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)

Veritable Living and Lifestyle

Welcome to Veritable Living and Lifestyle.
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.
Veritable Living and Lifestyle 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. Veritable Living and Lifestyle is bringing together my love of business, writing, design, and simple beauty all in one place. Please grow with me as the website becomes an outlet to beauty, truth, and goodness through my personal loves: 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 @veritable_lifestyle

A Book Lover’s Dream – I’d Rather Be READING

There comes a time for every book lover, when we want to take our nose out of those print pages (yes, I have a preference for print over ebooks) and desire to connect with other readers who also sacrifice every waking hour for a free moment to delve into another world. Not all of us who love the written word, have the luxury to join a local book club or empty our minds for several hours perusing the shelves of a local book store. Sometimes, we must find  book companionship on Goodreads or social media outlets by following our favorite authors and book reviewers. Yet, recently I was given an opportunity to join together with fellow readers and one of my favorite authors, Anne Bogel, and celebrate the launch her upcoming book, I’d Rather Be READING.

 

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There’s nothing like the opportunity to be a part of a book launch team as we all anxiously await the early release of the book and the anticipation of connecting with an amazing writer, blogger, and podcaster.

As I had high expectations for I’d Rather Be READING by Anne Bogel, I did not expect her book to bring me back into my bookish world from childhood to adulthood. As she traveled through her own personal book travels, my own path through the written world quickly emerged from the recesses of my memories. Bogel wrote about visiting the library with stacks of books and reading deadlines, while also reminiscing about those days spent in a local book store with her father. Each of her own experiences, not matter how personal, reminded me of a similar bookish adventure I experienced. I did not think this book would give me a chance to return to those childhood moments of when my journey towards reading became a true love and how this progressed into adulthood. It was her literary journey that allowed me to also reminisce about mine.

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If you are a book lover like myself, you won’t want to wait another second. Pre-order I’d Rather Be READING now and receive not only a book that will bring laughter and bookish memories, but if you pre-order before September 4th at IdRatherBeReading.com you will receive the special bonuses posted from the website below.

Preorder one copy of I’d Rather Be Reading (before September 4)
from your preferred retailer and receive these digital bonuses:

  • FREE digital download of the audio version read by Anne
  • Access to Anne’s new class “7 Ways to Get More Out
    of Your Reading Life”, live on August 2
  • Beautiful digital artwork from the book

Preorder two or more copies and receive:

  • All of the above digital bonuses
  • Signed book plate
  • I’d Rather Be Reading bookmark
  • Postcard print from the book
  • Bookish stickers from the Modern Mrs Darcy shop

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Don’t waste a moment by ordering this late. Because I’d Rather Be READING might just be calling your name, for we all know that sometimes we don’t find the books, the books find us.

“Happy Reading!”

The Importance of Family Time

As the cooler temperatures creep upon us, (what do I mean creep? It has been in the 70’s and 80’s for far too long in Wisconsin) it is that time of year when we all need to take a step back and examine more than just our life, but the lives of those around us. With the start of school and fall activities, one thing should become clear to us as the carefree days of summer disappear – the importance of family/framily time.

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Photo Credit: Katy Oberst

Family dinners were always a huge part of my childhood and even though my brothers and I might have missed a few when we were in high school, in exchange for our sports and after school clubs, but looking back, I wish we hadn’t. I’m very grateful for those activities, but looking at the bigger picture they appear very insignificant now. But I suppose that is part of life and learning to grow into a better person.

From the moment my husband and I started our family, we wanted to focus on family time, and so every night we sit down to eat as a family. I am grateful for this, no matter if we are rushed some nights to get out the door for soccer or if other nights we enjoy an hour dinner to make up for the rushed evenings, but this is our time and something that we value. This means putting away any distraction for the time being – whether that’s homework, cell phones, work papers, none of that matters during our dinners.

Family time doesn’t only include dinners, but we heavily value our Sundays. Each weekend it may look different, but overall, it is quality time spent with our children. Whether getting together with extended family for a game of soccer in the backyard, watching the Packers, or taking a naps after enjoying brunch, whatever encompasses our Sunday, it always includes time with our kids.

I’m not going to pretend that technology is obsolete on a Sunday and we have resorted to the “Old” Days, but we don’t want to waste too much time with those distractions. It isn’t always easy, because sometimes all I want to do is scroll through Twitter mindlessly. But that isn’t what my children need and when it comes to “family time” it’s about our family as a whole not as individuals.

