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Grateful Gardener

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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. 


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.  


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.


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.


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.



Season of Gratitude and Giving

Posted by Felix Assivo on
Season of Gratitude and Giving

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Season of Gratitude & Giving


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


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




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

Give Butter Campaign: GiveButter 



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


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


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


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


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/


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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

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

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


Thanksgiving is EVERYDAY!

Posted by presspass on
Thanksgiving is EVERYDAY!

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“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all others.” Cicero

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 MESSAGE FROM CYNTHIA BRIAN, Founder/Executive Director

2020 has been a year of overwhelming challenges.  Here in America, a land of great abundance, we are weathering enormous unemployment, social unrest, political disparity, and the devastating effects of the pandemic. As I write this, the CDC announced that over one million new cases occurred in the past seven days. The death toll is now at 256,000 and rising. My heart goes out to all of those who have lost loved ones during this terrible crisis.


The best way to stay safe this Thanksgiving is to celebrate only with those you live with. Protect yourself and others from Covid-19 by staying home. Make health a priority over parties.

Being human means that all of us, regardless of race, religion, economics, politics, or sex, will always have difficult times to overcome. No matter what we endure, we need to express gratitude for what we have, not what we don’t. With so much loss, it is tough to be positive, yet even more necessary to give thanks daily. Gratitude exalts the heart and feeds the soul.


Be the Star You Are!® continues its outreach programs virtually. Both of our radio broadcasts, StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® and Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio, bring you authors, artists, actors, musicians, and other creatives who are struggling during this pandemic. Make sure to tune in and support their work. You may find our line-up of remarkable guests at https://www.StarStyleRadio.com

We have beautiful new books available to donate through our holiday distribution program. If your organization, shelter, church, hospital, or other group would like to apply to receive books, please email me for guidelines. Cynthia@BetheStarYouAre.org

Tuesday, December 1st is Giving Tuesday. Created in 2012, Giving Tuesday is a day dedicated to inspiring millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity. If there ever was a year when donations are necessary, this is it. If you are in a position to donate, please go to https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504 No donation is too small or too big. Help us continue our vital programs in 2021.

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This will be the first year in my life that I will only be celebrating Thanksgiving with one other person, my husband. The toasts and prayers will be for health, peace, unity, decency, and love for our global community.

My sincerest wishes to you for a healthy and happy day of Thanksgiving. Take a walk outdoors, inhale the fresh fall air, and experience the solace of nature.

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I am grateful for you and your dedication to make this world a better place.

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Stay joyful and give thanks for what you have.


“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”    Charles Dickens, 1812-1870, Novelist

Blessings, grace, and peace.


Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556





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




Many of us have struggled this year as we continue to live through this pandemic. Lives have been lost, hearts have been shattered. It is clear that we all have to take time to heal our souls. Thanksgiving is a time where we all come together with our families, friends and the people we love.


Even though it is difficult to celebrate normally this year, we can celebrate safely. We can socially distance with our loved ones, or gather together with the people we’ve quarantined with, or even have a simple phone call with a friend.  We can enjoy life despite the craziness. Remember and appreciate the little things we all cherish in life.


It is the season of giving and gratitude. Stay safe. Life is worth living.

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Angelica Parmoshin is a high school senior devoting time and efforts to volunteering with life changing organizations. Read more http://www.btsya.com/resources.html


How can we thank the teachers and staff who tirelessly work to educate and comfort our youth?  Whether or not we have children in school, we all want our future generation to thrive and grow.

As a simple gesture of thanks, my husband and I decided to give the gift of coffee to teachers and staff at two local schools.  We added a card that says “You Are Awesome!”

By purchasing bags of ground coffee from the Friends of San Lucas, we’re supporting the coffee farmers in Guatemala.

Think about thanking a teacher today!

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Karen Kitchel 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



Thanksgiving in 2020 looks a little different this year. I’m grateful to be able to celebrate and spend time with my family.


Thanksgiving has always been my second favorite holiday (next to Christmas). What I love about Thanksgiving is having the moment to reflect and show gratitude. Usually, every year we go to my aunt’s house in Yorba Linda. We play games, eat great food, and have fun with tons of family. This year due to COVID it will just be myself and my parents at our home this year. I am looking forward to eating food, playing games with my family, watching movies, and having fun with our new dog Bronco.


This year I am grateful for many things. I am grateful for my mom, dad, family, and friends. I am also grateful for my basketball team, my life, BE THE STAR YOU ARE!® (BTSYA), and most of all keeping a level head throughout this year.

I hope everyone has the best Thanksgiving ever!


Stay safe and Peace out!!

Jonathan Jackson

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Thirteen year-old Jonathan Jackson is a reporter on Express Yourself!® Teen Radio with his segment, Jay’s Sport’s World. He maintains a 4.0, is passionate about basketball, and dreams of attending U.C.L.A. in their journalism program.  https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2014/express-yourself


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The holidays are approaching.To avoid exposure to coronavirus in stores, you may wish to shop on-line. We have suggestions for you to shop, save, and stay safe. Please use these web sites for all of your shopping essentials.

