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Sheltering with Mother Nature

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Empowerment
Sheltering with Mother Nature

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Digging Deep with Goddess Gardener, Cynthia Brian 

Sheltering with Mother Nature

“Too blessed to be stressed!” Bumper sticker

By Cynthia Brian

Are you feeling more in touch with Mother Earth as we near the beginning of eight months of stay-at-home mandates because of Covid-19? Or are you feeling antsy, stressed, and out-of-sorts? Retreating to our landscapes was initially a salve to the pain of the corona virus, social unrest, and political nastiness as we encountered improved air quality, quieter skies, and increased bird activity. Then the California fires arrived bringing choking smoke, scorching heat, and black ash. An additional layer of frazzle to our daily lives multiplied because we were unable to spend time in our gardens or outdoors for any reason.

In normal times, I work in the garden daily. It is an extension of my home, a serene, yet wild place where I am most creative and 100% myself. Every morning I walk through my property, a mug of java in hand, giving thanks for the beauty, solitude, and bounty of my magical oasis. Getting my hands in the dirt soothes my soul. I lose track of time as I weed, prune, trim, fertilize, water, and bite into a crunchy apple straight off the tree. I come up with the best ideas for my books, columns, radio shows, and lectures. Before they float away with the wind. I race to write my thoughts down.

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As a fire prevention strategy, I have been clearing the brush and understory plants from my creeks when the air permits. If you live near open space, hills, or creeks, make sure to take time to remove dead trees, limbs, and brush as we have at least another month of fire season. Leave a couple of small brush piles as habitat for owls. Owls dine on a smorgasbord of voles, mice, rats, and other rodents that wreak havoc in the garden. A family of owls can devour several thousand rodents during the nesting season with the young eating as many as four per night. Add a nesting box 15 feet off the ground to a branch of an older tree. When you invite owls into your landscape, you won’t have to use harmful poisons, plus their hooting sound is calming.

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Since sheltering in Mother Nature has been impossible these past two months, I find myself exhausted, jittery, tense, and concerned for the future of our country and our planet.  For me, this means getting creative about the sensory experience that being outdoors provides and bringing those familiar feelings and scents indoors. If we can’t be in Mother Nature, let’s shelter with Mother Nature.

Here are some things you can do to relieve stress, feel energized, and rebalanced.

  1. 1. TAP into the sounds of nature on your favorite radio network.  Listening to the trickling of a creek, the rushing of a river, or the pounding of ocean waves is relaxing. Or tune in to the cooing doves or the whistling cockatiels. Nature sounds quiet our beating hearts and quiets our blood pressure. 
  2. 2. CREATE a bedtime spray that will alter your emotional and physiological mood. Gather fragrant roses petals and lavender in a glass jar. Pour boiling water over the petals, cover, and allow to sit in the sun for several hours to make a floral tea. Add a couple of drops of alcohol and pour the concoction into a sprayer. Spray your pillow before going to bed. Lavender alleviates tension and the fragrance of roses stimulates your immune system. You’ll slumber soundly. Experiment with other florals. Jasmine mitigates anxiety and bergamot increases positivity while reducing stress. 
  3. 3. EAT fresh. Harvest fruits, herbs, and vegetables as needed. Instead of picking a bushel of tomatoes, only pick what you need immediately. Apples, figs, beets, radishes, arugula, eggplant, and peppers are ripe.
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  5. 4. PICK a bouquet of fall blooming flowers such as Black-eyed Susan or echinacea to lessen anxiety. Add a small branch of pistache as it turns red.  Just seeing fresh flowers and colorful leaves intensifies luxury and joy.
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  7. 5. ADD a small, desktop fountain to your office. Watching the movement of the water and hearing the tinkling helps bring the outdoors in.
  8. 6. LOOK at photos of nature. Everywhere I go, I snap pictures of nature scenes that inspire me. When I’m feeling blue, I check out the green.
  9. 7. COLLECT reminders of the outdoors to showcase indoors. Turkeys are leaving their beautiful feathers in yards as they peck at the autumn seeds. Pinecones and acorns are dropping as squirrels stash treasures for winter.  Make a fall arrangement to touch and admire. 
  10. 8. PAINT a pumpkin with glitter and glamour. We’ll have the second full moon of the month on October 31st. Bring on the sparkle!
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  12. 9. PLACE a pot of mums on your patio, porch, or balcony to admire through a window. 
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  14. 10. BUY any book from my website at https://www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store and besides the extra seeds and goodies you will receive, I will send you a FREE musical CD to help you relax and re-balance. 

Despite what our current leader says, the coronavirus will not be going away any time soon. We must continue to only listen to the scientists and heed the warnings of the medical establishment who have the training to understand these dire circumstances. The pandemic does not favor a political party. It recognizes no boundaries. We must be vigilant, diligent, savvy, and continue to wear masks, employ social distancing, and shelter-in-place as much as possible. When the air is clear, spend time outside. Hike, bike, walk, stroll, run, swim, and garden. 

The leaves are starting to change into their glorious fall wardrobe. Autumn is a prime time for planting, but don’t risk your health on red-alert or spare-the-air days. There is plenty of time to plant bulbs, trees, and reseed or install lawns as temperatures will be warm into November.

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We live in a beautiful area and are indeed too blessed to be stressed. Vote for decency and respect as you shelter with Mother Nature. I wish you peace, tranquility, and good health as we weather these disasters together.

Savor a sunset. Happy growing.

Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1417/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Sheltering-with-Mother-Nature.html

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Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is available for hire to help you prepare for your spring garden. Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia 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 c, celebrating 21 years of service to the community. www.BetheSTARYouAre.org. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Buy copies of her best-selling books and receive extra freebies including a FREE relaxation CD., Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! series at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. 

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Cynthia is available for virtual writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

 

Risky Business

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Empowerment
Risky Business

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“Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you’re a thousand miles from a cornfield.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

When you bite into a crunchy apple, eat a bunch of juicy grapes, or slather butter on roasted sweet corn, unless you’ve grown these crops in your personal garden, do you ever wonder about the life of the farmer who provides you with your food? To grow healthy, nutritional produce, farmers work daily, rain or shine, in every season, to provide city dwellers with sustenance. They get paid when they sell their harvest, yet it only takes one natural disaster to destroy their year-long labors and erase the opportunity for remuneration.

Farming is a risky business.

A few times when I was a child, our family suffered the fate of a failed harvest. The culprit was usually a heavy rain mildewing the fruit before it could be picked.  This year, the demon was the horrific fires with the unending days of suffocating smoke that smoke-tainted the grapes. 100% of our Cabernet Sauvignon will hang on the vines to rot because they cannot be pressed and made into wine. The smoke-taint is so pervasive that the taste of eating a single grape is like licking an ashtray. Most growers of red grapes throughout Northern California are suffering the same fate. There will be no check in the mail. A full year of blood, sweat, and tears up in smoke, literally!

