cakes, which we won't be eating.


i bet you wish those yummy cuppy cakes were for you don't you?

well, actually

they are for my friend emily. can't you tell?

i don't do birthday shout outs too often here. but i do love birthdays. and i really love emily. and so does adam. he's loved her a lot longer than he's loved me, in fact. since they looked about like this:

she really is something special of a sister (in-law). and a friend. and, since we aren't with em on this birthday of hers, i found these cakes that if we were with her we would make for her. we may or may not also help her eat them. too bad no one will actually be eating these cakes. but don't they look great? 

inside out ice cream cake. (source)

but, in reality, she'd probably want this one. with something yummy drizzled over it. 

dearest em,

we love you very much. we are celebrating this past year of your life, even way over here in nc! we are also celebrating this next year of your life. we are grateful for all that we know it has in store for you and bobby. thanks for being the sweetest sister and friend to us both. here's to 25! lots and lots of love.


a and e.

ps, and am i right about the cheesecake? 


comments on being married, month seven.

today marks month seven of marriage. 
God's number.

we are on the "back six" now. creeping toward that first anniversary.

but, what i want to share on this monthiversary, is not about us and our first seven months of marriage, per se. but rather, about a couple who are about to celebrate their first anniversary. a couple we have had the privilege of witnessing and learning from during our first seven months of marriage. namely, em and bobby. adam's sister/my sister in-law/one of my dearest friends since high school. and bobs, her college sweetheart.

first, i shall show you their picture. 

and now, your hearts are won. so next, i shall tell you their story. well, at least part of it. let's say...just this past year. abbreviated.

so they got married on june 5, 2011. this is how their wedding week went:

monday (may 30): em's birthday! em goes to doctor on her birthday. em finds out she probably has cancer.

wednesday: doctors confirm that she has cancer. 

friday-saturday: family and friends start arriving in town for the wedding. em and bobby have to tell lots of people who they love, some pretty horrible news while gathering for their wedding. em and bobby still celebrate and party and love each other and love their family and look beautiful and smile lots. and be very brave.

sunday: em and bobby vow to love each other forever. in sickness and in health. until they are separated by death. and they mean it. they dance and eat strawberry shortcake and take funny pictures with their best friends and family.

a few weeks later, em started chemo. and that's how their married life began. lots of doctors, hospitals, needles, sickness, blah, tears, laughs, hot flashes, love, support, prayers, and faith. now, a year later, em is done with chemo, done with radiation, cancer free (praise Jesus!), starting the masters program she was supposed to start last summer, and bobby has a job as a teacher in seattle. in a way, they are kind of starting their "newlywed year" all over again. 

but then again, not. their "newlywed year" was not normal, but it was their story. in a lot of ways (ok, most ways), it was not ideal. but watching the way that they walked hand in hand with one another, and hand in hand with their savior who they truly trusted, made me wonder how many years of marriage most people go through before they develop the maturity of faith and commitment that em and bob were forced to in year one

so, when i think about what we've learned in seven months of marriage and most of it revolves around the bathroom, it makes me want to sit at their feet for a day and hear about what God has taught them in their first year of marriage. because i'm sure there are couples with far more years under their belt who have not experienced the depths of marriage that these two have. and maybe not the heights either.

and would you know it just from looking at them? 

not i. 

to me, they always look like newly-in-loves who just met and can't stop smiling at one another. 

if we're lucky, em will guest post later this week and share what God did teach them this year. and i think we'll be lucky. in fact, i'm pretty dang sure we'll be lucky. 

love you both. and happiest of birthdays tomorrow em! officially done with 24. phew. 


high five for friday!

happy friday, everyone.

can you even believe that NEXT week it will be june? for lots of people i know that means the month of their wedding, anniversary, birthday, new baby, long awaited vacation...for us it means CRAZY month. traveling every weekend. every single one of them. but only to good places where fun will be had. so we are greatly anticipating the arrival of month six. and the long nap we'll take afterward.

but gosh, i always get so far ahead of myself. today, i'm reflecting just on this past week. i'm linking up with lauren and sharing my top five things. want to link up too? it's easy-peasy. just click the button. 


a durham bulls game with two of my very favorite couples. first game of the season for ad and me. we lost, but it was still a winner of an outing.

these two lovely things which i purchased with a sweet giftcard from the in-laws. thank you so much! doesn't feel right to be unemployed and still get to shop!  

