Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Story Of The Wasp

Walking down the beach and everything is beautiful and ideal.

The temperature is a comfortable 79 degrees Fahrenheit as I walk along the sand with my brother, Austin. From talking about upcoming family adventures and some of our favorite family memories… it’s a picturesque afternoon.


About half a mile away from our beach house, things took an unhappy turn.

He stepped on a giant wasp and the wasp was not happy about it. It got him right in the arch of his foot. Ouch is an understatement. Once he finally got it off his foot, the pain really set in. Austin is an amazing guy and in this moment my heart just ached for him. We laughed as it continued to hurt and we realized there was still a good distance until we got back to the house.

How often does this scenario become our reality? Things seem to be going well and then in all of a sudden we are struck by an unwelcomed surprise. We woke up expecting it to be a great morning and then in the blink of an eye... pain and hurt. I firmly believe that how we react to these situations really define who we are. When things are askew – can we keep our cool and move on?

I was so impressed with Austin. It hurt without a doubt – but then was able to laugh about it. I mean seriously… he stepped on a wasp… on a beach. What are the chances?

My friends and family will tell you that I often say “plot twist” when things like this come my way. I take a lot of peace knowing that… although I may not know what’s going to happen in a day… God sees it all. He gets the full perspective and I only see what’s right in front of me. I can’t get a full evaluation because I don’t see how all the pieces fit together – I’m not God, I can’t do that. However, I know our Father holds us all in His hands… and for me… there is no place I’d rather be.

Do you respond with confidence, peace, and faith? Or… do you respond out of fear, anger, anxiety? How many of us would have spent the entire afternoon bummed about the sting and allowed it to ruin the fun that could be had in the last portion of the walk?

I think our world would look very different if we responded with confidence, peace, and faith. I believe there would be significantly less disagreements, disappointments, and fear of what is next to come.

Our true beauty is able to radiate more brightly to others when we choose to laugh and trust… even when we’re stung by a wasp.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Saturday, December 3, 2016

My Trip To Idaho - Part 2

Hello Everyone. Here are the Non- Veterans Day appearances I did while in Idaho! Again, I just love this state! Everyone is so warm and welcoming. Plus, I have lots of family that still lives there and It is always nice to have some family time.

Visiting Mrs. Benson's 5th grade class was a highlight of the trip. I love working with kids. First I was able to talk a little about my program Dancing Through the Pain as well as how important music has been in my life. There were lots of little violin players in that room, which always makes me excited. After speaking, we moved on to math time . I helped the kids learn basic division by playing a matching game.

I also had the chance to see the Capitol Christmas Tree. The tree is cut down in the Payette National Forest in Idaho then transported all the way to Washington D.C.! I was lucky enough to be able to not only see the tree, but sign the canvas that keeps it protected during its transportation to the capital. The tree is huge, if you get the chance to I recommend seeing the tree when it passes through a city near you. 

I had no idea that the American Heart Association and the Big Idaho Potato were connected. Idaho potatoes are certified by the American Heart Association for being a heart healthy food. I am happy to see these organizations working together to spread heart health awareness through the state of Idaho and beyond. 

"Success is not measured by what you accomplish but by the opposition you have encountered and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds." -Orison Swett Marden

Garin Harris
Miss Teen International 2016

Friday, December 2, 2016

Pretty Is As Pretty Does

“Belle” from Beauty & The Beast, showing us what is truly “pretty” is serving others!

I thought it would be nice for my audience to get to know me better… I was recently interviewed by a young lady named Logan, and I wanted to share the interview with you. 

Logan: What are your favorite charities or organizations that you have worked with?

Priscilla: I work with National Safe Haven Alliance and Safe Haven Baby Boxes

I love working for them both. I'm so proud of what they're doing to prevent the abandonments of newborns. I also work with Impact Ministries International. They have over 50 orphanages in 15 different countries. We built three orphanages in Honduras (financially providing the money) and their organization runs them. The founders are amazing, they’ve dedicated their lives to making a difference by helping kids all around the world. My husband and I, hope to follow in their footsteps.

Logan: What made you want to get involved with these (or this) particular organization(s)?

Priscilla: I got involved with Safe Haven Baby Boxes early this year.. I was having a conversation about my ultimate dreams and goals with my pageant coach, Suzy Bootz...And I told her my dream was to put baby boxes in China to stop the current gendercide. Anyhow, that brought me to SHBB, and then I connected to National Safe Haven Alliance.

And we met Tom and Teresa Stamman (the founders of Impact Ministries International) at church. We heard about their ministry and we were moved with compassion. They became good friends of ours, and then we just started working together with them. The rest was history!

Logan: As a pageant queen, how do you feel/what is your response to recent social media pages that focus negative attention on topics like “what pageant girls REALLY look like without makeup?”
Priscilla: I feel the reason people like to “attack” pageant contestants is due to the portrayal social media has given pageants. In regards to that- Pageantry hasn’t made me any “prettier” however it has made me more confident woman. Not only in who I am, but it gave me confidence to speak up and make a difference. It’s motivated me to do more, and it's given me the platform to reach more than just my community.

