The Open Door Sisterhood Podcast

Longtime friends and authors Krista Gilbert and Alexandra Kuykendall share relatable, practical and fun conversations on faith, motherhood and leadership. Often inviting another friend into the conversation, listeners will be inspired to take that next step, do that hard thing, and encourage their family and friends to do the same as we walk through the doors God opens. Let's be world changers for good right where we are!
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The Open Door Sisterhood Podcast






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Dec 19, 2017

Kindness is a virtue we recognize immediately.  It warms the soul, refreshes the heart, and provides solace.  We love to be on the receiving end of kindness, but it is equally important to be on the giving end.  Today Kendra Roehl, Julie Fisk, and Kristin Demery and I discuss why practicing kindness is not only good for our children, but for our own hearts as well.  We get very practical on how we can incorporate this virtue into the life we are already living, with the people right in front of us.  

Whether you are hosting a big family gathering, serving at church, or simply spending time with your kids at home, Christmas is a perfect time to incorporate intentional acts of kindness into your life.  This episode will inspire and encourage as you round the corner toward December 25th.   

Dec 14, 2017

Although mom pressure is not a new concept, our generation of mothers seems to be suffering from it more than our mothers or grandmothers did.  We feel responsible for everything: do my kids go to the right schools? Are their friends good influences?  Is my food clean and organic enough to not cause cancer? Am I teaching my children enough about faith? Am I doing enough to build my child's self-concept? If they don't make this team will they ever be able to play again?  If we can think it up, we'll worry about it.

Jeannie Cunnion, author of Mom Set Free, is on the show today talking about how we can learn to recognize our tendencies and then set ourselves free from anxious thinking, mom-guilt, and the burden of having to do life perfectly for our families.  If you've ever been kept awake at night worrying about your children for any reason, this podcast is for you!

Dec 12, 2017

Jerusalem, her husband Nathan, and their two boys Wylie and Miles, live in rural Arkansas where they are attempting to live a slower version of modern life. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. From farm life to being outside, to exploring the liturgical calendar, we hear how Jerusalem lives her days.

A girlfriend's conversation about her crazy name (you won't believe the family history on this one!), how she started into blogging, what makes for a good scrambled egg, and how to slow down and enjoy today are all covered. We hear about Jerusalem's Advent wreath, Sabbath bags, and what makes for a good pair of scissors. Part practical, part inspirational, this conversation won't disappoint as we live full swing in the Advent season.

As we talk through what it means to practice faith in our everyday experiences, we pray this episode is an encouragement during a busy time of year. As you do your daily tasks, know that God is present. When we slow down we are able to notice his beauty. That is our prayer for you, a bit of slowing and noticing.

Dec 7, 2017

Serena Thompson is a part farm girl, part entrepreneur, part chef, part decorator.  You may know her as the trusted voice and CEO behind the nationally acclaimed Farm Chicks Vintage and Handmade Fair held in Spokane, Washington.  People are struck by her artistic talent, but just as equally touched by her childhood story of growing up without electricity or running water in the woods of Northern California, and how that has shaped her signature style.

If you are looking for direction on how to create a down home Christmas, look no further than Serena.  From foraging in the woods for evergreen boughs, to homemade pies, to porch decorating tips, to how to make a natural Christmas tree look beautiful, we talk about the elements that create a Farm Chicks' holiday.

Don't miss this insider peek into Serena's life during this special and meaningful time of year.  She is full of helpful tips and ideas, including the secret trick to a good fruit pie!

Dec 5, 2017

Kate Merrick's life on a small ranch in California where she home schools and surfs sounds idyllic from the outside. And yet tucked in her story is heart wrenching grief of losing her daughter, Daisy, to cancer. Her journey has led her from bitterness to joy in the midst of her reality.

In this conversation we hear about Kate's journey as a mother with a sick child, how she married into a surfing family, the church she is part of and it's global growth. A true sisterhood interview we cover the practical to the inspirational and back again. Kate is one you want to sit with (preferably on the beach) and cover all the topics. Her combination of intensity and abandon confirm the title of her new book, and Still She Laughs.

This is one Open Door Sisterhood Podcast episode you won't want to miss. This surfer girl turned pastor's wife is genuine and resilient, curious and lovely, wild and free. We welcome her to the sisterhood and we welcome you as well.

Nov 30, 2017

What is Advent? And how do we celebrate it? Co-hosts Krista and Alex dive into the purpose behind the season and how marking this sacred preparation time as a family can be significant. Whether warm fuzzy childhood feelings come when considering this time of year, or uncertainty about what exactly we're talking about, this episode is for you.

