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Happy Birthday Karen! Your blog is such a great gift to me. I love reading it. Welcome to the 40's :)


Happy Birthday Karen! The next forty will be fabulous! You inspire me in so many different areas with every single post!!! Thank you!

nicole prather

happy birthday karen. hope your day is the best ever.

im 35 going to 36 and i remember my mother in law telling me that her pastor had told her that your thirties are the hardest in your life. and i come to find out he is right. but you do grow in your hardest times.

age is a number.

you are the most talented photographer i know and your blog is like my addiction to void out the world for a couple a minutes a day and know that i am not alone in my eyeballitis !! love it.

but at the end of the day i know that my God is greater than anything or anybody and i trust him that the road that we are on can be rough but we are never alone on this journey. and that makes the uncomfortableness of us growing not so bad.

xoxxo. you are amazing !



Happy Birthday Karen!!!! Hope your day and weekend are wonderful! Love your blog post!

Melinda T

Happy Birthday! Enjoy your special day!


Happy Birthday! I am turning 40 this month, too, so your reflections were very encouraging.

Heather T.

Happy birthday, dear Karen! I know your 40s are going to be amazing!


Happy happy birthday Karen! You do 40 very good! I had no clue we shared the same birthday. I hope you enjoy your special day.

Melissa Ladd

Happy birthday, Karen!! I loved reading this, thank you!

Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita

A beautiful and insightful post, and one I know I am going to read again. A very Happy Birthday Karen. You're gonna be a fabulous 40!


Happy birthday!! I'm a few years behind you in age, and I hope I can embrace the new era with content.


I think you are already wise beyond your years. I learn from you every post. I live in Alaska and I love to "see" my home through the eyes of tourists who visit every summer. You are able to see things you otherwise miss, you see beauty you take for granted on a daily basis. That's what I wish for you; that you could see your specialness through the eyes of your readers. And then you would know you are so beyond "OK".....

Happy 40th!


Happy, Happy Birthday, Karen!!!!

Jen Spain

Welcome to your 40's Karen! It's a good place to be. My 40s are way better than my previous decades, and this article might even give you reason to look forward to 50:

Rachel Millington

Happy birthday honey! I turn 40 on the 27th so obviously all the best people are turning 40 this January hahaha! I'm ok with it as well. Turning 30 was awful but 40, I'm ok.

Jennifer O

Happy Birthday!


Happy Birthday Nellie Olsen Russell Downs!!! 40's are GREAT!!! :)

p.s. I'm with you on #3. I tend to be black and white too....and have absolutely no desire to read "grey"! :)


Happy 40th Birthday, Karen!


Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday, Karen!!
Love you, girl....but, don't fool yourself....FORTY is not gonna be "ok"....It is Gonna be GREAT!!!!! :-)
You are awesome in so many beautiful ways...Forties will be the decade where you just might come to see yourself the way that the rest of us who love you dearly see you! <3


Firstly Happy Birthday to my friend I'm glad your family made a song and a dance (ha ha) about your birthday. Secondly you can still be 40 and be silly.... All the photos I've done with my kids at my age make you young. Like taking the smallnChristmas Tree to the park setting the camera up on the tripod and taking a Christmas photo of the kids and I and back then in 2008 I didn't have a remote for the camera so had to run over to the tripod in between shots. It had been raining heaps before hand so the ground was soggy and wet. All these joggers were jogging along the part and looking. I did feel a little biti self conscious but it was about me and the kids and our Christmas photo and if you can't be silly life would be very dull.

I got married at 38, had James at forty and Sienna at 42 and separated at 44 however the marriage was miserable once he started cheating, lying and excessive drinking every night. I survived on my fix of chocolate and I believe being my age (mature) and I think what you faced as a young 19 year old girl having a baby and studying and I think that is one strong girl. I would not have coped with a situation like that so you should take credit that you got through such a overwhelming situation as a young girl. Many people admire your courage. Your blog gave me hope that there would be life after love and marriage and I loved your chance meeting and romance with Josh Downs. Everyone knows every day in a relationship is not wonderful but there is supposed to be more wonderful than less wonderful and it's real life.

