Sunday, June 28, 2009

My Child

Greetings happy people,

Before we get started with today’s blog, I have the following poem I am going to share with all of you. It is entitled “My Child.”

From the seed that was planted in the fertile land
I will nourish you day and night
In my mind I will do what I know is right
For you are my child

I promise to shelter you from the danger
That lurks from every wayI
want you to be with me every day
For you are my child

Love, encouragement, and tenderness
Are what I am willing to give
And I will do so until I cease to live
For you are my child

Don't forget where you come from
Don't forget where you start
The place that beats within my heart
For you are my child

I love you!

On and off, I have been writing poems since 1995. Some were good, some were okay, and some were awful. “My Child” was one of the best poems I ever wrote. The story behind this poem happened in the spring of 1998, back when I was an Engineering student at UNLV.

When I first wrote this poem, my intent was to write it for one of my friends. Her name was Melanie and she was going to school the same time I was. She is a smart, friendly, pretty, and an amazing individual that one would really like to know.

As I was walking to one of my classes, I saw MeIanie sitting on a bench feeling very sad, lonely, and depressed. Feeling concerned, I asked what was wrong with her. She told me that she was pregnant and her boyfriend left her. She had one of those confused looks where she did not know what to do and was on the verge of tears. It was at that moment, I decided that I was going to cheer her up. Instead of just telling her that everything was okay, I decided to write her that poem.

Once I finished writing the poem, I gave it to her. When she read it, she was on the verge of tears again – this time it was happy tears. Melanie was quite thankful and she was feeling better that day. Not long after I gave her that poem, she had a beautiful healthy daughter named Nia.

Eight years later, Melanie and I were co-workers at my current workplace. She was walking with a little girl tagging along by her side. I asked Melanie who is the beautiful little girl. She said that her name was Nia. And she introduced Nia to me as the man that wrote the poem for her. WOW!! In a way, that made me feel pretty good to know that after all of these years, that poem meant a lot to Melanie and Nia.

This was a good example on how doing something nice for someone can go a long way. On any given day, we know some people that would face hard times. It would leave them feeling very sad, confused, and depressed. Many people would just walk by and not do a thing about it. A helping hand can really make a difference in touching a life. It would show that someone really cares.

Who knows!! The life you touch today can make a bigger impact for you tomorrow. All it takes is an open heart and a random act of kindness to get it done. Once more people are able to do this, the world would be a better place to live in. All we have to do is just take the first step. IT CAN BE DONE!!

That is all I have for now. Take care and thank you for your time and attention.


Jesse I-I-I

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Final Division D Governor Letter!!

Greetings fellow Toastmasters and guest,

Before we all get together for the Toastmasters Leadership Institute this coming Saturday morning 8:00am at the CSN Cheyenne Campus, I would like to say some final words as your Division D Governor.

First and foremost, I thank each and every one of you for helping this community go further than it could. You are all amazing and I find it a pleasure to serve all of you as your Governor for this year. Without you all, none of this would be possible.

I have been to all 28 (soon to be 29) Division D Toastmasters clubs here in this Las Vegas valley. And I find that no matter which club that I am in, we all share the same dream and vision that Ralph Smedley had 85 years ago at a YMCA basement in Santa Ana, California. This is helping people become better speakers and leaders not only for this organization, but for our respective communities as a whole. I am very confident and assured that this same sense of community spirit will live on for not only the next year when fellow Distinguished Toastmaster Narayanan Doraswamy, becomes your Division Governor, but for many years to come. Together we can live the legacy!!

If I were to describe my year of serving you as your Division Governor, it would have to be that it was an amazing ride!! I am thankful to get in touch with not only the people I have served in this Division, but also outside of it too!! Whether it is working with other Division Governors here in southern Nevada and central California, or driving out to different places such as Primm, Bullhead City, San Luis Obispo, Fresno, and Bakersfield, or even just having a fun time, I really would not trade these experiences with anyone!!

