Jesus the Other Sun
Walking Along the Lighted Path…

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Becoming a Speaker 

After I left the United Arab Emirates, the last of seven foreign countries in which I lived and taught English, I planned to become a speaker. I wanted to share the knowledge of the different cultures that I’d gleaned over the years. I loved cross-cultural communication, and I believed it was a natural outgrowth from my years of teaching abroad. Living in the Middle East brought together a culmination of cultures in one location. I was extremely blessed to live in the midst of this multicultural, multilingual base. One day I decided I’d rather teach about culture than English.

L: traditional Moroccan shoes Top Right: Tunisian   pitcher and bowl Bottom Right: Afghani beadwork
L: traditional Moroccan shoes Top R: Tunisian pitcher and bowl Bottom R: Afghan bead work

With my speaking goal in mind, I gathered clothing, pottery, whatever I could carry that could exemplify a culture that I wanted to speak about. My target was to bridge any misconceptions people in the west had toward those from the Middle and Far East, Latin America and Africa. For years, I’d been doing the opposite, trying to bridge the misconceptions that other cultures had of the west. 

Shortly after I came back to the US, I was asked to speak at a pre-school / day care center. I was so excited!

One little boy shocked me when he asked me this question: “Do all Egyptians carry guns?”

That was not something I expected to hear from a four-year-old boy. When he raised his hand, I imagined that he would ask me about the pyramids or pharaoh, but that wasn’t the case. It kind of broke my heart that children pick up these negative impressions so early in life. From parents? The media?  I realized then that God had placed me in the perfect position to educate him and the other children about how kind and good the Egyptian people I knew and lived among really were.

Though I was certain that was the right plan for me, I ended up writing about my travels instead of speaking about them. Then I started teaching a cross-cultural college course on the Far East and took on teaching some classes in Spanish.  That, along with coping with vision and hearing loss, set those plans on hold until I got my life back in order. When I finished my book, Mobility Matters: Stepping Out in Faith, I realized that I had also stepped out as an advocate for those with hearing and vision loss. I had the same speaking goals as I had earlier. I wanted to bridge gaps in understanding and move past prejudice and preconceived notions.

I’m learning that being an author goes hand in hand with speaking and educating so it’s not a completely new arena.

Probably the biggest challenge for me will be hearing all the questions my audience might have for me afterward.

But, again, I know that God would not place me in a situation without a solution and He will work out those details.

So, it’s only now that I’m actually taking on the role I envisioned for myself ten years earlier.  I have to so much to share about the world–the way a distinct group of people think and believe, what they value, how they express their sense of family and what their history is. I haven’t gotten any requests for talks on other countries but I’m ready when they come.

What I’m starting out with is my faith and how God has worked through my various situations to show that He is faithful to me and loves me. I have given two talks on this. Now, I’m starting to move into new areas:

On February 12, I will be speaking to a mixed group of authors about being a vision-impaired author and what it was like to write and publish Mobility Matters. On March 13, I will speak to a group of senior citizens on macular degeneration, offering tips and sharing my story. On March 24, I will be delivering a class on “Awakening the Senses,” to another group 50+ years. I’m so grateful for the opportunities to share what I’ve overcome and to encourage others.

I don’t know what type of speaking engagements God has in store for me at this juncture of my life but I’m really looking forward to finding out.  I can speak to both Christian and secular and civic groups, not only about faith and vision loss but also about getting involved in your community, making a difference, animal rescue, loss of all types. If you’re curious and would like to find out more about what I love to talk about, you can find a list of my topics here.

Change is exciting; branching out in new directions is also motivating. I love connecting with others and sharing insights from my experiences. I would also appreciate your prayers as I take this new step and trust God to provide outlets for me to speak, sell my books and break through barriers.

Connecting and helping each other grow is what it's about for me
Connecting and helping each other grow is what it’s all about for me

 

What new plans are you making in your life today? It may not be a career change but moving in any new direction is always challenging, exciting, maybe a little (or a lot!) frightening. If we focus on what we can bring to the table, it will be rewarding. We may never know until we try it!

