Sunday, April 25, 2010


Friday's show featured Queen Rania of Jordan and Melissa Etheridge. I thought that both women had some good messages to share on the topic of fear. Queen Rania who is close to 40 is not only beautiful, but seems very wise for her age. She wrote a childrens book called The Sandwich Shop which is about learning a lesson on tolerance. Queen Rania discussed how ever since 911 there has been a lot of mistrust and fear of anyone who is different. She had a multicultural upbringing and has been able to make an easy transition between East and West cultures. Her book is about an experience she had in her childhood. She would bring hummus sandwiches to school which her mother lovingly made for her lunch. She felt sorry for her friend who brought a sandwich made with some strange brown and grape gooey paste. One day her friend asked her if she'd like to try it and she apprehensively took a bite. Then she took another bite and to her surprise loved it. On a subconscious level, Queen Rania says she understood at a young age that you shouldn't fear the unknown and judge something without trying it. She learned that wonderful things can be found in the strangest of places. She stressed the importance of not letting fear take over your heart. If you take the time to learn and understand the truth your life can be enriched. I've been working on being nonjudgemental of people. I've always been interested in different cultures, but sometimes it's just easier to gravitate to people who are similar to you. However, I've found I've learned the most from people who aren't like me.

Oprah says, "In your 40's you become more of who you are and the 50's are about everything you've been meaning to be." If that is the case, I am looking forward to my journey toward 50. Melissa Etheridge who is approaching 50 has a new album out titled "Fearless Love". She's learned that she's no good to anyone else unless she loves herself. Her battle with breast cancer was an awakening for her. Melissa says, after being diagnosed every day was a choice between love and fear. You have to make a conscious choice to perceive life as, is this experience a horrible thing or a great opportunity I can learn from. She said she doesn't have a bucket list because she tries to live life everyday in fearlessness. I have a bucket list of those things I'd like to do in my lifetime. I think Melissa has a good point though. It is a good idea to have an idea of where your headed on your journey in life, but it's also important to remember to live it every day.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


I finally got a chance to watch Oprah's interview with Nadya Suleman, the single mother of octuplets. I was surprised by how well spoken she was for someone who I perceived as being crazy. Just watching a day in her life was enough to make me want to crawl in bed. She has nannies that help her care for her 14 children during the day, but she takes care of them by herself in the evenings. There was always someone crying in the background, and she is lucky if she gets three hours of sleep. She owned up to the fact that the children were her choice and are her responsibility. She is trying to make the best of her situation and denied ever wanting to be famous. It wasn't her intention to have eight children. According to Nadya her embryos were in storage and she didn't want to dispose of them. She implanted them all thinking that maybe just one would grow. She does some interviews and photo shoots for the press because she needs the money to provide for her kids. According to Nadya, she doesn't receive any government assistance. She doesn't like the attention and the media circus that surrounds her.

Nayda has done some soul searching and has grown from this experience. She looked outside herself instead of looking within to give her something she was lacking. She loved the safety and comfort she received from her children. Nadya brought up a good point, How often do we look to others for affirmation? It could be from achievements or a significant other. Many people have addictions and she discovered she was addicted to children. Oprah has said repeatedly that being a mother is one of the hardest jobs on earth. It doesn't matter if you have one, four, six or fourteen. I agree with Oprah, and I'm happily content with my two children.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day

Today is the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day. The last few years Oprah has had people on her show demonstrate how we can make a difference in protecting our environment. The main message she'd like to convey is that everything we do affects everybody else. She featured the team behind the Academy Award winning documentary "The Cove." The film shows how thousands of dolphins are being slaughtered every year September-November in a cove in Taiji, Japan. I'm a very visual person so when I actually saw the dolphins being slaughtered it encouraged me to take action. We can all do our part by simply signing a petition at

Last year Fabien Cousteau was on the Oprah show, and he showed how plastic and garbage are killing marine life. There is a Great Pacific Garbage Patch twice the size of Texas which stretches from California to Japan. Plastic and garbage are killing marine life. The marine life get caught in nets and are ingesting plastics which affect their health. We in turn eat the fish which are full of toxins. They are now finding breast cancer in beluga whales. Whatever you put down your drain or sewage comes back to you which is a scary thought.

