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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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Time to encourage…..

IMG_7943Timing is everything.  I’ve really been amazed at the people we’ve met over the past couple of months.  How they encouraged us, provided good care for Mike and helped us navigate the process.  One of my favorites was an older lady I met while Mike was having an MRI. This was before we had his diagnosis.  We had gotten to the office where the MRI would be done, and I can remember thinking for the first time how fragile Mike seemed.  We both got out of the car and he waited for me.  We’ve always held hands when we walked, but now it was different. We walked slower, more carefully. I was holding his hand more to help him, than simply out of affection.  When we finally got into the back, Mike went into get the MRI done, and I sat out in a small waiting area.  No one was out there with me until an older couple came back and were waiting. Ugh!  I did not want to talk to anyone!  So I kept looking straight ahead and did all I could not to make eye contact. When the man was called back, I was doing great, keeping my eyes to myself and not attracting any attention. Well, that was until I started laughing.

I mean it wasn’t my fault!  It was the technician that was taking people back. So he finishes up with a patient, and tells him he can go.  Right at that time a doctor comes up and wants to talk to the technician, so he tells the patient to just sit down.  The patient, confused now that he is getting two different sets of instructions, stands there unsure of what to do?  When the doctor steps away, the technician sees the poor man and asks why he is still there? The patient says “well the doctor told me to sit,” and the tech just says, “what does he know, he’s only a doctor?” The patient then leaves, and I start cracking up watching this play out in front of me.  I then made my mistake, and made eye contact with the lady that was sitting there.  When I relayed why I was laughing, she couldn’t hear me, so of course I had to sit next to her and share the story.  By that time it was all over, I was trapped into a conversation that I didn’t want.  For that, I am so grateful!

IMG_0143So we talked, or at least I listened while she talked.  She shared a lot of her life in just a few minutes.  We also got to talking about her moving into a new “adult community” and her fears of finding a place with the new people she would meet.  We also talked about her son, and the new woman in his life.  She had liked her, was impressed with her education and intelligence, but was unsure because she had tattoos.  She was a good Catholic lady, and this seemed to bug her a lot.  So I did what I do best, and told her what I had learned along the way.  Encouraging her to remember the times she had been the new person in the past, and how she had found a place then.  I told her that this would be the same, and not to worry.  I also told her about my own son and his many tattoos.  She seemed to be comforted by the words and my own experiences.  It was a great conversation, distracting for me and encouraging for her!

By the time my hubby was coming out where we were waiting, she was giving me a hug goodbye and telling me she “loved me”.  She was adorable, and it was such a fun conversation!  Mike asked who she was, and I told him that we had just met.  He just gave me a look?  That was a moment though that I just thanked God for perspective.  It was the last time I would try to cut myself off from the people around me.  I realized that God may have put them in my path to help me cope. Even more important, God may have put me in their path for the exact same reason.

Laughing all the way to the…hospital?

whiskey-typewriter-shutterstock-570x380So day 2 is always hard.  I always wonder, what will I write about now?  I also feel behind the eight ball because I am tired. Taking care of someone can be tiring. Part of it is physical, but it’s also a mental tired.  Since I tend to overthink things, I am sure that is a lot of it!  There is a spiritual aspect to it too.  The word “spiritual” makes it sound very serious, but it really hasn’t felt that way.

The spiritual in our journey has included a lot of laughter.  Just to give you a little background, my hubby started having headaches that progressively became worse over the last half of 2018.  He never really had headaches as a rule, so we felt that something was up.  He started missing out on work, and it was really affecting how he was able to live his life.  To see him get weaker and become a bit like a little old man, it was hard to watch.  So you can imagine the excitement when we had a diagnosis.  A brain tumor?  All right! And he can have surgery? Fantastic!

red ribbon on brown cardboard box
Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

I can remember watching his face as he talked with the doctor that Saturday morning.  It lit up like Christmas!  We had just been given a present.  It was hope!  With that hope, what was ahead held no concern. We knew that it was all out of our hands, so we rested in those who took care of him.  The nurses, doctors and God.

 

At some point I thought of the verse that is quoted so often, “peace that passes all understanding.”  At that point I totally got it.  I mean really, brain surgery?  This is serious stuff, but we wanted it!  We had peace though, and I really didn’t understand how we could be feeling that way?  I didn’t argue though, it was a place I was glad to be.

