215-Week Action Plan

215-Week Action Plan Teri Case Vitality Stories

My 215-Week Action Plan to be a better American and a kinder human being.

Counting down the weeks until the end of Trump's four years as President of the United States. We each get the next four years to become the best American we can be.

Click here for Week 175-


Week 176 - August 10, 2017

For the past 14 weeks, I haven't posted any updates here because, well, I have not become a better American. I went into my comfort zone these past weeks. Do you know which one I'm talking about? It's that comfort zone where I get to be white and not feel a sense of urgency to take action for America because my rights aren't at risk. My life isn't in danger. My freedom isn't an issue. It's that comfort zone where the most difficult choice I will have to face each day is what I want to eat for dinner.

I can make excuses: I had an editing deadline. I was wrapping up a financial commitment. But really, I was an ostrich and burying my head in the sand, and therefore, I've become part of the problem. Just like the people who didn't vote but virtually put Trump in office, as long as I try to mediate the threat of white supremacy, I'm perpetuating it. I am standing in the middle, blocking progress.

I'm not going to try to walk one more step in any F-ING racist's shoes to try to understand a way to educate them. They aren't listening.

I'm back. I'm taking action. I'm using my voice as my first step.


Stay tuned for my next step. Let me know how you're doing.


Week 190 - May 11, 2017

This week, I was surrounded by awesome Americans and kind human beings and was humbled by how great they make the world. With no solicitation, people donated to the Tiger Drive Scholarship and we can give out $3,650 in scholarships this year!!

Week 191 - May 4, 2017

Education will make America great. Whenever you're having a bad day, one concerned with worry about our current environment, read these snippets from the Tiger Drive Scholarship applications. I wish we could give everyone a scholarship!

"I have been fascinated by the brain since Sophomore year. During my free time, I watch neuroscience videos online and read neuroscience books because I want to understand how the brain functions."

"My parents have taught me that hard work takes sacrifice and dedication. I want to help others and make a difference."

"Obstacles teach me lessons. I love helping those in need."

"Working with them, I've noticed it's not always the same situation, but I always do my best to help them in whatever way possible."

"They say when you tell people your goals they will fade away, but for me, it just pushes me to work harder to get there."

"My future looks bright, and I plan to embrace every opportunity and day given."

"It is important to stand as a strong Hispanic female role model. I want young women to see that they are in control of their futures."

"Volunteering has derived a stronger passion to become a physician. I see a happy and successful future since I don't expect anything less for myself."

Some of these students have gone to Honduras to volunteer. One started a Clean Water for Flint project at school. Others are working full-time in the evenings and attending school all day. They are so optimistic and excited to keep reaching, learning, and growing.

Thank you for being you.

Week 192 - April 27, 2017

This week the Tiger Drive Scholarship Committee and I have had the pleasure of reviewing the applications, resumes, and essays of students who have demonstrated a desire and ability to reach, learn, and grow beyond their familiar environment.

These students are an inspiration, and they all deserve our support. Next week, I'll be able to share portions of their essays, and you will see that it is these young people--many with immigrant parents who moved to America to give their children a chance and a hope--that make America GREAT.

Until next week, thank you for being you.

Week 193 - April 20, 2017

I've always believed that education should be our government's priority because, in most cases, education is a solution to so many of our nation's problems. So it made my week to receive a handful of letters from Mrs. Hitch's 5th grade students who remain excited about solar cells and  watching a tadpole grow into a frog they named Gilly.

teri case donors choose.org

Week 194 - April 13, 2017

The Tiger Drive Scholarship is now up to $2,500. I am so amazed by everyone's generosity. This week I did my best to focus on people who make a positive difference, rather than waste my energy on an administration that is bent on destruction. I continue to search for the right balance where I can make a difference and not contribute to the FEAR that is ruling so many right now. I'll keep you posted :)

Thank you for being you.

