2020 was hard, but it was also incredible in so many ways. I feel fortunate that I had what I would consider a good year, though my heart has grieved with so many who have lost loved ones or dealt with the struggle of job loss or depression. It’s been a collective struggle, but there were still many highlights and I love reading them from others, so here are mine.
I don’t want to overthink it, so here are a few of the top 5s that came to mind. Because I’m not great at keeping lists in real time, I may have to amend this. I’d love to hear your Top 5s as well, friends!
Top 5 “Worth Your Time” Podcast Episodes
The podcast went from weekly to bi-weekly in 2020 — which was a much needed change for me. I had some incredible guests and feel honored that each of them shared their very personal stories with me. Here are the Top 5 episodes for the year and I have not doubt you’ll be uniquely inspired by each of them.
- Rachel Barkley: Fighting a Spinal Tumor with a Newborn
- Safe Haven Baby Boxes: Founder Monica Kelsey
- Childhood Cancer: Parenting in Faith with Angelise Schraeder
- Mary DeMuth: Sexual Abuse and the Church
- Rachel Welcher: The Damage of Purity Culture
Top 5 Pieces of Writing
Wow. That’s what I have to say about my year in writing. I hustled and pitched and learned and wiped up my ego from the floor a few times. It was a lot of work doing all the publishing I did in 2020 and I don’t think you’ll see this turnout in 2021. It became so stressful and for now, I have decided to focus on my book writing. But I’m thankful that God gave me the opportunity to write these important pieces.
- Wall Street Journal: Thank God, American Churches are Dying
- Christianity Today: After Stillbirth, Families Search for Dignity
- New York Times: I’m a Conservative Christian Environmentalist
- USA Today: Ready to Engaged in Real Conversations About Racism?
- Verily Magazine: Rediscovering Neighborliness During the COVID Pandemic
Top 6-ish Books
You know I couldn’t stop at 5. Clearly, I really don’t do fiction these days! I’m always doing so much research and just am drawn to learning through non-fiction. I probably read 50-60 books this year and here are 5 that stand out!
- Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski (Read my thoughts on it here — scroll down to find). If you are a lady, I say read it!
- Another Gospel by Alisa Childers. Questions about progressive Christianity or some of the questionable beliefs that have gotten popular lately? Alisa has me getting into Apologetics for the first time!
- Godland by Lyz Lenz. This was just a gorgeously written book delving into faith in Middle America. Author is politically liberal in perspective and her insight/writing is top notch.
- Quitter by Erica C. Barnett. I love a good quit lit book and this one was one of the best I’ve read. You’ll be rooting for Erica until the end.
- Holy Envy by Barbara Brown Taylor. My second BBT book and her writing is incomparable. This book will make you think and it’s insights and writing are absolutely gorgeous.
- The Moon is Round by Molly Huffman. A beautiful memoir about the loss of her mother and son, this book is one of redemption and the hope of Jesus. So well done. You can read my review here (scroll down) & listen (the first half you can barely here me, but her audio is great) to my interview with Molly here.
- *Bonus: Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard. I would say every single Christian should add to their “to read “list!
Top 5 Podcasts
I wish I were organized enough to grant you with favorite podcast episodes, but I am not. Here are five I enjoyed, though there were may more!
- The Bible Recap: The Bible Recap has been my daily go-to as I read through the full Bible in one year and I highly recommend if you have that goal.
- Relatable with Allie Beth Stuckey: The sweet spot of faith and politics for conservative/moderate leaning Christians. Allie does her homework and has a gift for expressing
- Church Politics Podcast: I think every Christian should be listening to this podcast from the And Campaign. They speak and think critically about every political and policy issue from a traditional Christian worldview. I have been moved and convicted more times than I can count. Subscribe.
- The Missionary: A one-season podcast about Renee Bach, a Christian missionary serving in Uganda. She was blamed for the deaths of over 100 children that were in the care of the non profit she founded called Serving His Children. Fascinating.
- Armchair Expert: No one tops Dax and Monica for me. Their insight and interviews are top notch. I do pick and choose a bit n guests (they have 2 episodes a week), but nearly always come away entertaining, informed or inspired. Dax’s “Episode 7” discussing his relapse was amazing.
Top 5 TV Shows
- The Queen’s Gambit
- The Crown
- A Teacher
Random 5 Lessons Learned
There is no way this top 5 is the real top 5, but it’s what is coming to mind right now, so you can consider the random 5 rather than top.
- I can be content staying home a lot more.
- Not drinking alcohol is better. Period.
- It really does help to eat leafy greens every day.
- A healthy fear of God is important.
- I actually do like yoga and it is one of the most grounding, peace-building practices I have.
- BONUS: Finding little ways to incorporate pleasure into your day is vital. Like, only use the fluffy bath towels. If you don’t like the old ones, throw them out. Why are you still using them when fluffy makes you feel better?
Top 5 People I’ve Enjoyed Following This Year
So many good ones I could mention, but here are the ones that come to mind for me now!
- Blake Guichet @thegirlnamedblake
- Emily Abbate @emilyabbate
- Laura McKowen @laura_mckowen
- Ally Fallon @allyfallon
- SarahBeth Longnecker @sarahbethlongnecker