Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Choose Love Movement


On December 28, 2014, a newborn baby girl was found dead in Eagle Creek Woods in Indianapolis, Indiana. It was determined that the baby was delivered full term with her placenta still attached. This baby was claimed and buried by an organization that gave her the name, Amelia Grace Hope. The footprint in the Safe Haven Baby Box logo is Amelia's actual footprint, she will forever be known as the defender of the Safe Haven Law.

From Monica Kelsey’s ( founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes, who was born out of rape and abandoned at a hospital) to Amelia’s story...Safe Haven Baby Boxes is rooted in the dedication, determination, and hope- that one-day abandonments will cease to exist.

Monica Kelsey was adopted at birth by a Christian family in Paulding Ohio, but it wasn't until the age of 37 that Monica discovered the shocking circumstances of her conception and subsequent birth.

After uncovering the facts surrounding her conception and birth, Monica was confronted with a new reality--her father was a rapist. After some soul searching, she stopped wrestling with the "why" and instead decided to focus on the "how." She did this by asking herself one question: "How can I take this gift of life that I've been given and make a difference?"

The answer turned out to be simpler than Monica could ever have imagined: follow God's plan for her life, believe her that her life has a purpose, and embrace the realization that she is on this earth--that her life was saved--to fulfill THAT purpose.

Although there has been some form of Safe haven Law in all 50 states since 2008, babies were still being abandoned at the doorsteps of fire stations, and hospitals.

Although that sounds great, there have been instances where by the time the baby was found, the newborn had frozen to death. So Monica came up with the added precaution and a last resort to the safe haven law baby relinquishments, by creating the baby boxes. We have been working tirelessly to pass the baby box bill in all 50 states, and we’re proud to say the Ohio has recently joined in leading the “pack.”

However, there is still a lot of work to be done. But that is where you come in!

Safe Haven Baby Boxes, The Hope Box, and I, Mrs International 2016, are teaming together to create a day to help raise awareness on Safe Haven Laws in all 50 states.

Everyone is encouraged to share information across social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages, or any groups that you belong to!

We will have a photo “movement” where you will be asked to post a photo of yourself while making a heart shape with both your hands and tagging 10 friends- challenging them to do the same and to copy and paste this post with their “heart” photo:

Today is National Infant Abandonment Awareness Day. All 50 states have Safe haven Laws which allow a mother to safely relinquish their newborn at any safe haven locations, without having to fear child abandonment charges. Please #chooselove and DO NOT abandon or discard your infant. Tag 10 friends and challenge them to post a photo with their hands making the shape of a heart to help save the life of an infant. #safehavenbabyboxes #thehopebox #safehavenlaw #mrsinternational2016 #chooselove

Imagine the impact we can make by simply posting a photo, tagging some friends and copying and pasting!

We’ve all seen the “Ice bucket challenge” the “wear red day challenge” or the “clown nose challenge.”

It's time for people to see the “Choose love” challenge. Every few days a baby is abandoned in the US, imagine the difference we can make in getting this knowledge out there …..TOGETHER we CAN stop abandonments!

I'm your Mrs. International reminding you-

TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Sunday, January 29, 2017

My Trip to Roanoke


I had an amazing time in Roanoke, Virginia! Even though I was there for a few short hours Amanda, Priscilla, and I were able to fit in lots of things. A big thank you goes out to our amazing director Mary for hosting us in your wonderful home! I loved the area and am excited to visit again soon.


We were up early in the morning to be at the WFXR Television station for an interview. We were all able to speak about the International Pageant System as well as our person platforms, and Go Red for Women. Speaking of which, don’t forget to wear red on February 3rd! If you would like to watch the interview please follow this link:

http://www.virginiafirst.com/news/local-news/miss-international-pageant/641879732


Next we went to Thomas Dunn Salon to get #alldunnup! All of the staff are so nice. Thomas and Drew do an amazing job making you feel and look your best. Priscilla, Amanda, and I all received beautiful hair extensions, lashes, and hair care products. Ladies don’t forget to book your appointments with them for nationals. They are the only hair and makeup artists allowed backstage to assist you with hair and makeup!


After that I was on a flight and on my way to my next destination!

"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, January 28, 2017

Grace


Life is not perfect but it’d be nice if it was for a day… right?

I think sometimes we get this idea in our mind of how situations should go and how people should act. Notice the word “should”. When people or situations fall short of this “should”… then we harbor the pain or disappointment. Maybe we don’t forgive them or get over it… we brush it under the rug and hope it goes away. We often hold people or situations to a higher standard than we’d like to be held to.

I am guilty of this and it’s something that I’ve had to have a “come to Jesus” moment about. As Miss International, I’ve found myself, more often than not, on a plane and looking out the window. This time is typically used to listen to a sermon and think about all the different things God is and has been doing in my life. Somewhere over the United States I heard my God whisper say, “This isn’t about you Amanda. It’s what I’ve freely given to you. Get over yourself and show My love and grace.” Well… that was clear as day, God.

We have to remember that we also fall short of the glory of God every day and we aren’t perfect. We can show grace to others and situations because God gave it freely to us. We show it when we realize we have received it. I realized that it was an issue of pride. An issue that I had to overcome and one that would destroy meaningful relationship if I couldn’t.

This issue stems from my battle with perfectionism, but I am so thankful to say that it’s something that Jesus has faithfully helped me with. I’d like to think I have it all together, but sadly that’s not reality. I do my best; just like all of us. I have good days and bad days; but each day needs to point people back to Him. I’m not saying it’s always easy… but I am saying it’s worth it.

A true beauty is able to show gentleness and self-control even when it’s not ideal. A true beauty extends grace because she knows who has the real authority over her life and the unique gift she has to speak life into others.

What makes us the authority over what is “right” or “perfect”? Grace allows us to break up with the idea of perfection and grab onto the idea of love and acceptance. Let’s show beauty to others and situations by showing them grace and removing our expectations of perfection from everyone and everything!

True beauty isn’t perfect - but it does love others… exhibit self-control… have patience… and extend grace.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Friday, January 27, 2017

My Hero


On August 25th, 1972 a 17 year old girl was brutally attacked, raped and left along the side of the road to die.

This scared 17 year old, somehow mustered up the courage to press charges against her rapist. Until he was arrested, and ultimately charged. Then six weeks later, this 17 year old, found out she was pregnant by her rapist.

At the advice of this young girl’s mother, she found herself at a “back alley abortion facility” in Oct of 1972. As she faced this man, about to take her child's life... This young woman made the most selfless decision and chose to keep her baby, regardless of the circumstances. She then sacrificed the next few months...When most 17-year-olds would be enjoying their senior year, this innocent young lady was instead hidden from the outside world. Until one evening in April of 1973, when she gave birth to her baby. Two hours after giving birth, she abandoned her baby at a small hospital in Ohio. This abandoned baby was Monica Kelsey.

This is where the baby boxes “journey” began.

Monica has made it her personal mission to educate others on the Safe Haven Laws and the importance of saving these innocent babies from being abandoned.


As a medic and firefighter, Monica has devoted her life to saving the lives of others.

It's truly astonishing, her life was saved so that she could save the lives of others! I have never known a more selfless, and dedicated person. She is a real- life hero, and my hero. Thank you, Monica!

Genesis 50:20- You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good, to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
To find out more, or to give towards this amazing cause please visit our website at www.safehavenbabyboxes.com

I'm your Mrs. International reminding you-

TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Job Description of a Beauty Queen?


For my blogs I try to address popular questions that people ask me. Recently in an airport I was asked a question that caught me a little off guard, “What is the job description of a beauty queen?” After taking a moment to pause and think, I realized that it is different for each titleholder.

