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Monday, April 25, 2016

Be Mindful

"Be Mindful"


While at our annual Creative Circle Ambassador retreat this year, we were given a bracelet with the words "Be Mindful" stamped in it.  I didn't think much of it at the time it was given, but I did appreciate the bracelet.  Above every doorway in the Cousin building was a poster that had the same words, but had no clue as to what they meant.  We had not given an explanation as to the meaning of this phrase when we were given the bracelets. At first, I found it rather odd, however, I think we were to interpret the words for what they meant to us. I began to think about the phrase "Be Mindful" throughout the day and into the evening.  The next morning right after my devotional time, I began to pen out what those words were resounding in my spirit. So here is what those two words spoke to me.

What does "Be Mindful" mean?  I have heard these words throughout my life in one form or another I am sure as we all have. "Mind your P's and Q's", "Think before you act" those sorts of things. But what does it actually mean?  In what context are these words used? How can I apply their meaning?

Be Mindful:
of others
of my attitude
of my words
of my actions
of my surroundings
of myself
of the moments

Of Others:
As I am mindful of others, I take second place. I can lay aside selfish ambition for a great good - the good of others. It is not a detachment from my "reality" but rather an involvement in the reality of others.  It is loving my neighbor as myself. It allows me to see the truth behind the motives of others and observe the true nature of their heart without a preconceived judgement on my part.  It is to put myself in the other person's shoes and see from their perspective and not my own.  It is to give grace, compassion, and mercy to others as it has been given to me.  Being mindful of others re-centers us to a higher focus and a greater good. This one thing affects all the rest - attitude, actions, words, surroundings, ourselves and the moments.


Of My Attitude:
I have often heard it said, "your attitude determines your altitude". As I am mindful of my attitude, I can keep myself humble. It is with a lowly heart and a gentle spirit that I can see more clearly that which is more important than me. Sometimes, a little adjustment can bring a great increase.  If I choose to take the higher ground instead of allowing my emotions and nasty attitude to take over, then I am the victor, not the victim. I can choose to fly free or to remain in bondage by my own attitude towards situations or people.  I refuse to allow myself to be a slave even to my own selfish desires and motives. How I react to or act on a certain situation reflects the deeper nature of my own heart.  If my attitude remains neutral or one of love, then my heart is pure.  If my attitude stinks, then the truth of my heart is revealed as tainted by my own selfish desires.


Of My Words:
We have heard it said, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me."  This statement cannot be more wrong.  Our words penetrate and wound deeper than any mere stick or stone ever could.  The power of life and death is held within our tongues. Our words have the power to heal and uplift or they can be instruments of hurt and offense.  Things we may say thinking nothing of them may hurt others.  As I am mindful of my words, I can speak life instead of death, grace instead of judgement, comfort instead of pain.  I choose not to speak corrupt communication so that the hearer of my words can be uplifted and encouraged and not made to feel less.  When we speak our opinions about something or someone we know nothing about, then we are revealing the true attitude of our hearts.  If we criticize that which we don't understand, then we reveal our own ignorance.


Of My Actions:
The old saying, "Actions speak louder than words" holds true.  If I betray my words with my actions, then I have made myself a liar.  If I say I love yet my actions show the truth of my hate, I have revealed the truth of what lies in my heart.  I have proven myself to be double-minded in full view of the world. If I say I respect my boss but behind his back talk about him and run him down, then I am proving by my actions that really hate him by my words.  Our actions will reveal our hearts and motives when our words never will.  I can show that I am a true friend by my actions when my words may fail.  I chose to "be mindful" of my actions so I will not betray my words.


Of My Surroundings:
This one is rather tricky.  If I keep my focus on the here and now, then I will miss the coming soon.  If I focus on the coming soon, then I miss the here and now.  It is like Yin and Yang, a give and take, a push and pull. There has to be a balance to it or we will get off focus and miss the beauty of it all. As I am mindful of my surroundings, I can both act and speak accordingly. If I am oblivious to what is going on around me, I am opening the door for failure, harm, and missed opportunities.  I must see the world around me and purpose to be a partaker of the grander scheme of things. I must play my part on the stage of life until my scene is done. I cannot do this if my head is stuck in the sand or up in the clouds.  I must see life from both perspectives of heaven and earth. I must see from heaven to help a hurting world. I must be able to see from earth the pain of my fellow man.  If I see from a heavenly perspective, then I gain the knowledge to be the help to a hurting world.

