Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas! I wish you a wonderful holiday full of joy, laughter, and family. May we always remember the baby that changed everything as it is the ultimate purpose of the holiday. The birth of Jesus Christ is so precious since it symbolizes the love of God, undeserving grace that he gives us, and the opportunity to form an enternal yet personal relationship with him. What a great season!

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 Peter 4:9-10

Little Sister Darlene!

Darlene is my adopted little sister through the Big Sister, Big Brother organization at Ouachita Baptist University. Because mentoring at-risk kids is the principle behind my platform of Second Chances, this organization is one that I admire and support! Darlene has been so much fun to hang out with and get to know! Sarah comes from a large family, a small apartment, and unemployed parents. She is in the fourth grade in the Arkadelphia School District along with her best friend, Sarah. Sarah's big sister is my roommate and best friend, Whitney. We always hang out together as a group and have lots of fun!

I pick up Darlene every Wednesday afternoon. Sometimes we watch movies, play soccer and foosball, eat dinner in my cafeteria, or go out for ice cream. We have also thrown a birthday party for Darlene and Sarah where we ate cupcakes and ice cream! The girls helped us decorate the dorm room for Christmas and wanted to put christmas ornaments on every item in the room other than the christmas tree! Then when we were walking down the stairs, Darlene accidentally bumped into the emergency exit door and set off the alarm! haha, silly girls.

Darlene is a special girl. She definitely has leadership skills and is always trying to make a plan for the afternoon. She wants to include Sarah and other friends in every activity. She also has the ability to see what needs to be done and knows how to do it. For example, when we were decorating for Christmas, she was directing us to put up christmas lights or place the ornaments on the tree. Darlene has so much potential to be successful in the world, but she definitely needs a positive role model in her life that can encourage and guide her!

Darlene and Sarah being goofy... it's normal!

Sarah's Birthday!

Darlene's birthday present... a jacket just like mine! :)

Darlene's birthday party at Cold Stone Ice Cream, yum!

Decorating our dorm room! They were such a great help!

Darlene with her friend, Danielle. Danielle lives in her apartment complex and is always smiling!!

Darlene and I at the Homecoming Festival on the lawn

The whole gang! We love these kids!

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Within in the past two weeks, I have had the priveledge of riding in two Christmas parades. The first one occured in Arkadelphia, AR. The weather was wonderful and they had a great turn out. I even saw my little sister from the Big Brother, Big Sister Program in the crowd!

Waiting for the parade to start in Arkdelphia!

The second parade was in Osceola, AR. I first met with Tim, Ben, Madison, and Ms. Missy for chili at the annual Chili Cook-Off in Osceola. The chili was delicious and I was able to meet lots of great people from the community. Tim mentioned that the Miss Cotton Belle pageant will be April 2 at the Osceola High School. I am looking forward to meeting once again with my pageant family!

Chili with Madison... yummy!

I noticed this boy was looking at Madison and I throughout dinner.

He finally got enough courage to ask if he could take a picture with us! Too cute!

After supper, we got in line for the Christmas parade. Mddison and I got to ride together as Ms. Missy drove us. We got to the first block, and realized that all children were much more interested in "SpongeBob" who walked behind our car than they were excited to see us. We would see little kids waving and we would wave back. Then the kid would turn to their parent and say, "Do you see SpongeBob?!" Haha, it was quite comical!

I also really enjoyed spending time with Madison! I always forget what an awesome and mature young girl she is, and how much I enjoy being around her. We got to catch up and laugh a little. She is planning on attending the University of Arkansas in the fall where she will play in the marching band and major in architecture. I am so fond of Madison and the example that she sets. She is a beautiful, caring, and intelligent young woman that will definitely make an impact for the better on this world!

In the car, ready for the parade to start!

Time to Celebrate!

Several weeks after Miss Arkansas, Mrs. Micki Konecny called me and wanted to plan a reception in my honor! We booked the First Baptist Activity Center and sent out invitations to all Studio Allegro students. Also, Mr. Bill placed an invitation in the Stuttgart Daily Leader and we had a great turn out!

Mrs. Micki first welcomed every to come in and take a seat. After she spoke for a moment, we watched each of my phases from the Miss Arkansas pageant competition on the overhead screen. In between each phase, I stood up to share stories and thoughts. Afterwards, I signed photographs, took plenty of pictures, and enjoyed cake and punch. Yum!

A special THANK YOU goes to Mrs. Micki and Studio Allegro. I fully appreciate all of the help and guidance that you have given me! You have been a mentor to me while teaching me skills, talents, and life lessons. We are blessed to have someone like you in Stuttgart who has invested in so many girls and shared your talents! Thank you very much... I love you!

Mrs. Micki and me!

Riley, my special princess, gets a little help with putting on her crown!

