The Bates Family

Home Coming at Museum of Appalachia

by Kelly on October 21, 2011


We love fall and we love homecoming at the Museum of Appalachia! Since it’s just minutes from our house, we get to enjoy the many crafts and the old fashioned setting. It was a special treat to have Sarah join Zach in singing a duet together (“Consider the Lilies”). Carlin and Josie sold crafts they had worked on for the festival (candy cups and handmade cards). We were able to pass out gospel tracks (written by evangelist Don Savell) and enjoyed meeting many new friends from all over the United States!

















{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

Casey October 20, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Wish we could have been there! Looks like a great time. Wonderful pictures! The girls’ dresses are so cute!


Shelby Leigh October 20, 2011 at 2:39 pm

You have a very beautiful family! Love you guys! God Bless ! Love, Shelby Leigh


Beth Miles October 20, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Hello Kelly, This looks like something I would love! I love the appalachian’s & Love the Fall time of year. Judson is so adorable and it’s hard to believe he is such a big boy now! You all look great! Love ya’ll like a pig loves slop!!! Beth


sonja petersen October 20, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Dear Bates,
wow it looks like you were having a very good time there! I like the photos, Judson is really a big boy now- soon a big brother! The policedog is cute and it seems the weather was sunny and nice too. Please tell me how old is the wooden stage where you were singing. I like that old fashionstyle a lot.
Have a good fall-time and enjoy the colours of God’s nature.
God bless your hearts.
Sonja P. from Hamburg


Gil October 20, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Dear Sonja,
I’m not sure how old the establishment is. Maybe you could look up the Museum of Appalachia in Clinton, TN for details. It is a very interesting place with many old cabins and artifacts. Love, Kelly


Shari October 20, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Your family is so beautiful. My children are now 24, 18 and 14. If I had know about home schooling and how important material things are NOT 20 years ago I think our family would have been so much closer and would have made better choices and our marriage would have been stronger. I so want my grandchildren to be raised in a Godly world but it will take a lot of hands on doing but it is what I dream about. And seeing families like you, the Reiths, and The Duggars makes me want to more for others than myself.. does any of this make sense? Anyway-thanks for always sharing you awesome family and your beliefs.. I hope you enjoy the rest of your pregnancy and have a easy delivery. We live in Springfield, MO.. would love for you all to come for dinner!


Gil October 20, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Dear Shari,
New beginnings is always a tremendous hope for Christians. It’s never too late to start fresh where you are and pick up the broken pieces. God has a way of fitting the puzzle pieces of our lives together to create a beautiful picture for His glory when we yield ourselves to His leading. All of us have changes we wish we could make in our past to learn from. Thank you for your humility to encourage others to make wise choices! God bless, Kelly.


Ms. A October 20, 2011 at 7:52 pm

I have such admiration for your family and the photos you post are always so wonderful!


Sarah October 20, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Dear Kelly,
I have a quick question there is no certain way you have to read your bible right? For example I could read Hebrews and then go read Exodus? And also do you need to read like 1 Timothy and then read 2 Timothy to understand it?


Gil October 20, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Dear Sarah,
You’re correct; you can read the Bible in any order. There are many different Bible charts online to keep track of what you’ve read. It’s very helpful to read an overall summary to get an idea of the background and setting of the books. My favorite help books are by John Phillips (Exploring the Scriptures is a great one to start with.) At some point, you might want to read straight through the Old Testament to make sure you don’t overlook books and so that you get a clear understanding. Checking a list as you go helps you keep up with where you’re at and where you need to be. Love, Kelly


Lauren Sharpe October 20, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Beautiful pictures!! I love them. Thank you for sharing them with us. Looks like ya’ll had a blast.

Lauren S.


Hope October 20, 2011 at 9:43 pm

When is zach and sarah going to get engaged?


