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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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Now displaying: 2019
Sep 10, 2019

"You become what you behold" -William Blake

Ruth Chou Simons looks for God's beauty all around her. Whether out her back door in Durango, CO, or in the faces of her six sons, or the leaf of a plant in her living room, beholding what God creates reminds her that she is not in charge. It also helps shape her into a woman more aware of God's purposes.

In this conversation we talk to Ruth about her love of art, her very long "overnight success", how Instagram gave her a push toward making her art public, and how she chose to live where she does. A homeschooling mom, business owner, author, and artist, Ruth is very down to earth despite her Renaissance woman credentials. You will find a friend in her as you listen.

For the woman who wonders if her ordinary circumstances matter. For the one who wishes she was doing something fabulous. For the sister in need of a reminder that her one life is surrounded by beauty. Do not miss this Open Door Sisterhood conversation.

Sep 3, 2019

Why can’t all of our relationships be easy? And why is it that some are harder than others? This week’s episode explores difficult relationship patterns and the skills needed to have hard conversations.

Scott Vaudrey, retired ER physician, pastor, and executive coach, teaches us how to talk through a difficult conversation, and what work we need to do in our own heart beforehand.

The tools offered in this episode could dramatically change your important relationships.

Aug 27, 2019

Christina Meredith went from homeless foster youth to Ms. California to an active member of the U.S. Army. An unlikely path, yet when you hear this interview you will find Christina to be a likely heroine when it comes to overcoming. Her fortitude and clarity of thought are evident. From childhood abuse to foster care to homelessness, Christina found God in the middle of her most difficult circumstances and credits her healing to his power.

In this episode we hear some about Christina's childhood, how ROTC gave her the structure and discipline she needed as a teenager, how she advocates for foster youth today, and her suprising entry into the pageant world (it started in a Whole Foods!) From confusion as a child to feeling like an outsider as a young woman, Christina's resilience is remarkable and her reliance on God is inspiring.

Not your typical soldier, Christina defies "typical" in all areas. Fighting against statistics of where she "should" be, Christina believes God has her where she is on purpose. You won't want to miss this Sister Interview.

Aug 20, 2019

The Open Door Sisterhood's First Ever Book Club Episode!

Do you feel like your family is spinning out of control? Do you sometimes wish you were closer and more unified with those living under your same roof? Or maybe you're a parent who does a lot for your children, but you lack real connection & relationship.

You're not alone. Every parent struggles to live intentionally, and every family must learn that foundations are built moment by moment over a long period of time.

If you are ready to kick your fall off with greater purpose and deeper relationships, this episode (and bookclub) is for you! Beginning September 1st, we will be exploring what it practically looks like to reclaim your home, one action at a time.

BONUS: In today's episode Krista also gives her "top 5 tips" in various areas of Reclaiming Home. You won't want to miss it!

Aug 13, 2019

"If the world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it."

Belinda Bauman believes we have capacity to hold each other's pain. She is a woman who has witnessed the consequences of war, has listened to horrific stories, and has wondered what she is to do with the grief she is holding as a result of bearing witness. A conversation that highlights Belinda's adventurous life path while taking us on the journey of what it means to practice empathy.

It was the story of one woman on the other side of the world that changed Belinda's perspective and gave her eyes to see empathy in a new way. In this conversation we hear about their friendship, about Belinda's mandate to tell her friend's story, and how that developed into One Million Thumbprints, an effort to raise awareness about violence against women in war torn countries.

Both practical and inspirational, you won't want to miss this beautiful message of incarnational love. From sister to sister, around the world and back, we can practice our empathy muscle by listening, changing our perspectives, and actively peacemaking in our world. No better way to be world changers for good right where we are.

Aug 6, 2019

Is there anything more powerful in our lives than relationships? They can bring us to the heights of happiness and also to the pit of despair. Some are simple, some are very complicated. Every one of us must navigate our way through these rough relationship waters our entire life journey.

John Townsend, a nationally recognized expert and voice in this arena, joins The Sisterhood to offer his expertise on how we can do relationships better. From creating a life team, to discerning if a person is trustworthy, to learning how to ask for what we need, Dr. Townsend offers solid navigation principles.

This interview hits hard on the practical - - you will walk away with helpful ideas you can implement immediately with the people right around you.

Jul 31, 2019
After deciding to follow Jesus, Vivian Mabuni believes the most important question in our lives is "Who is in control?" In this conversation we hear from the the themes of her new book Open Hands, Willing Heart. Vivian points us back to surrender, a process that isn't done just once in the Christian life, but over and over.
 
We know you will find Vivian as warm and inspiring as we did. This episode is full of gems. From her new podcast idea to the value of learning from voices with diverse cultural, ethnic, and life experiences. She shares about assumptions she's made about people and times she's doubted that God would provide. A fellow journeyer, Vivian speaks truth grounded in her own struggles.
 
