Blog

5 ways to bless your brother’s friends.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

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.

IMG_6079

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!

sports-3

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. 🙂

sports-2

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!

alli5

WHAT ARE “LOVE LANGUAGES”

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.

HOW CAN THEY BE HELPFUL WHILE BLESSING YOUR BROTHERS

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.

HOW CAN A GIRL FIGURE OUT HER BROTHER’S LOVE LANGUAGE

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.

WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF WAYS TO BLESS EACH LOVE LANGUAGE

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.

WHAT’S ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR BROTHERS

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.]

lovelanguage

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.