Saturday, March 19, 2005

Change the World

Margaret Mead said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has!"

I believe that we, you and me, can change the world. All we have to do is change what we believe about the world and the people in it. If what we believe changes, the way we act changes. If the way we act changes, our effect on other people changes. If our effect on other people changes, it changes what they believe, about us, certainly, and maybe about the world.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Family Update

After a day to recover from the shock of the accident, Jack had his operation today. He had to have two incisions and almost half his body shaved, so he looks pretty awful. It was worse than they thought. One of his vertebrae was crushed. Since he is not a biped it is not as serious as it would be for us. They still think no nerve damage. As soon as he woke up, he started barking and barking. He seemed to want to let us know that the operation hurt more than the accident. We are just so grateful that he survived the accident and then the operation. It will take a long time to recover and we will have to take very good care of him because his spine and hips will be very delicate. We will try not to do anything else stupid. We love you very much, Jack.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Family Crisis

My blog tonight has to be about Jack because he's all I can think of. Jack is our Jack Russell Terrier. He was out on his walk on the mesa with our other dogs tonight with Gator, my husband, driving along beside them in the van when Jack walked under the van and the wheel ran over him. His hip was broken in four places. There was no damage to his internal organs, his spine, or his nerves, and the vet seems to think that bones are no problem to fix so we are hopeful that he can be made as good as new but we are worried. Don't think harshly of Gator. He loves Jack very much and feels very bad. Personally, I forgive him because I have driven beside them, too, and it could have happened when I was driving, but neither of us will ever do it again. I love you, Jack!

Thursday, March 03, 2005


After hearing about Toastmasters for a while, I ran into a Toastmaster and she invited me to visit. First of all, they were all really glad to see me. Toastmasters are like that. Then they practiced speaking right there in the meeting. And then they evaluated each other's speeches. They pointed out what was really good and they also made sure to make a suggestion for improvement. I had never been in such as practical, educational, useful meeting. But the greatest thing about Toastmasters is not that they teach you to be a better speaker or even a better leader, another focus. It's the way they do it.

Everyone is welcome and is made to feel welcome, I mean, they're really glad to see you. They make sure you have an agenda and explain what's happening and what's going to happen and give you materials to keep. Then they follow up with you to make sure that you know how much they want you to come back and join them. They ask what you want to get out of Toastmasters and tell you how they can help you with that. They applaud when you go up to the lectern and they applaud when you speak or contribute in any way. They tell you exactly what was good about what you did and what could have been better and make a suggestion to improve it. They never say anything was bad. They never criticize. They have very specific goals for you to strive for in each part of the program, which can go on your whole life, if you want. Yet you always go at your own pace. They tell you how to reach the goals and help you do it. They give you praise and ribbons and trophies and certificates and pins and awards. They help you be the very best that you can be.

And all that is what is in my book, too, before I ever met a Toastmaster or ever knew that there was a group that worked just like I dreamed it could be.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


I wrote the table of contents first, because it was my outline. That took six months. Don't laugh, it's a wonderful table of contents. After that, it went a little faster. When I had written enough, I wanted to get it published. I found out that to get non-fiction published you have to learn to talk about what you write, you have to become a speaker. And to become a speaker, you should join Toastmasters, because that's what they do. So I joined Toastmasters. And they changed my life. Try it, you'll see!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


When I learned to think about what I was doing in words, I realized how important words are. They helped me put ideas together in a logical way. They helped me compare what I believed to what I saw and experienced in real life. They helped me infer things that I haven't yet experienced, or hope not to, or might not ever. I realized, too, how important the right words are. People had always told me, "Don't take it personally." I didn't understand that. But I did understand a different way of saying it, "Choose not to be hurt by this." Of course, I hadn't really changed. I was still the same person, likely to respond in the same way to the same stimulus. But I wanted to make different choices. I helped myself do that by saying things to remind me to keep a cool head -- "It's not about me." "There's always a good reason why somebody does something." "Whatever works!" After a while, I started writing it all down. And writing turned out to be an almost magical thing that helped me to think better. Try it, you'll see!