Angela, April, Auralee, Children, Cornerstone, Drew

September Q&A #1

Briney Family Q&A and Updates

Fans have been asking the Briney Family from Seeking Sister Wife to offer some Briney Family updates.

We heard you! We set up posts on Facebook and Instagram to get your questions. Apart from duplicates, we’re answering all of them over the next few weeks. This is just the first installment. If, at the end, you have more questions, we’ll put up new posts in October or November to keep you up to date with our family (that said, most people didn’t ask what is going on right now so we may have to answer that in a separate post).


Are you considering having more children?

Drew:
Yes. When? How many? We don’t know.

Angela:
Definitely hopeful!


Do you homeschool? Your children always seem so respectful. Great job.

Drew:
Thank you. We make regular efforts to teach them to be respectful and considerate of others – there’s always a new situation or new principle to be learned. We still homeschool. We supplement with a community school with like-minded friends.


I absolutely adore your family, how do you guys handle cooking duties?

Angela:
We’ve done everything from cooking all together to taking turns cooking to just doing our own thing. Right now, Auralee and I have separate houses and very different schedules, but make it a point to all share a meal together on Sundays after church. Auralee and I alternate weeks hosting :-).


Is there any possible way that you all would come back to television? And can we please see more of Auralee on social media? Hope all of you have settled comfortably. And I am an elder in reserve from the Presbyterian Church and I totally support your faith and lifestyle!

Drew:
Thank you for your support! Would we come back to tv? Well, from my perspective, I still see value for our culture in having polygamists on tv. That said, I would be very hesitant to do so unless I was working with a business that was interested in showing our real life and not a staged/edited version of our life. Those opportunities are rare to come by. Our ability to contract for tv won’t come until late this year.

As to Auralee and social media … she just doesn’t do much social media so I doubt much will happen there – sorry! She may answer questions in our next Q&A, though so tell us what you’d like to know about.

Angela:
We considered being one of the featured families on TLCs Seeking Sister Wife a great opportunity at the time. Unfortunately, with the combination of the trials in our family that took us by surprise during filming (literally day one) and the pressure of filming itself, it ended up being a discouragement on many levels. Despite being warned and even coached by other polygamists who had experience with television, we remained naive then, but have since learned helpful lessons from the experience.

I’d never say never ;-). But it would have to be on different terms.


I really miss seeing your family, do you think you’ll be back on? How about more posts of what has been going on in general?

Drew:
Thank you. We won’t be back on Seeking Sister Wife. We’ll have to see about other opportunities. We’ve thought about doing more family posts. The trick is, we’re transitioning into new careers and a new community, etc. so finding the time for that is extra hard right now. This Q&A is part of our effort to step up our game a little.

Apart from writing (Unproven is nearing its release on audiobook – here’s a sample) and working full-time, I’ve been leading a youth organization called Youth Revolution. It’s a co-ed leadership course for youth that builds on principles from the scouts, entrepreneur superstars, etc. So far, we have double the amount of kids signed up we were told to expect and three times the amount of volunteers we were told we could garner. Not a bad beginning.

Auralee has been super busy lately teaching sixth-grade classes at a homeschool co-op. She’s also been giving voice lessons. She’s teaching both group and private lessons and has been getting amazing feedback from her students and referrals keep coming so we’re proud of her.

Angela and I have been busy building our web business: UpLevel Yours. It’s been surprisingly fun to work on creative projects together for a job. Angela is very gifted in what she does.


I’m so sorry that your family has split up. Do you get the see the other children often? I’m sure their siblings really miss them.

Drew:
Thank you. Because we are so far away from Utah (both in Oregon and now in Missouri), we see the children only rarely. We were kept from seeing them for seven months in 2018 during the divorce. I speak to them once a week on the phone and most of us visit with them here and there online. The separation from them was horrific for all of the children and it remains painful for all of the children (in both states) and us parents in Missouri (I won’t venture to speak for April).

The children here in Missouri love it here far more than any other place we’ve lived and they have lots of new friends so they are adjusting better, but they still ache for their siblings. Their faces both light up and droop with sadness when they get to say hello to each other on the phone. We had a fabulous visit with most of the “Utah” children for summer vacation recently (one is grown) so they got to enjoy one another’s company for quite a while.

