This week was a whirlwind... week 13!

This week was a whirlwind! I broke 10,000 miles in my Buick Regal and am thankful to Allen Tillery Chevrolet for donating so generously. I started interview preparation for Miss America and began learning my tap dance! It is so fast but entertaining! I hope more than anything to dance on Saturday night of the Miss America Pageant on ABC!

Tuesday night, I had the most fun serving as a judge for the Dancing with the Stars Fundraiser in Beebe! Eleven well-known local couples performed choreographed dances in front of a packed audience with standing room only. I was really impressed with the community involvement and support of Beebe Junior High! People of all ages laughed throughout the entire show, as the contestants “showed off” for the crowd!
Fellow judges of Dancing with the Stars
Beebe students

Wednesday, I helped with the Red Beans and Rice Fundraiser in Stuttgart at the local radio station. All proceeds went to the Arkansas Rice Depot, an impressive non-profit organization in Little Rock that fights hunger in Arkansas. Although it was gloomy weather, I got to see so many familiar faces including dancers I once taught at Studio Allegro. They squealed when I asked for a picture!

Brandi from the Arkansas Rice Depot and Gary Riefis at the Red Beans and Rice Fundraiser.
Girls from the dance studio!

Thursday, I was privileged to judge the Arkansas Healthcare Association Nursing Home Pageant. Those women are awesome! The contestants’ ages ranged from 66-104! The common advice from all of the women was to enjoy life and surround yourself with positive people. I value their wise advice! Congratulations to Ms. Shirley from DeWitt for winning the pageant with her humor and charm!

Contestant at the nursing home pageant!
Queen Shirley!

I joined the Arkansas Student Leadership Forum for dinner on Thursday. The weekend I attended the Forum as a college junior changed my life. Later that year, I attended the National Student Leadership Forum and the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C. I was honored to return as a speaker for the Forum to encourage students to become mentor leaders. Visiting with the students after the session, I was blown away by their passions to change the world. My generation has so much to offer!!

Jessica Brogdon is the brains behind the Arkansas Student Leadership. She does a great job!
Mark and Matthew from Rwanda.

Friday, I reunited with the Arkansas Rice Depot for another fundraiser in Conway. This time, Justin Acre and Pat Bradley were there to promote the Red Beans and Rice Fundraiser on The Buzz radio station. I always have fun while on air with the Buzz! This time around, they gave me a chemistry quiz since I was a college chemistry major. Pat labeled the session, “Nerd talk with Miss Arkansas.” Haha! They were so funny! I expect an invitation back to the studio for birthday trivia!

Pat Bradley and Justin Acri from the Buzz radio!

I stayed with Hollyn, a college friend, and her family on Friday night. Even though I arrived late Friday night, Hollyn’s family had prepared a beautiful family dinner for me! If you ever want to quickly become my best friend, then invite me over for family dinner! It was awesome!

Saturday was a long, yet rewarding day! Hollyn and I left at 7 a.m. for the Susan G. Komen Race in Texarkana. Hollyn’s mother is a survivor of breast cancer and this event is significant to her family. I met many more courageous women at the survivor breakfast. Later, I participated in the opening ceremony and shot the gun to begin the race. The race was incredibly organized and successful as over 9,000 individuals walked in the Race for the Cure.

Shooting the gun to start the race!
Hollyn's family!

At the race, I wore a pink sash with the words “In Honor of Helen Glover.” My grandmother overcame breast cancer 31 years ago. This year, she was diagnosed with lymphoma and has begun chemotherapy. She is a strong, compassionate woman. She has been so faithful to her church and Bible study for many years! I don’t think she knows how much I admire her! Thankfully, she reads my blog every week and should be surprised to see this! So Maw-maw, you have no choice but to get stronger because I want you to be at the Miss America Pageant. We already have your plane ticket!

Proudly wearing my "In honor of Helen Glover" sash in the opening ceremony!

After the race, I drove to Little Rock for the Promise House reunion after 20 years of ministry. I served as mentor in the Promise House, a shelter for pregnant teenagers, in the summer of 2009. I saw a girl that I worked with in the house and her new baby! Regina looked so pretty and happy. I am very proud of her for graduating high school, working to support her family, and maintaining friendships that she formed in the Promise House.

Current and former employees at the Promise House

Regina's precious baby, Par'ris

Saturday night, I met with girls from Second Baptist Church of Conway. We enjoyed dinner in a beautiful home before we sat down to discuss life. I briefly spoke about overcoming challenges with self-esteem and then answered the girls’ questions about a variety of issues. Remembering how difficult high school was, I encouraged the girls to serve as a light for Christ among their fellow students. Whether you recognize it or not, you have great influence among your friends!

Sunday was a beautiful day in Fayetteville! Renee and I joined the judges for the Miss University of Arkansas Pageant for lunch. Since the mascot is a razorback, Renee bought a pig nose for me to wear as I met all of the judges for the first time. Haha … we always have a good time together! We had to eat quickly in order to make it to the pageant. Congratulations to the 14 contestants and the new Miss University of Arkansas, Tracy Neal! Go Hogs Go!

How do I look?!

I have lots of work to do for the upcoming week! I will work very hard on my new dance and in the gym. Working on scholarships for Miss America and interview preparation are also on my agenda. I look forward to speaking in schools and at the Boys and Girls Club. May Colossians 4:5-6 be my prayer for this week, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”


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