Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Starting the New Year Positively


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


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

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

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

Garin Harris
Miss Teen International 2016

Monday, December 26, 2016

Focusing on Your Best


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

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

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

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

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

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

Merry Christmas!

I’m your Mrs. International reminding you-

TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Winter Traveling Tips



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

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

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

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

I hope these tips help!

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

Garin Harris
Miss Teen International 2016

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Miscommunication

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So the best thing to do is, ASK!

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

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

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

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

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

I'm your Mrs International reminding-

TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Highs and Lows


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Working With Kids



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

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

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

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

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

Garin Harris
Miss Teen International

Thursday, December 15, 2016

I'm Far From Perfect!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Priscilla

Appearance Vs. Health


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

How To: Blog Content


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

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

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

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

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

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

Garin Harris
Miss Teen International

Everyday We Are Faced With A Choice


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

“If I was debt free, I'd be happy.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'm your Mrs International reminding you-

TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Staying Organized


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Packing Tips


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Garin Harris
Miss Teen International

Monday, December 12, 2016

When It Rains, It Pours



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

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

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

Have you ever had one of those?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Priscilla

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Story Of The Wasp



Walking down the beach and everything is beautiful and ideal.

The temperature is a comfortable 79 degrees Fahrenheit as I walk along the sand with my brother, Austin. From talking about upcoming family adventures and some of our favorite family memories… it’s a picturesque afternoon.

Until…

About half a mile away from our beach house, things took an unhappy turn.

He stepped on a giant wasp and the wasp was not happy about it. It got him right in the arch of his foot. Ouch is an understatement. Once he finally got it off his foot, the pain really set in. Austin is an amazing guy and in this moment my heart just ached for him. We laughed as it continued to hurt and we realized there was still a good distance until we got back to the house.

How often does this scenario become our reality? Things seem to be going well and then in all of a sudden we are struck by an unwelcomed surprise. We woke up expecting it to be a great morning and then in the blink of an eye... pain and hurt. I firmly believe that how we react to these situations really define who we are. When things are askew – can we keep our cool and move on?

I was so impressed with Austin. It hurt without a doubt – but then was able to laugh about it. I mean seriously… he stepped on a wasp… on a beach. What are the chances?

My friends and family will tell you that I often say “plot twist” when things like this come my way. I take a lot of peace knowing that… although I may not know what’s going to happen in a day… God sees it all. He gets the full perspective and I only see what’s right in front of me. I can’t get a full evaluation because I don’t see how all the pieces fit together – I’m not God, I can’t do that. However, I know our Father holds us all in His hands… and for me… there is no place I’d rather be.

Do you respond with confidence, peace, and faith? Or… do you respond out of fear, anger, anxiety? How many of us would have spent the entire afternoon bummed about the sting and allowed it to ruin the fun that could be had in the last portion of the walk?

I think our world would look very different if we responded with confidence, peace, and faith. I believe there would be significantly less disagreements, disappointments, and fear of what is next to come.

Our true beauty is able to radiate more brightly to others when we choose to laugh and trust… even when we’re stung by a wasp.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Saturday, December 3, 2016

My Trip To Idaho - Part 2


Hello Everyone. Here are the Non- Veterans Day appearances I did while in Idaho! Again, I just love this state! Everyone is so warm and welcoming. Plus, I have lots of family that still lives there and It is always nice to have some family time.




Visiting Mrs. Benson's 5th grade class was a highlight of the trip. I love working with kids. First I was able to talk a little about my program Dancing Through the Pain as well as how important music has been in my life. There were lots of little violin players in that room, which always makes me excited. After speaking, we moved on to math time . I helped the kids learn basic division by playing a matching game.




I also had the chance to see the Capitol Christmas Tree. The tree is cut down in the Payette National Forest in Idaho then transported all the way to Washington D.C.! I was lucky enough to be able to not only see the tree, but sign the canvas that keeps it protected during its transportation to the capital. The tree is huge, if you get the chance to I recommend seeing the tree when it passes through a city near you. 


I had no idea that the American Heart Association and the Big Idaho Potato were connected. Idaho potatoes are certified by the American Heart Association for being a heart healthy food. I am happy to see these organizations working together to spread heart health awareness through the state of Idaho and beyond. 

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

Garin Harris
Miss Teen International 2016

Friday, December 2, 2016

Pretty Is As Pretty Does

“Belle” from Beauty & The Beast, showing us what is truly “pretty” is serving others!

I thought it would be nice for my audience to get to know me better… I was recently interviewed by a young lady named Logan, and I wanted to share the interview with you. 

Logan: What are your favorite charities or organizations that you have worked with?

Priscilla: I work with National Safe Haven Alliance and Safe Haven Baby Boxes

I love working for them both. I'm so proud of what they're doing to prevent the abandonments of newborns. I also work with Impact Ministries International. They have over 50 orphanages in 15 different countries. We built three orphanages in Honduras (financially providing the money) and their organization runs them. The founders are amazing, they’ve dedicated their lives to making a difference by helping kids all around the world. My husband and I, hope to follow in their footsteps.

