The New Adventures of Gumby: The 1980’s Series, Vol. 2 * Fully Re-mastered With Great Visuals and Sound

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The New Adventures of Gumby: The 1980’s Series, Vol. 2 * Fully Re-mastered With Great Visuals and Sound

The New Adventures of Gumby: The 1980s Series Volume 2. Welcome back Gumby and Pokey in this wild, wacky and inventive collection of 80 s episodes! Featuring 49 clay-animated episodes, fully re-mastered from their original camera rolls and soundtracks. Also making appearances are Prickle, Goo, the Blockheads, Professor Kapp, Dr. Zveegee, the Moon Boggles, and Gumby s parents Gumbo and Gumba. New characters include Gumby’s sister Minga, Denali the Mastodon and Tilly the chicken! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Nathalia J. comments, “The 1980’s show was a hit when my mom and uncle were growing up and it brought back so many memories for my mom. We welcome back Gumby and Pokey in this wild, wacky and inventive collection created and written by Joe Clokey. I love that this DVD features 49 claymation episodes that are fully re-mastered from their original camera work and soundtracks.” Beatrice N. adds, “Do you have little kids in your house? If you do, you should definitely share with them The New Adventures Of Gumby: The 1980’s Series, Volume 2. This claymation show from the 1980’s is the perfect series for any little kid with an imagination and a creative mind. For all you adults out there who remember Gumby & Pokey, then welcome back!” See their full reviews below.

The New Adventures of Gumby: The 1980’s Series Volume 2
By Nathalia J. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

The 1980’s show was a hit when my mom and uncle were growing up and it brought back so many memories for my mom. We welcome back Gumby and Pokey in this wild, wacky and inventive collection created and written by Joe Clokey. I love that this DVD features 49 claymation episodes that are fully re-mastered from their original camera work and soundtracks. Gumby and Pokey return for fun-filled adventure. Get ready! It’s going to get wild.

This DVD takes you alongside Gumby and his imaginative friends as they solve problems, have fun and help others. These episodes include a lot of audience interactions, which lets the audience contribute to Gumby’s adventures.  The characters include Gumby, Pokey, Prickle, Goo, the Blockheads, Professor Kapp, Dr. Zveegee, the Moon Boggles and Gumby’s parents, Gumbo and Gumba. Also making an appearance are new characters – Gumby’s sister Minga, Denali the Mastodon and Tilly the chicken.

My favorite part is the fact that each episode is fully re-mastered from the original. How iconic is this? I’d say pretty cool! The animation is extremely creative with loveable color episodes. There are a variety of songs on this DVD, with various tempos and music types.

My favorite character is absolutely Gumby, because he’s always positive and shares his positivity with others. I also love how he never gives up and works so well with his team. He’s dedicated to his friends and to the idea of friendship.

I watched The New Adventures Of Gumby: The 1980s Series, Volume 1previously and I very much enjoyed Gumby’s many adventures with his friendly bud with yellow pricks on his tail, named Prickle.

There are multiple episodes on this DVD, which express multiple messages. If had to choose the main message, I would say it is that “teamwork makes the dream work.” That and “don’t be afraid to ask for help.” There is no bad language on this DVD or any unsafe actions that kids will try to imitate.

I give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 7, as well as adults. It’s a series that  certainly will bring back memories if you grew up watching Gumby when you were younger. It’s available now, so look for it. You’ll be glad you did.

The New Adventures Of Gumby: The 1980’s Series, Volume 2
By Beatrice Nail, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

Do you have little kids in your house? If you do, you should definitely share with them The New Adventures Of Gumby: The 1980’s Series, Volume 2. This claymation show from the 1980’s is the perfect series for any little kid with an imagination and a creative mind. For all you adults out there who remember Gumby & Pokey, then welcome back! We rejoin Gumby along with Pokey, Prickle, Goo, The Blockheads, Professor Kapp, Dr. Zveegee, the Moon Boggles, Gumby’s mother Gumba and his Father Gumbo….plus a couple of hilarious newcomers.

Gumby was once just a slab of clay then one day he rose to life. He can walk into any book and once inside the book, he becomes part of it! Every time he gets knocked down he becomes flattened like a pancake. But he always gets back up and right back into shape again! Every episode is a new adventure and sometimes there is a lesson to go along with it. Gumby can have the best time with his friends, or the worst time with the Blockheads, depending on the storyline and characters in the episode. Speaking of characters, the new friends we meet include Gumby’s sister Minga, a mastodon named Denali and a chicken called Tilly!

The theme song is a fun tune sung by kids that will make you want to sing along with them. In every episode the music changes. In some episodes the music is creepy. In some it can be silly and bubbly. It all depends on the episode. Gumby originally debuted in 1956, was re-introduced in the 1970’s and came out again, for a third time in the 1980’s! The animation is unique because it is claymation. The creator and writer of the series, Mr. Art Clokey, also voices Pokey the horse, Gumby’s sidekick. Fun Fact, the bump on Gumby’s head is based on a picture of Mr. Clokey’s father from when he was a kid. In the picture, his hair is sticking up on one side creating a little bump. Mr. Clokey always thought this was funny, so he gave the same bump to his title character Gumby! Let’s talk about some of the other supporting characters, shall we? Prickle is a cheerful dinosaur who goes on Gumby’s adventures with him, the two mischievous Blockheads can’t ever seem to get themselves out of trouble and Goo is a hilarious clay person with a bubbly personality.

The message of the story is to never grow up and that it’s okay to let your brain wander and to always be creative. I give this series 4 1/2 out of 5 stars and recommended it for ages 3 to 8. It is available on DVD now.

