2015: The Gloriously Weird Year of Finding Myself, Divorcing, and Turning 40

2015: The Gloriously Weird Year of Finding Myself, Divorcing, and Turning 40

What a weird year this has been.

I mean, I knew it was weird, but then looking back through my photos and calendar… wow. It’s been a doozy.

I’ve been rather quiet here over the course of 2015, my words few and far between. Much has gone on that hasn’t been for public consumption. My (now) ex-husband and I have never made our private matters public, especially in this space, so starting now would have been odd. When we decided very early this year to separate, that things weren’t ok, my words left me. My mind was on overdrive and well, elsewhere.

The year started very restlessly. I was restless and unsettled. I was unhappy. He was unhappy. And in somewhat of short order, all things considered, we remedied it with separation and then divorce. Not that it’s anybody’s business, but none of this life-changing event was a spur of the moment decision. There was talk and therapy and energy sessions and crying and rethinking and in the end, our guts and hearts won out. We knew what we had to do.

Jason and I are better friends now than we have been in years, probably. He’s still my cheerleader and I’m still his. We spend holidays together and do things as a family, because let’s be honest, we always will be one. We share children and memories and grief and joys that only the two of us can ever share. We want the best for each other. We are so much better for Henry this way and our only goals are for him and for each of us to be happy. That’s all anybody wants, right?

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I want to take you on a journey through 2015, though.

Let’s talk while we walk through the year, shall we?

January 2015

January 2015

January was kicked off with a Resolution Run with Sharon that I believe we both resolved to never EVER again run. It’s miraculous we survived. Henry won “Cubmaster’s Choice” at the Pinewood Derby for best looking car. Yes, it’s sushi. No, it’s not edible. Yes, it’s badass.

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February 2015

Oh, February. Jason and I decided over Valentine’s Dinner that we should separate. We’d been back and forth on it, but Valentine’s dinner, while everybody was oohing and aahing over each other at the two-top tables around us, we decided we had to do it. And then we toasted each other. Weird.

Miranda and I held auditions for the Listen To Your Mother Show and I finished my 4th half marathon. Barely. Let’s not discuss the race, but instead let me say how much fun I had with Rachel, Sharon, and Melissa that weekend (and #TeamRMHC)!

The Toomer’s Oaks were replanted in Auburn and we headed over for that big occasion. And then it snowed. And the city of Atlanta shut down.

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March 2015

March saw us figuring out the logistics and details of our separation. We were still living together because of those logistics. That may have been the strangest period of the whole deal. Knowing that you’re apart, but you’re still in the same house. We had distractions, though. Scout things, the boys camping, my niece and I going to NYC to celebrate her birthday. Jasmine and I had the best time! Columbia, Serendipity, Shopping, Broadway!

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April 2015

And then there was April. I don’t think I was even at home during April. Ten days after being in NYC with Jasmine, I was back for the Listen To Your Mother book launch. How much fun was THIS? It was such an amazing 24 hours, I don’t even know where to start! So I won’t bother. But it was amazing to hang out with Neil and Alexandra, Ann, Taya, Melisa… the list goes on. It was a 24 hour trip but so much good was squeezed in!

Then we had our second Listen To Your Mother Show in Atlanta. Which was so beautiful. We had a fantastic cast of 13 women who delivered some of the most heartfelt stories I’ve ever heard. So thrilled to bring it back this next April.

Then there was drinking (much) bourbon with Vikki (and others) at Mom2.0 and visiting with my friend Andrea in Phoenix. Such a busy month!

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May 2015

Basically, in May, I had superpowers that would make me lazy and we celebrated what would have been Charlie’s 12th birthday. May was apparently the opposite of April!

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June 2015

June saw a new family of ducks in our pond out back, a weekend with the girls, and a trip to my sister’s. So clearly “family” was the theme!

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July 2015

July is Peach Month. That’s when the best peaches are available. So we ate them almost right off the tree. I don’t think I’ve eaten as many peaches before as I did this past summer. Henry went to Camp Winnataska again and loved it.