Week 195 - April 6, 2017

Week 196 - March 30, 2017

This week I am grateful to teachers who are showing our youth, the leaders of our future, that science is one of the coolest subjects ever:

Week 197 - March 23, 2017

What a week, and one full of gratitude:

  • Gratitude for all the people who reached out to their elected officials about the repeal of ACA health care. The vote didn't even take place because the GOP knew it didn't have enough to win.  IS ACA perfect? No, but ACA is better than not having any insurance because it's no longer affordable or paying for inadequate coverage.
  • Gratitude to the elected officials who resisted the repeal.
  • Gratitude to everyone who bought my and Cole's book, Introducing Xavier Ray, because this week we were able to donate 100% of the proceeds to Operation Smile who "heals smiles and transforms lives" for children all over the world, and
  • Gratitude to the amazing, generous people who, without prompting, have donated $1,100 to the Tiger Drive Scholarship in the past week alone.

This was a wonderful week full of reminders that compassion and kindness will make America great again.

Happy Everyday and thanks for being you.


Week 198 - March 16, 2017

Lately, I feel like I'm living out a James Bond or Jason Bourne movie only I don't have fancy gadgets, or wicked intuition and fighting moves to save the world and the people I care about in 2 hours or less. I'm the extra in the background, outside the frame, and I am incredulous and disappointed in the director's choice in shots. I feel powerless, and then I remember it takes extras, in-frame or not, to manifest the energy that brings a film to life.

So while I'm not on Capitol Hill and while I'm not in the hearings, I do have my elected officials on speed dial. I do know who matters and who deserves credit.

This week I extended gratitude to Senator Charles Schumer who demanded a delay on the Gorsuch vote. I thanked my other elected officials for their position on the ACA repeal. I thanked Meals on Wheels for the sustenance they have offered hundreds of thousands elderly and disabled American citizens. For St. Patrick's day, I made sure every person I saw sporting green was aware that,

"It is estimated that as many as 4.5 million Irish arrived in America between 1820 and 1930. Between 1820 and 1860, the Irish constituted over one-third of all immigrants to the United States. In the 1840s, they comprised nearly half of all immigrants to this nation." (Wikipedia)

And I watched this video several times and felt a little better because laughter is the only medicine sometimes:

Happy Every Day. Thanks for being you.


Week 199 - March 9, 2017

My youngest sister, Crystal, constantly reminds me, "People just want to know they matter." Right now in America, wherever someone lands on the political and human rights pendulum, I think wanting to matter is the one thing we all have in common. The "Great Divide of 2017" (as I'm now calling our country's mental poverty) occurs when you have elected officials or people who want to be the ONLY person that matters and people who want most everyone to matter.

The more I read about and listen to people who support the actions of our current elected officials, the more I hear I, I, I.

I will get a job in coal now.

I won't have to pay high health care premiums anymore.

I won't lose a job to an immigrant.

I will be safer.

I will pay less taxes.

I will be able to feed my family.

I will get an education voucher to help pay for my kids' private school.

I don't want to share a bathroom with a transgender.

And so forth.

I am biased, so maybe I hear what I want to hear, but on the other side, the human rights side, I hear We. I hear people standing up for each other regardless of privilege, religious beliefs, gender, color, race, and sexual orientation.

In her video about doing the right thing, about being inclusive, Chelsea Handler sums up exactly how I feel:


So how do we help people matter, even those whose priorities are about their private bubble? That's what I'm working on this week: Taking the time to engage and acknowledge people whose paths I cross and finding out what they need to know they matter. Hopefully, I'll have a few successful examples to share with you next week.

Thanks for being you.


Week 200 - March 2, 2017

This week I was traveling and I was afforded the opportunity to meet and talk to people I don't have exposure to in my day to day life. They were nice, funny, and creative. Most of them support trump because they think he "is real" -- "real like them." At one point, someone said that "it should be illegal for people to have that much money." The kicker is, they weren't talking about trump. They were talking about people who live in a specific neighborhood less than fifty miles away with houses mostly in the $900k-$1m range. I asked if these people dedicated their lives to studying and working hard, didn't they deserve to reach their goals, especially if that goal is to own one of those houses? There wasn't an answer. I asked if it should be legal for trump to have the money he does, and again there was no answer.

