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!!!


Party Away The Blahs

Photo courtesy of
I was feeling kinda blue. Sorta down. Envious of another's green grass.  Focused on what was wrong in my world.  I'm not normally one who tolerates a lot of self-pity but found myself wallowing in it, nevertheless.

Then I remembered something God inspired me to do a few years ago when bad news hit our family: I threw a party.  When my husband was laid off, we prayed about the situation, of course.  Then we danced.  

It was the most tangible way to express faith after we prayed.  I knew God heard our prayers.  and cared.  and would take care of us.  Even while my heart was still processing the challenges, I could outwardly rejoice by holding a celebration of Truth beyond circumstances.

Back to this morning's blahs.  After the inspiration recall, I phoned some friends to come over for a Gingerbread Decorating Party/Potluck the day after tomorrow.  We'll prepare the house tomorrow and then make loads of happy memories with our friends.  Scheduling events helps chase away the clouds, the blues and greens and any other color that tries to drag me down.

What helps you when you're feeling down?  Want to come over and decorate some Gingerbread cookies?   



How is your holiday season going thus far?  

For me this year seems quieter.  We've enjoyed a number of seasonal activities...the Christmas parade, crafts at the library, special storytimes, iceskating, parties, etc.  I musn't forget the adventure of Black Friday!  But overall, this year is different...

We are in a new state (which seems to be the one place that IS NOT snowing, by the way.  Snow in Colorado?  Why would I think that?!?)  And "new state" meaning far more than geographical location.  Some parts I can talk about, some not.  

This is a Christmas away from family and without my mom.  God has provided lovely friends, and it fills me with warmth and comfort.  New friends so considerate and welcoming...I am blessed.  And connecting with longtime friends, where hearts are immediately understood...I am blessed.

As this year wraps up and I consider the numerous changes, upheavals, trials and tragedies that have occurred...I must declare that I am blessed.  My children are lively and loving and joyful and healthy and expressive and too wonderful for words!  I have grown in my relationship with the Lord and am living a more authentic life.  This last year has taught me so much, forced me to mature in some areas,  required me to face difficult situations...yet by the grace of God my heart is open. healing. embracing truth. and still willing to learn and grow.  By the grace of God. 



My New Retreat Place

This is my new favorite place to be, 
a beautiful retreat that soothes my soul and fills me with awe of God's artistic perfection.

It's a little over 3 miles around the lake, 
and the views and terrain change.
From a paved path to gravel,
the stretch of mountains to a farm and grazing cows.
Even a little waterfall and stream!

There are inviting places to sit awhile as well as spots for a picnic,
playgrounds nestled in among exquisite homes,
 but the part that speaks most to me
is the stretch of wilderness.

It's quiet there.
And my heart is at peace.


I Went Black

Yes, indeed. 

I crossed over to the Dark Side this morning in my quest to fulfill my little girl's long-held desire for a collection of Disney Princesses.  And it was fun!

Up by 2:15 a.m. to peruse the ads one last time and get dressed in layers, I called my shopping buddy and headed out.  Traffic was light.  A good sign.  The parking lot was mostly empty, and I didn't see a line.  Could it be? Then I saw the row of shopping carts creating a line barrier.  And I saw the people.  Time to hustle and stake out my place in line.  2:45 a.m.

Two ladies covered in blankets on camp chairs and a single gal bundled up were in front of me, while two Euro dudes lightly dressed (and by lightly, I mean one of them was wearing shorts) took their place behind me.  The wait began.

My friend pulled up a few minutes later, but there were already 10-15 people behind me in line.  I couldn't let her join me in fear of a riot but was also unwilling to lose my place in line to get at the back of it with her.  So I sent her to Kohl's, which was just opening at 3:00 a.m.   since there wasn't anything in particular that she was after from Target anyway.  Instead of heading there right away, my generous pal stopped by Starbucks and brought me a Venti Latte.  Generous, I tell you.

I pegged the ladies in the camp chairs as pros and pumped them for information.  They shared strategies and their experience.  A gentleman in front of them counted the number of people ahead of us in line:  103.  I hoped that none of them wanted Disney Princesses.  Security passed out store maps, and a news cameraman appeared.  The parking lot started to fill as more and more people joined the line that now snaked around the side of the building.  Did I mention that this was a SuperTarget?  A humongous building.

