Growing up, I remember The Oprah Winfrey Show on every afternoon at 4 pm in our home. My mom loved Oprah, and so did I. I dreamed of meeting Oprah and being on her show (because I thought I would someday be an actress – ha!). As I got older, I read Oprah recommended books, subscribed to her magazine (I still have the first issue) and learned a lot from her. Now, as an adult, I have been inspired by her Super Soul Sundays and the way she lives with intention, gratitude and generosity. Without question, she has had a profound influence of my life.
When I was 20 years old, I set my internet homepage to The Oprah Winfrey Show’s last minute ticket page. Every day I would try to get tickets. One lucky day, I got them! A few days later, on a cold February day, my friend Marissa and I drove to Chicago and went to HARPO Studios for The Oprah Winfrey Show. I was SO excited. When we got to the front of the line, I was a bubbly, joyous mess. The kind employee saw that excitement and put us in THE FRONT ROW. Needless to say, we were over the moon. I have tried to find the episode on YouTube, but couldn’t. Though we didn’t meet Oprah that day, it was exciting being in the audience and experiencing something so iconic for our generation.
The show we saw taped was Oprah’s 50th Birthday recap. Remember how it amazing her birthday was?
Then, when my book The Fringe Hours released, I was interviewed for O Magazine. To say it was a thrill seeing my book in the pages of a magazine I’ve loved since its inception is putting it mildly.
Oprah’s words and actions have deeply touched my life. And now, nearly 15 years after that show experience, the dream I had as a little girl is coming true. I am going to meet Oprah. I’m tearing up writing this blog post. It might sound silly, but this feels like God is whispering in my ear, saying, I’ve seen you. I always have. I know those dreams inside you. I know what this means.
I never thought I would be able to top that excitement I felt as a college student going to The Oprah Winfrey Show, but receiving an invitation from Disney/ABC to attend the A Wrinkle in Time premiere and interview the cast did me in. This Saturday, courtesy of Disney/ABC I will fly to LA for a four-day press event. Saturday evening we will screen A Wrinkle in Time, which is “an epic adventure based on Madeleine L’Engle’s timeless classic which takes audiences across dimensions of time and space, examining the nature of darkness versus light and, ultimately, the triumph of love. Through one girl’s transformative journey led by three celestial guides, we discover that strength comes from embracing one’s individuality and that the best way to triumph over fear is to travel by one’s own light.” See the trailer below.
Then Sunday, we will attend a press Junket for A Wrinkle in Time to host group interviews with the following people:
- Oprah Winfrey (“Mrs. Which”), Reese Witherspoon (“Mrs. Whatsit”) & Mindy Kaling (“Mrs. Who”)
- Storm Reid (“Meg Murry”)
- Gugu Mbatha-Raw (“Dr. Kate Murry”)
- Rowan Blanchard (“Veronica”), Levi Miller (“Calvin”) & Deric McCabe (“Charles Wallace Murry”)
- Director Ava DuVernay
- Screenwriter Jennifer Lee (Jennifer is also the Oscar winning Director of FROZEN and the writer of the upcoming FROZEN on Broadway)
- Bellamy Young (“Camazotz Mom” in A WRINKLE IN TIME and “Mellie Grant” in “Scandal”)
We will have the opportunity to ask questions and get a group photo after each interview. I am so overwhelmed that I still haven’t selected my best questions. What would you ask?
Monday evening we will attend the movie’s red carpet premiere. If you follow me on Instagram, you have seen all my dress shopping challenges. I finally have the dress altered, shoes and jewelry bought and am ready to go. It is SOOOO pretty. I can’t wait to share pictures from the event.
In addition to attending the red carpet for A Wrinkle in Time and interviewing some of the cast, our group will also be screening four new ABC shows: Deception, Alex, Inc., Splitting Up Together and For the People (above photos courtesy of ABC).
Over the course of the next few weeks, in exchange for attending the press event, I will be sharing my thoughts on the shows and experiences meeting some of the cast members. You will also be able to follow real time on Instagram stories. Below I have posted the press information we were provided about each show. If any of them look especially interesting to you, I’d love to know, as well as if you have any questions. Of all the shows, For the People is the one that piqued my interest the most. I have always enjoyed legal shows.
