Panama City, FL.

What a weekend Lynne and I had in Panama City, FL.

She enjoyed her 45 year high school reunion and I had an absolutely wonderful time as we shared the book, “A Mother’s Words to the World” at a reunion of our own at the Baptist Center in Bay Harbor. As you know by now, the book honors the life and legacy of my mom, Vada L. Andler, who directed the Center for nearly 50 years. The event was promoted by TV ads, newspaper articles, church bulletins and word of mouth, and I was interviewed on Oct. 23 at 5 and 11 AM on two local TV stations in the area.

The event was held on Sat., Oct. 24 from 12-3 PM (CT). The first lady arrived an hour early, and others followed. By 12:00, I was signing books and the line was out the front door, a scenario that remained until after our ending time. I was able to reconnect with those who had been exposed to that special ministry as well as many who had served as volunteers. Though the decades had obviously made changes in us all, we quickly recognized each other with smiles and walks down memory lane. As desired, the comments and discussions centered around the life and ministry of “Mrs. Andler,” who still wielded influence in their lives years after her death.

I’m not sure how I missed this fact in all of our planning, but it dawned on me on my way to the TV station early Friday morning that my mother had passed away on that very day six years earlier. My mom’s long time associate and now director Patty Brown, her associate Kathy Kuhn, and faithful volunteers did a wonderful job helping to plan and serve refreshments. Several cases of books were shared at no cost to the recipients, and copies were left to be shared with those unable to attend. By request, copies of the book were made available at the Saturday evening closing dinner of Lynne’s reunion, both for their silent auction and individuals. We prepared to return home warmed and grateful. But…

All was not perfect with the weekend. Somehow the high school reunion planning committee missed the fact that it was “Thunder Beach” weekend, an annual bikers’ convention. Round the clock noise is putting it mildly. I became grateful that Lynne had planned a girls’ weekend with her old friends while I stayed miles away from the din. Also, we were to depart on a 7:15 Sunday AM flight so I could be home in time for our 2:30 JAMin. Singers’ rehearsal. I never knew that planes could have a dead battery, but this one delayed our flight for three hours. After being rescheduled out of Atlanta, I finally arrived at our rehearsal, over an hour late. So now we’re back at home, back at work, trying to rebuild depleted energy, and thankful for a weekend that reminded us of past blessings and people who shaped our lives for the better, though we were too young and preoccupied at the time to be aware of it.

Check out the photos from the weekend: