preBrent & Kierstan Fessler
[00:00:00] Kathy: Good morning, Kierstan and Brent Fessler are joining me on the program this morning. Welcome guys.
Brent: Hey, good morning, Kathy
Kierstan: Good morning. Thanks so much for having us.
Kathy: You are welcome. Well, I’d like to begin by getting a snapshot of the Fessler family.
How long have you guys been married?
Brent: 23 years. And I did that without looking at my wife.
Kathy: Good job, Brent
Brent: June 7th, 1997. That was our our anniversary. Kirsten’s always been big on dates, so we kinda like, kinda like a baby. We were always counting weeks and months. And. And things early on in the relationship, so,
Kathy: And you guys live in,
Brent: we live in San Antonio, Texas. Yeah. And right at the beginning of the Hill country we’re both natives.
We were both born here in San Antonio and never have left.
Kathy: So tell us a little bit about your kids.
What are their current [00:01:00] ages and stages in life?
Kierstan: All right. Well, we’ve got four amazing kids. Boy, girl, boy, boy. Our oldest is 20. And he graduated with a cybersecurity degree back in December. So he is on the job hunt and well I say the job hunt he’s he’s. Focusing on getting a couple certifications under his belt to look good on his resume and then going to grab a job.
Brent: So that’s big pivot point.
Kierstan: Yeah. Yeah. So we’re excited for big and he’s still living at home. So I’m also grateful for that. And then our, our daughter is next and she’s 18. She’s currently living in Dallas. She is on the road to becoming a professional ballerina and has been on that road for well, Yeah, since she
Brent: She moved out when she was 14. So you can judge us as parents, whatever you want your daughter move out at 14.
Kathy: Yeah. But that is the journey of a ballerina is a lot of sacrifice. Lots
Kierstan: of everyone. Yeah, that’s right. For the whole family.
Brent: Number three, [00:02:00] son is 17. And he’s going to be a senior next year, another pivot point coming up and then number four is a 13 and he is he’s awesome.
He’s a a nuclear reactor and things are either blowing up or bringing energy to everybody. And yeah, he’s, he’s really special. I love him a lot.
Kathy: Yeah, I love the story. I don’t know if we’ll get into that story or not, but it’s, it’s a great story. And what are your current job descriptions?
Brent: Yeah, well, we’ll, we’ll get into a little bit.
So currently I am the principal and founder of a company called Integreaters. We consult with companies focused on developing their culture and integrating their culture, their values and strategically and but my background before that is in education higher, higher education.
I was the president of a small college here in San Antonio. And also an engineer before that and the other role is being a worship [00:03:00] leader. And so, and of course, father and husband. So there’s like all these lots of hats, lots of hats, many hats and Kiersten,
Kierstan: many hats. And I am the mom and I’m careful to say, I’m not just the mom, but I think that’s a huge role in society and that’s the role that I wanted. And that is my primary calling and vocation is to in, you know, first, a child of God and then wife to Brent, and then the mother to my kids. And that is, I’m still full-time in that season. Although helping Brent, however I can as he’s navigating this new world for Integreaters and just doing them, you know, things that, to come alongside him and help.
And, and then I think we talked, just briefly before the show that I would love at some point to say I’m an author. So I’m dabbling in writing and trying to figure out what that road could bring what that looks like and [00:04:00] yeah, navigating that
Brent: She’s definitely a home maker. She makes a wonderful home for us to live in and really shapes the environment here and sets the atmosphere.
So, yeah, she’s incredible at that.
Kathy: Yeah, homemaker is, um, it’s not a term we use as often anymore, but I would have to agree so fundamentally important.
So homemaker has evolved and, uh, you know, and now with kids in so many activities, many moms find themselves.
Kind of their alternate homes in their cars. So anyway, it’s
Brent: a, it’s been even more important during COVID. I mean, cause this is it’s our you know, in some ways our
home, um, has gotten bigger and smaller all at the same time. It it’s, it’s become so many more things. I mean, it’s become, our office is it’s become our classrooms.
It’s been, it’s become you know, so many things, so yeah. It should have become the gym [00:05:00] more than it has, but yeah, there’s a, there’s a ballet floor downstairs that I, I happened to build, but don’t inspect it.
Kierstan: Yeah. We didn’t know how long Kayla was going to be quarantined. And we did not want that huge investment to go to waste nor did she.
And so Brent took a Saturday, did a little research on Google and
Brent: cut up some pool noodles
Kierstan: and one Saturday built a, a ballet floor, so she could safely keep training in our home.
Brent: It’s legit, too
Kierstan: you did great!
Brent: But you know, we, we often spend a lot of time building a company but, one of the things that COVID, I think, forced us to do is just to be intentional about building our, our home in, in the space here, because it’s become so many more things.
And so that, and Kiersten’s amazing at that.
Kathy: Yeah. Yeah. So, great. I want to shift into a couple of questions that are kind of a fun way to get to know you guys a little more. [00:06:00] If your marriage was a team sport, what would it be?
Brent: Yeah, I’d go with basketball because that’s what I know how to play, but you know, there’s, there’s offense, there’s defense.
There’s lots of fouling going on. A lot of whistles blown. Everybody’s involved on the team. Everybody’s got a role. And you know, just because you’re short or tall doesn’t mean that you’re not on the team and you have to play to those strengths and, and things. So that’s probably mostly because I know most about basketball, but that’s I was, I was going for kickboxing.
Basketball is a better, better team sport for us
Kierstan: well, that sounds about right. You know, you can, you can pass the ball and sometimes you’re running with it. Sometimes I’m running with it. You know, I pass it to Brendan sometimes
Brent: you don’t have a substitute husband. though to,
Kierstan: well, that’s true.
no bench. Oh, no, I don’t get a day off.
Kathy: Oh, that is true. 24 seven, right?
Brent: Tag team wrestling. That’s [00:07:00] that’s more
Kierstan: Oh my goodness. No, I’d much rather wear a basketball uniform.
Kierstan: I’m to have to think a little more about that.
Kathy: Okay. All right. What book or person has most influenced the person you are today?
Kierstan: Other than the Bible, which continually influences our marriage and our family and our faith and everything we do. I think I’d have to go with the Connected Child by Karen Purvis.
And we discovered this book after adopting, our fourth child is adopted. So we have three biological kids and number four is adopted and came across this book. And it just, it
Brent: I wish we had come across it years before
Kierstan: It changed everything. Maybe we’ll do a whole nother podcast on adoption or something if it fits.
But yeah, I would say The Connected Child. I think it [00:08:00] just helped us not just connect to our adopted child, but to connect to every child of God, to connect to each other, to connect to who we’re working with, who we come across at the grocery store and just kind of. permeated everything. It just changed our lens on how we saw life.
Brent: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. I think you know, it made me think, so when, when we went through a marriage seminar with you, Kathy, and, and you, you taught us about pain cycles and, and things that, that, that book Connected child, I think opened us up before we had the opportunity to, to sit in the marriage seminar to a lot of the, those concepts and trauma and, and were when we.
Don’t behave logically and well, I mean, we’ve just got these broken things in us. And I don’t think that we would have seen those things in ourselves, as much if we didn’t have our adopted son and then to be able to go through that process and learn really what trauma and brokenness looks like in all of us.
I think that that book, as, as [00:09:00] we started leaning into to that and understanding a kid from a hard place. It, it just opened us up that we’re all on this spectrum of being from a hard place and, and brokenness that I think we would have maybe gone though our whole life just thinking we’re we’re not broken we’re we’re okay.
And we’re, we’re perfectly fine. We, you know, we’re, we’re blessed, you know, not, you know, not necessarily from a we’re better than anybody else, but just not realizing how, some of those, those, the, the pain cycles is you know, to use that, that, that picture just how it, how it can keep us in a I don’t know, a prison is the right word, but really handicap, handicap relationships and, and, and just keep us much at a, a, just a lower place of freedom and joy in life.
Without understanding those things. So yeah,
Kierstan: I think it, it was a catalyst for compassion. Yeah. For us, it just, it set us on a journey to understand people better. And just [00:10:00] to know that behavior is a symptom of something so much deeper and just opened up our hearts to, to other people’s stories and that what you’re seeing right now in the moment,
probably doesn’t have much to do with that moment and that there’s so much more behind it. So it just, I think it really helped us grow our compassion for each other and, you know, for our kids and, and everyone else.
Kathy: So. Hmm. I’ll have to look that up and I will include it in the show notes. I remember Kierstan you and I had a conversation at that,
it was a marriage retreat several years ago. And I remember you saying that, I think you guys were working with a therapist, maybe just to work on some challenges with your son as often, not just adopted children, but, all of our kids have challenging pieces to their personality. And like you said, we are all broken and I don’t know [00:11:00] what type of homes you all grew up in, but when you’ve had a stable home, it is hard to, it’s hard to fathom the pain and brokenness that others have experienced, that’s just outside of our awareness. So yeah, very powerful.
Brent: Yeah, it’s kind of like watching a sitcom, you know, if you’ve ever seen Everybody Love Ray, everybody I’ve ever seen talk to, who’s watched that show says, Oh yeah, that’s my family. Right. It’s but it’s, it’s just loud. And, and so being around something so loud and, and exaggerated helps you see in yourself, And so
Kierstan: our youngest is loud and exaggerated in case the audience did not pick up on that analogy,
Kathy: How about you, Brent?
Brent: Well, no, I think I like that as well. I I’ve got a whole list. And, and I would say I got to go to the Bible, I think for this because when the big, and not, not, not the whole Bible, but well [00:12:00] of course the whole Bible. So, but the there’s this, particular passage on love. First Corinthians 13, love is patient and kind, not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.
And, and I go to that because it’s shaped it’s. That along with adoption have just shaped every, every facet of our life from our parenting to, to business leadership and, and, and my work with culture and business. As, as young parents I kind of had this prayer of desperation. Not, not because anything had gone wrong, but big.
But really realizing that what was in front of me and the responsibility with this kid and the kids that were coming that I didn’t know about, you know, at that point, but there was this prayer, like, God, if you had expected any, you know, decent number of us on this planet to be good parents at all, you, you hopefully made this simple and, and not that it was easy, but,
show me the simple rule or rules to, to parenting and, and felt like he really led us to love. Like, and so it’s just that one rule: love. And [00:13:00] so we just leaned into that for for years after that, to, to understand and use love and just apply it. And, and so we started with the kids, look, we’re not going to have any rules except for this: love.
And so if it doesn’t pass the love test, then you shouldn’t do it. Right. And, and, and it worked it really did work.
Kierstan: I think what’s really cool now that we have a 20 year old, an 18 year old, a 17 year old, is that what started off as love being a rule? Since it was God’s word and it was actual, like, God is love and just, it’s so deep.
You can’t, you can’t just use human words to describe love, but what started as a rule is now relationship. So we started off using love. As, you know, kind of these boundary lines for our kids, like, well, was that patient, was that kind, you know?
Brent: No, I guess not. Right. Yeah.
Kierstan: You know, be able to see where it broke down, where it wasn’t love, or maybe where, where something was and point out what, wow.
That was really loving of you. And now it’s turned [00:14:00] into just these great relationships we have with our kids. And it’s such a blessing to be on this side of it, to have, you know, grownups almost. I mean, Brendan’s still in the house, but he’s, you know, almost 21 and he’s just an amazing kid and that is no Testament to us.
It’s completely grace of God. And of course the Lord that led us to that passage in the first place, but love works. I mean, it says right there that love never fails and we’re still growing in our love. We’re growing in how to love, but that that’s the aim. That’s the motivation.
Kathy: Yeah, that’s really great.
And as I think about the pain that our country has experienced for many years, but you know, a variety of things have come to a head this year and love is not a feeling. No. Right, right. I don’t have to feel this gushy love [00:15:00] to act in a loving way to you. And so, even as you were talking about how you interacted with your children, it’s very different than saying, you hit Susie say, you’re sorry.
So they say the words, but there’s no heart change or self-awareness to say, why did that hurt Susie or Bob or whoever,
Brent: or just you broke rule number 7 and that’s what was wrong, right. It really connects back to why. On those things. And and, and that, that extends into the work that I do in companies honestly, is that we want to get companies and society away from just, was it against the law or not, you know, as, and, and our life’s being about, is it.
Is it legal or not legal, or am I going to get caught or not caught and get into this inside thing of, of love. And, and I think it’s, it’s been the heart of our relationship as well. As you know, it just solves so many things. If, if you can, if you have a group of people who [00:16:00] yeah, there’s a verse that says his love has been shed abroad in our hearts are knit together.
With love and, and it just, you know, teams work better. I mean, just everything works better. Other problems that you just mentioned in our society right now. I mean, wouldn’t love fix that, right. It’s it’s just love never fails. So
Kathy: yeah. That’s awesome. What about, is there a person in either of your lives that has mentored you or who you have really sought to emulate in terms of being the people you are today and we’re all still in process for sure.
Brent: You know, I think for me, That there’s just a lot of answers to that question. You know, we want to be like Jesus just because he’s so such a part of my faith, although that’s such a high standard, right. You get discouraged doing that. And, and so the, the other answer to that is that I’ve, I’ve tried to surround myself, with a lot of people that I can emulate that I can ask and reach out to that can tell me when I’ve got a booger [00:17:00] on my face that and, and your husband, Mark has been one of those people in my life who I’ve, I’ve leaned on and been able to I think mutually benefit each other and be mentors to each other.
And, and I think it’s really, I honestly, I think it’s something that we don’t do well. If, if you ever see somebody who has fallen you you’ve seen you know, people in leadership or people, especially in spiritual leadership positions who have failed and fallen. I’ve never seen one of those that had surrounded themselves with, with that type of accountability, call it a board or, you know, to be biblical about it, you know, a group of foot washers, you know, people who wash your feet and you wash each other’s feet, never seen somebody who had that around them who ended up falling, you know, in a, in a big way. And, and so the, the people that I would name you, you wouldn’t know, except for your husband Mark, you know?
But that’s, that’s that’s for me. And I think it’s really important.
