Tag Archives: Oprah

Oprah’s Maui Farm – One Organic Gardener’s Take

As a gardener, an organic gardener at that, I was interested in the news that Oprah was, “…growing her own food.”

It’s the feature article in the latest issue of her magazine.  And it is a true disappointment.

If she’s gardening, I’d like to know how she keeps her manicure perfect, her make up from streaming down her face and her bright yellow (and very expensive) togs clean.

I garden.  When I garden, I get dirty.  My face ends up streaked with dirt.  My fingernails look like I’ve spent the morning digging for coal instead of digging dirt.  And my clothes have to come off before I come into the house.

And unless one has an absolute army of people to help keep the rows and plants weed free, the organic gardeners I know, including me, use lots of organic mulch — grass clippings, straw, chopped leaves — to keep the veggies happy and health.

Is her concept laudable?  Yes.  Hawaiians import far too much food and eat far too many foods that are not good for them.

Could Oprah be an organic gardener and grow her own food?  Sure, but should she  advertise that she is when about all she does is show up and hold a big butt radish now and again?

I love it when celebrities finally jump into a cause — healthy eating, green living, eco-whatever.  But I really wish celebrities would realize that the rest of us — people around the world who are and have been, “…growing their own food” are not going to be fooled by pictures of them mincing along a row with a wheelbarrow of food that someone else planted, tended and quite probably, harvested.

My organic gardening book is about to be released.  My organic gardening blog of the same name – Grow So Easy; Organic Gardening for the Rest of Us – is, literally, all about down and dirty gardening.

The blog and book are funny.  They’re a” how to” with a whole lot of stories tossed in about how I learned about organic gardening — mostly the hard way.  And I go out of my way to demystify organic gardening, making it easy, making it enjoyable and making it something that anyone can do without a lot of money, without a lot of hands on deck.

Grow So Easy author's back yard.

Anyone can grow their own food and have fun doing it.

In other words, you don’t have to be Oprah to grow your own food.  In fact, you’ll probably enjoy organic gardening more if you’re not!  Maybe Oprah should visit my back yard and see what a real organic gardener can do with two hands, seeds and dirt.

Oprah’s Maui Farm – Oprah on Growing Her Own Food – Oprah.com.

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Filed under Gardening, Home Ec on Acid, Saving Money, World Changing Ideas

Project 365 – Everybody Knows Her

Oprah Winfrey

Is there anybody in the world who doesn’t know her name?  And her name is usually introduction enough.  Owner of a television network, publisher of one of the most widely read magazines in the world, a woman whose endorsement, alone, launches businesses and books.

Oprah is the franchise — a business mogul who out “Martha’d” Martha Stewart – a force to be reckoned with. And she is a benefactor – a willing sharer of her money, but even more importantly, of herself.

Most people think of Oprah’s Angel Network when they think about her philanthropic efforts. Formed in 1998, The Angel Network was an anchor program that launched schools, built houses and rebuilt lives.

Like many very rich people who are willing to “buy” much needed things for the less fortunate, Oprah did give her money to fund projects. But she also gave and continues to give something far more valuable – the power of her personal commitment.

Just by asking her viewers to think about how they can “…use their lives” to change the world, Oprah moved more people to action than I’ll bet even she thought possible.

She inspired one marketing executive to stop climbing up the corporate ladder and use her energy to get thousands of pajamas for children who were living in shelters and group homes. A simple act from the outside; a life-changing act of kindness for those kids.

Or how about the millionaire who gave up his day job at perhaps the largest software company in the world to deliver books by the thousands to schools attended by impoverished children living in Nepal?

These are just two examples of how Oprah’s influence moved people to help others.

In a 1994 issue, Vanity Fair recognized just how influential Oprah was, saying, “Oprah Winfrey arguably has more influence on the culture than any university president, politician, or religious leader, except perhaps the Pope.”

Just 10 years later, in 2004, she made Time Magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. And Oprah has made the list every year thereafter, including 2011, becoming the only person who has been on all eight of the TIME’S list.

I’d call that influence but in the hands of Oprah Winfrey I’d also call it a gift of incalculable value. Oprah’s gift is how she uses  her influence to better the lives of our neighbors and to inspire others to help out, too.   Her gift spreads like ripples from a pebble dropped into the pond we call earth, moving all of us to do more, give more.

That’s why she belongs on this list of 365 people who are changing the world.

Before you say that it’s easy for Oprah to be generous; she has so much — before you ask, “What can I do?” please think about this. There are a million small ways that we, you and I, can make a difference, a million ways we can ease the life of another.

Tomorrow, 5 quick ideas on how we can help change the world.


Filed under Inspiring People, Life & Death, Project 365, Religion, World Changing Ideas

Speaking of Strokes & Life

When Jill Bolte Taylor speaks, a whole lot of people listen.

She is a phenomenal speaker.  She strides on stage, no notes, no teleprompter and for 70 minutes, holds the attention of the  audience.  Animated, funny, and so crystal clear when talking about neuroscience and our brains that I get it,

Dr. Taylor is a joy to listen to.  She should be difficult to understand, a Harvard trained neuro anatomist, a pointy-headed intellectual with credentials that would make most of us take a step back.  Instead, she is someone who draws people in, makes them laugh and opens up her world and her life to us.

Her rise to fame has been quick; her journey to get there was incredibly difficult and long.

In 1996, Dr. Taylor,  had a massive stroke.  This brilliant scientist was so disabled that she could not walk, talk, read, write or recall any of her life.  Putting on shoes and socks became a challenge.  Figuring out why 1 + 1 equaled 2 took her years.  All linear processing was gone. For many, this would have been the end; for Dr. Taylor, it was the beginning of an amazing transformation.

All in all, it was 8 years before Dr. Taylor could reclaim her life, herself.  But in returning to her life as a neuro anatomist, she brought something else with her.  This left-brain scientist was now totally, completely in touch with her right brain.

During her now famous TED Talk, Dr.Taylor describes the two halves of her brain warring for her attention – left brain screaming, “…hey, you’re having a stroke.”  Right brain saying, “Hey, wow, we are perfect, we are whole and we are beautiful.  And we’re all connected.”

Jill Bolte Taylor is a medical phenomenon because she defied the common diagnoses that says you only have 3 months, 6 months 12 months to recover functions like speech and walking.  She is also a phenomenon because she returned to her life changed by the spiritual experience of connecting with her right brain.  Scientist and artist live together inside her now.

She is among Time Magazine’s 2008 top 100 most influential people in the world.  Also appearing as  a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Soul Series and on Charlie Rose’s show, Dr. Taylor’s life caught the attention of Hollywood mega-director, Ron Howard who is making a movie based on her book, My Stroke of Insight.

Spend 18 minutes with her on TED and if you get a chance, read her book or see her speak or do both.   Or just answer her question:  You are the life force power of the universe; how will you spend your energy today?



Filed under Book Reviews, Healthcare, Life & Death, Medical Writing