2020 Amazon smile logo.jpg1. 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

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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

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

cynthia brian's books.jpg5Stock up on autographed, first edition books from our StarStyle® store and we will include extra goodies with your order. Plus, through the holidays we are including a complimentary CD of beautiful, relaxing music to help you decompress. https://www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store.


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




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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


2020-top-rated-awards-badge-embed.jpgGREAT NON PROFITS REVIEWS: https://greatnonprofits.org/org/be-the-star-you-are-inc

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

We invite you to volunteer, get involved, or make a donation. Make a DONATION through PAYPAL GIVING FUND and PAYPAL with 100% going to BTSYA with NO FEES:  https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

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May you and your loved ones enjoy a restful and blessed Thanksgiving wherever you are and whatever you do. 


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

Gratitude through the Flames

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Gratitude through the Flames

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Miracle Moment®

“The difference between a good life and a bad life is how well you walk through the fire.” Carl Jung, psychologist

MESSAGE FROM CYNTHIA BRIAN, Founder/Executive Director


cynthia brian-India mustardOctober was a frightening and challenging month for residents of California. Rampant power black outs and raging fires throughout the state required thousands of people to evacuate their homes. After producing our radio broadcasts, I went to bed on a Wednesday night and  at 2:15 am, my husband and I were awoken by firefighters pounding on our door shouting “evacuate now!” We were given 60 seconds to leave as the fire was flaming near our fence less than 100 feet away. Feeling immense gratitude for surviving the inferno, I quickly penned what I had learned during that frantic flee: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1317/One-Minute-to-Evacuate-a-personal-perspective-from-the-Oct-10-fire.html .

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November is the month to express our thanks. First responders deserve major credit and gratitude for saving property and lives. Both fire and police personnel have been working tirelessly throughout California during these unprecedented times.

Climate change is rapidly fueling natural disasters. Be the Star You Are!® continues to spearhead Operation Disaster Relief and we encourage you to contribute. No longer can we start a campaign only when tragedy strikes. Disasters have become a part of daily life and Be the Star You Are!® must be ready to assist at a moments notice.  All donations are greatly appreciated to help us help those in need. Make a DONATION through PAYPAL GIVING FUND with 100% going to BTSYA with NO FEES:  https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504.

Or send a check to BTSYA, PO Box 376, Moraga, California 94556. Give to this favorite 501(c)(3) and receive a deduction on your 2019 taxes if you itemize.

The power black outs continued throughout the month and it may be wise to take the steps to be self-sufficient or off the grid as we are living in a new environment. I’ve published two important articles for the newspaper where I work to help others know how to prepare for an emergency. Make sure to read these as they may save your life and that of your family and friends. Send these links to those you love to help them prepare for whatever disaster lurks in our future.

Safety first: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1318/Safety-First-Emergency-Preparation-and-the-Go-Bag.html

Scary, scary night: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1318/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Scary-scary-night.html

As we prepare for the holiday season of gifts and giving, we want to introduce you to books that will inspire and thrill you. Make sure to check out our Spotlight book, I am Me, a powerful book by teens with original art and poetry expressing the importance of being your authentic self. Also, order copies of our three signature books in the Be the Star You Are!® series for true stories, adages, and exercises to help you live, laugh, learn, and love more fully with 100% of the profits benefiting this charity. Giving Tuesday is December 3rd this year, so please mark your calendar and ask your company to match your donation.

Thank you to everyone for your patience, understanding, checking in, and love. We are very appreciative. Be safe and sound. Let’s hope no one has to walk through the fire to have a great life,

“Communicate, Collaborate, Innovate!”  Join us! Thanksgiving is TODAY and EVERYDAY!

Blessings and Gratitude,

Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556




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

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20th Ca. legislature Honor for BTSYARecently, we received a lovely letter and Certificate of Recognition from the California Legislature congratulating Be the Star You Are!® on 20 years of service to the community. What an unexpected honor for which we are grateful to Assembly member, Rebecca Bauer-Kahan . We share this commendation with all of our dedicated volunteers and supporters. With your assistance, Be the Star You Are!® continues its imperative mission to empower women, families, and youth through increased literacy, positive media messages, and tools for living.

20th letter-Ca. legislature Honor for BTSYA

SPOTLIGHT on the teen book, I AM ME

spotlightI Am Me: Teen Artists and Writers Speak Out on Being Yourself 

This is a powerful book that helps young people believe that you don’t have to achieve “perfection” to be “perfect.”

“Edgy, powerful, insightful, and honest.” 

The pages in this book pairs award winning art and writing to empower teens to shake off negative influences to realize it is okay to be themselves. Each piece of art is skillfully matched with writing to reflect the attitude of a generation of teens who want to fit in but feel inadequate due to societal pressures.

www.i-am-me-teen.com or order on Amazon.

