A writer inspired by nature and human nature


Celebrating My Maine

Maine—The Way Life Should Be…

Find out more at  https://www.theodysseyonline.com/10-reasons-why-maine-the-way-life-should

Did you know?

Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, the state of New Hampshire to the west, the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine’s long rocky Atlantic Coast is known for its frigid waters and an ample fishery—most famed for the Maine lobster. Maine has 3,478 miles of coastline.

Nicknamed The Pine Tree State), Maine was initially a province of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In fact, it was decades after the American Revolution before Maine gained official statehood. The Eastern white pine tree helped fuel the region’s economy in an era when shipbuilding and lumbering reigned supreme. The economic value of those pines actually provided a spark for the American Revolution. Massachusetts didn’t want to lose any of those pine profits it gained after the war, while Mainers struggled for political and economic independence. Maine officially celebrated its Bicentennial on March 15, 2020. Due to the 2020 Pandemic, The Pine Tree State will continue to celebrate its bicentennial through 2021! 

“A nature-filled land that enlivens the senses and soothes the soul—to me, Maine is poetry.”
–Bette A. Stevens

The Power of Poetry

How Readers & Writers of All Ages Benefit from Poetry

  • Improves Verbal Skills & Memory
  • Enhances Cognitive Function
  • Develops Empathy & Insight
  • Encourages Creativity

Why Haiku…

Inspired by the beauty and bounty of my home state, I write poetry in many forms; but I chose haiku for My Maine to offer readers a collection of story poems and photo snapshots of the unique land I know and love.

I invite you to join me as I celebrate #Maine2020 by submitting one of your favorite photos taken in “The Pine Tree State” and writing a haiku too! I’ll be publishing submissions here on my blog throughout 2020. Simply email me at bettestevens@tds.net SUBJECT: “Maine Bicentennial Haiku.”

How to Write Haiku…

 

A Peek Inside the Collection

~Excerpts from Winter Tales~

Frozen polar winds
Wave the ice crystal scepter
Dawn’s magic appears

Silvery branches
Unveil the old, old folktale
A spellbound story

Pine cones and tassels
Mirrored in moonlight upon
White weighted branches

Chickadees dozing
Nestling, captive to pine boughs
Till dawn sets them free

Shovels and snow plows
Storm’s rook ravings unraveled
Till the next arrives

Soups, stews and chowders
Stories told round the table
Favored winter fare

Silently—Snowfalls
Reign over field and forest
Supremely sovereign

Winter white gemstones
Glistening across meadows
Perfect snowshoe day

About the Author

Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of eight. Stevens lives in central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies (milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat). Stevens has written articles for ECHOES, The Northern Maine Journal of Rural Culture. As of July 2019,  Stevens has self-published five books and has a second poetry collection on the drawing board. Find out more about the author and her books at https://www.amazon.com/author/betteastevens

“Happy reading and writing… May the bounty and beauty of each new season inspire you!” 

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JFK by Norman RockwellNovember 1963

It was a time in history when most American families held high hopes for their future and looked forward to enjoying a Thanksgiving meal with family and friends.  A few days before the holiday, an unforeseen tragedy struck the nation—President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22nd. Although families from all walks of life were in mourning, most held that year’s Thanksgiving holiday in their hearts as they enjoyed a bountiful feast together and prayed for the healing of a stunned nation. Others were not so fortunate—the ones who did not know where their next meal was coming from. They were the poor, the indigent, the invisible people. They were praying, and they were hungry.

DOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens is a story about those invisible people. Stevens’s novel will be on sale for only 99¢ through November 27, 2022).

DOG BONE SOUP (An excerpt from Chapter 22)

“BOYS, GET IN HERE. Hurry up!”

We set the groceries on the table and ran in to see what Mum was so worked up about.

“President Kennedy’s body’s back in Washington. Look, they’re switching from the Washington to that Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas. The world’s at a standstill and no wonder. I can’t believe that someone’s gone and killed the President…Sit down. Watch.”

“What’s for dinner?” I asked when I handed her the change.

“Good. We have more than a dollar left for the week.”

“What about dinner, Mum?”

“I’ll fix us some supper, later. We had plenty of hotcakes to tide us over this morning,” Mum sat there, captivated by the news.

Coverage went on all day and long into the night. Willie and I went out to cut and split fire wood for the week. Then we grabbed our fishing poles and ran down to the brook. I figured if we caught something, we could have a nice fry for supper, even if I had to fix it myself.

Willie peeled and cut potatoes while I figured out how to mix flour and cornmeal and get the fish going. I set the fish on the stove to keep warm while I fried up the potatoes.

We never did get Mum away from the darned TV.

I wondered if it was like that for other families that night. I wasn’t up to watching TV non-stop. I’d pop in every now and then to keep track of what was happening though. I kept thinking about President Lincoln. Far as I could see nothing good came from fighting, killing and wars. Why couldn’t people just treat everyone the way they wanted to be treated.

I got the washtub heated up before bed. The girls got their baths first, like always. Then Willie and I took turns. There’d be no hair cuttin’ this Saturday. There was only one good thing about this day—Dad didn’t show up. I didn’t want to think about that shotgun, but I couldn’t shake that Saturday out of my head.

∞∞∞

By the time I got up Sunday morning, the news was already runnin’ non-stop. President Kennedy had big dreams for America. He hoped we would land on the moon; wanted Americans to be healthy; wanted Negros and poor folks to have rights like everybody else and he wanted to make peace with people in other countries. I wondered what would happen to those dreams now that he was gone.

Mum had the volume turned way up, but she wasn’t watchin’. She had the wood stove blazin’, fresh biscuits warming on the stove top and scrambled eggs cookin’ on the griddle.

“I’ve been praying for the President’s family,” she looked up and whispered. “Call the kids and sit yourself down. Thanks for fixin’ supper last night, Shawn. I’ve been walking around in a fog with all that’s been going on. I still can’t imagine why anyone would want to kill the President.”

After breakfast, Willie and I ran out to milk the cows.

“Now you boys, bundle up real good. It’s mighty cold out there.”

Two heifers started mooing real low the second they spotted us. The wind was blowing so darned hard, the pails were swingin’ all on their own, even with the weight of milk jars in them. By the time we got back to the house the sky was spittin’ out snowflakes big as quarters.

“Let’s fix us a cup a hot coffee, Willie.”

“Mum’ll have a fit if she finds me drinking coffee.”

I threw in a few small chunks of kindling and set the coffee pot on top of the stove.

“You might like it. I mix it up with lots of milk. We’ll fix Mum a cup, too.”

“Boys, get in here quick,” Mum hollered. “Some night club owner named Jack Ruby just shot and killed that Oswald guy who shot President Kennedy!”

Bad news just kept coming. Cameras jumped from Washington to Dallas and back again every few minutes. We watched the casket being carried from the White House to the Capital’s Rotunda. In between, they showed pictures of the President’s family before all this terrible stuff happened. Caroline and John-John were just little kids and the family looked real happy doing things together.

Then, reporters started talking to the new president, Lyndon B. Johnson.

I poured up coffee and went in to watch the mess. My head pounded. I closed my eyes and tried to figure out how I was gonna get out of school next week. I had to talk to that recruiter.

Just as I downed the last of my coffee, I heard a knock at the door. “Please don’t be Dad,” I prayed.

I lifted the latch, opened the door and there stood two snow-crusted ladies that I recognized from church. They were holding baskets chock-full of all the things us kids had been dreamin’ about. One had a turkey, a ham and all kinds of canned goods. The other held a plate mounded high with cookies and two pumpkin pies. I even spotted a can of cocoa.

“Come on in and sit down. I’ll go get Mum.”

“We’ll just set these baskets on the table. We have three more deliveries and we want to get home before the roads get any worse.”

“Mum, it’s ladies from church. They brought us baskets chock-full of food,” I hollered.