Oprah showed what a landfill looks like which was helpful to me. I am your typical consumer who fills at least two huge trash cans full of garbage each week. I have recycled for years, but I know I could be doing more. I have made a few changes in the effort to go green. I've bought reusable bags for grocery shopping, but unfortunately half the time I forget to bring them to the store with me. The amount of plastic we use is outrageous, and it takes years for it to decompose. I've recently made a more conscious effort to bring a refillable water bottle with me to the gym rather then use disposable ones. Last year Eco living expert, Simran Sethi, gave some additional suggestions on living greener:

1. Buy LED bulbs. They will last up to 10 years and will save on energy
2. CFL light bulbs are also a good option - We buy these
3. Use a programmable thermostat
4. Use weather stripping wherever you have air leaks around windows and doors
5. LCD TV's are more energy efficent than a plasma screen TV
6. A water aerator put on your faucet will reduce the water, but have the same pressure
7. Energy star appliances save $400-$800 a year
8. Water heater blankets can save you $160 a year

I have been recycling now for years, but I'm surprised by how many of my neighbors still don't recycle. I'm not throwing stones at anyone because I could certainly be doing more. If we all change one or two things every six months or so we can help to make this earth a healthier place. Please feel free to comment on how you've made an effort to go green. I'd love for you to share your suggestions.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Oprah has called Gavin De Becker the nation's leading expert on violent behavior. He was on her show last week, but for some reason my DVR wasn't working and didn't tape the show. I was disappointed because I've seen him on her show in the past and he has a lot of great tips. I bought his book "The Gift of Fear" after he first appeared on Oprah. Like most of the books on my bookshelf I haven't gotten around to reading it yet, but I did take some notes from his talk with Oprah.

In The Gift of Fear, Gavin writes about survival signals that can protect you from violence. Gavin says to listen to your gut instincts otherwise known as intuition. Merriam-Websters dictionary defines intuition as a quick and ready insight. Gavin says, when you get a red flag pay attention. Anytime you say no in a circumstance and that person ignores it, that means they're trying to control you. When you say no to something it often means your saying yes to yourself. According to Gavin, as women we all need to say no more often. We are taught at a young age that no is related to something bad, and we don't want to hurt or disappoint someone. A friend of mine gave me some napkins that say just say no to the sign up sheet. As a stay at home mom it's easy to get carried away with volunteering. At first I'd sign up for things as an act of service and out of love for my children, but people quickly picked up on the fact that I was willing to help. I would inevitably be asked to take on other projects. I quickly became guilted into sayings yes and found myself regretting it. I realize this isn't a violent situation, but you can apply it to daily interactions with people. I now ask myself if a volunteer opportunity is something I really want to do and if not the answer is NO.

Gavin De Becker gave many examples of instances where women were victimized because they didn't trust their gut feelings about a situation. On the flip side, he also showed instances where they did listen to their inner voice or uncomfortable feeling and came out safely in a violent situation. I am the type of person who tends to panic, but I hope and pray that if I am ever in a dangerous situation I will listen to my intuition. I feel I am pretty sensitive to my surroundings and other people, but I tend to second guess myself. My mind tends to get carried away with unknown noises. My imagination can create some of it's finest work and before you know it the wind blowing a chair over becomes a swat team invasion. The difficulty for me sometimes is knowing the difference between my gut and my head games. Since posting this, I've decided to take Gavin's book off my shelf and actually read it. In the meantime, I'll share a quote from the Bible that one of my Bible study classmates gave me. Proverbs 1:33 "but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm."

Friday, April 16, 2010


I can't blog about Oprah without discussing the subject of giving and paying it forward. She has featured so many people from celebrities to the woman next door who have given their time or talents to other individuals. Oprah has given away cars, homes, vacations, and has provided countless children with an education they otherwise wouldn't have received. I'm sure there are a lot of other things I haven't mentioned. A lot of people will say, "She can do that because she has a lot of money and power." I believe she has shown how there are numerous ways we can all give that don't require fame or fortune. On a past show, there was a woman who clipped coupons for her church and started a food pantry for her community. Another woman started collecting pajamas for foster children. It all stemmed from a need that these individuals became aware of and then decided to take action and fill it.

I hosted a luncheon for a group of friends a few years ago. The idea behind it was to get a group of ladies together to make blankets for kids who have been abused. I had helped at an organization that houses these children. They live and attend school there temporarily until they are able to return to their homes. One of the staff members gave us a tour of the facility afterward. She showed us a closet where each child gets to pick out a blanket and that is the one thing that is theirs and they get to keep it. The first thought that popped into my head when she opened the closet was, "These are kids blankets?" I didn't see any bright, fun, colorful prints. Instead I saw quilts like your grandma would have made. Not that there's anything wrong with quilts. I just thought of the things that my own kids like, and didn't see anything they would get excited about. I'm a pretty emotional person, and I've let that keep me from volunteering in places such as this because I'm afraid I'll cry in front of them. However, I did okay at the party. I don't sew, but I thought to myself I can make no sew blankets. My friends and I made soft, warm, and bright colored fleece blankets. We reached my goal of twenty, and I was proud that I had put my thought into action. I was also thankful for the support and generosity of my friends.

