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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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mother

Acknowledging loss

I am always amazed by the way life ends.  Today, a mother lost a son.  In her grief, she will drop everything.  Her world has narrowed down to a small point of focus.  As a mom, I hurt with her.  I can feel some of her pain.  I shed tears and know that in the back of my mind that it could have been my son.  It could have been any of our sons.

As I sit here though, in the first few minutes of shock, I hear birds singing and the hum of our pool filter.  Outside are cars, a dog barking and the faraway engine of a plane.  The sounds of people going through their normal routine as the work day is winding down.  I always wonder….why doesn’t time stop?  How can life still go on so normally, when so much pain has been unleashed?  When a precious life is no more.

I know.  This happens every day, all over the world.  There is loss, and there is grief.  And yes, that loss and that grief deserves that same kind of respect, but it is something that the world gives to no man.

So today I grieve with my friend, for her beautiful son.  And if no one else will or can, I an going to take this moment to stop and to pray.  To put aside my normal life and acknowledge the great loss that is not only hers, but all of ours.

Of men and joy

And so my children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful.  Proverbs 8:32

So I enjoy being a mom.   I am not one of the mom’s that laments the fact that her

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Not sure where the floating bunny ears came from.

children have grown.  I loved them when they were little, but as they grew, each age brought its own joy and pain.  I wouldn’t say that I have enjoyed all the stages of their growth, some stages were better than others, but each new screw up brings wisdom.  Or so one hopes.

So one of my oldest son was stressing at work the other day, and had sent me a text to pray.  It was great, because not only did I pray for him, but I was able to give him some encouragement from a blog I had just written. I love when God gives the answer, even before you knew there was a question.  During the conversation, I told him that he should think long and hard about pursuing something that he loved.  That he should spend some time dreaming or imagining what it would look like to make that dream a reality.

So the next day I texted him to check out his stress level and he let me know that he was good.  Me though, I was a different story.  It was a bad day for me, and so by the time I was talking to him, I was finally getting some writing done.  It was then that he said he had been thinking about my writing.  Since he was contemplating his own dreams, he started thinking about my own pursuit.  He asked what kind of writing I wanted to do?  He then proceeded to tell me how Prince wrote two songs a day, even though some were never published.  He then pointed out how very left-brain my writing seemed to be, and that maybe I needed to use the right side for some short fictional stories.  When I told him that I was not sure what I wanted to write, he brought up JK Rowling and how he doubted that she knew exactly what she was writing that first day in the coffee shop.

Our texts finally tapered off and I felt good.  He had given me a different perspective, and that seemed to give me some energy.  I was able to finish a blog post and it was a little different than others I had posted, so I felt good.  Accomplished.

It wasn’t till today that I went back to revisit the texts from my son.  I am so used to being the encouraging one, that to be on the receiving end is a different angle for me.  It was funny, I don’t think he meant to encourage me, I just think he was asking queimg_3126-1stions.  It gives me hope.  Not only for myself and the path that I am taking, but for him and his path of growing and learning who God made him to be.
No, I don’t miss those little boys at all.  They were adorable and I loved them very much, but it is the men that they are growing into that is so much more exciting.   While they still make a lot of mistakes and are not perfect, I can see growth as they continue to learn and gain wisdom.  That above all else brings me joy and gives me hope.

 

I was there once too

So as I was sitting here, thinking about what I wanted to write and I felt frustration.  What is this blog for?   Maybe it is a blog where I have a million followers and I can actually make a living off of it.  Or maybe it is a platform where the lessons I learn are shared, and sought out.  Where I write a book that encourages young women, moms, older gals, single ladies and such to seek God and use their gifts to take over the…I mean change the world.

I am not a mommy blogger.  My youngest son just turned eighteen, but really has not wanted me to be his mom since he was in Kindergarten.  He was the most independent child in a line of four independent boys.  I was never a mom that was very involved, and the teachers did not know me by my first name.  Don’t get me wrong, those moms are amazing, I was just not one of them.

Am I a Christian blogger?  I write a lot about my own faith journey.  Sometimes I think it is too serious or boring, and I feel like I am a lot funnier in person.  Or at least I think so?  So I have been thinking about my “voice” a lot lately.  Who am I speaking to?  Is it the working woman, the mom, the Christian, the unbeliever, the failure, the dreamer or is it to all of the above?

When you don’t have a particular niche it seems hard to me.  No one seems to zero in on a blog where it just talks about… whatever?   So what do I know?  Well, it is that I am a story teller and an encourager.  So I guess I will just end this with a story.

One afternoon I was home with the kids and I went into the kitchen at one point, and saw smoke pouring into that room.  I immediately turned around, grabbed all the children, the phone and went outside to call the fire department.  It was mostly smoke, and it only caused surface damage, so we were very blessed.  Come to find out that our seven year old son lit some matches in the garage next to a mattress.  He had only been in the garage for a few minutes, as I had just rounded him up because he was not allowed to play in there.  I just did not catch him fast enough.  The matches had smoldered and eventually produced a bunch of smoke and a small amount of flame.  It was so disheartening to me.  My son was a bit of a handful.  He always ran everywhere, he never walked.  He was always active and had already started to have some trouble with school work.  Don’t get me wrong, he did have things going for him.  He was always helpful, kind, worked hard, and always had a great attitude.

