It’s a crossover event! On April 20th, the longest and shortest running Episcopal podcasts* took over Middle Way at the Church of Bethesda-By-The-Sea in Palm Beach, Florida. Listen as Popping Collars co-hosts, Greg Knight and Betsy Carmody, join us, Eli and Laura, to discuss how podcasting has informed the way we think about faith and life.
*don’t quote me (Laura) on this, but it is probably true… it feels true
About Popping Collars:
A podcast where priests, pastors, ministers, and religious thinkers from around the country make meaning about what people are binge watching, tweeting about, trolling on message boards, and celebrating on blogs.
“We had similar calls to nothing.” 2:11
“My podcast hosts… are my colleague group.” 10:04
“I see the podcast as an extension of my social group, in a way, and so I go, what do I want to talk with my friends about that I’m not hearing them talk about that I know we want to talk about?” 18:24
“It’s all about incorporation, right? It’s not about box over here with Jesus and box over here with rest of life. All of this stuff is linked together.” 20:24
“The thing that I love about the podcast is being able to talk with my friends, my smart friends, and hearing them say smart things.” 23:51
Today’s episode features Michelle Diffenderfer, a woman who wears many hats, from a wife and mother of two teen girls, to an entrepreneur/President of her law firm, and co-chair of West Palm Beach Mayor’s Task Force for Racial and Ethnic Equality. In her busy life, she’s found a balance of rest and adventure as a way to awaken your soul.
“My goal was to reconnect with friends, to travel and try different things, and just be out of my control zone.” 16:30
“At some point you just have to let go and know that the world will continue without you.” 17:42
“The world is good. Humans are good.” 24:42
Michelle Diffenderfer is a woman who wears many hats and earned many achievements. She’s a wife and the mother of two teen girls, an entrepreneur and a partner in her law firm where she focuses on environmental law and working with the local tribal nations, and a volunteer, using her time and skills in many spheres: from baking for her church’s Spring Festival to co-chairing West Palm Beach (FL) Mayor’s Task Force for Racial and Ethnic Equality. In many ways, she is your typical, busy, burning-the-candle-at-both-ends, American woman. With one very important skill that many of us lack – she knows how to rest.
Christian Taylor, Co-host of the Holy Post Podcast weaves stories. In this episode, she shares tales of her life’s adventures and how they led her to jump whole-heartedly into creating a documentary (which she had never done before) about a French girl’s celebration, along with many other characters, of D-Day in Normandy–All because she was truly willing.
“That journey in itself – being married for 28 years, having children – really stretched me.” 17:44
“When I feel the Lord is speaking to me, I move forward in faith knowing that He will continue either opening the doors or He will close them.” 25:35
When we are in the vine and we are producing fruit, what happens? He cuts us. He prunes us. It’s painful. What happens to a tree that doesn’t bear any fruit? He destroys it, right? Cuts it down. Also painful. Both are painful. What pain are we going to choose? 36:10
Christian Taylor is an actress, voice over artist, producer, writer, director, wife, and mother. Originally from HGTV’s now famous Home Town of Laurel, MS, Christian began her career as an actress performing and touring around the country in productions ranging from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing to an adaptation of Orwell’s Animal Farm. As a voice over artist, she can be heard on television, radio and internet commercials, audio books, corporate videos, documentaries, or video games and owns Taylor Productions, an entertainment production company. She and her husband of 28 years, Jeremy, now call Wheaton, IL home and raised their four boys there. That is also where she met VeggieTales creator, Phil Vischer, and pastor/ writer, Skye Jethani, and where they began TheHoly Post podcast in 2012. Christian’s most recent venture is the creation of the documentary film, The Girl Who Wore Freedom, which tells of a love story between the people of Normandy, France and the American GIs who liberated them on D-Day through their embodiment of the American values of freedom, liberty, and the defense of the poor and oppressed. It is a love story that continues to this day.
Lent isn’t just another New Year’s resolution. It’s all about intention. On this episode, Laura treats listeners to Lenten history complete with “Fun Facts.” The women share some of their Lenten routines of the past and Eli teaches a prayer practice that you can actually PRACTICE through listening to the podcast.
