wind beneath my wings
ray-bans and rainbows: seeing life through a happy lens

when life gives you lemons...

...make lemon meringue pie! Okay, I know that's not the old adage, but here's what I'm thinking... Everybody tells you to make lemonade. Lemonade is great. Lemonade is the equivalent of taking whatever difficult, unexpected situation you encounter and making the best of it. That's a great thing to do. But you can do better.

You can take that situation and you can not only make the best of it, but you can take parts of it (in this case, the juice from the lemon) and make it into a delicious, enjoyable treat (the pie). Lemonade is good, but pie is definitely better. [Note: I actually don't like lemon meringue pie at all, but I think it makes a great point here so I'm using it. If lemon meringue doesn't appeal to you either, use your imagination and pretend you live in a world where you can turn lemons into chocolate chip cookies...or ice cream...or cake. Yum!]

When faced with a change, an adversity, or a really sour ol' lemon of a problem, you can deal with it -- or you can make it work for you in a positive way. It's up to you. Here's how you can do it...


How To Turn Sour Lemons into Scrumptious Pie

  1. Take a good look at your lemons.

    Okay, you've got a problem on your hands. Something unexpected has happened and now here you are with a bunch of sour lemons, reading to burst into tears. Take a minute to stop and examine the problem. First, figure out what the problem really is. Look at it from all angles. Take your time to figure out what has caused this problem.

  2. Gather your tools and ingredients.

    You can't make a pie with lemons alone. You need baking tools (I'm not sure exactly what since I've made a pie exactly once in my life). You need other ingredients. You need to prepare and you need a place to work. Recognize that you will need things to solve your dilemma. While a lot of it does rest on you (and your positive attitude!), you can probably figure out some tools that will make the whole turning-lemons-into-pie thing a whole lot easier.

  3. Squeeze out the juice (the good stuff).

    The juice is the part of the lemon you need to make the pie (yes, I looked this up!). The juice, to me, represents the good things about whatever problem you face. Every problem has a lesson inside of it, just like every lemon is filled with juice. Extract that lesson and use the knowledge you gain from it to make your life taste delicious!

  4. Sweeten the deal by adding some sugar.
    Every pie needs a little (or a lot!) of sugar. So does your troublesome situation. A positive attitude is the sugar in your pie. You need it -- absolutely need it -- to make the pie taste good. Sugar makes the pie what it is, just as your attitude makes a situation what it is. Whatever the situation, embrace positivity. It will only help. After all, have you ever heard someone say, "Man, I wish I hadn't had such a positive attitude about that!" Nope!

  5. Ask for help if you're not kitchen savvy.

    It's okay to ask for help. I can tell you one thing -- if I were about to bake a pie, there'd be no way I'd begin without some advice. Whether it was a recipe or my mom standing by my side, I would need something to figure out how to begin. Life is like this too. It's not always easy to ask for help sometimes, but it's often the best thing you can do when you're having a hard time. You'd be surprised how much people actually want to help you if only you ask.

  6. Be patient and careful as you create.

    Don't rush through the recipe. Take your time. Measure carefully. Stir the ingredients consciously. It's not a problem-solving race. It's about doing the best you can with the ingredients, time, and attitude you have. Likewise, be patient. Most of the time, you'll be dealing with a specific problem for the first time. Give yourself credit if you don't know exactly what to do right away. Read the directions carefully. Take your time. You'll thank yourself later when you didn't screw it up and have to start all over again!

  7. Make it better every time.

    The first time is the hardest. You don't know what you're doing. You're not sure exactly how to follow the recipe. You add too much sugar. Your crust doesn't turn out just right. It's okay. You are learning and that's what it's important. Your pie might not be perfect, but it's edible. (And even if it's not, you can always give it another go!) Next time you're faced with a similar situation, remember what you did wrong and, of course, remember what you did right. Repeat the good, change the bad.

It's not always easy to make the best of a bad situation. Sometimes life comes at us in ways that are completely unexpected and we are forced -- whether we like it or not -- to deal with it. Dealing with it is one thing, but making it better is completely different. Think about the difference and think about how you can make a difficult situation better -- or, if you're lucky enough not to have anything difficult to deal with right now, think about how you can stop by someone else's kitchen and offer them advice. Maybe you've already made a pie. Maybe you've made lots of pies and you consider yourself pretty darn good at it. If that's the case, pop over to a friend's place and give him or her a hand. You never know when you might need some advice yourself.

Every day, lemons are plopping into someone's lap. Every day people are making lemonade, doing the best with what they're given. But how many people are making lemon meringue pies? How many people are taking difficult situations and not only dealing with them but making them better? I know it's happening. I can imagine the taste and the smell of the pies. Wouldn't you like to have one in your kitchen, filling your space with the positive scent of lemons made sweeter?

[Note: I want to give a big shout out and "Thank you!" to my good friend over at Through The Illusion who posted a piece on Positively Present yesterday. It absolutely made my day to see the post up. I hope you will all check out the site!]


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Forget lemon meringue pies, bring on the lemon martinis! Loved your post, PP. This was a fun read.

Excellent post! I always hated the age-old 'make lemonade', but the best part of the lemon meringue pie is the meringue! So, mayhaps we should just make lemon martinis as Chania Girl suggested? Imagine that - being drunk off of positivity!

Chania Girl - I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Lemon martinis would definitely be right up my alley, except I've had to give up drinking to cultivate a more positive lifestyle for myself. I think one day I will be able to drink again, but right now it's pies for me! :)

Ia - I hated it too (especially when I was in "old me" mode -- it was MUCH too cheery and cliche for my tastes!), but I think this puts a bit of a spin on that old saying. Since I can't drink (as I mentioned in my response to Chania Girl), I'll have to embrace the metaphorical idea of being drunk off of positivity! I actually think that's happened to me -- getting a rush from happiness -- and I think it's a wonderful concept. Thanks for mentioning it! :)

A very cute and original post- really loved it! And just what I needed to read today. Thanks for the smiles and inspiration.

