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!!!


Boxing With Elmo Feet

My precocious 2 year old loves to play with "Elmo Feet" (otherwise known as my Christmas potholders.)  This evening, he decided they were boxing gloves and duked it out with an unseen foe.
A tough fight, but our little guy is the victor!
Spreading love via "Elmo Feet."
My three cutie pies.  
What a joy and privilege to be Mama to them!


Caution: Uneven Pavement...

I promise you and myself that the subject of this blog won't always be tragedy and sorrow.  But I've strived to be honest with my voice, both in my life and with this blog.  Pain invades our lives and tries to remain a stubborn presence in this fallen world.  Sorrow can be a suffocating blanket.  Even when the dark clouds roll in, temporarily obscuring the Son, I am trying to keep my eyes fixed on Him.  He alone is steadfast and true.  Dependable, with arms reaching out.  Thank You, Jesus.      

When I lost my mom a month and a half ago, I also lost my family.  Then again, maybe I never really had them.  To lose.

I thought I was a part, even tried desperately for years to squeeze myself into the frame of belonging.  If I worked hard enough, supported and encouraged and tried to fix things, then maybe...I'd fit in.  That was my refrain growing up.  Then, a fierce independence set in.  I won't need.  I'll figure it out on my own and find my place in this life.  With Jesus' help, I soared.  But even as I crossed the country and then the ocean into another land, I wondered if my absence was really felt.  Even a little? 

A poignant and telling photo from my adolescence shows the family sitting around an outdoor table, enjoying a picnic lunch with relatives.  There's no room around the table for me, so I sit forlorn and removed.  In the family system, name calling was permitted.  Who cared about what a stranger would say in reaction to my childhood skin condition when there was enough ridiculing from within the system?  But it gave me compassion and understanding for the misfortune of others, and I've not allowed the condition to define me.  Within the system, it was permitted for me to be beaten.  Until one day I was big enough and strong enough to stop the hand from grabbing my hair, slapping me, kicking me and launching me off of the front porch.  And the system adapted by permitting the silent treatment, where other members of the system were forbidden to acknowledge me for long periods of time.   

But with Jesus I persevered.  WIth His help, I kept working at overcoming the sense of loss and rejection, trying to walk out forgiveness and grace.  Even while navigating the tightrope of the system that enforced the withdrawal of support if I displeased the system.  At any time.  The response I received after the birth of my first child was a berating message on the answering machine...the system got itself offended because I focused on my labor vs. meeting the demands of the system.  The un-communicated demands of the system.  Whatever.  

The system is warped.  I've always known that.  And many of my choices have been to remove myself from the system, while trying to maintain any healthier aspects of relationships with members of my family. 

The period prior to my mom's passing was still.  Quiet.  We upheld and took care of one another.  We even came together in a supportive, loving way the evening of the day she left us.  We talked and shared our feelings and cried together.  It was amazing.  And so comforting.  I was hopeful... 

The cracks started appearing the next day and soon escalated.  Even beyond grief, the behaviors reverted back to the familiarity of the system and were hideously wrong.  Yelling, screaming, mean-spirited, ugly behaviors including a sibling acting as a bully, deliberately hurting me by gripping my shoulder in a painful, controlling hold and continuing while I demanded it to stop repeatedly.  The other members of the system remained mute in the face of it.  There can be no relationship with a blatant boundary abuser, especially one who is not repentant.  No one has the right to put their hands on me.

I have not healed from the initial days of grieving my mom's passing in the night and waking up to being screamed at and talked to in demeaning ways.  I found myself trembling constantly the week leading up to the memorial service, knowing that violence could erupt at any time, because it often had.  And one incident had already occurred.  Though an adult having stood against the system for so many years, in the mix of grief and the unexpected escalation of things, I felt small, powerless, and lost.  