The Octonauts: Season 3 Gift Set * Dive In And Learn About Creatures In The World’s Oceans

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The Octonauts: Season 3 Gift Set * Dive In And Learn About Creatures In The World’s Oceans
Animated series based on the books by Vicki Wong and Michael C. Murphy. Dive into adventure with your
favorite underwater explorers, the Octonauts! Join brave Captain Barnacles, daredevil ex-pirate Kwazii,
and medic Peso Penguin, along with the other Octonauts as they explore the world’s oceans, rescue the
creatures who live there and protect their habitats – above and below the waves! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic
Will C. comments, “The Octonauts Season 3 DVD Gift Set is a great choice for the preschooler in your
life. Not only do you get almost 300 minutes of educational animated adventures on two discs, you also
get some awesome toys so you can play along with the Octonauts. Little kids will love this set, and as a
bonus, they will learn a lot while they watch and play.” Katherine S. adds, “The cool thing about
Octonauts: Season 3 Gift Set is that it not only comes with the DVDs, it also comes with two small toy
speeders. My favorite episode is The Harbor Seal because the harbor seal is such a fun character and he
really helps out other animals.” Selene W. wraps it up with, “The storyline of each episode really brings
these adventures to life thanks to the talented team of writers behind this series. In addition, there is a
creative team that brings the art and the storylines together to make each episode a learning adventure
as well. The message of this series is to explore life and to rescue and protect the world around us and
the things in it. As we learn about different creatures and different environments we should be aware of
how we interact and impact each other.” See their full reviews below.
The Octonauts: Season 3 Gift Set
By Will C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
The Octonauts Season 3 DVD Gift Set is a great choice for the preschooler in your life. Not only do you
get almost 300 minutes of educational animated adventures on two discs, you also get some awesome
toys so you can play along with the Octonauts. Little kids will love this set, and as a bonus, they will learn
a lot while they watch and play.
The Octonauts are back for a third season, ready to dive in and learn about creatures in the world’s
oceans. They also help protect the animals’ habitats and rescue sea creatures when they need help. All
your favorite characters return, like Captain Barnacles and Peso Penguin. They head out from their home
base, the Octopod, to carry out their missions all around the globe. At the end of each episode, they sing
a “creature report” song to summarize what they’ve learned.
You’ll learn about some common animals in Season 3, such as pelicans and seals, but also some more
unusual creatures like water bears, also known as tardigrades. The Octonauts stick to singing “water
bear” though, maybe because it’s hard to find a good rhyme for tardigrade! The animation and voice
acting is just right to appeal to the target age range and I could definitely see my little cousins watching
this over and over.
The message of this series is that you should be curious and bring your own unique skills to work
together as a team. Preschoolers will take away not only lots of positive messages but also tons of new
I rate this series 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for children ages 2 to 5. The Octonauts: Season 3 is
available on DVD August 6, 2019. Reviewed by Will C, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.

Octonauts: Season 3 Gift Set
By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
This DVD is so enjoyable! It has the cutest animation and best underwater adventures. If you’re a fan of
the Octonauts, Season 3 will not disappoint you. It has 23 awesome episodes.
The Octonauts are a group of animals that explore, rescue and protect. They encounter a wide variety of
animals, from sea pigs to barracudas. They travel to different parts of the world including the Amazon
River and the Mariana Trench. Episodes include, The Water Bears, The Loggerhead Sea Turtles, The
Duck-Billed Platypus, The Pelicans and many more. The run time is almost 5 hours, so children will be
entertained for a long time.
The cool thing about Octonauts: Season 3 Gift Set is that it not only comes with the DVDs, it also comes
with two small toy speeders. My favorite episode is The Harbor Seal because the harbor seal is such a
fun character and he really helps out other animals.
There are many positive messages throughout the episodes, including being kind to animals, always try
to help and the importance of friendship. Octonauts: Season 3 has no bad language and it has no bad
behavior. Everyone treats each other kindly. The only dangerous thing that kids might try to do is swim in
the deepest part of the ocean.
I give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 8. Adults will also think the DVD is fun and
probably learn as much about different animals as their kids will. This DVD is available now, so look for it.
The Octonauts: Season 3
By Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11
“Let’s Do This!” The Octonauts is an incredibly fun and engaging show which teaches us about the
world’s oceans and aquatic life. The Octonauts team rescues sea creatures and protects the ocean and
the life within. The marine life that the team encounters are based on real animals and habitats around
the world. The Octonauts Season 3 has 23 exciting adventures filled with interesting creatures and
underwater fun.
The Octonauts team is made up of eight diverse characters led by Captain Barnacles whose motto is
explore, rescue and protect. My favorite episode is The Immortal Jellyfish because I love how he is able
to transform from an old jellyfish to a new jellyfish over and over. Who wouldn’t want an immortal life or
the chance to relive an adventure? Octonauts: Season 3 includes fun episodes such as The Artificial
Reef, The Sea Skaters and The Urchin Invasion so come aboard with The Octonauts this season and
The storyline of each episode really brings these adventures to life thanks to the talented team of writers

behind this series. In addition, there is a creative team that brings the art and the storylines together to
make each episode a learning adventure as well. The message of this series is to explore life and to
rescue and protect the world around us and the things in it. As we learn about different creatures and
different environments we should be aware of how we interact and impact each other.
I rate this series 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 7. The DVD releases August 6, 2019
soon so look for it.

Why am I having trouble breathing?

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Health & Wellness
Why am I having trouble breathing?

The Elder Advocate

There are diseases and conditions of the lungs that cause difficulty breathing.

Many of you may have seen commercials for COPD, but what is it and how does it differ from other respiratory conditions such as asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis.Chronic bronchitis leads to inflammation and mucus in the airways, while emphysema involves damage to the air sacs or alveoli in the lungs.

This article will focus on the differences between COPD and asthma.

COPD is the acronym for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It is a disease or breathing disorder that damages the tissues lining the airway and results in decreased airflow over time. People with COPD have trouble getting enough oxygen when inhale but they also have trouble not being able to get rid of the extra carbon dioxide, which is a bi-product of breathing, when they exhale. If the disease of the airway prevents the ability to expel the carbon dioxide from the lungs, the ability to breathe in sufficient oxygen is impaired, it is a vicious circle. This is known as CO2 retention. COPD is a progressive condition which worsens over time.

Asthma is usually considered a separate respiratory disease, but sometimes it’s mistaken for COPDbecause of the similarity of symptoms. These symptoms include chronic coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Asthma is a temporary inability to breathe that can be resolved, it generally does not worsen over time. However, there have been instances of persons having severe asthma attacks with the inability to recover.

Because of the similarity in symptoms, asthma is often mistaken for COPD.

A pulmonologist, or lung doctor, would be the best person to determine if a person has COPD.

There are several ways to determine the difference between the asthma and COPD.

The First being the age when the person first develops the condition/symptoms. Asthma is often diagnosed in children, while smoking is the largest contributing factor to COPD and is usually detected in smoking or former smoking adults over the age of 40. Approximately 85-90 percent of the deaths attributed to COPD are the result of smoking. It is estimated that approximately 6% of the US population, (i.e., 24 million people) suffer from COPD. There are also other factors that may cause COPD, among them are: air pollution, certain chemicals and secondhand smoke. There is a genetic component; however, that usually accounts for only 2-3 percent of those persons diagnosed with the disease. Respiratory tract infections and influenza may trigger symptoms of COPD, thus it is recommended persons with COPD receive vaccines to avoid these infections. It is important to note that symptoms of COPD can also be apparent without any antecedent trigger and whether the person is active or at rest.

