Small package, big stuff.
As the smallest contestant in the preteen age category last year, I hope that I can inspire someone to not let what anyone says stop you from becoming the best you, you can be! I have always believed that; but National American Miss has solidified it for me. This organization changes lives one "pretty foot" at a time.
Just two years ago, when I entered this pageant world, I did not know what I was in for! I just thought it would be fun, and I would meet some new friends that I would hang out with for the weekend, and that would be it. But my first experience at NAM in 2013, I placed 4th runner-up, and went to California to compete in the All American pageant. And......I was hooked. Who knew Rebekah and I would "just happen" to be in the bus line to Disney at the same time, and now...I'm pretty sure she'll be in my wedding party someday! Fast forward, year 2 at the Iowa state NAM pageant and I said to my mom, "Do you reaaaaally think I could win??" The answer from my parents has always been "Yes! But if you don't that's ok too. You have to learn something from every experience".
And...I WON! I was so happy I cried! An extra bonus was that I won the state Actress title! So, back to California to compete this time in the Queen's pageant and I placed 3rd Runner-up in the nation! I LOVE acting, and was also honored to win the National Actress title!! Soon after nationals I shot my first television commercial. Anaheim was beautiful & I met so many wonderful people. (I believe I may have found another bridesmaid in my friend, Grace :)
Throughout this year's reign, there were many volunteer opportunities; but the one that meant the most to me, was when I handed out books at Sanford Children's hospital. I was able to sit and talk with the children receiving treatment. One little girl was really eyeing my crown, so I asked her if she wanted to put it on! As I got face to face with her and lifted my crown onto her head, you should have see the look in her eyes. It melted my heart. She got to feel happy and take pictures for a few minutes; but I think I got more out of that day than anyone else. Volunteering just does something to your soul.
The best part of having multiple Miss Iowas, all from different age groups, is that you have an automatic family. These sister queens have been amazing. I love each one of them and know that God has BIG plans for them all. Deut. 31:6 Be strong and courageous...
Breanne and Ryan Ewing, (I know you hear this all the time); but you are awesome. Being with you helping at the other midwest state pageants was a great learning experience! To be honest, sometimes working at pageants is long hours and hard work. A few tired days I just needed a hug, and Breanne was always there to give me one. I love you! Your story of overcoming fears inspired me from day one.
To the Mayes, thank you for your dedication to this large NAM pageant organization. The values and the skills that we learn are practical and will help in real-life. And as we sat at the beautiful banquet on Thanksgiving Day, we felt so blessed to even have a prayer of Thanksgiving by Mr. Mayes. God is good.
To all the contestants, at any age and stage in your life...
Be brave girls! Be brave.
Run for your dreams.
Achieve what you believe.
Thankful does not describe enough of how I feel about this year's opportunities. As I take off this crown, the memories and the friends I have made will never be erased. But I also know that God has big plans for me as well. So I move on, and look for the path that is already prepared before me. Jeremiah 29:11
I am your 2014 National American Miss Iowa Pre-Teen,
Carlie Jo Ahrenstorff.