It’s time to let go, Love

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Anyone who knows me knows that I come ALIVE in the fall. October through December is the most magical and perfect time to me. I love the change in the air, the myriad of holidays, and everything just seems prettier when it’s decorated.

I don’t know why, but the whole world just seems more beautiful and it feels like a fresh start. Maybe it’s because school begins again and everyone falls back into routine, but for whatever reason- I love the blank slate that is autumn. To me, fall is more than pumpkin spice and fuzzy socks/boots season. It’s the ending of summer, but the beginning of something new.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about things that I need to improve upon in life- less procrastination, drinking more water, etc. But, this morning it really hit me how I’ve been hanging on to some hard feelings that are doing nothing but weighing me down.

2018 was a very difficult year for me. I lost some friendships, experienced a broken engagement, and saw some longterm goals/dreams not come to fruition. To say the least, it was very draining emotionally and I suppose I felt the only way to combat the frustration of these disappointments was to blame and harbor resentment towards other people.

Obviously, harboring resentment really does not do anyone any good. It did not change any part of my life except for make me feel more miserable and even more drained by holding onto that hurt.

The beautiful thing about fall is that even nature lets things go. I know it’s super cliche and an overdone analogy, but I guess I just never really thought about it and looked at it through the lens of my life. I can’t move on to new seasons without letting go of past disappointments. Trees can’t bloom in the spring if they don’t let go of what they already have hanging on. I can’t move to new seasons if I continually live in the past thinking somehow that will change what has already happened.

So, I did an inventory of my heart and the many feelings I have and realized burning bridges does not get you anywhere. Obviously, you should never shy away from removing toxic people from your life, but that’s not what I’m speaking to. I’m talking about people who have talked behind your back or hurt your feelings with certain actions. You don’t necessarily have to be friends with them, but being angry over something that happened a year ago does not really do any good. It’s only hurts you.

After realizing this, I sent a few texts and tried to make things right. I may never see these people again or have a friendship with them, but I know that I’ve let the resentment go because I want to enjoy this new season that I am in. I know I won’t be able to fully do that until I’ve let go of what happened in an old season.

So, I say all this to say- whatever you are holding on to, it’s time to let go. Make the phone call, send the text, mend what’s broken and move on. God has something new for you and it’s time to let go of the old and make room for the new. Happy Fall ❤

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. I am doing a new thing!” -Isaiah 43:18-19


Reckless Abandon

Stay Beautiful and Blooming

I’ve only seen Gone With The Wind one time and to be honest once was enough. I know my grandmother would probably freak out if she were still here with us because as any southern woman- SHE LOVED THAT MOVIE. However, my attention span is only about as long as it takes to watch Finding Nemo or the amount of episodes of Friends it takes me to fall asleep. So, a four hour movie really isn’t quite realistic for me. AND THE MOVIE IS SAD. I don’t like being sad!

I don’t remember much from the movie except Scarlett’s curtain dress and how mean she was to Rhett Butler. But for whatever reason, I have always (as most people) remembered his famous line: “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”.

Unless I stub my toe, I try my best not to curse. But, I’ve always loved that line and there have been MANY a times in my life I’ve wanted to say, “the heck with it, I’m gonna do what I want”. However, for whatever reason, I have such a hard time doing that. I’m a people pleaser and I care A LOT about what people think of me.

I think there has to be a healthy balance between not obsessing over people’s perception of us and caring about our reputation. There is nothing wrong with caring about your reputation because at the end of the day, that’s all you’ve got. I want people to know I am trustworthy, thoughtful, and hard-working because I work very hard to be those things.

However, I also easily obsess over people’s view of me. I care what people think and that concern turns to insecurities and constant comparison between myself and others. Life is exhausting when you are continually trying to measure up to people who are not you or have different skills/personalities/gifts/desires than you do.

I work as a Realtor for RE/MAX of Orange Beach. I’m extremely blessed to have a mentor, Miss Donna. Miss Donna is the greatest and she has been huge in helping me grow as an agent and person. A few weeks ago I came to her with a question, and she told me that I just have to go after things with “reckless abandon”. I LOVE that.

