Letters to Oprah
Oprah and Gayle visit the Miraval Spa over their spring break.
Ever wonder what Oprah does over her spring break? This year, she started her vacation in Arizona with a trip to the Miraval Spa, a destination dedicated to getting healthy and challenging your life. And she wasn't alone—she and Gayle spent five days with 50 women who won an O, The Oprah Magazine contest and 10 women who won an sweepstakes.

Oprah says one of the funniest moments of the trip happened when she and Gayle decided to try an exercise called A Swing and A Prayer on a challenge course. "They attach you to a cable and then they pull you up 40 feet in the air, and then it's up to you to decide when to let go. And you swing like a pendulum back and forth," Oprah says.

Oprah went first, but when Gayle got up in the air, she nearly had a "nervous breakdown." "It's going to feel like a roller coaster, that's all," Oprah tells Gayle. "I hate roller coasters," Gayle says, clinging to the rope.

Oprah says she couldn't help but laugh. "I laughed till I almost peed on myself," she says. "Then I realized she was really, really, really scared. … I still kept laughing."
Oprah discusses the media reports about the Leadership Academy.
After her spa trip, Oprah flew to South Africa to see her students at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls—South Africa. While she was abroad, a story questioning whether the school was too strict hit the news. "I was very surprised to hear this," Oprah says. "I have to have rules to protect the girls."

"Many of you parents probably realize this in schools in the United States: The cell phones were killing us in the class. And obviously so many of the girls could not afford the cell phones, but some of them, their parents could. And so I had the cell phones removed from class," Oprah says. "I have restrictions on who can come to the school, and when you come to the school, you have to be cleared because I do not want people coming onto the campus that could do harm to our girls. And so we have rules and we have regulations and I believe that those rules and regulations are working. The girls are happy. Some are gaining weight and some are losing weight, because for the first time in their lives they have regular meals and are eating healthy food. So for all of you who are asking the question or debating about it … I stand by the rules at the school. They are not too strict."

Oprah also says the quotes from the two disappointed parents are from interviews that were conducted weeks ago when the school first opened. "The truth of the matter is, the parents themselves, who I personally spoke to, said that they said to the reporter, 'Yes, the school is strict, but it's also fair, and the girls are really thriving there,'" Oprah says. "So they tell me that all that they said was not actually printed in the paper."
Kim and Oprah discuss The Secret.
After watching the DVD and seeing The Oprah Show about The Secret, Kim wrote to Oprah after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Three doctors told Kim she would have to have a partial radical mastectomy of the right breast and treatment. Kim writes that "after much thought, I have decided to heal myself." Her letter caught Oprah's attention, and she wanted to talk to Kim.

Oprah tells Kim she believes that The Secret is merely a tool; it's not treatment. "The medical community, as we know, have been able to perform what some people call miracles," Oprah says. "And while you're taking advantage of that, think as positively [as you can]. Think about attracting healing to yourself, think about the goodness that the healing will bring to yourself."

Kim says she did not want to make a decision out of fear, but she did take action. Although Kim decided not to have surgery, chemotherapy or radiation treatments, she is working with a doctor who specializes in breast cancer to improve her nutrition and outlook while documenting her health along the way. If it comes down to choosing between her breast or her life, Kim says she chooses her life. "But we do have choices, and I'm making a choice. And in six months' time, I am believing that the cancer will be gone—and if it is not, it has shrunk so much that I can have a lumpectomy not a partial radical mastectomy," Kim says. "It's about holding onto my right for choice."

"What I believe about the law of attraction, I want to clarify it," Oprah says. "I want to say it's a tool. It is not the answer to everything. It is not the answer to atrocities or every tragedy. It is just one law. Not the only law. And certainly, certainly, certainly not a get-rich-quick scheme. The law of attraction is a tool that can help you decide what you want your life to be, and then begin to help you focus on making the best choices through action to create that life."
Oprah finally takes a seat in the chair Mrs. Adeniyi reserved for her.
A student from Texas took the time to e-mail Oprah about her honors world geography teacher, Mrs. Adeniyi, who has a dream that only Oprah can fulfill.

Mrs. Adeniyi has reserved an "Oprah-only chair" in her classroom for the last six years, hoping that Oprah would visit one day. "No person has ever sat in or even breathed on that chair and lived," ninth-grader Ashtian writes. "She is such a fun teacher with great ideas. I would love for you to meet her, even if it's for a single moment."

Oprah meets Mrs. Adeniyi and has a special surprise for her via satellite. The night before the show, Oprah had the principal pack and ship the "Oprah chair" to Chicago! "I was definitely upset that it was missing because no one has touched that chair," Mrs. Adeniyi says. "All these students know at the beginning of the year, I set the tone that the chair is not to be touched. And they all doubted me that you were ever going to sit in it. So this is unreal."

Oprah isn't the only one with a special seat. "Because you have reserved this chair for me all of these years, I am now going to reserve two seats for you," Oprah says. "So please tell us when you want to come to the Oprah Show, and I'll have a special seat reserved right here in the front just for you."
Is 'Oprah and Gayle's Big Adventure' grammatically incorrect?
When Oprah and Gayle hit the road on their big adventure last summer, viewers' e-mails poured in. One secretary named Krista had a concern about the road trip's title. "Everyone who has an ounce of grammar in them knows it's 'Oprah's and Gayle's Big Adventure' not 'Oprah and Gayle's Big Adventure,'" Krista wrote. "Everything I read, you leave off the possessive on Oprah's name and it is grammatically incorrect. It is so tacky."

