Time Flies … But Lots has Happened

Wow! I’m sorry. That’s all I can say for our complete lack of blogging visibility for the past few months. Wow.

So, a lot has happened since we last talked! I hope that I’ll be able to fill you in on all the details, but I’m sure I’ll forget something. If I do omit something, just drop a comment on us, and we’ll get back to you.

I’ll start with Brandy: She has started her second-to-last semester of nursing school. It’s a super-busy one. She has night-classes four days out of the week. Then, she’s got clinicals on the weekends. It’s a lot of work! I’m so proud of her, though. She works so hard for all of her classes. She puts so much into the homework, quizzes, studying, and clinicals. She never complains about it, either. She is truly one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met. She loves what she does, and she puts her all into it.

She’s really excited to be working in the pediatric department for some clinicals this semester. I can’t wait to see how she works with them, and hear how much she loves it.

She’s getting ready to move out, too! Doug and Susan Stitch have been so gracious and kind. They’ve moved, and offered Brandy and Katie an opportunity to stay there so the house doesn’t remain empty. She and Katie are currently working on getting the house ready and moving things in. It’s a big step for her, and I’m so proud of her independence.

I guess I’ll write about myself now: I’m still working at the church, but I’m acting in a bit of a different capacity than before. Before, I was working with the youth department. I had a blast, but when the predetermined time frame came to an end, my responsibilities shifted a little bit. I now work a lot with the worship ministry. I get the band equipment set up for Wednesday night practice, and make sure that all the audio equipment is working. I also work on the church website, and do some audio/visual stuff as needed. I get a few hours per week, but every little bit is helpful.

Not only that, but I’ve started working at a North County Schnuck’s Grocery Store. I’ve been training for a few days, now. I’m a Meat Clerk! It wouldn’t be my first choice in employment, but I’m so happy to be working! I should be averaging about 20 hours per week. I feel so much better just having something to do. I heard Vice President Joe Biden (I know, I know, a lot of people aren’t fans) say in a speech once that if you’re unemployed, nothing matters to you more than finding that job. I can truly attest that being without a job entails a certain feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. I’m so joyful to have those feelings put to rest. I feel like I have so much more control over my own life now. So, if you’re around Lindbergh and Washington, come and buy some steaks from me!

I also started another semester of school, but I suppose that is business as usual. I’m taking Contemporary College Mathematics, Introduction to Worship, Marriage & Family Counseling, Basic Christian Theology II, and Men’s Ministry. It’s shaping up to be a great semester, and I can’t wait till it’s over.

Mostly this semester, I’m excited to actually grow up and start being a real-life adult! I’ve got myself a big-boy job, I’m workin’ on budgets and finances and whatnot, and I’m looking into apartments and stuff. I feel like I’m actually contributing something to society, and not just mooching of my parents. woot

We’re still planning pre/post-wedding stuff. It’s been goin’ pretty well, and we’re really excited to get things goin’.

I’ve gone on long enough, so I won’t bore you with any more details. Sorry that I’m so biased towards myself, I’ll have Brandy write the next one.

Thanks for reading. Leave us some love in the comments!

–Elliot

I Start Tomorrow

I’ve got a job! Well, it’s a temporary job. But, I’ve got a job!

For the next six weeks, I’ll be working at First Christian Church of Florissant. Chris Vandelinde and Titus Benton, the youth pastors, will be taking a much more active role in “big church,” and they have brought me on to help ease their youth ministry burdens during that time. While this isn’t a permanent thing, it will definitely get me by for a little while. Chris and Titus said that there’s a possibility that this may extend past six weeks. However, in the world of church politics and getting things approved, it’s nearly impossible to accurately predict anything that far in advance.

I won’t go into the specifics (I could go on for a while about them), but here are the basics: I’ll be taking the lead with high school Sunday school, Assisting with the programming for Hydr8 Midweek (high school), and assisting also with the programming for Surge on Sundays (Jr. high). This is definitely a great opportunity! I’m super-stoked to get even more involved with the youth group at FCCF, and to learn from Chris and Titus. This is going to be awesome!

I can definitely see God moving! He’s demonstrated time and again that he will provide for my needs. I know that I can fully depend on him to take care of me. He may not give me what I’m expecting, but he’ll definitely be with me.