I am also thankful for my team of Area Governors. Karyn, Pablo, Jake, Nora, and Adella, you are all great leaders and you are all awesome!! I find it a pleasure to work with each of you and I really could not have asked for a better team. When I looked at all of you before stepping into this role, I knew that you would be great leaders for your communities!! Three President’s Distinguished Area, two Select Distinguished Areas, and a President’s Distinguished Division – if that does not tell you about the high-caliber leadership in Division D, I don’t know what will. You have all done a fantastic job, and I thank you for helping me take this Division to President’s Distinguished heights!!

People have been asking me what is next once I step away from the role of Division Governor on June 30th. Well, I will still remain active in the Toastmaster community. I will be the President of two Toastmaster Clubs (Bachelors and Bachelorettes AND the Silver State Toastmasters). I will also be the Vice President of Education for three more (Carpe Momentum, Centennial Hills Toasters, and Starmasters). Heck I may have some time to become a Chief Judge during Area & Division Contests too!! And just when I think it is safe, I could get myself ready for another three-year run along the top District officers positions including District Governor - Hmmm. Time can only tell.

If I have any advice for the future leaders that will serve in the 2009-2010 year, it would be one simple word – community. Whether it is through your team of leaders, or through the people you serve, establishing and maintain an effective community is very important in the success of the Clubs, Areas, and Divisions. With a strong powerful community, no force can really stop you from being successful!! As long as you have the spirit, the drive, and the bonding teamwork, you will thrive!!

If I have any advice for guests that read this message, I would encourage you to check out a Toastmasters meeting!! We have 54 (soon to be 55) Toastmasters clubs in the Las Vegas Valley alone!! There are 12,000 of them all over the world in 90+ countries!! All you have to do is step in the room where a Toastmasters meeting is taking place and just enjoy what each club has to offer. You will be impressed with what is out there!! To look for a club near you, just go to the Toastmasters International website ( Come on by and tell them I sent ya!!

That is all I have for you as I write this final letter as your Division Governor. Remember to take care of yourselves and please keep the success thriving as we go forth to the next year. We all can do this as we build on our distinction. Thank you for your time and attention.



Jesse Oakley I-I-I, DTM
2008-2009 President’s Distinguished Division D Governor
(2012-2013 President’s Distinguished District 33 Governor??)
District 33 Toastmasters

Monday, June 22, 2009


Greetings happy people!!

My name is Jesse Oakley I-I-I and I AM COURAGEOUS!!

Yes, there are people that already know that, but it took last weekend to discover this miraculous thing for myself.

I have done many courageous things within the last year: served as a local Division Governor for half of the Toastmasters clubs in Vegas, learned how to swim, sang in front of a karaoke bar audience, and asked a woman out on a date (which led to an awesome 13-month relationship).

Despite these fantastic things, I felt that more has to be done. It was like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle still needing to be placed in order to get the full picture.

While the “Living in the Now” meditation exercise is working well for me, and the certain breakthrough moments I had before helped make my life better, I knew that there was something still needed to make the overall picture much clearer than before. That was when last weekend happened.

On Friday, I experienced my deepest meditation session with a few of my buddies at a seminar. The visions I saw while meditating were truly fantastic!! I channeled deep inside my mind and it took me to places I have not been in many years. I laughed, I cried, and I awed in pure amazement. When it was all over, I discovered my own inner courage!!

Thanks to this breakthrough discovery, I created and received many miracles that weekend. I had the courage to help out with my community by sending bottles of water to thirsty people at a nearby park, I had more courage to start up a super dynamic conversation with my dad, and I had also set more personal goals for myself to establish by the end of 2009!! I also discovered that more miracles were also coming my way – whether I received or created them!!

In addition, this discovery also increased the size of my heart. I thought I had a big heart before, but once the deep, visionary meditation was done - my heart grew tenfold!! It increased my confidence, it further increased my positive thinking, it made me appreciate the things I have, and it further increased my own courageousness!!

With an increased heart also came an increase sense of love. Not just the type of love you see in relationships, sex, and marriages, but the type of appreciation that can be seen in different facets of life (such as my family, friends, workplace, and my own environment). This is way better than creating any form of negativity that would generate wars, mistrust, and victimization.

Now that I discovered my own courage, I would like for you to discover your own. If you have it, find ways on keeping and making it stronger!! Once you discover it, feel free to use it for the betterment of yourself and the environment around you!! GO AHEAD....Be courageous!! Create your own miracles!! Make a difference in the lives you touch!! It will be better for everyone to have this type of vision!!