They think trump "says it like it is." The thing is, I think trump is a narcissistic, irrational, two-year-old who throws a tantrum whenever he doesn't get enough attention - and he does things that are weakening our country and destroying our democracy in the process. And I think that is 'really' him. But I'm beginning to realize there is no answer between trump supporters and those who don't support trump. Lines have been drawn, and in some cases, the person has no rational reason for supporting him. Nothing I say is going to change their mind. Heck, nothing trump says is going to change their mind because when he says the news is fake, or that Obama is the enemy, they glom on to conspiracy theories and believe trump is more 'real' than ever. What they believe makes him real, I believe makes him detestable.

So where have I landed with an action this week? I've decided to not mention him again after this post. I'm not watching his addresses. I'm not responding to him anymore. I'll read about governmental actions via reliable news sources, and I'm going to focus on the people of this nation who need my support,  people whose rights are threatened. I'm going to focus on education because children are our future, and I'm going to focus on saving our earth in any way I can. Finally, I'm going to continue to use my voice and keep my elected officials' phone numbers on speed dial - I call them weekly.


Week 201 - February 23, 2017

This week, I headed to Washington, D.C., and found solace standing in the Lincoln Memorial and walking alongside the reflection pool towards the Washington Monument. I stopped by the WWII Memorial and the Vietnam wall. I went to the museums. I surrounded myself with our history and the reminders that America is a democracy-- a democracy founded by immigrants seeking religious freedom, and a democracy whose majority knew when the constitution was wrong and that a black person was a whole person and not 3/4 of an existence. Our ancestors lost sweat, tears, and gave their lives for these freedoms.

I was in D.C. when I learned that the New York Times, CNN, and a few other reputable news organizations were barred from a White House press conference. Anyone who has the honor to work and live in D.C. but can be so mentally and emotionally removed from the history that surrounds them--history that demonstrates how precious freedom is and how Americans will fight for it--is a complete ass. At first, I felt angrier than ever, but I also felt more hopeful than I have since tp took office because we have proof--memorials--that Americans will not compromise when it comes to freedom.

On my walks, I saw uncountable signs in people's yards announcing that they welcomed everyone as their neighbors with no care for religious beliefs, race, or origin. Each sign boldly sitting before each house, warmed my heart.

Alongside the White House, vendors were selling t-shirts and souvenirs. As we passed one stand, a black man was with his two small children.

His son asked, "What does that mean? Make America great again?"

"No one knows what he means," the father said. "He doesn't even know what that means."

After my trip to D.C., I am more convinced than ever that if America is to be made greater, it won't be at the hands of the current administration - it will be made better by the citizens who care about their earth, their neighbors, their history, and by individuals who resist and tear down walls brick by brick.

Week 202 - February 16, 2017

This week, I celebrated the US Appeals Court block on the Muslim Ban and reached out with gratitude for our legal system that doesn't work on alternative facts.

I'm paying close attention to the "Flynn Fallout" and have made calls to voice my support for further investigation. I also called my officials to encourage them to stop Bannon now and not allow him on the national security council. This isn't the first time I've called, but Flynn's choices should be raising concern about trump's team (though Bannon's horrific history and lack of experience are more than enough reason to not let him near national security).

Week 203 - February 9, 2017

This week I realized how important it is to make calls of gratitude, not just concern. I followed up on my calls about Devos and the Muslim Ban by thanking elected officials for voting against Devos and for speaking out against trump's Muslim ban. Elected officials are getting bombarded with calls from concerned citizens like me, which is awesome, and I need to remember to also make calls of appreciation.

I even called Nordstrom to thank them for removing Ivanka's brand from their stores. Now, I don't know if it's fair or not that Ivanka's brand is suffering due to her father and husband, but she supports them, and people stopped buying her shoes for, probably, one of three reasons: 1) They don't want to financially contribute to Ivanka's estate; 2) They love her shoes but have been shamed into not wearing them; or 3) Her shoes suck. Regardless, Nordstrom made a business decision that was in the best interest of their business and customers.  They didn't give a squat if trump might fall to the Twitter floor and throw a tantrum. They said, you may be president, but we have a business to run, and our customers have spoken with their wallets. I applaud them for that.

I'm also making conscious spending choices: Where am I shopping and who am I supporting, or what message am I supporting by shopping there? In the long run, I'm not sure how much of a difference this makes because both 'sides' will tend to shop in alignment, but it feels good to spend money where I know LGBT is supported, and so forth. Grab Your Wallet is a source of info.