Well you can imagine, the stress level we had.  We were worried about this little guy and how life was going to deal with him.  It was one day not too long after the fire when I had a conversation with a pastor at our church.  He was in charge of all of our missions at the church, and at that time it was a rather large program.  He stopped me though and told me a little about himself.  So here was this very well respected pastor, who I totally thought was a wonderful man, and he was telling me what a stinker he was as a child. He said that he had done things like that when he was young too.  He encouraged me that my son would grow out of it, that he would do just fine.  When I looked at him, I felt hope.  If he was a handful as a child, could get through it and be successful, well then so could my son.  I am so grateful for the conversation and the encouragement.  He also was right.  My son did make it through his childhood, not perfectly, and with many struggles.  He is still a hard worker, kind and willing to help if he is able.  His family means everything to him, and he is an optimistic and encouraging person.  Perfect?  No.   Best trait of all?  He is over the whole setting things on fire stage, and now he puts them out.  He spends his summers fighting wildfires throughout California.   So all of that energy and activity that drove us crazy as a kid, now helps him do his job well.

I think of the women like me who are out there, dealing with crazy little kids in their lives.  I just want to tell you, have faith.  You can do this and they will make it.  I know….I was there once too.  Thankful not to be there any longer!

Eat, Rest and Seek

So my son called last night.  He calls when things are really good, or when they are really stressful.  So last night’s call was because of stress.  It has to do with his living situation and some from his job, so he was calling for some encouragement and direction.  Funny thing was, I gave him the same advice that I always do.  Why?  It is the only thing that works for me, and he is my son, and the apple don’t fall far from the tree.  Lord help him!  So what did I tell him?  Do good things for yourself! 

IMG_3126 When I mean good things, I am always talking about the same three things.  Rest, food and some spiritual nourishment.  It is amazing what I can handle when I am fed, rested and got some God in me.  Likewise, when I am low on those three, it is amazing to see what I cannot handle.  Even the simplest of days become too hard to handle.  It is scary how weak I can actually be?  Continue reading “Eat, Rest and Seek”

Stranger things to post….

 

So I started watching a Netflix program yesterday called Stranger Things.  It is one of those original series that they now produce, and I have to admit, I am totally hooked.  It is a suspenseful, horror, sci fi kind of series.  So basically, stuff I don’t tend to watch.  I like suspense, but I stay away from horror, because it is not good for me.  This one though had me hooked quickly, and I couldn’t figure out why?  I wondered if it was because I so totally related to the setting. It is set in 1980, so I feel like I am looking at my childhood.  (or at least Jr. High)  The clothes, bikes, cars, homes, music and TV were all so familiar to me.  I looked at clothes that I probably wore, and hairstyles that I totally had.  In the show, I was in a setting that made so much sense to me.  Not like Sesame Street.  I know you are thinking, Sesame Street?  How did we get here? Continue reading “Stranger things to post….”

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.”

Where is justice?

So today as I watch the news and watch officer involved shootings, I am…?  I am not even sure.  I am angry and upset.  I am so sad that families will be going through the emotional roller coaster, that is now their new normal.  I am tired of seeing the same bad decision making, incident after incident.

I called my son, because I knew he would be angry.  As I spoke with him, I tried to work through what I was thinking, while giving him what I hoped would be wisdom.  So I told my son that the best way we can do something at this point would be  personal.  (At this point, I had a whole paragraph of some of the things that I think need to be addressed, but trying to keep opinion out and see what God teaches me through this.) Continue reading “Where is justice?”

No longer boys…

So today is a big day in our household.  My youngest son, Gene, is about to graduate from high school.  I thought I was ok with everything?   I mean I was not feeling emotional or getting sappy, going about my day in a pretty normal way, until I had to go to the store.  I had gotten a text stating that my photo order was ready, which it wasn’t, then I basically had a panic attack about having enough time to bake a cake.  This was all ridiculous since it was only 11:00 in the morning and dinner was not until 5:30!

img_0218It was then I realized that I was probably feeling something.  What though was the question?  Gene is my youngest, so him graduating is something of a watershed moment for me.  I mean, he really hasn’t paid attention to me for years, so there is really  is not much difference in our relationship.  All of my boys are pretty independent, but Gene was that way from a very early age.  I will now be a mother to four men, instead of four boys.  That makes me happy.  I do not miss those boys, because they have grown into men that I like.  They are not perfect, but they have qualities that make me thankful.  They are loyal, love their family, love God and are more than willing to help a friend in need.  Even to their own detriment.  While we have made mistakes in raising them, they love us like we were the most perfect of parents.  So today as we celebrate this graduation day I wanted to say to all of my men;  Scott, Bob, Matt and Geno, I love you.  You make me the happiest mom in the history of time!

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