During the final minutes before the doors opened, a curious wall of people formed by the entrance - why weren't they joining the line?  Either they were going to try to merge into the crowd heading in or were reluctant to walk all the way behind the building to the end of the line.  Target security was on the ball and monitored that crowd diligently.  No line cutters!

The adrenaline rush and excitement tinged with a bit of anxiety grew as the doors opened.  Would there be enough?  Was it going to be madness inside of the store?  Did everyone want the same thing I did???  I walked to the Toy section, rounded the corner and saw my prize on the shelf.  No one else was there!  Seriously, tears sprang to my eyes as I took hold of a box.  My daughter had been doing extra chores and saving her money for months to buy the dolls, and Target was offering them for 30% off.  I could imagine her excitement and appreciation on Christmas morning - all of her hard work had paid off in a different way.  

Next I headed to the Men's section to look for the plush robe my husband wanted that was being offered for 50% off.  Again, no one else was in that section, and I took my time deciding on a color.  The two items that I'd come for were in my possession.  I was thankful.  And relieved.  

The store was super crowded as I made my way to the registers, but people were pleasant and patient.  Though I'm certain this wasn't the scene at every store, my first experience as a Black Friday early morning bargain hunter was great!  The store employees were cheerful, helpful and the store organized.  The camaraderie with the people in line, the thrill of the hunt, and the reward of a bargain price on a Christmas prize...I'd do it again if there was an item I wanted to purchase.  I can assure you, however, that I won't be camping out with my tent just to be first in line - there was a woman who'd been there since noon on Thanksgiving day.  She's outta my league as far as being a dedicated bargain hunter.  

Overall, I'm feeling extremely blessed that I was able to get the dolls and robe for such great prices as well as a few other items for my family at other stores we visited after Target.  We were finished with our shopping just as the sun was going up over the mountains. It was time for bed!

This post is about my experience and opinions about shopping on Black Friday - I was not asked or compensated by Target or any other store to write about my experience.   


Thanksgiving Blessings... You!!!
I hope you have a wonderful holiday 
with lots of warmth and love and great food!


A Gift from Nature

 Look what I found on a walk recently!
A gorgeous branch filled with orange leaves begging for me to take it home!
I placed it in a moss-filled, burlap-net covered vase ( inspired by Pottery Barn)
and arranged it with my ceramic pumpkins.  So happy!
Thanksgiving Blessings to you!
I hope you have a wonderful holiday
filled with lots of warmth, love and yummy food! 



I love this time of year.  The nip in the air, the yummy aromas of autumn, the planning and shopping for treasures, the sparklies and fun activities, all of it.  It's always been magical to me, filled with hope.  No matter what was going on in my life, my heart always got filled up with the beauty of Christmas.  It was a respite from any bad situation.

But this year, there's a birdnest or something lodged in my throat.  Making it really hard to swallow, bringing tears to my eyes because of the discomfort.  I wander around Target, blissfully in awe one moment and wanting to bury my head into a fluffy throw in order to muffle my screams.

From January until now, it's been a difficult year.  Tragic in so many ways that my heart feels permanently broken.  That's on top of the messies already present in my life.

Honestly, it's Jesus and my children that convince me to get out of bed.
I'm a pretty-good-at-faking-it mess.  Maybe not-so-good-at-faking-it anymore.

It's in my nature to want to downplay the negative and serve up lots of positive pep.  But I strive to be honest, transparent and open with my blog.  And though this isn't going to turn into a lamenting sort of place, I know that I'm not the only one who faces difficulties.  And as tired as I am with putting on a front, I'm even more tired with the pressure of keeping up appearances mainly for their comfort.  They dictate too much of what's going on in my life.  They aren't very nice or caring in the first place and certainly don't help, so why am I so concerned with them?  Quite frankly, I am frustrated and angry at constantly being judged by them.   

Who are they?  Well, several faces do come to mind specifically.  But mainly they are the people on the outskirts of my life who haven't invested in me but somehow manage to entangle themselves into my business.  I'm going to be talking about them and the ways I must be free of their influence in order to not get tripped up by bitterness and also to be free to be all that God says I am.

I'm mad at them, but more than that, sad for me.  Too much has happened this year.  Though I've appeared to "sail through" the challenges, truth is, I've been faking it some.  And the burden has become a little too heavy for me right now.  Gotta let a little air out of the balloon so that it doesn't explode.  OK, I'm going to hit publish post for my authentic sake before I edit myself.  Again.   


