I’m featuring the podcast, Motherhood Unmasked, hosted by Vanessa Harris. Vanessa is also an author and a speaker. She is passionate about equipping women to take off the masks they wear and embrace their true identity. She is compassionate and resonates with wisdom.
In this episode, Vanessa addresses the very real concern that many women are facing during this pandemic and it isn’t the virus, it’s the abuser they live with. With grace and kindness, Vanessa brings encouragement and hope to the woman who may find herself feeling more isolated than ever.
If you or someone you know is in this situation and needs help, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233
In a time when everything feels a little less than certain, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by anxiety. Today, I sit down and talk with Caris Snider, author of “Anxiety Elephants: A 31-Day Devotional to Help Stomp Out Your Anxiety.”
As a business owner, speaker, worship leader, wife, and mom, Caris looked like she had it all together. But like so many, she found herself at the end of the road, realizing she had two options: Give up or look up. Fortunately, Caris bravely faced the unknown with the help of her doctors, family, and friends and learned how to contend with her anxiety.
It was an honor to have a conversation with Caris about her own journey through anxiety, especially as the entire world is facing with these topsy-turvy times in the midst of a global pandemic. Caris’ story offers hope and encouragement as she learned what it means to carry one another’s burdens and rest in God.
Today, Matt and I have a long-distance conversation about some of the ways we can not only take comfort in the promises of God during this time, but also very specific activities (or, as our daughter has dubbed them “quarantivities”) to fill our time wisely and with fun!
It must be said that in the less than 24 hours since recording this, things have changed here in the US and also with me, Brandy. While much of our conversation is focused on dealing with anxiety, I rather ironically, have been feeling my fair share of it. That being said, I remembered this conversation and took a dose of my own advice (“listen to music” and “turn off the news for a minute”) and am feeling markedly better.
This isn’t just lip service. This advice is practical and beneficial. I hope you take it and share it with people you love.
Self-Care and Activities During Quarantine:
2. Read the Bible: Psalms are great – try Psalm 23
4. Write letters and send them to loved ones
5. Listen to music you love
6. Spend time with your kids: Conversations, shooting hoops, video games, reading books, crafts, etc…
7. Go for a walk: fresh air + Vitamin D = good for ya!
8. Jigsaw puzzles
9. Complete your To-Do List: or at least knock it down – all those projects that you’re saving for “someday”
10. Work on a dream project: write the book, learn the instrument, read the series…
Things to Avoid:
1. Steady stream of news: Stay informed, but don’t only feed on a media diet of the news
2. Hours of Social Media: See above…
3. Binging on Netflix for the entire time: Give yourself limits and keep your body and brain active
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health during this time, so don’t neglect it!
If you’re struggling with depression or thoughts of self-harm, please contact the
In the wake of my grandma’s recent and sudden passing, I wanted to take some time to talk about grief. It’s one of those experiences that we’re all going to face at some point in our lives, whether it’s due to losing a loved one or losing a pet, a dream or a career. Loss is simply a fact of life and with it comes a process of grief.
In this episode, you’ll learn the 5 stages of grief according to the DSM-5 (the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). More than “stages” these are 5 ways your grief may be experienced. They don’t always follow any kind of order and logic and will often come again even after you’ve moved to general acceptance.
The 5 Stages of Grief:
Denial and Isolation
Listen to discover how each of these stages may present in your own experience, as well as how to help someone else who is going through the grief process.
*Note: We are not medical experts and this is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice. If you are experiencing debilitating grief or thoughts of self-harm or suicide, please seek immediate medical attention.
For the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)
A few things to note about grief:
*Grief hits us all differently.
*There is no RIGHT way to grieve.
*Whatever you’re feeling…it’s probably normal.
*Allow yourself (or others) to grieve.
*Grief is a process that takes time. For some of us, that time isn’t very long. For others, it lasts a lifetime.
*You are not weak for grieving.
*You are not weak for seeking help as you grieve.
As well as a discussion on grief, this episode is also a tribute to my grandma, Lila Lee Barr. She died at the age of 92 on November 6, 2019. A lover of words and rhyme, Grandma was an avid writer, even starting up her own newspaper, The Town and Country, in Maupin, Oregon in the late ’60s. She was a prolific poet and I am honored to share a few short pieces that she wrote at the close of today’s show.
(Lila Lee Barr circa 2014)
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It seems like a relatively easy question to address, and pragmatically, it is. But when you stop and let the question hit you – when you feel its weight – it requires that you take more time to truly evaluate what you’re doing with your life and what, if anything, needs to change.
This question comes directly from the Genesis Process Change Groups Book 1 written by Michael Dye, CADC, NCAC II.
The Genesis Process has been a huge part of my own recovery process over the years. It helped clarify why I continue to do things that I know are bad for me, even when I don’t want to do them. That being said, like everyone else, I am a complicated being and easily find myself stumbling into the same bad patterns. In short, like you, I am in need of sanctification and that’s what Genesis does. If you have the opportunity to join a Genesis Process for Change Group near you, I’d highly encourage you to do so.
