1. There she is!
2. There's No Place Like Home
3. ROAD TRIP!
If you're reading this, you most likely already know that I have received a very exciting job promotion. I am no longer Miss Grand Forks. I am now Miss North Dakota 2015! Yes, you read that correctly! It has been a little over two weeks since I was crowned and it has been the craziest and most exciting weeks of my life thus far! I have been to South Dakota, held a new born baby, received a phone call from Miss America, cried enough tears of excitement to fill a swimming pool and so much more! Just to give you a small recap on these past two weeks, here is a quick breakdown of some of my favorite moments.
1. There she is!
Ah, yes, the crowning moment. So many people have asked "What was it like?!" And my response is "I don't know! It's all a blur, I wish I could remember!" It is every emotion you could ever possibly feel wrapped up into one singular moment; shock, disbelief, thrill, excitement, fear, confusion, heartbreak for your friends, honor, gratitude and utter joy. You look around you and the world seems to stop and yet move so fast and although everyone talks about how to prepare for that moment, your moment, there is no adequate way to prepare for how it feels.
2. There's No Place Like Home
As we neared the cross roads, signifying that we had reached the final stretch of our drive home, I was perplexed by the mass amounts of fire trucks, police vehicles and other cars sitting on the side of the road. As we passed, they surrounded us, turning on their lights and sirens. They enveloped my moms vehicle, in which I sat, in a huge processional that led us into town. As they guided us down Main Street I could see the street was lined with a crowd of cheering friends and family! In this moment, I had never felt more honored to come from little ol' Hazen. My dear home town, thank you. Thank you for making me feel so special and for raising me into the woman I am today.
3. ROAD TRIP!
I was invited to Hot Springs, South Dakota for the Miss South Dakota pageant and man oh man did I have a blast! I met my first sister, Miss Montana, explored the beautiful and historic Hot Springs and ate one (or two) of the best carmel rolls I have ever encountered! However, the best part was my drive back to North Dakota. It was my first time in South Dakota and I thought I should make the most of it. So my drive back turned into a road trip with stops at Wind Cave National Park, Mount Rushmore, The Crazy Horse Monument and a drive through the Black Hills! Along the way I met some of the most extraordinary people who took the time to share with me their life stories. From Japanese immigrants to military families, I met people from all different walks of life!
And that is just the tip of the ice burg! It hasn't been long, but this has already been such an incredible experience full of memorable moments that I will cherish forever! Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this journey so far and to those who have supported me in my time getting to this point! Here is to a fantastic year!
This past friday, May 8th, was a big day! I wrapped up my first year of college at MNSU Mankato, packed my entire life into my car, said goodbye to my dearest friends and also turned 19! And as I wrapped up the day I couldn't help but reflect on this past year and all that has happened.
On May 8th of last year I had said goodbye to my family, friends and home town as I ventured off to Plymouth, Minnesota to begin rehearsals for the Medora musical. That day led into an unforgettable summer of performing in one of the most beautiful venues in the country! For 93 days in a row I spent my days working as a Barista, my nights kicking up my heels on stage and in-between I made life lasting memories and learned valuable life lessons.
When all was said and done, I packed up on closing night and drove off to Mankato to begin my first year of college! People had always said how incredible college was, but never in a million years did I realize how invaluable my college experience would be. Oh yes, I learned a lot of about hydrology, ethics, tap dancing and acting. However, the most valuable lessons were taught outside of the classroom. In my year at college I learned the value of true friendships and the importance of recognizing healthy and unhealthy relationships. I learned the important skill of stretching out that last $20 in your bank account, the importance of prioritizing and learning that it is ok to occasionally put yourself first.
Not only did I take on the beginning of my career and my first year of college, but I have also had the most memorable year with the MAO thus far as Miss Grand Forks! From fun appearances at daddy daughter dances and nursing homes to discovering a platform that I am truly passionate about, has already made this year of service extremely successful.
