Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Starting the New Year Positively


As an ambassador and spokesperson for the U.S. Pain Foundation, I am always trying to come up with new ideas on how to share about chronic pain! Recently I partnered with Dr. Heather Gilmore, a fellow pain warrior. We have created a new photo challenge for the month of December. It is all about going into the new year with a grateful and positive attitude, no matter how stressful the holiday season is!


The U.S. Pain foundation accepted to officially promote the challenge! By posting a picture everyday we can spread awareness about chronic pain in a fun way. While talking about illnesses, sometimes we can start to think negatively. Even though having an invisible illness is challenging, an important part of your health is staying positive and happy. No matter what bad news you may receive.

All of the graphics that you see for the photo challenge were made and designed by me. I hope you like them. I encourage all of you to join the Positivity Photo Challenge for the last few days of this month! If you have any questions let me know!

"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

Monday, December 26, 2016

Focusing on Your Best


Prior to being selected as Miss International 2016, I competed in pageants for 15 years. Transparently, I didn’t always win. I could do my personal best, but at the end of the day… the judges scored other girls higher than me. I had to learn how to be okay with that. It wasn’t easy and there were many rough nights, but I came out stronger in the long run. However… all the times I didn’t win prepared me to be the strongest Miss International I could be. I’m better because of the valleys.

I’ve learned that even though we put in the hard work, dedication, and focus… it doesn’t mean that we walk away with the crown and new job. Coming into Internationals 2016, I had to change how I viewed being my best and the definition of “success”. Instead of my ranking or scores determining if I succeeded or not, I set personal milestones. When I hit them, I had success. The milestones were 100% and within my control. Here are just a few examples:

*Interview: Share your Jesus story with the judges and be genuine. Talk about the tough things and allow God to lead the conversation.

*Fitness Wear: Get on stage (yes, that was challenging at first). Pull up through the core. Focus on health over being “skinny”

*On-Stage Question: Answer the question and give specific concrete examples.

My goals and milestones had to be measurable. I went into the competition week focused on being the best Amanda I could. Instead of comparing myself to others, I focused on lifting them up and having fun. In reality, the only person I was competing against is myself. At Internationals you are not comparatively ranked - it’s all about you being the best you!

As state pageants approach, I encourage you to set tangible goals that are measurable. Ultimately, pageants are about personal growth. The crown is just a tool to make the difference in this world that you desire. It’s not about “beating” anyone else or being “The Best.” It’s about being your best. Be the best you and trust that your heart has been prepared for whatever may come your way. Dream big and you will reach new heights!

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Priscilla and her husband Sean, delivering Christmas presents to families going through financial strain.

We were still living in Texas, it was 2010, the financial market had crashed two years prior along with our company. We slowly lost everything, our home, every “toy”, including, selling all our vehicles in hopes to make ends meet. I was working 3 part-time jobs, while Sean was working at a dumpy minimum pay job. The idea of Christmas, while being homeless, with nothing to our names, unable to buy presents- Was just heartbreaking. Sean and I, were so depressed, angry and tired, so tired. The holidays were the last thing on our minds, just one more thing to add to our stress. But we didn't have the luxury of choice, we had to find a way to have Christmas, we had three kids (at that time). Then to make matters worse, we spent our last “penny” on a plane ticket for my step daughter to spend Christmas with us. (She is from Sean’s first marriage, and therefore, we get alternating Christmas’ with her.) And for reasons unbeknownst to us, her mom decided to withhold her from us that year, knowing we didn't have the money to fight it in court. I've never seen my husband more depressed, there was nothing left to his ego, not an ounce of pride, only defeat.

It all sounds like a Hallmark Christmas movie, however in this “movie” there was no “miracle” or “angel” that swept in and saved the day. We had to find a way, so instead of paying a $680.00 bill that was due, we decided to “skip” it that month, just so we could buy presents. ( I don't recommend doing that.) Thankfully, it all worked out for us and we were able to make up that payment later.

Because of that Christmas many years ago, “Merry Christmas” means so much more to me than a greeting or a farewell. When the words “Merry Christmas” leave my lips, I am truly hoping and praying for you to have a very merry Christmas. Having gone through that painful Christmas without a home, without any vehicles, unable to afford a single present, or buy any groceries….I have a better deeper, more meaningful understanding for others going through a difficult time at Christmas. I know how difficult the holidays can be. I know the stress of a loss, ( even if it was materialistic loss) I know the feeling of guilt when you can't provide for your family during the holidays. I know how it feels to work three jobs to make ends meet. But I also know that just like my situation, your situation is temporary. You too, will overcome this trial, if you just keep believing. Afterall, the holidays are all about “believing.” Not in Santa, Elves, reindeer, presents or even Christmas miracles...But in the One who came and became flesh, who died to give you the greatest gift. And because of that gift, you have the keys to a life more abundantly.