–Elliot

Undoubtedly Uncertain

I’ve been feeling pretty bummed lately. I’ve been feeling pretty bored, restless, pointless, unchallenged, and desperate lately. I’ve been feeling pretty bummed lately.

I’ve been spending lots of time trying to plan things for our future. Starting in the summer, I need to find an apartment. You see, I asked Dean Cable last week about living in the married apartments on campus. Unfortunately, things don’t look likely. She said that there aren’t many couples graduating this fall, and there is not any room in the apartments. So, we’ve been pricing things out and we’ve found an apartment complex that is really nice and really affordable. So, that appears to be the way that we’ll go. Once the summer comes closer, we’ll begin doing the real life things that you do to get an apartment.

Now that we’re looking at a wedding date next October, insurance has become less of an issue. By next fall, Brandy will have graduated. So, she’ll be probably be working at the hospital and will have some pretty kickin’ insurance. At least that’s one thing that we won’t have to stress about.

Now, the thing that’s really been bumming me out lately is that I am still without a job. I’ve been in the process of interviewing with U.S. Cellular about a sales job. However, I’ve got no sales experience. The manager that I got connected with didn’t seem concerned about that so much. He said, “I can teach you the sales aspect, we just need to make sure that you’re the right kind of person for the company.” I think that the HR lady that I’ve been talking to feels differently, though. Other than that, I don’t have any other prospects for employment. I’ve been scouring the web, and elsewhere, but to no avail. I fill in lots of applications, e-mail resumes, write cover letters; but no one is contacting me. It’s been becoming increasingly stressful.

I’m very ready to start becoming more of an independent person. I am ready to start paying my own bills and be responsible for myself and (future) wife. But, there’s no way for me to do this without a job. It’s really been getting to me. I start to doubt myself. I can’t do the things that I want to do without a job. I feel like it’s the one thing that’s standing in my way right now.

All in all, I know that we’ll be alright. I know that we’ll struggle through it all, and we’ll come out stronger. This just means that we’ll get practice working through all these things before the wedding. God’s providing us with a proving ground for our relationship. He’ll get us through this.

I’ve been feeling pretty bummed lately. I’ve been feeling pretty bored, restless, pointless, unchallenged, and desperate lately. I’ve been feeling pretty bummed lately.

–Elliot

Monetary Mayhem

This week has been interesting, for sure. It’s been a bit ugly. We’ve both had a couple of setbacks in the funds department.

On Tuesday, I was an idiot. Whilst approximately halfway through a large video project I was working on for Hydr8 Student Ministries, I spilled water on my laptop. Dead. It’s dead. Unfortunately, I couldn’t just get some run-of-the-mill laptop and suffice. I do lots of video-editing, and other resource intense things with my computer. So, without a good bit of RAM and lots of processing power, I couldn’t do those things. The cheapest way to fix the darn thing was to get a Netbook and a desktop. The Netbook; for class and the portability. The desktop; for work. This was an extremely tough situation to get through. While the solution is sensible and relatively easy, the process of getting there was very very stressful. Fortunately, I had enough money leftover from my last payment from the church in Brazil and I was able to make enough room on my credit card to cover the expenses. Then, when I get my scholarship money returned from the school, I’ll be able to really pay for it. Definitely, this money could have been put to more practical use, but life threw me lemons.

Brandy has had a rough fiscal week, as well. She has had some complication with her student loans, and things are quite stressful concerning that. Her father, though, seems at ease. That gives us confidence that things will realistically be alright.

Things keep proving that we are going to spend at least the first three months of our marriage super-poor, and probably longer than that. While this may be a disheartening concept, I’m excited. God has shown me that He is powerful. We both know that He will provide for our needs. There will be very difficult, rough times ahead. We both know that this isn’t going to be a bright, sun-shiny fairy-tale. But, we are both very committed. We are both going to work hard and do whatever it takes to make this work. It will not be easy But, with God and my girl at my side, I know that we’re going to make it.

