These are a few of my favorite.. podcasts

2016 is almost at a close and, while I have plenty to say about this past year, I wanted to continue the theme of sharing things that brought me joy or new depth in 2016. For me, podcasts were a big part of that. They continue to be a source of inspiration, information, and depth and I hope you enjoy some of the favorites that came to mind.

Not all of these episodes aired this year but here are some of my favorites from the past couple of years, nonetheless. Podcasts are rarely a place I go for lighthearted, gameshow theme entertainment. Just keep that in mind with your listen. Most of these are powerful and inspiring, but probably not a cheap thrill to listen to while doing seventy other things (There are a couple lighthearted ones in there, though, so pick the listen according to your mood).

note: podcast name is mentioned first, followed by the particular episode recommended.
if any of the podcast players fail to embed, you can always click the podcast title and it will take you straight to the website of that episode to listen.

1. Radiolab: “Update: 23 Weeks 6 Days”

As a mama of a baby who was born at 28 weeks, hearing the story of this baby born at 23 weeks and 6 days and the journey she and her family went through, I couldn’t help but connect. I wept. I laughed in amazement. It was one of the most, if not the most, beautiful podcast stories I’ve heard.

brief description from their site:
“The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or NICU, is a land of emotional and medical limbo. Kelley, Tom, and their daughter Juniper got stranded in this limbo for months, fighting to survive, and finally get to the next chapter of their lives.”

2. Radiolab: “The Cathedral”

Heartwrenching, strange, powerful, and incredibly deep, this is the most moving podcast episode I’ve listened to. Not for the faint of heart, it is a moving homage to one of the most interesting stories of grief and processing loss I’ve heard of.

brief description from their site:
“Ryan and Amy Green were facing the unfaceable: their youngest son, Joel was diagnosed with terminal cancer after his first birthday. Producer Sruthi Pinnamaneni tells the story of how Ryan and Amy stumble onto an unlikely way of processing their experience fighting alongside Joel: they decide to turn it into a video game. In the end, they find themselves facing what might be, for a game designer or a parent, the hardest design problem ever.”


3. Modern Love: “To Fall In Love, Do This”

Ok, here we are.. something a little more lighthearted. Modern love is a podcast that takes stories and gives them to actors to read aloud. This essay is hopeful, bright, funny, and gives me joy when thinking about love and our great desire to tell our own and hear one another’s stories.

brief description from their site:
“When Mandy Len Catron ended a turbulent, decade-long relationship, she wanted to take an entirely different approach to finding love. She abandoned her romantic ideals and, instead, turned to science — specifically, to a psychological experiment designed to increase intimacy between two people.”

click the image below to head to their site for a listen. or look the podcast & episode up on itunes.


4. The Liturgists: “Black and White: Racism in America”

I’m not even going to elaborate. If you live in the US, You need to listen to this powerful and honest discussion on racism in America. Enough said.

click the image below to head to their site for a listen. or look the podcast & episode up on itunes.


5. The Liturgists: “The Enneagram”

For anyone curious about the Enneagram, a personality type study, this episode is complex enough to teach you something interesting and helpful enough to get the beginners interested in this fun rabbit hole of self-exploration.

click the image below to head to their site for a listen. or look the podcast & episode up on itunes.


6. The Mystery Show: “Case #4 Vanity Plate”

In this show the host, Starlee Kine, solves real life mysteries. Mysteries to do with belt buckles and actors. She’s funny, her voice is adorable and fun to listen to, and this particular episode was so strange I had to keep listening to see if she could solve the mystery.


7. On Being: “Mary Karr – Astonished by the Human Comedy”

I could give about a zillion On Being episodes because this podcast has been formative in my growth ever since we quit social media. But for now, I will share just a few. Mary Karr is a writer and this episode makes me fall deeply in love with her.

8. On Being: “Elizabeth Gilbert – Choosing Curiosity Over Fear”

If you’ve read Elizabeth’s latest book, “Big Magic” you should love this interview with her. If not, you will probably still love and glean plenty from it.

9. On Being: “Kevin Kling – The Losses and Laughter We Grow Into”

This guy’s story is insane and his brave resilience and humor toward life are incredibly inspiring. I hope you love his perspective as much as I did.


10. On Being: “Martin Sheen – Spirituality of Imagination”

Yes! Martin Sheen, the actor. Or President Bartlett, as he is known in our house. But this interview was so moving and I found myself so touched by his faith journey and story that I cried. I’ve listened to it many times and I still cry every time. He’s a good man with a good story.

And although I was going to give you the top ten, I can’t ignore our own podcast. Although we have no production team (apart from three little boys), we have fun whenever we are able to make it out to our little vintage shasta and record an episode. This is my favorite one from this past year.

11. The Boredom Experiment: “Lifeguard”

A throwback to summer and simpler times, in this episode we go to the pool and I interview one of the lifeguards who has a unique spin on cell phone usage and device addiction in our culture.

Alright, there it is. My top 11 podcasts that are still sicking with my at the end of this year. Not my favorites of all time, necessarily, but ones I hope you enjoy and connect to in some way.

Here comes the new year!


show hide 2 comments

ash parsons Kelly!
I love this.. and I should probably come spend a week with you and you can impose all of your wonderful enneagram knowledge on me. I really am so curious about it and want to learn more. 🙂 much love to y’all!!December 28, 2016 – 9:29 am

Kelly I love new podcast recommendations! Ray said your exact paragraph summary of The Liturgist podcast after he listened to that. And yes! to The Road Back to You — we are so so so far down the Enneagram rabbit trail. Like, a dozen books on our nightstands.December 27, 2016 – 11:46 pm

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