Posts tagged spirituality
Chat It Up: Empty

Hey friends, good to be back with you. I took the Monday after Easter off to hang out with my kiddos and plan some birthday celebrations for the hubby. He's an April fool baby, but we left the pranks behind for some endearing homemade cards and cake. If you follow Pars Caeli on Instagram, you saw our Easter egg hunt prep. I'm happy to report that all of our nearly 100 eggs were found in the backyard, and we had a fun, child-friendly Easter with good friends.

Despite a ton of work and blog projects-in-waiting, I kept away from my computer for four days straight. I had to be intentional about it, resisting urges to finish this or check in on that. Much like the Christian example of Christ's empty tomb after the Resurrection, I needed some time not to be filled - with ideas, updates, posts, and content. Time to be still.

I live in Indiana. I was not born here, nor did I grow up here, but one aspect of this great state, like many in the Midwest and West, is that it overflows with emptiness. As a student here, I was often bored and disappointed by the flat, wide expanse of soybeans and corn farms. As a professional and occupied mom, I now find this openness a great relief from the buzz and clutter of the rest of my life. My eyes long for the stretches of natural sameness that provides peace to my soul.

I read this article posted over on 99U entitled, What Happened to Downtime? The Extinction of Deep Thinking & Sacred Space, and I resonated with both the needs and the very practical ideas for adding more emptiness to your life. When during your day or even your week are you, "completely isolated, and your mind is able to wander and churn big questions without interruption?"

My heart sunk just a little with this excerpt:

Our insatiable need to tune into information – at the expense of savoring our downtime – is a form of “work” (something I call “insecurity work”) that we do to reassure ourselves.

I am guilty of clicking on blog stats and comments to boost my temporal feelings of insecurity as a friend, as a mom, as a designer. Perhaps just sitting with the emptiness is what is really called for.

As a younger person, I excelled at silence, taking the time to lay on the grass and watch cloud formations, spending time in a silent retreat, practicing the mindset and exercise of yoga. Somewhere between marriage, children, and social media, the quiet has been lost, and I'm hoping to find it.

Karen over at Chookooloonks offered this thought that I want to pass along.

Pay attention to things that connect you with joy.


Go over and read what Karen's got to say, because girlfriend has got it together. And I think this idea of connecting to your joy and finding the empty are intergrally intertwined.

So here's what I'd like to hear from you, lovelies, do you need quiet in your life to create, to move forward? If so, how do you find it or return to it?

xoxo, MJ

A Summer of Happiness: Contemplate the Heavens


Hi friends! We're switching it up and moving bookclub featuring the lovely read, The Happiness Project, to today. I'll be back tomorrow with some thoughts on Mommy & Daddy School.

This week, we're thinking deep, profound thoughts as Gretchen takes on the topic of spirituality. Her resolutions for this chapter:

  • Read memoirs of a catastrophe.
  • Keep a gratitude notebook.
  • Imitate a spiritual master.

As my subtitle up in the header of this blog suggests, I love my faith, and I rely upon it, too, so this chapter was a particular treat to read and digest.

Here are some keeper ideas for you to take with you this week:

1. From William Edward Hartpole Lecky, "There are times in the lives of most of us when we would have given all the world to be as we were but yesterday, though that yesterday had passed over us unappreciated and unenjoyed." Oof. Yes.

2. Start a one-sentence daily journal. I love, love this idea. I've done lots of different, commitment-heavy journals, and I am intrigued by the idea of capturing a moment from the day through one simple sentence.

3. Gratitude is an important element in our happiness. Try simple ways to incorporate it like focusing on something for which you're thankful while you wait for your computer to wake up in the morning or while waiting for the coffee to brew or at the bus stop.

4. "Knowing what you admire in others is a wonderful mirror into your deepest, as yet unborn, self." Aha.

5. As a Catholic, I relished Gretchen's depiction of the life of St. Therese. I hadn't looked at her life in quite the same way. And I find it so important what Gretchen pulled out for her own path to happiness. "I set out to imitate Therese by doing a better job of acting happy when I knew that my happiness would make someone else happy."

I have so much work to do in my prayer life and spiritual journey. My focus for this week echoes Gretchen's...I will seek to show my happiness and in turn to be happy for the goodness of all those around me.

Here's a pinnable for you...and me.

What thoughts resonated with you? Do you reflect upon any spiritual masters or heroes for your daily living?


Thankfulness on a Friday

It's Friday. Already? Short weeks are the bestest (as C would say).
After a trying couple of days. I've had a really lovely week, and I'm feeling particularly grateful.

I wanted to share with you a little something that has been playing in my subconscious, inspiring and reminding me lately.

About a month ago, Design Mom posted a project by Hailey, a photographer from Brisbane, Australia. She's titled her work 365grateful.

As I watched her intro, I connected with her sense of sometimes being dissatisfied for no good reason.

I kept a gratitude journal a few years ago, jotting down five or more moments of thanksgiving from the day (I was always surprised by how much food entered into it). The days of taking the time for such a focus have fallen away, but her story made me long to return to such a beautiful practice.

In her story, Hailey sought out the help of a nun who encouraged her with a simple thought: write down something every day for which she was grateful.

As an artist, Hailey took it one step further and took a polaroid of every day as well. Here are her words:

Taking one photo every day for a year of something I was grateful for really re-programmed my brain. I couldn’t believe how much gratitude affected my life. Seeing and celebrating the good in my life affected not only the way I felt spiritually and physically but it improved my relationships with others, too.
I love how she notices how romantic her husband truly is and that she feels connected to nature through this experience.
So, I'm feeling a thankful. Here are my five reasons today:

1. My husband always makes sure my car has a full tank of gas (even if he has to go out at midnight to fill it up for me). I'm quite talented at pumping gasoline, but he's also quite talented at loving me.

2. Lovely people I've never met have stopped by this webhome and made lovely comments and these simple gestures have lightened a rainy day.

3. My children with all of their bumps, dramas, and messes are the biggest delight of my life. And when I've rested my fork from a well-earned dinner, and I look over at their complete faces and watch their eyes, I can understand why the poet Kahlil Gibran described children as life's longing for itself.

4. I have a new(er) sink. And it's really deep. And it can hide hold two full days of dishes without anyone knowing that they're even in there. And I'm really good at testing this capacity.

5. I get to have tomorrow. Another day to start again, to notice all the pieces of Heaven around me, another day to offer my gratitude.

And I will be thankful.

Have a bright weekend, friends.

P.S. If you're game, I'd love to hear something that's bringing gratitude your way today.