The other book that I mentioned is called “One Month to Live” by Kerry and Chris Shook. The subtitle is “Thirty Days to a No-Regrets Life.” That pretty well sums it up. If you get the audio version, it is read by the authors, which is always a nice little addition. You can find the link here: One Month to Live
Also…email us ANY of your questions (faith, marriage, parenting, favorite road trips, how to make a podcast…anything!). We’ll soon be hosting a Q&A on our NEW YouTube channel and we want to answer your questions! So…get to know your hosts by sending us all your questions and we’ll do our best to answer them!
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” – Matthew 5:7
Mentioned well over 300 times in the Bible, mercy is a word we probably ought to pay more attention to. Especially in this day and age when politics and religion are getting co-mingled in ways that often make us forget that first and foremost, we are brothers and sisters in Christ.
The biblical definition for the word mercy, as used by Jesus in his sermon on the mount, is this: to be compassionate (by word or deed, specifically by divine grace); have compassion (pity on).
Meanwhile, Webster’s New World Dictionary defines it this way: 1. a refraining from harming offenders, enemies, etc., 2. imprisonment rather than death for a capital crime, 3. a disposition to forgive or be kind, 4. the power to forgive, 5. a lucky thing; blessing.
This episode, as well as talking about what mercy is, we also focus on how to live a life of mercy in our day to day lives. We’ll look at 1 Peter 3:8-12 in the ERV (Easy to Read Version).
So all of you should live together in peace. Try to understand each other. Love each other like brothers and sisters. Be kind [compassionate; merciful] and humble. Don’t do wrong to anyone to pay them back for doing wrong to you. Or don’t insult anyone to pay them back for insulting you. But ask God to bless them. Do this because you yourselves were chosen to receive a blessing. The Scriptures say,
‘If you want to enjoy true life and have only good days, then avoid saying anything hurtful, and never let a lie come out of your mouth. Stop doing what is wrong, and do good. Look for peace, and do all you can to help people live peacefully. The Lord watches over those who do what is right, an, and he listens to their prayers. But he is against those who do evil.’
Listen in to this week’s episode to see some examples of how this might look in your own life.
We all know what it’s like to be hungry and thirsty, longing for something to fill our bellies. But what about our souls? What if there was a way to fill up the mysterious void we all seem to have deep down inside us?
Join Brandy this week for a quick lesson on Beatitude #4 to learn how you, too can be satisfied to your deepest core.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” – Matthew 5:5
If the best inheritance I can get by being humble is the earth, I’m not sure that sounds like a very good deal.
Let’s face it, the earth is kinda falling apart. We’ve got natural disasters galore, terrorism everywhere, racism that lingers despite our ‘enlightenment’, climate change and social injustice every direction you turn. It’s a mess.
But God only gives good gifts, so there must be more to it than what we currently see.
Turns out, there’s a lot packed into this one tiny verse in Matthew 5.
Often, when we think about the words meek, gentle or humble, we envision someone who is quiet and unassuming. This tends to be, in our mind’s eye someone who’s a bit of a wallflower. While this may be true in some cases, I think the best way to determine what a humble person looks like is to look first at what a non-humble person looks likes.
And boy, do we have some great examples. I’m not going to name names; I assume you don’t have to think too hard to come up with a list of at least 10 people who are, in fact, quite arrogant and loud about it. And beyond that list, all I really need to do is look in the mirror to find someone who’s far less humble than she’d care to admit.
While an arrogant person is often perceived to be loud and abrasive while a humble person is quiet and demure, God doesn’t look at what’s being projected out of us. He merely looks at our hearts and knows the state of our pride.
Arrogance is a lack of dependence on God. Humility is recognizing God’s rightful place in our lives and ceding that place to Him. It’s giving up our own agenda and right to rule our lives in order to seek God’s will in all things.
Tune in to this week’s episode as Brandy examines the third beatitude and what humility looks like, as well as the inheritance we’re longing for.
This incredible passage is found in Matthew 5 and opens up one of the greatest sermons ever preached, the Sermon on the Mount. Here, Jesus is pretty early on in his ministry and with a large crowd gathered around, he takes the time to teach his disciples what it means to be a follower of Christ.
And man does He start with a bang! Rather than telling the disciples how great it’s all going to be, this whole following Jesus thing, he immediately tells them how blessed it is to be poor in spirit. What!?!?!?
Join me, Brandy, as together we look at what exactly it means to be poor in spirit and how our earthly wealth, however limited it may be, might be the very thing that’s holding us back from knowing the greatest inheritance we could ever imagine.
In this episode, we’ll explore the effects of wealth as documented in this article.
We’ll also read over through Matthew 5:1-16 and dive deep into verses 1 and 2. We’ll also take a look at Matthew 19:16-24 when Jesus instructs a young man to get rid of his possessions and follow Him.
Fear not, my friends! I don’t think Jesus is asking us all to give up everything we own and all the comforts we have in order to follow and serve Him. But He is asking us to consider our attitudes towards those things.
So, take my hand and let me guide you through this challenging beatitude that has me questioning my own attitudes and beliefs about what I own and why. Who knows, maybe this will even be the start to decluttering our homes!?