Mum and the kids must have flown out to the kitchen.

“What on earth are you doing here?” I thought Mum’s eyes would pop out when she spotted those baskets.

“Thanksgiving’s only a few days away and we’re out making deliveries this afternoon. I think you’ll find enough for a nice holiday feast, Mrs. Daniels. If there’s anything else you need, just let us know.”

“You have a wonderful Thanksgiving.” The ladies smiled before they turned to leave.

“You take your damned charity baskets and leave ’em somewhere they’re needed!”

The ladies spun around, looked at one another, then at Mum, then at us, then at the baskets. I sat down at the kitchen table and didn’t know what to make of it. Mum couldn’t believe somebody’d killed the President. Well, I couldn’t believe Mum just killed our only chance of having a decent meal.

###

Today, more than 33 million Americans are living below the poverty line usafacts.org  Most of them aren’t looking for a hand-out. They’re looking for a hand up—decent jobs that pay a living wage.

Read more of Shawn Daniels’s adventures in DOG BONE SOUP…

  • DOG BONE SOUP, A Boomer’s Journey (Literary/Historical Fiction/Ages 12-Adult) by Bette A. Stevens
    HOLIDAY SPECIAL—ONLY 99¢ November 22 through November 27, 2022
    OR Purchase Paperback and download
    Kindle version for FREE anytime—”Kindle Matchbook”
  • Paperbacks make GREAT GIFTS  and you can download the eBook for you!
  • Available at YOUR AMAZON

About the author

BAS Author logo stamp 2015Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of five. Stevens lives in Central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies—an endangered species (and milkweed, the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat).

Stevens is the author of AMAZING MATILDA, an award-winning picture book; The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too!, a home/school resource incorporating hands-on math and writing; and PURE TRASH, the short story prequel to her début novel, DOG BONE SOUP, a Baby Boomer’s coming of age novel published in January 2015. MY MAINE, Haiku through the Seasons was published July 2019 and includes 150 story poems, 49 original photos + interesting facts and symbols of Maine.

You can find out more about the author and check out all of her books at http://viewauthor.at/BetteAStevens

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Honored to be featured along with poetry by Harmony and Annette on Sally’s blog today… Special thanks to Sally for featuring Liz Gauffreau’s wonderful review of MY MAINE… Thanks for stopping by to check them out at Sallys! ~ Bette A. Stevens 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair with a selection of books from personally recommended authors on my bookshelf I believe will make wonderful gifts for friends, family and for you. 

Poetry is an art form and has been enjoyed by readers for thousands of years. Today I am sharing some of the collections on the bookshelf that I am sure you will enjoy too.

The first is A Tanka Picture Book by Annette Rochelle Aben.

A Tanka Picture Book by [Annette Rochelle Aben]About the collection

Life is alive with poetry; all the sights, sounds and smells. Blend it all together in your mind and you will begin to sing songs in your heart. You deserve a reason to smile, to feel good while pondering the magic of your world. You are closer than you think.

Open, A Tanka Picture Book! Consider the story each picture shares through its visual. Enjoy how each is enhanced with…

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Although it’s been a dry summer and monarch sightings have been sparse here at the Farmstead in central Maine, these amazing pollinators continue to stop by to visit, lay eggs on our milkweed plants, emerge from their chrysalides, metamorphose into monarch butterflies and fly off on their annual migration to winter inMexico, where their life cycle will begin again next spring… ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author and monarch butterfly advocate 

County Gardening

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An amazing visit (check out the photo, post, and video) at Jennie Fitzkie’s place… Afterward, check out this link to find out how to tell a male from a female monarch butterfly! ~ Bette A. Stevens, author and monarch butterfly advocate

Monarch butterfly and milkweed plant from Bette’s garden in Maine.

A Teacher's Reflections

A monarch butterfly visited our flowers.  S/he was determined to stay, in spite of excited children and adults reaching out to touch.  This butterfly is endangered, so the visit was very special.

I always give the children I teach roots- the foundation to become strong and happy.  That comes naturally for the teacher in me.  Wings are the final journey, after roots have become secure and sturdy.  The monarch was showing me the power of wings.

This monarch butterfly stayed for a very long time.  I knew there was a reason and a message:

Jennie, never forget how important roots are.  The more you give to children, their wings can grow.

Yes.  I thanked the monarch butterfly.  What a gift!

Jennie

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STATUS UPDATE: As of Juy 25, 2022—Monarch butterflies are on the Endangered Threatened Species “Red List.”

Their status was announced by the International Union for Conservation of Nature last week, but we still await a status change from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Some of the largest contributing factors include significant loss of milkweed habitat and growth, as well as an increased use of herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals. Now for the good news.

As said by John F. Kennedy, “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.”

 

The Great Monarch Migration

Each year from August through October, masses of monarch butterflies embark on a journey from the southern reaches of Canada that takes them 2500 Miles to remote mountain treetops in central Mexico. Millions of overwintering monarchs were discovered roosting there for the first time in 1975. Here at the farmstead in central Maine, monarch butterflies visit us from early June through mid to late September. As a citizen scientist, I report my sightings to Journey North . I invite you to visit their website to find out more about our amazing monarch butterflies and find out how you can help.

Hubby Dan and I have sighted sixty (60) monarchs so far this season. The monarch chrysalis in my photo collage was spun by a caterpillar Dan discovered on a day lily leaf when he was cleaning the garden on August 13, 2019. We transferred the caterpillar and part of the leaf to our back porch. By the time I put fresh batteries in the camera and returned, this chrysalis had already been spun. On August 31, a beautiful monarch butterfly had emerged and was resting on her chrysalis (yes, it was a girl, our 2019 Matilda) about noontime. We sat and watched for hours as she dried her wings. I moved her to a nearby phlox plant where she could rest and sip nectar as she prepared for her long journey  south. One of her friends (most likely a monarch sibling) stopped by to check on her several times. By 4:45 p.m., she was flitting and fluttering through the garden before she began soaring and landed on the birch wood pile before soaring away on her long journey south.

Note: The top left monarch was one of our earlier arrivals that stopped to lay eggs on our milkweed. The others are all of our amazing Matilda who is on her way to Mexico!

Leaders from U.S., Mexico & Canada have agreed to help protect this threatened species through the NAFTA trade agreement. Groups and individual citizens continue to band together to support and protect monarch butterflies. Together we can make a difference!

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

  • Plant native milkweed
  • Provide nectar plants
  • Avoid pesticides
  • Report your monarch sighting observations to JourneyNorth.org
  • FIND OUT MORE at  WaterwayAdvocates.org

Bette A. Stevens is the author/illustrator of award-winning picture book Amazing Mailda, A Monarch’s Tale.

Here’s what two readers have to say:

“A beautiful message of love, patience, perseverance, and belief. The story is told with a frog, bird, rabbit, and the butterfly as the main characters. A perfect book for children mainly to teach them about the cycles of life and the importance of patience, perseverance, and keeping faith in a dream.” ~Karen Ingalls

“I can’t wait to give this to my grandchildren and will enjoy our reading time together with this delightful tale!” ~ D.L. Finn

 

Amazing Matilda (2019) on her way to Mexico! 

 

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MATILDA expertly as a cirus acrobat... 2016

About the book

This “Gem of a Tale” about a Monarch Butterfly teaches kids lessons in friendship, patience and persistence as AMAZING MATILDA transforms from egg to caterpillar to butterfly. (Children’s Picture Book/Ages 5-11).

Order your copies today:

AM Celebrate Season MATCHBOOK bas 2016

Related Sites:

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Easter Blessings (Poster, pPoem & Scripture

Faith

Take all of your worries and all of your fears
Cast them upon Jesus who’s waiting, He cares
He came down from glory to save you and me
His brothers and sisters who yearn to be free

He proved with his life that His calling is true
We trust that He cares about all we go through
His love it surpasses, His blessings abound
His faithfulness throughout creation resounds

In Scriptures we find Him, His words and His deeds
Imploring each brother and sister, He pleads
Surrender your worries and all of your fears
I’m here to walk with you in laughter, in tears

We’ll dance through the triumphs and trials together
Good plans will prevail, no matter the weather
God’s love is as sure as the sun, stars and moon
Eternity’s waiting, there’s plenty of room

~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

John 3:16-17 New International Version (NIV)

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Happy Easter!

