Monday, April 11, 2016

Where Is Your Happiness?

Written By: Danielle Silva Heckenkamp

Last week, Katy and I took a much needed vacation. So in the spirit of being overly ambitious, we drove down to Dallas/Fort Worth in a fifteen passenger van with all the kids (Katy's three, and my four). Yes, as I said, overly ambitious. We were prepared for the worst, after all having seven kids under the age of nine, something has to go wrong, right? In the end, it was one of the most relaxing vacations!

While relaxing and enjoying the time away from the daily demands of life, I learned some amazing things. Maybe you all have observed this, so I might just be late to the party... Life is tough, but I think we forget to remember that it is difficult for everyone, not just a few of us. We all have different demands or expectations, and yet, we handle these situations differently. No one's life is perfect, and I can't tell you how tired I am of reading blogs about this subject. Yes, we know your life isn't perfect, but why is it necessary to describe all those flaws to the world? I always wonder if this actually makes the person feel better?

Without the daily demands at home (laundry, dusting, cleaning, organizing, etc.) I was able to focus more on the children, and it was so refreshing! Instead of pulling myself away to finish a load of laundry, I was able to sit on a swing with them and watch the sunset, or even just watching them play in the fields was relaxing for me. It forced my choleric temperament to enjoy those small moments, because I have a horrible habit of always worrying about my never ending "to-do" list. The simple happiness of the children, brought me joy as I had the opportunity to watch them loving life.

If you have ever been to Texas, especially coming from Wisconsin, you will be amazed at the generosity, kindness, and overall joy found in these warm weather friends. I wasn't sure if it was the warm weather that brought out their constant happiness (as we Wisconsinites are a bit grumbly during the six months of winter) or if this was just in their nature. Whatever the case, it was so wonderful to be around happy people, it made us happier! It made me begin to think that as a society we rely too much on finding inner happiness, instead of offering happiness to others which then comes back to us full circle. We hear the phrase "do something for yourself", whether it's a spa day, girls weekend, working out, shopping, coffee, but after getting the opportunity, did it make us truly any happier? It might have relaxed us for a brief moment, but when we return to our daily jobs, has it truly impacted us in the way we thought? Or has it just impacted our wallets?

One of the best memories from the trip was during our visit to The Silos in Waco, Texas. If you haven't watched Fixer Upper, I highly recommend it! But the most amazing part of the Silos, was the "green area". An area of grass was put right in the middle of the buildings for the children and families to play. It was amazing to watch the children play with the hula hoops and the soccer balls. The families, especially the children, were the center of it all. The store, the bakery, were all on the sides, but the children were in the middle. It was beautiful to see what matters most to Chip and JoJo! (Which of course made me want to support them even more, so I purchased a few too many items.)

It's time to ask yourself, where is your happiness found? We are all different, and we will all find our happiness in different ways, but after this amazing vacation I have learned that instead of focusing on finding inner happiness, we need to find outer happiness, with our families, friends, children, and even the strangers on the street. Ultimately, it doesn't matter how we feel inside if we are not happy on the outside. It makes sense that they would be linked eternally together! Where will you find happiness?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Grateful Beyond Belief

Written By: Danielle Silva Heckenkamp

Too often we go through life wishing for the next best thing. That's a fact of human nature; the grass is always greener. It's unfortunate, because we forget to examine our current situations and the amazing gifts we have been given. With Easter quickly approaching in three days, I thought it was perfect timing to contemplate my life and those who have made an impact on me.

This morning I was in an area of the city that isn't the best, but I saw the most beautiful thing that almost made me cry. A father was holding his child (about 4-5 months old) and wrapped in a blanket with only his face showing, because it was cold and rainy, while the dad was carrying a large bag, it might have contained the only items they owned. I didn't know where he was going, but he looked like he was on a mission. The father was very lovingly watching the child to make sure he was o.k., while also trying to not step in puddles and slip. This might not sound like much, but it was such a beautiful sign of love between a parent and child. A love that is missing in this world or hidden. We are so used to a love that only shows itself when it is self-serving. It didn't matter the economic or social conditions of this child and father, because they showed enough love and trust between the two of them.

