Holding Self

Debbie Holding Self-1-8

The warmth of being held

You don’t have to look away

To be with that place

To boldly hold yourself as no one else can

There is a child wanting to be held

Wanting to feel the warmth of your body

Wanting to feel the love of your presence

Abandoned she has felt

Separated from the heart beat that she considered God

Separated from the one that loved her like no other

Holding the crying child within

Wanting to turn away from the pain

Crying for her

Crying for me

Crying Crying Crying out for someone else to do what only I can



This piece was created after going through something extremely painful and personal this winter.  It’s a piece about really holding and loving ourselves through it all as if we were our own loving mothers.   It’s a piece about facing pain and choosing to hold ourselves anyway and to love ourselves NO MATTER WHAT!!


Thank you for reading.  I hope it inspires you!



Walking the Line


Walking the Line

by Debbie Baxter

A friend of mine posted this quote on facebook the other day:”How can we survive in the marketplace and still make art? How can we live in this fast and competitive environment and still walk into a rehearsal able to call upon the wild, violent child in us that makes the art poetic and magnificent and dangerous and terrifying? How can we, in a climate racing for survival, generate gifts with presence and generosity?”  – anne bogart -And, I can totally relate to this.  As most artists know, it takes emotion and feeling and shadow to produce art that inspires emotion and feeling from the audience.  And, as artists, sometimes we just have to do what we are called to do….what we are called to write, what we called to paint, what we are called draw, what we are called to photograph, and what we are called create.  That’s what keeps the art alive and that’s what keeps artists alive.  It comes from the inside and sometimes that inside is not always pretty, it’s not always neat, and it’s not always beautiful.  But, that’s what makes great art and great artists.So, back to the quote….how do we survive in the marketplace?, how do we survive in the day to day?  how do we go to the depths of ourselves and our wild then cheer our kids on at soccer games?  and how do we make really good art and inspiring statements, claim our worth, and get paid to do it?

I’m not sure that I really know that answer to all of this.  But, my response on facebook was “The Master can Walk the Line”.  And, what I think I meant by that is The Master can walk that line between shadow and light.  The Master can walk that line between depth and shallow.  The Master can walk that line between the wild and the tame.  And, The Master can walk that line between the art and the performance.

I, by no means, am a Master.  But, I know that I am going to keep on trying.  I’m going to get back up when I fall.  I’m going to keep exploring the shadows and the depth.  And, I’m going to keep on gaining the necessary skills to run a business, be a great parent, take care of myself, and go for what I want.

Walking the Line
Falling off the Line
Getting back up on the Line
and, Honoring the Line,


Re-Framing the Mom Story

First, I’m going to say that I didn’t choose Motherhood…Motherhood chose me, twice.  I certainly love being a mother, but it’s not without it’s days of wanting to buy the first ticket to freedom.  My own story, of having a mentally ill mother and another mother that raised me, has caused me to search for ways to not only heal from my past but to also find strength in raising my boys “my” way.

I’m tired of watching Guilt take hold of so many mothers.  I’m tired of watching Perfection wreck women’s creativity.  And, I’m tired of watching the Roles and Influences of the past put a strangle hold on what it means to raise kids, rise up, and be an empowered female leader.

Let’s together re-frame this story.  Let’s create one that includes power, honesty, courage, creativity, and a willingness to be ourselves.  There’s not just one way to frame this story….it’s really about allowing the hardships to inspire us and the good times to remind us to keep on going.

So, I invite YOU to join me in giving anything that gets in the way a good ole fashion “UP YOURS”!  And, I hope to see you in one of my upcoming workshops.  www.debbiebaxterphoto.com/may-workshops




Love at First Breath

photoshoot1bw-9153Love at first Breath

My baby boy turned 3 last week.   This little guy was my big “ooops” conceived in Hawaii and weeks after the loss of my Mom.  He was 11 days late, and my emergency c-section baby.   The cord was wrapped around him 3 times;  the arm, the body, and the neck.  Without the help of modern medicine, one of us or both would not be here today.

