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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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
May 16, 2016
On this episode of Mama Bear Dares, Leslie and Tesi talk to Cynthia Vanderpool Garcia about immigration, advocacy, and neighborliness. Cynthia, mom to two young children and immigration lawyer, explains what it's like to be on the front lines of immigration in America. Together, we dig into the immigration process, compassion fatigue, and the complexities of life in America. Cynthia offers a look into a fascinating world, gently educating us and encouraging us to live our lives well. Links and more information can be found at
May 11, 2016
On Episode 22 of Mama Bear Dares, co-hosts Tesi and Leslie riff on an article about the power dynamics of language in relation to gender. After discussing ten words that we should teach our daughters to say comfortably in conversation, they take questions from the Mama Bear Community and do their best to answer from the heart. They encourage you to recognize the power of your own voice and use your Mama Bear strength to assert your words in the world. Links and more information about the episode are available at
May 9, 2016
Ashley Summers, the woman behind the fantastic clothing line The Homemade Kid, could not be more delightful. You'll meet her during this episode of Mama Bear Dares and will be instantly charmed. Not only is she giving away a Mama Bear t-shirt (stay until the end to learn how to win!), but she opens up about her experience of birthing a daughter and a business within two weeks of one another, what inspires her, and her life on the West Coast. Tune in as Tesi and Leslie ask Ashley about her work, her family, and her fabulous self! In this episode, we also talk about: The birth of a business and a baby. This topic leads us to the question: What are YOU capable of?Ashley's awesome ability to prioritize and live with PEACE about her choices.Ashley's lightness! Our Friday night fun!We also discuss Ashley's practiced eye for beautiful things and her company's cute designs.Obsess Sesh! Tesi and Leslie are obsessed with The Homemade Kid. Here's what Ashley is currently loving: Birch Box Her Ninja Coffee Maker Spoon Flower Fabrics There are so many ways to win:#1. Like The Homemade Kid (Insta | FB) and MAMA Bear
May 4, 2016
On this Mama Bear Mini, our mid-week episode, we talk about Mother's Day, interview our kids, and encourage YOU to do the same! As we celebrate nurturing women this week, we dare listeners to take a moment to be really proud of who you are as a mom or to cheer on the mom you will someday become. Regardless of what motherhood looks like for you, we think you're amazing! Questions for the kids: Here's the script we used to interview our kids. Feel free to use it however you please! What is your favorite thing to do with me?What is something I’ve said to you that has helped you in the past? A bit of wisdom that you think about even when I’m not there?How would you describe me? Is there something about me that would surprise other people to know?On the Mama Bear Dares podcast we encourage moms to be their very best selves. Can you think of a way I can support you better? How can I be a better mom to you?Who is your best friend? What is it about this friend that makes them so great? What’s it like to see your mom with her friends? What do they do? How do they act?You have a lot of aunts and grandmas in this life. This is really special. What do you like about having all of these women who love you so much?Currently, what's your favorite thing to do? What are you obsessed with? We want to hear from YOU!! We encourage all of you to sit down with your kids and ask these questions and record them!!! You don’t need high tech equipment, there are plenty of free apps that will record audio. Download one of those and carve out some time to talk with your kids and then send us the audio file! In a future Mama Bear Mini we will include some of our favorites! Email us at Mam
May 2, 2016
On this episode of Mama Bear Dares, Tesi and Leslie interview Meg Duerksen, the woman behind the wildly popular WHATEVER blog and the owner of the adorable and brilliant Craft House. The women talk about the search for beauty in a sometimes difficult world, the ins and outs of blogging, and the importance of sacred community. The episode ends with a peek into Meg's life by exploring three things she's currently obsessed with. You can find Meg on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and, of course, on her BLOG. We spoke about The Adventure Project, one of our favorite organizations. OBSESS SESH: Meg is currently obsessed with black coffee, these jeans, and a lovely little cow bust that used to belong to Meg's grandmother. PINTERESTING, VERY PINTERESTING: Here's what Tesi is pinning: Vegan Peanut Cup Butter Pie Here's what Leslie is pinning:
Apr 27, 2016
On this Mama Bear Mini, our mid-week episode, we discuss being an advocate for your health and listening to your body in our segment "Let's talk about health, baby." Tesi shares a recent health development and encourages listeners to value themselves enough to nurture their body when it breaks. We also tackle a new recipe on "When you know better, You do better" and conclude with a fan favorite, "Things We Should Probably Feel Guilty About, But Don't." Today we dare listeners to take their health into their own hands. Give yourself that breast exam; learn to listen to every ache and pain. Tesi and Leslie don’t want to encourage you to fight death or aging tooth and nail, but they DO want to encourage you to embrace the one body you get in this lifetime and to take care of it the way your Mama Bear takes care of the children, pets, and favorite people in your life. Let's talk about health, baby: Tesi tells listeners about a recent health event in her life. Episode 12 (On Obsessions, Allergies, and Being Brave) is referenced. Find it HERE. When you know better, you do better: We encourage you to shake things up in the kitchen and embrace Meatless Monday...on any day of the week! You can find the fantastic Mac-n-Cheese recipe (it's vegan and plant-based!) we discuss in the show HERE. Documentaries we discuss: Cowspiracy Forks Over Knives
Apr 25, 2016

