Inspirational Stories

Stories Contributed by Our Visitors:
November 1998 to August 1999
(Newest Items at Top of List)

Click HERE to give us your story

Ken Elliott, Toronto, ON, CANADA
My friend is assistant curator at the Niagara Butterfly Conservatory. My son Ryan, who is 10, and I went to visit there earlier this summer. Margaret explained all about the exhibits and told us all kinds of things about butterflies. I was particularly struck by her comment that if someone just cracked open and released the butterfly out of its cocoon it would be unable to fly. It would not really be able to survive. It was the struggle of getting out of the cocoon that gave it the strength to survive and fly.

After that I walked around the exhibit area in awe and drove home with Ryan At the time I was having real independence struggle with Ryan's older sister who was almost 20. Things were tense and difficult. I knew when she went back to university quite a distance from home I was going to be a new empty nester. Ryan lives with his Mom most of the time. That story and the butterfly exhibit really helped me let go and move on. I realized I cannot do everything or fix everything - she has to 'struggle out her cocoon'.

As she drove away with her room mate I silently said 'work to break out of your cocoon and learn to fly my beautiful rainbow coloured butterfly. The butterflies taught me how to let go.

Amber, Mansfield, TX, USA
A few months ago my grandfather woke up complaining of chest pains, so my grandmother rushed him to the hospital. Waiting to hear the results was long, and dreadful, when the doctor came to tell us ""A Heart Attack"" we knew this wasn't going to be easy. After many tests were done the conclusion came that he would have to have five way open- heart surgery. That night I left the hospital, I knew this was not good, not only was he diabetic, but his kidneys were trying to shut down, how would he ever handle a surgery so major? The family sat down with him and told him it was his choice. After talking with the doctors he had made up his mind to go through with it. The day before his surgery I was driving home, as I stopped in the driveway I prayed to God. ""Just please be with him, keep him safe, and make him healthy, I asked, please don't take him away from me."" For he is the greatest man in my life. I was still to be given away at my wedding, by him, how could I go on with out this man? As I sat there with my windows rolled down I looked over in my passenger seat and saw a beautiful butterfly sitting there moving it's tiny wings. I reached over and put my finger out, as the butterfly touched my hand I started to cry even harder, it was then that I knew God heard me and that was his way of letting me know everything was going to be okay. That night the doctors came in and said ""we have good news"" after looking deeper into his test results, they felt five way surgery would not be necessary, they claimed that three stints would fix the damage. As we all sat there looking around in total shock we knew we had just been blessed. Pa-Pa made it through just fine with the procedure, and was able to come home the next day. I now know that the butterfly I met was my Pa-Pa's angel.
Emmett Worick, Orange, VA, USA
Yesterday this small butterfly insisted on alighting on my clothes, sometimes as if attacking and retreating. It finally flew on my finger and sat there probing with its proboscis. I headed for the house to get my camcorder and discovered that the battery was dead! I took the butterfly outside and released it, went back and installed a fresh battery. I came back outside, and suddenly the butterfly was back on my clothes. I gently scooped it up on my hand and began a series of beautiful footage with my camera. Back to the house I went with my friend still perched on my finger. I loaded the digital still camera with a floppy disc singlehandedly while the butterfly appeared to enjoy the inside of my house. Back outside I went for more shots of this magnificent creature that seemed to enjoy its new surroundings. I got wings-up shots, and wings-extended shots that are just gorgeous. Even though the Internet quality of one such shot is not that great, it's still interesting to see. This was a beautiful fifteen-minute experience I'll never forget. www.imageryinwood.com/worick/btrf1.gif
Regina, El Paso, AR, USA
I have been seeing them every where lately. Reminders of what I encountered a few weeks ago. I was swimming with my husband at his parents' pool and a small purple/white butterfly landed on my bathing suit. I called my husband over to look at it before it flew away. He teased me because the butterfly wouldn't leave me. I would move my hand close to it and it would move to my shoulder, I pulled on my shoulder strap and it clung on. I dipped lower into the water and it would fly to my husband's arm. For 20 minutes we 'played' with the butterfly. I went to get my mother-in-law to show her our new friend that wouldn't leave. It flew to her for a few minutes, but once again, flew back to me. She said, 'you know, that's a special spirit.'

Finally, after 40 minutes with the butterfly, it flew away. I was 9 weeks pregnant at the time with our first, and 2 days later, I miscarried. I feel like this little butterfly was my baby, saying 'I love you, wish I could stay, but I have to leave you now.'

Everytime I see a butterfly now, I think of all the hope for the future I have and beauty in the world. I know that although this child wasn't meant to be, My husband and I still feel like we were able to 'play' with our child for at least a little while.

Frosty, Phoenix, AZ, USA
A few years ago, I had to have my beautiful cat (Precious) put to sleep. My son took her in for me and told me it would be easier if I didn't go with. It was heartbreaking. Let me say here that I love butterflies. I used to crochet them and Precious used to carry off any she found to her treasure trove under the bed. I had to keep the Butterfly magnets high on the fridge so she couldn't get to them (didn't always work). Anyway as soon as my Son left with her I went out in the yard and just stood thinking and grieving, when a large black and yellow butterfly flew up to me, hovered in front of me for a while while I held my breath. It then flew around me a couple of times and flew off. I stood in awe for a while and then the tears started as I realized my beloved Precious was out of pain and this was her way of letting me know she was now on the Rainbow Bridge. I have no doubt that she is joyfully chasing butterflies now.
Deborah, Richmond, VA, USA
My brother died of cancer. When his body was lowered into the ground, a beautiful butterfly flew around the casket and the grave. Then it left and flew into the woods. Everyone noticed it and felt that my brother was letting us know that his spirit was now free. We all felt the presence of the lord.
NRG, Gold Coast, Queensland, AUSTRALIA
I saw an angel butterfly fall from the sky.
It made me feel angry and I started to cry.
I went home and told mum, and she said,
'darling your dinner is getting cold'.
I told my Father and he fell asleep.
     thanks for listening
       I'm crying again
         Angel lover.
Gloria Martel, Columbus, OH, USA
Our daughter Cathy Lou passed away suddenly just short of 14 years of age. We were all very sad as we returned to my mothers house after the funeral. All my husband and I could think about was just a sign that she was happy in her glorious new home. As we were all gathered on my mothers porch, a small white butterfly landed on my daughter Mary's shoulder, then on my husband's and as I held out my hand, it landed there also. It lingered only a few minutes, repeated all the things it had just done, then flew off into the sky. Now, everytime we see a butterfly or especially if it lands on us, we feel this is our daughter saying 'I am happy in my new home and can't wait till you come to live here too.'
Diana, Charlotte NC, USA
This is a true story about transformation. I have been helped with two people in my life and I feel that without these two people that I would not be able to write this today. I'll just use their first names and it is Matthew, who helped me for 1 1/2 years, then there is Cathy who has just started to help me regain myself..

I've had anxiety, depression, and dependency issues that i was working on with these people, and finally I have figured out what it is I have to do in order to have a good life and a happy one. I know it's difficult to make these decisions, however I am doing just that. Before I had problems with making decisions about my life and events in my life but now I have Matthew to thank for this because he has shown me how to make decisions without him in my life. I feel I have been transformed. I can spread my wings out and am in a crystal ball. The ball is my boundary, nothing will hurt me ever again. The butterfly makes me feel comfortable with any stages in my life I know I can reach any level I want to now. I have fully grown and I know the mistakes I've made in the past and in the present I will not ever make again. And this I have Matthew to thank for...May God bless him....

James Dilts, Van Nuys, CA, USA
It was the early part of March, 1999 while working at my home, I got a phone call from the ex-wife of one of my best friends. She said he had died that morning of a massive heart attack. I took it very badly because I had been going through some tough times with my father and his illness. It felt like this was going to be one of those years when the loss of loved ones around me were going to take its toll. You see my father had several strokes in the previous months and had blood clots on the brain. The doctors told my brothers and I that it was just a matter of time. I had flown from Los Angeles to Sacramento several times, since my father entered the hospital, to be at his bedside in Chico. Time is something my father no longer had.

I was having a great deal of difficulty dealing with the loss of an old friend and the illness of my father. I spent a lot of time thinking about my father and found myself writing my thoughts down and praying.

I guess I should mention that I make Butterflies. Large hand crafted, hand painted Butterflies. I have always been interested in Butterflies since I was a child of 5 years old. I majored in art in high school and collage but wound up being a part of the corporate business world for many years. I finally began doing what I wanted to do, be creative and make people smile and make something beautiful to look at. I took 53 years to get there, but I finally did.

Easter was very near and I had to do something to get my thoughts clear from the depression I was feeling. I elected to do something for my church. I decided to make small 3 inch Butterflies in purple with the words 'He has risen' in smaller letters on the wings. They were to be given to every family after the Easter service. That's when I began to look at some of the notes I had written down while dealing with my deceased friend and sick father. I decided to write a blessing. A blessing about what? It had to tie into Easter, but how? Then it struck me, why not write a Butterfly Blessing. I had been told in my youth that the Butterfly was the sign of ascension. Now I had two projects to keep me very busy.

The time past quickly, too quickly. It was the Monday before Easter Sunday. The Pastor from my church had called after reading the Butterfly Blessing I had written. She was just short of tears while asking me if I would read this special Blessing at the end of her Easter Service. I tried to decline and asked if she would read it. 'Not a chance she said'. 'God made you write this Blessing for a reason'. I was at a loss for words. So I accepted her challenge. Not knowing what was to come.

Later that afternoon I received another phone call. 'Jim', my youngest brother said. 'Dad's Gone'. 'He passed an hour ago'. Now my spirit drops to the floor along with me. I must go to my mother and younger brothers in northern California to say Good-bye to my father. Now I knew why I wrote the 'Butterfly Blessing'. I was unable to read the blessing in church that Sunday but each and every family from our church received a beautiful Purple Butterfly and a copy of this 'Butterfly Blessing' I had written----- for my father. (Click HERE for copy)

Colleen Armstrong, Groton, NY, USA
My sister, Cheryl, was a missionary in Indonesia. Along with her husband and five children, they served a three year term and then came home for a year furlough before returning for another three year term. My sister was very happy to be going back to Indonesia. They arrived at the beginning of July 1996. On the morning of July 16, after only being in the country for a little over a week, the car my sister and three of her women friends were riding in, was hit by a public bus. My sister, only 41 years old, and another woman, were killed instantly. The other two women in the car suffered critical injuries and had to be flown to Australia for medical attention. Later, we found out that the driver of the public bus had been drinking. She is buried in Indonesia; however, we held a memorial service here in New York. I seem to have a tendency to write about the people I love when they die, and as I tried to think of what to write about my sister, a butterfly came to me and I sat down to write. This is what I wrote and what I read at her service:

Butterflies are one of the most beautiful things in the world. They flutter their brightly colored wings so quietly you hardly know they are there. But when you do notice them, their vivid colors and their beauty strike you with a feeling of wonder and peace.

My sister Cheryl was like a butterfly. She fluttered about so quietly, landed on our shoulder for awhile, and shared her beauty. And, now sadly, she has flown away.

Cheryl's life, in a way, mirrored that of a butterfly. She went through the typical life stages wrapped in the chrysalis of her family's love. A love that guided her and supported her, and most of all, showed her the power of love.

Cheryl learned those lessons well. She was always there for her family - returning the love she was given many times over. Like a butterfly, she had a calm influence over everyone she met. She did this so subtly that you didn't know it until sometime later - after the butterfly flew away.

You could say that her ""metamorphosis"" occurred when she became a woman in Christ. When she committed herself to the missions, she did this with the strongest faith I have ever seen. But again, the wings were fluttering so softly she never had to force you to listen, you just knew by the peaceful look on her face when she spoke about the bible and their mission work, that she truly believed and that she was not afraid to fly.

She was a wonderful daughter, sister, wife, mother and aunt. She was always the quiet one - always fluttering about making sure everyone's needs were taken care of, always putting everyone else first. She flew around to so many places - touching down on so many people to share the word of God, and all the time sharing her own beauty and leaving us with that feeling of wonder and peace.

They say that to make a wish come true, the Native Americans would whisper it to a butterfly, which would carry it to the Great Spirit in Heaven. And there the wish would be granted. Cheryl carried with her so many wishes to the Great Spirit in Heaven where her beautiful butterfly wings have now turned into angel wings.

So the next time you witness the freedom and beauty of a butterfly, make a wish and realize that you may have just been touched by an angel named Cheryl. Now, whenever I am outside, there is a butterfly around me, and I know that it is Cheryl telling me that she is happy with God and not to grieve for her, but to celebrate her life in the beauty and the colors of nature.

Suzanne, North Vancouver, BC, CANADA
A Tribute to my Grandmama:

As a child, growing up in California, I developed a love and respect for butterflies and moths... (and pretty much all living things)...but, at that time, I was very focused on butterflies, moths, and especially caterpillars. My father used to tell me they were all ""pests"" and I should not even bother with them. I ignored his advice and continued to be fascinated. I was a child, 6-8 years at that time. I would find what I called ""fuzzy brown caterpillars"". Finally, my mother bought me an insect keeper, the kind you can't get any more. I would find one of these caterpillars, catch it, then give it food (especially lettuce), always making sure it would like it's new home. Then, I would wait patiently. First, for it to form a cocoon. After that, I would wait for what seemed like forever to a child - I waited to see the transformation.

My grandmama was such a wonderful lady. She always had the time to appreciate the beautiful things in life. When I first told her that my caterpillar was going to go into hiding, then, be re-born as a butterfly or a moth...she wondered what I was talking about. My grandmama had a very limited English vocabulary...her first language was French. She learned English on her own. She was amazed one year, to watch a new life come into the world. She had little or no knowledge of butterflies etc...only what she would learn from me. She was amazed that, in her words, ""I could make butterflies"". Year after year, when my caterpillars turned into butterflies or moths...my grandmama's eyes would sparkle like a child's eyes...and she truly was amazed. She could not understand how or why these fuzzy creatures could transform. She didn't care really care to know how or why the caterpillars could transform itself into a completely new body. My grandmama just appreciated their beauty and believed it was a miracle. She always used to say that I was special because I could make butterflies. So, we left it at that, and just accepted the miracle of transformation. Ever since, we shared a special bond because she believed in me.

My grandmama also knew that I loved anything living...and encouraged me to learn more and to have fun at the same time. One year, my grandmama was visiting and I inevitably had a caterpillar waiting to be re-born. It's an incredible feeling to be able to set free, something as special as a butterfly. At least, that's how we looked at it. One year, she arrived just in time to see the beautiful monarch butterfly emerge from it's cocoon. She was, at first, nervous to handle something so tiny and frail...but, she did anyway. There she was, standing in the back yard, with a monarch in the palm of her hand. At that time, my grandmama's eyes were those of a child. My grandmama held the butterfly as it prepared to fly away. She believed this was one of the most beautiful things in life, and, she was able to participate.

I would always send her butterfly pictures so she could enjoy looking at the different types of butterflies and moths. In addition, I would always send her birthday cards and other greeting cards - all with butterflies. The last birthday card I sent to her was a beautiful story about butterflies. This particular card had a perforated edge that one could use as a bookmark for reading. It had a wonderful saying (when I find it, I would love to share it). Anyhow, I knew my grandmama was ill, and I was terrified of losing her. I removed the bookmark and kept it in a special place. As it turned out, that was the last card I would ever send her. I cried for such a long time, (even now, she's special in my heart)... who would encourage me now? Who would be as amazed as my grandmama and I? All I knew then was that she loved me and that nobody could replace her. I wondered how I would get through life. I was a child and just did not understand death. I decided one day, to continue to ""make butterflies"" (grandmama's words) long after she went to heaven. Then, I grew up, became an adult, and somewhere along the way, I stopped ""making butterflies"". It just was never going to be the same without her...

Two years ago, this week, I have been in Canada with my family. There were many tragic events that happened during those years and I was very depressed and sadness had filled my heart. My mom talks about grandmama everyday and she still misses her so much it hurts. Last year, I found a fuzzy caterpillar! With the enthusiasm of a child, I gently picked him up and made a home for my new caterpillar. Even though I am an adult, I was overwhelmed with sadness that she could not be here to experience the wonder of transformation and re-birth.

Yet, I continued to watch, finally, my caterpillar had started to settle in. It would soon be inside it's cocoon which it built in a dried up leaf. I waited, and waited, and waited...my mom, even this week, kept telling me that it was dead. I immediately became that little child with so much faith and told her that there was no way it was dead. I believed the caterpillar would emerge as a butterfly or a moth, and I prepared myself for a long wait. And...I waited a long time!

Today, I went to do my daily check. I was really looking carefully, and then noticed that something was moving. I watched, for a long time, as it came out of it's cocoon - completely transformed. I now have the beautiful creature - a white moth with a colorful body underneath. I felt like the same little girl discovering how amazing life is. Despite hearing ""it's dead"" too many times, here was this new life form. My mom and dad came home and were wondering why I was so happy. I said ""I told you it wasn't dead..."", to my mom. So many times mom had suggested that I throw it away...I didn't. I kept my faith.

Right now, the moth is still preparing to fly...I hope to release it tonight so that he has a chance to live, before being spotted by a bird. I am amazed. Some people would most likely think that I was ""not all there"" so to speak...but, I don't care. It's a miracle in my eyes and it brought back so many memories of my grandmama. I was crying, disappointed that grandmama couldn't be here, with me, to set it free...I know she is with me, watching from heaven...and probably saying ""You are such a special little girl who makes butterflies"". I believe that her kind spirit is still with me. The ring she gave me before she died, is sparkling like never before. That's when I can sense she's with me.

I went outside for a few minutes, and I found a single fuzzy caterpillar. So...I am beginning the process all over again...

Life is short and it really is important to appreciate all life has to offer...to me...finding another caterpillar on the same day the first one emerged, is a sign that my grandmama is with me...I just wish I could place the moth in the palm of her hand and let it fly away. Who knows? Maybe it will fly to heaven...

Never lose faith in what you believe. If I had, I wouldn't have been able to witness the re-birth of this little creature...

I guess that's it for now. I am hoping to find out what species it is, yet, that's not important. It is important that I helped something live, grow, change, and then set free!!!

I will never forget my grandmama...this story is for her.

Selena Simon
Victorious Wings, a Father's Day Remembrance.
Zita Matthies, Christchurch, NEW ZEALAND
One Sunday afternoon, I came home and the garden filled with Monarch butterflies. I watched them for a few moments, filled with delight as they flitted about. It was then that I discovered one that had only 1-1/2 wings and could not fly far. ""Where did you come from""? I asked, but it made no reply. I picked it up off the grass and placed it on a crackerjack, where it immediately started to feed.

This ritual became a daily thing, several times throughout the day, moving him from flower to flower. Sometimes it would take me a little while to find him, and I would discover he had flown a few metres, so I always had to be careful where I trod in case he was on the ground. Once I went to move him and couldn't find him at all, but when I came back a few hours later, there he was! And so again, he was put to a fresh flower,and food! You could feel the excitement in his body as he ate! It was such an awesome experience and a real privilege to look after this special butterfly. Finally, with rain impending, I decided to pick a vase of flowers and bring him inside. Well, he disappeared again, and for 24 hours I blamed the cat! But there he was again, and ate greedily!