That is all I have right now. Take care and thank you for your time and attention!!

My name is Jesse Oakley I-I-I and I AM COURAGEOUS!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Baby Got Backbone

Greetings happy people!!

It was a Friday night. I was in a smoky, dimly lit bar standing on a stage with a microphone in my hand. This was in front of strangers I don’t know!! What I was about to do was going to be one of those unforgettable nights for I was about to sing my first ever song at a karaoke bar.

Yes, one of my livelihoods is speaking in front of people, but this was different, I am not in one of my relaxed settings at a Toastmaster meeting. Instead I was in a strange place with people staring at me. On the outside, I looked calm and very cool. But on the inside, I was nervous and a bit frightened - wondering if this was a smart thing to do.

As the music was getting ready to start, I had two choices: get off the stage and run OR throw caution into the wind and milk the fun out of it. Thankfully, I chose the latter.

The first song I ever sang (or rapped) was the classic 1992 song “Baby Got Back” by Sir-Mix-a-Lot. Luckily I knew the lyrics to the whole song. Once I uttered those first words (“I like big….”) I was on fire!!

During the performance, I realized that more people were getting on the dance floor and I decided to be in the middle of the action –shaking my booty and rapping to the beat. Once the song ended, I conquered another feat as the audience cheered my performance!!

Now I would occasionally attend karaoke bars and have fun on the stage. Whether it is Rick James “Super Freak” or Corey Hart’s “Sunglasses at Night” or even Digital Underground’s “The Humpty Dance,” I would find myself having more fun each time I am performing in front of people that are into having a great time!!

This was an example on how trying something new can be awesome!! Imagine if I had got off the stage in the beginning. That would have been a closed door opportunity not knowing what could have happened. Fortunately, I was able to have the guts and curiosity to experience this new thing called karaoke.

Everyday people are trying new things and are realizing that it doesn’t hurt – unless it is skydiving with no parachute of fire eating with gasoline lip gloss. There is nothing wrong with going out there and doing what you want to do. The only person that would prevent yourself from doing something new is YOU!! If you really have the urge to try something out like singing at a karaoke bar, eating exotic foods, or travelling to a place you never been before – JUST GO DO IT - because you will end up feeling better for what you have done!! And that is something we ALL can sing to.

That is all I have for now. Take care and thank you for your time and attention.


Jesse I-I-I

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Positive is a PLUS!!

Greetings happy people!!

Positivity is good.

Thinking positive is GREAT!!

Feeling positive is ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIC!!

I am a proponent of this bright, upbeat sense of attitude. It seems that when one can feel positive, the troubles of the world would lift off of the shoulders!!

There were times when I felt negative, depressed, and would worry about the past and the future. The more I did this, the deeper I would fall into despair. It really got to the point where I really thought everything was hopeless.

Thanks to a couple of good fortunes within the last 13 months, I am taking in a VERY different outlook on life. Sure there are certain pieces of the puzzle that still need to be fit. But once the picture came together, I started to look forward to brighter days – and IT FEELS GREAT!!

Whether it Is going through powerful breakthrough moments, rediscovering my own renaissance, finding that special someone, doing a special exercise (, or just even hanging around more positive people, I can really say that this whole positive aspect is just FANTASTIC!!

Thanks to this revelation, I rarely have headaches, I worry less about things, and I just feel thankful to experience these types of GREAT feelings!! Heck, I even manage to crack more smiles :o)

Believe me. When you get a hold of this upbeat spirit, go ahead and accentuate it!! There is nothing wrong with being at this point because you have that right to live this way!! If you have been feeling, living, and thinking positive way before reading this message….please keep on enjoying the ride!! Staying in this spirited mood can take you to greater horizons!!

In today’s time where negativity would take presence, I would personally like to share this feeling with all of those that read this topic!! There are many ways to live, think, feel, and do positive things!! All you have to do is just go forth and find anything that can push you towards your positivity!! You will be amazed where this shift in direction will take you!!

That is all I have for now, thank you for your time and attention.


Jesse I-I-I

Monday, June 8, 2009

Living in the NOW!!

