Podcast - Kate Bowler

The Luckiest Unlucky Person with

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Life isn’t always bright and shiny, as Kate Bowler knows. Kate is a young mother, writer and professor who, at age 35, was suddenly diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. In warm, insightful, often funny conversations, Kate talks with people about what they’ve learned in difficult times.


The Luckiest Unlucky Person

with Tig Notaro

How do you live knowing life can just come undone at a moment’s notice? In the span of a few months, Tig Notaro received three life-threatening illnesses, unexpectedly lost her mom, and went through a breakup. Tig is a brilliant comedian whose real life informs her comedy and has a lot to teach us about living honestly in the face of reality.


Life Worth Living

with Miroslav Volf

What makes a good life? How would you answer that question? Not just life in the abstract… but what makes YOUR life good? Professor Miroslav Volf teaches a popular class at Yale University which guides students through these kinds of questions and might help us all think a little more deeply about what our lives are adding up to be.


To Be Loved Like That

with Kwame Alexander

Our most precious relationships are often our most complicated, aren’t they? Poet and bestselling author Kwame Alexander wrote an honest book of poems and essays that name the difficult and beautiful and heart-wrenching conversations we have (or should be having) with the people we love and with the ones who love us. 


Clear Eyes, Full Hearts

with Minka Kelly

How do we stay soft in a world that has taught us to be tough? Actress Minka Kelly is known for her roles as Lyla Garrity on Friday Night Lights or as Samantha in HBO’s Euphoria. Despite her fame on the big screen, one might not realize the chaos that surrounded her childhood. Being raised by a single mom who worked as a stripper and struggled with addiction, Minka had to learn how to take care of herself and the adults around her, and, eventually, to forgive her mom. 


The Art of Presence

with John Swinton

Some people are the LEAN IN sort. They lean into your unsolvable problems, show up on your impossible days, and walk with you all the way to the end. How do we become them? How do we create belonging when the people we love experience such uncertainty? Practical theologian and mental health nurse John Swinton knows a thing or two about this kind of love. 


This Place Could be Beautiful, Right?

with Maggie Smith

Maggie Smith (poet and author of books like Keep Moving and You Could Make This Place Beautiful) chronicles the aftermath of a painful divorce she didn’t see coming. How do we raise our kids in the wake of such change? And how do we reconcile who we are and who we are becoming? 


No More Do Overs

with Mary Louise Kelly

What happens when the people we built our lives around stop needing us? Or when we have to pick between our meaningful careers or our family? And what do we do with the ambiguous grief that comes with every expected and unexpected change? Today, Kate takes an honest look at juggling the demands on our time and on our heart with NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly.


Don’t Come Out Empty Handed

with Rabbi Steve Leder

How should you show up for people in grief? What do you say? What should you do? Why is it that beauty can exist alongside deep suffering? What can be said at funerals when the person who died was complicated? These are just a few of the questions I wanted to ask Steve Leder—a bestselling author and a rabbi who has presided over a thousand funerals with wisdom and kindness. 


Where We Turn for Meaning

with Michael Ignatieff

Historian and Canadian politician Michael Ignatieff explores the cracks in our seamless worldviews… or at least the worldviews we thought were seamless until we’re faced with tragedies of all kinds. In this wide-ranging exploration, Kate and Michael probe humanity’s enduring attempt to console ourselves and construct meaning from our pain.


Complicated Grief and Complicated Love

with Paulina Porizkova

Supermodel Paulina Porizkova has been in the public eye all her life. But it has been a rollercoaster of soaring successes and deep heartache. Grief and pain comes to us all, and in those moments, we need our shared humanity (and not our super-anythingness) to build a bridge back to others.


Number Our Days

with Tom Long

The Reverend Tom Long wrote the book on funerals. No, really. When grief threatens to swallow us whole, Tom reminds us of our place in a bigger story of hope and faith, of interdependence and the importance of community. He describes the necessity of ritual to pull us into a wider, truer story than the trite version our culture likes to tell.


Love Pulls You Forward

with Elaine Pagels

Over thirty years ago, Elaine Pagels’ young son and husband died within the same year. In this tender conversation, Kate and Elaine discuss surviving the aftermath of such devastation, the painful explanations religion often offers, and how we love and keep loving even after so much tragedy. 


Adapting to Loss

with Frank Bruni

Every problem New York Times columnist Frank Bruni faced had a simple fix. Doctors offered reasonable solutions for reasonable problems. Preventative care guaranteed future health. That is, until he woke up one morning without vision in his eye. This experience forced him to rethink how much of life is in our control and how to live fully in the face of unfixable problems.


Back to the Beginning

with Beth Moore

Beth Moore has been in the limelight for almost thirty years, but during that time, she revealed very little about her formative family history. Now, this world-famous Bible teacher is ready to tell her story for the first time. 


Blessing our ACTUAL Lives

with Kate Bowler & Jessica Richie

Kate and Jessica talk about their work on the Everything Happens Project and podcast over the past 10 seasons. They also talk about their new book The Lives We Actually Have, which is a book of blessings. Blessings are more than prayers, they also help give you language to describe where God is in real life situations. 