Of the Moments:
There is a saying that life isn't measured in the moments, but in the moments that take our breath away. Even though this statement rings with truth, when we are mindful of even the smallest of moments we become aware of growth potential.  As I am mindful of the moments, I become (sometimes painfully) aware of the stretching of myself and give myself permission to venture out of my little small box and experience the more. As we shift our focus to be mindful of the moments, we see those defining ones that change our perspective and alter the course of history.  It is in the moments that life is truly lived.  I love this quote by Dr. Seuss, "Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory".

Of Myself:
This almost seems to contradict the very first "be mindful of", however, it is a needful thing. As a wife and mother, my family comes before my own needs.  However, if I neglect myself I cannot be the caregiver my family needs.  If I neglect my own health and well-being for the benefit of others, I will crash and burn resulting in me not being able to help others.  I cannot put others first, mind my attitude, actions, and my surroundings if I myself am not in a good place. When the day is done and gone, I have to take an inventory of my own self to see what I need so that I can face the next day ready for what may come.


I hope you take these words and interpret the meaning they have for you and apply them to your own life.  Always "be mindful".



Monday, April 18, 2016

Meet the Raziela Designs Brand Ambassadors for May 2016 through August 2016



We are excited to announce our three ambassadors for the upcoming quarter (May - August) Imani Dakota Badon, Lisa Joy Hudson, and Calla Thompson.  All three ladies will bring something special to our program.

Imani Dakota Badon:

My name is Imani Dakota, I'm 19 years old. I have no brothers or sisters, and I live with my mother in Jackson, MS. I attend Relate Church in Byram, MS where I teach a children's class. I am very creative and love to draw. I like fashion, jewelry, and music.











Lisa Joy Hudson:
My name is Lisa Hudson. I am 27 years old and am a country girl with some city girl flare. I basically like to play in the dirt but look pretty while doing it. I have an adorable one year old daughter and have been married to the love of my life for almost 7 years. I love animals and have several including 2 horses, 2 dogs and a cat. I love getting power tools for Christmas or my birthday, and Home Depot is my favorite store. I love being handy and can put some boys to shame. Re-finishing and designing furniture is one of my favorite past times along with interior design. I work part time as a Chiropractic Assistant, where I get to interact with patients and help to improve their quality of life. I love people and love to make them feel valuable and bring joy into their life! Sometimes I have no filter and am the girl that says what everyone is thinking. I can be loud, but when I'm alone I'm quiet, Basically because I have no one to talk to. I wish I could Play softball everyday for the rest of my life.......
 
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ljhertel
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/dashausfurniture/
 


Calla Thompson:
My name is Calla Thompson, a logistics agent for Global Women's Development Project in Virginia.

I am very bohemian at heart, but I love to dress up in chic glamour.

I have love and understanding for artistic expression, with the curiosity that belongs with being analytical. In my experience, I found I like using both sides of my brain to analyze situations, then utilize my creative abilities to passionately design solutions.

Marketing gives me the ability to analyze and create at the same time, while building relationships with the right kind of people. I am well-versed in creating, planning and development, relationship management, logistics coordinating and leadership.

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/caearie/ 
                                                         Twitter: http://twitter.com/CaeArie
 

We are super excited to have all three of these amazing ladies on board.   Make sure you follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to stay in the loop of their individual style. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

DIY: Crystal Bridal Necklace

Are you or someone you know getting married?  Do you love the look of expensive bridal jewelry?  Then this tutorial is for you!

Here is a super sparkly bridal necklace that looks expensive but is easy and cost-effective to make.  The gorgeous crystals are Crystazzi® brand from Cousin Corporation of America and are available now at A.C. Moore Craft Stores.  They have a brilliant fire to them that is just stunning.  Make it for your bride-to-be friends or make and keep for yourself just in case.  :)  Happy beading!