As a novice baker, I really enjoyed your analogy:) I would also add that it can be as much "fun" to work through a problem (recipe) as it is to reap the rewards of a solved problem (eating pie). My mom likes to use the phrase, "trust the process," and I find that helpful when I find myself dealing with a challenging situation.


Oh I want some lemon meringue pie. :)

This is a really clever analogy to handling life's difficulties. I enjoyed the step-by-step instructions. I especially like step 6: "Be patient and careful as you create."

RML - So glad you enjoyed it. I had another post all planned out, but some lemons dropped into my lap and this one just came to me. Glad to know I'm spreading smiles!

Sarah - Very good point! The process is just as important as the actual pie, especially in the case of this analogy (in reality, I'd be much more interested in the pie...perhaps that's why I'm not very good at baking...). Thanks for sharing your insights here.

That's the secret, RIGHT THERE. "Add some sugar" hellsyes!

Good analogies, it's often the process of thinking positive and making the best of what you have.

Hayden - Oh yeah, sugar is the way to go! Add some of that positivity to your life! :)

John - Glad you enjoyed it. Positive thinking is definitely crucial to dealing with life's little (or big!) lemons. Thanks so much for the comment!

Love the analogy. The ONLY control we have over any unexpected situation is how we respond to it. We can choose to respond with a victim mentality or we can choose to get up, dust ourselves off and find the lessons.

By the way, how about; When life throws you a lemming make lemming meringue pie (no lemmings were harmed in the making of this comment)! Long live the lemming!

Sami - So true! We have complete control over how we choose to view a situation. Hahaha. I like what you wrote about the lemmings! I used to have a video game with lemmings that I loved...I just Googled it and had a little trip down memory lane!

I'm with Chania Girl...bring on the lemon martinis!!

But seriously, this is great stuff. I love the way you've kicked "traditional wisdom" up a notch. Don't just take something bad and make something good...make something great! I LOVE that idea!

A perfect metaphor for me today! My blog went crazy and I was about to freak. But I decided to examine the situation and I called in an excellent chef to help me though. Remaining calm was the absolute key in all of this today. And now it's better than ever.

Jay - I'm glad you liked it. As I mentioned in another comment, I was never a huge fan of that saying, but I think it's really important to not only make the best of a bad situation, but to do what we can to make it better. Thanks for the comment!

Caroline - That's great to know that everything worked out. Sometimes all you need is a little bit of help...Thanks for coming by!

What a wonderful analogy, even if you don't make pie : ) Once you have it all down pat with experience, don't forget to record the recipe for your problem-solving files.


When life gives you lemons I thought you're supposed to pretend they're little yellow footballs and punt ;)

I really like the way you kept the lemonade parallel throughout your advice ... especially the make it better every time part.

Karen - Very good point! Once you get the perfect recipe, it's important to remember it (and implement it!) the next time you're faced with a similar situation. Thanks for this! Good insight!

J.D. - Haha. I've never heard that before, but I like it! Let's say you can't just punt 'em...THEN it's time to make the pie! I'm glad you liked the analogy. :)

Hi Dani. This is brilliant -- I love the analogies you drawn. And... I just happen to love lemon meringue pie! Though I can never seem to spell meringue without looking it up.

Davina - Thanks for your comment! I'm so glad you liked the post. I definitely had to look up the spelling, hahaha.

Hehe a very creative metaphor! I actually love lemon meringue pie so it's good for me :D By the way, that related post widget at the bottom of those post looks really cool too.

Penny - I'm glad you liked the metaphor! I actually got the widget idea from (another great blogger!). I love the way it looks too!

Thanks for another great post and for submitting it to the Living by Design Blog Carnival, it's my pleasure to include it in edition No.35 which is up now.

Ananga - Thank you! And thanks so much for including me. I will go over to your site now and check it out. :)

Just sharing one of my favorite songs: Lemonade by Chris Rice.
To listen click here:

So go ahead and ask her
For happy ever after
‘Cause nobody knows what’s coming
So why not take a chance on loving
Come on, pour the glass and tempt me
Either half-full or half-empty
‘Cause if it all comes down to flavor
The glass is tipping in my favor

Life gave me lemonade and I can’t imagine why
Born on a sunny day, beneath a tangerine sky
I live life without pretending
I’m a sucker for happy endings
Thanks for the lemonade
Thanks for the lemonade!

Now take your time to answer me
For the beauty of romancing
Is to calm your trembling hand with mine
While begging love to fill your eyes
I can hardly breathe while waiting
To find out what your heart is saying
And as we’re swirling in this flavor
The world is tilting in our favor

Life gave me lemonade and I can’t imagine why
Born on a sunny day, beneath a tangerine sky
I live life without pretending
I’m a sucker for happy endings
Thanks for the lemonade
Thanks for the lemonade!

I’ve got it made
Rest in the shade
And hold my love
While God above
Stirs wiith a spoon
We share the moon
Smile at the bees
More sugar please
He really loves us after all
We’re gonna need another straw!
We’re gonna need another straw!

Life gave me lemonade and I can’t imagine why
Born on a sunny day, beneath a tangerine sky
I live life without pretending
I’m a sucker for happy endings
Thanks for the lemonade
Thanks for the lemonade!

Jared - Thank you SO MUCH for sharing the song here! That's just wonderful. I really appreciate you taking the time to post the link and the lyrics. Awesome! I love it!

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