IMG_7989The neurologist gave us an idea to fastrack the whole thing.  So he called a doctor at the local emergency room to get us in.  My hubby was so excited, we would go to the ER and they would transfer us to a larger hospital.  It would be there that they would see the big mass in his head and they may even do surgery this weekend.  Isn’t it great?  There was not one tear, one moment of hesitation or fear.  We looked at each other shook our heads with smiles on our faces.

It wasn’t long till we got ready and were walking up to the emergency room.  Before we got in I asked my hubby, “who are we supposed to see?”  He looked at me with a smile and said, “Doctor Martin.” When I heard that we both started laughing and I knew it was going to be all right.    Doc Martin is a TV show we watch, and the doctor is such a character!  And of course as soon as the doctor came in we had to greet him as “Doc Martin.”  The doctor laughed…..he knew exactly who we were talking about!  I always knew God had a great sense of humor and today He proved it again!

How did I get here?

IMG_0171Today is the start of the Lenten season, and in the past couple of years, I’ve come to really love it!  I almost missed the beginning, since we have been a little busy around our house.  My hubby reminded me yesterday was Fat Tuesday, and its kind of become a tradition to have red beans and rice for dinner.  I am glad that we didn’t miss it because we needed a little fun this week, and I needed a little reminder of what Lent means to me.

Not being Catholic, Lent is something that I’ve adopted as an adult. I typically don’t give anything up, cuz that just didn’t seem right for me.   What I try to do is write daily and this year is no different.  It seems like the perfect time to process all the things that have been going on in my life and in the lives around me.  Since December, our world has been knocked off its axis. What with my hubby’s tumor diagnosis and even some upheaval at the church I attend, chaos has entered places where I had felt pretty darn safe.  The funny thing is, while I should have felt fear, I have only felt peace.  Like I told a friend today, “I am not sure how it works, but all I can do is point to God and say it’s all Him!”

So for the next 40 days I am going to try my best to listen and write.  To try and see how we got here, how God is getting us through and look into the future to see where He may lead us next on this crazy journey!

New year…..same playlist

Idsc_0808 wondered if this would be my last post for 2018 or actually be the first of 2019?  I have plenty of time to make it before the new year, but I don’t seem to be  very focused.  Like other times when I am writing, I seem to have a hard time starting. If I can get my brain to relax and just type, then I can actually get something done.

So our Christmas is finally over.  It was a weird year, but not in a bad way or anything, just different.  We planned to have my extended family down this weekend, so a few of my boys got into town to be here when everyone else was. So for Christmas itself, we were not all together.  Since there was only my husband and two of the boys, we hung out and went out for a fabulous dinner.  It was fun, but different.

It’s also been a little mellow because my hubby isn’t feeling well. Constant headaches and dizziness are really taking a toll on how he is feeling.  So we stayed close to home and just kept a low profile.  This weekend though was full of extended family, babies, nieces, nephews and pierogi.  While it was kind of hard on my hubby with so many people in the house, I could not have been given a better Christmas present.  We typically get together during this time of year, but it’s always somewhere else.  This year, they all made the drive to see us.  It was great because now I have all those good memories of Christmas fun, in my own home.  That was worth everything to me!

IMG_5037I 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.

As I dropped him off at the train station this morning, we somewhat felt the same way, and continued to talk of what the new year would bring.  We encouraged each other and then I left him at the station.  I started the car and I drove away.  The radio was turned all the way down, so I turned it up and had to laugh at the song on that was playing.  It was “Faith” by George Michael.  It was a reminder that no matter what’s in store, faith was going to get us through. I pulled over so I could text my son right then, and he texted me right back, loving the message in the song.  It was then I let him know the very next song….. “I will survive.”  And in those lyrics I knew whatever is coming this new year, God already knows and has the way through it.

imagesHis response to my second text?  “God is the best DJ!”  And it’s so true!

Advent: Noel….

IMG_7016“Maybe I am a woman searching for a word?”  I love words, so when I heard the line from the movie Eat, Pray, Love….it obviously caught my attention!  So on my laptop, I just keep it open to notes, and when things catch my attention I write them down.  Sometimes I expand on them, and sometimes I don’t.

So it is early Christmas morning and I tried to get up before the whole household to write a post.   It didn’t work.  Ugh!  So after they were settled in with some coffee, I started writing about the fog again.  I guess I really do have it on the brain!  As I was trying to put some thoughts together, I read it again.  “Maybe I am a woman searching for a word?” and right below where I had written that, was a word.  I started laughing…. Really?  It had been there all the time, but it was like I had only just saw it.

