My6inchchallenge's Blog

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

Archive for life

On life, love, growing older, keeping life simple, natural hair and more…

life, love, growing older, keeping life simple, natural hair

Celebrate Life!

As I celebrated another birthday, I think what’s so beautiful about growing older is what can develop on the inside, and how our perspective on life changes.

Here are a few disjointed, yet connected thoughts:

On Life:
Don’t try to dance to everyone’s rhythm, find your own beat and move to it.
• People will try to define you, don’t let them. Discover who you are and be that.
• People will try to confine you. Grow in spite of.
• People will try to rattle you. Possess yourself from the inside and draw from that place of peace.
• Keep things that make you giggle, close – when life offers nothing to laugh about draw from that place.

On Love:
I learned very early not to allow fear to keep me in relationships, I’ve had to learn not to allow fear to keep me from relationships.

On Keeping Life Simple:
Even if you can’t afford to get dressed up and go to a live performance, get dressed up anyway, throw back your windows and let the birds serenade you. Learn to make your own moments beautiful, no matter your place or circumstance.

On Growing Older:
I love where I am at this moment. I love that I feel free to dance even if everyone chooses to sit it out. It’s great to feel good in your own skin.
Don’t be bothered by little things, and learn to forgive quickly. There are too many older people who are still bothered by little things.

On Natural Hair:
It seemed like such an unlikely affair, I fell in love with my naturally graying hair. Wearing ones natural hair doesn’t make one more self-aware, but I believe the journey of knowing and loving oneself is worthwhile — and such an awakening!

On God:
I really believe God exists. What He’s doing in me – renewing me, changing my attitude, my outlook;  filling me with strength, peace – that’s what beautifies.

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.

Jehovah-Jireh and the little black dress

The story of the little black dress is really about God'a ability to provide.

The Lord will provide

I believe symbols are imperative, for as a people we are sometimes prone to forgetfulness. Often in the Old Testament the people of God were instructed to hold on to something, even an ordinary thing, as a  reminder of the extraordinary display of God’s power.

In Exodus 16, Moses instructed Aaron to take some manna and keep it for generations to come so that they can be reminded that God provided bread in the desert.

In Joshua 4, Joshua instructed 12 men to take 12 rocks from the middle of the Jordan River so that in the future it can be remembered that on their way to possess the land that God had given them, He had cut off the flow of the river so that His people could pass over on dry land. 

Manna, rocks and my little black dress have something in common, they are reminders that Jehovah will provide.

I had purchased my dress more than a year ago and on Tuesday evening as I slipped into that dress once again to attend the 2011 NARI CotY (Contract of the Year) Awards I was definitely in need of that reminder. I had spent days pouring over John’s account of the feeding of the five thousand (John 6) and found myself stuck at Andrew’s response to Jesus.

Read the story again, and see if you find yourself there. I certainly did. The crowd had followed Jesus and He had ministered to them by teaching them and healing them. It was now late and they were hungry. The only food in their midst is discovered by Andrew, it’s a poor boy’s lunch. Andrew brings it to Jesus and says, “Here is a boy with 5 small barley loaves and two fish, but how far will they go among so many?

Do you find yourself being challenged by those “HOW” questions? How long, how far, how much, how soon, how in the world is this possible?

Let me tell you about the little black dress. It happened over a year ago the night before an event I was to attend. I’d decided to get creative with something I’d had for years, but that night in my dreams I saw a little black bubble dress. The next day as I took a shortcut through a store to get to my car I turned around just as I was about to exit the building and hanging on the wall was my black dress.

It’s significant to me to remember that had I not seen it in my dreams I would have turned back around and headed out the door. But when I saw my dress I got it from the wall and took it to the cashier. When I inquired about the price she had no idea and after checking with management she came back, scanned random items behind her, and I left with a gorgeous, black dress for which I paid $9.97.

