Welcoming 2023: Seven Tips for Beating Winter Sorrow

Winter Trees

I’m baaaaaaccccckkkk! 

So, 2023?

Here we are and I can’t say that I am feeling all the “new newness” of the year. I want to. I am trying to, but I can’t seem to get my head in the game. In fact, I spent the first days of the year “in a funk,” as my mom and baby sister would say. A million things to do. Too many ideas floating around in my head. “Goings on” I would normally be excited about. I just could not get myself motivated to do anything. 

I blame “wintercearig”–winter sorrow–a feeling of downheartedness or despondency caused by or as desolate as the depths of winter. You can read all about the Anglo-Saxon word on the Haggard Hawks blog. Wintercearig perfectly captures the impact of the winter season. 

I don’t think I suffer from “seasonal affective disorder,” but December brought two or three weeks (straight) of dreary, rainy weather followed by insanely cold temperatures.

Temp Dec

Actual temperature two days before Christmas–and I had done very little preparation. 

Considering this is the South, it was downright disrespectful. It seemed everyone’s spirits suffered. My own bones were so steeped in “winter sorrow” that I had to fake my way through the holidays. 

When I was facing the return to work last week, I struggled. I literally begged God to lift my spirits. I had things to do, after all!

An agonizing day later, my Bible study took me to Philippians 3:13-14:

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Even though the verses have different meanings, I stalled at the phrase “press on” and accepted the Divine instruction to press. As much as I would have loved to lie on the sofa under a comfy throw and binge-watch “whatever,” I was well aware of the reality:

We have responsibilities that we cannot ignore and we can’t always “lie down” and succumb to our feelings. Sometimes, we have to “press on” no matter what. So, I sat down and scribbled some ideas in my journal to help get me through the day–ideas for “pressing” on when we lack motivation, when we’re weary, and when we’re simply “in a funk.” 

  1. First things first: Get up and move. Do something. Walk. Run. Dance. Clean your house. Chop some wood. Just move. Don’t allow yourself to sit and wallow.
  2. If you’re anything like me, when you don’t feel like doing anything, staring at a long list of tasks to be completed is enough to send you into a state of depression. Sometimes, you have to place the lengthy list in a drawer and make a new list of the absolutely must-dos and hit that list hard and fast—one by one. Task by task is key to not overwhelming yourself and running in the opposite direction. Pro tip: When you’re “in a funk,” even the smallest task, expectation, or obligation can feel impossible, so pray your way through every movement and remind yourself, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” 
  3. Make a piping hot cup of tea and sip slowly while listening to some cool jazz or your favorite music. Yes, tea is the answer to almost everything. 😉

  4. And while we’re on the subject of music. Create a playlist of your upbeat favs and sing along loudly and off key. There’s nothing like giving your abdominals a good workout to improve mood. I’m sure there’s some physiological explanation for that, but I’ll let the music therapists address the topic.

  5. Do something bright and colorful! Throw paint around. Play with stickers. Write a cheerful ditty or postcard. Do something that brings out your inner creative or inner child.

  6. Dial a friend. A funny one. One who is lighthearted and free and who will not allow you to remain in the doldrums.

  7. Plan a reward for yourself—a nap (my favorite reward), a new book, a pretty pen—something you can enjoy when you break free of your “downward” mood.

These all work for me, but what do you do when faced with all the icky, sluggish feelings that descend from time to time? Share in the comments.

Until next time…

May 2023 be good to thee. 😉

Such Is Life…

Fractal Deep Purple and Black

I woke up a week or so ago and typed the following note in my e-journal. I’d intended to flesh it out and clean it up, but sometimes, we need it straight. Even though it takes the shape of a poem, it is not a poem. Then again, maybe, it is. It is sad (perhaps?) and hopeful at the same time, but eh, such is life and the paradoxical state in which we all operate.

Life is hard.

Like really, really hard.

Achingly so at times.
Crippling even.

We must understand that.
We must get it through our thick skulls no one has it easy,
no matter how it looks on the outside.

There is no “life should not be this way.”
It is all life.

The sooner we get there in our thinking,
the sooner we will get to the part where we accept
“life” is always happening
and learn to find joy in spite of our circumstances.

