What a Difference A Year Makes

A year. It’s been a year since my very first road race. A year since I pinned on the first of a handful of numbers to run with a herd of other people who were very clearly “runners.”

It’s been a year since my friend Sharon said, “I’ll run with you and keep you company.” It’s been a year since that friendship really started.

I never in a million years would have expected to still be running after the Princess Half, but here I am, three weeks away from running ANOTHER half at Disney and four months away from running the Glass Slipper Challenge at Disney.

Today I ran with a Melissa, my new running buddy who will train alongside me for the 2014 Princess Half. We stuck it out together today and finished the race in an ALMOST sub 40:00 time. Eight seconds shy. But that’s ok. There’s always next time, right?

And it was a victory for me because last time I ran that course? I finished and had to lay on the ground to keep from throwing up.

Tomorrow I see the rheumatologist. We’ll see what they say about the wear and tear this has all had on my joints. I feel good. My swelling is controlled. My joints and body only talk back to me when I forget my medicine or the weather acts up or you know, I run 13 miles. But isn’t that better than sitting on the couch? I think so.

It’s really amazing the difference a year makes.

Just Write: The DOT Worker

He sits perfectly perfect, posture textbook worthy, with his work-issued STOP sign leaning next to him on the bench. His orange vest is clean and zipped, his hood pulled over his head, under his hard hat.

He’s a DOT worker I pass every morning on my way to work.

Without fail, he’s sitting on the bench at the intersection with a book in his hand. There’s normally a pen, frantically jotting down notes in the margins or underlining passages. Whatever it is he’s doing, he’s doing with intensity, not seeming to notice that he’s sitting five feet from one of the busiest streets in the area.

This morning he had a small legal pad, again, frantically writing line after line on his lap.

In my head, at that stoplight, I wonder what his story is. I mean, he’s a young guy. The options are endless. Today my thoughts flowed and my imagination went wild.

He’s working a DOT job during the day and going to school at night. He’s been up with a crying baby because his girlfriend who delivered their first baby a few weeks ago had to return to work at nights. Running on about 90 minutes of sleep, he figures he can get his school assignments read and written while he’s waiting for the bus.

It’s his few minutes of peace before he hits the pavement, holding the sign that switches from STOP to SLOW, allowing the long line of pissed off drivers through the construction zone where his coworkers are jackhammering, bulldozing, and standing around pondering the meaning of life. Work is noisy. Waiting for the bus is quiet.

He doesn’t mind it.

In fact, he loves getting immersed in the novels he’s been assigned at school. His European literature course is his favorite. He’s pondering changing his major from Business to Education. He feels himself being drawn to teaching kids about the power of literature and the power of writing.

As he sees the bus coming down the road, he flips the legal pad to the back and catches a glimpse of the letter telling him he’s been chosen for a short story award at his college.

The young man slips his book and notepad into the side of his lunch bag, grabs his STOP/SLOW sign, and gets on the bus. He smiles to himself knowing that if he can keep on going, working hard, and loving his family, he will never live his life on STOP or SLOW — he will live it on GO.

This is my installment for Just Write, hosted by Heather at The Extraordinary Ordinary.

 

October 15, 2013: Always In Our Hearts

“If you know someone who has lost a child, and you’re afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died–you’re not reminding them.

They didn’t forget they died.

What you’re reminding them of is that you remembered that they lived, and…that is a great gift.”

~Elizabeth Edwards~

Today, October 15, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. In 2006, after years of pushing for it, the day was recognized by the House of Representatives. In 1988, President Reagan had declared October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. But in my opinion, celebrating this day for ONE day is much easier for a parent who has lost a child than for the whole month.

The International Wave of Light is the simultaneous lighting of candles in memory of these babies lost to miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss at 7pm in your local time zone tonight. The result is a continuous chain of light spanning the globe for a 24 hour period. Just think about that for a minute. How beautiful!

So tonight at 7pm, wherever you are, light a candle or say a prayer (or do what you do) in memory of all the baby angels that are watching over us and in honor of all the parents left behind to grieve the loss of dreams and bright futures for their children.

