38 candles


I had a birthday yesterday and for the first time probably EVER I wasn’t all worked up about it.  I usually get so excited and expectant and I know there were times when I was a teenager or a young adult when I came crashing down with tears when my loved ones didn’t care about my birthday as much as I thought they would, (SO selfish, *sigh*).

I knew for a fact that I would be busy half the day because CBS is on Wednesdays and after missing three weeks I had absolutely no choice in the matter, I had to be there.  So I told Rich from the get-go that he didn’t need to make any plans.  We could do something on Valentine’s day for a special treat.

BUT MY HUSBAND, this is so touching to me, had it in his head to spoil me the whole day long, beginning with breakfast in bed.  Wednesday mornings are typically very hectic for me, getting five kids out the door and then getting Seth and Sarah ready to go to Bible Study.  Yesterday my darling did everything and I left at 8 feeling calm and prepared (what a difference!).

He gave me a bouquet of small roses and I took them with me in a white fiesta vase!




Birthdays are a great day to pray “thank you” to God all day long and that is just what I did.  As I was with the ladies (“my” ladies) for four hours yesterday I was thanking God for them and the blessing of meeting so many beautiful women (Debbie W.!) who are family to me because we share the same born-again experience, in Christ.  We had our studies, then a special brunch, and a wonderful message from Annie.  Then, leadership met afterwards for more fellowship and study, laughter, joy in simply being together.

I left with a full-heart but actually needing a nap and arrived back home to HIM, who was ready to whisk us back out the door for birthday spoiling.  We picked up our little boys at school and headed downtown to my favorite little shop, where my Alaskan friend Hannah had arranged to have a gift ready for me to pick up.


Thank you, Hannah, for being so thoughtful and fun.  Your gift was a highlight of the day.  I adore the locket and the journal.  love you.




I had a bagel with cream cheese and sliced tomato.


The boys had soda.  Sarah had an apple juice.


Not much elbow room but I love snuggling in the corners with my family.


Face of love.  Face that I love.  This man is attractive, generous, tender, kind, strong, and means the world to me.

The chess game developed into bickering, teasing, loud laughing, until I cautioned, “My birthday’s getting worse and worse!”  I regret those words and wish I could take them back because I broke Caleb’s heart.  He stopped playing, looked at me, and began to cry in sorrow.  I held him in my arms and kissed him and told him I was so sorry……. and, because I knew it would cheer him up…..I told Rich the next stop was Barnes and Nobles bookstore. Off we went, where Caleb poured over books (he is an amazing reader for 8 years old) and came away with four new ones.  🙂


I also ran into Marshalls to buy hair products because my winter hair is driving me CRAZY.


My birthday gifts from the bookstore.  My mom has the same cookbook (another highlight of the day was talking to her and Dad on the phone, as they called to wish me a Happy Birthday)  xo


When we left the bookstore, we drove straight to the High School for Grace, Jacob, and Ethan.  Grace showed me this picture of herself on the wall, she is part of the “Singin in the Rain” production this spring and this is one of her costumes.  I think she’s beautiful.  And happy.

Jacob and Ethan had a wrestling meet.


I think it’s so cute to see the guys all dive into the middle of the mat after warm ups.

Ethan won his, and Jacob lost his.  It was fun to be there as a family cheering them on.  I got to chat with my friend Nicole, too.  She crochets.  🙂


My cake!  I can’t get over that it says “MOM” on it, this is a first for me.  I LOVE IT.  Rich took David and Caleb with him on Tuesday night and the three of them carefully ordered my cake.  It was carrot, with cream cheese frosting and probably weighed four pounds.

The kids ate the entire pizza we brought home while Rich inserted my “80 candles” (so he said) into my cake.

I had cake and ice cream for supper!


same smile


a happy birthday


38 candles


I closed my eyes to listen to my beloved family sing.


I look like I have fangs.


taking a deep breath


the smoke gets worse each year


With the love of my life.







This morning it is snowing and and the children have a snow day.  Because I had 2 pieces of cake for dinner last night, I have resolved to eat only fruits and vegetables today.  I had 2 apples for breakfast with my coffee.  We are watching Aristocats on TV, which is Sarah Joy’s new favorite movie.  We have watched it four times this week.  With all the excitement yesterday, I hope to be more still today, and perhaps even pick up my knitting!

Blessings and much love to all my friends who pass by here today.

“He who trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous shall flourish as the green leaf.”  Proverbs 11:28

“The beloved of the Lord will dwell in safety by him.  He covers him all day long.  He dwells between his shoulders.”  Deuteronomy 33:12



22 thoughts on “38 candles

  1. Shanda, what a beautiful family you have and it has been a delight to watch them all grow up! I sure enjoyed a peak into your birthday celebration. What a precious family and it’s obvious you really love deeply because they all honor you so thoroughly. Happy belated birthday to you and I’m rejoicing that your day was so blessed! (((hugs)))

  2. Happy happy happy Birthday Shanda! Looks like you had a splendid day. Loved the video! So sweet. Thanks for sharing your special day! You are a truly special friend. Lots of love from me to you!

  3. Ohhhhh!!! What a wonderful birthday!!! Makes me feel so happy for you. And I agree – Grace is beautiful!! Happy birthday belatedly!!

  4. Happy Birthday sweet lady! Glad it was a special day. :))
    love seeing your life now and then through the blog – the reality, the simplicity, the kids growth, joy.

  5. Happy happy birthday! You are blessed in so many ways! What a beautiful day with a beautiful family. Thankyou for sharing!

  6. I have read your blogs since I was a small teenager and am now a 23 year old student with a man similar to yours. You are the mother I want to be (which is not fat from my own mother) and a random search has turned your posts into inspiring, real life situations that I hope to one day experience. Thank you for doing this. Your blog has got me through many hard times and continued to do so. I hope I have a family like yours one day.

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to write and tell me a little bit about yourself, and how fun to know you have read my blog for so long! I am glad it helped you along the way….God bless you, dear friend, and I pray that all the desires of your heart come to pass. Keep in touch if you can! Love, Shanda

  7. Happy Birthday! Enjoyed your happy post! And what a lovely cake they picked out for you. Happy Weekend, go ahead and eat another piece of cake 😉

  8. Happy 38 years to you! A beautiful, oh so full day. Such a great picture of Rich smiling at you in the coffee shop. So glad you shared your day with us.

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