The Most Powerful Word in the English Language

For the last several years I have selected a word or phrase of intention for the year. Kind of like a theme.  A beacon to guide my handling of life and to give some perspective.  I can’t recall exactly when I was introduced to this idea. But it was an author whose books were popular among friends of mine several years ago. I thought “Why not? What could it hurt?”

Some of my past examples?

Faith.

Let it go.

Hope.

This year’s catalyst for my word? Another book found its way into my hands at just the perfect time.
Forgiveness.  

And it has made all the difference.

Forgiveness is hard. Perhaps that is why it is underrated. You and I find forgiveness hard because we are stubborn. Rather than stepping out to healing, we often prefer to sit and feed off our wounds because they are familiar and comfortable.  It is easier to do nothing. Maybe we struggle with forgiveness because we are lazy or because we are afraid.  But understand this: Forgiveness will transform you and your relationships once you release its power into your life. You will find a new and higher level of living and of relationships. Forgiveness is the most powerful word in the English language.

~Allen R. Hunt Everybody Needs to Forgive Somebody

Whoa.

We can all think of someone -be it a neighbor, co-worker, friend or family member- who is a grudge holder. I know I can. I have some grudge holding in my genetic makeup.

Sadly, there are some past hurts that just won’t be set free in my extended family. And the ripple effect of these decisions far outweighs the original intent in my mind. Hurt begets hurt begets hurt.  Enough.

Forgiveness has more clearly set my relationships right with Ice and my children. With my family and my friends. With co-workers and with the kid at the drive-thru window who didn’t greet me before announcing my total with a grunt and just his hand out.  As I type these words I can think of an example where this mantra this year has served its intended purpose. And I am so grateful for it.

Speaking of the drive thru…

Recently Ice shared one of his experiences. He pulled into a fast food place at the back of their parking lot. The cars were already lined up. The angle he was accessing the line made it so he had to wait for the last car to pull up a little for his vehicle to file in. But it was clear to anyone watching that he was “next” in line inching in behind the last car.

As luck would have it a pick-up truck pulled in through the drive thru circle and made sure he left no room for Ice to inch his way in. Even though it was clear Ice had been there waiting first.  The driver of the truck made sure to signal with some choice gestures and set the tone.

So this is how it’s gonna be. You know you’ve been there. Whatever it was that caused that feeling of indignation, anger or dare I say, revenge.

There are several ways this could have gone. It was just the degree to which the situation could have escalated that I was concerned about as he was sharing this with me. But I did not see this coming…

He approached the loud-speaker to place his order. After placing the order he asked the employee if he could pay for the driver of the truck’s order! And watching ahead at the driver, he could tell there was some kind of exchange going on between the driver and the employee.  Over the loud-speaker the employee hesitated in their response to Ice’s request.  As I am hearing this I am thinking, what is the hesitation? The driver wouldn’t let him pay?? No, not that at all. Would you believe the driver had already paid for Ice’s order?! Yep, did not see that coming.

This is just one amazing example that the power of forgiveness has to heal and repair.  The fact that both men were willing to extend this gift was awesome. And the beauty of it is, when given to others it really helps us free ourselves. Hanging on to hurts and wrongs against us gets heavy and burdensome. Why be bogged down with such baggage?

As I have been exercising my forgiveness muscles this year, it finally dawned on me, what about the forgiveness we deny ourselves?  What burdens do we hang on to that add to the load we carry?

I can’t lose the weight.

I don’t measure up.

I failed to reach the goal.

I’m not enough.

It brought to mind a situation I found myself in several years back.  Long story made short a misunderstanding occurred that created a very awkward situation for some friends. I found myself in the middle and made a couple of choices I now regret.  Feelings were hurt. Apologies were made repeatedly. Attempts to explain what had transpired were offered. But in the end, the choice to accept these attempts was denied and I have held the burden ever since.

Over time when I encounter the individual most offended it’s uncomfortable and awkward all over again.  But after time and space it’s clear to me I didn’t believe I could just choose to let go. Forgive myself.  I didn’t realize the problem wasn’t with her.  It was with me.  What else can I do? I made every effort to set it right. The sad part is she still holds her burden and the key to set it down and move on.

I so want my children to be able to adopt this way of living as they grow older. It will make their journey through life so much more enjoyable and fulfilling.  And kids always have a wonderful way of demonstrating forgiveness. One minute could be a huge teenage drama and the next it’s I’m sorry and on to what’s for dinner? I love that.

There is almost no greater gift we can give ourselves than to forgive. It’s a fresh start. A new beginning. It paves the way for more good stuff to get in and also be given out. It clears the clouds and allows the sun to shine.

Forgive.

Sunrise

© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bananas and Spray & Wash

Life is a series of fleeting moments. Whether it’s a sunrise, an unexpected interaction with your teenager, a quiet moment with your significant other or your last conversation on this earth with someone you love most.  The trick: sometimes you just don’t know when you’re going to miss something until it’s not there anymore.  Like, the last time I was able to physically carry Techno to bed. He now stands taller than I in a size 12 men’s shoe in 8th grade. I don’t remember the last time I was able to pick him up off the couch after he’d dozed and carry him to bed. But it’s been years. And I miss it.

I am now knee-deep in these fleeting moments, my dear Reader. Instead of being able to chronicle them in this blog as I have so enjoyed these last three + years, I have been too full of living them. And enjoying almost every moment.

If you want something done, ask a busy person. ~Benjamin Franklin

I am not sure I fully understood this quote until recently.  Ten weeks out from a triathlon on my bucket list for  5 years has kept me incredibly busy. Just the thought of it makes my heart beat a little faster. Time management has been of the essence these last four months. Honestly, it has become a part-time job.  And it seems the more I have to accomplish in a day, the more I just want to rise to the occasion and get it all done -or curl up in a ball and nap for an entire weekend.  Just depends which day you ask me.  With it all comes doubts, anxiety and worries – they all creep in from time to time.

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Recently, I found myself doing laundry after some training while simultaneously consuming  a banana. In the moment it struck me, “You chose this?!”  I can’t even sit to get a decent breakfast to nourish my body anymore. I must do it on the fly and while doing chores no less.  The next item up was preparing  my three-and-a-half-year-old for pre-school, seriously, a Herculean task some days.

And while this random date (of the triathlon) in my universe almost glows with significance on my calendar, it is nothing compared to the reality that there are Moms everywhere who work full-time out of dire necessity and do so many of these things that keep me running and spinning and exhausted.

I have friends and family who are single Moms, who are cancer survivors,  whose children are sick or have died, whose spouses have battled illness or whose parents have struggled with disease all while working, raising a family and fighting to make ends meet.

My selfish and deeply individual goal pales in comparison. Yet, every time I am out on the road or swimming in the pool I challenge myself to push through the doubts and fear and to believe with every cell in my body that “I have got this.” It has been humbling to make the parallels of what I am facing now with how it stacks up to the stuff life throws at you. It parallels motherhood on so many levels. The ups, the downs. The endurance through challenges and the will to see it through.  The difference being, if I am blessed enough to reach my goal and put it in my rear view mirror come July, I am done. The endurance race of Motherhood never truly ends.  Truth be told, eating breakfast over the washing machine probably won’t stop anytime soon either.

My hope is that my children can see their Mom giving her all to a goal and accomplishing it.  But even more important to me is that they see their Mom as always committed to each of them and always there for them.  Hopefully this is not something that is fleeting. Hopefully it is something that stays with them their whole lives.

And by this time next year, I hope I will look back on this goal, this time in my life and say,

Remember the time I did that? I miss that.

 

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© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

A Trip, Tattoos and Triumph from Cancer

Suck it Cancer.  These were the words that were hash-tagged and Facebook posted for the better part of a year while my friend, Lisa squared off with breast cancer. Social Media proved to be a silver lining for her I think. A place to get it out and get love back in return. I have never walked in these shoes but I can only imagine it would be helpful to have so many people pulling for you every day as you’re chronicling your struggles online. Most importantly, helping you feel some control over your diagnosis and sharing your story.

With such a stretch of rocky road behind her, Lisa beat cancer and is on the easier side of the mountain now.  So what does she do? Something only Lisa can get away with.  She wraps up this whole grueling, exhausting, heartbreaking journey in a pink bow with eight girlfriends, a plane ride, a limousine, champagne, hysterical laughter and two brand-new tattoos.