The themes of Hope, Love, Joy and Peace are big concepts and family Advent devotionals can feel overwhelming in an already busy time of year. The simple Advent wreath (or log) can offer a tangible reminder of these ideas and point to why they are significant during Christmas. Alex and Krista offer some other practical applications for families in how to incorporate these larger themes into the weeks ahead. Whether an internal transformation or an external demonstration, let the themes of Advent be a guide for how to spend this holiday season.

Don't let Advent pass you by this year. Make a plan for how to usher in Christmas with a preparation of the heart. We trust this episode will give you a little inspiration and practical help in that direction.

Nov 28, 2017

A true Open Door Sisterhood Podcast interview! Co-host Krista Gilbert interviews her partner in the sisterhood, Alexandra Kuykendall, about her new book Loving My Actual Christmas. They talk about the experiment Alex conducted last Christmas season because she wanted to have a less stressful and exhausting holiday. In the midst of her actual life she searched for more hope, love, joy and peace. What she found is that much of her newfound appreciation of the holiday stems from remembering the story that God so loved the world...he sent a baby.

This is the behind the scenes interview where we hear what Alex thinks about the experiment a year later. She shares the stories in the book that have stuck with her, what Christmas means to her now, and how she hopes to extend her celebration through the 12 Days of Christmas. This isn't about beautiful Christmas cards or Pinterest worthy meals. This is about remembering together that Jesus is the hope of the world and his arrival is worth preparing for and celebrating.

You won't want to miss this candid and intimate conversation between our podcast hosts as they talk about grief during the holidays, reconciling the difficult of the world with the hope of Christmas and taking the knowledge of God with us into their everyday Christmas experiences. Here at the sisterhood we want you to love your actual Christmas because God pursued us all when he stepped onto earth all those years ago.

Nov 21, 2017

We like to say we are part practical and part inspirational here at The Open Door Sisterhood. For that reason we are tackling the topic of Christmas in the same way. We want the whys and hows of the season to be covered. So we bring you the first of a three-part series on Christmas. Our focus now, before the holiday swoops in and takes over, is preparation. We know a good plan can help us all enjoy the season as we carry out the merrymaking.

Who better to talk holiday organization than Kathi Lipp? We knew she was the sisterhood's go-to woman on managing the Christmas chaos. You will love this fun conversation with one of our favorites as we cover food, budget, and all things in between. We also cover what to keep and what to let go of (hint: you choose) when going through a first Christmas without someone and how to support a friend during a grief filled holiday.

There's no question the plan helps ease the anxiety. Even if there are some hard parts to this Christmas season, it will feel more manageable, and therefore more enjoyable, if some intentional preparation has been implemented. A freedom inducing episode, you will leave with permission to plan a holiday season that includes elements your family enjoys and letting go of the extras. Stay tuned for the next two episodes as we cover more about the Christmas in front of us.

Nov 16, 2017
Thanksgiving is a holiday that reminds us to live a life saturated with gratitude, overflowing with grace, and aware of our abundance.  Let’s use this seasonal opportunity to lean into these virtues and create habits that last long after the pumpkin pie and turkey are cleared from the table.
Joining Krista today is Courtney DeFeo, a woman who is known for sprinkling virtues and kindness into the daily routine of life.  We talk about how to help our kids practice thankfulness, how to carry a sense of dignity and joy to people we interact with, and what  it looks like to love when family dynamics are hard (and even when they’re not).  We also take an honest look at how pride stalls and prevents relationships, why it’s OK to look like a fruitcake for Jesus, and why it’s important to get outside for a gratitude walk.  This episode will inspire you to make the most of your Thanksgiving holiday!
Our beloved listeners, we want YOU to know how very thankful we are to have you as a part of the sisterhood! As a thank you, and a “We Love You!” please download a free printable of Colossians 3:15-17 on the website for your Thanksgiving table, or to tape on your refrigerator to remind you to let Jesus have the run of the house while you cook!
Nov 14, 2017

It's safe to say Jess Connolly is a dynamo. She's one of the cofounders of SheReadsTruth, one of the owners of Amen Paper Company, co-author of USA Today Best Seller Wild and Free, and the co-founder of The Influence Conference and Network. We caught up with her in her new office space in Charleston, SC and talked to her about how she manages life with four kids and a big to-do list.

Though her resume is impressive, we focused some of our conversation on her limitations. What she can do within her given work hours, or more importantly, what she can hand over to somebody else. From work projects, to home projects, Jess is a big fan of recruiting help and doing what's need to be a healthy woman. From weekly counseling sessions to workouts with her teammates, we hear how Jess maintains her own health in order to be most effective for the work God has given her.

