How It All Began

I often have people ask me, "So, how did you ever get started doing this thing with Red Letter Ink?". What better time to share the story than in one of my first few blog posts! :) The truth is, it has always annoyed me that it was nearly impossible to find anything semi-modern/in style that had scripture on it, especially as I was trying to decorate my kid's rooms and my own house. The last thing I wanted was a hideously outdated painting with a scripture passage hanging on my wall ... even if I loved the verse.

From the time I was a little kid I've always loved writing and making cards and personalized gifts for people. When my grandma passed away a little over a year ago, we found several of my masterpieces I'd made for her when I was young as we were sorting through her things. You'll all love my fantastic birthday card I drew for her ... it showcases my drawing skills. My parents and I had ourselves a good laugh when we came across this gem. Clearly, my grandparents both loved fishing, so why not draw a picture of them out fishing in a boat and put it on a birthday card? Makes perfect sense ... when you're 9 or 10. And of course, Grandma would have a fish on her line before Grandpa because she was the fishing QUEEN. I especially love how I drew Grandma all dolled up, wearing her earrings out in the fishing boat ... while their Pomeranian - Pekingese dog "Pebbles" sat peeking over the edge of the boat patiently waiting for them as they fished. And Grandpa's perfectly sculpted hair was drawn to perfection as it always looked. Details, details! I was especially relieved to see that their boat license was prominently displayed on the side of the boat, too. Apparently this card was something special to Grandma because it was in a scrapbook with several other fantastic cards I'd made for her.

Thankfully, over the years my artistic skills improved. Whenever I had an opportunity to make a gift for someone I'd jump at the chance. One day a couple of years ago I had a chance to make a very special gift for some dear friends of ours.

Back up about a year prior – we had some friends {Justin & Becky} who were struggling with infertility. We'd known them for a few years from being in small group bible study together at church. They are some of the sweetest people we've ever met. We absolutely adore them! At the time they had one son, Isaac, who they called their "miracle baby". Becky had shared with us girls when we split for prayer time one week that they had decided to try IVF again but it was a long shot. She asked us to pray that if it was God's will for them to have another baby, that he'd allow it to happen. There was so much that needed to happen in order for this to move from a dream to a reality, including the daily shot regime that helped prepare Becky's body for IVF.

Looking back we often laugh about how Becky and I got to know each other on a whole new level during that time. One evening after some of us girls from small group had gone out to dinner, we came back to our house and Becky said she had a really awkward question to ask me. Her husband Justin was out of town, but she needed to have one of her injections ... in her backside. We laughed and laughed until we were both crying as we cracked jokes about how we hoped our husbands didn't find out, and how the least I could've done was buy her dinner. It was hysterical. I can't help but laugh about it as I write this! Well, a few weeks after our "intimate" evening of dinner and a shot in the backside, Becky shared with us that the impossible had in fact happened – she was pregnant! I remember there being lots of tears flowing that night as we celebrated guardedly. For the next 9 months our group of girls prayed and pleaded for God to protect the life of this little one he'd created. The day little Eli was born our small group family rejoiced and gave thanks for Justin & Becky's miracle baby #2!

When it was my turn to take a meal to Justin & Becky after they brought Eli home from the hospital,  I couldn't just take a meal ... I had to take a gift, too! And it couldn't be another pack of diapers or onesies. I'm sure they had plenty of those. I wanted it to be something special that signified what a special gift Eli was, not only to Justin & Becky, but to all of us who had prayed them through the pregnancy up until his arrival. The verse from 1 Samuel came to my mind and I instantly knew what I was going to make. I created this print just for Eli and framed it before putting it in some tissue paper and dropping it into a gift bag. I'll never forget showing up on Becky's doorstep handing her the meal and gift. She opened the gift, and we stood there crying and hugging on their front step for several minutes. There is absolutely nothing else in the world like being able to give someone a gift that blesses and touches them at their core.

This is where the idea for Red Letter Ink came from. God has given us so many wonderful gifts in His word, gifts that encourage, inspire, and challenge us. My desire is to create artwork using God's word as inspiration so others can find hope and strength through the truths found in scripture. We are blessed to have the freedom to dig in to God's word daily, so why not take advantage of this and hang His word on our walls as daily reminders of His goodness? We are blessed. Truly blessed.



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