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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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purpose

Making room for others….

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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!

 

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”

Looking for a little relief….

IMG_5982So this morning when I woke up, there were clouds in the sky and some relief from the oppressive heat.  While it will still reach 100 degrees today, compared to yesterday, it is a much needed breath of fresh air.  (OK it’s the valley…the air is never really “fresh”)   According to the weather reports, we have at least nine more days of triple digits, which makes today’s cool breeze only a brief respite.  So where am I now?  I am sitting outside while I can!  There is a slight breeze and the clouds are doing a good job of keeping those scorching rays at bay. As I sit here enjoying the little bit of heaven, it reminded me of a prayer that I had yesterday.

There is a gal at our church who is going through cancer treatments.  As I was thinking IMG_5981and praying for her, I just asked God to give her some normalcy.  Just a little something that day to remind her of what life would be like after her treatments were done.  Just a little relief from the pain and stress she is going through.  It was exciting for me to hear her post later that morning, that she had taken a small but encouraging step.  It was not the “end of the tunnel” for her, but just a bit of light to keep on going.

It was just a bit of relief.  Sometimes though, that is all we get.  It’s hard, because what we
really want is that breakthrough.  That resolution to our problem, illness, finances or situation.  What we get though most of the time, is just a little relief.  That little bit of calm encouragement, in whatever form it takes, that allows us to continue down the road we are on.

IMG_5979So if you’re walking that tough road, whatever it may be, look for those moments of relief.  Don’t miss them.  They are hope given to you today, that gives strength for the steps you will take tomorrow.

The humble will see their God at work and be glad.  Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged.  Psalm 69:32

Less politics, more Jesus

“Less politics and more scholarship!  And don’t give so much of yourself to this cause.  Yours is scholarship-and one can never know what the future may bring politically.  You understand me-my advice places me in your hands, I wish you well.”   I Will Bear Witness by Victor Klemperer.

The advice from this German professor was something that caught my eye as I read his diary today.  The gentle advice to this woman, whom he said was “an adherent to the new regime,” was daring.  It was advice that I think makes sense for many of us today.  As soon as I read it though, my mind changed it up a bit.

Maybe for us, we could change it to “Less politics, and more Jesus!  And don’t give so much of yourself to this cause.  Yours is Jesus-and one can never know what the future may bring politically.”

Have we spent too much time on politics and not Jesus?  Sadly, I just have to think yes.  How else do Nazi’s have such a strong presence right now?

(The fact that I wrote that sentence tells me that something is very wrong with the world but more importantly that something is wrong with us in the church)

“We are all infected impure with sin.  When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags.”  Isaiah 64:6

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…..Grace and Ayla

**A Study in Pink is a series of posts introducing the professions of  various women in California’s Central Valley.  It is being written to showcase the possibilities for the up and coming young women in our small towns.

 

It was during Christmas time when I first walked through the door.    I remember because it was my first time meeting Grace, and she was playing Christmas music.  The station was not just normal carols either, as I can distinctly remember listening to Frank Sinatra belting out a tune.

Blue DoorBlue Door Massage and Spa is the brainchild of Grace Parreira and Ayla Tidwell.   These two friends and certified massage therapists had a dream, but interestingly enough, it did not start with massage.  Their stories are somewhat similar, as they both were using massage as a way to pay for college.  At this point I was a little surprised, but I then started to appreciate their thinking.  The thought was to be trained at a technical school, so then they would be able to work and earn degrees without going into debt. Continue reading “A Study in Pink…..Grace and Ayla”

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?”

A little trust…..

images-1Sunday morning.  It is always interesting to see what happens on a Sunday, and as soon as I got to church, it started.  One of the songs we sang had something to do with the “power in His name”.  I actually don’t even remember what the song was, because I immediately started thinking.  I wondered, because that is what I do, if I really believed in that power?  I am still trying to wrap my mind around that whole “love your neighbor as yourself” thing again.  Just then it hit me.  The whole problem wasn’t with the loving, but with trusting.

 

Sovereignty.  Do I really believe that God is ruler over all?  Is He sovereign?

Continue reading “A little trust…..”

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