Who are the Brendtros? Yesterday I introduced my family in a parenting group and it went something like this: We’re originally from Kansas City, and then lived in Nashville for 3 sweet years. Last year, we settled by the beach in Pensacola because, well, we wanted to. Our kids are 10 and 14. My husband started his own software development business 10 years ago, and I am a writer. We are accidental lifelong homeschoolers, from when Adrienne was 4. Driving us is the conviction that our family simply isn’t meant to scatter in separate directions just yet. Also, we share a passion for traveling together (hence the “lifelong” part of our education journey). So far, we’ve explored 38 states and 2 countries.
An Answer to Prayer
The untethered nature of our family life bowls many people over. We rarely meet other families with the same level of flexibility. Steve and I both field their shocked expressions and exuberant questions about how we do what we do. There are so many parents who would love to trade spots with us. That is simultaneously humbling and encouraging.
Growing up in South Dakota, Steve’s family looked more similar to ours now, while mine was quite disjointed. I have more than I ever dreamed possible as a deeply lonely kid anchored in rural Missouri. This life feels like God’s answers to my childhood prayers. I wake up grateful every single morning for a family to leisurely breakfast with; every single night a family to tuck into bed. They look after me as much as I do them. We are one another’s adventure partners in the ride of life.
What is the Purpose of Each Family?
Is every family meant to look the same, to live untethered and to homeschool? Of course not. Every family is a powerhouse, designed and assembled by God to impact the world, one generation after the next. There is a specific grace from God on each family and it’s on us to discover it. In their book Only One Life mother and daughter duo Jackie and Lauren Green point out, “Often it seems that when God delivers us from something, He wants that area of deliverance to become a personal point of ministry.” Our family is called to embrace this special gift of freedom wholeheartedly, to seize all the joy it offers. We explore it together to our heart’s content. Our purpose in this world is to highlight for others the power- and the beauty- of being a family.
We know for sure and certain, from reflecting on our two families of origin, that what each parent establishes in their home creates a ripple effect for the next generation. That’s not to say that we all replicate what we experienced growing up. Rather, I am highlighting that while some inherit a healthy foundation to build upon, others must paddle hard to reverse the direction in which they were launched. I am beyond thankful to the Lord for the partner Steve is to me, for what his heritage has taught me, and that our vision is so clear.
“Set Your Foot” as a Family
We believe God fashioned our particular family to spark a dream in young families and foster intentional connectivity in older families. Nothing would make us happier than to know we have impacted another family, causing parents to invest more thoughtfully in the potential residing under their own roof. To see a father build a bridge to his hurting daughter or foster the remarkable capacity of his son. To see a mother prioritize bonding over busyness and seize precious opportunities with her children. This is our passion.
Just knowing our role and believing in grace doesn’t make it, as my kids say, “easy peasy lemon squeezy.” Every year I develop the kids’ home education plans, or every time Steve opens a new business endeavor, we exercise bravery. It’s daunting every time we plan a trip to a new country. Here, we lean afresh into our faith. This is the way we’re meant to walk, and God backs us up. He promised, “Every place you set your foot, I have given to you.” (Joshua 1:3) But the setting part is 100% on us as a family.
The World Needs Wholehearted Families
Every time we meet another person or family walking bravely into their calling, it gives us a fresh surge of courage. In the same way, we hope our family gives yours the resolve to discover your unique mission. Here’s a shout out to all of you who’ve impacted us. Our road is paved with bricks you helped lay.
To the Battenfields who brought us into scouting, an excellent way to raise a young man and find community. To the Gilpins for teaching us how to camp, communicate and think for ourselves. To the Brendtros for introducing us to Hawaii, our hearts’ home, and giving us a generous kickstart in our favorite way to build bonds: family traveling. To the Longs who taught us how to manage money and invest it thoughtfully for our family legacy. To the Weirs, a million thank yous for creating a healthy church where we could recover. To the Fritzes, neighbors short term and friends for life, for making Nashville lovely. To the Khalers who inspire us daily with a gusto that is rare. To the Schweplers for speaking up at a vital crossroad. To the McMmullins, the first homeschoolers I ever saw. To the Smiths, for making our segway graceful and gifting us Addicted to Busy, a game-changer. To Haley Murph, already instrumental and a bigger key to our life here than we know yet.
Endure and Endeavor
There’s more, so much more ahead for our family and for yours. If you’re reading this and understand all too well what I said about paddling hard in reverse, take courage. There’s a whole community of families out there whose strength we can glean from. I promise, every investment of time and tears, of prayers and planning, adds to the eternal legacy of your family.