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Lighten Up with Melanie Dale

Author Melanie Dale is perpetually trying to figure out how we can all calm the heck down about parenting, friendship, getting older, and the world around us. Each episode she chats with a friend about ways we can let go and lighten up.

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Lighten Up #111: Melanie Shankle

Today we're wrapping up our Friendship Over 40 series with New York Times bestselling author Melanie Shankle! Ahh, you guys, she's so funny. I laughed my way through this whole thing. We chat about her 30-year friendship with her best friend Gully and how it's hard making new friends during this stage of life, as well as the things we're talking about with our friends, sexy things like waning eyesight and needing readers to see a menu, the joys of perimenopause, and our 40-something periods. (Women in their forties are so hot, and I do mean literally.) Between her funny memoirs, Big Mama blog, and Big Boo podcast, Melanie has kept me laughing for years, and today we're hanging out right here, so pull up a chair, listen in, and lighten up! Links from the show: Sparkly Green Earrings Check out all of Melanie's books! Find Melanie on Instagram or Twitter Listen to the Big Boo Cast Read the Big Mama Blog Where the Crawdads Sing Little Fires Everywhere Dark Matter _________ As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

31mins

8 Oct 2019

Rank #1

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Lighten Up #100: ONE HUNDRED. We did it. I need a nap.

I'm celebrating my 100th episode! ONE HUNDRED. This reminds me of the 100th day of school shenanigans when our kids have to bring in 100 items and dress up like 100-year-old people. It's basically, "Let's work in another stupid spirit day." I will not make you do homework to observe this 100th episode milestone, although if you want to celebrate by leaving me a review on iTunes, I would love that so much. I'm celebrating the day by sharing some big news that I've wanted to tell you for a while. I've got stuff percolating over here, and it starts with a broken promise. So listen to the episode to find out what's up, and then, my buddy Sarah Bragg and I talk about work, career, and purpose for our final monthly crossover of the year. We share funny stories from our first jobs, chat about what our dream jobs would be, and discuss how we can find our purpose, whether that's parenting, a dream job, or a dream-adjacent job, something you never thought you'd be doing. It's all important, and how do we figure out what we're supposed to be doing with our lives? Join us to discuss all the things, listen in, and lighten up! Links from the show: Coffee+Crumbs "Exhale" community Big Magic Check out my new book, Infreakinfertility Sign up to be email friends with me Surviving Sarah Podcast – check out the other half of our conversation on work and purpose! Go be friends with Sarah Bragg! Instagram Facebook Twitter

40mins

27 Nov 2018

Rank #2

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Lighten Up #72: Anna Quinlan

If you like laughing hysterically, you guys are in for a treat today. My friend Anna Quinlan, a freelance writer and copywriter, is on the show and she tells the most epic tale of falling off a treadmill at the gym. I couldn't breathe I was laughing so hard, and then we bonded over our mutual hatred of crafts. We chat about freelance writing, how she adopted one of her boys out of foster care, and sporty sporty fitness. Anna shares about competing in races, training for an Ironman, and how people like me who are not so much with the exercise can challenge ourselves. Whether your thighs are so strong you can crack walnuts between them or you're more like me and can't remember the last time you were on a treadmill, listen in and lighten up! Favorite quote from the show: "If you're at the table, you're family." Also: "Step away from the glue gun." Links from the show: The Lighten Up Guidelines for Laughing at Life Find Anna on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook Coffee+Crumbs The Sitting Shirt: It's a Thing SNL workout pants video

31mins

1 May 2018

Rank #3

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Lighten Up #67: Marriage Crossover with Sarah Bragg

It's time for our monthly crossover with Sarah Bragg, where we take a topic and talk about how to lighten up about it over here and how to survive it over on her podcast, Surviving Sarah. This month we're tackling marriage, and oh my gosh, on today's Lighten Up episode we're lightening up about sex in marriage. Sarah and I start off sharing our engagement stories - spoiler alert, Sarah robbed the cradle and mine's poop-related. We talk about when you can start farting in front of each other, and then obviously, farting is a perfect segue to sex...in some alternate reality. We have some real talk about sex, when sex is hard, lowering our expectations, planning it during those busy parenting years, how infertility destroyed my sex life, intimacy versus efficiency, and how your marriage doesn't have to look like anybody else's. Let's talk about sex baby...so listen in and lighten up! Links from the show: Surviving Sarah Podcast – check out the other half of our conversation! Sarah Bragg on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter Your Marriage Doesn't Have to Look Like Anybody Else's

