Brandon


IMG_3589Well, the weekend is over and a new week begins. The dinner at Jeff and Amanda’s was the icing on the proverbial cake. It brought together Our kids , their spouses, and our kid’s kids. It happens too infrequently, it is nice when it does happen.

It brings to mind the importance of stopping for a bit. We have all gone in various directions in our lives, our grandchildren have different interests and our responsibilities keep us all going in different directions, that it is nice to stop and have all our various pathways intersect, our universes align.

At times there was more than one conversation, IMG_3587and the cousins laughing and having a great time, kids being kids. Life, I am so often reminded about life is what we make it to be. There are times and situations that we have no control over, and those times, well we do the best we can.

As we sat there conversing, sharing where we are in life, our days, our current events, experiences. it really is amazing all the experiences the grandchildren have had, that our kid’s families have had. Places they have been and plan to go. How each adult is very responsible, very respectable, they love one another and all love their kids immensely. As a parent ( grandparent) – I can not ask for anything more.IMG_3585IMG_3586

IMG_3582-1The 5 kids running, talking, laughing in the background took me back in time, memories of growing up in a house with 6 of kids, it brought a sense of comfort and many many memories. The sounds were what our house sounded like every single night, every weekend, every summer day and night whenever we were all in the house. It is the building blocks that create each of us. The noise of youth, noise that is there – no internet needed, no electronics, noise that is a sharing of each other. My mom would say she loved the sounds in the house, it was the sound of life. Oh at times she would get frustrated with the energy of the six of us I am sure.

When we went to bed, drifting off to sleep to the sound of the whistling tea kettle, we knew mom was getting ready  to unwind, to focus on her stuff, for she also she loved the quiet- a time she knew everyone was safe, comfortable and resting, charging up for another day of running, laughing, talking, creating and even a few arguments along the way.

It was nice to go back in time, and comforting to know that each of us is doing ok, in our own way, in our own lives. Until the next time we gather together, I will keep close the memories of today.

Until later, Mrs Justa alias Cindy

The holidays are in full swing right now. People going totally bonkers shopping here and there and buying baked goods and gifts and this and that. We had some shopping to do and I totally dreaded the thought of Saturday, 2 weekends left before Christmas and the crowds.

So we hit the stores by 8 AM. yep smartest move of the day. We did not have a lot to get, I had baking to do- I wanted to make some special things for a special time tomorrow.  The goal was to be home and baking while people are out there fighting for parking spaces, and huffing and puffing in line because they are being inconvenienced by waiting in line, yep- got home before the shoppers had their first cup of coffee.

We even finished our journey with a coffee and Dunkin, and some relax time before heading home.  20181215_114907Then the fun times began. This is the end result of my first of 4 treats…. mixing ingredients together and grating apples up, and poof apple muffins about to bake.

While these were baking I started project number 2- making an apple strawberry pie for us to cut into small pieces and freeze, taking one out every once in a while for a small treat. That went in the over when the muffins came out.

While that was baking it was time to make cinnamon donuts and donut holes. I bag each separately and put them in the freezer for a treat. Mark likes to get one for a breakfast type item with his AM cup of coffee.

As the donuts were cooling before their deep freeze, I took the apple muffins and kept some out for tomorrow and the rest individually frozen for sometime in the future.

Last but not least the pie came out and in went a dump cake to cook to a yummy delight. – that too for tomorrow. Finally after hours and hours of shuffling, and mixing and cooking ta da……. ( The pie has “I LOVE YOU” on it, but it is hard to read. )20181215_171616

The dump cake and plate of muffins all set to go over to our special treat.

Tomorrow Adrianne and Josh, Caleb and Mackenzie are coming to Phoenix for a family dinner at Amanda and Jeffs and their 3 kids.

I am looking forward to having everyone in the same place. Adrianne and Jeff have been brother and sister since they were 3. swimming-at-camp-1990-001.jpgLots of years have gone by since then, and Mark and I both tried very hard to have them always feel like they were brother and sister.