People with COPD may have a chronic cough which produces mucus and phlegm, not necessarily seen in persons with asthma or, if so, not to the same degree. In addition, they may experience shortness of breath during exertion, constriction of the chest (many may have seen a TV commercial which depicts a person feeling like an elephant is sitting on their chest), wheezing, respiratory infections, edema or swelling of the extremities, mental sluggishness and weight loss.  The weight loss that occurs in persons with COPD may be attributed to several factors. One factor is that damaged lungs require the person to exert more energy to breathe which results in burning more calories. Another factor may be the increased fatigue the person experiences as they continue to eat their meal. As a result, they may stop eating. There are several therapeutic approaches to address fatigue during meals so that the person can achieve a more pleasant eating experience.

The cause of asthma is still largely unknown. Genetics and environmental factors are generally suspected to be the root cause. Environmental factors are also known to trigger asthma, these include: pollen, dust, mold and smoke. Other factors may trigger what we call an asthma attack; that can be physical exercise and even cold air. In between asthma attacks, the individual in most cases returns to breathing normally.

Oftentimes, persons with asthma are encouraged to keep pets out of their homes and to avoid spending extended periods of time outdoors when pollen counts are high.

Though medications prescribed for COPD and asthma may be similar (i.e., bronchodilators and inhaled steroids) the treatments and therapy prescribed are different. The treatments for COPD may alleviate symptoms, but the damage caused to the airway by this degenerative disease is irreversible.

Neither asthma or COPD are curable, however, the future for each person with the condition may be different. Asthma is more easily controlled on a day to day basis. As stated, the person with asthma may breathe entirely normally in-between attacks.

COPD is a progressive disease that worsens over time. However, if following the doctors prescribed treatment plan, along with quitting smoking and reducing exposure to triggers, one may successfully retard the progression of the disease. To do this, the person with COPD may find themselves having to make changes to their lifestyle and habits so they can increase the quality of their life and potentially slow the progression of the disease. COPD represents the third leading cause of death in the United States.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved a new treatment for COPD; it has also been approved for individuals who suffer from chronic bronchitis. However, as with many other drugs, there are significant potential side effects that need to be considered.

There is something called COPD Exacerbation and Asthma Exacerbation. This is when symptoms heighten and the person is in need of immediate medical attention.

For the COPD patent, exacerbation may be detected by the following signs:

Edema (swelling) of the extremities (arms and legs), shortness of breath without any exertion, bluish lips or fingernails, lack of mental acuity, extremely rapid heartbeat and lack of efficacy with recommended treatments.

There are four stages to COPD: At risk; Mild; Moderate and Severe. There are non-invasive measures that can maintain the person’s ability to breathe for quite some time. However, unfortunately, as symptoms progress and the person’s condition worsens, breathing difficulties may require more invasive measures to allow the patient to breathe.

One of those measures is the surgical insertion of  a tracheostomy tube into the neck to create an airway directly from the trachea. In this way, the air directly flows into the lungs through the tube opening. In the event symptoms become more severe, a person may require mechanical ventilation (a breathing machine or ventilator ) which does the work of directly pumping air into the lungs.

In the event either of these latter situations occur, in all likelihood the person will be transferred from the hospital to a short-term rehabilitation unit for therapy. People can return home with a trach in place or if they are dependent on a ventilator to breathe. Despite a situation in which a person may need a tracheostomy tube or mechanical ventilation to breathe, it is possible that this may not be permanent. This can only be determined by an appropriate team of professionals who will assess and work with the patient towards returning to a respiratory state without artificial measures.

Skilled nursing facilities who accept ventilator dependent patients (those requiring mechanical ventilation) must be certified to accept those patients. However, many facilities accept patients with tracheostomy tubes and they are not qualified or best suited to provide proper care to those patients. There are a variety of reasons why this occurs. Thus, it is advisable to have information before this situation occurs in order to make the best possible decision to ensure the best care possible for the short-term rehabilitation stay. In some cases, the short-term rehabilitation stay for a person with a tracheostomy tube or ventilator becomes a long-term stay. A facility that offers proper care for the short-term stay in the case of a person with a tracheostomy tube or ventilator, will most likely be able to provide that same level of respiratory care on a long-term care unit.

Visit: for valuable information on choosing a facility for a person with a tracheostomy tube.

Visit the homepage: to book a free 30 minute consultation

Life Derailed

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Life Derailed

I host a radio weekly internet radio show on the VoiceAmerica Empowerment Channel called Life Altering Events ( People often ask me what exactly is a life altering event? I tell them this – It can be something we choose or something that is thrust upon us that dramatically alters the trajectory of our life.

On August 20, 2019 my guest was Latachia Morrissette Harper who is a truly remarkable and inspirational women. You can hear the conversation at

Latachia is the author of the book Life Derailed, A Divorced Mom’s Survival Guide. Her inspiration to write this book was to recover from a very traumatic divorce and let other women and men know they are not alone. Latachia addresses that your emotions, feelings, grief, sense of loss, how will I pay my bills, fear of the future are not unique. If you have not read this book – do it today!

Latachia is also a public speaker, writer, and entrepreneur. Her passion is to motivate and inspire women, especially women with children impacted by divorce. Being in an abusive relationship is a life altering and divorce can be terrifying and debilitating but which is worse? She equips women to find their independence and strength, learning how to find their voice and love themselves first.

Now men, don’t see this title and think “This is a chick book.” It’s not. Latachia provides a common sense approach at time when common sense is often absent. This common sense applies equally to both men and women.

One powerful piece of advice from her book is:

In dealing with the sorrow of divorce or a major loss in your life/family, take one breath at a time, make one decision at a time, and focus on just the current day and what you can achieve. The saddest thing for a child is to be in your presence and you not really being there. Be in the moment, embrace them. You control more in life when you don’t let the issues, things control you.

Another statement she wrote that I loved and wish I had followed is “Stop Saying you are OK.”

Stop saying you’re OK. Seriously, it’s OK to not be OK. Wait till the kids are away and SCREAM, cry and then get out a piece of paper and write it all down, random thoughts, fears and ideas. Get it out, it’s OK, you have a right to be in this place.

