"For the love" of...People. Home. Stories. Shoes. Family. Jesus. Community. TV. Travel. Food. Culture. The hilarious best-selling author and star of HGTV’s “My Big Family Renovation” invites you to drop by and catch up with her friends as they laugh and chat about all the things we love.
One of THE best things about podcasts is how we can instantly connect with wise teachers who change our lives for the better. And that’s 100% true for today’s guest, personal finance expert Rachel Cruze! For some of us, throwing around words like “budget” and “401k” is the verbal equivalent of sticking pencils in our eyeballs. But thankfully, Rachel doesn’t have that effect on us. In her podcast and web series, The Rachel Cruze Show, Rachel takes a warm, practical approach to money that makes it all so much more doable and manageable (after all, she’s had a lifetime of training, thanks to her dad Dave Ramsey!). Today Jen and Rachel talk about why sticking to a budget actually gives you freedom, the surprising secret to having more peace with your partner around finances, and how to teach your kids healthy money habits from an early age. As a self-admitted spender at heart, Rachel empowers us with tips and tools to help us remember that despite our feelings and past choices around money, it is always possible to make a change—because we are more than just our stuff.
Calling all podcast nerds: today we’re launching a brand-new series celebrating the shows and hosts we love—that’s right, it’s time to kick off For the Love of Podcasts! And today we’re thrilled to bring you two fresh voices who started a new in the summer of 2019 and are just killing it: Charla Lauriston and Lauren Domino from The Secret Lives of Black Women! Charla and Lauren have created a space where they’re inviting all listeners to join, but they’re carving a space where black women can especially relate and be celebrated. Charla and Lauren have been friends for nearly a decade after meeting in a not-so-great workspace. Being in the trenches brought them closer together, and now they bring hilarious and poignant observations to their listeners with episodes each Thursday. Lauren and Charla share the unique challenges of being a black woman, their favorite role models—including their dream guests for their podcast (some of which mirror our own—psst, Oprah and Michelle Obama, call us!). Through podcasting, Charla and Laura have been able to confidently (and vulnerably) show who they are, where they’ve come from and share that sense of self with others as we all blaze a trail into the future.
We’re wrapping up the Back to School series as we celebrate the heart of our nation’s classrooms: our teachers. There are so many inspiring teachers that we couldn’t narrow down our conversation to just one guest. We had to talk to two very special teachers: the National Teachers of the Year for 2017 and 2018, Sydney Chaffee and Mandy Manning. Mandy’s classroom is in Spokane, WA, where she teaches immigrants and refugees to the US, and Sydney teaches students in Codman, MA, who find themselves in a minority population. Both teachers guide us through typical days in their classroom, tell us about the teachers who inspired them along the way, and give us a peek at the big and small things their kids share (Fortnite!). We’re so inspired by the way Mandy and Sydney infuse courage and wisdom into hard truths their pupils are learning about the world, and they remind us that every kid has the potential to be amazing—we just have to believe in them.
We’re still in full swing with our back to school series, and we’ve saved the best of our academic years for last - Elementary School. If you’ve ever been tempted to lose faith in this upcoming crop of youngsters, we’re here to bear witness that these kids are #killingit. Leading the pack are prodigies like 5th Grader Ryan Hickman, who started his own recycling business when he was just three years old (yes, 3!). Ryan’s now 10, and his business is thriving, and his goal, by the time he is the ripe old age of 12, is to recycle 1 million bottles and cans. He talks about his business, and how he raises money for the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Orange County (which he’s shared about in numerous TV news stories and on The Ellen Show). Ryan also gives us a peek into what elementary school kids are into right now (besides being business magnates), including challenging Jen to a rousing game of his favorite card game, “War.”
We’re winding back the clock and revisiting one of the most pivotal times in our lives: middle school. And guiding us through the junior high hallways of 2019 are Jen’s daughter Remy and her very best friend Ella! These girls have weathered middle school and all its new responsibilities, social commitments, and shifting dynamics with so much grace and heart. And they give us the inside scoop on what’s in (TikTok and Snapchat) and what’s out (*gasp* Instagram!), their best advice to their younger selves (if someone gets mad at you for trying to make new friends, that’s their problem) and what they wish their parents knew (everything is, um, a lot—so maybe give us some space?). Remy and Ella’s friendship is giving us life goals, and the girls remind us that good relationships help make some of the weirdest times not only navigable, but tons of fun.
Hit up your locker and meet us in homeroom because today we’re going back to high school with Jen’s very own two high schoolers, Caleb and Ben Hatmaker. High school is a formative experience for all, and Ben and Caleb’s journey will likely resonate with each of us: making great friends, getting buried under homework, trying to make our parents proud. But it’s eye-opening to learn about what Gen Z is dealing with that we didn’t have to: paralyzing academic pressure, a laser-focused emphasis on getting a four-year degree, having an instant connection to information and peers 24/7—it’s a lot. Ben and Caleb reveal what they like about being in Gen Z, and they give us the 411 (*ahem* perhaps under duress) about all the stuff the cool kids are saying (Cap? Dap?) that we immediately plan to use everywhere and make uncool—and they drop a bomb by telling us Agatha Christie has made a comeback. And Jen lays down some old-school wisdom by teaching the boys what a “busy signal” is.
Pull out your notebooks and sharpen your pencils, because today we’re starting a brand-new series called For the Love of Back to School! Ahh, school. Some things never change (football games! clubs! writing your entire term paper the night before it’s due!), but today’s kids are dealing with challenges that weren’t around when some of us were younger. We wanted to get the inside scoop on the ways young folks think about school and the world they’re learning to live in, and we’re starting with two people Jen knows pretty well: her two college kids, Gavin and Sydney! Gavin’s a senior at Texas Tech, and Sydney’s a sophomore at UT Austin, and they graciously let their mom to grill them on all kinds of topics: What’s different about college from what they expected? Why are they excited to be part of Gen Z? What do they wish their parents knew? (and what do their parents, ahem, not know—besides Sydney and her friends have a major crush on Michelle Obama?) One thing the Hatmakers take away from their chat: as you learn how to be an adult or how to be the parent of an adult, keeping the lines of communication open lifts up everyone.
Remember when newspapers and 3 TV channels were the only ways you consumed the news? That world will never be a reality for our kids—and it’s up to us to teach them to think critically about where they’re getting information and who may be trying to feed it to them. And get excited, parents, because we have a killer partner in this effort: it’s called MediaWise, and it’s a media literacy project that aims to teach 1 million teens how to sort fact from fiction online by 2020. Jen talks to journalist and MediaWise member Heaven Taylor-Wynn, who schools us on ways we can teach our kids (and ourselves) how to sniff out fake news and gives us the skinny on some of the new scams we need to watch out for (anyone who’s seen the “deep fake” video of Ron Swanson on the opening credits of Full House knows what we’re talking about). We learn how keyword searches take the sensation out of crazy headlines and how “lateral reading” helps us give a more full context to a story. Heaven’s right when she says, “The information we consume directly affects the decisions we make.” And if we can equip our kids to navigate digital waters successfully, we’re setting them up to have healthy media diets and make well-informed choices for life.
When we sat down to plan For the Love of Finding the Truth, one of the first names that came to mind was Elizabeth Dias of The New York Times. And for good reason—Elizabeth is one of our best thinkers right now, giving us context for what’s going on at the intersection of politics and religion in America, all the while searching for underrepresented voices that need to be amplified. A decade ago, Elizabeth started her career at Time, sitting down with heavy-hitters like Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama while also covering social and ideological shifting sands, like the way the Latino community is changing the face of evangelical churches and our culture’s collective response to Trayvon Martin’s death. Elizabeth and Jen talk about the way American Christians are trying to reconcile their decisions at the ballot box with their faith, and why it’s so important to ask hard questions, even if you don’t like the answers you get in return. Elizabeth reminds us even when we get uncomfortable and dig for answers beneath the surface, the truth is always worth it.
“It’s funny ‘cause it’s true!” said Tina Fey on 30 Rock. As in all things, Tina is 100% correct. In our 2nd episode of For the Love of Finding the Truth, Elle.com humor writer R. Eric Thomas and Jen explore humor as a truth-telling device and how we can use comedy to face some of the greatest ideological battles of our time. Eric has a daily column called “Eric Reads the News” where he breaks down the biggest headlines as only a satirist, brunch enthusiast, and Beyoncé Fan Club President can do (and be careful where you read anything Eric writes—he’ll likely inspire uncontrollable snorts, much like you’ll hear from Jen during the episode). Eric’s first stab at observational humor took place at church while he and his brother made hilarious notes about the people there (to which Eric was sure they’d go to hell for). This humor later turned into imaginative scenarios Eric would post on Facebook for his friends (i.e. when he saw a group photo of President Obama, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and former Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, Eric declared them “an all-male cast of Sex and the City”), which ultimately got the attention of Elle.com and launched his daily column. Eric’s journey is defined by confronting his own painful and hilarious truths as he’s overcome stereotypes, reckoned his Christianity with being gay, and discovered some surprisingly deep things about himself when he joined a gay softball league—all of which he talks about in his upcoming book Here For It. As Eric says: “The oppressors do not get to define the way I walk through the world and hold my head up. I get to define that.” As Eric would also say—honey, yes.
In the immortal words of Jack Nicholson, can you handle the truth? We think you can, and we’re excited to start a new series that dives into the murky world of truth-telling in our culture today: For the Love of Finding the Truth! Skewing the truth is nothing new—bias exists everywhere—but in the pre-social media era, it was a smidge easier to parse through what was real and what wasn’t. With the massive growth of online communities, there are more ways to get information than ever before—and more organizations looking to feed the information they want us to have (#fakenews). Kicking off the series are two women dedicated to sifting through the mountains of information hurled at us each day and understanding it from differing perspectives. Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth Silvers (who go by “Sarah from the left” and “Beth from the right”) stand a few feet from each other on the political spectrum, but are still friends—good friends. And they’re leading the way on how to have grace-filled political conversations, which they do each week on their highly acclaimed podcast Pantsuit Politics. Lucky for us, they wrote a whole book called I Think You’re Wrong (But I’m Listening) to remind us that relationship is always more important than being right. Plus, Sarah and Beth answer some burning political questions like: how does the Electoral College work and why is everyone in a twist about it? Gerrymandering—why should I care? And what’s gonna happen in 2020?? The Pantsuit ladies break it all down and give us thoughtful explanations and opinions, showing us how truth can be revealed through knowledge wherever you stand.
