Outside my window… it has been a fairly dull day today. Not raining but not sunshining neither. Just one of those typically “English” days. It’s going dark now.
I am thinking… about a difficult situation I’m trying to handle.
I am thankful… for such a lot of things in my life at the moment.
In the kitchen… we had fishcakes for tea. Very nice!
I am wearing… jeans and a black tshirt.
I am creating… a couple of throws for Emma and a crocheted owl to give to a friend.
I am going… on a training day tomorrow about working with children in church.
I am wondering… about whether I should head towards bed yet or not.
I am reading… “Inferno” by Dan Brown.
I am hoping… my hair doesn’t go frizzy overnight. I know that sounds really shallow but it is in desperate need of a cut and it is prone to go really frizzy instead of just curly. I’ve put some frizz-ease spray on it this morning after I’d washed it and I don’t really want to have to wash it again tomorrow if it goes messy overnight. I wouldn’t normally bother about it but I’m on a training day with other people from the diocese and I don’t want to be marked down as that madwoman with the mad hair. My body size draws more than enough negative attention as it is so to have Sideshow Bob hair on top makes me REALLY self-conscious!!
I am praying for… my brother and my nephew who are facing a tough day tomorrow; my cousin G who is facing a tough couple of years; my Mum and Dad; my Gran.
I am looking forward to… having Ethan at home next week; getting some time away in the caravan in the summer.
I am learning… more about my own spirituality and how to help others with theirs.
Around the house… things are…meh…..tidy I suppose…..
I am pondering… prayers for study group on Wednesday evening. I have been asked to lead some prayers and I want to try and do something involved and meaningful for everyone but without going over the top and making everyone cry.
A favourite quote for today: “I’m proud of you”, spoken by a friend. It means a lot.
One of my favourite things… Is teaching babies how to high-five!!
A few plans for the rest of the week: training tomorrow, study group Wednesday evening, ALM training Thursday evening, band Friday, more church training Saturday morning, leading worship Sunday morning.
A peek into my day…
After a very hectic morning at Stay and Play I spent the afternoon catching up with the new series of The Big Bang Theory and watching a couple of my favourite older episodes. I love this programme – it’s so funny and clever, and I would love to give Sheldon a big hug. Bazinga!!
Come and join us at http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/ and join in!!
It’s the Church’s birthday today!!
Pentecost is the celebration of when the Holy Spirit visited Jesus’ disciples following his ascension into Heaven, and therefore marks the start of the Christian faith.
It was my turn to lead the intercessions in church this morning and I thought it might be a nice idea to introduce the idea of silence and reflection in our communal prayers today rather than following the standard “let’s pray for the Church and the world, and let us give thanks to God for his goodness” type prayers.
I did some research and found a couple of settings of two very traditional Pentecostal hymns, and put them together with some images that would help people pray. I also gave each member of the congregation a paper cutout of a flame that they could use as a focus for their prayers, and asked them to lay them down on a prepared mat in front of the altar as part of their letting go and handing them over to God.
This is the slide show I produced to go along with the period of prayer today and I really hope that if you watch it, you will find yourself moved by the Holy Spirit as we were in church this morning.
God bless you.
I was introduced to this poem this evening and I wanted to share it with you today. It is written by Gerard Kelly in memoriam of Rob Lacey, an author who wrote a version of the Bible called “The Street Bible”.
I want to follow Rob’s God;
God the goal of my soul’s education.
Rob’s God is approachable, articulate and artful,
A glowing God, of graceful inclination.
Rob’s God snowboards cloudscapes
And paints daisies on his toes,
While watching Chaplin re-runs
On his i-Pod.
He smiles at cats and children,
Jumps in puddles with his shoes on,
A ‘where’s-the-fun -in-fundamentalism?’ God.
Rob’s God doesn’t shoot
His own wounded,
Or blame the poor for failing
He doesn’t beat the broken
With bruised reeds from their garden,
Or tell the sick that healing’s their responsibility.
Rob’s God is a poet,
Painting people as his poems;
A sculptor shaping symphonies from stone
A maker of mosaics
Curator of collages
Woven from the wounds and wonders
We have known.