What I admired the most about this special butterfly was his strong determined will to survive against all odds. I knew the day he was dying, and thanked him for the lesson he taught me in life. I will never forget my special butterfly.

Rob Rasbach, Ansonia, CT, USA
I remember when I was a boy about 8 years old, a time came when I was able to catch some butterflies in my mother's garden. I was fascinated by the colors, shapes, symmetry and patterns on their wings. They came in such an assortment that delighted the eyes. They were like flying flowers that existed for such a short time with the purpose mostly for visual enjoyment so I thought. I remember holding them and seeing the colored dust come off onto my fingers.

I was amazed at God's creativity and a few years later I was drawn still deeper as I considered these marvels of creation through high power magnification. The scales displayed tremendous architecture and detail that could not be fully appreciated unless viewed with high power instruments and printed as full color pictures in books my parents bought for me. My delight turned to awe as I observed these scales that were opaque, translucent, iridescent, transparent and prismatic in endless design and color.

When I was 11, I found a Monarch egg on Milkweed plants that hatched into a hungry caterpillar. He ate until the day he spun his chrysalis. I went to camp and the butterfly emerged so Mom let it out. I never did see the final transformation but some time later we visited the Butterfly store in NY. I remember Mr Glanz giving me a cocoon. ""Take this and see what you will get"". A few months later this huge 6"" Polyphemus Moth came out. The whole family was amazed to see it unfold it's wings. But then I struggled with killing it. ""Forgive me God for killing this moth for my collection. . it will only live a few days. . . and it will never find it's mate around here and besides it's perfect and I can show it and tell the story for years to come but despite our extensive traveling across the US and Canada, I was never able to see or catch the large beautiful Luna Moth that I always wanted.

And so it was that I put away the things of youth as fond memories, always remembering the splendor of God's creation that I first saw in flowers and butterfly colors in my mother's garden.

By the time I was 17, we had been living at our new lake home for 5 years. We were living the life of luxury and as a teenager, I lacked nothing. My father and I flew together on many weekends in the company helicopter and I was working on my student pilots license for fixed wing.

I had toured the USA, Europe and Canada, was attending a top private school, had a fast car, boats and all the fine food. On August 6th, 1970 I was speeding up our 1/4 mile driveway on my dirt bike all bored and thinking ""all this stuff and I am depressed and feel hollow inside"". This was the last conscious thought I had. I don't remember seeing my mother coming in down the hill and was told I had such speed as I was unable to stop so I hit her car. My sister rushed out of the car to wrestle the bike away as an authoritative voice commanded her . . . ""You must breathe for your brother"". I was clinging to life in a coma for several days. I had internal injuries, broken pelvis, broken left leg, head injuries and road rash.

When it was over, it was clear that my sister had saved my life. Three weeks later most of the terrible pain was over and I was back home and thankful to be alive. A new appreciation for the Love of my family, health, food and all the other things we take for granted swelled in my heart. As I sat on the patio that overlooks the lake, I took in the gentle breeze that aways carried the scent of pine and I soaked in the warmth of the late summer sun. As I thanked God for sparing my life, several large butterflies soared in majestically to visit the flowers around the patio. In my mind I was back in my mother's garden appreciating them and looking at the colored dust that came off onto my fingers. I thought, ""God, don't let me forget these things that you have made that mean more than the things man makes.""

Several years went by, the steel pin in my leg was removed and I resumed a fully normal life, entered the college of my choice and partied hard for the first three years. By my Junior year I recognized that hollowness creeping in all over again. I was headed down the wrong path of typical college life that tried to fit in with the rest of my peers. After one weekend of partying, I had had enough. I remember getting down on my knees and saying ""God, I know you are there, somewhere. I have seen your glory in this great land and in Butterfly colors from my youth. I need for you to show me the way to go. What is the truth? I hate religions and hypocrites. You have my attention, show me what's next.

While home on Easter break, I picked up my sister's ""Living Bible"" which is a easy to read version. I remembered reading in one of my books that the butterfly is seen as a symbol of the resurrection. I grabbed the bookmark card and began to read it. The words pierced my heart like an armor shell. ""All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God."" ""The wages of sin is death"" (separation from God) Accept God's Remedy ""I am the Way, The Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father but through me"" (Jesus). I accepted the Easter message quietly and felt a tremendous burden lift off me. I was free like the butterfly in April 1975. To remember this time in my life, I put together 2 collections of the most spectacular specimens I could find. Most of these remain to this day. But the times they have been displayed have only been few over the past 25 years, that is until last Saturday June 5th 1999 when God spoke clearly to me by circumstance and with scripture in my heart.

I went on a retreat with 6 other men to relax, pray and seek the Lord in Tolland, Connecticut. We arrived Friday night and my thoughts turned to concerns over financial matters and God's provision and direction for my life. I remembered the song that was sung a few months ago at the Full Gospel Businessmen's Convention by Ronn Jones- ""His eye is on the Sparrow and I know he's watching over me. . . "" ""Please God, let me know that you have things in control"", I prayed.

The next day a festival was held in that small town. The Rhododendrons were in full bloom and a crowd was standing nearby looking at something. ""what is that?"" they said. There was a Hummingbird Moth hovering in and around the flowers. Just then several Tiger Swallowtails came in to join the party. I carefully grabbed one to show a little boy who smiled with delight. ""Our God is an awesome creator."" I said to the boy and his parents as I let the creature fly off.

That night we finished supper and went for a walk. A friend asked how my kids were and I replied, ""well nearly 40 years have come and gone since I was my daughter's age. Kristen is 7 and Justin is 10. Now she is interested in collecting butterflies and moths. Today they have all but disappeared. She is happy to catch anything, but you know, I never was able to catch that Luna Moth I always wanted as a kid and I wish I could get one now for her.

The sun went down, we got back to the cabin and 2 hours later there was something flashing in the lights outside. ""It looks like a bat"" Sal said. I ran outside to catch with my hand a Polyphemus Moth which is the same species that hatched from the cocoon. As I stepped back toward the door another large moth came at me and landed on my pant leg. I quickly picked it up, something that God himself had ordered up just for this time in my life and not before, a perfect Luna Moth!

""I sing because I'm happy, I sing because I'm free!, His eye is on the Sparrow and I KNOW, He's watching over me."" ""My son,with patience and love I have formed you and watched you grow. Your days have been ordained by me and I have examined you to see the day of faith rising in your heart. Know that I am the Lord who keeps you, watches over you and shows you the way you should go.""

May God Bless all those who read this message, whether they collect or just appreciate Butterflies and Moths. I think that most of us can agree with God when He says in Romans 1 that His wisdom and divine order can be seen from that which is made so that men are without excuse. When we behold the creation, it bears that testimony of our loving Creator.

Kyle, Flint, MI, USA
Although my Monarch Caterpillar was bought from J. J. Cardinal's, it still has its normal instinct. I used to think that a metamorphosis was boring until now. I have heard that the Monarch Butterfly population was decreasing and that they needed humans to help breed these small, fragile creatures. We bought it and they supplied us with some food. They said it would take about a week to turn into a cocoon because the one I received was plump and almost ready. I've had it a few days and it is so neat and sorta funny when it eats. One time it had a small piece in its grasp and it was getting too small for it to handle. It started falling out of his hands and he started tilting to catch it. The more it fell out of his grasp the more he tilted until finally !PLOP! He fell over on his side. Now that was a sight.
David Rasmussen, Gordonsville, TN, USA
Last night I sat out on the porch and was taking in a couple deep breaths of the cool night air. I listened to the tree frogs and young bull frogs and every now and then heard the faint sound of a cricket. They soon will be the loudest in our nature summer symphony. A splash of night breeze dingled the wind chimes, rustled my hair and filed my senses. I inhaled a bouquet of wild rose, poplar tree flowers and honey suckle.

In this relaxing meditation state of mind I traveled with my senses and concentrated on sounds, smells, and touch. I eventually started hearing a sound that I couldn't place. It almost sounded like a faint rain dripping through the leaves. There being almost a full moon and a complete blanket of stars I knew it couldn't be rain drops. I listened deeper. Then looking out through the forest in-between the moonlight shadows I figured it out. I yelled into Sharon ""They're coming...."" She came out to the porch asking who's coming. I told her to close her eyes, listen and to hold out her hand. It only took a few minutes until a familiar little green caterpillar with a black face dropped into her lap. She jumped and then smiled.

The sound we were hearing was the millions of young caterpillars chewing and pooing. Over the next week or so they will start building their cocoons and by the last week in May they will stretch their young wings and fill the hollow. Words and pictures can't come close to describing and showing what it's like to be among a million butterflies. You have to be here to believe it. In the mean time if you would like to see more pictures and hear how our farm, Butterfly Hollow got its name stop by our website.

Marlene Evans, Lapeer, MI, USA
My stepfather was an entomologist and we grew up with the most beautiful and extensive collection anyone could imagine. He had butterflies from all over the world and received almost daily shipments from the Jesuit priests in the jungle who collected butterflies for a living. Because of his wonderful collection, my teachers in the elementary grades could hardly wait to have me in their classroom, because each semester, my parents invited my teacher over for dinner and a view of the butterfly collection. I was also proud as well as a little shy about my teacher being in our house, eating dinner and spending the evening, looking at some of his collection. I can tell you, the class always heard of it the nest day and how I must have beamed.
Deborah Wilson, Richmond, VA, USA
About a year ago I went through a metamorphosis. I actually felt God wrapping my entire body up with silk symbolic to caterpillars when they build a cocoon. Then I emerged from the cocoon with wings. I felt God breath on me and I heard Him say "You are now a beautiful butterfly, one of my angels." Also, one night I was so frightened. I couldn't sleep. I was so scared that someone was trying to break into my house and harm me. The next morning when I opened by front door I saw the most incredible, beautiful butterfly. It was huge. It was lime green with black spots. I looked at it and its beauty took my breath away. I heard God say, "Fear not, I have sent my angels to protect you."
Amanda Dennison, Sheffield, MA, USA
Today I was outside with my dog when I noticed a butterfly lying in my driveway, so I went inside and got a piece of paper to put him on and brought him inside. We found that he was injured and gave him water and a place to sleep. I'm not sure what kind he is but he is yellow and black with small spots of orange and blue on the bottom of his wings. I have always loved butterflies but never had the experience to be this close to a real one.
Linda Garrett-Westbrook, Nashville, TN, USA
Just finished reading all of the stories that people have shared about their butterfly experiences and decided to add mine to the list.

My Mother and I had always talked about death and the possibility of being able to communicate after one had passed over. We agreed that whoever went first would let the one that remained know that they were ok.

She was in the hospital for 3 weeks before she died. I was with her day and night, only going home to bathe and change clothes. On the morning of the day she died, she told me that she wanted me to hold her for awhile so I climbed on the bed and put her head on my shoulder, she closed her eyes and after about 15 minutes I knew she was on her way home. That night a terrible storm passed over the hospital and as I stood by her bed I told God that since he was in the neighborhood Mommie was ready to go home with him. At 10:55 pm she took her last breath and I was privileged to witness the most amazing transformation I have ever seen in my life. As I stood and watched the years,the pain, the misery just slip from my Mothers face. It was truly the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

After burying Mommie I returned home and for weeks I would sit in my kitchen and look out the windows and think of Mommie. To my amazement there were hundreds of butterflies just fluttering around the windows, It was as tho they were checking up on me. Somehow I knew they were connected to Mommie. They were never there before and never came again. So everytime I would see a butterfly I would think Mommies watching me.

One year after her death I went to Georgia and invited her friends and pastor to go out to dinner to celebrate Mommies life,to remember her on this day. I had her favorite flowers (stargazerliles) on the table and we all enjoyed a great meal and shared memories of her. After we left I went to her grave and sat for awhile talking to her. I told her how much I loved her and how very much I missed her and please let me know she was ok now. I left the flowers and went to the motel.

The next morning I decided to go to the waffle house as it was one of her favorite places to eat. As my husband and I were eating I saw this beautiful butterfly flying around our car, it would land on the hood then fly around the car again. I told my husband that was Mommie, he said you are probably right. We finished eating and went out to the car, the butterfly was sitting on the hood, I stood and looked at it and I said Mommie if that is you land on my hand. To my amazement the butterfly flew to the palm of my hand and just sat there slowly moving its wings up and down, looking at me. I had to fight the urge to close my hand and keep her. I knew that I had to let her fly away, She had let me know that she is beautiful, she's free and she can fly forever.

Coventry, CT, USA
This story was shared with me by a dear friend who lost 2 of her adult children as well as her husband to cancer in the last 12 years. Before she lost her daughter, Leslie, at the young age of 30, Leslie told her mom that if she ever came back it would be as a butterfly. She loved to garden and was an outdoor, get your hands dirty kinda girl. Leslie left behind a loving family. To honor her children my friend keeps small memorial gardens named for them in her beautiful woodland lot. It had been a long time since Leslie had been gone when her nephew, Chris was graduating from high school. The whole family was gathered at the ceremony when a fascinating thing happened which touched the whole family. There on the stage with Christopher, was a butterfly dancing all around him. There was no doubt in my friend's mind as to 'who' that butterfly was, nor in anyone else who knew Leslie. One of the special touches to Leslie's garden has been the accents of decorative butterflies! This story may or may not touch you as it has Leslie's family and myself but I couldn't resist sharing it as it is true.
Rick Mikula, Hazleton, PA, USA
(On the death of his nephew) - On Friday night, my nephew passed away. Like a true butterfly he brought only joy and brightened the lives of everyone that encountered him. Butterflies can be fragile but are amazingly strong. Despite having many obstacles to overcome in their short lives, never once do they complain. They just go on, creating a more beautiful world around them. Neil had to experience a metamorphosis. It was confusing and often hard to understand but he never complained. On Friday night he received his wings.

Released from his earthbound chamber he now soars above us. Carried by warm winds and love, he can fly free, happy and painless.

Lara S, Dallas, TX, USA
One day about 5 years ago, I was shopping for a very special gift for a very dear friend, I wanted the perfect gift, so I had looked for hours. Then at a bookstore, I looked and looked and I was just leaving when I saw a book my favorite color, Lemon Yellow. On the cover was two big Butterflies with two little caterpillars at the bottom that were reading the note on the cover. It was so cute, I had to read it right there! The book had a big picture on every page and big letters, it looked like a child's book, but it is really an EVERYBODY book. It took about 20 minutes to read, and I had finally found my gift! This was the best book I could give anyone, except for the Bible of course. I now give the book to everyone I care for, the book says it all. It's about life and hope, hope for better things, hope for life! The name of the book is called ""Hope For The Flowers"" by Trina Paulus. It only costs about $10.00. so if you are a butterfly fanatic, you have to have this book, it is so inspirational!!!! Anyway, I met my soul-mate later on and I gave him this book, and now together we love butterflies, I am now yellow and he is Stripe. Any butterfly lovers are invited to e-mail me at butterfly_lara@hotmail.com
Brenda Sandhouse, Pembroke Pines, FL, USA
I'm often lonely and unhappy. But when I have a friend (butterfly) on me or near me, I'm happy. They are what cheer me up.
Barbara Wilkerson, Baltimore, MD, USA
When my mother, a good woman, my real true honest and encouraging friend died - Margaret Davis, I was hurt so badly and grieved so long, had no one to talk to, no one at all knew my deepest pain. On the day after her funeral, I was sitting on the porch all alone, thinking about my mother, how I was not there because I had moved to Spartanburg South Carolina from Baltimore. If I was home, maybe she would not have died, why did God take her away?, why?, why?, why?, then I began to just think about the past, the good times, the chastising times, the days I would just miss her, oh how I would miss her. And as I began to open my mouth and speak to the air, this BIG, BEAUTIFUL, BUTTERFLY flew on the porch and landed on the wall and listened to me as I spoke. I asked the butterfly, ""are you my mother"", because in my last letter and poem that I wrote to my mother I used a butterfly as my watermark graphic. And since the butterfly was on the paper, I thought mother came to sit with me. Well I grieved for nearly 2 years, and I had to do things by myself, with no mother to tell me how, when, or even to encourage me that I can do it. But every time I accomplished something on my own, a butterfly would always appear, even in the night, on the bus stop and even at my daughter's school. I had just met a man and was in his car and this large butterfly flew onto the driver side windshield and stayed for a long time, even as we had driven to the store, it was still there, and within my heart I knew that was my mother. Now that I am a born again Christian, many messages that I hear being spoken by pastors, teachers, prophets, etc., is about the metamorphosis that a butterfly goes through and how we shall change as well. Well, I thank God for the butterflies as well as people lives.
Nancy Thornton, Lemont, IL, USA
Several Baltimore Checkerspots had been seen along the path but I wanted to know if the population was sustaining itself. The only way to prove that was to find some turtlehead, the butterfly's larval food source. My sister Cindy and I started walking in the wet meadow which turned to a swampy mess and just as we were about to give up, spattered with muck, I spotted the turtlehead! It even had a discarded skin casing on one leaf. We jumped up and down and lost all our footing and fell in the mud and it was the happiest bit of fun. Later that year Cindy's cancer came back and she died a slow and painful death at the age of 49. But that silly joy and muddy trek looking for Baltimore Checkerspots with my sister will stay with me forever.
Brad Carlson, Minden, IA, USA
My father may have been the one who opened the door for my interest in butterflies and moths, but it has been my grandmother who has done more than anyone else to foster that interest. Ever since I was in the second grade, my grandmother and I have taken many trips afield and have been to places like Fontanelle Forest, De Soto Bend National Wildlife Refuge, Rocky Mountain National Park, Barr Lake, Chatfield Dam, and Neale Woods. Every single trip has brought us something new to see, from the Snow Geese migrations in December to watching ebony Magdalena Alpines nectaring on dainty pink campion flowers in late July.

Just after finishing my sophomore year in college nearly two years ago, I went on a two-week long biology field trip offered through Iowa State University's Study Abroad Center in conjunction with the University of Costa Rica with about twenty other students, living the first step of my lifelong dream to study and farm butterflies in the tropics. Although the overall scope of our trip to about 10 different national parks and preserves was much larger than my interest in insects, me and two of my fellow colleagues in Iowa State's entomology department, Clint Pilcher and Jared Ostrem, were there with me so that we could bring back a fine sample of what Costa Rica had to offer for Iowa State's collection. The only thing missing during this trip was the companionship of my grandmother, the one who had fostered my interest and fanned the flames to make it grow. I wanted very badly to see and then be able to take a picture of a morpho butterfly for her, and possibly catch one.

While on layover in San Jose between a trip from Haciena Solimar to El Estacion Biologica de La Selva, we were considering a visit to the Alajuela butterfly farm. It was there where I hoped to get a close-up picture of a morhpo for my grandmother, but as luck would have it, everyone decided against visiting the butterfly farm, so I had to hope beyond hope that I would get that picture of a morpho. I wanted that picture so badly so that I could give a piece of my trip to my grandmother because I had shown her pictures of morhpos in my books before, and they were by far her favorite butterflies. That's also why I wanted to catch her one too.

