Posted in living life, Relationships, unmoldable

Am I Pretty?

When you go through a big breakup, one of those Hollywood or Nicholas Sparks worthy heartbreaks, life is really hard.

I think that the worst part about a serious break up with someone that you thought was going to be your future is that you doubt yourself. You begin to doubt not only the talents you were most proud of, whether that was cooking, sewing, being funny, or whatever, but you begin to doubt that you can even exist and that’s a horrible feeling.

I had the epiphany that this happens to individuals after I had a really bad break up of my own. I spent a large amount of time in negativity, a dark hole that was easy for me to fall into, before I went out to a big western rodeo event with my older sister and as we were walking around a couple things happened.

For starters two older couples stopped to tell me that I was beautiful; but she was prettier, I responded in my head.

Then a creepy older gentleman told me I could sit at their table all night so that he could just stare at me; You would say that to any girl, I retorted in my head.

Then a young cowboy asked me to dance, then another, and another; It’s just because they can see that I won’t step on their feet, I rationalized. 

Then walking back to our place for the night two separate cars singled me out of the group and called attention to me, trying to get my phone number or get my name.

At this point I just turned to my sister in disbelief. “Am I pretty?” I asked in absolute wonderment. It genuinely shocked and surprised me.

What is going on? I kept thinking to myself.

My sister turned around and said, “I’ve always known you were pretty, it just makes me happy that enough other people are finally getting vocal about it that you are starting to listen.”

 

Our world is not a build-up world, it is a tear-down world. We don’t compliment people on their good attributes, instead we give these back handed compliments that sound more like insults but if you REALLY listen they MAY have meant them as a compliment.

“For Pete’s sake, eat some food – you’re too skinny!”

“Heels?! Aren’t you tall enough already or do you just want to rub it in? You do look nice though…”

“Really? Chocolate? You’re going to eat chocolate? Probably just because you can.”

 

Promise yourself that you’ll always know your worth, that you should never doubt who you are and your significance on this world. If you are ever having a REALLY GOOD day, write yourself some notes. Put them in sealed envelopes and number them. When you have a bad day, read those messages that you wrote to yourself when you were feeling on top of the world. The kind of “on top of the world” that a bully of an employer or some significant other can never break down.

This works.

I know this because I used to do the opposite. I lived in such a negative world of self-hate that I would write myself notes about how horrible I was so that when good things happened I could read them to remind myself that I didn’t deserve them, that they would go away, and so much more. To this day I have a large collection of the mean things people say about me online and in person. It’s this awful game I play with myself. I started to keep two positives for every negative and it’s been slowly changing. This self-image that I hold for myself.

What really is pretty? 

Pretty is about who you are on the inside, not what you are on the outside, and NOBODY controls who you are on the inside but YOU.

You. Are. Pretty.

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Posted in living life, Relationships

Perspective; 20/15 Vision

I had a witty post all planned about my latest bout with the eye doctor at the end of 2016. I was pretty excited for the appointment, why? Because I was at the end of my two year waiting period to see if I could qualify for laser eye surgery.

Walking in they asked the generic question of, “Has everything been okay with your contacts?”

I explained that, “Yup! Things are great but …” and then I proceeded to share my self-diagnosis.

“I think the last set of contacts that I got were bad though. As soon as I got them, they’ve been kind of weird in my left eye. If I close my right eye however, I can get my left eye to focus so maybe my right eye is overpowering my left? Does that happen?”

Bless my eye doctor, she gave me kind of a funny sidelong glance (I didn’t think anything of it) and then she said, “That’s very rare, but maybe it did happen. Why don’t we take a look at your eyes?”

She handed me the giant, flat, ladle-like spoon to cover one eye and then read off the eye chart. I remember when I came to my first eye test, I had memorized the eye chart because it was an “eye test” and I didn’t want to fail the test. I was 8 years old at the time, aren’t kids just the darndest things?

I can’t tell you how shocked I was when she told me that my contacts hadn’t been bad nor that one of my eyes was over dominating the other, but that my eyes had dropped drastically in their ability to do their job since the last time that I was there.

I had to ask, “Is there something that I am doing wrong that is causing this? Contacts with all the arena dust?”

Nope.

To the average person, it wouldn’t be that BIG of a thing. To me, it is.

I’m already pretty blind.

The reason that I hate being blind is because I feel so vulnerable when I don’t have my glasses on or contacts in. The thought that someone could break into my house, it could catch on fire, I could lose my seeing-aides and then what? I’m a sitting duck.

The reason that I hated that they had gotten so much worse was that I have been in the process of eye check-ups over the last two years in the hopes to get approved for laser-eye surgery. This would result in reason number one being nonexistent.

