Wednesday, December 19, 2012

God Is So Good!

Mornin' everyone! I finished up a custom order last night for someone who asked that I create a print as a Christmas gift for someone special to him who has done missions work in Haiti. He told me that despite the tough living situation there, you can always find children in the streets singing "God is so good! God is so good! God is so good to me!". If the thought of droves of children smiling and singing that song in unison doesn't make you smile, I don't know what will. So this morning I wanted to share the custom print in hopes that you'll find joy in the day thinking about His goodness!

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, and his love endures! • Psalm 107:1


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Lift High

I came across this song the other day and fell in love with it, especially the lyrics. I'm always intrigued by words, whether they be written words I read or songs lyrics I hear. Take a minute to read/listen to the lyrics and I think you'll agree...

Broken people, call His Name
Helpless children, praise the King
Nothing brings Him greater fame
When broken people call His Name

Lift high your chains undone
All rise, exalt the Son
Jesus Christ, the Holy One
We lift our eyes to You

Sinners all, exalt the Son
Your ransom paid and freedom won
We will see His kingdom come
When sinners all exalt the Son

Lift high your chains undone
All rise, exalt the Son
Jesus Christ, the Holy One
We lift our eyes to You

Lift up your heads,
Oh lift up your heads
Look on Him
Lift up your heads,
Oh lift up your heads
Look on Him


Monday, December 17, 2012

Child-like Faith

The past few days after the horrific events that took place on Friday, December 14th, 2012 have had all of us deep in thought, trying to process how something like this could happen. What a senseless act that has changed the course of so many people's lives. None of us can fully wrap our minds around what each of the families must be feeling. Our hearts simply ache alongside theirs. The rest of us realized just how incredibly blessed we were to be able to meet our kids with suffocating hugs as they stepped off the bus Friday afternoon. Everything had been put in to perspective.

Over the weekend social media and the news outlets have spread information (and misinformation) like wildfire. Our society is so desperately searching for answers. "How on earth could this happen? And WHY?" Unfortunately, none of the answers we may find will change the reality of it all, nor will it take away the hurt and anguish so many are feeling. The one and only thing that anyone can take comfort in during a time like this is that regardless of how unspeakable this all may be, God is still in control. And His heart is also heavy.

As I was driving in the car yesterday the song "Away In A Manger" came on the radio ... and at the third verse, the lyrics brought me to tears:

Be near me, Lord Jesus;
I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever
And love me I pray!
Bless all the dear children
In Thy tender care,
And fit us for Heaven
To live with Thee there.

The thought of heaven having added 20 sweet baby angels on Friday morning was just about more than I could take. Being the mom of a 6-year-old 1st grader I couldn't even fathom it. I don't know how a person could get through something like this without having the hope and security we have been given through Jesus Christ. His word tells us that we are to have faith like a child. Child-like faith is the wonder and awe at what Christ did for us. It's a mix of trust, hope, and sincerity that knows the Lord loves us and will take care of us. Because of our trust in the Lord, we are able to take comfort in Him...especially in difficult times like these. Child-like faith sees the world as exciting and adventurous, and worth going after with our faith so opportunities to please God overtake our tendency to stay within our self-serving comfort zone. And because children are dependent, they must have faith that they will be taken care of. This is a perfect example of how we are called to put our trust and faith in our Lord. Having child-like faith will encourage us to be humble as we realize who we are in Christ. Without humility, we can't come to the Lord, because we don't possess the ability on our own to admit our need, surrender our hearts, or be able to grow in faith. My prayer through all of this is that God will draw near the hearts of those who may have wandered away, or perhaps have yet to recognize their need for Him. The Comforter will take care of those who are hurting and will one day right the wrongs of this world. If ever there were a time to focus on Christmas and the sheer joy that this blessed event stirs in our hearts, it's now. May the hope and joy that's been given to us be the focal point of our lives ... as we strive to live a life here in this messed up world with faith like a child.

1 John 4:4
"Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. "


Thursday, December 13, 2012

No Eye Has Seen

From the very first time I read this verse when I was young, I've loved it. And yes, I know I say I "love" a lot of things ... but I really do love this verse. So I just HAD to make a print with this verse on it!

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.   • 1 Corinthians 2:9 •

I could read it over and over countless times, and I'm confident that each time I'd get the same butterflies in my stomach and smile on my face thinking about the reality of this passage. Our pathetic {although wonderfully made} minds cannot even come close to comprehending all that God wants to do in and through us for His kingdom. Sure, we may have primitive ideas of the potential we've been created with, but we can't even fathom all that God has in store for us once we leave our temporary home here on earth.

