So when your husband leaves a home store and says, “that place is really cute,” then you gotta know it’s something special! That was my husband’s response when we went into Studio 12 Homes in downtown Lemoore. It was time to get back in the “pink” and see what the professional women of Kings County have going on.
What do you do when you are feeling low? Well since I am not really the drinking kind of girl (except for that one trip to the coast) I went back to find encouragement in some of the things that God has already talked to me about. Today…. I was encouraged to finally post a “speech” (for lack of a better word) that I gave at a women’s breakfast last year.
Good morning. My name is Cheryl Mendoza. I am usually with the preK (Sunday school) department on Sunday mornings, but they let me out to speak to you today. If things don’t seem to be going well, I may fall back on a trusty puppet to liven things up a bit.
I was graciously invited here this morning by Mona, to come and speak with you. Well, she really only invited me to the breakfast…..then I kind of invited myself to speak and I have to tell you that she immediately and enthusiastically said YES. No questions as to why, what was I thinking? So to Mona I say thank you. Not only for bringing us all together, but trusting me with some of the precious time we have here this morning. Then of course she asked if I could help MC the event…I thought…no problem. They have to be easier than preschoolers….right?
So after I had invited myself to be a part of this event. I continued to chat with Mona about what was on her heart and the motivation behind getting all of us together. She mentioned this study “Uninvited” by Lysa Terkeuest. What moved her heart was community….each one of us having a place. When I heard the heart reasons behind the event, I was hooked. But the more we chatted, the more I knew that God had a plan. You see, a couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog post about circles. That’s right….I am a blogger. So here is my shameless plug…..Cherylmendoza.com. So I wrote about circles. And it was really because of something that happened to me in the preK class.
I was filling in for one of the ladies, and it was during 2nd service, so there was a LOT of kids. As we brought them in and worked to get them into their circle, we were running out of room. So without thinking, I said, “let’s make our circle bigger so we can let more friends in.” I heard myself saying it….and knew then that it was important. In the blog I wrote of the little slice of heaven that seemed to be pictured that day. We have a diverse group of kids… and to see them move back to let more in was amazing. It was also a little heartbreaking.
I get it…. Sometimes it is hard to keep that open spot for someone new. That open spot leaves a big question mark. Will a new person change the dynamic? Will they bring in baggage? Can I trust them? Do they have a good pot luck recipe? There are all sorts of questions, but more than likely, the answers are not deal breakers.
A couple of days after that happened, Marcus had posted on FB about his small group. Now I have seen the pics of his group. They seem to really enjoy each other, learn from each other and boy do they eat some good food!! This post though was announcing the split of this group. It was not due to a problem, but to fulfill its purpose. They had grown so large, that they split into two, so that each group would then have room for new people. They made their circle smaller, so that they had room to grow bigger and make room for new friends. Room for more people, room to give somebody a place.
Acts 6:7 – God’s message was preached in ever-widening circles, and the number of disciples increased vastly in Jerusalem; and many of the Jewish priests were converted too.
Ladies, we have two groups in this room. Those who are in a circle and those who are not. For those of you who are, I would encourage you to be intentional in keeping those circles open. Continue to make sure you are not accidently closing the loop without even knowing it. You have a place for someone who needs it. Remember when you did not have a place? Do all you can to make it easy for those on the outside.
And I want to encourage you who are trying to find your place. It is not easy! I have
been in the preK dept so long, and now that I am out, I am just trying to find my new place. It is somewhat uncomfortable at times, but I know the harder it is, the better the payoff will be. The ladies in my new group are getting to know me, and I am privleged in starting to know them. Keep at it! Don’t let being uncomfortable keep you away from what God wants for all of us. Community. Influence. Support. And where ever widening circles of the good news spread as far as God will take it!
So when I received, Shine; STEPPING INTO THE ROLE YOU WERE MADE FOR, I immediately wondered what I had gotten myself into. I really felt like I had just stepped into an Andy Hardy movie and was being told that we were going to “put on a show”. As I read further, I understood why. Allison Allen is an actress who has been on Broadway, and even a featured performer on the Women of Faith tours. Now if you’ve never been in drama or wanted to be an actor, don’t worry, the analogies that she uses are so clearly presented that you don’t have to have a theater degree to understand.
What comes through in the retelling of her own journey, is an encouraging, challenging and perspective changing book. She so clearly brings examples of the “who” she was and how that person reacted, with the “what” she has learned from it. Her observations bring clarity in who we are in relationship to God, and even how we are all a part of this magnificent story, that belongs to Him only. Easy to understand, engaging and so encouraging that it was hard to put down. Shine was a great read!
After a too long pause in writing (or at least editing)….I am back at it. When I hear people discuss DACA I don’t think of these people in a group……I think of their individual stories. I think of a spunky, fun loving young lady that my husband coached in volleyball. I think of Zulema…….
My name is Zulema. I was born in Michoacán, Mexico, and I am 20 years old. I was brought to the U.S shortly after my fifth birthday along with my brother and sister, who were also very young. My dad had already been to the U.S. a couple of times in an effort to support our family and give us things he never had as a child. While we stayed behind with our mother, she did everything she could to make sure we were okay. With our dad being thousands of miles away from it wasn’t easy for her, and we knew it. Continue reading “A Dream of Their Own – Zulema”
She called me objective. My friend is a bit older and has seen a bit of life. When she said that to me, I took it as a compliment. The more I thought about it, I accepted that it’s true. The problem with being objective? I don’t get to have a side. Sometimes it’s lonely where God has put me, out in left field. Then again, sometimes I am not alone.
