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podcasts i like

10 Podcasts I Like

podcastsDo you listen to podcasts? I do! In fact, many of my conversations begin with, "I was listening to this podcast . . . ." I love to hear recommendations for great shows and thought you might too. So here you go, my podcast pics. (The first five are general appeal, the last five are niche podcasts.)

  1. This American Life. Each week, Ira Glass of NPR hosts this show of stories. There are usually three stories per episode, connected (sometimes more directly than others) to a central theme. The show runs for about an hour, or roughly one roundtrip of my commute. I listen to this one the day it airs and anticipate the next one like I used to await the continuation of my favorite tv shows that dared to end with the dreaded "To Be Continued" screen. It's always worth the wait.
  2. This is Your Life. Michael Hyatt offers advice on a wide variety of topics from how to use Evernote to relationship tips. He's got a great voice--you can hear his smile through the microphone--and offers practical guidance that I've really found beneficial. His show is about 30 minutes and is co-hosted currently by Stu McLaren.
  3. All Together. This HuffPost podcast hosted by Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush tackles all things religious. (Wonder if Rev. Paul is related to Justice Brandeis . . . I've got no idea.) He has guests from many different religions, including Christianity, but not limited to that faith. I enjoy hearing people talk about their beliefs and how those concepts inform life choices. I've heard Nadia Bolz-Weber and Joan Chittister along with many other great theologians. The show is roughly 30 minutes long.
  4. The New Yorker: Political Scene. This is where I learn about current events. The New Yorker's Executive Editor Dorothy Wickenden hosts an assortment of guests on this well-researched news program. I don't always agree with her stance, but I always learn something new during this quick 20 minute show.
  5. TED Talks Audio: I'm a hopeless binge watcher of the speakers at ted.com and have been known to . . . let's say "invest" . . . hours moving from one video to the next. (Don't judge.) This audio version allows me to feed my addiction on the go. The podcast is 20 minutes or less and packs a wallop of information in that short time.
  6. I Teach Blogging. I really appreciate host Renee's straight forward approach. I feel as if we are having a conversation; she's so authentic and relatable. I've learned quick tips that I've applied immediately on my blog. (I get her newsletter too.) The show varies in length but is typically under 20 minutes.
  7. Blogging your Passion. Jonathan Milligan hosts this great podcast that has offered me tips on blogging but also life tips in general. The podcasts are about 20 minutes long, sometimes less. Like Renee at I Teach Blogging, Jonathan speaks from such rich experience that I enjoy hearing whatever he has to say. Plus, he's got a great voice!
  8. The Quick and Dirty Tips Podcasts. This franchise has all kinds of short podcasts, each with its own station. I like the grammar one best because, I mean, GRAMMAR! Mignon Fogarty, the host, loves grammar like I love it, except she's smarter. Way smarter. She discusses things I've never considered and where grammar is concerned, that's quite a feat. Other Q&D podcasts are on cooking, dog training, money, you name it. The nutrition one is another one I listen to frequently. And I've tried a couple of others but they don't suit my interests like these two. Check them out. They last less than 15 minutes so you can listen to a whole episode while you clean up your kitchen. (Unless of course your kitchen is like mine; then you might need to check out the This American Life's extended shows . . . )
  9. Half Size Me. Heather Robertson lost half of her weight about five years ago and has maintained a healthy weight ever since. She created this podcast in an effort, I believe, to process her own success while encouraging others along the journey. Her premise is that we should develop habits that we can sustain throughout our lives, rather than give in to the temptation of fads and gimmicks. Makes sense, doesn't it? She has a different guest each week on her hour long show.
  10. Pulpit Fiction. Talk about a niche podcast: this one is for folks who follow the Revised Common Lectionary in their churches. These two guys talk about the texts for the week and give insight into the background and application of the texts. I. Love. It. Even if you aren't a preacher, you would likely enjoy this one in preparation for Sunday, or for, ya know, life. The hosts, Revs. Robb McCoy and Eric Fistler, have great banter and interactions, although, I confess I can't tell their voices apart. (My ears are not terribly discerning . . . particularly when it comes to disembodied voices. ) Still, I like Robb and Eric and often finish the podcast wishing it would go on another hour or so. Good stuff.

