Miss Capital City Farewell

I know many of my friends and family do not live in the Raleigh area and were unable to make it to the Miss Capital City/Miss Clayton/Miss Cleveland Pageant on Saturday evening. Therefore, I would like to share my farewell as Miss Capital City with you all here. 

Savvy Shields, Miss America 2017, spoke the truth to “Compete for yourself, but Serve for others.” As Miss Capital City I aimed to model my year after the verse Isaiah 6:8 “Here I am, Lord, send me.” My community service platform is “Volunteerism” because I wanted to do the most good, in the most places.

I stand before you tonight hoping you agree with me that my year has been marked by service to others. I served with 16 nonprofit organizations. That included raising $1100 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, collecting 754 pounds of food for Second Harvest Food Bank Metrolina, and donating over $600 of goods to Urban Ministry Center of Charlotte.

I want to spend my last moments giving thanks.

Mom, you’ve been my greatest supporter and my road trip warrior, thank you for being the biggest part of this journey.

Dad, thank you for walking alongside me at the suicide prevention walk two months after your quadruple bypass.

Alexandria and Cameron, thank you for being my sounding board for the year and for always making me laugh.

Grace Ann, you were the best roommate. Thank you for prayers and daily devotions. I am beyond lucky to call you friend.

Caleb, you have been there from day one of this journey, you have jumped into this adventure and have taken steps to get me in contact with nonprofits I wanted to work with. There are not enough words to express my gratitude, and there’s nobody that could’ve been better to have beside me on this journey.

My Miss NC sisters, your beauty and strengths are astonishing. You have built me up, you have prayed for me, you took care of me when I was sick. I love you all and I am thankful for your sisterhood. You filled my bucket, and I carry that with me everywhere I go.

The Wildes, I couldn’t have asked for a better Princess’ family. You guys have been there for everything. You have become family and friends, and I am beyond grateful. You went so far as to hold tarantulas and snakes with me as we worked with Eastern Exotics to preserve wildlife. You will forever be part of my family and I love you eternally.

The Miss North Carolina Organization:  Thank you for running this scholarship organization that women like me can compete, make friendships, and serve. Thank you for teaching us to “fill buckets” and to be a titleholder who gives back.

Kate Peacock and the Kate Peacock Teaching Fellow Scholarship Committee, thank you for choosing me from all of the applications you read. I poured my heart into my application, using the vulnerability I often find difficult to show, and you honored me in a way that will forever hold a special place in my heart.

The Nonprofits and Service Events: (Carolinas Aviation Museum, Convoy of Hope, Urban Ministry Center Charlotte, Stop Soldier Suicide, Charlotte Geek Gala & Muggles Market, Queen City Harry Potter Alliance, Second Harvest Food Bank, American Foundation of Suicide Prevention Charlotte, Levine’s Children’s Hospital, Activate Good, Charlotte Special Olympics, Lucky’s Toys for Tokens, State Farm Neighborhood of Good, Warm Hands Project, Eastern Exotics Wildlife Preservation, Make a Wish, National History Day) : To each organization that opened their doors to me, thank you a million times over for allowing me to serve alongside you. You are the change I want to see in the world, and I am blessed to have been a part of your work.

My sister queens and committee:  Thank you for your help and friendship this year, I will forever be a Capital City girl.

My students and coworkers:  Thank you for donating cards to be distributed at nursing homes, asking about Miss North Carolina, donating to causes I was working with, and for celebrating with me when I brought home the Teaching Fellow Scholarship. You have taught me daily over the last three years what it means to serve. You are forever my Husky Family, and I am grateful you were all along for this ride.

The Kisers and the McCarleys: Thank you for letting me tell your story.

My Savior:  What You intend is good, and you chose to give me the gift of service this year. You opened doors that I could have never imagined possible. You created me with a servant’s heart, ready to be encouraged by serving others, and and giving my whole heart to those things I am passionate about. You gave me strength to work full time and serve on weekends. You gave me initiative, motivation, and confidence to contact each organization asking to serve alongside them, and then had them say “YES!” Thank you for letting me bloom as you planted me this year.

