December reflection questions for activists 44

A time for thoughtful questions

When I worked with college students, we always paused at the end of a volunteer service project to explore its meaning. Whether we walked adoptable dogs, painted houses, or planted trees, we’d openly share our reactions and ponder the significance of our efforts.

There is power in reflecting on the meaning of what we do.

This is especially true for people like you and me who are committing time, energy, and heart to making our world kinder and more just. If we don’t stop to reflect, everything starts to seem like wins or losses, faster and faster. It’s tiring. Our hearts need a place to rest and look deeper at the significance behind what we do.

An invitation to reflect and share

On the last week of each month, the Americans of Conscience checklist takes a break and, instead, I offer you reflection questions for your own private journal or sharing here in community. You can answer one, some, or all.

In the spirit of kindness, please honor the truths of others’ sharing. While encouragement, curiosity, and conversation are welcome, criticism, shaming, or contempt are not. We are all imperfect, beautiful works in progress. 

AoC December reflection questions

  1. What emotion(s) are you feeling in this moment?

  2. As this year draws to a close, what seems more precious to you than usual?

  3. Share a story about something pleasantly surprising that happened this month.

  4. Our words and deeds have a ripple effect to those we love and beyond. Whose life did you touch this month? Who touched yours?

  5. What is your sincerest hope for the new year?

44 thoughts on “December reflection questions for activists

  • Heather

    I am feeling a lot of anger at the prevalence of sexual harassment. I had suppressed the many incidents of sexual aggression and predation I experienced as a teen-anger and a young woman, from older men. At 70, I wonder: is this 2017 exposure of sexual predators a flash in the pan? How will these men “stepping down” resurface? because I believe they will. There is a lot of fanfare about resignations and “stepping down”. How long before these same men are back in power, really. They are rich and they will not go away. And how many lesser known sexual predators are on the prowl? What will it really take to stop sexual harassment? Is it even possible? I realize this is not an upbeat message for the holidays. But women, mothers and daughters, need to get tough—really tough.

  • Sally Denton

    It seems to me that we show up with our best effort when faced with adversity. As I was speaking with someone who lost a loved one unexpectedly, she was sharing with me her belief that it is through the darkness that we can really appreciate the light. And so as we have recently experienced the winter solstice in a year that has been extremely challenging to most of us, I will consider these things. Thankful that as the darkness appears in the human form, it has mobilized the masses. Thankful that so many brave women have stepped forward and are showing no signs of backing down but rather are shining their lights brighter. I have been shocked by the bravery of so many this year. In these things I find comfort. In the strength of the tribe I feel supported and hopeful. Thank you for leading the way. May we continue to be strong.

  • Elizabeth Griffin

    This month I have felt more deeply then ever the inherent connection among women of different cultures. I volunteer as a teacher of English as a second language. My students now are two bright, motivated women, one from Iraq and one from South Korea. They are of a similar age and were well educated in their home countries. They each have children who light up their lives and a husband each does not agree with anymore. Coming to the United States and seeing the rights, dignity and even power women sometimes have here, they share with me their frustration that their cultures so diminish the position of women and girls. I tell them I am old enough to remember the sexism of my early job interviews and work situations. Their countries are behind us 50 to 100 years in at least recognizing women’s rights to equality. We tell each other stories, encourage and bolster each other, and share hope for the future. Our conversations make me recognize that women are strong, hopeful, determined, and insightful—no matter where they come from. I am more motivated to call or write members of our government as this site suggests, knowing that I may be supporting these and all women.

  • Pam Perkins

    Jennifer — Your emails have been a breath of fresh air, providing an opportunity to rethink, gather new steam, and forge ahead. Given the gravity of the situation as it stands right now, I fear that our democracy is being overtaken, and I worry that we will all drown together. Thank you for helping to keep us focused for the future of our country.

