Kinda Like Mondays

This year I have:


Flown 34,596 miles. (Almost one and a half times around the globe). Gotten married. Tried to learn a new language. Read a lot of books. Celebrated friends' weddings, engagements, babies. Learned to live with a man. Got bangs. Had four bridal showers. Done original research in the third world. Thought about getting a dog. Thought about not getting a dog. Turned 24. Turned my facebook to timeline and couldn't change back. Gone skiing in my very favorite place, Whistler. Learned to make pimento cheese. Hiked in the foothills of the Himalayas. Moved into a yellow house with a white picket fence. Shopped at Anthro too much. Visited friends. Got a NC drivers license. Sent out my first Christmas card. Wrote 100,000 thank you notes...and counting. Changed my name to Elise Jordan Nelson (or "Coach Jordannelson" as Adam now calls me). Began taking vitamins regularly. Joined a new church. And attended my first ever Duke-UNC game, in Cameron.


(In no particular order)


Phhhew.


What a year.


I also just lived. A healthy (mostly), active, gluten-free, grain-free (nearly), chaotic, crazy life. 


And now it's about to be 2012. 


I'm in the boat with my friend Marcy, in that I don't care too much about New Years. I think it's always a little anti-climactic. After all, the next day just comes, and you are still the same person living the same life. 


But, kinda like Mondays, I do like the idea of the start to something a little bit new,


and markers that we can look back to, and forward to, to remember and count our blessings by. 


Maybe I'll come up with some goals in the next day or two that I will try to use to define this next marker,


(I'm thinking about giving up red meat.)


But, maybe I won't. 


Either way, Happiest of New Years to you all. And if nothing else, here is to another year of writing on this random little space of mine. 2012 resolution: Keep blogging!











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Bed-Rest Diaries

The week after Christmas,
Usually my favorite.


Relaxing.
Refreshing.
Full of good sleep and good company.
Leftover goodies,
New gifts to explore.
Shopping the sales.
First trip to the slopes.
Always takes place in Gig Harbor.


But,


This year,
once again,
things are different.


I'm in Durham.
Adam's back at work.
And,
it's been a sick week.
Blah.


I guess that's what you get when you fly 3,000 miles for 2.5 days.
And sleep 10 hours over 4 nights.


Sick weeks mean:
Pajama wearing.
Sleeping in.
Emergen-C, four times a day.
Trips to rite aid.
Being taken care of.
Lots of snuggle time in bed with my sweet husband, reading, watching Once Upon a Time, trying not to spread the love/sickness.
Lots of water, no coffee.


Despite the obvious icky factor,


This might sound crazy,
but there is something kinda nice about a sick week,


every once in awhile. 


Not the being sick part,
but the little pleasures that being sick allows you.


Anyone else with me on this one?


Here's to health and activeness!


But, in the meantime, I think I'll finish my new book, 
in bed.



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This might sound scattered, Or it might make sense.

I can remember one Christmas Eve, when I was really young, being awake all night long waiting for the next morning. I'm pretty sure I didn't even believe in Santa anymore. But I was still so full of excitement because I really only wanted one thing that year, and I was pretty sure it was going to be waiting for me the next day:


My American Girl Doll. 
It's the only Christmas gift I ever remember truly anticipating and waiting for.
I had asked for Addy:


 My sister asked for Samantha:




We woke up Christmas morning and went through the usual routine of waking the parents, waiting to go downstairs, and finally being released to see what "Santa" had brought.

I didn't get Addy that year. Instead I got a note from Santa saying that He only had one Addy left and that there was a little African girl that wanted her too, and that he knew I'd understand and want her to have the last Addy. So instead, he brought me Kirsten.



I guess my mom just couldn't get her hands on an Addy doll. I don't know if I've ever asked her about it. 


I, of course, was grateful for Kirsten too. But I will still never forget how long I had waited for Addy. And how it wasn't her that showed up.


