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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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#NationalPoetryMonth: Write a Spring Haiku & Get the Kids Writing Too!


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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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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DOG BONE SOUP: Remembering Thanksgiving 1963


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.

—Ready to read more?—

  • DBS A remarkable taleDOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens
    Paperback ($9.89)  Kindle ($3.99)
    OR Purchase paperback and download
    Kindle version for FREE—”Kindle Matchbook”
  • Paperbacks of DOG BONE SOUP make GREAT GIFTS for all the Boomers on your list
  • 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 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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Celebrate “International Peace Day” every day… “Peace Comes Walking” (Poem by Bette A. Stevens)


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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2021 Book Promo – DOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens – ONLY 99c / 99p for a Limited Time


True-to-life Americana

DOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens—ONLY 99¢/ 99p—August 5 through August 11, 2021 

 

“As with all great literature, it is underscored with life lessons particularly memorable to this [Baby Boomer] generation…”

“DOG BONE SOUP is a fascinating literary study of poverty and family dysfunction in the 1950s  & 1960s. It is written in a fast-flowing, entertaining style that kept me turning pages, one after another.

“Despite the odds stacked against them, two brothers—Shawn Daniels and Willie—manage to survive, escaping the rants of a drunken abusive father and the hardships of rural life, cutting out on daily adventures and misadventures to the likes of Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry. DOG BONE SOUP is about making the best of what you have. It’s a story about survival, struggle, and the human spirit—rising above it all. As with all great literature, it is underscored with life lessons particularly memorable to this generation…” –Frank Scozzari, author 

 

Grab a copy today!

 

DOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens

Literary/General/Historical Fiction

Sale dates: August 5th through August 11th, 2021

Sale price: $0.99 (Regularly $3.99)

DOG BONE SOUP on YOUR AMAZON at http://bit.ly/1HGpCsZ

Author Bio

Inspired by nature and human nature, award-winning 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’s books include The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too!; Amazing Matilda, Children’s Picture Book (Ages 4-11) 2013 Purple Dragonfly Book Award and Gittle List; Pure Trash (MG/YA/Adult) Short Story; Dog Bone Soup (MG/YA/Adult) Coming of age Novel (2017 KCT International Literary Award Top Finalist 2017); and My Maine, Haiku through the Seasons (Poetry & Photography Collection) 2019.

 

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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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