O YOU! 2011 (A DAY WITH OPRAH & THE GANG)
I am most certain that there are millions of people around the world that have said at one point or another in the past 25 years “I am Oprah’s biggest fan!” Don’t believe them… it can’t be true… why you say? Well that’s easy, it’s because I am Oprah’s biggest fan! I was fortunate to mark #11 off of the thirty30 list, that being: Go to The Oprah Winfrey Show last October. It was a dream come true! I was an Oprah baby, I grew up watching her for pretty much my whole life so to be there in that studio during the final season was absolutely amazing. I could never truly express all that I have learned from her over time, and can’t imagine my life, as the lives of so many others would be nearly as good had she not taught so many lessons throughout my days in front of the T.V. When she walked in I burst into tears, go ahead, laugh if you must but I don’t care. I recently had an Aha moment about why I cry so much, whether I am happy or sad, and that is this… when my cup is full, it runneth over, apparently through my tear ducts:) Sometimes the joy rises and it’s so much that your body just cant contain it, so it’s got to release, again through my tear ducts:) It is no surprise then that I spent a lot of my day at Oyou! 2011 crying….
I heard about this event back in the summer and when I found out it was in Atlanta, well I just had to go! My mom and I bought tickets and couldn’t wait for October 15th. When we arrived the morning of the event there were people lined up around the building. We checked in, found our seats and settled in. The day started out with Ms. Sally Lou Loveman rallying the troops. I must say I just love that lady, she has the most FANTASTIC energy. When we attended the show in Chicago she had us jumping up and down and dancing to the Black Eyed Peas, one of my most favorite memories of the day! The same was true on this day in Atlanta as she introduced us to Ms. Gayle King looking lovely in purple. I love Gayle so much because she reminds me of my “Gayle” Mary-Alice… she is always right there rooting me on, wanting the best for me, loving me no matter how crazy I get, encouraging me to go for it, and usually right by my side no matter how far she must travel to make my dreams happen. Gayle started things off by talking about conversations with waiting audience members and thanking everyone for coming, all while braving a raging hot flash, she is such a funny lady!
After Ms. Gayle we heard from Lisa Ling, love her! She seems so genuine and eager to seek truth, which I love. She talked about after seeing all she has seen that she had struggled with God and his existence and shared this reading:
I absolutely loved this and of course it brought tears to my eyes. Having struggled with the apathetic nature of so many towards similar issues this reading only solidified that we can all do more to help those in need. It has always amazed me how so many can judge others who don’t attend church regularly or share their particular brand of belief, yet those outside of the pew are feeding the hungry and aiding the poor in far away lands. Does it make us any closer or more pleasing to god because we attend a house of worship regularly or would he prefer we be in the trenches sharing his love with those who haven’t had the opportunities afforded to us… All of these questions arose again while Lisa was speaking, and I was overwhelmed because the answer, like the reading seemed quite clear. If you haven’t seen her show “Our America” you should definitely tune in! The topics make you see things from a different perspective and always make you realize that no matter who you are or what you believe, whether we agree or not, we are all human and generally want the same things out of this crazy life.
During the opening sessions we also heard from Dr. Oz, Suze Orman and Martha Beck. After the opening session concluded we went to grab a bite to eat since our next session wasn’t until 12:30. We were treated to a lovely meal in a beautifully decorated outdoor tent. It was like we were at a fabulous tea party thrown by Oprah:)
After our delicious lunch we walked around the different sponsor booths, picked up some fabulous Spanx and other goodies, and that’s when we spotted the fabulous Ms. Sheri Salata over by the Nate Berkus book signing! Now we are huge Oprah fans, so of course we loved “Season 25: Behind the Scenes”, and fell in love with Oprah’s team through watching the show. Anyone who has seen the show knows that “General Salata”, as Oprah calls her, is a huge part of the Harpo team and an amazing leader! So I see her and I say “Look Mom, there’s Sheri!” to which she replies “Oh my God! Where? I’m gonna go say Hi!” and she takes off. I said “Mom, she’s busy! Leave her alone… Look they are escorting her somewhere, just chill out!” I had no idea she would geek out to that extent, it was a little funny to be honest, I said “Wow! Now I know where I get it from!” and she said “Well I just wanted to say Hi and tell her we love the show! And her and Oprah!” I know mom, I know… Now keep this story in mind because it’s about to get amazing in just a few minutes:)
(That’s Sheri… She’s a total rockstar in my book, keep reading to find out why!)So we head off to our afternoon sessions where we learned a little Tai Chi from Dr. Oz, heard a few amazing weight loss success stories from Bob Greene, and learned how to personalize our homes from the always adorable Nate Berkus.
