Lovely Lilies and Beautiful Butterflies

Hello, everyone! πŸ™‚ Funny story, I intended to take a week break, didn’t think there was a need to announce it, and… it turned into a month. O.O I’ve had a lot on my mind to work through.Β  It was hard to write during that time, so… I didn’t. Now I’m back, so I hope to see you around! (I’m catching up on comments – I was very behind!) And I’m returning with some of my favorite recent photos to share with you. πŸ™‚

Believe it or not, this was taken on my iPod. (If you follow my Instagram, you may have seen this already.) I love raindrops on flowers.

These are probably my favorites. I adore all the lilies, but the deep red of these are magnificent.

I couldn’t get enough of them.

This one was taken with my camera.Β  The next one was too. In this one, it focused on the little rod things coming out of the flower. The next one focused on the petals.

I couldn’t decide which I liked better so I’m sharing both.

TR said the petals look like strawberries. This shot does even more so!

And now, onto the other colors…

Yellow lilies! And meet my new friend! πŸ˜€ And if you missed it, I put a video version to this photo on Instagram here.

I had two of them arguing over who would land on the flowers first. It was fun to watch them flying all over. Wish I could have gotten that on video but they were too fast.

One gave up and landed on the orange lilies. Sorry for the blur, but he wouldn’t stay still!

 

These are a different variety. The petals are more crinkly. The others with smoother petals are Asian lilies, according to the tag. I don’t know which variety these are – they were growing wild. I dug them up and relocated them to our house.

Every year, I get a new color. So far I have red, orange, yellow, and pink. (The pink ones decided not to bloom this year.) But I didn’t see any when we were at Lowes, so I came to the conclusion that lily season must be over. But then… I saw a bag on closeout. Lily bulbs! Various colors. I love surprises, and it said it was $10 for 10 bulbs. These two decided they were ready and managed to find their way out of the package, which is why they are growing this way. I wish I had thought to get a photo before I rescued them but I didn’t. The closeout price? $2!!! So I got ten for next year (and years to come) for $2. I’m happy. XD

The other bulbs look healthy, but I have a feeling they may not bloom this year, this late. I hope to find out what colors they are over the next few years. I love surprises and I’m not picky about colors. Any color will thrill me!

When I dug into the bag, some had multiplied already! So I had ten fully mature bulbs and a bunch of tiny babies that had already split off the big ones in the bag. (This is only about half of them.) I planted them too. I don’t know how long it will take for these to grow up but whenever they are old enough to bloom, I look forward to that too. πŸ™‚

Hope you are having a lovely day! ❀

My July 2018 In Photos

Hello, everyone! Before we get into pictures, I want to quickly address the lack of Wonder Wednesdays… for two Wednesdays in a row…Β πŸ˜… I didn’t intend for that to happen, and the series should resume next Wednesday. πŸ˜‰ I’m trying to decide among three topics. We’ll see which one I go with.

Back to the post at hand. I finally have the July updates put together. It ends on a sad note, I’m afraid. But first, here are some happy pictures. First, is a dragonfly that I’ve seen around.

I think this is some sort of butterfly. In this head-on shot, it looks more like a flying alien.

Some of my favorite fruits are back in season – the plumcot! It’s a natural cross between a plum and an apricot. It’s a real treat when these come in season.

I had an idea that an old HUGE cooler that my parents didn’t want anymore could be salvaged and converted into a planter if I drilled holes in it. However, before I got around to it, rain collected in it. I was going to dump it, but then saw this leopard frog having a good time in there. So I put some sticks in it for her (so she could get out easier – but leopard frogs have sticky pads and can climb out with no problem) and a little grass to make it seem more natural, and let her have it. (At least, this year… she won’t be around this winter and I can convert it before she returns. πŸ˜„)

And as if watching the frog play in there wasn’t enough reason to leave it alone, she laid eggs in there. Here, they are almost ready to leave. Now they are gone. I’ll miss them.

But, in the mudhole, there are new batches of tadpoles! These may be toads, not frogs. Or maybe some of both. I guess I’ll find out when they grow up. πŸ™‚

After exiting the grocery store one day, we had this view.

Ah, I’ll never tire of seeing how the heavens declare the glory of God. πŸ™‚

This is a view of the pond behind my grandma’s chicken house through what looks like a window opening.

I had a lot of fun playing with angles.Β πŸ˜„

This little guy somehow got into my cat’s run. Gabby stalked him and Sparrow had her eyes on him and I knew if I didn’t catch him first, they would – and then they would make sure he had an early death. Fortunately, I caught him first. This is him saying thanks before flying away. πŸ™‚

(Sorry for the mess, but gardening gets messy. πŸ˜†) You’ve probably seen me talk about this before, but I’ve been experimenting with growing trees from seeds. I had about 20 apple and pear seeds that had sprouted after spending six months in the refrigerator (when they were only supposed to spend three… my mistake).

