My6inchchallenge's Blog

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

Archive for Do Something

If I have no voice – In memory of Trayvon Martin (POEM)

If I have no voice, will you stand up for me?
Would you dare cry out when injustice you see?
If I have no voice, where will you be
when bullies with guns have silenced me?

Demand justice…! Uphold truth…!
With courage charge forth in the midst of abuse,
Guided by wisdom, stay the course,
the fight for justice is long — it has to be endured.

There are others like me — dead with no voice,
Silence is killing others — a different kind of trigger that will eventually implode,
Some are so scared they dare not speak,
Will you stand up for them when justice they seek?

Bullies come in all forms and sizes,
some hurt with their words, others with their glances,
Some take the lives of others, there are Zimmerman’s all around,
Cry out for justice…, cry long… and cry loud.

I had so many dreams of what I’d become,
my dreams were stolen, it was senseless, and so wrong.
Dr. King had a dream, was his stolen too?
Have we grown, have we changed, or am I still so different from you?

The challenge remains… but now it’s up to you,
After you’ve stood for me, there’s still so much to do,
Be that voice that wouldn’t be silent, in your schools and neighbourhoods
Stamping out injustice, violence and bullying from the ‘burbs to the hood.

2012 — A Mind To Do

2012 - A Mind to do, for it's the time to do

It's the time to do

As I sat and sucked on the bottom of my fifth ice cream cone I once again discounted the wisdom that when we know better we do better. A few days earlier, in a hurry to get to some location that does not seem that important now, I had found myself  divorcing the wisdom of safety — I had closed one eye, peeked at the yellow light ahead with the other, and to my horror, had accelerated.

For many days in 2011 I had groaned when my clock alarmed at 4:45am, and instead of jumping out of bed to stick to my fitness routine, I had pulled my cover closer, curled around my teddy bear, promising myself, I’ll exercise tomorrow. When my clock alarmed again at 6am signaling my prayer time I had sometimes crawled out of  bed to pray, but mostly, I had either slept right through it or sent up some mental prayers while I was still curled in bed.

Maya Angelou said “When you know better you do better,” and though I’ve used that quote often, as I draw to end of 2011 I take a look around: at myself, the body of Christ, friends and acquaintances, employers and co-workers, our politicians and our world, and I question, “Do we really do the better that we know?”

I think about the things we’ve learned in 2011, the seminars we’ve attended, the sermons we’ve heard, the truths we’ve discovered, the amazing stories we’ve read, the life lessons we’ve experienced, and I have one simple prayer as we move into 2012 – “Lord, give us “a mind to do.”

Give us a mind to act on the good we know, a mind to use the knowledge we’ve already acquired, a mind to live the wisdom we’ve already attained, give us a mind to live out the love we so fluently speak of — give us a mind to do, for it’s the time to do.

I believe when we know better we become equipped to do better, but a life of living the better we know  must move beyond the acquisition of knowledge. We need “a mind to do” — where there is a marriage of knowledge, wisdom and discipline, a marriage of truth, love and kindness, a turning from selfish agendas to the serving of others — a mind that enables us to live more eloquently than we can ever speak.

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.

Dreams deferred? Live in hope, change will come

“What happens to a dream deferred?” asks Langston Hughes, but he never really answers. His subsequent questions are all possible scenarios to what happens to dreams, or maybe dreamers, when dreams are delayed. “Do they dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore … Maybe they just sag like a heavy load. Or do they explode?”

It appears that deferred dreams are not new, in fact, having to wait, hold on in faith, persevere until change, is life — but it can sometimes be tough and burdensome. A writer in proverbs says it can even make one sick, for, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick,” (it sucks the life out of you, makes you weary to the bone, discouraged…)

But are you willing to persevere? Willing to maintain purpose in spite of difficulties or discouragement? For I heard that we have lost hope, that the things we dreamed would take place after President Obama was elected are still not realized, that we are so discouraged that we have decided to become voiceless, to sit out the upcoming election.

