I haven’t always loved butterflies as much as I do now. The intrigue and fascination has grown over the last 10 years in Houston. Initially, it was because I think my heart so deeply missed Tennessee and it’s beauty. But then, season after season, I began studying the life cycle from egg to butterfly and each year I shared it with my students. I love the beauty of nature and wanted my students to experience the drop jaw wonder of observing the life cycle of monarchs from my garden.
So each morning before school I would collect fresh butterfly weed stalks and monarch caterpillars and place them in a portable terrarium. Monarch caterpillars have ravenous appetites. They eat A LOT... and therefore they poop a lot! So fresh cleaning of the container is necessary each day.
If students finished early, or as they were waiting for their classroom teacher to pick them up, I would let them sit and study the caterpillars and butterflies. If a butterfly came out, the last class of the day would get to go outside and set it free. Seeing their faces light up in awe caused my love for butterflies to grow.
On a few occasions a student would notice that a butterfly had just broken out of it’s chrysalis and I immediately stopped class and had all the students come and watch. Bellies down and chins resting on their hands, they surrounded the container in a pinwheel like fashion. It brought my heart joy to know that I was able to share such a wonderful experience with the students I loved.
Since Cooper was a year old, I would collect caterpillars in the same manner. And every year they cause Cooper’s love and appreciation for nature to grow. Now, it has become my circle of friends and their precious kiddos I share them with. I never tire of watching the expressions of awe and fascination on faces young to old. There is something magical about it all.
How in the world does a cute little caterpillar become a jeweled chrysalis? Then a chrysalis that is basically liquid inside transforms to a whispery soft and elegant vermillion butterfly. It is truly a mystical and unfathomable mystery.
Over the last two years my butterfly garden has come to hold a deeper meaning to me. God has spoken deep into the core of my soul. What He revealed were like parables of gold to me when my heart needed them the most. God has taught me. He has wooed me closer to His heart and unwavering love. I have learned to trust Him more. I have experienced hope in my brokenness as He has revealed His heart for me, and His love for others, through my beautiful obsession with caterpillars.
I have tried to attract several different butterflies to my garden. I have only been successful in “raising” gulf fritillaries, a handful of yellow swallowtails, black swallowtails and monarchs. I enjoy them all! But I think my favorite is monarchs because their chrysalis’ are so exquisite and the butterfly weeds multiply each year without me spending excessive amounts of time on tending to them. I hope you enjoy the videos and stories I share and that the things the Lord has showed me speak to your heart as well!