And Another 20 Years Begins

38 members and former members gathered early this morning to celebrate as Morningstars Toastmasters marked 20 years as a club.

With balloons overhead and agendas and name cards for all, we began our special meeting marking 20 years.

“Kind, confident, and caring” were just three words used by a former member who joined us for the occasion. The meeting was chaired with his usual poise by PJ Reece.

PJ in his role as chair of the meeting.

“Very inspiring, filled with kindness. Loved it.” Comment from a guest.

Our Sergeant at Arms Guy Foster arrived at 5:00 am to set up the room and make a welcoming space.

“I am happy to finally get myself out of the house early enough to get to a Morningstars meeting. I had a great time, the energy was very high. Everyone was welcoming. Thank you and congratulations for your 20 years. ” Comment from a guest.

The group gathering prior to the meeting.
What’s a special meeting at Morningstars without breakfast? Including Sandy’s famous cheese scones fresh out of the oven.

Everyone at the meeting received an agenda to follow along with the different roles.

Our agenda for the meeting, thanks to our chair who made enough copies for everyone!
Our Inspirator, Frank Coldicott, who as a long time Toastmaster, gave us the historical context for Toastmasters international.
Marc in the role of Grammarian for his first time since joining.
Patricia, Distinguished Toastmaster, giving her first speech in the new Pathways Program.
Michael, our Past President, in his role as Table Topics Master, had some great questions for our impromptu table topics speeches.
Greg answering the first table topics question.

One of the greetings from a former member who was not able to attend gave us all a glimpse into how much influence TM has in peoples’s lives. Tammie, a former member who has moved out of the community, reminded us of a table topics speech she gave on the textiles of Bali. Members still remember her vivid description, and she shared with us that she has now booked a trip to Bali.

We might need a bigger room for the next party!

A former member and part of the executive team of Morningstars sent the following message.

“Congratulations you bright MorningStar‘s on this 20th year anniversary!
I wish I could be there to celebrate with you and to share in the stories of transformed lives!
The foundational leadership base in the club is unmatched… I personally owe them a mountain of gratitude for their unwavering belief that I could become all that I was created to be.
Their fundamental belief that EVERYONE, with a healthy dose of affirmation mixed with hard work, can become a better communicator and in turn influence the world around them, has made the club a smashing success!
I give a hearty hip hip hooray to the Magnificent Morningstars of the Sunshine Coast on their 20th year anniversary!
Much love and appreciation for each of you,

Thank you to all members, former members, and guests who made this such an exciting event as we launch into our next 20 years. 



Have You Ever Been Misunderstood?

“Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” goes the 60’s song by the Animals.  Our theme for the day Have You Ever Been Misunderstood was very similar.

Who hasn’t been misunderstood? Today stories emerged. Smiles and nods of recognition followed.

One of the pillars of Toastmasters is to strengthen our messages and be understood by others. Well, let’s take understanding on as a theme then!

Structuring our speeches with a strong opening, interesting content to support our topic, and a powerful closing is a way to present our thoughts logically, yes. But more than that, it creates an emotional connection with the listener who really wants to understand us.

Greater clarity in our message is achieved through supporting evidence in the body of our speech. Examples, short stories, and statistics can be used to illustrate our point of view and ‘grab the ears’ of the audience. Who could not relate to ‘madness is the fuel for our brilliance’? Or the phrases ‘whispering hands’ or ‘verbal tap dancing’?

And who jumped out of their seat at the beginning of Sandy’s speech when a long silence was followed by SQUAAAAAWK, an imitation of a steller jay? The sound effects and choice of words along with a well paced speech flow had us mesmerized by her story.

As Table Topics Evaluator this morning, William used a familiar metaphor – “wrapping up our speeches with a bow”, referring to the skill of bringing your audience full circle by using your conclusion to remind them of your opening statement. This provides a gift wrapped in a bow for the audience  to understand.

Strengthening the delivery of our messages strengthens the message itself. Asking ourselves if we were understood after a speech or role motivates us to be intentional with our preparation.

And so we continue our Toastmasters journey.


Special breakfast meeting May 6, Harmony Hall, 7 am.
Everyone welcome, and bring a friend.

The Love of My Life


Written by Johanna, VP of PR

A wonderful toast to the Love Of Life! 

What a great way to lead off our breakfast open house event. The meeting was graced with 5 guests, all of whom experienced the well prepared agenda created by our meeting chair, Sharon.

Xinyu delivered her Icebreaker speech and we better understood her engaging speech title: “The Banana Chronicles”.

Frank told us about  his 48 years experience of being a Toastmaster, asking the questions, “Why do I still come?, and “What do I see in myself and others?.

There were many similar questions throughout the meeting; perhaps questioning the theme of the day provoked the inquiries.

I believe “getting to the heart of the questions” reflected well the reason many of us enjoy being a member of the Morningstars Toastmaster’s Club. Preparing an Icebreaker speech focuses our attention on what we wish to share about our lives that truly expresses our desires, and what has fulfilled us over the years.

