TEDx and Me!

Dreams do come true, I have wanted to share this story with the world and I have just had a chance to do that at TEDx Noosa.


Enjoy the talk and please share with anyone who will really love it.  If you want to read a bit more of the story behind this talk… there are a couple of posts that might do the trick!

The Most Amazing Man in the World

19 Was a Big Year


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An amazing year

I just discovered this draft I had written at the end of 2011!  It was, indeed, an amazing year. Thought I would post it anyway… enjoy.


This is my first non work day in a while – and I wanted to spend some time ‘dosing up’ on gratitude – I have been ‘Christmas busy’ for a few days and whizzing past things, forgetting to pay attention, skipping deliberate gratitude and appreciation, whinging etc.  Consequently I have quickly ended up enjoying less, a little unhappier, more easily upset….   all downhill!

It amazes me is that even though I talk or write about gratitude most days, that I sing its praises to one and all, that I am immersed in quotes and science –  I still actually have to practice gratitude intentionally and daily to have the magic that it works happen. If I forget to be deliberate about finding the good things, thanking others, not complaining – I end up right back where I used to be – surprisingly quickly.

I hadn’t intended to write a post –  I have stopped blogging as I end up writing other things most days and I don’t have the energy for it –  I was writing a quick facebook comment asking “What are you grateful for this year?” and I started answering my own question. It got out of hand and ended up way too long for Facebook, so here it is – what I am grateful for this year –  in no order whatsoever (it is early in the morning, there is not much order in my mind this early).

Becoming free of employers!!!  Now I am spending more time with some of my grand children and children and family.  Wonderful!   Being able to choose when I work is very freeing.

Dark days.  This has been a year of growth where I have learned more and more to welcome the pain, the disappointment, the let downs, the hardships, the betrayals.   For the first time in my life my first response to a great trauma was ” Yes, I am about to learn something.”   I am proving to myself again and again, that gratitude makes me resilient in a way I had not imagined I would ever become.

Children who are proud of me…   this year I have had some of my children in the audience of various talks or workshops.   Is there anything nicer than the shiny eye of a child who adores you?

I am grateful for my lovely man, having healthy kids who have found great partners with whom they have begun to scatter yummy little people about the earth.  Particular to this year….  My youngest left home this year and I am so grateful for the lovely relationship we have developed.  I love having kids who call and include me in their lives, their music, their joys and their crap.  That is what makes me feel rich… and I am very rich.

This is the year I have seen more and more that the more consistently I practice gratitude, the deeper the benefits get.  This year has been about learning that it isn’t that I come to a place of light and wonder and then feel grateful but that gratitude…  intentionally practiced, sometimes in the darkest dark, brings me to light and wonder.  I am deeply moved to be able to share this through the 30 Day Gratitude Challenge – it is a profound gift to get to do what you love and are passionate about every day.


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The Most Amazing Man in the World

Today it is my husband’s birthday.  He is the most amazing man in the world.

And the best of husbands.

I almost missed marrying him because I said no when he asked me (except not so politely).  It is only that a brave girlfriend said this to me:

“You should marry him, he will treat you kindly every day of your life.  You have to face it Toni, you are not much of a catch.”

I was, fortunately, smart enough to know the truth when I heard it and it was every word true.  He has treated me kindly every day of our marriage and it was a miracle that someone like me ever got to marry someone like him.  You can read about how we got together here.

Marrying Phil has turned out to be the best and most fun decision I have ever made.

Useable insight – if someone who really cares about you tells you a hard home truth, listen!!  Thank you Donna!

He is someone who naturally focuses on the good things (I should have learned that from him earlier).  In the early days of our marriage he would bounce in from work and say something like  “Wow, you cleaned the sink!”  and totally ignore all the stuff I had been too lazy to do.   He gives and gives.