When you have the title of Miss Teen, Miss, or Mrs. International it is really about what you make it. You have the power to decide your goals and aspirations for the year. The easiest way I could describe my goal is to travel around loving and inspiring others.

Recently, Suzy Bootz the official coach for International Pageants and my dear friend posted something that got me thinking a little more than the other ones. It stated “ You were born with the ability to change someone's life, don’t ever waste it.” It not only inspired me to work harder, but it inspired me to teach others that. Could you imagine how much of an impact the could make? Teaching people to help others with their talents is key to a thriving society.

So, I ask you, what are you doing to make a difference? Remember it is the LITTLE things that add up to make this a positive world.Let's be successful in helping others together, and always remember…

"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, January 26, 2017

Opinions Are Not Facts


“You’re too fat.”

“You’ll never win.”

“You reached your pageant prime when you were 19.”

“You’ve got thunder thighs.”

“Your smile is too crooked and when you smile your eyes are small."

All of these opinions are ones that I’ve heard since I was a young girl in elementary school. Whether it was on the school playground, on a message board, or backstage. By being in this industry, we are subjected to commentary and opinions from those we know and some we don’t. For a long time, I believed all these lies. I thought I could never measure up or be good enough because other people’s opinion ruled my life.

There came a point when I realized that… just because someone said something negative about me… doesn’t mean it is true. People say things all day long - negative and positive. Either way, it doesn’t make it factual.

A fact is defined as….

“a thing that is indisputably the case”

If we’re going to break down the “you’re too fat” opinion… we have a few things to consider. If I’m “too” fat, then what does someone look like who is fat instead of “too” fat? What are we comparing my body to? What is the definition of a standard body? I have fat - we all do… but what makes me defined by fat?

Where are our definitions to use in for comparison coming from? To one person you may be “too thin” and to another you may be “too fat.” They are all opinions - and opinions are not factual. Good or bad - they are not indisputably the case.

When you have opinions thrown your way, I encourage you to challenge them in your mind. Consider if there is any part that may be true or if it is in fact just an opinion. I do this when I hear opinions as well. To talk through it, I’ll sit on my porch with a cup of coffee and essentially talk through what I did in the previous paragraphs. I consider the reasoning and logically think through things that stick to me.

Who is to say that you’re not good enough - pretty enough - thin enough - smart enough? You are more than enough and a daughter of the most high King. He sees no flaw in you. That’s a fact.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Perfect Timing



"By the age of 25, I'll be married, I'll own my dream home, I'll be rich, travel the world, and then, I’ll have my first baby by 30!"

Most of us don't realize it, however, everyone of us, have these “milestones” engraved in our minds. (Okay, maybe that example was a teenie bit, far fetched, but you get the point.)

Goals are great. I'm alllll about having a vision for your future.... In fact, I have my own kids as well as my youth group make new vision boards every year. I want them to push themselves, and believe for their dreams or goals.

BUT I want to talk about what happens when they don't come to pass when YOU wanted them to, in your timing?

I read this the other day and it really touched my heart, I wanted to share it with you:

At age 23, Tina Fey was working at a YMCA.

At age 23, Oprah was fired from her first reporting job.

At age 24, Stephen King was working as a janitor and living in a trailer.

At age 27, Vincent Van Gogh failed as a missionary and decided to go to art school.

At age 28, J.K. Rowling was a suicidal single parent living on welfare.

At age 28, Wayne Coyne (from The Flaming Lips) was a fry cook.

At age 30, Harrison Ford was a carpenter.

At age 30, Martha Stewart was a stockbroker.

At age 37, Ang Lee was a stay-at-home-dad working odd jobs.

Julia Child released her first cookbook at age 39, and got her own cooking show at age 51.

Vera Wang failed to make the Olympic figure skating team, didn’t get the Editor-in-Chief position at Vogue, and designed her first dress at age 40.

Stan Lee didn’t release his first big comic book until he was 40.

Alan Rickman gave up his graphic design career to pursue acting at age 42.

Samuel L. Jackson didn’t get his first movie role until he was 46.

Morgan Freeman landed his first MAJOR movie role at age 52.

Kathryn Bigelow only reached international success when she made The Hurt Locker at age 57.

Grandma Moses didn’t begin her painting career until age 76.

Louise Bourgeois didn’t become a famous artist until she was 78.

Whatever your dream is, it is not too late to achieve it. You aren’t a failure because you haven’t found fame and fortune by the age of ___(insert your age). It’s okay if you don’t know what your dream is just yet. Even if you’re flipping burgers, waiting tables or answering phones today, you never know where you’ll end up tomorrow.

Never tell yourself you’re too old to make it.
Never tell yourself you missed your chance.
Never tell yourself that you aren’t good enough. You can do it. Whatever it is.

It's all about God's timing for you. And a His timing is the PERFECT timing...

That is what I tell my youth group everyday. And sometimes I have to remind myself.

I had stopped wearing make up, dressing up, I had even stopped wearing high heels..I was settled into my role as a mom, and youth pastor, living in Wyoming...I never considered entering a pageant at my age, with my busy life.

Regardless, God led me to become Mrs International, although it was never a part of my "plan".

My husband had a dream of my crowning moment, 5 years before I entered the pageant! And I had several dreams about it as well. So after praying about it, we all decided to pursue it. And here we are!

See in my mind, I thought I would have been a missionary in Africa or Honduras by now, but I'm not...And that's okay! God had a better plan for my life. And now I can minister to people ALL over the globe, it’s limitless.

It was never in my "plans" to become a TV co-host. Never occurred to me, never in my wildest dreams!

But that's the point. If you're a "Vera Wang" like me, where you wanted to become a "figure skater" but instead became a "famous fashion designer." Know that our plans are not His plans. His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. Or maybe you're a "Morgan Freeman" who planned to become a fighter pilot but instead became a critically acclaimed actor. Or maybe you're a “Samuel L. Jackson” who's dream was to become an actor, and pursued it till it became a reality.

God has something greater, and bigger for you!

I’m your Mrs. International reminding you-

TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Monday, January 23, 2017

Social Media & Titleholders

I think we can all agree that social media has an influence on today's society. However, it is up to us on whether we make a positive or negative impact with each of our small corners of the worldwide web. As pageant title holders or contestants you may have more influence than you realize. Here are a few reasons why social media is important for pageant girls.

First of all is promotion, whether it is yourself or your platform. You can use social media to give judges or people in general a great first impression. Consider it an addition to your paperwork, if they find your Facebook Page or google search your name, what will they learn about you? I often get asked "what is appropriate to post as a titleholder? " My response is usually if you would want your grandma to see it or your grandma would approve then it's should be okay.

So ladies, just remember keep it appropriate and use social media to spread positivity. The possibilities are endless, imagine how many more people can learn about your cause just by taking a few minutes to post a picture or write a paragraph. Some of you may be surprised by the results!

After my Dancing Through the Pain Photo Challenge was posted the U.S. Pain Foundation and I had reached over 90,000 people in just a couple weeks!

"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

Happy Girls Are The “Prettiest”


The world, media, and society is constantly bombarding young women with images of “perfection” or guidance on how to be “pretty.” Walk down any checkout line at a store and you’ll see atleast 3 magazines telling you how to be “prettier” or “hotter” or “better”. It’s sad but so true. What I seldom see is guidance on how to be happier or live a better life.

If we’re speaking transparently, feeling 100% confident in our body every day is hard to do. However, each morning we have the opportunity to choose joy and choose happiness. We can choose to see the best in ourself and others.