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Listen to Editor, Tom Worthen, Ph.d interviewed on Express Yourself! Teen Radio about this poignant message. https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/118745/optimism-with-i-am-me

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Our Teen Event Director, Siri Phaneendra, did a fabulous job of putting on the BTSYA booth at the recent Pear and Wine Festival. Her mother and sister helped her with the new henna activity. Express Yourself!® radio hosts Kenneth Jeon and Jack Pawlakos were on hand to work in the booth. Thanks to Lamorinda Weekly newspaper for sponsorship and lending us the great canopy. What a fantastic family day of fun!

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BTSYA is a TOP NON PROFIT for 2019

2019-top-rated-awards-badge-embedWe have been honored with a Top-Rated Award for 2019 from GreatNonprofits! We appreciate all of your contributions! http://greatnonprofits.org/reviews/be-the-star-you-are-inc/


Dr Dravon James-EvdyPeaceCynthia Brian was thrilled and honored to be a guest on Dr. Davon James LIVE radio broadcast on Veteran’s Day focusing on passion. Cynthia and Dr. James share how everyone can create success by living and working with passion. You are enough! Listen now! https://www.unityonlineradio.org/everyday-peace/living-and-working-your-passion

Express Yourself!® Teen Radio host Henna Hundal (also host of syndicated The Henna Hundal Show) facilitated an impressive broadcast about the critical importance of mentorship and coaching. Nicholas Donzelli, a ten year veteran of volunteering coaching of an award winning water polo team shared his insights along with Be the Star You Are!® founder and StarStyle® coach, Cynthia Brian. Having a coach and/or mentor in your life can help you launch your dreams. Be authentic. Tune in https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/118595/mentoring-with-henna-hundal-nick-donzelli-and-cynthia-brian

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Bill Gates and Henna Hundal  Malala Yousafzai and Henna Hundal


2019-platinum-seal-guidestarGivingTuesday​ started as a day for anyone, anywhere to give, and it’s grown into the biggest giving movement in the world. Celebrated each year on the Tuesday following U.S. Thanksgiving, and fueled by the power of social media, GivingTuesday inspires millions of people across the globe to show up and give back to causes and issues that matter to them. The goal is to create a massive wave of generosity that lasts well beyond that day, and touches every person on the planet. GivingTuesday takes place on December 3, 2019 this year. Create a fundraiser and ask your employer to match donations. Be the Star You Are!® will use your contributions for our ongoing outreach programs, disaster relief, and positive message radio broadcasts. Donations can be made to Be the Star You Are! via PAYPAL GIVING FUND with no fees. https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504. You will receive an instant tax receipt.

Then, continue being kind and doing good all year round.


2018 Xmas with Santa-5A 2Mark your calendars for a jolly journey to the north pole on December 14th.  Be the Star You Are!® volunteers once again collaborate with 5 A Rent a Space in Moraga to bring Santa and his elves to the neighborhood. Kids can write a letter to Mr. Claus, get a FREE photo sitting on his lap, get creative with festive art projects, and enjoy hot chocolate and special treats. Holiday cards and books will be available for sale as a donation to BTSYA. The event is FREE for the entire family. 11am-3pm. Come enjoy holiday cheer with all of us.


By Karen Kitchel

You know the feeling deep within. Someone just came to your door with a basket of warm cookies because they know you’re having a tough day.  You narrowly escape your burning home while a firefighter goes back in to save your puppy. Or maybe it was a stranger who picked up all the spilled candy that your little darling scattered on the supermarket floor.

Sometimes we wish we had a word much stronger than “thanks” to convey our heartfelt appreciation.  Perhaps by adding a sincere look or a tap on the arm, we can transfer our feelings of gratitude.

What else can we do to say thanks?  I once gave a co-worker a post-it note with a word of thanks, and ten years later she told me it still could be seen on her refrigerator. Think back to a time when you really felt thanked for something you said or did.  Why do you still remember that feeling?

While we celebrate one special day of giving thanks this month, we can enjoy the power of thanking someone every day.

BTSYA volunteer Karen Kitchel serves meals to the homeless, is a volunteer teacher, writer, job coach, and mentor. She wrote the chapter, The Gift of Adoption, in our book, Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers Celebrating Gifts of Positive Voices in a Changing Digital World. www.scatteringkindness.com

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Other easy ways that assist our mission and don’t cost you a penny!

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

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

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

& buy from your favorite stores.

