Posts filed under ‘talent’
Think of the things you can be thankful for, whether it’s having clean water or a roof over your head. Maybe it’s the support of others that allowed you to achieve something you never thought you’d be able to accomplish. Perhaps it’s thankfulness for the beautiful creation or the faithful love of a spouse or the caring of a best friend. Today count your blessings.
Here’s a video of Ali Matthew’s song Counting Your Blessings. Go ahead and count yours. Name them too.
Here’s a letter I had forgotten about, one I wrote in late 2009 when I was President of our Toastmasters club, the Energetics. I just unearthed the letter today and thought it was worth sharing.
Most organizations, I think, go through times of losing members and losing momentum. I’m happy to report that by the end of that year, we had gained momentum again and grown our club considerably. Here, for others who may be feeling discouraged by low enrollment or participation, is that letter.
Dear fellow Toastmasters
Two meetings ago, our theme was “Slow and steady wins the race,” a lesson we get from Aesop, a 6th Century B.C. Greek writer, who wrote The Hare and the Tortoise. He wrote entertaining short stories and fables that were meant to teach a lesson.
The tortoise, a rather slow moving creature, challenges the hare [rabbit] to a race. The hare sneers at the tortoise for his crooked legs and slow movements, and he brags that he can win the race easily. He accepts the challenge, assured that he can win. He leaps on ahead, while the owl, who is judge, and all the forest animals eagerly watch the race.
Hare had used so much energy bounding ahead that he decided to eat some carrots alongside the path, and then, since tortoise is still so far away, to take a nap beside the path as well. All this time, the tortoise plodded along steadily. Hare woke from his nap just as tortoise approached the finish line, and for all the hare’s hurry, owl declared the tortoise the winner of the race.
I thought how much that lesson compares with our Toastmasters journey—the slow and steady part. It might take awhile to get that Competent Communicator designation, but week after week and month after month of practice moves a member further along.
We are not to compare ourselves with others but to progress along our own course with the help and encouragement of the others. We learn from the others and not in isolation. The race analogy fails here. We are more like team members who work together to achieve something we cannot do alone. We are in a course alongside others who are also learning and growing.
If we continue along steadily, week after week and month after month, we will surely reach our goals. We will become better communicators and leaders. We are not in a competitive race to reach our goal, as the Hare believes. If one person takes two years and another member takes one to achieve the CC or ACB or whatever designation one chooses, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that we join in and learn.
There has to be action and learning and cooperation among members. When only a few carry the load, they get tired and discouraged. When they get discouraged or drained from doing too much, the whole club suffers. Our club needs all of its members. And yes, I know, we have a life beyond Toastmasters.
Let’s renew our energy, beginning this new month of December, and continue on through the rest of our Toastmasters year, to reach those personal goals, and at the same time support others who are working toward theirs.
Sign on to the club website and put yourself in roles as often as you can. Work toward those goals you’ve set for yourself or challenge yourself to a new one for 2010. Let’s make the rest of the year a team effort where everyone wins. Game’s on!
At Open Doors Waterloo, a Toastmasters initiative
At Huron Natural Park, photo by James Woo, Clickr Photography
One of my favourite songs by two very talented soloists
Instead of using the WordPress prompt today, I will pay respects to someone I know who died earlier this week.
Darleen (on right) with Georgina Green ( photo used with permission)
Darleen’s life intersected with mine several years ago for a relatively brief period in her life when we were both members of the Inshallah choir, directed by Debbie Lou Ludolph at the Wilfrid Laurier University seminary. We practised together each Tuesday and gathered for concerts at other locations. It was another time when my circle of acquaintances and friends grew.
This week, a note from the choir director informed us of Darleen’s death after a battle with lung and bone cancer.
There were times since that choir involvement that Darleen and I happened to meet at the grocery store and chatted as though no time had gone by. She did not allude to her diagnosis when we talked, and I did not know about it. She was always friendly.
Debbie Lou shared a letter that Darleen had written to members of her congregation in the last year:
“Do you ever feel you are running out of time? If you think about it, humans alone suffer a paralyzing fear that no other creature on earth endures—a fear of time running out. Imagine other animals talking to one another about what time to meet in the woods or being disappointed in how late they were. I would like you to reconsider your own notion of time, how you spend it and how precious it truly is…
“Recently, I made the choice to not interfere with additional life-saving measures to stop my lung and bone cancer and allow the cyclical life that we live to take its course.”
Debbie Lou shared with us Darleen’s words to her concerning the choir experience, when Darleen knew she wouldn’t be returning:
“…I hate to let go of my participation; however, it is not realistic at this time to participate.Thanks for your time and experience. I offer many blessings to your group and the people I have befriended.”
When we were in choir together, I learned that Darleen taught art and was an artist, but I had not seen her work until today at the funeral home when I arrived to pay my respects. Photos of her with family and friends and pieces of her artwork were displayed. Her list of accomplisments and work life included being a teacher for many years and more recently a teacher of a particular art form.
If I can be permitted to place that enthusiasm and energy to the classroom where she taught, I can imagine the strong and positive impact she would have had on her students.
I will remember Darleen’s joie de vivre and her enthusiasm. She was always smiling.
Rest in peace, Darleen, and know that this world misses you already, but heaven is all the richer for your presence there.
Walters Family Dinner Theatre, near Bright, Ontario. Home of a family of musical family
A converted barn serves as a theatre, with attractive surroundings and benches to sit on outside.
