Posts tagged balance
The Pressure of a Superhero

Perhaps you've heard this story before? The one of the superhero who can extend, expand, and alter time? No?

I don't remember a lunchbox with her picture on it, but somewhere along the way I decided I wanted to be this all star.


My journey to conquer time began from a place of confidence and passion. I told myself that I'd been given this set of God-given talents, and with the 168 hours in the week, I needed to spend the vast majority of them working, volunteering, creating, cleaning, mothering... I could do it!! I was on my path to superhero status, so why not?

And underlying that notion...a thought of pride. I am better than. I can do more. Look at me. Watch me.

I can raise amazing children to whom I dedicate focused attention as I nurture their abilities, challenge their behaviors, and impart the wisdom I have acquired through this super special journey that I'm on. I can do this while I give just as much attention to my adoring husband, and just as much attention to making my home warm, welcoming, well decorated, and, of course, trendy. You better believe I'm incredibly successful at my job, giving more than expected and adding ideas only I could offer. Oh, and I can run that volunteer group at Church and come in for centers and help out with after school activities. Yes, yes, go ahead and sign me up to bring in that casserole. I'm running and staying fit - oh and did you see that I brought that great project from Pinterest to life. I am a superhero. Did I mention that? Yes, of course, I've read that 400-page book for bookclub.

But don't ask me to talk about it because I've only read the synopsis on line.

And my Pinterest project...well, don't turn it over because it's not actually usable.

I was distracted at centers and unfocused with my volunteers.

My laundry is unfolded, my dishes undone, dust is layering on my bookshelves.

I can't get to all the projects that keep coming my way at work.

And I yelled at my kids and my husband. It seems they don't see this superhero path, and they just want to distract me with new needs and wants.

Why can't they all just figure it out? I'm tired. I'm spent. I'm sick - again.

I have to expand time. Do they not understand? I am a superhero. I can fit it all in with a smile. I can accomplish more than you.

And underlying it all - I'm better than you.

And the kryptonite hits. Maybe this time it's the permission slip I forgot to submit. Or the event that goes sour because I didn't have enough energy to devote. Sometimes it's a simple as an off remark at work or a tone of voice from home and

It breaks. I crack.

The force field can't withstand this hit. And I cry. And I doubt.

Why are you not good enough to do all of this? You are a superhero, remember? You are better should be able to do this. What's wrong with you?

And the soft, clear voice of reason or of God (or maybe both) can be heard, finally. Shhhhh. Listen to it now.

You are beautifully and wonderfully made.

You are meant to give your gifts freely and with joy.

And that is enough, THAT is more than. Not you. You, my friend, are not a superhero. That job has been taken by One, all-powerful and almighty. Stop trying to take over.

And let go. Drop the mask and the walls.

You are not better than. You are the same as, in totally different ways.

You are enough as you are. Be that. Do that.

And leave the superhero fantasies to your children and the youth of the world. You have deeper knowledge of friendship and compassion, equivalent to any Marvel power.

Be you. Gently. That's pretty super.

xoxo, MJ

Itty Bitty Lovelies: Wisdom Words

Hello to you, lovelies. It was a great four-day break for me with some adventures in Chicago and playtime all around. I feel refreshed and grateful for all that has been. My laptop sat lonely for four whole days (almost a personal record), and I received an encouraging message from my boss on my smartphone, instructing me to stop checking messages. So, so... just what I needed.

Time away has prompted me to want to share some words of wisdom I've found floating around in recent days. I've gathered a little something for the bloggers, for the parents, and for the human beings. Tee hee.

1. Practical ways to juggle job and blogging

Many of my favorite blogs are authored and designed by talented folks who blog full-time. Many others are hosted by folks like myself trying to squeeze in and maximally organize life so that there is time for blogging and commenting thoughtfully. Sometimes it just seems like too much.

I found this post by Jessica from MomCreative really helpful for moms and non-moms who are trying to balance all the other areas in addition to blogging. Check out her ideas for the "fringe hours."

2. The freedom to just be

You all know that Jennifer of Classic Play is a rockstar, right? Well, if you need more proof, check out this ode to parents she posted last week. Let me lead you on with a yummy morsel:

“Parents, just do your thing and be happy. You don’t have to rationalize why you do or don’t: craft, have your kids play sports, design your kids’ room, feed your kids whatever, do after school activities, etc. Life’s too short. Some people like to do those sorts of things, some don’t. It’s okay. We shouldn’t all be doing the same thing anyway. Diversity is good.”

And a sigh of relief passed over. Be sure to check out the great comments she had to her post, too.

3. Rest is called for.

Anne of Anne the Adventurer has been writing all sorts of posts that I've loved. This is one that she crafted on rest, and it is for all of us to heed. She also designed up one of my favorite scripture passages. Go check it out and promise that you'll listen to what you need.

My little lovely for you:

Learn from great nail stylists, and offer hand massages. My kiddos have been suffering from too much hand sanitizer and very dry hands so I massaged some great smelling, mandarin orange scented lotion into their hands and forearms for about five minutes each. This small (but relatively long for a 5-year old) act was met with tender appreciation and gave to me a chance to sit and chat with the people I love best.

