My6inchchallenge's Blog

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

Archive for High heels

Don’t Judge Me!

That Sunday afternoon found me in the kitchen chopping veggies as I prepared Sunday lunch.
I was wearing my “intelligent design, interior shorts,” with matching green shoes and an orange floral top–exposing my shoulders, midriff and thighs.

The door opened and in walked my mom, Laura and Laura’s cousin. “I love your outfit,” she said, as she gave me a hug. I turned to her with mocked seriousness and said, “You know I did not wear THIS to church?” She laughed, then responded, “Even if you wore it to church, I would not judge you. I’d just figure if that’s how you want to do church, you should do you.”

What is it about that generation, I wonder, that make them so quick to state that they neither pass judgment or want to be judged. Are they correcting some flaw they saw in the generations before them? Is there possibly some confusion about values, right, wrong and the act of passing judgment? Or is there something that we all can learn from them?

Let’s explore…
Her name is Saffron. She’s deathly still as she sits in her car. There is no life in her eyes, except for the tears welling up in them. Until, as if suddenly jolted to life, she starts pounding on her steering wheel, crying, “My life HAS to change, I can’t live like this anymore…”

She turns on her car and starts driving, noticing for the first time how many churches she passes on her way home. In her 21 years she had never been to church except for weddings, and she’d never had a desire to go. …The HOPE Cathedral; New Beginnings; Changing A Generation; A Church For The Community; Whosoever Will Come; Lifesavers Ministries; The Love Center; Haven of Rest… She kept reading the signs, her heart yearning for what they all promised…

She pulled in the parking lot, slipped out of the car then with horror realized she had not thought about how she was dressed. She was still wearing her shorts and high heels from the previous night and shame gripped her once again as she debated returning to car and going home. She was so tired, tired of her life the way it was, tired of where her choices took her and so tired of feeling ashamed.

She slipped in the back door hoping to sit in the back pew, unnoticed. Instead, it took an eternity to get to the open seat in the middle of the church. As heads turned and eyes stared, she fought to hold back her tears. “Would someone just help me?” her heart cried?

…If this was “your church” how would they respond?

Would the Outreach Ministry present Christ to her? Would the intercessors be crying out on her behalf? Godly women who had been taught to be uncomfortable about their bodies and made to feel insecure in their relationships, would they view her suspiciously, wishing she had gone elsewhere? Would the older women, steeped with propriety be able to see pass her attire and discern her need?

Would the men offer her Christ or themselves? Would they be so comfortable with a life of continued sin to confidently offer her Christ AND themselves?

What would I do?

What would you do? Would our actions make it difficult for her to receive the Word?

Would Saffron find Christ at the Church or would she find selfishness and judgment?

The journey to “suddenly” – It can all change in a moment

There is a journey to suddenly, a time of growth, transformation, readiness - then, "Suddenly"
Prepared for “Suddenly”

I really don’t know how it happened… I kept wondering if things were ever going to change — get better, you know? I was at a point of desperation, and just when I thought I could not hold on for another second, suddenly there was a knock on the door and my life changed completely…

I don’t know whose story those lines are from but I know that we have all longed to get that place of “Suddenly.”  That pivotal moment when our faith interrupts reality and we know it has to be something supernatural, a God thing, because just a second before suddenly occurred there was absolutely no evidence that things would, or could possibly even change.
A funeral procession, a grieving woman who had recently lost her husband now cries over her dead son, her only son, THEN SUDDENLY….
A grave yard for a home, living among dead people, clothes torn, restrained with chains, his mind and body no longer his own, THEN SUDDENLY…
A  church service, a woman who could not even lift her head toward heaven because of her crippled body — bent over for 18 years, THEN SUDDENLY…
He sits on the roadside, begging, blind, and crying for mercy, THEN SUDDENLY….
I don’t understand God’s timing, but in my own life I’ve come to appreciate the journey to “Suddenly.” That season of stillness, challenges, pressure, growth, change. I believe with all my heart that God makes the difference. He shows up in our circumstances, and with a word and a touch; years of graveside, crippled, blinded, churched and dead living meets the transformation of “Suddenly.”

Are you in a situation that desperately needs the God of “Suddenly?” Seek Him and remain steadfast in your faith.

