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Cast of Paramount Film, Mighty Oak and Author of Never Sit If You Can Dance, Jo Giese

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Empowerment
Cast of Paramount Film, Mighty Oak and Author of Never Sit If You Can Dance, Jo Giese

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SAG/AFTRA member Cynthia Brian continues Wednesdays with Writers and Performers on StarStyle® giving authors, actors, artists, and entertainers who have had their live performances and events canceled due to Covid-19 a platform to shine. Find out how brilliant our world talent is right here on StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!

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MIGHTY OAK tells the story of Gina (Janel Parrish, “Pretty Little Liars,” To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before), a band manager who struggles after losing her brother/lead singer (Levi Dylan, 12 Mighty Orphans) in a fatal car accident while traveling to a gig.  A decade later, Gina meets a 10-year-old music prodigy named Oak, played by newcomer Tommy Ragen, a real-life prodigy whose music inspired the screenplay.  Oak seems to possess the same qualities as Gina’s late brother, inspiring her to pull her life back together and try to reunite the band with Oak as its new front man. Directed by Sean McNamara (Soul Surfer), guests to be interviewed by Cynthia Brian include Tommy Ragen (Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock Broadway Musical), Rodney Hicks (Rent, Come From Away) Gianna Harris (Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock Broadway Musical), and Ben Milliken (Bosch, Blue Crush  www.mightyoakthemovie.com

Official Trailer: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ba40pACGBZ0

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At a turbulent time in America, when personal connections are fleeting and shared values rare, award-winning journalist and author Jo Giese offers uplifting lessons in old-fashioned civility in her memoir, Never Sit If You Can Dance: Lessons from My Mother. The lessons are wisdom from a mother of the 20th century for a daughter in the 21st century. www.jogiese.com

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Bio: Tommy Ragen

Tommy Ragen is a 12 year old musician, songwriter, producer, and actor. He has released three albums “9, Rocket, and Heart Emoji”. He played the lead role of “Oak” in the Paramount Pictures movie Mighty Oak. Mighty Oak features eight original songs co-written by Tommy and Caroline Corn. He was, also, a cast member on the First National Broadway Tour of The School Of Rock the Musical.

  www.mightyoakthemovie.com

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Bio: Rodney Hicks

Rodney is a longtime New Yorker, originally from Philly who now resides in Colorado. He is an Award winning Black Gay

Male Artist. His play FLAME BROiLED had its World Premiere at Local Theater Company in Boulder, CO in the Fall of 2019.

The play was awarded the 2019 Eulipions Fund on behalf of The Denver Foundation. Previous versions of his plays MS.

PEARL’S CABARET and JUST PRESS SAVE were a 2019 and 2018 Semi-Finalist for the Eugene O’Neill Theater Conference.,

respectively. Rodney was last seen on Broadway as Bob & Others in Come From Away; Clarence Norris in The Scottsboro

Boys, Peter in Jesus Christ Superstar (2000 Revival) and the Original Cast of RENT. He currently has a supporting role in

the newly released Paramount Studios film ‘Mighty Oak’ at Drive in’s and movie theaters. Rodney is a peace and love

practitioner/meditator as well as a playwright and actor. www.rodneyhicks.net/ Follow on instagram: @rodneyhickshere Facebook: Rodney Hicks     

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Bio: Gianna Harris

Gianna Harris is a 15 year old singer, musician, actor and dancer. She plays the guitar, piano, bass and ukulele. Gianna discovered her love for performing in 2015 and as an amateur she performed at MSG during the Knicks half-time show and Apollo Theater. Gianna’s professional career started in March of 2016 when she got her first big role in Andrew Lloyd Weber’s School of Rock on Broadway. In 2017 she graduated from Broadway and joined the touring company of School of Rock. Her most recent role is Emma Biggs in Mighty Oak. When Gianna is not acting she is either writing and recording music, reading or riding her skateboard. Her favorite color is lavender and her favorite dessert is choc chip cookies. Gianna is a huge advocate and voice for Mental Health Awareness and LQBTQ+ Equality. Insta: @thegiannaharris

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Bio: Ben Milliken

Born in Manchester, England, Ben was raised in Bilgola Beach located on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Ben, then moved to Los Angeles where we quickly began landing roles in multiple film and television projects, including Universal’s “Blue Crush 2”. Most recently, Ben landed a role in season 5 of Amazon’s hit show “Bosch”.   www.mightyoakthemovie.com

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Bio: Sean McNamara

Sean Patrick McNamara is an Irish-American writer, director and producer of the break out hit “Soul Surfer” (Tri-Star Pictures). “Spare Parts” from the Wired Magazine article “La Vida Robot” (Lionsgate), “The Moon and the Sun” (Paramount Pictures), “Raise Your Voice” (New Line Cinema), “Hoovey,” “Field Of Lost Shoes” and many more Feature Films and Television shows have been Helmed and produced by Sean. He is the director of Mighty Oak. www.mightyoakthemovie.com

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Bio: Jo Giese

Jo Giese is an award-winning radio journalist, author, teacher, community activist, and former TV reporter. As a special correspondent, she was part of the Peabody Award–winning team at Marketplace, the most popular business program in America. At Marketplace she won an EMMA for Exceptional Radio Story from the National Women’s Political Caucus and a GRACIE from the Foundation of American Women in Radio. She has contributed to Ira Glass’s This American Life and is the author of A Woman’s Path (St. Martin’s Press) and The Good Food Compendium (Doubleday). She has written for many top publications, including The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Vogue, the LA Weekly, European Travel & Life, BARK, Montana Outdoors, and The Malibu Times. An intrepid and enthusiastic world traveler, Jo has visited more than 50 plus countries. She lives in Southern California and Bozeman, Montana, with her husband, Ed Warren. www.jogiese.com, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjogiese/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/giesejo/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jogiese7

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Listen at Voice America Network, Empowerment Channel: 

https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/124732/cast-of-paramount-film-mighty-oak-and-author-jo-giese

LIVE SHOW 4-5pm PT: https://bit.ly/3cDti0Z

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Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/voice-america/be-the-star-you-are

IHeartRadio: https://www.iheart.com/podcast/256-starstyle-be-the-star-you-31083110/

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/4zDdwzlsHH44caWiMQdD25

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Be the Star You Are! 501 c3 charity offers help, hope, and healing for women, families and youth in need.

BTSYA Operation Disaster Relief. Please donate. http://ow.ly/ks8A30lekGe

Read how BTSYA is Making a Difference: https://www.ibpa-online.org/news/460747/IBPA-Member-Spotlight-Cynthia-Brian.htm 

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Read our Newsletter

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Small DONATIONS Make a Big Difference to Others: Decrease Violence. Increase Literacy. 

$25 provides 5 new books.

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Donate via Paypal Giving Fund

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or Visit www.BTSYA.org

RECENTLY PUBLISHED BOOKS:  Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers Celebrating Gifts of Positive Voices in a Changing Digital World and Growing with the Goddess Gardener. Available at www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store or  www.StarStyleStore.net

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Check our Book Reviews at our website, https://www.BTSYA.org or at our literacy partner, The Reading Tub: https://thereadingtub.org/books/be-the-star-you-are/ 

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When you are looking for upbeat, life-changing, and mind-stretching information, you have come to the right place. Host Cynthia Brian takes you on a journey of exploration that will encourage, inspire, and motivate you to make positive changes that offer life-enhancing results. It’s party time on StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!®. And YOU are invited! Join us LIVE 4-5pm Pt on Wednesdays or tune in to the archives at your leisure. Come play in StarStyle Country. Catch up with all broadcasts on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/starstyle-be-the-star-you-are!/id669630180?mt=2

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

Buy books by Cynthia Brian at https://www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store

For photos, descriptions, links, archives, and more, visit http://www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Get inspired, motivated, and informed with StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!®

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Embed StarStyle® Be the Star You Are!® Radio

If you are a fan of the authors, experts, celebrities, and guests that appear regularly on StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® radio, you can now be sure to never miss an episode. Embed this code into your WordPress site or any site and you’ll always have Cynthia Brian and all of your favorite pioneers on the planet at your fingertips.  Upbeat, positive, life-changing talk radio broadcasting live each week since 1998. Lend us Your Ears. We are Starstyle®-Be the Star You Are!®

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

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

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Need an injection of positivity, passion, & purpose to boost productivity & joy? Invite Cynthia Brian into your circle of chaos as we grow confidence & energy through simple coaching techniques that tap into your inner star. Accepting clients.  https://www.CynthiaBrian.com

Make your life happen!