  • Dee Seligman

    I just counseled a friend who is an immigrant from South Sudan on her next career steps. In this case, since she is underemployed independent contractor. I suggested she talk with a counselor at her undergraduate school and a professor in International Relations, to see if it made sense for her to pursue an MA degree in another country than the US where she now lives in international business. I was glad I could share my experience as an elder and as an academic to help her move forward in a way that will build on her experience as a refugee and as a African and, now, as an American. We need to help one another move forward, despite the national extremism and international challenges. I was glad I could. This was politics on an individual basis, but still relevant to our current situation.

  • Carolyn Goldman

    Thanks so much for all your hard work and positive slant. This is working for me!
    Happy Holidays and Happy New Year. We’re in for a great 2018!

  • Karen Lozow

    I feel hopeful ,and grateful .I realize that I’m lucky and loved . I try to think of every action as ripples in a big lake . A huge lake that feeds into a river ,that winds into an ocean . We will win if we stick together for the better world that we believe in . There is great power in love and in determined people too . Happy Holidays To All – Peace too .

  • Lauren

    -What emotion(s) are you feeling in this moment?
    I’m feeling content from hard work, anxious in the uncertainty of the future, and grateful for family and the many blessings around me.
    -As this year draws to a close, what seems more precious to you than usual?
    My own self. My body. My desires and goals and needs and wants. I’ve been learning how to put my oxygen mask on before helping others and I’m becoming more precious to myself.
    -Share a story about something pleasantly surprising that happened this month.
    I found a new apartment with incredible simplicity and speed in the exact area I was hoping to move to. I also told my bosses I was moving on next year, and that conversation went surprisingly smooth. I’m setting goals and dreams!
    -Our words and deeds have a ripple effect to those we love and beyond. Whose life did you touch this month? Who touched yours?
    What is your sincerest hope for the new year?
    I tried my best to love my students with patience and compassion through the hectic December school days, and I purchased gifts for families in need. My students touched my life this month by showering me with compassion even when I wasn’t able to achieve my goal of patience. My sincerest hope for the new year is for serenity, courage, and wisdom. I want to keep growing and moving forward.

  • Antje

    Thank you – for all your work and heartfelt effort, and for your intelligent thinking on focussing and being in this for the long term. You’re leading the kind of fair, listening activism that we really need.

  • Krista Swager

    I would say in this moment I feel apprehensive. I just don’t know what Trump will do about Mueller and that worries me. Disappointed in the representatives that are in office that “represent” me in my districts, however this strengthens my resolve to do anything in my power to unseat them. As the year draws to a close, the sense of peace is more precious to me than normal. Something pleasantly surprising this month? I would say the election of Doug Jones. Personally, I would say the fact that my autistic daughter completed her first semester of college and received a 3.18! As far as touching someone’s life, well, my husband and I eat at a particular restaurant a couple of times a week. One of the employees for some reason we have always felt very connected to. She told us a couple of weeks ago that she graduated college and would be starting a new job. We knew she had come here to college from very far away. Yesterday we gave her a graduation card and small gift. She was so incredibly grateful, so in that way, we both touched each other’s lives. My sincerest hope for the new year is a return to civility, truth and reason. And changing the make up of congress wouldn’t be bad either 😉

  • ms "o:"

    My sincerest hope for the New Year is that in spite of my “imperfections” I continue to grow closer to my Creator and fully represent the love and compassion that he demonstrates to me each and everyday. I stride to work to be the living example of his love in action. That I continue to be the living reminder to those feeling lost and downtrodden that they are loved and worthy of love. That my work and community action serves justice and moves this world towards respect and thoughtful reflection of how we interact with each other, even those we may differ with. That my life serves the larger purpose of lifting up and not tearing down. That on my day to depart this Earth, I can and will be greeted with the words, “Come and rest, my daughter, job well done.”

  • Peter

    What emotions? Too early, no coffee yet. Still, a large dose of gratitude for my new love whose unswerving faith pushed me into recovery from alcohol dependence. And, of course for the gift of allowing me to love her. So, obviously relationships are incredibly important to me. As witness my devotion to my UU congregation/ fellowship of spiritual growth seekers which includes a large dose of social justice. I’m a lucky dude!