One day, very early in our marriage, I went to pick him up after work and sat in our car watching all the men stream from the building.  They all scurried off, heads down, rushing to get away. I waited,  no Phil.  It seemed everyone had come out of the building and I was beginning to wonder where he was.  Then I saw him slowly come out the door, stop at the top of the flight of stairs and look up at the sky. He looked for a few minutes and then, with a great lack of urgency, descended the stairs.

This moment has stayed with me as a ‘picture’ of who he is.  Never hurried, rarely anxious and on full alert to roses, sunsets, nature and any other wonder.

He wonders.  Stops, wonders, notices and enjoys.  This makes him such a beautiful man who has never lost his childlike ability to enjoy what is in front of him, he embraces simplicity.

One of the very first things he ever said to me was “I can do anything”.  He was 19 and I thought he must be very arrogant to say something like that.  I was to find the opposite was true.  This was a statement of profound modesty and connection.  He just understood that he, like anyone, could do anything they wanted.  His creativity and brilliance at solving problems and making things is quite special.

Phil is a very humble man who sees the potential in everyone and every thing.  I thank God every single day that he saw potential in me at a time when no one else could see it.

The list of things that are great about him is rather long. When he turned 50 I tried to write some of them down…   and stopped at 50 – it seemed fitting.  Here are a few.

He shares a simple wisdom that cuts to the heart of things.

He is gentle. Sometimes his gentleness can be mistaken for weakness but don’t be fooled…  he is a man of extraordinary courage, self discipline and strength.

He is also patient, kind, loving, fair, hard working, faithful, honest, true, hilarious, tender and wonderful dad- I have to stop because there are too many –  I don’t want you to be ill reading all this lovey stuff.

Hint:  a man who is secure and unselfish is likely to be great in bed.

He is simply the most amazing man I have ever know, he has filled my life with goodness and I am the luckiest.

Phil, happy birthday, I am grateful for all of it.  Thank you!  I love you 500 zillion jonathans.

The beautiful man himself!!!
dads 50th 3 (1)



Toni Powell – making a film, loving a life and things I learned.

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Another Era Ends

In late 2005 the most amazing and most unlikely thing happened to me.  I was offered a job by a company in the USA called Withoutabox.

Withoutabox was the brain child of two brilliant men, both filmmakers, David Strauss and Joe Neulight.  As most filmmakers know the process of submitting a film to a film festival is quite tedious (or used to be) and repetitive. When this frustration occurred to David and Joe, Instead of complaining about it, they found a solution.


An easy way for filmmakers to submit to film festivals and a way for festivals to ensure the director and staff stay sane.  Very clever.

In early 2005 Hailey and I had finished our first film and I was busy submitting away to festivals.  As I knew next to nothing about film festivals I was also busy searching for wisdom on the subject.   I stumbled on Withoutabox and found out that not only did it reduce the time it took for me to submit to a festival by hours but they also had a very active message board area.

In my search for wisdom I read almost all of the 20,000 or so posts that were there at the time, almost living on the message boards for months.  It was like attending Film Festival University.  I ended up knowing how to enter my film and do well at film festivals. When I founded a film festival in late 2005 all I had learned on Withoutabox meant that the festival was unusually successful.

In December 2005 I was in New York and met the Withoutabox team, it was like meeting family and I think the feeling was mutual because David offered me a job.  A very trusting action I thought!  I remember David said that he perceived I was an evangelist.  I had never heard the term used corporately before – but he was right,  I have been a devoted Withoutabox enthusiast.

Some years ago Withoutabox got bought by IMDb which meant I was also now working for the biggest influencer in the movie world.  Miracle.

Today I leave Withoutabox after 5.5  wonderful years. While it is rather sad to part with that bit of my life I am also filled with gratitude for the many gifts that Withoutabox has given me.

What a great job it was….  I got to work with film festivals in the Asia Pacific region and met some amazing wonderful people. All sorts of doors opened up to me.  It was flexible, interesting and I worked with a great team.  I was trusted to work remotely in another country and the best bit of all was supporting film festivals.  I especially loved helping small and new festivals grow.  I got paid to do this!   Yay!

