When Life gives you lemons: Make Lemon Meringue Parfait

There are 7 billion, 60 million odd souls on the planet today. That’s over 7 billion unique viewpoints and approaches.  What makes my perspective so much more informed and valid than my fellow earth-dwellers?  Not a darn thing!

Sometimes (like all of us I guess) I get so caught up in trying to make things happen – to succeed – that I start to get frustrated when others seem to be moving in a different direction than what I envisage. After all, I control the world and know what’s best don’t I?
What’s that? I don’t? Oh. That’s disappointing. 

I have my crazy, diverse, beautiful family to thank for this revelation.  Last weekend my wonderful sister Sandie, her daughter and granddaughter came for a surprise visit from interstate!   Seeing these guys at the end of my Indiegogo campaign reminded me how much I have to live for, how much I want to travel and how I don’t actually need to control every little thing in the world.  Sometimes, it might be in my best interest to go with the flow instead of pushing up river.

I started to get my knickers knotted when my daughter Mel started behaving weirdly.  Strange phone calls, vague answers and to make things worse she seemed to be pushing me to get everything I had planned to do over the weekend done on Friday.  Back off Mel!  I can do things in my own time thank you very much! Anyone who knows me well will know exactly how I respond to people ‘pushing’ me to do things.  In hindsight poor Mel was desperately trying to keep the secret visit a secret and make sure I was able to enjoy it at the same time. But to my mind I knew better… needless to say, we had words and tears on Friday as I attempted to reassert my authority over the world. Of course eventually my surprise turned up and suddenly the ‘pushing’ etc made sense.

Catching up with my sister and her family was great! We reminisced, teased each other and as with all great family reunions we ate and ate and ate. We talked about our adult children and a growing brood of grand children. Doesn’t this one look like that one?  Remember when what’s-his-face did such-and-such as a toddler?

We have a large family and we were always close growing up, still keeping in touch frequently now.  While we talked about family traits and times together, what struck me most about this weekend was how we could be so close and yet so very, very different.

My gorgeous niece Katie had timed her visit to coincide with the ‘start date’ of the Parfait Party, wanting to spend some time with me before I hit the road.  Beautiful thought and what a wonderful surprise 🙂  Yet in my one track mind, I was sooo focused on my Indiegogo campaign that for a few moments I couldn’t even see why they would choose to come down at this particular time.  I had in my mind that I would spend the last three days campaigning hard so I could raise funds to travel, spend time with loved ones, enjoy good meals with others and have fun.  Instead of raising money to do this I actually got to … travel, spend time with loved ones, enjoy good meals and have fun…. Hmm…I think there is a lesson in there for me:).
It reminds me of a tale about a Mexican fisherman and an American tourist’s advice on retiring:  http://www.cleanjoke.com/humor/How-to-Retire.html

Letterbox full of citrus

Speaking of jokes… something else surprising happened this weekend.  On Sunday I found my letter box stuffed with lemons and oranges.  What the…?  My first thought was perhaps some local kids playing a joke but why?  Why would I think this – maybe because once again I had not planned on finding citrus in my letterbox.  Lesson number 2 coming right up…It turned out it was actually a farm fresh gift from a lovely local family.  Why was I so quick to assume the worst?  … just because I wasn’t expecting a letter box full of citrus, didn’t make it wrong.   No more limiting ideas about what is ‘supposed’ to be in the letter box!  Or anywhere else.  (Well, I’ll try)

It is well known in my family that I am terrible at surprises ( I love giving them but usually snoop or guess the incoming ones – sheesh I even open other peoples Christmas presents to peek and then re-wrap them – I just love to know and then spend my time giggling and imagining their joy when they open them. Even my grand children know to keep the gifts hidden from Nonna :)) but you know until this weekend I didn’t realise how far this went.  I was at first very cranky with Mel because MY PLANS were interrupted over the weekend and grouchy because lemons in the letter box didn’t make sense. And to top it all off my Indiegogo campaign brought out similar feelings. I have received more funds, support and encouragement than I ever expected, but still missed my own goal. I had wonderful donations from some great friends, family, acquaintances and strangers but some of the people closest to me completely ignored the campaign.  It was a puzzle: I couldn’t understand and I felt like a failure. In my head I left no room for surprises or something I haven’t planned.

But you know, spending time with family this weekend made me realise that we are all so different, we all have a unique roles to play and my view and my plan is just one of 7 billion perspectives in play right now around the world.

Lessons for  me from the weekend
1. Sometimes the things you want or need the most are right in front of you.
2. Everyone has a unique contribution to make to the world and to each other, and a unique perspective to drive them.  I don’t need to control or even know what each of those roles will be.  Let go of preconceived ideas and make room for surprises and unknown opportunities.
2a. When life (or a good friend) gives you lemons, make Lemon Meringue Parfait… or lemonade… or preserves… or invisible ink… or whatever you wish!     And who am I to dictate what the lemons will be made into anyway. 

So, here I am. Officially trying to losing my grip on the steering wheel just a little. When I think back over the Parfait Party so far, some of the greatest successes and boosts have come from unexpected corners, things I can’t control or didn’t know were happening. So I guess the Indiegogo campaign was just one step along the pathway the party 🙂   If two heads are better than one, then I am an idiot to think I know better than 7 billion other people.   So please consider Parfait Party, open slather… if there is something you think will work; just go for it!  

What is in your letter box today?  And an even better question; what can you – with your unique experience and perspective – make of whatever is in your letterbox?

Coming soon to a blog by me – The weird and wonderful things people are making out of ‘lemons’ to help the parfait Party. 

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