The sooner we climb out of the oppressive pits of self-pity and despair
the sooner we begin to live,
and the sooner we will get to the part where we dance in the rain
and stand tall when everything around is crumbling.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.  —John 16:33

Eternity Now: A “Comfortable” Approach to the New Testament

eternity now

Are you a Bible reader? I love the many translations of the Holy Writ and the many different approaches to scripture available. Thomas Nelson’s latest presentation has just been placed on my favorites list. 

The NET Eternity Now New Testament Series is a wonderful little collection of books which feature the New Testament presented in a unique way. Instead of book, chapter, and verse, the series presents the books of the Bible in “story form,” like paperback novels—with paragraphs and chapters and written in a style that appeals to the most readers. 

The series is divided into five paperbacks of about 80-200 pages each. This means, instead of lugging a 2000-page volume in your purse, you can tuck one small volume into your purse, backpack, or even a medium-sized pocket! If you want to carry them all at once, they’re not as heavy or as cumbersome as a traditional study Bible. 

  • The five-volume series “lets you see how eternity has broken into the here and now.” Readers can “read the history-shaping story of how Jesus Christ changed the world and what it means for [them]. It’s the no-frills, unvarnished Word of God, presented in an easy to read style and format.” –from the slipcover

Oh, and here’s the part I love: Instead of reading the 27 books of the New Testament from Matthew to Revelation, the Eternity Now set is organized by the themes listed below (descriptions adapted from the back covers of each volume).

  • The Legacy: Includes four New Testament books—Matthew, Hebrews, James, and Jude, all written from the perspective of Jesus’ own community and family.
  • No Going Back: Includes three New Testament books—Mark, 1 and 2 Peter. From these you get a fast-paced and passionate account of Jesus’ ministry and the effect it had on his most prominent disciple.
  • Grand Tour: Includes two New Testament books—Luke and Acts. Read together, these books illustrate the healing mission of Christ from prophecy through ascension and how the life-altering good news began to spread worldwide.
  • Death to Life: Includes 12 New Testament books written by Paul—Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon.
  • Now But Not Yet: Includes the five New Testament books written by the apostle John—John, 1, 2, and 3 John, and Revelation. John unveils who Jesus really is, how a life can be transformed, and how we are connected together for a glorious future. 

The set is written in the easy New English Translation (NET), which is not [in my opinion] as elegant as the King James English but is beautiful nonetheless and certainly more accessible to those who are not comfortable with reading like Shakespeare characters. 😉

For someone, like me, who loves reading the Bible as literature (as well as a sacred text) this is a wonderful little set. For those who are uncomfortable with traditional scripture formats, this little set is perfect!


Note: I received a complimentary copy of the NET Eternity Now New Testament Series as a member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid. If you’d like to purchase your own set, you can find it at the Faith Gateway Store or at Amazon.

Timeless Wisdom for Life

Whatever is true

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.Philippians 4:8 NIV


About the Image: The doodle art above was created for Day 16 of Sheila D’s 30-Day Creative Gathering last September. I’ve committed to joining again, but have not settled on a topic or an approach yet. Hopefully, I’ll know by the time I wake up in the morning! If you’re interested in being part of the community click here > 30-Day Creative Gathering. The supportive group welcomes traditional and nontraditional forms of art.

Postcards that Make a Statement | Clothe Yourself

“Clothe Yourself” by Becky

Clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. —Colossians 3:12


Who Sent It? This is another postcard that has been sitting on my “to be blogged” list for far too long. It is a collage postcard made by BeckyG56, a swapper in the “Christian Friends” group on swap-bot. It  was sent seven years ago with a note from Becky sharing that she is trying to put on the qualities of Christ and live this verse. Me too, Becky. Me too.

Sunny Blossoms | The Ultimate Kindness

“Kindness” by Martha S.

Today’s Kindness blossom came from my pen friend, Martha S. She painted the sunflower [with a nod to the Ukraine] for International Women’s Day/Women’s History Month. It was refreshing to see a card that simply reminded us of kindness. 

If we think about it, it all comes down to that. Doesn’t it? If we were more compassionate and thought as highly of others as we think of ourselves, women’s rights wouldn’t need to be a thing!

