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Cheryl Mendoza

How He speaks to me…..Or… can't He just call my cell when He wants to talk?

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Encouragement

Advent: Hope

I started tearing up the other day.  They were on me so fast, I could barely stop them from coming.  It was because of the rain.  Now it typically rains during the fall/winter, but this was the first of the year.   I may live in California, but here in the Central Valley, there is not a beach in sight.  That’s OK though, because I do live just west of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and they are amazing!

  IMG_7158There are good points and bad points to this area, but the worst is the air quality.  It sucks to put it mildly.  As the year goes on, the air quality deteriorates to the point where you can’t even see the mountains, that are with a short drive away.  The funny thing is, at some point, I forget they are there.  I drive east every morning, and eventually they fade into the haze.  So with the first rains of the year, I knew the mountains would be making a comeback.  I also knew that since it was raining, they would be obscured by clouds for now, but soon I would see them.  And in the anticipation, I found hope.   Continue reading “Advent: Hope”

Advent: Focus

IMG_8720Advent.  It is a new tradition for me, so the first Sunday of Advent almost passed me by.  Yikes!  It is not my fault!  I don’t come from a background where Advent is celebrated, so it just kind of snuck up on me.  I was barely over the turkey and it just appeared! 

So just like anything in my life, I take what is celebrated by many and use it for my own nefarious purposes.  Ok…. Maybe not nefarious, but I definitely do make it my own.  I need to have help in keeping focused, and writing helps.  I tend to be shall we say….. wordy.  So if I have to post something, like for Advent, it helps me to focus and get the writing done.   Continue reading “Advent: Focus”

Remembering…..

What do I want to remember?

IMG_7423I want to remember that in my actions, I sow seeds. They can be seeds that lift a person up, encourage and give strength. Or they can be discouraging, defeating and used to tear down.

I may never see the fruit of those seeds, but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be a result or even a price that’s paid.

I think of those days and the men who lived here, planned and executed evil.  The seeds sown in their lives were ones that exploded in death.

What seeds could have changed that?

Continue reading “Remembering…..”

Living the best life!

IMG_8198Friday was a hard day.  I had been out of sorts for the last few days.  Maybe it was hormones, a heavy heart, work, hate pouring through the tv screen or a combination of that and more.  I was blue I guess, so yesterday morning I tried to do what would put me in a better frame of mind.  I read my bible and sat in the backyard in the only cool part of the day. My yard is not any kind of oasis, but there is enough growth and color to bring me peace.  So as I sat there, I chose not to open FaceBook.  I typically do it, so it was kind of weird for me, but I went with and hoped that it would contribute to a more peaceful state of mind.

As I sat and drank coffee, I wondered if part of my feelings were due to what we have
just went through and what is coming up. God has been so good and showing me peace, provision and presence during Mike’s surgery and recovery, but I wasn’t sure if I was still feeling like that.  So as I pondered, I felt like I wanted to go back to that time.  No… not Mike going through pain.  More like I wanted my trust to go back to God, in all things. To really live my life.  I have felt fear creeping back in over things that don’t even matter, and I knew I was returning to an old way of reacting.  My mind went to an upcoming trip we’ve planned and are so excited about.  It’s not till the end of September, and I was thinking, “am I going to put living on hold till then?”  No! That isn’t right!

_DSC2940I asked God to help me resolve to identify those things that are a step backwards for me, and to help me go forward.  To LIVE fully!  Every day!  To work hard, play hard and most important…. LOVE hard.

It was encouraging and lifted me up.  God set the bar a little higher for me, helping me to look up and seek to live a life that is full and honors Him.  How better can life get?

My time in the yard ended, and I got ready for work.  As I got in the car, I opened my phone to sinc my music and FaceBook was open.  So without thinking,  I started to scroll through the feed.  It was then that I saw a post that caught my eye.  It was a verse:Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of our souls.” 1 Peter 1:8-9

 Now I love the verse, but I couldn’t understand why a sad face with a tear?  I don’t feel sad with that verse…. It gives me peace and brings joy of a life that comes to a full circle in faith.  It really irritated me.  I thought wait…. what kind of mixed message is that?  Then I saw it again on another post and I realized why.

61090122_372332523391263_2373045765493751808_nI had known her as a girl serving preschool kids with a knack for telling a story, my hubby knew her as a student athlete, and during her illness we met the young woman she had become.  I will always remember the day she came to our house.  Mike had set up his “photo studio” and Kay, who is a cancer survivor, came to offer encouragement to a young lady fighting her own battle. We all talked about her treatment, school, photography among other things.  Faith and hope were sprinkled in the conversation, that included lots of smiling and laughter. 

