Saturday, the fifth of May
Two thousand and Twelve
at Two o'clock
in the Afternoon
Living Water Church
69 Industrial Road
Wainscott, New York
Reception at Four o'clock
in the Afternoon
The Bridgehampton Community House
2357 Montauk Hwy.
Bridgehampton, New York
We understand your confusion, but for those who are not aware, Lissa grew up in East Hampton. We love going there to spend time with her parents and brother and are proud to be able to have her Pastor, Joe Kelley perform the ceremony of our marriage.
July 4, 2011 in Greenville, SC
If you are coming from out of town, make sure you book a place to stay early as busy season for the island is right around the corner and hotels and inns start filling up.
If you would like to stay somewhere that gives you a taste of the Hamptons, we have negotiated a discounted rate at The Montauk Yacht Club. If booking there call 888.MYC.8668 and ask to book for the Tovar/Gons Wedding.
Montauk Manor at 631.668.4400
Hartman's Briney Breezes at 631.668.2290
Gurney's Inn Resort & Spa at 631.668.2345
The cheapest options within a reasonable driving distance are as following hotels: Baron's Cove Inn in Sag Harbor, Spring Hill Suites by Marriott in Brookhaven and the Holiday Inn Express in Riverhead which is near the Tanger Outlets.
If you plan on spending some time in NYC, Lissa often has found much cheaper flights into JFK. However, when you rent a car you will be driving around two hours to get to the Hamptons.
Fall in Los Angeles
It may be hard to believe, but Los Angeles does experience seasons.
I remember it as clearly as if it was just yesterday: the day was Thursday November 26th, 2009--my second Thanksgiving far from my family. A few weeks before ushering in a new year full of wonderful opportunities and challenges, I looked forward with great anticipation for an enjoyable three-day weekend off from my last quarter in FIDM's International Manufacturing Product Development & Design Program (somewhat of a mouthful!). Written and circled on my calendar was to attend a potluck dinner organized through one of the community groups through my church that evening.
Before I continue, I need to say I was very close to not going; but thankful that I did. Who would be attending this potluck dinner? I did not know. I just knew I would embark on new conversations, dabble in various topics with new faces and perhaps walk away with new Christ-centered friendships. I was a bit nervous, but knew the Lord was in control. My GPS, Frank, led me and my steamed vegetables to our destination in a timely and fashionable manner.
I was greeted and ushered in with a smile and a thankful heart, and from that moment I knew the evening would be great. There were about forty new faces and about two familiar ones. Jordan was among the faces I did not know, but soon came to know fairly well. He was witty, handsome and a pleasure to talk to. I was smitten by his adorable smile and big blue eyes. It was not hard to tell he had a good heart and a good sense of humor--he knew how to make my heart smile from the start. The evening turned out better than expected. It ended with two strangers embarking on an unexpected journey with many miles in between.
That night I received a text message from an unfamiliar number, and I quickly came to know it was Jordan. He wanted to let me know it was great meeting me and had a good time at the potluck. I too let him know, it was great meeting him and had a great time too. I ended up catching a cold that evening, which progressed to the weekend. Jordan was very sweet and called me throughout the long weekend to see how I was feeling. By Sunday, I was feeling a lot better and went to church. I ended up going to the second service (which starts at noon) even though I usually attend the 9 AM service. I ran into Jordan and his former roommate on my way inside. Call me crazy, but at first glance I was not sure it was him--as I said good morning and hello I took a double take. You see, this time around Jordan was dressed slightly more casually, yet still very handsome. What threw me off was the fact that he had facial hair--not a bad thing. :)
Our first date was on a school night. A few days after the potluck, he took me to the cinema, where we saw Fantastic Mr. Fox. It is a cute, heart-felt animated film directed by Wes Anderson--a blend of adventure and comedy, great for all ages and perfect for first dates! Shortly after the movie ended, we continued the date with coffee. This allowed us to converse and learn from each other a bit more. It was a wonderful first date. As I look back, there is nothing from it that I would change.
