Pour Your Heart Out: 35 Years

Maybe it’s the first line that has me thinking about this song.

Maybe birthdays make me nostalgic  and reflective.

Am I where I thought I’d be at 35?




I never really had much of a plan.

Just to be happy, have a family, friends, work that I like.

As for the bumps along the way, well… we all have them, right?

But if life stayed the way it was
And lovers never fell out of love
If memories didn’t last so long
If nobody did nobody wrong
If we knew what we had before it was gone
If every road led back home
This would be

The very last country song*

If everything were simple and easy, we wouldn’t have much of a story to tell, would we? That might not be the very last country song, but it might be the very last blog post.

But for today, I’ll focus on all the good I have in my life and realize that everything that has happened and everything that will happen: it’s just a part of my story.

No one is promised a perfect life, but we can choose how we see our lives.

I’m choosing to celebrate 35 years… not of a perfect life, but of a good one.

*Lyrics from Sugarland.
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  1. All of those ups and downs in your life had made you an amazing woman! Happy 35 years, Shell!! You deserve an amazing day!!! xo
    Kristen recently posted..A Birthday Tribute to Shell of Things I Can’t SayMy Profile

  2. I love the family picture so beautiful. I think we all reflect when our birthday comes around. I know mine will never be the same after last year. Mom got admitted to the hospital on my birthday. Kind of puts a kink in it for me.
    Angel recently posted..I’m so flippin happy I need a drink.. Happiness Project with LeighMy Profile

  3. What great words for a song, and so true.  Great thoughts.  I wish you a very happy birthday! Wonderful writing as always.  It really makes you think. 
    Leigh Powell Hines @Hinessightblog recently posted..Fears, Tears, and the Peep Show at Scruffy DuckMy Profile

  4. You’re right–we definitely have the option to choose how we see life. Happy Birthday to you!
    Rach (DonutsMama) recently posted..Where the Heart Is?My Profile

  5. That is a beautiful family picture. The boys look so grown up and handsome! I turn 35 in one week. I’m still trying to figure out how I’m 35. I swear I just turned 30.  Happy birthday Shell. We’re just getting more awesome with age!
    Delilah recently posted..Some TruthsMy Profile

  6. Happy Birthday!  My birthday is tomorrow.  I’ll be 31, I’ve accomplished a lot in 31 years.  I’m hoping for some good stuff over the next 9.  :)

  7. Happy Birthday! I don’t know the song…. but it is lovely. Yes – all those things do make us as who we are today. 
    Kristen recently posted..How to Mother the child when you are not the MotherMy Profile

  8. Happy birthday, Shell! 

    And yes, I know the feeling. When I was a little girl, I was going to be a dr, live in the Barbie dream house, be married to Ken and drive a Corvette. Before I was 25. None of that worked out the way we expected, did it? ;)
    Natalie @MamaTrack recently posted..A Day At WorkMy Profile

  9. Happy Birthday Shell

    I remind myself all the time, without the bumps I could never appreciate all the great in my life.

  10. That’s a beautiful photograph.

    The downs are what make the ups so great. :)
    Julie recently posted..He’s a big kid now! #iPPPMy Profile

  11. Happy Birthday Shell! 35 is a good age (says the woman who will be 40 next February). The ups and downs are all part of life and yes they make some pretty good stories.

  12. Well, you look FABULOUS!

    I turned 30 in April. I joke about being old, but it’s just another number, really. Life really is what you make it.
    Teresa (Embracing the Spectrum) recently posted..Squeaker’s First CampMy Profile

  13. Hi Shell :)

    First time visitor here. I came from Kristen’s place (Thepreppygirlinpink.com)

    I just wanted to wish you a very happy birthday with many years of blessings to come. I love the ‘Things I Can’t Say’ blogging – I’ve seen the badge in quite a few blogs already and finally found the source. :)

    I’ll be tuning into your blog here on. You have wonderful content.

