Tuesday, July 28, 2009

One and Two

Hello friends,

Daniel here, putting out a long overdue post for those still alive and following us out there in the cybersphere. My post title reminds me of a customer who comes into my Starbucks (yes I'm working at Starbucks--I've officially sold out to the Man) and orders a "four and two" every day. This refers to four shots of normal espresso and two shots of decaf espresso, in a short cup, with a dollop of foam on top. Today I didn't make the foam very well and he was quite disappointed in me. The customers who come into our store are a little bit crazy sometimes.

Anyways, the "one and two" is a reference to two very significant things in our lives today. First, we officially have been out of California for one year--we moved out on July 27th one year ago. I remember sleeping on the bare floor of our apartment (good ol' Stoneridge!), waking up at the crack of dawn, and driving through Nevada cracking ridiculous puns on the walkie-talkies in the desert. I can hardly believe that it's been a whole year. Time has certainly flown by. The second important event we remember today is our Two-year anniversary! That's right, two years ago today we were blistering in Boise and having the best day of our lives. It truly seems like just yesterday that we were chomping down on apple pie and beginning on this amazing journey together. I am so proud to be married to my best friend--the past two years have been terrific, and I can't wait to see where God takes us together in the many years ahead!

Since we last wrote we've been up to a lot. First of all, my sister Amanda graduated--although as you can tell from the picture Jonathan and I are a little bit skeptical of her education :)

We had a great time with family in town, although it was a bit challenging since my finals started the day after the graduation festivities. I made it through with God's grace though, and I have now officially finished a year of graduate school. We had enough time to go the city with my family, where we took silly pictures:

I took a one-week intensive summer class (Systematic Theology 3), which finished up right about the time we took a four-day trip out to California. There we went to Molly's good friend Karen's wedding as well as attending the Reider family reunion. It was an amazing time, and we loved seeing all of our friends and family members in California. While there we got to go to Disneyland, which brought back a ton of great memories from when we had season passes. It was a bit strange to feel like "tourists" and not locals. I guess that's what happens when you move away. Nevertheless, our time in California reminded us of how much we loved living there for seven years, and we definitely feel like it will always be an integral part of who we are.

Upon our return we immediately both got sick (probably because of the late-night flights both directions). We recovered enough to go to a local event just North of us, where pre-1980 cars drove around a loop in downtown Waukegan. We had a fun time but came back to our car to discover our back-bumper had been whacked by another car. Rats! Nevertheless we still had a fun and goofy time (see below). Yay for summer grapes!

Tomorrow we leave for another short trip to California--this time for our good friend Karisa's wedding, which Molly is a bridesmaid for. We're looking forward to it and are soooo excited that our friend finally gets to tie the knot. Speaking of weddings, Molly's sister Megan is getting married on August 15th, so we will be traveling down to Indiana for that soon after our return from California. And just like that, we'll be right on the edge of a new school year.

I'm sure there's a lot more I could update you on, but hopefully this gives you a bit of an idea of our lives lately. We thank God for the past year, and the past two years. Although our lives have been busy and we're still settling in here, we know that He continues to lead and direct us, and we are never far from Him. Life is indeed good!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Spring has SPRUNG!!

 Springtime in Chicago...

A time when pathetic white skin says hello to it's long lost solar friend. A time when you throw open the front door to breathe the kind air..... and capture the bullfrogs under your bookcase that consider the motion an invitation to tea. It's a time when flowers fight off their snow-bitten skepticism and laugh in bloomin' glory. A time to listen to splintering thunderstorms, splash in puddles, and sand furniture frantically in the dry reprieve. A time to crack, cram, and synthesize the last morsels of theology before the semester's out. A time for Daniel to give new meaning to "cute guy in the Starbucks apron" and tuck away the earned money for tickets.... oh the tickets.... the tickets that get you to California sunshine and the hugs you've dreamed about. It's when you unpack your new! gelato! maker! and discover that the proverbial possibilities really are endless. It's when you work, sleep, wash the sheets, welcome the next beloved visitors, love, eat, pray for grace, laugh, give thanks for gelling friendships, round the corner, smile, and set down at God's feet the weight of the first long, hard winter. 

