On Friday night I read the touching and inspiring story of Miss Colorado USA Blair Griffith. Blair and her mother were evicted from their home last November, just a month after she received her crown. This was the latest of the misfortunes the 23 year old has had to deal with.
In an interview with TODAY’s Meredith Vieira, Blair recalls when her life began to take a downward spiral. Eight years ago, when Griffith was in eighth grade, her father, who had encouraged the young tomboy to enter the pageant world, took ill. When he died of prostate cancer, “that’s when things really started to take a downward turn,” Griffith told Vieira.
Soon, the stress of being a single mom to two children took its toll on Griffith’s mother, Bonita; she suffered a heart attack that required surgery, and was unable to work. Bonita Griffith lost her insurance when her insurer declared that the heart attack was the result of a pre-existing condition. That meant that she had to pay her medical expenses, including $800 a month for medications, out of her own pocket.
Blair said that she didn’t know that she and her mother would be evicted until the sheriff showed up at her door. She watched, stunned as the sheriff’s officers, armed with an eviction notice, tossed all of their worldly possessions into trash bags. “It was just very hard seeing everything, all of my belongings, my dresses that I wanted to compete in at Miss USA, thrown into a trash bag and nowhere to be found,” (http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/41778312/ns/today_fahion_and_beauty/).
She and her mother are living with a family friend. Of her situation, Blair said, “You do sit there and go, ‘Oh gosh, not again.’ But at the same time I think it’s almost like a test .. to see if you can handle it, and what will you make out of your situation.”
Homeless, Blair now faces the prospect of losing her job at Saks Fifth Avenue when the branch she works at goes out of business next month. Through it all, she has maintained a somewhat positive or at least philosophical outlook. She told Denver’s 9 News, “I have no place to complain about anything that’s going on in my life. There’s so many people that are going through the same exact situation. I hope to inspire people” (http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/dailybrew/miss-colorado-trying-times-20110224-122948-067.html).
Blair is an inspiration to her mother. “I’m just amazed that whatever we have gone up against, she stands there, she handles it and she moves on.”
And she is an inspiration to others. She openly speaks about her circumstances at schools and events. The message here is that no one is immune from homelessness. Circumstances can change and if it weren’t for the family friend who is providing a roof over their heads, it is possible that Blair and her mother would be living on the streets. This is the reason why we cannot look at the homeless and make assumptions or look down on them. I am sure that it never occurred to Blair that she would lose her home.
When I watched the news feature, “No Place to Hang Her Crown” the first thing that struck me about Blair was how she was laughing as she stood in a classroom. You would never suspect that she was going through a tough time. And she has a very positive outlook. She counts herself and her mother as being luckier than many. “We’re doing good by the grace of great friends who let us come in and stay in their homes,” she said. “We have a place to stay right now. Of course, we’re just trying to work to get our lives back together again to be able to afford our own home.”
Right now Blair is busy preparing for the Miss USA pageant which will be held on June 19 in Las Vegas where she hopes to share her message of hope.
“My message when I get there is just that I want to be an inspiration to everyone and show you that no matter the hardships you’re facing, if you stay focused on your dreams and your goals, you can achieve them.”
What poetic justice it would be if this inspiring and aspiring beauty queen were to win the coveted Miss USA crown.
February 27, 2011 Posted by notestowomen | Inspiration | Blair Griffith, branch, business, cancer, change, children, circumstances, classroom, Colorado, crown, Denver, dreams, dresses, eighth grade, events, evicted, eviction notice, family, Father, feature, finances, Friend, goals, hardships, heart attack, home, homeless, homelessness, hope, immune, inspiration, inspire, inspiring, insurance, interviews, job, June, Las Vegas, life, living, lose, majory, medical expenses, Meredith Vieira, message, misfortunes, mother, news, officers, people, prospect, prostate cancer, Saks Fifth Avenue, schools, sheriff, single mom, situation, story, streets, stress, surgery, test, time, TODAY's, touching, trash bags, USA, work, worldly | 1 Comment
Notes to Women’s purpose is to encourage, inspire and motivate women to reach their utmost potential and to enjoy the quality of life God has planned for them. Through devotionals women will be encouraged, uplifted and empowered. Stories of women from different centuries, backgrounds and cultures will offer inspiration. The plight of women from all over the world and their struggles for equality, respect and a promising future will motivate women who are going through their own trials to act and other women to make a difference in their communities.
Women can make a difference. Jesus’ ministry was supported financially by his female followers. Other women spread the Gospel while others used their skills to bless those in their communities. Women, I encourage you to live out loud. Let God use you. Don’t let your age, background or circumstance stand in your way. Let the lives of other phenomenal women inspire you to follow your heart, your dream to be the person you envision yourself to be. Be a woman of action. Find your passion and pursue it! Look, learn and live!
I chose the image of a butterfly because it symbolizes resurrection, transformation, transition, rebirth, hope, joy and new beginnings. In the Japanese culture it represents womanhood. I hope this will encourage women to realize that in spite of the injustice and hardship they may face in this world, there is still beauty and hope. Like the butterfly they can emerge from their circumstances (cocoons) as new creatures, ready to spread their wings. Don’t let society, your past or mistakes or fear hold you back. Take flight and experience the joy of living your life to the fullest.
When I was a girl I would look out my bedroom window at the caterpillars; I envied them so much. No matter what they were before, no matter what happened to them, they could just hide away and turn into these beautiful creatures that could fly away completely untouched.
― Patch Adams
“Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly, “one must have sunshine, freedom
and a little flower.” ~Hans Christian Anderson
“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls a butterfly.”
“Just like the butterfly, I too will awaken in my own time.”
“A woman is like a butterfly….
If you want her to stay near you, but fly as she should,
you must not brush the dust off her magical wings,
nor control her essence in your hand…
her beauty will be held only by a stillness and purity of heart.”
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