Wednesday, November 30, 2016

My Trip To Idaho - Part 1


Recently I had the chance to visit Idaho! I'm not sure how many of you know, but I used to be Little Miss Idaho International in 2008. I would like to thank Kimberly, the director of Idaho International Pageants for being so welcoming. She helped me stay busy during my time there. Here are a couple things I volunteered/ participated in during my time in Idaho. 


As we just celebrated Veterans Day, I did a lot of work with our Veterans. I always love hearing their stories. First, I had a radio interview with 101.9 The Bull. During the interview Katie, Miss Idaho International, and I had a chance to speak about our platforms as well as the upcoming Veterans Day Parade.



Second, I participated in the Veterans Day Parade in Boise. It was a chilly morning but it was great to meet some of the titleholders who will be competing in the Idaho International Pageant in March. Of course it is always great to see the current titleholders as well. We had such a great time in Jacksonville.


Next, I volunteered at the Warhawk Air Museum's 9th Annual Veterans Breakfast. As a student pilot, I loved being able to walk around the museum and see all of the old planes. Did you know they even have an actual piece of the Berlin Wall right there in Nampa? The breakfast was amazing and I hope I get to go back to the museum soon.

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

Garin Harris
Miss Teen International 2016

Friday, November 25, 2016

Open Doors


For the last two weeks I've been traveling non-stop! I got home late last night, spent some time with my kids, woke up, spent a couple hours with the family...Then off I went, on to the next trip. Sounds glamorous and all, but if I continue this route...Well, it can take a huge toll on me.

I've always been that overachiever, that has all these “personal goals” and I normally make them all….But it's what I do to myself in order to make them, and what I do to myself when I don't make them...Thats what I want to talk about!

See, I'm not perfect! I'm a work in progress. And part of that progress, is me realizing when to slow down.

This is an important lesson, regardless of your age. We all need to learn this!

First things, first- Goals don't control you! First comes God, then comes your spouse, then come your kids, AND THEN your goals and dreams.

Don't make the mistake of putting your goals before your marriage or family. Believe me, it's not fun! Don't exhaust yourself trying to force something greater by your own strength. If it's God's will, it will happen, and effortlessly! Not meaning you don't have to work at it, just you don't have to do it by the “sweat of your brow” (Gen 3:19-20) Because Jesus died and redeemed us from the curse of the law. Before Christ, everything we did, we had to work hard for. We no longer have to toil! (Malachi 3:10)

Second, pray about it! Sometimes our goals and dreams... Miiight not be the best things for us. What I mean by that is, what good is it to become “The best bartender in the world” if you're a struggling alcoholic? (That might not be the best example, but you get the point!) “For what does it prosper a man, to gain the whole world and lose his soul?” (Mark 8:36)

When we pray and we surrender our will to the will of God..He will either open doors, that no man can shut, or He will instill new dreams, desires and goal in our hearts. Goals that line up with His greater will for our lives.

Next, find a way to get your loved ones involved. Make it a “team goal”, and you'll be more likely to succeed!

Lastly, exercise your faith. Start speaking and believing it. Because you CAN do it, and you ARE worthy!! Know that God wants to give you the desires of your heart. He loves to bless His children. But you have to believe it. And it doesn't happen overnight! Don't let your faith waver, stand firm, trust that if this is from God… Then He will open the doors, and if He closes them.. Than its because He has something much better in store for you!

So you are my witnesses, I surrender my goals for my year as Mrs International over to God. If He wants for me to achieve my goal of 50 baby boxes in the US and baby boxes in China, Sudan, Belize and Honduras. Then He will have to open the door, and no one, NO ONE will be able to shut them!

Cause I'm done trying to do it by my own strength. I know God placed me in this position for a reason. So I am trusting that where God guides, He provides! And that goes for you as well! Surrender your goals and dreams over to His will, and He will direct your paths.

I'm your Mrs. International reminding you-

TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Give Thanks!


When the busyness of life becomes reality, it’s easy to get swept away and miss the small things that actually mean a lot. Over the past 6 months, my life has become more and more busy. It doesn’t slow down once you win; it only speeds up! It’s a blessing and one that you must be intentional about.

