Monday, July 19, 2010

Mrs. International - My Thoughts!

Althought I did not come home with the title of Mrs. International, I am still so blessed to have had the experience. The ladies that I have met are some of the most amazing people with hearts of gold. I learned about platforms which include Make A Wish Foundation, Kidney Disease, Organ Donation, Domestic Violence, March of Dimes, Mentoring Young Girls, We Get To Foundation, Alzheimers, and that is only a few of them. Each woman has a story and when you get a chance to know them and their story, you have a deep admiration for a program like the Mrs. International Pageant that brought us together, and as a unity we make a difference in our communities and other people's lives.

The week was amazing which began with orientation and being able to finally meet after months of preparation. The very next day we got to tour the city of Chicago and visiting many landmarks including Michigan Avenue, The Bean, Navy Pier, and many other stops along the way. The thing I enjoyed most about Chicago was the amazing skyline and the combination of architecture of the old and the new, including the new Trump Building which is an amazing structure in itself. Following the tour, we started our rehearsals. Our opening number was to the song "Tonight Is Going To Be A Good Night". I have to say that this was the most intimidating process of the whole week as I am not a dancer at all. However, after several run throughs with our choreographer, Lauren, I felt more and more comfortable. The production crew was simply amazing with all of their support and encouragement. They put together an amazingly professional opening number and general production of the entire preliminary and final shows. A special thank you goes out to Scott Seidl, Rebecca Shubart, Kyle Henry, and Laine Berry for being such a huge part of our success on stage and for making us shine and feel like stars.
Interviews came on Thursday, and I was so happy to be part of the first group and have my interview first thing in the morning. I was so excited to be able to share my platform and the reasons why I have chosen to champion Breast Cancer Awareness and the Importance of Early Detection. For me it is a the personal story of losing my mom due to her not having a mammogram to detect her breast cancer at an early stage. Sharing her story allows me to put a face to the disease and share something so personal to show people the effects non-early detection can have on a patient and their family. I will always advocate for awareness, detection, prevention, and celebration of life. Self breast exams are a must for women of all ages along with mammograms after the age of 40 or earlier if you have a family history of breast cancer. Eating healthy and maintaining an exercise program is so important too. In the United States, we have 2.5 million breast cancer survivors, but there are still 1 in 35 women diagnosed with this disease that lose their battle with breast cancer. Spreading the world about awareness will hopefully help many women reach that 98% suvivral rate through early detection.

After interviews were completed, I was so excited to welcome my family to Chicago. It had been a few days since seeing them, and as most new moms know, our children change on a daily basis, and Sierra's hair was longer and she seemed to have grown a little bit too. It was so good to hug her and see her smile as well as to see my husband Rob. Later in the afternoon it was off to more rehearsals. On Friday the husbands got the chance to meet with Eddie Peterson who is one of the most amazing and inspirational speakers. I still love his story of "You don't know my life!". Folowing the husband's meeting, they came to the North Shore Convention Center to join us for rehearsals of the evening gown competition. The Mrs. International Pageant is the only married women's pageant that showcases a married couple as a couple. I was so proud of Rob walking the stage with me. Preliminary night began with our opening number and we all looked stunning in our purple Sherri Hill dresses. We then changed and started the fitness wear competition followed by the evening gown. I loved my gown so much as it was a gown that my mother had gotten me years ago in hopes of wearing it someday when I got married and competed in a Mrs. pageant. I certainly had my mother on stage with me wearing this dress, and was thankful that at the end of the walk, Rob was with me to hug me as I did have emotions run through me of missing her so much. Rob did an outstanding job on stage and I was so proud to showcase us as a couple. Saturday brought us back to rehearsals, but this time practicing for the finals show preparing us for top 10. I was able to share my platform on stage and was so proud to speak about my mother and platform with confidence and love. The finals show was wonderful, and although I didn't make the top 10, I completed what I set out to do. I was able to make new friends, share my platform and personal relation to it, and have the time of my life. I want to congratulate Shannon Devine, Mrs. International 2010. She will do an amazing job representing the wonderful arena of adoption having her own personal story with Haley Grace, also known as Miss Magic. I wish Shannon a year like no other, and I hope that her travels bring her to Massachusetts so that we can meet again.

I want to personally thank Mary Richardson for guiding me through this journey and being the best director a girl could have. You are a woman who has taught me so much about class, hard work, and believing in yourself. Being Mrs. Massachusetts International 2010 has changed my life for the better. I have been able to share this year with my daughter and husband, and I know that the experiences brought with it will help shape Sierra's life in a positive way for years to come. I cannot say thank you enough, and I can only hope to have made you proud.

To the Class of 2010, you are the most amazing and inspirational women ever! I love you all and miss you so much! I have been asked by many to coordinate a reunion, and there is nothing I would love more. Please be sure to let me know your thoughts of anything you would like to do and we can share them to get a general consensus on what is best for us as far as time and place. I can't wait to see you all again one day, but till then, I look forward to following your journeys in life. Thank you for being such huge supporters of me as Mrs. Massachusetts and staying true to who you said you were prior to Mrs. International. Being an only child, I view many of you as sisters now. My roommate, Mrs. North Carolina, Cynthia Griner, I thank you for the fun and endless hours of conversation even when we were most tired. I miss you!

Now it is back to being mom, wife, career woman, and Mrs. Massachusetts. I look forward to all the wonderful opportunities this title has yet to bring to my family and I. I will continue to share my year with you and thank you for all the support through it all.

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