On this episode of Mama Bear Dares, Leslie and Tesi talk to Sara Olson-Smith about faith, community, what it’s like being a woman with influence, and social activism. Sara, mom to two young children and pastor of a large church, tells us what it feels like to be called to be a truth-teller and how her faith plays a huge role in her life. Together, we dig into how to respond to a broken world and how to find hope at the end of each day. Listeners will love hearing from Sara as she shares her appreciation and hopes for the church—and for all of humanity—as a body of witness. Other points discussed: A response to a world in crisisHopes and fears of practicing a Christian faith in this worldSara’s journey to becoming who she is todayWomen in ministrySara’s take on corporate worshipAdvice to those who want to become an ally to the disenfranchisedLINKS: Click here to read Tesi’s blog post about what she feels about being Christian and finding a community of worship. All three of us love the podcast Another Round, check it out HERE. Here’s where Sara serves as a pastor. Obsess Sesh: A few things that Sara is loving right now: Wireless Bluetooth headphones that she can wear while moving about and listening to Hamilton!

Apr 20, 2016
On this Mama Bear Mini, our mid-week episode, we discuss a few quotes from a book we love called Nice Girls Don’t Change the World in our segment called “We read it, We loved it, Let’s discuss…” We also tackle an article about the power of community and female friendship that a Mama Bear Dares listener shared with us and that we just love. Today we dare listeners to think about the power of the friendship in their lives and challenge them to nurture these friendships, not just for the health and wellness benefits, but because we need our girlfriends and they need us. We ask that immaturity and pettiness be banished from getting in the way of relationships and that our listeners strive toward womanhood and yield the power held within: the power of clarity, wisdom, and experience. WE READ IT, WE LOVED IT, LET’S DISCUSS: The conversation at the center of Episode 14 is based from the following: Find Lynne Hybels book Nice Girls Don't Change the WorldHERE. Find the article from Uplift, WHY WOMEN NEED A TRIBE by Tanja Taljaard, HERE. Mama Bears, we’re online! Here’s where you can find us: Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and let us know what you’re thinking! And don’t forget about our online style consultation from fashion blogger Yasi Back! Just leave a comment on iTunes and you’ll be entered to win!
Apr 18, 2016
Yasi Back is an epidemiologist by day and style blogger by night. She is the woman behind Hello, Gorgeous, a hugely popular fashion blog that she has curated from her home home in Michigan for the last half decade. She opens up to Mama Bear Dares listeners on her love of fashion, her investment in her community, and the importance of honoring yourself and your priorities. She also offers solid advice to listeners about wearing what works for you and she makes an important announcement about her work. Yasi is such a pleasure! You can find here on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and, of course, on her blog. Here are a few of the highlights from our discussion with Yasi: The keys to personal styleBody acceptanceEver-evolving fashionStyle bloggers for the average cat, the working woman, and the mom who stays at homeDisordered eating and the power of writing as a healing mechanismBeyonceAnd...Yasi makes a big announcementOBSESS SESH: We love hearing what our guests are currently into. Here's Yasi's list: Books: Yasi has been reading The Summer Girls trilogy and recently finished The Pe
Apr 13, 2016