Listening to how others choose these elements and the structure a personal delivery is touching and engaging at the same time. It is a heartfelt gift to ourselves and others. We leave the meeting inspired and feeling supported in a mutual learning environment.

Guests, family members and friends, were eloquent in their understanding of our club culture this morning. It was an especially good theme for a guest event, along with the food and good cheer.

Breakfast Open House Wow!

Today’s post written by Johanna, VP of PR.

coffee cup
Coffee and breakfast!

It was a special morning meeting with six very welcome guests. Sharon chaired with flourish, complementing the autumn colours of the decorations and food.

Cathie had us raise our glasses to toast Ralph Smedley after her heartfelt tribute to his founding vision of Toastmasters International 90 years ago. Kate, who was Timer, acknowledged giving Cathie and long time member, Frank, a little more time to capture key Toastmasters concepts for our guests.

The theme of the meeting was “Dream”, and Alicia delivered a compelling speech about dreams being a sum of vision and hope. She used vocal variety well, including singing a line from Les Miserables, and shone with passion about her person dream for a fair justice system nationally. Katherine evaluated her speech with benefit to both Alicia and the guests.

Sandy also inspired our members and guests with her second round of delivering an Ice­breaker speech. She herself as an example of how Toastmasters strengthened her voice and leadership capacity. As a Mentor and District Governor over her seven years in Toastmasters, Sandy gave a vibrant reflection of what is possible in our program.

Both PJ, Table Topics Master, and Ben , TT Evaluator, supported the two table topic speakers in the spirit of fun and challenge.

Greg, as General Evaluator, tied the meeting up with a festive manner in keeping with the occasion, recognizing Sheila for her role as Quizmaster and the excellent listening skills of us all. Bright star this morning seemed to be John, Sergeant at Arms at the beginning and end of the meeting, and also crafty Jokemaster during it.

Many Thanksgivings to Katherine, our trusted Club President, who has taken a firm stand to increase our membership creatively together this year.


In Fantasy Land With Morningstars

Today’s post written by Johanna R, VP of PR

This morning’s meeting’s theme was “In Fantasy Land”, and our Chair, William, epitomized the occasion by wearing a pirate’s attire. “Arrrrrrrrgh”. (Why are pirates so handsome? They just Arrrrrrrrrrgh”)

In his introduction, William made us all think about the idea that fantasies are great because they help us focus on our dreams.

Table Topics kept the fantasy theme alive, beginning with Greg’s, who took us on a creative adventure to areas unknown but vividly expressed.

Elvis then took his elderly aunt to the same place and Alicia shared how fantasy was more her husband’s family tradition whereas hers was more one of history reality.

Kate facilitated the Table Topic presentations with the rolling of three dice, all speakers having different symbols to draw their stories from.

There were two excellent speeches. The first from Katherine, who was interviewed by Sandy around the idea of encouraging/challenging the young audience to put away their cell phones for awhile to see how IT devices impact our face-to-face communication with others. Free Your PHone!

The second speech was delivered by Cathie. It was an impassioned appeal to us all to be aware that the country’s newest home census questions do not necessary reflect all Canadians’ input. We need to maintain our globally respected census standards.

At the end of our meeting, we announced the Breakfast Open House plans for Oct. 8th well as our Table Topics and Tall Tale Contest next week. Three members signed up right away as contestants.

Johanna will be chairing the next meeting and will follow-up this week with recruiting 2 more judges, and 3 counters for the event.

It will be fun. Come join us at Harmony Hall next Wed at 7 am.

Happy Birthday Morningstars

Written by Katherine Scott

birthday balloonsToday as we celebrated Morningstars fifteenth birthday our theme was Shake It Up and we certainly did.  We had an open house. And breakfast. And five guests, three of who are joining our club. And fun.

Even if there wasn’t anything more to say about today’s meeting, that’s a lot. And of course there is more.

Our Chair today was PJ and he set the energy and tone right from the beginning. He successfully dodged the helium balloons that Sharon had attached to the lectern as he opened the meeting and welcomed all our honoured guests. And he had some fun and interesting ways to make the transitions between roles and keep the flow going.

Sharon as Inspirator reminded us what Toastmasters is all about… it’s so much more than speaking. It’s about leadership, communication, listening, learning and growing as a person within a welcoming and positive community. And Patricia reminded us that we may not set out to become leaders, but that’s exactly what happens.

Our two speakers today, Ben and Sheila, while having widely different topics, certainly informed and entertained us. Ben’s speech was aptly titled Imagine Living Beyond Our Dreams while Sheila’s speech was a story called This Little Piggy. Bill and Frank as evaluators demonstrated their status as seasoned pros.

Anne Marie as Table Topics Master kept the energy pumped with some Shake it UP music.  And I only have one question for Kay our Jokemaster. Where does she get all those jokes?

Next week our theme is Fly High, Land Gently. Even though today was a special open house, guests are welcome at every meeting. 7 am at Harmony Hall. You might not get  breakfast, but we always have the coffee on.