Healthy Pumpkin Bread!

Happy Fall Y’all!

The weather in Texas this weekend is SO nice, and it has me in the fall spirit! One of my very favorite holiday foods ever is pumpkin bread! There is no better feeling than lighting a fall scented candle, the smell of warm pumpkin bread in the oven and college football on the TV.

My great grandmother had the very best pumpkin bread recipe that I loooove and make for special occasions around the holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas (when calories don’t count duh). But what I don’t love about that delicious family recipe is how much sugar is in it. So, I took to my trusty friend Pinterest to find a healthier option for my festive sweets. I found the yummiest recipe that I tweaked just a bit, and it is SO GOOD. It is low-carb (keto friendly) with only 4 net carbs per slice, so anyone can enjoy it!

YAS for healthy pumpkin bread with no guilt or shame!

 
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So here you go, happy fall baking :)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature

  • 2/3 cup granulated Swerve

  • 4 eggs, room temperature

  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 1/2 cup extra fine Almond Flour

  • 1/2 cup Coconut Flour

  • 4 teaspoons baking powder

  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon salt

Topping:

  • 1 cup chopped pecans

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

  • A dash of cinnamon

 
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Directions:

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  • Preheat oven to 350

  • Grease loaf pan (I used a 9x5 loaf pan)

  • In a large bowl, cream together butter and Swerve, until light and fluffy

  • Add in four eggs, one at a time

  • Mix in pumpkin and vanilla until well combined

  • In a medium bowl whisk together Almond Flour, Coconut Flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and salt

  • Add into pumpkin mixture and mix until just combined and batter is thick

  • Spoon into prepared pan

  • In a small saucepan heat pecans, butter, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice until pecans are fragrant, about 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly

  • Sprinkle topping over batter

  • Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when placed into the center, if pecans are getting too brown cover top with foil

  • Remove and let cool

  • Slice and enjoy!

Nutrition Per Serving (10 servings per loaf):

  • 4 g net carbs

  • 25.6 g fat

  • 7.6 g protein

Pro Tip: add a little bit of butter to the top of a warm slice of bread before eating, it makes for a perfect breakfast or mid-day snack! Also, not to be basic… but it’s pretty tasty with a warm latte from Starbucks, I’m just sayin! Try a flat white latte with non-fat milk and add pumpkin (basically a PSL but a little healthier). You’ll thank me later :)

 
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Thats all for now! Time to get ready to cheer on my Fightin’ Texas Aggies against Bama. #BTHOBama

xx,

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Wedding Wednesday: Engagement Party

Almost a month ago my BFF asked me to be his wife… and I said yes! Not only did he plan such a beautiful, and well thought-out proposal, but he also had an amazing after party waiting on us to come back and celebrate with all of our favorite people! It was really important to Drew that our closest family and friends be a part of the happy day… and I am so glad he planned it that way! Once he popped the question we enjoyed a little bit of alone time together watching the sunset, and then headed back to Tyler to my parents house! A special thank you to my mom and dad, Drew’s parents, Morgan, Mallory, Daniel, Rob and Haley for all of the love they poured into our day and in throwing the best engagement party for us!

I have to include a side note here because it’s too precious not to share. If you know my older sister Morgan, you know that she is the most organized, type A human alive. She is a go-getter and if you want something done, you go to Morgan! Well, as I found out later on, the day of the proposal Morgan had a COMPLETE dress rehearsal of the party. I mean decorations all in their place, every bowl, napkin and piece of silverware set with sticky notes on each dish indicating what it would hold. They set it all up, then took it all down for me to come home, and then once I left again put it all back. I couldn’t help but laugh because 1. that is SO the Morgan I know and love and 2. I couldn’t help but feel the love that she would go to that extreme to make sure our party was perfect! Of course none of it could have been done without Mallory and the rest of the gang all helping out as well!

The entire day was perfect from start to end, and I am so glad we got to enjoy being with all of our people to finish it off!

