Thursday, December 27, 2012

Introducing Miss Teen ND International 2013...Grace Sproule

There's something about having that sparkly ornament placed on your head. Ever since I was a little girl I have always dreamt of having the opportunity to hold that responsibility. This past month I was granted that dream, and I can hardly wait to see what this year has in store for me and my fellow "sisters". When I was crowned, I felt something that I never had before. Holding the two girls hands besides me so tightly while we waited to hear the announcement was nothing but a thrill. When I heard my name called, I felt like I just froze. Was this real? As I walked to the center to have the crown placed on my head, I was ecstatic. I found my family in the crowd and gave them one of the biggest smiles to ever be had. It was they who had gotten me to that point. All the shopping, all the conversations about my platform, the interviews and most importantly the never ending love and support that was always there no matter what.

I will never forget after the pageant when my family came onto the stage and my sister asked what my initial thought was when my name was called? At that point I was still just so speechless, and then she said exactly what she had thought. She said she and my family were on the edges of their seats when the words "contestant number 8" were called. She started counting from the start of the line to see who the winner was before they announced the name.  With the runners up previously called, we were no longer in our exact order,so she had a second of disappointment right before they said my name. We have shared a few laughs over this! 

Something that I never thought would happen while competing in a pageant, was how much I would learn about myself. I gained so much more from this than just the crown. I feel that I really grew from this experience, and I can't thank everyone whose helped me enough. I'm so thankful this journey has finally begun for me! 


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Introducing Miss ND International 2013...Taylor Wagner

When my name was called as Miss North Dakota International 2013, I was in complete shock. I don’t even remember walking to center stage to be crowned. I remember that my emotions wanted me to smile and cry at the same time. I also remember one of my judges, Miss International 2012 Krista Wanous, motioning to me to fix my crown, as it was on crooked (probably as a result of my uncontrollable shaking from excitement!).

As the crown was being placed on my head, I couldn’t believe that this moment was finally happening. It was one I have dreamed of for so long, and one I have been working towards for close to 5 years. You see, this was my fifth time competing in the ND International pageant. The first time I competed, I was a senior in high school competing for Miss Teen ND International 2009. That year I received 1RU (to my now best friend & roommate J). I fell in love with this pageant system from the start, and continued to compete every year after that. Over the next 3 years, I competed in the Miss division and received 2RU, 1RU, and 1RU.

Receiving runner-up is a bittersweet feeling. On one hand, you feel honored to have made it that far.  On the other hand, you could almost feel that crown on your head. You were so close. Following each pageant, people would ask me if I was competing again. While it is hard to go back, I always knew that I would compete again the next year. I wanted to achieve my dream of becoming Miss ND International, and I wouldn’t stop until I did. I am thankful that my parents taught me perseverance, and I am also thankful for God’s plan.

Years later, I am a senior at North Dakota State University (Go Bison!) studying zoology, and still chasing after my dream. My dream came true on December 1, 2012 when I was crowned Miss North Dakota International 2013. My advice to anyone out there chasing a dream: chase it until you reach it. I can tell you from experience, if it’s something you really want, the wait is SO worth it. It might make reaching your goal even sweeter.

As the quote says, “Everything happens for a reason.” I also believe that everything happens at a certain point in time for a reason. There is a reason, or many, that my dream did not come true until now. I look forward to the next year as Miss North Dakota International 2013 and discovering all of these reasons.

Years ago, I bought a small picture with a quote written on it. Since then, my twin sister and I have passed it back and forth as we each encountered obstacles, to inspire each other to keep going for your dreams. It has since become my life motto. I will end my first blog with this quote.

“She believed she could so she did.”

Taylor Wagner
Miss North Dakota International 2013

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Introducing Mrs. ND International 2013...Jen Mauch

Mark 9:23: Everything is possible for him who believes. 

I came across that verse a few days before the pageant. I was second guessing myself as to why I was doing this. But I felt then, as I did when my dear friend Carolyn first contacted me, that there was and still is a much larger reason why I am doing this. Our role on this earth is to serve God, we are put here to do his work and share his love with others. We must use the gifts and talents He has given us. I've touched lives already during the beginning months of my journey towards the Mrs. North Dakota International Pageant. I also truly found myself and finally gained my confidence back. I had the amazing love and support of my family and friends. They BELIEVED in me! 

The pageant weekend was absolutely amazing, at that point I knew I had already grown and experienced so much more than I would have had I not entered. I met some of the most amazing women and made some wonderful friends! And I was so honored to sit across from all of the judges, and to meet Sarah Bazey, Mrs. International 2013 and Kristin Wanous  I decided by Friday night that it really didn't matter if I walked away with the crown on my head, the true crown is in my heart. I made a conscious decision to just soak in every moment of the weekend and enjoy it. 

My mind was full of many things that weekend, from every pageant detail to the following Monday when my daughter was scheduled to have surgery on her leg....not knowing for sure what the doctors would be removing from her leg. 

When my name was announced as Mrs. ND International 2013 I had an unbelievable amount of emotion going through me. The photo of me being crowned truly captures those emotions. When I see that photo, I can honestly remember how I felt at that moment. I am so blessed and honored to be representing our great state.

Two days later our daughter's doctor came to tell us after a short surgery that the mass they removed from her leg was simply some scar tissue. I just continue to realize how blessed we was really a surreal few days. 

I will end with one of my favorite quotes from a young man we came across one evening at TJ Maxx, "It's not always about the destination, it's about the journey."