Taking the Middle Seat next to Rachel Pieh Jones

On Episode 43 I’m talking to Rachel Pieh Jones (Instagram, Facebook). Rachel is a writer living in Djibouti which is in East Africa, and is bordered by Somalia, Ethiopia and Yemen. Of writing, she says, “I can’t help it.” It is her work. Rachel is originally from Minnesota. She moved with her husband in 2003 and has lived abroad since. She has written several books (Welcome to Djibouti and Finding Home) and many published articles including an interview she did with her daughter that is great! She has a brand new book coming out in October 2019, Stronger Than Death.: How Annalena Tonelli Defied Terror and Tuberculosis in the Horn of Africa. Please purchase it. It sounds FASCINATING. Rachel also writes the kind of newsletter you will WANT to read, Stories From the Horn.

Until September 22, you can enter to win a hard copy of her book. Here are the details… “Go to Net Galley and download the book https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/book/162744

Write a review and post it publicly by SEPTEMBER 22. Blog, newsletter, Facebook.

Paste the link to the post here

And voila! Entered to win.

Rachel talks about living cross-culturally and cross-spiritually. Rachel is so wise and wonderful. I cherish her social media posts. I think her perspective is so rich with nuance and complexity because she has such a depth and breadth of knowledge. Since we recorded, Rachel has shared that her thyroid cancer has returned so she sometimes speaks to living with cancer in her writings as well. I know Rachel would love your prayers, and maybe even more than that, she would love for us to be curious about each other, care for each other, and honor each other as I know she encourages us to do.

Some of my favorite resources that go along with this conversation are: No White Saviors, an Instagram account that talks about white privilege and white saviorism. (If you are a person who holds white privilege and decide to follow this account, please LISTEN, listen, listen. Do not comment.) Imperfect Courage, a book by Jessica Honegger (Episode 19)

If you’d like to follow along with what I’m up to, head to Facebook or Instagram. I’m also a therapist at Grand Rapids Specialty Therapy. Until next time, keep taking the middle seat.

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Taking the Middle Seat next to Toni Rain

On Episode 42, I’m talking with Toni Rain (Facebook). She does 1,000,000 amazing things INCLUDING writing a book called I Was Supposed to be Nothing, creating her own skin, hair and body products, and modeling. She talks about leaving a written legacy for her nieces and nephews and showing them how there is strength in vulnerability. I absolutely LOVED talking with Toni and speaking into the spaces that people shy away from. We talk about sex as self care (clutch your pearls), gender roles, relationships, friendships, race, business and so much more. The short chapters are GREAT for a quick daily inspirational read or a book you read with a group of friends. You will love her and her book! (and keep an eye out for the next book, hint, hint)

Toni lives her life to the fullest and loves so many things. She loves meditation, juicing (local people head to Malamiah Juice Bar!), herbal tea, walking in nature. Her products are available at local shops Nourish Your Curls and Reflections so go grab them and pamper yourself. I also mention a podcast that I love, Therapy for Black Girls. It’s SO great! If you’re looking for a therapist, TBG offers a great directory too.

Toni Rain, author

Toni Rain, author

Taking the Middle Seat next Kendra McNeil and We Are Lit

On episode 34, I’m talking to Kendra McNeil, owner of the online bookstore We Are Lit (Facebook, Instagram). Kendra is an avid reader and an incredible resource for all things books. We Are Lit is a stunning and carefully curated collection of multicultural books. Kendra highlights books from young adult, to sci-fi, to historical fiction, to nonfiction and everywhere in between. Her love of books is apparent in every aspect of her business.

Kendra talked about how she jump started her business after a conversation with Linda Otterbridge with HASU (Hook a Sister Up). Since then she has gotten out of her introvert ways to do many events and pop up shops. You can find her regularly at the Downtown Market.

Another way to connect to We Are Lit is through Libro.fm. This is an audiobook service that you can subscribe to AND support a local bookstore. I love this so much. Be sure to choose We Are Lit as your local book shop! If you’re local to GR and looking for a book club, check out Women Who Read. Kendra and Toresa Blakely from In Life Now Talk Media started the group and it is going strong.

Kendra talked about one of her favorite book shops, Source Booksellers in Detroit. On her last visit, she picked up My Ideal Bookshelf (If you order, make sure you order from We Are Lit!).

Kendra is doing a story time at the Dream Big Fair that is put on by the Dream Big Sister Circle. This event is May 4.

Kendra loves purchasing special things from women business owners. She loves Rock Candy Earrings & Things by Della Marie Levi. Della made her a personalized wine tumbler that says “bookish” on it. So cute! Kendra also loves wine, and live music especially if said wine and music are on vacation, travelling with her friends or family.

Kendra McNeil with We Are Lit

Kendra McNeil with We Are Lit

Taking the Middle Seat next to Jessica Honegger

On Episode 19 of Taking the Middle Seat, I'm talking to Jessica Honegger, founder and co-CEO of Noonday Collection.  She's an author of the recently released book, Imperfect Courage: Live a Life of Purpose by Leaving Comfort and Going Scared.  She is also a podcast host at The Going Scared Podcast.  Jessica is the real deal.  She's genuine and thoughtful and hilarious and brave and I had so much fun learning from and her and talking with her. (Jessica on Facebook and Instagram)

Noonday Collection is a socially conscious fashion brand that is making an incredible impact in the world.  Shop with my fave Noonday ambassador, Shari Meyering!  The Fall line launched recently and you guys... all. the. big. earrings.  I could scoop them all up!  If I had to pick one favorite pair, it would be these.

After you put on those big Noonday earrings, I'm telling you, you NEED THIS BOOK.  It is the best encouragement and motivation and call to action.  You will resonate with the stories.  You'll be moved to connect.  And you'll be readied for action.  Jessica will be in Grand Rapids this week!!!  Check out the event and get tickets here!

*** I want to encourage listeners to purchase any recommended books from We Are Lit, a Grand Rapids local and woman-owned business. If she doesn't have the book right on her website, you can just request it on the website here.

Jessica mentions Be The Bridge, a Christian racial reconciliation movement.  Learn more about Latasha Morrison and her incredible work on this podcast episode with Jen Hatmaker.

Jessica's favorite things: Noonday, of course (here's the coolest necklace that she wears a lot), yellow as an accent color (here she is rocking the yellow at her book launch party), her signature scent Santal 33, and Fireclay Tile.  

Go take the middle seat, dear listener!  You'll love the magic you find there.

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