On one of the podcasts I listen to, Emily P. Freeman wrapped up the year by featuring three short episodes on what she listened to, what she read, and what she watched this year. I have done end of the year posts about reading before, but I liked the idea of reflecting on what I watched and listened to as well. This is not a comprehensive list of everything I’ve listened to this year, but these are some of the highlights.
The Next Right Thing
Last year when I was in the midst of a move, I read Emily P. Freeman’s book The Next Right Thing and found it so nourishing. She focuses the book and the podcast on decision making, but it’s not a how-to book. Her tagline is “giving you space for your soul to breathe” to help with decision making. The 10 minute a day podcast is refreshing and calming yet makes you think and reflect. It’s perfect for the drive to work.
The Office Ladies Podcast
Jenna Fisher and Angela Kinsey were both on The Office and now they are doing a rewatch podcast talking about behind the scenes of the show. Although there is a lot of The Office that is raunchy and needs to be fast-forwarded, I have watched the first couple of seasons over and over because its understated humor cracks me up, plus the Jim/Pam storyline!
There are a couple of things I like about the podcast. I’m learning so much about how it takes a huge team and not just great actors to make a good show. Just like as a writer I’ve learned a lot about the publishing world, this show really teaches a lot about how a show is made. I also like the best friend banter between Jenna and Angela. It reminds me of me and my best friend.
Phone Calls from Friends
For eleven years I have talked with my best friend for an hour or two each week. She lives far away and we save up things to tell each other all week long. Now we are “so old” that we actually need to make a physical list so we don’t forget what we need to say! I also spent time talking to some local friends on the phone since in-person visiting was not possible.
The Happy Rant
The Happy Rant is the only other podcast that I listen to with some regularity. Ted Kluck, Ronnie Martin (yes, that Ronnie Martin for those Joy Electric fans out there), and Barnabas Piper talk about news of the week from the evangelical world. It makes me chuckle to listen to their conversation and their nicknames that they casually give to one another and to their talking points (Doug Wilson is too stuffy; Dougie Fresh? — much better). I can’t listen every week or else I get cynical, but I like to listen when the headline grabs my attention.
I Remember Nothing and Other Reflections
I listened to several audiobooks this year, but this is the only one worth mentioning. This collection of essays is by Nora Ephron. You may think you’ve never heard of her, but you have. She wrote When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail. I highly recommend her essay books! The way she describes the world makes me laugh out loud. My favorite essay in I Remember Nothing was her telling the story of how she became a journalist back in the time when women simply did not become journalists. The audiobook edition of this book is great because it is read by the author.
For my birthday this year, my brother gave me a vintage radio to fit in my vintage kitchen. I usually listen to NPR in the car, but now I’m able to listen more at home, too, while I’m cooking or washing the dishes. I definitely listen to NPR less in an election year since some shows are more biased than others, but I like NPR in general because they report the details on the big stuff and include lots of human interest stories to show how the big stuff impacts individuals. They also report about global events, not just the United States. Here’s a post I wrote about NPR several years ago, How NPR Softened My Conservative Christian Heart.
This year was the first year that two of my girls were in marching band. I heard them practicing their songs over and over again. It was joy to listen to the entire marching band, too! Here’s their field show if you are interested. My girls are in the pit on the bells, chimes, and marimba. My son picked up the guitar this year. His bedroom is next to ours and we could hear him strumming late into the night. My youngest plays flute and she’s not at the point yet to just pick it up and be able to play around, but we hear her practicing. It’s a joy to hear them all learning and playing with music!
I also got a chance to play some music this year, too. Early on in quarantine, when we had virtual only church, the worship team was not able to be together in person, so the pianist and his wife did a lot of videos for worship and asked my husband and I to do a few, too. I don’t normally do any worship team stuff for church so this was a great change of pace. I played the guitar and sang and my husband played the mandolin and sang. I had no calluses on my fingers anymore since it had been so long since I played guitar so I said, “I’m not going to practice. Let’s just play it and it is was it is!” Our talented piano player also put together an Easter and Christmas choir video, too, which was encouraging to listen to. A reminder of our unity while we were not able to be together in person.
My Kids’ Online Classes
Since my kids are attending virtual classes for half the week, I get to be a fly on the wall listening in to their classes. I am so grateful for their teachers who do a fantastic job with the kids and making the best of a hard situation. But it’s great to be a fly on the wall and listen in to their classes. My kids’ teachers really love teaching and kids and care about them and their subject. And I learned a couple things, too, especially about the electoral college and beginners German.
The downside to having the kids at home for virtual school half the week is there is no quiet when I am trying to write. So I’ve leapt on the bandwagon of listening to classical music with headphones so I can focus on writing. My favorite music is from a YouTube channel called HalidonMusic and this one is my favorite to listen to.
What did you listen to this year? Audiobooks? Music? Podcasts? Stuff in real life? Comment below!
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