Now I live with this permanent reminder, a compass, that guides me and fills me with compassion. And when I say “Merry Christmas,” I am wishing you the merriest of Christmas’. And I mean it, with all my heart.

Merry Christmas!

I’m your Mrs. International reminding you-

TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Winter Traveling Tips



Between family and friends and constantly changing weather, the holidays are a stressful time. So, here are a few winter travel tips to hopefully help you for the holidays!

1. Allow Extra Time
Winter weather is upon us! That mean flight delays and slower driving. For us busy girls, that also means more time traveling. So ladies, make sure to plan ahead. Allow an extra day or at least a few hours while traveling to ensure you can make appearances on time.

2. Book Ahead
Flight and hotel prices around the holidays are marked up. To stay within budget try to plan your holiday travels ahead!

3. Pack Smart
I have found myself traveling from hot and sunny Hawaii to cold and snowy Idaho. I have shared with y'all before that I already have a problem with over packing! So, my best tip for this sticky situation is layering. By bringing an assortment of different layers you can switch climates and pack less.

I hope these tips help!

"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

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Miscommunication

Miscommunication is one of the most common problems. This joke ( and I'm sorry, I don't know who wrote it) is one of my favorite examples of miscommunication:

My friend is a rather old-fashioned lady, always quite delicate and elegant, especially in language. She and her husband were planning a week's vacation in Florida, so she wrote to a particular campground and asked for a reservation.

She wanted to make sure the campground was fully equipped, but didn't know how to ask about the toilet facilities. She couldn't bring herself to write the word "toilet" in her letter. After much deliberation, she finally came up with the old-fashioned term, " bathroom commode."

But when she wrote that down, she still thought she was being too forward. So she started all over again, rewrote the entire letter and referred to the bathroom commode merely as the " B.C. " " Does the campground have its own B.C. is what she actually wrote.

Well, the campground owner wasn't old-fashioned at all and when he got the letter, he just couldn't figure out what the women was talking about. That "B.C." business really stumped him. After worrying about it for a while, he showed the letter to several campers, but they couldn't imagine what the lady meant either. So, the campground owner, finally coming to the conclusion that the lady must be asking about the location of the local Baptist Church, sat down and wrote the following reply:

Dear Madam, 
I regret, very much the delay in answering your letter, but I now take the pleasure of informing you that a B.C. is located 9 miles north of the campground, and is capable of seating 250 people at one time. It is located in a beautiful pine grove and is opened only on Sundays and Wednesdays. I admit it is quite a distance away if you are in the habit of going regularly, but no doubt you will be pleased to know that a great number of people take their lunches along and make a day of it. They usually arrive early and stay late. My daughter met her husband in the B.C.

The last time my wife and I went was six years ago, and it was so crowded we had to stand up the whole time we were there. Sometimes it is so crowded, there are 5 to a seat. It may interest you to know that right now there is a supper planed to raise money to buy more seats. They're going to hold it in the basement of the B.C. 
I would like to say it pains me very much not to be able to go more regularly, but is surely not due to lack of desire on my part. As we grow older, it seems to be more of an effort, particularly in the cold weather. 
If you decide to come down to our campground, perhaps I could go with you for the first time you go, sit with you and introduce you to all the older folks. We will be sure to have a seat up in the front where you can be seen by everyone. 
Remember we are a friendly community. 
Sincerely yours,
(The campground owner)
That is a perfect example of miscommunication. Sean and I have dealt with our share of miscommunication. We all have, but is there a person in the world whom you can always understand, and never never misunderstand? No, because it's impossible.

So the best thing to do is, ASK!

If you're unsure, just ask. Most of us don't ask because of fear, fear of what others think, or pride.

If we could just humble ourselves, and ask… 90% of our misunderstandings could be avoided.

What if the Campground Owner wrote back asking what the lady meant, instead of assuming? What if you asked your husband what he meant instead of guessing? What if you asked your co-worker why they were upset instead of reacting to your assumptions?

If we could all face our problems, humble ourselves, and communicate with one another, life would be so much easier. However, we complicate life with our fears and insecurities.

So here's my proposal, I promise to ask you, and to come to you- if I have a question, or if I'm unsure about something. Can you do the same?

I'm your Mrs International reminding-

TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Highs and Lows


I have always considered myself an optimistic person. Although not perfect, I am for the most part a very happy person. My joy comes from the Lord and following His will for my life. I appreciate the small things - whether it's a good cup of coffee, someone letting me merge on the interstate, and the smile on someone’s face when they walk into Passion City for the first time. The big things bring great memories and also means lot.

However, not every day is happy or easy. Sometimes there are lows. I want to be the kind of Miss International that people can relate to and if I were to tell you that every day-all day is flawless… I think I'd set some sort of false reality for little girls. I have no interest in that. It's about being real and the peer role model I needed when I was younger.

