Thursday, October 20, 2016

This Is NOT How My Story Ends


Last month was Suicide Prevention Month and this is a subject that is dear to my heart. Many of you don't know this but I've been suicidal in the past, yes…. It’s true!

Rewind to 2008, I was a married, 26 year old, mother of two boys, and a wonderful step daughter.

Sean and I were doing extremely well financially, we lived in my dream house, drove my dream cars, I bought whatever I wanted, wore all the best and most expensive clothes, and sported a gorgeous wedding ring!

I know “perfect life” right? WRONG!

If you could have taken a magnifying glass and looked into my heart…Well, you’d be nauseous. Don’t get me wrong; it did have a lot of good … juuuust buried under vanity, selfishness, arrogance, and pride…. It was like this dark, pus-infected, and rotten monster took up tent and was living in there, like a vicious tumor. Squeezing the life out of my heart, ripping out any trace of love.

Get the picture?

I really thought I could “love” anyone with writing a check, and that’s what I did. I wrote checks, lots of them. Sean and I were extremely giving people, we just loved to give! However, my motives were all wrong. I knew that in giving God would bless me, so I used it as a recipe to get more. And it worked, for a while… Money just kept coming in, and I just kept writing larger checks. I loved to give, or the feeling I felt when I gave, but I was most motivated by the “gaining” aspect of giving.

Then it happened… the worst thing that could possibly happen. In 2010 we lost it all. (That’s a whole other story in itself.)

We had done all the “right” things; we invested a lot, we saved a lot, we tithed a lot, (and a proud 25 percent) we gave extravagant offerings, we paid cash for most everything… But somehow everything was gone, and fast. In a matter of months, we lost it all…. ALL! It was hard, so hard, REALLY hard! Honestly, I don’t know how we didn’t kill each other.

Financial strain is extremely hard on a marriage. Communication, or the lack thereof, may be the number one reason for divorce, but money is number two! Anyhow, back to the story.

Have you ever noticed… Money goes, then all of the sudden everything you see has (invisible, but completely visible to you) dollar signs? Well, I had that and bad! There was a serious problem with my eyes, a tumor blocking everything in sight, replacing it with MONEY! Or more accurately, the lack of money. My eyes were focused on the things I no longer had, a constant reminder of how God no longer “Loved me.” My eyes became a vicious tool for this green monster to drown me in insecurity, inferiority, and each day nearer to suicidal thoughts.

Then to top things off, I became consumed with the thought of money. I would spend all day in bed and up all night as a result, crying about money. Afraid to live without it! So afraid, I would sob frantically in my husbands arms, for hours upon hours. My mind had become the address to yet another monster. This scary cloud, dark, malicious, surrounding my mind, like a mold growing, taking over every thought, consuming me with fear.

And for the first time in my life, I was suicidal! Yes, I was married. Yes, I had children, and yes I was a believer! But I was listening to the monsters. All I could hear was “You don't want this life where you’re homeless, living at your family’s house, you don't even have a single car! YOU HAVE NOTHING!”

Then somehow, through all the chaos…. I became pregnant!

Most people wouldn’t have been so excited, another mouth to feed and provide for…. But Sean and I were on cloud nine! We had tried to get pregnant, (before our world came crashing down) for four years we prayed for a baby girl. And even though it wasn’t our perfect timing, it was the perfect time. I was soooooo excited! Immediately I felt that the baby was indeed the baby girl we prayed for. I even had the name picked out … If the baby was a girl. There were two other “possible” names, but after everything we’d gone through … Only the name Adonai Grace would be fitting

Becoming pregnant did something to Sean and me. It was the beginning of the “monster surgery” on our hearts. As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted a daughter. I was blessed with a stepdaughter, but due to her living in California (with her mom), we only saw her three to four months out of the year. And I had my two oldest, but I didn't adopt them till they were older, so therefore, I missed out on all the “fun” years. I needed my lil girl fix, and God knew that.

The joy pregnancy brought, helped me tune back into God and drown out the interference from the monster. It was as though his tumor had been removed from my heart, and I could feel for the first time. I started to feel love, and therefore I could give love.

However, the fight wasn’t over. My eyes were still a big problem. Although I could feel in my heart again… Each time I saw “money” my heart would become open to the monster. My eyes held his key to this familiar home for him. Easy access … All I had to do was look…. then envy…. and he was in! Pulling me back, feelings resurfacing, making me angry, disappointed in God all over again. So, I had to change … And this was a conscious decision I had to make. I asked the Lord to change my eyes, to heal them, remove the “monster” to give me the power to see, rather than look. Then, very slowly, I could see what was in front of me: beauty, love, and happiness…. I had it all!

