Monthly Archives: May 2009

Toastmasters D56 Spring Conference 2009

Susanna 1 “Reach for the Stars, Fulfill your Dreams”

This was the theme for the spring Toastmasters Conference held at the Clear Lake Hilton on May 29-30, 2009.  If you were not there, you missed out on a great time.  It was an awesome learning experience and it was alot of fun.

It all began on Friday night, with a dinner, introduction of District Officers, and the Evaluation Speech Contest.   Wow, I was totally impressed with the Evaluation Contest.  All the contestants did an awesome job.  These contestants made it through 3 contests to compete at the District contest.  The next step for them is the Area Contest in Denver and  finally the International Contest.  As I listened to the contestants, I learned many techniques to help me give a more positive and organized evaluation. 

The fun and learning continued on Saturday.  In the morning, there was the Parade of Banners, Business Meeting and the Governance Plan presented by Charlotte Howard. 

The real fun began Saturday afternoon with an excellent Pasta luncheon combined with the District awards.  Then we had three awesome breakout sessions, with the Grand Finale of the District Speech Contest.

The first education session I attended waas presented by Vivek Rajan on “Authentic Communication.”  In this session, I learned effective breathing techniques to help me communicate more effectively.  I loved the “ballon exercise.”  It was a unique and fun way to get to know people during this session. 

Secondly, I attended John Nguyen’s Presentation on Inner Strength.  It was a powerful and thought provoking presentation.   John presented us with a series of questions to help us discover our “Inner Strength.”

Most importantly, you need to discover what “Intangible catalyst that uniquely motivates you?”  Secondly, “what are your core values?”  Thirdly, “What is your mission statement?”  Finally, “What does Succcess look like to you?”  Then, John challenges you to create a “Vision Collage” of what motivates you.   After all, ” If you can see it, you can have it.”

Finally, I attended Vikas Jhingran, “Public Speaking:  An Emotional Approach.”  It was a real treat to listen and learn from Vikas, after all he is the 2008 World Champion of Public Speaking.  Vikas gave us another powerful presentation.  He used music as a metaphor to establish an emotional connection with the audience.   Vikas emphasized many speakers do not take us out of our comfort zone.  He challenged us to “Rise to the top and let it go.”    He shared some other great tips such as the element of suprise, creating a title and how to create that “wow” conclusion.

By attending the Saturday afternoon break out sessions; I learned many tools to enhance and finesses my presentations.  Speakers are always constantly learning and observing from other speakers.  This was especially helpful to me, because I will be speaking at the National Hearing Loss Convention in Nashville in June 2009 on 2 presentations.    

Lastly, we had the District speech contest.  Once again, I was floored with the quality of the contestants!  It was hard for me to pick a winner!  I thought they all did an outstanding  job.   They all aspired me to be an even better Speaker.

As dinner was served, we heard a very humorous speech from Houston’s own Weatherman, Frank Billingsley.  He shared his story with us, using lots of humor and the life lessons, he encountered along the way.  Finally, Frank shared with us some of the unique reporting of Hurricane Ike.

I wish you were there!  It truly was a memorable weekend!  I hope to see you at the Fall conference!  

As always, Have a sunny day.  Susanna

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Spindletop Show Results

Hello Everyone!

The weather sure was nice for the Spindletop Show this past weekend in Katy at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center.  Sure, we had an occasional shower, and it was hot, but not too miserably hot.

As for the show itself, there was a good turnout from the farms and the classes were great.  The judging was excellent.

As for Chance and I, it was a mixed show.   I was only able to show Chance in two classes, I originally had more classes planned.  However, Chance was not feeling well.  Chance was having some “lameness issues.”  I will tell you that he had stifle problems in the past and it has been corrected with medication.  Occasionally, it will flare up, well it decided to flare up at this show.  As we all know, horses can have lameness problems and it does not mean the end of their career as long as you treat it and manage it properly. 