Wishing you loads of joy this week and heaps of cleansing rest.

xoxo, MJ


Here's the Scoop

Hello, beauties! Happy Monday to you. How was your Super weekend?

Did you watch the big game yesterday? I always tune in for the commercials, but the blackout and Beyonce's moves took it to a new level of interest for me. Memorable, for sure.

We spent the weekend inside of our own snow globe. It's been snowing pretty much non-stop, and the neighborhood looks immaculate, all covered in a fresh coat of white. The kids enjoyed sledding and building snow creatures (why limit it to snow men?), and I had the chance to go through boxes and nooks and crannies in my house that had not seen attention in over a year. We reorganized and cleaned areas much in need of some tender loving care.

Speaking of spaces in wont of attention... Pars Caeli is back, but returned in a different way. One thing I know for sure from my blogiatus (blog + hiatus) is that down time is fun, AND I miss the interaction and conversation from you lovelies. Where my people at?

So, here's what I'm thinking - at least for this moment - I'll be creating, mothering, and designing as usual, but I'll be touching base here three times a week. If you want the posts fresh (they taste better that way), then tune in Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. I can't promise I won't pop up other places and at other times, too, because, when it comes to blogging, a girl's just gotta have fun.

I have something to get you talking tomorrow... and every Tuesday. Come on back!

Wishing you a dashingly wonderful week because, well, you deserve it.


PS. Those are the heart-shaped cinnamon rolls from Friday's Itty Bitty. Total success.

Happy Kiddos: Leave it behind

A few weeks ago, as we were shopping in a larger office supply store, my husband spotted three glittery calculators in the clearance aisle. It is important to note that these were three different colored calculators in desirable shades for each of our three kiddos. When he offered to purchase these sparkly presents (calculators can be educational, too, right?), they were thrilled.

I wasn't really sure why they were so excited about...calculators. Granted, my daughters, 5 and 7, are intrigued by numbers and solving problems. But I comparison to other toys and electronics, what would these simple machines have to offer?

We hopped in the minivan to venture back home. And that's when the imitations started.

C, my 5-year old, buckled herself into the backseat and put her calculator up to her ear. I heard something along the lines, "Oh... uh hum... sure...I'll call you." In the rearview mirror, I spotted M (7) typing away on her device and pretending to swipe to the next screen and enter her password. L (2) was kicking his legs and asking me to find a new game for him.

M continued to look down at her screen as she jumped out of the minivan, walked up the stairs, took off her backpack. She said something that I couldn't understand as she talked down into her phone, I mean calculator.

I'm not the most perceptive person at times. But I got it.

And I know they weren't even trying to point it out to me.

But I got it.

My pal, Jennifer Cooper over at Classic Play wrote a post on Friday that hit home:

"Yesterday I started an experiment. I’m trying to see if I can go a week without my kids seeing me use the computer. This means, no checking email, facebook, instagram, etc when they’re around. Perhaps it’s the social scientist in me (what’s left anyway), but I’m curious to see what effects, if any, this has on the kids or me. I know modeling can play a role in parenting, so I’m curious about it."

She in her good humor recounted her successes and failures (go read it :)).

I work from home half of every day, and I always feel the need to have my phone next to me to hear the ding of a recent email or the tone of text. But if I'm being honest, and I think I have to be, I also love having the opportunity to check in with friends and beatiful words and images, too.

It is my wide eyes and not the top of my head, looking down at a screen, that I want my children to remember as their mom's expression. It is my nasal laughter and the pitch of my voice, that I want them to hear and not my impatient bark or hurried response.

I'm trying Jen's experiment this week (and likely for weeks to come) to keep the electronic check ins to necessity - and I won't pretend that I don't know what necessity means.

Rachel over at Hands Free Mama is a great inspiration. Check out her thoughts on living for what matters.

She posted this gut-wrencher from Professor T. Ripaldi, and it's the kind of quote I can't not share with you (proper use of a double negative here for me).

When we adults think of children, there is a simple truth which we ignore: childhood is not preparation for life, childhood is life. A child isn’t getting ready to live – a child is living. The child is constantly confronted with the nagging question, ‘What are you going to be?’ ...

How much heartache we would save ourselves if we would recognize the child as a partner with adults in the process of living, rather than always viewing him as an apprentice. How much we would teach each other … adults with the experience and children with the freshness. How full both our lives could be. A little child may not lead us, but at least we ought to discuss the trip with him for, after all, life is his and her journey, too.

Would you like to join in the experiment, too? I have a feeling I'm going to need some buddies to help me move along!! :)

How do you keep your electronic attention span in check?

Happy Kiddos: Carrying love

Did you check out the new seasonal digs around here? Make yourself at home in the refreshed autumn makeover (and if you haven't had a chance to make your bucket list for fall, let me offer a few ideas).

Wednesdays around Pars Caeli will continue to be kid focused. During the summer I shared some of the fun we have with Mommy & Daddy School. But now, we're a full three weeks into the start of the school year, and I'm feeling a little melancholy about the end of another childhood summer.