Last week we asked our Mama Bear Community what they think of when they hear the phrase “Mommy Guilt” and we received some great feedback that we share and respond to on Episode 14 of Mama Bear Dares. Mommy Guilt is a phrase that our culture is way too familiar with. But why? Leslie and Tesi tackle the topic today revealing their own experiences with Mommy Guilt and disclosing moments when they are plagued and moments when they refuse to let the feeling steal their joy. We also introduce a few new segments we think you can get down with: Reppin the MBC on the MBD and Things We Should Probably Feel Guilty About But Don’t. Segment 1: Reppin the MBC on the MBD! (In other words, Reppin the Mama Bear Community on Mama Bear Dares!) After discussing listener comments, we offer a bit of dialogue on how we’re trying to eradicate Mommy Guilt from our lives. Here are a few highlights: Make sure it’s guilt and not shame. There’s a difference!Let some things go. Evaluate what you’re feeling guilty about — is it worth it?Recognize that parenting is not a competitive sportPrioritize the enjoyment of the parenting experience NOT the enjoyment of your childSet aside specific time just for the familySegment 2: Things we should probably feel guilty about, but don’t! Leslie and Tesi bare their soul in a nod to the fact that no one is perfect! This begs for listener feedback: Do tell! What do you do that you DON’T feel guilty about? We mention the following on the podcast: Whether you’re in sub-saharan Africa or the middle of Michigan, you might need this: Instant Immersion Portable Heater Read all of Brene Brown’s books. Do it. (She researches shame and gui
Apr 11, 2016
On this episode of Mama Bear Dares, Leslie and Tesi talk to the lovely Sarah Wenger about the female body. Sarah, mom to three with a fourth on the way, opens up to us from her home in Colorado about her career as a model and about what it was like growing up in a family and community where no one else looked quite like her. Together, we dig into body image, the power of our physical selves, and aging gracefully. Listeners will love hearing about Sarah’s journey of self acceptance, will relate to her strong need for community, and will be fascinated by Sarah’s insights into not just the fashion industry, but the ways in which our physical shapes impact our daily lives. Mama Bears, we know just how hard it can be to be a woman in our culture. The expectations on our physical bodies, the objectification, and the pressures of aging in a culture that often does not value aging—specifically for women. We want to hear from YOU. What is it like being a woman for you? We aim to do a mid-week Mama Bear Mini on this subject and want to include some of your thoughts. Hit us up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or on our email ( and tell us your story. We want to hear from you! LINKS: Find more of Sarah on the Colorado Springs Moms Blog! Hey! We’re online. Here’s where you can find us: Follow us on Facebook,
Apr 6, 2016

On this podcast we dig into a variety of topics on our Mama Bear Mini mid-week episode! We talk about our current favorite things, we offer some tips about nutrition and how to keep your family healthy over allergy season, and we discuss a pretty great article about raising daring girls. We also get down to the business of bravery and we try some new music for your listening pleasure. Don't forget to respond to this episode with your own tips, tricks, and interests du jour on any of our social media channels. We love hearing from you! Have a great week Mama Bears! LINKS:OBSESS SESH: Check out Tesi’s endorsement of Yeti HERE. Leslie is loving Rob Bell’s new book, HOW TO BE HERE. Tesi got a fab new raincoat! LET’S TALK ABOUT HEALTH, BABY: Who doesn't love the Neti Pot ? WE READ IT, WE LOVED IT, LET’S DISCUSS: 10 Ways to Raise Brave Girls, by Katie Arnold, Outside Magazine The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure, by Caroline Paul Article by Caroline Paul in the NYTimes:

