Getting out of my own way: Part 2

The days following the decision to no longer pursue a business with Young Living passed by with plenty of distractions. COVID for one. Yup, I had it. And if there is anything you do not want to do when you have the coronavirus, it’s post on social media. I imagined that people wouldn’t even want to click on a post if I had shared one for fear of infection….I mean-isn’t that what the news said anyway? Just kidding.

But once that month of life was over, and we had the freedom to leave our home, it was time for Jackson’s second cochlear implant surgery! What timing, right? Regardless of the stress of it all, we were very excited for Jackson to receive his next implant and all the growth that was to come. During this time, I shared a lot about his surgery, his healing and the day when they turned the implant on!

But inside I was heavy hearted. COVID quarantine isolated me in more ways than one. March and April were trying months for our family. Our middle son was struggling. We had been treating his ADHD with medicine and social skills therapy, yet school was becoming a nightmare. The stress he was experiencing in life was creating stomach aches, frequent calls to come home from school, and requests to sleep with me every night. The pediatrician was concerned about Celiac and the Specialist was concerned about Anxiety. We were just worried in general.

Sometimes it feels as if the waves never stop crashing. One minute you get wrecked from a wave, finally begin to come up for air and catch your breath, and the next wave swallows you up.

My mind was consumed with Jackson’s healing, Garrett’s struggles, as well as preparing for his upcoming 504 meeting with his public school. I have learned that it is not uncommon for parents to get consumed with the needs of their child. I have also learned that this is not always OK. I know that life has seasons, ebbs and flows and periods of time where our focus shifts from one area to another. But if I was going to be of any worth for my children, I needed to take care of myself as well.

Early into 2021 I knew that I needed to commit to taking better care of my health. Wine and ice cream had become close friends that needed the boot. Nothing like the anniversary of a pandemic to reflect on what types of habits you have developed. In fact, there are several times throughout a year that offer the potential for a fresh start. The New year is an obvious one, the start to a new school year another, the beginning of a new job, moving to a new town, or a new home, the end of an era, the beginning of one….. you get the picture.

When we moved from New York, out of my parents house and back into our old home in Florida, I took this as an opportunity to start developing some new patterns and routines. I committed to a pelvic floor therapy program called MUTU and experienced great healing, mobility and strength that I had been lacking for years postpartum.

(Read here to learn more about MUTU…http://heatherbraucher.com/2021/01/15/the-core/)

At the start of 2021 I really want to to commit to do the Whole 30 program, but I had failed that before and felt so overwhelmed by the program again that I decided not to go through with it. Instead I committed to exercise more regularly and track my macros. Simple, yet effective. For a short time. As I shared in the beginning, that’s when life came barreling back in trying to convince me to give up on any self care routine. Covid, quarantine, cochlear implant surgery, children’s school troubles, anxiety, celiac…… the list goes on and on.

So here I was, realizing that my plans had gotten a bit derailed, but I didn’t want to give up. I had repeatedly seen posts on social media about a program called the Faster Way to Fat Loss. I remembered a close friend of mine had done the program so I decided to reach out to her about it. She shared the benefits she had been experiencing from participating in the program and connected me to her coach.

I did some more research on my own and felt extremely drawn to the program layout. It wasn’t JUST workout routines, or JUST meal plans, it was all of it! For $199 I would receive a coach, an accountability group, and a 6 week experience where I would learn about whole food nutrition, intermittent fasting, carb cycling as well as receive incredible daily workouts all provided via app and Facebook. That was a whole lot of ALL that I was looking for, in ONE place.

I shared with my husband that I had been following this program- The Faster Way to Fat Loss (FWTFL), it’s CEO Amanda Tress and other friends doing the program all on social media and I really felt pulled to give it a try.

Then I realized, it was happening again! Social media was making a play in my life. The kind of play you are supposed to avoid, right? I was buying into something that was being sold on social media. AHHHHHHH!!!! Run!!!!!

Well friends, I am SO glad that I bought into this one. In my 6 week experience with the Faster Way to Fat Loss, I learned SO much about whole food nutrition, and how to transform the way I eat and the best part- I learned it in a non-threatening, non-budget crushing, slow and progressive way! I began tracking my macros and understanding the important balance of these nutrients. The guidance from the program and my coach exposed some of the myths I had so readily believed regarding the nutrition content of my regular diet. The accountability was a game changer. There is nothing like having to track and report your food/macros to your coach and other fellow program members to keep you honest! And the workouts!!!! Oh my goodness the workouts. I am in love with the workouts. The trainers are excellent, the routines and strategies are brilliant and the support presented in each workout via low impact options, modifications, and variety of modalities (tubing, dumbbells, home, gym) sets each person up for success.

This last part was so significant for me. My brain wants to train like I did when I played college field hockey, but for so long I have felt trapped in this rehab, physical therapy, limited-ability mindset and structure. So long in fact, that it has been years since I have experienced progress. Yes, I have prevented relapse and injury with this method over the years, but after my pelvic floor therapy program- I really felt like my body was ready for more. Over the years I developed a motto of “Success is not in the outcome, it is in the attempt.” This way of thinking has given me the freedom to try and fail, to celebrate small wins and not give up when things do not turn out the way that I had hoped.

(To hear more about my motto and fitness story, read here) http://heatherbraucher.com/2020/07/07/the-mirage-of-arriving/

So imagine my joy when I learned that one of the mottos of this program is Progress not Perfection. Ever since I joined the FWTFL program, I have felt healthier, stronger and more motivated to set goals. I have lost 2 inches and am beginning to see body composition changes! It feels as if a little of my former self is being unearthed. I am remembering what it was like when I was a trainer, working with adults and athletes, helping them work to reach their goals. A passion that once was has reignited. An ability that I thought I would never have again, has returned.

Because of my experience in this program and the encouragement of others, I have decided to become a Coach for the FWTFL program. I am currently studying to pass my certification exam and hope to be able to offer and coach my first week community round in August. This job opportunity offers the ability to bring in an income, which I am praying turns out to be fruitful for our family and allows us the ability to support others in ministry as we have been supported by others in ministry all these years. But this job opportunity feels like it will offer so much more.

Click here to learn more about the Faster Way to Fat Loss program https://www.fasterwaycoach.com/community#HeatherBraucher

Click here to Join my August round! https://forms.gle/Rfqty8k5GcLiQgzh7

There are countless moments in life that I find myself asking the Lord if everything will truly end up ok. I pray for deliverance, wisdom, answers, patience and trust. It is easy to remember all the hard stuff. My brain doesn’t need help with that. But it takes mental training to recall all of the good stuff. This is some of the good stuff.

