We had the fortune of having the 3 grandchildren for the weekend last week. It always brings life into the house, not that we do not live every day, it is a different life feeling.

The 3 are different in many ways, and yet the same. When around them I know they truly love us. It is the way they chuckle when we do something funny, the way they give their goodnight hug, their apparently unending desires to help and their actions of respect and appreciation for every moment.

Mark had the boys for a good part of Saturday, 20190112_083810as there were karate obligations the boys had. That meant Briella and I also had a good part of Saturday here.

As each child can testify, I mix a chore with a fun time. I by far have them work all day, instead, we share chores. This weekend I listed some chores and made them rather simple- cut up the individual tasks and folded each slip in a bowl. We pulled out a slip and did it.

Then we had a fun bowl- same thing, fun things we like to do. Maybe a puzzle, or cooking something ( Briella LOVES helping in the kitchen !), or to learn something. We alternated fun and chore stuff, 20190112_085259and at the end of the time we did this, we worked together to play together.

Briella is very interested in so many things. She asked about the moon and space. So we went on an astronaut journey and learned so much on how astronauts do things in space, like brush their teeth, eat, what it is like to take off, and we learned about gravity.

The guys came home, and there were games galore. They helped with getting ready for and clearing the table after. No matter if it was fun or just something we needed to do, we did things together.

We played chess, and chutes and ladders, 20190111_195617-1kerplunk and the guys played Sorry and Trouble. I taught Brandon solitaire with real cards in your hand, and Briella and I did a card concentration game.   We all totally love doing stuff together.

Briella and I had gotten everything ready for dinner Sunday night, so once we knew the time Jeff and Amanda would be here, we could just plop things in the oven. And at the end of each day, with kids in their beds and ready to drift off to sleep, each one of them sincerely says goodnight, wants a hug, and thanks us for the day we had.

When they went home Sunday after dinner, the house silence becomes ever more present. I think about the energy and love for life each child has, and I stop and thank God for the time we had.

There are so many moments, so many memories in life, no matter where we go, what we do, time spent with a loved one, with friends, with strangers, in a certain place, I do not take any one of them for granted. For in a blink of an eye, that last moment may just be that last moment. So I am off for more moments in life.

Until later, I am saying ta ta… Mrs Justa.. alias Cindy

Proud, yep I have a sense of pride, as I was among a group of people invited to share in the moment as our son was being promoted to Captain, at the agency he works at. IMG_20190115_061720As I sat in that room, I absorbed all the people around us, and every person on the force who could be there, it was a moment of realizing that little boy from years ago, the one who LOVED emergency vehicle FB_IMG_1547509434845-1matchboxes, he has touched so many lives. His passion as a child is now alive, it is a part of his real-life experiences.

Here I sat, with my husband next to me, the room had Jeffs father who drove 2 hours to be there, Jeff and Amanda’s children,  Jeff’s in-laws, Jeff and Amanda’s good friends who took on challenges to be there,  officers in the department, I am humbled by the moment.

The entire experience was surreal in a way. Realizing the “miles” I have treasured to be in that moment. The determination of this man, watching as he naturally displayed a commitment to his new role, unending love of his family, appreciation for the help and support he has received over the years and the promise to be that absolute best he can be. AS we gathered for the group picture, it was like a gathering of times past and times yet to come.

Today begins yet another new day. Chances abound to have new steps on our individual journeys of life. I know not what the next minute will bring, or the many more after that.

What I do know is that I am proud of Jeff, I am thankful for all the support he and his family give each other and so blessed to have been able to share in yesterdays ceremony.

Until later, Mrs Justa alias Cindy

 

 

It’s funny when I stop and look back at the moments I have been a part of in the various stages of life. Being a friend, having a friend; being a wife, having a husband; being a mom, having children;  being a sister, having sisters and brothers; being a grandmother, having grandchildren. The list feels infinite. I am so careful to not take one second of my life for granted.

I can’t always say that I was as aware of how precious each moment is, but the more I am… the more I am aware.

I was thinking back at different times, small segments of my life, but they had so much meaning,  and this is one of those times. As I watched Jeff grow, I tried to make times special for him. Our lives have taken twists and turns, and without each event, who knows how life would have turned out. I remember when he was turning 3, I knew I was wanting it to be special for him. 20190111_064612-1He and I had moved into an apartment 6 months before, his dad and I had separated.

He had learned that instead of waking up and being with me all day, we had places to go every morning. He met people at daycare, and I had a job.

So many changes- changes that we took with positive steps. I tried to make it an adventure. I always would assure him everything was okay.

So I came up with an idea. I wanted what gifts I had for him, to not just gift on a table. I would make it a game to find them, to open them. So I bought balloons at the dollar store. Inside each balloon, I put a clue where his gift might be. He would have to sit on the balloon and pop it. It was so funny because at first he sat lightly on the balloon and it rolled. We laughed and laughed.