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With global warming and climate change, farms are going to fail.  Food insecurity will become more prevalent, even in abundant America. In the face of natural, financial, and social crisis, now more than ever, we all need to learn to be food resilient by reconnecting to the land and growing our own to supplement what we buy. Urban agriculture is a buffer to economic instability building resilience through biodiversity and organic gardening practices.

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Autumn has arrived and with it the optimal time to plan before planting. Start small. Plant densely and use crop rotation for seasonal vegetables. Intermingle flowers and vegetables.  Plants need water or they will suffer and die. Until the rains come, you will need to observe your plantings to ascertain that seeds and roots are not drying out. Before you begin your planting process, planning is essential.

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How to Plan to Succeed in Planting

PREPARE your soil. Add aged manure and compost to improve absorption.

GROUP plants according to their watering needs. A succulent garden requires very little water. Astilbe and ferns require substantial H20.

CONSIDER the best time to plant. You want your plants to establish a strong root system while the soil is still warm, yet the days are cooler, but before the winter freeze arrives.

MULCH with two or three inches to retain moisture, slow the growth of weeds, and prevent erosion.  This can be shredded newspaper, bark, grass clippings, leaves, wood chips, stone, or pebbles.

FERTILIZE right before it rains so that the fertilizer absorbs into the roots and the soil.

Vegetarians seeking protein through plant-based items can choose to plant lentils, beans, spinach, chickpeas, broccoli, white cabbage, spring greens, and figs. My tiny cherry pear tomatoes are flourishing amongst the Amaryllis Belladonna and the Jacobinia in a planter box outside my kitchen window.

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When nothing much is colorful in the garden except the roses, sage, and crape myrtles, it’s marvelous to be able to pluck a few cherry tomatoes for a salad and three stalks of Amaryllis Belladonna for a flower arrangement from the same plot. I like using the multi-colored pistache berries in arrangements in the fall, but squirrels and turkeys are also claiming them as their favorite dinner. 

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Farming is not easy but becoming a backyard farmer will be rewarding and supply your family with enough produce to sustain you during good and bad times. Even a little self-sufficiency with your gardening endeavors will lower your risk of food shortages.

Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for October

PLANT clover in your lawn or as a cover crop as it grabs oxygen from the air and stores it in the soil. Birds pecking at your lawn are not eating it. They are dining on insects that could be harmful to your lawn. The birds are your friends indicating that your lawn has an invader.

RESEED lawns or install sod. If your soil is too acidic, add lime for balance. Grasses require a moderate pH between 5.8 and 7.2.

MAKE a bouquet of whatever is blooming in your garden. Russian sage and Japanese maple leaves add texture and color as do the green, blue, and rose-colored pistache berries.

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SAMPLE your grapes and make sure they aren’t smoke-tainted.

DIG and divide iris rhizomes in October. Make sure to keep a few inches of the leaves on the stems and bury the roots two inches deep, eighteen to twenty inches apart.

EXPERIMENT by planting a variety of lettuces to keep your salads fresh all season. You can even plant in a pot on a sunny windowsill and snip often. Clip the microgreens as they sprout for delicate, delicious delights.

GROUP vegetables and flowers together, especially in small spaces for maximum production.

ADD a splashing fountain to attract the birds, hummingbirds, and entertain you.

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CLEAR creek beds, hillsides, and property of dead branches and debris as fire prevention.

 

PRUNE your berry bushes, including summer raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries by removing dead canes, thinning new canes, weeding around the plant, then mulching with wood chips to keep the weeds out and the nutrients in.

JOIN the Lafayette Garden Clubs Zoom presentation where I’ll be speaking on Thursday, October 8th. For more information visit https://www.lafayettegardenclub.com/calendar

WALK in nature when you feel stressed to kick up your cognitive performance. A stroll through a park, a jog onClear brush and trees.jpeg a trail (wear or bring a mask), or a simple skip through your back yard will do wonders for your mental fatigue.

Happy gardening. Happy growing.

Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1416/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Risky-business.html

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Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is available for hire to help you prepare for your spring garden. Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia 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 StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Buy copies of her best-selling books and receive extra freebies, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at Cynthia Brian books banner.jpg.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. 

 

Cynthia is available for virtual writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

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Fall is Now!

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Empowerment
Fall is Now!

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SPONSORED BY THE LAMORINDA WEEKLY

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Publishers Andy and Wendy Scheck http://lamorindaweekly.com

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THANK YOU!

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VOTE FOR CANDIDATES WHO CARE ABOUT DOING THE RIGHT THING FOR ALL OF THE U.S.A,! 


OUR DEMOCRACY DEPENDS ON YOU!


MIRACLE MOMENT®

“Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.”

Thomas Paine


MESSAGE FROM CYNTHIA BRIAN, Founder/Executive Director

Booth at Pear Festival with CIn normal times, today I would be celebrating the beginning of fall with our volunteers at our BTSYA booth at the Pear and Wine Festival where we would be providing fun activities for children, giving away books to increase literacy, and encouraging positivity. This gathering is a time to celebrate our “harvest” of serving the community, country, and world. Every year our booth has been sponsored by Andy and Wendy Scheck, publishers of the Lamorinda Weekly newspaper where I have been a columnist since 2008. Because of Covid-19, all in-person activities and events have been canceled so the Lamorinda Weekly decided to honor our autumn festivities by sponsoring this newsletter. We are grateful.

So much has occurred in the last month that it is mind-boggling. Deadly towering infernos, thirty days of red alerts and save-the-air days, falling ash, smoke-taint on red grapes, civil unrest, political nastiness, and all in the midst of the pandemic. I’ve been busy (and sadly) moving out of our office building where Be the Star You Are!® has been headquartered for the past twenty-one years.

As part of Operation Disaster Relief, we have donated over $3500 of brand new books and other goods to survivors of the California fires. We have also provided radio interviews and publicity to authors, actors, artists, and others who have had all of their personal engagements canceled due to the coronavirus. Our Star Teen Book Review volunteers have written hundreds of book reviewsto help children, teens, parents, teachers, and others discover the love of reading. We have welcomed several youth to be content providers, adding their unique voices to the public conversation. We’ve trained teens join our radio family as journalists and radio reporters.

I have never been a political person. Since the time I could vote, I have never voted a party line. As a history major, I read all the materials, vet the source, study the issues with care and caution, then vote for the people, programs, and policies that I believe will best serve the citizens of our nation. This election season is the volatile, derisive, and divisive. It seems we are on the verge of another civil war. I urge you to study the ballot carefully. Cast your vote for decency, respectability, and for the people who will empower our country, not divide it. The world is watching. Americans are waiting. Thomas Paine was astute in his words.