"Grammar Girl" Mignon Fogarty gets to the bottom of this possible grammar gaffe. As a technical writer and editor, seeing the same mistakes over and over used to drive Mignon crazy. So she decided to enlighten others by sharing her "quick and dirty" language lessons online as Grammar Girl.

Despite Krista's insistence, Mignon says the possessive originally used in Oprah and Gayle's Big Adventure is correct because of the rule of compound possession. If people share something, Mignon says, they share an apostrophe-s. "So it's 'Oprah and Gayle's car,'" Mignon says. "They go on the same road trip, they share the same car, they share the same apostrophe-s."

If Oprah and Gayle have two different things, Mignon says, it is correct to use two possessives, such as, "Oprah's and Gayle's political views."
Grammar Girl corrects common grammar mistakes.
Mignon has come up with clever ideas to help even the most grammatically challenged person remember the rules.

Affect versus Effect
As they are most commonly used, affect is a verb and effect is a noun. One way to remember this is to think of the phrase, "The raven flew down the avenue," Mignon says. The words "raven" and "avenue" both have the letters a, v, e and n in them, which can help you to remember "affect, verb; effect, noun."

Correct: On the road trip, Gayle's singing affected Oprah.
Correct: The effect wasn't pretty.

Who versus Whom
According to Mignon, you should use "whom" anytime you could answer the question with "him." This is easy to remember because both words end with m.

Example: Whom do we need to thank?
We need to thank him.

Example: Who is on the show next?
He will be on the show.

Lay versus Lie
Mignon says to remember that people lie and objects lay.

Correct: I lie down on the couch.
Correct: I lay the book on the table.
Chris Brown surprises Jamese at her school cafeteria.
A name that pops up in viewers' e-mails often is Chris Brown, a 17-year-old R&B singer whose self-titled debut album climbed to the top of the Billboard charts. His first single, "Run It," became a number one pop and R&B hit, and he was nominated for two Grammy Awards in 2007.

Fourteen-year-old Jamese Dunlap, an honor student from Chicago, wrote in about Chris. "Many times I am not rewarded for my excellence. Simple things such as having my parents pick up my honor roll report cards from school or getting congratulated and acknowledged for the 4.5 GPA would really please me," Jamese writes. "During stressful times, I think of my favorite superstar, Chris Brown. Oprah, if I could be granted the wish of meeting my favorite superstar, I would be so ecstatic."

Jamese is in for a surprise! As she sits in the cafeteria at Whitney Young High School, Chris stops by and whisks her away to watch him perform on The Oprah Winfrey Show!
Chris Brown performs a song from his self-titled debut album.
With Jamese in the audience, Chris performs a medley of songs from his self-titled debut album, including "Run It" and "Yo (Excuse Me Miss)."

Chris says he loves performing—and he started early. "[I've been dancing] since I was 2. My mama can tell you—ever since I was little watching Michael Jackson on the TV screen and imitating him," Chris says.

Chris is still in high school and continues his studies on the road with the help of a homeschool teacher's Internet program. Otherwise, he gets to enjoy being on tour with his friends—who are also his backup dancers. "Everybody's just having fun," he says.
Lisa and Dr. Oz
The Oprah Show receives thousands of e-mails for Dr. Oz, and a viewer named Laura has a question that many Oz fans want to know! "I was curious to know if Dr. Oz's wife is hot," Laura says. "I think she's got to be hot, you know, because that's a ton of pressure. That man, I'm sure before her eyes are open in the morning, he is on the floor doing yoga poses. I wonder if she wants to slip a little saturated fat powder in his oatmeal in the morning?"

Lisa Oz says there is no pressure to eat right with Dr. Oz at home. "I'm a vegetarian and taught him everything he knows," she says.

And yes, Dr. Oz is yoga-obsessed, but Lisa says she has come up with a great way to deal with it. "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em," she says.

As for the hot question? "He thinks I am, and that's all that matters to me."
Six friends take Oprah on a trip to Italy.
One letter from a group of longtime friends from San Diego thanked Oprah for accompanying them on their Italian adventure, and they even sent pictures. The thing is, Oprah hadn't gone on the trip!

"Six of us college pals have been friends for 30 years. We have an unbreakable bond," the women write. "Oprah, over the years, you've become a part of our lives. So when we all turned 50, we decided to take you with us on our big trip to Italy."

The group's mastermind, Harriet, came up with the idea to take a cardboard photo of Oprah's face to Italy. "We figured, what the heck," Harriet says. The women posed with it throughout Italy—from the Vatican in Rome to a gondola ride in Venice. Oprah's presence even helped them get better service with cute Italian waiters!

Oprah got a kick out of the trip. "Well, you know I've been wanting to go to Italy, so maybe this was the law of attraction working for me," Oprah says.
Oprah meets her 12-year-old namesake.
An e-mail from Pat Hines in Georgia leads Oprah to meet…Oprah Winfrey! "I once heard you say on the air you didn't know another person named Oprah Winfrey," Pat writes. "Well, there is a 12-year-old girl whose name is Oprah Winfrey. I thought you'd find it interesting that you have a namesake."

Oprah's meeting with the 12-year-old from Georgia is the very first time she has ever come face-to-face with another Oprah Winfrey!

Little Oprah's mom, Linda Winfrey, says she and her husband intentionally chose to name their daughter after Oprah. "When my husband found out we were having a girl, he went, 'We've got to name her Oprah, after somebody that's positive, [who] will be a great role model,'" Linda says. "I'm like, 'That's it! Oprah Winfrey.'"

While the original Oprah says she didn't like her name when she was younger, 12-year-old Oprah loves it! "You're a great role model and I want to be like you, so I like my name a lot," she says.