The World Champion of Public Speaking 2013 is Presiyan Vasilev of Bulgaria and he was truly masterful.   I actually got goosebumps from his message.

(“To learn more about Pres Vasilev’s keynotes, training, and coaching, visit”)

I watched 2 of the semi-finals yesterday and what a joy it was seeing so many great speakers.  So much talent and wisdom.  I was also somewhat surprised that everyone wasn’t amazing.

I judged alongside the judges and in semi-final 4 I was totally of the mark about the winners but in semi 5 I nailed number 1 and 2.   It just goes to show that you never know and what might be great to me might be crap to you.  lol

So today I had some Toastmasters friends over and we watched the World Championship finals together.  It was so much fun being together and sitting there dissecting everyone’s speeches apart like we were experts.  lol  Also, as a bonus, one of the people signed up as a new member!  woo-hoo!

Presiyan was the clear winner.  But I loved Kingi Biddle in second place too.  What a character!  Must have been a rugby player at some point.   I also thought the hometown Cincy boy Chris Nactrab should have nailed third though.

I also thought contest chair Mohammed Murad was charming, highly entertaining and kind of adorable.  More of him please.

Also, I have to say I am shocked that Las Vegas is getting another World Championship in 2015.  Seems kind of incredibly stupid to me.  They just had one there 2 years ago.  Aren’t there a zillion other places that can do this? And want this?  Like Vancouver for instance?

I mean, personally, I don’t mind.  It will be seriously less expensive for me to go to Las Vegas than England or China or wherever else they could have had it but I thought TM was supposed to be going global here and they come back to a town they were JUST AT????  Makes no sense to me.


So, I guess this is it folks.  This is where we part ways.  Sniff.

Thanks for hanging out with me for 365 days.  You have been awesome.

Writing this blog has been such an incredible journey.  a life-changing journey.  I really can’t put into words what has changed because of this- you’ll have to read the whole damned thing and see for yourself.  I’m a very different woman than I was on August 24 2012.  And I have to say I like me way better now.  I’m ever so grateful for the lessons which have been imparted to me through so many different avenues.  My world is so very very different.

I have met so many new friends because of this blog, friends from Texas, Australia, New York, Ontario and California.  Even people just from Vancouver.

I’ve changed the way I thought and lived and worked because of the extraordinary people I have met through the ambitious goals of this blog.  I have seen miracles and I have been the recipient of much wisdom and love.  I have been abundantly blessed.

So, have you learned anything?

Yes, the relevant question is – what have I learned?

Well, I have learned how very attractive humility is and how I much I benefit from about 50 CC’s a day of it.

I have learned that you can reach out to people you thought might never give you the time of day and turn out to become friends with them.

I have learned that jealously has no place in friendship.  Except for maybe admitting it.

I’ve learned that everyone has a story worth listening to.

I have learned that I’m not as good as I thought I was and I have learned that I am better than I thought I was.  lol

I have learned that I have unlimited potential and I am just beginning to tap that mine.

I have learned how much my family supports me.

I have learned how hard I can work on a project I care about.

I have learned how to listen better.

I have learned how to write better.

I have learned how many people in my District support me.

I have learned how to say “I love you” to someone even when I’m scared to do it.

I have learned that my daddy really loves me and is proud of me.  That was probably the best thing of all.  That was the diamond in this mine.

I have learned that I still have a lot to learn.

Malaysia 2014?

I’m not sayin’ I’m goin’ for Malaysia in 2014.  I’m not sayin’ I’m not.  Whatever happens happens and all I can do is listen to my heart, listen to God and do my best.  The rest is out of my hands.   That’s something else I learned too.

I was holding on for a long time, and very tightly to something I thought I wanted.  But when I asked myself what my desires truly were, I saw that most of them HAD been met through this journey, even though the original goal of becoming the 2013 World Champion of Public Speaking had not been met or even come reasonably close to being met.