Be brave, be smart, be strong. Do your part. WEAR A MASK! VOTE!

Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556

Cynthia@BetheStarYouAre.org

https://www.BetheStarYouAre.org

http://www.BTSYA.org

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DONATE: https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504


SPOTLIGHT on AUTHOR, JOHN LAYNE

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Author, John Layne will gallop into the 2021 season of StarStyle® Radio with Red River Reunion a classic Western Fiction novel set in 1877 Texas. It follows U.S. Marshal Luxton Danner and Texas Ranger Wes Payne on their mission to seek out and eliminate the vicious outlaw threat on the banks of the Red River. They risk everything to defend the settlers and uphold frontier law. Encountering tragic circumstances along the way, the duo band together with the settlers to survive, thrive and create a safe and prosperous future for all. Fans of Layne’s distinctive style will enjoy his rich characters and period details that bring the Old West back to life. www.johnlaynefiction.com.

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WELCOME NEW EXPRESS YOURSELF! REPORTERS

Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio is thrilled to welcome two new reporters to our roster, Maggie Campione and Nihal Gill.

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Maggie Campione is a seventh grade student and passionate about theater, reading, public speaking and most importantly, helping others. Her segment is called “The American Connection.” where she will present stories about community connections and staying united during difficult times. Listen to her segment beginning on October 4, 2020.

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Nihal Gill, sophomore at Turlock High School loves to play golf and is on the THS varsity golf team.  His love for music is expressed through the piano and with his love for robotics he created a non-profit called “Project Spark” to reach out to young elementary students to teach them STEM/Robotics through hands-on kits, and coding.  He incorporates the four aspects of STEM into his once a month community classes. His segment is entitled Spark the Interest. He’ll introduce topics that are important for health and wellness for teens all over the world. Nihal will debut on October 28th.


FALL KINDNESS

by Karen Kitchel 

Catch a glimpse of leaves turning golden.

     Stroll down a less traveled path.

          Inhale the scent of a new season.

               Remember this amazing autumn day!

Karen Kitchel who penned two chapters in the book, Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers Celebrating Gifts of Positive Voices in a Changing Digital World, is the Kindness Coordinator volunteer with BTSYA. She serves meals to the homeless and is a volunteer teacher, writer, job coach, and mentor. www.scatteringkindness.com

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VOLUNTEERS SPEAK UP!

Our content writer volunteers speak up and speak out by writing about what  is on the minds of the youth and adults of our country. 


Ruth Bader Ginsburg:
A judge who will never be forgotten

By Sarah McClenaghan

On September 18, 2020, America lost one of the most rememberable judges’ in the Supreme Court to pancreatic cancer: Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was an associate justice for many years and made a difference in our country. During her time in court, she was known to argue for gender equality, fight for women’s rights, contributed to civil rights, as well as the rights of workers and supported the separation of church and state.

Women would not be where they are without Ginsburg’s influence in Supreme Court, but she also made an impact on men. It is true she was a role model for women across the country, but men had the opportunity to learn from her leadership, her determination and her life. This shows that Ginsburg was a leader of all humanity, not just women, which has been to inspiration to many Americans.

Continue reading at http://www.btsya.com/resources.html

Thank you, Ginsburg.

Sarah McClenaghan is an inspiring content creator from Lancaster, PA who loves to explore, read and drink coffee. Sarah volunteers with Be the Star You Are!®

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The Mysteries of Online Learning  

by Angelica Paramoshin 

Upon the unanticipated arrival of the raging coronavirus, our society was flung into a seemingly never ending quarantine lifestyle. With this followed the forced embracement of remote learning for the many months that followed.

As a current student in high school, I was initially overwhelmed by the sudden alteration from in-person learning to fully remote. Within a few days of the unprecedented change, my mind was flooded with thoughts surrounding the questionable reality we were all living in. It was very difficult to adjust to the confined daily routine that embodied quarantine. With time however, I was luckily able to acclimate to the given circumstances and began improving in my productivity levels.

By improving my ability to complete my assignments in a timely manner, I allowed myself to not continue my interests in volunteering, but to explore new hobbies that would greaten my appreciation for the little things in life.

Continue reading at http://www.btsya.com/resources.html

Angelica Paramoshin, a content creator volunteer with Be the Star You Are!® charity, is a rising senior in high school devoting time during this pandemic to volunteering. 

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BE UPLIFTED WITH BE THE STAR YOU ARE!® RADIO BROADCASTS

As part of our Be the Star You Are! Disaster Relief Outreach program (https://www.bethestaryouare.org/copy-of-operation-hurricane-disaste), StarStyle® Productions, LLC and Be the Star You Are!® are showcasing authors, artists, actors, poets, musicians, and many others, all of whom had had their gigs canceled and are out of work. We believe in supporting creativity that provides escape and joy, especially during tough times. Tune in to StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® on Wednesdays at 4pm PT for “Wednesdays with Writers and Performers” LIVE http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2206/be-the-star-you-are as well as our teen program, Express Yourself!™ airing on Sundays at 3pm PT for “Super Smart Sundays” https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2014/express-yourself

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Both programs broadcast on the Voice America Network, Empowerment Channel and will be archived on that site.

MAKE A DONATION TO OPERATION DISASTER RELIEF TO HELP SURVIVORS OF THE FIRES AND HURRICANES!

Make a DONATION through PAYPAL GIVING FUND and PAYPAL with 100% going to BTSYA with NO FEES:  https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504


DIRECT LINKS you can use for Be the Star You Are!®

Positive Results: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/positive-results

About Us: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/about_us

Programs: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/programs

How to Help: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/how-to-help

Blog: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/blog-1

Events: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/events

Contact us: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/contact

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GREAT NON PROFITS REVIEWS: https://greatnonprofits.org/org/be-the-star-you-are-inc

GUIDESTAR/CANDID: https://www.guidestar.org/profile/94-3333882

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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:  https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504


PLEASE DONATE

t-shirt_btsya_outlinesBTSYA receives no government or corporate support. We count on YOU to help us help others. During this pandemic, all of our fundraising events have been canceled, yet we continue to support those in need. We appreciate a direct donation most of all via PAYPAL GIVING FUND at https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

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

http://www.btsya.org


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Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3
PO Box 376
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Fall in a Pot

Posted by presspass on
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Empowerment
Fall in a Pot

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“Truth comes out in wine.” Pliny the Elder

“The people who give you their food give you their heart.”  Cesar Chavez

The fires and smoke have ravaged farms and vineyards throughout Northern California, including my family vineyards in Napa County. The grapes are plump, juicy, and ripe. Harvesting would normally be in full swing this month, but, sadly, with so much smoke suffocating fields throughout the region, wineries require red grape samples to be tested for smoke taint. 