Therefore, I only rode Chance in two classes because we did not want to make the problem worse.  I still managed to have two great classes, in spite of him being a little “off.”  Chance showed alot of heart and he performed well. I was happy with my rides, because people noticed that I was riding much better and keeping him in “frame.”   I felt like the hard work in all the lessons were paying off.  I also managed to slow him down at the canter which was something I was working hard on.  In addition, I was feeling much more confident in my riding and it makes a huge difference in the outcome of the ride.

I am excited about the future with Chance, because he will be treated this week by the vet and I know he will return to top form.  I know we can only go “up” from here.

Next, we plan to show at the Region 9 show in Fort Worth.  So, the two of will be real busy in preparation for the show.  Chance will get rested, treated, and schooled.  In addition, I will continue to polish my riding, by taking some lessons next week. 

I had never shown Chance at Region 9, thus I am excited.  It has been 6 years since I had shown at Region 9.  Chance has shown at Region 9, one time in the past with another rider and he was a Top 5 Winner in the Select Rider Class.  I hope to repeat this feat!  I will only try!  In addition, we will also compete in the 40 and over class. 

Stay posted and I will tell you how we do. 

As always, Have a sunny day.  Susanna

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Spindletop Arabian Horse Show

Hello Everyone!

This weekend I will be showing at the Spindletop Arabian Horse Show held in Katy, Texas at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center.

This will be my second show with Goslin-Nix Training Center with Jennifer as my trainer and coach.   I am excited to be here!   Jennifer has been working steadily with Chance to teach him to be a little “softer” in the bridle and to really use his whole body to be more collected and rounded.  Chance has really risen to the challenge and he is coming along beautifully.  Yes, there is still work that needs to be done before we participate in the Region 9 Horse Show in Fort Worth, Texas.

On the other hand, Jennifer certainly has alot of patience, she has been working with me on improving my riding.  Some of the many things I have been learning is to really utilize my fingers and hands.  In addition, to using my hands and legs together to achieve the ride we need to have. Furthermore, I am learning to slow down at the canter, it is not easy, because he likes to fall out of it…I do realize it is not his fault! I need to use leg contact!!!!!!!.thus, this is were the leg and hand training comes in.  The first few weeks my legs were sore.  No, they are not sore anymore, as I am starting to use my aids better.

 I have been taken as many as  3 lessons a week.  I have never had this many lessons at one time in my life, and I am having a blast.  I have to admit it is alot of hard work in putting a horse together.  At least I am trying very hard and I want to do well.  By like, I have been saying, you have to make sacrifices and work hard to achieve success at anything that you do in life.  It is a process, if it were easy, we would all be National Champion Riders!  I am persistent and I am always willing to try again, after a not so good ride.  Thus, when I have an awesome ride, it truly is an awesome feeling. 

I am looking forward to having fun showing Chance this weekend, and to test many of the new skills I have learned. 

So, if you have nothing to do this weekend, come to the equestrian center and watch some gorgeous arabian and half arabians show.

As always, have a sunny day ! Susanna

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The Cochlear TV Show

Hello Everyone!

Tiffanie, Teri, Karen & Sons, Susanna, and Paula

Tiffanie, Teri, Karen & Sons, Susanna, and Paula


A fun time was had by all last night.  It was the live taping of the Cochlear TV Show.  It was a blast.  The show was produced by Houston Media Source.  Tiffanie was the host.  She is a Cochlear Implant Wearer and Hearing Aid user.  She only had her cochlear implant for 2 months.  Since, she has worked in media productions for many years, she decided to use her experience in media and her personal hearing story to create this unique show.  The tv show consisted of footage of Tiffany  before, during and after surgery.  This video was interwoven with live questions from the panel  which consisted of Teri Wathen, Paula Holzband and I, who all have Cochlear Implants.  In addition, Karen L was the mom of a child, Seamus, who wears a CI.   Some of the questions related to surgery, Mappings, and our CI experiences. 