It’s been on my mind now for several weeks and I think it totally flows with Rhett’s “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” In the past, I’ve always been afraid to go after certain things because of fearing failure or fearing what people will think. But when we go after our goals with reckless abandon- we’ve put aside people’s opinions and instead, put ourselves first.

I’m challenging myself to go after things with reckless abandon and I want to challenge you to do the same. Stop caring about what people are going to think or what they will say, and just do what you have to do to make things happen. Worried about cold-calling someone and asking them for business? Call them anyway. Scared to ask that girl out on a date you’ve been seeing at the gym? Ask her anyway- even if she says no or is already dating someone- she’ll be flattered anyway. Afraid to jump out on your own and start a new business or career? If not now, WHEN?

Obviously, seek wise council and use normal precautions. As my father would say, “Don’t do anything stupid.” But, you can start living life without fear and embrace opportunities with open arms.

Live life with reckless abandon.

Making Me New

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Happy Easter Sunday friends!

I hope you are enjoying the holiday weekend with friends and family. I have been reflecting a lot lately on the word “new” and I felt this weekend would be the perfect time to write about it.

Easter is about redemption and resurrection. Things you thought were dead or gone have come back to life in a big way. Jesus was buried and then He rose to make us all new in Him. #praise

Looking back, 2018 was probably one of the most challenging years for me. The latter half of the year proved to be one of the hardest seasons I’ve walked through in my life. There was about a 6 month period where I just felt stuck. Like I couldn’t move forward or couldn’t progress, I was just spinning my wheels. I wanted so badly to feel like I was moving into a new season of life, but sometimes it just takes time. However, in that in-between time, it is easy to feel hopeless.

I would imagine this is how the disciples felt when Jesus was hung on the cross. They felt hopeless and like there was no way they would be able to come back from something so awful (thank the Lord that wasn’t the case). Those 3 days Jesus was in the tomb probably felt like an eternity and the disciples probably felt a lot like they were stuck and lost- what do we do now that Jesus is gone?

Not to say that what I’ve gone through in any way can compare to what the disciples and those around Jesus felt when He was crucified. However, I do think Jesus cares about my problems regardless of how big or small.

Back at the beginning of the new year, I felt the Lord put on my heart the word “new”. It was constantly on my mind and one day I was scrolling through Instagram when I came across this verse:

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After seeing this, I decided this was going to be my verse for the year. I felt the most peace I have had in a long time. Even though things seemed bleak and I wasn’t totally sure how God was going to make something good or new out of my situation, I trusted that He would. It may not have been in the way I saw things, but I’m thankful for that. He always knows better than I.

I can only imagine the disciples felt the same way- how in the world could something good come of Jesus being crucified? Why did God allow that to happen? Why did He let Jesus suffer?

As awful as it is, sometimes, suffering is necessary. Difficult seasons are necessary. Hard times are necessary. But, no matter how hopeless something may seem, redemption is always possible. Even through death, Jesus showed us there can be life.

The second half of 2018, I didn’t see how Jesus could make things new for me. Even coming into 2019, I didn’t see how Jesus could make everything better and revive things in my life, but He did. Four months into this year and I’ve seen Him grow, challenge, change, and transform who I am. He has made my life- spiritual, personal, and professional- new. He’s been faithful and stuck to His promise that He won’t leave me and even if I wander, He’s there when I come back.

As awful as those 3 days were, Sunday morning came and Jesus came back. In our lives, “Sunday” will always come. It may take more than 3 days, but it will come. I want to encourage you on this Easter Sunday to have a heart filled with hope. Regardless of where you are at in life or what you’re going through, Christ died so He could make you new— trust His plan and open your heart to what He has for you.

Happy Easter y’all!


