We’re Here …

we're safe. My dad is terrific and is NOT driving me crazy at all. He did wonderful on the flight. I am the one who has issues! I am having such a good time being with him and talking to him. We are of course still dealing with some jet lag, so we are generally wide awake between 2:00 and 5:00 in the morning. So we turn on the light, watch CNN (for news of IKE) and talk.

South Africa is a phenomenal place. It's so good to be back among these kind, generous people and especially to be the guests again of these warm, talented scrapbookers. Yesterday was the first day of the convention and while I enjoyed being here, it was NOT a good day for me as a teacher/presenter. Basically, I SUCKED and I don't even like to use that word. I had some AV/Computer issues the first session which shook my confidence and I just never fully recovered. Please know this had NOTHING to do with all the people who were helping me throughout the day. Glenda (the event coordinator) is fantastic. Her son Kyle was a dream. This was ALL about me, fighting to "get my game one." In spite of my best efforts to pull it together for my big presentation/keynote address last night (to 500 people) I was NOT in a good place. It was for me, like a bad dream being played out in real time. From slide #3 I was LOST. Nothing flowed and I was simply shaken. Suffice it to say that I will NEVER be giving that speech again. I NEVER want to see those slides again. I'm sure people will comment and say "Oh Stacy, you are too hard on yourself" and that may be true, and I'm sure it's also true that most of the audience didn't know I was struggling so much — but those things are hard to put into perspective right now, when all I can do is replay the whole stupid thing over and over in my head.

I'm sharing all this with you for a selfish reason. I want to be able to come back and read this and remember how I'm feeling right now, so I can hopefully learn from this. I think after a sleepless night what is emerging for me is the knowledge that I have become far to dependent on "technology" — what I do cannot be about my presentation and how my slides look and transition and all of that. I have got to focus rather on speaking from my heart and I have got to focus my preparation on my audience and what I really want to share with them rather than on my notes and my stories —- if you haven't ever presented to a large group of people this may not make sense. I need to step back before an event like this and really think about where I am and what the purpose of my presentation should be. Not only was I NOT in my groove last night, I gave the wrong presentation altogether — last night was supposed to be a gala — a celebration. It was supposed to be FUN and light hearted. Instead of having music and being entertaining, I gave a "class" and shared information that should have been given in the setting of smaller, classroom where the goal is learning. I need to remember this. Less focus on WHAT I WANT to teach and more focus on WHY I am there and WHAT I want the audience to come away with — that is it. That is my nugget of wisdom that I have been trying to get out. Phew.

So, I have to go back and teach three more sessions. I have to find my confidence and then forget myself. I will go take a shower and pray and make it happen.

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On our tour of Soweto (Friday) we stopped at a catholic cathedral, historic for the role it played as a gathering place for ANC leaders in their struggle to fight Apartheid. There was a group of beautiful school children, waiting for a memorial service for one of their teachers. At first we just watched them as our guide spoke to us about the church itself and some of the significant art and events that had taken place there. We were all eager to mingle with these children, but weren't sure if that would be acceptable.

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Then my awesome dad approached one of the teachers and told him how well behaved the children were. The man jumped right up and started talking and sharing and from that point it was so comfortable. The thing that struck me is how universal the joy of children is — once they knew it was OK, they began to just be children, smiling and being silly and laughing and wanting their pictures taken. It was amazing to see the others in our group mingling and connecting with these kids.

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Look at how beautiful this boy is.

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and I love this image.

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and I will leave you with this message. It is scrawled among thousands of others in the upstairs portion of the church where we enjoyed a display of gallery of photos documenting some of the history of this great township. This is so very true.

Comments

  1. Wow- Stacey- you ARE human =)
    I love how you can take your experience and be willing to share- and learn something from it- all so quick! Lesson learned for me too- Thanks.

  2. Stacy, thank you so much for sharing this with us. So many good nuggets of wisdom… There are times when all we can do is thank God that He gives us another glorious day! I know you will move forward with a smile on your face. Continue to have a safe trip :-)

  3. Hmm. I can’t really give you any advice that you haven’t just given yourself – but in terms of being less reliant on slides and notes I can recommend ‘Presentention Zen’ by Garr Reynolds. It really helped me break that barrier.

