Many unexpected things happened this week! Three scheduled events unfortunately were postponed or cancelled, but that, in turn, allowed me to focus more on my remaining appearances and prepare for my wardrobe preview. Also, Miss America made the official decision to allow a new sponsor to provide the clothing for the arrival ceremony and onstage question in Las Vegas. Since I already had dresses for these events, I had to rework my wardrobe line-up. It all worked out, and I am very, very excited about my wardrobe!
Wednesday, I was the guest speaker at First Baptist Church’s Fresh Start, a weekly breakfast served to Stuttgart Junior High and High School students. This particular Wednesday was the beginning of semester tests. I was amazed to learn that most students didn’t even have semester tests, yet dozens of students showed up for breakfast at 7:00 a.m. anyway. They told me that they were going home to get back in bed! Haha, I was so impressed that they made it to breakfast and got to hear my message on 2 Corinthians 4:17-18.
The volunteers that make breakfast for Fresh Start every week!
A few of the girls... so early in the morning!
Thursday, I attended a special dedication in Stuttgart. My Paw-Paw served in public office for over 30 years and advocated for millions of dollars on Stuttgart’s behalf. The new overpass was formally designated the “Senator Bobby Glover and Congressman Marion Berry Overpass.”. When it was time for Paw-Paw to speak, he said, “I may have done a lot of good for Stuttgart, but I wish I could have done more. This community has been so supportive and kind to me!” I could not agree with Paw-Paw more!
Friday was a wonderful day!! Upon arrival at Camp Robinson, I was escorted to the VIP room to meet many high-ranking military officials. We lined up, walked into a room of 1,000 friends and family members, and took a seat onstage. As we celebrated the graduation of students enrolled in the Arkansas National Guard’s Teen Challenge Program, I could feel the pride and excitement in the room! High school dropouts ages 16-18 can volunteer for the 22-week program that emphasizes life lessons, community service, and academic excellence. At the end of the program, students are allowed to take the G.E.D. and begin a mentoring relationship with an adult volunteer. Because my heart beats for “Second Chances through Mentoring,” I was extremely honored to be the public speaker for their graduation!! Ninety-two cadets made it to graduation, and the leaders were overwhelmingly proud of those who finished the program. I saw a few tears as I stood in line to shake the hands of the graduates and tell them, “Well deserved!”
Saturday, I was honored to attend the Miss Pulaski preliminary pageant! After dinner with the judges, we returned to the auditorium for a great pageant! I was impressed with the girls competing and was thrilled when Dalia Garrison was crowned the new Miss Pulaski! She was my roommate at Miss Arkansas in 2010 and I have considered her a sweet friend ever since! I also practiced my Miss America dance, a performance that I have grown to love! I can’t wait to dance in Vegas!
Miss Pulaski, Dalia Garrison
Miss North Central Arkansas was held on Saturday night and I was ecstatic to hear that Hannah Billingsley won the title! I was lucky enough to crown Hannah last year as Miss Cotton Belle 2011 and am glad to see her returning to state. Congratulations to my beautiful, blonde friend!
This picture is from last year's Miss Cotton Belle pageant.
I have spent the last several months preparing for the wardrobe preview on Sunday … and I consider it a great success!! It was a huge relief to finally have all of the wardrobe pieces together! I will release photos of my entire wardrobe after Miss America. I am so excited about all of my dresses and talent outfit, all of which wouldn’t be possible without the incredible Miss Arkansas clothing sponsors:
-Laine Berry, The Royal We in Conway
-Shelley Kelley, Clark’s Bridal in Jonesboro
-Tommy and Christy Lyons, Venue in Little Rock
-Gregg Frizzell, Applause in Little Rock
-Amanda Farmer, Bella’s Gifts in Springdale
-Stephanie Isaacs, A Formal Affair in Batesville
-Brandi Rushton, She Said Yes in Fayetteville
-Susan Farmer, Rebekah Lane in Harrison
-Hamp Wilson, Dillard’s of Hot Springs
-Shelly Arnold, Solemates in Little Rock
-Caroline and Lou, Pinky Punky in Little Rock
Thank you to Mrs. June Felix for organizing today’s preview! Renee Fronabarger and Lacy Fleming Glover serve as my wardrobe committee and have made the entire wardrobe process easier! I appreciate Lacy for her fantastic job as emcee for the event. Thank you to Jessie Ward Bennett and the Miss Arkansas Board Members for the dedication you give to the Miss Arkansas Organization! Today was absolutely a day to remember and cherish forever! Thank you to everyone who made today special!
Miss Arkansas top 5!
Josh and I pose before the wardrobe preview begins. I am taking this dress for visitation in Las Vegas!!
I closed the afternoon by sharing some thoughts about the Miss America Pageant. As you can imagine, preparing for and competing in Miss America can be quite overwhelming! However, I have memorized and internalized a verse that will keep me grounded throughout the Miss America pageant.
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7
To all of my friends, family members, and blog followers … I ask that this verse becomes your prayer for me during Miss America! I know that your prayers are powerful. Thank you, thank you.