Day 29: Three Wishes
1. To be paid well doing something I love
2. To impart God's best into my children, 
that they'd be everything God's purposed for them to be
3. For me to walk in the fullness of everything God has for me


Day 28: Something That Stresses Me Out

Day 28: Something That Stresses Me Out
Stress stresses me out.
Eating too much Halloween candy because of stress stresses me out ;-)
Financial instability is probably number one.
Concern for my children, 
especially if one of them is ill or if a situation arises affecting them.
The aftermath of losing my mother has added new stresses to my life.
Running and exercising more have helped tremendously with stress.
Reading the Word more faithfully and praying have helped the most.


A Photo of My Family & Pets

Day 26 of the 30 Day Blog Challenge (over at Katie's Journey
is to share photo(s) of your family:

Day 27: Pets
We don't currently have any pets.  The only family pet we've had was a goldfish that blessed our home with its presence for a few months.  I KNEW that I'd end up taking care of the fish and was the only one that cried when it died.  With a trembling voice, I broke the news to the children and watched their faces closely, ready to comfort.  Instead, they took the news in stride.  A few minutes later, I heard LAUGHTER coming from the bathroom as Dad showed them how to send the fish off to its watery grave.  LAUGHTER, I tell you.  Who knows if and when we'll have another pet...maybe when Mama's recovered from the last one, SNIFF.   


Ipod Song Shuffle

Day 25: Song Shuffle On My Ipod
Music is so critical to my life.
Music to celebrate,
to worship,
to mourn,
to rage against the world,
and to heal.
Music to help keep my pace
and my humor.
My Ipod is filled with
Christian worship,
80s assortment,
Salsa and Merengue
and other music to dance to.
The random 10:

1.  Groove Is In The Heart by Dee-Lite
2.  Supertones Strike Back by the O.C. Supertones
3.  Whip It by Devo
4.  Behind The Wheel by Depeche Mode
5.  Venus by Bananarama
6.  Socially Acceptable by DC Talk
7.  Pump It by Black-Eyed Peas
8.  Upside Down by Diana Ross
9.  Held by Natalie Grant
10. I Look Up To The Hills by Natalie Wilson and S.O.P.


My Favorite City & Vacation, Something I've Learned

Day 22: Favorite City
My first answer is Paris,
though I've not visited there except in my dreams.
Yet that city stirs my soul, provokes my imagination,
and inspires my art.
Amsterdam is breathtaking,
complex, and overwhelming to the senses.
The regal history of Washington DC,
the museums and culture,
the many visits with friends and happy memories
make this my overall favorite.

Day 23: Favorite Vacation
The two times I went to Disney World were the best vacations of my life.
The first time, I visited with my mother, sister and nephew.
The second, I took with my little ones.
Such a magical, fantastical place!

Day 24: Something I've Learned
The most important thing I've learned,
over and over and over,
and have been recently reminded of in such a loving manner
is that God is always accessible.
He's here.
He really cares.
He responds to my heart cry.
There's security in Him.


A Picture of Myself...Feather Eyelashes, Oh My!

Day 21: A Picture of Myself

Well, you can't get any more current than a picture from this evening.
And since today happens to be Halloween...
To coincide with the Finale of the 8th Season,
I decided to be a "Project Runway Design"
based on an outfit by my absolute favorite designer on the show, 
You can read more about how my outfit came together here.
BTW, the purple hair accessory and the peacock feather pin are Miki Originals!


Something I Miss and My Nicknames

I was away Thursday through Saturday, celebrating on top of a mountain with a dear friend from the East.  

Day 19: Something (or Someone) I Miss
I miss my Mom.  
This weekend up in the mountains, 
I found myself grieving her unexpectedly.
It hit me really hard.
I've found that when the world is still, late at night,
my true thoughts and emotions often rise to the surface
to be addressed.
The neat thing about moments that have passed
are the memories that can be played over and over again.
Sometimes it becomes necessary to fast forward to skip certain scenes,
but there's always the option to pause as well.
To linger with a beautiful memory. 

Day 20: My Nicknames
I actually dislike nicknames
since most often they become unflattering and limiting LABELS
that stick to one's psyche 
long after everyone else has forgotten the name.
Often the one being given the nickname has NO CHOICE
and is stuck with this term whether they like it or not.

