Lots to be thankful for! Week 18

This week was filled with special quotes and memories!

Tuesday was a busy day, beginning with dance practice at Studio Allegro and an interview with the Stuttgart radio station. Then, I traveled to Monticello to visit the Arkansas Baptist Children’s Home. Having worked with the ABC home in Little Rock for pregnant teenagers, I wanted to visit the facility in Monticello. I met more than 40 incredible children and their very loving house parents. The young girls absolutely captured my heart! One adorable little girl breathlessly lisped, “This is a dream come true to meet Miss Arkansas. I might need time to relax in my room after this.” Haha, they were precious!

My college roommate, Leslyn Ichter Jacks, graciously welcomed me to her first home, where I got ready for my next appearance. She and her hubby accompanied me to a fundraiser dinner for Hope Place, an organization to assist pregnant women. I was very impressed with Hope Place and its obvious heart to help others through friendship, spiritual guidance, financial support, and medical support. As the keynote speaker, I shared my experience of mentoring pregnant teenagers at the Promise House. I thanked them for the impact they are making in a society so desperate for help! The director of Hope Place messaged me the next day to say that they collected over $23,000 in donations!! She was ecstatic!!

Wednesday, I reunited with another great friend … Darlene!! Darlene was my “little sister” through the Big Brother, Big Sister Organization of Arkadelphia. Since I graduated in May, we have become pen pals. She often talks about her teacher so I decided to visit her class! When I arrived at the school, the secretary called for Darlene to come to the office. She met me with a wide smile and proudly introduced me to her class!! When I told the students that they could thank Darlene for bringing Miss Arkansas to their class, the kids showered her with appreciation as she beamed with happiness!

The students then lined up for pictures and autographs. There was one cute boy who spoke confidently … he was obviously the class leader. He asked for my number. I smiled, nodded my head, and wrote on the paper “870-in your dreams”. He took the paper and proudly walked back to his group of guy friends. When they all looked at the paper for the first time, the boy yelled “Oh, Man!?” They all burst into laughter! For the rest of the time, everyone used the phrase, “In your dreams.” Can I borrow your pencil? “In your dreams!” Are you going to the basketball game? “In your dreams!” Haha!

Wednesday afternoon, we arrived on campus at Ouachita Baptist University for a “Tea Party with Miss Arkansas” hosted by my Tri Chi social club sisters for the little sisters of Big Brothers, Big Sisters. We had a wonderful time! They served hot chocolate, soup, sandwiches, and cookies. The girls were really good at playing “Name That Tune” Disney Princess style! We then talked about Princess manners, specifically table manners. I explained that everyone is to wait until all at the table have been served. When the person at the head of the table begins eating, we are to follow. For example, when eating dinner with President Obama, wait until President Obama begins eating before picking up your silverware. Later, I quizzed the girls,“When should you begin to eat?” My precious Darlene yelled out, “When President Obama starts eating!” Haha … she is such a good listener!

Thursday, I got my Miss America swimsuit in the mail! I hit the gym and dance studio and also visited the Miss Arkansas make-up sponsor, Jane White Cosmetics.I’m so grateful she will travel with me to Miss America to do my make up Monday through Friday.However, on Saturday, I will be responsible for doing my own hair and make-up before the final competition on national television.For that reason, I have to take several make up lessons before traveling to Las Vegas!

Thursday evening, I participated in a very special style show in support of Camp Sunshine, an Arkansas children’s camp for burn survivors. Arkansas Children’s Hospital and Arkansas Firefighters Association sponsored this event.Fashion designer Lisa Rowe Thomas, an inspirational burn survivor, debuted her Spring/Summer 2012 line. I was honored to emcee the event, which featured several Miss Arkansas Pageant system sisters!Thank you Makenzie Moore, Bethany Bell, Amber Gross, Tracy Neal, and Ashton Campbell for participating!

Friday was a great day for Razorback fun! I met so many Hog fans at the basketball game in Little Rock. Miss University of Arkansas, Tracy Neal, and I signed autographs and were photographed with supporters. When the game started, I moved up to my seat to cheer on our team! We didn’t win our basketball game, but at least we won our football game on Saturday!!Go Hogs Go!

I arrived early for Queen Mallard Pageant rehearsal on Saturday morning. I have fantastic memories of serving as Queen Mallard LII in 2007 and have always considered the title prestigious and very special! It was a great privilege to return to the Queen Mallard stage as Miss Arkansas! After lunch, I joined the contestants for the interview tea and later enjoyed dinner with the judges. It was exciting to emcee the pageant with 17 contestants competing for Junior Queen Mallard and 17 contestants competing for Queen Mallard!

Once the competition phase was over, I debuted my dance for Miss America!! I was so thankful for the warm audience response and many words of encouragement afterward. The only problem … the tap mics were never turned on. Just wait until you can really hear my taps!! I will be performing this number at Miss Lights of the Delta next week!

Congratulations to Samantha Spicer, Queen Mallard LVI, and Robin Galloway, Junior Queen Mallard XXI. Both girls were overjoyed to receive the titles and will proudly serve the Grand Prairie throughout the upcoming Wings Over the Prairie Festival!

Sunday started early! My family began cooking chili at 7:00 a.m. to serve over 150 people at the second annual New Beginnings Scholarship chili lunch fundraiser. The New Beginnings Scholarship will be given to Stuttgart High School graduates who are first-generation college students. I am thrilled to announce that we raised over $1,700!! We surpassed last year’s total and will be able to award even larger scholarships! Thank you to everyone who helped or donated. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

Speaking of thanks… next week is Thanksgiving! I have fewer appearances and more Miss America preparations! With two mock interviews, a photo shoot, workouts, and dance practice, I think this will be a great week! Friday, I will travel to Blytheville for Miss Northeast Arkansas. After the pageant, we will take a hayride through the town’s splendid Christmas light display! On Saturday evening, I will perform at the Miss Lights of the Delta Pageant.

A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. 
Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. 
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Psalm 100:1-5


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