  4. What a great experience you’re having. It sounds like your next presentations will be awesome.

  5. You can now take that speech you were going to give about they why and sprinkle it into the classes about What.
    Best wishes…!

  6. We all have ‘off’ days. I respect your wisdom in looking behind it all to what you could do in the future to minimize a repeat.
    The children are beautiful and I’m pleased to hear that you and your dad are having a grand time together. Enjoy your time there.

  7. Reading through all my blogs this morning I read this message on anothers:
    “Stacy Julian was our keynote speaker and did her of course amazing job…It was a long day but a fabulous day…”
    I’m sorry you felt out of sorts, it’s a hard place to be.

  8. Thank you for sharing this. I love to teach. I think I was born to teach and almost nothing makes me happier. Yet there have been a few classes and presentations when everything fell flat it seemed. It makes me feel awful because I love sharing and educating and usually think I am good at it.
    I have been to two of your classes and you are an amazing teacher. You radiate passion and enthusiasm and make the topic come alive. Thank you for assuring me that times like these happen (even to you)and it will be OK.

  9. I have never been ask to be a keynote speaker at anything but I have been ask to use the Lords time to teach. I know how you feel when after it is all over and “that sucked” feeling comes over me.
    You hit the nail on the head for me. Less focus on the presentation and more on reading the audiences need.
    Thanks for sharing!

  10. First-you are amazing and genuine and real. This is just evidence you are human-that you have hard times or weaker presentations that help you appreciate the good ones when everything just flows. You have become so accomplished it has probably been a long time since you have felt something like this. Its humbling. It’s one of the things that endears us all to you-that you share your struggles as well as your strengths.
    Second-when I heard you talk at Treasured Memories it wasn’t your slides that blew me away (sorry to say that!) it was YOU. It was your enthusiasm and passion about what you do. It was your desire to soak up life and reach for more-and that has to come through no matter which slides work and which don’t.
    Funny-if you change Soweto to “your”, that message scrawled on the wall-”I have seen in you a great amount of pride in your people, hope for your future, and the ability to do anything you wish to do! Thank you for sharing Soweto’s [Your] experience with us!” could be said about you!
    Soak it up!-Michelle

  11. Laura from Calgary says:

    I think I am going to sound like one big cliche but here it goes: We are always the hardest on ourselves. Take what you have learned from a difficult day and go forward because tomorrow is a new day. I have learned from you that you need to be yourself. Your audience will love what you have to share with them because you are genuine, caring and a wonderful person and it will come through in your sessions.

  12. I really appreciate that you share both the ups and downs of your experience.
    Your photos are fabulous!

  13. That’s what I love about you Stacy…you are so real. Thank you for sharing your reality with us. It’s great to learn through experience.
    Who knew you were completely “human” like the rest of us! ;)
    Fantastic photos by the way…enjoy the rest of your trip!

  14. “So you had a bad day…” that song is so catchy…
    Stacy, you exude so much joy, faith, love; you believe in people and their ability to do/accomplish things in life; for a better tomorrow – whatever was said in last night’s presentation, I’m sure that your love and passion came across loud and clear.
    Today is a new day – embrace it and start anew.
    Thanks for sharing the pics of the children. Hope for the future.
    I’m so glad you are sharing this time with your dad too! So neat!!

  15. Stacy,
    Did you realize that the note by Sarah, that you took a picture of was written 4 days before the 9/11 attacks here in the USA? My middle son was born 1 month and 1 day before the 9/11 attacks. I remember turning on the tv that morning and thinking that the photos show were from some movie or something, and then going to the school where I worked, and wondering profoundly what they must be thinking/feeling on this day. I remember crying with the other teachers and staff in the hallway. Long silent sobs.
    It makes you reflect on all those bad days we have, that there have been worse days, and that we will move forward to better days ahead.

