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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Jun 20, 2017

Ruth Bell Olsson has ended up in some places she didn't expect. Whether in the middle of The Congo talking with victims of sexual violence, or leading a needle exchange for intravenous drug users in her hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan, her destination is often not what she had in mind when beginning her journey. But it is always people that bring her to these unexpected places. Those she is journeying with who challenge her to think in a new way about God's world, and those she is serving in the moment who help her see God's love with more clarity. People and their stories draw her in. One step leads to another and...voila...another unexpected place.

We are sure you will feel inspired, challenged, and moved by Ruth's description of her journey as an adult, going deeper in her faith to love her neighbor in new and difficult ways. You'll hear how her church experience put her in a position to learn about HIV/AIDS, advocate for those living with the disease, and grow in friendship with unlikely partners. We hear Ruth's desire to be available for God and others, what it means to her to have a teachable spirit, and how she avoids clutter of any kind. Ruth's is a story of growth and transformation. One that begins with the plea for others to teach her and show her and for her willingness to listen.

You won't want to miss this interview with Ruth. She calls herself an advocate. We call her a friend to many. An hour of The Open Door Sisterhood Podcast well worth your time.

Jun 16, 2017

Whether you had an amazing father growing up, or one that caused deep wounds and pain, every one us can speak to the power of a father.  The relationship we have with our father affects us in profound ways.  

In this special Father's Day episode, Dr. Meg Meeker, author, renowned speaker, and pediatrician,  joins me in talking about how every father has within him the ability to be the hero his children need.  We also talk about how women and specifically, moms, play an important role in making this successful.  Whether you are married, divorced, or widowed, this is an episode you don't want to miss.  Our children desperately need their fathers and this vital relationship will determine the stability they feel in the world and determine the future decisions they make.  

As the author of Hero: Being the Strong Father Your Children Need, Dr. Meeker takes us by the hand and mentors a nation on how fathers can put on not only the name father, but hero.  

Jun 13, 2017

Kelsey Hency was looking for a place to read and write. She couldn't find what she was looking for, so she created something new. Fathom, an online magazine for Christians who wrestle with the issues, who don't always find their voice in the current narratives, who perhaps ask more questions than they find answers. If you are a reader, a person who wonders, a question asker, even a doubter, join us for this conversation with Kelsey. You won't be disappointed.

In this hour we cover Kelsey's journey to create Fathom, some great reads and her favorite cookbooks. (Spoiler alert: both she and Krista have made marshmallows from scratch, Alex is nowhere in their culinary category.) We talk about curiosity, how to utilize the people around you when working within the limits of your actual life, and of course a few cooking tips. Kelsey may be as close to a Renaissance woman as the sisterhood as yet to find. She covers art, writing, seminary, living overseas and the candy thermometer in less than hour.

We are sure you will be just as smitten with Kelsey as we now are.

Jun 6, 2017

Kristin Schell wants to be a front yard person. In an effort to do life in a way that was accessible to her neighbors, to facilitate relationships in their everyday experiences, she put a picnic table in her front yard and painted it turquoise. She had no idea that would become a movement of turquoise tables around the country.

You'll hear in this episode that Kristin is a dear friend to both Alex and Krista. She shares a love of hospitality, food and the table. As she discovers ways to get to know and build connections with her own neighbors, she shares tips with her readers.

In this episode, on the actual launch day of her new book, The Turquoise Table, we talk about hospitality, what can happen at a front yard table, how shepherds' pie can be modified without lamb, and Kristin's new partnership with the Tuesday Morning retail chain. Don't miss this conversation in our own virtual front yard. May the sisterhood be a turquoise table right here for you to stop by, listen, and make new friends.

Jun 1, 2017

Does it feel like technology is taking over your life?  Do you feel frustrated, sad, and discouraged when every person in your family is glued to a screen rather than interacting with one another?  You're not alone.  Research shows that we all are struggling with the screens that sits comfortably at our fingertips.

Andy Crouch, executive editor of Christianity Today and author of The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place joins Hey Sister! today to discuss how we can utilize the best parts of technology for good, but also reclaim our relationships and balance with our devices.  

Making good choices about technology in our families is more than just using internet filters and determining screen-time limits.  It's about building character, wisdom, and courage rather than accepting technology's promises of ease and instant gratification.  It's about developing our heart, mind, soul, and strength when were tempted to settle for entertainment and consumer satisfaction.  

You will not want to miss this episode that addresses one of the biggest issues facing our generation.  You will walk away with a better idea of what family is for, what we can do to put technology in check, and how we can cast a larger vision for what kind of people we want ourselves and our family members to become.    

May 30, 2017

Mary DeMuth strives to live with a generous spirit. And by all measures we think she is living out her desire. A writer and speaker in her career, she makes it her business to help other writers with their business. Whether in a mastermind group or on her website, Mary promised herself years ago that she would not hide any insider tricks, but rather would help others as they pursued their call to write out words for God's glory.

