Another day is dawning,  memories to be made, impressions to leave, moments unchangeable.IMG_0756

As the day begins, as the next step is about to happen, the next minute here among us, I am thinking about life and the effects we have on it.


RESPONSIBILITY:  We all are responsible for our actions. This goes for every single thing we do. We can not choose which things we do we are and are not responsible for. Nope, we own each thing we do.

That is a huge responsibility. Why, because sometimes the things we do, we don’t even realize or think about the end result, we get wrapped up in a moment or jump on the proverbial “bandwagon”. However, as we travel down the twists and turns of life’s journey,  and at the end of our road in life, it is us and us alone who individually made choices.

I say this because of many reasons, many reasons I myself have chosen to do things, and once they were done, well there was no rewind, no “gee I didn’t mean to be that way, or “I didn’t mean to do that” or “I didn’t mean to _______”.  The “I wish I had” thoughts do not count.

There have been things I have said, I can not take back. Actions I did, I can not undo. As a nurse, I have cared for patients who would say, “I knew better” or “If I only had never smoked” or “I took the chance ____”   Notice the similarity– “If I only had not or didn’t”

My parents would say to me when I did something I totally should not have, “You know better than that” or ” Bet you won’t do that again” or “what did you learn from that?”. And as I was growing up, she would wipe the wound ( physical or not) and guide me through the why’s and maybe even have suggestions on how to deal with that scenario in the future. They were preparing me for my future.

As we grow up we are still responsible for our actions. There are consequences to what is done, said, or ignored. If any of us are asked to do something and we say we will, if we then do it halfway, or not appropriately – if we take a risk, a dare—- we cannot go back and get those minutes to undo it.

In our roles in life, ( being a friend, an adult, a mentor, a stranger, a human being ) whether at work or in any environment around us, writing anything in social media, in an article,  we can not take it back. It paints a picture of us that can not be painted over, the “delete” does not remove words or photos or actions done.

Our reactions to something said or done, we can not undo that either. In life I have found to tread softly at times, to think before doing or saying, and to appreciate and take responsibility to every minute I am on this earth.

What image are we giving? What actions are we doing? What consequences because of those actions, or lack of actions are there? What image have I left?

Those are my thoughts this morning, something I will remember as I get ready for another day to be the best I can be.

Until later, 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




Music is a part of so many peoples lives. For me, music is a part of what makes me whole. From as long as I can remember my parents would sing a lullaby type song as we drifted to bed. ( My mom more than my dad, but both did) I loved the jingles from kids shows, and Disney music, and carols at Christmas, nursery rhymes. As I grew older songs in school, singing in church, Sunday School, the radio, records, CDs. Now my goodness I can pop ion Pandora or IHEART RADIO  and make my own favorites into a station. I love, totally love music. ( I am not a RAP, symphony, classical music lover) But all else- pretty much are right up my music filled soul.

This past Sunday  I sang in church for “special music”. Special music is what a person chooses to do, there have been clarinet, saxophone, and other instruments solos, sometimes a duet will be done, sometimes a solo. It is something I can do in a contribution to the church. As I sing I am reminded of how awful it was when I had my voice taken away from me. Music and singing make me whole. Back in the late 1990s, well a very arrogant, barbaric doctor took my voice from me.

I needed an upper endoscopy because I was having food stick when I swallowed sometimes. I chose this man because he had been doing dilatations of my mom’s esophagus for yrs. She had Barret’s Esophagus and I was not sure if I did too. She used to call me after her procedure and would dreadfully say she had to go back in 6 mos- of in a yr. She never liked to go to doctors, so I figured that was why she said that.

The day of the procedure- it was winter, slushy, cold out. I had a winter coat and boots on. He had me leave my boots on, no patient gown, he left me in my street clothes, and he had me get on this stretcher. No one else was in the room. There was no IV or anything to relax me, he pulled my shoulder to get me in an upright position,  sprayed the back of my throat with a couple squirts of novocaine and literally jammed the endoscopic tube down my throat, if I gagged he smirked and jammed harder. He pulled it out and I was beyond terrified at the treatment, trying my best not to cry, and not believing this sadistic look he had. He said he had to put down a pediatric scope with a balloon end to stretch a stricture area. I indicated I couldn’t go through that again, but he said it is a smaller scope and will be easier. No more novocaine and in went the next scope, jamming at each gag and smirking all the way.