PSSST!!!...You can check out new pictures from our mad 24-hour Easter dash home, over there.... on your right!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Heading South

Hi there--be sure to check out the new album to the right, but here's a couple pictures of our recent trip South.

It's been a while since I (Daniel) have written, so I guess it's my turn to give a little update.  Last week was my spring break, and Molly and I were able to get away for about four days on a quick trip down to New Orleans and Florida, to visit Molly's grandparents.  It was a really fun trip, and it felt like a good getaway even though we didn't have a ton of time.  We got up on Thursday morning at 4:30, and then got up at 4:00 on the next Monday morning to fly back to Chicago.  Given that we had work and class respectively on that Monday, we were pretty exhausted by the end of the day.  But the rest of our week after that was fairly restful, so we're doing pretty well these days.

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves about the trip, but suffice it to say that it was a blast!  In other news, we are amazed at how fast the spring is going.  And it does feel like spring here.  We are pretty much past any snow, and we even had a 70 degree day this week.  We think that Chicago winters are not as bad as everyone makes them out to be, or maybe we're just that tough!  Our February flew by, with visits from friends and family, and somehow our March has been just as fast.  We took a day a few weeks ago to drive three hours north and stay a night at an indoor water park in Wisconsin, which was amazing.  It was pretty hilarious to hang out with all the other pasty-white midwesterners and run around in our bathing suits in the middle of winter.  

My schoolwork is going fine.  I've definitely adjusted to being in school mode, and this semester has gone by so fast that I feel I must have just been on autopilot the whole time.  I'm through midterms, and don't have a ton of work left before finals come up.  I can't believe I'm almost done with my first year.  

Molly is doing well at work, and feels like she's made some breakthroughs lately in her approach to therapy, which has been very encouraging.  What has not been encouraging is the state of Illinois-ing, which has delayed her full licensing until next October (she thought it would be complete in February).  The other speech therapist is leaving the company in a month, so you can be praying for her as she takes over a lot of new clients and her already busy schedule gets even busier.

Our home bible study is going pretty well--we've added a few new members and are enjoying our times with them.  It's been a bit tough to get into a groove with it because we only meet every other week.  Our lives are so busy that it feels an eternity passes between every meeting.  But we are encouraged by our times together, and it's been really good experience for me as I try to be a good leader to people twice my age.

I need to run and help Molly clean the house--we're hosting the bible study on Saturday and our house is, um, not spit-spot at the moment.  Is there a point in a marriage where you both start enjoying house cleaning?  Anyone have any motivational tips for us?  

Thanks for reading, and we hope you all are doing well.  Feel free to drop us an email or a phone call--we miss all our friends and family living far away.  We'll give another update soon, once we've taken a new adventure :)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

We've Got a Ticket to RIIIDE....

the Reider Rollercoaster that is...ah... aaaah. AAHHHHH..... WEEEEEEE!...

Boy, it's been a while since our little fingers have typed away at a new message on here. Of course, that could be related to the title of this post. Or the fact that we realized the other day we haven't had 2 normal weekends at home in a row since before Thanksgiving. For being what we would consider rather tame individuals, we can say with gusto life has been a little W-I-L-D.  So though meta-narrative of our overwhelming life in Blog-form feels a little cooky, our life is brilliant! and blessed! and should be updated!... here we go....

I suppose we could talk about our marvelous yuletide in quiet little Lyons Indiana (which wasn't very quiet or peaceful at all.. but was wonderful nonetheless), or my birthday/New Years Eve with my family here in Chicago (where we all got to meet my brother's most adorable and spunky girlfriend, Erin...), or our weekend roadtrip down to Indianapolis, or the best belated birthday surprise of my life (my best friend Kristin from California smiling at me in the Milwaukee airport), or the feet of snow the winter sky dumped on us and then insured would stay for over a month with single digit temperatures,  or Daniel's 26th birthday (along with our celebratory downtown excursion and mad bowling party) or our sweet sweet friends Anna and Karisa coming to visit us this past weekend..... BUT suffice it to say that the revolving door at the Reider house is very blessed and we have had a couple months filled with warm memories, great conversation, and ministry from many faces we treasure.

