Thursday, September 29, 2016

Is Make-up Bad?


I was recently at a speaking engagement for Girls Inc. in Dothan, Alabama! During the Q&A portion a young girl raised her hand to ask her question. “Miss Amanda, if you believe that you don’t need make-up to be beautiful… why do you wear it? Is it bad?”

Fantastic question!

With a smile on my face, I went over to her table and prepared to answer her question. I knew that my words about this topic had the ability to forever impact how this young girl would define beauty for the rest of her life. Today, I want to share with you all the same answer I had for her.

As young women, we are created with innate physical beauty and true beauty that shines from within. By investing in our mind, body, and spirit we are able to become the best version of ourself and therefore radiate to others better. Often times your appearance will open doors you may not otherwise have, but your true beauty and heart is what will truly change the world. You were given the unique looks and appearance you have for a reason and there is someone in the world that needs to see your inner and outer beauty. I wear make-up because it allows me to present myself in a polished manner. Of course I feel better about myself when I am intentional about investing in every part of who I am. However, at end of the day I am just as confident with make-up as I am without it. I know that I was fearfully wonderfully made - that fact is not sold at Sephora. It’s the same for you!

Is make-up bad? No. Things cannot be bad by nature; they become bad when sin comes into the picture. Make-up is made to enhance your innate beauty… not create it. If we rely on the cosmetics to bring us complete confidence or worth, that’s when the problem starts to arise. We must know what we are physically attractive both with and without it. If we only feel pretty while wearing it, then we are saying that our value comes from a bottle or compact. We need to cultivate a generation of young women who only wear make-up to enhance their professional and polished image with the knowledge that their true beauty is the only beauty that genuinely matters.

Experiences like these will always hold a special place in my heart. To the sweet Princess who asked such a thought provoking question at just 7 years old… thank YOU for allowing me to be part of your journey.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 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

Garin

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

Garin

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,

Priscilla

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

Garin

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,

Priscilla

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

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Pain Awareness Month



September is Pain Awareness Month! As an ambassador for the U.S. Pain Foundation I couldn't be more excited! This month is when we encourage others to spread the word about chronic pain. If you experience pain please speak out. The more people that speak out, the more the government and others who do not understand will listen.

The U.S. Pain Foundation launched a new program called People With Pain Matter. I encourage you to take a look at the website if you are a caregiver, patient, or you are just curious about what we stand for! http://peoplewithpainmatter.org/ gives you easy access to share your story and your passion to let others know people with pain matter! 


Stay tuned all throughout this month to learn new information on what is happening in the Pain Community!

Garin

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Living Water


As a wife, we have one of the most amazing jobs in the world. We are entrusted to "set the mood for our home" and not just by decorating, painting, or cooking a feast of a meal...

No, I mean the "emotional mood" of the home.

Now, I'm gonna be honest, this isn't an easy task. It's so easy to get caught up in the moment, you're busy, overloaded with work and you hear your son or daughter in the other room crying. You think to yourself, "What is it now!?" You WANT to say, " Are you hurt? Are you bleeding? Does anyone need to go to the hospital? Then quit throwing a pity party!"

I get it, parenting is HARD! I wish I could say that wasn't me, that I'm NEVER (insert sarcasm) uncompassionate or unempathetic. But I can't say that...I'm human!

Compassion isn't always easy or an automatic response... And it's rarely convenient, or comfortable. However, your love should refuse to leave any doubt in the minds of your loved ones, that you don't take their burdens seriously.

Life is hard enough as it is. Full of heartbreak, failures, confusion, bad news, stress and anxiety. And the home should be a "safe haven" a place of refuge.

When someone is hurting, they thirst for any drops of mercy. And they will run towards any source of compassion to "hydrate" them.
As wives and mothers, we should be that source!

Our compassion should shout out "I care!" When they're convinced that no one else does.

That is our job!

If we pass over their pain without offering any help or lending a hearing ear, then they'll never feel welcome later when things get more serious.

Lead your heart to be available and understanding. Don't allow this world to callous your heart, to leave you dry and “heartless.”

Mothers, your voice will become your children’s inner voice. Take time to wipe their tears, to cover their shame, and allow them to share their load.

