thankful


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

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.

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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

 

 

 

 

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 Pexels.com

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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