My6inchchallenge's Blog

Tackling difficulties and overcoming the challenges life serves up – by Dona Halliday

Archive for January, 2010

…then, it was time to pay the piper

"It's tiime to pay the piper." No matter our choices, whether poor health habits or poor money habits there will come a time when the consequences for those choices will demand to be met. On my 6 inch challenge blog

"It's time to pay the piper"

There is a saying “He who dances must pay the piper”, and as I was on my mat exercising in Cardio Box class doing my scissor kicks, bicycle kicks and flutter kicks, I knew it was time to pay the piper as I groaned in protest. Two months of not exercising and overindulging during the holidays with soy cream, strawberry cake and three days of breakfast (buffet), tasty lunches and dinners at the Callaway Resort and Spa had caught up with me. I had not only danced to the piper’s tune, but I had had a regular jam session with multiple trips to the buffet line.

Strange how we live like that sometimes, not thinking about the consequences while we are enjoying the “dance”. But that principle of choices/actions and consequences apply in all areas of life.

That is pretty much how I view our present economic situation. Though we may not want to change our tune, it is impossible to ignore the fact that the piper has slowed his melody, changed his rhythm and is demanding that we honour our indebtedness to the last tune he played.

As I see it, we have several options. We can continue our pathetic, rhythm-less gyrations and point fingers and cast blame on whose responsible for this change of music, we can pretend the music has not changed and continue unwisely without plan or strategy, OR we can accept this as a challenge, a really tough one and set about the business of making adjustments, with a plan in place and a commitment to sacrifice for a better future.

For, we are a people who understand that it takes more time to fix something than it does to break it, we are a people who, in the face of tragedy and challenges open our hearts and sacrifice for the good of others, we are a people who live in the land of the free and the home of the brave, we are a resilient people.

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and, I celebrated, as though their successes were my own

Celebrating challenges

"Celebration Dance"

I believe we all love an occasion to celebrate. After all, it gives us an opportunity to break from our routine, do something different, and indulge in good food, drink, conversation and music. The act, however, can be meaningless if we forget why we celebrate.

Today, I celebrate my brother. I celebrate his standard of excellence in everything he does. I celebrate his God-given gift as a photographer and his hard work, which has resulted in him receiving for the second time (2009, 2010)  the Bride’s Choice Awards™.

I celebrate the success of others in my life. Those whose persistence have opened doors and made possible, advancement and growth. Those who have received amazing opportunities for their passion to become their livelihood. Those who have attained that possession they’d worked long and hard to get.

But, I also celebrate others whose success is not as tangible. It’s hard to point to it, and it definitely cannot be touched or held. These are they who have had to bear some tough challenges, who have lost some of their possessions, who have had to step up to the plate in face of unexpected hardship and pain.

The success to me, is that it did not break them, it could not defeat them. In the face of sickness, loss and challenge; strength they did not know they possessed, stood up in their spirits and made them move forward and LIVE. I celebrate that strength, that resilience, that aha moment of understanding the many sides of success.

May we never discount or undervalue the strength of character birthed from challenges. As we celebrate the success of others and ourselves, may we continue to rejoice in the goals we attain, in the awards we win, in the things we accumulate, but may we also rejoice, when sickness finds a foe in an indomitable spirit, fortified by faith and hope and undergirded with prayer,  when challenges and hardships are met head on with courage and are forced to yield, when we meet the unexpected with the understanding, that this too is life, and it provides an opportunity for great success.

I delighted in it, and it was a simple thing

In our rush to get to our destinations, we can miss so much, and find ourselves longing for time to give ourselves over to something extravagant. I have found, however, that amidst the busyness of everyday life, if I’m attentive, there are so many simple things that bring delight. Delighting in the simple things is like having front row seats to some of life’s most spectacular moments, but I also realize that even the mundane, if I take notice, can be memorable.

Here are 6 of my January delights:

"Sun set on I 285"

"As the sun sets"

1. Watch the sunset – when I’m heading home from work I love this spectacular display of color across the sky. What an amazing work of art!

2. Hear the dogs laugh: My sister said my 2-year-old nephew was so tickled because he said he saw 3 dogs in the backyard laughing and they were saying “ha ha ha” — I would have loved to have flown home just to see that.

3. Catch a kiss from the Caribou: After 27 miles of commute to work this helps to relieve my stress. Just before I get to the office, performing in front of the Caribou Coffee site is a dancing Caribou. It does this little jig that cracks me up, and waves and throws kisses. I laugh, and wave back as if this performance was prepared just for me and I slow down ignoring the flow of traffic around me to revel in the waves and kisses as though they are my own.

4. Leave my print in the snow: When we had our rare occasion of snow, I spent the day at home, but I could not resist getting out to walk in the snow. I walked for over a mile just loving the sound of the snow crunch beneath my feet and looking back to see the marks I had made.

5. Celebrate everyday heroes: I love figuring out the shapes of the clouds. This morning I looked up and saw this flying figure with arms stretched forward and a very determined face. It’s a super hero, I thought. I wondered if he was heading to Haiti to join all the other heroes who were risking their lives to save others.

6. Sing out loud: When I’m in my car I love turning the radio up and sing at the top my voice, This morning I performed one of Chris Tomlin’s songs, “…You are the everlasting God, you do not faint you won’t grow weary, you’re the defender of the weak, you comfort those in need, you lift us up on wings like eagles…

Mirror, Mirror — Having a healthy perception of self

"Wear a smile"

"Mirror, Mirror on the wall!"

It’s so interesting to me how much of our self-worth and self-doubt is influenced by the external — what someone says, how they say it, how someone views us. Do they accept us? Reject us? Do they like us? Do we fit in? But, as we seek to live life skilfully, can we really afford to have our worth and significance determined by others?

Years ago I decided to move to the U.S. I left home and landed in Atlanta, dressed in a beautiful, white sun dress. It was September. When my brother met me, he seemed quite appalled and asked “don’t you know you do not wear white after Labour day?” I was quite miffed, to say the least, and I could not figure out who determined these things, and why I should care.

That was about 14 years ago. Since then, I sometimes look at what the trends are, the colors of the seasons, the stand that some strive to keep up with, but I still live by a decision I had made as a teenager, not to allow others to dictate who I am, what makes me significant and how I view myself.

If you find yourself trying to change and satisfy everyone’s opinion of who they think you should be, it’s time to pause and do some internal evaluation.

Know, there will be times when others will not accept you, for whatever reason. Maybe it’s the way you speak, the way you look, you’re too confident, not confident enough, you don’t measure up to “their” standards, something they’ve heard, they are suspicious, they are insecure, they just don’t like you and they don’t know why. They are a myriad of reasons why someone may reject you, but most of the times it’s about them, not about you.

However, here are 6 steps to having a healthier perception of self:

1. Spend time with yourself, look at yourself, get comfortable with even your undesirable parts and accept yourself as you are right now

2. Dig deep, find out what makes you, you — what makes you unique, special, what your gifts are and what you have to offer

3. Do not allow others to keep punishing you for past failures, forgive yourself and move forward

4. Formulate a plan, get help if necessary, work on and change those things that will help you grow

5. Remember, comparing yourself to others is futile, living in self-doubt is unproductive, but proactively working to develop will produce amazing results

6. Realize, you mattered so much to God, the He made the way for you to have a relationship with him

Mirror, Mirror — Diary of the Miscreant Mirror

Dealing with poor self image. Jokingly, I blame it on my miscreant mirror.

"Mirror, mirror on the wall???...."

Have you ever struggled with the way you see yourself? Do you seem to have varying images that stare back at you when you look in the mirror? Are you always uncertain whether your reflection will be “that of beauty” or “the blob”? If so, you are not alone.

Because of this strange mystery that so many women experience, I had to do some investigating. What I found was astounding!

Ladies, our mirrors enjoy having fun at our expense!!!

Let me share with you a page I found from the diary of my miscreant, wicked mirror.

Sun.: She’s dressed for church today, preening and carrying on, I’m too tired to mess with her, had a late nite.

Mon.: LOL. This is the 2nd time she’s worked out in 2 months, but she’s talking about how buff she looks and congratulating herself on a 4-pack she says is coming in. I don’t have to do a thing, she’s already delusional.

Tues.: She’s complaining about something not looking right — bulges, and love handles, and… I’ll tell her it’s that French vanilla soy cream she ate last night.

Wed.: What is she talking about today? I’m not even going to listen, I’ll just look back at her cross-eyed, that should really mess her up. (he heee hee)

Thus.: She’s upset today. She says everything seems to be going south. How old is she any way? Everyone knows things shift as you age. There, I’ll just pull down a little bit more, how you like them sags now?

Fri.: What is her problem? Today is casual Friday, why can’t she just wear flats like normal people. I know she hates looking short and stocky, she doesn’t know it happens every time I make myself bulge. There, see, I’m doing it again. Look at her run for those 6″ heels.

Sat.: Today is her ro

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Places of Inspiration-The Art of Inspiring Change

About six months ago I started attending another church. This place has become one of the greatest sources of inspiration and influence in my life. A friend asked what I liked about the church and I replied that even though I found the teaching very profound, it was the simplicity (sincerity) and practicality that drew me.

I told her of a series we had done in December entitled “Before You Begin Again”.  Lessons taught on making and sustaining changes in our relationships, changes in our lifestyle to affect levels of fitness and health, and changes in the way we view money, were all very insightful. But, this statement inspired me more than anything else “Just be kind, it costs nothing to be kind”.

That may seem quite elementary, but the truth is profound. I also remembered as a child one of my favorite bible verses was “And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

I believe the reason that statement affected me was because I realized I had strayed from the core of that message. For years, I have protected myself by not allowing most people to get too close to me. I have experienced moments though, when my heart must have escaped that protection, because those were the times I lived my best life.

As a result of being inspired and challenged, I’m allowing my heart the freedom of tenderness as it learns again, that living is about opening its door and genuinely loving and caring for others.

Offensive Positions – When Something Within Cries, “Attack!”

Resist the Attack Mode

"Life's not a game, don't live it offensively."

The year is still young, and in spite of resolutions to grow, change and do better, we can find ourselves already taking familiar positions of offense. Offensive positions have once again been taken in families, among friends, with co-workers and even in churches. Familiar emotions of anger, bitterness, resentment and even envy have taken their places, and the calm resolve with which we may have determined to respond to challenges disappears, and in its place there is a voice that cries, “ATTACK!”.

With frustration, we realize that we handled this better,  just yesterday, but the lesson here is that growth and change is no one-time victory. We can’t declare victory without vigilance in maintaining and protecting it.

I’ve found that being honest with myself is always the best approach to uproot and avert the re-emergence of negative emotions and bad habits. These are the steps I take to make sure that even though I may have lost a battle today, I can regroup and refocus so that I can have victories tomorrow.

Take time to look at what I’m feeling and what the real issue is

• Be honest, no matter how ugly the truth

• Take action. Talk it through and be willing to own my part in the conflict

• Be willing to listen

• Be willing to forgive

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