Sunday, October 30, 2016

Moments of Victory

In August, I celebrated three years of pursuing recovery from an eating disorder. 

It has not always been easy but it has always been worth it. This past week… I realized that because of the illness I faced… I was missing out on one of my biggest passions and favorite activities.

Prior to the eating disorder, I loved to create. Things didn’t have to be perfect so I enjoyed expressing myself through different mediums of art. My favorites were painting and baking different treats for friends in family. Over time, these activities began bringing me extreme anxiety because my crafts weren't “perfect” and being around food made me nervous.

This week… I began painting and baking again. I truly forgot how much I loved doing these things. I painted a large sign for an upcoming party and created Rice Krispie treats dipped in chocolate as favors. These small things made me realize how far I’ve come in recovery and how thankful I am that life is mine to enjoy again. I get to enjoy small moments and big ones for all the days to come.

How much do we miss out on things in life because they aren’t perfect or because it brings us anxiety? We look at whatever is before us and quit before we even start because we believe there’s no way we could accomplish or overcome what is before us? If you’re in a battlefield of the mind… I know it’s challenging and scary but there is a way out.

When the temptations and fear comes in like a roaring storm, trust that there is hope and that there will be a day when you realize that you overcame what you thought would kill you.

There will be a moment when you look back at where you were and you can truly say in your heart, “Victory is mine.”

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Saturday, October 29, 2016

How to Get Involved with U.S. Pain



I have been asked by a few people about the U.S. Pain Foundation and how they can become involved. As an ambassador and spokesperson for the Foundation I would love to have as many of you involved as possible. Here are a few simple ways you can help those with chronic pain.
One of the main missions at the U.S. Pain Foundation is trying to get our voice heard. Chronic pain affects a majority of the population however, it is never talked about. So many people are unaware of these diseases that are sometimes invisible. By making or sharing a simple Facebook post or tweet, you can make a difference. The more people who know about chronic pain the more they will understand how this affects every aspect of people's daily tasks

If you or someone you know has chronic pain or you feel passionate about consistently advocating for those with chronic pain you can apply to become an ambassador. The Pain Foundation has made it very simple, now there is an application online! It may take sometime for your application to be processed, however it is worth it. Being an ambassador has allowed me to reach over 100,0000 people via social media and in person!

I love the pain community, and would love to see you become a part of it 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

Friday, October 28, 2016

Safe Haven



Most people don't know this about my father, it's not exactly something he likes to share freely. But when his mother was late into her pregnancy with him, she tied to have an abortion, a self induced abortion!

Obviously, it didn't work or I wouldn't be writing this..

But as awful as that may sound, that is very common in third world countries such as Cuba. I remember hearing about a lady in India that drowned 8 newborn girls shortly after their birth, solely because they weren't boys. She was never prosecuted, not so much as a slap on the wrist, NOTHING! That hurts me, it hurts my every being. And that is why I am so passionate about the Safe Haven Law, or Baby Moses Law.

These laws provides parents of newborns a safe place to surrender their baby with complete anonymity. Safe Haven Law provides No Shame, No Blame, No Names.

Now, some might find that offensive, but these babies will otherwise be abandoned, probably in a dumpster and more than likely die as a result. In fact over 200 babies die in this awful manner IN THE US every year!! Yes, it happens here in our own backyard.

Building baby boxes in third world countries is something Sean and I have been working towards for years now. As most of you know, we built three orphanages in Honduras and after we are through with our mission in WY, we have plans to go to China to build baby boxes as well as a place for the babies that are surrendered. Working with Safe Haven is literally a dream come true for us!

The Baby Boxes have been very successful in 3rd world countries and it is our belief that the reason it is, is because it takes the face to face interaction out of the surrender. These women love their children and they want to do what's best for the child, but they don't want to have their faces seen. The baby boxes takes the face to face interaction out of the surrender and protects the mother from being seen.

There are many locations where one can surrender a baby without a baby box, it does not HAVE to be in a box. Any police department, fire station or hospital is considered a Safe Haven. Sharing this info is crucial.

The first two Safe Haven baby boxes were opened to the public a week ago at two Indiana fire stations. These boxes have a heating and cooling unit, and are equipped with ADT trips, so emergency personnel will be notified within 30 seconds that there is a newborn placed in the box.

Since most don't know about the Safe Haven Law, babies are still being abandoned and dying in the US. Its up to you and me to spread the word.

Please help us in spreading the word, together we CAN stop the abandonments of babies!

I'm your Mrs International reminding you-

TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Thursday, October 27, 2016

When Halloween Isn't Easy


When you are facing a challenging relationship with food… Halloween is not easy. You so deeply want to be able to enjoy the sweets and holiday, but your disordered thoughts will tell you that just one piece will make you gain weight. For many years, I was in this battle. I missed out on countless Halloween parties and Trick-or-Treating opportunities because I believed all the lies.

With October 31st right around the corner, my heart goes out to all those who may have similar thoughts. Maybe you’re on a diet and find yourself thinking the same thing. As an eating disorder survivor, I can promise you… and this is evidence based… a few pieces of candy will not impact your weight. However - letting memories fly by because of your mental illness will impact your life.

