This is a lesson in life that is learned and relearned and relearned again. As we grow up, we are impressed by and exposed to many people, places, events, and experiences. Some-end-8-11-and-fair-9-2-11-010.jpgI remember many a time wishing I was more like another or thinking how come they have such and such, or they wear such and such.
The pressures of being feeling you are welcome or trying to be accepted, they can be overwhelming. In growing up that seemed important at times, and also seemed to not be a pathway I was on as far as it went with the “cool kids”.
I remember my mom on more than a few occasions reminding me that it is what is on the inside that counts. I may not be the best dressed, the prettiest, the richest, the most popular as I walk through life. Those things are not what is important. It is how you act, how sincere you are, how empathetic you are, how caring you are, how honest you are. Those are the qualities that make you a person others will want to know, those are the qualities of a true friend.
Material things seem to matter to many people, the best car, the most souped-up technologies, the fanciest name on the clothes … in the end- what really mattered was who we each are. Not what we have. IMG_3476The stores, the commercials, the internet is filled with so many THINGS to get that “special person to show them you care”. That does not show a person you care, spending time, listening, give and take conversations, that is how someone knows you care about them.


afterglow backlit beautiful crescent moon

Have you ever known of a person who you thought was someone you wanted to know better until they opened their mouth and you realized they are extremely focused on themselves? Or wished for that certain something, only to find it was not worth the effort of getting it.

I knew a person once a LONGGG time ago who had to look in every reflection at himself. I kid you not, I think he liked when it was early morning or dusk because all the windows became mirrors.
There are so many things in life that if we determine it by its cover, by its appearance alone, we just might be focusing on something with no depth, without substance. Life is too short to be artificial. 20171008_162712

As we raise our kids, as we mentor others, as we present ourselves to others, we need to remember it is not just what is seen, it is all those special things, it is what is beyond what is seen that matters. What can we share of us, not what can we buy, but what can we offer from our hearts to others?

Until later, Mrs Justa alias Cindy


There is always a beginning and an end. Some beginnings come so slowly that we want to grab the timeline and yank it a bit, we want to get to the end. It is that darn middle between the beginning and end, it is kinda stuck in one spot. or at least the accomplishment we are anticipating seems suddenly so far away.

I have run across this so many times. I take on a project, I have a goal and ugg it all of the sudden seems to be dragging on.

That trip you wanted to take forever. It is finally here. You, you and your spouse, you and your family,  you and your friend(s)- ( whatever the situation); you have planned and packed and checked things out and the moment is here. The 6,or 8,or 11, 22 hr drive awaits you, you have picked places to stop, things to see.


The end it out there somewhere, as the road seems to keep on going. 

Oh the chatter in the car or the music blasting, the excitement that the time is here, those first few hours into it, smiles, dreams yet to fill….and there comes a point where you realize the seat is kinda not comfortable, you really need to pee, you can not believe how long the construction held you up, and that voice inside your head is like the child in you saying “Are we almost there?” And after what seems like a week of traveling, instead of a mere 6,or 8,or 11, 22 hrs…. you make it, all is good, you have a wonderful time.

Maybe it is a meal you are excited about trying this totally from scratch recipe. The list of ingredients and what you have to do with each of them is more detailed than the secrets of the universe. 20180902_142305You are ready, choppers, shredders, cutting boards, washed off fresh herbs, veggies, whatever is needed. You start in on it.  All of the sudden your back is a little stiff from standing, your feet might be a little sore, you are wondering how the author of the recipe said prep time was 25 minutes and you are about 1 1/2 hrs into prepping for this anticipated end result. There comes a point when you might think you have already chopped ____ in the freezer, or in a can… but you endure. It comes out wonderful in the end. You are so thankful you endured…

The list of situations goes on. As I am about to conquer another day,  it is yet another scenario of morning to nighttime sleep—-I am thinking about various things  I anticipate will fill this day, what needs to, and what I would like  to get done, and I will ponder more on how to make the middle- that space, how to make that as exciting as the beginning and end.