An Open Letter To The Girl Starting Back To School

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Hello Lovely Lady,

As summer comes to an end and you begin a new school year,  I want to send you off with lots of encouragement. In addition, I want you to know how loved and valued you are because as the next few years unfold you will go through many different seasons of life. Some good, some bad, some exciting, and some terrifying. And that’s ok, it’s all apart of life. However, I’m going to share with you some things people shared with me when I was younger as well as things I wish people had shared with me. Here we go…

  1. Middle school and high school don’t last forever!

In the moment, some things seem so important. Who you go to prom with, what you wear the first day of school, whether or not your crush texts you back- but in retrospect, none of that really matters. Don’t get caught up on the little things, keep your eyes focused on your future and your goals!

2. The friends you have in 7th grade may not still be your friends when you graduate. 

Its sounds sad, but honestly, it’s just life. During your middle/high school years, you are going to grow and change and the people around you will as well. Some friends will stick around, and others will move on to other things. It can be sad in the moment to lose a friend, but know that you will meet new people wherever you are and in whatever season of life. God is going to put the right people in your path in the right time.

3. Being in a relationship is not a requirement.

You are not weird or a freak if you are single. There is nothing wrong with taking time to focus on yourself and give the guys around you time to mature and grow into the men they need to be to be husband material. You don’t need a boyfriend to have value or worth. Don’t let anyone tell you differently!

4. A Kylie Jenner Lip Kit will not make you like yourself more or help the things you are self-conscious about.

Something I have never liked about myself is my lips. I know that sounds dumb, but every time I would look in the mirror, I would look at them and think they are too small. What I would give for lips like Angelina Jolie- I mean geez! This sounds ridiculous, but I always told myself when I got older I would get some type of filler to make my lips bigger. I told myself that because it made me feel better thinking there was a fix to the thing that I didn’t like about myself. However, there came a point when I had to realize that I’m not Angeline Jolie or Kylie Jenner- I’m Bailey Kennon. “Fixing” or “covering up” something was not going to deal with the real issue at hand- which was my heart. Not saying there is anything wrong with lip kits (I like lip liners as much as the next person)- simply that before you attempt to “fix” yourself on the outside, you have to examine your heart on the inside. Then, real progress and transformation can take place.

5. You don’t have to make mistakes, but it’s okay if you do. 

The beautiful thing about having parents, older siblings, and mentors is that you can learn from their mistakes. You don’t have to make the same mistakes they do- you can take their advice and hopefully avoid many obstacles. However, it’s okay if you do make mistakes. That’s how you learn and that’s how you grow. Understand that one wrong turn does not mean you have derailed your entire life- every day is a new day and a new opportunity to make it better than the day before.

6. You are not who you have been, you are who you choose to be. Choose to be someone good.

Change and transformation is normal. You’re going to go through many seasons of life. Sometimes you may not understand your purpose, you many not understand why God has put you on a certain path. But regardless of where you are, be something good. Learn to shine wherever you are. One of my favorite quotes is- “Grow where you are planted”- learn to live by that.

7.  You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.

In regards to this, I’m not talking about your parents or other authority figures- I’m talking peers and boyfriends. Just because someone asks you to do something does not mean you have to. Whether that be going to a party, going further physically in a relationship than you want to, underage drinking, smoking, etc. You have to know what you want and what your boundaries are and then not let anyone pressure you beyond where you have drawn a line. Just for the record, it is possible to get through middle school and high school without drinking, partying, or smoking. You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. Do what you know is right and let the chips fall where they may. Be strong and stand up for yourself.

8. Pray for your future spouse.

This is so important. Regardless of whether or not you meet the man you’ll marry in high school- he is going through the same things you are. He will have seasons of loneliness, happiness, frustration, and worry. Pray for his heart and for his relationship with the Lord. Ask God to give him the strength to stay strong in his faith and to put the people in his life that he will need to mentor him.

9. Word carry weight.

My primary love language is words of affirmation. My whole week can be made by a tiny compliment- as well as an insult can tear me to pieces. I’ve had to learn to toughen up, but I’ve learned that words carry a lot of weight. Use your words to build people up- not discourage or tear them down. In this age of social media, once you put something out there, you cannot take it back. Know the power of your words and your keyboard. Before posting something, remember that it will always be there and try to think of who it will affect.

