Each and every day, I am reminded of the wonderful blessings and opportunities this job brings. There is never a day wasted, and every single chance I get, I thank the good Lord for all he has given me. September was yet another jam-packed month of events, fundraisers, pageants, and experiences.
At the beginning of the month, I was able to speak at the Jefferson County Board of Education Leadership Meeting. This appearance meant more to me than I can ever explain. As a daughter of an educator, I have always had the utmost respect for each and every individual who gives their time and service to any aspect of the educational process. I was honored to be able to speak about my mother and her legacy that she left not only with her students at school, but her students at home as well. It was an incredible opportunity to see some familiar faces of the people who have shaped me into the young woman that I am today. I did not feel worthy to be able to talk to them about leadership, seeing that they mold the leaders of the future day-in and day-out. It was a wonderful way to spend my September morning, and I am blessed to have been a part of such an event.
Immediately following this appearance, I jumped in the car and drove to Dothan, AL to spend the night with Walter and Melanie Hill. Walter invited me to come along on the Wiregrass United Way 5 County Tour. It was an absolute blast. The crew of 9 of us or so rode in a party bus from location to location. We stopped at 5 different counties throughout the Wiregrass and met so many wonderful people along the way. I was able to speak briefly to each group about community service and my experiences while working with various organizations. The theme of this year's campaign is "Think WE before ME" and the Wiregrass United Way helps with the funding of over 30 agencies and organizations in the area. One of the stops just so happened to be the Ozark Boys and Girls Club, which was awarded the Best BGC in Alabama last year. These wonderful people really embraced me and helped me see the wonderful work they do on a daily basis. I was thoroughly impressed with the generosity and motivation of the citizens of the Wiregrass community.....Oh to have more people like that in the world. Thanks so Walter and the whole United Way gang for showing me such a good time for a great cause.
Alex Swader is on of our Miracle friends who has been a big inspiration to myself and all the he has come in contact with. He is a tap dancing cancer survivor who puts on a the "Tapping Out Childhood Cancer Gala". I met Alex way back when he was a young boy, and he was a force to be reckoned with then. NOW, not much has changed. He is a hard-fighting soldier who has a tremendous outlook on life and his infectious zeal is to be admired. I was invited to dance for and mingle with the various participants on a Sunday afternoon at the Gabrella Manor. The venue was incredible and the turnout was even better. I met so many people who have left such an impact on my daily life. Alex invited many friends to entertain throughout the afternoon. One little girl I met was Carley. She had a rare cancer of the sinus cavity. She is now in remission and is dancing her little heart out. She danced to "She Is a Butterfly" by Martina McBride. Her dad told me that a butterfly to a cancer survivor is a symbol of freedom and new life. (Sidenote: My mom started calling me her little butterfly a couple of years ago at Miss Alabama because she said that I had blossomed. She said the first couple of years I was preparing in my cocoon and now I was her beautiful butterfly). You can imagine how much of a tear jerker Carley's performance was. I am honored to have been a part of this event and will cherish this experience always. I LOVE MY JOB!
A special event at the end of September was the Linley Heflin Fashion Show. The Linley Heflin Fashion Show is an event to raise money solely to send young women to college, what a wonderful event to be a part of. Luckily, I had the opportunity to spend some time with my Miss Alabama sisters Liz, Ashley, and Amie Beth at this event. The clothes were breathtaking from Gus Mayer. I don't think it is possible to ever be let down with any garment from Gus Mayer :-) The last segment of the show was filled with dresses from Rene Ruiz, an incredible designer from Miami, FL. He was such a joy to work with and a pleasure to get to know. This afternoon was a blessing and a wonderful opportunity to meet some of the most incredible people Birmingham has to offer. Have I mentioned that I LOVE MY JOB?
From the writings of Dale Carnegie: "Let's not get so busy or live so fast that we can't listen to the music of the meadow or the symphony that glorifies the forest. Some things in the world are far more important than wealth; one of them is the ability to enjoy simple things."
Thank you, Lord for your many blessings and the opportunity to represent this incredible state.
There's more to come, so stay tuned.