Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Wedding, Miami and Boston

The Wedding

Here is a picture of my grandmother, father, sister and me at my cousin's wedding. I'm standing next to my dad and my sister Chrissy is sitting next to our grandmother. Megan, my beautiful niece, is taking the photograph. :-) Unfortunately, the pictures of all of us didn't turn out well. :-( I hope to have some color pictures after a while. Megan took the pictures deliberately in black-and-white to fulfill a project in school.

So Grandma made it to the wedding and she even danced at the wedding. Megan got a picture of that, too, but sadly it didn't turn out well.

Crystal was gorgeous. I think brides always look lovely, but Crystal was clearly in love with Mike and the look on her face made her more beautiful than ever. I wish those two lovebirds all the best. It was very nice of them to share their special day with us. I can't remember the last time we had so many family members gathered together . . . I guess it was for Grandma's 80th birthday, but Crystal's family couldn't make it to that. So this is the first time we've had that many members of these families together. It was very special.

Miami Conference (see's calendar for more information about this conference)

Since I've been back from Mississippi I've been very busy preparing for the conference I'll be speaking at in October. It is going to be so wonderful. I just found out that there is going to be a very special little boy performing for the group during lunch. The piano player is a brother to a little boy with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. I'm so excited that I'm going to have a chance to meet this little boy. I met his father in Philadelphia over a year ago. At that time I had a chance to hear Gene talk with pride about his two boys. Now I'm going to have a chance to meet them and his wife. It will be great to see the whole family under such happy circumstances.

Boston Conference (go to the calendar for more information on this conference, too)

I've just finished reading an email from Mary Kay Klein, the organizer of the Boston conference for adults with congenital heart defects. Mary Kay has been helping to organize the conference in memory of her daughter Karen. I am so happy that I'm going to have a chance to attend this conference. Now that I see Alex becoming a young man, what these people have to say is going to be even more meaningful to me than it would have been 10 years ago. While I don't know if any of the speakers will be adults with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (the heart defect Alex has), I'm sure many of them will also have complex heart defects similar to Alex's. I'm also certain that the challenges they have faced are ones Alex will also have to face someday.

Most importantly, I will have a chance to hear how some people have survived having a heart defect and even thrived. It is such an inspiration to listen to these people. I met Karen years ago when she visited Austin to see a heart friend she'd made on the Internet. My friend, Jane Hunt, and I had gone to a support group meeting at Brackenridge Children's Hospital and we couldn't wait to meet this young lady. We then took Karen and her friend, Anthony, where they needed to go after the meeting. That gave us a few minutes to talk to them away from the others at the meeting. They acted just like other college kids we knew.

Mary Kay wrote for The Heart of a Mother and her husband Ted is writing for The Heart of a Father. I'll be bringing my autograph copy of my book for Mary Kay to sign. So far I've gathered quite a few signatures. I can't wait to finish The Heart of a Father so I can do likewise with the dads I have a chance to meet.

I hope you all had a great weekend!


Anna Jaworski

Friday, September 7, 2007

HOF Update

I know I just posted a note about what I'm doing regarding public speaking and Baby Hearts Press, but I thought there might be some of you out there excited to hear about how The Heart of a Father is going.

Having my dad, Bob Daigneault, help with this project has made a world of difference. Because of some technical problems, most of the electronic versions of the essays were lost. I was devastated to discover this. We sent the word out to the dads and some were kind enough to send us what they had. Of course I had printed versions of everything I'd already worked on, but it was starting to look as though I was going to have to retype a lot of pages.

Dad went with me to Fry's to look at scanners. I got one for the business and last week we started scanning in an essay. Dad helped me get started and left. I don't know what I did wrong, but even though I seemed to scan the pages in correctly, when I saved them, something odd happened. I saved each page individually and gave it the author's name and page number. I don't know why the scanner took Page 1 and saved it 5 times in a row -- as pages 1-5.

