Mama Bear Dares

The Mama Bear Dares podcast explores the intersection of the Mother Self and the Other Self and, in doing so, encourages listeners to discover their inner Mama Bear and unlock her power in the pursuit of a life of love and compassion.
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Mama Bear Dares



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Aug 8, 2016
On Episode 48 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, co-hosts Tesi and Leslie talk to Melanie Dale about her new book It's Not Fair: Learning to Love the Life You Didn't Choose. The three women discuss coping mechanisms (both healthy and harmful), bearing hope during difficult periods, and the healing power of laughter when all you want to do is cry. As they explore the themes of loss and hardship, the women also discuss the ways in which we can be good friends to those who are suffering around us and how we might better express ourselves in times of personal darkness. The conversation is honest, uplifting, and filled with lighthearted moments. Tune in to learn more about author and mother Melanie and learn from her unique wisdom encouraging women to move through difficult times with courage and steadfast faith. For complete Show Notes, head to
Aug 3, 2016
So many of us are careful consumers and stewards of the earth. We make sure to recycle, we purchase locally sourced—even organic—foods, and check products for BPA and red dye, but we often pay less attention to where our clothing comes from, who produces it, and what it's made of. Today, the co-hosts respond to Episode 45: The Management, Organization, & Coordination of Stuff and Why We'd Rather Eat Pie, in which Leslie and Tesi interview Jennie Barnds and discuss our consumer habits and the physical "stuff" that we all have so much of. The women talk about the KonMari Method of decluttering and take it a step further by exploring our spiritual relationship to physical things. In Episode 46, Tesi and Leslie continue the conversation and discuss Leslie's extreme response to a fantastic book.  Published in 2012, Over-Dressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline inspired Leslie to engage on a yearlong clothing fast. The women spend time talking about what she learned and offering tips to listeners who might be encouraged to take back the power of the purse and make big or small changes that impact their closets, peace of mind, and, ultimately, the world we live in. For links and complete Show Notes, visit the Mama Bear Dares website.  
Aug 1, 2016
On Episode 45, Tesi and Leslie talk to Jennie Barnds, a mom-of-three with an interesting perspective on our tendency to collect material things and allow "stuff" to slowly take over our homes and lives. Jennie talks not only about literally cleaning a house, but also explores the metaphor of the space that things take up in our hearts and brains. Jennie shares her experience of following the very popular Marie Kondo method of tidying up, as well as her experience of organizing and cleaning her mother- and father-in-law's home shortly after her father-in-law's sudden death and her mother-in-law's subsequent move to assisted living. The three women dive into the questions that surround our American tendency toward excessive consumerism and explore its impact on the human soul ... and on the freedom of the next generation. For links and complete Show Notes, visit our website. Also discussed on this episode: The rub of letting go: Can we let go to our clothing, things, pictures, jobs, and relationships? What's the benefit of letting go? Is there ever a reason to hold on?Other people's things: Can we form emotional attachments to other people's things? Should we?There are ways that we can help our kids navigate a world focused on things. We can also encourage our parents and grandparents to come up with a plan for what happens to their treasures at the end of life. If not, it's possible to end up living in a museum.The spirituality of "stuff": Can there be a spiritual connection to our things? WWJD with all of our things? What does Christ teach us about being men and women who live for others, not for things.
Jul 27, 2016
On this Mama Bear Mini, Tesi and Leslie reign in the mighty-Mama-Bear-poised-for-action that resides in each of them and attempt to have a disciplined, yet passionate, conversation about the world at large. Leslie just returned from a three-week vacation that involved time in Nice, so the sisters can't help but once again tackle the headlines. The women talk a bit about Leslie’s vacation and a bit about Nice, but the bulk of the conversation is a discussion of how we engage our Mama Bear in a fight for justice in the world and how to raise our kids to be compassionate and loving when it feels like the world is the opposite. Tesi and Leslie do their best to talk through two basic questions in the midst of very challenging times: How do we remain compassionate and nonjudgmental during these times? And how do we raise our kids to do the same? For full Show Notes, please visit our website!
Jul 25, 2016
On this episode of Mama Bear Dares, Leslie and Tesi talk to Lisa Gaston about death and dying. Lisa is a trained chaplain and mom to three grown children. Listen as she discusses what it's like to accompany individuals in the midst of the dying process and families as they face the death of a loved one. Together, we dig into dying, living, and the search for life's purpose. Lisa offers a unique look into a fascinating, complex, and largely avoided topic, gently encouraging listeners to face their own insecurities and views of death and dying. For complete Show Notes and links, please visit the Mama Bear Dares Podcast website. Other points discussed: Serving God from wherever we areLearning from life's minutiaeOur societal response to death: Is it the right response? How did we get here? How do other cultures respond to death and dying?How do we die with dignity?How can we prepare for death?
Jul 20, 2016
Following co-host Leslie's obsession with the story of Hamilton and the music of Lin Manual Miranda, she and Tesi jump in and discuss the phenomenon that so many mamas love! Episode 44 unpacks Hamilton's brilliance and explores the reasons why we believe that the rap and hip hop in the show has struck a chord with so many of our Mama Bears. Tesi and Leslie invite their resident music-loving, trend-finding influencer and sister Kait to the room where the podcast happens. Together, the trio dives into the power of music and its incredible ability to influence our culture and define generations. The episode ends with Kait's suggestions for Hamilton-lovin' mamas who want to expand their musical palette and step into the story-telling brilliance and sound of rap and hip hop. For full Show Notes and links, visit the Mama Bear Dares website.
Jul 18, 2016
On Episode 41, Tesi and Leslie interview Mandy Arioto, the president and CEO of MOPS (Mothers of Preschool) International, who will release her debut book Starry-Eyed: Seeing Grace in the Unfolding Constellation of Life and Motherhood in August. Tesi and Leslie absolutely love the book and were delighted by their conversation with Mandy, a woman who is smart, sweet, vulnerable, and full of inspiration. Mandy believes in intentionally showing up in relationships (even when it's hard or uncomfortable) and leaning on one another in times of celebration and strife. And, much like Leslie and Tesi, she goes BIG to cultivate joy! The women discuss the ins and outs of motherhood (both the inherent joy and pain), the challenges of finding time to embrace the Other Self, and the amazing opportunity women have to influence the next generation of humans. Ultimately, all three women believe somethings fundamental: Moms are world changers! For complete show notes and to order Mandy's book visit our website. 
Jul 13, 2016