At Internationals, Eddie Peterson encouraged us to write down three things each night that we are thankful for. I’ll be honest; it’s a struggle to do so. At the end of a busy day, all I want to do is lay down and zonk out. However, I’ve been trying to do this each night as I do my Bible study.

While in Africa, God blew up my heart about what I should be thankful for. Items and things I consider normal are actually a luxury and blessing. Take a look inside my notes to see three things I was thankful for during one of my nights in Africa.

1. A Safe Home
While in Soweto, I saw living conditions that nearly brought me to tears. Little girls and boys were living in one of the roughest areas. Never in my life have I experienced shacks like I saw in this township. Not all the homes had doors or even a roof that could survive a storm. It ripped my heart apart. I’ve never had to live like that… and never appreciated my small city apartment quite as much as I did when I saw the shacks.

2. Shoes

Can we all just agree that heels are not nearly as comfortable as tennis shoes? Many of the people I encountered didn’t have any shoes. None. I was standing there thinking of how my feet hurt from a week of heels and they were walking around without any protection. This moment catapulted my heart into a moment of gratitude and I felt selfish for even thinking about how my feet hurt. Shoes, painful or not, are a blessing.

3. The Job of Miss International

I always thank God for this year of service, but never to the extent I did when I was in Africa. What I saw absolutely ripped my heart apart and I couldn’t help but thank God for choosing me to serve the young women. It’s a blessing to serve them and one that still does not seem real. How is it that a small town girl who started a social media campaign in 2011 was now standing face to face with young women in Africa… telling them that they are beautiful – worthy – chosen – and capable? God is good.

Do you take time to write down what you are thankful for? With Thanksgiving among us, now is the perfect time to start your attitude of gratitude!

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Let's Talk...Purpose


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

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

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

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

Garin Harris
Miss Teen International

Judgment Kills, Grace Gives Life

What does your grace meter read? 


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

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

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

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

What good can come from that?

NOTHING! That's what.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judgment kills! Only grace, makes alive.

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

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

I pray you enjoy the gracious life!

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

Priscilla

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Because It's America


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

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

Wow. What?

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

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

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

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

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

I am so proud to be an American.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Sunday, November 20, 2016

It's The Little Things That Matter



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


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


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

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


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



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

Garin Harris
Miss Teen International

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Give, Because He Gave First

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

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

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

(1 John 4:9)

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

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

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

Because love is the greatest gift you can give.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Priscilla

Friday, November 18, 2016

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

My Second Trip To Dallas


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


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






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


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




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


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

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

Garin Harris
Miss Teen International 2016

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Unanswered Prayers

I remember how upset I was, how angry...Hurting, crying. Literally, on my face, yelling "God, why didn't you show up! Why? Where are you, do you even hear me!!??"

Have you ever felt this way?

Like you're talking to a brick wall? No one is hearing, and definitely, no one is answering?

Well, let me tell you about one of those times in my life.....

First of all, I want you to know that everytime I write a blog, I pray and wait on God to guide me in a certain direction...

Well, this is a extremely difficult blog for me to write..But I know He is leading me to write about this. My hope is that it blesses you!

My most, painful, unanswered prayer:

I had married my high school sweetheart. I adored him, I truly did. We started dating at 16, and we married at 18. NO, I wasn't pregnant! Just madly in love!

So we had a HUGE, dream wedding, with the works! My dress' train was the size of three cathedral trains (I was a huge Princess Diana fan and I wanted a train as big as hers.)

Shortly after our wedding, I discovered my husband's addiction. And the "honeymoon" officially ended. I was so young, so naive, I didn't understand....And most don't.

He was addicted to pornography.

See, I knew what the word said....I grew up in the church. And I knew that it says "If you look at a woman in a lustful way, you've committed adultery!" Matt 5:28

So to me, this was no different, and especially to God, it's NO different. There's no sugar coating it!

And the pain it caused me, was definitely, no different. This caused me to be the most insecure and self conscious person.

It was hurting me, it was hurting our marriage, and it was hurting him.

You have to comprehend the consequences of pornography to understand. Pornography literally scars your brain! Read this amazing article talking about the effects porn causes on your brain:

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/9-things-you-should-know-about-pornography-and-the-brain

Our marriage ended shortly after that, I tried to make it work, endured four years of torture. And finally, when he acted out on his impulse and physically cheated..I couldn't, it was over.

It hurt, hurt sooo bad!!