 
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xx,

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8.30.2019 Our Engagement Story

One week ago I got engaged to the love of my life! I met Drew when I was 20 years old at Texas A&M, and I pretty much knew the night of our first date he would one day be my husband. Over the last 4 and a half years he has patiently waited on me as I pursued my lifelong dreams, and has been my rock through the highest of highs and lowest of lows that life has brought. Drew has shown me every day for the last 5 years what true, genuine love looks like, and has pursued my heart in the most Godly way. I know life with him will never be boring and that I’ll always have the most dependable and loving guy by my side. I could go on for days about all the things I love and respect about him, but we would be here all day so I won’t bore you with that.

So, without further ado, here is the story of how Drew proposed…

On the morning of Friday, August 30, I woke up like any other school day and got ready for work. I’ll be honest, it was the end of the second week of school, and I was BEAT (I love Kindergarten, but the first couple of weeks are draining as we get adjusted to everything!) Drew was at my house the night before watching the Aggie game with my family, and I fell asleep on the couch before the end of the first half. Thursday was a particularly hard day for me, so I was really looking forward to Friday and the refreshment of a long weekend. Once I was dressed and ready, I went to the kitchen to grab a few leftovers for lunch before heading out to Starbucks for a Friday morning treat. As I was pulling a couple things out of the pantry, my mom looked at me and said “you might want to read that before you start all that” pointing to a piece of paper sitting on the kitchen counter by my purse. I hadn’t noticed it when I walked in. The note was a sweet message from Drew that ended by saying to not pack a lunch or grab my usual Friday Starbucks coffee, because I would have visitors and treats throughout the day. It also said to try and be home around 4:00 PM, because Drew knows me well and knows I’m usually at the school until 5 or later working. I almost immediately knew that it was most likely going to be the day I got engaged, but didn’t want to get too excited for fear that I would get my hopes up. But deep down I knew :)

So I got in my car and headed to school! I was super early because usually I would be leaving time on a Friday to go to Starbucks, but today I just headed to the school. There was the most beautiful sunrise, and I knew it was going to be a great day! On the drive there I caught myself with my mouth wide open. Even though I knew what was coming it still felt very surreal. It also suddenly dawned on me why Paula (Drew’s mom) was asking for Starbucks recommendations earlier in the week for herself… turns out she was one of Drew’s spies.

 
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I got to work and immediately started trying to get things done so I could leave at 4. Right before the bell rang for students to come in, in walked my sweet brother-in-law, Daniel, with my first pumpkin spice latte of the season!

 
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Around 10:00, Drew’s cousin Avery and his aunt Kim brought the most beautiful sunflowers to my door! The kids were SO excited about the delivery, but had no idea what was going on!

 
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During my conference period at noon, Drew’s sister Haley and her husband Rob brought my favorite chicken salad for lunch. Poor things, it was probably the most awkward lunch of their lives because I didn’t mention anything about what was going on and no one knew if we should talk about it our just avoid the elephant in the room… which we did… lol!

 
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Funny story, after lunch I was working at my table on the kids’ daily folders to send home. When I got up to move, I accidentally brushed one of the sunflowers with my shoulder and knocked the vase off the table. Of course it shattered, water went everywhere, and I had 21 sets of little wide eyes staring at me speechless. All was good, I cleaned it up, took them home and got a new vase!

Back to school… right before it was time to pack up and send kids home, I had my second flower delivery! One of our school employees brought them down to my room and the kids once again were so excited that I had a secret admirer! The note with the flowers was from my sweet friend Anjelica!

 
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When school let out I headed straight home and came home to my room magically cleaned by someone and my dad, Morgan and Baker, and Mallory all there. Morgan and Mallory loaded me up in the car and we went to our favorite place to get nails done.

