I was new to the world of pageantry. Interview always grabbed my interest until my pageant coach (yes, they exist, especially in the South) asked me the unthinkable. “Jane,” he said. “Who should win this pageant?” My brain and mouth froze. Seeing the look on my face, my coach challenged me and asked, “Why are you here? Do you want to win or not?”
I made the decision to be a winner…at life.
Do you remember this story that was printed in the Tampa Bay Times?
In August of 2014, almost 400 people who visited a St. Petersburg, Fla., Starbucks got a break from the daily grind thanks to a woman who paid for the caramel macchiato ordered by the stranger behind her at 7 a.m. This random act of kindness kick started a pay-it-forward chain that lasted until 6 p.m., according to the Tampa Bay Times. By early evening, 378 people had picked up another person’s coffee tab.
Linda Cohen is the author of a wonderful book entitled, 1,000 Mitzvahs: How Small acts of Kindness Can Heal, Inspire and Change Your Life. Based on her blog highlighting 1,000 Mitzvahs (good deeds) written in memory of her father, Linda shares the many ways in which one person can touch the lives of others.
Here are two wonderful quotes from 1,000 Mitzvahs:
I’m ecstatic that my book, Bury Me With My Pearls is now available in AUDIO! Best of all, I wanted to share with ya’ll that I personally read every word because you just can’t fake a Southern accent! If you want to know what you’re in store for when you listen to my full book (hint: a lot of laughter and a few tears) you can view the excerpt below which was ripped straight from the pages of Bury Me With My Pearls.
“The more this table ages, the better it looks,” said the salesperson when Thomas and I bought our kitchen table. Years later that statement would have more meaning than the aging of the wood.
I dusted the kitchen table and saw the words, “Daniel C. Herlong” imprinted in the grain of the wood. I remember that was the time when Thomas father’s, Daddy Big John, was teaching Holmes and Caroline how to write cursive. The lesson was obviously repeated several times. Now we have an indelible memory of my father-in-law’s signature to cherish.
While I was speaking at the 50 Shades of Pink event in Castroville, TX, a lovely woman approached me and said, “Breast cancer saved my life.”
Her story is nothing short of a miracle. She found a lump in her breast during a self-check examination. After a doctor’s visit, she was diagnosed with Stage 2 Breast Cancer. But this is not the end of the story. Her surgeon also found a more serious problem- a life-threatening aneurysm. After her repair surgery and breast cancer treatment, her passion in life is to speak with women on the importance of having regular mammograms and self-check routines. Wow, what a story!
When I speak for women, I always conclude my presentations with my original Healthy Woman Song. Go here for a good laugh and healthy reminder! My book, “What Ta-Tas Teach Us” is also a great reminder of what our female anatomy teaches us.
Ya’ll want to hear something exciting? My book, Bury Me With My Pearls, is now available in AUDIO! I personally read every word because you simply can’t fake a Southern accent! I wanted to share my Southern stories my way with a little Gullah influence plus a few stories with a hint of a “Nathern” accent. Just what are you in store for when you listen to Bury Me With My Pearls? Read an excerpt from the book below!
“Several years ago, I was asked to judge the Miss Mississippi Pageant. During my stay in the great beauty queen state of Mississippi, was the anniversary of the day I won the title of Miss South Carolina.
Too boot, Miss Mississippi whooped me at the Miss America Pageant.
I tried to suppress my urge to smile during the funeral service for my mother’s dear friend, Helen Smoak. I sat in the beautiful St. Matthews Church in Charleston this past Sunday listening to Helen’s lovely daughter, Heidi, share her heart and humor. “I know who will be the first person to meet my mother at the pearly gates,” said Heidi. I already knew the answer. ”Mom will be greeted by Eleanor Jenkins who will escort her to the heavenly hair-do beauty shop.” My eyes glistened hearing my mother’s name mentioned. What a sweet moment!
