Happy Birthday Toastmasters

Today you can write about anything, in whatever genre or form, but your post must mention a dark night, your fridge, and tears (of joy or sadness; your call).

This month sees Toastmasters International celebrate its 90th birthday. Founded in 1924 by Ralph C. Smedley, it began as a single club in Santa Ana, California to help young men learn the art of public speaking.  90 years later there are 14,650 clubs in 126 countries and Toastmasters is continuing to grow.

Today, Toastmasters International’s membership is over 300,000 and it uses the tagline “Where Leaders are Made.” Emphasising the connection between public speaking and leadership in modern career paths.

I joined Toastmasters International in 2010 and have enjoyed my journey to becoming a competent speaker. I completed my first speaking manual —Competenat Communicator twice to develop my confidence writing and speaking, before I began the my Advanced Manuals, which I am now half way through.

The skills that I have learnt and honed at Toastmasters have definitely helped in both writing my book and commencing blogging. They help me think on my feet and this year in the impromptu speaking competition—Table Topics—I was runner-up at Area, something I am very proud of and a personal best.

My favourite part of Toastmasters, especially as a sponsor of a new club is seeing people make their first speech to the club called the Ice Breaker—for obvious reasons. This a  particularly stressful time for many new members due to fear, anxiety and lack of confidence. However, mentorship and support from club members gets them through. After presenting their first speech, it is not uncommon for members to cry tears of joy as they realise that they really did do it —the planning, preparation and practice paid off.

If you are looking for a supportive way to achieve personal growth and develop at your own pace I would recommend you consider joining a Toastmaster Club near you. They are a proven way to enrich your life for 90 years.



Nature Chills Challenge

An event create by amommasview in response to a Blogging 201 assignment.

What in nature makes you chill out the most and why?

My favourite way to chill out is on a mountain covered in snow. Coming from Australia this is a rarity, which is what makes it special. I can go to the beach— my second favourite place—any day I choose, but not play in the snow. I love the serenity of having no-one else around—just me, my partner and nature’s beauty on top of the world. The stark contrast between the crisp white snow, the bright shining sun and the Alpine trees.

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Wherever possible I like to spend my birthday at the snow.  I was last there on my final day being forty —my husband and I were at Whakapapa, New Zealand. It was a great day.

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In less than a month, we travel to Canada to fulfill our dream of a white Christmas. After six weeks living in the snow—I may no longer see snow as my favourite way to chill in nature.



Today is a day of celebration. Pop the champagne—I have 3 things to celebrate:

  • My 100th post—yeah! and most have been put up since late August. These are exciting times. This week I also achieved my 3,000th view—2,000 of which were in October—more than double my views for September.
  • Today, is my mother’s birthday. The irony is I didn’t plan it this way, it just happened. The funny thing is that I started Inspiring Max in May on Mother’s Day as a present to myself. Back then I knew nothing about blogging—but I went for it anyway. Now, although I still call myself a new blogger I understand a little more than the basics and my voice, views and following are growing. Inspiring Max has direction and is meeting the goals I set.
  • My third celebration is that I will be self publishing my book next year with Balboa Press. This was my preferred option and is the self publishing arm of Hay House. My ultimate dream publisher. My feelings at present are a weird mix of scary and excitement knowing—my book that I have worked on lovingly for 5 years will soon be available for anyone who has an interest or need for it. Although, this may not be the final cover, here is my latest option for the cover of Inspiring Hope. What do you think?


New Inspiring Hope picture



What are you celebrating at the moment? Never say never. The only way to achieve is to dream and make an achievable plan.

Fresh Eyes

Yesterday on my daily commute to work, I had a life changing experience. This experience was also shared with a retired couple sitting next to me.  I was minding my own business blogging away, when as the train arrived at Central—Sydney’s largest train station—my eyes were suddenly and for no reason diverted to the open doors. A large group of school children and teachers got on in an excited, orderly fashion. The older Australian woman who looked old for her years, gently guided one young lady who had the most intense smile and a pretty face to sit on the side seats with her. I wondered to myself, why she was singled out to sit with the teacher, when the others were allowed to sit in the upper carriages. The girl didn’t look like trouble and the teacher obviously trusted her as she left her bag with her while she tended to some of the other children.

Five minutes into the short journey we shared—all was revealed. The teacher was taking a photo of the young girl and a smaller, energetic male student who briefly sat with her.  She began chatting to the retired couple and I. The students who all looked eastern European or Asian were from an Intensive Language School in Sydney’s south west and were on an excursion to walk over the Sydney Harbour Bridge, around Circular Quay and up the stairs to the Sydney Opera House all for the first time. Every student was a new arrival to Australia—the young girl sitting with the teacher, had in fact only been in Australia from Iran for 14 days. The teacher had kept her close to show her a good view of Sydney Harbour and the Opera House from the train.

The older couple and myself smiled at each other. We too were excited to be a part of this girls special moment. The teacher said she had been doing this excursion for 30 years and never tired of it. She loved working at the school helping these young children settle into and adjust to living in their new home—Australia.

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Train line is on the bridge.

The train moved closer to Milson’s Point station were the children would be getting off. The teacher prepared the girl by standing her in middle of the side train carriage where she could see out each of the side windows. She was excited. The teacher was directed to the left and she got her first ever glimpse of Sydney Harbour. It was a precious moment.

“Oh wow” she said quietly, as her smile become even bigger—something I didn’t think was possible. We told her to look out the other where she saw the Sydney Opera House in all her glory, the ferries and the busy beauty that is Sydney Harbour—that we all know and love. Her response was again even louder.

“Oh wow”

After the children and teachers got off the train, the  couple and I began chatting about how special that moment was and how it gives a different perspective to immigration—kids coming to Australia and seeing things through their new fresh eyes.