Kierstan: Yeah, we’re, we’re big [00:18:00] fans of having like a group of people to speak into our lives and to, you know be real with. I do have the mentors in my life as well. My moms, my mother-in-law and my mom who, my mom lives in heaven now, but she was obviously very influential in my life and, and Brent’s mom is so precious and just so blessed to be her daughter-in-law and They’re in front of me a lot.
And I, I love the way they lived life and the way they loved people and were generous and then spiritual leaders in my life. And then I’ve got my group of, of my core friends that just speak into my life. And when I call them, when I’m down and they call me when they’re down and we’re there for each other to do life.
Brent: Yeah. And I think for me, somebody who the listeners would know would be Martin Luther King Jr. And I, what I love so much about him is how much just to bring love back in the emphasized love and, and in a [00:19:00] situation and an environment where it was, it was not the natural response of anybody. To be persecuted, to be hated and reviled so much to be attacked physically and verbally yet to say love is the answer.
And, and to be able to, and I feel like that’s why he was so influential around the world. And it wasn’t a long life, you know, kind of like Jesus, he did not live to be. A ripe old age yet he changed the world and I feel like it’s because he was so tenacious to insist on love being his response, love being his answer.
And it was just incredible. So I, I, and in the situations that are not nearly as difficult, right? What excuse do we have to not respond with love? So, yeah.
Kierstan: Lofty goals
Kathy: powerful. Yeah. Powerful words guys. Thank you. Let’s shift a little bit to kind of the beginning of your story. [00:20:00] And I saw on a post that you wrote, I think it was related to Valentine’s day Kiersten and you, I really want to hear more about how you met, because you said that in fourth grade, Brent aimed the “I love you” heart balloon under your desk, right at me.
So tell me more about that. Did you guys grow up
Kierstan: This is so fun. I love our story. You are so cute. I love that you did this. Okay. So yes, we actually went to school together briefly for two years of elementary school. So when I was in fourth, Brent was in fifth. And back then the honors program was you just go up to the next grade level.
So I was in Brent’s class for, was it English or reading or, something like that.
Brent: I don’t remember. I wasn’t paying attention. I was
Kierstan: you were distracted by my pigtails.
Brent: Yeah. It was the curly hair. You talked about curly hair Kathy. It was the curly [00:21:00] hair. Yeah. It was a big tractor beam,
Kierstan: so funny. Okay. So. And I, I have no recollection of this.
It’s Brent, who remembers doing this on Valentine’s day, had an, I love you heart balloon and had it under his desk and just, I guess, angled itso I would see it from my desk.
Brent: Yes. Yeah, it was, it was like this beam, this laser beam of love, whatever you have in fourth or fifth grade.
Kathy: In 5th grade!
Kierstan: I remember, you know, that you would.
You know, kind of bribe kids to stand next to me in the lunch line. I don’t know. What’d you give them
Brent: m&ms and you know, it was, it was more, I was just working on my timing on when to get up from my desk to be sure that I would be next to you in line, it took a lot of skill.
Kierstan: Oh my goodness. Okay. So that’s adorable. And then was it fifth grade that my mom finished out?
Brent: Yeah. Yeah. Your mom was my teacher for like almost the whole year. Yeah.
Kierstan: So she stepped in to cover for, for his teacher. And she [00:22:00] would come home bragging about this boy, Brent, this Brent that he’s such a good student. He so kind, blah, blah, blah. I was like, mom, boys have cooties stop. Like, Oh yeah. So I don’t know.
That’s that’s about fourth and fifth grade for me.
Brent: Yeah. So get in with the future mother-in-law first and, and then, then the, the dating will go a lot smoother.
Kathy: Okay. So when did you guys actually start dating?
Kierstan: So we started dating in high school. Yeah. In high school. And we were at two different high schools, but
Brent: yeah, we reconnected at a youth youth seminar at our church.
Or is that my church? And she came to the visit
Kierstan: and you had a date that night with another girl
Brent: that was military ball yeah I was in ROTC. So yeah, but yeah, it was it was a great, great youth seminar. I don’t remember much about it. It was do the Daniel thing. That’s what it was. It was do the Daniel thing with Spencer Nordyke, Spencer and Cindy Nordyke.
They’re still around. And so it’s, we, I, you know, I [00:23:00] think it speaks to where. Where our dating started. It was, it was in church. You know, the church is a good place to meet your future mate.
Kierstan: Well, we weren’t allowed to date at the time we were too young. I mean, it was go out in groups and that’s that’s it.
So we, you know, we dated five years before we got married because we were super young, super young. When we got married, I was 20 and Brent was 21. But I wouldn’t change anything about our story.
Brent: Yeah. Our first date, our first date was at taco bell, not on purpose. It was because that’s where the, all of our friends and youth group decided to go after church was taco bell.
And then they changed their mind. They didn’t tell us. And so we were sitting there with, with our tacos, at taco bell
Kierstan: and no one showed up.
Brent: Yeah. So
Kierstan: it was
an accidental first date. Yeah, we didn’t complain.
Kathy: Oh, how funny. So how did you guys know that you were each other’s forever person?
Kierstan: I think we grew into that.
Don’t you think? [00:24:00] I mean, it definitely, it wasn’t a head thing. Although, you know, there was some reasoning involved. I mean, he was handsome and funny and motivated and driven and had vision for his life. And. You know, graduated valedictorian. He was sporty had just like so many natural things, but it was just more of a knowing.
I just knew in my heart, like I can do life with him. I want to do life with him. He’s my best friend. I think it went from friendship to best friend to, you know, it just evolved from there. And I don’t think we remember a moment where it was like, Oh, okay. I’m going to marry you. I don’t, I don’t think we had one of those.
I think we just kept growing together and didn’t want to do anything other than that. And we’re still doing that. We’re still growing together. Yeah. That’s a choice.
Brent: Most, most of thinking back most of our time together. Just centered around church and, and being together [00:25:00] in that environment. So we ended up, you know, worshiping next to each other and hearing the same messages and not like we afterwards, you know, we didn’t like go into deep discussions or anything afterwards, but it was just such a
a central piece of us and, and you know, , I don’t know that we ever thought we would go into the ministry, you know, quote unquote together. But early on it was an emphasis of us ministering together. Like , it was just a part of our conversation, you know, like she, she danced, she was a ballerina and, and I sang, and we didn’t really perform a lot together, but it was It was just, it seemed to be, yeah, I mean, it was kind of like part of the purpose.
I mean, of just our relationship or maybe a foundation of our relationship was just around those things and, and they were real. And so I, I think like Kiersten said, I think we just grew into that, that we just started seeing our lives intertwine , and have purpose together. And just seeing those things get in sync together.
[00:26:00] We, we talked about the future. We, we talked about you know, kids. So , I think we asked them we didn’t have a list of things, but we just , we ended up just growing together in our futures, ended up growing together. In that there’s a, there’s a scripture that says to, to be, to don’t be unequally, yoked but to be equally yoked and it’s this picture of, you know, a couple of oxen, you know, trying to pull the same, the same burden or the same plow and, and they should be, you know, matched well go in the same direction.
