I am making burpcloths by the bundle. Some never make it to the shop and several have been custom fabrics to match special quilts or nursery themes. 

What fun they are!! These little baby burpcloths!

When I finish one I think of how much I would have loved something so simply cute when my babies were tiny. When I finish one I think of the first few I made and gave away as gifts (with shrinking disasters that followed their first washes-oops!) When I finish one I think of the baby and mama who will use it soon. Joy. It’s an honor to sew for people, for those sweet moments. 

Two more handmade quilts will debut in the shop this week, too! Keep coming back to Sewing Sheaves!! https://www.etsy.com/shop/SewingSheaves



The Real Deal: Essential Oils

And on that note, while I am Sewing Sheaves, I’ve also started to work hard at my doTerra business. 

Now, unless you live under a rock, you’ve been hearing about essential oils this year. They are ALL THE RAGE. And let me just say: it’s because they are THE REAL DEAL.  I’m not promising miracle cures and I’m certainly not saying to ditch your doctor. But if you’re like me and you’re at least curious about natural remedies then you should take a look into essential oils. 

I’ve been using oils now for over a year and I love love love doTerra!! I’m not here to convince you of anything about anything concerning companies and brands and who’s who in the world of essential oils. I have done research and read articles and I have sat where some of you are sitting thinking the drama can’t be worth it. What I am here to say is this: oils have changed my family. DoTerra has changed my family and our health. In awesome ways. 

I’m working hard on my doTerra business and my sewing business- harder than I’ve worked on anything outside of my household/motherhood duties. And if you’re interested in oils, please consider talking with me about them. I love sharing the changes they’ve made in my life and my family’s life. I promise to be positive, honest and helpful! I am excited to help you find natural solutions to health problems in your household. 

Essential oils have been a huge blessing to the health and well-being of my family and I am hoping and praying they’ll also be a way for me to financially support my family. I am excited to partner with others who are interested in that or simply want to learn more. 

Please visit my website http://www.mydoterra.com/rachritter or email me at rachritter.essentialoils@gmail.com

Sewing Sheaves

(She) who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with (her). Psalm 126:6

I don’t know how long you’ve known me to know my special feelings about sheaves. (Which, come to think of it, makes very little sense in the physical considering my inability to eat wheat.) But no matter, the verses have never left my heart. 

And so when it came time to choose a name for my current undertaking, I knew it was where I had to land once more. 

See, my husband has had a major paycut at work and it’s sent us on another financial tail-spin. Just when we think we have things well in hand, well, we find ourselves surprised once again. We are ever reminded that the things of earth are passing away and what is truly important is the eternal. But in the meantime, we must pay rent and buy groceries. 

As we sow in this time of difficulty, we trust there will come a time of rejoicing. 

As a home educator and being fiercely dedicated to continuing on in this way, options to help out financially are limited. (Can I get a hollar, stay at home moms?) I even looked for evening jobs and had no luck. A friend suggested to me I try to sell a few baby quilts like the one I made for my adorable little friend Greta earlier this year.

And here we are.

 I’m sewing in the sowing. Sowing hope. Sowing trust. Sowing patience. Sewing sweet lovies. 

So this weekend I launched an Etsy shop. I will be selling baby quilts that are unique- they are created using out-of-the-box 100% cotton fabrics (not necessarily “baby” fabrics) and thus far, no two are the same. The truth is I will make the quilts at cost in order to keep them affordable and the labor costs are just considered part of my labor of love to my family. It’s an honor to be able to help my hard-working husband in this difficult time. I also am selling burp cloths made from pre-folded disposable diapers and 100% cotton fabrics. They are pretty cute. Soon I will add in two-sided cotton and flannel receiving blankets (I love them). And the little quilts I’m working on will be added weekly as I finish them (they take some time.) I am a complete novice when it comes to Etsy so wish me luck!!! 

Come visit my shop! Message me with any questions! https://www.etsy.com/shop/SewingSheaves

Lily Turns Six

My beautiful little baby girl has turned six years old. 

Can it really be that it’s been so long since she was born? I feel as though in some way she’s always been with me. She’s no version of me, although we look so much alike; she her own lovely person and I just can’t imagine life without her. 