This is the most important job that we have as wives and mothers...It is crucial that our home be a spring that never runs dry. Full of mercy, compassion and empathy.

These difficult situations: heartaches, frustrations, confusion, times of brokenness.. They're an incredible opportunity for us to prove that we are a well of mercy, no matter the situation.

Be that oasis in the desert. Full of care and concern, not a dry desert with no relief for them.

And if you mess up, it's ok! That's another great opportunity. We all mess up, and it good for others to see that.

This will diffuse the lies of unrealistic expectations. It's good for our children to see us apologize. AND, it's good for our husbands as well.

Love pierces the atmosphere, and we have that power.

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

Priscilla

Friday, September 9, 2016

Unplug and Breathe


It is estimated that the average American is exposed to over 5,000 media images per day. With 24 hours per day, let’s say about 16 hours awake… that means we are roughly exposed to over 313 media images per hour. Most of these are trying to tell us what to be - how to be - when to be be. It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind and pressures of this world. We often miss out on what life is truly about and the beauty in each moment. We can find ourselves grumpy, stressed, and overwhelmed… not representing our character and true beauty.

How would our day change if we started each morning unplugged with 10 minutes of meditation? In my mind, that 10 minutes would impact my time preparing - making sure my eyeliner is straight - and walking my puppy. Waking up 10 minutes early isn’t going to make that much difference in our sleep itself. If we use those extra waking minutes to focus on our purpose, outlook, and ourself… our entire day can change. We won’t feel as drained and we are more equipped to combat whatever pressures may come our way.

You can use this newfound time to journal, do a devotional, read, or even sit on the porch and drink coffee. Notice I did not say scroll through your Facebook feed, check Instagram, or read the news. This time is about you feeling centered, relaxed, and intentionally investing in yourself so that your true beauty is able to light the world on fire.

I am very guilty of trying to pack too much into a single day, but I find that when I take just 10 minutes to focus on myself, unplug and breathe… I am able to be a much better Amanda throughout the day. It’s not being selfish; it’s allowing yourself to charge up so that you can better serve others. Without this time, you’re much more likely to run the day stressed and off kilter because your true beauty isn’t being ignited in the morning.

Today, I challenge you to unplug and breathe for just 10 minutes each morning. Do something you haven’t done in forever, write out your feelings, enjoy your coffee a bit more, and celebrate all that you are. Your beautiful heart will enjoy this time of rest and be more equipped to shine for the entire world to see.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Thursday, September 8, 2016

My Trip to Dallas

My second trip as Miss Teen International was to Dallas, Texas. We were only there for a few short days but we squeezed in as much as possible. It also was the first trip Amanda, Pricilla, and I did together!

Our first stop was at a local Boys and Girls Club! The kids loved being able to meet "princesses" but that was not the goal of our time there. We each spoke about our individual platforms; Dancing Through the Pain, Choose Love, and the True Beauty Movement! We especially emphasized loving your body and who you are. With everyone being different and having their own opinion, it is impossible to fit a "standard of beauty." You truly have to embrace who you are!


While in Dallas we had a meeting at the American Heart Association Headquarters! It was amazing to speak about how we can be as involved as we can this year. There are many programs that we will be able to be involved in and I couldn't be more excited. The night before the meeting we had dinner with a few of the ladies! Thank you for making us feel so comfortable and loved!



Amanda and I took some time to do some sightseeing and shopping. We visited Carlos Bakery and ate a few too many treats! After we were stuffed, we shopped at a few local boutiques. I even found a couple dresses for $10 each! Later that night, we went to the top of Reunion Tower to see the city lights and view the city.

Taking the tour and visiting the children at the Ronald McDonald House made my day. It was nice learning more about this amazing organization. Meeting some of those kids is a memory I will have forever. I also loved being able to meet the therapy dog and "Chief Cheer Officer" at the house. He does a great job brightening the children's lives everyday. Pricilla and I were able to go back one more time and drop off supplies that were on their Wishlist. If their is a local Ronald McDonald house near you, I encourage you to stop by or look at there website to see what items they need!



Pricilla and I were also able to take a tour and visit veterans at the Veterans Hospital in Dallas! It was amazing to meet men and women that have survived so much. I would like to thank all of them for their service. It is amazing just listening to some of their stories. I hope I will be able to visit again soon!