The most surprising part of this story? The tattoos are her brand new nipples. Who knew?

It had just never occurred to me when a woman undergoes a double mastectomy and then reconstructive surgery that she may still be missing her nipples – created or spared. In fact, most women have both breast and nipple removed and are left with a scar and an area where the nipple once was.  The better part of a year ago Lisa informed me of this – in Pilates class.

“And oh by the way, I am going to see this guy who is world-renowned for his work on 3-D nipple tattoos for breast cancer survivors. He sees patients in New Orleans or Baltimore. Anyone want to make the trip with me?”

Four of us on the spot – in Pilates class – we were all in. What an incredible adventure.

Maryland was the destination. (The world-renowned tattoo artist was booked in to next year in New Orleans.) All of us donned pink in some fashion or another to catch the flight to our vacation rental row house in Baltimore’s Little Italy. A 3 o’clock appointment was the mission. A limo had been scheduled to pick up the guest of honor and her support entourage complete with champagne for style points.  Lisa knows how to throw a party.

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Lisa in the center

We pulled up to this unassuming tattoo parlor in Finksburg, Maryland. Ever heard of it? Me either.  But who would know that inside this small, out-of-the-way strip mall such deeply personal, life-changing stuff takes place? This is not your average rose or black thorn tattoo.  Vinnie Meyers has been working on his tattoo artistry since 2001 and with this most rarest of skills has worked on over 8,000 breast cancer survivors to date he shared with us.

“I look forward to this type of tattooing as it gives me great satisfaction helping these women get the most professional/effective finishing touch in their battle against breast cancer.” ~from his website http://www.vinniemeyers.com

Being in that tattoo parlor, exactly one year from the date of her last surgery was a bit of a surreal experience for Lisa.  The ultimate triumph. Staring cancer in the face and refusing to let it beat, or change, her spirit.

Half of the entourage filed in to provide emotional support for the first half of the procedure. And the other half when it was almost complete.  What we witnessed was truly incredible.

Vinnie’s artistry helped give our friend some much-needed closure. The final step in a journey that started over 18 months ago. It was symbolic of putting the scattered pieces back together of a life so harshly interrupted. And what Lisa gave to us was another look at the incredible spirit that she exudes and the courage and grace with which she handled every hideous and unpleasant circumstance that was thrown at her.

Anyone thrust into a cancer diagnosis is in a sea of confusion and there is no right way to handle it.  Everyone’s situation is uniquely their own to navigate.  A nipple tattoo certainly is not a consideration for every breast cancer warrior. A unique approach for sure.  But it was perfectly suited to Lisa.  And when all was said and done, she made a grand and sassy exit with a smile.  Buh-Bye, Cancer!

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Don’t you just love happy endings?

 

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© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

How Pumpkin Spice Latte Made Me a Better Mom

This time of year, it is insane with the elevation of Pumpkin Spice this and Pumpkin spice that.  I do not know who the genius is that developed this crazy marketing ploy, but they were definitely onto something. Because apparently even Jimmy Fallon knows it’s not Fall until Pumpkin Spice lattes are being crafted in the coffee shops.  I had a good laugh recently when I heard of a hardware store posting on their marquis that they had “Pumpkin Spice” tools!  Hurry! Rush into the hardware store before they sell out!

It got me thinking, wouldn’t it be nice if there was some an extra ingredient that could be added to Motherhood at this crazy time of year when schedules shift, kids start back with the petri dish of germs, the events, practices, homework, team pictures, dances, parent volunteer hours and the holidays all converging at the same time? Some magical additive to make it all more manageable?

Recently Ice and I attended pre-school orientation for Little Bee. We squirmed in our seats through all the Do’s, Don’ts and Be Sures. We had been handed her very first homework assignment of her academic career that is just a seedling right now.  We were off to Do Good and get her started on the path to sharing with classmates and the proper use of a glue stick.

Standing in line at pre-school for Little Bee on her second day I heard the Mom behind me tell her son they forgot to dress him like the color of the day and bring a coordinating item for show and tell. Now by this time we had forgotten to even DO the homework Bee was assigned to bring on the first day and now on the Second day we had failed yet again!

I laughed, turned around and blurted out

“We forgot to wear red today too!  We’re just gonna roll with it!”

She replied

“This is my third child, I’m not really worried about it!”

