Posted by Carrie Wintle on Nov 26, 2018 under

Week 19 kicked off with Shawn and Kamie at KSFY. It is always good to see them, as Shawn was an entertainer at Miss South Dakota for several years. We talked about Miss America (has it really been 2 months since then?) the rest of my year as Miss South Dakota. Later that week, I attended a Halloween festival at Lake Lorraine in Sioux Falls. Grand Living hosted a costume contest for kiddos, followed by trick or treating around the facility. The costumes were creative. There was a Shaggy from Scooby Doo, Elsa, and even a Bumble Bee.

After the event, I went down to Vermillion with my family to watch the Coyotes take on NDSU. I cherish my return trips to my alma mater. USD gave me so much over five years, and I love taking a trip down memory lane.

God showed up in a way a really cool way this week. I started reading “Remember God” by Annie F. Downs shortly after my first CPA exam. Before I was done with the first chapter, I had already cried twice. In the beginning, she talks about her appreciation for Cathedrals and old churches – the type of church that was always God’s home. A structure whose sole purpose was for people to gather and praise Jesus. After I read this portion, I immediately knew her book, her words, and her experiences were going to resonate with me. I too think the beauty in the intricate details of a Cathedral are timeless and breathtaking. Walking into one, is like walking into God’s home. I read “Remember God” in a matter of a few days. It never failed, either – every time I picked up the book I would start crying. Annie explores the question, “Is God kind?” And, it isn’t that she doesn’t know He is kind. She just seeks to dive into the question because sometimes life circumstances and God’s answer to our prayers don’t align with our expectations.

God placed that book in my hand exactly when I needed it most. And then, God surprised me again. I had looked up locations that Annie would be speaking, thinking, “Gosh, it would be so cool to see her in person.” Not finding anything, I postponed the thought, hoping eventually the opportunity would come. That Sunday, I was scrolling through Instagram and ran across Annie’s story. I watched it, not thinking twice. A few hours later, I had this nudge to check her story again and actually READ it. Come to find out, she was in Sioux Falls, SOUTH DAKOTA! She was speaking that evening at a local church. Could God be any more kind? I frantically looked up the event . . tickets were SOLD OUT. I was sad. But holding onto hope, I messaged Annie on Instagram to ask if there were any extra tickets. By the end of the day, and just before the event, I found a ticket. I immediately drove over to Central Church and claimed my front row seat. Annie’s message and the presence of God made for an unforgettable evening. Yes, I purchased all her books and got her to sign every last one. I don’t entirely remember what I said when I met her, but the tears started flowing almost instantly. I was so grateful for the opportunity and for God’s kindness.

I am always amazed by the way God places people in our lives. From the minute I started Annie’s book to the minute I finished it to the moment I met her – I knew God had placed me on that path in that week on purpose.

On Monday of Week 20 I was off to Huron to crown Miss Wheel Jam’s Outstanding Teen, Megan Clark. I met with Megan at my favorite local coffee shop, Don’t Spill the Beans. Can you guess what I got? Yes, a pumpkin spice latte. I never pass them up. I learned about Megan’s platform, her journey in the Miss South Dakota Outstanding Teen program, and her passion for singing. Tuesday I went out to Minneapolis to spend a couple days in piano boot camp.

The weekend brought excitement, as we crowned two more young women who will go on to compete for Miss South Dakota 2019. The Miss SDSU and Miss Brookings was a blast. I spent the weekend hanging out with my sister queen, Jessica, and all the girls competing. They even let Jessica and I emcee the entire show. After I completely forgot the entire opening number dance, I made the disclaimer, “Clearly, you can tell we aren’t all dancers (**hint hint: ME). One of the most exciting parts of the show for me, was wearing roller skates on stage. The show theme was 70s, and Carolyn Knutson let me borrow her old roller skates. Ray Petersen, the Miss SD producer, approved of my new talent. Thank you to Carolyn, Cecilia, Regina, and Monica for your dedication to the Miss South Dakota Organization and hosting a stellar local pageant. Congratulations to the new Miss Brookings, Courtney Remick, and Miss SDSU, Miranda O’Bryan. Miss South Dakota here you come!