My6inchchallenge's Blog

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

Archive for January, 2011

Convicted with my hands in the air. Goodbye Zumba

“If you come out to party and have a good time, if you …. .” Normally, I won’t allow myself to get caught up in music if I thought the message inappropriate, but recently for the sake of fitness, and my love of  Zumba, I had deemed this acceptable and placed my habit of closely examining the message behind the music on hold.  You see, dancing to this calypso had become the favorite part of my Zumba workout.

I was loving the moment, and, much too vigorously, had just wind my way across the room to the left, then made my way back to the right. Lost in the rhythm, I followed the calypsonian’s  instructions….  “now put up you han, now wave you han, now wok up you waist…” I had settled into a shake that would rival Beyonce’s, a shake very similar to the one that had caused Mama much alarm when she had seen my workout routine back when I was much, much younger, a shake which I had since given up and only started again in my Zumba class.

I was there, hands in the air, body part shaking to the rhythm when something strange happened — music still blasting, calypsonian still instructing, Zumba teacher still leading, other students still following — in my mind I heard two lines from the Proverbs 31 text. “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” My shake slowed to a gentle sway as I asked myself one question that ended my participation in Zumba, “Would God’s virtuous women be doing this?”

That was early December, 2010. I have not been back to a Zumba class. I’m not here to write about what is wrong or right about Zumba, but for me I think I’m beginning to understand what Paul meant when he instructed the Christians in Philippi to “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Though we can never work to obtain salvation, (it’s God’s free gift to us) once we make a decision to turn from living life based on our own righteousness, and we accept the righteousness offered us through the blood of Jesus the Christ, we then accept the responsibility of being discipled by Him so we can learn to better represent him.

“Working out our salvation” I believe means as we learn from Christ, and are disciplined by Him and challenged by His word, we then make the choice to obey, to change, to grow, and to let go of those things that do not showcase the character and righteousness of God.

As important as physically exercise is, even more important is Paul’s instruction to Timothy, “… to train yourself to be Godly.” In the same manner as physical exercise; being heart healthy, building strong muscles, becoming fit, spiritually, take the investment of time, discipline and hard work.

Keeping my body healthy is still important so I have to find a substitute for Zumba, maybe Body Gospel. So as I continue to strive to always keep the most important thing, the most important thing, I challenge you to do the same. Later in the scripture Paul reminds Timothy that he must remain diligent, for others must be able to see his spiritual progress.

Add health to your breakfast. The absolutely best way to eat an eggo waffle

Add health to your breakfast

A healthy breakfast is good for you

I remember as a child we had to have breakfast, but, it had to be a “HOT breakfast.” So, if we were having corn flakes we would add hot milk to make it a “hot breakfast.”

The habit of prioritizing breakfast has continued into adulthood, and having a leisurely breakfast is one of my favorite things. 

I believe some of the keys to adding health to our breakfast and making it something we must do, are: Prioritizing our health, proper planning of our time, learning to mix things we love with things we may not love as much, and having fun with it.

For the past three mornings I’ve had some time to “play with my food” and I’ve discovered the absolutely best way to have my Eggo waffles.

This morning’s breakfast menu included:
1. Porridge: Quaker old fashion oats, soy milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and honey
2. Multi-grain Eggo Waffles
3. Brown eggs stuffed with soy cheese
4. Chopped bell pepper, red seedless grapes, spinach, celery, tomato, kiwi, and the kicker, cilantro

Dona Halliday believes she has the best way to eat eggo waffles

Breakfast - my favorite meal

Now, what you eat is important but how you eat it can make a huge difference. So I love taking my waffle, folding it in half then stuffing it with my eggs, fruits and veggies and sprinkling chopped cilantro on top. Absolutely no syrup!

Yes, yes, I know you have your favorite ways to eat waffles as well, but there’s nothing like delighting your taste buds, yet also making sure your body gets the healthy stuff it needs.

For 2011, challenge yourself to a healthier lifestyle and start with breakfast.

When God does not work… Can you really trust God?

“This is a radioactive pill,” the technician explained, “please make sure you do not touch it with your fingers, just toss it into your mouth and drink the water.”

I’m generally very careful about what I put into my body. As a result, I’ve never drank coffee, I do not like chocolate, (except Snickers bar) I’ve never had any of those fancy “‘ccino” drinks from Starbucks, I’ve not drank soda since my teen years, I do not drink alcohol, have never smoked, and other than my multivitamin I do not like pills.

So as I sat in that tiny room holding a vial, I was not feeling very happy about having to down a radioactive pill. “… There are absolutely no side effects,” the technician continued. So I had behaved like an adult, thrown back the pill and swallowed the water.

In December, about a week before I had my physical, I had listened to Roger Olson’s critique of the book “The Shack” by William P Young, and that moment completely shifted my perspective.

The story is about a man called Mack whose youngest daughter was murdered by  a serial killer. This began Mack’s journey of dealing with the horrific places life can take us, his struggle with accepting a God who did not act, and his discovery of God.