(but, in navy)

an afternoon at the raleigh farmer's market with adam. usually we go to the durham market, but the state one is so big and fun that sometimes we branch out and drive the 35 minutes. we always get ice cream there after we finish our shopping. treat for being good i guess. this week they had a trail mix ice cream. my word. met some lovely farmers and cheese makers from here and here too. the marinated feta from prodigal farm is not even fair. we've put it in frittata, pasta, and on adam's sandwiches already this week. i pray it never runs out.

spending an afternoon with my friend courtney's sweeeeeet little guy yesterday. i could play trains, soccer, and songbook all day with him. i figured that while i am a free lady i should probably help my mamma friends out as much as possible. gives me cute kids to play with, something to do, and makes things easier for them too! win-win-win. 

peaches!!!!!!! it's finally peach season in the south and we are luuuuuving it. we've already made peach ice cream, put peaches in oatmeal, and eaten so many of them whole, juice all down our shirts and hands. the glory of the overlap between strawberry and peach season. the possibilities are endless!

welp, that's all for now. i must be running. off to charlottesville for the weekend. :)

hope you all have the loveliest of memorial day weekends! any fun plans??


local love

(yes, i used the "l" word. boy have things changed...)

so this place called durham has slowly grown on me. i still jump out of my skin with excitement when we make plans to go back to charlottesville for the weekend, but there really are some great things about this current town of mine. like this, this and this.

so here is another totally rad thing about dumb ol' durham. 

there is a huge spirit of entrepreneurship here. resulting, in lots of incredibly unique businesses and not a ton of the normal ho-hum stuff you see everywhere. for instance, we have over 40 food trucks. they park at local places and they get mad business. some of them are completely gourmet, most depend on local food sources, and one of them even serves the best scoop you can find in town. this site keeps track of where they all are at every moment. so you can always know where to find your favorite grub truck. 

why not, right?

another favorite durham establishment is fullsteam brewery. this is ad's go to place any day he can convince me, or anyone else, or the neighbor's dog to go with him. they also make his favorite beer of all time. it's in an old wear house, has picnic tables, pool, a stage where local musicians jam, and quite a few of their own delicious brews. very simple set up, but always crawling. people can even bring their pups in. or their neighbor's dog...

not to mention, they always have a food truck or two parked out front.  

even cooler, on wednesday evenings, the bull city running company and fullsteam have a running event called "fullsteam ahead! run club."  anyone can run. you start from fullsteam, run for awhile, and then return to fullsteam where everyone drinks good beer, sits either in or outside, visits with strangers, and enjoys the pie pushers and parlour trucks that set up camp there every wednesday for this party. 

run. eat pizza. drink beer. eat ice cream. it's not rocket science. but this place really has it figured out.


do you live in durham too? what are some of your favorite things about it? what other towns have cool things going on? just love how creative a community of people can be and feel lucky to be living here! 

ps, also excited to go see our aaa baseball team, the durham bulls, play tomorrow with some great friendlies!


born and raised

what i'm listening to today:

john mayer, gone western?

adam and i are long-time mayer fans. we try not to think too hard about his less than remarkable character and focus on his insane gifts as a song writer, guitarist, and vocalist. no album he's made has ever disappointed us. we saw him perform in charlottesville the first time ad ever came out. his mad guitar skills and his crazy amazing drummer (steve jordan) rocked our worlds.

his new album, born and raised, just came out. and he has really taken an interesting approach this time around. you know something's up when mayer comes out with an album that looks like this:



no worries, he hasn't gone darius rucker on us (any hootie fans out there?). it's still very john. but definitely with a little folkier sound. so far, i really like it. i respect so much how unique each of his albums is. refreshing for an artist who has something like eight of them.