Then we rushed back to our original seats where we were greeted with a fabulous gift bag! A gorgeous brown leather tote filled with all sorts of goodies from Loreal, Ikea and more. The bag was a great surprise and very appreciated, but the chance to be there was gift enough and I was ready to see Ms. Oprah! Sally Lou came out to rev everyone up again (as if we needed it lol) and after a short introduction from Gayle King, there she was. I don’t know what it is about her, I really can’t explain it, but just like that day in Chicago when she made her entrance at the show the tears began to flow. It’s like she brings an energy into the room with her that immediately makes you want to just sit and listen to what she has to say and you know whatever it is, it’s going to change you in some way. There are some people that you encounter in this world, whether it be on TV or in your everyday life, that make you think “Wow! What an awesome person! I would love to just go to their house and hang out and have a cup of coffee…” These people have an energy about them that makes you want to know them, makes you want to learn from them and makes you want to become a better person because of them. I hope someday someone can say that about me, hopefully we all strive to carry an energy that draws the goodness out of everyone we encounter, I am definitely still a work in progress but that’s ok, I suppose we all are.
One of the greatest lessons I have learned from Oprah over the years is the lesson of possibility… the possibilities that exist in this life are endless and her story proves just that. I have heard her say hundreds of times that “God can dream a bigger dream for you than you can ever dream for yourself!” How amazing is that? God sure must be busy with me because I can dream some pretty crazy dreams, he probably wishes I’d give him a rest lol. She has taught me that anything is possible and good things happen, often when you least expect it. I can only imagine how much smaller my perspective on life would be had it not been for the lessons learned while watching her show over the years, it was broadened daily at 4:00pm and for that I am truly grateful! Even now, after the show has passed she still teaches. That day at O You! 2011 she reiterated a lesson that has been at the forefront of my consciousness for a while now, that lesson being “all things happen to teach you and put you where you are suppose to be.” I’ve alway been impatient with my life, I wanted to graduate college, I wanted to get married, I wanted to have babies, blah blah blah. I was always wanting something I didn’t yet have. Then I graduated college and realized I spent all that time there rushing to get through, hoping it would hurry up and be over and never noticed that really cute, nice guy that always talked to me, until it was over. I spent so much time trying to get someone to love me who didn’t that I didn’t notice those around me who did. I wanted another job so badly that I didn’t realize I was still there because I was about to meet one of the best friends I would ever know. I spent so much time thinking about all the things I wanted and didn’t have that I didn’t realize how grateful I should be for right where I was in my life at every moment. And now looking back, it’s seems so clear, I can see it like a giant puzzle with every piece placed perfectly to complete the picture. I think “Oh, ok. I get it now! That’s why that happened… to get me here, right where I am today.” And, that is more amazing to me each and every day, and when I start to get impatient or question things I stop myself and say “Ok Amanda! You’re here for a reason… it may not make sense now but you’ll understand soon enough. Just keep moving!” That’s a hard pill to swallow sometimes, but I’m getting better at it day by day. And I have to say, thank you Oprah for making this lesson even clearer that day and always making my world a bigger better place. There are not enough words in all the dictionaries in the entire world to express my gratitude for the impact you have had on this girls life, so i’ll just say thank you and hope you feel the exorbitant amount of love that flows behind those words!
This was surely an awesome day, but as I told you before it would get even more amazing before it was over:) We went home after a great day and later in the evening I was going through my twitter feed reading all the days news… Then lo and behold @sherisalata tweeted about the amazing day at Oyou! 2011. So of course I tweeted her, I tweet celebrities all the time and never hear back, no big deal they’re busy people I get that, but what the heck right?
So I go back to watching TV just as before, just hanging out, you know… then I hear this “Ping!”… Hmmm, wonder what that is? And what to my wondering eyes should appear… THIS! THIS APPEARED!!!
Whaaaaat?!?! No way! Now we know we’ve all done it, that weird little woohoo dance, because you just got that one in a million celebrity tweet… don’t judge me, you know you’re guilty! I said “OMG! Mom! You’re not gonna believe this!” so I tell her and again, she geeks out lol! I sent Sheri a DM with my phone number just in case she really wanted to call, surely this was a hoax, and then I waited. It was pretty late so I went to bed, no call, she’s a busy lady I understand she probably just forgot, oh well. So we go to church the next morning, the seas part and we get out surprisingly early (oddity #1)… We go home, my mom’s cooking dinner and she leaves the kitchen, I go upstairs and my dad’s the only one in the room. I had my phone volume really low so I could hear it just in case I needed to sprint out of church to talk to Sheri:) I come back downstairs and my dad says “Is your phone ringing?” (oddity #2, he can’t hear very well but he heard that!) I grabbed it and it said “Chicago, IL” OMG! I answered and the sweetest lady on the other end said “Hi! I’m looking for Amanda’s mom.” How amazing is that?!?! I got my mom and we had the nicest chat with Ms. Sheri Salata… Not only was she so sweet to take time to call, she was also a super nice person to talk to, another person you just want to go sit around the table with and chat away the day! Sheri, you will never know how amazing it was for you to take the time to call and for us to get to talk to you. It only made us love you more! What a fabulous memory to share with my mom, thank you so much! If you ever find yourself in Newnan, GA you will always be welcome in our home, we would love to chat some more:)
I still can’t believe what an amazing time we had, if you ever have the chance to attend one of these events I would highly recommend you go. It’s a day filled with amazing energy and will surely elevate your spirit to another level. Thank you Oyou! 2011, you were fabulous indeed!