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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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.  

Nov 20, 2018

Anne Bogel is a woman who lives the literary life. In fact she hosts the popular podcast What Should I Read Next? where guests talk through books they've loved and Anne makes recommendations on, you guessed it, what they should read next. Her equally popular website, Modern Mrs. Darcy, echoes her literary tendencies, while giving readers a taste of the practical along with the books.

In this episode of The Open Door Sisterhood Podcast, Anne catches us up on her new book, how she came into blogging, and of course some reading recommendations. We learn how to pronounce her hometown of Louisville, KY, how to fit reading into a busy life, and how one idea to led to another and another to give her blogs, books and a podcast for readers. A gracious, entertaining, and lovely new friend, you'd expect nothing else from the woman so many turn to as their personal book club consultant.

If you are a bibliophile, look no further, Anne is a kindred spirit (all of you Anne of Green Gables fans caught that didn't you?) If you find learning imperative, this is your friend. If you simply want to know what someone who reads books a week considers her favorites, listen in too. You may just find your next request for your own Christmas list or library hold.

Nov 13, 2018

We know Christ came to speak life, but then how come our inner critic keeps showing up and stealing the mic? If we’re honest, she’s a harsh one, saying things we’d never dream of saying to others: You’ll never measure up, you’ll fail again tomorrow, you just can’t get it right.

Our guest Hayley Morgan joins the sisterhood to teach us how to talk back to ourselves in ways that promote truth, grace, and love.  We can learn to turn down the volume on the negative loops we run through our brains, and train ourselves to believe better, and therefore think better.  

If you've ever struggled to quiet the inner voice of negativity and doubt, this interview will be an encouragement and source of hope!

Nov 6, 2018

Candace Cameron Bure has been in the spotlight since she was a girl, but no one could be more down to earth than this mom of three. From her early days on Full House to her spot as a host on The View, fans have been following Candace through every phase of her life. In recent years she has been a voice promoting kindness and civility in all situations. After speaking with her we can see why. Everything about this woman is simultaneously thoughtful and bold. A true sister to watch and learn from.

In our hour with Candace we hear why parenting teenagers has been her favorite, how she fits fitness into a very busy schedule (it involves an electric toothbrush), deciding when to say "yes" to hard things, and the power of going first in kindness. We hear how she met her husband (and how he learned English in part by watching Full House reruns), about her new children's book, and when making a way into new territory often is simple obedience to God's call.

We recorded our conversation with Candace while she was in Canada taping a Christmas special for the Hallmark Channel. In the midst of long taping days, she made time for the sisterhood. We get the sense that's how she operates. Get your favorite cozy drink, put the Hallmark Channel on pause, and settle in for a great episode of The Open Door Sisterhood Podcast. You will feel you have a new friend in Candace Cameron Bure.

Oct 30, 2018

When we hear the phrase "world changer" we often think of someone doing something big and crazy to make a difference in the world.  While those words definitely include those kinds of influencers, "world changer' can also be the everyday person faithfully showing up in small ways for those around her.

Welcome to the Sisterhood's 2nd Annual World Changer Quest.  In the fall we go looking for every day difference makers .  You nominate them.  We choose them.  Today we are featuring three of these women on the podcast. This year our focus was on people who are making small investments of their time for big impact on their worlds.

The first world changer is Sarah Quezada.  Sarah is passionate about bringing people to the table surrounding the  topic of immigration.   We talk about what opened her eyes to this issue, how we can foster difficult conversations, whether we find ourselves in agreement or not, and how we can treat all people with dignity, no matter their situation.

The second world changer is Krisi Sonneland.  An everyday mom of five, Krisi spends much of her time investing in Fellowship of Christian Athletes at her son's middle school, and volunteering with the high school youth group at her church.  We were both inspired and touched by Krisi's heart for today's youth, and found her words to be full of truth and love.

The third world changer is Grace Patterson.  Grace uses her work in an underserved elementary school to bring hope to children and glory to God.  At the young age of 25, Grace is committed to using her position to practically help children, and give them places to be equipped and encouraged.  

You will be inspired by these three women who have one thing in common:  they've decided to change their worlds for good.  And the good news?  You can too.  

Oct 23, 2018

Renee Swope doesn't want to let women's self-doubts have the final word. Rather she wants the world to experience all women have to offer when they hear God's call and step into what he has for them. Popular writer and speaker, Renee shares her own struggles with self-doubt and some practical tools she has to fight them as unwelcome thoughts and feelings creep in to her head and heart.

In this conversation we hear about Renee's 20-year tenure on staff with Proverbs 31 Ministries. A journey that started with her volunteering when Proverbs 31 was simply a newsletter for stay-at-home moms, to growing with the organization. From overseeing the speaking team to the radio programming, Renee loved the opportunity to try new things and make existing elements better. It was her need for friendship that brought her to Proverbs 31 and in the process she learned about her own wiring, what she needs to live a healthy life, and how even at the height of all that fun where and how self-doubt played in.

If you find yourself comparing a part of your life to others', if you wonder if you're the right person for the job, if you think you don't have what it takes, self-doubt might be your battleground. Join us for this honest conversation as we examine the common struggle for all of us: believing what God says about us is actually true.

Oct 16, 2018

Essential oils have been around since the beginning of time, but they have not come center stage until recent years.  The craze has begun.  Popular in creating a spa-like atmosphere, essential oils are used for aromatherapy.  However, they don't just smell good, they also boast medicinal affects that many say help heal the body.  

