Our New Miller Manor

I have been doing a lot of clearing my schedule, and nesting our house.  At first I was thinking how chaotic it would be trying to move and be in a bare, new house for Christmas, but I am finding that it has been such a blessing.  Right now my entire focus is on our home, how we’re going to live best here, and getting settled.  It has been such a sweet thing to focus on for the holiday.  We have set our expectations so much lower this Christmas, and have already spent more nights cozied up by our fire after a long day’s work than we probably would have otherwise.  It’s been a sweet little start to our life here.

Many have asked where we have moved, and we really didn’t go far.  We just nestled into a quieter neighborhood, closer to our girls school.  It’s just a 5 minute drive from our old neighborhood, but we’re figuring out a new little pocket of town.  I still feel homesick for our little nook we had grown to love and live those 6 years as a young family, but we find reasons to visit often.

Mostly, our days right now look like nesting little corners of our house, unpacking endless amounts of boxes, and twirling around in natural light giggling that we get to live here. We all especially love the staircase – Harlo can’t wait to go to prom down our stairs, Major finds endless travel on them, and I can’t wait to get busy on a stairway gallery wall I’ve always dreamed of.  Life is pretty sweet here, even at our new Miller Manor.

xo

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a heart of thanks

We had a very different, and very lovely Thanksgiving this year.  Our families were traveling, and since we were only in our home for a few days, we decided to sit this holiday out and spend it together in our new home.  I wrote this on  Thanksgiving morning:

“As I am writing, it is Thanksgiving morning.  I just love Thanksgiving.  I woke up early and walked down to my brand new kitchen in my brand new home.  I prepared my turkey(breast) and arranged my dishes.  I turned Christmas Music on and opened up my back door to let in the crisp morning air.  As my children gobbled up some yogurt, a hot air balloon flew just exactly over our backyard.  It all seems almost too perfect.

This year I am feeling so particularly grateful and full of thanks.  I am still in awe and wonder about the way my life has unfolded with my beautiful family I have been blessed with.  It feels so sweet to be newly nestled into the home my children will grow up in.  We are here!  This stage of life has arrived, and it’s so sweet it puts a lump in my throat.

We have been on the receiving end of so much loving service, and I feel unworthy of such blessings.  For us to be sitting in this house came after such an army of people offering us their time, skills, willingness to help us with so much.  I am just feeling especially loved and grateful for all the angels I have surrounding me.  I know that God uses us to bless each other, and I have felt so much of that in recent weeks.

I can’t wait to get my hands to work serving and giving back this holiday season, and today I am starting by making my family a home cooked meal in our new home!”

Of course we missed family, and our usual thanksgiving tradition of spending it at the family cabin with the Millers this year, but I must say that cooking 6 dishes alongside my two older girls in our newly unpacked kitchen had to make the list of my favorite Thankgivings to date.  I looooove everything about Thanksgiving.  The weather in St. George, the low-key vibe of the holiday, the cooking all day, the snacking all night.  It’s just the best.

This year it was 75 degrees outside, so naturally we opted to eat on our outdoor picnic table.  After dinner, we went and walked through our empty downtown cottage together as a family.  It was a sweet way to end the day.  We spent the rest of the holiday weekend getting settled into our new house.  I think we’ll be “settling” for quite some time here, but it just feel so good to be here at HOME.

Definitely a year to remember.

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Leaning into Faith

For a couple of months, Mr. Miller and I have felt a bit… restless.  I can’t explain it in any other way, just that there was a building up to a breaking point of sorts.  We started wondering if we were really doing what we were called to do here, and prayed for  God’s help in showing us.  Areas of our home life, work life, family life started shifting and we wondered what changes we needed to make that would be right FOR US.  So on one particularly tough Sunday, we prayed diligently, pleading with God to guide us to our next step, open to whatever that might be.

The next morning, a dear friend of ours approached us about buying our house.  Even though this was no where on our radar at the moment, we couldn’t help but feel how “coincidental” the timing was, and so we felt we at least had to hear the guy out, and explore our options.  As we stepped forward in faith, even though I really didn’t want to sell my house, I started seeing how wonderful of an opportunity this would be for my family.  The painful thoughts of leaving this dream home of mine faded with the peace and excitement of this opportunity.  I have come to know that God is the only way to feel peaceful, and where there is peace, there too, is God.  In the last decade of actively pursuing a relationship with God, I have let those same peaceful feelings guide me, and so I recognized that easily in this situation.

