Image Map

Monday, July 23, 2012

Dream Big

I didn't realize it until coming home and unpacking (a week later). A defining theme of my week at Miss Arkansas this year was "Dream Big." I know. That's not particularly profound. People say that all the time, but with hindsight being 20/20, I've come to appreciate this phrase in a whole new way following the events of Miss Arkansas 2012. And here's what I have to say about it...

A beautiful gift from my pageant family during competition week!

A gift from good friends during competition week! (Oh and when you press the button they scream "Dream Big!")

A gift from my mom before the pageant this year.

So if that isn't proof enough of the theme...

Preparing for competition this year looked a little different than it had in years past. It was infinitely more emotional. I truly only had about 2 months to prepare for the stage competition. I spent the majority of my year in a 3rd world country without focusing too much on the pageant. And to really drive home the point, I didn't actually want to compete in the prelim I won back at the end of last year. I know. Now you're really confused, but let me explain. When it was time for me to compete in Miss Lights of the Delta last year, I had already made the decision to go to Uganda. In my mind, that was where my future was headed. There's more to the story, but for now just know that I was sure of my calling to go to Uganda and I was unsure if Miss Arkansas still had a place in my life. But at the encouragement of my mother, who knows me better sometimes than I know myself, I competed.

Through a lot of prayer both before and during my trip, the Lord blessed me with the gift of being absolutely sure that He had a plan for my life and that plan did include the 2012 Miss Arkansas Pageant. So let's fast forward to competition week. Lots of my thoughts leading up to the week you can read on this blog. But here is a look into what the week turned out to be.

1. An opportunity for new and stronger friendships built with many of the girls.

At rehearsal with a phenomenal friend, Simone Mullinax!

2. A chance to share a little part of one of my favorite places in the whole world. I gave each contestant a paper bead necklace that was made by widows in a village in Uganda. Really wish I had a picture of Rozz with them on her head in true hippie fashion, but Brooke Ault takes a gorgeous photo, too!

3. A realization that I wasn't there for what I thought I was there for.

Announcement of our 75th Miss Arkansas, Sloane Roberts.

So back to the theme. I really think that God was trying to tell me something throughout the whole week, "Dream Big!" For me, I was dreaming of becoming Miss Arkansas. I arrived in Hot Springs with one goal in mind and that was the crown. But I realize now after coming home and sifting through the joys and the pains, the good things and the dissappointments, (not to mention all those gifts) that God wants me to dream a little bigger. Before someone takes this the wrong way, let me just say that the dream of Miss Arkansas is huge and it was an HONOR to compete with Sloane Roberts. She is a phenomenal young woman who will not just represent Arkansas well, but she will represent the other 46 of us beautifully. It is a joy for me to support Sloane in all that she does. I'm glad that her dream was realized on Saturday night.

What exactly do I mean by dreaming bigger? Well, I've been rather limited in what I've allowed my future to look like. I thought that the title and the job of Miss Arkansas was dreaming as big as I could, but now I see that I need to push that envelope a little bit. There are some things that I dreamt about while in Uganda, things I think that the Lord means for me to do. I won't pretend to know exactly what they are, but I can tell you that there is one thing that I'm almost afraid to say that I want to do because it is so big and so out there that it seems entirely impossible. Maybe I'll be brave enough to tell you more soon, but for now what you need to know is that I'm learning that I serve the one true God and that He is the God of imPossible!

He said to them, "Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move, and NOTHING will be impossible for you."  -Matthew 17:20

I listened to a podcast here a while back that said the last line of that verse could also be read "ANYTHING will be possible for you." Isn't that amazing? I mean WOW! The God of the universe says that if we have faith anything will be possible for us. In the coming weeks and months I hope to be learning more about what it means to believe for the impossible and dream bigger dreams than ever before. And the last thing I want to say to you is

Dream Big!!!!


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Favorite Phase of Competition Complete

It's been an exciting week so far full of rehearsals, personal stage preparations, and, my favorite, interview competition! Yes, it isn't everyday you find someone who likes that particular phase of competition, but it has always been my favorite. To be honest, this year it is probably what I've worked the hardest to be ready for. I can't tell you how wonderful it feels to have gone into that interview room and to have been able to walk out with my head held high (and of course my nerves running wild!). I won't give away any details, but I will tell you that there is a surprise for those who watch the pageant this year regarding an interesting "look" at our private interviews.

With interview complete, tonight we will begin the first night of on-stage preliminary competition. I'm in group B and that means I will be donning my beautiful new custom Shelley Kelley evening gown from Clark's Bridal in Jonesboro and the Royal We in Conway. I can't wait to feel that rush of being on stage again. We are so blessed to have such wonderful sponsors in Shelley Kelley and Laine Berry. Our opening number dresses were donated by the Royal We this year and they are fabulous!

Some other updates from the week:

Like I said, this week has been phenomenal so far. Sunday began with the Arrival ceremony. This year's program has been my favorite of the last three years. Long time supporter, volunteer, and board member, June Felix, and her team of hard working creative volunteers were responsible for an impeccable upgrade in the way Arrival is conducted. Placed all around the auditorium were photos of all of the former Miss Arkansas titleholders. You may know that this is the 75th Anniversary of the Miss Arkansas Pageant and I can not think of a better way to honor such a rich history of our wonderful formers. Thank you, Mrs. June for all of your hard work in making this Arrival one I will always remember!

My Arrival look

During the ceremony with my two princesses and our lovely Miss Arkansas.

