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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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The Millers are Moving!

Well, I’m not sure how to write this all out, but in very short – we were given a sweet opportunity to sell our beloved downtown cottage we lovingly call “the Miller Manor”, and take a leap of faith as we find the NEXT Miller Manor.

You can’t imagine the heartache, prayers, tears, and time we have spent over this big decision for our family.  But the Lord is good, and He is guiding us as the opportunity unfolds.

For the first 7 years of our marriage, as a couple of new small business owners, it was impossible for us to qualify for a home loan, but it remained our hearts deepest desire.  All we wanted was a quaint little place we could call our own in those years (and years) of rentals.  We witnessed a small miracle happen in our financial life that year as we turned our worries to God, and our sweet little house fell into our lap.

It had been a childhood dream of mine to live in downtown St. George, to buy a little old house and fix it up.  As a young girl, my parents owned a quaint little beauty salon right in the heart of the city.  I grew up in that salon, ran around the grounds, and became dearly acquainted with all the business owners – most of whom still have businesses there today.  We would go for walks, and play in the tree-lined streets and as we drove home to our suburban neighborhood, I would pick my favorite houses up the block and day-dream about the life I would live there when I grew up.

How sweet it has been to see that dream come to life.

This house has been such a tender mercy for me, and even writing this makes me teary.  This house has been my dream come true, and I haven’t even dreamed beyond it.  I have felt like the luckiest girl in the world to have this precious place of safety, security, and so much joy.  A little house literally bursting with my own children and a happy, full, beautiful life.  I have not, and will not ever get over it.  This dream of mine was hard won, but worth it ten million times.

But this house wasn’t our forever house.  It was a house to wrap us up in a time we needed it, to provide us shelter from life’s storms for a season, and has provided us an opportunity to turn the page to the next chapter of our lives.  What a sweet gift this house has been.  I can’t say that enough.  This home will be cherished for the rest of my life, in some of our happiest of memories.

But for now, I am looking forward to the home waiting for us.  Because as I have been reminding myself, it’s not the manor that makes the Millers, it’s the Millers that make the manor.

*cue all the tears*

 

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Life Lately

Life lately is waking up to get kids off for school – oops! Late again… scolding myself on the way dropping off, “you should be more responsible!” “Being on time is mostly up to you!” “Set a freaking alarm, for crying out loud.  You are a 28 year old woman!” and then pep talking myself the whole way home, “You are doing the best you can.” “A few minutes late does not make you a terrible mother.” “We all have our strengths – your kids are not questioning your love for them today.” Woooo…  being a full time mama is an emotional roller coaster.

It’s coming home to freshly awake and groggy toddlers in my kitchen.  It’s snuggling while he drinks his “baba”, and tickling her back under her nightgown.  It’s changing diapers and changing clothes – SOOOO many clothes, I did not realize motherhood would basically be changing kids, finding shoes, and doing laundry.  That makes up the majority, bless my ever loving heart.

It’s being in the moment whenever possible.  How fleeting I see these days passing now.  Harlo is closer to being a teenager than a baby now, my goodness how quickly that passed.  I thrive on going for walks with my babies in the stroller, dog to my side.  I can take in my days and process my life in such a quiet, happy way.  My stroller has had a broken front tire for two weeks now and I am feeeeeling it physically, but mentally as well.  I have come to rely on those moments of groundedness in my day.  Time seems a little slower on my walks. Prioritizing those times for myself is necessary.

It’s taking a second for myself while the baby naps – the longer into this motherhood journey I venture, the less time for myself I find.  Balancing work, house work, relationships, downtime is becoming nearly impossible, but I’m embracing the way they crash all together at once, I guess.  Swirling around me in a beautiful string of life.  Realizing that life rolls in seasons, and what doesn’t make the cut this season can have some time in the next.

It’s sitting on the porch as the sun tucks behind our house, squealing with the babies when the bus rounds our corner.  Hearing all the things while I figure out supper, and sitting with a full heart at the dinner table with my entire family of six.  Finding more of myself as one of “the moms” and being completely content with whatever that means.  This is a good and bustling season.