P.S. the lower case of trump is intentional. I stole an idea from  my friend and author, Carlen Maddux, who wrote a memoir about his seventeen-year journey with his wife, Martha, who was diagnosed with alzheimer's when she was only fifty years old. While he respected Dr. Alzheimer for his research and identification of the disease, Carlen does not give the disease the honor or respect that is implied with a capital A. So 't' it is for me. In my book, trump hasn't done anything worth of respect and right now he is a pain in the backside.

Week 204 - February 2, 2017

This week I learned the difference between an executive order and presidential memoranda:

Executive Orders "Most executive orders stem from a president's desire to bypass Congress."

Presidential Memoranda "Presidential memoranda are used to delegate tasks and reports assigned by Congress to the president, start a regulatory process, or direct a specific department or agency to do something."

Petition to Stop Bannon

I signed the petition opposing Steve Bannon for our National Security Council. He does not have national security experience and he is 100% operarting on his own agenda, one that includes a church militia--it's on video. He is unfit.

Daily Action

I signed up with Daily Action: Resisting Extremism in America, one call at a time. The organization sends a daily text with an action someone can take. For examples, today's action was to call random airports and ask Customs and Border Protection to see if they are compying with U.S. Laws or following Trump's order. We were tasked with asking if they are currently detaining any Muslims and if they have legal representation.

American Civil Liberties Union

I became a member of the ACLU.

Sometimes we are the flower. Sometimes we are the bee.

Time to get bzzzzzy!


Week 205 - January 26, 2017

First off, thank you to the millions of people who marched for women's rights! What an amazing day. I was rooting from afar, often teary-eyed with gratitude and empowerment watching the updates on television and friends' posts on Facebook. A friend--who took her two young sons with her on the march--posted a video of an elderly woman marching beside her with her walker. The marches across our nation were peaceful. Beautiful. These marchers sparked positive energy in our world. I crave more of this energy and less of the fear and intolerance that TP and the GOP are vomiting all over the place.

This week, I've been reading, reading, reading. It's important to read each article from a reputable source and thoroughly. Some of the executive actions taken during this first week by the trumpeteer depot have been disheartening. It's easy to see a headline and the photo attached and jump to conclusions and feel the anger and despair. But headlines can be misleading and feed the fear, so I read, read, read. An example is the anti-abortion executive order signed on Jan. 23rd: the US prohibits giving US funding to international non-government organizations that offer family planning, including "abortion related services." This has been referred to as the Mexico City Policy. Bill Clinton supported the funding. George Bush withdrew it. Obama supported the funding. TP doesn't.

When I first saw the article and the image of TP surrounded by men as he signed the order, my blood boiled. Don't get me wrong, I'm still angry. Is this just one of the first steps being taken against women's rights? Or is there a "better" plan for how the $600m that is donated to non-government international organizations will be applied? Let's say it was A FACT that every penny of the $600m would be allocated to the education system, would I feel differently? Sadly, I don't know because that's not likely to happen.

Ironically, none of the US funding has ever been allowed to fund abortion. But the GOP continues to single out any organization that supports pro-choice and punish it by withdrawing all aid. They have an All or Nothing attitude. Consider Planned Parenthood which provides so many health related services and only 3% of their services include abortion. But if TP has it's way, they will wipe out support for the remaining 97%.

This week I've also started setting boundaries. There is a lot of pressure right now to "stay friends" and learn to understand who and why someone voted for TP, and I'm doing my best. BUT if a TP supporter immediately jumps all over me and implies I'm whining, or worse, tells me to "get over it" without even extending the courtesy of reading what I wrote and posted, I'm done. Defacebooked, defriended, and blocked. I'll save my time and energy for people who want to connect and learn from each other.

Having said this, I'm learning a lot of Facebookers only want to see light and happy stuff on Facebook.

The other thing I'm doing is keeping a list of the executive orders and actions being taken. It's important to remain aware of what's happening and so much is happening.

Care. Be Aware. Take Action.

I won't always be able to identify the best action, but I'll keep trying.

204 weeks to go!

Sometimes we are the flower. Sometimes we are the bee.

Time to get bzzzzzy!