The aprium (a natural cross between an apricot and a plum) box (and the plumcot box under it) has my tulip bulbs in it – something came and dug a bunch up and stole them, so I decided that if they want the remaining ones, they would have to really work at it and get through the plastic containers. Anyway.

They looked surprisingly healthy for having a “winter” that long, and I was excited to watch them grow up. But the very next day, something dug up every single seed and ate them. And left me the shells. I was not happy. Even though I was sad that that happened, I’m not short on trees so I still have an experiment:

These are from the last three years of experiments. There are lemons, oranges, pears, apples, and peaches shown here. My plan was to give some of the citrus ones to my uncle and aunt who live in southern Texas so they can grow in a climate that is suitable for them because Arkansas winters are too much for them. As for the others… I’m going to plant some outside where they can grow into normal size trees, plant some of the citruses in large pots so that I can carry them indoors, and then bonsai the others.

These are two lemon trees (Aida and Agnes) that I’ve already planted as bonsai trees. πŸ™‚

Two mandarin orange trees (Mandy the Second and Wren – get it? MandyWren? Mandarin? I know, I’m terrible…) that are now planted as bonsai.

Currently unnamed apple tree. This will not do, it must be named…

The one in the yellow pot is either one of the Five Boroughs of New York or Frank Sinatra. I think. The labels washed off. I think I’ll call it Frank Sinatra and the others that I plan to plant outside in the ground will be the Five Boroughs of New York. The way this one leans, I’m tempted to rename it to The Leaning Tower Of Pisa and start naming the others after famous landmarks. Who knows – it might happen yet.Β πŸ˜†

And now for the sad ending…

One of my cats, 9-year-old Simone, passed away on the 23rd. It was very sudden. I didn’t even realize she was sick. If I were to guess, I’d say it was something like a heart attack because she seemed normal that morning, except she didn’t eat much. But then, the others weren’t eating as much during the day either because it was so hot.

Here she is as a baby! Gabby chose a cardboard box on our front porch to have her litter in. Simone is the one on the left in both of the photos above. (The other two were Scout and Puma; they passed away years ago.) The plan was to have two of them named after characters in the Lion King movie. Timon and Pumbaa. But what happened was, Timon turned out to be a girl and by the time I realized that she already was getting used to the name. So I changed it to Simone which is similar as to not confuse her and changed Pumbaa to Puma to cover up my error.Β πŸ˜†

This is my favorite photo of her.Β πŸ˜‚ I had been gardening and you can see my gardening stuff behind her. She was in my way, so I thought it would be fun to take photos. This is the only one that came out.Β πŸ˜‚ I caught her yawning.

(Sorry it’s a little blurry – she wasn’t a fan of having her photo taken, so it was hard to find a good one of her as an adult.) She loved rubbing against my legs but was very feisty otherwise. I could pet her twice, and then the paw would go up, daring me to try it a third time. She never did claw me. In the photo above, you can see her raising her paw at me.Β πŸ˜† She was also the smallest cat I’ve ever had, weighing about four pounds. For some reason, she never grew past that.

She was the fifth cat I’ve lost this year. (I made a post for three of them – the fourth one, Jay, ran away last spring.)

Butterfly! πŸ˜€ The post was originally going to end with Simone, but right before July ended, I met this little fellow. They like the mudhole. This one was very hard to photograph because he wouldn’t stay still. πŸ˜…Β And I really wanted to include him.

And this concludes my July in photos. πŸ™‚

Metamorphosis

A caterpillar only cares about what it desires
Its lust and its passions fuel its soul’s fires.

But this one was shown a new way to live
Not for itself but to pour out and give –

Because of what was graciously given to it
Loving arms saved it from the bottomless pit.

It built a coffin and got inside, and then
It emerged as a new creature and could abide in Him

By putting off the old man and putting on the new
Sins were left behind and life was renewed!


This was written for the Weekend Writing Prompt Anthology week 52 – Emergence. If you’d like to participate, the submission guidelines are here. (The deadline is August 10th!) Special thanks to Olivia for helping me write this one! 😸

Emerging From The Cocoon

On a Thursday night in May, God showed me one of His many miracles in His creation. He is so good.

I had the most exciting opportunity. About a month ago while raking leaves, I happened upon a cocoon attached to a leaf. I saved it and brought it home with me.

