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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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justice

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?”

A question of loyalty…

For a while, I have had a love/hate relationship with living in the Central Valley.  It may be because I bought into what people were saying….there is nothing to do!

IMG_6894Well, this isn’t the bay area, where there are plenty of museums, venues, and events, but that doesn’t mean that there is nothing to do!

Case in point, the Kingsburg Historical Park is hosting an interesting exhibit on the Japanese internment experience.  While it may be small, it provides some perspectives and spurs questions that are applicable even today.

The few things that really stood out to me….. Continue reading “A question of loyalty…”

A time to hate?

So I am finding it hard to write.  Why?  Mostly because I seem to be…..how can I say this?  Wordy.

thSo today, since I am not feeling well (still feeling the effects of the flu) I am going to try and make these observations short.  These are just some things that have stood out to me the past few days, and they seemed appropriate to think about on this day we remember the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I read the following verse this morning…… Jeremiah 22:13  And woe to you, King Jehoiakim, for you are building your great palace with forced labor. By not paying wages you are building injustice into its walls and oppression into its doorframes and ceilings.  Continue reading “A time to hate?”

A Dream of Their Own – Zulema

After a too long pause in writing (or at least editing)….I am back at it.    When I hear people discuss DACA I don’t think of these people in a group……I think of their individual stories.  I think of a spunky, fun loving young lady that my husband coached in volleyball.  I think of Zulema…….

Zulema - Hidden ValleyMy name is Zulema. I was born in Michoacán, Mexico, and I am 20 years old. I was brought to the U.S shortly after my fifth birthday along with my brother and sister, who were also very young. My dad had already been to the U.S. a couple of times in an effort to support our family and give us things he never had as a child. While we stayed behind with our mother, she did everything she could to make sure we were okay. With our dad being thousands of miles away from it wasn’t easy for her, and we knew it.  Continue reading “A Dream of Their Own – Zulema”

A Dream of Their Own – Wendoline

She called me objective.  My friend is a bit older and has seen a bit of life.  When she said that to me, I took it as a compliment.  The more I thought about it, I accepted that it’s true.  The problem with being objective?  I don’t get to have a side.  Sometimes it’s lonely where God has put me, out in left field.  Then again, sometimes I am not alone.

It started with a friend of my hubby’s.  She is actually an ex-volleyball player that he has kept in contact with.  He told me that she needed prayer.  I didn’t really need to know why, but he told me anyway.  She was going to Mexico, because she had to enter the U.S. correctly as part of the process to become documented.  Stupid me, I was surprised!  I mean, what does someone who is undocumented look like?  If you have read any of my writing, you will know that I don’t typically “not” think about things.  So when this came across my path, I was hooked.  Pondering…. Who really are the people they are talking about on the news?

It doesn’t matter which side is talking, they tend to lump people into a big group.  And while these “dreamers” may have similar stories, I know that they are also more than that.  So since I have been working on some other “getting to know you” type of writing projects, I thought about doing one of these.  The problem…I just wasn’t sure?  That was until, I knew I wasn’t out in left field by myself.

Mike (my hubby) came to me one day and proposed another project.  “How about finding out who these people really are?”  Not what the news, political parties or other people say they are, but straight from them.  It’s good not to be alone.  We had a moment when I told him that I had been thinking the same thing.  (Thirty years of marriage must count for something.)  So I hope you will join us.  We hope to take the “issue” and present it for what it really is, the lives of everyday people.  Taking this from what was once a dream of their parents, to “A Dream of their Own”………

 

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Wendoline

My name is Wendoline.  In 2002, just a few months after my seventh birthday, my brother, sister and I were brought to the U.S. from Michoacán, Mexico.  My brother was eight and a half, and my younger sister just five. My father had already been in the United States a few times, but he would miss us too much and would come home. Things were financially rough when we were in Mexico. My memory of Mexico is sort of blurry, as it’s been over fifteen years since I was last in my hometown.  The things I do remember though, is that it’s nothing like it is here.  We lived in a small village, everyone was poor, but everyone loved each other.  I remember when my dad was here and we were in Mexico, he would call us every day.  He would tell us how he couldn’t wait for us to see how wonderful this country is, and he couldn’t wait to buy us all the toys that he couldn’t afford for us in Mexico.

Continue reading “A Dream of Their Own – Wendoline”

Want Truth? Go to the source…

UnknownSome years ago I was at a conference listening to a Priscilla Shirer, who writes bible studies, books and speaks to encourage women.  I totally enjoyed her talk, but there was one point she made that became something that I try to live by.  She told the group of women, “don’t be spoon fed the gospel.”

Since then, I still listen to sermons on Sunday mornings, on podcasts and I am involved in bible studies with other women.  All of these I still consider being “spoon fed” information.  Yes, even the bible study books we do!  It is God’s word filtered through someone else’s lens.  So, to take her advice, I make sure that I spend time doing bible reading on my own and contemplating what it means in my own life. (Then typically writing about it)The great thing is that I can go to the source, the bible.  Now if you don’t believe in the bible, you may be like whatever, but wait!  Don’t leave me yet.  As a Christian, I should go to the source of my faith right?  So no one can take it and twist it to their own particular point of view.  That is what made sense to me a couple of years ago, and that is what makes sense to me now.  Well if it works for biblical history, I thought it makes sense for any kind of history.