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Surviving Summer!

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Empowerment
Surviving Summer!

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SURVIVING SUMMER!

MIRACLE MOMENT®

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by each experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” 

                         Eleanor Roosevelt  1884-1962, Former First Lady


MESSAGE FROM CYNTHIA BRIAN, Founder/Executive Director

CYNTHIA BRIAN SUNFLOWER 2According to reports, more that 1/3 of the population are currently depressed. With the deadly pandemic, civil unrest, political upheaval, unemployment, climate change, travel restrictions, school closures, and stock market ups and downs, it’s no wonder that people feel disoriented. Although we are all in this together, every situation is different. And when we feel burdened, sad, or disillusioned, it doesn’t hurt any less because others are experiencing the same.

We are in pain. We feel the ache, the anguish, the agony, the loneliness, the sorrow. We feel human.

The good news is that as long as you are feeling something, anything, you are alive with  the possibility and potential that things will get better. Summer is normally a time for fun, family, friends and vacations. This year, we all just want to survive the chaos.

Make an effort to get out of the shadows of fear and stand in the sunshine. Reach out to help someone and you will feel better. Being of service to others has that effect. Give yourself a break to walk in nature. Listen to the birds. Watch the passing clouds. Smell the roses. Feel the wind on your cheek. Taste a freshly-picked tomato. Roll in the grass. Run through a sprinkler.

“This too shall pass!” We just don’t know when. We will survive this horror. In the meantime, hang in there. Wear a mask. Keep your distance. Stay at home when feasible. Be brave. Be strong.

Living with gratitude,

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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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. You’ll even meet the cast of the new film by director, Sean McNamara, “Mighty Oak”.

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. You can also listen to all of our broadcasts on the following platforms:

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Places to Listen to StarStyle Radio:

Live Show: https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2206/be-the-star-you-are

Apple itunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/starstyle-be-the-star-you-are/id669630180?mt=2

Google Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen#/ps/Iftzhum24ektnw3ocfq3keduefq

Tunein: https://tunein.com/podcasts/Motivational/StarStyle—Be-the-Star-You-Are-p46014/

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/voice-america/be-the-star-you-are

IHeartRadio: https://www.iheart.com/podcast/256-starstyle-be-the-star-you-31083110/

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/4zDdwzlsHH44caWiMQdD25

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Places to Listen to Express Yourself! Teen Radio

Listen at Voice America Network: https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2014/express-yourself

Apple iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/id481894121

Google Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/Iiee6vo3fccc7qc4ac4naqvjnc4

Tunein: https://tunein.com/podcasts/Young-Adult/Express-Yourself-p401071/

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/voice-america/express-yourself

iHeartRadio: https://www.iheart.com/podcast/256-express-yourself-31136273/

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/24ol79nCzJ1wzao8pTYysj


PANDEMIC FREEDOM

andrea smith wetsuitby Andrea Smith

Living during a global pandemic can feel extremely isolating and lonely. We are social people living in a social world. Suddenly our world is completely turned around. Before quarantine we had never-ending things to check off the daily list. Think about it, when was the last time that you took 15 minutes just to sit and breathe? The society we live in is constantly moving at a rate so fast that we must sprint to keep up.

Unfortunately, the consequence of this is that the beauty of solitude is long forgotten. We lose sight of the bigger picture in life, what in the end will make us happy rather than what society says will make us happy.  If we aren’t attuned with ourselves, how can we possibly be truly attuned with others?

At the start of quarantine, I began writing each night in a journal. My diary acts as a best friend, for paper will always listen, never judge, and never tell. The act of writing brings you to a place where time no longer moves, where you can finally take a moment and breathe. Sadly it’s an art that has been lost, hidden under the shadows due to the boom in technology. But like any art, it has the power to change your life.

Art gives you relief from the pressuring norms of society and allows you to become more than your accomplishments or failures. Art liberates us, lets us go where we want to go, and be who we want to be. Grab a piece of paper, start writing, and let yourself free.

Andrea Smith is our newest reporter of the segment “In the Spotlight” and host on Express Yourself!® Teen Radio. She is a high school senior who loves swimming and everything related to the ocean. She is extremely passionate about Model United Nations and ways to live a happy and healthy lifestyle! https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2014/express-yourself


“I am so happy to be a part of this team! The past weeks have been an absolute blast and I can’t wait for what is to come!! 🙂 I am so grateful for you! Thanks again!” Andrea Smith


THE VIRTUAL VIRTUOUS WOMAN

Priscilla Mac-gownBy Priscilla Mac

Being a responsible woman of virtue on the internet means being resourceful and giving back to others who are your audience. You can do this in any way that is in sync with your brand and talents but the best way to be resourceful is to make your audience think.

How?

By sharing knowledge and allowing them to take action steps of research. Posting books, articles and blogs that you find online and even newsletters like the one you are reading now help your audience grow. It’s also a great conversation piece to share ideas, opinions and other virtual findings that your audience has access to that perhaps you do not. It all begins with the brave step of putting it out there. I know we tend to think that what we are interested in others aren’t but that’s not always true sisters. Being a Virtual Virtuous Woman involves being brave, bold, bright, and beneficial to others.

You must see yourself as the key that unlocks mysteries of the mind and do your due diligence to be a virtual contribution to the positive information load of the internet. We have been virtuous women for some time but today there is an additional platform to shine on called Social Media.

Be sure to share intelligent, fun and quality content so that you attract like minded citizens.

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

Priscilla Mac is volunteer with Be the Star You Are!® and Christian Television Talk Show Host of a program called “Still Learning Still Developing” which airs on Preach The Word Worldwide Network.During her 5 years of service in the U.S. Army she specialized in Logistics and is currently a Digital Systems Analyst for Voice of America International Broadcasting.. www.priscillamac.com


HELPING CHILDREN TO DEVELOP LITERACY SKILLS-OTHER COMPONENTS

BTSYA High Res Logo Read Lead SucceedBy Stephanie Cogeos

There are ways to help children develop literacy skills. Literacy is generally defined as being able to read, write, communicate. There are more deeper levels of literacy that are just as important.

Establishing predictable routines to help children learn to anticipate events. With routines, children can begin to learn about objects and vocabulary associated with certain activities. Participating in all steps of a routine can reinforce concepts and language skills. Routines can also help children learn about a sequence – first this, then this, or start to finish. Examples would be setting a table, laying out clothes or arranging materials for any activity.

Children who are visually impaired or blind also need the opportunity to experience things through hands-on activities.  They would need more instruction because of lack of learning through incidental learning. A book about a farm will be more meaningful if one can visit an actual farm, pet different animals, listen to their calls, etc.

 

Using a wide range of vocabulary and concepts are important to have good literacy skills. Using lots of adjectives and more detailed descriptions can help expand a child’s vocabulary. Examples would be “let’s put on your red rubber boots today” or “get the blue pitcher of cold milk”.

Many children benefit from reading aloud. It can give them special attention, reinforce language development and to work on book handling skills. Continue reading at http://www.btsya.com/resources.html

Volunteer Stephanie Cogeos is our Book Review coordinator. She is now doing research to provide resources for the public to learn about the importance of literacy, positive media messages, and empowering women families, and youth. You can keep up with the resources at this link: http://www.btsya.com/resources.html

karen kitchel with millennial bookby Karen Kitchel

Kindness is contagious. When we find simple ways to spontaneously bring joy to others, we bring joy to the world.

Lyrics in the play Hamilton raise the question:

“Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story?”

Thought for today:

When my time is up, have I done enough? Will they tell my story?

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


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


READ AWARD-WINNING ARTICLE ABOUT FIRE SAFETY

2020 Garden Comm Award Silver LogoFire season is ramping up and with the recent winds, wildfires could easily ignite. Make sure to cut any tall grass or weeds, trim low hanging branches, clean gutters, and remove debris from around your property.

GardenComm: Garden Communicators International notified Cynthia Brian that out of 160 entries, she won the 2020 Media Awards Silver Medal of Achievement for a Journalism Newspaper Article,  the Lamorinda Weekly article, Scary, scary night. 

Read the article to help you prepare your landscaping for fire resistance. With this Covid-19 pandemic, the smoke from wildfires has the potential to be extra dangerous or deadly.  Read Scary,scary nightat https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1318/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Scary-scary-night.html

Read about the award here:

http://www.sbwire.com/press-releases/cynthia-brian-receives-silver-medal-of-achievement-in-the-national-2020-gardencomm-media-awards-1296930.htm#

Get in touch with the outdoors, nature, and gardening.