Speaking to the crowd.

Mrs. Micki is welcoming the crowd.

Mrs. Tracy and Cori Keller

My beautiful cake!

Group of girls that I love! Such sweet girls!

No Livin' La Vida Loca!

Monday night was an eventful night! Josh and I drove to Judsonia, AR where I was given the opportunity to speak to approximately 100 students about choosing abstinence. The event took place at the River of Life church and is a monthly program that educates students on good choices and tough decisions.

As I walked in, the overhead projector showed a picture of me at Miss Arkansas and the title was "No Livin' La Vida Loca!" haha! I loved it! I spoke for around 40 minutes and shared with them an autobiography that included pictures and music. I also had a demonstration on purity where twelve students rinsed their mouth out with water and spit it ito a vase. The students were disgusted with the water and I think I got my point across!

After the program was over, I got to speak one on one with a few girls and guys. I was reminded of the caliber of students we have in the church! I was so impressed with their strength of character and willingness to be open. They truly desire a pure life, and it is so encouraging to hear that message from our youth today! :)

On the way home from the Searcy area, I killed my first deer. I didn't swerve at all, and instead plowed into the backside of the deer with my front right corner of my car. I distinctly remember the deer shattering and guts and blood flying from the animal. We pulled over to see that the deer successfully removed the entire right corner of my car, including the right head light. Paw Paw came to my rescue and sent a tow truck to pick up my car. Whew! What a night!!

This is the screen I saw when I walked in! haha

Some of the students!

Miss Arkansas!

What a great week at Miss Arkansas! I am so thankful for the multiple blessings that came from competing in the Miss Arkansas 2010 pageant! Friday night, I was announced as the top Preliminary talent winner and I was so overwhelmed with joy that the entire moment seems like a fog. On Saturday, I was announced in the top ten and was eventually named 3rd runner up after competing in all phases of competition again. I also was given the Green is Beautiful Award for having a green lifestyle and the Miss Arkansas Association Crowd Favorite Award. I finished the week with a total of $7,550 in scholarship money... enough money to pay for all books and tuition at Ouachita for my senior year!! wow!

I am also thankful for the frienships that I made with other contestants and backstage volunteers. Miss Arkansas can be a long week, but these friendships enriched my week by making it more enjoyable and memorable. I remember being called for the top ten on Saturday night and I heard several vocal cheers from fellow contestants. What a wonderful victory! I am so thankful for these friendships! I enjoyed every moment of competing for Miss Arkansas!
Good luck to Miss Arkansas, Alyse Eady, for an adventurous and memorable year of service! I know that she will do an incredible job and will always be remembered for being a great entertainer!
Evening gown competition with my princess, Riley.
For talent competition, I performed a tap dance to "I got Rhythm"
Presentation of Friday night Preliminary Talent Award
Friday night visitation with Josh after winning the Preliminary Talent Award

Top Five with Miss Arkansas 2010, Alyse Eady

Kiwanas Club

Kiwanas Club of Stuttgart is a lively bunch! After enjoying the piano music and singing old country tunes, I was asked to speak about my Miss Arkansas experience and platform. I told many stories about my work at the Promise House and shared my passion to mentor. The crowd was very supportive and encouraging throughout and after my speech. It was an honor to speak to the Kiwanis Club of Stuttgart and I always appreciate the opportunity to practice public speaking!

"Second Chances..." haha

Mr. Brian and me

Children's Tour

I have completed my children's tour! haha. I found an excellent children's book that talks about choices and how they effect you and others. The book is entitled, "How full is your bucket?" The book describes an invisible bucket above our heads that show our feelings. When the bucket is full, we are happy. When the bucket is empty, we are upset. I actually bring a bucket and container of water to show the illustration, while talking about good choices. The kids loved the illustration and they were so attentive and interactive! I have fully enjoyed speaking to the classes at Noah's Ark and Easter Seals Daycare!

The class at Easter Seals in Stuttgart... a great group of kids!

Reading the book and showing the kids my sad face. haha.

These kids were so fun!

The group at Noah's Ark daycare!
Sweet girls.

Another picture with the group.

Rwanda meets the Promise House

On Thursday, I helped organize an event at the Promise House, my old summer home. The Promise House is a shelter for pregnant teens and teenage mothers. I cherish the girls at the house and believe that we have a prime opportunity to pour into their life. That's why I love visiting!

I invited three Rwandan college students to visit the Promise House and talk about the Rwandan culture. The Promise House girls were amazed at the simplicity of life in Rwanda and asked many questions! I showed pictures of people and places in Rwanda, such as the schools, market, houses, and forests. The girls were largely surprised that most televisions in Rwanda has only one channel, pregnant and nonpregnant women often walked 2 hours to the market, and the kitchen in most Rwandan houses is outside. The Rwandan students spoke English very well and enjoyed sharing their culture with new friends!

