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On my Mind in April

Happy Monday, my friends! SO much on my mind today, but my heart is full of JOY for the blessings in my life. I’m brimming with love for my husband and children who make my heart swell on a daily basis. Here is our best Easter picture taken yesterday:

Easter Family Picture

It was windy, my hair went crazy, and the sun was bright in our eyes, but it makes me  happy. This is the best out of 10 or so…everyone thinks we are done taking pictures after 1 shot, what’s up with that? They should know by know, that 10-15 must be taken, I look to make sure there is a keeper, then we decide if we take more or not. Ha! Am I alone in this one?

My little brother and his family came in town for the weekend, they have 3 little ones younger than my youngest, and my kids just cling to them. It’s so sweet to see them with those little ones, makes me sad that we likely won’t add any more little ones to our brewd. My brother has lived in Texas the past 7 years, and they are moving to Tennessee over the summer, and I’m kinda sad about it.  My cute brother got home from church 15 minutes before us, and was hand washing a bunch of dishes to relieve me of them. So thoughtful, just like my dad does when he is here.

They have 3 red heads. The hair has gotten a bit darker as they grow up, but it will lighten in the summer.

Easter Weekend

My sister in law knitted these dresses for her girls, aren’t they amazing? She finished up the purple one just before church on Easter morning! I grabbed the green button from my stash. I’m so impressed with those skills, and the 30+ hours it took her, I don’t know that I’d have the patience and endurance for!

knitted dresses

On Saturday, we had a neighborhood egg hunt and a street “flashlight” egg hunt that was a lot of fun.  I made THIS carrot cake roll for our Easter feast—Mmmm, YUM!

I had a great Facebook chat with a friend in Chicago over the weekend. I love that Instant messaging feature on Facebook where you can be online with another and chat back and forth. She used to live here in Texas, and and we lamented we can’t hang out like we used to. We talked about people and their perceptions of us, and we both said that we feel inaccurately judged for having a perfect live. She said something that really stuck with me, that I think we all need to remember. Not one of us  is exempt from difficulty and trials, and though they might not be outward trials, we all have sorrows that the eye can’t see. She quoted a hymn that I love, “Lord, I Would Follow Thee.” The second verse says, “Who am I to judge another, when I walk imperfectly? In the quiet heart is hidden, sorrow that the eye can’t see.”  We all have those sorrows, that others just don’t see. And may never see. So don’t go thinking anyone is perfect or “has it all.”

It reminded me of a post I shared nearly a year ago.

While I love to highlight and share the joys, it doesn’t mean I don’t have the sorrows, too. I try to be “real” in these posts, but I also don’t want this to be a negative place, so I steer clear of that, too. Some people that I love the most and consider some of my dearest friends say it is hard for them to read my blog because they see how much I am doing, and it makes them feel bad about themselves. Comments like that make me want to throw in the towel and stop sharing, because it is not my intention at all. It breaks my heart into a million pieces that I would cause such feelings. I’m a crazy multi tasker, I get more done in life when I have a lot to do! I’ve let friends slip by the wayside a bit lately, as this blog has taken over my late nights and a lot of my brain power. One of my best friends had a baby over a month ago (in another state) and I just barely had the thought that I should send her a little gift. I should have done that earlier.

When I’m not thinking about this blogging business, I’ve fought to maintain and strengthen a good relationship with my kids. I love them so much, and sometimes I just want to lock our entire family inside the house and not deal with anyone else in the world. But I know I’d miss so much, and that’s not a way to live life, so we press forward. 

I digress…

All last week I was prepping for the big day, which wasn’t Easter….it was our Ballerina Birthday Party! Did you see the dance pictures of my now 5 year old girl? I’ll share her party fun later this week.

We are taking a long road trip very soon, and I’m trying to figure out how to prep for that. I can do this I found some audio talks I’m excited about, for the whole car to hear. I’m trying to decide how many to buy, when I want them all! See here.

