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!


day four: for the color of my blood.

i am grateful that since the moment i was born, i was wearing duke blue and deeply obsessed with a man with a strange last name, krzyzew....

not just because we've won four national titles in my life. or broken many all-time records. or won the acc championship twelve times since i was born. 

more, because it taught me these things:

-it's okay to be wrong. and admit it when you are. but it's ok to firmly believe you are right sometimes too. and to stand up for it. this happened a lot when i knew duke was better than unc, but everyone (bandwagon-ers) wanted to tell me otherwise. 

-you shouldn't skip church. but if you have to, it should be for something of utmost importance. like an acc duke game.

-loyalty is important. when the object of your loyalty deserves it. and even when they don't.

-that if you, "train a child in the way they should go, when they are old they will not turn from it." (proverbs 22:6) thanks mom and dad. totally worked with us.

-blood runs deep. especially when it's duke blue.

-never give up hope. miracles do happen.

duke basketball has been something that has united my family and brought us together time and time again in life. even when we've been on opposite sides of the world, we've "skype-watched" games together. does your family have some crazy obsession that brings you all together? what is it?


day three: for my big.

i’m grateful that growing up, i had an older sister. well, i still have her, and i'm still thankful. but when i think about things like learning to make friends, shave, use deodorant, curl my hair, dance, adjust to college, and prepare for my wedding night…i’m just not sure who i would have turned to for those things if there hadn’t been, her.

and even before all that—what would i have done if i’d had to sleep in my own bed rather than sharing hers every night when i was too afraid of my own room? and if she hadn’t let me bring all of my stuffed animals with me--significantly compromising her space and comfort? and if she had kicked me out when i kicked her in my sleep all night?

luckily, i’ll never have to know.  

and that, is something to be thankful for.

here's a quick story that sums up why i'm so stinking thankful for her: one night my freshman year at UVA i was feeling really homesick. so i called my sister and asked if she would come to cville and take me to the grocery store (i had no car). so she finished class and drove an hour to cville to take me to the store. when we got to harris teeter, i couldn’t really think of anything i needed. so i grabbed a box of water bottles and told her i was ready to go. it was probably then that she realized she'd come all that way just because i needed her to. and you know what, she’d have come even if she knew all i needed was my sister. 

and no groceries. or water.

do you have an older sister? or a sister at all? can you imagine what life would have been like without your siblings? i can't imagine my childhood without them. gosh, so thankful!


day two: for gingerbread houses.


i’m thankful that when i turned six, my mom threw me a gingerbread house making birthday party. 

and not the kind of gingerbread houses you make out of cardboard milk cartons and graham crackers, either. 

have you ever made gingerbread from scratch? it’s a pain. especially if you need it to be strong enough to support an entire gingerbread dwelling. and you have to cut out each section of the house perfectly sized and hope that when it bakes it won’t rise or stretch or get deformed. and have you ever considered doing something so labor-intensive so that a bunch of six year olds could make a mess out of your kitchen with colored frosting and sugar and totally not do justice to your beautifully labored pieces of gingerbread? that most of them would end up either broken or accidently eaten as a snack?

well, call her crazy, but my mom did this. and a mess we did make. and the houses were exactly what you’d expect out of a bunch of crazy six year olds.

but it is the most fun birthday party i remember to this day.

and when i think about it, i am just grateful that most everything my mom (or dad) did for me as a child, wasn’t necessarily because they thought i was going to be able to appreciate just how much work it took. or regret how terribly i would probably mess it up. but they just did things because they loved me and wanted to go all-out to make me feel special. they still do this. and i didn’t realize the extent of it when i was little, but looking back now, i really do.

they’ve taught me so much about the kind of parents i hope adam and i can be (someday).

if we ever have a kid born near christmas, i think i’ll do a gingerbread house party just so i can realize all over again how sweet my mother was. and feel the pains of her labor…and so that our (someday) kids will know we love them that much too. 


pnw and thankfulness.

happy week before thanksgiving friends! where has this 2,012th year gone? anyone else wondering?


we just finished a series on generosity at church (which totally rocked me). and one thing i learned is that generosity and thankfulness are inextricably linked. because thankfulness creates a generous heart, but extending generosity also creates in us a thankful heart. 

and this series came at a perfect time, because here we are, almost to thanksgiving and i’ve never felt so excited for season of thankfulness.

i’ll be turning twenty-five on thanksgiving day. that’s a bit of a milestone right? quarter-century. and milestones usually make me want to reflect. and in this case, reflect and be thankful. so for the next ten days, i’m going to reflect on ten things i'm grateful for in these twenty-five years.

to start at the beginning:

i’m thankful that I was born in the pacific northwest. washington, to be exact. even though we may never live there again (or maybe we will…) there is nowhere else i’d rather be from. growing up with such an (unfair) amount of natural beauty all around, allowed me to understand what “glory” meant from an early age. everywhere i looked, i saw it.

growing up the pnw taught me about the beauty and majesty of God.

it showed me, without a shadow of a doubt, that this world was created, and not an accident.

it taught me to be tough and brave and not too afraid of heights or bears or squatting in the woods.

it taught me what it meant to really care about the environment.

it taught me that outdoors > indoors. 

it taught me that rain makes things beautiful.

it taught me that coffee is a good drug. and a good culture.

it taught me how not to be a fair weather fan...(ahem, seahawks, mariners, sonics...)

it taught me to be adventurous.

it taught me that when you summit a 14,000+ foot mountain on the third day of climbing, you will inevitably feel a little closer to heaven.

and, not insignificant, it introduced me to my husband. 

and even though we live far from there now, i’m thankful to be married to someone who shares that state with me. someone who understands the feeling of being on the puget sound in august, watching the sun set behind the mountains from the deck of a 22-foot sailboat named the grin.

it’s a special corner of the world friends. have you ever been? have you ever wanted to? i really couldn’t recommend it more highly. can’t wait to be back there next month for Christmas!


somewhere to go.

this day last year adam i were (finally) leaving for our honeymoon after several delayed flights and travel snafus. so i thought it might be a good day to share about our more recent getaway, for our anniversary. :)

bloggies, i must tell you about a wonderful place called laurel point. my aunt and uncle are good friends with an awesome couple named jim and lorraine. jim and lorraine own a beautiful bed and breakfast called laurel point retreat. it is in highland county virginia, up in the mountains. and everyone should go there and stay.


one. jim and lorraine. they are absolutely lovely and such great hosts.

two. the views. mountains beyond mountains beyond mountains. (although we didn't have good enough weather to see them all...)

three. hiking—which leads to even more views. just be warned, jodi will go with you and will beat you to the top.

four. jodi. she is the sweetest, smartest, most adorable puppy you’ll ever meet. what a pal.

five. the best breakfasts you will ever eat. lorraine makes bagels, breads, butters…everything, from scratch. also chocolate cake, baked oatmeal, breakfast pizza, and baked apples. i hear her buckwheat pancakes are no joke either, but we were only there two days so we didn’t get it all. even the coffee mugs are handmade! 

six. relaxation. the world seems to stand still up there. our time up there moved so slowly which was such a gift! still, the weekend ended too soon.
wine, reading, fire, mmmm.

seven. all of the cool animals.
glory and jodi.

eight. maple syrup.

nine. it’s super romantic. fireplaces in all the bedrooms. yes please!

ten. are you convinced yet?

if my words haven’t convinced you i hope these photos help. :)

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