Meet the Brown Family!

Josh and Sarah met at 13 & 14. Sarah fell in love instantly, Josh figured out that she was his destiny a few years later.

Sarah was an Unschooler and Josh was an over achiever in a public school, but spent all his spare time studying aviation and technology. He considers himself a weekend “unschooler”. Date nights for Josh and Sarah often included an airplane and a dinner in a neighboring state!

After high school Sarah moved to Hungary, Austria and Russia. Josh went to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University to study his passion.

They had a long distance relationship for most of the seven years before getting married at ages 20 & 21. They spent their first three months of marriage backpacking in Europe. Ten months after the wedding Isaac was born and the parenting experiment began.

Here is Isaac’s YouTube channel:

Fourteen months later Anna joined the party, and started throwing monkey wrenches into every ordinary occasion. At age 8 her parents found out she had Dyslexia and that’s when Sarah created – Anna is a “Super Creator” Here’s Anna’s latest project, scroll down for her “Red Chair Interview:

Fourteen months later Estera graced the world with her presence, and has been lighting up the lives around her ever since. Here’s Esther’s instagram account. She’s 21 now, a photographer living in Hawaii:

Eighteen months passed before the “Negotiator” came on the scene. At first it was assumed she would become a political figure or criminal defense attorney. Nope. Rachel is an artist and figure skater. Check out her art and adventures:

Almost two years passed before Naomi joined the Girl Gang. Her first word was probably “Horse” her first phrase was probably “I want a puppy”. She now runs a dog hotel, dog accessories shop, and has a few horses.

Welcome to Seeking Hound Dog Shop:

Another little sister filled the world with wonder, and made her genius status obvious to all by age three. A mastermind, world traveler and deep thinker who hides behind paint and canvas. She recently became the family’s chef. At age 16 she occasionally posts a thing or two on Instagram. Looks like she has a store on Instagram:

Lovely Laura arrived with the spring flowers and became a very naughty little instigator as soon as she could walk and talk. She was one of those kids who preferred animals over people until about age 12. She’s the expert on endangered species and tropical birds. Today she has more “best friends” than we can count, suddenly a “people person” with a big heart. She’s not on Instagram yet. Maybe she will be when she’s 16. But here are all her books on Amazon:…

Laura loves acting and plays Alexander Hamilton in this skit:

Joe came next. A ten pound baby brother who wanted to be a YouTuber at age 3. So he started YouTubing as “The Littlest Blogger” in preschool. If you met Joe at age four he would have been wearing a suit, holding a calculator. He would tell you that he’s a scientist and Math-Man. He’s 13 now. He added many videos to my channel. Here’s one of his early videos about HOW to TEACH MATH to kids:

Ember was her daddy’s idea. After Joe turned two Josh started wishing for another baby. Little Ember Rose was born in Italy in 2012. She is a lover of the great outdoors, a naturalist, always researching the plants and animals in her environment.

Leah was God’s idea. Surprise! The best gift that could ever be given. She came along two years later. It was during the last couple months of her pregnancy that Sarah decided it would be a good time to take a break from homeschooling. At age 39 Sarah just wanted to take time to treasure her youngest baby. She had a feeling Leah might be her last baby. So Sarah created a collection of Homeschooling Curriculum Journals that would provide six weeks to a full semester of homeschooling prompts, with minimal effort from mom. Fun-Schooling journals have been rolling out ever since. And Leah, now 8, is the family’s storyteller and comedian.

When Leah was six weeks old the whole family moved to Ukraine. It was while volunteering at a local orphanage that the family met a sibling group and felt a calling to adopt. A year and a half later five more kids joined the Brown Tribe, and Isaac, the oldest son, now 19, was married to Rita, his Ukrainian sweetheart.

The adopted children were ages 6 to 16. They didn’t speak English, but quickly learned. The oldest sister moved back to Ukraine the day she turned 18, after assuring us from day one of the adoption that returning to her village was her dream. The four younger children, Lilly, Alex, Abby and Christina bonded beautifully with their new siblings, and have been taking their time adjusting to the idea of having parents.

Eventually Chrissy learned to read English and discovered her passion for books, especially historical fiction and all things Amish, and Hobby #2, volley ball.

