comments on being married, month eleven.

as we near our first anniversary, i've been thinking more about where our whole relationship began. how funny it is to think back to when we were kids! just yesterday, i was reading through a bunch of old emails we sent to each other back during the summer the sparks first flew. i was gone for a month visiting colleges and family. adam was home working on his boat and coaching sailing.

we were teenagers, and the emails sounded like it. adam's email address was it's humbling (in the humiliating kind of way) to go back and read the kinds of things you wrote when you were young and silly and had crushes on one another. but it was funny to see how so much of our relationship has remained the same. even as married adults:

-adam was witty and sarcastic and teased me about things a lot.
-i always took him too seriously when he'd joke...which would drive him crazy.
-we missed each other's companionship a lot when we weren't together.
-we talked a lot about sports and food.
-we enjoyed talking and sharing details about our days, lives, families, hearts...

in one of the emails, i'd just visited uva and told him "i have a feeling i'm going to go to uva adam. i can't begin to tell you how amazing it is. i will probably blab about it for 3 hours next time we talk." then he told me i should go to uw or he would move far far away and never come back. but really, that i should go to uva. and i did.

back then we never could have imagined being adults. being married to each other. living in north carolina. we'd have laughed in your face if you'd told us all that. 

me, the future mrs. nellynelz...

and now we've been married eleven months and it's hard to remember what it was like not to be married. 

but this ridiculous picture of us at a mariners game kind of helps me remember. adam, please don't kill me for this!

hehe, who would have imagined we'd someday be here:

love you adam! so glad this is where we ended up. here's to month twelve.



yesterday i got to meet my dear dear friend's new little bambino. owen looks just like his dad. and he is the tiniest cutest little thing you ever did see. i didn't think i'd ever be able to make myself stop holding him. or staring at him curled up in adam's arms... 

babies amaze me. as do mammas who take care of them when they are so little and delicate and helpless on their own. 

it's a beautiful thing to see one of your closest friends become a mother.

because i have a mom. 

a great mom.

and i think of her as a mom.


but my friends are my friends.

and to watch them become a mom to someone else makes me want to cry tears of mushy joy. because mom's are such amazing women. because i know that my mamma helped make me who i am. because now karen is a mamma too, to a child who is going to look at her and love her the way i love of my mamma. because what more beautiful role could there possibly be in the whole wide world? 

it was crazy to me to think that the last time i saw her she was just a cute (preggers) girlfriend who is fun to hang out with, fun to study the bible with, and fun to have girl time with at the beach in the summer...

and then yesterday, she had a little human being curled up on her chest. and he was hers. gosh, just the tenderest sight to behold.

so here's to friends.
and to moms.
and to friends who become moms.
and for friends and moms who give you hope and excitement for some day in the future when you'll be a friend who turns into a mom too. when you'll have your own little soft snuggly baby to smooch and take care of and love. and your mom and mom-friends--they'll be there to show you what in the world it means to be a mamma and to love a baby so so very much.

mushiness over. but really, babies. sigh. 


(i did) get smart.

a couple of weeks ago i left my phone on top of my car and drove off.

some nice lady found it and i eventually got it back--bruised and abused, as it was.

luckily, it was just a cheap-o "i can call and text and that's all" kinda phone. typical for me. i have habitually bought the (simple) bare necessity type phones. i mean i have a computer, a calendar, an ipod, a camera, a zillion notepads, lots of books, a gps, AND a phone. why would i need all those things (and so much more) built into one conveniently portable piece of technology?


in the past few months, i've been itching to make the transition. especially now that i work. i'm feeling the urge to have it all in one place and join the twenty-first century. and, 

i had an upgrade.

so i did it.

i got smart.

i ordered my first smart phone.

and not just any smart phone--i ordered the new iphone 5. go big or go home, i guess. adam said i could consider it a very early birthday present. in fact, it's going to come the week of his birthday. seems fair, right? as soon as we ordered it i was overtaken by an inappropriate degree of giddiness. oh, the possibilities!

do you have a smart phone? which one? do you love them? hate them? couldn't live without them? what do you use them for most? bring me up to speed dear friends on the wonders of living "smart!"

ps, where is your favorite place to find cute iphone cases? because i'll obviously be needing one... :)


ode to summer's end

sweet sweet summer. thank you for your berries, cherries, and delicious scoops. thank you for hot days, and hotter days, and sunshine that brightens our soul. and makes us rich with vitamin d. thank you for iced tea in a cold glass and babies in adorable swimsuits. and their chubby little wobbly legs. for okra and butter beans. for fireworks. and fireflies. thank you for movies in the park, cotton dresses, and barbecues. for salt-water sandals, everyday. 

thank you for friends, and family, and reunions. for weddings and trips to the beach.