    Cheers :)
    Dylan Lin Calista recently posted..How Do You Deal With Change?My Profile

  14. Happy Birthday!!
    Theresa recently posted..Party hardMy Profile

  15. Happy Birthday! (well in 7 minutes) I love the part about not being promised a perfect life but choosing how we see it. That is so true that we can make that choice. I hope you have a day as wonderful as you, though that will be pretty tough. You’re pretty special :) xoxo
    angela recently posted..For AlwaysMy Profile

  16. It is definitely how we see it. When I was younger I had a very different plan for my future. But it didn’t end up that way. I’m grateful that it worked out the way it did because it led me here. 

    Happy birthday!!! I love that photo!
    Kimberly recently posted..Forever Part Of My HeartMy Profile

  17. Looks pretty perfect to me! HBD
    momof12 recently posted..NauvooMy Profile

  18. Life is indeed what we make of it. If we spend our days being bitter about the what-ifs, about dreams that never came to fruition, we will never see the beauty and untold wealth of the diamonds in our own back yard.

    Happy birthday, Shell. You have given yourself the very best gift of all: of learning to embrace the good in your life.
    Kim recently posted..An important lesson from a toe-curling adventureMy Profile

  19. Happy birthday! Sounds like you already have the best gift ever in your wonderful family. Hope this is the best birthday yet. 
    Tara R recently posted..HomeMy Profile

  20. I never had much of a plan either, and find myself thinking the same thoughts on each birthday. I love where you ended up though – celebrating the good is definitely the answer. Happy Birthday to you, i hope it is a lovely day.
    Tricia recently posted..Just mommyMy Profile

  21. Happy Birthday! The last line sums it up perfectly! It is all of the imperfections that make our lives so unique and wonderful.
    Barbara recently posted..Dear NathanMy Profile

  22. Happy Birthday Shell! What a great thing to do…embrace and be thankful! I will be hitting the big 39 this year. Only 1 year of my thrities left….. where did the time go. Have an awesome day! Loved the song.
    Katina recently posted..Carpe DiemMy Profile

  23. Happy birthday!! Perfect lives are for boring people, you’re way cooler than that! Love ya!! Now that it’s really Wednesday, I guess I can link up. :)
    Adrienne recently posted..Show other parents kindness not judgment!My Profile

  24. Happy Birthday! I’m sad now because I am slightly older than you. I am already 35 and I always thought I would have more money than I do.
    myevil3yearold recently posted..Oh No- I am Cheer Mom!My Profile

  25. Happy, happy birthday! and I love the song and what it means. I think that is why I find fairy tales boring — there’s so much more to learn and do when life happens.
    IASoupMama recently posted..Bad Nerves MojoMy Profile

  26. The best quote I have heard lately is this:  “Do not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”  A good life is exactly that.  A good life.  Have a wonderful birthday!  It is so nice to know you! 
    ilene recently posted..The First Rule of Fight ClubMy Profile

  27. Happy Birthday, Shell! That is a gorgeous picture and what a great outlook to have! Just want to say thanks for all that you do for bloggers out there. I credit you and Ashley with helping me grow as a blogger. You guys are great teachers and two of the kindest people I know. This has become a passion of mine and I couldn’t have done it without you! Happy Birthday and have a wonderful day!
    AnnMarie recently posted..Memories Captured: The End of an EraMy Profile

  28. Happy birthday Shell!!

    I had the same thoughts when I turned 30.  I wasn’t exactly sure I was where I had hoped to be, but then again, I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else.  I have a couple years until I’m 35.  It’ll be interesting to see how I feel then.
    Kmama recently posted..That FaceMy Profile

  29. Happy birthday, my friend. Wishing you all the love and happiness in the world – no one deserves it more than you! <3  
    Jenn [ Crippled Girl ] recently posted..How to Train Your Crippled Driver, part IIIMy Profile

  30. You have a beautiful family, great friends, and a good life….. things may not have turned out how you planned (they never do for most of us) but it’s good! 
    I hope that you have a great birthday!
    Jackie recently posted..Wordful Wednesday ~ My Michigan MemoryMy Profile

  31. Happy Birthday Shell! May the year be full of joy, laughter and if there are bumps, that you tackle them with your usual gusto :)
    Alison recently posted..BrothersMy Profile

