Saturday, May 31, 2014

AHA Heart Walks

Walking a 5k distance seems like it would be pretty easy, but it surprised me how much I could really feel my heart and lungs working! According to the American Heart association, research has shown that the benefits of walking and moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day can help you: 
  • Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
  • Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels
  • Improve blood lipid profile
  • Maintain body weight and lower the risk of obesity
  • Enhance mental well being
  • Reduce the risk of osteoporosis
  • Reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer
  • Reduce the risk of non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes
And the American Heart Association has some of the best ways to get started! I like their easy-to-use guides for where and how to get started walking in your area at They have information on how to find walking paths, starting walking clubs, heart trackers, and more! It’s so much easier to get going when a great organization like the American Heart Association already has it put together for you!

One of the reasons that I love the 5k heart walks put on by the American Heart Association is that they are free! It’s such a great way to collect a group of your friends and family and join the community for a good time in an easy-going atmosphere without any pressure. I’ve also found its much easier to stay motivated when you’re with a huge group with the same goals. Even though there is tons of information at the heart walk that is very educational, the atmosphere is more like being at a party! There are great booths to visit, DJs playing music, and of course healthy snacks. I also enjoy meeting the groups that come to support a loved one who was affected by heart disease. It’s really inspiring to see the creative ways that families will create awareness about heart attacks and strokes. For more information about the heart walks, visit

This year, I was able to participate at the Heart Walk in Grand Forks where we raised over $19,000 and in Fargo where we raised over $67,000 for heart disease! I worked with my sister queens Madison and Janelle at a fun photo booth, here are some of our photos! 

Meg Pulkrabek
Miss North Dakota International 2014

Thursday, May 29, 2014

My Life By-the-Numbers

112 Socks that go into the washer
107 Socks that come out of the dryer
100 Plus miles that go on the mom van in one day
70 Pairs of shoes I own
35 Bobby pins worn each week
34 Bobby pins found each week where they don’t belong by my husband
29 Years old - Maybe
19 Books on my reading list
18 Loads of laundry done in one week
17 Years of marriage
13 Hours I work at my real job each week
6 Trips into a school building each day for drop off or pick up a child
5 Pets owned by the family
3 Kids in braces
1 God I do it all for

So there you have it… that’s my life by-the-numbers.  I count each and every one as a blessing.  Come and count with me, I’d love the company.

Janelle Steinberg, Mrs. North Dakota International 2014

Sunday, May 18, 2014

“I’m On Top of the World”

Within the last year, I have decided very (I mean extremely) reluctantly, to take up running. It all started because I felt like I wanted more physical activity in my life, and running was the easiest solution I could come up with. Running had a slow start for me. First, I found a trail near where I lived and started run/walking on that. I really didn’t like doing it, but for some reason I kept making myself go. I could hardly run a mile without talking a couple long walk breaks. As a swimmer, all of the gravity and impact involved in running felt really uncomfortable. I didn’t know how to pace myself the way I do in lap swimming and I really didn’t like how sweating felt. Trust me, I had excuses. But I still went and ran/walked that 1.5 mile trail almost every day. And after awhile I was surprised when I noticed I was mostly running/jogging the trail… and eventually by the end of the summer I was able to run the whole thing without stopping! I didn’t think it was all that impressive compared to people I knew that could do quite a bit more then that, but it meant a lot for me.

In the winter, I kept running on the awful treadmill. The treadmill is infinitely worse then the 1.5 mile trail I was used to. I came up with a lot of clever excuses on the treadmill too, but they didn’t work. So I ran on it anyway. I didn’t track how far I ran or how long I was able to run at specific speeds, (mostly because I was too exhausted to use math and run) but I just kept going. I didn’t try to go for any length of time or compare my runs. I just kept running… and visiting the chiropractor. I was actually really proud of a couple of my injuries that made me feel like a runner instead of a swimmer. But your body really isn’t supposed to hurt, and if it does, buying insoles and confessing to your chiropractor are both much more reasonable solutions.

I have said every year that I have lived in Fargo that I would do an event in the Fargo Marathon, but all the years passed and I didn’t have the guts. This year, I signed up for the 5k, AND the 10k. I remember thinking when I signed up “just run the first 3 miles that you know you can do and walk the rest.” I already had all my rests planned out in my head. I told myself a ton of reasons that I would deserve a break. I gave up before I started, but I thought “well… at least I signed up.”