During this time, I also struggled with finding a costume that allowed me to feel comfortable in my body. With costumes covering less and less, I felt cornered. How could I dress up modestly and not feel like I wanted to crawl out of my skin because it was fitted? Most have no idea the vicious thoughts that plague those dealing with negative body image. However, I know they are there and I know they are able to be overcome.

Intentionally planning and preparing for the mental battlefield that comes with Halloween will allow you to enjoy each moment and leave your disordered thoughts at home.

Use these tips to make the most of your Halloween no matter how you’re feeling about your body!

1. Don’t Stress The Costume

Most fabrics for costumes are not the most flattering. Don’t let this prevent you from having an amazing night. Make your own costume from what you already have and dress your body in away you feel comfortable.

2. Make A Plan

Disordered thoughts are likely to come during this night. Instead of walking into the night blind, have a point of contact you feel comfortable speaking to if something negative arises.

3. Involve Yourself In Activities Other Than Food

Corn mazes, pumpkin carving, and scary movies are great options that can help ease stress during this time.

4. Enjoy The Candy

One piece of candy will not change your weight. During treatment, I learned this the hard way. My nutritionist and I worked to make sure that I would be intentional about having a few pieces and truly enjoying the taste.

5. Leave If Necessary

I know this night can get hard - and if the severity reaches an unmanageable level… there is nothing wrong with leaving early. Halloween will come back around next year and you will be even stronger. It’s better to leave eating disorder free than push yourself to stay and end up using symptoms.

These strategies and tips will help you enjoy the holiday and take one step closer to overcoming the disordered thoughts!

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

My Trip to New York!


I have always wanted to visit New York City and now thanks to International Pageants I was able to! Here is a little bit about my trip to New York!


The first day I arrived I was able to tour around and look at different parts of the city one of them being Times Square! I was able to check one of the items of my bucket list. I have played the violin since I was 18 months old and always wanted to play in Times Square so, my friend and I played duets for a few minutes. It was great to have someone with me while I was playing!


After that I spent the next couple of days modeling at the International Bridal Market! It is always so fun to try on different dresses.


Of course I had to make time to see the 9/11 memorial. If you ever are able to go to New York it is a must see. You can feel the emotion in the air. It is an amazing experience.

I cannot wait to see what adventures I 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

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Love In Politics


As the presidential election draws nearer, and emotions seem to heighten... Before friendships, and marriages are destroyed, and before you start looking for a realtor, or a new babysitter...Let me just remind you all, WE CAN DISAGREE IN A LOVING WAY.

Yes, its is possible to remain friends with someone who you don't politically agree with. However, if that is a subject in which you can’t step away from laughing and equally enjoying a person, then I must encourage you not to debate in politics.

Whether you are pro-choice, or pro-life, for traditional marriage or same-sex marriage. Or whether you are for Target or boycotting it.

There is one thing we can all agree on: Love is the answer! If love conquers all, which it does...Then it can certainly conquer a disagreement.

So, the real question is, do you love your relationship more than the disagreement? Is that disagreement more important to you than your friendship or relationship?

If you choose the relationship or friendship over the disagreement, than I commend you! And I can assure you, you made the right decision. Love is always the right decision!

Friends don't HAVE to agree on everything, and yes, even Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram friends can lovingly- disagree.

It IS okay to disagree and still remain friends... However it’s a conscience decision, in other words, it's up to you, you choose!

I can assure you, we all have that one friend who seems to be outspoken, and sorta, in-your-face about his or her views. And that's okay, as long as you resist the urge to argue till you’re blue in the face.

You're never going to see eye to eye about everything, with everyone.. Just accept it. Once you accept that, it's so much easier to just love your friends or acquaintances, "faults" and all.

We are all adults, and a friendship is more valuable than a vote for your "guy, or gal!"

I choose love!

So, I promise to love you, regardless of your political views, whatever they may be. I hope you can choose to do the same.

I’m your Mrs. International, reminding you-

TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Monday, October 24, 2016

My Mom Is An Overcomer


In 2005… my family was rocked to the core when Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.

I was just 12 years old at the time and I remember exactly how she told me. We were in the living room. She was on the couch when she looked at me and said, “I have some news for you. I have breast cancer. We’re going to be okay and I’ll start treatment soon.” I gave her a hug and told her I loved her before returning to the computer to tell my friend what I just learned. At such a young age, I was entirely unaware how much our life as Team Moreno was about to change.

Dad and I would often find mom trying to rest on the couch, but I didn’t fully understand until I found her hair that had fallen out. This sight made it real and it finally hit me that I could lose my mom.

Momma went through 8 rounds of chemotherapy, a lumpectomy and 30 days of radiation. This process was beyond challenging on her body, but she never once gave up or doubted that she would live. I will never forget my mom laughing and smiling while at the hospital, through doctor appointments, or when she was playing with her wig. Dad and I even named her “Eggy” because her head resembled an egg - we learned to laugh through the pain and struggle.

My mom is a warrior and truly the most amazing woman I have ever met. Being her daughter is a blessing. She’ll never know how much I appreciate everything that she is and ever has been.

When I was born, Momma Moreno gave up her dream job as a band director to be a stay at home mom. She poured so much into me from a very young age and even homeschooled me until second grade. As a pre-teen I became interested in pageants and she made my first dress. My dream to become a pageant representative became her dream too. She did everything within her power to help me become who God created me to be. Sacrifice after sacrifice, she has radiated God’s love my entire life. I would be not be who I am without her unfailing love, guidance and support.