Gil October 20, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Dear Hope,
Zach will finish his degree and pray about God’s timing. Love, Kelly


Denise October 20, 2011 at 11:04 pm

Love the pics, would love to hear Zach and Sarah play together. They are such a cute couple. Fall is my favorite time of the year too. Wish I lived closer to be able to go there. How did the girls do on selling their crafts? Bet they had fun making them. Thanks also for sharing your family with us, so enjoy reading about you all, and Judson, he is such a of luck with the new baby.


Gil October 21, 2011 at 5:36 am

Dear Denise,
They earned $200 together, and were so thankful! It was their first try at selling crafts, and they were worried they might come home with everything they had spent hours making… but to their surprise, they sold out! Carlin spent all of her hard earned money buying gifts for each of her siblings! Love, Kelly


Hannah October 21, 2011 at 12:06 am

I saw you guys there! I had so much fun! It was great talking to you guys. We even bought one of the handmade cards.


Gil October 21, 2011 at 5:34 am

Thanks! Carlin was worried her crafts wouldn’t sell. She was overjoyed with enthusiasm from the response she received. We are grateful for everyone that helped boost her confidence! Love, Kelly


Tonya October 21, 2011 at 12:25 am

Beautiful pictures!!!! I love the dresses the little girls were wearing!


kate October 21, 2011 at 12:50 am

HI Kelly

Looks like a great time. I am from Australia and have seen many references to Homecoming in US films but I dont know what it is all about. Are you able to give me a quick run down?

Hope your pregnancy is going well. My sister is now 15 weeks pregnant and we got to watch a dvd of her scan a few weeks ago. How anyone can look at that and not believe in the miracles the Lord can do is beyond me :)

Take care


Gil October 21, 2011 at 5:32 am

Dear Kate,
Homeschooling allows parents to take responsibility for their child’s education. It allows them to choose curriculum and method. Many helps are available today” traditional workbooks, hands on curriculum, computer lessons, DVD class rooms. There are also home school co=ops where students can gather to learn more difficult or more unique subjects. Because teaching is more individualized, each child’s learning styles can be targeted. As a Christian, I like this choice, because we are able to choose character studies and curriculum that are Christ centered. Love, Kelly


Nicole October 21, 2011 at 12:51 am

Bates, I wanted to tell you what an inspiration you all are to me–especially Kelly. As the stay-at-home, homeschool mother of twelve biological children who range in age from four months to six years, I love getting inspiration and encouragement from other Godly, homeschooling mothers.

I was delighted to find your blog earlier tonight. The past few days have been hard; over half my children are down with strep throat, and several others have had bad attitudes all day. Reading through these posts were just what I needed to help keep me going. Thank you so much!



Gil October 21, 2011 at 5:27 am

Dear Nicole,
We all have those days… A song in your heart or a favorite Scripture verse can be a good reminder (aswell as encouraging words from friends!. Love, Kelly


sandy October 21, 2011 at 1:17 am

Really appreciate you all–was wondering if you have a schedule somewhere of when Gil preaches or your family performs? Do you ever make it as far north as Nebraska?


Gil October 21, 2011 at 5:25 am

Dear Sandy,
During school months, we only travel short distances that can be made over the weekend. We usually plan for longer trips in the summer. Love, Kelly


Michelle October 21, 2011 at 10:31 am

Hi Kelly,
Love your updates as usual. The kids and I always look forward to seeing new photos of your family and I love any photos taken in the fall.I have to ask,how do your daughters put the curls in their hair. Both Michaela and Erin had lovely curls at the end of their hair. My daughter has similar length hair and I am always looking for different ways to style it that don’t look too over done. God Bless and Sláinte(slawn-ya) as we say in Ireland,


Gil October 21, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Dear Michelle,
Thank you! Michaella sleeps in sponge rollers when she wants to have curls. Love, Kelly


Mandi October 21, 2011 at 5:55 pm

How kind of Carlin to purchase gifts for her siblings. Your pictures are great. If your children’s inner beauty is half as great as their outer beauty, then you are a very blessed family!


