December 5, 2012

goodbye 25, hello 26





Well, it's my birthday today.  Goodbye 25, hello 26.

To be honest with you, I haven't exactly welcomed this birthday. It marks the end of my early twenties, and I find myself scratching my head and thinking, how did this all happen so fast? Where did the last 6 six years go? I vaguely remember turning 20... shrugging when I turned 21... feeling bummed when I turned 22, cause most of the cool birthdays were over with. And then the rest is just a blur. Will that be how it is every year, from this point forward? A blur? 

The last year leading up to 26 has been one crazy ride. In March, someone I love died of cancer. A friend of Edd's asked my mom at the funeral if he suffered, and what could she say? Yes, he suffered. There's no sugar coating it. And I still can't put into words what that was like to be there, to be part of that. It was a defining time of life for me.

Matthew and I have also had our ups and downs this year. We may have this awesome love story up there in the tabs, but man, being married is hard sometimes. I won't pretend we have it all figured out.  Two type A personalities decided to walk through life together, and the line "a tornado meets a volcano" seems pretty fitting sometimes. But man oh man, I love that guy. I would walk to the ends of the earth and back for him, and I think we've both realized that's what matters most. When forgiveness seems impossible, when you have to lay down your pride completely, when you have to choose to see the things you love and couldn't bear to give up. That's what matters--that you'll do those things for love.

I've become more grateful than ever for my friends this year, both old and new. I've come to realize how much those connections mean to me, and I'm doing a better job, I hope, of showing them. I'm learning about languages of love. Loving someone is almost useless if you don't learn to show it in the way people need to be loved. 

So I guess 25 mostly taught me that love is all we have. Love is all we have. It transforms you. Helps you to do hard things. Helps you to feel empathy for others, even when you don't understand them or agree. I don't know about you, but I can spot a love-filled person from a mile away. Your spirit picks up on some invisible light. I've seen it, I've felt it, and I want to emulate it. 

I think that 26 will be a year for love.

104 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday, Jenni! I think "love is all we have" is a poignant lesson to learn. Thanks for sharing! Hope you enjoy your day!

    Jackie

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  2. Beautiful post. Wishing you a very happy birthday!

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  3. Such a beautiful post! Happy Birthday Jenni!

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  4. Happy birthday Jenni!

    If it's any consolation, 26, 27 & 28 were some of my best years. Years where I felt that I really came into myself. The jury is still out on 29 but I don't really like 30 hanging over me.

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  5. Happy Birthday, Jenni!! I hope you have a wonderful one! And I totally know what you mean about 26 being the birthday that kind of came up on you all of a sudden. I turned 26 in October and I'm still confused at where the last 25 years of my life went! The older we get, the faster they fly! Hugs to you, birthday girl! May it be the happiest year of love ever. :)

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  6. Happy Birthday, friend! You put it perfectly. Age really doesn't matter....except for what it gives you in experience and love. You could always hang on to 25 by leaving that in your intro blurb up there! (wink, wink) Enjoy your day!
    -Kristen

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  7. Happy Birthday, Jenni! And I couldn't agree more with everything you wrote. A beautiful post by a beautiful person. :)

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  8. Have a very happy birthday! Living with my boyfriend, sometimes I want to rip my hair out! But most of the time, it's pretty awesome.

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  9. A very happy birthday, Jenni! Wonderful post, beautiful and positive words! Good luck to you in the next year!

    PS :))) I can totally understand the feeling of the years blurring, and they are only picking up speed actually. It is kinda logical: each year, each month, day, hour, minute with time becomes smaller and smaller proportion of the life you live, hence unconsciously feels faster and faster in perspective :) But it doesn't mean we don't have time to love. :)

    Cheers!

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  10. Great post! Happy birthday!
    www.fashionizelife.com

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  11. Happy Birthday gorgeous woman! It sounds like you've figured the big "it" out--the point of it all. xo.

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  12. Happy Birthday! I found your blog a few months ago and it has quickly become one of favorite daily reads! I'm facing 28 in January and I'm wondering where the last few years have gone myself. I remember turning 20, 21, and hitting the quarter life crisis at 25 screaming "What am I doing with my life???" I have since moved past that and try to take each day as it comes. I used to wish away my early twenties wanting all the things my friends had, like marriage, babies, the big house, etc, etc, etc..... It does get easier from here and you definitely learn to embrace those around you that truly matter. Hope you have a wonderful day!