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Smoke taint is concentrated in the skins and during fermentation glycosides break down, releasing the volatile phenols and smoky flavors into the wine. The result tastes like licking an ashtray. The damage is not detectable by looking at or eating a grape. It is only noticeable in the wine. Since white wine isn’t barrel-aged nor use skins, white wine doesn’t experience this smoke taint.

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The largest testing laboratory, ETS in St. Helena is swamped with results backlogged for weeks or, as some growers are finding out, over a month away. If a grower or winery is not a client, they won’t be able to process samples until November. By then the window for harvesting will be over. The grapes will be dried raisins, not suitable for pressing. 

What this means for viticulture in 2020 is that farmers may lose their entire crop and face increased financial hardships as the grapes hang on the vines. There may not be a 2020 red wine vintage as wineries are not allowing deliveries of grapes under contract until the lab results have confirmed an absence of smoke taint. Truth is always evident in the wine.

With the stifling smoke of the past weeks, my normal September gardening tasks have been placed on pause. I am sheltering indoors and suggesting to clients and readers to do the same to maintain health as smoke inhalation peril is increased during Covid-19.  But this doesn’t mean that I’m avoiding my garden. I’ve been asked to write another gardening book and am brainstorming in my library. And, I’m bringing the fruits of my labors inside to my kitchen while I chef it up. 

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“Oh, I can smell the sauce from here,” my charity collaborator and friend, Terry in Washington, emailed me when I wrote her that, to mask the smell of smoke, I was making my family’s traditional homemade spaghetti sauce with ingredients from my waning garden. My process reminded her of being in her Italian great-grandmother’s kitchen. 

With the intense sunshine and heat of the summer, tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers, and herbs are filled with flavor. Being Italian, neither my Nonie, Mom, nor relatives measured anything. A recipe was handed down throughout the generations by watching, doing, and adding “a little of this, a pinch of that”, lots of garlic, and several splashes of wine. We have always cooked by taste, adding spices as needed. Naturally, numerous “malfatti’s” or mistakes occurred, which oftentimes, were our greatest successes.

The best cooks that I’ve ever encountered have also been avid gardeners. Gardeners experience nature using their senses. Gardeners amber through a potager snipping, smelling, nibbling, feeling, and seeing with a profound sensitivity to the innate characteristics of each legume, bloom, or crop. Being an astute chef requires one to know how to mix and match fruits, flowers, vegetables, and herbs to enhance any dish, allowing the natural essences to imbue their zests and aromas. Food must look good, smell good, taste good, and be ultimately satisfying, making one feel good.

Autumn is harvest time. Besides eating our tasty produce now, it is also the perfect opportunity to can or freeze fresh crops to savor during the winter months. 

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What herbs can you dry or freeze:

Basil

Bay

Oregano

Sage

Rosemary

Dill

Thyme

Parsley

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I prefer to freeze basil and parsley or make “sauce ice cubes” with those. The rest of the herbs, I dry, then store in labeled jars. 

Cynthia’s Italian Family Spaghetti Sauce “Recipe”

  •  In a pestle and mortar grind together oregano, sage, rosemary, and thyme. You can also use a blender if that is easier for you.
  •  Chop red and yellow onions and several cloves of garlic.
  •  Saute onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent.
  •  Stir in chopped mushrooms.
  •  Add 3 or 4 whole bay leaves and a handful of the mashed herbs.
  •  Gently brown meat (ground beef, lamb, pork, chicken) in the mixture. If you want a vegetarian sauce, skip this part.
  •  Cut 6-10 tomatoes into small pieces. Smash half of the tomatoes. Add cut pieces and the tomato paste to the meat mixture.
  •  Pour in red wine.
  •  Tear 4 or 5 basil leaves into pieces and stir into pot.
  •  Continue adding more wine as necessary. 
  •  Simmer at lowest heat for several hours until all the flavors have melded together. Turn off the burner to let sit.
  •  Sprinkle sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Optional ingredients include peppers or eggplant. To make a Puttanesca, add olives and capers. 

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The final sauce will be thick, rich, and delicious. Don’t be afraid to make this in advance as flavors are more delectable the next day. Freeze or can any extra sauce. (I always make a big pot and freeze tubs for later consumption.)

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Pour over spaghetti, ravioli, lasagna, or any pasta. Toss lightly to blend the sauce. Top with chopped parsley, torn basil leaves, and grated parmesan. Serve with crusty sourdough, a romaine lettuce salad, and a glass of sustainable, locally grown, aged, and bottled Captain Vineyards Petite Sirah. Finish off your meal with fall fruits: a bunch of grapes, tangy tangerine segments, crunchy Asian pears, and a few figs. Buon appetito.

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What are you harvesting in your garden right now? Do you have a family “Fall in a Pot” recipe to share with others? 

My Mom taught me that expressing love came from gardens and home-made food. My Dad taught me that farmers feed the hungry and wine is the nectar of the gods. Both gave their hearts. During these very challenging times as we pray that our California vineyards survive this ordeal, let’s toast to life with a glass of local vino and welcome fall with a pot of goodness from our gardens. 

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In my next column, I plan to be outside once again offering you guidance for autumn gardening. Until then, limit your outdoor exposure when it’s smokey and make sure to water your landscape deeply in the early mornings or late evenings.  Be aware that your containers may need a daily dose of H2O.  For the next two to three months until the rain begins to fall, our area is at imminent risk of fire danger. Be ready to evacuate. Read my article on what you need to know and do to be prepared. https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1414/Are-you-ready-to-evacuate.html

For a ZOOM presentation of, “Tips, Tricks, and Tonics in the Garden” join me on Thursday, September 17th, as I kick-off the 50th Anniversary of the Moraga Garden Club. For information on this ZOOM meeting, call Membership Chair Jane Magnani at 925-451-7031 for times to join in the conversation and presentation. I’ll be participating from my patio for a light, fun, informative, and hopefully smoke-free lecture. 

See photos and more:  https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1415/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Fall-in-a-pot.html

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Happy gardening. Happy growing.

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is available for hire to help you prepare for your spring garden. Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia 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 c, celebrating 21 years of service to the community. www.BetheSTARYouAre.org. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

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Buy copies of her best-selling books and receive extra freebies, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. 

Cynthia is available for virtual writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

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Sirius is Serious

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Empowerment
Sirius is Serious

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“When the ancients first observed Sirius emerging as it were from the sun…they believed its power of heat to have been so excessive that…the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid.”  John Brady, 1813, a Compendious Analysis of the Calendar.

