Monday, April 27, 2015

Reflecting on the Year of Izabella Arndt, 2014 Iowa Princess

Izabella Arndt : Miss Iowa Princess 2014-2015

To quote Cinderella’s Mother -- “Have courage and be kind. When there is kindness, there is goodness. When there is goodness, there is magic.

I believe in Fairytales.  You see,I was born in the ancient country of China with a hole in my heart. I lived with my China Mommy and Daddy until I was 1-year old.  
Just 4 short years later, I was crowned Miss Iowa. When they put that crown on my head—I realized I was living a fairy-tale. Only my hero isn’t a handsome prince. It’s two strangers with big hearts that I now call Mommy and Daddy.  And it was clear I had two very special fairy-god parents, that I now know are my State Directors Breanne & Ryan. Together, they created this magical place in Waterloo Iowa, where they transformed my dreams to reality – not just for me, but for thousands of girls.
And what a magical year it’s been -- I was honored to spend my year as Miss Iowa , traveling and making a difference with my sister queens by:
--helping pack over 500,000 meals at Meals of the Heartland,
--thanking military veterans for their service at a special parade and ceremony,
--raising money and walking in the Heart-Walk to help doctors do life-saving heart research,
--meeting with Governor Brandstad and our West Des Moines Mayor to share about the need of orphans around the world—they even agreed to proclaim one-day “Orphan Day” to help with orphan awareness.
--assisting Children and Families of Iowa deliver Christmas gifts
--serving a picnic lunch to the amazing volunteer nurses and doctors at the FREE CLINICS of Iowa Volunteer Event.
--encouraging people of all ages along parade routes in West Des Moines, Ames, Lake Park, and the Iowa State Fair.
--speaking to our community leaders at our School Leadership Day, where I encouraged them to partner with kids—to make a difference in our community. After all, just because we are young, doesn’t mean we can’t accomplish big things.
And finally—I flew to California to compete at Nationals in Disneyland—where I brought home much more than a trophy, crown and banner—I brought home new life-long friends and so many memories I’ll never forget.
All of that was magical – but God had more than magic in mind when he blessed me with FIVE very special Big Sister-Queens and it was my very favorite part of my year as Miss Iowa. They are everything I ever dreamed a big sister would be, they are my role models. They are the sisters I will never have. And--one extra special, un-expected blessing was my Sister-Mom’s—their “mommy love and support” is addicting, I can’t get enough.
I couldn’t have done this without the amazing support of friends and family. They believed in me and supported my fund-raising efforts that made my journey to Waterloo possible.

This all wouldn’t be possible without my parents. I affectionately call my Daddy “BaBa” (the word for father in Mandarin). He is the most amazing Pageant Dad ever. As we traveled thousands of miles across Iowa and to California, he always, got us there safely, screamed the loudest, made me laugh—loudly, and loved me wildly, win or lose. My Mommy has given me strength and courage to be “me” no matter what others may think. Her love is like the magic that makes my hearts dreams come true.  I’m so glad God found me her!

To all the beautiful young girls competing this May—to quote Cinderella, “If you keep on believing-- the dreams that you wish will come true.

Never give up on your dream, no matter how bad things might look. Always walk confidently--you are a winner--no matter what happens or the judges decide.  

You can do the impossible—so, don’t walk “sprint” to your dreams—with confidence, laughter and joy.
As I move through this amazing journey as NAM Miss Iowa Princess, my heart is overflowing with gratitude. It was and always will be an honor to be your 2014-2015 Iowa Princess. From the not so ancient land of West Des Moines, Iowa, I am Izabella Daniellei Arndt.

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