So, I've chosen a new version of a very old hymn for Sunday, partly because for once I actually find the new version preferrable to the orignal. I paid for a legitimate download of the music and then, when looking for viedos that would help me get my brain around the alto part, came across this, which is just brilliant - Hillsong Shapenote style...
For a girl who doesn't do pink, doesn't do fluffy, dosen't really do bling, and for whom the pink fluffyiness of so much Pink Ribbon merchandising stuff is anathema, I was surprisingly touched to receive this little velvet pink ribbon badge in the post this morning.
The pink ribbon as a symbol for breast cancer awareness is now 25 years old, and the various charities are marking this anniversary - rightly, because the money they raise for support and research makes a huge difference.
The letter that came with my badge said:
"Please find enclosed a pin for you, in recognition of all that you do as a breast cancer care volunteer. We are honoured to invite you to join us as we wear it in hope, in stength and in unity.'
As a peer support volunteer, I have the privilege of speaking with women as they negotiate the terrors of diagnosis, the complexities of treatment and the challenges of life after cancer. This week I spoke to a one who was debating whether or not to take Tamoxifen, another who had developed lymphoedema several years after treatment, and a third who is a longer term 'client' with whom I'm journeying through her treatment - all of this is a huge privilege, and helps me to make sense of my own experience.
For the last couple of years, I've been a patient rep on a research group, able to have quite a lot of input to some work on supporting people affected by 'chemobrain'; I was even asked to chair a day conference for medical professionals, patients, carers and third sector organisations.
As well as actively completing the Ben Nevis challege and two Pink Ribbon walks myself, raising thousands of pounds along the way, I've also been a volunteer steward at the annual fashion Show, a marshall for a Pink Ribbon walk and made tea and washed up at a couple of Glasgow-wide fundraisers!!
In listing this, I realise it sounds like I'm blowing my own trumpet, which isn't the intent, rather I'm just trying to celebrate the diversity of opportunities I have enjoyed, the friends I've made, the fun I've had, and the privileges I've been granted.
So I will wear my pink, fluffy, blingy badge with pride, not because of what I've done, but because it's a great cause and deserves to flourish.
PS Don't you think that hope, strength and unity are brilliant values?!
This article by the nephew of American prosperity gospel and healing ministry advocate Benny Hinn is well worth reading - because he explains how he grew up and grew out of what he had been taught. As I read it, I was reminded of the young women who left Westboro Baptist Church (here). These stories are courageous, important and powerful, and serve as a valuable lesson to anyone entrusted with ministry.
By contrast, sometimes the sons/daughters of respected and famous preachers are themselves the cause of concern, as is the case here.
Preachers kids, like Mish Kids, have a challenging life, and charismatic parents/relatives can have influence beyond what they might realise. I guess these three examples illustrate just how that can work out - for good and for ill.