A writer inspired by nature and human nature

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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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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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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!


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 (+Music) and “Faith,” a Poem by Bette A. Stevens


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

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MY MAINE (late winter) excerpts from Bette A. Stevens’s Poetry & Photography Collection


 

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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Have an Amazing New Year!


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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Enliven the Spirit and Soothe the Soul…


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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Celebrating Maine with #WritingChallenge Entries from Sharon K Connell, Karen Black & Radhika


DID YOU KNOW?

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. 

“Maine’s Rich Seasons Make the State a Year-Round Destination

Whether you’re a leaf-peeper or a sun-seeker, there’s something for everyone…”

Visit Maine Tourism to find out more.

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

To find out more about Bette’s Celebrating Maine CLICK #WritingChallenge. You’ll discover HOW to write haiku and WHY writing poetry is good for you! Now, on to enjoy three wonderful haiku challenge entries from my readers.

More Maine…

Haiku by author Sharon K Connell; Photo: Portland Head Lighthouse, Cape Elizabeth, ME at Dusk by Mercedes Mehling @mrs80z (free Download) on Unsplash

Find out more about author Sharon K Connell and check out her website at https://www.authorsharonkconnell.com/

Haiku and Maine photo by author Karen Black

Find out more about author Karen Black and check out her website at https://storiesbykaren.org/ 

Haiku by Radhika; Photo: Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse, Cape Elizabeth, ME, USA Photo by Keith Luke @lukephotography (Free Downland on Unsplash )

Find out more about Radhika and check out her blog at https://radhikasreflection.wordpress.com

Thanks so much for stopping by to enjoy “More Maine.” The wonderful haiku poems and photos shared by my talented guests today celebrate more of the boundless beauty and bounty of The Pine Tree State.

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

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

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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