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!!!


Sunday Edition of Photo Friday

Oops, I forgot to post Photo Friday! These photos are from a trip to Maine last summer. I actually wept while at the beach because of its rugged and breathaking beauty. I've always liked rocky beaches the best - they seem uniquely moody and stubbornly independent, compared to the tropical, resort-style beaches that are most often featured.


The beauty that greets me in front of our current place of residence...

and this in the backyard...

I find myself unable to sustain a forlorn state of mind, not when there is so much loveliness about, irregardless of any circumstance or trial. I am just as challenged as I was the other day, but there's been a subtle shift in perspective. l
I've been reading an eclectic assortment of books from the library that have inspired and touched me, books about families dealing with autism, stories of ordinary people who made heroic choices, a celebrity daughter dishing on her life, a celebrity mom's memoirs, a kids' party planning guide, a natural guide to perimenopause, eating raw foods, being an entrepreneur, and fashion throughout the decades.
One book, "The Big Idea" by Donny Deutsch, emphasized that we should have a passion about whatever we do or else it won't be successful and that we should look to things we enjoyed or did in childhood to get insight into our true passions. I've been brainstorming about how to approach areas in my life that I want to be more successful, especially the ones that are difficult or uninspired, and trying to find the angle that connects with my passions so they will be successful. The assorted subject matters from the list above represent areas of interest to me: I enjoy learning about people's lives, healthy eating, natural living, acts of courage, party planning, and business. These are some of the things that really jazz me, and focusing on them has altered my entire state of being! New ideas have emerged about how to approach my photography business, homeschooling, housekeeping, cooking...
What did you really enjoy doing as a child? More on this later...


A Cluttered Mind

I wrote a post not too long ago about hating clutter and loving to organize...but how to de-clutter a brain???
My thoughts and emotions have run the gamut from bliss to despair and back again in recent weeks. Bliss when I had Sean move our round Ikea table to the back porch as an outdoor seating area to journal, sip tea and watch the kids playing. Joy when we had a family water balloon fight and also when I chased the kids around with a hose. Delight when I introduced the kids to my favorite childhood sport: kickball. (I so regret not joining an adult kickball league when we were in Atlanta - too chicken!) Despair with the uncertainty of when we will be able to settle down on the job front. Frustration with long-standing family issues. Sorrow when I saw my friend's condition in her fight with cancer. d
My main response to all this turmoil? I try to focus in on what I can control and need to accomplish for now, which includes exercising regularly and wrapping up our homeschool year. I make healthy meals using every last item we purchased at the grocery store. I try to stay in the moment. And I am trying to pour my heart out to God, though sometimes I think He's not pleased with me because I am angry too. At people, our circumstances, etc., etc. But I still cry out to Him and know inside that He does hear me. Psalm 34:17 "When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their distress and troubles."
So I am believing that not only does God hear me, He will deliver me out of ALL my distress and troubles. I believe that God has a place for us, a home to call our own and to settle in as well as a position for Sean that will be creatively challenging and a blessing in many ways. I believe He will grant us stability and enable us to prosper as a family, spiritually, in health and with financial stability. I'd like a home to make my own with a backyard for the kids in a quiet neighborhood. I'd like a church family that we can really get to know and be involved with and one that will get to know us as well. I'd like family friends to share life with and a place to set down some roots. Those are some of the things I am believing God for, and I know He has our future in His hands. I'm looking forward to setting up a studio in my home and to photograph people in my own unique way. I also want to create an area for other artistic pursuits, including drawing and painting. Ah, dreaming out loud feels good and releases some of the pain of my deferred hopes.

The unexpectedly cool weather and drizzly rain brings out some melancholy in me. But like the tiny seeds my daughter and I planted last week, tiny bits of positive green are beginning to poke out from the dirt. An aromatic herb garden will emerge soon enough, in my planters and in my life. I just know it.