Materials:
1 pkg Crystazzi® Crystal AB Pear (36756227)
1 pkg Crystazzi® Crystal Rosaline AB Bicone (36756402)
1 pkg Crystazzi® Crystal AB Cushion/Saucer (36756466)
silver plated link chain
15 silver plated head pins
5 silver plated eye pins
4 silver plated 4mm jump rings
1 silver plated 6mm jump ring
1 silver plated lobster claw clasp

Tools:
Chain Nose/Flat Nose Pliers
Round Nose Pliers
Flush Cutters
Ruler

Skill Level: Intermediate Level Beginner

Craft Time: About an hour

Techniques to know:
Forming Loops
Cutting Chains
Jump Rings

Instructions:

1. Make the following: 1 large pear dangle, 4 small pear dangles, and 10 bicone dangles by threading a bead onto a head pin and forming a loop.

2. Make five cushion crystal connectors by threading a crystal onto an eye pin and forming a loop.

3. Measure and cut the following two lengths of chain: 18 inches and 4 inches.

4. Find the center link of both chains. To help you do this, thread an eye pin through the end links of each chain. Hold the chain up. Look for a link in the center part of the droop of the chain and slide a head pin through that link.  Set shorter chain aside.

5. Attach one of the cushion connectors to the center link of the long chain.  Attach a bicone dangle to the 4th link from the center link. Attach another cushion connector in the fourth link over from the bicone. Attach one more bicone and one more cushion in the same manner.  Repeat for the opposite side of the center link.

6. Using a 4mm jump ring, attach the center link of the short chain to the center cushion connector.  Attach another 4mm jump ring to the 10th link over from the center of the short chain to the bottom of the next cushion connector. Attach the end link of the short chain to the next cushion connector. Repeat for opposite side.

7. Attach the large pear dangle to the center link of the short chain. Attach a bicone connector five links over from the center link of the short chain. Attach a small pear dangle to the same link of the small chain as the second cushion connector. Five links over, attach another bicone dangle. Attach a small pear dangle to the last link of the short chain. Repeat for the opposite side.

8. Using the 4mm and 6mm jump rings, attach the clasp to end of the long chain.



 9. Wear your shiny new bridal beauty.




Choosing the Right Earrings for Your Face Shape

With all of these wild and crazy ear dressings showing up on the catwalks these days, it's hard to find the perfect earrings to suit your face and personal style.

Let's look at the different facial shapes and explain them a bit so you can figure out which category you fall in.

Round: has its widest part across the cheekbones with some narrowing along the forehead and chin area.  Celebrities with round faces include Jennifer Hudson, Cameron Di├íz, Anne Hathaway, and Ginnifer Goodwin.

Oval: has its widest part across the cheekbones with the forehead being the same width as the cheekbones. This facial shape also narrows from the cheeks to the chin creating a nice oval shape.  Celebrities with oval faces include Zoey Deschanel, Jennifer Aniston, Mariah Carey, and Uma Thurman.

Square: little to no narrowing from the forehead to cheekbones nor from the cheekbones to the chin. The chin can be rather sharp and jawbone angular. Celebrities with a square face include Angelina Jolie, Olivia Wilde, Kiera Knightly, and Natalie Portman.

Narrow/Oblong: same general shape as square but more elongated.  This facial shape has a very strong jawline to contrast the smooth upper structure of the face.  Celebrities with a narrow/oblong facial shape include Hillary Swank, Gweneth Paltrow, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Elle Macpherson.

Heart: features a forehead that is wider than the cheekbones and a sharp, keen chin. Celebrities with heart faces include Jennifer Garner, Michelle Pfeiffer, Reese Witherspoon, Lisa Kudrow, and Naomi Campbell.
do not narrow much from the cheekbone to the forehead, nor from the cheekbone to the jaw line. - See more at: http://www.wixonjewelers.com/2013/11/how-to-choose-the-best-earrings-for-you/#sthash.2Nb4CXuV.dpuf
do not narrow much from the cheekbone to the forehead, nor from the cheekbone to the jaw line. - See more at: http://www.wixonjewelers.com/2013/11/how-to-choose-the-best-earrings-for-you/#sthash.2Nb4CXuV.dpuf

Now that you have a somewhat clearer idea of what facial shape you fall into, let's look at what earrings would best suit your face.