The dress is my symbol, it reminds me that even when I give away what I need, God has the power to take what little I have left and show Himself as Jehovah-Jireh. He’s our God, our provider.

I love Jesus’ response to Andrew’s question. He simply instructs them to have the people sit in the green pastures.

How far can 5 loaves and 2 fish go?  As far as Jesus commands them to. Jesus took the poor boy’s lunch, gave thanks for the little that was available, and did what in the natural 8 months wages could not do, he provided for the people until they were satisfied.

Jesus is still answering those how questions. Whenever we feel as if what we have or who we are is not enough, take it to Jesus and trust Him to make up the difference.

More than enough by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

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.

Spiritual lessons from Sir Nibbles

I’ve never given much thought to rabbits. Until recently all I knew was what I learned in elementary school – a male rabbit is called a buck, a female a doe and a baby a kitten. Very limited knowledge… until Sir Nibbles.

Sir Nibbles became the pet of my God-daughter and since I was excited about her having her first pet I certainly could not admit that the little furry things frighten me.

However, Sir Nibbles started growing on me as I got updates about his progress. I was thrilled when Sir Nibbs visited a farm with the family and found 3 other boy bunnies to hop around and play with. Sir Nibbles had made friends.

A few days ago, now about a month since the farm visit, I got some startling news. Apparently, the boy who worked at the pet store did not know his bunnies, for though he claimed that Sir Nibbles was a male and had been neutered, we found out that Sir Nibbles was not a Sir after all, but a Madame. Madame Nibbles, proven by the baby bunny she had delivered.

I gained a new level of respect for Madame Nibbles as the birthing of her bunny brought out characteristics, that though she had them all along, were manifested only through her challenge. Madame Nibbles started behaving like a mother, a protector, a provider! She shredded the newspaper that was in the bottom of her cage and tore out her own fur to prepare a nest for her baby. She then covered it to conceal its location and aggressively protected her young.

WoW! Great spiritual lessons for me from a bunny.

#1. Be trained into “becoming” by your challenges! If the creator could equip a bunny with the stuff that the different stages of its life will demand how much more has God equipped us.

#2. Love is active AND sacrificial. God has promised to take care of His children. He provides, covers, protects. Jesus sacrificed His life to reconcile humanity with His Father and beckons us, in the midst of every challenge, to run to Him and find rest.

Fit for something

Surrounded by Senior Sheroes

A FIT life requires flexibitly

We walked around the park enjoying the cool weather, over 200 years of life and life’s experiences combined, “pounded” the track. No matter our age we still need to exercise, so we had gotten in the car, Laura, my mom and myself and had headed to the park.

At 88 years Laura had the privilege of setting the pace and as we walked I was about to jokingly comment on how fit we are but stopped myself because I knew what the responses would be. Laura would be quick, she would laughingly say, “yes, fit for something!” my mom would say, “of course we are fit, right Laura?”

I’ve thought about getting them little exercise outfits complete with headbands and a little cape with SS embroidered on them – SeniorSheroes. Do you know how parents sometimes dress their children in ridiculous outfits because they think it’s cute? Well,…

I remember my mom made almost all our clothing when we were little and some even as adults, (the dress in the above photo she made about 6 years ago). I had never given it much thought before but it came to me that by the time my mom was about 21 years she had already had three of her four children. Lost in thought I was amazed at this woman who with limited education, (mama had pulled her out of elementary school because of a fight), had cooked, baked, done hair, made clothing for others and whatever else her hands had found to do to take care of her family. Then had worked toward her dream of her own clothing store. She had shopped in Puerto Rico, Miami and New York for clothing and had loved it.

I’ve learned so much from these women, my SeniorSheroes, from their wise and not so wise choices, from their triumphs and their really tough challenges, I’ve seen life rob them of their ability to remember and slowed their ability to move, but these women are fighters. I realize that as long as something stands up within us and refuses to curl up and surrender when we face the tough things of life, we will always be fit for something.

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