A furnace of forgiveness;
Rob’s God radiates reunion
Pouring oil on every fight
We’ve ever started
A living lover
To the helpless and the harmed and heavy-hearted
Other Gods may claim more crowded churches
But in the contest for commitment
In the battle for belief
In the war to woo my worship;
Rob’s God wins
In the fight for my faith’s fervour:
In the struggle for my soul;
In the race for my respect
Rob’s God wins.
Gerard Kelly May 11th 2006
A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. (Isaiah 42:3)
I love this. It challenges so many pre-conceptions about God that many people have and it offers a comforting and nurturing view of the God that I personally know.
My favourite part is “He doesn’t beat the broken/With bruised reeds from their garden,/Or tell the sick that healing’s their responsibility”. It speaks to me of compassion and love, and the total opposite of what our society – and especially our Government – expects from people who are ill, depressed, weak, sick and broken. It sounds to me like a rallying call from God to get out there and change that view.
There is a story in the news this week about Angelina Jolie who has had a double mastectomy to reduce her chances of developing breast cancer. She had a BRCA test and found she was a carrier of the faulty gene that gave her an 87% chance of developing the disease and now, post-mastectomy, her chances have been reduced to around 5%.
My question is this: Would you have a test to see if you had the faulty gene that could potentially raise your chances of developing cancer? And if you did have the test, what would you do about it if you tested positive?
This is one of those questions that raises itself from time to time as scientific advances are made, and gene testing becomes more common. The test that Angelina Jolie had is quite expensive (up to around $3000) and it is not covered by medical insurance in the US. There is a different system for testing here in the UK, and referrals to specialists are done by the family doctor (GP – General Practitioner) which don’t cost the patient at all providing there is a strong family history of the disease and there is a high chance the test will be positive.
So for some people, the cost of the test could be prohibitive and would put them off having it done, but if the test was offered to you free of charge, would you still have it?
I am fortunate that there is no history of breast cancer in my family which I think is something that colours my response to these questions, but if I broaden it to include tests for other hereditary health issues then I feel quite strongly that no, I wouldn’t have the test. Of course, my Christian faith also colours my view too. I believe that whatever will be, will be and however life pans out I am not alone in dealing with it. I am quite content to leave my chances at developing a particular disease, whether it is breast cancer or something else, to nature and to leave that set of worries and anxieties until symptoms appear and then deal with it at that stage. I wouldn’t want to go looking for problems that may or may not occur in the future.
Say that if I did have a test and it showed an 87% chance of developing breast cancer, then I see it that there is a 13% chance of NOT developing it. And that’s good enough for me! How I would feel if that was a real scenario for me, I couldn’t say, but I am confident that I can trust my doctor to refer me to the appropriate specialist at the right time when and if symptoms present themselves. I am also confident that my family and friends would support me, as would my faith, should that situation arise.
And what about the next step? Angelina Jolie decided that she would have a double mastectomy to reduce her chances of developing breast cancer, but the key word here for me is “reduce” and not “eliminate”. I’m not a scientist or a biologist or a doctor, but speaking from my womanly viewpoint, I don’t think I could go through the trauma of such drastic surgery, especially if there was still an element of chance that I would still develop cancer. After all, if I was genetically predisposed to it then who is to say that 5% is enough of a chance NOT to develop it anyway? I know that removal of breast tissue means that there won’t be anywhere for the cancer to grow, but as men can develop breast cancer too and they don’t have the same sort of breast tissue as women, the chances of developing breast cancer is still possible. If it is in your biological make-up to be predisposed to cancer then I think you will get it whether or not you take steps to eliminate it before it develops. To only reduce my chances is not enough of a reason to go through such surgery.
Of course Angelina Jolie can afford top quality breast reconstruction surgery so perhaps for her that aspect of the process is different to most other women’s experience and may have been a deciding factor for her. I just don’t think I could go through it all and not be guaranteed to have eliminated all chances of developing breast cancer at the end of it. The anxiety over the test results, the surgery to remove the breasts, recovery, then more surgery to reconstruct them, recovery again, then mammogram after mammogram to see if cancer was developing in the years to come which would happen anyway if there was a family history… it all seems a bit too much for me.