We may have lived so long desiring things to be easy and immediate that we may have lost what our ancestors had, that ability to endure; maybe we closed our minds to what our ancestors fought for, their right to person-hood; certainly we can’t have forgotten what our ancestors knew, that real change demands action and it takes time.

The proverb found in chapter 13:12 concludes showing us the other side of delayed hope,” … But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” I am Dona Halliday challenging you to remember the past, fight for your future, realize that giving up and sitting it out are not options. Show up, have a voice, be responsible, vote!

Symbol of hope — fight against breast cancer

Pink - Symbol of Hope

I looked around, still giggling out loud. I was leaving the Halloween section in Kroger and my favorite thing there every year is the candy bowl with the skeleton hand. I had pushed all the buttons, giggling like a child as the skeleton hands had grabbed, and those wicked, raspy voices had laughed and asked “Want some candy?”

I had spent too much time there already, but as I looked around the color pink caught my eyes. Orchids were now housed in pink containers, cases of bottled water were wrapped in pink plastic with the stories of cancer survivors  printed on them. I pulled out my glasses, stopped, read their stories, suddenly feeling somber. Blurs of pink passed me as I read, and I noted that like myself others were wearing some shade of pink. “Who were these women?” I wondered, “what are there stories?”

For the week I had wrapped my head in a pink scarf in support of  Breast Cancer awareness month, I saw pink as this symbol of hope, this reminder that others were aware of this challenge, that people were uniting their efforts, pooling their resources, something was being done. But even as I had worn pink during the week my mind had been occupied by other things, it’s so easy to forget when the struggle, the pain, the loss, the victory is not our own.

As I pulled cash from my purse to pay for my purchases I also pulled out a card and handed it to the cashier. The card, urges us to moves beyond the symbol to a point of action where we take personal responsible for our health. This card introducing BreasText is sponsored by Doris Shaheen Breast Health Center at Piedmont Hospital, 97.1 FM The River and Best Self Magazine. Personally, I had already taken action, I had texted the word Breast to 72239 and immediately I had received a text from the hospital assigning me a day that they will send me a reminder to do my monthly breast self-exam.

Symbols are great, but they should focus our attention on doing something, taking action, getting involved, making a change. I am Dona Halliday, challenging you to take personal responsibility and sign on for your health, send a text that can save your life.

Come on, Stretch yourself! A new toastmaster’s Ice breaker

Looking good…, but that’s not the kind of stretching I’m talking about today. I’m talking about the stretching of our abilities, our minds, doing those things that push us past our comfort level — the unaccustomed, the new, the different, the challenging — Come on, Stretch Yourself!

Recently, in an effort to do just that I joined Toastmasters International — a non-profit organization with about 12,500 clubs in 113 countries. This organization through its local clubs provide a friendly environment for individuals to develop better communication skills (i.e. active listening and public speaking) as well as leadership skills.

On Monday, I delivered my first speech there, an icebreaker. I was evaluated on the questions below and I would love YOUR evaluation. To listen, click here ICEBREAKER:

EVALUATION QUESTIONS:
1. What strong points does the speaker have?
2. How well did you get to know the speaker?
3. Did the speech reflect adequate preparation?
4. Did the speaker talk clearly & audibly?
5. Did the speech have a definite opening, body and conclusion?
6. Comment on the speaker’s use of notes. (no notes)
7. Suggest improvement the speaker could make
8. What did you like about the presentation?

Please let me know your suggestions by replying in the “Comment field”  and once again this is Dona Halliday encouraging you to stretch yourself by challenging yourself by .

Get up! Don’t just sit there. Check on your resolutions.

The call to get up and go about the business of accomplishing those things we plan to do is really a call to move with urgency.

Get up, don't just sit there!

