American Podcast is hosted by Shane Simonsen. It’s interview styled show, based on the premise that we all have different passions, experiences, hopes, and dreams. But, there are some things that bind us together. Hopefully the listener is able to learn about themselves from someone else’s experience.

American Podcast – Episode Descriptions

Chef Cory LaFranchi in his element, cooking food for the people.

EP 9 – Cory LaFranchi – Chef and Food Truck Owner Gives Free Food to The Homeless and Those in Need

When faced with an having too much food after an event, Cory LaFranchi decided to drive into the neighborhood he grew up in and pass out the extra hamburgers for free — to feed those in need. Inspired by the experience, Cory is finding ways to keep giving away free food as he grows his business, which is coincidentally, named Street Eats Mobile Eatery.

We talk about how Cory first got into the restaurant life We learn how he left a lucrative Union job to start a small independent business, and what the future might have in store for him and his family.

Lance Roberts discusses his life as a missionary in Ukraine.

EP 8 – Lance Roberts – Thoughts of an American Missionary in Ukraine

This is part 2 of our conversation with Missionary Lance Roberts. Lance share’s his observations and thoughts on Ukraine , Russia and the United States. He tells us what it’s like to live as an American in a former communist nation. We hear Lance’s take on what it’s like to experience the culture of the United Sates after living abroad for extended periods of time.

Lance and Shane discuss the history of Ukraine, its historical importance in the world, and the effects of being a part of the Soviet Union for the greater part of the 20th century. We hear lance discuss the effects of communism and capitalism on Ukrainian communities, and the varying effects of Russian and American influence. 

Toward the end we explore the ethnic diversity of Ukraine and how it may or may not relate to ethnic relations in the United States — culminating in an examination of White Nationalism in America and how the label may be misplaced. 

The coffee shop ambiance was provided by Lamppost Coffee Roasters in Bonney Lake, WA — which is where the interview was recorded.

EP 7 – Lance Roberts – Part 1 of 2 – YWAM Base Leader in Ternopil Ukraine, Raising a Family in the Mission Field, Valuing the Creative Arts in Ministry

Shane Simonsen hosts missionary Lance Roberts in 2 separate podcasts. Part 1 gives us a look at who lance is and what is work is about. Part 2 is a deeper look at Lance’ thoughts and observations of the United States and Ukraine.

Lance and his wife currently lead a YWAM base in Ternopil Ukraine. We hear his thoughts on raising children in the mission field, exploring castle ruins, how Ukraine is similar and different from the US and how the creative arts can be used in ministry.

Lance describes his vision and hope for Ukraine as nation that can impact the world in a positive way.  He talks a bit about Ukraine’s unique history and place in the world, and how he started a photography club to help the people of Ukraine develop a sense of place and identity.

Lance and Megan’s Blog
Lance’s Instagram
Glorious Ruins’ Instagram

Singer Songwriter Erin Cole Baker’s music spans the globe between New Zealand and the USA.

Ep 6 – Erin Cole Baker – Singer Songwriter from New Zealand Lives the RV Life While Touring the United States

We catch up with singer songwriter Erin Cole Baker, as she, her husband Bruce, and their two small children, tour the United States in a 26 foot RV, playing music and exploring along the way.

Erin who has dual citizenship in the United States and New Zealand, shares her thoughts on how the two nations she’s called home are different.

She talks about the creative process; playing in various musical groups; and why she chooses to pursue music in the States rather than New Zealand.

Erin discusses how she stepped away from music for a time to focus on parenting; and what prompted her return to recording and performing.

Bryan Reynolds of Anthem Coffee sits down to talk with American Podcast.

Ep 5 – Bryan Reynolds of Anthem Coffee – Entrepreneur, Business Coach, and Speaker

Our guest on this episode is Entrepreneur and Business Coach Bryan Reynolds of Anthem Coffee. Bryan, and his family have built a small coffee empire in the Tacoma / Puyallup area, South of Seattle Washington.

Their success with Anthem Coffee can be attributed to certain core principles such as “Heroic hospitality” and “live your anthem”. These phrases stem from a strong desire to build and serve the community they live in.

Bryan has transferred this success into coaching businesses nationally, hosting podcasts, and speaking into the greater coffee industry.

In this episode Bryan talks about his approach to starting, managing and expanding a business. The importance of hiring the right people and how he’s grown to handle criticism. 

Bryan shares his insights on marketing, branding and social media. He talks about balancing the boundaries between his family and a career that he loves. 

Bryan shares tips on how to find community and mentorship no matter where you are in life or your career. He gives some pointers on how he uses facebook live to build his business and brand.

Photographer, Owner and Creative director at Harbor Studio.

Ep 4 – Nick Balera – Photographer, Creative Director / Owner of Harbor Studio

Nick Balera tells us how taking photos at a concert led to a career in photography. He talks about his time at Hillsong College in Australia. And, how he came back to the US to start a creative space in his hometown.

Nick talks about driving across the U.S. to write a book; shares how this journey led to a full time job at the Filson Flagship Store in Seattle, WA.; and ho his passion for relationship and community is taking root with The Harbor Studio in Gig harbor, Washington

Comedian Brett Hollis explains why he has a casket in his living room.

Episode 3 – Brett Hollis – Comedian, Speaker, & Storyteller

At the tender age of 42, Brett Hollis left his career as a pastor, to become a stand up comedian. In this episode, Brett talks about his current and future projects. He discusses famous comedians who have impacted his life, and tells us why he keeps a casket In his living room.

We discuss the culture of comedy in America, and why he prefers clean comedy. Brett shares how he balances his passion for preaching, with his love for comedy. He talks about his writing, and what he likes to do when not on stage.

Episode 2 Lisa Mitts – Multi Genre Singer Songwriter

Lisa Mitts is currently nominated for a number of independent music awards. We discuss her early years in music, transitioning from being a worship leader in Israel to a celebrated independent singer-songwriter. We talk about the recording process, making music videos and why she appreciates being referred to as being a multi-genre artist.

Lisa’s explains how her Jewish heritage mixes with her Christian faith. She talks about how her own experience with trauma and how it contributed to an award winning music video, which led to Lisa starting a ministry to help the victims of sex trafficking. We learn how Lisa and her husbands search for truth led to their writing multiple books, starting a ministry and moving to Israel at one point and back to the Seattle area.

Click to read about my work with Lisa on her Music Video “To Be Loved”

Samuel Pyke
Samuel Pyke operating camera in New Zealand for Frontier Unlimited.

Episode 1 – Samuel Pyke – Outdoor Director of Photography

The first episode of American Podcast features Samuel Pyke. He currently produces Frontier Unlimited and Day One Outdoors. On this episode we learn how Samuel went from making movies with his brothers, in Central Oregon backyard, to traveling the world, telling stories with a lens. We discuss the film industry, storytelling, hunting, ethics and pursuing a career that honors one’s faith, hopes and passions. Sam offers his thoughts on having a proper work/life balance. He shares why sometimes the best tool or the job isn’t a popular choice.