I can't tell you how many times I came to God, begging Him..."Please don't let my marriage end!"

But it did.

And now I can say, thank God it did!

I'm so grateful for that unanswered prayer. It was the biggest blessing.. Let me tell you why:

Because of that, I was able to meet my dream man. The man I had been praying for all my life, however, I stopped believing I deserved "such a man."

He was, and is, everything I ever wanted, and more!

\
God had given me "double for my trouble!" 

I have endless stories of God's unanswered prayers, and the blessings that came because of them.

But I write this blog to say this, “If you're believing for something and it hasn't happened, maybe..Just maybe, there's a reason!”

“Don't lose hope, don't give up. Just trust that God has something greater, better than you could ever have imagined!”

"Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers." Garth Brooks

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

Priscilla

Songs for Body Image


I’ve always had a special connection to music. Driving with the windows down, music blaring, and shades on is one of my favorite things in the entire world. Very seldom do I turn on the radio, but I love plugging in my iPod or putting in a mixed CD.

So often in today’s world, the music is filled with negativity or inappropriate subject matter. When we start being intentional with our choices, we are able to use music to lift us up and take us mentally and emotionally to a good place. Music allows me to get out of my own head and cast my eyes on something that is positive and true. As someone who has struggled with a mental illness, I have to guard my heart and mind wherever I am so that I can stay in recovery. However, even if you haven’t struggled with a mental illness but you’ve battled body image… we know that the songs and media can portray one certain body time as being attractive.

You have been created with a unique purpose and design. There is no flaw in you. This truth must be spoken over our life and one way to do that is through songs that radiate body positivity and loving yourself. Below I’ve created a playlist of some of my favorite songs that will do just that. I hope they inspire, empower, and encourage you!

1. Through Your Eyes – Britt Nicole

2. True Beauty – Mandisa

3. Beautiful – MercyME

4. My Story – Big Daddy Weave

5. Cover Girl – Big Time Rush

6. Gold – Britt Nicole

7. Ready Or Not – Britt Nicole

8. Just The Way You Are – Bruno Mars

9. Voice of Truth – Casting Crowns

10. Believe in Me – Demi Lovato

11. Skyscraper – Demi Lovato

12. I Believe – Diana Degarmo

13. He Knows My Name – Francesca Battistelli

What are some of your favorite songs to listen to when you’re trying to build up your body image? Comment down below and let’s all take confidence in the way we were beautifully and perfectly created!

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

KNOWvember


The U.S. Pain Foundation has a campaign every November to promote chronic pain. This month is all about teaching people about chronic pain and what they can do to help. This campaign was one of the reasons I looked into the U.S. Pain Foundation. It showed me that I could help make a difference in easy ways. Since I am a caregiver it also has opened the door to multiple resources for my mom and I.

This campaign shows everyone that there are simple ways to get involved even in governmental level issues. By signing a petition online or even going to your local official you can make a difference in the pain community. People sometimes underestimate the power of a social media post. Just teaching someone the bare minimum about chronic pain can be effective in making a difference!

If you are a pain patient this would be a great month to become an ambassador! If you would not like to sign up for that kind of commitment then share your story with our People With Pain Matter Program. This would also be a great month to join a local support group! Support groups are a great way to meet others with chronic pain or other caregivers. During these groups you can learn valuable information about different diseases as well as doctors or treatments that help. Contact the U.S. Pain Foundation or me to find a local support group in your area!

I am excited to see each and every one of you get involved in the pain community soon. Stay tuned for more details on the U.S. Pain Foundation's KNOWvember Campaign!

"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

To Gossip, Or NOT To Gossip


There’s one thing that bothers me more than anything... That infuriates me, will even cause me to avoid and/or unfriend someone...GOSSIP! I don’t care if it's something true or not...If there is no reason, and it's irrelevant, or it's non of anyone's business- Then there’s no reason to mention it!

The truth is- GOSSIP HURTS! No one likes to be the one who is being talked about..It’s NOT nice, it’s so unattractive!! So why do we allow it to come out of our mouths? It says Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh. (Luke 6:45)

In other words, if you’re heart is full of bitterness, envy, and jealousy... More than likely, you’re going to gossip. Yes, it’s THAT ugly, the truth isn’t pretty!