  16. Our pastor has days like this, and honestly, I think the failure in slides let’s his composure shine through. He is so known for having his act all together that it’s actually a beautiful thing to see it tested, and how he just keeps going.
    Have you ever been to a convention before and just not been where the event was…perhaps the event it fluffy and you wanted to come away with something substantial and a speaker surprised you? Anne Graham Lotz did that for me once as she closed. Her talk was last and every women’s event talk that day had been funny. And I left with one talk on my mind…hers. What she had to say was so profound, it rose above the event. It was a talk on “heaven”…just when I thought I’d heard all the speculation. I cried listening to her tell what it would be like. Even though it wasn’t “up”, it was filled with passion and hope…true celebration.
    Who knows how the Lord used you for those who needed to come away with something sound. Learn, but don’t doubt yourself too much. You just never know. Someone may have needed to come away with a simple message like, “Be free to fail…we all do sometimes”. I’m sure you handled it with grace.

  17. Thanks for sharing Stacy – I love how you – are. you.! I think sharing helps you and us too as we struggle to be the best God wants us to be. I teach [both some scrappy things and in the real world of my job] and have to say there’s not much worse than being under the deadline of time and the tech stuff not cooperating – it throws EVERYONE off – and I’m sure you pulled it off with grace. I really loved what you said about the prep part – and thinking through the presentation for the specific event – wow – we can all learn from that – and while it may not have been what YOU considered the best of what you might have shared – I know the Lord was able to use what you DID share. He uses you – I’ve seen that in person and online [blog, classes, etc.] Just stick close to Him – and I know you do – J http://www.bepresentbereal.blogspot.com

  18. I won’t tell you “it is okay” because you know it is all okay, and at the same time, it isn’t… but what a valuable lesson. Thank you for sharing it with us. And the photo of those little feet is precious!
    xoxo
    L

  19. I have definitely never spoken to a crowd of 500 but I’m a high school Spanish teacher and some days I rock the classroom and others I out right stink. So, it’s ok, shake it off and start anew. They will always remember the last thing you say, not the first :)

  20. rachel in Cali. says:

    Stacy… You rock!! I just don’t know what else to say… You had a sucky day… and guess what?…”it’s okay”.
    It reminds me of something you taught me… does this sound familiar?
    “It’s okay… throw it away”
    Well I’m saying…
    “It’s okay, it’s okay, I (you) just had a sucky day” ;0)
    So you didn’t have your groove on today, that just means your human.
    Thanks so much for your honesty, and passion!!
    rachel

  21. Hi Stacy! I was at the gala evening on Saturday night and the friends I was with at the convention and I couldn’t stop talking about how FABULOUS your talk was on Saturday evening. We even chatted about it NON STOP on the 1 hour flight back home last night. It was just what we needed to hear. We didn’t notice that you weren’t speaking from the heart, to the contrary we felt that you were. It would be a shame to not do that speech ever again. It meant so much to us. I wish I had recorded it to listen to it again and get all the pearls of wisdom and truth out of it that I may have missed. You are far to hard on yourself. The 3 of us went out to buy your Photo freedom book early on Sunday morning for you to autograph for us. 2 of us were the 2 ladies you autographed books for in the 2nd to last session of the day. The 2 eager ones who came to see you at the beginning of the class, because you were such an inspiration to us. Please keep on being who you are and letting your passions shine through. Lots of Love, your #1 fan in South Africa!!!!

  22. You never know what wonderful works God has for us… even in the times we feel the worst. You reach so many with your positivity, and hopefully some is returned to you!!! :) Keep doing great works! And be blessed, even in those rough times. :) Thanks for sharing and for being a blessing! :)

  23. 1. I’m sure you do this anyway, but make sure to write down some of those conversations with your Dad. 2. I get the speaking thing, even if you’ve done it for a long time, you can still be thrown off once in a while. Get back on. I’m sure you were fabulous & will continue to be fabulous. 3. Go check out Cathy Z’s blog – she’s got a video of Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s that is super awesome.

  24. Having been lucky enough to be in one of your classes a couple of years ago, I have seen first-hand your ability to speak from the heart. You have a natural ability to capture your audience, share your message, and give the gift of yourself. There is nothing more powerful than that. And while I can appreciate YOU didn’t feel you were at your best, I’m sure those who heard you speak came away with much more than they ever expected. You inspire us … always.

  25. This sounds like the perfect stuff for that “Something You Are Learning” page. Thanks so much for sharing those beautiful photos!