When his career is ruined by scandal, superstar magician Cameron Black has only one place to turn to practice his art of deception, influence and illusion – the FBI. Using every trick in the book and inventing new ones, he will help the government catch the world’s most elusive criminals while staging the biggest illusions of his career. “Deception” stars Jack Cutmore-Scott as Cameron Black, Ilfenesh Hadera as Kay Daniels, Lenora Crichlow as Dina Clark, Amaury Nolasco as Mike Alvarez, Justin Chon as Jordan Kwon, Laila Robins as FBI Agent Deakins and Vinnie Jones as Gunter Gustafsen. The show will premiere Sunday, March 11 after the premiere of American Idol.
Based on the podcast StartUp, Alex Schuman (Zach Braff, “Scrubs”) is a brilliant radio journalist, husband and father of two who is about to do something crazy – quit his job and start his own company. He quickly discovers it’s going to be a lot harder than he thought. Zach Braff stars, directs and is executive producer with Matt Tarses (“Scrubs”) and Davis Entertainment (“Dr. Ken,” “Blacklist”). “Alex, Inc.” premieres on Wednesday, March 28th at 8:30/7:30c.
Based on the Danish series, “Splitting Up Together” is the story of a couple (Jenna Fischer, “The Office,” and Oliver Hudson, “Scream Queens”) whose marriage is reignited by their divorce. Emily Kapnek (“Suburgatory”) writes and serves as executive producer of this new comedy, along with Ellen DeGeneres. Splitting Up Together premieres Tues 3/27 at 9:30|8:30c after the premiere of “Roseanne”.
Set in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (a.k.a. “The Mother Court”), the new Shondaland series show follows six talented young lawyers working on opposite sides of the law and handling the most high-profile and high-stakes federal cases in the country. The show premieres Tuesday, March 13 at 10|9c
Thank you for joining me for this exciting, once-in-a-lifetime trip! My heart is so full and I am so grateful to share it with each of you.
Perrigo Nutritionals sponsored this post but all opinions are my own.
This past week I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting about my kids. I don’t know what it is about this time of year, but my kids always seem to grow a lot in the winter months. For instance, Elias has always loved footie pajamas, and his favorite brand stops at size eight. Each night, I see them stretched over his tall body, just barely fitting. I know that it won’t be long before they won’t stretch any more.
When Elias was first born, I remember stressing about everything. Was he warm enough? Was he eating enough? Had he pooped? (Gosh, poop is so consuming when you are a parent of babies!)
Now, nearly 10 years later, with three kids filling our home with laughter and bickering, dancing and crying, I take a lot more in stride. Life in our home is a roller coaster ride full of highs and lows, as it is with any family. I’ve learned getting bogged down by any one thing doesn’t do anyone any good. I have learned that any concerns I have can be worked out through good conversation and/or solid research.
When Elias was a baby, something that wasn’t on my radar was the difference between organic and non-organic baby formula and food. Through my work with Perrigo Nutritionals, I learned that my experience was not unusual. The nutrition company conducted a survey of 1,000 moms and learned 43% of moms said they purchased organic foods for their babies when they started eating solids, but only 10% purchased organic formula for their infants. I was totally in this camp. I remember buying some organic food for Elias and Adeline but definitely did not buy organic formula. (I did buy organic food and formula for Ezra.)
Perrigo Nutritionals also discovered 75% of moms incorrectly assumed that non-GMO products always prohibit the use of toxic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, antibiotics, growth hormones, artificial flavors, colors and preservatives, when in fact, only USDA-Certified organic products can make this guarantee.
I found this study so interesting because I related to many of the facts. I’ve learned that a huge part of being a parent is being open to evolution– evolution of thought, habit, and sensibility. What works for one child doesn’t necessarily work for other children. As parents, we grow and learn. Some ways I parented Elias continued to make sense for Adeline and Ezra. Other knowledge—such as my understanding of organics—shifted, and with that learning came new, more informed choices. (For more thoughts on organic formula, read this post.)
If I could go back and tell my 25-year-old new-mom-self anything, I would say you are going to be blown away by this motherhood thing. It is going to be harder than you imagine, but a million times better. Everyone is right about that whole “the days are long, but the years are shot” saying, so take a lot of pictures and try to savor something ordinary every day. In 10 years, you are going to miss mixing formula bottles, diapering little bottoms and footie pajamas.
What would you tell your new mom self?
Matthew’s new children’s book When God Made Light released on Tuesday and soared to the top of the Amazon charts. It peaked at #9 of ALL books on Amazon and still is in the top 20!
Thank you to each one of you who have ordered When God Made Light this week and told others about it. Every photo, every message, every comment has been so encouraging. We are so grateful.
If you haven’t ordered this beautiful, inspiring children’s book, will you order it today? First week sales for a new book are critical to its success. It’s just $8.73 and I think is a book that is a must for all family’s shelves. It’s affirming, encouraging and stunning.