So, find what keeps your family grounded. How do you come together? Are you working towards something bigger than just one or two people? How do you create an experience that not only allows, but forces you to understand and learn more about each other? If we don’t know the members of our immediate family, then we aren’t truly living. These are the people who will be there for us through thick and thin (even if it takes awhile to get over last year’s family reunion) but they are still family.  It might take awhile to find your family’s “thing” and sometimes if you have been gifted with a friend who is like family then you are truly blessed to open your circle and to grow in love. Continue searching, and eventually, you will find what brings your family joy and you won’t want to let it go. It will be worth missing the parties, the overtime at work, lunch with friends, and even the addicting Instagram stories because your family is where you can be yourself and where you can rejuvenate for the upcoming week. Put your family as a priority and everything else will quickly fall into line.

Motherhood Truths as School Begins

It took me awhile to write this post as I sit back and feel a bit sad that my children are returning to school. Yes, I am looking forward to that schedule, but I’m not going to pretend that our lives were chaotic with no schedule during summer. For everyone who knows me well, knows that I can’t live without schedules. I love to-do lists and planning my day. It doesn’t mean that we are doing something each moment, but I like everything to be in order, it’s one of my obnoxious personality traits. So, yes, it will be nice to have a few hours during the day with two children, instead of all four, since most of the older ones don’t take naps anymore…but it’s also not easy for me to let them go. As I sit and ponder why it’s getting harder for me to send them to school each year, instead of easier, here are a few of the “Mom Truths”that best describe my thoughts as another school year begins.

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Credit: DMHeckenkamp

  • As I stay home with my little ones and get to witness their first words, first steps, and much more, I don’t get to see all these firsts with my older children when they are at school. It’s part of letting them have independence and learning on their own, but I don’t get to see their first smile from meeting a new friend, or the feeling when they receive a treat for a job well done, or how they play in gym class. Yes, I get to hear about it, but I miss seeing these firsts and sometimes I wish I could be a fly on the wall.
  • It’s exciting to know that my children are learning to develop and become independent people as they step out of the house and venture into a new classroom. But, honestly, it’s really hard to let go. It’s hard to not be their only happy place. I’m so grateful that my children have a wonderful school to attend with loving teachers and I know it’s part of motherhood, to them fly, but it isn’t easy.
  • I didn’t always cherish these moments, but I have learned to love any extra time with my children when they desire me to be by their side. They haven’t reached the moody teenage years yet and they still want to sit next to me or hold my hand. As they enter a new grade this year and are another year older, it’s making me more aware that these days are going to end.
  • No matter how tough it is to be in the thickest waters of motherhood with four little ones, it’s getting hard to let this phase go with some of the older ones as they become independent. I am appreciative that the older ones are much more self-sufficient than the 20 month and 3 year old, but it does sadden me to know that they no longer need my help as they once did. I still remember feeding my oldest child yogurt in the living room over seven years ago on a lazy morning. Those were the mornings before I had any children in school and it could be a whole day of play. Now that I focus attention on more than one child, there are many more responsibilities and less time for lazy days.

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Credit: DMHeckenkamp

I am so happy that my children are growing into beautiful people who one day will need to thrive on their own without my help. It’s our job as parents to provide all of these life lessons in order for them to succeed, but as we do, we also give up a bit of ourselves. That is the hardest part. It’s beautiful to love, but it sad to lose a bit of ourselves with each life lesson we teach our children. But, isn’t that the ultimate gift of love? To remember that our children are only on loan to us and they have their own missions in this world. Let’s hope that we are all giving them the tools to succeed and make it a better place for everyone.

Motherhood is More than a Mirror Image

We all do it. We all stand in front of the mirror every morning, some mornings are less hectic than others. But we all stand in front of that mirror looking for the flaws, the pieces of us that only we can see. The pieces of don’t really make us into the person we are inside. This rings true even more so with mothers. There’s something about mothers, who sacrifice each day of their lives for the sake of their family, but only focus on the negatives and I am no exception to this bad habit. It’s time that we truly begin to value our worth and learn to love ourselves as we are. We stand in front of that mirror with self-pity, something my grandmother told me to never have, yet there it is creeping in. But why? Why do we allow ourselves to only focus on the mirror image?

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Credit: DMHeckenkamp

Maybe it’s from the fact that we spend more time getting our children ready than ourselves. Shower? Who has time for a shower?

Maybe it’s because we spend hours making dinner, but only get an opportunity to finish the toddler’s plate of picked-over food. We really can’t blame the toddler for our actions.

Maybe it’s because we no longer find the desire to go shopping for clothing because it either won’t fit or it will only get covered in food from the two year old’s fingers.

Maybe it’s because we would rather spend the time sleeping than taking a shower and putting on makeup. We have all been there.

Maybe it’s because leggings are more comfortable than anything else. Don’t get me started on my opinion of leggings as pants.

