Monday, October 26, 2009

The I.N.S.P.I.R.E. Story

I.N.S.P.I.R.E. is fifteen days of individual creative challenges, competitions, and performances culminating in the INSPIRE Community Awards Gala Celebration at the River Lodge in Fortuna, California.

The vision of I.N.S.P.I.R.E. is: “Inspiring women, in all seasons of life to fulfill their calling intellectually, artistically, physically and spiritually.”

The name I.N.S.P.I.R.E. is an acronym for the values of I.N.S.P.I.R.E. which are: integrity, nurture, service, passion, intentionality, risk and endurance. These values are expressed in the following individual creative challenges, competitions and performances of: running, writing, public speaking, music, visual art, and compassion.

RUNNING: There is a 2-mile and 5-mile race scheduled to run through the streets of Fortuna on the morning of the I.N.S.P.I.R.E. Gala Celebration. The I.N.S.P.I.R.E. value associated with running is endurance. Endurance requires patience, stamina and fortitude – important ingredients for a strong and stable life. Running is representative of the physical aspect of life and in many ways our lives mirror a race. There is a starting line and a finishing line for each person’s life, and those moments are individual. We each have a moment of birth, and we are each appointed a final time to finish our race. What happens in between those two moments and how we run our individual race determines much to the world and people around us. There are many roads to choose, and many things that can get us off course. Running the race of life with endurance means to keep our eyes set on the goal in front of us, and to keep on going.

WRITING: There is an essay contest on the subject of integrity. The I.N.S.P.I.R.E. value associated with writing is integrity. Writing is a powerful form of communication. The written word can transmit truth or untruth – but either way it has the ability to influence phenomenally. The value of integrity in our writing means we seek to express through the written word things like honesty, truthfulness and honor. History holds volumes which have influenced the world for good or for evil by the power of the written word. Words can be compelling and convincing and when combined with integrity can be instruments of noble and worthy causes to change the world for good.

PUBLIC SPEAKING: A public speaking competition in conjunction with a music performance will be held at the historic Winema Theatre in Scotia, California on Saturday, April 17, 2010. The I.N.S.P.I.R.E. value associated with public speaking is risk. There is a great power in public speaking – great speeches have literally changed the world! Yet, there is great fear of speaking in public. There is personal risk involved with standing before one’s peers and expressing ideas and thoughts verbally. The fear of being open and vulnerable in public is not easily overcome. Speaking in public remains an untapped avenue of potential in many because of fear. There is the fear of appearing stupid; of rejection; of not coming across well; of bungling the message and fear of the awesome responsibility in influencing people. There is always a risk associated with speaking publicly, but the ability to influence others for positive purposes is well worth the risk.

MUSIC: A music performance and competition in tandem with the public speaking competition will be held at the historic Winema Theatre in Scotia, California on Saturday, April 17, 2010. The I.N.S.P.I.R.E. value associated with music is service. We live in an entertainment oriented culture. Music is a powerful way to communicate thoughts, ideas, emotions and memories. Our culture tends to idolize talented people on stage - hence the popular television show, “American Idol.” But what happens when someone who is talented musically decides to humbly serve others with their musical gift that absolutely inspires and uplifts people by their beautiful performances? Great music can lift our mood, encourage the downhearted and give us a way to express all that is admirable and wonderful in life. Music is an universal language that can stir the soul, impart meaning, be a rallying cry for positive purposes and communicate heartfelt emotion.

VISUAL ART: A painting display, critique and competition will take place at the Scotia Inn on Thursday evening, April 22, 2010. The I.N.S.P.I.R.E. value associated with visual art is passion. The stereotypical artistic personality is synonymous with passion. In Irving Stone’s The Agony and the Ecstasy, whose main character is the artist Michelangelo, we read of the constant stormy employer-employee relationships he had with the popes. We half-way expect artists to be flamboyant, eccentric or hot-headed – and we call that passion, but that is not artistic passion – that behavior is more about personality and character issues that need some work. Artistic passion is having the sensitivity, desire and willingness to develop innate talent into visual images that interpret the world differently, inspire people and touch their emotions deeply by creating beauty.

COMPASSION: Community Compassion Award nominations will be made available to the public in newspapers, places of business, and churches, so that nominees that exemplify compassion with acts of kindness in the community in which we live can have an opportunity to be recognized for their work. The I.N.S.P.I.R.E. value associated with compassion is nurture. Dr. Francis Schaeffer in his book How Then Should We Live? opens with these lines: “There is a flow to history and culture. This flow is rooted and has its wellspring in the thoughts of people. People are unique in the inner life of the mind – what they are in their thought world determines how they act.” Compassion and nurture are what sets a society apart. Hubert Humphrey said, "The moral test of a government is how it treats those who are at the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the aged; and those who are in the shadow of life, the sick and the needy, and the handicapped."

INTENTIONALITY: For each of the areas represented by I.N.S.P.I.R.E., it is intentionality in each case that sets one on their course. It is not enough to be gifted by the circumstances of one’s birth, upbringing or education. In order to excel in any of these areas and provide inspiration to others, one must intentionally take steps to develop one’s talents and abilities, take the risk, step out of one’s comfort zone and act upon their hopes and dreams. I.N.S.P.I.R.E. provides a way for women of the Eel River Valley (aged 15 an over) to intentionally take a step in the direction of one’s calling. Justice Clarence Thomas in his Commencement Address at Ave Maria School of Law said on Sunday, May 16, 2004: The vocation is a calling, it is not an ambition. God calls you to do something – you do it. It doesn’t mean you will like every bit of it. But when you are called you answer the call, and you live up to the call as best you can. …Some years from now, I may have grandkids who ask me whether all is good or all is bad. “What did you do when the going got tough? What did you do? Did you quit? Did you lose faith? Did you try or did you give up? I want to answer in the same way that you should answer: “I did my best; I lived according to my principles and to my faith.”