Friday, August 22, 2014

Book News!

Dear Heart Friends:

Season Two of "Heart to Heart with Anna" is about to come to a close. Callie Rickard, my webmaster, radio show newsletter editor and dear friend, and I chose the shows that will be featured as encore presentations while I take a short hiatus from recording the radio show and get geared up for next season and do something I've been wanting to do for a long time.

Image courtesy of ddpavumba at

During the break between Season Two and Season Three I will be converting all of my books to true eBooks. While they are currently available on the website, they are all in PDF format, which isn't easy to read on all e-readers. So my goal during the hiatus is to figure out how to convert all of the books to the true eBook format so they can be read on all e-readers. I've already tried using some programs that take PDFs and convert them to Word documents, but the result was a disaster.

Image thanks to

Instead I will be using my trusty Macintosh G4 to take my Zip disks and convert my Appleworks files to Word files. I will also use that time to totally edit the books. I have correction copies of all of my books, but if any of you have noted mistakes that you've discovered in any of my books, now is the time to let me know!

Another exciting task before me is to finish reading my son's first book! Alexander Jaworski, my son who was born with a single ventricle heart, has completed his first novel. He has selected me to be one of his beta readers. I'm already into chapter 3 and I can't wait to finish the whole book. It's over 200 pages so it might take me a while but I know during my hiatus I'll have some time to work on it.

Lastly, but just as importantly, I'll be line editing my dear friend, Mary Black's, first fiction book! You can read more about Mary's experience with creating her book, Peyote Fire, on her blog. It's a prehistoric fiction novel about a real tribe that was located in the Pecos Valley. I met Mary in November 2012 at a Writer's League of Texas workshop and it wasn't long before we were friends. We are actually much more than friends. We became accountability coaches for one another. We met on a weekly basis and assigned each other "homework" to help us reach our goals. Mary's goal was to finish her book. At the time, my major goal was to revamp the Baby Hearts Press website but in August 2013 I received a phone call, while at Mary's house, that changed my life -- the call from Josh Bernstein suggesting I start  my own talk radio show. I don't know how I would have done as much as I did without Mary.

So as you can see, the next two months should be very interesting. We'll be wrapping up Season Two of "Heart to Heart with Anna" where our theme was "There is Hope!" and we'll be taking a short hiatus to complete some really important projects. I hope you'll check out some of the websites I noted in this blog. Don't forget to send me any corrections to my books for the digital version coming soon!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Lessons Learned in Season Two

Dear Heart Friends:

It's hard to believe that Season Two of "Heart to Heart with Anna" is coming to a close. There are only 3 weeks left in Season Two and then we'll take a little hiatus to do some behind-the-scenes work in preparation for Season Three.

There have been so many lessons learned this season! First of all came the big decision and subsequent move from VoiceAmerica to BlogTalkRadio. This was a difficult decision because I really enjoyed the team I worked with at VoiceAmerica and they really seemed to believe in the show. Jessica and Amy Cowin set up a fund raiser to keep "Heart to Heart with Anna" on VoiceAmerica, but sadly, not enough money was raised to keep the show on VoiceAmerica so we had to say "good-bye."

There were many people who still believed in the show, however, and enough donations were garnered for us to move to BlogTalkRadio. This was a huge undertaking and couldn't have been done without a lot of help from Callie Rickard and many of our Season One Guests.

The move required that I learn something new -- how to use Audacity in order to edit my shows. I had to take out all references to VoiceAmerica and all VoiceAmerica ads. Then I had to learn how to export the show as an MP3 and upload it to my studio. I also had to modify my commercials and my closing music. It sounds simple when I type it out here, but it was anything but simple!

The next requirement was for Callie and me to learn how to use the BlogTalkRadio studio. BlogTalkRadio has some really good tutorials and we were able to learn what to do fairly quickly. Because all of this happened well after the time I had made plans to accompany my husband to a professional conference in Vienna, Callie came to my rescue and aired the first 4 shows for me. She learned how to take callers, open the chat room and she did a great job!

In order to try to get all of Season One moved to BlogTalkRadio as quickly as possible, we aired shows on Tuesdays and Thursdays until all 15 shows were in the Archives. Then it was time to start Season Two.

The theme for Season One was "You are Not Alone" and the theme for Season Two has been "There is Hope!" We've really enjoyed putting together shows that demonstrate how much hope there is for babies born today with a congenital heart defect. There have been some challenges with Guests being unable to make it on the show at the last minute, but our angels have been ever at our side and amazing Guests seemed to always be waiting in the wings.

Callie created a brand new logo for Season Two -- which involved the entire heart community! She came up with a lot of logos and I picked my favorites and then we posted them on Facebook. Members of the heart community voted and talked about why they liked certain logos more than others. It was interesting to see how some logos affected people. I loved them all so I was happy to let my Listeners choose the logo!