  32. oh my heart.. HAPPY BIRTHDAY beautiful girl. Thank you for letting us pour our hearts out, for sharing your IMPERFECT but fantastic life with all of us through your words, thank you for being the girl we all wish would come over and sit at 0ur table and be our friend.
    There are so many amazing things about you I couldn’t list them all, but I will CELEBRATE you today (and always) for the INCREDIBLE special gal you are.
    Love you…and hoping to share some CUPCAKES with you very very soon.
    Kir recently posted..Capturing Memories: Kind & HopefulMy Profile

  33. This family picture always makes me so happy.  It needs more airtime!  :)

    Have a fabulous day!  Make that husband of yours take you out to dinner.
    Francesca recently posted..Secrets To Building Your CommunityMy Profile

  34. Happy birthday!  I love Sugarland and love that song…it makes you think!
    Julie recently posted..Home Sweet HomeMy Profile

  35. Happy birthday Shell! You are so awesome so I hope you get to do something wonderful and all awesome :)
    Natalie recently posted..You Know You’re 9 Months Pregnant When…My Profile

  36. Happy Birthday my friend. Miss you! Wish we could celebrate together!

  37. Happy birthday lovely lady! Life begins at 35 – it’s all uphill from here!
    Nicole recently posted..Nicole’s Favourite Things: Summertastic!My Profile

  38. Happy HAppy Birthday!!!  I hope you have a wonderful day- you deserve it.  And yes life never happens without a few bumps but those bumps help us really learn and grow.

     Love love that picture! 
    Emmy recently posted..Toddler CutenessMy Profile

  39. What generally makes a song for me is the words, I love this one you posted.

    Hope you had a great birthday!
    Carolyn recently posted..My First FamilyMy Profile

  40. Perfect outlook!  And Happy, Happy Birthday to You!
    dysfunctional mom recently posted..WWTK Wednesdays – The Noms EditionMy Profile

  41. Happy birthday!!! What a beautiful post. :)
    MiMi recently posted..That’s What I Said!My Profile

  42. Happy birthday!!!! Welcome to 35. :)
    Kim recently posted..Croc from the ArchivesMy Profile

  43. Happy Birthday Shell!  Keep embracing the journey and best wishes for the upcoming year!
    Pamela recently posted..The Fall of Fort ThunderbirdMy Profile

  44. Happy Birthday, sweet Lady! You deserve the best day every and I really hope that you get it. :-)
    Jen recently posted..Living with Seven Little Men?My Profile

  45. Perfect doesn’t exist – just happy with all you have, lumps and all! Happy birthday!
    Mel recently posted..Why Game Night is Like a Cage MatchMy Profile

  46. Beautiful family and lots to celebrate! :) Congrats!
    Paula @ Simply Sandwich recently posted..The Sandwich PocketbookMy Profile

  47. Happy, happy birthday! Love these sentiments and your focus on gratitude. A perfect reminder today. Enjoy!
    Mary @ A Teachable Mom recently posted..Projections & (Potter)moreMy Profile

  48. I hope you have an AWESOME birthday! I loved 35 and all the years since then. Enjoy!
    Mindy @ New Equus – A New Creation recently posted..Lessons I learned as a short-term missionary. (Part 2)My Profile

  49. Love this perspective!  Happy birthday and 35 years of fabulousness!
    Where is the ME in Mommy? recently posted..What I Think About: Magic Mike (and Hypocrites)My Profile

  50. Happy Birthday, Shell!! Your family picture is beautiful! I hope it was a wonderful day!
    Dawn @ Come Over For Coffee recently posted..Want To Know A Secret?My Profile

  51. Happy birthday! I hope you have the best day ever!
    Jennifer recently posted..Well, Balls!My Profile

  52. Happy Birthday, Shell! What a lovely family you have! I think that’s the key to happiness, appreciating what we have and not dwelling on what we don’t.
    Patricia P recently posted..Manners MatterMy Profile

  53. So perfectly put together. Love it!
    Tayarra recently posted..Why do I do it?My Profile

  54. MommaKiss says:

    Pretty sure a perfect life is unattainable. So. We make the best of it.

