Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Heart of a Father Update

Dear Friends:

I still can't believe it's done. :-) There were so many times I wondered if I'd ever be able to complete The Heart of a Father. I was so picky! I could have finished it dozens of times, but it never felt right. It seemed to be lacking something. So I held on and held off on publishing it.

I'm so glad I did.

Now it feels right! It looks right! It IS right! :-) Thanks, Dad! Without Dad, I'd still be wondering if I will ever finish the book! He was the key ingredient to me finding a way to finish the book.

I've been receiving emails from contributors and readers who are very happy with the book. It's not an easy read. Neither was The Heart of a Mother. These books are not books read for pleasure. They're read for comfort, for education and for inspiration, but not for pleasure. Reliving the times in the hospital or difficult times in our marriages due to the stress of dealing with a sick child on top of everything else -- those things aren't easy to read. But the most amazing thing happens when I write about my experiences or read the experiences of others. I feel a kinship, a connection, that I don't feel with anyone else. Instead of feeling isolated and bereft, I realize I belong to a very special group of warriors. This sense of belonging makes me stronger. It makes me actually feel capable.

Ironically, when I was in that situation (at the hospital mainly), I felt anything but capable. When Alex was in the hospital, I felt like a zombie. I couldn't remember anything. I felt so useless and ineffective. It was awful! That's why I couldn't wait until the catheter was taken out and I could change diapers, when the wounds healed enough that I could bathe Alex and when he was off the ventilator and I could feed my baby. Until I could be the hands-on mom I was used to being, I was a wreck. I hated for anyone to ask me how I was doing. I was fine as long as no one asked me that. I had a mask of composure that I was able to wear, but for some reason, when someone said, "Wow! You really seem to be holding up well!" or "How are you doing?" That's when the mask would slip and the tears would fill my eyes. I wasn't doing well; I was in agony. My baby was sick and I felt powerless to do anything about it.

Most days, I don't even think about those times. I'm raising a teenager. Oh yeah, he was born with a heart defect. Alex's heart defect is always there and I'm the mom who asks if meds have been taken and teeth brushed everyday, but I don't stress over Alex's heart defect anymore. I wondered, when we were in the throes of dealing with his condition, if I would ever have a morning where I didn't wake up and rush to his bedside afraid he might not be with me anymore. Would I ever go to sleep without thanking God for having one more day with my children and without tears accompanying my dreams?

The answer to both questions is "yes." I've had many days where I hardly think about Alex's heart defect. We're too busy with swim meets, robotic tournaments, Boy Scouts, Tae Kwon Do, art lessons, piano lessons. Yes. There were days that I just tumbled into bed too exhausted to worry about Alex. Too happy to let those thoughts infiltrate my mind. The days have come and I hope there will be many more.

The book is done. :-) Dads now have a say! Dads now have a voice! :-) The moms have told their stories and the dads have told their stories. Some of the men who wrote are husbands to the women who wrote for The Heart of a Mother, so some readers will have a chance to see how the children they read about are doing 10 years later. That was exciting for me. To watch these young heart heroes grow up and realize their potential. Wow. Those stories empower me. They give me hope that Alex will beat the odds and grow up to live a full life, too. I think all of us heart parents need that thread of hope.

We've done three book signings -- one in Austin, Waco and Killeen, Texas. We have two more scheduled for July -- one in Georgetown and one in San Antonio. If anyone else would like a book signing, please let me know. We've had two television interviews -- one with Dad and me in Austin and one with Jess McCain in Sacramento. Dad did an interview for the radio in Austin. A wonderful newspaper article has been written about David Nowell. It's been a busy time.

For the latest updates and links to television interviews and newspaper articles, check out our websites: or

Have a great day!


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Preparing Postcards!

I'm preparing postcards to announce the release of my latest book and to invite people to the San Antonio book signing which will take place in July. If you, or someone you know, would like to be invited to the San Antonio book signing, please let me know!


