Christmas 2022

And so it is, my good friends, that we find ourselves again in the waning hours of a calendar year. Time truly flew past quickly this year! Tempus fugit!

Penning this epistle is now becoming a fondly looked forward to tradition as I recall some of the wonderful moments in the day to day minutiae and bigger canvas of LIFE.

Putting some thoughts together today, it is exactly two weeks until Christmas ~ getting an early start this year. I will add final thoughts here in the waning hours of the year as we all count down to midnight … Tick tick tick …

And so I write this Dear Friend Open Letter, wrapping up the Christmas Message for 2022, welcoming the New Year of 2023, eagerly anticipating another fresh start.


Dear Friend,

Compliments and felicitations to you and yours. That this epistle again finds you all in good health and great cheer, celebrating in the spiritual tradition of your family, is my heartfelt wish.


White PoinsettiaTick tick tick … Approaching midnight this year, I find myself sitting in a beautiful spot about 55 kilometers north of Fremantle, with a stunning, 180° view of the Indian Ocean.

The air is cool and a breeze is blowing; the Freo Doctor as the locals have named it. I am loving the freshness of it, the delicate salt tang of it, the coolness of it and the way that the skin on my cheeks tingles in the wake of even the slightest salty little gust as I reflect on the year just gone.


White PoinsettiaTick tick tick … This year, my sons and I all went through that blasted pandemic thingy and came through to the other side bright eyed and perky tailed. I have seen a new level of humanity. The kindness that I have seen, the empathy, the understanding and compassion… The pandemic here is Perth is now a thing of the past in the sense that we no longer have any restrictions in place. We are blessed to have experienced one of the world’s best case scenarios right from the first days of lockdown through to our world leading vaccination rates.

Despite that, we are still experiencing thousands of new cases each week and losing people to the disease. It makes me very sad that humanity is still just not capable of effectively coming together and collectively stomping a virus into non-existence despite our technological capabilities … yet.

All I feel is deep gratitude for the health care system that we have here.


White PoinsettiaTick tick tick … As always family has been in mind, every single day.

Both of my boys have gained a start in their professional lives and are growing into handsome young gentlemen. I am very proud of both of them and all their fine accomplishments.

Sadly, the year started with me grieving my Father’s passing. He left us a couple of days after Christmas last year. Due to lack of money for an airfare and accommodation combined with COVID-19 restrictions, I could not attend his funeral in person. I did, however, attend via live-stream. Unfortunately, I had to park my van in a disgustingly littered and polluted car park because it was the only spot I could think of that was a goodly distance away from others so that I could have at least a semblance of privacy and dignity in my grief during the service.

I sobbed my heart out.

That was hard.


White PoinsettiaTick tick tick … During April I started having problems with van power shortages again. I have tried multiple times to work in libraries and cafes. Due to chemical sensitivities stemming from fibromyalgia, working long hours inside libraries with all the VOCs from printing inks in the books and magazines etc makes me very sick. So do cafes, because of controlled release fly sprays indoors. Oh, and I can’t currently pay for coffee and cake all day long in open air cafes.

Solar panels are brilliant when the full summer sun is shining on them, but late-autumn, winter and even early-spring caught me out again this year.

So …. my design work went down the gurgler again for a while. Writing on an iPad that is so out of date that Apple are no longer supporting it with firmware updates is REALLY difficult.

Nonetheless, I did manage to do a lot of drawings, and sketches, planning content on paper, developing business strategies, experimenting with hand crafting flowers, writing some of the poetry that I use for inclusion in the overlays of my design work, documenting business policies and procedures, creating lists, applying SEO to articles, posts and images, fiddling with CSS settings and PHP code snippets, and learning, learning, learning.

Now, to apply all that I have achieved this year toward overcoming barriers, that is the challenge for the year ahead.


White PoinsettiaTick tick tick … covering the middle of the year, briefly: In May-June-July I finally stopped doing fast food courier app work. Basta!!! I had another birthday in August. September I got very, very, very sick. During October I was bashed by a stranger in a public car park. In November some mechanical problems started on my van.

