From the Mountains to the City

We are all so accustomed to that old phrase, “Home is where the Heart is” that I doubt many of us consider it deeply. I believe it is true, that home IS anywhere where those you love reside.  My heart is with my kids and my husband and so my home is anywhere where they are. As long as we are together, we are home.

Where we reside is about to change but home will not.

In February, Greg took an unexpected pay cut at work. It hit us hard but we adjusted. We had just paid off two debts and that helped smooth things out. But in April, we were blindsided when his boss decided to downsize and laid him off of work completely. We expected severance because of the extremely short notice, and we hoped for a new job quickly but it just hasn’t happened. Needless to say, the main provider of a family of 6, without work is not a great recipe for peace.

The other part of that story is that Greg has been laid off of work three times in the last six years. In his area of work this isn’t uncommon but it has sucked us dry, financially and emotionally. Any savings we have had have been wiped out multiple times over. Any strides we make toward homeownership, debt-free life, and emergency funds are constantly started and stopped and begun and emptied. Last time he was laid off, it was eight months of hardships before he had full-time work again. That wasn’t very long ago and truthfully, we are just tired. Tired of the struggle, of the pain, of the pattern.

A few months ago I would have lamented and cried and begged to understand why God was doing this to us again- where was the hidden reason and what had we done to deserve this over and over. But a very significant and life-giving message given this year at our fantastic church on the life of Job has given me much hope and peace. This isn’t a punishment. I truly believe there is a greater reason- but not one of punishment or pain….a greater design. I have days of doubt and frustration and even anger but I know He has us and so I choose to trust.

There has been much wrestling this last month; do we stay, in this position and search in this same career path, and hope that next time it’ll last a couple years longer? Do we find a bigger purpose, the calling Greg felt years ago and burnt us out and try to jump back in? Can we fit into that again? Do we search for bigger areas, bigger job markets?
Oh my, if I could tell the truth of the tears and fears and hopes shared in this last month. But it has come down to this: we have no income. There is nothing coming in. Unemployment is helpful but if you’ve ever had it before, you know it’s not enough to live on. Without the severance that was expected and then not given, we don’t have enough to float us through a few months of waiting, or at this point, even one month. The truth is, we have done this before. We do not want to do it again. The tiny savings account is long wiped and yes, theres a lot of Ramen in this house right now (do you have any idea what it takes to feed a family of 6?) and we’ve been eating a lot of (gluten-free) pasta and sandwiches. Thankful for a good friend who brought groceries last week and the couple who have given us grocery money. It’s no joke, ya’ll, and I’m doing my best to keep in line with all our credit-improving work we have done after the last two layoffs caused repossessed cars and score destruction.  When things happen like this, you have to choose to buy food or pay bills. Trust me, I could teach a class.
I don’t know how long we could last on our own.

And so when Greg’s family offered us a place to stay for a time, we took them up on it. Trust me, I know how hard it is to live with someone else. Remember, I’ve done this before. I also know much it takes to keep my family on it’s feet. And so the offer is perhaps the most heady thing I’ve experienced in a long time.

And so as I write this, my family is bringing in boxes. More and more and more boxes. I should honestly be a professional packer at this point.

We are moving.

We are currently living in our dream house (literally)- but you know what? It’s isn’t our’s. Our time in this old farmhouse was always temporary. We can’t make our decision based on it, or the incredible views around us. We are praying the owners will find the perfect family to care for the farmhouse for them this next year. It is truly my dream house and it has been an honor and a blessing to be able to live here for the last five months.
We are currently living in an area with our people….
For me, a lifetime of connections. My precious Momo who is walking through a great war with cancer. Countless people who I’ve known all my life. My dad. Family. Ministries I’ve loved and served. People I’ve invested in and who have invested in me. My entire life has been lived in these mountains.
For Greg, his entire adulthood. He has lived in East Tennessee for nineteen years, longer than he even lived at his family’s home. He grew into a man here. We met here. We have built a family here. There are members of my family we will struggle to leave behind. Even while you’re reading this, say a prayer for my Momo. There are more friends than can be listed here that we will miss every single day. Our kids are already concerned about several of your kids and how they’ll survive without them. Just know we want to keep up on media outlets as much as possible, we will come visit (and some of you will come visit us, I know it!) and that we love you. There are some of you who have been a part of “us” since day one. Knowing you’ll be far is hard but we also believe you’ll be a part of “us” no matter the distance.
We are going to miss our church family more than we ever imagined. Our time at TCBC is the first time many years that we have felt such a deep connection to a church. We will be watching and following along from afar- we are already hurting to be leaving you all. We pray that we will find a church in Indy even half as healthy and authentic as you have been. We love you.

And for days we have cried and searched and begged and let me just tell you, applied for a zillion jobs…doing anything- flipping burgers and unloading trucks and whatever is out there isn’t calling back.
Then this weekend, our hearts took a turn.

We are ready.

I am believing, even, that this was part of an unexpected design. I still have sorrow. But I am trusting.

We are ready for new adventures. New landscapes. New relationships. We are ready to build authentic and deep relationships with Greg’s family. We are ready for cousins and active grandparents and the tons and tons and tons of educational opportunities that await us around Indianapolis; there are so many amazing options for homeschoolers- museums and interactive parks and just incredible educational opportunities that we can’t help but be excited about.

We celebrated 10 years married last week. Ten years here, in these mountains with each other and with this family we have made….and now onto the next ten….in Indy…Beginning in a new place, with some old faces and new friends. We are sad to leave you but know also that we are trusting the Lord with this, that it will be a time of growth and blessing.

So, pray. Pray for the kids, for a smooth trip (it’s long) and a happy transition (they are excited so far). Pray for the packing and the moving days themselves for I loathe them. Pray for jobs to open up before us as we move. Pray for Momo (and Alexa). Pray for the owners of the farmhouse to find replacements for us while they travel overseas (they could not have been more gracious and loving than they were- we were blown away). Pray for the time we will be living in the same house as family members- it’s a trying thing for anyone. Pray we will be able to have stability.  Pray we will allow this to grow us closer together as so many trials have in the past. Just…pray. And know we love you beyond words.

        

The Baby turns 5

No one told me that the first one turning five is small potatoes to the last one turning five. 

I know it is cliche to say but I honestly can’t believe this little stinker is already five years old.  

 Seth was the hardest baby I had, he cried every day and had so many health issues. Now he is strong and healthy and tough. 

He introduces himself as “Sethie” and loves the color red and Power Rangers and dressing as a Knight. He is precocious and cuddly and smart as a tack. 

For his fifth, we celebrated Power Rangers style.  

        
Happy Birthday to my sweet baby boy!! I can’t imagine my life without him.   

Adam and Marlon’s 9th Birthday Bash!

Well, we have reached the last birthday before the double digits!

Adam and Marlon were born in different towns, to different birth mothers just a few days apart. They both found their forever families through foster care. Now, they are 9 and both love their Legos and LEGO tables and so Meg and I went for a joint birthday!!

    Adam is my sweet, beautiful oldest boy. He loves Minecraft and Legos and stuffed animals. He is learning multiplication (oh my!) and is a champion reader now. Adam loves homeschooling, Awana and Sunday School. He is artistic and loves anything that can be made into art in any fashion. He loves Science and this year we have been studying Astronomy which has been lots of fun for him.  For the record, Adam is amazing at rollerblading!

I love this little guy!!!  Happy 9th, dear one!

Burpcloths

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!