Week 206 - January 19, 2017

This week I am trying to make sense of the repeal of the Affordable Care Act without an existing replacement plan. As far as I can tell, the Republican Party has put the cart before the horse. True to Donald Trump's attitude, they are making decisions without solutions.

While I read several articles, I'll share these two links I found helpful:

About recent steps  by congress

About republican senators who are trying to slow down the repeal

The first step I have taken this week is to stop using titles for people working for the government whom I don't respect.  President, Senator, Congressman...all are supposed to denote democracy, and in my opinion (and in some cases in fact) the majority is not being represented. Self-interests are. Religious beliefs are.

Secondly, I reacted to the following post on Facebook about reaching out to those republicans holding office and who are trying to delay the repeal of ACA (the above link supports the information):

For those worried about ACA coverage for themselves and their families ... read on.

After hearing about the midnight repeal of the pre-exisiting conditions clause, I called Senator Warren's office. The woman I spoke to said they are being flooded with calls, as are the offices of Speakers Ryan and McConnell.

Senator Warren's staff member told me what would help the most would be to call the five Republican senators who have broken away from the GOP to demand a slow down of the repeal. Tell them how much you appreciate their efforts to stop the train wreck and share your story.

IMPORTANT: Please copy and paste. Please DO NOT just share. This will guarantee that this information is available to ALL of your FB friends.

Senator Bob Corker - (202) 224-3344

Senator Lisa Murkowski - (202) 224-6665

Senator Rob Portman - (202) 224-3353

Senator Susan Collins - (202) 224-2523

Senator Bill Cassidy - (202) 224-5824

I was able to reach all but Lisa Murkowski (her mailbox was full) and Bill Cassidy (his calls weren't going to voicemail or being answered).

My third step was to research Tom Reed who represents Ithaca, New York (I just moved to Ithaca in August). He voted to repeal Obamacare. I reached out to him and expressed my concerns about the repeal without a solution.

From Tom Reed’s website:

That is why I have voted to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a common sense solution which addresses spiraling health care costs and ensures that all Americans have access to the care they need. The President’s health care law promised Americans lower premiums but instead we have seen premiums increase even more.

We need more patient-centered solutions to our health care challenges. Here are a few of the policies we will advocate for going forward that will make health care more accessible and affordable for everyone:

  • I support the notion that all Americans, regardless of pre-existing conditions and past illnesses, get coverage at affordable prices.
  • I support competition by allowing Americans to shop for coverage from coast to coast.
  • I support tort reform to help end unnecessary tests and procedures that doctors sometimes order which drive costs up, not because it is good medicine, but because they are afraid of being sued.
  • I support coverage for young adults up to age 26 under their parents’ policies.
  • I support fixing the “donut hole” so seniors aren’t paying exorbitant costs of out of pocket for prescription drugs and other medical necessities.

That's it for this week. I'm excited to identify actions for next week.


Week 207 - January 12, 2017

This week I am on a cruise and have made stops in Roatan, Honduras; Costa Maya, MX; and Cozumel, MX. Once again, I learned that many of my fellow cruisers are supporters of Trump, and while I wanted to ask (and understand) if they supported Trump's plan to build walls and also how they thought they might be received in Costa Maya and Cozumel, I didn't. I retreated to the sanctuary of our private deck and continued to read Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance (which is so good I can't wait to tell you more about it).

I'm going to be honest, I was very judgmental this week, and it doesn't feel good. As always, I got to know the crew and staff better than any of the fellow passengers. When one Filipino crew member asked me about Trump--though they have a rule not to discuss politics so it didn't last long--I said I find Trump evil, manipulative, and narcissistic. He replied, "I like the guy." Yes, he likes his president, too.

I chose to stay on the boat for the stops in Mexico. I had seen enough of my fellow passengers to know I wouldn't be able to stomach how they might treat our hosts on land.

So not a productive week on becoming a better American, but I can "go under, or move" on as Housewife, 49 would say.

Week 208 - January 5, 2017

This week I'm reading, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memor of a Family and Culture in Crisis, by J. D. Vance:

...a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America's white working class.

Thanks to author, Carlen Maddux, for mentioning the book. I will share my thoughts on the book next week.