He kept trying different angles, determined to get to the special piece of paper, the thrill of giving me the paper so I could read the clue.

20190111_071027-1I am sure the neighbors below were thrilled with the game too. LOL, After numerous rolls around on the carpet, he figured out what to do. It was so much fun that it became a part of birthdays for years after.

A couple birthdays later,  our family had grown from Me and Jeff to Mark, Me, Jeff and Adrianne/ Well she too got chances to roll around the floor and finally pop the balloons to find her clues.

These times are small tidbits to some but remind me of all the ways life can be memorable, moments precious, moments that bring to mind no matter what life events happen- good and bad- we can try to make the best of it.

Moments that never would have happened had I been blessed with every step in my life. AS this weekend comes to be, I am looking forward to chances for more of those moments, as we have some precious time to spend with the grandkids… hmmm… who knows what grama and grampa will come up with. 20190111_195617

Here is just the beginning of the pathway of moments yet to be.

I hope you have a great weekend,

Don’t wait for something special… make something special.

The moment that just went by- it is gone— BUT the moment yet to come, well who knows what it will be.

Until later,

Mrs Justa- alias Cindy

 

I was thinking about how sometimes children inhibitions and their faith in life can bring us to places we might never have gone without them. Often imaginary places- but none the same, places easily missed in our sometimes hectic, sometimes chaotic adult life.

I the memories locked in my mind, I turned back the clocks to a time when Jeff was 3 years old. I went with Jeff on a venture to the Renaissance Fair in Sterling NY. He was mesmerized by the people in their mid-evil outfits, talking loudly at times, their words were almost entrancing and they spoke with strong accents, a jolly tone.

As we were walking around Jeff started to tug my hand he wanted to check out something that he heard, he felt was off the beaten path. I could have said sternly NO, we need to stay in the area intended for the public. Instead, I noticed his curiosity, his wonder, so off we went, slowly towards whatever was his destination.

Alas, jeff at the renisance fair 2 august 1985 (2)on a far boulder in the middle of the woods was a man practicing his fiddle. All alone, I figure probably getting ready to go out in the fair and play as he walked the “street” of years ago.

I remember saying to Jeff that we mustn’t disturb him, Jeff promised.

 

And then, in the innocence of this little boy, jeff at the renisance fair august 1985 (2)he took a “seat” and for a few songs, Jeff stayed like this as the man played the prettiest songs. The man smiled ever so softly at this little 3 yr old, this little boy who had such wonder. It is one of those moments I will not forget.

And I have a feeling, it is probably one of that man’s moments, he would remember too.

After the man stopped practicing that third song, Jeff stood up softly, he told the man he “did a good job” and “thank you”. And as we walked away,  hand in hand, his body twisted backward as he waved at the fiddler. On the way home that evening, out of all the magic, all the skits, everything at the Renaissance Fair, his favorite part was the man on the rock.

A moment that never would have been, had he not looked beyond the staged attractions and had I not listened to the innocence of a child.

May we should all open up the door of our own innocence at times, what would we see, what would we hear?

Until later, Mrs Justa alias Cindy

I often find my mind taking me back in time, and remember that through most of the years of my life, it was the times spent with the special men in my life, not the times away from that I remember most. me and my dadAs a very young girl, it was my dad. He was the comfort, the strength, a gift. His job had him away during the week and home on Thurs nights and back out on a short sales run, returning usually Friday nights.

Our time together meant everything to me. I remember his hand holding mine securely, his voice was deep, his love for all of us was unending. I remember his hugs, his laughter.

He used to say I was his princess. I remember how he tried to take time for each of us. and my time I saved in a vault in my mind, in my heart. It brings me comfort in so many ways.

I remember how he was one who would remind me through the years he was alive, that life never promised to be all good, me and my dad at beardsley park ctbad things happen, and that somehow the bad turns into good again.

Karen was 10 years older than me, and it is funny in the couple of pictures I have of her with me and dad, she is always looking back at me. I can only imagine I was a chatty little one.

We all remember dad in different ways I am sure. Karen was 10 when I was born, so she already had 10 years of memories before my dad times started.

Pam my next older sister was 1 1/2 yrs older than me. She and I had a lot of fun and not so fun times, just due to age, and I always felt a tad bit of jealousy from her. She too had memories of dad, and dads death took a really bad toll on her. To the point that as an adult woman, every anniversary of his death she would end up in a severe depression. Sometimes to the point of needing an inpatient admission to help her get to the other side. pam, karen me and our dad

As I got older, there have been men in my life who also had employment that required they be gone a good percentage of the weeks. I never ever regretted that, I accepted it without any second thought, because the time they were home, was valuable, treasured and never taken for granted. It is not the amount of time spent, it is how we use the time when we have it to spend. To be constantly together, 24/7; I think it becomes an expectation, I think there are moments that would be more special if they were not routine.