Once I got home from getting our nails done a dress was laying on my bed with a note telling me to be ready at 6:30 from my mom. I started getting ready and about 30 mins later my childhood best friend, Natalie walked into my bathroom. Natalie drove from Fairfield and sat with me as I got ready. Once I was ready, my other childhood best friend, Meagan, arrived from Dallas! During all of this a torrential downpour came, the first rain I think we had in all of August! I was told to bring a change of shoes just in case.

 
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At right around 6:30 our doorbell rang and it was Drew’s two best friends since he was a kid, Jimmy and Keaton. We got into Jimmy’s truck and he drove me to the mystery location. Thankfully the rain stopped and there was the most beautiful rainbow on our drive there. Perfect timing :)

 
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We arrived at Kiepersol, a beautiful winery just outside of Tyler. I had only been there once before with Drew earlier in the spring when we were celebrating 4 years of dating. Jimmy pulled up to the vineyard and walked me down to the row where Drew was standing at the end. I walked down, met him, he asked, and I said yes! It was so beautiful and sweet and one of the happiest moments of my life! The rain cleared up just in time for Drew to be able to propose in his planned spot under a beautiful tree in the vineyard. After he proposed, we took some pictures with our sweet friend Hannah Gill. Afterwards we sat and had a drink together with the most beautiful sunset.

 
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Photos: Hannah Gill

Photos: Hannah Gill

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We then headed back to town back to my house. When we walked in, all of our friends and family were there waiting for us to celebrate! We had food, drinks, and celebrated the long-time-coming together. It was absolutely PERFECT. Having all of the people I love most in the world all together was so special, and Drew and our families really went above and beyond in the entire proposal and party. More on the after-party coming next week!

So there it is! Our engagement was everything I hoped for and more. What I think made the day so special is how much thought Drew put into it. He made me feel so loved and special not just when he proposed, but throughout the day. Family is really important to me, so having them all be a part of the day was so sweet. It was a day I’ll never forget! I can’t wait to marry and spend every day forever with Drew Evans!

xx,

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2019 Kindergarten Classroom

Welcome to my Kindergarten classroom! I am SO excited to be back at my favorite school in Texas, teaching the best grade! I loved every minute of being Miss Texas… but still missed teaching, and that is how I know I am in the right profession! It’s hard to believe Monday morning this room will be filled with 20+ five year olds ready to start their school career! Lots of hours have been put into making this space come to life, and I’m excited to share this bright and happy space where we will grow, learn, and celebrate in with you!

I get asked often if I have a theme for my classroom… the answer is no. My goal and intention for my room was to make it as happy and colorful as possible, so here it is!

Here are a few before photos!

 
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….and the after!

This is the view from the door when you walk in. We are so lucky at my school to have HUGE classrooms that allow for a lot of room for activities and fun without being constrained by limited space.

This is the view from the door when you walk in. We are so lucky at my school to have HUGE classrooms that allow for a lot of room for activities and fun without being constrained by limited space.

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At the front of the room we have our student mail boxes, station rotations, daily objectives, and our “I’m done… now what?!” drawers for early finshers!

At the front of the room we have our student mail boxes, station rotations, daily objectives, and our “I’m done… now what?!” drawers for early finshers!

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This might be my favorite view of the whole room. This carpet will soon be a very important place for learning together!

This might be my favorite view of the whole room. This carpet will soon be a very important place for learning together!

Here we have a table for chromebooks. I was so excited that desktop computers were recently replaced by the chromebooks and decided to add vinyl dots to the table to help students stay within their own space! The semi circle table against the wall will be our iPad station where students can listen and read along to audio books as well as do educational activities and games.

Here we have a table for chromebooks. I was so excited that desktop computers were recently replaced by the chromebooks and decided to add vinyl dots to the table to help students stay within their own space! The semi circle table against the wall will be our iPad station where students can listen and read along to audio books as well as do educational activities and games.

This is our writing table. This area is so much fun to see transform throughout the year as they learn about writing, this wall fills up with anchor charts and resources to help them learn to write!

