There was a time near the beginning of this pandemic where I thought I was losing a piece of myself. Ok, there wasn’t “a time” because I think most people can probably relate: there have been lots of times in this unprecedented time where we are just trying to make sense of what is happening.

But in the midst of all of this I felt like I needed something to push myself out of my shell of fear and worry. I had stopped reading books (I read and read and read last year, but my reading came to an abrupt halt when the world turned upside down…couldn’t seem to concentrate). I was in need of something to keep my brain running on some things that were non-COVID-19 related.

So I have been grateful over and over and OVER again for zoom calls. And for women who will link their minds and hearts with mine.

art by Caitlin Connolly…love her!those ladies look pretty serious, but passing thoughts can be serious business so I figured it works:)

My friend and I started a little podcast group back in January. It was to be held once a month, gathered with women we thought would like to discuss the world together, each taking a turn to pick a podcast and host a gathering. We held the first one and I left so uplifted and renewed. There is nothing like a strong group of women who are thinking big to rejuvenate you.

Sadly, the world of gathering then came to a halt. I am SO GRATEFUL that we kept this group going, meeting virtually. We gave it a try after we let the shock of everything settle, so much worry in the air. Someone set us up a zoom call and after that first meeting, when we all felt so inspired, we decided we needed to meet weekly rather than monthly.

Right before we decided to meet virtually, I had emailed my sisters (including in-laws) and mom to ask if they wanted to do something similar. I love those ladies so much and was yearning for more connection with them. They were all excited about the prospect as well, so suddenly I had two different “meetings” each week to discuss things that were so interesting, and to stay connected with people I love so much, and to motivate me to listen to something that uplifted me.

I love these sisters so much! Wish I had a pic of the other group too.

And let me tell you, these groups have been a lifeline to me over and over again!

I know people will ask, and I also want to keep track, so I’m going to list some of my favorite podcasts we have listened to in case you’re interested in listening as well. Some of them are done by people in my church, but I think anyone will enjoy them, they are so good! And if you love listening, perhaps you may want to reach out and start your own virtual podcast groups.

Ok, so here are some of my favorites:

Emily Belle Freeman’s podcast about Grace:

(You can click HERE to hear it…it is so good!)

Reminded me of this video I linked a while back when I talked about Tatoos on the Heart (back HERE):

We listened to “Generous Orthodoxy” from Revisionist History:

(Click HERE to listen to that one.)

I was SO taken by the minister in that one and loved how he was true to his heart, taken enough that I had Dave listen to it with me again as we slipped through the darkness back to home after Elle’s wedding…we had the best discussion about all that those words held.

We actually listened to this one on that same car ride…getting ready for my next podcast group: Pema Chodron: Welcoming the Unwelcome:

Click HERE to hear that one….or just click below:

One of my biggest take-aways from that one was how much power our thoughts have. So powerful that you can sometimes feel them when you go into a room. Made me think of prayer and the thoughts we send up to God through that. Also, this quote:

“ Every word we speak and every action we perform affects our future. Where do you words and actions come from? They all start in our mind. When we indulge in resentment and obsession or self-righteous thinking we create several problems for ourselves. First we suffer from the immediate pain of those thoughts and emotions and then we often act out in ways that cause ourselves and others harm. Finally we reinforce a habit that we would be better off without”. Pema Chodron

This next one called Finding the Seed of Greatness in Troubled Youth led to such a great parenting discussion:

Click HERE to listen.

I liked this link someone in the podcast group sent from the director of the Anasazi program (Kami Smith talks about her experience in the program in the podcast:

This one by Wendy Ulrich: How God Expects Women to Use Priesthood Power really spoke to me:

Click HERE to listen, or you can just click here:

I have never been one to worry much about who holds priesthood power, I have always felt that power infiltrate so beautifully through my life: defined as the power of God. But this podcast made me really think deep about how important it is…”it’s what God does to redeem, direct and accomplish His work…makes it important to know where we fit in. I loved the story of the power of a mother’s prayer that was mixed in there (minute 27 I think), I love how Wendy talked about “the wrestle is part of the growth,” and how she talks about how we all need to “live up to our privileges.” Made me think long and hard about what I am doing to live up to mine. And how am I teaching my girls to do the same.

This made me think of another thing I listened to to help “live up to my privilege” connecting to God and seeking direction and I’ll link it below, but SKIP TO MINUTE 46 to get to the meat of what I loved so much, all about how to really seek guidance from above:

This Bearded Bishops, Rated-R Moives, & the Honor Code was really interesting to me…maybe not so interesting to those who are not as familiar with the culture of my church, but I think sometimes we get so fussed up with the “fence laws” that we forget what the gospel is all about.

Made me think a lot about the whole modesty issues we’ve discussed here on the blog through the years (one instance is HERE, with my “answers” to a bunch of those questions in a post called “the gospel according to me” back HERE).

Click HERE to listen to that one.

This one on The Universal Christ might have been my favorite one yet:

We discussed it with my sisters group and I loved it so much that I chose it for my other podcast group coming up this week. It is so incredibly beautiful. As I mentioned back HERE, I love this newly introduced to me Father Richard Rohr, and listening to this podcast made me love him even more. I love how he explained how the word “God” has been historically limited, loved how he talked about how we “long for the genuine” in our world, how we need to see things in “wholes” rather than in parts, love how he talks about how “love flows unstoppably downward.” Oh! You just have to listen to it to feel the beauty. It is so good.