Here’s to the Happies

with Kelly Corrigan

As we approach the New Year, we might need a minute to look backward. What even happened this year? Who was I? What went well? What didn’t? Before we start making those New Year’s Resolutions, maybe we could have a second of honesty together. 



Cheers to The Crappies

with Kelly Corrigan

This time of year can be rough. Somehow we are supposed to wrap it up or feel complete, but, more often than not, we can look back at a year that, well, sucked. 



Why Your Creativity Matters

with Elizabeth Gilbert

The indomitable Liz Gilbert (of EAT, PRAY, LOVE fame) joins Kate for a live conversation on the courage to create. Listen as Liz helps us expose our exhausting American need to make everything useful and lets us embrace beauty as a way of really living.


Love Mercy

with Bryan Stevenson

Bryan Stevenson (founder of the Equal Justice Initiative) is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable among us.


The Season of Waiting (And Waiting…And Waiting)

with Kate Bowler

Christmas should feel different. Shouldn’t it? It is the symbol of plenty, of fulfillment, of more-than-enough-ness, and of the expectation that perhaps while we wait for Christ’s birth, we might practice being a little more loving, more forgiving, more patient. Advent is a chance for us to wait for the kingdom of God to break in together.


Music That Makes Us

with Fred Penner

Fred Penner is a Canadian sensation whose television show and hit songs were part of so many of our childhoods, but I didn’t realize the heartache he experienced that led him to this work. His gentle wisdom and songs have invited us—children and adults alike—to stay curious and kind in a hard world.


Every Family Has a Story

with Julia Samuel

Julia Samuel is a psychologist in the UK who specializes in working with families who have experienced complicated stories of loss and love. So often we can feel overwhelmed by our histories – our family histories – and need a boost to confront dysfunction, speak the truth, and find trusted people to help us look back and look forward.


The Art of Gathering

with Priya Parker

How do we gather in meaningful ways? After the pandemic took apart so many of our favorite ways of hanging out, we might be out of practice. Or too tired or overwhelmed. Listen in to hear Priya Parker share about how to show up for other people and ourselves in creative ways. 


Wounded Healers

with Jay & Katherine Wolf

In the face of impossible circumstances, sometimes the best we can do is learn to love what must be done. Listen in to hear Katherine and Jay Wolf’s tender story of hardworn hope.


More Life, Fewer Explanations

with Stanley Hauerwas

Why doesn’t God fix our pain? Listen in to hear world-renowned theologian Stanley Hauerwas’ thoughts about why Christians are not exempt from difficult circumstances and why people need fewer explanations.


Worthy of Boundaries

with Melissa Urban

How do you know when a boundary is needed? This episode offers practical wisdom on boundary setting in order to manage our limited capacity—especially for those of us navigating chronic pain or illness or caregiving.


Full Circle Faith

with Jeff Chu

How do you find grace for people who believe things very different than you? And what does it look like to make communities a place where you don’t actually have to “fit in” to belong?


Everybody Has Something

with Mary Laura Philpott

Why is it that so much love makes us afraid for all we have to lose? And how does recognizing that everyone has something they are dealing with help us hold our love and fear together?


A Good Funeral

with Thomas Lynch

What do you learn standing so close to the edge with so many people? Listen for wisdom on mortality and hope—like how the habits of love are hard to break and what makes a ‘good funeral’ directly from a thoughtful and funny funeral director himself.


When Success Isn’t Success

with Arthur Brooks

Might success or happiness be redefined after life has forced us off the productivity train? For those of us who find ourselves wondering if we could be more than the sum of our jobs, this conversation is for you.


Showing Your Scars

with Ibram X. Kendi

A terrible diagnosis at any age often creates a sense of urgency. Ibram and Kate discuss how their shared diagnoses put them to work and allows them to honor the fragility of life. 


Suspicious of Joy

with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

How do you pray when you’ve run out of words? In this funny and poignant conversation, the Archbishop shares about seasons of grief when God has carried him and other times when he has felt alone. 


Survival of the Kindest

with Susan Cain

How is it that joy and pain seem to coexist at once? If you ever feel like you didn’t have a word for the sweetness of longing (and why your compassionate heart is a gift), this conversation is for you.


Embracing the Complexity of Pain

with Haider Warraich

If you are someone (or loves someone) who suffers from chronic pain, this episode is for you. Haider talks with such gentleness about when your pain isn’t believed and how doctors can do a better job at treating their patients in pain. 


Remaking Home

with Tara Westover

How do you navigate the baggage of our childhoods? Tara speaks so honestly about why people aren’t “doing their best” and why that fact restores some dignity. 


Mythbusting Parenting

with Cammie McGovern

We often have very romantic expectations about parenthood. Parenthood is about a mythical child who will be perfect in a way we haven’t quite put our finger on, and the journey to love them to teach us something reasonably easy about ourselves. But what if we are not the parents we thought we’d be? Or our kids are not the kids we thought we’d have?


Counting your Somethings

with Mitch Albom

How do we count our blessings without imagining that God is teaching us a cosmic “lesson”? Mitch Albom walks right up to the edge with the complicated questions around grief, loss, and hope. 


