Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Busy life of Miss North Dakota International 2016

Hello again! I hope everyone is enjoying their summer and staying as busy as I have been!
A few weeks ago, June 4-5 to be exact I had a CRAZY and fun weekend!
Saturday morning my mother and I woke up bright and early, filled three coolers with soda and water and loaded them onto the wagon. It was my hometowns annual Devils Run where hundreds of classic cars come to town for shows. The parade was going to be starting soon so we drove downtown and began to sell the beverages along the parade route! Most the time people see Queens in a hot looking car waving and perhaps throwing candy but I walked the entire parade and back!

            After the parade our Lake Region Fire Department has an event called “Fill the Boot” to fight muscle disease! The firemen stand at busy streets with their gear on and hold a boot that they collect money in. Everyone in town knows what the “Fill the Boot” is and I wanted to help! So I spent 2.5 hours of my afternoon with firefighters and holding a much heavier boot than I expected (people would dump their car change into it) to later find out they raised over $9,000! I was so shocked and happy that I got to be a part of such a fun and well known event!  Thank you Lake Region Fire Department for allowing me to help, I had such a blast!

            The next day, Sunday, my family helped me host a Pancake and Sausage feed! Lucky for us, we knew someone who has done a lot of fundraising before and helped make the day go smoothly because my mother and I have never planned a feed before! With lots of help of family and friends and donations from local businesses we were able to not only serve breakfast but have a bake sale and a silent auction! Things such as banana bread, pies, and cupcakes and then a turkey fryer, a free one night stay at a hotel, and handmade aprons were just a few of the items that were given! I also had a table set up with pictures of my reigning journey, my awards from state, my hometowns sash, and things about my partnership with VolunteerMatch! The whole event was a success! I had such a blast telling guests about my journey and what I do, taking pictures with kids, and eating pancakes of course! This event could not have been possible without all the help I had and the people that believe in me. Thank you everyone for everything! All the money made over the weekend was dedicated to my National Journey that is less than a month away now! Crazy how time flies when you’re having fun!

Thanks for catching up on my blog!

Taylor Woodruff
Miss North Dakota International 2016

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

To Be or Not To Be…a Parent.

Mrs. North Dakota International 2016 – Ashley Rae Klinger

Hello, everyone! I hope you’re all having a wonderful week! Thank you for taking the time to check out my latest blog post!

Having just recently celebrated two very special annual Holidays, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, I can’t help but to think about what it means to be a parent, and whether or not parenthood is a part of the plan that God has for me. So, instead of simply thanking my parents for everything that they’ve done for me, which I AM very grateful for, so THANK YOU, Mom and Dad, I’m going to take a slightly different direction with this entry.

When I was in my early twenties, I always assumed that I would have children, and I assumed that I would have them at some point before I was 30. Well, at the age of 35, here I am yet to be a Mother. Truth be told, this is something that I struggled with throughout my life until I eventually came to two very important realizations.

As many of us do, I used to live my life on an invisible timeline. I grew up thinking that the natural progression of my life was to graduate high school and then college, get a good job, meet a man who would become my husband, get a dog, buy a house, have kids, and so on and so on. Until one day, I realized that 1) there is no timeline to life. We are each on our own journey, which includes our own timeline according to the plan that God has for us, and 2) if being a biological parent isn’t apart of the plan He has for me, I’m not going to be less fulfilled as a person. There are plenty of ways that I can still be a parent figure and make a positive impact on a child’s life if that is something that is important to me. And if it’s not, that’s ok too.

Without a doubt, I am the woman I am today because of my parents and the impact they had on me, and continue to have on me, throughout my life. However, although not my biological parents, there have been people throughout my life who have also been very much like parent figures to me and have also made a huge impact on the woman I have become.

As I’m not a parent, I might not be in a position to predict what it’s like to be one. However, what my parents and those parent figures have taught me is this; there are a lot of responsibilities and blessings that come along with being a parent, and those responsibilities and blessings shouldn’t be taken lightly. Parenthood isn’t just about being ‘active’ in your child’s life by changing their diapers, running them to school, bringing them to their extracurricular activities and so forth. Parenthood is much more than that. It’s about being ‘engaged’ in your child’s life, and although parenting methods and styles might differ from one to another, in the end it’s about providing your child with support and guidance throughout their lives by giving them a foundation to grow on and an example to live by. Just as my parents did this, those individual parent figures did this as well, and for that I will be eternally grateful because that transformed me into the woman I have become today and the woman I will strive to be for years to come.

So, what I know is this; 1) I will not compare my journey to the journey of another, and I will enjoy the time that makes up my life according to HIS plan rather than categorizing my life through time according to MY plan. And 2) whether it’s as a biological parent or a parent figure, I trust in the plan that God has for my husband and I, and I will do my very best to make a positive impact in the lives of the children around me, just as my parents and those parent figures did for me. And when that time comes, in whatever form it comes in, I know that I have what it takes to be truly engaged in their lives and to provide them with a foundation to grow on and an example to live by just as I had in my life.

THANK YOU again to my parents, as well as those parent figures for all that they’ve done for me and for the difference that they’ve made in my life! To all you parents and parent figures, Happy belated Mother’s Day and Father’s Day!

Until next time, continue to make a difference and lead by example.

Ashley Rae Klinger
Mrs. North Dakota International 2016