Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
There is no better time of year than Thanksgiving Day to consider all the things for which we are grateful! For me, this year has been filled with so many challenges, some resulting in triumph and some in tribulation. Regardless the outcome, each and every experience has been a blessing…much like my life.
There were many titles I dreamed of achieving as a young girl, but never imagined one of my titles would be Burn Survivor. Regardless, it is a fact and after a very long journey of healing, I have finally learned that my scars help me to tell my story and they are truly the badges of honor that prove my strength, my determination, and my passion for life!
My family stood next to my hospital bed and watched my body go through unimaginable torture, but they never wavered. They showed up. They read cards of well wishes to me, they talked to me, they cried with me, they allowed me to crush their hands when the pain was more than I could take alone, and they loved me…with all their hearts…and I felt it. I will never adequately be able to thank my loved ones, but on this day…a day of Thanksgiving…I hope they know I love them back with all that have and all that I am. And, I thank God for every precious day!
With all my love and appreciation,
Mrs. International 2012
Thanksgiving, a time to reflect and remember all the things we have, the family we love, and the addition of a new chapter in our story. 2012 has brought extreme times of joy and equally extreme times of sorrow for me. This time of year is surprisingly not a happy time for me. When most people are catching up with family, loved ones, and frantically shopping for gifts, I am remembering loved ones I have lost. Every one of my grandparents passed away during the holidays. Last year at this time, I was mourning the recent loss of my Grandma, “Grammy Billie Jean”. She was my rock, my everything. After she battled a rare cancer found in her eye socket, having her eye removed, stroke, multiple heart surgeries, replacement of heart valve and pace maker, God finally called her home and her life was ended by heart failure. As my family slowly came to terms with losing such a wonderful woman, my Grandfather suddenly died of heart failure after a sudden heart attack at the age of 92. Even though I have so many people to miss, I also have so much to be grateful for. This time last year I was nervously preparing for Miss Minnesota International with absolutely no idea of what was in store for my future. I still cannot believe that this is what my blessed Lord had up his sleeve! This year has been life changing and I really do mean that. Getting involved with the International Pageant system has helped me develop my personal passion, my career goals, my personal development and networking skills, my confidence, my expectations for my own future and so many aspects of my life that I am probably unaware of because I have been on this rollercoaster just trying to hang on for the ride. I am so thankful for my past and what it has taught me about how to treat people, how to show love, and how to be an advocate for children in similar situations. I used to be angry and resentful for the abuse I felt as a child but now, I see it in a whole different light. I am so thankful and finally understand God’s plan for me. He always knew, even though I didn’t understand. I am finally grateful of my past because it has given me strength for the future I was always meant to have. Family, but also friends have supported me this year. Friends have been extremely important to me because honestly, I don’t have much family to reach out to. I can never say Thank You enough to my supporters this year. Each one of you has touched my heart in ways you may not even be aware of. Personal connections is one of the most important things for me, and being able to personally connect with people around the world this year is an unfathomable opportunity that I will take full advantage of. My mom and dad have been my biggest supporters and have been breaking their backs, bank accounts, and probably their sanity to make sure I can achieve every wildest dream I have ever imagined. Thank You!
In the words of Ciji Dodds, I hope I make you all very proud.
“All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanks giving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” Corinthians 4:15
Miss International 2012
I cannot believe that four months have already passed since I was crowned Miss Teen International 2012. As we celebrate Thanksgiving, I cannot help but think of all of the things I have to be thankful for. This year has been filled with all things new! From new opportunities to a new baby sister, God has truly blessed my family!
As Miss Teen International, I have been blessed with so many new opportunities to grow as a person and a servant of God. Through the American Heart Association, I have learned the importance of heart health and teaching others about the simple ways to lead a longer life. I have been able to travel across the country promoting my platform and meeting new friends. Some days I still cannot believe that the girl who is constantly asked for an autograph is me!
In September, my family was blessed with a new baby! Addie Kate Crowley is now two months old. Her bright smile is a constant reminder of how precious life is. Initially, due to her premature birth, Addie had problems with her growth rate. However, with many prayers, she is now thriving! We see her precious personality more and more every day.
As a Senior, my year has been filled with major choices about my future. God led me to the University of Southern Mississippi, and I feel so fortunate to have found a place that I feel so welcome and at home.
The more I think about the "big move", the more I think of how much I will miss my family! Not only has God placed me in what I feel is the most loving family on Earth, He also gave me a new family. I have had such an amazing time getting to know Mel and Mary Richardson and my two new sisters, Sarah and Krista. Words cannot explain how much I love my International family and all that they stand for.
I hope that you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with love and laughter!
All my love,
Miss Teen International 2012