If we want to be “pretty”, let’s choose to be happy and not let outside forces steal our joy.

A hard lesson I’ve had to learn is that people who aren’t happy with themselves will never be happy with you. They will constantly tear you down, be hypercritical, and make it seem as if you will never be good enough. I don’t know about you… but that could not be farther from who I want to be or who I want to surround myself.

A true beauty searches for the best in others and lifts them up. She’s beautiful because she chooses beauty; even when it’s hard. Sometimes our best won’t be good enough for someone else - but that doesn’t mean we aren’t good enough. Don’t let someone else’s bitterness toward life tear you down! Let’s use our beauty to lift them up. They may not see it right away but you are sewing seeds that God can use to bring them closer to Him.

Another challenging time to find happiness is when things don’t go our way or they fall short of our dreams and expectations. We don’t understand and our heart is confused. That’s okay; it’s normal to feel let down. But we have to trust that there is One much greater than us that sees how each piece falls together. He sees the whole picture, and one day we will get to look at it with Him. We have to trust in our Father and find joy that He never once let’s go.

Being happy is a lifestyle; not just an emotion. It’s the constant decision to see the best. Your beauty will radiate to others because you will be different from the norm. You will be unshaken by circumstances because you know your worth, value, and happiness.

I pray that our beauty and happiness is the kind that changes the world; a light that helps others find their own happiness and joy.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Let's Talk Divorce


It doesn't matter how old you are, or how long you’ve been out of your parents house..Divorce hurts!

My parents recently divorced after 35+ years, I know, crazy! I thought they would always be together, I never would have expected my parents to part ways...Never in a million years!

But they did, and now the family dynamics at holidays and parties will never be the same.

That's why it's important to know that divorce doesn't just affect the two individuals who are married, but the whole family, extended family, friends, neighbors, even co-workers. Everyone feels the pain, especially the children!

Now please, don't feel any judgement.. I've been divorced myself. I've discovered the pain and hurt divorce causes- first hand. And it was excruciating!

I was married at the tender age of 18 to my high school sweetheart. Our marriage ended after a very painful, unfaithful, moment. I tried to forgive him and move forward, but I couldn't. Honestly, I was too insecure to handle a relationship where I couldn't trust my husband.

But the point is, it was painful and not just for the two of us, but for everyone. I remember telling my little niece Natalie, she was 4 years old then. Her mom (my sister) lived in a different state, and therefore, my mom and I were raising her and her little sister. (I ended up adopting them later on.) But my sweet, little, Natalie, was devastated! She bawled her little eyes out, she understood divorce! She already knew what that meant! And it that broke my heart. I felt lower than dirt at that moment.

Then there was his family, whom I ADORED!! I was so close to his parents that I cried and cried for days, weeks and even months! I have no doubt it was equally difficult on their part.

It affected everyone around us, our friends felt torn between the two, relatives felt they had to be loyal to their “blood.” It's awful, I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

Even though, it was for the better, and it ended up being a huge blessing on my part..That still doesn't change the pain that it caused everyone. Because there is so much more than just a marriage at stake when you're deciding on a divorce.

If you ever find yourself contemplating a divorce, please ask yourself these questions first:

1) Can you work this out?

I know at the moment, your disagreement may seem impossible to come to any sort of peaceful terms. But is it truly impossible?

2) Have you done everything you can to save your marriage?

Have you thought about couples counseling? Perhaps you can try going on a second honeymoon to rekindle the romance? Reading marriage books to work through problems? There are so many options and endless things that you can try...Just make sure, you don't want to look back and have any regrets.

3) When was the last time you were intimate or affectionate towards one another?

If you don't try to make time for intimacy, then you’re setting your marriage up for failure. You need to make time to go on dates (I recommend weekly). Make time to be affectionate, and to pray with one another DAILY!

4) Do you and your spouse argue daily? Does everything about him or her irritate you? Well, tell me, when was the last time you laughed together?

See, we all need to remember what it was that made us fall in love in the first place!?

It's imperative that marriages find ways to laugh, and enjoy one another’s company.

Marriage isn't easy, its work! But just like any job, you get what you put into it. If you want it to work, you have to work at it! No marriage, not one, single, one, is “bulletproof.”

If this divorce, between my parents, has taught me anything..It is that, no marriage is guaranteed.

Marriage is a daily choice. You must choose to walk in patience and kindness.

Patience is where love meets wisdom. We must realize that love in its truest sense is NOT based on feelings. And you will never learn to love until you learn not to act out based on your feelings. Instead choose to demonstrate kindness, thoughtful actions, even when there seems to be no reward.

If you want to have a healthy marriage full of love, kindness, 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, and families thriving as a family unit.

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

Priscilla

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Heart Health Awareness Month

February is fast approaching which means Heart Heath Awareness Month is coming too! As an ambassador and spokesperson for the American Heart Association, I encourage all of you to become involved in one way or another. Here are a few simple ways you can become involved this upcoming month.

1. Wear Red!
February 3rd is Annual #GoRedWearRed Day. On this day everyone is encouraged to wear something red or go all out and post a picture. This is a huge part of our campaign, please join us on promoting such an important cause.

2. Participate in Events
During the month of February, lots of local American Heart Association branches host different classes and luncheons. If you can take a CPR class, or attend a luncheon to learn more about the American Heart Association and Go Red for Women.

3. Join Go Red Get Fit
Are you wanting to work out and live an overall healthy lifestyle but don't know where to begin? The #GoRedGetFit Facebook group would be great for you to join! Not only do you learn workouts from professional trainers but also recipes that are heart healthy . Not to mention you get to meet thousands of other people who have accepted the same challenge as you!

If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me or look them up on the American Heart Associations Website:

www.heart.org

"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, January 19, 2017

Let Go Of The "Should Be"


Whenever I hear “Let It Go”…. I just want to break into song. Anyone else out there who is the same level of dorky-ness as me?

Often times I find that, as women, we deal with self-imposed unrealistic expectations of what we “should be”.

We should be thinner, taller, more attractive.

We should look more like the models in the magazine.

We should be smarter.

We should be doing x, y, or x.

So often, these “should be” feelings can tear us down. When we fall short of what we “should be”… we can find ourselves in a terrible cycle of self-hate and even depression. We feel like if we don’t measure up then we aren’t worthy or “good.” These expectations can be influenced by society, family, or friends. They are unattainable and can put us on such a terrible path toward self-destruction. Sometimes we don’t even realize we’re dealing with this - but it must be handled.

As someone who is working to overcome being a perfectionist and people-pleaser, I find myself hearing the “should be” voice more often than I’d like. If not handled appropriately, they can demolish my entire day because my attitude and mind are out of check. I get focused on the wrong things instead of heavenly things. I become focused on making sure everyone else is happy with Amanda and less on if God is pleased with me.

Overcoming the “should be” can be difficult, but I’ve found strategies that work for me. I have to be quick to the draw when the unrealistic expectations come about in my mind - but I know in my heart that I am able to overcome them… and so are you. These “should be” thoughts are not conducive to us growing or flourishing. We must step into who God created us to be - not who the world wants us to be.

One of my favorite strategies is to journal. Getting the negative thoughts and “should be” expectations out on paper helps me verbalize what’s going on. Instead of trying to figure it out, I can just write it down and look at it with a sound and reasonable mind.

Another strategy to overcome the “should be” is working out! I’ve got to clear my head and when I run, I am able to do that. Working out is so therapeutic for me. My thoughts become more clear and I get kind of sassy - but in a self-empowerment way. I go into this mindset of “God created me, and His opinion is the one that matters.”

