Metamorphosis


A few years ago my children and I studied various bugs that we could find in our yard. I hoped this would help them get over their fears of bugs. I’m not sure it helped all that much, but for the past couple of summers, my kids and I have been capturing caterpillars and “raising” them to butterfly stage. It is a fun activity that gets us outdoors and exploring the nature around us.

Last year I had planted some herbs that I had read were host plants to swallowtail butterflies. By the end of the summer we raised a generation of black swallowtail butterflies. I am hoping we can do that again in a few weeks. (I spotted a swallowtail in the garden a few days ago.)

So far this year we have been raising and releasing cabbage white butterflies. With social distancing and events being cancelled this summer, I tried planting a little container garden in my backyard, but I have not been very successful at growing food. The broccoli bolted and the cauliflower did not produce, so I decided we should see what kind of caterpillars we had by raising them to butterfly or moth stage.

I started by transplanting a broccoli plant to a smaller pot that would fit in our netted butterfly habitat. Having a living host plant in the habitat works better and is easier to maintain than constantly clipping and providing plant leaves. All the caterpillars on the broccoli plant were green, so I wasn’t sure what they were. We had a few moths and one butterfly from the first grouping.

Now that I know which ones turn into the cabbage butterfly, I add them to the butterfly habitat. I throw the moth caterpillars out for the birds. Every few days I go out and pick the caterpillars off of the rest of the garden plants. We raised a handful of cabbage butterflies on the single broccoli plant until there was nothing left.

After we let the last one go, I asked my daughter if we were done with the cabbage white or if she wanted to raise a few more. She said she wanted to raise a few more. Now we have one of the cauliflower plants in our butterfly habitat. We are waiting for their transformation to be complete, so we can release them.

 I think the change a caterpillar undergoes during metamorphosis is truly fascinating and awesome. This is just one of the ways I see God’s intricate design in nature and a parallel to our faith.

We are like the caterpillar and the butterfly when we accept Jesus as our Savior.

 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

2 Corinthians 5:17

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Romans 6:4

having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.

Colossians 2:2

for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Galatians 3:27

 

God Provides the Healing

Last week I chose health and healing as the words of the week on my Facebook page. I always thought I was fairly healthy. I followed a typical western diet and tried to exercise when I could fit it into my schedule. I have never smoked and never really drank much alcohol. I am also still fairly young.

I didn’t buy into the organic foods for quite a while. I couldn’t see that it made any difference in my friends’ lives, and organic produce can be pretty expensive. (I would later change my mind on the organic front after doing more nutritional research.)

My world was rocked in 2016 with my first breast cancer diagnosis. Serious health diagnoses can be scary, especially for a young mother. I got through the treatment stages and still didn’t change my eating habits. I had no idea. Nutrition was never really brought up during treatment. The medical staff were only concerned that I kept my appetite and didn’t lose weight.

One thing I did change nutritionally during this time was that I stopped drinking as much soda. Some brands would make my stomach hurt, so I just couldn’t drink them anymore due to the pain and discomfort; not so much from any nutritional viewpoint. (Yes, I knew soda was not good for me, but I hadn’t really thought about how toxic it really was for my body.)

My world was turned upside down when I received the metastatic diagnosis in 2019. Around this time, one of my brothers and his wife introduced me to the ketogenic diet. They had been low carb, ketogenic, for a couple of months and we had some conversations about it over the holidays. My husband and I started counting our carbohydrates and limiting them a few weeks before I heard the words metastatic cancer.

It didn’t take me very long to start researching and going down the “rabbit hole” to find the proper human diet. The more I looked, the more lies and misinformation I found. This can be very upsetting for people who, like me, have a chronic (or multiple) illness. I don’t know the number of times I cried when I learned the truth.

I am only a little over a year out from my metastatic diagnosis and conventional treatment. It’s still too early to tell if I have helped improve my prognosis. However, I don’t dwell on thoughts like this very often nor for very long.

I look back and see God’s providence intertwined in my life. I believe the low carb, ketogenic diets were introduced to me as tools for me to use to aid in the healing of my body.

Back in February I explained it to a friend by comparing it to 1 Corinthians 3:6-9:

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.”

My brother and sister-in-law were like Paul because they introduced, or “planted,” the idea of the ketogenic diet and nutrition in my mind.

I am like Apollos as I “water” my health, my life, by following a meat heavy ketogenic lifestyle and continue to research ways to optimize my health.

Only God can provide the healing.

