In Just For Fun, Life Is Short, News & Stuff, Pep Talks, Travel by David88 Comments

I want to join my little penguin friend in wishing you a very Merry Christmas. If you celebrate Hanukkah, like much of my family, then a happy Hanukkah to you. If you celebrate something else, or nothing at all, then I wish you the same: peace, joy, and a new year that is filled with the same. I still celebrate Christmas, and I celebrate hard. It pains me that it’s so commercial, the heart of it being so much the opposite of all we seem to strive for at this time of year. Christmas to me is deeply personal, a celebration of the possibilities and hopes of the deepest longings of our hearts: peace on earth and the making right of all that brings us sorrow. It’s the annunciation of the angel to the world that God sees our tears and chooses not only to wipe them away but to share them. Some days it takes more faith than others to believe. Still, I believe.

2011 was a rough year. Like all years. It was also amazing. I lost, to cancer, a friend who was dear to my heart, and gained others. I mourn her loss, and celebrate the others. I celebrate this world of wonders in which we live, and the fact that not only can I still walk, but I’m still alive. I love this line from a Marc Cohn song: Maybe Life was curious to see what you would do with the gift of being left alive. Indeed. And I celebrate you all, gifts to me from a God whom I still believe to be good and kind, despite evidence to the contrary at times. In this season I am profoundly grateful for what, and whom, I have, both to God and to all those who by choice are gifts in my life. Thank you for every comment, every email. Thank you too for supporting me and my Craft & Vision team; every eBook you buy is a gift to me, keeping me and the 13 other authors and 5 others on my team at least partly fed. 🙂 Your purchase of my books not only gives me an audience but a livelihood, and I don’t take that for granted, either. From the bottom of my heart thank you. And from all of us over here, we wish you the happiest of holidays, the merriest of Christmasses, and a 2012 filled with peace, joy, health, and the fullness of a life lived in gratitude. Merry Christmas, Friends.

I am a Ninja. Antarctica, 2011. Photo by John Birch

I am officially going off the grid on December 19. No more twitter, FB, blogging, or otherwise. I turn 40 on December 24, and will be offline, cuddled up, and celebrating 40 years. I’ve already got a wallpaper posted for January 01, and that’ll go up as the new year turns on the east coast of North America. From there I’ll post postcards as I can; I’ll be in Ethiopia and Kenya and Tanzania until February 01, then I’ll be back in full force. See you then. And until then, my very best of the season. Cheers!


  1. Hey David!!!

    Marry xmas and birthday!!!!
    I can’t stand to meet you in Ethiopia!! 😀
    I am very glad to be part of the team!!

    See you there,

  2. As we have apparently added to your life this year, you have certainly added to ours, for that you can hear the resounding “thank you”. You’ve risen to your challenges and in the process helped some us rise to our own – hopefully with equal grace and humility. Who knows what the New year will bring but, God willing, may it will include peace and good health for us all.

  3. A very Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday to you, David! What a blessing that you’re here to celebrate both – walking, photographing, writing, LIVING! Enjoy your time off the grid. Looking forward to your adventures in 2012.

    God bless! 🙂

  4. Joyeux Noël David et une merveilleuse année 2012 remplie de petits bonheurs, de succès et surtout de la santé pour en profiter!
    Merci d’être aussi généreux 🙂

  5. David ,
    Happy Birthday first of all- you are lucky- you are still young ! Have a great time in Antarctica and – I am sure – we all have a great pleasure to see your shots.

  6. David,

    It was a pleasure getting to know you in Antarctica! I wish the best for 2012.

  7. Thank you for your gifts of insight and inspiration, David. I just received PHOTOGRAPHICALLY SPEAKING to savor over my holiday break. Celebrate hard … Merry Christmas!

  8. Only 4 more sleeps till birthday time… you share a birthday with my son who’s turning 13 🙂 I’m constantly telling him to start dreaming and taking chances now, not to wait like I did in my late thirties… I’m grateful I learned that here, on your blog David! Merry Christmas and may more adventures come your way in the New Year!

