It goes without saying that this year has been the most fruitful! I have been blessed beyond words and have had opportunities unlike any other. Let’s take a look at how 2013 went…
My life changed the first week of June when I won the title of Miss Kansas. I still am in disbelief at how the months have gone by so quickly!
Three short months later I competed for the title of Miss America. I made international headlines everywhere by daring to be different; showing my tattoos, promoting the military and the outdoors, and standing up for my beliefs. Almost 500,000 people watched my YouTube video on why I should be Miss America, winning me the “America’s Choice” award. I placed in the top 10. The experience of those 2 weeks I spent competing for the title will never be forgotten. I made a great friend in Miss Nevada, I challenged the norm, and America was so receptive and willing to listen to my message. Thank you, America!!!
The months after Miss America have been incredibly busy. I speak to schools about bullying on a weekly basis, and I speak to other organizations about my personal platform; empowering women to overcome stereotypes and break barriers. Women face so many stereotypes that we may not even be aware of, which only aids in perpetuating them. My goal is to inform, educate and empower.
Since my love and passion for the outdoors became well known at Miss America, the months following have also been busy with “unusual” bookings for a Miss Kansas. I have attended the Governor’s Pheasant Hunt, I have taught girl scout troops how to shoot a bow, I have been a part of the Kansas BOW (Becoming an Outdoor Woman) event, I have traveled to Georgia to speak for the Concerned Veterans of America group, and so much more!
The last event of 2013 had to have been the greatest moment of my year. Given my very busy schedule, I had not been able to go hunting all season. The incredible staff at Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism understood what a passion it is for me, so they lined up a hunt with JB Outfitters in Pratt, Kansas. The outfitters asked that David Blanton, a hunting TV show personality for Realtree Outdoors, come film my hunt.
The three long, cold days of being in a tree stand with Mr. Blanton exceeded all expectations. He is the type of person that makes you want to be closer to God. He makes you want to be a better Christian. When I was around him, I could literally feel the Holy Spirit. I am so blessed to have gotten to know him, and honored to call him a friend. Thank you, David for sharing with me your testimony.
In the last hour of the last day, I harvested a warrior; an old, mature, rough-looking buck. God tested my patience waiting for this guy! It was 20 degrees all three days, it snowed on the second day, and on the third day the wind just wasn’t cooperating with us. But, good things come to those who wait, right?
The hunt would not have been the same without the help of Bear Archery and Realtree. A week before the hunt, Bear sent me a brand new bow—the Venue. It shoots like a dream (and has no pink on it…you guys know I hate pink camo)! Realtree ensured that I was outfitted properly for a cold-weather hunt. Thank you, both!
So what does 2014 have in store? I have 6 months left of my Miss Kansas reign before I’m forced to decide my path. I have been blessed with so many opportunities that I could go many different ways; having a TV show, working for Realtree, being a professional spokesperson, etc. I pray that I make the right decision in due time.
Whatever I decide to do, I know that I will not lose sight of my cause. I will continue to speak to women, empowering and challenging them to step outside of their comfort zones. I pray that God continues to use me as His servant, working through me to reach others. I am here to serve.
On a final, lighter note, I am on day 11 of a successful new year’s resolution! This year I needed more of a physical challenge. I wanted to take my body and its level of health and fitness to a new level. I decided to try the paleo diet. The paleo diet asks people to follow a diet similar to those who lived 10,000 years ago, essentially eating like hunters and gatherers. This diet is high in protein and produce. Now, make no mistake, I am NOT doing this to lose weight—I am doing this as a lifestyle change. I want my body to be in peak condition, physically and physiologically. How can I truly know the capabilities of my body if I’ve been polluting it with processed foods for 23 years?
The paleo diet was recently ranked last on the U.S. News and World report for being the worst diet. Why? Not because it is unhealthy…but because it was too restrictive for most people to actually follow. In other words…it’s a challenge! Right up my alley.
In the 11 days that I have gone paleo, I have never been so full of energy. I have never slept better (I’ve suffered from insomnia for many years), and I have never been so focused. Countless studies show how certain additives in processed foods yield ADD/ADHD behavioral effects. Well, problem solved; eat only natural foods!
I will continue to update you all on my journey through this challenge, through pictures and posts. I have a feeling it’s going to get difficult!
For those of you who have supported me through 2013, I thank you and I pray you’ll continue to support me through the events of 2014. What I have accomplished would not have been possible without my sponsors, my supporters and my fans. God bless you all!