I spent a weekend in NYC again, this time with Neil. I guess you could say this was about when our long time friendship was turning into more than just friendship. (Again, not really anybody’s business, but Jason and I agreed that we could date people while we were separated. So we both did.)

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August 2015

Back to School, with a saxaphone, in August. Plus another trip to NYC and just doing life, one day at a time. We decided to file for divorce.

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September 2015

September was obviously full of fun because the only picture worth posting was of flowers I bought myself at Whole Foods. Which means I paid way too much for them, but whatever, they’re gorgeous and made me feel good. Jason and I, still married technically, celebrated our 17th anniversary with a high five and a PBR because we’re classy like that.

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October 2015

Football game with my mom and Henry. Type A Conference in Atlanta. Henry got a job walking the dog next door after school. Neil came to Atlanta for a long weekend. And I donned a blue wig for Halloween. Oh, October!

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November 2015

November started off with Henry’s 11th birthday party. Another Game Truck party which is God’s gift to moms across the country or wherever Game Trucks are. Seriously. They back in and open the doors and PARTY!

In November, I watched one of my dearest friends say “I do” to the man she loves. I taught my niece how to properly watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. And while at my sister’s house for Thanksgiving, my family celebrated my 40th birthday (a little early).

November 18, our final divorce decree was signed and stamped and official. Again, we celebrated with a high five.

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December 2015

Oh, December. Henry and I found and loved and decorated our own tree. We did it all by ourselves and were so super proud! We made a few new traditions in the process.

I celebrated my FORTIETH birthday on December 9. (I know, I don’t look a day over 27) I was in New York with Neil and we celebrated at dinner with some friends we both know through blogging and Listen To Your Mother. It was such a fun night and weekend.

Christmas came, on schedule. Santa came. Jason joined us and we Christmassed together and it was nice. We had clearly been good this year. I guess Santa liked how well we’ve handled ourselves throughout the year.

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This past year has taught me some things. Mostly that my gut and my heart are always right. I’m grateful to my energy healer and the therapist I briefly saw, for helping me realize the difference between what my heart was telling me and what my head was telling me. Often, your head tells you the easy thing, not the thing that will make you the happiest and take the most courage.

At the end of the day, 2015 was absolutely glorious, and taught me that I’m far more brave and far more resilient than I ever dreamed. I’m not scared of being a single mom. I’m not scared of not being able to live the life I’ve lived for the last 17 years. I’m certainly not scared of the future. I’m excited. Super. Freaking. Excited. Do I know what it holds? Hell no. Do you? If so, I’d like for you to read my palm and tell me some lottery numbers!

I’m ushering in 2016 knowing that anything — ANYthing — can happen. It may be amazing or it may be mundane, but it will be done my way. It will be full of so many things and I plan to do them all with passion and mindfulness and the realization that THIS moment IS life. I only get one and I plan to make it good.

So cheers to a fresh slate, a new decade of life, a blank page in a new notebook, and a new pen.

Let’s do this, 2016.

Sweet & Salty with Uncommon Goods

Sweet & Salty with Uncommon Goods

One of my favorite places to shop online has been Uncommon Goods. For years, I’ve gotten giddy-excited when a catalog showed up in my mailbox and have spent way too much time perusing their various gift guides on their website. I’ve teamed up with Uncommon Goods to share some fun gift ideas for upcoming occasions.

When they sent me the most amazing necklace set – The Sweet & Salty Necklace Set for Friends – I knew exactly who one of the necklaces was going to. (note: I was given the necklace, but opinions and thoughts are my own)

sweet&salty1

They’re the most charming pieces by designer Elizabeth Suda, made from “Vietnam War–era plane parts and bombs, metal that was fairly traded and honed into delicate jewelry, clearing Laos farmland of war debris and serving as a sweet reminder of friendship in the process.”

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Yesterday, I met Karen and her family at The Varsity. I’d been pondering which of us would get “Sweet” and which would get “Salty” since we’re both a little bit, well, sweet AND salty! So without looking at them, I placed them on the table (where I had just devoured a cheese Dog, onion rings, a frosted orange, and a peach pie.) (what? it’s the holidays.) and on 3, we each touched the one we felt was supposed to be ours.

