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.

This seems to be more and more common in starting a sentence in a discussion. Maybe it is just my own experience, however, I think some might relate. For me, there is probably nothing more powerful than those 2 words to smother my thoughts and back off my conversation.

Oh, I am sure there are times when it is perfectly appropriate, and on the other side of the spectrum, often times it does harm to a conversation.

Picture the scenario, if you will… you are thinking about something to do, or you are sharing a thought on an event, or maybe talking about a feeling… you stop, anticipating some back and forth conversation. The other party, even without taking a millisecond to absorb what you just said, pops in with “Yeah BUT……” and they go on in the talk to not only discredit the thought you expressed, they totally change the subject or have 1 or more reasons why what you just said was not worthy of the time it took to say it.

It is more common with some people than others, however, some people have taken it as their new way to start every response.

A long time ago I had been taught pretty extensively on communication. I was a volunteer on an 800 toll free number for NY State Child Abuse Line. It was extremely important that whoever was calling they were being heard. It was a line, that in my experience on it, had more people calling in because they were frustrated with something in life, and our line became the next step to talk about what was going on.

Very seldom was it a call because someone was abusing a child, it was more a frustrated parent that tried to do something and their child was not really cooperating in successfully completing the task at hand. Or maybe an event happened- totally accidental. No matter what the call, we needed to be able to communicate and listen.

20180825_131345One thing we learned was when someone finishes talking, digest what was said and quietly take a deep breath before responding. This gives you time to process what was just said and cleanses your mind prior to responding .

My brother Don has communication skills mastered. He hears, he absorbs what is said, and he responds after hearing the others thoughts.  Because of that, he truly makes people feel worthy of the words spoken, of the thoughts shared.

See if someone pops right back with a response before the other’s words have totally left their mouth, or at the second the last word was said, well that person was not listening as the words were being spoken. So instead of listening, we are thinking of a response as the talker was talking. We learned to never start our response back with: “Why” as Why causes an immediate defensive response. A new training for communication needs to be, do not start your reply with “YEAH , but”   … so as today begins, I am going to carefully listen to my speaking, my responses, and make sure I am practicing good learning skills too.

I hope you each take a few moments for YOU today,  Until later, Mrs. Justa.. alias Cindy




6-25-2012-Syracuse-and-Oswego-NY-004_thumb.jpgOh boy, it seems like every single Election time that I have experienced in my life, they get nastier and nastier. The ads on TV are almost nauseating. She did this, he did that…instead of totally focusing on themselves and what they see as their contribution to each of our futures.

After MONTHS of rather pointed shots at one another, it is kinda hard for me personally to see the sense in all that money for advertising.

My intent of this is not to specifically talk about one side of the fence or the other. Political parties should be a personal thing. Not something that is what you wear, but more something you trust is the best for you.

Friends, families, employment, relationships may never mend or new ones ever form, precious moments are all torn apart by nasty comments or cynical actions. Once upon a time, in a land long ago, we talked to one another in person or, in a letter, or on the phone. The voting was personal, at least in my life. We did not flaunt with the support of our 800 friends on social media how the political figure is either a blessing or a curse. We did not have the capability to unfriend a “friend” in a keystroke those who did not believe what we believe, our friends were really our friends. A person you knew you could call at a moments notice, and they would be there for you.

And ya know what, at the end of the day, all the people go about their day to day activities, our new elected officials start focusing on their new roles, no matter what we do, our days go on, and if we don’t like it– well do not fret- in only 6 months the next 18 months of political jargon starts again – this time for a major election. BUT FOR NOW- I am so looking forward to hearing about how this product is better, or where to get the best vacation memories from.  Ahhhhh…..

Have a great day ! Mrs. Justa… alias Cindy



Whoa, this is a tough concept to grasp. Personally, I am surprised I have any teeth left after the times’ life has kicked me in them. I would think it is safe to say that by the time we reach even 20-30 years old, we have had some not so good times happen. If I listed all of mine, well it would be a tad longer than the novel Moby Dick. For today I am going to reminisce on one.