Peace for Our Anxious Selves

with Taylor Harris

Everyone loves to get VERY BOSSY when it comes to our fears. “Don’t worry, be happy!” Just be brave! But maybe ‘being brave’ doesn’t mean ignoring our fears but living alongside them. After all, we live in a world that offers us few guarantees, don’t we? 


Tolerating Imperfection

with Kate Baer

Poet Kate Baer found herself inundated with the demands of motherhood, and little time to write. Nothing was easy and then, at a breaking point, it felt impossible. If she wanted a creative life, she was going to have to redefine “perfection” (perfect mom! perfect woman!) and learn to tolerate a lot more imperfection instead.  


Giving Up on Perfect

with Kate Bowler & Jessica Richie

Good Enough became a little permission slip for us. A little shrug that takes us off the hook for perfection and reminds us that we are human. Again today. Inside fragile bodies and contingent relationships and a whole web of love. 


The Courage to Try (and Wisdom to Know When to Let Go)

with Katie Couric

Katie has so much to teach us about what happens when our problems cannot be easily solved—no matter how hard we try. In this vulnerable conversation, Katie shares candidly about the lengths she went to avoid grief, but why she had to learn to face it nonetheless. We need the courage to try (and the wisdom to stop). 


Never, Ever Enough

with David Brooks

How do we reach for wisdom instead of self-help solutions? Much to their embarrassment, New York Times columnist David Brooks and Kate Bowler often find their books in the “Self-Help section.” David sat down with Kate at the historic Sixth & I Synagogue in Washington, D.C. to talk about her book, No Cure For Being Human, and the twisty-turny journey of living without easy answers. 


Loving a Stranger

with Sarah Sentilles

We’re given a story of birds and bees where two people fall in love and out of their love blooms a perfect little creature. But far too often and for far too many, that isn’t the case. 


Cindy McCain

A Special Kind of Brave

with Cindy McCain

What does courage look like in the face of the impossible? Cindy McCain had a front row seat to history, as wife of Arizona Senator and presidential candidate John McCain.


Learning to Hold On, Learning to Let Go

with Richard Rohr

Life is painful. Period. But are there some aspects of our faith or our posture toward the world that can change how we experience it?

Father Richard Rohr is everyone’s favorite preacher of love. Love for each other. Love from God.


Staying Awake to Our Pain

with Alexi Pappas

When she was a child, Alexi Pappas lost her mother to suicide. So when Alexi faced a season of deep depression she knew had to find a different way forward. That’s when her training as an Olympic runner became invaluable


Life After Loss

with Jerry Sittser

How do you move forward after an incalculable loss?

Jerry Sittser lost his wife, young daughter, and his mom in one horrific accident. But even as his world stopped, the world kept spinning. He had to learn how to parent his three surviving children in the wake of such grief.


Toxic Positivity

with Susan David

Do you ever feel a pressure to be positive? Harvard psychologist and bestselling author of Emotional Agility, Dr. Susan David studies the psychological skills critical to thriving in times of complexity and change. Spoiler alert: we don’t need to force ourselves to think happy thoughts. Perhaps there is a better way.


Simple Pleasures. Small Joys.

with Stanley Tucci

Stanley Tucci is a total foodie—of course, he starred in Julie and Julia and brought us the mouth-watering CNN special, Searching for Italy. But when he was diagnosed with oral cancer, his ability to enjoy food might be ruined permanently. 


The Scandal of Grace

with Philip Yancey

Philip Yancey is well-known for his bestselling books like What’s So Amazing About Grace and Disappointment with God. But behind all of that spiritual wisdom was a family secret: his sick father left the hospital against the doctor’s advice, trusting in God to heal him. He wasn’t healed. Out of this experience, Philip has wrestled with deep questions of faith and doubt and suffering. 


Gentleness for Our Awkward, Anxious Selves

with Tony Hale

What if we never fit in? Or always miss the script that everyone else seems to so easily understand? From Arrested Development’s Buster Bluth to Veep’s Gary Walsh or Toy Story 4’s Forky, Emmy Award Winning actor Tony Hale is an expert in awkward.


Taste Like Love

with Antoni Porowski

What kind of food tastes like love to you? Food has a beautiful way of making us feel less lonely in our pain or in our isolation or in our grief. Star of Netflix’s Queer Eye, Antoni Porowski understands the power of a delicious meal to bring us together and remake us with love. 


Can We Be A Tiny Bit Happier?

with Gretchen Rubin

Is it possible to be happier? Bestselling author Gretchen Rubin wondered if she could discipline herself to take tiny steps in order to be more content with her actual life. But what about those of us facing something daunting or insurmountable or tragic? Is it possible for us to be happier?


What Your Childhood Means for Your Health

with Nadine Burke Harris

Can trauma you experienced as a kid still affect you now? What about the traumatic experiences of our parents and grandparents? Is there a way to undo what California Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke Harris calls the “toxic stress response”?  


Embracing the Yes/And

with Cecily Strong

Can hilarity and sorrow co-exist? Comedian and actress Cecily Strong (of Saturday Night Live fame) is professionally funny. But after a series of losses, she was forced to discover how devastation and love sometimes exist at the same time—both in great measure. 