For round-faced individuals, you need to gravitate to the elongated angular styles of earrings.  Also, you can choose from dangles and teardrop shapes.  Try a pair of earrings with a graduated design, meaning earrings that start off small at the top and become larger at the bottom. Suggestions based on this style would be Red Drop Earrings, Coin Pearl and Copper Earrings, and Blue Crystal Earrings.

For oval-faced individuals, you are the blessed ones!  You can wear pretty much any shape of earrings you desire. To add a bit of striking glamor, try wearing oval shaped dangle earrings.
Suggestions based on this facial shape would include Amethyst Dangle Earrings, Crystal Dangle Earrings, and Golden Drops Earrings.

For square-faced individuals, you will need to lean more towards the hoops style of earrings. Hoops soften the jaw area and cheekbones.  Try an oversized hoop style that brushes just at the jawline will add some uhmph to your look.  Suggestions based on this facial shape would include Art Deco Hoop Earrings, Mixed Metal Earrings, and Filigree Hoop Earrings.

For narrow/oblong-faced individuals, you need to go with long dangles and earring styles with very elongated shapes to soften the face and accentuate your lovely cheekbones.  Suggestions based on this facial shape would include Mixed Metal Shoulder Dusters, Swarovski Crystal Earrings, and Morrocan Style Dangle Earrings.

For heart-faced individuals, you will need to follow suit with your narrow-faced sisters.  Reach fore more elongated shapes that will lengthen the face. Suggestions based on this facial shape would include Long Seashell Earrings, Morrocan Style Dangle Earrings, and Golden Drops Earrings.


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Something Sparkly This Way Comes


www.acmoore.com
Cousin Corporation of America has just added Crystazzi® Crystals to their offerings available at A.C. Moore Craft Stores.

Cousin Crystazzi® brings you the finest polished lead crystals in the most popular shapes and colors. Turn the ordinary into extraordinary and add a little sparkle to your life with fabulous Crystazzi® Crystals!  These precision hand cut crystals come in a variety of styles including bicone, saucer, barrel, pear, diamond, cushion, saucer, round, and rondelle.  I can tell you from experience that these crystals they are top quality. When I was teaching jewelry making classes, I would always direct my students to the Crystazzi® Crystals due to their brilliance and durability as well as their price.  Their shine and cut rival that of the higher end crystals without the sticker shock.  The holes through the crystals are always consistent and smooth.  The holes are large enough for 16 gauge wire to pass through with ease making these crystals extremely versatile.

Recently, I received a gorgeous helping of these new beauties from Cousin Corporation of America to play with.


 














I can't tell you how beautiful these babies are.  You will just have to see them for yourself.  Stop by your local A.C. Moore Craft Stores today and see them for yourself.

Be on the lookout tomorrow for a sparkly good, bridal necklace tutorial using these gorgeous crystals.





Saturday, January 16, 2016

Caught Between Divine Healing and a Lie

I debated whether or not to share this all over the web.  But, I really feel this is something that needs to be shouted from the rooftops.  This is a rather lengthy post, so please bear with me and ignore any glaring grammatical errors.

Let me start here by giving you some background - I have a spiritual pedigree about two miles long. Born into a family of pastors, church planters, evangelists, Christian musicians, and missionaries that date back to the early foundations of the state of Mississippi and raised in the Bible-belt, I seemed to have a lot of pressure on my life to be "all that and a bag of chips" when it comes to spiritual things.  So for me to share something that was such a personal struggle and hidden from everyone is very difficult for me.  I'm hoping it will encourage others to keep pressing on.

You know that moment when a truth is revealed and you don't know whether to cry, shout, scream or faint?  Yeah....I had that moment on Wednesday, January 13th.

