I mentioned in my last post that I started to lose my voice a little while I was rehearsing for the Avery event.  Well, now I know why.  That was the beginning of the head cold from hell.  By Sunday afternoon, it was upon me and for the next 3 days I couldn’t think straight, my head was pounding and so full of snot.  Today I feel human again although it lingers.

I worked not a lick on my Speech all week except for a couple of hours last night.  I currently have 3 small stories in the speech tied together by similarity.  I love the stories and I like the spin I’ve put on them but they need to be tied together more intimately.  There is no more room to add so I must edit.  I’ll tell you, I was cursing Rich Hopkins’ name last night.  I almost feel like I am starting all over again.

But I have bigger fish to fry.

Today Meaghan asked me to watch Star Wars with her and I did.  But she wanted me to watch ALL

English: Opening logo to the Star Wars films

THREE movies.  After movie 1, I got my computer out and she was very upset with me.  I’ve been barely there for the past 4 days because of the cold and I was pretty eager to get started on the speech again.  I mean, I took this bloody week off of home schooling so I could do that very thing and of course, look what happens.  I get sick.

So when Meg told me in a very angry and hurt voice that I have not been spending any time with her I couldn’t get angry back because it was true.  Even though I’m with her all day when we home school, it is a different being together.  It is not something we are doing just for pleasure because we enjoy each other.  In fact, and I have to be honest here, it seems like we hardly ever do anything just for pleasure and to enjoy each other these days.  I mean, I only have one kid, how hard can it be, right?

I felt her sadness today and I was so sorry for it.  She is taking a back seat to my other things so that means I’m driving the wrong car.  Ok, I read to her every night before bed, I try and play chess with her a few times a week but I know that my attitude has been hurried.  Come on, let’s get it done, mum’s got work to do.  She hears  and the actions say “work that is more important than you”.

I need to think about the message I’m sending Meaghan and the message I want to send in my speech and make sure I’m not being a damned hypocrite.

I watched 3 Star Wars movies today.



I’ve decided to take March Break early.  Instead of taking 3 weeks in March off from home schooling, we’re taking next week off and then 2 in March.  Why?  So I can work on my speech, of course!  DUH!  What else IS there?

I worked with Rich again this week- Thursday afternoon to be precise and it’s frustrating to watch him pick things up in seconds that I could not see at all after looking at it for HOURS.   When will I be able to see things like that?  I know some of it is outside perspective but damn…..

And here I thought I was pretty much done.  Oh you silly little girl you.  I couldn’t figure out what else could be done with it and I thought it was pretty good too!  (hangs head in shame) Two or 3 questions and observations later, BOOM.  We are re-structuring the whole thing.  I don’t know how the hell I’m going to do it, but I’ll tell ya, when I figure it out, it’s going to kick ASS.

In the meantime I’ve totally blown my bedtime routine for the past 2 weeks over speech-a-mania.  I refuse to keep blowing it.  It’s too important to my family’s well being and for my well being for me to continue to indulge myself.  Everybody pays when mom doesn’t sleep enough.  Especially at PMS time.  I’m tellin’ ya, it ain’t pretty folks.  I’ve noticed a huge difference in my peace of mind when I get to bed early and have my morning prayer.  Nothing is worth losing that over.

However, I know I need some big chunks of time to sit down and give this Speech what I want to to make it the best I can.

Well DUH!  THIS is why we home school, genius!!!!!!!!!!  For the flexibility!!!!! 

So yeah, last night I made my decision.  My goal is to have FINISHED writing this speech by March 4, two weeks before the club contest so I can drill it into my DNA.   I’m seriously chomping at the bit to start Avery Drilling again- remember Avery Drilling?   That’s saying your speech in as many UNCOMFORTABLE places as possible.  It is scary as hell and addictive.  I highly recommend it.

And speaking of  Averys………….(what a segue!  Someone should give this chick an MC gig!)

Of course today, (now that it’s past midnight) is the Big Avery Event.  Yes, Ryan and Chelsea Avery are in Vancouver RIGHT NOW as we speak!  Ahhh!!!!!   I can’t wait to meet them!  It’s so cool because I almost feel like I already know Chelsea from her blogging.  There are only 3 blogs I read regularly and theirs is one of them.  I came because of the Champ.  I stayed because of the Lady.  She is freakin’ hilarious.  And Ryan’s got a few insights too so you know….   lol

look at these two perfect looking people! Don't they make you absolutely SICK?

look at these two perfect looking people! Don’t they make you absolutely SICK?

They are VERY very cool and I wish more young adults would take a lead like theirs to get a jump on life.