And it's unfortunate that gossip is accepted among many, even Christians! People find it enjoyable, considered “girl time,” and that's just sad!

What are we teaching our kids, that it's ok to talk about others behind their backs? To find enjoyment in talking about others whether it be truthful or not? Most people don't even realize they do this, they are so used to it, it's a habit to “catch up on the gossip” when they call or get together with a friend or a family member.

But more importantly, God hates gossip! Yes, it’s true. There are verses after verses confirming it, it literally hurts Him to see His children tearing one another down. I know as a mother, it hurts me when my kids talk ugly about one another. So imagine how much more it hurts our Father.
  • There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. Proverbs 6:16-19
  • Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Psalms 34:13
  • Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. 1 Timothy 5:13
  • You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness. Exodus 23:1
This is what I love about the word of God, it talks to us about any and all situations. His word is a guide, a road map per-se...It leads us, that is, if we choose to follow!

So when I looked up “gossip,” to see what the Lord says about it.. It not only tells us that He hates it, that it's evil, malicious and foolish.. But He graciously guides us, teaching us how to avoid it, and how to overcome it.

First we must make the choice to no longer gossip.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

See we are supposed to be doing the opposite, talking about the things that are praise-worthy, commendable, and pure!

Example: We can talk about good news, about someone who had a baby, got a job promotion, bought a new car, lost weight, or maybe got engaged...Or we can tell an interesting or humorous story about someone who is not present, as long as the person involved would not object, if he or she knew we told it.

Second, we are told “not to associate with gossipers.”

Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler. Proverbs 20:19

Don't even associate with them! Slander alienates friends, and promotes strife, and contention. Why would we want to take part in that? But most importantly, because God says we’re not to take part in it! And that’s reason enough for me!

Backbiters are worthy of death and so are people who approve of others who practice it. Romans 1:30,32

Lastly, if someone gossips about you, we are told to forgive, and treat them with love and kindness, regardless of how they treat you!

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. Luke 6:31

In all things, love is always the right choice.

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

Priscilla

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

How To Dress For Fundraising Walks

In October, I was able to serve and participate in two walks…. the Central Georgia Heart Walk and the NEDA Little Rock, AR Walk! These events allowed me to help raise awareness for two very worth causes. At the NEDA Walk… I was a featured speaker and at the Heart Walk… I ran the Go Red For Women booth! My role at each event was different. Today I want to share with you all how I make decisions about my attire for walks!

Remember that when someone meets Miss International for the first time… it’s exciting! Perhaps they’ve seen pageants on TV before, but now they get to actually meet and talk to a crowned representative! You want to present the professional and polished look they’ve always imagined no matter what event you’re at.

When it comes to walks, I try to think about what my responsibilities are and use that as a guidepost for my decision. Let’s break down both of these walks to give examples and strategies.

Volunteer at The Heart Walk for the American Heart Association:

This event was held out in a large field near a track. I was responsible for setting up stations, moving boxes, taking photos with participants, and hosting the booth. There was no time throughout the event that I as asked to speak or be in front of all the participants. We also received an email from the organizer to dress comfortably in athletic gear. With all that in mind, I decided to wear Nike shorts… the shirt from the walk… and tennis shoes! This allowed me to move around and really work the event.


Speaker at the NEDA Walk:

My heart for NEDA is so deep and this opportunity allowed me to speak in front of over 100 people about my story, True Beauty Movement, and how recovery is possible! The walk would be about a quarter mile in total once I finished my speech… and I knew that I’d spend most of my time before the walk kicked off signing autographs and meeting participants! For this event, I went with a pair of comfortable wedges, a Miss International shirt, and skinny jeans. It was comfortable, yet still looked professional when I stood before an audience!


It’s my genuine hope that these examples help you think through what to wear for the next walk you participate in!

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

How To Help This Holiday Season


The Holiday Season is coming up! Most people do not realize how many opportunities for giving open up around this time! Here are a few ideas on how you can spread holiday cheer to those in your community and beyond.

1. Crafting with Seniors
If you like art or making crafts share your gift! Nursing homes or assisted living facilities are usually very open to activities. Call around your community and see if you can teach a basic holiday craft making class! Not only is it fun for you, the residents will have a fun decoration for their room!

