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Joy to the World

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Joy to the World

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Only those who go where few have gone can see what few have seen.~ Buddha

Did you know that poinsettias grow into trees? Or that mother’s tongue, also known as snake plant, is an excellent fence barrier? Without a thought from whence a plant derives, most of us buy our indoor plants at nurseries, grocery stores, and big-box centers.  Our holiday décor includes colorful tropical specimens that thrive inside.

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On a quest to discover the flora and fauna that bring joy to our world, I traveled to Cuba with a program in support of the Cuban people. Throughout my journey, the diverse and unique landscape constantly changed as our small group of six plus an informative Cuban guide hiked through nature reserves, parks, rainforests, and into the magnificent Escambray Mountains. In 1492 Christopher Columbus discovered Cuba describing it as “the most beautiful land that human eyes had ever seen.”  Supporting 7,500 species of flowering plants with more than 53% being endemic, Cuba is a garden lovers paradise.  

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The rivers, grottos, caves, and waterfalls were dotted with gigantic tree ferns, indigenous species of orchids, tillandsias (air plants), bromeliads, and palms as well as banana, mango, papaya, orange, and grapefruit trees. Philodendrons twined up fifty-foot trees and Ixora commonly called jungle flame or jungle geranium, firespike, and ginger flanked the narrow footpaths.

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Fields of sugar cane, coffee plants, and tobacco straddled the lowlands and hillsides. We traversed log bridges over rushing rivers in Topas de Collantes and were mesmerized by the delicate mimosas. Their leaves instantly closed with the touch of a finger.

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We tiptoed on rocks crossing trickling streams and swam in the poceta de cristal or crystal pond under a waterfall near the top of the mountain.

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A sign on the tree read salto los desparramaderos: translated means “jump the scatters”.  Chuckling, we jumped numerous “scatters”! Tall thick spires of bamboo led to the mouth of the river where rocky stalactites hung from the ceiling of caves and the rocky formations of stalagmites rose from the cavern floor.

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We were fortunate enough to witness the unique Cuban national bird, the trogan tocororo, sitting on a limb in the forest. Its striking feathers are red, white, and blue reflecting those of the national flag. It is said that this endemic bird found only in Cuba will die of sadness in captivity, symbolizing the desire of the people to always be free. It was called guatini by the Taino Indians and is also known as the onomatopoeic tocoloro because of its song. 

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At lunch one day under a thatched canopy, we met the largest endemic land mammal in Cuba, the friendly and curious social rodent, the Cuban Hutia.  Prized as a rare delicacy, it lives in trees and is almost extinct because of over-harvesting. We stopped at a lunch hut in the Zapata Swamp another afternoon but didn’t see any Cuban crocodiles, an endangered species found exclusively in Cuba. 

The produce on this island is always organic, fresh, and delicious. When I commented about the importance of growing and eating organic, our guide informed us that farming organically was not a choice but a necessity because the cost of fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides are prohibitively expensive. Growing organic is cheaper than using chemicals in farming. Fruits and vegetables are only eaten in season. Pineapple, guava, and bananas are the sweetest I’ve ever tasted anywhere. In Havana, carts of tomatoes, peppers, lettuces, beets, bananas, and cucumbers are pushed through the streets offering a daily rolling farmer’s market to the populace. 

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Nature is what attracted me to Cuba and it didn’t disappoint. After hiking, biking, snorkeling, kayaking, bird watching, horseback riding, and examining the flora and fauna of the island, it was the people that stole my heart.

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They have so little economically speaking, yet they are joyful, full of life, and welcoming to Americans. In the casa particulares where we stayed, tiny Christmas trees or frayed holiday trinkets brightened the small rooms where families gathered, a far cry from the Disneyesque Christmas spectacle I’m accustomed to in my family. Speaking Spanish to several Cubans, I learned of dreams to travel and hopes for a freer future.  

