Masthead header

Celie and Brandon first met at a Great River Teens Encounter Christ (TEC) retreat in 2004. Later, they went to the same university where they became good friends and eventually dated. Time passed and they each went their own way, but life has a way of bringing good things together.

The forecast said 100% chance of rain. Mother Nature held off. The clouds drifted and the skies parted. It was a perfect May day for a wedding. Surrounded by their closest family and a handful of friends, Celie and Brandon exchanged vows promising for better or worse, in sickness and in health, and for many adventures and good coffee!

Brandon and Celie kept remarking on how simple and perfect their wedding day was. I think the pictures show just that.

Happy wedding day you two! Thank you so much for trusting me to capture your day. I hope you look back on these photos years from now, and they remind you just how simply good life can be. Much love.

2017-06-19_0047.jpg
2017,brandon,celie,emily dobson,gervais,midwest,missouri,missouri wedding,wedding,
2017-06-19_0052.jpg
2017-06-19_0049.jpg
2017,brandon,celie,emily dobson,gervais,midwest,missouri,missouri wedding,wedding,
2017-06-19_0053.jpg
2017-06-19_0069.jpg
2017-06-19_0068.jpg
2017-06-19_0071.jpg
2017,brandon,celie,emily dobson,gervais,midwest,missouri,missouri wedding,wedding,
2017-06-19_0072.jpg
2017-06-19_0001.jpg
2017-06-19_0002.jpg
2017,brandon,celie,emily dobson,gervais,midwest,missouri,missouri wedding,wedding,
2017-06-19_0006.jpg
2017,brandon,celie,emily dobson,gervais,midwest,missouri,missouri wedding,wedding,
2017-06-19_0015.jpg
2017,brandon,celie,emily dobson,gervais,midwest,missouri,missouri wedding,wedding,
2017,brandon,celie,emily dobson,gervais,midwest,missouri,missouri wedding,wedding,
2017,brandon,celie,emily dobson,gervais,midwest,missouri,missouri wedding,wedding,
2017-06-19_0007.jpg
2017-06-19_0009.jpg
2017-06-19_0028.jpg
2017,brandon,celie,emily dobson,gervais,midwest,missouri,missouri wedding,wedding,
2017,brandon,celie,emily dobson,gervais,midwest,missouri,missouri wedding,wedding,
2017,brandon,celie,emily dobson,gervais,midwest,missouri,missouri wedding,wedding,
2017,brandon,celie,emily dobson,gervais,midwest,missouri,missouri wedding,wedding,
2017-06-19_0013.jpg
2017-06-19_0011.jpg
2017-06-19_0012.jpg
2017-06-19_0010.jpg
2017-06-19_0021.jpg
2017-06-19_0008.jpg
2017,brandon,celie,emily dobson,gervais,midwest,missouri,missouri wedding,wedding,2017-06-19_0025.jpg
2017-06-19_0027.jpg
2017-06-19_0030.jpg
2017,brandon,celie,emily dobson,gervais,midwest,missouri,missouri wedding,wedding,
2017,brandon,celie,emily dobson,gervais,midwest,missouri,missouri wedding,wedding,
2017-06-19_0032.jpg
2017-06-19_0022.jpg
2017,brandon,celie,emily dobson,gervais,midwest,missouri,missouri wedding,wedding,
2017-06-19_0043.jpg
2017-06-19_0034.jpg
2017,brandon,celie,emily dobson,gervais,midwest,missouri,missouri wedding,wedding,
2017-06-19_0036.jpg
2017,brandon,celie,emily dobson,gervais,midwest,missouri,missouri wedding,wedding,
2017,brandon,celie,emily dobson,gervais,midwest,missouri,missouri wedding,wedding,
2017-06-19_0029.jpg
2017-06-19_0044.jpg
2017-06-19_0037.jpg
2017,brandon,celie,emily dobson,gervais,midwest,missouri,missouri wedding,wedding,
2017,brandon,celie,emily dobson,gervais,midwest,missouri,missouri wedding,wedding,
2017-06-19_0038.jpg
2017-06-19_0041.jpg
2017-06-19_0042.jpg
2017,brandon,celie,emily dobson,gervais,midwest,missouri,missouri wedding,wedding,
2017-06-19_0054.jpg
2017-06-19_0056.jpg
2017,brandon,celie,emily dobson,gervais,midwest,missouri,missouri wedding,wedding,
2017-06-19_0061.jpg
2017-06-19_0063.jpg
2017-06-19_0064.jpg
2017-06-19_0057.jpg
2017,brandon,celie,emily dobson,gervais,midwest,missouri,missouri wedding,wedding,
2017-06-19_0062.jpg
2017-06-19_0060.jpg
2017-06-19_0065.jpg
2017-06-19_0066.jpg
2017-06-19_0067.jpg
2017-06-19_0055.jpg
2017,brandon,celie,emily dobson,gervais,midwest,missouri,missouri wedding,wedding,
2017-06-19_0074.jpg
2017,brandon,celie,gervais,missouri,wedding,wedding photos,
2017,brandon,celie,emily dobson,gervais,midwest,missouri,missouri wedding,wedding,
2017-06-19_0078.jpg
2017,brandon,celie,gervais,missouri,wedding,wedding photos,
2017,brandon,celie,emily dobson,gervais,midwest,missouri,missouri wedding,wedding,
2017,brandon,celie,gervais,missouri,wedding,wedding photos,
2017,brandon,celie,gervais,missouri,wedding,wedding photos,
2017,brandon,celie,emily dobson,gervais,midwest,missouri,missouri wedding,wedding,
2017,brandon,celie,gervais,missouri,wedding,wedding photos,
2017,brandon,celie,gervais,missouri,wedding,wedding photos,
2017,brandon,celie,gervais,missouri,wedding,wedding photos,
2017,brandon,celie,emily dobson,gervais,midwest,missouri,missouri wedding,wedding,
2017,brandon,celie,gervais,missouri,wedding,wedding photos,

