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happy camper

Last week I had the opportunity to join the teenaged (and pre-teen) girls of my church for “girls camp”.

I wasn’t raised in our church, and so this was my very first time at girls camp!  I must admit, I was quite nervous and contemplated every excuse I had to get out of it, but I turned my heart to prayer about girls camp, and felt strongly impressed to go.  The stars aligned with awesome volunteers to help watch my children (I owe you, Cher and Grandi!) along with Mr. Miller, and on Tuesday morning I was on my way for 48 hours of camp.

I had absolutely no idea what to expect – and when you look at me the term “roughing it” may not come to mind – but all my dearest friends assured me that girls camp is the absolute best, and so I leaned into faith, slapped a smile on my face and went.  My goodness, they were right.

We slept in tents, cooked over an open fire, played endless amounts of games, I smuggled in diet coke (ha), and learned a plethora of wonderfully corny camp songs.  We want on walks all over the gorgeous pine valley mountain, and cried tears of gratitude, love, and truthfulness.  I got to know my sweet young women like I hadn’t before, and got to bond with the leaders, too.  I came home with such a full heart.

It was so wonderful to get home to my Mr. Miller.  While I was gone, I had missed our 9 year wedding anniversary!  So we celebrated over the weekend.  My girls couldn’t wait to hear all about camp and are looking forward to when they can go.  (when they turn 12! I hope I’ll still be a leader then!)

I feel like youth church camp is a right of passage that I had missed, and I’m grateful to have been able to experience it now at 28 years old!  Looking forward to next year (although I’m glad to have a year between “roughing it”). ;)

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Building a Life

“She shaped her own world exactly to her liking when nobody was looking.”
– Author Unknown

A profound truth hit me when my oldest baby girl was just a few months old.  We had just moved into a cute little rental house, we didn’t have a lot of anything at the time, but happiness and contentment seemed to fill every room.

After a whirlwind romance, and an unexpected pregnancy, life had moved quickly for me in the last year and a half.  In fact, right before I met Mr. Miller, I was walking out of the darkest 4-year season of my life.

The light my life radiated now was a blinding contrast from that of the season I had recently left behind.  Only a couple of good choices had landed me here.  To take a chance on love, to say YES, to jump in with both feet into something that felt to be right in my heart.  On that one afternoon, as I swayed my baby to sleep in my kitchen, I realized that life truly can be whatever you make of it. 

From that day on, I have delved deep into the details of my life, filling them with things that make me happy.  I learned that following spiritual promptings is always a good idea, no matter how wild they may seem.  I learned that any amount of beauty can fill up a space, and make my heart happier.  I learned that a shortage of money only meant an abundance of creativity – and that often where you find simplicity, there too you will find happiness.  There was simply no excuse to not create a happy life.  And that’s exactly what I planned -and still plan- to do.

If I could share the one secret to a happy life, it would be this.  I’m so thankful that the Lord brought this knowledge to my life, and that I have a partner who trusts the inspiration I receive for our home and family.

Mr. Miller said to me recently as we drove home from our weekend trip to our trailer on the mountain, “Most of the inspiration for our family comes to you, I’m just here to help make your vision come to life.” and my heart filled right to the tippy top – because I know that the Lord is guiding us, and me as a mother to this family.  He knows my deepest desire to create a good, happy, beautiful life for my family and He is so faithful.  Always there helping guide me.  As the years tick by, we are doing just what we set out to do. Our life doesn’t come without the stresses and obligations everyone’s life has – but we chase after that light, we chase after the things that will make us happy – big or small.  We have come to learn the things that bring forth the fruit of a good life, and we go for those things.

“We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” – LDS Article of Faith 13 (my favorite AOF)

 

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Harlo’s baptism day

This weekend was a sweet one for our family as we celebrated Harlo’s baptism.

As Christians, we believe we are trying to follow Jesus Christ’s example.  It has been important to me to allow my children room to develop their own relationship with God.  I didn’t have a relationship with God until I was an adult, so I’m not exactly sure what that is supposed to look like for kids, but what I have found is that these children of mine are more of an example to me than I am to them.  Like praying when they need help with something, leaning into faith when they don’t have another answer, having forgiving hearts, loving unconditionally – like Jesus taught.  In areas that I over-think, my girls easily cling to truth.  Turning 8 in our church is special, because we believe it’s the time these children can clearly understand right from wrong, they can start to understand how the holy spirit guides us, they can see goodness and truth.  So a baptism at this age just feels so fitting.  It has been so sweet for me to watch Harlo mature in this way, and I am so excited for what is in store for this precious girl of mine.

