My6inchchallenge's Blog

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

Archive for commitment

Cause a shift in your world – Toastmaster speech contest

Toastmaster International area and division speech contest. Cause a shift in your world

Can YOU cause a shift in your world?

If I could just bottle it, package it and sell it… after all its source is endless and the demand for it would be relentless.

If I could just bottle it, package it and sell it…

But fellow toastmasters and guests, I can no more bottle love than I can bottle the air that we breathe. For love has already been dispensed freely to the whosoever is willing to grab a hold of it and run with it to positively change their world.

But, if I could just bottle it, package it and sell it, maybe then someone would recognize its value, rush to buy it and release it into their world. I would take it home because it would change my family, and just maybe you’d want to get some too, because your family could be changed. But just in case your family doesn’t need it, get it anyway because your neighbourhood, city, state, country and even your world can be changed.

If I could just bottle it, package it and sell it, maybe then someone would buy it and actually use it.

Each year more than 1 million couples in the US get a divorce and more than 1 million children are affected by those divorces, so states a report from the Princeton University. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that each year about 4,500 of our youth between the ages of 10 – 24 decide that life is not worth living and they take their own lives, this does not account for the approximately 9,000 who try but fail in their attempt. Each year, sources from the CDC further reports that 4.8 million women and 2.9 million men experience some form of domestic abuse. The US Department of Justice (Bureau of Justice Statistics) reports that 76% of our little girls and 80% of our little boys were first raped before the age of 12 and this took place within their own residence or some other residence known to them. Violence among teens in on the increase — only recently in Clayton county, Georgia, the life of a 16-year-old girl was taken from her when her 15-year-old boyfriend took a gun pressed it to her chest and pulled the trigger …

IF I COULD JUST BOTTLE IT, PACKAGE IT AND SELL IT, I would say rub a little, spray a little, dab a little, it could change your world. My fellow toastmasters and guests, I’m fully convinced that if we learn to consistently live out love, it can positively affect change in the lives of those around us. If we practice love and allow our words of kindness to permeate the space in which we dwell, just maybe, we can cause a shift in the atmosphere around us. If we choose to make the tough decisions and honour our commitments, to be there, to love a lot, and sacrifice even more, maybe there would be a shift, and the stories of our lives would be different.

Maybe instead of the stories of brokenness, separation, death, pain and violation, we’d hear stories like this … of a dad who said all I wanted to do was to leave. It was so tough, we fought and argued all the time, that was not what I had signed up for. I worked long hours because I hated home. My family was on its way to be numbered among the statistics. But I loved my child and I knew there is value to family. So I made the toughest decision I believe I have ever made. I decided to stay and work; work harder at building my family than I had worked at building my company. I decided to give when I felt I had nothing left to give.

So, he dabbed a little, sprayed a little, rubbed a little and when it seemed as if nothing was working he dabbed a little more… let me help with that honey; he sprayed a little… son, I’m so very proud of you; he rubbed a little… Honey, I just want to say I love you; and he stayed and loved and sacrificed and encouraged until he started seeing a positive shift in his family.

My fellow toastmasters and guests, what of you? Are you tough enough? Are you willing to make the tough decisions and honour your commitments and stay put when it matters the most? Are you willing to cause a shift in your world today by declaring, NOT MY SPOUSE, NOT MY CHILD, NOT MY FAMILY!

This speech was prepared for the Toastmaster International speech contest and was delivered at the area and division levels where I represented the Tri Cities 2490 Club.

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.

From Desperation to Transformation — Seeking God

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 23:13

Develop a heart that's seeking after God

I get very excited as the week draws to a close and finally it’s the weekend. I love having time to unwind and get refreshed. I especially love Sundays, a day to get rested and replenished, the opportunity to gather with others in the place where God is and experience His presence and power. But it was not always that way…..

Do you go church? If you do, may I challenge you to examine 6 things…
1. Why do you go?
2. Does it do anything for you?
3. Do you see visible signs of growth and change from this encounter?
4. Do you have any expectations and are they met?
5. Is your relationship with God growing stronger, more intimate?
6. Is your commitment to God increasing?