Life lately has been relying completely on faith.  We have made some big decisions this year, and as we have prayerfully prepared for each one, we have felt guided and peaceful about the ones we’ve made, even when we’ve felt torn.  Grateful to be celebrating 10 years in faith this month.  What a decade it’s been.  My heart is overflowing recounting how my life has changed as I’ve built a relationship with God. Asking for grace, extending myself grace, and finding all the grace I can spread around the family, because the Good Lord knows we need it.  Where we fall short, there His Grace will be.

Good to be back, dear friends.  I love coming back here after some time away.  It’s like slipping on my favorite pair of jeans after being pregnant for 9 months. ;)

Feels good to be back!

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saying goodbye to summer

On our last day of summer here at our little Manor.  We really snuggled into this place of ours this summer.  The seeds we planted over the last few years have come to life here in a lot of ways.  This is the longest we’ve lived anywhere since our family started, and it feels like such a sweet corner to be nestled into in this season of life.

We are very much entering our “middle” phase, as we’ve seen the hard work from our “early” stages start to pay off over the decade, we still aren’t necessarily coasting.  Our life is so so so so so full, in every sense of the word, and sometimes it feels like we’re tredging through stressful seasons, but at the same time breezing by in the scope of life.

I asked Harlo recently if she ever thinks about moving out of here and she said, “Never.  I love this house.” and it pierced my heart to the core.  We have made a happy little home here.

It is not perfect, the office needs to be tweaked again, I’d like to freshen up some paint, and we have just that little bit to go to finish up the original remodel.  We are our best with projects, creative juices flowing, and hands busy in service for our home and family.  I’m so grateful for the opportunity of service this little home provides.

When we bought this house, we really loved the idea of living this season of our lives intentionally simple.  We hope to plant seeds for our future while we live here, but rest here in this happy place we’ve worked so hard for.  We have learned so much, and taught our kids along the way.  I have grown up a lot in this house as I have progressed to my “late twenties”, and have birthed two more children while we’ve lived here.  We have continued and started businesses in this home, and every day as I walk our streets I feel inspired to do and live better.

I know we are always growing and shifting and always on the look for more, but this season has been one of letting go and just being still for a time, and that has gifted me such joy and happiness for choosing this path.  Business, success, independence, space, time, and uninterrupted sleep will be in the seasons to come.  I can only pray they are just as full of beauty as this season we’re in right now. ♥

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building our tribe

Last week, for the fourth of July, we had our second annual holiday bash at the Miller Manor.

I had posted about the night on instagram, and someone messaged me and told me how she envied the group of friends I had, and how lucky I was to be raising my children alongside my best friends.

This touched my heart, and I’ll tell you why.  Because I had a season in early motherhood with little to no friends in the same season I was in.  I felt loneliness and craved something more.  I felt an answer to my prayer was to be patient, focus on my family and not worry about friendships – they would make their way into my life later.  And they did.

A couple years later, by divine placement, I had some precious friends in my life.  These women were strong, and wonderful, and real, and loving wives and mothers and friends.  The only problem was, most of them didn’t know each other.  In this season I had a strong impression that I was to bring this group of women together.  So I started a book club.  I invited a few friends, they invited a few friends, and before we knew it we had a big ol’ group of awesome ladies discussing books and life and all that entailed.  Best friendships formed, we learned from each other, grew with each other, showed up for each other, and felt our loads lighten by the friendships we had formed.

This very inspired idea of bringing this group together may be one of my most treasured blessings in life.  I genuinely have the greatest group of women surrounding me.  REAL women.  Women who aren’t interested in gossip, and materialistic accomplishments, but that are coming and putting it all out there, and accepting every one else doing the same.  These types of friendships are rare, I know this from experience, and I am so grateful to have these women in my corner for life.

Upon our purchase of the Miller Manor, one of the main things for me was to have a place for our tribe to gather.  We kept this in mind with every renovation we did.  We don’t have a ton of space in our 1900 sqauare foot home, but we have created places for our community to come in and feel loved.

The 4th of July is just a reminder of all we have built with this community.  I love that my yard is big enough to hold alllll our kids, and that our families continue to grow.  I love that our kids are raised more like cousins, and that through our friendships have become a sisterhood unlike anything else.  Each of us have built this community up, and I am forever grateful. (only the friends in town on the 4th pictured — but you know who I’m talking about even if you weren’t here!)

