photos by Cynthia Smoot, Bob Manzano and Jai Carroll
Pat Smith’s Treasure You organization provides opportunities for women to gather and connect through uplifting and refreshing messages. To celebrate the publication of her debut book, Second Chances, she recently produced a live stream event to provide an opportunity for women to be inspired with stories of second chances. Christian comedian, John Gray, emceed the event and Wynonna Judd joined Pat on stage to share her experiences of overcoming adversity and talk about how God has offered her second chances. The event included a private reception with Pat and Wynonna Judd for VIP sponsors, recognition of women who have been given second chances and whose stories are featured in Pat’s book, “Second Chances”, an incredible conversation with Pat and Wynonna, the presentation of “Page’s Angel” award, and an incredible musical performance by Vicki Yohe. I've heard Pat's story about 200 times and it's always riveting, but I was bowled over by Wynonna Judd. She was sassy and sharp as a tack and I had no idea about the turmoil in her life that she discussed. She talked a lot about not letting negative thinking rule your life and to not believe the lies we tell ourselves about how we are unworthy and unlovable. On the subject of forgiveness she asked the crowd, "When are you going to stop drinking poison and expecting someone else to die?" Amen! She is my new spirit animal and gave me my new favorite motto #NoStinkingThinking. If you missed the live stream, don't fret! Her camp tells me that they should have it up on her website by the end of the week for viewing.
Pat was the first African American woman to win the title of Miss Virginia in 1993 and was named first runner-up in the 1994 Miss USA Pageant (or as she likes to call it 'first loser'). She moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career and had modest success with roles in The Wayans Brothers Show, Beverly Hills 90210 and Sunset Beach. She met and quickly married comedian and actor Martin Lawrence and as she says, "...was living the dream: a mansion in Beverly Hills, driving a cute Jaguar, I had a closet full of designer shoes and outfits." But their marriage was tumultuous and volatile. One night she got up her courage, packed one suitcase, grabbed her infant daughter and fled. She had no money, no credit of her own, no family to turn to in L.A., and felt humiliated to ask for help. After all, she had "the perfect life". Fortunately, Pat did have a good friend who took her in that night. She soon found a church, reconnected with her faith and thus began her Second Chance journey to a new life.
In 2009 Pat told DFW Child magazine, “My ultimate goal is to help women tap into their purpose, passion and power in life so that they can start feeling fulfilled and happy — this feeling of contentment has made me a better woman, wife and mom.” But it took her a while to make that happen. Raising five kids and living in Emmitt's very large shadow left little time for Pat to fulfill her personal dreams. I think women everywhere can relate to that struggle. As women, we are so busy running the house, raising the kids, taking care of our families that you look up one day and realize you don't even know who you are anymore. But Pat's time is now and this book is the takeoff point for her flight. I've read it from start to finish and give it two thumbs way up. You will be inspired by her story and the stories of the other women in her book. Pat's message over and over and over throughout the book is to put your faith in God, for he will never steer you wrong and never let you down. Can I get a hallelujah!? Second Chances is available on Amazon and you can learn more about Pat and follow her journey at http://www.patsmithenterprises.com.