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Hey Santa, here’s my Christmas list!

Friends, it’s no secret that the Mr. and I don’t actually give each other Christmas gifts. We have a shared account which makes it more like using his own to buy him something that I’m not sure he even wants and vice versa.  And if we’re keeping it real, gift giving isn’t his strong-suit 😉 But that doesn’t stop me from making my own list and praying Santa might see it!  So, I thought I’d share what’s on my Christmas list this year!

 

My List

  1. I LOVE these state cutting boards by American Heirloom! They’re made from 100% recycled bamboo plywood and can be personalized or engraved. I love their option to have a HOME or STAR put over the city where the recipient lives. $48
  2. The Mr. and I have decided to run a marathon together (go ahead, call me crazy!); it’s a bucketlist item I better scratch off my list before 40 comes rolling around! Since it get’s cold in Missouri during the winter, good running tights are a must. I love these Inspire Tight II from Lululemon. The multi-pocket allows for space to put your key and gels, and the mesh ventilation hits in all the right places. The Nocturnal Teal is such a fun muted color that can be worn workout to street wear. $98
  3. Once January rolls around, I’m all about eating healthily. I have to make up for the margin of error of cheese trays and sweets that my body consumes during the Holidays. The Ninja Intelli-Sense Kitchen System from Costco is the perfect way to do that without breaking the bank! $129 -through December 24th.
  4. You all, the She Reads Truth Bible is simply the best. I have this one in Poppy but wanted to make sure you all see it. I love the hand-lettered verse the starts each book of the Bible off. The devotionals from SRT that are sprinkled throughout are perfect for daily use. There are maps, timelines, and tons of other resources that make this bible not only pretty but the perfect tool for getting into the Word. Also, I found it on sale at Christian Book for just $26.99! It retails other places for $49.99.
  5. There is nothing I love more than traveling, but when I travel, I prefer to travel organized and light. I was over-the-moon excited about Wit & Delight’s partnership with Target this holiday season for their travel gear. This travel wallet is the perfect catch-all to keep your passport, credit cards, boarding passes, and other miscellaneous items in one perfect spot; and the D-ring keeps your car keys from getting lost! It’s also darling with it’s gold and navy color scheme. This week it is on sale for $19.99. Regular price $24.99
  6. Wit & Delight’s 20″ Hardside Carryon comes in two perfect colors: Copper & Sage. I’m opting for the copper this year to match the travel wallet. It’s lightweight with garment zippers to hold your clothes in place. And if you travel much, you know that 360 degree spinning wheels are a must! Hurry up and get yours; it’s on sale for 2 more days for $79.99! Regular retail price $99.99.
  7. I’m a photographer, and a Canon one at that; so new camera gear is always exciting. I’ve had my eye on the Canon 5d Mark iv for a little while now. Its video and low-light capabilities make it versatile for all types of media. Retail varies from $2500 – $3100 depending on body or bundle.
  8. Let me just say it, I’m obsessed with the Royale Flats from Free People. Have you seen anything lovelier?! They are the absolute perfect-travel-casual-but-still-look-like-and-adult-wear-every-stinking-day-of-the-year shoes! My favorite color is Canary followed by Brown. They’re just so darn versatile, and come in 12 colors. Retail $198.
  9. Tennis shoes are my jam. I’m in them at least 6 out of 7 days a week! I love these white and gold Adidas Superstar sneakers. They’re perfect with street to workout attire or cute jeans and a sweater. Sneakers also make it easy for me to chase my ever-running-away 2 year old! Retail at Nordstrom for $79.95.

It’s Better to Give Than Recieve

Every December, our family chooses to raise-funds for Fields of Dreams Uganda‘s Holiday Hygiene Kit Drive. Did you know that many girls in Uganda miss up to 20% of their schooling each year due to their periods? Fields of Dreams strives to see that no girl falls behind in the classroom or on the soccer field by equipping each of our mature girls in our nine partner schools with a hygiene kit. Nineteen dollars, yes, $19 can change the trajectory of a girl’s education and life.

As an organization, we distribute more than 2,500 kits each year. My personal goal is to make sure that 100 girls are taken care of. Would you consider giving a $19 tax-deductible donation and giving the gift of hope and dignity this year? If so, please click here: HOLIDAY HYGIENE KIT DRIVE

From our family yours,

MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

 

Girl Empowerment – Holiday Hygiene Kit Drive

No sanitary pads.

