an original idea, or not.

hello friends! it's great to be back. i loved taking a week (plus) break from a lot of things (including blogging) and focus on family and friends over the holidays. we were home on the west coast for a week and got to see lots of loved ones. not going to lie, we are feeling a little homesick back here in nc now. so i thought to raise the spirits, i'd share a few highlights from our 2012. you know, to be original...

1. whistler. a week of absolute bliss. 

2. a(nother) diploma. thank you duke for this expensive piece of paper and an invaluable degree. although, i don't feel like a master.

3. mexico. with my mamma for a wedding on the beach.
4. charleston, sc. to be in a best friend's beautiful wedding.
5. san francisco. for another best friend's wedding on the pacific side of things.
6. my parents. buying a home in nc! just twenty-five minutes away from us!
7. adam's parents. hosting them in the south, for an awesome week this summer. 
8. employment. getting my first (real) job! 
9. anniversary. celebrating one year of marriage to the best man in the world.
10. quarter-century. turning twenty-five and feeling a little older and wiser for it. well, at least older.
11. providence. having my best friend from uva (charlottesville, va...) who lives in northern virginia meet, date, and get engaged to a guy from my hometown (gig harbor, wa...). and having her sweet self in gig harbor for christmas too. life doesn't get much better than that. and the world doesn't get a whole lot smaller, either.

13. our first home. buying it, moving into it, and living in it together. hooray!

just in general, can i say that i loved this year? lots of things went well and lots of fun things happened to us.

but there were very sad things that happened in our world, our country, and even in our own circle of family and friends too. lots of them. i don't live expecting everything to be perfect anymore. i think there may have been a time when i was so naive. that time probably existed for many of us. but this is true: the more i see the imperfection of this world, and our lives in it, the more amazed i am by God. and just how perfect He is. 

so instead of expecting things to be perfect, i just expect that God will be constant. and He is. 

and He is constantly perfect.

so i'm excited for this new year.

and i wish a very happy one to all of you sweet readers too!!


home sweet hotel?

according to adam, it still feels a little like we are staying in a hotel. especially in the master bathroom. our stuff is everywhere, but it's hard to just click on the "feels like home" switch instantly. have you ever experienced the feeling of moving to a new place and not quite knowing what to make of it for the first week (or so)? it's such an exciting time.

we don't have everything put together or decorated yet (big surprise). but here are a few of my favorite things so far:


we no longer have to put that beauty of a headboard behind our couch. it actually fits into the master bedroom now, and our whole bed is complete for the first time. yes it feels as yummy as it looks. all i want to do is sleep all day!!

adam bought me this gem before we got married as a wedding gift. we found her at our favorite furniture consignment store. and after a week of dreaming about it, we gave in. she's loving her new corner. she told me so.

this kitchen! so big! so open! and yes, that is a gas range. thank goodness for gas ranges. this one, particularly.


we have a garage! the little things..


our fridge is already filling up with pictures of people we love. just the best.


this record player has room to breathe in this place. now we just need to work on expanding our collection.

we hung our very first wedding photo ever. the old house got no wedding picture love. i wanted this place to be different. we picked this one.

our banquette. which we call the baguette. without an island or bar in the kitchen, we needed to create some alternative social kitchen seating. the cook needs company. voila. le baguette. 

now, what to hang above it...


spa shower in the master. mmmm. 


we have guest rooms. so please come visit.

i am not much of a decorator and some days i wish that one of my super talented friends would just come and stay with us and help me decorate the whole place. again, we have guest rooms. :) any takers? but perfectly decorated or not--it's cozy, and it's us, and we couldn't love our new home more.


this is not home.

it's been hard to blog for the past week. first, because we've been up to our eyeballs with moving. and two, because after something like friday, it's hard to know what to say about anything. when i first heard the news i started bawling. then i pulled myself together enough to make two decisions: 1.) we are never having kids, and 2.) if we do have kids we are homeschooling them. period.

is it possible to respond reasonably to something so nonsensical? so horrific?

apparently, not for me.

i've seen a lot of people post this verse since friday, 

"i have told you these things so that you may have peace. in this world you may have trouble. 

take heart.

i have overcome the world."