    • Joan Hanna

      Congratulations Peter, after recovery from drug addiction my life began in a big way. Alanon studies have given me
      guidance in learning about myself and others, feelings and actions. The practice of Honesty has presented me with an
      opportunity to share my vulnerable white belly, so to speak , the gift! Connection! Yahoo

  • Yoma Ullman

    Thank you for your inspiring work. I am glad you are gathering a team to share the load. Best wishes for a recuperative rest.

  • Christine

    First off thank you Jen for the Action Cecklist, this has been very helpful throughout this year.
    I wholeheartedly agree reflecting is necessary for growth, understanding and perspectives.
    Here are my answers to your reflection questions:
    1. Sadness, Frustration, Anticipation, Joy
    2. Family, Friends and the unitedness of us all in our activist actions for a Just country.
    3. I am thankful for the continual reminders of how we all are connected – regardless of our views. There is an underlying current which is at work within. This month I’ve participated in holiday parties and had the opportunity to speak and share stories with new friends and acquaintances broadening my horizons.
    4. Simple acts of kindness throughout this month in service of others helped me to be awake and aware of needs in the present moment.
    My niece stayed with us this fall and I was touched by her kindness, friendship and strengthening of our relationship.
    5. Unity & Love, (for all humans, creatures and the planet 🌎)

  • angela Schneider

    Believe it or not the anger I felt for the GOP and then trump’s narcissism kept me literally alive. It now gives me purpose. I don’t want my loved ones to be left behind and earth to be toast! I want kindness and humanity to prevail. So I’m fighting to get better to do this.

  • Laurie Forrest

    I’m thankful for you Jen! You have given me something concrete to do in making our country better. I’m so frustrated about all the harm being done to this great country of ours. Your work gives me a way to fight back I feel. Happy Holidays AND may 2018 be a blessed one for us all!!!!

  • Nancy Conner

    Thank you so much for all you do Jen! Your emailed action checklists & thoughtful words are often the very boost I need to take a deep breath & keep on trying & keep on hoping through another week.
    1. My emotions right now run the gamut of joy & anticipation for spending precious holiday time with family; cautious optimism that 2018 will bring some positive results in terms of midterm election results, accountability for those in power who seek power & wealth only for themselves & have forgotten the common good; & also dismay and sadness and anger when I hear or read yet more accounts of the greed, cruelty & dishonesty coming from the president & too many in Congress. ( sorry for going on & on. Lots of emotions!)
    2. One thing that seems especially important to me right now is compassion.
    3. Truly the most pleasantly surprising thing to me this month was that Roy Moore actually got defeated. Gives me faith that when lots of people couple actions (voting) with their values good things can happen!
    4. Hopefully I’ve touched the lives of my grandkids by spending time with them sharing traditions I remember & treasure from my own grandparents. I’ve been touched by a neighbor who started out as my real estate client & who has become a friend. She is going thru treatments for a very nasty cancer & her sheer grace & good humor keep amazing & humbling me.
    5. Finally, my sincerest hope for the New Year is that all the tiniest acts of love & kindness will accumulate like snowflakes tumbling together into an avalanche of peace for our country & the world.

  • Neta Courcey

    Thank you for your work. It sustains me and motivates me to stop wringing my hands and do something.

  • Jennifer

    Jen, I am thankful for your leadership and helping me to focus energy on where it can be helpful. It’s usually just a phone call or a fax, but at least it’s something. My feelings in December have been of anxiety and some hopelessness as this Trump machine keeps plowing over everything in its path. I read conversations on Facebook that make me angry and sad. It seems that the longer this administration is allowed to plunder and pillage, the further the divide between Americans becomes. I think we’ve been in an eddy of diminishing trust – in our representatives, in the path of the country, in each other. I know that for the most part, people say on line what they would never say to someone in person. But it’s disheartening to know that people feel and think that way – as if those who don’t think like they do, look like they do aren’t worth the air they breathe. I haven’t been as present in my resistance in December because I just can’t deal with it. Sometimes I feel my efforts are a raindrop in the ocean. I know I will get to a place where I can rev up the engines again and be more efficient and active. Even though I’m in a low spot, I hope, I hope, I hope – that the tide will turn. I hope I will be part of what makes it turn.

