Posts tagged transitions
Celebrate the Normal: Capture & Celebrate

Hello lovelies. Happy July 9th!

I had so much fun celebrating July 4th this year that we've been whooping it up for July 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th, too. And Tuesdays always bring me such joy thanks to some wonderful people who, every week, submit photographs that capture an exact moment in time. And seeing that one image, that glimpse of the ordinary, offers not only a warm entry into their existence, but a deeper realization of the common threads that connect and sometimes even bind us together.

Tuesday is community day around here, and I kinda love it that way. So please, keep joining in and sending nudges to your pals to do the same.

Enjoy this week's moments. 

Lunch ~ Ellen

As seen from my bike ~ Paige

Three ripe heirlooms. I did these as practice for an illustration I'm doing this week. ~ Emily

Another shot from our little backyard fireworks show ~ jenmygatt

~ Brittani

Sunday contests. ~ teddy4775

Sunset walk on the beach ~ Elizabeth

The sweaty-fly-away-aftermath of 5 hrs in the bouncy house. ~ Dani

She just keeps growing. ~ Meagan

2 families, perched and ready ~ M.J.

Last and far from least, I want to leave you this week with some words of consolation and inspiration from one of my favorite writers on the interwebs, Miss Meg. Y'all know I adore her (check out my exclusive interview), and yesterday she shared a beautiful story that you need to go read for yourself. Go check out A Soft Light and then come on back...

Read carefully these sweet drops of poignancy... 

We spend our lives seeking purpose, comfort and happiness. Each time we must leave a space containing any of those things, it feels as if we have left our own homecoming prematurely. “But”, our souls cry, “I just got here. How can you send me out again into a demanding world, a different world, a bigger world? I am content.”

There comes a time when each of us must face the magnificent and terrifying truth that we were not made to be content, we were made to be expansive. And change – big, small, delightful, painful – change, is the surest way to reach the places we were made to go.

Now, there is great hope here amongst all the striving and upheaval. We have the power to alchemize unwanted circumstances by giving them direction. We are given the ability to instigate and pursue the changes we want. And every once awhile, those transitions we so fear….really do turn out for the best.

I'm a gal of awkward transitions. I find myself at times clinging to the past (even when it stinks) or projectiling into the future to run from the present. And I'm learning, slowly, that the feelings of transition, right there in the middle of it all, are good, too, even in all of their gangly, loud, and prickly nature.

In the spirit of embracing adjustments while appreciating what is right now here with us...this week's theme is:

Get snapping, talented people!! And tag those photos with #celebratethenormal so that I can find them come next Monday night.

Thanks for being amazing. It helps. Everyday.

xoxo, MJ

PS. Big congrats to Megan and Ricky who shared news of their first baby with me via the hashtag #celebratethenew !! Thanks for speaking my language and huge congratulations on this very loved baby!

Chat It Up: Bring Out Spring

First day of spring? Are you feeling it? Fact is, we have very few signs of spring around here with gray sludge decorating the streets and parking lots, and skies that need some clear, azure additions.

I desperately want spring to be here. Now. My daughter, C, our summer babe, asks e-very day if it's spring yet. "I just want warm again, Mommy." Oh, she'll be our child to live in a tropical climate and bask in the sand (and I will lather on my SPF1000 and excitedly visit her).

When we visited the local farmer's market last weekend, I knew I'd find bunches of pussy willow branches. I had to grab a handful; they remind me of my childhood in western Pennsylvania, in our rural backyard brush. The fuzzy blooms served as the early fore bearers of blossoms to come.

This time of year I gravitate to nurseries and garden centers. I dream of jasmine and gardenia fragrances lofting indoors from my front plantings and I plan, hand-in-hand with my husband, what we will nurture in our veggie and herb gardens.

How do you make it to spring? What tricks are up your sleeve for managing the still-here winter blahs?

xoxo, MJ

An Itty Bitty Move

Happy day after Valentine's day, lovelies. Good things are happening all around. Are they over in your corner of the world, too? I hope so... sending some right now to you.

Just when I thought I was into the new groove and this blogging schedule thing, I'm switching it up. These Itty Bitty treats are moving. They'll now greet your week on Mondays. I'm hoping they'll inspire the simplest and most rewarding of projects and ideas as you set foot out into a new week.

Plus, I've kinda been missing our time together on Mondays. Just because.

So I'm saving some surprises for Monday. Catch ya then.

Wishing you a bright weekend.


Make it: Here and there

Look at the focus on that foursome! Hi everybody. Sorry to leave you hanging on Friday. I'm not usually one to not show up without saying something.

Have you been a little bit oh-so busy, too?

Over the next span of time, I'm taking a few cues from my favorite people around the interwebs like Paige and Janae and Allison.

Blogging has been a hoot. It's been an incredible creative challenge, and it's brought new, wonderful people into my life. It's picked me up through a particularly tough period of time, and it's brought out goodness in me that I kinda forgot was so strong.

I also treasure Advent and the Christmas season. I've created oodles of big and small traditions with my hubby and kiddos that I can't wait to share with you. I also really want to dive full-bodied into those festivities and be fully present to them.

So, I'm stepping back a bit from this electronic Pars Caeli home so that I can soak up the real one. For the next few weeks, I'll still be popping up maybe even every day, we'll see how it goes.

Thanks to all of you who have left lovely comments in the last few weeks.. and that I have uncharacteristically not yet responded to.

Wishing you and yours a little time to step away and soak in the presents all around during this time of year.

xoxo, MJ

Be Happy: The smallest of transitions

My beautiful friend, Paige, is getting married.

