Friday, May 12, 2017

Braking for Butterflies

Self-care has been the topic of conversation in the homes I visited this week.  As Mother's Day approaches, I felt it was timely to remind these new and young mommas to put themselves first - at least once a day.

That's not easy for most moms.  It's natural for us to want to help and care for others and put ourselves last.  But, if we are running on empty, we aren't offering anyone our best.  Practicing self-care is the one time in our day it is ok to be selfish.  Mommas, you need this time.  

It doesn't have to take long or even cost money.  In digging online to find nuggets of inspo for my visits, I found two great resources that I'll share with you too:  31 Quick Self-Care Tips and a Self-Care calendar.

I also found a list of Affirmations I'll challenge each of you to print and read to yourself as you begin or end every day.

In my final visit of the week, as we were painting butterflies with tiny baby footprints, a mom made a suggestion that changed my day.  She mentioned that if I drove a different direction home, I'd come across a spot where butterflies liked to play.  Little did she know how special those tiny flying creatures are to me.

Butterflies, specifically yellow ones, have been a sign from Austin since we lost him in 2008.  He's sent them at times there can be no other explanation than to know it was heaven-sent.  For instance, we've been visited by butterflies in the middle of winter, upon freshly fallen snow.

As I headed out her driveway, I began to make excuses as to why I didn't have the five extra minutes it would take to go another direction.  But a persistent little butterfly cut in my path and demanded my attention.  It danced in front of the car as if to say, follow me!

I'm so thankful I listened.

What a difference one turn or choice makes in our day.  Within moments, it felt as if I was on Butterfly Drive because I had to slow down, just to prevent hitting them from fluttering across the road.  Easily finding the spot she'd recommended, I pulled over to take in the scenery.

They were very camera shy so I didn't capture any to share.  Honestly, I was so mesmerized and at peace, I didn't think to take any until almost ready to leave.

I did pause to take a photo of a nearby creek because it was also breathtaking and stilled my soul.

Though I stayed only a few moments, it was sustenance I didn't even realize I needed.

Upon leaving, I broke down in tears and found myself in prayer the remainder of my drive.  Mother's Day weekend will always be bittersweet.  When you have lost a child, it changes the holiday forever.  And although I am beyond blessed to have a towering gentle giant still at home, I will never forget the one who made me Mom first.

Though I prayed for peace and strength as I face the weekend, what I found is that most of my prayer was gratitude.  For the 14 years we had with Austin...for the way God has healed us through this journey...and for the sneak peaks of Heaven he allows when Austin sends us whispers of love.

If you are facing this holiday with loss, whether from a baby you never got to meet, a child gone too soon, or even your own mother's passing, my heart goes out to you.  Be extra gentle on yourself this weekend.  Allow tears to fall.  Embrace the memories.  And if one dances by, brake for butterflies.


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