Wednesday, February 22, 2017

It's Okay To Ask For Help

It's disappointing that stigmas keep people from getting the help they need. I was in that position for many years; I get it. You consider asking for help… know you probably need it… yet remain silent out of fear. The enemy of our heart tells us that either people won't care or that they will judge you for “not measuring up.” It's a scary time and one that continues to drive you into depression and whatever your challenge is. That dark voice will hold you hostage until hope speaks out. Our culture has made it to where asking for help is a sign of weakness and terrible act.

For me, I was afraid that telling my parents and loved ones about the eating disorder I was facing would make them feel guilty - disappointed - and like it was their fault. I questioned if asking for help would even do anything. Would I even be able to overcome it? Would seeking help actually save me from this plague on my life? Would I ever be healthy and happy? Would my life forever be marked with an eating disorder?

It's okay to ask for help. It doesn't mean you are unworthy or broken. It means there is a sliver of hope. It means realizing that you were created for more. You have purpose and you're worth fighting for. Seeking out help is a sign of courage - not weakness. Forget the stigma around mental illness or seeking out a counselor… asking for help is worth it… and it's okay.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Growing Pains

My daughter has been having the worst growing pains. To where I have to keep kids Tylenol ready, in my nightstand along with an endless supply of Epsom salt in her bathroom. So when she wakes up screaming, I'm ready with Tylenol. I give her a salt bath and I massage her leg, until late she falls back to sleep.

In those annoying moments, where it's 2 AM, I'm exhausted and crabby, God speaks to me.

Just like my daughter Adonai Grace, my family has been experiencing "growing pains."

Ever since we moved out of our "comfort zone" in Texas, next to our friends and family, things were more difficult, but blessed! Behind every obstacle, there were blessings.

Imagine a video game, let's say Super Mario. (Cause that's what I grew up playing.) The higher the level, the more difficult it gets. Every time you defeat a level, then the obstacles become more difficult. Mario never just “hangs out” in a level, he is constantly moving forward, onto the next challenge.

As Sean and I move (literally), to the next level, we are constantly being challenged. But that's life! You can't "grow" without experiencing some "growing pains."

If you want to get the girl or guy, or you're trying to make the cut, get the scholarship, or get the promotion…. You need to take it to the next level! AND, when you experience the "growing pains" DON'T STOP! It's a good sign, your victory is coming!

Lastly, remember that nothing is impossible, the word itself says "I'm possible!"

I'm your Mrs International reminding you-


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

“You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf.” - Jon Kabat Zinn

“You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf.” - Jon Kabat Zinn

I really enjoy writing my thoughts on inspirational quotes. Reading or hearing inspirational quotes always helps me feel motivated and ready to conquer the world! I recently used this caption under one of my surfing vacation photos and I got an overwhelming response of compliments and positive reactions from it. So, I decided to share my thoughts on it with you today.

This quote means that life has it’s challenges. Most of which you cannot control however, you can learn to cope. Having the job of Miss Teen International is not easy. You are constantly traveling and doing something. In my opinion one of the best qualities a titleholder can have is flexibility.

Travel plans change and can be interrupted. TV interviews are not planned and as a titleholder you need to be flexible and be able to adapt to any situation you are thrown in. In other words you need to learn to surf! The easiest way to do this is practice. I have lots of girl asking me how you become comfortable talking and speaking to anyone. My answer is always throw yourself into uncomfortable situations. If you are nervous speaking in front of large crowds, practice. If speaking with adults scares you, go lobby or have your teachers or parents work friends interview you.

Remember though, you have to learn how to swim before you learn to surf. Do not be hard on yourself, it really does take time! Happy surfing!

"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

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Valentine's Day Message to All Women

When I was a teenager, I dreamed about Valentine’s Day and the hope that a guy would pursue me on February 14th. I imagined this perfect day where I woke up to coffee delivered at my front door, flowers, balloons, and the most handsome guy in the world. He’d greet me with a kiss and sweet words that expressed his love for me. I built up this perfect scenario and now… all I needed was a guy to do it!

Can anyone else relate to that? 

As I grew older… I found myself, more often than not, spending Valentine’s Day as a single girl and just wishing for the perfect man. He seemed so far away and I was starting to wonder if he was even out there. I wondered if there was something wrong with me. I found myself thinking, “Maybe I’m not pretty enough, smart enough, or even lovable…” Granted, I was still young… but I questioned if there was a man out there that was specifically designed just for me. I had been through a lot and was unsure if someone could love me as I was… I was unsure if I could love me as I was.

