I left off after my appearance at the Los Angeles Veterans Hospital which was a fun whirlwind of day! The next morning, Chelle and I went to Long Beach to visit the Long Beach Veteran's Hospital along with Miss America and her touring manager, Karen. The hospital in Long Beach was beautiful!! And Rich, who works in the public relations department gave us all a wonderful tour of the facilities. I learned a lot about the Veterans Hospital system and we got to visit with several patients including one of the few Medal Of Honor recipients from WWII who is still living! We also had a great time at lunch where the Chief of Staff, CFO, Director and other important hospital personnel were on hand to answer questions and share a little bit about what they do and why they do it. It was very interesting!
He was SO sweet! And he even chased Chelle down the hallway to give her a kiss on the cheek before we left! Too cute!
After the hospital tour, we headed back to the hotel and attended an event for the AUSA. I had a wonderful time chatting with military personnel and getting a chance to thank them for their service! They even had a pasta bar at the reception! (I had never seen that before and just loved the idea of having every possible ingredient at your disposal to make your own custom pasta dish!)
The next morning, Miss America and I attended a lovely tea at Biola University that was an appreciation ceremony for volunteers of the Family Readiness Group. It was a way for them to say thank you to their volunteers for their dedication throughout the year to help veterans and their families. It was a warm, tenderhearted event and several important generals were in attendance.
Friday evening I attended the Long Beach Army Birthday Ball. I had heard about this event the very first weekend that I was crowned Miss California and had been looking forward to it since June 2009! I must say that it not only lived up to my expectation, but far exceeded it. There were hundreds of people there, including very decorated military personnel and generals, active duty soldiers, veterans, and even America Ferrera and Wilmer Valderamma! (They were there to promote their new movie "The Dry Land")
America Ferrera and me
Wilmer Valderamma, Miss America, me and the director of the movie
The evening was filled with entertainment from Miss America, a Bob Hope impersonator (whom I taught a soft shoe dance to!) and a sneak peek of "The Dry Land". After several recognitions and toasts, we danced the night away to a live band! The evening was wonderful; everything from the decor, to the impressive and accomplished individuals who were in the room made the night one that I will never forget. Thank you SO much Felicia for inviting me and for putting on such a fantastic event!
With Alan and Drew, two wonderful men who made the evening so much fun! Thank you for your service! (Please keep Drew in your prayers, he is in Afghanistan now)
I was home for a week and returned to my job working in Children's Ministry and getting ready for our upcoming Vacation Bible School program and then had a performance this weekend with a new contemporary ballet company that I joined called "A:live Dance Company" http://www.alivedanceco.com/
With a few of the women in the company!
Then, the next week I had the pleasure of attending the Orange Senior Center's Golf Tournament in Placentia! It was a wonderful afternoon and Kathi Baldwin was my traveling companion... it was so fun to catch up with her! The weather was absolutely beautiful and I greeted golfers on the green and got to mingle with various people who worked for the city. I even saw the mayor of Orange who immediately spoke to me about my performance at Miss America! She was so very sweet! They had golfers bid to sit at a table with me and raised $1250 just from that! (I was very flattered) The event was held to raise money for the Meals on Wheels program that is put on through the community center, what an incredible and important organization!
With the Mayor of the City of Orange
This past week has been a whirlwind tour of Washington DC, New York and Finally Canada. If I ever make it home (I am currently at the airport delayed) I will have been in 7 states and 2 different countries in just one short week! Crazy!! I had the unique privilege to go on a private tour of the White House and it was wonderful! The only people we saw while in the White House were Sacha, Bo (the dog), Michelle in the motorcade and the security guards... it was AMAZING!
I went to Canada for the grand opening of the Garden of Hope and Faith walk in Brockville, Ontario Canada at Centennial Road Church. I spoke and delivered the message for the dedication ceremony on Saturday and was interviewed this morning in the church service along with my parents. Last night we even got to go on the 1000 islands cruise! It was absolute beautiful! Thank you so much to everyone in Brockville for such a warm welcome and such a great trip! I will definitely visit Canada again, hopefully sometime in the near future!
With some of the young girls at the church
My family and the Phillips family... thank you for being such wonderful hosts!!
The Bolt Castle (we saw this on the cruise)
With the amazing and energetic Bethany Exhalt Choir
The new statue that was unveiled "Guardian Angel"
It was raining!!
With Megan, such a sweetheart!
Being interviewed by Bruce Wylie
Now as I head home, it is with mixed emotions as I switch my brain to get ready to leave for Miss California 2010. One year ago today, at about this time, I was sitting and talking with one of my friends backstage and I remember telling her, "Isn't it crazy to think that tonight one of us will be Miss California?!?! I just can't imagine that!" Then, much to my surprise about 7 hours later, I was the girl with the crown on my head. And my life would never be the same.
Believe it or not, I am home for two days and then have two more appearances before I crown the next Miss Cal. so I will continue to blog while in Fresno and hopefully will be able to post some candid pictures for all of you at home!!
Days until I leave for Miss CA 2010: 2 days
Quote of the week:
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." - Chinese Proverb