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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Happy Winter Solstice!

From today onwards, the days will be getting longer again! Somehow, this year more than in previous years, I’m so ready for that! Perhaps it’s the very windy and rainy weather recently.

Anyway, thought you might enjoy popping over to Google to see how those ever creative guys have been celebrating this. I think you might agree that they’ve got the right attitude to winter 😉 I’ve got some backlog on knitting reports that I owe you among other things. I hope I will get those done in the New Year:

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The Christmas period being what it is though, I’m not even pretending that I’ll have another post out by Christmas… and unlike some very organised people out there, I have not written a few posts and scheduled them to be published in case you have time between watching the Queen’s speech and scoffing the turkey with all its glorious trimmings to sit down and click on my blog.

So! May I wish you all a very blessed and peaceful Christmas. I’m especially thinking of those of you who may be spending Christmas away from home or are expecting to have a lot of quiet or lonely time this Christmas. That is how the Christ child spent Christmas too – far away from home, with a stable for a shelter. I doubt it looked anything like the ones depicted on Christmas cards with golden bales of hay and fluffy clean animals standing there respectfully gazing on. The shepherds and wise men didn’t turn up immediately either although angelic school Nativity plays have repeatedly taught us otherwise. There was most likely no stuffed turkey with roast potatoes, no hint of Brussels sprouts and certainly no Christmas pudding or crackers.

It’s not the child we sing about in Away in A Manger (“no crying he makes”) that brings me great comfort in times of despair or sorrow. It’s the homeless Christ, who started life on earth as a refugee and who went on to associate himself with beggars, lepers and sinners, whom I remember at Christmas time and put my trust in through the years’ highs and lows. It’s this gift that I hold onto for life and not just for Christmas.

So I sincerely hope your holiday time won’t be full of tension, stress, a manic last minute dash round the shops for those presents or the cranberry sauce you forgot, the racking up of debt for the new year, a mind dulling TV marathon, heartburn accompanied by a delightful hangover… all the unhappy trimmings of Christmas the sentimental ads will have us believe we need.

Take care and go easy on the mulled wine. I look forward to seeing you in 2014. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for a very meaningful and lemonade-filled year together.


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Christmas Greetings

Dear lovely readers,

Thank you for your friendly, sparkly presence around this is lemonade this year. As we approach the end of 2012, I’d like to wish you all a wonderful Christmas. I hope that it will be a peaceful time for you and your loved ones in the midst of all the events that have been happening around the world this year, and all the changes that will bring new challenges in the new year. Thank you for the good times that you have brought to my year and let’s raise a bubbly glass to 2013.

I finally made an effort on Saturday and hung up some merry lights, they will stay up until spring now! For those of you who believe you deserve a present from Santa, here’s a little glimpse of his progress (click through to see the actual status)… it appears some of you already know whether you have been good girls and boys – enjoy your presents 😉

Santa Tracker

Take care and don’t stuff yourself with too much turkey. Enjoy the Queen’s first 3D Christmas message tomorrow. I do think her 3D glasses look a quite spiffy… what say you?

See you in 2013!


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10 More Days to Go (ish)!

Well. That depends on where you are in the world. It also depends on when you are reading this post. It might even depend on when the Big Day is to you. And whether or not I can actually count. But as it’s a Friday, we are looking at all things frivolous. Let us not get all tangled up in the intricacies of how many more days there really are until Christmas Day.

The Gruffalo

The Gruffalo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have a real gem to share: do you love the world renowned Gruffalo story, written by Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler? Well, Mr Scheffler was commissioned to illustrate the Royal Mail Christmas 2012 stamps and they are absolutely lovely! A sweet little video on BBC News magazine looking at his work and the Christmas stamps themselves can be found here. Does anyone fancy sending me a few Christmas cards in different sizes and weights? You have until next Tuesday or Thursday to get them to me in time for Christmas, depending on whether or not you are sending them by second or first class post or both from the UK 😉

I am a lover of stamps, having inherited some albums from my mother and then sorted through bagfuls of them from my German landlady many years ago. It’s not just the actual designs, shapes and colours of them that I love, or even the fact that among them are many souvenirs of places I may never visit in my lifetime. I love how much I learned from them. In trying to sort them, I stumbled across nuggets of history, different languages and scripts, important personalities or things of nature and inventions. And then there are the celebratory stamps. No, I did not get the London 2012 collection (of which only the first class stamps can still be purchased until the end of the year), even though I was thinking of it. Will I get the ones of Gruffalo illustrator fame? I don’t know. Perhaps a signed souvenir cover will do!

On another note, did you know that today is… Save The Children Christmas Jumper Day? A day when you can do something good with those embarrassing jumpers your granny gave you every year (mine didn’t, poor you!) If you didn’t realise, or your granny was more like mine and you have not had time to knit your very own silly jumper with Rudolph or Santa on it, then I propose whipping up a quick jumper for your egg cup – oh yes, there are free patterns on the Save the Children website and they are seriously cute! Hopefully that will make up for my abrupt lack of woolly posts and lovely knits recently. My shoulder is still iffy, I think I need to pencil in the doc as my first appointment of 2013 😦

Whatever you are going through today and through this holiday period, take care. I’m sending you some Gruffalo awesomeness – get your shrewd, inventive mind ticking. Wrap yourself up warm and pour a cup of tea, or get out those beach shorts and wriggle your toes in the sand (depending on which of the two is more relevant, and responsible, for you). Have a good weekend!


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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.)