Forever the optimist, when I penned my last column, The Dog Days of Summer, (http://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1413/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-the-Goddess-Gardener-for-August-The-Dog-Days-of-Summer.html), I intentionally left out the part of the Old Farmer’s Almanac, 1817 that indicates, “Make both hay and haste while the Sun shines, for when old Sirius takes command of the weather, he is such an unsteady, crazy dog, there is no dependence upon him.”

In the last few weeks, we have witnessed the ravages of Sirius with thousands of lightning strikes causing more than six hundred wildfires, millions of acres burned, gusty erratic winds, radically unhealthy air quality, and ash blanketing the state. More land has burned in the last few weeks than burned in all of 2019. Death and destruction are the horrific aftermaths.

Our Napa County farm was amongst the blazing landscapes. Everyone living in the valley where our vineyards and ranch reside was evacuated, yet, with firefighters engaged elsewhere battling numerous other infernos, my brother stayed behind on his tractor to cut roads, create safety zones, and clear debris. The hills and pastures burned. He saved the vineyards, barns, and our family home.

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Between the brutal pandemic, perverse politics, sizzling heat, and suffocating smoke, we all have a reason to despair. To thwart a fire on my hillside, I have cut my dried perennials and annuals to ground level. The only beauty is offered by my faithful blushing naked ladies, lavender society garlic plants, and the passionflower vine that twines up my peach tree. The ground is parched. 

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As I was repairing a broken water pipe so that I could irrigate this arid field, my optimism suddenly resurged. Swallowtails flitted through the smoke-filled air searching for a colorful landing place. A hummingbird settled on my string of patio lights before nuzzling my pink jacobinia growing in a cement urn. A five-lined skink, also known as a blue-tailed lizard, perched on a nearby boulder completely uninterested in my cutting and gluing efforts.

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I completed my project, picked a ripe tangerine from the tree, headed for the hammock, and savored the juice as it dripped down my chin. Swinging, I contemplated my future gardening desires.

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This is the season to start making a list of what you want to grow for the forthcoming months. My succulent garden doesn’t need precipitation to thrive. Adding succulents to your want list is a smart idea.

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Bulbs are easy to grow and most offer yearly returns. Favorites to plant in late autumn for a spring showing include daffodils, tulips, freesia, ranunculus, hyacinth, Dutch iris, anemone, and crocus. Freesias are one of nature’s greatest gifts with splendid scents, a cornucopia of colors, and the ability to naturalize. Daffodils are probably the most popular and least expensive of all the bulbs. Deer, rabbits, and other critters won’t eat them, allowing their happy flowers to bloom for long stretches. When winter is nearing its finale, crocus will make you smile as they push through the soil to reveal their rich colors of blue, violet, yellow, and white. Treat yourself to a garden filled with tulips. You’ll want to buy your bulbs soon as they need to be refrigerated for at least six weeks before planting. For more impact, group colors, shapes, and sizes together in a swath. They are wonderfully interplanted with delphiniums, pansies, and other annuals or perennials for a very merry greeting. 

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After a traumatic summer filled with climatic extremes, sowing seeds for a bountiful harvest of late fall to early winter salad greens and vegetables is a welcome endeavor. 

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What seeds do you want? Try any of these for rapid results. Make sure to water regularly.

Lettuce

Spinach

Arugula

Swiss Chard

Kale

Beets

Fennel

Turnips

Broccoli

Carrot

Kohlrabi

Shallots

Garlic

Radish

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With the seriousness of the sizzling Sirius and the dangerous air quality outside, stay indoors and peruse catalogs and gardening books to get ideas for fall planting. On Thursday, September 17th, I’ll be doing a ZOOM presentation, “Tips, Tricks, and Tonics in the Garden” for the Moraga Garden Club celebrating its 50th anniversary. For information on this ZOOM meeting, call Membership Chair Jane Magnani at 925-451-7031 for times to join in the conversation and presentation. We’ll keep it light, fun, and informative. 

Summer will soon be ending. This is an opportune time to check for sale and clearance items that you may want for your outdoor landscaping for next year. I have found great deals at  https://bit.ly/3aG6qOI including winter covers for patio furniture. As much as I love the heat, the chance of wildfires is omnipresent. Make sure to read my article on how to be prepared in the event of any emergency. This article could save your life. 

https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1414/Are-you-ready-to-evacuate.html

The Roman poet, Virgil described Sirius as “bringer of drought and plague to frail mortals, rises and saddens the sky with sinister light.” The veracity of his narrative has been realized in 2020.  The sea has not yet boiled and let’s hope the wine doesn’t spoil. I’m grateful to my brother for saving our ranch and thankful to the first responders and firefighters on the front lines of the flames.

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Now more than ever, we need large doses of humor, hope, and healing. Let’s employ kindness and empathy for one another as we prepare for planting autumn bulbs and seeds.  A bright and beautiful spring display is only two seasons away. Embrace optimism and gratitude. 

Photos: http://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1414/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Sirius-is-serious.html

Happy gardening. Happy growing.

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Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is available for hire to help you prepare for your spring garden. Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia 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 StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Buy copies of her best-selling books and receive extra freebies, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. 

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Cynthia is available for virtual writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

 

Be a Super Hero…Wear a Mask!

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Empowerment
Be a Super Hero…Wear a Mask!

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Read at

http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/672296/ca35fa6abb/288055965/bbd34d3431/

BE a SUPER HERO! WEAR A MASK!

MIRACLE MOMENT®

masked little girl 2“You are braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” Christopher Robin 

 


MESSAGE FROM CYNTHIA BRIAN, Founder/Executive Director

Cynthia Brian-Mask-HatHow are you doing in our 8th month of this horrid pandemic? Are you wearing a mask, social distancing, avoiding crowds, washing your hands, and being responsible?

If not, please heed this message because Covid-19 is a devastating disease that will negatively affect you and those you love.

As of August 11, global Covid-19 cases have doubled from 10 million to 20,395,035 million, and those are only the cases that are reported. It is estimated that the numbers are at least 10 times those that are reported. The death toll is 741,807. It took 6 months for cases to reach 10 million and only 6 weeks to reach 20 million. Half of those cases are in just 3 countries-the United States, India, and Brazil. California, Texas, Florida, and New York lead the pack with confirmed cases over 500,000 and thousands of deaths.

If you read this newsletter, my blogs, or listen to our radio shows, you know that since March 11, my office has been closed and I have been sheltering-in-place with only occasional quick visits to the post office while wearing a mask, gloves, glasses, and a hat. My husband’s office was also closed and only reopened the end of June after he purchased all the pandemic protection equipment including masks, shields, gloves, gowns, goggles, security dividers, thermometers, sanitizers, specialized air filters, mouth rinses. He and his staff follow a very strict protocol for working with patients as do medical professionals everywhere.

