One of the most vivid memories from my childhood comes from the butterflies that filled our home. Plates, cups, pictures, clothes & jewelry. On pillows, on the wall, and even on the Christmas tree. They never stopped coming into our small, ranch home on that dirt road in lower Michigan. Our house may have been surrounded by cow pasture, but it was filled with butterflies.

My mom collected butterflies, and people gave them to her a lot. She definitely received them on birthdays, at Christmas and on Mother’s Day, but she also often received them on regular days too. Whenever friends and family saw a butterfly, they thought of my mom, and often bought and gave them to her for no special reason.

Now, over 25 years later, she still collects butterflies, and people still buy them for her on special and not-so-special days. I still think of her when I see a butterfly, especially the live ones as they flutter around my lilac bush. This is one reason why the butterfly graces my blog header.

The other reason a butterfly defines my platform is because butterflies represent a struggle to victory. They break out of a cocoon only after great struggle. Skip the struggle, and they die.

Today when I see a butterfly, I not only think of my mom, but I also think of how struggle brings victory. Really, the butterfly represents not only my past, but also my present and future as I focus on sharing the struggles and victories in my life with others.

DISCUSSION: What childhood memories endure to define you positively still today?

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