What’s for Lunch, Trisha Yearwood?

Support, Encouragement and a Little Music

I’ll admit there are some perks to my job. And last week, the perks were goat-cheese croutons, chocolate angel food cake, chicken salad nestled in endive cups, strawberry basil lemonade and chickless pot pies in adorable little ramekins.

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 03:  Country Star Trisha Yearwood Partners With JCPenney To Honor Breast Cancer Survivors on November 3, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for JCPenney) Rick Diamond/Getty Images for JCPenney

That was part of the menu last Tuesday (Nov. 3) when Trisha Yearwood had a small group of women – the ones who have fought breast cancer and the ones who have loved them through it – to her house in Franklin.

Yearwood – with the help of JCPenney and her own Precious Metals cookware collection – had lunch ready when everyone arrived, and she told the women there why she wanted to host the event.

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 03:  Country Star Trisha Yearwood Partners With JCPenney To Honor Breast Cancer Survivors on November 3, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for JCPenney) John Shearer/Getty Images for JCPenney

“We all need to be encouraging each other,” she told the 20 or so women there, after dessert was served but before singing her hit song “PrizeFighter.”

“I love this song. It’s not about breast cancer, but it became that in my head probably because of my mom,” Yearwood told the group. “It’s a song about owning your own power, about being strong in the face of whatever is coming your way.”

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 03:  Country Star Trisha Yearwood Partners With JCPenney To Honor Breast Cancer Survivors on November 3, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for JCPenney) Rick Diamond/Getty Images for JCPenney

After her laid back family-room performance, Yearwood and I sat down to talk about her mom’s own breast cancer fight, which she lost in 2011.

“My mom was so private about it. She didn’t wear it on her sleeve. She was like, ‘I got this. Don’t buy me a bunch of pink scarves. I’m not gonna wear pink t-shirts.’ She was that girl,” Yearwood told me. “She didn’t want people feeling sorry for her. She showed such a strength. I hope if anything happens to me, I have that gene to handle it with grace and strength like she did.”

When Yearwood thought about the lunch we’d just shared, she said she wished her mom could’ve seen it.

“Even when she was sick, she was such an encourager. I feel her in this moment,” Yearwood told me. “Mom would’ve loved this day.”

The luncheon came at the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so JCPenney will be donating $1 million to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation along with $25,000 to the Stanford Women’s Cancer Center, where Yearwood’s mother was treated. And Yearwood and her husband Garth Brooks will be matching that donation to the Stanford Women’s Cancer Center.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.