Tuesday, August 1, 2017

National’s Sendoff to Sister Queens

What an exciting week for my sister queens!  They are on their way to the National International Pageants! I hope they have a great time meeting new friends that they can stay in touch with their whole lives. I know each one of them will do AWESOME!  These are some of the reasons why I think that:

Angelina – Mrs. ND International:  Angelina is a wonderful sister queen, as well as a friend. I love that she expresses her love for God in her blogs and on her social medial pages. Angelina helps young people like me discover their God-given purpose. Angelina’s message behind her platform “Turning Moments into Movements” includes the thought that “every person has a responsibility to be a positive influence on youth. When people take moments to invest in youth, those can become movements that will impact generations to come.” Angelina has greatly impacted me and countless others across our state.



Siam – Miss ND International:  Siam is such a great role model for girls. And I think it’s cool that we both want to study medicine and use our gifts and talents to help people as our occupations. Like me, Siam also enjoys volunteering for many organizations. I also admire her for spreading the important message of her platform “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay.”  She encourages young people to understand that it is okay to ask for help if they are struggling in life. Siam loves making a difference in the lives of others! Hey – just like me! :) Siam is an awesome “sister.” 



Payton – Miss Teen ND International:   Payton is such a fun person to hang around with!  She sings so beautifully and you can really tell that she loves her platform and sharing music with others. Payton believes that “music not only enriches our lives, but it connects us to one another through our human experience.” Before I entered the pageant, I was looking through the 2016 program book, and I saw Payton’s ad. I thought she had such a cool platform. I was happy that she competed again, so we would have a chance to win titles together…and we did!  I’m so thrilled to have such a beautiful “sister” like Payton!

Wiljar – Ambassador ND International:  Like me, Wiljar does not compete at nationals, but if she did, I know she would do great! Wiljar is passionate about working with children and adults is studying at NDSU to be a Family Counselor. Her platform is Volunteering and she encourages everyone to volunteer and help make a difference in their community.  I love that we share a love of volunteering and making a difference! I am so happy she is my “sister” and I’m glad to be sharing this year with her.

Each of these ladies will do so well at Nationals!  I wish them all the best of luck and can’t wait to hear about their experiences when they return back to the great state of North Dakota! I’ll be cheering for all of you this week!!! Love you all!
           






ALWAYS CHOOSE HAPPINESS,
Alexis Thompson
Junior Miss Teen North Dakota International 2017

Friday, July 21, 2017

Where Has the Time Gone?!


Where in the world has the last 6 months gone? I remember Taylor saying this year would fly by like the blink of an eye, little did I know she was right! I leave for Charleston, West Virginia in a few weeks and I couldn’t be more excited. 

With the excitement I am also flooded with a mix of emotions. I have had constant butterflies since the end of June knowing that there is so much to do in so little time! I have talked to Meg and Janelle several times with brief moments of freaking out, and they have quickly calmed me down and reassured me that this is what I am meant to be doing and I have purpose. I could not be more thankful for them. 

Preparing for a pageant at this caliber is more than a physical preparation. Although getting my hair, nails, and make up done is a bonus! This preparation is just as much mental as it is physical. I have struggled with the stress, but I have also felt the joy from this experience as well. This half a year has already been such a blessing with everyone I have met and touching so many different lives. 

I have been told by numerous family members to “just be yourself.” This statement is something I have to keep reminding myself. I won this state title because I simply shared my story and a passion for a suicide prevention and allowing the judges to get to know the real Siam. I know that if can keep calm and show the judges I am here to make a difference then I can’t go wrong. 

I am so excited to meet all the beautiful women from across the world coming to compete. What is so great about the International Pageant System, is that every single one of us has cause that is so close to our hearts. We are all there to make a difference. Pageant weekend is only two days here in North Dakota, and I met some amazing women in those short two days. I will be in Charleston for 6 days, I can only imagine the relationships that I form with these ladies! 

I can’t wait to touch base with you all in a couple more weeks, and fill you in on this once in a life time experience. 

Next stop. Charleston, West Virginia.


Forever Always,


Siam Simpfenderfer
Miss North Dakota International 2017

Thursday, July 20, 2017

My Small Town


Small town North Dakota is where my heart will always be. Smiling and waving at every car you passed whether you know them or not, knowing the entire town by first and last names, having most of the same elementary school teachers as your parents, and having at least a 15 minute conversation with a complete stranger because they might just know your parents. Some might drive through my little town of Stanton and laugh that it might only be 8 blocks long, but those streets hold more memories than one could ever imagine. These streets were the same streets my parents, grandparents, and even great grandparents travelled through. They laid their roots down many years ago and little did they think that four generations later, I would want to plant my roots as well. 

Shortly after my high school graduation, I moved to Fargo to pursue a college degree. I went happily with an open mind to a new city with new opportunities. Not only would I be meeting new friends but I would be experiencing what it was like to live in a town with a population greater than 300.
While I have been in Fargo for almost four years now, I am ready to move forward. I am ready for new opportunities but in familiar places. After I graduate from NDSU, I would love nothing more than to move back to my small town North Dakota town, and hopefully provide for my community in the same way it provided for me. Hopefully one day raising a family and allowing my children to experience a similar childhood that I once had. 

Earlier this month, my small town had an all class reunion were folks from all over the country came back to visit our shared home. While there were stories shared between classmates that haven’t seen each other in decades there was a sense of nostalgia. It was a bittersweet experience, though there weren’t a ton of people that came back to appreciate our small town there were enough and through those who made the trip, I knew we shared something in common. I knew these people had a love for this small town. Our small town where memories were made and will continue to live on.

Forever and Always,

Siam Simpfenderfer
Miss North Dakota International 2017





Wednesday, July 19, 2017

My Journey to the National Pageant…...


“The will to succeed means nothing without the will to prepare.”   -Juma Ikangaa
 
I think that I started to prepare for nationals about an hour after I was crowned Miss Teen North Dakota International.  Janelle and Meg our North Dakota International Pageant Directors meet with the newly crowned sister queens and their families. It was at this meeting that the groundwork started and the journey to the national pageant began.  True to form, Janelle and Meg were very organized and set the plans in motion. An outline of the timeframe and expectations for nationals, were lovingly shared.  I can remember thinking “Yay” and “Yikes” at the same time.
            In the following weeks, we started to talk about what things we could improve upon from the state pageant.  We began working on ideas for branding and creative ideas for effectively sharing my platform. I looked carefully through the state judges comments and tried to use their feedback to make improvements.  Using what I had learned from feedback, I followed through on these ideas, as we developed my web site and as we did my photo shoot.  We tried to keep in mind that these photos would ultimately represent my advertising and social media at nationals. We also tried to be mindful of this, while we began building a wardrobe.
            One of the new requirements this year was a “Journey to the Crown” video that each contestant was asked to submit.  It was exciting to have a chance to talk about my platform, introduce myself and represent my state. It was an exciting opportunity, but also a bit challenging to decide exactly how I wanted to do this in the allowed time, via video.  Staying true to my music platform, I decided to sing.  Contestants were also asked to do was put together a backpack, filled with school supplies. The backpack is going be donated to the boys and girls club.  I hope there is a child who enjoys their music themed backpack, as much as I did, putting it together for them.
            Dresses and jewelry and shoes, oh my!  Over the past few months, my closet has expanded into the storage space that has connected to my room.  The space has been re-purposed and renamed the “pageant closet.”  I am so grateful my family has been willing to play along. Organization is key here.  I knew that things had just “got real” when Meg and Janelle showed up to approve my nationals wardrobe, and it all ended up on a detailed spread- sheet!
            I have loved this journey… every minute of prep, the time my mom and I have spent planning and laughing.  The people who have touched my life along the way have been amazing.  I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have this amazing opportunity.  I am truly blessed and truly grateful.  See you soon Charleston, West Virginia!
Yours in Harmony, Payton Hausauer Miss Teen North Dakota 2017

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Bye, Negative Nancy!



“Believing in negative thoughts is the single greatest obstruction to success.” This is a quote by Charles F. Glassman. This is the very quote that I use to encourage myself in times of stress, negativity, and even confusion. It’s so easy to get caught up on what you can’t do or what you may think is impossible to do. However, when you alter your attitude and create an encouraging outlook, it’s amazing how life can run its course on an optimistic path.   
When it comes to working out and upholding a healthy lifestyle or venturing into new ideas and even opportunities - I often find myself filled with joy and excitement at first, but then I somehow ease into negativity. It’s moments like this that can place a halt to your success and prospects that life shows you. When I began taking steps to start competing for North Dakota International Ambassador of 2017, I was excited, nervous and quite anxious. It had been exactly four years since I had last competed in my first pageant (Miss America). Although I may not have placed at that time, I remember that amazing feeling it gave me when I competed and how it helped me conquer my stage fright and more. From that moment on I promised myself to make sure I compete again.
The night before the pageant I was feeling nervous, and quite doubtful. Having second thoughts and even tempted to not even remove the tag off my gown that my parents had gifted me. These thoughts stemmed from the fact that it had been so long since I had done anything like this. In the end, I just thought about all the hard work I had put in and figured it would be a waste of effort and I would be letting down family and friends. When I thought about it, no one was going to care about that, what they will care about is what I am doing now. Imagine to my surprise showing up pageant day to find out that I had already won. It just goes to show, one can never give into negativity, never let it consume you. If you allow yourself to keep thinking negative, it will drive you nuts. Push you away from success and meeting new people that can make a difference in your life.
Now to some people in this world may view pageantry as a a meaningless, beauty fixated and judgmental competition. However, these are simply opinions (negative opinions if I may add), opinions that if you allow them to they will consume you. That is why I encourage anyone and everyone to participate. No matter what age there’s a title for you!  While going through the interview process, the judges didn’t ask me about my beauty regimen, or what the latest beauty trend was.  Honestly that was not what they were concerned about. They wanted to know who I was underneath my skin and what good I was doing and what I will be doing with my crown. This is what it’s about! You’d be amazed by how many opportunities I’ve come by in North Dakota, New York and I do not intend to stop just yet. Had I given into the negative opinions of some people that I encountered in my life or allowed my fears to consume me, I wouldn’t even be typing this blog!
Along with keeping yourself in a positive mindset, you must also make use of the resources that are out there. Rather it be your friends, family, coworkers and more. It would be easy to become a victim of our circumstances and continue feeling sad, scared or angry; or instead, we could choose to deal with injustice humanely and break the chains of negative thoughts and energies, and not let ourselves sink into it.” Another inspirational quote I live  by Erin Gruwell
 Carpe Diem, North Dakota International Ambassador 2017, Wiljar Ojuro 









Monday, July 17, 2017

Preparing for Nationals

I cannot think of a better time to talk about how I am preparing for nationals! The past five days have been filled with hair appointments, dress alterations, makeup lessons and mock interviews. I have taken the 50 minute drive to Fargo so much this week I could probably do it with my eyes closed (but I won’t, because that’s illegal). As busy as this week has been, the drives to Fargo have given me time to mentally prepare for nationals as well. Because, even though the hair, makeup and wardrobe are important aspects of a pageant, your mentality and reason for being there is more important than anything else. With that in mind, I have been extremely intentional of my thought process during these final weeks leading to up to the pageant. In the car I either had my favorite worship album playing or an inspiring podcast. I recently found a great pageant podcast called “Winning a Pageant” by Alycia Darby. I love her messages because they have lots of practical information and are rooted in the idea of not simply chasing crowns, but chasing goals and dreams, and embracing the crown as an opportunity to fulfill those dreams.

One of the biggest truths I have discovered about pageantry is:

The crown itself should never be the ultimate goal. The crown is simply an avenue for your goals to shine in a unique way. 

Now, this doesn’t mean I don’t want to win the crown. As a matter of fact, I certainly want to win the crown and I will continue to give my all to this journey because there is no point in doing something and not giving it your best. It is an honor to hold my state title and doing my best is how I show gratitude for this honor. Plus, I am competitive by nature, so I get a bit of a thrill in working hard towards a win! But here’s the real truth: the 60-something other ladies around me are not my competition. I cannot possibly try to be the best version of them, I can only be the best version of me. I am my own competition. The journey is not about looking left or right to outshine someone else.

This journey is about looking within and above. It’s about digging deep within myself to discover who I am to the core, then looking up and saying “God, how can I best represent you in this journey?’ 

In order to do this, I ask myself 3 very important questions:

Why did I decided to enter this pageant?
This is where I lock in my tangible reasons for choosing the pageant journey. This is when I commit to memory my reasons for signing up for a pageant and, specifically, why I chose the International Pageant System. 

Why did I choose my platform?
This is where I dig deep and look at why I’ve made the choices I made to serve my community. I take time to think about all the things that drew me towards being a youth leader. I also reflect on the choices I’ve made, like when I chose to move across the country to be a youth pastor. 

How can I best communicate this during pageant week?
This is where I come up with a strategy on communicating clearly and concisely why I deserve the crown. I have to use my creativity to make a bold impression that is memorable.

Competing at a national pageant is filled with thrills, excitement and nerves. There are moments of pure joy and bliss and there are other moments (like interviews) where you feel the butterflies in your stomach. Then, once you exit the interview room, there is sense of relief and accomplishment! Do you see what I’m getting at here? It’s about the process. It’s about remembering to enjoy every moment and learn from the journey. When I decided to compete for Mrs. North Dakota International, I did it out of obedience to something God was calling me to do. I won out of obedience and, now, I prepare for Internationals out of obedience to the purpose that God has for my life. 

Success at the pageant, and with anything in life, does not rest in the outcome, it rests in the obedience

Until Next Time,
Angelina Yarbrough
Mrs. North Dakota International 2017

Turning Moments Into Movements

Monday, July 10, 2017

Local Sponsor Shoutouts

 
 
 
Sponsors play a huge role when it comes to being a state titleholder for the North Dakota International Pageants. Through generous donations of time, money or services, sponsors help ensure each queen’s success throughout the year as well as help get them ready for nationals! If you have been following my page, you will notice my #SponsorShoutouts that I do on a regular basis for all our ND International Pageant sponsors around the state.

But today I want to take time to highlight sponsors that I have personally had the chance to partner with this year. There’s something so special about having businesses from my very own town rally behind me and my cause! I am excited to share with you each of my local sponsors and the role they play in the community of Wahpeton. 

Farmer’s Union Insurance - Kyle Devries Agency
Located in Wahpeton, this agent is great for not just farmers, but anyone who has insurance needs. My husband and I have personally worked with Kyle for our insurance needs and he so helpful and always ready to answer any questions we may have! “Our goal is to provide our customers with the highest level of customer service and dedicate our resources to meet the needs of our customers and earn their trust.”


Wahpeton Deli & Eatery
This delicious deli in downtown Wahpeton also doubles as the local video store. Dean, the owner, always does a great job with catering too! If you’re ever in town, stop by the deli - I highly recommend the Turkey Club! 


Berger’s Auto and Glass Inc.
Berger’s is a body and mechanic shop located just outside Wahpeton that has been servicing cars since 1981.“Berger's Body and Glass is number one in satisfaction, with over 35 years of experience, Kevin and the team are ready to help you in anyway we can.” 
Check out all their services at: http://www.bergersbody.com/index.html

NoDak Mutual Insurance
Located just outside Wahpeton, this company has been serving North Dakotans for over 60 years! They consider themselves more than just “buildings with people” but true friends and neighbors of the community. Their mission: “To meet the lifetime financial needs of our North Dakota Farm Bureau member clients by providing competitive products and superior service.” 

See what they have to offer at: https://www.nodakins.com/about.php 

Jacklitch and Associates
This insurance Agency is located in Wahpeton and offers insurance on many different types of transportation, including scooters and golf carts. They are great people who work hard at what they do.
 

Sturdevant’s Auto Parts

This automotive parts store has 46 locations all throughout North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. This company, started by Art Sturdevant in 1932, pries itself on being “More than just  auto parts.”

See if there’s a location near you at: http://www.sturdevants.com/index.shtml 

Hammer Realty 
This company is well-known for their services. “Providing a superior level of experienced, professional real estate services to buyers and sellers in the Wahpeton-Breckenridge area.”



In the midst of prepping for nationals, I am constantly reminded that the support of sponsors is is what allows me to do what I do. I am proud to partner with local businesses that are just minutes away from my very own home. The Wahpeton community is certainly a generous one. I am very blessed!

Until Next Time,
Angelina Yarbrough 
Mrs. North Dakota International 2017 
Turning Moments Into Movements

Friday, July 7, 2017

Hujambo/Bonjou/Bonjour

The meaning of Hujambo is Swahili for Hello. Bonjou is Haitian creole for Hello. Bonjour is French for Hello. These are the three major languages I grew up hearing in my household. Out of the three I speak, and write Haitian creole, when it comes to French I can comprehend but need to further work on. I take pride in expressing who I am and where I come from. When asked, who am I, I simply state that I am an African-American who is Haitian and Kenyan. I take pride in where I come from and who I am. It is because of this I understand why I like certain foods, clothes and more.
As a child returning to the U.S. after three years of living and attending school in Port-Au-Prince. It was quite the change that I did not want to make. I enjoyed life living with my Matant Dius and my Tonton (aunt and uncle). When returning, I couldn’t speak nor understand English at all. Thanks to ESL (English as a Second Language), I became accustomed to the English Language that was such a challenge for me. I couldn’t quite comprehend how the structure of the English language worked. There were no rules, strange plurals, and spelling.
Nevertheless, while good things came to an end, even greater things began. Returning home to my parents was quite a delight. I was sent to Haiti while my parents were finishing off their education in Buffalo, NY. My mother was on a career path of nursing and my father on the path to becoming a doctor. I enjoyed the fact that I was around family and could receive an education that has helped formed me into the person I am today.
Often when I share this with strangers or friends, they are shocked by the excitement on my face, it’s because living was great! I had a personal tutor, chauffer who would take me and pick me up from school. A housekeeper who would braid my hair and was always a joy to be around. It was the first time that I had a pet, though it wasn’t mine he was a great pet nonetheless.  Sometimes it irks me how Haiti is depicted in the media. What people should never forget that there are depraved places  no matter where we go.
Great memories and eventful times that I shall never forget being in Haiti. There will come a time when I shall return to revisit and reminisce on the times of my youth. Until then I continue to embrace and share who I am and where I come from. “It's always good to remember where you come from and celebrate it. To remember where you come from is part of where you're going” -Anthony Burgess.    
Carpe Diem, North Dakota International Ambassador 2017, Wiljar Ojuro 








Thursday, July 6, 2017

Happy Father's Day

   Happy Father’s Day, everyone!  I hope you all had a great day celebrating the wonderful things that dads, grandfathers and uncles do for us!
 
            This year, on Father’s Day, my parents were out of town. I spent the day with my grandparents, aunt, uncle, cousin and grandma.  We enjoyed the beautiful day outside until it got too hot, then went inside to have dinner.
Later on that evening, we watched a movie. My grandma made root beer floats for us, as well as some popcorn. After the movie was done, we went back outside and soon enough, I heard my parent’s car drive up the driveway.
       I ran to see them, and then they came into the backyard to tell us all about their trip.  We ended up getting home at almost midnight, but that was ok because we all had a really fun time!
       Even though I didn’t spend the entire Father’s Day with my dad, I was able to spend a portion of it with him, as well as celebrate with my grandpa and uncle. I am so lucky to have these amazing role models in my life.
       My dad and I have tons of fun memories together. We like to go to the lake and fish, go tubing or just swim together. We also like to watch football together. Even though most of the time I don’t get the point of watching people in jerseys and helmets run into each other and make doggie piles when they tackle, he never fails to tell me why he enjoys the sport so much. I love spending time with him and he is truly awesome!
       One of my most special memories is when my dad got to escort me on stage at the state pageant during the evening gown competition. He also got to join me on stage and crown me when I won the title of Junior Miss Teen North Dakota International 2017.  That was truly a special moment for both of us that we will always cherish!
    Wishing all the fathers and father-figures out there a Happy Father’s Day – especially mine! 




Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Why Nursing


            My desire to work in the health care profession all started when I broke my arm in the fourth grade. I was told that I needed to be taken into surgery, and quickly I went into a panic attack. As I laid on the surgical table my anesthesiologist calmed me down and soon had me laughing before my surgery. From that day forward I knew that I wanted to help people in their time of need.
 I was involved with many extracurricular activities with strong leadership roles. I was the president of the student council, vice president of the student government, captain of the volleyball team, and I assisted in community events including: food drives, blood drives, and Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk’s. I also had the opportunity to volunteer on the Oliver County Ambulance as an Emergency Medical Responder. I was allowed a unique experience being a young member of the ambulance squad. It deepened my desire to pursue a career in the medical field. Through this volunteering experience I gained knowledge to remain calm in high stress circumstances, had hands on experience, and allowed me to improve my leadership skills.
             Most of my working experience has come from being a server at several restaurants. Although, a restaurant differs from the medical environment, I also believe it has a lot of similarities. As a server, I have multiple guests that all have different wants and needs. I must mentally organize and make a list of importance of what needs to be done in a short period of time, much like those in the medical field. Through my experiences of work and volunteering I have been exposed to a diverse population of individuals. I believe these encounters have positively influenced my communication skills, and have helped me be more receptive to situations I will encounter.
            It wasn’t until my second semester at North Dakota State University that I decided nursing was the right path for me. Every nurse that I have come in contact with has truly made a big impression on my life, and I admire their hard work and dedication to their career and patients. I know I have the qualities to become one of those caring nurses that made such a great influence on my life. I have a strong desire to help others and I also have the drive to pursue this dream.
            Last fall I applied for a position to work at a local children’s hospital as a nurse assistant. Through this experience I have felt heart break, seen the joy and pain of my patients, and have gone home every day feeling like I have left the world a better place than it was the previous day. I believe that if you choose a career you’re passionate about work won’t seem like “work.” This is nursing for me. Hopefully, I will soon be Siam Simpfenderfer, RN BSN.