We call them “Utah” kids and “Missouri” kids to distinguish the groups in conversation so we don’t get confused in various contexts. It has nothing to do with love, affection, preferences, status, rank, or any other imagine troll imputation. It’s just a linguistic convention. Sorry, real people and true fans, I just put that in there to avoid several dozen misguided comments we would ultimately just delete anyway.

Angela:
We had an especially great summer visit with the kids from Utah! One of the more memorable parts was when they first arrived and seeing the looks on all the children’s faces as they excitedly gathered and hugged <3.


Are you currently looking for another wife to join the family? Or happy the way things are?

Drew:
We’re always open to the possibility, but not actively looking. Between having half of my children in a different state and moving half-way across the country, we’re all still adjusting to new life. Adding to the family becomes more difficult the older you get (as Auralee used to frequently remind me) so if we’re going to do it, we should probably get more serious about that, but there is no magic wand to make everything fall into place just how you’d like it, so without that, we’ll have to wait on God for the right opportunity and keep our eyes open for the best person to join our family.

Angela:
Like Drew said, always open to the possibility, but not looking, per se. I was happy for the opportunity last summer to be faced with that reality when we met a lovely lady who expressed interest and whom we spent time getting to know.

Everything is theory until it becomes real. Though I know what it’s like to join an existing family, I wondered how I would handle adding to the family. That didn’t happen, but I did get to experience that real possibility and I was excited about that possibility with her.


How has life been since April left? How has the family dynamic adjusted/changed? I loved watching your family on tv.

Drew:
That is a difficult question to respectfully answer. As I mentioned above, it’s been horrific to not have all of my children together. That dynamic overrides everything else from my perspective. After they left, and for the first time in my life, I struggled with motivation to work, to write, and to just function on a daily basis. It took months for me to get back on track and even now, I have to “dig deep” sometimes to beat away discouragement or sadness.

That pertains only to my Utah kids. Of course, I still find joy and happiness with my Missouri children and they mean the world to me, the same as the Utah kids. As anyone with much life experience knows, you can have great joy in one area of life while having great pain and sorrow in another area of life. This is how it is for me, only I have great joy in my life with my family in Missouri and I have great pain and sorrow in my life missing my children in Utah.

With that as a foundational response, there is a lot more peace in the home now. That doesn’t mean our life is without family challenges, but arguing, shouting, bouts of anger, etc. are nothing like what you saw on tv.

Meanwhile, I gave up the law practice to go on tv and going back into that profession in a new state is so challenging (and somewhat distasteful for me) that I’ve been looking for other career opportunities instead. We have good reason to believe that is moving in a very healthy and prosperous situation for us. We’ll see.

Angela:
I liked reading the part of Drew’s answer to this about experiencing great joy in one area of your life while simultaneously experiencing great sadness in another. I can relate to that on multiple levels.

Drew’s children with April became an integral part of my life in the six+ months before she left the family with them. And I say integral in the most literal sense. I had taken them under my wing as a mother and friend; morning scripture study and homeschooling them daily, fixing their meals and eating with them, helping to groom them, spending extra-curricular time with them after school playing on the front lawn, hanging out in my room, reading to them before bed, taking them on errands, etc. etc. They were by my side most days and my weekday schedule revolved around them.

After all of my life experiences, giving my heart is a challenge but I had given it to them fully. I considered them my stewardship in the midst of what was going on at the time. To have them suddenly disappear overnight was one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve ever been through. The death of a life you thought was yours for the keeping. Life as you know it, gone. The death of dreams. This brought up all kinds of unresolved feelings and issues from previous life experiences.

Life immediately after they were gone left me in shock. I woke up every morning not knowing what to do with myself. Looking to the door of my little part of the house as if they would be barging in any second. But they never came through. Lenny was only a year old at the time, but even he sensed the void. We had to create a new normal without them.

As with other parts of my past, there is a little hole in my heart in the shape of them.


Check back next week for more of your questions answered!

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