Erin Loos Cutraro has a vision some may describe as bold, but actually, it should be our reality: half of the people running for office should be women (and spoiler alert: women who run win at the same rates as men!). But often, starting when we’re little girls, women don’t see themselves as qualified leaders, or feel they don’t have enough experience, connections, or time to jump into the political arena. Erin is passionate about removing those perceived obstacles and clearing the path for more women to run for office—starting at the all-important local level (did you know 99% of elected offices are at the local level?). Erin launched She Should Run, a nonpartisan organization that encourages and equips women from all walks of life to run for office. Erin and Jen talk about why it’s so important to have policymakers with diverse experiences and backgrounds, and how we can start small by getting to know our local officials. Erin believes women participating in government is the key to solving systemic issues in our neighborhoods and our nation, which lifts up everyone. If you’ve ever thought you could bring a fresh perspective to the political landscape where you live and beyond, Erin’s here to tell you: you should—and can—run!
If you’ve seen her on the Netflix series Chef’s Table, you know Chef Dominique Crenn is filled with equal parts talent, love, and creative whimsy. Dominique is the chef-proprietor of Atelier Crenn, the San Francisco restaurant she opened nearly a decade ago. And last year Dominique became the first female chef in America to earn three Michelin stars, the highest honor in the food world, all with an eye toward connecting with her guests and ensuring all feel welcome in her space. Raised in the Brittany region of France, Dominique moved to California in her twenties, looking for a sense of purpose, and talked her way into the glitzy kitchen run by acclaimed chef Jeremiah Tower—except Dominique had never cooked in a professional kitchen before. Today she and Jen talk about the ways leaders can help their teams thrive, how women can become advocates for each other, and why it’s so important to care for the earth as much as it cares for us.
Our series on Powerhouse Women continues with two strong women who are helping women in Haiti get through the most powerful and vulnerable moments they will ever experience: giving birth. Midwives Tara Livesay and KJ Johnson are best friends who work with Heartline Ministries and, like Melinda Gates, they champion maternal care as a human right. As Enneagram 2s, Tara and KJ became fast friends, and they tell Jen why they decided to become midwives, about the birth story that brought them together (an unexpected twin!), what it’s like to offer maternal care in Haiti (it involves Tara driving a van on the rules-optional streets of Port-au-Prince—not for the faint of heart!). Tara and KJ are facing broken systems that are daunting for people in their line of work, and instead of walking away defeated, they are offering love to one person at a time—the kind of love we’d all like to receive in our own moment of need. And sometimes, that’s all we can do.
Nona Jones (Yes Nona, not Norah!) faced a lot of obstacles on her path to becoming a powerhouse woman and now heads up global faith-based partnerships at Facebook. Growing up with a single mom amid trauma and abuse, Nona struggled to see her value or her place in the world. Nona found a community of love and support in her local church, and being accepted and welcomed there began a path toward healing that would change her whole trajectory. She tells Jen how she joined the executive team of a Fortune 500 Company at age 23, and how she learned the difference between healthy and unhealthy ambition. And in her role as social media maven at Facebook, Nona has razor-sharp insight into how we can help our kids cultivate authentic communities online and off. Nona’s message is one that we can all take to heart--when we believe in who we truly are, we are able to pursue our highest values and goals with excellence, which adds enormous value to the world.
By anyone's definition, Sarah Robb O'Hagan is a winning force. She's a brilliant executive, passionate athlete, and bold entrepreneur who’s worked with some of the biggest corporations around: Apple, Virgin Atlantic, Nike, to name a few. And when Sarah was the CEO of Gatorade, she led a huge turnaround that reinvigorated the struggling company. Sarah talks candidly about her winding road to the top, a journey that included more than one time she was let go from a job. She isn’t afraid to admit, “I deserved to get fired,” and reminds us that we need to allow ourselves plenty of room to try and risk and make mistakes, because our failures have just as much to teach us as our successes. Sarah reiterates a common theme among powerhouse women—we need to pull our sisters and other underrepresented communities to the top with us, because our boardrooms won’t truly represent what our country looks like until we close the gap ourselves.
We all know knowledge is power. But the power doesn’t just come from what you know—it comes from acting on that knowledge. And for theSkimm’s Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg, their mission is to give that power to millennial women and beyond, to arm them with the tools and confidence to take charge of their lives and conquer the world, and they’re doing it all through the media company they founded called theSkimm. When they left their jobs at NBC News in 2012, Carly and Danielle started a daily online newsletter from their couch. Since then, their office has grown from 2 employees to more than 100, and their handful of subscribers has ballooned to a whopping 7 million (!). Why? Because they tell hard news in a way that people can not only understand but actually want to read, and they’re making a difference. In fact, theSkimm helped register more than 200,000 new voters in the 2018 midterms, and they’ve already set their sights on the 2020 elections. Jen sat down with Carly and Danielle to talk about their rise as female CEOs running a female-led company, and the best career advice they’ve received from powerful women in their lives. And speaking of advice, theSkimm team assembled of their best nuggets of wisdom, from how to invest to how to pack jewelry for a trip, in their just-released New York Times bestselling book, How to Skimm Your Life.
We’re starting strong in our new series For the Love of Powerhouse Women, because we’re joined by one of our personal heroes: Melinda Gates. Kind and wise, Melinda leads the world largest philanthropy, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to improve the lives of millions of women and children around the world, and she does it all with a listening ear and an equally fierce and gentle spirit. We’re thrilled to talk with her today about her dynamite new book The Moment of Lift. Melinda lets us in our her early days in Dallas, growing up in a devoted Catholic family and learning about the lives of the marginalized through volunteer work at the country courthouse. After receiving degrees in computer science and business at Duke, Melinda made her way to Microsoft, where she led product teams on little things you might’ve heard of like Microsoft Word and Expedia, before turning down Bill Gates for a date, then eventually becoming his bride. When her children were young, Melinda explored the lives of little ones like her own around the globe and wondered why children in other countries were dying of preventable diseases like malaria. Her trip down the rabbit hole led to conclude that their mothers needed to be lifted up. And in fact, when you lift up a woman, she lifts up everyone else.
In this bonus episode as we begin a new series, which features Powerhouse Women, we’re thrilled to visit with someone close to one of the most powerful women on the planet! Stedman Graham is a brilliant business consultant whose clients range from Microsoft to the US Department of Labor. And after talking with him about his latest book, Identity Leadership, we can see why. Stedman reminds us if you want to lead someone else, you need to lead yourself first—and leading yourself means knowing who you are and where you want to go. He and Jen talk about why love is the secret ingredient to transforming our energy, why Oprah is one of the world’s most effective leaders, and how we can help our kids become creative, curious thinkers who can lead and dare greatly into the next generation. Whether you’re leading the way for your family or an entire company, Stedman’s advice rings true: find what you love and go do it, because love will light you up and change the world.
Break out the champagne and the streamers because today we’re celebrating our 100th episode! To mark this illustrious milestone, Jen is joined by the women behind the podcast: God-sent angel/assistant Amanda Duckett (who had to be heavily bribed to appear on the show), and producer extraordinaire/lover of stats Laura Neutzling. Together the ladies of For the Love dish on the behind-the-scenes shenanigans that have never left their laptops. Learn the secret identity of the first voiceover lady, which guest surprised Jen in the very best way, and what’s saving all our lives. The ladies muse on their personal favorite episodes and reveal which episodes have been your favorites, too. We’re also honored to celebrate you, our listeners, who inspire us to bring the best guests and topics to the table—here’s to the next 100 episodes!
In our fifth and final installment of For the Love of Health & Wellness, we’re exploring the wide world of career health, a huge part of many of our lives that affects us mind, body, and soul. How we spend our days is how we spend our lives, and if you work full-time, you know how much of your day seems to be dedicated to making a living. But what happens when you’re ready for the next step . . . and you don’t know what it is? Whether you’re a young person trying to break into a career or you’re wanting to start fresh later in life, what if it feels like the opportunities you expected aren’t presenting themselves? Rich Karlgaard, the publisher of Forbes Magazine, helps us embrace the notion that it’s never too late for us. While Rich landed a job that he loves, he didn’t always have a clear idea of his path. Years after he graduated from college, he wandered from job to entry-level job, seeking a spark from something (like so many of us). Rich has written a fascinating book called Late Bloomers, and he and Jen muse on why our world is so obsessed with early achievement, how that’s hurting adults and kids alike, and the benefits of “peaking” at a higher age. It’s never too late to start the business, write the book, go after the dream. In fact, the wisdom we might gain through hard-won experience could be just the thing that helps us succeed.
*Since this episode contains mature themes, we recommend listening where kids can’t hear.* We forge ahead in For the Love of Health & Wellness with an important facet of our health we don’t address as openly as we may care to admit: sexual health. Jen sits down with sexologist Dr. Celeste Holbrook, who has dedicated her life to helping women achieve soul-centered sex, and they broach topics many of us might be too timid to bring up. Ever wonder how much sex is normal? It’s in here. Want to know what the #1 arousal killer is? Gotcha covered. And (gulp) we even discuss how to talk to our kids about sex (!). Not only does Celeste discuss these important topics, she also relates her own journey with sex—from the anticipation of having a mind-blowing sexual encounter for the first time, to finding that for her, the whole event was . . . less than ideal. For years, sex remained a painful, shame-inducing experience for Celeste that finally drove her to get help, but even then her doctor couldn’t give her the answers she needed to address the physical and emotional issues she had around sex. Celeste decided to take her sexual health into her own hands and got her PhD in sexology. Now Celeste sees one of the biggest ways she can help her clients have better sex is by helping them find their worth. She wants to empower women to know themselves and feel confident in their bodies, so that they are able to ask for what they want inside and outside the bedroom.
