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So Yeah, I Got Married

10/16/2013

KendraNBryanA 176On September 7th of this year I married the love of my life. I honestly cannot believe it has been over a month now since that whole thing went down. My beautiful wife Kendra and I settled into our new place together, we bought our first ‘new’ piece of furniture (that actually got delivered today), and we have loved every minute of it so far!

I am not about to be the one that starts giving advice on how to be married happy. We have only been working on it for 40 days so far. I will share a few things though that you should be ready for in the few weeks leading up to and few weeks after the wedding.

You never know how much ‘stuff’ you really have until you move in together. Another big thing that could go with this one is to never try to move right before you get married. The lease in my old apartment was going to be up the day Kendra and I were scheduled to get married. We had 2 options, pay for another month with a 20% increase of what I was already paying and move after the wedding, or suck it up and move before the wedding. We picked that latter. Not only did we have to find an apartment, clean it, pack all the stuff from my old apartment, clean my old apartment, pack all the stuff that Kendra had at her parents, move it, and unpack everything, we had to do the last-minute preparations for our wedding too! Nearly 2 months after we moved in there is still stuff scattered all over the place in boxes just waiting to be unpacked. My kayak is still out in the yard because we can’t find a place for it yet. We also have an attic that’s already full. We are getting there though and having a fun time doing it.

KendraNBryanA 010One piece of advice, don’t wait until the night before you have to leave for the venue to start packing all the decorations up. This doesn’t really apply if you’re paying a company to set everything up for you, but in this day and age, more and more people are doing everything themselves trying to save money where ever they can. Kendra and I were up till 4 am packing all the decorations and things on Thursday night before we had to leave. Not the best plan.

Finally, be ready to go with the flow. Things will happen, the flowers wont be able to be picked up until a day after you expected them to be, people you expect to show up at a certain time will not, and the people you least expect will step up and save the day. There were countless things that “went wrong” compared to what we originally had planned for the weekend, but you would never have guessed it if you were a guest. We talked  early on that we knew that things would go wrong and all we could do was decided how we would handle it when it did. As long as people had a good time we were happy, and everyone did have a great time.

KendraNBryanA 596

Planning and executing a wedding is one of the most stressful things that I have ever done, and it is the most stressful thing that Kendra and I’s relationship has ever gone through. Thinking back on it, it was a good thing and really grew us closer together as a couple. We didn’t have time to analyze what was going on, we just had to run with it and trust that the other could handle it.

One of the things that we have asked people who have been married a long time is for advice to a successful, God honoring, and long-lasting marriage, so if anyone reading this would like to leave some advice down in the comments, please feel free to do so! We would like to thank everyone for all the love and support that they have given us over the last few months. We couldn’t have done it without you!

No Limits : Sermon at LVC

09/26/2013

1374318_726502107375792_1024712542_nI have been here at Lenape Valley Church for a little over 2 years now and I have finally had the opportunity to preach at the morning traditional service this past Sunday. I talked about the parable of the Good Samaritan. If you have nothing else to do and would like to listen to a message about loving with no limits then check it out.

You can also see it on the church website at LenapeValleyChurch.org

The Canvas

04/10/2013

Your life is what you make of it, right? Our lives are like huge canvases that we are supposed to cover with things like jobs, kids, religion, love and romance. A picture of what your life is starts to take shape out of what seems to be formless and void. Sometimes it looks beautiful, lavished with money and power, almost flawless. But everyone makes mistakes. That time they let the brush slip and no matter how many times you try to cover it up, it just won’t disappear.Your friends and family might not be able to see it, but you know it’s there. And if you look hard enough, sometimes you can see it peeking through.

Your goal, by the end of your life, is to have a masterpiece that will not be forgotten. Your desire is for someone to see it and want to hang it up on their wall and model their canvas after yours.

There is just one problem with this theory. We long so much to be the artist and be able to paint our canvas however we see fit, but that’s not how it works. You are the canvas!

If you are the canvas, then who is the artist? We try to be the artist and paint things on ourselves that are never quite perfect.

For those of us out there that are not very good artists; I know when I try to draw or paint something I can see it perfectly in my head how I want it to look, but as soon as pencil or brush meet paper there is a disconnect. No matter how long I try to make it look like what I am thinking about, it never even comes close.

Color outside2It’s because our vision for our canvas is not what that canvas was created for. It’s like a child coloring in a coloring book and can’t seem to stay in the lines. That page was made to look like something, but we just can’t manage the complexity. So we splatter paint, try to erase what we have done, and hide our canvas from other people. We try to tell people, “Oh, its abstract,” or, “that’s what I want it to look like,” but we feel that disconnect and can’t manage to stay in the lines.

I love watching an artist at work doing a live painting because you never know what it is until it fully takes shape. Sometimes it looks just like a mess of lines and it’s not until the painter puts that last few strokes on the page that you finally realize what it was supposed to be all along. Kendra (my fiancé) and I like to paint together and sometimes one of us will say, “Oh, it totally looks like a tree!” Even though neither of us were trying to paint a tree, so we start using what we see to paint a tree. Then it starts to look like something else, so we paint something else.