This is kind of a silly story, but it came to my mind today when I was thinking about the anticipation of Christmas, and how sometimes, it just doesn't bring what you expect. There is always so much build up about family traditions, Christmas events, holiday parties, etc., but if you really think about, or at least when I did,  I realized that it's not really the things that I most anticipate that make the moments surrounding Christmas so special, so meaningful.


See, I think it's really the things that God has brought you through to get to those moments that makes them so special. Let's see if I can wrap this up in a way that makes sense:


In the past year, 


I have spent time in a country where hardly anyone knows Christ or His love for them. I have spent time with folks, even friends, here who don't know Christ's love for them. I have seen friends begin to get to know Christ.


I have joined a new church and built a strong Christian community of friends in Durham. I have become part of a new family, I have also started a new family with Adam. I have had a best friend at home be diagnosed with cancer 4 days before her wedding, go through chemo, and prepare for her final stage of treatment to start. 

Our family has seen divorce and marriage, diagnoses and healing, love and hurtfulness, peace and chaos.


All since last Christmas. 


And isn't this true of most families?


This year I think that it's these things that are going to really breathe meaning and life into the interactions we have at Christmas. Traditions may be similar, but the people in them come from different places each year. We all bring with us what we've been through. Good things, bad things,


But this is a beautiful thing about Christmas to me.


It's why Jesus came.


He came that we might have life and life abundantly.


And so that we could walk through this life with Him. 


We come to Christmas full of anticipation and wonder why sometimes what we expected to come doesn't come. Rather, just some second hand version of it. Happiness in the moment, but perhaps not deep joy that satisfies. 


I think what really fulfills us is when all of that anticipation points back to what brought us to this moment, or rather who brought us. That Christ has been with us through it all. And that He is with us still.  

And suddenly, Christmas becomes the focal point by which we remember just how 

"with us" 

Christ is. 

That He really is, Emmanuel.









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Little Knowns-Husband Edition

It's four days before Christmas, my two best friends just left to drive back to VA after coming and visiting for two days, and Adam is working till 8:00 PM tonight. Both my siblings and brother in-law are already home in Gig Harbor. [Do I sound like I'm pouting yet?]

Anyway, in the very least, I'm feeling a little bit of separation anxiety...from everyone!!

So, I thought I'd sit and blog,
(While I drink coffee and shop for a bridesmaid's dress for this gorgeous girl's wedding in June.)


Remember awhile back when I did the post on "little-knowns?" Well, today I think I'll share some little-knowns about that sweet man of mine who won't be home for another 9 or so hours...

Meet Adam William:

-He was a preemie. About 5 weeks early. His hat was too big.

-Now he is full grown, 6' 3".

-He is a sailor-man.



Well, more like this






-He has six sisters. 7 if you count my sister. So 7 sisters.


-When he was little he was addicted to Pepto Bismal. This disgusts me. 


-Before our honeymoon he claimed that the new (2014) VW microbus was his dream car.

-Since our honeymoon he has determined that a Fiat 500 in the back of the new VW microbus is his dream car.



-He lived in New Zealand for a year and taught kiddie kiwis how to sail in the open water. He may never have come back to the US if his visa hadn't expired. 


-He would rather be on the water than anywhere else in the world.


-He can't skateboard...or any other kind of board.


-He wears his wools socks a solid dozen times between washes...


-He wears wool socks just about everyday.


-He hates sweater vests. My mom and I learned this the hard way.


-He wont wear any shirt that has a button down collar.

-He used to play basketball and he wore the same number as Shane Battier, my favorite Duke player EVER. 31.

-In high school he used to tell me that he wanted to name his son Nash. Nash Nelson... 

-He loves to sing and dance, and my sister and I love to imitate his song and dance moves. They are ridiculous (-ly awesome). Para-, Para- Paradise! Oh oh oh oh oh-oh-oh-oh. 


-He is extremely ticklish. More than me even.


-He takes very long showers.