Let’s get in the driver’s seat of how we’re living, who we’re investing in, and how we’re spending our time as we head into the third episode of For the Love of Health & Wellness. Today we’re looking at the direct connection between living a life of kindness and improving our mental and physical health. Did you know studies show that helping others can reduce early mortality rates by 22%, diminish depression, and increase our sense of life satisfaction and well-being? Author, TV Host, and curator of the 100 Things List Terry Sebastian found this out firsthand. After tragically losing a childhood friend, 24-year-old Sebastian made a list of 100 Things he wanted to pursue, hoping it would bring him joy and a life of no regrets, and set out to bring his list to life. While the adventure involved amazing things like jumping out of a plane (naked!) and delivering a baby, he realized his true mission when he met a quadriplegic man named Mark, who dreamed of completing a half marathon. Sebastian helped Mark reach his dream by pushing Mark the entire 13.1 miles. Sebastian’s new mission to spread kindness led him to create an organization called Kindsum, which connects “helpers” to those who are vulnerable and brave enough to ask for help. Sebastian shows us what’s possible by living intentionally and how showing kindness can change ourselves and the world for good.
With the second episode of our For the Love of Health & Wellness series, we’re taking a deep dive into physical health—but this is not a “go get your annual physical” guilt trip. We’re talking with a doctor who’s taking a refreshing “body and mind” approach to looking at health, a physician who started a literary journal and decided to learn how to play the cello because she wanted a little more beauty and learning in her life. Dr. Danielle Ofri is a general physician at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, the oldest public hospital in America, and today she brings us into life inside the white coat as she and Jen discuss some of the HUGE changes the medical world has seen over the last few decades, what we really need to do to stay healthy (hint: make friends, get a hobby, and drink lots of water), and some of the exciting medical breakthroughs we might see in our lifetime. Equal parts art and science, Dr. Ofri emphasizes that better and more frequent communication and connection is at the heart of what will keep us healthy in the long run, which she talks about in her latest book What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear.
We’re thrilled to begin a new series we hope will spur conversations about our body image, health, nutrition and well-being. During For the Love of Health & Wellness, we’re stepping out of the body-shaming space and giving the mic to experts and clinicians who have wise ways to help us take stock of how we’re doing, and adjust those dials to feel a bit better. In this episode, we’re talking food and body with our first guest, nutritionist Haley Goodrich, who we adore for many reasons—especially the way she helps others find joy and peace with their bodies. If you’re tired of feeding into toxic diet culture, you’ll be refreshed by Haley’s “Health at Every Size” philosophy that says you are worthy of caring for your body in ways that make you feel stronger and healthier, no matter the number you see on the scale. Jen and Haley have an eye-opening discussion about the way thin privilege shows up in our everyday lives and how we can become more inclusive of others’ different shapes. Haley encourages us to develop a healthy relationship with food that doesn’t involve strict calorie counting or calling foods “good” or “bad,” but instead helps us remember food is neutral—it’s just something we nourish ourselves with, body and soul.
We lost a beloved friend, teacher, and true faith groundbreaker this week. Her teachings, writings, and insight into the Christian faith have quietly revolutionized the lives for many whose religious upbringing imposed limits and yielded scars. Because of Rachel, more women than ever have begun pursuing their place in the pulpit. Because of Rachel, the way has been paved for all of us who struggle with questions, doubts and failings in the faith to speak openly about it. Her passing seems sudden, and too soon. But right now, we are clinging to her warmth and wisdom in hopes we can continue to be the light she always was for us. In that spirit, we’re re-airing her conversation from last year about her fierce love of the church, even in the midst of her doubt. In Rachel’s own words from that interview, “Ours is a God of death and resurrection—and that God can take anything and bring it to life.” In moments like this, we realize Rachel’s work planted seeds of hope that will bloom across generations.
We always like to mix it up a little bit here in For the Love Podcast world, and we hope you’ll be the happy beneficiaries of this bonus episode! We got the chance to catch up with one of our faves--the beautiful and talented Chrissy Metz--who plays the role of Kate Pearson on the beloved, boo-hoo-every-week hit television show, This Is Us. Chrissy shares a little about how she got her start, and in the process cheers on the late bloomers among us and those who may be tired of living in the shadows. She goes on to talk about the powerful movie she recently starred in called Breakthrough. In this true life story, she plays the role of a mother, who after everyone told her her son wouldn’t survive a terrible accident, decided to believe that he could. Chrissy experienced a similar situation after her own mother suffered a stroke, and relates how the role echoed her real life crisis. Chrissy is a champion for being vulnerable--as an actor, and as a woman--and is a model for what it means to finally believe in yourself and take a leap of faith.
Coming in to wrap up our For the Love of Faith Groundbreakers series is yet another guest who challenges us to look at our faith differently, a prolific writer, rapper, activist and voice of conscience (and one that’s bound to get us cool points with our kids): GRAMMY Award-winning hip-hop artist Lecrae. Over the years, Lecrae has discovered the most effective leaders for change do so with vulnerability. He candidly tells us about the blowback he received after raising his voice about systemic racism, how it subsequently sent him into a depression, and how therapy and a fresh outlook on faith helped him pull forward. Through it all, Lecrae lays down truth and eye-opening wisdom as he shepherds us through conversations in artistry, faith, and fatherhood, reminding us why it’s so important not only to think about injustice, but to do something about it.
The Bible means many things to many people, and its passages have been interpreted seven ways to Sunday; in turn those interpretations have spawned countless church denominations that all vary in their beliefs. For some, the Bible is the ultimate answer book for anything that life may present. But for others, there are questions that the Bible doesn’t seem to address, or if it does, it’s difficult to always understand the context of those thoughts and how they apply to our present day world. Pete Enns is a Bible scholar, a popular blogger and podcast host of The Bible for Normal People, and he’s here to tell us that the Bible is a “guide to a journey of wisdom in this life, as opposed to being an answer book for every question we might happen to have to ask of it.” His excellent new book called “How the Bible Actually Works” will give us comfort in that there is no “wrong way” to read the Bible and that the questions that stem from that reading aren’t obstacles, but catalysts to lead us into a deeper understanding of God. While the Bible is often “weaponized” and its text used to foster guilt and shame, Pete eschews the notion that we approach the Bible as a “rule book,” and wants us to recognize it as a beautiful, liberating book of wisdom that has guided the church forward generation after generation.
Sarah Bessey is the friend we all need, the one who will welcome you with open arms, tuck you under a blanket she knitted herself, and hand you a cup of tea while you talk about the mysteries of life. As a matter of fact, she’s exactly that kind of friend to Jen—and through this episode, you’ll feel the love too. As a beautiful and insightful writer, her books take us through the deconstruction of her faith, with wonderings and wanderings so many of us have had, or may be experiencing now, back to a relationship with God that allows for questions and a desire for change in our religious systems. Sarah also opens up about a shift in her reality that she’s been quietly living through for the last couple of years—the aftermath of a serious car accident, which upended the life she was building and left her in chronic pain. Having to hit pause on the speaking career she loved and the book she thought she would write, Sarah embarked on an all new journey to rediscover who God was in this season of life, and contemplates what’s different on the other side of being broken. Her new book, Miracles and Other Reasonable
Father Richard Rohr is one of our best teachers, hands down. Whether it’s through his work at the Center for Action and Contemplation (which he founded) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, or the many enlightening books he’s written, Fr. Richard is dedicated to helping people realize their best selves, both inwardly and outwardly. A champion for social justice who’s spent decades fighting for equality, he shows us the way to radical compassion by gently leading us to see the world with new eyes through the concept of “voluntary displacement,” i.e. when we willfully move out of our comfort zones and “live” ourselves into new ways of thinking. For such a wise and contemplative guy, his cool factor is off the charts. He calls Bono a good friend, and he was considered the foremost expert on the Enneagram WAY before it was the hot topic of the day. Jen and Fr. Richard discuss the dangers of “individualistic Christianity,” in the context of his new book “The Universal Christ,” and how so many of us have a stingy view of God who doles out His love out to just a certain few. He sums up our spiritual challenges in one masterful concept that, if we truly embraced, it would change the direction of our lives: “nothing can separate us from God, except the thought that we’re separate from God.”
“Does Jesus really love me?” Journalist Jeff Chu has asked himself this question countless times since he was a kid. Jeff grew up immersed in a family of theologians, where knowing and sticking to the Bible’s rules were prized currency. As Jeff approached high school, he realized he was gay. Over time, while he prayed for God to change who he was, Jeff threw himself into his work to escape his inner turmoil and realized he was a gifted storyteller who loved talking with people from all walks of life. A few years ago, Jeff found himself on the road, searching for the answer to his long-held question across America as he interviewed everyone from nice church ladies to members of the Westboro Baptist Church. And as he talked to more and more people about their spiritual beliefs, he concluded that yes: even though Jeff doesn’t feel like it some days, Jesus really does love us all. And if we actually believed He did, we would speak differently, tweet differently, love differently—in a nutshell, believing we’re loved would transform our lives.
When Kaitlin Curtice speaks, people listen. Raised a Southern Baptist, as she grew older Kaitlin began to explore her family’s rich history in the Potawatomi Citizen Band. Kaitlin tells us what life is like as an indigenous woman in the United States today, how she’s teaching her kids about their heritage and how we can rally around teachers of color during their hardest moments. Kaitlin reminds us we have a responsibility to incorporate a wide range of voices into our world and remember the power of empathizing with an experience different from our own. One of the most poignant lessons she gives us: God is inviting us into the sacred, and it’s not in a far-off sunbeam or reserved for the church pew—the sacred is all around us, from the daffodils on the street corner to the popsicle-stained smile of our kid, even as we are consoled in our pain and grief. God’s glory is in everyone and everything. We only need eyes to see it.
When Mike McHargue, AKA Science Mike of The Liturgists Podcast, stopped by to visit with Jen, we knew we were in for some mind-bending stuff. After all, you don’t go from a Southern Baptist deacon to an atheist back to a follower of Jesus without gaining some wisdom along the way. But in our next installment of For the Love of Faith Groundbreakers, Science Mike helps us understand the kind of God we believe in, whether he is angry or loving, has a profound effect not only on the way we view the world, but the actual way our brain functions. *cue mind-blowing explosion* Along with his brilliant insights, Mike shares his faith journey and how he navigated the most difficult parts of his changing views—including why he stayed at church, despite his nonbelief—and how a trip to NASA and a night on the Pacific Ocean helped him re-meet God in a whole new way. Like Mike, so many of us have asked tough questions, and maybe have meandered through spaces of doubt and uncertainty. Mike reminds us we can be kind, conscientious people no matter where we find ourselves on our faith journeys, and we can have wandering seasons and still be okay.
