My6inchchallenge's Blog

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

Archive for family

KISS me slowly, sweetheart. In honor of breast cancer awareness month

Breast Cancer Pink Ribbon

Find help to remain strong when dealing with the challenges of Breast Cancer

Kiss me slowly, sweetheart, she whispered. It was another one of their games she had invented after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Life had been such a whirlwind before. Their schedules hardly allowed them time together. They would dash off to work at mornings and fall into bed exhausted at nights. With schedules and functions and staying focused on that damnable goal they would throw each other a quick kiss accompanied by a sleepy goodnight and drift off to sleep.

Why does it take something devastating to make us reevaluate our lives? How do we lose sight of the really important things so easily?

Sabina and Sebastian had been stunned after they had received the diagnosis – Sabina had Stage III breast cancer. In the midst of the decision-making, surgery and treatments they had needed help to just cope with it.

One morning as Sebastian had brushed her lips with a kiss, she had wrapped her arms around his neck and whispered, “Kiss me slowly, sweetheart.” She hated this terrible disease and what it had done to her body but loved this person she never knew her husband could be.

It was he who had told her to ask for the KISS  principle or any variations of it when she needed it. When things got overwhelming, she would say, “Keep It Simple, Sweetheart.”  Shortly after, that had morphed in any request she could invent that involved the word kiss and they had found pure, simple fun even in their tragedy as they tried to out do each other’s level of creativity.

Sabina had excellent doctors, her faith in God had been challenged and strengthened, her love for Sebastian had deepened, yet she knew tomorrow was not promised. She had to love and live well, today.

So whatever you are going through:
Find the “simple” in the midst of it
• Allow yourself to be loved
Have fun with those in your space
Remember your faith in God CAN bear up beneath tough challenges
• …and if you have someone to share a kiss with – take it slow and savor it – tomorrow is not promised.

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Did the ship come in? Opportunities for kindness

Laura says I can be her husband’s daughter–that’s not always a compliment. Laura’s husband, Mr Fletcher, was a, “Did the ship come in?” sort of fellow. Simply put, get to the point.

Laura delights in details. For example, when Laura asks, “How was your day?” I have several 3 word-variations – “It went well, it was productive,…”  When I ask Laura the same question she likes to start at the beginning, “Let me see, what time did I get up… who she spoke to, where she went, and even details like, “no, before I did that I stopped in the kitchen to get water….”

“Laura, I’m not seeing the ship…?” That’s me. Like Mr. Fletcher, I’m a “Did the ship come in?” kind-a girl. Why would God bring people with such different personalities together except for opportunities of growth?

Laura comes equipped with something I don’t have. The patience to spend hours on the phone allowing others to unburden their hearts, and the kindness to listen to their whole story.

So, after reading chapter 3, Your Kindness Quotient, in Max Lucados’ book “A Love Worth Giving,” I found myself wondering, was Jesus more like Laura with her propensity to travel the long route through a story and less like me with my need for “context only?

Max Lucado sets up the chapter by interviewing three bible characters, one of whom was the woman with the issue of blood. She spoke of how kind Jesus was, He didn’t have to — heal her body, listen to her story, call her  daughter…

As I pondered the question asked in the book, “How kind are you?” I realize that for those of us who strive to be imitators of our Lord,  if we miss God’s heart we would miss the heart of the matter.

Jesus is kind – in actions, in words. To those who deserve it and to those who don’t. He has no ulterior motives in showing kindness, no selfish agenda… but to the outcast, the ill prepared, the thief, He took the opportunity to show kindness and instructs us to do same, when we feel like it and especially when we don’t.  Kindness –like breath, like water, like a touch, is life-giving and affirming.

I heard my daddy pray…

Good night, daddy,
Whispered the hesitant voice of a child,
It took some time before I realized
that the child-like voice was mine.
Decades of distance
Seemed to slip away,
For my heart almost melted
When I heard my daddy pray.

Don’t underestimate trials
The work they were sent to do,
By design they can make you stronger
And bring you closer too.
Sickness, pain and challenges
Had driven my family to say,
Come island to island, countries and states
We’re reaching out to God and pray.

So daddies, pray with your children
Let them see you on your knees,
Guard those priceless treasures
Be the example that they seek.
For time alone will show you
The kind of investment that you’ve made.
Stay the course, show up, be there,
Shower them with love and care.