It made me think on the drive home, through the dreary weather, that the old cliche saying is true. "All you need is love". I know, I know, me of all people who doesn't care for the corny quotes. But I think we all have those moments in life when everything is going wrong, we aren't able to control or solve the problems, and have to wait for slow fixes. Then suddenly, something happens to show how each of our lives are intertwined with one another. We don't understand it all now and won't probably until after we die. It leaves us in a state of pure confusion, but also relief, knowing that everything has a reason and purpose. It truly does, because if it didn't, there would be no point to any of this.

Little does this father know that by walking down the street at that exact moment would create such a profound affect on another person. With that thought in mind, our every action is an example of good or hurt. How do we want to be perceived in the world?

After these deep reflections, in a quiet car before picking up the kids from school and the start of spring break... I knew that it was time to think more of others, and less of myself, which of course is hard with our natural self tendencies. To do more for others in small ways, ways that we won't see the effects, or be able to promote on social media, but ways that will create a better world for all. Then maybe someday, those actions will be shown to us like a puzzle, many little jumbled pieces put together to create a wonderful masterpiece.

I am grateful for a lot of things in life, but I am most grateful for my life. The life that has been given to me with all the happiness, sorrows, thrills, adventures, friendships, family, and unsolvable problems. Because without each and everyone of these bits and pieces, it would not be my life. It might not make sense when I am going through the heartache or the celebrations, but no matter the event, each and every one of them have a sincere and utterly beautiful effect on my life and I am grateful that they have helped me develop a love and trust for myself, friends, family, and my children. Because what else matters in life than love?

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

We're Back!

Exciting news, we are back on the blog! We apologize, it has been over a year since our last post, but wow, what a year it has been. We have been through a lot, learned a lot, and have so much to tell.

It all started 2 years ago when Katy and I had a dream, actually anyone who knows us will correct that statement. We actually have several dreams, some come true and some don't, but this dream did come true. After almost a year in the works of business preparations and searching for a space to lease, we opened an art studio! This concept came after much deliberation, as we both have a love for the arts. Throughout this process, we have learned so much. We have transformed the studio into a creative space which offers a variety of class options for adults and children. Our love for children (yes, we have 7 children between the two of us) had us focus our attention on furthering the arts to young minds. The studio offers a variety of art classes, dance classes, tea parties, summer camps, floral design classes, creative writing courses, photography, and of course, an option for private parties. What was once a dream has now become a reality!

That's not all the news. Can you believe there's more? Well, the day after the lease was signed for the studio, I found out I was expecting baby #4, surprise! Best surprise ever! The little one just turned four months and he is most definitely giving me a run for my money. Life is good.

With that being said, we wanted to pick up where we left off on this blog. Yes, we will continue to bring you fun and sarcastic write-ups about common sense and manners, but we look forward to sharing our experiences as mothers and business owners with you. Believe me, we have wonderful stories to tell.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Love, Friendships, and Appreciation

Written By: Danielle Silva Heckenkamp


Good friends are hard to find and an everlasting love is even harder to find! But what makes a good friend?  Did it ever occur to you that a good friend needs to start with yourself and maybe, just maybe, you will then find that amazing person who will be there with you through thick and thin. Because isn't it true that people with similar characteristics are drawn to each other? So, are you a good friend? Are people drawn to you?

  • A good friend is never in the relationship for their own personal gain. Yes, we all want someone to talk with, to laugh with and to just be ourselves with, but I don't consider that personal gain as long as you desire the same for the other person. 

  • Friends put their friends first! It's called devotion, dedication, compromise. We all have to learn these behaviors as adults, whether it's in the workplace, at home with our spouse, or with our family, but why do people think that this shouldn't exist within a friendship? It shouldn't matter where or how you and your friends spend time together, it just matters that you are together!

  • Take it easy. If you remember that it isn't all about you, it will make the relationship that much smoother. Friendships should never be exhausting, dramatic, or hurtful. We aren't in high school anymore, so it's time to weed out those bad, toxic friends.

  • Love your friends. Appreciate their virtues and their vices. You should want to do everything in your power to be there for the people near and dear to you. Everyone desires a happy life, so why not work each day to make the lives of those you love a little bit happier, easier, and above all filled with LOVE! Because all we need is love, right?