•3 Years of Marriage•


Three years ago today, I woke up at 4:30 am. I made some coffee and I sat down in my favorite spot one last time as a Henry and watched Steel Magnolias. 

Three years ago today, I got my hair and make up done, and my dad drove to Deer Creek for our last daddy/daughter ride. 

Three years ago today, I had put on a white dress and a veil and walked down the aisle to marry my best friend.

We have had many adventures, tears and laughter, and there are many more to come. 

Yet, as much as I loved you then, I love you more. Happy Anniversary  Colin! 

~Brandy

Dream About Your Marriage, Not The Wedding

  With summer comes weddings and with weddings, the desire for weddings comes up. I have been there. I have a Pinterest board or two that were full of all my wedding dreams. Pinterest is a great tool for planning a wedding. That is pretty much all I did once I got engaged. 

There is no harm in dreaming. I started dreaming about my wedding once I saw my first episode of A Wedding Story on TLC ( any body else remember that show?!?).

When I was 18, God spoke to my heart. This was after I was with a guy I thought I was going to marry. I had been dreaming of our wedding and when I realized he wasn’t for me and I wasn’t for him; it was heartbreaking. So when I was praying and seeking God for direction. My answer was that I needed to dream about my marriage, not my wedding. 

Easier said then done for sure. It’s hard when you see pictures from friends getting married and those gorgeous wedding dresses. In fact it is so much easier to dream about one day then to dream about the rest of your life. 

If you want the honest truth; the day that is suppose to be the best day of your life….. I only remember bits and pieces of that day. And while that day was one of the happiest days of my life, I have had made a bunch of other happy memories within being married the past two years.

Marriage is hard work. It requires you to be selfless. Being someone’s sidekick and biggest fan. Sometimes you’ll be hurt by words, and there will be times you are hurtful. There will be times where you feel so lost in this world and holding the hand of somebody who loves you at you worst, when no one else can. Marriage is beautiful and ugly at the same time. But you wouldn’t trade it for the world. 

Letting go the fantasy of the wedding and grasping the reality of marriage is what I think is more romantic. The wedding was a public version of me. My hair and face done and smiling for pictures. The marriage is a stubborn freckled girl who has a temper, and free-spirited. Once I grasped the concept of dreaming of my marriage over my wedding, I allowed myself to be me with my husband. I realized that I never wanted to be anything but me. The man who was willing to be married to me for better or worse, temper and even keeled times, till death, deserved a wedding more then I did. That’s not easy. 

I am not an expert in marriage. But I pray that this will touch somebody. Weddings are wonderful. However, marriage that is built on preparing your heart, and loving someone for the rest of your life; is precious. Having someone love you for the rest of your life will be more memorable then the dress that you can’t eat in! 

~Brandy

There’s No Place Like Home

  

Thursday morning I finished packing my bags and came back to the place I grew up. I always love coming back home. I love pulling up the drive and seeing the familiar barn, the sound of the gravel crunching beneath the tires. The sweet clean air and the over grown Christmas trees that could probably tell a story or two. 

I came back to help my mom since she had a procedure done. This morning I walked my younger siblings down to the bus, waved goodbye and went back to watch over my youngest brother. Together we watched his favorite shows shared fruit snacks and went outside to play in the sunshine. 

In the process of taking care of my siblings, I got a small taste of what motherhood is like. It’s a calling on my heart that I have had since I was 16. It’s been the last few years where I started to really see that while the old familiar places feel like home. The people who live there, that is home. 

I have personally chosen to not be overly transparent in regards to TTC. I have made a couple of posts, but I never really opened up my heart and exposed every little detail. Mainly because I felt like it was personal. Even though I share a little here and there, there’s so much more behind the scenes. 

I have chosen to write this post. I have tried writing it so many times and I think I have finally come to a place where I can write it. 

I didn’t know what to expect when trying to have a baby. I didn’t know it would take a little longer, and I certainly didn’t expect the mother load of emotions. No matter how many negative pregnant tests you have, it hurts. Even when you expect it to be negative it hurts. To love someone so much who hasn’t been created yet. This was also the first Mothers Day I got to experience first hand the heartbreak and the joy that day brings.    Colin had gotten me red roses and a sweet Mothers Day card and wrote a sweet note inside. 