When I opened my hand to let go of that dream, God put something entirely different in my hand.  Something that is exciting and scary and satisfying intellectually, socially, and in the deepest part of my heart.

As I watched Presiyan speaking today, I felt not a tinge of jealousy or sadness. I just felt joy that he had crafted such an incredible work of art.  I was so happy and so proud of my fellow Toastmaster whom I’ve never met.  I felt so grateful to have been given the gift of his message.  Reach out.  Ironically, I’ve never reached out as much in my life as I have in this past year and so I can attest to the beautiful validity of his message. 

The Weird and Wonderful World of Toastmasters

What a remarkable group we are, Toastmasters.  I think we’re all a little bit strange and kind of on the fringe and I LOVE that about us.  I love that we’re all so different and that all we have in common is that we want to be better and help each other be better and that we love hanging out with each other.  And I love our awesome potlucks.

I love that no matter where you go in the world, you can find a family in Toastmasters, no brag, just fact.  I love that you can go as a guest to any club and you will be embraced and feel like you’ve met a long lost cousin.

I love that my life has been utterly and completely changed for the better by this organization and the people in it.  I love that I had NO idea that would happen when I joined.

I love that there is SO much more joyful work to do and so many more people yet to discover who they can become.

Thanks are not enough.

And so, my deepest gratitude goes to good ol’ Ralph Smedley who started this shindig 89 years ago.  He must have had an inkling of the magnificence to follow.

And my deepest gratitude goes to my fellow Toastmasters, my brothers and sisters around the corner and around the world who dare to reach inside and bravely give so much of themselves – their very hearts- to help their fellow humans be the best they can.  What a truly remarkable gift.

What a remarkable group we are.  Toastmasters.

I love you all.

Toastmasters International

Weird and brilliant and beautiful. What more could you ask for?


October 30

I’m taking some time to BE. Doing some reading and some writing. I’d like to put together a club speech before The Big Speech.

I was listening to Craig Valentine, Ed Tate, Darren LaCroix and Mark Brown last night on World Champions Edge and they talked about what to do with a speech AFTER the contest. There was SO much great wisdom to be found there. I took a lot of notes.

Something Ed Tate recommended was to ask myself “What did I achieve along the way doing this contest?” and think that is a very worthwhile exercise.

So Paula, what DID you achieve along the way doing this contest?

I truly honouredmy audience’s time and strove to give them something worth their time in return.

I discovered how important it is for me to have FUN doing this.

I learned how important it is for me to be prepared pre-contest on contest DAY.

I got past my post-disappointing speech anxiety.

I asked for help from the best.

I encouraged and even helped my competition in the spirit of leadership and friendship.

I got a big healthy dose of humility. Three times!  Lol (Important one for me)

I truly enjoyed my competitors’ speeches!

I learned how to take more criticism.

I learned just how much I still need to learn.

I made my spiritual director laugh like never before!

I discovered that there are a heck of a lot of people in my corner that are ready to help me.

I discovered that people much more talented than me think that I haven’t even begun “to mine the gold inside of you”.

I saw how much my family loves me and are willing to sacrifice for me.

My dad let me know how much he believes in me.  And always has.  (Even when I made it difficult)

I was able to take my work ethic to a hugely new level.

I went to a brand new club.

I made some new friends.

“JAWS The Speech”  was ironically written as a result of a sad event.  Having this speech on my mind so much prompted me to remember to pray for the person in the sad event.

I know there are many more but this is a good beginning.  No process this fruitful is ever wasted.  It was a good run.

I gotta tell ya though, I sure as hell wish I was on that big stage this weekend.

Good luck to all the competitors.  Looking forward to a good laugh!





October 19 11:27 pm

Despite the fact that I like to think I’m a pretty good communicator, I can’t even come close to describing the level of exhaustion I am experiencing now. I am praying for a good night’s sleep which I think I will get because I’m staying at my spiritual director’s house overnight tonight and this house is full of peace, love and wisdom. And it’s full of one of my faroutie people in the world. Beatrice (not her real name) is an extraordinary woman whom I have had the very good fortune of knowing for almost 5 years now. WE try and talk on the phone every 2 weeks and her chosen and accepted role is to help guide me into making decisions in my life that reflects God’s light.