God performed surgery on my eyes, His power removed the monster blocking my sight, and finally I could see!

My children were happy, even without the luxury of a home or cars…. as long as they had us; they were happy, truly happy. I could see my husband, this dashingly, handsome man, who was passionately in love with me, no matter what! Parents in front of me, there for me, come what may, praying for us! Amazing in-laws, who were gracious enough to share their only vehicles and home with our family for TEN MONTHS!!! Praying and fasting for us, loving us unconditionally. Seeing that I had it all, and all along. My heart was ready, full of love, and now I could see all the blessings around me. I could finally “see” for the first time! That caused a ripple effect; I became thankful towards God instead of being angry. I was thankful! Very thankful, full of gratitude, and love for all that He’s done for me.

It still wasn’t over! I had to do something about the battle raging between my ears.

Sure, I felt love, I could now see the blessings surrounding me…But, that didn’t stop the monster from attacking my mind. Sucking out any good thoughts or memories, a malignant tumor spreading, bringing his friends anger, unforgiveness and self-pity. Satan, (AKA monster) like the devious snake that he is, creeps into your mind. At first, he’s not so obvious. The “thought” might sound like “ God “loves” you buuut is He gonna provide for the new baby?” Then as you allow doubt, it turns into “You’ll never be blessed again, you’ll be living with your in laws forever! God doesn’t bless you anymore.” He goes on and on, never ending… The thing is, if the monster can get us to believe some of his lies…Then we do the rest by beating ourselves up. Finally I said “ENOUGH!”

2 Corinthians 10:5 “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”

The Bible says “Take every thought captive.”

We have to know that we cannot change our lives by changing our behavior. Dealing with behavior will not change your life. For “As a man thinketh…” You have to change your way of thinking and your thought patterns if you are going to change your behavior. You change your life by changing what you think. Then, when your thinking is lined up with God’s thinking, (God’s Word) then that seals the monsters off … And they have no entrance into your life!

Monsters will try and come back, throwing accusations at you, trying to penetrate your mind and thinking, (that’s how they get their power in a person’s life). If they can get you to think evil thoughts, angry thoughts, hateful thoughts, vengeful thoughts, lustful thoughts, suicidal thoughts, and any thoughts contrary to God’s Word, they make tent. So… The Master Surgeon removed one last Monster.

I used to think you could measure the fruit of a person by looking at them… What they wore, what they drove, their house, jewelry, or children. As vain as that may sound …Let’s face it, we’re all guilty of it to some extent! Some of us more than others. But the Master Surgeon removed the monsters in my heart, eyes, and mind.

He changed me, now I can love, I can see, and I’m FREE!

What are the monsters telling you? Your situation may seem hopeless, like there is no way out, no light at the end of the tunnel … I know how it feels, and I can honestly say (with big crocodile tears pouring down my cheeks) “ I’ve been there!” The monster is telling you “It’s never gonna change!” Or maybe even “Just kill yourself and leave this all behind!” Now let me tell you something…. He’s a LIAR!!! There is a way out, there is hope and you can leave it all behind! Jesus is the way, the only way. And believe me, these monsters know that, and it scares them to death! Maybe your battle isn’t in your mind but your eyes? They’re blocking your sight? Blinding you from seeing the beauty God created you to be, but instead seeing the lies. You’re seeing your situation, a divorce, miscarriage, abuse, a death, sickness, depression, suicidal thoughts, or whatever it may be. Are the monsters preventing you from feeling love, from opening up to the greatest gift of LOVE (Jesus)?

Regardless of what your situation may be, the Master Surgeon wants to remove the monsters blocking your sight, your heart and your thoughts from the truth!

Jesus wants to be your surgeon, let Him! I did.

Sean and I made it through one of the hardest situations…With the help of a very good surgeon…I can give you his info, if you’d like?

I realized that no matter how much money I had, my husband, kids, parents, in-laws, and relatives all loved me. Besides you can have “everything” and have nothing if you don’t have Jesus. And regardless of what the monsters said, I now knew, I always had Him and He never forgot me.

Now here we are, years later and one beautiful, GIRL later…

Adonai Grace ( meaning: my Lord’s undeserved favor)

In the beautiful state of Wyoming! Mrs. International, making a difference in the lives of the youth in my community, and people everywhere, nationally and internationally. Happy, and in love. God has restored everything and more!