God was still with me in the midst of that awful time.  I'll share of the numerous ways He showed Himself to me in the midst of all of this in a follow-up post.  Though I wasn't able to escape the situation entirely, God does continue to speak to my heart with the promises that He turns all situations around for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

I share some of the raw details because I know I'm not the only one who has gone through these kinds of experiences.  After years of hiding behind a "put together" mask, the loss of my mom together with the ugly events that occurred have left me a little fragile, a little vulnerable, unable to continue with the previous status quo of appearing pulled together and oh-so-very competent.  I'm not and I can't be right now.  And I'm okay with that.  I am at a more honest and messier place.  It's a part of my story.  One that I want Jesus to use to reach others and one that He will be glorified in.  


Music That Comforts

I haven't written because...well, I have been crying so much.  Waking up in the middle of the night by sorrow and pain and such an overwhelming loss.  And even in the daylight, the ache continues.  I've tried to express it, but I can't.  At the slightest whisper of the wind, tears rain down.

I loaded my Ipod today with songs that have helped bring comfort.  A friend sent me a link to the Matthew West song recently.  I saw Mark Schultz perform "When You Come Home" a few years ago and sobbed back then - how much more the song affects me now.  My Mama is Home now, at peace and perfect.  I just miss having My Mama.  We had so many challenging times, but there was a language that I shared with her, an understanding and knowing.  We actually spoke Japanese together...who will I speak with now?  It's just not the same.  I still need her.  I still want her.  So much.

Matthew West "Save A Place"
Don't be mad if I cry
It just hurts so bad sometimes
'Cause everyday it's sinking in
And I have to say goodbye all over again

You know I bet it feels good to have the weight of this world
Off your shoulders now
I'm dreaming of the day
When I'm finally there with you

I have asked the question why
But I guess the answer's for another time
So instead I'll pray with every tear
And be thankful for the time I had you here

Save a place for me
Save some grace for me
I'll be there soon

I don't think she can hear you the doctor told me
Your mother is fading, it's best that you leave
So I whispered, "I love you" and then turned away
But I stopped at the door when I heard Momma say,
"I love you, son, but they're calling me away.
Promise me before I go...

When you come home, no matter how far
Run through the door and into my arms
It's where you are loved,
It's where you belong
And I will be here when you come home."

Natalie Grant "Held"
We're asking why this happens to us
Who have died to live, it's unfair

This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was when everything fell
We'd be held

This hand is bitterness
We want to taste it and
Let the hatred numb our sorrows
The wise hand opens slowly
To lilies of the valley and tomorrow


Buggin' Out

Having a daughter who enjoys experimenting with various fashions and puts up with my whimsical creations is a delight!  I've made many types of floral headbands and barrettes for her but was bored with the same-old, same-old.  

Then I saw them.  Bugs at the Dollar Store.  And a new idea was born.
She wore the bumble bee with a yellow gingham dress, and it was darling!  And I adore the cheery green of the grasshopper.
Many of the floral accessories were featured here previously, except these two...
Little girls are precious, aren't they?  And truly a gift!



A sentimental bug has bitten me this morning.
Watching my youngest baby-no-more,
exerting his independence,
so curious and determined to try everything.
"I do it!  I do it!"
His constant refrain.
Bundled up after a recent outing to the reservoir,
he said, "Mama, I so cozy!"
And he likes to pat my head and tell me,
"I like your hair."

It seems like just yesterday...


Photography as Art

As a visually oriented person, I often form images in my idea to grasp concepts or ideas.  It must be in my blood, as many of my relatives are artists.  One of my favorite memories as a child was watching my American grandmother paint a landscape, and then she let me dab on little flowers - what bliss to be a part of creating a masterpiece!

Years later, my grandmother gave each of her grandchildren a small inheritance when she passed.  I prayed about what I ought to do with it...the letter that came with the check was clear that we were not to use the money to pay bills!  I wanted to carry on my grandmother's legacy in some way.  Then it came to me:  as a young mother, I didn't have the time or space to continue drawing portraits or paint, but I could invest in a camera and express my artistic passion as a photographer.  