—Bette A. Stevens


Looking for the perfect picture book for the kids this spring?

AMAZING MATILDA’s got you covered!

ONLY 99c/p thru APR 18! Celebrate SPRING with a monarch butterfly adventure #monarch #Butterflies endangered AMAZING MATILDA, A Monarch's Tale (Ages 5-11) #metamorphosis #EarthDay #education GRAB THE BOOK at bit.ly/19Qr3Y0

 

One concern parents have is how to inspire their children to meet challenges with patience and persistence. This is the plot of the award-winning picture book, AMAZING MATILDA, A Monarchs Tale, written and illustrated by Bette A. Stevens. In this story a caterpillar wants to learn how to fly. She asks all of her friends in the meadow, but doesn’t find an easy answer. Yet, she continues the quest until, at last, she becomes what she wants to be—a butterfly. AMAZING MATILDA offers adults the opportunity to inspire the children in their lives to meet their own challenges with patience and persistence.

  • For a Limited Time you can DOWNLOAD the eBook of AMAZING MATILDA for ONLY 99¢/p at http://bit.ly/19Qr3Y0 GRAB A COPY TODAY!

 

  • Be sure to check out the #FREE PDFs.  Amazing Matilda Finger Puppets and Fun & Learning with Monarch Butterflies— two excellent reading and life/environmental science resources to go along with the book. Find the download links below.

 

  • Missed the Limited Time Deal? NO WORRIES… Award-winning AMAZING MATILDA is available in paperback and eBook versions and it’s an AMAZON KINDLE MATCHBOOK every day—that means, when you purchase the paperback for $9.49, you can download the eBook version for FREE! Click the link to Order your copies today

Check out these #FREE Reading & Monarch Butterfly Resources from Bette 

Stevens has put together two (2) FREE #PDF companion pieces to make talking to the kids about AMAZING MATILDA and learning about Monarch butterflies exciting and fun.

am-finger-puppets-handout-12funlearningwith-amazing-monarchs-2016

 

CLICK THE TWO LINKS ABOVE TO DOWNLOAD. These resources will not only keep the kids talking about the book with their finger puppets, they’ll learn even more about Monarch Butterflies, their endangered habitat, monarch and milkweed conservation and preservation.  Fun & Learning offers activity sites and resources for butterfly gardeners and teachers as well.  Don’t miss these two great resources for families, clubs, classrooms and homeschoolers.

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Celebrate National Poetry Month with a Haiku Poem

Springtime Melodies

Haiku by Bette A. Stevens from MY MAINE, Haiku through the Seasons

Sunbeams composing
Springtime melodies, humming
Tapping to the tunes

April is a perfect month to get outdoors and get inspired. As a former teacher (grades four through eight), I know that kids of all ages love writing poetry and they enjoy illustrating their poems too. It’s simple and it’s so much fun to tell a story in the three short lines of Haiku. You’ll find a link to some great poetry writing tips at the end of this post. Of course, you’re not limited to writing one haiku poem—you can write as many stanzas as you wish. Give it a try! 

Grab the kids, take out your pens, head into the great outdoors and get inspired!

~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator

  • Check out more of Bette’s haiku poems inside MY MAINE, Haiku through the Seasons here. The collection includes the author’s 150 haiku poems, along with 49 of her photographs and illustrations. Travel through Maine’s four seasons and discover state symbols and interesting facts about The Pine Tree State with the author.

(Haiku: m)

haiku

noun hai·ku ˈhī-(ˌ)kü
  1. :  an unrhymed verse form of Japanese origin having three lines containing usually five, seven, and five syllables respectively; also :  a poem in this form usually having a seasonal reference.

Discover more about how to write haiku and other poetry

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Thanks for these great resources, Jacqui Murray!
Be sure to visit Jacqui’s blog, follow her blog and check out her books. #ReadAcrossAmerica #Readingisfundamental #literacy HAPPY READING with the kids every day… ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine Author 

As writers, we know the importance reading has made in our lives. That is why holidays that support reading for kids are a big deal with me–well, that and the fact I’m also a teacher! In the United States, we celebrate Read Across America Day annually on March 2. This coincides with the birthday of Dr. Seuss, one of the most beloved and iconic children’s writers and perfect for any read-aloud.

Here are great reading websites for youngers:

read across america

  1. Aesop Fables—no ads
  2. Aesop’s Fables
  3. Audio stories
  4. Childhood Stories
  5. Classic Fairy Tales
  6. Fairy Tales and Fables
  7. Scholastic: Listen/read–Free non-fic audio books
  8. Starfall
  9. Storyline: Stories read by actors
  10. Stories to read for youngsters

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MY MAINE, Haiku through the Seasons reflects the Maine I know and love. ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author 
The haiku above written February 2022. Photo taken from back field (farmstead peeking through) on a perfect snowshoe day as winter’s landscape begins to transform itself into spring.

Below is a sampling from Winter Tales.  

Winter Tales 🌲

(Selections from— MY MAINE, Haiku Through the Seasons by Bette A. Stevens)

Sheets of diamonds
Glisten on frozen meadows
Perfect snowshoe day

Icicles weeping
Tears of joy from the rooftops
Winter jubilee

Dawning feels warmer
Daylight slowly grows longer
North tilts toward the sun

Afternoon shadows
Scrambling through frozen forests
Sing—Joy to the world

Black and white portraits
Etched below an azure sky
Disappear at dusk

Thanks so much for taking time to enjoy a bit of late winter in MY MAINE, Haiku Through the Seasons

Did You Know? 🌲

Maine’s official nickname is “The Pine Tree State.”

The Eastern white pine tree appears on the state flag, its state quarter and, as of 2017 , 89.1 percent of the state was covered in forest, making it the most tree-covered state among the 48 contiguous US states. 

My Maine takes readers on a poetic journey through the state’s four distinct seasons. The collection of 150 haiku poems includes 49 of the author’s photographs as well as facts and symbols from The Pine Tree State. MY MAINE, Haiku through the Seasons is available in print and eBook formats. Take a peek inside and grab a copy at AMAZON.com. ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

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May your days be blessed and beautiful

May your nights, sweet dreams supply

May your New Year be amazing

As a monarch butterfly

© Bette A. Stevens

Learn about Monarch Butterflies

Bette in her garden with one of the monarch butterflies that emerged from its chrysalis at the farmstead in central Maine.

Monarch butterflies offer an amazing view into the intricate nature of the wild. Their scientific name—Danaus Plexippus— Greek for “Sleepy Transformation,” gets part of the story right, but not the epic whole. Monarch butterflies embark on an amazing migratory phenomenon as they have the ability to hibernate and metamorphose.  International conservation efforts to protect and restore monarch habitat are ongoing. These efforts may help improve the near-endangered/endangered status of the species; but we, as ordinary citizens, can easily help the monarch butterfly recovery right in our own backyards and gardens.

  • Resources for kids, families, educators and gardeners 
    Download Bette’s FREE PDF “Fun & Learning with Monarch Butterflies” where you’ll find:
    ★ Monarch Butterfly Facts
    ★ Coloring Pages
    ★ Gardening
    ★ Video: How to Make an Origami Butterfly
    ★ Butterfly Teacher Guide and so much more…
    ★ How you can help protect our monarchs
    DOWNLOAD Bette’s FREE PDF https://4writersandreaders.com/fun-learning-with-monarchs-2/

Wishing all of you & all of
our amazing monarch butterflies…
“An Amazing New Year!”