For Mr. Miller to be able to baptize our girl was such a special milestone for us.  Harlo is our constant reminder of how far we’ve come in this life, and she was the perfect strong soul to push us to be better, do better, love better.  We truly are eternally grateful she came to us.

With each and every milestone that passes, I can see so clearly why Harlo was sent here first, as the head of our children.  She was naturally born with the unique gifts she would need for this role in our family.  I loved watching her younger siblings so eager and excited to watch her.  Grae and Stella have been talking about their own baptisms and how they too want to be baptized just like Harlo.  Harlo has been excitedly telling them all the inside details, how she feels, and how excited she is to see them be baptized some day, too.  As their mother, there is nothing better in the whole world than seeing them love and support each other in their own little ways.

At the end of the night, as I tucked the girls in for bed, I asked Harlo, “What was your favorite part of the day?” (between wearing a fancy dress, having a baptism, a special after-party with her favorite things, and being the guest of honor) she sighed and said, “Just being baptized.” and Stella chimed right in, “That was my favorite part too, Harlo.”

Bless their little hearts.

 

♥ ♥ ♥

(photos: cher houston photography)

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a day in our life

I am loving how we spend our days right now, so I wanted to do a little photo project to document each little bit of this season we’re in.

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After the big girls are off to school, we start our mornings with a long walk in our neighborhood.  I love this time in our day.  It’s the only time both the babies are quiet, still, and happy.  I set my intention for the day and love pushing the stroller as my feet hit the pavement in the neighborhood I have grown to love so much.  I usually listen to audio books or scriptures on our walks and I love the tone it sets for my day.  My body feels strong and healthy, my mind is sound, my spirituality is set for the day, and my babies are happy taking in scenery.

 Grae’s favorite part is the snacks. ;)

After our walk, if he didn’t snooze during the walk, he takes a good nap when we get home.  This is when I get the bulk of my work done for the day, whether it’s blog posting (like now) or house chores.  I switch off days of the week to create a balance to get things done.  After our walk, I’m usually inspired to write my message to the world for the day – or get home and get my hands busy with the most important kind – being the heart of my home.

This particular day was an early-out from school, so after lunch we took to the front yard.  We wait out front for them each day.  Sometimes we swing on the porch swing, sometimes we sit on the grass, some days we kick a ball around.  Every day I love this happy time when the girls get home.

I kiss the girls off the bus, let them love on their baby siblings for a while, and listen all about their days before we head inside.

Sometimes (these days more often not) Grae naps in the afternoons with the baby.  When we get this rare baby-free time, we do some big girl things.  My big girls lately have taken to planning.  In addition to playing with my kids with things they like, I like to invite them to do things that I like to do.  This has changed the way we spend time together, and I love it.  The girls love doing things I like – imagine that.  Once a week I ready my planner for the week, and the girls get theirs out.  They do mostly some journaling and they embellish it with stickers and cute pages.  I love seeing what they come up with.  I also love that as they grow up, we find more and more things to do, keeping us close and our relationship strong.  This is so important to me and I treasure my time with just them.

Before we know it… Grae is up from her snooze.

 

We make a little afternoon snack – popcorn is always the favorite.

And then it’s usually time for me to start dinner.  This time is usually busy with the babies up, homework needs to be worked on, the cooking needs to be attended to, so everyone has a job to pitch in.  If someone is bugging someone else, it’s because they’re not busy enough, so they get an extra job. ;) The girls take turns doing homework and watching Grae, Grae’s job is to play with Major, when that gets restless it’s time to set the table, etc.  For some reason I just genuinely like cooking dinner.  It can be stressful, but it just reminds me how full our lives are and it marks this season I’m in in motherhood.  There are a lot of layers to life right now, and it feels like such an accomplishment.  Sometimes I catch myself juggling several things and I can’t believe I’m capable of it.  But I am.  So I lean in to that when the stress level starts raising.

And this moment right here makes all the hard work I do as a mama for the day just completely and utterly worth it.

(I love when my girls set the table – they always take it to another level with little touches of fanciness!)

I’m sure our days look like millions of other mothers in the world, and I love that.  I think about that often – the sisterhood of motherhood.  We are so connected in this.  As we work from sun up to sun down, doing the Lord’s work to guide our family, love our family, working hard and putting so many others before ourselves.  What a special calling we have.  And just like anything God asks us to do, he blesses us 100x over for our sacrifices.  I’m so glad to spend my day serving in this capacity.  What a blessing it’s been to my life.

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Light The World

A couple of months ago, I attended such a neat conference as a special guest to the LDS church and their marketing team.  We were privileged to be shown a preview of the Christmas campaign, and as we watched and the tears fell, the sweetest spirit filled the room.

Our family is joining in the Light The World campaign (which starts tomorrow!) and I invite you to do the same!  This will be such a sweet way to spread the meaning of Christmas, and I am looking so forward to it.  Watch this video for a dose of Christmas spirit.  Mr. Miller and I watched it in bed last night, and we will be presenting it to our little Millies tonight.

I love being a part of this wonderful church, and I love being able to help share it’s efforts of spreading goodness in this world.  Join me!

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To my girls

What will I say to my girls?

This is a question I have been asking myself over the last week as our country goes through a confusing transition.  There have been issues brought to light for me that I haven’t seen before, and I think it’s important to clarify some things.  So, to my sweet girls:

I realize that now more than ever, I must show you how I value myself as a woman.  Even (and especially) when the world doesn’t value me the same way.  I will teach you that the standard of respect I expect is far far more than the standard this country, and this world has set.  I will show you how I expect to be treated by my husband, my equal partner, and I’m grateful that he is able to show you that he values me and my worth over anything else in this world.  I will also show you that I do not feel “less than” in my marriage, in my position in our family, in my life.  Ever.  I am the lucky one, my precious girls.  You’ll see.

I will show you the value I place on motherhood.  That I believe with every ounce of my being that the greatest work I will ever, ever do is my work as a mother.  That choosing motherhood is not the lesser choice – ever.  That the value of what I do is not based on a dollar sign.  That at the end of the day (listen closely), it’s an overflowing heart that matters, not an overflowing bank account.  As I show you my love for motherhood and the purpose I feel in the everyday tasks, I will also show you that I am still a girl inside here, with big dreams.  I will follow them.  I will stumble sometimes, I will succeed sometimes, I will be shocked and surprised and frustrated and thrilled at times, and I will roll with those punches, my daughters, because life is as colorful as it is wonderful and I will not be afraid to feel all the feelings as I do what I love.  I will lead you to follow your dreams, to chase after that pull in your hearts, no matter what it is. Did you hear that, my girls?  NO MATTER WHAT IT IS.  You do not have to love all the same things I love, you do not have to feel the same things I feel.  That is the trick, sisters.  To chase after that thing that pulls you, that thing inside that God created that is only yours.  That is your purpose, and if you can still feel that, you are doing it right.

I will lead by love, and that does not exclude loving myself.  I will prioritize myself.  I will honor my body, my values, my talents, my mind.  I will take care of myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  No one will do that for me, my sweeties.  We must figure out how to do that ourselves.  “Life loves the liver of it”, my darlings, have you heard that?  I will live and I will love and I will serve and I will be happy.  The world is very confused about what it means to be happy, but I’m not.  It is possible, and I will show you each day as I make that choice, so you know.  Most of all, my precious girls, I will follow God – and I don’t mean that “mystical being” there are so many questions and arguments about – I mean the real God, The One who created us, The One who has an infinite amount of time for our thoughts, worries, needs.  The One who knows our hearts and fears and hopes.  The One who will walk us through every single trial and make us better for it.  If you never lose sight of God, my darling daughters, you will be okay.  Actually, so much more than okay.

I am not whatever the world wants me to be.  It’s important that you know that, my sweet girls.  Neither are you.  That’s not the way you came, and that’s not what you’re supposed to be.  So do the hard thing, ask the tough questions, stand up for what you believe in, trust yourself.  I trust you.  I am on your side, always.  Did you hear me?  That part is important.  I am on your side today, tomorrow, and every single day after that, too.

Be confident, my lovies.  You are already greater than you could ever know.  Don’t you forget that.

xoxo,

Mama ♥

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Hope Works

I am super excited about a new project the mormon channel is working on to bring us incredible stories from incredible people.  I have been flipping through as many as I can in these last few days, and my heart is being filled to the tippy tippy top!

When I was new to faith, (and I mean.. new to God, new to even praying, not just new to a new religion) I really wanted to know what faith even looked like to real people.  Is this something everyone is doing?  How has this changed and affected people really?  This curiosity is what drives me to now talk about faith on this blog and in my real life in an effort to spread hope.  I continue to thirst for answers and inspiration in other peoples stories.  I love that we ALL bring something different to the table in regards to our own faith.  It really is an incredible thing.  If you are looking for a little boost in life, love, and spirituality – be sure to click on over to the Hope Works channel, and I promise you will find it.

This morning I listened to Tiffany Webster’s talk on The Perfect Lie.. my goodness, WE ALL NEED TO HEAR THIS.  I will be playing this over and over this week to make sure I get every last drop of wisdom from it.

And if you need me to remind you how God took my own broken life and made it into something completely new, and whole, and wonderful… let this picture be that.

 photo by Ashley Flowers Photography

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