this is lemonade

A mindful, grateful, creative life: Life constantly hurls lemons at us. I’m on a mission to make lemonade as best I can, by God’s grace.


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A thought for 2014

We’re on the verge of a new year. For most of us reading this, it will be yet another new year. But through the ups and downs of 2013 and recent years, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I live my life. Where I invest my time and efforts. Some of these thoughts I’ve shared with you. Some of these thoughts have been inspired by you.

At the beginning of 2013, I had a go at making some resolutions. I have never made it through many weeks before I lose my resolve. I realised that I don’t like them because they are too prescriptive and restricting. I came up with some specific goals, and I would say that I have largely lived this past year in the spirit of them.. but not to the letter! A year is a long time, and I can’t even predict what will happen from one day to the next, let alone for a whole 365.

This year, I’m not going to attempt any resolutions as such, but I will continue bearing in mind lessons I have learned. I tried to live 2013 intentionally and mindfully, building on relationships that I have offline as well as online. I guess the overall idea is summed up in this thought-provoking talk by Ric Elias and also the first video I shared in another recent post:

I’m interested to know what your outlook for 2014 is. Not how you predict it will go, but what attitude you intend to have, going into the year ahead. I still intend to knit, cook and get creative as much as I can, but I’m hoping to have less time for that soon. More on that in the not too distant future I hope!

Well I wish everyone happy celebrations and einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr (I love how the Germans put it – roughly translated – a good skid into the New Year)!


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Jumping on the bandwagon of lurrrrve?

Love Hearts at Westfield E20 | this is lemonade

Love Hearts at Westfield E20

This week has seen two festivals celebrated a lot with the colour red. The Chinese Lunar New Year and yesterday’s Valentine’s Day. Without further ado, I’m going to share some photos of my red week. No overdosing on chocolate for me last night in the name of love, just as I haven’t done Lent properly before, I don’t really do Valentine’s either. But there’s no need to hate. It’s always good to be reminded of our need to show love – I served up a good meal, and to make it truly a special and meaningful occasion, I didn’t take photos! (I have to say though, I made proper nice roasted potatoes for the first time, and they were delish if I do say so myself – I’m having the leftovers tonight and I can’t wait, ha!)

Chinese New Year of the Snake | this is lemonade

Chinese New Year of the Snake – took me a while to realise the numbers are a snake!

Red Tape | this is lemonade

Red Tape – I used one to decorate one of my handmade mini sketchbooks

Fattet Moussaka at Le Comptoir Libanais | this is lemonade

Fattet Moussaka at Le Comptoir Libanais with aubergines and pomegranate seeds – very yum!

Red Bike Racks at Westfield E20 | this is lemonade

Red Bike Racks at Westfield E20 – I really liked these!

Strawberry FroYo in the making | this is lemonade

Strawberry FroYo in the making

OK so this last one is not red, but I could not help it. I’m a one trick pony, old dog, old tricks… whatever, but after Christmas, I bought myself a heart shaped cookie cutter, and look what I did with it 😛 (I did have to pour out the runnier, outer part of the egg white though, as the hole is smaller than the one I usually cut out with a glass.)

Sunny Fried Toasties Valentines Edition | this is lemonade

Sunny Fried Toasties Valentines Edition

I must say I’m not the world’s biggest fan of Valentine’s Day. I avoid all the red aisles in the supermarket and gasp audibly at the hiked up prices of flowers and chocolates to my own embarrassment. But I’m thankful for the reminder to treasure those I love more and to show my appreciation of them. I thought this article was quite a meaningful one, despite romantic love being all well and good. From a glance at the comments though, a lot of people don’t agree. What do you think? Did you celebrate Valentine’s Day?


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Getting Into Gear

We are well into February, and thankfully, my rather shaky start to 2013 has stabilised somewhat for now, thanks to all your support and encouragement. (Really, I’m not just saying it – thank you.) End of January, I took my first tangible step to work towards my fourth goal as stated in the first post of the year: to give more thought and time to offline, tangible investments in my relationships. I bought this card which I just love and then I wrote and sent it off last week:

wiggletoes_card

Card from Pencil Diaries at Paperchase.