~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

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“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”
LUKE 2:11 (KJV) Bible

Christmas Eve Pondering

stars-shell-merry-christmas-bas-2016

A Poem by Bette A. Stevens

The last cookie baked, the final gift wrapped.

Christmas Eve is upon us…

It’s time to relax.

Christmas music is gently reminding us why

Lord Jesus, the Christ Child…

Came down from on high.

He came as a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes.

Lived among us on earth…

God’s gifts to bestow.

Loving God, loving others —Christ bought with his life

He epitomized love…

Not anger or strife.

God’s love is a precious gift we’re to share

Not with just those we know…

But with folks everywhere.

Wishing you Joy, Peace, Love & Hope—Gifts of The Christ Child—at Christmas and always… ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author


Christmas music in a 3 hours long playlist (tracklist below). Traditional Christmas songs & carols featuring piano, violin & orchestra – arranged and recorded by Peder B. Helland. Christmas songs in the mix: “O Holy Night”, “Silent Night”, “O Come All Ye Faithful”, “Angels We Have Heard On High,” “In The Bleak Midwinter” & “Fairest Lord Jesus.”

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AMAZING MATILDA’s

🎄 got you covered!

matilda-expertly-as-a-cirus-acrobat-2016

One concern parents have is how to inspire their children to meet challenges with patience and persistence. This is the plot of the award-winning picture book, AMAZING MATILDA, A Monarchs Tale, written and illustrated by Bette A. Stevens. In this story a caterpillar wants to learn how to fly. She asks all of her friends in the meadow, but doesn’t find an easy answer. Yet, she continues the quest until, at last, she becomes what she wants to be—a butterfly. AMAZING MATILDA offers adults the opportunity to inspire the children in their lives to meet their own challenges with patience and persistence.

  • Be sure to check out the #FREE PDFs.  Amazing Matilda Finger Puppets and Fun & Learning with Monarch Butterflies— two excellent reading and life/environmental science resources to go along with the book. Find the download links below.
  • Award-winning AMAZING MATILDA is available in paperback and eBook versions and it’s an AMAZON KINDLE MATCHBOOK—that means, when you purchase the paperback for $9.49, you can download the eBook version for FREE! Click the link to Order your copies today.

#FREE Reading & Monarch Butterfly Resources from Bette

Stevens has put together two (2) FREE #PDF companion pieces to make talking to the kids about AMAZING MATILDA and learning about Monarch butterflies exciting and fun.

CLICK THE TWO LINKS ABOVE TO DOWNLOAD. These resources will not only keep the kids talking about the book with their finger puppets, they’ll learn even more about Monarch Butterflies, their endangered habitat, monarch and milkweed conservation and preservation.  Fun & Learning offers activity sites and resources for butterfly gardeners and teachers as well.  Don’t miss these two great resources for families, clubs, classrooms and homeschoolers.

[Explore Bette’s Blog]


JFK by Norman RockwellNovember 1963

It was a time in history when most American families held high hopes for their future and looked forward to enjoying a Thanksgiving meal with family and friends.  A few days before the holiday, an unforeseen tragedy struck the nation—President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22nd. Although families from all walks of life were in mourning, most held that year’s Thanksgiving holiday in their hearts as they enjoyed a bountiful feast together and prayed for the healing of a stunned nation. Others were not so fortunate—the ones who did not know where their next meal was coming from. They were the poor, the indigent, the invisible people. They were praying, and they were hungry.

DOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens is a story about those invisible people.

DOG BONE SOUP (An excerpt from Chapter 22)

DOG BONE SOUP collage #1“BOYS, GET IN HERE. Hurry up!”

We set the groceries on the table and ran in to see what Mum was so worked up about.

“President Kennedy’s body’s back in Washington. Look, they’re switching from the Washington to that Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas. The world’s at a standstill and no wonder. I can’t believe that someone’s gone and killed the President…Sit down. Watch.”

“What’s for dinner?” I asked when I handed her the change.

“Good. We have more than a dollar left for the week.”

“What about dinner, Mum?”

“I’ll fix us some supper, later. We had plenty of hotcakes to tide us over this morning,” Mum sat there, captivated by the news.

Coverage went on all day and long into the night. Willie and I went out to cut and split fire wood for the week. Then we grabbed our fishing poles and ran down to the brook. I figured if we caught something, we could have a nice fry for supper, even if I had to fix it myself.

Willie peeled and cut potatoes while I figured out how to mix flour and cornmeal and get the fish going. I set the fish on the stove to keep warm while I fried up the potatoes.

We never did get Mum away from the darned TV.

I wondered if it was like that for other families that night. I wasn’t up to watching TV non-stop. I’d pop in every now and then to keep track of what was happening though. I kept thinking about President Lincoln. Far as I could see nothing good came from fighting, killing and wars. Why couldn’t people just treat everyone the way they wanted to be treated.

I got the washtub heated up before bed. The girls got their baths first, like always. Then Willie and I took turns. There’d be no hair cuttin’ this Saturday. There was only one good thing about this day—Dad didn’t show up. I didn’t want to think about that shotgun, but I couldn’t shake that Saturday out of my head.

∞∞∞

By the time I got up Sunday morning, the news was already runnin’ non-stop. President Kennedy had big dreams for America. He hoped we would land on the moon; wanted Americans to be healthy; wanted Negros and poor folks to have rights like everybody else and he wanted to make peace with people in other countries. I wondered what would happen to those dreams now that he was gone.

Mum had the volume turned way up, but she wasn’t watchin’. She had the wood stove blazin’, fresh biscuits warming on the stove top and scrambled eggs cookin’ on the griddle.

“I’ve been praying for the President’s family,” she looked up and whispered. “Call the kids and sit yourself down. Thanks for fixin’ supper last night, Shawn. I’ve been walking around in a fog with all that’s been going on. I still can’t imagine why anyone would want to kill the President.”

After breakfast, Willie and I ran out to milk the cows.

“Now you boys, bundle up real good. It’s mighty cold out there.”

Two heifers started mooing real low the second they spotted us. The wind was blowing so darned hard, the pails were swingin’ all on their own, even with the weight of milk jars in them. By the time we got back to the house the sky was spittin’ out snowflakes big as quarters.

“Let’s fix us a cup a hot coffee, Willie.”

“Mum’ll have a fit if she finds me drinking coffee.”

I threw in a few small chunks of kindling and set the coffee pot on top of the stove.

“You might like it. I mix it up with lots of milk. We’ll fix Mum a cup, too.”

“Boys, get in here quick,” Mum hollered. “Some night club owner named Jack Ruby just shot and killed that Oswald guy who shot President Kennedy!”

Bad news just kept coming. Cameras jumped from Washington to Dallas and back again every few minutes. We watched the casket being carried from the White House to the Capital’s Rotunda. In between, they showed pictures of the President’s family before all this terrible stuff happened. Caroline and John-John were just little kids and the family looked real happy doing things together.

Then, reporters started talking to the new president, Lyndon B. Johnson.

I poured up coffee and went in to watch the mess. My head pounded. I closed my eyes and tried to figure out how I was gonna get out of school next week. I had to talk to that recruiter.

Just as I downed the last of my coffee, I heard a knock at the door. “Please don’t be Dad,” I prayed.

I lifted the latch, opened the door and there stood two snow crusted ladies that I recognized from church. They were holding baskets chock-full of all the things us kids had been dreamin’ about. One had a turkey, a ham and all kinds of canned goods. The other held a plate mounded high with cookies and two pumpkin pies. I even spotted a can of cocoa.

“Come on in and sit down. I’ll go get Mum.”

“We’ll just set these baskets on the table. We have three more deliveries and we want to get home before the roads get any worse.”

“Mum, it’s ladies from church. They brought us baskets chock-full of food,” I hollered.

Mum and the kids must have flown out to the kitchen.