“This is why in the Book of Common Prayer Sundays during Lent are referred to as ‘The First Sunday IN Lent.’ They are in Lent but not of Lent…just as we are in the world but not of it.” 9:28
“‘Quarantine’ actually means ‘forty days of isolation. And so Lent and Quarantine are the same thing… we have been in perpetual Lent.” 14:13
“I miss cheese.” 24:19
“My mid-life spirituality and my Lenten practices are giving me more permission to just screw it up.” 48:28
Tiffany VanDeMark is a delightfully inspiring and sassy woman who is thriving in mid-life. In this episode, Tiffany shares parts of her life’s journey of being in an abusive marriage. She shares her story to let others know they are not alone; they are not the only one.
Listen as she shares some of how she healed, began loving herself, and forgave those who hurt her. Hear what it meant to her forgive herself.
Then, after the podcast, check out Tiffany’s personal coaching to find your magic again, “I found my voice and now I am on a mission to empower you to find yours.”
“In sharing my story, it helped heal me and to move forward with my life.” 8:55
“We’ve forgotten our Why. We’ve either spent our whole lives married, raising children, and then we get to 50 and we’re like, ‘Now what?’… they’ve forgotten their why, forgotten their mission and their magic.” 19:04
“If you can’t stand up for yourself, stand up for a sister.” – 38:40
“Midlife equals best life.” – 47:57
Tiffany VanDeMark may be most recognized as the acclaimed fitness trainer who got aging WWE superstar Ric Flair back into shape – and eventually became his third wife. But Tiffany’s amazing story didn’t start with her marriage to Flair or end with their divorce. Beyond being a life and fitness coach, Tiffany today is also the founder/CEO of VanDeMark Partners, author of the just published Inside the Ring: From Tap Out to Champion, and a dynamic motivational speaker who lights up a crowd.
Jamie, back for the second half of her life story, shares with us the loves of her life, her black family. We know this is not an easy topic. Both Eli and Laura found the conversation to be enlightening, spiritual, comforting and challenging. What more could we hope for…on this episode, we hear that it’s ok to fail but we MUST be on the anti-racist journey. Jamie is kind, compassionate, and serious about her life’s calling. Please take the time to listen. It’s worth the time. Thanks so much for joining us for this poignant episode.
“Everybody doesn’t have the same advantages. In fact, people are disadvantaged by our advantages.” 5:13
“Believe people when they tell you what they are experiencing. It is often traumatic, it is persistent, it is life-long trauma.” 16:16
“That’s why it’s not useful to stay in the shame place because look at all of this – there’s so much to learn, come together, and hope, and healing. I mean, there’s all of that, too!” 25:43
“You gotta run with your allies.” 35:46
“Silence is not neutral. Neutral isn’t a thing. You’re contributing to pain. Period.” 39:37
Jamie lives just outside of Boston with her husband, Jay, and kids, Grace (13) and Tyson (12). She has been a disability rights activist for 25 years and is a national trainer for equal opportunity and nondiscrimination in employment for the National Disability Institute. With a MA degree in Deaf Studies, Jamie is fluent in American Sign Language and has been a part of the Deaf community for 20 years. Five years ago, she founded DEAFinitely, a non-profit organization that empowers Deaf and hearing youth from multi-lingual, cultural, racial, and socio-economic diversity to spark social change through dance and American Sign Language. While she has been a member of a black family for 17 years now, her personal anti-racism awareness and work began in earnest when her children first became the targets of racism as young children and have only accelerated since the murder of George Floyd. She is a passionate advocate and ally for all of the communities her life touches and who touch and teach her.
Eli and Laura are finally back at it. Podcasting every fortnight (look it up) with some cool folks. During this episode, the two chat about why they were gone, how Christmas was different this year, and how they are navigating the new year. Come on in and be true.
“New Year’s is a reset point. And it’s nice that everyone around you is kind of having that same reset point. That makes a huge difference.” 14:10
“When you’re in the middle of it, you can’t always see why or see how but you look back and you’re like, ‘Oh my goodness!'” 21:18
“My goals were becoming my regrets.” 25:00
“Water doesn’t agitate itself.” 27:56
“Your body carrie that [trauma] in its cells.” 36:12
Jamie Robinson is Bipolar, but she is so much more. One of the most inspiring mid-life women Eli knows and counts as a friend. In this episode (which we recorded three times and still haven’t been able to get the complete audio), we’ll explore Jamie’s life with a mental health disorder and how she has embraced it for the good. With a number of technical problems on this episode, we are only able to tell about one third of Jamie’s story, so she’ll be back soon to share the rest. You’ll even have to wait for our two Final Questions…they FAILED in the audio. Ah well. Enjoy and we’ll be back soon.
