Life is never a straight line. The twists and turns life can take, sometimes not of our own choosing or making, are what make life interesting even when it is hard. God knows that. For those who believe in Him, and I do, all things work together for good. I can testify to that fully.
When Robi asked me to be co-editor of Hot Topics, it didn’t take me long to say yes. Robi knew that, after a time of navigating some twists, turns, and stormy seas, it was time to start growing. Robi knows I’ve always had a love for communication in all its forms: writing, speaking, music, etc. The chance to serve the members of D25 through writing and editing was too good to pass up. The chance to work with Rucha Jani is a plus as well.
Growing up in Alabama, Wisconsin (Go Pack Go!), Ohio, and New Jersey, I enjoyed writing through each of the grade levels I went through. I graduated from Willingboro (NJ) High School in 1979. I eventually ended up at Grand Canyon College (now Grand Canyon University), where I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Theatre/Speech with a minor in Religion. I travelled with an international communications ministry called Covenant Players for about 19 years. It was my time with Covenant Players that helped me to fall in love with being a teacher. I saw in my travels the life-altering power of the written and spoken word. After some twists and turns, I ended up in Texas. A few more twists and turns, and The University of Texas – Arlington became the place where I earned my Teacher Certification in Speech Communication. I added the Certification to teach Language Arts a few months later.
In working towards my Teacher Certification, the Director of the Communications Department at UTA told me I should investigate joining Toastmasters International. I visited a couple of clubs and joined Arlington Nooners. From the first meeting I attended, I was hooked on the program. Nooners gave me the chances to face challenges in a safe, caring, fun, and even loving environment. I served in leadership there (I got voluntold, but it was a blast), and even won my first Evaluation Contest at club and Area levels as a Nooner. When my class schedule changed, I moved over to the World Renowned Grand Prairie Toastmasters. Bascom Warden, Jim Monahan, Leonard Malley, Tracy McConnell, to name just a few, pushed me to even higher levels as I served as Area Director and Club President. A few more twists and turns, I found my way to Texas Wesleyan Spellbinders, who helped me earn my DTM in 2011. Some more twists and turns later, and I have the blessing of being a part of my current club, Power Communicators, serving as the Club President of a deeply supportive and uplifting group of people.
It is because of Toastmasters I have the two jobs I have. Again, after some twists and turns in life, I was hired by Reed Middle School, Duncanville ISD to teach Creative Writing and Speech. Now in my sixth year there, I am teaching Yearbook, Basics of Speech, and Professional Communication to 7th and 8th Graders. I serve as an Advisor to our Youth and Government Debate Team and Student Council. Since 2006, I’ve been working with the Texas Rangers Baseball club in various capacities. I’m currently with the Tours and Experiences Department as a Tour Guide. I teach the 1st Grade Boys at my home church’s Sunday School.
I have experienced many twists and turns in life, but God has always had a plan for me. That plan, that purpose, is still being worked out. He has made it clear that D25 Toastmasters is a part of what He is using to shape and mold me into the person He wants me to be. I know there will be more twists, more turns, and yes, even more storms up ahead. Friends and leaders like Robi, Rucha, and the members of Power Communicators will, no doubt, remind me who’s Hands I’m in, and who is guiding me along the way. I am profoundly grateful to them, and all the friends who stick with me in my journey here – complete with twists and turns!