“What on earth are you doing here?” I thought Mum’s eyes would pop out when she spotted those baskets.

“Thanksgiving’s only a few days away and we’re out making deliveries this afternoon. I think you’ll find enough for a nice holiday feast, Mrs. Daniels. If there’s anything else you need, just let us know.”

“You have a wonderful Thanksgiving.” The ladies smiled before they turned to leave.

“You take your damned charity baskets and leave ’em somewhere they’re needed!”

The ladies spun around, looked at one another, then at Mum, then at us, then at the baskets. One of them held her hands up clutching at her coat like someone might steal it. The shortest one looked like she was ready to bawl. When they picked up the baskets and turned to leave, my stomach clenched up tighter than a double fisherman’s knot.

Annie and Molly stood there crying. Willie stared at Mum with eyes as round as donuts, shakin’ his head.

“I can’t believe you did that, Mum. You were rude and here we are starvin’ to death,” I scowled.

“I don’t want to hear any sass from you. And you girls stop your whining. We’re proud folks. We’ve never taken charity and we’re never gonna take it.” Mum shook her head and shuffled back in to watch TV.

I sat down at the kitchen table and didn’t know what to make of it. Mum couldn’t believe somebody’d killed the President. Well, I couldn’t believe Mum just killed our only chance of having a decent meal.

###

Today, more than 45 million Americans are living below the poverty line http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/16/poverty-household-income_n_5828974.html Most of them aren’t looking for a hand-out. They’re looking for a hand up—decent jobs that pay a living wage.

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About the author

BAS Author logo stamp 2015Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of five. Stevens lives in Central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies—an endangered species (and milkweed, the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat).

Stevens is the author of AMAZING MATILDA, an award-winning picture book; The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too!, a home/school resource incorporating hands-on math and writing; and PURE TRASH, the short story prequel to her début novel, DOG BONE SOUP, a Boomer’s coming of age novel published in January 2015. You can find out more about the author and her books at http://viewauthor.at/BetteAStevens

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Poverty, prejudice and social justice… I invite you to visit Rosaliene’s blog, read her comprehensive review of Dog Bone Soup, and check out the nsightful comments from Rosaleine and her readers. Come join the conversation. It takes a village! ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author https://www.4writersandreaders.com 

Three Worlds One Vision

Front Cover – Dog Bone Soup: A Boomer’s Journey by Bette A. Stevens (USA, 2014)

In Dog Bone Soup: A Boomer’s Journey, Maine author Bette A. Stevens reminds us that being poor should not define who we are as individuals. With determination as well as the helping hand and guidance of those who care, we can become the person we aspire to be. Herself a boomer, Stevens takes us back to America of the 1950s and 1960s. On leaving home to enter the U.S. Army, eighteen-year-old Shawn Daniels looks back on growing up in Lebanon, Maine, where his family was scorned as “nothing but poor white trash.”

Shawn’s narrative contains no mention of the year or his age. Only his school grade records the passing years. His earliest memory is of watching mice scamper across the rafters as he lay in bed at nights. Having one as a pet…

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Have an awesome autumn… ~ Bette A. Stevens https://www.4writersandreaders.com

Bette A. Stevens, Maine Author

Inspired by nature and human nature…

In 2002 we planted five apple trees(Granny Smith, Greening, Red Rome, Cortland and Macoun) forming an apple tree crescent between the house and barn here at The Farmstead in central Maine. This year we’ve harvested six bushels from the trees, and our ‘neighborhood’ deer have cleaned up all the drops. No need to bend, rake and set out the fallen fruit for the wildlife, they’ve already harvested their seasonal snacks. No need to travel to the local orchard or market to pick and purchase apples.
Wishing you a bountiful and beautiful fall!
~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

Time to Get the Apples In

Poem by Bette A. Stevens

Pies, cobblers, jellies, cider, applesauce and more…
To make and bake
To eat and partake
From our garden
Not the store

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The United Nations’ (UN) International Day of Peace (World Peace Day) is celebrated on September 21 each year to recognize the efforts of those who have worked hard to end conflict and promote peace. I believe that the power to promote world peace lies within each of us. Together, we can transform the world! ~Bette A. Stevens

 

“It is time all nations and all people live up to the words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human race. 2021 marks the 73rd anniversary of that landmark document.” — United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres

Find out more about International Peace Day http://www.un.org/en/events/peaceday/resources.shtml

Peace Comes Walking

Extended hands
Encouraging words
Step by step
Peace comes walking

Welcoming smiles
Listening ears
Step by step
Peace comes walking

Compassionate eyes
Forgiving hearts
Step by step
Peace comes walking

© Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

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Respite from the Doldrums?

Maine is calling…

No matter the season, a daytrip from our farmstead in central Maine provides a getaway that is both relaxing and invigorating. A scenic drive over forested hills, across verdant valleys and along pristine lakes makes Maine a place like no other. Whether heading to the coast or inland, there is always something fresh and new on the horizon. The photo inspiring the haiku Lighthouses stand tall was taken by me aboard Schooner Olad out of Camden Harbor in late June. I invite you to read more MY MAINE haiku and to plan a trip of your own. To me, Maine is poetry. North, south, east or west, The Pine Tree State is a land that enlivens the spirit and soothes the soul—a special place to bask in the unspoiled beauty of inland and coastal cities, towns and villages all year long! ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

 

Poem and photo CAMDEN LIGHTHOUSE by Bette A. Stevens“To me, Maine is poetry…a place that enlivens the spirit and soothes the soul.”

 

Bette with daughter Lori aboard the Schooner Olad out of Camden Harbor.

Curtis Island Light (upper right in photo) is located at the entrance to Camden Harbor, at the southeastern end of Curtis Island. It is an active U.S. Coast Guard aid to navigation and is now owned by the Town of Camden. The lighthouse is a 25-foot tall, white, cylindrical brick tower with a light beam range of six nautical miles. There are 65 lighthouses along Maine’s coast, inlets, and islands.

Summer Songs

(excerpts from MY MAINE, Haiku through the Seasons by Bette A. Stevens)

Loons at lakeshore wail
Campers bewitched by the sound
Sacred summer songs

Waves play taps on shore
Tall pines salute by moonlight
Waking stars stand guard

Refined grains of sand
Calming the footfalls until
Shattered shells splash in

Lighthouses stand tall
Regaling stories of ghosts
From a bygone age

Highlands and ocean
Bound by granite cliffs sing of
Ageless adventures

    • Take a peek inside MY MAINE (Poetry & Photography Collection/150 haiku poems, 49 original photos + symbols and interesting facts about Maine) and all of Bette’s books at https://www.amazon.com/author/betteastevens

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Get the kids together and give it a try. It’s easy, it’s fun! ~ Bette A. Stevens

Read on to find out how!

Bette A. Stevens, Maine Author

HAVE FUN WRITING LIMERICKS

Monarch Butterfly LIMERICK 2 bas 2017

Summertime is fun time! And with ‘back to school’ just around the corner, it’s a great time to write limericks and get the kids writing too…

Whether you’re a writer, a reader, a teacher, a parent or simply want to share the love of reading and writing, get the kids together and give “Limericks” a try. You’ll be glad you did!

Some of my favorite things about summer are butterflies, long lazy summer days, gardens and sunshine. I love to sit on the porch with my camera at the ready just in case I spot an amazing monarch or any of our sensational butterfly friends dropping by to enjoy the view. So far this year I’ve spotted twelve monarchs and dozens of other butterflies too—and managed to capture several of these exquisite creatures with my Canon “PowerShot.”

Butterflies are very sensitive to the environment and with…

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by Bette A. Stevens

As a nature lover, teacher, reader and writer I often took my class on nature walks with clipboards, pencils and plenty of paper in hand. A great, creative writing project to do with the grandkids!  Goal—each person finds something interesting and inspiring. It might be a flower, a tree, an insect. Subjects in the great outdoors are unlimited.

