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I guess most sisters bicker as they grow up. We have a tendency to be a tad jealous of each other. “How come she gets to…” and later, “Why do all my boyfriends notice her?” Even later, “Why doesn’t my husband treat me like hers treats her?” or “Why are her kids so well-behaved?”
My sister and I are six years apart so by the time I entered my teens she was married. I felt a deep loss and for a long time I felt the odd person out. She and my brother’s wife were closer in age, so they bonded. They always huddled at family events. I felt the pangs of exclusion like the wimpy little kid slumped on the sideline bench whose muscles would never fill out his uniform.
Until my husband died suddenly in the shower getting ready for work. Though five hours away, my sister dropped her life and rushed to my aid. She boarded her animals at the vets, packed a bag and drove to my door. I honestly cannot tell you how long she stayed with me. Certainly until after the funeral five days later. Having lost her husband a year previously, she guided my numbed mind and aching heart through the planning, the visitations and the arrangements as I sniveled for days on in overwhelmed by it all.
When I sold the house and moved to a one bedroom apartment, all I could afford at the time, she returned. We spent hours rubbing masking tape onto the floors mapping out where furniture would go and plotting what I could bring and what I should leave behind for the estate sale. She then monitored the estate sale like an award winning car salesman, raking in the bucks so I could afford the moving company.
My brother, an attorney, drove in to handle all the legal affairs pro bono without blinking an eye. All I had to do was show up at the courthouse and swear my husband to be deceased—by far my highest hurdle. Declaring him legally dead before a magistrate made it real, too real. My brother stood by my side as my knees quaked. His even-toned professionalism became my boulder. I watched, wide-eyed and tear-blinked as he handed off paper after paper to the court clerk. Documents all identified by letters and numbers which I never understood.
Growing up, my brother seemed a phantom. Eleven years older than me, he was a teenager locked in his world by the time I could toddle. Then came the college years away. When I was in third grade, he walked down the aisle. After that, he moved away, had a child of his own and built a life. Eventually I did the same. For decades we acknowledged each other like shadows at family gatherings. But that day at the courthouse, he became flesh and bone to me.
God purposes good from tragedy. My husband’s passing brought me closer to my siblings and showed me what family-bound love is all about. Five years later, we are able to communicate at a deeper level, share our feelings openly, and be there for each other through this roller coaster called life. Now, that’s true love— a love akin to no other on earth.
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(Drawing in one week!)
Twin sisters, Erin and Ellen, covet each other’s lives and husbands. Their festered envy has not only kept them at arm’s length for almost two decades, it has placed both on a precipice of divorce— something they’d never admit to each other.
Yet after two weeks together with their spouses, as they sort through their mother’s belongings following her funeral, they discover the flaws in their sibling’s “grass-greener” lives. But will that revelation help each sister appreciate her own husband and lifestyle as truly according to God’s plan? Or is it too late for a change of heart?
Church bells tolled their arrival. Already a stream of cars dotted the parking spaces like soldiers lined for battle. For Erin Ballinger Duncan it seemed appropriate. Today she’d combat an overwhelming struggle of the heart. Well, perhaps it could involve skirmish for territory as well— in a strange sort of way. But she tried not to think about that right now.
Erin stepped out of the black limousine with her husband, John, and their two fifteen year-old sons, Travis and Austin. She shielded her eyes from the bright sunlight, a total dichotomy from the darkness brewing in her emotions. She scanned the church driveway and scoffed. Yep, her sister emerged from the limo behind them. “The perfect family has arrived. What no trumpets?”
John rolled his eyes. “Don’t start, Erin. Not today.”
“Whatever. She still makes me want to puke. Perfect life, perfect kids, perfect husband…”
“Stop, okay?” John leaned into her ear with a hiss. “Can’t you two get along for three hours? For your Mom’s sake, and mine by the way.”
A residual hurt sounded in his voice. Once again she’d compared him to her sister’s spouse. Erin bit her lip and turned away.
Ellen pushed an elongated sigh through her upturned nose as they exited the limo. She ran a scrutinizing scan over her twin’s family. With a slight bob of her head, she strutted past, chin held high. Barely above a whisper, she scowled. “Can’t they afford some appropriate clothes? Their twins are wearing navy, not black. At least Erin could have worn a dress and John a good suit. It’s Mom’s funeral, after all.”
Robert hushed her. “And because it is, you will not say a thing about it. Understood?”
She jutted her chin. “Don’t get cocky with me, Robert Longstrum. I’m hardly in the mood.”
Her husband muttered deeper under his breath. “Lately, you never are.”
“Humph.” She darted him a daggered glare. With clenched teeth she lobbied back his volley. “And your secretary always is, right?” She pushed past him through the church door the usher held open. The girls, ages four, eight, and twelve, paraded by as well, each avoiding him. They didn’t catch the conversation but their mother’s tone indicated he’d displeased her again.
Why her sister didn’t make an effort to better herself puzzled Ellen. They only had two boys, and boys were half as expensive to raise than girls, or so her social friends claimed in conversations around the bridge table. John should land a more lucrative job, if he had that capability. From the little contact they’d shared over the years the man seemed intelligent enough.
Even so, she couldn’t help but notice John’s arm slip around Erin’s waist. Even though he dressed like a country bumpkin, he obviously loved her.
Perhaps Erin hadn’t chosen so poorly after all.
About the Author:
Julie B Cosgrove is a freelance Christian writer and author who writes regularly for several Christian websites and publications. She has authored six nonfiction works and four novels with five more under contract for 2016-2017. She also leads retreats, workshops, Bible studies and quiet days for prayer and reflection.Julie lives with two cats in Fort Worth, Texas and loves to spend quiet time at her family’s cabin on the river in the Texas Hill Country where she first drew closer to God.
Visit her website at www.juliebcosgrove.com and her blog entitled Where Did You Find God Today?