Logan: What made you want to get involved with these (or this) particular organization(s)?

Priscilla: I got involved with Safe Haven Baby Boxes early this year.. I was having a conversation about my ultimate dreams and goals with my pageant coach, Suzy Bootz...And I told her my dream was to put baby boxes in China to stop the current gendercide. Anyhow, that brought me to SHBB, and then I connected to National Safe Haven Alliance.

And we met Tom and Teresa Stamman (the founders of Impact Ministries International) at church. We heard about their ministry and we were moved with compassion. They became good friends of ours, and then we just started working together with them. The rest was history!

Logan: As a pageant queen, how do you feel/what is your response to recent social media pages that focus negative attention on topics like “what pageant girls REALLY look like without makeup?”
Priscilla: I feel the reason people like to “attack” pageant contestants is due to the portrayal social media has given pageants. In regards to that- Pageantry hasn’t made me any “prettier” however it has made me more confident woman. Not only in who I am, but it gave me confidence to speak up and make a difference. It’s motivated me to do more, and it's given me the platform to reach more than just my community.

Just because a woman’s been in a pageant, it doesn’t make her automatically a “natural beauty”.

Media’s told us that beauty is a number on the scale, a height, a size… But the truth is, these woman are some of the most selfless, loving, and compassionate woman, you’ll ever meet.

Being beautiful is just an added perk! Makeup didn’t make them who they are, makeup didn’t make them the compassionate and giving people they are... It just gives them an added boost of confidence, that’s all.

Logan: What do you have to say to young adults in particular about body image?

Priscilla: Your body image is a choice. If you're unhappy with your body, then you have to find a way to find the beauty in your uniqueness. Or…choose to make a change, in your diet, in exercise, or maybe just in how you see yourself. No one is perfect! There isn’t a single model, singer, or actress who is perfect, or thinks they’re perfect… In fact, many of them have eating disorders. The point is, we have to choose to be grateful for the good things we blessed with, instead of focusing on the negative. I have small lips, I wish they were bigger, but instead of focusing on that..I choose to be grateful for beautiful teeth. Because my parents couldn’t afford to buy me braces, but God gave me perfectly straight teeth. I’m so grateful!

Logan: What does “pretty is as pretty does” mean to you?
Priscilla: “You are only as pretty as your actions.”

We’ve all seen the movies where the “gorgeous” popular girls are cruel and self-absorbed. Viciously, hurting everyone.

And by the end of the movie, they’re no longer “pretty” to you…. The reason is, it’s NOT “pretty!”

That's because pretty is someone who is caring and loving, because that is what pleases our senses. Not the outward, that only lasts so long.

Beauty is vain, but a woman who is in awe of the Lord, she will be praised. Proverbs 31:30 Be a thankful person, always grateful, and the outward will project the greatest beauty.

Thank you Logan for your time and the interview. I enjoyed it very much!

I have relished in the last few months as your Mrs. International! I'm so grateful for this opportunity, and I intend to use it to the fullest.. Until next time,

I'm your Mrs International reminding you-

TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Better Not Bitter


During our life, we are going to face challenge. It’s not “if” it is “when”. These challenging times are pivotal in shaping who we are and test our life in ways we never imagined. When I look at the dark times I’ve walked through… an eating disorder, the possibility of losing my mom to cancer and a brain tumor, losing my dear friend to a stroke, losing my grandmother too soon, and an unhealthy relationship… I realize that God never left my side and that they made me a better Amanda.

It would have been easy to become bitter and believe, “I guess this is it for me. Maybe I wasn’t made to something more. Do I even have a purpose?” But instead I used the challenges to make myself better and better those around me. The pain cannot go in vain… instead we have to use the pain for God’s glory and our good.

These are just a few examples of how my tests became a testimony and now serve a greater purpose. I share these to help inspire you to use your challenges for betterment instead of getting bitter.

The Eating Disorder: When I was in the depths… I never thought I’d over come this terrible disease. Instead of allowing it to take my life, I decided to grow True Beauty Movement to help cultivate positive body image and character in young women worldwide. My challenge now has impacted thousands of young women across the world and brought more glory to God than I ever imagined. The pain = purpose.

Losing Don Baker: On February 5th, 2016… I lost a man who had been on my team since I first started in pageantry 15 years ago. I didn’t know how I could prepare for Internationals without him… much less win. His stroke caused me to become truly passionate about preventing and bringing awareness to heart disease. Although he’s not with me anymore, I know he’s in heaven and smiles down on me each time I am working with the American Heart Association. His story… name… and legacy will now be heard by thousands when the EmPOWERED To Serve campaign for the American Heart Association launches in January.

Praise Jesus! Bitterness would have withheld God from blessing True Beauty and American Heart because my heart would’ve been cold.

When the storms come your way, I challenge you to look for the blessing in disguise and use your pain for purpose. Instead of sitting in self-pity… cope with the challenge and then set out on a mission to change the world. Your test will become your testimony.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016