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Be prepared. Stay safe this summer.


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

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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

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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


Classified Ads:

If you’d like to advertise your service or product while supporting Be the Star You Are!®, we are now accepting approved ads that will benefit readers. Contact info@BetheStarYouAre.org for details.


Keep your face to the sunshine and you won’t see the shadows. Stay strong and resilient,

 
 
Sending sunshine, sunsets, and starlight. SHINE!

You will survive summer!
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PO Box 376
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Sweet, Savory Summer

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Empowerment
Sweet, Savory Summer

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Digging Deep with Goddess Gardener, Cynthia Brian

Sweet, Savory Summer

By Cynthia Brian

“Steep thyself in a bowl of summer.” –Virgil

Summer! Just saying the word puts a smile on my face.

Since I was a little girl, the months of July and August were times of great joy, working as a laborer picking or cutting apricots, peaches, and pears in neighbors’ orchards or fruit shed to earn money for college during the day, followed by unwinding with evening baseball games in the fields. Sundays were spent with cousins and relatives swimming in the pool at my grandparents’ vineyard. Our parents would prepare a feast for dinner after harvesting whatever vegetables were ready in the garden while the kids braved the thorny brambles to find the juiciest berries for dessert. In the station wagon on the way back to our ranch, we’d fall blissfully asleep, our hearts filled with happy memories and our bellies pleasantly satiated, except, of course, for my Dad, the driver. 

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Summer boasts a sweet and savory story with harvests of corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, peaches, pears, apples, plums, prunes, eggplants, zucchini, berries, peppers, and other nutritious treats that will grace our dining tables. Although this summer I won’t be hosting any barbecue buffets, I still enjoy picking fresh fruit in my orchard and eating my home-grown vegetables. Pink cherry plums are plump and especially delicious this year as are the deep dark purple prunes. Prunes and plums come from the same genus, prunus, yet they are not identical. Plums are usually round, red or yellow, whereas prunes are oval-shaped and purple, almost blackish with a pit that dislodges easily. Plums and prunes are also related to cherries, peaches, and almonds, all in the family prunus. This season my cherry plums have a distinct flavor of peaches. My peaches aren’t ripe, but they are planted close to the plums. Every year the taste varies. Because cherry plums are the size of cherries and quite crunchy when not over-ripe, I freeze a few and eat them like a popsicle. Sometimes I add the frozen plum to my beverage for an enlivening alternative to ice. I plan on dehydrating some of the prunes or drying them for future use.

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My girlfriend, Nora, is a huge fan of black currants, also known as cassis. Over thirty years ago her dad gave her a cutting from their family currant shrub to plant in her garden. Harvesting the currants brings a sweet memory of the times she spent with her doctor dad. This year’s crop was profuse. She’ll freeze a few cartons of these tasty, complex, and medicinally useful fruit for her family’s winter enjoyment. My black currant flowers were prolific, yet my berries were disappointing. A handy tool for harvesting is a Scandinavian berry picker that eliminates having to pluck single berries one by one. 

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It wouldn’t be summer without the sweet and savory ingredients of fresh-picked corn, cucumbers, and heirloom tomatoes. If you are not growing any, farmer’s markets have bushels ready to buy. I soak the ears of corn with the husk on in a bucket of water for an hour, then, pull back part of the husks, lather with a basil-garlic butter, and steam them on the barbecue. Yummy!

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My mother’s tomato salad has been a family tradition for ages. Slice heirloom tomatoes, red onions, and cucumbers.  Add chopped garlic and red, orange, or green bell peppers. Dress with olive oil, wine vinegar, and balsamic. Season to taste. Voila! A beautiful and scrumptious summer salad. 

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Finally, don’t forget to cut a few stems of “pretties” to add to a vase. Right now, the crocosmia or firecracker plant is in full bloom and makes a fantastic cut flower. Leave several in the garden for the hovering hummingbirds. Don’t forget to refill fountains so that our bird friends can have a refreshing drink or bath.

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Fire season is ramping up and with the recent winds, wildfires could easily ignite. Make sure to cut any tall grass or weeds, trim low hanging branches, clean gutters, and remove debris from around your property.

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GardenComm: Garden Communicators International just notified me that I won the 2020 Media Awards Silver Medal of Achievement for a Journalism Newspaper Article, presented by out of 160 entries for my Lamorinda Weekly article, Scary, scary night. I am honored for this major award and encourage you to have another look at that winning entry because it will help you prepare your landscaping for fire resistance. With this Covid-19 pandemic, the smoke from wildfires has the potential to be extra dangerous or deadly.  Read Scary,scary night at https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1318/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Scary-scary-night.html

Read about the award here:

http://www.sbwire.com/press-releases/cynthia-brian-receives-silver-medal-of-achievement-in-the-national-2020-gardencomm-media-awards-1296930.htm#

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May you enjoy a sweet and savory summer of social distancing and wearing masks.

Be healthy, hopeful, and positive. Steep thyself in a bowl of summer.  I am!

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Happy gardening. Happy growing.

Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1411/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Sweet-savory-summer.html

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, including, 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

 

Guardians of the Garden Galaxy

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Empowerment
Guardians of the Garden Galaxy

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“Nature teaches beasts to know their friends.”  William Shakespeare

The gray turtle dove darted from the mulberry tree to the wooden nest box and back again. Thinking there must be eggs, I grabbed my camera and discovered a baby dove nestled in a hollowed nest with the mother bird proudly standing guard. The sounds of gentle cooing surrounded this bucolic scene. I felt blessed that these birds chose my garden to settle.

If you want a healthy, glorious summer garden, beneficial insects, arachnids, birds, amphibians, and reptiles must call your landscape “home”.

Many people scream at the sight of a snake or a lizard and start swatting when they witness a spider. However, these are beneficial biologicals devouring the insects and predators that capture prey that destroy your garden. Everyone loves lady beetles, known as ladybugs, and people understand the value of bees, but did you know that frogs, hoverflies, ground beetles, praying mantids, and lacewings are invaluable friends to the garden?

The guardians of my garden galaxy are plentiful and ubiquitous. Every day as I walk through my oasis, I am greeted by numerous lizards darting from rock to plant, frogs hopping to hide under a leaf, spiders weaving webs, bumblebees, hoverflies, and honeybees sucking the nectar from a variety of species, and birds making nests and dining on insects.  My favorite garden guardians are the kingsnakes that eat gophers, moles, voles and keep the rattlesnakes away.

Our garden colleagues keep nature in balance without the use of pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides. Using integrated pest management, natural sources of nutrients including compost and mulch, will fertilize and keep your garden healthy. 

Here are some of the benefits of inviting our flying, hopping, slithering, and scooting comrades into your garden.

Birds: 

As they fly from tree to tree, birds are pollinators adding more blooms and fruit which attract more birds. Birds eat a variety of pests including mosquitoes, aphids, grubs, slugs, and spiders. Large birds such as owls and hawks eat rodents including voles, moles, squirrels, rats, and other unwelcome critters. They help control weeds by eating weed seeds. Watching birds and listening to their song reduces stress. 

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Invite birds to your landscape by offering:

  •  A water source including a gurgling fountain or birdbath.
  •  Birdhouses for shelter and nesting.
  •  Feeders for seed. Even putting a pie tin in the bushes with seeds or picked clover and dandelions will attract our feathered friends, 
  •  Plant a selection of flowering plants, shrubs, berries for them to enjoy.
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Frogs and Toads:

Natural pest control. They eat caterpillars, cutworms, bugs, beetles, grubs, slugs, grasshoppers, and numerous other detrimental insects.

Invite frogs and toads to your landscape by offering:

  •  A place to hide. Frogs and toads are shy. They prefer a cool, shaded area with lots of moisture and plants. Turn over a flowerpot and they will make a house.
  •  A pond allows them to lay eggs. Have fun watching tadpoles.
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Lizards:

Reptiles are excellent eaters of garden pests including slugs and harmful insects.

A plethora of lizards living in your landscape is an indicator of a healthy ecosystem. The food you grow will be free of heavy metals and pesticides since lizards cannot thrive in a hazardous environment. 

Invite lizards to your landscape by offering:

  •  Only natural methods of pest control.
  •  Avoidance of all weed killers.
  •  Mulch to regulate moisture in the soil.
  •  Rocks, bricks, or stones for sunbathing.
  •  A saucer or small container with water for drinking.
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Snakes:

Garter snakes and kingsnakes are especially beneficial in our area because they eat insects and rodents. One snake can devour an entire rat family in two weeks. Kingsnakes also kill rattlesnakes and keep them away. Make sure to learn the good snakes from the poisonous ones.