10. Give grace.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in life is that we’re all going to mess up. Today it might be me, tomorrow it might be you. Regardless, give grace. I’m not saying to not defend or take up for yourself if someone is treating you poorly. I am telling you when a friend hurts you- remember a time that you hurt someone and how you would have loved to have been given grace in a time when you said the wrong thing or made the wrong decision. Learn to live a life of love- not a life of drama.

Above all, center yourself in the Lord. Remember that decisions and doing the right thing become easier when you are following the path God has set before you. It won’t always be easy, but it will be fulfilling.

Happy school year ladies- make it a good one!

“Her clothes are strength and honor. She is full of joy about the future. She opens her mouth with wisdom. The teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” -Proverbs 31:25-26 (NLV)

Competing for an Audience of One

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As Miss Alabama week draws near, I’ve been really reflecting on my year as Miss Leeds. It has been such an incredible year and I’m so thankful to my Leeds family for welcoming me into their community and helping me prepare for my journey to Miss Alabama.

This will be my third year competing and each year I’ve tried to set a goal for myself. I would love to be Miss Alabama more than anything, but in addition to the goal of the Miss Alabama title, I’ve tried to set personal growth goals to make sure I’m continually being challenged and changed for the good.

This year has been different for me than the past 2 years of competing. Every year I’ve given my best- but this year I have given it everything I have. I’ve worked very, very hard to be able to present the best Bailey possible on that stage and I’m so excited for competition week because I’m proud of the work I’ve done to become the person I am today.

However, even though I’ve put in the time and given all the effort I have- there is still the chance that I may never take home the crown. I can continue to compete for another two years until I age out and I still may never be Miss Alabama. Although that’s extremely sad to think about- it’s given me some perspective.

My goal for this year was to learn to compete for an audience of One. In life, I’ve found that people love to speculate. If you continually live and thrive off of people’s speculations or expectations, it will eventually get to you. Complements are wonderful in the moment, but criticisms can crush you when other people’s opinions are all you consider and take to heart.

I’ve questioned myself a lot during my time in pageantry. I’ve questioned whether or not I am good enough to be Miss Alabama. But over the course of this year, I’ve learned to let it go. I’m no longer questioning or wondering what my capabilities or worth are. Because I’m not competing to prove myself or my value, I’m not competing to impress others, I’m not competing to prove anything- I’m competing because I know this is where the Lord wants me. When I walk on that stage, every bit of me is competing for one person and one person only- that person is Jesus.

I’ve fallen in love with Jesus this year in a way I haven’t before. He’s become my best friend and my shelter. I’ve learned to not do things to please other people- but to do things to honor Him. As long as I am making Jesus proud, it does not really matter whether I take home a crown or come in dead last- because I will have fulfilled my purpose.

So, I want to ask you this- are you living your life to please or impress others? Or are you living your life to honor Christ? The latter is far easier and much more fulfilling than the former. I want to encourage you to learn to lean totally on Him instead of the opinions of others because people are fickle and they change constantly. However, our Heavenly Father is always constant and His desire for our good never changes.

© Bailey Kennon and Bailey Kennon, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bailey Kennon and Bailey Kennon with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A Healer For The Broken

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Today I was driving home from Birmingham- I live there about half the time now so I spend a good amount of time in the car going back and forth between there and Orange Beach. But today’s drive was a bit different than most.

I put on some worship music and decided to spend some time in prayer since I haven’t done as good of job lately as I should about spending time with the Lord. I was kinda catching up with Him, like you would with an old friend. I was praying about all the transitions and changes in my life lately and I just started crying. I’m not much of a crier, much less a weeper, but that’s what I was doing. Like, uncontrollably weeping.

This might sound strange, but in that moment I had a vision or something similar. That doesn’t happen very often for me, but I’m guessing that’s what it was- God was trying to show me something. In whatever this was, I saw classrooms of students. Through my pageant platform, I spend a lot of time in schools, clubs, and churches speaking to kids so it was a familiar sight. But none of these kids were smiling, they weren’t crying or visibly upset, but I could feel sadness in them. I felt the word “broken” on my heart as I was seeing these kids. Then, I began to cry even more.

