Friday, October 6, 2017

Thanksgiving Early Blog

Instead of celebrating Thanksgiving just one day out of the year, we should celebrate it every day!  Because there is always something to be thankful for!
Since you are reading my blog right now, you have to be reading it on some kind of device. You are able to read it, so you probably have the ability to learn letters and sounds. You are living and breathing air. You are reading, breathing, understanding, thinking, living…there are 5 things to be thankful for already! :) I’m sure we could find a million more things that we are thankful for if we just take a few minutes to think and reflect.
Here are some of the things that I am thankful for:
1.     My Family - - They are the absolute BEST!
2.     Friends - - They support me in all I do.
3.     God - - Why wouldn’t you be thankful for Him? His grace is amazing!
4.     CiCi (My Cat) - - She always cheers me up.
5.     My House - - Some people don’t have one, and I’m so grateful I do.
6.     Food - - So many go hungry in our world.
7.     Water - - So many have unclean or no water to drink.
8.     My Title - - I’m so proud of my accomplishments and being recognized for them is pretty special. I’m honored to represent my state and young girls my age.
9.     My Sister Queens - - They are all amazing girls, making a difference in our world!
10. Dance lessons and Dance Coaches - - I enjoy them SO much!
11. School - - I attend a Christian school. I’m so grateful I get to hear about God’s amazing love for me every single day.
12.  A Bookshelf (Full of Books!)  - - Books are my favorite thing EVER!
13.  Electronics - - Where would our world be without them?
14.  My Toys - - I’m lucky to have so many fun things that encourage me to be creative, learn and grow.
15. My Art Desk - - I love being able to create art and express myself.
16.  Travel - - I enjoy traveling and seeing and experiencing new things.
17.  My Health - - I’m so blessed to have a healthy body. I thank God every day.
18.  The Ability to Learn New Things - - Each day I learn something new and exciting – what a gift!
19.  The Opportunity to Give Back - - Helping to make other’s lives just a little bit better…now that’s something to be thankful for!
My list could go on and on…there are so many things to be thankful for.    I hope you can take a few minutes and come up with your own “thankful” list.
Remember to try to do something kind for others. It will make a difference in your life as well as theirs. They will have a thankful heart for all you do, and your heart will be extremely happy as well.
Happy early “Thanks”giving!
Alexis Thompson
Junior Miss Teen North Dakota International 2017

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The 16th Grade

How is it already the middle of September? I find myself wondering how I am already in my senior year of college, although I still have a couple more years before I earn my bachelors of science in nursing. Hey, great things take time right?!
            My education has always been so important to me. The education system has furthered my knowledge with math, science, and history meanwhile instilling lifelong qualities of discipline, responsibility, and determination. Education is a privilege and not a right, and being able to realize that from an early age has been my motivation to further my own education. There is no better feeling than acing an exam that I have spent countless hours, or even days preparing for.
            While school is just picking up into full swing I have already hit some milestones of my college career. Earlier this month I received my white coat into nursing school. Not only does a white coat look cool, but it gives students a sense of honor and accomplishment, and a sense of being welcomed into this prestigious and rewarding profession. I also received one of the highest grades on a test since enter college! (ONLY ONE WRONG THE ENTIRE EXAM!!!)  In high school I found that my studies came natural to me and I never had to study. I walked into college with this mentality and did it hit right up side the head. Now, I never received awful grades but “bad” grades were anything but an A for me. I have learned effective studying habits for college exams and to put my best foot forward.
            This upcoming semester and spring semester will be full of hands on experience with nursing school. I am beginning to practice as a student nurse and will be doing clinical rotations. I am in the big leagues now. I truly believe nursing is the profession for me, and I hope to succeed as an RN, BSN. Looking back on my decision to switch my major from microbiology to nursing has never once been a regret and I do not think it will ever be. I believe God has a plan, and his plan was to make me a super duper senior at NDSU. :) Kidding.
 God put a calling on my heart for the nursing profession and the only thing I could do was listen and it’s been a blessing ever since.

Forever and Always,

Siam Simpfenderfer
Miss North Dakota International 2017

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Interviewing my dad!