I encourage us to let it go! Let go of the should be and focus on who you were created to be, not some unrealistic image or standard. Be beautifully you!

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

No More!



Sex trafficking is uncomfortable subject for many... It's not easy to wrap your mind around the horror of anyone being trafficked and forced into sex slavery, let alone a child!

I lived in Roanoke, T.X. five years ago, minutes away from Denton, T.X. The second rated city in the US for sex trafficking. So I was relieved when we moved to our small town, Newcastle. I thought, certainly THEY don't have sex trafficking! Well, I was wrong! It's happening here too, it's happening everywhere, big cities, and small towns everywhere! There is no escaping it.

We need to step out of our “comfort zone” and start talking about the uncomfortable subjects, subjects that are so often ignored.

Safe Haven Baby Boxes and I, have recently partnered with The Hope Box a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization created to provide educational resources and assistance for sex trafficked babies/children, illegally abandoned newborn infants, as well as to pregnant women, new mothers and fathers.

We provide education to communities regarding the issues of abandonment, specified in the area of newborn and infants, but not limited to.

Throughout our development we have come across multiple circumstances and issues as to why these newborns are being abandoned and the outcomes they are facing. There are three specific areas we are currently focusing on: abandoned, discarded, and boarder babies.

Exploitation and trafficking of girls and women are at an all time high across the nation.

We have gone into the streets of our communities where this occurs and spoken to these girls and women, providing resources and assistance of rescue if desired.

Through first account conversations, we have learned that the following circumstances may take place when a girl or woman becomes pregnant:

The mother does not receive proper medical care or attention throughout her pregnancy, or delivery, and they'll typically have a friend aid in delivering the baby wherever they reside. Should her pimp decide he no longer desires for her to be pregnant, he will attempt to perform an abortion on her using whatever means necessary.

Once a baby is delivered; The mother will discard the baby herself or have her friend discard the baby for her. Her pimp will then use her baby as leverage in order to continue her obligation to work for him.

Her pimp will profit from the baby by placing the baby into sexual exploitation and trafficking. This occurrence has aided in the rise of dark web purchasing of newborns for sexual exploitation and for illegal adoption purchases.

These are just a few highlighted situations that occur to these mothers living a forced life in sexual exploitation and trafficking. 

We believe that it takes a community to change a community.

We believe that through better laws, education, resources, and hands on acts of service into our communities we will begin to change the way our communities work within our state regarding these issues of abandonment.

We ultimately want to become the example of excellence to the nation of how to provide and care for abandoned and discarded newborns with a provision of resources and assistance to the families in our communities.

Here are the legal definitions for each of them:

• Abandoned babies are newborn children not medically cleared for hospital discharge, but who are unlikely to leave the hospital in the custody of their biological parents.

• Discarded infants are newborns who have been abandoned in public places, other than hospitals, without care or supervision.

• Boarder Babies are infants who remain at the hospital even though medically ready for discharge. Babies stay in the hospital due to legal complications, questions about the parents’ ability to care for the babies, and a lack of care alternatives.

Our goal is to prevent the abandonments of babies through Safe Haven surrenders, as well as providing complete anonymity through baby boxes for mothers contemplating a Safe Haven law surrender.

And lastly, to find these abandoned, discarded, boarder babies with an approved adoptive family.

We know that through your love, support we CAN do this. However we need you, and your prayers! #chooselove

I'm your Mrs International reminding you-

TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Visiting Animal Shelters


One of my favorite appearances I am able to make is going to animal shelters. Animal shelters can always use help! Here is a list of easy things you can do to help out a local shelter.


1. Donating Items

Most shelters have a list of items they are in need of. Dog and cat food are always important and needed. Toys and blankets always need to be refreshed as well. I know lots of girls who make and donate blankets do the animals can have a more comfortable place to rest and play in.


2. Long Term Volunteering

If you have extra time volunteering at an animal shelter is a valuable use of your time. It takes a lot to make these shelters run as smoothly as they do. Most of them run off of donations and volunteers. It is amazing how much of an impact you can make by volunteering even one hour of your time a week!


3. Spending Time With the Animals

If you are not in a place to make a long term volunteering commitment taking a day looking and spending time with the animals can make a difference in their quality of life. Most counties or parishes have at least one or more animal shelters. I encourage you to find the one easiest for you and volunteer!

Happy Volunteering!

"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

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

“Umm… Emergency!” - Your Kit to the Crown


I am a planner. Type A when it comes to pageants.

I took my journey to the job of Miss International very seriously! You all have heard me say it before… prepare for the job - not just the crowning moment. The fun (and nerve-wrecking) part of pageants is that you never know what can happen. You have just moments backstage to look your best as you change in and out of your various looks. On finals night, you have less than 5 minutes to get back to the stage after each phase of competition. There is no space for “Hmm, how do I fix that?” or “AHHH - IT BROKE!”

As state pageants approach, I wanted to give you all insight as to what my backstage emergency kit looks like. This kit is comprised of items that I could not go pageant week or backstage without. I’ve been in this industry for 15 years and learned about these items the hard way!
  • Band-Aids
  • Double Sided Tape
  • Duct Tape (just trust me)
  • Super Glue
  • Water Bottle
  • Snack Bar
  • Headphones
  • Bible
  • Shout Pens and Wipes
  • Baby Wipes
  • Gloves (to wear when you put on your white wardrobe)
  • Body Deodorant 
  • Phone Charger
  • Ear Plugs
  • Make-Up Bag
  • Curler
  • Straightener
  • Small Magnified Mirror
  • Tweezers
  • Nail Clippers
  • Teasing Brush
  • Hair Tie
  • Bobby Pins
  • Earring Backs
  • Sticky Boobs
  • Lip Gloss (easily accessible) 
  • Small Hand Fan
  • Sharpie
  • Labels(for all your things)
  • Vaseline 

With these items in your Emergency Bag, you are ready for the job of Miss International and whatever situations may occur backstage! Be creative with your bag - it can be as simple as a ziplock baggie or even something nicer!

I encourage you to pack extra items you may think of and share them below. I can’t wait to see what you all come up with!

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Sex Trafficking Awareness Month


In honor of sex trafficking awareness month, I would like to use this blog to raise awareness of this devastating epidemic.

We've all been taught that slavery was abolished, and no longer exists in the US. However nothing could be further from the truth. In fact there are 20- 30 million slaves in the world today.

As parents, it's important to protect our children from this rising threat. We need to be aware of these predators. We know how they target their prey, and how we can prevent it.

One of the most common methods predators us- is "interest." Predators can find their prey through a casual meeting, social media (very commonly used), at college campuses, parties, or night clubs.. The predators will charm their victims, become their boyfriend/girlfriend, or intimate "friend".

They begin by offering necessities, showering them with gifts, paying compliments and offering "advice."

You see, these predators will prey off any weakness....They look for someone who is vulnerable or lonely. They take their time talking, showing them attention, and creating a "bond." And after they've earned the victim’s trust, the predator begins to ask for "favors" manipulating the victim into believing they're "helping" earn money by sleeping with strangers. This will continue until they add three or more into the "equation" or until the victim is forced to "serve" several, to dozens of sex buyers in a day.

It's important to know that not all victims are female, 45% of victims are male. It is crucial that you discuss this with your kids and make them well aware.

Inspector Anthony Favale, the head of the New York Police Department’s Vice Unit — Said it happens everyday, and everywhere. “If people think that their son or daughter is "too smart" to fall prey to that, we’ve seen girls with college degrees — girls, boys — that are articulate as can be. And I’m scratching my head saying, ‘How did they fall for this?' Those responsible are master manipulators, brilliant at finding weaknesses that these girls don’t even know exist. "

Regardless of how "smart" your child, teen or young adult might be, they need to be taught about these predators.

