Remarkable Changes: Turning Life's Challenges into Opportunities

Remarkable Changes: Turning Life's Challenges into Opportunities

by Jane Seymour

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In this inspiring memoir, internationally beloved actress Jane Seymour shows how she has learned to embrace and learn from the many changes in her life

Now fifty, Jane Seymour––the eternally beautiful star of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and countless other television shows and films––is a living testament to the


In this inspiring memoir, internationally beloved actress Jane Seymour shows how she has learned to embrace and learn from the many changes in her life

Now fifty, Jane Seymour––the eternally beautiful star of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and countless other television shows and films––is a living testament to the rewards of embracing midlife and its challenges eagerly and gracefully.

In Remarkable Changes, she leads the reader through the challenges of those years––from the physical changes that come with the territory to the emotional transformations that accompany this passage of life.

From understanding the stages of change, to making every moment significant, she helps us find the true value in our life transitions, from marriage and divorce to career changes to milestones in the lives of our parents and children. Whether we initiate change in our life or it is thrust upon us by circumstances beyond our control, Jane shows that we should stop coping with change and start actively incorporating it into our lives, using the hard–won wisdom we? all gained through the years.

Holding up as an example her own life and the lives of those closest to her, Seymour empowers us to accept life shifts and teaches us how to take even the toughest situations and turn them into strengthening tools. She talks about her own experiences with divorce and remarriage, children and stepchildren, and her new twin boys, and she describes her indomitable mother's difficult years in a World War II prison camp in Indonesia. Her best friend faced her own challenges when learning to understand her son's mental illness, and another friend started a grief recovery organization when his wife and son were murdered.

We all need to face the beginnings and endings that make up our constantly changing lives. And this warm, inspiring book shows that we can all learn how to make each change remarkable.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Readers know Seymour best as the beautiful TV star of Dr. Quinn, but the actor, nee Joyce Frankenberg, is also a painter and devotee of all things self-help. Thus, this straightforward, simplistic book is Seymour's contribution to the personal growth genre. Full of spiritual advice on how to cope with kids, marriage, divorce and illness, the book features such chapter headings as "Find Guidance in the Spiritual." Seymour underscores her central theme-be positive-by citing her own story and her mother's internment at a Japanese POW camp during WWII. Seymour also includes vignettes of others who've triumphed over loss and adversity. Whether noting the tragic accident that crippled her longtime friend Christopher Reeve or sharing the travails of women who endure cancer or diabetes, Seymour trumpets the need for hope and optimism. As such, she shares, in a restrained way, her own disappointments in love, her friendships with ex-husbands and her determination to champion the blended family. The Emmy Award winner believes we can choose to make the most of our circumstances, whatever they may be. She's candid about Hollywood rejections, but also about how she was often offered plum roles at particularly low points in her life. Not surprisingly, she's a big believer in leaving the past behind: "I think if you give it time and patience and leave yourself open to whatever the next experience... will be, you'll surprise yourself." 16 pages of color photos not seen by PW. (May) Forecast: Seymour has starred in loads of TV miniseries, and fans of that genre may welcome her personal philosophies. A 25-city radio campaign, 15-city TV satellite tour and author appearances in Los Angeles and New York will kick things off. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Read an Excerpt

Remarkable Changes

Turning Life's Challenges into Opportunities
By Jane Seymour


ISBN: 0060087471

Chapter One

Take an Honest Look at Yourself

Examine Your Roots

When Everything seems up in the air, and I don't instantly know what to do next, I've found that if I take an honest look at myself and at my predicament, I have a stronger starting point from which to make decisions. If I do not, my decisions all seem to be off center.

Taking a hard look at myself isn't something I was born knowing how to do, but something I came to understand a bit of as I was growing up. However, I don't believe I fully understood just what this particular signpost meant until I was nearly forty years old, and I was faced with one of the most painful episodes in my life-divorce and near bankruptcy all at once. As my life crumbled in little pieces around me, and I found myself at a total loss as to what to do about it, I had no choice but to take that honest look at who I was, and then at what was needed.

