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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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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…..”

Life…and what it makes you.

I hate puzzles.  Maybe hate is a strong word, but I have never been a big fan of doing Unknownthem.  What I do like about puzzles is the what they show……A complete picture.  You have all these pieces that go together but they are in such weird shapes, it is not easy to see how everything fits.  But they do.

IMG_5203Life is like a puzzle.  All the days and everything that happens to you become pieces that are fitted together to create you.  How you think, how you feel and how you live.

Sometimes it is hard to see how some things fit in your life.  Death, pain and struggle, but they do.   They belong.  Without those pieces, it is hard to appreciate the simple things.  We have the tendency to take them for granted.  But when you place them beside the hard things, sunshine, green grass, laughter, food on the table, or holding hands with your love one, you see them for the wonder they are.

So here is today…..and another piece added to the puzzle!autism-puzzle-piece-clip-art-cliparts-co-lilgLt-clipart

 “One day I’ll stand before You and look back on the life I’ve lived.  I can’t wait to enjoy the view and see how all the pieces fit.”
Casting Crowns 

Making room for others….

Unknown
What do you do when  you are feeling low?  Well since I am not really the drinking kind of girl (except for that one trip to the coast) I went back to find encouragement in some of the things that God has already talked to me about.  Today….  I was encouraged to finally post a “speech” (for lack of a better word) that I gave at a women’s breakfast last year. 

Good morning.  My name is Cheryl Mendoza.  I am usually with the preK (Sunday school) department on Sunday mornings, but they let me out to speak to you today.  If things don’t seem to be going well, I may fall back on a trusty puppet to liven things up a bit.

I was graciously invited here this morning by Mona, to come and speak with you. Well, she really only invited me to the breakfast…..then I kind of invited myself to speak and I have to tell you that she immediately and enthusiastically said YES.  No questions as to why, what was I thinking?  So to Mona I say thank you.  Not only for bringing us all together, but trusting me with some of the precious time we have here this morning.  Then of course she asked if I could help MC the event…I thought…no problem.  They have to be easier than preschoolers….right?

So after I had invited myself to be a part of this event.  I continued to chat with Mona about what was on her heart and the motivation behind getting all of us together.  She mentioned this study “Uninvited”  by Lysa Terkeuest.  What moved her heart was community….each one of us having a place. When I heard the heart reasons behind the event, I was hooked.  But the more we chatted, the more I knew that God had a plan.  You see, a couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog post about circles.  That’s right….I am a blogger.  So here is my shameless plug…..Cherylmendoza.com.    So I wrote about circles.  And it was really because of something that happened to me in the preK class.

I was filling in for one of the ladies, and it was during 2nd service, so there was a LOT of new-member-to-circle-image-white-background-34649901kids.  As we brought them in and worked to get them into their circle, we were running out of room.  So without thinking, I said, “let’s make our circle bigger so we can let more friends in.”  I heard myself saying it….and knew then that it was important.  In the blog I wrote of the little slice of heaven that seemed to be pictured that day.  We have a diverse group of kids… and to see them move back to let more in was amazing.  It was also a little heartbreaking.

UnknownI get it…. Sometimes it is hard to keep that open spot for someone new.  That open spot leaves a big question mark.  Will a new person change the dynamic?  Will they bring in baggage?  Can I trust them?  Do they have a good pot luck recipe?  There are all sorts of questions, but more than likely, the answers are not deal breakers.

 

A couple of days after that happened, Marcus had posted on FB about his small group.  Now I have seen the pics of his group.  They seem to really enjoy each other, learn from each other and boy do they eat some good food!!  This post though was announcing the split of this group.  It was not due to a problem, but to fulfill its purpose.  They had grown so large, that they split into two, so that each group would then have room for new people. They made their circle smaller, so that they had room to grow bigger and make room for new friends.  Room for more people, room to give somebody a place.

Acts 6:7 – God’s message was preached in ever-widening circles, and the number of disciples increased vastly in Jerusalem; and many of the Jewish priests were converted too.

