Celebrating the Feast of the Annunciation as a Family

I find that Liturgical Living is an important part of Catholic family life. Our family started a tradition years ago. I believe I found it on Kendra Tierney’s blog, Catholic All Year, many years ago and it just seemed to be a good fit for our family.

The Feast of the Annunciation is a major Marian Feast, also known as “Lady Day”, which focuses on the Incarnation. The Annunciation commemorates the visit from St. Gabriel the Archangel to the Blessed Virgin announcing she would be the mother of Christ. This Feast dates back to the fourth or fifth century. How beautiful that Catholics have been celebrating this Annunciation for so many, many years! That is the beauty of the Universal Church.

So, how does my family celebrate? Since it is a major Marian Feast, we have waffles for dinner with powdered sugar or whipped cream and strawberries. The interlinking design of the waffles signify the connection between Our Blessed Mother to the Holy Trinity (similar to the Fleur de Lis). The powdered sugar or whipped cream symbolizes the Archangel Gabriel. It is important to note that the feast day of St. Gabriel the Archangel is the day before the Annunciation, March 24th.

These small meals may seem simple but are an important part in teaching my children about their Faith. It is through everyday associations that they will find connections to God and their Catholic Faith. Have a Blessed Feast of the Annunciation on March 25th.

A Call to a Deeper Faith

Lent is one of those times of the year, when the days seem longer, the food options are less appealing, and the promise of spring and the Resurrection are so very close. How many times has a Lenten season passed without barely batting an eye. We may follow the observance of no meat on Fridays, the removal of the Gloria at Mass, and giving up the usual sweet treats. But how many of these traditions are by habit rather than from the heart?

The 2020 Lenten Season may have appeared to begin the same as every year prior. Yet, quickly things changed which were beyond our control. Things that deeply impacted all of our lives, whether we wanted to participate in the initial hysteria or not. When it came down to it, we all were handed a more sacrificial Lent than ever imagined. (Our imaginations are not very broad as adults.)

Now we are called to something much deeper, something greater than our own surface Lenten practices. For many of us in the US, we have never been void of the sacraments, especially of the Eucharist. Out of despair comes greatness. The greater the suffering, the greater the reward. We have been called to Faith! A renewed sense of the sacred not only in our personal faith, but in the Eucharist. Our Lord has never left us, not even after His death, as he remains in the tabernacle waiting for us day and night. Yet, our actions speak louder than our words. Our attendance at Mass, sometimes for love, but other times through duty. We have now been given an opportunity to closely examine our lives, our daily actions that are sometimes ignored as our lives tend to resemble one hectic roller coaster ride. God has not only forced us to slow down with self-quarantine, to focus on the family, to think about others who may be in need, to pray for those who are sick, but to examine our own souls. Let’s not waste this time with a surface examination, but truly ask ourselves if our actions would change if this was our last day, our last week, or last year. Ultimately, do we truly prepare our souls for the coming of Christ in the Eucharist every Sunday. Do we preserve the sacredness and mystery of our Faith?

Let us renew our faith and hope towards the Truth – the sacredness of the Faith. We do not want to die and have to admit that the Lent of 2020 was wasted, that we only found time to wallow in our personal miseries. Rather, we hope to see all of the good we have achieved for Christ through our daily prayers and sufferings in this Lent.

Organized Simplicity

2020 has started out with a bang. There’s always something deafening about hitting a new decade. I’m not sure if it’s the realization that everything and everyone is aging (for the better) or that it’s another year of uncertainties. The past five years have taught me many valuable lessons, including having complete faith in God. (Easily said than done some days.) But as this year started with several life-altering events, I have taken each one with stride while learning that God desires for me to be in this place and at this time.

With the beginning of a new year and the desire to organize, as organizing tends to be more of a hobby for me than scrap-booking, I decided to jump in on The Organized Simplicity Challenge with Kathryn Whitaker and Stephanie Weinert. (I saved a few of my Instastories if you desire to see me suffer through the challenge.) Yes, I love to organize and this is the third time I undertook the challenge, but this was the first time attempting such a demanding task while homeschooling three children, with two other little ones running around. Let’s just say that my organization times were late into the evenings and into the weekends as our schoolwork always comes first. But it was a good lesson for me. Maybe several good lessons.

I have learned that no matter how much we have become comfortable with a task, there will always be unforeseen circumstances that slow out progress. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Teaching my children, caring for my family, and running people to activities has it’s importance. And as much as I would absolutely love a perfectly organized house that isn’t my season in life right now.

So, I completed the Organized Simplicity Challenge. Maybe not to the level of my person expectations, but I tried my best in my season of life. And it is better to have tried, pushed through the tasks, than not to try at all. Those of you who desire to undertake an intense purging challenge, this is for you! Even if you don’t believe you have the time or energy, you may prove yourself wrong – while potentially teaching yourself a very valuable lesson in the process. Purchase the book, Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider, here!.

In the silence of art…

Silence is the backbone of great art.

The world began Holy Week mourning the destruction of Notre Dame. We contemplate the sorrow behind hundreds of years of Catholic history, but we can also turn our hearts and minds towards contemplation of the beautiful. If there’s any time during the year that requires silence, it is Good Friday. The Friday before Easter Sunday (Christ’s Resurrection). And silence and art complement each other.

Anne Hathaway stated a beautiful reflection regarding Notre Dame…
“I know this is an inspired representation of an even greater divinity. I know this blessed place is a human-made interpretation of what is mysterious, unknowable, and undefinable and while seeing her burn brings tears to my eyes, I know even flames cannot diminish her sacredness.
Still, not her.
Please.
Not her. “

Silence and art go hand-in-hand, as each one needs the elements of the other. The beauty of art brings the mind to a higher level of contemplation. The more we admire great art, the more our minds will be drawn to the good and the beautiful. The history of Notre Dame gives a sense of wonder and admiration. Art leaves us with a mysticism that feels untouchable. A glimpse into the eyes of another person (the artist). But it is up to us to embrace the beauty and contemplate its majesty. Do we live our lives drawn to the arts? Do we decorate our homes and businesses with art that encourages the good and the beautiful? Or are we numb and void of these beauties?

@dmheckenkamp photo (Painting by Jeff Darrow)

Loving These Days

Welcome to Loving These Days.
As a wife, mother, entrepreneur, and lover of the Classics, I have attempted to find the perfect “balance” in my life, but that does not exist – at least not in the way many people assume. There is not a perfect balance, but rather a list of priorities. A content life of happiness and peace includes: God, Family, Friends, Work, and Rest. Some may believe that I am a workaholic, and they may be correct. Whether that’s the truth or not, I don’t have a problem admitting that every new challenge entices me for an opportunity to learn new things.
Loving These Days has been a resource “in the making” for many years through my growth as an wife, mom, entrepreneur, and fundraiser. I have started over three businesses, co-authored a non-fiction book about manners and common sense, and undertook extensive fundraising endeavors. It is important to know that through each of my businesses, a personal lesson was learned and out of those lessons developed the premise for this site. Every new opportunity gives us the chance to enhance our talents and find our passions.
Photo Credit: @dmheckenkamp
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It is a fine balance, as an entrepreneur, to work both for oneself and for others. Loving These Days is bringing together my Faith, my Faith, and Graceful Living. Please grow with me as the website becomes an outlet of beauty, truth, and goodness through my personal loves: my faith, my family, cooking, baking, entertaining, etiquette, books, home design, money management, and fashion.
For more consistent updates while I create each post for this website, you can follow me on Instagram @dmheckenkamp