This Seat's Taken: Podcastery

I'm starting a new occasional series of little pods called This Seat's Taken.  I just couldn't help myself with that name.  Cracks me up every time.  The little pods will be just that: little.  Snippets of things I love, things I want to share, people I want to laugh with.  Could be anything.  

This time I'm talking PODCASTS!  Why I love them.  Why you should love them.  All of it.  I talk about a bunch of my faves and I'll list their details below so you can find them too.  I've linked to all of the websites for these pods but you'll want to go to iTunes or your podcast player to Subscribe!

Wild Mystic Woman Podcast by Layla Saad.  Episode 18 with Catrice Jackson taught me SO much.  You can also find Catrice Jackson's work and books here.

The Red Couch Podcast with rapper and activist Propaganda and his wife Dr. Alma Zaragoza-Petty.  They have taught me so much on a whole range of topics and I particularly love their segment called Hood Politics.

On Being with Krista Tippett.  Ta-Nehisi Coates' episode is #52, I think.  : )  Search it out on iTunes because Krista Tippett can teach me anything and Ta-Nehisi Coates can wake me up every time.

Another Round with Tracy Clayton and Heben Nagatu.  You'll laugh and learn and fall in love.  These amazing women talk about pop culture, mental health, surviving white culture, bad jokes.  Everything.

Mogul with Reggie Ossé.  Tells the life and death of hip hop music executive Chris Lighty.  A beautifully done documentary about hip hop, addiction, mental health and striving.  

Ear Hustle with Nigel Poor, a prison volunteer and visual artist and Earlonne Woods, a man currently incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison.  This is one of my tippy tip top faves!  They cover all aspects of incarceration and I love how it humanizes incarcerated individuals.

Crimes in Color with Keyerra.  She tells true crime stories involving victims who are people of color since these stories are underrepresented in media.  

Caught.  This one highlights youth in the criminal justice system.

Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom.  As I said on the little pod, I think exonerated people are some of the most incredible people you will ever hear speak.  They are forgiving and grateful and wise and hopeful.  They have taught me and I'm sure they'll teach you.

Selfie with Kristen Howerton and Sarah James.  They talk about all aspects of self care.  Makeup to relationships.  Personality types to purses.  It is girly in the best way.

The New Activist.  Tells the stories of change makers all over the world. This one is from what I would call a social justice Christian perspective.

Everything Happens with Kate Bowler.  She's in her thirties and has been through. some. things.  She knows that it might not all work out with a bow on top but we still can find connection and beauty.  

Terrible, Thanks for Asking with Nora McInerny.  When you lose your father and husband within a few weeks, you can gain some perspective in a hurry.  Nora is the most hilarious and quirky host.  We could be best friends.  I'm certain.  This is another tippity toppity fave!

Kid podcasts!  Tumble, Brains On and Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls Podcast

S-Town - I can't even begin to explain this one.  All I can say is start at the beginning and buckle up for the story ride.

The Black Tapes - This one is like a creepy novel, a podcast documentary, and an old-timey radio drama all rolled in one.  You can get your binge-listen on because there's a whole heap of episodes already recorded.  Start at the beginning and lose yourself in it.

And if you've never experienced SNL's Delicious Dish, here's probably their most famous episode.

I hope you love these podcasts and I'll be back soon to take the middle seat.


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Taking the Middle Seat next to Andi Adams

On episode 9 of Taking the Middle Seat, I talk to Andi Adams.  She is a middle school teacher and teaches reading and special education classes.  She is mom to 2 busy middle school-age kiddos and to a precious rescue dog.  I talked to Andi a week or so ago but I hurried to get this episode out when I heard about yet another deadly school shooting.  I wanted to go to an expert source to hear about gun violence in schools and I believe teachers are the experts.  She states her strong belief that automatic weapons do not belong anywhere in our communities but also goes beyond that to talk about why teachers should be the sources of wisdom to create effective policy change that will keep our children safe.  I love our conversation and I'm so grateful she took time out of her busy day of teaching to talk to me.   

If you want to get involved in this issue, an organization I love is Everytown for Gun Safety.  This includes Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action.  Dip a pinky toe in or jump all the way in.  Activism in all forms helps.

Andi mentions her fave accessory company, Two Copper Sparrows.  I checked them out and I LOVE the story behind this little company.  Amy, the owner gives a portion of her proceeds to organizations that work with people who struggle with post traumatic stress syndrome and post partum/pre natal depression.  I'm absolutely picking up these earrings ASAP.  True Red or Hennessy?   Maybe both. 

