The essence of the human spirit is to create. We seek to find beauty and truth in all things, and we cannot help but find a way to share with others what we value most. However, some of us may feel we are too insignificant to make a difference. One creative wife and mother from Missouri is proving this idea false — Rachel of Ozarkian Heart.
Rachel began her Etsy shop Ozarkian Heart in February 2019, making jewelry with rustic inspirations and often a pro-life message. You may have seen Rachel’s creations on her Ozarkian Heart Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest accounts. In just nine months, the Instagram account has reached almost 500 followers!
Human Defense Initiative is so grateful to have had the opportunity to interview Rachel about her work with Ozarkian Heart, her inspirations, her passion for the pro-life movement, and so much more. We thank Rachel for her time, and we hope her story inspires all artists to boldly use their talents to share the message of what they value most!
Rachel started making jewelry because she wanted a hobby she could do at home during her daughter’s nap time or when her daughter went to bed at night. Jewelry-making had always interested Rachel, so it was the perfect artistic outlet to try, which she ended up loving. Friends soon caught on to Rachel’s artistic talents and asked her to make jewelry for them as Christmas presents — eventually leading her friends to encourage Rachel to open up an online store, which became Ozarkian Heart! In addition to her Ozarkian Heart Etsy shop, Rachel also sells jewelry in a local flea market, and she hopes to sell at some craft shows and farmers markets in the coming year.
When Rachel first started learning how to make jewelry, she began to have the idea to develop a pro-life line, but she initially kept talking herself out of it due to fears and insecurities about taking a stand on powerful things like abortion and other pro-life values. Rachel expressed her inner conflict at the beginning of her jewelry making, stating,
“I really wanted my business to do well, but I kept telling myself that I am just one person and that I will never make a difference anyways.”
Everything changed in January of this year when the new extreme New York abortion bill was signed into law, which allows a woman to obtain an abortion up until the birth of her child and also removes any legal protection for living babies who survive abortion attempts. With the State of New York celebrating the death of innocent children, Rachel felt disgusted.
“That was when I officially decided to make the pro-life jewelry and start speaking up for the unborn. I want to add that making pro-life jewelry has not hurt my business at all — it has actually opened up opportunities that I otherwise would not have had, and I have gotten to connect with many like-minded people all over the country. It has been a life-changing decision for me, and I have not regretted it.”
While the New York bill solidified Rachel’s resolve to include pro-life jewelry as part of Ozarkian Heart’s mission, her pro-life convictions have much deeper roots. Rachel has identified as pro-life for as long as she can remember. Growing up in a Christian household and becoming a Christian herself at the age of eight, she always understood that the murder of innocent people is wrong. It just wasn’t until recently that she felt the need to speak out about these core values.
Unsurprisingly, Rachel has faced some unpleasant comments on social media for her pro-life inspired jewelry. However, she strives to always respond with kindness and respect, while also considering the other person’s perspective on the situation. If Rachel feels angry because of a hateful comment, she usually just takes a step back for a few hours to cool off and think through what would be the best way to respond to the person. Rachel recalled one negative social media instance, explaining,
“I had an interaction on Instagram once that I thought for sure was going to turn into me being cussed out, but it ended up being a fairly productive conversation. If I had responded to that person in anger, a respectful conversation never would have happened. I may not have changed their mind, but I hope it at least made them think about what it is they are supporting.”
Overall, though, Rachel’s experiences through Ozarkian Heart have been overwhelmingly positive, both on social media and with the customers who purchase her pro-life jewelry. She shared with us one of her most powerful customer interactions:
“I once had a customer message me that she was going to wear her necklace in honor of her twin brother who was aborted. This lady is an abortion survivor, and I felt heartbroken for her. I don’t know this lady at all, but her message really stuck with me, and I still think about it.”
Rachel’s favorite jewelry piece she has made so far is her “22 days” necklace, which is inspired by the scientific research which supports the fact that about 22 days after conception is when a baby’s heart starts beating in the womb. When Rachel discovered that even some pro-life activists thought a baby’s heart did not start beating until much later in development at 12 weeks, she thought a necklace simply stating “22 days” with little hearts next to it would be a great way to start a conversation about this incredible scientific fact which further proves the humanity of the preborn from the moment of conception. Another favorite piece of Rachel’s is a necklace which says “2 hearts 2 souls love both,” which signifies there are at least two hearts and two souls involved in an unplanned pregnancy, who both equally deserve love.