Can People Change?

with Malcolm Gladwell

The Self-Help Industry would like to convince us that everyone is capable of change. Just drink this! Read this book! Pick up this daily habit! Follow these 5 Steps! But how much change are we really capable of?


Bonus Episode: Debunking “Everything Happens for a Reason” with Kelly Corrigan

with Kelly Corrigan

The Everything Happens team is still on a bit of a summer break, but don’t worry! We’ll be back in August with all new episodes. We thought it might be fun to surprise you with this bonus episode. Kate spoke with her friend, the brilliant and hilarious bestselling writer Kelly Corrigan on Kelly’s Podcast: Kelly Corrigan Wonders. Together, the two debunk conventional wisdom like the notion that “Everything Happens for a Reason.”


Season Finale: How Far We’ve Come

with Kate Bowler

In our season six finale, Kate takes us back to the very beginning. In this episode, you’ll hear the unlikely beginning of the Everything Happens podcast, the most terrified Kate’s ever been (for fun reasons), and how love and beauty can surprise us in some of the most unlikely of spaces.


Julianna Margulies: Getting Unstuck

with Julianna Margulies

Chaotic childhoods can leave us feeling stuck. Stuck in the roles and relationships and chaos that once felt familiar. Actress Julianna Margulies (best known for her roles in ER and The Good Wife) found incredible success, but nothing seemed to free her from living into past, traumatic dynamics.

Suleika Jaouad Cancer Podcast

The Kingdom of the Sick (Part One)

with Suleika Jaouad

There are two different worlds people inhabit. In one world, people feel infinite bounce. They can see every silver lining and believe in their bones things will always get better and that any set back is probably temporary. But then, there’s the other world. These people know what it feels like to live scan-to-scan and hold their breath when the doctor’s number shows up on their phone. Bestselling author of Between Two Kingdoms, Suleika Jaouad knows what it means to carry this dual citizenship between the kingdom of the well and the kingdom of the sick.


Leaning into Uncertainty

with Adam Grant

Everything is in flux. Nothing is the same anymore. How do we live amid all of this uncertainty? Well, psychologist and bestselling author Adam Grant believes we may have to do some re-thinking. 


Be Where You Are

with Heather Havrilesky

How do we find “enough” in a life that keeps getting…. harder? Our lives are shrinking. We are shrunk by the pandemic or by illness or by age or by any number of losses. And it can be difficult to feel satisfaction and enjoyment again, especially in the midst of a self-help culture that tries to tell you “EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE.”


Our Bodies Keep Score

with Bessel van der Kolk

When something truly awful happens, we can’t forget. That memory isn’t just stored in our brains. Our bodies keep the score too. Researcher and psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk has spent his life studying the effects of trauma on adults and children.  


Weddings, Divorces, and Loves That Carry Us

with Jamie Lee

Comedian Jamie Lee is now Netflix’s The Wedding Coach where she’s on a mission to help couples survive the craziness of planning a wedding. A wedding is an event, but a marriage is not an event. During the filming of the show, Jamie’s own relationship began to unravel. 


The Art of the Absurd

with Jenny Lawson

Our culture’s obsession with hyper-instrumentalization has meant everything has to be FOR something. But when you are facing unfixable or chronic problems, maybe it’s better to do something for no reason whatsoever. Depression, anxiety, and a grab bag of auto-immune diseases have made humorist Jenny Lawson an expert in the art of the absurd.


What Good is Prayer?

with Father James Martin

We don’t always know how to move through this strange, distended season. The season before the cure or the vaccine or the answer. Before the money comes through or the job opens up or the heartbreak is over. The season where this is hope for someday, but someday is not now. Perhaps here, we need to learn how to pray. In this episode, Kate and Jesuit priest Father James Martin discuss how prayer is for everyone — believer, doubter, or no-thank you-er.



with Willie Jennings

Our bodies tell a story, and we find ourselves having to live inside it. At home. At work. At church. At school. But what happens when the places we love don’t always love us back? 


Family Lore

with Nicole Chung

What if the story you’ve been given about your family isn’t the whole truth? Writer Nicole Chung had been told a story like so many adoptees. Your parents wanted a better life for you. God chose you to be part of our family. But then she found out the truth was far more complicated than that. 


Stories We Tell Ourselves

with Matthew McConaughey

Sometimes there are stories about ourselves that just need to be true, even if they aren’t. Stories about our ancestors or younger selves that help to explain who we are and offer us a little purpose. When it comes to telling a good story, no one does it better than our guest today: Academy Award winner and author Matthew McConaughey.


Loved and Chosen

with Anne Lamott

What do you do with a world that is full of things to fear? People we won’t please. Kids who die. Parents who don’t change. Writer Anne Lamott doesn’t sugar-coat a single terrible thing, but knows that we also need the kinds of truths we can stand on.


Family Secrets

with Dani Shapiro

Who are we when we can’t answer where we’re from? Who are we when we can’t locate ourselves on family trees or on familiar religious traditions or among genetic traits? How do we live after we thought what was true about our identity is totally upended?


