Posts tagged womanhood
Loving your age
Limited edition Do Good letterpress print will be a part of Shop Pars Caeli later this month!

Limited edition Do Good letterpress print will be a part of Shop Pars Caeli later this month!

So this is the view from four decades on the planet. Today is my birthday, my 40th birthday.

I wasn't completely sure I was going to share that with you.

And that took me down a rabbit hole of why nots.

It seems from my perch that these days aging is set up to be feared, or at least avoided, in our society. We all (me included!) want to look younger, to act younger, to be mistaken for younger than what we really are. Sending wishes of gladness that 40 is the new 20 is a fun way to extend youth.

But what if we went back to the notion that elders are respected and revered?

Or even more what if we entered a whole new era where aging is the best thing there is? Remember how anxious you were to turn from four to five? Or eighteen? 21?

How does Pitbull say it . . . Any day above ground is a great day. (Oh man, I'm quoting Pitbull now.)

Friends, I've lived forty years! And rather than dread it (like I thought I was going to), I feel truly, honestly grateful. I've lived in many different places, had a bountiful number of experiences, and been touched by the most loving individuals. I even given birth to three of them. I've made little and BIG mistakes. I've had to learn from them. I've hurt people and loved people and celebrated people. And I've grown and changed and stayed the same.

I'm more wrinkled and saggy. More tired and cynical. No, I can't jump as high, nor run as fast.

But I am here, friends. I have another day, week, month, and hopefully years to do my best to add love into the world and to be deeply grateful for the gifts I've been given. How amazing!! And I've had 4-0 such opportunities.

I'm not bragging, but being around to love and to be loved for forty birthdays feels like a pretty giant blessing.

God is Good limited edition letterpress print will soon be available at Shop Pars Caeli.

God is Good limited edition letterpress print will soon be available at Shop Pars Caeli.

One of my great blessings is this space right here where I can share what's on my mind, in my heart, and all over my studio floor. I'm so honored to have you lovelies over here, and I so so appreciate your support and encouragement.

So let's celebrate another year!! Are you brave enough to share your age?

xoxo, MJ



Motherhood has been on my mind more than usual. With pals becoming new moms, turning the page onto a new decade myself, and Mother's Day upon us, I've been seeing motherhood from a lot of different angles.

Join our Mother gang because mothering is hard enough without friends. In love and support of all mothers.

Join our Mother gang because mothering is hard enough without friends. In love and support of all mothers.

I will not judge; I will love instead.

I've always wanted to be a mother and pictured myself as one. I've been formulating what that picture looks like since I was a little girl. In many ways, all that I've learned, I learned through the lens of wanting to teach it to my future children. I have evaluated the world, other people, and myself through this lens of the best mother.

And in that light, I have critiqued other parenting styles and choices. And when I became a new momma, I was super critical of myself. Am I doing this right? Is she sleeping enough or too much? Should I be nursing more or less? Do I keep her stimulated or too much so? So many questions ran through my head, judging every move I made.

I will not judge; I will love instead.

We had our second child when our first was two, and I heard others judgments. Are you ready for another? How many are you going to have? I think two years is too close. I think two years is too far apart. How old are you now? Are you really going back to work?

Adding to my own self evals (that were still coming up less than glowing), I heard the voices of "them" - those people who don't really matter in our regular lives but we somehow give power to when we're making important life choices.

I will not judge; I will love instead.

I'm a mom, three times over now. My oldest has been on this earth a decade now, and my youngest can speak in paragraphs. My inner critic is quieter or has a better sense of humor. And the "them" have evolved with new faces and new questions/advice/unhelpful observations.

And I see moms making the same, the opposite, or slightly similar choices to my own. And whether it be my age, my faith, my exhaustion, or my wisdom...

I just want to love them.