You are the canvas and God is the artist. God has a plan for each of our lives that we can’t even begin to understand. We try to see just a little piece of the painting and decide, “Oh, that’s a tree!” and add our concept of what a tree is. All we do is get in the way of the Painter or paint over His work. He has a masterpiece planned for your life. Put down your brush and enjoy watching God paint you!

 

For reflection:

Why is it so hard to let God have full control?

Tell us about a time when you were truly able to let go and let God paint.

How to Survive a Zombie Attack

01/16/2013

66481_10151356649436998_1391025918_nWe just got finished with our 2013 Winter Retreat here at LVPC. It was a wonderful, spirit filled weekend. The theme was ‘How to Survive a Zombie Attack,’ and the 3 lessons being ‘Patient 0’, ‘The Outbreak’, and ‘Surviving.’ It is not as difficult of a correlation as you might think. The Zombie virus that is talked about on almost all zombie movies and shows can be related to the sin infection in our lives and the world around us. It worked out pretty well and the students loved it.

If any other Youth Ministers out there are interested in the material I used, the talk outlines, and other stuff, I am going to make them available for download. I am making it free for anyone so please don’t try to pass it off as your own.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/pmwznynoxh9p9vw/NJan35B8OI

I also downloaded the bumper videos and slide backgrounds here.

http://stufficanuse.com/

(stufficanuse.com seems to not have the resources loaded on their new site any more. Email me if you would like them.)

The Start of a New Adventure: Asking Dad

10/03/2012

Kendra’s Father, Bill

Written September 27th 2012

Tomorrow is the day I ask Kendra to marry me. I talked to her father yesterday to ask for permission. That was probably one of the hardest and most stressful things I have ever had to do. I can honestly not imagine what it will belike if I have daughters one day and their boyfriend comes up to me to ask for permission. I wonder If I will see it coming at all. I would probably have to screw with them a bit though. If they knew me well enough at that point I’m sure they would know. “Can I have your daughter’s hand in marriage?”, “You do know that she used to be a man right?” That will get them. I might have to record it too!

We got to Kendra’s parents house around 9:15 last night to pick up the fishing boat for this weekend. While her father, Bill, and I were putting the gas motor on the small aluminum fishing boat that we were going to bring up to the cabin, Kendra was inside chatting with here mom. This is was perfect opportunity, but I stalled. I had an opportunity to ask her dad for his permission about a week and a half ago while wet were out in their garden grabbing some bell peppers to take home, but I stalled then too. I chickened out and missed the best and only opportunity I had to ask to that point. I couldn’t let the last opportunity pass me by just like it did before.

I gathered my strength and was about to ask again. My heart was beating out of my chest, like when your watching your favorite football team about to kick the winning field goal against a team that they have never beaten in the regular season only times 100. (Not a Ravens vs. Patriots reference 😉 ) but I chickened out again. I was yelling at myself on the inside. Why couldn’t I ask?! Why did I choke every time I got close to saying it? Finally we were about to go inside when I had no choice left. “So my plan this weekend is to ask your daughter to marry me,” I said, “And I would like your permission and blessing before I do.” He said that was fine. It was kinda of the reaction that my parents had the first time I told them that I was buying an engagement ring. It was a sense of, “I really have not clue how to react, so I’m just not going to react.”

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be part of this family. I have almost felt a part of it since the first time I met them last November. I know Kendra will say yes when I ask, but my heart is already beating out of my chest for that one and I still have about another 33 hours to wait for that question

The Start of a New Adventure: 2 Days!?

10/02/2012

Here’s to hoping she checks yes…

Written September 26th, 2012

I just finished the painting that I will give Kendra when I propose on Friday. I hope she checks yes… 🙂

Getting a little nervous and a little excited.

The Start of a New Adventure : The Ring Part 2

10/01/2012

Today: September 19th… 9 days left till I pop the question!

So I finally went out to pick up the ring. They finished it about a week and a half ago, but I knew that if I got it then I would never be able to hold it in that long. It has been a little over a year since I first learned of Kendra’s existence when we first started talking on Match.com. (For those of you that don’t know, Kendra and I met on Match.com. So for those of you out there that are still looking, online dating really does work!) September 29th will be the one year anniversary of out first date to the Spinnerstown Hotel Restaurant.

As many of you that have been married/engaged know, the excitement is starting to turn into a nervous excitement which I’m sure by the time September 28th rolls around will turn into sheer terror. I think I’m holding myself together pretty well though, and I don’t think Kendra has any idea what so ever.

As you can see, the ring looks amazing. The artist, Jennifer Cameron from Cleo’s Silversmith Studio, did an amazing job with it. There is a matching wedding band to go with it to.

Now all I have to do is wait and keep my mouth shut to not give anything away!

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