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!!!


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.