I had an iPhone for a full two years before I realized that the purple podcast app on my screen was, in fact, not trying to sell me something but rather to gift my listening ears with all sorts of awesome content! Upon this discovery I quickly became an avid consumer of all sorts of material, and I now attribute to my podcast education everything from better time management to efficient freezer meal prep.
Though I frequently search for podcasts on specific topics in which I'm interested, I appreciate having a few shows which so consistently meet my expectations that I listen to almost every episode they produce. Here are my criteria for those select podcasts:
1. They must discuss a mix of weighty and lighthearted subjects.
Why? Because that's real life! At times we need to dig deep in order to explore complicated relationship dynamics, and then we need to come up for air and talk about the new Starbucks drink we're loving.
2. They must be encouraging.
As we plumb the depths of our cultural or personal problems, let's grieve, yes, but let's not stay there! We need to be reminded of what's true, given some practical action steps, or--preferably--both!
Five podcasts have met these two criteria on a regular basis. The women who host these shows are so frequently in my ears that I feel like they're my friends, so I'm excited to introduce my podcast host friends to my blog reader friends! I'll let you know which iTunes category each podcast falls into, the gist of the show, and a favorite episode of mine from the previous year. Search for these shows in your favorite podcast player, or click on the links provided to listen online. Enjoy!
The Gist: Jamie interviews a different woman in every show, and they chat about the guest's story and what she's loving and reading. I appreciate the wide variety of ladies Jamie interviews from entrepreneurs to social justice advocates to fashion bloggers. Listening to The Happy Hour is truly like sharing a happy hour with friends!
Fave Episode: #166: Kathie Lee Gifford and Aaron Ivey
Category: Personal Journals
The Gist: Meg and one or more of the show's three delightful co-hosts discuss a different topic each episode of the podcast, covering everything from sleep to self-defense to Netflix shows to parenting. The four co-hosts have vibrant personalities but different lifestyles and opinions, and this makes for a lively conversation between friends from which the listener gets to benefit.
The Gist: Gretchen Rubin is a bestselling author who studies happiness and habit formation. On the Happier podcast she and her sister, Elizabeth, chat about these two topics and offer lots of hacks for listeners to implement right away to make their daily lives a little happier, like finding a "happiness 911" song or identifying one's "signature color"--mine would be green, of course.
The Gist: Each episode Annie talks to a friend of hers--often a writer, musician, pastor, or psychologist--about what they do and what sounds fun to them. Annie is such an upbeat person that I always leave these dialogues feeling hopeful. I'm writing this post during the Christmas season and was thrilled to see that Annie released an episode in which she and friends did a deep-dive into Hallmark Channel's Christmas movies--what could be better?
Fave Episode: #42: Sadie Robertson
The Gist: Listening to Susie Davis' podcast is like plopping down on a comfy sofa after a hard day and letting her hand you a cup of tea and tell you it's going to be alright. She interviews a variety of guests and especially enjoys asking people about their "big God dream" and what they've been cooking lately. Delightful!
Fave Episode: #21: Kate Merrick │ And Still She Laughs
Did you give any of these shows a listen? What did you think? What are your favorite podcasts? Let me know in the comments.