In my recent BT radio interview for my inspirational memoir, Sunday’s Child, the interviewer, Etienne Gibbs christened me his favourite lemonade maker. Lemonade makers are those who take the bitter things in life and convert them into something positive or beneficial. You know, sometimes life and nature surprise us with thriving flowers in dusty, rocky, dry ground. We can use these lessons to build confidence within our own lives. I want to illustrate the make lemonade with life’s lemons lesson with a story that happen some time ago, involving my 3 children. 

Make lemonade with life’s lemons


life surprises us with thriving flowers in dusty, rocky, dry ground

My daughters found a way to gain free entry to their brother’s room – with his consent!

Gabs is forever locking his door in their faces. Moreover, if he’s in his room, he requires them to write a note requesting entry and slip it under the door. Still, he doesn’t always allow them to come in because he thinks they’ll ‘girl up’ his bedroom. He throws a big strop if the girls decide they’re going to barge in anyway.

This has been going on for a long time, until the sugar and spicers came up with a cunning plan. This is how it all unfolded:

The girls lock themselves in the bedroom they share and fold a piece of paper to make it look like a card. The older one sends in the younger one (she’s the one with the angelic, innocent face) to Gabs, to ask for his autograph. Feeling that his sisters have finally come around to realising his true importance at last, Gabs puffs out his chest and signs it with unreserved glee.

A few minutes later, little angelic-looking comes back and bats her eyelashes at her brother again.

Knock, knock.

‘What do you want this time?’ Gabs asks. ‘Go away.’

‘Please sign an autograph for me,’ she asks.

‘Wot? Another one?’

‘Yeah, Dani wants one now.’

‘Weely?’ (really)

‘Uh huh.’

Paper change hands and my little boy signs his second ever autograph.


Meanwhile, Dani (the older girl) is locked in the bedroom making badges. Cut in a circular shape, the two pieces of paper have already been coloured in a fine-point, gold marker, complete with a string attached for hanging it around their necks.

After the preparations are made, the saintly girls then carefully cut out the two autographs their brother signed in good faith, (on a different piece of paper) and glue them in the spaces for the signature. This is what the finished product looked like.




Don’t ask me how they knew what to write. My freelance reporter’s pass is still secured in my purse. Even if they had gotten hold of it, it’s just a cheap card, and certainly does not guarantee me unlimited access – to anywhere.

Bottom line, the deed is done. The girls have both got signed passes to their brother’s room on their spanking new gold badges.

Is life handing you obstacles – rooms to which you have no access? Have you got bigger, stronger people standing in your way barring your right of passage? Maybe you just need to take those bitter lemons and make yourself some lemonade. Use all the skills and common sense you have to build your confidence and advance in life

The path you’ve tried and tested before is obviously the wrong way. Use another path – another alternative.  You’re getting nowhere because you’ve obviously been walking in the wrong direction. Change your path to change your life and before long, like my crafty daughters, you’ll also have your signed, All Access Granted pass badge! If you need some help to build your confidence check out my linked page. 

Did you enjoy Make Lemonade With Life’s Lemons? Please share it with others so that they can benefit also. Thank you. 

33 Responses to “Make Lemonade With Life’s Lemons”

  1. What a classic and beautifully written lesson! I love stories, and this story about your kids is priceless! It illustrates so well how self confidence can help us open doors which appear to be tightly locked.
    Steve-Personal Success Factors recently posted..Little Known Ways of Branding YourselfMy Profile

    • Anne says:

      Thank you for popping by, Steve. Consider this an introduction to my blog and my readers. They can also now visit your site by clicking on your link (personal success factors) which I’ve now added to my blog roll.

      I love using stories to illustrate the point I want to get across. I think the impact is made even better/clearer when this is done.

  2. IGG Favorite Finds for June says:

    […] (July 5th) with Anne Lyken-Garner. Anne is a regular commenter here at IGG and hosts her own blog Build Confidence. She has also recently published her memoir Sunday’s Child which will just take your breath […]

  3. Hi Anne

    There is nothing better than a great story to get the message out. I got such a kick out of your kids!

    But aren’t we all kids….learning as we go through life. Once we see ourselves that way, there are endless opportunities that unfold for us.

    When something doesn’t work, try something else. Hey didn’t we do this as kids? I recently gave a client of mine some advice. She was battling self esteem issues.

    I told her to pretend she was 12 years old and look in the mirror and try new hairstyles, spend time like she did when she was 12 and play dress up. Be 12! I recently had a call from her and she was so delighted.

    She felt lifted and seen that there was a way to deal with her issues. She started feeling good about herself.

    Lesson here is we forget that we still are kids!

    Thanks once again,
    Donna Merrill recently posted..The 80/20 RuleMy Profile

    • Anne says:

      I know, Donna. I was just saying to someone the other day that I didn’t want to lose that sense of adventure I had when I was younger. Lately I’ve found myself getting safer and safer. I know it started when I had the babies. I want to preserve myself so that I can look after them. While this is great in itself, it makes you lose some of your childhood and if you’re not careful you can also lose your inquisitiveness. I want to preserve this because learning like kids do is magic.
      They have the confidence to bang at closed doors.

  4. Mariella Lombardi says:

    Hi Anne,
    girls are really inventive aren’t they? This is a really nice story, shows us that overcoming obstacles might not be that hard, it just takes a little more innovation.
    Mariella Lombardi recently posted..Fighting That Pesky Jiggle under Your Arm – Exercises To Help Tone the Underarm “Wings”My Profile

    • Anne says:

      Yes, they are. It was only until I had both girls and a boy that I realised how different males and females are.