In our conversation on the podcast we hear about Mary's love of cooking, how her palette changed when she lived in France, how she formed her own personal prayer team, and how the garden taught her to choose small and tend large. We hear about her decision to write about her family despite hurtful details, what her word for the year is and why she works to build an email list of readers. In true Open Door Sisterhood form, this is an interview that is part practical, part inspirational.

For any person who wonders how to get feedback from others, who wants to change patterns developed in their early years, who finds gardening or cooking a metaphor for life, this episode is for you. We invite you to get to know Mary better as we talk through the open doors she has walked through in the last decade.

May 23, 2017

Lisa-Jo Baker knows a few things about friendship. As the manager of the (in)courage community she has set a space for women to experience belonging in both the online space and real world arena. Her new book, Never Unfriended, tackles the tricky dynamics of female friendships: why are they important, the roadblocks to finding, growing and sustaining healthy relationships, and how we can move past those blocks toward healthy, mutual friendships.

In our conversation with Lisa-Jo we hear about her most recent move in the D.C. area, how that put her in a position to look for new friends and how awkward always plays a part in that process. We cover reaching out to the "new girl" when our lives already feel full, how to move past friendship wounds from the past, and how God meets our needs in ways no friend (or husband or child or parent) ever can.

We are sure you will love Lisa-Jo as much as we do. She is honest, fun and insightful as she talks through a topic all women must deal with: friendships. Whether you feel confident in this area or can name specific wounds from the past, you will gain insight into how to be a good friend to others while experiencing the joy of God-gifted friendships.

May 18, 2017

Drained.  Exhausted.  Empty. Barren. Does this describe how you feel?  Most of us reach a point at some time in our lives where we feel like we're camped in dry land.  When we get to this place we don't have the energy or the motivation to dream or move forward in our areas of giftedness and calling.

Suanne Camfield joins us today to help us find water in the desert.  She guides us through what it feels like to have a stirring deep inside of us and how God guides and shapes us through that sense of calling. We talk about how our goal shouldn't be a vocation or even discernment, but rather how our aim should focus on becoming the person God designed us to be.   It is about having the wisdom and courage to step into the places of our most vulnerable longings.


May 16, 2017

In this episode of The Open Door Sisterhood Podcast, Elisa Morgan does what she does so well, she draws us in with her combination of storytelling, humor and insight. A communicator on the stage, page and radio waves to audiences around the world Elisa is an author of 25 books, speaker, radio host, mom, wife, grandmother and President Emerita of MOPS International. She has a lifetime of leadership experience. It has not all been easy (perhaps the biggest understatement of they year!), but she has done her best to be obedient in each call and season.

Our conversation with Elisa covers parenting the teenager who is in rebellion mode,  what it means to be called and "uncalled" in ministry, and how she lives these days as interruptible as possible. From marriage after the kids leave home to reminding our teenagers about who they uniquely are, Elisa offers wisdom for women wanting to love those around them well. She is bold and fun and vulnerable in this hour of conversation.

In true Elisa fashion we are laughing as we are learning through her storytelling and insights throughout our conversation. You won't want to miss this part tender, part truth-filled episode of the podcast. A perfect addition to your hour long commute or chores at home. Push play and join the sisterhood!

May 9, 2017

Christie Purifoy gets her hands dirty. Her garden and property Maplehurst, are her current places to create. As a former English professor she lived for years in a thought-centered creative space. Her new physical space and work feed her writing in a different way. A mom of four she fit right in with Alex and Krista as they talked books, cooking and having space for people to enter a family home. Join their conversation as they cover seasons, grief, and some of this former English's professor's favorite reads.

This episode is perfect for Spring as many of us are looking outside and even planting a few seeds in our own gardens. You will hear how Christie landed at her Pennsylvania farmhouse named Maplehurst, the things she was looking for in her new home and the process of letting go of the career track she'd always pictured. Tragedy hit Christie's family this year. We talk through what that has meant for her and how her book's release landed right in the initial weeks of grief.

We are certain you will enjoy this talk about writing, expectations, cycles of creation, cooking, making, gardening, and the creative life. We found an instant friend in Christie and we think you will as well. A completely delightful hour that we invite you to enjoy.

May 4, 2017

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

May 2, 2017

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?

Apr 25, 2017

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?

Apr 20, 2017

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)


Apr 18, 2017

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.

Apr 11, 2017

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.

Apr 6, 2017

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.

Apr 4, 2017

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.

Mar 28, 2017

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.

Mar 23, 2017

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!


Mar 21, 2017

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.

Mar 14, 2017

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!

Mar 9, 2017

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.

Mar 7, 2017

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.

Feb 28, 2017

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.

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