My eyes had changed enough that I had to start over a whole new two-year cycle of approval for the laser-eye surgery approval. It was heartbreaking. To go just over two years and then have to start all over? It was heartbreaking. I am acutely aware of the fact that I will have to change my Drivers License and such shortly if it continues because I will be legally blind.

Legally blind.

And that is what this whole blog post was GOING to be about.

Then, just a short week later, I got the devastating phone call that my cousin David had been killed in work-related accident and, just like that, it didn’t matter that my eyes had gotten a little bit worse in two years. img_2708

There are so many things, so many animals, so many benefits, so many people that we take for granted on a day-to-day basis that just absolutely needs to stop. My cousin David is one of the most wonderful, genuine and kind individuals that I will ever have the chance to know. I remember how proud he was when I signed to play college basketball at Oregon State – our families favorite college team of all time.

To realize that his smiling face and big bear hugs weren’t going to be present at family reunions or sports games in the future was absolutely shocking. I was so heartbroken. So floored.

img_2719He leaves behind a wife and two sons; the kind of close-knit family that I have always dreamed of for myself. One where the love for each other is so evident, where hanging out with each other is the greatest thing in the world. He leaves it behind in only his physical presence but not in his spirit, love and soul; God has taken care of that! David will always be a part of us, our family, our past, our present and our future.

And then I was angry at myself for thinking that my eyes getting worse was such a BIG thing for a 25 year-old.

Do you know how many 25 year-old’s have it so much worse than me?

 

I mean some have it worse than me when it comes to vision and not only do I have the ability with contacts and glasses to have 20/15 vision but that I can afford to buy them myself.

What was supposed to be a blog about 20/15 vision with the use of a LOT of help and 1/4″ thick corrective lenses became a blog about 20/15 vision of what we need to be more appreciative and grateful for in this world.

 

 

 

I challenge all of you to start a gratitude log, to pray more often, to reach out and consciously think and tell those that you are thankful for.

Posted in living life, Relationships

Thriving on the Borderline of Insanity

In order to get the most out of life you’ve got to make it a challenge; constantly push yourself to the borderline of insanity and that is where opportunities will begin to reward you for your hard work, ambition, and drive!

Sometimes I don’t feel like I am doing so good. I feel like I am barely holding on by a thread. I feel like the iceberg is tilting over and I’m about to lose hold and fall to my death.

We ALL know that feeling, that feeling that one more feather on your plate is literally going to break not just the camel’s back but your back as well.

I THRIVE on this borderline insanity.

I don’t know if it was growing up doing both 4H in three different project areas while playing basketball or partaking in rodeo drill team while playing Division I college basketball, but somewhere along the line I hit this ability to work really well in crazy situations.

Normality and complacency are not things I am okay with.

The second things begin to get “normal” you begin to get “complacent” and becoming complacent is one of my greatest fears. I fear complacency because the second you sit down and rest someone out there is going to be grinding. They are going to get that job offer, that amazing opportunity, that sponsor, whatever it is that I want they are going to get it.

Let’s say the winning lottery ticket was on the ground and it was free to whoever would pick it up, you would pick it up right? Would you still pick it up if you had to run a mile for it? You didn’t have to beat anyone there, you just had to do the work and pick up the lottery ticket. I would do it. I would do it everyday for the rest of my life.

When you are living life there is this perfect “hum” as I like to refer to it as. It’s the noise that my 1964 Nova Super Sport made once we got that 350 small block hooked up and running; she was literally humming. That’s how you want to live your life. Get yourself into the highest, most efficient form of you and push yourself as close as you feasibly can to the “breakover” moment of going insane.

For those of you who have been in this situation it’s pretty amazing. To live your life here, well, that’s a feat that’s much harder. When you’re in this position, all of a sudden it seems like everything is going your way. You are getting opportunity upon opportunity, you are building in life, and so much more.

The catch is that when you are in this humming stage and something goes wrong, this is where you find out what you are made of. Your hours at work get cutback, you’ve made your business so big you’ve outsourced to someone else to deal with a whole sector of your company. Usually this crashing down isn’t always something bad, sometimes it’s just the opening of more free time.

What are you supposed to do with free time?!

This is where complacency drifts in. It feels nice to be “normal,” just like all your friends and family. Then you start missing opportunities.

Nothing aggravates me more than when I don’t capitalize on an opportunity. I consistently live with the feeling that this next opportunity or connection is going to be my “big break.”