I feel well, I am hopeful, and I know it is all in God’s hands. He is in control and can see all things and how it will work out in the end. He is mighty, faithful, just, merciful and gracious.

I will continue to share my testimony and go where He sends me.

Right after first cancer diagnosis but before treatment.

Last fall, after following a ketogenic lifestyle for several months.

 

Looking for Hope


“God shall be my hope, my stay, my guide and lantern to my feet.”

William Shakespeare

The beginning signs of spring are coming to life all around us. The early flowers are so beautiful; the trees are beginning to bud and awaken as well. I saw the first butterfly of the season a few days ago. These are a sign that the cold, winter season is leaving and bringing hope of the warm seasons to come. 

Did you know that the Bible mentions the word hope roughly 130 times (depending on the translation)?

I know people have great fear right now and are worried about their futures. I know people are looking to their leaders and those in authority for answers and direction. This can be a good and wise thing, but we shouldn’t forget they, too, are human and capable of mistakes.

In my recent, personal, “dark valleys,” I have turned towards God for my hope. The Spirit given to me led the way in my pursuit for peace, calm and hope, while my world fell apart. This is where I really started to take the Bible seriously and seek the One who created me and saved me.

I wasn’t sure where to take this blog, so I am letting my Bible study lead the way. This week I picked back up in Psalm because I have finished my recent study of the book of Romans. There really is no better time to study the book of Psalm than right now; the psalms are full of hope during some of King David’s darkest moments.

This week I spent a few days really reading and studying Psalm 23.  This psalm is often associated with funerals and death, but if you really dive into it, it shows life and hope.

Psalm 23

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

God is enough!

 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

When things get out of control and we start to lose our way, He is there to lead. We only need to look to Him for direction.

4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

                God is in control! Even when we think all may be lost.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

                God is faithful!

 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

                He is our hope!

Billy Graham put it this way, “Christ wants to give you hope for the future. He wants you to learn what it means to walk with Him every day. When you come to Christ, God gives you eternal life – which begins right now as you open your heart to Him.”

So take some time each day and seek Jesus and lean on Him during this time of hardship!

John10:11-15

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

14 I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.”

 

 

A View From Home: Corona Virus

If you have the privilege to live in a modest setting, you probably have access to internet and social media, then your social media feed is over filling with the corona virus pandemic information, memes, case numbers, government action/lack of action, etc. We are living in some strange times and there are so many questions, concerns, and emotions swirling around. I don’t have medical, professional, or statistical data to contribute. The only thing I can do is share what I see from my point of view and provide encouragement to those who are kind enough to continue reading my posts.

Public View:

The Corona Virus (COVID 19) is starting to spread like wildfire in our country. National and local officials are trying to implement and encourage interventions to help slow the spread and flatten the curve. Unfortunately our arrogance and concern about public opinion overran our common sense and has now put several people in danger.  However, what’s done is done.

So, now what?

Social distancing is a very popular term right now but please learn about its importance. Learning to stay home can be hard for many people in modern society, when we are constantly on the go. I pray that people use common sense, have patience with this temporary disruption, and be considerate of your health and those around themselves.

I have sympathy for those who have to completely rearrange their lives and are scrambling to make adjustments. My hope is that people take the recommended precautions seriously.

Personal View:

Personally, the disruption has not been that significant at this point. We are “homebodies” anyway; we enjoy being home. The biggest change we have right now is that my husband is allowed to work from home, but this is not foreign to us either. He was able to do this when I was going through chemotherapy. I suppose, our past experiences with social isolation from cancer and chemotherapy has helped prepare us for the current situation.

We are doing our best to be cautious and we are avoiding all social activities outside of our home. Social distancing is important to us, specifically, because I am part of the higher risk group for “catching” the virus. I am on a medication for my metastatic cancer that suppresses my immune system. (People often forget, or overlook, people like me because we don’t look sick.)

Encouragement:

I have listed below some Bible verses that have and continue to bring me hope and peace during times of fear.

I hope you find comfort in them as well.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29:11-13

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28

“fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  Isaiah 41:10

“Trust in the Lord with all your, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55:8-9

And a new favorite:

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:38

I don’t know why the corona virus is happening in this time. Maybe it brings us the opportunity to slow down and focus on what is most important or Who is most important. I don’t know how this will all play out. No one on earth does. What I do know is that God is greater than anything we have here on earth. He has everything under control, and He can see the “big picture” that we cannot see.