We have certainly needed the ministry of those we love. As the six month mark of our move here arrives, we often feel the firm protesting of things inside of us that we expected to feel a little more settled by now... but aren't.  Daniel has been a little bummed by what seems to be a repeat of less-than-thrilling classes from last semester, but he is loving his counseling class and concentration on developing more skills for something he already cares a lot about... loving people and listening well.  And though his people-loving tendencies have caused him to put  a lot of work on the back burner while we've had so many people in town,  he's still the Trinity Titan.... doing great in school of course:)   We continue to have many conversations attempting to discern whether it is three more years of seminary and a full-time job in ministry that awaits us. We can't be sure.  But as Daniel was right to remind us this week, it's not our shabby attempts at grasping for meaning that make our lives significant, but the all-sufficient meaning we get from identifying ourselves with Christ each day (no matter what we are doing) that is truly satisfying.

Life with the kiddos at the clinic is new and different every day. After a discouraging month, I enjoyed the reprieve of a very successful and encouraging week. I'm enjoying more and more the sweetness and laughter that the kids and my coworkers provide, as I feel more comfortable in my own skin (and skill-set:-). I think God has been gracious, never giving more than what I can truly handle, and revealing new challenges in one area just as I'm feeling more confident in another. Overall, I pray God uses me to point others to Him as I maintain a joyful balance in a working environment is not always so balanced. 

Oh yeah!.. and we're in a small group.. I mean leading an existing small group at church. Yep, not what we expected, but we are thankful for the opportunity and leaning on God to guide it. And we attended the membership class at church today. We also are slowly growing in our friendships here.  And though they feel like the tortoise sometimes, edging painfully toward the finish line marked "easy, comfortable, and familiar" we're still getting there. Sometimes we forget however the obstacles marked "time", "energy", and "work". But we know that every other Trinity couple is dealing with the same things. I am proud to say I'm looking forward to my VERY FIRST COFFEE DATE with girls this Tuesday night. It's been a long time coming and I think I'm looking forward to it like Christmas morning.

Daniel and I recently celebrated a year and a half of marriage and it makes me realize just how thankful I am to be on the journey with my dearest friend.  God is growing us through the roller coaster. I should know... I HATE roller coasters.  I'm a comfort-loving Scaredy Cat.  And goodness knows, inertia would get the better of my hesitation every time if I hadn't been given someone so cute to hold my hand. 

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cold: It's what's for winter

Brrrr.  That about sums up the weather report here in Deerfield today.  I'm pretty sure the weather got UP to zero (when we woke up it was about -6).  Check out our new PICTURES at the link on the right--they give a feel for the winter we're facing here.  Molly put it best by saying "it's moved from shivering in the cold to running around screaming."  It's true--we found ourselves running to and from our car while doing errands today, involuntarily shouting with cold.  There's really nothing else you can do.  It's like you're just shouting to keep your lungs from freezing over.  Probably the biggest indicator of how cold it was came when we tried to scrape off the outside of our windshield, only to find out that what really needed scraping off was the ice on the INSIDE of the glass.  Yikes.  We're trying to adjust with gloves, hats, coats, scarves, long underwear, thick socks, and warm drinks.  We're also adjusting to driving in this weather--last night we (as in me, Daniel) managed to drive our car into a snow drift.  Luckily both car and passengers managed to escape unharmed, thanks in part to a friendly family who helped push our car out.  Doesn't the snow just bring everyone together? :)

However, the cold outside has done nothing to dampen our enthusiasm for life.   Yesterday we received one of the best compliments we could think of when one of Molly's coworkers said "Don't take this the wrong way, but the stuff you guys do for fun is usually reserved for people who are high on some drug."  We tried to explain that we're just joyful because of the many blessings God has given to us, not drugs!  Speaking of coworkers, we were treated to an amazing Brazilian barbecue dinner last night for Molly's company Christmas party.  It was probably the best meal we've ever had, from the endless perfectly cooked meat selection to the unbelievable desserts.  If you ever get a chance to go to a Brazilian barbecue, especially if it's free, you should go!