I had decided a few months ago, that I wanted to take more pictures. In this case I wanted to take a picture of the flowers Colin gave me. 

  
I posted on Instagram and decided to be honest. To allow myself to be transparent. To allow myself to feel the hurt the last 6 almost 7 months have put my heart through. Then something I didn’t prepare for. The love and support from those that love me. I suddenly realized that these sweet people who are willing to cry with me, will be rejoicing with me when I finally get my BFP ( Big Fat Postive). 

However, I realized something else. Now is the time to build a home for my sweet babies. To prepare my heart for every set of sticky fingers, and every boo-boo. To prepare a place in my heart for the footprints that will stampede it. To prepare to teach them the Gospel. To encourage them, to wipe tears. To rarely hear thank you’s and to rock to sleep a sick little one. Because these little ones will be my home. 

My home is in Colin. Lord only knows no one else could handle being married to me. My craziness as well as my geekiness. To make him my main human priority. To make our marriage number 1. Because when those sweet little faces grow up and start on the paths God has for them, I will still be growing old with my best friend. 

A house is a building, the people you love inside makes it home.

Cause let’s face it, there really is no place like home.

~Brandy

Me? A Pastor’s Wife?

Before I married my husband; I was praying for my future husband. Now I know not every girl gets told what her future hubby’s occupation was going to be, however God thought it was the right time to inform me that my husband was going to be a pastor. Me? Lord, did you just say I was going to be a pastor’s wife? The wife of a pastor…. So when I met Colin and we talked about where God has called us and he told me he felt called to preach. Now here we are and my hubby will be taking the first step towards that call, he will be licsenced. I can’t be more delighted to see my husband being used by God. Funny, I also never thought of how God was going to use me. How God was going to change me. Tuning my heart to be used in His will and His will alone.

My heart towards women’s ministry has grown. I have loved studying with the women in my church and I have been enjoying the research for my book. There is so much to learn! When your a newlywed it’s an adjustment. Your living with this man, have to share closet space, cooking and cleaning. When your married to a man with the call to preach, then you also have to adjust to his study habits. Proof reading sermons. I have sense taken the time to study more myself.
I am so proud of my hubby and the hard work he does. Being his support is part of my call as his wife and homemaker. I may not be perfect, but in Him, I can do anything through Him who gives me strength! 🙂
~ Brandy

Been Gone Too Long!

     Well I did not expect to be away from the blog this long! It has been super busy between celebrating my first year of marriage, to being sick, to a whole list of things that happened all at once. We just had some rain so I figured that while the hubby is asleep and the cat is staying out of mischief, it was about time that I made myself a cup of tea and sat down and got back to blogging. This is going to be a collective blog post of everything that I have yet to blog about. It is just way easier. I can talk about everything from movie and books to a life update. This summer is going to be crazy, so I first off want to ask you to bare with me if my posts are far apart. I am going to try to write more, as well as take pictures.* I have been married a year!

For our anniversary, Colin and I took a day trip to Gettysburg, PA. That may not seem like the kind of trip other couples may like, but I love history, and drooling over old houses. We walked around and just spent the day just the two of us. It was so much fun! It was great just for the two of us to talk and enjoy being together. Our first year of marriage has included moving, grief, changing churches, and a whole lot of love. I think that with the different experiences that we have shared together it has made us closer together. No marriage is alike, and it is always going to look like someone has it better then you do.The truth however is that marriage is a perfect example of God’s love and patience that we are to give each other.

* I saw The Fault In Our Stars

Some are going to find this weird.. but… I actually enjoy going to the movies by myself. There is just something about a dark theater and no one talking to me while I am watching is enjoyable. I love being wrapped up in the plot. I watched this movie, and I am going to say that I really liked it. I cried. It did have some language, and it isn’t a movie to take the little ones to go see. It is very deep and you really do come away with a reminder of how short and unexpected life in this world is. I am not going to give any spoilers, but I will say this: I loved it, and when I came home I made sure to tell Colin that I loved him ( even though he was asleep when I got home).