Invite snakes to your landscape by offering:

Ladybugs:

  •  Also known as Lady beetles or Ladybird beetles, their larvae look like alligators. Both the adults and larvae are voracious general pest predators of aphids, beetles, caterpillars, lace bugs, mealybugs, mites, scale, whiteflies, and insect eggs. The larvae consume over 40 aphids per hour and an adult ladybug will consume over 5000 aphids in a lifetime. If you have a small garden or a minimal pest population in a large garden, they will fly away. Rejoice because your garden is organically balanced.

Invite ladybugs to your landscape by offering:

  •  A wide range of flowering plants to attract and keep them on site.
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Hoverflies:

Also known as syrphid flies or flower flies, hoverflies earned their name by hovering over flowers to sip the nectar, much like hummingbirds. They look similar to bees but they do not sting and are not harmful to humans. The adults are primarily pollinators and the larvae are pest predators, crawling along plant surfaces searching for prey. They seize the insect, suck out its contents, and discard the skin. They mimic bees and wasps to protect themselves from predators but have two wings instead of four.

Invite hoverflies to your landscape by offering:

  •  A variety of nectar and pollen-producing plants such as aster, calendula, cornflower, cosmos, dill, fennel, lavender marigolds, mint, statice, zinnia, wild mustard, and sunflowers.
  •  Food throughout every season by timing plantings for continuous blooms.
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Spiders:

Spiders help maintain a healthy balance in your garden by eating harmful pests from spring through winter. By controlling the bad insects, they reduce plant pathogens that damage plant tissues. Most spiders are peaceful. The most common web builder is the yellow and black spider, and the black wolf spiders are active hunters.

Invite spiders to your landscape by offering:

  •  Grass clippings, mulch, lush bushes, and perennials for habitat.
  •  Cover crops such as clover and vetch and hedges like boxwoods are havens for spiders.
  •  Sunflowers, vining beans, and corn as well as other tall flowers are excellent for webs.
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Grow a diversity of plants, eliminate pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides to attract beneficial insects, birds, spiders, reptiles, and numerous other guardians of our garden galaxy. By providing the basic needs of food, habitat, water, and shelter, you and your family will enjoy increased outdoor amusement while learning an appreciation of nature. Your garden will be their dinner table and their bedroom. Know your friends and protect them. 

Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1410/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Guardians-of-the-Garden-Galaxy.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 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

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Buy copies of her best-selling books, including, 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 Brian books banner.jpg

 

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

 

Pivots for the Planet with the Goddess Gardener

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Empowerment
Pivots for the Planet with the Goddess Gardener

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“I should like to enjoy this summer flower by flower as if it were to be the last one for me.” Andre Gide

Summertime and the living is easy! Or is it? 

This year will be a year like no other highlighted by the frightening health pandemic and sorrowful civil unrest. As the economy slowly re-opens, people are clamoring to shop, dine, socialize, get haircuts, and have their teeth cleaned. The line of masked individuals waiting outside reopened stores for their turn to enter is a testament to the yearning to gather. Protesters fill the streets across the country demanding needed national changes. It’s time to listen, re-evaluate, and educate ourselves. Connecting with the natural world is one prescription for finding healing and balance. 

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While I was researching grants to assist the literacy charity, Be the Star You Are!® (www.BetheStarYouAre.org) financially survive during this crisis, I marveled at a constant question: How have you pivoted?  At first, I had no idea what that question meant. What did we have to do to pivot? Where were we supposed to pivot to? After many Zoom conferences, meetings, webinars, and phone meetings, I finally understood. 

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But how can pivoting apply to gardening? The entire world is experiencing chaos.  People who have spent minimal time with nature, who have never thought of growing anything, have become interested in planting and protecting. I’ve had emails from individuals from many walks of life who want to get their hands in the dirt as they are sheltering at home. As they decide to pivot, nature is a salve. When times are stressful, gardens become a refuge. Shoveling, digging, pruning, planting, and watching seedlings grow into something to admire or eat are therapeutic endeavors. 

Whether you decide to grow a few herbs on a windowsill, tomatoes on a balcony, or an abundance of your favorite vegetables, flowers, and fruit in a large garden, there is nothing better than a summer of flavor and colors grown in your personal paradise. When you pivot to your garden, you’ll slow down a bit and feel appreciation. Research consistently indicates that being around growing plants benefits you physically, psychologically, and emotionally. You’ll decompress, gain more muscle mass, increase aerobic endurance, reduce stress, and experience more joy. 

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Summer has always been my most favorite season because of the delightful warm weather and bountiful baskets of fresh fruit, vegetables, and herbs that I harvest from my orchard and potager. The plethora of glorious blooms constantly changes keeping my elation peaked. Unlike most people, I prefer not to travel in the summer months to other destinations. Instead, the beauty of my backyard becomes the playground for family and friends where we barbecue, engage in lawns games, watch the flamboyant sunsets, and wander the grounds watching the parade of wildlife.

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Flowering plants are hummingbird, bee, and butterfly magnets while the seeds attract the birds. Agastache, echinacea, hollyhock, and roses enchant for months. In my orchard, the loquats, mulberries, tangelos, citrus, and plums are ripe. The birds, deer, turkeys, squirrels, and I skirmish for our fair share. Soon apricots, prunes, and peaches will be ready for harvesting and the wrangling will begin again. I adore these encounters with nature. There is abundance for all.

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My field of chamomile is richly fragrant and the petals when plucked and dried will make a comforting tea. The seeds from nigella (love in the mist) have scattered throughout the orchard creating a sea of blue. Bumblebees race from star-shaped blossom to blossom grabbing the sweet nectar. Roses mixed with osteospermum (African daisy) will provide continuous blooms into the fall with frequent deadheading. Lovely on the shrub, the blue hydrangeas are almost as stunning in a dried arrangement.

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An intriguing plant is arum italicum, also known as Italian Lords and Ladies. In late spring, the creamy-white flower is cupped at the base of the plant resembling its relative, Jack-in-the-Pulpit. In mid-summer, striking red-orange berries rise in a columnar formation where the foliage has died back. This tuberous perennial plant self-sows and can become invasive if your yard is small. If you have a woodland area where bergenia, heuchera, or hellebores thrive, it is quite stunning. Beware, all parts of the plant are poisonous. Don’t let it grow in your vegetable patch!

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This summer is destined to be unusual. I plan on adhering to Covid-19 directives to shelter-in-place while refraining from attending large gatherings or even small ones. I’m working from home, wearing a mask and gloves whenever I venture out, constantly maintaining a minimal six feet distance between others, and am continuing to sanitize everything. Hopefully, we won’t go back to what was considered normal in the past and instead take better care and be more aware, of one another and the health of our planet.

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This year I am happy and grateful to enjoy the summer flower by flower. My planet pivot is to play in my personal garden paradise.

What’s your planet pivot?

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay strong. Wash your hands. Cover your face!

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Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for July

PIVOT for stress relief to your garden sanctuary.

PREVENT grubs (the larvae of June bugs) by treating your lawn with an organic granular treatment to get rid of larvae. Raccoons, skunks, and moles enjoy grubs as a source of protein.

BOND with children or a partner by planting edibles you will enjoy together. 

DRESS for the dirt by donning gloves, sunscreen, hat, and an apron. If you are doing heavy weeding, wearing overalls is a win.

DRY three to five sprigs of blue hydrangeas for a long-lasting summer arrangement.

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COLLECT the white blossoms of chamomile for a soothing tea.

PLANT Lilliputian miniature roses in a container for a moveable dash of color.

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PICK a basket of mulberries if you are lucky enough to have a tree.

GROW citrus to maintain a constant supply of vitamin C. Dwarf varieties of lemons, limes, tangerines, tangelos, oranges, and grapefruit are available to be grown in half barrels.

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PREVENT fires by removing debris, dead branches, and refuse from around your home and yard. 

CUT all tall grass and keep lawns and shrubs watered.

SAVE rose petals to make bath balms and rose water splashes.

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SUCCESSION planting is the key to a plentiful supply of summer greens including lettuces, arugula, beets, carrots, and radishes. Sow your favorite seeds every three weeks as you consume.

CHECK yourself for ticks after every outdoor excursion. (To date, I’ve removed three!)

ADD hydrogen peroxide to fountains to purify the water without harming the birds.