POEM: When Dad’s not there

Time for good men to stand up and step forward

She was short, round and stocky with a voice like a trumpet. “Don’t do anything else to her car, the woman has no money!” She shouted it seemed to the entire world, her neck stretching through the open door.

Yes, “The woman” she was referring to was me. Totally embarrassed I covered my face with my hands but was so tickled by the way she said it that I was laughing. She was right. I had gone home, changed clothing, dropped my journal in a bag and headed to the park. On my way home when I had spotted the car wash I had stopped, forgetting I did not have my purse. Somewhere during the process the thought that had been trying to reach my consciousness finally got there. I jolted from my relaxed seated position to my feet, as the thought ht me, “Dona, you have no money to pay for this service”.

Thankfully, there was a gentleman who responded to the trumpeter by reaching into his wallet and offering to pay for what they had done.

What makes a man a good man?

Earlier that day I had gone to the movies to see Tyler Perry’s “Good Deeds”. In the movie the character Wesley Deeds comes to the aid of this young woman (Lindsey) and her daughter, when life had dealt them some very tough stuff. I love the movie for its story line, its strong parallels and metaphors, but as Lindsey told Wesley that he was a good man, with a good heart I found myself raising the question once again that I had written on a post-it and placed in my bible to mark the eleventh chapter of Acts. “What makes a man a good man, and how can he be recognized?”

His name was Barnabas. No, not the man from the car wash, I don’t know his name. But this Barnabas in Acts 11 was described as a good man. He was known to be an encourager, generous in helping the poor. He was full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. He was a worshipper and a man of prayer.  He stood by and mentored his nephew when others may have given up on him. He loved deeply, was committed to God’s work and was trustworthy. He was a reconciler, whose Godly character was known not just by his words but by what his deeds.

In your opinion what makes a man a good man?

Can you recognize them? Well…, then help them stand in their homes, communities, churches and places of business. Help them stand in familiar and unfamiliar places. Help them stand for those who cannot defend themselves, mentor those who may otherwise be cast aside. And at the smallest glimpse of “goodness,” tell them that they are good men, for with just a little encouragement we may have good men standing up all around us and stepping forward.

It’s time to accept those who are different

“I’d have to change my response to the wedding vows from ‘I will’ to ‘I’ll do my best with God’s help’.” That did not go over very well with the minister and his wife with whom I was having this conversation. It was years ago, I don’t even recall why we were talking about this, but my response had greatly offended him and his response had not hidden that fact.

It keeps amazing me that people can seem to be getting along so well, yet offenses, misunderstandings, differences and disagreements can not only divide us, but cause an end to relationships, or even worst, cause people to make enemies of each other.

Time teaches that differences/disagreements/etc are normal happenings in life. However, I think the greater lesson is that our responses can paint very accurate pictures of where we are at various stages, and therefore can be the impetus for personal growth.

The idea of standing before God and saying, “I will,” to me meant writing a blank cheque of commitment to someone as we stepped in an unknown future, and it filled me with terror. Yet, in “Meeting God at Every Turn” as I read Philip Lader’s vow to Linda Ann LeSourd (Catherine Marshall’s stepdaughter), something within me exhaled and I finally got it.

Part of Philip’s beautifully written vow read, “…the “I will” said today is not so much fact accomplished, as responsibility assumed… you and I are commissioned by this wedding to make God’s love believable to the world. By His grace however, we have different gifts, and these beg quarrels. When frustrated by your tenacity of opinion, I shall not waive my own, but shall honestly and patiently seek resolution…”

When I think of how different we are — we can respond to conflicts, successes, challenges, pain, disagreements and even pleasure differently. Even if we’ve been raised in the same household we can still respond to life in very different ways. I believe our differences were meant to be complementary and not used as reasons for division.

However, as we live out life in its varying arenas – relational, religious, political, etc. “making God’s love believable to the world” still seems the most difficult thing for us to do?

In Acts chapter 10 Peter was being transformed by God’s lesson on acceptance. In a vision, as Peter dismissed the very idea of eating or being involved in any way with “unacceptable” things transformation took place when he exchanged his way of seeing things for God’s way.  It was time for the hostility between Jews and Gentiles to be faced, for hearts to be opened and for arms to be extended in love to the unacceptable.

God’s purpose has not changed, his reconciling love has always been extended to the whosoever – no matter how wide the cultural or ethnic divide. His heart has not changed, He still desires that ALL persons be brought into an intimate relationship with Him.

