My Little Duke

'Present over perfect'

MotherhoodSteph DukeComment
White Park Bay, Northern Ireland

White Park Bay, Northern Ireland

It's been too long ... I know. Even this very blog post has been sitting written and pending for weeks now...

Please forgive me, and hear me out. 


This part of my life - My Little Duke - has been saddeningly sacrificed as I've battled through my 5 day, full time teaching workload and mummy role to my 2 and a half year old daughter! It's been relatively easy to keep IG posts up to date but the shop, and the ... blog - I can only apologise and hope you'll stick with me!! This is not the next blog post I'd planned but these words found their way together just today (now weeks ago) so here goes ...


A week in April: It's been a challenging week. It's not been the week I'd been expecting and certainly not the week I'd ever expect to have. But it's been an important week for me. I've been forced to stop and evaluate. Stop and pray. Stop and take stock. For more time than I care to remember, but especially since January of this year, my life has been running at an exhausting pace. Always something to be done (usually what should have been done days, even weeks before!) One day I was forced out of my routine and into the unknown because of an incident. This 'unknown' for me is a frightening place but it's a place that I'm beginning to learn is where I'm actually supposed to be right now. 

Co. Sligo

Co. Sligo


It's Saturday today and the sun has been splitting the trees for the most part of the day. No plans were made and Phoebe ended up in bed between Matt and I at 9am. Matt made an interesting comment that really struck a chord with me.

He said, "it's been ages since we did this."

He was right.

I struggled to remember the last time we snuggled under the duvet on a Saturday morning - all three of us. Together.

The past few weeks/months have been and gone in a blur, with Matt and I, (more often than not) passing like ships in the night. So this morning was sweetly savoured. Those precious moments were enjoyed and ingrained in my memory as I vowed to ensure it wouldn't be so long until we did it again. This seems like an appropriate way to have started today. Little did I know that the rest of the day would be so important; what feels like a real turning point in my life. I needed a change. I needed a pause button. I needed this. I never thought that what happened to me would EVER happen. Yet it did. And it happened ... to me. I can't give you the details. Know this though...

I am fine and I am finding myself again. 


After breakfast the three of us headed off to our local park. I basked in the sunshine, watching Daddy and daughter potter around the park. We went round and round the roundabout while Phoebe squealed in delight as we whizzed faster and faster! She slid the slide countless times screaming, "Again, again!" after every turn. After the park we strolled the green fields before making our way to the bakery for our favourite iced and sugar doughnuts.



Phoebe was absolutely zonked, and as soon as we arrived home she went for her afternoon snooze. Matt headed off to his studio to mix and I popped the kettle on, grabbing a summer chair and 'Present over Perfect' by Shauna Niequist.

This book is a life changing one.

I'm not being hyperbolic here, I'm being honest.

Every page and every word have resonated so deeply with my soul and spirit. I had meant to finish it long ago but there never seemed to be the right moment. Today was the right moment. I settled in and began to read ... I don't know if it was the birds chirping, the gentle breeze, the clickety clack of a train passing nearby. Or, if it was the warmth of the spring sunshine as Phoebe snoozed peacefully after her morning adventures, but ...

I felt content.

I felt peace.

I felt more alive than I've felt for an awfully long time.

Glencar, Co. Sligo

Glencar, Co. Sligo

Shauna's words became so real to me and I began to realise that there are some serious changes that need to be made in my life. Deep down I knew I couldn't continue the way I was going. My life was like a tram, rolling at speed along a track, speeding up all the while and gradually getting out of control. I felt out of control of so many things in my life. I have spent the best part of the last 10 years dieting and I wouldn't dare to total up the number of times I've stepped on and off the scales in my bathroom. After spending such a long time controlling my eating, more recently, even that seemed to be slipping out of my control.

I was beginning to crumble from the inside out.

My hormones have been haywire and just coping with day-to-day mummy/house/teacher stuff has been a huge struggle. Interestingly, it has taken something completely unexpected and completely out of my control to make the biggest impact. In the aftermath of an intense week I sat in my front porch and Shauna's words came alive


"Learn to live lightly, freely, courageously, surrounded only by what brings joy, simplicity, and beauty."


Only God can truly satisfy our deepest longings and desires. In my total weakness, and sitting facing an uncertain outcome, I was utterly certain of one thing - Jesus.


He is everything. 


White Park Bay Beach

White Park Bay Beach

Moving forward, I intend to put a few markers in the sand, metaphorically drawing a line of separation between what's been and gone and what I am stepping into. It's Sunday now (again, this was weeks ago) and this verse was declared over our kids ministry this morning. I'm claiming it as my mantra for moving forward: 


"You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you."

~ Psalm 8 v 2 ~


It is with boldness in faith in Christ I go. Earthly future uncertain. Heavenly inheritance certain.