Take notes, usually a list, word web or other diagram about one or two of the most interesting things you’ve observed. Then, write a poem about what you’ve selected and illustrate your poem. Haiku (three lines: 5-7-5 syllables) is one of my favorites for creating quick word snapshots that kids really enjoy writing. Talk to the kids about similes, metaphors and other figurative language. Have an example on hand to model and share with the kids.

With illustrated poems in hand, take another nature walk. Find an outdoor theatre (under the shade of a tree in the backyard or playground ). You might even choose to take a walking field trip to a nearby park. Bring a lunch or snack and enjoy a “Poetry Party,” where everyone gets to perform!

All of my life, I’ve been inspired by the beauty and wonder in the world around me. A camping trip with my family to Moosehead Lake in Greenville, Maine decades ago inspired me to write this word snapshot, and, of course, I had fun illustrating it, too.

This was one of my classroom “shares.”

  • Writing Haiku or any short form of poetry is a great, creative family or classroom activity that’s fun for everyone!
  • Discover how to write a haiku and find out why reading and writing poetry is good for everyone at Bette’s Poetry Party Let’s Haiku Lesson #free Pdf. (Simply Click & Print/Includes Note to Parents & Educators).
  • Illustrate your poems and have your own Haiku Party.
  • As an extra bonus, you’ll have personal posters for rooms, bulletin boards or scrapbooks!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of eight. Stevens lives in Central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies (milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat). Stevens has written articles for ECHOES, The Northern Maine Journal of Rural Culture. Stevens has self-published five books to date and has a second poetry collection on the drawing board.

Inspired by nature and human nature… Books by Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

 

What are some of your favorite ways to inspire kids to have fun reading and writing?

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Happy #WorldPoetryDay! ~ Bette A. Stevens

Bette A. Stevens, Maine Author

BROOK SONGS poem by basInspired by nature, I love to walk to down the brook. It’s only a quarter-mile from “The Farmstead” here in Central Maine and no matter the weather or season, the sights and sounds of the water and the abundance of nature’s bounty always manage to refresh my soul and often inspire the writer child within me. The photo for the poem Brook Songs was taken last fall. As the autumn season nears a new dawning, I put pen to paper for a draft before designing the poem on the computer. ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator

  • Take a “Look inside” all of Bette’s books on YOUR AMAZON.
  • You’ll find more of Bette’s poetry right here on her blog

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The Maine Bicentennial Continues…

Maine officially marked its 200th birthday a year ago—March 15, 2020. A Covid Pandemic may have slowed us down a bit, but in Maine we’ve always got plenty to celebrate.  (Photo of Frenchman Bay taken by author Bette A. Stevens from Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park in Maine.) Happy 201st Birthday, Maine!

Did you know?

Maine (nicknamed The Pine Tree State) remained a province of the Massachusetts Bay Colony when America declared its independence from Britain on July 4, 1776. It would be decades after the American Revolution and the signing of The Declaration of Independence before Maine gained official statehood in 1820.

Acadia National Park

Home to some of the most stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife on the Eastern Seaboard, Acadia National Park is open to explore year-round. Whether you’re interested in visiting Acadia National Park for fall foliage, winter skiing, spring fishing or summer hikes, it’s the perfect outdoor playground. Visit https://visitmaine.com/things-to-do/parks-natural-attractions/acadia-national-park to learn more about Maine’s only national park. Maine is a perfect place to spend a vacation—one you’ll treasure for a lifetime.

Check Maine.gov before visiting for the latest health and safety guidelines in place.

Maine is the easternmost state in the contiguous United States, and the northernmost east of the Great Lakes. It is known for its jagged, rocky coastline; low, rolling mountains; heavily forested interior; and picturesque waterways, as well as its seafood cuisine and its four distinct seasons. 

The Power of Poetry

How Readers & Writers of All Ages Benefit from Poetry

  • Improves Verbal Skills & Memory
  • Enhances Cognitive Function
  • Develops Empathy & Insight
  • Encourages Creativity

Why Haiku…

Inspired by the beauty and bounty of my home state, I write poetry in many forms; but I chose haiku for My Maine, Haiku through the Seasons. The collection offers readers story poems (150) and photo snapshots (49 original) + fun facts and symbols of the unique land I know and love. Writing haiku is a great way to celebrate the people, places and things that enrich our lives and inspire us every day. I invite you to give it a try!

How to Write Haiku…

 

A Peek Inside the Collection

~Excerpts from MY MAINE, Haiku through the Seasons “Spring Awakenings”~

March shakes the remnants
Of sleep from wintery boughs
White confetti swirls

Verdant shimmering
Emerald fields bursting forth
Souls rise from slumber

Windowsill seedlings
Watching and waiting, waiting…
Longing for fresh air

From the Master’s hand
Lily of the Valley shouts
Rejuvenation

Dandelion greens,
Fiddleheads along brook sides
Nature’s elixirs

 

“A nature-filled land that enlivens the senses and soothes the soul—to me, Maine is poetry.”
–Bette A. Stevens

About the Author

Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of eight. Stevens lives in central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies (milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat). Stevens has written articles for ECHOES, The Northern Maine Journal of Rural Culture. As of July 2019,  Stevens has self-published five books and has a second poetry collection on the drawing board.

Find MY MAINE and all of Bette’s books at https://www.amazon.com/author/betteastevens

 

Contact the author at DBS Publishing to order author-signed copies of her books or to schedule a Poetry Event tailored to meet the needs and interests of your school, community group, company or organization, or simply to find out more.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I look forward to hearing from you. (Comment Section Below)

 

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Celebrating My Maine

Maine—The Way Life Should Be…

Find out more at  https://www.theodysseyonline.com/10-reasons-why-maine-the-way-life-should

Did you know?

Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, the state of New Hampshire to the west, the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine’s long rocky Atlantic Coast is known for its frigid waters and an ample fishery—most famed for the Maine lobster. Maine has 3,478 miles of coastline.

Nicknamed The Pine Tree State), Maine was initially a province of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In fact, it was decades after the American Revolution before Maine gained official statehood. The Eastern white pine tree helped fuel the region’s economy in an era when shipbuilding and lumbering reigned supreme. The economic value of those pines actually provided a spark for the American Revolution. Massachusetts didn’t want to lose any of those pine profits it gained after the war, while Mainers struggled for political and economic independence. Maine officially celebrated its Bicentennial on March 15, 2020. Due to the 2020 Pandemic, The Pine Tree State will continue to celebrate its bicentennial through 2021! 

“A nature-filled land that enlivens the senses and soothes the soul—to me, Maine is poetry.”
–Bette A. Stevens

The Power of Poetry

How Readers & Writers of All Ages Benefit from Poetry

  • Improves Verbal Skills & Memory
  • Enhances Cognitive Function
  • Develops Empathy & Insight
  • Encourages Creativity

Why Haiku…

Inspired by the beauty and bounty of my home state, I write poetry in many forms; but I chose haiku for My Maine to offer readers a collection of story poems and photo snapshots of the unique land I know and love.

I invite you to join me as I celebrate #Maine2020 by submitting one of your favorite photos taken in “The Pine Tree State” and writing a haiku too! I’ll be publishing submissions here on my blog throughout 2020. Simply email me at bettestevens@tds.net SUBJECT: “Maine Bicentennial Haiku.”

How to Write Haiku…

 

A Peek Inside the Collection

~Excerpts from Winter Tales~

Frozen polar winds
Wave the ice crystal scepter
Dawn’s magic appears

Silvery branches
Unveil the old, old folktale
A spellbound story

Pine cones and tassels
Mirrored in moonlight upon
White weighted branches

Chickadees dozing
Nestling, captive to pine boughs
Till dawn sets them free

Shovels and snow plows
Storm’s rook ravings unraveled
Till the next arrives

Soups, stews and chowders
Stories told round the table
Favored winter fare

Silently—Snowfalls
Reign over field and forest
Supremely sovereign

Winter white gemstones
Glistening across meadows
Perfect snowshoe day

About the Author

Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of eight. Stevens lives in central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies (milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat). Stevens has written articles for ECHOES, The Northern Maine Journal of Rural Culture. As of July 2019,  Stevens has self-published five books and has a second poetry collection on the drawing board. Find out more about the author and her books at https://www.amazon.com/author/betteastevens

“Happy reading and writing… May the bounty and beauty of each new season inspire you!” 