Abigail developed a love for crafting, pottery and jewelry making.

Alex picked up a guitar, a skateboard, and a camera and developed a passion for extreme sports.

Lilly is simply everyone’s best friend, engaging in anything and everything her big sisters are doing.

The family loves to free-range around the planet. The world is their classroom. It’s not uncommon for Brown teens to hop on a plane to go after adventure, a mission or a dream overseas- with or without parents or siblings.

The family now lives on 22 acres in Indiana and have turned the property into a homeschooling campus where each member of the family is free to craft a dream, start a business, tap a maple tree, sharpen a skill, plant a garden, raise a critter, spark a romance, toss a ball, or follow a butterfly.

Five Precious Children, No Longer Orphans

Just came across these precious pictures from the year we met Lilly, Alex, Abby, Chrissy and Elizabeth while teaching art and music at their orphanage. The children were ages 6 to 16 when they became part of our family. They are now 11 to 21 the oldest is out on her own now.

I remember how I just knew they were mine from the beginning, and felt so sure everything would work out for us to adopt them. We didn’t know if we could even get approval to adopt five kids, but we had faith and were willing to work through so many challenges to bring them home.

Adopting older kids is never easy. I had no idea how hard it really would be. They had been through so much before coming to us, and healing from trauma and loss is a life long journey. Some hurts never really heal, some memories never fade, some pain never stops throbbing. No child should ever have to suffer the loss of their mother, and no one can ever replace her. It’s been an especially hard road for our oldest adopted daughter who moved back to Ukraine on her 18th birthday. She just turned 21and needs a lot of prayer right now.

She was only with us a little more than a year and we couldn’t even speak the same language during much of that time, I couldn’t be what she needed. She needed her mom, and her mom was sick, poor and dying in another country.

It breaks my heart that my daughter carries this pain and I wish I could be part of her healing, but trying to reach her just causes her more pain.

The mom hole in the heart of a person who has lost their biological mom is so deep. Now my precious daughter is a mommy herself, expecting another child.

And the mom hole is as deep as the distance between our hearts right now.

I haven’t had a clue how to be the support she needs, and we both know it.

Have patience Sarah! Give her space! Don’t worry!

I may have more patience than the average woman, my kids have trained me well, but there’s a fight in me to have no rest until all my kids are safe. I have faith but the reality is bleak! Trauma makes safety feel scary. And there’s a fight in the hearts of people with trauma to flee the feeling of safety.

It’s really hard for kids who have lost their moms to ever trust again, when they start to open their hearts and feel comfort, peace, love, safety and affection… it’s fight or flight. And it’s not pretty.

I’ve read a lot of books, taken a parenting course for those who adopt kids with trauma, we have been in family therapy… but it just feels like a year together in one home, not speaking the same language is no foundation for mothering.

Just sharing my heart. We need prayer.

But the other four, it’s tough with a couple of them but we have so many victories! They may have a lot of symptoms of RAD and trauma but they love me dearly, they come to me for comfort and affection and we talk. Their hearts have opened up and they are feeling safe and happy most of the time. They are becoming more and more joyful and are overcoming their barriers daily.

We are working through a book on Therapeutic Parenting and wish we had found it when we first adopted.

Celebrating 5 years since adopting!

Ukraine: 5 Practical Ways to Help

#1 Don’t be quick to believe, follow, share, or embrace ANY political or media-based opinion about this war. Simply seek to love, help, pray for, support and encourage those whose lives are turned upside down by Putin’s attack.

I have no political perspective and don’t support the political agenda of any of the chess players, yet they control the game.

My prayer is that the war will shrink, and that it will not become a multi-national war of allied countries on both sides.

#2 Pray for both the Russian citizens and Ukrainian citizens who are being hurt by bombs, guns, or sanctions. The elite figures controlling the chessboard rarely suffer. It’s the innocent people on both sides that suffer.

#3 Understand. This isn’t a war between Russia and Ukraine. This is a war between the people moving the chess pieces around the board. This was not wanted by the pawns, soldiers, civilians and relief workers who are suffering and dying. Even the Russian soldier is someone’s precious son sent to war, and could be a nineteen-year-old who has family and friends in Ukraine!

