How I connect with my brother at college.


With another semester of college studies around the corner, today we have a guest post from Kenna on how she connects with her brother 5+ hours away at college.  Thanks for sharing, Kenna! ❤

Q: What is something you’re thankful for about your brother?

A: He’s a kind person and someone that I can look up to.

Q: What are some of your favorite things to do together when you’re both in town?

A: We actually went to Plato’s Closet one break and Scheels another break…so I guess maybe shopping. 😉

Kenna’s brother, Griffin, is actually the outnumbered one, with 3 sisters!
Q: What are some practical ways girls can keep in touch with their brothers?  Do you use social media, etc?

A: I don’t talk to Griffin a whole bunch, but the main 2 ways I use are texting and Snapchat. (Madison, Griffin, and I have a group together on Snapchat.) And also as a family we’ll FaceTime him occasionally. 🙂

Q: What’s a cool thing about having a brother in college?  A tough/challenging thing?

A: I’ve gotten to go visit! But I don’t have a big brother around every day anymore. Basketball season was a lot different too because last year I would play my game and then get to watch him play – I got used to it, it’s just different. 🙂

Q: Anything else you’d like to share?

A: I love having a big brother!!


Do you have a brother who lives far away?
What tips do you have for keeping in touch + encouraging one another?
Please share in the comment box!




Kenna is a firecracker of creativity and giggles as she blesses others with her basketball/volleyball skills, violin music, and leadership of a summer discipleship group for the younger girls in her chapel. 





10 tips for traveling with brothers.


Traveling with siblings is often both refining and memorable.  I’m thankful that my brothers have put up with me for a handful of adventures and for the bond of shared stories.  It’s great to be able to say one word that sends the other into fits of laughter, thanks to the story behind it. 🙂

01: Mix up seating arrangements.

If you have multiple siblings and you’re on a trip involving a form of transportation other than hiking, try rotating sitting next to a different sibling each day.  We all have different styles of what occupies our time on the road (i.e. music, creative projects, logics, deep conversations, reading the Word, games, etc) and it keeps things upbeat to switch around.

02: Share snacks & such.

Be a rockstar and bring some snacks, gum (Z!), Kleenex, and band-aids to share/trade.  Pretzel crisps and Clif bars (chocolate chip for him, cool mint for me) are two faves.  Also: clementines, peanuts mixed with chocolate chips or M&Ms, homemade granola, rice krispies, peanut butter or cocoa oat energy clusters, beef sticks, etc.  Remember to bring enough water bottles, too.

03: Recharge.

As much as possible, stay up-to-date on sleep and refresh yourself in the Word (even if that means sitting on a cold floor with wet hair & a flashlight!) to be rooted in truth if things get tense.  If frustrations are simmering, try prayer journaling first instead of laying into them.  Choose a phrase from a verse to remind yourself of during the day or even scribble it on your hand.

04: Make the most of the time together.

Road trips are fantastic for having deep conversations, praying together, swapping  what you’ve been learning from the Word, and singing praise.  There’s also a lot of opportunities to be able to share the gospel love of Christ to others through tracts and conversations.  This one is one of my faves, but we often copy tracts with our own artwork + verses to make it more personal and be able to say “we made this for you!”

05: Consider who bunks with who.

If you’re split up at someone’s home, it may be wise to room with who is closely on the same page of sleep schedules and packing habits.

06: Limit the “shushing.”

Oh boy, one adventure I was dubbed the “shusher.”  Try to talk about things in advance before it gets rowdy and choose to communicate instead of shush, shush, shush.  Also: Though I try to limit the time that I have earbuds stuck in, sometimes they can be helpful if you need to work on a project while others are having a conversation.

07: Unplug as much as possible.

Delete apps, slide on airplane mode, enable email auto-reply, get off the grid.  We can live without it and it’ll be super fun to read the messages later.  Unless you are intentionally doing something like vlogging together, enjoy the trip to the full and choose to be present with people!


08: Be on time. Set alarms. Wear a watch.

Lay out your outfit ahead of time, set an alarm, if you do makeup: do it early, don’t be the sister that holds people up with getting ready.  You look fine. 😉

09: Zone in on similarities.

The common ground my brothers & I share is that we LOVE hiking off-the-trail.  Cliffs and caves galore.  Zone in on the things you enjoy doing together.

