All posts by Joan Y Edwards

Joan Y. Edwards is author/illustrator of folktale Flip Flap Floodle, a happy little duck who never gives up on his song even in the Mr. Fox's belly. She is author of 4RV Publishing's Joan's Elder Care Guide. It is full of practical hints and resources to promote healing and make caregiving easier. She has published 80 Gospel-Based Crossword Puzzles for Year A, B, and C. She has a Master of Education. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and Charlotte Writers Club. She enjoys watching humorous mysteries, like Columbo and Monk. Time at home, beach and mountain with family and friends energizes her..

Butterflies Are Experts in Adapting to Change

butterflies like oranges.
Butterflies like orange slices.
“Butterflies Are Experts in Adapting to Change” by Joan Y. Edwards
Another animal on my life’s path to teach me lessons ever since I was a small child has been a butterfly. Butterflies are experts in adapting to change. When you and I are going through a difficult change, perhaps studying butterflies might help.
I used to chase butterflies with a net.  When I caught one, I would look at it closely, study its beautiful wings, and then let it go. I didn’t have a camera back then. I took pictures with my eyes and kept that vision tucked inside my memory.
Fast forward a few years to when I taught Kindergarten at Hemby Bridge School in Indian Trail, NC from 1993-1998.  A flyer from Insect stated I could order caterpillars for Painted Lady Butterflies in a plastic cup. My class and I could:
1. Watch the caterpillars grow.
Caterpillar stage
Caterpillars eat food and grow longer.
2. When they hang from the lid to change into the chrysalis (pupa/cocoon) stage, carefully move the lid with the chrysalises into the butterfly house (a box or mostly clear netted pavilion) to watch the chrysalis change colors.
Caterpillars hang from lid and change into chrysalis.
Caterpillars hang from lid and change into chrysalis.
3. Seven to ten days later actually witness the butterflies emerge from the chrysalis(pupa/cocoon) stage.
Empty chrysalis and newly emerged butterflies.
Empty chrysalis and newly emerged butterflies.
4. After two or three days later, whenever they are flying strong in the box or netted pavilion, release butterflies outside.
Oh my goodness! That spoke to me. To think that my class and I could witness the different life stages of a butterfly in person filled my heart with joy.
After they were about 3 days old, we were able to watch each new Painted Lady butterfly zoom off into the world for its two week adventure. It was an awesome experience. (Some butterflies live longer than two weeks.)
When my husband, Carl Edwards and I got married. We released butterflies. The Painted Lady butterflies I ordered emerged a week ahead of time. I couldn’t bear to keep them for half their lifetime inside my home so I released them. I asked around and discovered two ladies who lived within ten miles of me who raised Monarch butterflies. Together they gave me enough to release ten butterflies instead of five as with the Painted Ladies. I think God rewarded me for taking care of the butterflies and releasing them.
At the wedding reception on our lawn, family and friends were standing in a circle. The last little butterfly flew around, looked each person in the eye and then flew off into the air. So cool.
In 2021, the year after Carl died, I took butterflies and released them over his grave. Carl used to name the butterflies for me. That time his great grandson, Caden named the butterflies for me. So awesome. Very quickly he chose these four names: Marco, Keto, Caden John Reese, and Carl Lansdale Edwards. Barbara Walker, the lady who helpe me care for my Mother for 7 years and a great friend, went with me to release these four butterflies. Here is a comical video on Youtube:
Joan and Barbara release butterflies. 
It is interesting to watch a butterfly go up into the air. Even if butterflies are released only a few minutes apart, they don’t always go in the same direction. Each finds its own path, its own stream of air to move toward the scent that calls them.
Butterflies can see, hear, taste, smell, and touch. Sight and taste are their strongest senses.
I find it interesting that it takes an extreme amount of energy for each butterfly to emerge from its chrysalis. The butterfly has to get out by itself for its wings to be strong enough to fly.
Sometimes it is difficult to watch others struggle as they work through traumatic troubling things in their lives.
When I asked her why she didn’t warn me about something, my sister, Judith Thomson, used to say to me, “I wanted you to experience it for yourself.”
Indeed, some things in life we have to go through and experience on our own. But it is comforting when others give us a safe place to get through our struggles with the strength inside us that is a gift from God.
My Grandmother Meyer used to say, “God never gives us more than we can handle. However, sometimes he comes right to the edge.”
Whatever you may be going through today, please know that I am rooting for you. I believe in you. I believe you have the power within you to cope with your problems and emerge triumphant as a new butterfly, beautiful and flutter to your next goal being happy with who you are.
What traits do animals that you see or have a yearning to see them more often have to offer you a way to protect or to inspire yourself? Yes, I believe God definitely speaks to us through people. Thank you for helping me on my life’s path. I think animals help us, too.
American Museum of Natural History.
Abbies “The Struggle of the Butterfly:”