I am walking away from this year with my cup overflowing with blessings. In the Broadway musical “Hamilton,” George Washington sings a song entitled “One Last Time.” This has been my “one last time.” As I become a “forever queen” tonight and crown my successor, it is truly a bittersweet moment. I have been blessed beyond measure by my time as Miss Capital city. Thank you.

Typing With One Hand

I sit in another classroom, watching another teacher with her students, and I appreciate the relationship I share with my current students. It has been hard to be grateful lately, I feel guilty admitting this, but it is the truth, and I want to be vulnerable and be truthful here.

It was a really great reminder that in a Sunday service a few weeks ago, the pastor reminded us that even a mustard seed faith counts. Doubts are normal. Trails are normal. Mustard Seed Faith Counts. Let me say that again. Mustard. Seed. Faith. Does Count. So there is where this blog site name comes from.

I chose to start this as a way to process some of the things I am dealing with. It may be read, it may not be, but either way I am fine. God brought me to it, and he will bring me through it, but I need to process the things he has brought me to.

Life has been busy and life has been hard. A little over a month ago, I was diagnosed with two conditions that may never be cured. I had surgery on my hand (that I write with), from an accident that happened almost a year ago. I have had to stop lifting weights and change my workout routine drastically as a result of the surgery. I will start Occupational Therapy later this week….I hate OT and PT. Most days the fatigue from my chronic illnesses make it hard to keep my eyes open through throughout the day. The news I see daily concerns me. The things I hear some of my students say concerns me to the point I lay awake at night- I hope to be a safe place for them and to prepare them for the future and it makes me crazy to think I may be falling short. My anxiety has increased significantly. Multiple people I trusted and whom  I considered myself close with have hurt me in the last few months, and my tender heart has hurt in ways I didn’t know that it could.

Possibly the most painful…Some days I question that God is listening when I pray. I know he is there, but some days with things being so hard, it can Feel like he isn’t.

As I write this, I fear it sounds negative. There are positive things in my life. I was accepted into graduate school at a university that I love, and I am beyond excited about beginning my master’s degree. Multiple awesome organizations have opened their doors to me to volunteer with them as Miss Capital City. I have found a renewed love for yoga. My dad has been doing great as he heals after his procedure in August (more to come on this later). My boyfriend, who is also my best friend, has been super supportive of my job and volunteerism. I have a beautiful sense of community among two of my three classes, and they manage to make me laugh on a daily basis. With the help of my family and friends, my team for the AFSP team raised over $1200 for the Out of Darkness Walk. I assisted the HPA Charlotte with collecting 754 pounds of food for Second Harvest Food Bank (these are just two wonderful events I have been involved with since March). I have been exceedingly proud of the way my title has allowed me to help my community. My sister flies home tonight from her new home, and I am so excited to see her.

I know that I have a tendency for pessimism, and I often look at the bad rather than the good. One of my devotions last week called me to be grateful. I hope here to write about struggles but also the things I am grateful for.

So I want to end today with a few things.

  1. I am grateful for you, that you are alongside me for this first post, and have made it this far into it. I hope maybe you will join me again.
  2. I am thankful for the fact I will spend this holiday in warm homes with the people I love.
  3. I am thankful for a job, that although challenging, I also enjoy, and that pays the bills.
  4. I am thankful for friends and family who support me in all of my endeavors.
  5. I am grateful for a program that has allowed me to pursue scholarship, service, and success.
  6. I am thankful for the best friends that a woman could ask for. I love you guys so much- even if you don’t read this and never see this, I hope you know how much you mean to me.
  7. I am grateful for four beautiful fur babies who let me love them like crazy.
  8. I am thankful for being able to receive the medical care that I need.
  9. I am thankful for a Father God who has saved me by grace and looks on me as His Beloved.
  10. If you know me, you know how true this is. I am super thankful for food. All the food. Especially dessert, peanut butter, coffee…I could keep going, but that would be digressing.

Lastly, if you are reading this, I want to connect with you, message/email/comment and tell me- how can I pray for you? And/or, what are you thankful for this Thanksgiving week?