My dearest blogging friends are meeting together at the end of this week to attend a conference. I went to it the last two years, but decided I just don’t need to go this year. It’s been hard to see them all prepping, and I’ve thought about buying a last minute ticket to surprise all of them, but there is a reason I decided to stay behind in the first place. I went to 4 conferences away last year, and one in February this year. I just don’t need it. But my heart is with them, as no one else really “gets” all that I do with this little piece of my heart, besides them. We live all over the country, and chat online quite a bit throughout the week, it’s just nice to get together and play.

Thanks for caring and still stopping by to read what I have to share! It’s truly a big part of what keeps me going, and the fact that I love it…

Kristen Duke

Kristen Duke

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Kristen Duke
Kristen Duke
Kristen Duke
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  1. Happy Easter! Great family pic. And yes, you need to take a whole bunch to get the keeper.

    I love the dresses that your nieces wore. Your sister-in-law is mighty talented, They are so pretty!

    I am curious, what is a “flashlight” egg hunt? Sounds fun!

    And that whole perfect life thing? No one’s life is perfect. I think that what seems perfect for one will not be perfect for another, and that sometimes jealousy gets in the way of us being happy for others. I think one way we spread joy is to be happy for others (virtual or in person). I appreciate that you share all that you do. Thanks!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Thanks, Nicole! I know I’m far from perfection, for sure! A flashlight egg hunt is at night, so you search for the eggs in darkness with the flashlight to guide the way. It’s really fun, and takes longer than the standard 10 seconds in a regular egg hunt!

  2. I totally forgot to even take a picture this year! By the time I realized this we were all changed into our relaxing clothes :) I have come across a lot of people that can’t read blogs or be on facebook without feeling inadequate and that makes me sad too. I mean, everyone will do what is right and best for them but I wish more often, that women could gain strength from one another and use that admiration they have to better themselves in areas that they wish to, without feeling discouraged instead.
    I love your darling family. Keep posting :)

    • Kristen Duke says:

      I lament over many pictures I forget to take…try another day! I’ll admit, I’ve turned off instagram for a bit because I see people getting together and I’m not included. I try to be very conscious about what I post because of that. But yes, I do get it. My sister in law feels that a little with my blog, but she knits those amazing dresses!!! I applaud what she does, knowing I wouldn’t have the patience.

  3. Nicole S. says:

    I just ran into the “One and done” scenario yesterday. I fire off one shot and people start to migrate from the area. Even when I take 10, there’s still that chance that there’s not a single one with all 20 people looking in the right direction, LOL! Even after all of our events with me asking for group pictures, I still get the huffing and puffing about ANOTHER picture. I wish people would grasp the reasoning behind it, that you can’t get a moment back, it only happens once, and tomorrow is not promised to anyone.

    Thanks for this amazing blog, you rock!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      YES!!! Seriously, we’ve taken enough pictures in the past that they should know—ha! I may or may not have thumped someone on the ear for not cooperating…

  4. The dresses are adorable! Would your sister-in-law mind sharing where she found the patterns? I have a granddaughter coming soon–she was due last Thursday, and would love to knit her a dress!!

    I really enjoy reading your blog!

  5. Do you mind telling me where you got your dress? I’ve been looking for a modest, lace dress everywhere!

  6. Joanna+S. says:

    Kristen, absolutely you must take several shots! I tell my “prisoners” up front that we’re going to take at least 3 but no more than 5 (because if I didn’t get it at 5, chances are things aren’t going to improve, lol) so don’t bother moving after the first one.
    Your section on others expectations? I feel for you. As long as you believe you are filling the roles and activities God has given you for that day and loved Him and showed His love to others in the process, that’s all you can do and others will need to examine why they feel they’ve fallen short. of course it’s WAY easier said than done, but when you leave others responsible for their own feelings and actions it takes the burden off of you. Thanks again for sharing.
    PS – the ballerina pictures were absolutely precious!

  7. Great read today as always!!!! You really can’t spend too much time worrying if others like what you are doing or if you have their approval. All you can do is live the best life for you and your family, which is sounds like you are. Rather than feeling sad, I feel inspired when I read what others are up to. Sometimes I even copy an idea or two for my family. Stay just the way you are, sounds like your doing a pretty good job to me

  8. Great family picture, in spite of the wind. We had the same problem with the wind on Easter. We take about 10-15 shots out of which one is hopefully good. Thanks for being so honest and sharing your heart!!