Until later, enjoy the middle of those starts and finishes… Mrs Justa alias Cindy




On any given day, I can look out the window and think “Oh look, the sun is up”…. period… But no- there is more… see beyond the noticing 20181205_073949of the sunrise in the quiet of things in front of me was a glistening world of diamond-like sparkles. A cold crisp early morning gift, a gift that many may have not seen, a gift that can turn into a snowy plain ol day. 20181205_074029





Yet, right there for all to see, a refreshing light show of sparkling colors.

It brought once again to mind thought about life. How when we are faced with things that seem monumental, we look at the proverbial mountain ( or in this case maybe a quick noticing the sun is rising) and we are overwhelmed at the tasks at hand at the end of a particular journey. Sometimes it is easier to dwell on that obstacle, which takes us longer to put it behind us.

Life can feel like it is hard at times, life is full of mountains to climb, sometimes valleys to drudge through. Plenty of times I have slipped on the proverbial mountain wandered off the proverbial path and had to retrace my steps, maybe find a slightly less challenging path to go on.

There was one person in my life that told me once she never had challenges in life. I remember thinking “heck let me share some with you” but I did not offer, and she never asked to take a few from me, so I have gone on in life realizing that at least for me, challenges exist, they can be heart wrenching, they can be touch and we conquer them one by one step at a time.

person wearing shirt standing near tree

Photo by Alex Smith on

As I look back at this person who said this to me, as I came to know her a tad bit more many yrs ago, I now wonder- maybe just maybe she had the ability to look at those diamond-like crystals, and not just at that sunrise from afar. I think that because I truly believe we ALL face moments when life has tried to knock us down.

Maybe this person was able to anticipate but not look for that next roadblock or detour on her journey of life. If we know that challenges will lie ahead, but if we look at them as not roadblocks but the way the path takes us, then maybe we too can feel that life has been good, no matter what part of our journey we are on.

I, myself, and going to try to work on this. As I take each next step on this road of life, I will anticipate some bumps and hairpin curves, knowing the road will straighten up. To now look so far ahead, but to look at now and a few feet ahead. Not so much only living for today,, but planning for tomorrow and in those plans, the “challenges” will become part of the process.

OK, I am off to try this out, Until alter… Mrs Justa alias Cindy




I can not totally pinpoint every reason I love the Christmas season. It was never for gifts, as I have never been in a place where material things were the focus of why one lives and breaths. Growing up Christmas Season seemed to begin right after Thanksgiving. Now it is starting before Halloween, but I think the retailers feel it is necessary to have pre-pre Black Friday specials, and all kinds of sales before Thanksgiving groceries are even being thought of because the stores need people to come to them.

To totally experience the Christmas Season and the things I notice as being comforting, well you can not experience that using your app to online stores and sitting on the couch in your feety PJS. Nope, you have to get dressed and go out in the world.

First I love going around and seeing the various light displays. In w world where people seem to be mostly to themselves,

I find it neat when they open up their lives to others through lights. There are some people who really go nuts with lights, one place not terribly far from here they have collection bins for non-perishable food for the hungry, and thousands of people come by their place to witness the Christmas show. They must really love the season, and they do an incredible job of displaying it. And in exchange, they provide food for those who need it.

Others have quaint light, it really does not matter how massive it is, it is just neat to get a feeling of unity, or giving, sharing.IMG_0774 We have downsized our Christmas decorations- we never did a lot outside, but we used to have more lights in windows and a whomping tall tree. Now, the quaintness feels so good to us.

These guys used to be anchored outside, tied down and rocks in their feet area, and they still would tip at times. We had them outside when Jeff was in school and living home. AS he grew up and moved out and on with life, well he and his wife and children, they have the decorations and bigger trees. Kids love the magic of the season too. For us, it is playing some Christmas music, and decorating some.

We do not go out to the incredible sales, as we really do not buy a lot of gifts, and have no lists we are trying to fill. So for me, when we are in any stores, or walking down a sidewalk, well people seem happier this time of year, friendlier, more welcoming. It is what I feel at this time of year.