After the talk, we then took the girls to the Heifer International Museum in Little Rock. I really enjoyed the outing with the girls!

Renatha, me, Frida, and Ingrid

Promise House girls looking at the Heifer International exhibit.

The most precious baby girl!

MayMy parents last summer, Mrs. Susan and Mr. Jesse

Keileasha's Story

I have known Keileasha for a year now and am so so excited to share her story! I am blessed to have Keileasha in my life as a friend and inspiration! I watch God renew her daily and admire her faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Here is her story:

As i was coming up on my teenage years I remember all the girls in my surroundings becoming sexually active. I never understood why they made the choices they did... I use to always say that I was waiting until marriage. Though I didnt know much about why you should wait I just knew that you should. No one ever told me why so here I am just thinking you should wait until marriage to have sex because it is the right thing to do. When I became a freshman in High School I was the only one out of my friends that was a virgin. I started to become very curious about having sex. Still I never acted on my curiousity 1. Because it was the right thing to do and 2. The boys at my school weren't worthy of taking my innocence. I still didnt know why you were suppose to wait for marriage to have sex.. So then I came up with this theory that you were suppose to wait until you found the one you love and trust. Then I met this boy who i would sometimes call my worst nightmare.

The odd thing about this boy was that he was like the most popular guy in school and he chose me to to be his girlfriend. I felt estatic about that THEN I fell in love.. Or so I thought. So anyways with that being said I fell in love and gave him what the most important thing i cherished.From there on i became really depressed. Even though I had just witnessed the ugly part of sex I turned to more for my comfort which was a bad thing. I was starting to learn the good and bad side of being sexually active but I still didnt know why you should wait until marriage to have sex. All I cared about is not getting a STD; Not even thinking about getting pregnant. On March 17, 2009 I found out I was 3 months pregnant by someone I didnt even care for.

For some crazy reason when the nurse told me the test was positive I started crying and smiling at the same time. I cried because I didnt know I was going to do with a baby still being a child myself & I smiled because I knew that I finally had someone to fill that whole in my heart and would alway have someone there for me. During my pregnancy I found Christ and became a whole new person. I also learned that God would forgive me. I must say getting pregnant has been the the best thing that has ever happend to me. Not only because it brought me a beautiful healthy son but because It helped me have a personal relationship with God.. Something everyone needs. Now I know why you should wait until marriage to have sex.. To believe that true love waits, make a commitment to God, yourself, your family, your friends, your future mate, and your future children to a lifetime of purity including sexual abstinence until the day you enter a biblical marriage relationship.

You are not your own; you were bought at a price therefore honor god with your body.1 Corinthians 6:20

The sweetest boy!

Mom and son!

I love this smile!! So precious!

Stuttgart School Visits

This morning, I had the priveledge to speak to St. John's Lutheran School. I attended St. John's as a child and always value opportunities to return to this school. I spoke to about 40 kids in grades 1-5. The audience was a little younger than what I expected so it was a great challenge to speak to this age group. They were so attentive, respectful, and interactive. I had a great day at St. John's!

1st and 2nd grade
silly face!!
3rd, 4th, and 5th grades

This afternoon, I spoke to a class at Stuttgart High School. It was a very informal setting with only a few students, but I fully appreciate the opportunity! I brought photos of celebrities who are known for the mistakes they have made. I quizzed the class on Tiger Woods, Martha Stewart, Micheal Vick, Jamie Lynn Spears, and more celebrities. We talked about their mistakes, consequences that followed, and overcoming the mistake. We can learn a lot from the mistakes of others!

CMN Fundraiser!

The fundraiser for Children's Miracle Network was a HUGE success!! The amount raised at Larry's Pizza this past Thursday was $792.42!! The total amount of money I raised for Children's Miracle Network this year came to a grand total of $1442.42!! I am thrilled to be donating this amount to CMN and know that this donation could make a difference in the life of a child!

Children's Miracle Network is a non-profit organization that financially assists families that cannot pay their children's medical bills. The organization, founded in 1983 by the Osmond family and John Schneider, is headquartered in Salt Lake City, UT. CMN has established a partnership with 170 hospitals in the United States and Canada.

My beautiful princess, Riley!
The DBS girls worked very hard all night. They deserved a dinner break when the crowd weakened!

A THANK YOU belongs to the following:

Larry's Pizza for hosting and contributing to the fundraiser!

Delta Beta Sigma for serving and cleaning!

JR and the radio station, businesses around Stuttgart, and Stuttgart Rotary Club for advertising this fundraiser!

The Stuttgart community for supporting this fundraiser and eating pizza!