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I came home today to find that Little Joe was no longer a dangling caterpillar.  He/she is now wrapped tightly in a beautiful emerald green chrysalis with metallic gold “stitching” at the top.  I wish I had been present to see how Little Joe made this amazing temporary home.  I think that we will have to try this project again next year and be more attentive to the details.  I have no idea how long our little caterpillar will be in his milkweed coloured abode.  I hope that we can transport him/her safely with all of our stuff tomorrow.  I am eager to see Little Joe emerge as a butterfly and finally find out our caterpillar’s gender. 

It’s very cool that Little Joe is going through his/her big change the same time as we are.  All that we have will be cocooned in a moving truck tomorrow.  Let’s hope that we all emerge from the experience somehow better for having gone through it. 

D, P and I are hanging in there as we finalize the details for our move tomorrow.  It’s been interesting hosting sleep-overs for the boys when almost everything we own is packed up in boxes and we are trying to eat just what we have left in the house.  Somehow the boys still manage to have fun.  I am still struggling to live in all this disorder.  The one good thing about moving has been all the special send-offs different groups of friends have prepared for us.  Each one has been unique and meaningful.

Little Joe, our monarch caterpillar, is also hanging in there these days, quite literally.  Yesterday, he/she made his/her way to the top of the container and built a little web like thing to hang from.  He/she is now hanging from his/her bottom with his/her body curled like chubby “J”.  I am eager to see how the chyrsalis forms.  I guess I will have to hang in there a little longer for that. 

dsc01257.jpgThis is Little Joe who isn’t so little anymore.  He/she started life in our home as an egg about the size of the top of a pin.  The little guy/gal is now about four centimetres long and still happily munching away on his/her favourite meal in the world – fresh milkweed.  I keep thinking that this caterpillar can’t possible grow any bigger.  Sooner or later instinct has to kick in and Little Joe will travel to the top of his/her container home and start the process of transformation.  Go, Little Joe, go!  Your fans are waiting!

dsc01244.jpgdsc01243.jpgI have been thinking a lot about nature lately.  It’s a wonderful thing to go for a walk in the woods or to sit by a lake and gaze out as the water gently laps at your feet.  The colours in nature always seem to be right.  The placement of the natural elements seems perfect.  I believe that God designed His creation to be a place of order and beauty because those things are good for the human mind, soul and body.

I have been living for the past couple of weeks in a place that is growing more disorganized and ugly by the day.  My dining room is now a mountain of mismatched boxes and my living room is housing way too much furniture for a room its size.  I now understand why God made the world the way He did.  Nature invigorates you and has a way of making you feel at peace.  The same can be said for a well-ordered home.  I find that I am tired a lot and my nerves are a bit frayed.  It’s not the work of packing.  It’s the experience of living in a mess.  It doesn’t do the body good!  I can’t wait to move all of this stuff and get back to a home where I don’t have to step over boxes, trip over boxes, or find out that I have put something in a box before I was finished using it.  I really like order!!  I think that I will have to take a few walks out in the woods or sit by the water for a while to restore balance to my life.

For now, I will look at the little piece of nature that is in our home – a sprig of milkweed with a plump eating machine on it.  Little Joe doesn’t seem at all thrown off by the boxes or the disarray of this home.  He/she is busy doing his/her thing.  We expect that in a day or two, he/she will start to crawl up the side of his/her temporary home and build that wondrous thing called a chrysalis.  I feel a little more balanced already just thinking about it.

Right now I feel like my life is strikingly similar to Little Joe’s, our baby caterpillar.  He is eating at a breakneck pace and is growing visibly larger every day.  I too have been eating very well the last few days although I hope that my girth is not visibly larger each day.  On Tuesday night, it was Indian cuisine at an old friend’s place.  Yesterday night it was an elaborate dinner (followed by a couple of servings of Skor cheesecake) hosted by the ladies’ group I have been a privilege to be a part of for the last two years.  Not only was the food delicious there but the setting was gorgeous.  We ate on fine China, drank out of crystal goblets, had real napkins (as opposed to the throw away kind) and the table was bedecked with gorgeous red roses plucked from one of the women’s front yard.  When these gals throw a wing ding they really go all out!  This afternoon it was a homeschool get together where once again the food was plentiful.  I would like to say that I showed restraint but that would be dishonest.  I still have a neighbourhood send-off  and a small group Bible study farewell party to look forward to.  We certainly won’t be making this move underfed!!  Let’s hope that I indeed spread my wings and fly (like we hope Little Joe will) after all this eating.  