When I was in the depths of anxiety, depression, and an eating disorder… I would keep all of my emotions to myself. I wouldn't acknowledge the low moments because, to me at the time, I thought that meant people wouldn't like me and I wouldn't be perfect. That's a lot of pressure for a young woman to have and face everyday. I didn't want to burden people with my feelings so I would “clam” and pretend that it was all okay when I was actually crumbling to pieces on the inside. If I did acknowledge them, I did so silently and by myself. I was afraid to lay my feelings at the feet of Jesus because I didn't think I deserved His presence. This low time in life actually helped me to see that Jesus never left my side and that he desired a relationship with me. I didn't have to “pretty up” before calling on Him, I could just come as I was.

The whole process of treatment and coming to life in Jesus helped me see that I was never a burden to begin with and that I was deeply loved. People wanted to help me. I didn't have to be perfect, I just had to be me. Amanda was enough.

By avoiding feelings and emotions, to the point of being a stoic, I lost out on some beautiful moments and times in my life.

Instead of avoiding lows... I challenge you to acknowledge them and trust that it gets better. Seek council and speak out when you need help. Mental illness will tell you they don't matter and that YOU don't matter but do not believe that lie. You do matter and you have a significant calling on your life. Celebrate the highs and appreciate the lows. We don't know how beautiful the highs in life are unless we are in touch with the more challenging times. Feelings and emotions can't be avoided and doing so does not make you perfect.

We are humans and we were created to be people filled with feelings, depth, and relationships.

Perfect isn't real and real isn't perfect. The highs and lows help us see how beautiful life is.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Working With Kids



Working with kids is one of my passions in life. I love seeing them smile and hearing them laugh. Personally, I have worked in countless hospitals and schools, however new title holders may feel awkward when faced with a tiny toddler.

1. Follow the Rules
If you are in a classroom or a hospital make sure to ask the teacher or social worker/nurse what the rules are. Make sure you follow all of the basic rules and regulations. As a titleholder you are a role model. Following the rules sets a good example for the kids and makes a good impression with the staff!

2. Get On Their Level
While some kids are excited to meet a "princess", others are intimidated. If you bend down and get on their level you won't be as tall, therefore less intimidating.

3. Start With the Basics
This may sound cheesy, but start by asking basic questions to toddlers and small children. How old are you? What is your favorite color? What grade are you in? What do you want to be when you grow up? One of those questions will make a child excited. Then you can find a common subject to talk about.

"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

Thursday, December 15, 2016

I'm Far From Perfect!


I realized something this week.. Completely unbeknownst to me, I've created false expectations in my readers. And please believe me, those are NOT my intentions. So I want to start off by saying, "I'M NOT PERFECT!"

Whenever I write a blog, I write about what God is speaking to my heart. Meaning I, myself, am dealing with that issue! So I'm not saying that I've mastered it...But that "I'm a work in progress."

I know it's easy to look at any "queen" and think they're "perfect!" We set them up on this pedestal, and idolize them to an extent. But nothing could be further from the truth, we are all flawed, and imperfect human beings, with the exact same struggles and issues as you.

We all deal with insecurity, self image, and lies. Most of us have dealt with some kind of eating disorder, some kind of battle, depression, bullying, and or, suicidal thoughts. It's true! But that's why we do, what we do... To break the stereotypes, to expose the truth, and to help in someway.

But somewhere along the way, people start looking at us and seeing us as “perfect.” And we become unrelatable, and if that's the case, I'm very sorry!

I write about marriage, because I'm constantly working on my marriage. Not because my marriage is perfect! Cause let me tell you, it's NOT!

My husband and I, are married in "dog years." Meaning we are together 3 times as much, as any normal marriage. He works out of the house, AND to make matters worse, my kids are homeschooled. So our family is together 24/7. We are a different kind of family, and therefore, I have plenty to write about.

Please understand that we fight, we scream, we cry, we tantrum, and we make up, just like any other family, or marriage. We all fail, and fall short of the glory of God, but that's why we need Him.

Most people believe that because I do "good things" and because I'm Christian, that I have this ability that "heathens" don't. I mess up and fail just as much, if not more. It has absolutely nothing to do with my ability.

See scientists don't even understand how the universe is held together... But I know, that that power is God.

If you were a fly on the wall, looking in on our marriage, and looking in on a non-Christian's marriage, they'd probably sound the same. We both say mean things, we both fight, and we both act like little children arguing at times. But at the end of the day, that same force that's holding our universe together, is holding my marriage together!

My marriage works because of my faith in God, PERIOD.

It's not how much we love God, it's how much He loves us. It's not that I'm a good wife, it's that I have a good God that is sharing incredible insight and wisdom with me. It has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with the Holy Spirit inside of me.