Forever and Always,
Siam Simpfenderfer
Miss North Dakota International 2017

Monday, July 3, 2017

Trollwood Performing Arts School….My Home For The Summer



“And above all watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.  Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”    -Ronald Dahl
I have spent the majority of my summer in a place where magic happens and children come to watch a story unfold with wonder.  I am so proud to be a part of the amazing cast of Beauty and the Beast, at The Trollwood Performing Arts School.  Trollwood is a testament to the commitment Fargo Public Schools has to the community and the Arts. Students and staff from all over the country collaborate, with the common goal of creating a show that entertains and inspires audiences.
Trollwood Performing Arts School is tucked into the trees and nestled up to the Red River, where Fargo, North Dakota meets Moorhead, Minnesota.  It is an outdoor theatre, designed to inspire creativity. It has an enrollment of about 750 students, including each of its programs. The main stage musical will host audiences of over 2,000 each night, for the two weeks in July, when the musical plays.  The community support for this program is truly inspiring and the volunteers make it all possible. The commitment of the students and staff is truly amazing. Trollwood is a North Dakota gem and home to some of the most beautiful sunsets that you can imagine.
It is programs like this that make me determined to share my platform music education.  In a time where funding for education is being cut, I think we cannot underestimate the value of music and the arts programs like this, across the country. There is no better investment for our future, than the education of our children.  Why Support Music Education?  Studies show that music education:  Engages the entire brain, Increases reading and verbal skills, Improves mathematical and spatial reasoning, Improves memory and increases language development, and improves students’ ability to manage anxiety. Additionally, studies show that students participate in music programs score about 20% higher on standardized tests in reading and math.  
Please support your local music and arts programs.  These programs are a vital part of the future of education.  This is an amazing your investment of time, energy and money. If you have the opportunity to visit Trollwood, please by all means, be our guest!
“Music education opens doors that help children pass from school into the world around them-a world of work, culture, intellectual activity, and human involvement.  The future of our nation depends on providing our children with a complete education that includes music.”
-President Gerald Ford
In Harmony, 
Payton Hausauer 
Miss Teen North Dakota International 2017




Thursday, June 22, 2017

Camping with my Mr. North Dakota

I recently had my very first camping experience. Yep, that's right. I am 25 years old and it was my first time camping. As you probably know, I am from the desert. And although Vegas has nice parks and great hiking spots, the snakes, scorpions and 100+ degree temperatures don't really make for an ideal camping situation. I was so excited that I even let my husband do most of the packing because he was the expert of the two of us. Jake wanted us to have the "real" experience which apparently meant having no extra blankets or an air mattress. That's right, I had a sleeping bag, pillow and the nice hard ground! As you can imagine, that night was rough. It was quite chilly too. But as I woke up, I loved feeling the warm sunshine and hearing the birds chirp that beautful morning. And, although my body was a little sore from sleeping on the ground, I knew I couldn't complain. There are people who sleep on the ground every day because that's all they have. It was uncomfortable, but it was a fresh perspective and a chance to be greatful for the something I often don't think twice about- my bed. 

Sometimes the simplest of moments can remind us of the blessings we often overlook.

The next day, we went on a bike ride with our dog, Koda. Last year we trained him to run beside our bikes as we rode around town. So, this year, we were thrilled to take him on a real bike trail. After a good long ride around the lake, we headed for the trail. By this time, Koda was pretty tired, and as we slowed down our pace, we noticed the cutest couple riding their bikes in front of us. They were stopping every few minutes to look at the trees and take pictures and just simply enjoy nature. As we caught up to them and passed their bikes, we noticed that they have the EXACT same bikes that Jake and I had and even the same colors. As I saw that, I had a thought of our future. Someday I hope we will be like that couple that isn't too old or bored with life to go on a bike ride and simply enjoy nature together. 

At my age, things are always busy. Getaways seem few and far between. And when you have kids, they become your life (or so I've heard). But after the kids are gone and I am a cute old person (that has aged very gracefully), it will just me and Jake again. 

My prayer is that as the years go by, my husband and I remember to love each other like we were young, appreciate the simple joys in life, and always go on bike rides together. 

My first camping experience turned out to be a great getaway and a chance to reflect on life. ❤

Until next time,
Turning Moments Into Movements

Angelina Yarbrough 
Mrs. North Dakota International 2017