34mins

27 Mar 2018

Rank #4

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Lighten Up #81: Dog Days of Summer with Jamie Ivey

Today I'm kicking off a fun series called the Dog Days of Summer, and my first guest is the author of If You Only Knew and host of the popular podcast Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey. Jamie's a friend of the show and I'm so happy to have her back to share some dog stories. I love dogs, but sometimes they are a handful and we have some funny, funny stories this month of dogs getting into all kinds of trouble. Jamie shares about the first dog she and her husband Aaron ever owned, who she calls, "the ugliest thing I've ever seen in my entire life." Summer is the perfect time to kick back and share stories, so grab a glass of something cold, cuddle up with your dog or lovable hamster, listen in, and lighten up! Episode sponsor: Today's episode is sponsored by FabFitFun! FabFitFun is a seasonal subscription box with full-size beauty, fitness, fashion, and lifestyle products. It's basically like getting a birthday present in the mail four times a year. It retails for $49.99 but always contains products totaling over $200, and they're giving Lighten Up listeners $10 off your first box when you use code LIGHTENUP at fabfitfun.com. Links from the show: Dog Days of Summer super googley research: Wikipedia National Geographic Farmer's Almanac Almanac.com Check out Jamie’s new book, If You Only Knew Find Jamie: Listen to The Happy Hour Facebook Instagram Twitter Waterloo Style Jamie's previous visits to Lighten Up: episode 3 episode 56 The Lighten Up Guidelines for Laughing at Life

22mins

10 Jul 2018

Rank #5

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Lighten Up #71: Personal Growth Crossover with Sarah Bragg

It's the monthly crossover episode with Sarah Bragg of Surviving Sarah, and this month, we're chatting about personal growth. I mean, in between just keeping all my plates spinning I hope I'm growing as a person, at least a little, right? A lot of what contributes to my personal growth are the books I read, the things I listen to, and the products I love. So Sarah and I start out with the books we're reading, and I have a bit of a diatribe about the importance of reading fiction, then we talk about what we're learning right now, and we wrap up with products we're loving. (Between the two of us, we spend an exorbitant amount of time on coffee.) Whether you're totally growing as a person or are already perfect and need no help whatsoever, listen in and lighten up! Links from the show: Little Fires Everywhere The Nightingale All the Light You Cannot See Something Borrowed Borrowed & Blue Baby Proof How to Lead When You're Not in Charge Present Over Perfect Breathing Room Who Needs God? podcast Sherlock Holmes vol. 1 and vol. 2 Talking as Fast as I Can Tell the Wolves I'm Home Peter Rollins podcast The Sacred Enneagram Defiant Joy Laugh It Up Lion Coffee Pacific Bone Broth The Lazy Genius podcast Trader Joe's Fair Trade Shade Grown Ethiopian Coffee Clicklist John's Crazy Socks A Wrinkle in Time

35mins

24 Apr 2018

Rank #6

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Lighten Up #116: Kelly Minter

Today I'm talking with Kelly Minter, Bible teacher and author of the beautiful new cookbook, A Place at the Table. Years ago I went to a group for moms where we went through Kelly's study of the book of Nehemiah, which was about this guy who goes back to his hometown to lead his people to rebuild their security wall that had fallen down. It's this ancient Hebrew scripture about leading a big group project and all the challenges along the way. And anyway, at the end of each chapter of this really cool book about leadership, Kelly shared a recipe. And they were good recipes, and pretty easy to pull off. So when her new cookbook landed on my desk, I got excited and knew I wanted to have her on the show to wrap up our series on hospitality. We are going to talk charcuterie boards, potlucks, and how cooking is the hope for community. As a single woman, Kelly gives great insight about how couples with or without kids can be inclusive for our single friends, so listen in and lighten up! Links from the show: A Place at the Table Kelly's Nehemiah study Find Kelly on Instagram

28mins

18 Feb 2020

Rank #7

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Lighten Up #80: Contentment Crossover with Sarah Bragg

