Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Importance of Hands Only CPR

As an ambassador for the American Heart Association it is my job to teach multiple things, one being the importance of CPR! Personally, I am CPR and First Aid Certified. I spend a lot of my time working with people, especially children, you never know when something bad may happen. Would you rather feel helpless in a situation or know how to save the day? My answer to that was clear, I couldn’t stand it if something went bad on my watch. While I encourage others to take a professional class and get certified, today I am going to teach everyone a few simple tips on Hands only CPR!

The American Heart Associations teaches two steps:

1. Call 911
2. Push Hard and Fast on the Center of the Chest

Step One- While speaking on the phone with the operator make sure to stay calm and speak slowly. In scary situations we tend to talk fast and possibly skip over important details. It is crucial that you know you are doing everything you can to help. Answer all of the operators questions, giving more specific details on where you are and what is happening with the person you are caring for. Stay on the line but place the phone on speaker and on the ground or flat surface next to you. Then, proceed to step two!

Step Two- Push Hard and Fast on the center of the persons chest. Your hands should be placed one on top of the other. Use mainly the bottom part of your palm to give a harder push. You should try to complete 100-120 pushes a minute. To make that speed easier to know or follow push to the beat of the songs “Stayin Alive” or “The Imperial March” ( Darth Vader’s Theme Song ). Remember! Even Hands Only CPR could double or triple the chance on survival!

At the Miss and Teen International Pageants we were taught hands only CPR! It was great for me to have a refresher course. The pictures below are of me practicing as well as a group photo after we were taught! A big thank you goes to the nurses that helped teach us that day, we really appreciate it! I encourage everyone to do their research. You never know when you could save a life!

"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


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Abilities Expo in Boston

It is always great to attend Abilities Expos. Not only does it help me find new therapies and supplies for my mom, but you also meet so many amazing people in the process! This expo was at the Boston Convention Center. The venue was very spacious and allowed easy access for people that use wheelchairs. In this blog, I am going to highlight just a few things I was able to do during this expo.

My main job was to help the U.S. Pain Foundation with their booth. As an organization we try to connect pain patients to different resources. Expos like this one are amazing because practically everything is under one roof. From wheelchairs to other more specific non profit organizations, it is all there.

While I was there I attended a dance class run by Auti Angel from the television show Push Girls. I decided to take the class while seated in a chair. Let me tell you, it made a difference! It was very different but by the end of the class I had learned so much. She teaches a message similar to what I teach in my Dancing Through the Pain Classes. You have a purpose in life and obstacles are always overcomable!

While I was there I did some research into some wheelchairs for my mom is well. Until you talk to someone, you do not understand how much detail will go into a good wheelchair. For most full time users they will custom make the chairs for the individual's body to insure the amount of pressure will be distributed evenly. It was nice to help my mom find a chair that was lightweight and comes in many different colors. What color do you think she should choose?

I am excited to attend another Abilities Expo 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


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Perfect Love Has No Fears

There have been a few, wonderful moments in my life where someone's complimented my kids for being very well-behaved.

I wish I could say it happens all the time, buuut at least I can say "It DOES happen!"

And when they ask me "How are your kids so well behaved!?" I normally joke and say "Well, you didn't see them earlier!"

But in all honesty, if you were to ask me “How do you raise honorable, well behaved children?” Or "What is the most important thing you could teach you child?" I would without a doubt say,

"Teach them to respect God!"

As parents, we make it a point to teach our children not to play with fire, or not to touch the hot stove. To look both ways before crossing the street, or, not to play with knives....But most of us are missing the most important lesson of them all. One which brings them honor, blessings, AND protects them!

The reverent fear of God.

Did you know that we are commanded to teach our children to fear the Lord?

Deuteronomy 6:6-7
These are the commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts, impress
them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

6:13- Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name.

Yet most of us don't teach our kids the importance of having a healthy fear of our creator. Teaching our kids to think wisely, speak more honorably. And to live in a way that is righteous and more pleasing to God.

First of all, the fear of the Lord is a different kind of "fear." It's not like the fear of the Boogie Monster, instead it is the foundational key that enables respect for the One who is all powerful, who created us and who is completely holy.

It's not a reason to run from God, it a reason to run TO God. He is our protector, our creator, our loving Father.. He is so powerful, yet pure and gracious, that fearing him teaches us -parents and children, to take His commands seriously. Because the fear of the Lord awakens wisdom!

It begins with the awareness of His presence, teach your children that they can NOT run or hide from God. That HE is always there to hold us and love us. That HE omnisciently knows our thoughts, our every desire, our frustrations, and our motivations. That He sees everything with His pure and loving eyes.