The Lord has brought me to and through many places, callings, challenges, and hopes. I am grateful for this one, and can’t wait to see what happens.

Isaiah 61.

Getting out of my own way.

How many times have you been annoyed by a recent fad? Or tired of seeing everyone jump on the bandwagon; confident that the latest trend will be short lived, until the next latest and greatest gains the attention of the masses? Have you ever found yourself feeling a little proud for not “buying in” yet at the same time, wondering how SO MANY people are all sharing positive experiences about the same thing?

It’s tricky. As people, we innately share what we love. We naturally share with others what has worked for us! Sometimes our thoughts, opinions and experiences are requested. A lot of the time however, it is unsolicited. Before social media, advice and recommendations were more sought after, and then delivered by others we know and trust, or books, internet searches and professionals etc…

In the age of social media, anyone and everyone can share their two cents. We scroll through our feeds in an effort to connect with others, and often instead we read about the latest news (unsure if it is factual), the latest trend (unsure how long it will last) and the latest business opportunity (unsure if it is worthy to be trusted.)

This is not news to anyone. We all know this is what we will be exposed to on social media. There is a lot of garbage content, a lot of frustrating posts and a lot of opportunity for confrontation. But that’s not just social media. That’s life. Content, be it good or bad, fruitful or damaging, positive or negative, true or false is everywhere.

So how do we filter all the content? And how we manage the content that we contribute? Because let’s be honest, none of us our innocent when it comes to sharing content. If you are on social media, at some point in time, I’d wager that you shared your opinion, your like, your best selfie or latest cute kid pic. And why do we do this? I still believe it has to do with connection.

As humans we were created for connection, for relationships. When we post, share, like, comment- we experience something. It could be joy, or laughter, validation or impact, justice or freedom.

Before we moved overseas, I was not on social media as much as I am now. Instead, I used to journal. Writing down my thoughts, questions, prayers, and experiences was like therapy. Yet, in the thick of young motherhood, I stopped journalling. Even though I had all these experiences, all these feelings, all this content that I wanted to document, process and share, I just didn’t have the same freedom of time. I think that is when I began getting more involved with social media. Being either pregnant or breastfeeding over the course of 7 years provides less time to physically write, but a lot of time to scroll.

Mamas, you feel me?

Social media made a way for connection in those endless nursing sessions, or sleepless nights. I enjoyed reading positive content and feeling connected with others, but I wanted to be sense of encouragement for others too. So when I experienced freedom and encouragement from a book, or scripture verse or sermon, I felt compelled to share it. When I experienced a sleep training victory, or a moment of pure joy with the kids- sharing about it made it eternal and potentially valuable for someone else. And when I began experiencing such an incredibly positive impact with the use of Young Living Essential Oils, I wanted others to experience the same positive impact in their lives!

(To read more about the impact of essential oils, click on the photo below or link here) http://heatherbraucher.com/2020/06/03/mommy-ing-with-anxiety-and-oils/

When we moved overseas, social media proved helpful for maintaining connection but the time zone difference made it a bit more challenging. So I started writing a blog and sharing it on social media because it was a great way for me to capture our experiences as a family overseas as well as an efficient way to give more than one person an update on how we were doing at the same time. The connection I began to experience was life breathing! Being so far from everyone I knew and loved, not knowing many people at all, including the local language as well as living in another time zone, created a thirst in me for connection.

(Check out that first blog by clicking on the photo below or the link here!) http://heatherbraucher.com/2019/04/12/the-journey-begins/

When we moved back to the states, our life was in such an unpredictable state. And the pandemic only added to that. For us, and I believe for many, social media enabled connection during a time when we people were literally forced to be physically distant. I began sharing more and more about essential oils and started a business with Young Living. And I loved it!

BUT.

I realized, I had become THAT person. The type that was sharing on social media about a recent fad that I had bought into, that everyone was annoyed by. I was the one offering unsolicited advice, making cheesy videos, memes and …….(gasp)…….working for an MLM…….(gulp)…….selling something.

AND even worse……… I LOVED IT.

Let me clarify. I loved sharing with others what was life breathing for me, in an effort to bring life to others. I had hoped that I would become one of those social media unicorns with a solid team of others sharing the business, changing lives, and helping to support my family financially.

From a business perspective, it did not take off as I had hoped. But I loved every single minute of running a Young Living business. I loved making cheesy videos, and memes and making creative content to share. I loved exploring the social media platforms and all of the fun, creative tools you could use to share your message or your content. I loved being a part of something, a community of other like-minded individuals who supported one another and encouraged each other to continue working to make a positive impact on the world around us. In a way, running a virtual Young Living Business during a pandemic, 3 months after moving back to the states, in a completely uncertain season of life was such a blessing. I am so glad that I got out of my own way, and gave it a try, despite the stigma that can come with running a business such as this.

(To see more cheesy photos or join my YL group on FB, click the photo below.)

In March, 2 years after I started, I made the decision to stop pursuing Young Living as a business. I love essential oils, and will continue to share and connect anyone with these incredible products, but I was discerning in prayer that this season was coming to an end. I did not know what would be next and I did battle discouragement, and a sense of sadness because I really did enjoy it. As a mama of 3 young kids, 2 with “extra” needs, this was my outlet. This was the thing that was just mine. This was the way that I could potentially bring in an income and help support my family, and also help others. I grieved that it was ending. I worried. The dynamics of our family and the needs of our children require me to be at home. The medical expenses that acquire from caring for two children with “extra” or “special” needs is significant. But I could feel the Lord pressing upon my heart, “Trust me.”

(To read more about life as a parent of special needs children, click the photo below or the link here.) http://heatherbraucher.com/2020/05/13/mothers-day/

I anticipated a long season of wait. A long season of unknown. But sometimes the Lord works fast. Especially when we are listening. What HE had in store for me next, I NEVER would have guessed.

Find out what in my next blog!

Sarcasm or Encouragement?

Have you ever been in an emotional rut?

Stuck waking up day after day feeling the same heavy emotion? Carrying the same hopeless mindset that leads you into the same painful experience of trudging through the day?

If you have not, that is amazing! I know I definitely have. I have experienced seasons of suffering, be it physical, mental or emotional that left me feeling like I may never wake up feeling hopeful again. Those seasons were long at times and at other times brief, having only felt long.

As a high school and college athlete I loved all of those motivational posters. You know, the ones with the pictures of mountain scapes that read, “Attitude is Altitude” and the others that always showed someone in the military dominating life with the word “SUCCESS” written over top of their picture.