As I peered through the camera lens, God's purpose became clearer.  My motivation and desire in taking portraits is to capture the amazing essence of each individual.  To take authentic photographs filled with emotion and a tangible sense of the relationships between people.  The privilege of stepping behind the lens is in getting a tiny glimpse of God's perspective and love for His creation.  He truly made all of us unique and wonderful!

As much as I enjoy taking portraits, it's important to always grow as a photographer. And I want to continue pushing the artistic envelope, to reveal more of God's heart and His breathtaking handiwork, to draw out more from the subjects I photograph.   More, more, more!

It's definitely a work in progress, and I am nowhere close to what I can see so clearly in my heart.  But I'm slowly getting better and better. 

Here are some of my favorites photographs:
Lastly, this is a photograph of my mother from last Christmas that was transformed into an "oil painting." 
The Creator of the Universe, who painted the world with such a vast palette of color and sculpted the earth with so many textures and diverse materials, is amazing and wonderful.  And He created each one of us, specifically and with purpose.  Beautiful.    


Weekend at the Reservoir

The weather has started cooling off here in Colorado faster than I'd anticipated - autumn is seriously right around the corner!  Determined to squeeze out every last bit of summer before school started, we spent the weekend at the reservoir close to  our home.  
Since the water is always cold, we stay until the kids start shivering but before they turn blue.  Our funny routine includes putting on fleece tops and bottoms after toweling off and blasting the heat on the drive home.  After the kids take a hot shower, they finish off the warming process with a nice cup of tea.    
The water is quite shallow, and the children have a wonderful time.  The reservoir has camping sites as well as places to grill and picnic.  It's a local treasure, for sure!



Someone asked me recently if I'd had any dreams about my mother.  An interesting question.  At the time, I hadn't had any.  

Then a few came, peaceful dreams that left a small smile on my face.  In one, my mother and I were in the kitchen preparing food to serve to a guest.  It was so normal and real and actually comforted me.  

This afternoon, I had a dream that woke me up, gasping to breathe.  I felt an excruciating pain in my chest from grief and sorrow and sadness.  I hurt so badly.  I rolled to my side and breathed slowly until it lifted a bit.  When I finally stood up, I thought I was going to fall over.  But things settled down, emotions tucked back in, and I functioned well enough the rest of the evening.

The funny thing is, I can't even remember the details of the dream.  I know that in it, I had to face my mother's passing as if it had just happened.  Maybe all of the raw emotions still lurking underneath the surface are making their way out.  

There are moments when I feel a punch in the gut from the realization that my mother is really gone.  It happens suddenly.   

I broke down sobbing in a department store because I was being rushed while shopping by other family members.  That's one thing my mother never did - when she took me shopping (which she used to do often), she was very thorough in making sure we looked at everything we wanted to look at.  She never rushed me.

Driving by a hospital the other day, I couldn't look at the building.  Too many sad memories of visiting her in the hospital multiple times a day.

The item that I brought back from my parents' home that made me cry harder than anything else was my mother's fabric covered canister that held her loose tea.  We used to sit and chat while sipping Japanese green tea.  I have it tucked away until I'm ready to bring it back out and to allow the memories to flow.

I've taken a lot of heat over the years from my family for being the expressive one.  They've often spoken of it in derogatory ways.  But I know that God gave me a voice and the ability to speak up for a special purpose.  And it never meant more to me than in the final hour before my mother passed.  When everyone else was silent and still, I was able to tell her I loved her and kiss her and lean in really close to catch her last breath.  I'll forever treasure those moments I spent with her.  God's presence with us was so strong and tangible.  And He's here with me now, throughout this time of mourning and processing and letting go.  I think that's what always strikes me as being so amazing about God - His gentle and strong presence in the midst of difficult times.  He really is an ever-present help in times of trouble and need.  He's ever-present in our lives period.  He's here.        


Ice Cream Therapy

© Promo98 |

Tonight the kids and I are going to our local library for a "Back To School Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Social."  Doesn't it sound fun?  