I stood counting on my fingers like a child. “September, October, November, December.” I was finally convinced, the year was slipping away. As if to press home the point, blasting from the radio, Mary Mary through their song issued this command, “…GET UP, ’cause you can’t stop, GET UP, got a lot to do, 24 hours almost gone, GET UP don’t sit there, GET UP, if you wanna get there, clocks don’t stop and time won’t wait…”

That was Sept, 1st. Earlier, I had jumped out of bed at about 4:45a.m., grabbed a 4″ x 6″ card, wrote on it in bright green letters and stuck it on the TV screen. My subconscious must have formed an alliance with Mary Mary, for my, NO TV, SEPTEMBER note, meant there was better use of my time and there were too many goals that were still untouched.

Four days later at about 8p.m, I said to my second mom, “I’m going to Wal-Mart I need something to exercise my brain,” (one of my goals). Laura, almost 88 years young said she needed that as well. So we had headed to Wal-Mart where I had purchased a game of scrabble and book puzzles, and she, an electronic Ken-Ken.

For the last 17 days, I’ve played Sudoku (EASY level), done cross-word puzzles, dusted off my keyboard (wanting to teach myself to play was yet another unmet goal), pulled out one of hymnals and taught myself to play “Jesus loves me, this I know”, 2 days ago I got back on track to teach myself basic website building and before the end of next week I will have at least the home page of my site online.

This may not seem like much, but after my daily activities, I would still have been on the sofa, snuggled in the arms of good intentions, accomplishing nothing, but for that prompting to get moving.

How are your goals, plans, resolutions, going? In the words of Mary Mary, I am Dona Halliday challenging you to “GET UP… It’s YOUR dreams, YOUR choice, YOUR time, YOUR life, don’t you miss it.”

Learning the Faith Walk – Stepping on your fear

Leave fear behind and do the faith walk

"Join the faith walk, it dispels fear"

I hate saying this out loud, so I’m just going  to whisper — “I can’t swim”. Just imagine, an island girl who has loved and spent so much time at the beach never learning to swim. I love the ocean and when I think of vacation I think about heading to the beach. Refreshing means cool water against my body, waves massaging me, causing me to relax and unwind, lounging on the beach enjoying nature, and for some reason swimming was never a part of that. It was time to make a change, however, so I decided to use the pool at the “Y” to rectify this situation and almost a year later I’m just having a breakthrough.

I’ve always known that the thing that has hindered me most from learning to swim is that though I love the water I’m also terrified of it. My comfort level has always been where my feet can still feel solid ground beneath me and if I can’t feel it, fear sets it. FEAR — that paralyzing, limiting, stagnating force that keeps us stuck, casts doubts on our efforts and if not challenged robs us of our courage to try, move, learn, change, grow, leave, achieve and conquer.

I had to deal with that fear because I was determine to make a change — I needed a breakthrough. But this breakthrough actually came as a result of seeing other people trying and learning more so than having someone teach me. I happened to be at the pool when a class showed up for a make-up session. I watched fearful, timid, uncertain grown ups as they followed their instructor’s directives—splash around, sink, gasp and fail but kept right on trying. I had not paid to take this class but I decided to observe, try and learn as much as I could.

I listened and joined in the splashing, much sinking and gasping, then a light came on. Instead of allowing fear to cause me to reach for the comfort of firm footing when I felt I was sinking, I realized I became buoyant when I relaxed, and moving my arms and legs lifted me and caused me rise to the surface. It was amazing! The more I experienced positive buoyancy and was able to move in the water, the more I wanted to try. Soon I forgot about fear and afterward wondered why I had allowed fear to hold me captive for so long.

This seemingly simple lesson has re-enforced my journey to ensure that fear is not controlling any area of my life. I’ve been learning the faith walk, that is recognizing my fear triggers and in faith stepping on and over those things that otherwise would hold me captive. I’m developing confidence in the One who reminds me to “Fear not,” that is allowing me to trust and relax, enabling me to not sweat the small or large stuff as I journey. I’ve learned to keep moving and if I fail to get up and try again. As I grow and change there is this hunger for more growth and a new voice of faith is replacing that old voice of fear.