what do you think? do you love mayer? hate him? don't care one way or the other?

have you listened to born and raised yet? would love to hear what you think!

ps, this, this, and this, are three of my favorite of his songs.


learning to rest.

on the second monday of unemployment, things i am grateful for:

-time to make and eat good breakfasts.
-time to sit and enjoy that second cup of coffee.
-time to run every day if i want. particularly since i need to get ready for this.
-time to sit and read my Bible and pray and spend time with my creator. said cup of coffee in hand.
-time to pray for my husband, my family, my friends, and for those i don't even know.
-time to work on fun projects for corrine's wedding...less than two weeks away.
-time to catch up with sweet friends and talk about God, and discernment, and hard decisions, and relationships, and climbing mountains.
-time to make good meals for my husband. 
-time to clean the master bathroom, which was much, much needed.
-time to take my computer to the apple store so the person at the "genius bar" can tell me why it's being such a stink lately.
-time to reflect, and blog. :)
-time to get lunch with friends who i haven't seen in awhile.
-time to take care of my herbs and plant new ones.
-time to reflect on this amazing sermon that my pastor preached yesterday.

we are currently working through the book of hebrews. yesterday's sermon talked about the rest that God gifts us with. not just one day a week on the sabbath, but everyday, and eternally with Him as well. he challenged us that even while we are working, our souls can be at rest because we realize that our work does not define us. we can sleep at night, and have confidence to shut off our minds, knowing that God does not sleep and that even while we are resting, He continues to work in our "situations." 

God wants to make space in our lives for us to rely on Him. that's why he gives us rest, and requires that we take it. sabbath is not a break from our primary pursuits, it is our primary purpose. resting in him.

he also challenged us with this. (really got me...) "priority" is a superlative. it can only really be singular, or else it doesn't really mean what we say it means. aka, we can't have "priorities." it's like having "favorites." if you have more than one, then you do not really have a "favorite." we have a priority. and that priority is what determines how everything else in our lives shakes out. if we make anything other than God our priority, then we give it power to define our life and who we are, rather than our creator. 

i'm grateful this monday morning that this weekend i rested from job searching and all of the thoughts and craziness that goes along with it. i'm grateful that this weekend while i rested, and put jobs out of my mind altogether, 

played tennis and took strolls on the trail with ad, went the farmer's market and made good meals, hung out with friends and ate homemade peach ice cream, shopped at my favorite store with a sweet gift card (thanks to my parents in-law), went on a date with my favorite man, watched a movie while snuggling in bed,

God continued to work in my life, my circumstances, and prepare my next step for me.

praise God for rest, and for work. and especially for rest in the midst of work. praise God that this monday i feel energized, rested, and ready to continue faithfully pursuing what God has for me next. 

do you feel challenged to find God's rest even while working? how has God been challenging you to find rest in Him? seriously, listen to this sermon if you have time. it really shook us nelsons up a bit!


redemption on my griddle

i cannot stop making/eating these pancakes. 

as a person with a lot of dietary restrictions, i have never really tried to purchase all of the "substitute" goods. let's be honest, no matter how hard people try, if you take all of the grains out of a cupcake, it just ain't going to be the same. if you take the flour out of a bagel, it will taste like cardboard. so, in general, i do not buy all of those insanely expensive "gluten free, wheat free, grain free, taste free" products. i just do without them.

there are few exceptions:

i will hunt and hunt and hunt until i find a truly delicious allergy-free pizza. this one is pretty good. but it always looks pathetic next to adam's gourmet whole foods pie.

brixx's is pretty good.
mellow mushroom's is ok.
lily's must have corn in it because it did some cruel things to me.

but, let me tell you something now. right now. please listen. particularly if you have weird allergies like me.

i was visiting my friend laura and her roommate (who shares some of my issues) was making pancakes. double-take...yes, i said pancakes. i demanded to know what she was using and she showed me the bag. told me it changed her life.