I'm not sure if we're going to change the logo again. I'd like to know what my Listeners and Guests think about having a new logo for each Season. The theme for Season Three is "Finding Your Voice" and I'm really excited about what kind of shows we can have based on that theme. Please write to me at if you would like to suggest a show or offer to be a Guest. You can also fill out the form on the website (go to the tab "Be on the Show"). Right now we are looking at having some authors, a music therapist and parents of adults with CHDs talking about how they had to find their voices again after their children grew up. Those are just a few of the topics we'll be covering!

Did you know that you could "find your voice" with "Heart to Heart with Anna" in a variety of ways? First of all, you can request being a Guest on our show! The second way you can find your voice is by submitting an article for our newsletter. The third way to find your voice is to offer to be a Guest Blogger or by writing a comment on our blog. There are so many ways you can find your voice with "Heart to Heart with Anna"!

Image courtesy of adamr at

Friday, August 8, 2014

Back to School?

Usually the end of summer -- with Labor Day looming in the distance -- signifies one thing to parents and children -- it's back to school time!

While many children look forward to being back in school, getting new school supplies and some new clothes, there are some children who are not so excited. These are the children who have been bullied and who fear the bullying will begin all over again when they go back to school.

Many parents of children with congenital heart defects have had the heartbreaking occurrence of bullying of their heart children. Sometimes the bullying occurs because the child looks small, can't keep up with the other children, requires extra equipment or extra time to do things, get special treatment (like not having to run laps with the rest of the class or a key to the elevator) and these things can be fodder for bullies. What is a parent to do?

On "Heart to Heart with Anna" we will be discussing bullying and how to make our school environments safe for our congenital heart defect (CHD) survivors. There are things parents can do, and should do, to make sure their children are safe in school and to help prevent teasing or bullying.

There are other considerations heart families must make when it comes to sending a CHD survivor back to school. Is the child current on his/her immunizations? Has an individualized education plan (IEP) been established for the child if the child is behind his/her peers? If the child is 0-3, does he/she qualify for early childhood education? Who should know about the child's heart defect? What kind of information should be provided to the school? Should the child wear some kind of identification that alerts people to the CHD condition? Should the parents plan to meet with their survivor's classmates to talk to them about their child? At what age is that appropriate? When should those kind of parent advocacy events stop? When should the CHD survivor be his/her own advocate? How do parents teach their children to be advocates for themselves?

These are just a few of the considerations that families of CHD survivors should consider when preparing to go back to school. Go to Heart to Heart with Anna to hear the radio show about this topic.
A great article with tips for teachers, parents and students can be found here.

Education is empowering. When parents, teachers and CHD survivors work together to ensure everyone understands the needs of the CHD survivor, everyone wins. That's a cause for celebration!

Back-to-School Image courtesy of nuttakit /
Cheerful School Boy Showing His Thumbs Up Image courtesy of photostock /

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Toastmasters Petition

Dear Heart Friends:

I'm about to let you in on a secret. I'm an introvert. Shhh!

It's true. I was a painfully shy person until I was in my 30s. What brought me out of my shell? Two things: having children and becoming a writer. What made me feel confident that I could speak in front of others and that I had a message worth sharing? Toastmasters.

Toastmasters has been a vital part of my life for the last 13 years. For most of that time I was raising a young family and I was also a homeschool mom. That meant that once a week I took my two sons with me (we started when they were 6 and 9 years old) and they sat quietly while I learned the intricacies of public speaking. They were little sponges who soaked up everything I was learning and then some! They were my first evaluators as they listened to me practicing my speeches. They were my audience. They were my encouragers.

There is a situation occurring right now in Toastmasters, my beloved organization, which needs to be rectified. Currently there is an outdated and inefficient means of giving officers credit for attending a mandatory training every 6 months. I am recommending a new way of giving credit to officers which also gives every officer credit, regardless where they receive (or give -- since many of us are trainers) that training. It only seems fair that if 200 Toastmasters receive credit for attending a particular training because they went to a local training, that if they are joined by someone from a different district -- who is also part of Toastmasters International, that they should get credit, too. Unfortunately, while that is usually the case, it isn't always the case.

Please look at this petition to decide if you would like to support my suggestion. I believe it could help streamline the process needed to give officers credit and it would also show equal respect for any district-sponsored Toastmasters Leadership Institute.

I have benefited greatly from Toastmasters -- it's what enables me to conduct my radio show and to speak to groups all over North America. Without the training and the practice I receive at my Toastmasters weekly meetings, I am certain I would revert back to being more introverted and self-conscious when speaking in public. Because of Toastmasters, I have developed confidence and can focus on the message I am trying to convey instead of the art of speaking itself. Thank you all for your consideration and for sharing this with others.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Revitalization of the Baby Hearts Press Website!

Dear Heart Friends:

What is one of the most difficult things to do once a website is created? 

I just thought website creation was difficult. Luckily for me, I had many kind people helping me out with the website creation -- provided I could supply them with content. It was extremely difficult to decide what to put on the website, what to leave out and how to spruce things up. As time went on we played with different kinds and colors of backgrounds, different images and even fun images that spun around or would have some kind of animation.

What was one of the most difficult things to do? Change! It took months of work to built the website in the first place. Why in the world would we want to change things?