2. Angel Tree
If you do not have enough time to physically go and volunteer but you have a little extra cash purchase an Angel Tree gift. Usually at churches or even local Walmart there are Christmas trees with ornaments that give a child in needs name,a necessity like a hat, shoes size 7 or gloves, as well as a gift they would like for Christmas that year. After purchasing those items you wrap them and drop them off wherever it is specified (usually the same location you picked up the ornament). This is an easy and less time consuming way to make a child's Christmas one to remember.

3. Food Bank
Any local food bank is busy during the holiday season. They try to make Christmas special for those who are unable to even afford food. Usually volunteers as well as food drives happen during this time. If you can I encourage you to volunteer or donate something they need. Taking an hour out of your day can make someone's whole holiday season.

I hope these simple ideas inspire you to get active in your community this holiday season!

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

Garin Harris
Miss Teen International 2016

Monday, November 14, 2016

1+1=3


As I celebrate another anniversary with my husband, I look back and reflect on all the years we've spent together.

It's quite funny, I laugh as I recall some of the long, drawn out, knock down, fights we had in our early years. And about nothing! It's so silly really..

We were so easily angered, sooo immature, it was “Our way or the highway!”

I'm just so grateful for God in our marriage. I know for a fact, that He is the ONLY reason we are still married today.

There were so many times where I was ready to leave him, or vice versa. And the Holy Spirit would convict us. Thank you Lord, that I stayed! Because I wouldn't be the person I am today without him. He is my rock, my hero, my dream come true. And I can't imagine life without him.

But you see, had I listened to the lies: "He doesn't appreciate you!" Or "He doesn't deserve you!" I would never have experienced how great our marriage COULD be!

What I realized is 1+1=3.

If you want a marriage that is grounded, that can not be uprooted or separated. Then you need to have Jesus in the center of it, PERIOD! He is the glue that holds a marriage together.

A relationship with God is the only way you can have the patience to die to yourself and have the ability to put your husband or wife first! Because we don’t know what true love is, until we have the love of God inside of us.

In order to have that unconditional, patient, merciful, compassionate, and kind, kind of love that true love requires... You need Jesus!

My husband, Sean and I, both, entered our marriage with lots of baggage. Both of us married other people at a young age. We both married our high school sweethearts,both of us had our hearts broken by their unfaithfulness.

So I can assure you, it is a miracle we are still together.

We both had walls up, we had hurts and bruises...If it weren't for God being in the center of our marriage...Well, I wouldn't be writing this.

If you want to have a healthy marriage full of wisdom and success, first you need to surrender your life to the will of God. Then you need to die to yourself...AND lastly, be the change..Start putting your spouse's needs, before your own.

And that's when it all changes, when your marriage can begin grow and blossom!

I want to see marriages grow stronger together, and families thrive as a unit.

That would be a dream come true for me. I pray that everyone who read this will be blessed by it, and that they would feel the need to make the Lord the center of their marriage.

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

Priscilla

Sunday, November 13, 2016

A Day In The Life With Miss International: Travel Weekends


Being Miss International 2016 is a dream come true, blessing, and huge responsibility. When I competed for this title, I knew that numerous opportunities to serve would become available… but I never imagined it would be to this magnitude. Each day I am more and more humbled by the opportunities the Lord gives me! I’d like to invite you all to take a look at what travel weekends are like as Miss International. We’ll use my recent trip to Little Rock, AR as an example!

Friday – October 2016
4:00AM EST Wake up and Make Coffee
4:30AM EST Hair and Make-up
5:30AM EST Leave for the Airport
6:30AM EST Arrive at Airport
8:00AM EST Flight to Little Rock, AR

8:30AM CST Arrive in Little Rock, AR
9:00AM CST Gather Luggage and Get Rental Car
10:30 AM CST Meet with True Beauty Representative
12:15 PM CST Travel to Appearance
12:30 PM CST Ronald McDonald House Appearance
2:10 PM CST Travel to Appearance
2:30 PM CST Boys & Girls Club Speaking Engagement
5:30 PM CST Travel to Host Family

Saturday – October 2016
6:00AM CST Wake-up and have coffee
6:30AM CST Hair & Make-up
8:00AM CST Travel to Appearance – NEDA Walk
8:30AM CST Arrive at Appearance and Assist With Set-up
9:00AM CST Meet and Greet
9:45AM CST Present NEDA Speech – “The Truth About Beauty”
10:00AM CST Walk Begins
11:00AM CST Walk Ends
11:45AM CST Lunch with Director and Representatives
1:00PM CST Pack Luggage
1:30PM CST Travel to Airport
2:30PM CST Return Rental Car
3:00PM CST Board Flight to Atlanta

6:20PM EST Arrive in Atlanta

This year of service is phenomenal and remarkable… but it is a job that cannot be taken lightly. At appearances, it’s peoples’ first time meeting Miss International and being able to serve them is a huge responsibility. We stay very busy as International Representatives… but I love each and every moment of it.