It’s funny how time can change you. Those same posters I was inspired by in my youth irritate the heck out of me now! Now, I find myself more drawn to sarcasm. And it seems I may not be the only one! As I was writing this blog I google searched these infamous posters shown above only to find that many have been altered to include the same photo but with a sarcastic caption.

Funny, right? Now, I am not cynical enough to create these hilarious posters, but I do resonate with them. Even more so, I resonate with the messages that are sarcastic but yet still uplifting. Like this one…

As a mom, I get my fill from the light hearted and funny quotes that you can find at www.smilesmacker.com. They make you smile, you can share them with others to make them smile, AND you can even buy products and have your favorite quote placed on it!

Regardless of my encouragement preference or anyone else’s, I think the main thing is that encouragement is so necessary. Life is hard. Most people are trying their best, and still stumbling, failing, meeting opposition or discouragement. Sometimes we try our best and things go great, but then we realize we are not done yet. We have to try our best again, no matter how hard it was the first time. And that is life. Especially life for many parents in a pandemic. The impact that the coronavirus has had on the education system has been intense. It has caused a great deal of challenge and exhaustion for parents, kids, teachers and community members. I believe it has been hard on everyone regardless of if they are a parent or not. I highlight the parents in this blog, because I am speaking as a parent, in hopes of encouraging another.

This past year we homeschooled our children in India, and it was a heart-breaking experience. Not all homeschooling experiences are like this, I am sure. I mean, when I homeschooled our daughter for kindergarten, it was great! As for our negative experiences, we were balancing the special needs of two children who needed more than we could give, and we all felt broken at the end of it. So when we returned to the U.S so that our youngest could get the cochlear implant that he needed, we placed our kids in public school and saw them thrive! Now this is not always the situation either. I know this because when we placed our son in a public school for Kindergarten before we moved overseas, we were receiving phone calls from the principal’s office twice a day for weeks! I share both sides of the coin, because-like I mentioned earlier… Life is hard! For everyone, for all different sorts of reasons. No one side has it easier, and the grass is NOT greener on the other side.

We loved seeing our kids thrive for those 3 months in public school. But then COVID-19 came and shut everything down. There we were, homeschooling again. And now, the 2020-2021 school year has begun and we are homeschooling again. And it sucks. Can I say that? Can I just be honest? It sucks! And it is NO ONE’S fault. It just is.

But I vividly remember being back in India. At night, I would feel so heavy at the thought of thinking about waking up again, only to meet the same crushing demands of the day. For me, it was the humbling realization that I could not homeschool alone, I needed my husband. It was the painful realization that my son was struggling with ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder and the latter part (ODD) was for me alone. He welcomed my husband’s authority but threatened mine. I grieved that I was unable to provide our eldest daughter the attention she needed while also grieving that our youngest grew to hate school time because that meant his siblings were occupied and whatever lesson we were trying to perform with him was in vain as he was battling decreasing hearing loss and an inability to communicate.

These are painful memories. They have become very fresh as we have returned to this homeschooling routine once again and it has brought to mind the all too familiar struggles that we once endured.

But one thing is different. Very different.

Choice.

I guess that is one positive thing that you can take away from a negative experience. That and the ability to say, “I have done this before. I survived. It all turned out OK, and it will again. I WILL be ok.”

I think the motivational sayings started to bother me because when I read them, I was interpreting them as saying, “This isn’t that hard, you SHOULD be able to do this well. YOU just have to try harder, YOU just have to be better.”

Instead, I am reading them as if the person who wrote them is saying, “Mama, I feel you. I hear you. I know how you feel. This is hard. You WILL get through it. You WILL be ok. Things WILL get better.”

And this time around, I am remembering the way it was and CHOOSING a different way. I am choosing not to go to bed dreading tomorrow. I am choosing to ask for help. I am choosing to give myself grace. I am choosing to say it’s ok if it doesn’t go well, we can try again tomorrow and we can always try another way. I am choosing to validate myself, affirm myself, and use the tools I have to make it through the best way I can.

I am going back to my FCA days when we would teach about the Armor of God. And I am using my arsenal of emotional support oils to gear myself up for the day. I am using these resources to give myself a shot, to surprise myself, to be proud of myself, and to be the best I can for my family.

I am doing this with scripture and with the help of applying these Young Living Essential Oils:

  • Hope
  • Gratitude
  • Joy
  • Believe
  • Frankincense
  • Valor

Let me know if you would like to learn more about these essential oils and their properties!

The Word of God contains so much encouragement. This scripture in particular-

Ephesians 6:10-18

The Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

I am supporting myself and my home by using diffuser blends to create the environment I am longing for such as:

And I am making myself laugh with sarcastic inspiration.

I hope you too are able to walk lightly into a new day, laugh and feel hope. Because you ARE doing a GREAT job.

Mommy-ing with Anxiety And Oils.

Heather Braucher 

I had a flashback the other day. Oddly enough, I have this one a lot. It was back to a time when my 3 kids were 5 and under and every other week my husband had to travel  3-4 days for work. My oldest had begun pre-school (late birthday) and I spent most days at home with the two boys. As much as my daughter loved her pre-school, and I was grateful for having one less child’s needs to juggle, I DID NOT enjoy the 7 straight months of various sickness that followed.

Ear infections, flu, stomach bugs, bronchitis, pneumonia, and hand, foot and mouth disease all cycled through our family of five and the pediatrician’s consistent reasoning for this crippling season of chronic sickness- pre-school. It was very hard for me to accept that simply because my oldest was hanging out in a classroom for 5 hours a day, that our entire family’s immune system was shot. And the day that I found myself hurling with the stomach bug AND coughing at the same time due to my active case of pneumonia, I knew that something had to change.

Now let’s flash even further back to high school. In those days, I was a dedicated athlete. I loved training, and seeing progress. I went on to play field hockey in college with hopes of becoming a sport psychologist. I loved the passion, mental perseverance and discipline that sports and fitness desired from an individual. I wanted to be a part of helping people overcome obstacles in their way of reaching their full potential. I earned my B.S in Psychology and Sports Coaching and my M.S in Exercise Science. I had the privilege of working as a high school field hockey coach, a college field hockey coach, a sports performance coach at Velocity Sports Performance and PerformFit, a personal fitness trainer, a group fitness trainer, and even a strength and conditioning coach for athletes and teams. 