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  13. cue horns and beatles "all you need is love".... right.... now!

    or maybe, "you say it's your birthday...?!?!"



    and now i've ran out of post appropriate beatles songs (; so happy fantastic awesome birthday, my friend! i can tell you from my experience of being a whole YEAR older than you that the late twenties are where's its at. the bees knees. the jam, if you will...

    (and now i've realized WHY i don't leave comments before 8am... NONSENSE, i tell you- utter nonsense...now go have a cupcake to make up for my nonsense!)

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  14. Happy Birthday!!! I couldn't agree more, love is all we have. Lets soak up every moment we have with the ones we love. Thanks for always sharing both the happy and the sad moments in your life with us. I can't tell you how many times I have sat there and nodded right along with so many of your posts. Hope you have wonderful day!! :)

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  15. Happy birthday! I feel the same way about the blur...I'm turning 27 tomorrow. Weird. Seems a lot of people I'm following have birthdays this week. I admit...it's the best time to have one! :)

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  16. Happy Birthday Jenny! :)
    You know, as I read this post I couldn't help but think that you missed acknowledging something really important this year...
    25 was the year you turned a passion into a career. I think that is a huge, huge accomplishment and something you should be very proud of. :)

    Happy Birthday again
    <3

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  17. Ok wait, grammatical mistakes make me crazy...
    25 WAS the year, not is the year hehe. =P

    Happy Birthday Again

    xo

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  18. As always a beautiful post! Happy birthday!! :)

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  19. Happy Birthday, Jenni!! I love your heart and you!! Cheers to 26 :)

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  20. I hope you have a very happy birthday filled with lots of love. And I love this post. Beautifully written as always.

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  21. Cheers to 26! Happy birthday, Jenni! Good lessons to draw from. You also happened to launch a new career path, missy! That's something to raise the roof about. :)

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  22. Love this. Very much. Hope you have a great birthday!

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  23. Thanks for that truth about marriage. Being 93 days away from saying "I do" I value the truth you share so much. I pray that the Lord would bless and protect your marriage from the stuff in life that can chip away at the vow you made to each other. I love being encouraged by women who are faithful to their vows even on the hard days. Thank you, Jenni! And happy birthday, sweet girl. :)

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  24. Happiest Birthday to you Jenni!! You're words are absolutely beautiful. I loved this post so much! Hits real close to home for me...this was a hard and chanllenging year for me as well...and next week is my birthday too! Except I'll be turning 27. Double boo for me.

    Happy Birthday!! Make it an awesome day!!

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  25. Happy Birthday Jenni Benni! Beautiful post as usual! Have a wonderful day! :) Love you!

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  26. Happy Birthday Jenni!!! Can't wait to see you and celebrate!! And yes I agree with Lindsay @ TrialBySapphire, you also launched your photography business! That is also a huge huge thing to rave about :-). I love your words on your relationship. Scott and I have said those same things, tornado and volcano sometimes since we have similar personalities and can be pretty stubborn/hard-headed. Anyway, enjoy your day!xox

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  27. Happy Birthday lovely! I turned 26 this year too and I agree it's a hard pill to swallow. I've been doing a lot of reflecting too. But I'm sure your year will be a great adventure.

    Cheers.

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  28. Happy birthday! Such a beautiful and wise post! May 26 be your best year yet!

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  29. Happy Birthday Jenni!! I hope you have a wonderful day filled with LOVE!

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  30. Wishing you the most amazing birthday - love reading your blog, praying for your family & hearing your deepest thoughts (does that sound creepy...LOL!). Hope your day is blessed & special :)

    www.pennypincherfashion.com

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  31. Happy Birthday Jenni!!! I am soon to be 26 also and I feel ya! I am about to get married in 4 short months so thank you for your real talk about marriage being hard!! We all just have to realized that love is really the only thing that truly matters in life. Have a great day!

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  32. This is such a beautiful post. I hope that your 26th year is everything you hope it to be, and more.

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  33. Happy birthday love bug!!! you're looking more beautiful than ever!

    when I turned 24 earlier this year i was like, "uh oh, this is the first birthday that i'm not too happy about." but whataya gonna do?! just keep swimming and just keep learning!!

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  34. Happy Birthday :) I can't wait to see what this next year has in store for you!

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  35. Happy Birthday to a girl that has inspired me more than she'll ever know. And thank you for sharing what you learned this last year ... I can honestly say my life has been a blur the last 4 years as well, but the last year has been most important.

    You, Jenni friend, are a delight. Happiest of days to you!

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  36. Happy Birthday beautiful gal. xoxo Enjoy your day!!!