MAINTAIN social distancing and wear a mask when you leave your home.

TAKE care of Mother Earth. 

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BE SAFE on Independence Day. 

Photos and more at https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1409/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Planet-pivots.html

Happy gardening. Happy growing. Have a flowerful 4th of July!

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, including, 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

 

JuneTeenth-Freedom Day

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Empowerment
JuneTeenth-Freedom Day

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Read the newsletter: http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/672296/2c1f13214d/288055965/bbd34d3431/

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MIRACLE MOMENT®

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.” Martin Luther King Jr.

MESSAGE FROM CYNTHIA BRIAN, Founder/Executive Director

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, marks the end of slavery in the South on June 19, 1865. As PBS proclaims, “in this sixth month of the non-stop stunner that is 2020, the country finds itself in a period of education and reckoning of the racism embedded in its birth.”

I write this message to apologize for using the “color blind” analogy in our previous newsletter. After sending out the newsletter to share solidarity, a few of our dedicated BTSYA volunteers politely emailed to inform me that the use of the words “color blind” is offensive in todays vernacular. (You may read excerpts below) I thank these brave individuals for their courage to stand up, express themselves, and educate all of us,

specifically me. One of my mottos has always been “Failure is fertilizer. Throw your mistakes on the compost pile and grow a new garden.” I made a mistake and from that I learned so much. I am sorry.

We are living in unprecedented times and the world is in chaos with Covid-19 and the largest wave of civil unrest since the 1960s, spurred by outrage over police brutality and racism. Here at Be the Star You Are!® we are INCLUSIVE. We don’t tolerate bigotry, racism, or any other negative attitude towards any race, religion, gender, culture, or viewpoint. We stand together as a colorful united family of brothers and sisters from many different countries and backgrounds. Take a peek at our website,https://www.BetheStarYouAre.org or our teen radio show athttp://www.expressyourselfteenradio.com and you’ll see that our volunteers represent the nations of the world. We are very proud to stand for freedom and equality for all.

My acting union, SAG-AFTRA released the following statement from President Gabrielle Carteris and National Executive Director David P. White on the murder of George Floyd. It states more eloquently what we at Be the Star You Are!® believe so I share this with you.

“The murder of George Floyd is deeply emblematic of a corrosive inequality and injustice at the heart of America. As protests spread across the country it is not enough to condemn injustice. It’s not enough to demand change. We must recognize that racism lives in our culture and only we can change that. We must speak up in the face of injustice and fight back against the indignities our fellow citizens face every day. We must be defenders and allies. We must be better than this.The ugly truth is that Mr. Floyd’s killing was one among many murders of black people over many years. Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, Michael Brown, Jr., Marsha P. Johnson, Emmett Till, and the list goes painfully on and on stretching back for centuries. It must end. Black lives do matter.”

Again, I apologize if the newsletter offended, Please forgive me. It was never my intention to be offensive in any way.

There is no room for bigotry, brutality, or racism in our world. We are all on a learning curve and open to all feedback. Although we are all sailing together in this time of pandemic, I recognize that we are not in the same boat.

This is a time to be kind. To help one another. To be inclusive. We will not tolerate injustice. When we embrace diversity we increase peacefulness. Let’s remember that love always wins when kindness prevails. Smiles will keep us happy.

Juneteenth is not currently recognized as a Federal holiday but by celebrating it, we take one step forward towards reconciliation and the fight for freedom for all.

We want to hear from you. How do you demonstrate that Black Lives Matter? We’re interested in your thoughts and actions. Send your comments (less than 50 words) to our Kindness Coordinator, Karen Kitchel at karenkitchel@comcast.net by June 30. We will include a variety of responses (first name only) in our July newsletter.

I know I’m going to make many more mistakes. We all will. But let’s learn and grow from them. We are COLOR BRAVE!

Be strong, be brave, be safe.

And don’t forget to also celebrate Father’s Day on June 21. A salute to all the great dads of every color and creed.

In solidarity,

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

EXCERPTS FROM TWO POWERFUL EMAILS WITH RESOURCE LINKS

“I’m emailing you now about the newsletter I recently received that was titled Become Color Blind. I understand the need to be in unity in this fight against institutional racism and police brutality, so I do appreciate your response on this. But I feel that asking everyone to “become color blind” is counterproductive and incredibly tone deaf in light of recent events.

Saying you are color blind says that you ignore the fact that oppression/racism exists for people of color like me. As recent events have shown, we are all not treated equally, unfortunately. I in no way mean to attack you, but this was something I found to be offensive. Put short, I feel there are better ways voicing your support.

Here is a video that might help explain some of what I said
better. https://www.ted.com/talks/mellody_hobson_color_blind_or_color_brave Sincerely,
Anika ”

“I admire all of the work you do in order to enrich the lives of young people. I received your email earlier this week regarding the Black Lives Matter movement and in it you stated that your organization is ‘Color Blind’, I know this statement is not meant to have malice or be hurtful. So I felt obligated to explain why this popular statement is damaging and can make people of color feel uncomfortable.

I am Latina and for me this statement, while well intentioned, can feel as if my unique experiences with being Mexican are overlooked. We can no longer be colorblind, we must recognize people’s experiences and understand that someone who is Black has had a different experience than someone who is Asian. To say that your organization is ‘Color Blind’ diminishes the experiences of POC. While we all bleed the same blood we are all experiencing a different reality, while some of us may never struggle because of the color of our skin others will have to live in fear because of theirs. And these differences need to be acknowledged. What you must strive for instead is to not be color blind, but to be actively Anti-Racist. Being anti-racist means that you are actively acknowledging other experiences while educating yourself on how to be a better ally. We must realize and digest how Black people in our country carry the weight of hundreds of years of systematic oppression and learn how to fight for a system that values Black lives. Color blind and anti-racist are not interchangeable and while one diminishes the existence of oppression and experience the other acknowledges oppression and actively tries to counteract it.

I wanted to contact you to explain this because I know that your email had the best intentions and did not mean to diminish any experiences. I am very happy to see your organization be so accepting and so against discrimination. I wanted to mention that I mean no disrespect in sending this email to you and solely wanted to let you know how this term has changed and evolved. I understand that the words I use today when it comes to fighting against discrimination will be replaced in the future with other terms better suited for the fight against racism. I am very happy that I worked with a group that has taken a firm stance on this issue and I wish you all the best.

If my definition was not very clear here are some resources that may explain it better than I could:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2018/10/05/white-parents-teach-their-children-be- colorblind-heres-why-thats-bad-everyone/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/culturally-speaking/201112/colorblind-ideology- is-form-racism

Thank you for reading this and hearing my perspective in this issue. Best,
Olivia”

FREE WOMEN’S SUMMIT

Don’t live your life by default, live by design.

REGISTER for FREE

Passions into Profits Women’s Summit

Hosted by Jane Applegath at http://JaneApplegath.com.

Summit begins on June 20th, 2020 with a special guest featured each day .Be the heroine of your own epic life. Watch and learn from a league of leaders and trailblazers to help you to lead a life you love. Your dreams can be your reality!

Cynthia Brian is the featured guest on June 25th. FREE registration.

http://www.janeapplegath.com.
WRITER WEDNESDAYS and SUPER SMART SUNDAYS

As part of our Be the Star You Are! Disaster Relief Outreach program (https://www.bethestaryouare.org/copy-of- operation-hurricane-disaste), Be the Star You Are!® has collaborated with the Authors Guild to showcase the new books launched by many authors from around the country in a variety of genres. We will also be showcasing artists, actors, and musicians, all of whom had had their gigs canceled and are out of work. We believe in supporting creativity and believe that books, art, music, and film provide escape and

joy, especially during tough times. For the next few months, make sure you are tuned in to both StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® on Wednesdays at 4pm PT for “Writers Wednesdays” LIVE http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2206/be-the-star-you-are as well as our teen program, Express Yourself!TM 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 as well as iTunes, Stitcher, etc. It’s a giant artistic festival!

CHECK OUT BOOK REVIEWS

Our 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, you can find the info athttp://www.btsya.com/book_reviews.html,.

SHOP ONLINE WITHOUT A MASK!

Need a gift for Dad, birthdays, graduations, weddings, or just for yourself? 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
2. Discounted books at
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/shops/be_the_star_you_are_charity
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

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

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Celebrate Freedom Day! &

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
Mahatma Gandhi

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376
Moraga, California 94556 Cynthia@BetheStarYouAre.org https://www.BetheStarYouAre.org

HAPPY FATHER’S
DAY TO EVERY AMAZING DADDY!