These are my special Angels and members of The Club I will be lighting a candle for tonight:

  • Our first baby: Junebug – miscarriage at 13 weeks, June 19, 2002
  • Our second baby: Charles “Charlie” Fleetwood Anthoine – died at 24 days old from late-onset Group B Strep, born May 21, 2003 and died June 14, 2003 – his story here
  • Laura Kaye Anthoine – October 20, 1969-April 3, 1981 – Daughter of Kaye and Roy, Sister of my husband Jason
  • The daughter of Pam Doherty, Hannah Noelle MacDonald was born still on February 3, 2003 from Group B Strep sepsis. Her father is John MacDonald.
  • Oliver Nelson Wright, son of Chris and Danna Wright, baby brother to Walker – Born and died October 2, 2010.
  • Leighton Sophie Taylor – daughter of Amy and Chris, twin sister to Jaxon – born May 26, 2011 and died June 17, 2011 from Group B Strep
  • Stephanie and Anna Causley – daughters of Paul and Robyn Causley – miscarriages at 12 and 6 weeks, respectively in 2003.
  • Sara Kay – born still September 7, 2009
  • Susan and Matt’s baby – miscarriage at 12 weeks – December 25, 1999
  • Emma Jade – Kat’s sweet baby – miscarriage at 9 weeks in 2001
  • Cara Jennifer – daughter of Carrie-Ann – born and died on August 17, 2010 – lived 12 minutes
  • Jill and Kyle Clay’s babies – Baby Clay, miscarriage October 2004 and Baby Clay , miscarriage October 2005 – both around 10 weeks
  • Allison Reid – daughter of Robin and Sean Reid – though she was not an infant when she died, she contracted the same bacteria that Charlie did and suffered long-term challenges. Allison was born on March 1, 2002 and died on January 25, 2008. I had the honor of meeting Allison and she was a fabulous fighter.
  • Cason Heard Adams- January 27, 1989-December 4, 2001 , was called home to live with the angels. He was a bright light to all that knew him and is greatly missed everyday by his family and friends.
  • Cora Mae McCormick – November 30, 2009 to December 6, 2009
  • Skye, Dakota and Martina – Nanna Chris and Mommy Staci and Little Sister Joclynn’s triplets – July 7th, 2007
  • Drew and Amanda’s Baby – miscarriage October 6, 2010
  • Brianna Elizabeth Franzen – Daughter of my friend, Julie. Born January 29, 1998 and died March 7, 1998 from a heart defect.
  • Cecily’s Sons – Nicholas and Zachary, October 27, 2004
  • Shauna’s Babies – one at 16 weeks, one tubal pregnancy
  • Erin’s Babies – Baby 1, September 2006, miscarriage; Baby 2, January 2007, miscarriage; Baby Girl 1, December 2008, late miscarriage; Baby Girl 2, born still on August 17, 2009 at 18 weeks.
  • Elizabeth Anne’s Baby – Baby Childs, miscarried June 12, 2006
  • Elizabeth Anne’s Friend’s Son – Jonah Oliver, delivered and died on Thanksgiving Day 1997 at 18 weeks gestation.
  • Becca’s friend’s daughter – Chandler Rivers, born 13 weeks early and died a week before her due date.
  • Jessica and Mark’s Daughter: Hadley Jane, born 10/9/07 and died 10/11/07
  • Chrissi’s Son: Tyler, born March 22, 1997 and died September 15, 2003
  • Trish’s baby “Peanut”
  • Michael and Robin’s babies – miscarriage at 5 weeks in April 2009, and miscarriage at 10 weeks in September 2012
  • Olivia Grace – daughter of my friend Barbara. She was born January 8, 2004 and died August 23, 2004 from meningitis.
  • Sunday’s babies – Tomorrow Dawn- December 1993, miscarried at 8 weeks and Samuel- January 2002, miscarried at 11 weeks (named our first son Samuel in his honor and memory)
  • Lindsay’s baby – little one lost to miscarriage at 10 weeks in May 2003
  • Lynn’s 8 babies – 5 lost at 14 weeks and 3 lost early at 8-10 weeks
  • Ms. Marie’s baby – miscarriage October 1977
  • Isabella Pearl De Leon – Stillborn one week before scheduled delivery. March 5, 2011. Paul & Nicole De Leon
  • Nora Henke –  Stillborn 12-30-12
  • Mike & Lauren’s babies: miscarriage at 6 wks in 1999; miscarriage at 7 wks in 2000; miscarriage at 10 wks in 2001
  • Carter Austin – March 18, 2006
  • Tucker Harris Neu and Fletcher Thomas Neu
  • Fiona Jane Tully was stillborn on May 8, 2011, and her sister, Brigid Eileen Tully, lived from May 8, 2011 to June 23, 2011 – daughters of Eileen Tully
  • Leah Brook Tomlin – daughter of Bevin and Adam, sister of Taylor. Born January 7, 2013 and died January 13, 2013 from Prenatal-Onset GBS
  • Carl Martin Kerr – passed away in utero at 6 months. Born on January 25, 2013. Baby Kerr – miscarried at 6 weeks on August 25, 2013. Both children of Solanke and Cincia and siblings to Isabella.
  • Jacob, born at 20 weeks in 2006. Lived for 52 minutes. Son of Nick and Melissa Tabbert.
  • Isabella-Rose Elizabeth, born still October 12, 2009, daughter of Tia

** I will add babies if you email me at janasthinkingplace@me.com to tell me you want me to add your angel. I know there are so many more, but I don’t want to publish without your permission. These are from last year and I’ve added new ones. I have also decided to add older children because really, they’re all our babies.**

 

Stream of Consciousness Sunday: The End.

