Thanks(4)giving

It's all about the little things…

Tag Archives: Oprah

Week 26-Half Way There! Day 4-Guest Blogger #2

I couldn’t think of a better person to be the second guest blogger for Thanks(4)giving than the woman who has supported me from the very inception of this blog, my Mom.  She is a source of inspiration, a shoulder to cry on, and a sounding board for me as I work my way through hundreds of blog posts.  So here’s to the most special woman in my life and her insightful and moving post!

Like mother like daughter 🙂

When Lizzie asked me to write a guest blog entry to mark the halfway point in her blogging adventure of being thankful, I had no idea what my topic would be. This past week while seeking inspiration for my post, I found it – on the Oprah Show finale. Now, I have only been a “hit and run” viewer of the Oprah Show in its 25-year run but while watching the final show, I understood why Lizzie holds her in such high regard. Oprah is inspiring and influential in many, many people’s lives in lots of diverse ways. I am thankful that she has been a positive role model in the media to Lizzie and others. I mean, come on. I grew up in the 60s and my TV role models were Miss Kitty, Samantha Stevens and Elly Mae Clampett!

During Oprah’s last show she talked about everyone having a calling. This has been a theme on her show throughout its years on the air. Over the last two years I have given much thought as to what my calling truly is. I know that my passion – what lights me – is creating through video, film and photography. But when I became a mother, I began to understand that I had a golden opportunity to create and shape a person. Mothering is truly one of my life’s calling and I am proud of my greatest creations, Lizzie and Clay. I am grateful for being a mother with a calling and thankful for my remarkable children.

Like Oprah, I believe that reading IS fundamental for all. Oprah’s Book Club has encouraged and rekindled people’s passion for reading in the USA as well as other countries. Room to Read is a charity that seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in the developing world. Working in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments, they develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children and ensure girls have the skills and support needed to complete their secondary education. Through the end of May, Room to Read is having a special “Celebrating Our Mothers” campaign. All donations go to their Girls’ Education program and will be matched up to $350,000 by a group of generous supporters.

I am thankful for so many things in my life. It really is hard to choose just a couple to write about for this post. I know I may not have all I want but I have enough. I have the essentials I need – housing, food, health and family. In the last two months so many natural disasters have hit our country that many people do not have those essentials. Images and stories of flood, fire and tornado damage are constant in the media and on the Internet lately. Since March 31 the Red Cross has launched 32 relief operations in 23 states to help people affected by tornadoes, floods and wildfires. I really like the Red Cross as a charity because you can donate not only money but time. There are many opportunities to volunteer for the Red Cross, nationally and locally. While I can’t travel out to Joplin, Missouri now or donate monetarily, I can volunteer on a local level. I pledge to call next week to do exactly that!

Room to Read Donation

Red Cross Donation
As some of you know, I have been unemployed for over two years. In a strange way, I am even thankful for my unemployed status because it has given me an opportunity to re-evaluate my calling in life. I have so much to be thankful for EVERY DAY, including one very inspirational daughter with a loving, giving spirit.

Week 14-Food Shows, Day 6-Top Chef Masters

Before I even start, let me clarify that Top Chef and Top Chef Masters are clearly two different shows.  Some of you out there might disagree but it’s my blog and I’ll pick it if I want to. 🙂 Now to the good stuff.  There are lots of great characters on this show but I happen to love the brand spanking new host, Curtis Stone, and Oprah’s effervescent chef, Art Smith.  I was a big fan of Take Home Chef on TLC where Curtis picked up unsuspecting women in the market and made them a fabulous dinner with a side of eye candy.  The best part is, all the TC Masters are playing for $100,000 prize for their favorite charity.  Food, charity, top chefs, duh, winning.

Art Smith is known as Oprah’s long time personal chef, which is reason enough for me to like him, but he has also co-founded the charity Common Threads.  CT believes that that the thread that holds the huge quilt together that we call our world, is food and family.  Their mission is to teach children the importance of nutrition and physical well-being and foster an appreciation of diverse culture through food.  Food has the power to show kids that we have a lot in common with our neighbors, and that it’s a lot of fun to make and share a meal together.  CT provides over 30 free weeks of cooking and nutrition classes to low-income children in Chicago, L.A., D.C., and Miami.  Sounds delicious to me!