One thing that I have neglected in my personal relationships that I enjoyed so much in the past, was writing snail mail. Letting my loved ones know that I am thinking of them has not happened for too long, beyond sending a quick text, email or Facebook message. I had already been forming a plan in my mind, to write at least one card per month that is not a holiday or birthday card. It’s not even halfway as ambitious as Ziggy’s Illustrated Letters project, but I think it’s manageable for me.

I read Ginna’s February Goals post (haw haw, accidental pun) for her blog, My Pretty Pennies, on 1st February. What a great idea to link up and encourage each other to reach our goals! I’ve been a little slow to complete my post but I wanted to share the step-by-step goals I have set for February. All the goals I share are connected to my overall goals for 2013 to reduce the risk of overwhelming myself!

  • Write a card to someone for no particular reason, just to let them know I’m thinking of them
  • Complete a knitted surprise gift and send it by the end of the month
  • Fill a home made mini sketchbook by the end of the month
  • Clear my desk of things that are waiting to be filed away
  • Sort through old clothes that I have piled up as potential sewing material, deciding which to keep and which to donate

As I have explained, I don’t live life straightforwardly, so I won’t be too surprised if I get started on some side projects along the way. But now I’ve put this month’s goals out there, hopefully it will help me to focus and work towards getting them done! I’m excited to be able to cross the first one off already and to be almost through the second at this point. Hopefully, I will be able to cross everything off by the end of the month!

How about you? Have you tried regular goal setting? Does it work for you?


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Scribbling on the wall

Feeling a bit lost for words. Not taking to the blogging very easily right now. I have a load of posts in the queue that I want to write, but the words are getting stuck somewhere and I’m feeling a bit down in the dumps in spite of the beautiful snow.

In an attempt not to get stuck in the black hole of despair, I decided to do something different. A digital doodle using a surprise Christmas present I received. I’ve been holding back and telling myself I’d use it as a reward for having organised things. But organisation is hitting a wall today, and I feel like I accidentally got crumpled up and smashed against the wall with it.

By contrast, you are all being so very impressive. We’re in the last third of January and all the resolutions are going so well! Roxy has not just been sharing a photo a day, she’s been making me envious of the amount of sunshine in the stories attached. Although the snow photo is my absolute favourite so far, followed very closely by the yellow butterfly. Ziggy has already written TWENTY letters with elves on them, and they have been flying all over the world. Ginna even went and ran a marathon on Saturday (woah, yes, I know! I’m in awe of anyone who runs further than the bus stop.)

I feel like a lazy bum, so here is the result of gingerly peeling myself off the wall and trying to do something positive, albeit so quick and unpolished:

Experiment

How is 2013 treating you so far? Have you set yourself any challenges and how are they going?


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Light relief

The weather forecast is currently inaccurate in a momentarily sunny London:

2012 weather forecast

I’m not complaining or anything. Yesterday, some of the frost from the morning did not melt all day. It’s December, the weather is reassuringly wintery. It feels somewhat seasonal unlike how it has been for much of 2012.

We’re entering the holiday period soon, approaching the end of what has been quite a momentous year for the UK I guess. Thoughts are turning to 2013.

You and I, we’ve almost been together for a year. We’ve had our ups and downs. Together. Through this year, the journey’s been made easier via this blog. I’m so thankful. I’m so thankful for the friends both old and new who have been popping by and encouraging me through 2012.

What is most on your mind right now? Christmas shopping? Whether or not to scramble together a hasty pile of Christmas cards to post? How to manage all the food preparation?

I’d just like to wish you some calm and peace in the midst of all the hustle bustle, Christmas lights and jingle jangle. Let’s sit and sip a cup of tea, and wonder at why we get so caught up in it all at this time of year.

Do you “do” Christmas? How will you be spending the coming weeks until we see in the New Year? (God-willing.)