Remember divorce is a legal process. It is a legal process to become married and a legal process to end the marriage. It is a huge mistake to rush through the process or say to your ex “Just get the papers and I’ll sign so we can get this over.” Don’t ignore this step. There are too many important issues regarding finances, property and most importantly the needs of your children. Get it in writing up front because promises made prior to divorce often change afterwards. The children certainly don’t need to re-live these battles over and over.

Another major issue you will likely face is “the call” from your ex, suggesting you try again. Stop! Proceed with caution. Think about why things will be better or different if you jump back in. Really stop and think about it or you may find yourself in a worse situation in the next year or two. Why is your ex asking to get back together when they were so eager to leave?

Picking up the pieces is not easy. It will be the most difficult thing you will ever do, but keep this in mind, stop looking behind you, you’re not going that way. There is nothing new to see in the past so keep moving forward. Believe it or not, better times and better people will come into your life.

Controlled Chaos

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Controlled Chaos

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Digging Deep with Goddess Gardener, Cynthia Brian

Controlled Chaos 

by Cynthia Brian

“When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.”~ Buddha

There is only one certainty in the garden: it is never finished. Gardens evolve, change, mutate, and metamorphose. A landscape that was once very ordered and manicured quickly turns into a tangled jungle without ongoing maintenance. With TLC, one can control the chaos to create a masterpiece.

The longer I garden, the more I enjoy the whimsical.  What appears at first glance to be an imperfect arrangement is often the most excellent of combinations.  Mixing the hydrangeas with the nasturtiums and heucheras adds an element of awe and wonder. Discovering a vintage stone angel sitting on top of a plow’s disk praying over the naked ladies, roses, salvia, dried nigella, and the silvery plecostachys serpyllifolia invites one to pinch a stem to smell the licorice plant. Wandering in a meadow filled with daisies, coneflowers, and perennial sweet peas rejuvenates the spirit.

Angel, naked ldies, roses, salvia, Plecostachys serpyllifolia .jpg

Yes, I have embraced the controlled chaos of nature.  Several years ago as an experiment, I planted wisteria, grapes, and pink bower vine on a pergola on my deck to see which of these three specimens would dominate. To my amazement, instead of choking one another, they have tangled together creating year-round interest. The wisteria blooms in spring and maintains green leaves until winter when it drops its leaves. The grapevines leaf out in spring, bear edible fruit in fall, change leaf color when the weather turns cold, then showcase bare bark for the winter months. My pink bower vine is perennially green displaying pretty rose-colored petals with a deep cherry center from early summer to winter. What was deemed to be a mishmash of plants resulted in a happily married and visually pleasing grouping.

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On my hillside, a mangle of chartreuse euphorbia intermingles with striped pink morning glory.  The chaos is palpable yet stimulating. My friend Michael Curtis’s garden is an exemplary model of perfection in controlled landscape chaos. Around every corner, one is greeted with a capricious element.  Stroll along Surprise Avenue, be on the lookout for a locomotive in the ivy, and giggle at the numerous street signs lining the paths. 

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Creativity and enchantment reign when you invite the unexpected into your garden planning. Once you have controlled your chaos, you will look up and laugh at the sky.

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Cynthia Brian’s Mid-Month Gardening Guide for August

  • WATER, water, water. August is one of the warmest months and it’s necessary to keep an eye on your containers and yard. If you see drooping leaves, it’s time to sprinkle. In the hot weather, you may have to water daily. 
  • ADD pea gravel, decomposed granite or spaced stepping stones planted with creeping thyme in the gaps for a permeable path with a Mediterranean appearance.
  • STORE herbs by drying them by hanging the stems upside down. For instant soup flavorings, chop finely, add the herbs to an ice tray with a small amount of water, and freeze.
  • DIG out dandelions from your garden and lawn. As long as you have not used insecticides or pesticides, you can add them to salads or stir fry.
  • ESTABLISH a wildlife habitat in your yard by providing food, water, shelter, and sustainability for the wandering and flying critters.
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  • SPICE your supper with floral edibles of nasturtium, calendula, violas, roses, citrus blossoms, dianthus, pansies, chamomile, and blooming herbs. Eat the daisies, but not the toxic flowers of tomato, potato, pepper, or eggplant plants. 
  • PLANT seeds of beans, carrots, radishes, and beets for a second crop to harvest in the fall.
  • FLUSH birdbaths and fountains regularly to maintain fresh drinking water for our feathered friends as well as repel mosquito larvae from hatching. 
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  • conefowers-black-eyed susans-daisies.jpg
  • PINCH zinnias and chrysanthemums to encourage bushier blooms.
  • WASH your car on your lawn. Your car will get clean and your lawn will benefit from the extra soak. 
  • WATCH out for errant sparks from fire pits, barbecues, candles, and tiki torches. It’s fire season. 
  • DRIVE CAREFULLY. School is in session. Ask your children what vegetables they want to eat as snacks, then make sure those treats are planted in your garden.
  • SEND your college kids off to school with a potted plant. It will bring the outdoors in and provide oxygen to the brain.
  • EMBRACE the controlled chaos of your garden and enjoy the perfection of imperfection. 
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  • LAUGH at the sky. 

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Happy August!

Photos and more:


Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, raised in the vineyards of Napa County, is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. 

Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show and order her books at

Buy a copy of her new books, Growing with the Goddess Gardener and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at 

BE StarYouAre_Millennials to Boomers Cover.jpeg Cynthia Brian'Growing with the Goddess Gardener book copy.jpg

Hire Cynthia for projects, consults, and lectures.

Managing Organizational Headwinds in Digital Transformation

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Managing Organizational Headwinds in Digital Transformation

This blog is provided by Tony Saldanha, extracted and exclusively adapted from his book “Why Digital Transformations Fail,” as a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future with Maureen Metcalf. This interview aired on 8/20/19.

Organizational change management is treated as an afterthought for digital transformation as opposed to being proactively planned for. That’s troubling because based on my research, more digital transformations fail due to organizational change related reasons than technology. Most reliable process systems, such as say aircraft flights, plan for headwinds. Digital transformation can learn from them. Unfortunately, organizational headwinds are often dismissed in simplistic terms like change resistance or the frozen middle. That’s a mistake when planning for success in digital transformation.