Just because a woman’s been in a pageant, it doesn’t make her automatically a “natural beauty”.

Media’s told us that beauty is a number on the scale, a height, a size… But the truth is, these woman are some of the most selfless, loving, and compassionate woman, you’ll ever meet.

Being beautiful is just an added perk! Makeup didn’t make them who they are, makeup didn’t make them the compassionate and giving people they are... It just gives them an added boost of confidence, that’s all.

Logan: What do you have to say to young adults in particular about body image?

Priscilla: Your body image is a choice. If you're unhappy with your body, then you have to find a way to find the beauty in your uniqueness. Or…choose to make a change, in your diet, in exercise, or maybe just in how you see yourself. No one is perfect! There isn’t a single model, singer, or actress who is perfect, or thinks they’re perfect… In fact, many of them have eating disorders. The point is, we have to choose to be grateful for the good things we blessed with, instead of focusing on the negative. I have small lips, I wish they were bigger, but instead of focusing on that..I choose to be grateful for beautiful teeth. Because my parents couldn’t afford to buy me braces, but God gave me perfectly straight teeth. I’m so grateful!

Logan: What does “pretty is as pretty does” mean to you?
Priscilla: “You are only as pretty as your actions.”

We’ve all seen the movies where the “gorgeous” popular girls are cruel and self-absorbed. Viciously, hurting everyone.

And by the end of the movie, they’re no longer “pretty” to you…. The reason is, it’s NOT “pretty!”

That's because pretty is someone who is caring and loving, because that is what pleases our senses. Not the outward, that only lasts so long.

Beauty is vain, but a woman who is in awe of the Lord, she will be praised. Proverbs 31:30 Be a thankful person, always grateful, and the outward will project the greatest beauty.

Thank you Logan for your time and the interview. I enjoyed it very much!

I have relished in the last few months as your Mrs. International! I'm so grateful for this opportunity, and I intend to use it to the fullest.. Until next time,

I'm your Mrs International reminding you-



Thursday, December 1, 2016

Better Not Bitter

During our life, we are going to face challenge. It’s not “if” it is “when”. These challenging times are pivotal in shaping who we are and test our life in ways we never imagined. When I look at the dark times I’ve walked through… an eating disorder, the possibility of losing my mom to cancer and a brain tumor, losing my dear friend to a stroke, losing my grandmother too soon, and an unhealthy relationship… I realize that God never left my side and that they made me a better Amanda.

It would have been easy to become bitter and believe, “I guess this is it for me. Maybe I wasn’t made to something more. Do I even have a purpose?” But instead I used the challenges to make myself better and better those around me. The pain cannot go in vain… instead we have to use the pain for God’s glory and our good.

These are just a few examples of how my tests became a testimony and now serve a greater purpose. I share these to help inspire you to use your challenges for betterment instead of getting bitter.

The Eating Disorder: When I was in the depths… I never thought I’d over come this terrible disease. Instead of allowing it to take my life, I decided to grow True Beauty Movement to help cultivate positive body image and character in young women worldwide. My challenge now has impacted thousands of young women across the world and brought more glory to God than I ever imagined. The pain = purpose.

Losing Don Baker: On February 5th, 2016… I lost a man who had been on my team since I first started in pageantry 15 years ago. I didn’t know how I could prepare for Internationals without him… much less win. His stroke caused me to become truly passionate about preventing and bringing awareness to heart disease. Although he’s not with me anymore, I know he’s in heaven and smiles down on me each time I am working with the American Heart Association. His story… name… and legacy will now be heard by thousands when the EmPOWERED To Serve campaign for the American Heart Association launches in January.

Praise Jesus! Bitterness would have withheld God from blessing True Beauty and American Heart because my heart would’ve been cold.

When the storms come your way, I challenge you to look for the blessing in disguise and use your pain for purpose. Instead of sitting in self-pity… cope with the challenge and then set out on a mission to change the world. Your test will become your testimony.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

My Trip To Idaho - Part 1

Recently I had the chance to visit Idaho! I'm not sure how many of you know, but I used to be Little Miss Idaho International in 2008. I would like to thank Kimberly, the director of Idaho International Pageants for being so welcoming. She helped me stay busy during my time there. Here are a couple things I volunteered/ participated in during my time in Idaho. 

As we just celebrated Veterans Day, I did a lot of work with our Veterans. I always love hearing their stories. First, I had a radio interview with 101.9 The Bull. During the interview Katie, Miss Idaho International, and I had a chance to speak about our platforms as well as the upcoming Veterans Day Parade.

Second, I participated in the Veterans Day Parade in Boise. It was a chilly morning but it was great to meet some of the titleholders who will be competing in the Idaho International Pageant in March. Of course it is always great to see the current titleholders as well. We had such a great time in Jacksonville.