For years, I had believed a lie.  I had swallowed this jagged little pill handed to me from the time I was a small child.  This lie gave me excruciating pain throughout my life progressively getting worse as I got older. You see, I was born with Spina Bifida Myelomeningocele meaning the end of my spinal column was open to the outside with fluid leakage.  Keep in mind this was the mid-70s. Apparently, the doctors missed the hole in my back when sending me home with my mom.  She was the one who discovered it at the first diaper change.  She immediately went into prayer and saw the miraculous take place.  The hole in my back closed instantly.  No more leakage, no more gross looking opening.

All my life I have been plagued with back issues.  Every time my back would ache or it would hurt for me to walk, my mom would tell me it was because of my birth defect.  And this is where the lie began without me even knowing it.  No fault of my mom.  She is a God-fearing, faith filled woman.  She just didn't understand the power of her words.

The pain in my back grew worse as time went on.  I would have falling spells where it felt as if I lost all feeling in my legs and I would collapse. Again, the "it's because of ..." would come up.  This went on and on.  I had difficulty standing for long periods of time, walking long distances, and sitting for extended periods of time.  The lie grew stronger.

In 2004, I sought medical treatment for a pinched nerve in my neck that was causing migraines.  When the doctor showed me the x-rays of my back, I knew that I was in trouble.  I was missing discs up and down my spine, there was degeneration of the vertebrae, and my spine looked as if someone had twisted it.  The bones looked weak and fragile. He told me that eventually I would lose the ability to walk.  So, the lie became a dark reality.   I never told anyone what the doctor said.  I didn't want to be seen as anything less than a faith-filled Christian.  I knew my mom would always tell me the story about being healed as an infant.  And yet, here I was looking at this horrible future of being wheelchair bound.  I was caught between divine healing and a lie that had become so real it was frightening.  I did my best to believe I was healed, but it never materialized.  I have seen many miracles in my lifetime, but I had not received the one that I so desperately needed.  I had prayed for others to be healed and watched as their healing manifested all the while feeling like a hypocrite because I didn't have my healing.  And the lie dug deeper and took root.  I believed the Word of God to be true, but somehow I just couldn't grab hold of it for my own personal miracle.  I couldn't seem to make it work for me.  I would quote the Word when I prayed, but nothing happened.  I struggled to believe.  I knew that God would heal me in His own time. I knew that when He did, He would get the glory.  I kept on saying, "one day, I will get my healing".

Over the years, my condition seemed to grow worse and worse.  I could feel grinding and grating in my back as I moved.  Every day that I could walk, I would praise God  There were days that I couldn't walk without excruciating pain. But I got up and moved anyway.  There were times that all I could do is lay in bed and cry because of the pain.  There were days that I would take pain killers and muscle relaxers just so I could get through the day.  The lie was branching out more and more as I struggled. And yet, I praised Him. Through the pain, through all the difficulty, I praised Him.

Then kids came along.  The doctors were amazed that I was able to bear the load of carrying babies with my back in the shape it was in. Because of my spinal condition, I had to have C-Sections.  No biggie. Yes, I felt like a failure as a mother for a bit anyway before I had to snap back to reality and take care of the babies. With the first child the epidural took. With the second one, not so much.  The anesthesiologist ripped the sack that holds my spinal fluid and  I had to have a procedure done called a "blood patch" to seal the hole.  PAINFUL!  But it was better than passing out every time I stood up.
Now, I had to get up and move no matter what.  I would push through it to take care of the little ones.

And my back worsened. My back issues became my crutch to blame for what I couldn't do.  I can't go there because of my back. I can't do that because of my back.  I would use that as my excuse to not be involved and not participate.  I had been prayed for numerous times. The lie became such a stronghold it was defeating my faith.  There were times I would stand in prayer lines to be prayed for and I would get passed over by the people doing the praying. I figured it wasn't my time to be healed yet or that God had decided not to heal me which was nothing more lies sprouting up.

The last time I received prayer for my back was during a home group meeting.  My back popped.  Part of me wanted to believe while the other part was saying that it was just a routine pop and nothing more.  I left it at that. I so desperately wanted to believe that I was healed.  The pain, grinding and grating continued.