And without us you know, saying we need to be equally yoked. I think we just grew into that. We realized we just had similar vision, similar purpose, similar values faith and, and all those things just grew together. And, and I guess before long, we just, I mean, everybody else saw us as one person.
It was always Brent and Kierstan, you know, our, our birthdays are five days apart. We just kind of became
Kierstan: four. Four days apart.
Brent: Sorry. Sorry. Her’s is right after mine. Thank God for that. I mean so [00:27:00] if you ever looking for a spouse get one, that’s got a birthday, like just a few days after yours so like every time it’s my birthday, I’m like, there’s something important coming up.
Kathy: What could it be? Yeah, well, and to emphasize the friendship component I used to, when I was working with couples and I would talk about a triangle, you know, a triangle with a strong base is going to be balanced, right? It’s not going to tip over.
And so you start with friendship and as it becomes more and more and more intimate, you know, until you decide to marry. And so often, especially in our current culture, it is upside down, right. It begins with the physical, Oh, well, that was good. You know what we’ll see if we can build on that. And it’s just, it’s an upside down way, really to, to build a healthy relationship.
If you want a relationship that’s gonna last over the years, friendship is so important because [00:28:00] passion comes and goes. You know, you have days when you irritate each other, but if you can keep coming back to the friendship piece, then. You, you do, you keep building
Brent: and yeah. And I mean, I feel like Disney has poisoned our relationship view and you know, emphasizing so much finding the right person.
And there’s definitely a lot of wrong people to marry. And, and I believe that Kiersten is absolutely the right one, but I’m so grateful that we had somebody early in our life that was emphasizing being the right instead of finding the right person. Yeah. You need to find the right person, but that’s not the secret to success.
And marriage or a relationship. The secret is being that, that right one and developing through friendship where I mean , we didn’t, I, I don’t know if we’ve still technically had an argument, but certainly have gone through a lot
Brent: Yeah. Yeah, that’s not quite textbook, [00:29:00] but I think it’s more of our personalities are pretty easy going.
Pretty, pretty easy to please, I think. But, but even, even with that Yeah, somebody early, I don’t even remember who it was, maybe it was Spencer Nordegg was probably Don Williams, our youth pastor just emphasizing , that being the right person. And if you, if you feel like there’s something wrong in somebody else and this kind of relationship, and I don’t know how textbook this is, but the approach was never go try to fix that person.
It was look inward and if anything, pray and let the Holy spirit, fix that in the other person. And so that was something I remember, I don’t even remember what it was, but I remember there were a couple of things that bugged me when we were early in marriage and, and that just, it rang in my ears.
Don’t, it’s not my job to fix her. Like, that’s not why she married me, to fix her. It’s my job to just pray and, you know, cause , I’m not equipped to fix anybody anyways. And so if anybody’s going to get fixed, that’s going to be the Holy spirit that does the fixing.
Kierstan: You’re still praying, right?
Brent: I’m still praying, and you’re still praying for me. But I think yeah, to that triangle [00:30:00] point, right. It’s it’s The, the foundation is, is not trying to balance on or, you know, on precariously on this point that it have I found the right person or not, it’s on this really robust foundation of , we’re both committed to being the right person and, you know, just being, being the right one for each other.
Kierstan: It’s good.
Kathy: Yeah. And a little louder for those in the back. It’s about be the right person. I love that. When you guys started out as a young, very young married couple y’all were a little bit younger than we were. We were 21 and 22. Okay. So not, not far ahead of you, but we’ve made it 41 years. So
Kierstan: that’s awesome.
Kathy: What, what did work look like at that time or career? What was your career path looking like when you first got married?
Kierstan: When we got married, we were not in a career. [00:31:00] We were still in college, so I still had two years left and ended up getting my degree in math. And Brent still had a year left as well.
So career was just on the cusp like, you know, we were treading water to, get to that doesn’t even make sense. We were, we were getting to the career part.
Kathy: Right. You were preparing for that career. And were you dancing then? Still Kiersten?
Kierstan: Not professionally. Just recreationally, still big part of my heart
Brent: and she’d gotten injured in college, which kind of derailed it.
Yeah. Yeah. So I, we, we had some sort of sales skills to talk our parents into Continuing the dorm the room and board, room and board, while we were.. and I said, look, I’m spending so much study time, you know, over at Kiersten’s dorm room. And, and cause she was incarnate word here in San Antonio, I was at Trinity and close two universities close by and our, our GPA, well, my GPA hers never did leave 4.0.
But my GPA went up after we got [00:32:00] married. You know, it was just, yeah. Yeah. So, but then entered engineering soon after that and worked at a place called Southwest research and was, was there for about 10 years. So I had a, you know, a good, a good solid job to build a family on financially and music was more than a hobby.
So , I continued to volunteer as a worship pastor at our church. So it kind of a bi-vocational model there. Which you know , we had people speaking in our life at that point to not volunteer so much and, and not give so much of your life to the church. And , I think for me, I mean, I know it put, puts strains , on time and probably didn’t have as much date time , as we should.
And, and it was a slippery slope. I think that we really could have gone down this place where like my, my dad say, you know, working for God becomes more important than knowing him. But, but for me having , that anchor of, you know, commitment to minister through [00:33:00] music really anchored the rest of our lives.
And, and so I, I feel like that bi- vocational things, it was kind of like, you know, starting a company, I guess , at the same time. But having, always having new music, no matter how busy we got always having that leading worship part in that really significant volunteering at church really kept our life centered.
Even though the ditch was really close by, we could see into the ditch that it could really start consuming us. But I have no regrets. I didn’t want to make a living at music as much as I loved it. I’m so grateful. I at some point in college or I loved music so much that I like, Hey, I can make a living at this.
But somebody either sat me down or somehow just, starting to think about what that looked like with, the family. And I was like, I don’t think I want to raise a family with a music as my profession providing for my career, you know, for providing for my family, you gotta be out on the road and, and all these things, like, I don’t want to raise [00:34:00] a family in that.
So I made that choice to go down the technical path and being an engineer because of my family,
Kathy: which is always that, that is always a dichotomy that I have trouble integrating. I have met a number of musicians over the years or photographers or other creative, of course photography can get very technical.
That’s when my eyes glaze over. But you know, I think of engineering as being so left brain and musician, so right brain. So is it just, you are just this complete perfect individual Brent that has all of your brain developed?
Brent: Well, no, actually engineering’s a little bit more right-brained more creative, even though it was a lot of numbers and stuff.
I think accounting and economics would be more like left brain, not a lot of musician, accountants, maybe. I don’t know. I’m just making fun of accountants at this point. But no, I mean, to that point though, I think having something like me, music and worship. I mean, it, it kept us in this rhythm of no matter how busy things [00:35:00] are going, we had this quiet place where you know, really, because of the commitment we had to get quiet, I had to focus on music, had to focus on leading a congregation in worship and no matter how noisy all the work and or no matter how noisy the family things were going on, we had this rhythm where we’re, worshiping and, and it was a place for us to get quiet, to reset, to recenter.