And one final bit of advice, there are lots of people out there in the world that will out you down (in real life and Internet life where people haven't even met you yet they get to have an opinion about you) SO...... There is no need for you to do it... You should love yourself flaws and all because you can try to improve and be a better person however you should be your biggest fan club. Just because you didn't exercise or due clutter the spare room you may have needed the break or focused more on family or business..... If you don't love yourself how do you expect strangers to love you. There is no need to be down on yourself ever but accept that we can always be nicer, more patient lose more weight and have an organised house. So on that note the year you are turning 40 I'm turning 50 so in comparison you are a baby!! Have a great year and enjoy it. All the best Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia


You are a wise woman...40 will be good to you.


Happy Birthday!!! I'm a decade behind you and oh so grateful for your thoughts you shared. I love reading your blog. It's real. I love that. Hope your birthday was wonderful!

Kathy C.

Happy Birthday! I love my 40's even more than my 30's!!! ENJOY!


Happy Birthday Karen, you are amazing, our God is amazing. Have a great day :)


Happy birthday Karen! They say 40 is the new 30. Enjoy and welcome to the club :)


You are more than ok with SHINE!! Your love, wisdom, openness, wholeheartedness, and honesty are cornerstones of you. May the next decades be filled with more love, wisdom, openness, wholeheartedness, honesty and more blogging. At 60+ I need to hear your words and gaze at your talent. Happy birthday to my favorite blogger/photographer.

mandy friend

happy birthday girly! i look older than you at just turned 32 than you do at 40 so i kinda don't like you ;) may this be a year where you are totally blessed ~ mandy


40 and very, very wise! Happy Birthday Karen!!

Kathy R

I'm a decade older than you and by what I just read.... I think you've got this 40's stuff. You're going to be more than OK, you're going to shine! Happy Birthday!


Happy, happy birthday! Now another reason to like you even more. You're a Capricorn just like me. Enjoy 40!


Happy, happy birthday Karen. You are an inspiration to so many women. Please keep up the great work!! I LOVED my 40's and hope yours are as amazing as you are.


happy birthday karen! as much as i dreaded turning 40 a few years ago i have to say it's not so bad :) may all the wishes you made on your birthday come true!!

Aimee B

Happy Birthday, Karen! I turn 40 this year too!

Aimee in Corvallis


Fourty is liberating I truly believe. All the mistakes and growth from my younger self have shaped who I am today. And I too am ok with me. Happy Birthday my friend Karen! You deserve oodles of goodness in this next year ahead!

Vanessa Menhorn

Happy Birthday, Karen!!! You look fabulous! Although I originally started reading your blog because of your amazing scrapbook pages, I have never stopped reading it. Thank you for sharing "you", you inspire me in many ways. Greetings from Germany!


Yep... I'm pretty darn sure that 40 will be very, very good to you. And, 41... and 42... and so on. :) Happy (Belated) Birthday, Karen!


Happy Birthday Karen! Your 40s will be AWESOME!

Nicky from Okotoks

Happy Birthday Karen. Wishing you an amazing year!! It only gets better.

Ember S.

Great word!!
I'm pretty sure we were separated at 3 years, 2 months and some-odd days...just sayin'...

And....Happy Birthday!!


Happy Birthday, Amazing Karen!


Happy Birthday Karen! Enjoy your 40's.


I sure love you! You have a great spirit and are a loving, wonderful woman.


Happy Birthday, Karen!!! You WILL continue to make a difference in this new decade of life. I love you to pieces!


I had no idea you were 40! I celebrated my 40th in August. Everyone makes such a big deal out of it, but I'm just glad to be here. 40 is going to be great!


Happy (belated) birthday Karen!! And there's no maybe about it- you are more than ok. Love you!


Happy Happy Birthday Karen-- 40 will be fantastic! I have loved your blog for years and I aspire to learn more and more of your photography skills because you are my IDOL! Have a blessed year at 40 and YOu will love it-- all the insecurities of the 20s and 30s go away. I loved 40 and now that I am 50 I am soooo happy to be here and its awesome! Enjoy and God Bless you!


Happy birthday Karen! Wishing you an abundance of God's richest blessings. May you always be surrounded with a lot of love.


Karen Russell, you are pretty amazing.