Your turn! Which podcasts do you recommend?

elections voting america

10 things I Love about Elections

A lot of folk fought and died for this right we enjoy. Make sure you thank them by voting today!

Published initially on: Nov 10, 2012

Top 10Things I Love about Elections in the USA

  1. I can vote for whomever I choose. I can vote for the Democrat, the Republican, the Independent or the Communist. I can vote Green. I can vote Libertarian. If I lived in Alaska, I could vote for the Alaska Independence party. If I lived in New York, I could vote for the Marijuana Reform party. And wherever I am, I can write in my daddy's name if I want. I love that.
  2. I've never feared for my life when I voted.
  3. No one has ever shot at me when I went to vote.
  4. I love that I can say whatever I want about candidates. And no matter how idiotic, unfair, or uninformed my comments, no one will be dispatched to my door from the US Armed Forces.
  5. I can take underaged future voters to the polls and they can practice voting. That's just how much we value voting in this nation: there's a system to educate our children on the process. I love that.
  6. I have a choice. I can vote or not vote. Either way, it's my choice, not the government's.
  7. My candidates have won, and my candidates have lost. Laws I disagree with have passed; Laws I believe in have failed. Yet, I still have hope. Sweet.
  8. I could picket elections sites carrying "How Dare You Vote?" signs. As long as I follow laws that protect the rights of the voters, I could do that. The government will not harm me or my family because of my actions.
  9. I love that I don't always get my way. I love that, because I'm not always right. I love that my voice is not the only voice that is heard. Takes the pressure off, don't you think?
  10. And I love, I totally love, that nothing is permanent. I get to vote for my governors and presidents every four years, my senators every six, and my representatives every 24 months. Local elections happen even more often than that. So what if I lost this go around? I get another chance. And I just really, really love second chances.

America. It really is beautiful, isn't it?

Group of Friends Smiling

Parenting and the Church: 10 Things to Say

Parenting and the Church. Too often as parents, we just don't know where to put church on the lengthy list of family priorities.

As a Minister with Youth & Children, I listen to kids say lots of things about going to church. Teens, and children too, have so many obligations--great things that keep them busy with meaningful tasks. I get it! There are many wonderful things for kids to do and I agree that most of these things are valuable and important and can even affect our children's futures.

I'm not suggesting that all kids should give up all activities and cleave only to the church (though I don't hate that idea). I just want church to be a priority for them too.

So here you go:

My Top 10 list of "Comments I'd love to Hear Parents Say about Church Attendance."

1. Church is community. When you aren’t there, the community suffers.

2. Sure, you can get a job. Just be sure to schedule ahead with your employer to make sure you can take off for church activities.

3. It doesn’t matter if no one else is going to be there. Tell your friends you’ll be there and I bet some of them will go.

4. I’m sorry you haven’t finished your homework, but we have church tonight. You can do it when you get home. It never takes as long as you think it will.

5. That academic summer program sounds great, but it would prevent you from participating in church events. Let’s see if we can find a substitute that will work around church activities.

6. You don’t like all of the people on your sports team, but you have to learn to get along with them. Let’s try that with the kids at church.

7. Sometimes you think you don’t get anything out of going to school either, but you still have to go.

8. I’m sorry you have to miss that athletic competition on Sunday morning too, but we go to church at that time.

9. We can’t go on vacation that week. Our church is having VBS then.

10. Yes. You do have to go to church.


The Top 10 Things People Do Even Though They Are Inconvenient

It's my favorite week of the year: Vacation Bible School week! In the midst of this very busy yet totally awesome week, I offer you this Top Ten List.

Top 10 Things People Do Even Though They Are Inconvenient.