Jess believes God wants women to move toward holiness. Living under the covering of grace and on mission flow out of that space. Her new book Dance, Stand, Run is for the woman who wants to serve God. This interview is as well. You will feel more able to tackle the day in front of you after hearing Jess' wisdom and practical tips for being a woman on holy ground.

Nov 7, 2017

We went on a quest. We wanted to know the world changers in your life. Who takes that next step? Does that hard thing? In order to walk through the doors God is opening. Who is a world changer for good right where she is? Well we got great nominations from you, our listeners, and we are featuring two of the women in this special episode of the podcast.

Meet April Farlow and Becky Jarvis, two women who have felt unique assignments from God. Though one stepped out in her community and one grew her family, they have many themes in common. They both are working toward orphan care. How that plays out in their lives is quite different. Neither one set out to be where she is today, but both surrendered their plans to God's. And in that step by step surrender they've found purpose and God's call to be world changers right where they are.

You will be inspired to walk through the doors God is opening by hearing these two stories. We are sure of it.


Nov 2, 2017

It’s been a little over a year since we started The Open Door Sisterhood podcast, and today we celebrate 100 episodes! Yes, you read that right, 100! This episode is a look back by our co-hosts, Krista and Alex, at all who have walked through the doors of the sisterhood. We invite you to come in and hear some of the highlights!

All guests and episodes have been a place for growth for guests and listeners alike. At The Open Door Sisterhood we celebrate and encourage one another with our stories and expertise.Though impossible to pick favorites, Krista and Alex talk through some episodes have changed the way they think, live and ask questions. They share the new ideas they’ve taken away, which guests inspired and impacted them in unique ways, and who offered practical ideas and tips they’ve incorporated into their daily routines.

If you are new to The Open Door Sisterhood Podcast, this hour will point you toward specific episodes you won’t want to miss. If you’ve been listening for a while, you’ll be reminded of inspiring guests and engaging conversations. All is meant to remind us that God opens doors for us to walk through and sometimes we need the sisterhood cheering us on. #powertothesisterhood



Oct 31, 2017

Sometimes something happens and your life takes an unexpected turn. Candace Payne is a viral sensation whose video of trying on a Chewbacca Mask became the most-viewed Facebook Live video to date (170+ million views). As a result, she has been thrust into the spotlight, featured in more than 3,000 media outlets and has interviewed with major media such as “Good Morning America,” “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” The New York Times, PEOPLE and Cosmopolitan. All because the audience resonated with her unmasked joy that shined through her masked face.

Candace talks with Krista about her life, joy, laughter, overcoming obstacles and motherhood. We hear about Candace's use of humor in the midst of dark circumstances, what overcoming has looked like in her life and how her faith impacts her view of joy. This is a one of a kind conversation with a one of a kind woman that you won't want to miss.

Candace recently launched a video series with TLCme and her first book, Laugh It Up releases in the next few weeks. Candace lives in Texas with her husband, two children, and ornery pug. You won't regret taking a few minutes to learn about the woman behind the mask.

Oct 25, 2017

Becky Kiser is a woman who does the next thing in front of her. When she looks back to see the ground she's covered, she's surprised and sometimes overwhelmed. But she focuses back on the next step. Becky is the founder and CEO of Sacred Holidays, she's a certified Myers-Briggs Personal Coach, and a mom to three girls. She is a woman on a mission to keep Scripture in front of other women. Whether a prison, or a Christmas tea, Becky's hope is to keep women filled.

In this episode we talk Myers-Briggs types, what childcare looks like, being open about what makes the spinning plates of life work. From Sacred Holidays to writing projects we break down how Becky takes that next step, does that hard thing, in order to be a world changer for good right were she is. Both insightful and funny, creative and intentional, and a Thinker on the Myers-Briggs personality type, she is uniquely wired to do the work set in front of her. She is a joy to listen to and we are thrilled to have her as part of the sisterhood.

You won't want to miss this interview that is classic Open Door Sisterhood. Part practical and part inspirational, Becky Kiser is a woman we are happy to introduce you.

Oct 19, 2017

Freezer cooking is for the person who wants to save money, save time, and save their sanity.  Truly!  Whether you are a mother of many, a two person family, or living alone, freezer cooking will benefit your life.  It is hard to get a healthy, wholesome meal on the table every night of the week.  This will help tremendously!  

On the show today we talk about why freezer cooking works, what you need to get started, how to form a cooking group, and some helpful freezer cooking tips.  I also include some of my all time favorite recipes that are go-to crowd pleasers.  We all need those meals that can go straight from the freezer to the oven, soups that can be pulled out for the big game day, or ideas for marinades.  I've got you covered on this short and helpful episode!  