Monthly cycles.

Girls dropping out of school.

These are all inextricably linked.

Can I ask you to do something? Forget the lie that “you can’t make a difference.” Don’t flippantly scroll by today while sipping your latte and believe that what you do here has little impact on someone somewhere else.  IT DOES.

Last year because of YOUR generous giving to the Fields of Dreams Uganda Holiday Hygiene Kit Campaign, we were able to equip more than 2,500 girls in our partner schools with sustainable hygiene kits (last 1 year). But here’s my favorite part: the impact didn’t stop with there. Your giving gained traction and FoDU won Beyond Sport’s International Girl Empowerment Sport for Health award. It encouraged more than 100 girls returned to Bungatira Primary School alone in 2016! School drop-out rates have decreased. Dormitory and campus cleanliness has increased dramatically, but that isn’t the end! Fields of Dreams Uganda is now putting a Changing Room on each of our partner school campuses – a clean and safe place where girls can manage their hygiene!

While all of this is life-changing, perhaps the most important thing happening overall is the cultural shift – menstrual hygiene management is becoming less taboo to talk about. Conversations have been opened up between our Ugandan staff and the girls that we are serving. Their mamas and aunties are engaging as well. This, friend, is huge.2015-12-01_0015.jpg

This year, because of the great impact, we have more than 2,500 girls to serve.

And, this year I ask you to give just one girl a chance. Because this year, it’s personal.

These are the daughters of women that cared so tenderly for our son. Who scraped shillings to send their daughters to school by waking up in the middle of the night to feed Zeke when their daughters were somewhere else with another “Auntie.” These are my girls too.

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These are the young ladies that woke up LONNNNGGGG before the sun came up to fix coffee over coals and scrub and hang our clothes out to dry before the daily rains came blowing in. She never had a chance at school. These are my girls too.
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Zeke at 5 1/2 month old.
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These are the bright young minds at our partner schools that are doing homework on computers now, and just because of that, are miles ahead of 99 percent of the other girls in Uganda. These are my girls too.
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These are the sweet young faces of girls that hope for a bright future. Girls who haven’t yet learned “you can’t do something.” Because daily they are being told by the staff at Fields of Dreams Uganda through their DREAMS plans and the wonderful teachers at their school, “YOU CAN!”

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Who We Are Partnering With & What Is Included:

Because we are all about sustainability and supporting local economies, we are partnering with the fantastic Ugandan organization AfriPad to provide a Hygiene Kit to every single one (2,500+) of our mature girls in each of our 9 partner orphanages. I love Afripad because powered by 90% women in country. The kits they make are high-quaily and eco-friendly lasting a girl 1-year. The best part: a kit that equips a girl for a year is only $19! Give up 4 of your Starbucks drinks this month, and you’re there.

Our Updated Hygiene Kits This Year Include:

  • 5 washable, durable pads
  • 1 pad storage bag
  • 2 large bars of soap
  • 1 wash basin
  • 1 drying rack
  • 3 pair of underwear
  • 1 storage bag
  • 1 comb/mirror
  • 1 toothbrush and tube of toothpaste
  • 1 washcloth
  • 1 pair of fingernail clippers
  • 1 Girl Talk book educating the girls on their changing bodies
  • … and most importantly, a new sense of dignity and self-respect!

Just one last question.

Would you give if this were the face I were asking you to provide for?

Just a thought…because this is my girl too.
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TO GIVE CLICK HERE: Fields of Dreams Holiday Hygiene Kit Drive

She was limping across the street – knee blown from a basketball injury – when he almost ran her over. That’s it. The beginning of their story. If only everyone had such a movie-like meet cute in real life!

Their engagement session took place on her grandparents’ farm – one of her favorite places. Joe and Randi were excited to have their dog Ruger join them for a few photos. Randi forewarned me that she wasn’t sure how he’d do. I told her Joe would be just fine. 😉 Just kidding! Ruger was a champ. I absolutely love when couples include their pets in their engagement sessions!

I asked them each what they loved about the other. Joe is a romantic. Randi loves the way he pays attention to details and constantly surprises her. Her second favorite? She loves that he can grow, “a sick beard.” Joe’s favorite attribute of Randi is the way she loves and cares for those in her life so well. She’s kind and nurturing – qualities you want in your life.

