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What’s on my Mind

Isn’t it ironic that last week I declared I want to share what’s on my mind each week, then have kind of a crazy week, of which I don’t really want to share whats on my mind??  Some things I just can’t share because it affects other people, but  what I can say is that there was a day last week that I was in a dark place. I simply felt that too many things were bombarding me, that the devil on my shoulder was speaking louder than normal, and it was overcoming me at times.  It wasn’t a “bad week” per se, but I had some negative moments flashing intermittently with some pretty incredibly happy experiences as well. One day in particular, I didn’t care that my actions would affect other people, and for that day–I just wanted to give up being nice. Sometimes nice doesn’t get noticed or appreciated as much as we think it should, and something within me just wanted to revolt. I found myself driving alone in the middle of the afternoon (which is quite rare), and just sobbing as I drove. I wasn’t happy with myself for feeling this way. I get sad, I get my feelings hurt, but I don’t get angry much.

Gratefully, the only place I wanted to be was locked in my home with my own little family, nestled in front of the fireplace with the warmth of the fire taking it all away. My kids and I are in a great place. Them, with my husband, are my favorite people. I used to really thrive on social activities with other women, but I’ve found I need it less and less. I don’t have toddlers hanging on me, so I don’t need that “mommy break” as much as I used to when I had little ones. After that crazy tear filled drive, from the moment my husband saw me, he knew something was up. We hugged, and I just lingered there….he asked if I wanted to talk about it, and I said, “no, not really” which is odd because I usually want to talk about everything. He is an excellent listener. I didn’t want to expose him to the negativity in my head.

It’s normal that we all have junk that comes our way. We have good days, we have bad days, but it’s what we take of those blended experiences and come out with that molds us as a person, right? I’ve been blessed with a generally optimistic view on life, but I’ve also been burdened with very sensitive feelings of which affect my demeanor more than it should at times. I wish I weren’t so sensitive.

After a good nights sleep, I actually felt much better. It was amazing that I felt less plagued with the things I was so enraged about the day before.

cut down your own christmas tree

(I’ll be sharing a bunch of fun pictures of us at the tree farm later in the week)

I had some pretty fabulous experiences last week, aside from that one crazy day. Here are a few:

    • I hosted a birthday lunch for my live-in Sister in law with some ladies from church. I told her I was taking her to lunch, and surprised her with a bunch of ladies showing up at my home that she has gotten to know through her 2 year old toddler. It was an enjoyable little group, and I splurged on a Jason’d Deli delivery of their chicken salad (they put pineapple in it–YUM!) on croissants, and pinwheels (think cream cheese, spinach, and red peppers wrapped in a tortilla).
    • I got to join 2 pretty fabulous discussions with the missionaries at our church and a very dear friend of mine with her husband. My friend impresses me with her love and testimony of the Savior, and I LOVED coming together to share our common interest of living His gospel.  Sharing my faith is a big part of who I am, and to be able to do it on that level has been a great experience for me.

  • Today at church, we sang Away in a Manger. To some, it’s just another Christmas song. To me, it’s a reminder of a time in my life that I felt very low, and it strengthened me. I wrote about it in my love story HERE, and what was going on in my life at the time. But today, it was a whisper from my Father in Heaven to know that He’s aware of me and my needs, and of his love for me. The third verse goes like this: Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay; Close by me forever And love me I pray; Bless all the dear children In Thy tender care; And fit us for heaven To live with Thee there. In my interpretation, Our life experiences and how we handle them are how we are “fit” for heaven.
  • I have a dear friend that lost her Father to cancer just before Thanksgiving. I’ve cried as I’ve heard her gut wrenching pain in losing him, but felt peace in our shared understanding that she knows she will see him again. She shares my faith, and we believe that Families are Forever. I go through in my mind, what I would do or how I would react if I’d experience something as gut wrenching. I lost my grandmother last year, but she was 90 and lived a good long life, we knew it was coming. I know that life is full of pain, and I hate to let my mind go to the place of “what if’s.” They are there, and they are real. I would like to think I could have my friends’ strength.
  • Another HAPPY is that I was working on my Christmas cards last week, and sent a big bulk of them out–hooray!! I LOVE the tradition of sending cards, it’s my expression of love to those around me, or those I haven’t seen in a while to say, “I love and miss you!” It’s an investment, for sure, but part of my Christmas budget. I’ve already got cards from a few readers, and it’s SO fun to see your faces! If you send out Holiday cards–I’d love one!  HERE for my address. I’ll be sharing my cards and where I got them at the end of the week!
  • My family went to the Christmas Tree farm on Saturday, and cut down a tree!!  Though we have a nice tall, fake tree already up, I like to have a second smaller real tree for the smell, and look, but also for the fun tradition it’s become to cut it down. It was EXTREMELY COLD outside (for us Texans). We usually cut down our tree in 60 degree weather, but it was in the 20′s. We took the tractor ride, selected a tree, cut it, and threw it in the car in under 20 minutes.
  • We also did our annual take-the-kids-to-a-store-and-split-up-to-help-them-shop-for-each-other. We went to Target: my husband took the boys, I took the girls, we shopped for the boys, they shopped for us, then we did a one kid swap, and got most of it done all in an hour and a half. Whew! We usually wait til 2 days before Christmas, but carved out time after leaving the Tree Farm so quickly.
  • Today at church, in our adult Sunday School class, we were discussing strengthening our marriages, and how we overcome differences. I shared 2 stories: One I remember when my #2 baby was about 3 months old. I was strictly nursing (my babies never took bottles very well–I didn’t try very hard), and went out to dinner with some friends for some much needed social time. I borrowed a phone from a friend (I didn’t have my own cell phone for a year or two) to call and check on my husband and baby at home, but he never answered. It wasn’t til I got home when I asked why he didn’t answer, and my husband said, “Oh, I knew it was you checking on us, but he was screaming and I wanted you to enjoy your time, so I didn’t answer so you wouldn’t know. I could handle it just fine.” I’ve always been very grateful for his perspective, allowing me to have my “thing” and supporting it. I’ve had many friends who have had their husband call them while they are out, simply putting the screaming baby to the phone to let their wife know it was time to come home. In contrast, I shared about my husband love of cycling, and how it took me quite a few years to realize the importance for him to have his Saturday ride. Now I just know, it’s going to happen, I just need to find out when and plan our day around it. Give and take…
  • I went to H&M and Forever 21 the other day–I hadn’t been in over a year, and I found myself a few cute things;)
  • I wore red lipstick TWICE this week–it was fun! Tis the season for red…and dressing up a little, right?
  • I had a holiday baking day today and made lots of my favorite tried and true recipes. I made zucchini soup, corn flake Christmas wreaths, Chocolate Peppermint cookies, and Christmas crunch. We already delivered some to neighbors!