I felt so heartbroken for these students. I feel that I’m a pretty empathetic person and identifying with others is a strength I have, but this was unlike anything I had felt before. I started telling God, “Please use me. Please let me help these kids, I don’t want them to hurt, I don’t want them to feel broken. Please Lord, please.” Speaking these words turned to yelling them because it just hurt my heart so bad. I didn’t understand why God showed me that or why He put it on my heart. But as I continued praying, I understood.

He was breaking my heart for what breaks His.

I’m so guilty of being wrapped up in myself. Being more concerned about school and my social life to not see what’s right before me. I think we are all guilty of that sometimes, we get caught up in ourselves and in deadlines to not see the bigger picture. We as Christians bicker with each other and get frazzled over meaningless things instead of just being vessels for God’s purpose.

We’re supposed to bring broken people to the ultimate Healer. We’re supposed to help people when the world fails them, because we aren’t of the world and neither is our Savior. Instead of bickering between denominations or churches, we should be coming together as communities to give hurting people hope. We’ve been given the greatest gift in the world- How could we get so busy with ourselves that we forget to share it?

My boyfriend Charlie introduced me to a show called Last Chance U a few weeks ago. I didn’t really want to watch it because it was a documentary on a football team and it didn’t sound interesting. But, when you’re in a relationship you learn to take turns with what you watch on Netflix (millennial relationship probz). I definitely don’t recommend this show for kids because there is far too much bad language; however, after getting through the first episode I was hooked and I think there is a lot to be learned for adult viewers. The players in this documentary impacted me so much and I binge-watched every episode in like 3 days. After finishing it, I was telling everyone I knew that they needed to watch it- because it made a difference in my life and impacted me for the good.

I use this example because that’s how Christians have to be with Jesus. Whenever you hear a new song or see a new movie you like, you share it with everyone you know. You want them to have the same experience with it that you did. I wanna be that way with Jesus- I want to share Him with every person I know. I want my heart to break for what breaks His.

So I want to challenge you- Are you living in your own little world? Are you too busy with yourself or your Christian bubble to not see hurting people? Remember the first time you heard your favorite song- take that feeling and apply it to your relationship with Jesus. Then take that application and share Him with every person you meet.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”- Psalm 147:3

© Bailey Kennon and Bailey Kennon, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bailey Kennon and Bailey Kennon with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


You Worth It

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Where does a person’s worth come from? Musical or athletic ability? Academic success? A great career? A well-paying job? An good-looking boyfriend? A huge aspect of my Dating With Purpose platform is realizing your self-value and self-worth. When I speak to students (and even parents), I emphasize how important it is that you respect yourself and expect respect from others. I talk about how crucial it is that you realize your value and worth. You have to LOVE who YOU are- that’s the first step to any healthy relationship- but also the first step to being emotionally and mentally healthy as an individual.

Obviously, like most things, loving yourself is easier said than done. Over the past few months, that is something I have really had to focus and work on. When I speak to students I always tell them I am preaching to myself more than anyone else because I am not perfect and I definitely don’t have everything figured out. Self-love and self-confidence is something you work on and work toward all of your life. I’m still figuring out how to love who I am as a person. I am still learning where my worth and value comes from.

In my Dating With Purpose presentation, I explain to students how every person is unique- they all have certain special talents and abilities. Whether that be they are an excellent student or beautiful pianist or a great tennis player- they all have things that make them special.

But something I have been brewing on and a mistake I’ve made in my own life is I have depended far too much on my talents to define my worth. I thought that because I can sing and play four instruments- that gives me value. I thought if I maintained a 4.0 throughout school- I’d be worth more as a person. This may sound silly, but I don’t think I’m alone in this- I think we all struggle with trying to earn our value and worth.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying your gifts and talents and abilities don’t have meaning or do not make you successful. We all have achievements we are proud of- but in my mind- my achievements were all I had. I thought if I lost my singing voice or made a C in my biology class it would make me worth less than before. A guy wouldn’t like me anymore or people wouldn’t really care to be my friend. Again, I know that sounds ridiculous, but that was just where my mind was at.