“Mine too!” I said.  “I think I know a few people who might let this bother them all day. Congratulations, YOU are one highly evolved Mom!”

Let it Go. That’s my extra ingredient. That is my Pumpkin Spice.

In that moment, it became so clear to me just how much I have let go of since my first two were younger. How much needless stress, worry and fear of judgment I have left in the dust.  How it’s okay to be the one who screws up. It makes all the other Moms feel less alone and sub-par. It might make someone who usually finds themselves always feeling three steps behind stand up and cheer

“It’s not my turn this time!”

And I say, good for her. I am happy to help.

Now don’t get me wrong, stress and the desire to have well-mannered, well-prepared kids and the like are still lurking out there somewhere sometimes. Like when I want to have lunch out with friends and I simply cannot subject them to one more biscuit thrown at the wait staff, one more crayon broken and eaten for good measure. But mostly for my reaction to it all!  It gets tiring.

Which brings me to my second ingredient. Sleep.

My advice – get it whenever you can.

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© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Next Step in our Fostering Journey

It’s been so long since I had anything to share about our desire to Foster to Adopt a little boy. Life has been moving along at break neck speed with our 2-, 10- and 12-year olds.

Then the week before Thanksgiving we were lucky enough to meet up with a sweet, quiet, yet joyful little 3-year old boy.

Just a quick visit for dinner and some playtime.  The promise of a few overnights in the near future.

The questions in my head of What next? How long? Is he the one that will find a forever home in our house?

And those questions aren’t just in my head. They are asked of Ice and me multiple times a week by those who love and support us and have encouraged our efforts from the start.

I would be absolutely lying if I said I did not worry about the heartbreak that could be up ahead. There are no guarantees. We know it. But it still makes me a little anxious.

However, in just one hour Ice will pick him up for another overnight.

We have missed him all week. His booster chair is still in place at the the kitchen table.

Thanksgiving weekend. How fitting. We will enjoy spending the time we have with him today.

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© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Always Blow Out the Candles

God sends children to enlarge our hearts and to make us unselfish and full of kindly sympathies and affections ~M. Howitt

This quote comes from a quote-a-day calendar that belonged to my Dad. When us kids were all grown-up it got passed on to my husband as we started having children and needed some sage advice.

This statement has been staring at me for a couple of weeks. Neither Ice nor I have changed the date over. I guess we like the reminder.

Recently we celebrated Little Bee’s second birthday. She loved the blowing out of the candles. It was the first time she was old enough to understand and make an effort.  She called it her “special cake”. She thought it was just going to happen every day.

So the day after her birthday, night time rolled around and she asked for “special cake” and wanted to blow out the candles again.

In a buzzkill moment, for whatever reason, I declined the candle request. And Ice wisely said, “Why not? Let her do it.”

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Nothing fancy.  Not the “Birthday Plate”, just a paper plate. Just a leftover, already-been-burned-candle.

It made her so happy.

It struck me then how many ordinary moments and ordinary days can become extraordinary with a little effort, a little sprinkles on top, a little sparkle.

And being reminded again from my husband and my two-year-old’s smile was just perfect.

What can you do to make a moment a little more special in your day today?

Hope you find a way. I would love you to share a picture or drop me a comment in the comments section.

Here’s to the sprinkles on top.

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© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Ode to Coffee

I met you late in life.

I didn’t even know I was looking for you.

What started out as a chance meeting and then a few visits here and there, turned into a regular thing.

It was a little shaky and jittery at first. I’ll admit it, I was shy.

You were aggressive. Bold and bitter.

I wasn’t sure I could stomach your bite.

But over time, you grew on me.

The things I accomplished with you by my side kept me wanting more.

Those sleepless nights with Little Bee, my party girl.  Come morning you were there to help me jump-start my day.

The “taxi service” I now run is so much more enjoyable with you as my co-pilot.

The intolerable cold of winter seems less intolerable.

Even the 5:30 wake-up call to pound the pavement or jump in the pool is easier to stomach if I know you are waiting for me when my eyes open.

I don’t want to know what life would be like without you.

I have grown accustomed to your presence.

Promise me you will never be too far.

I know, gag, right?

Couldn’t help it…Long live COFFEE! IMG_20140428_164235338