well, friends, it has changed my life too. pancakes for breakfast, pancakes for lunch, pancakes for dinner. i don't care, i will eat them. and then more of them. i can finally smother something in homemade jam and/or mapley-syrup and stuff my face with the delight of it all. 

the only grain it contains is rice. conveniently, the one grain that i can eat. not even a trace of corn. 

this week, while enjoying the leisurely mornings of unemployment, i made them twice. by myself. who makes a pancake breakfast for one? apparently i do. and i'm just not ashamed in the least. i feel like after years of missing out, redemption has come in the form of a hot cake (or two) on my griddle. i like them better than i remember pancakes tasting back in the day. seriously.

apparently this mix can also be used to bake other things. i wouldn't know. i am so stuck on pancakes. 

has anyone else tried this? am i exaggerating? do you love it as much as i do?

ps, it's not too too pricey either!


hive five, or more

truth: everyday feels like friday when you are grad-gi-ated and unemployed. 

but still, i feel a bit of relief as the weekend arrives and like most fridays, today i'm linking up with lauren and remembering five good things from the week. i missed last week so i may have a few more than five to report...the more the merrier.

one. having my mom, my dad, my sister, my brother, my brother in-law, petyon, my god-brother, my uncle, my mom's best friend, and my husband all in my house last week. everywhere i turned there was someone i loved. sometimes there were even five of them in my ity-bitty kitchen...

but i adored every minute. and i miss having a full house.

two. my parents bought a house 25 minutes from us in north carolina on saturday!!! i can't express my joy. they will only be there about half the time. the other half they'll still be in seattle. but hey, it's so much better than having them 3,000 miles away 95 percent of the time. according to my math...

three. graduating from duke.

four. eating my weight in strawberries.

five. this and this recipe both of which i made this week in attempt to use up my abundance of strawberries.

six. signing up for the city of oaks half marathon. it's in raleigh and in november, meaning it will probably be the perfect temperature. can't wait to get my race on. 

seven. getting a gift certificate to this restaurant in durham. one we've always wanted to try, but never wanted to go broke trying. thank you bo and family!

eight. my cute new lemon juicer. with which, i made the most delicious strawberry (surprised?) lemonade ev-er. just ask steph if you don't believe. thanks peyton for the recipe and for picking out that adorable juicer. (anthro)

nine. an unexpected visit yesterday from one of my dearest friends and just generally favorite people, steph glover. sitting outside on our porch. drinking said strawberry lemonade. catching up. loved loved loved it.

ten. my mom gave me one of the most special gifts ever for graduation. she has this necklace that used to be my grandmom's. before that, it was my great aunt's. i borrow it from time to time, but for graduation, she gave it to me. it's beautiful and extremely sentimental. one of my favorite things is that it's opal--the birthstone of all three of the most important men in my life: husband, dad, and brother. love having it on my neck. thanks mom, grandbetty, and aunt nellie! proud to be wearing something so many splendid women wore before me.

guess this week it is a high-ten. did i earn the credits skipping a week? just so much to be grateful for in this life of mine and i love recalling it each week. what do you have to be grateful for this week? you can link up too! (just click the button below).


splendific weekends to you all!




all in a load of laundry.

so as my first week of unemployment passes, i've had a lot of time to myself to think. like yesterday, i was doing laundry and and i thought, "i wonder how many different laundry routines people have." 

(what, did you think i was going to be pondering something deeper?)

but really, there must be so many different ways.

i always let the washer fill a bit with water. then add the soap. and then add the clothes. i like the soap to be really well distributed in the water rather than poured on top of the clothes heap. i also have a tendency to leave the last load of clothes in the dryer forever, and forget them. and then there is folding...

how many different ways can you fold a shirt? undies? towels? shorts?

probably infinity ways.