When we reached La Selva, I was anxious and apprehensive. Clint and Jared had brought the collecting equipment we needed, but they had lost their bait trap gear back in San Jose. Our field leader, Oscar Rocha, was able to scrap a makeshift bait trap together, but there was still the issue of what to use for bait. Our itinerary called for only a three day visit in La Selva, so I knew that we would have to act quick. For the first two days of our visit, we set out ripe and rotting bananas in our trap, and got nothing. I was starting to get uneasy, especially since the last day in La Selva would be almost strict research (we had a project to do and present with a partner). The next day, I set out early to get my project notes and summary done. Noon hit, and I was starting to get very depressed. I had seen a Morpho peleides fly just over my head on our way to the barracks when we first arrived, but I didn't have a net handy. And I had seen a Morpho amathonte the day before, way below me while I was walking on a bridge. Then it hit me...how could I have been so stupid? How could I have missed such an obvious oversight? I knew that baiting morphos with bright blue objects was nearly twice as effective as baiting for them, so I set out during a period of dead time just after my lunch. Two o'clock found me on one of many of La Selva's fine nature trails deep into the forest. I had my trusty bright blue raincoat with me, and not just for morpho attraction either! :-) I waited for the light drizzle to subside before I finally was able to tie my coat up in one of the trees high above. Then, I waited...and waited...and waited. 4 o'clock found me still apprehensively waiting, and I was getting very sad and anxious. I would have to start back in 15 minutes, because the walk back was a good 45 minutes and supper would start in about an hour. I had to get cleaned up for supper and our presentation just afterwards too. Then, I saw a dark sapphire flash out of the corner of my eye. Probably a Morpho peleides limpida, the most common morhp endemic to Costa Rica I thought to myself...

The morpho alighted with its wings spread, then hovered around the coat. I slowly lowered the coat without disturbing the morpho's hovering pattern, getting it to within focal distance of my camera. When I finally worked my coat down to the ground, the morpho finally perched on it, with its wings partially spread. Perfect shot! I could get a view of the contrasting sapphire wings and the dark brown underside with it's spectacularly huge eyespots. It was then that I realized that what I was watching wasn't a Morpho peleides either, but rather a Morpho amathonte! I was ecstatic. Although I had seen a Morpho amathonte just the day before, it was a rarity...the most difficult of Costa Rica's morhpos to photograph and obtain! I snapped the shot, and then quickly netted the morpho for my grandmother. But then, a twang of guilt came over me. I looked at the butterfly as it fluttered helplessly in my net and saw how raw, powerful, and beautiful it was. It was so pristine and perfect...

Everytime my grandmother had seen something as beautiful and powerful as that before, and she had a chance at catching it, she would let it go, and she instructed me to do the same thing every time. Was that trophy that would be on her wall worth the guilt I would have by killing it when she probably would have let it go? I weighed both sides of the argument before finally letting the big, burly, and priceless beauty go.

Five minutes later, I saw why I had reason to be glad. Right above me, in plain sight on a bare twig of all places, was the shed exuviae of a berry-like, green cocoon. The Morpho amathonte had just emerged from its cocoon before our encounter. I thanked God for letting that innocent, pure, and pristine morpho go. That butterfly had its whole life to live, and somehow, I think my grandmother knew too. I think that's why I got the message when I did.

Meanwhile, something strange was happening back at the bait trap. When I got back, imagine my surprise when Jared and Clint had managed to bait three morhpos! One for Jared's collection, one for Clint's, and one for Iowa State's department. They were all peleides. Just as they were papering the morphos they caught from the bait trap, a Morpho amathonte alighted in it! Jared was ready to lunge for it, but I said, ""Uh uh, this one's mine."" Just before I was to eat supper and do my presentation, I netted a Morpho amathonte, and my grandmother had peace of mind, a picture, and now, a specimen. Things couldn't have gone better!

When I got back and showed my grandmother the prize I caught her, she told me it was the best gift she had ever gotten. She also told me that on the same day I took the picture of the Morpho amathonte, she was thinking about me and what I would do if I had caught one for her. I told her about how I let that first one go to live its life, and she said, after looking at how breathtakingly beautiful the picture was, that she wouldn't have had it any other way.

The capper on this whole story is that just as we left La Selva the next morning, a Morpho amathonte guided us as we left, hovering right next to the seat where Jared, Clint, and I were sitting. I think it was the same one that I had let go just the day before, and that he was thanking me for letting him live on

Mariposa, San Antonio, TX, USA
Since I was a little girl the beauty of butterflies fascinated me. As I grew older I found out that butterflies symbolized ""eternal life."" My father passed away when I was very young and everytime I see a butterfly I remember that my father's memory will never die, and that someday I too will live in a place and have eternal life.
Michelle Garner, OK, USA
I was driving to my Mother's grave site and I felt bad and sad that I had no money to go buy flowers to lay on her grave. Grave sites that looked neglected had always made me upset. My Mom had only been buried a very short time and I had already decided to visit her grave often and to keep it nice and keep flowers on it. I just had to get my Mom some flowers. She didn't have a head stone yet and I wanted people to know that a person was buried there not just some grass and dirt. It wasn't too long before I saw a field of sunflowers growing thick and tall so I decided to pull over and pick some. Mom had always loved flowers and wildflowers were her favorite so I felt like everything might just work out after all. I got out of my car and I went to a cluster of sunflowers. As I started to pull on one of the sunflowers I saw something move out of the corner of my eye I turned my head and saw more than several Monarch butterflies! Some fluttered just above a select few sunflowers while the others seemed content on staying put. I was filled with joy at the sight of them. Butterflies have always given me joy since I was a little girl. The sight of them brought me back to the day we had funeral services for my Mom. After the service, people filed out into the parking lot. As I went out side to thank everyone for coming and invite them over to my house I saw a little yellow butterfly fly past me and it kind of flew around me awhile and shortly, it flew off. I smiled a little to myself thinking ""I wonder if that was Mom somehow coming to see how I was and to tell me that she is ok now?"" Well, with that and now this what seemed to be a ""field of butterflies"" I just felt a calm come over me and I praised God because I just had to thank the maker of all of it. I also lifted my head a little toward the sky and I said out loud ""Mother I love and miss you so very much!"" and I felt like she might have heard me. I do believe that butterflies have some special purpose in our lives. Perhaps to heal and they certainly share their beauty with us, but, maybe there's more to it than that If so, I'm glad that they have shared themselves with me.
Janie Ramsey, Garrison, TX, USA
Our daughter Julee died on December 4, 1997 as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident. She was 12, one week away from her 13th birthday. One day as her Dad and I were at the cemetery visiting her as we do because we miss her so much, a butterfly lit on her grave as we stood there. I have read about butterflies and them being there for the those left behind. That day we were so surprised to see one and especially to light on her grave.
Cheryl, Columbia, MO, USA
When I had reached my sophomore year in highschool, I thought that me and the Lord had a really good relationship. I figured that I didn't need anything to help me grow at all. Then one of my best friend's mothers asked me to go on a retreat by the name of Chrysalis. In my mind I did not want to go because I knew for sure that it could not help me in anyway. But, as God works so wonderfully, I filled out the application to go and was soon scheduled in February. I arrived at the retreat center on a Friday, after a two hour, early morning drive. All morning I searched for things that were wrong, and that didn't match up with the word of God. Chrysalis is a three day retreat where symbolically you go from a caterpillar on the first day, die with Christ on the second day as a cocoon, and rise with Christ on the third day as a butterfly. Wow, this weekend totally broke me and humbled me to Christ's work. And I realized that we're always growing and changing, to better ourselves. As a new ""butterfly"" for Christ I now help with as much of the Chrysalis retreats that I can, and hope I can bring an ""un-needy"" soul back to their true desire, Christ.
Robin Greaves, Durban, KwaZulu, South Africa
I am a keen lepidopterist living in South Africa. I work as a pilot and on certain flights I have noticed a large forest in a very remote part of Zululand. My wife and I took time off and attempted to drive to the forest in our Jeep. After a whole day of hard 4X4 work we managed to reach the forest. We were immediatly amazed to find that this great forest was unspoiled and intact; not only was there evidense of dramatic species diversity but in all of my travels around South Africa I have never seen such big trees. The forest lies on top of an escarpment and well off the beaten track and is accessible only with a 4X4 and a good measure of initiative. The prospect of the occurence of rare butterflies is very good. We are going to mount an expedition over the Easter weekend. We have prepared a lot of banana bait. We are expecting to find species in the forest that normally occur further North in Mozambique. Maybe there are as yet undiscovered species in there.

We will post a list of what we find in this web site next week. We are also going to pay attention to the botany and the avian fauna

.
E'tienne Easley, Nashville, TN, USA
I wasn't interested in butterflies at all until my spring break a couple of weeks ago. It is a long ride from Nashville to Miami, so you could imagine how I would daze out of the window day in and out. It wasn't until then that I realized how beautiful these insects were. A couple of friends and I collaborated at the beach one Sunday evening to discuss what had been on our minds. We were all so stressed out from midterms. I was feeling so depressed at the beach because, my friends and I really haven't said so much as ""Hi"" to each other in 2 years, but they were going through a lot and I made myself available to them. We talked and talked and as my friend tried to explain to me how I affected her life a butterfly landed on my shoulder. She said ""You know, you are like a butterfly, light and delicate. You have popped in my life and made it beautiful, you are free and so full of life ...I was overjoyed at the thought that I could brighten someone else's life like so many people have brightened mine.
Erin Nicholson, Pitt Meadows, BC, CANADA
On March 23, 1999 Christa Marie McCarron passed away at the age of 19. She will be remembered for her beautiful spirit, her smiles and her laughter. Christa loved butterflies - her bedroom was a virtual monument to them. Shortly after her death, Christa's friends gathered to mourn our loss. Toward the end of the evening I saw something out of the corner of my eye. Although the weather was still very cold, there was a butterfly circling over us. I saw it land on a bookshelf, and when I walked over and put my hand out it stepped onto my fingers. I carried it over to Christa's closest friends and the sight of it brought tears of happiness to everyone's eyes.

I realize that this story seems contrived, and that it couldn't possibly be real. But I swear that it's true. Perhaps I'm searching for comfort in something that wasn't really there, but I honestly believe that Christa was with us that night, and that that was her way of letting us know she was alright. Whenever I see a butterfly I'll think of Christa.

Lauren, Waldorf, MD, USA
In August of 1993 my two year old cousin was killed by a drunk driver that hit the van she was in on her side. She was thrown out of the van with her car seat on and had a broken neck. She was a wonderful little girl. The day of her funeral she had hundereds of flowers because she touched so many hearts. My cousin and I were standing by the casket when the the priest was talking and we looked over and saw three beautiful butterflies on her casket. Ever since then, when ever we see a butterfly my family and I always think of her. She truely touched our lives.
Scottsboro, AL, USA
My son, Andy, died in 1991. On a visit to Gulf Shores Al one year later on his anniversary, there was one lone Monarch flitting outside of our room and the restaurant where we all ate Thanksgiving Dinner. I knew Andy was with us in spirit that day and from then on. HE is a butterfly to me.
Tracy Freeman, Dallas, GA, USA
Butterflies have always fascinated me as a child growing up, mainly because I could never seem to catch one of these beautiful creatures. A moth maybe but no butterfly. I am now a grown woman, a wife, and a mother of two wonderful daughters. My fascination with butterflies only intensifies as time goes by for myself as well as my girls. I had a very strong and close relationship with my grand- mother. We laughed a lot, we talked a lot and we shared a lot of wonderful memories together. We talked about everything. I needed to talk to her one day about something that a lot of people don't like to discuss and that is death. It was a long conversation and a bit in depth. We decided that whichever one of us leaves this earth first, that we would try to somehow let the other know that we're fine and that we're still close by. So, we decided to send butterflies. We never really discussed how we would send them, but just that we would send them and a white dove. Sadly my grandmother passed suddenly 7 months later. My world seemed shaken for a long time and I felt like I had lost a part of my soul. But time heals all wounds. It was a little over a year from her passing that my daughters and I were outside. My girls were in the pool and I happened to be sitting in a chair reading a book called ""We Don't Die"" when this beautiful butterfly lit right on my hand while I was holding the book. It flew off after a few seconds, and I held my finger out mid-air and it lit on my finger. It circled me three more times and lit on my shoulder last. Before flying off completely my oldest daughter held out her finger and it lit on her finger also. I was so stunned as well as my daughters because they were the only other people I had told about this secret I shared with my Grandmother. I ran down to my husband's shop and was so excited. I began telling him of this butterfly, when he stopped me mid sentence and told me that this White Dove had been sitting on a big canister he had outside of his shop, just looking at him as he was working on the car. He said it had just flown off behind the back yard and we might be able to see it. Sure enough there it was. It was pure white, with a little red tag attached to its leg. It stayed a while longer and then flew off. This was the most wonderful day that I could ever have imagined. I never in all my years caught a butterfly, but on this day I had one to catch me and a white dove to confirm that this was my grandmother saying I am o.k. and I am close. Now what's the chances of that happening in a million years? None, except through God!

I would also like to note that my youngest daughter was very upset that the butterfly didn't lite on her, but the next day at the last cleaning out of my grandmother's home before it was to be torn down, my daughter just happened to find my grandmother's old yellow butterfly magnet that she had on her refrigerator ever since I could remember. My daughter looked at me as she held it in her hand and said, ""Look Mom, Grandma didn't forget about me after all."" Isn't Life Wonderful?!!!

Atlanta, GA, USA
Story Butterflies gave me something to love. They set an example for me. They taught me that I can fly free into the air. They are a perfect example for all people and I love them. They let me realize that I have my own life and I can use it.
Lexington, SC, USA
On Oct 29,1993 I was involuntarily committed before I hurt myself or someone else. I had lost everything to alcohol. My home, my husband, my kids and even my faith in God. I reached a point where I drank every day, sometimes 24 hours a day. I felt hopeless and helpless and just didn't want to live anymore. I felt I had nothing or nobody and felt totally worthless. As part of my rehab treatment I was given a short story to read called ""The Brown Bottle"" and it was about a caterpillar that crawled into a bottle and was not able to crawl out to become a butterfly and died in that bottle. At one of our groups they went around and asked if you could be any kind of animal or something, what would you be and why. When I was next I said I wanted to be a caterpillar, when they asked why I said cause when I I got out of there I wanted to be a butterfly. After 30 days I left there to try to begin my new life without drinking. It was not easy and I struggled a lot to stay sober.

Five years later I am still sober and feel that just like the caterpillar and the butterfly, I changed from crawling to flying. Today I am free from that bottle and have a whole new life. Everytime I see a butterfly it reminds me of those days spent in rehab and how today I have a new life and am free. Free of alcohol and I didn't have to die in that bottle.

Donna LaFleur, Baton Rouge, LA, USA
I have been fascinated by butterflies for several years now, my childhood interest having been renewed by a friend. And in my work as a television producer, I had even written and produced a program for television on the subject. Many stories of the symbolism of the butterfly had been presented to me, but this summer, I experienced their magic for myself. My father died after a long illness, and each of my siblings placed a rose in his casket before it was closed. I had a beautifully preserved specimen of a Giant Swallowtail at the time, and I decided to place this symbol of rebirth and transformation in the casket as well.

A week later, all of my extended family gathered at my father's home for the 4th of July. As we grilled and prepared a meal for the family, a beautiful Giant Swallowtail came to visit the garden, and lingered for a while. I called to my sisters to come see, that ""Dad"" was visiting us. Sure, it could just be coincidence, that the first butterfly I saw after my father's death happened to be a Giant Swallowtail. But I've always had faith in serendipity, and for me, watching that butterfly in my dad's garden was a sweet and uplifting moment that I will remember happily.

Carol Crowell, Hanover, PA, USA
The morning my mother passed away the sun was rising and the birds were singing. Two weeks after her passing I found a newspaper article about a new born baby born in California that needed open heart surgery to survive. Suprisingly enough his heart healed itself and surgery was not needed. The comforting thought was he was born the day my mother passed away. We know she gave her life so this baby could have a chance at life.

Over the years, I have dealt with many emotional ups and downs. Two years ago I heard Rick Mikula speak at the local park. You see on my lowest days I would walk along the water looking for answers. In the same park, we went nature walking one Sunday with Rick on a butterfly watch. Since then I have had much solitude spending time with nature. The birds and butterflies have been my inspiration. Occasionally a butterfly or hummingbird comes and persists. I know it is my mother and God reminding me that life is precious and special. As my husband recently lost his job of 10 years we have decided to farm butterflies. We feel this is God's way of allowing us to share nature with children and the elderly. God does work in mysterious ways.

Sunny, Lancaster, CA, USA
Story Butterflies have a very special meaning in our family. My mother loved them so much that when she was in the hospital she told us that when she passed away she would turn into a butterfly and visit each of us her 3 daughters. Well mom passed away 2 years ago, and each of us have been visited by butterflies. And it's funny every time someone sees one they always say with a big smile on their face 'look there's mimi(my mom)'. She also told us when we were young that my grandma was a butterfly too. I see them everywhere and always think of mom.
Portland, OR, USA
Story Once I saw a butterfly. I thought it was so pretty. Then it started to twitter around on the ground. I thought it was going to die, so I helped it lessen the pain. I stepped on it. While I was sleeping I felt a tickling feeling on my face. I woke up to find a dead butterfly lying by my bed. I think it wanted to thank me for putting it out of its misery.
Jane Schweitzer, Richland Center, WI, USA
My husband passed away in the month of August, 1996. His life involved conservation and the many beautiful things of nature. He was buried in a little country cemetary surrounded by farm fields and wildflowers. As our minister was saying the final prayer, a butterfly circled above the casket and landed. When the minister said the last ""Amen"", the butterfly flew up and over a cornfield. My six children were by my side and each one saw and remarked, Dad is here with us. Each time I see a butterfly,I say a prayer and hello to my husband
GA, USA
""A True Story of Courage and Love"".............
Walking down a path through some woods in Georgia in 1977, I saw a water puddle ahead on the path. I angled my direction to go around it on the part of the path that wasn't covered by water and mud. As I reached the puddle, I was suddenly attacked! Yet I did nothing for the attack was so unpredictable and from a source so totally unexpected. I was startled as well as unhurt, despite having been struck four or five times already. I backed up a foot and my attacker stopped attacking me.   Instead of attacking more, he hovered in the air on graceful butterfly wings in front of me. Had I been hurt I wouldn't have found it amusing, but I was unhurt, it was funny, and I was laughing. After all, I was being attacked by a butterfly!

Having stopped laughing, I took a step forward. My attacker rushed me again. He rammed me in the chest with his head and body, striking me over and over again with all his might, still to no avail. For a second time, I retreated a step while my attacker relented in his attack. Yet again, I tried moving forward. My attacker charged me again. I was rammed in the chest over and over again. I wasn't sure what to do, other than to retreat a third time. After all, it's just not everyday that one is attacked by a butterfly.

This time, though, I stepped back several paces to look the situation over. My attacker moved back as well, to land on the ground. That's when I discovered why my attacker was charging me only moments earlier. He had a mate and she was dying. She was beside the puddle where he landed. Sitting close beside her, he opened and closed his wings as if to fan her. I could only admire the love and courage of that butterfly in his concern for his mate. He had taken it upon himself to attack me for his mate's sake, even though she was clearly dying and I was so large. He did so just to give her those extra few precious moments of life, should I have been careless enough to step on her. Now I knew why and what he was fighting for.

