I just returned from Florida without a tan but with lots of wonderful connections with my extended family who live there. I hadn’t been planning a trip to that side of the country but something came up that seemed to widen the map gap between us. So I called, and my brother, John, not only said I could come but offered his frequent flyer miles to get me there.
To visit my on-the-go brother means to follow him, and last week to follow him meant attending the National Religious Broadcasters convention in Orlando. Around and in all the networking that takes place at these events we had good opportunity for important conversation past the Howzit Going? stage. Sometimes I tagged along to power lunches and dinners. I loved being introduced as “my little sister” in much the same way my dad used to introduce me as his baby. I grinned while watching my brother in action with the leaders of several publishing houses as they worked out a plan for their next venture. (Johnny’s on the left.) I got to see a preview showing of “Amazing Grace,” a movie about abolitionist William Wilberforce. I heard good speakers and walked around the exhibition floor, picking up samples and trinkets. Johnny was in a meeting with Zondervan at the same time they were folding up their exhibit and I was invited to take anything from their display shelves (so they didn’t have to haul it back to Michigan). My best efforts to not carry much home went out the window as I loaded my arms with books and DVDs and big-dollar items (which now cover the top of our bed while I figure out what to do with it all!)
Back in Jacksonville I got to spend a day with sister (in-law) Suzie. Later that night we headed down to St. Augustine for our traditional Shrimp Buster dinner at Barnacle Bill’s. I counted my shrimp (a dozen) and my blessings as I looked around the table at my nephew Kevin, his wife, Cheryl, and their daughters, Peyton, Cameron, and Aubrey (the one on my lap), Suzie, and Johnny. These are my people. Family ties connect us, even though we live kitty corner across the country. Despite divorce, we remain in each other’s care package.