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Erin go Bragh!

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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Empowerment
Erin go Bragh!

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Top of the morning to you!

“May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrocks

May your heart be as light as a song.

May each day bring you bright

Happy hours that stay with you all the year long.”  Irish blessing.

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My first introduction to the Emerald Isles arrived when I was seven. First grade was the beginning of my education since pre-school and kindergarten did not exist in our neck of the woods. A new school had been constructed with young teachers dressed from head to toe in black with white collars who arrived from a faraway land called Ireland. These exotic nuns told the most marvelous tales of a land where mischievous little people known as leprechauns lived in tiny houses, worked as shoemakers, and hid their gold in pots at the end of the rainbow.

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Magical green shamrocks blanketed the fields and dales that were used by the legendary St. Patrick in the 4th century to explain the Holy Trinity to those he wanted to convert to Christianity. Best of all, we learned he had driven out the snakes.

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Rattlesnakes were everywhere on our ranch so the thought of being able to run barefoot through a field of clover sounded spectacular. By the age of nine, letters were flying across the pond to my pen pal in Dublin and, finally when I was eighteen, I visited her in this mythical landscape to become an adopted Irishwoman. Since then, I’ve spent many days traversing the island, soaking up the hospitality of the people and the beauty of the stones, seascapes, landscapes, cottages, and shamrocks. Most charming are the tiny doors built at the base of trees where the leprechauns live.

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Shamrocks grow in my garden in the colors of pink and yellow. There are over five hundred species of Oxalis, known as sorrel or shamrock. Many people consider them a weed because they do multiply. Because I love the Irish lore, I love my spreading shamrocks. They grow from a small bulb and in March sprout mounds of beautiful green clover-shaped leaves with flowers that open at the top of the morning and close at the end of the day. I started my collection by growing shamrocks indoors in a pot and eventually moved the plants outdoors. When the foliage turns yellow and begins to die, cut the leaves to let the plant sleep. Next season, the shamrocks will burst forth again. The tiny bulbs or tubers can easily be moved or transplanted elsewhere. Be aware that shamrocks can become invasive. If you have a small yard, it may be best to keep them in a container. Or designate one area of your garden for the shamrocks and don’t allow them to escape.

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Wear green on March 17 and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a pot of shamrocks on your table. They may not bring you a pot of gold, but shamrocks are a reminder that once we can travel again, visiting the land of leprechauns is at the end of the rainbow.

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Erin Go Bragh!

Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for March

Since I’ve been writing this column since 2008, I often mistakenly assume that readers understand that I encourage the use of organic and safe garden practices for feeding, fertilizing, spraying, or eliminating pests. There are always ways to create a beautiful garden without the use of toxic chemicals, insecticides, herbicides, and pesticides. Keeping our children, pets, and wildlife safe and healthy is of the utmost importance. Whether I specific an organic method or not, please always use eco-friendly products. By doing so, we’ll also heal our planet.

ELIMINATE SNAILS: Non-toxic to children, chickens, and other pets, Sluggo and Natria are two organic baits containing iron phosphate which naturally occurs in soil. Non-ingested bait degrades and becomes part of the soil. 

Other ways to purge snails and slugs include:

  1. a. Handpicking them. I often go out at night with a flashlight and a bucket. If you have chickens, ducks, or geese, they’ll feast on escargot. Otherwise, at the risk of sounding cruel, you must kill them. We do the snail stomp. Put on boots and dance around. Other ways include drowning them in a bucket of water.
  2. b. Trapping them. Snails like to hide in damp, dark refuges under flowerpots, boards, or plants. Gather them in the morning after their nightly raid.
  3. c. Beer bowls. Snails are attracted to the fermenting yeast of beers. If you put out saucers or shallow bowls of beer, they will fall in. They don’t get drunk. They drown in the beer. 
  4. d. Copper barriers. Copper bands or strips are probably the most effective barrier to keep snails and slugs out of pots and plants. It is work-intensive and more expensive, but especially useful around trees.
  5. e. Decollate snails: These predatory snails have been used in Southern California to control young small brown snails in citrus groves. However, they cannot be used in Northern California as they would endanger other mollusk species. 

Once you have killed your snails, you can add them to your compost pile where their moist bodies will decompose quickly. The shells will take a bit longer but will add nutrients as they compost. 

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UPGRADE your outdoor living to be a place that encourages peacefulness and solitude. Create an area where you can work and listen to the sounds of nature.

SUPPORT National Farmworkers Awareness Week March 25-31 by purchasing produce from socially responsible vendors.

TRY a solar-powered sonic mole deterrent that emits vibrations through the ground to keep these velvety creatures at bay. Moles do produce unsightly molehills and undermine plants with their shallow tunnels which can cause roots to dry out. They also do positive chores by feeding on slugs. 

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STORE garbage cans out of reach of scavengers. Don’t feed wildlife. Skunks, raccoons, and coyotes have become frequent neighborhood visitors and can be dangerous.

FEED your lawns. Healthy soil grows healthy strong grass. Top your lawn with ¼ inch of compost or use a slow-release organic fertilizer that disseminates their nutrients through animal, plant, and mineral matter. It is best to fertilizer before rainfall. 

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TURN on lawn sprinklers to check the heads have not been covered by new growing grass. 

DESTROY weeds and poison oak without toxic chemicals. 

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For weeds in sidewalk cracks, borders, and areas where lawns, flowers, and other plants won’t be affected, mix one tablespoon Dawn dishwashing detergent, a cup of salt, and a gallon of regular white vinegar in a pail. Pour into a spray bottle and spray on the weeds on a sunny day. The sunlight works the magic. Be careful where you spray as this solution is harmful to grass and plants. It will kill your weeds.

For poison oak or super-tough weeds, buy a gallon of 30% white vinegar and put it in a spray tank undiluted. Spray poison oak as it emerges in spring and do it on a warm, sunny day. The 30% white vinegar is very potent and will kill everything it touches. It is the safe and effective alternative to using Round Up for a similar amount of money.  It also is useful for cleaning brick and stone patios, driveways, greenhouses, and hothouses. It will dissolve calcium, mineral, and lime buildup. 

SPRING for spring on March 20th.  Enjoy the rebirth of our gardens and start digging deeper.

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Happy Spring!

Photos and mores: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1502/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Top-of-the-Morning.html

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

Buy copies of her best-selling books, 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. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD.

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

A Year to Remember and Forget!

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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Empowerment
A Year to Remember and Forget!

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MIRACLE MOMENT®

You will be remembered forever by the tracks you leave.”  Navajo saying

A MESSAGE FROM FOUNDER/EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CYNTHIA BRIAN 

The one-year anniversary of the global pandemic lock-down has arrived. It will be remembered as a year of fear, sadness, grief, unemployment, civil unrest, political polarity, racial discrimination, global natural disasters, online learning, myriad business closings, mask wearing, sheltering-in-place, social distancing, and the devastating Covid-19 virus. These are twelve months that we all want to forget.

Yet, amidst the destruction, devastation, and death, heroes have emerged. Essential personnel including medical staff, store employees, firefighters, police, postal workers, drivers, construction, maintenance, transportation, and utility workers, farm laborers, repair technicians, TV and radio employees, restauranteurs, and many other persons showed up to jobs despite the risks. Teachers pivoted to teach on-line classes as parents scrambled to help their children with this new mode of education. People who could work from home transitioned to performing their tasks from bedrooms, basements, and kitchen tables. We will remember and commemorate their dedication and kindness for years to come.

One thing is clear.

We have all been in this together although apart.

At Be the Star You Are!®, with all in-person events cancelled, we pivoted to increasing, growing, and managing our virtual programs including the Star Teen Book Review Team, our two radio broadcasts, and assisting with disaster relief, despite minimal donations and financial loss. Our programs have helped thousands, returned amazing results, and been extremely successful.

Everyone is ready to get back to some semblance of normalcy. It is heartbreaking that over 525,000 Americans have died from the disease. As vaccinations roll out, infection rates will decline, and we will once again be able to gather. Getting vaccinated is not a political statement. Both former Republican President Trump and sitting Democratic President Biden were both vaccinated in January. It is critical that all Americans follow suit to overcome this deadly disease.

My hope is that every individual will understand the importance of getting vaccinated as soon as it is available. Even after vaccination, we must still be diligent, wear a mask, and practice social distancing until herd immunity has been accomplished. A welcome pronouncement from the CDC this week exclaimed that those who have had both doses of the Pfizer and Moderna or the single dose of Johnson and Johnson may get together indoors with one another. Hurray for the vaccines!

2021 may also become a year to be remembered as the next baby boom. I’m calling it the year of Covid kids. It’s been a full year since I’ve seen my daughter and six months since seeing my son and their spouses. Now that I have been vaccinated, I can’t wait for a real hug. Most young couples I know are currently pregnant. Like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, my children have announced that they are both expecting baby girls this summer. What a gift of new beginnings.

Joy and strength emerge from adversity. Let us all do our part to bring a smile to another and peace to our planet. It is almost spring, a time of rebirth and renewal.

What tracks have you left this year? Leave a legacy. Make a difference. Forget and Remember.

Sending virtual hugs and lucky shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day.

Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556

Cynthia@BetheStarYouAre.org

https://www.BetheStarYouAre.org

http://www.BTSYA.org

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

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BE THE STAR YOU ARE! NAMED a 2021 TOP NONPROFIT&l

Thanks to our volunteers, supporters, donors, and community Be the Star You Are!® is one of the first charities of 2021 to be named a TOP NON PROFIT. Congratulations to all,. Read reviews and witness what people are saying about BTSYA!  https://greatnonprofits.org/org/be-the-star-you-are-inc

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Be the Star You Are!® has also earned the Platinum Seal of Transparency from Guidestar/Candid: https://www.guidestar.org/profile/94-3333882

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SIX SKILLS FOR READING COMPREHENSION

It may seem like reading is a straightforward task that is easy. Actually, you use many different skills together.  Together these skills lead to the goal of reading which is reading comprehension or understanding what you have read.

Reading comprehension can be challenging. Below are six essential skills needed to be able to comprehend what you have read. When kids have trouble with any of these, they can have trouble understanding what they are reading.

  1. 1. Decoding is vital in the reading process. Kids use this skill to sound out words they have heard before but have not yet seen written out. The ability to do that is the foundation for other reading skills.

Decoding relies on phonemic awareness. Phonemic awareness lets you hear individual sounds in words (known as phonemes). It allows kids to play with sounds at the word and syllable level. Decoding also relies on connecting sounds to letters. Grasping the connection between a letter(s) and the sounds they typically make is important in “sounding out” words.

  1. 2. Fluency.  Kids need to instantly recognize words to be able to read fluently. Fluency speeds up the rate at which they can read and understand.

Sounding out or decoding every word will take a lot of effort. Word recognition is the ability to recognize the whole word instantly by sight.

  1. 3. Vocabulary.  To understand what you are reading, you have to understand most of the words in the text. Strong vocabulary is a key part of reading comprehension. Kids can learn comprehension through instruction but also everyday experience and also reading.
  1. 4. Sentence Construction and Cohesion.   Understanding how sentences are built and understanding the connection between ideas within and between sentences (cohesion) are important for understanding what one is reading.

Knowing how ideas link up in the sentence helps kids get meaning from passages and entire texts.  Coherence is the ability to connect ideas to other ideas in a piece of text.

  1. 5. Reasoning and Background Knowledge.  Most readers relate what they’ve read to what they know. It’s important to have background knowledge. They also need to “read between the lines” and see the meaning when it’s not spelled out literally.
  1. 6. Working Memory and Attention.   When kids read, attention lets them take in information from what they are reading. Working Memory allows them to hold on to that information and gain meaning and knowledge form what they are reading. Self-monitoring is also important as kids need to know when they do not understand something.

Stephanie Cogeos is the Coordinator of the Star Teen Book Review Team.

Read the reviews at www.BTSYA.org

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

MAY THE ROAD RISE UP TO MEET YOU

No one knows exactly where the beloved Irish blessing “May the Road Rise Up to Meet You” came from. Some trace it back to St. Patrick because it is similar to his other writings. This blessing was originally an Irish prayer, first written in the Irish Gaelic language and then translated into English.

In Ireland, people have a deep appreciation for all things nature and outdoors. The Celts often used wind, sun and rain as symbols, or to show how God is connected with His people. In the 4th century, St Patrick used the green shamrock as a metaphor to explain the Holy Trinity as he converted the Irish to Christianity. The word comes from the Irish seamrog, meaning young clover. It is the unofficial flower of Ireland. Wearing a shamrock on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, has been a tradition.

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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“Communicate, collaborate, innovate.”

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EDU_TAINMENT WITH BE THE STAR YOU ARE! RADIO

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.

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You’ll meet authors, actors, artists, activists, musicians, poets, scientists, educators, and other creatives. Enjoy our upbeat, authentic, and fun radio parties on the Voice America Network Empowerment Channel or wherever you like to listen.

Visit https://www.StarStyleRadio.com for our line-up of guests.

SHOPPING?

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

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

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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/

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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

STAY SAFE! WEAR A MASK!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Remember and Forget. Leave a legacy. Wear green. 

Erin go Bragh!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

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For 2021: PLEASE make a DONATION through PAYPAL GIVING FUND and PAYPAL with 100% going to BTSYA with NO FEES:  https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

THANK YOU!

May you find your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! Health and Happiness.

Be the Star You Are!501 c3 charity

PO Box 376

Moraga, Ca. 94556

https://www.BetheStarYouAre.org

http://www.BTSYA.org

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