Another factor on getting into the “hum stage” is who you surround yourself with. This one is so important but isn’t one that you normally think about. I like to stay loyal to my original friends but at some point you are going to have to branch out and make new friends. This is really scary for me but it has resulted in some of the greatest, most motivating friendships a girl can have.

I try to surround myself with those that I feel are above me. I used to always try to be the smartest person in the friend group, at least in my area of expertise, but now I try to be the dumbest. Not meaning that I stop furthering my knowledge or education but that I surround myself with REALLY intelligent individuals. It takes so much stress off of you to have these friendships.

For example, one of my best friends from high school is currently attending veterinarian school. I absolutely am so dang proud of her! She has had the goal of being a veterinarian for as long as I have known her, she tailored her high school education around it, she went to vet-camps throughout the summers, and she pursued her career with a venegence letting nothing stop her. The fact that I have someone SO knowledgeable about horses in my back pocket is a relief. Coming out of winter my back up rodeo horse ended up getting borrowed by a high school equestrian student for their state meet. My poor horse had been fairly inactive working just 20-30 minutes twice a week to all of a sudden being ridden hard two to three times a week. She started to lose weight and lose weight fast. I couldn’t drastically change her feed as she was going to be traveling a significant distance for the event but my vet-student friend being the vet-student that she is, immediately contacted me that she was worried about her weight. Once I explained the struggles I was having she was quick to find some supplements and feeds that would work better for her and, just like that, she was getting back on track. Surround yourselves with those who are more knowledgeable and be able to listen to them no matter what!

Train your body, train your brain, and train your enthusiasm (this is the most important) to survive and thrive in the moments of insanity. I think this is truly when we are living our lives and this borderline of insanity is what is assisting us in truly living our life! There is a time to sit back and rest, that is when our bodies are tired and can not do anything more. That’s when we sit back and tell great stories about the “good old days!”

Well, at least in my opinion!

Posted in My Royal Adventures, Relationships, Rodeo, Rodeo Queens

Gracious, Class, Investment & Work: The Life of a Rodeo Queen featuring Barb Carr