Looks like a theatre inside as well. Tables at each end are for the dinner. See the chandelier on the far side to the right? Chandeliers in a barn?
We ate a delicious meal and enjoyed talking with people around the table, including some folks from our hometown area.
Posters of people who have performed here at Walters Theatre. There’s even a small gift shop at one side.
- And the star of the show— singer, songwriter, Rita MacNeil!
- The best part was the concert with Rita on stage with her fabulous guitarist, Chris, from PEI, who was also her backup singer. Rita sings with such passion and is a humble woman who despite having written so many songs has not bothered to count them. She said the number doesn’t matter much. What’s important is sharing those everyday moments in her life that other people also experience.
- Go to Canadian Writers Who Are Christian and see my post there tomorrow. For your pleasure, a song on Youtube, sung by Rita, one she performed at the concert we attended.
- photos copyright of C. Wilker
- video by Youtube
A fellow blogger shared this video of a suprise event that took place in a mall where she was shopping. Here it is for your enjoyment.
In Chéticamp, there remained yet another place that showed Acadian history and arts. A museum called les Trois Pignons focused on the home life and arts. We paid a small price to enter and a young guide named Catharine gave us a short introduction to the centre, after which we could look freely at the displays.
A cameraman from Radio Canada was filming at the museum while we were there. He took footage of a guide who gave a lot of history on the Acadians and their lives. We learned afterwards that the man was visiting a number of Cape Breton attractions, preparing for an upcoming special on tourism. He panned the museum at various points, so some of our party may be in that video.
Yvette, the guide dressed in period costume who spoke on camera, spoke to other visitors in both French and English. She answered our questions or came to us when we studied a particular work and told us more about the life of Elizabeth LeFort, a well known rug hooker who both dyed her own wool from sheep raised near Cheticamp and designed her own rugs.
I was fascinated by LeFort’s work, as described by Yvette. LeFort designed her own rugs and wall hangings, drawing the picture first on paper and then on canvas before she started with the hook. Apparently some people hook freehand, but I think that her designs were better for the planning. She designed and hooked rugs of royalty, statesmen, both Canadian and American, and her faith was evident in her art, since she depicted scenes of Jesus and his disciples among other subjects. Her rugs hang in Rideau Hall, Buckingham Palace, the White House and the Vatican. Some works took a couple of weeks, others took months, but I thought it fascinating that she could hook 55 stitches a minute. That’s much faster than I can knit.
Since I showed such interest, Yvette wondered if I would be there for the upcoming book launch of Elizabeth LeFort: Canada’s Artist in Wool, by author Daniel Doucet, and published by Cape Breton University Press. Unfortunately, the book launch would be held on July 29th, after our return from holidays. I hope to obtain the book soon and read more about LeFort.
We went back the next morning before leaving Chéticamp, hoping that Yvette was there so we could get a picture. She was, and here’s our picture below.
Here’s to you, Yvette, an amazing tour guide and a skilled rug hooker too. I hope the special filming was everything you hoped for and that the launch was well attended.
Getting a lesson from Yvette as she demonstrates rug hooking with yarn.
I rocked my granddaughter a few evenings ago while singing along with Susan Boyle’s new CD. I had bought the CD while doing some Christmas shopping, having made up my mind that I would get a copy when it came out. Boyle’s voice is rich with a good vocal range. She pulls off song after song, especially her winning piece, I Dreamed a Dream. Her songs are about courage and faith, well suited to her as though she had written them herself.
Just after the contest, I watched the rerun of the program that so many were talking about; I marvelled at Susan’s voice and the surprise of the judges, but also at her simple desire to try something so difficult that few would risk for fear of failure. She’s a brave woman, but she is also a very fortunate one now.
Before she got on stage that day, she said, “I’m going to make that audience rock!” And she did, to a thunderous applause and awed audience. Still she is humble and amazed at what she has done. Still achieving such success must be quite frightening, to face the expectation and continue on.
CBC News reported on Sunday November 29th
“In Britain’s Got Talent she opened her mouth and the world fell in love with her, which is why her album has been the fastest selling of any woman making her debut,” said Simon Cowell, a judge on the British show as well as American Idol. “She’s amazing.”
Boyle’s CD has sold so many recordings already that it has blown the US charts. People speculate why this is so. One answer is that her success is people are happy for the “underdog” and are glad to see her succeed. I applaud her courage and her fortitude to go through with her plan. She had the talent already, but she also has faith. Then the opportunity to share her talent, hoping for the best.
Under the lyrics for each song in the CD is a short note from Susan, giving the reader and listener a chance to know her a little better. Her note under the hymn “Amazing Grace” acknowledges people’s “continued support which I find both touching and humbling.” Her faith in God is evident, even if in an earlier time, her faith in herself may not have been so strong. I admire her courage to go out there and face that audience and the television cameras.
Susan, if you ever see this blog, I want you to know that “you rock.” I cheer you all the way.
What does this have to do with my grand daughter? It means that each of us can dare to dream our own dream and accomplish something we were born to do, something for which we have talent that we just didn’t recognize before— something we must gather our courage to do.
My grand daughter has a whole life ahead of her. I hope she will have faith and fortitude to carry on even when people disagree. While she is perhaps only listening now, someday she will sing her own song. For now though, we’ll spend time together and sing along to good music and be inspired by others who work to make their dreams come true.