Realizing how frustrated I was after a long time of fighting with the machine, Daddy came to the house and took it away. I don't know how he worked his magic, but somehow he was able to scan and save Jim Larson's 13-page essay in two PDF documents. They look great! He's already sent them to Jim for updating and revising. We're on our way!

I think what has taken us the longest amount of time to do so far has been housekeeping types of activities. We've been trying to reconnect with all the contributers and many email addresses are no longer any good. We've been trying to clean up our YahooGroup listserv, too. There are people on there we don't know and we're trying to figure out who is who and why they're there. There's the whole issue of who has sent in his permission form and essay and who wants to update what he's sent. All in all, it's very slow going! The good news is: it's going.

Dad made a timeline for us when we started working on this project and so far we're doing what we hoped to be doing. I'm happy to announce that thus far Daddy approves of the developmental editing I'd already done and he is looking forward to doing the line editing. I already did a lot of copy editing when I did the developmental editing, but Daddy is going to make the book more consistent.

At our weekly meeting we took a look at all of the wonderful pictures, videos and music that the dads have sent us thus far. We are so excited about this project! It really is going to be a special eBook experience. Stay tuned for more updates as we continue to work on this very special project. And if you are a contributor and you haven't heard from us, it's because we can't contact you. Please contact me! My email is Even though some essays have been accepted for publication, we still want to touch base with everyone and let everyone know what's going on. We appreciate people helping us spread the word!


Anna Jaworski

A Wedding, A Speech and Toastmaster Friends

Tomorrow morning I will be flying to Mississippi to attend my cousin's wedding. I hope to have some good pictures to post sometime after I get back. My aunt is going to be the photographer for the wedding and I hear she is wonderful.

I hope C.J. and Michael have a beautiful day for their wedding. The weather predictions are not as favorable as we'd like, but then again weathermen (or women) are not necessarily known for their accuracy. My Aunt Terry has wisely decided that a tent would be in order, so I'm sure we'll be covered.

This wedding was an excellent excuse for my grandmother and me to go shopping! Having just been sent home from the hospital days earlier, I really didn't think Grandma would be up for a big shopping excursion, but I should have known better! Six hours after we started out, Grandma's purse was a little lighter and my bunion was screaming at me!

Seriously, we had a lovely lunch and then had a wonderful time finding Grandma the "perfect" dress for the wedding. Leave it to Grandma to not only find ONE perfect dress, but TWO! Now tomorrow she will have the difficult task of deciding which lovely dress she'll wear.

The past several days have been very busy planning for this trip, shopping and working on my speech (oh! and being a mom to two busy boys and homeschooling Alex!). I gave Part II of a three-part speech that I started last week at my local Toastmasters Club, Texas Stars Toastmasters. The three 10-minute speeches will add up to the one 30-minute speech I'll be giving in Miami next month. So far my Toastmaster friends have been awesome. Their advice has been right on and their comments are boosting my confidence in what I've put together. This is making me even more excited about going to the conference!

I really believe everyone should join Toastmasters at some point in his or her life. It has been such a blessing to me to be able to practice my speaking and leadership skills. I also feel that I have made some life-long friends in the process. I think one of the things I like most is that, in my experience, Toastmasters are there -- not only to improve their own abilities -- they are there to help and encourage others. In that spirit, Texas Stars Toastmasters will have their regularly scheduled meeting next week and then a group of them will go to a local restaurant for dinner and an opportunity to help me by listening to my 30-minute speech uninterrupted. I'm even going to bring the dress I plan to wear to the conference to get their feedback.

I am so excited about the opportunity to go to another CHD conference and to meet new CHD parents. I'm thrilled with the way the organizer for this event has worked with me. She has been wonderful about explaining exactly what she wants in me as her speaker. That has made planning so much easier and fun! I will post some pictures of the event on the website when I come back.

That's all for now. I feel lucky to have something wonderful like a wedding to look forward to, a goal to achieve (writing a great speech) and friends along the way to help me get where I need to be. Thanks Texas Stars Toastmasters!