Category Archives: guest speaker

Canadian Astronaut, Commander Chris Hadfield: “What I Learned from Going Blind in Space” (Ted Talks Vancouver)

Fascinating talk by Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to walk in space.  18 minutes and 21 seconds well worth your time.

There’s an astronaut saying: In space, “there is no problem so bad that you can’t make it worse.” So how do you deal with the complexity, the sheer pressure, of dealing with dangerous and scary situations? Retired colonel Chris Hadfield paints a vivid portrait of how to be prepared for the worst in space (and life) — and it starts with walking into a spider’s web. Watch for a special space-y performance.

2 great quotes I enjoyed from this talk include:

  1. The jaw-dropping gorgeousness of the turning orb like a self-propelled art gallery of fantastic, constantly changing beauty that is the world itself“.  I love the beauty and awe in this sentence.   Although I don’t believe Chris Hadfield is a man of faith, by drawing attention to the beauty of God’s magnificent creation, one cannot help but be in reverential awe of the Creator Himself.
  2. I love that he ends the talk first with a cover of Bowie which he has done before and got a lot of attention for, but he also ends simply with the words “Fear Not“.  This is one of the most quoted words of God Himself throughout the Bible and it has been said that there are at least 365 times in the Holy Scriptures that God has said “fear not” in one form or another.  I would like to add that we are not encouraged to “fear not” simply for the sake of it but the motivation is often given following such encouragement by God’s Words “…for I am with you.”  That is ultimately the only reason we need not fear.  Thanks for the reminder, Colonel Hadfield! 🙂

If you haven’t seen it, here’s Colonel Chris Hadfield covering Bowie in his “music video recorded on the ISS of a modified rendition of “Space Oddity” by David Bowie.The video has over 20 million views on YouTube.”

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2 Amazing Omani Ladies! Sabah & Safiya Al Bahlani

If you want to hear about 2 absolutely amazing women from Oman, you really need to watch this video from the 2013 TED x Talk in Muscat.  Sabah al Bahlani and Safiya (Sofi) al Bahlani are a mother-daughter team that speak for those without a voice and are changing minds in how people look at “disability”. Everyone is born for a reason, a purpose, a mission.” (Safiya al Bahlani) Amen!

Win Exclusive Tickets to Oman Economic Review’s 4th Annual Oman Debate (Tomorrrow Morning!)

meet the futurists

oman debate4th oman debate

This is kind of last minute, but quite important to post ASAP.  The 4th Annual Oman Debate is tomorrow morning at the Al Bustan Ritz Carlton Hotel and is by invitation only.  3 lucky readers of this blog (who don’t have commitments tomorrow) may win tickets.

As you can read in the ad above, the panelists will explore/debate the question: Is the Omani economy future-ready?” 

For anyone who is free tomorrow morning from 9am to 1 pm, the 3 best answers to the following questions (post in comments) will win tickets to this event:  Question: “Creating jobs for Omani’s remains an overriding concern both for the government and the private sector. In your opinion, what are the measures that can/should be taken to encourage job creation for Omanis?”

This year, the Oman Economic Review would like to reach out to the Omani public by not only streaming LIVE coverage of the event online while the discussion takes place, but to also moderate the Oman Debate 2012 twitter and facebook pages for engagement purposes, to allow the public to voice their opinions and raise further questions and concerns during the debate.”
I was very honored and excited to be personally invited to the Oman Debate to be a part of this important community event as I was asked to “share my experience with the audience”. Wow!  Would have been nice but I have a full time job and my 1st priority is obviously to my job! 🙂 A big thanks to Mr. Mahreen, the social media specialist, who offered me the personal invite and 3 free potential invitations to readers of this blog.
For those of you unable to attend, I encourage you try following the LIVE coverage on sowlef.com/live .  Users are able to engage and participate in the debate using social media platforms   twitter.com/omandebate2012  and facebook.
Would be exciting to be present at such an exciting forum.  I have followed several of Tim Sebastien’s debates when he lead the famous “Doha Debates” and I used to follow him on the controversial and always exciting “Hardtalk” interviews.
Update:   The deadline of 10pm has come and gone and no one has entered the “contest”. I didn’t post this till 8pm and Monday is a working day so it’s understandable. (Sorry but I was also informed last minute!)  Those who are interested and free to attend tomorrow, please let me know as soon as you can and the tickets will be given to whoever wants them.  My website it set up to my blackberry so I get instant notifications.  You just need to leave your email address with an indication of how many (of the 3 available) invitations you’d like so I can send you an electronic invitation which I have on hand ready to send off to the winners.