  26. Sucky day aside (so thankful for some of those sucky experiences that shed light upon what’s important and give us focus and a chance to learn), that photo of your father talking to the man at the church is beautiful. It says so much and creates such emotion. Thank you, as always, for sharing yourself with all of us. :) Tess in Bothell

  27. Stacy . . . so hard to imagine you having an off day. You are always so inspiring and so full of wisdom. You have taught me so much about intentional imperfection. I hope you can stop replaying your presentation and get back into your groove. Thank you for your honesty and sharing with us so openly.

  28. Stacy,
    I’ve never given a speech to 500 people before but I have had to give presentations and felt ‘off.’ It’s a horrible feeling. It is over though…as Anne of Green Gables says “Tomorrow is a new day fresh with NO Mistakes!
    My sympathy is with you. I also did have the chance to hear you speak in Thousand Oaks, Ca and I just want to say you have a wonderful spirit about you! Your compassion and understanding shine through! HUGS TO YOU and best of luck through the coming days.

  29. Jeannette P says:

    Thank you Stacy. I read through your post at a critical time where I just got off the phone with my sister whom is having family issues & I am beside myself not knowing what kind of advice or encouragement to give to her. I sat and prayed while putting my 21 month old down for a nap & felt a little better but what I really needed was for the tears to flow. And reading through your frustrations and then the positive experience you had at the cathedral let my emotions down & the tears are still flowing. Thank you. I really found it neat that your dad walked over & sort of set everyone at ease with a nice compliment about the children & then everyone felt more relaxed. How wonderful to watch your Father do that. I bet in a way you felt sort of proud that he had the confidence to do that. I also love that despite your claim not to be the best photographer you captured the feelings of the moments you had in that church & that’s what counts. And you found a fantastic quote on the wall to share with us all. Plus the kids sitting with their feet dangling is awesome & sweet.
    As for the presentation….I’ve done a few of those over the course of my high school, college, and internship days and I understand where you are coming from. Maybe you are being too hard on yourself but I think that you have once again shared your feelings and then thought about it in a ‘learn from this experience’ light and that is something I strive to do in my life. I know that knot or sinking feeling that you probably have in the pit of your stomach when something doesn’t go as planned & it feels awful but to take this & learn from it in order to shape your future presentations in the best way you possibly could is phenomenal. You ROCK Stacy!!! And someday I’m going to meet you & listen to one of your speeches b/c I think you are an extroidanary woman. YOu always want to bring your ‘A’ Game and that’s wonderful but sometimes it doesn’t happen & that’s ok. Move on, know that you are loved, you are respected, you are fun, you are phenomenal, & there was a darn good reason they invited you to do classes & speak at the convention. How’s that confidence now? I hope you are feeling much better. I know I am (with the help of God, you and my Daddy just called). Take care & enjoy your trip! :D

  30. Stacy-
    I keep this quote in my journal for when I feel I’ve made a mistake or need a little shoring up.
    “I don’t know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes- it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, ‘well, if I’d known better I’d have done better,’ that’s all. So you say to people who you think you may have injured, ‘I’m sorry,’ and then you say to yourself, ‘I’m sorry.’ If we all hold on to the mistake, we can’t see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can’t see what we’re capable of being. You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one’s own self. I think that young men and women are so caught by the way they see themselves. Now mind you. When a larger society sees them as unattractive, as threats, as too black or too white or too poor or too fat or too thin or too sexual or too asexual, that’s rough. But you can overcome that. The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself. If we don’t have that we never grow, we never learn, and sure as hell we should never teach.” Maya Angelou
    Thanks for being a GREAT teacher!

  31. Stacy I love you and you were absolutely AWESOME this weekend… even at the gala evening on Saturday. As I said in passing last night… You’re the only one who knew you were off and didn’t give the talk you intended…. I loved what you said and it was worth every word. I would give you a hug every time I saw you… so please don’t forget me and if you need another hug… come visit my blog. Enjoy the rest of your sat in SA. Lots of love, C

  32. Anne-Liesse Ankeny says:

    Stacy,
    Thank you for sharing all that beauty with us: the children, the pictures, the quote, and you, as a human being. Those things unite us all. Please keep sending pictures…
    Anne-Liesse

  33. Tertia Jacobs says:

    I was there and I don’t think anybody noticed! Loved your class and will treasure my page for ever, thank you so much for making us think about what is important and not just about what looks cool!

