Meet the DC Cast: Anna Whiston-Donaldson

by Kate on April 18, 2012

Anna Whiston-Donaldson lives with her family in her hometown of Vienna, Virginia. A former high school English teacher, Anna stayed home for nine years with the kids before going back to work part-time as the manager of a small Christian bookstore.  She started blogging at AnInchofGray.blogspot.com over four years ago as a way to keep her sister in the loop with her comings and goings, and to muse about topics as varied as wayward pantiliners, the diarrhea song, and refinishing furniture with spray paint.  In blogging, she has found a wealth of real friendship and support, which has been essential following  the death of her 12 year old son in an accident last fall.

Want to know more? Here is a little Q&A about motherhood and writing:

LTYM: Who is ANNA?

Anna: Wife, mother, sister, friend, lazy root toucher-upper, and champion of the underdog. I notice everything and think I would have made a great private eye because I can tell you what all my friends wore to school on the first day of 5th grade.  That is what PI’s do, right? I try to be completely real which is why my blog has never been about my “perfect” children or my “hawt best-friend” of a husband (although he is pretty cute). Instead, I strive to connect with others through our imperfections and the messiness of life. My motto is “The best things in life aren’t things,” although I do enjoy getting new pillows and towels from HomeGoods.

LTYM: When did you first start writing?

Anna: I’ve always been a terrible diarist and journal writer (shelf after shelf of empty notebooks), so I’d say I really started writing in earnest when I discovered I could write personal essays for an audience such as a women’s group at church or on my blog. I also wrote a five minute stand-up comedy routine which, mercifully, is not documented anywhere. 

LTYM: What surprised you most about motherhood?

Anna: Although I’ve always, always, always wanted to be a mom, I did get some surprises. Primarily, I don’t think I was ready for the self-doubt and fear that came with motherhood. I’ve spent a lot of the past 13 years worrying about everything from asbestos to bullying to shark attacks. I was pleasantly surprised by how I instantly felt like the RIGHT mother for the two terrific kids I’d been given and was able to—for the most part—enjoy the various stages they encountered.

LTYM: What do you want for your children?

Anna: I want my daughter to be her positive, strong and spunky self despite the hardship she is encountering.  I want her to use that smart, firecracker personality of hers to make the world better, whether for the masses, or for the few lucky people God puts in her life. I want her to know that what sees in the media, whether it’s the latest stunts pulled by the Kardashians or just Disney Channel drivel, is not “reality.” I want her to know there is much more to life than what is on the surface and on the outside, and that God has big plans for her life.

For my son Jack in heaven, I want him to know we love him, we miss him, and we will never forget him. I want him to continue to impact the world by making people think about how they are living their lives, by drawing people closer to God, and by helping them realize that this is not the end. Love does not die.

Beautiful, Anna.

Check back tomorrow for another DC cast member spotlight…

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Janine mohl April 18, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Anna, Full of Grace- thank you for sharing this inspiration! Love, j9

mia April 18, 2012 at 3:50 pm

anna, you and your family continue to inspire me everyday and make me want to be a better mom..Blessings to you and your sweet family.

Fran Hoppe April 18, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Dear Anna,

I am a friend of Devra Gordon (Renner)’s and she invited me to Listen to Your Mother, which I excitedly accepted. THEN, as I started reading about it and who would be there, I am covered in goosebumps realizing that you will be speaking, as I have been praying for you and your family, and your precious Jack for some time now. God is so beautiful in the way he connects us all. God bless you….I look forward to the event! Love in Christ, Fran Hoppe (Oak Hill mom of 3 boys)

theresa wells stifel April 18, 2012 at 4:49 pm

love indeed does not die; even when words fail.
lovely & goofy essay, just like the best moms…

Kara April 18, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Beautiful Anna!! Keep on … Love you! ko

Relatively Retiring April 18, 2012 at 6:01 pm

Sending you love and empathy from across the ocean.
I have been reading your incredibily moving blog for some time, and am so touched by your courage in writing it.

Stimey April 18, 2012 at 11:42 pm

Anna, you are quite possibly the most charming and gracious woman I have ever met. You are so lovely. And so real. And so honest. I love you.

Gwen April 19, 2012 at 1:56 am

Anna –
You continue to inspire and reach out to others when many who have walked in your path would have come to a complete standstill. The Lord is using you in a mighty way to touch many, many lives and He continues to use Jack’s life through your presence here on earth. All this to say – you glorify and edify His name everyday through your life’s calling. I am so very proud to know you and your sister and to have known your wonderful and loving Mom.

cynthia April 19, 2012 at 2:11 am

Anna! Beautiful for sure! Inside & out.

Holly April 19, 2012 at 2:58 am

How I wish I could see you live in person, Anna. You are an inspiration.

Kelly Rojas April 20, 2012 at 1:57 am

Oh Anna you always inspire me! I love reading your blog and your family has forever changed my family. I pray for you always xo

Alexandra May 5, 2012 at 5:31 am

Anna, how I wish I could be there…..

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