The Fallen

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning. We will remember them.

Lest We Forget – ANZAC Day 2018

THE FALLEN

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Journey Of A Lifetime!

Now that I have been a member of Toastmasters International for 10 years, it’s a goodToastmastersLogo-Color time to reflect on the experience.

It has been a life-changer for me.

As a born introvert I know only too well the ‘apparent fear’ one experiences when one stands up before a group of people to speak, whether it is in a work or business meeting, or if you are asked to give a speech somewhere.

After 10 years of ‘investing myself’ in the programme, here’s what I have learned:

* The old adage ‘you only get out what you put in’ is totally true.

Out here in Australia, Clubs meet twice a month and I’ve missed perhaps 15 – 20 meetings in those 10 years. I would say that I’ve been to at least 240 Toastmaster meetings if you count the other Toastmaster clubs that I have visited in that time.

* The benefits I have gained/positive impact on my life are immense.

I wrote an article back in 2015 for this blog and will post the link at the bottom for I identified 18 ways my life has benefitted from being involved in Toastmasters.

I’ve even managed to progress from Introvert to Ambivert as well!

* I sometimes get asked, ‘Why do you keep going?’

Simply put, Education, Motivation, Friendship & Fun!

I can’t remember how many times that I felt like just going home and vegetating because I had a hard day at work or whatever. Whenever I went to the Toastmasters meeting, I always came out at the end, revitalised and re-energised.

Every meeting you learning something new, either about yourself or about public speaking/leadership and with each time you do a role and/or speak you grow that little more in confidence.

I’ve made so many great friends who are so supportive, and we have loads of fun.

* It gives you a chance to have a positive impact on other people’s lives

I can easily relate to how other people (especially Introverts) feel and can help them through my experiences. The membership individually and as a whole want people to succeed. We support them through their mistakes, want them to progress and use their skills out in the World at large.

Toastmasters Clubs also run Youth Leadership courses in schools and Speechcraft courses for adults.

I’m really looking forward to the next 10 years and beyond in Toastmasters. Here in Australia, we’ve just taken delivery of the new PATHWAYS Education programme. 10 Paths to transverse. I’ve selected, ‘Presentation Mastery’ as the one I’d like to begin with.

There is another old saying that says, ‘It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey…’, well this journey is one that I am ever so grateful for!
David Johnson
17 March 2018

To find out the way 18 ways being involved in Toastmasters has helped me, click on
https://communicatingcreatively.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/why-toastmasters/

If you would like to find out more, click on https://www.toastmasters.org/

Life Lessons!

Like a lot of people at the start of the year, I did a Vision Board and set some goals etc.

One area I addressed was health. I set walking, meditation, exercise and fluid goals which were going tremendously well until the 18 February…

Whilst I was doing them I felt I had more energy and was keeping on top of things.

The goals were to:

  • Walk 3 times a week
  • Walk a minimum 15km’s (9.3 miles) per week
  • Meditate every day for a minimum of 10 minutes
  • Exercise 3 times a day (I have 10 stretching exercises a Physio recommended)
  • Drink 1.5 – 2 litres (3.7 – 4.2 US pints) a day

With my Wife, Susan, we operate a Strategic Marketing business, I am in a BNI (Business Network International) breakfast networking group, holding two committee positions; Vice-President Public Relations for Camden Toastmasters and am a co-Mentor for Gledswood Toastmasters, a proposed new club.

Apart from that, we have our time together plus all of my creative interests.

Looking back, I can see the reason that the goals went pear-shaped over the last month!

It has been such a busy month on all fronts that the business meant quite a few late nights; it is contest season in Toastmasters and I was involved in contests at Club level and Area level. These led to late nights, and a lesser quality of sleep that definitely impacts the next day (especially when you have some early starts) and so on…

I restarted the activity today and feel much better for it! I believe the last month would have been a lot less draining if I had made the time and stuck to the goals I had set myself. I also need to look at perhaps reducing my involvement on committees from 4 positions to two.

Hopefully, I can learn from this ‘latest life lesson’ and that I won’t have to be taught it again. 🙂

David Johnson
17 March 2018

A Richer Journey

The inspiration for this poem came from being part of the judging panel on the Lions Club International Youth of the Year District contest that I wrote about in my previous post.

A Richer Journey 2

Watercolour Calling…

In 2010, when I first ‘heard the calling’ of painting and embarked on a basic, 6-week drawing course, I started with Watercolour. I remember my Mother-In-Law (whom I get on very well with, share the same sense of humour with and who has painted in Oils for many, many years) said ‘why did you start with the hardest medium?’

I shot slides for many years and the transparent effect of Watercolour reminds me of them. They are similar also in that you only ‘get one shot’ at doing them. If you muck them up, they stay mucked up!

Susan’s Family bought me some Student Acrylics for Christmas and off I went in that direction. I enjoyed being a beginner painter with them and sometime later, was lured into having a go at Oils by the local, friendly owner of an art/framing store.

So began my Oils journey, firstly with student paints, then artist paints. In between (as I guess a lover of art and craft does), I’ve managed to accumulate Oil Pastels, coloured pencils, Watercolour pencils, aqua wash pens, Charcoal sticks, a set of drawing/sketching pencils, Inktense pencils and so on…

I should say at this point that my artistic endeavours are not my source of income and I allocate time at night during the week and on weekends to pursue my creative endeavours so self-learning and experimentation have been a bit of slow grind but I am enjoying the journey nevertheless.

In May last year, I purchased a mixed-media A4 Ivory page journal in which I write poetry, sketch, scribble and paint. More and more I have noticed that I was using Watercolour pencil and aqua wash pens in the journal.

I am also gaining inspiration from artists on Instagram in the various art mediums. Over the past few months, I’ve noticed that I am following a greater number of Watercolour artists, and feel that I am being drawn back to that medium.

I still consider myself a beginner and love both Oils and Watercolour for different reasons. Watercolour is becoming an increasing influence, so much so that I purchased a set of 45 Winsor and Newton Cotman Half Pans this past week and have been enjoying using them in my journal.

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With Watercolour, I see me doing just small sketches at this stage as there is an immense amount for me to learn. I will still do Oils though on larger paintings. That way, I can enjoy my two favourite art mediums.

David Johnson
25 February 2018