First I have to admit as the bad moments seem to engulf my life, there is absolutely no one or any way I can think of, see, or believe that there is anything good from it.


Life is like pebbles on the shore, some pretty some jaded

It may take years or decades to even have the courage to look at those times from afar. However, personally, I have been able to see the whole picture the further and further away I get from it.

There are times I do not know the whole picture, components I should not know, will never know, and that too is intended to be. Sometimes I just have to step back and comfort my pain with, the thought there was a reason. No one has the answers, and none of us can know why God’s plan hurts at times.

This particular realization I am looking at today, it took me 40 + years to look in the tapestry of my life and see some light in the dark colors.

For the first 10 yrs of my life, my family continued to grow in numbers ( a new child every 1 1/2 to 2 yrs )and we lived in rental places. I had 4 yrs of life in an upper flat in Bridgeport Cn, that followed with 3 different home in the Skaneateles NY area.

Four months before I turned 10, my parents found and bought a home in Bayberry. This was such an amazing event, it was fairly new, in a suburban neighborhood, we could walk to school, to church and stores, we were safe playing kickball in the street, we had lots of other kids, places to ride our bikes for hours without ever leaving the community, a great place to raise children, and mom could be a stay at home mom, comfortable with the safety of her more dependent children as we frolicked outside like happy puppies.

And then 4 months into this life, we were blessed to be in , boom….  the month of my 10th birthday, our dad was in the hospital he had had a heart attack. Mom had told us when dad came home he would be in a wheelchair at least until he regained his strength, we knew life was going to be way different.

Well, he never left that hospital, my mom at that time was 9 months very pregnant with her 6th child. Mom went into labor on the night before dad was to come home, a neighbor took her to the hospital, and the next morning VERY early… dad had died and mom gave birth.

I gotta tell you that moment in our lives was hard to figure out the whys. It was a time when it would be easy to not believe in anything. We had the cutest new sister, and dad never came home to enjoy the new addition to our family. Plus our “stay at home mom,” could no longer be. Mom went to college got her bachelors degree as she worked as a teaching assistant during the day at the local school district. Pam and I ( 11 and 10) became the child care in the after school/ evening times.

For years it was not easy, but looking back now… had we not had that bought home, where would our family have ended up?  We owned no residence before that time, I think in the plan of life, coloring in the grays with brighter colors, the move to Bayberry was one of those times when the bad, really also was a blessing for our future after dads death.

We were safe, we had a precious bundle of joy to help ease the pain, we  had neighbors helping neighbors, people helped us without ever being asked, so even as heartwrenching, as deep the hurt was, as scary, and as dark as those moments were, we were in the best place considering the whole picture.

Once I really looked beyond the pain, I was reminded once again, that life was never meant to be easy, but life is a blessing every single day I see the sun rise and set.

Until later, my love to all… Cindy, alias  Mrs. Justa

What did you miss today?IMG_0684 - Copy                                                              What tiny little something went totally unobserved?

This past early summer, I was walking around the deck, getting ready to mow. I try to always take a moment to see things, things that in a hurry I would easily have missed. Like this egg, there was a rather full nest under our deck that I found, as I looked up after seeing this egg on the ground. The grass was holding the egg ever so protectively, as it lay there 4 feet from where it should have been.

Now I know human hands should not touch anything in the nest, the birds might reject it, so I went in and got two very long spoons, and carefully took the egg from the grass blades and placed it back in the nest with the others that were there.

I snuck away, and days later that egg was still there, joined back with its brothers and sisters to be.

I always wonder what I have not seen, what I missed because of being focused on a task at hand or thinking about what I have to do next, and not stopping to experience the moment now.

It is so darn easy to put myself in full throttle for the next moment and forgetting the value of the moment I am at.