It is important for me to point out that God didn’t reveal what the whole plan was when this initial prompting of taking this opportunity happened.  This is where our faith really carried us.  We knew, and had faith, that if God provided us an opportunity as an answer to our prayers, He would lead the way.  So we continued in faith, even though we weren’t exactly sure where we would go once we moved from here.  We explored all of our options and kept moving forward until God would reveal to us our next step, having faith that He would.

In my own spiritual journey, a weakness I have is letting go of my own control.  God has to remind me of this ALL THE TIME, “I promise, I’ve got this Cass.  Go ahead and let go.” He whispers to my soul, and through white knuckles I try to ease my grip.  After years of practicing, I had the ultimate test when the day would come where I would have to sign the sellers contract on my sweet little cottage before knowing AT ALL where we were heading next.

We had seen multiple rentals, all of which fell through for one reason or another, we had friends offer us to stay at their homes, but with such an uncertain timeline that seemed hard to commit to… We had even reached the resolve that if worse came to worse, we would take this show on the road and live in our little trailer and travel for a few months until we sorted this all out.  I felt anxious and wrung up over every last option. (I also learned how DOWN I was for God’s plan, as I would have been willing to do any of these things had they felt right.)

So, on the last night it was possible, I signed the contract, making our sale official.  With not a single hint of what we would do next.  I pleaded with God what felt like that entire night, and felt a strong impression that help was on the way.  THE NEXT MORNING, my husband called from work asking if I could be ready in 20 minutes to go see the house I had coveted on the MLS site (knowing full-well I couldn’t buy it – we had planned to not even start with the home buying process until we could file our taxes which wouldn’t be for a few months, at least..  We had to be out of our home in 28 days.)  Brady told me he’d explain, and to get the kids ready.  Turns out, that morning’s meeting landed him with just the right person who would be connected to a real estate agent and a mortgage broker who worked mostly with business owners like us.  A call or two later, we were meeting the real estate agent at the dream house, and by that afternoon, we placed our offer.  Is your head spinning?  Let me say it again, that afternoon, we were placing an offer to buy the home I didn’t dare dream we could buy.  It was a spiritual trip to say the least.

Because the home buying process is never ever easy, I can’t say this process has been a breeze, or without it’s hiccups… but I can say that we have been guided every single step, and we have been 100% fine with whatever God had in mind for us – even if that meant facing our own disappointment for a time.  Of course, our God is one of grace and mercy.  Our suffering has been washed over with His peace time and time again when we’ve come up against trials in this process.

As I am writing, we are a couple of days away from closing on both homes, and we are still having to lean into faith over fear every single day.  There is still a chance things could fall through, and there is still a chance we’ll see another miracle in our lives come to completion.  I have faith in the latter, of course.

I will tell you that I don’t think I’ve ever had a time that was so apparent that God was working in our lives.  I mean, truly I would have never imagined this would be possible, and I hadn’t even dared dream beyond our home.  But God nudged me in the gentle, reassuring way only He does, and I am watching the next chapter of our lives unfold right before my very eyes.  How grateful I am to that hard time in my life ten years ago that lead me to God, that lead me to changing my life for His will that day and every day forward.  After ten years, I am still not over the miracles God has performed in my life and continues to perform in our lives. <3

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gather here with grateful hearts

As you can imagine, life here has been bustling.

It is a stressful process of selling and buying, and we feel those growing pains for sure, but we are also so grateful to have this particular set of stressful happenings. ;)

Moving is often bittersweet, but I don’t think I’ve ever in my life experienced such deep meaning to the word.  On my walk yesterday, as I planted my heart in gratitude, I could hardly hold tears back as I expressed my gratitude for this sweet neighborhood I live.  It’s beauty, the stories and history it holds.  The wonderful people, businesses, happenings, and charm.  I am so lucky to have been able to walk these streets as my own each day, taking in each season in richness.  I have a feeling that my walks around these streets will be one of the things I’ll miss the most.

This neighborhood will be heartbreaking to leave, and our dear house, nearly impossible.  Our children doubled in number in this house, my last babies birthed right here under our roof.  We went around the dinner table last Sunday, perhaps our last Sunday dinner here at the house, and took turns telling some of our favorite memories.  We could hardly narrow the best days down, although we agreed that the births of our sweet babies were unanimously on the tippy top.  Birthdays, baby blessings, holidays, home school, first days, last days, hard days turned good days, and all the days in between have been overall happy here.  My favorite season of life to date, how about that?

A few weeks ago, before we knew any of this, we had an opportunity to be shot in our home by the always lovely Janae Allred, who shot our video for Maskcara a couple years ago.  I couldn’t have known at the time how much it would mean for us to have this regular Saturday at home documented for us to always treasure.  What a blessing this will be!

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