It's the food that binds us

The adorable Australian, Curtis Stone, can melt you with his accent and his generous spirit.  Stone is a supporter of the Akron General Visiting Nurse Service and Affiliates that is a non-profit that helps those in need of skilled care stay at home to receive treatment.  Started in 1947, VNSA provides services that range from home health aides, physical therapists, meal preparations, and house cleaning.  It seems like a perfect fit that the “take home chef” would be supportive of the charity that provides “take home nurses”.  Plus it’s refreshing to find a chef that supports a cause that is non-food related.  Yea, I know you’re thinking the same thing.

Cute Curtis

Common Threads Donation

Akron General Visiting Nurse Services and Affiliates Donation

So here’s to you Top Chef Masters!  You help us meet some world-renowned chefs who give as much as they eat.  You give us another opportunity to see “Restaurant Wars”, elimination challenges, and all the crazy twists only Bravo can dream up.  You show us that cooking with no utensils is possible and even the best of chefs have their bad days and dishes.  But at the end of every episode you remind us that all the blood, sweat, and olive oil sweetens the charity pot.

Week 4-Holiday traditions, Day 3-Pajamas

Each year on Christmas Eve my brother and I were allowed to open one single present.  After a couple of years of this tradition I started to realize a couple of things.  1-We never got to pick the present we opened.  2-The present was pretty much always a new set of pajamas that we would then go put on before bedtime.  As a seven year old this isn’t so exciting, but over the years I have really become thankful for my Christmas pajamas.  So thankful in fact, that it is still a tradition to this day (well for me at least) even though I am 26, have moved out, and gotten hitched.

Pajama Program is a great non-profit that gives new pj’s and books to children who are hoping or waiting to be adopted.  Cause everybody knows that pajamas and bedtime stories are like peas and carrots.  Co-founder Genevieve Piturro came up with the idea of PP when she noticed that a lot of children in shelters wore their street clothes to bed.  She was shocked when she found out that some of them didn’t own a single pair of pjs or even know what pjs were.  She also is a firm believer that the pajamas she helps distribute give the kids so much more than warmth for their little bodies.  “It’s like giving the children a hug at bedtime.”  Even Oprah loves Pajama Program!  If you want to help find a cure for juvenile diabetes and look stylish at bedtime get your pajamas from PJs For the Cure.  When Charlie Komar’s wife Liz was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes (also called type 1) nineteen years ago knew his family’s company could help.  Komar is the leading sleepwear producer in the US and they design, produce, and sell these charitable pajamas for both kids and adults.  Every single penny that is spent to purchase pajamas from PJFTC is donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  Talk about bang for your buck!

PJ's for everyone!

Pajama Project Donation

PJs For The Cure Donation (or donate directly to JDRF)

So here’s to you Christmas Eve pajamas!  You may have evolved from Rudolph the red nosed reindeer nightgown into Victoria Secret flannels, but you were always there for me.  You keep me warm in the dead of winter and help me look especially stylish in the Christmas morning pictures where the drool was dried to my cheeks.  Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Week 2-People, Day 3-Oprah

The Big O

Last night I was watching the Barber Walter’s interview special with Oprah, and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I am thankful for Oprah, and there are millions of other people are thankful for Oprah.  You know people like Dr. Phil, Nate Berkus, and you may have heard of Rachael Ray.  I mean seriously, the name Oprah is synonymous with changing the world.  She has a talk show (or THE talk show to some people), a Sirius/XM radio station, a magazine, a book club, a leadership school in South Africa for girls, and her own foundation to name a few.

Oprah has topped Forbes Celebrity 100 list in 2007, 2008, and again this year.  So basically she doesn’t really need us to help support her causes, but she does give us great ideas of other organizations that do need our help.  She’s a girl after my own heart.  She helps us figure out where to donate our old cell phones AND how to adopt an orphan elephant in Africa.  Kristin Davis is a big fan of helping those adorable orphan elephants for all you Sex & the City fans out there like me.  If you’re more into buying really chic gifts for yourself or someone else Oprah knows about the gifts that keep giving.  Like this awesome solar powered Sunnan Lamp from Ikea.  For every $20 lamp that is bought another is donated to a child in a developing country living without electricity.  You can get and give all at the same time!

Oprah’s Benefits of Giving

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Donation

So here’s to Oprah Gail Winfrey.  You got our attention in The Color Purple, brought us to tears during the Oprah Show countless times, and helped us find some pretty darn good books to read.  Oprah is living proof of her quote, ” What I know for sure is that what you give comes back to you.”