As I sat at orientation last weekend, and gazed across the room, I couldn't help but continue to feel overwhelmed with pride for this organization and the women I have created such strong bonds with. Although I have always had a love for this program and the opportunities it uniquely offers, it was at that moment that I realized the beauty my assiduous efforts has to offer. I am ever-grateful for the friendships I have gained and look forward to new ones that lie ahead in the near future.
Orientation weekend started off with quite a bang! As Miss Wayne County, I had the honor of escorting Christina Hastie to the stage as our Miss Lighthouse Coast representative. She was the first representative Wayne County has had at the sweeps pageant, and boy did she represent us well! Congratulations to Christina on her first local title – Miss Lighthouse Coast 2008! I am very excited to share in her first trip to Miss Michigan! I also want to congratulate a dear friend of mine, Stephanie Frey, on her new title, “Miss Shoreline 2008.” I couldn't be happier for her success.
We had the privilege of listening to many exceptional speakers, which included Rick Brinkley and Miss Michigan, Gina Valo! After hearing Rick speak in Las Vegas, I was very excited to hear he would be joining us in Muskegon. He is such an eloquent speaker. If I could pick one word to describe Gina as Miss Michigan 2007, it would be “genial.” She has taken on this job with such strength and pride. She is a true role model to all of us contestants and I am honored to call her an MWC sister times two! Gina and I bonded my first year at Miss Michigan. Being not only a newbie, and extremely sick on the first preliminary night, Gina took me under her wing. I don't know what I would have done without her. She did an excellent job addressing all of us contestants. I admire how she is open and honest about her experiences within the organization and the knowledge she has garnered.
Many of us contestants were eager for the “lotto.” For those of you interested, I am contestant #18 (out of 27) and in the Sigma group. I will be competing in swimsuit Wednesday night, talent on Thursday, and evening gown and onstage question Friday. I truly could not have asked for a better number. Although I am fully aware your number does not yield any influence on who wins, I am at ease knowing that I am performing in an order that feels comfortable to me. The biggest and most pleasant surprise came when Steve announced roommates. Melissa Cousino is my roommate! AHHH! I am still doing a happy dance. I absolutely love her... there are no “ifs,” “ands,” or “buts” about it! Though, I had to make a promise to Sheila that I will get sleep during MM week! The night traditionally ended with Fredric's rendition of “New York, New York,” accompanied by his chorus of executive directors. That production always makes be laugh! How can it not?
Yesterday, I had the privilege of visiting children at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing; one of the four Children's Miracle Network hospitals in the state of Michigan. There are no words to describe the joyous expressions on these children's faces. I walked into the play room to meet Cayden, a two-year-old boy completely infatuated with my high heel shoes. We obviously have a love for shoes in common! He demanded that I take them off, so his wish was my command. He didn't think twice about putting them on and walking around the room three inches taller than he was before I came. Good thing they had play shoes in the room, or I think I would have went home barefoot. After some convincing, I was able to get him to trade me my shoes back. I sat and signed autographs, took pictures, and played with the children. I approached another little boy and asked if he wanted a picture, he politely refused with hesitation. I started to talk with him to find out that we have the same birthday, or so he claims. I then went on to say (as I stood there with a crown on my head), “Well if we have the same birthday, you must be a prince because you look like a prince.” He simply replied, “No… I just look like a kid.” He was hysterical. These children exude a love for life that is so gallant. It only takes stepping foot into a CMN hospital one time to gain admiration for the MAO/CMN partnership.
Within the past two weeks I have been to Muskegon twice, Lansing once, and that is not the end of my traveling by any means. This Saturday I will be in Kalamazoo with my darling little dancers for their first regional competition this year. Then Monday I leave for Dallas, TX with Gina for an event with Avfuel. I can't wait to spend some time with our new Miss Michigan! We come back Wednesday, and Easter will be right around the corner. March has just flown by! I look forward to ending the month with the Michigan's Junior Miss program. I can't believe it has been five years since I competed on that stage…it seems like only yesterday. I look forward to welcoming another young woman
into an incredible sisterhood.
I would like to sign off by reminding everyone to PLEASE be safe this coming St. Patty's Day. Remember to wear green - I wouldn't want you to get pinched! I also find this the only acceptable day of the year to wear green given that “blue and gold” are much more flattering colors (haha just kidding, GO BLUE!) But more importantly have fun AND please be responsible!
Hoping to have a little luck of the Irish this year,
P.S. Although this is very random, I find it important enough to say, “Thank goodness for Girl Scout cookies!!!” :)