Sunday, May 19, 2013

What God has been teaching me

Today was my church's 15 year anniversary of God's faithfulness. I was asked to share about what I've learned and now, I'd like to share it with my readers! I have been attending Victory Fellowship for a little over a year. I would like to share what God has been teaching me in my time here. About a year and a half ago, Mike, my boyfriend, and I decided to check out churches. We mutually agreed not to compromise finding a strong, biblical, gospel-preaching church. As we were visiting, we decided that Mike would have the final decision as to what church we would attend. Victory had many of the things we were looking for: great preaching, awesome musical worship, and loving people. The fact that Rob (Mike’s twin brother) was here was a plus, as well as knowing Pastor Dan. But still, when Mike told me that Victory was going to be our church, my heart felt overwhelmed.
 It was not that the people were not welcoming, because they were. It was not that people at Victory did not love Jesus, because they did. What I came to realize was my own sin issue with not wanting to mature. I wanted to go a church with a large young adult group. I concentrated on an easy transition with people who were in my life stage. It took longer than I had hoped to get to know people, and I was constantly second guessing myself. Mike, on the other hand, seemed to be doing fine, (which was a little odd, since I’m the more social one in the relationship. HAHA. What I didn’t know at the time, was that God was revealing my own selfishness and He wanted to grow me beyond the limitations I put for myself.
At that time, I had really been battling with who I was. I knew myself as a Christian, but I also tied much of my identity to being a teacher. I had been looking for a teaching job for a very long time and when I did not have the title and could not get a job, I felt useless. Some weeks were good, and some weeks I was a complete wreck. No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t figure out how to be satisfied.
As I struggled with these sin issues, God was teaching me to find my identity in Christ. Even though it was such a simple lesson, it was the most challenging task to take on. My heart did not know how to be satisfied with Christ and Christ alone. My pride told me that I had every right to feel this way. I thought I was entitled to wallow in my sorrow. I went through undergrad, credential and my master’s program with nothing to show for myself. I’d look on Facebook and see how many of my friends were enjoying the “working” life. But week after week, through many sermons, God continually showed me the root of my sin. I wanted myself to be big which meant I wanted Christ to be on the sidelines. But until I made Christ first I could not be satisfied. Even in my sin, God was faithful to me. As I prayed and shared with various people, He was showing me more of how I could find my whole identity in him.
In the past year, I worked as a private tutor, substitute teacher, English instructor, crafting blogger, you name it! Since I had all this free time, I was able to begin serving in the youth and worship ministry. While serving in worship, I was so convicted by the truth in many of the songs that we sang. I noticed a difference in the purpose of lyrics. Lyrics like:
“ I want to take your word and shine it all around,
But first help me just, to live it Lord,
And when I’m doing well help me to never seek a crown,
For my reward is giving glory to you.”
The songs were not chosen simply on melody, but the connecting message about the truth of Christ.
I wanted the easy way out and have everything spoon fed. But in all these things, God was slowly showing me he had a bigger plan for me than I had for myself. Before Victory, I told myself I would never teach Junior High. They’re in the most awkward stage of their life, hormones raging and attitudes flaring.  Yet, Earl asked Mike and I right before the school year kicked off to co-teach with Jon and Tonya for 6th and 7th graders. Despite my fears of this age group, teaching this past year has also been such a blast. It was then that God gave me opportunities to use my teaching techniques with the Bible. I remember I used to pray, “God just give me a class that I can teach!” and he did. He is so faithful! Every teacher lives for the “aha!” moment at school. But when a kid, or anyone for that matter can have the “aha!” moment about Christ and his sanctifying love, the joy is even deeper, because that “aha!” was God giving us the opportunity to witness Him saving someone from death and bringing them to life.
The turning point when God made me realize the beauty of our church body was when our young adult group had our first prayer meeting. Pastor Dan brought out a big white board and made different columns for prayer topics like: Victory fellowship, personal prayer requests, people who don’t know Christ, missionaries we know and the list goes on. The plan was to erase prayer requests that God had answered and add new ones every month that we could pray about. I think what brought our small group together was when we started to pray for the people in our lives who didn’t know Jesus. We realized that our hearts for the lost were the same, and deeply rooted for many of our families. Pretty soon my prayer requests were their requests and theirs were mine. We were taking ownership of our spiritual family. God began to send me wonderful conversations with people of various ages to bless, challenge and encourage me.
Two themes I can take away from this year are that God is faithful from beginning to end, and Victory fellowship is my spiritual family. Although I wanted to be comfortable, God grew and stretched me in ways that were for my good. He provided for every one of my needs even if my bank statements were low. Through prayer he helped me identify myself with Christ first, and teacher second. He made me realize my own sin and is continually helping me to make him increase and make myself decrease just as it says in John 3:30 ‘He must become greater; I must become less. He has used this spiritual family to pray for me, and thankfully for those prayers, I’ll be an elementary teacher this fall in LA. I thank God for using weak and broken sinners to make up a church that uplifts Christ in glory and help me to recognize how amazing it is that someone as perfect and great as God could love a wretch like me.
I hope this testimony can encourage you to know that God is faithful no matter what type of trial or joy we are in!