We’re thrilled to enter a new series: For the Love of Faith Groundbreakers. In the vein of last year’s “exploring our faith” series, we’re talking with women and men who are taking a fresh, honest look at their faith experiences and blazing new trails when they find the status quo isn’t feeling quite right. Leading us off in this series is Osheta Moore, a writer, speaker, podcaster, and a faith groundbreaker in her own right. Osheta is also a powerful leader on racial reconciliation and equality, and through it all, she teaches that God wants each of us to be whole, vibrant, and flourishing. In her book and podcast called Shalom Sistas, Osheta breaks down 12 ways we can turn “shalom” into an action. She shows us how to become peacemakers in our everyday lives—not just with each other, but with ourselves and with God. Osheta shows us that peace is more than just a feeling. It’s the belief that God created us perfectly, just as we are, and the bodies that we live and practice shalom in, from the color of our skin to the shape of our hips, are wholly good.
You know that warm, happy glow you get after chatting with your friend all night, favorite beverage in hand and deep conversation shared between you? This conversation is one of those happy moments. Jen had the chance to catch up with Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott backstage at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo (the most Texas thing ever), and we get to peek behind the curtain and hear what it was like for Hillary to grow up in Nashville with parents who were country music staples (in Reba’s band, no less!) and how chatting up a guy she recognized from Myspace (yes, it’s still out there) led to a spot in one of the hottest country groups of the century. We also love Hillary’s perspective on the beauty of strong friendships, and how they’ve been a foundation for her during a whirlwind season as a new mom. Hillary saw that trying to “do it all” wasn’t helping her or anyone, and the moment she decided give herself a break and accept grace from herself and from God, she was able to cherish herself and her family the way she always wanted.
Say the words “Amy Grant,” and you launch a generation of music lovers into nostalgia. We’ve grown up alongside Amy, haven’t we? Who didn’t sing “Love Will Find a Way” or “Baby, Baby” into their hairbrush? Who didn’t feel a rush of pride when we saw our favorite Christian songstress—someone even our parents approved of—show up on VH1 and Top 40 radio stations? Amy navigated the whirlwind of success that enveloped her and the inevitable criticism it brought from those who thought she had left her roots behind to become the strong, gracious and gifted artist she is today. Those darker moments, which she describes as “a 10-year tunnel,” started with her very public divorce that found her emerging on the other side with a new sense of connection to God and to those who walked alongside her. With her career and her music still going strong, Amy’s devotion to family and community is firmly at the center, and she looks back at the tough times as bringing about a “very unique toolkit” that will be essential to help guide her children on their next great adventures.
We have country music royalty in our midst today, we’re fangirling and we don’t even care—because Martina McBride is our queen! Since she came on the scene in the early 90s, Martina has been a vocal powerhouse ranked among the all-time greatest female performers in country music with hits like “This One’s for the Girls,” “In My Daughter’s Eyes,” “Concrete Angel,” and so many more. Today Martina tells us how she went from singing in her dad’s band in Kansas and selling T-shirts at Garth Brooks concerts to nailing a recording contract and rising to the top of the charts. She shares the stories behind those amazing and empowering songs she chose to record, and reflects on the current music scene and why it’s important for women to be represented more equally. We find out what she is doing musically these days, and how she gives back with her charitable organization Team Music Is Love. We also get to hear about Martina’s new second career: Food Network chef at Martina’s Table and cookbook author of Martina’s Kitchen Mix!
When Jennifer Knapp broke into Christian music in the 90s, we’d never heard anyone quite like her before. A soulful voice with lyrics to match, Jennifer took the CCM scene by storm—until she stepped out of the spotlight just a few years into her career, after an unrelenting scheduled left her body exhausted and her creative well drained. After a seven-year hiatus, Jennifer came back in full force with a powerful, courageous confession: she is gay and had been in a relationship with a woman since 2002. With unapologetic honesty, Jennifer has kept exploring her faith publicly in a memoir called Facing the Music, and even started an organization called Inside Out Faith, which advocates for the affirmation of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters in our faith communities. Today she and Jen talk about how she found faith in her college years and started weaving it into her music, and after she returned from her extended break—where she engaged in a fight for her own belovedness and belonging—she is now helping others find theirs.
You asked, we listened: this is the kick-off episode of our For the Love of Music series! We’ll hear from artists of all stripes and genres, and find out what inspires them to create songs that touch our hearts like nothing else can. No doubt today’s guest has given you goosebumps a time or two. Whether it was her stunning rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” that launched her to fame in the mid-80s, or when she belted out gospel classics like “We Shall Behold Him,” Sandi Patty is a vocal force of nature—but, ironically, she never felt she had a true voice in her own life. Today Sandi tells us some deeply personal, tragic and triumphant stories she wrote in her book “The Voice: Listening for God’s Voice and Finding Your Own.” Sandi shows us despite the darkness we face and despite others who may try to silence us for their own gain, our voices are valuable and worthy to be shared—and when we do, we’ll likely find a community of others waiting for a relatable voice to help them through their own darkness.
One of the bravest, most impactful good changes we can make is to care for our emotional wellness. Each day we carry so many thoughts, memories and dreams that shape the stories we tell about ourselves. When we’re ready to live a new story, or maybe learn a little more about how to better care for ourselves, therapy can be a long-lasting tool to help us take off our mask, heal our shame, and forge a path toward vulnerability and authentic, joyful living. Miles Adcox is the CEO of Onsite, an emotional wellness lifestyle brand that delivers life-changing personal growth retreats to help people discover a better future. Miles is known far and wide for his expertise and has been part of Dr. Brené Brown’s Rising Strong Day and TEDx. Today Miles tells us about his own emotional wellness journey and why therapy isn’t for broken people. He gives us a slew of resources about how to find the best therapist for us, and what we can expect to learn about ourselves as we take time to dig deeper. And probably the most encouraging of all, Miles reminds us we don’t just “need” therapy—we deserve it.
When you have no idea what to do next, it feels like you’re drowning in a lake of neverending to-do lists, homework, laundry, and dreams on hold. In a word, it’s *overwhelming.* How do we begin to take charge and find a way out of the chaos? In the words of our next guest: just do the next right thing (FYI: “NEXT” is the key word here!). Writer and podcaster Emily P. Freeman gives us tools to find out what The Next Right Thing is for each us, which is also the title of her insightful podcast and her upcoming book that hits shelves April 2. Emily shows us why naming our fears gives us power over them, how to make decisions in a better way, and how practicing “soul minimalism” will help us all breathe more easily in two seconds flat. And perhaps best of all, Emily helps us recognize that like our favorite jeans, the decisions that were once right for us may not fit anymore—and that’s 100% okay.
With the new year comes new pressure to CHANGE. OUR. LIVES. This is the year we’re finally going to lose the weight, finish the project, clean out ALL the closets. Time after time, so many of us find life gets in the way. And when we can’t attain the lofty goals we set for ourselves, we feel like failures. Jon Acuff joins the show to give us permission to finish, even if we only get part of the way there. Jon is the New York Times bestselling author of 6 books, including Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done (which just conveniently came out in paperback!). Today he reveals how we can be honest about our goals and kinder to ourselves, even when our efforts come up short of our expectations—or where we perceive others are. Jon and Jen talk about why the pursuit of perfection can be the biggest hurdle to “getting it done,” and how cutting goals in half raises our chance for success through the roof. Jon reveals we might need more than a year to get some things done (What? Resolution sacrilege!) and shows we’re really NOT wired to do it all, despite what others’ social media pages may depict. And with that realization alone, life becomes much more enjoyable.
What would our lives be like if we spent less time thinking and talking about the way we look? What If we stopped comparing our bodies and bemoaning our “flaws”? Researchers report 85–95% of women are extremely dissatisfied with their bodies. How can we change this for ourselves? How can we pass down positive messages about female bodies to the next generation of women? Hillary McBride is a therapist and researcher who writes about these questions in her book Mothers, Daughters, and Body Image: Learning to Love Ourselves as We Are. According to Hillary, we inherit harmful stories about our bodies, and may even pass them onto our daughters without even knowing it. Hillary points out other ways we come by this language: through systemic misinformation and misogyny that envelop us daily, pushing us toward an unattainable standard of beauty. This conversation has everything to do with dispelling our shame and celebrating our womanhood. It reminds us of the power of legacy and the freedom we gain by owning our stories and our worth. And at the end of those stories, we each get to define what’s beautiful, accepted, and good.
Lawyer-turned-writer Gretchen Rubin fancied herself a happy person. She had a job she liked, a husband and two daughters she loved, a life she enjoyed. But one day she found herself wondering, “Could I be happier?” So she set out to change her life—not in a blow-it-all-up-and-move-across-the-world kind of way, but with small steps over one year. Gretchen documented her experiment to live happier in the blockbuster New York Times bestseller The Happiness Project, and has inspired millions to improve their lives and find contentment. As part of our For the Love of Good Change series, Jen and Gretchen talk about why it’s okay to pursue happiness in a world filled with hard things, and the little ways we can reach for a richer, more satisfying life. Gretchen shows how easy it is to work “happiness habits” into our lives (Jen adopted one immediately after this interview!) and how these small steps can yield big, long-term results. We also get a sneak peek at Gretchen’s new book coming out this spring: Outer Order, Inner Calm.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the For the Love team! This week, we’re previewing our brand-new series for the new year, For the Love of Good Change, and bringing back one of our most downloaded episodes (not to mention one of our favorite guests): Emily Ley, author and creator of The Simplified Planner! A busy mom and head of a flourishing company, Emily found that striving for “all the things” left her with no time or energy to enjoy the good stuff. A champion for helping others organize, declutter, and simplify, Emily’s own life was lacking in simple joys because she was striving for an impossible standard of perfection. She shares how she learned to give herself grace, say the dreaded “no“ word, and take some steps back in order to move ahead. She also gives us some GREAT bringing-order-to-chaos hacks, like answering the question Jen posed herself: "Why do I have 17 spatulas??” Emily's newest book is A Simplified Life: Tactical Tools for Intentional Living, and her next one comes out this spring—A Standard of Grace: Guided Journal.