I'm not guiding myself, I don't know everything, I don't know when to turn left or when to turn right. But because I have a compass inside of me (the Holy Spirit) that points me in the right direction, all I have to do is follow!

Because I'm not what you see in the pictures..I wear makeup, I wear fake eyelashes, I wear a push up bra, and I suck in for most pictures....I'm not a size 0 (by any means!) In fact, I was probably one of the "heavier" girls at the pageant. But by the grace of God, I wear this crown. And it's all because God placed me here. He is the ONLY reason I have a marriage, the only reason I have a beautiful family, and the only reason I have this crown.

I pray that you never see me as perfect, but as I am, a flawed human being, who by the grace of God, is here today to help guide you to the truth.

I'm your Mrs International reminding you-
TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Appearance Vs. Health


For three years… I thought that it was more important to be “skinny” than healthy. It started off as a simple diet and turned into a dark time as I battled the eating disorder.

I would lay in bed unable to get up because I had not nourished my body in a healthy way. Actually getting to prepare for 10Ks was a distant dream because I could barely get through a few miles. Yes… I lost weight, but at a much higher cost than I ever imagined. It was never enough. I always wanted to be thinner and smaller. My friends and family noticed a difference in my face because I didn’t have the “Amanda Spark” anymore that usually marked me. The appearance I had always taken confidence in… my smile… was gone and empty.

Now three years into recovery… my “Amanda Spark” is back and brighter than ever. Through faith and treatment, I realized that my healthy was more important than the size of my waist and always would be. I still deal with some of the long-lasting health impacts of an eating disorder but I’m actively pursuing a heart healthy life. I’m a runner, athlete, and overcomer.

It’s so easy to get caught up and take things to extremes. Sometimes we “just want to lose 10 pounds” but then see that we start to face anxiety when it comes to food. Those are disordered thoughts that, if not handled correctly, can take people to the darkest places. It’s a snowball effect and will slowly take over the life of it’s subject. Instead of living to enjoy life, you live to be thin. The person in an eating disorder will begin avoiding gatherings where there is food, withdraw from family and friends, and keep a secret from those who love them most. If you’re facing these situations… please, please, please reach out. You were created for more than “being thin.”

This has been my reality for 6 years. Three years in the depths and three years in recovery. Even though I was “skinny” by society’s terms… my heart was empty.

I was seeking validation and worth from the number on the scale. I know fully understand that my worth comes from the Father and that my life was worth dying for.

My weight is fully restored and I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I’m healthy… physically and mentally.

When I worried about my appearance and being “thin enough”, I found myself unhappy… unfulfilled… depressed. I found myself on the path to my death bed.

When I focused on staying healthy, I found myself… my life…. and happiness.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

How To: Blog Content


As Miss Teen, Miss, or Mrs. International, you are required to write blogs for the International Pageants Blog. Since we are so busy, it can sometimes be a struggle to continuously come up with new content. Here is my advice on how to have new content each week.

1. Advice
As a titleholder you are a role model. So many people look up to you whether you realize it or not. I love to blog about questions I am commonly asked about! I figured if I have been asked at least 5 times, more people have to have the same question.

2. Appearances
Another blog topic that I like to write about is appearances. It gives everyone a more in depth look of how you spent your time. I especially love writing when something amazing happens. For example, writing a blog entry about Nathaniel made me so excited!

3. Inspiration
Sometimes we all need inspiration. If I take the time to pray and write something inspirational, I always find it helps me in the end! That sounds funny, but it is true. Writing something inspirational ends up leading me to so many other topics to write about in the end.

I hope this helps you write some amazing content for your blogs and social media sites!

"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

Everyday We Are Faced With A Choice


“If I traveled the world, I'd be happy.”

“If I was debt free, I'd be happy.”

“If I found the man of my dreams, I'd be happy.”

“If I made a million dollars, I'd be happy.”

“If I could just get pregnant, I'd be happy.”

Each one of us has a unspoken “recipe” to “happiness.” We may not even realize it, but they're there buried and disguised in our everyday thoughts.

We spend a good percentage of the day thinking and meditating on the lies that Hollywood has presented to us. A false image of what life should look like. It has us believing that people with fast cars, fancy clothes, living in luxurious home, and eating at 5 star restaurants...THAT is happiness! But the truth is, none of those recipes will bring you happiness.

We spend most of our lives in discontentment, regardless if we are living in poverty, or if we are rich. Everyone wants to have, and be, MORE. And the discontentment keeps us focused on those lies.

But the truth is, we are creatures of adaptation, when it gets hot, we sweat. When it gets cold, we shiver...All in order to adapt to our surroundings and handle the current conditions in our life. So regardless, if you're used to driving a Ferrari or a Volkswagen Bug, you have just as much opportunity to be happy...But the choice is yours.