Now I sit here at home, reflecting on who I was on this day last year to who I am now and I can hardly believe I am the same person. This past year has made me a much stronger individual, solidified my values, belief and morals and inspired my passion and love for community service. And as I reflect on the past It only makes me that much more excited for the future. Every day I wake up excited for my next adventure and all that I will learn along the way!
There was once a time when I thought the future would never come, that I was forever stuck inside my own darkness where time stands still. And yet, here I am! When I put together the pieces of the puzzle who make me who I am, some pieces are dark and a little frayed at the edges. And then some are shiny and new and beautiful! But they are all a part of creating a much larger image. And the best part is that my puzzle isn't even finished yet!
So to those out there whose puzzle is looking a little raggedy or some of the pieces don't quite fit together, hold on. Yes, I know that is the most cliche advice in the world, but it is so true. HOLD ON! Because the sun will come up tomorrow, and the future will arrive and eventually everything will fall into place. So hold on, my friends, because life is just about to get good. Really good. =)
P.S. In further reflection, here are links to my blog posts about my experience in the Medora Musical on the medora blog!
Hello, friend. I see you. Yes, I see you. I see you sitting alone in the back of the classroom, silent. I see you walking through the halls with your head down, hands in a fist to keep them from shaking. You are not invisible. I know you may think that no one can see you, or the pain in your heart. But I do. I want YOU to know that you are not alone, because I have been there as well. I have stood in your shoes, with shaking fists. However, my darkness has passed and I now stand in the sweet light of morning. And when I look back on the days where it seemed to be nothing but endless night, there are so many things I wish I could go back and tell myself. But I can't. However, I can tell you. I can tell you all that I learned from my darkest days and pass that knowledge on to you. So here are some things I wish I would have known when I thought I was invisible.
1. YOU ARE NEVER ALONE. You may feel as though you do not a friend in this world, and that no one understands how you are feeling inside. You may feel like you are living on a deserted island even when you sit amongst a swarm of people. But please know that you are never ever alone. There are people all around you who are also fighting an uphill battle. This is not to say that your pain is not as important as those around you. But there is comfort in knowing that you are not the only one who suffers. Imagine that you are in a tiny room full of people. But the lights are off so you can not see anyone so you think you are alone. But if you reach out your hand, you will find someone. Hold their hand and let them hold yours. You may be fighting a different battle then them, but neither of you need to do it alone.
2. YOU ARE LOVED. There are people in your life who care about you and love you, I promise you this. It may sometimes feel as though you are unloved, or even unlovable (I know I felt this way). But as the wise Maya Angelou said, "To exist at all, you have been loved". And even if you do feel alone, that there is not love in this world for you, I love you. I do. We may never meet in this lifetime, but I am sending you my love always. Take a moment and write it down. Think about the people in your life who love you. Your parents, grand parents, a certain best friend, God, Me, your dog, anyone at all. Then look at this list whenever you are down. You can look at a physical manifestation of all the love in your life. Trust me, it feels lovely!
3. WRITE IT DOWN. This is not for everyone, but in my years I have found great comfort in writing down my feelings. It is an opportunity to physically release all that is weighing on your heart and mind. So write down what it is you feel. And this is not limited to when you are down, but when you are feeling good as well! It is almost more important to write down the good days and moments so you can reflect when maybe the darkness is a little heavier. And this is also a good time to mention creative outlets. Find ways to release your energy. Whether it is through physical activity or music (my personal favorite) or drawing, find something that allows you to harness those emotions and let them go.
4. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP. No matter what is going on, whether it is bullying, problems at home or depression, never be afraid to ask for help. You do not have to do this yourself. Find someone, tell them what is happening and allow them to help you. It can be someone professional (I did this), your parent, your neighbor or favorite teacher. Sometimes the best thing to do is get an outsiders perspective. But remember that someone can throw you the rope, but you are the only one who can grab it.