IMG_0678 - Copy

Each moment is like the drops of water traveling down the needle of the pine tree, slowly moving forward. And in those drops of water, if you stop and look at them, you can see the world around you. It always brings me back to realizing how precious and filled with wonder the world is, if I just slow down, take a walk, and have my camera to capture the moments as they come to be. img_3511-copy.jpg                                           I hope as this weekend starts, even in the chaotic times life seems to throw at us, take a second, a minute, maybe even 5 or 10, and look down, or in front or up. It costs nothing, yet the benefits can be ever so rewarding.

Enjoy, until later, Mrs. Justa signing out.

None of us can scream “STOP THE WORLD, I WANT TO _________”  and literally make it happen. I can fill in the blank with many different words. Somedays, I want to scream  “Stop the world I want to ” go back” .. or I want to “catch-up”, or I want to “understand”.  And sometimes I have felt like screaming  “Stop the world I  want to ” mourn ”

Whatever the time when we want to say this, maybe we even scream it at the top of our lungs, well the world keeps on spinning, the sun and moon keep appearing as this sphere we live on rotates in space.

I think this “Stop the world” type thoughts at times when my cell phone ( and I use that word very lightly) has a mind of its own. Now one would think a cell phone was a calling device… you know, one you talk ( yes I did say talk) on. But do not get fooled… nope this flat screen, very sensitive, attitude device does everything but provide the ability to talk to another human being.

So we have this “phone” and it goes on the internet, it sometimes scares the heck out of me when it starts talking to me with some “bubbly” female sounding voice– like “Hi this is Bixby” or the google chick stating ” Sorry I did not understand that”. And then there are the features like the ICONS that appear – try to uninstall them but it warns you if you do- well it could affect the phone performance. Well NEWS FLASH– the “phone” performs, but not often “Phone type things”

Now I can google my life away , facebook, IM chat, locate where I am going, heck if I want I can make an image appear that looks like a scribbly mess- and it is showing me where I have been in the past week/ month  on a map, with a line going over all the routes.

But try to call me, you better go get a lottery ticket if we actual speak- and I mean speak full sentences- without the other person trying to fill in the gaps, as the interference seems constant.

I look at this phone, and everywhere I go, I see people have phones in their hands, and I realize, that these devices take us away from life. Oh yes we can say but we are busy, and we can “chat” with people while we are waiting at ___ whatever we are waiting at— an MD office, an appointment, on lunch at work.

The “phones” are really little tiny computers that have a phone feature, that way they are marketed as phones. I totally appreciate all the doors it opens ( figuratively and literally) for it can be used to unset a house alarm, to start your car, to unlock your car, ( or heck to lock your car if you are at work and think … hmmm I do not know if I locked it). They can tell you where you are, they let you take pictures and make recordings without additional stuff to carry, heck you can even  “filter” and special affect the photos so it looks like something it was not. You can become a movie star looking a person with certain settings, and make cartoon characters with your own looks. They are awesome safety devices- and if you are in a coverage area- they give you the ability for dialing for help when you need it, they have many many great features.

My constant battle is to not let the phone become life. I was sitting in a restaurant last week, and people were occupying space at the same table, but their eyes were on their phone screens, oh the human conversations just lingering in the air between them that never happened.

More often then not, I see people walking down the street, eyes glued to their “phone” – the things they have missed, things that never ever will come again, letting life pass by as we read our phones.

I am not saying I am going to get rid of my mini computer, the device that sometimes might help with a phone conversation to happen– but I have to constantly remind myself of the people who are physically where I am, of the world outside, the events that happen every single day in front of us, they need to be focused on and not that electronic device.




In life these days things seem to be more impersonal, at a time when maybe it feels like they are not. I have been giving this a lot of thought as I realize the days in my rearview mirror on my journey down life’s road are a whole lot more than the days yet to be traveled. There are things that must be important to me, as one evening I found myself writing things down that were being fed through me if that makes any sense. There are times in my life when I feel like I am the instrument to relay a thought, a poem, a song. I have a list of what I will refer to as some of life’s lessons, this list of “lessons” are words written down, joined together on paper and created in some of those times.

