Posts tagged appreciation
Pennies for Love: A Note for Thanksgiving

One week from today, Americans will gather in the homes of friends and relatives to enjoy each other's recipes and companionship. Our traditions may vary from home to home, but the sentiment of gratitude threads through all of the football watching, strained family moments, and even food preparation/clean up.

On this week's Pennies for Love, Joy urges us to slow down before the day and write a note. Pen a message to the one you love: your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, best friend. And let them know just how much they mean to you every day of the year.

It begins with a simple "I am grateful for..."

Joy is sharing an example of this practice at work in her life and some simple suggestions to get you started on your note of thanks.

We will be hosting Thanksgiving in our home, as we've done for 10 of the last 11 years. Filling my home wih the ones I love most and the smells of Thanksgiving is one of my favorite experiences of the year. On the day, I love the hustle of timing our courses correctly and the bustle of entertaining children and adults with projects and stories.

But before all of this crowd pleasing occupies my time and heart, I'm going to sit down and write one simple note of thanksgiving to the man I love.

Thanks, Joy! And happy Thanksgiving.

xoxo, MJ



Celebrate the Normal: Contributor's Art


Hello, my dears. Oh, this world. The tragic events in Boston remind me that life is fast and sad and amazing, and that we all need to stick together. The life that we get used to, the life we call normal can all disappear in just a moment, sometimes leaving us with a feeling of loss and a wonder for why we hadn't noticed the goodness before.

So, we're sticking together here at Pars Caeli. We're making a community of appreciators, of lovers, of doers and thinkers, of artists and creatives, of mothers and friends, of those who celebrate the normal.

I have been so touched by all the submissions I received in this first week!! Yeah, I'm blessed with talented friends. Woot for me!

Really clear to me as well is that normal is not ordinary. When put inside the frame for viewing, these moments in time become elevated experiences to savor.

Clear to me as well, we have much to celebrate. We see that in the littles around us and the natural beauties in the environment. It's such a gift to be able to perceive a bit of the world through another's eyes... so big thanks for all of our artists this week. Please scroll down and enjoy these endearing images (and go visit some great blogs while you're at it!!).

Are you ready to join in the fun? This week we'll be focusing on viewing the exterior. The prompt is:

Please take your photos and use the hashtag #celebratethenormal. One submission from each artist will be featured next Wednesday. Be sure to get snapping before Monday at midnight! You need not be on Instagram to participate. :) Tweet it out - #celebratethenormal and invite your friends, too.

Lucky by M.J. of Pars Caeli
Palm tree gazing by Louise of Laid Off Mom.
Just Another Wednesday from Instagram superstar and friend, Jen Mygatt. Follow her work on Instagram at @jenmygatt
A little spring bouquet of happiness c/o Trader Joe's by Theresa of Inspiration Coop
"This appeared one morning recently on our deck. Let us wait for the peeps and #celebratethenormal" from one of my BFFs
Sunlight.. from Julia of Life on Churchill St.
Wagon ride from Jill of Every Day is an Occasion.
Bath time by Colleen Duggan

Colleen created a great post around the topic with some other great photos that you'll want to see. My favorite line from the piece,

"If I ever become a Saint (Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?), I want to be the Patron Saint of the Beautiful Ordinary."

No worries, Colleen, I'll totally vote for that!


Here's to gratitude right here, right now.

xoxo, MJ


Happy Kiddos: Where we are

That's my little one, or I should say my oldest daughter, M. She's really into trying new styles with her longer hair, and this is her beautifully designed and executed side bun. She accomplished this smooth styling on her first try.

She has since tried it five, six, ten, maybe even twenty-five times with no success. Sometimes the ponytail bubbles or she can't hold all the layers tight as she wraps the holder around the mound of hair. Other times she thinks she has it all wound just as she wants it, only to step down from the stool and have it all fall out.

And as much as I get frustrated with her for spending so much time on something I consider an unnecessary concern for a seven year old, I had the opportunity to be in her shoes these last 24 hours.

I'm writing this with my Z pack of antibiotics next to me as I battle through a third round of strep throat in three months. I have never had strep prior to this year! M is upstairs sleeping off a bad bout with a gastrointestinal bug that dehydrated her and kept her out of school for a couple of days.

I like my challenges to be neat and tidy. I like it when there's a clear solution to a problem. I like to move quickly to resolution.

Illnesses, your own and more poignantly your children's or loved one's, remind me that life is not about everything fitting neatly into the bun. Life is messy and complicated and tragic and annoying and beautiful and unbelievably amazing all mashed up together in a great big bowl.

As M was struggling to calm her nerves and stomach pains last night, she asked me to rub her feet. As a baby she'd always loved having her feet massaged, and I have many rosy mental pictures of her smiling baby face, enjoying the snuggles.

But she's a big second grader now, and she's independent and already letting me know where she does and does not want my help.

But for one night I was allowed to sit on her bed and rub her feet again. I got to watch her perfect face fall asleep and peek over as her little sister, all curled up under her covers, slept soundly unaware that anything was amiss.

I knew it was one of those moments I'd treasure because it felt so fragile, so fleeting, and so precious.

I had plans and I had lists of things to do that just didn't happen, and instead I now have a warm memory of my slumbering little girls and an unexpected moment of grace.

And I have an appreciation for all those happenings that don't fit in my neat and proper bun.

And I'm grateful.