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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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Enjoying the joy!

So today I was thinking, I haven’t written in my blog in a couple of days.  How can I be a writer if I don’t write?    Since my blog is typically the things that I see God teaching me, I was kinda stressed that I did not have anything to write about.  Is He ignoring me?  Am I ignoring Him?  I then took a good look at my week and calmed down.

I have been working on a children’s story that I wrote about eight years ago, so I really haven’t been idle, but   it is hard though when there is no feedback.  When I write in the blog, I at least feel like I accomplish something when I hit the post button.  Editing a story, is much less satisfying.  I am telling you, every day is a battle in my own brain.

This evening though, I felt that my mind is in a better pla63419-keep-calm-and-love-cookingce.  How do I know?  Well it has to do with some of the other things I have been doing this week.  I have been doing some deep cleaning in my kitchen, tap dancing and cooking.   Why are these things important?  Well if I am not writing, I feel guilty.  When I feel guilty, I start getting fearful, I doubt and have a hard time being productive in anything I am doing.  This week though, I tried to find some balance.  The balance that I need between writing, taking care of my family, working on my own insecurities and trying to be who I think God wants me to be.  I am not sure if I got the balance right this week, but I feel like I made a better attempt.

It then hit me that God had been speaking to me this week, I just needed all of the pieces to come together to see it.   He gave me a vision of what my life can look like, when I am not living in the land of doubt and fear.  When I choose to live like I say I believe, and trust Him.  From the outside it may not look really different, but to the inside of me, it is like night and day.

But make everyone rejoice who puts his trust in you. Keep them shouting for joy because you are defending them. Fill all who love you with your happiness.  Psalm 51:11 NLT

Of Fall and Friends

I was not sure why I looked, but I did.  It may be because it is fall.  I know, most people just get a pumpkin spice latte, but not me.  I become nostalgic.  It might have been because yesterday was such a sucky day.  I slept badly, and did not write till late in the afternoon.  Which means that all the crap that makes my head, spin was not written out and discarded.  It just kept rolling around in my mind till it was ready to burst.  Yesterday afternoon though, I was able to get out, grab some chai and “throw up” for lack of a better term.  I just write down everything in my head and see if I can use any of what is there.

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For some reason this morning, I did not go back to it.  I was feeling nostalgic again and so I did look up some information on my elementary school.  I was trying to picture people and some of the things that shape my memories.  It was then that I looked.  In this day and age of the internet you can find just about anyone, or at least some bit of an electronic trace.  So during childhood I had many friends on and off, and I still keep in touch with a few.  There is one though, that I truly lost touch with. We met during elementary school, continued through Junior high and into the beginning of high school. At some point, we grew apart?

115847-113843Today for some reason, I Googled her name.  OK, so I looked her up through Yahoo, whatever!  When her name
came up, so did a lot of pictures.  Some were of other people, but then I saw her face.  Older, with darker hair but beautiful.  I looked into the face of a person that I remember with fondness, I looked into the face of a person that I loved.  Now get your minds out of the gutter, not that kind of love.   The kind of love you have for a family member that, even though you haven’t seen them for a while, you feel like they had never left your side.

So what do you do when you find someone on the internet?  You of course cyber stalk them.  Do not get the wrong idea, I was not going to camp out at her house or anything.  I went and looked in the usual places for information, FaceBook and Twitter.  I looked for pictures of her, of her family, any information as to where she lived and what she was doing after all these years.  It was exciting to see that she is an actress.  It was something that made sense, in relation to the girl I once knew.  I guess the tap, jazz, acrobat and Hawaiian dance lessons had paid off for her.  I always laughed when she went through the litany of dance classes she had taken, and even with what I listed, I am probably still missing some of them.  As you can imagine, I was a more than a little envious of her training.

autism-puzzle-piece-clip-art-cliparts-co-lilgLt-clipartIt makes me happy to know that she is well.  I remember long conversations when we were younger, but I don’t remember the details.  I cannot put my finger on the why, all I know is what my heart tells me.  All I know is that finding out this new information, is like a piece of a puzzle.  It all seems to fit.   I love fall and the thoughts of old friends.

 

 

Holding on…

“I will not let you go unless you bless me.”  Genesis 32:26b

These past few weeks I have been watching a lot of the Olympics.  I have not sat down for long stretches of time, but if I was able to catch a few minutes, I did.  One of those times included watching the end of a wrestling match between Russia and Uzbekistan.  At the end of the match, the Uzbek athlete lost, and proceeded to lay in the middle of the mat inconsolable.  The referee or umpire or whatever they are called in wrestling, stood there offering a hand that was ignored.  Finally, after what seemed a long time, he got up and stood there as the other athlete was called the winner.  I made note of his actions, and didn’t think of them again until today.

