Saturday, February 16, 2008

The British came, they saw, they sang Led Zeppelin?

The Beatles singing Stairway to Heaven.
There's either something vaguely cool, utterly hilarious or marginally scary about this.  I'm not completely certain which.

As seen on the blog of Ken Levine

India 2008 - Please consider joining my support team

Dear Friends

In the 25th chapter of the gospel of Matthew, in the parable of the sheep and the goats, Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”.  This summer I will be a part of a mission team traveling to India for two weeks to serve those who are, in so many ways, the people who Jesus called “the least of these brothers of mine.” 

From 22 June through 5 July 2008 I will travel to India with a group of about 12 people from my church.  The first week of our trip will be spent in Bangalore, in the south of India, working with a ministry to street children.  Bangalore is known as the “Silicon Valley” of India as there is a tremendous amount of computer and technology industry there.  It is also estimated that 45,000 children live on the streets of this large city.  Some of these children are orphans, others have been abandoned by their families due to economic or other reasons, some have fled abusive situations.  Regardless of the reason they are on the streets, Grace House, a non-residential day facility, seeks to serve these children.  Run by Bangalore Presbyterian Church and funded by my church, Fort Worth Presbyterian, Grace House is open six days a week and provides these children with a structured, safe environment that provides meals, clothing, help in getting any needed medical attention, schooling and Biblical education.  This ministry also is in the process of starting foster homes which will provide a Christian family environment for these children to move into and grow up in with the end goal of transitioning these children into independent living and working situations when they become adults.

For our second week in India, we will travel to the village of Muttom on the southern coast of India.  This area was greatly affected by the 26 December 2004 tsunami that devastated much of the Indian Ocean coastline.  In the villages surrounding Muttom, we will be working with a ministry of Bangalore Presbyterian Church called Homes of Hope.  Homes of Hope is working to build permanent homes for the survivors of the tsunami (pictures can be found here).  It is the prayer of this ministry that this work done in the name of Christ will not only provide for the physical needs of these people but also will melt the hearts of those in the area as they witness home after home being built for “the least of these”.  It is also the hope that the groundwork laid by this house building work will open the door to church planting and sharing of the gospel to communities that are hardened to the grace of gospel message of Jesus Christ.  During our week in this area, we will be physically laboring to help build some of these homes.

I would like to invite you to join with my mission team on this trip in two ways.  First, I would ask you to consider becoming a prayer partner.  This involves committing to pray for me, the team and our trip weekly prior to our departure and daily during the trip.  Without the support of God’s people, mission trips such as these cannot happen and I greatly covet your prayers.  Some specific prayer requests that I currently have are:

Unity for our team.

Financial support for all team members.

Specifically preparing each member of the team for the large cultural differences as well as change in time zones that we will encounter during this trip.

God working in the hearts of each member of the team and each person we will encounter in India in preparation for all that he has planned.

As the preparations continue, I will update all prayer partners on additional prayer requests as well as provide additional information on the team’s preparation here on my blog.

Secondly, I would ask that you consider supporting this trip financially.  The cost of this trip is approximately $2500, of which $750 covers all of our costs in India with the remainder paying for airfare.  The first payment, for 50% of the total cost of my trip, is due in mid-April with the remainder due in mid-May.  Any financial gift you can give would be greatly appreciated and is tax deductible.  If you would like to join in our work in India through either prayer support please either leave a comment on this blog or email me at ruthann.francis_at_gmail_dot_com.  If you would like to provide financial support please send a check made out to Fort Worth Presbyterian church to:

Fort Worth Presbyterian Church

PO Box 16307

Fort Worth, TX 76162

Please include a note saying that the check is in support of the India mission trip for Ruth Ann Francis.  This will ensure that your contribution is credited to my account.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Little things that make me smile

Some little things that make me smile:
- Buying milk with an expiration date of 29 February.  I don't remember ever having done that before.
- Getting significant change from a single dollar when buying useful, and generally much higher priced, items at a store.  Oh how I love coupons.  And I got to do this twice tonight: Once at Walgreens for some deoderant that cost me $0.60 and once at Albertsons where four boxes of instant oatmeal and one round container of "old fashioned" oatmeal (also known as oatmeal cookie making oatmeal) cost me a total of $0.40.  I did it last week at Tom Thumb too.  $0.06 for a container of soft soap and a bag of frozen broccoli.  And I found a nickel on the ground when I was walking out.
- How much brighter and more cheery the cardio room at the gym looks with the addition of the new, large window.  And the huge smiles on the faces of the staff when I mention that window.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Blog Updates, Holiday Thoughts and Things Rattling Around In My Brain.

