Thursday, December 30, 2010

Building a Strong Foundation

I have been asked several times about the platform that I chose to embrace for the next year. Being a parent to two internationally adopted children (Go Guatemala!) and a passionate supporter of caring for our worlds orphans, it has come as a surprise to deviate from that rally. However, in reality, the two are tightly connected. Let me explain further. The family is first established on the strong foundation of a marriage in that parents are the "greenhouse" for the "tender seedlings" (children). Just like in nature, if the conditions are harsh, nourishment scarce, and no weeding of thorns, the seedlings wither and do not reach their full plant potential. It is the same with children growing into healthy adults. If the home is a harsh, and unbalanced, children suffer.
My belief, is that if marriages are strong and supported by the right influences, the number of children who are affected by poverty, abuse, and neglect would decrease and the cycle of brokenness would be restored. Families would also be able to direct their attentions on parenting children and more families would respond to the "cries of the orphans". Supporting marriages is just the first step to the restoration process. Caring for the worlds orphans, is what rests perfectly on top!
I am very proud of my children and how God has chosen to knit our family together. It is nothing odd or different from any other biological families. For that reason, I did not want to make my children the "poster children" for adoption. Their stories are unique and special that they will get to share when they wish and quite simply, it is not my story to share. If anyone is interested in building their family through adoption, I would love to share our knowledge and support you through the process! It is AMAZING!
I have included a photo of Neko and Mari......or should I say Rudolph and Blitzen?
Mrs. ND 2011

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Holiday Appearances

Hello again!! This week has been one crazy week! On Saturday December 18, I was able to help the RSVP optimist club wrap presents in Kirkwood mall. Then on Wednesday December 22, I was a bell ringer at Central Market in Mandan. It is so wonderful to see everyone in a festive Holiday Spirit! I am wishing all of you a safe and wonderful Holiday and a Merry Christmas.
Until next time,
Miss Teen North Dakota International 2011

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Crowning Moments

On Saturday, December 4, 2010, I was crowned Miss North Dakota International 2011!  Words cannot adequately describe how I felt the moment my name was called and the crown was placed upon my head.  However, two words that come to mind when I sit back and think about this special moment are Thank You!  Thank you to the people who have and continue to support me, my family and friends, the state directors, Kathy and Allison, the other pageant contestants, the judges, thank you!  Thank you for this wonderful opportunity!  There are instances throughout people’s lives that we wait for that special moment, that moment where you know that this is your time to make a difference.  

As Miss North Dakota International 2011 my goal is to promote and teach people about Human Trafficking, by not only grabbing attention but putting plans into action.   Not only will I promote my platform but I will also represent the title to the fullest of my abilities so that other women will get the chance to learn about the organization and possibly fulfill their dream of promoting a cause they are passionate about.  My journey
has begun and I cannot wait to see where this next year will take me!

Yours truly,
Stacy S.
Miss North Dakota International 2011

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Crowning Moments

It is with great excitement I begin my journey with you as Mrs. North Dakota International 2011! I will start from the very beginning to share my story......

The decision to enter the world of pageantry was prompted by the “Marriage Mentoring Program” that Colin, my husband, and I became a part of last January. At that time, we had fallen victim to the “hurried family syndrome”. With busy schedules, obligations and financial stress from our international adoptions, our communication was suffering and so was our marriage. We needed help and support and through the guidance of Billie Sue Ellingson, Licensed Counselor, and her installation of the “Marriage Mentoring Program” partnered with The Family Life Weekend, we were presented with the tools and support to make our marriage flourish! The Marriage Mentorship Program works by matching a more mature married couple with a younger married couple. The intent is to meet together to grow, share, guide and support each other in the trials and joys of marriage. We have found, like many others who have participated in this program, that through each other’s experiences we have a life-line to our marriage and keys to success that impacts the future not only for our marriage but for our children.

Through our trials, I found that marriage tools are available, but a spokesperson to educate others about these opportunities is missing. Many couples simply chose to give up and divorce. I am called with a servant’s heart to this issue and as Mrs. North Dakota International, I am will share my journey with transparency and compassion.

After much contemplation and prayer, in August, my husband finally encouraged me to fill out the Mrs. North Dakota International application and participate in this experience. As a wife, mother and business owner it has been very easy for me to "lose myself" in the continuous care for others. I was excited to have a personal goal to push myself to be the best "me" I could be!  This was not only a welcomed challenge, but I saw a tremendous opportunity for personal growth! 

When I arrived at State Orientation Friday, I was greeted by 6 other married ladies who also had taken the crowning challenge! It was an incredibly empowering experience to be surrounded by such accomplished and genuine women. Each story that brought them to this endeavor was unique and inspiring to me. Several times throughout the weekend I was moved to tears as I saw them walk onto stage and rise higher and achieve a new level of confidence and belief in themselves!  These spine-tingling moments were a highlight to this past weekend for me! What good is it to win a crown, if you are not winning at life? Winning at life is encouraging others with compassion and honesty, to impact each other in a positive way that we may use it to step higher and succeed. I was witness to those "soaring moments" for these ladies and that brings me great JOY! I wish every woman would open themselves to experience that achievement!

The crowning moment was a whirlwind of emotions for me. I was filled with deep gratitude for all my family and friends who encouraged me to rise higher and believe in myself.  Their "stairway of positivity" is what made it possible for me to climb to be the best "Shelle".  It is truly humbling to be chosen to represent North Dakota married women! I look forward to continued growth and sharing inspiring moments as we journey together through this year!
                    Mrs. ND 2011 with Mrs. ND 2010

All for Him <><
Shelle M., Mrs. North Dakota International 2011

Photos by Paula Preston ~  

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Crowning Moments and Proclamation Day

Hi Everyone!
Last weekend on December 4th I was given the opportunity of a lifetime, to represent North Dakota as your 2011 Miss Teen North Dakota International!

 During the course of the weekend I was the fun fashion and photogenic award winner. I also won the category of interview, with my platform, “Keeping Teens Tobacco Free”. I help educate teens all across North Dakota about tobacco and it‘s harmful effects. 

I currently work with the American Lung Association of North Dakota, and recently, we teamed up with Governor John Hoeven and worked to receive a proclamation proclaiming November 10, 2010, as ND’s first ever “Teen Tobacco Free Day”.   I can’t wait to get a jump start on my year and look forward to spending more time with Shelly (Mrs. ND 2011), Stacy (Miss ND 2011), Allison, and Kathy(State Directors)! 
Until next time,
Emily ~ Miss Teen North Dakota International 2011

Top two photos by Paula Preston - North Dakota International Pageants Official Pageant Photographer.