This year is a year that I survived.


White PoinsettiaTick tick tick … Ever the optimist and always looking for the silver lining when black clouds clear, some of the successes of this year have included:

  • I managed to revise and republish a bunch of posts and pages that I felt needed expanding and refining.
  • A bunch of new products have been released this year.
  • I have created new design templates and systems for my workflow.
  • Several new tutorials have been completed and published, as well as existing tutorials revised and expanded with additional text, illustrations and graphics.
  • The Learn to DigiScrap Program is on the verge of being launched.
  • the archivesVAULT has opened, finally! YAY!!!

Success abounds!


White PoinsettiaTick tick tick … Christmas Day this year was filled with peace and quiet. We had a pre-Christmas dinner on Friday night which was really lovely. The evening was absolutely glorious, with a cool breeze blowing in from the ocean, across the lake and through to us in the picnic area. We enjoyed a sumptuous yet simple spread including goat cheese and black truffle dip with grissini, open-face scorched garlic bread rolls, fillet steaks with bacon and garlic butter sauce on a bed of BBQ seared veggies, washed down with a nice non-alcoholic sparkling white (the red was all sold out!) and finished off with an oh so sweet and gorgeously glazed fruit celebration cake.


We ate so much our tummies were almost bursting.


White PoinsettiaTick tick tick … Finally, upon reflecting on the felt-sense of the year, and considering that my last New Year’s ownWORD was FLOURISH, the main thought that bubbles to the surface is that this year was a test and a trial from beginning to end. It was exactly not what I envisaged when I set myself the focus of flourishing everything with love.

Never before have I felt this deeply the roller-coaster of being sorely tested by life circumstances. My patience has been sorely tested. My resilience has been sorely tested. My ability to be kind has been sorely tested. My ability to show compassion has been sorely tested. My integrity has been sorely tested. My bank account has been sorely tested. My health has been sorely tested. My EVERYTHING has been sorely tested!

I strove to flourish this year, creating beauty, order and goodness around me as much as I could. It has been hard but I have managed, somehow, to retain my dignity and humanity, flourishing what I could, where I could. Being bashed by a stranger in a car park was the biggest test of the year and for one fleeting moment I felt how easy it would be to give in to overwhelming ill will.

With grace and decorum, I firmly turned from that unflattering trap, returning attention to what I need to do in the best interests of me and my family.

And so, during 2022, I not only survived, I flourished!

White PoinsettiaTick tick tick … After the trials of the year I feel the need to focus on one of the biggest areas that will benefit my family and I; to go deep within to nurture purity of spirit.

And so it is that in setting the stage for the next phase of my personal evolution, my ownWORD for 2023 is KINDNESS.

ownWORD 2023 KINDNESS - A Digital Scrapbook Layout encapsulating my special intentional focus word for the year ahead, beautifully decorated in a red and white theme with glitter highlights, blossom style silken flowers and bright shiny chrome twin-hearts page charm.
Digital Scrapbook Layout: ownWORD 2023 KINDNESS


“From a wise mind comes wise speech; the words of the wise are persuasive. Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” (Proverbs 16:23-24)

“Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.” (Proverbs 21:21)

“Thus says the Lord of hosts, render true judgements, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.” (Zechariah 7:9-10)

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” (Matthew 5:40-43)

“Lord, grant me peace above all else no matter the circumstances I may face this year.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

White PoinsettiaThis time next year, my deepest wish is to post that I bought a home during 2023. My heart and soul are weary of being trapped inside the cage of poverty. My long-time dream is for an exquisitely beautiful family home overlooking the ocean. During 2023, I also need to start taking more photographs again; my photo roll this year has been thin to say the least.


How has your holiday season been this year? Did you write a Christmas letter? Have you chosen a focus word for your New Year? What is it? I would dearly love to know; post in the comments.

Wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year!!!

Be well, do good deeds and keep in touch.


PS: May the road always rise to meet you on your journey. Carpe diem!

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