Fast forward a month. I rescued a beetle that was in my sink, and when I put it in a potted plant outside, I saw that the cocoon was missing. That was startling. I found it under the leaves of my potted plant and I picked it up – and it wiggled. o_O

If you look really close in these photos, you can see the legs and wing design through the transparent cocoon.

I didn’t expect to be present when this was happening, so the fact that God brought a beetle into my sink at the right time so that I’d go outside at the right time – just wow.

I got to see the whole process, which took about an hour and a half. I may have taken 120+ photos of the process. (That means that I did. XD )Β  And now, you all get to see the process too. πŸ˜€

The little guy didn’t like me showing the underside of him, so I had to hold him to get this shot. The cocoon at this point was flexible and tender, so I had to be careful in order to not hurt the little fellow.

I put the cocoon into a glass jar (because quite frankly, I didn’t know what was coming out of there and I was convinced that was a stinger on the end πŸ˜‚) to carry it to my baby peach tree and on the way, I heard a “CRACK.”

Sorry for the quality; the flash kind of wrecked it, but you can hopefully see it. It happened very quickly and I didn’t have time to get another shot off. He was very freaked out about being in a jar, so I hung him on my peach tree limb.

He seemed to be screaming, “HEEEEEEEEELP!!!” Poor thing. He eventually got a better grip on the leaf, after his legs dried out a bit.

Isn’t he something?! 😍

This is a head-on shot. He almost looks like a bird. XD

When I saw the underside, I was half convinced that it was a monarch butterfly.

But the top was all wrong. And then the wings started to unfold…

How cool is that? The colors were so vibrant.

And he had a very good grip. XD

Another head on shot. And then the wings unfolded more…

I like how the legs are a bit spiky and have little rings on them.

At this point, I seriously thought I was wrong and it was a Monarch butterfly after all.

The colors under the wings were right.

It’s hard to tell in these photos, but the wings weren’t straight as they appear. In the next one, it’s easier to see that.

And then all of the sudden, in one quick motion, its true nature was revealed…

It’s a moth. XD But for a while there, it had me fooled! A friend of mine identified it (and linked me to a website she found) as a Ilia Underwing Moth.

It was much bigger than the moths I usually see. (Sorry about the blur; I didn’t realize it needed to be retaken until it was too late to retake it. But at least the numbers on the tape measure are readable.)

And then he stretched his newly dried wings…

..flew onto my camera lens to say goodbye, and flew off into the night.


I learned so much from this experience. For one, we are moths and butterflies. When we shed the old man to put on the new (as spoken of by Paul in the fourth chapter of his letter to the Ephesians) and become a new creature (mentioned in second Corinthians chapter five), He no longer considers us the greedy, selfish caterpillar we once were; only that we went into the dark night of the cocoon, to emerge a beautiful creation in Christ. β™₯

What The Butterfly Taught Me (a reblog)

In response to The Daily Post’s prompt, successful, I’m reblogging this post from my archives. 😊

Following Him Beside Still Waters

A while back, I was having a really rough day and I decided to take a walk to relieve stress.

When I walked past my mom’s strawberry plants, I saw a beautiful black and blue butterfly – or at least, it once was. The bottom of both wings had been shredded. At first I felt really sorry for it, but then it crawled next to a strawberry bloom, drank some nectar, flew to some honeysuckle blooms, drank more nectar, and then flew away.

I was astounded.

Everyone has obstacles in their lives. That little butterfly could have said, β€œI can’t fly, look at my wings!” and laid there in self-pity; but instead, it stood up, stretched out its wings, and tried – and was successful.

Suddenly, the obstacles that were stressing me didn’t seem so bad anymore. If that butterfly can muster up the courage to get up and fly…

View original post 32 more words

What The Butterfly Taught Me

A while back, I was having a really rough day and I decided to take a walk to relieve stress.

When I walked past my mom’s strawberry plants, I saw a beautiful black and blue butterfly – or at least, it once was. The bottom of both wings had been shredded. At first I felt really sorry for it, but then it crawled next to a strawberry bloom, drank some nectar, flew to some honeysuckle blooms, drank more nectar, and then flew away.

I was astounded.

Everyone has obstacles in their lives. That little butterfly could have said, β€œI can’t fly, look at my wings!” and laid there in self-pity; but instead, it stood up, stretched out its wings, and tried – and was successful.

Suddenly, the obstacles that were stressing me didn’t seem so bad anymore. If that butterfly can muster up the courage to get up and fly even with damaged wings, surely I can get up and try in my life too.

It’s amazing how God can use a little butterfly like that to teach a life’s lesson. πŸ™‚