My6inchchallenge's Blog

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

Archive for December, 2010

This is the Way, walk in it. Finding your haven in 2011

Not certain where the journey is taking you? Listen for God's direction, "This is the way, walk in it."

Listen and find safety

I sat, phone to my ear, scribbling. Sure, I could go to Google maps or mapquest for directions, but I have a brother who understands I have no concept of East, West, North or South. He understands I not only need exit names and numbers, but I need landmarks, light counts and anything that would remove my anxiety of getting from point A to point B. Preferably, I need someone who has traveled the way I need to go.

I felt anxiety creeping in as I asked, “Why couldn’t they let me go to the location I’m familiar with?” My brother answered, “If you always go to the same places how do you expect to learn anything new?” “I agree with that,” I had replied, “but it’s just not convenient to learn anything new today, I have too much to do, I don’t have time to get lost.”

That was almost a week ago. So this morning when I had left home at about 6:30am to go to another location of Piedmont Hospital, I felt a little more confident. My fear of missing the merge that would place me on  I-75, (believe me I’ve missed it before) was replaced with a silent alert, “look ahead, look for the message.” Now to those who have no challenges with finding their way, this may seem the silliest thing, but just before the merge, painted on the road in large, white letters, there’s the message, “THIS   IS    THE   LANE   TO    I-75.” “Dear Lord,” I thought again, laughing with relief, “I could marry the person who came up with this idea!”

Already, I’m looking ahead to 2011. I’ve had this dream that felt as though I was on a cliff looking over the edge, and I was told to continue moving forward. Again, I hear my brother’s question, “If you always go to same places, how do you expect to learn anything new?”

The fact is, we have no idea what the future holds. We don’t know where God will ask us to go, the new roads we may have to travel, or the new places we may have to adapt to. We are not yet aware of 2011’s joys or challenges, or those challenges that will bring joy. What we know for certain is, even if we are challenged and pushed beyond our places of comfort, stretched to limits we do not know we could endure, we know the One who has traveled the way we have to take and we can find safety, shelter and peace in Him.

Keep looking ahead and listen for God’s messages — “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.'” Isaiah 30:21.  …and, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go, I will watch over you and counsel you.” Psalm 32:8.

Learning to soar again — thank God for turning points

Learning to Soar Again

Thank God for Turning Points

I dreamt I was flying last night. It was not graceful, it was not pretty, but I was flying again.

I used to dream I was flying, all the time. I would go to sleep and awake in this land of beauty — this place of valleys and mountains, rivers and lakes, flowers and trees — I would spread my wings then take off and SOAR. I used to dream I could fly, all time.

Then one night, I can remember it now, when I had taken flight, I dreamt something was trying to pull me down, make me fall, stop me from flying. In my consciousness I knew exactly what it was, but I did nothing about it. I did not flee, I did not take greater care to guard my heart — you see, I felt it could never happen to me.

I dreamt for a long time, while in flight something would try to pull me out of the sky. During that time I was fluttering a lot, trying my best to keep flying, then I fell…

The thing is I had not dreamt I could fly for years, even worst I had forgotten that I was a dreamer who flew. I had forgotten, until this morning. This morning in bed contemplating getting up I remembered that I had been flying last night. I started rejoicing because I could fly again. Then my mind went back to my dream and I saw myself in flight and I became alarmed.

In my dream I was flying, but not in the open space of beauty and freedom, I was in a building with a very high ceiling and as I flew I was trying to avoid columns and doorposts. But stranger yet was the fact that instead of spreading my wings like an eagle, the way I used to fly, I was making swim strokes. I was in the air, flying, using swim strokes. In alarm I cried, “Father, look, look! I’m flying like a fish.”

He spoke to my spirit and said “The important thing is that you are off the ground, you just have to relearn what you once knew. I have you in a place of safety so you can relearn how to move like an eagle again.”

I believe this marks another turning point in my life. As a people who sometimes lose our ability to fly and have to learn to soar again, we have to be thankful for turning points, because it means we can move from where we are to another place, another level.

If you feel weighted down by the seeming inability to rise, whatever the weight is, maybe help can come in the simple form of a reminder, that we were designed to soar, and we can always go back to our designer for help. Maybe our inability to fly comes from our inability to remember we are fliers — this is Dona Halliday challenging you to remember, challenging you to move, challenging you to rise, challenging you to soar.

Soul Searching — reaching for knowledge in music, life and love

If we fail to search, to embrace, we can miss so much.

Searching … Music, Life, Love

“… Nev – er treats me sweet and gentle the way he should, I got it bad and that ain’t good … now when the weekend’s over and Monday rolls around I end up like I start out  just crying my heart out, he don’t love me like I love him…”

I was lost in the sweet crooning of Louis Armstrong’s husky confession of having love bad but it was not good. This is no indirect confession of unrequited love on my part but it’s more a response to a criticism a friend threw at me — He said I have no SOUL. When I asked him to explain he said that I knew nothing of the music of our people and he started tossing out the names of singers and their songs which indeed I knew nothing about.

