A Basic List: Favorite Podcasts

When I find someone that I really connect with or look up to, I love love love digging into the same places that person is learning from. I want to know the books they’re reading, the shows they’re watching, and the podcasts they’re listening to. So often if they’re being challenged by someone, that same person is going to challenge me too.

And I especially love podcasts because they are automatically downloaded on my phone when a new one comes out, and I can plug my earbuds in and listen while I’m doing other things around the house: getting ready in the morning, working in the kitchen, folding laundry, etc. 

Confession: so much of what we talk about on Table Talks With Joy is an overflow of what I’m learning and being challenged by from my own personal development. In other words, many times it’s ripped straight off some of my favorite podcasts.

So if you need are looking for some similar sources to be challenged by, here’s a peek on my iPhone and what I’m listening to:

For Spiritual Development:

My awesome church, TRIBE, meets on Sunday evenings. So that leaves Sunday mornings wide open for pancakes and watching as many of my favorite churches online as possible. And if I can’t catch them live, then I make sure to listen to the podcasts.

Church on the Move: This was my home church for almost two decades while I lived in Oklahoma. It’s a consistent source of great, meaty content. Their current series LOVE WELL is packed with challenging content. Parts 3 and 4 explain forgiveness and how the Bible tells Christians to handle truly evil people. I guarantee, it’ll make you squirm at times, but it will challenge you to approach these topics with a completely different view. ALSO, Earl McClellan was recently a guest speaker on the First Wednesday service (March 2017), and this message had me in tears–powerful word of encouragement. Go listen!

Life.Church: Craig Groeschel is quickly becoming one of my favorite pastors to listen to. His messages are always concise and challenging. He doesn’t mince words. I have been especially challenged by his recent series Divine Direction (based on his new book that I must get a copy of!).

North Point Community Church: When Andy Stanley starts a series, I challenge you to just try to write fast enough to keep up with the information pours out. I just finished “Your Church” which tells all about their mission and how they do things. It’s the perfect intro to decide if this is your kind of teaching. Next week he begins a series on David, and I can’t wait. I guarantee this will be well-researched and challenge you to your core.

For Personal Development:

Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast: This is specifically geared to leaders (and if you work with people, you’re a leader), and it is SOLID GOLD every time. I can’t say enough good about this podcast. My only complaint is that a new one only comes out once a month. I. Need. More.

The Kidmin Podcast: So for those of you who don’t know, I’m heavily involved in my church’s children’s ministry, and a lot of the vision and direction the kidmin takes is on my shoulders, so I’m looking for any quality source I can. The Kidmin Podcast is a newer one, but it’s been a wealth of inspiration and practical tips. If you’re in kidmin, check it out.

For Fun:

Read-Aloud Revival: I love all things children’s books, and this podcast is everything I can stand behind. Lead by a homeschool mama who’s in the trenches with me, this podcast talks to authors and other professionals in the children’s lit industry, and it just has fun. I learn about new books I want to read all the time. And the final few minutes are THE HIGHLIGHT of the show. Kids of all ages call in from across the country and give their personal favorite book recommendations and a short synopsis of why they like the books. I dare you to not smile while listening to some of these toddlers give their book recommendations.
What Should I Read Next? As if your to-read list needs MORE items added, right? Anne Bogel brings on an avid reader, spends some time getting to know him/her, and then the guest gives a list of 3 books he/she loves, 1 he/she hates, and what he/she is currently reading. Then Anne recommends 3 books the guest should read next. So fun.

I’ve got a few more fun ones on my list, but I want to thoroughly vet them a little better before I give a solid recommendation.



And if you need a tutorial for how to subscribe to podcasts on iTunes, check out my most recent Table Talk.


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The Problem With Plans

It’s moments after the New Year, and everyone is talking about goals and resolutions and focus words. Diets are starting, gyms are full, and your neighbor says hi as she jogs by each morning.

That’s all well and good for her, but you’re already juggling so much on your plate that you can’t imagine adding anything, goal or not. You’re just happy to keep everything on your plate and everyone around you semi-reasonably happy. You’ve got your job, your kids, your volunteer hours, your meal plans, your husband, your friends, your quiet time, your ___________. Any jogging neighbor would be flummoxed to have to juggle all that. She would grovel if she knew how much you were maintaining, and, she’d of course, toast your success and encourage you “Keep up the good work. You’re a model to society” if she knew how much you were maintaining.

There’s no room for goals, for plans. It’s all about survival of the fittest, right? . . . Right?

::cue crickets::

I think we all know there’s an inherent good in planning and making goals. But many of us have reasoned away why it’s good for others but not for us. Sure, we see the potential benefit, but then we value our organized chaos a little more, label ourselves as “eccentric,” and hush that still quiet voice that tries to argue otherwise.

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An Invitation to Mentorship

When I began The Mentor’s Table, my goal was to reach out to millennials and help mentor them as they navigated adulting. But the more I researched “millennials,” the more disparaging talks I heard about this generation born anytime between the 1980s and now. I don’t believe anyone is making a difference telling an entire generation how terribly they were raised and how inept they are. I remember growing up under the “Generation X” label and similar complaints being said about my generation. That label plus older adults telling me what was wrong with my friends and me did nothing to motivate me to want to change. It basically just made me angry and frustrated because I was being lumped in a group as opposed to treated as an individual. This labeling and analyzing a generation isn’t anything new–it’s just a different form of what was said before, except that now it’s mostly laden with technology blame. And I’m done with labels. So this site is not for “millennials” or “gen-x” women. It’s just for YOU.