  9. Best wishes to you for this time of year and beyond! Thank you so much for the spectacular views from your wonderful adventures and do hope you enjoy the time off the grid, with your feet up in comfort!

  10. Merry, Merry , Merry Christmas David! Here’s to a wonderful Birthday and a Joyous New Year as well. 😉

  11. Just returned from 13 magical days in Tanzania. Still need to sort through my 2,000 or so images. You will love it! Happy Birthday and a blessed Christmas!

  12. Happy Christmas David.
    It was a great pleasure to meet you in Antarctica.
    Your approach of seeing, rather than which button to push, provided me with much more of a vision of the way my work needs to improve.
    Happy trails for 2012.
    Best wishes,
    John Dufton
    Vancouver Isleland.

  13. Happy 40th birthday David, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    Given all the adventures (planned and unplanned!) and inspiration you have shared with us this year, I find myself wondering what you have in store for us in 2012 😉

  14. Great post for this time of the year, couldn’t agree more. I think we all have so much to be grateful for and now is the time to do it. When you go through difficult times, it makes you appreciate the good days so much more. I know from experience. Here’s to a wonderful 2012, more of all health and happiness to you. And a happy birthday! Enjoy your travels in the new year.

  15. Best wishes to you and your family all the way from Belgium! Have a great holiday!! Can’t wait to see the results 😉

  16. Wishing you a Very Merry Christmas, and all the very best in 2012. You’ve been a real inspiration to me this past year, as I’ve gotten back into photography after being away from it for a number of years, and your blog is the first this I check every morning. Keep sharing your thoughts and wisdom – it’s much appreciated.
    Take care, be safe…..Brian

  17. Merry Christ mas David and all the best for a wonder full 2012. May it be all that you need.
    Take care and see you when the sun starts being here more often than 7 or 8 hours a day.

  18. Thank you David for all the words and inspiration you share with all of us.
    I wish you and your familly a merry christmas and a very happy new year full of new adventures (Still live is the biggest adventure at all). Happy birtday too! I turn also 40 this year and feel better than ever.

  19. Have a great Christmas David and Happy Birthday! I’m looking forward to following your peregrinations in 2012. Loved your Antarctic shots. Thank you to adding new insights and many stunning images to my life throughout 2011. All the best. Cheers, Keith.

  20. Thanks David. I’d like to wish you and your team a very Merry Christmas and much joy and happiness in the New Year. Thank you for your dedication to this craft and your willingness to share with the Craft and Vision community.

  21. Thank you so much David. I know that I’m not the only one who has followed your journey this year and rejoice in your recovery. Have a wonderful holiday…Merry Christmas & happy Hanukah. I look forward to following your adventures in 2012.

  22. I absolutely adore your Christmas card. Enjoy your birthday and remember life is not a rehearsal. 40 is sooo young. I envy you. I am looking forward to another of your books under the tree again this year. Since first meeting you after receiving Within the Frame I don’t think I have missed a blog.

  23. Merry christmas to you David. You have no idea how much it gives me to follow your blogg. For me it is enlightning to see how you find even in the darkest places the brightest light. It gives me hope. Enjoy the holiday season and see you again in 2012.

  24. Have a great Christmas & 40th birthday bro! Hey why don’t you look up my sister Ang in Ethiopia – they are working with the Gumuz people…here’s a link to her blog: http://africankruses.blogspot.com/ and are living in a village called Gesses. Message me on facebook for more details…I know they would love to connect with ya.

  25. Blessings and Peace to you David.
    You have been an inspiration and guide, turning me towards light and creativity, when at times the clouds of darkness threatened to cover the sun.
    i firmly believe God is going to give us a year of restoration and adventure in 2012

  26. Merry Christmas David!
    And Happy {soon to be} Birthday!
    I love your Christmas card. I also make my own Christmas {and Birthday } cards using my own photographs.
    Just want to say here that I began following your journal because you stated unequivocally that you are a believer.
    Not many photographers say that. As a daughter of the King, I was curious to see what you do. Now I’m hooked. I love your work and your writing style. I aspire to develop a writing style of my own, that will make visitors to my photo journal keep coming back for more.
    God Bless you and have a fun filled yet SAFE, new adventure!
    Didn’t you say you’ll be in San Diego soon?
    Merry Christmas!