And, and I think without that, it’s just too easy to say, man, we’re too busy. To go to church or we’re too busy to take that quiet time. And , I don’t have enough discipline, honestly, as a, person to have , those rhythms of quiet and rest without being committed to it. And so I have to get it on my calendar and that I’ve, I’ve had Kiersten’s dates, you know, having to do dates on my calendar before she doesn’t quite like that.
But I mean, Yeah. You’re yes, you’re on my to-do list, but you’re that important to be on my to-do list? It’s not like you’re equal to all the other [00:36:00] things, like email and things, but I, I mean, I need to have that.
Kathy: It keeps it front of mind. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. So Kiersten, you got a math degree. What, what were your plans with that?
Or was your focus at that point, knowing that, I mean, you guys were already married, so right. What were your plans?
Kierstan: Getting the master’s degree my, my intention was, well, people are always looking for math teachers and my dad gave me four years of college, which was generous. And, but that was it. So to do a fifth year to include getting a teaching certificate was not in the newlywed budget.
So, scooted out with my bachelor degree in math and thought, well, I’ll just get the certification while I’m teaching, but ended up just teaching from the home and doing you know, one-on-ones and tutoring out of the home. And then yeah , Brent took off in the work world and I think it was, I think I mentioned this earlier, but it was, it was a [00:37:00] goal of both of ours for me to stay home with kids.
So, you know , we had kids Let’s see, Brendan was born in 2000. So within three years, you know, I was a mom and that became my primary focus and so blessed that I was able to stay home with the kids.
Brent: Yeah. And I don’t, I never, yeah. I never said, Hey, you belong at the home and you need to stay home. But I, I always tried to value and esteem that role and the importance of that.
To, I mean, it’s probably one of the greatest investments you could ever make on the planet is raising, the kids. And , we were blessed that I had enough income from the engineering work that you didn’t have to go work. But we wanted that, you know, just have that safety there to, if you ever wanted to go work, there’s, there’s something for you to go and do with that.
Kathy: And it sounds like you’ve found a good way to hang on to something that’s very important to you Brent to, I’m starting to do some interviews with [00:38:00] musicians and other artists, painters. I don’t know who all we’ll find to interview authors, maybe. But it is a, there is a lifestyle and there are sacrifices in that lifestyle and it isn’t for everyone.
So that’s interesting. Let’s jump forward some years. I know you were at Hallmark, which, your dad was the co-founder of that. Is that right? Brent?
Brent: That’s right. Yeah. 50 I gosh, 51 years ago now. My, my dad, his parents were missionaries. He was going to be a missionary himself. He was going to be a missionary pilot and he
got on, somebody asked him to come while he was building experience to come in and start this school, an aviation maintenance school. So he did that. But for one reason or another, all of the original partners needed to exit that. And so my dad who was, gosh, he was 24 at the time, you know, so speak, you know, some, one of the traits for [00:39:00] entrepreneurship is there’s gotta be a little bit of crazy naivety and ignorance and things on there for, for somebody to actually build something you know, the great things that we’ve see built.
And so he had that And, and kind of before he realized that he was just there holding this, this university , the start of the university and me growing up around it. I knew that’s what I wasn’t that I knew that’s what I didn’t want to do. Right. That was the one thing I knew I didn’t want to be an educator which is funny how, how those things happen.
But I did a little bit of work for the university while I was still an engineer and something just resonated with me. Yeah. I’m a, I’m a musician and, and you know, when something resonates, right, you, you start to get this music coming out. And, and I got around the university there and something was resonating in me.
I didn’t realize was there. And, and so I followed that and I spent the last 12 years well, up to 2020 at the beginning of 2020 there at Hallmark university, various roles there and really shaped the, the company that [00:40:00] I started last year.
Kierstan: I think it’s funny. I’m just going to mention this part, cause it’s
it’s half marriage and half entrepreneurship, that in our, in the beginning of our marriage, I don’t know if we’ve verbalized it or if it was an unwritten rule, but it was like, you’re not going to work for Hallmark, like both of us were just sure of it. We’re like really? It’s not on the table. It’s not available to you.
So enjoy being an engineer, enjoy being a musician, you know, whatever else. But Hallmark was, it was like, no,
Brent: I mean, you know, it takes to start something or even just to keep leading something. And, and so our picture of that was always around the, you know, whenever Kiersten was home or over at our house or anything as we were dating, when we were dating that, you know, around the dinner table, Yeah, you just can’t help, but you hear everything that’s broken and messed up.
And I was like, wow, that is a horrible place to work. Right. Because that’s just what mom and dad as, as entrepreneurs. [00:41:00] That that was their, their life at home was they were, you know, fixing things and dealing with, you know, keeping this, this university growing and, and on track and, and things. And, and I was like, Oh, wow.
That’s like, so toxic. You know, I don’t want to be, I don’t want to be an educator if that’s what it’s like. But it was really more of a, I think an entrepreneur entrepreneurial picture, you know, because that was just what they had to go through to start up something like that. And, and we were like, Oh, you know, that’s definitely what we don’t want that.
Kierstan: I totally thought that’s a marriage killer.
Like you’re going to come home and complain about work all day. Like where do I fit in this picture? If you know, if it’s, this is your job and you work from Dawn till dusk here, and you bring it home with it, like where does marriage fit in that scenario? And so I think it was, you know, it took a lot of faith for me in the beginning when Brent decided to work for hallmark.
And I was, I was probably [00:42:00] really, I don’t know. Yeah. I was not a good wife about it for awhile. At least for a season. I was resentful, like, Hey, what happened to our unwritten rule? But the longer he was there, I mean, I didn’t have the resonance that he was talking about, but I, I ended up getting it through him because I could see how much it was resonating with him.
Like, Oh, okay. You love it. You were born for this. You were made for this season. And, and that’s exactly how I feel now. I was like, Oh my goodness, you were totally born for this. This is so who you are, you were meant for this. Integreaters is just the next phase for Brent and I’m, I’m so proud of him, but those years at hallmark helped prepare him for what he’s doing now.
It all fits.
Kathy: Yes. And how interesting that you saw your mom and dad discussing that Brent, was your mom involved in the business or was she just kind of like
[00:43:00] Brent: the, yeah, she she’s done everything. She had done everything there from payroll, accounting to enrolling, to toilets. I mean, she did. Pretty much everything there.
From the beginning. In fact, I remember my grandmother babysitting us most days because she was going to work with my dad and, and helping out there. And, and being a kid , I You know, you experienced these things so different when you’re a kid, but I realized now they went through so many times where things almost failed completely.
You know, whether it be from some frivolous lawsuit or just the market, you know, my dad, dad, you know, 50, you know, 50 plus years, what you’ve been through a lot of market downturns from the S&L that’s an L thing in the eighties. And and. And so I, and I saw them go through that. And, and their marriage is as strong as ever.
But it was, it’s definitely a special grace for entrepreneurs to start something like that. And, and he started it in a different way than I’ve started Integreaters you know, I’ve, I’m starting a much later. He was 20 he’s, [00:44:00] 24 when, when he started hallmark , and I’m here in my forties with, you know, two careers sort of under my belt and established at, at home and, and a bit of runway and just totally different place, you know, the, I feel like the type of entrepreneur it takes, what, what for, what I’m doing is very different than what my parents went through.