When it comes to being a rodeo queen mom no one has done more or worked more years than Barb Carr, the current Miss Rodeo Oregon Pageant Inc. president and mother of 2011 Miss Rodeo Oregon and 2012 Miss Rodeo America Mackenzie Carr Ivie. Check out her thoughts about what it’s like to be the “Ultimate Rodeo Queen Mom!”
In honor of Mother’s Day, I’m proud to be able to share my thoughts on being a Mom of a rodeo representative. Over the years I’ve gained a great deal of perspective on the ins and outs of rodeo representation from many different angles; from being a title holder, a pageant judge, a clinician, a pageant contestant chaperone, and of course a Mom of a rodeo representative. By far, being a Mom has brought me the greatest moments and rewards.
As a Mom it is our responsibility to help guide our daughters along the path while at the same time letting them experience their independence. This at times can be challenging for us and a difficult balance to maintain. For me personally, there are a few areas that I feel very strongly about and so I chose to include those in my article.
Let Them Make Mistakes. Moms are great for helping with pageant preparation but you can’t do it for them. Encouraging your daughter to be responsible for her own preparation will increase her ability to stand on her own two feet and be able to think, adjust, and react to issues and questions that come before her. She will make mistakes but that’s how we all learn. You have to allow her to make mistakes and when she does be supportive and encouraging. My daughter Mackenzie Carr Ivie and I had a saying that we used often while she was competing. “Flush It!” This comment was used when something didn’t go well during her pageants. The bobble or mistake is flushed; it’s gone and over with and it’s time to focus on the next aspect of pageant. Our daughters should never be discouraged for trying and not being successful. Disappointed yes, but never discouraged. Every time they try something and aren’t successful, knowledge and experience have been gained and will go a long way in helping to be better prepared the next time.
Always Accept Defeat with Class and Grace. I’ve sadly seen in all levels of pageants, a contestant (and Moms too) that doesn’t win bashing the organization she just tried to represent. Character is shown when a contestant is respectful of an organization and the judges’ opinions, even if they may not agree. Never should there be finger pointing and faulting others. As a judge, I’ve had great on-on-one conversations with young ladies following a pageant. When an unsuccessful contestant contacts the pageant director to ask to talk with judges about ways she can improve and seek some advice, she is showing maturity, character, and the qualities of someone with class. Taking this road instead of taking the “sour grapes” approach is by far the better choice. Encourage your daughter to do this and to be open to constructive criticism. Be sure to give it at least a week or so following the pageant to allow emotions to relax; it will make for a better conversation!
Be Gracious ALWAYS! Every single time someone does something for your daughter, whether it’s a donation of money, an auction item, or simply a donation of someone’s time in their support, a thank you note needs to be sent. And I don’t mean a casual thank you in person, or a text message. In this case the old fashioned way is best. Encourage your daughter to take the time to sit down and write a quick note of thanks and appreciation. It’s important, it’s kind, and it will go a long way when asking for future sponsorships from the same person.
Investment. Yes, it will cost you money. Yes, putting together a pageant wardrobe and traveling from rodeo to rodeo can get expensive. When I hear these comments this is always my response. I choose to look at it as an investment in my daughter’s future. The skills learned from the experience of competing in rodeo pageants or holding a title will follow her all of her life. She will be better prepared for job interviews; she will be able to place something on her resume that will set her apart from every other applicant; she will learn how to talk to people; she will learn the importance of holding herself high with
confidence, class, and grace; and she will know the importance of working hard. She WILL become a better individual. These values are priceless and I’m proud to have given my daughter the ability to gain them. Is it worth every tank of diesel and rhinestone I ever purchased – ABSOLUTELY!
It’s a Job. Wearing a crown is an honor, but most importantly it’s a job. It is not about the attention or the perks your daughter will get, it is about the job she needs to do for whoever she is representing. Respect will never be given to your daughter by the rodeo industry, other title holders, or the contestants at the rodeo just because she has a crown on her hat. She must earn it and honestly it might take half of the year she reigns. If it’s 100 degrees out and she is in a leather dress or wearing chaps she keeps a smile on her face. If it’s late and you are exhausted and ready to go because you have to be at work in the morning, it doesn’t matter. Your daughter should be asking “What else can I do?”
Be Real and True. The compliment I received the most often throughout Mackenzie’s rodeo representative career was that “She was down to earth. What you see is what you get.” From pageant competition to media interviews to working in the dirt behind the chutes, she was the same person, she was herself. Often times we see girls that try to be someone else during a pageant. Encourage your daughters to be themselves. It is their best feature and is what will set her apart from everyone else. Rodeo pageants are essentially job interviews and your daughter needs to show who she really is from the get go.
I sincerely hope that some of what I have shared with you helps as you guide and advise your daughter. Becoming a rodeo representative is your daughter’s achievement but I’m not going to lie; being the Mom of a daughter that held five titles was awesome and a huge sense of pride for me. Watching Mackenzie achieve phenomenal personal growth from her first local title to that of becoming Miss Rodeo America was unbelievable. As her Mom I will hold that pride in my heart until the day I die. There is simply no greater reward as a parent than that of watching your children become outstanding individuals with character, integrity, and compassion.
Congratulations to all the Moms who have encouraged your daughters to embark on this journey! Happy Mother’s Day to each of you!
Posted in My Royal Adventures, Relationships, Rodeo, Rodeo Queens

Rodeo Queens & Their Mom’s: The Bond featuring Vixen Wrecks

Our next feature is Vixen Wrecks, the mother of last year’s Junior Miss Rodeo Oregon. She discusses how the year bonding with her daughter, traveling throughout Oregon is one she wouldn’t trade for anything. She speaks of the lessons she learned and the message of loving yourself enough to love others speak volumes to those mom and daughter duos out there conquering the rodeo road!

As many of you know my daughter was the 2015 Junior Miss R0deo Oregon. Being a mom to an outspoken, driven young lady is nothing new for me as she was four when she started her journey with her first title. I have hung on ever since and will continue to do so as she has the rodeo title time line for her life and I guess that makes for mine too!

Spending the year with my daughter traveling over 30,000 miles to coronations, rodeos, speaking events, and more was a time in our lives we will never get back and we bonded more than words could ever explain. But the one thing that bonded and changed both our lives more than anything was a fateful July rodeo.

We had been on the road for 17 days straight from June to July through the Cowboy Christmas weekend of the fourth and spent many nights in the horse trailer. We had family come visit us while at Tillamook, a Northwest Professional Rodeo Association rodeo where we got to spend some time at the beach. Then we had a surprise visit from my husband for our anniversary while we were at the Molalla rodeo. We had come home to wash clothes and repack and let her ol’mare Music rest some, for just a few days. We then loaded up and headed to The Dalles for their last rodeo, we had gotten to LaGrande (1.5 hours from home) and realized we forgot her sashes. We had my mom save the day by going to our house and then meeting us in the middle so we didn’t have to drive all the way back. Making it to The Dalles late, we decided to settle her horse in and go to the movies. We went and saw “Inside Out” and while we were in that movie I got a text that changed my life.  

