Cheryl Mendoza

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



More than hope….

So I have these blocks with letters.  Every year at Christmastime I take them out and spell words with them.  I feel like I am missing some letters, because I can only spell two words every year?  So my choice is limited, but every few years these letters speak to me.  (No….not audibly…just metaphorically)  

A couple of years ago I started using them to spell JOY, and it really was a reflection of what God was talking to me about in that season.  Typically the other word I spell is LOVE since that is a favorite of mine, but this year was different.  What jumped out at me immediately was HOPE!

When I sat the letters on my hearth, I knew it was meant to be.  HOPE is a word is that brings its own energy.  There’s power, action and new beginnings imbued in that one word.   And right now, a lot of us can use some of that in our lives, me included.  It was on Saturday, and I was just getting my Christmas decorations out.  I am so behind this year, but that seems to be the way with everything in 2020.  Just off a bit…. or even off a lot!  I just don’t feel like I can catch up!  It didn’t take long though to get wrapped up in what I was doing.  Enjoying the memories that the decorations evoked.  So many good times!  There were also a few items that reminded me of harder days.  Even with those memories, I could remember how God brought us through the difficulties.  

And that is really where my HOPE lies….. 

“Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the showdown of death, and to guide us to the path of peace”

Luke 1:78 & 79

Advent: Rejoice!

dsc_0835-2So it’s Christmas Eve and I am fighting my feelings.  I’m sitting here with my hubby on a quiet evening.  No family…. Not that normal excitement that usually comes with the season.  In some ways it seems kind of sad, but it’s just because things have changed.  Most of the boys are now with significant others and living out of town.  So we spent our “Christmas” together on Saturday, so that they would be with their ladies families on Christmas day.  It was wonderful to be together, but the new normal is taking some getting used to.  It was kind of getting me down having such a quiet Christmas Eve and anticipating the same on Christmas Day.  It didn’t help that I was going to the doctor because I wasn’t feeling well.  Really?  Is this how the holiday is supposed to be?   Continue reading “Advent: Rejoice!”

Christmas traditions….

So I was a little sad on Sunday night.  My hubby’s cousin is a music pastor, and they were having the last performance of their annual Christmas program.  It brought back memories of previous years, and the annual tradition of Round the Table Carol Sing.

That was the name of the Christmas program at our previous church.   It was a huge undertaking of music, drama, sets, and a whole lot of Burnt Almond Cake.  There was a contemporary story, that was mixed in with a retelling of the story of Jesus birth.  What I remember most about Carol Sing was the reaction of those who came to watch.  They were always amazed by all of the surrounding sets, lighting and costumes.  It was pretty over the top!  I was privileged to be a part of it for a couple of years.  Nothing special, just a part of the choir, except for that one year when I played a Santa Baby.  My hubby still enjoys that hazy memory.  It was such a wonderful experience.  Why?  Well, to be a part of something that brought so much joy to people was exciting.  It was something that I could not do alone, but with God and a whole group of people, amazing things happen.

So as I was putting silverware on tables at the Lemoore Christmas Community dinner, I teared up a little.  I was just feeling a little homesick.  Nostalgic.  Well since I am not a pretty crier, I quickly got myself under control and got back to work.  I was an Elf after all, and nobody likes a sad elf.  So my duties for the evening would be to help facilitate the craft and presents at a couple of tables.  Greet the families and just help to ensure that they were having a good time.  After I gave my new friends a general idea of what would happen during the evening; dinner/presents/raffles/pictures, we just started having a fun together.  Talking, laughing and teasing each other.   The kids enjoyed making their ornament and who doesn’t love some cake after dinner.

I made some extra special friends at one table.  I had some bells that I had put on ribbons a couple of years ago, and they had been hanging on my tree each year.  Before I left home, I had grabbed them and put them on my wrist.  There is nothing better than walking around jingling, much to my hubby’s dismay. Anyway, at one point during the evening, one of the girls said she liked them.  So I took them off, separated the strings and gave one to each girl.  I was very happy that I had three, how perfect was that!  I now have friends for life.

The organizers made sure that those who attended were lavished with care, food, pictures and then there was more.  They were shocked, then excited and then they were delighted by each new surprise.  At one table a fifteen year old young sat with his family.  He was a happy guy.  Those were his words, not mine.   He seemed truly impressed by everyone’s generosity and gave me a big hug before they left.  I have never met him before and may never see him again, but I will remember the look in his eyes for the rest of my life.  Their table did not open the presents they were given, so I told him that I hoped the present would be good.  I stood with his mom as they pulled tickets for the raffle, hoping she would win that gift card to Payless.   Funny how excited you can get for someone else when you are not in the raffle yourself.

One of the boys at the other table was excited.  He whispered that he had peeked into the package and the present inside was good.  Then I was excited too!  We laughed together, and I was so relieved that he was going to like what he received.

Aimg_4538s the night ended I could not believe what an amazing time I’d had.   It was then That I remembered Carol Sing.  It was that same type of feeling.  The one that comes when so many people come together and do a great work, that none of them could have done alone.  When they let generosity, hope and grace flow from God through them.  So many presents, so much food, so much time and so many people!   Those who organized this event not only provided a meal and presents, they gave those who attended a night where they were treated as honored guests.

And as for me?  Next year, no more tears.  I am excited to say that I have a new Christmas tradition.

Darkness and light


I am more of a sunshine type of girl, but now we are in December, and I marvel at how dark it gets. Even now as I look out the window, there are storm clouds in the sky with patches of the dark sky showing through. The clouds, sky and even the trees in my yard are all shades of black and gray. Cold, dark and somewhat ominous. In the clouds there is a promise of storms, but also of life giving rain. There is also a reflection in my window, it is the Christmas tree with it’s pure white lights. A distinct contrast to the darkness outside.

I thank God today for the birth of His Son, and for the work that would take 32 years to accomplish on earth. I am thankful on that day so long ago…that the work was already done. That there was nothing in heaven or earth to stop the blessing that would come forth.

I also thank God that, even though we may not know the exact day of His birth, we celebrate it in winter. At the time of year that truly reflects our fallen state; darkness, cold and separation. Against this backdrop we contrast the light of the world.  Where He is truly reflected for who He is. Light, peace and above all hope.

**This was something that I wrote a couple of years ago, but it came back to me as I was looking at this picture.  The day was a combination of shadows and light.  It was warm in the light, but very cold when you stepped into the dark shadows.  I had cropped this picture to get some of the light out of it, so that I could have a uniform look.   I was not totally successful, as you will see that there is just a hint of sunshine in the left hand corner.

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