  • Berma Matteson (Mauri's Birds on Twitter)

    1. My emotion is determined. Honestly, the last year has been a cause for anxiety that comes and goes and I know it has effected my friends as well. 2. My family and our health is most precious. I am aging and my physical body is affirming that :-). I have a grandson that came into the world with a preexisting condition. My son in law is medically fragile and disabled. We are all in the low income range. 3. My pleasant surprise was the election of Doug Jones. I hated it that everyone kept saying and reporting on his opponent and pleaded with them… “stop saying his name, promote Doug Jones!” And I believe that of 45 as well. Promote the good more than the bad. 5. My greatest hope for the new year is that good people will rise to the top of this national crisis we are in who will put the needs of all Americans first. Health Care, CHIP, DREAMERS, Livable Wages… And that our momentum will be an arrow to the heart of the wealthy and the law makers to “do the right thing” as they promote legislation.

    • Berma Matteson (Mauri's Birds on Twitter)

      OH, yes. I have been deeply grateful for the messages from you, Jen. I started every week with that in mind and usually got my calls and cards done by Wed. Your contribution was so very important… and well as your ongoing reminders for self care! Thank you and I’m so happy to hear you are getting the help you need to do this important work! Love you, Jen.

  • Tim Buckley

    Thanks for the questions, which I will invite guests tonight, at our annual Holiday Eve seafood stew fest to ponder aloud and share with each other. Thanks too, for the link to the emotions list of Byron Katy. I think I will provide a list for diners tonight, although I will expand on the Katy list to include emotions that might include ones we refer to as “positive,” such as joyful, thankful, appreciative, grateful, warm, loving, affectionate (or, conversely, after the meal: full, happy, satiated, tired, etc.) As of now, however, I am feeling grateful for the work you’ve done for Americans of conscience. Your effort resonates with lots of core values I have, central among them hope and community of purpose.

  • Teri Brown

    Privileged. It’s Christmas eve and I have so much food and drink and am spending the evening with my grandchildren. Even though I enjoy all the advantages of that privilege, it sits uneasily on my shoulders. I want to soak it in and at the same time remember how fleeting it actually is. I don’t feel guilty–I worked hard for much of it and the rest is a happy accident. But I am aware, and hope to always be aware, that my life isn’t the norm. That people, fellow humans, are suffering around our world… some by their own poor choices but many because of the choices of careless, morally bankrupt and corrupt people. I live with this by working my arse off to affect change. But today, I’m going to heft a glass of creamy, highly alcoholic eggnog and enjoy what life has to offer.

    I applied for a women’s leadership residency at PSU. I’m hoping to get in and hope the experience will hone my leadership skills so I can work more effectively for progress. That’s one of my hopes. Including hoping you have a very warm and relaxing holiday season.

  • Christine Brunner

    My sincerest hope for next year is that our legislatures and general citizenry will call for peace: putting a stop our endless wars. The use of the 2001 AUMF (authorization for use of military force) after 9/11 to justify our military involvements all over the world ever since is criminal.
    We are unfortunately a military congressional complex with war driving our economy and subverting funds for healthcare, education, and rebuilding our rotting infastructure, etc., etc.

  • Barbara Jung

    Jen you are such an inspiration to me. I am 81 and I do not have the skills or the energy to do what you and other young women (and men) are doing to make democracy work as it should in this country. I try to do my part by contacting my senators and representative each week but I simply cannot tell you how much you inspire me–all of you. Let us not weary in the work we are doing and bring back some sanity to our government. We owe it to ourselves and to our country to do whatever we can to bring equality, justice and compassion into our legislatures again.

