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When Life Gives You Lemons…

Making Lemonade!

‘Karen and Jay celebrate the spirit of turning adversity into opportunity!’

It’s a well-known refrain… ‘When life gives you lemons, turn them into lemonade!’ Easy and fun to say. Not so easy to do – especially when you are the one receiving the lemons. In some ways, it’s a learned skill - and a real test of our positive spirit.

So, when this happens to you, here are several tips. Like I say, ‘not easy,’ but, definitely, worth a try. First, take a deep breath. A bit of time and distance usually helps. Then, with your new-found perspective, ask yourself ‘what are you grateful for?’ This will take your mind off the current situation – and if done with earnest feeling, will begin to change your whole physiology – putting you in a positive state of mind. And, lastly, realize that you never really can predict the future. That thing that just happened to you – that event that you think looks like a lemon – may, actually, turn out to be a blessing and the impact may be far different that it appears on the surface. You just never know. Moreover, most often, if you attack that circumstance with true gusto and a ‘can do’ attitude, chances are you’ll be able to transform those lemons into a positive outcome – essentially, you’ll be making lemonade!

The core idea is that when life throws something difficult your way, there’s always a way to turn it into something sweeter. However, life isn’t just about turning lemons into a sweet glass of lemonade, because let’s face it, lemons have their own great benefits, whether sweetened or unsweetened. I personally love to have a slice of lemon in my water or even drizzled over certain pasta dishes. The analogy of “turning lemons into lemonade” really has to do with how we handle the unexpected. For example, if someone unexpectedly hands us a lemon when perhaps we were expecting an orange and tells us to eat it, we don’t just cringe and do nothing with it; we put it to use in any way that we can to make the most out of the unexpected.

This reminds me of a story involving another type of lemon – the car type – and a US Army veteran named John Marti. Back in 1985, when John was just 21 years old, he was involved in a non-combat incident that led to an infection which ultimately cost him his right leg. Honorably discharged from the army following physical therapy and rehabilitation, he felt lost and unsure of where he would take his life. That was when his uncle, knowing John had a love for cars and fixing them, introduced him to an old and pretty beat-up car he thought he could get back on the road. At first glance, John scoffed at the offer, recommending they scrap it and that he didn't have the talent to fix up the car. Yet the uncle persisted, and after a few months, John told him he’d give it a shot if it meant he’d stop bothering him about it. Sure enough, after a few new parts and long nights, John had the car back on the road. When word got out among family and friends that John was a pretty good mechanic, they started reaching out to him to help with their little automotive woes. Little did John know, this “lemon” he fixed would actually help set the course for the rest of his life and give him the confidence to meet any unexpected challenge, especially in the face of what he’d already overcome as a veteran. It showed him there was a different way to find success, even if it wasn’t aligned with his expectations. John would eventually go on to become a race car mechanic, open up his own car shop, and even go on to become an amateur race car driver (not to mention a parachutist, skier, and ‘hand cyclist’).

When life hands us the proverbial lemon, it often means adapting to our obstacles rather than simply accepting them. It also means recognizing when circumstances have changed and that maybe it’s time to walk away from something that doesn’t suit us. This may be difficult to do because it may mean we have to start over or take a few steps back, but it’s all a part of healthy, positive thinking – being kind to ourselves and overcoming adversity in a way that’s most suitable for ourselves. It’s a subtle adjustment to our perspective, but it can have an immensely positive impact. So perhaps it's not always lemonade that we make out of lemons, but there’s always something we can either make or take away.

Pease Redevelopment – ‘Bad News’ Leading to Rebirth and an Even Brighter Future!

Life giving you lemons can come in all shapes and sizes, sometimes big and sometimes small, but you can make lemonade regardless of their size.

The Pease Air Force Base, located in New Hampshire, has a rich history that spans multiple decades. And during that time, it has had to deal with several lemons. But every time, Pease has made lemonade out of its situation. Used by the Navy in World War II, the Air Force Base became a U.S. Air Force Strategic Air Command base in the 1950’s. The base grew and became an instrumental part of the area. However, in the late 1980’s, lemons started to arrive. In 1988, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission recommended the closure of Pease.

