Monday, November 21, 2011

The News Is In...

But it ain't good, folks. The ballet didn't recieve ANY funds from the grant we wrote, not even $5,000 which we thought would be the very minimum we'd receive. In all the years the ballet has ever requested funds through this source, this is the first year they have been denied, and surprisingly it has been the request that best fits the donor's desired goals and values. We talked to the San Angelo Symphony and they didn't receive any funding either (also super weird). We are assuming that the donor has decided to direct its money toward building the new San Angelo Performing Arts Center. We are thrilled about the center, but I guess funding for non-profit organizations like us have gone down in general in the past year. Boo hoo.

The ballet's executive director is really passionate about the need for more community outreach, not only to benefit the community but to sustain the ballet. She is having a meeting right now with the artistic director where they will seriously look at priorities and possibilities. She said she won't have any definite answers by December 1st, but hopefully sometime in December. I am really grateful that she is trying so hard to make a more permanant place for outreach at the ballet and I agree with her vision, but I am so tired of waiting (we have been "working" on this for a year now!). So for now, no outreach position. I guess I'll just keep doing what I'm doing.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Antsy for Some Good News

We are supposed to hear back any day now to find out if we (the ballet and I) got accepted for a grant we wrote that would fund my salary as a full-time outreach specialist for the ballet. If it goes through I could be spending my days at the ballet and in the community doing what I am super passionate about, rather than at the high school watching the minute hand chug its way around the clock. On Thursday and Friday I took the day off of school so that I could work on completing our other grant (an integrated-curriculum writing grant). I got a little taste of what my day could be like if I am able to work full-time as an outreach specialist. It certainly required a lot more effort that watching kids shred paper, but it was so much more fulfilling and I got to be with people I admire in an atmosphere that is happy and inspiring. If you can keep your fingers crossed for me I would sure appreciate it. Oh what a disappointment it will be if they say no!

ps - Soon to come: pictures (yes, PICTURES) and stories from Bret's birthday. My man is 26... what an old fart!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cast Not Away Therefore Your CONFIDENCE...

I apologize that my blog has become a little, well, seminary-ish. By the end of the day I always have more thoughts about the subject I taught that morning and feel like I need to share them with whoever may need to hear that little message.

So the thought for today is on moving forward with faith. If you are looking for a good gospel study session I suggest doing any/all of the following:

1. Read Genesis 13 and 14
     * Look for evidences that the Lord put them where they were for a reason and that He warned them it would be difficult (took them on the long route, gave them a cloud and pillar, warned Moses that Pharoah would come with his armies)
     * Look for the children of Israel's reaction (see, fear, cry unto the Lord, complain against Moses, want to give up and go back).
     * Look for the very first instruction the Lord gives to Moses after the people complain (go forward)
2. Are there times in your life when you have known that the road would be long and hard but you feel confident that that is where God wants you to go, so you begin... then when it really does get hard you begin to doubt that it is right or that you are capable? (Think how easily this applies to missionaries, new converts, newly-weds, etc etc.) When you get in these moments, like Moses and the children of Israel you will probably cry unto the Lord, sincerely seeking to know what to do next. As Elder Richard G. Scott explains in his talk "The Supernal Gift of Prayer," the Lord will occasionally give you a yes (a peace or burning in the bosom) and He will occasionally give you a no (a stupor of thought), but most frequently we feel no immediate response. These "yellow lights" are an invitation for us to "go forward" and exercise our agency and best judgement. We must look back at all He has done for us, swallow our fear of the moment, and move forward, trusting that in time a peaceful reassurance or a warning sign to change direction will be given. The key - GO FORWARD and don't become paralyzed by fear.
3. Read 1 Nephi 4:6-7 and D&C 8:2-3
4. If you want, read a great talk by Elder Jeffery R. Holland called "Cast Not Away Therefore Thy Confidence."

I was thinking about this and feeling like I don't really have "fears" that I'm facing right now, but I do have questions about the Lord's timing and his pattern for my life. I want all the details now... why is this happening and why is that not happening if I am living right and trying to move toward the blessings He has promised me. Why would He put me on one path only to hedge up the way (or so it seems right now).  I have to think back to all the times that He has taken what seemed like and obstacle and removed it in a way I wasn't expecting that made the path even better. I know He will do the same thing for me again so I will do my best to keep moving forward even without knowing exactly what is ahead.

Hope this helps any of you who are also standing next to your personal Red Sea with nowhere to go but forward. Good luck!