What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Flutter by dear butterfly

"The more I study nature, the more I am amazed at the Creator."
- Louis Pasteur

Corynn and I had a unique opportunity to learn about butterflies this week as a lady from church gave us a monarch chrysalise. What a fun thing to observe the changes in the chrsalise until eventually, a beautiful butterfly emerged! What an amazing thing!!! I was enamored by the whole process-and took about fifty pictures to prove it! Yeah-I knew the whole caterpillar/butterfly process from my childhood education-but NOTHING teaches as well or creates an excitement or eagerness to learn than EXPERIENCING a thing to its fullest.

Unfortunately, we missed the actual emersion by seconds-we got to it just as the butterfly fell to the bottom of the bowl. Argh! I am hoping to get another one to catch the actual 'popping out' but we shall see. Now that I know WHERE to look to find them, it will be easier to do so. The caterpillar's will often weave themselves into a silken cocoon on the stem of a food source. And butterflies will often lay eggs on the stem of a caterpillars food source, as well. Always thinking ahead... :-) So-if you are ever around milkweed-check out the stems and under the leaves. You may find some chrysalises or better yet-a CATERPILLAR! I am hoping that at some point we can watch the ENTIRE process-including the caterpillar preparing for the pupal stage.

When the time eventually came, it was hard for Corynn to understand that we had to let it go. She really wanted to keep it as a pet. But now, it is fun, because every time she spies the familiar orange and black flutterings in the yard-she thinks it is hers and she runs joyfully over to it. I must admit, I find myself wondering if it is ours, too. Especially on the occasions that we are 'allowed' very near before it takes flight once again.

It's a magical thing. The magic of creation. The magic of beauty. The magic of life. The magic of being a witness to it all.

This is a monarch chrysalise. It is a pale green color and hard. But if you look closely, you can see some wings from within. The most amazing part of it all is the beautiful gold threads and dots. I was quite taken with those. Isn't it amazing, the smallest details-for no apparent reason. I am in awe of the creativity of the Master. Posted by Picasa

See how the chrysalise is turning black? The wings are becoming much more visible, too. Soon it will be time!!! Posted by Picasa

I tied the edge of the silken cocoon with some embroidery thread and taped it to the mouth of the bowl. At night I put a towl over it so that, if by chance the butterfly emerged at night, it wouldn't fly off. Talk about instant gratification, though. We only had to wait until the next morning! Posted by Picasa
And it arrives-but the wings are not strong enough to support themselves, let alone fly. So the butterfly just hung out for a few hours. Posted by Picasa

Corynn gets up close and personal... Posted by Picasa

The butterfly kept trying to climb HIGHER and higher-which Corynn didn't mind until it crawled on her head. She would have none of that. What the butterfly was trying to do (which I eventually figured out...) is to find a place that would allow the wings to hang down without touching one another. It always takes me a bit longer... Posted by Picasa
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I took the weakness of the butterfly as an opportunity to take some up close and personal shots...as you can tell. Posted by Picasa
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Did you know a the wing of a butterfly is clothed in scales?? This is what gives the wings colors and design! Posted by Picasa
Andrew takes it all in

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and then it's time to say goodbye. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A smashing success..

The party is done and I have to say, it was SUCH fun! I have never had such a good time at any party I have held. It was stress free. Don’t ask me WHY or HOW a party with 60+ people can be stress free but it was. Perhaps because everyone is so willing to help and very gracious. Perhaps it is because even the CHILDREN are a joy to be around. Perhaps because Corynn and Andrew were always being held and entertained (which leaves my hands and mind free to visit with others…) Surely all of these reasons combined.

I had procrastinated and not done a STITCH in preparation until the day of, but even then, I was able to lounge around for an hour at lunchtime. I gave myself until 11:30 to get household stuff done (cleaning and such) and then the afternoon I concentrated on party preparations. As soon as the children were down for naps, I went on a walk to collect wildflowers for my ball jars. The party was at 4:00, so my goal was to finish all party preparations by 3:00 in order to get myself ready, the candles lit, and (our) food on the tables. All went according to planned-and I even had time to do things I HADN’T planned to do-like put up my tiki torches and make a sign to the bathroom. When people began to arrive, all was done and I was feeding Andrew so I wouldn’t have to feed him again until bedtime. It was perfect start to the party, not a harried or frazzled thought in my head.

The gray skies loomed heavy above us as I worked on my preparations and never ceased to threaten us with its wetness even as the gray turned to black. Its bark was worse than its bite, because not one single raindrop fell-before, during, or after the party was ended.

After the meal, we had planned a hayride to the farm to show everyone how a larger dairy farm runs (most of the congregation are professors and know not a LICK about any sort of farming…). It was a grand idea, and enthusiasm ran high as the tractor lurched to a start. That is, until just a few yards later, a loud *SNAP* and screams of terror struck as the one side of the hay wagon’s wood snapped and started to droop about a foot!

People could have been VERY hurt-or it might have happened after they had been on it for a while-but thankfully, this was not the case and only managed to DIM the enthusiasm. Instead of ditching the idea all together, motivated as they were, they decided to walk. (It is a MILE to the farm!)

EVERYONE left except for myself and another nursing mom of 10 which left us a nice long, uninterrupted time to visit one on one with one another-something that I have wanted to do for a while. What a DELIGHT it was to share with each other and strengthen one another! That wonderful woman holds a very dear spot in my heart.

I think everyone had a good time because, even as the darkness fell and the last of the fireflies came out to dance, the night rang out with laughter, conversation, and childish squeals of delight.

I am certain I had the loveliest time of them all, it was SO nice being able to comminucate with other adults so freely. And such enjoyable company it was!

Pictures from the Church Picnic we hosted...

The patio was where all the food was put, drinks, and where the meat was cooked. People stood there and chatted, and a few people sat on the edges at mealtime, but most of the activity was in the yard and drive. Posted by Picasa

With everything finished...now we just had to wait for the PEOPLE! :-) Posted by Picasa

A votive placed on some birdseed within a simple canning jar made a pretty and practical centerpiece. These were alternated with jars of wildflowers I had picked from around the house. Posted by Picasa

Preparing the food: (or at least MINE) everybody brought dishes to pass. The biggest hit was my fondue fountain. It was initiated this night (I had just gotten it for my birthday in May!) It took EIGHT bags of chocolate chips! Posted by Picasa

Fruit Salsa and cinnamon sugar tortillas for dipping. Posted by Picasa

At first I felt bad about keeping Dutchess tied up-after all, most of the time she is loose. That all changed when I saw that the entire night, there was a gathering around her. Even more impressive is that all but ONE of these people belong to the same family (and two others are not even pictured!) Posted by Picasa

He never gets a break, huh? Even on his day off he is working! Posted by Picasa

From the beginning to the end, this was the ONLY glimmer of sunshine. You can probably see why the sky never helped calm my nerves... Posted by Picasa
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Between the LONG table, some random chairs, a toddler table, a few blankets scattered, and the edges of the patio-all had seats while they ate. They didn't need them very long...it wasn't long before everyone was up and running again! Posted by Picasa