So Palm Sunday is typically my favorite Sunday of the whole year.I think back to spending it with preschoolers and how we would tell them about that special day when Jesus entered Jerusalem.Making leaves, doing a parade and shouting Hosanna!For preschoolers, it’s the perfect lesson!There is a lot of energy, color and activity in the re-telling of the event.Today though I sit alone in my backyard, missing the energy of the typical Palm Sunday celebrations in church.
I am beginning to think though, that maybe this is how it’s supposed to be?Instead of songs and shouts of Hosanna, I have wind and rain shouting a chorus.And while there are no palm fronds, there are the trees in my backyard violently waving their praise!
While this might not be the Palm Sunday you were imagining, maybe it’s just what you need?This week as we all move toward a very different Easter, may it be a time of reflection and focus.A time to look at life and our priorities.To decide if what we think is important, really IS that important!
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. James 3:17
I was able to talk to my oldest son for a while last night. We stood outside beneath the stars, wondering at the beauty of the night sky. We talked of the new year and the feeling that something was coming. It was a bit foreboding, but we both agreed that no matter if it’s good or bad in store, God would have our backs.
Those were the words I wrote on December 31, 2018, and how prophetic they would turn out to be. So in the few weeks following, my hubby endured more pain, doctor visits and the diagnosis that would change everything. Brain tumor. Even now when we hear the words we shake our heads in disbelief and laugh.
Now that it’s (mostly) behind us, we are looking forward to the new year more than we typically do. Mike is looking forward to regaining strength and feeling more like his normal self. I am looking forward to …. well I am not sure what? Don’t get me wrong… for Mike I am praying for excellent recovery, and for the boys that they would continue to make strides forward in their lives. Above all that they…….that we all would be able to know God’s presence. But while I felt foreboding last year, I am not sure what I feel this December 31st? It’s definitely not the same heaviness as last year, but it’s also not the normal New Years day feeling. Continue reading “Ready to soar in 2020”→
So it’s Christmas Eve and I am fighting my feelings.I’m sitting here with my hubby on a quiet evening.No family…. Not that normal excitement that usually comes with the season.In some ways it seems kind of sad, but it’s just because things have changed.Most of the boys are now with significant others and living out of town.So we spent our “Christmas” together on Saturday, so that they would be with their ladies families on Christmas day.It was wonderful to be together, but the new normal is taking some getting used to.It was kind of getting me down having such a quiet Christmas Eve and anticipating the same on Christmas Day.It didn’t help that I was going to the doctor because I wasn’t feeling well.Really?Is this how the holiday is supposed to be? Continue reading “Advent: Rejoice!”→
I started tearing up the other day.They were on me so fast, I could barely stop them from coming.It was because of the rain.Now it typically rains during the fall/winter, but this was the first of the year. I may live in California, but here in the Central Valley, there is not a beach in sight.That’s OK though, because I do live just west of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and they are amazing!
There are good points and bad points to this area, but the worst is the air quality.It sucks to put it mildly.As the year goes on, the air quality deteriorates to the point where you can’t even see the mountains, that are with a short drive away.The funny thing is, at some point, I forget they are there.I drive east every morning, and eventually they fade into the haze.So with the first rains of the year, I knew the mountains would be making a comeback.I also knew that since it was raining, they would be obscured by clouds for now, but soon I would see them.And in the anticipation, I found hope. Continue reading “Advent: Hope”→
Advent.It is a new tradition for me, so the first Sunday of Advent almost passed me by.Yikes!It is not my fault!I don’t come from a background where Advent is celebrated, so it just kind of snuck up on me.I was barely over the turkey and it just appeared!
So just like anything in my life, I take what is celebrated by many and use it for my own nefarious purposes.Ok…. Maybe not nefarious, but I definitely do make it my own.I need to have help in keeping focused, and writing helps.I tend to be shall we say….. wordy.So if I have to post something, like for Advent, it helps me to focus and get the writing done. Continue reading “Advent: Focus”→
I was thinking the other day how grateful I was. We had just gotten back from a family wedding in San Diego, and it had been so much fun! It was just a moment when I was reflecting on the wedding, the love of family, the amazing time we had and how far we had come this year.