Moms. These aren’t good enough excuses. Yes, we have a tough job, one of the toughest as we teach our children how to obey, behave in social situations, and learn life lessons, but they still aren’t good enough excuses.

We are all tired, and yes, there are many different stages of motherhood. Of course, if you just had a baby, you get a pass. If you are going through mental turmoil, you get a pass. If there is a death in the family, you get a pass. But don’t allow these passes to become part of your everyday routine. If we want to teach our children to be upstanding citizens one day, then be their first example. Teaching is more than just speaking words, it is actions. Just like the infamous saying, “actions speak louder than words.” Something my grandmother would repeat to me on a daily basis. What are our actions saying to our children?

Are we telling our children, by our behavior, that only high expectations apply to others? Or are we setting the bar high for ourselves making it easier for our children to follow, because they will follow. Are we showing ours friends, family, and strangers that we have given up on life during this “stage”? Because if that’s the case, then motherhood doesn’t look very appealing to young women.

Motherhood is difficult, but did we really expect it to be easy? There are countless expectations from society and even ones we put on ourselves. Motherhood is a gift, a true vocation of pure selflessness. That doesn’t mean we should take care of everyone else and not ourselves. We must also care for ourselves, because if we don’t, our families and friends will also suffer the consequences.

Motherhood is not a mirror image. What you see is not what you get. EVER. But that is fine. We must only be able to recognize who we truly are within ourselves so that we may help our families thrive and our children learn to grow in virtue and goodness. If we are to look for what is good, true, and beautiful, as mothers, we should be the first to portray that image. For if families cannot be the first to give this gift to society, then what do we have left to rely upon? Because the world is dark and full of heartache, yet, what better place to bring light than through ourselves as mothers and through our children. We can’t change the hate in the world, but we can start by taking care of ourselves which will in turn transfer to our children – the ultimate gift from God.

 

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Credit: DMHeckenakmp

Creating a Life for the Common Good

An organized life is a beautiful life – a ripple-effect for the common good. Every now and then we all have those days, or weeks, where everything feels like it’s spinning out of control.  There are just too many things to check off the list, too many appointments in one week and of course this is all equaling to a boat load of stress and tension.  So how can we overcome and get pass this stress, this fast-paced uncontrollable lifestyle.  Well, there is one word to live by that will help organize, de-clutter and slow down this crazy world.  Simplify.

I have learned with life’s experiences that it’s time to simplify and choose priorities.  I know, I know, everyone talks about this, but do we ever actually take a step towards this process?  We are here to give you a few suggestions, steps that have worked for us!  Take what works for you and personalize it for your own lifestyle.

As a mom of four little ones, most of my days feel like this, but then I snuggle with one of those noise-makers at the end of the day and all is right in the world. The craziness truly doesn’t matter, but it’s up to me to find my priorities and create an organized life for myself (as much as possible). When my daily life is organized, I am more at peace, and therefore my family is also happier. It’s a beautiful ripple-effect that will touch every person we com in contact with. It’s time to focus on finding the common good for ourselves, our families, and for the whole of society.

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Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

1. Keep a Schedule.  Day to Day and Month to Month.  This will help you keep track of events, meetings, appointments and day to day tasks.

2. Each day write a small list of your goals.  Keep this list simple and reachable.  If you are able to cross off everything for that day, it will keep you motivated to continue with this the next day and the next day.

3. Keep a cleaning monthly schedule.  This way you won’t forget to wipe the blinds, clean the fans or wash the curtains.  Do one major task each week to spread it out.

4. Remove the clutter and organize your material possessions.  Eliminate what you haven’t used or worn in over a year.  It’s not worth keeping and someone else may be able to use it.\

5. Keep the social events under control, including play-dates, lunch dates with the girls, nights out, happy hours, fundraising events, etc.  Spend more quality time with close friends and family.  Those are the people who matter the most!

6. Admit when your schedule is full and learn to say no.  You can’t do everything and be fabulous at everything, so learn what will fit best into your life and your family’s life.

7. Make family life a priority.  Yes, you may have passions outside of family life and that’s great, but never let those take over your daily schedule.  Your children, husband and close family/friends come first!

8.   Keep your spouse as a top priority and he will do the same for you!

9. Your children are important, as a parent they are your daily gifts and miracles, so take care of them: emotionally and physically.  Not only by clothing them and giving them the daily necessities but providing emotional and loving support.  You are their everything, you are their world!

10. Spend time on yourself.  Whether this means taking a weekly exercise class, fifteen minutes of daily reflection, a walk in the park or a monthly spa date.  Keep a healthy diet, exercise often and drink a lot of water, flush out those toxins.  You need to rejuvenate yourself, often.