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Not many Americans have had the opportunity to visit this impoverished, yet beautiful Caribbean nation. If you are one of those individuals who want to see what few have seen, consider supporting the Cuban people. You’ll be rewarded with a visit of joy, diversity, and plenty of grateful hugs!

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Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for Bringing a Slice of Cuba to your Landscape

Cuban plants that make great houseplants in California:

Ixora, commonly called jungle flame, flame of the woods, or jungle geranium with clusters of star shaped flowers.

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Poinsettia, a Euphorbia pulcherrima, is the most well-known holiday flower. Although red is the most popular color, the bracts are available in pink, white, salmon, and bi-colors. Poinsettias love warmth and humidity and in Cuba grow to be trees.

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Tillandsias, the largest genus in the bromeliad family, are air plants that will cling to anything. Natural light, soaking, and misting will keep them happy.

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Bromeliads, add a touch of the tropics to every home. With flowers of pink, red, and maroon, they require minimal care. Fill the cup at the base with water and let them thrive.

Philodendrons are easy care houseplants. Vining philodendrons need a pole to climb; non- climbing will grow upright without any support. They like bright, indirect sunlight, and enjoy an occasional vacation outdoors in the shade.

Snake plant, also known as mother’s tongue, is one of the air freshener plants. It requires almost no care at all and will keep you breathing freely.

Mimosa pudica, a perennial herb in the pea family, is the touch-me-not-plant. When touched it closes its leaves, titillating audiences.

Cuban plants to grow in your garden:

Gloryblowers (Clerodendrum) make excellent choices for trellises, poles, and other structures in full sun as climbers. Since they are tropical, they need to be protected from frost.

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Coleus, painted nettle plant, grows outdoors when it is warm, but being a tender specimen, are best grown as a container or houseplant.

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Royal Palm will grow to 60 feet in frost-free areas and is moderately drought resistant, bringing the sway of the island inland.

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Bamboo is a fast-growingCuba 2018-bamboo forest.jpg giant grass that makes an excellent privacy screen. Beware, certain species of bamboo can take over, breaking concrete and sidewalks. 

 

Firespike, odontonema strictum, is an evergreen shrub that tolerates drought producing brilliant panicles of tubular waxy flowers summer through winter.

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Ginger, both ornamental and edible, is easy to grow and incredibly pretty. To grow edible ginger, just break off a piece of a healthy, plump ginger root that you buy at the store and plant in the location you want. Leaves die back in winter. Harvest whenever you need to add spice to life!

Look around your house and garden to identify what botanicals you are growing with a Cuban origin. Wishing you a beautiful holiday season of joy, peace, gratitude, and love.

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

Feliz Navidad y Feliz Jánuca!

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Read more: 

https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1221/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-Joy-to-the-world.html

Cynthia Brian

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 Are1® 501 c3. http://www.BethestarYouAre.org

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Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show and order her books at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Buy a copy of her new books, Growing with the Goddess Gardener and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store

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Hire Cynthia for projects, consults, and lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Donate to Fire Disaster Relief via Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 at www.BethestarYouAre.org

Light the Night

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Empowerment
Light the Night

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“Moon and stars are giving light.

With gifts of nature’s giving, we complete the cycle of living.

Let us give from our mind, hands, and heart to the world.” Chitrabhanu

It was a holiday tradition for our family of seven to pile into our old station wagon to head to the hills of San Francisco to experience the beauty of the decorated homes in Pacific Heights. We called our favorite street, Teddy Bear Lane, and, since we were so young we didn’t know it’s real name. (And I still don’t know where it was!) It was spectacular with a full block of beautiful Victorians lit up with teddy bears flanked by  flickering candles in every window. Another street boasted sparkling reindeer, glistening snowmen, serene nativity scenes, and some even showcased Santa and his sleigh on the steep rooftops. Gardens twinkled with illumination making the night merry and bright.

