Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Lifetime in 12 Months

One year ago today I was anxious and teary eyed as I kissed my Mom and Dad goodbye in the Boston airport. I was headed for a four month internship in Sydney, Australia. One year, two theses, one diploma, one crown, and a lifetime of life experience later I sit. As the last three weeks blur together in my mind I am finding it more and more important to take little moments to reflect on my expereinces and count my blessings. If the rest of my reign is anything like the last 12 months of my life, the moment I place my crown on my predecessor's head will be here in the bat of an eye.

That being said, I will take a few moments now to reflect on the month of August. The first week proved to be quite a thrill. I performed at South Burlington's National Night Out as well as the Family Motor Coach Association's Northeast Rally. The highlight of the week came at the Travis Roy Foundation's Annual Wiffle Ball Tournament. The Travis Roy foundation raises money for spinal cord research and victim support services. I was honored to play on the Celebrity team in the opening game. To my surprise I was the only woman on the team and had to hold my own for my title and gender playing with former Red Sox players and an NHL player. Luckily for me, I played softball when I was young and spent many summer evenings in the back yard with my cousins crushing the wiffle ball. I was the lead-off batter in the bottom of the first, swung hard at the first pitch and hit a homerun! That moment was magnified because no one was expected Miss Vermont to be any good. HAH!

The next week I spent in Orlando, Florida with some of my Miss America sisters. We flew to Orlando to support our Outstanding Teen titleholders as they competed for the title of Miss America's Outstanding Teen 2009. The week was packed for us Miss contestants with PR and good times. We spent one morning on The Daily Buzz morning news program, one day at Disney, one day at Seaworld, three nights watching our teen's compete, and one night at a grand fundraising soiree at a gorgeous Orlando estate. Although we did exciting things, the best part of the week was becoming friends with the rest of the women. It is a wonderful feeling to be surrounded by such intelligent, accomplished, and down-to-earth ladies.

Today I sang the National Anthem at my high school's first home football game of the season. I love going back to Lyndon Institute. This will not be the last time I return this year. I am currently in the process of setting up my state-wide voter registration drive. One of those stops in October will be to Lyndon Institute.

Monday is Labor Day and I will be in Northfield in the morning to sing the National Anthem at the start of their grand Labor Day Parade. After singing, I will jump in my car and drive to Essex where I will spend the afternoon and evening meeting and greeting at the Essex Roatry Corn Booth at the Champlain Valley Fair. I look forward to eating corn on the cob, meeting with Vermonters, and getting to know some rotarians. Wednesday I will be singing the National Anthem and God Bless America during the 7th Inning Stretch of the home Lake Monsters Game. We will be selling 50/50 tickets for a fundraiser so if anyone is available and in the Burlington area come out for the game and buy lots and lots of 50/50 tickets! ;)

I have 21 days until flying to LA to film the Miss America Reality Show. After Orlando, I really look forward to spending more time with my Miss America sisters. I feel blessed that the new face of the Miss America Organization allows us ladies to spend so much time together.

In this post I would like to acknowledge the community members who came to my car wash on August 2nd. The day was a big success and I was humbled by the generosity of Northeast Kingdom-ers. THANK YOU!

Much Love,

Friday, August 1, 2008

Long Time...No Write.

I have just realized it has been half a month since I last wrote. Sorry for that. When I don't see any new comments posted I assume no one is reading the blog. Then I run into someone or hear from someone on the phone (Shauneen...ahem) who looks forward to my new here I go.

Since the great Fenway extravaganza it seems I have been here, there, and everywhere... Vermont Mountaineers Game, Rotary Speeches, Stars and Stripes Parade in Lyndonville, sang at my Church, Registered voters at the University Mall in Burlington, Sang Anthem at another Lake Monsters Game, Toured the Vermont Children's Hospital, was presented with a fundraising quilt from Lyndon State College Quilt Camp, and still managed to nanny, have voice lessons, train, do my Miss America paperwork (kinda...not done yet :0), re-do my bedroom at my folk's house, and spend two quality days at the lake house with Grammy, Dad, Mom, and cousins. woah. I think that was the longest, most incorrect sentence I have ever written. ha. Oh well, you get the point.

During the last couple week's travels there have been some stand-out moments I would like to highlight. Foremost, it was a joy to sing the National Anthem during the parade at the Stars and Stripes Festival in Lyndonville. This was my first "fly-over" experience. Mr. Axelrod of Lyndon executed a grand "fly-over" coordinated in perfect time during the last part of my singing in memory of Caledonia County state Representative Cola Hudson and Lyndon's own late Dr. Elliot. It was an honor to be part of a moment so much bigger than myself. Both of these men had such a profound impact on our community. They made contributions so great, I only hope to some day be as well respected. The second moment I would like to highlight is my experience at the Vermont Children's Hospital (VCH). Yesterday morning I toured the Hosptial at Flethcher Allen Medical Center by the Hospital's Director of Development and Children's Miracle Network Coordinator, Laura Simmers. I also met Dr. Lewis First, well-known around the state for his television spots. The VCH is quite amazing. I was not expecting to see such a cheerful and child-friendly atmosphere. The Children's Miracle Network (CMN) has focused their resources on making the children's surroundings colorful and even fun. Because of the Children's Miracle Network there are toys, games, and activities for the children to use while in the hospital. They have even provided child friendly modes of wheeled transportation for the children to use in lieu of wheelchairs, such as red wagons. I am glad to see what an impact CMN has on VCH. It makes CMN a tangible charity in my mind and one I am proud to be an ambassador for. If anyone is interested in making a donation to the Children's Miracle Network I am in need of raising an additional $250 for them. To do so please visit and search my name, Ashley Wheeler. My page will appear and you can make your donation there....every little bit helps. Let's raise more than the $750 total required to compete at Miss America!

The next ten days are quite a marathon until I depart for Miss America's Outstanding Teen Pageant and Miss workshop in Orlando, Florida. I hope to see some of you at my car wash tomorrow in Lyndonville at Guyer and Morill Real Estate, Sunday's Vermont Mozart Festival in Stowe, National Night Out in South Burlington on Tuesday, Family Motor Coach of America's Regional Rally in Essex on Thursday, the Travis Roy Foundation Celebrity Wiffle Ball Tournament in Jericho on Friday, and the Lake Monsters game on next Sunday. As of the 12th I am off to Orlando to meet my Miss America sisters and support Blaize Hall as she competes for Miss America's Outstanding Teen. Oh, and in the midst of it all I turn 22 on Wednesday. My goodness did 22 years fly by...I still feel like the little girl enjoying these summer days at the power's park pool and begging Dad for 75 cents to buy an ice cream cone at Carmen's. I don't think 75 cents cuts it these days.

In today's post my voice coach Shyla Nelson gets a grand shout out. Shyla will be performing at the Vermont Mozart Festival on Sunday night in Stowe. GOOD LUCK! She also deserves great praise and gratitude for taking time to work with this un-trained vocalist week after week. THANKS SHYLA!

Love and Blessings,