How can we prevent this:

1) LOVE is the answer! If we would set a high standard of love in our homes, then when someone comes to offer our kids a "counterfeit love," full of empty promises, and conditional gifts.. They'll be quick to identify it. Teach them about manipulating, real love doesn't manipulate.

2) Communicate with your kids.
Teach them and talk to them about manipulation, and flattery. Have conversations about sexual abuse, what is okay and NOT okay.
Every 2 minutes someone in the US is sexually abused, 29% of them are between ages 12-17. Talk the them about sex trafficking, and the dangers of social media. Our kids need to feel like they can talk to us about anything! So never make them feel judged! Listen and love them, that is the answer.

3) Be involved.
Monitor your kids phones, texts, social media accounts, and know their friends. Know who they talk to, who they're hanging out with....You're their parent, it's okay to be a nosy! It's part of your job.

4) Lastly, pray!
Pray for your children, "cover them" in scripture and trust that God will protect them.

If you suspect someone is a victim of sex trafficking, or maybe you or someone you know is being forced into sex trafficking, please call our 24 hour hotline at 1-888-373-7888. We can and want to help!!

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

Priscilla

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Importance of Donating


Since we just went through the holiday season and started a new year, I wanted to share this message with everyone. It is so important to donate your used items. Whether it is clothes that no longer fit, household decorations, or old toys that are no longer being used, donate. Why keep these things around when they are not being used in your home. It only takes up your space and causes a mess, which can lead to you being stressed.

There are plenty of people who could use these items. One question I often get asked is where you should donate. Most people want to know that there items are being used solely for the purpose of helping those in need, not making a profit. Here is my advice on where to donate!

1. Local Church-

If you know your church accepts donations this is a great option! You know that an important message will be delivered with your items. If you are unsure if your church accepts donations call or stop by the main office and ask. Sometimes they will ask what sizes you are donating because a certain family may be struggling that they know of. Most of the time the church will be able to use your clothing and toys.


2. Local Donation Center-

I know many towns have local donation centers. I enjoy giving to these the most because I know my items will be safe and donated to members of the community. A lot of local women's and community shelters accept donations. Also, consider donating blankets to an animal shelter.

3. Goodwill or Salvation Army-

Both of these places have thousands of locations! If you cannot find a local place these are always an option!

Happy Donating!

"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, January 13, 2017

Staying True To Your Values


One of the hardest things I faced as a teen was figuring out who I am and staying true to who I was created to be. It’s hard, especially when people around you are doing things that you never really imagined yourself doing. You look at them and wonder if you should follow the crowd or stand up for what you believe in.

I mentor and coach numerous teenage girls who find themselves in the same situation. They aren’t sure if they should fit to the trends and social norm - or feel slightly uncomfortable for standing out. So often I hear, “I wish I could just fit in and be like everyone else.”

As someone who has been there, my heart breaks. When our mind is in this state, we forget that we were created to stand out. One of my favorite movie quotes is from Princess Diaries and it’s, “Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out. What makes you different makes you beautiful.” It’s totally different than trying to fit it; it’s celebrating that you were uniquely created.

Even as a young adult, I see pressures similar to what I faced as a young girl. The only difference is that now I fully grasp where my worth and values come from. There’s no question or consideration. If what is going on or is proposed to me is not within what I consider to be representative of who I am, who God has created me to be, or the rolemodel I’d like for other girls… I don’t do it. I’m not perfect but I do try best. I strive to be the peer rolemodel I needed when I was younger

As I watch styles and moral compasses change, I want all girls in the world to know that it’s ok to be the “modest good girl”. You don’t have to go out to bars every night, break the law, or make questionable decisions to be cool. When the questionable activities, wardrobe, or people come your way… I encourage you to take a moment to sit quietly and consider if it fits within who you are. If you’re not sure, the answer is more than likely no.

People who want to lift you up will celebrate you exactly as you are. They don’t need the “popular” girl… they just want you to stay true to your values and yourself.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Thursday, January 12, 2017

First Kiss



I still remember the feeling I felt when we first kissed.

Marriage isn't always easy, it's probably one of the hardest things in life. But if you are willing to work at it, it's also one of the most rewarding.

Marriage may not be what Hollywood portrays, romance, sex and then "Happily Ever After"...But it's so much more than that.

I remember as a young adult, watching movies like Sleepless In Seattle, Pretty Woman, and The Notebook, thinking "Wow!" I felt like love, finding "True love" would solve everything!

Then I got married, and everything was perfect, a dream come true...AT FIRST. Then once the honeymoon wore off, and children came into the picture..That's when reality set in.

Wow, marriage is HARD!

Suddenly, date nights were a rarity, sleep, SEX, almost everything enjoyable seemed to be put on the back burner. Then when we finally seemed to develop a "routine" and things were getting easier, "We're Pregnant!" (This happened a few too many times, we have 6 kids!)

But what I realized is this, that IS true love! Real love!

Real love is someone holding your hair when you are puking your guts out, with morning sickness, it's someone staring at you when you look absolutely hideous, with huge bags under your eyes from sleep deprivation and saying "You're beautiful!" It's someone wiping your tears when your heart has been broken by death. Its someone standing next to you, pushing till their red in the face, and crying with you as your baby takes their first breaths of life..

Its someone willing to die for you, willingly sacrifice themselves for you. Marriage should be a picture of the sacrifice paid at the cross. Anything different from that, is a lie. That was messy, it was bloody, and it was painful BUT it was beautiful. Because true love IS a sacrifice. And sometimes it means dying to ourselves, our fleshly, selfish, selves and putting our spouse's needs before our own needs.

Marriage is a battle for the one you love. Fighting to make things work, when you get knocked down, you get back up. You never give up, when things are hard, when you're sleep deprived, moody, hormonal and unbearable, they're there by your side- loving you unconditionally.

THAT is a beautiful love story. That is a REAL love story.

We’ve been together for almost 12 years now, married almost immediately after we dated... And I can honestly tell you, it wasn't easy making it this long... But it was worth it!

I have an amazing man that I get to wake up next to every day. I have an amazing family, I love them all so much- that it hurts (in a good way) AND we are happy. How much better can it get?

But this is all due to two people fighting for each other, determined to make things work, determined to make time for one another, and willing to sacrifice for love. We chose love, it IS a decision! And you have to make that decision.

The choice is yours, I choose love, will you?

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

Priscilla

Family Vacation To Hawaii


It is always important the spend time with your family! Every year my parents take a trip to Hawaii for their anniversary. This year they decided to let me tag along! I am always up for adventures so I was determined to check something off of my bucket list while I was there. Here is a short summary of what I was able to do while in Maui.


I spent a lot of my time relaxing on the beach and trying to get a tan. Later I decided to become a little more adventurous and scuba dive! Scuba diving had been on my bucket list forever but, I was always to scared to try it. My dad finally talked me into going, so we woke up early that next morning for our lesson.


We started in the pool to learn the basic techniques we needed to know. Then we headed for the ocean, when we first began I was really nervous. It takes a while to adjust your breathing. Once I relaxed, I would rate it one of the top experiences of my life. There is something that oddly calmed me down about being in what seemed like a different world. I now added a new item to my bucket list… get my Scuba Diving License. Another different love of mine is surfing. I first surfed in California but I always wanted to surf in Hawaii. The water is warmer and the waves allow you to stay up longer! This means a lot because paddling kills your arms. I don't know how the professionals do it?!


