Join Fox News for access to this content
Plus special access to select articles and other premium content with your account - free of charge.
By entering your email and pushing continue, you are agreeing to Fox News' Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, which includes our Notice of Financial Incentive.
Please enter a valid email address.
By entering your email and pushing continue, you are agreeing to Fox News' Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, which includes our Notice of Financial Incentive.

"We all need more light today. We need more positivity. We need family and faith, hope and strength — that's what these stories are all about."

Those are the words of SQuire Rushnell and Louise DuArt, co-founders of the Godwinks brands and based in Massachusetts, who shared the following story with Fox News Digital.

The couple specialize in what they call "Godwinks" stories — and believe that the Lord works in mysterious ways.

FLORIDA MOM-TO-BE GETS SURPRISE OF HER LIFE FROM HER OWN MOTHER: ‘WISH FULFILLED'

"Godwink is the new word of the language," Rushnell told Fox News Digital. "It means an event that seems like a coincidence — but you know it comes from a divine origin."

Read on to see what he means.

Nurtured by prayer & persistence

The Brookwood Community for Adults with Special Needs lies on 485 idyllic acres, a half-hour west of Houston, near the village of Brookshire, Texas. 

Brkwd Aerial Photo Brkwd Community

The Brookwood Community for Adults with Special Needs Educators in Texas, just west of Houston. Educators have traveled from all over the world to learn how Brookwood has become a model of success. (Brookwood)

Educators have traveled from all over the globe to learn how Brookwood has become a model of success.

From a low-altitude aircraft, one might mistake Brookwood for a small college campus. A chapel steeple rises from a gathering of charming brick buildings, connected by orderly walkways and rolling green lawns, to homes like those in gated residential areas.

RHODE ISLAND POLICE OFFICER AND RESCUE PUP PAIR UP FOR RESCUE AND RENEWAL: ‘CAN ACHIEVE GREAT THINGS’ 

It may be difficult to imagine that the magnificent property of Brookwood Community grew from the seeds of tragedy — nurtured by the power of prayer and persistence.

The Brookwood story began with its tall and straight-speaking founder, Yvonne Streit, the mother of a severely brain-damaged daughter, Vicki. 

Conventional wisdom told the mom that she'd better put her child away.?

As a child, she could neither speak nor move. 

Conventional wisdom told the mom that she'd better put her child away. 

But "oh no, that was not for me," said Streit. 

She found experts who suggested that children with special needs could do many more things than people thought they could. And that, like everyone else, they "needed to be needed" and yearned to have a purpose.

Yvonne & Vicki teen Photo Brkwd Community

Yvonne Streit, left, is pictured with her daughter Vicki. Streit found experts who suggested that children with special needs could do many more things than people thought they could — and that, like everyone else, they "needed to be needed" and yearned to have a purpose. (Brookwood)

Subsequently, after months and years of patient training, Streit taught her daughter how to grasp, lift and release an object in order to feed herself.  

Years later, when Brookwood was started, the girl's simple skill allowed her to grasp a potted seedling plant, lift it into a tray — and release it. 

‘DOGWINKS’ ARE MAN'S BEST FRIEND BRINGING THE DIVINE INTO OUR LIVES WITH ‘GODWINKS’ 

To this day, Vicki Streit reportedly has repeated that process with over 15,000 plants in Brookwood’s horticultural enterprise. 

So she's significantly contributed to one of the largest annual crops of Christmas poinsettias in the state of Texas.

Like so many things in life that people start out to do — it often takes a good number of Godwinks to get there.?

Yvonne Streit recalled that when her daughter approached the age of 18, it became clear to her that while many places were teaching special needs children, very few facilities were providing life-skills training for special needs adults. 

That gave birth to Yvonne Streit’s dream of starting a place called Brookwood. 