Around the 5th year of my career, just when I began to feel the part, an old college neck and back injury reared its ugly head. My ability to train others and myself began to dwindle and my career felt like it was ending just when it was taking off. Interestingly enough, my personal faith crossed paths with my professional journey and the intersection brought me from a job in sports performance to a job in sports ministry. In hindsight, the transition made perfect sense. I was drawn to the psychological element of training people, this explained why when I trained clients, it often felt a lot more like a counseling session.  

6 years later, married with 3 children, our family transitioned into a career in the field of world missions. We partnered with a global sports company and moved to South Asia. Now before you get the wrong idea, and imagine I am this devout Christian who is peaceful, pious, fit and psychologically sound, hear me…

It was exactly 11 months and 29 days postpartum after my 3rd child that I walked into my OB and said “I think I have postpartum depression and anxiety.” I am almost positive that my confession was probably 3 years late, but even so, thank God. My life would be forever changed by that day. Following that OB appointment came diagnosis, prescription and counseling. These tools provided me with understanding, proper brain chemistry, and coping skills.  With my counselor, I walked through stages of my life that left memories, regrets, pain and fears trapped in my brain and my body. And I mean, literally trapped in my body. You heard my background. I was an athlete, a fitness trainer. But at this point in my life it had been 3 to 4 years since I was able to exercise at all without ending up with debilitating back spasms. I was angry and overwhelmed ALL of the time. The freedom from recognizing and treating my anxiety allowed me to begin experiencing breath, life, and victory in areas where anxiety held me captive.

And the Lord did not stop there. It was then that I was introduced to the world of Essential Oils. Like I said, we had experienced chronic illness in our family for an extended period of time. Over the counter medications and antibiotics had become all too familiar in our daily routine. Prescription medicine was imperative in some areas of health, but even so, I was desperate for healing inside and out. I wanted the same thing for my family. My best friend shared some of the Young Living essential oil products that had a tremendous impact on her family. Essential oil blends like Stress Away, Valor, Vetiver and Peace and Calming became my secret weapons. And not just for me, but for my kids!

At the same time, it was also becoming evident our middle son was battling SPD/ADHD. Being too early for medication and diagnosis, oils like vetiver became instrumental in assisting his body chemistry. Over the next couple years all 3 kids began school and the EO’S that support our immune system were crucial in the game of “which sickness will they come home with next?” The products, education and community that Young Living offered provided my family with physical and emotional support. It also provided me with an outlet! As a stay at home mom, I found solace, as well as an avenue for utilizing my gifts. I loved creating roller blends and DIY gifts for friends and family. I loved being able to create something that I would later be able to offer my children when they needed help settling down, focusing, or even falling asleep. 

When I reflect on my background, it makes sense why I am passionate about health, wellness and fitness. When I think about my body chemistry and family dynamic, it affirms my need for emotional support. But My God continues to weave my life into a story. He continues to affirm that no matter what season of life, whatever strength or weakness, whichever state or country, He sees me, He knows my yesterday and tomorrow and he is not done with me yet. He plans to use me for good. Be it through, motherhood, health, fitness, ministry, or natural living, I plan to be useful, to share my struggles and victories with others, and to be there for those seeking victory too.

Things are not as they should be.

We were walking through a furniture store to pick out a piece for a family member. No big deal. Except for when I wandered off, looking at pieces of furniture, and the strangest thing happened. My chest felt tight. My heart felt uneasy. My brain was telling me, I have been here before. But being here again, is too soon.

At this moment, we were 1 month into being back in the U.S, but I could remember the day I was walking through the furniture store in India, picking out furniture for our new home, like it was yesterday. Picking out the furniture that was supposed to last us the next 3 years, at least. The same furniture we sold in two days, only 8 1/2 months after we moved in.

Fast forward to 3 months completed now, living in Central, NY, living with my parents and India has begun to fade… already.

When we first got to my parents house, all we had is what we brought with us to India. Which if you know anything about India’s climate, we were not prepared for NY’s winter. But for Christmas, at least I had something red. A red Kurta, the last Kurta that was purchased while we were in India.

Wearing a Kurta in upstate NY 3 weeks after departing India for good brought on all the feelings. One being, can I really get away with this attire here? But mostly, feelings of sorrow, pain, and confusion. The wounds from our abrupt departure, still raw, still not even fully addressed.

Come late January, all of the India souvenirs were mailed, all of the Kurtas packed away and picture albums old news. I have returned to the messy bun and athletic clothes, no more coffee made via Aeropress, back to the Keurig and fully hooked once more on Almond Joy coffee creamer. I guess I felt if I returned to all of my old -isms, and American comforts, did that mean our move to India didn’t really exist? Did all that the Lord has done in me, really happen?

It’s the seasons of uncertainty that are the perfect breeding grounds for doubt and believing the lies that are whispered over you. The lies that tell you you are a failure, you have let every down, you can’t hack it. All too familiar, these lies. Fortunately the familiarity of lies bring the familiarity of God.

I cling to HIM more than I ever have. I trust in HIM more than I ever have. I believe that I am a chosen, loved, redeemed child of God more than I ever have. All that the Lord has done in me is real. We did move our family of 5 to India, with significant purpose, hope and intentionality. It all did happen.

And yes, I have to remind myself of these truths every morning. I have to talk myself down from yelling at the Lord when I awake to each new day with the relentless reality that 3 months after rushing back to the US because Jackson needs cochlear implants, we are still no further along in the process than when we left. We still are living in my parents home, sharing their car and unsure of what the future holds.

Things are just, NOT as they should be. But then again, that truth is not new. That truth is the same truth that encourages me to cling to the hope of Jesus Christ, and the hope of heaven. The hope that Revelation 21:4 brings, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” One day, we will not have suffering or sickness, and grief will end. One day, Jackson will have hearing and vision as clear as day. One day, this mama will not battle her persistent opponent, anxiety. One day, Dad won’t stress about finances and providing for his family. One day, things will be as they should.

Until that day, God is gracious and merciful and loving and kind and ever present and always faithful. We just need to pay attention. I know this to be true because HE uses his people to remind us. He uses my parents daily to remind us. How they day in and day out, generously and without expectation give, host, support, counsel, and love our family. How my brother shares from the bottom of his heart how much it means to have me “home”. How my sister in law without hesitation watches our kiddos after school.

I also experience God’s nearness through the blessings that come in moments. Moments like being present for your Grandma’s 80th birthday. Moments like getting to see your niece’s classroom during open house night at school. Moments that come daily like experiencing our kids level of excitement as they share about each new day at their new school, and moments that come every couple weeks like witnessing Garrett’s sweet bond with my dad as they head off to Lowe’s and grab a soda and a hot dog from the outside vendor.