If you’re planning on becoming the next Miss International, I would encourage you to focus on the job. Do what it takes to prepare yourself to not only compete for Miss International… but to BE Miss International. The competition and crowning moment is only the beginning. Develop your time management, communication, and social media skills so that you are prepared to step into the most wonderful job in the world from the moment you are crowned. This truly is life in the blessed lane!
Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Monday, November 7, 2016

Invisible Illness Awareness


What is Invisible Illness? Who all is effected? Why isn't anything being done about it?

October 16th began the start of Invisible Illness Week but why should we limit it to only one week? Today I am going to talk about invisible illnesses and why they are so important. Most chronic pain patients illnesses are invisible. Sadly this can cause many problems with diagnosis as well as stigmas.

I have spoken to many people who struggle with receiving a proper diagnosis. Sometimes diseases are so close to each other it is hard to differentiate,but sometimes doctors do not believe patients are actually sick. A common stigma for people with invisible illnesses is that they are just lazy. There resting in bed "is not due to their pain, it's due to their lack of work ethic."

In my opinion this couldn't be any more false. Countless people have their lives effected on a daily basis because of these illnesses. It is important for everyone to break the chain of stigmatization. I have seen it first hand on how one Illness or one wrong protein in your blood can change your life. Everything becomes a difficult task and they are stuck "using more spoons. "

Some of you may not understand what I mean by more spoons, and that is okay! However I would like to introduce you to: THE SPOON THEORY
https://butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/

Let me know your thoughts on The Spoon Theory!

"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

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Thanksgiving - The Key to Happiness!


All of us are blind to some extent, blind to other people's needs, blind to manipulation, blind to everyday miracles, and blind to the everyday, blessings- all around us.

We've become a world of unthankfulness. And our youth has unfortunately, mastered this trait.

If we could take the blinders off, and look around...We could see the blessings that are all around us! Our health, our spouses, our children, and their health, a roof over our heads, clean water, food on the table, food in the pantry, a vehicle or two.... (Maybe you don't have all of those, but how many other blessings do you have?)

If we could remove those blinders, then maybe we could see all the needs that surround us: children hurting, abuse, suicide, hunger, homelessness, racism, hate. All needs that we fail to see in our daily lives!

We are all so blind, that we are missing out on amazing opportunities. Opportunities to bless others, to make an impact on someone's life, or to be that one person that makes a difference!

What if we taught our kids to open their eyes, to notice the needs around them, to live a life of serving and giving?

My husband and I moved to WY in 2012, to work with their youth. The area where we moved was number one county for suicides in the US (predominantly in youth) at that time. What I noticed was this, when kids are empty, have no purpose, they lose hope. But you fill their "love tanks" invest a little time, and give them purpose- then the suicides seize!

Fear fails to exist, when there is love and hope in abundance.

We invest into them every week, we feed them, teach them, love on them. There are many times where we have to buy them groceries, clothes, shoes, or jackets....But the consistency, and the key is- LOVE!
We taught them to give back by making Valentines Day baskets for kids who are being bullied, to make thank you cards for the firemen, and to cook them a meal, to write letters of encouragement to kids struggling.

And in doing so, we've given them purpose. As a result, suicides have dropped, the youth is happier, they have purpose...And they're more thankful.


As we enter Thanksgiving, and we reflect on the things we are most grateful for...Remember everyday is thanksgiving, remember to show thankfulness...Our kids are watching, and we want them to learn to have a thankful heart.

Teach them to be grateful for the little things, just as much as the big things. Teach them to bless, and serve others, and to be the light in a dark place.

Thanksgiving is more than just one day, thanksgiving is a lifestyle!

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

Priscilla