A writer inspired by nature and human nature

Posts tagged ‘Diversity’

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Let There be Peace on Earth and Let it Begin with Me


We really do have the power to make it happen, one brush stroke at a time. ~ Bette A. Stevens (Image from Pinterest)

We really do have the power to make it happen. ~Bette A. Stevens (Image from Pinterest)

Knowledge of the past holds one of the keys to world peace. Knowledge of the people in the world around us today holds another essential key. However, knowledge in and of itself is useless, much like a collection of unused paint brushes resting on the world’s shelf. It is our job to pick up the brushes and start painting. The perfect portrait of peace begins within each of us.  It’s painted one brush stroke at a time. Here are some simple steps that we can all take to contribute to that portrait:

Take the time to learn about those who are different from us in some way. We may want start with someone in our own family. Even there, we often find differences in opinions, race, religion, beliefs, customs, cultures, political affiliations. The list of personal differences and the diversity of relationships goes on….

Working in the classroom as a teacher of students from diverse backgrounds, I learned first-hand that those who hold different beliefs from my own are all unique individuals with whom I have many things in common. We all share the same needs and desires, the same frustrations and fears, the same hopes and dreams.  Whether students, parents, staff, volunteers, administrators or colleagues, I have gained respect for and have been deeply enriched by each encounter. Life-long relationships are nurtured and continue to blossom and grow.

Sure, that all sounds great; but what can we actually do as individuals to promote peace?

  • Listen to others
  • Get to know them (That means spending time with them) Let them get to know us (talk)
  • Respect differences
  • Look for commonalities
  • Nurture relationships
  • Offer and extend a helping hand
  • Encourage others
  • Enlist the help of others
  • Give input and feedback
  • Keep the conversation going 


The brush strokes to peace lie within each of one us. How do we paint the canvas? One brush stroke at a time. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS—listen, share ourselves and our ideas, respect those of others, look for commonalities. Our individual and collective lives will continue to be enriched as we work together to paint a perfect portrait of world peace. We really do have the power to make it happen, one brush stroke at a time.

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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MEET THE AUTHOR: Ann Morris (author of bilingual children’s books)


Ann Morris (bilingual children's books author)

Ann Morris (bilingual children’s books author)

I met author Ann Morris on Facebook; and being a former ESL (English/Second Language) teacher in middle-school as well as a teacher to students from diverse cultures throughout the globe myself, I’ve had an active interest in following Ann. Today, I’m delighted to have Ann Morris join. She’ll  fill us in on a bit of her personal history and tell us about her latest book, Everything is Different. So let’s meet the author!

It’s wonderful to have you with us to day, Ann. To start off, tell us a little about yourself.

I am a small town Iowa girl (USA) and always have the mentality that I like to know people and try to make a difference in whatever I do. I was encouraged to write by my mom, who had always loved to write. She guided me with ideas, resources, and encouragement. My dad inspired me to appreciate the beauty in everything. I have learned from and continue to apply both lessons.

I was first published in a poetry magazine called Wee Wisdom when I was 10 and 12 years of age. I always enjoyed writing papers and essays.

In college at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, I had the opportunity to travel, study, and live in Pamplona, Spain. I was in Spain twice studying and living during those years, and it changed my life. I learned to see myself and my country from the outside in and experienced being a minority for the first time in my life. That was eye-opening and a valuable experience.

I taught High School Spanish for about 18 years of my adult life, including tutoring and adult education classes. I created the curriculum for an eight-week Spanish for the Workplace class that I taught for Iowa Workforce Development that was well received.

After teaching, I did some freelance translating for local businesses and began working for Iowa Workforce Development as the only bilingual advisor in the Unemployment Division. There was a lot of telephone one-on-one with Latinos from all over the country, and I learned many accents and localisms.

During this time, as well as teaching, I began to express many opinions about acceptance, diversity and inclusion, and education that were published as Letters to the Editor.

From teaching English to some young friends from Madrid in the summers and from working in the New Iowan Center, where I worked with people from all over the world seeking work and community resources to aid their employment and educational empowerment, I became interested in writing children’s books as a way to promote literacy for native speakers as well as for language learners.

How about your family?

My immediate family is local now, and all of my stories so far have featured experiences and/or characters from my family. This includes my extended family, which is spread across the globe.

How long have you been writing and what type of writing do you normally do?

I was encouraged to write by my mom, who had always loved to write. She guided me with ideas, resources, and encouragement. My dad inspired me to appreciate the beauty in everything. I have learned from and continue to apply both lessons.

I was first published in a poetry magazine called Wee Wisdom when I was 10 and 12 years of age. I always enjoyed writing papers and essays.

I now write children’s picture books in English and separately in Spanish. The stories are based on memories with a lesson. The teacher in me is alive and well! I also write posts for LinkedIn and other short pieces. I always have several projects in the works.

Can you give us a brief synopsis of your new book?

EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT by Ann MorrisTOTO ES DISTINTO by Ann MorrisEverything Is Different was inspired by a short trip taken to the Midlands in the UK for a daughter’s wedding. Through our sight-seeing and observations, I knew immediately that it was excellent material for a children’s book with an important message. Using my nephew Brett and brother-in-law Scott as the characters, Scott takes Brett with him on a brief business trip to the UK, specifically England.

