Posts tagged Inward Facing Girl
A Book Tour featuring Melanie Biehle

Hello my lovely readers! I have a magnificent surprise for you. I've hoodwinked Melanie of Inward Facing Girl and Genuine Mix into starting her new book tour right here with us on Pars Caeli. For those of you who haven't heard me rave about it yet, let me fill you in on the details. Melanie recently published her e-workbook, Blog with Purpose: It Takes More than Top Knots. If you're not in love just from the title (I was), you soon will be as you click through the powerful exercises and personal stories that will make you laugh out loud.

Other great news...Melanie is kicking off a new Thursday series on Pars Caeli entitled For the Love of Blogging, and she's agreed to answer all of my nitty gritty questions about what keeps her fabulous. Also, if you ever meet her in person, ask her for a hug - she gives the best. Enjoy friends!


I've been blogging since February of 2009. Actually, here's a funny story that I've never told anyone except Drew, and I only told him recently. I started an extremely short-lived blog in 2003 called "Kate in L.A." It was on Blogger and I might have written in it for a month or so (as "Kate") before I deleted it. At that time I was really into screenwriting and Hollywood and movies and I was living in L.A., so it was about local shops and the entertainment business. HA! But back to my real blog. I started that to get back into writing creatively again after leaving the entertainment world. Here's more about it, if you're interested.

Image by Sandra of Raincoast Cottage

Kate in L.A. is pretty funny. Other than that, probably the fact that I had left my name off of my About Me page for two years before I noticed it. :)


It's become such an ingrained part of my life that I can't imagine not doing it. It's like waking up and sleeping and eating. I won't say showering, because I probably blog more often than I shower. TMI? :) 

Ha...actually showering. I keep a notebook in the bathroom now to write down ideas that come to me underneath the suds. I started doing that because once I slipped down after jumping out of the shower and racing off to find a pen and paper to write something down so my poor postpartum brain would have a reminder. Being a blogger can be dangerous, kids.

Almost all of them are written by women (ALMOST) - the writing is strong, the design is good, and/or they reveal personal things as well as share cool stuff.
Wow. Everything would be different. What would I do with all that extra time?! Maybe I could start reading blogs again!  
I can give you a hint.
There's been such a good response to Blog with Purpose that I'm launching an online workshop in mid-April. It's a six-week interactive course all about creating content. There will be exercises, feedback, and a Facebook group for all participants. I'm even trying to work in a way to use Pinterest in one of the exercises because, you know, we like to pin stuff. 
Anything that's based in creativity makes me super excited, and this course is going to help all of us access that place in our brains where the cool stuff comes from. Let's learn how to create unique, fresh, awesome content together! If this sounds fun, be sure to sign up for my email list for more information on registration and launch dates.
Isn't she a charmer? And girlfriend knows her stuff, too. I've been working through the chapters from Blog with Purpose, and I have learned a ton. Melanie has set up a great series of practical, useful exercises that help you move your blog to the next level. I appreciated that her tone is aimed at digging deep and finding what you really want out of your blog and then helping you execute that dream.

Melanie gives you answers to all the questions you've been wanting to ask (how much should I charge? do I need a business blog?) and offers really great what-not-to-dos that have made me blush, knowing I'm a little guilty. No worries, I have a new plan already in place

I hope you'll take a look at her workbook; you can even download a free sample to get a feel for the content!

Big thanks and big hugs to Melanie. Follow Pars Caeli on Twitter to see her next stops on the Book Tour over the next two weeks or check over to get the complete line up on Inward Facing Girl.
xoxo, MJ
The August Break

Hi friends!

We are just back from a lovely family excursion to Chicago. Trains, subways, boats, cars, and a whole lot of walking have brought us back home. I am pooped from an exciting three days. I was so proud of myself for having Monday and Tuesday posts ready to go while I was away, and now I return home to a whole lot of laundry and dishes so I'm going to do something I rarely do.

Give myself a break.

The August Break.

Have you heard about this one? I heard about it from Melanie, and then I followed over to Susannah Conway's blog. Feel welcome to check and see what it's all about and copy yourself a badge because Katrina made some nice options!

                                                           August Break 2012


We spent 3 hours (without drinks or snacks) soaking up the entire Art Institute of Chicago. This is one of my favorite photos. That's a smile you see appearing on the right cheek of my daughter, C. The kiddos loved experiencing the size and detail of the artwork.

My heart smiles so big from getting to be their Momma for this one. More of Mommy and Daddy School coming soon...for now...full hearts. XOXO, MJ

Grown-Up Goodness: Meet Mentors

I pray about this blog. And in my prayers, I pray that this space might be one that is helpful to my family, my readers, and to me. I had no concrete reason for beginning this effort (no causes to push, no major life event or home remodel, no new adventure), but I did feel (forgive the slightly cheesy nature here) called to live a more creative, fuller life through this way of sharing with the world. And, I believe that God works often in the people that He places in our lives.

So, when this summer began, and I crafted my own list of summer experiences, I had a vague category pertaining to blogging and creativity. I knew that I wanted to grow more, learn more, and challenge myself more. I did not know that lovely women like Gabrielle, Jennifer, and Joy would all be so kind to invite me share a bit of their web space to talk about life, creativity, family, and fun. Nor did I realize amazing ladies like Paige and Janae would become real life friends through their writing and support.

Though I'm slightly more introverted than extroverted (just 1 point on the Myers-Briggs scale), I can surprise myself when it comes to meeting new people. Maybe it's my experience of many childhood moves or my desire to make the most of the time I've got on the planet, either way, I love the energy that comes with meeting people I admire. In this case, some great bloggers who so generously offered to sit down with person.

Example #1

This is the talented, enthusiastic Amy Allen Clark. She's kind of a big deal around here - making news appearances, getting her own book deal, and hosting a very informative blog called

When I tweeted her about my status as a new blogger, she replied right back, insisting that we should meet for coffee. *Gulp.

Just to put it in perspective, I looked at her Twitter numbers. At the time she had a little over 11,000, and I had a little over...100.

Nevertheless, I said I would be honored to meet up (because I would be and was). Despite one reschedule for child illness, we made the date.

I learned a ton just hearing about her experiences as a writer, marketer, blogger, and mom. This lady has it all together and knows how to create beautiful projects, delicious food, and find opportunity to match her inspired spirit. I am so excited to read her new book (not yet published), and it feels great to know that I have someone I can call upon for advice and ideas.

Example #2

This is the smart, creative Melanie. She's a writer, designer, blogger over at Inward Facing Girl. I first heard about her in a class I was taking where she was described as "a writer who can really talk about anything in an interesting way." So true, check her out.

She was so kind to meet up with on her vacation. Really, who's that sweet? My fam had a few hours at the beach as I stole away for smoothies and coffee. I've been a creative professional for 13 years now, and I have never been so happily overwhelmed by the creative generosity I've experienced from other bloggers. Melanie was so warm and had a ton of great (unsolicited) ideas for ways I could grow my blog and connect to other fabulous people.


I share these stories with you, reader friends, because 1. I think you should go hang out on these ladies' blogs and give them some comment love and 2. I know that you have people you admire/follow, people you'd love to learn from (or just hang out with), and I'm telling you to go for it. Stick your neck out there and meet them. Like, in real life. And try to not to sweat your outfit too much like I did. Both times.

I'm most grateful to God for placing these new friends into my life and for the gifts they've so freely shared. I'll continue to pray that my blogging brings goodness to those who inspire it and those who read it. And I'll be grateful for the companions along the journey, too.

Who are you hoping you'll meet?