I was very blessed to meet 13 other amazing women. There were 14 others in the competition but one was a dear friend already. These women were driven and passionate about their causes not to mention beautiful.
The morning of Friday March 21st I woke up super early and had a good healthy breakfast and then went ahead and got everything I needed loaded in my car you'd never know I was only going for 2 days with the amount of things I packed. I got to the temple a few minutes before 12:30 and met my dear friend Brittany on the stairs and we shared a special prayer time asking God to watch over us and put a hedge of protection around the competition and that it would be a positive experience for everyone. Those prayers were most definitely answered.
We immediately jumped right into photos in swimsuit and our opening number dresses. It was not cold but not warm on this particular March day in Oklahoma so while we stood around mostly freezing we made small talk to get to know each other. We talked alot about how it takes a special kind of woman to put herself out there like each of us were doing and how we were all so different. That's what struck me about this group of women that I quickly became friends with how different each of us were. It was truly a moment of clarity for me when I realized we were all just presenting the best versions of ourselves and that's all we could do. I instantly relaxed and stopped trying to compare myself to the other women surrounding me. The moment I did that I felt complete peace about the events ahead of me.
My registration picture in my opening number dress. Yes it's tucked into my swimsuit I had to take a needle and thread to it later in the evening to alter a little more to fit better. The wind came up just I was taking this pictures so I feel like I'm squinting to keep dirt out of my eyes but over all it's not terrible. In hindsight I definitely should have done full stage make up for these photos!
So we finished up with photos and settled in for orientation we went around the room and introduced ourselves and our reasons for competing, I shared my convictions in getting families to be present with each other through technology guidelines, as well as my desire to honor my mother through this competition, and my desire to challenge myself and shake up my routines as wife and mommy, then I met two very cool women. Austen Williams the reigning Mrs. America from Texas. This lady I really just wanted to pack her and bring her home with me. She had this amazing light about her and she was so real. The thing I loved most about her is that she was herself through and through it was so refreshing! Next I met Julie Pittman the reigning Mrs. Oklahoma this sweet woman of God spoke life into each of us all weekend long it was so amazing to witness. She prayed with each of us individually before interview and just had this incredible hospitable heart that was so welcoming.
These women were so sweet to take photos with my 3 three year old after the show and she was loving every minute of it!
So we practiced for a few hours on Friday and then we had dinner back at the hotel. I had to go without Jeremiah because he opted to stay home with our 3 year old. I had a great time with Brittany and speaking with the other girls at dinner.
We sat with another contestant Heather and her husband and I asked her if she had any one peice of advice for Brittany and I since she had competed the prior year and was a returning veteran. I loved what she had to say she said she thought she did everything to the best of her ability in the prior year and it just wasn't her year, she mentioned originally thinking she would try to be someone completely different in this year's competion and then decided that wasn't being true to who she was and she didn't want to win under a false identity. I loved that so much and it spoke to my heart!
After dinner we went back to our rooms changed into comfortable clothes and went back downstairs for more rehearsals. At this point in the day I think we had all worked the jitters out and we could just relax. We had a great time laughing at ourselves, and doing our best to remember the opening number that Austen had taught us earlier that day! "Friends don't let friends go out looking crazy" that was Austen's motto and she meant it. So we practiced and practiced some more. This night of rehearsals was probably in my top 3 best moments of the weekend!
Yes we totally rocked the Charlie's Angels pose in our silly fun picture of the night!
After this rehearsal Brittany and I headed back to our room and just chilled we did a little devotional and tried to get to bed early. Although truth be told neither of us slept very well.
The next morning bright and early we headed back over to the temple for more rehearsal and I was super excited because my hubs would be there it was good to see him after a night of separation.
I was looking a little crazy with my hair in pin curls and absolutely no make up for rehearsal. But I wanted to be fresh for interview prep later on so I didn't want to have to remove make up.
So after rehearsal I said goodbye to the hubs knowing I would see him later for the show. I went back to the hotel room and tried to relax I ate a little lunch and just hung out until time to get ready for interview.
Then just like that it was interview time!
My interview flew by and I left the room feeling like it went well but not certain that I had won over the judges. I got to talk alot about my platform which was awesome. The one question I got asked that I wasn't expecting was "what's special about Oklahoma" I answered that I really thought it was the people I talked about times in my life that I felt like the people of this great state surrounded me and held me up. I talked about the pride that swelled in my heart when I saw all the volunteers ready to head in to total devastation after the tornadoes last spring. I mentioned that our state is no stranger to heart ache but our strength comes in being able to rebuild after tragedy, I also mentioned how if the people don't attract you to our state it could be our weather, after all we're the only state I know of that you can experience all 4 seasons in the same day. I went back to the room and hung out and just tried to relax until show time.
I felt like the hard stuff was behind me and now it was time to relax and have a good time. Before I knew it. Showtime was upon us. I got a quick opportunity to sneak out of the dressing room and say hello to some of my friends who were there supporting me I also got to sneak a quick hug and kiss in with my hubs.
Then it was time to rock n roll. We opened with opening number which went off mostly without a hitch and then it was straight into swimsuit! I tried to channel my inner Victorias Secret model and be super confident. I was proud of all the work I put in to be competition ready and I just allowed every insecurity I've ever had about my body to disappear.
Another one of my top 3 moments happened during swimsuit in my final pose on stage I heard a sweet voice yell out. "That's my mommy" It made me smile even bigger to hear my sweet girl!
After swimsuit we hurriedly changed into gowns I was so excited for gown because I knew my honey was going to be escorting me and I was looking forward to see him looking very handsome in his tuxedo.
Kayla truly made me believe that I could be Mrs. Oklahoma someday and made me realize my own value more than I think I ever have. She has an amazing heart and made me look and feel phenomenal!
My precious and dear friend Brittany looked breathtakingly beautiful! I was glad to share this entire experience with her!
Then it was time we all gathered on stage for announcement of top 9.
They called 8 girls and I was still standing there I was looking to my right believing the next name called would be either my beautiful friend Brittany or the equally beautiful Stephanie. Imagine my surprise when instead it was my name that was called! That was by far the best moment of the whole competition for me realizing that I had reached my goal of being called into the top group! I was beyond elated to be standing there included in the group of elite and precious women standing next to me!
Then it was time for awards! My dear friend Brittany was named Oklahoma's Mrs. Congeniality! I was surprised and excited to win a swimsuit award!
The beautiful, gracious and kind Michelle Evans of Tulsa walked away with the title of Mrs. Oklahoma 2014. Oklahoma could not have a more beautiful woman of God wearing the crown. I can't wait for Mrs. America she's going to do amazing and I will be cheering her on all the way!
I am so honored to be pictured in this group. If only you could get to know these amazing women I know you'd be as much in awe of them and their beautiful hearts as I was and to be counted amongst them is such a blessing!
Mrs. Oklahoma was an amazing experience. I've already been asked more times than I can count if I'll do it again and maybe some day but not next year our family has other goals we'll be persuing.
Thanks everyone for your kind words of support and encouragement throughout this process I am thankful to have experienced it!