Here is an interview with Dr. Peter Ojuro. He is a DO, a gastroenterologist by day and a superhero dad all year round.
Wiljar:                 Did you ever win an award?
Dad:    Yes, when I was in primary school. I won an award for our school choir. We won the    award to represent our school in the provisional competition.
Wiljar:                 What was your first job and how did it go?
Dad:    I worked at a supermarket and it went very well. My coworkers where always pleasant and helping people was the best part of the job.
Wiljar:        What’s your favorite Color?
Dad:    Green! I like green because it represents life. Green also reminds me of home, Kenya.
Wiljar:                 Favorite Sport?
Dad:    Soccer!  I’ve played since I was a small child and I still play even now.
Wiljar:                 What do you enjoy doing religiously?
Dad:    I enjoy eating healthy meals religiously. It’s good for the mind and body.
Wiljar:                 How many siblings did you grow up with?
Dad:    It was a full house! I grew up with 8 siblings, and I was the 6th child. It was a wonderful age range for me. I had older siblings that could cook and younger siblings I could play with. We were like a unit that worked very well together.
Wiljar:                 What was the last book you read?
Dad:    The last book I read was “The power of a Praying husband”. I chose to read this because it teaches you the foundation of a strong family and how to continue being a good father and husband.
Wiljar:                 Favorite number and why?
Dad:    My favorite number is two! It represents parody and fairness, that is why it’s my favorite number.  
Wiljar:                 Favorite music genre?
Dad:    I love Rhumba music, which is African music. I also enjoy listening to it after work, and long trips.
Wiljar:                 Favorite artist?
Dad:    My favorite artists are Koffi and Franco.

When coming up with the questions to ask my dad I wanted to keep it simple yet fun! I wanted to do this for some time but thought what could I possibly ask? It came together better than I had expected and in the process, I really got to see my dad in a light that I normally never see him in. I grew up seeing my dad as a superhero and I still do. Who knew superheroes have time to themselves to listen to music or enjoy a game a golf! We were a full house growing up, my siblings and me.  I guess in this interview I realized just how much more I appreciated my dad for all the things he did for us growing up. While still being able to be himself in the process. This interview could never sum up who my dad is! However, I will say that he is the most humorist, humble, fun, and hardworking person you’ll ever meet. 

Carpe Diem, North Dakota International Ambassador 2017, Wiljar Ojuro

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

A Few of My Favorite Things…. Going Back to School

1.     New school supplies are my favorite! I get excited about binders, notebooks and all the cute new supplies.
2.     A new schedule, a new beginning is an exciting part of going back to school.
3.     Seeing long lost friends and acquaintances who I have not seen in a while
4.     Theatre auditions for the school musical and the play are tomorrow!  I cannot wait to see how it all comes together!
5.     Fall events like Homecoming and bon fires with friends are a few of my favorite things! Dressing up for school spirit week is so much fun too.
6.     I love decorating my locker.  This year I used little magnets to hang pictures of friends who are close as well as friends who are far away.
7.     New clothes are awesome!  I enjoy picking outfits for each day of the week.  I even made hangers that have the days of the week to help me stay organized.
8.     Getting to know new teachers and meeting new friends in different classes
9.     Trips to Starbucks…. The smell of fall in a cup aka the pumpkin spice latte
10.  After school theatre rehearsals and the teamwork that comes with working on a production
11.  Figuring out which clubs and committees are the best fit
12.  Pep rallies and opportunities to sing the National Anthem
13.  Meaningful discussions and plans for college
14.  Finishing up with summer reading for Advanced Placement English
15.  Being a senior, knowing that this is the last year of high school and wanting to make it awesome
16.  The challenge of something new and the comfort of the old
17.  I love a schedule that gives me enough time to go home for lunch
18.  School yearbooks from last year are the best because it is great to remember and reminisce about the previous year and all the memories.
19.  The possibilities that a new year brings always make me feel excited.  I love the cycle of the school year and the change of seasons the year brings.
20.  The carpe diem attitude that comes with being a senior and knowing that this is your last year to do something amazing in high school.

Yours in Harmony, Payton Hausauer Miss Teen North Dakota International 2017

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Back to School

FINALLY! It’s time to go back to school! I’ve been waiting for this day since the last day of school this past May! Here are some photos of my first day. I was super excited to be in my new classroom. My brother…not as much!  :) 
It feels great to be back! I just started 4th grade and it’s pretty cool so far. I have a wonderful teacher and AMAZING friends. Today, we started working from our new books and I know I’m going to learn a lot this year.
My favorite subjects in school are reading, math, science and English. Spelling is also a subject I enjoy. As you can probably tell, I LOVE school and I love to learn. It is so important to take your school work seriously. I know that, because someday I want to become a doctor and I know you have to study really hard in order to succeed in that career. I’m thinking about attending college at Harvard – I’ve heard it’s a pretty great school!
A new school year is a great time to start new habits. I want to encourage you  all to try to make a new habit of volunteering and helping others. Volunteering is very important to me and has enriched my life in so many ways.  

I know someone who really does have a habit of helping others. This dear friend of mine donated a bunch of things for me to give to others, as well as gave me a $50 donation for me to use however I see fit.
It took me a while to figure out how to best use the donation, but I have decided to use some of it for an upcoming service project that my friends and I are going to do at my 10th birthday party.

