Friday, February 16, 2018

Reunions

Reunions can provide wonderful opportunities to reconnect with classmates, old friends, or distant family members.  

Last September, my husband and I traveled to Branson, Missouri, for a reunion of the Johnson first cousins. Of the twenty-one cousins still living (two have passed away), nineteen (plus several spouses) came from all across the US to attend, so you can imagine the lively conversations that took place! Since we now range in age from 50s to 80s, countless hours were spent reminiscing about “the good old days,” paging through photo albums dating back to the cousins’ youth, and catching up on what’s happened in each other’s lives since the last time any of us were together. 

The Johnson Cousins
(group photo taken at the Dixie Stampede)
For some of us, though, reunions may be a source of discomfort, if not outright dread. What kind of impression will we make? Will the same old rivalries be in play? Will we spend the entire event comparing ourselves to others’ success? It often takes the passage of time to smooth the rough edges of old relationships and allow us to recast them in a more mature and forgiving light.

Time didn’t prove much help for former college sweethearts Tripp and Diana, the hero and heroine of Hill Country Reunion, my latest from Love Inspired. Twelve years after their painful breakup, Diana is stunned when Tripp arrives in town as the new veterinarian, and their unexpected reunion is laced with tension, blame, and regret. It’s a diffucult journey toward a new start, but as they form a shaky alliance and learn to respect and admire each other for the people they’ve become, romance is rekindled. 

What are your experiences with reunions? Do you look forward to them? Avoid them? Is there someone in particular you’d especially like to catch up with? What’s stopping you?

I miss you a lot, especially when I remember that last tearful good-bye, and I look forward to a joy-packed reunion.” (2 Timothy 1:4, The Message)


About the book: When veterinarian Tripp Willoughby accepts a partnership in his former girlfriend’s hometown of Juniper Bluff, Texas, he knows he has no right to ask for forgiveness for their breakup. He thought keeping his Crohn’s disease a secret from Diana Matthews was the right thing to do—but he ended up breaking her heart. Now Diana has a new life running a doughnut shop and working with animals. Reluctantly, she accepts his help with her pet therapy program. As the furry animals bring them together, Tripp remembers how things used to be with Diana—and is convinced he must find a way to reveal the truth and win her back.

About Myra: Award-winning author Myra Johnson writes emotionally gripping stories about love, life, and faith. Myra is a two-time finalist for the prestigious ACFW Carol Awards, winner of Christian Retailing’s Best for historical fiction, and winner in the Inspirational category of the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Awards. Originally from Texas but now residing in the beautiful Carolinas, Myra and her husband love the climate and scenery, but they may never get used to the pulled pork Carolinians call “barbecue”! The Johnsons share their home with a very pampered rescue doggy who doesn’t always understand the meaning of “Mom’s trying to write.” They have also inherited the cute little cat (complete with attitude) their daughter and family had to leave behind when they recently moved overseas.


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17 comments:

  1. My family is so small we don't have reunions...although remaining family members met for dinner last summer in Columbus, Ohio. I loved being with everyone! I also love high school reunions and reunion stories! Yours sounds wonderful. Plus, you included a Willoughby, my maiden name. Hugs!

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    1. Wow, Debby, I didn't know Willoughby was your maiden name! I couldn't have "borrowed" it from a lovelier friend!

      I haven't been to a high school reunion since my 20th. Maybe when the next one rolls around (not mentioning any numbers here!) . . .

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  2. We had our first girl cousin reunion last summer in Niagara Falls (where I'm originally from) with about 20 of us. It was such fun, I can't wait for number two this summer.

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    1. Jean, it's great when cousins share such special bonds. Glad you have another reunion to look forward to!

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  3. I love reunions! It's so fun connecting with people I haven't seen in a while. My college roomies from oh so long ago have gotten together a couple times, and it's a blast remembering and trying to remember (LOL) the past.

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    1. How fun, Christine! One aspect of Facebook I've come to enjoy is reconnecting with classmates from so many years ago. We're all spread out so far now, so it's a nice way to keep in touch.

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  4. Myra, love this post about reunions! Your book sounds great. Gonna have to check it out. My husband's family used to do reunions every summer. There were so many people there! For Thanksgiving and Christmas every year my mom and her sister get everyone together. Thanksgiving at one house, Christmas at the other. Aunt, uncle, cousins, spouses, kids, kids and spouses, kids and spouses and kids lol. It's a houseful. But it's so much fun everyone getting together and knowing each other. There's around 40 people.

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    1. That's definitely a houseful, Sally! Years ago, my sister-in-law hosted the huge family Thanksgiving dinners. She had tables set up all over the house to accommodate everyone!

      I admit, as an introvert I'm easily overwhelmed by large groups, but if I can find one or two friendly people to chat with in a quiet corner somewhere, big gatherings are much more enjoyable for me.

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  5. That's neat. I don't have that many first cousins. I wish you could have come by Tulsa. I miss you being here.

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    1. Oh, Margaret, I miss you and all my other Tulsa writer friends so much! We are loving North Carolina, but it means Tulsa isn't on the way to very many places we visit these days.

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  6. The book sounds wonderful, Myra. I have kids in North Carolina, and they love it (Charlotte). The move has been so good for our granddaughter, though those of us back here in Arkansas miss them all greatly.

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    1. It's beautiful here, Arlene! And we're having a gorgeous day today. My thermometer currently says 75, and there's sunshine and blue skies! Tomorrow? Not supposed to be quite so nice. But that's February for you.

      Interestingly, we moved here to be near grandkids. They still call this home base, but as missionaries, they spend more time overseas than here. They left again last July, but we hope to see at least part of the family this summer when they come back for a visit.

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  8. I love the cover on your book. Your reunion sounds fun.

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    1. Thank you, Terri! We had a great time--even me, the introvert!

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  9. The family reunion on my side has lost interest with the younger ones. But on my husband's side, we meet every year, young & old. Several of us are always working on the genealogy side, and we cherish the time together! Sometimes we share old pictures we have found. I'm an introvert in person, but I still have a good time.

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    1. Becky, some families just seem to stay closer than others. How fun that you're working on genealogy! That's something I've always hoped to find time for. So far . . . not much!

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