“Birth stories we tell, they’re very precious. All the details of birth. Death is like that, too. It’s precious.” 5:38
“’Well, didn’t you get help?’ And I was like, ‘No, because I was excelling in other ways.’” 9:23
“Bipolar isn’t only challenge and strife and lack of sleep and panic attacks and stigma and all of this. There’s other things there that are intertwined in who I am: my passion, my ability to be a really strong and effective advocate, my ability to learn and become fluent in sign language.” 16:05
“Pain is pain is pain.” 18:06
Jamie lives just outside of Boston with her husband, Jay, and kids, Grace (13) and Tyson (12). She has been a disability rights activist for 25 years and is a national trainer for equal opportunity and nondiscrimination in employment for the National Disability Institute. With a MA degree in Deaf Studies, Jamie is fluent in American Sign Language and has been a part of the Deaf community for 20 years. Five years ago, she founded DEAFinitely, a non-profit organization that empowers Deaf and hearing youth from multi-lingual, cultural, racial, and socio-economic diversity to spark social change through dance and American Sign Language. As a person living and thriving with a mental health disability, Jamie is an impassioned advocate for celebrating differences and using them to drive one’s life work.
We are blessed to have June Sory join us for Episode 3 of the podcast. She is a Counselor and Clinical Mental Health Counselor with 20 years of experience working with individuals and couples. Our conversation with June touches on many topics that are pertinent to “these times.” Primarily, it shines a light on a few challenges of midlife. She has great insight and her down-to-earth manner will put you at ease. Grab a cuppa or glassa and join us for Episode 3 of Being Truly.
“Now we’re starting to say, ‘Wait a minute. All of this we have is a gift and we have to be grateful for it.'” 5:08
“Our childhood writes our software.” 13:51
“Love will not sustain a relationship. We have to nurture it, pay attention to it, take care of it.” 19:53
“Who’s the dude who wrote that rule? And why don’t we have a conversation with him about whether or not that’s working for you.” 26:30
“Because we are caretakers, we will give up self for others constantly… Self care is not selfish.” 29:02
“Give yourself permission to be you. Because you’re the best at being you.” 31:28
June Sory is a psychotherapist and counselor based in West Palm Beach, FL. She is a member of the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC), the American Counseling Association (ACA), and the Association for Marriage and Family Therapists (AMFT). She is nationally certified as a Counselor and Clinical Mental Health Counselor and licensed by the states of CT and FL.
Anna LeBaron is the author of The Polygamist’s Daughter: A Memoir, the story of her life in and escape from a violent polygamist cult led by her father. In this episode, Eli and Laura talk with Anna about the trials and abuse she endured during those years and how her escape at the age of 13 began a process of healing and growth built on a foundation of faith in God – God the proud Father, God the nurturing Spirit, and God the trustworthy friend and sibling embodied in Jesus. In a future episode, we will continue our conversation with Anna and delve more deeply into her work as a book launcher coach, social media coach, and personal growth activist.
“It was like the enemy knew who I was and said, ‘We can’t have that.'” 9:45
“If you were planted in hard soil, you’re not alone. He is with you.” 18:20
“If you’re alive and breathing and listening to this, He’s not done with you.” 28:37
“Freedom isn’t the absence of someTHING… it’s the presence of someONE.” 31:35
“I can dance like a crazy person and love every second of it.” 39:34
One of more than fifty children of infamous, polygamist cult leader, Ervil LeBaron, Anna LeBaron endured abandonment, horrific living conditions, child labor, and sexual grooming. At age thirteen, she escaped the violent cult, gave her life to Christ, and sought healing. Her book, The Polygamist’s Daughter: A Memoir, was published in 2017. A gifted speaker, social media coach, book launch coach, and personal growth activist, Anna is passionate about helping others walk in freedom. She lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and loves being Mom to five grown children and Yaya to her first grandchild.