Tuesday, March 28, 2017

How to Write a Testimony

Recently I have fallen in love with being involved in the government. Whether in the local, state, or national level you all can have an impact! I encourage all of you to become involved and speak on what you are passionate about. After I testified on behalf of American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network on the SB 1106/ Tobacco 21 I have been asked about my experience as a whole and how someone should go about writing a testimony.

The experience went great, however be prepared to walk into a very serious and professional atmosphere. Make sure to dress nicely, I choose a black business suit and red top. I wanted to show that even though I was just 18, I showed a valuable perspective. If you are talking about highly controversial issue be prepared to only have a short amount of time to speak due to both sides having a large amount of speakers. You will be asked to keep your testimony anywhere from 3-5 minutes in these cases. 

A very important part of testifying in my opinion is sharing your personal connection or experience. I also believe you should speak from the heart. This means I recommend creating an outline highlighting the key parts of your testimony rather than writing a full. Here is a sample outline of my testimony I did in front of the Senate:

SB 1106- Tobacco 21 Testimony Information
Senate State Affairs - March 3rd, 2017

Garin Harris- Miss Teen International 2016

Giving the Youth Perspective
  • Inconsistency of age for alcohol vs tobacco - alcohol age moved up to prevent alcohol related accidents 
  • Personal Experience of Exposure During High School 
  • E-cigarette use in teens (3x more likely to progress to tobacco)
Plan of Action-

Introduce Self - Name, Age, Where I Live , Title

Involvement in Advocating for Health Issues Especially Youth-
  • Run my own program for chronic pain patients called Dancing Through the Pain 
  • I am an National Ambassador and spokesperson for U.S. Pain Foundation as well as the American Heart Association 
Importance of Public Policy in Youth Health-
  • Ultimately it is up to you to make the healthy choice the easy choice. 
  • AHA is an organization based completely on science. It has been proven that if you are not addicted to tobacco products before the age of 21 the most likely you will not be. 
  • There is an inconsistency between the alcohol age limit vs the tobacco age limit alcohol being 21 and tobacco of course 18
  • The alcohol age was pushed up to minimize the cause of alcohol related car accidents and deaths. Over the years this has succeeded 
  • Tobacco is a cause of countless deaths, though typically the effects of tobacco are seen later in life we are seeing the age group affected grow 
  • Now young adults as early as age 19/20 are experiencing heart problems some even as severe as a heart attack
  • Heart Disease is the #1 killer of women 
School Experience-
  • I was young for my grade during my high-school years however by the time Jr/Sr year rolled around most of my classmates were 18 years old 
  • I could not begin to tell you the amount of times I was offered a variety of tobacco products 
  • I can also not begin to tell you how many teens used e-cigarettes and would consistently tell me that they were better for them because they were not actual cigarettes 
  • Teens who use e-cigarettes are 3x more likely to progress into tobacco usage/addiction 
  • AHA, ACS CAN, and ALA have all been focusing on the issue of tobacco in your youth 
  • Officers are finding kids as young as 10 with tobacco/ vape related products on them
  • Also 18-19 year old special education students are also being targeted and taken advantage of by younger students persuading them to buy tobacco products for them
  • As a future Social Worker that will cause major issues for all parties involved in that situation 
  • With 25% of high schoolers using vape products this calls for major concerns of them turning to tobacco in the future
I hope this helps all of you to use your voice to speak on what you believe in.

“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

Stop and Ask

With our new Television partnerships.

Up until last week, I thought “One day I'll live in China, then South Korea, as well as Africa!” And I was serious, I've been saying for years, and I truly meant it. For the last few years I've had dreams, visions and many confirmations saying that I would be doing great things in those areas of the world.

Due to the fact that Sean and I had built orphanages in the past...I thought it meant that at some point, I would be building an orphanages in those countries. Then, I thought perhaps it was about me bringing baby boxes to those countries…

Well, last week it all made sense. As I was walking through this enormous room, filled with booth after booth of Christian TV stations, radio, film and movie producers, publishers, you name it! And I stopped and asked directions, I asked the Lord “where should I go?”

Then I saw this Asian station, and was immediately drawn to it. I spoke with them and BOOM! We were gonna be on their station! In South Korea!