This is our writing table. This area is so much fun to see transform throughout the year as they learn about writing, this wall fills up with anchor charts and resources to help them learn to write!

Happy cubbies! Each kiddo has their own cubbie to store folders, spiral notebooks, books and headphones in. And their backpacks hang below!

Happy cubbies! Each kiddo has their own cubbie to store folders, spiral notebooks, books and headphones in. And their backpacks hang below!

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My back shelves aren’t quite complete yet, but they are coming along. Here students will come to find their table caddies with class supplies like pencils, crayons, markers, glue, etc. And the labeled boxes for station work.

My back shelves aren’t quite complete yet, but they are coming along. Here students will come to find their table caddies with class supplies like pencils, crayons, markers, glue, etc. And the labeled boxes for station work.

Our guided reading table… building future readers and leaders one day at a time!

Our guided reading table… building future readers and leaders one day at a time!

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As we learn new sight words each week students will add them to our word wall to use a resource throughout the year! We also have mini word walls that you can see peeking through in on the left window seal that they can take back to their desk to use when writing.

As we learn new sight words each week students will add them to our word wall to use a resource throughout the year! We also have mini word walls that you can see peeking through in on the left window seal that they can take back to their desk to use when writing.

Our reading corner, complete with lots of different books, comfy pillows, a little lamp, book buddy stuffed animals, and of course our class mascot, Miss Rev.

Our reading corner, complete with lots of different books, comfy pillows, a little lamp, book buddy stuffed animals, and of course our class mascot, Miss Rev.

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My cozy little desk area.

My cozy little desk area.

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My 2017-2018 babies on my wall. Can’t believe they will be in 2nd grade this year! My daily reminder that the days may be long, but the year will fly by.

My 2017-2018 babies on my wall. Can’t believe they will be in 2nd grade this year! My daily reminder that the days may be long, but the year will fly by.

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That’s it for now! Thanks for stopping by! :)

xx,

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Sprinkled with Pink in 30A

It’s no secret that I love a good girls trip! Shortly before I crowned the new Miss Texas I thought what better way to commemorate a life-changing and wonderful year than by having a girls trip to the beach with some of my Miss America sisters! So after a few weeks of planning and all states were complete, we rallied the troops together and eight of us headed to Seaside, Florida for some fun in the sun!

Turns out 4 days reunited with some of my favorite humans was exactly the post-Miss Texas treat that I needed! We had the best time laughing, catching up, eating delicious food and soaking up the sunshine at the beach together. But what made our trip even more special is that I was able to surprise the girls with the CUTEST items ever. Upon arriving to our beach house, each girl was welcomed to 30A with a customized floppy hat, beach bag, monogrammed clutch, and a personalized tumbler cup… all from Sprinkled with Pink! And let me tell you, we obsessed over it all! Kendra and the sweet ladies at Sprinkled with Pink were so thoughtful and detail oriented in creating and customizing the floppy hats to have each girl’s state title, their state initials on the clutches and names on the tumblers. I can’t even believe how cute they all turned out!

 
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We joked all week how we were practicing for our future bachelorette parties with the matching hats and bags, and now we know the perfect place for gifts to shower future brides or bridesmaids with! SWP has everything from custom floppy hats to drink pool floats, the cutest personalized jean jackets, t-shirts, drinkware and SO much more! What I love most though is the price point on SWP’s pieces. Their stuff is adorable, but doesn’t break the bank… which is usually the case when it comes to customized gifts. There are gifts for every occasion and any girl in your life, making every day feel like a party! Check out SWP on Instagram @sprinkledwithpinkshop!

