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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Food and How This One Meal Changed Our Lives

In a writing contest I entered with The Sixteenth of October, we were asked to write a personal or business lunch that made some type of impact or difference.  Only one thing came to my mind for this.

Back in 2002 my life changed drastically. I have no regrets. This was the year I made the life decision to serve my then husband of ten years. Lets just say for the record that our marriage was complicated. I have the best kids out of this marriage and that is the precious gift. Once the divorce was final we were technically together for thirteen years.

 I had gone on to earn my masters degree while I was married. At this time, I interned for my Counseling and Psychological Services hours at an agency called Perspectives Inc.  Oh, how I loved this internship.  Once I graduated they hired me on part time as a supervisor in the counseling department. I was then brought on as a a parent educator/group coordinator.  I so loved this position. My then husband wanted me to quit since he did not believe I brought in enough money. To avoid what I knew would be catastrophic if I did not give up my job there, I quit. I felt angry,sad, disgusted and stuck. At the same time my twin sister was also working at this agency and was a case manager for women in recovery.

Fast forward to 2004 when my divorce was final. Life was stressful of course since I was finally done with the bitter divorce.  At this time my identical twin sister was diagnosed with lung cancer. She was only 41 and had never smoked. My twin sister is my best friend in the world so this was tough on me and my two children. My kids at this time were only toddlers.  Not knowing where my next paycheck would come from I still invited my twin to live with us. I had faith in God and I felt somehow we would be OK.

Because I was a stay at home mother now with no income,I worried about how to bring in the bacon.  I was not just worried for my kids and I, but my sister. I wanted her to feel secure and safe and know she was in good hands. This is when I built my own cleaning business to bring in some financial stability.  It was not easy but it was worth it if it kept us in the house my kids were raised in.  My sister had her own bedroom and her own living area. I wanted so bad to keep her secure and help her in the healing process.  She had gone through surgery,chemo therapy and radiation when all was said and done.

This is where the food comes in. My sister and I were invited to go out to lunch with the CEO of this non profit agency.  My sister and I had a close relationship with her since we had both worked at Perspectives.  We all had so much in common. We had all lost our moms at the young age of nine and we were all twins. This connected us on such a deep level. 

The lunch went great and we explained during the meal all that had gone on since leaving Perspectives. Not long after that fateful lunch Jeannie the CEO called us. She knew Linda was going through a tough time during her chemo treatments.  She wanted to help in some way and so she offered to be the auctioneer at my sisters benefit that my family was throwing for her in August.

To say we felt blessed would be candy coating it. We were giddy with excitement. The night of the benefit was outstanding. Jeannie, the CEO made so much money for my sister so she could heal and feel stress free. At one point in the night my uncle came up to Jeannie to talk about our situation. He told her that it was hard to watch as he put it " Laura had her masters degree and is cleaning houses." Do you or might you have employment for her in the future?  I did not hear of this until way after the benefit. 

My uncle that did this also has very financially stable restaurateurs as sons'.  They donated thousands of dollars in my twins honor.  It ended up that my sister was taken care of in my home for two or three years with that benefit money. 

As if that was not enough, there is more. A couple of weeks after the benefit, I received a phone call from Jeannie, the CEO of Perspectives Inc. She offered me a position in my mental health field.  I was given the title of Director of Volunteers.  I am still here at this agency enjoying my career with zest and passion.

At one point, earlier on, I almost lost the house to foreclosure.  I was able to refinance and we are in the home my family loves.  Yes, my twin sister still lives with us eight years later and is cancer free seven years.

Who would ever believe that one lunch one day at Park Tavern Restaurant would be so fateful?

" Don't waste your life in doubts and fears: spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour's duties will be the best preparation for the hours or ages that follow it." Ralph Waldo Emerson


  1. It is so moving reading the story of what happened to us. God is so amazing and I think what we've learned is "trust, trust, trust." God is always in control. Love you sis and thanks for the gift of letting me move in with you and the kids. I'm not going Anywhere :-)

  2. This is so awesome. It is great to know that HE has a plan for each of us--and it looks like His plan for you and your family really worked out!! This is such an encouraging story :) Cheers, Jenn

  3. This is such an upbeat story and it makes me feel happy to see how well you and your sister have come through adversity to such a successful conclusion. I understand the sister's love that would drive one sister to help another one. I feel that for my sisters so strongly that if the time comes that either or both of them need a home, I will be there for them.