She’s a wife, mom, grandma to Walt, teacher, mentor, overcomer and above all… my hero.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This terrible disease is is the most common cancer among women worldwide and the second-most common cancer overall.

Through fundraising events, education, and research support… we are making strides to end breast cancer. Together… we will honor and celebrate all those who have fought or been impacted by breast cancer.

Mom - I pray that I can be even half the wife, woman, and mom you are. I love you to the moon and back.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

How to Book Appearances & Community Service Events


As a Teen title holder I understand the struggle to find appearances and community service opportunities. Teenagers are typically labeled as immature by strangers who do not know them. In some past experiences I have found it hard to book appearances based on my age, here are some things that may help you book appearances in the future.
1. Make a connection in that field! For example if you want to work with nursing homes, start out by finding one that is willing to work with you. Once you get your foot in the door and develop a relationship with the employees they will be willing to vouch for you if you keep your commitments. Then, when you try to branch out to other nursing homes you can use the first one as a reference! If they know you have worked with one nursing home successfully, they will be more than willing to let you work with their residents if their schedule allows.
2. Go straight to the business. I always try to set up appearances by emailing or calling. However, sometimes people do not respond and your email may be lost in a sea of countless other people looking to do the same thing. If you can, try to go to the business during typical hours to meet the person you have been trying to contact in person. If you show that you are mature and confident enough to talk in person, you will be on there radar, no matter what your age.
3. This is a simple tip but, show up on time and look presentable. When I am teaching my Dancing Through the Pain classes I like to be ten minutes early. This allows me to set everything up as well as meet and talk to the “students.” Also looking presentable does not always mean a dress and heels! I could not teach in a short dress and stilettos, as long as you feel you outfit represents you and your organization well, you are presentable!
I hope these tips help you book countless appearances in the future!

"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

Thursday, October 20, 2016

This Is NOT How My Story Ends

you-have-the-power.jpg

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

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

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

I know “perfect life” right? WRONG!

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

Get the picture?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bible says “Take every thought captive.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Priscilla

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Three Keys to Success


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

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

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

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

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

1. Find Your Passion

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

2. Test = Testimony

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

3. Do The Work

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

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

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Tips for Eating Healthy While Traveling

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Success is not measured by what you accomplish but by the opposition you have encountered and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds." -Orison Swett Marden

Garin

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Just Be Held

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

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

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

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

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

So what did I do?

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

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

Secondly, Pray

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

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

Then we worshiped Him.

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

The we turned to the word.

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

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

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIZitK6_IMQ

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

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

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

Just be held, just be held

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

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

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

Just be held, just be held.

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

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

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

Priscilla

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Worth & Weight


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You are so worth loving.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Friday, October 14, 2016

Love Matters


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

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

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

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

LOVE!

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


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

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

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

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

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

There is beauty in our differences!

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

That place is FEAR.

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

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

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

Fear is corrosive!

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


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

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

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

Don't let fear stop you from choosing love.

Together we are strong, together we CAN.

We are one race- The HUMAN RACE.

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

I'm your Mrs. International, reminding you-

TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Where Are Your Thoughts?


Fear. Depression. Anxiety.

vs.

Joy. Peace. Faithfulness. Trust.

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

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

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

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

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

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

How To Survive High Heels


I get this question all of the time: “Garin, How in the world can you wear those tall heels all of the time, don’t your feet hurt?!” The answer is yes, sometimes they do. However here are three tips on how I keep my feet surviving longer than the average person!

1. Foot Pads
You can get gel or fabric foot pad inserts at just about any drug store. I have found that the clear gel inserts work the best for day to day use. If you need more temporary comfort the tan slip on fabric pads work well. Make sure to wear these only with shoes that can disguise them (they are a little more bulky than normal inserts)!

2. Break in Your Heels
If you have time, take preventative measures. Having shoes that are well broken in will save your feet and mind during pageant week. Your feet will thank you because you have built up a “stamina” and now the shoes will form to your feet. You will walk into pageant week feeling confident. Tripping and falling on stage are fears that every pageant contestant has. You can walk in with your mind at ease if your house has been your runway for the past couple of months!


3. Epsom Salt
Soaking your feet in Epsom Salt after a long day in heels will help tremendously. Not only will it reduce swelling the warm water will help the soreness. Plus taking a nice warm bath at the end of the day is a great way to relax!

"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, October 12, 2016

Above All Else - Guard Your Heart



Working with the American Heart Association has taught me so much...I've learned that making a few, simple, lifestyle changes you can prevent heart disease and stroke. Eating healthy, working out, quitting smoking habits, eating less sugar and salt, lowering your cholesterol and maintaining your blood pressure- All ways to maintain a healthy heart.

But what about your stress?

Did you know that 90-95% of all illnesses are due to stress? Even the U.S. Federal Government, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), says on their website that 90 percent of all illness and disease is related to stress.

•Have you ever reacted to someone or to a situation and asked yourself “Why did I just snap, and react like that?” The answer- You're stressed.

•Have you become hardened of heart or unempathetic, to where you're not affected by others feelings or their pain?