4. Search and Shop: Choose Be the Star You Are as your charity to support. You can log in with Facebook, too!http://www.goodsearch.com/goodto-go/be-the-star-you-are

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

6. BTSYA Logo Storehttp://btsya.rylees.net

7. Buy or Sell on EBAY:http://givingworks.ebay.com/charity-auctions/charity/be-the-star-you-are-501-c-3/1504/?favorite=link

8. Designer Clothes to Buy or Sell: https://www.unionandfifth.com/charities/be-the-star-you-are-moraga-ca/shop

9. Buy “Read, Lead, Succeed” T-shirts and tanks $19.99 at StarStyle® Store: https://www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store

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

We appreciate a direct donation most of all via PAYPAL GIVING FUND at https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We invite you to volunteer, get involved, or make a donation. Make a DONATION through PAYPAL GIVING FUND and PAYPAL with 100% going to BTSYA with NO FEES:  https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

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


”I admire you because despite your fears you face destiny as a beast and manage to reverse the worst situation. You don’t believe in dramatic forecasts and wake up every morning wanting to give the world the best. Thank you!” Nico Ficarelli, Decendiente de Manuel Creador De Argentina

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556




All donations are 100% Tax Deductible according to law. Thank you!


Happy Day of Thanksgiving! 

We Appreciate you!

Norbert's turkeys



See all: http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/672296/fe82bef3f1/288055965/ac7221bc2f/


A Time and a Season

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A Time and a Season

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 “To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

With the power disruptions and fire fears of October in our rearview mirrors, we welcome November with open arms and grateful hearts. It won’t be long before the rains arrive. Driving or walking throughout the region, we witness a marvelous display of fall foliage as leaves on many deciduous trees turn from green to saffron to tangerine to crimson before dropping to the ground. 

Time to fertilize heavily. In autumn, plants quit sending minerals and water to leaves and blooms. The nutrients are instead directed to increase the roots while storing food for the winter months.  We witness the foliage color change to our great delight .

When you fertilize at this time of year, you’ll be feeding your trees, shrubs, plants, and lawns. This dormant feeding is crucial for the success of your garden for the following seasons.  The roots are busy storing nourishment even though the above-ground growth has halted. It’s best to do this heavy feeding after the first rain to assist the fertilizer to go deeper into the ground. The soil is still warm and will soak up the fertilizer. 

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Time to feed lawns. Lawns especially need fertilizing now. The blade growth has slowed, a signal that roots are digging deeper. Gradually start mowing your lawn shorter and fertilize heavily to prepare the grass for the long cold months ahead. There is still time to aerate if your clay soil is compacted. After the first rain is a good time to re-seed grass or install new sod. Make a personal batch of grass patch by mixing a bag of potting soil in a wheelbarrow with enough lawn seed until you see 20 or more seeds per handful. Scratch or till any bare patches, scatter the seed over the fresh soil, rake lightly, water, and wait for the seedlings to sprout. Keep the area damp until grass is established. Do not let it dry out.

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Time to prune dead branches and rake leaves. No plant or tree is fireproof. 

Dead branches, dry leaves, and grasses are highly flammable. Reduce fuel laddering by pruning trees 6-10 feet from the ground and several feet from roofs. A person should be able to walk under a tree without being hit by a branch. Clean out your gutters, eaves, porches, and decks. 

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Time to watch for rodents and skunks. It’s mating season for rodents and skunks. The recent fires have impacted wildlife movement allowing animals to migrate closer to residential development, including a plethora of rats. Vector Control Inspector, Joe Cleope, alerted me about the new procedures and protocols instigated in the district. Many people don’t know that Vector Control is a free service. If you have a question or concern, please visit the website for assistance. https://www.contracostamosquito.com.

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Time to plant garlic. Vampires may not like garlic, but foodies do! Planting just a dozen cloves will yield you a harvest of more than 120 cloves. A bulb has several cloves to break apart before planting in a sunny location in rich, well-drained soil. Put the pointy side up and the flat side down, cover the cloves with a layer of mulch, and they will multiply forming a new bulb. Harvesting will be late summer when the tops have yellowed. You can then tie or braid the stalks or cut the leaves above the bulb. Always save a large bulb for the next year of planting.

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Time to harvest and eat pineapple guavas. Called feijoa, the fruit is self-harvesting. It falls from the tree when ripe, however, you can also pick the fruit. When cut, a fully ripened feijoa will have clear-colored jellied sections. If not ripe, put in a brown paper bag for a few days with an apple. Scoop out the sweet/tart jelly and eat raw or make jams, sauces, glazes, or add to salads. The perfume from the fruit is as delicious as the fruit!

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Time to cut hydrangea blossoms. If you enjoy drying the flowers of hydrangeas, November is a perfect month to do so. If not, once the flowers fade, cut back the stems to encourage new growth.

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Time to plant succulents. Succulents are drought and fire-resistant. Many boast beautiful flowers, unique shapes, and striped striations. Planting a selection in one designated area presents a bigger impact of form, texture, and color.


Time for final grape harvesting. The crops of grapes have come to season’s end.  If you still have bunches hanging on the vine, take the opportunity to cut them to refrigerate or dehydrate. Use the red-hued leaves in your autumn decorations and place settings.