Luckily, we chose different ones!

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So now, officially, I’m “Sweet” and Karen is “Salty.” As it should be, I believe!

I can honestly say, as a jeweler’s daughter who has seen a lot of friendship jewelry come and go over the years, this is the most fun one yet!

J&K_Sweet&Salty

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Uncommon Goods, on top of offering the most hilarious, perfect, and perfectly ridiculous gifts, is actually a company committed to Good. They believe that sustainability starts with integrity in everything they do, both inside the company and outside. Their work with artists and small manufacturers allows them to know their products are thoughtful and made in responsible manners. In fact, everything about their mission makes me want to work for them!

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Christmas may be over, but you know what? There are occasions coming up, y’all. And Uncommon Goods has something for every. single. one. of them. One stop shop and all that!

I popped over to a few of the gift guides they have set up and found some favorites.

Valentine’s Day is soon. I mean, let’s get real, they’ve had Valentine’s candy out in the grocery store for two weeks now. It’s time to think about what you’ll be getting that special someone.

I do have a special someone I’ll be buying for this year, so looking through the Valentine’s Day list, I found a few things that caught my eye.

The Travel Stub Diary

The Travel Stub Diary for remembering our fun little visits to museums, shows, and other fun places!

I popped over to the “Gifts For Boyfriends and Guys” guide and found some other fun things!

Eye Glasses Holder

Eye Glasses Holder – For the Four Eyes in your life who always loses his (or her) glasses.

Driftwood iPhone Charging Dock

Driftwood iPhone Charging Dock – Who doesn’t need a charging dock that is made of driftwood?

And then there’s my favorite collection ever… the Jewelry!

As a jeweler’s daughter, I’m a little funny about my jewelry. Everything I own, means something to me. That’s why I love Uncommon Goods and their selection so much. Everything has a story.

Here are some favorites (in case anyone is wondering what to get me).

Sterling Silver Wings Bangle  "She took the leap and built her wings on the way down"

Sterling Silver Wings Bangle
“She took the leap and built her wings on the way down”

I can’t wait to regroup and get my mind focused on the next occasions and shop myself silly!

What would YOU buy from Uncommon Goods for someone on your list (or yourself)?

What I’ve Enjoyed Reading Lately!

I’ve started having a love affair with my Kindle app on my phone. I read at night. I read in the bathroom. I read when I’m sitting in the school pick-up line.

I read what people suggest. And I read what my friends write.

Most of the time, I can’t remember what happened in the book two days later, but for the hours that it takes to read one of these novels, I’m fully engaged and living life with the characters. It’s a lovely escape.

Here are a few of my recent favorites. And yes, they are affiliate links. If you purchase through these, my Starbucks habit doesn’t have to be broken. Mwah! Happy reading, y’all!

One Plus One: A Novel by Jojo Moyes

Cancel the Wedding: A Novel by Carolyn T. Dingman

Luckiest Girl Alive: A Novel by Jessica Knoll

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Like No Other by Una LaMarche

Landline: A Novel by Rainbow Rowell

Take My Husband, Please: A Romantic Comedy by Kimberly Jayne

The Last Letter from Your Lover: A Novel by Jojo Moyes

The Girl You Left Behind: A Novel by Jojo Moyes

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert (I highly recommend the hardback copy of this book so you can underline and highlight and draw in it!)

After You: A Novel by Jojo Moyes (sequel to Me Before You)

Divorce: A Love Story by Jonathan Weiler and Anne Menkens

Say Their Names: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month 2015

“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. Take a minute to say their names out loud. Remember them. Realize they were here and real and loved and are still loved…