* The Painted Mill

For the first time I went got the chance to go to The Painted Mill in Fallston to their monthly tag sale. I love vintage and crafting and diy projects. There were so many pieces that I wanted. The prices were amazing and I plan on going at the end of this month to see what I can find. I hope to document it this time so that you can join me in the fun. 🙂

That is pretty much all I have as far as updating goes. There has been a lot going on, between working and our busy schedules. I m going to try to blog more of my activities this summer. With that being said, I hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend! Happy 4th!

~ Brandy

A Day with My Love

Colin never has off on a Saturday. So we made it a date. I think one of the most important things to do in a marriage is to continue to date each other. We went to Lifeway and we got some books. I love to shop in the clearance section. Normally I can find books that I have been wanting to read for a great price. Colin shops more in the commentaries. He started getting books to help with his pastoral studies.  Here is a picture of the books I got:

Sorry for the glare on the bottom right there! I am including a list of the titles:

  • Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis
  • Jesus > Religion by Jefferson Bethke
  • A Love That Multiplies by Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar
  • One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

I am going to give my reviews on the books as I have finished them. In all honesty, I am pretty excited to dig into these books and see what God reveals to me. The first book, I am reading is Jefferson Bethke’s book Jesus > Religion. His wife Alyssa Bethke has a book coming out soon and I love her blog !  I love reading other blogs.

I will be giving you an update after each chapter 🙂

Colin and I Skype chatted our friends Dan and Jen in England for a bit. It is always wonderful to talk to them! September can not come fast enough!

Colin and I also decided to go to Cracker Barrel! We LOVE Cracker Barrel!

Huge fan of their French toast breakfast!

Colin wanted to tease Dan with his steak. We look forward to introducing Jen to Cracker Barrel!

Then after dinner we went to go see God’s Not Dead in theaters. First off, I loved this movie. It is one of those movies that I highly recommend! It wasn’t a weak movie. There was a lot of deep topics in this movie. It was moving. If you have seen the movie let me know in the comments your thoughts! \

I love date nights!

~ Brandy

My Wedding Day: June 1,2013

I love weddings, I rejoice with those who get engaged and pray for every girl to have their wedding dreams come true. I want to blog about my wedding. (7 months almost 8 months after) I am going to share what I felt was worth the cost and ways that I saved money. As well as something things that I did that I feel made my day special. Our venue was at Deer Creek Overlook.

                                                            Decorations:

I did some major DIY. I did all the flowers, and between me and my mom we purchased some a little here and a little there. I had a theme, southern garden.

Here are a couple of Instagram pictures of what I did on my own as well as pictures from the wedding.

My mom bought the cake stand from HomeGoods. I bought the ribbon and the button from Walmart. Then I weaved the ribbon through and put the button on it.

Photo by Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
The small chalkboards I got from Etsy ( I don’t remember the vendor) I bought the liquid chalk from Michaels in the wedding section.
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
I was having an outdoor wedding, and there was no way I was going to wear heels. Not only that but I wanted shoes that I could easily kick off and dance. I got the shoes from Walmart, and the decals from Michaels.
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
Instead of programs we did a poster board. We made it look like a chalkboard. One side had the bridal party and on the other side order of ceremony.

Our favors were S’mores. S’mores is a huge part of our love story. It only made sense that a piece of how we met was a favor for our wedding.

Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
Our center pieces were a framed table number, a lantern, a flower in a glass, and a thick piece of scrapbook paper underneath. Then have the s’mores around it. I love lanterns and used lanterns for the aisle as well.
I did the flowers myself. I got the flowers from Walmart and Michaels.
Photo by: Shannon McFerren by Shannon McFerren Photography
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
 Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
For my throwing bouquet, I made a small bouquet that broke apart and more then one girl got a flower.
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
I did not do a seating chart. I bought a sign from Etsy and it is universal that I can use it in my home as well.
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography

Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography

We had some loved ones that have passed that we wanted a way to honor them. I made a table to display photos and have a candle lite.