I mean, you know, no safety net. You know, dozens and dozens of hundreds of people, depending on you, if you include the students and everything , and people against you, I mean, you’ve got regulators and I’ve got a much easier road on the entrepreneurial journey. I’ve, I’ve chosen right now, but.
So I know this is about our marriage, but I just throw in my parents’ marriage journey in there because I I’m grateful to have had, I think having that model was so valuable to have seen my parents go through so much difficulty yet to be such a great. I never saw them argue once, either, even though I know they’ve, [00:45:00] they’ve been through hell you know, business wise and they were always not perfect, but great.
Just great parents
Kierstan: they have that foundation. You were talking about that great friendship.
Brent: dad was always teaching Sunday school as busy as he was starting up something. He was always, you know, every week he was in there preparing his message and, and teaching Sunday school. So I, I think. Yeah, it was great to have that model.
And, and I think it was really valuable to us. Right. And still is
Kathy: awesome. So let’s shift to Integreaters and tell us about this business that you started just about a year ago, right? Brent, January.
Brent: Yes. Yeah. Last 2020.
Kathy: Great timing for everyone last year. At this time, if we could have predicted the future.
Brent: Yeah, I know. Hey, we’ve got a pandemic coming up. It’s on the calendar to start startup a new company launch. Everybody’s going to want to hire a consultant next year. Yeah.
Kathy: Tell us [00:46:00] about kind of the conversations that the two of you had and how you decided to launch and what that business is about.
Brent: Well, you know, it’s kind of like Swiss cheese.
There’s not one thing. There’s a lot of, just a lot of things that ended up lining up over time and it.
Kierstan: Swiss cheese?
Brent: Yeah, well to actually get through Swiss cheese, that takes a bunch of holes to line up one time. Like, it’s not just like, Hey, it was this one thing. So it, you know, so it’s a journey.
It was a series of conversations.
Kierstan: Well you started this business about a year ago, but the seeds of it were ancient inside of you.
Brent: And so , and leaving at the university as a part of a personal journey to the frustrations for me not that education was not a passion, but I think operations
was not a passion and so much of, so that there was just kind of this dissonance. That’s the opposite of resonance when it came to me having to spend so much of my energy in [00:47:00] places that I , that , I’m realizing I’m not built for. I’m a, I’m a dreamer. I love solving problems. I love looking forward and , and just always looking out and being an optimist and, and things like that.
And , the discipline of operations and leading a large team at a university just over time, it was like, Ugh, you know, things just weren’t, weren’t fitting well, but the passion of the education did, and specifically with developing character, which honestly to me would talk about love earlier.
It’s really about developing love and people. And like that was where my passion kept being drawn to. And this operational side just kept getting in the way. And so I think that was frustrating. We just , we weren’t that articulate at the time to be able to describe that, but the conversations were, look , I don’t know that this is my forever thing, [00:48:00] even though I’m passionate about education.
My role at the university, you know , is that really the, you know, am I going to find joy in that for the next 20 years? And so I think those were the conversations and just trying to try to lean into those things and, and. And, and uncover those things. Kiersten is much better at or articulating beautiful things.
But I think, I don’t know. You go from your side.
Kierstan: Yeah. I just think there was, there was just this kind of beckoning to something bigger. The years at hallmark were such a blessing and it just felt it started feeling more like a springboard than a permanent structure was like, It just feels like there’s something else.
Like you’re meant to do something on a larger scale, bigger, and he’s, he’s a visionary. So to limit him to one place in one entity, one school just started feeling, I wouldn’t say suffocating, that’s a little too strong of a word, but it was like, I just really feel like there’s more and we’re still leaning into [00:49:00] what all that means, but this, it was just taking the lid off.
Like what? Okay. If we were, he is a dreamer, like if we’re going to dream and, and I’ll say this too, while I’m talking about dreaming, is that brent is a dream come true for me. Like I’m living in a dream, but to have a dream come true, you have to keep dreaming. Like you have to have something continually keeping to come true.
You have to keep dreaming for your dream to come true. And so I think , there were some years where we just stopped dreaming and it just kind of felt stifling. I don’t know. Some, it wasn’t all hallmark, there were some challenging behaviors in the home and some things like that too, that just started feeling really heavy.
But when we started dreaming bigger together and thinking, okay, what if we took this lid off? What could this look like? It just, there was so much life coming from it so much, just like happy energy. We just thought, okay, let’s lean into this. What can this look like? And it just. It just became, and it’s
Kathy: so important, isn’t it to figure out what is life giving to us and to our partner?
Because it’s hard when [00:50:00] you see your partner, just, you know, I think if you’re practicing love, as you said, you’re tuned in to whether your partner is energized or whether they are tired all the time and not, they don’t have this zest for life. And a friend of ours recently sent Mark a podcast and they were talking about multipliers and simplifiers and,
Mark recognized pretty quickly. It was like, Oh yeah, I’m a multiplier. And there are different types of entrepreneurs. I think one of the things I love about this podcast is meeting so many different people with different ways of approaching something new or bettering something. And it kind of sounds like Brent you’re probably a multiplier, not as simplifier. I know in Mark’s business, it was, he was the visionary. He [00:51:00] could get things started, but then the day to day running just an after 20 years of that, it really did. Yeah. Just it’s like, it just ate his soul. And that was, that was when he started at C 12 and it, it saved our marriage. It really did because he was so, empty at that point. And I felt bad because I, I was always trying to, well, what else can I do? You know? But there was only so much I could do. Right. So, so this idea came about kind of over time or, tell us how Integreaters then developed.
Brent: It was the, the, the guts of it. I developed at the university I was developing the character development program there.
It was, it was a differentiator for the university instead of just trying to develop skills and knowledge, we also wanted to focus on developing the character. And, and so it was, you know, it was, it was a business choice. It was part of the mission statement. But for me, it was much deeper than that, right.
[00:52:00] This is my opportunity to really change somebody’s life. Like I felt like the real change in our student’s lives happened when we got to develop that character or, you know, in other words, instill love or develop love in them. The skills were awesome and the knowledge were awesome. But those actually turn into liabilities, if you don’t also develop the character, you know, it kind of like a, I guess, a marriage too, right? You can, you can marry somebody who’s, you know, beautiful on the outside and have some skills. But like, if that character is in there, there’s no way you’re going to have a great marriage. Right. So for all of the things that matter in life, we need that.
And so I was developing that at hallmark and, and really investing time and understanding that and getting good at that designing that there’s my engineer coming out. So like this iterative process, why that didn’t work very well. You know, what is this? How do you develop character in somebody?
And, and so really built a lot of that is what I’m doing my doctoral research in right now and, and, you know, matured that program there. But I, [00:53:00] I think one of the seeds that, that landed there, we had a number of employers who had hired our graduates from the university there that said, wow are your graduates really are different?
They stand out from other people that we have on our team. And not a hundred percent, but they were saying that there really is a difference here. And it wasn’t because we recruited those students. It was really because something was changing in them there at the university. And, and these employers would say, Hey, do y’all export this?
Do y’all do this at, you know, can you come do this with our employees? And, you know, So being asked that a few times, just like, you know what, that would be so cool. You know, I’m grateful to be able to do this with the hundreds of students at the university, but there’s thousands of employees out there and to come in and reach them.
And , the marriage part that comes in this was because it’s really just an extension of, of how we were trying to raise our kids and what we believed in that. You know, it’s all integrated. We call the [00:54:00] company Integreaters because I really believe these things integrate. And this startup specifically, I could never have started this up when, in my twenties, because I just didn’t have these pieces there, there weren’t these pieces to integrate.
And so this type of entrepreneurial endeavor is something that I learned after being a parent after adopting, after trying to lead a team, being an engineer, being a worship leader, like all these things are converging right now to enable the startup. And so I think, you know, that’s, that’s how.
Integreaters has started the philosophies, the processes and everything. I mean, it’s, it’s all the things that we’ve talked about, you know, raising kids, adopting kids, that connect the child book, understanding trauma it’s, it’s, it’s all coming together for this , and Kiersten has been incredible in it because not that she does a lot of work in there, but she asks me all the right questions and, and she reviews things and she’s like, well, do you really want to do that?
You know, what do you think in here? And, and [00:55:00] she’s been such incredible advisor and, and helpmeet me. And, and this you know , she’s not like doing the accounting and we’re not like that type of that. Like some people are, are co entrepreneurs in that way. I mean it’s, I don’t know how to, how else to word it, except I’ve got this incredible platform behind me.
Kierstan: It just kind of flows. You know, he’s at home, we’re still in a COVID season, but I love having him home. And , we talk about the business all the time, but it doesn’t feel like a chore. So that part of where I was scared for him to work for Hallmark because, Oh my goodness, you’re going to bring business home and there’s going to be no marriage.
And now here we are like, you’re literally at home working all the time. And we’re talking about Integreaters all the time and our marriage is better than it ever has been. Yeah. So, you know, the fear has been gone and it’s like, you just keep growing together and you keep choosing each other. Yeah. And obviously we’re on this road together.
We’re holding hands, but you know, it’s like, Hey, Hey, can you come read over this and does this wording makes [00:56:00] sense? And he’s just, you know, come down for a lunch break and we talk, Oh, I just had this phone call and blah, blah, blah, blah. And it’s just been really kind of fun. I know we’re only one year in and we have really high hopes and we’re, we’re excited where it’s, where it’s going.
It’s kind of, you know, taking more shape.
Brent: Yeah. Even though it’s harder work, there’s just, there’s more joy. And, and so I don’t know if this is like textbook kind of a startup and, you know, financially it’s going through all the normal struggles. I mean, it is a pain in the butt. Yes. But even, even with the struggles of trying to get customers to, you know, engage with new consultants. It has been, has been full of joy, I guess, is even as hard as it’s been. And, I don’t know exactly all the ingredients going into that, but , I know it would not be joy, full of joy without I mean, I feel equally yoked going back to that picture again. We’re we’re in this together.
We’re we’re a team. Yeah, we’re complimentary. So yeah.
Kathy: I love it. I love it. So how has it gone? I mean, you launched [00:57:00] in January and then the world shut down in March, we’re coming up on a year.
Brent: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you know, from one standpoint it’s been, you know companies need employee engagement and culture work more than ever because employees are working at a distance, but the practical side of it is that we don’t,
we may or may not have cash. And so it’s this weird that there’s this weird two ditches going on. The companies either have been just slammed and they’ve had the furlough employees or companies in certain industries have been slammed on the positive side. And like, we don’t have time, right, , to carve out, you know, two hours to do a
and, and so the it’s, it’s a really interesting time with that. But God has blessed us especially through relationships I’ve already had and , with owners and, and leaders who already were familiar with my work have been early adopters. And so very grateful for that. And again, another one of those things you just having an idea is not enough.
I’ve had to rely on [00:58:00] relationships that I’ve already had to, to, to call on. And and, and so yeah, business is going okay. And I, January ’21, just hit with some crazy energy. It was looking really really challenging at the end of 2020. Between the holidays and COVID and everything. And, and I think people were just done with it in January.
So a lot of things have really started to move to the point where if, if half of the things that could come through, come through, I’ve got to really start scaling and lean into the processes and, and hire and more, more consultants to, to work with integrators. So it’s exciting and, and challenging all the same time.
Kathy: Despite Kiersten’s face a minute ago. Y’all couldn’t see this, but she was like gritted teeth. Like
Kierstan: there are definitely some days where his optimism overshadows my insecurity, but we’re
a good team.
Kathy: Yeah. How do you guys handle that? When typically [00:59:00] one is more optimistic and the other is a little more realist?
I always say I’m not a pessimist. I’m a realist. How do you guys navigate those differences?
Kierstan: We pray for each other. We probably get away from the moment and go do something else, go for a walk or, you know
Brent: yeah, go ahead.
Kierstan: I don’t, I don’t know what I want to say.
Brent: Well, to me, and I don’t know if this is the right answer, but I’ve, I’ve never felt like Kiersten some was against me in this.
Like I was trying to start something in spite of her, you know, like, like I had to appease her in this and as long as Kiersten is happy, then I can do my thing. I’ve always felt like she was in it with me. And so as, as we’ve had those difficulties there, even though I’m optimistic more optimistic maybe.
Even, even in the realism that comes, it’s always from a we’re in this [01:00:00] together. And, and it’s, it’s more like, Hey, there’s a bump here. We need to stop and, and figure this out. Not like, I can’t believe you made that choice. Right. It’s it’s, you know that, well, that was dumb. Right? I’ve never, I haven’t gotten any of that from, from her.
And so I’m just grateful that she’s been really trying to pull together. With me. And so I think that’s where the realism is. Okay. It doesn’t feel like an attack so much cause I I’ll tend towards that. In that I I’ll take it as a rejection or as a as an, as a personal attack, you know, if I failed on these things, but Kiersten has been she’s aware of that in me.
And so she’s been real, real careful to say, Hey we need to do something. But you know, I’m not saying that you messed up and that you’re not enough, but let’s figure out together what to
Kierstan: Well, I think you’ve built such a strong foundation of faithfulness that I just, I have so much trust in, in who you are and the choices that you’re making, that you’re not, you’re not doing this [01:01:00] for yourself, that you really have all of us in mind.
And I just, I there’s such security when you can trust your spouse. And , that’s when you can grab hands and go through hard things together, because you know, at the end of the day, he’s still choosing you and I’m choosing him and we both know, we’re doing the best we can. When, when you have that lens on it, you know, that he’s, he’s not squandering time or money or resources that all of this is for a greater purpose and it’s for us.
Brent: Yeah, I don’t. Well, and I’m grateful to have the permission to do it too. Cause I think. If, if I didn’t feel that trust from her, I would have quit and gone back to being an engineer or doing something that would keep money coming in and have a comfortable living. But I’ve had the permission and the support to no don’t do that, you know, just keep, keep going.
And that I, you know, until just now really [01:02:00] realizing how important if I didn’t have that. I wouldn’t, we wouldn’t be starting up right now, so I I’m grateful to have that kind of support and support sounds so trite, but that’s really what it is.
Kathy: I’ve had trouble coming up with a better word, but you’re absolutely right. And as I’ve talked to many different entrepreneurs, Some of whom their marriage didn’t make it. And part of the reason it didn’t make it was because they weren’t a team. You know, one person just, you know, they wanted so much money in the checking account at the end of the month. And if it’s not there, then what are you doing?
You know, they did not understand what this journey was or what it was that brought them joy in work. And so to be able to have conversations. And like you said, so much run up to this launch, you know, many years of developing trust and faithfulness and really knowing each other’s character. Right.
[01:03:00] Because you’ve demonstrated that over time, it would be very different if you were 22, trying to launch something. And there are couples that are very young and trying to launch businesses and it’s. It’s a little scary because they don’t have history to build on. They don’t have experience. So, great story.
Are you, is this Integreaters is you’re full time work now?
Ok. You’re not at hallmark any longer.
Brent: It is full time, no, I, I still work as where I’m doing my doctoral research there. And so I’m still involved in the character program specifically there. But no, this is this is it.
Kathy: Okay. Well, good. Well, I wish you all the best in it.
And I want to keep up with how it’s going. One or two more things I’d like to ask I’m aware of the time and we could talk all day, I think, but I need to let you guys get on with your day. What are some things that you have done over the years to keep the fun, friendship, and intimacy in your marriage?
It’s clear that y’all are very much in [01:04:00] love, very fond of each other. So how have you maintained that?
Brent: Well, I putting putting her on my to-do as, as not romantic as that sounds romantic. No, but cause I, it, things just consume the rest of your life. So I think being intentional has allowed it to be fun, but just being aware of that, Hey, I, we need to have fun. That’s been the, the hidden blessing of COVID is we’ve, we’ve gone on more walks this past year than ever.
And, and so that’s been a great time to just, you know, go have fun together. We have to laugh at our kids. Sometimes. So I, I think I, I naturally have I I’m sure she didn’t say this, but I’m pretty sure she was drawn to my sense of humor. And that’s what really drew her to me. I was, it was not my knee high socks or my, my dashing looks and and, and our, all of our [01:05:00] kids have got that.
And, and it’s kinda my coping mechanisms. So fortunately I, I think things just kind of get funny as things get hard. And so that helps.
Kierstan: Yeah, that’s true. I think without humor, Life would be so dreary. It will be so hard. And we have our, you know, we have our secret language for each other. We’ve got our inside jokes and you know, our kids get grossed out if we kiss.
So that’s always fun,
Brent: but our kids have not figured out all of our code words yet. And I’ve, I’m sworn to not reveal any of our
Kierstan: No, you may not divulge.
Brent: I, and, and so that’s, I think one of the keys actually is having kind of a code language. To the, the intimacy so that you, cause there’s, there’s something fun about talking about intimacy in code in front of the kids, right? Hey,
Kathy: they’re gonna catch on.
Brent: Yeah. [01:06:00] I, you know, maybe they already have, and we’re, we’re gonna find out,
Kierstan: we’ll find out when they’re married.
Brent: That’ll be. But you know, I mean, honestly, that’s, that’s fun for us too, to try to be, you know, intimate using those, those code words that developed over over the years you know, it feels kind of scandalous , you know, To to say some of those things while we’re making dinner and the kids just don’t know what we’re talking about.
Kierstan: We do a lot of things together. We cook together, we do schedule getaways. We go to the Lake and we find times to just go be alone. It’s so important to just go find husband and wife time, even when you’ve got four kids and they are pulling on you. I mean, you know, I could forget I had a husband with all the kids, you know, but you, you have to choose, choose being a wife over being a mom.
Sometimes like you, you have to prioritize and yeah, we find fun things with them. We’ve done like books together and studies [01:07:00] together. And we just find things nothing’s really on the schedule right now, or just doing survival skills together, camping last week. Right. We had no water, no electricity. No, heat, , it’s not quite as much fun as choosing to go camping, but that’s the only way I would forget her to go camping.
We had our kickboxing season.
Brent: Oh, Oh man. Okay. So this is this, all of your listeners need to try this. Okay, is go take kickboxing together? And I don’t know if Kathy, if you and Mark have ever done it. Okay. So do you need to find a great place to go, go and do adult kickboxing? Because you, you actually Kiersten hit me, right.
And I’ve got I’ve, I’ve hit my wife, dozens and dozens of times. And, and it was so much fun. It was way more fun than I thought it should have been. And, and, and I think she had more fun than she thought she should have had.
Kierstan: I preferred the kicking you over the punching
you you’re holding pads, right.
You’re holding [01:08:00] these pads. It’s like, all right, hit, hit your partner and you get to work out together or we haven’t done it enough. But that was like one of those eye-opening things. It was, it was a fun thing to do together. We should do that.
Kathy: Kind of cathartic. Huh? I could see going on. Oh wait. Ooh.
Oh, I can’t hit you. No, yes. I can harder, harder.
Well, we will have to try that. We’ve had a lot of people say we should try pickleball. And Mark is adamant that like, no, we are not playing pickle ball and I’m like, we’re just so judging pickleball. It’s new to
Brent: us. And it’s, it’s fun. It’s fun to do sports, but, kickboxing. I mean to actually get to hit your spouse and it’d be okay.
Kierstan: Is instructors actually telling you to Oh yeah. There’s something interesting. Yeah. Yeah.
Kathy: I hope nobody’s picking up the podcast right at this point,
Brent: hit them hard. Hit them often, haha.
[01:09:00] Kathy: Yes. Hit them often and hit them in love. Oh my goodness. Well, before we wrap up, is there anything else that you guys would like to share?
Brent: You know, I, that, that triangle thing, I just think about eternity. I think we. I, I think one of the biggest things, and it hasn’t come up until now that has kept our marriage well, is that we don’t feel like our kids are our own. We don’t even feel like Integreaters as our own that this life is even our own.
And, and I think that that is so liberating. Even, you know, I’m, I’m stewarding my wife as much as I love her and like, she’s my wife, she’s a daughter of the King first. And, and it’s like my job to steward her and to be a good husband to her. And so having that eternal perspective just makes, makes all the hard stuff, I think a lot easier and, and just have meaning and purpose.
So that’s just, I think the last thing to wrap, wrap up for me,
[01:10:00] Kathy: Well said, well, thank you guys so much for being here and for taking time out of your busy days. And it was great seeing you and I hope maybe the four of us can catch up when we’re in Texas. Very soon. I hope we’re doing it. Come on, kick boxing
I’m gonna, I’m gonna suggest that to Mark. We’ll see what he says. I might be more. Motivated
Brent: don’t tell them, just say, Hey, wear your tennis shoes. We got a date with Brent & Kiersten.
Kathy: Oh, there we go. I love it
Kierstan: We’ll get Mexican food afterwards. It’ll be okay.
Kathy: Yes. Yes. But anyway, thanks so much, guys.
Kierstan: We appreciate it.
Kathy: We’ll talk soon. Bye-bye.