The Science of Immune System Management

A corporate immune system is not necessarily a bad thing. Like its counterpart in the human body, it plays a vital role. In our bodies, the immune system protects us from disease and keeps us healthy. It is true that immune system disorders can be problematic (i.e., an immune system deficiency leaves the body susceptible to constant infections, while an overactive immune system will fight healthy tissues). However, on balance, a healthy immune system is desirable.

If that’s true, then why do so many change leaders blame the corporate immune system when things go south? Shouldn’t disciplined change leaders understand the strength of the immune system within their own organizations and prepare for appropriate handling?

At Procter & Gamble, when leading the industry disruption ecosystem, which included the biggest five IT companies and startups from the top ten venture capitalist firms, we took a different approach. For each of the twenty-five experiments (projects) that the ecosystem, called Next Generation Services (NGS) executed during my three years, there was always a proactive immune system conversation and plan. It made a huge difference versus historical trends on disruptive change acceptance.

There were three key truths that drove our approach:

–        The immune system is not necessarily a bad thing. Anticipate and prepare for immune system responses.

–        Immune system responses can originate at all levels in the organization, but the toughest ones occur at middle management.

–        The bigger the change, the harder the immune system response (i.e., digital transformation will be tough).

Having covered the first item, let’s zero in on the issue of middle management reaction. In most organizations, it is easy to get senior executive leadership excited about change. Similarly, the younger generation gets quickly on board. It is the middle management layer that’s on the critical path and has the potential to slow down or even block change. The term “frozen middle” has been associated with this phenomenon. This concept was published in a Harvard Business Review article in 2005 by Jonathan Bynes.[i] Bynes’s point was that the most important thing a CEO could do to boost company performance was to build the capabilities of middle management.

For corporate immune system disorders at the middle management level, the term “frozen middle” is accurate, but it comes with the risk of being pejorative for seeming to blame middle management for recalcitrance and inertia. In reality, the responsibility to bring middle management along on the journey resides with the change leaders and their sponsors. Consider this—the so-called frozen middle protects the enterprise from unnecessary distractions and change, just like the human immune system protects the body from harmful change. Middle managers are rewarded mostly for running stable operations. Is it fair to criticize them as a whole for doing what their reward system dictates? We must separate immune system disorders from normal immune system responses.

At NGS, we paid special attention to identifying, by name, the middle management leader for each affected project. We identified the middle management leaders affected by each project, involved them in the initial “fun” of designing the disruption, and jointly designed the risky roll-out of disruptive projects that could destabilize ongoing operations.

In the worst case, where despite the enrolling of the leadership the change resistance continued to be high, the project was quickly killed. That idea of selectively killing a few projects worked well because of the portfolio effect of having several other projects available in the pipeline.

Though the concept of a frozen middle is applicable broadly, overcoming it has never been as critical as it is with digital disruption. The amount of change necessitated by a systemic and sustainable digital transformation is massive. This isn’t just a technology or product or process change but also an organizational culture change. The middle management will need to lead the rest of the organization in learning new capabilities (i.e., digital) as well as new ways of working in the digital era, including encouraging agility, taking risk, and re-creating entire new business models and internal processes. Retraining middle management on digital possibilities is not sufficient. Entirely new reward systems and organizational processes will be called for.

Planning for headwinds during digital transformation isn’t just prudent, it’s a necessity given the high stakes of digital disruption. Emphasizing on “transformation”, more than on “digital” is a strategic imperative for success. For this, understanding and acting on the three truths of immune system management is critical i.e. it isn’t willful bad behavior but a rewards issue, it can happen at all levels in the organization but is toughest in the middle layers, and digital transformation by nature needs solving the toughest immune system challenges.

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills and system to create a regenerative, inclusive and thriving organization that will have a positive impact in the world.

About the Author

Tony Saldanha is a globally recognized expert in Global Business Services (GBS) and Information Technology. He ran Procter & Gamble’s famed multi-billion dollar GBS and IT operations in every region across the world during a 27 year career there. Tony has over three decades of international business expertise in the US, Europe, and Asia. He was named on Computerworld’s Premier 100 IT Professionals list in 2013. Tony’s experiences include GBS design and operations, CIO positions, acquisitions and divestitures, outsourcing, disruptive innovation, and creation of new business models. Tony is currently President of Transformant, a consulting organization that advises top companies around the world in digital transformation and global business services. He is also a founder of two blockchain and AI companies, and an adviser to venture capital companies.

.[i] Jonathan L. S. Byrnes, “Middle Management Excellence,”, December 5, 2005, Management Excellence HBSWK 12-05.pdf [accessed December 19, 2018].


What are Veteran Treatment Courts and how do they help?

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What are Veteran Treatment Courts and how do they help?

I host a radio weekly internet radio show on the VoiceAmerica Empowerment Channel called Life Altering Events ( People often ask me what exactly is a life altering event? I tell them this – It can be something we choose or something that is thrust upon us that dramatically alters the trajectory of our life.

On September 10, 2019 we will have a discussion about the Veterans Treatment Court program. My guests will be the Honorable David Abbott, presiding justice over the Sacramento, CA Veterans Treatment Court and Cindy Baldwin, a consultant with the California State Senate on Veterans Affairs Committee.

The choice to enter the military is a major life altering events. Most men and women enter the service between the ages of 18 to 22. At this young age, they have not had many life experiences. For many it is their first time away from home.  The military gives them a sense of purpose, a mission and provides self-esteem as they serve an important role within an organization. Some will stay and make the military their career. Most will not.

Given that the United States have been involved in war(s) or police actions or peace keeping missions, (call it whatever you like), for most of the 21st century these young service men and women have been exposed to many horrendous situations. They have seen and/or done things that no one should ever see let alone 18 to 22 year olds.

When their time of service is over, they go from being part of something bigger than themselves, something that give them a purpose as a warrior back  to civilian life as an unemployed and often hard to employ individual with no real purpose. The vast majority of our service men and women come home very different than when they joined. Many are physically disabled. A large number come home with some type of addiction. Almost all have suffered a major trauma such as Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

Sebastian Junger writes in his book “Tribe,” Humans don’t mind hardship, in fact they thrive on it; what they mind is not feeling necessary. Modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary. This is particularly true for returning veterans. Their homecoming is better than it was for Vietnam veterans. Most people are quick to say “Thank you for your service,” which makes most veterans feel good for a moment, but what they really need is a job, a purpose, and to become part of a new community.