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Make writing a Family Affair!

Find out how to write a Haiku poem & get the kids writing too…

Black Cat HALLOWEEN Haiku BAS 2019

 

Midnight—our fabulous, furry feline—inspired me to write BLACK CAT, a Halloween haiku (Haiku: a Japanese-inspired three-line: 5-7-5 syllable poetry form) and to design a poster to go with the poem. Kids love illustrating their poems. They enjoy listening to poetry and to reading it aloud too. 

Reading and writing poetry is a fantastic way to improve creativity and critical thinking skills for people of all ages. Plus, it’s an outstanding way to foster foundational learning and literacy for children. It’s so much fun to read and write poetry together! The kids will love it and I know you will too. Whether at home or in the classroom writing and sharing poetry is a perfect way to celebrate any season—for any reason! 

What’s inspiring you this autumn?
Brainstorm your list and get writing.
Have fun—don’t forget to get the kids writing too!

Here are some Writer’s Tricks (literary devices found in every writer’s toolbox) I used to create BLACK CAT. These tools can set a mood— they make writing and reading memorable and fun.  Check them out and see if you can discover where I used them in my poem.

Read on to find out more about these literary devices.

BLACK CAT

Black cat waits, watches…
Stalking tricksters in their webs.
Spiders are her treats!

© Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

Three 🎃Tricks from the Writer’s Toolbox (Literary devices) used in writing poetry and prose

  • Assonance
    Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in nearby words.
  • Consonance
    Another literary device used by writers and poets is consonance—repetitive sounds produced by consonants within a sentence or phrase. This repetition often takes place in quick succession.
  • Alliteration
    You put your alliteration tool to work when words that start with the same sound are used close together in a phrase or sentence. The sound is usually a consonant and the words don’t have to always be right next to one another.

How to find “just the right words”
Abundant writing resources are available in print as well as online. Listed below are the two resources I had readily available in the classroom for my students (Grades 4-8). Paperbacks are inexpensive enough to have multiple copies on hand, and in my opinion they are indispensable.

  • The Scholastic Rhyming Dictionary by Sue Young
  • Webster’s Thesaurus for Students by Merriam-Webster

                        Happy Writing & Reading Poetry…

                                   🎃HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

                     ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator

This post is shared in loving memory of our amazing kitty, Miss Midnight. ~Bette A. Stevens

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MY MAINE, Haiku through the Seasons (Poetry & Photography Collection) by Bette A. Stevens. 150 haiku poems, 49 of the author’s original photographs + interesting facts and symbols from The Pine Tree State. 

My Maine…

Staycation in “Vacationland” (One of The Pine Tree State’s nicknames). No need to leave your comfy lounge chair. No matter the season, MY MAINE is a collection of poems and photographs to soothe the soul. Put up your feet, sit back and relax. Let MY MAINE take you away…

Did you know?

In the early 20th century, lumber, textiles and other industries began to leave the state, and the government doubled down on stimulating tourism. In the 1960s, the state adopted a new nickname on its license plates and highway signs: “Vacationland.”

Every year, thousands of visitors from all over the world flock to the Pine Tree State to enjoy scenic vistas, outdoor activities and the unhurried pace of life. But a visit to Maine is more than just lobsters and lighthouses. USA Today

MY MAINE

“A nature-filled land that enlivens the senses and soothes the soul—to me, Maine is poetry!”

~ Bette A. Stevens

 

Summer Songs

Excerpts from MY MAINE Haiku through the Seasons (Summer Songs) by Bette A. Stevens

Pristine forest lands
Rockbound footpaths appealing
Seek your solace here

Lady slippers chant
Madrigalian ballads
Timeless tales reborn

Moose shielding twin calves
Wades tranquil mountain waters
Head raised, ears twitching

Swallows consuming
Millions of swarming creatures
Ouch, ouch—they missed some

Loons at lakeshore wail
Campers bewitched by the sound
Sacred summer songs

Waves play taps on shore
Tall pines salute by moonlight
Waking stars stand guard

Lighthouses stand tall
Regaling stories of ghosts
From a bygone age

Books by Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

Hubby and I are enjoying a great “Staycation” right here at the farmstead. Confined by the 2020 pandemic restrictions, we’re playing it close to home and enjoying the magic of Maine moment by moment. Wishing everyone a blessed and beautiful end of summer and hope you’ve enjoyed a bit of a virtual Maine summer respite with us. ~Bette A. Stevens

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Compassion is a Beautiful Thing…

 

Compassion in life
Is a beautiful thing

Sharing its beauty
Gives others their wings

Stirring love into each
Little thing that we do
Is sure to help their dreams
And our dreams come true

© Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

 

Compassion in life is a beautiful thing. But exactly what is compassion? I’ve always thought of compassion as “love in action.” After writing the poem Compassion is a Beautiful Thing…, I searched Google for a definition to share. The synonyms fit perfectly into my preconceived notion for the poem because they not only include love and mercy, each synonym requires action—stirring—on our part to metamorphose the idea of compassion into the reality of compassion.

 

Google Search:

noun: compassion; plural noun: compassions

sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.

“The victims should be treated with compassion.”

synonyms: pity, sympathy, empathy, fellow feeling, care, concern, solicitude, sensitivity, warmth, love, tenderness, mercy, leniency, tolerance, kindness, humanity, charity

“Have you no compassion for a fellow human being?”

antonyms: indifference, cruelty

Origin Middle English: via Old French from ecclesiastical Latin compassio(n-), from compati ‘suffer with.’

 

May compassion reign in our hearts and hands each day. ~ Bette A. Stevens

Enjoy more of Bette’s poetry in her new collection—MY MAINE, Haiku through the Seasons.

Stevens has released a poetry and photography collection inspired by Maine’s diverse landscape, natural beauty, rural communities, and independent people. The author’s 150 haiku poems, along with her photographs, reflect the Maine she knows and loves. My Maine, Haiku through the Seasons takes readers on a poetic journey through the state’s four distinct seasons. In addition to its poems and photographs, My Maine includes state symbols and interesting facts about The Pine Tree State.

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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STATUS UPDATE: As of Juy 25, 2022, Monarch butterflies are on the Endangered Threatened Species “Red List.”

Their status was announced by the International Union for Conservation of Nature last week, but we still await a status change from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Some of the largest contributing factors include significant loss of milkweed habitat and growth, as well as an increased use of herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals. Now for the good news.

As said by John F. Kennedy, “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.”

 

The Great Monarch Migration

Each year from August through October, masses of monarch butterflies embark on a journey from the southern reaches of Canada that takes them 2500 Miles to remote mountain treetops in central Mexico. Millions of overwintering monarchs were discovered roosting there for the first time in 1975. Here at the farmstead in central Maine, monarch butterflies visit us from early June through mid to late September. As a citizen scientist, I report my sightings to Journey North . I invite you to visit their website to find out more about our amazing monarch butterflies and find out how you can help.

Hubby Dan and I have sighted sixty (60) monarchs so far this season. The monarch chrysalis in my photo collage was spun by a caterpillar Dan discovered on a day lily leaf when he was cleaning the garden on August 13, 2019. We transferred the caterpillar and part of the leaf to our back porch. By the time I put fresh batteries in the camera and returned, this chrysalis had already been spun. On August 31, a beautiful monarch butterfly had emerged and was resting on her chrysalis (yes, it was a girl, our 2019 Matilda) about noontime. We sat and watched for hours as she dried her wings. I moved her to a nearby phlox plant where she could rest and sip nectar as she prepared for her long journey  south. One of her friends (most likely a monarch sibling) stopped by to check on her several times. By 4:45 p.m., she was flitting and fluttering through the garden before she began soaring and landed on the birch wood pile before soaring away on her long journey south.