Malaak Copmton-Rock was on Oprah this week, and she has a moto she lives by, "Service is the rent you pay for living." She has a new book titled "If It Takes A Village Build One." She took a group of kids from New York who were used to being on the receiving end, and had them be on the giving end at a village in Africa. They were able to see how even though they didn't have a lot they could still help others who had even less.

Sometimes it is easy to feel overwhelmed by all of the needs that exist in this world that you don't know where to start. I feel like the needs are bigger than myself, and what I am capable of accomplishing. I give a little here and a little there, but I never feel like I'm really making a difference. When Oprah gives examples of how we can all pay it forward, I am reminded that one person can make a huge difference. We may not always immediately see it, but you never know what a kind word or gesture may do for someone.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Buried LIfe

Friday's show featured four guys from Canada in their 20's: Duncan, Dave, Johnnie and Ben. They are the stars of an MTV show called "The Buried Life." A few years ago they were disillusioned with life and decided to come up with a bucket list of 100 things they wanted to do before they die. Their list consisted of things such as enter a dance contest, deliver a baby, make a toast at a strangers wedding and tell a joke on late night television. They borrowed a camper from an uncle and spent two weeks touring the country to work on their list. They also decided to film their experience. While working on their bucket list they interviewed people and asked them what was on their list. One story they shared were particularly inspiring. It was about a girl they met who had survived hurricane Katrina, but her mother died and was taken to Colorado to be buried with others who had died in the Superdome. She wanted to see her mothers grave. The four men worked at a restaurant for a few weeks to earn money to pay for a plane ticket for her to see her mothers grave. They also accompanied her on the trip.

One of the guys explained that the title of the show comes from a poem called "The Buried Life." It struck a chord with him that as a society we are so busy doing things were told to do or should do. Sometimes those things can bury you, and they wanted to find those things that were buried and celebrate life. It's a reminder to me to take the time to think about what I want to do in my lifetime. It doesn't always have to be big things. There are plenty of little things you can do. Some of the things on my bucket list are to visit Yellowstone Park, take dance lessons, and learn Italian. What's on your bucket list?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Michael J Fox

It has been about a year ago that Michael J Fox and Dr. Oz where on Oprah's show talking about Parkinson's. He is such an inspiration and optimist despite the daily challenges he faces due to Parkinson's disease. He talked about how his life has changed for the better. His marriage is stronger, he became a writer and has met a lot of people he otherwise wouldn't have, and he lives in the present moment. He is a reminder to me that there are some things you can't control, but a whole lot more that you can. We decide what our attitude is going to be. I can get easily overwhelmed and let a small irritation ruin my day. I have gotten better at recognizing when I do this and try to put things in perspective. I am a work in progress, and it's stories like Michael's that help put me in my place. For example, today I rushed to get to my son's track meet at 3:15 and his first event wasn't until 4:45 followed by a 5:30 event. I immediately thought of all of the other things I could have been doing. On the bright side, I was able to visit with friends and it was a sunny afternoon even though there was a chill in the air. I also thought of my friend who was undergoing a double mastectomy this afternoon, and how she would have switched places with me in a heartbeat. We can learn a lot from other peoples research and life experiences, but in the meantime we can't forget to live ourselves.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Oprah has had numerous shows on fashion tips over the years.  I cleaned out my closet the other day and have decided it's time to do some clothes shopping.  I have a favorite quote by Gilda Radner that is posted on my bulletin board that says, "I base most of my fashion taste on what doesn't itch." 