When he finished, he twisted me around, legs facing him and said ” So how do you like me now?” It was like he enjoyed how he treated me. I have no idea why he was like that, but if he was like that with others, I finally understood the dread in my mom’s comments as she realized when her next appointment was.

A few days later I had a fever, felt horrible, and no voice and a very sore throat, deep in the back, beyond my tongue. I went to my primary MD and saw the RNNP. I remember crying to her as I explained what had happened. She said my throat was swollen, injured. She prescribed an antibiotic and a type of relieving med for the pain. I had a follow up with the GI doctor a couple days later and begrudgingly went back- per the recommendations of the RNNP. Funny, now the nurse jotted down how I was feeling, and the problems, and amazing- now this barbaric, evil non-compassionate MD had me get in a patient gown, and was kind to me. I NEVER went back to him again!

For 10 months following, I had no ability to sing, my talking voice was raspy. Every single night I prayed for my voice to come back, and if it did, I promised God I would share it in church, either in a choir or special music. Somehow I would share songs, I never gave up praying. About 8 months into this terrible time when I felt a void that was indescribable from not being able to sing, my doctor suggested I see an ENT. She examined my throat to find my lingual tonsils were damaged, and large. ( I never realized we had lingual tonsils at the back of the tongue…  She prescribed a steroid, but it did not lessen the swelling and 2 months later I had the lingual tonsils laparoscopically removed. Slowly through the healing, I once again could sing.

100_1086So as I sang in church on  12-2-18, as I practice to sing, every single time I belt out a song, I am reminded of how sometimes bad things happen, and it does not always mean they are the end all. Prayers are not always answered how we want them to be. We need to have faith in life, as we have faith in sunsets and sunrises. We can not predict the future, we can predict that there will be good and not so good times.

This time I went through, it made me realize what music can be, should be, and through hard work and prayer, I am able to share songs with others in the church. It is not the same voice I had before, but it is here my spiritual gift. I thank God every day for that.



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

Continuing on the subject of words. I wanted to share a time from long ago.

We lived in Spafford NY in my first few yrs of elementary school. We had one car and my dad was a traveling salesman. So living FAR away from the school did not leave an option for our mom driving us.

It was a long bus ride, and it brings back fun and not so fun times. One thing was our last name became the laughing subject for the first few miles of each journey. We would no sooner get on the bus and certain kids would ask if we have Gaines Gravy Train for dinner gravey train pouting pupand if we eat it dry in the morning. Their pals would wait for a reaction as they laughed at the words said and gravey trainobserved to see if they got a reaction.

We would tell mom about the trip, but what really could she do, but provide advice and call the bus garage. So her words of wisdom ( and I say that with the sincerest most meaning of the words) she said just stand tall, be proud and say back:  “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names will never hurt me”

Well, I gotta tell ya, that had a nice ring to it, but really did not do anything to stop the name mocking. Nope just kinda fueled the laughter as people said things like “What was that can you say it again?” And me – in my proud Gaines Family fashion would repeat it.

What changed was Pam and I became able to hide the sadness and dislike, and that, and only that slowed down the mocking. It never totally went away because “Gaines Dog Food ” folks were coming up with cute adds and more products. gaines burgersWe advanced to questions like “Did you have burgers last night… GAINES BURGERS?”

Yep, words can be powerful, and being I woke up this morning with the kid’s laughter running through my mind, I felt it needed to be shared.

Lesson learned from this, as a parent I was listening for mention from our kids, and if there was any hint of something like this happening to them, I worked to explain that when we react to words, we are giving strength to the people calling you a name. If you react, the others have found a way to annoy you. DO not react, as hard as that is, and their game is no longer anything more than solitaire. Their words come out and get lost in space.

As I move into today, I hope the day is good for you. Words can be so powerful.

Until later, Mrs Justa alias Cindy

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




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

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