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Podcast Picks for the Busy Mama

Audio podcasts are a medium that we mamas can get behind with greater ease than turning the pages of a book or periodical.

Salina Beasley

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“Mom — the person most likely to write an autobiography and never mention herself. A mom reads you like a book, and wherever she goes, people read you like a glowing book review. Perhaps we are given a mom that we might take into death the memory of a lullaby.” — Robert Brault

She is art. She is poetry. She is song and mystery intertwined. According to Robert Brault, mothers are about as sacred as the Virgin Mary and as rad as salted-caramel-pretzel-fat-free-frozen yogurt. While I would love nothing more than to revel in the glistening hallowedness of Brault’s depiction of motherhood, there’s just one slight problem:

I haven’t read a book since Dubya was in office.

While he was on his way out of the White House, I was on my way into the the great feminine rite of passage called, “motherhood.” As everything else on my body grew during pregnancy, my brain fell victim to the electromagnetic shrink ray and has been barely detectable by microscope ever since. Now that I am four years into this pear-shaped office, magna cum laude sounds to me more like a request to turn up the volume of an episode of Astro Boy than an academic distinction of great honor.

What happened to the honors-tassel-sporting force I used to be who could fake an intellectual conversation with the best of ’em? It seems I lost my way somewhere between the Great Recession and Tacky the Penguin. Who will free me from these uncultured chains?

And then God said, “Let their be podcasts.”

“What’s that? Oh Mommy can’t hear you screaming from the back of the minivan for the ‘ay-ples and ba-nay-nays’ song on repeat. She is listening to an interview from the Greenwich Observatory.”

“‘Are we there yet?’ No baby, mommy still has 10 minutes left of a design trend Q&A. Count to 100 and then we’ll be there. OK. Count to 200.”

“No, sweetheart. Mommy didn’t take up chain-smoking. I’m just working on my Deborah Treisman impersonation for the next time the New Yorker is hiring a new fiction editor.”

By no means am I suggesting we ought to drown out our children’s inquiries and commentaries. I am merely pointing out the obvious — peace and quiet is a luxury we cannot always afford.

Audio podcasts are a medium that we mamas can get behind with greater ease than turning the pages of a book or periodical.

Perhaps, when I’m old and gray and my children have gone on to become wealthy, forward-thinking philanthropists who contribute generously toward their parent’s retirement, I will be able to resume my favorite page-turning pastime (unless E-books have taken over the literary free world).

Until then, here are a list of my favorite podcasts.

podcastsmain

BBC World Service (Global News) … because global tragedies are easier to listen to when spoken with a British accent.

After the Jump (Design) … Brooklyn-based author, designer, and editor of Design*Sponge, Grace Bonney interviews artists and shop owners while providing listeners with the inside scoop on creative design and up and coming trends.

New Yorker Fiction (Arts) … These are good for long drives and sitting in the dentist chair. Featured authors reading and discussing fiction selections from decades passed while using words that I have to later hit up on Dictionary.com just makes me feel smarter.

TedTalks (Education and Technology) … world leaders discussing business and global issues, or as they say, “stuff worth spreading.”

New York Times Book Review (Literature) … Let’s face it — just isn’t the same without Sam Tanenhaus hosting (no offense to Pamela Paul).

Another Mother Runner (Health and Family) … hosted by two women who haven’t confused taking running seriously with taking themselves too seriously.

Freakonomics Radio (Society and Culture) …Author Stephen Dubner reveals the “hidden side” of socio-economics in the 21st century.

Stuff You Should Know (Conversation Starters to Impress Your Friends and Make Them Think You Actually Paid Attention in Humanities Class)… from howstuffworks.com — a lighthearted discussion on a variety of pop-culture topics.

Now for a bit of housekeeping (because after all, we are mothers therefore when are we not housekeeping?). I realize that for some who wouldn’t call themselves “tech savvy” establishing a podcast library sounds about as daunting as filing for non-profit tax status. For all you iPhone users, trek over to the iTunes App store and download the one that looks like this…

itunes

Let’s all say it together … IT’S FREE! Finally … something that is, right? Then simply search and download ’til your heart’s content.

For the other half of you smartphone users, here are a few downloading tips for Android.

As for the rest of the digital delayed population, do not dismay. Follow these instructions for downloading podcasts onto your Mac or PC hard drive, and you too will find yourself on the pathway to enlightenment.

Leaders are readers. Few would beg to differ. While we mothers might be slightly bending the “reader” half of that phrase, the idea is to still be able to hold our own in conversations containing words larger than two syllables. Test your new knowledge on the husband and the kids at dinner tonight and see if you don’t get some “glowing reviews.” If you suspect it might go over as good as left-over meatloaf, rest assured that someday they will be awe-inspired by your ghost-written autobiography.

