Thursday, September 15

Merci beaucoup

 Hey loves, thanks for being here:) Seeing as it's National Thank You Day, I really wanted to try and share what a hugely positive role that thankfulness has played in my life this last year and a half, as well as some little tips for expressing it more. I wanted to include something special with this post as well, so I've partnered with Merci® to help show how easy and fulfilling it is to say 'Thank You' through heartfelt expressions of gratitude.
To get right into it, every day since Martin was diagnosed 18 months ago, I have been so incredibly blessed and humbled and overwhelmed by the love sent our way. I've said it before, but I know that at the core of my happiness and positivity through the last 18 months has been the neverending support and encouragement from so many of you. I've tried and failed over and over to express my thanks for every caring gesture, every timely comment, every prayer offered, every batch of cookies, every dollar donated, every tender thought, but there are simply no words or ways to repay so much goodness and generosity. You guys are too good to us.

It has been so humbling, as I said, first to realize just how much people cared, that the world was such a beautiful place full of such giving people, and then to realize that I was no longer the independent and strong woman that I used to be and that I really needed the help.

One day last year I sat with a friend and expressed how much I wanted to give each of you sweethearts a big bear hug, and that I wished there was something that I could do in return for helping hold up my little struggling family. Her advice was to simply pay it forward once I got my footing again. She said that all we can do is to take those feelings of gratitude and put them back out into the world whenever possible, so that's what we started doing.

At least once a week for the past little while, the kids and I will pick up a small token of appreciation and deliver it to a special someone. It's become one of our favorite family traditions:) We love the Merci® boxes of European chocolates because they're beautiful and so delicious, they're very inexpensive and easy to find, and the intent is written right on the packaging! (Merci is french for "thank you":)). We like to wrap the boxes in a pretty ribbon before making the delivery, and they always remember who's turn it is to hold the box this time around. :)

Denis Waitley said "Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn, or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every moment with grace, love, and gratitude." I really believe that focusing part of each day on what and who we have to be grateful for, even in the midst of terrible trials, that we can see the hope in each day we're blessed to be alive. Life is really a series of thousands of little miracles if we take the time to notice them. There is always something or someone to be grateful for. Always.
Today will never come again, so be a friend, be a blessing, encourage someone, choose to be happy, choose to be excited, take the time to care, let your words heal instead of wound, and simply say Thank You! We lift ourselves and others when we live with gratitude, and express it as often as possible. *steps off soapbox*

What are some ways that you like to express gratitude or teach your children about being thankful? This is the perfect time of year to work on ideas, so please share!

 This post was sponsored by Merci. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the partnerships that support The Freckled Fox!

Monday, September 12

For those who listen

I saw a quote the other day by Will Shakespeare that read "The Earth has music for those who listen." 
This inspired what I wanted to touch on today. My first post back after such a long silence here.
image via

I'm happy to say that in time that's passed since I posted that list of goals, my little family and I were able to do everything I wrote on that list, at least once:) One thing that I've been focusing a lot on however that was not on the list, is more listening. 
Listening to the silence, 
listening to my children, 
listening to the breeze, 
listening to my heartbeat,
listening for guidance,
listening to my friends,
and lets be honest, listening to lots of tantrums and timer beeps and the whirring of laundry machines.

As I took time every day lately to stop and listen, to take a couple deep breaths, and to center myself, I began to see my days in a different light. I've felt for the first time in a while that I am actually contributing to my friendships again, that I'm able to be a more understanding and patient mother, that I've been able to better control my anxiety, and that I've been able to see a loving hand in my every-day life. I'm challenging you guys for this week to make a conscious effort to listen more. Pause, breath, and listen, and then come back and let me know if you saw any positive effects that might not have happened otherwise:)

We have had so many moments of happiness in the last little while, and I've done so much soul-searching and self-discovery, and so much has changed and happened that I can't wait to share with you all! So many of you have commented or messaged or sent mail and care-packages during that time, letting me know that we were still being lifted up by happy thoughts and prayers, and I can't thank you enough. 

