My6inchchallenge's Blog

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

Archive for March, 2010

A resurrection of sorts – when dead things refuse to stay buried

Spring's brillance in color reminds us that dead things can live again

A resurrection of sorts

I love Alfred Hitchcock movies. “The trouble with Harry” is one of my favorites. In this plot of mystery, murder and humor, Harry who was found dead at the onset of the movie remains the main character. The sea-captain, the spinster, the wife and the bum all think they are responsible for his death, and so throughout the movie Harry experiences a “resurrection of sorts”. He is buried, dug up and moved around several times as they try to cover up his death and figure out what had really happened.

I’m fascinated by the idea of dead, barren things empowered to live again. That’s one of the reasons I love Spring. I get tired of the stalkness, the lack of life, the lack of color, the seeming death of winter, and long for Spring when dead or dormant things bloom again.

Like Harry, I have certain things in my life, though buried, are experiencing a resurrection of sorts. For me, winter has come to an end and the bursting forth and blooming of new things are taking place.

Imagine the dead and forgotten things in your life receiving an invigorating breath with the command to live again. I see the resurrection of dreams because past failures and hopelessness have been put to death. I see the reemergence of hope and  joy because despair and sadness have died. Forgiveness is in bloom because it was determined that unforgiveness will not grow. Peace has been nurtured so that chaos cannot dwell. Love  has been lived so that hate can find no place.

This, to me, is the abundant live. Christ said he came that we might have life and have it to the fullest. My challenge is to continually seek that life, where the good invested in me can come forth in brilliant color, beautifying and impacting my surroundings.

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What if your “parakeet” can’t dance? The challenges of discontentment

As the story goes, a fellow went to the pet store in search of a singing parakeet. Seems he was a bachelor and his house was too quiet. The store owner had just the bird for him so the man bought it. The next day the bachelor came home from work to a house full of music. He went to the cage to feed the bird and noticed for the first time that the parakeet had only one leg. He felt cheated that he’d been sold a one-legged bird, so he called and complained. “What do you want,” the store owner responded, “a bird who can sing or a bird who can dance?”

I knew that story would come back to haunt me as my logical-self demanded reason from my emotional-self with the question “Girl, can your parakeet sing?” “Of course it can sing.” I replied in annoyance, “but why can’t I have a bird that can sing AND dance AND do lots of other stuff?”

I hate being illogical, but my emotions were not submitting to reason, I was disappointed because of something that had taken place and I could not seem to shake it. I’ve heard that unmet expectations lead to disappointment, but I couldn’t say that I had not received what I had expected, so what was the problem?

After wrestling with it a while longer with no results I went to bed. I expected that I would awake with everything resolved. My sleep is normally a time when challenges are sorted through and solutions found, but when I awoke the next morning the change I had expected had not been in the right direction. I was still disappointed, and there was a growing sense of discontent and anger.

How do you fight that? When you know there is no valid reason to be as upset as you are. Or, maybe, it’s felt that there are valid reasons, and discontentment is growing, anger escalating, bitterness setting in, and that non-dancing bird has gotten on your last nerve.

I don’t know what or who your “parakeet” is, but I knew I had to regain proper perspective, get rid of my negativity and bring my emotions under control.

First: I had to be honest enough to admit that I had wanted something else and had been unwilling to face up to it

Second: I realized that the unspoken expectations had been quite unrealistic

Third: I resisted the urge to complain

Fourth:. I started identifying the needs that had been met

Fifth: I remembered the scripture that talks about “a garment of praise instead of a spirit of heaviness…”

Sixth: I gave genuine thanks for what I had received

I know it’s not magic, but it certainly worked like it. Before I got out of bed my attitude had shifted and through the eyes of thankfulness I found on closer examination that I had more than I needed.

I can’t promise that if you try the above steps your “parakeet” will grow a leg and break out in dance, but maybe you’ll start hearing the parakeet’s sweet melodies once again and as you give thanks for what you have, the fact that your parakeet can’t dance wouldn’t be as important.

In pursuit of my six-pack

I walked into my cardio box class slapping my abdomen. “I still don’t see my four-pack” I said to our instructor. I’m talking four-pack because I don’t have a six-pack commitment. He smiled and said “I see a four-pack coming in”, he’s so sweet. He turned to one of my friends and asked “don’t you see a four pack?”, she looked at me and rolled her eyes in disgust.

My friend is full-figured, she has been blessed with front AND back “stuff” in abundance. She’s alright with it though, her attitude is that she has “stuff” that others pay good money to get. However, she is committed to and passionate about her exercise routine. She has a goal, so she hits the gym 4 to 5 times a week. Her goal: she wants to be “tight”, Serena Williams kinda tight. I’m much leaner, not as committed. I go to the gym twice a week and on other days I sometimes dance around the house and do these little twists to trim my waistline and feel satisfied that I got in added exercise. My goal: (in spite of all my noise about four packs) is to have fun, be healthy.

It’s important to know our goals and their priorities, in every area of life. If we don’t, we can find ourselves living more challenging and chaotic lives as we try to keep up with what others are doing. It’s important to know ourselves, our bodies and those difficult targets we set that can be achieved only through sacrifice.