These moments are significant to me, as I have lived as long out of my hometown, home state as I have lived in. I have missed so much. While we were in India, I missed the passing of my Nana and her funeral. The pain I experienced missing that, creates a whole new appreciation for all the little things I am experiencing now.

Things are not as they should be. But we get glimpses.

Glimpses by way of suprise mail from dear friends and supporters who just want to offer us a card of encouragement and a gift. Glimpses when others go out of their way to show you how much they are praying for you, thinking about you, here for you. Glimpses come when your church offers their continued support financially and tangibly to help you through this season of uncertainty.

But do not be mislead. I have to pay attention to these people, these moments, these glimpses. I have to look for the blessings. And WHEN I don’t, because let’s be honest I AM HUMAN, then I get swallowed up in the reality, that things are not as they should be and I forget to hope for heaven. I forget to find my hope in Christ.

We are now post 4 cochlear specialist consultations and 4 different audiology tests, and we have landed in a place of uncertainty once more. We are encouraged to repeat testing that was done while we were overseas, to obtain certainty that his hearing loss has TRULY become severe enough for implantation (for insurance purposes). While we agree on the need for certainty, Jackson’s diagnosis of USHER’S SYNDROME is driving the ship. We need to get him the best access to hearing that we can, and that’s why we returned to the U.S, and ended our journey serving overseas.

What I know to be true, what I am finally accepting, is that I have 3 children, 2 with special needs, and I need some support. We needed support so much that we bypassed Florida and flew straight to Upstate, NY. We left tenants in our townhome, and all of our belongings in our storage unit to come straight to my parents home with only what we had from India.

And even in the midst of continued uncertainty and lack of conclusions, God is answering our need for support. And because of this support, I am even able to think outside the box these days. I am able to dream, analyze, consider.

In April 2018, I needed support, emotional support. I found it by way of essential oils. By the end of the year I grew to learn so much more about the life-giving support offered by these natural oils distilled from plants and I realized by sharing them I can actually help support others too!

It is humbling, to feel as if you always need help or support. When we moved to India we had great hopes of serving others in various ways. And we discovered, we just could not. Our kids needed more support than allowed for us to serve others. Humbling to say the least.

Lately though, I have come to embrace this truth. I am embracing the reality that God created our family unit just the way it is. And in this current season of life, these little people HE has gifted to us are our main job. We want to love and serve them with all that we can. He is gifting us the ability to do that right now. And HE is gifting me the ability to serve and support others right where I am. From my home, while my kids sit next to me, when I share about Young Living Essential Oils with others in hopes that this natural element can support a need, just like it has done for me. And all the while potentially providing my family with an extra income.

So here is our update. We are doing life with family, getting support, and waiting until God reveals HIS plan for Jackson. We are praying, the kids are going to school, Adam is reflecting on his past careers and exploring where HE can best use the gifts God gave him. I am still praying, and often in a Cry-Yell-Pray sort of way and I am officially going to start my Young Living Essential Oil Business. https://photos.app.goo.gl/YSsVAqmE4VEqMMsPA

And daily, sometimes hourly, often minute by minute, I am looking for the glimpses of life, that remind me of God’s promises.

A Teeter Totter week.

“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” James 1:6

Up.

And down.

Up.

And down.

That was this week. At least it was not like a merry-go-round. Although, my stomach would disagree.

Started with a great yoga class monday afternoon. My foreword bend is getting so much better and I felt like I nailed the Surya Namaskar. Feeling confident and limber, I was excited for a good week. We also made the decision to remove gluten from our diets. With Sensory Processing Disorder, Anxiety and potentially ADHD in the mix amongst our family members, it was time to test the correlation between gluten and hyperactivity. And then Garrett came down with the stomach bug.

But it’s OK! He only threw up twice in the night and we only had to wash 3 sheets!

And I had a girl date with my friend! We went to Old City which is this incredible piece of history. We strolled through the market, through a sea of colors and textiles and block prints and vendors shouting phrases that I am certain are in the Aladdin movie. I was on the hunt for “choodiyaan”, aka bangles. Married women here wear bangles as a representation that they are married, and I have not been wearing any! No wonder the tuk-tuk driver asked.

I was excited to find my first pair of bangles and first pair of Rajasthani flats. I also came with an extra dose of humility because I was well aware that most of the bangles probably would not fit over my wrist, nor flats on my feet. So when looking I joyfully shouted “Badi”, aka big when asked for my size. I was successful with the bangles! Not so much for the flats. And I found an incredible bag to boot. At least I can live vicariously through Gracelyn’s flats.

Gracelyn was making great progress with her 6 medicines that the ENT ordered. Probably because I gave her chocolate baking morsels from the states after every medicine. And that’s Antibiotic, Steroid, Probiotic, Allergy, and two nasal sprays. After a long previous week of sickness, I had taken her to the ENT over the weekend. We discovered that she is allergic to the dust here. So allergic that her adenoids were incredibly swollen and her ear drum was at risk of rupturing. They even sent us to x-ray to check on her adenoids! overwhelmed once again by sickness and medicine, it was imperative that I remember to be grateful for the medical care and and ask friends to pray for her healing. That and to diffuse Young Living Thieves and Purification of course.Also, A few of you have asked about healthcare here. I am pumped to share that after each visit, I pay cash!!! No insurance company, no explanation of benefits, not calling to appeal a service not covered!!! So amazing, in fact, I will show a picture of the receipts and little folders we get to take home from each visit.

The ups and downs are so frequent, they blur together. Wednesday morning I awoke so sick to my stomach that it knocked me out for three days. And when I recovered, Adam went down. What a great week to be gluten free huh? Friends, I don’t know how we managed to maintain it, but somehow the kids made it through the week with two sick parents and nothing but eggs, hard-boiled eggs, rice, nuts, fruit and vegetables to eat. It wasn’t until Saturday that we found a meat guy and figured out how to get chicken delivered to our door! New favorite foods for the kids equal raisins, oatmeal with swirls of nutella, cashews and potato chips. We have lots to learn in this gluten-free journey. At the end of an exhausting week we were not even sure if it was worth it. And then we let them have pancakes. And that was it. After witnessing an obvious impact from the gluten, I decided to head to the store and get creative. I learned how to make Rice flour Roti, and Quinoa cheese and veggie bites. Who knew it would take me to move to India to learn how to up my culinary repertoire. I even learned how to make homemade sweet lime soda. But, ended up using the instant version instead. But hands down my favorite item is good 0ld-fashioned gatorade. With temps of 109 and 110 this week, we have depended on gatorade for survival.

