Hangin’ with Oprah in Houston, Texas

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I fulfilled one of my major bucket list items last fall: going to see Oprah’s show in-person. I am crazy-cuckoohead-nuts for Oprah. Anyone who’s ever talked to me for more than 30 minutes or so, has probably heard me quote Miss O or share something I learned through years and years of faithfully watching the Oprah Winfrey Show.

Click here to watch the video!

My love of all things Oprah

It’s because of Oprah that I made a vision board (with her photo on it, of course). Because of her show, I know to eat whole grains and avoid hydrogenated fats. Oprah is why I pray every night (or well, most nights), listing off all of the things I am grateful for. I have watched life-changing movies like The Shift presented by Dr. Wayne Dyer and have read inspirational books like A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. Oprah is also the reason I turned my passion of travel and writing into a career. Truly, I am a better mother, wife, and person because of Oprah.

My vision board features a photo of Oprah, of course!

My vision board features a photo of Oprah, of course!

Getting tickets to see Oprah

My friends often joke with me about how I claim to “manifest” things into my life a la The Secret, another Oprah-inspired movie. I did not spend hours vying for tickets online. I did not get Oprah tickets because I’m a blogger, either.

As an Oprah enthusiast I had signed up as a member of Oprah’s website once upon a time. To be honest, I don’t go to her site much. Nonetheless, one day I received an invitation from the Oprah Winfrey Network to put my name in a lottery to go see Oprah’s Life Class in Houston, Texas. I signed up right away for my chance at two tickets. The following week, I got notice: I was in. I was going to see Oprah!

Who to bring?

Now the question was: who do I bring with? My friend, Laurie (author of the Guessing All the Way blog), is not nearly as enthralled with Oprah as I, but she is one of my dearest friends. This trip gave us a fabulous excuse to spend some time together. Laurie and I met on my first-ever press trip and we have remained close ever since even though we live in different states.

Our families went for a special sleigh ride dinner at Keystone Resort together in her home state of Colorado. When she came to my hometown of San Diego for Blogher (a conference for bloggers), we stayed together in a hotel talking, talking, talking all night long. Laurie and I don’t communicate all that often but when we do, we chat and giggle like grade school BFFs. With some friends, there are uncomfortable silences or the relationship seems somehow unbalanced. Not with Laurie. I get her. She gets me. She was the perfect person to join me on this bucket list adventure!

Showing off our pink VIP wristbands at Oprah's Life Class

Showing off our pink VIP wristbands at Oprah’s Life Class

Oprah Super Fan

When I went to pick up our tickets the day prior to the show’s taping, at first the young man at check-in couldn’t find my tickets. My heart started thumping faster and I could feel my face get hot with worry. What if they couldn’t find my name on the list? What if Laurie and I invested in air tickets to Houston for nothing?

I was told to go to another table, where a woman with a big puff of blond hair greeted me with a smile and said, “Oh, aren’t you lucky? You’ve got great seats, did you know that?”

“I do?” I said, “Why?”

The woman said, “Well, you’re an Oprah Super Fan, aren’t you?”

Why yes I am! I have no idea how they knew I was crazy-cuckoohead-nuts for Oprah but they did. I was handed two pink VIP wristbands.

That’s me on TV, y’all!

Those pink plastic bracelets enabled Laurie and I to enter the Hobby Center auditorium with its 2,650 seats before throngs of other Oprah fans. The first three rows were reserved for special guests, so we sat in the fourth row, center. Because there was a walkway between the third and fourth rows, camera people constantly taped our row.

There are close-ups of Laurie and me throughout the two Joel Osteen segments. (Between shows Oprah and Joel left the stage to change clothes.) One show focused on “The Power of I Am” and the other on “Why You Need to Be Grateful to Dream Big.”

Click here to watch a short video featuring Laurie and I shouting out our “I am” declarations on TV.

What I learned

When I first found out that Pastor Joel Osteen would be the speaker that day, I was unenthused. I didn’t know much about him and worried that there would be a lot of dogma. The universe has an interesting way of working, though. It turns out this show was just what I needed, so that’s what I got.

Laurie and I had been whining to each other about the shortcomings in our selves and our lives before this show. Pastor Osteen said, “Never speak negative words about yourself or your family. You may think it but don’t give them life by speaking them out.” Laurie and I looked at each other knowingly. That day we learned that whatever follows the words “I am” will come looking for us, as well as many other lessons.