So that’s what’s on my mind today….what’s on your mind?

Kristen Duke

Kristen Duke

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Kristen Duke
Kristen Duke
Kristen Duke
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  1. I am glad to hear you are in a better place. You know, sometimes we all go thru those moments.

    I love the yellow and pink in your Christmas tree picture. So fun!

  2. I’m so sorry to hear that you had a rough day last week!! Those drives where you just bawl are quite cathartic, I have found. And I hear ya…I am extremely sensitive and it was actually kind of nice when I was on the anti-depressants because it nicely numbed my sensitive nature. But ya know what I keep telling myself (as I am re-learning to be sensitive again), it’s the sensitive ones that have empathy and know how to care for people. And that’s a gift from God. That’s what I’ve always loved about you Kristen! For someone who is so busy you still are able to take time out for the important people in your life. :) Anyway, done rambling. Love you!!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      THanks Rach, you made me tear up. I love hard, it’s true, and feel extra hard! Loved talking to you today!!

  3. Melissa Pippin says:

    I really enjoyed reading your blog today! Sometimes you just need to let it out and I can relate! And it’s refreshing to read about real life. Thank you!

  4. It is always a good day when I have a chance to read your blog, You have brightened my day from the first day that you were born. Hooray for you!

  5. Kristen, you inspired me to just write about what was going on in my crazy life this morning on my blog ;) I’m hoping that your weekly posts like this will keep reminding me to work on climbing out of my “blog shell” more often! :) I’m enjoying hearing about what’s on your mind, I hope you keep these up! :)
    Heather @ Raising Memories Blog recently posted..My New Gallery Box!My Profile

  6. Love reading your blog! Always nice to get our what is inside our heads. Your awesome inside and out!
    Jennifer Polson recently posted..Round Rock Child Photographer- Jack 1 year old sessionMy Profile

  7. Really enjoy reading your blog every time, but in particular love the raw honesty of this one. Love that your week started out a little bumpy but by the end you were rocking that red lipstick… You go girl! Also love the sweet comment from your Dad.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      My dad is pretty awesome, thanks for saying that;) Maybe I added the red lipstick to help pull me out, and it worked!

  8. I’m glad you are doing better. I’m so glad for What’s on my Mind Mondays!!

  9. Kristen, this post just made me cry, but in a good way! I had such a hard week last week too. It was all brought on by myself (mostly), but I have had the cry in the car moments, and sometimes you just need to have that time to cry, grieve and let off some steam. I share your same faith, and last year my friend lost her husband right before Thanksgiving. This year, just last month, another good friend lost his wife. Sometimes when you are so close to those who share your faith, you go through trials and losses, maybe more so than others because we have extended families through church associations. Ultimately, it is that knowledge that families are forever that have comforted me. It doesn’t remove my grief, both for my own losses, or those of a friend, but it gives me hope and helps me to not dwell in sadness.

    I am so inspired to try something similar on my blog. I think so many of us can relate to a hard week, overcome by the joy of family and faith. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful post. And adorable picture!
    Karen recently posted..Trashy Tuesday, You Don’t Always Get What you WantMy Profile

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Karen. It’s so true, the extended family through church feels just like family. It really does feel good to purge, though I’d almost prefer it be to people who don’t know me–I forget a few of my friends DO read, so I gotta be careful!!