When I grow up ...

(originally published as a commentary for the local newspaper)

When I grow up, I want to be a queen. No, not just any queen like Elizabeth or Victoria, but a queen like the ladies who were contestants at the 2009 Arkansas Valley Fair Silver King and Queen contest, an event I recently covered for the paper.

Each woman displayed traits to which I aspire. So, in honor of them, I want to share them.

Cora Cassaras, 82 sang a song in Spanish for everyone. She did a beautiful job. May I always have courage to display the gifts with which God has blessed me.

Clara Chamberlin, 95, a fellow Nazarene, joyfully showed the audience what exercises she and other residents of her care facility tackle every morning. May I always use the strength with which God has blessed me to do what I can, when I can and whereever I can.

Mildred Clauson, 95, wished that she could give a donation to the La Junta Presbyterian youth group instead of wishing for something for herself. This wish was fulfilled through a collection taken by the audience at the contest. I pray that God will strenghthen me to think of the needs of others before I think of myself.

Maxine Freemyer, 97, gives hugs daily to everyone she meets. May I be blessed with her ability to show compassion and love toward anyone.

Floraida Manchego, 87, learned how to dance even though she was stricken with polio as a child. May God grant me the tenacity to do things beyond my own ability with joy.

Ruth Sanders, 82, is proud to say that she delivered the first baby born in Rocky Ford in 1962. May I always be proud of and love my children no matter where life takes them.

Roberta Tolbey, 89, makes rosaries for the church and for the poor. In her lifetime she has made 70,000!. May I always care about the spiritual lives of others and enable them to worship God effectively.

Only one of these women won the contest, but they are all queens in my book. "A (woman) of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies ..." Proverbs 31: 1 (NIV).