Are you in a season of loneliness?  Perhaps your tribe is just on the other side of inviting a friend or two over for a BBQ, organizing a book club with a few women you think would hit it off, arranging a weekly playdate with other moms, whatever you like to do.  Sometimes it’s just about gathering up your people with food and love to fill your soul.

In my experience, my willingness to invite and host has given back to my family 100 times.  Who can  you love into your tribe?  Who can you cook a meal for?  Who can you invite to a park and pick up pizza on the way?  Build up a community you love being a part of.  I promise it will be worth it.

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Catch us Outside

If you follow us along on instagram (which I KNOW you do – right?!), you know that the Miller Manor welcomed a swing set to the backyard collection this past weekend.

I had dreamed of a swing set in our backyard since we moved in – our last rental house had one, and I loved looking out my kitchen window out back to see my kids playing on the swings.  The swings were my favorite as a young girl, and I always envied the friends I had with swings in their yards.

Swing sets can be pretttty pricey, and with all the work and projects we always have going on at this house, I didn’t want to fork out a few thousand dollars on a nice one.  So, I put the word out and kept my eye out for one that would suit our needs. (and pinned a bunch of DIY versions on my backyard board on pinterest!)

But on one fateful Friday night, the stars aligned with my mom found the PERFECT SWING SET on the local yard sale page.  I made an offer, they accepted, and we picked it up the next morning.

It’s an old schoolhouse swing set and it couldn’t be more perfect for us and our space.  We can swing as high as we want – and we do for the majority of our day!  (The best part of having your own swing set is being able to swing in your skivvies… just ask Grae.)

And just like that, this second-(or-third-or-fourth)-hand swing set became a staple part of the life we’re living here at the Miller Manor.

It really is the most SIMPLE things, y’all! ♥

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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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a good day

I should have known yesterday was going to be a good day when I woke up to this:

As fore-mentioned, the eldest of our Millies graduated first and second grade yesterday – nothing brings nostalgia quite like the last day of school – or more so, the first day of summer break.  Was there any better feeling as a kid?  I think not.  So I invited a few of their pals over, bought two big bags of popsicles, attached the sprinkler to the hose and we had ourselves a grand ol’ first day of summer bash.

I swear – the simplest of things can make the best memories and I hope I’m helping to create those kinds of memories for my children.

After all our friends went home, it was just about time for Mr. Miller to whisk me away on our date.  It’s a charmed life, I tell you what.

We drove to the DI to unload all the “spring cleaning” I’ve been doing this week,  ran a couple errands, and ate my favorite Mad Pita.  I don’t really care what we do, as long as I’m with Mr. Miller and have his undivided attention to talk about things – like my romper I wore yesterday on date night.  “It’s cute, it just looks like something Grae has in her drawer.” I’ll take that as a compliment! Thankssamuch.

I have some ideas up my sleeve for Summer for my little Millies that I’ll be sharing more about next week… On Monday for family home evening we will make our annual Miller Summer Bucketlist and I can’t wait for the adventures this year is sure to bring!

Adventure or no adventure, I’m just glad to have all my loves all to myself for a while.

My cute “momper” is from HERE.

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Because every family needs a dog

This week has been an exciting one here at the Miller Manor.  You see, Mr. Miller and I both grew up with dogs and firmly believe that no family is quite complete without a family dog.  And this past weekend, we brought our very own family dog home.

You can’t imagine how much time we took thinking and researching, preparing our home and our lives to be ready for this step – it feels like a big one!

I found our sweet guy looking online for dogs up for adoption.  When I clicked on his photo, I felt something special.  I showed Mr. Miller and he agreed, “yep. That’s our dog.”  He’s a 16 month old Llewellin Setter (I grew up with Irish setters!), he was still available, just waiting for the right family to love him well.  I assured them we were the right family, and two days later, he was on his way to our home.

He took about zero time to warm up to us completely.  He laid on the floor that night while I rocked Major, snuggled in with the girls while we read books, and slept on the side of my bed all night and hasn’t left my side since.  To say we are completely in love is an understatement.  It feels like he’s been ours all along.