Anna Jaworski
mom to Joey (17; heart healthy) and Alex (14; HLHS) -- resources for the CHD community -- the Best site on the Internet for CHD information -- information about Alex's robotics team
author of "Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome: A Handbook for Parents" and
"My Brother Needs an Operation" and editor of "The Heart of a Mother"
and "The Heart of a Father" (publication date: June 15, 2009!)

My Toastmasters Meeting

My Toastmasters meeting went well last night! We celebrated our 5th anniversary as a club. I gave a toast and Bob Daigneault (my dad) gave his 10th speech in his Communication and Leadership manual qualifying him to be a Competent Communicator! Katie Thieme also gave a speech. Frank Jaworski did Table Topics and we all had a great time. Instead of our typical venue, we met at Luigi's, our favorite Italian restaurant in Belton, Texas.

Here is a photo of Dad, after he gave his speech.

Dad's speech was on Power Aging and it was terrific! I heard so many people saying they wanted to know more. Several people even told Dad that he needed to give another speech on that subject. Dad's passion and knowledge came through, but more than that -- Dad is a living example of how to power age! At almost 70 years of age, there's just no stopping him!

I can't wait to see what Dad's next speech will be about. I hope that others feel as inspired when they hear me talk as I feel when I hear Dad speak. He's a great role model!



Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fathers' Day

Dear Friends:

I am preparing to spend this day with the two most important fathers in my life -- my husband, Frank, and my dad, Bob Daigneault.

Today will be the third book signing in a row for us! Friday night we did one in Austin, Texas at BookPeople. What a terrific venue! We were on the second floor, had a stage, a sound system, and chairs for people to sit in while Dad and Frank read from the book. It was probably the nicest set up for a book signing I've ever had.

Here is Dad at the lectern.

Here is Frank reading from the book.

Saturday we had a book a book signing in Killeen, Texas. They put us in the front of the store, as greeters. This is an uncomfortable position for me to be in. I'm amazed at how many people will walk in the door and do everything they possibly can to avoid looking at the greeter! Still, Killeen has some advantages for us. I graduated from high school in Killeen and my dad taught in Killeen for years and then was an administrator there. Surprisingly enough, after graduating from college, my first job as a teacher was at my rival high school in Killeen, Texas. :-) We also have some family there (my sister-in-law, Susan) and friends nearby.

This signing was so much more fun because some friends and family took the time to stop by. I don't know if people realize how much that means to an author! Thanks Susan, Rachel, Nicky, Janet, John, Lynn, Roy, and Noah! Here's a photo of some of my dear high school friends and us.

(back, l-r) Roy Martin, Dad (Bob Daigneault), Frank Jaworski
(front, l-r) me (Anna Jaworski) and Lynn Mayo

We're starting out the day by having a Fathers' Day lunch at our favorite Italian restaurant in Belton, Luigi's. Then it's on to the book signing in Waco!



Friday, June 19, 2009

First "The Heart of a Father" Book Signing!

I'm about to leave for a book signing in Austin, Texas at BookPeople!

Bob Daigneault (co-editor and contributor), Frank Jaworski (contributor) and Anna Jaworski (co-editor) will be at BookPeople at 7 p.m. tonight to read from their newest book, "The Heart of a Father." They will read selected excerpts and be on hand to autograph copies of this book and Anna Jaworski's other books, "The Heart of a Mother" and "My Brother Needs an Operation."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sending out books!

Dear Friends:

I'm sending out books! It's exciting to be sending complimentary copies of The Heart of a Father to the contributors of the book. We now have reviews on B & N and Amazon! :-)


Anna Jaworski

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Heart of a Father

The Heart of a Father is being printed! I just spoke to my Credit Representative from Lightning Source, Inc. and she informed me that all but one box of books has been printed! That means that no later than tomorrow, all the books should be shipped to me. I can't wait to get them!