5. YOU ARE STRONG. You are so much stronger then the darkness that surrounds you and I know that you can survive this. You can survive anything. You are stronger then the person who is putting you down, you are stronger then the situation at hand, you are stronger then any harsh words. Remind yourself of your strength every single day when you wake up. But don't stop there. Remind yourself of how beautiful you are, how talented, how loved and how very special you are. Write all this and more on sticky notes and post them everywhere! On your mirror, your walls and inside your locker!
So yes, my friend, I can see you. You are not suffering alone in silence because I can see your pain. You do not have to be invisible. And I promise you that this lonely time will end, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And once you reach the end of this particularly difficult journey, you will look back and realize how it has shaped you into who you are and may even inspire you to help those who are still hurting. Be strong, my dear one. I am standing at the exit of the dark tunnel waiting for you with a big hug! I will see you soon. =)
For those of you who have ever had the please of working with children, you know the "Talk of the Tiny Humans". Oh, you know, the brutally honest, charming, laugh enduring and sometimes insightful comments kids make without a second thought. In my time working with kids as Miss Grand Forks and as Miss Dickinson as well, I have acquired a list of memorable Tiny Human quotes. So to brighten up your sunday, here is a list of some of my favorite Tiny Human Talk moments.
I've been told quite often that I work well with children, but that is only because I love kids! Funny, witty comments like these keep me on my toes and always make for a good laugh. Do you have any good Tiny Human quotes? Share yours in the comments!
That is all for today, folks! I wanted to just put out a little blip of humor before we delve into the week where I have Some big blog posts lined up that are not as light hearted. Happy Sunday everyone!
During my Beyond The B-Word presentations I take time at the end for a Q&A session, allowing the kids to ask any questions about the days activities, about the Miss North Dakota Organization or just about me as an individual. It was in one particular 6th grade class that I received one of the most thought provoking questions I had ever received.
Does lipstick taste bad?
I laughed and replied with a simple "No, fortunately lipstick does not taste like anything at all." This innocent question, however, prompted the teacher to raise her hand. She asked me "We have had a few Miss North Dakotas visit our school over the years. All of whom have been very beautiful, and put together. Always wearing makeup, in a dress and heels and hair done nicely. I'm sure there is a certain image you are expected to uphold. Does that ever become exhausting?"
I smiled back at her as I thought about this. After a moment I answered her truthfully "Being Miss Grand Forks is my job and like with any job there is appropriate work attire. Just like with any job you get up in the morning, shower, fix your hair and maybe even put on makeup and suitable work clothes. Fortunately for me I get to wear a crown to work! More so, I love getting dressed up and looking nice and respectable for appearances. So no, it is not exhausting or a burden at all to uphold a respectful image. After all, I am not only representing myself, but the Miss North Dakota/America organization. (I then turn to the kids) But please know that I do not always look like this! I, Delanie Wiedrich, am not always polished, poised and put together. I am all of those things when I need to be. But I am not all those things all the time. I am like any other person and enjoy spending my casual days in sweatpants and without makeup."
The kids smiled back at me, as did the teacher who gave me a nod of approval at this answer. However, this question left me thinking and I realized that there is a very important message I need to share with all those who are following me.
The message I want to share today is the importance of feeling comfortable in your own skin, with or without makeup. Too often we put more stock into our outer appearance, thinking that if we apply the perfect lipstick it will make us all the more beautiful and therefor happier. This is not true. True beauty and true happiness comes from within us. And as Audrey Hepburn said "I believe the happiest girls are the prettiest". For many years I felt I could not go out in public without at least some concealer and mascara. It was in my later years in high school that I realized just how sad that mindset is! How sad it was that I thought I was not beautiful without makeup! That is when I decided to make a change.