I was riding high after being crowned Miss South Carolina on Saturday night. Now it was time to prepare for the Miss America Pageant.
Sitting in the pageant shop my mind was spinning with thoughts of a myriad of things to check off my list before walking on the stage in Atlantic City. I sat down by an older woman as I waited to meet with the gown designer. “My grand baby is getting a new dress,” said the proud grandmother. “Oh, that is nice.” I replied. “Yes-sire-re, she is gonna be in another beauty pageant. She is the Cucumber Queen and will compete for the title of Miss Fresh Fruit and Vegetable.” (Believe it or not, this is a pageant in the state of South Carolina.) “How nice,” I said. “Yes, it is all we think about! We are so excited,” exclaimed the grandmother.
“Is this Mrs. Herlong?’ Asked the stranger. “Yes, this is customer service for Neiman Marcus. One of our customer care associates received your return and when they opened the box, it was not the Joan Vass Poppy dress…it was a cell phone.”
I only wished I could have been present when the Verizon Wireless people opened a similar box containing the Joan Vass dress….surprise! I am glad the female comedian in me is alive and well.
I will never forget the day I started cleaning out our freezer. To be honest, I kept putting stuff in that chest freezer and closing the lid. The day came when the lid would not shut; it was time to organize and throwaway.
Digging through the layers of frozen stuff, I kept hearing a song from the Disney movie, “Frozen.” Let it go, let it go …I saw Ziploc bags dated in indelible ink that were older than my college-aged children. I tried to avoid asking Thomas for his help but I became overwhelmed with the task. I dreaded Thomas finding the buried bags of Game he had prepared for the freezer. It was a big assignment since there were so many things I wanted to hold onto but needed to throw away.
Several years ago Thomas phoned with a big announcement, “I have a surprise for everybody. I’m driving up now.” The children and I raced outside and saw the object that challenged my wedding vows and changed my life forever—a boat. Not just any boat. A blue boat, its glittering paint sparkling in the sunlight. It reminded me of the Mike Benet pageant gown I wore in the Beaufort Water Festival. The children were thrilled. They thought it was beautiful.
Thomas is a man of good taste. Seeing him behind the wheel of that mirage-like, rhinestoned blue sequined boat seemed totally out of character. Thomas is more like Ward Cleaver than Larry the Cable Guy, or so I’d thought.
Maybe that sparkly boat was his queenly tribute to the fact that he had dated two Miss Americas. “Did you know the boat was this color?” I asked hesitantly.
“Well, I knew the boat was blue, but not this kind of blue,” Thomas replied, not making sense. What frightened me the most was the massive engine attached to the stern. Yes, I said stern. Here lies yet another problem. I know very little about boats. Honestly, the entire thing resembled a piece of blue, rhinestone-encrusted plywood with a space shuttle engine attached to its rear.
To make boating even more interesting, Thomas honors only two speeds: dead still and g-force fast. We were in trouble.
The boat did well in the lake near our home but taking it to the ocean brought new challenges. Tide changes create banks—big islands of pluff mud and/or oyster shell beds. We knew where practically every bank was located—we hit all of them. I kept an old pair of shoes in the boat because I became the designated “pusher.” You may ask, don’t you have a depth finder? Yes, but by the time it beeps you’re already up the “crick.”
I realized the Blue Beauty Queen is one of those big toys that men love to buy that resulted in even bigger family memories. I have no idea what happened to that sparkly boat but I do know there were times of being stared at, pointed to, and laughed at as we cruised open water and got stuck on banks. The greatest lesson is that we learned to laugh at ourselves; that glittery boat taught us how to sparkle and shine.
Pass this on to someone who needs to be reminded that developing a sense of humor starts with being able to laugh at yourself!
Do you need female motivational speakers at your next event? Maybe an after dinner speech needs to be given to tie your whole evening together. Contact me today at 803.480.1190 and let’s discuss your speaker needs! Find out more about the presentations I offer
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