During the first 10 years of my life, I remember my mom, however times I remember more vividly are those in which my mom and dad were there. I wonder often how life would have been had he not died when I was 10. Time with dad, it was quality time, the pieces fit together.

As I look back on my own adult life, seneca lake 5-1990Mark was away often for his job, just like my dad was. It was how life was. When our own kids were growing up- we tried to spend quality time with them when Mark was home. We would go to some places – often places that did not cost a penny, yet their value priceless. Walks in parks, sitting on docks, camping in our pup tents, later advancing to pop-ups. Playing ball, frisbee, Yahtzee, the list goes on.

And now the times with our grandchildren, the moments are treasured, they are not routine, and we do things with them. It is the special times, times giving of oneself and really focusing on the other person, those are quality times.

AS I am off for a new week, I am going to work on quality and not quantity…

Until later, Mrs Justa alias Cindy

We live life sometimes feeling like we know exactly the next step. Our alarm clock will go off, we will get up, we brush our teeth, do whatever routine in the morning we do, and move to the next part of our day. However when the alarm clock does not go off, or there is no water pressure, or maybe we fall out of bed instead of getting up the usual way, well it kinda puts our synched life out of order.

We trust everything will go as planned, and yet there are the things that don’t.

It gets even trickier when we take the next step, drive the car, reach for something, heck even getting something from a cupboard. Everything we do we trust will end the same way.

Now we can try to protect ourselves from areas where things can’t go wrong, but we become people in bubbles. Less can go wrong, but things happen.

I was thinking about trust and faith to extend beyond flyingthe simpler bullet points of a day. I was reminded in my thoughts of this day, this fall day when this never could have been, had life been kept inside the bubble. I took this at an angle to show the freedom, the joy of the moment. Jeff trusted he would get caught, and he loved the feeling of freedom. The look on his face, the total relaxation of his body, he trusted thigs will be okay, and without that trust, the picture would have been totally different- it might have been a terrified face and fingers clutching so tight to the neck of his dad- like please don’t make me do this. But no– he totally trusted and because of that experienced something way out of the ordinary.

As we get older and heavier, that opportunity – that specific scenario – could not be, or would probably not end in a laugh. However, as we age, gliderinventors have created ways to get that feeling and beyond. I takes a lot more effort from the person achieving the liftoff, however, it needs to be accompanied by trust. Trust that the winds are right, trust your legs are ready for a rather fast run, trust the equipment was not faulty. If however, you have the trust, that sense of freedom can be yours. This person was on an elevated area, beyond the takeoff fallarea was an incredible valley, miles of land colored with the brilliance of fall.

Life has been full of trusting, we trust in relationships, we trust in our day to day activities, our jobs, our everything……and yes we also trust we will be cleaning the bruises- whether inside or outside, and some scars that show the roadmap of my life. I want to always feel that feeling that life is going to be okay, that feeling I get every time I remember that fall day with Jeff. I never ever want to stop trusting that even when things don’t go quite as planned, the trust and faith are so important.

Until later,  Mrs Justa alias Cindy

 

As we go through life we plan for things. We plan for trips or places to live. We plan for futures, and we plan for retirement.

As I sat in a local diner tonight with my husband, our table was in the center. Around us were other table and booths lined the walls. It seemed to be mostly patrons who were well known, and who seemed to be much older then we are. It felt as if we were in a dinner theater in the round. With the play being skits of people lives. IMG_3115People came in and left, waitresses cleared the tables, kind of like at a play when the light get turned down, the curtain falls, and another scene comes to be.

I felt surrounded by people who probably had made plans for their lives, and probably health reasons and life setbacks, well they changed their plans. As one man had come in with his wife, he was trying to move into the booth, his left side was not coordinated and weak, so as he slid in it was like his right side was pushing the left side in. He said to her, can you believe this is how we ended up, as she tried to help him get situated. Plans can get washed away, or reshaped. We can endure or let them take control of us .

Couples here and there, obviously some with significant health challenges, none who appeared they could be north-south travelers. It made me wonder what does the future look like? 20181014_173258No one knows. The best plans can be dissolved in a moments notice. I think we have to accept that just because we plan it to be a certain way, that does not mean it will be. The sun rises and sets, and we have no idea what is next.

As we went to leave, a man was walking out in front of us. He had been joking with the waitresses, he had a nonstressed face, he needed a cane, his stride was not fast, but gingerly. He told us he was 91, he came there every night for dinner, he said he lives alone. He loves to talk with the gals and seems to look forward to coming there. We complimented his outlook on life, and he said he lives life lightly, doesn’t have his head down, he looks up all the time. He did not talk about heartbreak, but I sure he has had some. He displayed a love for what life offers him a minute at a time. Appreciating each sunrise and sunset.

I think that is how we need to be. We can plan, and realize those plans can change in a heartbeat. It is hard enough to plan for the next few days or weeks, let alone the future of life.

Until later, Mrs Justa alias Cindy