“Marriage Masala” Conference, Muscat, October 2011

The Protestant Church of Oman (PCO) was delighted to have Rod and Ruthie Gilbert host a marriage conference at the Ghala Church this past week. The word “masala” (also spelled “massala”) is a term used in South Asian cuisines (including Indian, Napali, Bangladeshi and Pakistani) to describe a mixture of spices.  That was the purpose of the marriage conference; to add spice and flavors to Muscat marriages, whether the couple has been married 5 months, 5 years or 55 years.

Rod and Ruthie Gilbert are wonderful speakers (and people!).  Rod was born and raised in India while Ruthie was born and raised in America.  They have a wonderful international ministry that you can check out at www.marriagemasala.com.

3 “L‘s” to Spice a Marriage: Learning to be more Loving, Learning to be Listening (Lightening Loads) and Looking (face to face).

Many Christians are familiar with the book, “The Five Love Languages” by author, Gary Chapman.  Rod & Ruthie worked us through an activity in which we tried to determine our strongest and weakest “love languages” as well as what we think our spouse’s are.

Another interesting worksheet where we wrote down what we thought were the major “loads” occupying our spouse’s brain space so we could consider ways of helping them overcome worries or concerns.

I loved the point that Rod and Ruthie made with the penetrating question, “How often do we take the time during our hectic days to just stop and look into the face of the one who has won our heart?”  As an exercise, we took 12 seconds to just gaze into one another’s eyes.  Sounds funny but it was one practical tip on how to “stop and smell the flowers” and appreciate our spouses.

The 12 words are: “I am sorry“, “I was wrong“, “Please forgive me“, and “I love you“.

We have different “conflict language” just as we have different “love languages”.

Rod & Ruthie were quite hilarious during their “light-hearted reenactments”! 🙂

C-Count to Twelve  D-Decide on Boundaries   E-Endure!

After this wonderful marriage conference chalk full of great biblical truths and priactical applications, we are really looking forward to reading the book “Marriage Masala” which we’ve ordered.  If you’re interested, you can order this book on this link to Amazon for only $15.99 US.

“No Arms. No Legs. No Worries!” Nick Vujicic in Oman

Wisdom, Humor and Insights Offered by Nick during His Talk:

  • “Be passionate for today!”
  • “You can have arms and legs and have a broken heart.”
  • “The rain will fall on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (quoting from Matthew 7)
  • “I am very blessed and have never been so thankful.”
  • “Your greatest asset is “TODAY”!”
  • “I can type 43 words/minute, 53 after coffee.”
  • “My palms were sweaty…Just seeing if you’re awake!”
  • “What are they going to do? handcuff me?”
  • “My parents are my heroes today.  I thank God for my parents who kept on planting the seeds of encouragement and love.”
  • “I believe all human beings have value and a purpose in their lives.”
  • “F.E.A.R. – False Evidence Appearing Real”
  • “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (quoting from Psalm 139)
  • “You must be honest with yourself.”
  • “Who are you?  What is your goal?”
  • “If you put your happiness in temporary things, your happiness will be temporary.”
  • “You were created with a purpose.”
  • “You don’t know what you can achieve until you try.”
  • “The opposite of fear is courage.”
  • “If I jumped off the table, I’d break my arms…or something, haha!”
  • “How can a man with no arms or legs become the hands and feet of love?”
  • “I was so nervous my knees were knocking.”
  • “I picked up my hands free phone…Thank God they’re hands free.”
  • “You don’t need hands to hold someone’s heart.”
  • “Don’t just think “How will I get through this?” but, “What will I learn from it?””
  • He called 53 schools before he finally got a chance to speak at a school.
  • “If it’s not meant to be, there must be something better coming.”
  • “Don’t just “survive”. “Thrive!””
  • “If you’re faithful with a little, you’ll receive more.”
  • “Is it worth it?  If I could encourage only one person, it’s worth it.”
  • “We must understand the value of being responsible for what you have.”
  • “Your greatest asset is time.  The greatest way to use it is in love.”
  • “Who’s perfect?  Nobody.  Who needs grace? Everybody.”
  • “Be thankful for even the trials in life.”
  • “Love till it hurts.  Forgive and learn to forgive yourself.”
  • “Without my faith in God, I wouldn’t be here.”
  • “If He doesn’t change my circumstance, He’ll change me.”
  • “I have a pair of shoes in my closet…just in case He says “yes”.  Don’t ask me what the size is.”
  • Nick shared how reading and understanding John 9, the story of the man born blind whom Jesus healed, was a turn-around pivotal moment in his life.  “…this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
  • This was Nick’s 3rd time to the Middle East and the 1st time in Oman.
  • “I am only a servant with a message of good news.”
  • “I love you. Ha bibi, shookran!”

*Update Jan. 2012 – I noticed this well-written summary from another Omani blogger who also happened to hear Nick Vujicic speak – Lessons from Nick Vujicic.  Click on it and check it out!