Susan Ramirez and Jon Huckins are giving their all in some of *the* hardest work: lending voices and love to two communities who are suffering deeply. In our last episode of For the Love of Giving, we’re going to talk with Susan and Jon about the problems their communities face, and how we can give our time and privilege to help solve these complex problems. First up, Susan Ramirez is the CEO of National Angels, an org that walks alongside children and their caretakers in the foster care system. Today, we learn how one National Angels program is changing lives by providing love and belonging to kids who need it most. In the second half of the show, we talk with Jon Huckins. Jon is the co-founding director of the Global Immersion Project, a peacemaking training organization that equips people of faith to engage our divided world in restorative ways. Jen and Jon discuss how we can be good brothers and sisters to our neighbors who are suffering on the border, and how those with privilege can use it to fight on behalf of their marginalized neighbors.
People give in all kinds of ways. Some give talent. Others give quality time. Some use their influence to shine a light on struggles we need to know about. Our next guest, Ty Pennington, has given in each of these avenues—and shared a few laughs with us along the way! We’ve loved Ty since he lit up our TV screens in the early-2000s (and newly revived!) design series Trading Spaces as the energetic, fun-loving carpenter. Later, Ty was the host of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, where he and his team of designers and volunteers had the joy of giving a home makeover to deserving families in just seven days (Bonus: Ty gives us the skinny on that now-famous “Move that bus!” line). In his own “Move that bus!” moment, Ty gives his own personal “reveal” in his upcoming book, Life to the Extreme. We learn about his struggle with ADHD, his whirlwind days as a model, and the hilarious way he landed his role on Trading Spaces. Ty shows that giving can come in many forms and from unlikely ways—even from the kid who was always sent to the principal’s office.
“What would the opposite of my life look like?” Today’s guest, Charity: Water founder Scott Harrison, was a Jesus kid turned high-end club promoter, with all the luxury and excess that comes with it. Unfulfilled by his pursuit of “more” and desperate for a change, Scott sold everything he owned and joined a non-profit as a photojournalist. What he saw on his journeys changed his life, as he realized a basic need we take for granted—clean water—wasn’t available in many parts of the world. That discovery led him to found Charity: Water, which has helped 8.5 million people around the world gain access to clean water. We’ll hear about Scott’s new memoir Thirst, and why people are canceling their HBO subscriptions to give to Charity: Water’s super-cool new initiative, Spring. Scott’s story reminds us we’re never too far gone to make a change—our lives can be redeemed, no matter what.
When Fred Rogers was a boy (stay with us here) and he would see scary things on the news, his mother would tell him, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” Fret not, dear ones: Mr. Rogers’ mother is still right. For this episode in our For the Love of Giving series, we’re thrilled to bring you two people who are helping the helpers and fueling their dreams to change the world. Our first guest, Mike Rusch, is the CEO of Pure Charity, a nonprofit that provides software and strategy for more than a thousand organizations worldwide, including Bob Goff’s Love Does, Habitat for Humanity, Help One Now, and our own Legacy Collective. Mike tells us how Pure Charity puts the structure behind nonprofits’ missions to make a difference, why giving circles are impactful, and key advice for those who are looking to start their own nonprofit. We’re also thrilled to have Legacy Collective partner Faitth Brooks on the show! Jen and Faith talk about the unique way Legacy partners with people around the world, some of the life-giving projects Legacy has helped fund, and how you can get involved.
Back by popular demand, it’s one of our very favorite episodes: the Hatmakers’ Holiday Gift Guide! Our resident gift-giving champ (and Jen’s husband) Brandon is back to highlight twelve companies creating top-shelf products and making a difference in our world. Jen and Brandon dish about gifts for everyone on your list: ladies, gents, kids, foodies, coffee addicts, coworkers, lovers of all things cozy, nature folks, and so much more. And if you’re in the car or at the gym, don’t worry! For each item Jen and Brandon mention, you can find photos and product links, PLUS special offers exclusively for you, our faithful listeners! To get all the deets, look for this episode’s transcript at JenHatmaker.com/podcast. Over the next few weeks, keep listening to our “For the Love of Giving” series, where you’ll hear from amazing guests who have centered their lives on helping others. Most importantly, you’ll learn how you can help people close to you, your community, and around the world.
You know those friends who know exactly what to watch and never steer you wrong? The friend who had an actual Smoke Monster terrorize guests during LOST watch parties? That other friend who does 7,000-word recaps of The Bachelor? These are (literally) those kinds of friends: Knox McCoy and Jamie Golden! Knox and Jamie are the hosts of The Popcast, a delightful show that, in Knox and Jamie’s words, “educates us on the things that entertain but do not matter.” Today, these pop culture partners-in-crime wrap up For the Love of TV and give us a gazillion shows we need to binge-watch: comedies, dramas, nuggets from TV shows past, their all-time favorites. Plus, they give us some tips on what not to watch with your family at the holidays (your grandma is thanking us already). This conversation will have you rolling, as will Knox’s debut book, The Wondering Years: How Pop Culture Helped Me Answer Life’s Biggest Questions. We even break out a little TV geek and talk about why there’s (finally!) so much diversity onscreen and what the future of entertainment holds.
Between her roles in The Office and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, you knew Ellie Kemper had to be delightful in real life—and we’re thrilled to confirm you’re absolutely right! Today Ellie joins our For the Love of TV series, as we continue to dive into the personalities and the “behind the screens” perspectives of some of our favorite TV people! Come along with Jen as we hear about Ellie’s roots in St. Louis and getting high school improv classes from Jon Hamm (yep, THE Don Draper . . . and Ellie’s future TV “husband”), navigating life as an intern on Conan and a writer for McSweeney’s and The Onion, and how she broke into Hollywood (fun fact: Tina Fey wrote the TV pilot for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt JUST FOR HER). Plus, we hear how Ellie has dusted off her writing chops to produce her hilarious debut book, My Squirrel Days.
This week we’re rolling out the red carpet for a woman with a ton of talent and a heart of gold: Jen’s delightful friend, actor Kimberly Williams-Paisley! You’ve seen Kim in TV and movies since the ‘90s when she got her breakthrough role in Father of the Bride as Steve Martin and Diane Keaton’s onscreen daughter Annie Banks. More recently you’ve seen Kim playing bad-girl Peggy Kenter in Nashville and her stints in fun Hallmark movies like Darrow & Darrow. Jen and Kim dish about the behind-the-scenes fun that goes on with a TV cast and crew: the commercials Kim did for “all the uncomfortable products” when she was just getting started, and the special skills involved with “fake dying” on TV. She tells us how she’s navigated a career that allows her to have a full life with her family: husband Brad Paisley and sons Huck and Jasper. Kim’s commitment to family is particularly poignant as she shares how her family walked alongside her mom as she battled Alzheimer’s, which inspired Kim’s heartbreaking yet hopeful book, Where the Light Gets In. And just when you think Kim’s heart couldn’t get any bigger, she gives us a sneak peek at the amazing organization she and Brad are launching in Nashville. She’s a bright light indeed, so we’re just gonna say “you’re welcome” for this refreshing dose of goodness in your week.
It’s not every day that you find a hilarious TV show that features moral philosophers and tries to answer “What does it mean to be a good person?” But then again, not every show is NBC’s The Good Place. And today on For the Love, we’re over-the-top thrilled to have Tahani herself, actor Jameela Jamil! Just like the show she works on, Jameela is kind and smart, brilliant and inquisitive. You’ll love Jameela’s humor and wisdom as she traces her journey from growing up in London to working in TV and radio in the UK, then moving to LA and accidentally landing a job on one of the kindest and most forward-thinking sets in Hollywood. One of our favorite things about Jameela is the way she advocates for body positivity, born from years of struggle in her teens and a traumatic event that changed the way she looked at herself forever. Along with her no-airbrush policy, Jameela has started @i_weigh, a body-positive movement on social media that encourages people to define themselves by their character instead of a number on a scale.
Put on your yoga pants and grab some popcorn, because today, ladies and gents, we start a brand-new series: For the Love of TV! And there’s no one better to hold court on our first episode than the Queen of Daytime TV herself, Kathie Lee Gifford! Swapping stories with Kathie Lee is a delight, and we hear about it all: Kathie Lee’s roots in the Christian music industry, her road to ratings darling Live! with Regis & Kathie Lee, her marriage with Frank Gifford, and some of Kathie Lee’s favorite moments from her storied 40+ year career (including one of the most cringe-worthy blunders on live TV). And Kathie Lee is not a one-trick pony: she dazzles with her theologian-level knowledge of scripture and lets us in on the inspiration behind her adorable new children’s book The Gift That I Can Give.
It’s been bananas in the political sphere the past few years, but you knew that. You may not think you have a voice in any of the chaos, but frankly you do—because We The People get to decide who represents us and our values. Your thoughts, your ideas—they have power. And one of the most effective ways to exercise your power is to vote. 2018 midterm elections are approaching around the country on every level: local, state, and national. Our show doesn’t focus on politics, but if you’re living and breathing, it can’t be avoided. And we are a show that isn't afraid to open ourselves up to important conversations. There’s an up-and-coming senate candidate in Jen’s home state of Texas, and he’s been making some waves. Representative Beto O’Rourke is on the campaign trail and called Jen from his car to talk about what’s important to him as pursues this race, and the values he shares with many of our listeners—values like government and healthcare that represent everyone, and helping families stay together and thrive. We follow up this conversation with the ladies from Pantsuit Politics, Sarah and Beth, who have a “relationships before policy” attitude, and they break down Jen’s conversation with Beto from both sides of the aisle.
What was the hardest book for Jen to write? How’s the new book coming along? How on earth do we dip a toe into the publishing waters? And when is she going to write us a cookbook?! No doubt each of us in the For the Love community has had a question or two for our host. And while Jen normally asks the questions, today we turn the tables and give FTL listeners the mic! We asked you to send your book and writing questions, and you delivered some practical and thought-provoking conversation starters. Today in our second Q&A episode, Jen answers all kinds of questions, everything from the craft of writing and how she stays inspired to creating a platform and even how to deal with regular life (her advice on working well with a spouse is gold). And stick around till the very end, when Jen answers all the questions we’ve been asking to each guest in the book series, including what’s saving her life right now.