I have been listening to a sermon podcast from church, and that is what brought the wrestler back to mind.  Why?  Well, after listening to this sermon, I really could relate to the guy on the mat.  It was like if he stayed on the mat, then the match wasn’t really over.  As he laid there, I wondered what was going through his mind?  Maybe he was wrestling with his own emotions and thoughts.  Then when he could bear the outcome, he was finally able to get up.  It gave me a better picture of the story of Jacob and the night he wrestled with God.  Even better than that, the whole story seemed to give me a better picture of my own wrestling with God.

Here is the quick rundown.  Esau and Jacob were brothers, and Esau being the oldest was in line for the birthright and blessing from his father.  These two brothers had two different mothers so there were a whole bunch of dysfunctional family dynamics going on.  What winds up happening is that Jacob manipulates the situation and steals both the birthright and blessing.  At that point Esau is mad as all get out and vows to kill his brother, so Jacob runs away.

While Jacob is gone, God guides him and blesses him, but It is not always pretty.  He gets conned by his father in law, Laban.  Then he is able to do some conning of his own, since he had been taken advantage of.  God eventually tells him to return home, back to the land of his father and grandfather, where God promises to be with him.  Jacob is now husband to two wives, baby daddy to two servants and father to many children.  He came home very wealthy as he had flocks of many animals and lots of servants.

One thing he did not have was the knowledge of what waited for him at home.  Would Esau welcome him?  Would he still be calling for Jacobs blood? Jacob was terrified.  So what does he do?  Well he reminds God of all the promises that He made to Jacob and his family.  The one’s where God said He would protect Jacob if he returned home, and that He would multiply Jacob’s descendants until they were as many as the sand on the beach.   So Jacob then slept peacefully reminded of all God’s promises, right? Continue reading “Holding on…”

Tap dance as life.

Viva La Revolution!!  And I do not mean some kind of violent upheaval, I mean the spinning around till you get back to the start.  That is where I am today, back to getting some tapping done.  I am trying to be mindful of everything that is going on in the world, but life goes on.  And isn’t that why we continue to address the same issues?  Life must go on.  I have to work, pay bills, care for my family, exercise, eat right and try to encourage/instruct my children.  (still!!)

I was tapping this morning (yikes) and I found that one step was really hard for me, because of one little problem.  I was having a hard time with my weight on my heel and bringing my other foot off the floor.  It was all a matter of balance.  I felt awkward and terribly clumsy, but kept working on it.  After thinking it through, watching the video and practicing that one part repeatedly it finally felt better.  It probably did not look perfect, but it did feel a little more natural. Continue reading “Tap dance as life.”

Happy that no one is watching

So today I am going back to the start.  I said that I have typically 20 things going on in my head at one time, so I am trying to clear everything else out and focus on one thing.  I have my tap board ready, my shoes and a video of simple instructions.  I have to get practicing if I am going to be ready for next year’s National Tap Dance Day.

It has been a couple of weeks since building my board, and trying it out for a fekeep-calm-and-tap-dance-48w minutes.  Why haven’t I stepped back on you ask?  Well, this morning I was asking myself the same thing.  I thought back over the past couple of weeks, and wondered what happened?  What took my excitement away?  Where did the drive go to accomplish something new ?  I know the whole tap dancing thing seems a little trivial, but it really is a means to deal with other things that are truly not so trivial.  Insecurities, health, doubt, fear, fitness and choosing the freedom to live life joyfully.

 

I look back on the last few weeks, and I see doubt and fear raising their ugly heads.  These two monsters have been attacking me with a vengeance.  The avenues of attack?  It has been finances, writing, back pain and even discouragement.  So where is my defense?  I got a kick star280px-Gossamer_restoredt from reading the bible, making props for storytelling, helping my husband and reading some Max Lucado.  That is all just to stay afloat.  I also listened to an author/speaker named John Maxwell, and he was talking about one of his books, “Today Matters”.  There was a lot in it, but my quick take away was if you put something off until tomorrow, it is more than likely it will never get done.

 

I have been legitimately busy, but I noticed that this was the only thing that I kept putting off day after day. That caught my attention.  I always put off doing what I don’t like, is hardest or most uncomfortable for me.  It is a pattern.  So when I see this, I know I have to attack it.  So here I am, ready to wage war on my fear and insecurity through the art of dance.  OK, I use the word art and dance very loosely.  You have heard the saying, “Dance like no one is watching.”  Well I can tell you, I have never been more thankful that no one is watching.

Someone else’s box.