murdocha.jpgmurdochb.jpgmurdochc1.jpgI wish that this was Little Joe but it is not.  It is my friend’s pet whom he has affectionately named Murdoch.  In a day, he has seen Murdoch transform from a beautiful caterpillar, to a busy caterpillar and finally to a lovely green chrysallis.  This is what we hope to see with our own eyes.  So far Little Joe is continuing to eat and grow.  We have received some tips on caterpillar care that we are trying to implement.  Hopefully we’ll be seeing the real thing and not just pictures in the near future.

It was a sad day today.  Our largest caterpillar, Big Mac, ate his last some time this morning.  We were faithful to give him/her fresh milkweed and a little water but our fatal mistake was to leave him/her out in the backyard in the full sun.  The water evaporated and I think Big Mac dehydrated.  He/she was a shrivelled sad looking thing when I went outside to check on his/her progress.

Little Joe is still hanging in there and growing.  Hopefully, we can learn from our mistakes and see this baby through to maturity.  We visited our friend, The Butterfly Lady, yesterday and D and P noticed that she kept her babies (all 98 of them) indoors and put their munchies on soaked paper towels.  She obviously knows what she is doing.  She has already had many go through the chrysalis stage and emerge as fully fledged adults.  We are eager to get to that stage and find out if Little Joe is a male or a female.  We are not sure if there is any way to tell during the caterpillar stage.  Hopefully, we can at least get one through the caterpillar stage.  Our batting average is pretty pathetic at this point!

murdoch.jpgOur remaining babies are finally more than nameless caterpillars.  They have been officially dubbed Big Mac and Little Joe by D and P.  Tragically, one of our larger specimens went missing in action today.  I came back from a walk and saw him/her munching happily on some milkweed but later in the day D came in all perturbed because the caterpillar was gone.  It is a total mystery as to where he/she went. 

Big Mac is now more than a centimetre long and will probably be noticeably bigger tomorrow.  Little Joe, a  later hatchling, is almost half that length but is quite a bit larger than the speck he/she started out life as.  We are all eager to see them do something other than eat and grow larger.  Hopefully, they will cocoon before our eyes and we will have the joy of seeing their amazing chrysalises and the excitement of seeing them break forth to become the monarchs they were designed to be. 

Pictured here is Murdoch, a friend’s rapidly growing baby.  I would like to post of a photo of Big Mac and Little Joe but my camera will not allow me to zoom in clearly on their tiny bodies :(.  Still, Murdoch is a fine looking fellow and a photo like the one above just begs to be posted.  Wish I could take pictures like that!  My credits to DA who took that National Geographic quality pic.  

dsc01159.jpgIn all the busyness last week of house-hunting and family-visiting, I still had time to stop and smell the flowers.  Actually, I stopped to take a close look at some milkweed plants and was rewarded for my efforts.  I found monarch butterfly eggs.  I plucked the plants hoping that those tiny eggs would hatch and that the boys and I would be able to watch the entire life-cycle of this amazingly beautiful butterfly.  I’m happy to say that we are now the proud caretakers of a couple of tiny monarch caterpillars.  These little guys start life with quite an appetite.  They eat and eat and eat and grow at an alarming rate.  This is the part of the life-cycle that I can identify with.  Going away for over a week and being in the care of others I ate very well and I feel like I am growing at an alarming rate!!  It’s all very exciting to watch a tiny caterpillar get bigger every day but I’m not feeling quite the same emotion when looking at myself in the mirror!  I’m hoping that the end of all the changes in my life will make me soar like a butterfly.  I’ve grown a bit weary of groping along like a caterpillar.  Well, change is in the air.  The condo is officially sold and I have purchased a lovely home just outside of Orillia.  Perhaps I’m a little ahead of my caterpillar babies.  I feel ready to burst forth and try flying.  All in God’s timing I guess! 

Ecclesiastes 3:11

He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time.