When we’re kids, we each think about the lives we want when we’re older. What if you worked hard for years to make that dream—a loving husband, doting children, a farmhouse with a literal white-picket fence—a reality? And then, all of a sudden, you’re picking the shards of your realized childhood dream off the ground? That’s what happened to Shannan Martin—and she couldn’t be more thankful. Shannan is a writer and speaker from Goshen, Indiana, who is one of Jen’s literal favorite people. Today we’ll hear how Shannan found her voice in the country and her story in the city, and about her new book The Ministry of Ordinary Places. We’ll learn how she and her jail-chaplain husband Cory found their four children, including one who was a nineteen-year-old father of twins when he came to them, and how Shannan and Cory have learned to parent each of their adopted children. We’ll talk about how to become good neighbors with people who come from different walks of life, whose path to the present doesn’t resemble ours at all, and why sometimes staying in a place you don’t feel completely comfortable in can be one of the bravest things you can do.
This is a special week in For the Love world, because it’s our very first live podcast! A few weeks ago, Jen and author Kelly Corrigan hosted 150 women in Jen’s backyard in Buda, Texas, and today we get to share this conversation with you, our beloved For the Love listeners. Kelly is the New York Times bestselling author of four books, including The Middle Place and her latest Tell Me More: Stories About the 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say. In this live episode, Jen and Kelly talk about being raised by dads who loved them ridiculously, their shared crush on Tom Brokaw, Kelly’s brief flirtation as a shoplifter in the ‘80s, the glories and doldrums of writing, and so much more. This episode is extra long, so pencil in a few more chores or squats at the gym, and settle in for lots of laughter and fun as we sit on the porch with Jen and Kelly.
We’re forging ahead in our For the Love of Books series, and today we host one of the most distinctive and decorated novelists of our time, a woman who challenges us to chew on why we believe what we believe: New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult. For more than twenty years, Jodi has brought us novels filled with moral questions, and has presented fully-fledged characters we find ourselves having empathy for, even if we don’t agree with their choices. Jodi models this mindset in her own life as a self-described “accidental activist.” Her latest novel, A Spark of Light, tells a powerful story around an abortion clinic. Jodi talks about the research that went into the novel, and she and Jen lead us into a complicated discussion around the topic that will have us all asking the big questions, and give us insight into differing perspectives. And if you’re a fan of Jodi’s books like we are, you’ll enjoy some behind-the-scenes glimpses into her blockbuster bestseller My Sister’s Keeper, where we hear Jodi’s rationale for that amazing, heart-stopping ending that made Jen bawl in the bathtub.
Our book series is in full swing, and we’re loving the conversations about reading and how words help us voice what really matters to us! This week’s guest is author, poet, and educator Kwame Alexander. And if you’ve never been into poetry, Kwame is here to change your view. He believes poetry is powerful enough to change the world, inspire our youth—even woo a spouse (He wrote his now-wife Stephanie a poem a day for a year. Let the collective swooning begin!). Kwame is the New York Times bestselling author of 28 books for children, teens, and young adults, but his path to becoming a published author wasn’t all flowers and love poems. Kwame shares how his Newbery-winning novel The Crossover faced 22 rejections before a publisher finally picked it up, and the tenacity it took to keep saying “yes” in a sea of “no’s.” Kwame reminds us that so much of our ability to develop an imagination and know our place in the world comes from the pages of a book. His love affair with words will ignite each of us to pursue stories that heal us, move us, and change us.
There's never been a time when words matter more. They have the force to spark ideas, to build, to topple the status quo. Words enter the world when you use your voice. But what is your voice? For some of us, we're not even sure what our voice sounds like, let alone how to use it. That’s why we’re pleased to welcome writer Kathy Khang, our second guest in the For the Love of Books series. Kathy has struggled with speaking out for her entire life. And despite having so many things to say, for ten years Kathy wrestled with finding the courage to write her new book Raise Your Voice. Today Jen and Kathy talk about raising our kids to have a voice, using our voice in this culture, and the tension that comes with it. Kathy reminds us what we have to say is worthy, it matters, and it's powerful. We all benefit when we learn how we can use our voices to do great good in the world.
Welcome to a brand spanking new series that we are just tickled to launch—For the Love of Books! It’s not like we don’t talk about books all the time anyway, but now we’re dedicating an entire series to officially having amazing conversations with writers, storytellers, lovers of books, and today’s guest, who’s a first-time author: Jessica Honegger from Noonday Collection! Ever wonder how the writing process takes place? How to go from an idea in your head to holding your book in your hands, a book that could possibly be the next bestseller? Jessica’s new book, Imperfect Courage: Live a Life of Purpose by Leaving Comfort and Going Scared, just came out, and we’re going to hear all about how it came to life. For anyone who’s itching to tell their story or step toward the life they’ve only imagined, listen up: this is the episode for you.
Our Parenting series wraps up with an episode that our tribe has requested overwhelmingly. As parents, we are all doing the best we can to raise great kids. But what about the challenges we didn’t expect? What about the kids who have been left behind? This week, we talked to two mamas who gave us insight into a whole other realm of parenting that requires a special resilience. Jami Amerine and her husband Justin have six kids; four biological, and two adopted. Jami tells us about her beautiful but heart-wrenching experience with foster and adoption, why she refers to her youngest kids as the #vandals, and how God is helping her family write a redemption story through loss. Diane Dokko Kim and her husband Eddie have two sons, Jeremy and Justin. In 2004, two-year-old Jeremy was diagnosed with autism and ADD/ADHD. Diane tells us about her personal and family crises after her son’s diagnosis, how she and her husband have maintained a healthy marriage throughout, and how we can be better friends and neighbors to families with special needs. And lest you think this episode is heavier than most, stay till the end to hear the most hilarious #MomFail we’ve ever heard on the podcast (which happened only an hour before recording!).
Over 70% of moms in America work, and let’s face it: they’re pulled in a thousand directions. More than ever, the pressure is sky high to do All The Things well: birthday parties, presentations, laundry, answering emails. There hardly seems time to keep everyone fed and clothed, let alone investing in self-care and meaningful relationships. As a full-time employee in Corporate America, writer Jessica Turner knows the struggle is real. Today she sits down with Jen to discuss practical ways moms can become more efficient and less stressed, and why we shouldn’t focus on creating “work-life balance,” but “work-life satisfaction.” Jessica also shares how we can prioritize self-care, discover more flexibility at work and home, establish clear boundaries, establish easy home management solutions, and cultivate deeper relationships with our partners and friends.
It’s the second half of the epic interview with Jana and Larry King—AKA Jen’s very own parents! In this part of the chat, Jana and Larry dish parenting gold as they talk about solutions for sibling rivalry, how to make tough parenting calls, how to weather tough storms with your adult kids, and the travesty of Jen not having a cool nickname growing up. And stay tuned ‘til the end for the best part of the interview—and grab your tissues while you’re at it. And if you missed Part 1, go back and listen to that too!
This episode is an important chapter in For the Love Podcast history, because we have the most exceptional parenting experts on the show: Jen’s own parents! Jana and Larry King have been married for forty-seven years and had four children, and they’ve seen a few things! Jana, a retired teacher and school administrator, and Larry, a retired minister, take listener questions, and dish out the true scoop on Jen, her siblings and real-life parenting. Toddler years, teen years, sibling rivalry, rebellion, and being the child of adult parents—we cover it all. When you only have the strength to “shoot up prayers like little arrows” for your kids (as Jana did), they understand. Trying to navigate your relationship with your adult kids (and vice versa?) Jen’s dad says it best: “You never stop being a parent, no matter how old your kids get, where they happen to be, or what they're going through.” This extra-special episode is extra long (in fact, it’s in two parts), so add some chores to your list or a couple extra miles to your run, and stay ‘til the end for the most fun and enlightening parenting conversation you’ll have this week!
Parenting is a lifelong job, even after our children have flown the coop and are tending their own broods. Throughout the various stages, from the early “no sleep” baby years to the endless carpool years, we barely have the bandwidth to think about next week, let alone the next few decades. But what happens when our kids grow up and start making their own decisions? How do parents lay the groundwork for happy, healthy relationships with their adult children? And how do we, as daughters and sons, honor our adult parents as we forge our own way in the world? Today’s conversation helps walk us through reframing our parental relationships. Dr. Jim Burns is an author and executive director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Dr. Burns tells us how parents can be a sounding board for their adult kids (without being a clanging bell). He also helps us think through scenarios like what do you do if your child partners up with someone you’re not crazy about, what kinds of boundaries to maintain if your child moves home, how to stay connected to a child who shuns a relationship with their parents, and how you, an adult child yourself, can create a healthy bond with your own parents.
From your mouth to Jen’s headphones, we’re starting a brand-new series you requested: For the Love of Parenting! This series will not only speak to those of us who are in the thick of parenting kids at every stage, but for those of us who are learning to honor our parents as adults and come alongside our friends with kids. Our first guest is actor and author Candace Cameron Buré, who was famously parented in the beloved sitcom Full House and is now the one doing the parenting in Netflix’s Fuller House. She shares about her own experiences growing up in Hollywood and how giving back was modeled to her at an early age by her own mother. Offset, Candace has been a mom for more than two decades and shares the joys and challenges of “surrendering to motherhood” during a season of professional success, and how she chose to instill small acts kindness into her daily life in an effort to positively impact her family and the world around her.
Nearly forty years ago, they met at camp. Then they got married. Now they’re running the same camp! This week, we’re closing out For the Love of Summer with our crowdsourced episode, featuring Stacy and Darell Smith. For more than thirty years, Stacy and Darell have been directors at The Firs, a Christian camp organization in gorgeous Bellingham, Washington. And they have seen it all: kid tomfoolery, pet shenanigans, pranks galore. They’ve even rigged dates between their camp counselors (some of which resulted in wedding bells!). Stay and Darell are experts in summer magic and creating memories for kids (and leadership skills in young adults) that’ll last a lifetime. By the end of this conversation, you’ll want them to adopt you, too.
School’s out, the pool/beach/lake is calling, and vacation is just around the corner. For many of us, summer fashion means flip flops, sundresses and living in our bathing suits. For others, summer clothing choices, where often “less is more,” can cause a case of the summer blues. Today’s guest gives us pro-tips that will help EVERY body to make fun, fashionable and affordable summer choices for all the things we love about summer. Lizz Wasserman is VP of Fashion at ModCloth, a forward thinking clothing and accessories company who endeavors to make fun, beautiful clothes for women of every shape, size and pocketbook. Jen and Lizz discuss common summer clothing challenges, how to create a summer capsule wardrobe, and the miracle bathing suit that looks good on just about everyone (Jen has it in four colors!). We also learn that by simplifying our summer wardrobes to just a few key clothing items that make us feel our best, we can have that easy and breezy summer we've always dreamed of.