Time to give thanks. We all have so much for which to be grateful. As Thanksgiving nears, take time to express your appreciation for the blessings and gifts you have received. Remember the people in your life that have been there for you on all occasions…the good, the bad, and the ugly.

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To everything there is a season and now is the time to turn, turn, turn. 

Happy gardening. Happy growing. 

Photos and More: http://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1319/Cynthia-Brians-Gardening-Guide-for-November-A-time-to-plant-a-time-to-reap.html

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Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, raised in the vineyards of Napa County, is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. 

Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Buy a copy of her books, Growing with the Goddess Gardener and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.StarStyleStore.net

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



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Giving Gratitude for Food: Today and Beyond!

Posted by Editor on
Giving Gratitude for Food: Today and Beyond!


Thanksgiving presents an opportunity to express our gratitude for food, even if to say ‘Yum!’ or give kudos to the cook. But do we do that every day? Or each time we eat? I invite you to begin a practice of giving gratitude for food no matter where you are now. That’s where I’m at, too. 😉

It’s hard to give gratitude for something that we don’t appreciate. In modern society, food comes too easily to us to really honor its origin. We can grab it off a supermarket shelf or from the deli counter, we can dine in our cars – even purchasing our meal from a drive through, we can grab a bite from a vending machine, we can place an order online and have it delivered to our door. The list seems to go on and on. I appreciate convenience. But as a society, it’s time to re-educate ourselves about what it takes to bring food to the table. With all the fast food, processed food, and modified food of the last 5o years, or so, convenience has caused us to lose our perspective and appreciation for what is real in regard to food. 

Another reason we may overlook giving gratitude for food is that we lose sight of the obvious: that is, we don’t fully acknowledge how important food is in our lives. That beyond the fundamental aspect of supporting our existence, our relationship with food is, arguably, our most intimate relationship of all. We all have relationships – with our partners, our children, our co-workers, our neighbors, our phones, and so on, but have you ever really considered that you are in a relationship with food? Unlike our relationships with people, food is something that we interact with each and every day of our entire life. There are few, if any, people with whom we do that. Children grow and leave the house, we move to another state or country, and we change jobs, thus changing the landscape of whom we interact with on a daily basis. But food is something that is constantly with us, throughout the journey of our lives. Further, food is something that we literally take into ourselves and that literally becomes a part of us. Now, that’s intimate! We all have a relationship with food. It’s a question of how much we are to understand that relationship and to honor it. I think it’s fair to say that many people have a broken relationship with food, leading to the consequence of addiction and obsession, epidemics of chronic disease like overweight, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer, autoimmune disorders, and so on. Even our good intentions around making homemade food can dissolve into a series of complaint and resentment, huffs and gruff, leaving us with little energy to express sincere gratitude, let alone enjoy our food. It’s time to explore more in regard to the sacredness of food and giving gratitude for it. 

In order to give gratitude for food, we must first recognize the reason(s) for which we are grateful for food. The reason(s) behind our gratitude may change from one eating episode to another.

Reasons to be Grateful for Food

  • It tastes good.
  • It nourishes our body.
  • It’s beautiful.
  • It’s fun to grow.
  • It helps us to heal.
  • It gives us energy to do our work.
  • It delights us.
  • It warms me up on a cold winter’s day.
  • It’s fun to prepare.
  • It provides a way for us to connect with our family and friends.

Ways to Express Gratitude for Food

There are many ways to give thanks for our food. Any sincere expression of gratitude will serve the same purpose, which is to slow us down enough to connect with the sacred. This alone brings tremendous benefits to our body, mind, and spirit. Given that most of us eat several times or are each day, food can serve as one of the most powerful reminders to connect with the divine.

Most cultures and religions have a way to express thanks for what is about to be eaten. Holding a deep connection to the earth, Native Americans honor the exchange of life in regard to food. They ask the Spirit that dwells in the living food – whether animal or plant – for permission to take its life. They then give thanks to the Spirit for its willingness to sacrifice its own life for their benefit and sometimes make an offering of corn or tobacco, for example, in compensation for this sacrifice. Such an act acknowledges that something has been given and received on both sides.

One of the most common ways to express gratitude is by saying grace, which is a specific form of ritual. One may choose to speak freely from the heart – even when dining alone – or n behalf of a group. One may also recite or read a specific prayer from a spiritual tradition or from literature, such as Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. If you are not comfortable saying a prayer out loud, you can practice gratitude through silence. If the expressions sincere, the offering will be effective. Silence doesn’t just happen; it has to be allowed. It requires us to make a conscious decision not only to refrain from speech, but also to withdraw from activities that fill our minds with noise, such as watching television, listening to the radio, or reading a book. Even in prayer, which people most often do silently, we can be so busy voicing our praise and requests to the divine that we often don’t allow for the space to receive the gifts and messages that the universe intends for us. As with saying grace, a moment of silence can be shared by a group of people or practiced alone. The important thing is that this moment be used to consciously appreciate the food about to be eaten.