Next, I volunteered at the Warhawk Air Museum's 9th Annual Veterans Breakfast. As a student pilot, I loved being able to walk around the museum and see all of the old planes. Did you know they even have an actual piece of the Berlin Wall right there in Nampa? The breakfast was amazing and I hope I get to go back to the museum soon.

"Success is not measured by what you accomplish but by the opposition you have encountered and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds." -Orison Swett Marden

Garin Harris
Miss Teen International 2016

Friday, November 25, 2016

Open Doors

For the last two weeks I've been traveling non-stop! I got home late last night, spent some time with my kids, woke up, spent a couple hours with the family...Then off I went, on to the next trip. Sounds glamorous and all, but if I continue this route...Well, it can take a huge toll on me.

I've always been that overachiever, that has all these “personal goals” and I normally make them all….But it's what I do to myself in order to make them, and what I do to myself when I don't make them...Thats what I want to talk about!

See, I'm not perfect! I'm a work in progress. And part of that progress, is me realizing when to slow down.

This is an important lesson, regardless of your age. We all need to learn this!

First things, first- Goals don't control you! First comes God, then comes your spouse, then come your kids, AND THEN your goals and dreams.

Don't make the mistake of putting your goals before your marriage or family. Believe me, it's not fun! Don't exhaust yourself trying to force something greater by your own strength. If it's God's will, it will happen, and effortlessly! Not meaning you don't have to work at it, just you don't have to do it by the “sweat of your brow” (Gen 3:19-20) Because Jesus died and redeemed us from the curse of the law. Before Christ, everything we did, we had to work hard for. We no longer have to toil! (Malachi 3:10)

Second, pray about it! Sometimes our goals and dreams... Miiight not be the best things for us. What I mean by that is, what good is it to become “The best bartender in the world” if you're a struggling alcoholic? (That might not be the best example, but you get the point!) “For what does it prosper a man, to gain the whole world and lose his soul?” (Mark 8:36)

When we pray and we surrender our will to the will of God..He will either open doors, that no man can shut, or He will instill new dreams, desires and goal in our hearts. Goals that line up with His greater will for our lives.

Next, find a way to get your loved ones involved. Make it a “team goal”, and you'll be more likely to succeed!

Lastly, exercise your faith. Start speaking and believing it. Because you CAN do it, and you ARE worthy!! Know that God wants to give you the desires of your heart. He loves to bless His children. But you have to believe it. And it doesn't happen overnight! Don't let your faith waver, stand firm, trust that if this is from God… Then He will open the doors, and if He closes them.. Than its because He has something much better in store for you!

So you are my witnesses, I surrender my goals for my year as Mrs International over to God. If He wants for me to achieve my goal of 50 baby boxes in the US and baby boxes in China, Sudan, Belize and Honduras. Then He will have to open the door, and no one, NO ONE will be able to shut them!

Cause I'm done trying to do it by my own strength. I know God placed me in this position for a reason. So I am trusting that where God guides, He provides! And that goes for you as well! Surrender your goals and dreams over to His will, and He will direct your paths.

I'm your Mrs. International reminding you-



Thursday, November 24, 2016

Give Thanks!

When the busyness of life becomes reality, it’s easy to get swept away and miss the small things that actually mean a lot. Over the past 6 months, my life has become more and more busy. It doesn’t slow down once you win; it only speeds up! It’s a blessing and one that you must be intentional about.

At Internationals, Eddie Peterson encouraged us to write down three things each night that we are thankful for. I’ll be honest; it’s a struggle to do so. At the end of a busy day, all I want to do is lay down and zonk out. However, I’ve been trying to do this each night as I do my Bible study.

While in Africa, God blew up my heart about what I should be thankful for. Items and things I consider normal are actually a luxury and blessing. Take a look inside my notes to see three things I was thankful for during one of my nights in Africa.

1. A Safe Home
While in Soweto, I saw living conditions that nearly brought me to tears. Little girls and boys were living in one of the roughest areas. Never in my life have I experienced shacks like I saw in this township. Not all the homes had doors or even a roof that could survive a storm. It ripped my heart apart. I’ve never had to live like that… and never appreciated my small city apartment quite as much as I did when I saw the shacks.

2. Shoes

Can we all just agree that heels are not nearly as comfortable as tennis shoes? Many of the people I encountered didn’t have any shoes. None. I was standing there thinking of how my feet hurt from a week of heels and they were walking around without any protection. This moment catapulted my heart into a moment of gratitude and I felt selfish for even thinking about how my feet hurt. Shoes, painful or not, are a blessing.

3. The Job of Miss International

I always thank God for this year of service, but never to the extent I did when I was in Africa. What I saw absolutely ripped my heart apart and I couldn’t help but thank God for choosing me to serve the young women. It’s a blessing to serve them and one that still does not seem real. How is it that a small town girl who started a social media campaign in 2011 was now standing face to face with young women in Africa… telling them that they are beautiful – worthy – chosen – and capable? God is good.

Do you take time to write down what you are thankful for? With Thanksgiving among us, now is the perfect time to start your attitude of gratitude!

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016