So our heroes try to assimilate back into a society where, at least initially, the cards are stacked against them. Many need help and treatment for their physical, mental, emotional, psychological, chemical and neurological disabilities/disorders. This further delays their successful re-entry process. They are told they must change, that the civilian world does not necessarily value their skills. Mark Balzer writes in his book “The People Principles,” Most people don’t hate change; however, people do hate being changed. What people want is to feel valued for who they are and what they do. Too many of our returning veterans do not feel valued.

As their frustration, anger and often depression increases some veterans become increasingly dependent on substances such drugs or alcohol to help them cope. Some are arrested for non-violent crimes such as DUI’s, or possession of a weapon or drug. They are not criminals they just need help. Treatment not punitive action is by far the best course of action. Fortunately Judge Robert Russell from my home town of Buffalo NY launched the first of the nation’s roughly 260 Veterans Treatments Courts in 2008.

What is a Veterans Treatment Court (VTC)?        With slight modifications, it follows the essential tenets of the 1997 U.S. Department of Justice publication, “Defining Drug Courts” a VTC is as follows:

  • The VTC model requires regular court appearances, as well as mandatory attendance at treatment sessions, and frequent and random testing for drug and alcohol use.
  • Veterans respond favorably to this structured environment, given their past experiences in the Armed Forces. However, a few will struggle, and it is exactly those veterans who need a VTC program the most. Without this structure, these veterans will reoffend and remain in the criminal justice system.
  • The VTC is able to ensure they meet their obligations to themselves, the court, and their community.

In short, the VTC says to our veterans, since you served our nation with honor and during your service you suffered a disorder or disability, you now have the ability to seek the treatment that will help you address the underlying reasons for many of your challenges. The VTC is a challenging program and the vast majority of veterans that have enrolled in the VTC successfully complete the intensive program and are able to take the next step toward a productive life.

While very helpful, VTC alone is not the end of the journey. Once the veteran has a better handle on the underlying issues, they still need to develop the transformational skills to secure a job, or career and a fulfilling life.

A new organization that helps our VTC graduates and other veterans develop transformational skills is Awakening Wholeness Inc., a charitable organization. Awakening Wholeness, Inc. (AWI), mission is to positively impact the lives of the people we serve by providing transformational educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values, and promote healthy choices. Our goal is to equip the people we serve with all the tools they need to become physically, mentally, and spiritually ready to live productive, fulfilling, and sustainable lives.

Why do we need Veterans Treatment Courts and organizations like Awakening Wholeness? Let me give you some facts:

Most veterans are strengthened by their military service, but the combat experience has unfortunately left a growing number of veterans with issue such as PTSD and traumatic brain injury.

  • One in five veterans has symptoms of a mental health disorder or cognitive impairment.
  • One in six veterans who served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom suffer from a substance use issue. Research continues to draw a link between substance use and combat-related mental illness.
  • Left untreated, mental health disorders common among veterans can directly lead to involvement in the criminal justice system.

Let me give you some frightening statistics:

Suicide – Between 20 and 22 veterans commit suicide daily.


  • Over 630,000 homeless people in America. 67,495 are veterans.
  • Over 1 in 10 homeless people in America are veterans. Source Military Wallet April 10, 2019
  • Over 968,000 veterans lived in poverty in the last year.
  • 20,000 veterans with government sponsored mortgages lost their homes in 2010.
  • 76% of homeless veterans experience alcohol, drug, or mental health issues.
  • 2% of veterans ages 18-24 are unemployed.

It’s easy to jump to conclusions, but we shouldn’t. Here is some surprising information about homeless veterans:

  • 89% received an honorable discharge.
  • 67% served 3 years or more.
  • 47% are Vietnam veterans
  • 15% served before Vietnam
  • 5% are Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.


  • An estimated 181,500 veterans are incarcerated, including 131,500 in prison and 50,000 in jails
  • 8% percent of all federal and state inmates are veterans
  • 55 percent, of imprisoned veterans told department researchers they’d been told they had a mental health disorder

As Judge Russell stated when he formed the first Veterans Treatment Court, “Treatment not punitive action is by far the best course of action.” The VTC’s are good first step. Organizations like Awakening Wholeness provide that next critical step for successful re-entry.

Don’t miss this enlightening discussion on September 10 at 8:00 AM PST –


Six Ways To Prepare Your Team For A Digital Transformation

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Six Ways To Prepare Your Team For A Digital Transformation

The following blog is a republish of an article appearing in Forbes written by Maureen Metcalf. It is the companion to an interview conducted with Mike Kritzman, Founder and CEO of SkillNet on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future on Tuesday, July 23rd titled SkillNet: Personalized Learning Framework for Your Company.

Experts have been discussing technological changes, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, for a while now. I believe many professionals have accepted that this is how the world is unfolding, but they don’t necessarily have a clear view of what it means for their employees.

Many of the leaders I work with are curious about digital transformation and would like to be proactive, but they aren’t sure where to start. My role is to help them with a range of activities, including understanding opportunities and connecting them with our expert partners who can help them accomplish their goals.

I predict that many (if not all) industries will feel the effects of these technological advances, some at different rates and with different specifics. According to the 2018 jobs report by the World Economic Forum, at least half of the U.S. workforce will require significant reskilling by 2022.

I’ve developed a few ways leaders can become proactive and stay on top of these changes in the workplace:

  1. Continually update your mindset to demystify changes.

I’ve observed that many of the changes we are facing involve the automation of tasks in our lives. In my experience, keeping up with these changes can be as simple as taking the time to read articles from credible sources that explain the adoption of more technology. Make a conscious effort to understand more about what this tech is and how it could impact your organization.

Forbes Insights

  1. Take a look at what could be automated.

Ask yourself which aspects of your role or company can be automated by technology. As you explore the landscape of current and future software, do you see routine parts of your organization’s work that can be more effectively done by technology? I’ve found that this frees people to process the difficult cases that require more unique analysis. Plan any future changes in your company over time so you can schedule skill-building exercises that intersect with when these changes will occur.

  1. Determine a strategic approach to reskilling.

The World Economic Forum’s job survey also reported that the time it takes to reskill workers can vary among organizations. So, define and enable a plan for continuous reskilling. One plan, for example, might include using software that offers a range of content that is aligned with your development goals. Or, you could consider using a combination of online training and mentoring with coaching. I’ve found this can help provide more flexibility for busy employees, as well as combat the cost of in-person training so that you still receive hands-on guidance and strong learning outcomes.