Where are you in the process of giving gratitude for food? In what ways are you beginning to offer gratitude for food? Let us know! Let’s keep the conversation growing. We’re in this relationship for life, after all!

“If the only prayer you say in your whole life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” Meister Eckhart


A Registered Dietitian with degrees in Public Health Nutrition and Culture & Creation Spirituality, Lisa is uniquely qualified to help us understand, heal, and nourish our relationship with food.

To explore more about giving gratitude for food, listen to this episode of SacredExplorationhttps://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/103760/nourishing-healthy-attitudes-about-food

To purchase The Sacred Art of Eating: Healing Our Relationship with Food: https://www.amazon.com/Sacred-Art-Eating-Healing-Relationship/dp/0988726602/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1511457125&sr=8-1&keywords=sacred+art+of+eating






Thanksgiving Every Day By Ariel & Shya Kane

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7th Wave
Thanksgiving Every Day By Ariel & Shya Kane

November 23: Thanksgiving Every Day

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

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

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

More Here!

Time for Giving and Gratitude By Cynthia Brian

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Time for Giving and Gratitude By Cynthia Brian


“There are eight rungs in charity. The highest is when you help a man to help himself.”― Maimonides

Message from Founder, Cynthia Brian

For me Thanksgiving is every day because I truly believe in being grateful. So often we tend to focus on what we don’t have instead of offering thanks for what we do have. I am grateful for my health,  a loving family, a roof over my head, food in my belly, friends to play with, nature to grow me, work for which I’m passionate, and for all of you who support, volunteer, donate, and believe in the mission of Be the Star You Are!® Here at Be the Star You Are!® we truly believe in empowerment, starting with encouraging and mentoring our volunteers to be the best they can be. Everyday we are reaching for the stars and helping others learn to land on them too.

As the holidays begin, we hope you will give yourself the gift of year-end giving by opening your wallets to make a tax deductible donation to Be the Star You Are!®. We make it so easy for you.
You can send a check to BTSYA, PO Box 376, Moraga, Ca. 94556. You can call us with a credit card at 925-377-STAR, or easiest of all, make your donation on-line either at our web site www.BetheStarYouAre.org or directly at PayPal Giving Fund where 100% of your donation funds our outreach projects.

As you reflect on what matters most in your life, consider sharing the bounty to improve the lives of those less fortunate through the outreach programs of Be the Star You Are!®.
Gratitude is an attitude and we THANK  YOU!
Have a healthy, happy, generous Thanksgiving. Remember to always BE the STAR YOU Are!

Cynthia Brian
Founder/Executive Director

PS: Congratulations to our teen radio hosts and reporters celebrating 5 years and 242 original programs on Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio broadcasting on Voice America Kids Network.  


Be the Star You Are!® has been working diligently to give a new book for the holidays to families and children in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina who suffered losses during the horrible storms of Hurricane Matthew. Brand new books totaling over $15,000 have been shipped to date. Many thanks go to our author partners Brooks Olbrys, Diana Zimmerman, Cynthia Brian, and Lee Ann Mancini for participating in Operation Hurricane Matthew Disaster Relief.  For more information and to donate go to  http://www.bethestaryouare.org/noperation-hurricane-disaster-relie

Here’s what a few of the beneficiaries have written.

“We received the beautiful books you sent to First Books of Beaufort. Thank you so much! I will send photos when we are distributing the books.” Peg Schlichtemeier, First Books of Beaufort,

“The books are beautiful!! We will begin to organize and wrap them soon. Thank you again for the generous donation! Those books will be a wonderful gift for the many children we serve this Christmas.
Have a blessed and healthy Christmas and New Year!!!
Sincerely, Nadine King, Christmas Come True”, Florida

“Awesome – thanks so much.” Vincent J. DelMonte, Executive Director,
Frank Callen Boys & Girls Clubs, Georgia

Katie HuangMaria Wong-EY
Our gratitude goes out to Katie Huang who has been our Teen Book Review Coordinator for the past few years. Since Katie is now in college and her hours are more restricted, she is turning over her reins to Maria Wong, an active BTSYA volunteer as well as reporter and host on Express Yourself!®. For volunteers who are part of the Star Book Review Team, please submit your book reviews to bluemango321@yahoo.com.  Welcome Maria to your new leadership position!


November 23-November 29th:  
GIVING WEEK: Giving Assistant will double donations 11/23-11/29

It’s Giving Week at Giving Assistant where you SAVE more and they GIVE more.
You’ll earn the highest cash back rates of the year and Giving Assistant will double all donations when you shop at all of your favorite brands online from 11/23-11/29 including Etsy, Home Depot, Macy’s, Gilt, Nasty Gal, and thousands more. Start shopping and giving.

