Hi. My name is Jessica and I’m a podcast junkie.
It all started as a love for the Saturday line-up on NPR: Weekend Edition, Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me, Car Talk, This American Life. I discovered at some point that if I missed an episode on the weekend, I could listen later to something called a “podcast.” Basically, a recording of the show I could download. This was super handy, and so for awhile, my podcast app was basically just NPR On Demand.
Years later, as a brand new Stay-at-Home-Mom struggling to keep up with household chores and such, it crossed my mind to search in my podcast app for “homemaking.” Which was how I found A Slob Comes Clean with Dana K. White, who then introduced me to The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey…and from there, a whole world of audio content opened up to me.
From podcasts I’ve learned tricks and tips for keeping house, doing laundry, and meal planning. I’ve discovered interesting books to read, and shows to watch. I’ve delved into the world of personality typing and testing, habit formation and time management. I’ve listened to mothers and wives talk about marriage and family, psychologists and theologians talk about deep subjects of mental health and faith. I’ve heard people’s stories, from those that mirrored mine so closely they took my breath away, to those from perspectives so foreign to me they shocked and rattled me to my core. I’ve listened to viewpoints I disagree with, simply to better understand the world and people around me. I’ve laughed so hard tears ran down my face. And I’ve cried other tears: tears of understanding, or shared pain, or remorse for my own ignorance and insensitivity.
During the long days of early motherhood, when it sometimes felt like my brain was slowly atrophying to the bright, overly cheerful background noise of the ABC song playing on tinny loop through a toy train, podcasts helped me keep my mental faculties sharp. Helped me remember that I am an intelligent person with interests and ideas. Gave me things to talk about and think about besides my child’s bowel movements.
September 30 was International Podcast Day, and even though I’m late, I wanted to share some of my current favorites. In a few short years, I’ve already maxed out my capacity for the number of shows I can follow on a weekly basis. There is just SO MUCH content available, and there’s more being added every day. I’m continually weeding out which shows I subscribe to, as I find new ones. So, if none of these sound appealing to you, I guarantee you there is a list 10 miles long of other shows geared specifically toward your interests. Check out the Podcast app on your iPhone, or search for a third-party podcast player (my favorite is Overcast.)
Some Of My Favorite Podcasts
The Church Today – This is one with a personal connection. The Church Today in Tulsa, Oklahoma is where my parents attend, and this podcast is a feed of sermons preached in their Sunday services and mid-week Bible Studies. They’re all excellent, but I have to admit to some partiality for recordings of my dad preaching. Scroll back a ways in the feed for a lesson he gave on the Name of Jesus (titled What’s in a Name?) It was fantastic.
Java with Juli – Dr. Juli Slattery is a Christian psychologist who leads a ministry called Authentic Intimacy. To put it bluntly, Dr. Juli talks about sex. Taking a Biblical perspective, she addresses everything from marriage, to educating our kids, to dealing with the aftermath of infidelity and sexual abuse. In many cases she talks about things I’ve never heard addressed in a church setting, but which impact us all. I’d be cautious about listening with little ears present, but this one is a MUST for Christian women, and anyone in ministry.
The Lazy Genius – I’m a relatively new fan of Kendra Adachi and her work as The Lazy Genius. Kendra’s goal is to “help you be a genius about the things that matter, and lazy about the things that don’t.” She tackles practical topics like cleaning, cooking, and meal planning, as well as more internal topics, like rest. I love her humor, her honesty, and her unique approach to letting go of things that aren’t really important, so we can focus on the things that are. (She is also a regular contributor to Simple with Tsh Oxenrider, and their recent series on Kitchen Basics was pure gold.)
The Next Right Thing – What can I say about this show? The description Emily P. Freeman gives at the beginning of her target listeners, people who are “chronically hesitant,” or those struggling with decision fatigue, describes me so accurately it’s almost scary. She says that in all of her work, she aims to “create space for your soul to breathe,” and that is exactly what this show does. This is one podcast I do not listen to while folding laundry or driving, or doing anything besides sitting still with a cup of coffee, and occasionally a notebook and pen. The episodes are short, usually 12-15 minutes long, so they’re just right for a brief respite in the middle of a busy day. I can’t recommend this one highly enough. Just go back to the beginning and listen to them all…it won’t take long and you’ll be glad you did.
Pantsuit Politics – As I mentioned in the beginning, I used to love my “NPR Saturdays”, but I was also a faithful listener of their other news shows throughout the week. I love keeping up with current events and politics. However, in the past couple years I’ve had to step away, because the negativity and constant turmoil of our current news and political climate was causing me some anxiety. This show helps me stay informed, without getting too riled up. The ladies on the show, Sarah and Beth, identify as a liberal and a conservative, respectively. While both of their viewpoints are vastly different than my own in many cases, I love the way they are modeling a different way to have political conversations, with “no shouting, no insults, and plenty of nuance.” I learn a lot by listening to them, both about others’ perspectives, and about how to respectfully disagree.
It was SO HARD to narrow down my favorites to just a few shows to highlight here, so I’m going to point out a few specific episodes of other shows that have stayed with me long after listening.
Episode #112 of the Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, with Tara Leigh Cobble – I have listened to this at least three times. She talks about being thankful to God for her singleness, the importance of biblical literacy…and the Squatty Potty. (Don’t worry, it’s not weird, I promise!)
Musically Grooming Your Children with Robin Wolevar – This was Episode 56 of chatologie, with Angie Elkins. Robin talks about the Biblical mandate to worship, and how teaching our kids music at a young age is not optional. As the mom of a little girl who loves music, I found this to be encouraging and instructive.
The Truth About Anxiety Part 1 and Part 2 (Episodes 26 and 101) of Sorta Awesome. This is one of my favorite shows in general, but these episodes are real and raw discussions about how anxiety looks and feels, in childhood, adulthood, and postpartum. As someone who dealt with Postpartum Anxiety, these conversations were cathartic for me.
What Happy Couples Know – I am not a regular listener to Your Move with Andy Stanley, but I downloaded this 4-part series based on a recommendation. It’s some of the best teaching I’ve ever heard on marriage. (And apparently it’s actually a video series you can watch on YouTube.)
A Foundation for Understanding Sexuality with Chris Legg – If you are a Christian, and you only take one recommendation from this (admittedly, probably too-long) list, PLEASE make it Episode 28 of the Journeywomen podcast. The topic of sexuality is used as a jumping off point, but Chris’s description of metaphysics put into words a conundrum I’ve felt in my own spiritual walk, but have never been able to articulate. (I have to add the caveat that, at the end, Chris discusses some doctrinal beliefs that differ from my own, but I still feel like this core content is VITAL to the church in 2018.)
Motherhood and Discipleship – This episode of Uniquely Woman podcast is another with a personal connection. I consider Lisa Hensley to be friend, though we’ve only interacted online. She remotely joined us at the MOPS group I co-lead last November, and then shared the talk she gave on her podcast later that month. There are so many gems of wisdom in here! Mamas, take a listen.
Well, I hope I haven’t bored you to death with my ramblings about my
addiction hobby. If you take a listen to any of these, come back and tell me what you think! Or, if you have a podcast recommendation for me, drop them in the comments! I am always on the lookout for new shows to listen to and ideas to think on!
Until next week, happy listening!