I started listening to a new podcast this week. It’s called Sampler and it’s a podcast about other podcasts. Brittney Luse goes on the hunt for podcasts around the internet and in each epidode (at the time of this post, there are three so far) gives you a rundown on a few of her favorites. She plays a clip and then, maybe along with a friend, tells you why it’s worth listening to. I’m drawn to this podcast for a couple of reasons: I get to learn what other podcasts are out there without having to hunt for them myself. I also like it because it’s interesting to get to know the host, Brittney, by how she talks about the podcasts she finds. I get to know a person by the stuff they like and why they are drawn to it.
Here’s some stuff I’m liking right now, things that I find helpful or make my heart soar.
Courage For a Better Story
This is the blog of my writing buddy and dear friend, Alison. I’m subscribed to her blog so every time she posts new content, it comes directly to my inbox. My heart does a leap for joy each time I get one of those emails. I get to regularly read the heart of a far-away friend. Alison writes with depth and honesty, exploring her own process and growth often with the launchpad of books she has recently read. As an avid reader, Alison’s “currently reading” pile sits high on her nightstand or side table, and she beautifully weaves the creations of others with her own beauty. Best read in a quiet room, although I’ve been known to soak up her words while waiting for or riding the MRT.
Mr. Bean Bag
How to make your 29th floor condo feel like an urban oasis? Mr. Bean Bag. My husband and I were looking for ways to have extra seating in our living room in the event of a movie night with friends while also investing in a way to fully utilize our balcony space. Answer: bean bag chairs. Our inspiration was confirmed through a recent visit to the “artist beach hostel,” Flotsam and Jetsam (San Juan, La Union). We sat on the bean bag chairs overlooking the ocean and knew we wanted to take a piece of this tranquility into our own space. With Mr. Bean Bag, you choose the color and material and they made and deliver it right to your door. The delivery man laughed as he looked at the bean bags and then the size of our living space. I assured him that there was room out on the balcony.
I recommend this as the perfect rainy day (or snow day) activity! And think of it as just that – an activity. I almost ignored the message from my friend, suggesting I try this recipe, because of the word “doughnut” and how doughnuts are a very specific shape and sound like they’re a lot of work. Now while I had to get creative with the tools used (hair mousse bottle as a rolling pin and a cup and bowl as a dough cutter for the shape), they turned out delicious and I felt some serious satisfaction in knowing I could do it. (Though next time, I think I might just make little bite-sized “holes” only, because it’s easier and just as delicious).
I first discovered Lauren Winner by accident. I picked up a book called Girl Meets God and I was hooked by her story and writing style. When a friend who was visiting from the States handed me this book two weeks ago, I knew I’d fall in love all over again. A little older, a little wiser, walking with God a little longer, Lauren writes about the different ways we experience and interact with God through the metaphors used throughout Scripture. She writes that many of our churches regularly use “shepherd, priest, and king” but less often do they dwell on God as our clothing, as a mother, and as laughter. The chapter I just finished, the chapter I still have my bookmark in because I’m still reflecting on the truth inside it, is the chapter about smell. Lauren talks through passages pertaining to how God interacts with fragrances, with aromas, and how the sense of smell is the one most closely linked with our emotion. When we talk about experiencing God, we often talk about seeing His face, hearing His voice, feeling His embrace, so now I’m pondering what it means to smell His aroma. I’m also not yet halfway through the book.
Here’s something I find helpful more than delightful. As the U.S. presidential elections kick into full swing (hello, Iowa) and I navigate voting absentee from the other side of the world (any tips, please let me know), I found this website helpful in comparing and contrasting the individuals who are running. You can click multiple candidates and see their views side-by-side and you can also get a glimpse of their campaign financials – where it’s come from and how they’re using it.
Now I’ll bring you back to where I started: podcasts. Done by the same company (Gimlet Media) as Sampler, Reply All provides you with stories about the internet. Trent and I started listening in 2014 as we drove 12+ hours from Calgary to Vancouver and the drive didn’t seem nearly as long. Satisfying my curiosity for the mysterious internet and love of stories, PJ and Alex dig deep into some of the interweb’s biggest stories – past and present. I’ve learned about new websites and apps (that may not actually be that new), I’ve learned about the early days of the internet in France, and I’ve heard from the guy who invented the pop-up ad (spoiler: he’s really sorry). This is my favorite go-to podcast for commuting to school and I’m both happy and sad that I’m caught up and eagerly awaiting new episodes.
My recommendations here are simply products and services I like. I receive no compensation for any of it, except maybe the pure delight of eating your doughnuts once you make them.