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

Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Take A Look or Take a Fall

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”  ~ Coco ChanelIt seems that every time we go out, whether it’s to the grocery store, the mall, the office, the park, a date or even a wedding, there’s something missing!  You may ask, what’s missing…?  Does anyone own a mirror?

Wait, maybe it’s just a lack of common-sense.  We aren’t talking about spending excessive amounts of time primping and prodding just to buy groceries!  No, we are talking about the basics here:

Did you brush your hair and teeth this morning?

Did you take a minute to put on some mascara, eyeliner and a dab of lip gloss? (Come on, Ladies, you know what your face needs to look more awake!)

Are you wearing matching socks?  (And Men, brown socks and black shoes do not compliment!  Don’t even get us started on the white socks and black shoes!)

Did you get dressed?  And no, pajama pants that look like yoga pants do not count!

These questions might seem ridiculous and wreak of common-sense but for some reason common-sense is extremely lacking in today’s society!  Why is it so hard for people to put themselves together in the morning?  We don’t mean you have to leave the house looking like the Duchess of Cambridge (even though she always looks fabulous!) but give yourself 15-20 minutes to get ready and make a little more effort with a little less laziness.  You will be amazed at the results!

NO EXCUSES!

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Photo Credit: DMHeckenkamp

“Carelessness in dressing is moral suicide.” ~Honoré de Balzac

You think there is no time to get ready for work in the morning?  Think again!  Here’s your solution: wake up 20 minutes earlier!

You think that your children must look put together for school, and there is no time left for you?  Think again!  Here’s your solution:  wake up 20 minutes earlier!  Get yourself dressed first and then wake up the family.  Children will lead by example.

You think, “this is my day off, why should I get dressed?”  Please reconsider this thought process…  If you plan on staying home, that’s fine, wear the yoga pants but at least brush your hair and apply a small amount of makeup.  You may have an unwelcome guest sooner than you think.  If you do leave the house to run errands, it is important to put yourself together for the day.  You might run into a client, future client, past co-worker, old high school crush, or maybe even a future lover!

FIRST IMPRESSIONS DO COUNT!

Unfortunately, the theory of “individuality” has been taken to an extreme!  An extreme of laziness, self-deprecation, lack of common-sense and in the end, just irresponsible as the next person.  You won’t lose your personal style or values by dressing with style!  It has become abnornal to see a woman put together with clothing fitted properly, makeup complimenting her facial features and her feminine physique isn’t hidden behind frumpy t-shirts.  Men, show your masculinity, be proud of it!  Don’t wear baggy pants and t-shirts (enough said!).  Please get rid of the Hawaiian shirts or save them for Hawaii.  Why is it so hard for men to wear a polo and khaki pants?  Here’s a tip:  Women love a well-dressed man!  Use that to your advantage!

“Like every good man, I strive for perfection, and, like every ordinary man, I have found that perfection is out of reach – but not the perfect suit.”   ~Edward Tivnan

Five Ways to Love Your Life

Life is too short, let’s enjoy the moments of love and try to overcome the heartaches with a smile, because there will be heartaches and lots of them. It isn’t that we should ignore these troubles, but we need to remember that everything shall pass.

Many people go through life only finding the negativity that surrounds them. What a horrible way to live! It seems that this type of mentality would exhaust a person more than having a happy disposition. Life is too short, let’s enjoy the moments of love and try to overcome the heartaches with a smile, because there will be heartaches and lots of them. It isn’t that we should ignore these troubles, but we need to remember that everything shall pass.

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  • Wake up each morning at the same time and preferably at an early time. Depending on your schedule, of course. There is no reason to waste your life away in bed. Carpe Diem! Waking up a bit earlier might give you a few extra minutes that you can enjoy by yourself with a warm cup of coffee and a good book.
  • Schedules are important, but they should never stress you out. If you are making a schedule to improve your chaotic lifestyle then that’s a step in the right direction, but if this schedule is unrealistic and can never be achieved, don’t push yourself into a state of despair. Adjust the schedule, little by little, so that it fits into your life appropriately. Remember, good things usually happen in small steps.

 

  • Smile more, laugh more, talk more, and yes, even listen more! Take a moment the next time you are at the grocery store and count how many people you see smiling, usually the clerks aren’t even happy. Stand out from the norm, make a point to smile at people, make them laugh, and engage in a conversation. Not a conversation all about YOU, but about the person standing in front of you because they deserve kindness too.

 

  • Take care of yourself. If you aren’t happy about your life, your body image, your health, or your financial situation, then it’s time you make changes. Of course, these changes won’t happen overnight, but this is all about setting realistic goals. No one gets out of financial difficulties within 2 months, sometimes it take years or even a decade, but it can be done. Our society is based on wanting self-gratification immediately, but this is completely unrealistic. Find a friend or ask a professional for help to get you back on the right track. Never be afraid to ask for help, it’s okay to be vulnerable.

 

  • Good Things Take Time! Don’t expect your life to change without you initiating those changes. It is easy to pick up a bad habit, but it is so much more difficult to permanently fix those bad habits. They say it takes 21 days to fix a habit, that’s almost a month. Give yourself a month before giving up on your goals! At no point in our lives will we be perfectly happy. There are too many factors outside of our control, but if we make the most of our situations, work to better ourselves, and assist those around us, life will always be good!