Sunday, September 8, 2019

Monarch Butterflies

We raised monarch butterflies this summer.  

First, we gather leaves with monarch eggs on them from the milkweed plants that grow at a nearby pond.  

You can turn the leaves over and the eggs are tiny, white dots on the backside.  

We put the leaves on a plate and keep the leaves fresh by wrapping their steams in wet paper towels until the caterpillars hatch and begin to eat and grow.

Since the caterpillars need a lot of fresh milkweed, we start bringing home whole plants of milkweed every other day, keeping the plants in bottles of water.  

Note: We keep the caterpillars from crawling down the stem and drowning inside the bottles of water by wrapping the stems in paper towel where they enter the bottles. This effectively plugs the hole like a cork plugs the hole in a wine bottle.  The caterpillars usually stay on the plants until they are ready to form a chrysalis, unless they accidentally fall off. 

If they fall off, they are easy to pick and put back on a leaf.  

Once they are ready to form a chrysalis, they may crawl off the plant, down the bottle, and onto furniture or walls. But many just stay right on the plant and form their chrysalis there. 

We learned how to carefully move the formed chrysalises using thread and a pin. 

We wrapped a thread around the stem on the chrysalis. Then holding the string tied to the chrysalis, we used a pin to carefully detach the silk until the chrysalis was free, hanging by the thread we held.  

This year, we moved almost our chrysalises to a "bouquet" of dry sticks, tying them there. 

This bouquet we admired everyday throughout the day.

Finally, after about two weeks, the butterflies emerge from their chrysalises. Most of ours emerged with the dawn, so we often admired them as we woke up and drank our morning coffee or ate breakfast. 

They hang for several hours before trying to fly away.  Once they are ready to fly, it's obvious. They flap their wings over and over.  

They can be coaxed onto your finger tip quite easily if you are careful and you can hold them as long as you want, as long as you are careful not to cause them to fall off your finger.  

When you are ready or they appear ready to fly away, you can transfer them to a plant, flower, or bush outside.

Watching metamorphosis is a glorious, wonderful process that's rewarding to bring up close.  

We successfully raised twenty-six monarchs this year.  

Here are some of the best pictures we took from start to finish: 

Friday, June 21, 2019

I can bear it, Lord.

Cheek still stinging
from the slap to my face,
Heart still aching
from the pain,
relationship lost,
Hands clenched,
demanding justice from God.
"I can't believe
she'd do that to me!
I must be less
than nothing to her!
As if surprised by my complaint,
He shouts,
"What is this you cannot bear?
What insult?
What dishonor?"
Over my shoulder then
I see Him look
at all that I have brought.
His gaze comes back to me.
My soul is quieted
for I know He sees.
His bearing and voice familiar again,
gently, like a good teacher, He asks me to say what I know,
"Who are you? And where does your worth come from?"
His glory pushes me like a breeze as he speaks.
The answer is most obvious.
"Yours and you," I say.
But I don't say, for He knew my thoughts.
Then, even though He could just think the words,
He recites them back to me
and the effect is not lost.
being very nature God,
became obedient unto death,
even the death of the cross."
My soul is satisfied.
And so I say,
"I can bear it, Lord."

Thursday, May 30, 2019

#56 Native Columbine

We found several beautiful red flowers coming up in our side yard. We identified it by taking a pic and finding the same thing at the garden store.  It's native columbine.  It might have been planted by the previous owner.  We have transferred every flower over to prepared flower beds and we are nurturing it now.

#56 Native Columbine

Tuesday, May 28, 2019


The library has one table that always has a puzzle out on it in the works. It is so very inviting.

And I listened to a podcast that suggested putting a puzzle out on the dining room on or around holidays to give people a chance to gather, talk, and relax there.

It's summer vacation, so I have been doing this for the past few weeks and it's just lovely.  We had not not been using our dining room table much, but now it's in use. There's nothing like a new puzzle.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

The Old Man and the Sea

Norah is in Challenge 1 at Classical Conversations.  Right now, she's reading The Old Man and the Sea and writing an essay on it.

To be more engaged with her as she works this week, I read the book, too.

I had read it before, but the details were vague and I remember thinking it was boring.

I loved it this time!

One of my favorite quotes was:

"He was too simple to wonder when he had attained humility. But he knew he had attained it and he knew it was not disgraceful and it carried no loss of pride."

This quote resonated with me, because I've been humbled by several mistakes and failures in the past several months. I am pushing my limits all the time in several areas of life, so failure and mistakes are just bound to happen, really, if I think about it.  So I am more reasonable about that and accepting of it.