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

Embrace Abundance!

Posted by presspass on
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Empowerment
Embrace Abundance!

cynthia in pink.jpg

Attract the Right Job Or Clientele:

NOTE: Cynthia Brian, Be the Star You Are! Founder and Executive Director, provides today’s post, The Gift of Abundance.

The Gift of Abundance Excerpted  from Be the Star You Are! 99 Gifts for Living, Loving, Laughing, and Learning to Make a Difference By Cynthia Brian.  Buy copies at https://www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store .

Cynthia is a New York Times best-selling author of several books, TV/Radio personality/producer, lecturer, and enrichment coach specializing in acting, media, writing, speaking, and life success.

Cynthia is the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® The mission is to empower women, families, and youth through increased literacy, improved positive media messages, and skills for living. Since 1998 she has produced and hosted the weekly upbeat, lifestyle international radio broadcast, StarStyle® (www.StarStyleradio.com and she produces the young adult radio show, Express Yourself!™ for the Voice America Network, Empowerment Channel. Cynthia writes for magazines, newspapers, and on-line sites. In her spare time, Cynthia can be found working in her garden or playing with her barnyard of adopted animals.

___________

Cynthia’s Story: Do You Believe In The Gift Of Abundance?

I grew up on a farm, the eldest of five children. Our parents taught us specific values: hard work, loyalty to family and friends, responsibility, and keeping our word. We learned to be independent and self-sufficient. Although we had few possessions and even less money, we were content in our simple, natural surroundings. I can’t imagine a better upbringing for a child.

Our playground was vineyards, hills, and dales. Our companions were horses, cows, sheep, chickens, ducks, rabbits, dogs, and cats. As we hiked the mountains and paddled the creeks, we pretended we were explorers discovering new worlds. We had caves in which to hide. The mustard fields were our dollhouses. We drove tractors, plowed fields, and picked fruit until our hands were raw. The nearest neighbor children lived two miles away, so our life was mostly within our family. Without much money, we believed we were living the gift of abundance.

Work hard, dream hard, laugh hard, live abundantly.

Every season brought new adventures and excitement—preparing the vegetable garden in spring, going on camping trips in the summer, hayrides and harvest festivals in the fall.  I have fond memories of enjoying the warming fires and holiday magic of winter. Life on the farm was fun, challenging, hard work, and full of promise.

We didn’t have fancy clothes.  We did have a pair of Levis, a pair of boots, a couple of shirts, a school uniform, and a Sunday church outfit. Twice a year, at Christmas and Easter, our Auntie Cleo would take us shopping and buy us a new outfit. These were thrilling excursions. I learned to sew in high school so that I could have a bigger wardrobe. Since I was the oldest, my sisters inherited my hand-me-downs. We always felt another gift of abundance; our family.  We were surrounded by delicious, homegrown food, a close-knit family, plenty of trees, and land to roam. We were truly rich in spirit, if not in money.

The Power Of Belief

From my first awareness, I knew I was important. I grew up believing that I had the power to achieve anything I ever wanted.  Of course, it meant I was willing to work diligently to get it. It never occurred to me that I could or should be handed something free simply because I wanted it.

Yes, I am an optimist. My glass is always half full, even when it’s filled with bitter medicine. My life has been a rose garden, albeit with lots of thorns and tragedies. As a child, I almost died of encephalitis. Many people I have loved died at an early age from accidents or illnesses. My youngest brother was crushed and killed when a tractor on our farm turned over on him when he was sixteen. My gentle grandfather was killed while mowing his lawn when a tree toppled over on a windless day. And, my hero, my Dad, died from a rare cancer at a young age.

Because of these experiences and many more, I have learned that our most significant failing is not to follow our dreams, not to sing our song. I admit that living expansively and exuberantly isn’t always easy. Sorrow and pain make us want to contract and withdraw, not expand and excel. We live well only when we embrace the following fact.  The very fragility, pathos, and unpredictability of life make every moment precious.

Embrace The Gift Of Abundance

I aim to persuade, push, and compel you to live every minute fully and consciously. We never know how many chances we’ll have to “get it right.” Life is finite. The drive seen in my mission is due to my agony in dealing with loss.  I have learned that pain, suffering, emptiness, and loneliness are an important part of the human experience. Everyone, rich or poor, weak or powerful, endures these emotions. We are here on earth to learn, laugh, cry, feel love and pain, and to be. Most important, we are here to live and make a difference. Part of getting it right is getting it wrong. We are not the same, but we are all one.

Abundance is not about acquiring a luxury house, a fancy car, expensive clothes, and a jet-set lifestyle. Instead, the gift of abundance is about feeling that there is enough in life for everyone. My early years taught me that a sense of abundance goes far beyond material things. It spans our spiritual life, emotional stability, intellectual stimulation, and physical closeness to the earth.

Having abundance means having fresh air to breathe, clean water to drink, food in our stomachs, a roof overhead, somewhere to walk, and feel the beauty of nature. It includes someone to love and someone who loves you in return.  Other elements of abundance are laughter, learning, and the wealth of health. As children, the teaching is to be happy for another’s success, and to believe that there is abundance in all things. If someone else can achieve greatness, so can I. So can you.

We rarely lack abundance, just the ability to understand its meaning in the purest form. The world is a place of emotional and spiritual plenty. Abbondanza, as my mother always said in Italian. Notice and be grateful for everything you have. The gift of abundance is everyone, everywhere, everything.

The 3 Step Exercise: Abbondanza
  1. Shut your eyes. Imagine in vivid detail everything you feel you need to have a fulfilled life. Your list will be unique to you. It can include loving relationships, children, animals, a home to live in, food on the table, clothing, a car, enjoyable work, and so forth. Once you see yourself surrounded by everything you need, add some of the things you want.
  2. Open your eyes, get out your pen, and make three columns: “What I need,” “What I want,” and “What I have.”
  3. Every day, write down the things that you give thanks for: sunrises, beautiful gardens, a pillow on which to lay your head. Recognize the gift of abundance around you. Tell yourself frequently, “I have abundance in all things. There is enough to go around.”
Sales Tips: The Gift Of Abundance
  1. Assess where you are at and what makes you happy
  2. Expand the areas that bring a smile
  3. Use your knowledge to provide community support
  4. Welcome feedback to improve your endeavors
  5. Each evening analyze what you did well, and what needs improvement
  6. On a daily basis acknowledge your gift of abundance
  7. Even day revisit your goals to be inspired and move forward
  8. Each week review your accomplishments and set new goals for the following week
  9. Always revise and improve your strategy for tomorrow including upcoming job interviews.
  10. Celebrate Success!

Read the interview at https://smoothsale.net/do-you-believe-in-the-gift-of-abundance/

 

Plant a Victory Garden 3.0

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Empowerment
Plant a Victory Garden 3.0

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https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1408/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Victory-Gardens-30.html

Digging Deep with Goddess Gardener, Cynthia Brian 

Victory Gardens 3.0

By Cynthia Brian 

“In every adversity there lies the seed of an equivalent advantage. In

every defeat is a lesson showing you how to win the victory next time.” Robert Collier, Writer and Publisher

In March 2017, a month before the United States entered World War I, Americans across our lands were asked to plant produce to help feed the Allies fighting in Europe. It wasn’t only farmers who were solicited to start planting. President Woodrow Wilson declared that “food will win the war,” as he encouraged city folks to plant in vacant lots, fields, parks, and pots. So began the “war garden” to sow seeds of victory. 

During World War II, food shortages prevailed once again. Victory Gardens sprouted throughout America, Europe, Canada, and Australia supplying over thirty-three percent of the necessary food for our country. Eleanor Roosevelt even dug up part of the White House lawn to plant a vegetable garden. Turnips, tomatoes, lettuce, peas, beets, beans, cabbages, carrots, squash, onions, potatoes, and many other vegetables were easy to grow and preserve by canning for the winter months. By 1943 there were approximately eighteen million Victory gardens throughout the United States, twelve million of them in cities, and six million in rural areas. 

Today we face major adversities from different kinds of conflicts. The Covid-19 pandemic combined with racial civil unrest throughout our cities, our country, and our world have the potential to increase food scarcity and shortages. We have already witnessed throngs of people emptying grocery store shelves of staples and canned goods. It is easier than ever to grow our own food no matter what our space limitations. If you have a yard, you can choose a small area to plant the vegetables, fruits, and herbs that you love. If you only have a porch or balcony, use pots to grow tomatoes, lettuces, basil, parsley, and peppers. According to the U.S.D.A., 15% of the world’s food supply is now grown in cities.

