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what kind of family are you?

    This is my big sister and her out-of-control-beautiful family:

    She has always been my best friend {along with my little sister and bff K.C.} and I admire so many things about her.

    My sister and brother-in-law are fun, outgoing, inclusive, fashionable, photogenic, lovers of the Lord. They are the best hosts, they have the perfect combination of honesty and silliness and are servants, through and through.

    They also have two really great {and adorable} kids:

    Out of all the wonderful qualities they have, my very favorite thing is what they have taught their children.

    If you ask my niece {6 yrs} about her family, she will say {in her sweet, high-pitched voice}:

    This is their family motto. It is what they are all about. It is what they want to be known for.

    They want people to think of their family and automatically say, “Those Olason’s. They sure are a kind and generous family”.

    I’m not sure why, but it sort of makes me cry.

    Probably mainly because it is so true of them. They are kind. And they are very generous. Each one of them.

    Since my sister was a young girl her dream was finding an orphaned baby in a dumpster. Sort of weird, but that is her heart. She wanted to care for a baby who needed it. They always invite friends to our family holidays who do not have a place to go, they open their home often to families who need a place to stay, they are generous with their stuff … the list goes on. Their motto is not just a cute saying; it is truly how they live.

    It makes me think – what is our family motto? What are we all about? What do we want to be known for?

    When all is said and done, what will people say about our family?

    It is a great question to think about and one I ask you today as well …

    37 thoughts on “what kind of family are you?”

    1. I love this post! Your sister’s navy blue dress is soo cute!
      Somethings I love that my husband always says are:
      “If not us, who? If not now, when?” and “Make it a now day”
      We can always say we are going to help someone soon, or write grandma a letter tomorrow, but somehow it doesn’t happen, unless we do it now. And if we don’t do things now, who will?

    2. When I read this post about your sister’s fam, I had to smile because I said the same thing about your family a few months ago! I found some gift tags on pinterest and later sent this e-mail to my sis when you posted your Christmas card:

      “So, I was looking for some gift tags last night and found some on this site. Now, I get her e-mails. Please scroll down to the end to see the most adorable family ever!”

      Thanks for sharing, and as one of five girls (and a great brother too), I agree that sisters are THE BEST!

    3. emily, i love this post! it really made me think. we haven’t made a “family mission statement” but as i think about it, the three character qualities that we really emphasize with our kids are forgiveness, servant-hood, and thankfulness.

      it sounds like your sister has an amazing family.

      my recent post: how to pray with boldness…

    4. sometimes i worry people will say we’re the family where the middle teenage girls bicker at each other. all the time. sigh…

      i wish we were a generous family . i do…

      maybe one of my favorite posts of yours & so thought provoking.
      we’ll be talking about this next time all 6 of us are together.

      you are good people emily
      & your sister and her family are GORGEOUS!!

    5. We have a list of Family Rules in the family room and the last rule is “Your brother is your best friend.” I would love for people to look at our family and think, “they just all seem like the best of friends.” And as I sit here and watch my 3 boys playing together I am glad we have that rule and that they are following it.

    6. Have been married for 53 years, and never thought about this…
      My mother told me and my five bros/sis to try to do the best always, no matter where. And also to keep family secrets for us!…so my dh and i( without telling) , did the same with our four kids. Now they are grown and three of them away, forming their own families, and i see that what we taught them is in a way based on those principles of love, careness, integrity, loyalty… A phrase to describe my family now: forgiveness is the real thing behind happiness!

    7. LOVE this. I emailed it to my husband (who’s a pastor) and told him we need to do this when we start a family, and he told me he wants his motto to be “We don’t rent pigs.” (from his favorite movie Lonesome Dove).

      After a good laugh, we decided that maybe we could come up with something better. Companies have mission statements to keep them focused, and I think families – especially Christian famlies – should too!

    8. It’s funny you post this since my husband and I just had a this conversation. Through the social media world and my Northpoint Community Church friends I came across a quote from the Orange conference this week.

      “Parenting Goals:

      Culture: raise well rounded, well educated, happy kids

      God: unleash Christ-centered, biblically anchored, world changers”

      I hope we can lead by example as family.
      Beautiful post!

    9. so, so, SO inspirational. our little family is a year old & thanks to this post, I will think long & hard about this question & hope to have my little one pipe up with a great answer, with such conviction, like your niece one day. thank you so very much.

    10. I have never thought of having a family motto. You’ve got me thinking. So many times we become consumed with being the type of person/family that others think we are/should be that we forget to be who we are and what God created us to be. If I had to think of one word that people, friends or strangers alike, would describe us as it would be “helpful”. We’re always lending a helping hand. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. My husband and I have one 4 year old and a baby on the way; what better time to define our family motto to live by?

      Blessings to you and your family!

    11. Well, we’re the kind of family that looks at the family pictured and sighs. We got married with a love for the Lord, had an amazing million dollar baby (seriously a millions dollars – lots of hospital bills) we outreached, loved, practiced hospitality, home beautifully decorated, manicured yard – yep, that was us. cozy pretty middle class family. then one day i come home and the money is gone. all gone. like no money for milk gone. found out that the past months when i thought my husband was sneaking out and cheating on me, he was sneaking out and gambling. oh, and he tried to win it back by taking money from our mutal line of credit (because to be in a good trusting maraige you share everything) to gamble it back – it didn’t work. So i ended my stay at home years to rush to work only to come back from working out of town for a week to pay on the gambling debt and have him ask me to move out. oh, by the way, he decided he was gay. that’s the kind of family we are. where the daddy lives hundreds of miles away and where the mamma hopes she can pay childcare this month. Thank God, He has given me a creative mind and useful hands where i design and create and sell on the side to help make ends meet. that is how i found your site – i love it, and it is oh so very encouraging. i especially love “twirl,” it has become one of my words, and the verse in your daughters room is golden. It has carried me through many days. But today, has been one of those days, and i look at the happy little family and sigh. I sigh because I hope they fare better than us, i sigh because I miss our family, i sigh because my daughter asks me to marry someone else so we can have a family again. I am glad i know One who (some day) will give beauty for ashes and the oil of joy for mourning.