Yet you can also mix up varied things you enjoy.  I’m not the hugest fan of disc golf, but enjoyed hiking around with them and taking video footage.  They aren’t huge fans of trying unusual local foods, but they’d let me run in and grab some local ingredients.

10: A handful of packing tips:
  • Put a piece of plastic wrap in between the cap & bottle of your shampoo bottles to prevent spillage. If your plastic wrap doesn’t last till the end of the trip, use plastic from a bag or plastic wrapped cups.
  • Fold or roll clothes to create more space.  This doesn’t chop down on weight though, so be aware of allowances.
  • A tiny pack of laundry soap sheets (like this one) can go a long way with hand washing stuff in the sink.
  • You can roll things like socks, put them in ziplock bags, and squeeze out as much air as possible to keep your duffel organized.


11: What would you add to this list?

Where is a place you’d love to travel to with your brothers?  What are your favorite on-the-go meals or snacks?  Do you have a travel/packing tip?

We’d love to hear from you in the comment box!

My favorite Psalm while praying for my brothers.


Especially when I don’t know exactly what to pray, I like to turn to Scripture and let it guide my prayer time.  It’s obviously God’s will and so what better thing to reference to while lifting up requests before the Lord?  One of my all-time favorite passages while praying for my brothers, dad, cousins, and brothers-in-Christ is Psalm 112.  It is such a powerful picture of a man after God’s own heart.

Blessed is the man who fears the LordWho delights greatly in His commandments.

praying that he’ll fear the Lord, delight greatly in His commandments

His descendants will be mighty on earth; The generation of the upright will be blessed.

for his decisions, future years, wife/family 

Wealth and riches will be in his house, And his righteousness endures forever.

that he will endure and have diligence

Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness; He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.

that he’ll be upright, gracious, light in darkness, full of compassion, righteous

A good man deals graciously and lends; He will guide his affairs with discretion.

that he’ll deal graciously, lend, guide his doings with discretion 


Surely he will never be shaken; The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance.

that he’ll never be shaken

He will not be afraid of evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.

that his heart would be steadfast, trusting in the Lord

His heart is established; He will not be afraid, Until he sees his desire upon his enemies.

that his heart is established, not afraid, free from fear

He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever; His horn will be exalted with honor.

that he’ll have a giving heart 

The wicked will see it and be grieved; He will gnash his teeth and melt away; The desire of the wicked shall perish.

I feel like I just reiterated everything, ha.  Really love this passage.


A few practical tips:

  • My go-to, most favorite spot for personal prayer time is while driving in the car.  It’s a quiet space to pray and cry out to Him for strength.  It’s also an opportunity to specifically lift up the people you’re on your way to be with that day.
  • ValMariePaper’s undated prayer journal is a GAME-CHANGER, people. Wow. I had heard a lot of hype about it from many influencers on Instagram and, wow, they are 100% correct: it’s amazing to have such a handy, simple, beautiful place to keep track of prayer requests. My watermelon-colored one is already well worn, never too far away, and pretty much one of my favorite things ever.  [Edited to add: Val recently shared a free printable which gives a taste of the journal, if you’re interested!]
  • A prayer word document.  Even though I love the concept of prayer journaling in an actual journal, I often like to switch it up with a word document since it’s similar to a speed of talking.
  • If you’re looking for a book on prayer, this one is pretty great!

Please feel free to chime in with practical tips for lifting up our brothers in prayer in the comment box. 🙂 

Keep going strong!

[Elizabeth is a second generation sister-with-all-brothers.  She especially loves muddy outdoor adventures, laughing in the kitchen, volleyball matches, and 1am donut runs with her three brother bears.]

5 ways to bless your brother’s friends.

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This photo was taken one beautiful, spring-y Sunday last month.  We piled into cars after church and headed to a park where the back of the truck was laden with simple sandwiches, big bags of potato chips, a watermelon hacked into juicy slices, and gooey chocolate chip cookies.  I declined the guys’ invitation to play a big round of disc golf, but quickly jogged over later to join the game of soccer that was going down when I pedaled in from a bike ride.  One of the biggest, best side-blessings of having (all) brothers has been their stellar friends.  They may endlessly tease me, but I know they have my back and I’m seriously so grateful for them + their sharpening encouragement.  I’m constantly reminded of how we as sisters have such huge potential to either impact their lives in either a encouraging or discouraging way.  Here’s a brainstorm of 5 ways to enrich their lives + be a blessing today >>

1: Speak life-giving words & don’t stab them in the back.