Actress, Rita Wilson was on Oprah several months ago and had some fashion tips to share.  Evidently, she has a fashion advice column in Harper's Bazaar magazine. Her ten tips are as follows:
  • If you haven't worn something in over a year, get rid of it.  I did get rid of some things that no longer fit or are outdated, but I'm not getting rid of my Lucky Jeans that I just need to lose about 5 lbs to get into. 
  • Trust your personal style.  Be true to yourself while being in fashion.  I have a pretty good idea of what looks good on my body type.  I may not look good in skinny jeans, but I can be trendy with my accessories.
  • Your haircut and color tell people a lot about you.  I like to touch up my roots on a consistent basis to hide any incoming gray hairs.
  • Wear comfortable shoes.  This has never been a problem for me.  As a matter of fact, I need to spend more time looking for stylish comfortable shoes.  I'll admit to owning a pair of crocs and an overabundance of clogs.
  • Have things tailored to fit you.  For a small amount of money, an alteration can make a huge difference. I used to be stubborn and didn't want to pay the extra money to have things tailored.  I thought everything should just fit perfectly when you buy it, but that isn't always the case.  I'm 5'4 and have learned to have skirts hemmed so that they fall at a flattering length on me and don't cut my calves in half.  Not a good look on me.
  • Wear stylish things while traveling.  I agree to a point on this one.  I'm not going to wear my old sweats on a plane, but I want to be comfortable.
  • If you travel a lot, have a packed toiletries bag ready to go.
  • Simplify your makeup
  • Enjoy new pajamas once a year. Quit wearing old t-shirts and sweats to bed.
  • Be grateful.  The perfect accessory is a smile.  I get a little overwhelmed when I'm looking for new clothes, but I'm grateful that at least I can afford to buy them.
Another tip Rita had for women in their 40's was to show off the part of your body your most proud of, but not more than one at a time. For example, don't show too much arm and legs.  Also, the four things every woman needs in her closet are: black leggings or black jean, black boot or a black shoe boot, a jacket, and a scarf.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Vision Boards

I learned about vision boards from a past Oprah show with Martha Beck and Cheryl Richardson.  Vision boards can be as big or small as you want them to be.  It is a collection of images that you have selected because they are things you want in your life.  A vision board helps you to focus and forces you to sit down and think about what you want.  I will use any excuse there is to find a reason to cut and paste pictures. My vision board has a picture of Nate Berkus, O Magazine, a beach house, the words be healthy, create, lucky you and places I want to travel as well as other things. Since I just recently wrote about the law of attraction, I thought it would be fun to share one of the ways my visions have appeared in my life.

Last October, Oprah magazine was in Kansas City for their O YOU seminars.  The opportunity presented itself, and this time I seized it.  I spent the day being inspired by people who are mentors to me and that I've watched on the Oprah show for the past few years.  It was Nate who drew me to the conference.  I saw an article in the Kansas City Star's home section about him coming to town which connected me to O YOU online.  I had an AHA moment a few days before the seminar. I had put Nate and O Magazine on my vision board.  My vision manifested itself even though it wasn't in the exact way I'd pictured.  I was hoping Nate would pay me a personal visit.  I'll have to be more specific with my visions in the future. My friend Denise and I were packed into the Kansas City Convention Center with hundreds of Oprah fans. Gayle King started the day by introducing O's first expert in his field, Nate Berkus.  I knew it was going to be a great day.  He was very gracious and as cute as ever.  He talked about finding inspiration in everyday things like nature, colors, and objects.  He showed how he translates that inspiration into his home decor line and design. 

The next speaker I chose to see was Stacy London.  I got fashion tips while Denise was getting financial advice from Suze Ormond.  Stacy was hilarious much like the way she is on television.  I got a few new tips.  According to Stacy, you should always try to wear three pieces in your wardrobe.  For example a scarf, shirt and pants; a vest, shirt and pants; or a jacket, shirt and skirt.  I think you get the picture.  It's also good to have something with texture in your outfit.  It could be a ruffle or a metallic finish. 

After a morning of style tips the afternoon had a more serious note.  Dr. Oz gave us a run down of all the vitamins we should be getting daily and took questions from the audience.  His energy and simplistic way of describing how our internal organs work make you want to learn more and take better control of your own health.

My day ended with Martha Beck.  She is like a walking encyclopedia.  Her column is one of my favorites in O Magazine.  She talked about characteristics which will be marketable in the new century.  The six qualities are design, story telling, symphony, play, empathy and meaning.  People who are right brain oriented will have more opportunities.  That is good news for me.  Martha says, "your mission in life is where your deep gladness and the worlds deep hunger meet."  One of my favorite quotes she gives in the lovely journals each person received is, "We live in a pathless age: old ways of living are disappearing, and our ability to create new realities is limited only by the scope of our imagination.  Set yourself free to imagine wonderful things."  I have always been a dreamer.  There is a comment on my kindergarten report card from my teacher that says, "Dawn tends to daydream in class."  I think one of the reasons why I love Martha and Oprah so much is that they dare us to dream the impossible dream.