Is it fear that’s keeping you where you are? Is it fear that’s making it impossible for you to stay put? Is it fear that’s causing you to conform, to feed that desire to fit in? This is Dona Halliday challenging you to face your fears and experience the transforming power of the “faith walk”.

Take a listen to my favorite worshiper, Pastor Donnie McClurkin’s, I]l trust you Lord

Worthwhile Warfare – The Fight Against Injustice

It seemed strange, though these movies were totally different I was left with similar emotions of horror, disbelief and repulsion. I had just watched “Lakota Woman – Siege at Wounded Knee” and it brought to my mind the battle that took place in the movie “Avatar”. Different indeed, one based on real events, the other on fantasy, but the things that led up to the battles seemed so similar Greed – one group willing to fight for something that belonged to someone else; Fear – taking the things people fear and don’t understand and feeding them to build hate; Anger – emphasizing the need to protect against those whom we fear and destroying before we are destroyed.

There is injustice all around us on varying scales (from the employer who fattens his bank account while his workers struggle to exist on minimum wage, to a race of people who were driven from place to place and almost destroyed). It becomes easier, I guess, when we don’t see others as human as ourselves. So, we degrade them, call them names, remind ourselves that they are not like us, and as in “Lakota Woman” we call the people we don’t know or understand – savages; in “Avatar” – monkeys; we call our blacks the “N” word; our women the “B” word and everyday it becomes easier for injustice and violation to abound.

After seeing “Avatar” I remember thinking that I will never view war in the same way, and though I believe there are some battles that needed and still need to be fought, and this memorial day I honor the men and women who gave and are giving their lives for freedom and the fight against injustice, I believe that some battles are founded on greed, hatred and division.

So as our soldiers bravely fight our battles overseas may we look around us and willingly face the challenges that need to be confronted in our midst. Where we see injustice and others being violated in our workplaces, our homes, our neighborhoods, our entertainment, and even in our churches may we fight not with the destructive weapons of guns and bombs but may we speak out against it, call it out so it does not remain hidden and live out justice because this indeed is worthwhile warfare.

Go on, be a hero!

I’ve never been the kind of girl who feels she needs to be rescued, so when one of my friends gave me the book “Your Knight in Shining Armor” with the expectation of having wonderful dialogue about the content, I could not relate. It seemed too fanciful, my rescuer not human enough, and the story did not leave me longing for such a hero as she had been.

Don’t get me wrong, I love stories based on fantasy, love romance and especially love stories about heroes, I just need them to be more relatable, a little more practical. Lately, I started listening to one of my favorite radio stations online at wlib.com, and found a hero I connected with in one of their ads. The hero, The Red Defender. Story line—There’s potential tragedy, the Red Defender shows up, takes charge and moves quickly to prevent impending danger, but, the end of the story is never what is expected. The rescues always go awry and the outcome is never what he intended.

Needless to say, I love this hero, he makes me laugh with his wacky rescues after proclaiming, “I’ll take care of that!” but ends up causing other disasters. But I have to admire the way he steps up in the face of challenges and tries to help. I guess another reason I’ve grown to love this hero is because I can relate in some way.

Have you ever tried to do the right thing, tried really hard, and made a mess anyway? Have you ever wanted to make a good impression but ended up doing something that totally embarrassed you? I have. So, I’ve had to learn the very healthy habit of being able to laugh at myself when the impression I leave does not live up to the person I am, and be willing to get back at it and try again.

I guess it’s true, there’s a hero in all of us. Most times, though, the hero never gets out because we’re too afraid of doing something wrong or making a fool of ourselves. But I’ve learned it’s ok to make a fool of ones self once in a while. That has been one of my most influential teachers in the lesson of accepting my own humanness and that of others. The lesson of offering acceptance and forgiveness when ordinary heroes try to be there and live out the greatness they know they possess but fall short. I say, “Thanks for trying” to all the ordinary heroes, “keep working at doing heroic things and know you are loved even when you fall short”.

%d bloggers like this: