Season 2 Episode 6

Brent

On this episode, we speak with Aubrey and Shey Grossen about how their family experiences have been building blocks for projects intended to help other parents.

Michelle

First question is, what is your family story?

Aubrey

I think you should dive into this. Oh, man, we go kind of way back into our high school years. Shey was my very first date, and he’s always been my crush. There’s been a lot of rocky roads to get to the point where we finally got married. We’ve moved around a lot, and we’ve just figured out how to kind of become our own family through that. It’s taken a lot of work and a lot of ups and downs, but I feel like it’s something that’s become the most important thing to us, and something that we value and treasure. And, I don’t know, what would you add to that?

Shey

I think we’ve just had to grow and learn how to communicate. I didn’t write on the mission, was one of the reasons why I got in a little bit of trouble.

Aubrey

He served a church mission for two years. I got one letter per year – per year, so that’s like two letters in total. We had a couple rocky roads. We turned that rocky road into ice cream!

Shey

You make it sound like it was so bad!

Aubrey

It wasn’t so bad, it really just was figuring it out. I think through that, we’ve been able to figure out what our family is all about and what we value.

We have a motto in our family, we have saying that says, “Grow to be great.” We wanted to keep it simple for our little kids, obviously. But we want to keep simple throughout the rest of their lives, because I just wanted it to be a core value for them to grow up with. And we just wanted it to be a core value for them to grow up with, and always be something they can refer back to, and know that that’s what we’re trying to do, is raise these kids and grow and have all of us grow to be great and do our best. Even if we stumble and fall sometimes, just pick right back up and continue to try and grow. There’s a lot of beauty in the growth period. You’re never at that perfect ending. I think growth is just a continuing process and a continuing word. Our theme has turned into that.

Shey

You can only go so far on your own. You need others around you to really get to that great level. That’s where our family’s at.

Brent

Are there any stories that you’d be willing to share about those rocky roads and how they helped you to bring unity into your family?

Aubrey

Mmm. Which one?

Shey

We might not have enough time for all of that.

Aubrey

Which one are we gonna share.

Shey

I don’t know, which one? You go first.

Aubrey

There’s the pre marriage stuff, and then there’s after marriage stuff. We shared one when he was on his mission, and then he came home. We were both dating other people, stuff like that. That felt rocky. Something that’s a little bit unique, after we got married, we kind of moved around a bit. I think that initially that’s really hard on a marriage or a family. Not only your individual family, but also your extended family. It makes it really hard to do. I think through that we were able to rely on each other and realize that in the middle of Texas, we’re thousands of miles away from family, we just had each other. We had to realize that that if either of us were mad, we couldn’t just run off to our sister’s house, run off to our best friend’s house. We were each other’s everything. We had to rely solely on each other.

I think that kind of forced us (If force is a good word) to figure it out. Since then you we’ve been friends for a long, long time. We’ve been that much closer because of that experience. So, even through that rocky road with moving, we also have at that same time we were dealing with some miscarriages, and there was a lot of trials that faced us. Holding on to each other because we’re the only ones that we had helped a ton.

Brent

What’s the Anya project about? How did that start and what is that?

Aubrey

A couple years into our marriage, we had a baby and I suffered really bad with some postpartum depression. I reached out and I created a Facebook group. It started with 39 close friends and family, and it’s grown into over 35,000 moms in that group. Through that, I’ve blogged with it. I started my own podcast with that as well. I felt like there was something I needed to do for moms who suffered specifically with maternal mental health problems.

I created Anya, which actually was inspired by Shey because I wanted to name it something, and I asked him. He served his mission in Hungary, and I said, “What does Mama mean in Hungarian?” And he said, “It’s Anya.” That’s how the name came, because it means “Mama” in Hungarian. It also stands for “A new you again” because it’s basically a program and a community for moms to turn to.

You don’t have to be diagnosed depressed, or have anxiety that diagnosed from a doctor. It’s a community of women striving to be more mindful and get through their maternal mental health problems; to link arms together, to get out of that dark place that a lot of women face. Sometimes that’s a month, sometimes it’s a month after you have a baby. Maybe it’s five years after you’ve had a baby. There’s just such a place for for moms that need that light and that friendship and community. That’s what I’ve created, so it’s been kind of a fun adventure, right?

Shey

Yeah. Learning as we go.

Brent

How have you supported each other in this effort? And what things have you discovered together through this process?

Shey

Being open and listening have been really good for us. And for me, just to hear what she’s thinking; to try and be a supportive as possible, even if I do have questions here and there and just let her run with it.

Aubrey

I’m kind of the dreamer. He’s the non-risk type.

Shey

Yeah, I like to take my time on things, think things through, plan things out. She’s more of the fail fast type mindset which is awesome. If something doesn’t succeed, you move on. You try something else, you try a different approach. It’s good to support through it all, and know that no matter how many people it helps, if it’s something that you find passion and joy in, that’s really what matters: you can get behind something and, if your spouse is behind it, then you know you should be able to support as well.

Together helps both of you, if you’re on the same page and supportive of each other.

Brent

So what does it mean to you to live an intentional family life?

Aubrey

I’m going to let Shey answer this.

Shey

That’s kind of a loaded question, though, but definitely an important one for all families to have in the back of their minds.

Another word for intentional is deliberate, and being very conscious of things that you’re doing day in and day out. These days where it’s so easy to be caught on our cell phones, or distracted by so many different things. One thing we tried is a “check your tech” basket from 6 to 8. We put our phones in this basket and just spend time with and make sure we’re solely focused on our kids and our family. Trying to do little things like that here and there. Be very focused on the little things: family dinners, doing activities, the weekends, the daily things like family prayer and other things that bring your family close together. These things are really important and go a long way to creating a strong family and those strong relationships that will last.

Aubrey

Yeah, I’d agree for sure on those,

Brent

We’d like to thank Aubrey and Shey for joining us. We will put a link to their Anya project in our show notes. This week, we challenge our listeners to make their own “check the tech” baskets and spend some tech-free evenings together.

Join us on Facebook in the Intentional Family Moment group to get ideas and follow along with the challenge.

Learn more about Aubrey’s Anya Project.

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