naturally.

So - good things for the Shupes - just time consuming.  I've needed to prioritize more time for the family and to support my husband, which is a blessing, but has meant fewer new posts lately.  

I'm still here.  *smile*  I have been answering questions from readers daily instead of writing new material. I'm still posting now, just not every week as I was for the first 2 1/2 years.   I hope to begin posting more frequently again in the near future. 

We hope you will continue to find encouragement, ideas and direction here and that you'll keep sharing Large Families on Purpose with friends and family whom you feel it would be a blessing to, and that the Lord will continue to receive glory by our efforts even as it's more "behind the scenes" right now.

Looking forward to spending more time with you,

If you'd like to read more about the purpose of Large Families on Purpose, or the progress of our blog, you can do so here:


Continuing the Vision - What Large Families On Purpose Is...And What It Isn't


  1. Glad to see you posting again! God bless!

  2. Glad to see you back! You're always such an encouragement to me. Love in Christ!

  3. I am very happy that all those good things are happening in your life. God is good!

  4. So glad to see a new post, and happy to hear about this new opportunity for your husband! :)

  5. Thanks for the update. It will be interesting to see how you deal with teenagers. I'm crazy about my teen (even though he drives me a little crazy!) I think the teen years are the best BY FAR but it's quite the challange!

    Looking forward to new posts soon.

  6. I am glad that you prioritize and put your family first! I am so glad that I found your blog though. When I first found it, it was up on my computer for weeks while I read almost everything you've written! You were so encouraging that we can do this, and we can do this in the small house we're in. I'm still on my junk purging journey, but you inspired me. We will soon have a family of 9 in a small, 3 bedroom home. We're still praying for God to move us to larger, but I'm thankful to have found the help and encouragement that I needed here. I look forward to ALL of your blog posts! No need to take the time to comment. Spend it with your kids! :)

  7. I just wanted to encourage you that you ALREADY have sooooo much helpful information on this website, and the most important foundations of your family of WHAT you do and WHY, are already here for everyone to see. So naturally this website is about as helpful as it could be!!! It's a great resource as it is - I come here often to check things on your schedules :-) Grateful for the time God DID give you to allow you share all of that.
    I'm glad your family is getting your first attention. That's how it should be.
    Love, Shannon

  8. Erika,

    I LOVE the updated family pix. You guys have a beautiful family! Quick question though: I noticed that Karen is wearing a tank top style shirt/dress. She looks beautiful but i'm a little surprised to see so much skin showing.

    You've written extensively on skirt/dress wearing. I know that many religiously observant families have a "no collar bone" policy, meaning no tops that reveal the collar bone or below. What are your families guidelines for tops/shirts for girls?

    1. Thank you for your sweet compliment! *beam*

      We do not have a no collar bone policy; as long as the neckline does not too low, like showing cleavage of course, then it's usually fine. ;) The thing we are avoiding with skirt-wearing is the visual availability of the legs crotch area via pants. That is the stumbling block for men; so we choose to cover that up to protect our brother's in christ minds.

  9. I too am shocked at the skin. Collar bone or no collar bone in our home it is what can be seen in different positions that matters. Unless you stand stock still and stiff as a soldier, that material will pucker, gap and allow men to see down where they shouldn't. Also just the cut of the neckline draws eyes to the bust, the sleeveless-ness allows the imagination to travel to the bust also. I have enjoyed your blog for a while, but I feel your daughter just lost her innocence and I am a little concerned. It just doesn't seem consistent with what you have been teaching all this time. This is not meant to criticize, I just care for your family. I too am a mother of 9 children.....5 boys and 4 daughters. Please reconsider and do not whet their appetite for less.

    1. The Reynolds,
      First of all the dress is not sleeveless like a tank top, which we pretty much never wear in public unless it's a very, very modest one. Secondly the neckline may be lower than we ever allow, however she only wore this dress for a few hours (and from our dress up box, not purchased to be worn anywhere else) and with no boys present. We went to a friend's house with only girls and then she took it off. I didn't worry about it for those few hours. We also need to keep perspective. I did post the photos, but no one online is seeing her bend over in a photo (which by the way the dress allowed for just fine), or move around. I don't see it as any big deal at all, and she certainly did not lose her innocence over it.

  10. I'm treading very lightly here because I don't want it to seem like i'm piling on. I have a follow up question though: If you're sick of talking about this topic please feel free to ignore the inquiry.

    You mentioned in the past that dresses/skirts are preferred because pants draw the eye to the crotch. Doesn't a lower cut shirt do the same thing? Only it draws the eye to the bustline. Even if she went to a party with only girls, the shot is now posted online where strangers from around the world are having a peek. I'd think that's worse than just going around town where only a few people would see her.

    Please know that I have no juddgement about however you and your family choose to dress. I was, however, surprised to see both Karen and Anne Marie's tops. (Karen for the neck line and Anne Marie for the wide arm holes.)

    I spent my teenage years driving my mother crazy sneaking around and wearing low cut tops. I would have LOVED both of these shirts as a teen! As a 40-something mom, not so much!

    1. Oh, I just realized you're talking about their school photos on our blog page. I thought you were talking about the Christmas party photos - I just assumed I guess since I'd just posted them before the first comment. Yes, Karen's dress is a bit low; and Anna Marie's arm holes definitely need a tee shirt and she always wears one with that dress usually. These photos were spontaneous and it was a stressful time so I didn't pay close enough attention, sorry. But it's also not the end of the world. We do our very best, and sometimes we make mistakes.

    2. Hi Erika,
      I'm not shocked at Karens photo. Even if it is lower cut than some would like, placing an eye catching object at neck height can often draw the eye away from the bust.

      I was a little surprised at Anna Marie's clothing, but here in Australia I've seen children romping around their front yard in much less. I know your heart is to be as modest as you can be, but in our humanness we make the occasional misjudgement. I know it wasn't intentional, (unlike the disgraceful practise some parents here have of letting their child romp around in the front yard in their birthday suit) and your girls still look gorgeous.
      I think it is going a bit far to say the girls have risked or have lost their innocence. To me that's a legalistic spirit.
      Young ladies need to make it easier on a young man by dressing modestly, but there is also a point where the young man is responsible too. I've seen girls in much more shocking outfits than that.
      A church my husband and I used to attend was particular about clothing,one Sunday it was 42 degrees celcius and so my husband thought it more sensible to wear a polo shirt and knee length shorts. When we got to the church, he was nice and cool and relaxed, while still being modest and not showey. The rest of the men were wearing a full suit and tie. And we're sweating like pigs on a spit. If anything they were the ones that came out looking foolish. And yet it was my husband who was reprimanded for not wearing a suit and tie.

    3. I agree with Mmolesly. The girls look lovely. There is nothing wrong with what the girls are wearing and the pictures are not revealing at all. Actually, I kind of wish I had a shirt just like Karen's :)

      I agree that modesty is important. My husband and I dress modestly as do our kids. I do think that one should not get legalistic over it, as there are multiple ways to dress and still be considered modest. Body type and outdoor/indoor weather are also contributing factors as to what is appropriate and what is not. Most importantly, I believe that it is the responsibility of BOTH men and women to: a) dress modestly and b) practice "clean" thinking where one does not allow one's mind to entertain impure thoughts.

      Just my two cents. Merry Christmas to all!

  11. Good golly, I haven't been here for a couple of years (probably since changing my own blog awhile back!). How fun to see how beautiful the kids have grown! It will be fun to peruse around again. =)
    Sheri Hollinger


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