When we learn to fear the Lord, we begin to hate evil, to hate pride, arrogance, and perversion. The fear of the Lord can enable us to stop addictions, to give up lying, and to quit immorality all together. Because when we begin to discover how God sees us, we will want to avoid the fleshly desires.

Secondly, the fear of the Lord is a "Fountain Of Life" this fear causes all other fears to go away! (Proverbs 14:26-27) See, God is LOVE. (1 John 4:8) And it says in the Word that perfect love (God) casts out fear. (1 John 4:18)

Walking in this truth, and understanding of who God truly is....Opens the floodgates for wisdom, honor, fruitfulness, peace, provision, and God's presence.

So the fear of God is one of the most important things you could ever teach your kids, pray over them, or seek to develop in their hearts.

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


Monday, September 26, 2016

Progress Not Perfection

I am Miss International. I’m not perfect and never will be.

It’s easy to look at someone in the media and think they have it all together. We see airbrushed photos, stunning hair and make-up, materialistic goods and wonder how we’ll measure up. In an age where social media is prevalent, we are able to see someone’s highlight reel and compare it to our daily reality. Not many people highlight their challenging times, bad hair days, and times when their laundry is everywhere. Instead, most choose to talk about the good in their life and leave out the not so pretty parts. When we compare our reality to highlight reels of others… we are most surely going to feel perplexed and unworthy. No one person has it all together - even if it seems like it on social media. Perfection isn’t real and real people aren’t perfect.

When we strive for perfection… we find ourself on an endless journey with no real destination. During my struggle with an eating disorder, I wanted to have the “perfect life” and “perfect body.” What does that even mean? I look back at my journey and think about where my eyes were set. I spent so much time trying to have it all together that I actually was tearing my life apart. I withdrew from activities I loved, stopped doing creative things, and wouldn’t talk to people. If I couldn’t do it perfectly… I wouldn’t do it. And seeing as nothing can be done “perfectly”… I didn’t do much. I was just treading water instead of moving forward.

The idea of perfection is unrealistic and unattainable. Progress, on the other hand, allows us to realize where we were… where we are… and where we are going. It’s not about having the “perfect life” or “perfect body” but we can strive to reach our personal best each day. We can celebrate the small victories and miracles then learn from the challenges face. Each day we have the opportunity to grow more and more into the person we were created to be.

No day or person is going to be “perfect”… but that doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful. Often times the most beautiful moments come from the most challenging moments. Once we recognize that it’s not about being perfect, we learn to enjoy each moment of the ride and strive for our progress toward our personal best. Reaching our fullest potential is a much better gauge of success than perfection.

What aspect of your life do you see the lies of perfectionism penetrating your mind and thoughts? Take a moment to be introspective. I would encourage you to journal about what your facing and be honest with yourself. Are you trying to live up to an unrealistic ideal?

If you are battling perfectionism, I’ve been there and I know it’s hard. I am cheering you on and believing in you. I encourage you to take it one day at a time, learn to laugh at yourself, and remember that society’s highlight reel cannot compare to the beauty your life has.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Finding Your Own Way to Give Back

Lets be honest, everyone does not have the same passions in life. Of course, I would love everyone to be a part of the specific organizations that I help and promote on a daily basis, but that is not everyones calling. God gave us all different talents and interests for a reason! Maybe you are like me and have a personal connection to someone with an illness, or have personally gone through a situation that made you stronger. Or maybe you haven’t reached those times of trials yet or you are not comfortable talking about them and let me tell you that is perfectly okay! Either way this post is all about finding how YOU can make the greatest impact.

If you have a personal connection and are comfortable speaking about it:

1.Share it! Personal stories and connections can make an impact on someone. Even if you are not at an event, if something is telling you to share you’re story, do it! I cannot tell you how many times I have been talking to a random person about chronic pain and surprise! They or someone they know has been dealing with it for years or are new to the Pain Community and need support. I know it sounds cheesy but trust you’re instinct!

Get involved! The internet is an amazing resource! Join a Facebook group, or a larger organization. There is strength in numbers, find others who are passionate about it, bond together and create change!

If you are not sure how to help:

1.Think! Did you recently see a story on the news that upset you? Or maybe a statistic online that shocked you or was just too high in you’re opinion? Go with something that gives you an emotional response. Most likely there are plenty of others who feel the same way!

2. Now that you know what you want to help with, research! My guess is that there is a local or national organization that you can be a part of.

3. Once you are a part of a group, support and promote it. Whether it is posting on Facebook, or volunteering at an event they are hosting. Little things done by multiple people can make great change. The next step would be to see if you can host or create an event of you’re own.

I hope this helps you begin you’re journey of service!