THANK YOU Sprinkled with Pink for being such a special part of our beach reunion! We loved trading in our crowns for matching floppy hats this week!

xx,

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Farewell, Miss Texas 2018

 
Photo: Zac Grimaldo Photography, Hair and Makeup: Nicole West, Gown: Sherri Hill from Terry Costa and Sergio Armas

Photo: Zac Grimaldo Photography, Hair and Makeup: Nicole West, Gown: Sherri Hill from Terry Costa and Sergio Armas

 

It’s been a hot minute since my last blog post! I decided to take a bit of a break to enjoy my last couple of months being Miss Texas. My life changed in so many ways throughout the last year, and the only word I can think to sum up the entire year is: grateful. Grateful for the experiences, grateful for the people, grateful for the life I was able to live for one year. Below is my complete farewell, although there are still so many people to thank and so many things I could continue to say. I will share more later on life post-Miss Texas (it is GOOD!) but for now I want to share one final post from my dream year.


18 years ago while watching my first Miss Texas telecast at 6 years old I told my mom, “I’m going to be Miss Texas one day.”

 

14 years ago I attended my very first Miss Texas pageant.

 

13 years ago I walked across the iconic Miss Texas stage for the first time as a Lone Star Princess.

 

11 years ago I entered my very first local competition as a teen contestant.

 

9 years ago I served as Miss Texas Outstanding Teen with hopes of one day becoming Miss Texas just like my Miss Texas 2010, Ashley Melnick.

 

5 years ago I returned to compete for my childhood dream.

 

 1 year ago my life was changed for the better.

 

For the past 14 years, the Miss Texas Organization has impacted my life in more ways than I can count. Every relationship and opportunity this organization has given me has left a mark on my life, and I am forever grateful for this experience. I am not the same Madison I was one year ago. I have so many people to thank for making this past year one I will remember forever.

 Mom and Dad: It’s hard to say thank you to the two most influential people in my life. I don’t think there will ever be words to fully express the gratitude and love I have for you. Thank you for relentlessly supporting my dreams, and going above and beyond in helping make them come true. You believed from day one that I could be Miss Texas, even on days I didn’t believe myself. I love you more than you will ever know.

 Morgan, Mallory, Daniel, (and Baker!): My people! When I won Miss Texas it didn’t just change my life, but all of ours. THANK YOU for allowing me dreams to be such a big part of your life and for patiently loving and supporting me so well this year. You are the best fan club a girl could ever have. I love you to the moon.

Drew: I will never fully be able to articulate what you have meant to me this year. You have been my rock through these years, and I cannot imagine doing any of it without you by my side. Thank you for being my safe place, shoulder to cry on, advice giver, biggest hype man and cheerleader. I love you and am so excited for the future because I know you are in it.

Mimi and Grandaddy: Thank you for all of the love and support you have showered me with this year and the prayers that have covered me as I’ve traveled this great state.

Jackie: The best roomie of all time! Oh how I have loved our late nights binge watching The Kids Baking Championship, The Voice, The Bachelor… I could go on for days with our TV shows :) You have been the biggest light for me this year, and I will so miss sharing daily life with you! I can see your halooo (you truly have one!)

 Jan: We have come full circle! From your baby teen to finishing this experience as Miss Texas, I have enjoyed every moment with you. Thank you for loving this organization and always choosing to do what is best for the girls, even when it means making a hard decision. 

 Hunter: We had so much fun this year! Thank you for never failing to make me smile. Our Miss America packing and prep days were the best times that I’ll cherish always!  Love you more than all the Mexican food in the world!

 Susan: I finally got to be your girl… and what a year it has been! Thank you for keeping me busy this year, always advocating for me, and for your friendship! I love ya!

Valerie: You have taught me so much this year. Thank you for pushing me out of my comfort zone to grow and become the woman I am meant to be.

Mark: Gig ‘em Aggies! What a joy it has been to spend this year with you! You were always there offering encouragement and support when it was needed most.

Gloria: You have been such an influence in my life, not just in ventriloquism, but in being a woman of faith! We share a bond that means so much to me!

 Ilana: You are the sweetest soul and a true ray of sunshine! I loved every minute spent with you this year!