There was a season of life where I found my value in whether or not I was dating and being pursued. There’s nothing wrong with being pursued by a pure heart - in fact, that’s what men should do. However, as women… we cannot find our value or worth in another person’s willingness to pursue - opinions - or thoughts. I began praying that God would heal my heart and that I would find my worth and value in Christ alone. God was faithful to fulfill His promises and I began to see my heart mend. I was no long desperate to be loved in a relationship, I knew I already was. I was running toward Jesus with everything I had.

Shortly after my heart had been stirred in the best ways about relationships, I began to pray for my future husband. I didn’t know who he was or where he was… but I trusted that he was a living breathing person and that God saw him. I prayed for his relationship with Christ, that God would prepare him to lead our family one day, that he’d find joy in each day, that he’d be fruitful in his workplace, and many other facets of his life… I loved him so much and I hadn’t even met him yet. I pulled way from any toxic friendships or relationships and just waited for my future husband. Some nights I would look into the sky and wonder if he was looking up at the sky at the exact moment. I knew where my value came from and I knew that no other relationship could validate me. I had to understand that I was beautiful - treasured - and enough… exactly how I was. Every Valentine’s Day was forever different because I realized I had already received the greatest act of love - Christ. His life, death, and resurrection is better than any coffee delivery or Valentine’s Day card.

Once my heart grasped onto that truth, God began doing what only He can do and gave me the man I had been praying for. God used my season of singleness to prepare my heart to be the kind of God-honoring woman, wife, and mom I was called to be and deeply desired to be. I would not be as firm in my value without the many seasons God has walked me through - the eating disorder, pure happiness, heartbreak, health challenges, singleness… each one was so beautiful for different reasons and so intentionally designed.

Whether you’re single, dating, engaged, or married… I want you to know that you are beautiful and fiercely treasured. This Valentine’s Day, let’s celebrate loving ourself and those that have been placed in our life. Our beauty is not more or less true based on someone’s ability to love and see it. Of course it’s nice to have acts of love expressed… but we have to love ourself before we can unconditionally love others and accept love.

If you’re challenged during a season of singleness, remember that it doesn’t define you. You are treasured, loved, and beautiful with or without a man. I encourage you to begin praying for and writing letters to your future husband. He’s out there and it’s a beautiful thing to wait for him.

If you’re happily dating - engaged - or married, remember that your status doesn’t define you either. It’s amazing to have someone pursue your heart, but let’s first find our beauty and value within ourselves… allowing us to better love our significant others and the world.

I pray that you all have a wonderful day - filled with unconditional love from yourself, chocolate, and the best cup of coffee you’ve ever had! You are treasured.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Have You Been Planted?

At some point in my life, I believe in Kindergarten, (when I was first bullied) I became insecure. I felt alone, out-casted and I began to believe the lies, and feel unaccepted. My parents never knew about it, I didn't tell them cause A.) I had no idea I had become insecure. And B.) I was too embarrassed to tell them. Therefore, they weren't able to give me that extra security and affirmation, I desperately needed.

There are several types of insecure people, the ones who show it, (Theyre normally pretty obvious.) and there’s the ones who DON'T show it. And those are the tough ones to spot out, because they pretend to be super confident….However inside it’s a different story. That was me.

I remember looking at my older sister, (who battled her own “demons”) and wishing I was “pretty” like her. I didn't like myself growing up, I was a bit awkward looking as a child. I didn't know how to tame my hair, how to dress, (although I thought I did) nor how to tweeze, apparently.. But I had this false sense of security that I would project. And it worked, I don't know how it did, but it did...At least I think it did, cause no one ever called me out on it. That is until a friend of mine discovered my facade, and I'm so glad she did. I was oblivious to the fact that I was doing it. Please don't judge me, I'm being totally vulnerable here. But I was THAT girl. Yup...The one who would see another pretty girl and dissect her to find any and every flaw! YUCK! Sounds horrifying!

But many women do it, and live their entire lives NEVER even realizing that they’re doing it. I just happen to be one of the lucky ones, cause I realized it at an early age. Many aren’t so lucky, and unfortunately, it only gets worse with age.

For me it got bad, really bad. I was married at the age of 18 to my “highschool sweetheart” and quickly found out he was addicted to pornography. That played a whole role in nurturing my insecurity until it progressed into a full grown “monster!” By the age of 22, I was divorced (A good thing) and that’s when the healing process began.

I’m so grateful that I had a friend, and true friend, brave enough to call me out my “ugly green monster” causing me to examine myself and change.

But it makes me wonder, how many woman go through their entire lives without ever realizing they themselves are harboring an ugly green monster? Living with insecurity, low self esteem and ultimately without joy. Its an awful life to live.