  • Linda Simmons

    #4: Words, deeds, and whose life have we touched?
    Next month marks the end of living with my adult granddaughter. When she came to live with me I asked what she wanted out of our time together. (We both thought it would only be a few weeks.) She said she wanted to learn how to be an adult. Tall order, but I was up for the challenge.
    Four years later, she is able to stand in her own space and do what needs to be done with love. For me, that is one of the biggest things any adult can do. In 2 weeks she and her daughter will move into their first home and continue their lives on a straight path.
    I shared with her what I had to give and she accepted it, not always with grace, but with an attitude of learning. I could not be more proud of her. She has learned how to handle disappointment appropriately, how to ask questions that matter and what to do with the answers you get. She has grown tremendously.
    In that time, I’ve also learned things about myself, how I do life, and what I can change. She taught me that. I’ve learned that we never know how much we affect others’ lives by our example and words. There’s still more to learn, but she and I will learn together and apart.
    This is the hope I hold for humanity, that we will learn and grow. It seems like I am pushing a boulder up the hill, but perhaps I’ve contributed to humanity’s growth after all.

  • Lisa

    Mostly I’m exhausted and dispirited at the slow pace of justice… while at the same time, this vile administration is putting their stooges in places of high power, gutting the EPA, passing their cruel and greedy tax bill, robbing the poor and the elderly of health care, and making ready to rape the environment – and it has all happened so horrifyingly fast. On the positive side, my love of my community, my family, my friends, and my home is stronger than ever, and volunteering as a docent for the Regional Park district has been mind-clearing. Just to see all of the children – diverse in age, gender, and race – coming with their parents to learn about sea creatures or ladybug swarming or paper making at our local nature center is truly heartwarming, and reassures me that there are decent, kind, and caring people out there who are curious about the world and all of it’s creatures, genuinely want to help the planet and all who dwell here, and want to teach their children these lessons too. Thank you so much, Jen, for helping us navigate this scary new world….

  • Charles

    I’m feeling the happy emoticon.

    A democracy is precious.

    I am happy that Doug Jones won.

    Seeing friends again from far away and talking about life. Just listening to someone else is a great gift.

    My sincerest hope for the new year is that Trump is impeached.

  • Dale Brown

    What emotion(s) are you feeling in this moment?
    Happiness and fear for our countries future. The happiness comes from my personal situation which is fine.
    As this year draws to a close, what seems more precious to you than usual?
    Friends. And Family. I recently lost my sister and I loved her. So I realize more than ever the fragility and joy of each life that connects to us.
    Share a story about something pleasantly surprising that happened this month.
    I went to Handel’s Messiah singalong 2 nights ago. A woman sitting next to me noticed that I did not have a score for music. She took on making sure that I was included in every way even though I am not a singer. She gave me a score. It turned out to have different pages, and only had the parts where you sang. She shared her score when the singing was on the stage so I could follow. At one point, she searched through my book to find the place where we were.
    Our words and deeds have a ripple effect to those we love and beyond. Whose life did you touch this month? Who touched yours?
    I already shared how someone touched my life. I am going to share a story from the past, not last month. I was at Macy’s during the Christmas rush. I always share money savings coupons that I cannot use. I saw a family of youngsters and by a women and realized that my coupon was 20 percent off her entire purchase. It looked like she had a lot of bags. I approached her and said, “I have a 20 percent off coupon and wondered if you could use it.” To my consternation, she started screaming at me and calling me names- basically stating I was a liberal white do gooder and couldn’t do her any good. I realized she was probably hungry and irritated and stood my ground. I looked down so I wouldn’t irritate her further and let her rant and rave. When she wound down, I looked up and said as loudly as she had yelled, “This as a coupon for 20 percent off.” Do you want it?
    She stood there in shock. Then she said, “You are an angel. I want it.” She snatched it from my hand, and stared at it as if it couldn’t be real. I turned away. I overheard her say, “Okay Johnnie, those shoes I wanted to get you, we can get them now.”
    The information I wish to share through this story is that hunger makes people mad. Most people who want to be helpful don’t understand that sometimes people turn their irritation to the wrong source- and that the reason for their irritation is not their fault.
    What is your sincerest hope for the new year?
    That we all connect and love each other as we resist authoritarianism. That we show more examples of how non-violence actually works.

    • Barbara Tomlinson

      This is one of the best stories I have ever heard! You really ARE an Angel, “above and beyond the call of duty!”