We have all experienced our favorite salon, restaurant, pub, gym, bank, or store reopening only to be shuttered because an employee gets sick with Covid-19. It’s heartbreaking for the patrons and financially disastrous for the owners and employees.

I witnessed this recently when a close friend’s company was impacted.

Two weeks ago, an employee fell ill. Seven days later the office was informed that this employee tested positive for Covid-19. The business had to immediately close, all staff and their families had to be tested, all clients informed, and contact tracing begun. Because of a back-log at the labs, results from tests can take anywhere from 4-14 days. In this case, seven days elapsed. Everyone was instructed to stay home until a negative result was determined. Fortunately for my friend, his staff, and all their contacts, the test results were negative so work could be resumed within 12 days. But that was 12 days without income or services.

This is occurring everywhere around the country as businesses attempt to re-open. However, when even one person tests positive with Covid-19 in the workplace, the business must close. No one can go to work.  The one positive infection exponentially affects hundreds, perhaps thousands of individuals and businesses. Many people live with several generations and everyone has to be tested and traced. Family members and friends become angry about the possibility of exposure, especially when many are being so careful. Everyone is losing out on earning a living. Many people live pay check to pay check and missing work for a week or more could mean ruin.

Even though every protocol is adhered to in a workplace, an employer can’t dictate what an employee does on her/his private hours. But there is one thing that everyone can easily do to curb the spread and that is to wear a mask when in public.

The power and potency of wearing a mask and social distancing can not be over emphasized. Wearing a mask is NOT a political gesture, it is the responsible action. Covid-19 strikes everyone and anyone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that if everyone wore a mask throughout the United States for the next few months, over 40,000 lives could be saved.

The volatile political landscape is fraught with misinformation. Contrary to what some politicians have claimed, Covid-19 is not going away, in fact, it is ramping up. The disease knows no boundaries. It doesn’t care what political party you belong to, what religion you practice, or where you live. It is an equal opportunity infector with people of color and lower-income households heavily hit. If you are gathering with groups and not wearing protective gear, you are risking your health and maybe your life as well the lives of those you love. Pay attention to evidence based health experts and scientists. Get your information from the CDC, not from social media or the campaign trail.

As coronavirus surges, labs are struggling to keep up with testing. Having to wait for a week to 14 days for results renders a test useless to prevent transmission. The CDC states that currently we are identifying only 1 in 10 cases because we are testing so few people. Currently no vaccine is available to prevent coronavirus Covid-19. To bring the pandemic under control we need rapid testing. We need to be able to test daily or weekly without cost and receive results within an hour or at most, 24 hours. Only then can we safely send our children to school and reopen our economy. The federal government must step up its leadership to safely ensure that we can go to work and gather. For now, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed.

Are you old enough to remember cars without seatbelts? I am. Our family of seven would pile into a truck or a station wagon and there wasn’t a seat belt in sight. At first when seat belts were introduced, a public outcry occurred. But today, I wouldn’t dare get into any vehicle without first buckling up.

Closer to home, you’ve probably engaged in a Zoom or SKYPE call for personal or business reasons. You could easily wear a lovely shirt or blouse on the top part of your body while your bottom is wearing underwear. But if you need to go to the market, I bet you add a pair of pants or a skirt! Right?

This autumn, major designers are adding masks to their haute couture lines. Whether or not there will be runway shows, you will be seeing coordinating outfits with a mask to match. Masks are going to be the next hot trend for looking hip, cool, and well-dressed.

Covid-19 is a non-partisan pandemic and it is at our doorstep. For accurate information visit https://www.cdc.gov.

Put a smile on your face and start viewing masks as a beautiful, life-saving accessory.

 

Remember, super heroes wear masks. 

You, too, can be a superhero. Cape not necessary!

Be brave, be smart, be strong. Do your part. WEAR A MASK!

Living with gratitude and wearing a mask,

Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556

Cynthia@BetheStarYouAre.org

https://www.BetheStarYouAre.org

http://www.BTSYA.org

DONATE: https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

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jonathan jackson-headshotOur newest and youngest reporter on Express Yourself! is 13 year old Jonathan Jackson who will be showcasing a segment called Jay’s Sports World beginning on September 13th.  Be on the lookout for this new talent.

Hello, My name is Jonathan Jackson. I am 13 years old and from California. I enjoy playing sports and spending quality time with my friends and family. Basketball has always had a special place in my life. It is not only recreational for myself but it’s also mental and emotional . I like to compete and I love to show my passion for both the game and its history.  I have always had a natural curiosity towards all sports.  This has created a desire to become a future sports journalist . I am a student athlete that is trying to maintain a 4.0 GPA. This will help to achieve my dream of going to UCLA and joining their journalism program. I love to talk, and I guarantee you will love my show! https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2014/express-yourself

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TOGETHER IN UNITY AGAINST THE CORONAVIRUS CALAMITY

Siri Phaneendra-8-2020by Siri Phaneendra

Eradicating the coronavirus involves a team effort and the cooperation of everyone. It is imperative for us to come together in unity against calamity.

As Greek philosopher Aristotle emphasized, ‘Society is something that precedes the individual.’ It is not about you and me — it is about humanity. Even if one life can be saved, isn’t it our moral obligation to wear a mask? The efficacy of wearing a mask can only be enhanced when every individual in the vicinity makes a conscious effort to do so.

The asymptotic nature of the virus causes it to exponentially spread like a forest fire. Let’s not add fuel to the fire by protecting ourselves and others. Spread love, not the virus.”

Siri Phaneendra studies Computer Science at UC Berkeley and is a recipient of the Cal Alumni Association Leadership Award. She is the founder of drawmylove.com, a company that provides people a platform to express their love by creating physical books with customizable characters. Siri  is a host on Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio on the Voice America Network.

 


BE UPLIFTED WITH BE THE STAR YOU ARE!® RADIO BROADCASTS

2016 Promo Banner bothshows-no picsAs part of our Be the Star You Are! Disaster Relief Outreach program (https://www.bethestaryouare.org/copy-of-operation-hurricane-disaste), StarStyle® Productions, LLC and Be the Star You Are!® are showcasing authors, artists, actors, poets, musicians, and many others, all of whom had had their gigs canceled and are out of work.

We believe in supporting creativity that provides escape and joy, especially during tough times.

Tune in to StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® on Wednesdays at 4pm PT for “Wednesdays with Writers and Performers” LIVE http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2206/be-the-star-you-are as well as our teen program, Express Yourself!™ airing on Sundays at 3pm PT for “Super Smart Sundays” https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2014/express-yourself

Both programs broadcast on the Voice America Network, Empowerment Channel and will be archived on that site.