So I really love to write, and I typically have 20 things going through my head at one time, so I always feel like it should come freely and with ease.  The only problem is, most time it doesn’t.  By the end, it feels more like child birth than anything else.  Times of struggle, gasping for each new line.  Then at times there is rest and a moment where new insight is revealed.  So for me, it is not always easy.

This morning though, I was really inspired and wanted to just sit and get my thoughts down on paper.  It all started when I read a blog, “Fcuk Pretty.” Well the title had me interested, and when I went to read it, the post had me hooked.  I enjoyed the writing and honesty, but most of all I loved the commonality.  In my own life, I could relate to some of the feelings and statements that she was relaying in the post.  What is the best part though?   It was her.  I looked at some of the information about her, and I knew that I would not naturally be a part of her circle of friends.  (influence?)  To me though, that is exciting.

Again, we find so many ways to separate ourselves from each other, and I am done with that.   It is boring.  I want to risk meeting people who are different than me, the ones that I am not “supposed” to talk to.  I want to know their story, and how it may have hurt them or brought them strength.  I want to hear about the things that separate us, because when I look at them through the lens of eternity, those things become meaningless.

What do you think?  Are you tired of being labeled and put in someone else’s box?

Here is the link to the original post: https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/33316213/posts/1045939154

Seems the link may be having issues.  Where is my IT guy?  Please cut and paste…it will get you there.  Sorry for the difficulties….but I do recommend reading it.  Thanks!!

Level of the least discriminating audience

Lowest common denominator.  Again, this math concept came back to me as I have been listening to the election coverage and heard it being used.  I know what you are thinking, politics and math? It was actually Stephen Hawking who used it, and while he was talking about a particular presidential candidate, I actually think about this all the time.   It is pretty funny because it is a mathematics term, and I hated math.  As I am getting older though, I am finding that math is making its way into my everyday life more often.  The best is when I use algebra as an object lesson for my sons.  My mother, the math teacher, would be proud.  My sons though, are pretty much over it.

math1
Just had to put a math graphic in here for fun. 

Back to my point.  I find that in a lot of things, people tend to go to the lowest common denominator.   Myself included.  I always wonder why?  Whether it is comedy. Where most jokes nowadays are more hurtful than funny, but everyone laughs.  Or it could be politics, where we jump on a bandwagon of the candidate who is talking the loudest, singling out an enemy and promising what they are going to do for you.  Or even the church where we pretend to do instead of really doing what we believe, because it is just easier that way.   Again why?  Maybe we are working, trying to make ends meet?  More concerned with getting the kids picked up from daycare than who will be the next councilman, senator or president?  Worrying about our weight, health, jobs, spouses  and children.  Which are all good things to worry about.  Too tired at the end of day trying to make life better, that we don’t have the energy to really ask, what makes a better life?   Too distracted to ask ourselves, do I really want to live a “lowest common denominator” kind of life?

I know that is a life I really don’t want.  Unfortunately, I believe that is a life I have lived too much of already. So I am now trying day by day not to accept that “uncommon” life as my own.  It is harder than it looks.  I get up, I write, I read my bible, exercise (ok so not every day yet), and I try to be encouraging.  Every day I fight the desires to wallow in self-pity, doubt, fear, pride and anger.  (Well that was an honest sentence for you) Each day is a new opportunity, and maybe more importantly a different opportunity.  So I take strength in the words of Paul, the man who wrote most of the new testament not the Beatle.  “I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”  He sounds as confused as I feel many times, but I love his honesty.  I take great comfort in the fact that if Paul didn’t have it all down on his own, than I am not doing so bad.  My Mom was right when she said, “it’s not what you know, but who you know”, and for that uncommon life, I am counting on Him being my Who.

If you want to check out where Paul said that:   Romans 7:15 NIV

Please leave a comment if the post encouraged, challenged or made you think.  

Tapping out a thankful tune!

So am I ready to tap or what?  This is something that I think I have always wanted to do, but hadn’t.  So here in the blogospere where I can be honest and live fully as myself, I am ready.   There are different DIY tap boards on the internet, so I had a pretty good idea of what I would need to make one.  I then watched a couple of videos from people who made one, and thought putting it together looked pretty easy.  To make it even less expensive, they suggested going to a home improvement store and seeing if there was flooring that you could buy cheap.  I googled the foam flooring needed and I was happy to see that it was inexpensive, but when I got thinking about the wood flooring an idea popped into my head.  I remembered that my sister had done some new flooring in her home not too long ago, so I texted and asked if she had some leftover pieces?  She did!   We were going to visit her, so I told her I would talk with her when I got there.  How great is that?