You Are Not a Label; You Are an Individual

Rather than try to target a label, I want to reach out to you, the individual. If you (no matter when you were born) have moved out from your parents and are trying to do this
“adult” thing by mostly faking it ’til you make it, then I’d like to invite you to pull up a chair to my table. If you are sick of realizing how little you know about how to do some of the basic skills necessary to living on your own, skills like cooking nourishing food, managing a home, and establishing and maintaining meaningful relationships, then pull up a chair. If you are struggling with the intangibles–feeling frustrated or unfulfilled, constantly in strife, haven’t identified your purpose–then grab a warm mug of your favorite drink, and join the table.

Let me be clear. I will make no apologies for approaching this mentorship relationship from a Christ-follower perspective. Having a personal relationship with God, I have found consistency and peace in the worst of times, and I would love for you to experience that same peace and provision. So as we talk about home management, cooking, and especially matters of the heart, I will share my life lessons from a biblical perspective.

An Invitation to Mentor You

There’s an innate need in all of us for mentors, but mentors are hard to come by. I’m offering my time to you to try to do my part to fulfill the need for mentors. I know this doesn’t feel as personal as a living breathing human investing in your life, but there’s something to be said for the virtual nature of this mentorship relationship:

  • You can fit me into any schedule.
  • You can always refer back to articles at any time.
  • You can watch the live mentoring moments either when they broadcast live, or you can go back and watch the replay at your convenience.
  • Late at night or midday, The Mentor’s Table is extending to you an open invitation to come and sit with me for a few minutes so we can talk about life.

I won’t take your trust lightly. I know your time is valuable too. And if you ever find this table isn’t serving your needs, then I promise I won’t guilt you into staying. You always have the choice to remove yourself and find another table and mentor to sit under.

But First You Must COMMIT

Keep in mind, our culture thrives on non-commitment. So my first challenge to you is to commit for a period of time: six weeks? six months? “Just do it” as Nike says. But don’t sit around complaining to your friends or social media that life is hard and you wish you knew what you were doing or that you just feel like a victim of life’s punches. Turn your eyes inward, to your heart, and commit to change. Then do something about it. Maybe that “doing” is simply signing up for the live mentoring moments on Facebook and watching them weekly. Maybe it’s enrolling in a small group at your church (or maybe it’s attending church on a regular basis again). Maybe it’s something else. But until you commit your heart to change, you won’t see results.

It starts with committing your heart. Every time.




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Preventing Illness Over the Holidays (And a Free Printable Guide to Preventing Illness)

6 easy steps I can implement today to help prevent illness over the holidaysI don’t know about you, but I’m sick of being sick. Thanks to Timehop on Facebook, I realized last Christmas that my family had been sick every Christmas for the past three years. And even with that reminder and my intentions to not get sick again, it happened. We were sick Christmas week. Again.

The cycle has to stop. But it won’t stop unless I am intentionally healthier over the holidays. Given all my health knowledge (disclaimer: I am not a doctor. These are my conclusions from research I’ve done, but they are not meant to be prescriptive in any way. If you have a health need, please seek a professional), I know why we have been sick every Christmas. And even though I mean to be healthier the next season, I just get sucked up in all the cookie exchanges and Christmas parties and free sugary treat that can be found around every corner, and I start the same cycle again.

This year, my focus is on being intentional throughout the holiday season, starting now. Intentional means to follow a plan or a design. It requires forethought. So if I’m going to be intentional about staying healthy over the holiday season, then I need to come up with a plan, with action steps, that my family and I can take because it won’t just magically get better this year if I hope for it.

So I’ve put together six action steps that I know will help boost my immune system and set my body up for success health-wise this year. If your family struggles with staying healthy over the holiday, these are six steps you can also follow, or you can pick and choose from them based on what’s right for your family.  I know that I won’t see a change in this pattern of holiday sickness if I don’t implement different actions.

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Intentional Thankfulness

A reminder to speak thankfulness over your future AND free printable
What are you thankful for from this past year?


What are you thankful for that you believe will happen this next year?


These are the two questions my family members each had to answer before the Thanksgiving meal was served. My mom would prepare a little bowl by filling the bottom with unpopped popcorn kernels. We would pass the bowl around, each take two kernels, then pass it again, as one at a time, each person would put one kernel back in the bowl while sharing what he or she was thankful for that happened in the past year. When the bowl got back to the first person, it’d continue on one more round, this time each person putting in a kernel and naming something he or she was thankful would happen in the next year.


Let’s be honest. It’s pretty easy to come up with something we’re thankful for that has already happened. Why? Because it’s tangible. We saw it with our eyes, touched it with our hands, felt it with our hearts. But those intangibles . . .

Why are we so fixed on choosing to be thankful for what we see when there’s so much power in being thankful for and speaking out what we cannot yet see?


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3 Reasons You Can Excel in the Kitchen

Why you CAN excel in the kitchenPERFECTION IS UNATTAINABLE 

So often I hear women complain about their inability to master cooking or to incorporate a menu plan of healthier food that their families will actually eat. And I get it. It IS hard. I’m not denying that. But that’s not an excuse to give up and stop trying.

Growing up I always heard adults chirp at me, “Practice makes perfect,” while I faced failure and defeat in some new skill set I was attempting. (Grueling hours at the piano come to mind, oh, and the many many basketball games my toosh warmed the bench.) I began to hate that phrase, but then when I became a mom, I found myself using it on my own daughters! Oh, the shock and horror I felt, disgusted with myself, praying my girls wouldn’t resent me.

I knew the reason I said it, disgusting as it felt; it contained an element of a core value that I refuse to let my girls grow up without. I always tell my daughters, “The Abad girls don’t give up. We always try our hardest. We do not quit.”

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