Here’s what others have said about When God Made Light this week:
It is magical, charming, gorgeous, beautiful. It is everything we want to tell our littles about God and how He made the world and each and every one of them with love. PLUS, illustrations by the undefeated David Catrow who is such a special talent. This book makes me cry, it is so lovely.
I am truly smitten with this children’s book! When God Made Light is unlike any Christian children’s book I have ever read — with a whimsical, rhyming prose that stays with you long after it is finished. Matthew’s prose is a captivating mix of Max Lucado and Dr. Seuss all rolled happily into one. An absolutely delightful, romping book, to be read again and again – highly recommend! It’s just as delightful as its predecessor, When God Made You. It’s truth-filled message is one that children need, as well as their parents.
And you know what? Our children’s books need to reflect the glorious diversity of the kingdom of God and these two books are desperately needed additions to every bookshelf and child’s library because these powerful visuals and diverse, affirming messages deeply matter.
When God Made Light is a five-star book and one that our family COMPLETELY loves.
Let me be honest, I love these books. They are two of my favorite children’s books out there. The message they contain, the art work, the interesting rhymes—these books are so, so good. I can not recommend them enough. But there’s one more reason I love them. Matthew and illustrator David Catrow made the decision to have the main character be a little black girl. Can I tell you how much I love that? When the book showed up and I started turning the pages, I teared up. I saw my daughter on the page. That’s no small thing. Try finding a children’s book where the main character is black. There aren’t many. But it’s so important for all kids to see themselves in books. They need heroes and protagonists who they can relate to. The fact that Matthew’s books showcase a creative, smart, playful, beautiful black girl flourishing in a world made by God for her pleasure is priceless.
I know Matthew got some pushback and even notes from parents asking that future books have white kids at the center, but I’m glad he’s resisting. And I hope that parents of white children buy these books. For one, the message is so important. And two, they need to learn to see children of other skin colors as normal, wonderful, and beautiful.
With the release of my husband’s new children’s book When God Made Light being just a few days away, we wanted to give you a sneak peak at some of the gorgeous illustrations.
The book is truly stunning.
Preorder When God Made Light today and get When God Made You FREE. This offer ends when the book releases Tuesday, so go preorder right away. You won’t be charged until the book ships, so it makes sense to preorder now and get the free book versus wait until it releases and not get the bonus. After you preorder, go here to submit your address for the free book.
I can’t wait for it to get in your hands!
When I became pregnant with Elias, I immediately started stocking his bookshelf with the classics. As he grew, so did his book collection. I unapologetically bought dozens and dozens of books for him – and later, for Adeline and Ezra – knowing the power of reading on a child’s development.
I’m ashamed to admit that I never really thought about how the books on our shelves reflected the diversity of the world. I bought what I knew, what I saw on Instagram and what Amazon told me I would like.
Then we released When God Made You, a book featuring a child of color on the cover. As we prepared for the launch, I read this startling statistic: 80% of the characters in children’s books are white. As I looked to our own bookshelves, I realized how much they lacked in diversity. I immediately set out to change that, buying a multitude of books that more accurately reflected the world.
Matthew and I have been overwhelmed with feedback from people of color thanking him for publishing a book that had a main character that looked like their child. As somebody who has never walked into a store and not seen my kids represented on the covers of children’s book, this last year has been eye-opening and humbling.
What we didn’t expect was how many white people would say things like –
I bought your book for a family I know that was adopting. It was perfect for them. Why wasn’t it perfect for your family?
Will your next book have a white main character? No. Why should it?
Maybe could you offer When God Made You featuring different ethnicities for people to choose from. Is this a joke?
I’m not making this up. Truly, it’s been horrifying. I have thought about writing about it numerous times, but the topic felt big, important and I worried about messing up the words. With When God Made Light releasing next week, I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot again. I believe God will use this book, only as he can, to encourage all kiddos of all skin colors.
Here’s what I know and what I want to be sure you know: As parents, we must ensure that our family’s children’s books reflect diversity. Diversity in ethnicity, gender and situation. If your child’s books are full of white boys and girls, that needs to change.
Go to the library and challenge yourself to only check out books that don’t feature white main characters. Head to Amazon and fill your cart up. Do something to change this statistic. Teach your children empathy by reading books with characters who don’t look like them.
The world needs parents who do that with intention.
Preorder When God Made Light this week and get When God Made You free. Details here.
For more on this topic, read:
Why Young Children Need Diverse Books (No Time for Flashcards)