There was really only one option left for me. I carefully made my way around the puddle to the other side of the path, though it was only inches wide and extremely muddy. His courage in attacking something thousands of times larger and heavier than himself just for his mate's safety justified it. I couldn't do anything other than reward him by walking on the more difficult side of the puddle. He had truly earned those moments to be with her, undisturbed. I left them in peace for those last few moments, cleaning the mud from my boots when I later reached my car.

Since then, I've always tried to remember the courage of that butterfly whenever I see huge obstacles facing me. I use that butterfly's courage as an inspiration and to remind myself that good things are worth fighting for.

Barbara, Syracuse, NY, USA
Since my father's death in 1979, butterflies have become a very important symbol to me and also to my sister. We believe that our deceased loved ones are able to send us messages of love and concern using these delicate creatures which stand for metamorphosis.

Dad was buried on a lovely June day. After the services, Mom, I, Sis, grandchildren, and family members and friends stood nearby Dad's grave which was covered with flowers. We all were busy in conversation about Dad/Jim. Suddenly a huge butterfly, as large as the palm of my hand, flitted around us. The colors were black, blue & white. It landed on the flowers & seemed to be listening. I noticed that its colors seem to match what Dad was wearing...a charcoal gray suit, white shirt & a medium blue tie which exactly matched the blue on the butterfly. We stood there in amazement over this friendly, curious butterfly. How were we, then, to know that butterflies were to become so prominent in our lives from that day on?

All that summer our back yard was visited by an abundance of butterflies, mostly monarchs, with one landing on Mom's finger much to her delight! She (and Sis & I) were sure these butterflies were Dad's way of communicating his concern for us and his love.

He passed on before he & Mom could enjoy their 50th anniversary together. On that day we visited his grave - also visiting was a big monarch who hovered nearby us .... of course it was ""Dad."" When I was out shopping for a 50th anniversary gift I found myself heading for a San Francisco Music Box store in a local mall. The most perfect gift was awaiting me...a water globe with a branch of flowers and a large black, blue, & white butterfly resting on them. The music it played was the theme from the film, ""Somewhere in Time.""

After a few years, Mom needed surgery for a large, cancerous tumor in her abdomen and Kathy (Sis) and I waited, very afraid & nervous, in her room until the surgery was completed. The room had large windows which overlooked a parking lot and it was up fairly high - 8 floors up. I blinked with surprise and told Kathy to come and look out the window. There, right in front of our faces in the window, was a small ""colony"" of monarch butterflies flitting around, right up there in mid-air outside of an 8th floor window. Dad had sent the troops! His support for us and concern for Mom came right through from the beyond. We watched in awe and gratitude and were comforted by this merry band of monarchs for about 20 minutes!

While Mom was battling ovarian cancer, in her last days we talked openly about ""signs from the other side""... she said she would also send butterflies to us. She was very calm about facing her death, - a truly remarkable lady.

For weeks I watched for these butterflies but it was in the early part of April; the weather just seemed to cold for these delicate creatures. I'd let the idea go until Memorial Day when I brought her swan planter to her grave. Filled with her favorite flowers, impatiens and lobelia, I wondered if these flowers would attract butterflies. I talked and pleaded into mid-air hoping that Mom would somehow hear me - ""please send me a butterfly so I know you're here!"" Good thing I was the only one around as I'm sure others hearing me and watching me look above would certainly think I was a crazy person. As I slowly walked to back to my car and got in, I took a last glance at the very pretty swan bouquet. Lo and behold... I noticed a yellow (Mom's favorite color) swallowtail landing on it and seemingly liking it. In my surprise, I could only holler out, ""Thanks, Mom! You made my day!

I realize I have been a lengthy in telling my story but needed to tie it all in. Thanks for reading and may you be granted many, many ""butterfly kisses"" yourselves.

Katrin Weber, Orr's Island, ME, USA
My sister, Nina, died in 1981 of a brain tumor. She was 12 years old. My mother spent a lot of time with her while she was going through radiation and doctor's visits. My sister told my mother not to worry about her after she died, she would be well taken care of when she went to heaven. A little boy in a blue suit was going to be there to help her find her way. She also told my mother that she would always be close to us in whatever we did, our family would just have to look for a butterfly because that would be her. Eighteen years later I still stop to look at every butterfly that comes my way and I always tell it hello and how much I love her. I plant more and more flowers in my garden every year just so I can talk to a butterfly every day.

Nina Lee Hutchins died on the first day of spring in 1981 and she will always be missed.

Gerry Price, Franklin, MA, USA
About mid way through my college years --- longer ago than I'll admit here --- I found myself in one of those periods of lost direction. I was unsure of my path and was beginning to feel as though life made no sense.

It was in very late May on an exquisite almost-summer day in Amherst, MA. Some college friends and I had been painting an elderly couple's home to make ends meet. At that time, the Cold War was still in full swing. Amherst was in the flight path of the SAC bomber base in Chicopee. I was lying on the lawn feeling the warm sun when I heard the distant whine of a B-52 approaching to land. I lay there as the enormous bomber slipped overhead --- my view couldn't have been better.

I remember being awed by the enormity, the complexity and even the grace of that plane as it passed above me. The power of its engines, even in their near-idle state, was humbling. As it disappeared to the south and quiet returned I continued my revelry looking up into the blue sky.

Silently, a butterfly appeared directly over my head, hovering or at least bobbing back and forth in my field of view. It was a beautiful Tiger Swallowtail. I was quite amused that it would appear so close to my face and seemed to work at staying right above me. I studied it --- the structure and coloring of its wings, the intricacies of its body. It then became embarrassingly obvious. This creature was the true marvel. Not the huge, loping war machine but this simple living work of art. I smiled. The early summer warmth spread inside again.

John Roskelley, Spokane, WA, USA
Around the first of August, 1978, Rick Ridgeway and I were fixing ropes at 24,000 feet along the Northeast Ridge of K2 in our effort to help our team make the first American ascent. The knife-bladed ridge divided Communist Tibet from Pakistan, from where we had approached the peak. It was a windless and clear day, with a temperature of around 10 degrees. Rick, sitting on an ice shelf, belayed me as I moved carefully sideways on the 60 degree slope. Quite unexpectedly, I noticed a Monarch butterfly fly past my head. It was the last thing at this altitude and temperature I expected to see. Suddenly, there was another, then another, until finally, there were hundreds, perhaps thousands coming out of Tibet, rising on the thermals and trying to cross over the immense ridge into Pakistan to the south. It was a full-blown migration over the second highest mountain on earth. Butterflies continued to cross the ridge throughout the day, but in fewer numbers. In camp that night, there were Monarchs in our tent, cook water, sleeping bags and just about any other place. Many of them had perished on the icy slopes of K2 that day, but many more made it into the warm valleys of Pakistan and eventually into Kashmir and India. Unlike our species, they crossed these borders without regard to race or religion, a feat not easy in this world of ours today.
Shirley, MO, USA
About 15 years ago, I was leaving work and as I approached the road, I saw a butterfly on the side of the road and it looked to be stunned or injured. I stopped, picked it up, and put it on the grass near the road, not knowing what else to do. I went about my business, then a few weeks later I was at work outdoors and to my lovely surprise a butterfly fluttered about my head for a few seconds, and then this beautiful creature landed on my smock lapel and twittered about for a few seconds as if to thank me. It then flew away and ever since I have been hooked on these delicate winged creatures and to think God gave ME this honor, to have this butterfly visit me was breath-taking and overwhelming.
Stephanie D, LA, USA
On August 15, 1997, I felt that my world had come to an end. My nineteen year old son had been murdered in a carjacking and robbery. I was devastated. From that day on I knew that my life would never be the same.

My son was my love and my light. He was always so happy and so loving. Damian would light up a room just by walking through the door. He had a kind heart and wonderful spirit, he was loving and giving, a gentle giant. Damian loved children, and children loved him. He loved life and everything in it. His love for God and his faith were strong. God, how could this be happening? How could the first most wonderful thing that happened in my life be taken from me?

The next few days were nothing but a blur; funeral arrangements, family and friends, shock from what I had just been told about my son. I was numb. My worst nightmare had come true. What was I going to do?

A couple of days after the funeral, in my desperation, I went to the cemetery to visit my son’s grave. I was alone at last. Alone to let out all of my tears, alone to scream at the top of my lungs, where no one else could hear me. I knelt on the dirt, and directly in front of me was a single rose that someone had placed into a clump of dirt. As I was screaming and crying, I asked, “Damian, what will I do? How can I go on without you?”

At that exact moment a beautiful butterfly landed on the rose, directly in front of me, despite my delirium. I stopped crying immediately. The butterfly slowly fluttered its wings while facing me. I stared in amazement. Several moments passed, and I slowly reached out to touch the butterfly. Just as my finger was about to touch it, the butterfly fluttered up and above my head. I was stunned. My first thought was to say “Alright Damian, I get the message. You are okay in your new life.” A sense of relief and peace swept over me. I knew this was a message sent from Heaven to ease my pain and loss. For the next several days, everytime I went to visit the grave, the butterfly would be there, happily flying about.

About a week later, still numb with grief, I sat on the floor sorting boxes of pictures, looking for those loving reminders of my dear child. While sitting there, weeping, I noticed an envelope addressed to me, written in my dear child’s handwriting from many years before. The postmark on the envelope was May 10, 1985, when my son was seven years old, at which time he was in the first grade. As I opened the letter and began to read, tears poured from my eyes, and I could not contain myself. Evidently a school project, my son wrote to tell me how much he loved me, in the only way a seven year old can. The letter read:

Dear Mom,
I love you very much. You always help me. Thank you for being so sweet. I love your cooking. It is so nice to have you wake me up. homework wold be terrible without you. you are the best mom and have the bigest heart. I love you.
Love, Damian

I then noticed a crude drawing at the bottom of the letter. In blue crayon he had colored the bottom half of the page, except for one place in the shape of a butterfly. In the center of the butterfly he had written these words:

Butterfly
go to my mother.
whisper that I love her.
Love, Damian

From that moment on, I have never doubted that the butterfly that came to me at the cemetery was a message from my son. About a week later, I met with Damian’s first grade teacher. Fighting back tears unsuccessfully, I told her the story of the butterfly. I told her that I understand her job is very hard, and a lot of times thankless. I know most teachers are not given the appreciation that they truly deserve. Teachers touch the lives of so many children, in ways that they may never know. The simple little project she had done with a first grade class so many years ago had impacted my life forever. Together we hugged and wept.

Thank you, Mrs. Ann Hardy! I will remember you with love forever, and you will always remain special in my heart. And everytime I see a butterfly, I smile and think about Damian, and it brightens my day.

Berkeley, CA, USA
My daughter was dating a boy named George and on Sunday morning I got a call that his father had died. That afternoon, as I was strolling in my garden, I came across a Monarch. It was late in the season for a Monarch. They should have all migrated by now. It must be one of the last Monarchs. I thought about doing a butterfly release for the funeral. In the past I had raised Monarchs for other people who released them at funerals. The butterfly is a symbol of the soul passing on.

The funeral was on Wednesday and I thought this could be the last Monarch I would see, but I didn’t want to catch it and keep it imprisoned in a box for three whole days. So I took a chance and let that one go, determined I would find another butterfly on Tuesday. Now on Tuesday I went out looking for any kind of butterfly. The whole day was gone and no butterfly. The sun was getting low in the sky. My wife drove home then and both of us looked around for the last time. We realized that nothing was going to happen. You don’t find butterflies at night. I followed my wife toward the house. She went in. I stopped and closed my eyes and the thought was something like, 'Please God I need a butterfly by tomorrow.' Right after that I knew I’d be out in the morning and it would show up. It might be magic, but it would be back. Then I dismissed the thought and feelings going through my head and after five seconds of that I went in the house.

My wife was on the phone with a woman who was telling her that she had just found a Monarch Butterfly at her doorstep. Earlier in the day she’d found the Monarch and was concerned because it was so late in the season and was calling people to find out how to care for a Monarch butterfly. She had called me to come pick it up and take care of it for her.

My wife, having been skeptical about all this butterfly magic, was amazed. She had now become a part of this process! I threw on a Monarch T-shirt and went to pick up my Monarch. When I arrived the first thing she said was 'I have the same T-shirt!' She also had a butterfly cage in her house and had taken care of them two years ago. I gave her a copy of a book I brought with me, I, Monty by Marcus Bach, because of our similar experiences. The magic of sychronisity was back and, of course, it was all about butterflies. The butterfly had landed in her yard, the yard of a butterfly lover. She had thought to call me and it was on that very evening when I was especially looking for a butterfly! The magic was back.

I took the butterfly home, made it a sugar/water solution and hand fed it. It became active after eating and flew around the house. I put it to sleep for the night in a dark cage of its liking. The next day at the funeral I released the Monarch while reciting a prayer from Marianne Williamson’s book Illuminata about spirit flying free. The butterfly took off straight up in the air and disappeared in a flash. People came up to me later and said it was the most beautiful service ever. People felt that the soul had left on the wings of that butterfly.

George said that he needed to be alone for an hour at the gravesite. As I was walking to the car I kept looking back wishing that butterfly would appear again. We left and it didn’t appear. I thought, 'Oh, well, nice thought. I can’t have everything I wish for.' On the way home I told my wife that something’s going to happen. I’m thinking that the night after I lost my aunt I felt my aunt walking down the hall and that something like that was going to happen.

Here’s what happened. George called us when he got home. On his way home from the cemetery he stopped at a light and a Monarch landed next to his car. This was an area under construction, not a place where you’d normally see a butterfly. When the light turned green, the butterfly flew right along with his car and kept pace with him. As the butterfly followed him, he broke into tears, beautiful bittersweet tears. When he got home he opened his door. He saw his father sitting there. I had only felt my aunt’s presence the day after her funeral, George said he actually saw his father. Whether you believe George saw his father or not, is not important. What is important is that butterfly meant something to George that absolutely heeled his pain. George knew then that his father was with him and always would be.

Galveston, IN, USA
I began teaching a self-contained moderatedly mentally handicapped middle school last year. Early in the year I found a monarch caterpillar on my classroom door. (The science teacher across the hall had a caterpillar hotel in her room. This one had escaped.) I thought that it would be an interesting experience for my students to watch the caterpillar, so I found a jar and some milkweed leaves. The students were fascinated! They named the caterpillar "Garth". We watched Garth everyday, kept a chart of his size, made predictions about when the coccoon would open, and drew pictures of the whole process. The day Garth came out of the cocoon was such an experience for the whole class, myself included. Students at this cognitive level don't often relate to the world around them, but this experience related to them and they still talk about seeing Garth. One of the students even made up her own play about garth! This year we are getting ready to start a bired and butterfly garden at our school. Hopefully garth will visit!
Charleston, SC, USA
In the summer of 1996 I was sitting with a special friend of mine at a Christian camp in North Carolina. We were enjoying the view of the camp lake when a monarch landed on my hand. He said one of the sweetest things I have ever heard "You do know that if a butterfly lands on you when you are with someone that means that you were meant to be together." Maybe this is a corny pick-up line but it sure got me because I love butterflies and I also love him!
Emma, Canberra, NSW, AUSTRALIA
Story Every day my life is touched by butterflies, they flutter by my windows, they fly by my side and remind me of the beauty that life offers. Every day I encounter giant cream and black, azure blue, vermilion and brown wonders of nature. The strange and inspiring intrigue that I have with butterflies is that while they fly by my home in Canberra everyday, the same species of giant wonders seem to follow me to my boyfriend's home in Sydney. He and I share a truly profound cosmic bond, and when we first met giant butterflies of azure blue and black followed us (even in the heart of Sydney's smokey Central) from Sydney to Canberra, and the same species that now surround us. When I see these creatures I am reminded of the love I share with my man and the nature of life's cosmic wonder.
Lubna, BAHRAIN
Reading some of the stories, I don't think mine is very inspirational. But anyway .. since being 13 I've loved angels, them being so innocent and all. But on my 15th birthday, a friend of mine gave me a butterfly toy saying that i was his butterfly and just as innocent as one. From that day on I've been totally obsessed with butterflies and just die over them. I've never realized how beautiful they are. My favourite is the common blue butterfly. It's only been 4 months since my 15th birthday, but now I see butterflies wherever I am. Coincidental? I don't know! I just think that butterflies are the angels of this world .. just as beautiful ... just as innocent .... just as majestic!
USA
In October of 1997, my daughter Emma was diagnosed with a childhood cancer called Neuroblatoma. She had just had her first birthday the month before. Emma went through many rounds of harsh chemotherapy, many minor surgeries as well as two spinal surgeries. We nearly lost her a few times due to infection and malnutrition.

After several months of therapy it was clear nothing was shrinking her very substantial tumor. It seemed as though it as becoming less cancerous, but any treatments available weren't able to help us. We stopped treatment. After a few weeks of being fed by a tube and rest from chemo, I sat outside on our lanai behind our home on Oahu, Hawaii. I was pushing Emma in her little dolphin swing. About five butterflies come over to see Emma. I felt as though they they had missed my baby girl. They made me feel as though everything was going to be okay, like I hadn't felt in nearly a year. Emma giggled as they floated along on the warm, soft trade winds. We lived on a military base, and our homes were all very close together. As strange as this may seem, the butterflies were always in our yard, and we haven't had to go back to the hospital very much since.

We now live in San Diego, and we are getting ready to plant a very butterfly friendly yard here. My daughter Emma is still not getting cancer treatment, but is healthier than she has ever been.

Lauren J., Madison, MS, USA
Last January I got really sick. I had the flu, bordering on pneumonia. I felt horrible and lay in bed for a few days and slept. I finally got well enough to get up and move around so I went to my glass doors and looked outside. It was freezing cold, and I saw a beautiful butterfly lying on the ground. Very carefully, I picked the poor thing up. It fluttered a little bit but was on the brink of death. I brought it inside my warm house and put it in the bathroom and turned on the heater. I put a hummingbird feeder in with it and some fresh water and left it alone. I checked back on it about an hour later and it seemed to be doing a lot better. It didn't just lie on the ground like it once had. It fluttered a lot more and seemed to be doing ok. I ran into an old closet and pulled out an old butterfly cage that I had raised butterflies in once. I kept it there until the next warm day. I took the cage outdoors and opened the door. The butterfly hesitated for a moment, and then took off. I watched it until I couldn't see it anymore. It was gone and I went back inside. Since then I have been a butterfly fanatic. I love them. They are everywhere in my room. Thanks to one little one, I have an appreciation for all creatures, great and small.
Hilda Travis, Reston, VA, USA
On a beautiful Summers day we had gone back to the Country to bury my Son-in-law. As the pallbearers were taking the casket from the hearse a beautiful yellow butterfly hovered over the flowers atop the casket. I saw it and I wondered if any one else did. Finally I mentioned it to my Daughter and Grandson, and they said that they saw it too. It disappeared as suddenly as it came. A few days later as I was on the balcony back home I was amazed to see a yellow butterfly just darting back and forth. Later that week as I was working in the garden where I live, I again saw a lovely yellow butterfly, only one. By then I knew that Butterfly must have been a symbol of love and peace, and that my Son-in-law was telling me all was well.
Richard Heymann, Charleston, SC, USA
My mother loved butterflies and used them as a decorating motif. Surrounded by them as were were growing up, my sister and I came to appreciate their beauty and love them, too.