I am so thankful for my Toastmasters experience.  Why, because one of the things we do in Toastmasters is have weekly table topics.  Table topics is when they give you a question and you have to answer it immediately in 90 seconds.  Th goal is to be able to put together an organized and well constructed “off the cuff” speech.  I will never forget my early “Table Topics”  speeches, they were not great, but the more I particpated in them, the better I was at them.  This experience came in handy, because we were “live” it really felt good, when afterwards one of the members of the production stafff gave me a hug and said I was “articulate, well spoken and very clear!”   It made my day. 

 After it was done, we all commented that we had enjoyed the experience.  I thanked Tiffanie for letting me be a part of the show.  She had mentioned that last night’s show will be the first in a series about Cochlear Implants.  I am also looking forward to my copy of the show.  I have not seen the finished results, but I have been told that we all did great.

As Always, Have a sunny day! Susanna100_0210

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Filed under Cochlear implants, Hearing loss, inspiration, Uncategorized

California Dreaming

Hello Everyone

Hollywood Walk
Hollywood Walk

The following flikr link is for a bunch of photos I took in California in March 2009.  There were several ladies, I took the trip with, we were all together in California to go sightseeing and most importantly attend the Cochlear Celebration.  They are a truly phenomal group of ladies.  Thanks ladies!  I had a great time getting to know y’all.  It really was neat to hear all their stories.  Even though we all have cochlear implants, everyone’s story was different.  I was truly amazed!

100_0174The ladies include Teri Wathen, Ester Kelly, Lydia Cruzen, Paula Holzband, Ann Boyd and I.
California surely is a beautiful place with lots of people and traffic! The weather was awesome!
Here’s the photo link
As Always, Have a sunny day.

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Filed under Cochlear implants, Hearing loss, Uncategorized

Cochlear TV Show

Taos, New Mexico

Taos, New Mexico

Hello Everyone

This week their will be a cool tv show about Cochlear Implants called the Cochlear TV show.  It will be on Comcast Channel 17, TV max 95, Sudden link 98 or Phonoscope 75.  It will air at 7:00 pm on Tuesday May 19.

This show is a local production airing out of Houston, Texas.  It is a whole hour dedicated to Cochlear Implants. 

The really neat thing about this show, is they will have a panel of cochlear implant wearers discussing their experiences with Cochlear Implants.

Guess who will be one of the members of the panel?  That’s right.  You guessed it.  I am.  I have never been on tv before.   I am excited.  I know it will be a neat experience.  It will be cool to share my experiences before a live filming. 

I will tell you how it goes, so look for a future post  about this experience.

For now, don’t forget to tune in on Tuesday night at 7:00 on May 19.

On the other hand, if you have a blog and you want to gain exposure, I suggest you add your blog to

As always, Have a sunny day.


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Filed under Cochlear implants, Hearing loss

Laffmasters Toastmasters Club


I haven’t really shared much about another passion of mine.  I know what you’re thinking, she’s doing enough already with her hearing loss awareness and showing horses.

I also enjoy being involved in Toastmasters.  It is an awesome organization that has tremendous benefits for everyone involved.  Some of the many benefits include how to speak in public with more confidence, giving effective and timely meetings, in addition to building leadership skills.  Go to to find out more.

What I enjoy most about Toastmasters is actually giving speeches, I love to speak!  Toastmasters gives you effective evaluations so you are always striving to improve your presentations.

Laffmasters is a unique Toastmasters club because they require you to use humor in your presentations and evaluations.  I learned that if you can make your audience laugh, even if it is a motivational and inspirational speech, it will be even more effective presentation that reaches the heart and soul.  After all, who doesn’t like to laugh.

I have received many compliments on my presentations.  However, my mom told me I need to inject more humor into my talks.  Thus, I am now a member of Laffmasters Toastmasters.

Furthemore, I will be attending the Spring Toastmasters Conference in Clear Lake in late May.  I hope to learn many new interesting speaking tips and to network with other speakers. 