I once challenged a 6 ft. tall, very large man 
to step outside in front of our church to settle things
when he wouldn't stop calling my son
"Pretty Boy"
week after week in the church nursery.
I'd asked him to stop multiple times,
and he wouldn't honor my requests demands 
to stop calling my son such a frivolous name.
And I would've thrown a punch at that point
to show how very, very serious I was 
that no one was going to call my son any kind of name
other than the one that we strongly felt God had given us to name our boy.

The only nickname that I was given that I've enjoyed
was one given to me by a kindred spirit.
Inspired by a sad song on a Debby Boone album from the late 70s,
Micol's Theme (who remembers this song???),
my friend called me "Micola."
You can hear the song on Youtube.
As a matter of fact,
I'm listening to it right now.
I was still in elementary school when this album came out,
but I used to listen and sing along at the top of my lungs.
There was another song on the same album that you may know,
just a little tune called "You Light Up My Life."
I love that song too.


Day 18: Something I Regret

Day 18: Something I Regret

Though there are many specific incidences in my life that I profoundly regret, 
the main theme they share is that I wasn't true to myself.
I didn't listen to my heart.
Choosing against myself has caused me the most regret.


Day 17: What I Look Forward To The Most

Day 17: Something I'm Looking Forward To

Honestly, the thing I am most looking forward to is Heaven.
The place where peace reigns, where there is no sorrow,
no pain, no troubles,
to have nothing hidden, nothing dark,
nothing sinister or threatening,
to know perfect contentment and joy,
to be reunited with loved ones who've gone before me,
a place where nothing separates me from Jesus,
to bask in the Light and Glory of God forever and ever...
Everything else is dull in comparison,
but I run this race, knowing that one day that awaits me.
In the meantime, that I would live my life in a way 
that honors the Lord and to share of the hope found only in Him.


Days 14, 15, and 16 - Busy Weekend!!!

Day 15: Bible Verse
One of my favorite verses is 1 Kings 19:11-12
And He said, Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord. 
And behold, the Lord passed by,
 and a great and strong wind rent the mountains 
and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, 
but the Lord was not in the wind; 
and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake;
    And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; 
and after the fire [a sound of gentle stillness and] a still, small voice.
After his triumphant showdown with the prophets of Baal,
Elijah freaks out because Jezebel has threatened to kill him
and runs off in fear.
God sends angels to help him and to bring him food.
While he's camping out in a cave,
God talks to him and asks him what he's doing there.
God demonstrates that it's not in all these dramatic ways that He can be found.
His voice is that still, small voice.
It's an intimate voice, a personal one-on-one kind of voice.
It reminds me to commune with the Lord
from my heart and to listen for Him carefully.
He doesn't reveal Himself often in a dramatic way,
but instead His voice is gentle and beautiful and personal.

Day 16: My Dream House
I have eclectic taste.
My idea of a dream house has included...
a castle
a Victorian house with a wraparound porch
the house in Home Alone
and the house I still miss and ache for in my heart - 
the 1943 Cape Cod that was a fixer-upper.
It was in this home that I discovered my love of design
and my ability to paint and restore.
More importantly, the house had such a warm and welcoming feel.
Some of the sweetest memories of our family took place while we lived there,
and that's what I miss the most.
The sense of belonging, the sense of community,
our church family and friends there,
my children's friends.
We were close to the beach.
I loved that house and our life.
It's been four years since we moved away,
but my heart still hurts for what we left behind.
My dream house is a place of stability,
a place where my children are happy and have many friends.
A place where I can express my design aesthetic and fill with friends and laughter.


Day 13: Goals

Day 13: Goals

My Goals:
  • Complete my college degree...praying about applying to Art/Design School
  • Run a 5K (Thanksgiving morning!) and other races
  • I'd like to eventually compete in a triathlon
  • Run my own successful business
  • Travel with my children, showing them the world, and also working alongside of them to touch others with the love of Christ
  • Have a gallery showing of my art/photography
These are some of my goals - what are yours?
And the remaining topics for the 30 Day Blog Challenge:

Day 14-A picture you love
Day 15-Bible verse
Day 16-Dream house
Day 17-Something you're looking forward to
Day 18-Something you regret
Day 19-Something you miss
Day 20-Nicknames
Day 21-Picture of yourself
Day 22-Favorite city
Day 23-Favorite vacation
Day 24-Something you've learned
Day 25-Put your iPod on shuffle, first 10 songs
Day 26-Picture of your family
Day 27-Pets
Day 28-Something that stresses you out
Day 29-3 Wishes
Day 30-a picture 


Days 11 and 12, An Interesting Combo

Day 11 : "What are your favorite TV shows?"
Most of the shows on HGTV,
especially "Color Confidential," "House Hunters," "Divine Design," and "Design Star."
Project Runway
Law & Order (and their off-shoots)
Grey's Anatomy

Day 12:  What You Believe
I believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit,
that the Creator of the universe is the One Who made me/us for His purpose,
Who saved me/us, loves me/us and is with me/us always.