Til our next Hello,

Monday, April 8, 2013

Queen Yano

Hanger orders are starting to get creative! I had this hanger order recently for a bride. Her friends call her "Queen Yano". I thought it was so cute to have a sentimental name! I used a wood that was in between my usual light or dark option. I love how it came out and I hope you do too!

Til our next Hello,

Monday, April 1, 2013

Leis for the Wongs

Dan and Laura Wong are taking their two kids Braden and Dane and moving to Hawaii! Although we are so sad to see them go, they are going to minister to the people there and share the gospel with those who don't know Jesus. A couple weeks ago, Pastor Dan preached his last message that really challenged me: to not let the world define me, but live a life for Christ. It is such a hard struggle to not succumb to the pressures of this world, yet it makes all the difference when you stand up for the truth. Jesus died to save me from my sin. No amount of money, fame or power can ever compare.

Pastor Rick asked me to make a  lei for Dan and Laura to thank them for their dedication. These were just a token of appreciation for their faithfulness to serving our church! The first one you see is the one I made for Laura, and the second one was for Dan. I had fun making these, and was challenged to make something new!

This one was for Pastor Dan.

If you'd like to hear a sermon by Pastor Dan click here!

Til our next Hello,

Monday, March 18, 2013

A hanger for Mrs. Wong

I am so astounded to have customers from around the world! There is such beauty in sharing ideas and inspirations through blogs and other internet forms. A year ago this was just a dream to even get one order by someone I did not know. Now, this handmade hanger is on its way to a beautiful bride in Arizona and I have another one on its way to New Jersey! But one thing is clear: it is God who provides, and not my own works. For those who doubt yourselves, reevaluate your frame of mind! Life is too short to not do what you love. Next up will be some things I designed for a birthday party in Singapore! Stay tuned!

Til our next Hello,

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Hanger and the Dress: Match made in Heaven

I love when I get to see my hangers with it's final match: the wedding dress! Together they look perfect for a couple's special day! Get that perfect look for your wedding dress, and order a personalized hanger just for you or someone you love. Photo courtesy of Meagan Herrick.

Til our next Hello,

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wedding Cake for Jen & Ryan

I had the pleasure of doing this wedding cake and cakevstand for Jen & Ryan! The lovely couple actually had their wedding in Thailand, and came back to California to celebrate with their family. I just absolutely love the rustic feel in the wilderness don't you? Stay tuned for more Silly Hammy creations!

Til our next Hello,

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

DIY: Hot Air Balloon Lantern

Curious as to how I made the hanging hot air balloon lanterns? Here's a DIY project that is is perfect for any occasion. Its a perfect craft to decorate a baby shower like I did, decorate a cute space in your house, or just feel like crafting with the kids! The materials are pretty simple!

You'll need:
- A ruler
- Pencil
- Hot glue gun (with glue sticks)
- An old book
- A circle cutter
- A lantern ( I used a 9.5 inch diameter lantern)
- String
- An 8.5x11 sheet of construction paper

First, I cut a whole stack of circles using an old book I found. I cut about 114 circles for this project.
After I propped open my lantern, I glued a circle on the wire two levels from the bottom.

Each circle glued after that was glued to the right, each over lapping the previous circle.

Here is a list of how many circles I used per layer to cover the circumference of the circle. You do not have to follow these exact numbers. You might find that you like a tighter or looser look!

Layer 1: 11 Circles
Layer 2: 15 Circles
Layer 3: 16 Circles
Layer 4: 18 Circles
Layer 5: 18 Circles
Layer 6: 16 Circles
Layer 7: 12 Circles
Layer 8: 19 Circles

I had a height of two wires in between each layer.

Hurray! Your first part of the project is over! Next are the instructions for the basket! Next, you'll need a 8.5  x 11 sheet of paper.

Cut off 2 inches from the length of the paper. With a ruler, three 1- inch lines from each side.

With a pencil draw a line 2.5 inches from each side for the width. Then draw three , one inch lines on the length side as shown. Lay the paper as shown, and cut lines to the middle lines.

Fold each slip inward and cut out a triangle.

starting from the inner 1 inch flap, glue tabs together one by one.

Do this for all four sides!

Glue each flap in toward the triangle. This will form a basket - like structure.

Hole punch the corners and string into the lantern piece!

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Try it out and send me photos! Feel free to email me to ask questions too! Have a wonderful week everyone!

Til our next Hello,