I haven`t posted for four days (sorry!), I’ve been going all week and I mostly can’t even remember what I’ve done!  I DID finish the CCC this week, the Cincinnatti Championship Collage and I will post a picture of that when I get home tonight.  It was very interesting what crystallized as important goals for me for the next year.  I’ll elaborate on this tonight.

Last night was a really great Toastmasters experience.  We had our regular meeting with another club in another town and we watched the top 3 speeches from the World Championships this year.  Great setting, lots of goodies to munch on, good company and good fun.  We had some discussion afterwards and a few of us were asked about the process we went through as we created our speeches.

I mentioned that the speech that has had the most public success for me, Mad Maureen and the Monarch of Mercy, was inspirationally received and I never started out the process thinking about going to District finals (at least I don`t remember that).  I was just excited to tell what I thought was a really good true story, the story of how my little sister saved me from getting my ass kicked by the neighbourhood bully.

It was more difficult the NEXT time because there were now expectations that weren`t there before.  Expectations from others, and from myself.  I used an old speech that time, one I resurrected from 2 years prior.  I made it essentially a new speech, only the core was the same but I had to be careful not to be too formulaic.

It`s a hard line to walk.  Judges have certain expectations, but if you keep feeding people the same stuff, you have to wonder if there`s any nutritional value in it whatsoever.  It was also interesting to see that our group picked the man who came in second as the winner!  You see, you just never know what`s gonna happen.

I just started praying today for God to give me the message or story that He wants me to tell.  I don`t feel like I`m in a hurry and I will wait and go with my original plan which is to wait until December break to begin work on The Big Speech.  I am also ready to begin the actual WORK on LaCroix`s `Create Your Keynote` project.  Chances are, The Big Speech may come out of this process.

There is a woman in my club who handed my butt to me on a platter at the Area Humorous contest and she is serious about competing this spring.  She is my biggest competition at both Club and Area levels.  She is going to grow a lot this winter as she did this fall and I cannot discount her for a moment.  She is also someone I consider to be a friend and I truly love and respect her.  She and I will make each other better speakers.  We already have.  It`s such an interesting dynamic!

I also started re-rehearsing JAWS last night since I will be giving it next weekend at a fundraiser.  I want to be ON it and have fun giving it.  Promise I will tape it and post it for y`all to watch.


Three letters.      P.M.S.

In all honesty, if one can survive the emotional hurricane that is pre menstrual syndrome in the Howley household, the rest of life is a cake walk.    I don’t know how bad it is for other women, but for me, about once every three months, I kind of lose my mind.  Today is one of those days.

At 1:30 I just said to Meg “Ok, home school’s done.  Go watch tv.”

“But we haven’t done math or science yet mum.”

Albert Einstein

“That’s ok.  E will still equal MC squared tomorrow.  I need some chocolate.  Where’s your Hallow’een candy?”

(No, we’re not studying Einstein’s theory in grade one.  Saving that for third grade.  Ahem.)

I actually had to take into account my cycle when I was competing.  I knew when I’d be PMSing which is the hardest time for me and I knew I had to compensate for it somehow.  Joy is harder for me to come by during this time, just ask my family.   If I get more alone time, it seems to help.  (They don’t seem to want to hang around with me then anyway so it’s all good.)

Of course there is the motherhood situation.  Last week we had a member bring her 4 year old to the Toastmasters meeting because she couldn’t get a sitter.  This week, I’m doing the same thing for the same reason.  My 6 year old daughter has been to so many Toastmasters meetings she can seriously put together a better Table Topics speech than many newbies.  She also knows how to behave herself.

I don’t like to bring her too often though because I don’t want members to feel censored by the presence of young and tender ears.  (I usually ask her to play in another room until the meeting is over.)

I remember one time Meaghan came to a meeting, someone was reading from the Interpretive Reading Manual and of course the “f word” was in that passage.  I can’t ask people not to read things that are important to them because there might be young people there who shouldn’t be there anyway.

Funny, Meaghan still talks about that day.  “Hey mom, remember the time Marilyn said the f word at Toastmasters?”

Last minute situations seem to come up for moms.  Do they come up for dads too?

Anyway, that is still a factor I believe, in the lack of women competing at the highest level.  The bottom line still is that we are taking care of the kids and kids refuse to adhere to schedules.  They will throw up whenever they need to, break their arms during the annual gala that you worked 6 months to put together; they will get a new allergy that takes 7 visits to the doctor to discern and 4 more visits to the pharmacist to find the right remedy.

As far as I know, women are still doing the bulk of this work although I do acknowledge that things are becoming more fair.

On the other hand, I have wondered, how have the MEN done it?  None of them were unemployed prepping for the World’s as far as I know.  I would estimate at least half of them had families to care for while they were prepping so they had to figure out a balancing act as well.

It all comes down to discipline.  Nothing great can be done without a tremendous amount of discipline.  Without eliminating the fluff from your life so you can concentrate on the task at hand.  Without CONSTANT reminding of the goal, of what needs to be done to reach that goal.

This down time is good for me, necessary even but it feels dangerous.  It feels perilously close to inertia.  Yes, I am working on my Cincinnatti Championship Collage.  Yes, I am presidenting my club.  Yes, I am prepping for the Youth Leadership Program.  Yes, I am listening to Create Your Keynote, but….

Ok, writing this down was a good idea.  There are a few things in that list.  Plus all the home school stuff I’m doing (except today).  I guess this really ISN’T inertia is it?

No silly.  It’s P.M.S.

Time for chocolate.


And in an ever so casual by the way…….

2000 World Champion of Public Speaking ED TATE asked me if he could use THIS POST 


in his new blog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I said I’d think about it.

Yeah, right!