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  37. Happy birthday! :) I hope that 26 treats you well!

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  38. Happy Birthday Jenni!! Hope 26 is a wonderful year for you, one filled with great memories!

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  39. Happy Birthday! Have a great day!

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  40. A very happy birthday Jenni. I pray that your special day will be filled with cupcakes and champagne and that the year ahead will bring with it a tidal wave of love, health, happiness, joy, wealth and success.

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  41. Happy Birthday Jenni :) I think you're an amazing person even though I've never met you! You're so raw & honest and I just really admire that about you... so thank you :).

    -Jessica

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  42. happy birthday!!!

    to a year FULL of love, laughter and live :)

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  43. Happy Birthday my love!!! SO honored to share this early december b day week with you! No wonder we are so connected ;) I am pumped to say goodbye to this last year..holy hell..rough. I think this year will be better for the both of us. love you friend.

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  44. Happy Birthday pretty girl! I'm sure this year will be amazing! Such a lovely post. I need to remember this more often... Love is all that matters!
    xo Dana

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  45. Great post! Happy happy happy birthday and to a great 26th year of life!

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  46. To me it sounds like you've walked through some really defining years, taken their lessons and 26 will be the best year yet. Would love to see a blog post about your biggest goals for your 26th year! :) Xo

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  47. Happy 26th birthday Jenny! My birthday is next week and I will be turning 27, and I am convinced I am still in my mid-twenties ... until at least 29!

    I hope this next year is indeed a year of love for you - it's going to be a great year:)

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  48. Happy Birthday lovely lady!! Have a gorgeous day!! 25 is not so bad! At 25 I was a mommy to 4 handsome guys, but it was a great year. You will have many many more wonderful years. Today is special, so eat a cupcake or two (: Relax, from here on out it will be so much fun.

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  49. Happy birthday Jenni! 26 is a wonderful year :)

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  50. "Love is all we have." Perfect. I love it. Happy Birthday, Jenni!!

    ~Tiffany
    http://tiffanyd22.blogspot.com

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  51. Um, your paragraph about marriage and everything, PERFECTLY explains mine and my hubster's first year of marriage this past year. Thank you for being open and giving me someone to RELATE to. xoxo OH and happy birthday!!!

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  52. Happy Birthday Jenni!!! Hope its amazing!! :)

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  53. Well look at you showing off 26!! I think you look great..not a day over 23. ;)

    For me, 25 was a huge deal because that meant getting a rental car at the cheapest rate. haha I think what's great about getting older is everyone will keep thinking you're super young..so you have the maturity under your belt, but still look like a youngster. Best of both worlds if you ask me. ;)

    Like last night, people thought I was 21...10 years off my age isn't such a bad thing to have people think!
    Emily at Amazing Grapes

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  54. oh my gosh, I love this. So so true that love is all we really have, but it's all we really need too. Love-filled people are my favorite people to be around and I like to think that I'm one of those people too. Love just makes everything okay.

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  55. Happy Birthday Jenni! Wishing you all the best in your 26th year!

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  56. I know I already told you, but Happy Happy Birthday!!! I know exactly what you mean about 26, when I had my Birthday this year it was the one that has hit me the hardest. I don't know why turning 26 was so strange and emotional for me, but it was. I think it also had to do with the weird notion I had as a child that I would start having kids at 25, so turning 26 without any felt strange. Who knows.

    But you're so right, love is all we have, and luckily it's all we need. :)

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  57. First of all, I love how you put a song with this post! The old "radios" that started playing whenever you visited a blog were a bother, but I like being able to push play if I want to. I kind of miss that little piece of blogs. Way to bring it back in a way that isn't annoying.

    Happy Birthday to you!!!! I do hope 26 is just that, a year of living out LOVE. A year to live out the lessons you've come to learn over the last year and the years that came before it.

    You and Matthew do have quite the story, it's great to watch that story CONTINUE to unfold. :)

    Enjoy your day!

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  58. Happy Birthday Jenni! I loved this post (as usual)! Such beautiful words. I hope all of your years are filled with love. I hope you have a fabulous day!

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  59. Hope today is full of all the things you love the most :) Happy birthday!

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  60. Happy Birthday!!! I hope 26 is fabulous:) I love your last paragraph about love. So inspiring and sweet.
    http://arielle-ellesentries.blogspot.com/

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  61. Happy birthday dear friend. Here's to a wonderful new year :)

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  62. Happy 26th birthday! I just turned 26 and I have to say it's been the best year!

