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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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.

Mar 19, 2019

When we are going through hard times, we wonder if we will ever recover or be happy again. Our very breath is knocked out of us and we struggle to find the meaning in what we are going through and how it can be used for our good.

Kim Walker Smith, founder of the Jesus Culture band and movement, is no stranger to pain. The abuse she endured as a child left her broken, with a fractured sense of self. After a failed suicide attempt, Kim found herself opening up to God for the first time in her life. Where God took her from that shattered moment to now is nothing short of a miracle.

Kim's journey to wholeness inspires all of us to allow God in to re-write the story of our pain for good, in our lives, and in the lives of others.

Mar 12, 2019

Cari Jenkins is a pastor to people who don't have one. What does that mean? It means spending time with people, asking lots of questions, listening for God’s voice, and allowing her imagination to be used by God. In this beautiful conversation about growing in faith, Cari gives sisters freedom to look for God in the world by finding things that reflect his character.

With 20 years of local church experience, Cari uses her gifts and experience to make the Kingdom of God tangible. We talk about feelings and actions, looking for Jesus in places that feel untraditional or unconventional, how God brought her to the type of pastoring she does today, and how we recognize God's voice when we know his character.

We hear about the unique community Cari lives in where she loves to host, redecorate daily, play often and create beauty. She aims annually to host over 500 people for meals in various forms and to encourage true hospitality in others. Cari says you are always welcome at her table and this episode of The Open Door Sisterhood Podcast feels like a dinner conversation you can take with you. Don't miss our friend Cari.

Mar 5, 2019

No matter what age our children are, we never stop being a parent. Yet, when they reach adulthood, our relationships change. We must learn to be healthy in this new, somewhat complicated place of adult to adult. If we don't make that transition, our children will suffer and so will we.

Dr. Jim Burns, president of Homeword, joins us to offer his insight into not only how we begin early to prepare for this stage, but also how to navigate difficult conversations, what to do if our kids move back home, and what to do if we don't approve of who they are choosing to date and/or marry.

Turn out, helping our children launch into adulthood is just as much about us as it is about them.

Feb 26, 2019

Shannan Martin says she found her voice in the country and her story in the city. A mom of four, married to a jail chaplain, Shannan spends her days among her neighbors, finding God's purposes right where she is. An inspiration to all of us to look right around us and see who needs care, this interview is a don't miss for the sisterhood.

We talk with Shannan about the adoption of her children, especially her oldest son Robert, how Twitter has changed her life, her award winning salsa, and how being with her neighbors keeps her grounded. A woman who not only looks for evidence of God right where she is but also opens her heart and mind to learn about what is right and true. Shannan inspires us to be willing to change our ideas and our understanding of how the world works.

We are certain you will feel a kinship with Shannan. She is honest about what it means to re-evaluate your framework and to be humble in the process. An episode for any woman who is willing to face her neighbors, see their realities, and stand with them in the process.

Feb 19, 2019

Do you find yourself putting aside your dreams for another time or season in life? Do you wonder what would happen if you actually pursued your passion instead of letting it fall to the wayside? You aren't alone.

Today on the podcast we are talking to Rachel Marie Martin, single mother of seven, who rose from poverty to the pages of Inc. magazine. She challenges us to discover who we are, how we are uniquely made, and how we can pursue the dream God has placed in our heart.

Feb 12, 2019

It’s our third annual Things We Love episode on The Open Door Sisterhood Podcast.In honor of Valentine’s Day, Alex and Krista want to give you some of their favorite things these days. From beauty products to books, to wardrobe staples and podcasts, you’ll see what’s in their shopping carts and social media feeds.

This is a light-hearted episode that falls heavy on the practical end. But what do we truly love that we don’t explicitly say on the show? YOU! We are grateful for God’s provision to bring this community together and that you are interested in the part practical, part inspirational approach of the sisterhood. Let’s continue the good work of encouraging each other in all areas of life so that we may walk through the doors God is opening.

If you liked this episode, but missed our past "Things We Love" episodes, head over to Episode #118 or Episode #45 to hear more things we love to have around.

What are your favorites these days? Don’t keep them to yourself, share in the comments below.

Feb 5, 2019

Lisa Leonard’s name has become synonymous with her jewelry design company, Lisa Leonard Designs. Started out of the spare hours of her day caring for her son with special needs, Lisa’s hand stamped jewelry business combined with her blog has grown to a multi-million dollar company with more than 300 employees in five countries. A woman who has walked through many doors God has opened, she has a story worth telling.

