F E A T U R E F R I D A Y
MEET JEN MILLER
Tell us more about what you do and how you empower the community of women around you:
As a singer-songwriter and a mama of three kiddos, my goal is to empower women to take their next brave step in the dark, no matter how big or small, by holding the light of hope for them through stories and songs from my own journey. After transitioning out of a career in education to be home with my children, I am now releasing my first full-length studio album about hope in motherhood and in postpartum depression and anxiety. It is called, Brave is One More Step in the Dark, and I pray that it brings light and healing by communicating that there is a love that comes to rescue us when we feel lost, that we are never alone in the dark, and that we really can rise by lifting others.
Tell us about your space/Aesthetic
I love a clean, light, and modern aesthetic – whites and woods and metals. Then I add a few pops of vibrant color and natural textures to make me feel relaxed and inspired and globally-connected. My husband and I are currently in a transition season, we share a space with family, and we have three children and two dogs… so I am enjoying learning how to choose practical foundational elements that can withstand moves and grimy fingers… and then to decorate using a few meaningful accessories that can be mixed and matched in different rooms. I LOVE that Imani Collective’s accessories provide a clean but natural-looking vibe and convey messages and images that inspire. PS - I am also an experienced user of LOTS and lots of command strips.
What is your favorite room in your space?
I love any little globally-inspired vignette that I can look at in the crazy of life with children to see something orderly and visually beautiful. One of my favorites is a corner in the living room that includes a custom Andrew Peterson lullaby print, a piece of scripture art, and a navy and cream, Moroccan-inspired, tasseled pillow. I also have an Imani Collective pillow on one of my girl’s beds – a little cloud pillow that reminds me to not be afraid of the storm. And I chose to put my lyrics on one of their gorgeous hanging signs, so we could share a message of hope about motherhood on a versatile, modern, movable piece.
Who/what inspires you and why?
Artisan Mamas Around the World - When I was in my darkest period of postpartum depression, I learned about a fair trade jewelry company and the artisan stories behind its pieces. The colorful jewelry served as a physical reminder of connection and hope throughout my day – something I could cling to with my senses when I felt lost in the fog. And the stories of the artisan mamas who were braving their own darkness across the sea inspired me to start writing music again after a long period of lost creativity. This all led to the album that I am releasing now – a light in my darkness through connection. There are two songs on the album that are named after artisan mamas in Uganda and Ethiopia. And the song that my Imani Collective hanging signs is based on, "Little by Little," was partially inspired by an artisan mama in Haiti who had the courage to rebuild after loss.
What are you most proud of in the work you do?
I am most proud of the fact that this music has come together only because of a whole community of people who have held the light for me and want to hold it for other women too. Because so many people have donated their time, musical and artistic talents, prayers, and financial resources to this project, and along with the fact that this music represents connection with other mamas around the world, we decided to launch the album under the name, Jen Miller Music Collective. I can’t think of a better way to bring together both the themes and the behind-the-scenes details of the project and to communicate that we do rise by lifting each other up.
What is your life mantra?
This album is based on a verse in the Bible that says, “There [in the wilderness] I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor [trouble] a door of hope. There she will respond [sing] as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt.” – Hosea 2:15. I love this verse because it shows me that darkness, even that of depression and anxiety, can be redeemed into something incredible and beautiful. And that I am not alone in the valley.