Overall it was a busy but amazing trip! I cannot wait to see what other adventures I will have 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

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Love Listens


I recently went through a tough situation with a young lady in my youth group. It was probably the most stressful season of my life, however, it taught me a great lesson.

I've always known that communication was important, but it wasn't till recently, that I realized the huge role it played in our everyday lives.

First of all, anyone can "communicate" but it takes a good listener - to be a great communicator.

The most important part of communication is listening. I know in my marriage, 99% of our arguments could have been avoided with a lil communication. "Had I listened to his needs" or vice versa "Had I listened to her needs..."

See, the lack of communication, miscommunication or bad communication can literally be the death of a marriage, a family, a friendship, or even a job.

We communicate daily, yet we don't work on our communication. I don't know anyone who has taken a communication "workshop" or read books on communication...Although they're out there.

Because all of us "know" how to communicate, right?

Well this young lady was so afraid to talk to her parents about her dilemma, that it literally paralyzed her. She was pregnant, and due to her fear, she was willing to give up her baby just to avoid telling her parents that she was pregnant. And it didn't matter how much I pleaded and begged her...Anything was a better than telling her parents (according to her.)

But you see, when there is an absence of true communication (listening). Or lack of kindness and patience in our communication, then the conversation is one-sided. And it is therefore, talking, not communicating.

This got me thinking, how many times have I "talked" to my kids? I too, was guilty of this.

It's really easy as a parent to talk down to our kids, even though 99% of the time, it's unintentional. Unfortunately, this type of "communication" is relational - suicide.

Eventually your child, spouse, friend or coworker will stop "communicating" with you. From there, it's only a matter of time before the relationship is buried 6 feet under.

So here is some advice for all of us... Cause let’s face it, none of us are perfect and we can all use a little help.

First of all - Listen! Make sure you are engaged in the conversation, and show that you care about their feelings.

(For parents)- Never get upset when a child entrusts you with a problem. Be honored that he or she came to you. (When my kids come to me, choosing to be open and honest...I show them grace. Depending on the situation.)

Second - Patience and kindness are the two pillars of love. If you love someone, your conversations should be led by patience and kindness.

So be patient, listen to their needs, and then kindly communicate your side, feelings and needs.

Lastly - Love pierces the atmosphere! Sow seeds of love.

The more respectful and honorable your behavior, the more trust you will reap in your relationships.

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

Priscilla

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Travel in Style


Since being crowned Miss International, I have constantly been on the go. It’s a true blessing and each day I wake up excited to see what is next. The crown and banner have a tendency to bring attention in the airport and the people I am able to meet often open doors that would otherwise be closed. Over the past month, in the airport alone, I have met two people that will be instrumental in growing True Beauty and International Pageants! I intentionally dress “snappy casual” so that I represent our system and present a professional image simultaneously. Being Miss International gets attention but being a well-equipped and professional Miss International keeps people interested.

My flights often leave first thing in the morning so the days start around 2:30AM so I have time to do my hair and make-up, take care of my puppy, and get to the airport. Planning in advance and being intentional allows me to look stylish even while hopping on a plane at 5:00am!

Wherever your adventures may take you, I’ve compiled my best guidance for traveling in style and in a way that projects all that we are at International Pageants!

1. Opt for shorts or pants over a dress

Mind you, this is coming from a complete girly-girl… dresses are not always the best option for airplanes. As a titleholder, you often travel by yourself and do not have time for checked baggage. That means you are responsible for lugging your baggage through the airport and putting it in an overhead compartment. Pants and rompers allow for more flexibility while still being modest and professional. A good test for length is placing your hands by your side and if your fingertips are the length of your outfit - you’re good to go. Also, your banner should never be longer than your outfit!

2. Wedges, wedges, wedges

I am all about a cute pair of shoes, but let’s be realistic. Do you want to walk across all the terminals with your heavy carry-on in a pair of stilettos? Wedges are easy to walk in, much more reliable and stable, and look good with a variety of outfits. I have a pair of nude Steve Madden wedges that literally go with me everywhere.