On Part 2 of our series exploring privilege, co-hosts Tesi and Leslie focus more on what privilege even means. We hear from Kait Klipsch (another Mama Bear sister!) on how she has seen her own privilege play out, as well as how easy it is to ignore it as part of your reality. The co-hosts also explore the disheartening injustices Kait has witnessed while working in the criminal justice system in Brooklyn, New York, with the aim to educate themselves and their listeners on how injustice happens everywhere, including in places like the Midwest. Today's episode expands on Episode 39, which released Monday, so please go back and listen for context. Tesi and Leslie hope this series with Kait will give Mama Bears the frame of reference they need when they hear current conversations surrounding the phrase "white privilege." After the deaths this week in America, everyone at Mama Bear Dares believe it's of the utmost important to unpack the phrase so that we can learn to live out our lives with compassion. Read more on our website. 

Jul 11, 2016
It has been a really intense week here in America. From Alton Sterling and Philando Castle to the 5 police officers in Dallas-this week has been seemingly consumed with death. If there has been one thing that is shared among Americans, it's grief. On Episode 39 co-hosts Tesi and Leslie welcome one of their other sisters-in-law, Kait Klipsch. Because of Kait's unique outlook on life and their shared interests the sisters talked for more than 2 hours. In today's Part 1 the sisters deep dive into Kait's extensive experience in living and working in other countries. The women talk about how traveling for Kait, whether it be across the world to Sri Lanka or across the city to the south side of Chicago, opened her eyes to a new reality. One that wasn't even close to her experience as a white, upper-middle class woman. For more information on Part 1 of the series exploring privilege, go to our website. 
Jul 6, 2016
On Episode 40 of Mama Bear Dares, the hosts talk about, well, sex. Tesi and Leslie—with the help of life coach Gervase Kolmos (Episode 27)—discuss the nature of sex and how it changes during pregnancy, after children, and with every single stage of life. The three women celebrate healthy partnerships, romantic love, and the joys of physical touch, all the while being honest about the challenges that parenting brings into the mix of a relationship. They candidly discuss tips and tricks to maintain a healthy sex life and discuss the topic as only girlfriends can. Listen in! For complete Show Notes and Links, visit our website!
Jul 4, 2016
Dana Dengler Linze is a nurse, mother, talented artist, and avid gardener. She is also a widower. When Dana was 26, her 28-year-old husband was killed in a tragic accident after which she was left to raise her three young boys and to pick up the pieces of her life. Dana opens up about the unimaginable and talks to co-hosts Leslie and Tesi about the process of grief, her experience with depression, her sadness and eventual healing, and her willingness to love again*. In an emotional interview, listeners will be asked to contemplate love and loss, and learn from the depths of Dana's experience. It almost goes without saying that the MBD co-hosts are in awe by the strength, determination, and grace of this woman. For links and full Show Notes, visit our website! Also discussed: How do you grieve when you have bills to pay and boys to raise?The women discuss how diamonds are shaped by tremendous pressure and how humans are made through suffering.The ways in which a life can be shaped—in both beautiful and horrible ways—by dealing with the reality of death.Mental health, the importance of treating what's broken, and the gifts of being transparent throughout stuggle.Finding love after unimaginable loss.The metaphorical growth of a backyard garden and the beauty of a purple tomato.The importance of volunteerism and the ways we can shape the next generation through authentic examples of tangible love.
Jun 28, 2016