She’s mine and so while you may be inclined to assume my opinions about her are biased, the truth is, Lily is a great kid. She is kind, giving, thoughtful. She is a good friend to her friends and a patient (most of the time) sister to her brothers. She laughs easily and loves deeply. She listens well, she notices life….Lily is a beautiful soul. 

She also loves Netflix…and journals…and stuffed animals…and pretty pens…and the color pink…and quiet hours…and playing outside…and popsicles and popcorn…and ballet. And The Muppets. 

The Muppet movies are hands-down her favorite movies and so it was no surprise that was her party choice this year. She also had her FIRST SLUMBER PARTY with three of her sweet friends. (I’m still shocked at how well that went!)

So here’s a look into Lily Turns Six!

You Are Loved

As long as I can remember, she has had that necklace.
It’s a simple diamond-covered cross on a gold chain.
I have never noticed her with any other necklace on.

And today she gave it to my daughter.

My grandmother, my sweet Momo, has been fighting cancer for a long time now. I know it probably feels to her like it has been forever. It’s been a rough road for her. Y’all, chemo is no joke! And all down this rough road she has been the rock for the rest of us.

Come to think of it, she has been the rock down a lot of rough roads.

And while I can’t say we agree on everything or that we’ve never fought, I have always known and never doubted that my Momo loved me.

She loves so well. In our mistakes, in our differences, in our flaws, in our troubles, in my insecurity and fear and anger….she loves. I believe I have learned much more than I realized from her in this way.
Whenever we talk she always tells me that I am loved.
“Well, you know YOU ARE LOVED.”
“I know it’s hard but YOU ARE LOVED.”
“No matter what happens, YOU ARE LOVED.”
How can you doubt someone who is so sure of this, no matter what you do or say, no matter the decisions you make, they never stop telling you that YOU ARE LOVED? For almost 32 years I have heard this woman say to me that I am loved nearly every time we have spoken.

Lily turned six years old last week. But she is not your average child; she NOTICES things. She notices feelings, notices body language, notices undercurrents and she notices the extraordinary… and she noticed many years ago that Momo is exceptional.  In her observations, she also recognized that this necklace was something special to Momo. Lily told her she loved it when she was very young and has spoken about it many times. And so Momo made it up in her mind that this necklace should one day be Lily’s. In fact, she told me she planned to leave the necklace to Lily one day when she leaves this earth.

Today she came to Lily’s 6th birthday party. And she gave her the small diamond-covered cross on the gold chain. It was one of the sweetest moments I have ever been witness to.

As Momo explained to Lily that she is a special girl and now a big girl, she took the chain over her head and placed it over Lily’s. Lily’s eyes full of awe and her serious face portrayed to us all that she understood this; this was special, this was a momentous act of love.IMG_1788

She took me by the hand a little while later and in a hushed whisper said “Mama, I can’t believe Momo gave me her necklace.” I don’t think she will ever forget today.
I know I won’t.

Momo, we really, really love you. Thank you for loving us so well. For teaching us what that looks like in so many ways. For being sacrificial and unconditional in your love. You’re a shining star and YOU ARE LOVED.


The Second Cup of Coffee

I sit here in the morning hours, my bible open on my lap. My kids, in their pajamas and costumes, playing picnic in a bed tent with plastic food. My dog laying beside me, full. Content. My house is warm as I snuggle under this quilt made by my hands and drink my first cup of coffee and periodically gaze out the window to the wonder of the river just there, in my view.

And I think of the 21 ‘people of the cross’ who died last week for believing in Jesus.

And I get angry at myself for my cushy life.

By some standards, my life is hard. Every few years my family suffers a major financial blow: several lay-offs, paycuts, months without work, unemployment….leading to times of part time jobs, plasma donation, cleaning houses and mowing yards, odd sewing projects. It’s almost exactly every three years that a job disaster arrives. Sometimes sooner, I’m sad to say.
There was five months once where, while my husband worked full time, we didn’t have the money even to rent a home and had to live with someone else- all six of us in one little bedroom.
We have never owned a home.
There have many more months than I will share that we had no choice but to use food stamps in order to buy food. And have been thankful for them.
There have been years the locusts have eaten in terms of finances over here.
Even while we tithe. Even while we strive to be debt-free. Even while we give up cable and vacations and new clothes and hobbies. Even while we sell beloved items and odd skills we can offer. Even while we drive beaten up old cars in lieu of car payments. Even while we move often to get the best rent we can find. Even while we try.
Even while.