I believe the happiest girls are the prettiest - Audrey Hepburn
I began a personal project called "No Makeup Mondays", where I every monday I forced myself to go to school without makeup. At first it was terrifying! But after a while I became more comfortable without makeup and some of my friends even joined in! A few years later after my first day without makeup I feel wonderful! I will go days without a trace of mascara, or go to the grocery store in my sweatpants, cap and fresh faced! I am comfortable enough in my own skin to know that I am just as beautiful with or without makeup. Ladies, artificial goop that we apply to our faces does not make us beautiful, it is when we let our confidence and inner happiness radiate from within us that makes us not beautiful, but STUNNING!
I know that I have a very important job. I am a role model to many young women. Part of that job is to look respectable and represent the Miss ND/America organizations by looking presentable and polished. But another part of my job as a role model is to promote the message of self love and the importance in finding confidence within ourselves. And most importantly, I must lead by example! Here I have posted a picture of myself in my most natural state! You can find more All Natural pictures on my Facebook page as well under my "Hello, My name is Delanie" album.
And I challenge YOU to do the same! Wipe away the foundation, blush, eyeshadow and lipgloss and let your inner beauty shine through. I challenge you to go one entire day without makeup, take a picture and post it either here in the comments, on instagram or on Facebook with the Hashtag #HappyGirlsAreThePrettiest! Tell me how it made you feel. Were you nervous? Was it liberating? Will you do it again?
Good luck, ladies! And have fun! You are beautiful!
Who doesn't love the weekend? Time off from school or work, time for short vacations or just time to relax with friends and family. Whatever way you choose to spend your weekend, it always seems to go by much too fast. For Miss Grand Forks, this weekend was one for the record books! It was a weekend I had been planning for months and had filled to the brim with fun and exciting appearances. Here is a quick breakdown of everything I did!
1. Departed from Mankato at 5:00 AM
2. Drove through snow going 45 MPH on the interstate from Fargo to Grand Forks.
3. Arrived at SouthPoint Elementary School just in time to speak to 75 5th graders about Beyond the B Word!
4. Gave a hug to teacher and Medora Musical Cast Mate Misti Koop!
5. Drove across town to South Middle School to spend three hours with three different classes of 25 6th graders.
6. Appeared at Red River Highschool's rehearsal of Brigadoon and met some fantastic kids and faculty.
7. Grabbed a quick coffee!
8. Danced the night away at the Parks and Recreation Daddy Daughter Dance!
1. Meet a wonderful group of kids at the Grand Forks Library for a fun reading and discussion on bullying and the importance of being unique!
2. Attend the Grand Forks Air Force Base Prom Prep Academy!
3. Take plenty of pictures and giggled a lot with some lovely young people!
4. Say a sad goodbye =(
5. Dance the night away AGAIN with the princesses of Grand Forks at the Daddy Daughter Dance!
2. Depart for Mankato.
3. Run into a white out blizzard.
4. Swerve across traffic.
5. Pull over.
7. Find a hotel and wait out the storm.
8. Meet a lovely young lady in the lobby and have her try on the crown and sash!
So as you can see, it was a fulfilling and adventurous weekend! This is exactly (well, maybe not exactly) how I like to spend my weekend. Working with other people and spreading my message across the community of Grand Forks. Every time I leave an appearance my heart is so full I can hardly stand it and it only gives me more energy to keep working and fighting the good fight against bullying! It is going to be a while before I am able to return, but never fear, big plans are already in the works!
So here is to many more weekends of laughter, smiles and fun. And hopefully many more weekends without snow ;)
You've read the Facebook posts and seen the Instagram pictures, but what was it really like to hang out with some of the most fabulous ladies in the Grand Forks area? Check it out!
We start with a short introduction. We talk about what bullying is, the kids experiences with bullying and what we can do to combat it. Then we get right to work! I explain that they all get to be actors for a day, and that we need to first warm up our bodies. We get the energy going with a dance party, stretching and fun vocal warm ups! As one final warm up to prepare ourselves to act, we do some improvisation with games like "Act Like A ___" and story telling games to get the imagination juices flowing!