I've been on both sides of the coin, I've lived a life of luxury, and I've lived a life of poverty. And I will tell you, I've been unhappy and unfulfilled and I've been happy and fulfilled, on both sides. Paul says in the Word “to be content always, and in all things.” (Philippians 4:11)

Ask yourself, how much time do you spend looking in the mirror discontent with your body or looks? How much time do you spend discontent with your finances? How much time do you spend discontent with your house, your vehicles, your clothes, or your marriage?

We spend countless hours focusing and pursuing what we don't have. But today, this hour, this moment in your life, will pass...And you'll never be able to get it back. We need to realize that we have the choice to be happy regardless of our current circumstance. And that choice releases faith, which unlocks the doorway to true joy. And that is where God can move in our lives!

I'm your Mrs International reminding you-

TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Staying Organized


Many think that once you’re crowned… it’s the end… when in reality it is just the beginning. Life doesn’t slow down or stop after the competition… it actually only gets more busy.

I’ve found that stress actually causes me to be less productive. The more I am able to see my responsibilities and engagements… the less stress I have because I am crystal clear on what is expected.

On top of being Miss International and the duties that come with the job… I work full-time, run a non-profit, volunteer at Passion City Church, am in the process of planning a wedding, and mentor a number of young women. There are a lot of moving pieces but I love every moment of it. It’s easy to get stressed out when you look at a long list of events, but I’ve found a number of helpful tips to manage everything by being proactive and organized. With a little planning and prioritizing I am able to thrive in all facets of my life.

Today I’d like to share with you all some of my best practices for staying organized and thriving in everything you do.

Write It Down: There is no way to simply remember everything that needs to happen. Write it down as soon as you think of it or hear about it. At night I write down three things that must happen the next day and put it on a sticky note. Those things are done first thing in the morning and the rest comes after.

Prioritize: As much as I’d like to think I’m Superwoman and can do everything… I can’t. I try and decipher between wants and musts. With Christmas coming up… I WANT to decorate my apartment but first I MUST finish writing speeches for clients and work on an upcoming appearance.

Use A Planner: I am a huge fan of using Apple’s Calendar. My weeks are planned down to the hour with the use of this application. I also have calendars on there labeled: Miss International, True Beauty Movement, American Heart, Coaching & Consulting, Wedding, Family, and Personal. They are color coded and help me look at what is going on. I pre-schedule workouts so that I still have personal time and stay heart healthy.

What are you doing to stay organized throughout your year of service? Share your tips below so that we can all become more organized representatives!

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Packing Tips


Okay I will admit, at the beginning of my journey as Miss Teen International I was terrible at packing. I have the problem that most girls have, overpacking. Somehow I could convince myself that I need to bring a ski jacket to Hawaii... okay that is a little dramatic but you understand my point! So from one terrible packer to another, here are my top tips on packing light.

1. Make a Plan
The worst thing possible is to start throwing clothes in your suitcase. Make a plan. How many days will you be gone? What do you need for those days?

2. Stick to the Plan
Now that you have made a plan, stick to it. If you feel like you need to bring extra clothes, bring one extra outfit that goes with a pair of shoes you have already packed.

3. Basics are the Best
I like to go for basic shoes and jewelry, unless it is a really special outfit. I usually travel with a pair of nude shoes and a pair of clear ones. They tend to go with everything and allow there to be more room in my suitcase for more clothes!

4. Tote Bags
Instead of bringing a bunch of carry ons, I like to stick with my one big tote bag from Title Wear! I can fit my crown case, purse and any extra goodies in that tote bag. This makes for an easier managed load while trying to make it through the airport!

I hope these tips helped turn packing into a less stressful situation!

"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

Monday, December 12, 2016

When It Rains, It Pours



We've all heard it, "when it rains it pours!" And recently, I experienced it for myself.

Last Monday, my husband and I, were arguing non-stop, we were driving in the middle of a horrible blizzard. One of our cats ate rat poison and could possibly die, our youngest daughter, Adonai, slipped, face-planted, and hurt her baby tooth. And then, my husband got a call from a friend who was wanting to kill himself!!

It was just a terrible, horrible, no good, very BAD DAY! (Parents will get the reference.)

Have you ever had one of those?

A day where, nothing seems to go right. Where you wouldn't dare ask, "What else could go wrong!?" For fear the sky might fall on you.

That evening, fear was having a "hayday" with me. With Christmas right around the corner, and having to buy presents for all my kids... And now the added Vet bills, plus the bill of having to take Adonai to the dentist (to make sure her tooth's nerves weren't damaged when she fell and face-planted). I was honestly nervous.

Christmas can be so stressful, can I hear an "Amen!?"

