a little sugar's all it takes.

    After a few days of rainy cold weather here in So Cal, the sun confidently decided to take charge of the cloudy skies and brilliantly burst forth in warm, delightful sunshine at the end of this last week, ushering in the weekend with the brightest and warmest rays that called out to me - "Go get your sunblock, slip on sandals, make some iced tea, and throw on a pair of last year's shorts -  cause, girl - it's time for summer!" And so of course, I happily obliged. Spending Saturday with three of the best women I know - Mom, my Grandma Dot and her best friend Sharon (who might as well be my second grandmother) at the California Poppy Festival.

   The day proved to be almost 100 degrees (the sun sure doesn't mess around!) yet we walked for hours around the grassy park, meandering in and out of tents filled with an array of crafts and stands offering mesquite bbq and big ears of corn on the cob.  Mid-way through the day when I felt like I might pass out from the heat, an icy tall lemonade screamed my name and I, once again, obliged -  and walked away happily sipping a strawberry  lemonade that hit the spot.

   As we sipped and walked, passing adorable vintage aprons, not-so-adorable old, empty bottles of whiskey turned upside-down, glued onto a tray and labeled "bird feeder" (My thought? They're playin' it fast and loose with the idea of a bird feeder, but okaay! To each his own, right? Ha) and hand-painted wooden yard signs in rather obnoxious colors shouting-out to various NFL teams, with offensive sayings scribbled at the bottom directed toward opposing teams (and my mom leaned over to me, knowing my love of football, and said - "Please don't ever get one of those for your yard!" - she needn't worry, there.)

   I thought about the women I strolled around the festival with - they've raised me and loved me and I've always been thankful for their presence in my life. Yet as I'm getting older I realize more and more, each time I spend a day with them, how full of wisdom they are. How strong, capable, grace-filled and smart. And how much they've overcome.

    Sipping my lemonade, lyrics to a song carried through my mind "A little sugar's all it takes to make lemonade" (I can't remember for the life of me who sings that song though!) And I thought about how life has certainly thrown quite a few lemons at these strong women. But through the years, I have watched as they picked them up, dutifully squeezed the juice out, and added a little sugar - making something beautiful of the bitter.

     Earlier on Saturday, I excitedly received a special book in the mail, and the inscription written inside further caused me to think about taking the "lemons" in life and adding a little sugar.

"If you look for the good, you will find it"

   I am learning that a perfect, flawless, and comfortable life doesn't make us grow. It doesn't push us toward trusting God. Perfect lives do not show us how strong, beautiful, and capable we can grow into being. Life may be hard, and sometimes it can be a little more than bitter - it can seem unpalitable. But I've seen these women take the bitter, and the worse than bitter... and come out stronger and more beautiful.

 And so, the rest of the weekend... I sought to look for the good. And I found it in.....

..feeling like a country girl in summer - nachos, boots, and grass.

..and dancing it out, in the car with the sister.

 ..Dot finished the special family quilt that was begun by great-great grandmothers, featuring all scraps of fabric from dresses and baby clothes. Isn't it beautiful? Family heirloom right there.

..Sunday spent in the sunshine at home with the family...smelling the bbq & hanging out on the fresh-cut grass with the family dogs.
excuse the wet hair & no-makeup look! ;)

And making a little fresh-squeezed lemonade of my own. Recipe here

 I'm inspired after this weekend, to embrace balance - it's the balance of loving the sweet things in life - while making the best of the sour things. Mixing them all together to make something delightful. I hope someday I can be as strong and capable of looking for the good in life as these women I love are. 

 After all, what would lemonade be like without the sour taste of the lemons? It would be rather plain, too-sweet sugar water...and sugar water may be nice for a sip or two, but it will eventually make you sick. That sour note, though - the kick of tartness is balanced by the sweetness, making lemonade just how we like it.

   So I encourage you, go - look for the good this week.
Take those lemons and squeeze some lemonade, making something sweet.
And I know - regardless of how hard things may look, how bitter they may seem -
 we will eventually come out stronger.... and sweeter.
Because, you know... a little sugar's all it takes.

Be blessed, my lovely readers.




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