In the eyes of the beholder… beautiful, naturally

Strive to be the beauty that is naturally yours.

In the eyes of the beholder

No husband wants to come home to a wife who looks like a greasy frying pan, with curlers sticking out of her hair.” This from the man who was most influential in shaping the first 20 something years of my life. My pastor. As a teen and young adult I had to prepare lessons to teach a Sunday school class, prepare a text to deliver on some Wednesday and Sunday nights, and if on any occasion I did not look just right I’d be sure to hear about it.

I can’t remember any other words from a sermon my former pastor preached or a bible study he taught, but this I remember. So this morning as I ran around the house doing laundry, still sporting the hairdo I had slept in, when I caught myself in the mirror I started laughing.

I find amusing the different ideas of beauty. I realize if we don’t determine what beauty means to us, we can find ourselves dissatisfied with ourselves, as we chase the ever-changing ideals of beauty.

I consider myself to be somewhat of a Plain Jane, for though I love being beautiful I do not like excesses — no fake nails, fake hair, tattooed brows or weekly visits to the beauty salon for me. I hate looking all perfect and done over. Actually, I’m a homemade variety. I do my own nails, brows, and when I can, my own hair. I’ve unintentionally insulted make artists who have tried to convince me that I need to up my beauty standard by going straight to the ladies room and washing my face after they have invested their time in making me over.

Even though I know being beautiful requires some work, my idea of beauty is simple. I want to step out of the shower, lace on my shoes, grab a purse, shake out my hair and head out the door. I have no line of makeup, no brand of beauty supplies. I have a black eyeliner, face powder, a container with earth tone eye shadow, a red lipstick that’s probably over 2 years old, two lip balms, and oh, coconut oil.

Someone I once dated said I was low-maintenance. I thought that was fabulous, he didn’t think so. “No, I do not take money from men even if I’m in a relationship with them. I can pay to get my own nails, brows and hair done if I want to. No, I don’t care if the women you dated went to the beauty salon every week.” Beholders can be so problematic sometimes. LOL!

There’s nothing wrong with women loving getting their nails and hair and other things done. I believe people should pursue what make them beautiful. However, it’s important to me to be the one who determines my individual beauty, and even that can change as I grow.

Although I’m not chasing  a physical ideal, there is a beauty that every now and again I find myself saying out loud, “oooo, I want that!” This kind of beauty you have to work for, and discipline yourself to attain. With the same enthusiasm and desire that I hear from one of my co-workers when she sees something beautiful, especially beautiful shoes, I find myself craving beauty in character when I see it lived out. “Daddy, daddy,” I whisper out loud, “that’s what I want!”

Are there no cooks on Calmer Circle? Thanksgiving dinner preparation

The real spice of life is having people to love, resting in the knowledge that they love you back, and having the good sense to appreciate it.

Family Thanksgiving Dinner 2010

In the kitchen hangs a small plaque with a poem entitled “The Spice of Life,” it was placed there by Laura’s husband. The poem talks about all the things that civilized man can live without, but states emphatically that civilized man can’t live without cooks. Some 17 years after his passing, the plaque still hangs. That’s really interesting because there is no longer a REAL cook in that house on Calmer Circle — Laura’s husband, was a chef.

To me, real cooks are those people who can “throw down” at anytime, under any circumstances. There is a certain atmosphere I have to create before I can cook. So after getting out of bed I spent some time praying, giving thanks, then reminded the Lord that I needed his help in the kitchen so things can turn out “right”.

Next, I fixed my hair and headed for the shower. I’m not one of those cooks who can head to the kitchen, hair uncombed, looking frumpy, I’m not that good a cook. I have to draw on everything to create the atmosphere for good cooking. I got dressed in white shorts, a pink top and my 3-inch-heel house shoes, powdered myself with something lavender, (the aroma of calm) then headed to the kitchen.

At times like these I’m glad Laura is not a cook. As a matter of fact, without prompting she will gladly offer two pieces of information about herself, “I’m 87 years and I don’t cook,” delivered with the pride of an 80-something who has lived long enough not to care. But that works for me, I’ve discovered that real cooks have little tolerance for people like me, especially good christian cooks. I say this because I made that discovery while trying to help out in kitchens at different churches. Only last month I was asked to help in the kitchen during “Trunk a Treat” at the church I attend. After helping with the hot dogs I offered to help the person who was washing the pots, rinse, she had turned, looked at me and said “We do REAL WORK in this kitchen.” I had smiled at this good christian woman, then taken my high-heel-wearing, no-real-working-self up to the kids’ area to have some fun.

