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Posts about all of the meetings.

We had a lively and inspiring meeting on Saturday! Members in attendance included Ayesha, Brenda, Stephanie, Samreen, and Liana. We had one guest, Sahar, a devoted ESL student! Ayesha skillfully directed the meeting as Toastmaster and Brenda delivered a gut-wrenchingly emotional and inspiring prepared speech that gave us all chills. Many of us went home and said “I love you” to the ones we hold dear following the meeting. Liana led the group in a round of Table Topics about Spring Cleaning, and even our guest Sahar courageously stood up to give a mini-speech! Thanks to Samreen and Stephanie for serving as General Evaluator and Timer respectively.


We’re all gearing up for the big Open House event on Saturday at 10:30 am. We hope to have a full house! We’ll have handcrafted foods representative of our home countries and decorations to remind us of our ethnic, cultural, and religious backgrounds. Many of us have been spreading the word at our local grocery stores, our community gathering centers, schools, and places of worship. We hope you will join us in the festivities! Come to share in the food and drinks while getting a taste of a typical Toastmasters meeting. It is sure to be a fun, interactive, and lively time.

open house 2



Saturday we had another interactive and fun meeting. All of our members were in attendance, plus three honored guests! Liana was our Toastmaster of the Day and she set the theme for the meeting as “Mindfulness.” We all did our best to remain focused and free from distractions through the duration of the hour.

Samreen delivered a heartwarming speech about her grandmother, and Ayesha provided us with some concerning statistics and information about the reading abilities of American children and teenagers. Both speeches were well-delivered and well-rehearsed. You ladies were so poised! Thank you both, Samreeen and Ayesha.

Our guests joined in on Table Topics and it was inspiring to see their confidence!

Their confidence reminded me of the following quote, “If you are peaceful and happy, know that you are very close to yourself. If you are sad and stressed, know that you are close to your ego.”

Many of us try to be perfect and desire to impress others with our skill and ability. We want to know exactly what to say to a struggling friend, strive to be completely prepared at school or work, and eliminate errors and mistakes completely.

These high expectations come directly from our egos. Our egos recite all of the “shoulds” and “musts.” Our egos tell us to be perfect and inform us of what to strive for. When we inevitably fall short of meeting our lofty goals, we become depressed for letting ourselves and others down. It follows that our own egos can be blamed for low self-esteem and decreased confidence.

The solution is to be accepting of ourselves and to be realistic about our abilities. The more we banish judgement, accept ourselves as we are now, flaws and all, the sooner we will know happiness. And with happiness comes confidence.

You may be thinking that this theory directly contradicts the purpose of Toastmasters clubs. In Toastmasters we are encouraged to push outside of our comfort zones, set high-reaching goals, and to make progress toward achieving them.

But upon further inspection you’ll note that theory works perfectly with the Toastmasters purpose. One of the cornerstones of Toastmaster growth is to be able to give and receive constructive criticism with grace. To be able to receive such comments without feeling absolutely crushed or discouraged, we require stable and sound self-esteem. We need the confidence to acknowledge that we are not perfect and likely never will be. We must instead accept our flaws and be willing to work towards improvement. To accept advice, we must be far from our egos and close to ourselves.

As the quote implies, when we are close to ourselves we know true contentment.


We had 100% attendance for our April 12 meeting, and even welcomed one new member and one guest speaker!

Liana gave a humorous speech, followed by Brenda, who provided us with a comprehensive discussion and training on Easy Speak. Following this helpful demonstration, we listened to an educational speech entitled “Evaluate to Motivate” from guest speaker Syrena Glade. She gave us some inspirational guidance regarding how to improve our speech evaluations.

Our group is growing and we would like to invite anyone interested in learning about other cultures, making new friends, or improving their speaking and listening skills. Come sit in on a meeting! There is never any pressure for guests to speak. Just come to get a feel for the club.

Of course, we also have the upcoming Open House on May 3rd at 10:30. We are very excited about this event and are currently busy planning and spreading the word. I’m most looking forward to the food. We will all be bringing dishes that remind us of our cultural background. It should be a comforting, homey feast. We’ll also have fun decorations that are sure to be conversation starters.

In other news, today (April 16th) is National Stress Awareness Day. It’s the day after our taxes are due here in the US, so today should be a relief for many of us. We’ve crunched the numbers and are hopefully anticipating a large return! Stress Awareness Day was started by the Health Resource Network in 1992 to increase public awareness of the causes and cures of stress.


So how do you mitigate stress? Exercise? Talking about your struggles with a trusted friend? Listening to music? Taking a bath? Chocolate? On Saturday, our meeting theme will be Mindfulness. Many believe that by focusing on the present and approaching life mindfully, we can reduce the stress in our lives because we let worries about the past and future go. Come join us at our meeting to be a part of the discussion!

Effective November 15th, 2012 …

Embracing Cultures Toastmasters meet Thursdays at 6:30 PM

Hillsdale Public Library – Meeting Room #1

1525 SW Sunset Blvd
Portland OR 97239
Conveniently located on  Bus Routes  from Downtown Portland : #44, #45, #54 and #56 – Get off at Stop #955
Conveniently located on common SW Bike Route from Downtown Portland.

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