3. Think strategically for your bag

This lesson was learned the hard way. I was traveling through the Dallas airport with my crown case, purse, books, materials, and all of my clothing. My bag had to be carried on my shoulder because it didn’t fit properly on my rolling suitcase. Needless to say, I got a great workout in and my biceps look great. Look for a “personal item” (i.e. bag) that can carry multiple things and fit on top of your suitcase as you roll it! TitleWear has multiple options that fit this criteria perfectly. My TitleWear tote bag can fit my crown box, paperwork, and my purse so I can consolidate and not break my arm at the same time!

As a representative, you are a representative at all times - not just when it’s convenient! The opportunity we have to meet people across the world even at 5AM is beautiful and with intentionality we can build bridges!

I’d love to hear about some of your best resources and guidance for travel. Comment below if you’d like to share your best tips, must-haves, or ask questions!

I look forward to seeing how you travel in style!

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno 
Miss International 2016

Monday, September 5, 2016

Quilting at the Iowa State Fair

While in Iowa my family and I decided to visit the State Fair. The fair was full of events and things to do! From milking cows to riding roller coasters we had a great time as a family. As we were walking through one of the buildings I started looking at the Blue Ribbon Quilts. I had no idea how to begin to make a quilt! I was impressed by the perfectly straight seams and intricate designs.


We continued to walk around and we came to a room full of people sewing, pinning, and ironing quilts. The sign said “State Fair Sew In”. As I was reading the posters a women came up and asked if I would be interested in volunteering to sew quilts for a list of local children's charities. My immediate response was “Well, I have no idea how to make a quilt but I know the basics of sewing… What can I help with?”



I started helping by safety pinning the different layers of the quilts together. After I finished helping a few people with that, they told me to pick out a quilting kit from a huge pile. Of course, I chose the purple and blue floral themed quilt. I began sewing the main strips of fabric together to create the design of the quilt then continued with the different steps until just before they closed for the day.



Once I start a project, I am determined to finish it. The next day I went back to finish my quilt. I would like to thank all of the ladies that helped me replace my bobbin or instruct me on what my next step should be! My quilt was the 275th quilt completed! I am glad I was able to make a long lasting gift for a child in need.


"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

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Parenting Through the Eyes of Love



Parenting- “The picture of happiness.” 

A perfect family sitting around a table, eating a beautifully prepared feast- fit for a king. Everyone at the table, smiling at one another in perfect harmony. 

I know most of us would say "Unrealistic!" But is it really? 
 
First of all, I know how difficult parenting can be. As you can see in the picture above, I have my own "Brady Bunch" to prove it!

We, as parents, have to be willing to put ourselves last. Willing to give up our hobbies, maybe working out, give up time with our spouses and friends. 

AND I can't tell you how many times I've wished each of my kids came with a training manual.
However, we are entrusted with these beautiful children for just a quick season in our lives. It's here, and gone, before we know it. And when it is, you don't want to play the "I should have" game. 

● Take the time now to "invest" in your children. 

They're the best investment for your future, with guaranteed returns! 

Get to know them. Take them on a one-on-one date, and actually talk to them. What do they like, what do they want to do in life? How can you help them accomplish their goals?

● Disciple your children, teaching them in patience and kindness. 

The perfect picture of discipling is Jesus walking with his disciples. He talked to them while teaching them, walking alongside them through life experiences. 

Disciple your children, by walking alongside them, teaching them in a loving manner. 
 
● Love thinks before speaking, it filters words through a grid of truth and kindness. 

The way you speak to your children becomes their inner voice. Their spirit is more fragile than it seems, it CAN be broken.

Make sure you're getting your point across through a filter of love.

● DISCIPLINE IS LOVE! Never discipline out of anger, always discipline from a place of love.

Children need discipline, they feel loved when they are disciplined. Kids who don't experience any discipline questioned if they’re loved. 

● If you mess up, children are very forgiving. It's OK to say "I messed up, forgive me!" Children need to see us apologize!

It's good for them to see you fall down and get back up. They are a reflection of you.

● It's never too late to change. 

With love, ALL things are possible. 

I promise you, the love you have for your child is stronger than your bad habits; because love is the most powerful force on the planet! It's language is universal, and it's power, can pierce through the hardest of hearts. 