Luckily, long before that, there was the groundwork lovingly laid by my parents, who helped me to develop an honest and positive image of myself-one that started with understanding and accepting who I was.

While I must admit I haven't always acted on that image, still, so many times it has proved to be the element deep inside myself that has allowed me to find a way to rise above even the most painful episodes.

I was the firstborn, and I came into the world a year and a day after my parents were married. When I was a child, I used to tease them, embarrass them in public, by saying simply that I was born the day after they were married, ignoring the year that had passed. Of course in those days it seemed very shocking. My mother, Mieke, who is Dutch and from the town of Deventer in Holland, was in her thirties, when she had me, and she was very beautiful, with dark, dark hair, high cheekbones, and beautiful eyes. My father, Dr. John Frankenberg, had jet-black hair and a little mustache, and he was often mistaken for David Niven.

After my birth in 1951, my two sisters appeared in rapid succession. Sally is one year and four months younger than I, and Annie is one year and two months younger than Sally. Our first home outside of London was very small, with just two bedrooms, a living room, and a kitchen, in the not-so-nice part of Wimbledon. My mother had a home business at the time, selling wine, tobacco, and other luxury items to the foreign embassies in London, so our tiny house was filled with people working all day. My two sisters and I shared one bedroom, sleeping in beds that folded up against the walls when they weren't in use. When all the beds were down, it was almost impossible to walk from one side of the room to the other! We had a long garden behind the house that led down to some railroad tracks-and we truly thought we lived in heaven.

When I was about ten, we moved to a large Victorian house in a nicer part of Wimbledon, and now we really thought we had it all, with an even larger garden, where we grew vegetables and flowers, and lovely neighbors all around. The house still stands, and looks just as it did then-a happy reminder of my teen years. We finally settled in a beautiful house in Hillingdon Middlesex, not far from Heathrow Airport, and nearly in the country. My mother, who is eighty-eight now, still lives in that house, and she fills it with people and parties at every opportunity. Sadly, my father died in 1991, in October, just before my mother's birthday.

I was very close to both of my parents, but particularly to my father, who treated me like an eldest son. We didn't have any boys in the family, so I didn't realize until later on that sometimes in those days the boy in the family would be given the better education and taken more seriously in terms of what his future and prospects would be. I felt I got that kind of attention, especially from him, and I look back with gratitude at what he offered me. In many ways, both my father and mother led me to believe I could be anything I dreamt of being.

As young girls, my sisters and I had a lot of adventures. My father would read to us from the tales of the Greek heroes as we sat on his lap; that was the big treat. My parents were very keen on the theater, ballet, and opera, and we all listened to opera from a very early age. My father had been the doctor for a number of the opera singers at Covent Garden. Sometimes the singers would give us tickets-or sometimes we'd purchase the cheapest ones ourselves and sit high up in the theater looking down on the expensive sections, waiting to see who hadn't shown up so we could upgrade our seats at the intermission. We would go into London on the weekends and he would show us the architecture of the city and take us to the museums and to the library. We weren't wealthy, so luckily a lot of these entertainments were free.

My father worked for the National Health system, so although he worked very hard he never made a lot of money. His income was never remotely like what people in America think all physicians make.

As a family, we belonged to an organization called the Scientific Society, which stemmed, I'm certain, from the fact that my father was a surgeon and my mother, who was passionate about all science, had worked as a nurse before she met him ...


Excerpted from Remarkable Changes by Jane Seymour
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Meet the Author

Jane Seymour is an acclaimed actress with more than 50 motion pictures and television programs to her credit. She is the author of Jane Seymour's Guide to Romantic Living and Two at a Time. In addition to her constant film and television work, Jane paints in watercolor and oil, and she exhibits and sells her work around the country. She also has her own clothing line featuring fabrics based on her paintings; her clothes are sold in the Crossing Pointe catalog. She lives with her husband, James Keach, and their children in Malibu, CA.

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