Then I was walking around again and I was drawn to this African station, I went and spoke to them…And BOOM. We are gonna be playing all over the continent of Africa, and parts of Europe!

This happened over and over. When I realized how I was being led, the pattern, I was amazed. Everywhere that I had felt led to, I'm now gonna be on TV in those countries! And for free, our show doesn't pay for any of its air time, and that's unheard of! But God always provides it for us. Cause you see, God will meet you at your level of faith, and that was ours.

Now that doesn't mean that I won't be doing other things in those countries. But what's amazing is, what happened to me... My desire to move out to those countries juust left!

In all seriousness, it was like, when I finally understood what it all meant, I was blown-away... And then, I didn't WANT to move out there, the desire just left!

I don't think I ever truly wanted to, I think I was just obedient enough to do it if God wanted me to.

And God honored that obedience, and He intervened. Think about it, I was about to move to Belize, and He intervened! How amazing is that!?

So now I ask you, have you asked for directions lately?

I'm your Mrs International reminding you-



Monday, March 27, 2017

Get Your Morning Going!

As Miss International, you wake up at obscure hours to catch flights - drive to an appearance - or even do a morning interview. It is beyond exciting to have all these phenomenal adventures and you’re just grateful that God trusted you with the crown. That being said, there are no excuses on how early it is. If Miss International is expected to be somewhere… she is expected to be there early and look the part. That means early mornings and coffee. Lots of coffee.

While I am preparing for appearances, I like to get my mind in the right state. It doesn’t matter how tired I am or how many moving parts there are. You have to remember that whoever you meet is encountering Miss International for the first time. As crowned titleholders we have the beautiful responsibility to encourage and inspire hope - we can’t do that if we’re asleep or focused on anything other than the current moment as Miss International.

Music and sermons help me prepare for the day! It’s really hard not to smile when a pastor is reminding you of God’s goodness or you’re hearing JT tell you how he “can’t stop this feeling!” Below are some of my favorite Pastors/Churches that offer their content for free online and 5 songs that are sure to get your morning going!

Online Sermons

Louie Giglio, Passion City Church

Joel Osteen, Lakewood Church

Beth Moore

Joyce Meyer

Top 5 Morning Songs

“Good Morning” Mandisa

“Can’t Stop This Feeling!” Justin Timberlake

“How Far I’ll Go” Moana Movie

“Hand Clap” Fitz & The Tantrums

“Waka Waka” Shakira

I can’t wait to see how you feed your soul with these songs and sermons! They are going start your day with excitement and joy - allowing you to pour out your true beauty to others!

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

I May Not Always Look Sick

“You are just being lazy”

“You could try harder”

“You must just be tired”

...“You don’t look sick”

These phrases are what chronic pain patients hear on a daily basis. We know that any illness is hard to deal with, but how about one that people cannot see. In some cases you lose weight, or suffer hair loss but with most chronic pain patients their outer image stays exactly the same.

Sometimes symptoms come and go. Allowing for good normal days and terrible bad ones. So, since most days they see are good they think “hmmm she was just tired today” or “He just wanted to miss school.”

Having an illness is tough, having a chronic illness that you will have to cope with for the rest of your life is even tougher.

It all goes back to, as an outsider looking in everything may look normal but everyone you meet is going through something. Please be kind, and try to understand. Ask questions if you have them, the chronic pain community doesn't mind! We appreciate you open-minded and wanting to learn about things us or our family members go through. Remember, everyone will experience pain at some point in their lives. It’s all about knowing how to deal with it when it comes so learn to... Dance Through the Pain!

"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, March 24, 2017

Pageant Wisdom

Most people have a "pageant girl" stereotype in their minds. And I get it, movies haven't exactly painted a pretty picture. Some of it is true.. I've had my share of "crazies" and "caddy Pattys" in the pageant world. But for the most part, the women are absolutely phenomenal! I've made some fabulous life-long friendships because of pageantry. Accomplished, supportive, kind and loving. However, we women, are emotional beings.. There are bound to be “hiccups” anytime you get a bunch of women together in the same competition. Some of them might even be ugly to you, so how do you handle that?

The first thing you need to know is- You're on a mission.

And anytime you enter a "mission field" you need to be prepared for attacks. I wish that wasn't the case, but then there wouldn't be a need for this blog.