For me, it's therapy.  Ice cream, books, hanging out with the kids and watching them have a's the simple things that make life wonderful.    

Though I have everything together for the school year, I am waiting until September 6th to start.  The kids and I still have some summer lingering still to do, a few more swimming outings and lazy mornings before "the schedule" kicks in.

I'm thinking about welcoming the new school year with a "Tea at the Park," since it is our tradition to celebrate holidays and special occasions with homemade scones, lemon curd and tea.  We are blessed to be surrounded by numerous parks, and it'd be lovely to celebrate with new friends.  

Ice cream socials.  Tea parties.  And an upcoming start to a Book Club.  Social events like these are helping me to get out and experience life at a time when I'd rather curl up in bed and sleep too much.  Some days, it's sheer willpower that gets me going, but on other days, that alone isn't enough.  Strong coffee helps.  Praying really helps.  And so does recognizing that this is a normal part of grieving and that it won't be like this forever.

Thank you for hanging in there with me!  I appreciate the many encouraging, loving words and prayers for me and my family.  Along with several creative projects s-l-o-w-l-y taking shape, I am looking forward to sharing more about our upcoming homeschooling year, photography, Colorado outings and adventure as well as writing from my heart and testifying to the loving faithfulness of God through every season of life.  Blessings, friends!


Abandoned...But Not Really

© Tiberius Dinu |
Seeing abandoned or neglected houses has always made me sad.  I imagine the many lives nestled within over the years, all the secrets that the walls have harbored, the happy memories and tragic moments.

My favorite season is Autumn.  The crisp weather, the brilliant splashes of color before the trees become bare.  A time for introspection.  Growth within, for emergence in Spring.

Autumn comes a bit early this year for my soul.  Grief has helped usher in a quieter, more reflective time in my life.  Besides saying goodbye to my mother, I find myself needing to bid adieu.  To many of the Patterns and Systems of Before that Have Been in Place For Too Long.  

In the garden of my life, growth continues.  Beautiful flowers still bloom.  A few trees, including one I thought was an evergreen, have Withdrawn.  And have started to wither.  

As a Photographer, my perspective on the withering trees is to minimize their impact on the landscape of my life.  Not to delete them completely, but no longer will I photoshop/blur/make pretty their ugly impact.  

What my imagination allows me to see in the picture above is a boat.  A simple wooden rowboat with my Savior at the helm.  Gently He bids me to come, and He takes me from that precarious place.  


From My Mother...

One of my favorite pictures of my mother.
Pondering the very different relationships each of us kids had with her.
When I was ten, I was fascinated by two pairs of my mother's shoes.
Pointy-toed high heels made out of snakeskin.
I loved parading around the hallway, lost on an imaginary runway.
So stylish and cool.
My mother and I shared a love of fashion.
She gave me all of her custom made outfits from the late 60s and 70s,
like the suit in the picture above.
She also taught me about jewelry, 
the qualities of various stones and the importance of real gold. 
When I got ears my pierced, she bought me 18K gold earrings.
And she let me wear her star-sapphire earrings to school sometimes.
Birthday gifts usually included a beautiful new piece of jewelry,
a ring with my birthstone, necklaces, brooches.  
A gorgeous watch. 

My favorite photo of my mother and me.
Other things my mother bestowed to me... 

A love of big hair and big sunglasses.
An admiration of Sophia Loren.
(we swore we'd follow her glamizon example into old age),
Her dramatic flair - she was a professional dancer, 
studying traditional dance from the age of three.
(I've had my time on stage and have been in a few films and commercials.)
Black liquid eyeliner skills.
(when I was 16 and officially allowed to wear make-up, 
she gave me a kit and taught me how to properly apply everything.  
She used to give me a new make-up kit every Christmas.)
Ability to Organize and Schedule.
A strong voice and sensitive heart.
Compassion for those less fortunate.
Did I mention a short temper???