By 1990, thousands of servicemen, servicewomen, and their families had left the area. And just a year later in 1991, the Air Force base was officially closed, leaving a huge gap in the surrounding area and a once-thriving ground empty.

Under the guidance of Governor Judd Gregg, the State took over the use of the surrounding area and formed the Pease Redevelopment Commission (PRC). After some fits and starts, the area was then converted into an industrial park, and most of the base was given to the U.S. Forestry for conservation. Many economic entities now call the base home, such as biotech companies, pharmaceutical companies, healthcare facilities, financial agencies, law offices, realtors, small cafes, and even a golf course! Business tenants of the development and their employees are in close proximity to amenities, accommodations, and growth opportunities, with more developments on the way! These developments make ‘The Pease’ the most successful redevelopment of an Air Force Base in America.

Recently, Governor Sununu appointed Steve Duprey as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Pease Development Authority, who oversees the growth and development of the base, and so the legacy of Pease Air Force Base continues to evolve, promising a future full of possibilities!

So, what was originally thought to be a lemon, has now truly been transformed into lemonade. A closed base – desolate and shuttered – has now become a key economic driver for the Seacoast Region of New Hampshire! For more information, please check out

New Hampshire’s Grand Places and Their Exciting Evolution through Adversity

New Hampshire is rich in history. As we all know, one of the thirteen colonies, home to the 14th President of the United States, and the Granite State plays a key role every four years in shaping who will or will not be the leader of the free world. But as I was thinking about the meaning behind this week’s Sunshine Report while on my daily run, I happened to pass the Wentworth by the Sea Hotel. Then it hit me: what are some examples, including this hotel, that have overcome overwhelming odds against them? Well, here are a few, and it ties back to the key theme of this week’s Sunshine Report – ‘turning lemons into lemonade.’

The Wentworth by the Sea Hotel, located in New Castle, was built in 1874. Over the years, the hotel has hosted thousands of weddings and meetings, bringing in guests from all over the world. In fact, the Wentworth hosted delegates and representatives from Japan and Russia who played a key role in ending the Russo-Japanese War in 1905. In fact, as a result of the signing of the treaty, my favorite President Teddy Roosevelt won the Nobel Peace Prize. One hotel brought opposites together to find peace, and right here in New Hampshire.

Over the years, the hotel changed ownership and purpose. In the late 1900’s, the hotel actually closed, and the remaining wing that we see today was supposed to be torn down. But the people rallied, and a Portsmouth-based hotel company restored the hotel to the glory we know today. This majestic hotel is now one of America’s Historic Hotels – you might enjoy taking a look:

How about the positive transformation of yet another iconic Granite State hotel. Another example of turning lemons into lemonade? Built in 1902, the Mount Washington Hotel on Route 302 in Carroll, New Hampshire, is one of the most recognized landmarks in the North Country. The hotel closed in the early 1940’s due to the economy. And, like so many of the grand old hotels, its future was very much in doubt. Lemons!

However, with new vision, it reopened some years later and famously played host to the Bretton Woods Economic Conference that led to the post-World War II transformation of the world economic system. Once again, a New Hampshire hotel was the scene of a momentous historical event.

Interestingly, the transformation of the property continued once again in the 1990’s. Historically, the hotel had never been a year-round resort. It would close in the winter months, but in the late 1990’s, under the ownership of the MHW Preservation Partnership, the hotel became a year-round destination. However, the owners acquired the adjacent golf course and the nearby Bretton Woods Ski Resort. Today, this once-seasonal hotel is a 365-day must-visit destination owned by Omni Resorts. The resort is home to a top-notch spa, indoor pool, and one of the largest event spaces north of Concord. Mt. Washington is our state’s largest mountain, and Mt. Washington Resort is just as grand! It can be found at

But it’s not just hotels that have seen a massive turnaround while preserving their history and splendor. So are the homes to arts and culture all over the Granite State.