Despite her business success, Lisa felt paralyzed by her responsibilities and asked her husband Steve for a separation. Through counseling she realized she was taking on other people’s feelings and didn’t know how to ask for what she wanted. In this interview we talk through how she and Steve continue to work on their relationship, how Lisa actively practices saying what she needs, and her imginary file box that helps her from taking on others’ feelings.

We talk through her creative process, how she carves out silence to make mental space for new ideas, what a typical day looks like and how she learned she owns two forklifts. You won’t want to miss this honest and insightful conversation with jewelry designer Lisa Leonard. An episode for any woman who has wondered am I too afraid to say what I really want?

Jan 29, 2019

Friendship.  It is a word that brings joy to your heart or sadness to your soul.  Or maybe both at the same time. To have a true, safe friend who is on your side and in your corner is what we all long for and desire, but she can be hard to find.  

Sally Clarkson, author of Girls Club, joins us for the final topic on The Healthy Wayseries:  Friendship. We talk about why friendships can be difficult, especially among Christian communities, how we can be a healthier friend to others, and how we can help our children cultivate strong bonds and friendships, with us and others.

We believe in having a tribe of sisters here at The Sisterhood.  If you do too, you'll love this episode.

Jan 22, 2019

As a medical physician Saundra Dalton-Smith knows about healthy living. So when she hit burnout, she knew something had to change. She began to look at what both science and Scripture say about being whole and discovered seven different types of rest are required for a sustainable life. In this portion of The Healthy Way series, we hear from Dr. Dalton=Smith about these different types of rest, why we need them, and how to get them.

Saundra’s research found we need spiritual, physical, emotional, creative, relational, sensory, and mental rest in order to live out the full life God describes in John 10:10. In a world with constant demands and distractions, we must know how best to rest in a way that will restore where we are depleted. This means examining where we give out and how to best renew that area of our lives. Part practical, part inspirational, every woman will be able to relate to the need for restoration in at least one area of her life.

For the woman whose mind races when she lies down at night, the one who feels like she is constantly pouring out in relationships and never receiving anything in return, or the one who has run out of new, creative ideas, this episode offers practical approaches to many common frustrations. A holistic approach Dr. Dalton-Smith wants us to thrive and her words direct us toward the how.

Jan 15, 2019

Is parenting in this day and age difficult? Well, let's start with the statistic that, currently, in the U.S. we have the highest numbers of anxiety in kids than any other time in history.  Anxiety and depression are at a peak point.  According to the CDC, the suicide rate is triple what it was in 2000.  Substance abuse?  Loneliness? All on the rise.  It is safe to say that parenting this generation of kids has some unique challenges that make it more important than ever for parents to be learning, growing, and paying attention.

The sisterhood is deeply grateful for the work that David Thomas does at Day Star Counseling in Nashville, Tennessee as the Director of Family Counseling,  And today he brings all of that wealth of experience and wisdom to the show for the benefit of all parents who are in the trenches of raising the next generation.

David offers help and practical solutions for parents on how we can help reduce our children's anxiety, how we can help open lines of communication as a family, and what it means for behavior to "travel down the leash." He also gives his professional opinion on the two actions that hurt our children most, and the two that most demonstrate love and health.

If you are a parent, this episode is an absolute must.

Jan 8, 2019

In the second part of The Healthy Way series we bring you New York Times bestselling author Karen Ehman to talk about getting healthy in marriage. Karen speaks from decades of experience as a married person. Her themes center around pushing ahead in the mundane and "showing up" even when annoyances are heavy. A realistic look at the everyday details of married life, we talk through the larger purpose of marriage and why we need to be paying attention to this relationship in the first place.

In true Open Door Sisterhood fashion, this interview tackles both the inspirational and practical pursuits. We hear how Karen tackled differences in parenting, disagreeing in front of their children, distinguishing between "different" and "wrong", and letting the small things go. From boredom to attraction Karen's straight talk helps us all know we are not alone in the mundane of marriage and she encourages us to not give in to mediocre, but to push forward for a marriage that is refining and refreshing to the world.

If you are a woman who is married or would like to be married someday, we encourage you to listen in on this conversation. Loving our spouse well may only be 10% sexy, the rest is showing up for the work, but the reward is 100% worth it. This episode is a great reminder of both the why and how to make our relationship a priority even when, especially when, we see the ordinary days stretch ahead.