So the next morning, I took Adonai to the dentist, everything was okay, thank you Lord!
And when it came time to pay, it was only $100! "Wow, okay, that's pretty amazing "

Then I went to pick up my two cats from the hospital. Both of them had to stay through the night and be treated for rat poison, (even though only one was showing signs of poison). And when it came time to pay, I thought to myself, and prayed "Lord, I don't want to pay more than $200.00." Sure enough, it was $175.00!!!

My husband's suicidal friend was doing better- Alive and well. Sean and I, resolved our differences, we made it home safely, and both of our cat's were saved!

That's incredible!! I don't know how He did it, but God made a way!

I can't tell you how many times this has happened to me, where I felt like nothing was going my way, everything was falling apart around me... Then God comes in and rescues me.

Every fear, every worry, every stress, He resolved... Even though I doubted, His grace was sufficient for me. And His grace is sufficient for you! Choose to trust, to believe and have peace, your miracle will come.

I'm your Mrs International reminding you-
TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

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.

Until…

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-

TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

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-

TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

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

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Let's Talk...Purpose


I feel like a lot of people struggle with knowing their purpose. I am a firm believer that God has a plan and a purpose for everything in life. You are reading this blog for a reason, you are in the town you live in for a reason, and the strangers that you meet are all strategically placed.

I am especially talking to the high school and college students reading this. It's okay to not know what you want to do with your life yet. As a senior in high school and a freshman in college what is the one question everyone asks? "What's your major?". At least that was my experience. Personally, I knew what I wanted to do, but some people didn't and that's okay. What I want you to realize is, just because you don't know your purpose, doesn't mean you don't have one.

There is so much pressure on my generation. Expectations are growing, and that's okay. What's not okay are the amount of people feeling inadequate because they cannot reach all of these unrealistic expectations. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. You have probably heard that a million times from adults, and it is true. Take it from a fellow teen. The bottom line is: you may not know it yet, but God has an AMAZING purpose for you! So give yourself some grace and take time to find out what you truly want to do in life. "Embrace uncertainty. Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won't have a title until much later." - Bob Goff

"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

Judgment Kills, Grace Gives Life

What does your grace meter read? 


"For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you" Matthew 7:2

When someone wrongs you, are you quick to repay the wrong, or quick to forgive?

Grace- means undeserved favor. And the truth is, none of us deserve grace! That's why it's called grace. But yet, the ultimate grace was bestowed upon on us. Why then, are we so quick to judge, or point fingers?

I watch people use social media tear one another apart, to point out the defects and flaws in the one an other. For what!?

What good can come from that?

NOTHING! That's what.

If we practiced more grace and less judgment, how different would our world be?

Christians, we are supposed to be the epitome of gracious. And yet, we are the first to throw a stone.

The very next verse in Matthew 7 says
3. "Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?"

Understanding grace is important, but that alone won't change a life unless we move from knowledge of grace, to the understanding of grace, and lastly, to the application of grace.

Are we gracious with our spouses, our children, our extended family, or with our co-workers?

It's exhausting to live in judgment, and I'm not just talking about the one judging...But also to everyone around them.

Because those around you constantly feel inadequate, and never “good enough.”

But living in grace, is living a life of freedom.

Grace is free sovereign favor to the ill-deserving.”(B.B. Warfield)

“Grace is love that cares and stoops and rescues.”(John Stott)

“[Grace] is God reaching downward to people who are in rebellion against Him.”(Jerry Bridges)

“Grace is unconditional love toward a person who does not deserve it.” (Paul Zahl)

Grace is most needed and best understood in the midst of sin, suffering, and brokenness.

We live in a world of "earning" you only get something because you've “earned” it.

In a world of "deserving" you have, because you “deserve” to have. And in a world of "merit" meaning, you are “worthy” of it.

And earning, deserving and merit, all result in judgment. That is why everyone wants (whether they know it or not) and needs grace!

Judgment kills! Only grace, makes alive.

The good news is, we can change! Practice being more gracious to the ones who deserve it the least.. In doing so, you'll not only change their lives, but you'll also change as well. Because living a life of grace liberates your mind from the mental slavery. You can now enjoy happiness, a relaxed mind, and boundless energy.

See, grace is the antidote to spiritual dis-ease, stress, anxiety, paranoia, and depression. Because in a state of grace, you know your purpose, and you can effortlessly succeed and create a life that benefits not only you, but an ever growing circle of those around you. Because grace helps you, and others thrive and survive.

I pray you enjoy the gracious life!

I'm your Mrs International, reminding you-
TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Because It's America


On my flight to Africa, I set next to a young man who spent the last six months in America. He was traveling across the states with a company and saw almost every state. The 16-hour flight began with us engaging in small talk as we spoke about our experiences and reason for travel. It was so interesting to me that he came from Africa to America just to work.

I finally built up the nerve to ask a deeper question about my thoughts. “Why did you leave everything you have to come to America?” I asked. His response was quick and simple… “Because it’s America.”