I thanked God for the peace, strength and all the good people He has put in our path to make it all happen. As I sat there I wondered, would I feel this way if the outcome hadn’t been so good? What if Mike’s health and surgery had not progressed so well? Then I remembered that we aren’t really through it yet.
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.
Our pre-sugery trip
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.
“So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time, before the Lord returns.” ! Corinthians 4:6
I’ve said it a bit recently to those around me, “it’s not how you start, but how you finish.” And don’t get me wrong…. It’s easier to finish well when you get out of the blocks cleanly.
We judge a person on today or their past, but we have no idea of their future and where that will lead. The choices, experiences and people that will all come together to make a complete picture in a life.
I know it’s hard, but as I read the verse this morning I wondered if we judge in life, when we should just have discernment? So I got out the old dictionary and looked at the difference between judge and discern.
Basically, discern is to recognize something as opposed to judging where you form a conclusion about it. I mean, I can discern that someone else is doing something that is harmful or full out wrong. I can then take steps to not be harmed by these actions, but I just can’t pronounce judgement. The end isn’t written yet! If I do judge, does that contribute to an environment that pushes them towards a not so good result?
I am not sure….but it makes me think? There have been people in my life that have judged me prematurely, and I think there has been a bit of an impact. I am grateful though for those who have been on the other side. The one’s that have given me the chance to change, grow and mature. Those are the ones that didn’t write me off, but gave me the time, love and encouragement to fulfill the potential they saw and hoped to see bloom.
So it’s so hard to be me sometimes. It must be even harder to be my hubby, having to put up with me! I have a tendency to ponder things. Ok, I tend to ponder EVERYTHING! I think it’s irritating sometimes, but it’s who I am and so I try to embrace it.
I was sitting in church the on Sunday, and we were looking in the book of Revelation. The imagery in the book is always a pretty trippy experience, but of course it got me to thinking? I know…..what doesn’t get me thinking?
In a nutshell, we have John seeing into heaven and he’s upset because this important scroll can’t be opened. What does the scroll contain? Of course there are some very good educated answers, but what made me think was John’s reaction. Why would he be so upset? Did he know what was in the scroll? I am not sure, but what I do know is that, because there was no one worthy he was distraught. He lacked hope.
“We have hope….rebellions are built on hope!” Jyn Erso “Rogue One”
Yep, the geek came out of me at that point and all I could think of was the quote from the movie Rogue One. Oh, and my hubby. You see when he got the phone call from the doctor, his reaction was pretty funny. He was so happy! He was smiling and talking excitedly! I could hardly believe I was looking at a person who’d just been told they have a brain tumor! It was crazy, but I realized that the excitement on his face was what that diagnosis really meant for him. Hope! He was in a bad place, as the pain became progressively worse in the past couple of months. It didn’t help that he was frustrated by not being able to work a full day, his deteriorating eyesight and trying to find a doctor who could help him. It was the holidays, but it was hard to find the “happy” during that time. So with the diagnosis, everything changed.
Hope is such a powerful thing. It can take the gravest of circumstances and give you a different perspective. It gives you the strength to move forward, and face what you never thought you could. Hope is a beautiful thing!
There is of course a caveat to hope…you need to be careful where you put it. Let me be clear, at this point my hope was not in the doctor, not in the diagnosis or whether it was cancer or not. There was only one place where I could truly put my hope, and know that I would never be let down. And that was in the Lord. I knew at that time, no matter what happened, from the best outcome to the worst we would be OK. We would survive! I knew that because of how God had provided for our lives in the past, and from what I knew He had told me about the future. It was actually the first thing I wrote about this year, https://cherylmendoza.com/2019/01/01/new-year-same-playlist/.
We are still not done with the process. My hubby is still recovering and will have radiation later this year, so this chapter of our story is still being written. Even so, before we were out of the hospital we were making plans. New places to visit, a family wedding, concert tickets bought and a much more “happy” holiday season.
We look forward to it all, good and bad, with hope!