I really want them to have fun in town and get treated like royalty and I hope that we don’t overwork them!  I want them to love Vancouver so much that they come back soon.

I’ve been going over my introductions to make sure I make everyone look as good as possible.  I can’t wait to bring my energy to this awesome event.  This is a BIG DEAL.  I’m totally psyched!!!!!!

Because they’re better than you and you want to get better.

I sent Rich Hopkins, my new speaking coach the sloppy mess that dared to call itself a speech.  I warned him.

I had also sent him videos of 3 speeches and he sent me some encouraging words:

Some great speeches in those videos. You’ve got real talent, as both a speechwriter and a performer. You’re bold and brash, and a nice change of pace to the average speaker.

 I can see some opportunity for you to add some subtlety to balance you out a bit, and whittle down some of your phrasing in favor of greater simplicity.


Yeah, that’s not a word anyone has EVER used to describe me so that’s something we need to work on.

And as far as “The Speech” goes?  Well, lets just say there was a LOT going on there.

He asked me a few questions about the speech that made me think.  They made me think for days actually and when I wrote him back, I realized that I was giving HIM in my reply  what I should have been giving my speech.  Those few questions helped me to focus.  I think I’m a little bit freaked out.  I desperately do NOT want to suck.

I also spilled my guts to him which is what I do, I spill guts.  I gave him the five cent version of my life just so he would know what he was dealing with.  I had nightmare visions of him emailing me and saying “Hey Paula, here’s your money back….with interest.”

In case you hadn’t noticed, it is WAY past my official self-appointed bedtime of 11:30.  I was writing tonight and I can’t bloody well make myself STOP when I’m writing.  That is just crazy talk.  Going to have to figure something out because that regular bedtime is crucial to me living optimally.  I felt a little off the hook since Meg is not home schooling tomorrow- she has a gymnastics camp in the morning so I will have the ENTIRE morning off to complete my DIVA U coaching exercise.  Some heavy duty hard core, scary painful listing and searching of life events.  Weed and feed, that’s what we’re gonna do.  Weed and feed.  Take out the weeds and plant the seeds.

Pale Yellow Platter - A Weed Macro

I am really blessed.  🙂

Quick report on the YOuth Leadership Program final presentations:

The kids totally rocked the house.  They were tremendous.  Especially my amazing daughter.  No bias of course.  I almost cried a couple of times and the parents were jubilant as I knew they’d be.  Apparently there was a school board guy there who was pretty impressed and was talking about bringing the program into the schools.

A bunch of us Sunshine Toastmasters also went to city hall Wednesday night for the Toastmasters Month Proclamation.  Funny thing though, the deputy mayor read the proclamation out loud but didn’t actually present us WITH anything which I thought quite odd.  They also didn’t ask us for a word or anything!  Then they just moved on to the next thing on the agenda.  We all looked at each other like “What do we do now?”

So I waited for the next break in conversation and asked (to the deputy mayor’s obvious surprise) if I could say a few words.  I hadn’t really planned anything but I have to say that it may have been my best impromtu speech EVAH.  Not a single um or ah and I felt all the support of my amazing team.  We then followed up with an excellent executive meeting where we hammered out some important stuff and then we skipped over to the Art Gallery where one of our members was having a show!

Deep breath.

Life is very very good.

Must sleep.


I’m DONE.  I’ve finished transcribing the hundreds of notes I took while reading through 20+ years of journals.   I have 22 pages to distill and make enough moonshine that will induce giddiness, laughter and convince people that I have a message worth listening to.    The real work begins now.

Today I helped my daugher practice her first speech which is due on Tuesday for her home school group. The speech she wrote (with mum’s hands) has words in it that she can’t even read yet so she not only has to learn the speech but make sure she can remember how to read those new words.  Meaghan is a dramatic little ham so it was fun watching her perform today.  Funny thing is, she’s seen enough speeches to know what’s good and what’s not.  She practiced at least 12-14 times today and we even recorded her 3 times.  She watched her first one and looked at me and said “That was TERRIBLE mum.”  She noted on her own when something was too over the top, when she was moving around unnecessarily, being distracting, when she was speaking too quietly.

I am so excited for her and I hope she performs to her satisfaction.  I asked her permission to record and youtube her so you guys can see.   She asked if she could be the World Champion of Public Speaking too one day and I told her “not till you’re 18 so you’ve got 11 and a half years to practice.”  If anyone could do it, she could.

Anyway, watching her do this today made me ACHE for the same process which I miss very much.  I’m eager to get writing.  I have something in my mind already which I’m already half in love with and I know I will be able to use no matter what- I even have  kickass TITLE for it where the speech is described in IN THE TITLE (snoopy dance!) so it’s making ME a little giddy therefore I need to be discerning here to make sure I’m giving the message that God wants me to give.