As for the “memory of a lullaby,” I’m afraid Robert Brault may have been exercising some artistic liberty. But if Sade ever comes out with a podcast, trust me … you will be the first to know.

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Salina is a worship leader/songwriter with her husband, Clark. The two spent the early years of their marriage touring with Grammy-Award winning worship leader/songwriter, Matt Redman. They are now living in Atlanta, Georgia, where they enjoy leading worship for their local church. Salina is also a freelance writer and mother of two children. You can follow Salina on twitter @salinabeasley.

2 Comments
  • Love this! Thanks for the suggestions. I like to listen to John Piper podcasts while folding laundry! “Ask Pastor John” podcasts from Desiring God are short, informative and encouraging–perfect for making a mundane task feel more productive. ;)

  • I LOVE podcasts. I enjoy Revive Our Hearts, The Splendid Table, and A Prairie Home Companion the most, but am excited about trying some of these!

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Musings On Aliens and UFOs

In a culture that’s obsessed with aliens and UFOs, it’s interesting to see what Scripture has to say about being from another world.

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Aliens from outer space. UFOs. Overall people seem to be fascinated with the possibilities.

Drawing from writing by Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, Georges Méliès’ 1902 silent movie Le Voyage dans la Lune (A Trip to the Moon), is often credited as the first science fiction film. Its ground-breaking special effects prepared the way for future science-fiction films with its portrayal of a spacecraft being launched to the moon.

Like many families, ours enjoys heating up the popcorn and viewing an imaginative sci-fi movie together. In fact, one of our favorite fun places to dine is Disney’s Hollywood Studios Sci-fi Diner in Orlando. It offers a 1950’s retro drive-in movie theater atmosphere serving food to parked cars while playing campy science fiction movies, capturing the time period’s fascination with the topic.

Major interest in aliens from outer space exploded in the 1950’s, a decade sometimes described as the “classic” era of science fiction theater with it’s surge of producing low-budget, comic-book style films targeted at teenage audiences. Alien threats to humanity, UFO invasions, and abductions are common themes as seen in War of the World, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and It Came From Outer Space.

Aliens in Our Midst

Currently, networks offer programs dedicated to exploring possible alien and UFO sightings with shows like Ancient Aliens, UFOs: Untold Stories, Nasa’s Unexplained Files, and more. One recent episode of one of these shows presented a segment discussing “what if humans are the aliens on earth?”

This hypothesis coincides with a religion birthed by American science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard and his writings, The Church of Scientology. Its doctrine states a human is an immortal, spiritual being (thetan) resident in a physical body. Or, stated in easier-to-understand terms, an alien life form that inhabits human beings.

Turns out biblical references address society’s curiosity on this theory.

Genesis 2:7 describes how humans came to live on earth, “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” As described in scripture, humankind’s breath of life did come from an other-than-earthly source.

And concerning who are citizens and who are aliens in the world, Jesus identifies the distinction in His prayer for His disciples, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (John 17:16). He continues to distinguish His followers in John 18:36 stating, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”

Of UFOs and a Snatching Away

Musings on Aliens & UFOs

In 1977, Steven Spielberg’s film Close Encounters of the Third Kind depicted a public fascination with UFOs, along with the year’s release of George Lucas’ Star Wars. Interest continued with the 1980’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, a story of a lonely boy who befriends an extraterrestrial stranded on Earth.

In the 1970’s, Christian rocker Larry Norman also offered thoughts on aliens and UFOs in his trilogy of albums which included Only Visiting This Planet, So Long Ago the Garden, and In Another Land. His third album contains some of Norman’s most well-known work, selling more than 120,000 copies by 1985. In Norman’s song “UFO” lyrics assert:

He [Jesus] will come back like He promised with the price already paid,
He will gather up His followers and take them all away,
He’s an unidentified flying object,
He will sweep down from the sky

Jesus reveals His plan to return for His people in John 14:3 stating, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” Mark 13:26-27 provides a clearer picture of what His return will look like to those on earth, “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven.”

So scripture does describes a coming snatching away of people on earth like represented in the 1990s-2000s popular Left Behind series of novels and films by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins.

In his 1969 album Upon This Rock, Norman addressed this concern as well in his song “I Wish We’d All Been Ready,” stating while growing up in church he hadn’t heard this preached from the pulpit.