Ladies, we have two groups in this room.  Those who are in a circle and those who are not.  For those of you who are, I would encourage you to be intentional in keeping those circles open.  Continue to make sure you are not accidently closing the loop without even knowing it.  You have a place for someone who needs it.  Remember when you did not have a place?  Do all you can to make it easy for those on the outside.

images-1-6-31-45-pmAnd I want to encourage you who are trying to find your place.  It is not easy!  I have
been in the preK dept so long, and now that I am out, I am just trying to find my new place.  It is somewhat uncomfortable at times, but I know the harder it is, the better the payoff will be.  The ladies in my new group are getting to know me, and I am privleged in starting to know them.  Keep at it!  Don’t let being uncomfortable keep you away from what God wants for all of us.  Community.  Influence.  Support.  And where ever widening circles of the good news spread as far as God will take it!

 

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….”

A Study in Pink – Ericka

**While she is technically still on the path to her profession, I felt her story was worth telling.  For some of it is more of a journey to find our place than for others.

Ericka“It was my goal in life to be beautiful,” she told me.  Well my friend, I couldn’t help but think, you have reached your goal.  Ericka Vega is a buddy that I’ve known for a couple of years now, and I wondered what she was up to these days. I messaged her on FaceBook and invited myself over for an interrogation… I mean an interview.

We sat in her backyard and relaxed as we talked.  I asked her what work she was doing now and did I get an answer!  She started off by telling me about her Mr. Dave.  Years ago she started to clean his home a couple of times a month, for some extra income.  That all changed when his physical needs changed.  When he needed more of a caregiver, Ericka stepped up to the plate.  “God is pretty amazing,” she told me.  What started off as a cleaning job, had turned into much more for her.  Since she grew up without a dad, she feels blessed to have in Mr. Dave in her life as a bit of a father figure.  Now, she takes him to appointments at Stanford, and gets him out of the house.  She also is getting him involved in another area of her life, weight training. Continue reading “A Study in Pink – Ericka”

Good, Bad or both?

imagesIs that really how we look at people, all good, or all bad?   It seems that a lot of times we do.   I think we can look into our own lives, and know that’s not that way it really is.    Am I good, Am I bad, or maybe a bit of both?    Continue reading “Good, Bad or both?”

Actions v. Words – Mixed messages?

images-1So I was trolling FaceBook the other day and saw a post that was shared by one of my friends.  An author, Lysa TerKeurst, had come across a quote that she said had challenged her.  The quote, “who you are speaks so loudly, I can barely hear what you’re saying”, had her thinking about how our actions speak louder than words.

I totally agree, but…..  That does not let us off the hook for what we say.  There has to be a balance between the two.  I wrote the other day about how my Great-Grandmother taught me to love.  The way I learned from her, was by how she treated all of us.  I am still learning from her.  I look back at her life and I see that her actions spoke so much louder than words.  Wait though, what I think is so amazing is that her words never contradicted her actions. Continue reading “Actions v. Words – Mixed messages?”

Sowing love…..

Today I was teaching a Sunday School class for Pre-K and Kindergarten kids.  Love the imagesalliteration there.  We had the Good Samaritan as a story and were emphasizing to the kids that Jesus wants us to love everybody.  Our verse to remember today?  Love one another, John 13:34.  In this day and age of isolationism and categorizing each other, it was fun to use the simple illustration of the Good Samaritan loving another person.  Not one of his own kind, not a friend, but just another human being.

As I read the story beforehand to prepare my own understanding, I was struck by a word used in the bible.  It was despised.  That wasn’t the description of the thieves, or the actions of the two men who passed by.  It was an adjective used to describe the Samaritan.  This was the word to describe what would turn out to be the good guy in our story. Continue reading “Sowing love…..”

A bigger circle…

new-member-to-circle-image-white-background-34649901I wound up helping in a pre-K/Kindergarten Sunday school class this weekend.  I was not teaching the lesson, but was just helping to wrangle kids into their places and have some fun while they learned.  It was pretty funny though, because where has God taught me the most?  It has been from serving in this classroom.  What does that say about my maturity? I don’t really think I want to know, but I am glad He uses this room to speak to me.

So as we gathered the kids for circle time, we began to run out of room.  It was then I said, “let’s make our circle bigger, so that we can let more friends in”.  As we continued to adjust kids in the circle, I was thanking God for those words.  They are a lesson to me, and a prayer for those kids.

I can close my eyes and picture that circle of kids.  Hands that are holding their friends, releasing and letting go.  Bodies that shift, for more room, to let another friend enter and then hands are clasped again.  We have a pretty diverse makeup of students in the class, and to see them let go of hands to let others join in, seemed like a small glimpse into heaven.   I am thankful that He uses the kids in that room to speak to me!

 

 

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