I have to say that life is going pretty freaking amazing these days what with sleeping enough, meditative prayer every day and hardly any swearing.  I feel positively inspired.

I have to tell you though- I was bad today.  On purpose.  When Meg was first practising her speech, she said it TWICE and said “That’s enough, I’ll do more later.”

“What?  I thought you wanted to be GOOD at this?”

” I do but I want to go play Barbies.”

“Barbies?!  Meg!  If you want to be good at something, you have to work HARD!  Saying a speech twice is not working hard!  And if you want to be the best, you have to work the hardest!  You can only be a badass if you work hard!”

And she laughed.

“Be a badass Meaghan!  Come on, don’t give up, you’re just starting!  I’ll tell you what.  You show me you’re a badass and I’ll let you SAY it- ‘I’m a badass.'”

She laughed even harder.

“ok?  You wanna be a badass?”


“Alright, let’s GO!”

So like I said, she practiced at least 10 more times and I told her she was a badass and she said she was too.  Then she started calling herself a bad bass, which I told her was a misbehaving fish and she laughed until she fell on the floor.  I love my girl.  What a badass.

Wow, can I tell you about how much FUN I had today????

I didn’t START the day that way, in fact, my morning prayer was interrupted by my husband, closed door and all after about a minute.   This was after a bad start to the day where my daughter ignored her instructions to get ready for homeschool group and proceeded to watch “Arthur” instead.  This put us behind half an hour while I scurried around making sure I had her lunch, my lunch, my purse, my Toastmasters bag, the box with the Youth Leadership books in it, the math manipulatives that I had to return, COFFEE to get me through the day, and gloves, hats and umbrellas on this torrentially non-stop raining day.

Told Meg to get in the car and I get out there to find that she is NOT in the car, in fact, she has LOCKED all the doors with the keys INSIDE the car and is about to shut the LAST door when she sees me and knows she is in big doo doo.

So I broke my prayer and no swearing rule today.

BAD BAD CUSS WORD!!!!  LOL!  (that’s a little suggestion from my southern fried TM friend :))

So yeah, I get to homeschool group an hour later after doing a half-assed (ass isn’t a swear, it’s in the bible) rosary in the car to make up for the yelling.  I get there, go to set up the building for the Toastmasters junior youth leadership program that I’m doing for 16 kids, find out IT’S LOCKED!  fly back to other building, get keys, come back, set up tables, chairs, books, agendas, name plates, crappy foldy music stand as lectern (all in high heels!!!!-take THAT Clark Kent) kids arrive (late!  thank God that nobody on the Sunshine Coast owns a CLOCK).  BREATHE.


And this is where it got FUN.  (It was pretty fun writing that ^^ mind you.  lol)

British Columbia’s Youth Leadership coordinator is Fred Jones and he has done a total of THREE JUNIOR Youth Leadership Programs.  It is a pilot project worldwide as far as I know, started by him.  It’s kind of cool to be a part of a pioneer project.  So Fred warned me that it might take younger kids a while to warm up to speaking and to be prepared for it.

So I wasn’t prepared for the barrage of volunteers who wanted to SPEAK!  I even had a kid volunteer to be the TOASTMASTER within 10 minutes!  I CAN’T EVEN GET THE PEOPLE IN MY CLUB TO BE THE FLIPPIN TOASTMASTER.      lol   (just kidding.  kind of.)

These kids were so enthusiastic and so much fun and I just had a blast with them.  they gave me so much energy and they were amazingly cool and I am ever so grateful to them and can’t wait to do it again next week.  I had parents EMAIL me tonight thanking me because their kids had so much fun.   HOW COOL IS THAT?

We had an afternoon class too with the 8 older kids but I’m not facilitating that one, I’m just assisting my VP PR and that class went really well too.  Not as wildly fun, but different kids, older, a little more self conscious as they hit their teens.  Get this though- one kid was asked what his favourite number and colour were and he said his favourite number was an invisible unit and his favourite colour was infared.  lol  Gotta love home schooled kids.

My Meaghan is giving the very FIRST speech next week.  My super brave girl.  She’s the only very young one.  Everyone else is 8 and up and she’s only 6 but she can’t wait.  I’ll be helping her with it and I have to make sure it’s just help.  I want it to be HER work and I know she does too.

On the way home in the car Meg said “I think it’s so cool that you’re our teacher mom.”

HAPPY CRY!!!  lol

So, I’ve gotten next week’s agenda finished, the lists for the Ah counters, the Word Master and the Toastmaster’s instructions.