Two men walking up a hill
One disappears and
One’s left standing still
I wish we’d all been ready
There’s no time to change your mind
The Son has come and you’ve been left behind

Closing Reflection

In consideration of the ongoing interest in our culture with aliens and UFOs, this topic certainly opens up authentic opportunities to discuss what scripture has to say on the possibilities. With curiosity on the rise, yet another avenue to open conversation about God’s love and His kingdom of another realm (John 3:16,17).

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3 Fun Ways to Parent in Real Time

Have you been hoodwinked into believing motherhood is a rat race? If so, here are 3 fun ways you can slow down and parent in real time.

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I’m a planner. We’re talking semi-serious Type A, time-urgency issues.

My husband Ted can confirm this. Although, I predict he’d most likely tell you this obsession I have with time isn’t strictly a bad thing. Rather, when it comes to weaknesses and strengths, it’s a case of both/and.

How so?

Ted likes to say that if it weren’t for my goal-oriented, hyper-active Little Engine That Could personality, we’d be a lazy family. After all, if it were up to him, our off days would consist of naps and driving no more than 30 minutes from our house. And while I love my share of afternoon rest, I crave adventure in … well, as my favorite Disney princess would sing … “the great wide somewhere” a little more.

This God-given, hard-wired, time-sensitive personality of mine thrives on thinking ahead. I’m constantly on the prowl – yeah, all tiger like and what not – for fun educational activities, local and not-so-local family outings, theatrical productions, and even vacation ideas. There’s no doubt that, as Ruth Schwenk and Karen Ehman write about in their book Hoodwinked, I take time seriously. In fact, as I read these word from Ruth, I couldn’t help but nod in agreement:

One of my favorite verses about the sacredness of time is Psalm 90:12: “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” The word wisdom in Hebrew means “skilled” …. And here, the psalmist is connecting skilled living with stewarding time. Part of walking in wisdom is being skilled in the stewardship of the days God in his grace has given us. To waste them or mismanage them is to act foolishly and unskillfully.

Not being productive or having a plan in place is difficult for me. In my mind, “productivity = time well spent,” and “plan = time well managed.”

Sometimes, as a mom, all my planning and productivity can eat away at the actual day-to-day enjoyment of my kids.

Here’s the thing, though. The older I get, the more I learn that’s not necessarily true.

Just because I’m careful to not waste time, doesn’t mean I always steward it well. In fact, sometimes I don’t … at all. Sometimes, as a mom, all my planning and productivity can eat away at the actual day-to-day enjoyment of my kids. When this happens, all that “productivity = time well spent” and “plan = time well managed” couldn’t be further from the truth.

download

What does this poor stewardship look like for me?

Here’s where that biggest weakness in those semi-serious Type-A, time-urgency issues comes into play. And that’s this: I often live too much in the future.

It’s so bad at times that Ted has to remind me to live in the here and now, not in the six-months-from now. I don’t always like when he offers this correction, but the truth is, I need it. I don’t want to look back ten years from now and realize that I missed the moments of my children’s lives because I was so busy planning for the next moments and the next. I found myself convicted and motivated by these word from Ruth:

Parenting happens in real time. Don’t miss the moments right in front of your nose. Living in tomorrow only causes us to lose today.

So what’s my plan to make sure I don’t miss the here and now moments with my kids? Here are three fun, practical ways I’m attempting to parent in real time.

1. Reading Out Loud

When it comes to bedtime stories, Ted is king of that domain. The thing is, just because I don’t typically read to the kids before tucking them in, doesn’t mean I can’t read aloud to them at all. As a homeschooling mom, I have ample opportunity to work story time into school time.

Parenting happens in real time. Don’t miss the moments right in front of your nose. Living in tomorrow only causes us to lose today. — Ruth Schwenk And you know what I’ve found?

Reading out loud to my kids forces me to slow down and to stop rushing through our schedule and our day. As the kids and I are drawn into the story together, we share in the emotional ups and downs of the characters. We gasp in shock over plot twists and lament as our protagonist faces yet another challenge. In the process, we create shared experiences, knowledge, and memories.

2. Impromptu Dance Parties

At our house, Pandora plays pretty much all day long. Sometimes it’s tuned to the Francesca Battestelli channel, other times to the Michael Buble channel. One of my favorites activities of late, though, is to switch it to the Tween music channel, move the coffee table out of the way, and invite my girls to an impromptu dance party.

As I twirl my four-year-old around and around, there are no thoughts of what’s for dinner, or what time we need to get up in the morning. There’s only me and my girls dancing and giggling together.

3. Cooking Competitions … of the On-Screen Variety

Whether it’s Cutthroat Kitchen or Cupcake Wars, my girls and I share a love for cooking competition shows. Lately, we’ve taken to watching the shows together, each choosing our “candidate” to cheer for, and then watching to see if we picked a “winner.” It’s been a fun way for us to actively watch television together. And, like reading out loud, it causes me to slow down and create a shared experience with my kids.