My best friend (a mother of two boys the same age as my kids) had been in a horse accident and was being life flighted out of our home town to the Tri-Cities. The next morning I found out she was not going to make it and if I wanted to say “good bye” I needed to get there. I woke Dez up and left horse and trailer in The Dalles at a friend’s place where we were staying. In that moment, knowing I was losing my best friend, and her boys were losing their mother, and her husband was losing his best friend and the love of his life ~ I looked into the eyes of my little girl and realized that life would never be the same. 

I embrace those moments that you will never get and never miss that chance to hug the one you love or say you love someone or say you are sorry. I talked to my best friend that day we left 3 times and we laughed about me forgetting stuff and how when I got back she wanted to have dinner with me and we made a date! I never got that dinner but when I sit down at night with my loved ones, I know that each dinner with them is special not because it is Christmas or a birthday, but because they are alive and in my life.

They are a blessing that I thank God for each and every day. So my gift in life was my two kids and my lesson is that you can’t take back things you say or do, but you can ask for forgiveness and you can learn and you can be the person that God wants us to be by being true and loving others, forgiving them when you need to and loving yourself enough to love others.

Posted in My Royal Adventures, Relationships, Rodeo, Rodeo Queens

The Perks of a Rodeo Queen Mom featuring Susan Sheely

Our next Mother’s Day blog post comes from the first mother to ever have two young women in the Miss Rodeo Oregon Pageant program: Susan Sheely.

Susan is the mother of Hannah and Katie Sheely who were the 2013 Teen Miss Rodeo Oregon and 2013 Junior Miss Rodeo Oregon at the same time!

 

Aww the perks of a Rodeo Queen Mom…..I have the privilege of being the mother of the first sisters to hold the titles of Junior Miss Rodeo Oregon and Miss Teen Rodeo Oregon in the same year. I have to say 2013 was a crazy whirlwind at times, but probably one of the most memorable years of my life! Except , of course, 1997 when my first daughter Hannah was born and 2000 when my second daughter, Katie, came into my life! Hannah and Katie have always made me very proud to be their mother, but the sense of pride in watching them represent Oregon and the sport of rodeo was amazing. They gave me experiences I would have never experienced otherwise. For instance, I used more hairspray, curlers, and make-up in one summer than I had in my entire life. Anyone who knows me knows that is true. I had never spent more than 10 minutes on a hairstyle for the day or even a special event for that matter. That definitely changed when I became a Rodeo Queen Mom! I learned to press jeans and buckle chaps in record time; as well as, make flower packs, fix flower packs, and remake flower packs.  Being a rodeo queen Mom, you have to be a jack of all trades. It seems the biggest task I had difficulty with and always ended up doing late at night or at the wee hours of the morning after driving for hours struggling to stay awake was putting rollers in the girls’ hair. For instance one evening at the Tillamook Rodeo around 11:00, I was just finishing rolling up the girls’ hair and realized I hadn’t fed the horses for the night yet, Bug was very unhappy with me (Hannah’s horse). It’s also very challenging to wake up a 13 year old at 2:00 am and keep her head up to get rollers in her hair after struggling to keep myself awake on the 3.5 hour drive to Grande Ronde in the middle of the night. All worth it to watch them fly around the arena for a grand entry, sign an autograph sheet for some adoring little girl, or stand up giving a talk about rodeo in a school. I could talk about so many memorable moments that will forever be etched into my mind. I have to say I love being a Mom, and especially love being a Rodeo Queen Mom! As Scott Allen, Pro Rodeo Announcer says…. “It’s good to be Queen”, but I say it’s even better to be their Mom!

 

Posted in My Royal Adventures, Relationships, Rodeo Queens

Through a Mother’s Lens featuring Kristi Schrock

As part two of our feature of rodeo queen mom’s for Mother’s Day weekend in honor of rodeo queen’s we have guest blogger Kristi Schrock… who is my MOMMY!

I love my mom very much! At times we are VERY (and scarily) similar while at others I feel like we don’t connect at all. This is a part of being family. If you know my mom then you know that she absolutely refuses to have her photo taken (sounds familiar, I was very similar to that before I started this queuing thing) but she does an amazing job at the other end of the camera.

My mom is by no means a professional although I firmly believe she could be with just a little bit of effort, she is already so close.

She is also the perfect person to take to events because she gets lasting memories to keep for forever… or for the most perfect Instagram picture later. Every rodeo queen from about 2010 on knows which mom to look for during all group pictures and who to look for to arrange us in the pictures at coronations. She is literally the lead Mamarazzi!

Kristi Schrock is the mother of the first ever sister’s to hold the title of Miss Rodeo Oregon; the 2013 Miss Rodeo Oregon Nicole Schrock and the 2016 Miss Rodeo Oregon Katie Schrock. She talks about how she loves her camera as her form of artwork to showcase what the life of a rodeo queen mom is like… through the lens of her Canon camera.

