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Miss America.

It’s your big moment on stage in front of literally millions of people. You stand poised and ready to take on the world with a level of confidence not present in most young women today. There are some nerves present of course. It is always a little daunting to be on national TV, however, the level of your nerves is much less than it would be without your experience in the Miss America Organization.

Yes, that was all about a pageant.

Yes, I support the pageant

and the Miss American Organization


I received some flack for that support tonight. During the pageant I, along with several friends, were posting our own commentary regarding the pageant, it’s format, and the girls – ahem … young women – competing, to Facebook. Somewhere in the middle several other people commented that the MAO is sexist or that choosing a pageant over football was choosing vanity.

I wish people would educate themselves before they commented on such things.

The Miss America Organization is a scholarship program. It EMPOWERS young women beginning at very early ages. I have been a pageant contestant on the local level. I know girls who’ve gone on to be strong, confident young women partially due to their experiences with MAO. I also know several girls who’ve gone on to stand and perform on the Miss America stage. I even know a couple of Miss America title holders.

Congratulations to Miss Wisconsin

on her new role as Miss America 2012!! 

Miss America 2012 – Laura Kaeppeler

The Miss America Organization is one that focuses on service, competency, and how well-rounded each contestant is. The girls are required to have certain levels of community participation and well as incredible time-management. skills.

Most of the nay-sayers have stated something along the lines of “if it’s not a beauty contest then why do they parade around in bikinis and evening gowns?” To this I point you to society. Society is the reason everything has become so sexed-up. Think about it. We live in a society where parents dress their 9 year old daughters in “Juicy” yoga pants with mid-riff baring shirts. I mean really.

Do you know what the four points on the Miss America crown stand for?





The Miss America Organization is one that points women towards their goals and not only encourages them to follow their dreams but gives them the life-skills necessary to do so; skills such as confidence when speaking in public and being able to “think on her feet” among others.

This is also an incredible opportunity shared by only 91 women in America. A rare opportunity that brings other amazing opportunities with it. Travelling across America, over 150,000 miles usually, working with the Children’s Miracle Network, being a role model for girls and women across America, representing the American people, and many others.

The women are encouraged to choose a platform, much like a politician but without the politics, and spend their year of service bringing their platform to the public, raising awareness and support.

Heather French (Henry), Miss America 2000, used the Miss America pageant to   bring awareness to the plight of our homeless veterans and had (still has)  overwhelming success and continues to have regular speaking engagements. Like most of the contestants her passion for this platform began at home.

Teresa Scanlan, Miss America 2011, just crowned Miss America 2012, effectively finishing her official duties as Miss America. She is a 17 year old, high school graduate, with the poise of a 30 year old professional business woman. Her plans include attending Patrick Henry College, where she has received a full-ride, and moving on to Harvard Law which will be completely paid for with her scholarship earnings from the Miss America Organization.

These are only a few examples. There are so many other women, more than I can list here, who have used the Miss America competitions as a stepping stone along their journey of fulfilling their dreams. So before you lash out about how vain it is, or how the girls are just pretty faces, consider your own dreams. If given the opportunity to do go after your dreams, no holds bar, wouldn’t you do it?

That’s what these girls have done.

Follow dreams. 


Where Were You?

There are many infamous days in our history.

JFK’s assassination.

Pearl Harbor.

The OKC bombing.

Just to name a few. These are days that regardless of everything else we remember every detail of where we were and what we were doing at that exact moment.

9/11 is one of those days we will always remember every detail.

I was asleep when my mom called from South Dakota and told me to turn on the tv, to any news channel. Normally I would have said, “later” and gone back to sleep but she had that tone of voice that you don’t argue with. I turned the television on to see the smoke billowing from the first tower and just in time to watch the second tower get hit.

My initial reaction and the first thing I remember asking my mom is, “What’s gonna happen to my brother?” There was never a question of whether he would go. It was a matter of when. Just a few years earlier my brother had enlisted in the National Guard. By a fluke of accidental miracles he was never deployed.




Later that morning I headed to work. First day out of training at a new job. I remember people calling in and complaining about President Bush preempting everything. Eight hours later I was so drained from watching the events of the day and dealing with people’s selfishness. I know more than once I reminded people how we felt when the OCK bombing happened and that the attacks on the World Trade Centers, the Pentagon, and the crash in Pennsylvania were much worse than anything we’ve encountered before. They didn’t want to hear it. In the days following, however, things changed. The overall attitude of customers was one of ‘how can I make this better?’ instead of ‘it’s all about me’.

Life changed in that moment.

For thousands of people, lives were flipped upside down. The people lost were mothers, fathers, daughters, sisters, sons, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. Each person has a face, a story, a life that was cut short.

To the Soldiers, EMTs, Firefighters, PD’s, other public service agents I’ve not mentioned – thank you for your time and your sacrifice to help those in need. You are true heroes.

9/11. Never Forget.

The following essay is something that was written a few days after the terrorist attacks and then continued little more than a month later. I decided to just write what I wrote nearly ten years ago rather than try to remember the exact emotions and thought.

*** September 14, 2001 ***

Today is Friday, September 14, 2001; A National Day of Prayer and Remembrance. I have yet to be  hit with the reality of the horrid act of terrorism which took place on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. I still feel as though I am having a very bad dream and will soon wake up. I know that is not true. I do not believe this is over. I believe this is just the beginning of what could be one of the worst wars to ever take place. Yes, all wars are bad but for some reason I can’t let go of the thought that this will be the worst yet. America is a land we have fought for from the beginning. We did not become the

‘Land of the free and the home of the brave’

because we let people walk all over us.

Am I scared? Yes! I am! I fear for the lives of anyone I know and everyone I don’t know. Especially those who don’t know Christ. Freedom came to us with a price and a sacrifice and it will most likely continue to be ours but at an increasingly great sacrifice. We will not go down without a fight and we will not  be quiet about it.

I am very thankful that President Bush is a Christian and has no-woes about quoting scripture on national television. Our country was built on Christian morals from the start and I believe that is something we have forgotten. The fact that our currency says,

‘In God We Trust’

has been lost on the citizens of the US. The phrase has been defined as ‘mere words’. I firmly believe that if we are to win this war we need to reevaluate what makes us as strong as we are and what has made us strong from the beginning. We need to realize that the words,

‘In God We Trust’

are not just words but a statement of truth; a declaration that somewhere in America’s timeline people did believe in God. America is a nation that, through many trials and tribulations, has stood alone. Even when a tragedy strikes any other country we are usually there to give aid in any way we possibly can. I can only pray that the countries who have received help from us at one time or another and have refused to help us in return will open their arms and their hearts to help win this war on terrorism.

*** October 2001 ***

As far as how long this will go on I have no idea but I do know that it won’t be short. The united States will come out on top – we always do – as long as we stand together for the duration. The commonwealth of Kentucky has a motto,

‘United We Stand. Divided We Fall.’

right now this needs to be the motto of the United States and of every American in the world. We need to let Osama bin Laden know that he has just awakened a

Sleeping Giant.

9/11 Firemen raising the flag at Ground Zero




Six Months.

Today marks six months since the Haiti Earthquake. I don’t think we’re any closer to seeing a sense of normalcy return – in fact, we may be further from that than when this started.

Just to recap (for those of you who’ve forgotten about the people of Haiti):

January 12, 2010 – a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti with the epicenter being roughly 16 miles outside of Port-au-Prince (the capital). It was so strong that it was felt in Cuba, Venezuela, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic.

January 16, 2010 – the US claims $48 million already raised to help with efforts in Haiti – not sure how that money has been delegated.

January 20, 2010 – the strongest aftershock recorded at 5.9 magnitude nearly directly beneath Petit-Goave.

January 23, 2010 – the Haitian Government calls off official search and rescue missions.

By January 24, 2010 – at least 52 aftershocks measuring 4.5 magnitude or greater had been recorded.

3 MILLION people affected.

1 MILLION people left homeless.

200,000+ were killed or died because of earthquake related circumstances – including some people who were very high government types.

250,000 homes and 30,000 businesses were severely damaged or completely destroyed.

$910.6 million raised/pledged in relief funds – between the US ($48m), the European Union ($474m), Brazil ($210m), France ($14.4m), the UK ($32.7m) and Canada ($131.5m) – so why are the Haitian people still living in tent cities?!

Matthew 25:45

45 “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.

Something I’ve noticed with, not just Americans but, people in general is that we’re quick to help someone or a group of people as soon as the devastation occurs. And maybe we’ll stay on for a couple of weeks. But, eventually (sooner rather than later) we all head home, back to our own lives, and while we don’t necessarily forget about the devastation that happened we move it out of our immediate focus so that any thought that direction is more of a “fleeting moment” than a conscious thought. We’ve done this with Haiti.

I’m curious how many people know that today is the 6 month mark since the earthquake. If it weren’t for the news channels, the radio stations, the internet and newspapers, and all the other forms of media we have access to now, would you know what today represented? Even now, I’ve pulled up CNNCNN World, and Fox News but they have yet to report anything regarding the Haiti Earthquake.

What you have to understand is that Haiti is the forgotten country in the Western Hemisphere. To me, Haiti is one of our own. To others, Haiti is just another 3rd world country they can boost their resume’s on. To others still, Haiti is a place that induces compassion and self-awareness and self-ashamedness.

But, the facts are that Haiti, by definition, is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. There are 900+ million people in Haiti, all in a 27,750 square mile area. (That’s 32,000+ people in a square mile!) Eighty percent (80%) of the Haitian population lives below the poverty line.

The Haitian flag is very similar to those of France and Lichtenstein. There’s a blue stripe, a red stripe, and the country’s coat of arms on a white square in the middle. The red stripe represents mulatto Haitians while the blue stripe represents the union of mulatto and black Haitians. The coat of arms is a Palmette surrounded by the liberty cap with the French inscription “in union there is strength”.

Now, I don’t know what you know about Haitian people but, despite they’re lack of material goods, I consider them some of the richest people on Earth. Even in the midst of all this destruction the Haitian people are rallying themselves. I mean, let’s be honest, we (the outsiders) are no longer there to help boost morale. And while there’s probably still some assistance I know that it’s not anywhere the level it should be. Had this happened in the US, we would have already rebuilt our cities, homes, businesses, etc and they’d be twice as strong and able to withstand much more that a 7.0 magnitude earthquake. But, it’s not the US and the Haitian people continue living in tents still with no more access to resources than before.

I applaud the Haitian people for not losing faith in impossible circumstances and for continuing to run this race.

2 Timothy 4:6-8

6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

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