I’m not one of those persons who believe everything happens for a reason. Yes, I believe there are some things that God orchestrates, but I also believe that evil people cause destruction that God never intended. I believe greed, hatred and lust destroy families that God ordained should stay together. I believe the selfishness of others have caused some to go hungry and homeless. I believe, like the choice of Adam and Eve to disobey God, our choices are more far-reaching and long-lasting, and can affect the lives of others in ways we cannot imagine. I believe life happens. I also firmly believe that when the negative and painful things of life are offered to God, He can take them and use them purposefully.

I wonder if there are some, like Mack, who after some challenge or tragedy came to the conclusion that “God does not work.” I’m also not one of those persons who believe we should live in denial, hiding behind a smile. I believe God gave us real human emotions to express the joys and sorrows of our hearts. When I’m happy I laugh, so when I’m hurting I try to get to the safety of God’s arms and have a good cry. When I’m uncertain and feel unsafe I tell God about that too. When I’m angry, fearful or disappointed and I can’t seem to find the words to pray I hope there will always be a song. I remember that Jesus, in sorrow, cried and begged his Father to spare him the pain of the cross. I wonder if He thought that God did not work as He cried from the cross, “Why have you forsaken me?”

As I write now, I know what I’ve asked God to do, I also know that God can do what I’ve asked Him to. The shift that has taken place because of “The shack” is that I’ve discovered God in a new way. I’ve recognized His sovereignty, might, power, love,  grace, goodness, and I know no matter what happens in my world God’s worth does not change.

As King of all kings and Lord of all lords he deserves our praise, our worship, our lives. When I remember that, peace fills up the place when chaos threatens, praise pushes away complaints, and in spite of what does not seem perfect in my world I raise my hands in worship knowing that God is.

Can the good shepherd be trusted? Yes, He can be trusted, I trust Him with my life. Does God work? Max Lucado  reminds me that God is always at work, sometimes He calms the sea, and sometimes, (if we allow Him to) He calms the sailor.

Let me touch your heart — be open to love.

Let me touch your heart, be open to love

Move your hands, let me touch your heart

“Do you know you are protecting your heart?”

Before I knew it I was asleep …

Then, it was time to get up. My alarm had sounded at 6:00am signaling prayer time, but on Sundays I never get up that early. I stayed in bed enjoying the quiet, loving being at peace with my own thoughts. In fact, I was feeling a sense of satisfaction that I’m not one of those persons who have to keep rushing about busily because they cannot stand to hear themselves think.

“Do you know you are protecting your heart?”

Have you ever had a thought that seemed so clear and verbal that you found yourself responding out loud? For, there it was again, that same annoyingly probing question from last night. And again, I had responded out loud, somewhat too antagonistic, “WHAT?”

“Was there any truth to this loud, intrusive thought? If so, from what or from whom was I protecting my heart?” I started going down a mental list? First of all, could I be protecting my heart from God? That made no sense, but I needed to be sure. I asked out loud, “God, could I be protecting my heart from you?” Had I shut off any part of myself from God? Was I holding anything back? After pondering for a while, I realized that did not seem to be it. Check, check, check …

Then I remembered something my brother had said to me early last year, the greatest compliment I think anyone can give to another person, he had said he had seen how much I had changed. You used to be so anti-social he had said, (my version, I’m a loner) even with the people closest to you, but you have changed a lot.

The people who know me well know I do not quickly or easily allow people into my space. I can’t remember if I was always like that, but it seems I’ve always loved and have been very protective of my space. But I think feeling the need to protect my heart came a little later. Even as a child I was a keen observer of the lives of the people around me, and somewhere along the way I had held on to an observation I had made — men don’t stay, and even when they are there physically they might not really be there.

Wow! I’m not really loving this post right now, and this is not exactly what I wanted to start the New Year with, but there it was. Probably the underlying reason I had broken off most of my relationships, held some people at a distance, and refused to allow others to get close enough to touch my heart — A childhood observation — men don’t stay.

It’s strange, for even though somewhere in the background of my interactions this observation had influenced my navigation of relationships, I can say I’ve been loved well. I’ve expected to be respected and I’ve been, I’ve challenged men to a standard that they have admired years after our relationships have ended, I’ve learned to discipline myself so that I don’t allow men the luxury of wasting my time when they are not about anything. I’ve changed, I’ve loved, I’ve grown, but I’ve done that with a very well protected heart that always found reasons to leave.

I started 2011 with a simple request, “God, teach me, I’m willing to learn.” Now I add, “Lord, change me, I’m ready to be changed.”

This morning I had laughed at this thought in my head, “Move your hand, let me touch your heart.” I had never realized before that if I was not hugging my teddy bear to my heart when I was sleeping, my hand was over my heart feeling its rhythm. That was the way I woke up this morning.

It’s not bad allowing your heart to be touched, as a matter of fact, one of the reasons I’ve never out grown my childhood habit of sleeping with a stuffed animal is because I’ve realized having something hugged to my heart relaxes me. So on this 2nd day of the first month of 2011, I moved my hands from my heart, it’s about time I allowed someone else to touch it.

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