Thanks for stopping by my blog! I don’t know about you, but whenever I visit someone’s blog the first thing I do is check out their “about” page…I wanna know what they’re all about and where they came from. Well, here’s a little bit about me and my story.
First of all, my name is Aimee and I live in the suburbs of Minneapolis…yes, in MinneSNOWta. Call me crazy, but I love it here. I love the changing of season and the gorgeous variety of landscapes here. Most of all, though, I love living close to where I grew up.
I’ve gotta be honest, I had a pretty awesome childhood. I was born and raised in northwest Wisconsin where my twin brother, two younger brothers and I romped through the woods for fun, building forts, catching creatures, and finding new ways to entertain ourselves each day. God blessed me with amazing parents. We certainly didn’t have a lot growing up, but we always had what we needed. One of the things that I truly believed helped ground me in my faith as a child was being homeschooled for a few years (elementary through junior high). These years were priceless as we grew together as a family, watching God work out situations and details that seemed impossible at times. My mom and dad did an incredible job raising my brothers and I to understand the important things in life – faith, family and friends. They raised us by setting an amazing example of how to come along side others and be a friend, much as Christ be-friended people. I remember my parents telling me, “The best way you can show God’s love to other people is by being their friend and walking through life with them”. They modeled that wonderfully, always lending a helping hand and being available when others needed help with a project, a home-cooked meal during tough times, a nice, warm hug, or just a listening ear.
When I was quite young (7 or 8 years old), I asked Christ in to my life, and at the time I don’t think I fully realized what a big deal this was. Growing up in the church where my parents lived out their walk with Christ on a daily basis, I didn’t know anything different than putting God first in your life. I often hear others give their testimony about the radical transformation that took place when they accepted Christ. For years I felt like I was a big flop when it came to my testimony because mine was so uneventful and dull. Little did I know that my boring testimony would shape in to something powerful later on in my life.
During my college years I walked the straight and narrow, never getting in to the party scene or any of the typical college stuff. My twin brother introduced me to a friend of his while I was up visiting him at college one weekend. At the time I thought to myself, “Wow, somebody likes to be the center of attention”, and didn’t really think much of it. A few months later, I have no idea HOW, but I ended up starting to date this Chad guy. And a few months later, we were engaged. We were married in July of 2000, and what a ride it’s been.
On May 8, 2004 we welcomed our first baby, Peyton Grace. She was absolutely perfect, besides being 2 weeks late and BIG (10 lbs. 4 oz.). However, there were some complications during delivery due to her size and she suffered an injury while the medical staff was trying to deliver her. But we were assured it was just a temporary injury that would repair itself as she got older and stronger. Fast forward a few months… Peyton was an absolute perfect baby. She slept through the night just a few days after coming home from the hospital, she was happy & content, she was cute, life was good. We noticed a few delays in some of her milestones early on, but the doctors always just gave us the “Oh, it’s just because of her brachial plexus injury – she’ll catch up”. We celebrated when she finally rolled over at about 8 months. By a year she was finally able to sit up unattended, but was no where near crawling. At 15 months she finally started to move around a bit, mostly by rolling around to get where she wanted to go. At Peyton’s 18 month check up the pediatrician referred us to a specialist at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. By this time I was well in to my second pregnancy, so we were anxious to go meet with this new doctor to find out how much longer it would take Peyton to “catch up”. We went in for an initial appointment with the Developmental Pediatrician where she observed Peyton and played with her a bit, testing her abilities. Then we were told to bring her back after her second birthday.
On Feburary 19, 2006 we welcomed our son, Carson James. He was taken 2 weeks early in hopes of avoiding another birth injury and arrived at a healthy 8 lbs. 4 oz. He seemed so TINY compared to Peyton. We were so thankful and relieved that he had arrived without any complications, and we were excited to get home and begin our life as a family of 4.
Shortly after Carson was born we went back to Children’s for our follow-up appointment with Peyton. I remember sitting there while the doctor checked her out again. Peyton smiled and was enthralled with the doctor. As we sat there the doctor jotted down lots of notes on her notepad while interacting with Peyton and asking Chad and I questions. After she was done with her exam she excused herself from the room for a few minutes. When she came back she had a stack of papers that she handed to us. She told us that our daughter had a neurological planning disorder called Global (Verbal & Motor) Apraxia, along with a few other things. We sat there stunned. The doctor told us to contact our school district to see about getting Peyton some additional therapy services beyond the occupational & physical therapy she was already in. And that was it. We were sent on our way. I felt like I’d been kicked in the stomach as we walked out to the car. As I buckled Peyton in to her car seat, I remember asking God, “What does this mean? And how can we help her – she’s just a sweet innocent baby?!”. For weeks and months Chad and I were absolutely sick thinking about the news we’d received.
Through the last several years, God has used our circumstances to do amazing things. In January of 2007 I had to quit my full-time job as a Senior Graphic Designer at a large medical manufacturer so I could have the flexibility to get Peyton to all of her therapy appointments. I was completely overwhelmed and burnt out with a newborn who wasn’t sleeping well and a 2 ½ year old who was the size of a 4 year old and still wasn’t walking and required lots of extra care than other kids that age. We had NO idea how on earth we’d survive on one income (my husband was a 3rd grade teacher at the time), but our hope was that I would be able to pick up some freelance jobs on the side that would help supplement our family’s income. Little did we know how He would provide for our family both monetarily as well as emotionally and spiritually! Libby Design (my freelance business) took off and has been going strong for over 5 years. While all of this was taking place, deep down in my heart, I longed to focus more on scripture-based artwork and stationery. Growing up I was the card-making queen, just ask my mom. I always had a project going on. My dream finally became a reality in March of 2011 when I opened Red Letter Ink. What started out as a small, fun little way for me to express my creativity by creating artwork, using verses that have given me strength over the past several years slowly turned in to an incredible opportunity for me to bless others with my art.
Red Letter Ink has really turned in to my way here in small-town Minnesota to essentially do some missions work. I’ve been blessed with countless opportunities to donate prints and note cards to various silent auctions, organizations, ministries, etc., both here locally as well as across the world. Each time I pack up a bundle of prints headed for China, Africa, South America, or somewhere here in the States, I pray that God will use them to touch the hearts of others so that they may know HIS love. I can’t help but smile to think of those people who I will finally get to meet in heaven whose lives were touched through something as simple as a scripture print they’d been given. The thought of this is so very humbling that it brings tears to my eyes. What a privilege to be used in this way. I’m so undeserving, yet He’s chosen ME for this.
So here we are, with an incredible testimony to share with others as we watch our sweet Peyton thrive and her little brother Carson, who is becoming a wonderful young man with a heart for those with disabilities. After years of heartache, God has finally brought us to a place where we are able to embrace who He’s created each of us to be, regardless of our abilities or disabilities. Each of us were created for a specific purpose, and my desire is to help encourage and come along side those who are discouraged or hurting, helping them see that God has an incredible plan for their lives. God doesn’t make mistakes. He knew long before Peyton was born what joy she would bring to each person she comes in contact with. He also knew that although there are days where I get caught up in the “poor me” mentality, I’d come to realize that no matter what HE is sovereign and has complete control over ever aspect of our lives…all we have to do is let Him sit in the drivers seat to guide us to where He wants us to go.