And yet. I am a person of the cross. Allowed to drink this second cup of coffee under a quilt I made with my bible open on my lap. My kids have eaten breakfast (some of them twice) and so has my dog. There is a pillow behind my back.

I do not fear militant persecution because of my belief in the Christ- or for anything. I do not look behind me or beside me before I read my bible in public. I am not forced to cover my head because I am female. I am not forced to live in a hut without protection from the elements or bugs or creatures. I am not in fear that my children will catch malaria- or even the measles.

I don’t have the “American Dream” but I do. I do have a cushy life.
And so this morning I can choose nothing but thankfulness.

Can you imagine if I lamented this? A warm home to live in, food to eat, coffee to drink, a job for my husband, the chance to educate my children how I see fit, a safe place to live- so safe that we can publicly criticize, loudly, our town governments if they don’t scrap the snow off our street in a time we approve of! What would you think of me for wanting more? I hope you would think it was foolishness.
Can you imagine how ridiculous we all sound about square footage and car trouble to those who are starving? Can we just take a minute to consider how silly it is that we argue over other people’s clothing choices when there are human beings in actual slavery all over the world? How insane is it to have debates over the translation of the bible you prefer when there are believers who’ve never held an entire bible– an entire book from it? It is a reality that we have fights with people over infant feeding choices, education choices, lifestyle choices while there are millions of children in our world, in every country of the world, who do not even have families. We call ourselves persecuted when the person who rings us up at Target doesn’t say “Merry Christmas.” Folks, come on now.
It is time to fess up to our cushy lives. To look outside of our walls. To pray and to care and to be affected by the 21 people of the cross who were beheaded for confessing Christ. For the countless others in other places who have been truly persecuted. It is time to wake up. There is a whole world outside of our cushy lives.


Snow Day

Well, as you know, snow and ice pummeled the south this week. As this isn’t a frequent occurrence, we all tend to flip out a little bit. (Trust me when I say my husband and his family get a big kick out of our southern aversion to snow days!)IMG_1279

As for our little family, we now live waaaay out in the country. Our roads aren’t salted and they aren’t scraped or plowed. Access to the main (clear) roads is complicated and in some ways and on some days, impossible: winding roads, bridges, mountain passes…these are not easy to maneuver in a snow storm. Our road is several inches of solid ice.IMG_1250

But I actually love this.

I love the seclusion of this old farmhouse anyway.

But I love this entire week of time at home with my family. I love that all our nightly obligations were cancelled, that we have spent all these days reading and laughing and sewing and playing and eating. I’ve read so many say they are going stir-crazy being trapped at home by ice with their kids…but not me- I love not needing an excuse to be a bit of a hermit; a secret dream of my heart. When I read Little House with my kids I don’t feel sorry for Ma, I admire and envy her. Her bravery. Her strength. Her tenacity.  Her knowledge on how to use God’s natural provisions to take care of her family. If only I had half her skills! But I envy the most that she was not only expected to be at home, she was revered for it. So often nowadays, family is secondary. People are condemned in books, magazines, articles, in the media for being a parent who chooses to make her career caring for her children. It’s seen as lazy or dependent; less than. Every decision made by an at-home parent is scrutinized. And frankly, this makes me feel both angry and disappointed.  Family was meant to be the primary drive for everything.

I am not naturally a snow person. And I’ve been through a snow storm, then with three kids, with no power.  And that isn’t fun. I’m not one for frozen toes and wet gloves and red cheeks.IMG_1206

But the truth is, when the snow and ice force us all to stay in our little homesteads, we find ourselves forced to turn inward. Be glad for the “Alert” messages canceling all your obligations. Less distraction, less worry, time for freedom, time for fun. Relish this! Seize this time! Be in the moment, make your family everything.IMG_1377IMG_1205IMG_1287