Andi also mentions her adorable adopted dog named Piper.  You can and should follow Piper on the Instagrams @Piper_the_Pitbull_.  I love our rescue dogs, Abbie and Charlie so Andi and I get all sappy over our little quirky rescues.  

So go thank a teacher for taking care of our babies like they are their own.  Because of teachers like Andi, I have hope that we will make change on this issue.  I'll be back soon with another episode but until then, keep taking the middle seat.


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Taking the Middle Seat next to Julius Hight

On episode 8 of Taking the Middle Seat, I talk to Julius Hight, founder of Reset GR.  He is a father, vocalist, and community activist.  He loves his city of Grand Rapids, MI but he also recognizes the change that needs to happen here.  He has walked through the criminal justice system and knows the disparity and injustice that exists there first hand.  I know you'll hear his passion and I hope you listen intently to his truth and his perspective.  

Follow Rest GR on Facebook

Reset GR needs our support!  You can give financially to the organization at their GoFundMe campaign.  Reset GR is currently working on getting their 501c3 status which costs money so any little donation helps.  Julius also said that they would love donations of computers or iPads or cell phones.  He does all of the coordination for Reset GR on his phone and he could use a computer.  So, if you have one to donate, email him directly at

Julius encouraged us all to learn, learn, learn and I love that!  A great place to start is the documentary film, The 13th.  You need to watch this film.  You can see the trailer here.  If you don't have Netflix, find someone who does and watch it together.  It is an experience we all need to have. 

Julius mentions GRABB which is Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses.  They have a great directory of African American owned businesses. 

He also mentions a bunch of news stories, local and national.  If you're like me, you might not be informed about those so I've gathered some links to get you up to speed.  You can learn about rapper Meek Mill's story here.  

You can learn more about NFL footbal player and activist, Colin Kaepernick at his website.  

We talked about several local Grand Rapids stories involving racism and racial injustice.  The story Julius mentions that happened in Forest Hills Schools is written about here.  

Grab a copy of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander.  This one is high on my list and I need to jump into it.  I hope Julius and Reset GR start that book club!

Have a comment about this episode?  Let's start a discussion!  You can connect with me on Facebook or Instagram.  I'd love for you to share the podcast with your friends.  The more the merrier. 

Oh, and I mention Citizen, the cool parrot glass restaurant that my husband I went to recently for our "C" alpha date.  If you're local, you should go!

I'll be back soon with another episode but until then, keep taking the middle seat.

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Taking the Middle Seat next to Carlos Kulas-Dominguez

On episode 7 of Taking the Middle Seat, I talk to Carlos Kulas-Dominguez.  This episode gets personal in the best way, you guys.  We have a great conversation about Carlos' journey that led him to acknowledging some addictions he had in his life and how he is now pursuing recovery and connection.  We talk about how our friendship wove through his story and how we both have learned from that.  We check off the Middle Seat boxes of acceptance, healing laughter and community.  

You'll hear that I have a cold during this episode so my voice sounds a little off.  But you know what is good for helping symptoms of a cold that Carlos is super knowledgeable about??? Essential oils!  You can find his fave brand here.

He's also a Thai massage practitioner so ask him about that too at his Facebook page.  Carlos does a great job at motivating and encouraging so go ahead and follow him.  Or better yet, send him a message.  Connection is what it is all about!

You can connect with me on Facebook or Instagram

I'll be back soon with another episode but until then, keep taking the middle seat.

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Taking the Middle Seat next to Val Cobbs - Episode 6

On episode 6 of Taking the Middle Seat, I talk to Val Cobbs, Senior Regional Manager at the National Kidney Foundation.  She shares about how NKF is addressing diabetes and high blood pressure, chronic conditions that are the major causes of kidney failure and disproportionately affect communities of color.  Val is a staunch advocate for wellness and community and breaking down barriers.  She teaches me with her every word and I hope you will listen to her wisdom.

Check out the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) and the Diabetes Improvement Program (DIP) at the National Kidney Foundation website.  You can get involved as a facilitator or a participant.  Share this resource with your people who may need it!

If you want to donate to the 2018 Kidney Walk that benefits NKF and happens on April 22, go here.  I'll be walking in honor of the living kidney donors I work with each and every day.

Val mentions her precious pit bull, King.  Speaking of animals, have you ever watched Pit Bulls and Parolees?  You should.  Do you follow Ludwik_guinea_pig on Instagram?  You should.  There, I made your life better.

Val shows up every single day in her life and makes this world a better place.  She continuously teaches me to do. the. work.  Even when I doubt my place in the work.  Even when I second guess if I know what to do.  She wisely tells us to do our work.  