I had a great time in Maui, hopefully I can go back soon. Aloha!


"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

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Unshakeable Confidence


Where is our confidence coming from? 

Is it from the validation from others when we receive a compliment? Is it from the number on the scale? Is it from the affection someone shows us?

There comes a point when all of the above sources run dry and no longer give us the satisfaction and joy they once did. This is because all of the above are temporary. They will fade away. When this happens, we may find ourselves with deep sorrow and feelings of unworthiness. Our confidence and belief in our value then plummets.

What if we, instead, found our confidence from an everlasting truth?

I firmly believe that when we begin to understand that we were perfectly, fearfully, and wonderfully created… we don’t rely on outside sources to help us understand our value! We know that, no matter what the world says, we are beautiful and worthy of love. In fact, we were worth dying for. Our confidence comes from the Lord. Let that sink in.

The unshakeable confidence we dream of comes from fully grasping the Truth. It comes from dedicated time of self-reflection and soul searching. Confidence cannot be found from comparing ourselves to others and it’s not in a magazine. Confidence in our heart and in the understanding that we are worth more than rubies.

I challenge you to set aside time for yourself and truly see where you are finding your confidence and value. It’s totally okay to find supplements to our confidence growth from compliments, accomplishments, and outside live… but our unshakeable confidence has to come from the truth of how we were created and how deeply we are loved. It’s hard to question your value when you realize how much has already been done for you through our Father. Journal about your thoughts, spend intentional quiet time, and take one step closer to the unshakeable confidence you were created to have.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

RIP Carrie & Debbie



I was so terribly saddened by the death of Carrie Fisher, and then- a day later, her mother, Debbie Reynolds, passed away!

Carrie from a heart attack and her mother, from a broken heart- induced stroke. Yes "broken heart syndrome" is real!

My family and I, are HUGE Stars Wars nerds... Therefore in memory of Princess Leia, I would like to use this as an opportunity to raise awareness.

I don't want either one of their deaths to have been in vain.

First of all, I know us, women, tend to put ourselves last. Our families and careers always come first, and I believe that is why heart disease and stroke are THE NUMBER ONE KILLER in women!

This isn't a joke folks, Carrie was only 60 years old! So young..It breaks my heart!
It is imperative that we know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack or stroke.

STROKE SYMPTOMS:

1) Numbness in arms or face.
One of the most recognizable symptoms of a stroke is paralysis or numbness in the victim’s arm, face, or leg.

2) Trouble speaking.
Your speech can become slurred, or stutter, because of the serious blow to the nervous system, your body will have difficulty forming words.

3) Changes in vision.
Experiencing blurred vision, or having difficulty seeing, is often described as an initial symptom in a stroke.

4) Sudden headaches.
A stroke can be accompanied by a sudden or extremely severe headache.

5) Trouble detecting hot or cold.
When someone has suffered from a stroke it becomes difficult for them to detect a change in your touch sensation.

6) Trouble swallowing.
A big sign of a stroke brewing is having difficulty swallowing foods or liquids out of the blue.

7) Difficulty walking.
Having trouble waking may be an indicator of a stroke close to happening or that you've already had one.

8) Confusion.
Confusion or brain fog, is another sign that your brain may not be getting enough blood.

9) Dizziness or vertigo.
Dizziness or vertigo are often associated with a stroke.

10) Loss of consciousness.
The feeling of passing out, or loss of consciousness is a very serious symptom of stroke.

HEART ATTACK SYMPTOMS:

1) Chest discomfort.
The discomfort lasts for more than a few minutes or it may go away and come back. The discomfort may feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.

2) Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. This may include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or upper stomach.Shortness of breath may occur with or before chest discomfort.

3) Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, dizziness or lightheadedness, “feeling of impending doom,” weakness/fatigue.

WHAT TO DO!?

If someone DOES go into cardiac arrest or has a heart attack, begin uninterrupted, forceful, continuous, chest compressions immediately. The perfect beat is that of the song “Staying Alive” by The Bee Gees.

By maintaining uninterrupted chest compressions, you can dramatically increase the chance of survival by maintaining the patient’s heart in a state that increase the likelihood of shock from a defibrillator, administered through bystanders using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), or administered by paramedics, this will result in survival.

PREVENTION:

I have good news, 80 percent of all cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle changes.

First of all, STOP SMOKING! If you don't smoke, great, you're one step ahead!

Second, get fit. Start working out regularly. Start eating healthy, eating less sugar, (maintaining your blood sugar ), eating less salt.

Start maintaining your cholesterol, and ultimately, losing weight.With these simple lifestyle changes you can prevent a cardiac event!

Together we CAN wipe out heart disease and stroke.

Carrie and Debbie- You're are gone, but never forgotten. May the force be with you!

I’m your Mrs. International reminding you-

TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Polar Bear Plunge


I always love to try new things! So, I decided to start my new year off by crossing something off of my bucket list. I have always wanted to participate in a polar bear plunge. Most polar bear plunges are just for fun, however I decided to find one that had some meaning behind it. This plunge was a fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation!


The Make-A-Wish Foundation is made up of “Tens of thousands of volunteers, donors and supporters advance the Make-A-Wish® vision to grant the wish of every child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition. In the United States and its territories, on average, a wish is granted every 35 minutes. We believe a wish experience can be a game-changer. This one belief guides us and inspires us to grant wishes that change the lives of the kids we serve.”


The challenge was located at Lucky Peak Marina in Idaho! First, we tried to get as warm as possible in our vehicles, then it was time to brave the cold. When they started to count down I grabbed Katie, Miss Idaho International’s hand and we began to run into the water. Did I mention we were still wearing our crowns and banners?! After jumping into the freezing water, we ran with our clothes to the heated tents to attempt to regain feeling in our bodies. When it was all said and done, I am glad that I was able to be a part of this fun event for a great cause even though it was 10 degrees outside.

For More Information About the Annual Polar Bear Plunge In Idaho:

http://idaho.wish.org/news-and-events/calendar-of-events/2013/great-polar-bear-challenge

For More Information About the Make-A-Wish Foundation:
http://wish.org/about-us#sm.0000azflgwln8coxrol1bf0un9adu

"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

I Changed Competition Gowns


I spent almost a full year preparing to become Miss International 2016. After 15 years in the industry, one might think it’d be a quick process for me… but it was quite the opposite. I gave everything I had for this job and everything was done intentionally.

In early February of 2016, I went to the Atlanta Apparel Mart to work with fabulous designers to find THE dress. I selected a gown that I thought was perfect at the moment. My family loved it and it was beautiful in many ways. The decision was made in about 2 hours; I left feeling confident but wondering what it’d look like when it arrived months later and if it was indeed the best gown out there.


In April, I attended the Miss International Trunk Show to work with the best of the best in the pageant industry and further create the image of Miss International within who I am. I scheduled a shoot with Clay Spann and planned on purchasing a few dresses from the store for the week in Jacksonville. Joey, from The Competitive Image, pulled dresses with Sherri Hill but nothing felt quite right.

I explained, “I want a dress that I can show my little girl years down the road and have her absolutely adore it. I want timeless, elegant, modest, classy, and simple. The style of Princess Diana, Julie Andrews, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn. I want to love my gown for the rest of my life.”

There were plenty of couture dresses on display. He expressed that he wanted to be respectful of my budget but there was a gown that perfectly described everything that I wanted to exude as Miss International. Joey pulled out the most stunning velvet - bardot neckline - mermaid style gown. Once putting the gown on… I knew that there was something exquisitely different about it. This gown could be a part of my life for years to come. The entire team loved the gown as well. My mother almost fell out of her chair because it was so perfect.