Spend time in the Bible each day, search your heart, and pray. There is so much power in these gifts. God has given them to us to use as tools in communicating with Him. And when it seems too much to bear please know that the Spirit is there to intercede when you can’t find the words. Take heart, “this too shall pass.”

 

 

“I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”  Psalm 34:4

 

“I will also speak of Your testimonies before kings And shall not be ashamed.”  Psalm 119:46

Anonymity vs. Authenticity

I decided a couple of weeks ago to actually start a blog to share my testimony with others. My original intention was to keep it anonymous because I know some of my posts will consist of thoughts and experiences that I don’t often talk about. I was going to hide behind anonymity to “protect the privacy and feelings of my family.”

However, over the past three or four days God has been working on my heart. He has been asking if I am really trying to protect my family or if I am letting fear keep me from moving forward. It is probably a little of the first and a whole lot of the latter.

So, am I going to let my fear appear bigger than God? Or, am I going to remember that God is bigger than my fear? Am I going to step out in faith?

If I continue to let fear keep me from stepping out in faith and obeying, then I have let it become a stumbling block in my life. Writing about my story versus telling it out loud gives me a little more courage to share (as I am sure it does for most other people).  I think this blog will bring a level of honesty and authenticity to my testimony that my shy nature inhibits when speaking to others.

I have no problem sharing what I find when it comes to health and nutrition of the body. The hesitation comes while sharing what I learn, experience, and struggle with regarding faith and the Spirit.

I have shared some things on my personal Facebook page regarding different Bible studies or what I have read in the Bible at certain times, but I often keep it on a more surface level or an uplifting note. Yesterday, a lady told me that she appreciates the Bible notes I post and what they meant to her. She has no idea how much I needed to hear that yesterday; I will continue to blog with hope of reaching so many more people.

 

Meandering through Young Adulthood

The other day I started a page for this blog on Facebook. I posted a “Word of the Week” with its definition. The word I chose this week was meander, since I described my blog as the “meanderings of a housewife and stay at home mom.” The following is an account of my meandering or wandering away from my walk with Jesus.

When I was a child, my mom was faithful about taking me to church on Sunday. As I grew up, I got more involved in church events, and accepted and professed my faith in Jesus with baptism at the church we attended. We, my mom and I (my dad never came with us), continued to attend church, and I got involved in the youth program that was offered. It was a fairly normal, middle class upbringing in a church. I am thankful for my mom and all the others in the Church praying for, encouraging, and pouring into my young faith in Jesus.

At some point, in my later high school years, my dedication in my walk with Jesus started to dwindle. My mom and I stopped attending church regularly and started letting Sunday be more of a lazy, family kind of day. (Or a catch up on homework day.) Through the end of high school and throughout my college years I broke vows and commitments I had made during my earlier years of faith. I became a lukewarm Christian. I still believed in Jesus and His sacrifice, but I no longer thought that I needed to surround myself with fellow believers. I am ashamed that I ever let my faith become stagnant.

Fast forward several years…after I had my second child and started working part time, a friend of mine invited me to join a mom’s group at the church she attended.  I enjoyed the time with other women in the same season of life as me.  It provided a nice break from being surrounded by children and housework and allowed me the opportunity to talk to other adults. It also gave my children an opportunity to be around and “socialize” with other children. (I use “socialize” lightly here because children at that young of an age don’t really play with each other, so much as maybe play next to each other.)  As I continued to attend the mom’s group and see the other women walking in faith, I really started to feel the pull to attend church again.

Honestly, I had been telling myself (or more accurately, God was telling me through the Holy Spirit) from the time I had my first child that I needed to start attending church again, but I just didn’t follow through because of one excuse or another. I began attending church regularly again on Sunday after being a part of the mom’s group for a few months. “Who was going to teach my children about Jesus?” “Wasn’t that my responsibility?” Questions like this often plagued my mind.

I know this sounds kind of like the Parable of the Prodigal Son, with the wandering away and coming back home, but I want to draw your attention more towards the people of faith. I am thankful for my mom, the pastors, Sunday school teachers, and fellow believers who showed me the way to Jesus.  I am also very thankful for the women of the mom’s group that did not know their “witness” was part of my return to the Church.

“19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”

James 5:19-20

We must remember, or keep in mind, as believers in Christ we are always witnessing to those around us (intentionally or unintentionally). Sometimes it is to the people of the world. Sometimes it is to the people in church that you didn’t know were lost.