Friday, May 31, 2013

Freedom Is Not Free

Memorial Day means a day off for many Americans; we often forget what Memorial Day truly signifies. Many times we become focused on how things directly affect us and what we get out of them. On Memorial Day this year I packed my little ones bags of goodies to keep them busy and we went to our Memorial Day service in Hankinson. The American Legion Post No.88 put on a wonderful program to honor those men and women who sacrificed their lives while serving in the United States Armed Forces. I am very proud to say I have served my country in the United States Army, served a deployment and am blessed to be here to talk about it. I felt a sense of pride and sorrow as I was able to observe the Memorial Day program and watch the film that covered the wars in which our Armed Forces have served and where so many have lost their lives. Freedom is not free and once again I and so many others were reminded of just that and how truly important it is to remember those that have served and paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Guatemala Bound!!!

On May 13, 2013 I left for Antigua, Guatemala for a service trip with a group of fellow North Dakota State University students. I have been anticipating this trip for so long, and it’s hard to believe it’s finally here!

My classmates and I are traveling to Guatemala to volunteer for an organization called GOD’S CHILD Project. Patrick Atkinson, a Bismarck, North Dakota native, founded GOD’S CHILD Project in 1991. It has grown from a single program in Guatemala to 12 distinct programs in five countries. As the website states, GOD’S CHILD Project (GCP) is an educational development organization dedicated to “breaking the chains of poverty through education and formation.”

While we are there, my classmates and I will be doing a variety of things including building houses, visiting the kids at the GCP school, clothing distributions, and visiting Casa Jackson, which is a hospital treating malnourished children. I am excited and humbled to be able to do all of these things.

It is amazing at how many aspects of a child’s life GCP is helping to improve- their education, physical health, and mental health. Many of these children have experienced things I can only imagine, and have suffered through abuse. There is a psychologist on staff at the GCP clinic to help counsel children, or anyone, needing help in dealing with past or present situations. As the GCP website reads, “By working through their problems, participants have a better chance of completing their education and effectively breaking out of poverty.”

I hope that I can witness this process and possibly help a child recover their mental health, even if I don’t know it! I hope I can bring a little joy to any suffering child’s day (I will have toys and candy in hand to help!).

Learn more about GOD’S CHILD Project on the website, or by reading Patrick Atkinson’s biography “The Dream Maker” by Monica Hannan. We read this book prior to leaving and I highly recommend it!

I am looking forward to a week of service with my classmates and can’t wait to share my experience with everyone when I return.

Xoxo, Taylor 

Mental Health Awareness Month

Happy May everyone! Also, happy spring- finally!

May has always been one of my favorite months of the year- it means that spring is here (my favorite season!), school is almost done for the year, and I can watch lots of baseball. As Miss North Dakota International 2013 and as someone who has had depression, May is my favorite month for another reason- it is Mental Health Month! This year’s Mental Health Month theme is “Pathways to Wellness.”

You don’t have to be suffering from a mental illness to celebrate Mental Health Month- everyone should take care of and be aware of his or her mental health! Mental Health America has a handy calendar (below) that shares daily tips on how to take care of your mental health. Something as little as calling a friend can improve your mood for the day and your overall mental health!

Even though it is already the middle of May (my final exams really made this month get away from me!), still check out these tips and challenge yourself to complete each one!

Xoxo, Taylor

Learn more on 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Weekend in Dothan!

Traveling to Dothan, Alabama for the trunk show at The Competitive Image will definitely be one of the highlights of my year! I am so glad that I decided to go!

The first day in Dothan I got to spend to quality time with Kathy and Allison, my state directors, and Grace, my teen queen! It was a lot of fun doing some shopping and talking over dinner. I just love these ladies!

The next day was a very busy and exciting one for me. Arriving at The Competitive Image & The Clay Spann Photography Studio was so exciting- it is like a little pageant heaven inside! Right away I had the opportunity to do a photo shoot with photographer extraordinaire, Clay Spann! Clay is truly a triple threat- he does hair, make-up, and is an amazing photographer. He made me feel so at ease during my photo shoot. He and his assistant Terri kept me laughing the whole time with their witty banter! The only downside of shooting with Clay- I had such a hard time picking out the photographs I wanted! Thank you Clay!

After my photo shoot, I headed to the other side of the studio, which houses The Competitive Image. I immediately began trying on beautiful gowns! Joey knew just which dresses would flatter my body, skin, & hair color. With the help of his expertise, I said yes to the dress pageant style! Once I put my gown on, I did not want to take it off! Thank you Joey!

One of the most exciting parts of my trip was that I had the opportunity to meet the designer of my gown, Sherri Hill! She was at The Competitive Image specifically for the trunk show. It was inspiring to see her creative juices flow as she sketched out designs for clients! I had the opportunity to get to talk to her on a more personal level while waiting for our flight at the Dothan Airport. Grace and I had a wonderful time speaking with Sherri about our titles and lives in general. She is so sweet and humble, and it was an honor to meet her.

I met so many more new and wonderful people while in Dothan- current and former titleholders, Miss Teen International 2012 Caroline Crowley and her mom Denise, and of course, the national director of the International Pageants, Mary Richardson. I am so thankful to Mary for running such a wonderful pageant and for giving all of us women this amazing opportunity! 

It was great to see Mrs. International 2012 Sarah Bazey again!

With my teen queen Grace and photographer Clay Spann and Wardrobe Consultant Joey Rutherford

With the International Pageants Executive Director, Mary Richardson and photographer Clay Spann