Inspiration, poetry

#SundayShares: Photos, Prose, Poetry

Photo by Skyler Ewing on

During the week, I often come across poetry, a bit of writing, and/or a photo that gives me pause in a satisfying way where I reconnect with the present. I’d like to share these moments with you.

Last week I went on a cruise with my mother. Fun cruise (but I will post about that in the newsletter). Oddly, we had two butterflies greet us. Strange because one time we were in the middle of the ocean and the other when we disembarked in Cabo San Lucas.

Immediately, I had a sense of who had visited us. I say “who” because, in the Mexican tradition, many believe a butterfly represents the souls of their ancestors. All week, I came across items having to do with butterflies, so they are my #SundayShare.

The Monarch Butterfly Count:

Every November, the butterflies migrate from the chilly north along the West Coast to Baja California, over 2,000 miles.

The year 2020 was bad news for the Monarch population. The population had significantly declined.

In California, volunteers from the Monarch Joint Venture project get together to count the Monarch, and they’ve done this since 1997. If you’ve ever been to Pacific Grove, California (outside Monterrey), you may have visited the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary. My daughter and I visited three years ago and promised to return.

Last year, the butterflies had a comeback, with over 250,000 Monarchs counted.

The counting started this year on Oct. 21st, and the population is on the upswing compared to 2021. So far, they’re rebounding. I find this inspiring and hopeful.

Balm in Gilead


“Is there no balm in Gilead?” So cries

dour Jeremiah in granite tones.

“There is a balm in Gilead,” replies

a Negro spiritual. The baritone

who chants it, leaning forward on the platform,

looks up, not knowing his voice is a rainstorm

that rinses air to reveal earth’s surprises.

Today, the summer gone, four monarch butterflies,

their breed’s survivors, sucked a flower’s last blooms,

opened their wings, orange-and-black stained glass,

and printed on the sky in zigzag lines,

watch bright things rise: winter moons, the white undersides

of a California condor, once thought doomed,

now flapping wide like the first bird from ashes.

Have a wonder-filled week. Sign up for the monthly newsletter, which arrives on the fourth Saturday.

Soon, I’ll receive advanced reader copies (ARC) of my debut novel, THE GARDEN OF SECOND CHANCES. Subscribers will have the first chance at a giveaway, using a random generator, for an ARC. I’ll mail this to the winner, if within the USA.

Inspiration, Nature

A Beautiful Garden of Monarch Butterflies

Welcome, June. I’m enjoying the longer days, slightly warmer weather, and the discoveries in my new garden.

The two milkweed plants in the backyard attracted Monarch butterflies which I enjoyed watching last month as they danced above the blossoms and ducked into the leaves.

After pulling a few weeds, I stopped to admire the Milkweed’s orange-red blossoms, and there she/he was, munching away on a leaf. A gorgeous plump caterpillar.

milkweed plant with caterpillar on leaf
Milkweed with Caterpillar-photo by M.AlvaradoFrazier

In the past few years, I’ve looked for Monarchs in the eucalyptus trees in the next city where they gather during their southern migration from Mexico but I’ve never seen the beginning of their life cycle until now.

Milkweed is the only plant a Monarch butterfly will breed and deposit eggs. Those eggs are now caterpillars and some energetic ones made their way ten feet away and began their next stage on my patio. This one is underneath a patio chair, already in the J stage where it will attach itself with a silk thread. In a couple of days, I’ll gently move the chair into an area where someone won’t sit on it.

monarch caterpillar on patio chair
Monarch caterpillar in the J stage-photo by MAlvaradoFrazier

On Memorial Day, we sat around the patio table and discovered another tiny treasure. Seems like the caterpillar journey wasn’t solitary. Another little guy/gal attached itself to a steel leg at the bottom of the table. At first, I didn’t know what this was until I remembered my friend, Dani, who said Monarch’s have beautiful chrysalis (cocoons). Well, this little jewel is jade green with dots of gold on its rim.

Monarch chrysalis on patio table
Monarch chrysalis- photo by M.AlvaradoFrazier

Dramatic changes take place inside the chrysalis. There are things we can’t see but know are happening. Just like life. Metamorphosis is occurring and with the process, I gain inspiration and hope.

In a few more days another Monarch will be born, fly over to the milkweed, get nourishment and return to Mexico.