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  • Maggie Wallem Rowe

Welcome to The Lemonade Stand!



Hi friends!


It’s the first week of June, my favorite month of the year. It’s a month of family birthdays and the upcoming wedding of an old friend who’s found new love again in his 70’s.  It’s time for what the Norwegians call friluftsliv – living life outdoors in harmony with nature.


One American writer has commented that Memorial Day is like a starting gun:

“While other holidays can be like a finish line — the culmination of so much energy — Memorial Day marks the beginning. The whole summer stretches out in front of us, a track shimmering in the sun.” Lina Bentahar

I don’t know about you (no, correction: I DO know because you write me), but life has felt heavy lately, and my weekly letter-posts have reflected that. Hard times, health challenges, and family fissures don’t take a holiday just because summer is here.


But neither do they need to define us.


When we were visiting our daughter’s family in New Jersey last week, I spotted a penciled sign attached to a tree. In a child’s scrawl, the notice announced proudly that the neighborhood lemonade stand would soon be “Opin 4 bidness.”

3 of our grandchildren with friends at their neighborhood stand

What better harbinger of summer than seeing these young entrepreneurs peddling their sweet drinks on the sidewalk, attracting every indulgent adult who happens by?


 It’s the ultimate win - win. Kids learn the value of money and what it takes to run a profitable business, while the adults are immersed in nostalgia as they gulp citrusy confections or slyly dispose of cups without enough sugar. It’s the one economic enterprise where the buyers always slip a little extra into the till.


This summer, what if we set up our own lemonade stand right here in this space? Can we, as adults, rise to the challenge to build something sweet out of whatever sour or savory, acidic or bittersweet ingredients we have on hand?


Remember my little post about the two local teenagers who changed my flat tire several weeks ago? Over 2,000 people in my town cheered for Cameron and Lukas when they read it on social media. We’re thirsty for good news about good people.


Has something happened in your life lately that turned a potentially sour experience into something sweet? Please leave a comment below or write me: maggie@maggierowe.com.


For starters, here’s a little story just shared with me by a Norwegian friend whom I’ll call Anna. Anna moved last month to a remote island above the Arctic Circle where she is the only health care practitioner in her field – a challenging transition for her family of five.  With a population of just 995 (Anna’s family made 1000), there are very few believers and no local church.


In her words, here’s what happened on Anna’s first day at her new job.

 

“Today I did a ‘tour’ to get familiar with the nursing home/rehab where I will be making frequent visits. I had the chance to sit down with a couple of the patients and get to know them.


One lady was 103 years old! She told me a little about herself, that her siblings passed, eventually other family members. Then when her husband died she wasn’t able to stay home anymore and they brought her to the elder home. Why she is still here at this age she wasn’t sure about. But “there must be a reason, I guess” she told me.


 She said: “Sometimes I get lonely, and I sit and cry in quiet. I don’t want to bother anyone and I don’t have anyone to talk to. So I talk to the Lord and give it all to him.”  I told her how wonderful that she can give it to Him and find comfort in doing so - I do the same.


 The lady had a complete shift in body language! She went from being reclined and tired to sitting up and being genuinely interested. She wanted to know more about me, started opening up about being alone in her faith, not wanting to “be too radical” by asking others. So she wasn’t sure if there were other believers in the home. She also agreed to get out of the chair and come take walks!


 Before I left, she held my hand and asked how long I planned on staying. She said she was sure God sent me to the island and she hopes to spend more time with me! It has been a long time since she’s felt “the light of Jesus” shine through someone else, and she felt encouraged to get up.


 On my way to work I had prayed God would use me today (half expecting it actually wouldn’t happen). So this short conversation with her was a big encouragement for me as well! I’m not the best at being ‘bold,’ but this showed me that simply telling someone I’m a Christian is bold enough.”  - Anna S.

 

That’s a tall glass of lemonade right there, friends! I had been praying for Anna’s transition as she and her family moved last month, and I was overjoyed when she messaged me about what happened on her very first day on the job.

 

Now it’s your turn. I’d love to hear your encouraging stories too. Let’s make lemonade together this summer.

 

With so much love,

Maggie

 

 Maggie Wallem Rowe is a national speaker and dramatist who writes from Peace Ridge, her home in the mountains of western North Carolina. The author of This Life We Share and Life is Sweet, Y'all, Maggie did try to run a lemonade stand on the Illinois farm where she grew up, but there was no one to sell to except cows and pigs.

 


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