•Does it seem easy for you to be rude, or abrasive towards others?

•Does you live in a constant “fight or flight mode?”

•Are you overworked, or not getting enough sleep?

•Maybe you’re dealing with fear or uncertainty about your weight, your looks, maybe your clothes?

• Are you constantly worried, or live in fear due to financial obligations?

•Maybe you've gone through a traumatic event, or just have fear of the “unknown.”

•Have you been severely hurt by someone and harbor feelings of unforgiveness?

Any one of these can cause stress in your life, which ultimately can lead to a heart condition: Hardening of your heart, heartlessness, a broken heart, a lost heart, or worse- Heart disease or stroke.

King Solomon - Was considered to be the wisest man, wrote 3 books in the bible and over 3,000 Proverbs full of wisdom. And he said this, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23
What he was saying is this, Most importantly, or more important than anything- Take care of your heart! As in, TOP PRIORITY!! Why? Because it is the source of everything you do!

Your heart is what overflows into thoughts, actions, words, feelings, emotions, stress!

See King Solomon got it, he wrote that because he understood that our hearts are constantly under attack. He was warning us that enemy will use anything, and everything, to attack our hearts because they're extremely valuable!

So how do we heal our hearts?

Feed it. Spend time meditating. I do this by reading the Bible and praying. I focus on the things that I'm thankful for, and that spirit of thankfulness brings joy and the fear disappears. “Put on a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness “ Isaiah 61:3

Do something that brings you joy. We need to find time for ourselves. Maybe it's getting a massage, a mani-pedi, or hanging out with friends. Take on a hobby like running, horseback riding, adult coloring books, knitting, blogging. The point is to detach from your worries, work, housework and reconnect with your heart.

Spend time with your loved ones, and I mean quality time! Enjoying one another, laughing WITHOUT discussing problems or your stresses at work.

These are all great suggestions, and maybe they'll work well for you. BUT there is no ONE recipe, no ONE way of getting rid of your stress.. The best advice is to pray about it.


Ask the Lord to reveal to you the source of your stress and them give it to Him. He will give you an answer, and He will give you a way to find peace.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

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

Priscilla

The 7/11 Rule


We’ve all heard the saying, “You never have a second chance to make a first impression.” This reigns true whether you’re interviewing for a corporate job or on the Miss International stage!

Research shows that within the first seven seconds of meeting someone… they will make 11 impressions of you.

Education Level
Economic Level
Perceived Credibility, Believability, Competence and Honesty
Trustworthiness
Level of Sophistication
Orientation
Level of Success
Political Background
Religious Background
Ethnic Background
Social / Professional Desirability

These impressions will leave a long lasting impact. People may not remember specifically what you said or did but they will remember how comfortable they are with you. Often times the small encounters you have will become doors that create opportunities in the future! It’s up to you to prepare yourself for those initial seven seconds and leave the impression you want. How do we do that? We prepare intentionally. Use these three strategies to ensure your next initial seven seconds with someone leaves them wanting more!

*See What Others See

We live in a selfie generation and it comes in handy when trying to see what others see when they look at us. Before I go to an appearance, business meeting, or speak with sponsors I always take a photo in front of a full length mirror. This helps me see if there are any wrinkles in my look or if I need to blend out my contour a bit more.

*Use the Person’s Name

This suggestion is golden for making a person feel like they are the only one in the room! It shows that you actually listened when they spoke and that you care. Additionally, it will help you remember their name once you leave due to the power of repetition! The conversation could look like this:

Person: “Hi, my name is Jane Doe.”

You: “It’s nice to meet you, Jane! I’m Amanda.”

*Smile

I know it sounds “cheesy”, no pun intended, but your smile has power and can change the entire first encounter with someone. Even if you’re listening, try to smile with your mouth closed to show you are engaged in the conversation or intentionally listening. It makes you relatable and approachable!

What impressions will you make during the first seven seconds you have with someone new? Will your eleven be what you hope? Implement these new strategies and watch your interpersonal skills reach new heights!

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Modeling at the VOW


I had a great time modeling at another bridal market! This time I was in Atlanta, Georgia. The home state of my sister Amanda. We were able to spend a day together shopping, eating dinner, and going to a community group at her Church. It was great to meet a group of such strong women of faith. God knew just what I needed to prepare myself for the rest of the week. 


I was modeling for the company Shail K! The dresses are gorgeous. It is amazing how many people from all over the world you meet at markets. I would like to thank Competiive Image for being an amazing sponsor of the pageant and giving me the opportunity to meet Fernando Wong, a designer from Cuba. Fernando id going to design a dress for me for a special appearance this year. This will be in addition to many other pieces they are providing for me and the other queens through their sponsorship.


Another designer I was able to meet is Stefanie Somers. She is a wonderful sponsor to the International Pageant System as well! Her earrings are amazing and truly make you feel like a princess! I cannot wait to pick out an amazing pair this year. Stay tuned to see what that surprise appearance is! 


I can’t tell you all how amazing of an opportunity this has been already. I can’t wait to continue with the traveling and meeting new people that has only been made possible through the International Pageants.

"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

Is Pageantry Part of Your Calling?



Pageantry isn't for everyone, I get it.