–Elliot

Observing the Passionate

I’m sitting right next to Elliot, but he doesn’t know that I’m blogging because he’s so focused on what he’s doing. :)  I love watching Elliot work so hard. Creepy?…maybe but it’s one of the reasons I love him so much. Currently he’s just working on an intro video for Hydr8 our student ministry at church, but he completely puts his all into everything he does from homework to video projects to the way he loves me. He’s passionate about  not just the big things in life, but about the little things as well and I love that!

Planning Pothole

I totally understand that little girls always fantasize about their dream weddings.

Furthermore, I completely understand and expect that Brandy will have many, many, many hopes and ideas for our wedding.

However, I have almost no expectations, plans, or ideas for this wedding.

As we begin planning our wedding, I’m learning lots of new things. Until yesterday, I had no idea where this process begins. Brandy and I went to look at a couple different venues where we could hold the ceremony and reception. Unfortunately for her, I wasn’t the most helpful person that I could be. To justify myself, I say that I grew up in a house with mostly boys, and that she’s been directly involved in the planning of two weddings within the past 8 months. But really,  I think what it comes down to is that I haven’t put nearly any thought into what I want my wedding to look like or include.

I’m not at all afraid to offer my opinion on something. If I see something I don’t like, I’m very up-front and honest about it. But, when asked “What do you want?” I have no response. She felt like I wasn’t telling her what I was really thinking, because I wasn’t saying anything. When we were out looking at different locations yesterday, I started really stressing out about it. Because she has so much in her mind already, she was expecting me to at least have some thoughts in my head. Once, we figured out where we were both coming from, though, things went much smoother. I wasn’t feeling pressured, and she didn’t feel like I wasn’t being honest.

This whole process is going to be a real learning experience for both of us, I think. I’m excited to figure out what I want, learn about what she wants, and most of all prepare for our life together. I’m glad we’re living in a culture where couples plan marriages together. There are going to be so many opportunities for patience, understanding, and decision-making; all of which are extremely crucial for a healthy marriage. While it’s going to be a tough road to travel, I’m glad to be on it with her.

–Elliot

The Proposal — 8/20/2009

We’re getting MARRIED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know you all are wondering and some of you have asked but this is the best way I can think of to tell you all at once so here’s how it happened…..

A few weeks before Elliot moved back from his internship in Indiana we decided to set aside a night to go out and celebrate my summer semester being over and him being back for good. About a week after that he told me got me a present. And like everybody who knows they are getting a present, I bothered him to tell me what it was and he just wouldn’t.

Anyway, so he picked me up last night looking handsome as ever and he first surprised me with sushi at the Drunken Fish. It’s my favorite and we’ve both been wanting some for a while so it was perfect and delicious. After sushi he took me to the Alton dam. This is one of the first places we went after we first met. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s quiet, peaceful and the sound of the water reminds me of the ocean. It was gorgeous out and I couldn’t have asked for more beautiful weather. The best part is that I’ve never been to the dam when it was still day light out, I’ve always been at night time. His timing was amazing because the sun was setting over the water- it was perfect. After hanging out for a while, taking some picture and getting scared by a frog we decided to head back to the car. As we got closer to the car he told me to close my eyes and I could have my present. So he led me the rest of the way, eyes closed. He opened the trunk and told me I could open my eyes. It was amazing he got me a huge antique chest… haha I know by this point you thought it was the ring, but it wasn’t. Anyway, back to the story it was beautiful! And by beautiful I mean old and in need of a lot of work. This may sound silly, but I for a really long time have wanted a chest to fix up. I guess i could get a new one, but I wanted an old one that I could fix up. That way it would still have character from being old, but I could make it new and make it mine- sorry side tracked again… as I hugged and thanked Elliot for my great surprise he kind of laughed and told me I had to open it. Flustered from being so excited, I had trouble getting it open and then the even better surprise sat in a little white box inside my new chest. So Elliot took it out, got down on one knee like a real gentleman as he displayed the most beautiful ring in the world and told me how much he loved me and how much he didn’t want to live without me. Then he asked me to marry him, and through I few tears and a HUGE smile I said YES! Then there were lots of phone calls made as we drove to Fritz’s to celebrate! You know it’s for real when you top it off with Fritz’s.

We don’t know an official date yet, but we do know that we are beyond blessed.
I’m marrying my best friend and I can’t wait!!!!!!!!!!

–Brandy

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