Over the years, I’ve learned through a lot of prayer and guidance from others where a person’s worth comes from. It does not come from things you might lose- like a 4.0 or your ability to hit a home run. Your worth and value comes from your heart. It comes from your mind. It comes from the little things that make a huge difference- like putting others above yourself. Walking with humility. Stepping up and being a leader or doing the hard job when no one else will. It’s caring for the person that has no one else to care for them. Because to that person- you are worth everything. It is giving when you don’t have anything to give. It is loving someone who is difficult to love. It’s being patient when you’re running late and have a million things on your to do list. It is having pride in everything you do and being the hardest worker in the room. The fact of the matter is many things fade or lose meaning- pageant crowns, a 4.0, a high school or college athletic career, etc. But all of these things I’ve listed- they will always have meaning.

You can never lose your ability to love, to care, or to serve. You never have to lose your work ethic or humble attitude. Your servant heart and leadership ability never fade with time or lose purpose. THIS is what makes you special and sets you apart. THIS is what makes people want to be a part of your life. THIS is what gives you value and worth.

© Bailey Kennon and Bailey Kennon, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bailey Kennon and Bailey Kennon with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Learning To Live Without A Script

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I don’t know how many times I have said this, but I’ll say it again- I’m a planner. I like my life being organized and put together. When it is not- I stress and freak out (maybe that’s why I’m stressed out all the time 😉 #GottaGetMyselfTogether). I hate when plans get canceled or changed last minute. Little things bug me- like when I plan for it to rain and then it doesn’t. I just like when everything is in order and goes according to schedule- chaos is not my comfort zone.

However, over the past couple years I’ve had to learn to be flexible. Starting a non-profit, competing in my first pageant, winning my first pageant, traveling throughout the state speaking in schools, churches and civic clubs on Dating With Purpose- none of that was a part of the plan. 3 years ago I never could have guessed I’d be getting ready to compete at the Miss Alabama Pageant for the 2nd time. Crazy how life changes, man.

I feel like I have encountered a good bit of personal and spiritual growth in the past few years and I have had to learn to rely on the Lord in many ways that I have never really had to before. I think for the most part I had it backwards- I thought it was my job to figure everything out ahead of time, put together my  10 year plan, and then come back to God for the OK. HA, how silly of me- that’s not how that works!

The really incredible thing about our God is that He wants to be with us every step of the way in every aspect of our life. We’re never on our own- He doesn’t throw us to the world and expect us to figure it all out. He loves us so much that he wants us to walk with Him daily and let Him guide us- not walk along a path we’ve already chosen ourselves. There’s not a whole lot of faith required in that- right?

I still have a long way to go- but I’m learning to find growth and joy in letting Him guide me. This faith and trust I’m building in Him through this journey is what is going to continue to grow my relationship with Christ and get me through the tough times that will inevitably come.

Don’t spend your whole life planning everything yourself. There is nothing wrong with having goals or being prepared, but ya gotta leave room for God to do His work. Life’s a chess game- pieces are continually moving and you have to learn to adapt to whatever situation the Lord has you in. You are obviously there for a reason, even if that reason isn’t quite obvious yet.

I’ll end on this- don’t let the uncertainty of the future or worry of the unknown keep you from letting the Lord lead and grow you. Sometimes you have to live life without a script and throw your plans out the window. Easier said that done- but at the end of the day I always come back to the fact that God is one person that’s never failed me. Why would He start now, ya know?

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” -Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)

© Bailey Kennon and Bailey Kennon, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bailey Kennon and Bailey Kennon with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Expect Respect

A little over two years ago, I founded my non-profit- I’ll Wait Ministries, Inc. The following year I blogged, traveled, and spoke through my ministry in the church community about the importance of dating with purpose. The message of my non-profit was one I felt was lacking in the church and because of that it was widely accepted.