Images from A Nature Hike

I know this isn't Photo Friday, but these recent photos from a Mother's Day hike with the family really touched my heart. I love gazing at and listening to water flowing... soft rain and gentle streams to raging storms and the waves crashing on the shore. Water speaks the language of my soul unlike anything else.


Photo Friday: Beauty

As someone who has always enjoyed dressing up and playing around with make up and hair, one of my favorite things to do is design a photo shoot for women. I help choose outfits, then fix the hair and make up before taking pictures of the final result. I believe that we are all magnificent, original masterpieces of God. We showcase His beauty and creativity in our own unique, breathtaking way. That is what I desire to capture with my camera. Even with "makeovers," I tend to keep the look very natural. These are a variety of beautiful ladies I have had the privilege to photograph:


I'm Not So Tough, Am I?

In recent conversations, someone referred to me as being "tough," and I found myself wanting to protest, to explain away this common misunderstanding...for this wasn't the first time this adjective has been applied to me. I don't feel so tough. I have been through a myriad of experiences in my life that have taught me a lot, and by nature I tend to be cautious and unyielding. But that's not the same as being tough, is it? Wrestling with a bit of emotional turmoil about this, I decided to consult the dictionary about the true meaning of tough:
  1. strong or firm in texture but flexible and not brittle
  2. characterized by severity or uncompromising determination
  3. capable of enduring strain, hardship, or severe labor
  4. very hard to influence
  5. difficult to accomplish, resolve, endure, or deal with
  6. marked by absence of softness or sentimentality

After reading this, I only have issue with number 6, for I am very much a sentimental person and a softie in my own way. I don't wear my heart on my sleeve and reveal my emotions publically, that's for sure. Softness lurks behind the veil of privacy. Y The rest of the definitions are compliments, in my book. Strength has been built into me through enduring severe hardships, and that strength has come from God who has walked with me through various trials and tragedies. At points bitterness and unforgiveness have threatened to consume me, but the Lord has been gracious to never let me get beyond the point of no return. In December of 2006, my pastor taught a month long series on unforgiveness that was thorough and clear - years of gripes, big and small, were exposed and had to be dealt with and let go. Not easy, but necessary and so liberating! Y Uncompromising determination - a trait I highly admire. Capable of enduring hardship. Hard to influence. The flip side is that I might also be hard to deal with, and I must grow in my people skills. My mother has been telling me that since childhood and still reminds me on occasion to "play nicely." My strong opinions, debating skills, and competitiveness have been helpful in some arenas but have not been as successful in human relationships. I'm not too tough to admit that and continue on this journey to soften up a bit - but only in the 5th and 6th definition from above. The other traits, I'll keep!


Photo Friday: Landscapes

These images were taken on a nature walk with the children last fall. Though I usually take photographs of people, I find myself drawn to the splendor of nature - God is an amazing artist!


Photo Fridays

Since my blog is so eclectic in subject matter, I've decided to streamline it a little by designating Fridays as "Photo Fridays." I'll share photographs weekly that I've taken that really inspired me or captured a special moment. Enjoy! My grandmother was a wonderful artist, and one of my fondest memories is sitting with her as she painted a landscape. She handed me her paintbrush and let me dab on some flowers - it was a magical moment as she brought me into her world. When she died, I took the little bit of inheritance money and invested in a camera to continue her artistic legacy. These are the first series of photographs I took with that camera, and they remain my favorites even after five years. Black and white photographs have such a simple yet profound purity about them. This is my son Barnabas before his first birthday. Standing in front of french doors, his face reflects the natural light streaming in from a large window. I love natural light and unguarded moments! Princess Mireille, three years old, is an interesting paradox - the big bow, wildly curly hair and fancy dress with such a solemn expression. She has her back to a window which highlights her curls, and the window on her side illuminates half her face. Aren't my kids adorable?!? With their vibrant personalities and expressive hearts, they have been a continuous source of inspiration.