If she were awake right now she would tell me to pack it in and go to sleep and I shall very soon. My Friday night meeting got cancelled but I decided to come into the city anyway even though I didn’t really need to anymore.

Today I picked up the whiteboard.

I picked up 2 sheets of 8 foot by 4 foot whiteboard. They will be mounted on my bedroom wall and that is where the BIG PICTURE construction of my International speech will go. I”ve spent a fair amount of money and a great deal of time this year taking my speaking to the next level.  I realized that the investment had to happen or I wouldn’t get better at a rate that I desired.   Starting with Darren LaCroix’s products at the Spring Conference….I spent the summer listening to them and soaking in his expertise and knowledge. Darren and Craig Valentine both. I joined World Champions Edge, made sure I watched and purchased the World Championships on dvd, got the dvd of the last 20 years of the Champs (although I truly covet the 1,2,3 World’s- the top 3 speakers from the past 20 years. That way you can see what separated the best from the rest but I’m not sure I can justify the $300 cost now that we have a brand new mortgage to pay. HEY LLOYD! Can you say Christmas present?????)

Anway, my point is I have gone out of my way to invest in our future, in my future as a speaker but today, buying that whiteboard….it felt so symbolic to me. It really is a solid manifestation of my dream. I had to have it cut into thirds so it would fit in my Honda Civic!!!!

Tonight I drove ALLLLLLL the way out to Surrey and it took me 2 hours to do it! Holy cow, where the heck IS that place anyway? I decided to go and see the Division F finals even though Div B was much closer. I wanted to see some speakers that I had never seen before and am I ever glad I did because GUESS…just GUESS who was there? That’s right ! THE MAN. Jamie Mac was there and I got to hang out with him all night. It was AWESOME. He did something that I, as a speaker, really appreciated. He got the crowd going before the Humorous speech so that everyone was pumped up and ready to give all the speakers a lift. I wish all the contests would do that! He gave me a few more insights on my speech which I appreciated and soaked up like a sponge… and his midcontest presentation was hilarious.

The speakers were SO funny. It was a totally enjoyable contest. I’m very glad I went. Got to meet a whole bunch of people too. It was worth the hour and a half traffic jam drive back. So here I am, totally wiped, ready for bed and ready to go tomorrow. I brought my favourite reading from “In Conversation With God” my (supposed to be) daily meditation: It reminds me of the importance of not being blinded by ambition, of not letting life become a frantic pursuit of greater goals. To remember that everything good, our talents and our virtues all come from God. It is a reminder of how to be humble- something that I struggle with so much,  I made my 10th CC speech about it. To goal tomorrow is to have FUN and tell my friends a little something that may help them be better than what they are right NOW. And to make them laugh while doing it. God knows the message I’m delivering has helped me already.

This is exciting.  An idea showed up and then another knocked on the door and then they gelled and became “The End”.

It didn’t happen all at once.  A microscopic idea came this afternoon after we lost our power.  I muscled it into the speech’s end.  It made it slightly better which is better than not better at all.

I took a break and watched a bunch of the World Championship videos for inspiration.

I watched Lance Miller’s “the Ultimate Question”  and really relished his style.  Funny and charming,  confident but humble at the same time.  Great smile.  One of the best lines ever delivered in a World Championship speech:  “You know what’s wrong with me?  You know what’s wrong with you?  You know what’s wrong with the world?…………………………………………..WHO CARES??????    It takes no special talent to find things that are wrong with people!”  It took people a couple of seconds to CATCH that line but when they did, they LOVED it.  It was applauded.

I watched Ed Tate’s “One of Those Days”, maybe my favourite story ever told.  It’s not a ‘classic’ speech and I like that about it.  Told with such a style and wit, such a satisfying end, so much laughter.  Hilarious really!

