Please note: All images on this blog (except where noted) are original works of Miki Baxter and cannot be duplicated without permission. Also, if you're inspired by a project featured on here, then please link back to me and give proper credit. Thank you!!!


Re-Styling My Life

Today I had a shopping date with my daughter, and we had a lovely time deciding on design elements for our homemade Christmas card and discussing possible presents for family members. We also tried on a few items - for her: a pink Isaac Mizrahi dress and for me: a sleeveless gray dress with a black satin hem, very 40s, very Audrey Hepburn. Which brings me to the subject of this blog. At one time in my life, I was obsessed with all things Audrey Hepburn. And I loved dressing inspired by the elegant old Hollywood 20s through the 60s. Vintage cool filled my closets. I collected gowns, gloves and beaded purses. Every now and then I jumped eras and a few stray pieces from the 70s found their way in. A velvet bellbottom jumpsuit with a big collar, platform shoes, psychedelic orange, white and black polyester pants... I LOVED those pants. Some terrible life experiences invaded the fun idealism of that time in my life, and I decided that I had to "get serious" with my life. In the process, I put away many of the things that expressed that whimsical, dramatic me. I'm not one to spend a lot of time lamenting the past. Today, when I tried on this dress that evoked Audrey Hepburn's style, I reconnected with that part of me. I bought the dress with a giddy anticipation of again expressing that aspect of me that loves dressing up. I am going to pull out my fur-collar cardigan, gloves, strappy shoes and channel an elegant era gone by. And I am also going to revive the things I enjoy and make room for them in my life, allowing myself to be whimsical, dreamy and somewhat idealistic. Life is for living. Why not stroll through it with a sparkle that comes from peace with God?



It's been about a week and a half since I last wrote, and I wonder where the time went. I've composed a number of blogs in my head, but they never made it out here. So much living has taken place in the last week and a half - nothing major, just a steady stream of events.
I haven't slept much in the last week either. Baby has more teeth coming in and gets up shrieking in the middle of the night. Some nights, he wakes up multiple times. Sleep deprivation makes me silly and forgetful. I seem pleasant and friendly on the outside, but my mind is actually in la la land. I get more and more wound up, kind of hyper, but then I crash. I run out of steam and have to stop everything to refuel and regroup. Sometimes that crashing can be ugly, with an explosion of emotions and mess. But usually I just slow down until I am barely functioning. When I communicate that my battery is running down, Sean is great at helping me recuperate - the key is in the communicating. Many times I mistake running on fumes for more gas in the tank and keep on going, full steam ahead. I've been known to take on more in the mistaken notion that I really have an amazing and unlimited level of energy and stamina. Not true. But apparently I can be good at fooling others and even myself.
My ability to seem calm and in control on the outside despite struggling desperately inwardly came to light when I was in labor with my first baby. After several hours of laboring at home, I had Sean call the doctor because the level of discomfort was increasing significantly. The doctor wanted to speak to me directly to gauge what was going on. As soon as I got on the phone and he asked how I was doing, my control thing ("say everything is fine no matter what") kicked in. I spoke in a normal, cheerful voice. And the doctor didn't believe me that the contractions were strong because I sounded so wonderfully pleasant. In desperation, I gasped out that I wasn't fine but was culturally trained to respond in that way to most everything. Thank God he believed me then! But it happened again when I was stuck at 9 1/2 centimeters. My body needed to rest and regain some strength for the next stage of labor. So I dutifully sat back and closed my eyes, the picture of composure. At one point Sean commented to my doula that I must not be feeling much pain since I was resting - I calmly opened one eye and informed him that the contractions were as strong as ever. I was just trying to follow the doctor's instructions!
The most difficult realization about this facade came the year I suffered from severe postpartum depression following the birth of my second child. I did communicate with those around me that I was going through this and was even on medication. I shared about my struggles and fears as my life seemed to be spinning out of control, yet family and friends mistook my outward demeanor to assume everything was okay. I don't fault them entirely because I don't easily show my struggles. But I wasn't trying to conceal them, not this time. The stakes were too high - my two little babies needed to have a mother that was healthy. I reached out for help, talked about it, went to counselling... In the end, God brought us through it. My husband, children and I slowly healed from a very difficult and pain-filled year. We learned a lot, loved deeper, forgave a lot, and grew stronger. Sean and I have a lot more compassion, gained from understanding the realities of postpartum depression. And I work at communicating more clearly what is going on inside, even to myself.
Some of the special healing moments are taking place even now. My third child has the same birth date as my second one. Because of the depression and medication affecting me through so much of the first year of his life, I don't have many memories. But as I go through the stages of this baby's first year, the lost memories are being returned to me. It's like a road being repaved and reinforced with new concrete - the old one is there underneath but the material being added strengthens it. I did go through that difficult year following the birth on December 29, 2002. This year, following the birth on December 29, 2007, is a new experience with this delightful baby but also a reinforcement of the gift of our second child. Interestingly enough, his name means "Son of Encouragement." God is good. All the time, God is good.


Happy Anniversary to Us!