Brett is amazed at how many things are different in a country that speaks the same language, and asks many point-blank questions as to why? His dad explains patiently why, and Brett continues to learn that different can be interesting, and it may not even be wrong. This is a message near and dear to my heart and especially relevant today and every day.

What prompted you to writeEverything Is Different‘?

Everything Is Different was inspired by a short trip taken to the Midlands in the UK for a daughter’s wedding. Through our sight-seeing and observations, I knew immediately that it was excellent material for a children’s book with an important message. It has received an amazing reaction from fellow children’s book writers and friends from the UK.

Do you have a favorite line from the book?

I have several favorite lines, of course.

One I like it: “Brett got quiet whenever he was thinking hard, and this trip was making him thing very hard.”

Another is short conversation between the two: “I have another surprise for you, Brett…We’re going to eat at a pub.” Brett’s response is priceless: “You’re going to take me to a bar?

The spoiler to it all is a response later by Brett’s dad: “You will learn that not everyone does things the same way we do. But if it works for them, that is what is important. Being different does not mean they are wrong.”

Who is your favorite character and why?

Oh, Bette! I can’t choose! They are both my favorites and for different reasons:

  • Brett is open and honest about his observations, as children are. He begins in the book by being startled and befuddled.
  • His dad is patient and ready to explain answers to Brett in a way that makes sense and puts things in perspective for a child. He is the key to Brett’s learning experience.

What was the hardest part about writing your book?

There honestly was no hard part in writing the book. Everything depicted in the book was experienced or observed, albeit from an adult perspective. It lent itself perfectly to a children’s story.

Do you do anything besides write?

Yes, I do. I share what I read with others on social media, in bookstores, at book and arts fairs, I make school visits, I speak at events, and I review other children’s books. I also do professional translating, including other children’s books.

Where can readers find your books?

Six book covers Etsy ANN MORRIS

Several local bookstores have my books on consignment, and several book websites have them available, too!

On my personal website, there are photos, examples of my other writing, information about me and a list of links where people can learn more about me and what I do.

What’s next for author Ann Morris?

I had another book ready to go, but I needed to write about my granddaughters first. There are so many stories and fun things we have done that this is going to really be a work of love…as they all are. I have a large collection of partially completed books that are merely awaiting their turns…There will be more from me!

Find out more about Ann Morris

Ann, it’s been wonderful having you with us today. And readers, thanks so much for stopping by to meet Ann Morris. Ann and I look forward to chatting with you (comments below)! ~ Bette A. Stevens

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

Let’s Paint the World with Peace!


September 21, 2013 marks the United Nations’ 33rd International Day of Peace

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=706&picture=paintings&large=1

“WORLD PEACE? We really do have the power to make it happen, one brush stroke at a time. “ ~ Bette A. Stevens

World Peace?

Knowledge of the past holds one of the keys to world peace. Knowledge of the people in the world around us today holds another essential key.  However, knowledge in and of itself is useless, a collection of unused paint brushes resting on the world’s shelf. It is our job to pick up those brushes and start painting. The perfect portrait of peace begins within each one of us. It’s painted one brush stroke at a time. Here are some simple steps that we can all take to contribute to that portrait:

Take the time to learn about those who are different from us in some way. We may want start with someone in our own family. Even there, we often find differences in opinions, race, religion, beliefs, customs, cultures, political affiliations. The list of personal differences and the diversity of relationships goes on….

Working in the classroom as a teacher of students from diverse backgrounds, I learned first-hand that those who hold different beliefs from my own are all unique individuals with whom I have many things in common. We all share the same needs and desires, the same frustrations and fears, the same hopes and dreams.  Whether students, parents, staff, volunteers, administrators or colleagues, I have gained respect for and have been deeply enriched by each encounter. Life-long relationships are nurtured and continue to blossom and grow.

Sure, that all sounds great; but what can we actually do as individuals to promote peace?

  • Listen to others
  • Get to know them (That means spending time with them) Let them get to know us (talk)
  • Respect differences
  • Look for commonalities
  • Nurture relationships
  • Offer and extend a helping hand
  • Encourage others
  • Enlist the help of others
  • Give input and feedback
  • Keep the conversation going 
International Peace Day Logo. jpg

International Peace Day Logo. jpg

The brush strokes to peace lie within each of one us. How do we paint the canvas? One brush stroke at a time. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS—listen, share ourselves and our ideas, respect those of others, look for commonalities. Our individual and collective lives will continue to be enriched as we work together to paint a portrait of world peace. We really do have the power to make it happen, one brush stroke at a time.

On September 21st, I’ll be interviewing M.C.V. Egan, author of The Bridge of Deaths. She’ll be sharing how she uses her novel to promote world peace. You’re invited to stop back and visit us here at http://www.4writersandreaders.com for MEET THE AUTHOR: M.C.V. Egan and join her PEACE IN TIME Book Blitz and Blog Hop.

Peace be with you.

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