We decided to sleep on it and consider our options overnight. I learned my lesson from making quick decisions. After prayer and discussing it with my team… we returned to The Competitive Image the following day and purchased my dream dress.


I changed gowns with little time to spare before everything had to be registered. It was a tough decision - but the right one. I 100% stand behind the beautiful Sherri Hill I won in… and I’d wear it every day for the rest of my life if I could.

Have you started considering what your gown will look like when you compete for the job you long for? Start gathering photos and looking for style inspiration. Know who you are and what you want to represent when you compete in the evening gown portion of the pageant.

My biggest suggestion and secret is to work with The Competitive Image. Joey is extremely knowledgeable, considerate of budgets, encouraging, and one of the most phenomenal friends and sponsors I’ve ever met. He knows how to help you create your own image of Miss International and thrive in who you were created to be.

Joey - I would not be where I am without you. Thank you for believing in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. I am forever grateful for your skill, heart, and friendship.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Monday, January 9, 2017

9 Lives

Our little fur babies

Every weekend our family drives out to "the big city" to get groceries, and run errands- a 4 hour round trip ordeal. Living in our small town, having a child with Celiac, (that requires a gluten-free diet) can be difficult, and extremely expensive…

So we drive to South Dakota weekly for our shopping and errands, and most of the time, we end up staying a night out there.

So last weekend, while we were staying in the “big city” we left our cats set up in our garage, and cracked the garage door... Because they're indoor/outdoor cats, and I wanted the to be able to run around outdoors.

However, I totally forgot to move the Elf On the Shelf. (Sounds silly, but my kids would have been super upset to find the elf in the same spot.) So I asked my best friend, Amanda to come by our house and move the Elf for me. That was the best mistake I ever made!

When my friend came by, as she was about to leave, she felt a prompting to check on our cats...So she did, they looked fine...And as she was about to leave again, she thought to herself, "Why was Ceasar (one of the cats) so muddy?” So she felt prompted to go back in, and check again. Turns out, that the "mud" was actually dried up blood. Ceasar was bleeding non-stop! He kept sneezing blood, there was blood in his urine, and in feces.

So she called me calmly and said "I'm taking Ceasar in, he is bleeding non-stop, so I'm a little worried."

Well, apparently Ceasar had gotten into some rat poison! (When an animal has blood in his feces, they're normally too ill, and very rarely, make it through.)

I remember talking to Amanda over the phone as she prepared me for the worst (I was at the grocery store, 2 hours away) bawling my eyes out. (I was actually trying to hold it together for my kids sake. But I couldn't help it, I loved my little Ceasar!)

We decided to turn to all our friends and family, and asked them to pray.

It was humbling to watch, we were flooded with responses and prayers.

That meant so much to me, it gave me so much hope, just knowing that I had all these people were praying and believing with us.

You see, our family hasn't really had any pets, (other than hermit crabs) we just traveled too much. We had a dog for a year, but he kept sneaking out and killing our neighbor’s chickens, roosters, little lamb (you get the point) and we were forced to give him away.

However, earlier this year, while I was volunteering at an "ADOPT-A-THON" as Mrs Wyoming International..My kids fell in love with these two kittens. Plus they were the only two left when the event ended, I just couldn't resist...

The kittens quickly became our family's babies. They're adored by our kids, so this was truly devastating.

Plus to make matters worse, the vet wanted our other cat, (just to make sure he didn't get into the rat poison). So he had to go in to the vet as well. And both of them had to stay overnight, but we weren't sure Ceasar would even make it through the night.

So my kids were really upset, both their babies weren't home, and they were “sick” or so they thought.

The next morning, I was almost scared to call the Vet and find out..

What a relief to hear the Vet say "He is doing well, no bleeding!" It was a miracle!

I literally cried, happy tears of course. But I thanked the Lord over and over, how amazing to know that He cares about our pets! He cared that Christmas would have been ruined for my kids, He cared THAT much!

Had we not started the whole "Elf On The Shelf" thing this year, had Amanda not listened to the promptings from God, had she not taken them into the Vet right away... Our kitty would have been dead. BUT, the prayers of the righteous availeth much.(James 5:16)

God had grace on us and our sweet Ceasar. 

If you're going through something, just keep trusting and believing. Christmas miracles do happen, my cat is proof of it!

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

Priscilla

The Idaho Potato Drop


I hope everyone had a great and safe New Years! I spent my New Year Eve with some of the Idaho titleholders and future contestants. We all have heard of New York's huge “Ball Drop” for New Years, but a potato? Well in Idaho, they drop a potato instead. Boise’s Capitol Park was filled with volunteers, vendors, and heated tents. While we were waiting we took the time to admire the Capitol Christmas Tree as well as many other attractions.




One of the other attractions was the Big Idaho Potato Truck. I know I have talked about it before. The truck works alongside the American Heart Association to try to encourage people to make heart healthy eating choices. It is always great to meet and see the old and new staff that care about the same cause as I do. We were also able to meet Spuddy Buddy, the Idaho Potato Mascot and, Joe Vandal, The University of Idaho Mascot.


Between meeting and talking to adorable kids and dancing with my pageant sisters to stay warm, my New Years Eve was a success! I hope everyone has an amazing 2017, God has great plans for every single one of you.

"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

Sunday, January 8, 2017

No Tear In Vain


Sometimes we look at situations and wonder, “Why - God? Why me?” I’ve had those same thoughts when the hardships come. When life doesn’t go as I planned or when a situation doesn’t work out perfectly it’s very hard to see the good.

I was recently in the car with my family and I said, “You know… mom’s cancer and my eating disorder were probably two of the biggest blessings we’ve received.” Needless to say, I received some very strange looks.

My family would not be what we are today without these two huge health issues. At the time… we couldn’t understand and hope was a bit harder to see. I remember being so defiant one day in treatment and thinking to myself, “Literally nothing good is going to come from this, God! How can you make this beautiful? This is the worst time of my life.” Well, realistically… it was one of the darkest times in my life… but God trades beauty for ashes. Let that sink in!

No tear I ever had was in vain. Whether it was my mom’s cancer or my eating disorder… God knew He was going to make something beautiful from it. Because of our challenges, we are both able to share our story and help others. True Beauty Movement is able to reach even more people because of my lows. It was not glamorous or enjoyable - but it does allow me to play a small role in the story God is writing for True Beauty Movement.

What is your biggest challenge? What has brought your countless tears and sleepless nights? What has brought you to your knees and crying out to God?

Are you using your hardships to change the world? It’s not easy and it can be very scary to speak out… but it is worth it and you are making heavenly investments! For me… if just one girl is able to step out of an eating disorder… is able to see herself in the beautiful and flawless light that God sees her in… then every night… every hard day… every tear was worth it.

I encourage you to search your heart for the way the Lord wants to use your hardship. Pray specifically about your story and how to best use it. Pray that you are a good steward of your blessings, hardship and testimony.

The Lord will use you - are you willing?

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Saturday, January 7, 2017

What I Think About One's Reputation

I read a post on Facebook today and it got me thinking...The post read, “Your reputation is what people say about you, your character is what God and people that love you, say about you.”

Maybe I needed to hear that, because it spoke to me. Living in a small town, as we do, reputation can be important, sometimes a little too important. There is a lot of speculation, rumors and insecurities that can play a role in your “reputation.”

I remember when we first moved here, almost 5 years ago...There was a rumor flying around that we were under “witness protection.” Because according to them, “Why else would someone move here?”


