Cheryl Mendoza

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



A Study in Pink – Michelle 

So you know when you think you know someone, and then you realize that you’ve just scratched the surface? Well, that’s what happened when I got together with Michelle for another entry in “A Study in Pink”.

Michelle Dove is the Head Start/Child Development Director for Kings Community Action Organization. While her title sounds pretty fancy, it all started in the simplest of ways. She was a mom, coming to a new town when her husband was stationed at NAS Lemoore. She was a stay at home mom, but soon she started watching children from other families. It was then she pursued being certified as a family childcare provider. That simple step, was the beginning of a path that would see her change her educational focus and eventually bring her to something that is so much more than a just a career.

Continue reading “A Study in Pink – Michelle “

Good News, Great Joy, All People!

images-2.jpegSo to make a long story short, I have a bit of a new purpose statement for this new year.  It really kind of came to me a little before Christmas, and it seemed to make an impression for multiple reasons.  I actually could not get away from it because it is a bible verse that is part of the traditional Christmas story.  Wow…this short story seems to be getting longer by the minute!

But the angel reassured them.  “Don’t be afraid!” he said.  “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people”.  Luke 2:10

I was looking for a verse to make some wall art, and this one popped onto my radar.  I knew it would be awesome, so I would use “Glad Tidings, Great Joy” on a picture.  It is actually one of my favorite verses out of the Christmas story, because of a church production that I was in many moons ago.  One of the children said the line, like sixteen times, over the two weeks that the show ran. “I bring you glad tidings of great joy!”  Every time he said that part, we laughed.  The way he emphasized the words was so …joyful!  To this day, the memory still makes me happy.

This time though, I was struck by a different note in the verse.  It was the end that seemed to jump off the page and stick in my mind. I totally remember the “glad tidings and great joy” part, but I didn’t remember hearing the “all people”? At that point, I was thinking that something important was missing from my project.  The “all people” was not something that I felt could be left off the photo.

images.pngWhy?  Well maybe it was a reaction to this whole year of anger, fear, with so much talking and not enough loving.  In this past year of election noise, I wondered if that proclamation of “good news” was clearly heard?  Did I see “great joy” when I looked in the mirror?  Or in the church pews?  And were “all people” able to hear and see those things?  We may have thought so, but in watching and listening, I really wasn’t so sure?

Continue reading “Good News, Great Joy, All People!”

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.


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.



Looking for Harmony

DSC_0132I went to a bible study this morning, and I think there was some shock that I was there.  This was actually my second time there and when I walked in the first time, it was quite a surprise.  I was by the far the youngest person in the room.  I would say that most of them were a good 20 years older than me, and retired.  Grandchildren and great grandchildren was their reality, mine is just finishing getting my children out of the house.

So I sat, and they were all introduced to me and I to them.  It was funny, and while I felt a bit out of place, they were all more than kind to me.  After the study, I was not sure if I would go back.  It had more to do with how they ran the study, than anything else, but I had decided to go at least the one more time before their August break.

So today, I walked into the class and was warmly greeted by all.  After the class, I made conversation with one of the ladies as she had asked prayer for her daughter and a job decision that was coming up.  From the way she spoke, I assumed her daughter lived in the bay area, and since that is where I am from, it gave me an “in” to have a conversation.  We spoke of her daughter, where she lived and the decision she would be soon making.  It was a nice conversation, and I was glad that I had found an opening to speak with her.

At that point, the teacher of the group walked out with me and made a comment that made me smile.   She handed me the binder of study materials that they were using and said that it was OK if I did not come back.  She said it nicely, and I know it was because she recognized that this group was not my peers, and not out of a desire to get me out of the group.  Whatever my feelings were before, by that time, I knew I would be back.  Really, how could I not?  This is a group of women that I could learn from, and like I told her, I might teach them a thing or two also.

Meeting these ladies also fits into the scheme of the new me.  I want to be challenged by who I know, and seek out those who haimages-1ve a different experience than I do.  I want to hear their stories, and see from their perspective.  This is important to me.  Why?  I think it is so I can meet people where they are, and not where I think they should be.  I think that is a lot of the problem with the world.  We expect everyone to be like….well us.

Everyone thinks we need to be unified, but I don’t like to think in terms of unity, but more like harmony.   Unity seems like sameness to me, and I know that in our ways of thinking many of us are not the same.  I like to think more in terms of harmony.  We are singing different parts, that look and sound awfully different.  All of us singing with the same goal 9165c3e52b881ae39233a13d8c8df74din mind.  It may sound a bit discordant when you take each part separately, but when it is all put together by a Master Conductor, we get something that is beyond what we could ever imagine. I cannot wait to hear their stories, and seek out the harmony that He creates


Cooling off in Cambria

So we had to go to Paso Robles yesterday evening for a concert, and since it was just as hot there as it was here (100+) we decided to hit the coast first.  I could not be more thankful for the detour.  We left temperatures in the 90’s and arrived at the coast to fog and high 60’s.  I got to put on a sweatshirt and everything!  Since I was with the shutterbug hubby, I decided to bring my little camera and follow his lead.  These are a few of my favorite shots.


Moonstone Beach. All these rocks are a natural exfoliant. So much nicer to walk on than sand.

Continue reading “Cooling off in Cambria”

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.

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.

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.  

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