The Case for Hope

with Father Greg Boyle

There are some people who see need and, rather than feeling stuck by the magnitude of the world’s pain, they move toward it. Today’s guest is one of those kinds of people. Father Greg Boyle has worked with former gang members in Los Angeles for over thirty years with Homeboy Industries, which employs and trains former gang members and offers free services to facilitate healing. 


Love Big

with Priyanka Chopra Jonas

Today’s episode is all about love, the loves that constitute us, the loves that break our hearts, and the loves that keep us going. Actress, producer, and entertainer Priyanka Chopra Jonas is one of the most recognizable people in the world.


Ask Kate Anything: Season Five Finale

with Kate Bowler

How do you get through a terrible day? What should you not say to someone with cancer? What keeps you believing in God? We thought it might be fun to have you, dear listener, interview Kate for today’s episode, instead. Kate offers gentle ideas for how to be a good friend to struggling loved ones, how she has found pockets of productivity in this dumpster fire of a year, and what she is hoping for in the New Year. Plus, she ends with a benediction for a year that didn’t turn out like we thought it should.


A Not-So Hallmark Christmas

with Nikki DeLoach

The pandemic has introduced many to living with uncertainty. But for some, uncertainty has always been their norm. Actress Nikki Deloach has starred in several Hallmark Christmas movies, but her life hasn’t matched the happily-ever-after plot-lines of her characters. Nikki’s dad was diagnosed with an aggressive form of dementia and her son was diagnosed with congenital heart defects in utero… all in the same week. 


Beauty in the Breaking

with Michele Harper

Emergency Rooms are the theater of life itself. For ER Dr. Michele Harper, work has become a calling—to bear witness to people’s problems both large and small, to advocate for better care, to catch those who fall through society’s cracks, to stand up against discrimination, to remind patients that the pain they have endured is not fair… it was never supposed to be this way. In this episode, Kate and Michele talk about the importance of radical honesty when it comes to advocacy as well as the racial and socio-economic disparities that keep people disproportionately affected by the pandemic… and the anxiety and stress that follows. And still, even after all she has seen and all she has walked through, Michele finds great hope in being broken. Yes, we are shattered, but yes, we will be made into something new.


Bless the Nurses

with Christie Watson

At the core of nursing is the ability to love a stranger, to care indiscriminately. Christie Watson was a nurse in the UK for 20 years before she began teaching nurses. But when COVID-19 hit, she knew she needed to stand with her colleagues. So she put on her scrubs once again. In this moving conversation, Kate and Christie discuss the cost of COVID on healthcare workers, chaplains, and those who can’t be by their loved ones’ side when they need it most. If you are a nurse, know a nurse, or have been cared for by one before, this one is for you.


I’m Doing My Best (Life Now)

with Samantha Irby

Though magazines and movie stars try to convince us otherwise, we aren’t all living our BEST LIFE NOW. When humor writer Samantha Irby lost both of her parents at 18, she developed the perfect coping mechanism: finding the absurd in everything. In this conversation, Kate and Samantha have a wide-ranging conversation about topics like grieving their Sweet Valley High life goals, and how losing your parents as a child is the worst form of losing agency, and how important it is to speak honestly about our bodies and love them still.


Stubborn Hope

with Jan Richardson

What does it mean to be blessed? If you were to scroll through social media, you’d assume that “blessed” are the ones with gorgeous, matching families living in open style floor plans. But Jesus had other things in mind. When the Reverend Jan Richardson lost her husband, she continued to write counterintuitive blessings like “A Blessing for the Brokenhearted.” In this episode, Kate and Jan talk about the ways grief cracks us open and the ways blessing invites us to stubborn hope.


Extraordinary Empathy

with Abigail Marsh

Are some people more empathetic than others? By studying those on the opposite end of the compassion spectrum–those with psychopathy–researcher Dr. Abigail Marsh discovered something surprising. In this episode, Kate and Abigail talk about the use of fear, what it really means to be brave, and how we can all learn to better belong to one another.


The Power of Ordinary Love

with Bishop Michael Curry

Sometimes it feels like the world is irreparably broken. A climate crisis leading to more hurricanes, fires, warming oceans, a political season that has ripped families and friends apart. A pandemic that has left us more isolated than ever and even more delicate than before. Even the strongest among us may wonder, “What hope is there? Is love enough to save us?” My guest today is someone who believes in the kind of love that can change everything. In this episode, Kate and Bishop Michael Curry talk about the power of ordinary and extraordinary love to remake ourselves and our communities along with us.


Bless This Body

with Susan Burton

There are some secrets we’d rather not tell, but that eat us alive anyway. Writer Susan Burton was trapped in an eating disorder with no good name. Today’s conversation is not a victory story. Issues with our bodies are not ones we overcome because our bodies are, you know, living things. Kate and Susan discuss how we struggle against shame and learn to have compassion for ourselves and our fragile, beautiful bodies.


Medicine with a Soul

with Victoria Sweet

How do doctors, nurses, and other caring professionals keep their hearts soft when there are forces that make it hard to stay that way? With her radically compassionate approach to medicine, Dr. Victoria Sweet calls us to slow down in a world that loves quick fixes. In today’s conversation, Kate and Victoria give us more language about what helps us all stay connected to the people we serve.


