Tuesday, January 8, 2013

FREE PRINTABLE: Valentine Love

I've never been a big fan of Valentine's Day.  Probably has to do with the fact that I think it's ridiculous that there's ONE day out of 365 that people go, "Oh wait, I should do something nice for someone I love". It's just silly. BUT...my kids love all these little excuses to give things to friends and I have to admit I love the opportunity to come up with something creative for them to hand out.

It's probably safe to bet that I'm not the only one who gets nauseous while walking through the Valentine aisle at the store. I mean, really, nothing says "I love you" more than a creepy green little man in a toga wielding a sword talking about the "love force" being with you. Not a fan of character valentines, either...did I mention that? Well, I usually cave for my 6 yr. old son who is the target market for those types of valentines. And then there's my daughter. Miss Peyton is probably the sweetest 8 yr. old darling you'll ever meet {I'm not biased at all}. She has some special needs due to an injury at birth and struggles keeping up with her peers academically {and socially} in school, but man oh man, has she become a sharp, sweet little lady! Her favorite thing to do is "visit". Yesterday she went "visiting" at the Assisted Living facility where her great grandpa lived up until he passed away last summer. Even though great papa is gone, Peyton still insists on going back to "visit" with her friends. Yesterday she had a grand time taking coffee in for her friend Vivian...and she also made a pit stop to visit her friend Beth {who informed us she's moving in to a new room with her "boyfriend", Bob - scandalous!}. At school Peyton is in heaven with so many people to "visit" with. It's always interesting to sit back and watch how other kids respond to her. She's very honest and up front and really has no problem going right up to someone and wanting to know all about them. Many kids are scared off by this or they think she's odd. But it doesn't seem to phase Peyton. She still thinks everyone is her best friend. And I love that about her! Last year we had to rent out a pool/party room at a local hotel to host all of her friends/paras/teachers she invited to her birthday party - it was AWESOME.

So, back to valentine's ... Peyton really couldn't care less what type of valentine's she hands out. She's just excited for an extra excuse to go talk to her classmates & friends. She's been blessed with a wonderful classroom of students again this year who love her to pieces. The teacher told us at conferences that the kids fight over who gets to be her partner for reading buddies and who gets to be the friend that goes to "Circle of Friends" {a social group working on social skills} with her. Like I said, she's been blessed, but WE'VE been blessed, too – knowing she's with a group of great kids who love her for who she is! That was my inspiration for Peyton's valentines that she'll be handing out this year. A verse came to mind as I was thinking about how to say thank you to these wonderful children who have come alongside our sweet Peyton this year....1 Corinthians 13:7 - "Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." These kids probably won't even fully understand the meaning behind the valentine they'll receive, but my hope and prayer is that they take it home and their parents see the verse and realize their child has been a good friend to Peyton, loving her just the way she is and walking with her this school year.

I'd love for other people to be able to use these this Valentine's Day, too, so feel free to download these and use them! I've set them up so you can print 4 on a standard sheet of cardstock and then trim them down to use. Enjoy!

 --------------< DOWNLOAD PURPLE/BLUE VALENTINE FILES HERE >-----------------

 --------------< DOWNLOAD RED/BLUE VALENTINE FILES HERE >-----------------

Please note: These may be used for personal use only.


Monday, January 7, 2013

A Bittersweet Celebration

Well, we're back in to our chaos "routine" after Christmas break {and what a glorious break it was!}. Hopefully you enjoyed a wonderful Christmas season with family & friends like we did!

I wanted to share a very special project I had the privilege of working on shortly before Christmas...this was definitely a "first" for me. My brother {Jesse} and his wife {Jodi} welcomed a beautiful baby boy {Isaac} back in August, sadly though, the Lord took his brother {William} to be with Him during the pregnancy. There are many things in life that we just don't understand – and this is one of them. But we take comfort in knowing that this was God's plan from the beginning...and that William is safe in the arms of his Creator, waiting to meet his mama, daddy, twin brother & big sister some day {he's gonna get a big hug from his Auntie Aimee, too!}.

My sister-in-law asked if I'd be willing to design an announcement that celebrated Isaac's arrival but also mentioned William's passing. As I said, definitely a "first" for me as a designer {and sister/sister-in-law, aunt, etc.}, but I was honored she asked. The first thing I did was look around a bit to see what else was "out there" for situations like this. Wow, it was shocking how little there was. I literally found nothing. So I started from scratch. The hardest part was finding the right words for William's portion of the announcement. But with the help of my sister-in-law, we found the perfect words to celebrate both of the boys.

As I began thinking over Christmas break about what direction to go with Red Letter Ink in 2013, it became very clear that there's a huge need for prints, cards, and invitations that address/celebrate these types of often unexpected & unique life situations. My hope is that this year I'll be able to add many more meaningful designs to our Etsy shop, including adoption announcements, birth announcements {for all situations}, and memorial prints as well. We're excited to see where God leads this year!