As the end of the year draws near we find ourselves busy with preparations for seasonal celebrations. We hang decorations and plan meals. We gather gifts and organise activities. We might be travelling away from home or welcoming guests into our home. In short we are busy busy busy.

My Christmas Heart -copyright

(the beautiful mask above and on the front page is from Venice Italy and hangs on the wall of @Cutenclevercook from here

Here in the Southern Hemisphere we do all this during sizzling summer. School is out and the children are home. The blockbuster movies arrive, the beach calls and it’s hard to sleep in the heat.

In the Northern Hemisphere it’s cold and wintery. Snow might come, blizzards arrive and winter ills threaten schedules.

But we get on with everything, we do what we need to so. Don’t we? Sometimes we manage to get a little time for ourselves, to meet with friends and take a moment to relax.

These days there is no part of the year that is quiet, easy-going and restful. Unless you plan it. Block it out or in. Guard it from a creative barrage demanding you give it up. Jealousy protect it.

Here’s where my little gift comes in. I’ve decided to give you one less thing to do over the next 6 weeks.

There will be no emails from ‘A String of Pearls’.
This will give you a few minutes to do with what you will.

As to why no emails…
There are changes in the air….first the makeover of the site, a whole new look.

There will be other changes too. However not to the focus. Or foundational values. I don’t want to give too much away just yet…there have to be some surprises for the re launch.

So I will see you at the end of January 2013.

It’s the Year of the Entrepreneur.

I thank you for your support through this year; the manifestation of your interest and care about what I have been doing. I have delighted in this journey we have been on. And will continue…

I’d like to thank my Team Writers also: Wendy, Kylie, Tammy, Rosemary and Mark. Thanks you for your diligence, and patience while I have learned along the way.

To all the Guest Contributors, the Men of Men’s Week, and the photographers through the year, thank you. Thank you. We have l0ved your work. I have been touched by your generosity.

In this season, and for the new year I wish you joy and happiness, peace and safety. May we all have days filled with love and family, delight and friends. And the occasional treat…
In wishing this for you all I know and understand, that for many of you December/January will be tough. You are alone. On your own and heartbroken. Sorrowful memories overtake you. You yearn for loved ones no longer here. Your arms are empty. Your eyes are full, of tears. If this is you, Please try to reach out. Find someone who needs you. For paradoxically when you do something for someone else you will feel better. YOU WILL FEEL BETTER. Does a neighbour have a pathway of snow and you have a shovel? Is the family next door going away? Go offer to collect the mail, water the plants, feed the cat etc.  When we forget ourselves and do something for another person WE feel better. check out these creative RAKS for ideas.
(You can always come here and talk to me, leave a comment, I will see it. I may not be publishing but I will be here. Find me on Twitter)

So, remember, You are braver…

For those of you blessed to be surrounded by loved ones in the style of a charming holiday movie please also reach out. Make cookies, take your children and go visit, even for just a few minutes. And remember hugs. Hugs heal. A simple gesture that can cause the light of life and love to flicker anew…the greatest gift.

What will you do with the little gift of time I have given you?
See you in 2013. (You can find me on Twitter through this time @JaneofAustralia)