Had we not gone through 2010’s trials, we wouldn’t be able to be the humble, loving, and nonjudgmental, youth pastors God has called us to be. This journey helped us immensely for our calling to work with youth in Wyoming. When we moved out to Wyoming, (to the then, “Suicide Capital” in the US) 90% of our youth group had either attempted or contemplated suicide. We wouldn't have had the compassion and understanding, had we not experienced it for ourselves.

2010 might have been the worst, most “monster” filled year of my life, but I wouldn’t trade that year for anything.

I’m your Mrs. International reminding you- To choose love,


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Three Keys to Success

I come from a beautiful family where we’ve had to work our way to the top in multiple facets of life. Things haven’t always been easy - but it has made us stronger and closer.

My father moved from Colombia to Miami as a teenager and later joined the military where he met my mom. Instead of pursuing a college degree… he decided to start off working as a security guard at hotels and then later became responsible for stocking ATMs. Now, he has a phenomenal job that most couldn’t even dream of without a Masters… much less without a college degree. He worked his way up the ladder and didn’t let anything stop him.

Momma Moreno has faced cancer… a brain tumor… career change… oh and a high-maintenance daughter who loves pageantry. Her triumph over challenges is inspiring and her selfless mindset showcases her heart for the world to see.

As for me… it took me years to win my first pageant. My earthly searching for worth and validation led me to an eating disorder. Once overcoming this battle, I created True Beauty Movement. Each moment I’ve faced in my life has prepared me for this year of service as Miss International.

My reason for sharing all of this is to help you see that no matter your current circumstances… success is possible. My goal is to equip you with three keys to success so that you can draw closer and closer to your dreams.

1. Find Your Passion

What sets your heart on fire? Passion leads to purpose! We all have different things that ignite our heart and make us excited to get up in the morning. If you follow your passion, the money and success will follow.

2. Test = Testimony

The challenges and tests you have been given will become your testimony. Allow your pain to empower others and help them through what you faced. If I remained silent about what I faced in the depths of an eating disorder, no one would be able to use my story as inspiration and hope for recovery. It’s not easy but it is worth it. Whatever you’ve walked through is not in vain when you allow it to better the world around you.

3. Do The Work

You all have heard me say it time and time again… do the work. Everyone wants success but not everyone is willing to get there. If you want to reach a certain goal, look at where you need to go and create a plan of action for how to get there. Be intentional about what work you intend to do and sow the seeds of success.

By implementing these keys to success, you will watch your dreams come to pass and your character will change the world.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Tips for Eating Healthy While Traveling

Eating healthy is a challenge even while you are at home. Now imagine being busy or constantly traveling. This post if for all of the busy ladies who want to live a healthy lifestyle. Here are a few tips on how to eat healthy while traveling!

1. Keep Snacks in Your Purse
Whether it is a granola bar or a small bag of almonds keeping healthy snacks in your bag will prevent you from heading to a vending machine every time you are hungry. By keeping healthy options in reach there is less temptation to go for that candy bar or bag of chips.

2. Bring a Cooler
This tip is specific to road trips! My family and I road trip quite frequently. I even road tripped instead of flying to the pageant. Whether it is a small or large cooler, pack it with small healthy options like lunch meats and cheese or different fruits and veggies. Not only will you save money, you will save your diet as well.

3. Know Your Options
I know it is easy to go to the first place you see but, with technology these days we can find other options nearby with a few clicks! Even if you seem to be stuck with that not so healthy option, check out their menu online. Most likely there will be at least one thing with less salt or bad fat.

4. Eat Every Couple of Hours
Eating every 2-3 hours will not only keep you satisfied, but it will keep your metabolism going all day long. Drinking water all day long also keeps your body burning calories throughout the day.

Don’t let traveling or being busy keep you from staying healthy! I hope these tips will help keep you on the right track.

"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


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Just Be Held

As a mom, it's very easy to lose yourself... Sometimes the daily craziness, running around like a taxi cab, cooking, cleaning, laundry, and then everything else you do throughout the day...You remember everyone but somehow “Me” is forgotten.

I recently went through one of the most stressful times in my life. I was going through a situation that involved one of the girls in my youth group. And because I care (sometimes too much) it felt like my heart was literally breaking. Meaning, I was feeling like I was having a heart attack! No kidding, I felt like I couldn't breath, my throat felt like someone was squeezing it, choking the life out of me. It was scary! I would cry to my husband not knowing what to do.

Have you ever felt this way? Like you’re drowning?

