My6inchchallenge's Blog

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

Archive for February, 2010

Loving life, here’s to my health and yours

It was Saturday, about 9am. I had gotten up earlier, turned on the radio and went back to sleep. Suddenly, I bounced out of bed, prancing around my bedroom, hips swaying, legs and arms moving, enjoying the music. If any had seen me, my dance would probably seem more appropriate for the “Dollar Wind” than for Fred Hammond’s “This is the day that the Lord had made.” That obviously did not concern me at the moment, because I got down West Indian-style to the rhythm then threw in some salsa and Zumba moves and gave it every I had. To some this may seem irreverent, but I was not only celebrating my health, but the ability to burst into song and, DANCE.

You see, for about 2 weeks I had been suffering from fatigue, feeling completely drained. Any desire to sing generated not more than a murmur, and my efforts to dance seemed more like a twitch. That is one of the most awful things I have ever experienced–no energy, little strength–jokes brought no reaction, conversations were met with little response, I was too tired to engage, too tired to be involved. My body had succumbed to a cold and fever, followed closely by my cycle and it took every I had to get up and move.

It’s hard to imagine living with the challenge of chronic fatigue syndrome, but some people do. So I danced in celebration of my health and for all the others who would love to be able to abandon themselves to dance.

Loving Freedom – Women I admire

In this series I highlight women I admire. Women who did not give in the challenges of injustice and slavery, but whose love extended beyond themselves and compelled them to actively join the fight for justice. I honor Ida B. Wells, and hope that her courage, passion, vision and spirit live on in women like me.

IDA B WELLS
1862-1931

“One had better die fighting against injustice than die like a dog or a rat in a trap.”

Ida B. Wells was born into slavery in Holly Springs, Mississippi, just months prior to emancipation in 1862. Her parents died of yellow fever when she was 14, and Wells, though minimally educated, began teaching to support her seven younger sisters and brothers. She somehow managed to keep her family together, graduate from Rust College and secure a teaching position in Memphis in 1888.

When she was 22, Wells defied a conductor’s order in Tennessee to move to a segregated railroad car and was forcibly removed. She won a lawsuit (later overturned) against the railroad and, from that point on, worked consistently to overcome injustices to people of color and to women. In 1889 she became co-owner of a Memphis newspaper, the Free Speech and Headlight. Her editorials protesting the lynching of three black friends led to a boycott of white businesses, the destruction of her newspaper office and threats against her life. Undeterred, she carried her anti-lynching crusade to Chicago and published Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases, which documented racial lynching in America.

In 1895 she married Ferdinand L. Barnett, attorney and owner of the Conservator, Chicago’s first black newspaper, and hyphenated her name to Wells-Barnett. Though married and eventually the mother of four, Wells-Barnett continued to write and organize. She was a founder of the National Association of Colored People (NAACP), marched in the parade for universal suffrage in Washington, D.C. (1913) and established the Negro Fellowship League for black men and the first kindergarten for black children in Chicago.

Though her crusade for Congress to pass anti-lynching laws did not succeed during her lifetime, her efforts as a writer and activist dedicated to social change and justice bore fruit in many areas and established her as one of the most forceful and remarkable women of her time. Ida B. Wells died in Chicago.

Relationships — I Love Me Some Me

Can you imagine the arrogance, the pridefulness, the overblown ego one must have to make such a declaration in public, “I love me some me!” This was one of the suggested topics for our Sunday sermon from our pastor. And to think, earlier, I had just spent about an hour in church school studying Jesus’ teachings about self-denial.

Is it possible to balance a “love affair with self” with a life of self-denial? Is it possible to walk in humility and be at ease with the state of being of loving self? This is interesting to me, for often, we have been taught to guard against pride, and self-love is viewed by many as an act of pride.

But how can we not love ourselves? When I think of how beautifully and wonderfully I’ve been formed, (and this is not merely physical), the amazing working of my brain and body, I’m filled with awe and love for not only God, the creator, but for the work that he has created.

So, in an act of participatory worship, prompted by the man of God, I shouted with the others, “I LOVE me some me”. My hope is that as we develop a greater awareness of who we, the byproduct would be a greater love of self. This may be over-simplified, but in my mind as we eliminate self-loathing and self hate, and let love grow, we would be a step closer to being obedient to the  command of loving our neighbor as ourselves.

Love-speak to my ancestors. Enduring the Challenges of Slavery

Living through the Auction-block experience

I feel like whispering. I’m so awed by you. I’ve lived your stories through the writings and reenactment of others,  yet it’s so hard for me to grasp your life–what you endured, how you lived, how you survived. I don’t know what it feels like not to matter, not to have my person-hood acknowledged, not to have others realize that I have dreams and hopes, thoughts and ideas–that I have a place in the world.
But you remained strong. You overcame. You understood that though your bodies were  enslaved your minds were not. So you dreamed your dreams and looked for the hope of freedom in your life or the life to come.