When you're on the front lines doing good and making a difference, people are gonna get jealous. And not just in the "pageant world" but everywhere.

You're walking around with a target on your back. Wear it with pride because you earned it, that target is your "purple heart" medallion you for all your bravery and persistence.
Never underestimate a queen with a cause!

So when haters-hate, take it as a compliment!

Secondly, it's not about who is skinnier, or prettier, but who has the most HEART! Don't be afraid to be you, do you! Regardless of what anyone thinks...Be confident and portray it. Confidence is a million times prettier than "skinny" or "pretty." You can be both of those, but if you lack confidence, you're done!

Next, love! Love is always the answer. We've all heard the saying, (and now, the song) "kill em with kindness!" That may not be the right attitude, but nonetheless, it gets the point across. Choose love and kindness, be the bigger person, and God will reward you for it. For whatsoever you reap, you will sow!

Lastly- If you aren't the one to take the crown home.. Don't be THAT girl. Life WILL go on, and you're still a queen in your state, country or region. Be happy for the new queen, smile, and keep your composure, there is nothing uglier than a “sore loser.”

Use your current title to the fullest, and be grateful for the things you DO have, stop focusing on what you don't.

I'm your Mrs International reminding you-


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

3 Crown Worthy Hairstyles

It is never too early to start thinking about the hairstyle you want to rock at Miss International 2017. Leading up to my competition, I had an entire notebook describing my looks for each day - hair, make-up, outfit… everything! Start planning out what you want to look like for your crowning moment! Do you want edgy, classic, simple, or refined?

Let’s take a look at some of my favorite hairstyles for the upcoming pageant season that are sure to be crown worthy!

1. The Classic Pageant Look

This look is timeless and truly my favorite. I feel like it looks good on everyone. When the curls are loose it looks as if you just woke up that fabulous! Many crowns have been won with this hair-style and I doubt it will go out of style anytime soon! I selected this style for evening gown because I thought it flattered the neckline - my hair length - and face shape! Make sure that you have layers framing your face if you are trying to achieve this look. Without layers, your hair will be too heavy, unable to hold the curl, and will not frame your face in the best way. This look is always a guaranteed hit!

2. The Voluminous and Regal Up-Do

Ivanka Trump nailed it with this regal look! I love how it showcased her beautiful collarbone and gown. This look is perfect for gowns that have a high neck or intricate detail at the top. It takes someone bold and confident to pull off a look like this but it is so beautiful if you feel comfortable in it! I feel like this iconic look will show up many times, but with good reason! It’s stunning.

3. Half-Up Half-Down

In my mind, Kate Middleton can do no wrong when it comes to fashion and beauty selections. She just nails it every single time! This look has been in the pageant industry for eons. It is great if you’re selecting a gown that is ultra elegant and princess like! I enjoy how it’s a bit more formal than just all down, but not as refined as the up-do. It’s somewhere down the middle. I wore this look for many years and it always flatters my round face.

I cannot wait to see what amazing looks hit the stage at Miss International 2017!

Redefining Beauty Worldwide,

Amanda Moreno
Miss International 2016

Monday, March 13, 2017

Because of YOU!

Becoming Mrs International, has been such a blessing. I know my reign isn't over but I just wanted to use this opportunity to express my gratitude.

Recently we had the first National Infant Abandonment Awareness Day, and it was a huge hit! I know that this title played an intricate role in the success of that day. And for that, (and for many more reasons, and opportunities) I feel so thankful. Im so grateful for my husband, my family, Safe Haven Baby Boxes, The Hope Box and YOU-my faithful readers! I'm so blessed by you, thank you for reading my blogs, following my crazy “challenges” and most importantly, praying for me!

We might never know how many people or how far this challenge reached. But I know that the heart photos that I saw over social media, really touched my heart, and actually made me tear up.

It may have seemed silly to some- posting a heart selfie...But in doing so, you were sharing about Safe Haven laws...And who knows, your photo might have been the one that reached that desperate mother and saved a baby!

I know for a fact that because of you, and your willingness, many people have learned about Safe Haven Laws- A law that most have never even heard about.

Even though the “challenge” went well, we still have a lot of work to do. Please continue to share, post, and spread the word until there are no more abandonments!

I'm your Mrs International reminding you-