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After all the “oohing and ahhing”, we’d head to Fisherman’s Wharf to pick up fresh crabs for our Christmas Eve meal, then wander down to Ghiradelli for a cup of hot cocoa.  The coins we had been saving all year to help children enjoy a festive celebration were deposited into the bucket of the man ringing the bell from the Salvation Army. We kids dreamt of sugarplums, teddy bears, star-studded skies, and busy elves on the two-hour drive back to the ranch as we anxiously anticipated the excitement of the season.  It was a deeply satisfying annual excursion, the kind that etches itself into one’s memory forever.

Since we lived in the middle of nowhere, down a mile long lane with no street lamps to light the night, our fear was that Santa wouldn’t be able to find our farmhouse, much less our chimney. To ease our worries, our parents lit two acres of our fields, orchards, and gardens, creating a virtual runway as a navigational guide to steer Rudolph to the right place. We pulled carrots from the vegetable garden to nourish the tired reindeer.  Naturally we baked gingerbread cookies as a treat for Jolly St Nick accompanied by a big glass of milk and a note of gratitude for his generosity. We hoped his list had checked us off as “nice” instead of “naughty”.

This December as I drive around local neighborhoods, I am reliving the joyfulness of my youth without having to drive to Teddy Bear Lane in San Francisco. Residents who celebrate Christmas adorn their houses, trees, shrubs, and gardens with garlands, wreaths, ornaments, and twinkling lights of every color.  The décor is rich, festive, and fun.  It takes time and patience to unravel a string of lights, especially if they are from a previous year, but the rewards are worth the trouble.

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Aside from raking leaves, mulching, planting cover crops, and transplanting cuttings, there isn’t too much work to do in a December garden. Across the country, most landscapes are setting in for their winter slumber. With less chores to accomplish, I champion a different decorating challenge every day with the final goal of having the crape myrtle trees on my driveway shimmer under the glinting moonlight.  I’ll be snipping fresh redwood, cypress, and pine boughs for their fresh forest scent to add to doors and windows adorned with holly and pistache berries. Poinsettias are already on the porch and vases of blooming narcissci perfume the bathrooms.  Amaryllis is budding in anticipation of a December 25th appearance.

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This is an enchanted time of year. Take time to savor the seconds with family and friends as you watch the lights of the nights.  Offer your heart.  Bequeth your soul. Gift suggestions that cost you nothing include forgiving someone who has inured you, being a role model to young people, providing kindness to all, while respecting and loving yourself.

As Norman Vincent Peale wrote, “Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”  May the magic of this blessed time shine a light on you and your loved ones. Merry Christmas from my home to yours.

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Cynthia Brian’s Mid Month Garden Guide

CLEAN the dead leaves from bearded iris to prevent rot and insect hideouts.

CUT boughs of evergreens to mold into wreaths and garlands.

PLANT a cover crop to increase nitrogen and protect again winter erosion. Fava beans, clover, vetch, and mustard are excellent choices. To find seeds visit www.rareseeds.com or www.sowtrueseed.com.

GIVE the gift of my new book, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, twelve months of inspiration and gardening tips to sustain your inner gardener with a full year of kindness and happiness in nature. Buy directly from www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store and 25% is a donation to Be the Star You Are!® charity PLUS you’ll receive extra goodies and an autographed copy.

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FEED the birds. Baby, it’s cold outside and our birds need food and shelter. Make sure to clean your birdhouses and feeders regularly.

WATCH for rats and mice. As the cold weather begins, vermin seek a warm bed and easy to find food.

CHECK plants that you’ve brought inside for the winter for any insect infestation.

WATER your Christmas trees. If you purchased a cut tree, make sure it has plenty of water throughout the month as indoor heat will quickly dry out any conifer.

COVER frost tender plants with burlap, sheets, newspaper, or straw. Be on the alert for swift temperature swings.

REMOVE the longer canes from wisteria.

PRUNE crape myrtles and fruit trees once all the leaves have dropped.

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RAKE leaves as they fall and add to compost pile. Allow ½ inch to an inch of leaves to remain on the soil.  Compost the rest.