I always loved this picture, because it is one of many that shows what I mean.

This was at a pool at a campsite that used to be near here- it is now closed …. Yep, we tried to make weekends special…. we had a pop-up camper and would take them camping on weekends when our schedules allowed. Sometimes it seems like just yesterday, but it was a while ago.

So tomorrow we once again will all be together. The time will be way too fast, and all way special. Life is short, we have one chance at each minute. and tomorrow, I am going to try to make every minute a treasure. Whatever you finish your weekend with, I hope you too treasure the gift each minute is.

Until later… Mrs Justa alias Cindy

I love when things come together, when all the elements of what could be, with the potential of it turning out good, or not so good and after all is said and done- well it came out to be okay.

20181122_190058This past weekend was just like that for me ( well for all of us I hope). We had the fortune to have my sister and her husband here for 5 days, and 3 of our grandchildren here for an overnight and a full day, and a family gathering on Saturday at our sons home, and my friend from High School here for Thanksgiving day.

I mentioned in the last post that our weekend was coming to an end. Well, now it is totally in the rear view mirror of life. The kids are back with their parents, the gatherings have all come and gone, my sister, her husband and my friend from high school have all made it home safely, and Mark and I are here with Riley. We have gone from a lot of actions to settling back down to the normal life we have.

It was fun, it was interesting at times, the kids were unbelievably great, we laughed, we played, we learned new games, we shared ideas…… we got to share family time at Jeff and Amanda’s with my siblings and their families members who could attend. Times when I wasn’t sure that things would go smoothly ( specifically the cooking of the Thanksgiving Dinner- that is always a crap-shoot because the Turkey rules- yep — dinner is not ready till the turkey is). All in all, though it went well.  Lessons learned include: cooking a boneless 3 lb turkey breast in a crockpot is awesome;  and pre-cooking the stuffing, sweet potatoes and pies worked very well.

IMG_0774As the dust settles, all the laundry is done and put away, the spare beds tucked away and folded chairs back in the storage area- I can head into the Christmas mode.

I hope you find magic as the days of December come and go.

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

In life every minute can be a challenge. We can waste each minute or take advantage of the gift of minutes we each have.

We have different abilities, different talents, sometimes talents lay dormant because we have not discovered them yet. In this world we live, it is easier to let the world take our moments in a pace paced chaos if we let it.

I am inspired and in awe at the events of yesterday/ and also last year around this time. Preston earned his 1st degree Black Belt and the ceremony was yesterday. Brandon was on the “demo” team, and also was a part of the ceremony. Brandon received his Black Belt last year.black belt

Watching the kids as they have gone from a new karate student to this level is amazing. It is such a commitment, incredibly hard work, however, the work is a desire, and not a “just do it because I said so”.

Each and every candidate forBlack Belt knows it is not given to you. There are goals to achieve, endurance to demonstrate, and hours upon hours of being focused on the tasks, the life-changing things you learn and commit to.

The students have actions of respect that they need to follow. Respect for the studio, respect for the people in their lives, respect for themselves and for the experience of those who are above them in experience. Yet also a compassion to help those not yet at the level they are at.

Yesterday was an incredible ceremony, the demo team doing performances that display their ability to go beyond their previous Black Belt Level. The candidates, no matter what level of Black Belt they were going for, their group became one. You funnel all of the students together, from 8 to probably 60 yrs old, and it displays a Karate family. Not in words on a paper, but in their total respect for the leaders, for each other.

I was so glad to be a spectator of the event, to see this commitment, and it was weird but as I observed people in the audience ( and the auditorium was packed!!), not anyone took their eyes off the stage. The entire experience was amazing.