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Ready to get started?

FIRST

Only five things are needed to grow your Victory Garden 3.0: 

  1. 1. A patch of land, raised bed, or pots that are two gallons or larger
  2. 2. Bags of high-quality garden soil
  3. 3. Healthy plants
  4. 4. Mulch
  5. 5. Water

SECOND

  1. 1. Find an area that will get at least six hours of sunlight per day.
  2. 2. If you are working a patch or raised bed, pull out any weeds and prepare the ground by adding new garden soil. If using pots, wash the pots, make certain there is a drainage hole at the bottom, add a few pebbles, or cracked pottery to help with drainage and fill the pots with your purchased soil. Vegetables need organic matter including compost or manure to thrive because the organic matter decomposes the essential nutrients of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium to enrich the roots. 
  3. 3. Buy healthy plants from your local nursery or garden center. Check for vibrant green leaves. Look for any insect or snail infestation. Plant according to instructions.
  4. 4. Top with peat moss or other mulch. Peat moss adds aeration, retains moisture, and reduce the leaching of the nutrients. It is a great mulch and can also increase the efficiency in a compost pile.
  5. 5. Water thoroughly and maintain moisture while growing.
  6. loquats ripe.jpg

Before planting your Victory Garden 3.0, research the maturity date for the crops you wish to grow as harvest dates vary greatly. If you plant from seeds, you’ll have lettuce and radishes within two weeks. If you are planting zucchini or corn, the time frame is longer, perhaps 100 days. Don’t overlook a nutritious staple that is super easy to grow…potatoes.  Spuds are ready for eating in 70-100 days. Try cutting egg-sized pieces of a potato with two or three eyes. Plant in a two to five-gallon pot, bucket, or in a raised bed. Mound the dirt into little hills as the spuds grow on stems. Pile mulch or straw on top as the tubers grow to keep the stems in total darkness. Don’t eat green potatoes as they can be poisonous. Citrus, apples, and peaches can be planted in large containers.

We are living through a frightening, complicated international crisis. If we have learned any lesson from history, it is that we can win the victory when we work together with empathy, caring, and intelligence. Growing even a portion of our own food will help us be healthier while creating a more sustainable lifestyle. We’ll get exercise, sunshine, fresh air, and have fun growing with our families. Plus, butterflies, bees, and birds will pollinate and entertain as our garden reduces stress and offers soul fulfillment. Don’t forget to plant some “pretties” like Asiatic lilies, gazanias, trumpet vine, and hydrangeas. Annual and perennial flowers add fragrance, structure, and beauty to our lives. 

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Stay safe. Stay healthy.  Plant your Victory Garden 3.0 today!

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Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for June

PLANT tomatoes, peppers, lettuces, eggplants, arugula, cucumbers, beans, corn, and pumpkins. Herbs to plant now for summer harvesting are basil, parsley, and cilantro. 

STAKE or provide a wire cage to support tomatoes so the fruit won’t touch the soil and rot.

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APPLY snail bait to newly planted seedlings and wherever you witness slugs or snails.

FERTILIZE trees, shrubs, and ground covers before the summer heat.

SPRAY crape myrtles to prevent powdery mildew with a natural fungicide such as neem oil extract, jojoba oil, or potassium bicarbonate.

CHECK irrigation systems and readjust sprinkler heads as needed.

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TACKLE aphids with ladybugs or for a small infestation, spray with a mixture of water and dish detergent. 

CUT dead canes of hydrangeas to the ground (anything without a green bud on it). Don’t prune hydrangeas in spring or fall or the flowering buds will be cut off. 

BUY a shorter variety or move a too tall hydrangea as they cannot be pruned to reduce height. Hydrangeas always replace their height. If a hydrangea is drooping on a hot day, it doesn’t need water. It will rebound as the evening cools. Hydrangeas grow great in containers. 

ADD Sulphur or aluminum sulfate to acidic soil to get blue hydrangeas. Rusty nails or copper do not work.

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TREAT both upper and lower leaves of roses with organic Sulphur for fungus problems including black spot, rust, and powdery mildew.

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PRUNE azaleas immediately after spring flowering.

DEEP SOAK trees with a soaker wand when you see the leaves wilting. 

PULL out the dried fronds of spring bulbs. If a bulb comes out with the leaves, cut off the dried foliage and either replant the bulb in a new place immediately or put in a dark, cool space to replant in the fall. 

CELEBRATE your gardening dad on Father’s Day by buying a copy of Growing with the Goddess Gardener or Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul at https://www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store. 

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CARE for your lawn by raking leaves, twigs, and dead grass. Pull the weeds including dandelions, chickweed, bittercress, and henbit. Aerate and leave the plugs on the grass. Cover bare patches by over-seeding with Pearl’s Premium grass seed. Visit www.Pearlspremium.com. Water early in the morning and fertilize once more before the heat of summer. When mowing, never cut off more than 1/3 and leave grass clippings on the lawn at least every two times you mow.

HARVEST cherries, lemons, tangelos, loquats, and tangerines.

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FEED your family and friends in body, mind, and spirit by planting a Victory Garden 3.0

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Happy Father’s Day.

 

Read more:

https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1408/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Victory-Gardens-30.html

Cynthia- hydrangeas.jpg

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, including, 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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Grounded!

Posted by presspass on
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Empowerment
Grounded!

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“I rejoice when I see anyone, and especially children, inquiring about flowers, and wanting gardens of their own, and carefully working in them. For the love of gardening is a seed that once sown never dies, but always grows and grows to an enduring and ever-increasing source of happiness.” Gertrude Jekyll

It’s not only the airlines and cruise ships that are grounded! Young people everywhere are also enduring the sheltering-in-place mandate. As we embark on our eleventh week of staying-at-home and on-line learning, adults and children are naturally a bit antsy.

When I was a kid and school was closed for whatever reason, my very first instinct was to get outside and explore. I wanted to be on the tractor plowing the fields with my Dad, tending the vegetable garden with my Mom, or leading the rest of the ranch kids on an adventure through the creeks and hills to identify flowers, plants, amphibians, and insects. 

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I’m certain that my love of the natural world began as a child. As an adult, I have always felt it was important to share this passion with youth. Gardens offer a crucial way for people to access and experience the natural environment. Nature is a public health resource that is available to everyone. Since its springtime and we are all grounded, why not employ some fun activities that the entire family can enjoy together while practicing social distancing?

Here are a few ideas that I’ve implemented with my family and students over the years.