Patti October 21, 2011 at 6:05 pm

I hope you don’t mind if I answer Kate’s question from above. She was asking about Homecoming, not homeschooling. Kate, Homecoming in the U.S. is a time when people flock back to their home towns to meet up with old friends. It is generally centered around high schools, colleges and universities, and involves parades, football games, celebrations, etc. It originated for alumni of those institutions to go back and catch up with old friends. It is a time many people look forward to, whether it involves a school or just a home-town celebration.


Gil October 22, 2011 at 4:59 am

Dear Patti,
Thank you for correcting my mess up… I don’t see well without contacts and had just answered a letter about homeschooling. Sorry for the confusion, Kate! Thank you for helping out, Patti! Love, Kelly


Emma Culverhouse (England) October 21, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Dear Kelly,
Hello to you and all your family, I hope you are all well. This has nothing to do with your post but I am so excited and happy I just had to share it with you!! I got another job which will enable me to come off state benefits!! I have been trying for around 18 months with not much success but I have my life to Christ and within in a month I had one job at my daughters school. I’ve thrown myself into serving at the church creche and being a parent helper at school & I have done it all with a smile on my face and the light of God in my eyes. I applied for a cleaning job at a prestigious school, a job which I don’t have any experience for, but I got an interview!! So last night I prayed that God would show me if this job was the right one for me and they offered me it there and then!! I am so thankful and joyous and really looking forward to giving my all.
Sorry for the long story but I am a little over excited, I also want to thank you for all your encouragement in these posts, it truly has made a huge impact in my life.
love Emma x


Koni October 21, 2011 at 7:58 pm

When is Addee’s birthday and how old is she turning? She is such a sweetheart! All of your kids are! Do y’all usually do a lot of field trips? Or do you mostly homeschool, and once in a while go on field trips? Oh, what do y’all eat usually for breakfast? Do you or one of your girls cook the meals? Thanks so much! -Koni


Gil October 21, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Dear Koni,
Addee’s birthday is in February, along with Jackson’s. We do take an occassional field trip when our church plans one or if we are travelling, but we stick near home during school months and mainly use traditional curriculum with workbooks, DVDs, computer, and books. Field trips for us are an add on to the traditional, so they don’t occur as often. For breakfast, we eat fast meals like cereal, yogurt, homemade bread, oatmeal, fruit, eggs, biscuits, granola bars, etc. Usually we take turns cooking. The most common cooks in our house are Michaella, Alyssa, and myself… but everyone has a hand in helping at some point! Love, Kelly


Deepti October 21, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Dear Kelly,
I just wanted to say that Carlin and Josie’s crafts are darling! The candy bouquets are the sweetest thing — are they hard to make? The weather in your pictures looks lovely as well.
Take care.


Gil October 22, 2011 at 4:08 am

Dear Deepti,
My sister owns a flower shop in NC and taught them how to make several variations of the candy bouquets. They are actually quite easy and fun to make! Love, Kelly


Kay W October 21, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Michaela’s hair is so beautiful and thick. It brings back memories from back when mine was like that. Not that mine is thin, but the years do take their toll, even on hair. I think I will try sponge rollers, too, since I still wear my hair long, even at 68, and color it, too. Was it Shakespeare who said, “Vanity, thy name is woman?” Another thing, people who write mean and nasty blogs, get information from this site. I, personally, was ripped to shreds for trying to buy my way into your family with material for Michaela and gifts for the kids. Since I am 68 and know that is not what I am about, and I am positive you know it, too, I can take criticism, who cares? But just so others who write know what is going on, that Lawson is not supporting your family, you are not starving horses to death, etc. etc. Any personal information is up for grabs I am sorry to say. God bless and love to all of you.