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PERUSE garden catalogues and read books about landscaping as you curl up with s cup of hot chocolate or licorice cinnamon tea.

PREVENT snails and slugs from devouring your plants by adding copper strips or bowls of stale beer to the perimeter of your garden.

PICK UP guavas that fall and use for jams or juices.

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ADD a bow of freshly picked Meyer lemons to your countertop as a useful culinary display.

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FILL your Christmas tree or Hannukah bush with every family ornament that you’ve been saving for years! Nostalgia reigns supreme.

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BUY a small living cypress tree to use as an inexpensive Christmas tree in lieu of a cut fir. Some stores have been selling three-four feet specimens for less than $8.00.

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VISIT an Asian market to buy the delicious exotic Dragon fruit.

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SELECT colorful and easy to grow crotons or ginger plants to add a fantasy island fling to your festivities.

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WATCH for snow plants to sprout in the Sierras.

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MAKE a tax-deductible donation to help with hurricanes & California fires disaster relief at www.BetheStarYouAre.org.  Every dollar counts. Be the Star You Are!® cares.

It is the season of giving and sharing. Have yourselves a very Merry Christmas.

Read more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1121/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-Light-the-night.html

Happy Gardening and Happy Growing!

Cynthia Brian

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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 Are1® 501 c3. 

Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show and order her books at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

My new book, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, is available at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store

Available for hire.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

A Life Full of Joy: Every Moment Counts By Ariel & Shya Kane

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7th Wave
A Life Full of Joy: Every Moment Counts By Ariel & Shya Kane

December 21: A Life Full of Joy: Every Moment Counts

When you are really here, not lost in your plans or worries about the future, or tangled up in thoughts about what you would have, could have or should have done, then your life becomes vibrant. You perceive your body, your environment and the people around you in a profound way and life transforms into an exciting adventure in which every moment counts. Tune into Being Here and have this holiday time turn into a life full of joy where EVERY moment counts.

Listen Live this Wednesday, December 21st at 9am PST / 12pm EST on the VoiceAmerica 7th Wave Channel.

After this Wednesday, you can stream or download this episode and over 400 episodes on a wide variety of topics from our archives here.

You can also listen to Being Here on the go! Stream or download new and archived episodes to your smart phone or mobile device with these applications:
– Podcasts app for iPhone: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201859
Stitcher Podcast app for Any Device 
VoiceAmerica app for Apple
VoiceAmerica app for Android

Thanksgiving Every Day By Ariel & Shya Kane

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7th Wave
Thanksgiving Every Day By Ariel & Shya Kane

November 23: Thanksgiving Every Day

Tune into Being Here as Ariel and Shya share the keys to cultivating a core attitude of gratitude.

Listen Live this Wednesday, November 23rd at 9am PST / 12pm EST on the VoiceAmerica 7th Wave Channel

After this Wednesday, you can stream or download this episode and over 400 episodes on a wide variety of topics from our archives here.
You can also listen to Being Here on the go! Stream or download new and archived episodes to your smart phone or mobile device with these applications:
Podcasts app for iPhone
Stitcher Podcast app for Any Device
VoiceAmerica app for Apple
VoiceAmerica app for Android

More Here!

Family Matters By Ariel & Shya Kane

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7th Wave
Family Matters By Ariel & Shya Kane

November 16: Family Matters

Family gatherings around the holidays can be stressful. What if there is another possibility? Listen in to Being Here and learn how to be with those you love and celebrate without the drama. Callers welcome at Tel# 1-866-472-5795!

Listen Live this Wednesday, November 16th at 9am PST / 12pm EST on the VoiceAmerica 7th Wave Channel 

After this Wednesday, you can stream or download this episode and over 400 episodes on a wide variety of topics from our archives here.

You can also listen to Being Here on the go! Stream or download new and archived episodes to your smart phone or mobile device with these applications:
Podcasts app for iPhone
Stitcher Podcast app for Any Device
VoiceAmerica app for Apple
VoiceAmerica app for Android

More Here!