I feel like weeping. I can’t imagine being counted with live-stock. Being whipped instead of encouraged, being branded instead of having my own identity. When you stood on the auction block, completely exposed and vulnerable–stripped not only of your dignity, but of the God-given gift of choice–What were you thinking? How did you endure the humiliation?
When your children were taken and sold, you sons disfigured, your husbands lynched, your daughters raped–How did you keep going, singing, hoping?

I feel like dancing. I’m here because of you. I’m strong because you were strong. I’m persistent, a dreamer, I’m proud, dignified, beautiful, intelligent. A thinker, an innovator…
And there are so many others you would be proud of: mothers, fathers, laborers, teachers, preachers, doctors, judges, authors, poets, inventors, businessmen and women, designers,  athletes and entertainers, officers of law and even presidents. We’re so proud we are a part of you.

Relationships — Love is in the air

The romance of February can be addictive. But what if you don't have someone special to share that time with? Enjoying the alone time, spending time with friends, doing what we love can enhance the month of love. on my 6 inch challenge blog

"He loves me, he loves me not"

This morning I was reminded once again that this is the “love” month. This evening, in an email from Callaway Gardens, the subject: Have You Made Plans For Your Valentine Yet?  — an invitation to take advantage of the “Rekindle the romance package”. It seems that some form of love is in air and even though I do not have someone special with which to share a trip to Callaway Gardens, I insist on enjoying this time.

I have friends who worry about me, they say I’m too picky, my standards are too high, I need to “give” a little. Even though I appreciate their concern, I believe that when one is considering a life-time commitment it would be foolish not to be picky, not to have high standards, and not to refuse to “give” on those principles that are important to you.

So how does a single girl, who does not date around celebrate the love month? Here are 6 suggestions:

1. Spend time with your girl friends. There’s nothing like the ease and camaraderie of close friends.

2. Don’t be afraid of aloneness. Do the things you love and set the atmosphere you enjoy.

3. Spend time seeking God and bask in the greatest love you’ll ever experience.

4. Show love to someone who can give you nothing in return. Give a gift or a card to a stranger.

5. Treat yourself to flowers or buy a plant, my favorite – the orchid plant.

6. Pamper yourself. You can do this at home. Light candles, run a bubble bath, put on a facial masque, turn on music and relax.

Relationships – Sins of the past

The Judge sits with gavel in hand waiting to pass sentence on current and past sins. Having the power to show mercy or condemn, may she choose mercy. On my 6 inch challenge blog

"Judge with gavel in hand"

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“This is the second bad thing I did”, said Ruth, as she plunged into another story from her past. “I told this guy I had a Christmas gift for him and suggested that we do a gift exchange. He asked me what I wanted and I told him money. When he brought the money I told him I had forgotten his gift and I’ll give it to him the next day. The next day I tried to avoid him, so as he walked towards me calling my name, I started running –I had never bought him a gift. But that does not really count”,  does it”?, she asked with a laugh, “Because I was only a teenager.”

I can’t remember how this conversation started on my job, but Ruth, my coworker (the name has been changed to protect the guilty), is one of the sweetest persons I know, and as the judge in me rose to condemn her for such a terrible thing, grace reminded me to sit still. After all, I have my past sins and I can’t even blame youth for those unwise choices.

I believe that’s one thing our mistakes should teach us–be quick to show mercy and slow to condemn. Have you pointed your finger lately, shook you head in disbelief, wondering how someone could be so bad, so evil, so unwise? Have you banged your gavel and proclaimed they should never have another chance, you’ll never forgive them, they deserve what they get? Pause for a moment and check your past then see if you really have a clear conscience to continue throwing stones.

Love on the rocks – A gentler me

CIMG1182

It’s been some time since I ended the relationship I wrote about in my earlier blog “Love on the rocks – I’m not insecure!” But I’ve come to realize that insecurities can manifest themselves in different ways. The need to be constantly reassured or reaffirmed in certain areas may be a silent cry that we are not feeling good about ourselves in that particular thing. We don’t feel secure, we don’t think we measure up, and we just need to hear once again that we are ok, we’re accepted, we’re loved.

Insecurity is an awful thing. It makes us needy, unsure of ourselves, accusing, demanding and unaware that we are more than our flaws, and sometimes the people we try so hard to hold on to, leave us because of how our insecurities play themselves out.

Maybe if I had the understanding then that I have now I would have been able to more effectively build this person up and relay the “Stone Mountain” incident differently. But over the years, I see emerging a “gentler me”, and the gentler me would love to have said to him, “you’re really ok. Look at all these areas you’re gifted in. Do you know how special you are to?

My heart breaks for the people who have been hurt, when someone’s leaving have caused more pain and have increased their insecurities. But heartbreak is a normal part of life, even the people who genuinely care about us can cause us pain, it’s one of life’s challenges that we have to live with. But also realize, that when someone leaves, it creates the opportunity for us to take some time and work on ourselves. As we find the value in who are then maybe we can find the person who will complement us best.

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