Sherri Couture

Happy Birthday. Best blog post ever! Thank you for inspiring me and others!

Maria Glazener

The 40's are great! I am half-way through mine! And just think, once that foot heals, you will be the youngest in your race age group and can whip all those "old ladies"! I think we all spend too much time worrying about the things we can't change. What is done is done and we need to embrace the here and now and find the things that make us happy! And you Karen, are one of the things that make me happy!
Happy Birthday!!


Oh snap! Happy Belated Birthday Karen!

Julie Pilch

HAPPY BIRTHDAY KAREN!!!!! May your 40s be wonderful!


Happy Birthday Karen! 40's are good; 50's are incredible...don't you love having something even better to look forward to?? You are an incredible woman, wife, mother, sister, daughter, grand-daughter and must be an amazing friend and mentor. Karen you have all the qualities that I would want in a sister/best friend. Go are amazing!

Sherry Cartwright

Happy birthday, Karen! My eight-year-old daughter said, "Forty, no way! She looks 18!"


Happy Birthday -- I am loving your hair in this pic, btw :)


Happy Birthday, Karen! You are so generous and article---I'd say I wanna be just like you when I'm your age, but I've got 3 yrs on you.

On "point" I can't resist making---you can't say "made all the wrong choices" because you made the beautiful, incredibly scary choice of having your child. I've never met your Ross, but feel like I know him from your blog and the world is so in your debt for that brave choice of yours. The circumstances may not have been ideal, but the most important choice was a great one.

I hope I made more of a difference than a point:)


Great blog post Karen. Happy Happy Birthday!!!!


♪♫♪ Happy Birthday Karen! ♪♫♪

Lorraine M.

Happy Birthday! :)


Happy Belated Friend!! #6.... wow, totally spoke to me!! good word indeed!! i'm probably going to steal this post for some notes to study on all the time!! smooch!!

Patti S.

Happy 40 Karen...40 for me was wonderful...this past august i turned 50...THAT one was hard to swallow...i think i am officially classified as old (although i don't feel it)...and if AARP doesn't QUIT SENDING ME THEIR CARDS i am going to scream!!!! Am not ready for that yet...ugh!!

Laura Davis

Happy 40th Birthday, it's gonna be great.....

Sailed through 40's and going to be at the halfway into my 50's in April...

Don't feel a day over 35 !!

Laura Plunk Davis

lauren, two, FOUR and six.
you totally pegged me with those!
i hope i can rock 40 like you did girly! congratulations!!!!
take care!


Congrats on the birthday! Hope you enjoy it! Always love when you do a list post. Don't know why but just do! :)Love your blog and hope this year is the greatest ever!


Happy belated birthday. Love your blog, your pictures, you...

Thought I'd share a quote that I have come to embrace:

"there has got to be a better way to live this one, short, precious life than by going around counting the ways I suck".  Nathalie Hardy


Happy belated birthday Karen! I turn 40 at the end of the month so I can relate to a lot of what you've written. xoxo

Diane W.

Happy belated birthday! What a way to start the new year... with a milestone b-day. My husband's b-day is New Years Eve and my son's is the 22nd so we have lots of celebrating goin' on this time of year too. Have missed seeing you at the gym, we have since changed the day that we go. Wishing you and your family a Happy New Year!

Elizabeth B

Karen, sorry for the bleated birthday wish but here it is anyways.
Happy Birthday Karen Russell. 40 or otherwise you are pretty amazing and don't you forget it.
We have all had struggles...and you're right, it's what makes us who we are today.
Even though we've never met, I really identify with you for some reason and your daily life and enjoy reading the real mom stories. I guess it's what makes you so down to earth.
Enjoy your 40's! I'm right behind you and can't wait to hear what they are all about.

Nike Free Run 2

However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names.

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The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for circumstances they want, and if they cannot find them, make them.


Happy Birthday are very okay:-)

Pam McCarley

A belated happy birthday, Karen. I love your list of what you are beginning to understand. From what I know of you, you are strong, you are gentle, you are talented, you are fun to be around, you are a good listener, you are a great mom, you are loving, you are introspective, and you are growing into what God wants you to be. Give yourself a hug.

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