Your Work is a Calling

with Will Willimon

What does it mean to be called to something? What if that job wears you thin? What if you think you’ve aged out of your vocation? In this episode, Kate and the Reverend Dr. Will Willimon talk about what to do when the roles we play cost us more than we’re willing to pay and how aging invites us to take a new look at our purpose. (Also, you’ll hear about the time Kate offered Will a bit of necessary… perspective.)


When Hope Seems Lost

with Lanecia Rouse Tinsley

What do you do when all hope feels lost? Abstract artist Lanecia Rouse Tinsley is no stranger to the hopelessness that comes with grief. In extended isolation, a nationwide reckoning with race, and our own personal losses, we could all use a bit of what Lanecia calls, holy seeing. In this episode, Kate and Lanecia discuss how creativity can be an act of resistance and the hope she discovers on a blank canvas.


The Art of Aging

with Mary Pipher

Who are we as we age? Our culture has such poor language for the who-we-are-ness across time. The ways we grow and the things that threaten to diminish us. Clinical psychologist and bestselling author, Mary Pipher knows a lot about the opportunities and costs embedded in aging. In this episode, Kate and Mary offer us a non self-helpy roadmap for how to age beautifully.


Blessed Are The Mirrors

with Morgan Harper Nichols

We have thick cultural scripts for what is deemed inspirational and it usually goes like this: You can do it. Never give up. Everything you need is inside of you today. But what do you really need to hear when life is coming apart? Morgan Harper Nichols is someone whose words of encouragement gently lift our chins toward hope. In this episode, Kate and Morgan discuss how important it is to reflect truth and hope and beauty back to one another.


Spread Too Thin

with Shauna Niequist

Our lives have shrunk and our choices have been dramatically restricted. But the obligations never stopped, did they? How do we get off the achievement train and build a beautiful life within constraints? Writer Shauna Niequist was on the fast track to burnout when she received advice that changed the pace of her life entirely. Kate and Shauna talk about the productivity myths we believe and how to embrace a slower, smaller life marked by delight.


Living Alongside Fear

with Ken Carter

What does it feel like to really live? Some people jump out of airplanes. Others prefer for their feet to stay on the floor. Some seek out the feeling of riding the edge of what is possible, and the rest of us are too tired to think about it right now in this pandemic season. Clinical psychologist Dr. Ken Carter studies thrill-seekers. In this episode, Kate and Ken discuss fear—how we manage it and how we live alongside it.


World’s Okayest Mom

with Kristen Howerton

Parenting isn’t always Instagram-worthy, but the American myth of perfectionism rarely shows that messy middle. Kristen Howerton, mom of four, therapist, and author of Rage Against the Minivan, gives us the permission slip we all need. The one that says you can opt out of greatness. There is no winning in parenthood.


The Pursuit of Justice

with Rachael Denhollander

What do we do when the institutions that are supposed to protect us, fail? As a child, Rachael Denhollander was sexually abused by USA Gymnastics team doctor, Larry Nassar. When she came forward with her story, over 300 other women came forward too—eventually bringing him to justice. In this episode, Kate and Rachael talk about how love must be the motivation behind justice and how our worth cannot be taken away, no matter what happens to us.


The Sun Does Shine

with Anthony Ray Hinton

Ray Hinton spent 30 years on death row for a crime he didn’t commit. With the help of justice lawyer Bryan Stevenson, Ray won his release in 2015. In this episode, Kate and Ray discuss the experience of not being believed, a justice system that works against you because of the color of your skin, and the sustaining power of unconditional love.


The Magic of WE

with Justin Yopp and Don Rosenstein

When a group of young moms died around the same time, clinicians Justin Yopp and Don Rosenstein wanted to refer their widowed spouses to a grief support group… but none existed. So they started their own. Kate, Justin, and Don discuss the loss of imagined futures and the particular needs of young, widowed parents. Together, they uncover the magic of we.


Whole and Holy

with Heather Lanier

What if your life hasn’t turned out like you thought it would? When writer Heather Lanier’s daughter was born with a rare genetic syndrome, she learned that the world will not always see her beloved as good. In this conversation, Kate and Heather discuss how maybe it’s okay that we are not summed up on bell curves. Perhaps the exact bodies in which we dwell are whole enough.


Flying Buttresses

with Timothy Omundson & Joel McHale: Flying Buttresses

Timothy Omundson knows what it feels like to make something, then have well-made plans come apart after he suffered a massive stroke at the height of his acting career. Kate speaks with Tim and Joel McHale about the power of hard work and friendship.


Blank Space

with Jason Rosenthal

When Jason Rosenthal’s wife died, she left him a gift that he couldn’t even have known to ask for—in the form of a viral Modern Love article. Today’s episode is about the kind of love that walks us to the very edge and charts a way forward. Even when forward seems impossible to imagine.


Ordinary Miracles

with Sarah Bessey

Sarah Bessey speaks right to the soft spot where our deepest pain and deepest hope meet. The place where in the bleakest of nights we whisper, What if this doesn’t get better? If you find yourself in that tender spot today, this conversation is for you. 