Only those who have experienced a pageant understand why some women get "addicted" to pageantry. Think about it, you meet the most amazing, accomplished woman, most of which end up becoming your lifelong friends. You get to dress up in these gorgeous gowns, and get all pampered with full hair and flawless makeup, plus you experience what it feels like to be a true queen! Who wouldn't want that!?

First of all, I have to mention.. Not all pageants are one, and the same. I've been in other Mrs. pageants... So with that said, I have to brag on this pageant system, (The International Pageants System.)

The very thing that others might "hate" about this system, is the very thing I LOVE about it.

This system stands for something! It is ethical, completely unbiased, it is just, and most importantly- It is God fearing! Meaning, everything they do, they pray about it and seek God's will before making any decisions.

Mary Richardson (The International Pageant System’s Director) personally prays for each and every one of her contestant. By name, and title... Twice a day! By the time orientation comes around, every contestant has been covered in prayer. AND Mary will know each and everyone's name and title! That's pretty amazing.

Now that I've had the pleasure of getting to know Mary, personally. I can honestly say, I have never met a more giving person in my life! I watched how she treated everyone who waited on her...She gave every person her devoted attention, and treated everyone with kindness. When our waitress complimented Mary's perfume, Mary went looking to buy one, just so she could go back to the restaurant and give it to the waitress.

I went to the store to purchase a suit case, and accidentally left my purse, Mary immediately said "Oh your money's no good anyways!" She had it, she would NOT allow me to pay for anything. I don't know a system, not a single ONE, that treats their queens like that!

Another thing I admire, is the fact that the International Pageant System is a very conservative pageant. There is no swimsuit, instead it's a fitness attire, that's phenomenal!

Not to mention that all three of the International queens won AT LARGE!!

YES, Mrs. International (me), Miss International, AND Miss Teen International, were all at large contestants!

Now, if you're not in the "pageant know"
"At large" means- There wasn't a competition held to win their state/region or country title that they represented/competed as- at the International competition... In my case, Mrs. Wyoming.

The fact that all three of us were "At-large" contestants… That is unheard of.

That never happens!

Plus, I was Mrs Wyoming, Wy-o-ming!! The underdog state, of underdog states! There are more cows than there are people in Wyoming, seriously! It is the lowest populated state in the US. Wyoming NEVER wins!

And I won.

So I can without any doubt say, this is an unbiased, completely ethical, absolutely NOT fixed, system. Can I hear an "AMEN!?"

The greatest thing about Pageantry (in my opinion) is the platform it provides. It opens doors that might otherwise, not have been opened. It broadens your borders, it elevates you to better promote your cause. And the International Pageant System is a STRONG platform based pageant!

Secondly, pageantry gives you a purpose.

Priscilla, Amanda and Garin speaking to youth at the Boys and Girls Club.

Do you realize that most people go through their entire lives not knowing their purpose!? Yes, it's true, most people don't know their purpose or their passion!?

These women however, not only realize it, but fervently pursue it! THAT is not only admirable, but courageous!

It takes guts to stand up, on a stage, in front of thousands of people, with thousands more watching live, over the webcast! Not everyone has the confidence to do that!

These woman are brave, selfless, and they do it for a cause.. WOW!

You would not believe the caliber of woman I have met in pageantry: mothers, teachers, lawyers, nurses, doctors, writers, literally every type of woman! There is no "mold!”

They’re all dedicated to their spouses, to their jobs, their families and homes. They’re all hard working, volunteering, unstoppable, loyal, loving, and some of the kindest woman you'll ever meet!

Everyone of them has found a way to turn their pain into purpose, pursuing their dreams, aspirations and goals. How could you not admire or appreciate that?

And I love how the International Pageant System celebrates and promotes inner beauty, not just outer beauty.

They're more interested in what’s inside, which is what really counts!

Because we have plenty of “pretty” woman but we need more beautiful woman. You see, our external “beauty” isn't what makes us beautiful.

It's our heart that makes us beautiful!

All of us have been through something, lost someone, fought a battle, have gone through storms, or are currently going through the storm…

However, had we not experienced those painful moments, those heart-wrenching but defining moments in our lives...None of us would be the woman we are today!

You see, everyone of us has a choice, YOU have a choice!

We can choose to allow things to either control us, destroy us, or EMPOWER us.

If Esther had not humbled herself and entered the “pageant” she wouldn't have had the opportunity to save her people from an intended extinction. (See the book of Esther in the bible)

Everyone of us has a calling, a purpose, a passion, what’s yours?

Priscilla living out her passion everyday as Mrs International.

I'm your Mrs International, reminding you-

TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Best is Yet to Come!


Do you ever look back a wonderful point in your life and wonder if it can get any better than that? Each moment was perfectly beautiful; you feel blessed and humbled. It seems absolutely surreal to be where you are.

Over the past month and a half, my life has flipped upside down. I’ve been selected as a representative amongst a group of winners to serve as Miss International 2016. I have traveled the country empowering young women through True Beauty Movement and the man of my dreams asked me to be his wife. The dreams I’ve been preparing my heart for over the past 15 years have finally come to fruition. I wake up each day excited about what will unfold and the unique opportunities I will be presented with. On long flights, I find myself sitting in awe of the Lord and wondering how it could possibly get any better than this season of my life.