The couple has a gorgeous rustic winter wedding planned, and we can’t wait!

 

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Having your pet join you for engagement photos, is always a good idea! Ruger was perfect.2017-10-08_0002.jpg2017-10-08_0003.jpg

I love a single solitaire. Simple and classic, it never goes out of style.2017-10-08_0006.jpg2017-10-08_0005.jpg2017-10-08_0009.jpg2017-10-08_0008.jpg2017-10-08_0007.jpg

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If you had to ask a theme for this session, I’d have to say “laughter.”2017-10-08_0027.jpg2017-10-08_0017.jpg

A man that will put his girl on his back and carry her across fields is for keeps.2017-10-08_0016.jpg

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This picture is perfection, so is the couple.2017-10-08_0012.jpg
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Missouri Wedding | The Davis Residence

One day, three years ago, Kaelyn crashed a wedding. And that’s when it happened. She noticed a strikingly handsome brown-eyed gentleman just across the room. One week later they had their first date.

Surrounded by their closest friends and family, Kaelyn and Luke promised to love and cherish one another as the sun set just behind the rolling hills where Luke grew up.

Kaelyn and Luke, thank you so much for trusting me to capture your wedding day. It was absolute perfection. I wish you all the best as you embark on this new chapter in your lives.
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Kaelyn’s Mikaella lace gown fit her like a glove, and the custom Sara Gabriel earrings were dazzling.
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Coordination + Design | Jan Coffman

Wedding Dress | Mikaella from Altar Bridal

Jewelry | Sara Gabriel

Bridesmaid Dresses | Mori Lee

Suits | Men’s Warehouse

Flowers | Jan Coffman, Mackenzie Schatz, Chazeray Hülsen, Brook Bartolotta, & Jodi Neill

Rentals | Ezekiel & Stearns, Pretty Little Things

Harpist | Gina Edwards

Catering |

Cake | Teresa Lynn Cakes

Hair + Makeup | Marissa Messex & Ashley Debrecht

DJ | Hysteria Sound

Videography | PureSonic

Photography | Ashley Miller

Back to School!

It’s the first day back to school for the Millers. They kids were excited. Mom was excited. The littlest was excited until he realized he was NOT going to get to attend. We may have had some tears from him at the bus stop. 😩 Other than that, the first day started without a hitch!

…except that I forgot to turn in some paperwork, so Zeke and I jettisoned to the school to say hi to the bigs while dropping it off. Also, because apparently 3rd grade is when boys get “too cool for mom,” Zion was MORTIFIED when I said “Hi” as he and three other compadres sauntered into the hall from the bus. Zoe girl, on the other hand, was delighted to see us and begged for us to walk with her to her room where, again, Zeke didn’t want to leave. He was convinced this is his year to start school! Nope. But preschool twice a week starts next month. Yay for all of us!

Then a friend and I grabbed coffee and perused a local shop with only one child in tow which is the equivalent of feeling naked in public. You keep checking yourself like, “I feel so light! Did I forget to put something on? Leave a child somewhere? What on earth is wrong?!? No one is yelling my name!!!” And then you realized, it’s because they’re at school and all is well. Oh, and if you live in my area, GOOOOO check out Blooming Daisy Marketplace and support your local shops. It’s the cutest! The perfect place to pick up a gift or some home decor. Zeke was most enamored with the goats and chickens out back!

And if you’re a teacher, administrator, custodian, school bus driver, or any other person that makes our amazing school systems work, I hope you know you were prayed for. Our family got together last night to pray over the kiddos and then for all of you who work day-in and day-out to help shape and mold these amazing little humans. I couldn’t be more grateful for each of you.

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She is so ready for 1st grade!

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He also didn’t want to show his teeth to smile, but one joke changed all that!

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Friends, Zeke couldn’t be more ready for school even though his is ONLY 2. He was the first one up this morning, “Ready for school with my backpack!” and his pajamas still on. It’s going to be quite the day when he really goes. In case you couldn’t tell, he also LOOOOOVVVVEEESSSS getting his picture taken!
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I can’t believe the other two are growing so quickly. Summer flew by per the usual. Little brother is going to miss these two so much, but hopefully soon sister will be joining us from the Congo (DRC).
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Here’s to a STELLAR 2017-2018 school year!