  • Number 10: Visiting beloved elderly in nursing facilities.
  • Number 9: Cleaning the grill for a cookout.
  • Number 8: Selling (or buying) Girl Scout cookies.
  • Number 7: Annual physicals.
  • Number 6: Taking finals rather than failing classes.
  • Number 5: Attending out of town sports events being played by kids we love.
  • Number 4: Going to graduation ceremonies in which we know only one person.
  • Number 3: Getting our teeth cleaned.
  • Number 2: Attending middle school band concerts.*
  • And the number 1 thing people do even though it is inconvenient is: Sitting outside on a cold rainy morning at a kid's soccer game.
Vacation Bible School is also not convenient. Participate anyway. It’s good for you.
*Unless said middle school’s band teacher is Greg Love.
If Greg Love is the band teacher, such concerts are delightful.

10 Things I Love About Religion: Part 1

In response to a poem* that's been flying around the internet on youtube wings, I've been thinking about what I like about religion. My post got a little long, so I'm splitting it. Here are the first five.

1. Saying Grace. I love pausing in the midst of the rush of life and holding hands around the dinner table to say a blessing over our meal. I did this with my parents and siblings and they did it with theirs. We stop. We reach out. We look up. I love that.

2. Covered-Dish Dinners. True, I’ve had covered-dish meals outside of religious settings, but really, they just aren’t as good. Think about it. Office pot-lucks consist mostly of to-go foods or quick fixes. Rarely will you find a deviled egg at such an event and if you do it’s made with light mayonnaise which defeats the whole purpose anyway. At a church covered-dish meal, you get Miss Mary’s 12 layer chocolate cake, and Mr. Jack’s homemade barbeque.  You’ll find Mrs. Smith’s homemade biscuits right next to Mrs. Jones’ and if you know what’s good for you, you’ll take one of each. There are 12 kinds of macaroni and cheese, all homemade, and that yummy salad that Mr. Johnson always brings. You can’t find this kind of food at the office picnic. Maybe at a family reunion. But that’s cause they all learned what a pot-luck is supposed to look like from going to church suppers.

3. Meetings. I don’t love--or even like--going to these. Not even a little bit. But what I do love is that we have them. We do try to make decisions as a unit. We disagree, sometimes loudly. We compromise, usually not nearly enough. But we work at it. Okay, not everyone works at it; but the intent is that we try to get along. We don’t always get our way. We often don’t get as much accomplished as we had hoped we would. But when it’s over, we hold hands, say Grace, and head out to the covered-dish supper. That’s church. Gotta love it.

4. Weddings. When I was little, I often went with my daddy, a Baptist preacher, to the weddings he officiated. I loved everything about weddings then and now—the signature attire, the music, the sweet (or not so sweet) kiss at the end. But the parts of the wedding I have always loved the most include scripture: the miracle at the wedding in Canaan, First Corinthians 13, and “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” These texts are read religiously at Christian weddings. And I just love that.

5. Sunday Morning Bible Study (AKA Sunday School). Okay so I didn’t love Sunday School when I was a teenager. My parents raised us as thinking Baptists and so we believed questions were a part of the journey of faith. Most of our Sunday School teachers disagreed. Either for the teachers’ sakes or ours (or perhaps for the sake of her husband’s career), our mother took over teaching our class. Since then, I’ve loved Sunday Morning Bible Study. I’ve taught most of my adult years (see above) and am so grateful that my class members allow me to continue doing so.  I absolutely love it.

For the next five, check out this post.

* I tend to annoy both sides of issues like this. So, prepare yourself. The poem itself, I think, is well presented. I don't agree with everything he says; I like some of it a lot. I think the poem is the product of a zealous guy who loves Jesus and refuses to get caught up in unnecessary restrictions organized religions often put on people who don't fit under their steeples nicely. So, it's fine. Still, I like Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John better, and I actually do like a lot about religion. But not everything. So there you go.