Perhaps you saw a fruitful season in your life and found yourself on cloud 9. Did you find yourself asking the same question? Do you wonder if anything could surpass the time you reached a certain goal or had a remarkable experience?

We work to have a balance of living in the moment while being hopeful for our future. In our hearts, we must know that the best is yet to come. We have no idea what wonderful opportunities and blessings are in store for us; our mind cannot even fathom what is before us. That’s part of the fun of it!

What if you’re facing a challenging time? Do we look at the current situation with disappointment and frustration? No, of course not. We experience the emotions and acknowledge the hardships but we find joy and peace in knowing that this is not the end. When our family was challenged by my mother’s brain tumor in November of 2015… it would have been easy to be discouraged and give up the journey to our Miss International goals. Instead, we understood that this challenged was making us strong and were confident that God was preparing us for big blessings in all facets of our life. There is no test without a testimony.

Let’s strive to be the individuals who are confident that the best is yet to come. Instead of living with nostalgia, we can enjoy the current blessings and be excited for what is before us. If we live in a state of, “I had my moment and now I’m just here” then we will miss out on the very best of our life because it is in front of us and our head is down with disappointment. Instead, let’s wake up hopeful and confident that, whether we are facing a time of joy or hardship, the best is yet to come.

When we live with this peace, joy, and confidence… our true beauty is able to flourish and reach heights we cannot even begin to imagine.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

More Detail: Dancing Through the Pain Classes

Hello Everyone! Today I wanted to share a little more detail about my Dancing Through the Pain Program! Since everyone is different and has different levels of pain, each class is tailored to the audience when I get there and access the abilities of the participants. However, here are the basic outlines of the the classes in different locations! If you have any questions, leave a comment below or feel free to reach out to me via social media or email!

Dancing Through the Pain in Classrooms:

One of my favorite things about my program is how versatile it is. I am willing to teach one of my classes to children of all ages. So far I have taught in classrooms from Kindergarten to eighth grade.

First I talk to the kids about why I am there. I explain my story and listen to theirs.
Next I get the kids on their feet!
After stretching, exercising, and learning the basic ballet positions, I show the kids the different types of clothing and shoes we wear.
Finally I have the kids stretch one last time before they sit down and ask questions!

Dancing Through the Pain in Nursing Homes :

My nursing home classes are my most popular classes! This class features:

Light stretching and exercises that relieve and strengthen muscles.
Incorporation of fun dance moves and positions during the class.
I also explain in more detail my story and how dance can be used as a lighter and exciting style of exercise!

Dancing Through the Pain in Hospitals:

One of my favorite places to do my classes are in hospitals. The kids really love it, and the parents do too. You do not realize that you are getting exercise!

Light stretching that helps to loosen muscles
Everyone becomes dancer as we learn all 5 basic ballet positions!
The sharing of my story and experiences along with the benefits of dance and a positive attitude

I hope this helps answer some of the questions I have been receiving! If you are interested in having me teach a class in your area, feel free to reach out. This may sound cheesy, but teaching these classes is one of my favorite things to do.

"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, October 9, 2016

Beauty for Ashes


Once upon a time there a special, little girl was born in Hollywood, CA.

Being that she was born in Hollywood, it's only natural that she would become a huge dreamer.

She would spend her early years dreaming that one day she would be famous! A movie star, a singer, a figure skater, or maybe even a model.

She would imagine herself on stage in front of thousands, acting, singing, and dancing. She would stare at herself in front of her large closet, mirror-doors….Pretending to be on a huge stage singing in front of thousands.

She just knew that one day she would be someone!

Well the time had come for her to start kindergarten and she was so excited! She helped her mom pick out her outfit, she asked her mom to fix her hair in pigtails and with huge aspirations, dreams and goals, she went on her way.

Kindergarten however, was not what she expected.

The little girls in Kindergarten weren't very friendly, nor accepting. Many of them would stare at her, almost as if they were dissecting every article of clothing she wore.

And for the first time in her life, the little girl realized she wasn't really a princess. In fact, she wasn't even pretty. She was quite plainly, maybe even ugly.

My heart still breaks for her. In fact, I can't help but cry as I write this…

Shortly after Kindergarten started, the teacher announced that they were going to be assigning “Big Brothers” and “Big Sisters” to each Kindergartener!

These “Brothers and Sisters” were kids from the same elementary school who were older (in 6th grade.) And these kids would be mentoring the young Kindergarteners, writing them letters, coming into the classroom to help out, tutoring them, and playing with them- all throughout the year.

Well you can imagine her excitement! She could not wait to find out who her “Big Sister” would be!

The time finally came to meet her “Big Sister” and when the teacher called her name...The little girl ran to her new “Big Sister” and hugged her!

But something happened, something she had never, ever experienced! For the first time ever, the little girl was pushed away, shunned! Instead her “Big Sister” turned to her fellow classmate and asked (out loud) if she would like to trade little “sisters” with her? The worst part? Her reason was, “My little sister isn't cute.” And yes, she said that outloud, right in front of the little girl. She heard everything!

OUCH!! Talk about painful!! Knife to the heart!

Well, that little girl…... Was me!

I can still feel the rejection, the shame, the pain, almost as if it just happened.