I'll be back soon with another episode but until then, keep taking the middle seat.

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Taking the Middle Seat next to Christine Mwangi

On episode 5 of Taking the Middle Seat, I talk to Christine Mwangi, founder of Be A Rose.  She shares about how she is taking on the issue of period poverty.  We talk about how women have always made do - we have always managed but what if we could do better for each other.  Christine is hilarious and wise and I cannot wait for you to hear her words.

Check out Be A Rose here.  Then get involved!  You can connect with Be A Rose to volunteer, host a Party with a Purpose, donation drive, or shop their Amazon Wishlist.

I'm going to be a drop-off site for donated period products so bring them any time to the Taking a Middle Seat headquarters (ie. my front porch) - 1145 Eastwood Ave SE, Grand Rapids MI 49506.   Let's fill my porch with products to give to Be A Rose!!!

I've already learned so much from the Be A Rose Blog.  Check it out!

Curious about the reusable period products we mentioned?  Here they are: Thinx, Diva Cup, cloth pads (there are many types of these so explore away).  And one we didn't mention but one that intrigues me... Knixteen.  And I know you're dying to know my fave period products, right?  My fave brand is L.  You can order them from the website or find them at Target.

I'm super intrigued by period apps.  Check out this article for some app options.  I'd love to know if you're already using an app and which ones you love!

Christine loves tacos at Donkey.  Their beet margarita is a thing to behold.  

I'll be back soon with another episode but until then, keep taking the middle seat.

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Taking the Middle Seat next to Ruth Bell Olsson

On episode 4 of Taking the Middle Seat, I talk to Ruth Bell Olsson, a teacher, writer, activist and all around beautiful soul. She's shares about her work with movements and communities that are on the front line of the salient issues of our day.

List on iTunes.

I would love for you to learn more about the Grand Rapids Red Project and One Million Thumbprints.

Ruth and I share a love of big earrings.  My favorites can be purchased at Noonday Collection

Kombucha on tap!!??!! Awesome.  If you're a GR local, find it at the Early Bird.  Another one of my favorite local cafe's is Rising Grinds.  Check out their menu and mission!  Love it!

And a couple of books we mentioned.  The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas and Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff.  Or pick them up at an awesome local bookstore like Books and Mortar.  They'll order any book you want! 

Learn more about the Mystic Soul Conference and the rest of the organization here.      

Image is courtesy of One Million Thumbprints' website.

I'll be back soon with another episode but until then, keep taking the middle seat.

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Taking the Middle Seat next to Justine Braford

On episode 3 of Taking the Middle Seat, I talk to Justine Braford, a mom of 4 who has walked through losing two of her children. She's also a trail-blazing sex therapist and social worker.  She talks truth about sexual health, caring for people in their grief and the joy that is lash extensions.  We cover it all in this one.

Check out Justine's therapy practice and contact her here.

The incredible seminars Justine mentioned are called the Wonder of Women Series.  Register for them here.  You're not going to want to miss the next one on March 15! 

Lash extensions at Siren and Proper.  Treat yourself!

And a couple of books we mentioned.  Brene Brown's Braving the Wilderness and 30 Days of Sex Talks from Educate and Empower Kids.  

I'll be back soon with another episode but until then, keep taking the middle seat.


Taking the Middle Seat next to Emily Smith: Owner of Adored Boutique

Thank you so much for listening to Taking the Middle Seat Episode 2!!  (I call it episode one in the audio but I'm not a detail gal, people)  On this episode I talk to Emily Smith, owner of Adored Boutique.  She shares about her early professional life and how she did a 180 degree shift to what she's doing now.  She shares about how her faith shapes her path.  She talks about how Adored is not just a boutique.  It is a space creating change in the lives of women and communities locally and globally.  

Check out Adored Boutique's website here.

I also talk about Noonday Collection, one of my absolute favorite places to get ethically made accessories.

And we talk about MadCap Coffee.  Serious coffee folks, check them out.

Thank you to Dino Favale for my rad logo.  

I cannot wait to come back with Episode number 3.  Until then, keep taking the middle seat.

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Taking the Middle Seat next to ME

Episode 1 is recorded, you guys!  I did it!  I spoke words into a microphone and recorded sound that will eventually go out into the interwebs and universe.  Go ahead and listen in.  You'll get a taste for where I'm headed and why I'm doing this crazy thing.  I haven't quite figured out the podcasting platforms so for now, I'd love for you to take a listen right here and let me know what you think.

And here's the clip from About a Boy that I mention in the recording.  You need it in your life.  

Glass straws from Strawesome... also need these in your life.  

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