We then begin our discussion on COURAGE! We read the book "One" By Kathryn Otoshi and use that as our script. The kids then break off into groups and act out the story with each person taking a turn acting as the main characters and then we all perform for one another! This kind of exercise helps kids discover how it feels to be courageous in a situation where it may be difficult to do so. This also gives the kids a time to perform and receive positive peer feedback, helping to form positive bonds! Afterwards I play a song with the theme of courage and let everyone "dance it out"!
Next we discuss EMPATHY. We talk about what it means to be empathetic and how to be empathetic by reading a poem. After everyone has a grasp on the concept of being empathetic, the kids are paired up and are instructed to write down a short paragraph about a time that they were sad, scared, nervous, or excited. They then swap stories with each other and read them to their partner. Or in the case where the kids are a bit younger, we gather together and write down a sentence about a time we felt sad, scared, excite etc. on a strip of paper and then randomly swap and go in a circle and read them together. Afterwards we gather together again as a group to talk about what it was like to step into the other girls shoes, and how it made us feel about her and ourselves. Most importantly we discuss how this can help end bullying.
Finally, we discuss what it means to be KIND. This begins with turning off the lights and having the kids close their eyes. When they open them, I am holding what looks like a glowing heart in front of me (Black foam paper with a yellow heart in the middle that lights up when I hold a flashlight behind it!). "This is what happens to your heart when you are kind to someone, or someone is kind to you" I say. I explain that there are juices and chemicals in your brain and body that are released when you show or receive kindness and those chemicals make your body feel oh so good! We then partner up and say kind things to one another, noticing their reactions and how it makes us feel as well. "Everyone has a little love light inside of them that lights up whenever you are kind to them, never forget that little love light." I say as I pass out little yellow felt hearts on yarn as a gift and reminder to be kind. We wrap this up with a craft! Notebooks labeled with each child's name is passed around one person at a time and filled with kind words about that individual. Miss Grand Forks even writes in them!
It is at this time that I start to pack up and say goodbye. But of course we have one last dance party!
And finally, before I go there are plenty of pictures….
And most importantly, lots and lots of hugs!!!
Guess what day it is today! It is International Women's Day! Yes, a very special day dedicated to celebrating women and how far we have come and all that we women have accomplished. And what better way to spend International Women's day then with the girl scout troops of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks. The young ladies I worked with today (and yesterday) left me feeling inspired and eager to continue my fight against bullying and to continue developing new, fun and exciting ways to spread my message.
Those young ladies are the future. Those young women will one day be leaders in medicine, science, and politics. Those young women will become the teachers of future generations. Those young women will soon be changing the world. They will be the ones to continue the great work that has already been made!
From Susan B Anthony starting the fight for the right vote in the 1800's to having more women in congress then ever before, women's rights have come so far! And we still have so far to go, yet I know that the girls I spoke with today will continue the great work and will perhaps live to see total equality (if total equality truly exists).
So here is to being a woman! A powerful, independent, intelligent, kind, compassionate, world changing woman!
What do you hope to see the next generation of women accomplish?
In my last post I expressed the importance of teaching kindness and compassion when it comes to defeating bullying. However, I left you all hanging with the question "How does one TEACH kindness?" I will admit that this was actually quite the conundrum for me as well. How can someone teach kindness, compassion, empathy and courage which are all morals and values? I pondered many different ideas, all of which were like noodles that were not quite fully cooked; still yummy but if you threw them against a wall they wouldn't stick (anyone else do that when they are cooking pasta?!)
Then it finally hit me! What is one of the greatest teaching mechanisms in the world? Why, THE ARTS of course! Theatre, music and visual arts have forever been used as a way of telling stories and teaching lessons to wide audiences of all ages, genders, and economic and social backgrounds. The Arts know no bounds and tell us the stories and lessons that are sometimes hard to digest and yet somehow do it in a beautiful way that can resonate in anyone. The Arts are to a community as spinach is to Popeye (does the title make sense now?); it can give us superpowers making us stronger, wiser and united! Just as spinach is full of essential vitamins and nutrients, the arts are full of important life lessons and values that are essential to helping create a healthy person, school and community!
