Do you have a big event coming up? Maybe a graduation party, a wedding, a family reunion, a milestone birthday, or a baby shower? Me too. That’s why I decided to reach out to my friend, Michele Dirks, for help with the details.
As a former caterer, Michele is the master at planning for large groups of people. Whether in her home at her famous annual Christmas party, or feeding 500 in a rural Honduran village, this woman embodies the gift of hospitality on a grand scale.
Today we talk about the nuts and bolts of planning for a party: budget, how to work on a timeline, what kind of food to serve, how to think creatively about theme and decorations, how to keep food cool and/or hot, and what not to forget. Using my upcoming graduation party as an example, Michele walks us through party planning 101.
I have no doubt you will walk away from this episode more equipped to get out there and throw a crazy good party that will be a gift to your family and friends!
All recipes and products mentioned are in the show notes on theopendoorsisterhood.com
Some people have a moment in life when everything changes. Rebekah Gregory is one of those people. A spectator at the 2013 Boston Marathon, Rebekah was standing near the finish line with her five-year old son Noah and some friends when a bomb went off only a few feet behind her. Rebekah's life was spared, but after months in the hospital and dozens of surgeries she eventually lost her left leg. This is a true story of courage, perseverance, and moving forward despite life's unexpected turns.
In this inspiring and emotionally charged interview (yes the hosts might shed a tear or two), we hear one mother's story of pushing through tragedy for the sake of her child. Rebekah walks us through the day of the marathon, how her legs acted as a shield protecting her son, and the heroic people who walked into a danger zone to save her life. We hear the details of the trauma on her body and emotions over the following months and how her life is changed today.
We are sure you will be inspired by Rebekah's story and share The Open Door Sisterhood's appreciation of her mutual strength and vulnerability. She reminds us sometimes the doors we walk through are ones we never hope for and God is still present in them. Won't you join us in listening to this beautiful story of hope despite tragedy?
There is a difference between the absence of fear and being "fearless". Kelly Balarie talks to The Open Door Sisterhood Podcast about what it means to fear just a little bit less with each decision and step, how worry and anxiety are rooted in fear, and how fear prevents us from loving others well. We hear about Kelly's journey to overcoming fear and about that one time her husband took her out to dinner and asked her what she was doing with her life. Kelly's book Fear Fighting was featured on The Today Show when Kathy Lee Gifford chose it as one of her favorite things of 2016! (Let's give a sisterhood cheer for that!)
Kelly says if God is love, Satan is fear. We must fight fear because it prevents us from living in God's freedom. We spend our time worrying about what we can't control instead of living in God's immediate grace. In this episode we cover the difference between saying "I'm sorry" and "Will you forgive me?", the importance of teaching our children forgiveness, and how living in grace can help us fight fear in our own heads. We also cover asking restaurants for their recipes, how a sunset top's off any moment and the ways different translations of the Bible speak to us in fresh language.
Please join us for this interview that is in true Open Door Sisterhood spirit, part inspirational, part practical, as we tackle the topic of fear and how it can manifest itself in different ways. And you don't want to miss the creamed corn discussion. Because who doesn't love some creamed corn goodness?
Shame is a buzz word in our culture, but do we really know what it is, and what it does to our inner self? What about our children? How does shame manifest itself in our kids, and does our parenting unintentionally foster that?
Psychologist and author Kelly Flanagan joins me to break down the nature of shame, and also to talk about how we can awaken to embrace our truest, worthiest selves and then allow ourselves to be embraced by others. One of my favorite conversations to date, and the very first male (!!!) on the podcast, Kelly helps us understand that healing and spiritual growth progress from worthiness, through belonging, and then into a sense of purpose.
You may also know Kelly from his letters to his daughter that went viral (see links in below). This conversation will not only inform and shape you, but if you have children, your parenting as well. Don’t miss it!
A Daddy’s Letter to His Little Girl (about her future husband)
Words from a Father to His Daughter (from the make-up aisle)
Mo Isom was a Division I college soccer player when she asked God to wreck her life. And that's exactly what he did. Mo was playing goalkeeper for Louisiana State University, her father had recently taken his own life and she was pondering the purpose in hers. She found herself upside down (literally!) in her car. The overwhelming encounter she had with God in the minutes immediately following this severe car accident gave her new eyes to see the life in front of her.
