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A weekend road trip leads to Thunder Bay

The bus left Rochester at 5:30 a.m. on Friday. It pulled into Bloomington – where I boarded – at 7:00. After one last stop to pick up a few more people in Duluth, we continued on to our final destination of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Actually, we had one additional stop, a brief one at the border crossing. We didn’t pick up any additional passengers there, but we did impress the Customs agent – or at least made him smile – when we sang the first [...]

By |November 1st, 2013|Columns, Toastmasters, Travel|Comments Off on A weekend road trip leads to Thunder Bay

Put Your “Brave Mask” On

It was early on a Saturday morning, and I was getting frustrated. I was working on the book I’m writing about my first trip to Uganda, and I was on the very last section of the book. I had planned to spend the whole morning writing, and I knew exactly what I wanted to say. But the words just weren’t coming together. This actually happens to me a lot when I’m writing, and I’ve learned through experience that the best way to handle it is [...]

By |October 11th, 2013|Columns, Toastmasters, Uganda, Writing|Comments Off on Put Your “Brave Mask” On

Guess who’s coming to your holiday dinner?

If you were having a dinner party and could invite four people from anywhere and anytime in history, who would be on your guest list, and where would you hold the dinner? Every once in a while, I’ve had to answer questions similar to this – usually in a Toastmasters Table Topics session or contest. But this time, it was during a Holiday Happy Hour with a writing group I belong to. There are actually two separate groups, because the first one was growing too [...]

By |December 14th, 2012|Columns, Holidays, Quotes and Sayings, Toastmasters, Writing|6 Comments

Find your voice – and use it!

“I found my voice. Now what do I do?” That was the subject of a session I presented at the Toastmasters District 6 Fall Conference last Saturday, and it’s a question I spent a long time trying to answer for myself. When I first joined Toastmasters, one of the reasons was that I felt I could express myself fairly well in print, but not when I was speaking out loud. I didn’t have any noble or global ambitions at the time, I just wanted to [...]

By |October 26th, 2012|Columns, Professional Speaking, Toastmasters, Uganda, Writing|Comments Off on Find your voice – and use it!

Enjoying the changes that autumn brings

During the past few weeks, I’ve been at three different Toastmasters meetings where the theme of the meeting was autumn, or the changing of the seasons. At all of them, participants and guests were asked what they liked best about the fall season. Probably the most popular response was about the fall colors. Even though we experience it every year, there’s something magical and mesmerizing about the glorious colors of fall when they first start to appear. Throughout the season, we continue to marvel at [...]

By |October 19th, 2012|Columns, Toastmasters|1 Comment

Is your gratitude showing?

“Count Your Blessings” was the theme of our Toastmasters meeting last week, and the person in charge of Table Topics decided to focus on gratitude. As she opened up that portion of the meeting, she told us that in preparation, she had Googled the word “gratitude.” What she said next caught me totally by surprise. “I’m not sure what made me think to do this,” she said, “but after I typed in ‘gratitude,’ I added the name, ‘Betty Liedtke.’ Do you know how many hits [...]

By |May 11th, 2012|Columns, Toastmasters, Values|Comments Off on Is your gratitude showing?

Dance of Life? It’s the Hokey-Pokey!

The Hokey-Pokey. That’s what I’ve decided is the dance of my life. I’ve never thought about my life as a dance before, and probably never would have if I hadn’t been asked that question during the Table Topics Speech Contest at the Toastmasters District Convention last weekend. The exact question was this: “Life is a dance that you learn as you go along. What dance represents your life?” When you’re asked a Table Topics question, especially in a contest, you don’t have time to think [...]

By |April 27th, 2012|Columns, Toastmasters|Comments Off on Dance of Life? It’s the Hokey-Pokey!

A Table Topics question revisits resolutions

“What New Year’s Resolution did you make this year, and how long did you keep it?” I was asked that question last week during Table Topics at a Toastmasters meeting I attended. Table Topics is the time, during every Toastmasters meeting, when we practice thinking on our feet and organizing our thoughts on the fly. The Table Topics Master asks a question, and then calls on someone to answer it. That person then has to spend one to two minutes responding to the question. Note [...]

By |April 13th, 2012|Accountability, Columns, Toastmasters|Comments Off on A Table Topics question revisits resolutions

Others are watching – and listening!

I got taken to task on Saturday – not once, but twice. Actually, that wording is a little too strong. What happened is that I was reminded – in a gentle and encouraging way – that I haven’t been living up to some of my responsibilities and expectations. I was at a Toastmasters Educational & Leadership Institute, which is held twice a year for the training of club officers, presentation of educational sessions, and announcements of the winners of various awards and contests. One of [...]

By |February 17th, 2012|Accountability, Columns, Toastmasters, Values|Comments Off on Others are watching – and listening!

Magic and majesty in a trip to Duluth

I was in Duluth last weekend for a presentation at a Toastmasters educational/training event. Two friends came with me, partly because they wanted to hear me speak and partly for moral support and for a bit of a girls’ weekend. It was late on Friday afternoon when we got to Duluth. For several miles, I had been admiring and commenting on the bright, full moon in the crisp, clear sky. As we reached the edge of Lake Superior, the time of day could not have [...]

By |December 16th, 2011|Columns, Professional Speaking, Toastmasters, Travel, Uganda|Comments Off on Magic and majesty in a trip to Duluth