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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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feelings

…quickly torn apart.

“Isn’t it amazing how long it takes to build something, and how quickly it can be torn apart.”

I had a sermon playing on my phone as I was pulling weeds.  It’s funny. I’ve listened to it a couple of times before but this was the first time I remember hearing the quote.   Maybe it caught my attention because of circumstances.  I tried to keep listening, but the quote kept turning in my head, so I turned it off and put on some music.

DSC_1782We’ve had so much rain lately that the weeds have taken over.  So it was past time to get out and clean them up.  They were easy to pull, as the ground is soft and the weeds were pretty big. Some of it was small and kind of reminded me of ground cover. It was more delicate and harder to pull out.  It was such a pain!  I had half a mind to let it stay, but I knew no matter what they looked like, they were still weeds.  As green as they were, I knew that it would take over and that wouldn’t be good.  Plus, it would have gotten me into huge trouble! My son worked one spring to get the area all dug out and the mulch put down, so I want to honor the work he did by keeping it cleaned out and looking good.

I think of how upset he would be if I just let it all go to the weeds.  It took him time, sweat and a lot of hard work to get it all completed.  Like the quote, he had built something that took effort, and as I looked at the mulch, I saw how easy it could be ruined.

It’s a lot like life.  Even things that are developed, worked on and cultivated can be ruined when we leave the habits, activities or even people that shouldn’t be there.

God help me to keep the weeds pulled!

Time to encourage…..

IMG_7943Timing is everything.  I’ve really been amazed at the people we’ve met over the past couple of months.  How they encouraged us, provided good care for Mike and helped us navigate the process.  One of my favorites was an older lady I met while Mike was having an MRI. This was before we had his diagnosis.  We had gotten to the office where the MRI would be done, and I can remember thinking for the first time how fragile Mike seemed.  We both got out of the car and he waited for me.  We’ve always held hands when we walked, but now it was different. We walked slower, more carefully. I was holding his hand more to help him, than simply out of affection.  When we finally got into the back, Mike went into get the MRI done, and I sat out in a small waiting area.  No one was out there with me until an older couple came back and were waiting. Ugh!  I did not want to talk to anyone!  So I kept looking straight ahead and did all I could not to make eye contact. When the man was called back, I was doing great, keeping my eyes to myself and not attracting any attention. Well, that was until I started laughing.

I mean it wasn’t my fault!  It was the technician that was taking people back. So he finishes up with a patient, and tells him he can go.  Right at that time a doctor comes up and wants to talk to the technician, so he tells the patient to just sit down.  The patient, confused now that he is getting two different sets of instructions, stands there unsure of what to do?  When the doctor steps away, the technician sees the poor man and asks why he is still there? The patient says “well the doctor told me to sit,” and the tech just says, “what does he know, he’s only a doctor?” The patient then leaves, and I start cracking up watching this play out in front of me.  I then made my mistake, and made eye contact with the lady that was sitting there.  When I relayed why I was laughing, she couldn’t hear me, so of course I had to sit next to her and share the story.  By that time it was all over, I was trapped into a conversation that I didn’t want.  For that, I am so grateful!

IMG_0143So we talked, or at least I listened while she talked.  She shared a lot of her life in just a few minutes.  We also got to talking about her moving into a new “adult community” and her fears of finding a place with the new people she would meet.  We also talked about her son, and the new woman in his life.  She had liked her, was impressed with her education and intelligence, but was unsure because she had tattoos.  She was a good Catholic lady, and this seemed to bug her a lot.  So I did what I do best, and told her what I had learned along the way.  Encouraging her to remember the times she had been the new person in the past, and how she had found a place then.  I told her that this would be the same, and not to worry.  I also told her about my own son and his many tattoos.  She seemed to be comforted by the words and my own experiences.  It was a great conversation, distracting for me and encouraging for her!

By the time my hubby was coming out where we were waiting, she was giving me a hug goodbye and telling me she “loved me”.  She was adorable, and it was such a fun conversation!  Mike asked who she was, and I told him that we had just met.  He just gave me a look?  That was a moment though that I just thanked God for perspective.  It was the last time I would try to cut myself off from the people around me.  I realized that God may have put them in my path to help me cope. Even more important, God may have put me in their path for the exact same reason.

Advent: Note to SELF…..sin no more

IMG_5203There is such peace for me in the mornings, especially in the winter. The darkness closes in and envelops everything.  It magnifies the feeling of quiet and alone.  It’s different in summer and spring.  The sun comes up early and gives you the opportunity to get your day started.  You see all that needs to be done, and the light says “let’s get to work!” In winter, the darkness speaks to the world in inky blackness, “Sit and ponder,” she says.

It’s important to me to have this time.  I got up and saw a twitter notification and read a couple of tweets. I tend to follow people who encourage, but then things are retweeted and it just gets stupid.  I couldn’t think of a better word!  So after that kind of reading, and my thoughts traveling down the rabbit hole, I needed the quiet.  I feel like I needed an adjustment.  Kind of like the chiropractor, you know?  If your head is not aligned correctly there is pain, if all is lined up correctly, there is no pain.  Funny thing is, once you are in alignment, your body is back to optimal working conditions.

I think of how easily this world knocks us out of alignment.  It can be anything, from pain to pleasure, having too little or even too much.  Fear, sadness and even a life of ease can throw us off.  For me this morning, that “anything” was sin.  What got me started was someone calling out someone else’s sin.  Make sense?

dsc_0835You see the problem is, I know my sin, but you may not.  I am pretty quiet about it.  I mean really…. who wants people to know what they do that misses the mark?  Most people I know don’t really want to confront their own sin, let alone have someone else confront it.  So why do we feel the need to mention it on Twitter?  If you know someone is dealing with something, talk to them about it. Study with them.  Love them!  If that sin is so grievous to you, meet people where they are.   Jesus did! He met people where they were, not after the healing.  And when He met them, He brought grace and love.  He eventually showed them the sign, but it was after they felt His care for them.