Be genuine – don’t lie – but as much as possible, use your words to sharpen/encourage instead of criticize/tear down.  It sounds silly, but sometimes I forget that kind thoughts need to be spoken in order to be heard.  Cheer them on (literally: when they’re serving on your v-ball team, “go____! you got this!”), speak genuinely kind things, build them up behind their backs instead of spreading rumors.  Stand up for them like you would your own brothers.  Ask good questions & actually listen to their responses.  Try to remember as many of their little favorites & interests (anything from their favorite ice cream to their work to their current sports schedule).  Ask with humility how we can better encourage them and prayerfully listen & work on it.  If you think something’s funny, laugh.  Encouraging, speak it.  Be quick to apologize and willing to forgive.

2: Make treats.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: hungry, growing boys thrive on food and lots of it!  Learn their favorites.  Good, hearty staples like meat (shredded bbq chicken is one of my brothers’ faves) and mashed potatoes are often a good idea.  Favorite treats of mine to make when the guys are over or to send with them to a Bible study/birthday include: soft pretzel bites, gooey brownies, cookie dough pretzel bites, and pretzel/cheese sticks, to name a few.  A handful of other ideas can be found at Outnumbered’s page on Pinterest.

3: Pray for them.

Pray for these growing men (stay tuned for a post with one of my favorite Psalms to look at while praying for them!) and the decisions they’re currently facing.

4: Follow hard after Jesus.

By God’s grace, exude what it means to live as a godly girl. It will bless them beyond measure to realize there are still girls out there seeking God and not giving up.  Just live your life as unto the Lord.  We can’t do this apart from Him (John 15), so ask Him for grace & strength to genuinely love as He does.  Also, crazy to think about, but the girls you’re blessing + discipling + pouring into could one day be the wives of your brothers-in-Christ & they’ll be grateful for any encouragement you can pour into their lives, too.

5: Encourage any glimmer of kindness & ask for help.

If he chooses to walk back to the campsite with a tired kiddo instead of continuing the trail-running adventure, thank him for it.  When the pack of guys surprises you with blueberry pancakes, a berry smoothie, and breakfast burritos (true story!), express enthusiasm even if the kitchen is a wreck.  If you notice that he pitches in to help clean up even when everyone else has scattered to play, scribble some kindness.  If there’s an opportunity to give him leadership, like asking if he’d like to number off the teams or explain the rules, go for it.  Or if he’s already trying to organize a game of volleyball or tackle a service project, leap on board with support and really try hard not to criticize his way of doing it.  Or he may really appreciate ideas + input, yet we can still offer it with a light grasp that he can totally take or leave the suggestions.  If they need more players, join in!

Recently in the craziness of unpacking at a camp weekend, I accidentally crushed my glasses.  After fiddling with them for a little while and making close to zero progress on my own, I headed to the carpetball tables where I asked a younger like-brother if he could give a shot at fixing them.  With hands calloused enough to do construction skills and gentle enough to have a kiddo on his shoulders giggling with joy, he quickly had the pieces worked into place (WAY faster than I ever could) and I was grateful to see more clearly on the drive home haha! 🙂

// Please leave a comment with additional ideas!  Girls, what are some ideas for encouraging brothers’ friends? Any favorite recipe ideas?  Guys, what’s something a sister-in-Christ does that especially blesses you?  We’d absolutely love to hear!

[Elizabeth is a second generation sister-with-all-brothers. 4 of her favorite things to do with her brother bears include turning up the music loud in the car, playing soccer/volleyball together, late-night ice cream runs, and muddy outdoor adventures.]

8 Ways to Build Up Your Brother @ His Sports Games.


This post is for the girl whose brothers are on sports teams.  Yes, there can be an option to tune out and scroll through Instagram when you’re “stuck” at a game (or skip the game altogether), but there’s also the awesome opportunity to become engaged in something your brother is interested in and be a blessing to him on + off the field.  Here’s 8 fairly simple ways to encourage him during his sports season!

1: Bring treats for his team.