As a senior at LSU, she found herself in another whirlwind of sorts when she decided to be the first female to try out for an SEC football team. Whether a car crash or media storm, Mo learned to hold onto God in the middle of it, focusing in on her character, obedience and trust through every step. In this interview we hear Mo's story, her desire to go where God sends and her family life now.
We laughed through this great conversation, immediately feeling a kinship with Mo and we know you will too. Her open, straight talk immediately lets you know she is not holding back. We are sure you will love this episode of The Open Door Sisterhood Podcast.
You might be surprised to know the depths of Liz Curtis Higgs' story. This woman who has written more than 30 books, and is a popular conference speaker, had some difficult early adult years. Her attempts to find comfort and relief through self-destructive behaviors were interrupted when someone told her the truth of God's love. This truly was good news. It was life transforming, so much so, those around her took notice. She's been talking about Jesus and studying the characters of the Bible ever since.
In this episode of The Open Door Sisterhood Podcast we focus in on Liz's story, the Easter story, and how God used women specifically in Scripture and continues to use them around the world today. A conversation that reminds us that there is nothing, simply nothing, that disqualifies us from receiving God's love. From the story of the prodigal son, to Mary of Bethany, to the cross with Jesus' mother Mary, and finally Mary Magdalene, Liz reminds us over and over that God meets us where we are, is concerned for us in every circumstance and releases us to tell others about his forgiveness.
As we approach Easter we relish this conversation with Liz. She helps us see the human side of these characters as they encounter the holy in the middle of their pain. We hope you listen in and remember the Easter story is for you.
Do you want to learn to manage money better? Do you want to know how to make your money work for you? Financial expert and author Ericka Young is visiting with sisterhood today to help. Ericka is the president and founder of Tailor-Made Budgets which she opened in 2005 after she and her husband Chris were able to climb their way out of nearly $100,000 in debt. Ericka just released her new book, “Naked and Unashamed: 10 Money Conversations Every Couple Must Have” in February 2017, which hit the Amazon Bestseller List.
In the podcast we cover why women are such a critical factor in the family budget, what programs work best, what prevents us from getting the financial help we need, and how to have helpful conversations with your spouse about finances. We also cover how to teach our kids about managing money and what we can do to better educate them as they grow up.
Plus, don't miss Ericka's favorite budget-friendly go-to meals at the end of the episode. This is a practical and helpful episode that will move you toward greater financial freedom and strength.
Heather Avis has learned that the lucky few are people who find God's wonder in unexpected places. A mom of three, in this episode we hear about Heather's adoption journey, how Down Syndrome entered her life, and what her first book The Lucky Few is all about. A fresh, candid, joy-filled voice of parenting in the everyday, Heather will feel like an instant friend. She reminds us all that sometimes the fear of the unknown is much worse than the reality of what God has for us in it. In fact that very thing we fear can become the vehicle for us to experience more of God's grace.
A conversation every mom will be able to relate to, Heather is an advocate for adoption and for parenting kids with special needs. She has developed an Instagram account, Macy Makes My Day, intended to show the positive side of life with Down Syndrome. Through this account she has gained friends and community that have spilled into her physical life as well. We talk Sundance Film Festival swag (we all want to know, right?!), Trader Joe's, and California livin'.
Whether a mom of a typically developing child, or one with special needs, you will gain some encouragement and ideas about how you can advocate for all kids in your community. Whether a mom through birth or adoption, you will hear your own story in Heather's as she talks love and strong-willed kids. Whether a mom or not, you will be reminded that the lucky few find God in unexpected places.
It can feel awkward knocking on a neighbor's door. Even more so if small talk is not your thing. For introverts the desire to love others well must be balanced with their own need for alone time to refuel. Kendra Broekhuis went into a 30-day challenge to love her neighbors unaware that her introverted tendencies would be significant. Until they were.
Listen to his interview with fellow introvert (and fellow INFJ) Alex while Krista, the extrovert in the threesome, digs in. From the benefits to living in an apartment building to moving relationships from the casual to the intentional, everyone will be able to relate to the desire for connection wherever we're placed.
You'll hear Kendra's actual life, the voices of her small children, chorusing in the background as she talks with The Open Door Sisterhood about hosting when you're not a cook, finding commonalities as starting places for new relationships, and reaching past them to make friends who are a reflection of God's diverse creation.