I watched Darren LaCroix’s “Ouch!”  for, no kidding, maybe the 25th time.  An all around work of genius. with one BUT.  It is over time.  there was a glitch with his timing lights, unbeknownst to him at the time so he was not penalized and his speech was almost EIGHT magnificent minutes long.

I watched Craig Valentine’s “A Key To Fulfillment” and I found that I REALLY liked the FAST way he spoke.  I didn’t have any trouble understanding him and it added so much to his style.  I could identify with that as I really enjoy that kind of playing with words and speed.  I also forgot how funny he was.  He’s also got this “I’m pretty damned handsome, don’t you think?”  thing going on.  It’s hilarious.

I watched Brett Rutledge’s “My Little World” and HE just PACKED the laughs in man.  He was flippin’ hilarious.  He may have had the most laughs per word of any of them.  Brilliant craftsmanship and mimicry.

Anyway, I felt great after watching them all and then the power came back on so I was forced to feed my family.  lol

I played UNO with Meaghan after supper and when she went to the bathroom once, I totally stacked the deck and gave myself all wild cards and +4’s.  I gave her all yellow cards and one blue.  The game was over in 3 minutes.  LOL!  I of course, came clean but I did it to see if she would notice and suspect anything about the incredibly spectacular hand I had.  It’s nice to know she’s so innocent that it wouldn’t even occur to her.  Or that she WAS so innocent anyway.  ahem.

So, the family’s in bed, I’m up WAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY too late again but sheesh, what are you gonna do eh?  I can’t sleep anyway when ideas are all bouncing around in my head .  It’s SO hard to shut the brain off.

BUT!!!!    But that microscopic idea from this afternoon met a good idea from tonight and they MATED and produced EXACTLY WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR.  The END PUNCH was delivered by my deliverer 🙂 .

It tied in with the theme, it added a laugh AND a philosophical statement (that’s not too heavy) and it lifted the FEEL of the entire end.  It was getting too damned heavy.  After all , it IS the humorous speech contest isn’t it?

So I puzzled it all together, and I tried it all out loud and then I SQUEALED WITH JOY when I finished!  It fit!!  It fit!!!!!!  It FIT!!!!!!!    I danced and spun around the living room and scared the claws off my cats.

I practiced so much I’m losing my voice.  It’s time for bed and I’m pretty sure I’ll sleep tonight.  There might be nothing LEFT in my brain.  lol

I am SO excited.  I just want to remember how fun this is right now and never forget it.

Thanks for praying for me my friends.

Glory to God in the Highest!

Lands End Sunrise

Lands End Sunrise (Photo credit: Camerons Personal Page)

(What a roller coaster eh?  Welcome to my husband’s world!)


I finally felt it tonight.  I care again.  I DO care.  I care a lot.

This volcanic post was true:

I WAS PMSing, big time, but it WAS an existential crisis too.  The two often walk hand in hand like psychopathic lovers.

This week has felt like ghost Paula has been living my life.  I haven’t quite felt THERE, you know?   I went through all the motions, but Paula finally returned to me  tonight.  My spirit is pulling at the reins again and I am so relieved.  How I hate to free-fall!

I was at World Champion’s Edge tonight listening to LaCroix spout his usual common sense but it was Craig Valentine and Ed Tate who broke through me tonight.

Ed Tate is such a hardass.  I totally respect that about him.  He could be a pretty damned effective drill sargeant.  Have I mentioned that he scares the daylights out of me because he is so absolutely TOGETHER, so wonderfully composed?  His persona reminds me in some way, of a handsome and charming Terminator.  (And his World Championship speech is my favourite after Darren’s)  He gave me a necessary kick in the ass tonight.  Have I mentioned that an ass-kicking is one of the more effective forms of motivation for me?  Ed is going to be our keynote speaker at the TM conference in November.  I would like very much to meet him and have a chat.  And not pee my pants.