I had no idea what I was in for when I started, mostly because even at the starting line I was still planning to quit. When the race started, I still had my game-plan to give up mid-way in my head. But not too far in, something changed. I noticed there were a lot of people in the race that probably never thought they would get there. I saw runners wearing cancer survivor shirts, amputees, and people on the side-lines that were cheering friends on because of an injury that held them back from running.

And that’s when I realized something. I can run. For today, in this moment, I can run. Maybe there won’t be a “next race” for me. Maybe someday I won’t be able to run anymore. I work in a skilled nursing facility, and I started to realize I am surrounded everyday by people everyday who don’t have this opportunity. Suddenly, I felt so grateful that I could run. I felt fortunate that I had the ability to run. And I knew I could do it, the entire 6 miles, without stopping. I had never gone past 3 miles, but I decided I was going to do it anyway. And I had never even actually considered running 6 miles without stopping until I was IN a 6 mile race. But I set a goal to run a 10k and I wasn’t going to let myself talk my way out of it. So I started thinking of all of the reasons that I was capable and I could do it. And I have to be honest, the Fargo community was a big help with this! The spectators that lined the course are absolutely unbelievable. The signs, cheering, and homemade water stands were fantastic! I expected to see a crowd at the start and the finish, but not lined up for an entire 6 miles of running! Who knew?! I was so inspired by all of the energy from the strangers everywhere that I just kept running. (To be honest, there was one hill after 4 miles where I seriously considered taking a break, but I kept going…. And to be even more honest, luckily there was a photographer at the top that would have caught me take a quick break, so I just changed to an ugly run for a little while and kept on going!)

I saw some pretty amazing community support. To whoever had their toddler hold a sign that said “worst parade ever” and was frowning at runners, it was absolutely hilarious! I also liked “Ryan Gosling is at the finish line”, “run like you stole something!” and “if it was easy, I would do it.” If you’re looking for an absolutely motivational race to sign up for and a really great start to your summer, the Fargo Marathon is a blast!

But be careful! When you’re so amped by all the good vibes and energy, if you need to tie your shoe tighter, just stop and do that. Don’t be a hero. The shin splint you don’t get the next day will really be worth it. Don’t start mentally calling your chiropractor because you’re planning an injury… just calm down and tie your shoe. That would be an acceptable break! My leg is on fire!!!

Thanks Carissa and Sue for such a fun day together, we did it!

So I guess now I ran a 10k, which means I have to set some new goals that I am truly afraid of. But Jillian Michaels says, “If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough.”

Here’s some of what is on my ipod playlist for running! Let me know if you are interested in running my next race with me and I will hold you to it!

Alicia Keys – Girl on Fire
Bastille – Pompeii
Christopher Tin – Baba Yetu
Diddy – Coming Home
Gavin DeGraw – Best I Ever Had
Idina Menzel – Let it Go
Imagine Dragons – On Top of the World (this was playing when I crossed the finish line, how insane is that!?!)
K’naan – Wavin’ Flag
Macklemore – Can’t Hold Us
Mandisa – Overcomer
Matisyahu – One Day
Michael Buble – It’s a Beautiful Day
Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball
Nicki Minaj & Rihanna – Fly
The Script – Hall of Fame
Selena Gomez – Who Says
Shakira – Waka Waka

Meg Pulkrabek RD, LRD

Miss North Dakota International 2014 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Teaching Time

I have been doing the same job for 11 years.  In my part time job, my career is in the children’s ministry program at our church, specifically I get to run the Wednesday night kid’s programing.  I love it, because I get to hang out with my favorite big and little people every week.

One of the things that I do on a weekly basis is give a 10 minute children’s sermon.  I have done some pretty strange things to impress my audience of 150 kids, everything from walking on oranges to eating cat food.  My goal is that every week that the children would learn a truth about God.  I only have ten minutes to grab their attention and sink God’s truth into them, so I have to be powerful and fun all at the same time.

So there you have it… that’s a bit about my work. If you ever want to catch the action in person, feel free to join me on any Wednesday night at Triumph Church in Moorhead at 6:00.  Just be sure to wear your running shoes, because I’m sure to put you to work.  Together we are on a grand adventure and I’ll be sure to keep you informed!