On Episode 36, co-hosts Leslie and Tesi enjoy a brief conversation about Seinfeld, dancing in Africa, and a Tanzanian trumpet choir in a segment they like to call SO WHAT HAPPENED WAS... The sisters go on to share some great summer recipes that highlight the seasonal produce that's so abundant during this time of year in a segment called LET'S TALK ABOUT HEALTH, BABY. The dishes they linger over are healthy, beautiful on the plate, inexpensive, and full of nutrition—plus they take no time to make! Finally, they end the mid-week mini by digging deep, getting real, and telling listeners about the THINGS THEY SHOULD PROBABLY FEEL GUILTY ABOUT, BUT DON'T. For links and complete Show Notes, visit our website!

Jun 27, 2016

On Episode 35 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, co-hosts Tesi and Leslie interview Tara Livesay, a native Minnesotan who has spent the last 10 years living with her family in Haiti. Tara is a mother (by birth and adoption), Certified Professional Midwife, blogger, and advocate for sustainable change throughout the developing world. She and the team at Heartline Ministries spend their days empowering, educating, and encouraging women in Haiti through relational midwifery and a focus on keeping first families together. Tesi and Leslie loved the time spent with Tara and were blown away by her vulnerability, bravery, and extraordinarily good humor. Listeners will enjoy hearing Tara's fascinating tales of worth, wisdom, and a life well-lived (in Haiti!) ... and may even be inspired to think about social change and the ways that they can make waves in their own small corner of the world. For complete Show Notes, head to

Jun 22, 2016
On today's mid-week episode, Leslie and Tesi debate whether or not kids belong on all vacations. The co-hosts discuss the pros and cons of traveling with kids and explore the immediate needs of moms as individuals and the long-term impact that geographical exploration has on children. Leslie dives into why it's so important to her to take her kids just about anywhere as she trots the globe and Tesi drops some knowledge on traveling on a budget and shares examples of what she has learned from navigating the world with a family of seven. The sisters dare listeners to consider travel—both literally and as a state of mind—and how embracing a bit of movement and whimsy this summer can lead to a season well lived. For full Show Notes, visit MBD: FOUR REASONS TO CROSS THE GLOBE WITH KIDS Kids bring wonder and delightKids slow you a good wayThese experiences will shape their brains foreverTravel is a physical and emotional journey...even for kids MBD: BUDGET FRIENDLY TRAVEL (with kids) TIPS Research, research, researchTake out cash and stick to it!Pack food or stay in places with a small kitchen that allow you to buy in bulk. (Leslie and family have had great luck with AirBnB and Homeaway.)
Jun 22, 2016
On today's mid-week episode, Leslie and Tesi debate whether or not kids belong on all vacations. The co-hosts discuss the pros and cons of traveling with kids and explore the immediate needs of moms as individuals and the long-term impact that geographical exploration has on children. Leslie dives into why it's so important to her to take her kids just about anywhere as she trots the globe and Tesi drops some knowledge on traveling on a budget and shares examples of what she has learned from navigating the world with a family of seven. The sisters dare listeners to consider travel—both literally and as a state of mind—and how embracing a bit of movement and whimsy this summer can lead to a season well lived. For complete Show Notes and links, head to the Mama Bear Dares website. MBD: FOUR REASONS TO CROSS THE GLOBE WITH KIDS Kids bring wonder and delightKids slow you a good wayThese experiences will shape their brains foreverTravel is a physical and emotional journey...even for kids MBD: BUDGET FRIENDLY TRAVEL (with kids) TIPS Research, research, researchTake out cash and stick to it!Pack food or stay in places with a small kitchen that allow you to buy in bulk. (Leslie and family have had great luck with AirBnB and Homeaway.)
Jun 20, 2016

