Category Archives: Communication

Be a Toastmaster

Do you feel like you have to increase your life insurance or at least put on extra deodorant when you need to speak to a group of people?

Have you heard of Toastmasters?

Are you afraid of public speaking?

Did you know Toastmasters started in 1924?

Do you find it difficult to listen?

Do you know you have a unique perspective to share with the world around you?

When a mentor of mine told me about his over twenty years with Toastmasters, I was curious. I had never heard of it, nor did I know what it was even about. After being asked to speak in front of adults at my company’s events, I knew I needed to checkout a Toastmasters meeting. Speaking to children is no problem for me. I even find it fun and feel like I can be one percent myself. Speaking to adults, makes my face turn crimson red and the sweat to start flowing down my back.

Thanks to Vic Lindal’s encouragement and support, I googled a local meeting time and went. The meetings are an hour long and there is actually a timer to ensure that we don’t go over time. There are prepared speeches, humour, impromptu conversations, evaluations and amazing growth that happens at every single meeting.

I have regularly been attending meetings for over a year. Jumped this September into the role of Secretary Treasurer. I can honestly say that Toastmasters has changed the trajectory of my personal growth, not only in my public speaking, but my ability to listen and lead small groups with growth.

Last fall, I was asked to speak, with a microphone in hand, to two hundred pre-service teachers and I loved every minute of it. This spring, I am preparing to speak to a thousand plus people about technology and our children at a local university. Speaking has become a place of peace and joy for me.

This last Wednesday at our Toastmasters meeting, I was the Toastmaster, the person who runs the meeting! We had the theme of Winter Wonderland and it truly was the most fun I have ever had as a speaker and leader. I introduced the “Toasties” who had prepared speeches. I kept things flowing and managed to keep us exactly on time.

Now that you have a bit of knowledge about Toastmasters, I encourage everyone to seek out a local meeting to attend to see what its really all about. See how it feels for yourself. You receive three meetings for free and the vibe at every meeting is different in every club. Our OC Toastmasters Club is fun, kind-hearted and growth-focused. We love and desire for everyone to contribute and bring their unique gifts to the meetings.

Now, I must come back to that last question I asked at the beginning. That one about your unique gifts. Find a way to feel comfortable sharing with others what you are passionate about and the unique gifts that God has given you. They are there, I promise you. If you can’t see them, talk to me and I will help you discover them. Once you know what they are, learn to share them, speak them out and listen to the gifts of those around them.

What a journey!

What a life!

Thank you Toastmasters for being the impetus for even greater learning and growth that I could imagine.

Be Knowing the Opposite of Love 

I am a feelings girl. 

I no longer apologize for this. 

I feel things deeply. 

I am impacted by the words and even vibe of the people around me. 

I know this. 

Now, I harness this. 

People are powerful. 

We have emotions that fuel behaviour. 

We have passions. 

We have love!  

In my personal journey that I entered into as I walked through the gift of grief, the loss of my mama, I saw love.  

Pure love that no amount of pain could suppress. 

One moment my mama would be writhing and the next moment my boys would walk through the door.  

In that single moment, a smile would come on my mama’s face. Her eyes would open up and she would see them. She would hear them. She would be fully present and LOVING!  


On this journey, I also learned the opposite of love and it wasn’t what I had thought. 

During my four decades of life, I have surmised that the opposite of love was the feelings, thoughts and actions of hate. I realized the untruth of all of this. 

The incongruency. 

The inconsistency. 

I witnessed people, people I dearly love, be silent.  

Be unpresent. 

Eyes closed. 

Ears firmly shut. 

I asked them “why” and implored them to tell me “What could I do differently?”.

I received no responses. 

I had to sit with no answers. 

And then the moment hit me that the opposite of love had never been hate. 

Hate allows for discussion, emotion, action of some sort.  

The opposite of love has never been hate. 

It’s apathy. 

The nothingness. 

The unresponse.  

Love and hate are actions. 

Apathy is lethargy. 

Action and apathy are opposite. 

Apathy is meeting people to go sledding and one person decides to take a nap on the top of the ski hill.  This is not love! 

Apathy is inviting someone over for a two hour birthday party and they fall asleep on the couch in the middle of the party. (Note: The person is in their 30’s!). This is not love! 

Apathy is talking to someone daily and seeing someone weekly and then never being invited over to their house again.  They end up texting to tell you they are selling the house. This is not love! 

Apathy is having your phone in front of your face when someone is trying to have a heartfelt conversation. This is not love! 

Living in my gift of grief and my apathy examples, I implore you to be awake to love and aware of apathy.   


Keep your eyes open.  

Ears ready to hear.  

Be present. 

Be loving. 

I am a feelings girl 

Apathy is brutal! 

I no longer apologize for this. 

Nothingness is worse than hatred. 

I feel things deeply. 

I am impacted by the words and even vibe of the people around me. 

I know this. 

Now I harness this. 
I don’t spend time with apathetic people. 

People are powerful. 

If THEY choose to be! 

Overflowing with love, with action and knowing it’s opposite. 💖

Lessons from a Super Nana who would be celebrating her 75th birthday this week!   I love you Mama. 😘 Joanna 

Be in Massive ‘Inaction’! 

I had a breakthrough weekend at a business conference last Saturday.  It was truly incredible for the inspiration for action that it provided.  I realized that when you go to conferences, you need to create an action plan to help follow through and to stop from becoming adrenal junkie conference hoppers. Just hopping from conference to conference looking for that next ‘high’ or breakthrough.  

Conferences in Las Vegas.  

90 Day Game Plans. 

Massive Action.  

Goal setting and vision creating.  

I was so inspired that I decided to create a plan of ‘Inaction’! 

Less action.  

More Focus. 

Less doing.  

More being.  

My phone now sits on the fridge between 2:30pm and 7:00pm EVERY day.  

My computer is off unless I decide to sit down for 15 minutes and give ‘er with focused, concrete goals to be achieved.  

My ‘work’ is done in chunks of time lumped  together and spread throughout  the day when it works for me.  

My life is back in balance and MASSIVE action is coming from my ‘Inaction’. 

I am connecting with people on a deeper, less interrupted level. 

My boys and I are reading more, hanging out more and I am more present.  

I own my own schedule again. 

My calendar doesn’t run me and my technology doesn’t suck my time away into a vortex of nothingness. 

And the most ironic thing, my business is flourishing! 

Stop.  

Look at your time.  

Do you need to create some space for some massive ‘inaction’? 

Stop doing.  

Just be.  

You.