Gil October 22, 2011 at 4:04 am

Dear Kay,
Thank you, but we understand that a lot of assumptions get made over the few minutes of air time that might be shown. Criticism can help us make needed changes or can help us learn to be more understanding and compassionate of others in response. We are certainly not perfect people and have much to learn. With that in mind, we ask ourselves “Is there any truth to what is being said? Can I improve myself by acknowledging what they are saying?” If there is any truth (even if it is said with the wrong intent), We can often still learn and be helped. If there is not any truth, We can choose to become bitter or forgive… of course, to forgive is a much better choice!! In our case, since much of what is seen of our family is only a small part of a whole picture (that we are often unable to make further responses about), it is understandable how many can make false assumptions… so the best response we can have is a loving one… and it’s always much more gratifying to look for the good in people! Love, Kelly


Hannah October 22, 2011 at 1:12 am

My little sister is 12 and loves to make crafts, just like Carlin. She made bows and sold them to some of the people in our church. They were really cute. Just wondering, do you guys go to the Museum of Appalachia Homecoming every year? I live in Knoxville and this was my first time ever going. I really enjoyed it and was glad I got to meet you and your awesome family!


Gil October 22, 2011 at 3:45 am

Dear Hannah,
We do go every year that we are in town. It is a terrific opportunity to pass out tracts and to meet people. Love, Kelly


Kay W October 22, 2011 at 7:52 pm

And here I was thinking that I am a perfect person :-) It’s obvious that I will never, ever, be as kind, understanding, and forgiving as you are, Kelly. While it was never my intent to ingratiate myself into your family, as it turns out, I truly enjoy being your kids, ‘Aunt Kay’ and providing little gifts for them. So I will follow your advice and be forgiving. Do you ever get angry?


Angela October 22, 2011 at 8:35 pm

Hi Bates family,
It looked like this would have been alot of fun to go to. But, with 7 children all sick we couldn’t make it. We just moved to the Knoxville area in Seymour to be exact. I look forward to doing some of the fall events here, there are so many compared to where we moved from which was Florida.


Shelby Leigh October 22, 2011 at 8:47 pm

You have very good looking children! You should be a very proud momma!


Kay S October 22, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Just another couple of comments on homecomings. The town my parents grew up in holds Old Home Week every year. As Patti said homecoming is a time to come back together. This one also raises money for the volunteer fire dept (who organized and sponsored it for many years), includes fund raising for other community-help groups, traveling carnival type rides, a pet parade for the kids to show off their pets (either walking like dogs and sheep and horses, or in cages on wagons for birds, rabbits, and hamsters etc), bingo and other games, local music groups, various contests, and homemade food booths. This town in (the state of) Pennsylvania has held homecoming for 79 consecutive years now.
Sometimes churches also hold homecomings to commemorate special occasions. They usually invite previous pastors back to participate in (often a weekend of) special worship services, activities, and covered dish meals, invite former members who have moved away back to visit, and encourage current parishioners to bring friends and neighbors. It is a great time to reconnect, see how the local church is doing, and make new friends.
This homecoming at the museum seems extra special including the crafts and the educational nature of a time mostly past. How exciting that your family and the Southern Raised were able to participate. Blessings to all!


brittani October 23, 2011 at 2:57 pm

hi Bates family i see your family had a fun time at tennessee homecoming at the Museum of Appalachia! my babysitter’s daughter lives 2 hours from your family, and mrs. bates when is your due date for baby 19, my babysitter granddaughter nicole her due date is coming up here in nov and she going have a little girl she going to be look cute like her sister adriana, i tell your family the baby come into the world ok.


Lauren Sharpe October 23, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Dear Kelly,

I am getting very discouraged with homeschooling Jacob. He is too little to start yet but we are hoping to be able to in the future. Of course it all depends on Mason’s job and if it is what the Lord wants. (we hope it is!). It scares me to send him to a public school. :( Anyway, I’m getting discouraged because right now we are just waiting on the Lord to lead us on what to do but my family keeps telling me I cannot homeschool Jacob because it is not the “thing” to do and we wont be able to afford it. I don’t like it when people tell me we can’t do things and when I tell them “The Lord will show us the way. If he wants us to homeschool Jacob He will provide”. I always get the response that I need to do what we can afford not wait on the Lord to provide because he may not. Do you have any advice? You homeschool your children correct?

Lauren S.