Edie Wadsworth, a physician, was once skeptical about these oils and doubted they could make much of a difference.  But after experiencing the powerful affects of the oils personally, she went to work full time helping people get well using essential oils (and other healthy habits).  

In this episode we talk about why essential oils work, where to start, what oils are the most effective, and how to begin incorporating them into daily life.  If you've ever wondered what all the fuss is about, or if you just want to have a deeper understanding of essential oil use, this episode is for you!

Oct 9, 2018

Her name is Myquillyn, but she is known to many online as "The Nester". She helps us create cozy spaces in our homes, often with items we already own, can find outside, or can salvage on the cheap. For those of us challenged in creating spaces that speak, she gives us tips, and for those who are already in a constant state of furniture rearranging, she encourages us to keep feathering the nest. Her new book Cozy Minimalist Home tells us the why and how of creating an inviting space without all of the stuff.

In this interview we hear how Myquillyn now waits for the "right" item when decorating a room before running out and buying the cheapest she can find, how she works with what she has while in the waiting, and how she pairs back rather than adds more to create a cozy space. We learn some design tips that are hidden in her new book from choosing the right sofa to sizing an area rug to a room, the practical in us can't stop. If you want to know why you should buy a houseplant or a larger throw pillow, this is the conversation for you.

Just in time for fall and cozy weather, get your cozy minimalist self going with this fun, inspiring, and practical episode with The Nester. You'll hear one of our favorite family traditions ever, one you could start with your family in preparation for Christmas. In the meantime, take ten items out of a room and see how it feels.

Oct 2, 2018

Do you struggle with knowing what is your best yes?  Do you have a vision for where you want your life to go?  Successful businesses know what they value, know where they are headed, and can articulate it clearly.  We can do the same as individuals.

On the podcast Mary Tomlinson, former Disney Executive and President of On-Purpose Partners, coaches us on how to create our own two-word purpose statement that will give us direction and clarity for our lives.  The first part of the interview features Mary's coaching.  The second part is a "workshop" where Alex and Krista talk about how they landed on their personal purpose statements.

You may be surprised by how much this simple phrase will help you as you navigate life!

Sep 25, 2018

"They loved me back to life."

Sarah Thebarge knew what it was to feel alone. So when she met a Somali woman and her five daughters on a commuter train in Portland, OR she found an unexpected kindred sister. The story of their emerging friendship and Sarah's battle with breast cancer draws parallels between different circumstances with a common thread. In our interview with Sarah we hear how this everyday encounter changed everything about Sarah's story.

Now a physician's assistant in San Francisco, Sarah's story takes her through graduate school, across the country, and then across the world  to practice medicine in what was deemed "the unhappiest country in the world". The limitations practicing medicine in the developing world made Sarah more comfortable with the dying. Her own journey with breast cancer has helped her understand suffering.

From ordinary connections with our neighbors to how to impact a child's life in the developing world, we are inspired to look beyond our comfort and convenience to live the God-intended life. You will be changed by hearing Sarah's story and we are grateful to have her with the sisterhood. A beautiful conversation about what entering others' grief looks like and how it makes us truly alive.

Sep 18, 2018

Many of us confuse hospitality and entertaining.  We think that practicing hospitality equals a picture perfect table and gourmet food, and we end up feeling insecure and inadequate when our reality doesn't match the magazine spreads.  But what if true welcome was more about servanthood than performance?

 In today's interview, Jen Schmidt joins The Sisterhood to point us to the truth that authentic hospitality is about loving others well and simply opening up our doors for the purpose of making others feel special.  In an often cold and detached culture, we can be a part of helping others feel that they belong somewhere.  This can even happen on the go.  

If you want to live a life of welcome, this interview will help inspire you to do so!

Sep 11, 2018

Patrice Gopo's story takes her around the world and back. From Jamaica to the U.S. to South Africa with some Zimbabwe, Spain, and more thrown in, her ciruitous route is not just evidenced in her passport, but in her career path as well. We don't want to give it away, but there is some romance, some friendship, some career changes, and some self discovery. We talk through what it means to accept the nuance of someone's story and Patrice offers her own as an example.

A mom of two girls now, she fits her writing into the pockets of her everyday life. An engineer by training and then a businesswoman with a heart for justice, all of the colors in Patrice's life make up who she is. From writing in real life time chunks to growing up in Alaska, Patrice is an instant, trusted friend. You won't want to miss out on this rich conversation about race, friendship, and acceptance.

Patrice's experiences shaped her new book of essays, All The Colors We Will See. Head to bookstores to find her debut book (Barnes and Noble has selected her as a new writer to read!), but first head to the podcast to get a taste of what you'll find. You will be encouraged to make a way through nuance in relationships and life.

Sep 4, 2018

Books, especially those that are well written and crafted, have power.  If we allow, they can shape our thinking, mold how we see the world, and impact how we interact with others.  When we read about true heroes, we learn how to become one.  When we watch a character weather challenges, we find out what qualities are needed for to overcome.  When we step into another's shoes, we gain compassion we did not have previously.  In short, reading has the potential to literally change our lives.

Sarah Clarkson, author of Book Girl, joins us to share how books have influenced the trajectory of her life, and how they invite beauty, strength, and belonging.  The intelligence, insight, and depth Sarah brings to the discussion is, in itself, beautiful.

If you have been one of those who has never been a reader, or who simply isn't taking the time in life to read, this will inspire you to dive in to good literature to equip you for life, and feed your heart and soul.

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