  34. Stacy,
    I hope you read through this far and it is beginning to dawn on you how far your gifts have reached.
    I heard you speak in Calgary in April (I was the one who gasped audibly from the back of the room when you said “Throw it away”). I attended this event because I was at a crossroads when it came to scrapbooking. It had been two years since I had committed photos to paper, yet I continued to purchase product (I told you when we spoke later that I no longer considered myself a scrapbooker, but a “product manager in the scrapbooking industry – I buy product, bring it home and find new and innovative ways to store and display it”.)
    I had no great expectations for your class and when they introduced you and said you would be “sharing life-changing words” with us, I believe I rolled my eyes and sighed in resignation: another hyperbolic introduction of some run-of-the-mill speaker.
    Well,Stacy, you blew me away! You more than lived up to your billing. I bought the book and then I bought up the previous book. I have signed up for classes and even renovated, redecorated and re-organized my scrapbooking room. (Uh, by the way, not a good plan when you’re trying to live the experience that is the Have more FUN! class.)
    I have re-discovered the joy, the passion and the FUN that drew me to scrapbooking in the first place. And for all that those simple words can mean, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
    Now, if I can offer you a bit of wisdom I have recently adopted:
    I am the chairperson of a board which governs an education system with a $20 million budget. I work very hard at what I do and want to do my best every day. I have many opportunities to speak in front of crowds of 20 to 800 people. I am the woman others turn to for answers, for confident decisions and for solutions to the challenges we face. But inside that woman is the little girl who is the “dummy” in the family. Sure, I’m the FUN one, but I live with those external and self-imposed judgements echoing in my head all the time.
    Two weeks ago, I gave a doozy of a bad speech. NOTHING went right. I handed out the wrong certificates to the wrong people. People who should have been receiving certificates weren’t present and others who qualified for their service awards and were present didn’t get called up. It doesn’t matter whose job it was to make up those lists, I am the face of the board and I looked like an idiot. No amount of ad-libbing and improvisation could restore my confidence nor quiet the whoosh-whooshing in my brain. (What is that noise anyways and why does it always show up to fill the void when you’re trying to put together a cohesive thought?).
    The most amazing thing was that the next day I was in a workshop with a sports psychologist who spoke the second set of life-changing words I’ve encountered this year:
    “I have NOTHING to prove to ANYONE” (Not to my family, not to rivals and naysayers, not even to myself)
    and
    “I am a human being” (with all the value for my role in this world that that implies and with all the inherent forgiveness for human mistakes that goes with it.)
    Now these may not sound revolutionary to most people, but they were words that I needed to hear at the time I heard them and they are words that will stay with me for a long time to come. In fact, I had them engraved on a silver disk and will wear them on a chain around my neck for those times when I need to be reminded (which is pretty much all the time).
    ( In fact, just to test my resolve, my son shaved his head last week into a mohawk and then dyed it bright red. For those who would judge my parenting skills based on my son’s passing attempt at rebellion, I have NOTHING to prove. And my son, well, he’s a human being too and this is just a youthful mistake (or at least I hope it’s not permanent!)
    Stacy, you have NOTHING to prove to ANYONE – least of all yourself. You are a human being and you don’t have to be perfect. But by saying you will never give that speech again, you are cheating yourself out of the opportunity to triumph and shine and cheating the rest of us out of the opportunity to learn from your experiences. You have inspired – and continue to inspire – far more lives than you can even imagine. Your words are heartfelt and, yes, life-changing. I know this is true, because they changed mine when I least expected it.
    Thanks and love,
    Bammela

  35. Being one of your many fans, I am so glad you are human. One of my dreams is to get to meet you in person someday with time that we can have a grand adventure talking and sharing with each other. What a truly wonderful experience you are having right now. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.
    Cindy

  36. Say hello to my friend Veronica who has travelled to the convention for the second year from the little island off the coast of France to join her sister for the event.
    Sue

  37. I am so happy for you to be traveling with your dad- enjoy!
    and way to mark your experience up to a learning one-

  38. Just wanted to say thank you for such an awesome class in South Africa loved it all…great meeting you again!

  39. Your speech at the Gala evening in SA was phenomenal, really got me thinking and will apply it too…BIG THANKS!!!

  40. Whether you taught appropriately there or not, your message came through loud and clear on your blog and I thank you for it. I’ve done the same thing and needed to hear about your recovery. I also have appreciated your readers’ comments.