The Empty Chair Around the Holiday Table by Rabbi Mel Glazer

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Empowerment
The Empty Chair Around the Holiday Table by Rabbi Mel Glazer

THE EMPTY CHAIR AT THE HOLIDAY TABLE
The festive holiday tables were filled once with the loved ones who have been a part of our holiday meals for as long as we can remember.  Some were our grandparents, some our parents, some spouses and siblings, and some, our beloved children.  Last year, they were sitting right there in “their” chairs, next to us, laughing and celebrating.  How should we respond to the empty chairs, to the emptiness that fills our hearts with such sadness?  Holidays are supposed to be such a time of joy, but how can we be joyful without them?  Their chairs are empty, and our hearts are filled with heaviness.  What do we do?
We have lost something profound, and we must realize it and verbalize it.  We have lost our loved ones, those who have taught us, raised us, and been our role models and teachers.  They are gone, we are left to go on without them, and it hurts.  They were connected to our lives for so long, and now, suddenly, they’re not here.  A part of them still lives inside us.
And we have lost even more.  We have lost the order and the familiarity of sitting down together, in the very same seats that we sat in last year at this time.  We felt safe and comfortable, everyone was in their correct chair, all was right with the world.  But now, the order is all wrong.  The seating is different, because different people are sitting in those chairs.  When our loved ones die – or divorce out of the family – we are adrift, without rudders to guide us.  Not only do we miss them, but we miss the certainty of the familiar.  Who will sit in Papa’s chair this year?  How could anyone fill his chair, or his place in the family?  When a matriarch or patriarch dies, the family roles are now also adrift.  Who will be the next family leader?  Who will chart the family’s emotional direction, who will be the historian, who will be the family spokesman?  Who will we call when a family crisis occurs?  Death affects us in countless ways, many of them coming to the surface at our holiday celebration times.
What shall we do?  How can we begin to create a “new normal” for our family?  First, by verbalizing our feelings of loss.  At the beginning of the holiday meal, why not take a minute or two to remember those not there this year.  Go around the table and tell stories, laugh together at the good times of the past, cry together at the profound loss.  Make the pain public, share the past so that you can then begin to create the future. Those you’ve lost may not be with you in person, but they will always be with you in spirit.  Make their spirits a part of your family’s holiday meals, and then your loved ones will live on in your lives for as long as your memory of them lives on.  And then you will have found and discovered one of life’s great secrets – You are still alive!  You can still be vibrant, passionate, and committed to yourself and your family.  Life will be different without those you’ve lost, but you will help create that new life that will bring you and your family a new order, a new familiarity, a new sense of power and creativity. And that is certainly worth a holiday celebration.

You can Listen to From Mourning to Morning Live every Thursday at 5pm PST

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

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Empowerment
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Languge Xmas

with Cynthia Brian and Heather Brittany on StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® Radio brought to the airwaves under the auspices of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 charity, LIVE, since 1998.

This hour is fun, informative, and lively. Join us!

A Holiday special of sleigh bells, Santa lore, mistletoe, stocking stuffers, and health tips that will keep you merry and bright. Get your Jolly on!
Cynthia-Santa
The holidays are joyful times, yet they are sometimes the most stressful. If you are not experiencing joy in the world, Cynthia Brian has a few celebratory tips to help you bounce back from Scrooge to Santa.

What do you tell your kids when they ask about Santa? Cynthia Brian reads a heart-warming story about the magic of childhood for the holidays.

Shopping for the holidays? When you shop at AmazonSmile, Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to Be The Star You Are, Inc. Bookmark the link and support us every time you shop.
cyn, T, heath, ice skating squaw - 2
‘Tis the Season, enjoy the merriment with the Goddess Gals, Cynthia Brian and Heather Brittany. Ho, Ho, Ho and a very Merry Holiday!