Since I realized there was truth in what he said, it made no sense to get upset. Raised on the island of St. Kitts, surrounded mainly by what we called “christian” music; and calypso, which Christians really were not supposed to sing, I can’t say Sam Cooke, James Brown or even Aretha Franklin was on my horizon. I remember after my mom returned from Puerto Rico with records by Jim Reeves and Tom Jones my “christian” genre expanded to include songs like “Put your sweet lips a little closer to the phone, Am I that easy to forget, I can’t stop loving you, Delilah,” and my all time Tom Jones favorite “Without Love.” Definitely not the soul my friend was talking about.

I’ve discovered it best that if I don’t know something not to pretend, but to seek opportunities to learn. As a result I was delighted when I saw this little jewel at the library, a play-a-way of the “Harlem Renaissance Remembered,” maybe not the soul he was referring to but in my mind as good a place to start as any.

After exploring for the past 3 weeks I’m completely in love with these beautiful, brilliant minds with their skilled, colored words. For when they write, speak or sing I not only hear but see their emotions, feel their pains, experience their challenges,  support their determination and feel inspired by their gifts. I became that man on the rickety stool playing that sad raggy tune like a musical fool, in Langston Hughes poem “Weary Blues.” I told Louie how beautiful I thought he was as he moaned “Black & Blue” wailing that his only sin was in the color of his skin. I took to the floor and found myself giving the rhythm every little thing I had as recommended by Ella Fitzgerald in “It don’t mean a thing,” Who were these people so skilled in their craft with the ability to give life to words and paint them with the right emotional hues? I had almost missed knowing them.

I understand we are shaped by our environment, upbringing and culture, but if we allow these things to become reasons to build barriers, walls that divide, we can miss so much. I’ve always wondered why the need for sameness, why the need to look like others or offer acceptance only when others look like us? Why do we exchange our uniqueness to become invisible – to just blend in? Why does our idea of beauty lack color?

After some soul-searching, I realize there is so much to know, to embrace, to love, so much life to live, so many things to experience. This is Dona Halliday challenging you as I challenge myself to discover what is special about the people who cross your path, celebrate them, then further beautify your world by being  your unique self.

Weight, waist and food challenges

I had gotten up at 4:45a.m hastily pulled on my workout clothes and sneakers not so much as a declaration of my intent to exercise, but more so as a warning to both body and mind that spontaneous “exercise-like” activities MAY take place. My primary task was that of cleaning, but cleaning can provide great work-out opportunities.

I was on the far end of the room and had bent to pickup something, on my way up I had turned my head slightly and in so doing saw the mirror across from me. I gasped and stared at a figure very much like myself on the other side of the room — still slightly bent over — but the figure was different in that its middle section was spilling over the top of its pant. I froze, eyes only moving, darting left to right, up and down, then to my middle section, then left to right, up and down then back to my middle section, totally shocked by my muffin top.

I straightened, examining my side profile — something was terribly wrong, for it seemed that my middle section had grown vigorously bearing much resemblance to my protruding back section, and my back section was protruding much less than I remembered.

I stood, baffled. Then I quieted my thoughts and continued my cleaning. Mentally I started back-tracking my activities over the past few months determine to find what had gone wrong. I felt betrayed, for only two months ago I had made a decision to get my body “holiday-ready”. That meant I had those two months to tone and build more muscle so that during the holidays my body would be its own 24-hour-fat-burning machine to provide balance for any over-indulgences.

That had not worked, my body said OVER-INDULGENCE in bold, large letters. The last two weeks’ over-indulgences of blueberries muffins, delicious large ones; cold and creamy, melt-in-your-mouth almond and coconut ice cream; moist and must-have-been-made-in-heaven strawberry pound cake; and those perfect pies with the flaky crust — sweet potato, pumpkin, pecan … and certainly not enough “exercise-like” activities, had produced some undesirable results.

I’m not obsessed with my weight, at 140 lbs and a height that varies depending on my choice of elevation, the experts say my weight is normal. But abdominal fat can adversely affect our health, as a matter of fact I learned that it’s important to watch our waist number.

I believe in striving to be healthy. Sometimes my quest for healthy living is easy and at other times it’s a challenge. It’s been a challenge for the past few weeks.

As I write this post, even though I am not hungry, I had nuts and a cookie and I’m thinking about the coconut ice cream that is in the fridge. I’m also thinking about those delicious homemade waffles my brother brought over this morning. I’m thinking it would be really nice to have them with scrambled eggs and crisp, crunchy turkey bacon. I’m wondering what happened to the last piece of sweet potato pie, I don’t remember eating it. I’m wishing that I had not eaten all the turkey neck bones last evening, those had been sooo good. I’m thinking about food — delicious, pleasurable, satisfy-me-now comfort food — but I’m not hungry.

Discipline reminds me that physical food should feed physical hunger, so I have to say no to eating for the rest of the evening and re-enforced the need to get back to a consistently healthy lifestyle.

Yet the holidays are far from over, and tasty goodies will taunt and tempt us with whispers of “Come, have some. That’s all? Come, have some more. You know it’s ok, it’s the holidays.”

Though I will still allow myself a little over-indulgence once in a while, I understand that moderation is key, as I become ward of my waistline, watcher of my weight and exercise willpower in my choices.

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