Mother died at age 54 in February, 1977. Her wishes were to be cremated. When the weather turned warmer, my father, sister and I got in a motor boat with the Rector of our church and proceeded to a wildlife refuge not far from where the Maumee River (runs through Toledo, Ohio) meets Lake Erie. The ashes of a number of parishioners were distributed in the water by the Rector. Then it was my mother's 'turn'. With a mixture of solemnity and peace--knowing we were following her explicit wishes--we committed her remains to the Refuge.

Just as we finished and an emotion-filled silence filled the boat as we stood there gazing at the water and her ashes dispersing, a butterfly fluttered throughout our midst--not just passing by but staying within the portion of the stern of the boat where we stood. That was no coincidence and I was both heartened by that 'sign' and deeply moved by it. Obviously, none of us there will forget that moment and now seeing butterflies in any form brings me the joy of the remembrance of how much she enjoyed them...and we her.

Deborah Clark, Oklahoma City, OK, USA
I was 19 years old ,too young to have a baby, I had twins. On the day my parents and I brought them home I was sitting outside getting and little "fresh air" and I prayed to God to help me love, respect and most of all protect my two beautiful healthy babies and just at that moment a white butterfly landed on my shoulder. My girls are 4 years old now and are very smart, well mannered, healthy and are very loved. My collection of butterflies has its own bedroom!!! I love my identical butterflies!!!
Becky Baes, Lockport, NY, USA
In May of 1998 I lost my husband of 9 years. I was so devastated by this loss as is anyone who loses a loved one. I have always loved butterflies and their freedom and my husband knew this. About 2 weeks after he died I was mowing the yard with my garden tractor. I cried so much while doing this. Out of nowhere came a butterfly that started to follow me all throughout the yard. It just wouldn't leave me alone! I finally stopped and turned off the tractor and that butterfly proceeded to start flitting all over my face as if to give me kisses. I do believe that was my honey coming to tell me he was ok and as free and beautiful as all the butterflies I have loved. That butterfly stayed with me for about a month and then was gone but I will be looking for it again this summer. Just before my husband died he helped me put up a butterfly house in our garden--I hope he is home!
Kimberly Weynberg, Clark, NJ, USA
I have always liked butterflies but I didn't really appreciate them and love them fully until I took a recent trip to Niagara Falls with the man I love. We went to the Butterfly Conservatory in Canada. It was my favorite part of the trip. We walked through this indoor garden and hundreds of butterflies were fluttering about our heads. Jon and I took pictures of them and Jon out waited one particularly shy butterfly that I had fallen in love with just so I would have a picture of that one. It took him a half hour to get that picture. It was such a great act of love from him especially because I didn't ask him to do it he just knew how much it would mean to me. Since Jon and I live in separate states we talk mostly on E-mail and since our trip one of our favorite things to talk about and give pictures of is butterflies.
JS, Sunnyvale, CA, USA
I didn't plan on writing this Butterfly poem. In fact, I didn't follow any poetry rules - the words just came out from a painful experience, and yet it was one that has continually transformed me. Last October, my boyfriend and I broke-up- it was rather strange, because the night before, I said farewell to him in my journal entry - my mind was ready to move on, and yet my heart didn't seem to want to let go. The following day, he expressed his loss of feeling towards me. The poem I have included with this letter was born out of that painful day. I am not sure how your readers will be impacted by this poem - but here it is. I wish blessings, peace, and joy to those reading it. -----------------------------------------------------
Beloved Butterfly - by J.S.
October 24, 1998 - Copyright 1998

Beloved Butterfly

The time has come for you
away to fly
You've touched my life
As God, our witness
As we breathed, the breath of love
Our wings enfold
in each other's sacred embraces

Love is, and is, and always is
as I have remembered;
true Love that is,
but not the fleeting kind
The later is sometimes
beautifully transformed
into an initiation of true Loving.

My Love for you perhaps
sprung as an initial fleeting
flurry of emotions
But how, I don't understand,
It has grown from the very start
through thick or thin
this Love has grown deeper within
As you fly away
I turn my face
not out of hate
For in true loving
there isn't a place for hate or fear.

As you fly away
tears flow with pain
As you fly away
tears flow with a blessing
that you'll land again
in someone else's arms
with a love even greater than mine
You'll mirror that love
for that someone
whom God is preparing for you;
Someone whose love and whose heart
is after God's very own

Farewell for now
For the pain is too intense
a sure pathway
for growth and strength

My future is a landscape
and this is how I see it
It's full of flowering plants
fragrant and vibrant
Butterflies are welcome
and in time
you may wish to come
and visit for awhile
by then, we're men
who have remembered more
who we really are
in God's eyes
By then, we'll share
a friendship
that may last a lifetime.
Jill Abtey, Salisbury, MO, USA
I don't know if this story is an inspirational story, but it is a butterfly experience that touched me in a way that I will never forget, and can live the moment over and over in my mind. It was the awe of nature that forever left an imprint in my mind......

I was about 8 years old and it was a cool fall day. I lived in a small suburb in Western New York at the time. My mother had sent me outside for the afternoon, much to my disagreement! While standing in the front yard, a large cloud had dimmed the sun. I still don't know if it was reflex, or curiosity that made me glance to the sky at that moment, as I had seen many clouds block the sun, but at that moment it struck me that it was not a cloud that had blocked the sun that day, but a mass of Monarch butterflies! They were beautiful and graceful. Only a moment had passed, and they were gone from my view, but etched forever in my memory.

I now have children of my own, and still look to the skies every time a cloud covers the sun....

Alison, Reno, NV, USA
My mother just recently died & as I was on the phone to my dad crying he tried his hardest to calm me down by saying "Do you think that a caterpillar knows it becomes a butterfly, and do you think all the caterpillars cry when one of them leaves? No, because they leave to become a beautiful, free soaring butterfly and that's just what our lives are like. We leave this material body to be something just as beautiful and like the caterpillars we don't know what we become." Now I'm interested in learning about butterflies.
Brad Carlson, Minden, IA, USA
I have been an avid lepidopterist since I was 2 years old...for essentially my entire life. I will never forget how I got to know butterflies. My father took me out into our backyard in suburban San Antonio, just so that I could explore the world of nature and have some sort of appreciation and curiosity about it. I will never forget how the butterflies amazed me at such an impressionistic age. Peaceful and fragile hairstreaks, darting skippers, gliding Monarchs and swallowtails, silver-spotted Gulf Fritillaries...even the occasional Malachite all went out of their way to dazzle me with their variety of colors and behaviors. The rich fauna of southern Texas made it all the more special because I was able to see something new everyday. I always tell my father what a great gift he gave me... how it has changed my life and shaped and molded it into who and what I am today. He still is so modest about it...as if it was nothing. He will never know that the reason I am now an entomology major is because of that first walk in my backyard, and how close I feel to the butterflies and nature in general because of that door he opened, however inadvertent it may have been. I have had many intimate moments with nature's finest ever since, and I will never, ever have it any other way.
Hazelfaery, Naples, FL, USA
Butterflies are a total inspiration. As I became more confident in my life, about my music, images of the butterfly seemed to dance before my eyes making themselves one with the sounds I was channeling. Making music is a very spiritual experience and the butterflies have definatly made an impression on me in that way. My musical group's name is 'Butterfly Messiah'. The ethereal qualities of a swirling butterfly's wings can be likened to the way we sound. In our tiny backyard, I decided to let them know how much I appreciate them and I planted some butterfly vines and flowers. Now I enjoy their company every morning over tea!
Attica, IN, USA
When I was a young boy about 40 years ago, while out hunting West of Boswell In. along a row of hedge trees I found myself in the middle of the Monarch butterflies migration. There were thousands of them going South. I wonder how many others can say this. It has always stayed in my mind. IT WAS A BEAUTYFUL SIGHT I WILL NEVER FORGET.
Daina Lynn Forsberg, Sea Cliff, Long Island, NY, USA
Ever since I was been a little girl I've always felt close to butterflies. And when they became a fashion trend I felt that they might fall into the wrong hands. I saw that people only cared because they had pretty wings and looked good on a t-shirt, or as a hair barett. Without realizing what amazing creatures they really are, society seems to be over-using them and pushing them as a very popular marketing approach. Personally I find this situaton quite strange. Yes they are a symbol of freedom, beauty and peace and many people would like to "capture" that for themselves. I just can hope that when we wear our butterfly gear that we understand they are a living insect, a lovely reminder what our sweet mother earth has put here not just for humans to see, but for the essential balance of this ever changing planet. I have so much respect for the creator of this web page and the lover of the butterflies.
Shirley Saum, Canby, MN, USA
August of 1993 was a very sad time for me. Our beloved grand-son had drowned in a swimming accident. Jesse and I were very close and he enjoyed spending time with me and I with him. I will always miss him, but when I see butterflies it brings me a certain peace. After I returned home from the funeral, I decided to make a butterfly garden in Jesse's memory. I spent many hours planning, digging, and planting. It was wonderful therapy for me and I felt a closeness to Jesse. The next summer my little garden began to blossom. I had planted species that I felt would attract butterflies and they did. The bee balm and butterfly weed were magnets for butterflies. The zinnias and marigolds were also visited frequently by butterflies.

Each year I extend my garden a little more, so now have holly-hocks, phlox, pin-cushion flowers, asters, false sun-flowers and carnations. It is a wonderful array of colors and a peaceful place for me to think about Jesse; each time I see a butterfly flutter by, it fills me with pleasure. I know Jesse would have enjoyed my garden and I have wonderful memories and a peaceful spot in my yard. I have added an angel here and there and it has become my favorite place to be.

Traverse City, MI, USA
As a child, I always thought that I had a special relationship with butterflies. I would be outside in my yard and a family of Red Admiral butterflies would appear and flutter all around me. I was fascinated by them at first glance. I would chase them and try to catch them, but it always seemed that they were playing games with me. They would let me get so close then flutter just out of my reach. I would sit and watch them for hours, playing with each other and fluttering beautifully all around. Once they got to know me they would let me walk right up to them. I would bend down slow with my finger and they would perch just like a pet bird. I couldn't believe my own eyes. They would also follow me to my friends house, landing on my head and arms all the way there. People that saw this could not believe it. I made them my pets.

One afternoon while playing with them in my yard, I had the biggest Red Admiral of the group alight right on the tip of my nose. There I was, eye to eye with a butterfly. He stayed there for moments as I looked down cross eyed at him. It was the most beautiful experience I'd ever had at that point in my life with a butterfly. They returned every year of my child hood, a new generation, but still as they knew me as the years before.

Norma Kesner, Fort Ashby, WV, USA
When I was in the 4th grade in Fairfield CA, while exploring in my backyard I found the lovely green and gold cocoon of the monarch butterfly attached to a small twig. I took my precious find into my bedroom and propped it up in the corner of my window between the window and the screen where I kept close daily watch over it hoping to have the chance to see it enter into the world after its wondrous transformation from larvae to full blown butterfly. Finally one day I found my beautiful new friend hanging onto the screen of my window. I gave it the chance to dry its wings and then put him on my shoulder and to my amazement he stayed there. I took him everywhere with me and he just stayed on my shoulder as though he enjoyed the ride.

One day I decided to take my new-found friend to school with me, a mistake that I will never forget, and always regret. When time for recess came I took my little friend and put him in my desk and closed the lid thinking him safe while my classmates and I went out for fun and games. When recess was over and we were back in our seats I opened my desktop to release my friend from his prison to resume his perch on my shoulder, but to my horror he wasn't there. I looked everywhere for him but he was gone. I later found out one of my classmates found my beautiful monarch on the windowsill and chloroformed him for our class display of pinned insects on our display shelf. I cried myself to sleep that night, and vowed never to capture another butterfly or any other of God's creatures that he made to beautify our world. And to this day I think of my butterfly whenever I see a butterfly flitting from flower to flower in search of his dinner.

Tami Drinkwater, Keysville, VA, USA
My name is Tami Drinkwater and I own a florist called Lilacs and Lace Florist. We opened about 8 years ago and I had my brother design our logo with a yellow swallowtail butterfly. Butterflies have been a long time favorite of my mother's and mine. As a child both of us would sit very still near the flowers until a butterfly would land on us. May 28th 1998 my mother Roberta N. DeWeese died of breast cancer. She fought a long hard battle in which her outlook was amazing. I have never met anyone else on earth that was as wonderful or positive as she. During the 4 years that she battled her cancer for the second time, we collected more and more things with butterflies on them. Mom was an amateur photographer in her spare time. Even when she was sick she still had a camera in her hand. I have some of the most wonderful pictures of butterflies and flowers that anyone could imagine. We displayed her photos at her funeral service and during the graveside service we played the song ""Holes in the floor of heaven"" and the grandchildren released 20 purple balloons and live butterflies. That was unbelievable to see. With all my grief from losing my wonderful mother and my best friend I was so happy to have been able to catch all those butterflies on my farm. There wasn't a person at the service that had dry eyes. They were so amazed that I have received quite a lot of cards or letters stating just how special her funeral was. On most of the cards they said that we had a celebration of her life out there, not a funeral service. We depicted her life just as she lived with joy, faith and love. Her tombstone says TAKE TIME at the bottom and has a beautiful butterfly etched in the stone. My mother and my friend will always be remembered by many from the sight of a butterfly.
Brenda Plna, Elgin, TX, USA
It was the fall of 1976, and I had returned home to Texas after a rather nasty divorce. I worked at UT of Austin and met Diane Sanchez (Briones) who worked at the Library also. We were friends, no we were more than that, we were kindred spirits. She taught me about forgiveness, compassion and about true unconditional love. After being friends for 16 years she got cancer. She never had children because of Neurofibermatous (spe), but she was Godmother to my two, she had nieces and nephews. She went through surgery (massive -- removal of lung), Chemo and radiation. But, through this whole thing she never shook her fist at God. She always said ""If I can bear this pain for the world and it's forgiveness, then give me the strength."" Through her I also learned about faith, not just the faith in me, but deepening my faith in a loving GOD. She was truly an angel sent from GOD to bring numerous people joy, love, and most of peace. GOD bless you Nan, I love you, and miss you terribly. Thank you GOD for bringing such wonderful people into my life. Oh, did I forget? WE BOTH LOVE BUTTERFLIES!
Rhodora D. Diaz, Cebu City, PHILIPPINES
In 1988, my father died on a Saturday morning, but I was unable to go home until the next day. To add to my misery, I had to be sponsor at a wedding that afternoon, and it was too late to find someone to take my place. I finally took the plane home the next day. We chose the coffin and had my father set up for the wake in the house but the funeral parlor took a long time to do it and I had to leave again before he got there.

I was back in Cebu by Monday where I tried to wind up my affairs for the long week ahead and expected absence from my office. I would go back the following day after I made the necessary arrangements. The next morning, I was going into the hospital parking lot when I noticed a large green-and-blue butterfly that was flying slowly just to my right. Now, there were hardly ever any butterflies in that area, as there were no plants there and the nearest trees were across the street. The parking area itself was enclosed by the building and further inside was a side entrance to the hospital.

I've always liked butterflies, so I stopped and the butterfly just hovered beside me. There were no people near me, so I spoke to it and wondered if it was who I thought it was, because we have talked about butterflies before seeming to represent loved ones coming back briefly after they have passed on, and this was also a belief of some people in the region.

I walked several steps forward and the butterfly went with me. It stopped when I stopped, which I did at least three times. I spoke to it as though I was talking to my father, and I said I knew he was well and I knew he was happy, and that we will miss him but that I was glad his pain while he was lingering and on the respirator was all over.

We got to the hospital side entrance and I stopped again. I opened the door and said , "Come inside with me," and motioned to it while holding the door open. I moved nearer but it did not fly away. It hovered for a while there but stayed outside the door, then it must have flown away because when I went out to look a few seconds later it was gone.

When I got back home my father looked peaceful and so much younger and I felt so much love for him there that we could not help singing his favorite songs to him, my uncle and I. The butterfly incident was my secret for a while but when I told my family about it they were not at all surprised.

Kimberly D. Cheatham, Mt Washington, KY, USA
Two years ago in March of 1997, I was in the middle of a divorce and was extremely upset as well as mentally and physically upset. A good friend from work gave me a daily devotional on Easter Sunday. I set it on my makeup table and would read it every morning as I tried to get ready for work.

One morning, it said that when I saw a butterfly that day, to remember that God gives each of us a new fresh start everyday, and when I did to remember to keep my faith. Well, it was late March or early April, and I remember thinking to myself that butterflies were not even around yet. During the day I got upset, and took an early lunch so I could go home for a few minutes and try to get myself straightened up. As I was sitting at the red light getting ready to turn into my road, I had the windows down and the sunroof open, as it was the first day warm enough for the year that I could do that. As I set there waiting for the light to turn green, all of a sudden, a beautiful Yellow Butterfly fluttered up to my window, flew right in front of my face, flitted around in the car a few times, and then flew out of my sunroof! I just sat there in utter amazement, and said out loud "Yes God, I know you are here with me!" Two weeks later, I was baptized, and I have kept my faith that God does have a plan for me, and I trust my life to him.

I now have a butterfly with a cross on it hanging from my rearview mirror, and butterflies all over my home. Every time I see them, I know God is with me.

Jim O'Dell, Fort Collins, CO, USA
I have only been watching butterflies for about three years as we lived in an apartment and didn't have a garden. It is so much fun to watch them play tag and jump from one plant to another. They also like the bird bath we have in our back yard by the strawberry patch. Didn't realize there were so many different kinds until I began watching them.
Emily Hetzler, Colorado Springs, CO, USA
My dad is a Lepidopterist, and all of my life I have gone with him on field studies. My favorites are alpine butterflies which fly high above timberline in the Colorado Rockies. One, called Erebia magdalena, not only has camouflage better than any tropical butterfly, but it is smarter too. Magdalena is jet black and when fresh, the wings are iridescent with the colors of the rainbow. It flies over fjellfield slopes of boulders,usually above 13,000 feet altitude, and chasing one risks a painful slip, fall and maybe a few broken bones. When Magdalena lands, its camouflage and intelligence make it invisible. Perched on a boulder, its wings look just like any other black disk of lichen, thousands of which are splotched over the rocks. But this butterfly has "learned" to lean away from the sun, so its wings, folded over back, do not leave a shadow on the rock! Doing this, it fools predatory birds, to which its lack of shadow translates into "nothing to eat here." And it fools scientists, who write that the butterfly eludes collectors by dropping into deep crevices, where it hides. You won't find Magdalena in any crevices. It hides in plain view.
Bill Gould, Nashville, TN, USA
In January of 1997 a friend of mine purchased 7 1/2 acres of land just outside of Nashville on a country road. A portion of this land was known as "the dump". For over 35 years people have been dumping their trash on this property. There were old t.v's, couches, refrigerators, water heaters, hundreds of tires and several car bodies. There were shingles, siding and lots of old carpet. What a mess. I went out there to see it and I sat in my car and just cried. It was terrible to see all this junk in such a beautiful setting of hardwood forest. I said, we can make this better! We got the media's attention and the city of Nashville waived most of the fees and we got the entire mess cleaned up by bulldozer. Over 500 tons of waste had to be hauled out. We then barricaded the area off by huge boulders so no one else could dump. We added new soil and regraded the land. I started scattering seeds of native plants and flowers. Finally as of this summer, it has completely healed and is the most beautiful flower meadow around. There were 1000's of butterflies and dragonflies all summer long. Now I can go out there and sit on one of the big rocks and watch the butterflies fly free! We did it! We brought this land back to life. I now have a quiet place to return to watch butterflies and regain some sanity. It was a job I really feel good about. Truly the butterfly has changed my outlook on life.
Mebutrfly2, Rouge Valley, OR, USA
As a child I always enjoyed butterflies but I fell in love with them when my niece (who at the time was three) and I were walking in the park one day. You see we had recently found out Elizabeth was deaf. As I walked I was listening to the birds sing and feeling sorry for her. Suddenly Elizabeth made a high pitched scream (a sound that is like a whisper to a deaf child). I looked down to see what had gotten her attention and there in front of us had landed a butterfly, silently and gracefully. I realized at that time you need no ears to hear the song of the butterfly. We followed that butterfly for quite awhile watching her flutter and it was like music to the eyes. One of Elizabeth's favorite signs (in American Sign Language) is Butterfly.
Mary Shannep, Phoenix, AZ, USA
When I recently re-entered College (a very frightening thing for someone over fifty), I was excessively stressed. One day, while taking a break from the computer lab, I walked outside into the school's garden area. There were green ice plants there and, curiously, there were loads of tiny yellow blossoms on them. What happened then inspired this poem from my book of poetry called Butterflies. I have also included this poem on my Web site:

A Cloud

Green Ice Plants, Yellow Blossoms,
a cool vision inviting me,
to sojourn within those bounds,
of peace and tranquility.