"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


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Seeds of Faith

How much time do you spend a day dreaming? Thinking about that special person, that acceptance letter to that University. Maybe it's a dream car, your dream wedding, your dream house, a vacation, or maybe even a crown??

Whether you're a child, a teen, an adult, married, or whether you have a family or not. We ALL dream!

Maybe you're not much of a dreamer, you have a couple dreams or goals...But you're more of a "worrier." You spend more time worrying about a situation or a problem at work, maybe a problem in your marriage, or with your kids, or maybe with your finances?

Or perhaps you're both!? Maybe you have both dreams, goals AND you have problems and concerns.

Regardless, all of us have some of these, or at least one of these occupying space in our minds.

We spend all this time thinking of all these dreams, goals, concerns, or problems...BUT how much time do we spend investing towards them? In other words, do you pray about it as much as you think about it??

I've been teaching this to my youth group for the last few months. I had them make "vision boards" and had them start by spending 2 minutes a day praying for their dreams and goals. The reason I do this? IT WORKS!!

You can't be a full-time "dreamer" put in part-time prayer, and expect the full "paycheck."

You want results, maybe it's marital problems, trouble with your children, maybe it's trouble with a coworker, or a problem with a "bully?" Whatever the problem, dream, goal or desire may be....I promise you this, prayer is the key, the missing link.

So how do we start? It's easy, write them down.

Next, put your faith to work. Start praying daily, and be consistent. If you miss a day or two it's ok.

Think of it this way, each prayer is a seed you're planting...In order to reap a "harvest" you must water it. Writing it down is the seed. And prayer is you watering it.

Lastly, don't get frustrated when you don't see instant results...Because you need to give time for your faith ("seed") to germinate and grow, in the same way you would your home garden.

I encourage you to try this, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Harvest time is right around the corner!

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


Monday, September 19, 2016

The Power of Sweat Equity

Everyone wants to succeed. As humans, we thrive off accomplishments and the doors they open. However… not everyone is willing to do the work it takes to succeed. It’s easy for us to look at the obstacle before us and think, “There is no way I’ll overcome that.” Maybe you’ve said to yourself, “I always wanted to become a (insert dream here), but I’m not sure I could actually do it.” The truth is that our dreams don’t work unless we do.

Our fear or lack of effort stops us in our tracks and prevents us from becoming all that we were created to be! If you have a dream placed on your heart… it’s there for a reason. Don’t let up or give up, no no. Step into your dream with confidence that it will come to fruition with the power of sweat equity.

My definition of sweat equity…the undeniable effort, toil and passion a person puts forth to reach a dream or vision.

While preparing for Miss International and growing True Beauty Movement, it would have been easy to give up. There were atleast 3 opportunities per day where I could have let up on my practice or given up faith. Instead, I worked harder and put in more sweat equity than ever before. I took every challenge that came my way and allowed it to ignite my passion and efforts. The 12 months leading up to the crown were not easy… my mom was diagnosed with a brain tumor, I left my corporate job, and suffered a severe back injury… but my sweat equity was more powerful than whatever came my way. Tangibly, I had to do things a bit different.

*I had to admit what I didn’t know. 

Sometimes asking questions can be the biggest obstacle. We become fearful that our question will seem dumb or not be understood correctly. Suzy Bootz helped me learn how to better sell myself. I had to learn how to clearly articulate who I am without feeling like I was coming across as disingenuous or arrogant. Confident humility is extremely important to me, but I only had 5 minutes with each judge and they needed to know what God was doing in my life.

*I had to be 100% transparent with my team.

I struggled with an eating disorder for three years and I knew that the enemy of my heart would be quick to try and take me down when it came to preparing for Fitness Wear. Throughout my journey to Miss International, I worked with a psychologist to make sure I was staying dedicated to recovery and strong in my personal journey. We talked about things that were hard to discuss, created plans to strengthen my recovery, and used my faith to keep me grounded. It wasn’t easy, but looking back… working with this psychologist played a key role in my success.

*I had to make sacrifices.

My heart longed to become Miss International and because of that, I was willing to do what it took to prepare for the job to the best of my abilities. I woke up earlier so I could nourish my body and get a great workout in, I spent extra time learning about myself and creating a business plan to implement if I were to win, and I sold my extra pageant clothing so that I had the resources to purchase a competition attire represented who I was and who I was dedicated to becoming. Each sacrifice was absolutely worth it, because I gained more than I ever gave up. Even had I not won, I am a better Amanda today because of what I did to prepare.

Anyone can have natural talent but when you are willing to put in the sweat equity… you will see your dreams reach new heights. Put in the work, don’t wait for your dreams to come true… make them come true. Be intentional about your time and the steps you’re taking. I believe in you.

Suggested Reading: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016