  1. 1. Begin a nature journal. Use a spiral binder, a notebook, or design a beautiful unique diary. Go outside and observe. Use crayons, markers, or paints to illustrate and chronicle what you see.
  2. 2. Record nature sounds. You’ll hear different sounds at various times of the day. Crickets chirping, frogs croaking, birds singing, water tricking, wind whistling, squirrels chattering, bees buzzing. Make a personal meditation recording on your smartphone.
  3. Bird houses on Moraga-Lafayette Trail.jpg
  4. 3. Underground exploration. The earth is crawling with activity. Underneath the surface of the soil, countless critters are busy at work. Go to a corner of your garden and gently dig up a trowel full of soil. What do you see? Earthworms? Millipedes? Sowbugs? Slugs? Are there spiders or other insects crawling? Note your findings in your nature journal.
  5. 4. Make a “stained glass” window. One of my favorite projects as a kid was picking pretty flowers to press. Instead of making a book, we made “stained glass” windows by pressing an arrangement of petals between two sheets of wax paper and ironing the wax paper. Make sure to place a thin dishcloth on top of the wax paper before ironing. The wax paper seals the flowers together creating a colorful window. Choose brightly colored flowers and dark green foliage that will lay flat. California poppy, bougainvillea, pansy, violets, rose petals, and nasturtium work especially well. Hang them with ribbon by a window to reflect the rainbow of hues.
  6. nasturtium for stained glass windows.jpg
  7. 5. Decorate your mailbox. Plant a climbing rose or trumpet vine at your mailbox to brighten your street. You’ll need to keep it shaped and pruned.
  8. Bonica roses and cornflags cover a mailbox.jpg
  9. 6. Grow a vegetable garden. Besides the ease and rapid sprouting of beets, radishes, and carrots, one of the most rewarding combinations to do with kids is to plant a Three Sisters Garden. If possible, give your child her own little plot so she will feel proud of being a farmer. The Iroquois Native Americans planted corn, beans, and squash for a balanced diet. Corn is a source of carbohydrates, beans offer proteins, and squash is filled with vitamins. The corn is the pole for the beans to climb while the squash grows low to the ground providing shade and keeping the soil moist. There is nothing tastier or more nutritious than home-grown food. Make sure to plant tomatoes and peppers now.
  10. 7. Plant herbs and flowers in containers. In several containers, sow seeds of your favorite herbs for seasonings. Dill, cilantro, parsley, basil, thyme, or mint. Sprinkle a few flower seeds for color. Cover with wire to keep the critters and birds out, using Christmas clips to secure the wire. Decorate with rocks, shells, or other trinkets that your kids have found.
  11. Container Garden with Christmas clips.jpg
  12. 8. Go on a tasting adventure. For this experience, an adult must know with 100% accuracy that a plant is edible because there are many toxic flowers and leaves in nature that can make us very sick or worse. This is an educational encounter that kids truly savor. Some unexpected plants that can be sampled include rose, nasturtium, fennel, calendula, dandelion, wild mustard, miner’s lettuce, and the berries of Oregon Grape. Leaves and flowers of all herbs can be sampled. Make sure there are no pesticides or insecticides on any of these specimens. Record the flavors in the journal. Do you find something sweet, sour, bitter, or something else? Emphasize the importance of knowing what is edible and what is poisonous before tasting anything. 
  13. oregon grape.jpg
  14. 9. Scavenger Hunt. Animals are always building, hunting, gathering, and scavenging. Take a walk around your backyard or a hike in the neighborhood to collect a few of nature’s discarded treasures. What did you find? An empty bird’s nest, twigs, acorns, feathers, bark, pinecones, or nuts? Design a natural art piece together.
  15. 10. Introduce animals. Children are naturally drawn to animals. Since grounding, I’ve noticed a huge uptick in people who have decided to buy newborn chickens, rabbits, birds, potbelly pigs, goats, dogs, and cats to familiarize their children or grandchildren with animal husbandry. As someone who was born and raised on a farm and has always been surrounded by animals, I’m a huge proponent…with this caveat. Remember that these adorable babies grow up to be adult animals who aren’t always so cuddly. They require food, water, grooming, shelter, and constant care throughout their lives. Raising any animal teaches discipline, responsibility, patience, kindness, gentleness, interdependence, and love. These are all magnificent virtues. Are you ready and prepared for the long haul?Cynthia teaching poultry to child.jpg

Gardening has many benefits for the physical and mental health of everyone in the family. According to the Centers for Disease Control, we burn approximately 330 calories per hour of gardening. Gardening lowers our blood pressure, it reduces depression, anxiety, and stress while increasing our wonder, happiness, and satisfaction. 

For the foreseeable future, we are all grounded, but we don’t have to endure a perpetual Groundhog Day. Expand the quality of daily living by proposing the joys of gardening and being one with nature to your children, teens, and community. Go outside and meander.

Stay healthy. Stay safe. Stay sane. Cynthia Brian-sefie in the trees.jpg home.

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

Photos and more at https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1407/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Grounded.html

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, including, 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 Brian books banner.jpg

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

#coronavirus, #activitiesforkidsm#nature,#edibleplants,#tresaurehunts,,#ross,#hikes,,#stayhone, #spring,#chicens,#covid-19, #gardening, #cynthiabrian, #starstyle, #goddessGardener, #growingwiththegoddessgardener, #lamorindaweekly

Cultivating Artful Gratefulness

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Empowerment
Cultivating Artful Gratefulness

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Cultivating Artful Gratefulness

By Cynthia Brian

“My garden is my most beautiful work of art” – Claude Monet

A vase filled with cascading jasmine sits on my nightstand just inches from my bed, its heady scent perfuming the entire room. Not only is it beautiful, but it is my sentinel alerting me when I awake that I still have my sense of smell. Since one of the symptoms of contracting Covid-19 is the loss of taste and smell, I appreciate the fact that I can smell the roses as well as all the marvelous fragrances breezing through my garden. I have always been filled with gratitude for the simple things in life, but now, more than ever, I am cultivating artful gratefulness with increased urgency.

I am so thankful for my lush landscape. I live in what I call my “private botanical garden” where every day I am greeted by surprising sprouts, sounds, and sights. It’s been eight weeks since I’ve worn any make-up. My daily wardrobe consists of my grubby garden garb, tool apron, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and boots. Splinters, scratches, bites, and itchy poison oak are a blight to my body, yet I am so joyful to spend my days weeding, seeding, and feeding as I witness the magnificence unfolding in this labyrinth of blossoms. Rose entwined arches, mustard growing fifteen feet into the trees, clematis bowered on trellises, a mosaic of colorful floral layers dazzling on the hillside, a parterre of bearded iris, cornflags, daylilies, and roses hemmed by clipped boxwood, butterflies flitting from flower to flower, bees humming in the citrus…nature is a living painting!

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My garden is my most spectacular artwork. Some of it is messy and wild, other parts are formal and civilized. As my camellias wane, my florescent pink rhododendrons take center stage. Azaleas in containers, as well as those planted in the ground, are on a continual blooming cycle.

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A variety of trees, both deciduous and evergreen, fruiting and flowering, screen and define the property. I’ve been pruning, thinning, and cutting deadwood in anticipation of fire season.

My goal during this coronavirus crisis is to keep our immune systems strong by eating as many fresh vegetables, herbs, and fruits from my garden as possible. Artichokes are almost ready to be harvested. My citrus crop has been supplying my family and friends with daily doses of Vitamin C.  After delivering lemon limes to my neighbor, she offered me a goji berry plant which I am excited to grow as a living fence. Also called the matrimony vine, goji berry plants can be pruned and shaped to keep them small so that the red fruit which will ripen from July to October can be easily harvested. The berries contain more vitamin C than oranges, more potassium than a banana, and more iron than a steak. In addition, I learned that goji berries contain a high concentrate of vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, E, and eighteen different amino acids and zinc. I am so thankful to grow this new specimen that will enhance our health.

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Gardening is not a hobby; it is an essential part of my creative being. Gardening is a survival skill and an art form. It is gratifying to sow a seed, water, fertilize, prune, and nurture that tiny seedling to full bloom. No matter how small a home is, we can always grow herbs in a pot on a windowsill or fill containers with vegetables and flowers displayed on a balcony or porch. With a garden, we bring beauty into our lives. Especially in troubling times, beauty is critical to grow our hopes and dreams. This lockdown has sparked an increased appreciation for the solitude and splendor of gardening.

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Let your garden be your most attractive work of art. Plant a painter’s palette of exquisite color. A garden is a refuge, a sanctuary, a quiet, safe place. Propagate positive possibilities and cultivate artful gratitude.

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Stay healthy. Stay safe. Stay home. Stay grateful. 

Cynthia Brian’s Mid-Month Gardening Guide for May

SCATTER snail and slug bait before they destroy all your sprouts.

PREPARE for fire season. Cut out the deadwood from bushes and trees, prune limbs, and clear brush.

CLEAN leaves from gutters.

CUT tall wild grass to the ground.

CHOP leaves and flowers from wild mustard for salads and sandwiches.

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WATER deeply and when needed.

PULL daffodil and other bulbs spears as they dry.

DEADHEAD roses, calla lilies, and calendulas as blossoms fade.

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CLEAN greener this spring by using friendlier ingredients found in your garden such as lemon juice to remove grease, mildew, and stains

WALK a nature trail for exercise, beauty, and curiosity satisfaction, keeping your distance from others, and bringing a mask.

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PLANT beans, squash, cucumbers, corn, gourds, melons, and pumpkins directly into the garden now. Because of their tender taproots, they do not transplant well.

BUY tomato seedlings to plant anytime.

COMPOST your coffee grinds, eggshells, vegetable peelings, and tea leaves.

BAG your lawn clippings only every other mow. It’s best to leave the clippings on the lawn as feed for the roots, but many people find the extra grass too messy.

TUCK edibles into your flowerbeds. Parsley and garlic chives look especially handsome as a border. 

REGROW scallions by sticking the root ends in water after snipping. You’ll get a fresh crop very quickly.

THIN apples and stone fruit to ensure a bigger, healthier harvest. Leave two to three fruit per cluster. 

HARVEST artichokes, arugula, and Swiss chard.

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Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

Photos and article: 

http://lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1406/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Cultivating-artful-gratefulness.html

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.

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Buy copies of her best-selling books, including, 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

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