Craig Valentine gave me 2 rehearsal tips that I have never used before that really excited me and that I can’t wait to use.  I wish I could disclose them here but it occurs to me that I pay them a monthly fee for a reason- so they can make a living.  I can’t be giving away techniques that they are charging money to learn.  Suffice it to say, World Champions Edge is worth the $30 a month.

(Little story – The money for this appeared in a magical way.  We have been sponsoring a child at World Vision for 8 years now when all of a sudden, we got a letter from them saying that Salim’s village was now self sufficient and that donors were no longer necessary!!!  I had never heard of such a success but I was thrilled that was the case.  So, just as I was agonizing over spending the extra $30 a month for Edge, this letter came in the mail.  Thanks God, for the guilt-free-trip.)

Now it’s not just the Tate/Valentine one-two punch – it’s really that time heals all wounds and I needed some time, for sure.  I’m not break dancing yet but I’m on the floor and I can feel the beat again.  My toes are tapping.  I’m starting to move.  I crave that groove folks.


I gave Friday night and Saturday day and night entirely to my daughter.  Priorities.  And I’ll tell ya, that’s part of my theory of why there aren’t more women World Champs.  I think it was Ed Tate who said that only ELEVEN percent of contestants in TM contests are women.  So of course it stands to reason that men will win more if there are more OF them.  I’m curious.  I wonder what the male/female ratio at TM is.  If it’s close to 50/50 I wonder why more women don’t enter contests.

That 11% stat sits weird with me because our club is dominated by estrogen and has been since I joined.  That’s the weird demographic of our area.  We are a retirement community and though there are plenty of artisans and professionals here, I think a majority of the men are tradesmen or labourers and the simple fact is that they are too tired to come out for a night of speaking at the end of the day.

Anyway, bottom line is women are still doing most of the child care in the west (and I’m ok with that- that’s what I chose) so spare time is not always our own.

Speaking of which,  all of our home school material arrived on Friday afternoon (finally!!!) and you should have seen the size of the freakin’ MATH BOOK .  That math book is 2 and a half inches thick and I’m NOT exaggerating.  And it’s only one of 4 math books.  and it’s bloody GRADE ONE.  So I’ve got a lot of reading to do and the contest is in 4 days and I have not begun to drill The Speech.

I put some more dialogue in it (a Craig Valentine suggestion) and I like it better but the fact is I’ve got to quit messing with it and LEARN the bloody thing.  Tomorrow is the day.

Eerily quiet last night since my girl was at a sleepover.  Lonely, but got lots of work done.

Tonight I probably gave The Speech 3 more hours.  2005 World Champ Lance Miller

gave some great advice today at World Champions Edge on practising and drilling your speech.  I am getting close to that point now as I am pretty much finished writing it.

One really valuable tip he shared was NOT to start your speech all over when you make a mistake.  Just push past the mistake and keep going and you will better learn how to deal with this WHEN it happens in your real life speeches.  I have ALWAYS started over, wanting to do it perfectly.  But real life doesn’t give you many do-overs so it’s a smart strategy.

Another thing I have had weighing on my mind is that my FIRST story in my speech wasn’t until almost HALF way through the speech.  I know that Darren LaCroix and Craig Valentine (1999 World Champ) would w say that’s WAYYYY too late and I agree.  I just didn’t know how the heck I was going to re-structure it.  I didn’t WANT to restructure it.  It had a flow.

But I put the speech on the computer screen in front of me so I could see the entire thing at once and began to see some possibilities.  Seeing the big picture helps in so many ways.  I moved things around and pretty soon, the flow was better AND I had a strong closing.

I think I might be finished.

I gave the speech for Lloyd tonight and he loved it but said he thinks it needs more funny.

I said “honey, you’ve heard it 20 times already, that’s why you’re not laughing anymore.”

But of course, THAT will weigh on my mind.

I’d like this solidified by Saturday.  I’m doing some more mindless repetitious work on Saturday, perfect for drilling and practising a speech.  God is good.