Highlights of 2017

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2017 has been a great year for me. I’ve heard some say it’s been a bad one…maybe so. Maybe for the nation, bad stuff has happened, but I tend to notice the good. My family is happy and healthy and I feel fulfilled in many aspects of life that a few years ago I didn’t.

I’ve had some great travel adventures, my children are thriving in school, in friendships, and with each other, and my husband and I have weathered personal storms together.

I’m not big on making goals on January 1st because I do it throughout the year, (and I don’t like the pressure) but I made this printable a few years ago that is about improving oneself in different aspects of life 

In 2018, I’ll turn 40 (did you see my 40th birthday bucket list?) I’ve got 6 months to go!!!

MY LATEST VIDEOS

{Me, December 31, 2017}

I was feeling reflective today, and wanted to share a few of my thoughts. Since I’ve been blogging, I haven’t been so good at journal writing, so I like to have these types of reflective posts every once in a while for my future self/children, and if you want to read along, then happy to have you!

The blogging business:

My business has continued to challenge, frustrate, and bring me joy. Each year it changes and I have to figure out how to do things differently, but I’ve had a great group of colleagues (blogger friends) that help me with those changes and for that I’m so grateful. I still enjoy it a lot, but with so many details, it’s hard to keep up sometimes, so I take breaks.

I actually had a really humbling experience at the end of last year that I’ve been wanting to document. I turned down a really amazing opportunity to work with Southwest Airlines (dream gig!) because it would compromise standards that I didn’t feel comfortable with, doing a LIVE broadcast on location (in another country) on a Sunday.

Though I tried to convince myself it “wasn’t that big of a deal” to do it just that one time, I thought of my kids and seminary class that I’m encouraging to keep the Sabbath Day holy, and I just didn’t feel good about.  It was a big deal to me. I turned it down…I cried as I turned it down, but if felt right. I knew that by turning it down, I would be blessed. The biggest blessing is recognizing a prompting, following a prompting, and acting on it. It’s something I seek for daily in my mothering, so I had to follow through.

Not only was it a cool opportunity to DO, but it was one of the first where I was asked by a brand to take a “business trip” that I was excited about. There were a few others that had asked, and it just didn’t interest me. Part of the deal was I’d seen blogger friends go on trips with brands, and I was admittedly envious. So to turn this down was a REALLY BIG deal, and it was a hard decision emotionally. Did I mention it was tough?

So I turned it down in November…and then just a few weeks later I was invited out to the Hershey’s headquarters, then in July I was invited to Chicago with Yoplait, then Minneapolis with General Mills creating in the Betty Crocker Kitchen, then San Fransisco with Albertson’s. More than once in the past year, I thought to myself…THIS was my blessing for doing something REALLY hard. I was REALLY excited about those, felt honored and humbled to be asked. I’m feeling grateful.

Buzz and Lucky General Mills Headquarters

Family Highlights of the year:

My husband and I took an amazing getaway to Cancun in February that almost didn’t happen because of a passport snafu. It was the first time in a few years that we took a trip together, though we’d done a local over-nighter each year, this trip was really really great for us. It was just 3 days, but it was AMAZING! Just before that trip, I had heard the song, “In Case you Didn’t Know” by Brett Young, and we heard it a night on this trip, and it just spoke to me…about our relationship, and it made me fall 10x more in love with my man. It was our first trip we took with friends, and I wondered if it would prevent our own couple bonding, but it really only enhanced it. Read all about it on that first link.

My dad got re-married in April, and we had a great experience meeting our new bonus family. There has been a lot of emotions to work through, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to grow closer to my siblings and dad as we stepped into this new chapter of life together.

If you haven’t read, I shared several posts and a video interview of my dad and Stephanie (my bonus mom) on re marriage after being a widow. Click on that link to get started with that reading.

That trip, we also spent a day and a half in Bryce Canyon, which was a slice of heaven to me.

We spent two fabulous weeks in July galavanting around Utah. My husband had to fly home early, and my boys went to a camp while my girls and I played around town for a week.

I then took up a big challenge (that I had not done before) and drove the 22 hours solo, thinking I could easily have my oldest drive if needed, but I didn’t. His friend was also with us, and we had quite a blast…his buddy took this shot below…I love it, my posse!

In August, I went to Peru with my siblings and dad and their spouses. It was very sad that my husband wasn’t able to go because he couldn’t get off work, (I encouraged him to go on a week campout with our boys instead) but I was able to still have fun nonetheless. It wasn’t on my bucket list, but I’m glad I had the opportunity to go.

Watching my boys not just run together in high school, but grow closer has been so amazing as a mom. They are the best of friends, and that makes my heart burst with all kinds of joy. Having the opportunity to be both of their early morning seminary teacher (#2 this year) has been one of the greatest blessings of my motherhood. It’s been HAARRD but so rewarding.

Family Halloween Costumes were pretty fun! Glad I got all the boys to cooperate.

In November, visiting our cabin in the woods vacation rental home, a cool red barn. I love our 2-3 day getaways to a spot somewhere in Texas.


December…Christmas card pictures in a vintage red Jeep and matching Christmas jammies!

Red Truck with Christmas Tree Christmas Card

I just love family pictures…have I mentioned that??

Matching Christmas Pajamas

So with all of that, here is my goal for 2018. This just says to me, try a little harder to be a little better.

be awesome

And if you made it this far, I’ll tell you a little secret:  I’m starting a podcast in January! I’m knee deep into preparing for it, so just wait a few weeks and you’ll get more details. It’ll tie into a lot of what I’m already doing, just in a different way, I’m really excited about it!

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Comments

  1. You did so many amazing things this year! You are such an inspiration to me as a blogger and as a person!

  2. What an exciting year. It looks like great fun. Could you please source your pajama pants for the family. Our extended family is going to be doing a late fall vacation and I’d love for us to do a pajama picture for a Christmas card next year. I know I’d never get everyone to cooperate in picking Christmas pajamas but the colors you choose are great. Thanks

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Our pajama pants were from Old Navy, but I had a friend who does altering, make my youngests pants smaller from an XS, hope that helps!

  3. Looks like you (and your family) had an awesome year! I’m excited to hear your podcast. I love your “resolution” I can definitely be more awesome.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Totally attainable to be more awesome…haha! I’m excited to get my podcast going (so many loose ends I’m tying up). Thanks for the excitement!

  4. Norman Hill says:

    I loved the year end review and the photos that went with it. Any chance of another opportunity with Southwest Airlines?

  5. Bryce Canyon is really awesome place…

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  13. Looks like you (and your family) had an awesome year! I’m excited to hear your podcast. I love your “resolution” I can definitely be more awesome.

  14. You did so many amazing things this year! You are such an inspiration to me as a blogger and as a person!

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