Greetings Happy People,

I picked up an interesting yet relaxing technique a couple months ago from a cool friend. It does not involve any stretching, nor does it involve any rigorous calisthenics. All you have to do is just stand outdoors (or sit), close you eyes, clear out your mind, and just listen for the next 60 seconds.

What do you hear? Do you hear the birds chirping in the trees? Do you hear the wind blowing across your face? What about the nearby traffic or kids laughing and playing in the park? Oh!! What about the mellow flow of a nearby body of water? If you can hear these things, you notice that everything is happening around you one way or another. Would you like to know the cool part? You are actually in the middle of all the action!!

Once the minute has passed, open up your eyes, take a nice deep breath, and smile. How do you feel? If you feel awesome, then you are living in the NOW!!

Believe it or not, many people take certain things for granted. Especially taking the time out to do this simple exercise! In the hustle and bustle of the daily grind, we find ourselves worrying about either what has happened or something may or may not happen in the future!! We get to the point where we are bogged down with either what we have or do not have.

Living in the now not only allows us to back away from any worries we have, but allows us to be thankful for what we have, where we are, who we are, what we are able to do, and the time we are living in – which is ALWAYS NOW!!

Ever since I have done this simple exercise – at least twice a day – I feel better about the environment around me. I am more thankful with the job I have, my vehicle that gets me from point A to point B, and my own personal well-being. Heck I am even thankful for meeting some cool and interesting people in my life (Especially the one that taught me this simple exercise)!!

That’s right Happy People!! In the words of the of 70’s disco group Tavares “It only takes a minute.” Sixty seconds out of your day to stop, clear your mind, and listen to what is happening around you. When you do this simple exercise, you will not only feel better about yourself, but also feel excellent for living in the now!!

That is all I have for NOW :o)

Take care and thank you for your time and attention.

Jesse I-I-I

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Ugly Duckling

Greetings happy people,

In 1843 Hans Christian Andersen published a fairy tale entitled "The Ugly Duckling." It was about a little bird in the barnyard that suffers physical and psychological torment for being unlike the other birds only to become a graceful swan in the end. I can really relate to this fairy tale because, I was also once in those webbed feet. I was once considered ugly beyond recognition only to where I stand today as a beautiful swan. How did this story begin? Well, let me take all of you back to the Fall of 1986.

During my days of attending a sixth grade center, I have faced different types of bullying, harrassment, and constant teasing because I was different in how I looked, how I talked, and how I thought. I have been called many things from nerd, stupid, and was even called an ugly M.F. I was also accused of "acting white" many times. Gee, I really did not know that there was a requirement in "acting black."Additionally, I would also have the "opportunity" of getting in fights where I would mostly get beat like a dirty shirt. Don't get me wrong, there were some cool people I met there, but there were some bad apples really made that year unbearable for me.

Most of these insults and fists were usually hurled by some of the meanest, yet ignorant students that really did not know any better. I also had the unfortunate "opportunity" of having the same people that did these things to me follow me to Junior High School. Like the sixth grade center I have attended, I face the same physical and psychological torment that were faced when I went to the sixth grade center.

Thanks to this (plus many blind eyes of some of those teachers) my grades started to decline, my self-esteem was almost down to nothing, I was getting colder, and it felt like there was nowhere for me to go because I started to believe some of those kids that said I was nothing and going to be nothing. As many times as I tried to fight back, I would get put into detention or face suspension by those authorities that really never cared in the first place. This would not only hurt my feelings, but create an inner rage that was about to go off if no one did anything about it.

Thankfully my parents saw the ineffectiveness of the people running that school and myself constantly getting bullied. They decided to make a change and put me into another school where I would not have to deal with that mess. They put me into a place called Bishop Gorman High School.

When I first roamed the blue and orange halls of that campus on Maryland Parkway, something told me that this place was going to change my life. And it certainly did!! As I first walked through the halls as a Freshman 20 years ago, I only knew a few people from my days at the sixth grade center and Junior High School - don't worry, they were pretty cool in my book. The rest were people I did not really know. At first, I feared that the ugly duckling syndrome was going to come back again, but once it slowly faded away with time.