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
  • 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, 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
  • 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 October 9, 2007 and died October 11, 2007.
  • 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 bacterial 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 –  Born still December 30, 2012
  • 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.
  • Bailey Winter Dumitru, son of Tori and Kevin, born at rest December 8, 2007.
  • Renee’s daughter, Lucielle Diane, born and died July 15, 2013
  • Caleb Andrew Franklin, beloved Son of Julie and Andy. Born at 24 weeks on August 17, 2004 and died August 25, 2004.
  • James Chadwick “Chad” son of Jimmy and Debbie and brother to Kristen and Brandi, born and died November 16, 1980 due to a placental abruption.
  • Asher Vinsant, son of Kylie Vinsant, born January 4, 2012 and died January 12, 2012 due to Early Onset Group B Strep.
  • Eve, daughter of Wade & Kacey Dixon, born October 21, 2010 and died November 4, 2010 from Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome
  • Amelia, daughter of Bob and Catherine, born May 4th, 2014 and died June 1st, 2014 from Late Onset Group B Strep.
  • Angel Wills, baby of Michael and Jamie, August 2010.
  • Henry, son of Sara and Brian, born May 29, 2007 and died December 17, 2007.
  • Andrea and Jay’s baby. Miscarriage in November 2010.
  • Heather’s daughter, Clara Edith Webb, who was stillborn on July 1, 2012 at 42 weeks 3 days gestation.
  • William Benjamin Redland, born April 10, 2014 and died April 28, 2014 due to Group B Strep.
  • Beckie’s baby. Miscarriage, March 1999 at 9 weeks.
  • Jo’s babies: John Sebastian – Potters Syndrome, full term, born still November 12, 1999; Damian Paige – late term miscarriage August 20, 2005; Willow Soleil – November 18, 2013 miscarriage.
  • Alisha’s son, Mason Daniel Pablo. Born still at 26 weeks on July 23, 2015.
  • Kelli and Michael’s son, Grady Michael, born and died June 12, 2015 from Potter’s Syndrome. Little brother to Slater and Mykelyn.
  • William Barsi, son of Jennifer and James Barsi, big brother and fierce protector. Arrived at at 24 weeks, 1 day on January 29, 2013, and in doing so saved his twin brother and his mother’s lives. He died on Valentine’s Day 2013.
  • Baby Girl K and Baby EE, babies of T.
  • Chloe, daughter of Leesa, ectopic pregnancy in 2001.
  • Angela Talo’s baby, miscarriage February 26, 2006.
  • Skylar Natasha Maine Milner, daughter, younger and older sibling to John, Joanna, Haylie, and Aria. Born June 18 2013 died June 17 2013 at 28weeks.

Older “babies” we choose to remember today, too.

  • Laura Kaye Anthoine – October 20, 1969-April 3, 1981 – Daughter of Kaye and Roy, Sister of my husband Jason
  • 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.
  • Chrissi’s Son: Tyler, born March 22, 1997 and died September 15, 2003

** 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 previous years and I’ve added new ones. I have also decided to add older children because really, they’re all our babies.**

A Few Of My Favorite Books of 2015 (So Far)

Seems that I’ve made this year a year of reading. Maybe it’s because I have some quiet nights when Henry is at Jason’s. Or maybe I just want to take my eyes off my computer and drift into another world with characters who give me ideas and inspiration and hope.

I thought I’d share a few with you. Go forth and read!

Books by our very talented Listen To Your Mother Cast Members:

Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected by Kayla Aimee

The Beauty of Grace: Stories of God’s Love from Today’s Most Popular Writers by Dawn Jacobs Camp (and many other contributors)

Hands Free Life: Nine Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better, and Loving More by Rachel Macy Stafford

Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters! by Rachel Macy Stafford

All Beautiful Things by Nicki Salcedo

Listen to Your Mother: What She Said Then, What We’re Saying Now by Ann Imig and other LTYM Cast Members from across the country

Other books I love and highly recommend:

Damselfly Inn (Thornton Vermont Book 1) by Cameron Garriepy

Buck’s Landing (A New England Seacoast Romance Book 1) by Cameron Garriepy

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

After You: A Novel by Jojo Moyes (pre-order sequel to Me Before You)

Kindness Wins by Galit Breen

Primates of Park Avenue: A Memoir by Wednesday Martin

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 1) by Cheryl Strayed

Rare Bird: A Memoir of Loss and Love – by Anna Whitson-Donaldson

ALL the Housewife Assassin’s Books by Josie Brown

Disclaimer: Contains affiliate links. Buying through these links will feed my travel habit. And keep my local Starbucks open. 

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