Be back soon, I promise

Monday, August 1

Flowers yet to grow

Today was the ultimate fresh start. A new month, beginning on a Monday morning. You know how much of a sucker I am for days like this. I woke up this morning and breathed in little goals and dreams like air. Lately, I have adopted so many different rituals and routines to help me feel in control even a tiny bit, and the kids have loved picking new traditions and having some structure in our day-to-day, a little at a time. I know that keeping my mind and body as active as I can since his passing has helped and is helping keep me grounded and distracted all at once, and the way I see it the more things I can fit into our life right now that does that, and that brings us closer together and make us all happier, the better.

So today I'm trying to begin, if even a tiny bit. New beliefs in myself and my abilities, new patterns of thought, new little lists of projects and activities. As I've said before, at the end of the day I still have to keep going for my little kiddies. I literally am forced to get out of bed every day by 5 voices calling for me, for breakfast, or help getting their shirt on, etc. This month though, today, I took lots of deep breaths and thought about all the things we have ahead. There is still so much more ahead. So if I can help it, our August will be full of much more.

More evening bike rides after dinner,
more baking together in the kitchen,
more reading on the hammock,
more road trips together,
more blanket forts,
more dress-up,
more writing,
more roasting hotdogs,
more cartoon snuggles on moms bed,
more singing Adele at the top of our lungs,
more sunsets on the roof (just me:)),
more running in the garage(also just me),
more hikes in the woods,
more adventures,
more creating,
more exploring,
more dreaming,
more healing,
more hoping,
more love.

There's a quote by Gaby Compr├ęs that I shared on my Instagram that says:
"There are stars you haven't seen and loves you haven't loved. There's light you haven't felt and sunrises yet to dawn. There are dreams you haven't dreamt, and days you haven't lived, and nights you won't forget, and flowers yet to grow. And there is more to you that you have yet to know."

I do feel hopeful today, so I'm writing this while that feeling lasts.
I feel like our future is brighter than the darkness that follows me constantly. I wish I could explain what a huge role you play in that hope, and that such a large part of my often positive attitude is always attributed to the constant encouragement flowing my way from you friends, truly. I need you to know that.

In wrapping up tonight I have to apologize for how jumbled I feel all of my thoughts are lately, I just have so much on my mind and it's hard to find the right words. I look forward to sharing the new traditions, routines and things that have been working well for myself and the kiddies here with you sometime.


Wednesday, July 27

a fallen tree

The babes are all asleep and the house is quiet. The only sounds I hear are the crickets outside the open window, and the clicking of the keys beneath my fingertips. I imagined starting this post with some bullet points about what I've been up to with my little ones lately, with maybe a couple photos out of my archives added in, but that'll all have to come another day. Tonight I have a couple thoughts instead.

There's a great philosophical question to the effect of; "If a tree falls in the woods with no one around to hear it, does it even make a sound?" It's a question about observation and our knowledge of reality if there is no witness to it. Since my sweethearts passing(six weeks ago today), one of my greatest struggles has been feeling like that fallen tree. Wondering to myself that 'if the most important witness to my life is gone, and I'm on my own as a mother to so many small children, what does any of it matter? and do I even matter?'
I know the right answer to those questions of course, and feel silly even typing them, but with each busy day and quiet night, every time I reach for a hand that's no longer there, and every morning waking from sweet dreams only to have my new reality come rushing back at me all over again, I can't help but feel that way.

I do have five little witnesses, though, and they don't let me forget it for a minute:) In their sweet innocence, they see when I'm exhausted and when I put in effort. They notice when I smile and when I cry, they thank me for cooking, and compliment me when I do my hair. It's not quite the same of course, but I'm adjusting all the time. I have to.

Mothering is my life now, my purpose, and that's enough for me.

They need me, and I need them more. No matter how crippled I may feel by Martin's absence, or when I feel like giving up, they've always there to keep me grounded. They've gotten me through so much already. I'm doing it for them, because even when I may have feelings of meaninglessness, they mean everything to me. They're my whole life now, my little pile of children. They hear when I fall, and they're right there to help me back up, along with all of you dears out there:)

How lucky I am.

P.S. Thank you so much for encouraging me to share what's on my heart, and I hope you're okay with many more late-night thoughts like this moving forward. xoxo