And I wish I could say, it didn't change me. I wish I could say, “I didn't allow it to affect me” BUT it did. BIG TIME!

That entire year, I didn't have a “Big Sister”.

During the most critical year as a child..Your first year of school, when you’re developing your security, independence and socializing skills....Instead, I was developing insecurity, shame, and rejection.

I remember everyone making arts and crafts with their big “Brother or Sister.” Instead, I sat next to my “Sister” as she ignored me. Almost as if, she was ashamed to be associated with me. She would have her back turned away from me, while she helped her fellow classmate, who was helping her little “sister” (a kindergarten friend of mine, who was much cuter than me.)

In first grade kids started making fun of my looks, saying I was too hairy. (Well, I couldn't help that, I'm 100% Cuban.) I somehow acquired the name “Hairy And The Hendersons”.

I hated it, and I hated myself!

I remember wishing I was pretty, begging God that He would make me pretty.

I would watch Disney movies and pray till I was blue in the face.. Asking God to make me look like one of them.

I used to dress up to school EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Hoping that I would look pretty enough, so that I wouldn't be made fun of. I never wore pants, ever! Because I felt prettier in dresses and skirts (thanks a lot Disney!) But that only made matters worse, cause I was constantly showing off my “hairy legs.”

So I started shaving at the age of 9, or more accurately I tried shaving... Apparently, 9 year olds aren't very good at shaving. It did help a little, but then they started to pick on my hairy arms.

In 6th grade, my boy crush decided to do the meanest, most unimaginable thing… He gathered every kid in the 6th grade around at recess, he then pulled me into the middle, in the center of the group, in front of everyone.. He got down on one knee and asked me to be his girlfriend. I was so naive, and such a hopeless romantic, that I immediately exclaimed “YES!” As if I was Julia Roberts at the end of Pretty Woman being rescued by Richard Gere. (SMH)

5 seconds later, he yelled out “Just kidding!” And the entire crowd, EVERYONE bursted out in laughter. I was mortified!

I've never been so embarrassed in my life.

Even when I grew up and became “pretty” there was always a reason for someone to bring me down. In high-school, I was “too happy”.. Apparently, I “smiled too much!”

I became a cheerleader, and suddenly I wasn't “skinny enough.” And trust me, I was super skinny! So I became anorexic.

Well, that didn't work out too well cause I really liked to eat! So instead, I became bulimic, that way I could eat, and then just throw it up. (By the way, this is never a good idea!!!) Solved nothing!!

No matter how hard I tried, I would never fit their mold! It was impossible!

Unfortunately, I could go on and on…..

The point is, I was bullied, badly bullied. ALL. MY. LIFE!

STILL AM!

You look at me, an attractive woman. You see this beauty queen, with an International sash and crown, looking so “beautiful” (although I have all this makeup, lashes, and hair extensions.) You probably think “She must have a perfect life!”

And even if you saw me as a child, the daughter of a pastor, who lived in a nice house (although we didn't have money, cause my parents were “house broke.” All their money went to pay for the “nice home”) Anyhow, looking at me, as a child, you would never have known the pain I was suffering and enduring daily.

And honestly, as I'm writing this, those words still hurt me.

BUT, because of those words, and because of those “bullies” I became motivated, determined, UNSTOPPABLE!
It ignited this flame inside of me...I decided maybe I AM an “ugly duckling” but one day I WILL BECOME a “beautiful swan!”

You see, my external “beauty” isn't what makes me beautiful.

It's my heart that makes me beautiful!

Had I not gone through those painful moments, those heart-wrenching but defining moments in my life...I wouldn't be the person I am today!

Because of those experiences, I am now compassionate, humble, kind and loving.

We have a choice to allow things to either control us, destroy us, or EMPOWER us.

The words that spew out of the mouths of mean bullies, they do NOT define you! Those bullies DON'T know you, they don't care about you. Then why care about what they think, or say?

You don't have to agree with them! You don't have to accept it!

Instead, take it as a compliment. Really! Think about it, they are so threatened by you, that they feel the need to bring you down to their level.

When I finally realized that, things started changing. Their words could not longer hurt me, because I understood. It's not my hairiness or my “happiness”.

They're not happy with themselves!

They're hurting, and in order to feel better, they hurt others. In order to be the Alpha, they tear everyone down, to lift themselves up. It wasn't just me. The problem was with them!

So why allow it to control me, change me? Why allow it to decide who I will be?

There are many “pretty” people in the world, but many of them are hideous inside.

We need more “beautiful” people. People who their every being screams beauty. Their heart mesmerizes you. They lift others up, because they're confident in who they are.

The true meaning of beauty is “to please the senses.” A joyful, compassionate, loving, and humble heart is what pleases my senses. And THAT is beautiful!

We need more beautiful people!

Less vanity, more heart!!

No matter what anyone says to you or about you, remember who you are! Remember that you decide! No one, but you, can tear you down. Do NOT give anyone that power, instead use the pain and the hurt to empower you and become beautiful from the inside out!

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

Priscilla

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Finding the Right Team



As you prepare to become Mrs., Miss, or Miss Teen International 2017… you are bound to face tough decisions which require great consideration. We were never meant to live alone - in fact, we were created to be relational people. When these situations come, it’s critical that we are surrounded by a team that will tell us what we need to hear.