Becoming a Speaker
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14 thoughts on “Becoming a Speaker

  • February 2, 2015 at 7:47 am
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    Love your post Amy as it shows how your life has prepared you to speak, leading you one step at a time to the next and the next. I am glad you are speaking and writing as I think you ‘need’ to do so given you being such an inspiration with dealing with your vision challenge. 🙂 For myself, I am currently singing in two choirs – I usually sing in one – and considering a possible solo or duet possibly. Also, in the prebirth stage of a book myself., though please hold the congrats for now. 😉 <3

  • February 2, 2015 at 7:57 am
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    Thank you, Elly,
    You are always so encouraging! I am excited and nervous about taking this on, mostly in reference to my hearing. But things will fall into place. I’ll post something after talking to the authors to let my readrs know it went. … And your music! You’re getting more involved in it! Yay! Do you have plans to do anything with the younger kids in 2015?
    Amy

  • February 2, 2015 at 2:53 pm
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    Hi Amy,

    In one of your recent blogs, “Low Vision Fender Benders,” you were a car. In this blog I see you as a “bridge,” a bridge that spans the gaps that many of us have, concerning different cultures, God, faith, blindness, deafness, and disabilities in general. The best part about this “bridge” is that God is its suspension beams. And with His support, I believe you’ll see a lot traffic traveling across it.

    Take Care,

    Matt

  • February 2, 2015 at 2:57 pm
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    Hi Amy, it’s sad that politics has made children so negative, way too early. We pray for a positive change to humankind.

  • February 2, 2015 at 3:56 pm
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    Oh Matt,
    I love how you put that! The details you’ve added once again bring my analogy into much sharper focus: “the best part about this ‘bridge’ is its suspension beams.’ It’s very reassuring thinking of it that way and I agree, that “with his support, [I’ll] see a lot of traffic.” Thank you for that!
    Amy

  • February 2, 2015 at 4:01 pm
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    I tend to agree with that, Michelle. Only parents also have something to do with that picture. It’s up to those who know the truth to share and bring about positive change, and, of course, that happens through prayer. Thank you so much for weighing in on this issue. So glad to connect with you again!!
    Amy

  • February 2, 2015 at 6:15 pm
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    I’m so glad you turned what others might view as a negative into a positive and used your cross to help others. The next challenge I face will be the loss of my husband and my eventual loneliness. I only hope I can face it with fortitude and go on learning for the rest of my life.

  • February 2, 2015 at 6:43 pm
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    Speaking is supposed to be one of the hardest things to do – and you are more than brave, Amy – Congratulations on all that you do – I am honored to be aware of your work – big hugs 🙂

  • February 2, 2015 at 8:04 pm
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    Francene,
    I can so relate to what you are saying. It is so challenging to face any loss. You don’t even want to think about it half the time! I went through a period of about six months where I cried often, asking God not to take my sister, actually begging Him not to take her. But now I’m trusting that He will fill that huge void in my life with His presence in time. It’s really hard. What I’m doing to get through some of my bad days is giving gifts to my nieces families each week. It’s something positive to focus on.
    Praying for you!
    Amy xx

  • February 2, 2015 at 9:08 pm
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    So many people feel that the experiences in the lives have brought them to a certain moment. I have felt that a lot in my own life, but right now, I am not certain of the next step to take. You have such an extensive list of topics, it amazes me what is packed into your experience and expertise. I admire those who educate, and change peoples’ lives by spreading hope and destroying hate. I know you will do fine, and your skills will grow, the more you give talks. May you change many lives!

  • February 2, 2015 at 11:31 pm
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    Hi Donna,
    Thank you very much. I am so enjoying the series of blog posts that you’re writing now.
    I am sure that I will become a better blogger as a result!
    Amy

  • February 3, 2015 at 12:04 am
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    Hi Alana,
    Yes, I really do have a lot to share and am eager to get started. I took a few topics off the list (one of them being “Why can’t the Egyptians and Israeli’s get along?) because it’s such a volatile and complex subject. I think people don’t really want to understand the problem. They just want to air their opinions and accuse each side. So I decided I don’t want to be in the middle! Since I was married to an Egyptian, I learned a lot about how Arabs generally feel about that issue. 🙂 While I strive to give information impartially, someone always gets hot under the collar (in conversations) so I have set that topic aside for now. 🙂 Plus,I’m still learning a lot about such groups as ISIS, which are terrible and hot topics nowadays.

  • February 3, 2015 at 3:52 am
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    Amy,

    I am so excited for you and the doors God is opening for you! His plans are higher than our plans. He knew all along the path you would walk. Your desires were planted in your heart by Him, but they will be realized in a way that will bring praise, honor, and glory to Him beyond our wildest imagination. I am praying for you as you step out in faith on this next journey God is sending you on!

  • February 7, 2015 at 9:15 pm
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    Thank you so much, Carrie!
    My first speaking engagement is this coming Thursday! I will talk about being a ghostwriter, a vision-impaired author and my book. I hope that I don’t have any technical problems with the computer. Just want to be really well-prepared and hope that I come across enthusiastically. I hope you are getting closer to your goal for becoming a speaker, too!
    Amy

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