When we know this, we can better manage ourselves and allot our time in view of our priorities. Exercise is important to me but it’s not my no.1 priority, there are other muscles I’m striving to develop, other areas to nurture into health, and these too take time.

Finally, I see you

He just stood looking in at me. I did not want to look at him. He stood on my left. I had never realized how long these stop lights were before. I sat searching my mind, adding and subtracting and came up empty. I had no money in my purse–I could not look at him and not have something to offer him. I felt compelled to turn–I saw the empty mouth hanging open, but his eyes broke my heart. They seemed sad, desperate and lost.

I suddenly remembered I had put away some single bills the day before for this very reason. So I reached for it, rolled down my window and handed it to him. He said, “All I can say miss, is God bless you for your kindness”. This guy was new, I had not seen him before. I had a few regulars, they were on my route home so I felt in someway responsible. I’d give them a few dollars and move on.

This day however, when I got home, I bawled, literally. There was something about him, that broke something inside me. I had arrived home to a house that was so warm in the winter that my attire was consistent year-round–dressed for the topics–but I had handed him $2. and left him out in the cold.

I kept wondering what else I could have done, my help in the face of such a challenge seemed inadequate. Later that evening, while reading “He Still Moves Stones,” Max Lucado retells the story of Leo Tolstoy, a Russian writer. Tolstoy said one day as he walked down the street he saw a beggar. He reached in his pocket to give the beggar some money but his pocket was empty. He turned to the man and said, “I’m sorry, my brother, but I have nothing to give.” The beggar brightened and said, “You have given me more than I asked for–you have called me brother.

Maybe that’s why I felt so broken, I finally saw, and realized these too were my brothers, though homeless, hungry and hurting we were connected. I also learned that even when my purse is empty, I can offer love, acknowledge and affirm their person-hood and let them know I see them.

Delighting in the simple things–the company we keep

Friends finding delight in the simple things

"The Simple Things"

It was Saturday morning, I decided to stay indoors, reasoning I had so much to do. The phone ran, I answered, and the voice said “it’s such a pretty day”.  That’s all it took, my list of things to do forgotten, I said, “what do you want to do?” The reply, we can go see a movie or we can go walk the trail. “The trail, you mean like exercise?” I questioned, followed by “ok, let’s make it a day for sneakers”.

A few hours later I headed out and we set off for the Arabian trail. It was indeed a pretty day and as we walked atop the rocks and headed for the trees, I exhaled, and felt at peace. I love nature, it’s creator and I love spending time with my friend.

When we heard the rippling of water we sang “As the deer panteth for the water.” We sat, talked, delighted in the still barren, beauty of the trail and were refreshed.

Afterward, we headed back to her house, we sat around, talked with her teenagers while her husband grilled. We feasted, then decided to work it off with Wii games. My first experience with Wii was an instant love connection and as I pretended to be on the tennis court, I was hooked. Before I knew it it was almost 10pm, time to head home.

As I pondered the time spent, here’s what I realized:

1. Where you go is important but who you go with can make all the difference in the world

2. Sharing time with someone you enjoy can make “park experiences” seem like “paradise,” share with the wrong person, and paradise can seem like a mere park experience

3. Good friends inspire growth, and challenge to bring about change

4. The ability to appreciate “the simple things” is a gift to be treasured

Dear Mr President, am I covered? The challenges of our health care system

I needed to breathe, I felt faint, dizzy. I looked around wishing for a place to sit,  then, nothing, just blackness. When I came to, I was on the floor of the Marta train surrounded by curious faces. At the next stop I was ushered off the train and after waiting for a brief moment I was on my way to a hospital. As a paramedic fussed over me and did some tests, I felt unsettled, I had never fainted before.

When I got to the hospital I was hooked up to equipment and subjected to more tests. After the doctor told me what tests he was taking, I mentioned that the paramedic had already done some of those same tests, then I said the magic words, “I don’t have health insurance”. Suddenly, my physician started disconnecting the said equipment, and said “you don’t have any insurance, well, you look fine to me”. I was then released from the hospital still not knowing what was wrong.

That, Mr. President was my introduction to the US health care system. You see, I was new to this land of opportunity. I was a US citizen, who had lived on non-US soil into adulthood, and I had NEVER been refused health care. I was finally treated at another facility and found I had been dehydrated –my bill, greater than $1,000. That was about 13 years ago, I had been a student and had fainted on my way to The Art Institute.

Thankfully I am employed and have health coverage, but I can still remember the sense of helplessness, hopelessness and shame, not only from the lack of coverage, but the way I talked at, treated like an almost invisible annoyance that no one cared to deal with.

So I ask you, Mr. President, help restore some sense of dignity to those who need health coverage and are struggling to afford it. Remind those in congress, especially the Bible toting ones, that we have an obligation to help the widows, the orphans and the poor, even I do that. Compel them to wrap themselves in urgency because this cannot be prolonged.

WYMS (Wishing you much success),
Dona Halliday

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