I also took a two day, round-trip drive between Ithaca, New York, and Roanoke, Virginia. Some of the small towns in Pennsylvania were so rundown and empty. I saw at least three homes with the confenderate flag flying on their front porch--each of the porches and stairs looked like they could fall down any day.

I am angry and resentful about the flags. Sad for the people and living conditions (though they weren't asking me for pity or my judgment). Bitter (and assuming) about the lack of education and humanity living behind those closed doors and waving flags. I wish I would have taken pictures.

Pennsylvania voted in the elections as follows: 48.8% Trump; 47.6% Clinton.

I'm sorry I don't have something amazing or helpful to say about this experience. It's just one of those experiences that confirmed my own conflicting opinions and actions, and something I can't quite identify and articulate; something I'm trying to grasp. I think experiences like this will help me become a better American and kinder human being, and "seeing is believing" is part of my process of taking action.

Week 209 - December 29

This week's action was to LISTEN.

This was my first Christmas in Ithaca, New York, and one of the few places I've lived where everything closes for the holiday, everything including grocery stores. So when I realized I was out of butter, I spent an hour on Christmas morning running to every convenience store in search of gold.

The fifth store was a charm. Butter in hand, I danced to the register, full of merriment and holiday spirit, and I was greeted by a very unhappy cashier because while I was so happy the store was open and carried butter, it meant she had to work. Over the next five minutes she told me how she wished she didn't have to work, but she couldn't afford Christmas because her bosses don't give an annual bonus. And then she said, "Plus they are Indian."

"Plus they are Indian" -- that dismissive sentence alone would previously have had me glaring at her and shutting her down.

It would have been easy for me to rush through the purchase, ignore the conversation, make assumptions about her education, challenge her about employer responsibilities and individual responsibilities, and even assume she was racist, but I didn't. I thought about my intention to be a better American and a kinder human being. So I listened while she talked. I let her set the pace. And by the time I left, I realized her last comment was made because she happened to know her bosses don't celebrate Christmas--she believes because they are Indian -- and she felt that meant they didn't understand the importance to her. It's so important to own and understand the words we choose. In the future, I'll remember this interaction if only to remind myself that maybe someone else doesn't understand the power of their own words, but still needs someone to listen and hear what they really mean.

Week 210 - December 22, 2016

This week I was inspired by Stephen Colbert who helped fund over 800 grant requests made by South Carolina public school teachers on Donorschoose.org. Though I can't contribute $800,000 like he did, I was able to find Mrs. Hitch's science project which requires a renewable energy kit, weather center set, kit stream tables erosion, and books.

In Mrs. Hitch's own words:

"Teri, thank you for donating to our project. Teaching my students to love our planet and protect our resources is so important."

To learn more about the project, click here.

And as January nears and Trump takes office, I am working on my inner peace. Sometimes messages, and validation, come through the most unexpected resources. Click here or on the below image to see what I mean.

Inner Peace Kungfu Panda 2

Until next week, thanks for being you.


Week 211 - December 15, 2016

This week is a simple but delightful action. I donate to many different charities and organizations, but never to the bell ringers for Salvation Army. I haven't agreed with the organization's stance on a few things, and to be honest, the ringing has become white noise during the holidays over the years. But I am trying to understand people more, and I've realized there is an opportunity to appreciate the person and his/her intention behind ringing that bell and so this week, it's all about stopping and contributing to the red buckets of Salvation Army for the person manning the bucket, and I have this newsletter by author, Jack Schaeffer, to thank for the inspiration. He shares why he chose to be a bell ringer this year and his story is powerful. Thanks for being you, Jack Schaeffer!


Week 212

Here's what I've been up to with the intention of being a better American and a kinder human being:

  • Donating many copies of my newest picture book to the Assocation to Benefit Children. The ABC Organization's mission is to ABC's mission is to "defend the right of every child to a joyful and nurturing childhood by creating compassionate programs in urgent response to the needs of New York City’s most vulnerable children and families."
  • I am research other organizations I'd like to donate books to -- if you have ideas, please let me know.
  • I'm finishing up Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust. I'm educating myself to address my fears about and comparisons to our current environment. Yes, this is my third week reading it. It's a subject I don't take lightly and I've been re-reading portions. I'll be sharing my thoughts soon.

