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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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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!

Seasonal focus….

I needed some focus for the last part of the year, so I am taking a page from Lent.  I use Lent as a way to focus and write daily, and this December I really need some focus. Why?  Well the Christmas season is upon us, I have a big family celebration at the end of the month that I am in charge of, and I am also studying for a test for work.   That is not even the half of it, but I can only say so much.  So while I use Lent in the spring to bring focus to my life, I decided that Advent might help me do the same this winter.

dsc_0835-2So I was thinking, December 1st I would be on it!  But…. I missed the date.  Ugh!  Needless to say, it is all good, since today is officially the start of Advent. Who knew? Well obviously not me.
So what am I pondering on this first day of Advent?  Well, Christmas of course!  Specifically what this season means to me and really the effect it has had on my life.  I just finished writing a small vignette (?) for lack of a better word. While some of it is fictionalized, it is based on some things that have happened to me.  It was like God put them together for me one day, to give me perspective. It helped to remind me that God was with me.  And in reminding me of where we have been, He reminds me that He knows where we will go.  That gives me hope!  And isn’t that what the season is all about?  Hope?

For in the velvety darkness of winter, a star is seen and hope is born. The hope that the separation between us and God is about to be put to an end. That the love of God is brought to earth as a baby.  To start the transition from separation to reconciliation.

Change of perspective….

Attached are photos from both Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks.  At this time of year, the beauty of these parks are a bit muted.  You see a few trees that are wearing their fall “glory,” but fall in the Sierra’s isn’t astounding.  What you do see a “pop of color” here and there that I just happen to love!  Both parks were pretty quiet when we went, and that made it even more special.  It was a time (at least for me) to remember not only how small my problems are, but how big God is.

I love the picture of the path with the granite rocks dotting the way.  I had to watch eachIMG_6695 step carefully as I walked, making sure to navigate around the bumps and place my feet on flat ground.  Why?  Because I am such a clutz!  Now there was plenty of good ground to step on, but I had to pay attention to make sure that is where I was walking.  I took the picture because that is really how I am feeling right now.  My life’s path feels a bit bumpy, so I am taking it slow trying to make it through.  The picture gives me hope, as the path does eventually smooth out, and I know my life’s path will too.  It is only a matter of time…..

Until then, I am thankful that I live so close to these beautiful places where I can breathe in fresh air, see blue sky and get a change of perspective!

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!

 

Book Review: Shine; Stepping into the Role You Were Made for

IMG_0123So when I received, Shine; STEPPING INTO THE ROLE YOU WERE MADE FOR, I immediately wondered what I had gotten myself into.  I really felt like I had just stepped into an Andy Hardy movie and was being told that we were going to “put on a show”.  As I read further, I understood why.  Allison Allen is an actress who has been on Broadway, and even a featured performer on the Women of Faith tours.  Now if you’ve never been in drama or wanted to be an actor, don’t worry, the analogies that she uses are so clearly presented that you don’t have to have a theater degree to understand.

What comes through in the retelling of her own journey, is an encouraging, challenging and perspective changing book.   She so clearly brings examples of the “who” she was and how that person reacted, with the “what” she has learned from it.  Her observations bring clarity in who we are in relationship to God, and even how we are all a part of this magnificent story, that belongs to Him only.   Easy to understand, engaging and so encouraging that it was hard to put down.  Shine was a great read!

A Study in Pink – Stevie

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So what happens when you have to play “lighting assistant” to your hubby?  Well you score another interview for A Study in Pink.  I kind of ambushed Stevie Allen when she was getting some location shots done for promotional use.  Mike has known her, along with the other assortment of Allen ladies for a while now, and I just met Stevie for the second time this last week.  Continue reading “A Study in Pink – Stevie”

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”

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