The whole getting-married phase of life can be a big time of transition; it was for me. I kind of consider myself a creature of transition. I moved a handful of times as a child, racking up five different schools in six years. I moved around campus as an undergrad and picked up to a new spot after graduation, too.

Strangely I now find myself living in the same town for the last decade in a half. I'm married to the same, incredible guy I fell in love with moons ago, and we inhabit the house we moved into the Monday after our wedding, ten years ago.

And yet when I look back through the rearview mirror of my adulthood (yikes), I see transition after transition. Somehow staying in the same place, doing (mostly) the same thing, with the same soulmate has not stopped the changes from swirling through life. Many of those I embraced with wide open arms (hello motherhood of three great kids) and other changes that I tried to run from, like magic shoe's - sprint!

My kids have their own host of transformations and new stages that add to the variety and spice of life. My daughters, now 7 and 5, share a bedroom. And my little guy, a new 3-year old, has just made the move to the big boy room. When it was time to move him to his new space, we tried to make things all fair and even (who are we kidding?) and moved all three of them around to different bedrooms.

That meant that no one would fill the space that once was inhabited by small versions of each of them... the nursery. It's a small cozy room with one window opening up to our backyard. When I was pregnant with my first, I spent hours and hours in there, painting a mural with smiling bugs (our theme at the time) and the text from the toast that my husband dedicated to me at our wedding reception.



Read the rest of this recent transition over on Approaching Joy today as a part of a special series she has on Macro Moments. Join me over there after the photo...


Make It Monday: The Giveaway Make It

Happy Monday! And thanks for coming over. It's so good to have you here!!

I'm excited to show you a little something I've been working on. Back in early September I hosted a giveaway where I offered the first three commenters something lovely and homemade just for them. When I posted the giveaway, I wasn't exactly sure what that handmade goodness would be...

So I thought about my three winners: Hana, Louise, and Courtney. All three of these ladies are creative, talented, savvy women. They were each going through transitions with their on-line lives. I know that these sorts of changes can be stressful, annoying, and can sometimes make you question if it's all worth it.

Enter a little bit of printed reassurance. You are exactly where you are meant to be.

Certainly, I thought about the rest of our lives and how we can find ourselves somewhere (physically or mentally) where we never thought we'd be...the sometimes unexpected, notably unpleasant, tough places we land. The older I get, the more I realize how significant these places of challenge are and how much they have to teach us if we can hold on, breathe deeply, and trust.

I loved sketching these and thinking about their future homes in New Zealand, California, and Florida.


I asked the ladies what colors might work in their homes, and I received a green and two blues. Beautiful Louise even sent me a photo of her (gorgeous) living room.

The task of converting these sketches to Illustrator files was a time-consuming, but I love how they turned out. I'm not sure which color I like the best?

And for you, dear readers, a black and white version for your downloading pleasure. Sometimes we all need a little reassurance. Click on the image to download the file.


Did you create something this weekend? Any projects on the near horizon?


And a big P.S.: 

I can only take this as God hitting me over the head (which I need)... Today is the feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. She's a doctor of the Church, and a woman of great insight (Gretchen Rubin quoted her often in The Happiness Project, too). A friend sent along a piece of St. Thérèse's writing this morning. Check out those first lines. I knew I got these words from somewhere...

May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God.

Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.


I made these prints two weeks ago with no remembrance of St. Thérèse's writing. Hmm, I think I have a fresh Divine bump on my head.

And so I'm trusting that God has put me right where I'm meant to be, even when I kick and scream. Thanks for being here with me. :)

Happy Kiddos: Big Boy Space

This is not a sponsored post. This is a story of Twitter.

Well, really, this is a story of fabulous design that just so happened because of the ingenious means of communication known as Twitter (did you ever read about Paige's amazing job she secured through Twitter?). I love having the ability to talk right to my favorite people and brands in a simple, concise manner.

I've been following the witty posts of the Land of Nod for a while. Their blog Honest to Nod is always filled with cute ideas and beautiful designs that make me want to relive my childhood again and again. I am smitten with Land of Nod's combination of well crafted furnishings with quirky, life-loving designs.

So when @thelandofnod asked if anyone had a design dilemma, I tweeted right back. And EEK! Danielle Kurtz (hello, Creative Director) asked me to send her an email to hear more.

And what followed were numerous exchanges back and forth where I had the opportunity to tell Danielle all about my dreams for my son's new big boy room and where she authentically wanted to know more about my style, my son's personality, and see the space for future planning purposes.

I'm so over-the-top excited with what she put together. You can check out the entire project on the Land of Nod's Pinterest page under L's Big Boy Room. Beautiful Danielle even linked up DIY projects that would fit well with my goals for the space (I hope to share these with you in the weeks ahead).

Here's my initial explanation of our needs:

We decided to purchase the Simple Twin bed and wide dresser for my son. He's turning 3 in a month, and we wanted some Land of Nod pieces to get him started in a new big boy room. He's a bundle of energy. He loves cars & trains (right now). His favorite colors are orange and blue. We have purchased a madras plaid quilt with navy, green, and oranges in it. He loves stripes. He also wants a place where he can hang his artwork.

And here's Danielle's lovely interpretation from the Land of Nod:

And the whole thing makes me happy, from ear to ear. This is all so perfect for my son. My faves? That simple car print, that adorable orange chair, and the gummy bear nightlight...but I kinda like every single piece. And the color from Benjamin Moore, Palladian Blue has been in my sketchbook for a while now just waiting to fill one of our rooms. Yay!

Since our money tree is not blooming this season, we'll make some great selections from the inspiration board and DIY/thrift/budget store the remainder.

Have you ever had professional consultation on an interior space? Or has Twitter gifted you with something unexpected and wonderful?

Can't wait to share more!!


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?