Standing up for what's right... Week 39!

What?  The week is already over?!  Haha … this happens to me almost every week, but last week seemed to go by especially fast!

Monday night, I visited the Promise House for dinner and fun!  I worked as a summer intern at the Promise House, an Arkansas Baptist Children’s Home for pregnant teenagers.  I enjoyed catching up with my former mentor, the new house parents, and the girls.  The Promise House will have another summer intern starting in July, and I am excited to meet and encourage her!

Back in the schools on Wednesday, I visited Fordyce Elementary School and urged the students to do their best on the Benchmark Exams!  I always tell the story of Felix and his invisible bucket.  When the bucket is full, he is happy; when the bucket is empty, he is sad.  It was the first time I ever asked a principal if her bucket would be full if every student scored proficient or advanced.  Her enthusiastic “Yes!” was met with equally enthusiastic applause from the students!  After the assembly, one of the boys lingered to ask, “I lost my phone number.  Can I have yours?”  Haha, I haven’t heard that one in forever!

I love when little kids peek through the windows to see Miss Arkansas! 
Speaking to the kiddos!

On Thursday, I attended an inspiring Tickled Pink Luncheon in Texarkana in honor of breast cancer survivors.  The room was beautifully decorated and ready for a packed house!  Survivors (ages 28-77) modeled in a style show while the emcees shared their heartwarming stories!  I entertained and spoke about how breast cancer has personally affected my family since my grandmother has survived cancer on three different occurrences.  I hope that I always remember my MawMaw’s strength to overcome adversity!

Posing with breast cancer survivors!

Friday started with a surprise.  There seemed to be some miscommunication and uncertainty concerning the time of Friday’s event.  I was under the impression that the Just Say No Drug Walk in Arkadelphia would begin at 12:30 p.m.  However, when we called Perritt Elementary School at 7:30 a.m, they informed us that the event would start at 9:00 a.m!!!  I jumped into the shower and rushed to get ready and on the road. As mom and I headed to Arkadelphia, she remarked, “I think flexibility is the most important quality for Miss Arkansas to have.”  Laughing, I completely agreed with her!

Once we arrived at Perritt Elementary School in Arkadelphia, the auditorium was teeming with excitement!  When it was time for me to perform, I asked a precious little girl to carefully hold my crown.  She held it as if it were gold, and the newspaper got a sweet picture of her!  I was excited to share the event with Miss Henderson State University, Miranda Johnson, who is so impressive!  We hopped into the convertible and rode to the newspaper building as the students walked and chanted “Just Say No!”  We then held a rally against drugs with help from the Arkadelphia band, cheerleaders, and town officials.  I talked to the kids about setting goals, dreaming big, and staying away from drugs.  I have always been impressed with the town of Arkadelphia and appreciate the attention and support its dedicated citizens give to the schools.  I was proud to be a part of their Just Say No Walk and to boldly say that Miss Arkansas is drug free! 

Me and Miss HSU Miranda Johnson

Saturday began with the Empower Me weekend for 5th and 6th grade girls in Conway.  It was a very special event, and I loved the photo booth idea!  I spoke to the girls about self-esteem, relating moments in my life when I have struggled with insecurity.  In 2009, I struggled with self-confidence after I didn’t qualify for the Miss Arkansas pageant.  Instead of competing, I served as the summer intern at the Promise House and allowed God to reform my identity in Him.  I recognize the power of service and that God has created us for His great purpose!  However, I would be insincere to not mention insecurities I have faced since winning Miss Arkansas.  I now have a job where I am constantly compared to others’ expectations and levels of perfection.  It can be exhausting to worry about pleasing everyone.  In moments of doubt, I reflect on living a life of purpose according to the Bible. 

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, 
   whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water 
   that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
   its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
   and never fails to bear fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:7-8

Leaving Conway, I traveled to Little Rock’s River Market Amphitheater to participate in Walk MS with Team Dawn, whose team leader is a fellow Stuttgart native.  I donned my orange t-shirt and soaked in the excitement!  I was surprised to see so many familiar faces, including many from Stuttgart and Arkadelphia.  Team Arkadelphia rallied around Russell Strickland while raising the most money and having the largest team at the race!  I will always remember the little girl who asked, “Miss Arkansas, is it your birthday?”  Haha … she must get to wear a crown on her birthday!  Fortunately, I wear my crown almost every day!

As I wrap up this blog, I challenge you to be well-rounded.  Often, the girl who takes home the crown is not the top-ranked contestant in any area of competition.  Instead, she is the contestant who is well-rounded in all categories.  There are thousands of instances where girls placed high in every category, never won a preliminary, and walked away with the crown!  Beyond pageant competition, diverse abilities and interests are important.  For example, many people are surprised to hear that I majored in chemistry in college but now serve as a public speaker.  Science nerds aren’t supposed to have public speaking skills, right?  Wrong!  I took many classes in fields such as politics, religion, economics, and communication while striving to expand my knowledge and skills.  You can do it, too!  


Sweety Darlin said...
April 16, 2012 at 5:48 AM

Kristen, I think this weeks raw look at your own insecurities and the great advice regarding being well rounded is some of your best yet!

I am so excited to see you in July. I know we will be running in different directions, but we love you and you know me. I gotta love on all 47 of my girls.

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