We are the sum total of our choices.- Woody Allen

That was a quote a Toastmaster read as part of his inspiration,  a quote that his mentor had passed along to him. This individual went a step further and added the phrase “although we may not always like those choices…”

How fitting, I thought. Unwittingly I started compiling a list of all memorable choices in my life.
– Choices that I had regretted.
– Choices that I still regret.
– Choices in which I had no choice, but after I had made said “choice” I was promptly informed it had been my choice all along.

I started to wonder what it would be like to go back and change all those choices. But then I thought about what kind of a person would I be if I had taken another road. Would I be nicer, meaner? Would I be more naive, or wiser? Would I be more positive or more jaded? If I “succeeded” and had made the choice I had wanted…would I view it as such?

Not so easy to re-envision, is it?

In the end, I have to sit back and accept the fact there will always be choices in my life I wish I could go back and change, or wish I had done differently. But for better or for worse, I am who I am through the choices I have made.


The Green Vase

Many years ago, I awoke one morning to find a sapling planted on the front lawn, with a note from the city explaining this was their initiative to keep the city green. I don’t remember the scientific name of the tree, only the common name: The Green Vase. Continue reading

The Inner Face

This event took place a number of days ago, when a fellow Toastmaster posted a group shot of the EPIC Event with Ryan Avery on Facebook. Likes and comments were coming in when it was noted a particular Toastmaster was missing from the picture. The individual in question commented (to the effect of) how it was better she had not been in the picture, because she wasn’t very photogenic, beautiful, etc.

What followed was the longest series of replies, contributed by the greatest number of individuals that I have ever been a part of. Continue reading


One of the biggest comments I have received from my award winning speech: you were vulnerable up there on that stage, and that is likely one big reason why you won.

A big secret I have to reveal: I still have no idea how to define that term.

Vulnerability during a speech. It is a slightly foreign concept to me, mainly because whenever someone mentions that word, I’m at a loss. It feels like they are referencing some skill I have, like I woke up one morning and decided “I am going to write a speech and insert this amount of vulnerability!” It is not a skill I have, it is a term that continues to elude me. Continue reading