(john 16:33)

what are "those things" that He (Jesus) told them so that they could have peace in the midst of hardship?

that Jesus' death and resurrection brought hope. that we can experience resurrection too. and that our grief will be turned to joy. and that our hearts will rejoice again. and that God's spirit is always with us. 

that's why he said we could have peace.
that's why he said we could have peace despite

that's why instead of asking God, "why?" in situations like this, this response makes me more sense to me,

"thank you. thank you that this shatters your heart, even more than it shatters ours. that you saw this tragedy coming and that you gave your life to redeem it before it even happened. that you stamped defeat over it's darkness before it began. thank you for overcoming this world. because we can't. 

thank you that this is not it for us. 
thank you, that this is not home for us." 

this is how i find hope. 

how have you been making sense of it all? how has this tragedy affected you/your life?


saying goodbye to the little yellow one.

it never occurred to me as we were buying our first home,

that it would mean saying goodbye to the first little house we rented and lived in together. 

the little yellow one where we came home from our honeymoon and started life with one another. where we first learned how to be husband and wife and roommates. where i packed him lunches every day and made dinners each night. where we had our first christmas party, celebrated birthdays and graduation, and hosted family and friends for weeks at a time. where we built lots of fires in the winter and ate dinner on our little deck in the spring and summer. where i started my first herb garden and where adam worked on project after project to make it feel like home. where we had to put our headboard behind our couch because it wouldn't fit up the stairs. where adam had to put all his clothes in the guest closet so i could put mine in the master. 

where we came home, night after night, to the refuge of one another and our own little space in the world. where we could just be the nelsons. we've been so blessed by this sweet place. it feels like we'll be leaving some of the most treasured memories we have behind, when we leave. 

now it's all boxed up and the walls are empty and it hardly looks like the place we've lived for the past year. but, we are so excited to start unpacking our life into the new home that we love so much. and hoping that friends and family will visit often and help us make wonderful new memories there too! our door is officially always open. do come! (well, not officially open until thursday when it becomes "our" door).

have you ever had to move away from a place where you had many really special memories? what was it like for you? 


something more important to say.

so now that you know i'm a terrible no-good santa hater (ok, hate is a little strong...) can you still even take anything else i say seriously?

because i actually think i have something important to say today. and it's not about santa (so you can let your guards down a bit.)

i was at a conference about a month ago and the speaker was explaining how important jesus's life was. which i thought i knew. and then i listened. and i was just amazed all over again by the fact that God (read: ACTUAL GOD!) came to live on earth (read: ACTUAL EARTH!).

i mean think about it, God came and hung out in a sixteen-year old's uterus for nine months. (would you do that?) after being in heaven and creating the world and being God, he spent nine months in a uterus. 

that right there: love. and we aren't even anywhere yet. 

then he endured birth and went through the whole not-so-glamorous process of being born. actual birth. he went through that. God did.

couldn't we just stop right there and conclude, that he "being in very nature God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness," and that jesus was the epitome of humble?

instead of a crib, breathable bumper, bouncer, swaddle blanket, booties, baby ipads...he just had a stable and he slept in a dirty feeding troth. that was God that did that. 

then he was a perfect baby--to make up for all of our unnecessary crying and nasty blowouts we had as babies.

then he was a perfect toddler--to make up for all the pouting and tantrums we threw as terrible twos.

and he was a perfect tween--to make up for all that attitude we had toward the world.

and he was a perfect teenager--to make up for all those stupid decisions we made in high school and college.

and he was a perfect adult--to make up for all the selfishness, pride, dicontentment, and greed we felt as adults. (or is that just me...)

he lived our lives, but perfectly. how humbling. and he did it so that the righteousness of His life could count as our own righteousness. and apply to our messy lives. doesn't even seem fair does it? i guess that's the point. it's not fair. it's mercy. thank goodness! no really, thank goodness for mercy.

and we celebrate all of this at christmas. how can it not be the most joyful season ever?


oh, santa...

warning: controversial topic ahead. about this guy.


here are some thoughts. do with them what you wish...

so i've never been a big fan of santa. and i've never had any (as in zero) desire to "do santa" for our (futuristic) offspring. adam and i have never had an at-length discussion about it, but we seem to be on the same page. i know, i shouldn't be allowed to have kids right? and this is totally not a knock on anyone who does "do santa". or my parents for that matter.

but here are a few things i struggle with:

one: i don't like the idea of lying to my kids about something so silly. or anything, really.

two: it irks me that the source of that lie is stealing the attention away from the real meaning of the holiday.

three: speaking of the "real meaning," how confusing is it as a kid when you are taught the "true meaning" of christmas but all the excitement for you, revolves around some altruistic fat guy who, for whatever reason, brings you lots of presents. and then disappears from your life for a year. 