Wow. What?

I have always known that my home country has a lot to offer and inspires many with the idea of the “American Dream”. I’ve seen my family leave Colombia to travel here, but I guess it never really hit me that others would do that too. You know it’s true… you look at statistics… but here was a man who made that statistic a real life person. I was blown away at his response and belief he had in America.

I was actually in Africa during the Presidential election. I had no idea that other countries were so involved that what was going on in my home country. No matter who you voted for and where you stand, it is an honor and great responsibility for us. I was deep in the townships of Africa and even they asked me about what was going on back in America.

It blew my mind to know that so many people had their eyes on our soil and the current events. Literally, every event that I went to and spoke at… I was asked about our country – what it’s like and what’s currently happening! Again… one of those things you hear about but doesn’t seem real until you actually experience other’s care for yourself.

America is not perfect, but we are a blessed nation and one nation that must stand united through each season of our history, with liberty and justice for all. It’s inspiring to know that we have the opportunity to shape not only our citizens… but the world.

We must take this honor in a humble manor and remember that our actions and words will change the world. That’s not just a statistic or saying… that’s truth.

I am so proud to be an American.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Sunday, November 20, 2016

It's The Little Things That Matter



While in Dallas I was able to meet a special little boy’s family who opened my eyes to the things that really matter. 


Nathaniel's family saw Priscilla and I while we were in the entryway of Cooks Children's Hospital. His siblings wanted to take pictures so we gladly agreed. After fun pictures I began talking to his parents. They shared a little bit about his story, since he was in Pediatric Cardiac ICU there was no way to visit him. I told his parents I would be praying for them and said goodbye. 


Right after that, Priscilla and I went to the Build-A-Bear Workshop that is inside the hospital. We decided it would be a fun idea to make and donate an animal to one of the Little patients at the hospital. I decided to try to get my dragon to Nathaniel. I knew it would be a stretch as ICU has very strict rules about what and who goes in and out of the floor. I know this because all my experiences with my mom in hospitals.

I was so excited when I received word that Nathaniel got the dragon! His mom and I are now friends on Facebook so I keep up with his journey. This is what his mother shared with me:


I am excited that I was able to put a smile on his face. This is just one small story that shows that the little acts of kindness really do matter!



"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

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Give, Because He Gave First

Priscilla bringing hundreds of stuffed animals to kids at the Denver Children's Hospital. 

As the holidays draw nearer, I wanted to inspire you and your family to start a new tradition.

Use the holiday season to teach your kids, to give, because Christ first gave.

(1 John 4:9)

What would your kids say if you told them “You get to do something nice, anything you'd like, as long as it blesses someone else?”

And please know, this doesn't have to cost you anything! Maybe you could have them take handmade Christmas cards to the residents at a nursing home, or volunteer at a soup kitchen. Or maybe they could raise money to give to a needy child on an Angel Tree?

The point is, to teach your kids that the greatest gifts in life are free!

Because love is the greatest gift you can give.

And in teaching them this, you're teaching them the greatest lesson of all!

Society has taught us to give our kids every little thing on their wish list, AND THEN they'll be happy! However, true happiness can only be found when living a life of purpose!

Giving your kids their every wish and desire, is only teaching them a false sense of “happiness.”

With good intentions, we're teaching our kids to expect, want, and desire, materialistic things.. And that will bring you “happiness.”

To prove my point, ask them, “What did we get you for Christmas last year?” Most kids won't remember, okay, they might remember one thing... But I can assure you, they'll never forget doing something special for someone!

My husband and I had to learn this the hard way. By 2008 we had acquired a bunch of wealth, we bought whatever we wanted, all the best of the best, we had a lavish lifestyle. And yet, we weren't happy!

It wasn't until we lost everything, we were homeless, had to move in with our parents, we didn't own a vehicle. And yet, during that time, we became pregnant!!!

As crazy as it may sound, that was when we realized, that the greatest gifts in life are free! “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?” (Mark 8:36)

Now, I try to use every opportunity to teach my kids to “live a life to bless others.”

Last week, a young lady in my youth group was telling me how she had lost 100 lbs. At first I was like “That's great, I'm so proud of you!” But then I found out how she accomplished it. Apparently, both her and her roommate, had been in between jobs. They didn't have money for groceries, and they had been living off crackers for months!!

She was new to our youth group, I had to explain how our youth group worked. “If you have a need, you tell us!” No matter the need, my husband and I will try to help!”

Sometimes we have to buy them jackets, shoes, clothes, groceries, anything, anyone of them might need! We've helped pay for utilities, we've made their payments, and paid their rent...