Angelica Paramoshin SURVIVING THE UNKNOWN

by Angelica Paramoshin 

I remember the days of March that were so heavily flooded with normality. Crowds of individuals flocked towards train stations like classes of fish swimming through reefs. In the present day, we all crave that forgotten feeling of normality. We miss the days when we were able to peacefully stroll through the streets watching all forms of life flourish around us. Now that we are all stuck within the barriers of our homes, we cannot fathom what is to come.

Numerous individuals have struggled to assimilate into this newfound lockdown in quarantine and ultimately, have sunk into a never-ending whirlpool of emotional turmoil. As someone who is currently writing this from the confines of her room, I understand how mentally exhausting it can be having minimal social interaction with the people you were once inseparable from. People have forgotten to take care of their emotional well-being because their feelings of anxiety and fear of the unknown leave little space for glimmers of positivity and improvement.

Although we are living amongst the presence of a pandemic, we must continue to live for ourselves and not simply for the need to survive. Everyone deserves a day dedicated to themselves. Even reading a few pages of a novel you’ve been wanting to read, allows your mind and soul to flow through a river of serenity and peace. It is okay to take a step back and breathe. We are all on this mystical planet together and we will survive together.

Angelica Paramoshin currently is a rising senior in high school devoting her time during this pandemic to volunteering with Be the Star You Are!®. 

 


SUMMER SURVIVAL READING

the reading tub logoOur Star Teen Book Review Team is busy reading and writing reviews for you to enjoy this summer. Reviews are honest and the personal experience of each writer. Check them out at our website, http://www.btsya.com/book_reviews.html, and at our partner, The Reading Tub, https://thereadingtub.org/books/be-the-star-you-are/.

Many thanks to our Book Review Coordinator, Stephanie Cogeos, for keeping us on track. If you are interested in joining our team and you are genuinely interested in being of service to others, you can find the info at http://www.btsya.com/book_reviews.html


SHOP ONLINE WITHOUT A MASK!

Since we need to stay at home and only go out when absolutely necessary, these are on-line shopping portals that will sell you what you need, offer discounts, and assist our mission as a nonprofit. Please use these web sites for all of your shopping essentials,

1. AmazonSmile donates .5% of purchases https://smile.amazon.com/ch/94-3333882

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2. Discounted books at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/shops/be_the_star_you_are_charity

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3. Giving Assistant: Shop. Earn. Give! Use Giving Assistant to earn cash at 3500+ popular online stores, then donate a percentage to BTSYA:https://givingassistant.org/np#be-the-star-you-are-inc

& buy from your favorite stores.

4. Search and GoodShop: Choose Be the Star You Are as your charity to support. You can log in with Facebook, too! https://www.goodshop.com/nonprofit/be-the-star-you-are

5. Shop at over 1300 stores on IGIVE: http://www.iGive.com/BTSYA

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6. Buy “Read, Lead, Succeed” black tanks $19.99  and books at StarStyle® Store: http://www.starstylestore.net/

T-shirts

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7. Are you a gamer, lover of new software, or other digital content? Buy all of your favorites at Humble Bundle. http://ow.ly/cYs130iN6n4


DIRECT LINKS you can use for Be the Star You Are!®

Positive Results: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/positive-results

About Us: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/about_us

Programs: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/programs

How to Help: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/how-to-help

Blog: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/blog-1

Events: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/events

Contact us: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/contact

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GREAT NON PROFITS REVIEWS: https://greatnonprofits.org/org/be-the-star-you-are-inc

GUIDESTAR/CANDID: https://www.guidestar.org/profile/94-3333882

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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:  https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504


PLEASE DONATE

t-shirt_btsya_outlinesBTSYA receives no government or corporate support. We count on YOU to help us help others. During this pandemic, all of our fundraising events have been canceled, yet we continue to support those in need. We appreciate a direct donation most of all via PAYPAL GIVING FUND at https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

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

http://www.btsya.org



 MASK UP! Leave a Sparkle

DONATE NOW!

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


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Greener Pastures

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Empowerment
Greener Pastures

Greener Pastures

An excerpt from Working on Yourself Doesn’t Work

Note from Ariel and Shya: We originally wrote “Greener Pastures” in 2007 and we included it in Working on Yourself Doesn’t Work when McGraw-Hill republished it in 2009.

As we move through the restrictions that the pandemic has imposed upon our lives, each of us have the opportunity to invest in this moment and experience satisfaction right here, right now, rather than entertain the fantasy that someday, when the circumstances are more to our liking, our life will “start” once again.


Once we saw a goat put out to graze in a lush field. The grass was high and feeding was plentiful. But the goat wasn’t satisfied. It made a funny picture as it strained toward the field next door. Its front legs were suspended midair, dangling over the fence as it vainly reached for a tempting bit of green just out of reach. Of course the grass wasn’t any richer or higher or more succulent in the next pasture, but try telling that to the goat.

What pastures are you straining after? Most people are strenuously reaching toward what they think will make them happy or satisfied, straining toward something more, better, or different. The problem with this is that there is always something else that needs to be bought or produced in order for you to be happy or satisfied. Truthfully, in this moment, you can only have what you have. Anything you yearn for robs you of the possibility of reveling in the richness of your life.

People get so driven by where they are going that they miss their lives. You may actually be rushing ahead to finish this book, trying to answer some question or fulfill some agenda. While you are trying so hard to get something from the writing, you are not actually there for the reading.

Many of us live our lives as if we are looking through a telephoto lens on a camera. A telephoto lens focuses in on an object in the distance and excludes everything peripheral to that object. So you miss everything happening around you. Instantaneous Transformation is more like a wide-angle lens. It holds everything in focus whether it is close up or far away, and there is three-dimensionality and depth to what you see. The telephoto lens, on the other hand, makes things much more two-dimensional or fl at; you lose the depth of field. When people are lost in a change modality, they feel annoyed when things “intrude” and interrupt their flow toward where they are headed. In a transformational approach, life becomes a dance of noticing what is rather than a tense experience of trying to exclude everything that does not seem on track to producing the things we think we want in the future to make us happy or fulfilled.

It could be said that life is an unfolding, moment to moment, and we have preferences that frequently disagree with how life unfolds, because we are trying to get somewhere rather than be where we are. We think something better is going to come along because this isn’t it, when in fact this moment is all there is. This moment IS it.

People are so busy worrying about what they don’t have or how it is going to turn out in the future, they rarely allow themselves to really relish and enjoy the way things are right now. Life becomes a worry about what isn’t, rather than a celebration of what is. For if we, like the goat, invest our energy only in wanting what we don’t have and lusting after tantalizing goals currently out of reach, satisfaction is set aside for a mythical someday that never comes.