  • Kim Luxhoj

    Two emotions I feel are fear and hope. Fear because much of the news reporting warns us of the authoritarian tendencies of this president and of the Republican Congress who appears to be protecting this president at all costs. But I also have hope for our future. Democrats are stepping up and recent elections toward Democrats are showing a shift in the tide. 2018, according to news reports, should be a blood bath for Republicans, with decent candidates being elected to protect our liberty, freedom, and the Constitution

  • Jim Bagniewski

    I have not done much reflecting in my life, it was not something that was even talked about in the circles of my life as an educator. It was always how can you spend time reflecting when what is important is getting ready for tomorrow.

  • Barbara

    Politically, I am feeling very sad. The recent tax bill feels like a slap in the face and the environmental changes leave me crying for that which feeds me. At the same time, I am exceedingly grateful for this thing called life. Those slowed down “now” moments that remind me who I am and what a gift this planet is.
    More precious than usual- my spirituality and my health.
    Pleasant surprises this month- Doug Jones election- very surprised and hopeful.
    A friend I haven’t seen for three years is part of my facebook team. I don’t respond much when she posts but I always leave her a heart to let her know I love and acknowledge her. She recently was diagnosed with cancer and she let me know how much the love that I leave on the game of facebook means a lot to her. Love is so easy and so much. My daughter touched me with a large monetary gift. Money is only money but this gift was special in ways that are hard to understand without the whole story.
    My sincerest hope for the New Year- that all minds and hearts will suddenly open up to the needs our mother, the earth and all races and social-economic groups….well, OK, at least that everyone will be unharmed until more loving leaders prevail.

  • Matthew Hobart

    I have been an inconsistent ‘activist’ this past year, reading through Jen’s list occasionally and taking action even less. Clearly, I wouldn’t be writing here if I hadn’t found much of this year discouraging, frustrating, and depressing. I am inspired by the wonderful work that Jen and her team have put into building this community of concerned and motivated individuals. It is very important work. We must find a common voice, a sense of comrodery for the more we as a people are divided the more we shall be be taken advantage of. I began the year in DC at the women’s march and was absolutely thrilled by the turn out and positive energy of the event. I felt connected to my fellow Americans in a common cause of equality and decency. My biggest take away was a question of how we as a complex and diverse society must find a way to come together, to communicate. Then the year went on, I became a father with a mortgage working to make ends meet and to shower my daughter with as much love and time as my tired body could summon. I have been continually amazed and dumbfounded by the still present vehemence directed twords ‘liberals’ Obama and Hillary. I am trying to understand where it comes from and why there is so much hate. It must be taught for hate is not the natural tendency of humans. It is the work of you people here that can stem this tide of hate. Keep up the education, the motivation and I will try and do my part to reach out with empathy to those who have forgotten that we are all in this one together wether we like it or not.

  • Patricia Gilman

    Thank you Jen for your inspiration to us all.
    The bright spot for my family was my son and family moving back into their house in Red Hook, Brooklyn, five years and one month after it was devastated by Super Storm Sandy. They were able to rebuild in a way that the house will withstand the next storm thanks to insurance, federal money and a refusal to give up on the part of my son. Please remember there are many other families in New York who are still battling for their homes.
    Let us not forget the people of Texas, Florida, California and, of course, the abandoned U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico whose lives have all been impacted by climate change.
    My wish for 2018 is, of course, for peace and justice, but also for truth to reign.

  • Kay Adamson

    Something very “pleasant” that has actually been happening all year long! It might also fall under “whose life have you touched”! A friend learned about Chicago Women’s Prison’s request for books and donated one. But then she thought about smaller women’s prison’s that might need help. We are in Washington State and she contacted the 2 women’s prisons here and found that they were also in need of books. Since January, she has collected and donated 2,000 books!! In addition, there was a need for craft supplies. She collected about 100 pounds of yarn, patterns, and knitting needles. Needless to say, they were ecstatic. The women use those supplies to make things that are donated to women’s shelters and others in need. The Library director for the prisons said that his budget for books 2018 was $400. There are 800 women in that facility – 50 cents per woman. How sad. This work will continue in 2018 and we would just hope that people look close to home and see if there are facilities in their state that need the same help. She said that she might now get books for some of the men’s facilities and focus on titles that will help men respect and understand woman. Always a good idea! Thanks for all you do – you are amazing!!