As I went to pick up our new family pal, Mr. Miller worked hard finishing the backyard fence he built with his own two hands.  (Mr. Miller is not the romantic one in our relationship, but that romantic gesture of building a fence for our family was not lost on me – all the heart eyes over here!) As we sat on the back porch that night, it felt a whole lot like living our dream.  A cute little house, four kids, and a dog to run around the yard.

I am living my most favorite chapter yet – the dog is just the cherry on top!

Welcome to our family, Finn! ♥

 

 

 

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living with intention | when enough is enough

I am entering a season of serious intentional living.

I have found that intentional living sometimes comes in waves.  I get in the ebb of life’s grooves, and have to redirect myself to the flow.

I am coming out of a growing season, where I was looking outward at what was ahead in our lives as we made choices and navigated some difficult situations.  The answer to my prayers in this season though, was to instead look inward to determine our future.  It was not the opportunities that may or may not lay ahead for our family that was the answer to this certain question, but rather the contentment that was already enveloping us in this current season.

For the first time in our lives, we aren’t chasing the next dream.  We are living the dream we chased and caught.  I don’t mean that we aren’t dreaming anymore, or that we “have arrived”, but specifically, we worked long and hard for years upon years to purchase the house we currently live in.  We are now presented with a good amount of equity that would secure us a larger home, a home we could comfortably “grow into”, a home that could possibly be our “forever home”.  Yet, this particular opportunity of moving from our beloved little cottage came rather quickly for my liking.  We are always willing to do what is best for our family, but as we looked seriously into that, we realized that a bigger “more comfortable” home was just simply not what was best.  Or perhaps a more clear way to phrase it, is that a bigger home would not be “better”.

This answer became clear to us each day as we contemplated selling our beloved cottage – our three bedroom house surrounding now six people.  It became clear in the way we felt as we pulled into our driveway, admiring the jasmine we planted crawling up our columns.  The happy welcome our blue front door presents – the door I painted with a 6 week old baby Grae strapped to my body.  It became clear in the way we feel when our family crowds around the island for breakfast as we read scripture, discuss important family matters, or giggle as I dance around Mr. Miller, making him blush.  It became clear in the way we feel with all three of our girls snuggled into bed for the night – in their shared bedroom, as our precious son sleeps soundly in the room right next door.  It became clear in the way we perfectly fill up our living room – a spot that seems just exactly the right size for our family of six.  It became clear in the perfectness of me making dinner, babies coloring and snacking on the counter right beside me, and the sound of the big girls practicing piano filling our entire home.

We live in a little cottage – a little cottage we have worked hard on making our very own.  A little cottage that has our stamp in every single corner.  This little cottage may someday feel too small for  us, but happily, today is not that day.  And we don’t have to move into a bigger home because we can, or because that’s “what you do”, or because it’s expected to keep growing materialistically.

I think there is something to be said for chasing after a dream to accomplishment, but there is also something to be said when recognizing that enough really is enough for now.

It became apparent that happiness may await us in the next chapter of our lives, but one thing we know for sure, is that happiness is right here where we are already.  And for now, that is exactly enough. 

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Major Turns One | Birthday Fiesta

This year was officially the fastest year of my entire life.  The one year mark didn’t sneak up on me as much as it sped right to me like a semi on the freeway.  I couldn’t jump out of it’s way, and it was coming whether I wanted it to or not.

I love one year olds, but I also love 11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2, & 1 month olds.  I love every single drop of that first year of babyhood and it’s so bittersweet seeing my own little baby turn one.  I just want moooore time, is that so much to ask?  Just like double – or triple the time?  Anyway, his first birthday came and just like the rest of his life here with us, it was absolutely perfect.

 Major smashing his cake was maybe the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.  He was HAMMING it up for all to enjoy.  We haven’t stopped talking about what a little charmer he is.