Janelle Steinberg, Mrs. North Dakota International 2014

He Knows My Name
Supplies:   - four different coins (quarter, dime, nickel, penny)
                        -A small paper sack
                        -a piece of paper towel

Ask the kids, Have you ever met someone who knew your name before you told it to them?  Get answers.  How could that happen? Get suggestions from the kids.
I was thinking about how amazing it would be if someone new the name of everyone in this room.  I was wishing that I knew all your names.  I know most of them, but I forget a lot of them.  I try really hard to know who you guys all are.  I have a really hard time remembering things though, sometimes I can’t even remember the names of my kids.  I end up calling them the dog’s name or I say every name in the family before I finally get to the right kid.
I have some coins here in front of me.  They all have someone’s picture on them.  Let’s see how many of these guy’s names we know.
Hold up the coins one at a time and have the kids name each president.  The kids will probably need help form the teachers, but that is ok.
Select a volunteer.  Have them choose a coin without showing it to you.  Have them hold it up for the group to see.  Tell them to cover the other three coins with the paper towel and to hold the coin they selected tightly in their hand.  Make sure that the crowd knows you can’t see any of the coins and that the volunteer continues to hold the coin tightly.  The “Magic” of this trick won’t work unless the child warms up the selected coin.
You know the Bible tells us about someone who knows everyone’s name.  In fact this person calls everyone by name and never forgets.
Do you know who calls us by name?  Take answers.
Yes! Jesus is the one.  He knows my name, your name, everyone’s name.  You see the Bible tells us Jesus is the good shepherd and we are his sheep.  Let me read you exactly what the Bible says:
John 10:1-4, 14-15
10 anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.
Then Jesus says this:
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.
A good shepherd knows every single sheep in his flock; those verses we read tell us Jesus is our good shepherd.  Jesus has a really big flock of sheep.  He is the shepherd of everybody in the whole world right now, of all the people who have ever been in the world and of all the people who will be in the world.   Jesus knows the name of every one of his sheep.  He knows all those people and he knows me and he knows you.  He knows all of us and he never forgets my name and he never accidently calls me the name of someone else.  Even in a crowd or when I am hiding, Jesus can pick me out, because he knows me. 
Now let’s go back to those coins.  Let’s see if I can pick out the coin you chose. 
Without looking have the volunteer put all the coins in the paper bag.  Take the bag from the student and shake the sack a few times to mix up the coins.  Go ahead and be really noisy.  Reach into the bag and feel for the warm coin.  Pull out the coin and say the name of the president on it.  Have the volunteer confirm that you have found their coin.

Pretty neat trick, huh?  I can learn neat stuff like that and I can learn your name, but God doesn’t need tricks and he doesn’t need to learn your name, He knows you.


Many Americans take things for granted, including myself. Although I have grown up in a low, single income family, I still take advantage of the things I have been blessed with. Even though my family is considered to be “poor” or “financially unstable” in today’s society, my family is “richer” than the majority of people living in our world today. Nearly 1/2 of the world’s population (more than 3 billion people) live on less than $2.50 a day. More than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty, that's less than $1.25 a day. Many Americans drink $2.50 worth of coffee or pop a day without even adding in the cost of gas, food, water, electricity, and much more that they use up. Can you imagine going to bed hungry? Unable to sleep because your stomach hurts so bad because it is aching to get something in it? 870 million people in our world do not have enough food to eat.  Hunger is the number 1 cause of death in the world, killing more than HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. People, including myself, throw away food because we do not like it, because it does not look appealing, or because it is left over and is not fresh. It leaves me speechless to think that a human being is about to die of hunger and the food we threw away could have given them a chance to survive.

What I want you to do is to think about the things you use in your every day life and use them sparingly. Be grateful for what you have and do not take them for granted, no matter how easy it is. Whether it is simply taking the amount of food you know you can finish at dinner, being grateful and thankful for the things you have, or spending $45 a month to sponsor a child so they do not have to worry about going to bed hungry, try your best to show appreciation for our world. A few dollars or a conservation of things can save a life.

Yours truly,
Madison Johnson

Miss Teen North Dakota 2014