It was a great way to start the working day.



Double Take

You step into an acquaintance’s house for the first time, and discover that everything — from the furniture, to the books, to the art on the wall — is identical to your home. What happens next?

“My, what great taste you have,” I said. My new friend looked at me with confusion written all over her face.

“Thank you” she said sheepishly, wondering what I would say next.

“Do you realise that this house and everything in it, is exactly the same as my house?” I replied.

“Your kidding. I’ve been collecting my things for thirty years and I don’t even know where you live,” she said.

“I believe you because many of them tell their own story. They would take a lot of effort to purchase today—they belong to the 80’s.” I replied.

We spent the next hour discussing our experiences with our belongings— where we had bought them and the story behind them. Although many of our stories were similar,  some were vastly different. My miniature bottle collection was started as a 21st birthday present by a friend, whereas my new friend commenced hers after travelling overseas and bringing her free in flight alcohol bottles home.


A small selection

A small selection


The more we talked—the more we realised we had in common. Then, an idea hit me.

“We seem to be similar people, with similar ways of thinking. Let’s write a series of books together. We could get them done in half the time but with double the resources. What do you think?” I asked.

“Yes I would love to. Sounds great.” she said, as she grabbed her ideas folder from the coffee table. And, with that our new writing career began—here are a few of our titles.

  • Double Take
  • Double Trouble
  • Double Jeopardy
  • Double Life


A Ray of Hope

Imagine we lived in a world that’s all of a sudden devoid of color, but where you’re given the option to have just one object keep its original hue. Which object (and which color) would that be?

I love colour. It brightens my day and lifts my mood. I would struggle living in a monotone world of black and white initially—although after time I would adapt. The problem isn’t in the black and white—they are stark contrasts and have their own sharpness because of it—the problem is all the shades of grey in between.

To contrast the lack of colour, I would choose to keep the rainbow. I see the rainbow as a symbol of hope. Hope—that after the storm, there can be a beautiful ending. It would remind me of the colours that can come and brighten our world again. Even if colours never do return to our world—the rainbow would inspire hope that they are going to.

All my life when I see a rainbow—I instantly dream about the pot of gold at the end of it. The one, I heard about in so many childhood stories. I now use rainbows to remember to dream, smile and make plans for my future.


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Rainbows need both water and sunlight to be created, so by ensuring a supply of rainbows, I am ensuring a supply of both of these natural elements— necessary for life.


Share Your World – 2014 Week 42

What would be your preference, awake before dawn or awake before noon?

I wake around dawn most days to get to work on time. I needed to get up even earlier this week to take my daughter to work and it reminded me of how much work you can get done early in the day. Staying in bed until noon would waste so much of my time these days. I am sure when I was younger, I would have given you a different answer.

If you could choose between wisdom and luck, which would you pick?

Wisdom can change your world and help you achieve your goals. I believe that many people interpret good use of wisdom as luck. From my experience—very few things rely on luck—usually they appear to be luck but they are actually the culmination of planning and positive thinking. Without wisdom—even the winning the lottery type of luck is short lived.

If you were given the opportunity for free sky diving lessons would you take them? Why or why not?

Yes. I have wanted to sky dive for many years now. I think it would be an exhilarating feeling. However, if I had to do it alone my answer would be, no. My jump would need to be a tandem jump—so someone experienced was in control.

Is the glass half empty or half full. What is in the glass?

I am a positive person so my glass is always half full. Even in difficult times, I will focus on what I do have rather than what I don’t have. My glass is of course filled with a very expensive French Champagne to celebrate the joy in my life.


Photo credit: Google Images

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week I arranged to self-publish my book with Balboa Press. This takes even closer to being a published author in 2015. Exciting and scary. I did have a little glass of champagne to celebrate.


Masks Off

We’re less than a week away from Halloween! If you had to design a costume that channeled your true, innermost self, what would that costume look like? Would you dare to wear it?

Although Halloween celebrations are not big in Australia,  I do enjoy dressing up in fancy dress costume.  Wearing masks however—are not my thing. I find them restrictive and controlling. Neither which fit my personality. I chose my costume to be something that works for the occasion—with my open face plus or minus makeup.

On a day to day basis, I believe I channel my true self—in person as well as in my writing. Being genuine to who I am is important to me and constancy is the key. I am an honest, considerate person who loves teaching, nurturing and supporting others to grow. I also believe that it is important for me to do this for myself—to lead by example. I am aware of my limitations, but am happy to push myself beyond my comfort zone. If necessary, my personality allows deal with difficult situations to achieve the best outcomes.

Depending on how make-up is applied, it can be a mask, hiding someones real personality.  Not all heavily applied make-up is a mask but, for some people it is. At times, this can be a very effective tool. However, used all the time masks can stunt your personal growth, as they stop you and others from connecting to the real you. Naturally applied make-up can be our friend. It isn’t a mask and doesn’t stop our personality coming through—hides our worse and highlights our best features—making us shine.


Out Of Breath

The busier my day is—the more I need to focus on my breathing. It energises and anchors me. I take time to—stop and just breath.

 I stand still

Take a deep breath in

Create a circle with my arms

And breath out deeply and slowly

Moving my body helps me to organise my headspace and thinking. If I don’t do it, things get crazy and my desk or work area reflects the chaos in my world. However by stopping, taking control and replacing my breath—I can change my world by centering it.

My busy day isn’t taken away by this activity—I am just put in the present moment and able to make a plan. Yes, by a plan—I do mean a list—naming all the priorities to be addressed today. If I need any extra strength, after my deep breath—I will stand in a power pose  for two minutes to increase my testosterone levels—it is simple yet very effective skill.