Listen at VoiceAmerica

Listen at StarStyle Radio with photos and descriptions

Read our December newsletter
FINAL-FAMIY XMAS 2015
Help Be the Star You Are!® without spending a penny. If you’ve ever purchased a TV or computer screen, just 3 minutes of your time is needed to fill out the simple form and click submit. Every unit qualifies for a donation of about $20 to Be the Star You Are!®. You will receive a tax receipt once the donations have been dispersed. PLEASE do this today. Thanks from Be the Star You Are!®

Read about our SUCCESSFUL VOLUNTEERS: READ AT PRESS PASS
Nonie's Xmas 2015 at ranch
Catch up with all broadcasts on ITunes

Buy books by Cynthia Brian at StarStyle Radio
Check out the online fundraiser for BTSYA
Amazon

Heather-Cyn vineyards xmas.jpg
The award winning positive talk radio program, StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® broadcasts on the VoiceAmerica Empowerment Channel LIVE every Wednesday from 4-5pm Pt/7-8pm ET.  Cynthia Brian and Heather Brittany are the Mother/Daughter dynamic duo who have been co-hosting this program live weekly since 1998 bringing upbeat, life enhancing conversation to the world. With Cynthia’s expertise in interviewing the trailblazers, authors, and experts and Heather’s healthy living segments, these Goddess Gals are your personal growth coaches helping you to jumpstart your life while igniting your flame of greatness.
Brought to the airwaves under the auspices of the literacy and positive media charity, Be the Star You Are!®, each program will pump your energy to help you live, love, laugh, learn, and lead.
happy-holidays
Tune in the Power Hour every Wednesday from 4-5pm PT/70-8pmET and join our empowerment party.
For photos, descriptions, links, archives, and more, visit StarStyle Radio.
Get inspired, motivated, and informed with StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!®
Lend us Your Ears!!!
Make a donation today to Be the Star You Are!® charity

Cynthia Brian talks about the empowering outreach programs offered by Be the Star You Are!® charity.
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Say Yes to The Holidays!

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7th Wave

12/23/15 – Say Yes to The Holidays!

The holidays not only bring excitement, family gatherings, festive food and parties, they can also bring stress and anxiety. Join the Kanes in Being Here and practice the skill set of bypassing holiday discomfort as you say “Yes” to what is happening in your life. Callers welcome at Tel# 1-866-472-5795!

Listen Live this Wednesday, December 23rd at 9am PST / 12pm EST on the VoiceAmerica 7th Wave Network.

After this Wednesday, you can stream or download this episode and over 400 episodes on a wide variety of topics from our archives here.

You can also subscribe to BEING HERE on iTunes!

‘Tis the Season to Be Jolly

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Empowerment
‘Tis the Season to Be Jolly

wrapping paper kids - 05

with Cynthia Brian and Heather Brittany on StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® Radio brought to the airwaves under the auspices of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 charity, LIVE, since 1998.

This hour is fun, informative, and lively. Join us!

Whether you celebrate Channukah or Christmas, sometimes it’s the little gifts that are the most difficult to find. In T42 and Health Matters, Heather Brittany and Cynthia Brian talk about unique stocking stuffers as well as how to stay healthy without the sniffles for the holidays.
gingerbread house Squaw Creek - 2
The holidays are joyful times, yet they are sometimes the most stressful. If you are not experiencing joy in the world, Cynthia Brian has a few celebratory tips to help you bounce back from Scrooge to Santa.

What do you tell your kids when they ask about Santa? Cynthia Brian reads a heart warming story about the magic of childhood for the holidays.
Make a DONATION for the holidays through PAYPAL GIVING FUND & 100% goes to BTSYA!