I know that sounds simplistic. Social structures/constructions are complex, and for some reason, humans have an almost innate suspicion of those who are not like them; furthermore, in many cultures, men have been conditioned to see women as inferior to them. These attitudes seem to be at the root of all unkindness—even in our “smaller” interpersonal interactions.

I wish I could pinpoint the moment where [some] men decided that women were inferior to men. Some point to Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden or Scripture in general, but the argument is not supported in Scripture. What Scripture does uphold is that we are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27); we are part of a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9); and God desires an abundant life for all of us (John 10:10b). And, the best part–His mercy, grace, and salvation are available to all!

That is the ultimate kindness. 

Sorrow | The Butterfly [Tattoo] Effect

Butterfly-3 wm

I have been fixated on butterflies most of the week, reworking butterfly photos into watercolor photo art. I didn’t realize why until, while scrolling through my camera roll Thursday evening, I came across a picture of my son and parents that was snapped last summer. In the picture, I could clearly see most of my father’s butterfly tattoo. 

Ah! That explains it!

In addition to the intangible qualities and gifts, there are certain tangible items that I associate with my father. Among them are his ruby ring, his hearing aid, his jazz collection, and his butterfly tattoo. Only one of those was buried with him, and I was miserably grieved that I had never managed to intentionally photograph the tattoo while he was living–neither had my photographer brother nor any of the other photographers in the family!

The tattoo was simply a part of my father; he had gotten it when he served in the United States Air Force. It had been there all our lives—so we never thought about taking a snapshot. Until he was gone. I combed through image after image and could see parts of the tattoo, but never enough of it. Furthermore, the quality was diminished in attempting to enlarge any photo enough to really see the tattoo. Failing to capture the tattoo troubled me for weeks after his passing, till I finally convinced myself to let it go. I did so grudgingly and with the hope of eventually finding someone who had a good shot of that tat. 

I don’t know how I’d missed it in the photo referenced above! I think it was waiting to be found when I needed it most. With my father’s birthday approaching [today], I guess, the butterflies settled into my spirit and provided a way for me to connect with my father’s memory that was soothing for my soul.

Daddy Butterfly Tattoo wm

Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Matthew 5:4

Scripture Mail | An Encouraging Word

779419c5-9c6c-4099-9a24-267ff6b59cae

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. –1 Thessalonians 5:11

Scripture mail might be my favorite type of mail to send and receive. There’s something about opening a postcard or an envelope filled with scriptural goodness that fuels the spirit.

Whenever I receive scripture mail, it seems the senders listened for Divine direction on which Bible verse(s) to include. The card above represents a “case in point.” Shortly after returning from my father’s funeral, I received the card with the encouragement below tucked inside from LadyJo, a member of the group Christian Friends on swap-bot. She had no way of knowing about my father’s passing, but inspired by 1 Thessalonians 5:11, she sent timely encouragement my way, and it did much to hearten me.

Scripture mail can take many forms–store-bought postcards and notecards, stickers, “pass it on” cards that can be purchased for as little as a dime, bookmarks, coloring cards or pages, a page or two from a devotional book, handmade cards, photo cards, and even index cards with scripture written or typed on–with or without other embellishment. There are countless possibilities.

Sending scripture mail is a great way to support an individual who might be facing difficulties. We don’t always have the appropriate words to comfort or answer life’s problems, but we can usually find a Bible verse that offers peace and hope.

Or, like, quote mail, scripture mail can be sent to let individuals know you’re thinking of them. There are many verses that can be used to just say, “Hi!”

It’s easy-peasy, of course. You can jot a few Bible verses into any card you have available. If you don’t have cards, stationery or notebook paper will suffice. Just slip the verses into an envelope and send them on their way. It truly is the thought that counts!

Side note: I do advise you to make sure the receiver will not be offended, particularly if you do not share the same belief system. I send scripture mail to encourage, uplift, or inspire, not to proselytize or get someone to convert to my religion or denomination. I am particularly drawn to sacred texts, so just as I am inspired by texts outside of the Judeo-Christian tradition, I’m sure that non-Christians find wisdom in the Holy Bible.

If you want to get a little fancy, watch for my next scripture mail post. I’ll share and talk about how to make simple scripture mail.

Until then…