Continue reading “Want Truth? Go to the source…”

A good look in the mirror…

Dear Church (not the building, but those who make up the body),

Is it ok to laugh?  No, not the joyful kind of laughter, but that nervous giggle that has to do with truth.  You know.  You are sitting in service and the pastor says something that images-4holds up a mirror.  And instead of taking a breath and looking full into that mirror, you glance over thinking you know what it shows and just give a nervous giggle.  I don’t know when I stopped giggling and started being sad, but it happened at some point.

In the church we talk about sin quite a bit.  Sometimes it seems that we tend to talk about other people’s sin more than our own, and we have chosen some particular ones as our favorites.  I think the biggest problem though is when we do bring up sin that is present in the church, we seem to be met with a more relaxed attitude toward it.  Something like, no one is perfect, but that is why we have Jesus to “wash them all away”.   What I guess I am trying to say is, while God forgives, shouldn’t we be more brokenhearted by our own wrongdoings? Continue reading “A good look in the mirror…”

Once a foreigner…..

t715-00280657I have been sick for the past two weeks, and have found it hard to sit and write for extended periods of time.  So for some reason, this previous blog post popped into my head, and I decided to share it today.  I am hoping the coughing ends soon, but I think this blog post helps me remember who God wants me to be in these very noisy days.

 

During the week, I sat down with my husband and watched a PBS special on “Italian Americans”.  Being one myself, I was interested to watch the story of the Italian immigrants who started to come to this county in the late 1800’s.  Those who came to America faced prejudice, racism and a hard life in the midst of the industrial revolution.  They came though, for a better life!  While it was a hard road, they travelled it with their families, community and their faith.       I totally enjoyed the program, but I was not really encouraged by it until Saturday.  That was when I took some time to study for our Sunday lesson.

As I read through the story of the ten lepers that Jesus heals, I was struck by the one who came back to thank him.  He was a Samaritan, a foreigner.  In the Bible account, he is the only one who comes back and gives praise to God.  It is interesting that the author of the story points out the difference of his nationality.  I believe that may speak to the prejudice in Jesus’ own time.  It is the same prejudice that affected my forefathers, and the same prejudice I see affecting people today.  It was in that connection, that I heard the quiet whisper of encouragement.

What was so encouraging about seeing that prejudice has not gone away?  Well it was Jesus example.  Instead of bypassing those who were different, He chose to heal and forgive.   He did not pay attention to the prejudice of the day whether it was based on race, nationality, sin, religion or class.   Jesus looked past all these things to the actual person.  It was exciting, even liberating.  For me, it showed a freedom to ignore the classifications that society puts on people.  The freedom to treat everyone as if they were just like me, because they are, even if they don’t seem like it.    That is the freedom that Jesus gives us.  To accept the foreigner as if he were family.

And yes….that is the manifest for my Great Grandfather when he came to this country in 1898.  

 

 

Election Fog….

imagesSo it is the day after the election.  For us here in Central California, it is a foggy day.  Now when I first moved to Lemoore, people warned me about the fog, but I didn’t really listen.  I mean, I grew up in San Jose, where fog would roll in from the Santa Cruz mountains.  How much worse could it be?  Well, it is like night and day!  The Tule fog in the valley can be truly dangerous.  After being in both types of fog, it seems to me that the fog here goes all the way to the ground.  Driving in it is awful because you can only see so much in front of you, and then you cannot even see the lines to get a good bearing as to where you are. And at nighttime?  Well to tell you the truth, after the Christmas in 2005 when the fog rolled in while I was shopping, and then I could not find my car in the parking lot?   I don’t really drive in the fog at night.

Today though was not a horrible fog day.   It was patchy, and did not go all the way down to the ground.  As I walked though, it was interesting to look ahead and see how the fog distorted what was ahead of me.  Now I walk the same way pretty much every day, so I know what is to come, even before seeing it.

The barber shop is always open, people are stopping by the ATM at the bank, there is a clock in town that has the wrong time and kids are on their way to school.  There is so much that I expect to see when I walk, and even in the fog, I know it will be there.

So as I was walking, I thought that the fog was a good analogy for the near future.  We know some of what to expect, but there are some details that are a little hazy the farther we look ahead.  In the distance we can see things moving, but we don’t necessarily see the details or how it may all fit together.

We don’t have the whole picture.

That may make some of us uncomfortable, and others downright scared.  Then there are others that think they know what is ahead.  They will travel under the assumption that things will be just how they expect.  They may or may not be surprised by what they find.

micah_6_8-e1345735206596

For me, I am optimistic.  Is it because my candidate won?  No.  It is because I have used the only power that I have in politics.  And that my friends, was my vote.  I did what I was supposed to do in the election process, and I cast my vote in the best way I knew how.  In that sense, I am content, but my job is not done.

Today is another day where I have the opportunity to live like I say I believe.  This is really where I think we have the most impact on our communities, the country and the world.

So today is really just another day.  No better or worse than yesterday.  Today is a day where I am going to try and continue to live out who God made me to be.

I want to love God, and love my neighbor more than myself.  To seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly.

 

 

 

 

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