    • Jennifer Hofmann Post author

      Kay, this is amazing! WOW! Would you or your friend mind if I shared this in our weekly celebrations next week?

      • Kay Adamson

        Oh, please do!! You have a wide audience and, just think, how many women would be helped if just one other person did this! I told my brother yesterday about the project and he decided to start it in Canon City, CO, where there are 5!! prisons.
        This wasn’t my idea, though. I’m just helping my friend, Robin Stemen.
        Thanks, again, for all your hard work!!

      • Kay Adamson

        Hi, Jen, My friend wanted to clarify my comments so I’m adding them here:

        “A friend learned about Chicago Books to Women in Prison from a tweet by Katha Pollitt of The Nation. CBWP donates 3 free books directly to prisoners. My friend wondered if women’s prison libraries might need help, too. We are in Washington State and she contacted the 2 women’s prisons here and found they happily accept donations of books. Since January, using each prison’s guidelines, she has collected and donated 2,000 books!!

        In addition, there was a need for craft supplies. She collected about 100 pounds of yarn, patterns, and knitting needles. She also connected our local quilting guild with one of the prisons. The guild has been providing their quilting supplies. Needless to say, they were ecstatic. The women use those supplies to make things that are donated to women’s shelters and others in need.

        My friend gets the books from library book sales, garage sales, the Habitat Store and donations. This work will continue in 2018 and we would just hope that people look close to home and see if there are facilities in their state that need the same help.

        Another way to donate to Washington State prisons is to use the Amazon Library Wish List.

        Thanks for all you do – you are amazing!!”

  • Jeannie Dunham

    As we are about to begin a new year, I’m committed to staying strong, active, open and optimistic. Not that there won’t be doubts and setbacks but I have to believe that love, compassion, honesty and integrity will eventually win out against the opposite of those ideals and actions. Thank you for providing a roadmap and gentle reminders of what we’re all trying to accomplish.

  • suzanne goren

    Somehow, I feel hopeful that we can take back the Senate (and maybe the House as well!) in 2018 and put the brakes on this disastrous administration. Jen’s suggestions are very helpful to me, especially when my spirits lag and i feel impotent, so I look forward to more of them. I begin the new year grateful for my wonderful family and the good life I lead, and with my fingers crossed for Mueller.

  • Gabrielle Shatan

    I am feeling pride in all that I have done this year and renewed determination to continue putting on the pressure. I also feel fearful that people will lose momentum and discouraged buy how the year ended with the tax bill passing. A mix of feelings. What is more precious than usual is my freedom to speak out against the government. I fear this could come under attack more and more. My sincerest hope for 2018 is that more and more people join the movement of movements and commit to action and engagement.

  • Roberta Wheatley

    With less than an hour to go until the page on my calendar is turned to 2018 I feel hopeful and persistent. The rule of law and separation of power as established in our Constitution is more precious than ever to me and I am encouraged knowing that Mueller is taking his time to draw conclusions on the Russia debacle.

    Asa Citizenship tutor November found me working with a variety of students one on one. Personally I offer the most when I connect with one person for a period if time. In December I finally have a student ongoing. She is waiting for her interview date and is so motivated to get ready. Her English is improving every week. Saturday was brutally cold, but she was there waiting for me and ready to work. It makes me realize how precious democracy is as I get to know people who came here never knowing only dreaming what freedom is. We must protect our freedom!

    One of the women I tutored on her path to citizenship was in touch this month so we can meet for coffee. As the New Year begins, she and I will enjoy a coffee and conversation and laughter of course. To know that she is safe, that she votes and that we share a special friendship warms my heart on this cold winter night.

    My sincerest hope for 2018 is that the Dreamers have a path to citizenship. For all they contribute to our country and their love of our country it is only right. Here’s to 2018!

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