A Night To Always Remember

Emotion doesn’t prevail. But last night my emotion and enthusiasm went to a very high level.

More specifically, unlike a fastball on the lower outside corner, the applause meter didn’t have a number.

Yet.

A huge Yet!

I honestly don’t’ remember clapping with more enthusiasm and emotion.

Reality was a joy.

Last night I was privileged to attend the Heart Of Texas Fair and Rodeo Award Banquet in Waco, Texas. Was there because I had been asked to be an evaluator of over 150 scholarship applicants.

The numbers are incredible—at least to me. There were over 150 applicants. Five evaluators. When the numbers and background were reviewed, the Heart of Texas staff awarded 48 scholarships, totaling over $150,000.

Off the charts.

The awardees attended with their parents.

Was proud [because of my son, so ego didn’t dwarf!] last year’s top winner shared a video. She’s a freshman at Dartmouth. She shared about how gratitude and effort are a crucial combination.

The guest speaker, a newscaster from a national network, WACO station, spoke about how “your inner spirit and resolution to never give up” make a difference.

I looked around and could see—oh, if only we preachers had such rapt attention.

Then, the awards.

The deeper story to this, when I read the large group of applicants, including their own “story” and their grades and community involvement, the first one I read didn’t get my attention. She seized it for me.

Amazing. Her name is Noelia. She was born in Mexico. As was her sister. Their parents moved to Texas…and now, Noelia is a scholarship recipient. She is valedictorian in her class.

I learned she and her mother and sister sat at the table next to me.

I introduced myself and told her how impressed I am by her journey. Such a trek. Such a trek.

She had so much appreciation.

When I learned she’s decided to attend UT, I rejoiced and told her that Diane and I live in Leander, just north of Austin, and “if there’s any way we can be supportive, give us a holler!” {I like to toss in a little Texaneze!]

Another personal note. On my way to Waco for the Awards Banquet, I learned there’s a consideration out of the White House for “merit” to be the primary qualifier for someone to move to our country.

I scoff at that. I really do.

What about someone’s status?

My grandparents, both the Miller’s and the Schnell’s, came to America at the end of the 19th Century…came across the ocean in cattle steerage boats, because their future living in Nordka, Russia, would doomed.

When I considered Noelia’s application I was so inspired. And yet, she and her family have improved their lives…and in life’s pulse, improved each of us.

Here’s a picture of Noelia [she’s on the right], her mother in the middle and her sister, Lourda, on the left.

Such Joy. A night I will not forget. No, sirree!

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About Mark H Miller

Diane and I live in Leander, Texas. This past June 17, 2015 I celebrated the 49th anniversary of my ordination. We returned to Texas after three years in Washington, during which I served as interim minister in Bellevue/Eastgate and Mercer Island. Am planning to begin a 5th novel that will have my protagonist, Tricia Gleason, serve a year in licensed ministry in Snoqualmie, Washington. The novel, "The Lemon Drop Didn't Melt," will find Tricia wrestling with ministry challenges. None of which more daunting than someone wanting her breathing to stop. All the published novels are available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle under Mark Henry Miller. A primary goal in our return to Texas is to make sure grandchildren get lots of attention--here and in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Traveling is definitely an activity that will not slow down. With that, of course, fishing will happen. To that the t-shirt is apt, "I fish; therefore I am." In addition to novels, the book of Blogs, "Voice Of My Heart," is also available on Amazon.
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