Let me start by saying...I know that I talk about the bible and God a lot, and I know it might offend some… But I can assure you, it's NOT something you must adhere to, should you become Mrs International. It's just a part of who I am. I'm a wife, a mother, a business owner, a philanthropist, Mrs International, and a youth pastor. Teaching about my personal struggles and “choosing love” that IS my platform.

With that said, living in a small town hasn't been that “fairy tale” that movies portray. For us, it's been the opposite. Not at all “easy” but instead, very difficult. To the town, we will always be “outsiders.” But we've learned not to worry about our “reputation”, or what others think, or say. Instead, we focus on our character. Doing what's right, regardless of what others think, even when no one is looking.

To my extended family, who I only see once a year...I'm never an outsider, I'm always received, welcome, loved and adored. But in my own town, where they see me everyday, where I invest in their kids, feeding all the youth weekly (out of our own pocket, because we aren't a “paid position”) and we are constantly give back, funding repairs when the town is vandalized, supporting teams, schools, and local businesses.... And yet, we are considered “outsiders!” And that's okay, don't get me wrong, I'm fine with it.

But I've had to learn that my reputation is what other people THINK of me. People who don't know me, who don't love me, who don't try to take the time to get to know me. Therefore, their opinion of me shouldn't matter. When someone is judging you off of your exterior, your marriage, your family, your home, your car, your Facebook...It shouldn't affect you! Because to them you'll always be an outsider, BUT to Him (God) you're never an outsider. You're always welcome, received, loved and adored.

Focus on the people who love you, unconditionally, who lift you up, and welcome you with open arms.

I'm your Mrs International reminding you-

TO CHOOSE LOVE,

Priscilla

Friday, January 6, 2017

You Make Me Brave


I love music. When I am upset, I listen to music. When I am happy, I listen to music. When I need to focus,I listen to music. A lot of people ask me what my favorite song is. The honest answer it changes all the time! Right now my favorite song is a little inspirational, and I feel like I should share it with you.

"You Make Me Brave" by: Bethel Music 

I stand before You now
The greatness of your renown
I have heard of the majesty and wonder of you
King of Heaven, in humility, I bow

As Your love, in wave after wave
Crashes over me, crashes over me
For You are for us
You are not against us
Champion of Heaven
You made a way for all to enter in

I have heard You calling my name
I have heard the song of love that You sing
So I will let You draw me out beyond the shore
Into Your grace
Your grace

You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the love that made a way

You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the promises you made
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the love that made a way

This is a great song to turn to when you need a little reassurance. God has an amazing plan for everyone including you. This song reminds me that God is always with me, leading me down the right path. I hope this helps at least one person who may currently be struggling. Let me know if you would like me to share more songs with y'all in the future!

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

Garin Harris
Miss Teen International 2016

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Clean Skin


As many of you know, I am the founder of True Beauty Movement. I firmly believe that true beauty comes from within - it’s our character and heart. I also know that having a positive body image is critical to our confidence and believing in our ability to change the world. When we don’t feel good about ourselves our heart begins to dim and we are not able to radiate our true beauty to the world.

Growing up, I never had terrible skin problems. Once I turned 20… all that changed. Almost immediately. With the pressures of college and work my skin began to freak out. I still had responsibilities to handle in front of the camera as an actress and model, so I had to figure out strategies to help my skin get it together.

As a crowned representative, you will be in the public eye. The more confident you are about your outside beauty - the more your true beauty will show. If we’re being honest - it’s hard to feel confident about our skin when we have breakouts or clogged pores! Today I’m sharing with you 3 of my best secrets for keeping your skin clear and ready for the job of Miss International.

1. Water, water, water: It sounds cliche, but really. I am from GA - home of Coca-Cola… I love sodas. However, when I have too many… breakouts are sure to come. I like to start each morning with a bottle of water and coffee (of course). This makes sure that I get my day off to the right start and flush my system of any impurities.

2. Take off your make-up before working out: Seems silly to even have to mention this, right? Many times I will tag my workout on to a long day of appearances. You get some pretty funny looks when you walk into the gym with extensions and eye-lashes. Often times I’ll get lazy and just want to go straight into my workout, but I am working on getting better about that. When you sweat with your make-up on, it begins to penetrate your pores and it will cause breakouts. No make-up is optimal for a strong workout.

3. Find a skin care routine: This is something to invest in! Try different products and see what works best for your skin type. In the morning and night, make the time to invest in yourself and take care of your skin. It will set the groundwork for your make-up routine and truly keep your skin healthy for years to come!

Comment down below and let me know what are some of the ways you keep your skin healthy! True beauty comes from within and there is nothing that shines brighter than a beautiful heart full of confidence.

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year's Announcement!


Every New Year, brings new beginnings, new opportunities, new challenges, obstacles, and choices...

When we were called to Wyoming, we had no idea why. No idea that we were being called to the then, suicide capital of the US.

Nonetheless, we chose to trust Him, and within weeks, we were working with the youth, and had the largest youth group in town.

In the beginning, we would receive calls on a daily basis, from youth who were either suicidal, hurting, in need, or facing a serious problem. However, and thankfully, that has changed, and slowed down. Neither one of us can recall the last time we had a "911" from any of our youth. *Insert happy dance*

And now, we feel our mission is complete, and it's time to move on to the next mission. So with that said, we've been praying and seeking God asking, “Where would You like for us to go next?”

For the last few months, we have been working with the Prime minister of Belize's wife, in efforts to put baby boxes in their country. This really instilled in us, a heart for their country, and it's needs. So we felt that maybe Belize was in our future?

We prayed about it, sought wise counsel, and after surrendering our will to WHATEVER God would have for us, (because we didn't really have an answer) we started to move forward with Belize. Knowing that if Belize wasn't for us, God would shut the door, and open something else.

Moving forward with Belize, we found a real estate agent and we started looking for a possible home in Belize. We were really excited for all the opportunities to serve out there, to bring clean water and electricity to the poor areas living without it.

For months we've been working towards this HUGE move, which would consistent of us selling all our furniture, our vehicles, and basically starting over again.

Well nothing going was really working out, and we weren't having any "luck" finding a home. However, we kept moving forward and just trusting God.

Then, out of nowhere, an opportunity arose. Something I wasn't looking for, I didn't apply for it, I didn't send a video, or do anything to deserve it.. Regardless, I was offered to become the co-host of a Christian television show called "God's View." A television show that ministers across the globe, reaching countries like India and Pakistan, making a huge difference in lives.

The craziest part is, it's out of Wyoming, of all places!

In another part of Wyoming, about 4 hours away..It would still consist of us moving, but a much easier move than going to Belize.

Even so, we didn't want to rush into anything. Therefore, we prayed about it and had people praying with us and for us.

We ultimately decided to pursue BOTH... Belize and God's View. Knowing that God would open the doors to one, and shut the doors to the other.

Wouldn't you know it?? God started opening up doors in one direction...

We had been looking for a home in Belize for months, with no avail. And in less than one month, without even trying, we found a home, with everything we needed!

There is no doubt that God blessed our willingness to go wherever, whenever.

He brought this amazing opportunity, along with the perfect home, AND made it effortless!

With that said, I am thrilled to announce that I am the new co-host for the television show called “God’s View!”

My family and I, will be moving at the end of this month, to a new land where God has called us to.

And just like Paul, when you step out on the water.. As long as you keep your eyes fixated on Him, God will make a way, and He will calm the waves.

I'm so grateful for a New Year, filled with new possibilities and new friends. I pray that the Lord bless you and your family as well in this New Year. Happy New Years!

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

Priscilla