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twenty-eight years

Last weekend I celebrated 28 years of life.

The husband worked so hard all week to put together the best birthday party ever.  It was themed. And there were drinks.  And an incredible spread of food.

And of course….the best cupcakes in town.

There was homemade lemonade and non-alcoholic sangria.

And best of all?  All the people I love most in the world.


And when everyone was full of tacos and salsa, we played games.

Of course there were gifts (which were perfect), despite the “don’t bring gifts, just a good time” printed at the bottom of the invitation.

One of my favorite students, Blue, and favorite co-workers, Shelly, stopped by to visit.

Earlier in the day, Blue cooked an amazing spread of Arabic food for my family to enjoy.  He made everything from some potato pastries (that’s what I call them anyway:) to kabobs, to fruit salad, pudding and cake.  It really was incredible.  International students are awesome.

Falling three days after my actual birthday, it was such a perfect way to celebrate a whole new year of life.

Last year at this time, I made a list of 27 things that I wanted to accomplish in my 27th year.  Some of them I did succeed at, and some of them I didn’t.  This year of life showed me that sometimes our best thought out plans are not quite as great as we imagine them to be.

So, it turns out that I didn’t quite get 20 books read, didn’t get our car paid off, have yet to open up a CSM t-shirt shop and definitely wrote a lot less.

But, here are the unexpected things I did do: started trying to have a baby and instead began my battle with infertility, had surgery for said infertility, became a certified yoga instructor, tutored the sweetest students in the world, said goodbye to our sweet little house and our college town, lived with my mom and step-dad for four months, moved to Oklahoma City, supported the husband in accepting a new job, built a house, started a new job, became an aunt for the first time, quit the new job and then started another new job (more on this to come!).

Needless to say, aside from our year spent living in Thailand, this has definitely been our craziest year yet.  And even though we’ve faced some of the most trying challenges of our lives, we have grown so much.  Number one on my list was “fall more in love with my Savior.”  I have to be honest and say that for while the opposite was happening.  At times my anger and confusion over infertility gave way to questioning and stepping away from God like a small, defiant child.

And while I still have many questions, and I still don’t understand everything I want to understand about God, I’ve come to one conclusion.  And that is despite whatever happens in life – whether good or bad – He is there.

For the entire first 26 years of my life, I took what I’d been told about God and I counted it as absolute truth.  I never questioned it.  I never really thought much about it on my own.  And for the first time this year, I’ve questioned God.  I’ve doubted Him.  And while I wish I could say that my faith has been perfect, I have deepened my relationship with Him far beyond what I imagined before.  I’ve come to the realization that I would much rather question Him, than never be challenged enough or think deeply about Him at all.

I can not even begin to imagine what this next year will hold for me.  My prayer is that our family of two will become a family of three.  We will be able to continue pursuing our dream of launching our own business. I’ll be able to love my job.  And we’ll continue building and deepening relationships.  But I’m holding onto those things very loosely, with an open fist, keeping in mind that He is in control.  And remembering to not count too much on the plans that I lay out for myself.

Here’s to another year.

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14 Responses to “twenty-eight years”

  1. Happy belated birthday!! What an awesome hubby you have there – and a great way to celebrate. Life doesn’t always go as we expect or hope, but it’s a matter of how you deal with the unexpected twists and turns and how you find the upside in all of it.

    [Reply]

    candice Reply:

    Thanks, friend:) You are so so right.

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  2. HaPpY BiRtHdAy CaNdIcE!!!

    [Reply]

    candice Reply:

    ThAnKs SwEeT fRiEnD!! so thankful for you:)

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  3. Malissa says:

    Happy Birthday! So, I have to know how you make virgin sangria? I love the real deal so this has my curiosity piqued.

    [Reply]

    candice Reply:

    Thanks! And yes, we’re also fans of the real deal. Jonathan found the recipe and made it, so I’ll check with him and post it soon!

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  4. Sarah says:

    Happy belated birthday!!!

    Sounds like you had a great day. But what a year! Here’s to this one being better!

    Hope you’re well?

    Lots of love xxx

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  5. Alison says:

    I’ll be praying for you, Candice :)

    [Reply]

    candice Reply:

    Thanks, friend:)

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  6. Happy belated birthday!!
    It looks like you had a really wonderful day :-)
    Your husband is so sweet for organising such a lovely party for you!
    And those birthday cupcakes are AMAZING!
    Life can be crazy and throw the unexpected at you but you deal with everything so well and have the perfect attitude :-)

    [Reply]

    candice Reply:

    Thanks Sophie:) I definitely don’t feel like I have the perfect attitude, but I’m trying to get better at keeping a good perspective. I’m so glad you stopped by my blog!

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  7. Sounds like you had a wonderfully blessed birthday and I believe that all of the things you are hoping for this year will happen for you. Really like your blog and am glad that I found it!

    [Reply]

    candice Reply:

    Thanks so much Alicia…I’m so glad you stopped by!

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  8. 2 minutes later I am still staring at those cupcakes!! I love each and every one of them- it’s not fair, how does one choose. Well I guess the birthday girl could have a bite of each one if she wanted haha. HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY btw!! I haven’t been able to comment as much as I would like to, hence my lackage of love being poured on your blog posts :( but this post definitely gets lots of love! You look GORGEOUS btw, well you always do, no surprise there :)

    xoxo <3

    [Reply]

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