December 17 11am-3pm PT
Visit and Photo with Santa

Visit and Photo with Santa on Saturday, December 17th, 2016
In collaboration with 5 A Rent A Space, teen volunteers from Be the Star You Are!® will help children write letters to Santa and enjoy arts and crafts as well as get a framed photo with Santa Claus himself!. Cookies, fruit, candy canes, and hot cocoa will be served. The event is FREE to the public. Bring your little ones to a visit with Santa.

Date: Saturday, December 17, 2016
Time: 11am-3pm
Place: 5 A Rent a Space
455 Moraga Road
Moraga, California 94556

It will be a fun-filled time for all ages who believe in the magic of Christmas.
Donations greatly appreciated for the outreach programs of the all volunteer non profit Be the Star You Are!®

See you there!

Shop, Give, and Get Connected!
If you love to shop online, you’ll love the ways you can be donating to Be the Star You Are!® without spending a penny more, and sometimes saving a lot. The next time you want to buy ANYTHING, click on one of our links and you’ll
be supporting BTSYA while getting the best value for yourself!

Ways to Help

1. AmazonSmile donates .5% of purchases  
2. Discounted books at Amazon
3. Buy or Sell on EBAY 
4. Use GoodSearch to search the web & buy from your favorite stores,. Choose Be the Star You Are as your charity to support. You can log in with Facebook, too!  
5. Shop at over 1300 stores on IGIVE.
6. BTSYA Logo Store 
7. Giving Assistant: Shop. Earn. Give! Use Giving Assistant to earn cash back at 1800+ popular online stores, then donate a percentage to BTSYA.

If you would like to make a direct donation to our giving fund, please visit our Paypal page!

Links you can use for Be the Star You Are!®
Positive Results
About Us

How to Help  
Contact us

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

The 5th Anniversary of Express Yourself!™ By Cynthia Brian

Posted by Editor on
The 5th Anniversary of Express Yourself!™ By Cynthia Brian


Every Tuesday at NOON PT, the talented teens of Be the Star You Are!® bring you an exciting, informative, mind-boggling program with fresh ideas from youthful minds. Join the fun!

On this 242nd original radio program, the teen hosts and reporters of Express Yourself!™ celebrate FIVE years of weekly broadcasting on the Voice America Kids Network.

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Hosts Asya Gonzalez and Maria Wong share their early memories of being reporters, the thrill of hosting, and their appreciation for the opportunities experienced on Express Yourself!™. Katelyn Darrow who has been a host and reporter for four of the five years recalls when she began as a high school freshman and what she has learned from interviewing and reporting as the years have passed.


Henna Hundal chimes in with her appreciation for the opportunities gained and the one-of-a-kind experiences she has enjoyed while making a difference for others in our world.


With his World Watch report, Joven Hundal, speaks of the past year’s accomplishments of outstanding teens all around the world, a refreshing look at how youth are changing the face of the earth for the better.
All of the young adults express their sincerest gratitude to the Voice America Kids Network, Be the Star You Are!®, Cynthia Brian, their radio colleagues, and the listeners around the world for the incredible growth experiences that being part of this stellar team have endowed upon them as individuals. The Express Yourself!™ teens are engaged, educated, entertaining, and most of all inspiring. Congratulations to the STARS of Express Yourself!™ on five years of excellence.

Speak up, Speak out, and Be Heard at Express Yourself! â„¢ Teen Radio

Listen at Voice America Network  

View Photos, Descriptions, & More at Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio


Check out our online fundraiser 
and our “Strikingly Blog and Literacy Page”

What’s happening? Want to party? Visit our Event page


Help Be the Star You Are!® without spending a penny. If you’ve ever purchased a TV or computer screen, just 3 minutes of your time is needed to fill out the simple form and click submit. Every unit qualifies for a donation of about $20 to Be the Star You Are!®. You will receive a tax receipt once the donations have been dispersed. PLEASE do this today. Thanks from Be the Star You Are!®
Catch up with all broadcasts on ITunes
Buy books by Cynthia Brian 
Amazon Store 

Express Yourself! Teen Radio is produced by Cynthia Brian of Starstyle Productions, llc as an outreach program of Be the Star You Are! charity. To make a tax-deductible donation to keep this positive youth programming broadcasting weekly to international audiences, visit . Dare to care!

For all the latest news on what teens are talking about on Express Yourself! Teen Radio embed this code into your blogs and web sites <Iframe src=”http://www.voiceamerica.com/jwplayer/HostPlayer.html?showid=2014″frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”auto” width=”420″ height=”380″></Iframe>
Thanks for supporting teens!
Lend us Your Ears!!!

Make a donation today to Be the Star You Are!® charity
Cynthia Brian talks about the empowering outreach programs offered by Be the Star You Are!® charity.