So just a friendly reminder.  Sometimes our shortcomings are less hidden than we thought.  It is messy for all of us in the midst of our sin.  And while you may not want to wade in to meet me in mine, don’t forget, someone could be debating whether it’s worth it to meet you in yours.

Advent: Being mindful….

images-2You know, sometimes this writing part of my life is not easy!  I try to come up with something interesting, or thought provoking, not preachy and above all not too opinionated.  I try to frame what I write as my experience, and hope it either encourages or at least gives someone a different perspective.

It is hard though, because I am pretty opinionated.   I’d like to think that I have some pretty good ideas, because I have common sense, and in some ways I am pretty smart.  So I am thinking my opinions are wise…. Right?   Also, according to my pastor since I am so old, I am a good mentor figure.  (that kills me)

Well over the last few years as social media has exploded, I am less and less impressed with my own opinion.  Why?  Because I am so tired of hearing everyone else’s, I can imagine how people feel hearing mine.  I am lucky though, as I have an easier time holding my tongue than others do.  (don’t get me wrong, I came by this trait the hard way.  But God has taken hurt and made it into a useful part of my life.)

Why did I bring this up?  I really don’t know….I just started writing?  I guess it was the imagesphone call I got last night.  I am typically the one who is messaging or talking to someone to encourage them, but last night the call was for me.  Someone wanted to ask how I was, and check up on me and the family. I appreciated it so much!  And at the end she prayed for me, and it was cool because it showed growth in her faith.

 

 

_DSC9219Why these two topics together?  Well, I guess it’s because I hear much more ”opinion” than encouragement. And since I am like most people, I tend to think we are all looking for more encouragement, love, kindness and lack of judgment than we are looking for another opinion.  So today be mindful of the words you say.  Be a shoulder to lean on, cry on or just be a good listener. Leave your opinions behind, and see how you can be an encouragement to someone today.

Was that a little preachy?  Not sure…… will try better tomorrow.

Advent: Remember, reboot, refocus…

What to write….what to write? Sometimes it feels like different topics are warring in my mind to be what I wwhiskey-typewriter-shutterstock-570x380rite about, but it never really takes shape till my fingers start typing on the keys.

My emotions are in a bit of a roller coaster this morning, and it all started last night.  While it was nothing specific, there was a general feeling of anxiety. I would put it in the class of “anxiety attack” although last night’s version was pretty mild. I started to get a little panicky and was feeling hot.  I even slept on the couch last night because when I feel this way, I just need a little more space, cooler air and not stressing over waking my hubby.

I have general anxiety like most people do, but a couple of years ago I started having what I call attacks.  Immediately stressed, can’t breathe, hot sweaty periods of time where I have to work to bring myself to some kind of control.  It is hard, and they are scary.  It mostly happened at night, when distractions were taken away and my subconscious could do its worst.  So this morning, I was really interested in taking time to spend time with the Big Guy and find some type of peace.

So I was reading about Jesus and his nighttime encounter with this religious leader, Nicodemus.  It’s kind of funny how it starts out.  Nicodemus comes to Jesus and is like, “hey….we know you are sent by God because you do these great miracles.”  And instead of saying something logical like, “thanks….glad to be here,” Jesus gives an answer to a question.  The problem is, no question has been asked?  What?  Now you can go in and check out the answer and what Jesus explains to him, but that is not the point of my little writing this morning.

So what is?

Well, I love the fact that Jesus gave him the answer, before Nicodemus even knew he IMG_5206wanted to ask the question!  God knows us, and so does His Son.  Jesus knew Nicodemus deepest, darkest, subconscious thoughts, dreams, stress and heart’s desire.  He knows mine too.

And in reading that this morning, I realized that even before I knew I would have a night of anxiety, He did.  And in what I wrote yesterday, He has already given me the answer for the peace I need today.   So this morning, I’m taking the time to remember, reboot and refocus on what is true.  The God who provided yesterday is the same one who will continue to do so today and in the future.

imageWhat’s going on in your life today?  Do you really need an answer to that question, situation or stress?  Look back!  Remember, reboot and refocus.  You might be surprised at what answers you may find!

 

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?”

Change of perspective….

Attached are photos from both Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks.  At this time of year, the beauty of these parks are a bit muted.  You see a few trees that are wearing their fall “glory,” but fall in the Sierra’s isn’t astounding.  What you do see a “pop of color” here and there that I just happen to love!  Both parks were pretty quiet when we went, and that made it even more special.  It was a time (at least for me) to remember not only how small my problems are, but how big God is.

I love the picture of the path with the granite rocks dotting the way.  I had to watch eachIMG_6695 step carefully as I walked, making sure to navigate around the bumps and place my feet on flat ground.  Why?  Because I am such a clutz!  Now there was plenty of good ground to step on, but I had to pay attention to make sure that is where I was walking.  I took the picture because that is really how I am feeling right now.  My life’s path feels a bit bumpy, so I am taking it slow trying to make it through.  The picture gives me hope, as the path does eventually smooth out, and I know my life’s path will too.  It is only a matter of time…..

Until then, I am thankful that I live so close to these beautiful places where I can breathe in fresh air, see blue sky and get a change of perspective!

Adventure in progress….

images-2What happens when you focus so much on yourself and your own problems that you can’t see anything else?  I have gone through so many different emotions today.  I woke up and was feeling pretty down.  I am feeling some stress from the decisions I have made, and so I was trying to work out some of my feelings.  (wow….used the word feelings a lot) Maybe that was my problem this morning?  So many feelings, but so little perspective.

Continue reading “Adventure in progress….”

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