Step I from my world gently,
to tread among the flowers.
A cloud arises around me -
afraid to breathe, I freeze!

Dazzled and confused, my mind
engulfed in wings, so tiny,
transporting me amid wings,
above the desert Mesquite tree!

I am in their world, so free.
Me and my love, butterflies,
beyond the Joshua Tree.
My imprisoned soul, it soars!

Above the desert heat waves,
the butterflies and I flee,
from Chollas and Saguaros -
from responsibility!

(c) MS. 1996

Emma, WY, USA
When I was five, it was a mid summer day that the family decided to have a huge barbecue at a big plot of land that we own out north of Cheyenne. I was off about ten or twenty feet from my mother, and yet still in view. I was on a sandy area, no flowers around where I was, and all of a sudden, a large group of butterflies flocked overhead, migrating for the fall. They stopped their course, and headed towards me, landing on me and all over me. My family was in awe. They just stopped everything, to see this little five year old baby with monarch butterflies all over her.

Ever since, every summer, every time the butterflies are thick like they are, they treat me as a flower, and land on me, unafraid, letting me touch them. Even last summer up at my favorite vacation spot at Hawk Springs, every butterfly that would fly over head would stop and land on me, and even let me touch them. I am a huge Avid fanatic of butterflies, everything I do, have and belong to has to do with butterflies. even my screen name "monarch711" has to do with butterflies. I can't wait to see what will happen when I go to the Butterfly Pavilion in Denver for my birthday!

Mario C. Callegari, Iquitos, Loreto, PERU
Hello. I am sorry for my broken English. Many insects save my life in PAJATEN II (las ruinas de Marcial), because for 31 days we eat only bees, butterflies and some beetles (cincindela). Many people explain our history, but nobody understand the protein in an insect. Jean de Coninck (Belgium), Segundo Rivadeneyra and I (Peruvians) are okay because of these little friends.
John Hetzler, Colorado Springs, CO, USA
When I was ten years old, my father owned a sandwich shop in downtown Colorado Springs, where I worked during the summer delivering lunch orders, usually to attorneys and bankers. Once, when delivering lunch, I saw a huge moth flapping it wings against the window, trying to get into the building. Having developed a great interest in moths, I had learned much, and instantly knew this moth was a foreign, exotic visitor known as Thysania agrippina.

I dropped the lunch I was delivering and chased the moth. It would fly into the street and back into the window, and I would follow, oblivious to the traffic with which I was interfering, and to the policeman who was trying to catch me. Finally, I lunged at the moth against the window, pinning it with my chest to the glass. I vividly remember its wings being as wide as my chest.

My parents received numerous calls from clients who knew us, who watched the incident from their office windows, and were convinced that I had gone crazy. Nobody could understand what the capture of that moth meant to a ten year old boy who loved moths. I wiggled my fingers under my chest, onto the moth's wingtips and when I felt I had it, I backed away from the window. The moth furiously flapped and tore its wing tips from my fingers. It briefly escaped, only to fly through the window of a diner across the street. Of course I followed it. I asked the man behind the counter, "did you see a big moth fly in here?" He replied, "no, but a bird flew in there," pointing to a hole in the ceiling. I asked to climb through the hole because I was trying to catch the moth, but the man said I couldn't climb up there. It was dusty and dirty, and he didn't want me knocking dirt down onto the counter.

I returned to the sandwich shop, sad to have missed the moth. Over and over in my mind ran the memory of my chest pinning its wings against the glass, and how my underestimation of its strength and slipperiness allowed it to escape. My parents were not happy with me, and for the first time, I became aware of the ruckus I'd caused. Though I begged to go back to the diner to look for the moth, my mother refused. The afternoon became extremely long, as I could think of nothing else but that huge moth. Finally it was closing time. As we walked to the car, I asked if I could go by the diner, just to look and hope. My mother, who had no interest in moths, didn't answer. I dashed ahead, and there, on the windowsill, inside the window, sat the great moth with its wings held in a huge "V" over its back. I picked it up and put it in a cigar box which I was carrying, in which I had put the torn wingtips.

The moth is in my collection now. His wings are eleven inches in span, and the repaired tears at the tips are testimony to this story and how it reinforced a love for knowledge which has never faded. Knowledge allows us to notice the extraordinary, separate it from the ordinary, then recognize and cherish it. Others saw a boy in a moment of crazed insanity. Because I took the time, not just to look at moths, but learn about them, I saw something useful and unusual about capturing the world's largest moth in Colorado Springs, several thousand miles away from its normal home in Brazil.

Jenn Story, Somerset, NJ, USA
Throughout my life, butterflies have always been a source of wonder for me. As a child, it was their pure beauty that struck me. As I grew, my artistic side drew me closer to them- the details in a wing or the gold spots on a cocoon. I sketched and painted Monarchs, Swallowtails, and Painted Ladies. It wasn't until a fall day that they came to mean so much more.

I found a couple of caterpillars on some milkweed behind our barn. I took them into my bedroom. Being a typical little kid, I forgot about the two creatures and walked downstairs to play. A few weeks later I saw two brown cocoons hanging from my lamp shade. Each morning I would wake up and smile at my friends sleeping along side of me.

One morning I woke up and both were hatching simultaneously. It was in that moment, that I realized how amazing butterflies really are. They had been friends outside, made their cocoons next to one another, and broke free together. They symbolized more than simply beautiful things. Butterflies became mystical beings that represented harmony, metamorphosis, and transformation.

As a little farm girl, this was a great lesson to learn. The power to grow, to change, to transform into the woman that I want to be is represented in the butterfly's life. As a 20 year old, I feel I am still only a tiny green caterpillar with little orange speckles, wandering in an overwhelming jungle of opportunity. It is the transformation that I strive for. We must all remember that we need to really work, really see, to become as beautiful, on the inside and out, as the butterflies.

Janice Esposito, New Bern, NC, USA
Six years ago when I arrived in North Carolina from California I met a woman named Theresa. I was troubled and didn't know who to turn to, and Theresa, 23 yrs. my senior, reached out to me in my time of need and confusion. One of the first things she said to me, in my despair, was "Butterflies are free, and so are we". I did not understand that then, but coming to understand that this woman deeply loved and admired the butterfly, for its beauty and symbolism, I soon began to feel her enlightenment.

From the beginning it was a God-inspired relationship. We were soul-mates and our friendship deepened with every day. She constantly reminded me that butterflies are free, and so are we. The butterfly became our symbol, for inspiration, for our God-consciousness of the world, for our soul-searching and deeper understanding of our lives.

Three years ago Theresa was diagnosed with lung cancer. The past three years have been filled with surgery (removal of half of her left lung), chemotherapy, radiation, drugs, pain, struggle. Through it all, the butterfly carried us above her torment of physical pain, bringing us to a higher spiritual level during the roughest of times. I started to call her Butterfly. It was a strength between friends that nobody else was able to comprehend. In October of this year I sent away for a dozen live monarchs, and in the balmy North Carolina air on Theresa's porch, I presented her with the ultimate gift. She sobbed out of joy at the gift. Then we each, her struggling in her human body (ravaged by the cancer), let each butterfly fly free, one at a time. It was the most beautiful memory God has given the two of us... comrades through the storms of life, lifted always by the "little soul"... The Butterfly.

Wendy Kabiri, Orange, CA, USA
A long time ago, I was told that to see a butterfly fluttering about in front of one's house or in one's garden is to receive good news in the form of a pleasant visitor, telephone call or a letter. This has happened several times to me, and I believe that to see a butterfly in my pathway is a good event for me.
Carol Neal, Orange, CA, USA
I was grieving over the death of a much beloved companion dog. His death had come quite suddenly and I was missing him very much and having a lot of trouble coming to terms with his loss. The usual questions one has at that time: God, why him? Why now? etc. I was sitting in the house listening to Mozart's Requiem. Suddenly for some unexplained reason I was compelled to go outside. I stepped out to the patio and stood there, face wet with tears, when the most beautiful large purple and black butterfly appeared seemingly out of nowhere and fluttered in front of me. I was simply awestruck. As quickly as it had appeared it fluttered around the corner of the house. I stepped out to watch it and it had disappeared. As I stood there the thought came to me, overwhelming me and giving me the peace I had been seeking. I do not know whether his spirit was there in that butterfly or not but I knew that day that he was gone to a better place and was okay. I also realized that God had given me a wonderful gift in the time we had together and that it was his time to be called home.
Stefany, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Butterflies are the most beautiful creatures in the world. I was getting ready to go visit my cousin (who had just had a heart transplant) in the hospital one morning, I saw a monarch setting on my windowsill, and I was filled with an overwhelming sensation of hope for the day that was to come, and for life in general. When I visited the hospital my cousin was walking up and down the corridors. She was barely able to rise out of bed before the operation, and this was a remarkable accomplishment for her. I knew then that the butterfly was a sign from God that I would be able to enjoy my cousin's company in years to come.
Sam Apo, Kaneohe, HI, USA
In Hawaii, culture maintains that the large, dark Hawaiian Moth's visit to the home of a recently deceased is a visit by the deceased and accepted as a good sign. As a child (1930) I used to swat at them and was reprimanded by my Hawaiian grandmother who was totally versed in and lived the Hawaiian Culture of her ancestors and mine.
Jessika Pabon, Boston, MA USA
I went to the butterfly world in Westford MA and I bought two American painted lady caterpillars. I know it doesn't take much work to watch them evolve but, it was when I came home at night and saw the stages that they went through the tears would come to my eyes. I knew I would have to let them free one day. I named them Lily and Lucy, they were so beautiful. When they emerged from their cocoons I watched. My friends were there and they said I looked like I had just been touched by an angel or something. I felt so good but at the same time I wanted to die because I would have to let them go into a harsh world. I let them flutter around my room for like two minutes and then I let them go, but they stood on my windowsill, and it was almost as if they were saying goodbye. Silly isn't it? Anyway that's my story.
Julie Graham, St. Albans, WV, USA
This is a story of inspiration for any Christian believer. It's just a little story of magic and mystery. At the end of the Monarch season last October I was watching the diminishing number of larva and decided to bring one more into my house but instead of placing it in a 'nursery box' I decided to just place the growing caterpillar on the butterfly weed leaves in a vase. I thought it would be fun just to see where it would pupate as I had a caterpillar escape from my nursery and hang from the ceiling in my kitchen. I placed this vase on my bedroom dresser. In a few days I noticed I couldn't see the caterpillar any longer and looked all around to find its chrysalis. I could never find it however I did notice what appeared to be an opaque trail across my landscape mirror. The trail was sidewinding from the lower corner where I had placed the vase to the upper corner of the mirror. Once again I looked over, under and behind the mirror to find the chrysalis. I could not find it. I repeated the looking process many times. In a couple weeks I went into my bedroom one evening and turned the light on my bedside table. The monarch was behind the light on the wall. It obviously hatched. I was delighted. I decided to try to find a safe place for it to perch and took it on my fingers back toward the mirror when suddenly I noticed its empty chrysalid. The chrysalid was hanging from the right arm of a little wooden cross made from the twigs of tree. We made these crosses as necklaces at Bible School during the summer when I taught the pre- school class. I had hung this necklace over the corner of my mirror, the corner opposite of where I'd placed the vase with the caterpillar. The caterpillar could have picked a million different places to pupate but crawled about four feet to hang from the arm of this little wooden cross. What a sight to see its empty chrysalid hanging there. AWESOME!!!
D1debb
My dear father had died in March 1984. Still mourning in May, I went outside with my Bible Devotional book, hoping that when I read it I would be comforted by its uplifting words. I also thought spending some time in my sunny garden would lift my spirits. So, there I sat reading, with my book on my lap. As I started to turn the page, a Painted Lady butterfly alighted on my index finger! It did not seem to mind when I continued to turn the page (I was in disbelief!) so it remained with me for a few glorious moments before traveling down my finger, then across the devotional, and upwards into the sky. At that moment I thought of my father and wondered if this was the Lord's way of comforting me with a most surprising, and pleasant visit from one of His own creations. Now, I can't think of, speak about, or see a butterfly without also thinking of my father. And since I am the Director of the Butterfly Garden at our children's school, I think of him often, with warmth and comfort from that sunny day, when a miracle came into my garden! God bless you all.
Bridgeport, CT, USA
This summer, my Grandmother was dying of Cancer. During that time everywhere I went, I saw a monarch butterfly. The butterfly always seemed to be out of place, like in the city street. After my Grandmother had died, one landed on my car in the middle of Main street in Bridgeport. I feel butterflies are the spirits of our loved ones who have passed on.
Michael J. Smajda
A darling fifth grader at a South Florida school passed away last year due to cancer. She loved butterflies and the school had just about finished a butterfly garden. In memoriam, I wrote the following which appeared in their school yearbook:
OUR GARDENING ANGEL
I thought I saw an angel
When I looked up in the sky.
But on closer observation
It was a beautiful butterfly.
I named the butterfly Jaimie
After the friend we all knew.
She, too, was angelic like these
Butterflies before your view.
Ernie Pfeil, Columbus, OH, USA
When I was a little boy, my grandmother was quite fond of butterflies. I remember that she always collected them pressed into scrapbooks. She always told me that when she died she would return as a butterfly. So she told me that if a butterfly ever lands on my shoulder, it would be her. I always think of that when I see a butterfly.
Heather, Denville, NJ, USA
October of 1996, my 10 year old brother brought to my attention a perfect-looking but dead Monarch. Upon inspection I realized that it wasn't dead but in hibernation. I kept him (Monet was his name) for 3 weeks feeding him synthetic nectar, as all of the flower blossoms in the area had died from the frosts. This little creature affected my life very deeply -- I have been a true butterfly lover since.
Lindsey, USA
I am a 13 year old seventh grade student. I have been inspired by a particular butterfly in two scenarios. In both they include inspiration and dedication. In my class my teacher sent away for a certain amount of monarch butterflies. When we received them they were mostly chrysalids. We put all the chrysalids in a tank with a wire top. We recorded the dates when each pupated. It was a very interesting project for our class. We planned to tag the monarchs. The weekend arrived and we left on Friday. When we returned more than half of them were dead. We believe that the tank must have been shaken by accident. Our class was very disturbed and curious. We only got to actually tag 2 or 3 monarchs, but we learned a lesson for a lifetime. This may not seem interesting but for a young child like me I understood how Life Science works.
Rome Milan, Fort Worth, TX, USA
Our story begins with my 5 year old son finding and corralling a caterpillar in our garage. When he called for me to see what he had found, I unknowingly ran into the garage with my size 10 feet. This created a situation where I must make amends to my son. I found another caterpillar (monarch) within the week. My son, Paris, of course took it to show-and-tell and soon we had our first pupated pet. His interest continued to grow and we gathered many moth and butterfly larvae to raise in our home. The adult butterflies would fly around in the house for days before our live releases. In May my wife Mila and I had an addition to our family, Matisse Milan was born. Of course the butterflies would land on her and we have many photos. This is where our emotional attachment to butterflies begins. Unfortunately our daughter was diagnosed with an extremely rare neurological condition known as 'Infantile Spasm' in June. Complications of this condition later took her life at 3-1/2 months of age. We wanted her funeral to be a celebration. So we spoke of releasing balloons. This would not be good due to environmental damage. So doves came up, but butterflies were so much more appropriate for us and her. The circle of life symbolism and the chance for everyone to let go was a good idea. So the morning of Matisse's funeral we gathered a posse and collected over 100 butterflies, mostly Cloudless Sulphurs and Red Admirals. We boxed them in small boxes with a window and a label with an appropriate saying. Each family was asked to take one box at the service to release at the site. It was a wonderful event and many in attendance have told us that every butterfly they see reminds them of our little darling Matisse My son is more into lepidoptera than ever. He has reared over 40 butterflies and moths. He currently has 13 cocoons waiting through the winter. He has joined the Fort Worth Butterfly Society and we were part of Monarch Watch. My involvement has only become a hobby after Matisse's passing.
Judy Divers, Altamonte Spring, FL, USA
One day I was standing outside just feeling so lost. I was concentrating on this butterfly flitting from one blade of grass to the next. I thought, how so like my life.....I don't know where to go next. I was frustrated with trying to move on alone, trying to cope with a job I no longer felt good about.....trying to decide whether or not to sell my house and move. My whole life was within this cocoon of protection.....first my father, then my husband. I was wrapped in safety as long as Bill was alive knowing he would take care of me. Suddenly, I'm alone...... moving from one thought to another, decisions having to be made but not being able to decide "which blade of grass to settle on". This butterfly seemed to be so free.... yet drifting. I was free from this cocoon and drifting in a new life that I had to make for myself. So I had to set myself free from everything that was stopping me.

I thought of all the people I had met online. The widower.....he most likely held his wife in that cocoon as Bill held me and now he no longer had her to hold and protect. His strength was in being able to protect and take care of her.....and now he feels helpless and alone. The widow.. ......feeling let go of this protection as I did and struggling to find her way again. The parents who lose children feel the tremendous pain of seeing their child die before them. This wasn't supposed to be this way......parents holding their children in the cocoon of love and protection. So all of us, no matter who we lost find ourselves breaking away from this cocoon......flitting from one emotion to the other, one thought to the other because so much goes through our minds and our hearts.

So I watched that butterfly and realized with all the splendor of life, that the life span of this beautiful creature was so short. I had to make a decision before I let my life pass me by. I had to find my way like the butterfly who finally landed on the sweetness of the flower I thought, there is so much beauty in this world.....don't let it pass you by. If I were to die tomorrow......I will have tasted that freedom and the sweetness and know that life is so short, so unpredictable, but so very precious. It's up to me to make it meaningful or meaningless. Having Bill in my life was meaningful.....having him die was not going to be meaningless. And it was up to me which direction I took. I let myself be free.