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

Links you can use for Be the Star You Are!®
Positive Results
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Contact us

Growing Gratitude! By Cynthia Brian

Posted by Editor on
Growing Gratitude! By Cynthia Brian

Cynthia Brian-Thanksgiving bouquet 

“Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.” Henry Ward Beecher
Are you grateful for the simple things in life? This is the perfect time of the year to reflect upon our blessings and gifts. I am so thankful for all of you who read Digging Deep, Gardening with Cynthia Brian. Your interest and questions are always appreciated. Thank you, also, for so many of you who have hired me to help you with your planting needs or garden desires. It’s magnificent to grow with you.
Every day I am very grateful to be a gardener to witness the beauty, bounty, and endless diversity of Mother Nature. Our landscapes are ever changing. What’s here today may not be here tomorrow, nor, the next year. Seeing the cows grazing in the hills, breathing our clean air, enjoying peace, safety, and serenity that only comes from living in this semi-rural environment makes my heart sing with gratitude.
Wild turkeys have moved into Lamorinda territory, immune to the possibility of becoming a holiday main dish! A big Tom waddled across my driveway as two-dozen of his hens toppled and gobbled the berries from the top of my Chinese pistache. As annoying as they can be, I’m happy to co-exist with the wild things. You may want to collect a few of the beautiful turkey feathers as I do to add to your holiday bouquets!
Persimmon trees are bursting with orange tangy fruit, ready for our holiday puddings. Fall is still showing off its brilliant robes of reds, yellows, and gold, yet there is a nip in the air reminding us that winter in a little over a month. Pumpkins and gourds are still a seasonal favorite. Native to North America, pumpkins are a vegetable, not a fruit, genus Cucubita, species pepo or maxima. They are a type of winter squash and the really weird, ugly ones are the most delicious. The blue-green pumpkins you are growing or have purchased are derived from New Zealand. Cook them as their golden-yellow flesh boasts a sweet, mild aromatic flavor. Were you repelled by the warty pumpkins you saw in markets this year? Don’t be! Those ugly growths are actually sugar secretions. The more warty the pumpkin, the smoother, creamier, and sweeter the flesh inside. Make a pumpkin puree for dinner, or a scrumptious pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving and you’ll be hooked!
As we soon bid farewell to fall, let us all keep gratitude in our hearts as we look for the fertile joys that sprout with simplicity. Believe something wonderful is about to transpire.
Grow and glow in gratefulness.
Cynthia Brian’s Mid Month Garden Reminders

PLANT Woodland Herbaceous Peonies, a separate species of herbaceous peony that thrive in the shade. Naturalizing in a deciduous woodland area with the early spring sun and summer shade, they will grow to 1.5 feet tall and self-seed as a ground cover. . Woodland peonies provide three-season appeal with delicate white flowers in early spring, lush green foliage throughout the growing seasons, and dramatic indigo and scarlet seed pods in the fall. http://peonysenvy.com

LOOKING for a pre-planned garden selection. High Country Gardens offers deer and drought resident plants that have color, texture, and curb appeal. http://www.highcountrygardens.com

PRUNE those thorny creepers, bougainvillea, now to remove old flowers. Cover with burlap if exposed in an area that gets frost.
Tom turkey & Rhododenron
COLLECT turkey feathers to add to bouquets to wreaths for Thanksgiving.
Hachiya persimmons
PICK persimmons. Fuyu persimmons can be eaten like apples but the hachiyas must be mushy ripe before eating.
PUREE warty pumpkins for the sweetest, smoothest, most delicious pumpkin dish you’ll ever taste. Obviously, don’t puree the skins!

CUT branches from liquid amber or Japanese maple trees to use indoors for a punch of end of fall color.
Pink-yellow hibiscus
PLANT your spring bulbs now through January to enjoy a meadow of continuous flowers next year.
hyrdrangea in fall
PICK up pansies to plant for winter. 2017 has been named The Year of the Pansy.

ADD a cover crop to your garden to fix the nitrogen and make green manure for spring.
Austrian winter pea has delicious edible pee shoots. Other great mulching cover crops include clover, mustard, and vetch.
DISCOVER a tree to climb with your kids. It’s that time of year!

CULTIVATE ornamental grasses for low-maintenance and drought tolerate plantings. Maiden hair grass, blonde ambition grass, feather reed grass, and silky thread grass are a few of the lesser known but easily propagated species.

TRAIN rambling and vining plants on a trellis or tall support for a spectacular vertical garden wherever space is lacking.

SOW wildflower seeds that will attract pollinators, hummingbirds, and beneficial bugs.
yellow mums
PRUNE all perennials when finished blooming. Add the stems and spent flowers to the compost pile.


GIVE thanks every day for something. Keeping a gratitude journal alongside your garden guide is a great tool for remembering to be grateful.

Thank you, thank you for being my special gardening gang. I am humbled to be your guide on the side. There is no such thing as a brown thumb, just one that hasn’t turned green yet!

Happy Gardening and Happy Growing! Happy Thanksgiving and Turkey Day!

Read more 

Cynthia Brian
The Goddess Gardener
Starstyle® Productions, llc
Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show at www.StarStyleRadio.net
I am available as a speaker, designer, and consultant.  

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