four: isn't the point of giving good gifts at christmas to illustrate Christ's gift of love? santa won't love them. we will!! so very much. and i want them to know that. 

five: why don't the parents get credit and gratitude for the awesome gifts they give???!!! 

ok, that last one was selfish. i admit. sinner here.

but those are some thoughts. 

there they are. 

there are a lot more rolling around in this noggin of mine too. but i think the most important reason i don't want to do santa is this:

to avoid watering down the two most sacred holidays for us as christians (christmas and easter) with secular characters who, in a lot of ways, take the place of Jesus in the celebration. yep, that means no easter bunny either for the nelson bambini. 

sad, sad lives they have awaiting them. in life.

ok, aim, fire. i think i can take it.

but seriously, does anyone else wrestle with this? what's the balance? how did christmas turn into something so not centered on Christ?

disclaimer: this is coming from a girl who watches elf every year and who loves hanging a stocking! so clearly i participate in secular aspects of christmas too. but christmas isn't secular, is it? it's about Christ. so sometimes i just need to think about these things. thanks for letting me.


earthen vessels, some shots.

in all our anniversary/holiday/birthday craziness, i never got the chance to share some sweet anniversary photos.

there is this awesome couple and they are new to the rdu area. and they happen to be very talented. and, while we've had many-a-photo made in the past year (wedding, engagement...) we have had zero in our own hometown. we have enough in cville to make us think we live there.

but alas, we actually live in durham. and it is special to have these photos of us out and about in our actual hometown. in some of our favorite spots.

if y'all live in this area, you should really check out rebecca and joel. but maybe not in the next week or two, as they will be welcoming their precious first child into the world. :)

thanks earthen vessels photography for these sweet shots. and best of luck to you two with the new little babe. he is one lucky kiddo!

happy weekend friends! hope you have some fun plans and plenty of time to rest before the holiday crazy begins!



christmas thoughts.

right now i'm sitting in our big cozy chair. every where i look there are boxes. and stuff. adam is sitting across from me painfully trying to hammer out the nelson christmas letter. he's writing it this year. yep. get ready for a treat, folks.

(pen to paper, love.)

and it's getting me thinking about all the little joys i am looking forward to this holiday season. 

for instance:

moving into our new house (soon!) and hanging our stockings in their new places.

all the fun girlie christmas parties, dinners, and cookie exchanges that i'll be attending.

christmas candles in the windows of houses.

picking out/making fun gifts for all the people we love.

listening to my favorite christmas song on repeat.

snuggling up and watching our favorite holiday movies together. (when harry met sally anyone?)

heading home to washington to be with family.

christmas shopping in downtown seattle.

hitting up starbucks (in its hometown) for that token foofy christmas drink. 

the last ever annual jordan family christmas party. can't believe it! 

the candle light service at my church in gig harbor on christmas eve. and giving lots of hugs to folks i miss. 

celebrating the precious little babe that came and the amazing miracle of christmas. 

speaking of,

i had somewhat of an epiphany about christmas yesterday. i was talking to my recently engaged best friend (!) about wedding planning. and i told her that when i was planning mine, the part that was most refreshing to plan was the ceremony. perhaps because it was the one detail that didn't seem to keep adding dollar signs onto the bottom line... we could add meaningful elements and craft our ideal wedding ceremony without adding much if anything to the cost--choosing scriptures, writing vows, preparing prayers, picking hymns to sing...

and our ceremony was my favorite part. and it was the part that actually mattered in the end.

so it is with christmas right? preparing our hearts and celebrating the miracle of the baby Jesus' birth, costs us nothing and turns out to be the only part that really matters.

but we spend most of our time, energy, and money at christmas on all the other stuff. just like weddings.

guess we kind of fall into the same traps with lots of things in life.

gosh, we're so dang human.

thank goodness for mercy. 

particularly, in the form of a little baby. 


day ten: for twenty-five.

well, today i turn twenty-five. and you know, i'm so thankful.

i’m thankful for twenty-five years. some people don’t get twenty-five of them. i’ve known a lot of people who didn’t. thanksgiving always reminds me of one of those people in particular. and i’m thankful that even though God doesn’t need my life, or my time, or my years to accomplish His work, He has chosen to use them, for my sake. He hasn’t needed me. but He’s allowed me to participate in His work—for my own joy. praise.

i’m thankful that my twenty-five years have been healthy. some people don’t get twenty-five healthy years. i have some dear friends as examples. i have patients i talk to every day as examples. and even though they get twenty-five years, they have to fight for them harder than i did. and i’m grateful that God can use healthy people and not-so-healthy people to share his good news and be examples of his love and his compassion, and his power.

i’m thankful that my twenty-five years came when they did. that they came in an era when women had rights and could vote and could choose who they marry. when wars weren’t being fought on my soil or in my cities. and even though i think that my era has darkness of its own, there is also darkness I have been spared, by living when I have. 

i'm thankful that my twenty-fifth is on thanksgiving. and i get to be with family. and i get to eat grandmom's cooking. and i get to watch elf like i have on every one of my birthdays since it came out. because it is just the funniest thing that ever happened to me. and it will never, never, ever, never get old. 

i hope that all of you enjoy celebrating all that we have to be thankful for. 

oh, and i forgot to say. but, i'm thankful for all of you too. oh, so thankful. :)



day nine : for sangre de cristo drive.

i am thankful for sangre de cristo drive. i mean. it has got to be the most hilarious street name in the world. and while you'd think the next street over might be called body of christ, it's actually called salmon river. so there you have it. our new neighborhood is kinda wacky.

but with us moving in, it was bound to turn that way anyway. so i'm glad to know we'll be in good company.

sooooo anyway, we bought a house. on blood of christ* drive. boo yah.

*english translation.

it's been in the works for a little while now, but since the last house debacle...we weren't super-duperdy quick to share this time around. but friends, truly truly it is for real this time. we are moving the second week of december. and we feel like little kids. and adam has his tool belt on already and has been sleeping/showering/living in it in anticipation of PROJECTS!!! hooooorah! my man loves a project. and, actually, he owns no tool belt. but metaphorically, he's been wearing it since the day we signed the contract.

it's not the kind of home we thought we'd buy. but in the end, we decided we wanted to change plans in order to have the freedom to be generous. cause let's be real...had we bought that last house, the nelsons would have become the stingiest folks ever. out of necessity. just being honest.

we are grateful for this home for so many reasons. one of the biggest reasons is that we have been dying to start a college small group through our church. and this house is 2 miles from duke. and we already have a few interested students. and we're taking the training now. and it's launching in january. we are so excited to have a home to open up and share with others. aaaahhh, bursting with joy over that.

i had several families that did this for me in college (you know who you are). and i wouldn't have survived without said families. or else, i would have, but much less happily. i've been waiting for years to return the favor. so here goes!

so i'm thankful for a ministry opportunity. an opportunity for new community. for a home to call our own and be generous with. for a sweet husband to make memories in the house with. oh, and if we want to talk Jesus with our neighbors...

"oh hi there. we are the nelsons. do you happen to know the significance of your street name? no? oh, ok. well...let us tell you."



couldn't be more thankful.

ps, missed day one, two, threefour, or five-eight?


day five-eight : for many things.

i'm so bad at "series" on the blog. but i haven't stopped reflecting on things to be thankful for as i turn 25. here are a few more...

day five: i'm thankful that everywhere i've lived God has provided me with a solid church and strong christian community. for good teaching. for good accountability. for good friendship.

day six: i'm thankful for my sorority. going into uva, i knew nothing about sororities. i didn't know what rush was. and i certainly hadn't come to college knowing which sororities i wanted to be in and which ones i didn't. i didn't even rush my first year. but for whatever reason, come spring of second year, i just felt this little nudge to rush--even a year late. i'd be the odd one out. many houses didn't even take second years. but i rushed. and i loved KD. and they offered me a bid. and within a week i had met some of my soulmate-friends. and i've talked about these three enough to annoy anybody who reads this regularly. but seriously, soulmates. i love them so stinking much it hurts. 

ooooh, and this sweet thing too!!

only God could have known i'd need these sweet sweet KDs in my life.

day seven: i'm thankful for healthy food. and for being raised with a taste for it. really. i'm thankful that my mom packed pretzel sticks in our lunch instead of chips and carrots instead of cookies. and that when hostess was going out of business i didn't care because i've never had a hostess product. i'm just grateful that i love and can afford to put healthy things in my body and feel the good effects of it. 

(and of course, for french fries and ice cream.) 

day eight: i'm thankful for my sweet husband who makes me laugh every day and who is still my very best friend. i'm thankful that he is handy and works hard and is creative and is so kind. and that he gives great hugs. love you ad. 

wow, that's a lot of thankful off my chest. got any thankful to get off of yours? would love to hear it!

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