So my grateful Friday (on Saturday this week)  is a big thank you to everyone at Withoutabox – past and present.  I am especially David and Joe who had such a great idea and chose to trust an outspoken Aussie with their baby.   I loved it.



Me on the red carpet at Tropfest,  VIP because of Withoutabox.  Funny though, none of the cameras are pointed at me.


Toni Powell – making a film, loving a life, things I learned.



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DAY 3 – Toni’s no complaint week

So day 3 already.  Despite choosing a week when I was at home, and kinda safe – I thought – big drama still visited me.  I have not done as well today as I could have …  at all.  But I have done about 150% better than I would have done had I not been attentive to the challenge.  So I am actually pretty pleased with myself!


Love this quote.


This is the true joy in life, being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. -George Bernard Shaw

My dear friend actor Tony Barry, quotes this all the time.  He has that amazing voice and I love to hear him talk about anything, but I love this one especially.  It is so important to have a mighty purpose…..

Jan Rainbow Love the “feverish selfish little clod” phrase!!!

Maryan ‘maz’ Bourke day 3 coming to an end….wednesday is hump day….well it fabo day here :) proud mama of one son who saw the wrong in this actions :) – roast pork cooking – kids laughing happily….♥ the universe

Sheila Ruzanov end of day 2 (US), getting better but not perfect: it is easier not to complain when you stay home- LOL!

Christine McAuliffe Finding it very challenging this morning, need cyber strength LOL Impure thoughts as Maz says- 4! Finding it hard to remain positive after the dog ate half a packet of hubby’s licorice bullets last night, lets say that his system has been cleansed and leave it at that.

Cara Quinn Along with not complaining (okay I had a few slip ups today) me and my aunt are writing something we’re grateful for every day on our status updates. It’s really strange how much perspective all of it’s given me – I could honestly sit and and write a list as long as my arm about the things I am grateful for.

Carolyn Chalton its my birthday today, no complaining, just very grateful for the lovely friends and family I have in my life, even though some are 12000 miles away from here.

Megan Ede Have been mindful of your challenge! Realising how easy it is to grizzle and complain…..it takes practice and effort to actually always look on the bright siiiiide of life. But there really IS a silver lining to every cloud – you just gotta be mindful of it. Thanks for the challenge!

Mandy Clancey I’m learning that I complain much more often than I realised!

Karen Bloom got to say that for just being the 3rd day its pretty difficult to keep by. Today I got pretty angry at someone, it was extremely awful, but then I remember the challenge, because of it I started to see the good side of the situation, just to relax and let it pass. Don’t keep any of that bad feelings in me and through photography I let it out, I’ve never done that before, and it was pretty amazing ^

Julia Harwood Still no complaints, actually enjoying this now

Leonna Flack It’s great to acknowledge the simple things that have gone right during the day that you wouldn’t normally focus on. Like making it to the petrol station when you possibly may not have or realising that you have everything you need for dinner and don’t need to go to the shops like you thought.

Elizabeth Bee Not doing too bad at home but work …. well that is a different thing. Why is it I feel so ungrateful at the place that gives me the opportunity to earn money so I can do and pay for things at home with my family? You would think I would be more grateful.

Shannon K. Maher Longcore I blew it. Complained a lot about the weather today.

Cristina Mestres Jesperson First day back at preschool, we all slept in so the pressure was on. I crumbled and so will have to start again!

Bronwen Stinson going well until the trains went askew and a trip that would normally take 1hr 20min took 2 odd hours…however it was great that the sun was shining…


For the most part I don’t know the people who I have quoted – but I am really happy to have them do this challenge with me, it has made it much easier to have a crew!  Thank you.



Toni powell – making a film, loving a life and learning  - not sure what!






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