Yes, I’m a planner. But this planner is hopeful that those semi-serious Type A, time-urgency issues of mine can become more and more strength and less and less weakness, especially when it comes to my mothering. After all, these parenting days of mine are numbered and I want to live them skillfully.

Learn More About HOODWINKED

Moms have been hoodwinked — tricked into believing lies that keep them from not only enjoying motherhood, but forging friendships with other moms who might tackle the tasks of motherhood differently. Myths such as “Mothering is natural, easy, and instinctive” cause moms to feel like failures if they have questions or apprehensions in raising their kids. Operating from the premise that “The way I mother is the right (and only) way” puts up fences between moms instead of building bridges of encouragement between them. Lies such as “I am my child’s choices” tempt moms to mistakenly believe that if their child makes a wrong choice then they, in turn, must be a bad mom.

This book will enable mothers to:

  • Identify the ten myths of motherhood our current culture perpetuates
  • Replace the lies with the truth of what God says in the Bible about mothering
  • Acquire practical tools to help them form new and improved thought patterns and healthy behaviors
  • Forge healthy, supportive relationships with other moms of all ages and stages
  • Confidently embrace the calling of motherhood as they care for their families in their own unique way

BUY HOODWINKED: TEN MYTHS MOMS BELIEVE & WHY WE ALL NEED TO KNOCK IT OFF HERE.

Also available is the HOODWINKED STUDY GUIDE WITH DVD. Find out more about it here.

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Reflections on Nichole Nordeman’s THE UNMAKING {Plus a Giveaway}

Read our reflections on Nichole Nordeman’s new EP, “The Unmaking.”

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“When I’m younger…”

It’s a phrase my four-year-old daughter uses often. (As you can tell, her concept of aging is still in the early stages of development.) While I often correct her with a “Do you mean when you’re older?” there’s something sobering about her words. They remind me that these days are fleeting. These days of cute misphrases, well-loved blankies, and read-aloud stories. They’re fleeting.

And sometimes, when she proudly proclaims, “When I’m younger…,” I just want to pause and whisper, “Slow down.”

I want to tell her to stay little longer. That it’s fun to be a kid. I want to promise her that I won’t tell the dentist if she sucks her thumb when she thinks that I’m not looking. Or that it’s okay if she talks through movies about topics completely unrelated to the plot. “Sure, go ahead and sing me that song about manners while the movie’s storyline unfolds. It’s okay. You won’t always want to, and I can rewatch this movie when you’re older.”

It’s with those words “when I’m younger,” that I realize perhaps all those people who’ve told me “It goes by fast,” were right.

I think all of us moms – including singer and songwriter Nichole Nordeman – feel the desire to slow down time at some point. But not all of us have been able to capture this longing in song so poignantly as Nordeman has done with the track “Slow Down” off her new EP, The Unmaking. In what’s destined to become many a mom’s musical pick for her child’s graduation, she beautifully captures the emotional tension that comes from raising arrows we need to let fly one day. And, I admit, the first time I heard the song, I cried.

“Slow Down” is one of six songs on The Unmaking. It’s an album that, as Nordeman told Vital Magazine, chronicles a recent season of brokenness in her own life. She shared with them:

“Christians are so anxious to fast-forward to the healing and to the hope and the happy ending of the story where God makes all things new,” she says. “All of that is true sometimes, but we just are so uncomfortable sitting in the tough spot. I think that’s what I wanted to do with The Unmaking, just acknowledge that God is with us, and there is no shame, in fact there’s strength, in sitting in the rubble and being vulnerable with Him.”

While The Unmaking is Nordeman’s first studio release since her 2005 project, Brave, those who have loved and missed her music need not worry that she’s reinvented herself. Vocally and musically, this album is quintessential Nordeman.

Before long, my four-year-old will soon grasp the concept of aging. And, as she does, the phrase “When I’m younger…” will disappear from her vernacular. When that happens, know that you can find me listening to “Slow Down” and crying what may very well constitute an ugly sort of cry as I realize that my baby is one day closer to flying. Yep, that’s a reference you’ll just have to listen to the song to understand.


Win a Copy of “The Unmaking”!

Win a copy of "The Unmaking" by Nichole Nordeman

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Hi, I'm Ashleigh Slater, founder and editor of Ungrind. Here at Ungrind, it’s our goal to churn out biblically-based encouragement for women. We strive to be honest and transparent about our struggles in a way that inspires hope, faith, and perseverance.

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Podcast Picks for the Busy Mama

by Salina Beasley time to read: 4 min
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