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May the Peace, Joy, Love & Hope of Christmas Be With You Always…


 I will be away from social media for most of the winter. Meanwhile 

Wishing you Peace, Joy, Love & Hope—Gifts of The Christ Child—at Christmas and always.

~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

 

 

Christmas Eve Pondering

 

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. 

A Poem by Bette A. Stevens

 

“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 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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Celebrate the Seasons through Poetry


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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DOG BONE SOUP (99¢ thru November 27th Holiday Sale): Remembering Thanksgiving 1963 (Excerpt)


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

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair 2022 – #Poetry – Annette Rochelle Aben, Harmony Kent, Bette A. Stevens.


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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Silent Sunday – King of the Castle


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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A Monarch Butterfly – a Visit and a Message


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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Celebrate the Great Monarch Butterfly Migration & Help Protect this Endangered Threatened Species!


 

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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Ninety-seven (97) 5-Star Reviews for Award-winning Picture Book AMAZING MATILDA!


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:

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Summer Book Fair 2022 – #Poetry Bette A. Stevens, #Children’s #Binmen Sue Wickstead


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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Ninety-seven (97) 5-Star Reviews for Award-winning Picture Book AMAZING MATILDA!


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:

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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