01: Welcome to The Commons Podcast

Listen and subscribe to The Commons Podcast now. Below is a transcript of the episode, edited for readability. For more information on the people and ideas in the episode, see the links at the bottom of this post.

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Cassandra Amezquita: Hi, everyone. I’m Cassandra.

Meagan Ruff: And I’m Meagan.

Cassandra Amezquita: And this is The Commons, a podcast about tackling real life topics in the lives of women.

Meagan Ruff: So grab your coffee or your matcha and settle in.

Meagan Ruff: You found us whether by chance, through social media, or because we’ve been bugging you to check out this cool new project we’ve been working on. 

Hi, friends. We are glad you’re here. We want to start by introducing ourselves. Cassandra?

Cassandra Amezquita: Yeah. I’m Cassandra, and I currently live in Los Angeles with my family. I’ve been married for eight years with my amazing husband. I have two little ones. Emma is five. She’s a little sassy social butterfly, but she loves to seek justice. And Mateo is a ball of energy. He always makes us laugh and he’s obsessed with Toy Story. I’m a Salvation Army officer, another way of saying pastor. I’m an executive director, among other things. And I love helping others in any way possible. I have a passion for creativity, empowering others, fighting for freedom, and of course following Jesus. Well, Meagan and I have really loved podcasts in general for a while and always joked that we should start one, right?

Meagan Ruff: Yes. Shout out to Crime Junkies. We love that podcast and listen every single week. So it’s our favorite.

Cassandra Amezquita: Yes, exactly. So a couple of months ago I brought it back up and this time it was more serious. I told Meagan, we really need to start this project, and we were just so excited. All the ideas came rushing in, but why don’t you tell a little bit more of your story, Meagan?

Meagan Ruff: Yes. So I’m Meagan. I am also a Salvation Army officer, administrator, event coordinator, statistician, janitor. You name it, I am probably doing that at some point during my week. I’m married to my very favorite person, Aaron. We’ve been married for almost eight years now and we have three little girls. Isla is five, Magnolia, our wild child is three, and then our baby Eden is almost one. She’s going to turn one really soon here. Anyway, we like outdoorsy things as a family, camping, hiking, running, gardening. Right now we’re currently serving in Hawaii. So we have outdoor time year-round, which is really nice. I like reading and rearranging the furniture in my house, those are probably like my top things. But the most important thing about me is that I love Jesus. And I’m trying to be more like him every day.

When Cassandra texted me about starting a podcast, it was like the perfect God timing. I had just started this social media fast where I wasn’t going on Instagram or Facebook or anything like that. Trying to find a way to be more intentional with my time. Instead of just scrolling Instagram or scrolling Facebook, everyone does that. Or at least I think they do. Anyway, like Cassandra said, we hopped on FaceTime and we just had so many ideas. They just started rushing out. We had to slow ourselves down because we can’t possibly do a podcast with a hundred different topics, especially at the height of the holiday season, which is when we started planning this.

Cassandra Amezquita: Some of the ideas that came to mind were self-care, mental health, marriage, and so many more that we know everybody can find something to relate to.

Meagan Ruff: Yeah, definitely. And we reached out to our friends on Facebook and Instagram with a survey about what they’d be interested in hearing about. And we took all of the suggestions very seriously.

Cassandra Amezquita: We actually had a couple ideas that we didn’t put on the survey just due to space and people actually ended up writing in and suggesting those anyway. So we brought them back to the table.

Meagan Ruff: Yeah, that was perfect. So we’ve covered a little bit about ourselves and about what we’ll be sharing through the podcast, but what about the name? Why The Commons?

Cassandra Amezquita: Meagan and I met and became friends through The Salvation Army officer’s training school, which is kind of like a seminary for those who aren’t familiar with The Salvation Army. But anyway, Meagan and I both got assigned to work in The Commons, which was the coffee shop-type place that was open in the evenings.

Meagan Ruff: So we made coffee, a million smoothies, and Italian sodas, but it was also just a natural gathering place for people. People would come and just meet up and talk and sometimes it would be about whatever assignments we had that day or class discussions.

Cassandra Amezquita: Sometimes it would be super deep theological stuff or really heavy burdens that just became easier to talk about over a cup of coffee, pack of beef jerky, salt and vinegar chips. You name it, we had it.

Meagan Ruff: Yes, for sure. But seriously, there were so many great conversations that we had in The Commons. And even though we definitely joked that there were cameras or mics or something picking up on our conversations, something about the space, something about The Commons felt completely safe.

Cassandra Amezquita: Which is exactly what we want this podcast and community to be. A safe space to talk about important stuff.

Meagan Ruff: Yeah. We can be serious and encouraging. We can laugh, cry, laugh until we cry…

Cassandra Amezquita: And everything in between. So now is your chance to get connected.

Meagan Ruff: Yes. Follow us on Instagram @hellocommonspodcast. There, we will be posting weekly encouragement, topical discussions that go along with each episode, devotions, interviews, silly stories, especially if we’re on there late at night, all of it.

Cassandra Amezquita: There, you can let us know what your biggest takeaways are from an episode, or things you like or didn’t like. You can also weigh in on future episodes, be interviewed on topics you’re passionate about, take over our Stories for a day. I mean, you get the picture.

Meagan Ruff: Yes. And lastly, subscribe to The Commons Podcast. So you will be notified each time we post a new episode.

Cassandra Amezquita: Thank you for joining us and thanks for listening.

Thank you for listening to The Commons Podcast from The Salvation Army’s Caring Magazine, a magazine for people who care. People like you. Get on the list today to get the Do Good Digest with weekly inspiration and each new episode of The Commons Podcast sent straight to your inbox.

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