Today's our monthly crossover episode with Sarah Bragg of Surviving Sarah. I look forward to these episodes so much and I hope you're enjoying them, too. This month Sarah and I are chatting about contentment. We talk about contentment over on her show and then here on Lighten Up, we're digging into discontentment and how discontentment can really lead to both positive and negative things. So we unpack the good and bad sides of it, how we avoid discontentment from social media, and what's making us feel content right now. Pour some coffee, drag over a beach chair, listen in, and lighten up! Links from the show: Sign up to be email friends with me Surviving Sarah Podcast – check out the other half of our conversation on contentment! Go be friends with Sarah Bragg! Instagram Facebook Twitter Heart of the Matter, by Emily Giffin The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova The Swan Thieves, by Elizabeth Kostova The Shadow Land, by Elizabeth Kostova The Lighten Up Guidelines for Laughing at Life

27mins

26 Jun 2018

Rank #8

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Lighten Up #96: Infreakinfertility with Alex Dale

Hey and welcome to episode 96 of Lighten Up with Melanie Dale. AND Alex Dale. Because today my husband is joining me to talk about our new book, Infreakinfertility: How to Survive When Getting Pregnant Gets Hard, which is available today! This book has been a dream of mine for many, many years and today I can say, it’s here! Please visit the Amazon and go buy it! Maybe listen to this podcast while you do. Alex and I chat about two main things, our experience with infertility and our experience working together on this book. Lemme just mention here at the beginning in case you’re cranking this podcast around small children, we’re going to be talking a bit about reproductive biology, so…biological terminology ahead. Peach and eggplant emojis, people. Peaches and eggplants. You’ve been warned. So whether you’re dealing with infertility yourself, have a loved one who is, or have experienced the joys and challenges of working with your partner on a project, or appreciate a good penis illustration, there’s something here for everyone, so listen in and lighten up. Links from the show: Check out Infreakinfertility: How to Survive When Getting Pregnant Gets Hard Get a monthly email from Melanie with stories, updates, and fun things Subscribe to Lighten Up on iTunes or on Stitcher

31mins

23 Oct 2018

Rank #9

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Lighten Up #63: Body Image Crossover with Sarah Bragg

Today I'm back with Sarah Bragg of Surviving Sarah for our monthly crossover episode, where we take a topic and chat about how we can lighten up about it on this show and how we can survive it over on her podcast. Guys, I hate today's topic. It is so hard for me but somehow seems to be a theme right now. Last month over on Jamie Ivey's Happy Hour podcast I shared about my history with an eating disorder and today Sarah and I are talking about body image. Blech, I know. This is hard stuff. We all struggle in some way with accepting something about our appearance. So today we're talking about it and how we can lighten up about it. Who or what in your life shaped your view of what the "ideal" woman should look like? Sarah and I talk about ours, and we go deep into the 80s and early 90s on this one. Then we share the craziest products or procedures we've ever attempted to achieve our ideal look and our experiences with everything from sports bras to Spanx. Do you also struggle with perfectionism and comparison when it comes to body image? Listen in and lighten up.   Links from the Show: Surviving Sarah Podcast - check out the other half of our conversation! Sarah Bragg on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter Raising Girls by Sissy Goff If You Only Knew #1 - my interview on The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey

32mins

27 Feb 2018

Rank #10

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Lighten Up #88: Angry Crossover with Sarah Bragg

Today is our monthly crossover episode with Sarah Bragg of Surviving Sarah. You guys know the drill. Two podcasters, one topic, and we have a ton of fun doing it. You can listen to one half of our conversation here, and then check out the other half over on Surviving Sarah. Today is our very angry episode. So much anger. I know it's called Lighten Up over here, but I feel super comfortable on the dark side of life. Anger! We talk about our favorite angry characters, how anger can be used for good, how to process it and do good things with it instead of stuffing it, how to peel back the anger to see what's underneath it, and times in our lives when we were really angry...in a funny way. So, go Hulk smash a pillow, listen in, and lighten up! Episode sponsor: Today’s episode is sponsored by FabFitFun! FabFitFun is a seasonal subscription box with full-size beauty, fitness, fashion, and lifestyle products. It’s basically like getting a birthday present in the mail four times a year. It retails for $49.99 but always contains products totaling over $200, and they’re giving Lighten Up listeners $10 off your first box when you use code LIGHTENUP at fabfitfun.com. Links from the show: Sign up to be email friends with me Surviving Sarah Podcast – check out the other half of our conversation on contentment! Go be friends with Sarah Bragg! Instagram Facebook Twitter The episode with Melanie's engagement story