Miss Texas Board of Directors: Thank you for your selfless service to this organization! Each of you dedicates so much of your time, heart, and life to the betterment of the young women who compete, thank you. 

Miss Texas Volunteers: This organization would not exist without each of you! Thank you for investing in a program that changes the lives of girls just like mine.

Heather Sumlin: I am a better me because of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for uplifting me since I was 13 years old. You represent all that is good in this organization.

 Josh Hammers: You will forever be one of the best parts of my Miss America experience! I would not have been Miss Texas if it weren’t for you believing in me and your commitment to helping me chase this dream. I love you more than you know!

 Scott Padgett & the Miss Dallas Team: We had so much fun over the years! I’ll always be so grateful for the journey that led me to becoming Miss Texas with you! Thank you for your friendship, guidance, support and all the fun! I love y’all! 

Miss Plano Frisco Organization: You have loved me so well and adopted me as your own. Thank you for allowing me to share this experience with you as your half child!

Our Hostesses: Susan, Jackie, Melanie, Becky, Debbie, Stephanie and Stacy, I love each of you dearly! You made my 5 years of competing SO much fun. Your friendship is so special to me!

My sweet traveling companions: so many miles on the road, and I couldn’t have done it without you! Thank you for taking care of me, keeping me company, sharing snacks, stories, so many laughs, and making each appearance special and unique!

Anne, Denham, Missy, Madison, Emily & Lexi: The greatest cheering section in all of America! Thank you for being such a sweet piece of this experience for this hometown girl!

Ady: I am so glad you were my teen! It has been so much fun getting to know you and share this year with you! You are a ray of sunshine! 

London: I am so proud of you! Some of my favorite memories this year were from the summer with you! You have represented MAOTeen with class and grace.  

To my amazing sponsors: Melissa Adair, George Grubbs, Brittany Deen, Heather Sumlin, Natalie & Jordan Williams, Larissa Maner, Sergio Armas, Nicole West, Zac Grimaldo, Randy Steele, David D’Aquin, Jan Tucker, Ashley Zorn, Amin Bata, Chelsee Maxwell, Courtney LeClaire, Loren Silas, Amberly Brown, Mike & ReJana Karuse, Jeremy & Susan Ables, Nagwa Aliwa, and so many more... thank you is simply not enough! Our organization would not exist without the generosity and kindness of each of you. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for supporting an organization that helps so many women. We appreciate you so much!

 To my sweet community of Fairfield: There’s nothing quite like the support of a small town. Thank you for truly making me feel like a queen and so treasured this year. I am so proud of my hometown and to have represented the best little community on the Miss America Stage.

To the next Miss Texas: Welcome to the most amazing sisterhood! Enjoy each moment, love on others well, and take every opportunity to use this crown and title for something bigger than yourself. I’m here always!

Miss America Class of 2019: I firmly believe God chose the perfect 50 girls for me to share this experience with, and I would have it no other way. We were tested and challenged this year, but above all, our sisterhood grew stronger than ever before! I am so proud to stand among the best women I have ever known and loved.

 Above all, I thank my Lord and Savior. Without Him, none of this matters. I hope and pray I have been able to be a light and example of His love this year. His timing was perfect, it always is.

 ....and to my sweet guardian angel, Amy Jones. I couldn’t have done it without you. Love you.

This year has challenged me, matured me, and given me so much joy. The thousands of kids I met made every moment worth it. Every high five, hug, and excited little “Miss Texas!” squeal were the sweetest moments I will never forget.

It has been a long time coming. As I say goodbye to such a sweet chapter, I am filled with an overwhelming amount of gratitude for what this organization did in my life. I am in awe that I just lived out my biggest childhood dream. I have traveled across our beautiful state, met the most amazing people, competed on the Miss America stage, conquered fears, experienced life-changing moments, and will forever be honored and proud to say, “I was Miss Texas.”

 Thank you, Texas. It has truly been my greatest honor.

All my love,

Madison

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