   Many friends have jokingly referred to me as the “Queen Mom”.  I am not sure what a “Queen Mom” is.   I am just a mom!
I have two amazing, intelligent, beautiful and unique daughters.  They hold the distinct honor of being the first sisters to each hold the title of Miss Rodeo Oregon.  Nicole was Miss Rodeo Oregon 2013 and Katie wears the title this year.  Perhaps this is where the “Queen Mom” title comes from.
I am not a real open type person.  Even with those closest to me.   I have taken to use the lens of my camera to share my feelings with those around me.  Through my viewfinder, I am able to showcase how beautiful my girls are.  There is their obvious beauty, but with my camera I can freeze the second in time when they connect with a young child and create a lasting memory.  A well timed photo can reflect the beauty of an elderly person, who can no longer saddle up on their favorite horse, relive those moments in a brief meeting with one of my daughters.
My camera allows me to record how unique each of my daughters are, and this amazing journey we call life.  I am able to capture those moments in time that will show generations to come how special my daughters, and the people in their lives, are.
There is a lot to being a “Queen Mom”, but it’s most important to just be a mom.  Like many rodeo Queen mothers, I have stayed up all night sewing a new outfit for a special event, and then driven across the state the next day.  Cooking for a week to have meals all prepared for the next rodeo weekend, with enough extra to feed any friends that may stop by.
It is my greatest hope that through my lens, I am able to capture the images that show my deep love and admiration for those closest to me, and that those photos encourage us to grow and learn.  It’s not about being best; it’s about being your best!

~ Kristi Schrock; 2013 & 2016 Miss Rodeo Oregon Queen Mom ~

I know I am biased but my mom is pretty special. She makes the best food, the best clothes, and always goes the extra mile! Not just that but my “Queen Mom” is also the mom of many other rodeo queens out there. The number of Benton County Queens she has been a director for, the number of young girls she has guided through pageants, the number of other rodeo queen mom’s she has lend a helping hand too when they felt nervous or overwhelmed. Thanks mom for all that you do for not just me but for all the rodeo queens out there, I love you!

~Katie Schrock~

Posted in Beauty, My Royal Adventures, Rodeo Queens

Fashion Blog Friday: The Coronation Dress

I was already at the point of, “Alright, this isn’t going to happen,” when I got the message back from my dress maker. I had met with her back in the beginning of March and after a few weeks texting pictures back and forth we had solidified prices and fabric for what was going to be my amazing formal dress.

My amazing dress maker had started the conversation with, “What kind of leather do you want?”

I gave her a sheepish look and said, “None…” Dragging the end of the word out, anxious to see how she would take that statement.

She gave me a quizzical look and then asked, “So what are we doing?”

I eagerly jumped headfirst into describing “the perfect for Katie Schrock” gown to her. My older sister had already done up a fashion sketch so getting the final idea approved by both my National Director and modified by the designer were the last few steps.

“I don’t want something of leather,” I adamantly told her, quickly followed by, “I want it to be the kind of dress that you would wear on the red carpets. Like, if I got asked to announce an award at the CMA Awards, this is the kind of dress that I would wear! I want it to be at a ‘Break-the-internet-like-Taylor-Swifts-sparkly-dress-at-the-Victoria’s-Secret-fashion-show’ status. CMA red carpet fashion.”

I probably threw that word in about every other sentence or every lull in the conversation while my dress designer was sketching. I even would text her phrases like that like, “Remember! CMA Red carpet fashion!”

About two weeks from my coronation I hadn’t gotten the slip that I was supposed to have fitted for the final pattern of the dress nor had I been summoned for a final fitting. Hmmm…..

I started sending her texts but had no replies. I realized that I probably wouldn’t have the dress by the time my coronation rolled around and began making other plans.

A few days before the coronation I got a message from the dress designer, absolutely stressed and feeling horrible! She is very trustworthy, she made all of my sisters gowns as well as many other Miss Rodeo Oregon gowns and wedding dresses, so I had absolute faith that there had been a miscommunication. I was most definitely right about that!

With how absolutely adamant I was about CMA Red Carpet fashion it didn’t really come as a surprise when she first apologized for leaving her phone behind when her husband and her went to work on their rental house in Nevada but that she had thought the dress was FOR the CMA Awards! It totally made sense, that’s literally what I kept saying!

Then it was on to the next step: Find something to wear!

