Monarch butterfly

A DAY FOR BUTTERFLIES!

Did you know there was a day set aside for butterflies? National Learn About Butterflies Day, is what they call it.

And so, I have to tell you about a butterfly we have visiting our yard every day. She is very special and a Monarch.

She hatched from an egg laid on my milkweed plants. Nothing unusual about that. But we have some busy lizards who seem to think baby caterpillars look like striped candy! One lizard plays a game of grabbing tiny caterpillars, jerking them off a stem or leaf, and tossing them away. So, I saved one Monarch caterpillar. We’ll call her Baby for this blog post.

I put Baby in a special jar I have for hatching butterflies. Within a week or so, on a Sunday morning, I realized I needed to release her. She had hatched, and her wings had stiffened into beautiful orange, black, and white colors. She was a perfect Monarch and lovely.

As we left for church, I let her cling to my finger, and I took her outside. She fluttered her wings in the sunlight. I knew she wasn’t ready to take a long flight, so I placed her within the branches of a small palm. She was still there when we came home, so I moved her to a different location on the palm. A short time later, she took off, using her wings for the first flight. She circled higher and higher, toward the top of an oak, and I went inside. She had left.

The following Sunday, we came home from church, and a butterfly came fluttering over our heads, circling and dipping in the gentle breeze. She landed on a milkweed plant.

I told my husband, “I bet that’s my butterfly.” We watched her for a moment, but I soon said, “I bet I can touch her.”

I slowly reached toward her and softly touched the sides of her body. She didn’t care!

She has hung around, since then, showing up and exploring the milkweed plants. She still likes to head for the palm tree and comes very close to me. My husband couldn’t stand being left out, so he tried touching her … and she sat still long enough for his fingers to almost touch her dark body, and then, she drifted up over his head.

I do believe it’s Baby! I’ve never had a butterfly act that way.

We have some cold weather coming, and there are caterpillars all over the milkweed plants. I never saw so many! But lizards are everywhere. They are probably playing “Toss the Caterpillar” when I’m not looking! So yesterday, I collected some of the caterpillars and put them in the special jar, with a huge bundle of leaves. They have grown over night! Five have already shed their striped coats and are waiting for the moment they can hatch and fly.

I’ll release them when they hatch. It is so much fun to watch the whole process. I’ve been doing it ever since I was a little girl in Michigan. Dad took pictures of butterflies hanging on my ears. I think every child should see the wonderful process from egg, to caterpillar, and then butterfly. And I’m glad there is a National Learn About Butterflies Day!

STAGES OF GROWTH

collage-of-butterflies-2016_01

God created unique stages of life for all living creatures, plant life, and humans. This is apparent with butterflies.

For instance, the Monarch butterfly starts life as a light-colored egg, the size of a pinhead.

You can turn over a slender milkweed leaf and spot the random eggs adhered to the leaf. But it doesn’t take long before a tiny, striped caterpillar emerges. It is very small, but it grows rapidly as it munches on milkweed  leaves–chewing at a very fast pace.

Take the time to bend close to a caterpillar and watch it gobble up a leaf. Even that stage of their life is amazing.

But most delightful is when a butterfly’s wings are ready to take on unique drafts of air and strong winds. Butterflies don’t usually jump from branch to branch with gentle flutters, or with repeated attempts at flying, as a baby bird might leave the nest. Instead, a butterfly just takes off flying, sometimes soaring upwards in loops and circles toward the tops of trees. It’s like a flight of joy.

Of course, that fast flight may keep them from immediately being captured.

Compared to God, we humans are tiny. After birth, we don’t jump into the role of an adult human–physically, mentally, or spiritually.

There are stages of growth in our life, and not everyone proceeds at the same pace. And that is so true about our spiritual growth! Some people have the advantage of being schooled from birth, taught about God, taken to church, and encouraged to attend a Christian college, etc.

But not everyone comes from a family who encourages spiritual growth.

God understands each person’s unique situation. He calls people to come to Him and experience life to the fullest. And spiritual growth may come in small steps, as we learn and believe.

We aren’t going to swirl to the top of a church steeple and have all we will ever need of God’s love and forgiveness. We must learn to walk through the stages of growth in our spiritual life, while depending on God and older Christians to guide us with each new situation.

God is good. He stays with us.

Please, leave your comments below! Have you experienced stages of growth in your life? Please, mention a couple incidents.  Remember, your comment may help another person!

~Karen Campbell Prough

 

Copyright © Karen Campbell Prough 2016

DANGER AROUND US

DANGER AROUND US

Sometimes danger hides in how we, as mere humans, handle situations without God’s help. Many things are better left untouched, because when we proceed without seeking wisdom, pain and distress can be the result. People suffer all their lives from unwise choices and jumping in where they shouldn’t be. They reach and mess with things best left alone. Beautiful framing can hide a lethal bit of poison.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, there can be a different set of problems. Life has risks but refusing to step beyond our enclosed world will limit the wonders that God set in place for humanity to experience and share. There are things in this world that scare people and turn out to be harmless. We can compare it to the fact that some unfamiliar creatures of nature might appear disgusting but can transform into a token of wonder and beauty.

So how does this reflect God’s love, when it comes to reaching out to others—perhaps those that aren’t so lovable or approachable? It can be scary. We need wisdom.

Wisdom and the request for God’s guidance can keep us on the right path. Not all the hurts in people’s lives will be erased. But that should not make us withdraw from contact with this world. Should we prevent rejection by keeping to ourselves and hiding God’s plan for man? No. As a human being and God’s child, we cannot foresee what a changed life may look like by our willingness to touch someone’s life in a good way. A beautiful thing may develop.

The plan of salvation is a second step. First, we must make contact. One action or word of comfort, in the name of Jesus, can promote a change in those around us. It will let them see that God’s salvation can be inviting, not scary or unobtainable for them. Our acceptance of others lets them see the possibility of them being accepted by God.

And so, we must step up to help those around us. But perhaps some of us need help today—a bit of reassurance—or words of encouragement and wisdom when we think about this subject. It can be frightening to reach out to others in this day and time. This world is splintering and fraying along the seams of human life. One scripture comes to mind: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.” James 1:5 KJV

Another translation says, “If you need wisdom—if you want to know what God wants you to do … ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking.” James 1:5 NLT

Ask for God’s guidance at the beginning of each day.

Helping others is what God wants us to do—so that part shouldn’t have to be hashed over in our minds. For most of us—it’s the need for wisdom in what we say. But prayer, ahead of time, gives us strength. And remember, actions speak louder than words. Quickly responding to someone needing a helping hand doesn’t have to be proceeded by a thought-out prayer. Being aware of God’s nudging at the time is what fulfills our responsibility.

By asking for wisdom from God, it is easier to reach out and help others—no matter what they look like, what their circumstances, or how frightened we might feel at that moment. Remember to use wisdom but be willing to step out. God gave us the gift of wisdom, and we should be careful where we tread and how we present ourselves to others, but we should never neglect to be God’s example of a changed life.

So, take God’s love with you. Be a flame flickering in a world that doesn’t understand kindness.

Thank you for reading this post. Please scroll down and leave your comment. Your thoughts are appreciated. What have you done for God lately? How have you shown love to someone? Every little bit helps in today’s world. Pictures of the scorpion (not a poison one) was taken at a barn in Bell, Florida. I captured it off a wall, by placing a green-tinted drinking glass over it. And then I took pictures. I thought it was a neat results. Did you see what was on the back of the scorpion? Pictures of caterpillars and butterflies were taken of butterflies to show my grandchildren how they hatch.

~Karen

 

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Represented by Linda S. Glaz at http://www.hartlineliterary.com.