Gil October 23, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Dear Lauren,
Yes, we do homeschool. Curriculum choices can be like buying a car, they come in all different shapes, colors… and price ranges! There are ultra expensive curriculum options and very reasonably priced ones. Most wasted money in homeschooling comes from buying things that you change your mind about (fortunately, with computer access these can be resold if your a smart shopper). There are things you can begin to teach Jacob now, while he is too young for formal schooling… character lessons are an advantage at any age and children that can barely talk can learn their colors, shapes, alphabet, and important foundational information!
Now the more weighty subject of controversy… Its important to look at people’s motives for reaction. Often parents and others react because of opinions they’ve formed from lack of knowledge, or from bad examples of other homeschoolers, or just because it is a change. Instead of reacting or becoming hurt, realize that their concern may be genuine and may be based on their love… not their desire to hurt. Keeping that in mind, when you respond to them, do so with appreciation for their concern. Thank them for their interest in your life, then offer them some background to help their understanding, or provide them good examples, or show them the statistics of homeschool scores, etc. They still may not agree with or support your choices in life, but you can still show them love and respect and gratitude. Once we were convinced what we felt God wanted for our family, we had resolute purpose and strength to pursue that goal, but we tried to be respectful of other people’s responses and beliefs. We had to take a stand for what we thought was best for us, but we tried not to sever precious relationships with others in doing so. Love, Kelly


Dinah October 24, 2011 at 3:37 am

Your website looks fabulous and love seeing all the updates. I was recently in your area and wanted to visit your church but just could not fit it in my travel schedule. I would have loved Homecoming at the Museum of Appalachia, sorry I missed it. Look forward to visiting your church someday. Sincerely, your neighbor in Virginia :-)


Sara P October 24, 2011 at 7:07 am

To Lauren: Everyone is going to have an opinion about things and eventually it all works out. I’m sure people would say I’m not a great mom, because I work outside the home. I knew though, that if I stayed home I would resent it and I have no desire to homeschool my child. I will be active in the PTA and voice my opinion and make sure he is progressing. I just think there is this need to fit people into a box and long ago I said ah forget the box. I do find myself getting annoyed at the way I think things should be and the reality of what they are, but I think that is human nature at times. The fact is life is all about decisions and ultimately being able to live with them.


Kathryn October 24, 2011 at 9:16 am

Dear Kelly,
How old are Josie and Carlin?
Addee and Ellie look so cute,where did they get those adorable dresses?Singing together must do wonders for the courtship of Zach and Sarah.Does your whole family play the volin like the Duggars?
Thank you for answering my questions
God Bless You,


kelsey reid October 24, 2011 at 3:35 pm

to kelly,
your updates of the pictures look great


Nancy October 24, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Kay W: Shakespeare did not say “Vanity, thy name is woman.” Hamlet said, “FRAILTY, thy name is woman” when talking to his mother, who married his uncle after the death of his father. It’s a common citation error. As someone who studied English literature with an emphasis on Shakespeare, it is not attributed to him. Further, I can’t find the original source the application of vanity to the “thy name is” trope, which leads me to believe it originated culturally, not through literature.

Kelly, thanks for indulging me. Your daughters don’t need any help in the hair department, what you, Gil and God gave them is beautiful. :)


kate October 24, 2011 at 9:40 pm

Thanks Patti and Mrs Bates

I did have a little chuckle when I read your first response Mrs Bates I appreciated you taking the time to reply even to a different question :)

Homecoming sounds like a wonderful time. I am saddened to read Kays comments about other blogs there is so many negative things on the internet that I choose not to go looking for it. Thanks for being such a postive role model. Hope all is well with your pregnancy.

Love Kate (Australia)


Allison W October 24, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Dear Kelly,
Surprising as it may be I just recently became aware of the Duggar family. Since there is no cable in my home, I was able to view their show through on the internet. In a several episodes your family was featured and I was amazed that there was not only one remarkable family but another. It is through watching both of your amazing families that I found my faith and have commited my self to serving the Lord. If it wasn’t for your families I can’t say for sure that would have happened. You are such an inspiration to me and I cannot thank you enough for all that you have done without even knowing. I would like to know how you handle stress, as that seems to be an area that I struggle in. I hold a love for both of your families and hope that someday I can live up to the high standards that you have set :) Love and Blessings to you and your family.
With Love and Gratefulness,


Kay W October 25, 2011 at 3:24 am

Nancy, I stand corrected, Maybe Rodney Dangerfield said it :-).


Kathryn October 25, 2011 at 8:04 am

Dear Kelly,
Ayllsa probaley took these photos,they are beutiful.
How old are Carlin and Josie?Addee and Ellie look adorable in their little aprons.
God Bless You and Your Amazing Family,


Hope October 25, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Have you ever heard of the Clark family in TN? I have heard that they have 19 kids!


Gil October 25, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Dear Hope,
I have never heard of them, but it sounds like we would have some things in common. Love, Kelly


Annette October 25, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Dear Kelly,

Your family and the philosophy you follow is such an inspiration! I always learn a little from your posts when I read. I too read about the assumptions people make about your family and faith and your reply to that situation is so enriching! I have had people make remarks about homeschooling our children(I started much later because I believed when others said I couldn’t do it) and yet the change I have seen in my children’s confidence since HSing has been worth it! Now I am down to only 1 since our son graduated in April and I look back and I am glad that I was encouraged by people I have never even met to try homeschooling!

As always your family looks lovely and you must be so very proud of all the things they accomplish!


Lauren Sharpe October 25, 2011 at 8:31 pm

Dear Kelly,
Thank you so much for the advice on homeschooling and I pray that I can become as humble and loving as you. I tend to get angry at my family for the way they act but you made me see them in a different light. Thank you for that! You and your family truly are a blessing to us.

I also want to update you on my Grandfather. He came home from the hospital Saturday and I want to thank you and everyone else for prayers! He is doing wonderfully and even planning a trip here to Alabama to visit us on Friday!! I’m really excited and so blessed to still have him around.

We hope you got our pictures and your birthday gift should be arriving shortly. We love ya’ll and hope all is well with everyone and we look forward to hearing from you again.

Much Love,
Lauren S.


Alice Hull October 26, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Hi dear Bates and especially Kelly on her birthday! God’s richest blessings to you today and every day. I love to read your updates and the comments. I wish we had gone to the Appalachian Museum this year as we did last. You got a big stage this year!! We would have loved to have seen you.


Janelle G. October 27, 2011 at 6:51 pm

How can I listen to Zach and Sarah singing together? The Bates’ Family needs their own TLC show!


Gil October 28, 2011 at 6:19 am

Dear Sarah,
I can ask the Reith family if they happened to film it… we didn’t think to, but I wish I had! Love, Kelly


Beth P. October 28, 2011 at 7:43 pm

The Museum of Appalachia looks like something we need to put on our “to visit” list. We live in eastern NC and always say we’re going to go to the mountains during the fall. Hopefully we can do this next fall. Do you or the Reiths ever go to the Merlefest bluegrass festival in NC?

Anyway, you all are a blessing to me. Your example of living out your faith is such an encouragement.

God Bless each of you.


Gil October 29, 2011 at 1:01 am

Dear Beth,
We’ve never heard of that festival, but we’ll look it up. Love, Kelly


rebecca November 3, 2011 at 9:26 am

hi i am in the uk and have never really heard of bluegrass and im still not sure what it is, i have heard it played a few times it sounds really good, there are some very talented familys i have seen so far. god bless, rebecca x


Emily Raynes November 21, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Oh that looks like it was a lot of fun! :) Alyssa and Erin’s outfits are very cute!!! :)


Missy September 2, 2013 at 6:27 pm

Will your family be at The Museum of Appalachia festival this year ? We hope to be able to make back there this year.


Kelly September 3, 2013 at 2:38 am

Dear Missy,
Probably on Friday and Saturday! Love, Kelly


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