Watermelon Wednesday

It’s summertime and Wednesday, and Zoe is in the kitchen whipping up all things watermelon. Today is actually a double-header video in the kitchen: watermelon, feta, and basil salad and a watermelon limeade spritzer that is DELISH! *Video is at the bottom of the blogpost.

Watermelon, Feta, & Basil Summer Sala2017-06-07_0001.jpg

This dish is so easy, your 5 year-old can whip it up…or for those of you who cooking anything feels overwhelming, I promise these two dishes are anything but hard.

INGREDIENTS
Watermelon
Feta (I get it crumbled – one less step)
Basil

DIRECTIONS

Chop up your watermelon into bit-sized cubes. Take your basil leaves and stack several one on top of the other. Then, starting at one end, roll the leaves. Take the roll, and starting at one end slice the basil. It make nice long thin ribbon-like strips. The fancy term is called chiffonade. We’ll just stick with “cutting our basil into strips!” 🙂 Next, put the watermelon and feta in a bowl and add the basil. Then stir and enjoy!

*If you want to this to be a 5 min or less meal, buy your watermelon pre-cut.

Watermelon Limeade Spritzer2017-06-07_0003.jpg

2017-06-07_0004.jpg2017-06-07_0002.jpgWe had recently came across some delicious watermelon spritzer recipes recently, but let’s just say they were not kid friendly. So, we made a twist on a recipes that we found and swapped the lemons for limes and added spritzer water instead of alcohol. The result = AMAZING! I’ll be whipping this up regularly around our house. It’s refreshingly sweet, but not too sweet. The lime cuts right through. If you’re needing a “mommy-drink” I’m guessing you could add vodka, but I’m definitely not the person to ask. Mix-mastering is nay my forte!

INGREDIENTS
1/2 c. Watermelon Purée
1/4 c. Fresh squeezed lime juice
3 T. Simple syrup (just put equal parts water and sugar in a pan on low until the sugar dissolves).
3/4 c. Spritzer
Mint sprigs for garnish

DIRECTIONS
Squeeze 1/4 cup of lime juice into a pitcher. Then, using a high powered blender, liquify 1/2 cup of watermelon. Add the watermelon puree to the pitcher. Next, add your 3 T. of simple syrup and give it all a good stir. Last but not least, pour your 3/4 cup of spritzer into the mix! I like putting the watermelon/lime mixture into the cup first and adding the spritzer into the cup. It fizzes and forms the slightest foamy layer (don’t freak out froth haters!) and looks so fancy 😉 Garnish with a sprig of mint. Sip and enjoy!

*You can make this recipe as large or small as you want. This recipe makes a FULL 12 oz glass.

 

Zeke’s Room

We ( I actually have nooooo idea why I used a plural pronoun there) I finally started working on getting Zeke’s bedroom put together. Missouri has been our home for the last 9 months, but I just didn’t have it in me over the holidays to do anymore house projects. Nesting during this adoption has finally kicked me into high gear. Or maybe it’s the fact that we need photos of the house for the dossier and I still just have primer on my banisters! Or maybe it’s because we need to rearrange kids in rooms so child number 4 can have her place too. Whatever the case let’s be honest, can we? When I have a deadline I like to make it as horrifically imminent as possible which is why I painted yesterday instead of minding the stack of papers on my desk.