 

Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
My mom made this marker so that people could find the venue.
Photo by Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
Instead of doing the ring pillow, we made a sign. I painted the sign itself and my mom did the lettering.
Photo by Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
The ceremony we kept it simple at the beginning of the aisle and at the end, we put a lantern on each side and a small pot of flowers.
Photo by Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
We did a sand ceremony as a nod to my love of the beach. I got saved on the beach and it only seemed fitting to use sand to symbolize our unity together in Christ using sand. The sand and the sand heart shaped holder is from Michaels. The flowers were something that was at our house. even though our colors were pink and navy, I did not want pink sand, but chose the natural color and blue.
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
I had two cousins serving overseas at the time of my wedding. They both wanted to be there. So as a way of showing thanks for serving our country and knowing they were their in heart, we had a table in honor of them.
I made small cards for significant others of some of our bridal party, inviting them to sit with their loved one. I didn’t get a picture of them but I was thanked for the gesture. 🙂
It was worth it:
There were some things that I bought and things I decided to invest in that really, looking back I would do it all over again.
1. Having a wedding coordinator.
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
I am so happy I had wedding coordinators at my wedding! It was so nice to know that there were people who helped to make my day run without a hitch. They did such an excellent job with my wedding that I highly recommend them, and if I ever have a party and need planners I will go back to using them. Courtney and Rebecca were amazing!
I used: Moore & Co. Event Stylists http://mooreandcoevents.com/#/home/  
2. My Wedding Dress and Veil.
Photo by Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
The first time I saw this dress I knew it was the one. The dress was what I was excited about. I love this dress and it fit perfectly with my theme, and the venue.  Here are some of my favorite dress shots.
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
Photo by Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
My Veil was another love at first sight.. It was long and beautiful. I pray that my daughters will love it and use it. The beauty of this veil is that I plan to have it as an heirloom. Here are some of my favorite shots of my veil.
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
Photo by Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
Photo by Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
I got my dress and veil at :K&B Bridals http://www.kandbbridals.com/
3. Hair and Makeup
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
I got my hair and makeup done at Salon 23
Special Moments:
Then you have all the wonderful memories that you make.
1. First Looks.
Colin
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
My dad
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
2. First Kiss
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
4. Happy Birthday Aunt Diane
(Our wedding day was the same day of my Great Aunt Diane’s birthday and we say Happy Birthday and presented her with flowers)
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
3. First Dance
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
4. Parent Dances
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
5. Cake Cutting
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
Music:
I love music and I love dancing. Here is a list of some of the songs that were played.
1. Ceremony
From This Moment by Shania Twain ( instrumental)
Making the Movies Jealous by Kristen McNamara
A Thousand Years by Christina Perri (Instrumental) * I walked down the aisle to this song*
Stuck on You by Elvis Presley
The songs above were played off of my iPhone by our friend Shawn Cappron
We had our friends Aubrey and Amanda Roach sing In Christ Alone
Photo by Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
2. Reception
The Way You Smile by Newsong ( first dance)
I Loved Her First by Heartland (father/daughter dance)
Handprints on the Wall by Kenny Rodgers (mother/son dance)
I See the Light from the movie Tangled (cake cutting)
  and of course dance music!!
our DJ was Bill Braun

Photo by Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography

Photo by: Shannon McFerren of  Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography

Photo by: Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
Our videographer was my Uncle Ozzie
Our Photographer was Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography http://www.shannonmcferrenphotography.com/
We were so blessed to have Mrs. Shannon do our wedding. She did such a fantastic job. She did our engagement photos as well. Here are some of my favorite shots.
All photos below were photographed by Shannon McFerren of Shannon McFerren Photography
I know this was a long one! I hope you enjoy this post and I hope you have a blessed day!
~ Brandy