I ended the week on an up. To give Adam some rest, I decided to take the kids to the local mall because it has an indoor play area where they could shed some energy since they were cooped up all week due to the heat and two incapacitated parents. Unbeknownst to me, there was a marvel meet and greet event! It was awesome. Ironman, Spiderman, BumbleBee, all dancing on stage and the kids got to join them. Epic.

Went out to a new shop with a friend, found a new Kurta dress and……. drumroll……. Meters of material! I shared in an earlier post that I am intimidated by the common purchase of meters of material to turn into a three piece suit or a saree. Still intimated by the saree, so that is yet to come. But I did find some incredible material to take to a tailor to make into a dress! I will share the final product after it is made!

The teeter totter ended up. Grateful to end the week on the up and up. Nothing like falling sick, and people you love falling sick to make you homesick. I have missed my family and my friends greatly this week. I have missed their voices, the smell of the fresh air in NY, the green grass and the blue sky. I have missed deli sandwiches with turkey! I have missed friends from all phases of my life, apartments we used to live in, and the ability to be able to be with the ones I love in an instant for sickness, for births, for celebrations. But I am grateful that I have so many ways to connect, and so many wonderful pictures to look at and reminisce.

Week 8. Just a spoonful of nutella.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart; and you will find rest. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30

I read once that it takes 21 days to make a habit and 60+ days to change your life. So at this point in our journey I believe it is safe to say we have experienced incredible life change and new habits. For example, I used to have ice cream almost every night before bed. You know, that sweet tooth night cap? But now, I am regularly so thirsty from the heat and dust that all I want is water and salt! I have always considered myself a sweets person over salty, but potato chips have NEVER tasted so good.

Another great change, is that in America, I always took a doctors word for gold! But here, I am finding that I follow a Doctor visit with a google search on “what are the 7 medicines he just prescribed for me to give my 3 year old?” I can barely get Jackson to eat his meals let alone take any medicine. Thus, I had to give my boys a heaping scoop of nutella every day this week to get them to take their antibiotics. Fortunately the medicine had a peppermint taste so I assume it tasted like a spoonful of peppermint patty. Coughs and sniffles have consumed each one of us lately. So I was grateful to have my oils when after I had used all the medicine I could think of, coughs were still keeping the kids and myself up. I used the Young Living Breathe Again Roll-on for me and Snifflease oil for the kids, and shortly thereafter…… sleep came.

Another change is that I used to take my second cup of coffee in the afternoon. 2 cups a day isn’t bad? Now, I can barely make it past 9:30 without a second cup. Maybe it’s because by 10 am my head is swimming with Hindi words during our language class. When there is only 2 students and one teacher, it is pretty obvious if you can’t keep your eyes open. I also blame the fact that India is for night owls. The evening brings bareable temps allowing for evening walks, parks, work and just simple socializing. Needless to say our kids are up for 15 hours a day!! NOT.A.FAN.

some of the objects we are learning.

We did get invited to our first Indian birthday party this week for our friend’s 5-year old son. It was excellent! Complete with a paw patrol theme, a bouncy house, countless balloons, cake and party favors. It was so wonderful to see them so happy. However, I learned a little too late that you can not simply run to a pharmacy or party city to get wrapping paper. In fact, I still have no idea where to go to get gift wrap! I felt so embarassed to offer the gift in a bag with not even any tissue paper. I will have to research this before the next one!

The heat is increasing. I am still finding it hard to stay hydrated. I noticed that many people here wear white to beat the heat. So I decided to find an all white Kurta for the super hot days. Maybe it was the beautiful handiwork that drew me to this one, or maybe it was the song “Hopelessly Devoted to you” from Grease playing in the background (random right?). But the one I chose makes me want to run through a field of daisies and sing “the Hills are alive!” This Kurta is also very light. Which reminded me of today’s verse. Weeks here are a roller coaster full of ups and downs. And long days make for swollen and tired eyes and weary hearts. But I look to Him. That is where my help comes from.

I was grateful that we got to experience some new adventures this week. Gracelyn and I started yoga! Our language teacher connected us to his friend who is a professional yoga athlete and teacher and she came to our home to teach us. I was so excited to get active and even better, in the comfort of our home. I have not tried to exercise outside in public yet or go to a gym. I had been feeling pretty out of shape and was eager to get back into it. As always, upon exercising I was reminded that my mind thinks I am still a college athlete while my body cries out in defiance, “Oh no, you don’t. I will defeat you with arthritis and scar tissue! Leave my atrophying muscles alone.” You can only imagine how my hamstrings felt the next day after doing several rounds of surya namaskar. NO PICTURES for this one, somethings are better unseen.

The other adventure was a day of sightseeing over the weekend. We had not done a major tourist outing since we were hounded by hawkers at Amer Fort. We were hopeful that being 2 months in we were not so wet behind the ears. We also decided to pick a few places and keep the visit duration to a minimum. The first was Jaipur zoo! Which is actually, no longer a zoo. That’s always fun to find out….while you are buying tickets and about to go in with 3 very excited children. Turns out the majority of animals were sent to a nature reserve while the remaining wildlife consisted of birds.

yay…..

To my surprise, it turned out to be great. And hilarious. For one, I have never in my life seen an ostrich the size of an elephant nor a pelican the size of a 12 year old boy before. So there was that. I have also never seen a museum of taxidermy animals in a zoo. But most of all, I have never been to a zoo where there is one monkey on the inside of the cage and the other monkey on the outside. At first we were excited to see the monkeys. But then we realized the one on the outside was clinging to the one on the inside and Jackson turned around and in sign language said monkey followed by signing the word “sad.” Later that night Gracelyn prayed that the monkeys would be reunited.

We also ventured to a museum. That was a fail. We lasted 10 minutes before meltdown 0′ clock started and people were sight seeing us more than the museum. So we bolted and headed to City Palace. This was a risk. We almost went home because the kids did not seem to be interested in history. Until there was a Bollywood movie filming in the center of city palace!!! 30-40 Indian women dressed in matching sarees, smoke machines, music and lots of “1-2-3 action AND cut!” I hope we get to find out what movie was being filmed someday. Attention spans run low with our crew, so after about 5 takes when the kids realized we were only going to see the same 30 seconds over and over again we needed to move on. And to our luck, we ended at a phenomenal puppet show where the puppeteers had their puppets perform a traditional Indian dance, a cobra and charmer dance and of course, an Indian Michael Jackson dance….. only India.

Our outing was a victory. We saw the sights, had a great time as a family, and I believe many people went home with a snapshot of us in their photo gallery on their phones.