We feed all of them every week, love on them, and mentor them. And not because we have to, because we’re not paid pastors, and we don't have supporters sending us money....It's all on our own dime. I'm not saying this to brag, but to prove a point. We might not have as much as we did in 2008, but the difference is, now we are happy, truly happy!

You see, in doing this, we too, are being blessed! AND we are teaching our kids to give back! They’re getting to witness first hand, what it means to “live a life to bless others.”

And now they get it! It might have taken a few years...But they finally get it! “If mommy and daddy choose to be frugal in this, then we can be extra giving over here!” And they get super excited about it!

My 4 year old daughter, ecstatic to bless a youth with two shopping carts worth of groceries.

There are times where our kids want something, and we remind them. “You don't need that. It's okay to “want” but it's better to appreciate what you already have.”

Now don't get me wrong, we give our kids presents at Christmas!

But there's is a way to give them gifts AND to teach them at the same time! Make it a new tradition, maybe make it a family discussion where everyone gets to help come up with ideas!

It's different for every family. Pray and ask God “How can we teach our kids, it's better to give, than to receive; and that the greatest gifts in life are free?”

As parents, it's only natural to want to give our kids their every desire, want, or dream. And that's okay. Please know that!

Just make sure that you're feeding their hearts, just as much as their desires!

Train them up, and they will grow a desire for blessing others. Then they’ll understand what real happiness feels like. You won't regret it.

I'm your Mrs International reminding you- TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Friday, November 18, 2016

A Day In The Life Of Miss International: Preparing for International Trips


I am blown away by the continuous opportunities that True Beauty Movement has and it has grown in ways I never fathomed. I never would have imagined that what started as a small idea would eventually have me travel to three different different countries in Africa. God is so faithful and truly blesses us when we follow the dreams He has placed on our heart.

Traveling Internationally is not the easiest process but it is absolutely worth it. You’re visiting with a new culture, learning different languages, and exposing yourself to things you never imagined. In my journey to South Africa to host True Beauty Workshops… I traveled by air for a total of 38 hours roundtrip and spent 10 days on the ground in the Johannesburg/Pretoria area. Preparing for this time was critical and it takes numerous hours to prepare for what will unfold during a trip like that.

I’d like to share with you some of my best tips for international travel to help better prepare your upcoming adventures.

It’s All About The Passport: This sounds like an obvious one, right? It actually takes a very long time to go through the process and to actually receive it. I’m so thankful that I’ve had mine for years now, and it made my travel easier since the process was already finished. If you're planning on growing an organization internationally and becoming Miss International, I would highly suggest starting your passport process so you are 100% ready for the job.

Find A Host Family You Trust: I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t even slightly nervous about my trips to Africa. It was a completely new area for me and I was traveling over there by myself. However, True Beauty Movement has been blessed with an amazing South Africa Representative and during my time in Johannesburg… I would be staying with her and her family. I found so much peace in knowing that I would be in good hands and supported by people who know the lay of the land so well.

Nonstop Flights Are Your Friend: When I told my parents I had the opportunity to go to Rwanda, Kenya, and South Africa… I think their jaws hit the flaw. It didn’t seem real to us. When we began to look at flights, we realized how wonderful it is to live in a city where they offer nonstop flights to certain destinations. During my first trip, we decided that a nonstop would be the best option for all of us to feel comfortable and safe.

I cannot to see where you will be lead when you walk by faith and trust the calling on your life.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

My Second Trip To Dallas


Priscilla and I were able to visit Dallas again and we kept busy! It was great to see her again, we both have been so busy with our platform work that we hadn't been in the same area until now. After arriving I went straight from the airport to the American Heart Association Headquarters. Our meeting was very productive and I have an exciting announcement that will be announced soon! 


Next, Priscilla and I headed straight to rehearsals for the Silk Threads Shimmering Lights Fashion Show to End Domestic Violence! It was great to be involved in raising money for this cause. Did you know 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experience some type of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime. To me, that number is way too high. So I joined forces with the mayor, professional athletes, Silk Threads designer Ruby Bhandari, countless other models, and influential community members to bring awareness to this prevalent cause.






The next day started with us visiting Texas Methodist Hospital. Did you know that Texas has the highest baby abandonment rate in the U.S.? Since Priscilla is an ambassador for Safe Haven Baby Boxes, we visited this hospital to talk about providing a crib by the front door so mothers are able to drop off the babies safely with no human Interaction. This makes the process easier for the mother and safer for the child. 


Next, we donated supplies to the Ronald McDonald House in Ft. Worth. They especially needed Halloween Candy for their Boo Bash that was that night! We were excited to help set up as well as meet some of the kids and their families! I'm sure they loved all of the games and collecting candy from room to room! 




Visiting Cooks Children's Hospital was amazing experience. We were able to meet children's families and take pictures. We also made and donated Build- A- Bears for some of the children in the hospital.


I am excited to see what adventures I will have next!

"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