Barbara, Gloucester, VA, USA
I'm 41 and have always loved Butterflies. When I was very little, butterflies would land on me I never knew why, just that they did. I seemed to attract them wherever I was. I have always gone out of my way to protect butterflies and save them whenever possible. I collect butterflies and can never get enough of them. I have some in every room in my house. I think it might have rubbed off on my daughter. When she was a baby, ladybugs would land on her - it was history repeating itself. I'm always looking for more butterflies to collect and add to my homepage. If you would like to stop by and see my page the address is ...http://www.qtm.net/~lilsnoop/bfly.htm I would love to hear from fellow butterfly lovers.
Elizabeth Chrenka, Eden Prairie, MN, USA
I am in 6th grade. About a month ago our class started to raise monarch butterflies. We received them as larva (caterpillars). Every group of people got two of the larva. Most of the kids named their caterpillars. Our group named one of ours Tubby because he was much more plump than the others. And the other we named Squirmy because he loved to crawl around and was very active. They were kept in little aquarium-like containers. As soon as Squirmy got in, he started to eat a hole in one of the milkweed leaves in the cage. It soon grew. I watched as Squirmy carefully bit out small pieces into a very distinctive shape, a heart!! Squirmy then moved away from the leaf and left the heart as it was. Our caterpillars grew rapidly and soon became 3 or 4 cm in length. After 15 days or so, Tubby was hanging in his 'j' (the stage before they pupate). As Tubby hung, Squirmy crawled around the corner that Tubby was in. After a few more days Squirmy was hanging too. They soon began to molt. Tubby was first. Their skin fell to the bottom of the cage. Soon after, they made their chrysalis. They stayed like this for about 14 days then they emerged. Tubby came out first as a strange looking creature. His wings were small and shriveled and his abdomen was bloated like a balloon. He hung upside down and pumped fluid into his wings. Slowly, the wings got larger and more distinctive and his abdomen got smaller. About a day after Squirmy was out too. As soon as they could fly, we had to tag and release them. I held Squirmy, who turned out to be a female, while another kid in my group tagged her. Tubby, who turned out to be a male, could not be tagged because we only had so many stickers. Outside, we opened their cages and let them fly away in the breeze.

A few days later a butterfly that was unable to fly was found. The butterfly was tagged, but not from our room. One of the other teachers kept it in her room. I went into that classroom about a day later. The butterfly was sort of rolled over. Several slices of watermelon had been placed in the cage. I whispered softly to the butterfly, just some soothing words. The butterfly straightened up and flapped its wings a few times. A few minutes later I whispered softly once more. The butterfly uncurled its proboscis and started to suck the melon. I told it that it needed strength to fly. The next day I went to the class, the butterfly was gone. I asked the teacher what happened to it. She said that it seemed strong they took it outside and it flew away.

Amber, USA
Approximately 5 years ago I became quite ill and was hospitalized. Tumors were discovered on my brainstem. I required immediate surgery to relieve the pressure of NF2 (neurofibromatosis type II) and save my life. Following the surgery I became deaf and unable to walk. Serious post surgery depression set in and painted a grim future. Noticing a butterfly flitting around my flower garden I thought of how the butterfly starts. Just a caterpillar. And then with time transforms into a beautiful butterfly. I knew I could be a butterfly too. I could grow with my NF2 disease and transform into something beautiful. I love the butterfly for showing me the beauty in living. That is how the butterfly touched my life.
Jon Timko, Hockessin, DE USA
My wife is a social worker at a local nursing home. We also rear Monarchs. This past year my wife has taken some of our stock into the home for the residents to observe and enjoy. She has displayed all the stages and makes sure to include plenty that will change from larvae to chrysalis and chrysalis to emerging adult. It's amazing how many of the residents look forward to coming to the display each day. Some of them will sit and watch patiently for the transformations to take place, or simply watch the adults flutter, light, and feed in the hanging cage for hours (have to admit, I'm still amazed as well even after raising hundreds!). Several ask to handle the larvae and newly emerged butterflies and my wife accommodates them. Our culture is very small at the moment due to the season so we haven't been able to keep the display going. As a result my wife is currently barraged with the question "When are our butterflies coming back?!". It's a joy for both the residents and my wife.
Petra Bennett, Georgetown, Ontario CANADA
After reading a recent editorial written by a woman who had lost her mother to cancer, I decided to take a more keen interest in my surroundings. It seems that this woman would encounter butterflies whenever she thought of her mother. Moreover, it didn't seem to matter what the season was because the butterflies would appear as themselves, or as part of a pattern on something her mother spotted in a shop window.

I lost a friend to cancer over two years ago, and as a means of coping I became more attuned to my immediate environment, particularly when I thought of him. I chronicled my experiences in a journal, and it is only after reading this journal do I begin to see a familiar pattern. It seems that when I do think of him, a butterfly will either fly directly in my path, or hover nearby.

At the end of the summer I was discussing these episodes over tea with a friend. On each of our plates was a single violet flower which I kept to add to my collection of pressed flowers. My friend kindly gave me hers, and I was grateful because it appeared to be much bigger and more colourful than my smaller one. Two months later when I retrieved them, I wasn't surprised to see that my friend's flower had pressed beautifully, but I was very surprised to see that my smaller and somewhat bedraggled violet was in the perfect shape of a butterfly. I framed it to reflect this, and people continue to marvel at its similarity.

When the colder weather approached, I began to feel apprehensive because I knew that I would no longer see real live butterflies to remind me of my friend. As I thought of this one morning while I prepared for my walk, I opened the front door to see a beautiful Monarch butterfly sitting on our doorstep. I carefully picked it up -- realizing that it had slowed down due to the cold, and brought it inside to warm up. It soon started flicking its tongue and looking around and I watched as it flew outside up into our cedar tree to warm itself in the sun.

I hope that this will encourage readers to be more sensitive to their surroundings, particularly when they have lost someone special. I can't think of a better symbol of someone's presence than a beautiful butterfly.

Atascosa, TX USA
As a child I remember reading a story about a Plains Indian tribe, the Blackfoot, I believe. A mother and daughter were walking in a meadow and observed the butterflies as they floated from flower to flower. "Catch one," the mother said, "without injuring it. Hold it gently in your cupped hands over your heart, and ask that the spirit of the butterfly give you beauty and grace."
"B", Eatonton, GA, USA
I am a 48 year old woman and my butterfly story began in the spring of 1996. My 85 year old step-dad was ill with chronic lung disease. In March he became seriously ill. Being a devout Christian, he had no fear of dying and was inspirational to my husband and me.

Having said that, I felt comfortable asking him in May, when he was near the end (or should I say, "his beginning!") a unique question. My mom had died in 1991 of cancer. I asked him if he could let me know some way if mom and he were ok and happy. He said he would do it for me and I believed him. On the day of his funeral May 31, my husband saw a butterfly on a window inside our house. He said nothing at the time, but picked it up and took it outside. The butterfly flew to his shoulder then disappeared. He told me about it that night. It did not really occur to me that this was God's sign until 2 weeks later when I was alone at home. I saw a butterfly on the same window inside. I took it outside and let it go. I was still totally unaware. Later that day when my husband came home, I saw the butterfly again in the same place inside. A "light" came on. I took it out again and he flew around and lit on my shoulder for at least 5 minutes. Then he disappeared just like that! Now, I was intrigued.

In September of 1996, on a day when I was quite depressed he appeared on our front porch. This time we both held the butterfly (or actually it "held" us!) We took photos of it with each of us. Since then I have become a butterfly enthusiast and have identified and photographed many butterflies in my garden in 1997. We identified "our butterfly" as a hackberry. I have seen other hackberries but none let me touch them. Our elusive butterfly was truly a symbol of new life.

Laura Mitchell, Terre Haute, IN USA
My mother died of lung cancer on Nov. 4, 1992. The Cub Scout Pack which my husband and I devoted much effort to gave us a gift certificate for a memorial tree to plant at our home. I chose a white dogwood, and in May 1993, it bloomed, its first Spring in our yard. To my amazement, one day when I was looking at it, a Monarch butterfly landed on the blooming tree. To me this was a sign, because it was a tree dedicated to my mother. I had raised Monarchs almost exclusively for many years as it is my favorite butterfly and in my area of Indiana, I never even saw a Monarch each year until around July 4th.
Linda, Corrales, NM USA
How sad the world would be without the soft flutter of gentle wings lightly skipping by. The butterflies' arrival is always a welcome and sure sign of spring. They light gently on the soft peachy cheeks of little children. It was always joyful to my heart to watch the ecstatic faces and shrieks of joy of my children at ages 2-4 when the summer butterflies would light on their faces to "kiss" their cheeks. This spring we had a visitor come a whole month earlier than any other butterflies would arrive. An early, but temporary, break in the winter guided a swallowtail butterfly to our home. The winter was not over and the night was too chilly. We brought it in the house and there it survived for 1 1/2 more weeks.
Minneapolis, MN USA
My cousin was dying of a rare tongue cancer and was being taken care of at home by his family. I had been raising Monarch butterflies in the summer. I only had 2 chrysalids left when I went to see him the last time. I taped them to the inside of a jar and covered it with netting. Several hours before I got to his house, one of the butterflies emerged. My cousin was on a lot of morphine but was fascinated by the butterfly in the jar. Before I left, his wife and I took the jar outside and let the Monarch go. My cousin was very weak, but was thrilled as he stood by the window and watched. During the next few days, I am told that he held the jar and kept watching the chrysalid. Finally it emerged, and again he watched as it was released.

When I was informed of his death, I decided to make a special wreath for his wife. I used fall colors, leaves, flowers, and even a bird's nest in a sumac branch. I thought how special it would be if I had a real Monarch. I had seen some dead Monarchs alongside a highway last August, during the height of their migration south. This was late November. I prayed that God would let me find one PERFECT Monarch butterfly to add to the wreath. I found to my dismay that the grass had been mowed down. Even under ideal conditions, the Monarchs would be damaged by cars. We'd already had a frost, and it was freezing cold. I realized that it was silly to be looking, but I HAD prayed and knew that God knew how special this would be to the family. I began looking in the short brown grass. Nothing. I drove to another spot, and I saw ... a PERFECT Monarch ... so perfect that I had to be sure it wasn't alive. I carefully picked it up and added it to the wreath. Needless to say, the family was very touched by the special meaning.

Cindy Hnat, Parma, OH, USA
My mother passed away from lung cancer on May 22, 1997. We were extremely close and I miss her terribly. My father is still alive, and he is a very demanding, irrational, and unpleasant person, but I feel obligated to stay in touch with him. One of the first times I went to his house, after my mother passed away, I saw a beautiful white butterfly fly past me. I didn't think anything of it. Then I came to his house again, and as I was leaving, a white butterfly flew past me again. I felt warm inside and thought that perhaps it was a sign from my mother, but quickly dismissed it, thinking that it was irrational. However, when I saw it for the third time, I believed. I knew that it was my mother letting me know that she was there with me.

It appeared several times after that. Once, I was sitting inside the house making out bills for my dad (he's legally blind) and he was being exceptionally draining that day. I was becoming exasperated, and so I looked up and through the window, I saw the white butterfly. I immediately became calm and was able to deal much better with my father. Then several weeks ago, I went to the cemetery with my father, because he really wanted to go. I was overwhelmed with sadness, as I stood at the grave. I thought I was going to pass out. Just then, this beautiful monarch butterfly flew past me, and once again I knew that it was a sign from my mother that she was with God and also there with me.

Chicago, IL, USA
It was a sunny spring day in Chicago. I was attending the funeral of a friend's grandmother. Everyone stood around the casket as her son spoke the last words before they lowered it. Within the first sentence of his speech a butterfly landed on the flowers that laid on top of her. It stayed there for the entire speech and when he was finished it flew away. It was as if the butterfly flew away and took her with it. It was a beautiful scene that is imprinted upon my memory forever.
Safari Bob and Annie, Bedford Hills, NY, USA
We are members of Annie and The Natural Wonder Band. On our latest of 5 recordings about the wonders of nature, we wrote "Little Bitter Butterfly" about the Monarch and their safari to Mexico. Also, our friends at the Bronx Zoo in NYC have a fabulous butterfly exhibit, where you can walk into a gigantic caterpillar and enter a netted enclosure with thousands of butterflies and excellent displays and info regarding our wonderful friends.
Matthew Powers, London, ENGLAND
I had just broken up with Vanessa, and then I saw a butterfly. It flew to me and landed on my shoulder. You know that saying, that butterflies bring good luck? Well I am a firm believer of that. When the lepidoptera flew away, the phone rang - it was Vanessa. She called to say she was sorry and that she wanted me back. I asked her to marry me and she said Yes! That was five years ago, and we are still happy together. We are expecting a baby, a girl, and we decided to name her Austen - Austen Monarch Powers - now doesn't that sound good?
Portland, OR, USA
About 14 years ago I got sober. One of the first things I wanted to do after leaving a 30 day treatment center was to get rid of some of my trappings of my prior addictions. I don't know why, but I decided I wanted to toss one particular item from the top of Larch Mt., a medium-sized butte just outside of Portland. As I was standing at the top with my paraphernalia in hand ready to be tossed out for a new life, seriously thinking on whether I really wanted to do this or not, a beautiful butterfly landed on my arm and just sat. For me it was my sign that my new life was starting. I then gave a big toss and 'cast off' my old life. And just as soon as I had finished this my beautiful new life sign took flight in the same direction as my old life had gone. Writing has never been my strong point, however even as I retell this it makes me shiver, because it was so strong a feeling of old and new.
Kristina, Taylor, MI, USA
When I was about 9 I was outside riding my brother's skateboard and I fell off and got knocked unconscious. When I woke up I didn't know where I was and there was no one around so I just started to cry as I looked up in the clouds hoping some one would come and find me. Then I saw three butterflies: one white butterfly and the other two were really colorful. They just flew around near me then a couple seconds later my mom came out and brought me in the house. I really think butterflies are the most magical insects.
Sylvia Syms, Altadena, CA, USA
As a part of our science program we decided to utilize a prepackaged butterfly kit. We set our Monarchs free on April 14th, the same day we visited the San Gabriel Mission. Just that morning the five of us had prayed in a 226 year old church and stood before the graves of holy men. We opened ourselves to learning that day and got exactly what we'd asked for.

As we'd watched these beauties develop we were in awe at each stage. One aspect that we found particularly amazing was the way the excess colour dripped off of them. My 6 year old noted on their liberation day that the color had set. My nine year old talked about how their wings would take them as far as they could fly, my 12 year old son remarked how quickly they took off when they saw that they were free and days later, my 14 year old son said he thought he saw one of them over by our butterfly bush.

My 6 year old%, hearing the assorted comments, held us mesmerized with her wise observations. "The butterflies are like a family, they stay home with their parents and eat and grow and change until one day they are ready to leave, sometimes one of them comes back home to get something he needs and he flies away again."

Anne Marsden, Burlington, ONT, Canada
A few weeks ago I headed off to Mississauga to help a friend through a Court experience. I was delayed in traffic and could not understand why so many monarch butterflies were crossing my van. One got killed by a car and it reminded me of Diana. I phoned my friend on my cell phone to explain I was stuck in traffic. I told her about the monarch butterflies and that I stopped counting at 120. When I arrived Dawn showed me a jar almost full of dead butterflies. That night I checked the English newspapers and saw that millions of butterflies were invading England. I saw your web page and checked it out only to find out butterflies appear in large numbers in times of tragedy and triumph I was particularly pleased to hear the butterfly is symbolic of God's love.

God tends to encourage me through various kinds of symbolism. I think he knew that I would find out that butterflies can mean victory. You see I am running for Mayor right now and I am definitely the underdog. But I believe the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong from Ecclesiastes. I am using butterflies in my campaign. My friend used the dead butterflies she found in a picture which says Anne for Mayor for a change. Hopefully they are a sign of triumph against the odds. I will let you know. Because of tragedies which have impacted my life I am running as Mayor in my City.

Kathryn Blake, Austin, TX, USA
This past summer I was in a major accident and had to be rushed to the hospital. I was scared to death. As the doctors pumped drugs into me and my parents stood in the corner of the room crying, all wondering if I would make it through, I looked on the back of the door of my room. Hanging there was a picture of a butterfly. It looked so peaceful and beautiful. Just by staring at the picture of that magnificent creature I knew I would be okay. Two days later I came out of the hospital with no permanent damage, just a few scars. But I had already decided that it was the beauty and hope that the butterfly had given me that helped me live. So, I decided I never wanted to be without a butterfly at any time. I had my friend who is an artist design for me a butterfly and had it tattooed right over my scars from the accident! Now, whenever I look in the mirror, I remember that butterflies are the symbol for life and they helped save mine.
Dora Lou Snider, Fritch, TX, USA
My father died in the fall of 1985. He was such a special person to me and my heart was so heavy. I needed some sign that everything was going to be alright in my world. I was sitting on the front porch on a beautiful autumn day praying and all of a sudden the most beautiful monarch butterfly flew to the bush beside me and landed. It was so graceful, and suddenly I knew this was my sign. It lingered on the leaves for ever so long as if to comfort me. I have never forgotten that moment.
Steven Chew, Sacramento, CA, USA
Many years ago. I was only in grade school. The early 60's. A youth group I was involved with took a one day field trip from the San Francisco Bay area to south of Monterey. It was an hour and a half to two hour drive to the coastal town of Pacific Grove. The purpose of the trip was to observe the annual migration of the Monarch Butterfly back to this tiny town. I was most impressed about the number of Monarchs that show up to town. I remember them so thick on the trees that you could hardly see the tree. I've often wondered why they migrate to one particular place at a specific time of year. I understand that they still migrate back to Pacific Grove. It was this awe inspiring experience that keeps me dreaming about returning to my place of origin.
Liana, Santa Clarita, CA, USA
I have always had a strong connection towards butterflies. But it was not until early this year that I truly realized how sacred they really are. I was having a problem with my gallbladder and it had to be removed. The surgery left me with scars that resembled butterflies flying. I was very upset to have so many scars on my stomach. A few weeks later I was sitting near the park and I saw this beautiful butterfly so I was following it to see where it would go. As I was following the butterfly, about 5 minutes later, right where I was sitting, a car crashed and I could have been killed. So I believe the butterfly in the park and the butterfly scars on my stomach are a sign of life. I have now tattooed butterflies where my scars are and it looks like 4 butterflies flying in heaven.
John F. Sorenson, Sacramento, CA, USA
Several years past while I was doing research, I was in a place called Hanging Valley in central Monterey county, CA The plant I was observing was a Monardella species - a member of the mint family. I had picked a flower and was holding it close to my face when an insect flew up to collect nectar from the flower. The flower was about six inches from my face but the butterfly was not in the least afraid of me. The body was about an inch long and the diameter of a pencil, light tan in color with dark stripes across it's abdomen. The wings were solid black and about an inch and a half long. It sounded like a hummingbird as it hovered over the flower. It emptied most of the flowers during the 5-6 minutes it was there. I was very surprised that it paid no attention to me. I suppose it had no fear because it would see very few humans and large animals as I was about 50 miles from the nearest town in very rugged territory. I'm guessing it was a new form of hummingbird moth that I had never seen although I am not an entomologist, so it's possible I'm wrong, but it was a very enjoyable experience.
Margaret Anderson, Bryan, TX, USA
Within a few weeks of dating my now fiance, we found a fossil of a butterfly on one of many walks around his parents' acreage. It has become one of my most cherished possessions and he has nicknamed me "butterfly". Since then, everyone I know has given me butterfly paraphernalia, from jewelry to clothing and I love it. We hope to release butterflies at our wedding ceremony to celebrate our love and my Native American ancestry.
Tara, Atlanta, GA, USA
I am a young woman who has gone through many hard and terrible things in my life, but when things got really bad one day and I was about to just give up on life . . . I decided to go to a beautiful field, away from the city, and just think. As I was sitting there thinking and on my last leg of life, a beautiful butterfly came near me and sat on a flower. I sat and watched the butterfly for an hour and came to the conclusion that if a butterfly that goes through so many changes in its life can just keep going from flower to flower and place to place and still move through life by just a small flutter of its wings, then so can I. Til this day whenever I get low in my life I think of this butterfly and all the other butterflies in the world that keep going and going day by day.