 

Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, podcast/radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYC, Germany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here podcast or join their email newsletter. Also get information about their award-winning books. Their newest book, Being Here…Too, is available on Amazon.comBarnesandNoble.com and everywhere books are sold.

Books by Ariel & Shya Kane

Six Tips to Navigating the COVID-19 Landscape from an Epidemiologist

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Business
Six Tips to Navigating the COVID-19 Landscape from an Epidemiologist

To start or to continue receiving the weekly blogs via email, please sign-up using this link: subscribe to Innovative Leadership Institute weekly blog.

This blog is provided by Erica Fowler, an epidemiologist who studied Public Health specializing in social epidemiology at The Ohio State University and holds ten years’ experience melding industry experience with academic discipline.

 

As the pandemic progresses, more and more people are getting a glimpse into the world of public health. Epidemiology is one public health discipline that is getting a lot of attention and happens to be my chosen field of study.

Epidemiology is an applied field of biostatistics, and beyond the numbers is the study of humans. Social norms, individual behaviors, health, wealth, emotions – any facet of life with a discernible pattern. The combination of numbers and practical application allow us to understand current trends and predict future ones. We can identify points of interaction with individuals that will yield the highest probability of action and influence behavior using subtle human cues to elicit an action.

It’s important to remember that many factors influence both sides of the equation – human and mathematical. Social determinants of health, sociodemographic disparities, or differences that can only be explained by factors that would be irrelevant in a world that was fair. The numbers you see on the screen, the dots that make up every graph a human life. On the mathematical side, numbers are only as good as the quality of their measurement and data management.

As an epidemiologist and public health professional, I’d like to share answers to six common questions I’ve been asked during the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m grateful that I can dissect the information bombarding me at every turn and hope to share useful information for others to do the same.

1) Should I wear a mask? 

Yes. I’ve been asked this question more than any other. If you are to be in public, it may help slow the spread of the virus by preventing you from spreading it to others. If you know you are infected or if you have been in contact with someone who may be infected, it is best to stay home.

2) What is flatten the curve? 

Most people are familiar with this one. It’s been used to describe the intended effects of social distancing, which appear to be working. With a flatter curve, the Area Under the Curve (AUC) is the same, but the duration of the outbreak is longer. In other words, the same number of people will be exposed to and get the virus – just stretched out so that the healthcare system isn’t overwhelmed.

3) What do all these numbers mean? 

We’ve all heard ‘flatten the curve’, but there are other common metrics that are useful for understanding the virus. These numbers won’t stay the same and will vary depending on the population studied – a key epidemiologic concept.

  • R0 or R-naught represents how many people one infected individual infects on average. Social distancing efforts can lower this number and slow the spread of the disease and prevent new incidence.
  • Incidence or number of new cases of a disease. This can aid in resource allocation, such as healthcare utilization. The number of new cases, duration of disease, and rate of spread taken together may predict what is needed two weeks from now.
  • Case Fatality Rate represents fatalities relative to confirmed cases. In the current climate, testing is limited and often flawed. People will contract the virus and have no symptoms. Similarly, patients die before they test positive.
  • All-Cause Fatality Rate is the fatality rate for all causes which can be monitored year-over-year to estimate the total fatalities related to the disease and account for gaps in incidence and prevalence monitoring.
  • Infection Mortality Rate represents fatalities relative to all people infected. This number is not known without universal or widespread testing.

4) How does COVID-19 compare to other well-known viruses? 

It’s twice as infectious as H1N1 or the typical seasonal flu. The mortality rate is 10-30x higher than the seasonal flu. The H1N1 mortality rate was much lower than either COVID-19 or the seasonal flu.

The H1N1 virus was deadlier to younger ages because many people over age 65 had been exposed to a similar strain of virus earlier in life. This immunity helped keep them from contracting not only cases but severe cases. Because this is a novel or new virus, no one has immunity. That is why social distancing may play an important role in containing the virus until a vaccine is available.

 

  R0 Mortality Rate
COVID-19 2.0 – 4.0 1.5 – 3%
H1N1 1.1 – 2.6 0.02%
Seasonal Flu 1.3 0.1%

Source: Healthline March 12, 2020

5) Why do the numbers keep changing?

The numbers listed above can change depending on the population of people you are examining. A few examples are shown below.

With #flattenthecurve, we take social distancing seriously, decrease new cases and decrease the rate of spread. The mortality rate could go either way depending on how it is calculated. If it is only confirmed cases, it may go up as more people are staying home if they have mild or asymptomatic cases and will not be tested. They survive but aren’t counted toward lowering the mortality rate.

 

6) Why is testing such a big deal? 

Testing is important because it gives us a fuller picture of the virus, how it behaves, who it affects and how intensely, what treatments are effective for easing symptoms and shortening duration of illness, and what points of intervention we can employ to prevent or stop the spread of the virus. Testing also allows us to understand who has the virus and has built up antibodies. It could determine whether people are safe to return to work and a more integrated form of society. Testing enables a more accurate measurement of metrics for informed decision-making.

If you are unsure of something you read or want more information, as a trusted friend or colleague to help decipher the information. Use your social media networks to find people you trust who share information from vetted sources. I’m happy to do this for my sources and know many others who do the same.

I’m not sure what the other side of COVID-19 looks like, but the news I read every day makes me hopeful for the ingenuity, intelligence, compassion, and humanity I’ve witnessed in-person and through social media in the past several weeks. I am grateful that my life has not much changed, yet I worry for the world, vulnerable populations, and those I love. Despite the uncertainty, I am sure of one thing – Epidemiologists around the world are at far lesser risk than ever before of being asked if they study the skin.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Erica N. Fowler, Ph.D., is a strategy and analytics professional with a profound interest in developing data-driven solutions to improve health and business outcomes. She studied Public Health specializing in social epidemiology at The Ohio State University and holds ten years’ experience melding industry experience with academic discipline. Her experience includes analytics product development, measurement strategy, database operations, business intelligence analytics, and statistical modeling.

Dr. Fowler’s passion is professional development consulting as a certified Birkman Method consultant. She uses the Birkman Method, enhanced by her analytic skillset, to develop individual and group programs that foster emotional intelligence to improve communication skills and productive teamwork.

Her day job is Product Manager for the Applied Data Science and Omnichannel Experience teams at Syneos Health, the first end-to-end integrated pharmaceutical solutions organization. She serves as a contributing faculty member to the Health Education & Promotion program at Walden University, where she oversees the dissertation process for doctoral students. In her spare time, Dr. Fowler enjoys traveling the world, yoga, reading, and spending time with her family.

Photo by Anna Shvets

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