You can find it HERE, or listen by clicking below:

This one titled “How Might Jesus Parent?” was a pretty thought-provoking parenting one:

You can listen to that one with Justin Coulson HERE.

Or here:

And I have a lot to say about that one too, but I’m running out of time, so I’ll just say my favorite quote was “be CURIOUS rather than FURIOUS” when things go wrong or when kids are making decisions that may frustrate you. And also the reminder to LISTEN, and not jump in and try to fix things. (Reminded me of How to Talk...)

This one featuring Oprah and Michelle Obama is one that I really should write a whole post about…

…and maybe I will at some point. I loved most of all the part near the beginning when she talks about “when they go low, you go high” because I listened to it in the middle of some “lows” caused in part from comments on this blog. Generally comments don’t really phase me…I know we’re all in the middle of our own journeys. But I just got so buoyed up by Michelle Obama and the thoughts about “walking your own walk”…and we had the best discussion about it all. I just think Michelle Obama is pretty awesome…loved her book Becoming that I read last year as well.

You can listen to that podcast HERE, or here:

Ok, there you go…some of my favorites. There are so many good things to learn in the world and not enough time to listen to them all! But there are a few that have inspired me and might inspire you too!

And also, thank you, Zoom!

Love, Shawni

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  1. I’m just now getting into podcasts, mainly listening to Brené Brown (she just speaks to my soul!). I’m going to give some of these a try – thanks for the suggestions!

    1. Oh I keep meaning to listen to Brene Brown, I’ve heard the best things about hers! Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Oh my goodness Shawni! Thanks so much for this prolific offering of great “stuff” to listen to. I listen to several knitting podcasts, which I do love, but these all sound amazing. Keep sending this good stuff our way.
    Thank you!

  3. Shawni, I’ve been following your blog for years and especially love to see the strength of your family and community, which I think very much revolves around your LDS faith. Although I feel the same strong bonds within my little family, I struggle to find that same sense of community among Christians (and with an M.Div. and ecumenical background, I’m fairly familiar with various Christian denominations). This strong community, in many ways, sets the LDS church apart as a truly remarkable people. But what I’ve never been able to understand is why there is such exclusion toward the LGBTQ+ community (which is by no means unique to the LDS church), from wording of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” to rulings excluding the baptism of children with gay parents (fortunately reversed), to the student codes at BYU relaxing and then constricting again. I’m so grateful you’ve mentioned the Revisionist History podcast in your post, because it gives me hope that thoughtful people in the LDS community (like you and your family) might also begin to embrace a more generous orthodoxy toward these sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, who so struggle to find communities that truly, unconditionally, love them–exactly as God made them. Thank you.

    1. I agree. It felt like my heart stopped for a second when I saw that podcast included there – I had to double-check whether my understanding of its topic was correct or not. The fact that I couldn’t marry my wife in my church (we married in hers instead – both Christian, but different branches) has caused me a lot of pain and doubt. It is heartening to see that people who clearly hold their faith strongly, and who are members of churches which have historically been very opposed to the LGBT+ community, are exploring the issue and considering whether there might be a better way.

    2. As a member of this faith, I assure you the narrative by all members is NOT one of exclusion. There is so much support and love within many members of this faith. The culture may take time to change. The doctrine of allowing gay marriage may never change. But I assure you, I have watched the narrative of inclusion, love, all are welcome, you have a place here, being Christlike, not judging… changing…and it makes my heart so happy. I believe it’s something that will take time and people have to become more comfortable with, but I have gay family members and I am part of several support groups within the LDS faith that are looking to specifically support gays and their significant others. Or parents/family members of LDS in the LGBTQ community. I hope more will embrace and love these people within our congregations going forward. Thanks for your positive commentary regarding our faith. And thanks Shawni for the podcasts…I always enjoy your recommendations.

      1. Thanks, May and Jen, for your thoughtful comments. It’s so heartening to hear kindness in a comments feed. 🙂 We share the same hopes.

      2. That podcast was one of my favorites because I think true discipleship is exactly what that minister did. The inclusion and unconditional love is the bottom line of what life is all about. Jen’s comment was exactly what I would have said, but she said it more eloquently than I could have, so I’ll just leave it at that and say Amen, Jen!

    3. Why can’t a faith interpret those versus in the Bible/Torah to mean not to marry two women or two men? There is very little if ever hatred toward governments and religions who do far worse to folks than not participate in the wedding process. You can live, love, leave anything to whomever you want and God bless. All denominations want to do is hold to their interpretation of scripture that it’s not sacramental and not participate. Some faiths interpret differently, isn’t it nice their are choices? If only one way of thinking were acceptable many would have no place to turn. Good luck with the party that wants Israel to not exist, harsh punishments and executions for things that are perfectly legal to do in the US and abortion being the kindler America to the LGBT community.

  4. A podcast club…brilliant! Way easier for everyone to do the “listening” instead of having to get through a whole book! Thanks for these recommendations!

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