      We have to start our own trend if we can’t fit in with existing ones. It’s the same with having confidence to overcome obstacles. Thanks for dropping by.
      Anne recently posted..Duct Tape For DIYMy Profile

  5. Ken Wert from MeanttobeHappy says:

    I love this post, Anne!

    Your kids sound just adorable! And crafty too! 🙂

    The point you so beautifully make here is also such an important one. So many of us bang our heads against closed doors and wonder why we get headaches. But stepping back, reworking a new solution, seeing the problem through new eyes, from a different perspective, can make all the difference as we blow by yet another locked door and move ahead down the path that is life, VIP passes happily in hand!
    Ken Wert recently posted..10 Ways to Change How You Feel: Beating Depression into SubmissionMy Profile

    • Anne says:

      You express it very well, Ken. I love, “bang our heads against closed doors and wonder why we get headaches”. We do this, don’t we?

      We have to re-think our path and start to think a bit like children. When things don’t work, they do something else. My crafty girls didn’t have a key for the door, but they made their own key and before you know it, they were in.

      If only we could all have the adventurous spirit to do this!

  6. Hi Anne,
    I love your illustration. Such creativeness! Was I also that creative when I was a kid? It seems so long ago now. But I remember there was always some new games to play, new friends to meet and new activities that a day is not enough for all of them. I was always looking forward to next day.
    Nowadays, it’s more common to think of these things as another tool to learn, a new client to please, another goal to achieve, problems, obstacles, closed doors. etc.
    As children have a lot to learn from us adults, we also have a lot to learn from them.
    Theresa Torres recently posted..Gas Myths Survey: Gassy Advice to Save Money at the PumpMy Profile

    • Anne says:

      Oh, yes we do, Theresa. And one thing I never want to lose is my childlike curiosity. I’ve lost a bit of my adventurous spirit. I think I became ‘safer’ when I became a parent (mind you, I was far from being wild or unsafe). Learning from kids can show us so much of how to live life simply, yet fully.
      Anne recently posted..Duct Tape For DIYMy Profile

  7. Ha! I can’t say I’m surprised that your children are so creative Anne, but this really is inventive 🙂
    marquita herald recently posted..Discover the Power of a Curious MindMy Profile

  8. Anne: Creative story and creative girls! I was trying to figure out what they were planning to do, but they sure out smarted Gabo. Lol. I think there are many lessons that can be learned from your story and I think that is the beautiful part of good stories.

    Lessons I recieved: 1. Do not fight back with fist, but with brainpower. 2. Find a way to overcome any obsticle, even the seemly impossible. 3. We have what we need (Our brains). 4. Last, but I think most important, do not sign anythin unless you know what you are signing. ( :
    William Veasley recently posted..Agree To DisagreeMy Profile

  9. farouk says:

    hahah great one
    learning how to make lemonade during hard times is such a great skill

  10. Wow this story is very funny and I liked it! The brother must be an introvert for being so anti social.. Good thing the girls found a way to have the consent of their brother.. Nice story!

  11. I love the saying, If life hands you lemons, make lemonade. It really is so much deeper than it sounds. I love when people are able to change something negative into something completely positive.

  12. Andrew from SEO says:


    Pure creativity…your daughters will go far.

    To be successful in business…you have to be creative and be different!

    Andrew recently posted..Search Engine Optimization: Why Page Titles MatterMy Profile

  13. I enjoyed reading your post.

    Making lemonade from lemons – I think nobody understands it better than the movie industry. Here, mistakes are merely missed takes, meaning takes that did not make it through the final cut, hence missed. It doesn’t mean they are “bad”, it only means they are part of the process. [Kids understand it, grown-ups tend to forget :-]

  14. AnneV. says:


    Your story illustrates the inventiveness we all sometimes must apply to get by our obstacles. I would love to have seen the look on your son’s face when presented with the “back stage passes”!

  15. Joel says:

    Haha, great story. Some inventive thinking gets you a long way! thanks for sharing.
    Joel recently posted..Can you help me out please?My Profile

  16. Debbie says:

    Love this Anne. I am like Anne I would have loved to seen the love on his face when they out smarted him.
    It proves that yes you can make lemonade out of lemons and also that there is an answer to ever problem. You just have to search until you find the right answer. It is called perserverance.
    Thanks for sharing this great story Anne.
    Debbie recently posted..The Most Mind Blowing Thing Parents Can Do For Their Children.. And It Is EasyMy Profile

  17. Steve from Weight says:

    I love the creative way in which you wrote this story. It triggered me to realise that inventive thinking delivers a message much more powerfully. I like to think I am pretty creative but I am always hungry to learn from other people who ooze that talent which you evidently do. Thank you for sharing this.
    Steve recently posted..How Weight Loss Hypnosis Can Help You Lose WeightMy Profile

  18. Wendy from Hypnotherapy says:

    A wonderful story, thank you for sharing, and it gives such a insight into human behaviour. If your son had not bought into having his ego boosted it would not have worked!

    Thanks for sharing

    Wendy recently posted..Are you struggling to lose excess weight?My Profile

  19. Hi Anne,
    Gabo got outsmarted, but he learned a valuable lesson from his two sisters. Most likely, as life goes on, he will be glad to have such smart, capable, and able to keep a straight face while they plan and execute their take down missions. Well done, girls!

    I agree with the people leaving comments above. You tell stories beautifully. Parables are truly effective teaching tools.
    Cheryl Ragsdale recently posted..Respect Lesson 8: Choose Your 3 Best Corner MenMy Profile

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