I can’t say I blame them though, real cooks I mean, for I have three things that work against me in the kitchen. I move about the kitchen with a relaxed, unhurriedness that frustrates real cooks — they like to rush, bang things, make noise. Sometimes when I’m “creating” in the kitchen I have no clue what the end result will be — real cooks always know what they are making. Finally, I never follow recipes.

I went about making my part of our thanksgiving dinner, stuffed eggplants, rice and beans and a spinach salad, my other family members were preparing the other foods on the menu. While preparing the salad I realized I had forgotten to buy grape tomatoes. I scanned the fridge and saw red grapes, practically the same thing I thought, they are roundish, reddish, delicious and good for you, so I used those instead.

Now, a word to my dear husband. When we finally meet and realize we love each other enough to commit, please note that on occasions like these if I forget to buy something I will not be rushing out anywhere to get it, neither will I be asking you to go and pick up this or that at the last minute, we will use what we have. On the flip side, if you take pleasure in having as many balls in the air as possible, if you thrive on chaos because it makes you feel like you have life going on, sweetie, please try to practice now how to put away some of your balls, learn to know and love yourself in stillness — I will not have chaos invade my calm.

The good news is that everything was delicious. My brother as usual boasted about his turkey and offered a challenge for next year. As we sat at the table eating, talking, laughing, enjoying each other, I felt rich. I thanked God for these people He had placed in my life, those who were family by blood and those who have become my family. Once again I was awakened to the realization that this is what life is about, this is the “REAL SPICE OF LIFE” – people to love, the knowledge that they love you back, and the good sense to appreciate it all.

This is Dona Halliday challenging you to recognize “the real spice of life,” those people who have been placed in your space to add flavor to your existence, give thanks and show appreciation.

Relationship — A call to love

It was Monday, a little after 8 a.m. I sat in my car on I285, traffic at stand still, rain pouring down, harder now it seemed. I danced as the music filled the space, the message resonating on point and on purpose, as Israel Houghton sang “Love God, Love People, Love my neighbor as myself… You can’t give it, till you live it, You can’t live it, until you give it away …”

Something about the music and lyrics made that space magical, it was as if I were transported to a theater. Israel and his group were on stage somewhere in the shadows, singing. I looked down and realized I was in a fancy ballroom dress, reds, yellows, golds and high heel gold shoes.

This was no time for entertainment though, for as Israel Houghton sang, figures started appearing on stage, seemingly painted in place in bold, brilliant colors, and then given life. I saw children from Haiti and thought about the devastation they had suffered and the hardships they were still experiencing.

More figures filled the stage, people from around the world. Some images looked familiar, like the ones I would see on TV just before I switch channels; tiny limbs, bulging tummies, big sunken eyes; hungry people, broken, hurting, lost … As I stared at these people, tears on my cheeks, something looked out-of-place, for on the same stage were areas and people who I knew. I saw my neighborhood, my family, friends, co-workers… “I can’t give it, ‘til I live it, Now that my eyes are open, Teach me how to love…” sang Israel Houghton.

I tugged at my dress, it seemed so out-of-place in the midst of the hunger, devastation and lack. Also, there were underlying questions in some of the songs I had heard, “Who can I send? God seemed to be asking, “Who will go?” Israel Houghton continued in song “What if the I and the ME, Turned into THEY and then WE, Together we could be, The change that we all want to see… It’s a love Revolution.”

I believe so many of us want to make a difference in the lives of others, sometimes knowing where to start is difficult. The bible says no one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl, instead it’s placed on ITS lamp stand and it gives light to everyone in the house. I believe that God has strategically placed lamp stands all around us — in our homes, our neighborhoods, on our jobs, in all the places He takes us in life. He may just be waiting for us to climb on our lamp stands and shed light, live love, in the places he has positioned us, so others may see.

This is Dona Halliday as I challenge myself, I challenge you, to join the “love revolution’ and dare to shine in those places where life seems darkest.

