Well, here we are again. I apologize for the lack of updates for the entire month of July. As you will see in a few minutes, there was quite a bit going on in July. I am so blessed to be able to attend all of these appearances and events, and am thoroughly enjoying myself on a daily basis.
As usual, my workouts continue 3 times a week. It is amazing to me how all three of the men at One-to-One have their own roles in my life. Beau continues to push me to the limit each and every workout while helping me remember to slow down and enjoy myself, Reed keeps us all guessing and helps us to remember there is so much to enjoy out in the great big world, and Tip helps me remember who I am and WHOSE I am. I couldn't make it without these wonderful people building me up and encouraging me on a daily basis.
One of the most enjoyable meetings I had during the month of July was one at the Shops of Grand River in Leeds. They have graciously decided to jump on board and become one of our latest clothing sponsors. It was unexpected and very much appreciated. I met with Karen from Corporate in New Jersey and Jamie who works in Marketing at the shops here in Leeds. We met 2 days back to back and went shopping for a new Miss Alabama wardrobe. We got some BEAUTIFUL clothes from Banana Republic, FABULOUS shoes from Guess, and accessories here and there and in between. I am going to be able to wear these wonderful outfits at America's Outstanding Teen in Orlando in a couple of weeks. The generosity of ALL of our sponsors never ceases to amaze me, and I am overwhelmed with their support of this organization.
Another exciting event this month was the Celebrity Waitress Event put on by Mia Callens at Johnny Ray's in Chelsea. The event was a fundraiser for the Children's Miracle Network. I was able to be in the company of a few of the top 10 finalists from Alabama's Outstanding Teen, as well as a very nice pig :-) We met so many wonderful people from the surrounding areas who were very generous to the Children's Miracle Network. Mia and I signed autographs and mingled with the many customers that night. It was so much fun to spend time with these very well-rounded young women. They are all very special and have so much to look forward to in their individual lives.
One night, I decided to go as a "civilian" to the Greater Birmingham Auburn Club with my family. Well, little did I know the Chairman of events was a former mayor of Clay, my hometown. He saw I was coming and decided to add the family to the VIP list and asked me to share a few words at the main event before Coach Chizik spoke. OF COURSE, I was on board with the plan. I got to meet Coach Chizik and share a couple of words with the Auburn family about the Miss Alabama Organization. They were very receptive and it never hurts to educate just a few more people of the great opportunities that come with the job of Miss Alabama. I had such a great time mingling with my Auburn Family.
The next weekend were a couple of pageants I had the pleasure of emceeing. The first one of the pageant-palooza, as I called it, was Miss Shelby County. The people of Columbiana were as gracious as ever. I enjoyed spending more time with these lovely people. We ate dinner at The Hill residence where I had the best tomato sandwich I have ever eaten. My mom always LOVED a good tomato sandwich and I know she would have gone crazy over this one. If you are ever in Shelby County, I am sure there is a buzz in the air about the "Southern Living recipe worthy tomato sandwiches". After having dinner with the wonderful panel of judges, it was off to the pageant. These contestants did not disappoint and were as entertaining as ever. Sydnii Todd was deemed the new Miss Shelby County. On Sunday afternoon, I was asked to emcee the Miss North Jefferson Area and Miss Magnolia Festival Pageant. This was a two-for-one pageant where 2 girls walked away as titleholders. The pageant was in Gardendale and the people of Gardendale were so nice to be around. The contestants were wonderful and I am once again glad I do not have to make the decision of who wins.... Amanda Whitaker was named Miss Magnolia Festival and Hayley Jones was named Miss North Jefferson Area. It was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
I was blessed to be able to Co-emcee the Miss Alabama Nursing Home Pageant. This was an event that I have heard so much about and one the I couldn't wait to be a part of. The women representing their individual facilities were dressed so beautifully. They had on their rhinestoned gowns, tiaras, and sashes with their titles adorning their chests. I didn't meet a stranger amongst the bunch. They were so friendly and welcoming to me. I had such a wonderful time getting to know the individual contestants. Their wisdom and knowledge was immeasurable and it was my pleasure to be able to speak with most of them. We had a luncheon prior to the pageant that afternoon. I sat next to miss Sr. Alabama Miss Frankie Cashion, whom I was surprised to find that she is a fellow tap dancer. She performed a tap dance to 42nd street for her talent when she won the Miss Sr. Alabama pageant. She encouraged me to keep dancing, until I couldn't anymore. It was very inspiring. The pageant ran very smoothly. We got to ask the top 10 finalists a top ten question. Let me tell you, that was entertaining! They all spoke their minds and spoke directly from the heart which was very refreshing to hear. We can learn so much from the older generation if we just slow down to spend time and listen to them. We got to walk around and talk with the other contestants while waiting on the judges' results. I thoroughly enjoyed this event. The winner was Miss Andalusia Manor, 100 year old Felma Schrimshire. She had such a wonderful personality as did the rest of the contestants. This appearance was very fulfilling and rewarding.