In my hometown of Newport, the Opera House is a gem and staple in our community. Once billed as the best performing arts venue north of Boston, the Newport Opera House was and still is the spot that brings the community together. Through the years, the Opera House has been a movie theatre, basketball court, educational facility, and more. Celebrities from across the country and around the world would visit Newport and perform at the Opera House. But as the years grew on, so did the wear on the building. In the 1960’s, the arts program was moved off-site, and the building was in slow decay. But the members of the community have rallied and come together, restoring and reviving this one-of-a-kind location. Great friends of the Sunshine Initiative like Harold and Gerri Lavalley, Roy Malool and so many other community leaders have been a part of the Newport Opera House’s successful rebirth, and we are so blessed for that. To find out about coming attractions, please visit:

The same can be said for the Colonial Theatre in Laconia and how this performance center turned movie theater turned arts venue has come full circle and once again brings joy to those on and off the stage. While not too far up the road is the beautifully renovated Lakeport Opera House Or in Manchester, where Peter Ramsey has expanded the Palace Theatre not only as a world-class arts facility but also as a performing arts and education center, function hall, and place for the community to come together. For some great shows, please find them at

As a result of the ‘can do’ spirit and the persistent desire to make the best of any situation, there are now so many things happening in New Hampshire that we can all enjoy and be proud of. These examples reflect on our resilience, determination, and pervasive willingness to overcome – and turn lemons into lemonade!

Positive Profile of the Week: Ironheart Jeremy

This week we are delighted to highlight an individual who truly embodies the spirit of overcoming adversity – turning lemons into lemonade – Jeremy Woodward of Concord.

Widely recognized today as ‘Ironheart Jeremy,’ his journey is a testament to the strength of his metaphorical heart and how he used his misfortune as a springboard to success. This success was not only for himself but also for the community around him. In fact, during his recent TEDx talk, Jeremy implored the audience to consider the next steps they could take to transform not only their own lives but also the lives of those around them and their communities. According to Jeremy, the specific steps, unique to each individual, are what define our personal journeys.

And here is Jeremy's story:

He was one of the one percent of people born with a congenital heart defect. Despite this, he played sports while growing up, being told at a young age that any potential issues would become apparent only later in life.

At the age of 22, the first wave of lemons hit. His heart developed an abscess that necessitated emergency surgery. He remained well for approximately seven years, after which symptoms resurfaced. This time, he experienced severe fatigue and weight gain. A diagnosis of gallbladder issues was given, but within a few weeks, his condition worsened.

He was admitted to a Boston hospital, and after conducting tests, the doctors concluded that without treatment, he would not have survived beyond 24 to 48 hours. The initial medical intervention involved putting him on diuretics for a week, during which he shed about 50 lbs. of excess water weight. Subsequently, he underwent his second open heart surgery.

It was during this juncture that he decided that post-surgery, he would commence training for the Ironman Triathlon. Naturally, his wife and doctors believed he had lost his mind. For those unfamiliar, this triathlon comprises a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and culminates in a 26.2-mile marathon. The day after his surgery, he completed a lap around the ICU. While this may seem trivial to most, akin to a walk to the mailbox, he gradually progressed to two laps, then three.

Nearly three years later, almost to the anniversary of his surgery, he crossed the finish line of the Ironman Triathlon, emerging as one of the top fundraisers for the event. Subsequently, he joined Teddy Bruschi's team for the Boston Marathon, a role he’s held for 6 years.

And if that isn't an impressive transformation of lemons into lemonade, Jeremy has also achieved a career transformation as well – literally taking his setback and using it as the springboard to his successful change in career – building out his business in the sport and fitness training sector. Please visit his website for more details:"

Jeremy, we are inspired by your positive, ‘can do’ approach and for what you have achieved. And we extend our heartfelt thanks for how you have helped so many others in transforming their fitness, their mentality, and their lives!

Quotes of the Week: Turning Lemons into Lemonade!

"In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity." - Albert Einstein

"When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us." - Helen Keller

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." - Elbert Hubbard

"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them." - Maya Angelou

"The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails." - William Arthur Ward


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