‘Tis the Season, enjoy the merriment with the Goddess Gals, Cynthia Brian and Heather Brittany. Ho, Ho, Ho and a very Merry Holiday!

heather-cleaning
Listen at Voice America

Listen at StarStyle Radio with photos and descriptions

Help Be the Star You Are!® without spending a penny. If you’ve ever purchased a TV or computer screen, just 3 minutes of your time is needed to fill out the simple form and click submit. Every unit qualifies for a donation of about $20 to Be the Star You Are!®. You will receive a tax receipt once the donations have been dispersed. PLEASE do this today. Thanks from Be the Star You Are!®
iccy7cles out J & T window
Read about our SUCCESSFUL VOLUNTEERS: READ AT PRESS PASS

Catch up with all broadcasts on ITunes

Buy books by Cynthia Brian at StarStyle Radio
Check out the online fundraiser for BTSYA 
Amazon 
The award winning positive talk radio program, StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® broadcasts on the Voice America Empowerment Channel LIVE every Wednesday from 4-5pm Pt/7-8pm ET.  Cynthia Brian and Heather Brittany are the Mother/Daughter dynamic duo who have been co-hosting this program live weekly since 1998 bringing upbeat, life enhancing conversation to the world. With Cynthia’s expertise in interviewing the trailblazers, authors, and experts and Heather’s healthy living segments, these Goddess Gals are your personal growth coaches helping you to jumpstart your life while igniting your flame of greatness.
Brought to the airwaves under the auspices of the literacy and positive media charity, Be the Star You Are!®, each program will pump your energy to help you live, love, laugh, learn, and lead.
XMAS LIGHTS-ranch.jpg - 07
Tune in the Power Hour every Wednesday from 4-5pm PT/70-8pmET and join our empowerment party.
For photos, descriptions, links, archives, and more, visit StarStyle Radio.
Get inspired, motivated, and informed with StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!®
Lend us Your Ears!!!
Make a donation today to Be the Star You Are!® charity

Cynthia Brian talks about the empowering outreach programs offered by Be the Star You Are!® charity.

cyn, T, heath, ice skating squaw - 2

Digging Deep-Gardening with Cynthia Brian

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Digging Deep-Gardening with Cynthia Brian

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Christmas trees come very close to exceeding nature.  ~Andy Rooney

When my children were youngsters, cutting a tree was the big event of the season. We’d don our Santa hats, grab a bundle of rope to tie the tree to the top of the car, put film in the camera, and off we’d go, singing Christmas carols while plotting our adventure. It could take hours walking through a farm, checking out tree after tree, debating the merits of each. Sometimes we’d visit two or three farms before finding the perfect one. Afterwards, at home with our freshly cut treasure, we’d light a fire, drink hot cocoa and eggnog, eat persimmon pudding and Italian panetone, put on the Christmas music, and dance around the house as we spruced the fir with popcorn and cranberry strings, homemade ornaments, tinsel, and of course, plenty of twinkling lights.

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One day my son had the bright idea that we should grow our own Christmas trees in order to have a never-ending supply of Yuletide enchantment. With the best planting season for evergreens between January and March, as soon as the small containers of conifers went on sale for $1.00 post holiday, we nabbed twenty for our forthcoming Christmas tree farm. We chose a prime spot at the top of our hill, prepared the plot, cleared the weeds, planted the seedlings, protected them with wire from marauding munchers, maintained soil moisture, and waited. The kids were very attentive to their trees. By year three, pruning and shaping the trees into conical forms began. Who knew that “Christmas trees” didn’t automatically grow into perfect Christmas specimens? By year seven, they cut their first glorious imperfect tree and by year thirteen all of the trunks were too large for any tree holder. Instead of cutting another tree, we potted a large Norfolk pine, added it to our entrance, where this oxygen producing, carbon dioxide absorber has served as our beloved arbre de Noel.

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History, legend, or a combination of the two chronicles the tales of 16th century Germans bringing evergreens into their homes as holiday decor after Protestant reformer, Martin Luther, witnessed the stars sparkling through the forest trees and cut a tree to enjoy indoors. In 2014, Christmas trees are as significant to American culture as apple pie. But it wasn’t until 1848 that Puritanical America embraced the idea of the “pagan” Christmas tree.  The ever-popular Queen Victoria and her German Prince Albert were sketched with their children gathered around a decorated Christmas tree and East Coast society adopted this new fashionable trend. Currier and Ives jumped on the bucolic family festivity bandwagon by immortalizing vintage America in historic lithographs of cozy Christmas scenes including sleigh rides, crackling fires, candle lit chapels, snowmen, and tree decorating.