And as I sat in my car, I realized why I hadn’t looked at FaceBook that morning.  God wanted to give me an example of what he was showing me.  The right perspective before I heard the news. While she was so young, her life was well lived.  She had used it to funnel love, grace, laughter and faith to those around her.  And in that life, we see the truth of what God is encouraging us all to do. Live your best life through Him.

Grateful still?……

IMG_0620I was thinking the other day how grateful I was.  We had just gotten back from a family wedding in San Diego, and it had been so much fun! It was just a moment when I was reflecting on the wedding, the love of family, the amazing time we had and how far we had come this year.

I thanked God for the peace, strength and all the good people He has put in our path to make it all happen.  As I sat there I wondered, would I feel this way if the outcome hadn’t been so good?     What if Mike’s health and surgery had not progressed so well?  Then I remembered that we aren’t really through it yet.

 

Continue reading “Grateful still?……”

You may be surprised…..

IMG_8153It’s so funny how God speaks to me.  Or maybe what’s really funny is how I listen?  I told my husband the other day that I had never dreamed about being a writer.  Like, that is what I want to do when I grow up!  Nope….never felt that way.  Writing for me is more about submission and therapy?  I write to submit my thoughts and feelings to God, and ask Him to help me sort through them.  To move from knowledge to wisdom.  Well…hopefully.

 

 

Continue reading “You may be surprised…..”

The Mystery of it all…..

We had visitors and commitments this past weekend. While it is good to see people, it was even better when we were alone and driving up into the mountains.  Ok… well the foothills at least.  We went to one of our favorites spots, and I couldn’t believe the changes.  It was the last place we visited right before Mike’s surgery and it was his first solo drive after.  So much though had changed.

Where we typically go is more like a creek than a lake.  Monday though, it was definitely a lake!  We’ve been going to this spot for the past few years now, and I’d never seen it so full! Beautiful water!  I guess we aren’t in a drought any more.  We typically climb down from the parking lot and explore a bit, but today it was all under many feet of water.  So we found a spot, and just sat.  The surroundings had drastically changed, and so had we.

60874093_10217777558244561_7147374966990700544_n Continue reading “The Mystery of it all…..”

To laugh or not to laugh….

img_4462It’s Mother’s Day, and I am sitting here listening to Christmas music.  I know it’s crazy, but in some way it brings me comfort. It reminds me that there’s hope for this world.

 

 

It’s been quite a year packed with all sorts of crazy happenings, but also some of the sweetest moments.  And you know, the older I get, the more I see that it all goes hand in hand.  Life, death, pain and pleasure.  Love, fear, failure and triumph.  All these things occupy the same space at the same time, and it’s right that they do so.  It’s not always fun, but it’s the way it happens in this world.

There has been pressure this year.  With tumors, surgeries and unfortunately a lot of 16939225_10211261381504215_4523643083069843847_npain, but as Mike said the other day, “I don’t think I’ve laughed so much.”  It’s pretty weird because we typically laugh a lot!

I think this is the feeling you get when you truly feel loved.  I know about the whole “God so loved the world” thing, but I don’t think I’ve ever come as close to understanding it than I do right now.  We are loved by the Creator of all, and He is on my side.  Our side.  Even while we walk through scary times, I know that His love keeps us safe.  Things aren’t perfect, but I trust Him, and that gives me peace.  Because of that, we look to the future and laugh.  ‘Cuz it’s been mind blowing so far, and we still have a ways to go.

And for the record, I am listening to “Jazz Musicians Christmas” on Pandora….. so it’s not really like listening to Christmas music. IMG_0171Right?

 

 

A little peace….

One of my favorite parts of the Easter story is of the last supper.  I have always loved how John relays how Jesus washed their feet.  I can imagine how uncomfortable they would have been, but how relaxed by the end.  I mean really….who doesn’t love a foot massage?  

IMG_8058

I think of the simple task of Jesus washing and drying their feet.  These men who walk everywhere, but not with the comfortable shoes of today.  No.  They are walking many miles with leather sandals of ancient times.  Can you imagine?  Ouch!  So they are sitting there, uncomfortable in the first place with Jesus assuming the role of servant.  Then as they are willing him to finish, they start to relax and kind of enjoy the slight massage of their sore and tired feet.  Before they know it, their eyes snap open and they realize that they were in total comfort.  They lock eyes with Jesus, and I can imagine the slight smile on His face.  


I think that is how He is with our lives.  We (I) fight him when he asks us (me) to do something.  I struggle like Peter with the appropriateness of the idea, and then before I know it, I am in the middle of His will and my life is filled with His peace.  I am in total comfort, and I can imagine His eyes on me.  And that same slight smile is on His face.  

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