My attitude towards beauty pageants and beauty contestants for many years was much the same as Gracie Hart’s initial attitude in the movie Miss Congeniality. Disgust. Major disapproval. After all, beauty is only skin deep, right? And what beauty queens are beautiful except on the outside?
Not until I met the two women who became my favorite beauty queens and learned to admire the women inside those evening gowns and swimsuits did I learn how wrong I’d been. Uh, not that I’ve ever known any other ones.
Strangely enough, I met Janet Roller and Jane Herlong (pictured left to right above) at the same place, the Lifeway Conference Center at Ridgecrest, North Carolina.
Janet led the worship music at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference (BRMCWC) for several years (and will do that again next month for the Novelist Retreat at Ridgecrest). She’s one of the best musicians that conference has ever had and has written a number of songs and at least one novel so far.
I don’t know how many CDs she’s recorded, but I have two of them. She’s also a teacher and motivational speaker. Oh, and did I mention she’s an excellent pianist?
Jane was the keynote speaker at the BRMCWC banquet one year. “Speaker” is an inadequate description of Jane, even though she has recently been inducted into the prestigious CPAE Hall of Fame for her speaking; she is both a gifted singer and a hilarious comedian. Oh, and now an author of several nonfiction books as well. Not to mention the endorser of one of my yet-unpublished novels.
Janet is a, uh, a few years younger than Jane, but they’re both still attractive women. I can only imagine how they must’ve looked as Miss South Carolinas–yes! they’re both from the same state–at an earlier stage of their lives. But the important thing is they are both wonderful and talented ladies, using their talents for the Lord.
Both women are quite approachable. No conceit about accomplishments past or present. (Neither became a Miss America.) In fact, I especially treasure both of them because of their receptivity to a request I made about one of my original songs–one I’d written as a duet.
During different years, Jane and Janet agreed to sightread my song and sing it with me just for the heck of it. How many professional singers do you know who would do something like that?
Nobody else was around at the time that I can recall, but that wouldn’t have mattered. They didn’t act like they were lowering themselves to sing a song with a non-professional like me. In fact, Jane emailed me these gracious words after the conference: “Roger- It was such fun meeting you and sharing your wonderful music! Thanks for letting me sing with you!”
Jane and Janet, you’re beautiful people inside and out, and I feel blessed to know both of you.
Do you have someone special you’d like to write a tribute to? Feel free to do so in a comment.
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- Check out Roger’s free Christian lead sheets
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