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Life's Lessons

Life's Lessons

Life is a little bit sweeter

by Paula Deen

I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say that life is as easy as pie, and for good reason: It’s not. Life sure is sweet when things are going your way, but you need a lot of luck, hope and prayer for it to work out how you want. And even then, you may feel like you’re at the end of your rope.

Sometimes the only thing left to save us is the kindness of others.

I lost both of my parents when I was just a young lady, but my grandmothers, aunts and uncles held me close, watching me bumble through life and stepping in when I needed it most. And boy did I need it. When I opened The Lady & Sons downtown, we took a big risk. Few people believed in me. I invested every penny I had earned to try and open that restaurant, hoping to make a better life for my boys and me. During that year delays in plans and permits wore us out and had us wonderin’ if we’d ever make it. I can remember Bobby coming to me one day saying how hungry he was. I scrounged through a little change box to piece together enough for a meal. Imagine that, a child coming to his momma for food that she can’t hardly provide.

But I believed, with all my heart, that the restaurant—if we could ever get it open—would make all the difference in my life and in my boy’s lives. Believing only got me so far. The money ran dry and it started looking like I would lose what little I had.

That’s when my Aunt Peggy rescued us. She pledged her CD to the bank so that they’d loan me the money I needed. She helped our dreams come true and I will be forever grateful for her support, trust and belief in me. She will always be my hero and I love her more than she will ever know.

This past year has been a hard one for so many families. Small businesses are closing down and folks are losing their jobs left and right. Having seen the hungry look on my own child’s face, it tears me up knowing that families are without food.

I know how a kind gesture can change lives, so a couple of weeks ago I started paying it forward. Along with my partner Smithfield Foods and the United Food and Commercial Workers, I have committed to Feeding the Hungry. Together we will donate and deliver nearly 20 million servings of protein to hungry families across America over the next three years. It is something I can do to help. I hope y’all will look for something you too can do. Everyone has something to give and if we all pitch in, we can help see that no child goes to bed hungry in our country.

Is life easy as pie? No, it isn’t always, but it can be just as sweet. Remembering the love, trust and support given to me so many years ago when I was a struggling single mother and doing my part to pay that generosity forward…makes everyday a little sweeter.

Other Articles You May Like:

A Southern Spring Evening with Paula Deen


All About Chocolate


Beat The Heat


Reader Comments:


You are such an amazing person and your story is so inspiring to me as there are so many simularities in the events that have happened in our lives.

I have such a passion for cooking and do every chance I get…for family, friends, work, etc. I have a dream of one day owning my own restaurant. I have no idea where or how to get started as I have a full time job and need to keep it! Your story has been so inspiring to me. I do not aspire to be on TV, I just want to cook good food at a place where friends, family and just about anyone can come and feel at home and have full tummies! I believe it can happen!

I found myself starting over as a single mom a couple of years ago…I used to feel like everything in life had to be a struggle. During the most challenging of times so many people surrounding me were so supportive and God just continued to place people in my life to encourage me and help me become a better, stronger woman. That doesn’t mean everything has been perfect since then, but I do not ever want to forget what others did for me by always trying to consider what I can now do for others.

Thank you for “paying it forward” and helping so many that may have been forgotten.

Thanks for staying “REAL” through the great favor that God has given you and your family!

Be blessed this holiday season!

Allison Anderson of Austin, Texas on December 04, 2009 06:00 PM

Paula Deen you are AMAZING and I love you ... !
Thank-You for recognizing that we have so many children and families right here in our own country that desperately need our help . I am originally from Kentucky(southeastern) and I’ve known my share of hard times ,(there is not a day that goes by that I dont do somethin’ to “pay it forward” ). Sadly, “The Appalachians” have long been forgotten and they so desperately need help , I hope your mission will find it’s way to all the cold hungry children there , many of them to this day have no water and electricity. Billions of dollars are being sent to “Third World Countries” and yet we have our own “third world country” right here in our own backyard , unnoticed, forgotten and alone…Shame on us ...If I had as much resources as I have heart I’d be there in a heartbeat tending to each and everyone of them. They need you Paula Deen and God Bless You…

Annie of Indian Harbour Beach , Florida on December 28, 2009 11:07 PM


JACQUELINE of Winder, GA on October 04, 2010 04:42 PM

Paula, you are an incredible woman.  I am a single mother (just like you once were) with dreams of opening my own business in order to provide my son a better life.  With you as inspiration, I know I will make my dreams come true.  Thank you Paula!!

Lisa of Springdale, AR on November 17, 2010 12:30 PM

Paula I just love to hear you speak and I try to watch your show when I can You are a great lady and I pray God will continue to bless you and yours Thank you for “listening”  I had bought one of your books The Lady and Sons off of QVC and darn it I lost it Where may I get another one? Thank you Dawn Landis

Dawn Landis of Lexington, Ne. 68850 on November 26, 2010 11:36 AM

Hi Paula,
I am looking for a recipe for Apple Pie with
cream cheese in it.
When I was in NYC, I went to the Little Pie
Company (I believe that was the name) and
had the most delicious apple pie, very thin
slices laid out beautifully with walnuts on
top, I think, but the taste had cream cheese in it. Can you help me make this pie.
Thank you so much.  I love you,
Jo Greenleaf

josephine greenleaf of Charleston,S.C. on December 03, 2010 11:00 AM


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