#4 Give wisely! I encourage everyone to seek personal connections they can help assist. Avoid giving to giant humanitarian organizations that are wasteful and politically motivated. Samaritan’s Purse does great good wherever they go. My family has volunteered with this organization, and when my five Ukrainian children were still in the orphanage, Samaritan’s Purse was there for them!

Support the efforts of the people who are on the ground in Ukraine and the border counties taking care of refugees.

Because dozens of our Thinking Tree Team Members are working and living in Ukraine I have several trusted connections. They are people whose voices I know, whose work I have seen, whose hearts I trust. Many of them have written and authored Thinking Tree Books. When we were volunteering in Ukraine we decided to help several missionaries publish books with us so they could be supported financially through royalties. The income has been a great blessing, especially now.

Part of our work in Ukraine was to train teenagers caught in the cycle of poverty to become illustrators. More than half of Thinking Tree’s books are illustrated by Ukrainian teens and young adults. These individuals have become beacons of light in their communities, generous and empowering to others!

#5 Buy Ukrainian Made Products that help support Ukrainians! That might be tricky! It’s not like buying things “Made in China”! This is easy if you Homeschool! So far we have raised over $4000 selling Fun-Schooling PDFs, and are able to wire or PayPal the funds for immediate use, by the people feeding and housing refugees.

We have not asked for our customers to give without reciprocal blessings. We have just made you all aware that when you use a certain code we donate $5 to volunteers. When you buy certain books, our Ukrainian team members get royalties, and I’ve been sending out PDF royalties quickly.

The author of Wild Wildernesses Survival Journal, Aiden Potter, and his wife, are leaving in a few days to assist with refugees. They will be joining Joel and Katya Brown, the authors of Yum-Schooling. They currently have at least 18 displaced people in their home. We have given them over $2000 so far.

If you would like the PayPal information for any of my contacts working in Ukraine, just ask. I would also encourage you to see if anyone connected with your church is in need of support.

Thank you, and God bless you for your interest and prayers!

Helping Our Friends in Ukraine

My husband Josh and I, the founders of The Thinking Tree, served as volunteers in Ukraine for several years. Here are several ways to help our friends during these devastating times.

I would love to give these Scripture Coloring Books away to refugees coming into Poland, Romania and Hungary. I can easily ship these anywhere in the EU. If you have a connection with someone helping in the EU – I would love to help, I just need an address. This is a coloring book I made when we lived in Ukraine to give as gifts to the Russian and Ukrainian people we were working with there. It might be something you would enjoy as well. It’s a coloring book with Bible Verses in English, Russian & Ukrainian.

This is a coloring book I made when we lived in Ukraine to give as gifts to the Russian and Ukrainian people we were working with there. It might be something you would enjoy as well. It’s a coloring book with Bible Verses in English, Russian & Ukrainian.

This book was created by a Ukrainian/American missionary family that is currently working hard to support many refugees! Your purchase makes a big difference in the lives of many people, very quickly. 50% of the income from this cookbook for kids supports a family volunteering in Ukraine with refugees right now. I am transferring funds from the sales of PDFs almost daily to help our team members in Ukraine. The PDF version of this book has an EXCITING NEW FEATURE!!! A QR Code has been added to every recipe to link to a video that teaches you EVEN MORE!!!!

The year we adopted five children from an orphanage in Ukraine, we made it a priority to create a fun-schooling book about Ukraine, especially for our kids. My two boys, Joseph and Alexander, worked on this book together. All the artwork is by Ukrainian artists. The Ukraine Journal is now available as a PDF! Please use the coupon code for $5 off, we will also donate $5 to the effort to help the war refugees in Ukraine. People we know and trust are working hard western Ukraine and need support.

100% of the income from this book (for littles, aged 5-7) goes to a wonderful family Ukraine who we served with for many years.

We would like to help our friends in Ukraine who are helping refugees right now. Several of our friends have had to flee. For PDF files, use the code here:

Code: generosity2022

This discount is applied to each PDF you buy. If you get 4 PDFs your coupon will take $20 off. (click Page 2 to continue reading)