The next day I traveled to speak and be a guest in Florence at the Alabama Department of Tourism awards dinner. This was a black tie event with many important people who make the State of Alabama what it is today. Many awards were given out and a delicious dinner was served. When I say delicious, I mean it. It was one of the best meals I have had in a long time. I was able to greet everyone and speak for a few minutes about my platform and the Miss Alabama and Miss America organizations. It was an honor to be a part of such a special evening.
I have also had the opportunity to speak at the Kiwanis Club of Decatur. I was able to perform my talent and speak to the members. This meeting was extra special because it was the meeting where all of the members brought their daughters. I got to speak to the girls about the pageant and how it has changed my life, as well as educate everyone on the benefits this organization provides all family members involved. Decatur is a great community and one that I have enjoyed numerous times as Miss Alabama. That afternoon I was able to meet Dr. Stephanie Teichmiller, the official dentist for the Miss Alabama Organization. She is an absolute pleasure to work with and a genius when it comes to dentistry. I am looking forward to working with her as well as her staff during the year to make sure my smile is as great as it can possibly be.
I have had the privilege of doing a photo shoot with Billy Brown, the official photographer for Miss Alabama. I cannot say enough nice things about this man. He was incredibly encouraging and easy-going. He was great to work with and made the photo shoot as easy as it could be. Carlene Barefoot came to style my hair for the pictures and assist with all cosmetic needs I had during the shoot. It is great to have such wonderful sponsors who are willing to give their time and expertise at the drop of a hat.
Miss Jefferson County was another wonderful pageant I have had the opportunity of emceeing. I had never been to Miss Jefferson County but I had always heard so many wonderful things about this pageant. The directors and volunteers were so sweet and selfless to help throughout the day. This organization wouldn't thrive without our volunteers at each and every pageant. The pageant was a pleasure to be a part of. The girls competing have worked extremely hard and it is showing each and every time they grace the stage. Kelsey Richter was named the new Miss Jefferson County and will be competing in Miss Alabama in June.
Of course the Miss America's Outstanding Teen Pageant is coming up. We are only a week and some odd days away. I cannot wait to watch my teen, Mia Callens, go to Orlando and impress everyone with her grace, poise, talent, humility, and charisma. She makes me strive to be a better Miss Alabama each and every time I am around her. We are so lucky to have Mia as our representative and I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for her during the pageant. Please keep her in your prayers and thoughts as she competes for the title of Miss America's Outstanding Teen. Whatever the outcome may be, we are so very proud of you Mia and we are blessed to call you our own.
I am looking forward to the next few weeks as I will get to meet my sisters who are competing for the title of Miss America 2012. I am excited to get to know these wonderful young women and share a little Southern Hospitality with them. I am still in awe of the fact that I am even talking about myself and Miss America in the same sentence. I am absolutely honored to be able to represent this wonderful state day in and day out and I vow to give my all in everything I do.
As always, I like to leave a word of encouragement that I have read from my daily devotion. This one was very fitting due to the hectic life Miss Alabama leads on a daily basis:
"Rest in My sufficiency, as you consider the challenges this day presents. Do not wear yourself out by worrying about whether you can cope with the pressures. Keep looking to Me and communicating with Me, as we walk through this day together. Take time to rest by the wayside, for I am not in a hurry. A leisurely pace accomplishes more that a hurried striving. When you rush, you forget who you are and Whose you are. Remember that you are royalty in My kingdom."
I believe that is a great reminder for us all. Until next time :-)