To walk up while they are fighting with the onesie diaper change. To high five while they're trying to wrestle with the toddler in the carseat. To hug when the child screams loudly and repeatedly in the middle of Church. To offer knowing respect when the tween spouts off disrespect. To hold hands as the middle schooler takes first steps into high school. To hold our breath on the first night that curfew is actually used.

I will not judge; I will love instead.

You always wanted to be a mom.

You weren’t sure you wanted children.


You work.

You stay at home.

You do both.


You cook.

You have the pizza guy on speed dial.


You breastfed.

You bottle fed.


You craft the day away.

You buy pre-made Valentines.


You lost the baby weight.

You just call it weight now.


You think motherhood is rewarding.

You think motherhood is challenging.

You think both.



We are paralyzed by the thought of them growing up.

We worry if they’re getting enough vegetables.

We cry.

We wish for just five minutes of silence.

We fear we aren’t doing it right.

We understand our own mothers now.

We yearn for unsolicited hugs.

We feel guilty.

We stand in awe at their accomplishments, big and small.

We grieve when another has lost a child. 

We love hard.

We have a common thread.

And it is #mother

I'm joining in the #MotherMovement. It's an effort begun by Sara Moore, and it begins with the statement above called the #MotherManifesto. It's a commitment to lift up all mothers. To stop the mommy wars and the bickering. To support. To listen. To love.

I will not judge; I will love instead.

There's a lovely Mother Gang of incredible women steering the ship, and we'd love you to join in. You're a #motherlover, aren't you? We're real people who find mothering hard and amazing and exhausting and worth it.

Head over to Mother Manifesto to read more about this movement!! You'll see more about it here on Pars Caeli over the next months. And we have a pretty kicking giveaway coming up next week, too.

Put aside your differences to lift all mothers up   and support them in whatever way they need.    Commit to the #mother community, to the village   we always hear about, that we all need as mothers to make it through with our sanity.

Put aside your differences to lift all mothers up and support them in whatever way they need.  Commit to the #mother community, to the village we always hear about, that we all need as mothers to make it through with our sanity.


And to all mothers out there, you are loved.

xoxo, MJ

8 quotes from Maya Angelou that speak volumes

I'm taking a step back or maybe a step to the side from my regular blog programming today to talk about something on my heart. The poet, Dr. Maya Angelou, died yesterday at the age of 86. She left behind a wealth of writing and performance that will continue to bless us for years to come.

Unlike some of my blogger friends, I never had the opportunity to meet Dr. Angelou or hear her speak in person. I was more of a remote fan, tuning into her countless appearances on Oprah and watching her on television during her brilliant oration in 1993 at President Bill Clinton's first inauguration.

I clearly remember the first time I read her poem, Phenomenal Woman. I was in college, my first-time away from home for an extended period of time, a bit unsure of my place in the world around me, feeling small. I typically read words of any kind quickly in my head, often skipping a few here or there to rush to the point. And as I began her first stanza, I felt compelled to read her words slowly, carefully. Sounding out each syllable in the word Phe-nom-e-nal as I read it and repeated it. The letters themselves seemed to possess a tenacity and resiliency.

1. Classic Play 2. Crafting Connections 3. Brittani Renee 4. Classic Play

I read and reread that poem. And as I did, I started to understand that I had my own spot from which to stand. And that because of, and not despite, the curves I possess and the strength of my character, I was my own brand of phenomenal. And I visualized all of the phenomenal women I had encountered in my life and saw them again for the beauty they each held.

It was one of those moments that will be significant to me, even though I was merely sitting on my bed, reading from a book. Dr. Angelou taught me or at least pulled out something from within me that I'd missed along the way...

Listen to her articulate the five stanzas like no one else could:

Maya Angelou - Phenomenal Woman by poetictouch

I felt a pang go through me yesterday upon reading of Dr. Angelou's passing. Our paths never crossed yet her work struck a chord with me. That's the power of words, of poetry, of art. Her poems had and have lifted me from one place to another. Her spirit will live on through her wisdom.