I was reminded of this as I sat earlier this week at church, celebrating the life of an incredible woman who left this earth much too soon. Selfishly I say that, even though I know God doesn't make mistakes and He took her home exactly when he saw fit. As I listened to others share about the impact sweet Debbie had on so many in her short life, I couldn't help but wonder what people would be saying if it was me. What would people say about me and how I lived my life? That's a sobering thought. It made me pause and think a lot about living intentionally, so that others may see Christ in all that I do and say. We have such a short time here – what are we doing with that time?

I've often talked with friends about how important it is the teach our kids to live with an eternal perspective. This goes completely against everything our culture today teaches - the world is all about "living for today" and "saving the best for yourself", but the scriptures call us to live with a purpose and to share what God has blessed us with, understanding that one day very soon we will all stand before the King to give an account for how our days on earth were spent. My heart aches thinking of all those who haven't accepted the hope and salvation that is available to each and every one of us through Jesus Christ. My prayer is that every word that comes out of my mouth, every thought that I have, and everything that I do will be honoring to Him so that others may see his love and grace through me. What a glorious day it will be when we enter through the pearly gates and He reveals all that He has prepared for us!


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Life in MinneSNOWta

Some of you know this already, but we got a 'lil bit of snow over the in 14" in our neighborhood. Wowsers. Guess that'll put an end to those of us whining that it didn't look like Christmas, huh?

Well, we just wanted to write quick and give you an update on what's been going on here at Red Letter Ink. I'm fond of "making lists", so bear with me...

1) It's been a busy few weeks getting out all the orders you guys have requested, but it's been a lot of fun working with many of you to put together your Christmas cards!

2) Speaking of custom orders, I had the privilege of creating an announcement for the birth of my newest nephew {Isaac} and the arrival to heaven of his brother {William} - what a bittersweet celebration! I'll post the image of that announcement once they've been sent out to everyone - don't wanna spoil the surprise for those who will be receiving them in the mail!

3) Today we went out and did our Christmas shopping for the family Red Letter Ink adopted for the holidays - we're SO excited to package everything up and pop it in the mail!!!!

4) We were just contacted by a local news outlet that is interested in doing a feature on Red Letter Ink - woohoo! Excitement! Stay tuned for details on that...

5) We will be taking a break from all the "action" in between Christmas & New Years. Our shop will still be open, but all orders placed between 12/22/12 and 1/1/13 will be shipped promptly when we return.

I think that's all for now, folks. Oh, actually, wait - one more thing...another custom order that was just shipped out - remember the old hymn "Great Is Thy Faithfulness"? Well I just did a custom hymn lyric print for that song - forgot home much I love that one!

Have a wonderful rest of your week everyone!


Monday, December 3, 2012

No Not One

Happy Monday everyone! Although we've had a dreary, wet weekend here in Minnesota, I woke up this morning excited for the day - excited to see what God has in store for me this fine, gloomy day! As I sat down to my computer after dropping my kids off at school, I logged in to my Etsy storefront, my email, and even Facebook to catch up after being "off the grid" over the weekend.

First of all, I was absolutely BLOWN AWAY when I returned home last night and saw all of the Etsy orders you all sent along - wowsers. So I've got my work cut out for me today! But the blessing of new orders has also brought about something else. As I've watched God do incredible things in and through Red Letter Ink this past year, I can't help but wonder what else we can be doing to help show Christ's love to others who may be hurting, especially this time of year. For most of us Christmas is an exciting, wonderful time of year - but sadly, for others, all the commercialization about the biggest and best gifts you HAVE to buy for your children is a stark reminder for those struggling to make ends meet that there may not be much of a Christmas this year. As I sat and thought about that, I felt God nudging me to take a good chunk of our sales from the month of November {our biggest, bestest month EVER on Etsy} and turn this money around to help those in need. This afternoon I'll be heading to the local foodshelf to pick out another family in need who could use a little help this Christmas with food & gifts. Our family has sponsored a family every year since my husband and I got married, but this year, we're going to pick an extra family above and beyond the one we've chosen as a family - this one will be receiving a "Red-Letter-Ink sponsored Christmas"!!!  We're VERY excited about this!!!

Now for a very random change in subject {because that's how I roll - my middle initial is "R"...for real} - when I logged in to Facebook this morning a friend had posted a link to a video of 3 kids singing "O Come All Ye Faithful". I figured, oh yay - Christmas music...and clicked on it. Wow. I had no idea what I was in for. How have I never heard of these kids before? Well, in case you were in the dark like me - check out the group called "Daves Highway". They are 3 siblings and their harmonies are A-MAZING. I mean, completely, amazing. As I was clicking through some of their YouTube videos I found this one and it brought me to tears listening to the words and remembering the Sunday mornings many years ago singing this in church with my family:

The words of this song give such peace and comfort - I love it!

Have a blessed day!