 We are in love with this boy like we never knew was possible.  After a year, we have found that being the baby of the family AND the only boy is a pretty sweet place to land in life.

 p.s.
Easiest party in the world to throw is a fiesta!
Double easy if your party is in the remote vicinity of Cinco De Mayo!
We may be having birthday fiestas as a new tradition. :D

p.p.s
Upon requesting for Mr. Miller to wear “anything colorful or that you’d wear in Mexico.” He came out wearing this shirt that was a hand-me-down Tommy Bahama shirt with a PEP IN HIS STEP. (Much to my dismay, and not-so-subtle suggestions to change several times.)
You may not know this about Mr. Miller, but he can’t wait to be an old man.
Tommy Bahama shirts, beige Cadillacs, and early bird buffet specials are what I have to look forward to with this husband of mine.
Hopefully I can hold him off at least until he turns 35. ;)

 

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Easter weekend 2017

We doubled up on holidays this weekend celebrating our sweet Major’s birthday along with Easter, my favorite Holiday.  It was hectic and lovely and filled to the very brim with goodness and love. (I’ll post about Major’s birthday in another post)

On Saturday, we walked to the Art’s Festival which is my very favorite weekend in St. George.  Easter is wonderful everywhere, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s the best spent in our little Southern Utah town.  I have gone EVER single year my whole life and I love bringing my own children now.  I also love living downtown this time of year (and every other time of year, too, actually).  There’s just a happy bustling down the streets, trees blossoming into Spring, flowers blooming all over the colorful houses.  I love it down here and think I maybe never want to leave.

After the arts festival, our church ward had their annual Easter Egg hunt at the park.  Of course it was a hit:

After that, MY cousins were in town and they stopped by the Miller Manor for dinner Saturday night.  I was having too much fun to snap any pics, but I super loved having my cousins and aunt and uncle over for dinner.  It made me feel like a kid and a grown-up all at once, which is a pretty neat feeling.

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Easter Sunday, my honey spoke in another ward, so me and the little Millies (sans Stella who had woken up with strep!) headed to support our main guy.  Mr. Miller is a fantastic speaker in church, and with his new church calling in the high council, he is able to speak a whole lot!  I think it’s a perfect fit.

My Mr. Miller gave the neatest talk about that first Easter.  My favorite part of his talk is when he spoke about Mary and her broken mother heart, seeing her baby on the cross like that.  Jesus did the hardest thing anyone will do, but I think Mary had to do a big part of that too.  As I sat with my own precious baby son on my lap, my heart broke for Mary – someone I have grown to understand and deeply love since becoming a mother.  I love that my husband paid tribute to this sacred moment, and it’s been on my mind ever since.  The atonement and resurrection are so vast that most of the time I have a hard time wrapping my mind around it all, but when I can spend time pondering little aspects of it, I gain a testimony of the little pieces, and they weave together a testimony of hope, faith, truth, and love for my Savior and what He did for us.  

It’s amazing that the lives we enjoy today, the forgiveness we rely on, the happiness and hope we can feel is because of that sacred day when Jesus conquered death.  I have spent the last ten years of my Christianity learning to grasp this, and I’ve no where near mastered the enormity of this concept, but I’m learning, and I am awe-struck over the love our Heavenly Father has for us.

Easter is my very favorite holiday.  It’s one of simplicity and love and beauty, and I love it just as much now (more so, actually) as I did as a little girl.  Each Easter, as I line up my darling babies to photograph them in their Easter ensembles I am overcome with gratefulness.  Grateful that my life took such a wonderful turn back there somwhere, and that by turning my heart to Jesus Christ, I have created this beautiful life.  It never ceases to amaze me.  This year I had a bench full of MY own children, and nothing could make me happier.

Of course, Jesus isn’t the only man we were feeling extra grateful for this Easter.  Celebrating my only son’s first birthday on this special day felt a little like magic.  In his dapper little Easter outfit, my heart nearly burst right open.  I sure love my little prince!

As I mentioned, sweet Stella woke up in the night with a hot fever and felt miserable all day on Easter. (She was also sick for Valentines – what luck!) I brought her to the doctor Monday morning and she has strep!  Poor sister.  We had to skip on the cousin Easter-egg hunt at Nana and Papa’s house and my girls were SO bummed.  But you better believe Nana and Papa brought that Easter Egg hunt to them on Monday so they didn’t have to entirely miss out.  (Thank you Grandma for braving the sickness and letting us come to your house on Easter!  You saved the day!)

 It takes a village to raise a happy family, and I am so grateful for ours.  This Easter weekend was one of my very, very favorites.

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