Acceptance becomes easier, I believe, when we realize that we would have been included with those who were condemned as unacceptable. Unacceptable, but for God’s grace and His command of not calling anything impure (unacceptable) that He had made clean.

As we represent Christ, His love, grace, mercy & forgiveness have to be the guide to our interactions with the “different” people in our world. His love has to touch those who have been destined to walk in the reach of His light that shines through us, and His acceptance of the whosoever has to be the standard by which we measure our acceptance of others.

The time for courage

“Gift of Jehovah,” that’s what his name means. I sat at my desk on Tuesday morning, working, but the tears would not stop. He was dead. For several days my mind offered up a single cry, “Father, I don’t understand…” I had really admired this 19-year-old who was so responsibly and committed to his faith and his work in the church.

I tried searching the internet for news about the accident — it’s sometimes hard for me to process things without facts. I did not find anything about him but there were so many others who had died during that week and I found myself grieving for them and their families as well.

If what my faith teaches is true, that, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved,”  then, is it not time for courage? I found myself troubled by this question, “Where will eternity find all those who had died?”

I was reminded of Matthew’s re-commitment to God on Sunday, he had held his hand up high when Pastor Garmon had asked if anyone wanted to renew their commitment to Christ, and I sat next to him as he reaffirmed that commitment out loud. I realize that if I believe “The Book” then Matthew’s life, no matter how much we miss him, is not lost. Paul said while we live we have the opportunity to glorify Christ and bring benefit to others, but when we die, if we know The Christ, we gain.

Matthew’s death reminds me that we have no guarantee of the length of the days of our loved ones –they can be taken in the next second, minute, hour, day; So I ask again, is it not time for courage?

In Acts 4:13 the Bible tells us that as Peter and John boldly proclaimed that there is only one way to God — that is through Jesus Christ — that those who opposed the message were astonished at their courage. Courage to speak the truth of The Word even though it could cost them their lives.

My prayer is that God would give us the courage to live and speak the Good News of the Gospel with clarity, conviction and boldness. Courage to work through those things in the body of Christ that divide us and cause others to question the validity of The Faith. Courage to decide to do life according to the Word so that we don’t cause others to stumble. Courage to reach and love those in our space back to a relationship with Christ. Courage to reach our world.

Putting a face on domestic violence

One woman is beaten by her husband or partner every 15 seconds in the United States. (Uniform Crime Reports, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1991).You can’t really tell, can you? No one wears the evidence of domestic abuse as a badge for others to see. Our smiles conceal it. We may be too ashamed to speak of it, and much too afraid to try to escape it. As I look at the photo of the three of us sitting at the table, Laura, me and my mom, I’m aware that the American Medical Association reported that in the United States approximately 1 in 3 women will be assaulted by a domestic partner in her lifetime.

To bring it home, it means that probably at least 1 of the women sitting at the table with me has been abused by her husband, 4 of the women I work with may have been or could be abused by their domestic partners, and it boggles my mind to figure the number of abused women who could have been worshiping with me at church this morning.

I was stunned when I found out that each year approximately 3 to 4 million women in the United States are beaten by spouses, former spouses or their male lovers. I may  never again be able to share my space with a group of women without wondering, “Will they be safe when they get home?”

Their stories may differ, but they share similar emotions. One woman said her husband would not hit her, he would just hold her around the neck and squeeze – he was a choker – she was terrified to stay and even more terrified to leave, he threatened to kill her if she left. Another woman said her husband would pin her down and pound her head against the floor, she was afraid for her life, but she stayed as long as she did because she felt she had no other options, and the stories go on…

October, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month is almost over and it’s easy to forget those things that don’t directly affect us. However, if we were able to put a face on Domestic violence this awareness can remain with us the entire year. Imagine it were your mother, sister, daughter, friend…  For, approximately 1,000
to 1,600 women in the U.S, are killed each year by their male partners. This does not include those women who kill themselves in an effort to escape the violence, or those who die due to homelessness as they try to avoid being battered.

If you are a victim of domestic violence or if you are aware of someone who is, know that many women have found the courage to leave their abusers, have survived to share their stories and have overcome the tough challenges of starting over.

Help is available. Check for resources in your state or click this link for more information http://www.ncadv.org/resources/OtherUSOrganizations.php your life or the life of someone you love may depend on it.

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