If you have any ideas for me, or an organization you support, let me know. I'd love to hear from you.

Until next week, thanks for being you,



Week 213

This week has been heavier on reasearch than actual actions. Here's what I've been up to:

  • I'm finishing up Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust. I'm educating myself to address my fears about and comparisons to our current environment. I'll share my takeaways once I finish. (I have to stop reading it from time to time and turn to a happy page turner)
  • I'm only researching and reading reputable news sources, and am only Liking and commenting on social media posts with friends who are using trustworthy newslinks.
  • I've been speaking with different organizations where I can do a book signing with I'm Going to the Doctor?! and donate 100% of the proceeds to their cause. I hope to announce an event next week.
  • I'm reaching out to marginalized individuals in my personal life to see how I can be supportive and more understanding.

If you have any ideas for me, or an organization you support, let me know. I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks for being you,



Week 214

Here's what I'm up to this week:

  • Supporting FeedingAmerica.Org's Thanksgiving Challenge with a donation.
  • I've made a donation to the local Islamic Community Outreach Center as a sign of support. I'm also looking into ways I can get involved and discourage hate crimes against Muslims.
  • I'm investing in Starbucks because buying shares, and buying their beverages, is a good way I can show I support their involvement in the Seattle's Safe Haven Program. 2,000 branches of Starbucks in Seattle have signed up for a new initiative to offer safe haven to LGBT people The Safe Place program is the idea of gay police officer Jim Ritter.
  • I called Paul Ryan at (202) 225-0600 and left him a message about what Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, means to me and my family.
  • I'm reading Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust. Several sources are comparing Trump and his team to Hitler and the Third Reich. People are making claims about who voted for Trump and why. I know history and the outcome of Hitler, but I would like to better understand how Hitler came into power in the first place before forming my own opinion about what "ordinary Germans" and Hitler have in common with Americans today.
  • I've ordered 150 copies of my picture book, I'm Going to the Doctor? and am researching which organizations I can do a book signing with and donate 100% of the profits.

If you have any ideas for me, please email me.

See you next week!


Week 215

Here's what I'm up to this week:

I'm re-reading the United States Constitution and The Declaration of Independence (free for Kindle on Amazon). I haven't done this since college more than twenty years ago. A friend on Facebook recently private messaged me--after I was quite vocal on my political stance--to share he is a "constitutionalist"--he votes for whichever candidate will protect the constitution and this over-rides any other beliefs he holds. This was a good prompt to re-read our historical documents.

My friend Christine is collecting materials to make hats and quilts for marginalized people. This is her way of feeling hope and engaging as a citizen. I've gone through my closet and am sending her sweaters she can recycle and use to make hats and quilts. I'm mailing them to her tomorrow. This is a two-fer for me because I also love recycling items and not adding to the landfill.

I've donated to Planned Parenthood. Yes, I'm pro-choice but I appreciate not everyone is. I'm also grateful to PP because when I was in highschool and college with limited funds and a family history of cervical cancer, I was able to get my annual check-ups at PP.

I checked on one of the Tiger Drive Scholarship recipients who moved here at the age of 4 and is registered with our Deferred Immigration Program. She's almost completed her first semester of college--hooray! And despite the uncertainty for her and her family over the coming years, her hopes and love for America remain intact. She is as optomistic and resilient as ever.

Happy Thursday, and thanks for being you.



I'm excited to share that I have an action plan to become a better American and human being. Yes, this is a direct result of the recent election. I want to look in the mirror and like who I see, and I want to see someone who is informed, fair, and compassionate. Someone who listens and walks her talk. Someone who is less judgmental. Someone who doesn't marginalize anyone, someone who doesn't hush anyone else's beliefs or fears. I want to build bridges.

So going forward, at the tail end of my Vitality Stories newsletter, I will share an action(s) I've taken to become a better American and a kinder human being, but I can't do it without you. My goal is to be fair and open and to build relationships based on understanding, not alienate anyone. This means I will always be open to your constructive feedback and your feelings. I'll even respect your silence.

As always, thanks for being you, and if you have communities or organizations you like to support, email me and tell me about them.