ND Proud at Mrs. International in Jacksonville, FL!

Hello, everyone! I hope you’re all having a wonderful week! Thank you for taking the time to check out my latest blog post! As it’s been a couple of weeks since my time at the Mrs. International Pageant in Jacksonville, Florida, I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on the experience and would love to share some of those memories with all of you!

What a week! This experience has made an impact on me that will last forever, and I know without a doubt this journey was one of the moments for which God created me! I don't know if I'll ever be able to adequately express how BLESSED I feel to have had the opportunity to represent the great state of North Dakota at the Mrs. International Pageant, and how GRATEFUL I am to all of you who helped make that happen!

Throughout the entire experience, I always stayed true to WHO I am, WHAT I stand for and WHY I was doing it! I allowed myself to take a leap of faith, not knowing what the outcome was going to be, but I did it in an effort to simply 'lead by example' for those around me and 'make a difference' in the lives of others. Through the grace of God, I have been able to do that!

I can wholeheartedly say that I came home with no regrets! I gave it everything I had, while staying true to me and my beliefs. I went to Jacksonville with the intent to bring awareness to my platform, The Cope Well Foundation, and to share our mission with the WORLD, and I did just that! Now, I am over the moon to get back to ND to continue doing what I do best...being the best version of ME I can be by leading by example and making a difference. I've worked hard to become the Woman I am, and I am committed to working even harder to become the Woman I'm meant to be.

Recently, I was reminded of this by 2 very special Ladies...it has been roughly just 10-months since I decided to participate in my very first pageant, and in the last 8 months, I not only became Mrs. North Dakota International, but I placed Top 15 at an International Pageant where I was joined by 60 other outstanding women from all around the WORLD. More importantly, I was able to bring awareness to The Cope Well Foundation on an INTERNATIONAL level; an organization that I've put my heart and soul into for the past 7-years! How surreal is that?! And, I've accomplished those things by just being ME! Throughout this experience, I haven't had any formal training or coaching. I simply relied on God and the abilities and opportunities that He has provided to me, and I stayed committed to making the most out of those abilities and opportunities.

As expected, this was one of the most incredible experiences of my life, and I have a whole lot of people to THANK for this amazing opportunity!

First and foremost, to my Lord my Savior, for the plan You have for me and for continuing to bless me with abilities and opportunities to fulfill that plan. 'For I know the plans I have for you.' Jeremiah 29:11. I trust in the plan You have for me, as it is far greater than any plan I could ever have for myself, and with You by my side, I know that I will fulfill that plan! 'I can do all things through Christ who Strengthens me.' Philippians 4:13.

To my Family and Friends! From your thoughts and prayers and words of encouragement when I need them, to your continued belief in my mission and the difference I'm trying to make. Whether you were watching from afar or sitting in the 5th row, I appreciate every single one of you! ;) I truly could not do this as effectively without each of you. Especially to my parents, Randy & Gail, for helping me become the Woman I am today, and to my husband, Andrew, for loving and supporting that Woman. Thank You, Andrew, for being YOU and for being on the journey of life with me!

To my Platform, The Cope Well Foundation and the entire Cope Well Team; Brittany DvorakSheena HelmstetlerHattie Idalski and Cathie Schultz! I am humbled every day by those who we represent through this organization. It is an Honor to be able to bring awareness to the needs of the Cancer Community and a Blessing to have been able to do that on an International level! I look forward to the future of this organization and to bringing awareness to the needs of Survivors in ALL areas of life! 'And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.' Philippians 1:6.

And a gigantic THANK YOU to all of you who showed your support for The Cope Well Foundation by posting and sharing your Cope Well Awareness pics during my time in Florida! Your support of the difference that we're trying to make within the Cancer Community is greatly appreciated! We can't do this alone! Together we will Cope Well to Live Well!

To my Directors, Janelle Steinberg and Meg Pulkrabek, with the North Dakota International Pageants system, as well as my Sister Queens, Miss Teen North Dakota International, Meghanne Quam, and Miss North Dakota International, Taylor Woodruff! Thank You 1) for introducing me to the International Pageant system, and 2) for all of your support and encouragement throughout this entire journey! I feel very lucky to be able to say that I am now an official member of the North Dakota International Pageant family! 'Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been Created.' Esther 4:14.

To Altru Health System, especially to the team at EXOS through Altru Advanced Orthopedics, and to the team at Truyu Aesthetic Center, for helping me be Stage-Ready! I am so extremely fortunate to have all of you in my corner! Because of your support, I had that extra boost of confidence every time I stepped onto that stage because I felt and looked my absolute best!

To my Glam Squad: Cinderellahair - USA Headquarters, Janelle Finseth withWest 13th Salon and her P.I.C for the week, John Ward! THANK YOU for making me feel just as beautiful on the outside as I do on the inside! Your talent amazes me, and I feel extremely fortunate to have had you by my side in Jacksonville!
To Affairs by Brittany and Formal Stitches for helping me create the perfect Evening Gown and Interview Dress! Your ability to take my vision and turn it into reality was amazing! And to Joey Retherford and his team at The Competitive Image for the beautiful Opening Number Dress! Can't wait for a reason to wear all of them again! And Thank You to Tip Top Tux - Grand Forks for the rental of Andrew's tux! Man, you made him look even more handsome than he already looks!

To Mary Richardson and the entire Mrs., Miss & Miss Teen International Pageants family for providing Women and their families with the incredible opportunity to show who we are on the inside and to 'make a difference' in the world! To Paula Preston for capturing the fun memories throughout the week. You and your team were outstanding! Can't wait to order some of the pics! And to all of the amazing Women who I had the opportunity to meet from around the world! I feel incredibly honored to have been able to spend time with all of you. Thank You for inspiring me to continue being the best version of ME I can be! May you too continue to trust in God's plan for you and make the most out of the abilities and opportunities He blesses you with!

AND last but certainly not least, to ALL of my Partners/Sponsors who are generously supporting my efforts throughout the year! To MODE and all of their North Dakota locations: MODE Grand ForksMODE - Bismarck andMODE Fargo! To Brittany Caillier - Thrivent FinancialChoice Financial,ICON Architectural GroupAmy Shimek with the The Executive Suite,AlerusPerformance Chiropractic, West 13th Salon, Cinderellahair - USA Headquarters and Affairs by Brittany! I could not do this as effectively without each and every one of you! From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for your support and for believing in the difference I'm trying to make!!! 'She is clothed with Strength and Dignity and laughs without fear of the future.' Proverbs 31:25.

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

Ashley Rae Klinger
Mrs. North Dakota International 2016

“Making a difference in the lives of others, and leading by example for those around me, isn’t by hobby; it’s my Purpose!” ~ Ashley Rae Klinger

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