Watching some of the guests on Oprah's shows definitely gives me a new perspective on how blessed I am. I have struggled with parenting at times like a lot of mothers and no matter how stressed out I may be with my children ( especially during the summer months) there is always someone who has it much worse. Oprah visited Jani a seven year old schizophrenic at her home. Her parents live in two separate apartments so that she doesn't harm her younger brother. She has tried to commit suicide and has hallucinations all the time. As a baby she never slept for more than twenty minutes at a time and more than four hours in a day. I know how I feel when I haven't had a good nights sleep and I can't even fathom being permanently sleep deprived. Jani's parents are a true testament to how hard parenting can be. They have had their low points in their marriage and are both on anti-depressants. My current struggles have to do with getting my kids to remember to brush their teeth and put their clothes away. If Jani's parents can find the joy in raising her and appreciate the good moments, I should be able to focus on the many precious moments I have with my children and not the one's where their arguing. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done at times. I guess that's where positive thinking comes into play and a little summer cocktail never hurts either.
I have always been interested in reading and tend to collect books more than I actually read them. My book collecting started with the Nancy Drew series. I became obsessed with collecting them when I was around 9 years old. My 11 year old daughter loves the Sister's Grimm series, but she has actually read all of her books. It's been said that Oprah's book club has inspired people to start reading again. Oprah's book recommendations have encouraged my book buying habits, but I haven't always enjoyed some of her selections nor have I bought or read them all. The ones I have read have broadened my horizons. Following her lead, I decided to start a book club several years ago. My book club is still going strong although we don't always meet monthly. I will also admit that we often talk about other topics 90% of the time and the book the other 10%. However, it has forced me to read books on a more consistent basis. If you are hankering to do some reading by the pool or perhaps under a tree this summer, the following are some of my favorite books we've read:
Loving Frank, The Red Tent, The Help, The Glass Castle, Water for Elephants, Snowflower and the Secret Fan, Auntie Mame, Same Kind of Different As Me, The Other Boleyn Girl, Beach Music, The Kite Runner, The Secret Life of Bees, One Thousand White Women, Pillars of the Earth, The Invisible Wall, To Kill A Mockingbird
Please comment on any books you've loved. I love to know what other people are reading. "Few joys rival being outside on a beautiful day in the company of a good book." - Oprah
Swimsuit season has officially started in Kansas, and I've just returned from a week at the beach so I thought it would be appropriate to post some notes I took from a past Oprah show. Carson Kressley, host of the show How To Look Good Naked, worked with some women who had gained weight as they got older and weren't feeling very amorous about themselves. Women, myself included, tend to be their worst critic when it comes to their bodies. Carson showed total strangers a photo of one of the woman's bodies who had low self-esteem and was very critical of herself. She was amazed by the positive comments and reactions they had to her picture. I struggle with my body image as well. I was overweight as a child and have always been very self-conscious. Carson says it's important to focus on the good things you like about yourself and not just the bad stuff.
I have learned good underwear is important. A good fitting bra can do wonders for your appearance. I have watched many makeover shows on Oprah. A good haircut, make up and the right clothes have transformed many women and given them the confidence to face life head on. I'm not condoning sun worshiping, but I also feel a little color on your skin whether if it's a real or fake tan never hurts. Unless of course you get sun burned. However, I felt the main message of this show was that it's just as important to work on yourself internally as well as externally. It's important to stop and take time to look at the good things about your body instead of always criticizing yourself.
One of the things I love about summer is all of the beautiful colors that pop up after a dull grey winter. I love having flowers in my landscaping and love to plant them in pots. However, by the time the end of July rolls around I tend to slack off when it comes to watering them. I have a few friends who treat themselves to fresh flowers year round in their homes. I'm not very good at floral arranging so it is something I tend to shy away from. A past Oprah show featured, Jeff Leatham, Artistic Director of the Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris. I've been to the Four Seasons in Chicago and they have some of the most beautiful and unique flower arrangements yet they are very simple. Jeff shared the following floral tips:
When sending someone flowers, send a bouquet of one flower instead of an arrangement and without the vase. Jeff says, "You can send more flowers if you just send them wrapped in paper."
Keep It Simple- You are better off with one single bloom and use monochromatic flowers
To create bubbles on the stems of your flowers use sparkling water or sprite.
Sarah Ferguson, The Duchess of York, obviously made a huge error in judgement recently by accepting money for access to her ex-husband Prince Andrew. The meeting was caught on tape and has been broadcast for the world to see. Sarah says, she instinctively knew that the man she met with was a journalist although he claimed to be a businessman who was a friend of a friend. I got the impression from her interview that she's still confused as to how she got to the current situation she's in. She told Oprah that she is in major financial debt, but wouldn't disclose how much money she owes. I didn't think I would write about her interview because there wasn't anything in particular that struck a chord with me other than the fact that she is one troubled person right now. Then in the last 15 minutes of the interview Oprah shared a few thoughts on mistakes I found worth sharing.
Oprah said, "If you live long enough you understand that none of us are defined by our mistakes. You are defined by if you get the lesson from the mistake and if you can move on and move forward." Oprah has learned if you get the lesson you don't have to repeat it, but if you don't it shows up again and again. I have had a few lessons reoccur in my life. Oprah asked Sarah if she thinks she learned the lesson from her downward spiral. She feels the lesson for her has been chronic abuse to herself and ignoring her issues instead of stopping and doing what I would call a self check. Oprah asked if she would continue her charity work. Sarah said it is the safest place for her and that she learns from the children she helps particularly about forgiveness. Her grandmother always told her when you feel bad about yourself give to others. I have a feeling she will be giving a lot in the next few months and hopefully won't have to repeat this lesson.
I'm a dreamer, and I like to dream big. Some of my dreams are writing a New York Times Bestseller, owning a beach house, traveling the world and meeting Oprah. I am a stay at home Mom who lives in the suburbs with my husband , two children, and my miniature schnauzer Fritz. I enjoy sharing my favorite finds, recipes, entertaining and home decor ideas and inspirational stories. My goal is to find the joy in the everyday and hopefully inspire others to do so as well.