Today, when I told him how he came out of my tummy…he said, “yeah Mom, that was awesome!”

Meanings and Memories

In my last newsletter, I wrote about the Holiday season, the Magic of it, and how it demands us to look at the light and dark.  This led me to think about how others might feel about it.  So, I decided to talk to some random strangers about their impressions of the Holidays and what kind of memories that this Auspicious time held for them.

I met all these lovely folks downtown today.  They each were so unique and really good sports!  Thanks for checking it out!

Happy Holidays,



Lives in SE Portland.  Age 40.   When asked about memories of Christmas:

“My birthday is on Christmas, so growing up, I would celebrate it on Christmas Eve with my Grandaddy, Virgil.  His birthday was on Christmas Eve and we always got a cake with Poinsettas on it and both our names.  Plus, every year, I was always told the story of being delivered to my mom in a stocking.




Lives at Right to Dream too, a tent community in downtown Portland
When asked about his true meaning of the Holiday Season:

“Years ago, it was about friends and family.  Now, it’s just another day to me.  It’s hard to get over all the loss.  My brother’s birthday was on the 24th and he is gone.  My dad’s birthday was on the 31st and he is gone.  I haven’t had a holiday with family in 14 years.”



Lives in Portland.  Seen here with her daughter Mariah.  When asked about her favorite memory of Christmas:

“It was my daughter’s first Christmas.  It had been so long since there were little ones around.  It brought back the wonder of Christmas and the Joy of Santa.”




Lives in Portland.  When asked about her meaning of Christmas:

“Family.  And, being with everyone at my Grandpa’s house.  It was a time when everyone was together.  Grandpa died and that doesn’t happen anymore.”c-0347





Lives in North Portland.  Age 22.   When asked his meaning of the Holidays:

“Bringing people together.  Not buying stuff.  Christmas is too over commercialized.  Our family would make stuff for each other and have funny White Elephant gifts.  This year is the first year that I’m not going to be with my family for the Holidays.”



Currently living on the streets.  Headed home to Colorado for Christmas.  When asked what his favorite memory of Christmas was:

“When I was 10 years old, my aunt gave me a Mellenium Falcon replica, it was cool.”



Lives in SW Portland.  Age 19.

When asked how she feels about the Holidays:”I’m not a big Christmas fan.  We never really celebrated it growing up.  My favorite memory was waking up to a puppy, one year.”


From Gresham, OR.  Currently lives in an apartment downtown Portland.  When asked what it would mean to be born on Christmas:

“Well, that would be a good Omen.  That day holds Birth.  That day holds Love, Peace, and Happiness, all the things I dream of.”


The Soul’s Witness


The Soul’s Witness

Portraits of your journey

New Offering by Debbie Baxter, Portrait Artist

What it is:
More than just your regular ol’ head shot, I take my clients on a journey to discover more of who they are and who they want to be.color.lowres-1008

Who is this for:
Are you someone who seeks growth and self discovery?  Are you launching a new business or growing a current one?  Did you just take another trip around the sun and want to capture your age and how far you have come?  Have you been working on yourself and want to honor a new found place?  Do you have a vision of a “New” you and need a guide to help you see who you are?

Package includes:
Pre session phone consult
Questionnaire that probes you towards more claritycolor.lowres-1023
1 hour photoshoot
Digital files of edited shots (amount may vary per client)

Introductory price $300 until July 2013. Regular price $500

Call or e-mail Me to schedule your sessions.  503.309.3371

color.lowres-1022“Debbie is an investigative journalist of the soul.” KT

Attracted to Light – “My Springboard”