There were numerous times throughout my journey that caused me to lean on my team for honesty and support. When you are pouring everything you have into obtaining the job of your dream… there are an overflow of emotions and sometimes you just need a hug or honest opinion. Your council is also there for these times; they stand strong when you can’t.

I’ve always referred to my council as Team Moreno. We move and work as one strong unit and what others see on stage is a representation of everyone who is part of my team. Our mindset has transferred into my everyday life and I’m positive Team Moreno will live on forever.

How do we create a team that we can trust? Use these guidelines to identify who will help you achieve everything you were created to be.

1. The Family Members

Momma and Daddy Moreno have helped me through each pageant I’ve ever competed in. They provide the emotional support I need and also are a solid sounding board for my thoughts. My Parents will tell me like it is but in a soft way when needed.

2. The Caring Significant Other

Often times, our significant other is the best person to provide love. My significant other and I discussed that I didn’t need him to be a coach… I just needed him to give me hugs and remind me that it would all be okay in the end. These people may not know everything about pageants, but they do know your heart and how to care for it.

3. The Honest Friend

This person needs to tell you like it is. No beating around the bush… no… they have no filter and will tell you when you just need to pull it together.

4. The Kind Friend

Opposite of the Honest Friend, the Kind Friend doesn’t give advice but just listens. They tell you it will be okay and bring you chocolate to keep you from being hangry.

5. The Field Expert

Your Field Expert will remain unbiased. They can look at situations from a professional level, provide guidance, and encourage you when needed.

I look forward to seeing how you compose your team for the upcoming year of competition!

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Monday, October 3, 2016

10 Things You Love About Yourself


Since September was Pain Awareness Month, the U.S. Pain Foundation put together a 30 day challenge to spread awareness about chronic pain. While participating in one of the challenges I was surprised what an actual challenge it was. Here was day 20:


"Day 20: Ten things I LOVE about me! With only ten days remaining this month, it’s important to remember about self-care, self-awareness, mindfulness and being kind to ourselves. Today we ask that you be gentle to your mind, body and soul by jotting down 10 things you admire about yourself. Ten words, accomplishments and positive personality traits that describe you. Take a picture of your ten list, or comment below with your ten list! You can also share your ten list photo with our campaign on Instagram: @USPainAwarenessMonth "

In today's society young girls are faced with constant pressures. While social media can be a great thing, some girls do not realize that social media is filled with all of the highlights of people's lives, not the struggles that they face on a daily basis. Magazines, and advertisements are mainly made up of non realistic images of girls that have been edited. As a young girl it is hard not to compare yourself to others.

Some people may even find it hard to write 10 things they love about themselves. I encourage everyone to remember that you are "beautifully and wonderfully made", and nothing can change that. Let's come together, and change the way society thinks.

"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, October 2, 2016

Love Notes



What does our "lifesong" sound like to others?

Does it sing to you?

Is it motivating? Uplifting? Giving hope or bringing love and joy?

Or is it negative? Degrading, and depressing? A song that hurts everyone around us?

Maybe we are neither, maybe we just go to work, do our job, come home, eat, go to bed, and wake up- to do it all over again. So our song goes unheard, affects no one.

Regardless of which one you are, we all have a "lifesong" or a legacy that we are living out.

So what kind of "Lifesong" will you leave behind?

My personal dream to be remembered for my heart. I want my children, and their children to know that I LOVED with every being of my heart. And that my love was not limited to anyone, but for all. My song will be one of love, unconditional, and sacrificial.

My husband's will be one of a man that walked in faith and integrity. Loving, fearing and obeying the Lord. One of a man who was meek and didn't have to "outshine" or "out-muscle" anyone. A song about a man who intimately knew God and hungered to live for Him.

Our family's song will be one of compassion for the needy. Walking with a servant's heart. Mourning for the things that mourn the Lord's heart. And yes, there was persecution- But we learned to rejoice regardless of man's opinion...And found peace in God's approval. So our song is one of victory!

Everyday we have opportunities to sing a song. A song of hope or a song of sorrow.

Our lives will be a symphony of our every joy, and every heartbreak. Yes, every action, and deed we ever experienced will be in our song.

However, you get to choose... Will your "song" be pleasant to all who encounter you? Uplifting them and possibly bringing them hope?

Or will your song be one who is unpleasant to the ears, one who has the power to pierce through a heart and hurt our very soul?

This is important, because we can be so consumed with our own worries, stresses and fears that we don't see those who are hurting all around us. And your song has the power to either pierce someone's heart or pierce the atmosphere, and change people's lives.

You have that power everyday!!

Everyday is a either a destined appointment or a missed opportunity.

Your song has the power to give life to all those who listen..

It doesn't matter what you've done in the past, who you've hurt, or what you've said. All that can change now, all you have to do is switch the station. Tune into the voice of Truth!

It's that easy!

Actually, my favorite songs are those of redemption. Because it reveals the power of God's infinite love and forgiveness.

You see what matters is what you do now!

Will you let your song end like this, or will it be one of victory and forgiveness?

His mercies are new every morning, and when you ask Him to forgive you.. He does! End. Of. Story.

Then your song can truly begin!

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

Priscilla