These are some questions I keep before me, and I want to share something with you that is transforming my life:

Sometime ago I read this book by Max Lucado, “He Still Moves Stones”, and one of the characters he wrote about is “the woman with the issue of blood” (Mark 5: 24-34). He describes this woman who had been sick for 12 years, she’d tried everything without positive results, in fact, her situation grew worse. She hears about Jesus and knows she has to find him. She gets to the place where Jesus is, filled with expectation, but He is encircled, a crowd pressing close to Him. But, she is desperate, her deliverance depends on her getting through to Jesus. She pushes, extends herself and then, she connects with Jesus, she touches the hem of His clothing and the bible says instantly her bleeding stops, instantly her life is transformed.

But it’s this observation that is transforming my life. The author observed that in spite of the crowd in Jesus’ presence, the Bible records only one act of healing, one life is transformed in this setting. I was so stunned by this that I raised this question to a friend, “Do you realize it means that we can show up and be in the place where God is, (you know, like, Sunday school, Wednesday night Bible Study, Sunday Morning worship, our one-on-one with God), we can be in God’s presence and leave totally untouched, untransformed?

Is this really possible to be in the presence of such power and not be changed? Let’s take a look:
• King Agrippa who said to Paul, I’m Almost persuaded …. (Acts 26:28)
• The rich young ruler who felt following Christ required the one thing he was not willing to give up(Mark 10:21)
• The people in Jesus’ hometown (He could not do any miracles there,… He was amazed at their lack of faith). (Mark 6)
• …and possibly you, or the crowd at your church

The thing that is transforming my life is this commitment I made,  “I refuse to keep showing up where God is and not extend myself, engage, connect, desperately seek Him and activate faith in Him so that His power can transform my life.”

When you invest your time in attending a church service, make it more than just going to church, if you genuinely seek God He promises He will show up!

This is Dona Halliday challenging you to press through your challenges to your transformation

Check out this song, one of my favorites “Moving Forward” by Israel Houghton. Don’t miss the resolution and commitment at the end of the song

Knowing your own strength

The lessons we learn during play time can always be applied to life, for challenges present themselves on all levels. But they are excellent opportunities for learning and growth

"Tennis Challenge"

“I want you to know I’m not chasing any balls today,” he grunted, as my return swing sent the ball falling short and off the court. I ignored him, we had just started playing and he was already annoyed. He’s a grumpy fellow, grumbles and complains a lot, but an excellent tennis player, way above my level. As we continued, my game did not improve, “I have one word for you,” he shouted, “PUSH-UPS! You look good but you have no upper-body strength.”

I listened, annoyed, but did not say anything, after all there was some truth to his statement. So after the game I went home and started doing push ups. Nine and half push ups later I had reached my limit.

His statement, however, reminded me of the story of Samson and the part that talks about him, Samson, not knowing that the source of his strength had departed from him.”

It occurred to me that when we are in “the game”, at the time when we are tested and pressed is not the best time to find out that we are not ready for what comes at us; that the area in which we need strength is in a weakened state and we have no support to draw from.

I hate self-deception, not acknowledging where I am, not knowing my strengths or weaknesses. But being attuned to where we are in life requires alertness, constant evaluation, openness to the truth and a resolve to change course as needed.

It’s almost mid-year, as good a time as any to pause, reflect and make needed adjustments, for I would hate to get to the end of 2010 and then realize that the plans I had made, the path I had taken were not designed for getting me to my desired destination.

A command to move

Change your attire, commitment to obey and start stepping

"WOFLC Banquet, Come Forth"

Recently, the WOFLC celebrated its 5th anniversary with the theme, “Come Forth.” This command always reminds me of the story of Lazarus. Remember the story? Lazarus is sick, and even though his sisters send for Jesus hoping that He would come and heal Lazarus, Jesus does not show up until after Lazarus has died and has been buried. When Jesus appears on the scene, the family and friends of Lazarus are in mourning, but, He asks to be taken to the gravesite, instructs them to remove the stone, then commands the dead man, Lazarus, to “Come Forth!”