Note: The top left monarch was one of our earlier arrivals that stopped to lay eggs on our milkweed. The others are all of our amazing Matilda who is on her way to Mexico!

Leaders from U.S., Mexico & Canada have agreed to help protect this threatened species through the NAFTA trade agreement. Groups and individual citizens continue to band together to support and protect monarch butterflies. Together we can make a difference!

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

  • Plant native milkweed
  • Provide nectar plants
  • Avoid pesticides
  • Report your monarch sighting observations to JourneyNorth.org
  • FIND OUT MORE at  WaterwayAdvocates.org

Bette A. Stevens is the author/illustrator of award-winning picture book Amazing Mailda, A Monarch’s Tale.

Here’s what two readers have to say:

“A beautiful message of love, patience, perseverance, and belief. The story is told with a frog, bird, rabbit, and the butterfly as the main characters. A perfect book for children mainly to teach them about the cycles of life and the importance of patience, perseverance, and keeping faith in a dream.” ~Karen Ingalls

“I can’t wait to give this to my grandchildren and will enjoy our reading time together with this delightful tale!” ~ D.L. Finn

 

Amazing Matilda (2019) on her way to Mexico! 

 

[Explore Bette’s Blog]


Happy National Puzzle Day! This celebration is held every year on January 29th. It’s an opportunity to reflect on those puzzles, games and even challenges in life that we embrace every day but sometimes take for granted. Puzzles also offer us a great way to spend quality time interacting with family. In fact, puzzles are an awesome way to celebrate any day! ~Bette A. Stevens

Looking for some awesome fun with the kids or grandkids? Need some quality ‘together time’ on a rainy day? Visit THE TANGRAM ZOO AND WORD PUZZLES TOO! (On sale at YOUR AMAZON for only $6.99) … for hours of creative learning and hands-on fun. Solve 18 puzzles and riddles, make your own tangram puzzle pieces; then write your own riddles and add your own animals to THE ZOO! Solutions and project ideas included.

Although, this [The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too! by Bette A. Stevens] is a very clever and educational book for children, I appreciated the added bonus that an adult can sit down and enjoy it with the kids!~D.L. Finn, author

REVIEW

The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too! by Bette A. Stevens

January 2, 2018

Very Clever! 

I bought this book to give as a gift to my grandchildren. Reading through the book before giving it to them, I found it taught me a few things, too. First, I had no idea a tangram is a seven-piece puzzle with specific shapes. A pattern is provided to cut out and get started along with the history of it. There are many ways to put the pieces together, but the book supplies shapes to make– with clues or riddles as to what they are. Although, this is a very clever and educational book for children, I appreciated the added bonus that an adult can sit down and enjoy it with the kids! ~D.L. Finn, author

Ready to give Tangrams and Word Puzzles a try?

Here’s the handout the author uses with students.
Click the link or the image below.
Download, print and you’re ready to go…

[Explore Bette’s Blog]


BAS Author logo stamp 2015I am a writer inspired by nature and human nature.

I love people, nature, art, music and literature.

I advocate for kids and families, childhood literacy and for the protection of monarch butterflies and their threatened habitat in my books, my poetry and on my blog. My blog supports Indie and traditional authors, features great books and poetry and provides tips for writers and readers as well. Be sure to check out the tabs at the top of my blog and leave a comment or two. Thanks so much for stopping by for a visit. I look forward to chatting with you. — Bette A. Stevens

Brief Bio: Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of five. Stevens lives in Central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies—an endangered species (and milkweed, the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat).

Stevens is the author of AMAZING MATILDA, an award-winning picture book; The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too!, a home/school resource incorporating hands-on math and writing; and PURE TRASH, the short story prequel to her début novel, DOG BONE SOUP, a Boomer’s coming of age novel. MY MAINE, inspired by The Pine Tree State —Maine’s diverse landscape, natural beauty, rural communities, and independent people—the author’s 150 haiku poems, along with her photographs, reflect the Maine she knows and loves.

BOOKS 5 by BAS 2019

 

BOOK BLURBS:

My Maine, Haiku through the Seasons takes readers on a poetic journey through the state’s four distinct seasons. Whether you’re a native Mainer or from away, Stevens’s short story poems and photographs will resonate.  The collection opens with Maine Pines and People. The journey continues with the rejuvenating spirit of Spring Awakenings and Summer Songs; then on to more of Maine’s extraordinary places and people in Autumn Leaves and Winter Tales. In addition to its poems and photographs, My Maine includes state symbols and interesting facts about The Pine Tree State.”

DOG BONE SOUP is not only a fabulous title for a novel, it’s also the staple diet of the young hero, Shawn Daniels . But it takes more than an impoverished family life, exacerbated by a drunken father, to keep our Shawn and his brothers and sisters down.” Survival, struggle and the human spirit rising above it all—a 1950s and ’60 coming of age adventure.

PURE TRASH is an emotional and soul-searching short story read. Compassion is a beautiful thing.” A single day—a lifetime of lessons.

Inspire the kids to follow their dreams with AMAZING MATILDA, an award-winning Monarch Butterfly picture book adventure! (ages 4-11).

CLICK, LOOK & LISTEN as author Pamela Beckford reads AMAZING MATILDA for United Way’s Childhood Literacy Program:

Encourage the kids (elementary and middle-graders) with THE TANGRAM ZOO & Word Puzzles Too!—a great resource for home or school. Puzzles, poetry, reading, research, writing and projects too!

 I would  love to hear from you (comments below).

  • Find out more about author Bette A. Stevens and take a  “Look inside” her books at YOUR AMAZON.

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

 


It’s official—Monarch butterflies are on the Endangered Threatened Species “Red List.”

Their status was announced by the International Union for Conservation of Nature last week, but we still await a status change from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Some of the largest contributing factors include significant loss of milkweed habitat and growth, as well as an increased use of herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals.

Now for the good news. As said by John F. Kennedy, “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.”

~ Find out more about how you can help ~ Bette A. Stevens

Bette A. Stevens, Maine Author

MATILDA expertly as a cirus acrobat... 2016

About the book

This “Gem of a Tale” about a Monarch Butterfly teaches kids lessons in friendship, patience and persistence as AMAZING MATILDA transforms from egg to caterpillar to butterfly. (Children’s Picture Book/Ages 5-11).

Order your copies today:

AM Celebrate Season MATCHBOOK bas 2016

Related Sites:

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Thank you, Liz, for your insightful and extensive review of MY MAINE and its ending, “Finally, I highly recommend My Maine to anyone looking for a constant in tumultuous times. The book will be a comfort.” Thank you, Sally, for sharing Liz’s wonderful review and for introducing us to Sue and her awarding-winning books as well. ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author 

Visit Sally’s to read all about it!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Over the course of the summer months I will be sharing the recommended authors who feature in the Smorgasbord Bookshelf along with their books and a selected review.

The first book today is a poetry collection by Bette A. Stevens – My Maine – Haiku through the seasons.

About My Maine

Inspired by The Pine Tree State—Maine’s diverse landscape, natural beauty, rural communities, and independent people—the author’s 150 haiku poems, along with her photographs, reflect the Maine she knows and loves. Bette A. Stevens’s imagery draws the reader into her world of wonder and delight. My Maine takes readers on a poetic journey through Maine’s four seasons. Whether you’re a native Mainer or from away, Stevens’s short story poems and photographs will resonate.

The collection opens with a haiku tribute, “Maine Pines and People.” The journey continues with the rejuvenating spirit of “Spring Awakenings” and “Summer Songs”; then on to…

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