Yet, the love of winter evergreens was celebrated long before the arrival of Christianity. In ancient Egypt, the sun god Ra was honored on the longest night of the year,December 21, and the shortest day, December 22 with palm frond decorations to symbolize life over death. The Romans marked the solstice with evergreen boughs in anticipation of a prosperous spring. The Druids used greens as symbols of eternal life while the Vikings believed that evergreens were the chosen trees of their sun god, Balder.

With the advent of electricity, Thomas Edison presented the possibility of twinkling tree lights without as much fire danger from branch tied candles. Europeans preferred small trees of four feet, Americans sought plants that would reach the ceiling. Decorations in the early days included strands of nuts, berries, apples, and popcorn. Today, a fortune can be spent on accessories and unique ornaments fit for a king from hand carved Nativity scenes to hand blown glass angels.

When to buy, cut, and trim the tree vary from country to country. Many American families get into the December spirit immediately following Thanksgiving while many Europeans wait until Christmas Eve to launch their rituals. Evergreen garlands, boughs, ivy, mistletoe, wreaths, poinsettias, and holly join the enticing kitchen aromas of gingerbread, marzipan, and hot mulled wine making our Christmas castles merry and bright.

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Grown in all fifty states, Christmas tree farming is big business, although it is mostly small farmers who do the growing, planting as many as two thousand trees per acre. Seventy seven million trees are planted annually as American consumers purchase approximately 30 million farm grown trees valued at more than $1 billion.  Fresh trees (to me the only way to play) outsell artificial trees three to one. Young families who are starting their own traditions often prefer to cut-their-own at a Christmas tree farm, enjoying a day in search of the perfect tannenbaum, as our family did in years past.

As you banish the blues with the greens of a pine, fur, spruce, redwood, cedar, or cypress, you’ll be rewarded with the fresh fragrance of the wild woods. Remember to keep your cut tree watered as most farmed trees are chopped down in October or early November then trucked to the retailer. While they won’t dry out outdoors, once indoors, your specimen will need a quart to a gallon of water per day depending on the size.

This year, whether your tree was grown on a plantation or in your backyard, bring the botanical brilliance of a live tree into your seasonal festivities and celebrate the magic.

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O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,

Your branches green delight us!

Wishing you seasonal sparkle, glow forth to enjoy being home for the holidays.

 

Cynthia Brian’s Mid Month Reminders

COOK with either fresh or dried herbs. You’ll need more when you use fresh. Dried are more potent. For every tablespoon of fresh herbs in a recipe, substitute 1 teaspoon of dried.

CREATE a stunning DIY holiday table arrangement using a combination of ornamental cabbage, lilies, evergreen branches, white roses, and pinecones.

LOOKING for a last minute gift that will be unique and useful? Check out your local garden retailers for holiday ideas, including a pot of drought resistant kalanchoe or a Christmas cactus in bloom.

TRIM low hanging branches of redwoods, pines, firs, and other evergreens to use in wreaths, garlands, and holiday ornamentation.

CARE for your land and your land will care of you. Our good earth is Mother Nature’s Christmas gift to us.

Happy gardening, happy growing, fa la la la la!

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Cynthia Brian

Read more Lamorinda Weekly.

©2014

Cynthia Brian

The Goddess Gardener

Starstyle® Productions, llc

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

925-377-STAR

I am available as a speaker, designer, and consultant.

Cynthia Brian is a New York Times best selling author, speaker, coach, and host of the radio show, StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® broadcasting live every Wednesday from 4-5pm PT on the Voice America Network.. She also is the creator and producer of Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501c3 charity.

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