Yes, random strangers took pictures of us and our children ALL. DAY. Encouraged for next week’s language class so I can learn how to say, “take pictures of the animals please, not my children.”

Routine. Week 7.

“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience,..” Colossians 3:12

I did not realize how thirsty we were for a routine. Language school and Homeschooling has been so healthy. When you are with the same people all day long with no schedule or order and 3 of them are under 7 years old, it can get ugly. Boredom can set in for young children, no matter what country you live in. Taking turns has been necessity. We have been diligent to give one another breaks from the kids and solo time while also trading off which child gets to run an errand with us. My favorite moment was probably when Garret walked with me at night to the local grocer and he wore his head lamp to light the path. He is an excellent grocery shopping partner. Probably because he usually gets his own Limca at the end of the trip.

Monday was Election Day, so there was no language class and most people took off of work. A fascinating detail I learned about Election Day was that after one voted they would get a henna tattoo on their finger nail to prove that they had voted and also to ensure that they do not try to vote again. Fascinating. And despite any concerns, our city was safe from any political turmoil.

Wednesday our cook came for the first time! This is also custom here and I was very excited to have her help us out because meals have been hard! Cooking an Indian dish, which is what most markets primarily provide ingredients for, is difficult and very time consuming. When you have 3 kids you are homeschooling, one with attention and sensory issues and one with hearing aids and speech delay, spending a lot of time in the kitchen is actually dangerous. For real. We do not have a dishwasher or a dryer for laundry so some days it felt like I was stuck on wash, rinse repeat between cooking, washing dishes and doing laundry. It is also almost 100 degrees in our kitchen and when I am finished I feel like I ran a marathon and come out only to find our home and the kids in disarray. So having an experienced cook provide a healthy meal of rice and Dahl is a dream come true!

The day before she came, our landlord took me out to the market to get all of the supplies to set up our kitchen for Indian cooking. This was such a positive experience that I wish I had done this for those who were just coming to America and trying to navigate Walmart!

Also this week, a friend of mine invited me to get a manicure and pedicure! I felt so blessed to have been invited and to get my India-ravaged feet, pampered. We live in the dessert, even though it is a city. And it has taken its toll on our feet.

A few other wins for the week were that I saw my first monkey, well 3 to be exact. Two were crossing the street and one was carrying its baby! Now I am sure that soon I will detest to see a monkey for they are rumored to be angry and frustrating animals here, but for now they remain as cute as the ones I have seen in the zoo.

I also finally started winning the battle with Jackson to take his medication for his infections and for eating protein. This had been a huge prayer. He has always struggled with eating and has a very limited diet. Once we arrived in India, it was like all he would eat is crackers and that IS IT. So to see him swallow his medicine and eggs made me want to cry!

Adam also started making sports connections around town which was super exciting as we look forward to opportunities to arise for his job with an International Sports Agency.

I had another YL essential oil win when the kids rolled around in something called Carrot Grass and couldn’t stop itching. After a bath I was able to use the recipe “Scratchless spray” which included purification, lavender and peppermint mixed with witch hazel. I felt relief to see my kiddos get relief.

To end my week I took a solo trip to curious life, a coffee shop that a friend told me about where I had a Vietnamese Cold coffee and it was amazing. I followed it up with a trip to the store fabindia where I got Adam a coffee mug so he can stop drinking his coffee out of a regular cup and to cottfab where I found my latest Kurta.

This one made me feel like Me. Like Heather. Ya know when you find something, and if someone was with you they would say, “Oh that is so you!” I found it. And it was the most inexpensive Kurta I have found! I was so excited. But this trip also left me intrigued. There is a whole other part to each clothing store that I have not explored. It is the side of the store where you buy your material by the meter and they will hand tailor your request.

Most people do this to get a Saree or Poshak made. Upon being asked if I wanted this service, I replied, “Not yet.” I do not know when it will be required of me to wear this kind of Indian dress, and when it is I will have to have it made. Truthfully, I am intimated by the idea of wearing a Saree. And here in our city, and where we live the traditional wear seems to be changing. Many women are wearing western clothes and others are wearing Indian clothes but are foregoing the dupatta or scarf.

But I feel the time will be coming soon, that I get to experience more of the richness of this culture.

The battle for wifi. Week 6.

“For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven.” 2 Corinthians 5:2

It has been a week. We have seen several appointments for wifi installation come and go. A cultural lesson I am sure.

When the Wifi guy or the Ac repair man says, I will be there tomorrow at noon, it is common that he may come early, he may come late or not at all. There is also no voicemail service here on cellphones, so people just make missed calls frequently. And if you are calling a service number, you are most likely to get a recording. Now add the language barrier in there and you have the perfect recipe for extreme frustration. Especially when the two items you need help with are your air conditioning and your internet.

Needless to say, that would have been all I remembered about week six had I not been taking down weekly notes!

So here were the victories this week! Our washing machine, stove and microwave/convection oven were all installed this week. A working kitchen! I unpacked the last suitcase and we stored all of the suitcases out of sight. Officially moved in. Our house helper started this week helping with washing the floors and bathrooms as is custom here. We started language school two hours a day in the morning to learn Hindi AND we started homeschooling the kids!

Unfortunately the boys came down with respiratory, pinkeye and ear infections. But we had some laughs this week too. To conserve water, it is common to take bucket baths. The boys have enjoyed them, filling the bucket up with water and dumping it over their heads. Well, Jackson must have really been under the weather because he decided to crawl in the bucket, where he proceeded to get stuck, butt in, feet dangling out, and asleep! A sight I have never seen before for sure.

Also this week I had several errands to run which forced me to take 5 different Uber car rides. This was a victory for me because I never enjoy riding an Uber solo because it always caused me great fear. Maybe I was high on productivity, or maybe it was my YL Valor that brought me such great confidence and motivation, either way I was feeling proud.

As the last Uber pulled up to take me home, I had a handful of items such as a toddler bathtub, cleaning supplies and cups etc. The Uber driver got out of the car to load my items in the trunk and accidentally locked us out of his car while it was still running! Not only that, but he blocked the other cars in to their parking spots.

Thirty minutes later, after he made several phone calls to receive help unlocking his car, the man he blocked in decided to use his own car key to see if it would unlock his car. To all of our shock, IT DID! ONLY INDIA!

well, after all that excitement I was excited to relax. It was our first weekend in our new home and we were ecstatic about just lounging and enjoying finally being settled. And guess what? The internet guy came! AND the AC got repaired. We watched netflix and slept in a cool room.

BLISS.