Our lives have been pretty busy since we last wrote.  Molly's job has been a little bit slower due to people taking vacations and the inclement weather conditions, but she's been busy making Christmas presents, baking, going to Bible study, helping me study (i.e. coffee runs) and generally doing the things that keep people busy in December.  I've managed to finish my classes, which is a huge relief.  Finals week was pretty brutal.  I pulled the first all-nighter since college, studying for my Old Testament final that was worth 2/3 of my grade for the course.  My finals generally went well--I think I've managed to avoid academic probation for next semester at least.  I'm excited about the next few weeks--I'm hoping to practice the drums, read some Chesterton, finally take care of all the papers lying around the house, and reflect a little bit on last semester.  

I should say that last week included what was probably one of the single best days of my life.  It all started on Thursday night, when we had some friends over to celebrate the end of Finals.  Our friends from upstairs ended up staying until about 11--which in itself is a great sign of how our friendships are progressing out here.  About the time they left, a large snowstorm rolled in.  Since we just moved from CA, we're still like little kids when it comes to snow; we essentially keep our faces glued to the window and watch it come down.  So we decided that it was really a shame to go to sleep while it was snowing outside.  Instead, we thought we would have a pizza party.  We grabbed some cold pizza from the fridge and headed across the street to Molly's clinic, where they have a Nintendo Wii system.  There we proceeded to play video games and watch movies until 3 in the morning, taking breaks every 15 minutes or so to check out the progress of the snow.  It was a blast!  We of course slept in on Friday, only to wake up to about 8 inches of snow on the ground.  We were so excited to have the day off, and the snow was so pretty, that we decided right then and there that today was going to be our Christmas.  We promptly went out and bought a two person innertube/sled and found the nearest sled hill, where we joined all the kids in celebrating a snow day.  On the first run we managed to find the only jump on the hill, which sent us flying off the tube and rolling down the hill, to the joy of the observing teenagers I'm sure.  After sledding we came home, warmed up, and headed out the Chicago Botanic Garden, which is only about 15 minutes away from us.  There we enjoyed walking in the silent snow and checking out some great Christmas lights.  Upon our return we had a wonderful time of reflecting on the past year, which has been one of the busiest of our lives.  Through it all God has been good--maybe we'll give a recap sometime soon just to show how God really has watched over us.  To finish off the night we opened up some presents, which was a blast as always.  We love giving gifts to each other.  All in all it was a fantastic 24 hours.  And we haven't even had our official Christmas yet!

In other news, we continue to develop relationships with people from church and school out here.  A couple weeks ago we got together with a few couples from our church and had a great game night.  It was really fun to hang out with people on a Saturday night and then see them the next morning at church.  We were reminded of how extremely important it is to be involved in a local church, and are so thankful that God has provided a home for us so quickly.  We've also been trying to get involved in a home bible study through church.  I met with one of the pastors about possibly leading or co-leading group, and he's working on figuring out how to find a group that would work for some kind of internship-type leadership role.  You can be praying that we find a group that will provide both leadership opportunities for us and also good fellowship with like-minded believers.  We are anxious to get involved in January if possible.

For Christmas day we'll be down in Indiana with Molly's family.  We'll leave after work on Tuesday and come back on Sunday.  The whole Green family will be there, and we are excited to see some extended family as well.  Its going to be our biggest break since our move here, and Molly especially is looking forward to a few days off.  After Christmas we have more family time to look forward to, as Molly's family will be coming up here on New Year's eve to celebrate her birthday with us.  It is wonderful to live close enough to family that we can fairly easily drive and see each other.

We hope that all our friends reading this are doing well, and that you get to have a wonderful Christmas with family, wherever you will be.  We miss you all and wish that we could see you soon.  May God remind you of Christ's love this Christmas, and may his peace and joy fill your hearts.  Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving Adventures

Hello friends and family--Daniel here giving you the latest lowdown on the happenings for us here in Chicago and beyond.  