  1. Address new job requirements with innovative hiring practices.

In my experience, it can be difficult to find good matches for open positions that cannot be filled via reskilling. I’ve observed a number of companies that are beginning to implement more digital practices of hiring to help save themselves some time. My own company, for example, uses a digital tool that allows job candidates to fill out an assessment before they’re ever interviewed, and we can then see if they are a match for the roles that need to be filled. This allows us to save time and find the best person for the job. So take a look at your current hiring process, and if you find there is room for improvement, brainstorm a few ways your hiring methods could be more effective and efficient — it might even help you in the long run.

  1. Consider utilizing microlearning tools.

I’ve found microlearning tools — content that is provided in a broken-up, easy-to-digest way — can help employees and organizations share the responsibility of upskilling. This way, you can enable an ongoing conversation and focus on reskilling, as well as ensure your team has the tools to recognize any gaps in their knowledge and can continue to improve. Find and utilize the tools that fit the needs of your business and team so they can set milestones and achieve development goals.

  1. Build a culture that supports ongoing skill evolution.

Beyond addressing one-time skill gaps, companies now need to create systems and cultures that ensure learning is easy to access and ongoing. In a business sense, I believe this will need to become as common as personal hygiene. Most of us would not imagine showing up in the office without brushing our teeth. In my opinion, as we go forward, the most innovative companies and employees will develop a similar view about learning: It’s a necessity.

I believe one of the simplest steps to encourage ongoing learning and skill-building is to choose one of the aforementioned recommendations to pilot. Experiment with these tools, and identify which ones fill your immediate needs. Then, expand on this exploration item by item.

As we step into what I like to call the “Wild West” of emerging technologies, I believe all leaders and employees will need to understand new trends and manage them to their advantage. An ongoing theme I’ve observed is that we as leaders must find ways to understand the changes our organizations need to make to meet our missions and ensure our teams are able to develop their skills. As leaders, you are uniquely positioned to invest in defining a comprehensive approach to identify and fill gaps on a regular basis and create work that is fulfilling for your team and your company.

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills and system to create a regenerative, inclusive and thriving organization that will have a positive impact in the world.

About the author

Ms. Metcalf – Founder, CEO, and Board Chair of the Innovative Leadership Institute (formerly Metcalf & Associates) is a highly sought-after expert in anticipating and leveraging future business trends to transform organizations.

What’s Bugging You?

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What’s Bugging You?

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“…many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth.” Charles Darwin

Twenty-three honeybees, ten lady beetles, five lizards, three frogs, and several spiders.

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Within two hours on a very hot day this past week, the rescue count from the swimming pool kept mounting. I was afraid to leave the water lest more of my garden friends would drown.  It’s summer and the flying insects, creepy crawlies, and slithering creatures are in abundance.  The ones I want to save are the ones that are our garden guardians. 

The Good Guys


We’ve all heard about the Colony Collapse Disorder affecting honey bees worldwide and the importance of protecting our all bees. Don’t confuse honey bees with carnivorous yellowjackets. Bees, bumble bees, and yellowjackets are all pollinators yet honey bees and bumble bees don’t attack humans unless they are stepped on, slapped, swatted, or threatened. They are gathering pollen and the honey bees are making honey while keeping our fruit, flowers, and vegetables reproducing. 

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Lady Beetles

There are over 450 species of ladybugs in the United States and they are voracious consumers of aphids, caterpillars, lace bugs, mealybugs, scale, whiteflies, and mites. Lady beetles are perhaps the most beloved of all insects and even though you can purchase them for your garden, they will fly away when their food level declines. An adult will eat over 5,000 aphids in her lifetime.

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Don’t be afraid of these garden helpers. Lizards are carnivores, not plant-eaters. You are fortunate if you have lizards in your yard. They eat beetles, ants, wasps, aphids, and grasshoppers. They like to bask in the sun and also shelter under rocks or in the mulch. Predators to lizards include cats, snakes, and birds. 

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Both frogs are toads are amphibians living on both land and in water. They need moisture to survive and prey upon snails, slugs, and other insects. However, if they fall into a swimming pool without a way to escape, they will drown. In one summer, a single toad may devour over 10,000 pests.  Some species will eat mosquito larvae. Like our lizard friends, pets, birds, and snakes enjoy them as a meal. Enjoy their choral music at dusk.



Fear of spiders is one of the most common phobias even though most spiders do not bite humans.  The two biting spiders with venom that can be fatal to humans are the black widow and the brown recluse. Spiders are not insects.  Spiders are arthropods as they have eight legs.  As happy hunters, they are excellent garden pest control managers, actually considered to be the most beneficial and efficient insect eradicator in our landscapes.  When you see a spider web, admire its delicate intricacy. Don’t destroy it. Inside your home, spiders are helping eradicate more invasive bugs.  Spiders don’t carry diseases like mosquitoes or ticks. 

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To keep the good guys attracted to our landscapes, eliminate pesticides, insecticides, and chemicals. Companion planting with a diversity of species will provide a variety of stalking and dining options. Offer shelters of mulch, rocks, small branches, and a water source.

The Bad Guys


Mosquito bites cause puffy red bumps that can itch for a week. Worse, mosquitoes are vectors for West Nile Virus that they transmit to humans. Empty any standing water around your garden and punch drainage holes in containers. Change birdbaths daily or add a re-circulating pump. If you have a pool or hot tub, keep it effectively chlorinated. Check for leaky faucets. It only takes a few days for larvae to mature. Vector Control is available at no charge to add mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) to your pond water.


Although yellowjackets do help with pollination, they are scavengers for meat and sugary food, disrupting picnics, summer outdoor activities, and barbecues. Never squash a yellowjacket. When crushed they emit a chemical that calls to other yellowjackets to attack. They build nests in abandoned burrows, in eaves, and bushes. Because their sting is so potent and painful, if you find a nest, call Vector Control for eradication.


Lyme disease is one of the fastest-growing epidemics with over 300,000 diagnoses occurring annually in the United States. Summer is the most likely time to be bitten by a tiny deer tick. Ticks are parasites that feed on blood. They live in brush piles, leaf litter, lawns, tree stumps, ground cover, and stone or brick walls. They even have been found on picnic tables and benches. It’s important to wear tick repellent clothing when outside and after being outdoors, conduct a full body check, take a shower, and put your clothes in a hot dryer for thirty minutes to kill any ticks, then wash your clothes. (I know, it seems weird to dry first, then wash, but the heat of the dryer kills the ticks) Check your pets. Ticks can be hard to find and can linger in your hair, clothing, or pet fur. If you find a tick, don’t twist it or turn it. Use sanitized pointed tweezers to grab the tick and pull it straight out. Wash the bite, apply antiseptic, save the tick for identification, and seek medical attention.