If we could figure out the formula for how to be happy and execute that equation everyday we would. But happiness isn't quite that easy. There are many facets to what creates a happy life, a happy mind, and a happy environment. It is one of the most universally desired emotions, and yet one of the hardest to achieve.
Happiness expert, and author of The Happiness Dare, Jennifer Dukes Lee, joins me on this episode to break down the question, what exactly is happiness and how do we get it? What elements in life create happiness, and which ones destroy it? What does God have to say about happiness? We hear all of the time, "God is more concerned with our character than our comfort," so doesn't that mean He doesn't really care if we are happy? We talk about these questions and more.
Jennifer also walks us through her happiness quiz. Learn to identify your happiness style and why that is important as you relate to the world and people around you. You may be surprised at what makes you feel truly happy!
Sarah Jakes Roberts grew up in the spotlight. As the daughter of Bishop T.D. Jakes her teenage insecurities were fueled by living in the public eye. She became pregnant at 13, had her baby at 14 and began her parenting journey. Now the mom of 6 with her husband Touré Roberts, Sarah is maneuvering the life of a blended family while co-pastoring their own church in Hollywood, CA.
In this episode Sarah's life experience is evident. Her wisdom is clear as she talks through how to find your place as stepmom (and how to support your children's stepmom), what it means to teach kids about healthy boundaries through living in overflow, and the need to "forgive and remember" in order to prevent entering into familiar yet unhealthy patterns. Her tone is warm and her words ring of truth. You can tell she wants the best for women and uses honesty about her own life as a starting place to talk through choices and responses.
This transparent conversation with Sarah is quintessential Open Door Sisterhood because it is both practical and inspirational. You will leave feeling understood, spurred on to do better, with some practical approaches to facing the uncomfortable in order to thrive. This isn't a show about skimming over the issues, but rather recognizing the pain that might be hidden and how it informs our decisions today.
Though Esther Fleece is in one of the happiest seasons of her life, having just exchanged wedding vows only a couple of months ago, this wasn't always the case. Abandoned by both of her parents by the time she was a teenager, Esther is no stranger to deep and profound loss.
With heart-breaking honesty, Esther opens up about a pivotal moment in her childhood when she was positioned in a court room to divide her parents. This set her on a course to hide her pain, pretend she was okay, and "suck it up." And she did... for many years.
After traveling the world with a well known organization, speaking to large crowds, and climbing the ladder in her career, Esther's world came crashing down when she could no longer run from the painful past that haunted her. It was then that she went on a journey that led her to the language of lament.
In the interview we not only talk about her personal story, but also discuss what lament is, why we need it, and how it heals us. We also dive into what mental illness does to a family, why the church must be careful about what it says about pain and loss, and how we can use scripture to guide us toward wholeness.
This interview invites us into the language of lament and how we can learn to speak it in our own lives. Join us!
Culture is talking about sex. The music and movie industry is talking about sex -- all.the.time. Is the church? Are we communicating enough about what healthy sex looks like in marriage? Real-life sex, not just how it is portrayed on the silver screen.
Do men have a greater sex drive than women? What is mutual sex? How is pornography affecting the marriage bed? How do we have honest conversations with our spouse about this topic? What is the deal with the 50 Shades craze? Krista covers all of this and more with guest Dorothy Greco.
Dorothy Littell Greco is a photographer, writer, and author. She writes on how following Jesus changes everything in places such as Christianity Today and Relevant Magazine. Her first book, Making Marriage Beautiful, was released at the beginning of 2017.
Listen in on our conversation today about how to improve sex in marriage in order to breathe new life into our primary relationship.
Jessie Minassian just made a big move and finds herself nestled in the middle of a national forest, hours from anything more than a country store. Her relocation to Hume Lake with her family was a big transition, but an answer to her prayer of "Lord send me". A woman willing to join God in what he is already doing, this is just one ways that Jessie has said "yes" in recent years to the open door in front of her.
Jessie's warmth shines through our conversation as she talks through parenting teenagers, writing Bible studies, and transitioning her own girls out of homeschooling. Her desire to walk through the doors God opens, whatever they might be, is evident in every aspect of her life. She is a woman who loves a good pen and Amazon Prime, and maybe, just maybe, sunbathes on her dining room table (you'll need to listen to the end to hear about that).
