Charities and Miss America Sisters Update!

I have taken a little hiatus from blogging due to Pharmacy School.  Having six tests in three weeks has been a little rough, but it feels good to be back on my blog!

On Thursday, I attended a fundraiser with PawPaw at the Governor’s Mansion for Paws in Prison.  It is a program that rescues dogs from euthanasia labs and allows prisoners to train the dogs.  Once the dogs are trained, the dogs may be adopted into a loving home.  However, the true victory is the morale and behavior improvements that have been observed in the inmates.  It truly is a win-win situation for everyone!

Also this week, I tuned in to watch Miss Georgia 2011 Michaela Lackey give advice to Alana on “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo!”  Alana became a reality TV star after making her debut on Toddlers and Tiaras and now has her own show on TLC.  Knowing Michaela personally, I was nervous to see how her proper personality mixed with Alana’s unpredictable mannerisms.  As expected, Michaela was truly graceful during her appearance.   I was very pleased to see that the show didn’t twist the situation for dramatic effect!   

I thought I would give you an update on what some former state titleholders in my 2012 Miss America class are doing now!  I did the best I could but couldn’t mention everyone!
-8 girls are engaged:  Washington, Illinois, Alabama, DC, Maryland, Alaska, Kansas and Wyoming
-Miss DC filmed a segment with “Say Yes to the Dress” in New York City.  It will air in the upcoming season.
-Miss Georgia is married!
-Miss Hawaii is running for public office in the House of Representatives for the state of Hawaii.
-Miss South Carolina has launched a new campaign, “Eating Healthy and Fighting Obesity” and is always on the road filming commercials.  Maybe she will release a book in the future?
- Several girls have gone back to college:  Miss Texas is back at TCU, Miss Arizona is on dance pom at UofA, Miss Oklahoma is at OSU, etc.
-Miss Utah is a professional Nu Dance Jazz Dancer for the NBA.
-Several girls are modeling:  Miss California and Miss Tennessee. 
-Several girls are reporters or broadcast journalists:  Miss Ohio, Miss New York, and Miss Minnesota. 
-Miss Missouri is director of marketing at the Big Cedar Lodge in Branson.
-Many of the girls are giving back to the Miss America Organization.  Miss Nebraska is now the co-director of Miss Nebraska Outstanding Teen.
-And I am in pharmacy school…  just got to make it through the next four years of school, and then I can devote more time to making a difference in the world! 

I want to tell you about two events coming up this week!  The first is a fundraiser at Loca Luna and Red Door on September 27 for American Cancer Society.  It is a celebrity waiter/waitress event, and you should check out the list of those involved!! 

The second event is a Drug Take Back Event sponsored by the UAMS College of Pharmacy.  Arkansas is actually ranked first in prescription abuse among teenagers.   71% of 12-17 year olds who abuse prescription drugs were given them, bought them, or stole them from friends or relatives.  Make plans to be a part of the solution!  Join us for the no-questions-asked Drug Take Back Event in the UAMS hospital lobby from 10 a.m. -2 p.m. on Saturday! 

Just call me emcee! Miss White County!

Hello readers!  I hope you have had a great week… mine has been fabulous! 

Saturday was so much fun!  I headed out with friends to tailgate at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.  The weather was perfect, and it is always fun to see who you bump into at a Razorback game!

I didn’t stay for the football game because of a previous commitment to emcee the Miss White County Fair Pageant.  On the way to Searcy, I drove through Jacksonville and got to watch from the interstate probably 10 minutes of the air show at the Little Rock Air Force Base.  It was so cool!  Once I made it to Searcy, I was happy to see many familiar faces.  In fact, Pam Walker had previously invited me to speak at a father/daughter Valentine Banquet and thought of me when they needed an emcee.  I was happy to help!

The Jr. Miss and Miss White County Pageant had a total of 25 contestants.  It was a great turn out, and the audience packed the auditorium in their support.  The pageant went by quickly until I got a signal to stall for about 10 minutes when it was time to audit the scores. Although not unexpected, that was no easy task.  However, I decided to talk about my pageant journey, including all of the failures and successes.  I talked about the lessons of persistence before winning Miss Arkansas and the disappointment that came with my Miss America finish.  I was honored to receive very warm applause and a number of comments about my stories after the pageant.  I was especially touched by the people who had heard me speak before Saturday and remembered specific stories I  previously had shared.  That is why I always enjoy the opportunities for public speaking. 

Congratulations to the winners!
 Jr. Miss White County Alexis Ann Toney

Miss White County Emily Campbell 

I just started a new book, Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper.  It is a weighty theological book about living life with great purpose.  Just to pique your interest and challenge your thoughts, I want to share an excerpt from his book:

“God created us to live with a single passion:  to joyfully display his supreme excellence in all of the spheres of life.  The wasted life is the life without this passion.  God calls us to pray and think and dream and plan and work not to be made much of, but to make much of him in every part of our lives.” 

Have a great week! 

Park Hill Youth Group and National Sweetheart!

This Wednesday, I headed to Park Hill Baptist Church to speak to the youth group!  Now that I make approximately one speaking or charity appearance a week, I really cherish the opportunity more than ever!  I was particularly excited to talk to teenagers and remind them of the influence they have among their peers.  I shared several stories based on my platform of “Second Chances through Mentoring” and stressed that you don’t have to be “qualified” or “famous” to make a difference.  You just have to be willing to give your care and time to encourage others.

 Laura Leigh read the opening verse for me!  

I tried something new while speaking to the teens.  I gave them a twitter challenge and asked them to tweet quotes from my speech that grabbed their attention. It was very insightful to see what they grasped from my message, and I happily retweeted them!  Miss Arkansas Outstanding Teen 2012 Laura Leigh Turner (and 2nd Runner up to MAOT) was in the audience and tweeted:

“Even though the moment may be painful, it is in that moment that we realize that God’s plan is so much greater than ours! -@MissAR2011”  

In pageant land, Hoopeston, Illinois, hosted the Miss National Sweetheart Pageant, where a runner-up representative from each state is sent to compete on the national level.  Arkansas has a strong reputation at this pageant, especially since Simone Mullinax won the title last year as our state's sweetheart.  This year, third-runner up Rosalyn Taylor represented the natural state.  Rosalyn has always impressed me with her drive, baton-twirling, rock-hard abs, and confidence!  Even though she was not announced to the top 10 at National Sweetheart, I am so proud of her!  I know she represented Arkansas strongly and must have ranked #11 in scores!