      1. My heart goes out to you! Beauty for ashes has always been my heart’s cry to the Lord when I’ve gone through rough times (miscarrying my first baby was a big one). God has been faithful to do just that. Your family is in my prayers!!

    12. Just coming out of my newlywed phase (we’ll be 2 years in October), I don’t know what our motto would be. In fact, I think this is a really poignant question for other young families who are just starting to think of themselves as a “family” and not as an individual. I think we’ve all stopped to think about “what kind of person am I?” But when I stop to think about the simple question you’ve posted, it’s a much harder thing to answer. Thank you for making me stop and think…especially on a Friday :) Perhaps this is deserving of printable art!

    13. Adorable! I think that would be a good family motto as well. AND if your sweet sister has always hoped to bless a babies life that needs her, well, something comes to mind! I fundraise with this great organization called Reece’s Rainbow – a Down syndrome adoption advocacy group ( I have a son with Down syndrome (born to us, not adopted) but soon after he was born I learned of the plight of those with DS born in many other countries. They are unwanted, unloved, seen as ‘less than’ in their society, and nearly all are put away in orphanages and forgotten. When not adopted by age 4-5, they are put away in adult mental institutions (no place for a child, must less disabled adults – underfunded, horrible conditions).

      I have a 6 year old boy with DS and can not even fathom my sweet, adorable, bright boy being shoved away and treated as such. Breaks my heart. Those babies and young children desperately NEED families. And if someone can’t adopt, they can always help out those children by donating to specific childs funds or spreading the word to others that can and do want to adopt. We sponsor a child every year to raise money for them. Our life is so blessed with our little one with DS – the motto of Reece’s Rainbow is “Every family deserves the blessing of a child with Down syndrome!” So true! Anyway, when I read that she always hoped to find a baby that needs her…well, this organization came to mind:)

    14. Great idea! Love the idea of a family motto and I love the idea from one of the commentors about posting something on the door you exit the most. We have two little girls almost 5 and 2, and a mystery baby on the way. It would be nice to have a motto for our growing family!

    15. first of all “out of control beautiful” is right. holy moly! They are so cute and I LOVE their styling for their photos. I’m going to pin it NOW. Secondly I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE their motto. My husband and I have had this question in the back of our minds (what do we want to be known for, what is our family motto?) for some time now and you just motivated me to schedule a sit down after the kiddos are in bed and discuss! Our girls are 2 years and 8 months so at least we still have time to drill it into them! Thanks for this post. Love it!

    16. I love that this is your post for today! It has been on my mind ALL WEEK that I feel like my husband and I need to come up with a family mission statement – something we feel is the direction God has for our lives and that we will work to live out every single day (and then one day teach our kids). Just this morning getting ready I couldn’t stop thinking of the word “servant” and what that means and everything it implies. I absolutely love your sister’s family motto – what a great and very tangible explanation of a servant. Thank you for this incredible encouragement!

      PS – I agree that sisters are the best friends!

    17. “Be kind and loving”

      My mom said these four words to my siblings and me everyday for as long as I can remember. Even though I am married, grown and on my own it is still our family motto. I plan on making it my family motto one day too!

    18. I LOVE this thought. You have just given me a great idea for our Family night this next week. We haven’t done a family proclamation since we added to our family and I’ve wanted to tweak it. Thanks for the fantastic way you have showcased your family. And I love the fact that those gorgeous ladies are wearing rain boots in their picture. You couldn’t do that in the midwest.

    19. Could you please let me know where your sister got her kids clothes? Adorable!

      After seeing this one a blog, I made a sign by the door we exit the most:
      “Remember, as far as anyone knows, we are a NORMAL family.”

      1. I love it! My family and my husbands are very different cultures and religions, so we tend to have different celebrations and beliefs but we are very normal in our own way.

    20. Lovely! Purpose defines our direction. With a well-defined mission statement, we are able to focus our efforts, eliminating things that detract, saying “no” to things that don’t help us accomplish our mission. What your sister and her husband have done is beautiful and will bear such fruit in their children!! I will be thinking about this all day, dear. Thank you!

    21. This is great food for thought! I think I know what people would say about us (maybe “fun”, “adventurous”, “quirky”, or “nice”) but I’m aware that our descriptors should be more Christ-like. Thanks for the lovely post, and encouraging thoughts!

    22. What a very good guestion! Sure all have some adjectives, intentionally or un- . I think ours might be : discussive and ready-to-serve. I think this is how we show up; people come, stay and enjoy dicussing and drinking coffee / dining with us.

      It’s lovely to have sisters, isn’t it!!

    23. Our family could be described as chaotic, mad, and fun. But when it comes to family values, we live a kind of ‘live and let live’ existence. I suppose like hippys really! Both my husband and I have taught the kids from a young age not to discriminate against anyone, not to be rude to anyone, not to think they are above anyone and just be kind…oh and not to squish any animals/insects, no matter how small (or annoying) they are….

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