You won't want to miss this delight of a mom, friend and sister that joins us for this round of The Open Door Sisterhood Podcast.
Founder of the IF:Gathering, author, and Bible teacher, Jennie Allen inspires women to encounter God. She works hard at the work in front of her and a few years ago realized she might be working too hard, trying to prove to everyone that she was good enough, up to the task. Her journey to let go of expectations and allow God to do his job is chronicled in her new book Nothing to Prove: Why We Can Stop Trying So Hard.
In our conversation with Jennie we talk through letting go of approval. We cover everything from God taking us to places where trust is required in order to increase our dependence on him, to how and why Jennie prayed "Give us this day our daily bread" this last year, to our call to disciple a few within our immediate reach. This interview will inspire you to trust more and strive less as Jennie reminds us of God's sovereign plans.
If you're a woman who is tempted to perform, who seeks approval from God, who is slightly exhausted from all of the striving, this is an episode you won't want to miss. Jennie challenges us to let go of control and walk in obedience no matter the cost because God's plans are good. His plans can be hard, but they're always good.
New York Times bestselling author and Proverbs 31 speaker, Karen Ehman, lives on alert. She waits to hear "heart drops", those hints that indicate a way to someone's heart, so she can best love those around her while managing the demands of her busy life. Karen is excellent at taking a broad topic like "loving well" and breaking it down to practical steps we all can follow.
In this interview we cover everything from how to schedule check-ins with friends to how to offer teenagers a soft landing place in your home. Karen's honesty about her own struggles with listening and loving without distraction normalizes the challenges to putting this life of other-centered living into practice. She reminds us how pausing in the middle of our normal busy to focus on someone else's needs and offers hope that small efforts can make big impact.
You won't want to miss Karen's wisdom in both this interview and her newest book. She is simultaneously encouraging and challenging as she reminds us of God's call to love those around us.
Valentine's Day....a day of love! Whether you are snuggling up with a honey, making dozens of cookies for class parties, or wondering why we have this holiday in the first place, we invite you to join us for our first annual Things We Love! episode.
This is about fun and practical. Please know that the things most dear to our hearts aren't actually things at all. But if you were to buy us some Valentine's gifts, these might be on our wish lists. And we think you should know about them too (also please know none of these are sponsored responses, they truly are our go-to items.)
So go ahead and listen in. We are delighted you have joined us for this Valentine's Day special. No matter what day of the year you are listening, we hope you feel loved.
We go into some interviews knowing the guest will offer The Open Door Sisterhood a wealth of wisdom. Author Patricia Raybon was one of those and so we jumped right into the big stuff. From race relations to divided families we wanted to make sure not a minute of this episode with one of our favorites was wasted. As you listen you will hear Patricia's tender nature and years of life and walking with Christ speak through her.
Patricia shares some about what it is to be "living while black" in today's climate, her relationship with her Muslim daughter, and the simple steps we can take to move toward people (like actually saying "hello" to our neighbors) in a time where divisions feel strong. Her approach is humble and wise. Truly a dear conversation with a woman who does not oversimplify issues and yet does not over-complicate her responses to them.
Patricia's signature honesty speaks to what it is to step into the uncomfortable in order to be more in step with God's purposes on earth. If ever there was an episode of The Open Door Sisterhood worth listening to, it's this one. We are sure you will walk away encouraged to walk through that next open door.
It's February, and many of the New Year's Goals we created are starting to fade into the distant past. Are you tired of setting goals and failing? In this episode we talk about how to set goals that will actually stick, what the keys are to successful goal setting, and how we can address the mind, body, AND spirit in the process.
This short episode will encourage you and give you practical tools for improving your life - one small step forward at a time.
Designer and now author, Erin Loechner, is up these days (or we should say nights) with a baby. A baby she went to retrieve from the hospital as soon as she received a phone call. That seems to be how Erin's life works. From starting a website to a show on HGTV.com, Erin and her husband follow adventure. Or adventure follows them.
From the midwest, to Hollywood, back to the midwest, Erin's journey has often been fast and furious. But her new book Chasing Slow is about just that, deciding to live life at a slower pace one intentional decision at a time. Her popular site DesignForMankind.com has reflected that life change. Starting as a holding place for design ideas, the site now peeks into Erin's family life and newfound pace.
