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!!!


Oh, Give Me A Home...

 ...where the buffalo roam, where the deer and the antelope play.  Where seldom is heard a discouraging word and the skies are not cloudy all day.  (Home On the Range)
These are photos from our visit to Walker Ranch on Sunday, up in the mountains west of Boulder.  I asked the friend who told me about this place if I'd need a tranquilizer or something to get up the mountain (windy roads and sheer drop-offs are not my friends.)  "No, not at all," she assured me.  HA!   

I seriously don't know how the pioneers got to this place.  But they did, back in 1882, when the Walkers filed a homestead claim and turned it into one of the biggest cattle ranches in this part of Colorado.  Can you see the horses plowing the field on the left hand bottom part of the picture below?
  Are you ready to trade in your modern appliances for this stove?
 Life wasn't easy out on the ranch.
But the kids thought this was fun, 
and Keizo wanted to wash the whole bucket of socks! 
 Take it from someone who had to wash their clothes by hand in Ethiopia - 
the novelty wears off very quickly.  
The schoolhouse (above), 
though I don't think they taught you how to be a cowboy there.
For that, you need hands on learning.
From an enthusiastic cowboy.
They open the ranch four times a year, and we are all looking forward to another visit.  Though I will not be venturing up the mountain once it snows, unless it's by horse and wagon.  Right.  


Getting Off The Couch...

You know that definition of insanity: doing something over and over the same way and expecting a different result?  Stop the madness!  

I've started running.

My 40th birthday is six months away, and I've wanted to make some major changes in my life for quite some time, especially with my body.  Though I have great endurance with swimming and other activities, I've never been a runner.  Intrigued by many of my friends' postings on Facebook about the miles they've run and greatly admiring their accomplishments, I decided to step out onto the track myself.  God provided a partner in this new adventure, and we are doing a program called "The Couch to 5K Running Program."  The end of the program is the week before a 5K race on Thanksgiving morning.  How convenient...

We completed our first week of training last week, and it's getting a tiny bit easier for me each time.  I am looking forward to crossing the finishing line Thanksgiving morning, approximately eight weeks from now.  What goals do you have or what changes would you like to see in your life by Thanksgiving???

What are some 


A Quieter Season

The usherance of autumn coincides with a quieter season in my life.  I welcome it.  After an emotionally tumultuous summer of sorrow, a contemplative, restful autumn is the perfect antidote.

Week Two of homeschooling went well.  I really like the books we've chosen for each subject, except Spelling.  Ugh.  I am ready to throw it out the window and am searching for an alternative.  In general, I cannot stand anything that is overly fussy, too regimented and stern (maybe because the Hyde part of me can be that way.)  Yes, this Spelling curriculum is STERN.  My children, like me, are voracious readers, and I believe that will help them with spelling more than the gazillion rules and confusing processes this text dictates.

Fridays wrap up with a park day, and I have had the pleasure of meeting many lovely ladies while my children make new friends.  We've exchanged e-mail addresses and are friends on Facebook...  Finally.  After nearly 6 months, Colorado is becoming home. 

Something I am very much looking forward to is a Photography Workshop I am going to be teaching for homeschooled kids.  There are good things on the horizon!  


Week One of School: So Far, So Good!

Call me weird, but I like to start our school year on a Monday, the first complete week of the month which always happens to be Labor Day.  Since that's not a holiday that we celebrate in any particular way, I think it's okay.

This year, I have a 4th grader, a 2nd grader and a "pay attention to me, don't you know that the whole world revolves around me" toddler.  Tomorrow marks the end of our 1st week of school - so far, so good!  This is what our week looks like:

Mondays: Language Arts including Grammar, Spelling, Handwriting
Tuesdays: The older two are attending two classes each at a homeschool enrichment program.  The 4th grader's classes include Theater and a class called Mini-Society, which is an economics/entrepreneurial course about how to start a business, study the market, create, price, and sell your products, etc.  I knew this was the right class for her ever since she wrote a letter to Target about hiring her even though she was only nine years old!  The 2nd grader's classes are P.E. and K'nex, which teaches team building, problem solving, etc.
Wednesdays: Math
Thursdays: History
Friday: Science

In addition to these core subjects, the kids do a daily devotional and Bible reading, are learning Japanese via Rosetta Stone, study art and do various projects several times a week, study music and practice their instruments, and we get out to the park or do some outdoor activity throughout the week also.  I switched to doing one main subject per day (versus a little bit every day) last year, and it really works well for us to delve into a subject deeper on that one day and concentrate all activities, discussions, etc. on it.  

This year, I am super excited about what we're using for History (The Mystery of History) and Science (Considering God's Creation).  Towards the end of last year, both kids started asking in depth questions about how the events listed in the Bible matched up to other historical events and why evolution was mentioned so often in programs they watched about animals and the earth.  I knew we had to address these issues head on, and these two programs start with Creation and go deep into God's Word, historical facts and scientific knowledge to show how God did indeed magnificently and purposefully create all things.