Sisters you won't want to miss this episode. We felt like we made a new friend (and we actually did!) Vivian's desire to live with open hands and a willing heart to serve God however and wherever he calls is just what the sisterhood is about. As you prepare to walk through the door God has opened in front of you, grab your earbuds and listen.
Jul 23, 2019

Generation Z is the first group in history to grow up in post-Christian America. They are also considered the first “digital natives.” This influences culture, and culture influences our children. As parents it is vital that we learn how to communicate and walk alongside in a way that equips and empowers.

Eight years ago Vicki Courtney released two wildly successful books that handed parents five conversations they needed to have with their son or daughter. What Vicki didn’t know is how quickly culture would evolve. She was recently asked to revise the books and proceeded to add sixty percent new material. She shares with the sisterhood what she learned about our children’s generation.

Whether your child is five or fifteen, you will greatly benefit from the wisdom discussed in this episode. A must listen for every parent!

Jul 16, 2019

When Shelley Brouwer's third child Hallie was born, she had no idea how her life and understanding of it would be turned toward heaven. Born with special needs, Hallie's optimism and welcoming spirit impacted everyone she met. In this episode we hear about Hallie's life and Shelley's process of living with her and now living without her.

A raw conversation about what it means to live an unconventional life marked by special needs. How Shelley's identity changed with Hallie and then again as Shelley came to faith. We hear about Shelley's home staging business that started accidentally with a friend and has grown beyond expectations to now stage over 85 homes a month.

For the mom of the special needs child. For the mom who has lost a child. For the woman who is wondering if the Christian faith has anything to offer her. For the friend of anyone in these places in life. This episode will keep you thinking for weeks after as together we explore the value of one life and its impact on the world.

Jul 9, 2019


Whether we like it or not, life is a series of changes. How we navigate those changes is vital to our future as well as our health and well being. Studies show, however, that most of us resist change and do everything we can to avoid it.

Kristen Strong is no stranger to change. When she married an Air Force pilot, this set her on a course of moving every few years and living a life completely opposite from that of her predictable childhood. Kristen had to learn to adapt to new surroundings, value the growth that accompanies change, and most of all, to rely on her faith to sustain her during the hardest times.

If you find yourself in the midst of any change - from the change in a relationship, to a change in health, a physical move, job change, or any other circumstance that has turned your world upside down, this episode will offer encouragement for the journey.

Jul 2, 2019

Cara Meredith joins The Open Door Sisterhood Podcast in a candid conversation about race, marriage, and parenting. Cara recounts her eharmony romance with her now husband James, son of the civil rights leader by the same name, James Meredith. Their courtship opened her eyes to the privileges she unknowingly had as a white girl growing up in the United States. She recognized blind spots she hadn't considered as she viewed the world through her husband's experiences.

In this episode we talk about marriage, families of origin, expectations, talking to kids about race, and selective history. We cover mistakes made, intentions, trying again, and imperfect attempts at learning. A conversation for us all as we "give up on saving face" as Cara says, and move toward honesty and what is true.

Pick up a copy of Cara's book The Color of Life and in the meantime push play to hear how listening and learning are helping Cara understand God's creation with a more complete picture.

Jun 25, 2019

Many of us struggle to make time for fun. With so many practical needs shouting for our attention, we forget to value it and honor it like we do with other important habits.

Mandy Arioto, president and CEO of MOPS International, joins us to share how she weaves creative fun into her friendships, marriage, family, and world.

We talk about how friendships flourish when a person stops trying to be cool and instead goes over the top, why Mandy put on her wedding dress at the beach for her ten year anniversary, and how the absurd actually cements memories for a lifetime.

You will be inspired to welcome spice back into your days and kick boredom out the door!

Jun 18, 2019

New York Times bestselling author Ruth Soukup didn't set out to found a large company when she started her blog Living Well, Spending Less, but as she shared her journey toward financial peace with her readers, she realized how much her experiences and practical tips were resonating with readers. Now she reaches more than 1 million women per month encouraging them to create a life they love. "Do it scared" has been a mantra in her own business and when she found her readers quoting it back to her, she knew it was a topic worth exploring.

In this episode of the podcast we hear Ruth's business story and talk through her new book Do It Scared. Ruth's research uncovered 7 archetypes of fear, different ways we limit our actions because of fear. Ruth tells us about each type, its upside, and its limiting belief. From perfectionism to fear of rejection, we all have at least one fear archetype we lean toward. Find out what yours might be.

A quintessential Open Door Sisterhood conversation that pushes us all to take that next step, do that hard thing, to be world changers for good right where we are.