Jan 1, 2019

Food and fitness can be tricky.  We often find ourselves on either end of the extreme spectrum: too strict and obsessed, or undisciplined and out of control.  The relationship we develop with our bodies matter, and it's important we give this aspect of health the time and attention it needs to be well.

To kick off our annual Healthy Way Series in 2019, Michelle Myers joins us to discuss how we can develop a healthy relationship with food by staying out of food jail, what it means to give morality to food, and how we can clean up our diet while still enjoying birthday cake on our child's birthday with no guilt.

We also dive into do-able fitness ideas that you can incorporate today into your busy lifestyle.  Our bodies want to move, and we look at some creative ways to do just that.  

As we stare down a New Year, most of us look to these two topics first, so let's tackle them together, and land in the healthiest place: the one called FREEDOM.

Dec 18, 2018

If you aren't quite ready for Christmas yet, this podcast is for you.  In this episode we offer last minute holiday hacks that will help you get ready for the big day.  Or maybe you just need some fresh inspiration - this will help with that too!

Need appetizer or dessert ideas?  They're in here.  In a gift panic?  We offer an idea that won't require frantic running around the mall.  Struggling to "create Christmas?" Learn why it's best to draw on the five senses for holiday memories, and how we can think through that a little better.

This practical episode will move you toward the goal of the holidays:  to get centered & organized so that we can enter in to Christmas with the joy, peace, and love that Christ came to the world to give.

Dec 11, 2018

We know you are looking for meaningful gifts this time of year and so we want to introduce you to some sisters who will not only help you find beautiful, handcrafted items, they will also allow you to be a world changer for good right where you are. This episode features two women who are using retail as a way to employ others and then giving us the chance to partner with them by creating a market for these items that we can participate in.

Bethany Tran is the founder of The Root Collective, a custom shoe company with shoes made in Guatemala. Her travels five years ago led her to the slums in Guatemala City. Bethany knew people there needed jobs and wished someone would do something about creating them. She realized her passion for this issue was part of God's prompting to use her connections and talent to create a marketplace in the U.S. for Guatemalan made shoes.

Sabrina Dorman-Andrew was working fulltime and parenting her two three-year old daughters when her husband heard a woman at their church speak about sex trafficking in Uganda. Sabrina's efforts to sell Ugandan-made beads to support women leaving the sex trade opened her eyes to the world of trafficking. She now has two storefronts and an online store that carry fair trade products and products made by women at risk of being trafficked. From buying her first building (a story you shouldn't miss) to her new connections in Maldova, Sabrina continues to be surprised at God's provision and faithful leading.

If you want a little inspiration this holiday season, this is the episode for you. And if you want some tips on where to shop you came to the right place too.

Dec 4, 2018

In our efforts to make this holiday season more meaningful, we want less stuff, more memories. We think there's a good chance you do too! In the second part of our two-part Christmas series, Less Stuff, More Memories, we asked some of our friends to share their stories and tips on making more memories. Our guests share stories about what it means to create meaningful memories and sustainable traditions with their families. From serving others, to realistic holiday parties, to Christ-centered moments, this episode is a group round-up of stories and tips. Part practical and part inspirational in true Open Door Sisterhood Christmas style.

Alex and Krista also cover some of the tensions of Christmas and ensuring the memories we're making are positive ones. They also talk about how books can help make holiday memories, what a desire to serve together as a family during the holiday season could be prompting your family for the long term, and how gifts can help make memories. Everything conveyed in this episode is intended to offer you freedom sister. Freedom to not do more right now, in a memory making frenzy. Freedom to enjoy simple, slow tools that extend memories past now and into the new year. Freedom from pressure to do things perfectly as you focus in on the people right in front of you.

If you like this topic, we recommend you head over to Episodes 31 through 33 of the podcast for some of our best takes on Less Stuff, More Memories. Power to Christmas sisters when done sisterhood style.

Nov 27, 2018

No matter how hard we try, most of us struggle to make the Christmas season what we hope it will be.  If you are like us, you may be resolving to make it better than last year.  To do this, we must re-center on what makes Christmas fun and meaningful? That is why we are doing our signature series called Less Stuff, More Memories.

In this two-part conversation, we have rounded up some experts to share with you their best tips in two categories: less stuff & more memories.This first part airing today is all about how we can reduce the clutter surrounding the holidays, covering topics such as organization, budgeting, decorating, generosity, and gift giving.  

Today’s experts will give you ideas and tools on reducing the “stuff” of Christmas.  The goal here is LESS STRESS, and who doesn’t need more of that?

If you are reaching for a healthier and happier Christmas this year, you've come to the right place.  

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