Now for work on MY speech.  I have an hour till Pumpkin Time.  Adieu.  ❤

Five days into the new year- still prayin’, still makin’ my bedtime.  I feel so optimistic.

Statue of Ezra Cornell used to publicize for H...

I was in bed last night at 11:30 and I slept until ELEVEN O’CLOCK in the morning.  How insane is that?  Last time I did that I was nursin’ hangovers.  Obviously I needed it.

So, I have FINISHED the reading of the journals and began transcribing last night.  It looks as though I have about 300+ transcriptions but luckily I can type fairly quick and I can understand my own terribly typed misspelled work.

‘Twas an epic journey folks, let me tell you.  Loooots of perspective gained.  No matter what happens, this was really good for me on a personal level.  Over 20 years worth of writing there. I realized along the way that my story is worth telling and that I really want to put that book together.  I was a writer long before I was a speaker.  After the whole contest season, I think that will be my next project.

The next 5 weeks will be a little hectic.  I am assisting our Toastmasters V.P. of Public Relations with a Youth Leadership Program and I am also facilitating a Junior Youth Leadership Program.  Also helping my daughter write her first speech!  AWWWW!!!!Hoping to have some fun while teaching kids confidence in speaking.

I’m also continuing with the home schooling. Starting back on Monday with a whole new math program that Meaghan is so excited about, she asked if we can START the day with math.  (from a person who repeated grade 9 math 3 times, I am THRILLED to hear her say this.)  Yes, I got a little panicky there and kind of down on everything but I have decided to stick out the year and see what happens after that.  I am not opposed to sending her to school in September, but sticking to my prayer and bedtime routine can make all the difference in everything.  It already is.  It’s kind of hard getting to sleep at first but I sure do like being up earlier in the day.  It just feels like bonus time.

By the way, Meaghan has had NO symptoms for 2 of the past 3 days.  Can I tell you HOW happy this makes me?  Impossible.  I am so grateful for the help and prayers we received though.  Many from people who read this blog!!!!  Thank you!!!

Tomorrow I am reading the Scriptures in my church for the first time.  Not worried about reading, concerned that I will drop all the hosts, or forget WHEN the prayers of the people are supposed to be said or something like that.  It’ll give ’em somethin’ to talk about eh?

Right.  I’ve got work to do.  See y’all soon.

I’m putting together a speech for Wednesday to help me finish off my Storytelling manual.  2 more speeches there and I’ll have my Advanced Comunicator Bronze designation.  (ACB)

I used to be ALL about the letters.  I think part of it for me is that I never got any letters after my name from college or university.  (In case you hadn’t noticed yet, I have issues because I don’t have a post-secondary education.)  At one point, getting my DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster) was my ultimate goal.  The DTM is the highest award a Toastmaster can get and it typically takes 5-8 years to get it.  Some people have rushed through the program and gotten their DTM in a year or two and it is my opinion that those rushed letters are not as well earned or well learned as those taken with deliberateness.   The DTM is still a goal but it’s not one I’m rushing towards.  I think I’m in for life so I have lots of time.

(This is my friend Jay Kiew, at 22, he received the designation of world’s youngest DTM.  I know he put the work in.)

One might say the same about the Worlds and I have to tell you, I’m feeling awfully tired and lazy today, I can feel the PMS monster lurking around the bend, but I’m still going to finish reading through the rest of my journals in the next few days.

After that I will be transcribing what I’ve read into my tape recorder and graphing it so I can see what predominates.

I’m a little bit freaked out because our club will be giving a youth leadership program with my daughter’s home school group this January.  Now the YLP is a breeze- I have all the work done from the last YLP I did 2 years ago.  I have the notes, the templates, everything, and I will only be assisting the coordinator anyway.

But what I’ve gone and done is take on a brand freakin’ new, test program for JUNIOR youth and THEY will be the bulk of the children taking the program.  And I told the coordinator that I would take those kids on alone because I didn’t want her to be overwhelmed.  So I’ve got to put this bloody program together and GUESS when it’s going to have to be done- that’s right- over the bleeping holidays.  I emailed them numerous times months ago so I could avoid this predicament but only received the numbers for the kids TODAY.  Currently, I do not feel motivated to give this workshop, I only feel pissed off.

That will change I hope, but it’s not changing today.  I’ll have to buckle down one or two full days over Christmas and get it all done.

The speech I’m giving on Wednesday is not my own work- it is an old story (for the project “The Moral of the Story”) that I have re-written in my own words.  It’s only a short speech- 4-6 minutes and I do not feel motivated to practice for this either.

But I’ll do it anyway.


ACB, DTM, PMS, sounds like one crazy alphabet soup.