Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Miss America is less than three months away! The days are flying by and have been filled with appearances, workouts, practicing piano and much more Miss America prep. In addition to preparing for Miss America, I have continued to keep busy with several appearances across the state.

Congratulations to Aja Majkrzak and Lauren Johnson who were just crowned Miss Capital City and Miss Twin Cities. I had the great honor of giving my farewell to the local title of Miss Twin Cities that I proudly represented prior to becoming Miss Minnesota, and also crowned the new titleholder. I reflect back to where I was a year ago…preparing for Miss Twin Cities without knowing that one year from then I would be preparing for the job of Miss America. I am so excited I can hardly stand it! Thank you so much to Kathy Shellum and Judy Register for being such wonderful directors by not only encouraging me, but also pushing me out of my comfort zone so that I would be prepared for this once in a lifetime job. You two will forever be my friends!

Prior to the pageant, I teamed up with the organization “Cheerful Givers” for the National Make a Difference Day. The mission of “Cheerful Givers” is to provide toy-filled birthday bags to food shelves and homeless shelters so that parents living in poverty can give their child a birthday gift. In one hour, we bagged over 1,900 birthday bags to provide for families in need. As I participated in this event, I couldn’t help but feel so blessed for the life I have been provided and to feel encouraged by the smile these gifts will provide to a child. What a humbling experience. Volunteering with this organization only takes an hour or two of your time, but can make the world of a difference to a child. Check out their website at Cheerfulgivers.org to find out more information about volunteering!

On October 15th, I had another Night of Inspiration Concert in Cambridge, MN at “In His Steps Ballet Studio.” This was a unique night of talent with the dance students from the studio performing to my piano music! This was also a great night with more inspiring stories. I’d love to take a moment to share the story of Grace, who was the Gillette patient we recognized as an Inspiring American.

Grace was born 16 weeks early weighing barely a pound. Like many premature infants, she has cerebral palsy – a form of brain damage that, for Grace, affects her ability to speak. Until two years ago, life without words was 6-year-old Grace’s reality. But, this strong little girl persisted and overcame her major life obstacle. To read more about how her mother never thought she would hear her daughter say “I love you” and the talker she now uses, check out Grace’s Story on whohasinspiredyou.com!

On October 17th, I joined my two friends Kaylah Dockter and Aja Majkrzak in St. Cloud to perform at a benefit concert for a high school’s orchestra program. With budget cuts taking a toll on schools across the country, this St. Cloud School’s orchestral program made the decision to fundraise through numerous concerts. With music being an integral part of my life, I was thrilled to be a part of the concert! I have to say their orchestra was superb, AND, I will be writing a piece for them to perform at a future concert; as you can imagine, with a love for composing music, I am very excited for this task! I would not be who I am today if my parents had not put me in piano lessons at the age of 5. No matter what was going on in my life, I could use music as an escape or even a way to deal with my emotions. I can’t imagine that being taken away from a student so I was honored to help them out!

On the 21st of October, I had a fantastic appearance in Vergas, MN! I was invited to the beautiful home of The McGrady’s who hosted several of their friends for an Evening of Inspiration with Miss Minnesota. They welcomed me as a dinner guest (which was probably the best four course meal I have ever had!), and then I had the opportunity to perform on a beautiful grand piano while also sharing about the Children’s Miracle Network and my platform of Inspiring America.

Their generosity and graciousness was absolutely remarkable. This group of 20 individuals gave over $2,500 in donations to CMN! What a night; I felt so honored that they would so graciously and generously give to this great organization on my behalf! With their help, I have now raised over $10,000 for CMN!!! At this rate, I know I will far exceed my goal of raising $15,000 throughout my year of service as Miss Minnesota, and hopefully as Miss America!

The next two weeks are jam-packed with appearances so I will try to blog a bit sooner to keep you updated! Thank you again for your time and support. I hope that you are inspired to make a difference in your community!

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