Zeke’s persona is so bright and cheery it’s only fitting his room match. I only spent a whopping $35 at Hobby Lobby to make this work. I just repurposed things we already had. No, I haven’t changed the electrical outlets although I have purchased them! And eventually I’ll get some curtains hung and knobs put on the closest to replace the missing one and broken one; but for now, before little Miss O arrives, we’re at least in good shape.

Zeke totally approves!

I ❤️ all things Lindsey Letters creates. She can do no wrong in my eyes! I am so excited that she sells a few select pieces of work at Hobby Lobby. Hello fabulous! That’s her canvas work below.

2017-03-10_0034.jpg
2017-03-10_0030.jpg
2017-03-10_0032.jpg
2017-03-10_0037.jpg

Cutest mobile evvvvaaaahhhhh! Give one as your next gift. Do it. Ekisa Designs sells these soft African animals on our Fields of Dreams Uganda website.
2017-03-10_0038.jpg

2017-03-10_0036.jpgI love reminding Zeke that Superman was adopted too.
2017-03-10_0039.jpg

Our sweet neighbors in Texas has these verses cards made for Zeke and gave them to me just before we went to Uganda. I clung to these and prayed one over him daily.
2017-03-10_0040.jpg

Zeke’s Favorite Story

My dear friend CeCe sent me this book in the mail as a gift for Zeke’s arrival. I opened it, read it, sobbed, and sat it aside when Zoe said, “Mom, who wrote this book about us?” And it hit me. This is (almost) our exact story with a few details changed. I was sitting in the salon when I got the call, and we were in Uganda rather than Rwanda. But other than those few things, this is our story too.

It’s also Zeke’s favorite. He loves pointing and saying, “Wook at Zekey, Mom!” and “Mom, wook! Zion and Zoe!” We read it often and tell him his story. We tell him how we waited and nested and prayed for him. How our sweet friends threw us the most fantastic shower and welcomed him. We tell him about walking down the red dirt road with his caretaker taking us to where he was lying in a bassinet by the window at the orphanage and that Zoe was the first to exclaim, “There he is! Our baby brother!”

So today, Zeke and I are going to “read” you this story. I hope you love it as much as we do!

Mommy’s Heart Went Pop! An Adoption Story, by Christina Kyllonen and Peter Greer.

2017-03-10_0041.jpg
2017-03-10_0042.jpg
2017-03-10_0043.jpg
2017-03-10_0044.jpg
2017-03-10_0045.jpg
2017-03-10_0046.jpg
2017-03-10_0048.jpg
2017-03-10_0047.jpg
2017-03-10_0049.jpg
2017-03-10_0050.jpg
2017-03-10_0051.jpg
2017-03-10_0052.jpg
2017-03-10_0053.jpg

Happy Friday Friends!

Everyday Hummus

It’s been awhile since we’ve aired an episode of In Zoe’s Kitchen. Almost a year if we’re keeping track 😳.  Zoe begged me this past week to start filming again.  So today as soon as we got back from a short trip to the farm, we walked into the house, dropped our bags,  and quite literally pulled out the camera and started filming. I am so glad we did. The kitchen is one of Zoe’s favorite places. Put a camera on her in the kitchen, and it’s a recipes for sheer entertainment.

The weather here has been unseasonably warm.  Eighty degrees today (we’re not complaining), so a summer-like snack was in order even though it is still winter in the Midwest. One of our favorite go-to summer snacks is hummus.  It’s easy to whip up a big batch, and there are ton of variations you can do depending on your favorite flavors.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 15 oz can Chickpeas
  • 2 T. – 1/4 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 T. water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (1 entire large lemon)
  • 1/4 cup Tahini
  • 2 cloves of garlic or 1 if you prefer a milder taste
  • pinch of Paprika
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Drain and rinse chickpeas. Pour the chickpeas into food processor and add all other ingredients in the food processor as well. Blend until smooth. If you like a smoother texture, add more EVOO and/or water to taste. We like to add a little bit more of both.

*Rifs

  • Roasted Red Peppers
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Pine Nuts
  • Jalapeños & Cilantro
  • Carolyn Spratt - Good job Zoe! I love hummus! It’s about time you came back to Zoe’s kitchen. Love you. Grandma and grandpaReplyCancel

Oh friends, it has been awhile since I’ve blogged…or feel like I’ve had time to blog. 2017 came and we have blown right through the first month and a half. So much has happened this year already.