It started with a friend of my hubby’s. She is actually an ex-volleyball player that he has kept in contact with. He told me that she needed prayer. I didn’t really need to know why, but he told me anyway. She was going to Mexico, because she had to enter the U.S. correctly as part of the process to become documented. Stupid me, I was surprised! I mean, what does someone who is undocumented look like? If you have read any of my writing, you will know that I don’t typically “not” think about things. So when this came across my path, I was hooked. Pondering…. Who really are the people they are talking about on the news?
It doesn’t matter which side is talking, they tend to lump people into a big group. And while these “dreamers” may have similar stories, I know that they are also more than that. So since I have been working on some other “getting to know you” type of writing projects, I thought about doing one of these. The problem…I just wasn’t sure? That was until, I knew I wasn’t out in left field by myself.
Mike (my hubby) came to me one day and proposed another project. “How about finding out who these people really are?” Not what the news, political parties or other people say they are, but straight from them. It’s good not to be alone. We had a moment when I told him that I had been thinking the same thing. (Thirty years of marriage must count for something.) So I hope you will join us. We hope to take the “issue” and present it for what it really is, the lives of everyday people. Taking this from what was once a dream of their parents, to “A Dream of their Own”………
My name is Wendoline. In 2002, just a few months after my seventh birthday, my brother, sister and I were brought to the U.S. from Michoacán, Mexico. My brother was eight and a half, and my younger sister just five. My father had already been in the United States a few times, but he would miss us too much and would come home. Things were financially rough when we were in Mexico. My memory of Mexico is sort of blurry, as it’s been over fifteen years since I was last in my hometown. The things I do remember though, is that it’s nothing like it is here. We lived in a small village, everyone was poor, but everyone loved each other. I remember when my dad was here and we were in Mexico, he would call us every day. He would tell us how he couldn’t wait for us to see how wonderful this country is, and he couldn’t wait to buy us all the toys that he couldn’t afford for us in Mexico.
I found it really hard to write my thoughts today, so I thought I would keep it really short. What I will “Never Forget” from September 11, 2001.
I will never forget to pray for those who lost family and friends on this day.
I will never forget the heroes that ran into danger, and not away from it.
I will never forget the time when we all put our collective hopes and prayers together, for the safety and well-being of people we didn’t even know.
I will never forget the time when everyone asked, “Is there something I can do?”
I will never forget the time where so many people did so many little things, to create one large effort to care for our fellow citizens.
I will never forget to be prepared. To ask God now to give me the strength for the future, where I may need to run to and not from danger.
I wrote the above last year…and so I decided to revisit and see if what I want to “Never Forget” has changed. The only thing I could think of was to add one thing.
I will never forget that hate breeds hate. Love is not only our best defense, but the only offense we have.
So you know when you think you know someone, and then you realize that you’ve just scratched the surface? Well, that’s what happened when I got together with Michelle for another entry in “A Study in Pink”.
Michelle Dove is the Head Start/Child Development Director for Kings Community Action Organization. While her title sounds pretty fancy, it all started in the simplest of ways. She was a mom, coming to a new town when her husband was stationed at NAS Lemoore. She was a stay at home mom, but soon she started watching children from other families. It was then she pursued being certified as a family childcare provider. That simple step, was the beginning of a path that would see her change her educational focus and eventually bring her to something that is so much more than a just a career.
So this morning when I woke up, there were clouds in the sky and some relief from the oppressive heat. While it will still reach 100 degrees today, compared to yesterday, it is a much needed breath of fresh air. (OK it’s the valley…the air is never really “fresh”) According to the weather reports, we have at least nine more days of triple digits, which makes today’s cool breeze only a brief respite. So where am I now? I am sitting outside while I can! There is a slight breeze and the clouds are doing a good job of keeping those scorching rays at bay. As I sit here enjoying the little bit of heaven, it reminded me of a prayer that I had yesterday.
There is a gal at our church who is going through cancer treatments. As I was thinking and praying for her, I just asked God to give her some normalcy. Just a little something that day to remind her of what life would be like after her treatments were done. Just a little relief from the pain and stress she is going through. It was exciting for me to hear her post later that morning, that she had taken a small but encouraging step. It was not the “end of the tunnel” for her, but just a bit of light to keep on going.
It was just a bit of relief. Sometimes though, that is all we get. It’s hard, because what we
really want is that breakthrough. That resolution to our problem, illness, finances or situation. What we get though most of the time, is just a little relief. That little bit of calm encouragement, in whatever form it takes, that allows us to continue down the road we are on.
So if you’re walking that tough road, whatever it may be, look for those moments of relief. Don’t miss them. They are hope given to you today, that gives strength for the steps you will take tomorrow.
The humble will see their God at work and be glad. Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged. Psalm 69:32
Some years ago I was at a conference listening to a Priscilla Shirer, who writes bible studies, books and speaks to encourage women. I totally enjoyed her talk, but there was one point she made that became something that I try to live by. She told the group of women, “don’t be spoon fed the gospel.”
Since then, I still listen to sermons on Sunday mornings, on podcasts and I am involved in bible studies with other women. All of these I still consider being “spoon fed” information. Yes, even the bible study books we do! It is God’s word filtered through someone else’s lens. So, to take her advice, I make sure that I spend time doing bible reading on my own and contemplating what it means in my own life. (Then typically writing about it)The great thing is that I can go to the source, the bible. Now if you don’t believe in the bible, you may be like whatever, but wait! Don’t leave me yet. As a Christian, I should go to the source of my faith right? So no one can take it and twist it to their own particular point of view. That is what made sense to me a couple of years ago, and that is what makes sense to me now. Well if it works for biblical history, I thought it makes sense for any kind of history.