The “bad guys” are on my ‘danger watch out” list. I’ve had three trips already to either urgent care or the emergency room with ticks lodged in my neck that required surgery to remove.  Mosquitoes are my nemesis inflicting gigantic, itching bites with bumps that last for two weeks or more. In the last year, I’ve stumbled upon three yellowjacket nests, suffering multiple stings on my hand and arms with swelling that abated after a week. 

The “good guys” I’ll continue to rescue as they are my garden “watchdogs” along with the numerous birds and hummingbirds that thankfully aren’t nose-diving!

What’s bugging you?


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“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving. ”

Mother Teresa

MESSAGE FROM CYNTHIA BRIAN, Founder/Executive Director

Saturday, August 17th was National Non Profit’s Day commemorating the Tariff Act of 1894 that gave charities and non profit organizations tax exemptions. Today, National Non Profit Day celebrates the work non profits in local communities and on a global scale. Be the Star You Are!® is proud to be one of these 501 c3 non profits that can offer tax deductible contributions to continue the programs we implement as an all volunteer organization throughout our community, county, country, and world. 

According to social fundraising data, Millennials and Gen X’ers made up nearly 50% of all GoFundMe donors in 2017 and even in the face of student loan debts and increased costs of living, the average Millennial donated $580 to charity in 2018. Way to go, Millennials.

Having coached teens and young adults since the mid 1980s, I am so very happy to see that our younger generations are dedicated to giving back, paying it forward, and helping others in whatever way they can. They are my heroes and I am dedicated to their success. Pick up a copy of our latest book, Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers Celebrating Gifts of Positive Voices in a Changing Digital World with chapters written by these generations to witness first hand how giving of time, money, and resources is critical to the salvation of our planet.

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There are many ways you can help without spending an additional penny. Please scroll down to Discounts and More.

I want to highlight two ways that are super simple.

#1: If you have Amazon Prime or you purchase anything on Amazon, make sure to use this link:

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This is the exact same Amazon as the normal link but Amazon deposits .5% of every purchase from this link into the account for Be the Star You Are!® and it costs you nothing.

#2: Giving Assistant is a fantastic way for YOU to get discounts, rebates, and better prices at over 3600 stores and a percentage will go to BTSYA when you use this code:


In this tech world there are so many great ways to donate without having to write a check. If you want a one click donation, make a DONATION  of any amount through PAYPAL GIVING FUND with 100% going to BTSYA with NO FEES: . You will receive an instant tax receipt, too.

No matter how you donate, we want to say thank you to you for being part of our galaxy. Together we can make a positive impact in our world. 

Schools back in session. Drive carefully. Protect our kids!

Be happy, be kind, and pay it forward.

With gratitude,

Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556

PS: Give yourself a boost of positivity by buying copies of our signature books in the Be the Star You Are!® series. 100% of the proceeds benefit the charity and you’ll treasure the stories for a lifetime. Buy now at

PPS: Read how BTSYA is Making a Difference: 


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The Pear and Wine Festival will occur this year on Saturday, September 28th from 11am-3pm. Our teen director is Siri Phaneendra and she invites you to participate in being a sponsor of our festival booth.

Donate $200 or more to Be the Star You Are!® and we’ll add you to our sponsor list. Gratitude to Lamorinda Weekly and Ace Moraga Hardware & Lumber/Across the Way for stepping forward.


Email if you want to sponsor or volunteer. It’s going to be a very fun event!

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by Karen Kitchel’s 94-year-old mother, Sophia Morrison

Do you like surprises now and then?  I do!

It’s easy to spread some kindness and make someone happy. Next time you are grocery shopping, pick up one small item for someone. It could be one candy bar, a pack of gum, peanuts, or maybe a juicy pear.

And when you say “I have a surprise for you” I bet you  will receive the biggest smile ever!

Contributed by volunteer Karen Kitchel who is passionate about scattering kindness. Currently she serves meals to the homeless, is a volunteer teacher, writer, job coach, and mentor. She wrote the chapter, The Gift of Adoption, in our book, Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers Celebrating Gifts of Positive Voices in a Changing Digital World and she continues to volunteer as a contributor to our newsletter.



Get inspired, motivated, and informed with our two upbeat, life-affirming, innovative radio broadcasts from Be the Star You Are!® Radio heard on the Voice America Network, Empowerment Channel. StarStyle® airs Wednesdays LIVE from 4-5pm PT with host Cynthia Brian as your empowerment architect bringing you edu-taiunment that will change your life for the better.

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Express Yourself!™ airs on Sundays at 3pm PT with teen and young adult hosts interviewing a variety of authors, musicians, celebrities, and experts on topics of interest to the younger generation.

Visit to see the descriptions and photos.

To sponsor or advertise on any of our programs, please email


 We appreciate a direct donation most of all via PAYPAL GIVING FUND at

Checks can be sent to PO Box 376, Moraga, California 94556

There are other easy ways that assist our mission and don’t cost you a penny!

1. AmazonSmile donates .5% of purchases

2. Discounted books at Amazon:

3. Buy or Sell on EBAY:

4. Use GoodSearch to search the web & buy from your favorite stores. Choose Be the Star You Are as your charity to support. You can log in with Facebook, too!

5. Shop at over 1300 stores on IGIVE:

6. BTSYA Logo Store:

7. Giving Assistant: Shop. Earn. Give! Use Giving Assistant to earn cash back at 3300+ popular online stores, then donate a percentage to BTSYA:

8. Designer Clothes to Buy or Sell:

9. Buy “Read, Lead, Succeed” T-shirts and tanks $19.99 at StarStyle® Store:

10. Are you a gamer, lover of new software, or other digital content? Buy all of your favorites at Humble Bundle.


Direct Links you can use for Be the Star You Are!®

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We invite you to volunteer, get involved, or make a donation. Make a DONATION through PAYPAL GIVING FUND and PAYPAL with 100% going to BTSYA with NO FEES:

“If you have to choose between being right and being kind, be kind and you will always be right.”
~ Source Unknown

Be the Star You Are! 501 c3, PO Box 376, Moraga, California 94556.

Celebrating 20 years of stellar service to the world!

GROW with us!


Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556

All donations are 100% Tax Deductible according to law. Thank you!

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