For today one of the thoughts is this.    20 minutes, 2 hours, 6 hours,8 hours or more is a lot closer then Heaven.20181020_104048

This thought is rather eye-opening to me, as there are so many times I am finding this to be true in life. Life becomes chaotic with STUFF. Busy things to do that really seem to get in the way of relationships. We can say a person lives too far away, we can have a good intention for stopping over to a person’s house or meeting them for coffee, but unless we react to the thought, the minutes turn into hours, into days, months and years.

In the blink of an eye that person / those people can be gone. Personally, I have experienced this, as many others have too. I hear people complaining that their parent(s) are annoying, or their grandparents being forgetful or hard to talk to, that their mom is so difficult to be around, or their dad is overpowering, or they live too far away, or “I just don’t have the time”.  Not making that call, not sending a personal card….

At 4 my grandmother died, and as I look back, out of all my relatives and friends that have died, I had the most involved relationship with her for the short years we had together. She lived with us, in an upper apartment in Bridgeport Conn. She was blind, so as a toddler, I was taught to always pick up things from the floor, do not move furniture from it’s set place, all to avoid her falling or tripping. I remember sitting on her lap as she “read” me a story. At the time there was just my sister Karen, Pam and me. My 2 older brothers did not live with us, they were off on their own. We would tell her what book it was, and we would turn the pages as she told the story from her memory of it.

My dad, he was a traveling salesman and the job required him to be gone most weekdays and nights. When he was home though, each moment was priceless to me. At the very young age of 10, I had one of the most traumatic losses in my life, my father died. Since he died there are so very many times I wished he was alive to guide me through life. My sister Karen was in nursing school at that time, and at home, well we had me, Pam and in addition younger sisters and 2 younger brothers. It was an incredible challenge in so many ways. I wish he had been there as my teenage years turned into young adulthood. And even though I have felt his presence, it is not like having his tough love, his insight. I never wished he had been home more, I accepted life was that way, I just wished I had more years of him being home when he could be.

My mom, she lived for 35 years after my dad died. And no matter how far or close I lived from her, there are times I saw her very infrequently. I regret that more then I can ever explain. She was a wise woman, quiet, offered advice when asked, but gave it sparingly unless she felt is absolutely necessary to say something. She would never ask for company to visit, yet she always had tea and chocolate chip cookies ready for those moments someone came over. I believe she was always prepared for visitors to come by, yet she had things she did when no one came.  She did volunteer work for local causes, she was a pen pal to those who were in life situations where they had little if no communication with the outside world. I guess I used my life situation to justify not taking that time out of my day to visit her more. Years later though, I wonder if she ever longed for that door to open?

My sister Pam, she died at the young age of 47. Alone in her townhouse, she had not felt well and whatever she had, it caused her death. I visited her only twice in her Ohio home.  It was really not too many months prior to her death. Both times were accompanied by another sister, we were on a mission to help Pam from a situation of hoarding. She was such a private person, she never ever indicated to me, in all the years she was there, that she was hoarding. When she reached out and asked for help, her voice had been desperate, and a plea. Something that I had never ever experienced from her. We talked briefly on the phone every week or so, but I never visited her there. She is gone, I can no longer look to make up for lost time.

Family, friends, events. I can not even begin to list those friends who have died, or who I have lost contact with, people who meant a lot to me. Life is filled with “I need to” call so and so, or visit so and so…. and not make them the action of “I am going to “?

Holidays, Sunday dinners, knocking on the door because you know there are open invitations… how many of these things do we totally put on the back burner? Oh, we can come up with a bunch of reasons, we do that, we justify our inactions by sounding like there are great reasons not to do something.

But that moment when you get that message, that phone call, read that obituary and realize that you have missed opportunities that will NEVER come to be. In my list of life’s lessons, the ones that appeared on paper from the pen I held as my hand moved to form the words…. well this is the first of many I have written down … more to follow.

Next Page »