IMG_7838The word was Noel.  For the past few weeks it had caught my eye in stores, and on cards.  As I was out, and when I was in.  I heard it on tv and in songs.  So being the word nerd I am, I had to look it up!

A noel is a Christmas carol, but if the word is capitalized, then it refers to Christmastime or the celebration of the birth of Christ.  There is a reverence to the word, and a spirit about it.  Maybe I think that because it is a French word?  Just sounds so cool!  Christmas is such a special time.  As someone who believes the whole “reason for the season” thing, I am struck by the spirit around Christmastime.  I know, I know….there is a lot of stress, sadness, and unmet expectations during this time.  But…there is a general sense of fun, wonder, and joy that surrounds Christmas.  I think that the spirit of God, just can’t be contained!  Just like the angels on the night of His birth.  Heaven could not contain the party, and I think it’s the same today.

So today, it you celebrate the birth of Christ….then CELEBRATE!  Don’t hold back!  The angels couldn’t contain themselves and we shouldn’t either.  So eat, drink and be merry!  Love today.  People you know, and those you don’t.  Be silly, fun, and give grace.  And did I say LOVE?  Because the bumper sticker on your car, the cross around your neck, the book in your hand and where you sit on a Sunday morning says nothing about God.  But when you love?  That is how the world will see Him!  The only way.

images-1 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” Luke 2:10

 

Advent: Being mindful….

images-2You know, sometimes this writing part of my life is not easy!  I try to come up with something interesting, or thought provoking, not preachy and above all not too opinionated.  I try to frame what I write as my experience, and hope it either encourages or at least gives someone a different perspective.

It is hard though, because I am pretty opinionated.   I’d like to think that I have some pretty good ideas, because I have common sense, and in some ways I am pretty smart.  So I am thinking my opinions are wise…. Right?   Also, according to my pastor since I am so old, I am a good mentor figure.  (that kills me)

Well over the last few years as social media has exploded, I am less and less impressed with my own opinion.  Why?  Because I am so tired of hearing everyone else’s, I can imagine how people feel hearing mine.  I am lucky though, as I have an easier time holding my tongue than others do.  (don’t get me wrong, I came by this trait the hard way.  But God has taken hurt and made it into a useful part of my life.)

Why did I bring this up?  I really don’t know….I just started writing?  I guess it was the imagesphone call I got last night.  I am typically the one who is messaging or talking to someone to encourage them, but last night the call was for me.  Someone wanted to ask how I was, and check up on me and the family. I appreciated it so much!  And at the end she prayed for me, and it was cool because it showed growth in her faith.

 

 

_DSC9219Why these two topics together?  Well, I guess it’s because I hear much more ”opinion” than encouragement. And since I am like most people, I tend to think we are all looking for more encouragement, love, kindness and lack of judgment than we are looking for another opinion.  So today be mindful of the words you say.  Be a shoulder to lean on, cry on or just be a good listener. Leave your opinions behind, and see how you can be an encouragement to someone today.

Was that a little preachy?  Not sure…… will try better tomorrow.

Advent: Loves a state of mind….

IMG_7051Anyway, as I sat there, in the tiniest seat ever, (ugh)  I was struck by a lyric from the song Rhiannon.  “Dreams unwind, loves a state of mind.”  I am sure I’ve heard that sung a thousand times before, but tonight it kept rolling around in my head.  “Dreams unwind, loves a state of mind.”  The more I thought about it, the more true I knew it was. IMG_0143

Life has a way of changing it up on us.  Taking our plans and making them nothing like we envisioned.  And it’s not “if” life throws you a curve ball, it’s really like “when.”   So when the “when” happens, what are you going to do with it?  When the “dreams unwind,” where do you go from there?

I think many times we just try to wind that same ball right back up. We want to recreate what we were trying to do in the first place.  As I was reading this morning, I was struck by people, their plans, and then God’s plans. They were not always on the same trajectory.  It’s hard! We want what we want, or at least what we think we want.  Life though has a way of unraveling.  The hard part is really not trying to wind it all back together, but giving it up to God. Making His love your “state of mind” and giving Him what’s left to knit together something new.

It’s amazing what you can hear when you’re listening.

Advent: Huh?

thSo it is only 5:36 this morning, and I am already just amazed where my mind has gone.  It started as soon as I woke up.  I won’t be saying why I started thinking this morning, due to HIPPA laws, but I am anticipating a more tight month with money, so I was concerned.