● Love can change your relationships! No matter how many times you've messed up. Don't give up!

If you have a bad relationship with your child, you CAN change that. But you must choose to BE the change. 

Lastly, change starts with you! Your "happy family" starts with you, choose love!

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

Priscilla

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Sisterhood of Pageantry

Often times pageants can be misunderstood. People think that contestants are catty toward one another, that it’s all about being “perfect”, and winning is the ultimate goal. I can tell you that my experience at Miss International couldn’t be farther from those false interpretations of “pageantry”. When I look back at my week competing for Miss International… I see true friendships and sisterhood. I see each contestant striving for her personal best while lifting others up along the way.

I am Miss International because I prepared for the job and put all my faith in the Lord… but the friendships I made during my time in Jacksonville allowed me to stay focused on my “why” and have a blast while doing so! I wanted to take some time and focus on some key moments that highlight just how true the sisterhood of pageantry and Miss International truly is.

Let’s begin with my arrival in Jacksonville. I was nervous and excited all in one. Once arriving, I noticed other young women in the entry way wearing their beautiful crown and banner. Was I nervous to talk to them at first? Uhh… yes! But I am so thankful that I walked over to them. The two young ladies I met would become some of my best friends throughout the week. We quickly began joking, discussing our travels, and planning to meet up to attend the Mrs. International Final Pageant.


Later in the week, my new best friend and I were sitting in rehearsals and honestly… I was tired. I felt a little off and began focusing on things I couldn’t control. She quickly noticed something was askew and asked what was going on. I opened up to her and she embraced me with empathy and compassion. She didn’t have to listen - she chose to listen and encourage. This would also become the phenomenal young woman that would help me get in and out of all my attire during the Final Pageant because of the quick changes and offer early morning hugs while we were getting ready for the day. Each moment of our time together, I was uplifted and encouraged. Instead of being “competitors”… we were genuine friends wanting the best for one another. We spent the entire week taking goofy photos, serving those we were around, and reminding the other that they were fully capable of fulfilling this job. I believed in her and she believed in me.

Throughout the week, I was able to take a Miss Teen contestant under my wing. As Miss International - you’re the big sister… it’s a rewarding yet intentional responsibility. This meant that during my week, I also wanted to take the time to pour into her and make sure that she felt 100%. From touching up make-up backstage, to handling minor freak out moments, and even praying together before hand… my adoptive little sister went on to become Miss Teen International 2016. Before we even knew what was unfolding, our relationship was already firm on friendship.


The final moment I want to share is one that happened right after my crowning… and one that I will never forget. Once taking my first walk as Miss International, I turned around and saw all the truly beautiful contestants I now represented. The best of the best from across the world and just moments prior I had been selected to hold the unique responsibility of making them all proud. The moment I locked eyes with the other girls, I lost it… tears were rolling down my face. I was sharing one of the most memorable moments of my life with young women that I truly valued as friends. Any one of us would have made a great Miss International and in that moment I knew I had their full support and love… this is the true meaning of sisterhood.


There are so many moments from Internationals that exhibited sisterhood and I wish I could share them all. What I can tell you is this… only one girl will take home a new job at the end of the week. However, we can all take home genuine friendships that last far longer than the year of service. Each person you encounter was given to you for a reason and that’s not an exciting responsibility to take lightly. It’s quite honestly one of the coolest things to think about. The sisterhood you make through International Pageants is true. We don’t compete against each other… we compete with each other.

To all the contestants in the Miss International 2016 Class… I hope you know how thankful I am for the love, friendship, and encouragement you all provided me with. Thank you for embracing the dorky, funny face making, Jesus loving, coffee drinking, and business nerd that I am. I love each and every one of you.


Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Friday, September 2, 2016

U.S. Pain Foundation Ambassador Summit 2016


After the pageant in Florida, I had one day at my house to pack before I headed to Maine, Dallas, and Chicago! This post is going to focus on my trip to Maine! I was invited to attend the U.S. Pain Foundation's Ambassador Summit. The summit is all about meeting new people as well as learning how to become a better ambassador. We stayed on the University of New England campus in Biddeford, Maine and it was beautiful! 