I have a REALLY hard time being the center of attention, like a REALLY HARD TIME. My life coach Ashley, who was also my emcee for the event, told me that I needed to make sure that I wore something that was just so stunning that I wouldn’t be able to stop smiling, that I would feel ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS in and then everything would be okay.

How do you find something like that last minute? You don’t. I picked a simple outfit for my concert coronation to wear and was shocked when I got a text from my sister that said, “Bring your favorite long sleeve, zip up lace crop top to your coronation. Ashley and I may have figured out something for you to wear.”

I don’t know about you but HOW IN THE WORLD do you make a FORMAL RODEO QUEEN CORONATION outfit out of a lace crop top?!

I didn’t see the dress that I wore for coronation until I was in the room changing from outfit #1 to my coronation dress.

The dress that I ended up wearing was Ashley Minaise’s Miss Oregon formal wear dress, a black strapless, sequined, GORGEOUS gown! I wore my lace crop top underneath to give it the formal full length that is required as a rodeo queen and I added on some beautiful earrings given to my sister Nicole by the 2012 Miss Rodeo Oregon Shelby Ross as well as my sequined Bodacious Boots and I was good to go. 

I got so many compliments on the dress! It absolutely blows my mind! To think that I literally threw it together last second (and the fact that I actually fit into it because Ashley was TINY when she was Miss Oregon-USA) and it looked that amazing! I felt so AMAZING in that outfit!

I cannot wait to share my other dress with all of you as well… and if anyone has a ticket for the CMA Awards or any other Country Music Award Show, I most definitely have two dresses that I could wear to it now!

Posted in My Royal Adventures, Relationships

The 21st Century Plague

Remember reading all of those history books and learning about how “the plague came through” and wiped just about everybody out? I had a thought recently when I overheard someone discussing whether or not the Zika disease was going to be the first modern day plague that we already ARE experiencing a plague through our society.

We are currently in the midst of a plague. A devastating, crushing, and heartbreaking plague. It is typically passed through social media but can be vanquished through physical conversation.

This modern day, 21st Century plague, is none other than “negativity.”

Yes, I don’t want to ignore the fact that there are plagues and disease outbreaks in countries all across the world but this is a plague that anyone who can log on to a computer and read this, probably recognizes as something very true.

What is the heart of negativity? What is it’s ticker? What makes it work?

Negativity, I believe, stems from comparison. Did you know that the United States leads all other nations in reality television? There is nothing that us, as Americans, love to do more than anything else is to compare ourselves to others and reality television is making that REALLY easy. When we compare ourselves to others it is always in a negative light. We decide what attributes or what characteristics we have that are better than or worse than the original. Neither one is going to make YOU feel good, nor will the person that is being judged feel good.

My mother constantly faults me for being extremely judgmental of those that I am closest too. I care about them, that’s why I judge. Or so I tell myself. If I truly cared about someone, wouldn’t I just take them as they are? Wouldn’t I just accept who God made them to be and that I would be fine with that?

 

Think on it.

 

Negativity is spread, I believe, solely through social media. In fact, most of the in-person verbal and physical bullying that I have heard of, has festered and grown through social media until it’s manifested and reared its ugly head in front of everyone in person. It seems that we go to social media first and foremost to receive support, to see if ANYONE out there is also thinking the thoughts that we said.

We seem to not be able to function in today’s society without someone elses approval. Social media gives us the ability to gain “quick” approval. “What do you think of going to the beach?” Ten likes?! Heck yes, I’m going! See how easy that is? It could have been ONE LIKE but if it was something you wanted to do, then that’s all the affirmation you would need.

Life is easy when we can hide behind our computer screen. How many people would say the detrimental and nasty negative things to someones face that they have seemingly no problem typing into a comments section? Not that many I bet!

Let’s get something straight though, I’m not challenging people to go say nasty things to someone face-to-face because, in the end, that’s still negativity being spread LIKE THE PLAGUE. What I’m saying is that it’s time we grew up. It’s time, as a society of social media users, we make the DECISION to CHOOSE not to be negative. As Thumper in Bambi taught us as small children, “If you don’t have nothing nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

No one is perfect. We all slip, we all make mistakes. Surround yourself with others who have made the goal of being positive as well, and they will help keep you accountable. They don’t have to be mean about it. Just a simple change of the subject, an obvious ignore to your statement or even a candid, “That doesn’t sound very nice and that makes me uncomfortable.” That statement alone will make the individual saying the negative statements feel uncomfortable as well and no one likes to be uncomfortable when it’s their own guilt putting pressure on them.

The negativity that runs through social media sites has been extensively researched in recent years; this is a serious problem and we need to find a cure. Unfortunately we can’t rely on the brains of some extraordinary medicinal creation, this is going to be a personal act from every individual in the country. That’s seemingly impossible. Awareness is going to be the key. Awareness is going to be the preventative drug that’s going to protect the future of our society as a whole.