Valentines Day

There is one day out of the year that women either love or dread. Valentines day.  Now, I am going to be honest. Valentines Day is not a holiday that I really care about. Sure, I may give Colin something to express my love for him. But seriously? It’s not a holiday that I love or dread. Sure you can get a box of chocolates and a sweet card. Watch romantic movies and listen to all the love songs you want. However, we need to be showing that kind of love on a daily basis. Why? Because Jesus didn’t reserve just one day to show how you how much He loves us. If the Bible commands me to love my husband, respect my husband and submit to my husband, that wasn’t a one day out of the year command. I want to reach out to singles in this post. In particular single ladies. I was once a single lady 7 months ago. I stopped caring about Valentines Day around 7th grade. I wasn’t given any carnations at school like everybody else. It was humiliating to walk around the halls and having people ask me if I got any. I wasn’t saved at the time, and this moment was one of the things that got me to search for Jesus on a different level. I didn’t want to be alone. I HATED to be alone. I didn’t understand why kids hated me, why I was left out. I went home and cried myself to sleep because I felt so unloved. When I got saved, and Valentines Day rolled around, I decided that the perfect Valentines Date, was me accepting that for a season, I was meant to be single. It wasn’t easy because I desired to be married and have a family of my own. When I had my first real boyfriend, well he wasn’t the one, and something happened in that relationship that left me hurt and realized the importance of not awakening love until it was right. Then I met Colin. Even though I am married, I still see this holiday as one that, as much as I love my husband, and he loves me, it is no where near how much Jesus loves us.

Dear Gorgeous,
Do you know how gorgeous you are? How desirable you will be for the one who captures your heart? If your looking for the perfect man, the right one to make all your dreams come true, there is no such thing. The man you marry, will make mistakes, will make you mad, will annoy you when he plays that video game again right before dinner. There will be moments you wonder how you can love someone so much and want to slug him at the same time. However, if his heart is for Jesus, you will be blessed. He will love you the way Jesus loves His bride the Church. He will treat you like the gift from God you are. He will think your beautiful on the days you don’t feel it, and love you when your unlovable. He will hold your hand in the car, allow you to turn your music up a little louder. He will dance with you even when he doesn’t know how. Will buy you flowers just because. A love like that, they say is hard to find. But as believers this is suppose to be the norm. Don’t treat your season as a curse, God has a plan for each of us. It is a gift to draw closer to the One who longs to be close to you. God is only going to allow the right gift into the garden of your heart. Cultivate your garden. each season comes with it’s struggles and it’s burdens. The next chapter always looks better then the one your in. You are one of a kind, there is no one else like you. You are unique. Don’t allow anyone to tell you different. You are a beautiful work of art, a song with a melody, a book still being written, a rare treasure. In Christ, you are all this and so much more. Don’t settle with anybody who doesn’t see you for who you are in Christ. Beauty on the outside fades, but the beauty of a heart following Christ, is an eternal beauty that grows over time. You are loved, even when you don’t feel it.

Love, Someone who has been there.

~ Brandy

Finding My Todd, and My Hapily Ever After

When I became a Christian at the age of 15, all I wanted to do was please God with my life. I changed everything, from my attitude, to my thoughts on modesty, to what I chose to read. I love to read. I love to curl up with a good book and just get lost in it’s pages. This was when I discovered the Christy Miller Series. These book came at the time where I needed friends. From the moment I started reading, I felt like I was friends with the characters. In a sense, I grew in my spiritual walk right along side Christy. I could relate to Christy, mainly because we had the same personality. So for my Sweet 16, I got the four volumes.

The Christy Miller books also set the standards for guys. The Godly example of what I should be looking for. Todd Spencer. Any girl who has read the and loved these books knows what I am talking about. Todd loved God first and foremost. He loved Christy the way the Jesus loves the Church. Reading I made up my mind to find a “Todd”. Well I can say that I have found my Todd.

Colin and Todd has similarites. They both play guitar, are easy going, have a heart for ministry. They both have a heart for God and encourage others. Those characteristics were what I wanted in a husband. Colin and I didn’t have a long courtship. Our engagement was longer due to the planning process. When I said “I Do” and became Mrs. Colin Strong. A whole new chapter opened up.

Now that I am at that point in my life, where my friends are getting married and having babies. It is so surreal. Colin and I have talked about having kids. One of the things we talked about godparents, we have talked about when we would like to start trying. All these different topics and I can’t help but laugh. If you can only see my Pinterest!! How did we get here? How in the world did I get from dreaming about marriage and kids to being married and talking about kids. This year is going to be interesting, and it’s the last day of January.. Already.

I can not wait to see what God has in store!

~Brandy