30mins

28 Aug 2018

Rank #11

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Lighten Up #87: Liz Ditty

Today I'm talking with Liz Ditty, a spiritual director and teacher at Westgate Church in Silicon Valley and the author of God's Many Voices. We start out laughing about the embarrassing side of meal trains, and then we chat about hearing from God. Have you ever heard from God? Is it a big booming voice in the sky? Does everyone hear God the same way? How do we even talk to God and is God even listening? What if God seems silent? Whether God spoke to you this morning or you'd prefer that he didn't, listen in and lighten up! Episode sponsor: Today’s episode is sponsored by FabFitFun! FabFitFun is a seasonal subscription box with full-size beauty, fitness, fashion, and lifestyle products. It’s like getting a birthday present in the mail four times a year. It retails for $49.99 but always contains products totaling over $200, and they’re giving Lighten Up listeners $10 off your first box when you use code LIGHTENUP at fabfitfun.com. Links from the show: Check out Liz's book, God's Many Voices Find Liz on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter Liz's website Propel Women "5 Ways to Pray"

41mins

21 Aug 2018

Rank #12

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Lighten Up #70: Beth Bruno

Today I'm talking with Beth Bruno, the founder and director of a nonprofit aimed at preventing domestic minor sex trafficking and the author of a new book for moms and daughters. We chat about her time as a missionary in the Middle East, and she offers some wise advice for people interested in missions. We talk about how she's lightening up in her regular routine, then we have a really NOT light, but super important conversation about her work preventing sex trafficking and how we can help keep kids safe in our own communities. Then we talk about her new book, A Voice Becoming: A Yearlong Mother-Daughter Journey into Passionate, Purposed Living. No matter where you live or whether you have daughters or not, this conversation is really helpful and really important so listen in and lighten up. Links from the show: Check out Beth's book, A Voice Becoming Beth's husband's book, Man Maker Project Find Beth on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook Beth's site Beth's anti-trafficking organization, A Face to Reframe The Very Worst Missionary Barbie Unveils 17 New Dolls Based on Inspiring Women

33mins

17 Apr 2018

Rank #13

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Lighten Up #91: Kimberly Stuart

Today I'm talking with Kimberly Stuart, writer of romance and author of the new book, Heart Land. Kimberly is incredibly fun and very patient with me as I ask ridiculous questions about romantic things, cite Fabio on the covers of the books at the grocery store checkout, and unpack my hangups with romance, both as a genre and in my sadly pragmatic actual life. We discuss our feelings about The Greatest Showman, our romantic experiences both on the page and off, "bodice rippers," and her new book Heart Land. I'm dubbing her our "romantic Yoda." Meet us at the corner table with a red rose pressed between the pages of Wuthering Heights, listen in, and lighten up! Links from the show: Check out Kimberly's latest book Heart Land Find her on Instagram video of audition for The Greatest Showman Matchmaking for Beginners Marisa de los Santos books Same Kind of Different as Me Pride and Prejudice The Picture of Dorian Gray

33mins

18 Sep 2018

Rank #14

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Lighten Up #66: Shaunti Feldhahn

Alex and I got married almost 18 years ago and one of the first books I was given was a cute, little stripey book that contained a window into the minds of men. On today's episode, social researcher and best-selling author Shaunti Feldhahn joins me and tells the story of how she ended up writing her bestselling book, For Women Only. Then she shares how she thinks we need to lighten up and we talk about her new devotional, Find Rest, and what her research uncovered about the primary causes of stress for women. She talks about the eight essential elements of rest, the definition of true rest, self care and soul care, and then I get her to tell us her not-guilty-at-all beach read pleasure. Feeling tired and stressed? Listen in and lighten up. Links from the show: Check out Shaunti's new devotional, Find Rest Shaunti's site For Women Only Find Shaunti on Instagram Twilight

32mins

20 Mar 2018

Rank #15

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Lighten Up #99: Alia Joy

Today I'm talking with Alia Joy, author of Glorious Weakness: Discovering God in All We Lack. We start out trading colonoscopy stories. Anytime I can exchange poop stories with someone I'm pretty much in heaven. You know. After that, we chat about how we need to lighten up about grammar, then Alia shares about living with bipolar disorder, how she was diagnosed, and the stigma of mental illness. I know I'm not supposed to have favorite episodes but this one is so good. It's my favorite balance of fun and serious. Mental illness can feel so isolating, and Alia's openness with hers sheds light and helps us understand, empathize, and feel less alone. Whether you've had a colonoscopy, struggle with mental illness, or love someone who does, listen in and lighten up. Links from the show: Preorder Alia's new book, Glorious Weakness: Discovering God in All We Lack Find Alia on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram Alia's website Alia's essays: The Hospitality of Marriage The Fluency of Hope When I Am Bipolar Coming of Age in This American Life