When we were younger, there was a Sears Christmas catalog that would come to the house. We were allowed to all share it and pick ONE thing we really thought was special or something we longed for. We would put the first letter of our name by the picture. If it was for the two with M starting their name- we would do a “Me” or a “Ma”. If money allowed- that one special gift became a reality under the tree. That is hard for a kid to do, to pick one item in a catalog designed to become a “ME ME ME” type advertising plot.motorific torture track One year Tom succumbed to the advertising wonderland and put a whole bunch of “t”s next to pictures/ but every night he would lay on his belly in bed and recite over and over again as he bopped his head up and down on his pillow ” MOTORIFIC TORTURE TRACK” HA, he did end up with this as his main gift. Peter was relieved because they had bunk beds, Pete on the lower bunk, and Tom doing his monotonous chant every night till he put himself to sleep.

I find that Christmas is more enlightening when it is cherished for what it is and not filled with what to buy, and how much did so and so spend, and wondering if you need to get a person a gift just in case they have one for you.

Yep, this is the season I really feel the peace, the love, in the places I go.

May you find some of that peace where you are too.

Until later, Mrs Justa alias Cindy.




I guess I never thought about this until I heard it a whole bunch of times in different settings this Thanksgiving weekend.

I saw myself doing it, and also heard it done to others. First, let me say all the social media outlets CAN BE wonderful when used as a means to give many “friends, family and acquaintances” the same bullet point information at one time. A way to create a page not yet colored in that person’s life.

Let’s say you graduated or had a baby or an exciting time at _______,  it is to share an extremely tough time or the passing of a person that you would never have known about, or a way to type in a verse or 2 about the loss you have endured. It is something, some time had it not been shared on f.b., twitter, or any of the others outlets to communicate.


It is a great way to share photos of a gathering many attended, or maybe that perfect moment you stumbled on. Those times when without sharing on social media, well it would never have been experienced in a very 2D way.

Looking at this picture- one that was probably on a facebook post, it shows a wedding, but without the personal touch, the conversation, the painting done with words, there is so much more that can fill in the outline of a “wedding”

If, however, someone starts face to face- or voice to voice on the phone- about something- well that is the beginning of an opportunity to converse. They want to make that 2D, quick blurb into a 3D moment. Voices, faces they add expression to the time they are referring to, or to the sad or happy moment captured and shared. That person wanted to put color into the social media bullet point. We ( and I can not count the times I did it) can stop the conversation, we can keep that moment just a bullet point in time, we can portrait we do not really care by interrupting- or making our first ( and often our last) response by saying ” Yeah , I already know” or “Yeah,I saw it on f.b.” .

Now if the same person starts the conversation and mentions they also had it on Facebook, ( or whatever media they put it on) we need to stop and listen. That conversation you are about to be blessed with, well it adds the personal component.

Or if you see that person, you could always start the conversation with that tidbit of their life they shared. An opportunity to bring a personal touch to a moment they shared on facebook. That can be a great time to show you care and want to hear more.

We will never ever know what we missed if we close that opportunity to have color added to social media bullet points if we stop the conversation before the colors fill in the moment in their life.

My mission for today and going forward is to let the other person not only bring up the topic but to let them take that outline, that bullet point, and add their words to it, their nonverbals, their feelings.

Until later, Mrs. Justa/ alias Cindy


There was a very popular song from the mid-1970s that Paul Anka had done and Kodak used it as an advertising jingle. The lyrics are very meaningful to me- and as I take photographs and look at photos from times gone by, as I reminisce on times captured in the Windows or my mind and heart, well this melody and its’  words- it plays in my head.

“Good morning, yesterday
You wake up and time has slipped away
And suddenly it’s hard to find
The memories you left behind
Remember, do you remember?

The laughter and the tears
The shadows of misty yesteryears
The good times and the bad you’ve seen
And all the others in between
Remember, do you remember
The times of your life? ………..