I now try to replace all of my negative self talk with positive thoughts. I don’t always succeed but often I do. When my husband is full of worry about finances or other problems, I tell him, “Quick! Replace the worry with a positive thought!”

It is something I need to work at continually and it doesn’t always come easy, but I make the effort. Sometimes I forget and then I watch one of Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday episodes and what truly matters comes back into focus.

Living life well and acting as a positive influence in the world isn’t something you can learn once and move on. It’s like physical exercise. You need to keep it up or your spirit gets flabby.

The Travel Mama and Oprah Winfrey

We kept getting in trouble from one of the producers for trying to snap this shot of me “with” Oprah because I had to stand in the aisle; apparently that was a no-no. Worth it!

My moment with Oprah

At one point, Pastor Osteen said something that particularly resonated with me and I nodded my head in agreement. Oprah nodded too and gazed out at the audience. For a moment, she and I looked into each other’s eyes, nodding our heads, agreeing. Then she gave me a thumbs-up. It was just a small moment of connection with another person, a person I happen to admire a great deal.

As a student of Oprah and her incredible guests like Joel Osteen, I have come to believe that our thoughts transform our lives. If you think you are miserable, you will be. If you think hopeful thoughts, you will have hope. This does not mean that bad things will not happen in your life, but that you will be better equipped to handle anything that comes your way.

I envision what I want for me, for my family, for my friends. I put the energy out there and often amazing things arrive at my doorstep…or in an email inviting me to Houston to learn the power of “I am.”

Is there someone who has had a positive impact on your life, even though you have never met? What kinds of “ah-ha” moments have you experienced because of Oprah over the years? Let us know in the comments below!

About Colleen Lanin

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of TravelMamas.com. As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show, NBCNews.com, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

  1. Charles McCool says

    Wonderful write up! Seems like you had a magnificent experience.

    A friend was on Oprah’s show twice–TWO TIMES. Since she is so close to Oprah (ha!), I told her to drop my name into the convo. Yeah, I don’t think that happened.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Charles – Ha! It doesn’t hurt to ask & you’re putting that dream out to the universe…you never know what could happen! You did, after all, meet my other favorite celeb…Samantha Brown!

  2. Fun, fun! Laurie is awesome and what a cool experience. I always wanted to see Oprah on her main show and was bummed to never make that happen. Great job on never giving up the dream! 🙂

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Amber – Join Oprah’s website and maybe you can go see Oprah’s Life Class too sometime!

  3. Wow. i didn’t know Oprah was still on TV honestly. I have seen Joel Osteen before, but didn’t really connect well with him. Glad he did with you that’s awesome. Glad you were able to check off a bucket list item too! Sounds like a fun trip to Houston too. Great family blog btw.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Thanks so much for the comment, A! I wasn’t excited about Joel Osteen either but I really did find him inspirational.

  4. Laurel- Capturing la Vita says

    I saw you! Lucky duck 🙂 What a wonderful and uplifting experience. Great post!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Thank you for the comment, Laurel! Sometimes bucket list wishes are a disappointment when fulfilled; seeing Oprah live was even better than I thought it would be!

  5. wanderingeducators says

    love that video, and all the positivity. wow!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      wanderingeducators – I feel so lucky to have been part of the audience and that positive energy that day!

  6. I’m planning a vision board party and looking for tips. This was great! I’ve hosted burning bowl ceremonies and made vision boards years ago that I didn’t really put much merit in and wasn’t clear with my intention. I think that’s one of my big take aways from what you said, along with all the “how-to’s” for hosting the party.
    Thank you! I hadn’t heard of you before. ???? have you done this again recently? I’ll have to look up your blog.
    You sound like you might be an Abraham-Hicks follower too. Love them. Same perspective and understanding. So helpful, giving me hope.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Colette – I taught a vision board class at a travel bloggers conference a few years ago, but I haven’t hosted a personal vision board party for a while now. My family has a mini vision board hanging on our fridge, but I keep thinking I’d like to host a vision board party for my kids and their friends. That needs to be a goal of mine for 2017! I am not an Abraham-Hicks follower, but I’ve heard of him/her. Good luck with your party and may all of your visions come true!

  7. The things you seek will find you…..this post was everything…thank you

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