Disaster Action Team

Yesterday was my first day as a American Red Cross Disaster Action Team volunteer. Storms moved through western Kentucky on Wednesday night, and several families had damaged homes and they needed help.

I can’t tell you how good it felt to be able to help those folks. Both families couldn’t have been more grateful, and both families couldn’t have been more in need of the help. Neither had the resources to be able to recover without assistance.

My first thought when the Red Cross office called to see if I could go out and help was that I didn’t think the storms were that bad. Of course, they could have been worse in other areas, and indeed they were. The other reason the affected families needed help was that they just didn’t have shelter that was sturdy enough to weather a strong storm like that.  Continue reading “Disaster Action Team”

Beekeeping for Myself and All of Us

I’ve been writing and speaking a lot lately about the need for all of us to strike a positive balance in our civic engagement and our lives, in general. One of the things I’ve been doing in my effort to find that balance is beekeeping.

I posted over at Medium about how my beekeeping is something I can do for myself that benefits the greater good, too! I hope you’ll click over to Medium and read what I had to say.

Welcome Home Bees!

I’m a brand new beekeeper, and my first package of bees arrived yesterday! I had the bright idea to make a video of me installing them into the top bar hive I made a few months ago.

The video turned out kinda funny. First, I tried to narrate as if I knew what I was doing. It was my first time. It’s pretty clear that I had no idea what I was doing! My mom was wearing a full bee suit while holding camera, and she was terrified of the bees! Then at the end of the video, one of the bees found her way under my veil and  into my hat! I ended up getting stung on my head. It’s pretty funny.

I’ll have more posts about my adventures in beekeeping over the next few weeks and months. For now, watch the short unedited video of my first day here –

Striking a Positive Balance

It’s important for all of us to find a positive balance in our civic engagement and our lives. I hope you’ll check out the the essay I posted over at Medium today, Striking a Positive Balance: Political Self-Help in the Age of Trump.

UPDATE 4/1:  My essay has been published at The Daily Beast. (I sent it to them before I posted it on Medium…didn’t think they were going to run it, so I went ahead on Medium. Anyway, it’s both places!)

There is so much division and fighting in politics today, and all of that negativity isn’t good for us as a country or as individuals. I know, first hand. In my book, NO HOPE: Why I Left the GOP (and You Should Too), I wrote about my experience in politics. I described what I was thinking and how my political thought evolved through that experience. What I didn’t write about then is the negative effects that my being totally consumed by the negativity of the political fight had on me personally, emotionally, physically, and materially. My essay today is the first time I’ve talked about those things, and how I set out to change my life and the way I engage in my civic participation.

I’m going to be writing and speaking out more about the need for all of us to strike a positive balance in our activism, humanitarianism, personal enrichment, and diverse ways to help people and change the world. Stay tuned…..

In the meantime, I hope you’ll read what I wrote today. AND at The Daily Beast.

The Red Cross

Most of you know that I spent a lot of my life working as a professional activist and political strategist. I still do a fair amount of political work, but my personal and professional life is more diverse now.

My motivation in politics has always been to help people and make our country better. I haven’t always felt like I was accomplishing that while being engaged in the never-ending political fight. I have sometimes lost sight of the fact that not all of the answers can be found with government and realized in the political arena. That’s kind of hard to remember when you get completely consumed by the political fighting!

I’ve decided that if my goals are really to help people and make our country better, then I should look for diverse ways to do that, in addition to engaging in politics. So I recently signed up to be a Red Cross volunteer! Nobody does more to help people who need it than the American Red Cross. I haven’t even done any training yet. I have just signed up and gone through the background check, but I’m excited to get started!  Continue reading “The Red Cross”

I’m a Keeper

My top bar beehive!

I spent some time this winter making an art project to put in the garden this spring. It’s a top bar beehive that will house a new colony of honeybees that I’m getting later this month. I’m so excited to become a beekeeper!

In preparation for the bees, I’ve been studying about them and how they work together to build and manage their hive. While doing my bee research, I read Thomas D. Seeley’s book Honeybee Democracy. Seeley is a professor at Cornell University who has devoted his life to studying honeybees, more specifically, he’s studied the way a swarm of bees democratically decides where to locate their hives. It’s just fascinating.  Continue reading “I’m a Keeper”