December as Miss South Dakota was magical. Christmas-time is already my favorite season of the year. It’s hard to imagine a more joy-filled and blissful time of year. The month started off with the CMN Radiothon. This year the Radiothon raised over $270,000. I spent time mingling with visitors during Family Day. The Castle was buzzing. I ran into some of my best buds, Avery and Maci. The entire upstairs atrium was filled with games and activities for the kids to participate in. The Great Plains Zoo even brought several animals to liven up the event.

The last month of 2018 brought one of my most memorable appearances as Miss South Dakota. I visited Freeman Academy a few weeks ago, but one of Mrs. Rupp’s students was sick from school that day. His mom reached out to me to explain that Dylan has Type 1 diabetes and gets sick more frequently than his classmates. She explained that he was so bummed that he missed my visit. She also shared that they were raising money to purchase a Diabetic Alert Dog to help monitor his blood sugar levels and alert them in a timely manner of when his levels are out of range.

I immediately replied that I would love to meet Dylan and have the chance to learn more about Type 1 Diabetes. The next day, I drove to Yankton to meet Dylan and his family for myself. He shared why it is so important that he have a Diabetic Alert Dog and how it can help him immensely. He also introduced me to his two sisters and two guinea pigs. Although my time with Dylan and his family was short, it forever touched my heart. Sometimes being Miss South Dakota means that brightening the day of just one child, ends up brightening your life even more. For more information on Dylan’s story and to help him reach his fundraising goal, visit his facebook page:

Another memorable experience in December was the Thompson Law Christmas Connection event. Carolyn Thompson is the owner of Thompson Law, whom I met a few years ago. My dad had been telling me for years that I needed to meet Carolyn. After too much time had passed, our paths finally crossed. Since that day, she has been a guiding light in my life. She has shown me that a life devoted to God is more valuable than any Earthly possession. Her generous soul radiates. She has become one of my greatest mentors and most lasting friends.

She invited me to attend the Christmas Connection event, play the piano, and give a joint presentation on the ‘Spirit of Giving.’ To stand beside Carolyn and learn from her own experiences, while also sharing my story was memorable. It filled my soul.

The following day I was off to Minneapolis for the 2gether Productions Christmas Concert. Kathryn and Andy have grown their business to the point that they separate their Christmas Concert into five difference recitals. They host the concert in their home every year. Two grand pianos, centered around a glistening Christmas Tree, with family and friends huddled around make 2gether Productions Christmas Concert breathtaking. The sense of comradery reinforces the purpose of Christmas – giving to others, spending time with family and friends, and rejoicing in the birth of Jesus Christ.

The month rounded out with a Christmas segment on KELO Living titled ‘Stocking Stuffer Christmas – The Spirit of Giving.’ I partnered with Agatha Johnson at Prosperity Wealth Management to develop five activities that parents could do with their kids leading up to Christmas to teach them about money and giving. Follow the link below to learn more about the segment: 

Below is a link to the KELO Living Segment: 

Reflecting on 2018 brings me nothing but joy. I am especially thankful that I could share this year with my family and friends, whom prop me up through the valleys and cheer me on from the mountains.