Oct 17, 2017

Melanie Shankle remembers her grandparents and the way they loved her through the small things. There wasn't a parade or lots of fanfare. It was walking down the street in the afternoon for an ice cream. They made regular moments special because they loved her in them. The small things held meaning. In her new book, Church of the Small Things, Melanie considers the everyday elements of significance that make up a simultaneously ordinary and incredible life.

No surprise, we laughed our way through this interview with Melanie Shankle. From grey roots to Chris Tomlin as her college worship leader, to the recent increase in the tooth fairy's payout and overall game, we cover the everyday moments that make up Melanie's life. Her wit and willingness to laugh both at and with her own routines and decisions endear her to us. We are confident you will find a girlfriend, yes a sister, in Melanie Shankle.

For the woman who needs a lift in her day. For the woman who finds herself in a life of small things. For the woman who knows a little lighthearted sisterly talk would do her good, this episode is made for you.

Oct 10, 2017

Sally Clarkson is a woman who loves the table. She knows that it can be an anchor for families and friends to gather. It can be a place of tradition. It can be simple or elaborate, but it must always be welcoming and safe. A trusted voice on areas of parenting and homemaking, our conversation with Sally is one that will inspire you to make your table a place of refuge for those in your home.

We at once felt as though Sally understood us as women and moms. Both what we hope for and our current realities. We talk about her young adult children coming back to the table, the recipes they request when they’re home from their lives abroad, and the conversations that linger into the evening because they started at the table. We hear the beginnings of Whole Heart Ministries and what they are doing today.

You won’t want to miss this encouraging and insightful conversation. From Christmas Eve dinner to getting kids to sit (or not) at the table, you’ll find a trusted fried and mentor in Sally Clarkson.


Oct 5, 2017

Service is a great antidote for the self centered culture in which we live.  Most of us want to help nurture this in our children, and give them a heart for a world,  but often we don't know where to begin.  How do we start?  What do we do?  Should we help globally or locally?

Tricia Goyer, author of the new book Walk It Out,  joins me on the podcast today to talk about these questions and more.  She offers fresh perspective on how to use experiences from our past to help others, why giving away crockpots to teen moms makes a difference, the best story series she reads with her kids to learn about the world, and how her daughter ended up as a missionary in the Czech Republic.

Service has the potential to truly change and transform us in multiple ways.  Let's learn from this master teacher together.

Oct 3, 2017

It's fall! And for many families that means football. This special episode of The Open Door Sisterhood Podcast features two women with similar stories that surround family and football. In both cases it's about reaching out to a young man, a football player, offering him a safe place to live, and in the process changing their family forever. In fact the details they share may sound eerily like a movie you know. We are calling this our special Blind Side episode.

Jolene's story started with her husband who is a high school football coach in Washington state. As coaches do, he developed a relationship with a player, Roderick. When Jolene's husband learned Roderick was in crisis, homeless with no support system, he invited him to come to their home and live with them. It quickly became evident to Jolene and her husband that Roderick was meant to be part of their family. He is finishing high school this semester headed to Washington State University to study and play football.


Emily's story started in their neighborhood. She joined together with some other moms to care for a young man needing support, Garett Bolles. Each of the moms took a night once a week to offer him dinner and some homework help. Emily's family's relationship with Garett grew and when he became homeless, Garett came to live with them. They got him ready for junior college and then he transferred to the University of Utah to be close to home. Last spring Garett was drafted by the Denver Broncos and is beginning his NFL career as a husband, father and son.

At The Open Door Sisterhood we point women to be world changers right where they are. There is no question these two women are. They looked at a young man within their circle of influence and opened their hearts in ways that felt risky, but they would now say were with immeasurable reward. How does one measure gaining a son? A truly inspiring special episode of the podcast just for you.


Sep 26, 2017

Katie Davis Majors did an extraordinary thing as a young adult. Right after high school she moved from Nashville to Uganda and eventually adopted thirteen girls. Her story was chronicled in the New York Times Best Seller Kisses From Katie. But much has happened in her life since that book came out. She's gotten married, had a son, and the ministry she started to support Ugandan children and families has grown. But she has also experienced great loss. In this interview we pick up where Kisses From Katie left off.

In this interview we hear about Katie's life today, how God has shown her to trust him despite prayers not being answered in the way she'd wanted, and what it's like to get close to someone after loss. We learn about the ministry she started when she first moved to Uganda, and how it has grown over the years. You won't want to miss this episode with an amazing woman who does radical things with a humble obedience because she hears God's call.

