In the latest season of The Do Gooders Podcast, each of the guests, in conversation with Caring Magazine editor Christin Thieme, took a closer look at how we can take control of our lives and restore peace during these turbulent times. It examined how The Salvation Army has aided communities in need during the pandemic and, especially, during the recent holiday season.

Are we letting negative thoughts control us or are we controlling our thoughts? How are we finding gratitude during a difficult period? Do we understand how Advent and the stories in the Bible relate to our everyday lives?

Here are 9 lessons we learned in the most recent season of The Do Gooders Podcast.

1. Stopping the cycle of toxic thinking

With everything that happened in 2020, it can be easy to fall into a negative spiral of toxic thinking. This can be harmful in several ways because it is our thoughts that shape the way we view the outside world. Captain Christina Arnold, The Salvation Army Western Territorial Director of Special Needs Ministries and a Corps Officer in Olympia, Washington, and Marriage and Family Therapist Kelly Rodriguez led a virtual book club that focused on the importance of shifting those negative thoughts. They appeared on the podcast to share how we have more power to do this then we may think.

66: Seven tools to stop the spiral of toxic thinking with Captain Christina Arnold and Kelly Rodriguez

2. Embracing the rhythms of life

Due to COVID-19, the ways we normally live were changed in virtually every aspect of life. From work to social plans, we are experiencing changes none of us have been through before. Fortunately, according to Rebekah Lyons, we can bring peace and stability to our lives by practicing four rhythms: rest, restore, connect and create.

67: How to embrace four life rhythms for greater peace and purpose with Rebekah Lyons

3. Being grateful in a year like 2020

Gratitude is a word we all know but do we understand what it means to be grateful? Salvation Army Western Territorial leaders Commissioners Doug and Colleen Riley dive deeper into the concept of gratitude in everyday life as well as provide biblical examples. The Rileys explain how we can find gratitude during troubling times and how those difficult times can even help us build gratitude.

68: How to find gratitude, especially in a year like 2020 with Commissioners Doug and Colleen Riley

4. Simplifying but still keeping meaning during Advent

It’s no secret that the Christmas season has become highly commercialized with shopping at the center of it. However, we can celebrate the importance of Advent and the Christmas holiday without needing elaborate gifts and holiday parties. Author Tsh Oxenreider discusses the true meaning of Advent and provides practical and easy ways to celebrate with friends and family, devoid of commercialization.

69: A simple approach to a meaningful Advent with Tsh Oxenreider

5. Adapting to needs as the holidays approach

2020 was a year unlike any other, which changed the way The Salvation Army responded to needs of communities. In addition to experiencing a global pandemic, communities along the West coast were devastated by a series of wildfires. From changes to the Red Kettle Campaign, providing meals to those affected by fires, and financial assistance to those who lost jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, Captain Kristy Church, Corps Officer of the Roseburg (Oregon) Corps; Jhoana Hirasuna, Social Services Director of the Pasadena (California) Tabernacle Corps; and Sam Jarosz, Public Relations Director in the Del Oro Division, based in Sacramento, discuss how The Salvation Army has responded to these needs.

Bonus: Behind the scenes with The Salvation Army this Christmas

6. Responding to need, rescuing Christmas and looking ahead

Added stress this holiday season from job layoffs due to COVID-19 put many people under increased financial strain, leaving many to choose between essentials like food or rent and buying gifts for their children. Sabrina Kiser, Director of Social Services for The Salvation Army Western Territory, shares how The Salvation Army is helping to address the need and how it is planning to respond to the continued need.

70: How The Salvation Army is responding to need and rescuing Christmas with Sabrina Kiser

7. Learning to pray in simple, genuine ways

Virtually everyone knows what prayer is but it can still be intimidating. Author and pastor Pete Greig discusses the troubles that some people find with prayer and how to overcome them. He shares everything from what prayer is to steps on how to pray.

71: A simple guide for how to pray today with Pete Greig

8. Reading familiar Bible stories in a new way

Stories may be the best way to convey information, which is probably why Jesus chose to deliver so many of his messages through parables, or stories. In that light, pastor and author Russ Ramsey shares his own process of storytelling and how viewing the Bible as a story can make it less intimidating.

72: How to use imagination in retelling the story this Christmas with Russ Ramsey

9. Trusting God’s plan during difficult times

With all of the problems that 2020 brought, it can be hard to think that there is a greater plan for us. However, that is exactly what teaching pastor and author Megan Fate Marshman wants us to know. God having a plan for us does not mean life will always be easy. In fact, it is during these turbulent times that God invites us to take the journey—or even adventure—in trusting him and discovering the greater plan God has for all of us.

73: The one thing you need to plan for the New Year with Megan Fate Marshman


Do Good:

  • Are you a Do Gooder, someone who cares about bringing goodness into the life of your family and community? Subscribe to The Do Gooders Podcast to be inspired by those doing good and find tangible tips for simple actions you can take today.
  • Did you know The Salvation Army served more than 23 million Americans last year fighting hunger, homelessness, substance abuse and more—all in a fight for good? Where can you help? Take our quiz to find your cause and learn how you can join in today. 
  • See how you can get involved in the Fight for Good with The Salvation Army.