Well first of all, you’re not alone! It's Okay, it's totally normal. Sometimes I just want to hide under a rock and just be left alone. Sounds awful but every mom feels this way from time to time. We’ve all heard it “If you don't take care of yourself, you won't be able to take care of others..Yet, most of us, seem completely incapable of doing it.

Sometimes this is the very wake up call we desperately need...

So what did I do?

First, I told my husband. Afterall he is my other half, he needs to know.

I strongly suggest you talk to your spouse about it. A) Sometimes it helps just to tell someone. And B) He has no clue you’re going through this, let him help you... This is your time to be “selfish” and to put yourself first.

Secondly, Pray

After I told Sean we sat down together and prayed, and prayed, and prayed. I cried my eyes out, and just surrendered it all to Him. Jesus tells all who are weary and burdened to come to Him for rest:

Matthew 11:28-30 The Message (MSG) 28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Then we worshiped Him.

We sat in the dark of our room, with praise and worship playing, in the presence of our Creator. Thanking Him for all that He had given us. Sometimes the greatest “medicine” is thankful therapy. So that's what we did, we gave Him praise and thanksgiving. Focusing on our blessings helps to remove the lies in your head. You are replacing the lies, with truth.

The we turned to the word.

Sean read to me the word, and little by little, I felt better. Whatever your circumstance, there is a verse, a story, a parable, something in the word that will help you get through it. Find it, what does the word say about your situation?

During my “storm” season, this song really spoke to me. It spoke to my very heart and soul. The lyrics are incredible, they reminded me know that He is holding my heart, I can trust Him, and to allow Him to just hold me.

My hope and prayer is this helps you too. If you are going through a situation, or just need peace, or rest...Give it to Him!

Hold it all together.
Everybody needs you strong.
But life hits you out of nowhere,
And barely leaves you holding on.

And when you’re tired of fighting,
Chained by your control.
There’s freedom in surrender,
Lay it down and let it go.

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away...
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held.
Your world's not falling apart, it's falling into place.
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held

Just be held, just be held

If your eyes are on the storm,
You’ll wonder if I love you still.
But if your eyes are on the cross,
You’ll know I always have and I always will.

And not a tear is wasted,
In time, you’ll understand.
I’m painting beauty with the ashes,
Your life is in My hands.

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away,
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held.
Your world's not falling apart, it's falling into place.
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held.

Just be held, just be held.

Lift your hands, lift your eyes.
In the storm is where you’ll find Me.
And where you are, I’ll hold your heart.
I’ll hold your heart.
Come to Me, find your rest.
In the arms of the God who won't let go.

Never forget that, you are in the arms of the God who won't let you go. You are never forgotten, never alone, come to Him and you will find rest.

I'm your Mrs International, reminding you- To choose love,


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Worth & Weight

For the longest time, I believed that my weight determined my worth.

If I gained weight - I was bad. If I lost weight - I was good. The vicious mindset made me proud starving myself, missing out on family dinners, and having “more will-power” than others. I felt like each thing I did to lose weight made me better and closer to being perfect. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The lies of the eating disorder were the absolute opposite of the truth.

I relied on my relationship with gravity (i.e. weight) to determine who I was as a person. I would get on the scale every morning and night… waiting for a number to tell me my worth. It was the most depressing and heart-wrenching time of my life - there was nothing glamorous about it. I was frail and had no energy. Everything that made me Amanda was stripped from my life.

Others would compliment me on my weight loss, but it was never enough. I wanted to be thinner and better. It was no way to live, thrive, or succeed.

Since my three year battle, I’ve overcome the enemies of my mind and battled the disordered thoughts as they come my way. While preparing for Miss International, I knew that the negativity might seep in… so I took precautions to make sure that I was preparing the healthy way. My body on the Miss International stage was the strongest and healthiest it’s ever been. I am beyond proud of what my body can do and what it represented. During the process, I didn’t step on the scale once because I finally understood that my worth and weight are not correlated.

Perhaps you’re facing a similar challenge with your weight or body. I know it’s challenging and hard… but I also know that it’s possible to overcome.

Remember that your worth is undeniable and non-negotiable. It does not vary depending on what the scale says. I haven’t stepped on a scale in over 2 years and I couldn’t be happier about it. If this is a step you need to take in order to take control of your life… do it. Throw. Away. The. Scale. It does not determine anything about who you are and what you have to offer.

You are so worth loving.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Friday, October 14, 2016

Love Matters

There is only one race- The HUMAN race. Then why, why are we dealing with all the racism this day and age?