Right before Thanksgiving of last year, I took a nice little tumble in the Kroger parking lot.  At the urging of the guy from Fire and Rescue that happened to see me fall and ran to my aid, I went to the ER.  I had deeply bruised my right knee and hip.  So I went home on some really great pain killers.  One week to the day of my fall, I bent over to pick up a toy and was stuck.  I couldn't come back up.  I had to walk my hands up the wall to straighten myself out.  I cried all the way back to the living room.  I looked rather mechanical in my movements.  I figured I had done damage to my back when I fell. My husband urged and begged me to go see a doctor about my back.  He found huge knots in my back as would massage my back. He would rub and massage my back while praying over my almost every night all the while begging me to go to the doctor.  I was bed-ridden for a few days and had to take everything slow.  I even gave up something that I really enjoyed, going to the gym every day.

At the beginning of this year, I prayed and asked God to reveal the areas in my life that I have been believing a lie.  I had no idea the repercussions of praying such a prayer.  It's like praying for patience and then face palm with a "DOH!" when you all the sudden have a load of tribulation.

I finally gave in to my husband's urgings and made an appointment to see a specialist.  My appointment was set for Monday, January 11th.  They x-rayed, scanned, poked and prodded my back.  The doctor sounded encouraging as she said that the initial look at the x-rays didn't show any degeneration.  Huh?  No degeneration?  Odd.  I had a follow-up appointment on Wednesday, January 13th.  She sat me down and put the x-rays up for me to see.  I had to ask her if she had the right x-rays.  She said there was no trace of the Spina Bifida at all.  All my discs were intact and healthy.  No bulged discs, no slipped discs, no missing discs. My spinal column looked strong and in near perfect alignment.  Creative miracle!  God restored my spine!  This is no other way to put than God rebuilt my spine.  I didn't know whether to faint, shout, cry, run around the building or what.  I sat there in awe, completely dumbfounded.  Speechless.

The Word says in Mark 11:24, "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them."  This is hard to do when the symptoms haven't left.  When everything is telling you that you haven't received, how then are we to proceed?  It's hard to have faith when there is such a stronghold of doubt and unbelief.  Matthew 7:7-8 has the answer, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."  We have to fight for our faith.  Jude 1:3 tells us to "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints". How do we contend for the faith?  Through prayer.  I never stopped praying or asking for prayer for my back.  I never stopped believing that one day, I would have my healing.  I had nothing else to go on.  The doctors said I would lose the ability to walk. I had all this negative information bombarding me telling me that there was no hope.  But even with the tiniest shred of hope, faith can grow.  I had a sliver of hope to believe that one day I would be healed.  I held on to that hope no matter how fleeting it seemed.

Some might ask, why do some receive such miraculous healing and some don't.  I have no clue.  I don't have all the answers.  All I can do is encourage you to hold on to hope with all you have.

Does my back still hurt? Yes, but now I don't let it define me or define what I can and can't do.  Am I undergoing therapy on my back? Yes. Why? To strengthen my back muscles and improve my posture.  I plan on being as strong as I can be.  That all starts with a strong foundation.  Our spines are the foundations of our bodies.  If our spines are jacked up, then we are jacked up.  It leads to all sorts of problems in different areas of our bodies.  The same is with our spiritual walk.  If our foundation is built on faith and hope through Christ Jesus, then our life will be strong through the storms.  If we build on a foundation of fractured faith mixed with lies and doubt, then our spiritual walk will be a faulty one plagued with all sorts of issues.

So be strong and stedfast in what you believe.  Let go of fear and spit out the lies the enemy has fed you.  If the Word says you can have it, then confess it, believe it, stand on it, and fight for it.


Monday, September 21, 2015

And the Winner Is........

A huge congratulations to

Cheryl Ellison

on winning these lovely boho gemstone earrings that were part of the luxury pre-event gifting suite in honor of the 2015 Emmy nominees and presenters hosted by GBK Productions.


To claim your prize, please email your shipping information to razieladesigns@yahoo.com.