Summertime is book time. Whether you’re by the pool, on a road trip, clutching your pearls in the AC, or on a cruise (#jealous), now’s the time to escape. And there’s no one better for book talk than Anne Bogel, author and founder of Modern Mrs. Darcy, the loveliest reading and lifestyle blog you ever did see. Anne stopped by to tell us a few of her favorite summer reads, and we covered it all: classic beach reads, family sagas, thrillers, nonfiction, books for all the kids, and even Anne’s all-time favorite book (of the moment). And keep your ears peeled for a fun freebie that will help all your summer reading dreams come true.
Rachel Macy Stafford was missing life. Her planner bulged, her phone buzzed, her calendar constantly full. In a painful moment of realization, Rachel discovered she was choosing distraction over connection with her young family—and she decided enough was enough. In 2010, she started the Hands Free Mama blog, where she documents her journey to slow down and focus on what truly matters. Since then Rachel has become the New York Times bestselling author of three books: Hands Free Mama, Hands Free Life, and Only Love Today. In our conversation, Rachel tells us what living “hands free” means and gives us practical tools to help us slow down. We talk about how to teach our kids to use technology, how to let go of mom guilt, and what kids really want to do with their parents this summer (spoiler alert: it’s not going to Disney World).
If there were ever a family travel expert, it’s Tsh Oxenreider. In 2014, Tsh and her husband Kyle sold their house, put all their stuff in storage, and went on an almost year-long trip around the world with their three kids—ages four, six, and nine. Tsh wrote this experience in her phenomenal travel memoir At Home in the World. Today, Tsh kicks off our “For the Love of Summer” series and tells us about her fascinating trip around the globe. She also gives some practical tools to help us make travel memories on any schedule or budget. Tsh has a ton of tips on packing, saving money, setting the right expectations, stewarding our kids’ energy levels, and so much more. Tsh helps us see that we can create lifelong memories with our families with just a backpack, some snacks, and a laid-back attitude.
It’s the final episode in the “For the Love of Exploring Our Faith” series, and you guys begged to hear from this week’s guest. Not that we blame you—we love him, too! Brett Trapp is a marketing consultant and storyteller who lives in Atlanta’s Cabbagetown neighborhood. The son of a Southern Baptist preacher from small-town Alabama, for more than a decade Brett kept a journal on being Christian and being gay. One morning in 2016, Brett hopped on Facebook and began sharing the story he had been writing privately for so long. In his forty-four-part series, Blue Babies Pink, Brett recounts his journey of growing up, coming out, and reconciling his faith. It’s equal parts whimsical, harrowing, hilarious, and wise.
What is saving our life right now? Having the matriarch of our favorite question as part of our “Exploring Our Faith” series this week! Barbara Brown Taylor is a New York Times best-selling author, teacher, and Episcopal priest. Her last book, Learning to Walk in the Dark (2014), was featured on the cover of TIME magazine. In 2014. TIME also included her on its annual list of Most Influential People. Long a favorite author of Jen’s, Barbara has a unique way of sharing essential truths about beauty and about God, and shows us that it cannot be contained inside any walls that people build. Her view is that Jesus “placed higher value on human relationships than on religion. He never told his followers to love their religion—just their neighbors, their enemies, and God."
This week we’re coming in strong in our For the Love of Exploring our Faith series with New York Times bestselling author, speaker and self-proclaimed “Bible Nerd,” Rachel Held Evans. Rachel’s writings have resonated with many of us who have walked through doubts, questions and concerns about faith and religion. Rachel shows how the Bible can hold up to our fiercest questions, our strongest doubts and the most significant of disagreements. She encourages us that “God is not a God of self-improvement plans and 10 steps. Ours is a God of death and resurrection—and that God can take anything and bring it to life.” NOTE: This interview was conducted while Rachel, 9 months pregnant, was having contractions at a minute a part—and although we were hoping for an on-air podcast baby arrival, we still claim our part in the process (and Jen lobbied hard for namesake rights). Congratulations, Rachel, from all of us at the For the Love Podcast on the arrival of your baby girl!
We’re 5 episodes into our “For the Love of Exploring Our Faith” Series and the Christian guru of love himself, Bob Goff, joins Jen on the show this week. Bob’s journey has been one of taking risks, defying norms, and living by faith. A self-proclaimed “recovering lawyer,” Bob left his practice after 25 years to embark on a path of love. He wrote a book about his journey to and from that point called Everybody Always which became a staple to Christians (and others) about what it means to put love into action. Bob and his wife Maria have demonstrated that “love in action” to Jen and Brandon’s family over the years, and they discuss what it looks like to be present and sacrificial in our relationship with others (that includes the difficult people in our lives), and how Jesus calls us to love “Everybody Always.”
We continue to explore our faith in Eps 4 of this series with writer and speaker AUSTIN CHANNING BROWN. Austin is a practitioner who helps schools, nonprofits, and religious organizations confront racism and practice genuine inclusion. Her writing has appeared in outlets like Christianity Today, Relevant, Sojourners, and The Christian Century. Austin insists that to make significant strides, “We have to know where we've been—before we can figure out where it is we're going." Austin and Jen wrestle through a tough review of America’s history of racial division and discuss meaningful next steps toward repentance, equality, and healing. “We all can do something, and it’s our job to figure out what that something is, and let that lead to more somethings." You won’t want to miss this one.
Our powerful series “For the Love of Exploring Our Faith” continues with author, community leader and story-teller Josh DuBois. Josh has had the unique role of being “The President’s Pastor In Chief” during Barack Obama’s early years of presidency. He spearheaded important work on responsible fatherhood, grassroots community partnerships and foreign affairs. From there, he’s dedicated his life to help companies, individuals and communities navigate tough issues related to race and religion. He uses his platform to support dramatic and documentary films that tells stories that bridge the divides around racial issues and religion. He gives an inside view into the Obama administration and the commitment to faith he found from the first family during his tenure with the White House.
The Enneagram has surged back into popular culture the last couple of years. This personality test is marked by its unique (and ancient) principles that help us better understand ourselves. Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve probably heard “number thumpers” talk in terms of their type; “Oh, that is totally such a ‘seven’ thing to say.’” Therapist, Episcopal priest, speaker and Enneagram expert Ian Morgan Cron joins us for Eps 2 of For the Love of Exploring Our Faith. Ian walks us through this “journey of self” that he says “ups the self-awareness quotient in human beings, which is—particularly in faith communities—a sorely overlooked discipline. Think about what Calvin said; ‘without knowledge of self, there is no knowledge of God.’” The Enneagram helps us relate to others with more compassion as well, as we begin to see how our type interacts with theirs. Ian illustrates this by pointing out; “The loneliness, or the fear, or the sadness in me sees the loneliness, the fear, and the sadness in you." Ian digs in deep with Jen culminating with a “blow your mind” moment that has her re-assessing her personality type as they hone in on ALL the facets that uniquely make up each of our personalities.
We have a powerful start to a brand-new series: For the Love of Exploring Our Faith. Speaker, writer and activist Lisa Sharon Harper comes from a long line of Americans—African-Americans who have been in America since 1687. Slavery existed in her family. Lisa wrestles with the Good News of the Gospel and how that translates to folks who have been victims of race-motivated atrocities—from people who claimed that Gospel as their truth. She walks us through the history of evangelism and where some things got twisted. Prepare to be schooled and to take in some eye-opening information (pen and paper at the ready!) because Lisa breaks it down for us with the meanings of original Hebrew writings and shows us the truth of what God intended His Kingdom to be--“ALL blessing all.”
Closing out our For the Love of Women Who Built series, we have Meredith Walker, the Co-Founder of Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, an organization which is dedicated to helping young people cultivate their authentic selves. They emphasize intelligence and imagination over “fitting in.” Meredith Walker began her television career producing the Peabody and Emmy award-winning Nick News with Linda Ellerbee, and then went on to head up the talent department for Saturday Night Live, where she met and became fast friends with Amy Poehler. They shared tales of their own upbringings and dreamed about how great it would be to create something to help girls get through their own awkward teen and pre-teen years. They started Smart Girls with a “mix of great planning, and luck, and not planning,” and now they help girls all over the world navigate the choppy waters of adolescence. Meredith shares her personal story of following the “unscripted path” and encourages those of us who have had an unconventional life’s journey to embrace what we care about and recognize the value we add to our world.
You spoke—we listened. Sara Cunningham was your nominee from the tribe for the last episode of our “Women Who Built It,” series and we couldn’t be more thrilled to hear about what she is building. When Sara’s son came to her with the decision that he was going to live as a gay man on his 21st birthday, Sara’s life went into a tailspin. After 20 years in the church and actively “praying the gay away,” with and on behalf of her son, she was at a crossroads. Her search for resources as a Christian mom turned up very little, but her research on the data and statistics out of the LGBTQ community devastated her. The rejection she saw from families, churches, and communities was more than she could bear. She needed to begin the work of accepting her son, and she started by getting involved with Free Mom Hugs. Showing up at a Pride Rally with a homemade “Free Mom Hugs,” button, she simply gave out hugs—some to young people whose own mothers hadn’t hugged them in years. Whatever your beliefs, you will want to hear Sara’s moving journey and her mission of spreading healing—not only to a community who often feels marginalized—but to their families in the church who are looking for answers.
Our fabulous “Women Who Built It” series continues with the founder of Be The Bridge, Latasha Morrison. Latasha’s mission is to encourage racial reconciliation among all ethnicities, to promote racial unity in America, and to develop others to do the same. She facilitates “Be The Bridge Groups” that provide a “safe place for white people and a safe place for people of color to communicate and share their hearts.” She and Jen share about the incredible experiences they’ve had by being a part of bringing these two groups together as one to ask questions, and describe the life changing nature of these interactions. Latasha believes that in order to bridge the divides, we need to get to know each other and strip away the misconceptions and stereotypes each group might have about the other one, building a foundation of trust and movement toward a new landscape of awareness and understanding.