In a culture of comfort it's important for us to hear voices like Katie's. We may not be called to go to the other side of the world or to adopt a number of children, but we are called to a humble obedience. Katie's story is full of next steps, hard things that she tackled in order to be a world changer right where she is. She didn't begin her journey to Uganda at 18 knowing her life would look like it does today, she simply took that next step.

Sep 21, 2017

If you've ever wondered if constant exposure to social media is having an effect on teenage girls, the answer is yes.    While we can't be sure of the depth of the impact, we do know that it contributes to feelings of low self-worth, the desire for approval, and perfectionism.  These, in turn, can lead to other self-harming behaviors.

After realizing that her daughter had an eating disorder, Kristen Hatton decided to investigate what lay beneath the surface of her own child's issue, and along the way discovered that the feelings her teen was battling was a common experience for many teen girls.

We discuss how story can lead to better conversations about important topics in the home, how enabling differs from helping, and why it's important to create a culture where it is OK to fail.  Don't miss this important episode!

Sep 19, 2017

Rachel Swanson was coloring with her daughter and searched for a devotional coloring book they could do together. She didn’t find anything on the market and decided to create one of her own. We hear how God prompted her to pursue this project and her journey became one of taking the next step, doing the hard thing, in order to be a world changer for good right where she was.

A woman who encourages other women to pursue their dreams, is doing the same in her own life. Hear how Rachel, a life coach, urges women to identify and carve out time for the things that give them the most joy. We also hear how she tells her identical twin boys apart, what she is willing to give up precious sleep for..

Rachel invites us into her process as if we were sitting across from each other. A warm, lighthearted episode, we hope you’ll find one sister’s story of walking through the doors God is opening to be both inspiring and encouraging for you to do the same.

Sep 13, 2017

In a world where bigger, louder, and more seems to be the goal, Sara Haggerty is on a quest to find the quiet, unseen places. Or more specifically, to meet God in those places. It’s hard to do when you have a house full of children. And yet even when we are surrounded by people we can feel unseen. It's these moments of feeling misunderstood, invisible or overlooked that we can find God has not forgotten about us.

This interview is in a word: delightful. Sarah’s humor, combined with her earnest pursuit of God’s purposes for her, are both endearing and inspiring. She shares about feeling invisible along her journey of infertility, her adoption story, and then surprise pregnancy process, and her new book Unseen. A beautiful reminder that God knows us and is with us when it feels the world has forgotten our pain.

You won't want to miss this sister interview. It is both practical and inspirational, just how we like to do it here at the sisterhood. And don't forget to find Sarah's newest book.

Sep 8, 2017

Art and creativity can be powerful tools when we are wading through difficult emotions and a journey of healing.  Today on the Hey Sister! show we discuss how art can help us look at scripture in fresh ways, how visuals can be a form of prayer, and how the act of practicing all forms of creativity can foster growth and strength.  

Gayla Irwin, author of Creative Moments of Grace, explains what major life event thrust her into a deeply painful place and what role art played in her own life as she dealt with her overwhelming grief.  

In the show notes on Gayla provided a helpful list of extensive resources for anyone looking to use art on their healing path.  


Sep 5, 2017

Shauna Shanks' life changed in an instant. The moment her husband told her he didn't want to be married anymore. No surprise, everything stopped. And in her cries out, God gave her a clarity to fight for her marriage by focusing on 1 Corinthians 13, a chapter in the Bible about love. Her discipline to display love to her husband became a spiritual journey of obedience, then developing into a deep intimacy with God. A beautiful example that even the most devastating of circumstances can be used for God's good.

In this interview we hear Shauna's marriage story. How she felt they were doing before her husband dropped the bomb of news on her, why she stayed and tried to work through it, the people that held her up along the way, and how her husband's heart softened over time. We talk through the feeling of love versus the action of love, how Shauna was able to quickly forgive her husband, and what kept her going in moments of discouragement. Shauna knows not every story of infidelity works its way to reconciliation, but because hers did, she wants to share that reuniting is a possibility.

At The Open Door Sisterhood we are cheerleaders for women who take that next step, do that hard thing in order to be world changers for good right where they are. Shauna's story of obedience to God's specific direction in her life is a great example of what we hold dear at the sisterhood. May it be a story of inspiration to you, regardless of your circumstances or marital status. Let us be clear, we know there are often valid and honorable reasons for a wife to say enough when it comes to infidelity and broken trust. Sometimes reconciliation is possible, and often it isn't. This is Shauna's story. As it turns out Shauna's marriage survived. We celebrate restoration when we find it.

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