I do have to point out that I do respect those women who are facing this decision for real, and I would never advocate that people shouldn’t have surgery if they feel it is the right course of action for them. Every woman is different, with a different viewpoint and different expectations from life, and I am not making a judgement on anyone who wishes to do this. Whatever people decide to do will be exactly right for them – test or no test, surgery or no surgery. Everyone has their own particular set of circumstances and there is no right or wrong thing to do here.
You know my personal view, and I’m curious to know how you see this issue.
- Would you have a genetic test to determine your chances of developing a particular disease or not?
- Would you have surgery or other treatment if you tested positive?
- Do you think we should just leave nature to take its course and trust the doctors to treat us if we develop problems later in life?
- Do you think science has gone too far in genetic testing and is crossing an ethical line now?
- Would you say science hasn’t gone far enough and there is much more work to be done on testing for more diseases and health issues?
- Should we all be tested as a matter of routine?
Please drop me a comment and let me know how you respond.
If you would like some more information about breast cancer please click here to be directed to Cancer Research UK’s website.
Ever found yourself emerging from a deep sleep? Battling like a deep-sea diver to bring yourself back up to the surface before your oxygen runs out?
Those first few moments as your brain switches itself from standby mode to the reboot cycle because you’ve pressed the wrong button and it’s gone into “safe” mode for a while?
That dryness in your mouth where you would swear that it has grown a coating so arid that there is more moisture in the desert at midday in summer?
Where your thoughts scramble themselves into some sort of order – was that a dream or a memory? Did I do that or was it wishful thinking?
Where colours and sounds assault you before you’ve even lifted your head off the pillow, and everything in the world seems to have been been given a good wash on the spin cycle?
Ever had all those experiences but where you’ve not actually been asleep but just wading through life for a couple of weeks??
I have, and today has seen the dawn on a new day in Pamsterland.
About bloody time too!!!
You might have noticed a lack of content on my blog recently and that has largely been down to my awake-sleep state I’ve been in. Part of it has been down to pain levels – the drugs I take to try to contain the pain make it difficult to concentrate on very much, and recently it has been so bad that I’ve had to ration out the things I can devote my concentration on. As you know, I have responsibilities in my family and my church and what little attention I could muster has been spent there rather than on content on my blog. It has been a very long while since the last time I had to abandon my blog for a short time, so I can forecast it will be a long while again until I have to put it on the back burner a while. Apologies to those of you who have missed me while I’ve been gone, but my immense thanks to you for sticking by me.
The other reason I’ve not been able to blog properly for a little while is that I have been going through some sort of “crisis of self”, and my response to that has been to turn to more physical forms of creativity. My brain may not have been up to the job of creating very much, but my hands have! I have been crocheting (surprise, surprise) and I have managed to make myself two new tops to wear. That in itself has been part of my recovery because I’ve never rated myself as any sort of dressmaker, but these two items have proved that actually, yeah, I can do that! My problem has always been that I couldn’t cut out the fabric properly, which meant that no matter how hard I tried to get my seams straight, I was onto a loser before I even started because the fabric was cut all wonky. But this time, I was determined I was going to do this RIGHT and I took my time, did everything step by step, and I didn’t try to shortcut anything on the instructions. The result? Well, see for yourself…
I haven’t got any photos of the other one yet but I’ll update you on that one when I’ve plucked up the courage to model it…
The “crisis of self” had been brewing for a while, what with one thing and another going on and going wrong, but it really does feel like that phase is over now. Things feel so much better today, and I’ve had a day that has literally gone a million miles an hour. Not had one of those for a while! I did my first stint as an exam invigilator this morning – my first paid employment in over three years woop – and I had a lovely surprise waiting for me when I got home. Emma was here so we had a brew and decided to treat ourselves to some lunch at Nandos, which was really lovely. We went back to hers for a bit more of a chat and to play with the cat and then I went back to pick Kevin up from work. Just about bounced in and then straight out of the house to take Ethan to his trombone lesson, and bounced in and out again to go to a study/praise evening at church, which was BRILLIANT.
I’m so tired now, but my brain is fizzing with so much stuff I had to try and get it all out, hence this lengthy blog post. I hope that now my dreary bubble has burst and the sunshine is out again things will get back to normal, including blogging properly again.
Thank you for sticking with me – the Pamster is back on the Mushy Cloud and the world is looking pretty bright and shiny from up here!!