At this point, thankfully, I usually don't feel much embarrassment for very long, and I have to say, this is really nice, because mistakes and failures used to debilitate me for hours or days. When I make a public mistake now or try and fail at something now, I just admit/ accept it and move on.  I usually think something like, "Well, here we go again. I know myself.  And I know God loves humility, after all. This is one more opportunity to practice humility and one more proof that God is committed to my sanctification."  So this quote resonated with me, because I begin to see that a person can have humility, because humility goes hand and hand with honesty.  A person can be humble without being totally defeated and that same person can have pride without it needing to be arrogance that comes from denial.

I also cried at the end. It was a sobbing cry. Getting older and having people I love get older made the story come to life. I saw my dad's body fail him, ultimately. I felt his spirit leave his body, since his body was no longer capable of holding his spirit.  So I was touched by this story, because it subtly speaks to these realities.  

I was glad to read this with Norah. We've already had a few amazing conversations about the book. To her credit, even though she's still very young, she loved it.  She does express regret that he made it back with only a skeleton.  But, from where I am in life, I tend to think, "But what a skeleton!"  

Memories from Christmas 2018

This is a photo from Dwayne's company's Christmas party. We always go to this event and get this same picture in front of the tree.  At this point, we can track our aging in the photos of this events.

We always attend church on Christmas Eve, too. Christmas Eve is one of the only times I make efforts and take expense to get everyone dressed up.  The other time is Easter.  On regular Sundays, we go to church, but we just wear our nicer casual clothes.

These are common sights for me in winter: bare trees and blue sky (or grey skies), fires in the hearth, and my tree.

We read The Advent Book each night of December. It's the story of Jesus' birth from the book of Luke.  By the end of the month, we all have it memorized. Each night, we also read one prophecy about the Messiah in the Old Testament and we read its fulfillment by Jesus in the New Testament.

This December, I took Norah to Andrew Peterson's "Behold the Lamb."  We felt so blessed that the concert was held at our church. So convenient! And, to us, it felt so cozy, too.

We always open new pajamas on Christmas Eve.

This year, I put these fun glasses in with the pajamas.  When you look through the glasses at the tree lights, you see various Christmas shapes.

Here I took a photo through the glasses. You can see snowflakes!

We always finish our Advent book on Christmas morning after breakfast and before gifts.

This year, the girls got t-shirts from movies or shows they like.

Norah's a Trekkie, like her dad (and her mom).  I do enjoy Star Trek, but I've seen them all once or twice now, so I just can't commit the time to watching the shows a third of forth time. Maybe that makes me less of a fan than other fans.  But Dwayne watches them with Norah and they enjoy that time together.

Our family usually goes to the Star Wars movies when they come out, so we are all big fans of that movie series, too.  We are a family of three girls, so we love the fact that there is a leading girl Jedi in the current story line.  

And I always love to get the girls a Lego set, so I can help them put it together.  I get a set that can be done in a few hours on Christmas day and we all help.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

When This Kindness is Through

When this kindness is through, who will I be? 

His grace at work as yeast, kneaded as dough,

My flesh baked in His breath, blessed, broken, passed,

Enjoyed in joy, consumed by Him, a part 

Of Him, now whole. A stone within a Stone, 

In hand, He tumbles me. Held fast, I am 

Shaped a living stone, quickened, possessed. 

Obsessed He be to bear the image forth. 

Such art as this a fearful thing 

To give my God such leave. Love bears so much 

away from me. But such a love it is! 

So I'll press myself into His press. Changes 

Will come quick indeed. To make is His, 

To be made is mine. So be still, my soul, to see.  

-Veronica Boulden

Saturday, September 22, 2018

"To Glorify God and Enjoy Him Forever"

Me: "Lord, I love your world! I enjoy so many things!"

God: "You were made for it all."

Me: "There isn't enough time for it all."

God: "You were made for me."

Me: "You are Infinite."

God: "Yes. Exactly."

Me: "There is plenty of time then."

God: "Yes. Eternity."

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Fear not, little wren

Fear not, little wren.
Your nest is in mine
And I am in God, you see.

For He brooded first,
Now we do the same,
And over our songs He sings.

Friday, April 13, 2018

I Will Have God's Terms

I stood in a tent of war, my enemy's tent.

He stood with his guard in battle array, his army aligned behind him, just over there, right through the canvas.

Terms of peace were laid on a table before me.

If I only back down here and in this way and in that way, I will have peace.

I looked side to side, no angel of the Lord that I could see.

I stood alone and understood myself entirely.

I am nothing to be here, to stand up to these...

But then I remembered my God.

I did not see Him, or His troops. I did not even know the terms of the contract He sent with me. (His terms are a mystery to me still.)

But nevertheless, I looked at the enemy straight and said,

"No. I will have God's terms. I will have my inheritance and my destiny."

I do not know what comes next or what may happen to me, but I know my God.

He is worthy of all faith and unwavering allegiance.

It is only fitting that any one of His servants remain faithful to her given task, no matter how small she be.

Glorious and mighty is the God who sent me!

I will have His terms for my life and my children's lives and their children's lives...

come what may.

I will have God's terms!