What happens? The dead man obeys.

But the more I thought about it, I realized that this call to action is more for the living that it is for the dead. It’s a command that demands change, the willingness to  move from one situation or place to another, the willingness to grow.

It means though, that we must first be aware of where we are and where we want to get to. Because you see, constant motion does not necessarily mean advancement. Some people are always moving, always seeking something new, moving from one thing to another, but never really CHANGING. You know — different location, different person, a new position but things are still the same.

Understanding that a change for the better does not necessarily bring ease and comfort may help prepare us to accept and obey the call to action to “Come Forth.”  The challenges to grow and change are sometimes awkward and painful, but moving from dead, unproductive situations promise great rewards.

So, like Lazarus, get rid of your grave-clothes, adorn yourselves for your new life, renew your commitment to obedience, trust in the same power that raised Lazarus from the dead, start stepping and “COME FORTH!”

In pursuit of my six-pack

I walked into my cardio box class slapping my abdomen. “I still don’t see my four-pack” I said to our instructor. I’m talking four-pack because I don’t have a six-pack commitment. He smiled and said “I see a four-pack coming in”, he’s so sweet. He turned to one of my friends and asked “don’t you see a four pack?”, she looked at me and rolled her eyes in disgust.

My friend is full-figured, she has been blessed with front AND back “stuff” in abundance. She’s alright with it though, her attitude is that she has “stuff” that others pay good money to get. However, she is committed to and passionate about her exercise routine. She has a goal, so she hits the gym 4 to 5 times a week. Her goal: she wants to be “tight”, Serena Williams kinda tight. I’m much leaner, not as committed. I go to the gym twice a week and on other days I sometimes dance around the house and do these little twists to trim my waistline and feel satisfied that I got in added exercise. My goal: (in spite of all my noise about four packs) is to have fun, be healthy.

It’s important to know our goals and their priorities, in every area of life. If we don’t, we can find ourselves living more challenging and chaotic lives as we try to keep up with what others are doing. It’s important to know ourselves, our bodies and those difficult targets we set that can be achieved only through sacrifice.

When we know this, we can better manage ourselves and allot our time in view of our priorities. Exercise is important to me but it’s not my no.1 priority, there are other muscles I’m striving to develop, other areas to nurture into health, and these too take time.

Relationships — Love is in the air

The romance of February can be addictive. But what if you don't have someone special to share that time with? Enjoying the alone time, spending time with friends, doing what we love can enhance the month of love. on my 6 inch challenge blog

"He loves me, he loves me not"

This morning I was reminded once again that this is the “love” month. This evening, in an email from Callaway Gardens, the subject: Have You Made Plans For Your Valentine Yet?  — an invitation to take advantage of the “Rekindle the romance package”. It seems that some form of love is in air and even though I do not have someone special with which to share a trip to Callaway Gardens, I insist on enjoying this time.

I have friends who worry about me, they say I’m too picky, my standards are too high, I need to “give” a little. Even though I appreciate their concern, I believe that when one is considering a life-time commitment it would be foolish not to be picky, not to have high standards, and not to refuse to “give” on those principles that are important to you.

So how does a single girl, who does not date around celebrate the love month? Here are 6 suggestions:

1. Spend time with your girl friends. There’s nothing like the ease and camaraderie of close friends.

2. Don’t be afraid of aloneness. Do the things you love and set the atmosphere you enjoy.

3. Spend time seeking God and bask in the greatest love you’ll ever experience.

4. Show love to someone who can give you nothing in return. Give a gift or a card to a stranger.

5. Treat yourself to flowers or buy a plant, my favorite – the orchid plant.

6. Pamper yourself. You can do this at home. Light candles, run a bubble bath, put on a facial masque, turn on music and relax.

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