As our conversations progressed our friendship moved into a relationship--a long distance one I might add! As Jordan moved back to Ohio and I stayed in Los Angeles due to school, I always asked the Lord to guard our hearts and for us to act with wisdom and clarity. First and foremost I wanted to be a friend to him--one that is able to encourage him, love him and pray with him. The proceeding months leading up to our engagement were a time of strengthening our communication and our relationship. During this time, I have either been in Los Angeles, New York, Paris or Hong Kong due to school and work, but despite the time differences we have always made it important to find time for each other. About every month to six weeks we travel to see each other either in Ohio, Los Angeles or New York. Despite the many, many miles in between us, we have "movie date nights". How do we work this out? Thanks to Netflix we are able to sync our movies at the same time through our laptops while being on the phone with each other! It's rather cute and wonderful. I cherish each of these moments.
We started talking about marriage and our future about the time I traveled to Hong Kong. He said "I love you" for the first time a few minutes before I took off on Cathy Pacific Airlines en route to Hong Kong. January 17th will always be a special day in my heart. I knew our engagement was in our near future. How near? I soon came to know. Jordan flew out to visit me Memorial Day weekend. He had been mentioning he wanted to have a picnic somewhere special which did not strike me out of the ordinary. To my surprise, just a few days before flying out he had contacted my parents in New York and asked for my hand in marriage. They were super excited and full of joy and of course they said yes! Jordan had met my parents for the first time on New Year's Day (2011) where he spent a few days with my family and me.
The proposal day began with a light brunch at a well known restaurant in downtown Los Angeles. We then drove toward our destination for our picnic at Joshua Tree National Park. For those who are not aware of how far downtown Los Angeles is from Joshua Tree, the drive was nearly three hours long. While on the road, I noticed Jordan fixing his pocket a few times as he drove, but tried not to think much of it. Once we arrived we ventured through the park with our map as we marveled at the wonderful works the Lord has done. With our map we selected a specific spot to picnic called Hidden Valley. The spot is situated in the center of the park. Not only is it beautiful, but also it is the perfect picnic site.
Once there, Jordan asked me to set up our picnic as he needed to do something. He had his back towards me for a few minutes, and I speculated something was up. I found it a bit odd that we were missing a box of crackers and noticed that he had taken it. Looking back to that day it seems as though our location was perfectly reserved by God, as our rock where we sat was completely flat and had a perpendicular flat rock next to it. To my surprise he had used the other flat rock to prop his iPhone and used the missing cracker box as support. Once done, he turned around and walked a few feet towards me, and asked me to stand, which I did. Jordan then got on one knee and asked me to marry him! I of course said yes! May 28th, 2011 at 5 PM--the happiest and most memorable day of my life. Through his iPhone he captured the whole proposal, so we now have a little movie. Since we had no phone reception with Joshua Tree, once we left the park we called our families to share the good news.
My transition to Los Angeles has been one that I have seen the hand of God be in full control through unexpected but great moments in my life. I am forever grateful and thankful for a wonderful blessing of having Jordan be a part of my life and future. His heart has Christ in it, and the love that he has for Him has captivated me. Through our time together I have come to know what love is. I look forward to our future together as his wife and best friend.
Winding up in L.A.
By most people's perspective 2009 was not kind to me. The company I was working for in Greenville, SC was shutting down and I was among the first to go. Without a job and with little commitment to the area, I began a journey. Little did I know that that journey would lead me to the wonderful woman I was to marry!
I feel the need to elaborate on some background information, as it is all important to how Lissa and I met.
I packed my bags and crashed at a couple of close friends and family members houses for a couple months. A few weeks at my sisters' places in SC, then a little time at home in Ohio, a few days in Georgia with Andrew Verdin & over a month with the wonderful Razmgar family in Fairfax, VA. When I left Fairfax, Cyrus Razmgar came with me and we embarked on an epic road trip. We went from DC to Nashville to New Orleans to Houston. Up to Wichita then on to Mount Rushmore. Denver. Salt Lake City. Las Vegas. In Vegas, Cyrus' vacation time expired and he flew back to northern Virginia one state shy of where I wound up: Los Angeles, California.
