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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

When friends and moms get together

I had coffee last weekend with a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time. We first met each other at a Toastmasters event years ago, and found we had a lot in common. We used to see each other pretty regularly, then our schedules, work and timetables shifted. We still touched base from time to time, but until last weekend I hadn’t seen her in ages. You can probably guess how the next part of this goes. After a big hug and a little [...]

By |December 9th, 2011|Columns, Family, Toastmasters, Travel, Uganda, Uncategorized|Comments Off on When friends and moms get together

A language everyone can understand

(Note: While I am in Uganda, the Chanhassen Villager is running some of my favorite travel-related columns. This column was originally published on August 23, 2007. I’ve been accused of being an idealist. Of looking at the world through rose-colored glasses. Of being delusionally optimistic. And I have to admit, I’m guilty as charged. But seeing and celebrating the good that’s in people doesn’t mean I won’t acknowledge that there’s anything bad. Looking at the big picture doesn’t mean I don’t examine the little details. [...]

By |October 31st, 2011|Columns, Toastmasters, Travel|Comments Off on A language everyone can understand

Turning a lump of coal into a diamond

The column "Find Your Buried Treasure" appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on July 21, 2011. “Discover the Diamond Within.” That was the theme of the TELI – the Toastmasters Education & Leadership Institute – that took place last Saturday. Because the theme was so closely aligned with my passion for helping people find their buried treasure, I had applied – and was accepted – to be one of the presenters. The program I did wasn’t my usual message about finding the gifts, skills, talents and traits that we often don’t recognize in ourselves. Instead it was about taking a lump of coal – as Superman used to do back in the 1950s TV series – and turning THAT into a diamond.

By |July 22nd, 2011|Accountability, Columns, Professional Speaking, Toastmasters|Comments Off on Turning a lump of coal into a diamond

Secrets for solving crisis can be found in two places

The column "Find Your Buried Treasure" appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on July 7, 2011. It’s no secret to anyone who knows me personally – or to regular readers of my column or other writings – that two of the things I’m most passionate about are Toastmasters and Dream Coaching. And as naïve and idealistic as this may sound, I truly believe that the world would be a much better place if every person in it spent some time taking part in Toastmasters meetings and working with a Dream Coach....

Exploring new avenues leads to powerful new discoveries

The column "Find Your Buried Treasure" appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on May 26, 2011. I was recently asked to be a guest speaker at a Toastmasters Club’s 65th Anniversary Open House. They wanted me to speak about what Toastmasters has done for me. That was easy. It’s done more for me than I had ever imagined was possible. And it’s something I love to talk about to others....

By |May 27th, 2011|Coaching, Columns, Professional Speaking, Toastmasters, Writing|Comments Off on Exploring new avenues leads to powerful new discoveries

Getting to know someone means sharing the fun

The column "Find Your Buried Treasure" appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on February 17, 2011. I had coffee with a new member of our Toastmasters Club after our meeting last week. She offered me part of the whole-wheat croissant she had ordered, and I took a small piece, just to have a taste. It was delicious, much more so than I expected. I thanked her for sharing it, and for introducing me to something I might never have ordered on my own....

By |February 20th, 2011|Columns, Toastmasters, Values|Comments Off on Getting to know someone means sharing the fun

A question to ask – for then and now

The column "Find Your Buried Treasure" appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on October 28, 2010. If you knew then what you know now, what would you have done differently? That’s the question that was given during the Table Topics Contest at the Toastmasters Conference I attended last weekend. In Table Topics, the contestants are brought into the room one at a time. They are asked the question, and must immediately give a one-to-two-minute answer. The judges are looking at technical elements such as speech development, language and delivery. The audience members are looking for a thoughtful, entertaining and memorable response. And some, like me, can’t help but think about how we would respond if we were up on stage answering the question...

By |October 30th, 2010|Columns, Toastmasters|Comments Off on A question to ask – for then and now

A soft voice carries a powerful message

The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on September 9, 2010. She’s quiet, low-key, and soft-spoken. That didn’t surprise me. Quite often, the ones who speak the most eloquently and powerfully are also the ones with the softest voices. Her name is Tabitha, and she was a guest at our Toastmasters club about a month ago. I was giving a speech that day, and she told me after the meeting how inspired she was by what I had said. As she told me a little more about herself and about the dreams she had, I was the one who was becoming more and more inspired by her...

By |September 10th, 2010|Columns, Toastmasters, Values|Comments Off on A soft voice carries a powerful message

Piecing together a world of understanding

The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on August 19, 2010. I was dozing on the plane as I returned home from California last week. When I woke up, I glanced out the window. I’m not sure where we were, exactly, but the land far below looked like a patchwork quilt, with squares and rectangles of different colors and shades, separated by lines that could have been roads or rivers. All the pieces fit together perfectly in the tapestry that makes up this planet earth. Or as much of it as I could see. “That sounds about right,” I thought as I dozed off again, reflecting on where I had just been...

By |August 20th, 2010|Columns, Toastmasters, Values|Comments Off on Piecing together a world of understanding