A humiliating experience wasn’t as bad as it seemed

I went through a totally humiliating experience this week. Worse, it was entirely self-inflicted. And just for good measure, it was in front of people I respect and admire, even though I don’t really know them very well yet. It happened during a meeting of my new Toastmasters club. I was giving my first speech to the group – one that’s known as the “icebreaker” and that’s meant to help new members get comfortable with speaking. It also lets the rest of the club get [...]

By |May 26th, 2017|Columns, Toastmasters|Comments Off on A humiliating experience wasn’t as bad as it seemed

Everything’s different, and yet it’s all the same

These contradictory thoughts have been popping into my head often as my husband and I completed our move from Minnesota to Georgia. His final day of work was last Friday, and by Sunday we were packed up and on the road. We spent a day in Chicago visiting family, then took two days to drive down to our new home. We’ve made the drive to Chicago several times a year during the time we’ve lived in Minnesota, so we’ve gotten used to the landmarks, the [...]

By |March 10th, 2017|Columns, Faith, Family, Toastmasters, Travel|Comments Off on Everything’s different, and yet it’s all the same

Never get bored of education

I was at St. Catherine’s last Saturday, taking part in a Toastmasters Leadership Institute. I wasn’t familiar with the campus, and it took me a little while to find the correct building. I thought I was being clever by simply following the line of cars pulling into one of the parking lots, until I found out they were there for a volleyball tournament, not the Toastmasters program. It was a bit of a distance to the building I actually needed to be in, but I [...]

By |February 3rd, 2017|Columns, Family, Toastmasters|Comments Off on Never get bored of education

A lesson in integrity comes from an unexpected source

They spoke with eloquence and a bit of humor. They spoke with wisdom and a lot of experience. They were members of a new Toastmasters club, and were giving a presentation at our recent Toastmasters conference. The man who transported them to the conference waited in the back of the room till they were done speaking, at which time he would take them back to prison. The three presenters were from a nearby Federal Prison Camp, a minimum security facility that the men now call [...]

By |November 25th, 2016|Accountability, Columns, Family, Toastmasters, Values|2 Comments

A political speech doesn’t have to be negative

One of the things I love about my Toastmasters club is how much I learn from the other members. During their speeches, I often find out more about subjects that are among my own interests and areas of expertise, because I am able to see another side of them, or a different perspective. I also learn more about occupations, hobbies, and beliefs that are totally different from mine. Another thing I love about our club – and the Toastmasters organization in general – is that [...]

By |November 4th, 2016|Columns, Quotes and Sayings, Toastmasters, Values|Comments Off on A political speech doesn’t have to be negative

You win or you learn

Some of my favorite quotes and sayings have come from signs I pass along the road, especially in front of churches, banks, and real estate offices. I always smile when I think about one I saw a few years ago. It said something like, “If God is your co-pilot, maybe you ought to trade places.” I saw a new one a few weeks ago, and it struck me as both clever and profound. It’s becoming even more so the more I think about it. It [...]

By |July 15th, 2016|Columns, Quotes and Sayings, Success, Toastmasters, Values|Comments Off on You win or you learn

Successful stories come from fears and failures

I got a strong dose of motivation and inspiration over the weekend. It happens every year around this time, which is when our Toastmasters District holds its Spring Convention. A highlight of the convention is the International Speech Contest, which brings together the winners of ten Division contests. These are people who have already won at three levels of competition, so you can imagine how polished and persuasive their speeches are by the time they reach the District level. What I’ve always found fascinating is [...]

By |May 6th, 2016|Columns, Toastmasters, Values|Comments Off on Successful stories come from fears and failures

It’s time for the first report card

“Be careful what you wish for.” I was surprised to discover how relevant this old adage was to me in relation to something I started recently and wrote about a few weeks ago – my intention to start running my life as if I were back in school. I’m now treating the projects and activities I am currently involved in as classes and homework assignments. The revelation that came as I started incorporating this plan into my life was that in many ways, I’ve been [...]

By |September 25th, 2015|Accountability, Achieving Dreams and Goals, Columns, Organizing, Quotes and Sayings, Success, Toastmasters|Comments Off on It’s time for the first report card

Being funny is a serious business

I spent a lot of time laughing last Sunday. And I still have a smile on my face, just thinking about it. A woman in my writers group had just completed a four-week course in stand-up comedy, and invited us to her “graduation” – a comedy club show in which she and others from her class performed stand-up routines. A number of us from the writers group attended the event, and decided to get together for pizza before the show. Since writers love sharing stories, [...]

Great experiences made for a winning weekend

I didn’t win. But I sure had fun. The Toastmasters District 6 Fall Conference was held last weekend in Rochester. The Fall Conference is also where the finals of Toastmasters’ annual Humorous Speech Contest take place, and this year, I made it to the final round of competition. I had fun giving my speech, and I think I did a good job delivering it. It got a lot of laughs and applause, and people were nodding and smiling as I sat back down afterwards. But [...]

By |November 7th, 2014|Columns, Toastmasters|Comments Off on Great experiences made for a winning weekend