When I got to LA I didn't really know anybody. Before too long I would make some of the most significant connections of my life. A friend of a friend from college allowed me to rent some space for a little bit while I looked for an apartment. In the months leading up to my arrival in LA, Jon Pennington had been staying at the same place, which was a long commute from his work. While staying there we hit it off and Jon & I quickly become friends and roommates in the mid Wilshire area of Los Angeles.
Even though I didn't know where I would end up, I had been praying that wherever it was God would quickly help me to be plugged in with Christian friends and a good church. The former happened the day I arrived. The latter, which greatly increased the friend base, was right around the corner.
My first couple of weeks in California I tried to meet up with as many possible connections to people as I could. One of the first was one of Layla Razmgar's friends in Studio City. We became fast friends and she gave me names of a couple churches to check out in the coming weeks. It was a Wednesday. I don't normally remember what day of the week things like that happen, but that day she had an associate who was having a Small Group Bible Study meet at her apartment comprised mostly of members from Reality LA.
I immediately felt welcome and in community with the members of that small group in Burbank. That following Sunday was my second Sunday in town. Naturally I went to Reality LA. Refreshed by the solid preaching of the word by Tim Chaddick, I never looked for another church. I had found my home. Jon started going very shortly thereafter.
Not long after attending Reality LA, Joe Rehfeld took me under his wing as my mentor. I was one of many that his family graciously invited to their home for a large gathering. If you've already read my beautiful bride-to-be's side of the tale, then you can already guess that this meal was Thanksgiving Dinner. I was still fairly new in town, and merely viewed it as a great way to meet some people from church. Much to my delight, it became much more than that. The house was filled with probably 40 young people who weren't fortunate enough to spend the holiday with their families. I'm not going to lie: it was like a big Christian mixer. And I'm sure those crafty Rehfeld's had every intention of doing a little matchmaking that night.
Up until the time we were given the go ahead to eat people mostly awkwardly stood around and got to know each other. Shortly after the meal began the many people started to form into a few groups that pretty much stayed the same for the rest of the night. I am ever so thankful that in my group was Lissa. At the time I was enjoying being single, but over the next few weeks I realized she was someone very special. I obviously noticed her beauty and immediately knew she was kind. I also quickly realized that she made me laugh--a quality I hadn't frequently found in girls in which I was interested.
As you already know, we had a wonderful time at the movies, so I won't go into that in any more detail. Over the coming weeks it was clear to me that she was a girl whose first relationship was with the Lord.
I had no idea that just a little over a month later I would be moved back to Ohio. I say moved and not moving on purpose. In early 2010 I suffered from severe sleep deprivation. Those weeks were some of the hardest weeks of my life. But through all of that, even before Lissa and I knew each other very well, she was patient and caring. She asked if it was okay to check in with me to see how I was recovering back home in Ohio. These calls went from checkups to frequent conversations. It wasn't long before I found myself visiting LA and starting the most important earthly relationship I'd ever known.
I'm sure you know the old adage: long distance relationships never work. I'd like to try and say we beat that saying to bits, but it would be lying if I acted like it was always easy. We grew and were personally stretched and challenged. We even had a few months where we were not together. It didn't take too long apart though, to realize that I needed Lissa. I needed her love. Her kindness. Her patience. Her compassion. Her godly spirit and encouragement. I needed all of her in my life.
Lissa already did an amazing job explaining our engagement story. But I must clarify a few minor points. She didn't know where those crackers went. She was looking around for them. Even as I was standing her up. :)
I also must say that it was nerve-wracking having a diamond in a little satchel in my pocket all weekend. I wanted to ask her 100 times before I did in the days leading up. But more than that I wanted the picturesque setting that we got for our memory book.
I am so pleased to get to spend the rest of my life with a woman who loves the Lord. She is the most gorgeous, wonderful lady I've ever known and my best friend.