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Sunday, January 30, 2011


“Every good and perfect gift

is from above,

coming down from the father

of the heavenly lights…”

James 1:17a NIV

After the hustle and bustle of the holidays is over and the reality of winter sets in I often suffer from seasonal depression. I think it is partly because I love light and color so much. My gardens are dull, the sky is often gray, the trees are bare and it’s cold! Sometimes the sunshine is scarce for many days.

Some people love winter because of skiing, snowboarding, sledding, ice-skating, building snowmen and making snow angels. They look forward to snow days that cancel work and school, a crackling fire in the fireplace, and a cup of hot chocolate! I like all of that too, but sometimes that is not reality and the gray days must be dealt with.

All of us are busy keeping our job, maintaining our home, and caring for our family. All of these responsibilities mixed with the limitations and drabness of winter can get us down. Adding children to that mix takes most of your thought time and your energy giving you less time to even realize that you are depressed, if you are! If you are a woman, there is also the chance that your hormones are raging! If you are a man you may get the back lash of those raging hormones! Just in case any of you readers are sharing my feelings about the winter blues or if you are having any other emotional instability that is threatening your well being, here are a few ideas that may help you combat the very real attack

During times of feeling downhearted I try to focus on spending additional time in God’s Word and investing in my relationship with Jesus. I also look for opportunities to touch base with friends and send notes of encouragement. Taking the time to think of another person is always beneficial to my mental health. During the winter months I typically schedule those projects that I don’t have time for during the other seasons. I also try to make some time to catch up on some of the things that I enjoy such as writing, scrapbooking, reading, and planning my garden for next spring.

But during the down days of winter or even dog days of summer, or any other time that you seem to be depressed or restless in your spirit, the never fail “Serendipity List” is always an emotional booster! Webster’s dictionary defines serendipity as “The gift of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for.”

When I begin to make a “Serendipity List” I start early in the day, right after I pour myself a cup of coffee. Now with pen and paper in hand I head for my favorite chair and begin the “Serendipity List.” I write down all of the wonderful things that have already happened to me on this not so glorious day! As the day moves along I carefully list all of the valuable and agreeable things not sought for that began showing up in my life as soon as I woke up that morning.

At the top of my list I make note of the amazing feeling that I have because I am rested. I write down the absolutely beautiful full moon that is lighting up the backyard in the pre-dawn sky. As morning arrives I notice the way that the light filters through the trees. This too must go on the list. I jot down the enjoyment I get out of my first cup of coffee. Other things worth putting on the “Serendipity List” are the first kiss of the day when my husband comes over and says good morning. Later on is the refreshing hot shower that I am privileged to enjoy. As the day progresses it is a phone call from my son. It is also watching two squirrels scampering in a chase up one side of the tree and down the other. It is listening to my husband talk to his granddaughter on the phone. It is connecting with an old friend. Serendipity is hearing my daughter tell a funny story about my grandson. It is receiving an encouraging note in the mail. It is the happiness that I find in making a hot pot of steaming soup for us to enjoy at dinner on a cold winter day. In the evening it is the feel of crisp clean sheets as I climb into bed. But most of all it is feeling the love of God as I lay down to sleep. It is having a peace that passes all understanding even in difficult times; it is the joy of Jesus that is indescribable.

Yes indeed, the “Serendipity List” is food for the emotionally unstable depressed soul. It is acknowledging all of the wonderful valuable things that have happened to me throughout that day that I didn’t even ask for or seek out. Yes they are gifts, his amazing gifts from above. I guess the “Serendipity List” is just another way of counting my blessings. I must pay better attention to the small things in life because I don’t want to miss a single gift tomorrow!

If you are reading this and you are struggling to find even your basic needs met, I pray that you will pray and ask God to comfort, protect, and provide for you. God loves you and wants to show you his love. Look up, look down, look all around and ask God to show you something that he has made that will delight your heart. Receive comfort and hope in knowing that God loves you and he hears all who pray.


1. Are you feeling low, downcast, or depressed?

2. Have you ever made a Serendipity List?

3. Do you think it could be a beneficial exercise in recognizing God’s love for you?

4. Today are you experiencing the love, peace, and joy that can come only from God?

If not, simply bow your head in prayer right now and ask God to take your feelings of depression and in its place give you his love, peace and joy.


Dear Heavenly Father,

I need for you to show me your love for me this day. The truth is, you do show me your love everyday, yet somehow some days I seem to be so self-absorbed that I miss your love for me completely! I pray that this day I will rejoice in your serendipity gifts! I am thanking you in advance for all of your good and perfect heavenly gifts. Father, please keep me from being caught up in seeking your gifts but rather may I be drawn to you, the giver of all gifts. I especially thank you for all of the delightful surprises found in the gifts that you consider to be of valuable and delightful importance. Just as I love to give good gifts to my children, I know that you love giving good gifts to me. Thank you Father, you make me smile!

In Your Name I pray, Amen.