Starting the Bucket List... Week 30!

Monday, I headed to my alma mater for a Miss Ouachita Baptist University planning meeting.  It is always good to be on campus, especially when the Miss OBU Pageant is right around the corner.  We are working through lots of details to make this year’s pageant the best ever!  Student Senate is helping by donating volunteer hours and additional scholarships.  They would like to make Miss OBU the largest event of the semester, spring’s counterpart to Homecoming in the fall!  I hope you are making plans to attend Miss OBU on February 25 at the Jones Performing Arts Center in Arkadelphia, Arkansas! 

Tuesday started early as I headed south to Monticello.  I was invited to speak to the 5th -12th grade students at Drew Central High School, where my best friend, Leslyn Jacks, is the choir teacher.  I got to visit her classroom, meet her students, and catch up a little on life.  She then introduced me to the school audience, and they absolutely loved my “Name That Tune” game.  Once I opened for questions, there were two students in particular who I remember.  The first was an older special needs student, who asked if I could dance with him to the music.  I asked the audience to “show some love” for this young man, and they erupted in cheers.  We turned on the music, and he danced his little heart out!  I was touched by the support he received from the student body!

The second question came from a girl who admitted her struggle with school.  She asked me, “Have you ever had a bad year?”  I responded, “Life is what you make it.  You are faced with choices every day, and it is up to you to make the right choices.  If you love life, then life will love you back.”  When I later checked my Twitter, a student from Drew Central had tweeted my response, “If you love life, then life will love you back.”  You know you have been an inspiration when a student tweets one of your quotes!! 

From Monticello, I traveled to Conway for a quick photo shoot for Women’s Inc. Magazine in Arkansas.  Laine Berry, owner of the Royal We, is the featured woman of the month, earning the coveted spot on the cover!  She asked me to wear my fabulous Tony Bowles white evening gown that the Royal We had sponsored for me to wear at Miss America.  The magazine should be released in late February. 

Speaking of magazines … have you seen Fourpoints Magazine this month?  Miss Arkansas’ Outstanding Teen Ashton Campbell made the front page and a four-page spread.  She looks amazing in all photos, including the photo of her as a cute little girl!  I just can’t brag on her enough! 

Wednesday was a day off!  I ran numerous errands, washed 3 weeks worth of clothes, and got a massage!  We all need a day off every once in a while just to catch up! 

Thursday, I visited several courageous patients at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.  Most of the kids in the playroom were very young, but their parents seemed even more excited to see me!  Sometimes, we forget that the parents of sick children need just as much attention, care, and encouragement.  Spending time with children and parents was time well spent! 

Friday, I met with Charles Flynn from Arkansas Baptist Children’s Home, the parent organization of the Promise House pregnancy shelter.  I worked as the 2009 summer intern at the Promise House and am always interested in Promise House updates.  I plan to schedule some visits to the Promise House and other children’s homes soon! 

On Saturday, I met my parents at Valley Baptist Church in Searcy for a father/daughter Valentine’s Banquet.  We were amazed at the turnout, as almost 200 people attended the banquet.  The little girls dressed up, painted their fingernails, fixed their hair, and arrived with giddy smiles.  All of the fathers were in suits and ties and had bought corsages and boutonnieres as if it were prom.  Following dinner, I shared stories from my childhood while expressing a deep appreciation for my dad.  I challenged the fathers to always set an example of unconditional love and grace so that we daughters may better understand our heavenly father.  “As a father shows compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.”  Psalm 103:13

The next morning I returned to Valley Baptist Church to share my testimony in both church services and speak with the youth group.  I enjoyed being a part of their church family for the weekend and appreciated how welcome they made us feel! 

I talked with a former Miss Arkansas this week who told me to start working on my Miss Arkansas bucket list.  I have about 5 months left so I need to take every opportunity to make a difference.  I have always wanted to be remembered as a mentor and encourager.  So I will probably end this blog each week with a tip to current titleholders who wish to acquire the best job in Arkansas this July. 

Tip #1  Start to develop your platform now.  Miss Arkansas spends her year talking about and promoting her platform.  Probably 75% of my Miss Arkansas appearances require some kind of public speaking.  Practice speaking to audiences of all ages and types and both genders for as many different events as possible.  Also, think about how to promote your platform inside the state and country.  If you compete in Miss America, you need a plan to promote your platform nationwide. Even if you don’t ever make it to Miss Arkansas or Miss America, your time is not wasted in developing the passion to volunteer for a purpose.  In fact, volunteering may open doors you never dreamed of!  So get involved with your platform issue! 

Once again, thank you to everyone who reads this blog.  I really enjoy sharing this journey with all of you!  


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