As for Kurtas this week. The only story I have is still pending. Since we got our washer installed, I have been able to wash my own laundry. The only downside on this, is when we lived in the hotel, we had to send our laundry out and when it came back, it had also been pressed! Now that I am washing my own clothes, air drying Kurtas on my front porch does not help the wrinkles. So I decided to utilize the presswala service that the LandLord gave to me. Again, this is very common culturally to have clothes, especially Indian dress sent to the presswala, who is usually employed at the corner of the street in a neighborhood and handles all the local pressing for that community.

Well, I have not seen my Kurtas since I sent them out…..

I will let you know the end to this story when I find out. Fingers crossed, I hope to see my Kurtas again!

Watch out, the Braucher’s are moving in. Week 5.

“…And have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him-..” Colossians 3:10

Week 5. Monday.

The A/C units have been installed, walls have been painted and flat has been cleaned. It is time for us to to load our 15+ suitcases into a couple ubers and move in!

Here in Jaipur, India, the three things that are necessary for move in are cleaning, A/C and R.O. Most places are very dirty and the cleaning is up to you. Call it mercy, but the LandLord of our new flat had it done for us!

The A/C units were installed and thank the Lord because the temperature was already in the 100’s. An R.O machine is a device that uses reverse osmosis to filter the tap water to make it safe to drink. Since we had been buying our water daily, this was a provision we were “pumped” to have in our home.

Our furniture was to be delivered as well as appliances. However, there were still many houseware and kitchenware items remaining to be found. I was so excited to see our furniture arrive as I had spent multiple outings visiting the local stores with the help of others who have lived here for years.

The furniture available was made from beautiful, handcrafted wood and marble. I had to find what would suit our family while navigating the conversion from rupees to USD. I also had to find items that were functional for our kids. The days are HOTT, and we need space for homeschool and indoor play.

I wish I had a photo of the 6 Indian men who delivered and assembled the bunk bed for the boys. It did not arrive until after 8pm and my children were wired and ready to be put to sleep so I was a little flustered at the hour. However, these men worked together like a well-oiled machine and had that bed assembled so quickly!

After all of the furniture was delivered the following day, it was time to pay. These are moments when we wish we already knew Hindi. We have often phoned a friend to interpret, and then hoped that nothing was lost in translation.

Marble is a natural resource here so you will find it everywhere. Marble is not my friend. When you have three loud children, the echo is deafening, and beware if you drop anything glass or ceramic it will shatter. So having furniture was not only necessary, but the combined effect of objects and carpets FINALLY removed the echo! My ears rejoiced. We had made a home, and IT WAS good.

It was time for me to head and find bedsheets, bath towels, dish and cookware, toiletries and cleaning supplies. I was referred to a store in the local mall called Lifestyle as well as a store back in the town where our hotel was, about 20 minutes away called Big Bazaar.

I started at Lifestyle. I went on my own. How hard could it be? Little did I know this would be how I would have my first anxiety attack since entering India. On the bright side, it took 5 weeks! And I did walk away with all that I needed, as well as a cultural lesson. Nothing bad happened, I just was not prepared. As I mentioned in an earlier post, it is very common for at least 2-3 employees to step forward to assist their customer, especially a foreigner. In fact, they will get into trouble by their superior if they do not.

I was not prepared for 3 to turn into 7 employees, and for assistance to turn into decisions made for me. The next thing I knew I was at the checkout lane and all eyes were on me as the total was adding up on the register and I was approaching the ruppees amount to win a free google mini. The more people focusing on me, the smaller I felt. I felt like I was outside my body watching. It was all I could do to keep myself standing upright and not panic. All I came for was bedsheets, dishes and towels. And I felt like the main event.

To make matters worse, we do not own a car yet, so two boys escorted me outside to a tuk tuk carrying my bags for me. I insisted they put all my items in 1-2 bags that I could carry on my own, but they gave each item its own bag.

As soon as I got home, I melted in Adams arms and sobbed. I felt weighted down by feelings of insecurity, inferiority, and kept believing the lie that I was stupid and almost like a form of entertainment for others.

When I finally recovered, I was grateful to be able to rest and to use my YL oils such as grounding, white Angelica and peace and calming. Having the oils on hand has helped me feel like I can actually Do something, when control is actually out of my hands.

Like I said, nothing bad happened. And as an American in India, it is expected to draw attention. But when attention is taken from the local shoppers, given to me and I am treated like an event of “watch how much money the American Spends,” I just wanted to cry.

But what truly helped me break free from these thoughts was when a friend reminded me of who I am. The words, “daughter of the King, God’s beloved” wrang in my ears and brought peace to my heart. Remember my identity in Christ gave me strength to dispel the culture shock and lies that came with it.

The next shopping experience I had was the opposite. So I guess I should be grateful. I wanted to make sure I got back on the horse and did not let that experience paralyze me. I brought Gracelyn with me to Big Bazaar. No unnecessary attention this time! In fact, we got our counter top gas stove, our pots and pans and a few other kitchen items. So it was a success. However, I am certain the cashier was making fun of me in hindi to his friends and tried to rob me of the discounted price on the stove. And to top it off, another customer approached me at the checkout line and said, “You can find these on amazon, much cheaper.” Thanks buddy, if only I could get on Amazon India I would. But that is another story.

So balance was reached. Too much help and too little. And now we could cook our own meals!!! Well, if I can learn how to connect and use the stove first:)

That weekend as much as we wanted to keep setting up home and get wifi installed, we had been invited to stay in a hotel with a couple other expats.

Even though it was a beautiful place to stay, it was hard to go back into a hotel after we had been living in one for a month and finally go out of it. The kids behaviors were showing us how much they needed routine and a space of their own. I also had a wicked case of heat stroke which took a couple days to recover. My YL digize and peppermint were life savers.

On Sunday when we got home, I experienced my first bout of homesickness. You know that feeling when you go away for a while, and upon returning to your home, you walk in the door and feel that, “ah, we are home” feeling? Well, that feeling was not there. It will be soon, but it was not yet. I felt like I was floating again. I needed grounding.

A friend had invited me to check out a couple shops that had clothes and houseware items such as organizational baskets, canisters, pillows, rugs etc… So I went. And not only did I find some baskets for the kids toys, but I found the section where they sell Kurtas:)

These Kurtas were more like long dresses. A cross between western and Indian wear, which is exactly how I was feeling. A mix between being a westerner who was adopting Indian ways. Now, I am not promoting retail therapy here so do not misinterpret. But I am celebrating how each Kurta holds a story for me. These Kurtas remind me of moments of struggle, and the moments of grace that come with them.

The Kurta I found was perfect.