Jun 11, 2019

When Mary was growing up on a mountaintop in a small logging town in West Virginia, she never dreamed that she would one day become a Yale Law graduate turned wedding photographer sensation. Yet, that is exactly what happened. You will be captivated by Mary's compelling story, and at the same time learn about the art and heart of photography in today's episode.

We cover practical tips and tricks as well as the art of storytelling through the lens. If you are a simple iPhone photographer, or one who makes a living behind the camera, you will love learning from the best of the best in the industry.

Jun 4, 2019

In an Open Door Sisterhood Podcast first, we are doing a joint episode with the Surviving Sarah podcast! That means you can listen to half of the conversation here on our podcast and head over to Episode 180 of the Surviving Sarah podcast to listen to the second half of our discussion about...you guessed it, Surviving Summer!

We are choosing to do this shared episode with our great friend Sarah Bragg because we want you to get to know her. And bonus, we brought on two more of our shared friends, Kate Merrick and Morgan Tyree, as the experts in how to be intentional about being with our people and using time well in the summer months. In this episode we talk about being present. What does that mean? How are we distracted? And what are we distracted from? Over on Surviving Sarah we talk through the time management aspect of summer so that WE CAN be present with those we love best.

This is also an Open Door Sisterhood Podcast first because we feature five, yes five! voices. Consider it your sisterhood round table on intentional approaches to making the most of your summer (especially if you're a mom!) From social media to busyness, we all need to see the forest from the trees and lay out what is most important to us in the summer months.

Head over to Surviving Sarah Episode 180 to hear the other half of our conversation.

May 28, 2019

Have you ever considered the impact your life could have on others for eternity? Have you ever thought about gathering a group of women, or a group of teenagers together to dive into scripture? If you've ever wondered what kind of difference you could make in the world, this episode is for you.

Today we are bringing you a two part episode highlighting Christian mentoring and discipleship. We begin with Brenda Jacobson, founder of the MomAid online community and author of Something to Stand On discussing mentoring. We end with Kandi Gallaty, author of the book Disciple Me, and co-founder of Replicate Ministries. Kandi offers important insights about discipleship.

Come learn with us!

May 21, 2019

Alia Joy didn't know she had Bipolar Disorder until she was an adult. Married, living life as a homeschooling mom, she'd always thought her manic phase was who she was and she got down sometimes with depression. In this final episode of our Mental Health Series, Alia shares what it's like to live with mental illness. If you've ever wondered what it feels like to be in depression, to have suicidal ideation, or to try to manage regular responsibilities and relationships while living with mental illness, this conversation offers an enlightening perspective.

Alia describes sitting in the Wal-Mart parking lot scratching the label off of her first prescription of anti-depressants from shame of the original depression diagnosis. Contrast that to now years later, writing and speaking openly about life with mental illness. Her honesty paired with her ability to articulate her experiences is a priceless combination for those of us wanting to know we are not alone or who want to better understand the experiences of someone we love.

In true Open Door Sisterhood fashion, this episode (and entire series) is part practical and part inspirational. We don't want mental health to have a stigma that keeps us from talking about it. It's too important not to dive in, learn, and discuss this life-impacting issue. As Alia says, God is with us whether we feel it or not in this dark place. We don't need to be afraid.

May 14, 2019

One of the troubling aspects of suicide is that not all people display obvious signs that they are at risk. There are some behaviors we can watch for, however, and some measures we can take to help curb the alarming growing statistics of suicidal deaths.

Joannie DeBrito, the Director of Parenting and Youth at Focus on the Family, and co-creator of Alive to Thrive: a curriculum about suicide prevention, joins us to talk through all aspects of this troubling topic.

This is a hard conversation to have, sisters. We know. Yet, as the church, we have a responsibility to be equipped and informed surrounding the topic of suicide so that we can help bring light and hope to hurting people, some of whom are living in our same circles or even homes.

Do you know the signs? Do you know what to do or say if you suspect someone is suicidal? Do you know what resources are out there? What help is there for someone who is contemplating suicide? Join us and let's all learn together.

This information could save a life.

May 7, 2019

In our first ever podcast series on mental health, we sought out a series of voices that represent both the clinical and personal understanding of how mental illness can impact us all. Whether you are concerned about your own mental health, or that of someone you love, we think you'll find hope and next steps in this three part series. Our first guest is Kay Warren who talks about her own struggle with depression and losing her son Matthew to suicide. This interview covers both Kay's personal story and the practical knowledge she now has around how to care for ourselves when we are in a depressive state, signs a child or teenager might be struggling, and how to reach out for help.

Kay shares when she suspected her "feelings" might be depression, when she suspected her son might be dealing with more than a sad phase, the loneliness she felt as his mental illness became more complex and acute, and the opportunities she thinks the church has in caring for people suffering from mental illness. Kay shares openly because she wants to remove the stigma of mental illness, especially within Christian circles. She is using her own pain as a catalyst to help others in theirs.

