What do you value most in life? Is it your family? Your relationships? Your faith? We all have different answers to this question, but for most of us, the things that are most important are likely not the material possessions or financial/occupational/educational achievements that society deems worthy of our time and attention. Sadly, it is easy to become so wrapped up in the minutia and practicalities of life that we lose focus of the things that matter most. Fortunately, there are resources that can steer us back in the right direction. I know that for me, sometimes all it takes is a well-timed article or poignant podcast to take my focus off the tediousness of daily life and redirect my attention towards my core values. Here are three podcasts that encourage and inspire me.
The Art of Simple Podcast, Hosted by Tsh Oxenreider
Tsh (pronounced “Tish”) Oxenreider is the fun, down-to-earth host of The Art of Simple podcast, and the founder of a blog by the same name. Tsh is a strong advocate for minimalism and simple living, a theme that is a common thread throughout her podcast. Tsh is joined in each episode by one of a handful of cohosts, all of whom are also popular bloggers. They discuss everything from homeschooling and child rearing, to favorite reads and personality types. (To date, my favorite episode is Tsh’s conversation with Enneagram aficionado Leigh Kramer – I just can’t get enough Enneagram and Myers Briggs talk!) The conversations are comfortable and laid back, and I feel as though Tsh and her cohosts are sitting around my kitchen table, talking with me while I prepare dinner. The Art of Simple doesn’t usually tackle hard-core topics, but it is fun and lighthearted, a great way to take my mind off the heavier issues of my day.
What Really Matters, Hosted by Vicky and Jen
The mantra of What Really Matters is that it is a podcast about “making life simple so you can enjoy what really matters.” Hosts Vicky and Jen interview experts on everything from nutrition, cooking, and self-care, to parenting, finances, and technology. Their most popular series is “The Big O” series, in which they talk with organizational expert Monica Ricci about how to organize your home, time, finances, and every aspect of your life. The experts featured on What Really Matters are always extremely knowledgeable in their fields of expertise, and Vicky and Jen do a great job with extracting a great deal of information from their interviews while also keeping the podcast fun and entertaining. Vicky and Jen have recorded more than 300 episodes, and their podcast archives are filled with valuable resources for helping you do exactly what they advertise: simplify your life so you can focus on the things that matter most.
Focus on the Family Daily Broadcast, Hosted by Jim Daly
I was first introduced to Focus on the Family through Adventures in Odyssey, a family-friendly radio drama that was one of the highlights of my childhood. I definitely plan to introduce my own children to Adventures in Odyssey one day, but until them I am learning as much as I can about relationships, parenting, and living a Christ-filled life by listening to Focus on the Family’s daily broadcast. Hosted by Focus president Jim Daly, the daily broadcast can be heard on several radio stations, and is also available for download in iTunes. Each day, Daly and his guests (usually pastors, therapists, and family experts) address family-themed topics from a Christian perspective. Focus’s mission is to help families thrive, and their broadcast is one of many resources dedicated to improving marriages, supporting parents, and improving the lives and relationships of people in all stages of life. The Focus on the Family broadcast has provided many invaluable lessons for my own marriage, and I will continue to be a useful tool as I journey into motherhood.
Podcasts themselves might not be one of things I value most in life (although I must admit, they’re pretty high up there!); but they can definitely help to keep me on track, pointing me toward what’s important and helping me to simplify and improve my life. Have you found podcast to be a positive resource in your life? Do you have any that you would add to this list?