Our second butterfly of the season was born today.
I waited a long time as he dried and rested before he finally opened his wings and lo and behold, when he finally did, I saw two black telltale spots on his wings. He was a boy. So Thomas was the perfect name for him.
We have been studying Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury that was murdered in his church, because of disagreements with King Henry II. We read a little bit about it in A Proud Taste For Scarlet and Miniver by E. L. Konisgburg. Then we read If All the Swords in England by Barbara Willard to get a full picture of the event.
So we chose the name Thomas for him. We also like Thomas Jefferson, Thomas a Kempis and Thomas Stonewall Jackson, so we were happy with the name. I was happy when I saw the sense spots on the butterfly’s wings this morning. I was afraid we might have to change his name to Thomasina. But I couldn’t tell anything from peeking into the closed wings. He finally opened them wide and the spots were very obvious.
We had a successful birth of a new butterfly this morning. The chrysalis was getting dark yesterday, so I started watching it closely and taking pictures. Then it started to get transparent and we could see the orange and black wings. I knew it would come out (eclose) by this morning.
I was right! When we woke up this morning, the butterfly was hanging onto the outside of its transparent chrysalis. The chrysalis was moving around a little bit, so that probably helped her to dry out faster. We know she’s a girl because she doesn’t have any spots on the bottoms of her wings when she opens them. We named her Diamond.
Some things I’ve learned about raising Monarch caterpillars and butterflies:
1. Go out to a field where you see milkweed growing along the edge and look under the leaves for a striped caterpillar. If it’s later in the season, they will be big and orange and black and easy to see. If they’re smaller in the beginning of August, they will be white and hard to tell what they are. But if it’s on a milkweed, it’s probably a Monarch. (You can see a picture of a tiny one and how fast he grew in this post. See my posts in the category Caterpillar Chronicles to read more about how to raise Monarch butterflies from caterpillars. There are also some posts about the spiritual significance of caterpillars and butterflies among them.)
2. Put your caterpillar in a jar with a milkweed leaf. Pick some extra leaves in case the caterpillar needs to eat for a while before making a chrysalis. Just let him crawl on the leaf and eat for a few days.
3. Keep an eye on him and if you see him leave the leaf and act like he’s looking for something, he’s ready to make a chrysalis. I put the jar inside a cardboard box, because mine have often made them on the underside of the flaps of cardboard boxes. I’ve tried different materials at the top of the jar, but the flaps of a cardboard box have worked best. Two of mine last year made chrysalises on the side of the glass jars they were in. That made me nervous. I didn’t think they would stick, but they did.
4. After a week and a half to two weeks, start watching closely again and you’ll see the chrysalis start to get darker. Keep watching and you’ll see it get more transparent, and you’ll be able to see the colors of the wings inside.
5. When the butterfly comes out, don’t touch it. Let it hang on the empty chrysalis and dry. It will start walking around on its own. Then take it outside and see if it will go on the leaf of a tree. It may stay on a tree and dry some more. Or it may just be ready to take off and fly away before you even get a chance to film it. Like Diamond did for us today.
If you followed my caterpillar-to-butterfly saga back in August and September, you might find this interesting. I was looking for the meaning of all that happened. I knew that God was speaking to me. But I wasn’t sure what He was saying to me exactly. These posts told more of the story here and here.
I think this paragraph gives some more insight into what he was saying to me through the process of my finding a surprise caterpillar and watching it transform.
WORD TO PONDER: CHANGING YOU
Just like the birthing of a butterfly, I AM changing you. I AM bringing you into alignment with My mind, the mind of Christ. Your mind, will and attitude will be transformed into the beauty of one who is meek, gentle and humble. I shall thoroughly prepare you to be among the living blossoms of glory and spread nectar to the world around you. You shall emerge with the full wings of faith and be a source of vivid, yet delicate beauty, displaying My glory and love.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Rom 12:1-2 NKJV)
I pray that He will change me into His image and prepare me to spread nectar to the world around me and fly with the full wings of faith, displaying His glory and love.
I found the above paragraph in an ebook I bought from The Elijah List today for only $4.99. It’s called Beautiful Butterfly – God’s Mystery by Sandy Warner. As soon as I saw the title, I knew God had a message in it for me. I didn’t get far before I found that amazing paragraph that I just quoted.
I have felt spiritually dry but restless and seeking and wanting more. I believe that God keeps giving me encouragements like these to let me know that I AM changing and things are happening whether I see them or not.
Praise Him for His abundant mercy and steadfast love.
Let me know how God is speaking to you even in the dry times when you feel like you’re not really connecting with Him.
I woke up this morning to cries of “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!” as two of my daughters bounded up the stairs. I wondered what had happened to generate this much excitement so early in the day. I won’t tell you what time it actually was, but it was early for me since I just woke up! It sounded like something good, so I didn’t panic. As they rushed into my room, they shouted, “Your butterfly came out of the chrysalis!” I ran down the stairs after them and frantically looked for my camera. “Where’s my camera?” Katie already had it. She got the whole thing. She is so quick on the draw.
So here are pictures that Katie snapped of the chrysalis right before the butterfly emerged and then the butterfly as he struggled to escape from his tiny house. This is Day 12 since he made his chrysalis.