In addition, Toastmasters, puts on many neat speaking contests and I will be a contestant at a contest on June 4, 2009.  I am excited. It is an Icebreakers contest.  The theme is to share something about yourself with the audience.  I will share with the audience my hearing loss story and how I did not let my hearing loss stop me from leading a productive and satisfying life.   So, come to the Tracy Gee Center in Houston and hear this story and lots of other unique stories.

As for speaking, I will be speaking twice at the upcoming Hearing Loss Convention in Nashville in mid June.  I am real excited.  Why, this is my first real large speaking event.  I am ready. 

By the way, when you book a speaker for your next event, contact me, at  I have several themes I can share with your audience to include overcoming adversity, hearing loss awareness and communication stragedies, goal setting, competition, and finding your purpose in life.

Their will be a business website coming soon, with audio and video tapes for sale.  So stay tuned!

As Always, Have a Sunny day.


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Mayfest 2009 Horse Show Results


Mayfest was a blast.  As I mentioned in my earlier blog, it has been 6 years since I had shown at this particular show.  I had forgotten how fierce the competition can be.  However, that’s a good thing, it challenged Chance and I to push ourselves to the next level. 

Afer all, Chance and I had done well at previous horseshows including another really competitive one which is the Cowtown Show in Fort Worth. 

We did well, all things considering, it was our first show with our new trainer, Jennifer of Goslin-Nix.  It was her first time to work with Chance at a horseshow, and she was satisfied with what she saw with Chance and I.  Yes, we have several areas of improvement, most noticeable to slow down in the reverse direction and to have a really consistent “hunter” head set.

Yes, I made some mistakes; however, I had one just about perfect ride, in the Championship class on Sunday morning.  I will be honest, I was disappointed I did not receive a ribbon.  However, as it’s been known in the horseshow circle, sometimes, you win a ribbon in a class that you personally did not think was up to your expectations, and other times you can have a perfect class and not get a ribbon.  It all evens out in the big picture of things.  Most of the times, the placings fall where they are supposed to.

On the other hand, it is not always about the placings, it is your personal goals for the horse show and the class that is taking place that matters the most.

Therefore, I was very happy with my class that Sunday morning during the championship, because I proved to myself and Chance that we can overcome our past errors in earlier classes at the show.

As for the show itself, it is really competitive, all the big boys and girls come out to play, because this show is shown in the same facility where we have our Region 9 show a few short weeks later.

Also, it is pretty much the last show of the season for us Texans, with the exception of  Spindletop, San Antonio Fiesta and Regionals.  We, Texans do not show in the summer, it is way too hot.  Our show season begans in the fall, with it peaking during the spring months.

Yes, some people show in the summer, but they go way, way, out of state like Missouri, for instance.

Thus, this also is a great show for trainers and riders to fine tune their horses for US Nationals which happen in Tulsa in October.  It gives the trainers and riders a chance to see “how they stack up against the competition.”  Therefore, enabling them to have all summer to finesse the horse and rider teams.

Finally, the classes were quite large which is awesome, lots of competion with  tremendous “quality” in the hunter classes.

I am glad I went, I had a blast and I am ready to rise to the challenge with Chance, Jennifer, and Mrs. Nix.

We are looking forward to our next show at the Spindletop Show in Houston in Late May and finally, the Region 9 show in June.  I have never shown Chance at Region 9, so that will be a goal accomplished.  Whoo hoo!

I will write more about the upcoming shows, later.  Until next time, Happy Riding, see ya at the shows, and as always, have a sunny day.

Susanna and Chance

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Filed under Arabian Horses, Horses

Cochlear Celebration Photos 2009


Life is a Celebration!

Life is a Celebration!

Here are some photos from Celebration.  I had a blast in Anaheim. 

I did some awesome sightseeing with the ladies from Houston.

At Celebration, I met lots of neat people, learned alot and appreciated the miracle of the cochlear implant in people’s lives.

Thank you Cochlear Americas, for putting on this Celebration!  It truly was a Celebration.

Enjoy the photos

As always, have a sunny day.  Susanna

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Filed under Cochlear implants, inspiration