FOR MOTHER'S DAY, A VIRGINA MOM'S STUNNING DISCOVERY REMINDS HER OF GOD'S LOVING PRESENCE

Yet, like so many things in life that people start out to do, it often takes a good number of "Godwinks" to get there. 

Carefully articulated plan

An undertaking like that needed to begin with a carefully articulated plan. 

To create the blueprint for Brookwood Community, Yvonne Streit appeared before Rotary clubs, churches, and chambers of commerce — explaining to anyone standing still that she needed seed money for the necessary travel and study.

One night, her husband, Dave Streit, looked at his wife. Seeing the disappointment on her face, he asked how it went at Rotary that day.

Yvonne Strait Bwd Founder w_Citizens Photo Brwd Community

Yvonne Streit, founder of Brookwood, with several community members.? (Brookwood)

She shook her head and sighed. "One more speech with no takers." 

In her bedtime prayers, she choked back tears, she said later.

"God, I know you placed this desire on my heart. And I was sure you had given me the ‘Go’ sign. But, did I misunderstand you?" she prayed. "Because I’m ready to throw in the towel."

A man was standing there with an envelope. He said, "Here’s $10,000 for you to study the idea of Brookwood."?

The next morning, she got up and put on the face that many put on sometimes. On the outside, it signals to the world, "I’m good" — but it's really hiding feelings of sadness, worry or fear that exist on the inside. 

VIRGINIA ICE CREAM SHOP PROUDLY EMPLOYS PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

When she got to the office, a man named Frank was standing there with an envelope. He said, "Here’s $10,000 for you to study the idea of Brookwood." 

She was flabbergasted.

Then a few minutes later, her assistant said someone had just called and was "sending over a check for $7,500." 

Aerial view Brookwood central campus Photo Brkwd Community

An aerial view of Brookwood's central campus in Texas, near Houston. Streit had been ready to throw in the towel — until a remarkable series of events took place shortly after her pleas to God.? (Brookwood)

What?

Then, at 10 o’clock, St Luke’s Church phoned. The church was sending a check for $25,000 "to study Brookwood."                       

And at 11 a.m., the Barrow Foundation called: "We’re sending you $30,000."

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR LIFESTYLE NEWSLETTER                          

Streit couldn’t believe it. She now felt a string of hope, all stemming from her heartfelt prayers of the night before.

It was $72,500 worth of Godwinks — and definitely giving her the "Go" sign.

Long into the future

Today, the Brookwood Community is home to more than 250 citizens. 

Some individuals paint pottery in stone casting that is then displayed in the gift shop, which looks like it belongs in the pages of a home and garden magazine.  

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle

Other citizens are servers or assistants in the kitchen at the Brookwood Café, a popular luncheon spot for the garden clubs of Houston. 

Here, reservations are recommended. 

After 24 years, Streit turned over the daily operations to her daughter, Vivian Shudde, herself the mother of a special needs child.

48,000 poinsettas

Brookwood in Texas maintains a significant horticultural enterprise.? (Brookwood)

For the past 17 years, Shudde, with a degree in special education, has overseen an impressive expansion of the Brookwood campus, developed a succession plan and secured the evolution of the Brookwood Community philosophy long into the future.

"Our vision is to change the way the world thinks about adults with disabilities," the community's website notes.

Now, a new 20-minute docufilm produced by Crescent Moon Productions, "A Joyful Place – The Brookwood Community," celebrates the culture of joy that springs from all those who visit the Brookwood campus. 

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

For more details and history — including a view of the new film — anyone can check out the Brookwood Community's website at www.brookwoodcommunity.org. 

Several stories about Brookwood are included in "Godwink Christmas Stories," a book by SQuire Rushnell and Louise DuArt, while Yvonne Streit’s book, coauthored by Jana Mullins, "Everybody’s Got A Seed to Grow," describes Brookwood's story. 

Rushnell and DuArt are also working on a new book due out next year. Anyone can learn more about the Godwinks projects at www.godwinks.com

爱游戏
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news