The Importance of Connection: Moving from 2022 into 20234 min read time

“The connections we make in the course of a life–maybe that’s what heaven is.”
― Fred Rogers

In the past several years, I have shared a collection of my favorite photographs taken during that year.  2022 was a much different year from past years for many reasons.

At the beginning of 2022, I saw one of those silly things on social media saying the first four words you see in the jumble of letters are your words for the year.  I wrote the first words that I saw.   They were

money, care, family, and miracles.  These words did, indeed, have a large impact during the last year for me.

I started 2022 with the intention of writing a letter a day to express my gratitude to the people in my life who have touched me.  Although I did not end up writing a letter a day, I sent almost one hundred and fifty of these letters last year.  These letters were so impactful.  They allowed me to begin each day with gratitude by focusing on the positive and people who have been dear to me at different stages in my life.  A couple of these letters were the last chance I had to communicate with friends as their life journeys ended in 2022.  I was able to reconnect in real life with friends as a result of the letters sent.  My goal this year is to send 365 letters.  Some of my dearest friends have yet to receive their letters.  Sometimes the closest connections are the most difficult to express in words.

In the spring, I lost my mother.  Much of the year was spent healing from that loss.

I reconnected with activities I have loved since childhood.  I have always been drawn to water and swim a mile a day in the summers.  After our community pool closed this year, I would take a beach chair to the lake, put my feet in the water, and read.  I found this so peaceful.

Another of my passions since childhood has been reading.  I made a point in 2022 to spend more time reading books.  Here is a list of my favorites from the year.

Wonderland by  Annie Leibowitz

Andrew Wyeth A Secret Life by Richard Meryman

Beauty in Photography by Robert Adams

The Creative Habit Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp

Maggie Taylor’s Landscape of Dreams by Amy Standen

Cherry Hill A Childhood Reimagined by Jona Frank

Atlas of the Heart by Brené Brown

Richard Misrach on Landscape and Meaning by Richard Misrach

Larry Fink on Composition and Improvisation by Larry Fink

Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb on Street Photography and the Poetic Image by Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb

Mary Ellen Mark on the Portrait and the Moment by Mary Ellen Mark

Understanding Street Photography by Bryan Peterson

The Road I Call Home by Randy Bacon

Peaceful Neighbor:  Discovering the Countercultural Mister Rogers by Michael G. Long

Rauschenberg Art and Life by Mary Lynn Kotz

Wild by Graham Boynton

ABCDuane:  A Duane Michals Primer by Duane Michals

Gaudi The Complete Works by Rainer Zerbst

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Magritte in 400 Images by Julie Waseige

The Real Deal by Joe McNally

Vivian Maier Developed by Ann Marks

Portraits by Duane Michals

Stolen Focus by Johann Hari

I mentioned that one of the words I saw in the scramble of letters was miracles.  There were miracles that occurred in my life in 2022.  One of those was the chance to reconnect with friends who I lost touch with as “life happened”.  One of these connections was with my beautiful friend, Patty.  Patty and I met when I was sixteen years old.  We were both balloon girls at Carowinds.  After about twenty years, we lost each other for a while.  I am thrilled that we reconnected and now see each other once a week.  It is part of my week that I treasure.

In the first week of 2023, I lost one of my best friends, Chris Almerini.

Those of you who knew Chris know what an amazing person he was.  For those of you who didn’t know Chris, he was a kind, caring, encouraging, and generous friend.  Chris embraced life to the fullest.  He sought out adventure at every opportunity.  He valued the beauty of this world, captured it, and shared it in the most incredible ways.  Chris really connected with people.  He shared his gifts and his light with everyone who crossed his path.

As I begin this new year, Chris will be my role model for embracing each day, making and nurturing true, meaningful connections, and living life to the fullest.

Wishing you all the best in 2023!

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