Reach out for the joy and the sorrow
Put them away in your mind
The memories are times that you borrow
To spend when you get to tomorrow

The seasons are passing one by one
So gather moments while you may
Collect the dreams you dream today
…….. will you remember
The times of your life?

Do you remember the times of your life?”

For me, as this weekend with family enters its last day and a half, the June-2013-029_thumb.jpgmoments already created and those yet to come, I want to remember the laughter, the realization that we were all placed in the places we are now, because of the roads we have traveled. My wish is that everyone has those moments, those “TImes of Your Life”, that can play over and over again as the days become moments in our journey, little monuments or landscapes.

Until later, Mrs. Justa alias Cindy

I was thinking this past week about learning something new or doing something repetitively and what is the end result.

Last weekend, we had the Black Belt Ceremony I mentioned a few posts back. Those individuals did not just wake up one morning and poof could work in synchronization with a stage full of other, they couldn’t make those moves and stay focused just by thinking about it.

This thought surfaces a lot to me. Everywhere we go, what we see, our jobs, our walking, driving, interactions, those improve often by doing them over and over again. This becomes even deeper of a thought when we get into every day.

I was reminded the other day of our day to day life. While I was in a waiting room, I overheard a person say on her cell phone that she prefers to text people, and not have them call her. She said to the person on the phone something about being more comfortable communicating that way, she can put down what she wants without to SAY.

That comment she made, well it made me think about all the things we have at our fingertips to make life easier, to be able to move at a faster pace. Each thing has its benefits- however, they should not replace the more personal, hands-on, practicing talent, task, interactions or skill.

When I have been trained, and when I have trained others. The teaching included showing the pieces to the action being taught, having the other demonstrate the action/ talent/ skill being taught, and letting the trainee do it themselves over and over again, but having the steps checked until it is assured they know it more naturally. I currently am going through one of those teachings, showing and demonstrating times in my life. Learning a new role at work, listening, taking notes, seeing it done, and having the “baton” passed so I can demonstrate I am becoming more comfortable and confident in each step. As the days pass, and I look back a couple months, I realize how far I have come, yet am realistic at the journey ahead as more processes and steps are introduced and one day become something I am proficient at. 20160826_104327

Even though life is like that, we need to make darn sure before we take the “easy” way, we have personally become comfortable in a more personal way. We need also to understand practice makes us more proficient. From learning how to walk, and being able to walk… to learning how to add, subtract, speak in an intellectual conversation, cook, doing a game, reading a book, the list is infinite.

Virtual meetings, training, communicating makes so much of life so much better. We can jot a thought in an instant message at 2AM, and the other person can get it whenever they are awake…  Yet, there is a fine line when we could realize that our personal relationships, our whole life has become virtual. If life gets to a point when we could move away, go to a different city, state, country, and our life would be the same, no one would even know we moved, that is a  message that we have not only taken advantage of the virtual life conveniences, we have let them take over us.

When was the last time you …. fill in the blank? And if the power was off / the internet down/ ( that list goes on and on too) … do you know how to improvise?

When was the last time you looked into a personal eyes and spoke – face to face? When was the last time you touched a deck of cards or held a book? Have you ever done a no electronics evening or weekend?

Even though the modern conveniences make life able to be more productive, more chaotic, more impersonal, we need to stop and not let it replace the 3D life we are blessed with. I would rather hold a child’s hand, then hold a cell phone and screen chat.IMG_3468 I would rather sit at a table and play a game of ( the list is so long… ie: cards, Yahtzee, Scrabble, Sorry, Trouble….. and on and on) than to only ever play it on my electronic device.

Yes, the books on our electronic devices are great, and being able to do a 1000 piece puzzle and never worry about that one lost piece or someone messing it up… those are all great. I just do not to ever become so dependent on the “no touch” that it becomes me.

As this weekend begins, I am looking forward to what the day will bring, who will I personally see face to face? Who will I talk to and not type my words to? What will I do that is hands on? What will I remember more vividly because of those one to one moments? I am off to experience life and all there is in the minutes ahead.

Until later, Mrs Justa alias Cindy





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