Before going on stage tonight I just want to mention something that was first shared with me by my pastor, Scot Loyd, in Jonesboro, and again last night from one of my Uganda teammates living in Michigan. (Special, HUGE, thanks to Simone Mullinax for allowing me to borrow her computer to chat with my team last night! I could write a whole blog series on how wonderful and selfless each of our contestants are this year.) My favorite story in the Bible is of Queen Esther. From the pulpit last Sunday, my pastor prayed for my journey at Miss Arkansas this week and he mentioned the favor that Esther found and what she was able to accomplish for God's people because of it. Last night, I was reminded by my friend that Esther was placed in the palace as queen for "such a time as this," and that this competition is not about me. There are 46 other well-deserving and beautiful young women here this week, countless volunteers, and thousands of people who will be watching. This pageant is a phenomenal opportunity. I plan to take it to heart that God has brought me here for such a time as this, and I'm resting in His perfect plan for my life. Whatever the outcome Saturday night, I am blessed beyond measure to be here this week. I'm learning and growing so much. 

"On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king's palace, in front of the king's quarters, while the king was sitting on his royal throne inside the throne room opposite the entrance to the palace. And when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, she won favor in his sight, and he held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand..." -Esther 5:1-2

Thank you for your prayers and support. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Almost Here!!!

It is so hard to believe that the Miss Arkansas Pageant is just one week away! The first night of preliminary competition will begin next Wednesday at 7:00pm in Hot Springs, AR. I hope you have your tickets because you won't want to miss a single minute of this years pageant. I will be leaving this Saturday to prepare for the Arrival ceremony that will take place Sunday at 2:00pm. If you're in the Greater Hot Springs area, you should also make plans to attend that. It is open to the public and this year will take place in Horner Hall in the Convention Center. Also, if you are unable to attend the pageant, you can still watch both the preliminary competition and the final night online. Just go to www.missarkansas.org and you'll find the live streaming link on the home page.

Just a fair warning, I'll be putting out quite a few blogs over the next week. I can't promise one everyday, but I'm going to try to keep you updated as much as possible. It is such a wonderful feeling know that all of my preparations are coming to a close and the competition is about to commence. I truly feel ready! I am eager to spend my week in Hot Springs giving it all I've got to give in the hopes that I will have the opportunity to represent my home state. I have been given so much from my family and friends in Arkansas and I hope to make you all proud next week!

 Saturday night at Miss Arkansas Outstanding Teen!

So it's about time for some updates! I've been feverishly preparing for next week for quite some time now, and much of my preparation culminated in an exhausting but extremely helpful week of Bootcamp courtesy of my fabulous director, Marrietta Jerome. The second week in June my pageant sisters and I all headed to Blytheville for a week of intensive state pageant preparations. We practiced all of our on-stage competition during the early morning hours before visiting with local civic organizations over lunch. This year we were invited to entertain and speak at the Lyons, Kiwanis, and Rotary Clubs of Blytheville.

 Singing to a great audience!

 One of our club visits!

 Gifts for state from our great directors!

I've taken the following information from our very own Miss Arkansas, Kristen Glover's, blog. It is some things you should be aware of for the upcoming week! Also, be sure and check out her blog. She has some great videos from former Miss Arkansas titleholders in celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the pageant. You can view her blog at http://secondchanceskg.blogspot.com

-For those who are unable to join us, you may  view the pageant live via webcast by visiting www.missarkansas.org/live

-On Wednesday and Thursday, July 11 and 12, Junior High and High School spirit squads are invited to attend the Preliminary competition for free! Spirit squad members must wear their uniform / team gear in order to receive complimentary admission.

-On Friday and Saturday, July 13 and 14, fraternity and sorority members will be able to attend the final night of Preliminary competition and the crowning night for free! Greek members are asked to wear their letters or pins in order to gain complimentary admission.  

- Judging / Auditing Seminar-- Miss Arkansas
Saturday, July 14, 2012 at 9:00 a.m.
Hot Springs Convention Center, Hall D
$10.00 fee

-Vote for your favorite contestant in the Tony Bowls/Mon Cheri People’s Choice.  Jason Masters and Tony Bowls provided a photo shoot for all Miss Arkansas contestants, which can be viewed at http://www.missarkansas.org/photoshoot2012.htm.  Each vote cast is $1.00, and the winner will be awarded a cash scholarship on Saturday.  Voting closes on Friday, July 13. 
·        -As they have done the past three years, Dillard’s in Hot Springs will sponsor a “Miss Arkansas’ Shopping Diva Award.”  Contestants are asked to encourage their friends and family to shop at Dillard’s in Hot Springs Mall during pageant week.  A log book will be located in customer service, where friends and family will log purchases under their contestant’s name.   The contestant with the most sales at the end of the week will win the $300 Dillard’s wardrobe! The new Miss Arkansas will be awarded a minimum $500 wardrobe from Dillard’s in Hot Springs.  However, the wardrobe prize could be much larger!  For every $500 spent by Miss Arkansas patrons during pageant week, Dillard’s in Hot Springs will add $100 to the wardrobe prize package.  Last year Kristen Glover, Miss Arkansas 2011, won $3,500 in merchandise! 

-Plan to purchase your flowers at the Miss Arkansas Pageant through the Miss Arkansas Executive Directors’ Association Booth!  Also, they will sponsor a Crowd Favorite Award.  Support your favorite contestant with $1.00 per vote.  All proceeds go to scholarships for next year’s Miss Arkansas contestants.