    Hope you have a super awesome Shell day! Much love to you.

  55. and Sugarland says it perfectly….
    Not a Perfect Mom recently posted..I love 50 Shades, butMy Profile

  56. Happy Birthday, Shell. I hope you enjoyed your day. I like your perspective. :)
    Kristin @ What She Said recently posted..If I Should Die Before I WakeMy Profile

  57. Happy Birthday girl! :) Love, love that portrait!
    Tammy recently posted..Thursday’s Connect Cafe – Social Media Link UpMy Profile

  58. happy birthday! This is my first time linking up. Finally got the courage after almost two years. Ha! You make 35 look GOOD, mama! :)
    Melissa recently posted..These are not chicken dinosaurs {Not-so-wordy Wednesday}My Profile

  59. Hope you had a lovely birthday – be amazed at how far you’ve come and accomplished this far – and look forward to all the adventures ahead!
    Debra recently posted..The “Grill-More” Girls – My Favorite Grill AccessoriesMy Profile

  60. Happy (belated) Birthday!!!! Hope it was a great one :) So glad you choose to CELEBRATE your 35 years. 
    Runnermom-jen recently posted..Make it a Good One…My Profile

  61. Fabulous outlook!  Happy belated Birthday!

  62. Happy Birthday!  The family pic is beautiful!

  63. Happy belated Birthday, Shell!  Thank you for the community you provide here.  And I love that picture of you with your family!  Gorgeous!
    Recovering Supermom recently posted..Shutting-Up the Mean Voice In My HeadMy Profile

  64. Happy (late) birthday Shell. Continue to enjoy your good life. 
    Jessica recently posted..Don’t Mess With The Torres ClanMy Profile

  65. Happy bday! Love the song. So true. Life, w/ its ups AND downs, is what makes us grow. Hope you day is wonderful!
    mare ball recently posted..Dropping the BackpackMy Profile

  66. Happy Birthday and well done! Sometimes its the imperfect that makes things, well, perfect… or at least exactly what they are supposed to be!
    Sorta Southern Single Mom recently posted..Writer’s Workshop: Writing a BookMy Profile

  67. Oh, wow, Shell. 1) I have missed you incredibly. Don’t get weirded out; but I think about you and then feel massive amounts of guilt that I haven’t followed along in far too long. Your writing always touches me, and you have done it again with this post. 2) HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I hope it’s a wonderful one, full of everything that makes you happy. The love of your beautiful family. The comfort of your closer friends. The fact that you are doing what you love. And 3) I promise never to take so long from visiting you here. Off I go now to catch up on YOU!

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend, Shell. XOXO
    Charlotte recently posted..how dating in my 30s is nothing like dating in my 20sMy Profile

  68. What a BEAUTIFUL family portrait!  And Happy Birthday.

    I just noticed your blurb on the top – didn’t know you were originally a yankee.  :-)
    Lady Jennie recently posted..What – Me Worry?My Profile

  69. That is a beautiful family picture! Happy birthday!
    Erica {let why lead} recently posted..Grasscloth RoundupMy Profile

  70. I think “a good one” sounds ideal ;)  Happy 35th!
    Meredith recently posted..Awesome Birthday Bash GiveawayMy Profile

  71. Happy birthday to you! I will be turning 35 next week. It is a big birthday and I am also happy I have so much love in my life!
    Jen recently posted..Two months untill twoMy Profile

  72. Aw, so sweet and true.  happy belated birthday, my friend!! xo
    Elaine recently posted..Play timeMy Profile

  73. I also don’t believe that there is such a thing that is perfect. In our life it is in our hands how we make it. Make the most out of it and you will say you can never ask for more. That’s just how I think every life should be. And the happiest part of it? It’s when we have those special people around us. 

  74. That was just too good. We are reading The Story as a church where I attend. The focus is God’s story and our story coming together.
    Laurie recently posted..Petty MeMy Profile


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