I added links to some of my friends who blog.  It's actually an interesting group of people.  Missionaries I support, friends from school, friends from church, my roommate from Space Camp, people who fall into more than one of those categories.  Many of them don't update all that regularly, but that's what an RSS reader is for.  I use Google Reader.  It's changed the way I use the internet and I couldn't be happier.  Many thanks to Jason for recommending it.

Tomorrow's Valentines' Day.  I've never been a big fan of the holiday.  Maybe that's because I've only had a V-Day date once (that relationships ended about three months later and eventually ended up with me having a psycho-ex-boyfriend left over from college.  It's an interesting story now...not so much then.) and I prefer not to be beaten over the head with reminders that I'm single.  Maybe it's that Valentines' Day has always felt, at least to me, like an excuse for Hallmark to sell more card, people to make insincere statements about their feelings about others (even if it's just through a silly little card with cartoon characters, mutant robots from outer space or cute kittens) and for those unattached to a significant other to have an excuse to consume chocolate and/or ice cream.  I'm not planning on doing anything special to celebrate.  Although I am taking brownies to work.  But that's more because I've been sensing a significant deficiency of baked goods with extra chocolatey goodness than because it happens to be a holiday.  At least this isn't a Post Office holiday, so maybe I'll get my new MP3 player that I ordered from Woot earlier this week. 

In the "other random thoughts that are swimming around my head this evening" category:
- The WGA (writers') strike is officially over.  Whoo-hoo!  While some of the shows that I enjoy won't be back before next fall (Heroes), some may not be back at all (Journeyman :( ), others will be back and with more new episodes (Lost, Bones).  And, once the writers' new contract is ratified, I can go back to watching television on the web again...something that I'm greatly looking forward to.
- I'm kinda excited that by the start of next week I'll be able to work on something other than documentation at work.  I've known for a while that the first few months of this year were going to be taken up mostly with documentation tasks.  And it really is about as little fun as it sounds.  I'll still be doing some work on the documentation files, but I've got the go ahead to scale that back to about half-time.  And that will make my work life much more interesting.  Might make kick boxing on Thursday nights a little less intense, but maybe the new stuff that I'm doing will be challenging/frustrating enough to make up for it.  
- Speaking of the gym, we're getting a nice big window later this week!  All of the trainers are very excited.  It will be nice to have some more natural light in the cardio room.  Now if only I could get a sky light somewhere near my cube.
- And, for those of you not in Texas (or who don't pay attention to weather forecasts), we'll be, once again, getting confirmation that we live way too far inland.  Tomorrow's high is supposed to be around 70.  Friday, it sounds like we'll be lucky to see 40.  Before the weekend is up, we might even get some "snow"*
- Can anyone recommend some good, upbeat music that I might enjoy?  Ed, my biking buddy on Tuesdays and Thursdays, is out for the next month or so due to surgery to give him a bionic foot**.  So, I'm going to be lacking for conversation and harassment during my longer cardio sessions.
- I should really blog some more about stuff related to my trip to India this summer, but it's past my bedtime, so that will have to wait for another time.

*Which means either a couple of white flakes swirling in the air or some ice.  It also means a run on milk and bread at the grocery store, that there won't be anything good to rent at Blockbuster and Walmart will be even crazier than usual.
**Not exactly, but it's more fun to think of it that way than to talk about how he's getting pins and other stuff to help out some of his toe joints.  I've also told him that we're going to have to watch him closely when he returns to make sure that they didn't give him an "evil bionic foot".  Although it would give him an excuse to go around kicking people, that type of thing never ends well.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

An article many people should read

It's past my bedtime and I still need to deal with the trash, but I wanted to post a link to an article that I think just about everyone and certainly everyone who knows me should read.  It's an old Atlantic Monthly article called "Caring for Your Introvert" and it strives to describe introverts and explain a little bit about why they (we) act the way they (we) do to those who are more extroverted.  I've never been really fond of labels for or broad, sweeping generalizations about groups of people, but I'll make an exception here.  This article seems to get a lot of things right about me and many of my friends who also fall closer to "i" than "e" on the Myers-Briggs test.