Thanks for listening. In remembrance of that butterfly, I tattooed him on me to make me remember to keep going.

Lori Doggett, Oklahoma City, OK, USA
The influence of butterflies on my life has been twofold. On April 19, 1995 I lost someone I love very much in the bombing here in Oklahoma City. While I deeply grieve her loss and will desperately miss her always, still I find hope when I see a butterfly because it reminds me that she is as they are... her spirit is free and soaring in the heavens and that brings me comfort. I am also an abuse and rape survivor and butterflies are so symbolic of hope to me. My abuse has left me feeling like a caterpillar in a cocoon all of my life, a cocoon others constructed around me. As I work through my past issues, I see that like the butterfly, one day soon I will also emerge from my cocoon and have wings to fly. To fly free of my past and into the light of the future. Thank You.
Novi, MI, USA
One afternoon in 1984, my husband and I were walking through our garden when a very large butterfly suddenly landed on my shoulder. We weren't sure if it was a true butterfly or a giant moth but it had a wing span that filled my husband's entire hand. When we tried to put it down on a plant, it slowly returned to my shoulder. It almost seemed as if it were too heavy to fly. When it finally left our presence, I noticed it had left a soft luminescence on my husband's hand. We never saw that beautiful butterfly again until 1994. I of course can't say it was the same one, but it certainly left me with the same feeling of hope and love. There is one thing I truly know for sure. Of all the creatures God has allowed me to see, the butterfly is the most inspirational.
Cathy Tallen, Cincinnati, OH, USA
My Dad was in the hospital in July 1990. As I sat near him, he reached out toward my face and I instinctively pulled back. He had only been attempting to lovingly brush a strand of hair away. Less than an hour later, he was dead. I had many regrets about our relationship but there was much good to remember also. I regretted most that I had pulled away from his gesture of love and wished I had the opportunity to do it over and let him know how much he had meant to me. After he died I went to the park and walked the trails and thought of him. One morning a small black butterfly flew alongside me, behind me, in front of me. It stayed with me for what seemed like 10-15 minutes and I had a sense it represented my Dad. That night when I went to work, I wore the blue cardigan I had given my Dad the past Father's Day. It had been freshly laundered using dry bleach. As I walked down the hospital corridor during my shift another nurse called out, "Cathy, you have a bleach mark on the back of your sweater. It looks like a butterfly." It did . . . and it does. I haven't worn the sweater since, but I keep and cherish it as a sign that my Dad knows I love him
Lesley, Boise, ID, USA
Since I was a child I have had a recurring dream about a big beautiful purple butterfly. The dream is just me chasing this gorgeous thing around a field. Sounds silly, I know. But it is the most peaceful dream, and I always feel like a million bucks when I wake up. I love butterflies. In fact I collect them. I have a room set up just for all my butterfly collectables. I have so many I have to have a spare room for them all. I've even gone as far as getting tattoos of them, even the one in my dream. To me they are the ultimate symbol for freedom and beauty, and that is how that dream has always made me feel ... free!
Veann Shea, Lakeland, FL, USA
I have had nothing but joy from my butterflies - Monarchs, Sulfur, Large Swallowtail, and many more. I feel that I have at least 50 or more a day in my garden. I raise my caterpillars from butterfly bush and milkweed and dill. Once they are large enough I put them in my aquarium with their food. Soon they become these lovely creatures that are set free.
Harlen E. Aschen, Victoria, TX, USA
I am the middle school science teacher at Victoria Christian School, Victoria, TX.. My wife and I have been doing some extensive re-landscaping of our back garden in Port Lavaca with mostly native Texas plants since '95. We live in Port Lavaca, Texas - the mid-coast of Texas. In our scheme of things we have over 200 container plants and have planted with hummingbirds and butterflies as the key, extra reward. We have included two small ponds - one 50 gallons and one 300 gallons. Last year the 4th graders at VCS under the guidance of their science teachers Mrs Datz and Mrs McKelvey raised Painted Ladies and released them. They are doing the same this year. Mrs Aschen and I were able to bring them 20 of the Queen butterfly caterpillars that we found on our butterfly weeds (milkweed). About half survived and were released as butterflies. Yesterday, Sept 20 97, we found three horned caterpillars (gray-brown with 7 pairs of black and white false eyes) on penta bushes and are taking to school to see what moth will develop. We have identified 23 different butterflies in our yard since the Fall of '96. Now I enjoy going out with video camera when they will pose and then can share with the students. Last Saturday a zebra swallowtail stayed for an hour around our fence of wild morning glories. I was able to get some close-up video. In class we watched how the pairs of wings performed differently. I hope and pray this is a never-ending story ... for each generation.
June Milam, Fort Myers, FL, USA
My Mom passed away in March of 1995 and I was left to care for my Dad. I had already arranged to go to Alaska for ten days and could not change those plans. The day after my Mom died I saw a white butterfly out in my woods fluttering nearby and it even touched me on my face as it was flying. Immediately I knew it was my Mom telling me she was OK and with God. I saw the white butterfly several times in the next few weeks until I left for Alaska.

When I was in Juneau I opted to go to Taku Lodge for the day on a float plane. The Island was still covered in snow and it was even snowing the day I was there. There were beautiful hummingbirds all over the place and to my real surprise a white butterfly. I have seen the white butterfly several times since then and I know it is my Mom's spirit. God Bless...

Marc Mannheimer, Bradford, MA, USA
Yesterday, Sunday, August 17th, my wife and I were in our backyard viewing our various plantings about 2:00 pm . We saw a butterfly circle about. Suddenly, it landed on my wife's shoulder. She flinched and it took off, but returned quickly and landed on her hip. I approached it, extending my hand. When I gently placed my index finger in front of it (like one would do for a bird), it jumped on. I then brought it close to view it. It gently opened and closed its wings and looked at me. My wife and I looked closely at it for a number of minutes. I thought it might be thirsty and so I took it over to a bird bath and gently set it down on a rock. I touched the water with my finger and offered it to the Butterfly. It wasn't interested. It then again jumped on my finger and we continued to walk about. It then took off. We walked up on our deck and the butterfly followed and landed on the rail. When I put my finger in front of it again it jumped on once more. After a few more minutes it flew off.

This experience seemed rare and unusual to us. Is it? We researched and have decided this was a Satyr Comma (Polygonia Satyrus). Apparently a bit farther south than usually found.

Gin Gardner, TN, USA
I attend an Episcopalian church retreat called "Happening". The mascot of Happening is a butterfly. I have come to see butterflies as a symbol of God for me. Every time I see a butterfly I remember that God loves me.
Alan Dunham, Ware, MA, USA
Perhaps this story is beginning. I visited the Butterfly Conservatory at the Botanical Gardens in Niagara Falls, Ontario just a few days go. It has brought me here and, hopefully, other places where butterflies are welcome. My interest in butterflies was stimulated by the creatures just being themselves in the conservatory. This is a story that will be continued as I learn more about butterflies.
Laura Kelly
I would like to submit my story about a Monarch butterfly named "Maggie".

I once found a Monarch butterfly in my garden. She had a frayed wing and the other wing had a hole in it. When she tried to fly she wobbled. I brought her in and checked her out. Since she couldn't fly I put her in a big antique bowl with lots of flowers. She perched herself on the flowers and stayed there. As the weeks and months went by she would sit on my shoulder while I worked at my desk or when I was reading. She would drink watered down syrup from the palm of my hand. Some times while she sat on my shoulder she would put her proboscis down and she would keep doing this until I noticed her. This was her way of letting me know she wanted a drink. I would get the syrup mixture for her and she'd drink it up.

I had "Maggie" for about two years. When she died I thought she had lived her life and it was time for her to leave. I really miss her. If someone had told me how a butterfly could touch your life like that, I wouldn't have believed them. But that was before I met "Maggie the Monarch. I have her mounted and in a gold frame that graces my study. I will never forget her.

Susan Cortright, Venice, FL, USA
I noticed eggs on my milkweed and after two tiny caterpillars were ripped of their chance to live I decided to try and raise one in a jar. It was so neat to watch the monarch caterpillar grow and eat, grow and eat. Then just yesterday morn, it spun its silky web and is now hanging from the inside lid. I plan to expand and buy a bigger container because the ants are having a field day with my baby caterpillars. (Sad ) It is very exciting to know the cycle of life is taking place.
Susan Batterman, Metamora, IL, USA
In my third grade classroom at Germantown Hills Elementary School, I have two pets which are one baby monarch butterfly and one adult monarch butterfly. The adult butterfly is formed into a "J" and is about to spin its pupa. That's all for now. More later.
Lorraine Jeter, Marietta, GA, USA
In 1991 I attended a very special retreat that focused on the outpouring of God's love. Butterflies were used to show how we change when we have God's love inside us. Now whenever I see a butterfly I think of 2 Corinthians 5: Therefore, if anyone be in Christ, he is a new creation ... It was a life changing experience for me and now I collect butterflies and think of how God through His gift of Jesus Christ caused me to change from the creature that I was to a new creation that I now am. Old things are passed, all things become new.
Cheryl Piemonte, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA
I went to Butterfly World up in Pompano about three years ago. I was hooked on Butterflies. I went to every workshop that they had to learn about the flowers and larvae plants that the butterflies in South Florida would thrive on. Since then, I have flowers all around my home and of course, lots of butterflies. I bought one-gallon aquariums and started larvae hunting on a daily basis. I would keep the larvae in the house and would keep them supplied with their specific larvae food until they turned into a cocoon. I would then wait until they emerged and would set them free.

This has been a totally awesome experience for not only me, but also my grandson who at the time was two. He would help to let the butterflies go. We both loved it. I have helped to raise polydamas , black Swallowtails, Monarchs, Sulfurs from small to giant, Gulf Fritillaries, Julias, and of course Zebras. I see at least 20 butterflies in my yard on a daily basis. I feel that I have contributed to helping the butterflies survive so that my grandchildren will be able to see them too.

Becky Foley, Shelbyville, KY, USA
I have always taken inspiration from butterflies, and am always on the lookout for one of these beautiful creatures. My life has been blessed more than once by a butterfly, and one day this summer, my life was blessed by two. I was walking along on one of those dreary-mooded days. I was sort of in my own world with my thoughts and contemplations. I happened to look up just as two bright butterflies crossed their paths directly in front of me. I had to smile. It is said that a black cat crossing one's path brings bad luck, but I am convinced that a butterfly passing one's path brings the best luck to be found. If only the world would learn of the freedom and beauty a simple butterfly has to offer.
Christine Penrod
Yes, I have the most moving story to tell you about my beautiful Nicole whom I lost on the l8th of May, l997. Someone sent me the address of your website.. I was so happy to see it ... I will visit it with my butterfly Nicole in a few days when I collect my thoughts together... I know it takes a lot of butterflies to create flowers... Nicole's mom, Christine....P.S. Nicole was eighteen years old ... I'll be back in a few days.
Amy Burford, Oscoda, MI, USA
My butterfly story begins on magical Mackinac Island, Michigan in 1995. There is a butterfly house on the island that has many species of butterflies. My husband and children and I went into the butterfly house. It is mostly a greenhouse that houses all the butterfly-attracting plants one could imagine. It is a very bright place and classical music plays as you travel through the house looking at the different stages of development of the butterfly.

I had used tropical hair spray that day before leaving for the island and a butterfly liked what he tasted as he sat on my head .... for 15 minutes! We couldn't leave until it was off of my head.. My family and I will never forget that trip to the butterfly house on Mackinac Island.

USA
This event occurred about 30 years ago and yet it is still fresh in my mind. My brother was about 9 and I was around 10 years old. Being a boy, he loved to collect all sorts of bugs and put them in jars with lids that had a few holes punched in them. Many of these bugs simply did not live, as you can imagine. On this one particular day he caught a beautiful butterfly (I remember it being a Monarch, but truthfully don't know exactly what it was). He and I sat on the steps of our family home and stared and stared at this little beauty. I am not sure what it was but something inside my brother made him stand up, open the lid and set the butterfly free. It floated around for a few minutes and then flew back towards my brother and landed on his cheek where it stayed for several minutes. He was walking around the garden and showing people this little butterfly who was resting on his cheek. It was as though the butterfly was saying to my brother, "thanks for setting me free my friend".

And that is MY butterfly story that enriched my life.

Debra Clark
"My academically talented class of fifth graders was doing research in a local cemetery. We brought along our recently hatched Monarch butterfly to release in the cemetery, thinking it fitting that among all the reminders of the dead, we would bring a beautiful sign of life. After spending a few hours recording data, we turned to release our butterfly and watch her fly away. Once released, however, she flew straight to my mother's silver-haired head, where she was content to remain! We gently retrieved her from my mother's head, set her off again, and once more she made a beeline for my bewildered, and yet honored, mother! On the third try we set her in some bushes and fondly said our good-byes."
Marla Wilkie, Olympia, WA USA
This is from the introduction of a short book my mother self-published in autumn of 1997. The book is called "Wings for Faith."
Inspiration for this story was in fact a real butterfly my son, Zach, brought home one day in early May of 1992. My daughter, Heather, came running into my bedroom where I was napping and awakened me. She informed me Zach had found a butterfly while walking home and had reached down to pick it up, expecting it to fly away. Instead it had allowed him to carry it at least 1/2 mile and bring it right into our home and place it on his brother Levi's shoulder. This is where I first saw Faith: perched on Levi's shoulder gently moving her wings up, then down, and up again. We were all amazed. I had never heard of such a thing: a butterfly resting peacefully on someone's shoulder. My first thought was this truly is a miracle, a sign from God. Something in my spirit was deeply touched. I asked the Lord what this sign meant. I was a single parent at this time and struggling to raise my children by myself. I longed for a father figure for my children and a helpmate for myself. The next day I went off to a solitary place and the rough draft for this book was given to me by the Holy Spirit while I sat in the back of my van. I was overwhelmed by all the scriptures that just popped into my head. Over the years when times of stress came raising the children or as the Lord stretched me in my spiritual walk; I would be inspired, transformed, and blessed when I would seek encouragement from the story of Faith. God did bring a miracle into our lives that spring. I began dating a man from my church and on June 19, 1993, Steve and I were married. My prayer is that you too will be transformed by the Word of God. swilkie1@esd113.wednet.edu
New Hope, PA
One summer evening I was at home alone in a woodsy area outside of New Hope Pa. The sky was a dark velvet gray-black in my country setting with no houses or street lamps nearby. The moon cast a faint wash of light over the scene. I heard a batting on the screen door and went to look, and there I saw the biggest butterfly I had ever seen. It was about as big as my whole hand, a pale, ghostly mint green in color, and had two large spots, one on each wing, which looked like eyes looking at me. Closer inspection revealed golden, feathery antennae on the butterfly's head. It was easily the most beautiful living thing I'd ever seen. The butterfly settled down on the screen, where it stayed for a long time. I found myself totally entranced by it; it seemed like a messenger too important to ignore. I forgot whatever busyness I had been doing, and settled down myself to watch it. I must have watched it for about 45 minutes, just enjoying the color of it and the unexpectedness of its visit. I felt vaguely blessed by its appearance and its willingness to stay so long in one place so that I could appreciate it. It was like a vivid dream; I wanted to keep it with me and savor it. Yet I know the butterfly was real. The feeling of being blessed has stayed with me. I found picture of a similar butterfly in a nature calendar and cut it out to remind me of my encounter. Whenever I look at the picture, I can remember how it was to be still, to fully appreciate that unexpected moment when my connection to the universe, and the universe's connection to me, was strong and whole.
Ralph Swem
This is really my good friend's story. But I will never look at a butterfly again without thinking of it. A month ago my friend had surgery, came through it fine but after she got back to her room her heart stopped beating for 3 to 4 minutes. She was dead. God gave her back her life. It was very possible that even though she would be alive she would have massive brain damage. But God is VERY good. With therapy she is now almost 100% better. But the medication she is on causes her to see things. Not ugly creepy things. But beautiful things like colored butterflies. Her whole world was covered in blue, pink, yellow, and green butterflies. They are nearly gone now only a few remain. Now butterflies will always be a reminder of God's miracles.
D1debb
My dear father had died in March 1984. Still mourning in May, I went outside with my Bible Devotional book, hoping that when I read it I would be comforted by its uplifting words. I also thought spending some time in my sunny garden would lift my spirits. So, there I sat reading, with my book on my lap. As I started to turn the page, a Painted Lady butterfly alighted on my index finger! It did not seem to mind when I continued to turn the page (I was in disbelief!) so it remained with me for a few glorious moments before traveling down my finger, then across the devotional, and upwards into the sky. At that moment I thought of my father and wondered if this was the Lord's way of comforting me with a most surprising, and pleasant visit from one of His own creations. Now, I can't think of, speak about, or see a butterfly without also thinking of my father. And since I am the Director of the Butterfly Garden at our children's school, I think of him often, with warmth and comfort from that sunny day, when a miracle came into my garden! God bless you all.
Dave Benkendorf
This is about my grandfather's death, and how these beautiful creatures help me to overcome it. I have a very interesting story to tell. Okay, a year ago to be exact, like I told you, my grandfather died. I decided that if I chose a hobby to stop me of thinking of it that it would be a lot easier to deal with. So I chose butterflies because they are so beautiful and graceful. It may sound corny, but it actually worked. These amazing creatures helped me to deal with the loss of my grandfather. I am eleven years old.
Betsy Bridgers - Smithfield, CN USA
Two years ago in the spring we started a butterfly garden on our campus at our school. We are a primary K-2 school. When we returned in the fall, our garden was rampant with black swallowtail and monarch caterpillars. Our children have been able to see the majestic metamorphosis of these beautiful creatures. It is so much fun to see the butterflies change and float through the air to feed on the flowers in the courtyard.
Starrie Evans
Finals, term papers and stressful decisions flooded my mind as I walked through my university campus to my next exam. Did I have what it takes to be a college student? Would I fail all my finals? Did I even like my major? I walked in a daze, a web of thoughts filling my mind. I was in a fragile state. I needed a boost - something to cheer me up. In the corner of my eye I could see it fluttering towards me. Hues of purple, blue and gold covering its wings. The butterfly drifted past me slowly hopping through the air. Then it was gone. I felt better - calmer, more stable and sure of myself than before. The butterfly helped me. Seeing it helped me because I saw something good - its beauty. Maybe this story sounds a bit corny, but it has a happy ending...I aced my test!