34mins

13 Nov 2018

Rank #16

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Lighten Up #92: Fashion Crossover with Sarah Bragg

It's time yet again for our monthly crossover episode with my good friend Sarah Bragg of Surviving Sarah. This month we're shooting the breeze about fashion. Because no one knows fashion like a couple of middle-aged moms living in the suburbs of Atlanta. We share our personal fashion and makeup rules, fashion trends we'd like to see die a fiery death, and our daily routines. Also, we play fashion police and at one point I use the phrase "bubular area." Pull on your sweatiest yoga pants with the hole in the crotch, listen in, and lighten up. Links from the show: Sign up to be email friends with me Surviving Sarah Podcast – check out the other half of our conversation on contentment! Go be friends with Sarah Bragg! Instagram Facebook Twitter

30mins

25 Sep 2018

Rank #17

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Lighten Up #84: Dog Days of Summer with Sarah Bragg

This week I've combined our Dog Days of Summer series with our monthly crossover episode with Sarah Bragg of Surviving Sarah! So as always with these monthly episodes, you can hear one half of our conversation here on Lighten Up, and the other half over on Surviving Sarah. Today Sarah shares her favorite dog story, and did she commit a crime or not? You be the judge. Then, we tackle back to school. Back to school. What the heck? How is it already that time?! Here in Georgia, the season in upon us so we might as well talk about it. We cover school supplies (Who IS Dixon Ticonderoga?!), our own back to school memories, the first time we sent our kiddos to school, and how it's changed as our kids have grown up. We share tips for navigating back to school, what not to do (ask us how we know!), how to have reasonable expectations about school involvement, how to partner with teachers, how to stay organized with all your kids' papers, and tackling the morning routine, ugh. So whether your kids go back this week, next week, or not for another month, listen in and lighten up! Episode sponsor: Today’s episode is sponsored by FabFitFun! FabFitFun is a seasonal subscription box with full-size beauty, fitness, fashion, and lifestyle products. It’s basically like getting a birthday present in the mail four times a year. It retails for $49.99 but always contains products totaling over $200, and they’re giving Lighten Up listeners $10 off your first box when you use code LIGHTENUP at fabfitfun.com. Links from the show: Sign up to be email friends with me Surviving Sarah Podcast – check out the other half of our conversation on contentment! Go be friends with Sarah Bragg! Instagram Facebook Twitter Episode 68 with Wynter Pitts

34mins

31 Jul 2018

Rank #18

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Lighten Up #79: Kelly Balarie

Today I'm talking with Kelly Balarie. Kelly is a delight and I can't wait for you guys to meet her. We talk about grocery shopping cart road rage, which is a thing. You know what I'm talking about. And then we talk about Kelly's new book, Battle Ready. She has faced some serious battles, from financial to relational to medical, and instead of letting them bring her down, she's risen to the challenge and in this book, she shares her strategies for combating doubt and all those ways our minds can feel under attack. If you're struggling with insecurity and uncertainty, Kelly has some good news to help you defeat it, so listen in and lighten up. Quote from the show: "You can be a light in your community by showing your own darkness...We're all on a search for what's real." Links from the show: Check out Kelly's new book, Battle Ready Find Kelly on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter Kelly's website The Lighten Up Guidelines for Laughing at Life

32mins

19 Jun 2018

Rank #19

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Lighten Up #110: Callie Feyen

Today for our friendship over 40 series I'm talking with my friend Callie Feyen, author of The Teacher Diaries: Romeo & Juliet and Twirl. We chat about how making friends has changed for us as we've gotten older and how our conversations have morphed from nap schedules to navigating our teens' technology and talking about our jobs. Callie introduces us to her friends in her memoir Twirl, so we talk about she's maintaining these friendships from high school all the way into her forties, as well as what she would tell her thirty-year-old self. We talk about hanging out without the kids, how we coach our kids to be kind to each other so the adults can still hang out during these volatile middle school years, and how, thankfully, we are separate from our kids, with separate friendships. Come on over and hang out with Callie and me, listen in, and lighten up! Links from the show: Check out Callie's books: Twirl The Teacher Diaries: Romeo & Juliet Find Callie on Twitter and Instagram Callie was on episode #61! To All the Boys I've Loved Before Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl _________ As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

40mins

1 Oct 2019

Rank #20