Observing other families throughout our marriage has taught us so much and we are grateful for the example and counsel of others. We want to share in YOUR triumph of victory and appreciate YOUR growth from trial and adversity. We hope you will enjoy reading about other family’s life experiences as well and learn from them.
We are excited to introduce to you..
The Brooks Family
What has been your experience with Challenge My Family so far?
Our family has taken on the family dinner challenge, and the make your bed challenge!
We were already having nightly family dinner and making it a priority, but it has helped give new purpose for me as a mom when we gather around the table. I have loved learning from other families, and hearing all about their traditions around the table. Ultimately, it has refocused my thoughts on what an important role this “watering hole” experience plays. THIS is where my children will actually talk to me! THIS is where we can talk about the challenges and struggles, and especially our triumphs!
It just so happens, that Jaren only got to have two dinners before he had to go do Army. And while he isn’t able to Facetime in during this time – we have spent focused time talking and thinking about our Daddy. Helping us to keep a deeper connection while he is gone for an extended period.
It has been such a treasure and joy. Honestly my favorite part of the day right now.
And as for making beds, hey….all my kids needed was to see other kids on the internet that MAKE THEIR OWN BEDS to take it seriously. It used to be something that I had to force on them… and now it is something I just have to remind them to do. They have been doing it with JOY, which is a HUGE change.
If I could hug you for creating this challenge – I totally would!
Tell us about your family:
We are an Army family of five. Jaren, (Dad) is a Blackhawk helicopter pilot. Brenna, (Mom) was a social worker, and now has the privilege of being a stay at home mom. We actually waited for quite some time to have children, because we both felt so strongly about wanting me to be able to be home with the kids.
We have three vivacious and incredibly spirited redheads… aka… the Gingerpuffs. Alta is 7. Mila is 5. And Maisy is 3.
We are an adventurous family, and love to be outside. We are full of life (loudness), and are in the business of making memories!
What has been one of your family’s biggest trials?
Without a doubt, it is having Jaren gone so much of the time. Army life has it’s pro’s and con’s – but there is just no sugar coating Dad being gone so much. Luckily we have pulled together and learned to adapt. We find that getting outside of ourselves and looking for opportunities to serve others has helped us to get out of “pity party” mode.
Anytime he is gone though, I have been able to witness the miracle of angels ministering to our family. We are always humbled by the thoughtfulness of those around us – that have the incredible ability to see a need and ACT! We have learned so much from their example, and seek to be able to pay that love forward to those in need.
As lonely, sometimes frightening, and bitter as it can get, we are so grateful for this spiritual growth opportunity! With our trials, it has been amazing to be able look back and see the depth of reliance upon the spirit and Christ. God truly is our rock.
What has been one of your biggest victories?
We had the opportunity to live in South Korea for 2 ½ years! While there is a healthy dose of fear that surrounds a move like that, we found ourselves thriving in a place that initially looked like it would be the death of us!
We absolutely adored our time with the Korean people. The country is spectacular, and honestly, it was a magical time for us to have our children experience a place so safe. They got to experience a childhood more like we did as children! Picture the whole neighborhood playing together, and enjoying each other’s company. Kids running around everywhere! Bikes flooding the neighborhood. That was River Valley in Korea.
I was so proud of my family’s choice to be brave – and try everything that we could while we were there! We saw so much of the country, and got to experience things that so few ever get the opportunity to see. It was definitely a victory for the Brooks’ family!
If you could offer one piece of advice to help fortify families, what would it be?
I would encourage parents to GET real! There is so much power in owning “where you are.” Stop trying to portray the perfect scene! Moms, tell your friends when you are a HOT MESS. Share your struggles.
I had a friend that completely changed my viewpoint on this, and I will forever be grateful for Michele.
She taught me the principle of offering grace.
You see, when you have to be perfect to be someone’s friend – you aren’t really much of a friend at all. When you can say something like, “I’m really struggling not to yell when the kids won’t listen” then your friendships have the breath of grace blown into them. They learn that this is a safe place where we can actually talk about THE REAL. And you know what happens? You get to hear great ideas!
Struggling in silence is the death of grace in my opinion.
When we embrace this principle, then the house being perfect isn’t important. You stop apologizing for the way you actually live. The most amazing mothers I have known have fostered the most amazing families I have known. And they have all been the ones that have been REAL. I have learned the most from them, and grown the most from them.
This trickles down into every interaction I have with my family. When I am REAL with my children, then they know that it’s okay to make mistakes. They also know what to do in rectifying them.
They know that FORGIVENESS is powerful, and that love conquers all.