5. Real Simple 6. The DIY Mommy 7. Career Contessa 8. Feathered Arrow Press

As I read through the illustrations of her words, I found myself typing, "Amen!" or "yes!" to each social media post. The eight I'm sharing with you today are some of my very favorites from talented makers and designers.

Thank you, Dr. Maya Angelou, for helping me to recognize the Phenomenal I was created to be and inspiring generations of women and men to do the same.

xoxo, MJ

P.S. Here's one more from me. I just couldn't resist.


For the love of blogging: The writer

I just love, love, love Thursdays around here. I get to bring some fabulous people into the spotlight for all of you dearies to see and read. And I saved a might good one for this week.

Do you know Meg? You completely need to if you don't. I was stunned to read that she's only been at this blogging thing a year because her words are timeless. She is an amazing writer who can make me ugly cry and snort snot bubbles of joy (this is a compliment, I promise) as I read through her stories of womanhood, family, and life. Give yourself a Thursday treat and head over to Meg in Progress (after you read this rockin' interview that she offered me whilst nursing for her daughter with pneumonia) to savor her words.





Meg in Progress has been exposing my mediocre attempts at a full life since February of 2012. I have been writing my little ramblings down on other sites since about 2006.

There were two main reasons. First, I am a writer who had forgotten to make time to write. With all the guts and glory of wifedom and motherhood, I was no longer taking the time to do the things that make me feel fulfilled. Creating Meg in Progress was really my way of creating a space where I could go to do what I love and remember who I am. When I am able to plunk a few thoughts down each day, I am a better person when it comes to every other facet of my life.

Secondly (and perhaps most importantly), I think that as women it is high time that we are honest with each other. It is time to share our struggles along with our triumphs. We are part of this vast sisterhood and I think we should take advantage of our community of valiant hearted women. I want women to be able to read about my day-to-day and think, “My goodness, I am not alone.” or better yet, “Man, I thought I was a little crazy, but I read about that Meg in Progress girl and feel MILES better about myself. She is positively loony.”



My biggest mistake is that for awhile I compared myself to other bloggers with some frequency. I mean my goodness, you are all so amazing and it can be so intimidating. I don’t even own a glue gun so I need to stop wishing I was a top craft blogger. Today I walked around with applesauce spilled across my jeans, so the fashion blogger ship has sailed. I became a better blogger when I stopped feeling like everything had to be covered in glitter and designer labels. The whole concept of the Meg in Progress is that I am a very imperfect work in progress. One day I decided to truly embrace that concept and that message. Everything that followed that decision has been more successful and, more importantly, a more accurate reflection of my authentic self.

My crazy, innate, can’t turn it off need to write. Also? The relationships I have developed with readers I have never met. There are so many amazing women out there and I love that blogging has been a way to connect with them.


 A long walk with my two little girls. I always return home with a new story or insight.


Happiness! A cohesive story telling style. And an honest approach to life. I am not very attracted to blogs that look like perfect catalogues. My Anthro magazine comes in the mail each month and serves that purpose well. I read blogs to learn about and connect with real people.

I would have more time for writing for print publications. Which would be fabulous and also, very, very sad.


I bring home the bacon (mmmm...bacon) by taking on freelance writing projects. I also write for Caravan Shoppe and have some really amazing projects in the works with those fabulous ladies. In May, I am starting a project on womanhood that makes me want to jump up and down with happiness. But my best time (and most of it) is spent with my family. I am blessed with a husband that makes my heart beat and two girls that are made of equal parts sugar and sass. My life is brimming with scraped knees, dirty clothes and love. Right now, I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Meg, thank you for your honest words here and over at Meg in Progress. You lift up the journey of motherhood and open it up for laughter and encouragement. Your bravery inspires me, and your talent pushes me to do more.

Do you know another great blogger that should be featured here? Leave a comment, and you just might see it happen.

xoxo, MJ