It was a boost that I needed, because our finances have been on my mind a lot lately. As of the end of the month, I am officially unemployed.  So now that the time has come, I am starting to wonder about our needs and how we are going to adjust our lifestyle when we are back to one income.  I have worked for the same company for the last 7 years, and so leaving was a hard decision, but it was a decision I felt compelled to do.  It was a new direction that God was prompting me to follow and I felt that the time had finally come.  So for that reason, provision has been on my mind.  What was encouraging to me was God using this tap dance “storyline” to not only teach me about myself, but to provide everything needed without having to spend a bunch of money. Again, it is a simple thing, but it was a reminder to me of who God is and how He works.

I gave a month’s notice, so I was doing pretty good until the month was almost done.  It was then that I started to stress.  I was wondering how I could make some extra cash, even before I was in the situation where it was needed.  I was getting ahead of God.  When I realized that, I tried to relax.  I thought back to the many times before when He had come through.  God has a bunch of different names in the bible, but my favorite is Jehovah Jireh.  It means the Lord provides.  I had to remember that I was not the source of our families provision, and neither was the job I had.  That job was a tool that God used to provide for us.  I felt better, over my panic attack, and feeling a little more secure.

So back to my tap board.  I went to my sister’s house and she gave me more than enough flooring to make the tap board.  I came home excited and thankful.  It was then that God made me laugh out loud.  The next day I walked into the garage and found foam flooring.  How it got into our garage, I will never know?  Both my husband imageand I were stumped?  It might have been one of our children, or maybe even left by the previous owner.  My husband then decided that some plywood he had could be used for my board.  It was just the right size, and didn’t even have to be cut.  The only item I had to purchase was some gorilla glue.  So for under $5.00, I have my tap board.  With that board, I will get some exercise, learn something new, live joyfully and continue to work on unpeeling the onion that is my life. Except now, I will be doing it to a different beat.

 

Just say cheese….

So I was reading a blog this morning, it is called “ Beauty Beyond Bones”, and it is written by a recovering anorexic.  She made a post about this week being “body positivity week”.  She had a great perspective on this body positivity thing, so I have put a link here if you would like to take a look.    https://beautybeyondbones.com/2016/05/12/body-positivity-week/

Her post got me thinking though about the pictures that we take.  This is on my mind lately, because my husband is starting to be heavily involved, dare I say obsessed, with photography.  He is always trying to get me to take pictures, so he can learn to use different techniques. I never remember being so weird about taking pictures, but then again, I have never been this old and there have never been so many picture taking opportunities available.  I mean really, Facebook is full of them.  So as I was driving, I began thinking about this woman’s solution in regards to body image, and then I thought about my own.  It is funny, as I write this I am sitting at a desk with a mirror over it.  So I am basically staring at my own face, thus the picture I have posted.  I find this slightly ironic.  I even had to take two pictures, because I caught myself in the first one trying not to smile so big.  Jeez!!

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So I thought about the pictures that I take.  Sometimes they are funny, silly, but usually they are for a remembrance of a time, occasion or friends.  Some of the pictures that I have taken recently are ones that I do not like very much.  Why?  It seems that I am more concerned with trying to look cute than enjoying the “why” of the picture.  How do I know?  It is evident in my body language, and I can just tell by how I look.  These pictures show a woman who is not comfortable with how she is perceived.  The funny thing is though, I pretty much am OK with how I look.  I am old, well not that old, but old enough.  On the edge of still being kind of cute, but sags and weight are taking a toll.  I thought about that, and I felt stupid.  I love looking at pictures, and I thought of the pictures that have spoken to me the most.  The ones that made me really feel things, and they were of people who were not necessarily looking their best.  Dorothea Lange immediately sprang to mind.  Her pictures of people who were struggling through the depression in the dust bowl are some of the most important pictures of our time.  These people are NOT looking cute.  What you do see is pain, resilience, struggle, fear, and maybe even some hope.  These photos opened people’s eyes to what the effect of unemployment was on the entire family.  These photos still have the ability to touch people today.  And I am worried about if I am cute?

The pictures that I like best of myself are the ones where I forget about the camera, and I concentrate on enjoying the moment.  Then, my smile is genuine, if not a little large.  There is a twinkle in my eye, even if you can’t totally see it through my glasses.  My body language is relaxed, even if it is a bit, how do I say this?  Chubby?  And if my gray hair is peeking out? Then so be it.  This is who I am, and I like that me.  I like the me who is more concerned with celebrating a birthday than looking cute.  The one who is having fun, being silly with a friend, better than the one who is trying to get her good side.  The one who is willing to show her tears, even when she is not a pretty crier.  So I have decided, that I am not going to worry about how I look.  I am going to focus on enjoying the moments God has given me.  To be fully invested in who I am with, and what is happening around me.  So tonight as I go and celebrate a wedding with friends, I choose to forget about how I look, and remember to let the joyfulness of the day be my beauty.

 

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