I’ve felt this coming for a while.

The change. The feeling that it had run its course and that it’s time to move on.

The end of Stream of Consciousness Sunday is here. 

Over a year ago, July 8, actually I took SOCSunday over from Fadra. She handed it over to me, entrusting that I could keep its spirit alive.

I think I’ve done a decent job. But it’s now feeling overwhelming. Sometimes I just don’t have anything to say. Or I want to write more. Or I just don’t feel like doing it. I have a hard time going in and reading posts that are linked up and that makes me feel sad. Making time isn’t my strongest point right now.

To my community: I love y’all. And I hope you’ll still visit. I’ll still visit you. Keep writing and keep dumping your brain.

And if you’re interested in a free writing every week, go link up on Tuesdays with Heather for Just Write!

Thank you for sticking it out with me!

stream of consciousness sunday

Type A Takeaways

Type A Takeaways

I’m not known for my post-conference recaps. I don’t know that I’m known for very much, actually. But this year, after Type A Conference that was here in Atlanta a few weekends ago, I feel compelled to tell you exactly what I took away from it.

A list will do, right?

1. I love my friends that I have met online – through blogging, social media, and in person at conferences. This conference was the third one that Crystal and I have done together. It was great meeting her at arrivals in the airport, catching up with hugs and glasses of wine/liquor/beer, and having a slumber party late at night! Seeing other people I now call friends makes my heart full. Knowing that at least for some of them, seeing me makes them feel the same way, helps me realize that what I do online isn’t all stupid and worthless!

2. I love my new friends. Oh, where do I start with the new people I met this year. Finally getting to give a few people a hug in real life was great. Running into a few girls, striking up a conversation, and ending up wanting to become neighbors so we can hang out all the time, was even more amazing! You know who you are (yes, I’m looking at you, you, you, you, and you). I miss all of you and hope we meet again soon!

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3. It’s time to Just Write. I want to write. I wish I thought I could quit my job and write full time. But writing takes practice. I went to a session with Vikki and Heather that I thought was amazing. After a year or so of hosting #SOCSunday, and knowing that Just Write was also out there, I finally met Heather. Listening to her and Vikki talk, a little like watching a Delicious Dish sketch on SNL, about how to pull stream of consciousness writing out of your heart and soul and put it onto paper (er, the computer) was earth-moving. That session was worth the price of the ticket and a whole lot more to me. So thank y’all!

4. Sharing my city is fun! On Saturday night, a group of girls headed out to South City Kitchen. This is one of our favorite places in the city, so sharing it with people who “ain’t from ’round these parts” was a lot of fun. Fried chicken and grits, peachy bourbon drinks, and other Southern goodness abounded that night. The next morning was even more fun with a small group at Silver Skillet, a diner made famous in movies and shows like Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. So thanks for reminding me, friends, that my city is fun and hip and worthy of showing off!

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5. Gary Buchanan should never work anywhere but Disney. He is the complete embodiment of Disney in a body that looks like a combination of Dana Carvey and Steve Carell. He reminded us all in his unbelievable keynote, that there are no rules. Creativity should be a fun process. Think like a kid. Ask questions. Collect them and save them or the answers for later. HAVE FUN.

6. Erika Napoletano has amazing boobs. And if I wanted some just like them, I could go to her doctor because she gave us his name. He does excellent work, by the way. So besides that, she basically told us to turn up the volume. Erika is no nonsense, but has a soft side, realizing her limits and realizing that saying no or changing plans mid-flight is ok. I’m not sure exactly what I took from her keynote, but it’s sitting with me. Which means there’s something there… I just have to figure out what it is. Thank you for that, Erika!

7. I know my limits. I had been a big talker on the Facebook group about getting together and running every morning with a group. I made it on Friday. By Friday afternoon, however, I realized I had apparently been without my arthritis medicine for a few days. I hit the pavement on Saturday only to realize after about 14 steps, I couldn’t do it. I know my limits. I’ve said it before while training for races (that still sounds strange to say), I listen to my body. If it hurts, I don’t do it. It’s not worth injuring myself or making my arthritis worse than it already is. Interestingly enough, Dorothy Hamill was on site preaching exactly the same thing. About osteoarthritis. Which I have. So of course, I stood in line for a picture and a chance to chat her up for a few minutes. For those with OA (and I’m on the young end of the spectrum they said – yay me!) check out the Get Moving, America page that was just launched. You’ll find lots of information about OA and ways to help ease symptoms.

It was a good weekend.

And I’m ready to do it all again.

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