Apr 4, 2016

What kind of woman says “yes” to becoming a foster care parent? What kind of woman says “yes” to adopting a child with known special needs? What kind of woman says "yes" to laughter, love, and generosity over and over again? Today we interview Jennie Peakin, a woman whose steady “yes” has changed her life in profound ways. A photographer by trade, we have a fascinating conversation with Jennie about art, photography, the miracle of making a family—by both birth and adoption—and experiencing it all from both behind a lens and up close and personal. Jennie shares her story as a woman, mother, and artist and we love her candor. Listen in and be inspired by her honesty, learn from her bravery, and delight in her authenticity. Follow Jennie’s lead and be open to the world. And then let us know...where does your “yes” take you? LINKS: Jennie’s photography: WEBFacebook Jennie’s wedding photography: WEBFacebook Jennie on Pinterest On Episode 10 we talk about fostering and adoption. Here are a few great websites with more information: Foster care in Iowa: Iowa Kids Net Domestic Adoption: Adopt US Kids Jennie and Leslie will be traveling to to Tanzania on a storytelling mission with Empower Tanzania. Hey! Mama Bear Dares is online! Here’s where you can find us: Follow us on Facebook

Apr 1, 2016
We’ve made a lot of mistakes on this podcast. But we’ve also had a lot of fun! Listen in as we get real about the MBD process. We share our bloopers, funny moments, and what we've learned—all the while challenging Mama Bears to expand their comfort zone and act a fool! We’re online. Here’s where you can find us! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and let us know what you’re thinking! Don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes. We are having so much podcasting and really appreciate you listening!!
Mar 28, 2016
Have you ever thought about your tolerance for risk? Are you the kind of person who jumps into a new process feet first or do you take time to warm up? Do you stretch for your dreams in uncomfortable ways or do you rest in routine and maintain tight control of your circumstances when possible? In this episode of Mama Bear Dares, we test the necessity of daring to fail miserably in order to achieve greatly. We spend time in conversation with Amy Sivertsen, entrepreneur, business consultant, and co-owner of The Creative Collective. We ask Amy about her decision-making process, her career path, and her high tolerance for risk. Amy shares with us her story of making bold decisions in order to reach for the life she wants to live and encourages listeners to do the same. Mama Bear Dares is online. Here’s where you can find us: Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and let us know what you’re thinking! Don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes. We really appreciate your support!
Mar 23, 2016
There are certain middle-class rituals that are so ingrained in us that we don’t really even stop to question why we do them. On today’s Mama Bear Dares, we discuss many of these rituals surrounding everyday parenting decisions that end up occupying precious brain-space. For instance, in raising children one can easily get caught up in the herd and find yourself making non-essential purchases and spending time, money, and a certain effort that you might really want to spend elsewhere. “No-nonsense parenting” is in some ways self protection from our busy, more-plus-more-plus-more culture and in other ways a philosophy that aims to teach independence and responsibility. Listen in as the Mama Bears discuss...and then join the conversation! LINKS: If you live in the Quad Cities, you should check out Junior Theatre! Today’s podcast is a short, 20-minute Mama Bear Dares episode and it begs for your feedback! Reach out on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and let us know your reaction! In what ways are you a no-nonsense parent? In what ways do show your kids your tender loving care? How do you manage all the water bottles? (Leslie truly needs advice in this area.) We’d love to hear from you! Don’t forget to subscribe on
Mar 21, 2016

It’s funny how things speak to us differently at different points in our lives. Some people hear a bit of wisdom and are changed forever, while others hear the same and remain untouched. Some of us walk right by potential, while others take pause and soak it up. In Zen philosophy it’s described like this: When the student is ready, the teacher appears. In this episode of Mama Bear Dares, we spend time in conversation with Beth Johnson and explore her unique journey, considering the way each of us is shaped by people, our surroundings, and what we consume. Beth shares her story of small graces and quiet action, encouraging listeners as she reflects on pivotal moments and influences in her life, and reminding us to be thoughtful with our lives and open to generosity in it all its forms. Show Notes: You will love the poet Mary Oliver. All of her poems are amazing. If you’re looking for a place to start, we recommend this book. An interesting look into Cabrini Green, upon its demolition.

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