I believe that with Him and in Him the impossible is possible,
that there's healing for every kind of hurt,
comfort for all sorts of pain,
peace for turmoil,
joy to overcome sorrow,
beauty to grow in the place of barren terrain,
hope and true love.
In Him.

There's more, of course.
But I believe that His Word is our Source of strength
and the foundation of all things worth believing.


30 Day Challenge: Days 9 & 10

 Day 9:  Pictures of My Friends
I declined to post photos because I have many friends,
(and I'd have to hijack their photos from Facebook)
and/or they'd rather not have their photos on a public blog.

Day 10: What I Am Afraid Of
Clusters of Holes
Being Up High
Creepy, Crawly Bugs (especially large ones)
Missing God's Best for My Life


We Interrupt The Regularly Scheduled Program...

"Fix Your Own Potholes!"

It's a phrase that's been going around and around in my head since I heard it a few days ago. It was an "a-ha!" moment - so many times we I think it's someone else's fault for things being the way they are. Perhaps there is a part another person contributed to the problem, but ultimately, I have to take a long, hard look at myself and examine my choices. The only thing I can control and change and take responsibility for is myself.

The distracting noise in my life that courts depression has been this frustrated, whiny internal dialogue that wants to place the blame on someone else for things being yucky. As I am working through it and turn to God (via His Word and desperate cries for help!), the same Truth is confirmed over and over and over:

need to keep my eyes on the Lord; He's the Who, shows me the What, Where and How I should be looking. The filter of the Word of God helps clarify my vision and my thoughts. He illuminates the important and necessary, causing the distractions to fade.

Something that the children and I reminded each other of in the weeks after my mother's passing was to remember that great clouds of witnesses that she was now a part of, which helps give another perspective to the challenges of this life.

Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses 
[who have borne testimony to the Truth], 
let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) 
and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, 
and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence 
the appointed course of the race that is set before us,

Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, 
Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith 
[giving the first incentive for our belief] 
and is also its Finisher 
[bringing it to maturity and perfection]. 
He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, 
endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, 
and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 

Hebrews 12:1-2

Perhaps a better translation of the opening phrase is:
Ask Jesus for help fixing your potholes.


30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 8

Day 8: A Place (or Places) I've Traveled To

This may be my favorite post yet -
I am so thankful to have had the opportunity 
to experience several countries!

© Japonka |
I was born in Hawaii and moved to Japan when I was around one.
My parents took us on road trips all over Japan.
We visited towns where the people 
had never seen Americans.
The people gasped when my siblings and I started speaking Japanese.
They gathered around us and bought us ice cream!

© Mval |
At age 11, we moved to the United States.
To date, I have visited (meaning an actual stay vs. just driving through)
18 States including Alaska and Maine.

© Thethirdman |
I spent a month total in Kenya and Ethiopia with friends from Bible school
and fell in love with Ethiopia.
A year and a half later, 
I moved to Ethiopia for a year as a missionary.
Though I intended to remain in Africa for the rest of my life,
God had other plans for me.

© Svetlana Kashkina |
Prior to coming back to the U.S. to get married,
I spent almost 3 months in Bulgaria, 
traveling all over that country
for the same organization that sent me to Ethiopia.

© Christina Deridder |
When my daughter was one, my husband and I took her to Holland for 2 weeks
because we were planning on moving there 
to work with a Christian ministry.
It wasn't the right time for our family, but we loved Europe.

Our last major trip was 1st to Canada, then Alaska.
We won a cruise and fell in love with Alaska.
Then again, I don't think we've been anywhere we haven't loved.

© Easyshutter |
Now if only I could hurry up and get to Paris, 
the city of my dreams! 
My friend and I were supposed to go back In March 
to celebrate our upcoming 40th birthdays,
but I moved to Colorado.