Living Inside Our Bodies

with Hillary McBride

Is fear avoidable? What does this emotion do to our bodies and minds? In this episode, Kate speaks with psychologist Hillary McBride on the importance of fear, practicing embodiment, and ways we can better live alongside the things we’re afraid of.


Community as a Verb

with Mia Birdsong

There’s a story we’re told about how we should save ourselves through sheer grit. But many fall on the other side of that success metric. In this episode, Kate and writer and activist Mia Birdsong discuss expanding our definition of family and how to show up when our community needs us—both locally and nationally. 


Fork in the Road

with Wes Moore

Wes Moore had a rough childhood growing up in Baltimore. His father died when he was a child, he struggled in school and was arrested for vandalism before something shifted. Moore grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar, White House fellow, and published writer. And along the way, he learned of another man who shared his same name, but is serving a life sentence in prison. He talks with Kate about what he learned from “the other” Wes Moore.


Joy is the Oxygen

with Gary Haugen

Certain people decide to make other people’s pain their own. Gary Haugen, founder and CEO of International Justice Mission, is one of those people. In this episode, Kate and Gary talk about how even in the darkest places, joy and goodness can be found.


Make Me A Gardener

with Wajahat Ali

Wajahat Ali was about to give a TED talk on the global case for having more kids, when he received news no parent should ever hear. Kate and Waj speak about parenting amid fear, unexpected kindness, and how kids really are our greatest act of hope.


Hope Wears Sneakers

with David Fajgenbaum

This is the story of one young doctor’s race against the clock as he searches for a cure for his own rare disease that brought him to the brink of death too many times to count. In this episode, Kate and David Fajgenbaum speak about facing impossible odds and how love can turn hope into action.


Does My Pain Count?

with Lori Gottlieb

How do we find joy and connection when tragedy surrounds us? In this episode, Kate speaks with bestselling author and psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb about creating daily rhythms, living in the both/and, and grief in the time of COVID19.


The Love Bridge

with Glennon Doyle

We need guides to walk with us when life goes a little off-script. In this episode, Kate speaks with bestselling author Glennon Doyle about unlearning the roles we’re stuck inside even when it costs us and what’s better than being perfect–being human.


The Uncertainty Specialist

with Sunita Puri

Pain is like a geography—one that isn’t foreign to palliative care physician, Dr. Sunita Puri. Kate and Sunita speak about needing new language for walking the borderlands and how we all might learn to live—and die—with a bit more courage.


The Emergency Button

with Joel McHale, Nora McInerny, Beth Moore, and Karen Bowler

When fear is overwhelming, sometimes you need to press the button—the emergency button. In this special episode, Kate gets real with the people that she calls when she needs to push the button. You’ll hear from comedian Joel McHale, writer Nora McInerny, preacher Beth Moore, and Kate’s mom for a little dose of courage (and a lot of yelling by one of these people) in these uncertain times.


More Than Enough

with Ari Johnson

Sometimes everything is possible. Sometimes nothing is possible. How do you know the difference? Dr. Ari Johnson works to change the infant and mother mortality rates in Mali. Kate and Ari speak about how when other people are suffering, we must act, even when the problems seem insurmountable. Because your pain is mine too.


Finding the Margins

with Angela Duckworth

Psychologist Angela Duckworth studies the significance of grit. There are those who experience a difficult circumstance and scrape by, and there are those who thrive in the aftermath. Together, Angela and Kate explore what makes the difference and how we can develop resiliency in ourselves and our kids.


The Loneliness Epidemic

with Vivek Murthy

US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy embarked on a listening tour to determine what was ailing Americans. The answer surprised him. In this soulful conversation, he speaks with Kate about loneliness as a public health crisis and how the experience of disconnection affects our ability to weather life’s most difficult storms.


The Preacher’s Wife

with Jen Hatmaker

Author and speaker Jen Hatmaker ruled the Christian marketplace as the evangelical darling. But when her theology shifted, she learned how harsh the penalties could be. Kate and Jen speak about what it means to lead faithfully when you lose certainty.


The Face of Love

with Sister Helen Prejean

Sister Helen Prejean didn’t know what she was getting into when she became pen pals with an inmate on death row, a story told in the film, Dead Man Walking. Now, she’s a fierce advocate against the death penalty. Sister Helen and Kate talk about finding purpose as a discovery that often begins with gentle nudges and tiny yeses.


It’s Okay to Laugh

with Nora McInerny

Nora McInerny had a miscarriage, lost her father, and lost her husband all within a few weeks. Much to her surprise, she kept living. But she didn’t “move on.” Nora and Kate discuss how grief is messier and less linear than we imagine. And even when you may feel like you might never “get over” what happened, love is there somehow. Nora shows us why it’s time to reframe how we think about a happy ending.


How Do We Talk to Kids about Hard Things?

with Sesame Street & Sherri Westin

How do we prepare our kids for a world we can’t always protect them from? Sesame Street creates educational programs to make the most vulnerable among us smarter, stronger, and kinder in the face of difficult realities. On this episode, Kate speaks with Sherrie Westin, the President of Global Impact and Philanthropy at the Sesame Workshop on how to tell our kids the hard truths in age appropriate ways.