Episode 3 of the “For The Love of Women Who Built It" series features the feisty and funny Nicole Walters. At just 28 years old, Nicole was a top-selling executive at Fortune 500's and was managing multi-billion dollar business relationships for an S&P International healthcare organization. With a six-figure salary, first-class flights, and fancy hotels, she thought she had arrived. She shares with us that her real “arrival” came when a family crisis jolted her into the realization that "life was too short to be comfortable, but unfulfilled." She made a bold, and very public move (in front of 10,000 people on Periscope, no less) to leave her comfortable corporate situation and embark on a new course to “help everyday entrepreneurs live and work in their purpose.” Nicole shares how the tough experiences of “always being the minority,” allowed her to build a platform that welcomes people of all races, shades, and colors, ethnicities, and faiths, and how getting to "the next thing" revealed her true purpose.
Episode 2 in our “For the Love of Women Who Built It” features the fearless and heroic (CNN even awarded her with nomination as a 2017 CNN Hero) Becca Stevens, the president and founder of Thistle Farms. Becca describes her “aha” moment 21 years ago when she no longer could stay quiet about what she was seeing regarding women who were subject to sex trafficking and abuse (before “trafficking” was even a widely-used term). She started the organization with the Magdalene Center which welcomed women who had been subject to sex trafficking or abuse by providing free residences; taking care of their housing, medical care, therapy, and education for two years. From this, she moved into a social enterprise that creates beautiful and healing products for the body and employs these same women in need. The global market of Thistle Farms employs over 1,800 women worldwide, and the national network has over 40 sister communities. Becca’s new book (and mantra for her entire organization) is “Love Heals.”
It’s new series time, and we’re excited about this 6-part series featuring “Women Who Built It.” This series is filled with women who are slaying in their careers. They’re building amazing spaces in business, ministry, and culture, and they’re here to share with us the triumphs, heartaches and leaps of faith it took to build something important. Our first guest is Jo Saxton, one of Jen’s heroes in the leadership space. She’s an international speaker and an author who has a deep passion for leading women toward their full potential. Jo gives us insight, as women, into our sometimes complicated relationship with ambition and provides context for the current culture where women are acknowledging the unwarranted obstacles that have long been in their paths (and being heard) across all industries. Her ultimate goal is to show women of all kinds (mothers, grandmothers, godmothers, sisters, aunts, friends) their incredible influence on shaping lives.
We close out with a last laugh in our "For the Love of Laughter" series with none other than one of our own. We asked you: "Who's funny? Who is that funny person we should absolutely have on the podcast?" And you responded--Melissa Radke! Melissa is that funny friend who wryly observes all the things in life that we face as women and moms, and takes them to task--hilariously head on. Whether it's struggling with "Mom Guilt," or trying to make logical the complexities of "Red Ribbon Week"--140 million viewers of her videos can't get enough of her side-splitting soliloquies. You'll also hear Melissa's amazing mom hacks for everything from kids' costumes to a "nutritious" lunch. If you've been labeled as "too" much of something--too big, too loud, too vocal, too much--you'll find courage in Melissa's message of pushing aside what some people might say you are, and believing in who you're made to be.
John Crist has a gift for making us laugh at ourselves. John was the middle child in a family of 8 kids and found his comedic sensibilities while growing up in the church. His humor gently pokes fun at some of our religious “sacred cows,” and gives us permission to laugh at our foibles. His videos (which collectively have garnered over 150 million views) around these topics are spot on, including: “Millennial International” and “Church Hunters.” John doesn’t reserve his brand of humor just for the church, however, and has been playing comedy clubs with the likes of Dave Chappelle, Jeff Foxworthy, Trevor Noah and other comedy legends. He was also a finalist in Comedy Central’s “Up Next” Comedy Competition. John and Jen discuss when jokes are amazing and when they are hilariously bad, why comedy is more important than just making people laugh, and why it’s okay—even when our world seems pulled apart at the seams—to find some humor in the midst of it.
Anjelah Johnson didn’t always want to be a comedian. Her dream was to be an actress, and after a short stint as an Oakland Raiders cheerleader, she followed that path to L.A. With a lot of time on her hands, and no leads in sight, she did a lot of praying and a lot of waiting. Persuaded by a friend to take a free joke-telling class they were offering at her church, Anjelah tried her hand at her first comedy bit called “Nail Salon,” and suddenly found herself to be an overnight YouTube sensation. Gigs with MadTV, the advent of another viral character “Bon Qui Qui,” comedy specials on Netflix, and multiple tours around the world have become Anjelah’s “new normal,” but she believes wholeheartedly that faith and being open to what was in front of her led her to where she is today.
Episode 2 of our “For the Love of Laughter” series features “Chewbacca Mom” herself - Candace Payne! You may remember a little video of a mom in her car who bought a Star Wars Chewbacca Mask (presumably for her kids), but was so entertained by it herself, she couldn’t stop laughing! Candace and her infectious laugh went on to capture America’s hearts (with over 175+million views), and she has since been on a slew of talk shows including Good Morning America, The Late, Late Show with James Corden, and Entertainment Tonight. It wasn’t always easy for Candace to laugh unabashedly. Emerging from a tough childhood that included a period of homelessness, she battled depression and self-image issues. Today, she is resolute to recognize and appreciate the simple joys of life. She and Jen discuss everything from their favorite comedians, to why tacos are an all-important food group, to why everyone should have a crazy sock collection.
This week we start a brand new series - For the Love of Laughter! Jen’s love for comedy inspired this series, and with all we have going in our world today, it seemed like the perfect time for a good guffaw. Our guests this week are comedian and SNL alum Kevin Nealon and his wife, Parks & Rec actress Susan Yeagley. Kevin and Susan discuss how they got into the business of comedy, and the heart behind their love of laughter. We’ll also hear what it’s like when two funny people are married (and the story of how Matt Damon was infamously not at their wedding). AND, as an FTL exclusive, we’ll also hear the joke Susan forbade Kevin to tell, until now, where she’s granted him permission to tell it right here on the show (and you’ll understand why it was forbidden).
We’re wrapping up our “For the Love of New Beginnings” Series, and we’ll just warn you, episode 5 may involve a tear or two. Our guests this week, as always for the last episode in a series, are straight from Jen’s tribe. Jen had occasion to meet Donna Cheek, a designer at Glory Haus home furnishings, during a visit to the company a few years ago. Donna’s life had never been easy; from growing up in an alcoholic home, to battling with chronic illness and ultimately facing homelessness. You’ll hear what kept her going, and the times she almost threw in the towel, and about the moment that hands were outstretched to offer some hope (in the form of another Glory Haus Designer, Sheila Lynch) that ultimately gave her the chance to start anew. It’s a story of courage, resilience, and the resounding message to “never give up.”
This week on episode 4 of our “For the Love of New Beginnings” series, Jen talks with the amazing Rachel Hollis, founder of the lifestyle website TheChicSite.com and CEO of her own media company, Chic Media. Rachel shares the auspicious beginnings of her company that was basically inspired by a moment where her Thanksgiving turkey caught fire. She goes on to detail how she reinvented herself from turkey burner to entrepreneur and the life-changing journey toward believing in herself. Rachel has written a brand new book that encourages women to believe that they can become what they want to be, and how an unexpected conversation with Jen on a bus in Ethiopia inspired the title. “Girl Wash Your Face,” which hits shelves in February 2018. For those of you who have felt guilty about "taking time for you, your dreams, your hopes and yourselves," this episode is for you.
It’s Episode #3 of our phenomenal “For the Love of New Beginnings” Series. This week, Jen talks to Kristin Schell, the author of The Turquoise Table and leader of the Front Yard People movement. Kristin shares how she was longing for connection and belonging in her community and was struck by the realization that she didn’t know many of her neighbors, their names or much less their stories. This moved her to take a step toward that connection, and she started with a brightly colored turquoise picnic table that she put smack dab in the middle of her front yard. Kristin’s simple act of inviting connection at a turquoise picnic table has spawned a movement that has spread across the country; from individuals and families putting turquoise tables in their front yards right along with churches, businesses and parks getting involved. We’ll all be inspired and challenged to get to know our neighbors in the new year with the simple ideas and resources Kristin passes on that can bring the joy of community right to our own front yards.
Our “For the Love of New Beginnings” series continues strong with Enneagram expert Chris Heuertz. Are you a 2 (The Helper) or perhaps an 8 (The Challenger)? Or maybe a 3 (The Achiever), like Jen? If you don’t know what the heck we’re talking about, we’re here to help. Chris has written a new book called The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth and shares why The Enneagram is one of the most powerful and insightful tools for understanding ourselves and others. Jen and Chris both share how knowing their Enneagram types has helped them embrace their strengths and their flaws and how it has enhanced understanding and compassion in their key relationships. If you haven’t taken the Enneagram, you are going to want to after you listen to this episode. Visit JenHatmaker.com/podcast for links to Enneagram Institute resources.
Happy New Year and Happy New Series; For the Love of New Beginnings! We’re going to dive into the top of the year with guests who have had to start over, re-invent themselves, embrace new seasons, refresh or reset; and we'll learn first-hand how they navigated it. Episode one’s guest is Emily Ley; author and creator of The Simplified Planner. A busy Mom (3 kids under 6, including toddler twins) and head of a flourishing company, Emily found that striving for “all the things” was leaving her with no time or energy to enjoy the good stuff in her own life. A champion for helping others organize, declutter, and simplify, Emily’s own life was lacking in simple joys due to a difficult-to-live-up-to standard of perfection she strove to attain. She shares how she had to admit her need to give herself some grace, pare down, learn to say the dreaded “no-“word, and take some steps back in order to move ahead. She’ll also give us some GREAT bringing-order-to-chaos hacks, like answering the question Jen posed herself: "Why do I have 17 spatulas??” Emily's new book is A Simplified Life: Tactical Tools for Intentional Living.
To close out our "For the Love of Fall & Holidays" series, we have a story from one of our own from the Tribe. We asked you to tell us about someone you knew who was opening their hearts, homes and tables to others during the holidays in unique and amazing ways, and Jacob & Peggy Smith were the ones who came shining through. A young couple married for only 2 years, Jacob & Peggy had been raised in environments where fostering children was a huge priority. When they encountered a family of 9 siblings who needed their help, their family answered the call in an extraordinary way. They talk with Jen about the challenges and rewards of expanding their family as Jen shares her own family's adoption experience. Stay tuned to hear how you can help this brand new big family with even bigger hearts by giving toward their Amazon Wish List this Christmas.