As a founder (with her husband Rick Warren) of Saddleback Church, Kay is a prominent voice in Christian circles. She is now using her voice to educate church leaders on mental illness and resource them so they can better support and serve their congregants who are struggling. You will find this episode to be both inspirational and practical, knowing you can find help as you work toward mental health and support others to do the same.

Apr 30, 2019

Marriage is often one part Hallmark channel to three parts messy, especially if you've been married for a while. The goal is to grow in grace, grow in love, and grow in depth as the years pass, but in order for this to happen, we need to learn how to pivot.

Dave and Ann Wilson, cofounders of Kensington Church and Family Life Weekend to Rememberspeakers, share with raw honesty about their rocky beginning and their journey toward growth and wholeness in their marriage.

As an NFL chaplain for the Detroit Lions, Dave understands that successful marriages have nothing to do with money or power, but rather humble servitude, kind words, and lots of cheerleading.

Apr 23, 2019

Jordan Lee Dooley didn't set out to be a voice of authenticity online, but rather fell into it when she started, of all things, an Etsy shop while she was in college! In this episode of The Open Door Sisterhood Podcast we hear how the product packing parties with her college friends turned into late night conversations that then became honest and inspirational Instagram posts. Today she is encouraging young women as they manage the transitions from college into adulthood.

In this conversation we hear how she met her husband (kind of on Instagram until he knocked on her front door), how being rooted in faith gives us confidence to listen and learn from all kinds of friends, and how her faith moved from knowledge to personal during her college years. We talk through the pressures that opportunities can offer and how to avoid the trap (and stress) of looking for that single calling in your life.

Jordan is FULL of energy and this conversation reflects it. A full force ahead personality she depends on those around her to help her filter through ideas and plans. You'll love hearing about her community is growing and why she feels passionately about helping women through life transitions.

Apr 16, 2019

Hooray, it's spring! And you and I both know what that means: spring cleaning. Or in our case today, organizing.

Tracy McCubbin, owner of LA's #1 organizational company, guides us through the process of de-cluttering. But isn't just about throwing stuff out, she's also in the business of putting good in.

We discuss why people hold on to things they don't need, what happens in our brains and bodies when there is an overload, and why we must schedule in time to de-clutter.

Use this seasonal trend to your advantage and join us in decluttering our lives.

Apr 9, 2019

Author Emily Freeman was paralyzed by a decision. Not because the consequences were dire, but because both options were relatively good. The weight she carried around from her unmade decision made her examine the process. This is where The Next Right Thing podcast, and now book, were birthed. A decision making framework that focuses less on the decision itself, and more on how it is made.

When making a decision most of us lead with our head, heart, or intuition. Each of these approaches presents unique strengths and challenges in the decision making process. Most of us deal with input clutter, but don't have a regular source of output. Silence, solitude, and stillness can offer intentional output if we remember God's presence with us in them.

No wonder Emily's podcast and new book are so popular! We all suffer from some level of decision fatigue. You will be affirmed and reminded that every large decision is made up of many small ones. When overwhelmed with the task in front of us, sometimes the best thing is to zero in on the next right thing and do that.

Apr 2, 2019

We often hear the term "love your neighbor" but what does that really mean? Who is our neighbor anyway? And why is it important to love them? In an increasingly divided world, where people are often stretched to a place of little margin, this can feel overwhelming and impossible.

Today on the podcast, our own Alexandra Kuykendall joins us to talk about why the lost art of neighboring deeply matters. In fact, it may be more important than it has ever been. We discuss practicals like leaning into the awkward, how to lighten up, and why praying for hard people works.

Leading by example, Alex helps us understand how genuine, compassionate, and loving relationships with those right around us not only builds a better community, but a better life.  

Mar 26, 2019

Amy Julia Becker's assumptions about many things changed when she had a child born with Down syndrome. Suddenly she saw the world through a new lens and better understood how her own experiences were shaped by privilege. Amy Julia began to study theology and disability in order to broaden her understanding of the world, what it means to reflect God's image and how people's different gifts are valuable.

Entering the world of disability led Amy Julia to examine how she was parenting and the assumptions she was making about people outside of her immediate circles. She realized her own "normal" didn't reflect the richness of God's world and she set out to make some changes. As a graduate of Princeton University and Princeton Theological Seminary, married to the headmaster of a boarding school, Amy Julia is uniquely positioned to examine what it means to live a life of privilege, specifcally as a married, white woman.  

A conversation based on Amy Julia's journey, this episode opens up questions for all of us. How are we listening to different voices with different experiences? How much do we know about our country or local community's history? How do we develop relationships with people different than us? A podcast that gets us all thinking about how to use our head, hands, and heart for God's purposes.

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