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  63. Happy Birthday Jenni!! I'm also a December baby. Seems the best were born this month ;)

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  64. Happy Birthday Jenni - great post to celebrate your day :)

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  65. Happy Birthday, Jenni! And no, the rest of your birthdays will NOT be a blur. I can assure you that the best is yet to come! Hold on to that!

    A year of love- I like that! :) Have a good one, doll! :)

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  66. New follower here ! How interesting that I just discovered your blog on your birthday ! I gotta say you bought me with Harry Potter! ;) aha Happy birthday and don't worry about numbers, the only thing that counts is staying young at heart :). And you know what they say, "30 is the new 20" !

    http://maryme-passionatelady.blogspot.ca

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  67. Happy Birthday Jenni! These kind of years are the kind you never want to "re-do" but seem to be the ones that you learn the most from...

    Keep it up girly! We love you :)

    {www.heatheringheights.com}

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  68. I felt about the same way you do now when I turned your age - but I was definitely not as wise as you are, I must admit. It does get better though -turning 30 was a turning point for me, and I swear life keeps getting better! Happy birthday and keep up the amazing blog!

    Zahra

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  69. happy happy birthday! what a lovely post! :)

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  70. Happy birthday sweet girl---it is blowing my mind that you are only 26 today...you seem so wise and mature (both mind and heart). I admire your writing so much (don't know if I have ever told you that..) Continue to be an inspiration to all of us....the year of love, I like it.

    xoxo

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  71. Ahh!! Happy birthday! I love that ode you wrote up there. I love how honest it is. I actually really like hearing that everybody's marriage isn't always a breeze - makes me feel like marriage is a little more real and a little less fantastical. Also, I like the fact that 26 was the end of your early 20s, I turn 24 this year and my friends keep telling me that this is the end of my early 20s - then I go to mid-twenties. I'll go with your logic though. I hope you do something awesome today to celebrate. PS. Good song choice.

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  72. Happy Birthday lovely Jenni,

    i hope you have a fantastic year ahead and I truly admire how honest you are. I'm 25 and turn 26 next year!
    keep those beautiful posts coming xxx rebecca

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  73. Happy Birthday! I think the birthdays keep getting better the older I get...just turned 30 this summer and the past year has been amazing! :)

    Also, LOVED the paragraph about marriage. I'm getting married in May and have quickly learned that ups and downs come along, but it's definitely worth it. We're Type A's as well, so I can relate! ha

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  74. Happy Birthday and I hope it is a great year for you!

    You're an amazing writer, far and away one of my favorite reads. Everything you write is so raw, real, and truthful. You're an inspiration to any blogger/writer - I'm so glad I found your blog!

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  75. Happy Birthday, beautiful Jenni! I hope this year is filled with love for you and your family, and that you feel embraced by all good things. You deserve it.

    Also, thank you for your honesty about your year. Time and life are tough, but you live beautifully and it's bound to get even richer and fuller, this year of love.

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  76. Happy Birthday Jenni! I hope you are celebrating, and I hope you have a great new year in your life. I love what you said about your new year being a 'year of love'. That's a good way of thinking, and hope that is true for you in your new birth year :) -That may have sounded corny, but I'm allowed to be corny on your birthday!

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  77. Happy Birthday! And here's to a year FILLED of love! I'm 26 in about 6 months and I'm wishing the same thing, love! Just like The Beatles say, 'All you need is love' x

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  78. Happiest of birthdays to you, Jenni!

    "Love is all we have." - couldn't agree more.

    I'm having some extra bites of cake and ice cream tonight in your honor :)

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  79. Happy Birthday pretty lady. I can't believe you're so young! NOT because you look older, but you just seem wiser.

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  80. Happy birthday!!! I loved reading your post. It sounds like you're learning and growing and you are so honest and insightful about it all. I hope this coming year is your best ever! You are so young and your entire life is ahead of you. Let me just tell you, it only gets better! :)
    http://shannonhearts.blogspot.com/

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  81. Happy birthday! I totally agree - "Love is all we have".
    Hope you had a great day! :)

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  82. Happy Birthday Jenni! I'm turning 26 in Feb and also not particularly "excited" for this birthday. Still, 30 is the new 20 right!? Plus, I have a hunch that 2013 is going to be a wonderful year for you :) Hope your day was special!

    xxx
    Jenna

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  83. Happy birthday Jenni!! I have the big 2-6 looming too! it suddenly feels very old doesnt it?!
    I have also had a bit of a rocky year with my other half, I love how 2013 for you guys is going to be a year of love!! Like you guys, we've re evaluated things too, it all comes down to basics, strip it down and your left with 2 people who love eachother! back to simplicity!!
    Hope it all goes well for you guys and heres to a year of good times,happiness and lots of lovin lol!
    xx
    http://emerald-doodles.blogspot.com.au/

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  84. Happy Birthday, Jenni!! I will say that 26 was much harder to me than 25 was. It's definitely weird to be "over the hill" of my 20s.