When I decided to compete in my first pageant in 2015, I decided to derive my platform, Dating With Purpose, from my ministry because it is something I care with my whole heart about. Instead of just speaking to the religious community, I wanted to bring my Dating With Purpose and Expect Respect message to a broader audience. When I won my first local title, I had the ability to go to schools, clubs, and events and do just that. Over the past year, I’ve had over 60 speaking engagements and spoken to all different age groups on Dating With Purpose and Expect Respect. I have surveyed students and received feedback from teachers on my presentation and what is good/bad and what could be better. I have loved the feedback and constructive criticism I have received because I only want to improve my platform and make it better.

Since Miss Alabama last year, I have still been thinking and brewing on how to expand my platform and improve upon Dating With Purpose. Over the past few months I have been working on growing the #ExpectRespect aspect of my platform. I see my Dating With Purpose presentation almost as a domestic violence preventative program as I speak to self-value/worth, creating personal and relational boundaries, and the importance of setting standards for those in our life and the way they treat us.

In addition to helping students respect themselves and encouraging them have healthier dating relationships, I want to help prevent dating violence and abuse. I am working with multiple women’s shelters because they deal with the back end of dating or domestic violence and I want to be doing my part to help on the front end.

I am so excited about broadening my platform’s scope because I feel preventing domestic abuse/dating violence goes hand in hand with promoting healthy dating because dating is where it all begins.

I am excited about this new aspect of my platform and even more excited about the first fundraiser I will be doing for Mary’s Shelter. Wildflower’s Boutique and Evolve Fitness Spa will be serving as drop off sites for my “V Day Drive”. Mary’s Shelter is always in need of diapers, cleaning supplies, etc. and I would ask you to visit their website, find out what their needs are, and drop a few things off at one of the drop off sites! This “V Day Drive” will be running through Valentine’s Day and I’m grateful for your help in supporting an incredible resource our community has when it comes to domestic abuse and dating violence. They do so much for our women and children- let’s help give back!

© Bailey Kennon and Bailey Kennon, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bailey Kennon and Bailey Kennon with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Getting Real

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There are a few things I would say I truly dislike. But I honestly really dislike being emotional. I hate crying in front of people and I don’t feel I am alone in this. I think a lot of times people try to be “strong” and don’t let others see them being emotional because we see that as a weakness. In the past any time I cried or was sad, I just saw that as vulnerability and I do not enjoy being vulnerable (but who does, am I right?).

In addition to seeing my emotional side as a weakness, I also feel some pressure to keep it together. I travel and speak on dating and relationships to a lot of students. I am supposed to be a strong role model so it wouldn’t really look good for me to be crying over a guy or a dating relationship, right?

Well, for a long time I think I was so focused on trying to be the best example I could be, I forgot to just be real. Sometimes life is a bummer and I cry. Sometimes I get heartbroken and I have to cry about it. It’s not a weakness; it is just a part of being human. It is a part of living life and being humbled to know that you need Jesus.

The last blog I wrote was about surrendering to the Lord. Well, a lot of times when we surrender to Jesus that means giving up something or making a choice that can be painful. In the moment, it can really hurt.

I don’t know what you are going through, but I do know that we all go through difficult seasons full of difficult decisions. Something a friend said to me was, “It’s okay to not be okay” and that hit me like a truck. Because honestly, a lot of times we’re not gonna be okay. We’re not gonna be skipping around singing and dancing; we watch TV and eat junk food. And that’s okay.

The thing is that we can’t be strong all the time. There are going to be many days where we feel weak and inadequate. But what makes life bearable through difficult times is that it is in Jesus we’re strong, not ourselves. As humans were fickle and subject to emotions and change, but Jesus is aways the same. He is our warrior in a time of trials and he is a constant in a time of change.

If you are reading this and you are going through a rough season, please know 1.) you’re not alone, 2.) it is not going to last forever, and most importantly 3.) God has a plan for you even through this pain. Now is not the rest of your life. What you’re going through is only today and know that when tomorrow comes, everything can and will get better, but it’s up to you to push through.

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:2-4 (NLT)

© Bailey Kennon and Bailey Kennon, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bailey Kennon and Bailey Kennon with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.