Everyday we are buying into the lies... Black lives matter, blue lives matter, all lives matter…. Rainbows, hearts and Target symbols, serve as a reminder that racism still exists.

And it's not just existing, but thriving, yes, today in our society! Preying off of our differences: race, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, gender identity, disability, looks, and sex. Keeping us busy fighting, and arguing, meanwhile- He takes another life.

There is an answer, there is hope...There is one who is able to stop racism, bigotry, hate, AND all the wars...


See the problem is, there isn't enough love in our hearts. The problem lies within all of us!

If you have to look at the color of one's skin, their sex, or their sexual preference to hire them, welcome them, to give them a scholarship, to give them a raise, or to shoot them! Then there isn't enough love in your heart!

We’ve all seen the videos, "Free Hugs!" From either or Where a man holds a sign saying "free hugs." It may sounds silly at first, but it's so powerful, and so profound.

Because love is the only force powerful enough to pierce the atmosphere. The only power that can overcome any, and all differences. That's why these videos of "Free Hugs" have over 100 million views!

We are all hungry for love, for change, but we don't know how to get to that place.

But first, you have to understand how we got here... How we got to this place where the “beauty” in our differences is no longer appreciated, but feared.

There is beauty in our differences!

Everyone of us has a choice. Inside each of us... There’s this dark hall- in the depths of our minds. Leading us to this door...Inside this door, is a dark room where racism is conceived and hate is birthed.

That place is FEAR.

All of it, hate, bigotry, and racism...ALL of it is birthed from that place of fear!

We fear because somewhere, inside of us, lies insecurity. We fear because change causes us to fear.

Think about it, when we talk about bigotry, we often talk in terms of fear, for example: homophobia, and xenophobia.. Are all fears! Fear is constantly telling is that our differences are too great.

Fear is corrosive!

FEAR is the opposite of love, NOT hate. Hate is just a byproduct, a result, of fear.

Fear is the true enemy! Fear is what causes fights, kills, and starts wars... Fear binds us, it disables us, and causes us to hold back our love.

When we understand that, then we can understand that fear and love are always at war with one another!

But we all have a choice, YOU have a choice...To choose racism or to choose love!
Regardless of what society, and media is telling you. Maybe it's free hugs, prayers, writing letters, leaving encouraging Post It notes around your office. Maybe it's writing thank yous, bringing food to the police at the police station or to firemen at the firestation....We have endless opportunities all around us- To choose love. Open your eyes, see a need, and fill it. That's how it starts, it starts with YOU!

Don't let fear stop you from choosing love.

Together we are strong, together we CAN.

We are one race- The HUMAN RACE.

‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.’ Galatians 5:22-23

I'm your Mrs. International, reminding you-



Thursday, October 13, 2016

Where Are Your Thoughts?

Fear. Depression. Anxiety.


Joy. Peace. Faithfulness. Trust.

What kind of thoughts run through your mind on a daily basis? How are you letting your environment and current circumstances impact your day? Are you running from place to place in hopes of measuring up or… are you trusting that there is a unique and beautiful plan for your life?

Throughout my battles with “beauty”, I was in a battlefield all day long. I would constantly hear negativity in my head about how I’d never be thin enough, beautiful enough, or good enough for the life I’d dreamed of. There came a time in my treatment when I realized that I had become my own worst enemy and my character was compromised because of the eating disorder dominating my life. I wasn’t joyful. I never found myself at rest. I questioned everything I once found my confidence in. I didn’t trust that there was a greater plan for me. I saw the fear, depression, and anxiety and wondered if I’d ever find a way out.

Our character has to remain the same no matter what we are currently walking through. Character is who we are… and who we are is our true beauty. However, if we’re being honest, we all know that in today’s world… it’s not easy to have joy, peace, faithfulness, and trust at all times. If you find yourself dealing with fear, depression, or anxiety let’s pick up our stakes and place them in a land of beauty. Let’s make intentional movements toward living the life we were created to enjoy. I promise you that there are better days ahead and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

When the negative thoughts and pressure sets in… be intentional about refocusing to something that brings us peace and is unshakeable. Perhaps it’s the fact that you are unconditionally loved. Maybe it’s that you are a phenomenal mom/wife/friend/sister. Write down this truth! Don’t just think it… write it - say it! By shifting our mind, we are retraining it to focus on what matters most instead of what was meant for our demise.

You are not trapped in your current situation or thoughts. Whatever enemy of the mind you are facing… become your biggest supporter by removing yourself the plague is. Place your thoughts on your true beauty and becoming the best version of yourself!

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016