But as time passed throughout the four years at that school, I rebuilt myself. Additionally, I met some way cool people that I am still in touch with to this day and my grades started to improve. To me, attending that school can be seen as the metamorphic change from the ugly duckling I was once seen to the swan I really was about to become. Attending that school really changed my life for the better and for that I will ALWAYS look fondly at the Blue and Orange!!

When it was time for me to go to school, I went down the street to UNLV. Before I arrive at the school, I had a choice to decide which major I was going to focus on. I picked Civil Engineering. As soon as I made my decision, I can still hear those voices from the days when I was younger telling me that I would not get too far because I was stupid. At a moments notice, I decided to go forth on what I call "the six year war." It was tough, it was challenging, and there were times where I really wanted to quit!! But I didn't!! Instead I stayed the course and recieved my Bachelors of Science degree in Civil Engineering in 1999.

During my time studying Civil Engineering, I ran across an organization call Toastmasters International. To find out about that story, just go to the post on my blog that says "Toastmasters - an awesome investment."

As I write this to all of you, my eyes are starting tear up. Seriously, who would have thought that a kid that was once on the edge of worthlessness would become what he is right now? Talk about your real-life ugly duckling story.

As for the people that once picked on me back in the day, I ran across a few of them. I would get comments like, "Hey you still look the same!!" They wanted to know what I was doing and when I tell them....their jaws would drop in amazement!! Yes, the same person you tormented went further than you expected. That would give me a great feeling. Hee Hee!!

It goes to show you that sometimes the ugliest duckling can really turn into a very good looking swan. For the youngsters that are reading this message, if you feel like you are being bullied and picked on, remember that this is only temporary. Don't let anyone tell you that you are worthless!! Just keep living day to day and you too can become a beautiful swan!! IT CAN HAPPEN!!

That is all I have to say for now. Take care and thank you for your time and attention.


Jesse I-I-I

Monday, June 1, 2009

Courage in Water

Greetings Happy people!!

Okay I admit it!! I consider myself to be a late bloomer. I got my driver's license at 20. I been on a plane the first time at 27. I had my first drink at 30. Out of all the late blooming experiences I had. The one I felt that I took the huge courageous step in is actually learning how to swim at 32. For those mathemeticians out there, I will turn 34 on October 29th.

Yes, that would make it about a year and some change ago when I first took my steps in the water. The one person that really help encourage me to get into the drink was my girlfriend Dana. She was amazing in helping me learn how to swim. Grant it I still have a long way to go before I become the next Michael Phelps - but at least I am learning how to paddle my feet pretty well while wearing a life-jacket.

There are people that learned how to swim when they were 7,8, 9 or even younger. My excuse for not learning was never having an opportunity to swim. Coming from a Navy brat, that seems pretty odd.

Last year, I was at my apartment complex with Dana. We decided to go to the pool to cool off that Summer. First letting my fears get to me, I admitted to her that I never swam a day in my life. She looked surprise at first, but was willing to help me out.

Of course, the first thing to do in learning how to swim is to get in the pool. While Dana was able to dive right in, I was taking my entry via the ladder saying "Ooooh" everytime my feet hit the water. Then without further delay, I went in the shallow section of the pool - you know the part that is 3 feet deep. It was pretty nippy at the time.

My first attempt in the water, I swam like a rock!! But with encouragement from Dana, she showed my different ways to swim. I tried the dog paddle- did not work. I tried the back stroke - no avail. Minutes later I learn the basics in paddling with my feet, while she guided me. It was a learning process.

Let's fast forward to Memorial Day 2009. We were at the Lake Mead Marina and I had a chance to get into the cold water. When I got in there, I still needed the life jacket. However, I am still paddling with my feet!! Again this took a lot of courage to do.

Somewhere in the world, there are people trying something new for the first time. Whether it is learning how to swim, climbing a mountain, or being on an airplaine, all it would take is that first step to go out there and do it!! Like me learning how to swim at 32, it is never too late to learn something new. Imagine if people if have not tried these things for their whole lives. Plenty doors of opportunities would remain closed for them. It is always a good thing to learn something new for you will be floating ahead in life and become better for it!!

That is all I have for now. Take care and thank you for your time and attention.

Jesse I-I-I

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