When it comes to the mission of her jewelry designs, Rachel explained,
“Starting productive conversations is what I want my jewelry to do. That is why many of my pieces don’t outright say “pro-life” on them…Most likely at first glance people will not know what that means, so they will ask, and it can open up a conversation about abortion and how it ends a heartbeat and takes a person’s life.”
Before she started Ozarkian Heart, Rachel felt like she was too insignificant to make a difference. Since becoming active in the pro-life movement in her own unique and creative way, however, Rachel has discovered she is much stronger than she previously thought she was. Creating jewelry with a pro-life message that helps inspire others and spark conversations has given her newfound courage to stand up for what is right.
“I am generally a non-confrontational person. Before I started making pro-life jewelry, I had never been in an argument with strangers online. I believe there are some things worth fighting for, and the lives of innocent babies is definitely one of them. Anytime I feel discouraged or frustrated, I think about the brutality of abortion, and I know I cannot be silent.”
Currently with her hands full as a mother to her daughter with another baby soon on the way (more on that later!), Ozarkian Heart is Rachel’s primary outlet in the pro-life movement. In May of this year, Rachel did a fundraiser with Ozarkian Heart for her local pregnancy care center, and she has also been working with a private school designing and making pro-life bracelets for them, which will be sold over the school year to raise money for the same local pregnancy care center. Rachel would like to start a ministry for post-abortive women in her community someday in the distant future. Additionally, Rachel discovered the Human Defense Initiative through our Instagram account, and she is excited for Ozarkian Heart to be a partner in our upcoming auction! She said about HDI:
“I love that you are millennial-led because I am also a millennial.”
Aside from jewelry-making, Rachel enjoys many other hobbies such as hiking, camping, fishing, canoeing, reading, and visiting antique stores and flea markets. Making jewelry for Ozarkian Heart while also being a mother can be a juggling act. Rachel often works around her family’s routine and can only work on things when her daughter is sleeping. Sometimes if she has a big order or several orders to prepare to ship, Rachel will be up until 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning. Despite the potential stress, Rachel explained,
“I don’t mind, though, because I really love what I am doing, and I am a night person anyways. I am also very thankful to be married to a husband who is very supportive and proud of what I do. I love being a wife and mom, and that is my most important job.”
Using art to share core beliefs and values with others can initially seem intimidating, especially when it comes to being pro-life. Rachel is familiar with the fear that can hold artists back from being bold and making a difference, so she offers this advice to artists who want to incorporate a pro-life message into their works but feel hesitant or afraid to be open to opposing criticism:
“I would tell them to do some research. Before I started my pro-life line of jewelry, I spent a lot of time reading about pro-life and pro-choice arguments. I also briefly researched the development of babies in the womb and the different methods and reasons for abortion. You don’t have to be an expert, but I think that knowing both sides of the argument will help you to feel more confident when responding to criticism. I have personally found that when you present them with facts, they usually stop responding to you anyways.
I would also tell them to not take the hateful comments to heart. It’s going to inevitably happen, so just mentally prepare to let it go and not to hang on to it. Overall, though, I have found a lot of encouragement and support from the pro-life community, so you will also have people there ready to encourage you, too. So, don’t be afraid, and just go for it. If I can do it, anyone can.”
Finally, Rachel also has this advice to mothers or fathers facing a crisis pregnancy:
“I would tell them that there are pregnancy care centers located all over the country that will provide the support and resources they need to keep their baby. They are capable of being awesome parents, even though a baby will change things. They can still achieve their goals, but the way they get there may be different than what they planned. I would also tell them that if they decide that they cannot keep the baby, giving the baby into the arms of an adoptive family is a very loving and brave thing to do. Please reach out for help, and don’t end your baby’s life. There are so many people who will be there to love and support all of you.”
Rachel’s work through Ozarkian Heart proves that anyone and everyone is capable of speaking up for the preborn in their own unique way, and that everyone is called to make a difference by building a culture of life.
Additionally, The Human Defense Initiative would like to congratulate and offer our best wishes to Rachel on the upcoming birth of her new baby! We hope he or she will be a great source of joy and inspiration for your whole family.
Because of the new baby, Ozarkian Heart will be closed November 16, 2019 and will reopen sometime in January 2020. So, if you would like to support Rachel sooner rather than later, or if you would like to purchase one of her jewelry designs as a Christmas gift, now is the time! After she comes back from her break, Rachel is looking forward to restocking and adding new pieces to her pro-life line of jewelry. She is always looking to learn new skills, too, so she may look into taking some classes in the near future to create even more beautiful designs.
Follow the Ozarkian Heart social media accounts to stay current with all updates!
Photo credit: Ozarkianheart Etsy listing.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Human Defense Initiative.