On Episode 33, co-hosts Leslie and Tesi tackle the topic of poetry in the modern world by interviewing award-winning poet and mother-of-two Aubrey Ryan. Aubrey shares her experience with poetry and the way it impacts her everyday, all the while helping to demystify the sometimes intimidating art form. The women spend an hour together admiring the poetry in our world while viewing it from unexpected angles: poetry as medicine, writing as healing, and verse as activism. Listeners will hear the words of poets who have you woven truths together and may pause to take in the power of language, lingering over the mystery and beauty of the ways that we, as human beings, communicate. Tesi, Leslie, and their guest talk about being alive to the extraordinary in the ordinary and then telling of the discovery in magnificent and creative ways. All of this to say, as Aubrey Ryan does in Episode 33, "Hey, world! Poetry is not hard!" For full Show Notes, visit Mama Bear Dares online. 

Jun 15, 2016
On Episode 32, co-hosts Leslie and Tesi dive into a topic near and dear to their hearts—the war against manufactured magic. It’s a Gladiator’s road to be sure, but today's episode tackles the idea that kids can make their own fun this summer and that women can release the pressure they may feel as moms to create constant joy, whimsy, and fun for them. The conversation focuses on a great article written Bunmi Laditan that appeared in The Huff Post. Surrounding this topic, the podcast opens with a celebration of Tesi's birthday and ends with a dare to let memories be made because you refuse to give into the pressures of the world and allow your kids experience magic on their own. For complete Show Notes visit Here are some highlights of the conversation: Leslie reveals that her best parenting move is from the couch or the porchThe co-hosts share childhood memories that were very simple and were not manufactured! Tesi recalls a thrilling childhood—and she doesn’t remember seeing her mom during the day. (She was certainly not manufacturing magic.)If it feels natural to you to create magic, then do it! But if it feels unnatural to you, don’t. Release the pressure of perfection!We pose a few final questions from the article about childhood, magic, and where you stand on the relationship between the two...and ask our Mama Bear Community to answer online!
Jun 13, 2016

On Episode 31 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Tesi and Leslie interview meditation coach and mother of two, Angie Sands. Angie delights the co-hosts with her calm spirit and incredible bank knowledge about the age-old practice of meditation. The women discuss how the act of meditating has impacted their emotional lives and the way in which meditation impacts the development and maturation of the human brain. It's a fascinating conversation about a topic of curiosity for more and more moms in the trenches of parenthood. Also on this episode, Leslie and Tesi have fun exploring a new segment inspired by Angie called MAYBE IT'S MEDITATION during which they discuss the impact of meditation on their every day lives. Am I calmer in line at the grocery store? Are the clouds really that beautiful? Does meditation literally make my skin glow? The co-hosts wonder just how far meditation can take a person, and they want to hear from you about your own experiences or apprehensions! Finally, after a fruitful conversation with Angie, we hear about her current obsessions in the OBSESS SESH. For complete show notes, visit Other topics discussed: The remarkable brain science behind meditationThe benefits for kids who engage in a meditation practiceThe idea that though many of our desires are externally driven, we have everything we need inside of us to feel peace and happiness. Meditation will help us unlock these joys!The difference between meditation and mindfulnessThe question of whether or not there is an element of privilege in the practice of meditationHow to get started with a meditation practice...perhaps it can be a way to nurture your Other Self!

Jun 8, 2016
Tesi and Leslie get a little heated, a tiny bit soap box-y, and a whole lot passionate on Episode 30 in which they tackle the headlines. The women pause to consider the magnifying glass that was placed on the mother at the Cincinnati Zoo as her toddler tumbled into the ape enclosure and discuss how, as mothers, our generation can help put a stop to the rape culture that's all too prevalent in our country. As they discuss the zoo incident and the sentence just doled out to a rapist in California, the women try their best to navigate the incredibly difficult world we inhabit. Through their conversation they mince no words, but do their best to arrive at a place of productive rage and overall love. Here are a few ways that moms (and dads) can help turn the tide of rape culture discussed on today's episode: Talk to your kids about sexImplement a firm "no means no policy" while rough-housing, tickling, wrestling, or any other physical playEncourage children to practice their "no" ... and then honor itStop telling our daughters that "teasing" (pulling hair, etc.) is a sign that someone "likes" youStop assigning boyfriends/girlfriends to young childrenWhen age appropriate, talk about the definition of consentDiscuss with your children the media's portrayal of criminals through images and the use of language in describing victims and perpetratorsNotice together how race and class can distort our system of justice How to find hope, Mama Bears? Listen to the end of the episode for a list of what keeps Leslie and Tesi clinging to the idea that good can prevail.  For complete show notes, head to to listen.
Jun 6, 2016
When Leslie, the co-host of the Mama Bear Dares, traveled to East Africa late last month with the NGO she contracts with, she realized she had a great opportunity to introduce listeners of the Mama Bear Dares podcast to a Tanzanian mother. Her international colleague at Empower Tanzania, new mom and program manager Efrancia Nzota, graciously agreed to be a guest on the show. After a long, hot day of training Maasai women as Community Health Workers, Leslie and Efra sat down at the Nzoroko Hotel restaurant, shared a Coke, and discussed the ways their lives as professionals and as mothers are similar and the ways in which they are different. The conversation that listeners will listen in on in Episode 29 may point listeners to this: Our joys and triumphs as mothers and women are universal. We can sit with friends in our own communities and find out that we have much in common, and we can travel across the world, sit down with friends there, and learn the same thing. This transformative realization is one hosts Leslie and Tesi hope listeners will never look back from. For complete show notes and all links from the episode, visit
Jun 1, 2016
On Episode 28 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Tesi talks to Leslie's husband Jake and her own husband Zach about embracing a plant-based diet while Leslie is in East Africa with the NGO she contracts with, Empower Tanzania. In this debut of male voices on the podcast, Tesi and the pair of brothers discuss their plant-based lifestyle, offer resources for those interested in learning more, and share anecdotes about how becoming vegan has impacted their health and their lives. Finally, in a nod to the ever-present phenomena of "Mommy Guilt," they tackle "Daddy Guilt" and try to determine whether or not it truly exists. (Hint: It does!) Segments include When You Know Better, You Do Better and Things We Should Probably Feel Guilty About But Don't. Visit the Mama Bear Dares Podcast website for complete show notes and links!
May 30, 2016
On today's Mama Bear Dares episode, Leslie and Tesi interview the fabulous life-coach and founder of Shiny.Happy.Human Gervase Kolmos. The women dive into a conversation about the whole human experience and the flavor that motherhood brings to a life. All three are candid and honest about the ups and downs of raising tiny humans and its impact on life in the trenches of parenthood. The conversation continues as Leslie and Tesi talk to Gervase about leading a life of celebration and taking the time to notice and applaud victories, both big and small. The women also dig into how to disappoint others honorably, the danger of capping joy, and the beauty of living a life of celebration. Overall, this honest conversation encourages listeners to live well and embrace this one incredible life! For more information about this episode, check out
May 25, 2016
On this Mama Bear Mini, our mid-week episode, Tesi and Leslie talk about the quest for virtue and a life well lived in a segment called We Read It, We Loved It, Let's Discuss. Here they tackle all kinds of questions about what it means to be a good person and how we might all seek to find the glow of selflessness. After a heavy and hopeful conversation, Tesi and Leslie dive into their very own Obsess Sesh! We Read It, We Loved It, Let's Discuss Find the article discussed here: "The Moral Bucket List" by David Brooks, New York Times, essay adapted from his book The Road to Character. Here are a few of the experiences highlighted on the way to the richest possible life. We encourage you to discover and dissect them all: The Humility ShiftSelf-DefeatThe Dependency LeapEnergizing LoveThe Call Within the CallThe Conscience Leap Other books/resources mentioned: The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving A F@*k by Sarah Knight Everything by Brene Brown, but especially: The Gifts of Imperfection | Daring Greatly | Rising Strong Go back and check out our interview with Jody Landers. It's Episode 3: Doing it Scared on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you listen! Thanks again to MCSqu
May 23, 2016
On this episode of Mama Bear Dares, Leslie and Tesi talk to the lovely Denise Cartright about how to keep our #skinsuit (aka your skin) healthy and glowing! Denise is a master esthetician and founder/owner of Crude Personal Care, a cutting edge oil-cleansing skin system. Denise educates listeners on the skin biome and asks us to turn our attention inward on ourselves so that our exterior can shine and our whole beings can thrive. Also discussed is the story of how Crude was born—a fascinating tale of entrepreneurship, risk, and the power of one. This episode aims to talk about the practical matter of skin, but as we often find, it's never really just about what's on the outside. We are complex beings with beautiful stories to spin! For complete show notes and links, visit
May 18, 2016
On this Mama Bear Mini, our mid-week episode, we talk about keeping romantic relationships alive after kids enter the scene. Prompted by learning about the break-up of two great, previously betrothed authors mentioned in Episode 18, Tesi and Leslie come up with Seven Simple Ways to Nurture Your Relationship After Kids with a focus on the people who are the closest: our spouses/partners. Links and complete show information located at
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