My friends and I will be creating “Blessing Bags” which will be donated to Welcome House – a homeless shelter in my community serving homeless families. These bags will specifically be for the children that are staying there. Many times, these children come to Welcome House with no belongings to call their own. These bags will be filled with items such as hygiene products like toothbrushes and toothpaste, toys, school supplies, and books.  I have partnered with my local library and they are generously donating books to be included in the bags as well.
My friends and I are blessed with so much…this is just our little way of giving to other children who could use a little blessing! Thanks to my special friend, Ginny, who has such a kind and caring heart and is helping to make these “Blessing Bags” a reality!

     I hope you all had a great start to the new school year, just like I have! Remember to try to do something kind for others. It will make a difference in your life as well as theirs! 
Alexis Thompson
Junior Miss Teen North Dakota International 2017

Monday, September 4, 2017

I Challenge You to be Present

How many times do you find yourself wishing for the weekend, or find yourself unable to wait for a certain upcoming event including birthdays, holidays, or just a special occasion? Don’t get me wrong, I get so excited for upcoming events and almost can’t focus on my daily tasks. I get so caught up in the whirlwind of emotions and of exciting life milestones that it is sometimes easy to forget our daily blessings. 

This school year I have challenged myself to be present, and truly cherish every moment given to us because in a blink of an eye it could all be taken away. I frequently found myself wishing time away always excited for the next big event until one day I realized this is my one chance on this wonderful and wicked world. We are truly cheating ourselves out of precious moments we may never be able to hold on to again if we aren’t present in the moment. By being present in the moment we are more conscience of our surroundings, our neighbors, and ourselves. We may create deeper relationships with our peers because we are interested in what is going on at the moment instead of plans for the upcoming weekend. These moments are crucial because someone we may encounter during class, work, or even at the grocery store may need our attention which instead might be focused on our dinner plans with a pal. Those moments we wish away maybe moments that others cling to and look forward to because these moments might be the highlight of their day.

Not only may being present impact others it has a positive impact on your own mental health. Being present is simply being engaged physically, emotionally, and mentally in what is going on and what you are doing right now. The more present you are, the more your body relaxes and has more energy, and improves concentration. We are able to truly take advantage of the life we were given.

 I challenge you to be present in your day to day life and cherish your daily blessings which may come as simple encounters with colleagues, smiles at strangers, or a note left from a loved one. Live this wild, wicked, and wonderful life to the fullest by being present.

Siam Simpfenderfer
Miss North Dakota International 2017

Friday, September 1, 2017

The Journey Continues...

In order for something new to begin, something else must come to an end.
I am filled with anticipation as I type this letter to you, but my feelings are also bittersweet because I am saying goodbye. Earlier this year, my husband was given a ministry opportunity to serve as a youth pastor in St. Louis, Missouri. After much prayer and consideration, we believe this is something God is calling us to do. I am beyond thrilled for my husband’s new job and I am ready to serve alongside him as we continue to dedicate our lives to investing in the next generation. I am excited for this new adventure, but closing a chapter is never easy.

To me, life only feels right when I am completely obedient to God. 
Through faith and obedience Jake and I have been on a beautiful journey that brought us from Nevada to North Dakota, and now, to Missouri. Transition isn't always easy, but it is often necessary for our lives. As we transition, my heart is full of gratitude for the time I had in North Dakota. I was fully embraced by a church family who loved me like their own. My dreams were supported by friends, pastors and mentors who filled me with strength, confidence and the belief that I can do all things through Christ. As Mrs. North Dakota International, I have amazing directors and fellow queens who have changed my life for the better. This experience has shaped me in ways that will last wherever I go. 

I believe with my whole heart that God will not only bless what I am walking in to, but He will also abundantly bless the things I am walking out of. God has his hand on everything I am saying goodbye to, including my journey with the North Dakota International Pageants. The best is yet to come! God has a wonderful plan for this organization and it is my prayer that the ND International Pageants will continue to be blessed greatly! 

I would like to thank my directors Meg and Janelle for supporting every season of my journey. They dedicated their time, energy and so much love to ensure that I have a wonderful year. When I shared with them about the move, they had nothing but positive things to say about it. Thank you to my North Dakota sister queens for being unapologetically YOU in the community and in our friendship. No matter where I go, our sisterhood is forever. I truly believe that. Thank you to my church, my community, friends and sponsors who have given a piece of themselves to my journey. I couldn't have done this without all of you. 

It's not about how much time we have, it's about what we do with the time we are given. My time as Mrs. North Dakota International has been absolutely wonderful. It's been full of growth and opportunities to serve my community. It was everything God destined for it to be, and for that I am truly blessed. Goodbyes are never easy, but the future is in the hands of a God who has a beautiful plan for all of us. North Dakota has a special place in my heart that will never be replaced. No matter where I go, it will always be wonderful part of who I am, the royalty and all.

Forever your Mrs. North Dakota International 2017
Angelina Yarbrough 
Turning Moments into Movements