That's our homeschooling program in a nutshell.  If you have any ideas to share, things that have worked for you, etc., please share!   



Though I was born in Hawaii, my family moved to Japan when I was still a baby. My American grandmother (who lived in Missouri) wrote to me regularly and sent me books and devotionals. Though I did not grow up in a religious family, I read them faithfully, eager to connect to anything that she shared with me. When I was seven, my grandmother came to visit us in Japan for several months; it was a visit that fulfilled every fantasy I'd had of what an American grandmother would be - she was warm, cuddly, patient, always smiling - a wonderful lady! 

One of my grandmother's favorite stories about me was how I switched back and forth from English to Japanese in the course of a conversation without realizing it AND fully expected her to follow what I said! That was the norm in my house, and it never occurred to me that other people didn't speak both languages.

And what an impression she left on me! I insisted that we "practice being American," after she left, which meant we had to eat hamburgers, french fries and pizza because that's what "Americans ate." I asked my mother to buy grits because it seemed like an American thing to eat - bleh! Forget the sushi and miso soup, we were going to be authentic Americans! My Japanese Mom started baking pies from scratch, and I just KNEW we were as American as, well, the apple pies she was making. 

Until we moved to the States. We spent the summer in Missouri visiting my grandmother and American relatives. They met our family at the airport, hugging and kissing us...what a shocker! In Japan, people don't touch each other - you bow, if anything. So all of this ooey-gooey, mushy affection was overwhelming. 

I had one mission that I HAD to accomplish to seal my "American-ness." Having read many books, especially stories about family and life in America (never mind that many had been written in the 1950s), I was desperate to get to a "Five and Dime" Store to order a quarter pound of some kind of American candy. I kept asking my relatives to take me to one...puzzled, they finally inquired about what it was I wanted and took me to a mall kiosk with bins of assorted treats. I ordered my quarter pounder bag of goodies beaming with joy. I had arrived. I was a genuine American girl.


Cover Them With A Blanket

The following song never ceases to move me. To remind me of Jesus' compassion and tender kindness. To compel me to stop judging and to love. The way He loved us. In our mess.

Wounded Soldier by Helen Baylor
See all the wounded
Hear all their desperate cries for help
They're pleading for shelter and for peace

Our comrades are suffering
Come let us meet them and their need
Don't let a wounded soldier die, oh no

Come let us pour the oil
Come let us bind their hurt
Let's cover them with a blanket of His love
Come let us break the bread
Come let us give them rest
Let's minister healing to them
Don't let another wounded soldier die

Weakened from battle
Satan came in to steal their lives
Don't let a wounded soldier die

I can't stop thinking about a story I recently read, about a woman who met the man of her dreams at Bible school. He courted her oh-so-tenderly but changed right after the wedding. It wasn't too long before hitting her became a common occurrence, even when she was pregnant with their child. She fled with her son when he was three months old, finally realizing that the cycle of violence wasn't going to end.

Unfortunately, many members of her church condemned her for leaving her husband, for "breaking" her vows. And stood with her husband instead. She was offered very little help and support but found a way to slowly rebuild her life. A year later, she is working at a great job that God provided for her, able to shelter and support her son, thankful for a new life, for hope, for healing. She is a part of a new church that has welcomed her with open arms, one that encourages her to share her story to reach out to others in similar situations.

Why, oh why, oh why are we so quick to judge? To condemn? To distance ourselves from the uncomfortable, the messy, to push away from what is not ideal in our limited vision? Like the Pharisees ready to stone the woman caught in the act of adultery, we often respond harshly before understanding the whole of a situation.

I've always wanted to attend a church where a prostitute could walk in and be treated like a lady. And I was privileged to be a part of one like that in Georgia. In fact, they had a ministry to strippers, with practical outreaches to the ladies to assist them where they were at and to help them when they wanted a change. One of my friends who lead that ministry was a former stripper - she has the biggest, boldest, most compassionate heart for Jesus of anyone I've ever met. It took a lot of time, patience, kindness, and people willing to get involved to get her cleaned up, off drugs, established in the Bible and in her new life. My husband had the honor of videotaping her for an international television program, and the response to her testimony was tremendous. Here's her story if you'd like to see it.

Y'know, Jesus was kind. He was straight-forward yet gentle with the messy people He encountered. He was only severe with the religious leaders who oppressed others with their rules and judgment. They weren't an accurate representation of God's huge love and grace. Like the story of the Good Samaritan...

Come let us pour the oil
Come let us bind their hurt
Let's cover them with a blanket of His love

Come let us break the bread
Come let us give them rest
Let's minister healing to them
Don't let another wounded soldier die