June 2012 Archives

Healthy Gardens with Natural Pest Management

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A healthy garden is a garden that is filled with a variety of flowering plants that encourages a host of beneficial creatures such as ladybugs, dragonflies, lacewings, tiny non-stinging wasps and other little welcome friends that feed on garden pests.

Pesticides are extremely dangerous to the health of our waterways.  When it rains, these toxic elements are carried by debris and water emanating from our lawns and gardens, and flow, untreated, into the storm drain system. It's a major source of water pollution.

Some helpful tips to keep pesticides out of our rivers, creeks and oceans:

*Reduce or eliminate the use of broad-spectrum pesticides.
*Attract beneficial insects into your garden by providing the right mix of healthy plants and flowers.
*Plant compatible species for your garden vs. altering natural growing conditions.
*Know your soil and the soil requirements for your plants.
*Understand the characteristics of your garden and what your plants require.
*Select pest and disease resistant plants.
*Watering requirements vary from species and soil type.


LISTEN to the Sustainable Ventura Podcast on Healthy Gardens in iTunes, CLICK HERE.

SUBSCRIBE to the Sustainable Ventura Podcast RSS Feed, CLICK HERE

Also visit, SustainableVentura.Wordpress.com

Get Your GREEN on!

A Tribute to Father's Everywhere on Father's Day

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momdadweddingday.jpgFather's Day honors fathers and celebrates the influence father's make in their children's lives. (pictured above Maryann's parents on their wedding day, November 5, 1956).

Many countries around the world celebrate the day.  Father's Day became a recognized holiday in the early 20th century, following the recognition of Mother's Day - a holiday that was founded by Anna Jarvis in honor of her mother.

The first celebration of Father's Day was at the YMCA in Spokane, Washington in 1910.  Sonora Smart Dodd wanted to honor her father, a Civil war veteran, William Jackson Smart, a single parent who raised his six children.  After hearing a sermon about Anna Jarvis's Mother's Day in 1909, she told her pastor that Father's should have a similar holiday honoring them.

Although it did not catch on right away, by the 1930s, Dodd stepped up the process to raise awareness for the holiday on a national level.  However, it wasn't until the mid 1966, when President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father's Day.  Six years later, the day was made a permanent national holiday when President Richard signed it into law in 1972.

Growing up and today, I have so many wonderful memories of my Father, Len, and my mother, Kathleen, who are both in their 80s.

My father, a college professor, PhD and author, continues to be a wonderful role model as loving, caring father.

Our education was top priority always.   He taught my brothers, sister and I, to always be the best we can be and to pursue our dreams.  He instills positive family values and lives by their example.

He and my mother set an amazing legacy of what a loving marriage should be.

Below is a poem I'd like to dedicate to my father and all the men in my family and to father's everywhere:

What Makes a Dad

God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle's flight,
The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need,
Then God combined these qualities,
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so, He called it ... Dad




Listen to A Father's Day Tribute Podcast in iTunes, CLICK HERE.

Semi-Annual Table Top Business Expo "Olympics By The Ocean" at the Four Points Sheraton Podcast

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On June 7, 2012,  the Ventura Chamber of Commerce, presented the Semi-Annual Tabletop Business Expo "Olympics by the Ocean" at the Four Points Sheraton.  The City of Ventura's Environmental Sustainability Division and Ventura Water were some of the sponsors of the event.

LISTEN TO the Sustainable Ventura podcast (hosted by Maryann Ridini Spencer), from the event and hear interviews with local businesses sharing their green practices!


CLICK HERE: http://bit.ly/LsfoMc

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Healing Power of Meditation & Prayer

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Many studies have been conducted that demonstrate that those who believe in a higher power, pray and meditate, tend to be healthier and happier.  The reasons for this, in part, may find its roots in the recognition of being loved by a Divine power, a sense of purpose, and for the general well-being these practices promote.  Both prayer and meditation have been linked to fighting depression, lowering blood pressure, reducing stress and keeping an individual in balance mentally and physically - all factors that contribute to positive health.

To pray and to mediate, it's important to find time where you can be free from distraction.

For meditation in particular, it's important to clear at least 20-30 minutes of alone time.

Meditation is something you'll be doing for yourself, but that will impact not only you, but those around  you - in a positive way.

Some tips to get you started:

•Wear comfortable clothing

Meditate in your PJs, in your yoga pants, baggy sweats -- something comfortable!

•Create a quiet space that is free from distraction

Turn off the phone, TV and Music. No technology, please.

•Get in a comfortable position

Sit cross-legged, lay down - whatever position makes you the most comfortable.  You'll be in it for at least 20-30 minutes, so comfort is key.

•Close your eyes


Take deliberate breaths. Develop an in and out rhythm.

•Accept thoughts in to your mind and then let them leave

The goal in meditation is to clear the mind of all thoughts. Concentrate on your breathing can help you quiet your mind.

The more you meditate, the easier it will be and the more you will realize the benefits of the calm and harmony it creates.

There are many helpful books about meditation and prayer available.  I personally enjoy the guided meditation tapes for health, well-being, spiritual wellness.

Some great resources include:

How To Mediate:  A Practical Guide by Kathleen McDonald and Robina Courtin

Meditation for Beginners by Jack Kornfield

Your Present:  A Half-Hour of Peace:  A Guided Imagery Meditation for Physical & Spiritual Wellness by Susie Mantell

Getting in the Gap:  Making Conscious Contact with God Through Meditation by Dr. Wayne Dyer

How to Pray When You Don't Know What To Say:  More than 40 Ways to Approach God by Elmer L. Towns

and of course, there is always the Bible - Old and New Testament!




-Maryann Ridini Spencer

VC Style
Maryann Ridini-Spencer produces video stories about environmentally friendly and healthy living in Ventura County.

She co-hosts "Sustainable Ventura" with Ray Olson on CAPS-TV's VTV, Channel 15 as well as "Simply Delicious Living with Maryann" on Time Warner Cable ON DEMAND.