  27. Thank you for continuing to share your vision, even through all that you went through this year. Have a wonderful holiday and a very happy birthday. Safe travels and all the best to you in 2012.

  28. David..Not only is your photography a Christmas gift to us..but more importantly what a good man you are!!!Merry Christmas..Mike DuPonte

  29. Merry Christmas and a Happy Birthday. I will be celebrating my own birthday Christmas day…hope you enjoy your day. 🙂

  30. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you as well, David.

    Have a great new year, full of adventure and free of mishaps!

    Love your card… as I said before, you could sell a ton of them!

  31. David: I met you virtually about a year ago after I read Within the Frame, loved it, and began looking for more from/about the guy who could write about photos in a way a really understood. So I happened along on the ride from the launch with Jessie, to the Fall, through rehab and to Antarctica. What a year you have had! An amazing year to share with you…I have learned alot about photography – but that’s the least of it.

    For me, as a pacific northwesterner, the return of the light is my favorite day of the year. So I wish you, and all your tribe, beautiful light in the year to come.

  32. In sharing your journey, you have helped me learn to celebrate the gifts of life and photography even more! No small thing – peace and health to you, David!

  33. Merry Christmas! Happy Birthday! And the best of New Years upcoming to you David! Look forward to your safe return in Feb 2012 – the adventure you call life just seems to rumble on trudging the road to happy destiny. 🙂

  34. Though the spring in your step was temporarily hindered this year, your attitude kept bounding. I’ve had a fantastic photographic 2011 and am licking my lips with 2012 insight. I wish you a fantastic Christmas and thank you for your continuing efforts to improve the craft. I will be definitely along for the ride. All the best 🙂

  35. A very Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday to you David. You’re an inspiration, and I know I join with many in treasuring the gift of yourself which you have shared with us.

  36. Thank you for your good wishes to one and all David. This season should be about that kind of brotherhood across the divisions of religion and culture. Sadly too many choose to turn it into a time of conflict. I’m glad that you are still with us and able to walk and carry on with spreading the wonder that is the Earth and its people. I wish you the best in the coming year.

  37. May the blessings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ rest upon you, David, during this season of gratitude and celebration. Faith is a tough road, just like photography. I don’t believe faith is a natural in-born talent – it takes work, action and risk to live a life of faith. Yet, may we not mistake the work of faith for the gift of salvation, that which is freely given by Christ’s sacrifice, sharing, as you said, our tears.

    Enjoy your time off the grid, David, spent, I assume, in the company of loved ones. You are an inspiration in so many ways for each and every one of us!

  38. Have a wonderful time, David. Rich blessings to you for Christmas and may 2012 be the best ever! Happy Birthday too. It’s great to be that young! Your forties will fly by way too quick so make the most of them. I should know having been there!

  39. Happy Birthday David! Thanks for the holiday wishes – I wish same for you and your family!

    I’d say you’ve done as well with that gift as anyone could hope for. You are an amazing inspiration. I’m thrilled that you’ve conquered the challenge rather than being beaten down by it.

    Are you still planning some time in the American Southwest? If so, I hope our paths cross. It would be an honor to have a beer with you sometime.


  40. Wow! What an uplifting message, David. You are an inspiration to all. So glad to see you in such great shape. Enjoy your break with your family and I offer you all the best for the best Christmas ever and much joy in the New Year.

  41. Amen!

    Enjoy the holiday season David, I have no doubts that you will! May the new year bring you less trying but ever fulfilling challenges.

    Merry Christmas!

  42. David:
    Thanks so much for the meaningful Christmas message and for bring so much inspiration in photography, humanitarian efforts and in your teachings. May the new year bring peace, health and happiness to you and yours.
    Mary K.

