Cheryl Mendoza

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

Study in Pink – Sophia Medina

_DSC0032Is this really a “Study in Pink”?  Well I think so.  I spoke with this young lady because of her intention of becoming a pediatrician, but was also interested by the stage she is on right now.  The Miss America pageant system is going through a transformation.  The “beauty” pageant is going away, and there will be more focus on the WHO these ladies are and less on HOW they look.   What will that truly look like in the future?  Not sure, but today, I know it looks like the accomplished young lady I spoke with a few weeks ago……


I met Sophia Medina when she wasn’t royalty. Her family lives in Hanford, and are founders of the Kings Cultural Center in Armona. She started dancing at age 4, and now spends time promoting the cultural center and the benefit it brings to the community.  That is where I met her, and came to know so much more about this talented and focused young woman.

_DSC0009She just graduated from UC Santa Cruz, and is studying for the MCAT.  Yes….that is to get into medical school!  While dance is a passion for her, so is science.  “I am a nerd like that,” she told me.  After taking the MCAT Sophia will be attending medical school with the intention of becoming a pediatrician.  “I love science,” she said, “Anatomy is awesome!”  She is not only inspired by science but also her father, who is a doctor, and the time she spends at KCC.  Teaching dance to kids at the cultural center showed her how much she enjoyed working with children.  So why not combine her passions?   She is excited about becoming a pediatrician, “you have to communicate with parents and kids,” she told me.  And communication has been something she is working on lately.

When the idea of running for Miss Outstanding teen in 2012 was presented to her, she wasn’t sure at first.  “I am not the most girlie girl,” she said, but when the event was framed as a scholarship opportunity she felt that she wanted to give it a try. She was also motivated by the opportunity to “break out of my shell.”


_DSC0090She described herself as “not the most outgoing,” and she had growing sense that she “felt necessary to speak my mind.” In running for Miss Outstanding teen and then for Miss Kings County, she told me that it has “helped with my style and presenting myself.”  One of the most exciting aspects for her is the platform that each contestant seeks to promote during their reign.  “Getting to share about Cultural Appreciation is something I am passionate about.”   For Sophia, Cultural Appreciation is not just a platform, but is something that has been passed down from her parents.  “My parents are super supportive in anything we do,” she said.

So what are her hopes for the outcome of the pageant?  “Just enjoy the experience, and connect with the other girls.”  I of course am hoping to be speaking to the next Miss California, but she has a much more grounded answer.  “With 75% of the girls being returnees,” she said, “I would be happy to break the top 15.”

_DSC0060No matter where she winds up in the standings, it does not matter, she is already inspiring and encouraging in so many ways. So good luck and many blessings to her this weekend in the Miss California pageant.  And may that luck and blessing continue as you bring beauty, healing and grace into your community.


Yes…we are better than this……

While None of us has all the answers, the fact that the children cannot be held or comforted is an ABOMINABLE act.

Please ask the people of Romania…..they can tell you the true cost of the lack of human contact.

I may not know what should be done….but at least I know what should not be done.

I know God is in control and I grieve for our country and the cost we may pay. I was talking to my son the other day when God was used to justify the response of our government. I wondered to him if this was a test…..was God possibly asking us to show mercy to those who needed it? And if we did….maybe He would redeem those efforts. How? Maybe by bringing a new spirit of love to the U.S. and even more maybe He would redeem what has been lost to our neighbors.‘america-is-better-than-this’-what-a-doctor-saw-in-a-texas-shelter-for-migrant-children/ar-AAyJpWv?li=BBnb7Kz

The road to Manzanar….


It is beautiful as the landscape changes from desert only, to mountains on either side.  The Inyo’s were to the east, and on the west the Sierras.  The eastern view of the Sierra’s is so much different than from the western view from the valley. They are snowcapped, ragged mountains that jut out of the landscape.  They are shockingly beautiful, but after my initial awe, I thought about how foreboding they look at the same time.



Continue reading “The road to Manzanar….”

A cuppa JOY!

IMG_7020So we have been doing some sprucing up of our home, and with each new task completed, we are more and more comfortable. (Really…we have only been here 13 years!)  Our latest venture was bringing some interest to a kitchen wall, over the counter where we keep the coffee pot.  (Or our coffee shrine as I call it)

I had seen a couple of different metal signs done with sayings, and I really liked them.   So I set out to find someone local who made them and came across Vintage Metal Co. out of Visalia. (you can find them on Etsy)  They could do a custom saying and the cost was pretty reasonable.  Now the problem…what would I have it say?

It really didn’t take long, because I had seen it somewhere before.  So I ordered our sign, and it came out perfectly.  I have seen the Cuppa Joy done by lots of people, but for my husband and myself, it has meaning far beyond coffee. Continue reading “A cuppa JOY!”

Of Billy and influence….

thSo the day finally came, and my first reaction was sadness, then I pondered and then I laughed.   I was sad because I know that at the loss of Billy Graham, his family and friends will be going through a grieving process.  The first moments of separation are the worst.  I was also sad because it seems that these are the days that we need a Billy Graham.

But that didn’t sound right.  As I started to ponder the thought, I realized that what we really needed are “men and women like Billy Graham.” Continue reading “Of Billy and influence….”

What’s the fuel to your fire?

I hate when I get stuck on the hook.  I mean really…. I am human!  So… I might not have
been totally awake yesterday as I was sitting in church.  In my defense, I had just gotten out of a Sunday school class with 26 pre-schoolers that morning, so I was exhausted!  As I was listening, the pastor brought up the words we use and how they can affect people.  Since I am all about words, both written and spoken (a lot of them according to Mike) I make an effort to pay attention when the subject is brought up.  Well he noted the verse:

It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire.  A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that.  James 3:5 Continue reading “What’s the fuel to your fire?”

To Love and Mourn…Together

So I am going to try and be concise….not too wordy.  No promises though!

Unknown 8.24.28 PMThis year was kind of funny because Lent started on Valentine’s day.  Not coming from a liturgical background, I have only started following this tradition.  (In my own made up way)  So a couple days ago, I was reading a blog written by a young Catholic woman, and she made the connection between Valentines day, the whole “love” thing, and Lent which prepares us for the remembrance of the greatest act of love ever.  I thought that was kinda cool.  Up to that point, the only connection I had made about the coincidence was to tease my friend that she may need to celebrate Valentines on Tuesday.  Continue reading “To Love and Mourn…Together”

A question of loyalty…

For a while, I have had a love/hate relationship with living in the Central Valley.  It may be because I bought into what people were saying….there is nothing to do!

IMG_6894Well, this isn’t the bay area, where there are plenty of museums, venues, and events, but that doesn’t mean that there is nothing to do!

Case in point, the Kingsburg Historical Park is hosting an interesting exhibit on the Japanese internment experience.  While it may be small, it provides some perspectives and spurs questions that are applicable even today.

The few things that really stood out to me….. Continue reading “A question of loyalty…”

Of Beauty and pain…

IMG_6847I think it is going to be an interesting year.  There are things that I am looking forward to, but I also feel a little concerned.  Why?  Well it all comes down to themes.  When I read or see things, sometimes themes appear.  So far this year, I have seen this thread of beauty through pain, and it has caught my attention.

It was reflected in the conversation of mother who is watching the cancer spread through her daughter’s body, but showed such strength, love and hope in that same conversation.  Continue reading “Of Beauty and pain…”

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