Join us as we hear Erin's story and how she is embracing her total parts these days. We cover her whirlwind adoption story, how she found herself in Hollywood and why detours work for her. We know you will find a kindred spirit in this creative mama who jumps right into work and love. We found her to be simply delightful.
A Sister Interview with a Latin flair, in this episode Monica Rovira brings the world to the sisterhood, reminding us how God is working through women around the globe. A native Colombian living in her adopted country of Guatemala, adapting resources for a U.S. ministry to meet the needs of Latin American women, Monica truly is a world changer.
Monica leads MOPS International's efforts in Latin America, working to introduce moms with young children to God's love. Throughout our conversation it is evident that Monica has the beautiful combination of vision and hard work that allows her to partner with God as he does his work. We talk through cultural differences between developing and developed countries, how event planning is different in Latin American culture than in the U.S. and why she works to keep her support network happy. Monica reminds us that relationships are the foundation for support and that when we approach other cultures with a posture of listening and learning those relationships can flourish.
From how to keep vision fresh, to trusting God through every open door, you won't want to miss our conversation with this sister.The first Open Door Sisterhood Podcast episode recorded with someone who lives outside the United States, we're sure you will be inspired to reach outside your daily norm through relationships.
A bottoming out of life can lead us to ask questions. Like who am I? Really? Michele Cushatt's battle with cancer did just that. As a professional speaker who lost a good portion of her tongue to the disease, as a mom who was too sick to get off the couch for many months, for a woman who was used to convincing herself that she was capable to take on the next thing, she had to re-examine where her identity truly lay.
You will be challenged and inspired in this conversation with Michele as we talk through what a true identity in Christ looks like, how we often have to have loss to find it, and the difference between depression and grief. We talk through what it means to be a good friend, qualities to look for in safe friends and what makes one qualified to step into her calling. From self-doubt to loss, Michele gives us some tips on how to become unstuck and find purpose no matter our stage of life or circumstances. It has to do with our assets and the needs right around us.
You want want to miss this episode of coaching from the expert coach herself. Turn on the treadmill, get out the laundry, this is going to be one great hour!
Esther Emery and her family just moved...from a yurt to a cabin she and her husband built from scratch with trees from their property. She is a homesteader, working on the skills of homemaking and sharing her experiences and knowledge with her followers. It is an intentional, alternative lifestyle. And one she wasn't planning on. Until life got difficult a few years ago and things needed to change.
In this episode we talk with Esther about the heartache that caused some external changes (like going off of the internet for a year), which led to internal reflections and work (her own coming to faith and reconciliation with her husband). We talk through what it means to choose to love your spouse and choose to trust when that very trust has been broken, the benefit of stopping and slowing down as a family, and the determination to make the ordinary count. From homeschooling to canning Esther's life is filled with connection to God's creation.
At a time of year where we talk all about fresh starts, fashion may be a place you look to toss out the old and welcome the new. After all, sales at the mall are in full post-holiday swing. But what if fashion is more than buying that trending riding boot or Patagonia pullover? What if style is actually much deeper than that, and an expression of our spiritual nature?
In this interview, fashionista Meghan Cobble sheds some light on confidence, body type, what makes a person beautiful, and how to choose the right colors. Blending faith and fashion, a duo rarely seen together, you will walk away with a new perspective and more equipped in how to express yourself to the world.
Alisa Keeton has always been a fitness fanatic, but as her faith deepened so did her understanding of what physical wellness is about. In order to minister to people's whole selves ... body, mind and spirit... she founded Revelation Wellness, an approach that works on making people physically fit so they might serve God in the world. Alisa's passion is undeniable and you will be inspired as you hear her talk about the purpose behind caring for our bodies and making them strong in order to be healthy and how physical health can help us become healthy in other areas of our lives.
In our conversation we hear how Alisa unwinds with her husband and two children, how and why they've implemented an evening family hour, what being 'whole' means to her, and the difference between being skinny and being fit. Revelation Wellness offers workout options for every fitness level and body size. On-line or in person classes bring fun, fitness and faith to men and women around the globe. As you listen to Alisa, it will be evident that her desire to inspire and instruct has created a network of Fitness Teachers / Gospel Preachers.