It’s common knowledge that guys LOVE to eat!  And good news: their favorites usually aren’t the lengthy recipes with fancy garnishes.  Two favorites are simple, large pans of soft pretzel bites and gooey brownies (for the chewy type, bake less than the desired time).  If you don’t bake, there’s still stuff you can bring like jugs of chocolate milk and bunches of bananas (slightly cheesy, but you can scribble “finish strong” messages lightly on the banana peels with a toothpick earlier in the day & they’ll brown to show up later, haha!)  Though it’s obviously not the goal, the thankful compliments you’ll most probably hear from these hungry teammates will make your day!  Hint for the XC sisters (if you know what that stands for, you’re probably one 🙂 ): you can host a pasta dinner the night before a meet with pasta, alfredo and/or marinara sauces, bread, and cookies.

[Side note: Even though everything within me wants to bring surprise treats for the team, I usually do stick with checking with my brother before bringing treats, just to get a go-ahead that it’s okay.  I definitely don’t want to embarrass him, like if it’s a newer or older-aged team.  And if he prefers not sometime, learn to let it go.]

2: Keep score.

If you want to get crazy informed about the game, learn to keep score.  It will keep you focused and your brothers will love flipping back through the details.  And you just may even be recruited to be the official scorekeeper of the game (and get yelled at by umpires once or twice for not tallying the score fast enough *cough*).  To learn, I’d suggest simply sitting next to the person scoring the game.  You can bring your own scorebook and they’re usually super willing to let you copy their scribbles.  You can get a scorebook like this one from local sports store or print off a free sheet online.  (Tip: If it’s raining, bring a large ziploc bag to write in.)  If you prefer digital, you can use an app like GameChanger. You can also start out with keeping track of one specific thing your brother/team asks you to record, like pitch counts or rebounds.

3: Take video footage.

Hit record on your iPhone once in a while, especially if you see a potentially good play coming up.  They often love to watch and analyze those clips over & over again.

4: Take pictures for the team.

If you’re into photography, you can do a team picture and/or action shots of all the guys.  I semi-recently asked the coaches of my brother’s soccer team if they’d like me to grab a team picture and they quickly got excited since they hadn’t had a picture yet and soon posted it for the guys on the club’s website.  It may take mustering up a bit of courage to be the random girl to go to the sidelines after the game to ask the coaches, but almost always they’re super surprised & grateful!  Profile pictures are often updated and you’ll get photography practice.  One final reminder: in the excitement of profile pictures switching & everything, please don’t forget pictures of your own brother!  Take the most and best of him.

5: Learn names.

Learn the names of the guys on the team, if possible. (Bonus points if you learn the names of fellows siblings/parents of teammates, too!)  You can help other fans out by typing up a wallet-sized list of names/their numbers.  For baseball games, specifically: If your team doesn’t have one already, you can type up & laminate a big poster of the guys’ numbers/names, punch holes in the corners, and clip it up with rings onto a fence.  The families/fans will love you for it!


6: Watch the game.

Seems obvious, but pay attention to what’s happening.  Bring up key plays later.  Ask questions.  Even if it’s a seemingly silly question, if you’re sincerely interested, they’re usually excited to explain.

7: Workout together/help him with practice.

Girl, you don’t have to be an official athlete!  Pretty much anyone can still retrieve foul balls, kick a soccer ball for repetition, time drills, videotape footage.  If you are really into it, go for it with joining him on workouts, those sprints, playing goalie, or whatever would help him out!  Also, if your brother isn’t yet driving/you are, you can drive him to practice & have good conversation along the way.

8: Laundry.

Because the grass stains are endless, yes?

You may have many hours tallied at baseball diamonds, soccer fields, 5K race routes, basketball courts, and indoor training facilities.  But when the underlying goal is to grow closer to your brothers, become interested in what they’re interested in, and bless them, it just might find you in the stands watching your athlete’s games!  [Or out of breath from practically running your own 5K while moving from point to point at cross country meets… #dontwearflatsorheels]

Please share additional ideas in the comment box below – we’d absolutely love to hear. 🙂


Cheering you on as you cheer him on!
– EB

[Elizabeth is a second generation sister-with-all-brothers. 4 of her favorite things to do with her brother bears include turning up the music loud in the car, playing soccer/volleyball together, late-night ice cream runs, and muddy outdoor adventures.]

Figuring out Your Brother’s Love Language.

Elizabeth: I am so thrilled to introduce you to a dear friend, Allison Bontrager!  Allison is a gem of a friend, a dynamic example of loving & living for Jesus, and her passion for encouraging her 9 siblings has hugely impacted my life.  Allison has uncovered what each of her sibling’s love languages is and I asked her to share some tips with us today.  Get excited!