As my brain started to kick into gear and see how we can work things to make it all work out.  So as I was wondering how this would work out, my mind went from thinking about it, to worrying about it.

3D man near red question mark

It was crazy how fast I went there.  I was barely awake and within seconds worry was standing at my doorstep. It was mind boggling!  While I lay there trying to work out how we could switch things up to make sure it would all work out, the worry did not go away. It only became worse!  And that is when I heard it.  NO!  It was not a voice, but I knew WHO it was.  Again, God reminded me of how He has cared for me and my family.  How it has not always been easy, but how in the end He has provided.  I was embarrassed, because I know this!  But it is amazing how fast worry can grab you! So I got up and started reading again this morning.  Today I was at the story of Jesus turning the water into wine at a wedding.  I was struck by the craziness of the story.  The wine is gone!  A serious faux pas!  Mary though had a plan.  She tells the servants to do whatever Jesus says, and what he asks them to do is weird! Fill up those jars with water, then take a cupful to the “master of ceremonies,” this guy must have been like the DJ(?)  When the servant does, the guy is like “yes!!  Rombauer!”  Sorry for those of you who don’t drink wine, all I can say that is not two buck chuck.

There it is again, Jesus asking us to do something that makes us go…..huh?   And we can either go with it in one of two ways.   We can either go with  worry or with trust.  Worry comes with stress and trust comes with….. well trust comes with a lot of things.  Sometimes trust looks like peace, joy, feeling tentative or maybe even laughter.

I laugh every time I think of the crazy things I think God is leading me to do, and what people must think.  But like the servant knowing that it was water in the cup, I am always excited to see the result of what I offer.  He offered water and found it was wine.  I offer words and find encouragement.

images-6So as I’m sitting here, I am shaking my head, not sure of where this day will go.  But yes….I’m laughing thinking that it’s going to be a crazy month full of writing, work, doctors, family, love and lots of lights…… Well it is Christmastime you know!

Advent: Trusting the gardner

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So another day…..another post.  It’s funny, because when I start these writing binges, I typically have a day or two of posts in my mind.  Day 3 though is always where there is surprise.  I typically have no idea where I am going, and it makes me nervous. What is going to happen?  Will I be able to write anything?  The funny thing is, something typically catches my attention.

So I have been reading through the Bible this year.  I’m not following a reading plan or anything, just reading along until I’m  too tired, or I find something that I want to ponder for a while.  Just going at my own pace.  Well as I started to read today, I wondered if I should go to the Nativity story since it’s that time of year?  That would make sense….right?

But…..I really wanted to keep reading where I was.  So back to the beginning of the gospel of John and what he wrote about John the Baptist.  Ah…another outsider.  I’m  intrigued by the path of the cousin of Jesus.   His mom getting pregnant way past her prime, his father doubting and struck speechless, the Angel and the news that this young man would be the forerunner.  The one who would come before the Messiah. Pretty cool….  You’d think he would be an important part of the temple and everything that surrounded it, but he wasn’t.  I’ve always wondered about that.  Why not? It is part of his family heritage, it would make sense….right?  The ultimate insider!

I ‘ve tried to get on the inside, but it’s never really worked. Isn’t the church where you IMG_5979use the gifts you have?  I’ve taught Sunday School and was pretty good at storytelling, but any role outside of that has never happened.  There have been times over the years where I’ve thought, I could be used for that!  Or I’ve being willing to say, use me!  For some reason though, I was never picked.  Or there wasn’t a place for me to use my gifts.  It used to bug me, and I wondered what’s wrong with them?

It was hard at times, but trust is a great thing.  And I had to work at trusting God.  I had to realize that it was not them, but really me.  If God didn’t open that door, there was a reason.   God used those times to help build trust in Him.  Not people, not pastors and not in church, but Him only.

I wonder if it was like that for John?  He knew that God was going to use him and even what his role was.  The real question was how was that going to look?  I can’t imagine his parents thinking it would be the way it played out. Your son, the one who is supposed to come before the Messiah, out in the wilderness, eating bugs and telling people to repent.   Where is his place in the temple?  Wouldn’t’ that be where the forerunner spoke from?

 

IMG_7061John though was an outsider, and I like him because of it.  Maybe because he was an outsider, he was able to be who God really needed him to be?   I like to think so.  It helps me to think that any time we may spend on the outside is just a proving ground. A place where God can weed, water and grow us to who He really wants us to be.

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