I remember last year when Sensei said to his class- the day of the Ceremony is a fun day, enjoy the acknowledgment of your hard work, the next day, it is looking forward to your next steps. Watching the participants at the gathering after, it was amazing how confident the trainers are, how welcoming everyone is with one another, how respectful they were. Even on the “fun” day, they never lost the skills of life they have learned and will continue to learn.

We live in a fast-paced world. That can be good because of so many advancements that will happen in each of our lifetimes. And yet, it also can have its downfalls. I was writing a message in instant messenger to someone who lives fairly close to here. In it, we were exchanging thoughts, through words, but we had to reinterpret the words because, without the 3-dimensional life part, words need emotions at times. Words on paper ( or a computer screen} they do not give the whole picture at times, not when it is related to something in our lives.

If you ask someone how they are doing on the computer screen, and they say “great” or “okay”, we can interpret that as the meaning of the word. However in a true conversation, where you hear their response, the tone of the voice, do they look away, is there a glow of happiness when they say great? or is there a tone and lack of sparkle in their eyes. We do not see that, so even though we can communicate with many at the same time in the advanced world of technology….we should not let that replace the personal touch.

I am so guilty of this and am trying my darndest to remember this lesson. Mark and I were over at Jeff and Amanda’s home, the energy, the smiles, the sounds of the grandkids was really neat to be in the midst of it. The cuddles, the hugs, the can’t wait to sit next to me and get their back tickled… well that is something that no matter how fast life is going, one has to stop to spinning to enjoy those moments.

Do not get me wrong, I totally love the advancements and how we can reach people who we have met on the journey of life, however….. we need to also go beyond that and give personal times to one another.

I would rather have a child sing me a song, then google… 20171008_192345I would rather hear their laughter then only ever see LOL. A real hug is so much nicer than a virtual hug, embracing all the “things” I need to get done. The virtual side of life, should always remain a side of life, and not become all of life.

I hope this week is filled with fun moments, laughter as the kids trick or treat… and that each day provides a time to reach out personally to someone, somewhere.

Until later….Mrs Justa-Krusen

 

 

After we came back from the first family reunion,100_1023 which was my side of the family,3 weeks later  we went to a camp site North East of Lockport NY and had our family reunion with our kids and our kids kids.

This is the 2nd year we have done this and it is really nice to do it.

We can focus on one another and being less people it is a great way for the cousins to play together and our kids to spend time together.

Life is so darn short, life is so darn busy, we just do not get together enough. We were there for 2 full days, leaving on the third day in the morning. 100_1065As I look back at the time I think I was most moved by just watching the interactions and realizing that all of this could not have been possible without Marks and my children. Adrianne and her kids came out on the 1st full day we were there for an afternoon and evening, her husband unfortunately was not feeling good and could not make it. She said maybe next year she will plan to camp the full time too… It was awesome to spend time with them.

The other part that was special to me was 100_1061some one on one time I was able to spend with Emily. Emily is now 16 and being a teen is not easy ever, I think it is tougher in 2013 than it was when I was a teen. Emily is a smart young lady and she has a pretty good sense of humor. I just like spending time with her. That was special.

I also love time with our kids and their spouses, it is so neat to watch them interact, like they just saw each other the day before, we did miss Josh though. The time separated seems to disappear. And their kids – our grandkids are funny to watch. Jeff and Amanda’s kids are 3 and almost 5 and Adrianne and Josh’s kids are almost 2 and 4. 100_1053So they go right up the totem pole of toddler ages. They walked around, they rode bikes, they watched as we tried to fly kites, they played until they dropped with exhaustion. The magic of the fire, the wonder of the sunset, the toasting of s’mores, the memories are priceless.

I feel blessed to have this opportunity and I look back at all the bumps in the road, the hills of life climbed, the slopes sometimes slipped on—they all led us to here. And ya know what— every tear, every smile, every wonder, every pray— it was all worth it. 100_1114

Until the next post…. hang on to the blessings that come before you..watch for the simplest things that mean so much. Love to all, Mrs Justa alias Cindy

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