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  85. Happy Birthday! I'm turning 30 this winter, but do remember the mild panic of being "late 20's"! I have to say, the later 20's were so much better than the early 20's in terms of knowing more of who you are and settling down a bit in life.

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  86. I hope you had a marvelous birthday! I just love our blog, you're truly and inspiration.

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  87. Happy birthday! Sounds like a roller coaster of a year, but definitely like a lot of lessons learned/experiences had.

    <3 katherine
    of corgis and cocktails

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  88. Happy birthday!

    I have been learning so many of the same things this past year. Beautiful post.

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  89. happy birthday! i'm part of the giveaway too & lady, I think we are kindred spirits. :)

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  90. Happy Birthday 1 day late!!! I hope it was amazing!!! And this post def rings true to me. I feel the same way about living life. I've been married for 10 years (got married at 22) and we've had a long road dealing with issues outside our marriage. It took me to really see how much I love my husband, feeling empathy for others even when I don't necessarily agree, and just doing whatever I can to make the person I love happy in order to fix it. You just have to sometimes... you're right. I loved the honesty in this post! I hope you have an amazing year!!!

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  91. Happy (belated) birthday! Amazing song choice. I clean my house to this sond. And, seriously, that's sorta a big deal. I love that song. And yay for 1986's! I always get happy when I find another 1986 kiddo in blogland! I smiled a lot through this post because your 25 sounds a lot like my 25. And so I'm raising my hot chocolate to you and saying "Cheers! Here's to 26! I know we'll both rock it!" (obviously with Florence in the background!)

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  92. Sweet post :) Happpy late B-day! I hope you had an awesome day and NO....every b-day from now on will not just pass you by, unless YOU let it. Enjoy every b-day like it was your 16th or 18th. It's hard as you get older but worth the effort. I'm going to be 33 in 2 months!! I'm planning on putting on a pretty party dress and having some fun :)

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  93. happy birthday to you! i turn 26 this month as well and i'm having many of the same thoughts as you. late twenties... aaah! how'd that happen? ;)

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  94. Beautiful words Jenni. Happy belated birthday! I can't wait to follow along with whatever wonderful things life brings you this year.

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  95. Beautiful post Jenni.
    I've also been learning that marriage is hard work! I've only been married for 6 months! I try to keep reminding myself that every marriage is different. I would catch myself comparing mine to somebody else's and asking, "what's wrong with ME? why isn't it like theirs?"...BUT, it will never be like anybody else's.

    Hoping that your 26th year will bring you LOTS of blessings!

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  96. I wish you an AMAZING belated birthday!
    May this year be the year of LOVE for everyone :)

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  97. Such a beautiful post. And I love how honest you are about your marriage- it's definitely ups and downs but you are right- I'd walk to the end of the earth for my husband. Beautifully written.

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  98. Such a beautiful post. i am also design a blog
    dear friends tell me how is it . this blog is on love story ..

    www.feardear.blogspot.com

    and my friend send me your love story at feardear4u@gmail.com
    i am publish your story on my blog
    thanks

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  99. belated bday wishes jenni... it is a very nice note

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  100. hope you will visit mine too... www.winterstory.blogspot.com

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  101. Haaaaaaappy belated birthday!! :) I reach the big 2-6 in less than a month...eek!

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  102. I'm a little late commenting - catching up on all the posts I've missed because we've been in San Antonio for the holidays and I wasn't online much :( Happy belated birthday! My daughter shares a birthday with you - and for the record, 26 isn't so bad. I turned 30 a couple of months ago and let me tell you - THAT is a reality check! LOL. Birthdays are just milestones - but what I've learned so far in my 30 years is that as I get older, most birthdays are just another number. Turning 30, however, really put me into a "reflective mode" about the last 10-12 years, seeihng how far I've come, etc. For me, it's about what I've learned and how I've grown over the years - and for that reason, I absolutely love being 30 now and would never choose to "go back" to my early-mid twenties because looking back, I had a lot of learning to do back then LOL.

    And marriage IS hard work sometimes but it's worth it - seems like you've got the right idea and your priorities straight :)

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