Before going further let me direct your attention to the links on the right--you'll see that we have some photo albums up.  I'd suggest right clicking on the links and opening them in a new window.  Hope you enjoy them!

It feels like every time we post lately there is so much to update you on.  That probably is an indication of how busy it has been for us this November.  We had wonderful visits with my parents on one weekend, and the very next weekend got to spend a great time with Jonathan and Michelle.  While we had a blast both weekends, we were left feeling a little bit worn out afterwards.  We had about one week to recover, during which time I worked feverishly on a term paper and Molly was busy working across the street.  Although we tried to protect our evenings together, the lack of routine has been a little bit hard, especially for me I think.  I like routine :)  

After our week of relative calm, we got up really early last Tuesday to board a plane from Milwaukee to Boise for Thanksgiving.  Imagine our surprise when we ran into my Aunt Pam from Iowa while on a layover in the Minneapolis airport!  She was on her way to Boise as well as a surprise to my uncle Nathan and the rest of the Reider family.  We ended up sitting next to her on the three hour flight, and it was really fun to catch up with her and share about our lives.  If you remember we spent our first anniversary at Aunt Pam's farmhouse on our way across the country this summer, so she and her Viking husband Stan have a special place in our hearts.

Thanksgiving itself was wonderful but very packed.  We pretty much spent the whole time sitting around and eating lots of food, drinking lots of coffee, and having wonderful conversations with the Arroues and Reider families.  It was so special to be with other believers and just be encouraged by them.  I think we both felt very cared for, as we were able to talk about our transition to Chicago and all the things we're working through as we adjust to a new life.  The time definitely went by too fast, as we had to board a plane early on Friday morning in order for Molly to get back for work on Saturday.

Actually I should say that we TRIED to board a plane early on Friday morning.  In reality what happened was we attempted to board the plane at 8 AM, but we didn't really board until about 4.  For some reason our plane decided it didn't want to work (perhaps it ate too much turkey the day before) and so we were stranded at the airport for 8 hours.  It was one of those situations where there's really nothing you can do, because at any moment the plane might be fixed, and so the time stretches on, and on, and on.  Eventually we were able to go take a little adventure away from the airport and enjoy the beautiful Fall day outside.  We like to call it "extreme carry-on walking"--check out our pictures for samples of what it looked like.  The great thing about being married is that even being stranded at an airport can be fun--Molly and I really can make any situation fun when we're together!  At ended up being a very long day, since we got up before 6 and didn't get to our house until midnight.  I'm beginning to think that my parents may have passed down their unnerving ability to turn any vacation into "an adventure."

We are hoping that December is a little bit more normal, although we have a lot more family stuff to look forward to, including a visit from Molly's family on this Friday.  I'm sure that this month will go by just as fast as last month did, between finals for me, new clients for Molly at her job, and everything surrounding Christmas.  And to cap it all off we'll be celebrating Molly's birthday on December 31st (hint hint) with the Green family up here.  Speaking of which, we are really looking forward to the snow that December brings to Chicago.  In fact we just had our first real blanket of snow come last night.  We've got our house all decorated for Christmas and our enjoying the warm and snuggly feeling that the winter season brings.  We miss all of you!  Hope you had a great Thanksgiving and are enjoying the advent season.  Love to you all.

The Reiders

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

First Snow

Just thought I'd write to say that we had our first snow last night.  It wasn't much, but it did cover the ground in white and make us feel like we really live in the Midwest now.  Also we discovered that it's possible to slip on ice even in mid November--I came really close to losing a whole cup of coffee in a parking lost last night!  It apparently dropped to 20 degrees last night, but our house stayed warm even though we didn't turn on the heat at all.  This is further evidence that we are placed right about the furnace room--I hate to think about what it's going to feel like once they turn the heat on "overdrive" to keep the pipes from freezing this winter!  We have several friends who have mentioned they keep their windows open at night, which sounds crazy until you realize that its possible to be hot even with your apartment's heat turned off . . .

Anyways, that's about all I have to say now.  I'm procrastinating on my Greek homework.  We leave a week from today to go to Boise for Thanksgiving--yippee!  Bye for now . . .