Don’t you just love to hear stories that begin with some kind of tragedy or challenge that someone has faced and then ends with that person rising above, finding themselves, and succeeding, in spite of it all?  I do, I love them and I am a complete sucker for these kind of stories.  I guess that is why I love Oprah so much!  For me and many others, these stories are a place of inspiration and connection.  So why, when we get so much out of these inspirational stories, do we, as humans, hide from our own challenges and limitations.  Why would we spend so much time stuck behind the insecurities that these limitations can bring?  And why, would we ever want to do anything except honor the things that make us unique, make us humble, and make us stronger.  In actuality, they should be the things that lead our lives instead of keep us from living.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this concept lately as I have been examining my own story.  Three years ago, today, I lost my mother to a heart attack.  She was very sick with bi-polar disorder all of my life.  It was certainly a scar or a tender spot for me as I not only felt very sad for her but also for me.  I felt sad that she was not able to raise her 3 children because of her illness.  And, I felt very sad for the little girl within me.  I had a very sick mother that was unable to fully be a part of my life.  I do have wonderful memories of times filled with laughter and joy but I also have memories of the scary times too.  Once as a teenager, I was told by my father that my mother was in one of her manic episodes and that I was not to go see her.  But, I couldn’t help myself.  I just had to go.  I thought that if anyone could snap her out of it and show her just how wonderful she really was, it was me.  I was wrong, though.  Instead, she didn’t even know who I was.  She sat in a rocker in her living room, eyes glazed, hadn’t cleaned herself in days, and mumbling obscenities.  Not only was she a wreck, but she had broken everything in the house, except the rocker that she sat in.  Windows were broken, appliances were broken, furniture was broken, and she was broken.  And, as I left, I was broken.

I wouldn’t say that I hid from this story or challenge, but, at the same time, I would say that the story of my Mother led to insecurities with myself and who I was.  Was I as confident as I could have been? Absolutely not!  BUT, has it been a motivation for me?  Absolutely yes!  And, I think that is the common denominator with all the great stories in the world.  It’s the will, it’s the desire, and it’s the motivation for more and for better.  Plus, it’s the acceptance that yes there are limitations and challenges but we deserve more and we deserve better.

For me, I think it was my Mother’s death that really showed me that this heavy burden that I carried around like a dead weight could actually lift me up.    Yes, it’s dark, and hard, and scary.  But, it’s also a beautiful uplifting story!

So, I dedicate this post to my Mom, Marilyn Jean.  I’m sad you are gone, but Thank You for giving me that springboard to reach for the stars.







Attracted to Light – “Home is where the heart is”


I was having a chat with a friend of mine the other night and we came to the conclusion that life can get really messy when you don’t follow your heart.  Staying with the wrong relationships, the wrong job, the wrong place, self destructive ways, or even as simple as not following your big dream can create a big fat mess.  A mess that can be incredibly hard to get out of.   Could the decision to not follow the path that you know is true really be scarier than the mess and misery you can face if you don’t?   I know for certain that when I am not following my heart and working towards life goals, I am MESS.  I can’t be present for my children, my body, my home, or my soul.   And, things get messy.

With my recent shift into my 40’s and my youngest son turning 2, I feel the pull.  The tapping at the door.  The reminder from my heart that I have big dreams too and I have a purpose to fill.  I love what I do as an artist.  I have passion to see the light and reflect it back with photography, travel, writings, and teachings…..my life long dream!

So, what happens when Mom follows her heart and dreams?  Things change…..the baby is with babysitters more, meals go uncooked, 10 year old does the laundry,  and we live by a giant wall sized calendar!  And, so begins the fast paced lifestyle of “ok, who’s got the baby? who’s turn is it to drive to soccer practice? and where the heck are my keys?”.   And, last week it hit me…I have been so busy following my heart and dreams that I have been missing those moments, on a daily mundane level, that actually make my heart skip a beat.  And, once again Life got messy, toys were everywhere, the dishes weren’t done, my baby needed me, and I needed him.

I guess it’s like the pulse, the contraction and expansion.  My heart needs both to sustain a healthy beat!  I need to be able to reach for those stars one day and follow my 2 year old on an adventure the next.  I can’t do one without the other!  He is certainly not keeping me from expanding, he’s just encouraging me to go deeper!  Love that boy!

Here’s some photos I took on Thursday from our adventures of making cookies, putting cocktail umbrellas in a potato, exploring feathers, finding puddles, and looking at light.  Zavi, actually, took a few of these!






Following the heart through contraction and expansion,