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2022 RESOLUTIONS

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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Empowerment
2022 RESOLUTIONS

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MIRACLE MOMENT®

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: what are you doing for others?” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr 


Cynthia Brian toasts to the new yearA MESSAGE FROM FOUNDER/EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CYNTHIA BRIAN
Happy New Year to you. How are you doing?

With a raging pandemic and a divisive hostile nation, it’s not the beginning of a new year that we anticipated. Instead of writing a list of business goals that I want to achieve in the next twelve months, I decided to create these resolutions:

Be Kind

Be Inclusive

Be Grateful

Be Present

Be Healthy

Be of Service

Be Loving

It is my belief that if each of us embraces these resolutions, our personal and business lives would become prosperous and happy as we create a more just, joyful world.

The face for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Dr. King was a minister, husband, and father who for fought for justice for all, not based on skin color but based for all humankind.  Although we’ve made some progress in his efforts as Americans, more change is needed. In November of 2021, I had the privilege of visiting the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, the site of Dr. King’s assassination on April 4, 1968. This globally recognized institution for civil rights and social change chronicled the millions of people who have fought for equal rights beginning with the horrific enslavement of Africans in 1619. Slavery in America lasted 250 years and held captive 12.5 million black people over 12 generations. As long as slavery existed, resistance prevailed.

Lorraine Hotel  MLK Memphis Lorraine Hotel

January 15, 1929 was the date of Dr. King’s birth. In 1983 President Ronald Reagan officially created a national holiday to commemorate his life and work. In the USA, we celebrate MLK Day as a federal holiday which this year will be observed on Monday, January 17th. Sadly, we have become the Divided States of America with many states legislating to turn back the clocks to restrict equality for all.  Hate, ethnically motivated terrorism, and white supremacy ideologies are on the rise threatening our very existence. Have we learned nothing from history?

Can we live and abide by the preamble to the Declaration of Independence?

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

As we begin this new year, I encourage each individual to take a deep breath. Ask yourself. How can I embrace these resolutions?

Be Kind

Be Inclusive

Be Grateful

Be Present

Be Healthy

Be of Service

Be Loving

At high school ball games, we chanted, “united we stand, divided we fall.” How true this statement is. I am grateful to live in this great nation that has been deemed “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” Are we brave enough to protect freedom and insure equality for all?

I wish for you a very blessed, happy, and healthy 2022. Please care about your fellow travelers in life by getting vaccinated, boosted, and wearing masks. This is not a political statement. This is a way to embody these seven sacred resolutions.

As we march into the future, let’s live by the resonating words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy to a friend.”

Sending you kindness, gratitude, and love.

I am in service to you.

A toast to the New Year and with love, grateful cheer!

Cynthia Brian

PS: Be the Star You Are!® will be participating in an Earth Gratitude Festival April 22-24, 2022. More information to follow.

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556

Cynthia@BetheStarYouAre.org

https://www.BetheStarYouAre.org

http://www.BTSYA.org

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

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SCATTER A SEED

Scatter seeds of kinds flowersby Karen Kitchel

 “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” Mother Teresa

Wild flowers often appear in unlikely places after someone has scattered some seeds. They may never even know they sprouted. Kindness can also grow and multiply from your one tiny seed.

A stranger hears you say hello. So they smile at the next person they pass. That individual decides to take time to stop and chat with their neighbor about a good book they read. Soon the neighborhood is putting up little free libraries in their community.  That’s where a little boy picks up a book about kids living in Africa. He asks his Mom if he can send his allowance to the kids who don’t have books.  Amazed at his generosity, the Mom posts about her son’s initiative, and soon there are many kids in Africa learning to read.

And it all started with a simple “hello.”

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

Scatter kindness



“Read, lead, succeed. To be a leader, you must be a reader.” 


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SIMPLE WAYS TO HELP!

We have suggestions for you to shop, save, and stay safe. 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 :https://givingassistant.org/np#be-the-star-you-are-inc

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

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

T-shirts

BTSYA 3 book series

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



CHECK OUT OUR TWO INTERNATIONAL RADIO BROADCASTS!

Both Radio showsBe empowered, motivated, energized, informed and amused.

Truthful, heartfelt, and engaging topics and guests for 2022!
LIVE on Wednesdays from 4-5pm PT, be entertained, informed, amused, and educated on StarStyle-Be the Star You Are!. Then be inspired and motivated on

Sundays from 3-4pm PT, it’s Express Yourself! Teen Radio with our Be the Star You Are! star teen hosts and reporters.
 
VISIT https://www.StarStyleRadio.com for our line-up of guests.


Wishing you a very fruitful and fabulous 2022. 

Be Kind

Be Inclusive

Be Grateful

Be Present

Be Healthy

Be of Service

Be Loving

happy  New Year 2022 2 THANK YOU in many languages

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556

https://www.BetheStarYouAre.org

http://www.BTSYA.org

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

A New Garden Year

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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Empowerment
A New Garden Year

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“In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.”

– William Blake

The rainy days and nights have been a welcome respite to our dry, drought-driven California. What a delight to witness hills of green and listen to the rushing waters in our creeks. In the past few weeks, seeds and weeds have germinated providing a lush look to every landscape. Green is the color of life, renewal, and most of all, nature. How fortunate we are to behold green spaces and places as the new year kicks off. 

After the recent atmospheric river, I went to check on the Brussel sprouts and sugar snap peas previously planted. To my surprise and delight, the gravel path was covered with sprouted arugula and nasturtium, a most delicious unplanned encounter. The seeds must have blown in from the vegetable garden bestowing a ready-made salad corridor.

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In another area, chamomile has covered the ground like a lavish lime carpet. Weeds, appearing as ground covers have made their appearance as well.

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The common cutleaf geranium, a wild weed also known as cut-leaved cranesbill, blankets my hillside. It is beautiful at this stage of its prostrate growth; however, it will prevent other plants from developing. By spring, it will sport tiny pink florets. The recommendation is to control its spread early as each plant will produce 150 seeds or more that will remain viable for 5 to 10 years! I have work to do.

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In winter, wisteria is a tangle of bare branches. My purple wisteria has twined its way into my flowering pear which makes for an artistic tableau with the pear blossoms peeking out from the brambles.

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Fresh leaves have emerged on the loquat tree and the magnolia leaves are a shining brilliant green.

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Society garlic, bergenia, narcissus, and roses offer additional color to the emerald landscape.

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Naked lady bulbs have sprouted their gorgeous green leaves which are commonly mistaken for agapanthus fronds. I write about Naked ladies often as they are a foundation of my late summer garden with their long naked necks and pretty, pink faces. This week I’ve been shooting photos of their green leaves which enhance the beauty of barren earth. 

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My garden has entered the new year in decent enough shape that I will be able to enjoy the winter. If you haven’t gardened before, 2022 will be the time to personalize and customize your outdoor experience to reduce stress, smell the roses, and eat what you grow. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention released a survey that found 42% of Americans experienced anxiety or depression in 2021 compared to just 11% pre-pandemic. Growing, giving, and receiving flowers, herbs, vegetables, and fruits trigger the feel-good hormones that heal. Most seeds that are being sold this year will be for edibles as more and more people realize that growing what we want to consume is easy, nutritious, and better for the planet. The Garden Media Group reported that in 2021, 18.3 million people took up gardening, with interest levels equal between men and women. 80% of the younger generation consider gardening a worthwhile and “cool” endeavor as the concern with climate change, plant and wildlife extinction, and food equity escalates. People with children are especially interested in growing organic and natural foods.

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Purchasing grow-your-own kits that include the container, seeds, plants, fertilizer, and supports as well as raised beds are expected to be in high demand. Adding native plants to increase biodiversity and forage for the birds and wildlife will also be a critical ingredient. The National Wildlife Federation launched a Guide for Wildlife collection of keystone native plants that will attract insects that will feed 95% of backyard bird species. Getting to know our neighborhood birds has already become a popular pastime. Make sure to provide forage for them as you enjoy their symphonic tunes. (See my article, A Berry, Merry Christmas…Mostly for the Birds https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1522/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-A-berry-merry-Christmas-mostly-for-the-birds.html)

 

You don’t need a large landscape to have a garden. You can buy planter boxes or containers that will fit on your porch, balcony, patio, or even a windowsill. Start planning a mixture of flowers, ornamental, and edibles. Many flowers are both beautiful and edible including violets, nasturtium, pansies, tulip petals, day lilies, bee balm, calendula, roses, hostas, and herb flowers. By making 2022 the year to embrace organic methods, adding more plants to our dining menus, and composting the leftovers, we can each do our part to reduce our carbon footprint.

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As you write your goals and resolutions for 2022, I encourage you to keep a green journal and add gardening to the top of your list. You will be rewarded with a more peaceful mind, a soulful spirit, a kinder heart, and a body that is nourished. Cultivate green and together we will dig deeper to sustain and nurture our environment for ourselves and future generations. 

Photos and more: 

https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1523/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-A-green-themed-New-Year.html

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Happy Green New Year!

Cynthia Brian toasts to the new year!.jpeg

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 books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD and special savings.

Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

GET A 2021 TAX DEDUCTION! DONATE NOW!

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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Empowerment
GET A 2021 TAX DEDUCTION! DONATE NOW!

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It’s Not Too Late To Donate!

Happy New Year


“Shatter the limits, blow up the barriers, multiply the possibilities! Hurray, a brand new year begins soon.” 



Still Time to Make a Difference

Since the pandemic halted so many activities, nonprofits have had to do more with less money. Be the Star You Are!® is one of those small, grassroots 501c3 that continued to support those in need throughout these troubling times.

If you are able, make a donation now to continue our outreach efforts on behalf of women, families, and youth.  Don’t forget that expanded charitable giving tax deductions were included in the CARES ACT and are applicable through December 31, 2021.

DONATE NOW

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

Or you can choose to make the donation using many different payment methods which may have fees via by GiveButter at https://givebutter.com/be-the-star-you-are-charity.


SMALL DONATIONS MAKE a BIG DIFFERENCE TO INCREASE LITERACY!

MOLLY REQDING TO ALESANA$25 provides 5 new books.

$50 provides 12 new books.

$100 provides 28 new books.


“Read, lead, succeed. To be a leader, you must be a reader.” 


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OTHER WAYS TO HELP!

We have suggestions for you to shop, save, and stay safe. Please use these web sites for all of your shopping essentials.
1. AmazonSmile donates .5% of purchases https://smile.amazon.com/ch/94-3333882

2020 Amazon smile logo

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 :https://givingassistant.org/np#be-the-star-you-are-inc

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

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

T-shirts

BTSYA 3 book series

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



THANK YOU!

BTSYA High Res Logo CCI. 2Thank you to everyone who has supported Be the Star You Are!® through volunteering and donating. We look forward to enjoying a healthy and happy relationship today, tomorrow, and always.

May your best days of 2021 be your worst days of 2022!

 
Happy New Year from Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 charity
PO Box 376
Moraga, California 94556
DONATE FOR A 2021 TAX DEDUCTION!


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A Berry Merry Bird Christmas

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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Empowerment
A Berry Merry Bird Christmas

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By Cynthia Brian

*To me, the garden is a doorway to other worlds; one of them, of course, is the world of birds. The garden is their dinner table, bursting with bugs and worms and succulent berries.” Anne Raver

Birdy, it’s cold outside. 

Deciduous trees are barren of leaves, autumn perennials have finished their blooming cycle, and few flowers adorn the landscape. The glistening ornaments that embellish the foliage are a gastro delight for birds.

Winter has arrived and with it the beautiful berries that are a vital source of food for birds as well as a traditional embellishment to Christmas wreaths and garlands. When we think of berries, we normally conjure images of blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries, all grown and harvested in the warmer months. Winter berries are different, and although they are a small fleshy fruit, they are mostly enjoyed by wildlife, with a few edible exceptions eaten by humans. 

My garden boasts a plethora of winter berries that encourage my feathered friends to hang around for the holidays. Finches, mockingbirds, robins, sparrows, jays, quail, doves, bluebirds, and orioles are attracted to the many varieties of berries that will provide their nutrition during a cold and stark winter. A few of my favorites include pyracantha, cotoneaster, viburnum, pepper, Chinese pistache, rosehips, holly, yew, and barberry. Of these, only the pepper berries and rosehips are consumed by my family. Although pomegranates are not a berry, their jewel-red seeds called arils remind me of tiny berries and I grow them in my garden. Pomegranates are a staple of the Christmas fruit basket because of their festive holiday colors/ The arils are filled with antioxidants, potassium, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, packing a punch to keep us healthy. Add them to salads, make a chutney, or stir a splash of juice in a glass of sparkling wine for a festive, flavorful indulgence.

The pretty pink peppercorns from a California pepper tree are a gourmet’s desire. Since these trees are grown as ornamentals many people don’t realize that their berries are edible, with a fruity, spice profile that complements numerous recipes. They can be dried or used fresh. I have found the best way to grind them is with my mortar and pestle because their paper-thin husks get caught in my twist grinder. When making stews or soups, I toss the whole berry, called a drupe because it is a single seed, in the pot. If you buy pink peppercorns, be prepared to pay $10-15 per ounce. Consider planting a California pepper tree which will grow to 30 feet tall and wide if you have the room.

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Although it is mid-December, my roses continue to bloom. This month I am no longer dead-heading my bushes as I want the rosehips to form.

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Since roses are in the same family as apples and crab apples, the taste of rosehips mimics the tartness of crab apples. The seeds/berries of rosehips have powerful disease-fighting capabilities and are packed with vitamin C.  After washing the hips, use them to make jellies, teas, syrups, soups, and desserts. 

rose hips from pink bonica rose.jpeghttps://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1522/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-A-berry-merry-Christmas-mostly-for-the-birds.html

For the birds…

Peeking through leaves and decorating trees and shrubs, winter berries are nature’s Christmas décor. As beautiful as they are, the most critical element of growing these botanicals in your garden is the nutritional fare they provide for the birds and other wildlife during the coldest season of the year when food sources are limited. There are several other autumn ripened berry-bearing bushes or vines that still have shriveled fruit hanging, such as grape and elderberry, that can be left for the birds. Here’s a sampling of vibrant holiday berry dinners fit for the birds.

Cotoneaster emerged as a volunteer in my garden, most likely from seeds brought in by birds. It is an evergreen shrub that grows into a tree if not properly pruned sporting white flowers in spring that are a magnet for bees and rich red berries in winter that are a delicacy for birds. Deer munch on the branches which doesn’t bother the bush. Cotoneaster is fire-resistant and can be propagated from cuttings, although I have found that once one cotoneaster is in a landscape, others seem to sprout like weeds.

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Holly has glossy leaves that are either serrated or spiny teeth. Because most hollies are dioecious, you’ll need to plant both a male and female for cross-pollination if you want those glorious red berries to decorate garlands, wreaths, and Christmas trees. English holly and American holly are the two species most used during the holidays. Although holly berries tend to start ripening in fall, most birds, including blackbirds and song thrushes don’t start feeding on them until late winter when other food is scarce.

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Chinese pistache is one of my favorite trees for its exuberant fall color of yellows and oranges with attractive berries that metamorphose from green to aqua, to pink, and finally magenta. Birds, turkeys, quail, and squirrels go crazy for the bunches of berries that hang from the branches. I add a few sprays to my Christmas tree whenever the fowl and squirrels are kind enough to leave me a few bunches. 

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Pyracantha may be the preferred winter staple of robins. Birds flock to the orange-red berries called pomes, eating so many that they seem intoxicated. Known as firethorns, pyracantha is a fast-growing plant with sharp thorns. Volunteers sprout in unusual locations thanks to the birds spreading their seeds. Keep pyracantha pruned and use branches with berries in holiday arrangements. 

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Viburnum shrubs and hedges add beauty to any garden. They produce pinkish-white flowers that bloom from spring until late fall, depending on the species. Birds love munching on berries ripening in winter with colors that are black, blue, purple, bright red, neon pink, and even yellow. Some species are edible by humans, but other species can be toxic. Unless you know that the viburnum you planted is edible, leave the berries to the birds.

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Yew berries red flesh called arils are sweet and safe for birds. The arils provide nutrients needed by the flyers. The seed inside is deadly, and birds know to discard it. Often called the Tree of Death, all parts of the yew tree are poisonous except the arils. The highly poisonous taxane alkaloids of the yew have been developed as anti-cancer drugs. 

yew berries.jpeghttps://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1522/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-A-berry-merry-Christmas-mostly-for-the-birds.html

Not for the birds…or any animal

 

Nandina adds multi-season interest to any garden with its nectar-rich white flowers that attract pollinators followed by clusters of green berries that ripen to shiny bright red in late fall. The lacy foliage emerges as purple, then turns green, then changes to red and purple throughout the year. As much as I love this ornamental bush, it is important to know the berries are deadly to birds, wildlife, and domestic animals. Most birds innately avoid this plant, but the voracious eaters, cedar waxwings, are susceptible to imbibing until intoxicated. The berries contain cyanogenic glycosides that convert to hydrogen cyanide when ingested. 

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WARNING: When planting berry-bearing bushes, please be cognizant that most provide wildlife forage but may be toxic, poisonous, or even deadly when consumed by humans. Never put any plant substance in your mouth unless you are certain that it is edible.

There is still time to give the gifts that keep on giving by purchasing any of my award-winning books from Https://www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-storecyntha brian with books SM copy.jpg. Proceeds benefit the literacy charity empower women, families, and youth, Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 (www.BetheStarYouAre.org)

You will receive many additional gifts with every purchase. 

Birdscape your garden by growing a bird-friendly sanctuary with berry-producing floras that birds will love. Wander in a winter wonderland of wildlife and have a berry, merry Christmas…with the birds!

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Blessings to all and a ho, ho, ho!

Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1522/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-A-berry-merry-Christmas-mostly-for-the-birds.html

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Happy Holidays!

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 books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD and special savings.

Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Joy to the World

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Empowerment
Joy to the World

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Merry Christmas from All of Us!
GIVE THE GIFT OF JOY TO THE WORLD!

MIRACLE MOMENT®

“Find a place inside where there is joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” Joseph Campbell


A MESSAGE FROM FOUNDER/EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CYNTHIA BRIAN

It’s the season to be jolly and goodness knows, we are all trying.

The Chinese have a powerful proverb that states, “If you want joy for an hour, take a nap. If you want joy for a day, go fishing, if you want joy for a year inherit a fortune, but if you want joy for a lifetime…help someone else!” 

Joy is a feeling of fulfillment. It can be found at work, at home, and anywhere when you are willing to experience it.

How can we bring more joy into our lives?  Start by taking one day this week to share joy with everyone you know. Offer a smile, a kind word, a compliment, help with a taxing project. Increase your offerings until you are joyful seven days a day. No need for a seventh day break. Your joy will bless them, but it will bless you more!

This Christmas, give the gift of joy and rejoice in the feeling of helping someone else to be happy.

You are the star of your own performance.

From our family to yours, have a healthy, happy, joyful Christmas.

And thank you for being part of our Be the Star You Are!® family. You are the reason for our joy!

Cynthia Brian

cyn-garden santa hat

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


I’m almost there

by Ruhani Chhabra

my entire life i was drowning

pushed down by my own hands

i longed to find those on the shore

craved their sweet validation

not knowing so many of them

were sinking alongside me

eventually i realized

air that held love for myself

was a much better alternative

than this bottomless, murky ocean

of meaningless negativity

my hands relinquished their hold

when i understood my flaws are just features

i was scared to appreciate

the beautiful body and strong spirit

i always looked down upon

is bringing me to the surface

and I’m almost there

Ruhani Chhabra, is a 16-year-old girl from California who is a radio host and reporter of Teenship on Express Yourself!®. She says that having the opportunity to be a radio host and reporter is the highlight of her year and she greatly appreciates the opportunities that being part of Be the Star You Are!® has granted. Ruhani enjoys writing, reading, and listening to music. When she’s older, she wants to travel around the world and teach literature. Listen to Express Yourself!® at https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2014/express-yourself

Ruhani Express yourself host


SHOP and GIVE!

We have suggestions for you to shop, save, and stay safe. Please use these web sites for all of your shopping essentials.

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

2020 Amazon smile logo

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

Giving Assistant Icon 234x60

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

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

2020 IGIVE logo

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

T-shirts

BTSYA 3 book series

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


BLESSINGS, GRACE, GRATITUDE, AND JOY OF THE SEASON!

HAVE A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Xmas 5A-021


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Be the Star You Are!® has been honored with a Top-Rated Award for 2021 from Great Nonprofits! We appreciate all of your contributions! https://greatnonprofits.org/org/be-the-star-you-are-inc

DONATE!

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


FAREWELL AND THANK YOU!

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For almost two decades, The Reading Tub has been a literacy partner of Be the Star You Are!® publishing book reviews written by our teen volunteer Star Book Review Team. Founder and Executive Director of The Reading Tub, Terry Doherty, and Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!®, Cynthia Brian, have worked closely together throughout the years to bring literacy home to families, teachers, guardians, librarians, and all those who love books.  Although the website for the books that have already been reviewed will remain available for viewing at https://thereadingtub.org/books/be-the-star-you-are/, The Reading Tub will be retiring its collaboration at the end of 2021. We want to thank Terry for her incredible devotion to literacy and our collaboration throughout the years. Bravo Terry.

But worry not! Terry’s love of reading and her passion for literacy have not waned!! She has piles of books still to read and review and will continue to share literacy tips and reading ideas through the Reading Tub’s social media, as well as via the Cybils Awards, a literacy nonprofit where she serves on the board. (http://www.cybils.com/about-the-cybils-awards) Terry initially created The Reading Tub as a hobby website, and after 20 years, is going to return to those roots.

She will be contributing to our Be the Star You Are!® newsletter so stay tuned for more. Thanks Terry for your dedication to the minds of our youth.

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Reviews from Be the Star You Are!® teen volunteers will continue to be available at http://www.btsya.com/book_reviews


CANDY CANES AND PUPPY DOGS

by Karen Kitchel

Candy canes to share and plush puppies to hug were the highlights of today in kindergarten.

Each Monday and Thursday I have the distinct honor of helping these amazing students learn to read. During our time together, I get to hear their stories, and enjoy some fun times.

Because I believe Christmas is a time for sharing, everyone was given a bag of candy canes and treats which they can share with their family. To brighten their break away from school, a little puppy dog is now in their backpack.

A treasured gift I received today, in addition to many heartfelt hugs, was a framed drawing signed by each kindergartener and a beautiful towel with a beautiful saying.   Many thanks to all the wonderful students and teachers.

Merry Christmas to all!

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

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EMBRACE A WORLD OF JOY!

 
Listen to our two empowering radio broadcasts!

LIVE on Wednesdays from 4-5pm PT, be entertained, informed, amused, and educated on StarStyle-Be the Star You Are!. Then be inspired and motivated on

Sundays from 3-4pm PT, it’s Express Yourself! Teen Radio with our Be the Star You Are! star teen hosts and reporters.
 
VISIT https://www.StarStyleRadio.com for our line-up of guests.
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  • “Everything is a gift of the universe–even joy, anger, jealously, frustration, or separateness. Everything is perfect either for our growth or our enjoyment.”-Ken Keyes Jr.


MAKE A JOYFUL DIFFERENCE!

 
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contact : PO Box 376, Moraga, ca. 94556 www.BTSYA.org www.BetheSTARYouAre.org

Final Fall

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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Empowerment
Final Fall

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Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;

 Lengthen night and shorten day!

 Every leaf speaks bliss to me

Fluttering from the autumn tree.” Emily Brontë

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Without a doubt, autumn is a beautiful time of the year with cooler weather and spectacular, ever-changing foliage. What I can’t get used to is the early setting sun and the dark skies at 5 p.m. as we enter December. My circadian rhythm is out of sync. My preference is to work in the garden as late as possible every day and in the summer that means until 9 or 9:30 p.m. In fall and winter, my style is crimped, leaving me with long to-do lists. 

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This past week the newspaper publishers and I received an email from the editor of a DIY garden authority from New Zealand who has enjoyed reading the Digging Deep columns. She sent a link to their fall garden information that I am posting here because it includes everything you need to know about planting your fall garden and it is perfect for our location. How honored and thrilled we are to know that Digging Deep is being read in the Southern Hemisphere! Check out their guide to fall gardening. https://happydiyhome.com/fall-garden/

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Since the weather is warm and mild, it is still a great time to re-seed your lawn, cover bald spots, or seed a new lawn. I re-seeded mine a few weeks ago when the atmospheric river and bomb cyclone hit our area with force, and the grass is gloriously green and growing. I have always liked the award-winning seed, Pearl’s Premium, available in California only online at www.PearlsPremium.com.  The roots grow deeper than most seeds and the lawn doesn’t need as much water or mowing. I wrote to Jackson, the founder of the company whom I met when I was lecturing at the National Garden Communicators Conference, and asked if there was a discount that I could offer my readers. He kindly responded that he offers a 10% discount at checkout with the code BLACKFRIDAY. He was apologetic that he couldn’t offer more of a discount at this time, however, due to the wildfires and the drought, two years of his work were decimated resulting in his costs escalating to over 300%. He has seed in stock right now, but, because of the unique seeds that go into his mix, once this season is sold out, we may not be able to get any more seed for a year or more. If kept in its packaging, the seed is good for at least 18 months. Order now. Again, www.PearlsPremium.com and put in the code BLACKFRIDAY.

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Although we only have a few more weeks of fall, because of the current lovely climate, you can continue planting. My jonquils have been blooming for the past month and I continue to install more bulbs. Planting parsley either in beds or in containers is an excellent edible plant that will provide ongoing beauty as well as culinary interest.

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I’ve been harvesting my Brussel sprouts and am planting new seedlings for later harvest. If you are looking for specimens that are deer- resistant, consider Hosta, fern, coral bell, boxwood, weigela, and butterfly bush. Keep in mind that no plant is deer-proof. Succulents are available in many varieties and colors and are an excellent choice for our drought-ravaged land. 

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As we prepare for winter, we still have a few more tasks in the autumn garden to ensure beautiful spring vegetation. Since the rain, weeds have sprouted and need to be pulled as they are not only unsightly and spreading, but they will be detrimental by providing shelter for overwintering uninvited insects and contributing to disease. Pull them out while the soil is still soft and malleable. Once it hardens, the job is much tougher. Remove any dead or diseased plants as well. When substantial rain arrives, it will encourage fungus growth.

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To add more nitrogen to your beds, plant a cover crop of vetch, rye, oats, or other legumes. In the spring, dig it into the soil.  The Farmer’s Almanac encourages protecting fruit trees from winter-hungry rodents by installing a guard of fine mesh hardware around the base of the trees.

Other last-minute chores before fall falls into winter include:

ü  FERTILIZE your trees while they are dormant. Underground the roots are active and can use the nutrient boost.

ü  TAKE cuttings of coleus, pelargoniums, and geraniums before you prune them back for the winter. Put the stems in a jar of water and when they root, you can transplant them to use indoors.

ü  DIVIDE your peonies, daylilies, and bearded iris if you didn’t do it last month. Exchange with friends or find new needy places in your garden.

ü  CONTINUE reusing your gray water for outdoor container plants that won’t benefit from any rainy weather. Every drop you save is crucial as we are not out of the drought woods.

ü  PROTECT roses from extreme temperature changes by covering plants with eight to ten inches of mulch above the crown. 

ü  ADD non-breakable decorative ornaments to trees and shrubs as festive garden features.

ü  COVER frost-prone plants such as bougainvillea with burlap.

ü  CLEAN gazebos, decks, patios, porches, fountains, stairs, bricks, and other structures.

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ü  RAKE debris from gravel paths.

 

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Fall gardening is a wonderful way to reap the benefits of nature. Studies show that spending time outdoors decreases levels of the hormone cortisol, lowers blood pressure, and reduces other markers of stress. Relaxation is the reward. When you are working in the garden, you are exercising which is a critical pillar of optimum health. Going outside encourages you to get up and move. Physical activity is paramount for optimum health. With your autumn gardening duties, your mood will be elevated, especially during this hectic holiday season amidst a pandemic. Spend time in green spaces to reduce your anxiety. The magnificence of nature lowers levels of inflammation in the body. Pollution is the culprit for many illnesses including respiratory problems, cancer, and heart disease. Breathe in the fresh air and experience the awe of autumn.

As we watch the final fluttering of autumn leaves, let your garden be a natural prescription to lower your stress and heighten the excitement of the forthcoming holiday season.

Are you shopping for gifts that keep on giving year after year? Books are the answer! Purchase any of my award-winning books from www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store. Proceeds benefit the literacy, arts, and culture charity, Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 www.BetheStarYouAre.org.

You’ll receive a plethora of additional gifts with every purchase. 

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Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

Photos: http://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1521/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Fall-out.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.

©2021 All Photos Cynthia Brian

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Buy copies of her books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD and special savings.

Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Grateful Gardener

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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Empowerment
Grateful Gardener

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By Cynthia Brian

“Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.” Henry Ward Beecher

 

Are you feeling grateful? Although I feel thankful for every day that I walk on this earth, after such a tumultuous twenty months, this year my heart is overflowing with appreciation. Throughout these times, my garden has been my sanctuary, my refuge, and the place where I recharge. The abelia is blooming and that makes me cheerful. 

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Autumn is a splendid season with cooler weather and nature’s spectacular showcase of colorful leaves on shrubs and trees. Maple, Japanese maple, tallow, crape myrtle, pistache, liquid amber, beech, black gum, sumac, aspen, dogwood, ginkgo biloba, tupelo, red oak, and many more species are just a few of the magical specimens whose leaves metamorphose from green into vibrant red, yellow, orange, purple, crimson, brown, russet, tan, bronze, and scarlet. During the growing season, the green in leaves is a product of the chlorophyll using sunlight to manufacture sugars to feed the tree. As the weather cools with shorter days and longer nights. Biochemical changes occur allowing a painter’s palette of vibrant and muted hues. The most stunning displays happen after a succession of sunny, warm days followed by crisp and cool nights. Moisture in the soil is also a factor that can delay or speed up the color.

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I have just returned from experiencing splendid fall colors on the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. On some of the riverbanks, the tree colors were muted as if in an Impressionist masterpiece. In gardens and parks, singular specimens were neon bright as if painted by Frederick Church. 

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Before I left, my trees were only beginning to change colors. When I arrived home a few days later, the leaves had already fallen, carpeting lawn, patio, and driveway in a thick layer.

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My husband was anxious to clean up the leaves and I had to beg him to NOT put the leaves in the green bin. Fallen leaves are great for the compost pile and as a natural fertilizer for other plants. 

Here’s what you need to know about fallen leaves.  

KEEP THEM IN YOUR GARDEN!

We can reduce emissions from landfills by managing the leaves by leaving them around the root zones of plants, shrubs, and trees to suppress weeds, provide shelter for beneficial insects, maintain moisture, control temperature, and return nutrients to the soil which plants will reuse. Microorganisms help small leaves decompose quickly. Larger leaves may need to be mowed to break them up. In 2018, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, over 10.5 million tons of yard trimmings were deposited in landfills, producing copious amounts of greenhouse gas. 

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Layering leaves in your landscape is also critical for wildlife habitat that benefits the ecosystem of thousands of different species. From earthworms, caterpillars, and pill bugs to toads, lizards and salamanders, leaf litters are alive with promise. Squirrels, birds, and yes, turkeys depend on layers of leaves as a food source during the winter months.

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If you have a garden service, deter them from blowing leaves into the street where drains can be clogged and water quality in waterways can be compromised. Encourage these providers to create a pile of this organic material which will naturally break down to be used as free compost in your garden.

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Since the downpour of the recent bomb cyclone and atmospheric river, mushrooms of many sorts have sprouted. It’s tempting to want to harvest fungi for a delectable holiday recipe but unless one is an expert mycologist, it is wise to purchase mushrooms from a trusted source as many of the eleven thousand species that grow in North America are poisonous and deadly.

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Persimmons, pumpkins, and squash supply part of the cornucopia of colorful edible produce that is healthy and delicious for any autumn feast. Fuyu persimmons sliced thinly add panache to fall salads and make crunchy, tasty snacks. Hachiya persimmons must be very soft, almost mushy, before they’ll release their sweetness. They are delicious as a fresh dessert or made into puddings, cakes, and breads.  Pumpkins and squash are superfoods that will boost your immunity and increase your intake of vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, magnesium, vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin E. folate, fatty acids, and other micronutrients. Along with gourds, they also create stunning displays on your thanksgiving table. 

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Although many people may disagree, I am grateful for the gobblers that grace my grounds. The wild turkeys eat fallen rotten fruit, fertilize the orchard with their excrement, and respond to my attempts to talk turkey. In other words, turkeys amuse me.

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As I look out upon my fall garden, I am comforted by the tranquility, the colors of the vegetation, and the changing of the seasons. Mostly I am thankful to be alive and healthy and this year, the ability to celebrate together as a family, along with the wild turkeys, deer, squirrels, raccoons, skunks, and other critters in our rural arena.

With the shopping season in full swing, give the gifts that keep on giving by purchasing any of my award-winning books from www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store. Proceeds benefit the  literacy charity, Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 and you’ll receive a plethora of additional gifts with every purchase. 

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MARK YOUR CALENDARS: Join 5 A Rent-a-Space and Be the Star You Are!® on Saturday, December 4th from 11-2 pm for FREE family fun at Santa Day. Enjoy hot cocoa and treats while kids write letters to Santa, take a FREE photo with Jolly St. Nick, and receive a tree ornament kit. Thanks to Mark Hoogs Team (www.TeamHoogs.com) at State Farm Insurance for sponsoring Be the Star You Are!®For more info visit www.BetheStarYouAre.org.

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Wishing you a bountiful, healthy, and love-filled season of Gratitude. Be a grateful gardener.

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

Photos and More: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1520/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Grateful-gobbler.html

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Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is available for hire to help you prepare for your spring garden. Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Buy copies of her books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD and special savings.

Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Season of Gratitude and Giving

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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Empowerment
Season of Gratitude and Giving

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Season of Gratitude & Giving
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MIRACLE MOMENT®

“Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.”  Native American saying


A MESSAGE FROM FOUNDER/EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CYNTHIA BRIAN

Cynthia Brian-Autum garden As we begin celebrations for our second Thanksgiving and holiday festivities during a pandemic, are you experiencing seasonal sadness or gracious gratitude? There is no doubt that the past 20 months have been challenging, isolating, and frightening. Yet, no matter what transpires, things could always be worse. My attitude is to always focus on the positive and express appreciation for what I have as opposed to what I have not.

Be the Star You Are!® has spent 23 years supporting those in need and our volunteers continue to give back. Next Tuesday, November 30th is Giving Tuesday, an international day of supporting the non profits that help benefit people and the planet. #Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 to counteract the spending of Black Friday and Cyber Monday with philanthropic giving to charities in need of support. It started in the U.S. and has quickly made its way across more than 70 countries. You’ll likely see the day branded as “#Giving Tuesday” to emphasize the collaborative power of social media to spread the word. As we move forward into a new year that will continue to reflect the impact of COVID-19, we hope that you will donate to Be the Star You Are!® so that we can continue our outreach programs the support and empower others. DONATE via PAYPAL with 100% going to BTSYA at https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504.

or through our GiveButter Campaign: https://givebutter.com/BetheSTAR.

If you shop on Amazon to buy your holiday gifts, another way to make a difference is to use Amazon Smile and designate Be the Star You Are!® as your charity of choice. With this direct link, .5% of your purchases will benefit BTSYA and you get all the same discounts, shipping, etc. Use this link:  https://smile.amazon.com/ch/94-3333882

On December 4th from 11 am -2pm, come celebrate the Christmas Season with Be the Star You Are!® at Santa Day at 5 A. We give our gratitude to Mark Hoogs Team at State Farm Insurance  (www.TeamHoogs.com) for sponsoring Be the Star You Are!® More info at https://www.bethestaryouare.org/copy-of-events

I want to personally thank all of our volunteers and supporters for being part of our Be the Star You Are!® family. Everyone counts. Everyone is appreciated.

Whatever you do this week, may you have a joyous and healthy Thanksgiving and know that unseen blessings are on their way.

Express gratitude and give when possible.

With sincerest thanks,

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

Give Butter Campaign: GiveButter 

https://givebutter.com/be-the-star-you-are-charity


THANKS FOR YOUR KINDNESS 

Thank you 1Today is a good time to thank you for all the kindness you have shown to people everywhere.  We never know the impact of our little “thanks” when someone just needs one uplifting word.

May gratitude be always on your lips and in your heart.

 Karen Kitchel is the Kindness Coordinator for Be the Star You Are!® www.scatteringkindness.com


SANTA DAY at 5 A

XMAS with Santa 2018It’s a FREE day of family fun with our BTSYA volunteers helping kids write letters to Santa. Join us on Saturday, December 4th from 11am-2pm. Everyone enjoys hot cocoa, snacks, treats, and a photo with Jolly St. Nick and his elf. Location is 5A Rent-A-Space at 455 Moraga Dr Suite F. Thanks to Mark Hoogs Team at State Farm Insurance  (www.TeamHoogs.com) for sponsoring Be the Star You Are!® More info at https://www.bethestaryouare.org/copy-of-events


LISTEN TO THANKSGIVING BROADCASTS

https://www.starstyleradio.comCynthia Brian- Unique talk radio copySMALLTo get you in the holiday mood, tune in to our two radio shows for a big helping of pumpkin pie and all the Thanksgiving trimmings. What are we thankful for? YOU!

StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!: Thanksgiving Gratitude: https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/134495/thanksgiving-gratitude-counterfeit-goods-smell-study

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Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio: Coast to Coast Thanksgiving: https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/134487/gratitude-thanksgiving-and-country-musics-mikayla-lane

Happy Autumn


HOLIDAYS ARE HERE-BOOKS ARE GIFTS THAT GIVE!

Cynthia Brian books bannerIn honor of our 20th anniversary since being on the first New York Times best seller list, first edition, autographed books are discounted in a special sale with proceeds benefitting Be the Star You Are!® You will also receive extra goodies and FREE music CD with your purchase when you buy from the website. Stock up now! http://starstylestore.net

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Happy thanksgiving-Thankful

SHOP and GIVE!

We have suggestions for you to shop, save, and stay safe. 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 :https://givingassistant.org/np#be-the-star-you-are-inc

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

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

T-shirts

BTSYA 3 book series

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



THANKSGIVING IS A SPECIAL DAY OF GRATITUDE. Savor the blessings.thanksgiving Message 3


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

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If a Butterfly Flutters…

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Empowerment
If a Butterfly Flutters…

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“If a butterfly flutters its wings in Brazil, could it cause a tornado in Texas?” Edward Lorenz, meteorologist

Almost everyone has heard of the “butterfly effect”.  Originally based on weather and climate predictions, it has become a metaphor for the effects of chaos theory­­­­­­­–the concept that small events can have huge widespread consequences.  

As I was driving home from work one late October day and listening to a radio program chronicling the rapid extinction of many species on our planet, I was struck by the comment that 99.9% of Monarch butterflies have vanished from the West Coast.
Only a few years ago, I had enjoyed a glorious November morning in Pismo Beach among thousands of Monarchs fluttering through the gum trees at Monarch Grove. 

Knowing that the Moraga Garden Club had a goal of revitalizing the Monarch butterfly population with its “Moraga for Monarchs” mission, I drove straight to Rancho Laguna Park to investigate the progress of the project. I was blown away at how quickly the area had developed from barren land to a lush, organic, ecologically beneficial beauty basin. The co-founders, Julie Stagg and Bobbie Preston are quick to point out that this has been a community project of love with support not only from the members of the Moraga Garden Club, but from the Town of Moraga, St. Mary’s College, Moraga Garden Center, Moraga Park and Recreation Foundation, numerous service organizations, and wildlife experts.

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The “Moraga for Monarchs” goal is simple: repopulate Monarchs throughout town while providing public Monarch habitats, educating citizens, and providing plants to support Monarchs and other pollinators in private landscaping.

Following their lead, every gardener can easily invite a bevy of beneficials to take up residence in the garden. Their website is a cornucopia of ever-evolving information about nectar plants, milkweed gardening, building a habitat, as well as supportive plants that are currently being installed in the Rancho Laguna Park Monarch Garden.

By first planting nectar plants that bloom February through April followed by Monarch-specific nectar plants for blooming in October and November, a garden will be attractive to pollinators in all seasons. Besides butterflies, bees, birds, hummingbirds, lady beetles, bats, and other helpful insects will be darting and swooping through this nourishing landscape.

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When I visited, swaths of cosmos in several colors had grown to over eight feet high. Purple, salmon, and chartreuse zinnias shone in the sunlight. Black-eyed Susan, purple verbena, Agastache, lobelia, sage, mints, yarrow, and butterfly bush were hosting bees and butterflies, including several Monarchs. A trickling rock waterfall powered by the sun offers a sweet drink to the flyers. The water feature is flanked by a river rock dry creek that provides a sunning area for the butterflies surrounded by cosmos, zinnias, and lobelia as an artful caterpillar stands watch. Milkweed is growing to feed the caterpillars. Passionflower vines twine up the wooden pergola and wood chip paths meander throughout the plantings. Signage has thoughtfully been installed throughout the beds to instruct visitors on the species planted. The habitat is fenced to keep out hungry predators as well as people. Soon benches will be installed so that visitors can rest and watch. Volunteers maintain the garden, carefully pulling out the insidious bindweed, and lovingly pruning, deadheading, and sowing. 

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There is something magical about witnessing the flight of a butterfly as it gathers pollen on its legs and disperses it as it flits from flower to flower. Everyone can enjoy a butterfly way station next spring by planning now. If you want to erect a Monarch and pollinator oasis, check out the resources provided by the Moraga Garden Club in collaboration with the Xerces Society and Monarch Joint Venture at moragagardenclub.com/Moraga-for-monarchs.

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Here is a list of milkweeds and other plants that you’ll want to consider recommended by the Moraga for Monarchs garden.

 

MILKWEED

It is recommended to only plant California native milkweeds.

Approved for Lamorinda

·       Narrow Leaf (Asclepias fascicularis) 

·       Showy (A. speciosa) 

·       California (A. californica) 

·       Wooly (A. vesta) 

·       Heartleaf (A. cordifolia) 

Not Advised for Lamorinda

·       Common Milkweed (A. syriaca) 

·       Butterfly Weed (A. tuberosa) 

·       Tropical Milkweed (A. curassavica) 

·       Other Milkweed 

SUPPORTIVE PLANTS

·      Agastache

·      Anise Hyssop

·      Bee Balm

·      Black-eyed Susan

·      Brodiaea

·      Butterfly Bush

·      California Brittlebush 

·      Catmint

·      Ceanothus

·      Coyote Mint

·      Coral Bells

·      Cosmos

·      Echinacea 

·      Goldenrod

·      Hairy Gum Plant

·      Lavender

·      Liatris

·      Lithodora

·      Lobelia

·      Lupine

·      Meadow Blazing Star

·      Mint  (several)

·      Monkey Flower

·      Oregon Grape

·      Passionflower

·      Passion Vine

·      Penstemon

·      Rosemary

·      Salvia

·      Sage

·      Scarlet Monardella

·      Seaside Daisy 

·      Snake Lily

·      Sweet Joe Pye Weed

·      Sunflower

·      Tithonia

·      Verbena

·      Yarrow

·      Zinnia

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Butterflies may be free, but the Monarch is on the possible extinction list. We all need to do our part to save our planet by saving our pollinators. We already know that bees are dwindling and so many other critical species are endangered. Start pesticide and insecticide-free gardening habits. By being proactive with organic gardening practices and establishing healthy habitats, we will all enjoy our personal paradises while supporting our garden guardians.

I dream that when a butterfly flutters its wings anywhere, it will cause peace throughout the world.

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Nature lovers are welcome. The Moraga for Monarchs Butterfly Garden is FREE. For more information on Moraga for Monarchs or to donate, visit https://www.moragagardenclub.com

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

Photos and more: http://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1519/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Butterflies-are-free.html

Agastache-Moraga Monarch butterfly Garden.jpeghttp://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1519/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Butterflies-are-free.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.

cynthia brian-fall leaves (2).jpeg

Buy copies of her books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD and special savings.

Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Garden gremlins

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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Empowerment
Garden gremlins

Halloween House.jpeg

Gnome and elf and fairy,

Witch and ghost make merry

On this last of dear October’s days.” Lettie. C. Van Derveer, Halloween Happenings, 1921

 

The howling, nipping, and barking of the coyote send shivers down my back. Although they hunt throughout the day, as dusk settles over the hills and the moon rises, these wily carnivores set out to regulate the ecosystem. As apex crepuscular predators in an urban landscape, their prey is often our beloved pet. Creepy and blood-curdling!

coyote on hill.jpeg

For kids, the hot topic of conversation this week revolves around Halloween. As we decorate pumpkins and light Jack O’lanterns, spooky specimens and wild phantoms are also prowling around our hallowed grounds.

Glitter pumpkin.jpg

We work hard to maintain our landscapes and it’s frustrating to have our sanctuaries invaded by unwanted organisms. One of the most noxious weeds to assault our gardens is the bindweed. Mimicking the fair face of a morning glory flower, like a poltergeist, it twists and tangles until it strangles plants and shrubs. Each plant produces more than fifty seeds that can survive for fifty years or more, making this deep-rooted gremlin a wicked weed to eradicate. 

Bind weed (looks like morning glory).jpeg

The cast list of freaky wild ones includes the misunderstood good, the beastly bad, and the pesky players that we often wish to hocus pocus somewhere else.

THE MISUNDERSTOOD GOOD

 

Owls

Owls are the silent, stealthy hunters of our gardens providing free rodent control. When you hear their haunting hoots, be grateful that they’ve designated your trees as their habitat. Install a tall owl nesting box if you don’t have old trees attractive to owls.

Frogs and Toads

In folkloric traditions, magic potions are concocted in rituals using frogs and toads to cast evil spells. These helpful hoppers have been much maligned. As a natural pest controller, they will munch over 10,000 insects in a few months. Their summer song and mating calls are melodious, indicating that you have a healthy environment. Turn a broken clay pot on its side, bury it halfway in the soil, and welcome these amphibians to their toad abode.

 

Bats

Dracula and the coronavirus have something in come…they both disparaged the docile bat. Bats are not winged rodents or bloodsuckers. Instead, they are the only flying mammals with wings. Bats are productive pest patrollers feeding on insects, progressive pollinators of hundreds of plant species, and sensational seed dispersers. These flying friends don’t plague people, but they will devour a thousand mosquitoes in an hour. Provide habitat for these winged heroes to roost by erecting a bat house twelve to fifteen feet off the ground. As a bonus to your garden, they’ll offer nutrient-rich fertilizer with their excrement, guano. If you fear vampires, plant garlic. 

garlic, shallots, red peppercorns, sage.jpeg

Snakes

Snakes are slimy, slithering, and scary. But most snakes are harmless and helpful garden assistants. The common garter snake preys on insects, slugs, and rodents and prefers to live in cool, dark places. Keep your doors closed as it would be frightening to find that a female gave birth to up to fifty live young under your bed! The elegant Kingsnake is welcome in any landscape as it eats venomous snakes like the rattlesnake or copperhead as well as rodents and other plant destroyers.

king snake-veg garden.jpg.jpeg

Skunks

Skunks are the garbage collectors of the garden. These docile black and white creatures will eat anything including insects, rodents, and yellow jacket larvae. When fruit falls from a tree, they’ll be the clean-up crew. Pet food and birdseed are attractors. Because of their odorous spray, these mostly nocturnal, solitary, and non-confrontational creatures get a bad rap. When threatened, they’ll stomp, hiss, and puff up before raising their tail and unleashing their potent defense system. 

skunk eating catfood.jpeg

Spiders

Little Miss Muffet had no reason to run away. Only unwanted insects such as grasshoppers, aphids, cockroaches, and mosquitoes need to fear these valuable web weavers. Research is underway by scientists on the benefits of spider venom to prevent arthritis while the strength of spider silk is inspiring mechanical engineers. 

THE BEASTLY BAD

 

Gophers, Moles, Voles

Although we witness the horror gophers, moles, and voles create in our lawns and yard, we rarely see these creeping critters. Stomping on the mounds, trails, and holes may distract them for a while, but like the Terminator, they’ll be back. Setting multiple traps and checking them daily is the best method. If all else fails, call in the pros.

Rats and Mice

Rats and mice gnaw through wiring, wood, pipes, bags of birdseed, and make nests in our stored patio furniture pads. Reproducing rapidly and prolifically, rats spread disease, contaminate food sources, and infest our homes and gardens. In just three years, a single rat can produce half a billion descendants! Trapping is the humane manner to eradicate these pests unless the wicked witch of the West unleashes her feral black cats to hunt and exterminate. 

Raccoons

If you are hearing scratching noises in your attic, it’s not the walking dead. You could have rodents or raccoons. Raccoons will walk on a tree branch to access your roof and set up a den in the spaces above your ceiling. They also are attracted to garbage, pet food, bird feeders, bird nests, and they kill poultry. Raccoons are major hosts of rabies in the United States. Make sure to cut your tree branches back at least six to eight feet from your roof to protect yourself from these masked marauders as well as from fire laddering. Deter raccoons from setting up house with cayenne pepper sprinkled wherever needed and spray your shrubs and bushes with a solution of a bottle of hot sauce mixed with water. 

Wild Boars

Wild boars destroy yards, damage fences, and are a danger to humans. The destruction of property by feral hogs costs agriculture over $1.5 billion annually. They compete with wildlife for food and negatively impact our natural ecosystem, increasing soil erosion and decreasing water quality. Their trampling, rooting, and digging have devastated numerous lawns and gardens locally. Wild hogs are a horror show.

 

PESKY PLAYERS

Squirrels, deer, and turkeys are a nuisance to homeowners.

Squirrels

Bushy-tailed squirrels strip fruit and vegetables from trees and vines before it is harvest time and often take up residence in homes. I’ve witnessed squirrels scampering on my fence with an apple from my tree that was bigger than his head. They have denuded my pistache trees of their unripe berries and stolen all the chestnuts from the trees. Nevertheless, I enjoy their aerial antics and circus acrobatics as well as their lively chatter.

squirrel eating pistache berries (1).jpeg

Deer

Deer demolish gardens with their dining desires. The only sure way to keep them away from your sacred spaces is to build a tall fence enclosing your property. Since my garden is fenced and protected, I welcome the doe and her twin fawns on their daily 6:30 pm visit to graze on my grassy slope. Sometimes the stags sharpen their antlers on my oaks and often leave me a gift of them.

deer on hill (1).jpeg

Turkeys

Turkeys fly over those fences to forage for berries, bugs, and buds. Living in my pines, I sometimes have as many as two dozen gobbling and scratching. I’ve watched how they share the bounty of their discoveries with some of the birds shaking branches to release fruit to their young waiting below.

Elves, fairies, and gnomes are invited to roam my haunted garden to protect and serve.  If you get an infestation of any of the “beastly bad” or when the “pesky players” are bewitching and injurious to your property, it may behoove you to call in the ghostbusters, also known as licensed depredators for nuisance wildlife control. R.I.P.

SPOOKY SHRUBS

Ending this article on a lighter note, if you are looking for an all-black bush to showcase for Halloween, Proven Winners developed a crapemyrtle called Center Stage Red that boasts jet black leaves with stunning summer red blooms. I’m partnering this black beauty with a heat-tolerant gardenia, Steady as She Goes. Shrubs with names that evoke goosebumps include Ghost Weigela, Abracadabra Hydrangeas, and Handsome Devil Viburnum.

Proven Winner-Center Stage red crapemyrtle and steady as she goes gardenia.jpeg

As October comes to an end, I wish you zombie thrills, frights, and chills. May the grim reapers stay away from your garden. Charge up your broomsticks and have a very happy, safe Halloween.

Halloween pumpkin-mums.jpg

Happy gardening. Happy growing. Trick or Treat!

Photos and More: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1518/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Gremlins-of-the-garden.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.

cynthia- Halloween garden.jpeg

Buy copies of her books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD and special savings.

Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Cynthia Brian books banner.jpg

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