The Arts are to a community as spinach is to Popeye
What does this mean for me and my platform? It means that as I visit the Grand Forks community, I will be spreading my message of kindness, compassion, empathy and courage through a heavy dose of the arts! This creative solution to the issue of bullying uses fun group activities including music, role playing, writing, and skits to promote the morals and values that are proven solutions and preventers to bullying. These lessons are engaging, energetic, and exciting! I make a point of incorporating different learning techniques for everyone, utilizing audio, hands on and visual techniques. From skits that teach courage, sharing monologues and singing songs that require empathy and compassion to using "love lights" and special lectures and group conversations to express kindness. I also take time to share me own personal bullying story, making sure that listeners understand that even beauty queens know what it is like, and that they are never alone.
I have already begun the process of sharing my message this weekend by visiting with the Grand Forks area Girl Scout troops! Expect a blog on my time spent with them on Monday!
But for now, what are your thoughts? What has theatre/the arts taught you in the past? What ways can we use the arts to teach important morals and values such as empathy, acceptance and kindness?
Bullying is in vogue. The news is filled with stories of kids who face bullying every day in school, and the stories of those who are pushed over the edge. School walls are now adorned with "Anti-Bullying" campaign posters, and public speakers attend schools to speak to children and teens on the issue. Celebrities have also spoken out against bullying. So why is it that 83% of girls and 79% of boys reported being bullied either in school or online in 2014? Why is it that EVERY DAY 160,000 students stay home from school due to bullying? If we are bombarding kids with the Anti-Bully message, why is it still a problem of epidemic proportions?
Here is why.
1. Kids are tired of being ushered into the auditorium for another Anti-Bullying speech. They have heard it over and over a million times.
2. Many traditional anti bullying programs focus on the negative, causing anxiety in children.
3. No one likes to be told what they are doing wrong. Kids included.
So what can we do so solve this problem that plagues our schools and social media sites? One word. One word can make all the difference. One word can be the anecdote to bullying.
Yes, people it is just that simple! Kindness is the cure. It is an age old concept, and yet it is somehow overlooked. Kids are tired of hearing the same speech, so let's approach it from a new angle. Instead of telling them that they are all wrong and bad people for bullying each other, let's teach them how to get beyond the B-word by adopting a new mindset focused on Kindness and Compassion. Let's teach KINDNESS!
There is even scientific evidence supporting this anecdote! Altruism and kindness have many physical, emotional, and mental health benefits. The good feelings experienced when being kind are produced by endorphins which activate areas of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust. Being kind has also been found to release Seratonin, which affects learning, memory, mood, sleep, health, and digestion. Many traditional anti-bullying programs focus on negative actions that cause anxiety in children. When kindness and compassion are taught instead, it fosters positive behaviors and the natural side effect is that bullying decreases.
Not only that but here are a number of reported benefits to teaching kindness in schools.
1.Happy caring children
2. Increased Peer Acceptance
3. Greater Sense of Belonging and Improved Self Esteem
4. Reduced Depression
5. LESS BULLYING!
Blaming and shaming is not the answer to bullying. It is not the answer to anything. Kids and teens need an alternative, and encouraging kindness is just that. We must address the negative climate in our schools, and change it.
which means changing the norms, values and expectations in a school so that students feel socially, emotionally, and physically safe.
I believe in this concept so whole heartedly that I have decided to make it my new platform! In retrospect I can see that this was the direction I was heading all along, but it just took me a while to get here.
More to come very very soon so consider this a Pre-Qual if you will! A little trailer as to what is to come. What do you think? Agree? Disagree? What ways can we change the climate in our schools, homes and communities to perpetuate the message and benefits of kindness? How can we all teach kindness?