thank you for weekends away with friends on sailboats. and for lazy weekends at home. 

thank you for adam's summer blonde hair and red nose. 

thank you for lots of funny freckles. and for a husband who adores them.

thank you for the watermelon we can eat by the quarter in our driveway on warm evenings. and for cantelope that smells like orange creamsicles.  

thank you for long days that end with colorful skies.

thank you for coming and going and leaving us a little more golden for it.


at just the right time,

thank you for releasing us into the relief of fall's coolness. and colors.  

thank you summer. until next year.


tell them those things.

this week’s chapter in our marriage study is about men. husbands, specifically. it’s kind of tough on them to be honest. good tough, i think. but tough nonetheless. in the homework section for wives, it asked us to think about areas where we would love to see our husband grow. so i wrote a couple of things. 

but then, it asked us to reflect on things about our husbands that we really appreciate. and then it asks us how often we tell them those things. and i had a pretty long list. but i wish i told adam/thanked adam more often for these things:

-you can laugh our way out of an argument with me. even when you don’t really feel like it.

-you are so helpful. i don’t know a better way to say that. but, you are just so quick to help me.

-you work really hard to support us.

-you are such a handyman. you know how to do so many things!

-you take your role as leader seriously. and you enjoy being around other men who challenge you in it.

-you are so good in social settings and make me feel more social. which doesn't come naturally to me.

-you are an amazing listener.

-you. make. me. LAUGH. so. hard.

-you consent to my obsessive need to be constantly snuggled.

-you have patience with me when i’m obnoxious. so, a lot.

-you are always willing and eager to learn from things and grow.

-you are super honest and trustworthy.

-you are thoughtful.

these are all qualities that i desired in a husband, and now i appreciate these qualities in you. they bring me joy. and make me want to be an ever-better and more loving wife to you in return.

kinda nervous for next week and the chapter where we wives get some abuse. which will probably require some extra snuggles.

oh how sanctifying marriage can be. 

what do you appreciate about (any of) the men in your lives? you should tell them those things too!



as part of the real marriage study we are doing with our small group, we have to do homework. last week’s homework was to have an intentional date night. i feel like homework used to be a lot tougher than this…

we started by going to the american tobacco campus for live music. along with eighty percent of durham’s population. and about ninety percent of durham’s small and adorable children. great fun! so much town love.

then we went to see the newest bourne movie. i am notorious for not remembering the plots of complicated movies, even if I liked them at the time. sometimes i don’t even remember seeing them. the bourne series is a perfect example. i tried not to ask ad too many questions. the movie was pretty good…from what i can recall.

after the film we grabbed some dessert + french fries at a yummy restaurant. we loved how loudly our waiter repeated our order for all to hear. whatever. nelson style dessert is nothing to be ashamed of. (but still, he could have kept it down.) 

it was fun to have such a laid back night. 

i like homework now.


the hardest right decision.

in small group we are studying marriage. it feels like we were in premarital counseling yesterday.  and now, a year later we are examining our marriage again. it’s funny how different studying marriage is from in the inside. before we were married we examined concepts and expectations of marriage. now, it feels like there is actually flesh on the skeleton. and we get to examine it, for real this time.

how do you expect to make decisions together? who will be responsible for which chores? who will take care of finances and who will take the trash out? how will you serve one another? how will you serve others together? what does it mean to leave and cleave? how will you fold your socks and undies? and who will be doing that folding?

all these questions make me laugh now. kind of like I explained in this post, a lot in marriage just happens and it’s not clear quite how.

but recently (as in thursday night) we learned some hard lessons about something that didn’t just naturally happen for us—making decisions together. this is a process we are still practicing. and are far from perfecting. but thursday, was a bit of a milestone in the decision making department. one week before closing on our new home, we decided not to purchase it. i know, all of you real estate agents out there are probably gasping, “you terrible, horrible people!”

and we did/do feel terrible. and there were about one hundred thousand factors that played into this decision. and it felt like the hardest right decision we’d ever had to make. but, we made it. we shed some tears. and then ad took me to get thai food, which i have been craving around the clock.

as we sat there eating our thai we felt like we were in shock. and we recounted the good and bad of the decision process that led us to buy this home, and then not buy the home. we learned a lot about how we’ll make decisions in the future. and we learned a lot about being obedient to God even when it’s hard and has lots of repercussions.

these are the kinds of things it’s really hard to examine when you aren’t in the thick of it yet. i would like to read (and laugh at) the optimistic answers we once wrote in our “preparing for marriage” workbook about this stuff. and then compare them to what we’ve been writing in our “real marriage” workbook. but God is good. and His plans are not thwarted by our decisions, good or bad. loved reading this psalm this morning:

“let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him. for he spoke and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. the Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. but the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.” (psalm 33:8-11)

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