The Stories of Who We Are

with Andrew Solomon

Writer Andrew Solomon never felt like he fit in. But studying other communities that celebrate differences transformed his sense of belonging and his parenting. Which aspects of our kids should we attempt to change and which need to be celebrated? Andrew and Kate discuss what it’s like to be different from our family, find our people, and love our kids across difference.


We Belong to Each Other

with Jerome Adams

US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams is committed to combatting the rising fatalities from opioids because he knows the struggle too well. His brother is one of the millions of Americans who is ensnared by addiction. Jerome talks to Kate about how a broken heart helped him understand his job as “America’s doctor.”


The Speed of Love

with John Swinton

The quality of time depends on our abilities and disabilities, possibilities and limitations. In a world of speed and productivity, Kate speaks with disability theologian John Swinton on how slowing down deepens our ability to love.


Loving What Is

with BJ Miller

After an accident left BJ Miller with a serious physical disability, he had to learn how to be patient with his limitations. Now, he’s a palliative care physician who works every day to encourage people to be comfortable with limits and maybe even learn to love them, but not in a Pollyanna way. Kate and BJ discuss how living with the end in mind actually makes life… richer.


Chronic Not Curable

with John Green

Society likes to tell the narrative of sick to healthy. But what if there are things we can’t just get over? In his novel, Turtles All The Way Down, John Green explores what it is like to live with something we can’t control. Together, Kate and John talk about finding identity amid chronic illness and how love just might save us all.


Tell Me More

with Kelly Corrigan

When bestselling author Kelly Corrigan experienced the death of her dad and dear friend back-to-back, she couldn’t shake the feeling that she wasn’t living as gratefully as she wanted to. She reflects on her love and loss through ordinary moments and everyday sayings. Together, Kate and Kelly explore the phrases we cling to in order to find deeper connection and meaning during difficult times.


How to Grieve Well: A Special Conversation

with Reverend Dr. Susan Dunlap

What can we expect in the first moments of loss? How is it possible to grieve someone we may have never met? How can we best support people who are in mourning? In this special conversation, Kate speaks with Reverend Dr. Susan Dunlap about how our minds, bodies, and hearts respond to deep loss and the best practices for allowing ourselves space to grieve well.


The Language of Grief

with Jayson Greene

When Jayson Greene’s two-year-old daughter died in a random tragedy, he was forced to find a way forward. What does it look like to hope again after loss? How do you be brave when the world is so terrifying? Jayson and Kate discuss how to stay open to love in the face of fear, especially as parents.


True Believers

with Mark Lukach

Mark Lukach felt like he was hit with a tsunami when his beautiful marriage was upended by mental illness. With one diagnosis, he lost his wife and gained a lifelong patient. Mark and Kate explore the cost of caregiving and the importance of finding the true believers who will love through it all.


Life After Dark

with Barbara Brown Taylor

Author and Episcopal priest Barbara Brown Taylor is no stranger to darkness. After experiencing devastating loss, Barbara explores our culture’s pursuit of the sunny side of life. But perhaps there are things we learn in the dark that we can’t learn in the light. Kate and Barbara discuss the two halves of our lives and how to practice courage even in the scariest of circumstances.


There’s No Good Card for That

with Emily McDowell

Why is it so hard to say the right thing to those going through difficult circumstances? Artist Emily McDowell has been on the receiving end of some terrible responses after her own diagnosis. Now, she creates kind and irreverent greeting cards that teach us all how to be a little more human. She speaks with Kate about the best and worst things to say and do when our loved ones are hurting.


Can You Hear Me Now?

with Alan Alda

Alan Alda is best known for his prolific acting career. But he has also spent years learning about, and teaching, communication. The Emmy-winning actor and star of television’s M*A*S*H teaches doctors and scientists to communicate more effectively and wrote the recent book, If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?. He talks with Kate about why human beings are so bad at talking about sickness– and about what helps them improve.


Joyful, Anyways

with Margaret Feinberg

Bestselling author and speaker, Margaret Feinberg was writing a book about joy when her world fell apart. Suddenly, she was fighting for her life and re-writing the book from scratch. Feinberg talks about how she learned how to be happy again, despite everything.



with Alexandra Petri

Washington Post columnist Alexandra Petri is the queen of awkwardness. She didn’t audition for “America’s Next Top Model” and become a yodeling champion without a high tolerance for the sound of people laughing. And, as it turns out, building up your ability to embrace awkwardness can be a kind of superpower during difficult times… if you know how to use it


Costly Love

with Lucy Kalanithi

When Lucy Kalanithi fell for another doctor, she couldn’t know how much love would teach her about suffering. Lucy Kalanithi is the widow of Dr. Paul Kalanithi, author of the bestselling memoir, When Breath Becomes Air. She talks about the high cost of love and how all the best things in life are those you are afraid to lose.


The Insight of Outsiders

with Nadia Bolz-Weber

Before Nadia Bolz-Weber became famous as a foul-mouthed pastor and bestselling author, she was an alcoholic and stand-up comedian. This episode is devoted to the insight of outsiders, and how Nadia learned to confront her own demons with hard truths, good company and a delightfully inappropriate sense of humor.