Love languages are specific ways of demonstrating and feeling love.  There are five different love languages- quality time, physical touch, gifts, acts of service, and affirming words. Gary Chapman, the original developer of the concept of love languages, says:

“there are five emotional love languages — five ways that people speak and understand emotional love.”

Although this concept was originally developed with marriage in mind, it has proven to be revolutionary in other family relationships as well.


For me, the concept of the five love languages was revolutionary in learning what made my brothers feel loved.  With six brothers, I didn’t just have to shoot in the dark anymore, but I could know specific ways to make each of them feel loved.  And since some of the things that make them feel most loved vary a lot with my different brothers, it has been super helpful in cultivating our relationships.


Honestly, I would highly recommend every family to take the “Five Love Languages” test together.  If your whole family isn’t interested, it could be a fun sibling activity as well.  There are various tests available for download online, and this has been something my family has had a lot of fun doing on several occasions.  You can choose a test particular to your life stage- child, single, or married.  After you take the test, you can figure out what your top one or two “love language”, or favorite ways of receiving love, are.  You will likely score considerably higher on one or two.


Physical Touch: I have several brothers that score high on physical touch, and they absolutely love back rubs!  They also enjoy good-night hugs, and putting an arm around me (or vice versa).  I guess I would recommend figuring out what your brother likes, if this is his love language.  Back rubs, especially if he’s sore after a long days work or hard workout, might be something he really appreciates!

Quality Time: This one is pretty straightforward- just spend time with him!  Coffee dates, or just taking time to have random talks around the house, are awesome.  You might even plan a dinner or shopping date together.  This is something I’ve done, and it’s always so fun!  I love a good Scheels date with a brother anytime!

Acts of Service: I discovered awhile back that one of my younger brothers feels super loved by acts of service.  Honestly, some of the most loving things I can do for him is to promptly and cheerfully give him haircuts when needed, randomly make him a batch of his favorite protein bars, or serve him his favorite foods on purpose.  This is something I would especially emphasize for you sisters- make your brothers’ favorite foods even if they’re different from yours!

Gifts: Who doesn’t love gifts?!  For people whose primary love language is gifts, it really isn’t about the size or cost of the gift.  Sometimes it’s just receiving something special, even if it’s just gum, that means the most!  Get creative, and with brothers, this isn’t too hard.  Some favorites with a certain little brother of mine are rubber bands, books, fruit, chocolate…really anything food!  Next time you’re at Walmart, grab their favorite fruit or candy, and leave it somewhere for them to randomly find.  You will make their day!

Affirming Words: Notes are a great way to express affirming words.  I love to leave notes for my brothers.  If you’re not sure what to say, tell them something you love about them, or remind them what an amazing man they are!  If you have older brothers with phones, a simple text to tell them you’re praying for them or that you’re proud of them can mean the world.  This is especially great if you don’t spend as much time together due to different jobs/schedules.


Well I love to do anything with my brothers, but working together is one of my favorites!  There is nothing like enjoying the process and fruit of hard work side by side!  Another thing I absolutely love to do with my brothers is have random evening chats, usually accompanied by yummy food.  The other night I ended up in the kitchen with a few of my brothers, and we had a random cereal party and chat.  Hiking is something else we absolutely love to do together!

Processed with Rookie Cam
Allison and her youngest brother, Hudson.

[Allison is blessed with 6 brothers and 3 of her favorite things to do with them are working together, having random evening chats, and hiking. Allison is the owner of Psalm 62 Shoppe, hosts retreats for young women in Mexico & the States, tours with her family’s singing ministry, and shares writing on her new blog: From Allison.]


p.s. Don’t forget to enter the welcome giveaway of ice dream with your brothers before it ends on Wednesday!

Welcome + an ice dream giveaway!

Welcome to The Outnumbered Sister!
We’re so, so glad you’re here.

It is our desire that this place would be a burst of hope + encouragement to you to keep pressing on with building up the brothers God has placed in your life. 🙂

To kick things off, we’re giving away a gift card to Chick-fil-a* for you & your brother bears to have an ice cream date/special time together [$3 will be loaded onto the card for you + each brother you have], plus a list of fun conversation questions you can talk about together.

enter the giveaway

Giveaway ends next week on May 10th.
Thanks for spreading the word!

loving life with all brothers.

 *this giveaway is not sponsored or endorsed by Chick-fil-a.