2016 Christmas at MorningSTARS

Written by Johanna Rzepa

What I love about Christmas time is the range of possibilities to be experienced: the colourful indoor to outdoor light displays, thoughtful family to friends gift-giving, and the spirit of community outreach to greater inclusion of all living beings. I accept that there is sadness at this time, too. Loved-ones who have moved or passed on. Expectations unfulfilled. Concerns about the health of ourselves and others.


It was magical that at our last MorningSTARS Toastmasters meeting for 2016, the depth and breadth of possibilities were embraced and realized. All who were able to attend did so in festive outfits. We were immediately welcomed by outdoor decorations and indoor Christmas tree lights, which Guy had orchestrated in full glory. The banquet table was set ready for the food to arrive. Carol sheets were placed around the meeting table, thanks to Sheila. All the trimmings!

Table Topics and Gift Giving

Gifts were piled on a table as members walked in. Katherine, our event organizer, had engaged us with the idea of “re-gifting” and combining the opening of presents with a Table Topic explanation of “why this particular gift found us and/or how it will be used in the New Year”. Gifts from our homes to the club members came in all shapes and sizes. We heard creative and constructive applications for each gift from individual members.

Our special events are an opportunity to invite guests to our club, even our pets if that means they will be on their own in cold temperatures. The snow this year did evoke traditional stories of bringing warmth and cheer to others. Lowry sang an original piece about our Sunshine Coast “green and wet” Christmases during the meeting and supported us singing, too, accompanied by guitar. With Weegee’s prior communication through our newsletter and meeting announcements, new members participated with ease in the meeting’s tidings of joy.

New Traditions

This year my Christmas experience so far has been reinforced with positive feelings which I attribute to my connection with Toastmasters here on the Coast. While yearning for the old ways at times, I am encouraged by how co-creating traditions in new ways keeps bringing deeper levels of insight and inspiration into my life… to meditate upon or to potentially prepare a speech about, for example.

Our meeting last week was certainly one to write home about. Thank you everyone for making it so special.


Clearing the Clutter for Completing CC & CLs

“Goals. There’s no telling what you can do when you get inspired by them.There’s no telling what you can do when you believe in them. There’s no telling what will happen to you when you act upon them.” — Jim Rohn, personal development & business philosopher

In his inspiration speech at the first Morningstars Toastmasters of 2016, Frank C. revealed his love for making lists. He jots down his to-dos, to-fixes and to-buys on a white piece of paper that he calls “my whiteberry.”

According to Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the . . .” creator and inspirational speaker) in his book, The Success Principles, “failing to complete robs you of valuable attention units.” We can only pay attention to so many things at one time, and each to-do, to-fix or to-complete on your mental lists leaves fewer attention units to dedicate to present tasks.

It’s easy to see the clutter in our closets, in the corners of the living room or scattered across our home office. But there are times that the clutter is in our minds. The mental record that repeats all the things we “should do” or “need to do.” Instead of using valuable “attention units” rehashing what it is you should do, make a list and focus on the steps you can take to complete the task.

Frank’s speech was a good reminder for us to take stock of what we would like to accomplish this year, personally and as a Toastmaster. We are officially half way through the season. Where are you on your CC or CL completion goals? What do you need to scratch an item off your list and bring you one step closer to finishing?

Riding on that theme, Sheila C. offered a refresher on the various roles and responsibilities that depends upon YOU as a member. In Toastmasters, you learn by participating. There are many roles to fill and all meeting participants play an important part in making the club experience educational and enjoyable.

Sheila outlined the roles which are highlighted in the Competent Leadership (CL) manual. As an extension to her speech, the roles have been added to the club’s website under resources at http://morningstarstoastmasters.com/meeting-roles/

However, many of us have CC goals that we are looking to complete. Johanna R. encouraged us to tap into our storytelling side by entering the Festival of the Performing Arts’ “Speech and Dramatic Arts” category. The festival is from April 11 – May 1, 2016 with the mentioned category on April 20th starting at 9am.  The deadline for entry is February 7th.  For more information, visit www.coastfestival.com/syllabus/

_________________. The deadline is January 30, 2016.

Welcome back!

PS – Don’t forget to sign up for roles for next week’s meeting. The theme is “Contrary to Popular Belief.”