  41. Stacy, the next time you feel like that, do what I do, and take a page from the Sound of Music. You can either sing about her favorite things or think about your own, or, if feeling really adventurous, sing about your own. Just know that we all have moments like that and if you can learn something from them they only make you stronger and smarter

  42. Gee whizz, I am so surprized to hear how it went from your side. I thoroughly enjoyed the gala evening, just wished I was less tired. I thought you did an awesome job and it was the highlight of my Saturday. Then your class (the last on Sunday) blew me away too. I am honoured to have met you, and got you to autograph my books and trust that your last few days here would be really enjoyable – the wet weather aside. Hope you actually got to see some wild animals. Thanks for everything.

  43. I am reading this way after the fact and I am sure by now it is all behind you and you are having an amazing time…….we have all felt that way on different levels whether it be presenting to a few or 500 in your case…….a lot of people, like myself, take it out on the only person we can and beat ourselves up about what we “should have done”…….hope you are still not beating yourself up, you are fabulous!! God didn’t make us perfect for a reason! Enjoy the rest of your trip…..and we all feel your pain!

  44. So glad that some of you that were there have commented.
    Stacy, you are your worst critic………we love you! Patty

  45. You inspire so many…
    You inspired me…
    http://fromichelle.blogspot.com/2008/09/purity-springs.html

  46. Stacy,
    First off I was honored last year to teach at the same convention in SA and to say it was amazing is just not enough. I am missing it just from reading your post. Glenda and the rest of that group are just incredible people.
    I also have been a speaker/teacher for numerous years first with MOPS and then teaching with meandmyBIGideas. Here is what I try to do before every event I attend.I always before I teach take some time by myself and the Lord and ask Him to take me out of the equation and that what I say and do be for His Glory. I also ask Him to humble me and please not by me tripping up in front of everyone.:) When I don’t do this I have come off feeling like you did. Like you said probably not visible to your audience you just know. Just a little something to ponder. I have only heard such great things about you from our mutual friend Stephanie A. From your blog you are such a genuine person. thank you so much for sharing your life and your realness. So greatly appreciated! Enjoy the rest of your time in SA.

  47. Nicole Clark says:

    Hi Stacy,
    I hav been singing your praise all week. I loved the talk on the Saterday night. I have repeated so much of what you shared. You have inspired me to make a difference. i read the book (5) on Monday morning on the way to school. I sit in a lot of traffic.
    my son, Ryan, Though I was strange becaus I kept shouting out, “this is brilliant” He would as me why and I was on the page about Thank god it is Monday. I told him that it was such a blessing to have mondays because you could plan to make a difference in the eek and actually pull it off. I suggested that he plan to do something extra ordinary like make a new friend or decide to colour extra special. His face lit up and he said he had an idea for the weekend… I’ll wiat and see.
    On Monday night he announced to the family that he had made a new friend!
    Tuesday, he bought home the best picture yet this year!
    I on the other hand hit the week with passion. all my collegues thought I was mag. I carried the book around to every meeting and by lunchtime I had such a demand for the book that i had to go and buy 10 additional copies to help those around me. I have found this to be so liberating.
    I love your style of talking. I have been an a remuneration conference all week and I feel like shaking things up a little. I miss the giggling no and then and the absolute authenticity of your approach. I have set a goal… In 5 years …I will be presenting something that I am passionate about… I am following my dreams…I know they know the way.
    THANK YOU

  48. I read a link to your blog today and was so happy to discovery your words and photos. The photos of the shoes in this post is the most amazing photograph. They are all beautiful. Wow. Thanks so much for sharing. Tiffany

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