  • We celebrated Christmas and NYE in Argentina with friends and family.
  • The Mr. went to London for work. We visited my family.
  • Kids headed back to school for the 2nd semester.
  • I partnered with some amazing friends and helped throw a big oily gathering.
  • The Mr. let me tag along his work trip to London.  #ilovethebrits
  • The biggest of our kiddos is turning 8 this month, and just 2 2/12 weeks after, the littlest (in age only!) turns 2.
  • Oh, and we’re going to need to figure out a new name for this blog because there are going to be six Millers soon! 😍

Yes, you read that right! We’re in the process of adopting the sweetest little 2 1/2 year-old girl from the DRC – Congo. We can hardly wait!

Recently, we were made aware of sweet Miss O (Miss O is not her actual name 😉) via a mutual friend on Facebook. I contacted her and asked for some information and proceeded to talk with the agency that represents her. Fast forward a couple of weeks and some other family decided to proceed; but then for reasons unknown to us, backed out.

But HERE is my favorite part of our story – of Miss O’s story. Yesterday I contacted a couple of friends to vet the agency further than just their agency website, fb reviews, and 3rd party non-profit “watch-dog” ratings. While chatting with one particular friend who also has Congolese children via adoption but NOT via our agency she asked, “Can I ask who you are adopting? I was just wondering because there is the sweetest little girl that we have specifically been praying for the Lord to find a home for. I actually have a picture of her from a year ago. Her name is Miss O.”

I sobbed. “We’re adopting Miss O.” I had never even spoken to her about our openness to adopt again, let alone from the Congo.

Friends, if this doesn’t encourage your faith, then I don’t know what will. The sovereign God who created the universe is also watching out for sweet Miss O thousands of miles away in the DRC. We’ve had confirmation of stepping out in obedience to this tug in our hearts in multiple ways. The previous example just being one of them.

It’s funny how life has a way of coming full circle. How God is so involved in the tiniest details of our everyday lives. Remember that beautiful refugee family you all so generously helped us clothe and provide for a couple of months ago? It is no coincidence that we got a chance to love them well. It’s no coincidence that their family is Congolese-Ugandan…seeing as our family will be part Congolese-Ugandan. Our choices and actions weave our everyday story and can either knit us a little more closely to others or allow us to unravel.

So What’s the Time-Frame?

Honestly, we’ve been told 6 months to 1 year. But if you know anything about adoption, you know to make a plan but must stay flexible. The plans always change. Sometimes for the better and well, sometimes there are big challenges that arise; but the reward is so worth it.

How You Can Partner With Us.

So we can keep the adoption rolling, we are working to raise half of the costs and will foot the other half personally. Since it’s Valentine’s Day, I thought we could send a little love to Miss O.  I made this chart with 200 envelopes numbered from 1 to 200. You choose a number, and that’s the amount you donate. For example, if you choose envelop 53, you’d donate $53. If we fill the chart, we will raise $20,100 – half our costs! I will update the graphic at the end of each night to show what numbers have been selected.

Step 1. Look at the graphic below to see what number is available (if a number is gone you want to donate, that’s fine too!).

Step 2. Click on the Donate PayPal button below and send the amount OR if you prefer, you can send a check to us. IF for some reason the button doesn’t work, you can send PayPal (friends and family) to millerram@gmail.com . It will go to the same spot.

Step 3. Leave a comment for Little Miss O. I’ll record them in a Journal for her.

 

 

 

Happy Valentines Day friends!

  • Carolyn Spratt - Oh, little Miss O. We can’t wait till you join our family! We are so blessed!ReplyCancel

  • Kari Dobbs - Little Miss O, we are so excited for you to join the Miller family! You are going to love them and what a blessing you will be to each other! Come visit us in Texas sometime. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Jeana CH - Welcome to the framily Miss O! We love you so much already… xoxo
    *(include as much or as little of what follows for her journal) 😉
    “We’re so excited to meet you and have you as part of our family. You’re lucky to have great brothers and a sister who will be there to show you the ropes. Enjoy the land of opportunity!” ~Jav
    “Congratulations! Me and my family are so excited to meet you and get to know you. My mom told me about you, and my name is Zailey. I hope we can be friends & play together. You’re an awesome star, and I love you!” ~ZBReplyCancel

  • Carolina - Para nuestra pequeña Miss.O, esperamos con ansias tu llegada para seguir iluminando esta hermosa familia!!! Tenemos todo nuestro amor para brindarte… Ansiosos por conocerte preciosura. Ya te amamos <3 Tus Tios Caro, Alfre y tu primita en camino FaustiReplyCancel