  43. Hope your Christmas and birthday are bright and shiny and all your stars are in alignment.

  44. Hi David:

    I read your Christmas message and I enjoyed it deeply. I see in you a good man, and those are rarely found nowadays. You are more than a photographer for me. You are also a spiritual leader. Thank you so much for your inspiration to us all.

    Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones as well. I look forward to your accomplishments in 2012.



  45. David, a very touching and beautifully written post. A wall of tears whelmed up in me … Thank you for sharing your journeys and your expertise, they are greatly appreciated and enjoyed.
    Wishing you a most wonderful 40th birthday! Also wishing you peace, love, great health and a prosperous New Year. Merry Christmas!

  46. 2011 sure was a challenging here – but I agree, being alive is a gift that should be celebrated, although some days it’s tough to remember that; it’s absolutely true. I am so glad you made it through your trials and tribulations this year! Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? If anything, this year was a great year to be introspective and events put many things into perspective. Glad your surgery Wednesday went well and wishing you the most merry christmas, happy new new year, and of course the happiest birthday. Have a great holiday break! You deserve it.

  47. As always, a beautifully written and inspiring message. Have a wonderful Christmas, a fabulously peaceful recharging of your batteries “off the grid”, celebrate your 40th birthday in great style, and may your coming year be full of great fun, together with interesting challenges that stimulate all your creative juices without being quite so painful as those offered by 2011′! A very Happy, Healthy, New Year and all the very best to you, Sarah

  48. Author

    Thanks all! I feel the love. 🙂

    Debbi, the surgery you’re referring to happened on Wednesday, Dec. 14th. It seems to have gone well and if I’m not imagining things I seem to be walking a little straighter already. 🙂 Thanks for asking.

  49. Thank you for the heart-felt post. Here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday. I think you have an upcoming bit of surgery, or it just passed. Good luck with that. I hope that 2012 is pain-free and cane-free!

  50. Dave, I love your pics and can’t believe I can say I knew you when. I pray the Lord’s blessing to you this year. May you have a wonderful birthday and grand start to the new year. May you know how high, how deep and how wide is the Love of Christ this year!

  51. Merry Christmas and a happy new year for you David! Thank you for sharing your photographs with us!

  52. Quickly wishing you a happy birthday, David, before you disappear off the grid 🙂 Wishing you, your team and your family a wonderful Christmas and a brilliant 2012 with an abundance of joy, peace, health and laughter.

  53. Merry Christmas to you too, David. And Happy Birthday.

    Thank you so much for sharing your talents with us in 2011; I am looking forward to 2012.

    Have a safe trip to Africa.

  54. Merry Christmas and happy birthday to you David. Thank you for all you do for the community. May this be a great and successful year for you.

  55. In life nothing should be taken for granted! I’m happy to be back here and feed from this inspirational “agora”.
    Thank you David, may all your wishes come true!!

  56. Merry Christmas to you too David, and to all your readers! I hope, given all your recent challenges, that this Christmas gives you great peace, joy and hope for the coming year.

    Oh, happy 40th too. Remember, 40 is the new 30!

  57. Happy Holidays!!
    Have a great time with your near and dear ones, and celebrate your 40th Birthday!! 🙂

    Warm Regards
    Gautam S Brahma

  58. Hi David, thank you for giving me/us so much like inspiration, creativity and the opportunity to meet eachother via social media and/or live. Without having you ever met it feels like a friendship. Thanks for that feeling!!!
    Also to you and your family the best of best and we will meet eachother next year in Liguria, also with Jeffrey.

  59. Your words have touched my heart and thank you for being you…Have a wonderful Holiday Season and a fantastic 40th Birthday!

  60. Great post David…so glad to see you alive and well and still living the dream and inspiring us all to live a full and rich life. Cheers to you and your family in the new year 🙂 xx K

  61. Thank you David. Hope you have a Merry Christmas and a great new year! You deserve it!

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