I see it all the time. Now it’s easy for me to spot it in others, I can sense it a mile away. And honestly, I choose to love those people through it but it’s hard! It’s hard to love people who are constantly “competing” with you, or trying to “bring you down to their level”. But If you don’t compete with anyone, no one can compete with you!

Think about it, if nothing can affect you..No matter how mean, heartless, cruel or evil the lies, may be....Then the one’s saying it will never be able to “compete” with you, you’re untouchable! You see, confidence isn’t walking into a room thinking you're better than everyone, prettier, or having to have all eyes on you. Confidence is not having to compare yourself, not needing to be the best, or not caring if anyone is looking.

Those years of insecurity in my adolescence were hard, ugly and plain dark...But I learned so much from them, and I’m so grateful to have gone through them,

“Sometimes when you are in a dark place, you think you’ve been buried, but you’ve actually been planted” ~~Christine Caine

So now I ask you, have you been planted?

I’m your Mrs International reminding you-



Thursday, February 9, 2017

"It's Kinda Fun to Do the Impossible" - Walt Disney

A very wise man once said:

“It's kinda fun to do the impossible”- Walt Disney 

And quite honestly, I agree with him. I hope this post serves as some type of inspiration for you. I recently saw this quote and it made me think about what I had accomplished. Most people are their worst critic, and for me this couldn't ring more true. I have spent so many days thinking about what I need to do to be better and have struggled to realize what I had already accomplished. To my fellow overachievers- this does not mean you are bragging about yourself, you can give yourself some credit for what you have done. I understand this may be difficult because I have struggled with it myself.

So, take a moment to grab a pen and paper… perfect, now we are all on the same page. Follow these steps with me, we are going to make a web:

1. Write Your Name in the Middle in a circle

2. Write three words you would use to describe yourself (that branch off)

3. Now ask yourself why you chose those words... (keep adding branches)

4. How old are you? What is something you have accomplished during those years?

( New Branches) descriptive

5. How many people have you been able to help/touch? How have you done so?

(New Branches)

6. Now write something you want to accomplish that you think is impossible…

7. Put your pen down… and think for a minute

8. Look back at all you have done

9. Realize that the impossible thing actually isn't that far fetched ( Why?! because you are amazing like that )

10. Do one thing RIGHT NOW that will help you reach that “Impossible” Goal

Look at what you have already done today! It’s pretty cool what we can do in just 24 hours. I hope this has served as some kind of inspiration for you! Remember things aren't really as impossible as they seem.

Example Below! Please make your own Webs and share them with me on social media using #intlpageants and #missteenintlgoalweb

"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

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Remembering Brad Deaton

It still seems surreal that I am even writing this.

On January 25th, Earth lost an amazing person and Heaven gained my dear friend Brad Deaton. His life was dedicated to bettering others and bringing them joy. Although it is painful loss on Earth… it’s a great gain for Heaven. I want to use today to celebrate all that he did for my life, the world, and International Pageants.

In 2015, Brad judged the Miss & Miss Teen International pageant. He selected the beautiful Jules Fletcher and Elise Banks - two ladies who represented our sisterhood so well. Brad brought them joy in interview and celebrated their victory at the Coronation Ball. There’s no doubt that he as a light and helped these women set the tone for their year.

Months after he served as a judge, I reached out to him to seek assistance in preparing for Miss International. I knew nothing about him except that he knew more than I did and would know how to prepare my skill set and mind for 2016 Internationals. I sent him a message and received a quick and loving response. He immediately took me under his wing as a client and friend. We would exchanged multiple text messages each day. In every message, there was an uplifting message or encouraging word. Brad and I coined the term “Ready For The Job” or #RFTJ. We joked multiple times about egg-whites and the funny aspects of pageants. When either one of us was down - we’d encourage one another in our walks with the Lord.

Brad was a huge part of me becoming Miss International 2016. I couldn’t have done it without him. He was an angel and blessing. It pains me to know that I’ll never hear his kind remarks, snappy comebacks, hysterical jokes, and life stories with his beautiful Mom - Anita. I would do anything for one more call about life or tight embrace.

Although the world may never again get to experience his life this side of Heaven… I truly hope that he knows how much I love him and appreciate his heart. I hope that his energy lives through me and that I have the impact on someone’s life that he had on mine.

International Pageants has been blessed in more than one way by Bradley Reynolds Deaton. We are a better family, program, and organization because of his impact. I know that seeing his photo on our blogs would bring him so much joy - and he’d humbly say that it was all me… but Brad and I both know that it was God’s blessing. God worked through Brad and the various people that helped me get this job, He may not have been Miss International… but he was the “man behind the crown”.

We will never forget you, Brad.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016