While out tending the garden one day, Emma and I found this little guy on the dill weed...
We called him Kitty. Yay! a Caterpillar! In my ignorance I saw his yellow and black stripes and thought it was a monarch caterpillar, so we walked up the street to get him some milkweed and we put him in a jar. He kept eating his dill and after doing some research we realized that he was a Black Swallowtail, who eats dill (duh) and the top plants of carrots. Great! I have lots of carrots this year so he got a steady diet of those and left my dill for pickles.
After a couple days we noticed something on our milkweed...
And thus we ended up with a monarch caterpillar after all!
And while gathering food for Kitty in the carrot bed, we found him a friend.
Bringing us to 2 Black Swallowtail Caterpillars and 1 Monarch.
I put them into 2 large canning jars with holes drilled into the lids, a couple of sticks to climb on and plenty of fresh food. (most of my raising caterpillar information is from this website: http://www.joyfulbutterfly.com/)
The kids have enjoyed getting new food for their pets, helping clean out the jars and watching them grow every single day! Though I think their favorite part is the amount of pooping that their pets do, which entertains them to giggles throughout the day...
One day Kitty (the only named caterpillar) climbed on a stick in his jar home and spun himself into a cocoon...within 2 days his friend joined him.
This weekend Monarch crawled to the top of the jar, clung to a stick and spun her GORGEOUS green and gold chrysalis
Which I hung on the chandelier just to get the old leaves out of her jar (and give away another baby monarch we accidentally brought home when getting food for this one :) ) But she's now hanging in her jar again because we're afraid the cocoon would fall or get too hot from the light.
Our big surprise this morning was that Kitty had reawakened!!
So we brought him outside to say goodbye
And she took his first flight from my finger tips
To our tree where he hung out a couple more hours, gaining strength and perfecting his wings. He's BEAUTIFUL!
We are hoping the next 2 will awaken while we are awake so the kids can watch them emerge from their cocoons and have them stand on their fingers. While showing Emma her butterfly, we got to explain why Mommy has been so jazzed about having caterpillars in the first place...
The Bible says when we die and raise to new life in Heaven (first our soul, and then reunited later with our physical body also after Jesus' 2nd coming) we will be given new bodies, permanent, beautiful, untarnished bodies that last forever. Our new life in Heaven will be more glorious than anything we can imagine now. Just as a wormy caterpillar would never understand the beautiful butterfly he would become. I'm not a scholar or theologian, I have no idea how its going to work. But its going to be amazing!!
When I think of Jairus living such a short time, it makes me sad. But when I remember that he is enjoying New Life in Heaven, in a more beautiful and perfect way than he would have ever imagined here, I rejoice in my sorrow.
Sometimes it's hard to wait for what is to come. Our kids could not figure out where the caterpillars went and what we meant by their changing into butterflies. But now they see more clearly that it was worth the wait to see the beauty that became of our little Kitty. I have a hard time waiting to be with Jesus, but He has much for us to do while we are here. And when we are reunited with Him, it will be worth all the waiting, all the years, all the tears. He is the New Life we are waiting to treasure, to hold in our arms. Now we see a little, we live for Him and love Him each day of our earthly lives. One day we will see Him in Glory and be united with Him forever. And then we too will see clearly.
And I think about our butterflies. This is what they were created to do. It's their good news message of hope and life to the world. Death is not the end. Its just a pathway to true life.
What an incredible picture of New Life! Of Resurrection! Of coming into Glory!