This is the second full week of preschool, Kindergarten, and 2nd grade for our team, and so far everything is running smoothly.

For the first time in almost 8 years, our home is silent for two mornings a week, as even my youngest heads to morning preschool, and my hubby and I adjust our work schedules to accommodate more meeting time in the office.

It's the end of an era when we as a couple handled all childcare, homecare, and professional juggles together. As I look back now, I wonder how we managed to work from home and the office and to change diapers and adjust sleep schedules. A large part of me already misses the chaos, strange though it was; I thrive on it. I know that we have been richly blessed to be able to have time with our children and time in our professional worlds, and it has not come without certain (sleep) sacrifices...I have the wrinkles to prove it.

However, new beautiful buds are growing. And I celebrate those, too. My husband surprised me at work with a morning coffee date last week. That NEVER happens. On a typical morning, we are usually trying to maximize and squeeze every possible minute out of one role (be it work or home) before we have to transition to the other.

And for another, M, my 7 year old, is most at home when she's at school. That seems weird to even type, but I know it to be true. She loves learning and independence. She thrives on routine and structure. She wants the challenge and adores her friends. She's back in her rhythm.

C at 5 is finding new courage and new friends in her full-time school journey. L at 2 in his first time in a school environment is so proud of himself and his buddies.

My need now is to let them know that they are each on my mind even when we are apart. I know they know, but I still need to some way to show that.

One gesture I've started is a lunch box note routine, especially with M. She gets a joke a day that she can share with her friends as they munge on their bagels and pizza slices. So far it's a hit. If you're into ridiculous, simple humor, follow me on Instagram or Twitter (@parscaeli) and I'll be sharing the chuckles for you (and your children) with the hashtag #lunchboxnotes. If you have a corny joke, send it my way...please!


Grown-Up Goodness: Allowing Space for the New

Hi friends! I'd like to share a little something that's been on my mind. It's called:



Are you ready for something new? A breath of crisp, cool air to offer a new vibrancy to your life?

The start of the school year and the beginning of Fall have always been a time of renewal for me. The cycle begins again, and we have a myriad of opportunities for a fresh start.

One of my coworkers and friends, Ricky, shared this reflection with me last week (thank you!) that has had me thinking ever since. The theme was beginnings.The idea (from the book of Revelation) for each of us to take to heart is that God promised to make all things new again–no matter where we are, what we're fighting right now, or what's holding us back.

Whether I recognized it or not, I've typically imagined recharging and regrowth as these first two:

And, therefore, I've sometimes felt renewed one moment and totally frustrated the next.

What if I can't just start fresh??

Life and relationships are complex and just because I try to begin something with new perspectives, does not mean I can always set out a blank canvas. Challenges and trials leave their brush strokes.

Perhaps these other two ways of seeing a new might evoke a different response:

Perhaps, with grace, our ugly, tired experiences help shape the new life we are meant to live.

Perhaps it's not so much about striving to create the nearly impossible, bright shiny and new.

Perhaps we are to refashion and reforge the almost hidden goodness, disguised as the big, fat problems that we've been offered.

What are you starting new? Do you have enough space in your life, mind, and heart to try something? If not, how will you make that space?

Here are two that I'm thinking of today:

1. Living a creative life with structure and finding ways to form habits so that new life and ideas might grow.

2. Ending a few good involvements to make way for the life-giving, amazing ones on the way.

Are you ready for something new?



Hard. Work.

this from here.

Today is Take Your Son or Daughter to Work Day. Did you know it? Likely the big day would have gone unnoticed to me had I not seen the Land of Nod's great pictures of smiling young faces immersed in cool, creative activities at Mom or Dad's super cool employer. (Do you follow Land of Nod on Twitter? Totally fun with impulses of creative ideas - highly recommend to any momma.)

I brought my daughter to work...yesterday (urgh, so close). I wasn't involved in a national movement or a part of a fabulous photo shoot involving super cute 4-year olds (I'm biased) and their mommas at work. Nope. Little C has strep throat. It's our first ever bout of the horribles like this so we adventured together to the doctor, on a few errands, back to my office, and then out for prescriptions. 

Have you ever taken your child or children to work, during office hours? I have, and I always relish hearing their response to my professional world. C noticed noises, pictures, and quirky happenings that I usually overlook.

I'm thinking a lot about "work" today. I describe myself as a hard worker. Most likely you'd probably fit into the same category, too, right? What kind are you? I'm the kind that goes full throttle and works and works and works until a project is where I like it, typically disregarding the cycles of the sun or moon. I'm kinda like a small rodent, let's pick a prairie dog, who digs and digs her hole, working away diligently, bit after bit. I work so hard to get down deep into that hole that often, once I'm down there, I just can't see the rays of sunshine any more.

this from C.

I can say with great certainty that my professional life has only been enriched and recharged by spending time here with you and fully jumping cannonball into the festivity of my kiddos.

Let's go ahead and give ourselves permission to take time to live our lives today. Sound good? I promise to remember from my beautifully dug-deep down hole.