This plague of negativity is leaving individuals of ALL ages sad, feeling as if they are all alone, lowered self esteem that can lead to dropping out of school or getting involved with drugs or alcohol.  In the 1990’s alone 12 of the 15 school shootings were at the fault of cyberbullying. The number of shootings has increased tenfold and the reasons are still the same.

If social media was to blame for the cause of this plague, than it’s the cars fault for drunk driving and the guns fault for any murder. Social media is quite simply a tool, a tool that EVERY person has access too. It is our decision to create awareness, to educate, and to support those around us. Bring attention to the positives. Educate others on what the implications of their actions mean. Support those who are struggling and support those who are trying to do what’s right.

What can you do to combat this plague?

You can first and foremost stop posting about negative statements on social media. Then train your brain to stop talking about them with you closest friends. The next step in your marathon positivity training? Simple, start eradicating the thoughts that are of evil intent.  Start eradicating all of your judgmental and comparing thoughts.

How can you be proactive in saving our future generations?

Start commenting one positive comment on any social media site today. Even if it’s just a heart eyed emoji, it’s something. It makes someone feel good about themselves. Start a gratitude journal; write down everyday something that you are happy for, something that is just absolutely amazing… like running water! It’s quite easy! There are so many positive things around you, you just have to open your eyes to see!

 

 

Posted in My Royal Adventures, Relationships

National Writing Day; #WhyIWrite & Why You Should

Did you know that today, October 20th, is National Writing Day? I have been asked a lot recently “Why do you write?”, “Why do you journal?”, “Why do you blog?”, why, why, why???

Journaling is something that I have done from a young age. It’s something that I would encourage any youngster to do as it allows you the ability to think thoughts to yourself without writing them down. It allows you the opportunity to practice your penmanship, your computer skills, your analytical thought streams that you learn in school all in a subject that we all find very intriguing; ourselves.

I started journaling in 2nd grade and although it mainly listed what I ate and how I was going to play in the WNBA, it was the start of something big. Reading past journals through middle school I had a realization that encouraged my journaling to a whole new level at the end of high school and start of college: Journaling was giving me the analytical ability to see past the current situation and understand the feelings and emotions of others within a given situation.

Writing down your hopes and your dreams leads you to write goals. It holds you accountable in this world as you see WHAT you want and figure out HOW you are going to get there. I may not have played in the WNBA but I DID get a full ride scholarship to my favorite University in the PAC-10/PAC-12 and that wouldn’t have been possible without my goals and determination to get there.

Journaling has also given me the comfort in my religion as I keep a religious journal as well. We all have hard times, we are human. Granted some people are going to have a much tougher go of it than others but we are all given times that challenge us both emotionally and physically. This is where journaling helps us out. Looking for solace and reflecting on the past, I have had the amazing ability to be reminded of the good times, reminded of when it has been wore, and how I can overcome these obstacles to become a stronger woman.

When you are in school you learn best from writing notes, this holds true for the rest of our life. Writing down the notes of your life will allow you the ability to reflect, analyze and create new goals for the future – just like we are taught in school.

Blogging is something that I have only started as recently as this year. I wasn’t sure how it would be taken, I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a fun thing, a scary thing or something that would just die off! What I did know was that I didn’t want to treat my blog necessarily like a journal; I already do that! I wanted it to be a place where others could come and reflect, learn and grow. I hope that, through my writings on various subjects, others have had the ability to reach these new heights.

I think the scariest part for me was when I first started blogging about rodeo queens. It started as a furious rant and I wanted to set some people straight. Wrote my post, published it indiscreetly and then I went to bed. I woke up in the morning to 24,000 views and to say my anxiety went through the roof is an understatement! The things is, we all have something to say and sometimes, when we are fortunate enough and God has our timing down, those who need to hear what we have to say will hear it.

I can’t wait for this next year, my adventures are going to be numerous but I know that with that will come heartbreak and trying times. These all go hand in hand in the circle of life and I look forward for the opportunities to learn, grown and network through 2016. I know that by writing these things down, whether in my journal, in a book, or on my blog I will forever instill those morals and ideals that I learn on my adventures.

So “why do I write?” I write because it makes me a better person. I write because I believe that I have a story to tell and a new story that is only beginning. I hope that National Writing Day makes you think about your life and maybe your opportunity to step away from social media and grab a nice old fashioned journal and a pen and write down your thoughts. Or maybe you will quite simply realize that the power of your words is far greater than you could ever imagine!