Relationships — Moving pass failure

It was Saturday, about 8:00pm, I was dressed in my favorite four and a half-inch high-heeled sandals, a little black dress and too much self-confidence for my own good. I was comfortable, at home, my surroundings familiar. My friend who was working at my desk turned and said “We should get married tomorrow.” I laughed and replied, “I hope you don’t throw that around to everybody, someone might have you down the aisle before you finish that sentence.” Then, “what would you have done if I had said yes?” I asked. “We would get married,” he stated simply. I really like him, he’s laid back, has a great sense of humor, a keen business mind and one of the most focused persons I know. We’ve known each other for several years, we are friends — I was comfortable. So comfortable that I kept ignoring the little voice in my head.

The next day was Sunday. After church I took a different exit because of where I had parked, I had been late for church. I had used that exit only once before but I lived about 7 minutes from the church, so feeling “comfortable” I drove. Finally, I came to an area I knew, I had driven 25 mins  in the opposite direction.

Saturday evening before I left home, I had been totally exhausted, that’s what the voice had been trying to tell, or remind me rather. One of the boundaries I’ve set for myself is not to go out when I’m so tired, when I’m tired I’m vulnerable — I like closeness and comfort.

If we are honest, we would admit that normally on our way to the course that leads us away from what we have determined to live by, there are several warnings. When he had asked if I wanted to postpone, I should have listened to that voice, and said, yes. Before we left, I had leaned my head on his shoulder as we talked, I should have listened to the voice that said “Girl, you’d better sit up straight!” When we got to the restaurant, at the dinner table and I realized I was playing footsie beneath the table…, well, I did stop, but I should have listened.

One of my favorite verses. “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life,” comes to mind. There has never been a time when I’ve failed to guard my heart, that I have not failed. Whether it’s a physical act of flirting too close to the edge of right and wrong, responding with a bad attitude, or giving in to anger, guarding my heart is absolutely necessary to living a life that represents God well.

Failure for me is saying no when God says yes or vice versa, forging my way when God says to wait, choosing what I want instead of yielding to God’s word. You see, God’s word is the standard, it’s unchanging, everything else vacillates. So when I fail, God’s word does not shift to make my wrongs right but I have to shift, repent, to meet His standards.

Over the years I’ve learned when I’ve chosen my own path that finding my way back to God is easier than finding my way home. For His word says, “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

I’ve realized that when we fail, the challenge is not to allow shame, guilt or pride to keep us stuck, reluctant to admit our wrong doing, hinder us from making it right with God. I believe that’s really the enemy’s winning card, to make us feel we can never go back, to silence our voices, put out our lights. If you have failed in any way, I am Dona Halliday, challenging you to refuse to stay there, to get up and go back to God, for what I was reminded of in Church on Sunday is that covenant relationship, God’s kind of relationship never gives up on us, neither does it passively wait for us to return but He comes seeking those who lose their way.

Dirge Dancers — Challenge your troubles

Hope in God will infuse us with life

Don’t let your hope die. Dead things CAN live again

Dirge_Dancers
Everything seemed lifeless, so still, so cold,
A sign read – “Death Lives Here,”
A piercing tune from beneath filled the air,
With a tale of doom and deep despair.

“Hope is dead,” it continuously said,
“Come bury your lifelong dreams,
Why don’t you give in, with this there’s no sin,'”
Sang that lying tongue from beneath.

“My hope is not dead,” I continuously said,
Then spoke life to my hopes and dreams,
Then I broke out in dance, and started this chant,
“God’s promises will NEVER cease.”

I danced for my mate, on God I will wait,
Raised praise for my hopes and dreams,
Then I sent up a shout, that was mighty & strong,
To still that lying tongue from beneath.

“Death was defeated a long time ago,
I will make no pact with the grave,
You will not deceive me, get thee behind,
For I know in whom I believe.”

I danced through my troubles, I danced through my storms,
I said goodbye to past pains,
I skipped over hardship, gave a nod at my needs,
Victory was about to reign.

I paused at my doubts, I meant to take that thing out,
So I started this victory dance,
As my faith kicked in, God said “Child you will win,”
And silenced that voice from within.

Trails won’t last, they will past, THEY WILL PAST,
Your life is safe in my hands,
Trust and don’t doubt, let Me work things out,
And change every dirge to a dance.

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