(i miss the way we did laundry in italy. source.)

well, this got me thinking about how utterly different people's minds work. which i was also reminded of sunday as i sat at graduation and listened to the president acknowledge graduates in many different fields for their accomplishments. my mind doesn't work like a chemist or an economist. and their minds probably don't work like mine. and when we think about how to do something, or approach a problem, we probably also have infinity different ways. kind of like laundry?

anyways, this whole mental maze i was wandering through led me to the same place that many of my thought-trains do: in awe of the way God created things. sometimes, i'm just completely puzzled by it, and sometimes i'm overwhelmingly grateful for it. 

and this,

was one of the things i realized i was very grateful for. how refreshing are the differences between you and those in your life? how refreshing is it to hear different perspectives and learn different ways of thinking? how refreshing is it to see people excel at things that you think are so cool...but that you'd never be able to wrap your mind around yourself? how refreshing is it that we are all good at different things and have different personalities?

God was so thoughtful when he designed His creation. so thoughtful when He created diversity. it baffles me why, in many ways, our culture today encourages us to de-diversify ourselves. by trying to be like others. and then being better at it than them. by conforming to what we think people will admire. rather than just running with what we've got. running with who we are--with who God made us to be. 

sometimes it's even masked in trying to be be "different." often we desire to be "different" because we think that other people who are "different" are cool or edgy or (fill in the blank) and we want to be "different" like them. ironic right? am i way off base, or do you agree? 

ok, so all of that in a load of's amazing what being alone all day/unemployed will do to you. but what do you think about all of this? why do you think it happens? how can we resist it?

ps, what is your laundry routine?


the one who went to duke with me.

all weekend, i kept thinking, "it feels like i was just doing this", 

walking the lawn at UVA with my green and ivory balloons--a best friend on either arm, and then some. 

this time is was so different though. the person who i really felt i had experienced duke with the most was my husband, not my sorority sisters. my husband who worked to help pay my tuition, went to the campus gym with me, jumped up and down with me at basketball games, supported me while i was a stressy mess, allowed me to go far away to do research, sat in the back of the room as i defended my thesis, and loved and encouraged me so well. during the ceremony, i felt like he should have been sitting right next to me. sharing in the accomplishment.  

because he really did go to duke with me.

thanks ad, for doing this with me and sharing in this accomplishment. love you, love you, love you to the moon and back.



ps, check out this beautiful dress that adam picked out for me as a graduation present. all by himself. i'm in love.



the morning after

this must be one of the strangest mornings of my life.

for the past week (+) my house has been full of people i love sleeping on every bed, couch, and floor. we've eaten an absurd amount of food, used more toilet paper than is natural, created much recycling in the form of glass beer and wine bottles, played games, watched movies, had picnics, snuggled.

my family was gathering to celebrate another elise graduation. this time from duke. 

but, as of this morning the last ones--mom, dad, peyton and paul--have left. and i feel so strange because,

i've never finished one thing, without a clear "next." i've always had something to get right to. but, this morning, i'm here, starting to clean up from the loving mess that is my house right now, wondering... 

what will i do once my house is back to normal? 
will i be bored? 
will i be lonely?
how long will it be before i find the right job? 
what does one do when they don't have school or work? (or kids to take care of) 
am i stupid not to take jobs i've been offered because i don't think they are the right ones? 
should i be open to applying for jobs outside of north carolina? 
how many days will i last unemployed before i pull my hair out?

last night as we got in bed i started to cry (oh dear) because i was afraid for yesterday to end and today to come--no longer a student (for the first time in 19 years) but no certain "next" to start preparing for either. adam just held me sweetly and started making a long list of great things i could do with my next few days. things i always complain about not having time to do. and he reminded me that God will provide the right job at just the right time. 

has anyone every been in this place before? unemployed, not sure what your next step will be or when you'll take it? were you able to trust God's plan and perfect timing?  

i'm so confident that God brought me to duke, gave me strength to complete my masters, invigorated my passion for the field of global health, and has a purpose for my life. but it's so hard to patiently wait on the Lord, isn't it?

love this verse this morning: 

"'for i know the plans i have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you. plans to give you hope and a future.'" jeremiah 29:11

ps, recap and photos of the fun weekend to come. 

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