-He pees his pants when he thinks about the new Batman movie coming out. I think it's replaced the Fiat 500 as his new obsessive conversation topic. In fact, the other night he took me to see Mission Impossible 4 on IMAX (at which we saw a preview for Batman) and when it ended instead of talking about how freakishly awesome MI4 was, all he could talk about was that Batman preview. 


-The only time I've EVER gone to a midnight premier of any movie was when Adam wanted to go see Batman-The Dark Knight. 


-I wonder how Batman would feel if he knew Adam had betrayed him and dressed as Superman?






-If I would let him, he'd wear shorts in the dead of winter. 
And probably flip-flops. 
With wool socks. 
Ok, maybe not that.


-He writes incredibly sweet notes/cards/letters/thank yous. He puts a lot of thought into his words.


-The most beautiful thing he's ever written, was his vows. Made a complete mess of me.


-He would be just fine if TV didn't exist. 


-He loves whiskey. This works since my dad and brother and uncles and mom and...well my family, they like whiskey too. 


-He loves doing laundry! This is much appreciated.


-He tells the most detailed stories of anyone I know. 


-He likes to surprise me. Also appreciated.


-He is a Husky...not those icky UConn Huskies. These ones:

-His favorite cereal is Quaker Oatmeal Squares. This is not a very interesting one. I'm just staring into the kitchen and I saw the box. But now at least you know his favorite cereal.


-Elderly women have a thing for him. 
Especially the elderly women in my family. 
Particularly my Grandmom and my Great Aunt Bootsie.


-He is the sweetest husband. Just the sweetest. And I love him very much.


If you have a sweet husband too, 


You should tell him so.









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Whirlwindy

It's the week of Christmas. 


(Christ-mas is all around us...and so the feeling grows..., BAH!)

How on earth did this happen?


Christmas is going to be different this year for a host of reasons:


-We're married. So there's that...


-We are in Durham for (most of) the Christmas season.
-Christmas shopping is now done as a unit.
-We will be splitting up our 2.5 days at home between 3 families (hence, the title).


-We watched Charlie Brown Christmas for the first time ever.
-We actually own Love Actually now, the movie we love to watch together this time of year. 


-We will wake up on Christmas morning, together. 
-(Then we'll wake up the next day at 3 AM to fly back to Durham...but, still together.)


Here's to first married Christmases!! Anyone?


Today: Two of my best friends come into town and they are staying until Wednesday!


Thursday: We are going to the first of the 4 Christmas weekend services at our church in Durham. If you live in Raleigh/Durham, here is my official invite: Come to one of the 4 services at Summit this Christmas. Times are listed below on these sweet inviter cards. They're all the same though...so just pick one.






Friday Morning: We leave Durham at 5:45 AM to fly to Seattle, where we'll be picked up and escorted to Gig Harbor for sibling Christmas photos with this talented lady. Merry Christmas Mom and Dad!!


Friday Evening: We help host the xth annual (I've totally lost count) Jordan Family Christmas party--this is inevitably the favorite event of the season for us. 


Friday-Saturday Wee hours: We're hanging out with our "group" from high school. Some of our favorite friends in the world... 


Saturday morning: Christmas Eve brunch with the Guilds (Adam's Mom's family)! So excited for this. 


Saturday afternoon: Visit to the Nelson household to see Adam's Dad's family. Here, we'll get to visit with 3 of Adam's 6 sisters! Can't wait.


Saturday evening: Christmas Eve service at Harbor Covenant back in Gig Harbor with the Jordans/Agabas.


Sunday morning: CHRISTMAS!! Eating, Church at HCC, Eating, Presents, Eating, Games...Crashing. All with our best friends, the Prossers of course!


See what I mean...WHIRLWIND.


But, as is usually the case, the chaos will be beautiful. 


And, one of my favorite parts is that (because I married into one of my best friends' family...) more of these events than not are going to be spent with this wonderful couple who we adore:




How are your holiday plans shaping up?


I don't know if they are as crazy as ours. Some of yours, probably will be.


But, like I mentioned a couple posts ago, I hope and pray that no matter how chaotic and whirlwindy this season is for you and yours...


Or me and mine, 


that we'll all make a priority of finding time to just, 


Be still and remember. 
Be still and adore Jesus. 
Be still, and be moved by the love God showed to us at Christmas.




Have a very merry week my friends.

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Wait, I'm a sinner first.

Last night as Adam and I were laying in bed reading, he kind of started to smile at me and laugh. 


My mind when straight to "When is he going to get over how dorky my retainer is?"

But all I said was, "What's so funny, huh?"

And he said something to the effect of, "Look at us, we're in bed, reading our books, being so married. It just makes me smile."

I think, it's good to regularly look around and remember what you've got and allow it to make you giddy. 

But, this post is actually about something that Adam read to me last night from his book. He is reading through Gospel, which is a book that our pastor at Summit Church, JD Greear, just released in October. Not to be mistaken for THE GOSPEL. Which God wrote. Not my pastor. But, I highly recommend both.

He was reading the chapter titled "Gospel-Centered Relationships." And in it JD was describing an experience he and his wife had in their first year of marriage. It was so bad for them that first year they ended up in the office of a marriage counselor. And there was this word that he spoke to them that apparently really shook JD up when he heard it. And it kind of shook me up to when Adam read it:

"When you really believe the Gospel, you see that you are first a sinner, and only secondarily sinned against."

His point: Consider, like Paul did, yourself to be the chief of sinners. And reflect on all the grace that you've been given despite your tremendous capacity to: 

Be hurtful
Be prideful
Be selfish
Be greedy
Be impatient
Be disloyal
Be dishonest
Be envious
Be ungrateful
Be discontent....

And really just mess.things.up.

Not just in your interactions with a spouse or family member or close friend. But with everyone. Respond to others in light of the Grace you've been shown.

Toward the end of the chapter he said this:

"Ultimately I am responding to Jesus, not the person in front of me. The person wronging me may not deserve a response of grace, but Jesus, who bled and died for me does."

Amen people.

I'm definitely putting this one in my box of godly (marital) wisdom to pull out when I really need it. I hope you'll add it to yours too.

Happy Friday Friends!

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Come

"Come and see what the LORD has done."
"Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me."

"Come, you who are blessed by the LORD."
"Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD."

"Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation."
"Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker."
"Come to the wedding banquet."
"Come, follow me, and I will send you to fish for people."


"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
"Come and share your Master's happiness!"
"Come, and see the place where he lay."

"Come, follow me."


Come and see the new born baby Messiah saying:

"Shhhh! Be still. All is well. I am here. Do not be afraid. The world is no longer in the hands of the evil one, but in the arms of a loving shepherd. In the end everything will be alright. Nothing can harm you permanently. No suffering is irrevocable, no loss is lasting; no defeat is more than transitory, no disappointment is conclusive. Nothing can ever separate us--not troubles, worries, persecutions, not lack of food or clothes, not attacks or invasions. There is absolutely nothing in life or death that will ever come between you and the love of God made visible before your eyes tonight."
(Brennan Manning)

This holiday season in all of our going to and from, may we not lose sight of the sweet calling to Come.

Come and see what our loving Father has done for us.
Come and see the little baby that He sent to teach us how to love.
Come and see Jesus' work on the cross for what it was.

Come, and let's adore him this Christmas.



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Tacky Sweaters and Trivia





Last Friday, Adam and I hosted our first Christmas party.

It was festive and fun.

The sweaters were tacky.

The leftover food was in abundance.

And the company...was simply the best.

We decided that for our first Christmas party we wanted to come up with an original Nelson Christmas game.

The result: The Nelson's Trivial Christmas Trivia.

Everyone split into two teams and we let the questions work their magic. Some were, well, entirely arbitrary. But most, were actually factual. I thought I would share some of them to see how well you do playing our rip-roaring game. Don't Google the answers...Not calling you cheaters, I'm just saying.

The Nelsons Trivial Christmas Trivia:

What does Alvin the Chipmunk want for Christmas?
a.) Sneakers
b.) A bottle of rum
c.) Fruitcake
d.) A Hula Hoop

What are the "Silver Bells?"
a.) The bells on Santa's sleigh.
b.) The Salvation army bells.
c.) The bells of department store doors?
d.) The bells on people's Christmas socks?

Which reindeer ran over Grandma?
a.) Nixon
b.) Cupid
c.) Donner
d.) Blitzen

Which Christmas song is the oldest? (English Versions)
a.) Silent Night
b.) Away in a Manger
c.) The First Noel
d.) Little Drummer Boy

What was the original name of "Little Drummer Boy?"
a.) The Drummer's Gift
b.) The Humble Drummer
c.) The Christmas Drummer
d.) Carol of the Drum

What do most historians agree was the actual name of the little drummer boy?
a.) Timmy
b.) Tommy
c.) Teddy
d.) Todd

What does the name "Bethlehem" mean?
a.) House of hope
b.) House of warmth
c.) House of births
d.) House of bread

Why are Red and Green the Christmas Colors?
a.) Holly and Berries
b.) Eternal Life and Jesus' Blood
c.) The Italian colors are Red and Green
d.) Santa and Christmas Trees

Which is not one of the elves 4 major food groups?
a.) Candy
b.) Candy Canes
c.) Cupcakes
d.) Candy Corns

Which Ocean is Christmas Island in?
a.) Arctic
b.) Pacific
c.) Atlantic
d.) Indian

How many levels make up the Candy Cane Forest?
a.) Five
b.) Seven
c.) Nine
d.) Three

What is Rudolph's Dad's name?
a.) Vixon
b.) Cupid
c.) Dasher
d.) Donner

Which Christmas Song contains the lyric "Disperse the gloomy clouds of night"?
a.) O Come All Ye Faithful
b.) O Come O Come Emmanuel
c.) The First Noel
d.) O Little Town of Bethlehem

What is Adam's favorite Christmas song?
a.) Twelve Days of Christmas
b.) All I Want for Christmas is You.
c.) God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
d.) O Holy Night

What is Elise's favorite Christmas song?
a.) Silver Bells
b.) All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth
c.) Little Drummer Boy
d.) O Holy Night

What Kind of cookies do Trader Joe's Christmas Jo-Jos most resemble?
a.) Oreos
b.) Frosted Animal Cookies
c.) Nutter Butters
d.) Rainbow Chip

What was the first state to make Christmas an official holiday?
a.) Alabama
b.) Alaska
c.) North Carolina
d.) Connecticut

What was pictured on the first Christmas stamp?
a.) A Star
b.) A Rose
c.) An Angel
d.) Santa

The Original Title of The Night Before Christmas was:
a.) The Night Before Christmas
b.) A Visit from St. Nicholas
c.) Santa Clause is Coming to Town
d.) The Night Visitor

Where are Poinsettias from?
a.) Cuba
b.) US
c.) Mexico
d.) Brazil

How many sides does a snowflake have?
a.) 6
b.) 8
c.) 10
d.) 12

What comes after 8 maids a milking in the 12 days of Christmas?
a.) 9 lords a-leaping
b.) 9 drummers drumming
c.) 9 ladies dancing
d.) 9 pipers piping

Which company uses the quote "Let's rediscover why we're best friends." as part of their Christmas promotion this year?
a.) Starbucks
b.) Target
c.) All State
d.) Anthropologie


Ok, here are the answers:
D, B, C, C, D, A, D, B, C, D, B, D, B, D, C, A, A, B, B, C, A, C, A

How did you do?

To be honest, our friends got about half of them wrong...but I guess that means they also got half of them right! And they even took it to an exciting overtime. Tebow style.

I'll leave you with some of our favorite pics from the extravaganza.









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