Sunday, August 21, 2011


This past weekend I took part in an annual tradition in the small town of Cissna Park.  I grew up and graduated from Cissna Park which is located in central IL.  My dad and sister still call "CP" home and it is only about 45 minuets from where I live.  Almost always the 3rd weekend of August the whole town and many people who are from Cissna Park converge on this small village of 800 or so people for a 3 day celebration with lots of fun, carnival, entertainment and lots of reminiscing.  This past weekend the kids and I drove up and were able to spend the night on Friday and enjoy 2 night of Old Settlers but poor Tony only got to join us on Friday night since he had work on Saturday and had two dogs at home who can't seem to let them selves in and out on their own.  :)    The kids enjoyed carnival rides, lost money on the carnival games, enjoyed ice cream, funnel cake and lots of candy from the parade.  The kids have gotten to know a lot of Pop Pop's friends and many of mine from my days in CP.  Everyone is always amazed how big my kids are getting every time we come "home".

I refer to this as a homecoming of sorts.....I also sort of refer to this as my coming out celebration.  Last August I was trying to hobble around on crutches after my ankle injury and preparing for my upcoming lap band surgery.  This time last year I was about 105 pounds heavier.  Don't get me wrong I have been home some since my surgery and people are amazed how different I look but this weekend was almost overwhelming and humbling how much attention I got.  It was amazing how many people made a point to come over and talk to me, congratulate me, and to comment how much they have enjoyed following my journey.  This is a journey I have enjoyed sharing and I hope everyone continues to follow it since it is a lifelong journey. 

This was also an emotional journey for me.  I ran into a friend the other night and she commented on how it had been a while since she had been to Old Settlers and she too had some things that she needed to get over from her past.  I like to pride myself on always being a positive person and treating others with love and compassion, but I have to admit a different feeling come over me this weekend.  As I watched people, visited with people and just took it all in, I had alot of thoughts come to mind.  There were people who while I was growing up said terrible things to me and they now have battles of their own.  Some are alcohol, relationships and many are my personal battle....weight.  As I looked at them at times I could remember the painful things that they had said to me or done to me, now they are struggling and I chose to greet them, pray for them silently but most importantly....I have forgiven them!  Another thing that really hit me emotional this weekend was how many people I looked at and wanted to say...."I can help you win back your life"  I am not saying that everyone needs Lap-Band but I feel that everyone can learn something from my journey.  It may be changing your portion sizes, exercising, taking back your life and most importantly having the determination to succeed, and when you stumble.....get back up, brush yourself off and continue on the journey. 

This was a very exciting weekend for me and one that I wish I could have gotten to see more people.  With work and the kids I had to cut my visit short but the people I seen it was so great and for those of you who told me they follow my journey...I am honored.  It is a really weird feeling to get so much attention or to hear people whisper..."Is that Jane Hamlow?....She is so skinny!"  I still find that to be an oxymoron..Jane and skinny used in the same sentence but thank you for the compliment that my hard work is showing. 

In closing, I want to encourage especially  those of you that I was  able to see and talk to me this weekend, to continue to encourage me and keep me accountable on my journey.  I love to share my experiences so feel free to ask me anything or refer others to my blog.  I am attaching a  recent picture and a video clip that means alot to me. 

"You Are More Than" is a song by a Christian Band that we love named Tenth Avenue North

For all those years that people told me that I was more than the "Weight"  I finally believe you now!

Love always, Jane

This is myself, Amanda Hinkle and Amy Walder.  Both are gals I went to school with! 

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