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!