Yesterday was our Ninth Wedding Anniversary. Sometimes I look around and think, "When did this all happen?" But it does seem like we crammed in a lot of living in these nine years - three children, six moves, businesses, career paths, homes, mistakes, lessons learned, friendships, etc. One of the biggest blessings to come out of our marriage are the children - I can't imagine not knowing these marvelous individuals. Thinking of them always brings a sparkle to my eyes and joy to my heart. And the companionship of a life partner who can be so similar yet so very, very different. Yes, we are total opposites. One of the most interesting things is that we approach photography the opposite way to how we are in daily life. In photography, I am more like Sean and vice versa. He is easygoing, good natured, spontaneous but likes to totally plan out his shoots. He sets everything up and is methodical in photographing his subjects. His theater background is apparent in the drama of his sets. I am reserved, serious, like to plan and think through everything but like to use available light and photograph without a lot of posing and set ups. I'm all about emotions and capturing the moment. I like the unexpected surprises that show up when I review my images. The coolest thing about our partnership is that we cover a gamut of photographic styles together; his strengths are my weaknesses and vice versa. And so it is also in life. This is what I have discovered in the last nine years.

Some of my favorite memories.............. We got married in a Victorian mansion that had its own ballroom. Almost everyone left before we did, including all the people who were going to help with clean up. Oops. I had changed into my going away outfit and came down to see my groom, and his family members, with his sleeves rolled up sweeping and cleaning the whole place. They insisted that I sit in the parlor as they finished up - what a gift it was on my wedding day to see such humility and love! Buying our first home and the giddiness of finding out we were expecting, the intimacy of delivering a child together, Sean shaving off my long, long hair when I got head lice from the pediatrician's office when our baby was two weeks old (I was completely BALD), the joy of expecting again, preparing for the mission field and putting it on pause, fixing up an old house and making it home, creating a business, career changes and many new friends along the way, the surprise and delight of a third baby, moving closer to family... These cycles of life, up and down and around again, an exhilarating yet challenging merri-go-round if you hang on tight and don't let go. There'll be a slideshow at our wedding next year when we renew our vows (including pictures of my bald head!) God has blessed our marriage in so many ways, and we are very thankful. It is His grace that enables us to weather the storms and dance until the sun comes out again.

The Maine Event

This summer we vacationed in Maine, a place I had longed to visit. Sean actually had a commercial shoot there, and the family tagged along and played while he worked. The coast was everything I had imagined it to be and so much more - rugged in its beauty, untouched, serene and commanding. At one point, sitting on the sand with baby while the kids splashed in the surf, I was moved to tears as I breathed in the crisp, salty air and took in the majesty of everything around me. The awe of mountain meeting sea, my artist's soul had yearned for this. The mid coast of Maine holds so many treasures, quaint towns full of shops to poke about in, artist studios, historic sights, lighthouses, bakeries..............
On our first outing, the children and I popped into Camden Deli for lunch and were mesmerized by the offerings in the bakery display. We splurged on some Key Lime Cupcakes, yum!!! They were oversized with a generous dollop of frosting. Miraculously, one survived being devoured and made it back to the cabin for Sean to enjoy.
A family tradition we have is to collect a Christmas ornament from each place we visit. I went from store to store, determined to find the right Lobster Ornament to memorialize this vacation. Apparently this has become a democratic process, with each family member strongly voicing their opinion on the one we should purchase. My choice was a simple red lobster, no more, no less. One person chose a lobster posing with Santa Claus...AS IF. Seriously! Another chose a Moose - totally straying from the agenda. And the final choice was a lobster, snow, a canoe, AND a moose - too busy!!! I was looking for an uncomplicated symbol of our time in Maine, and obviously, a lobster was straight and to the point. We actually left Maine without getting an ornament, more because we ran out of time to shop (but I do plan to get my lobster through the Internet). Another obsession, er, interest of mine are cookie cutters. I really like 'em and would like to have gobs and gobs of them of every variety if hubby didn't object. But he does, so I don't. I did locate a cute little store that had lobster cookie cutters, except they were sold out at the time I was in. So I purchased a moose instead, with the intention of ordering the lobster one right along with the ornament. I may end up hanging the cookie cutter on my tree, though... Here are some more photos from our time in the Northeast paradise. Keep an eye out for Sean's commercial too. The kids are in a number of scenes.


Turn Your Eyes...

A reassuring refrain from a favorite song:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace
I especially love the part about the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace. In about 30 minutes, it will be Election Day and the whole world will be loudly buzzing about the numbers and voters and finally the results. But God is peaceably and ever so strongly still sitting on His marvelous throne, unshaken, unchanged and the source of all strength and truth.

Towards the end of high school, I was quite passionate about politics and strongly considered studying it in college. But my life took a different course. It's not difficult for me to get totally wrapped up in a cause, to throw myself into it wholeheartedly, to live, breath and dream something. As I've grown older, I have found myself engaging in that kind of behavior less and less, not because I am no longer passionate about things, but because there are few things really worth throwing the whole of myself into. This is my conviction.

I have observed both campaigns throughout this process, read numerous articles, and watched the debates. And I will vote from my heart on Tuesday. I will put my trust in the Lord no matter what happens tomorrow and endeavor to keep my heart peaceful. I will pray for our leaders and entrust them into God's hands. God bless America.