It's hard to be a "giver" in a society of "all about me" persona. I love giving back. Maybe it was the way I was raised, maybe it's just in my soul, but I love helping others. The other day I had someone ask me did I ever stay home or just sit down and my response was, "Of course I do, I just don't do it all the time like most people!" I am a firm believer of utilizing my time wisely and making the most out of my day. Sure, I love not doing anything other than watching TV with my boys and my fur babies but I also know there's so much to do. Eric gets on to me because I tend to start dusting, folding clothes, or picking up versus just sitting down but I think sometimes I just have a hard time shutting my mind off. I'm sure two toddlers running, screaming, and throwing toys across the house (and at each other!) helps keep me on my toes as well! Haha. I have learned over the past few years that I am more and more like my Meme than I ever realized. She was always doing something! She was ready to get in the car and ride no matter where we were going and 90% of the time she was crocheting either Santa Clause faces or Easter bitties to give out to all of the children. I have no idea how to crochet, though she tried to teach me several times, but I do like to keep busy like she does. I never knew I would love giving back as much as I do until I got into pageantry. I have always been involved and always been active in groups but I had never been one to stand up and take the lead on events or fundraisers. Pageantry was the gateway to the confidence I never knew I had to do this.
In 2015 I was pretty down about myself. I had just had a baby and also had a toddler. I had lost 20 pounds since Tucker was born but still had another 20+ to lose. This was a feat I had never experienced. One night that fall I was watching Miss America and I saw the beautiful Betty Cantrell from the small town of Warner Robbins win Miss America and I thought, "Wow, I wish I would have tried to do that when I was younger." I got sad thinking about not reaching for that goal and then I remembered seeing a college friend had competed in a married pageant and my mind started turning. Over the next few days I started doing research and quickly found out there was a Mrs. Georgia! I took the plunge and signed up, knowing I had approximately 9 months to whip myself into shape. My first thought was that if I have to get on stage in a swimsuit then surely I'll go to the gym...AND I DID! By Christmas I was squeezing back in to my size 2 skinny jeans and felt like myself again. That January I went searching for a pageant dress and was scared to even think about what size I may have to get. I was also floored at the increase in costs the standard formal dress had gone up since I bought my prom dress. My Mama made me swear not to tell my Daddy how much we spent on my senior prom dress and the lowest price I was trying on was easily $200 more! Sigh. But during that fun trip I managed to get the most gorgeous blue dress and I was elated to be purchasing a size that didn't make me want to cry. I spent the next few months gearing up for the pageant and walked in still clueless! I had so much fun but I did not place. It was an amazing experience, though, and I knew after that pageant I was not going to give up. Most importantly, I had one the Community Service Award. That started my motivation to continue my progress!
In the summer of 2016 I signed up for Mrs. Georgia International since it was more of a community service based pageant. This pushed me to be more active, really mold a platform, and actually do something about it. This is how the Queen of Bags came to life! I was in Las Vegas for work and I ran across an article on facebook by Sweet Cases out of California. They talked about how children going in to the foster care system would be given trash bags if the DFCS agency didn't have anything they could give out and if they did not have a bag of their own. It was like a blow in the stomach. I immediately texted my Mother in Law, an employee of DFCS and asked was this true. Sadly enough, it was. It was at this moment, standing in Bally's Casino in Las Vegas that I vowed to make this a mission to stop.
To date I have helped place 240 bags across 6 counties in Georgia, but that is NOT enough. I want this to go across the state and the nation but I have to have help and find creative ways to get others involved. So, here goes my new blog, my plea to get the word out on helping these children. Each bag contains a teddy bear, blanket, hygiene kit, coloring book, and crayons. This may not seem like much but it's a since of security and comfort. These items give warmth and love and I am so happy to be doing this!
Welcome to my page and please continue to tune in in the upcoming months!