I was able to meet so many fellow caregivers and pain warriors. I believe a key part of the conference was showing that there is power in numbers. People do not understand how broad of a topic chronic pain is. It affects every task someone with chronic pain does everyday. If you have not read the spoon theory, I highly recommend that you do. It gives an inside look into how chronic pain affects a person. The U.S. Pain Foundation is launching a People with Pain Matter Campaign. Our goal is to have people share stories. The more you share, the more others know. If we all continue to post, and speak out, our voices will be heard. 



‪Dr. Ed Bilsky and Senator Hill were both key speakers at the event. Dr. Ed Bilsky serves as the Vice President for Research and Scholarship; Professor of Pharmacology, Founding Director of the Center for Excellence in the Neurosciences, and Co-Director of the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence for the Study of Pain and Sensory Function. He is a key player in the pain community, providing research and information as well as speaking out for pain patients worldwide. Senator Hill has also spoken and advocated for pain patients through her role in the government. It was an honor to meet both of them and hear them speak so passionately about our cause. 



Many other members of the pain community spoke. Some sharing personal stories like how to be a good caregiver or others giving crash courses on bills that apply to the community, and how to speak to government officials. I learned so much valuable information during the summit that I cannot wait to share and advocate for. Even though we were very busy, we squeezed in a few Dancing Through the Pain moves while overlooking the water. Overall, I am excited for what this next year will bring!


"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

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Love Honors



This is such an important subject, it is one that I am very passionate about: We need to change Hollywood's concept of men as "Lovable idiots!"

Hollywood keeps sending messages to men, women and to our children that it's OK to demasculate men. They’re deliberately trying to degrade men in a cheap attempt to make us laugh. Well, I say "NO MORE!"

First of all, the idea of "lovable idiots" is an oxymoron...Meaning- it is impossible to love someone and think of them as an idiot.

Because love believes the best in someone, because love chooses to.

If we choose to focus on our spouse's weaknesses and failures, their bad habits, hurtful words, poor decisions- We end up only hurting ourselves. You just end up getting depressed, hateful, angry, cold hearted and eventually, hardened of heart.

INSTEAD - Love focuses on the positive and not the negative.

Staying in that state of "depreciation" will only do that, depreciate our men, and you, yourself! If you stay there, it's only a matter of time before you start expressing things like, "My husband is such a jerk!" Or "I can't stand him," or maybe "I think I married the wrong person." Reflecting Hollywood's image of men.

I know, because that was me.

Growing up, society had me believing it was ok to be mean to your husband. "You're Latin, its just a part of it." You know the whole "Fiery Cuban" or "Dont mess with Latinas!" thing? We've all seen it. There are millions of hilarious vines and videos out there of this nature.

I believed the lies, and I was demasculating my husband on a daily basis. Don't get me wrong, I didn't mean to… I thought I was a loving wife, but I also thought it was "normal."

Now men, this goes for you as well...You too, can degrade your wife by staying in a state of "depreciation." This depreciation "room" in your mind is where divorces are planned, where violent fights are rehearsed, even murders are contemplated. (Sounds a bit exaggerated, however the first suspect when a wife is murdered- is the husband, and vice-versa.)

It's true. Society has us all believing marriage is a constant HELL.

Sending messages that men need to stay single as long as possible. Marriage is living with a "ball and chain" on your ankle. Marriage equals misery.. And “happiness” is being single.

And it is, if you believe the lies.

So, how do we change? Appreciation! Start by focusing on what traits or characteristics you love about your spouse? What was it about them that made you fall madly in love with them in the first place? Meditate on THESE things. The more time you spend meditating on these things, the more your appreciation for your spouse begins to increase.

It's time to think differently. It's time to let love lead your thoughts and your focus. I say "No more Hollywood!"

It's time for us to appreciate our men. It's time to stop society and Hollywood from teaching our boys to never grow up. The "Peter Pan syndrome" shift in our culture needs to change.

And I believe it starts here. If we choose to honor men, to appreciate them rather than degrading and depreciating them..It is then, and only then, that our boys will WANT to become like men. Let's honor our men, because we love them and love chooses to believe the best in them, and love focuses on the positive. And in doing so, we will change our culture. Because love IS the answer, and love never fails.

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

Priscilla

Meet my husband and my two sons- The three most important men in my life!