As I count down the days to Miss America, it's finally beginning to feel so near, so real. Everything has come together and been prepared, down to the minute details. Last week, the Miss Nebraska Organization held a send-off party for me in North Platte. Hosted by Miss Nebraska 2009 Brittany Jeffers, I got to model my wardrobe and perform my talent for those in attendance. Once again, it was wonderful to feel the support and encouragement from so many across the state. With approximately three weeks until the competition in Las Vegas, I'm feeling the excitement build more and more each day! Who knows what January 15th will bring? I'm not worried about the outcome, but the journey. And let me tell you, this journey has been incredible.
After the send-off on Saturday, I headed over to Mccook to sign autographs and take pictures with kids who came into the Viaero Wireless store there. We had a lot of fun! That night I also watched the Big 12 Championship with some Miss NE ladies; although a big disappointing, we had a great time. It was the first Husker game I've ever watched, in real life or on tv! (I don't think I'm supposed to tell people that, so shhh!) Over the weekend I also did some mock interviews and other prep work, and got to go visit Scout's Rest Ranch as well. The ranch is the home of "Buffalo Bill" Cody, and is absolutely beautiful! Various individuals and groups throughout the area decorate the rooms in the house for Christmas, so it was incredible to see the gorgeous decorations throughout. Beginning the 17th, they have tours, pictures with Santa, hayrack rides, apple cider, roasted chestnuts, and lots of fun, so if you're in the area, be sure to make it over!
On Tuesday I headed across the state to meet with Governor Heineman in Lincoln. We had a great talk about politics and various issues; he is a fantastic person, and a very strong leader. The following day I had the opportunity to present before the Nebraska Board of Education on my proposal to implement NEDA's Educator Toolkits into teacher training programs, as well as recognizing National Eating Disorders Awareness Week in the schools this year. Our time went very well, and the board members were very receptive and supportive of my presentation.
Yesterday was another Leadership Scottsbluff session, focusing on public speaking and communication. We had some fantastic speakers and presentations that of course apply very directly to my job every day. We also visited the Veteran's Home in Scottsbluff; I got to play cards with a Navy Air Corps veteran named Harry, and also played my talent piece for all the veterans. Every one of them has such an incredible story, and it was so amazing to see their appreciation for our time. Just playing games with them and chatting makes such a difference; as one veteran there told us, the best way to honor them is simply to tell them "I'm proud of you."
As travels slow a bit, I'll be able to spend some time with my family over the holidays, as well as get to work on some events that are in the works for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, February 20th-26th 2011. Be sure to mark your calendars to remember this week, wear purple for eating disorders awareness, and stay tuned for upcoming events across the state!
Of course, as the weather gets colder, remember to take some time to relax and enjoy the season. For a moving story about dedication and true character, find a copy of "Promises I Made My Mother" by Sam Haskell. This book is also a great gift for mothers or sons, as it presents an inspiring message about this powerful relationship.
Embrace the Season!