Change is inevitable. It seems that once a website is built, it becomes obsolete. It's already time to be thinking about how to improve content, add images and move things around. Websites can become unwieldy because of this need to always change: to add, to improve and to enhance. Then the change deals with new ways to format the website. It seems that websites have a life of their own.

Baby Hearts Press has been going through a lot of changes. Our long-time webmaster and friend, Sue Dove, decided to take a break from working on the website. With her children grown and gone, it was time for her to enjoy a new chapter in her life. Callie Rickard then joined our mission to provide resources to the CHD community and with her came new ideas, new skills and . . . you guessed it -- CHANGE!

Please check out what Callie has done to the Baby Hearts Press website. It now features something new -- an ability to "Take a Peek" inside our books! Some of the books have book trailers -- short videos where you learn more about the book. You can read book reviews and even see the Table of Contents for the books.

Callie also has information about the radio show that is available to inspire and uplift the CHD community. "Heart to Heart with Anna" is hosted by the owner of Baby Hearts Press, Anna Jaworski. The Baby Hearts Press website is a place for people to discover other resources (in various modalities) for the CHD community.

We hope you like the new website! Please share it with others. Please give us feedback, too! We love to know what our readers or listeners think and what they want to know more about.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Empowering Through Educating with Technology

Eighteen years ago, when the Internet was first delivered to my home via a dial-up connection, there was not much information available for families of children with congenital heart defects. Many of the sites were memorials to heart warriors who left earth too soon and there wasn't much hope for families or much information written for the common person to understand what was going on and how to deal with it.

I started my website and then in order to fill a need for information specifically for parents and then later for the survivors of congenital heart defects. I wanted to paint a picture of hope for members of the congenital heart defect community. With my background in education, I felt an obligation to teach and empower members of my community through the written word.

Just this last week, a fellow heart mom and friend, Callie Rickard, shared some news with me. She told me about a mobile app that is designed to help parents understand what some heart defects look like and what must be done to repair those funky hearts.

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center is making the app Heartpedia available for people who have an iPad or iPhone. They even have 3-D images available! Currently 7 congenital heart defects are mentioned:

• Tetralogy of Fallot

• Coarctation of the Aorta

• Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome

• Transposition of the Great Arteries

• Ventricular Septal Defect

• Patent Ductus Arteriosus

• Atrioventricular Septal Defect

You'll have the ability to toggle your way between a normal heart and the heart with the congenital heart defect, as well as having the ability to read about the heart defect, view various slides explaining the heart defect and watch video animation that describes the heart defect and the surgeries commonly used to repair or palliate (reduce the severity of) the heart defect.

The best part about this is that it's free!

Friday, June 27, 2014

A Win-Win Situation

Dear Heart Friends:

This last week "Heart to Heart with Anna" dealt with Sports and Boys with Critical Congenital Heart Defects. We had two excellent dads of sons with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) and an adult with HLHS as our Guests. During the Q & A session at the end of the show another HLHS adult and his father called in. It was a terrific show.

It seems that the news is full of discussion about people with congenital heart defects. There was the inspiring story of Hampton goalie Cameron Raidna set to return to the ice after heart surgery, the tearful story of a mom encouraging heart screening for athletes after her son's sudden death, the joyful story of a Briarcrest athlete whosurvived a potentially deadly heart defect who just graduated but the story that has really caught my attention is about an athlete who goes to college just down the road from me at Baylor University. 

It all started with an article about Isaiah Austin when a medical condition ended his dream of being a draft prospect for the National Basketball Association (NBA). I was heartbroken to read that he was diagnosed with Marfan's Syndrome and that his aorta was to weak to continue his dream. He seemed so talented an he had already overcome so much already! During his last season with the Baylor Bears he revealed that he had a prosthetic right eye after multiple operations couldn't repair a detached retina. The eye had been damaged when a previous injury was aggravated doing a routine dunk before a middle school game. 

After the news of his career-ending medical condition came out, he was very forthright and encouraging of his teammates instead of wallowing in his own disappointment. What totally delighted me was this story I read last night about what the NBA did to Isaiah Austin. They honored him during the draft when Commission Adam Silver announced between the 15th and 16th draft picks that the NBA picked Isaiah Austin.  

It was a dream-come-true for Isaiah Austin and it's a win for the NBA, too. After finishing the next two years of school at Baylor, he can start working for the NBA or who knows? Maybe he'll coach for Baylor someday. What appears to be a certainty is that this young man will use his God-given talents to help others. He spoke in such an inspiring way in a recent interview that I have no doubt we'll be hearing from this young man again in the future.

It's not everyday you see a win-win situation like the one created when the NBA picked Isaiah Austin. It's not everyday that people are made aware of the danger of congenital heart defects. It's not everyday that people learn about a syndrome that affects 1 in 5000 people. This week marks some special events in one man's life but who knows who he'll inspire and whose life he just might save by making people aware of congenital heart defects and Marfan Syndrome. God Bless you, Isaiah Austin!