A Bushel of Brooks

A Bushel of Brooks
Us as we are ...

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Family Time

Last weekend my Uncle Phil came from Texas for a quick visit. We were already planning to get together on Saturday to celebrate March birthdays (we have quite a few!), but it made it extra special that he was able to be there with us.

Since KU is advancing in the NCAA tournament, everyone wore KU shirts, and our goal was to get some family pictures. You know, we have 9 kids between us: ages 9 and under. And getting them all to smile and be happy for pictures is somewhat of a challenge! But we had fun anyway. Of course it was a freezing day, and so we were running inside and out, shivering, but smiling!

We're missing Selah in this picture = (
I truly love my family. Our get togethers are somewhat chaotic, there of often one little kiddo getting upset about something or another, but at the same time, we can just hang with it! I look around at my parents, my siblings, our significant others, and now our kids running around ... it is AWESOME! No other way to describe it. I am so grateful to have them all in my life. Can't imagine life without each and every one of them.

All of us together!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Spring Retreat

Last Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, Eli and I took the youth group -the youth that could come -on our annual spring retreat. We're carrying on the tradition of a prayer and fasting retreat that our youth pastors' began 19 years ago! Wow! So amazing to be a part of the heritage being built into the youth of Lawrence, Kansas.

I think each year we learn more, apply things that we wanted to tweak from the last year, and continue to grow ourselves. We are so imperfect ourselves, that it is always amazing to see the Lord work in spite of who we are, and show up in a mighty way.

This year felt like the best yet. Our college staff really rallied around us. They prayed. They fasted, They worshiped. Alongside us with their whole hearts. As we ministered with them, God just continued to fill us all up. And although we came home physically tired (hellooooo late nights!), we didn't feel wasted. I felt so alive!

And there have been years in which I look back, and there were teens that came, but held back. The reasons don't necessarily matter at this point, but it was a struggle for them to engage. To let down their walls. And I often spent time and energy chasing after them. Talking to them. Encouraging them to fully participate with us. And I believe that even those times planted seeds in their life that they will look back on and remember that God does indeed love them. But it still added a different element into the flow of the retreat. But this year everyone just was all in. Each youth was there because they wanted to be. And even those that were newer to the group jumped right in and became a part of the group. It was so beautiful to watch.

My boys did great at home with babysitters cycling through, and I didn't have to worry one moment about them. I was able to enjoy those three days away. It was like a breath of fresh air to me. No house to clean for three days. No meals to cook. No laundry to do (yes, all of those things were waiting for me back home, but it was GREAT to have a few days without them constantly being in front of me!). Three days away from work. Just to really seek the presence of God.

I am going to treasure those three days. Some great memories made. And I loved having the opportunity to really spend time with the girls from Outstretch and continue to build relationship with them. I am already looking forward to the next one!