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  • 40 Acts - Day 10

    Quarter of the way through already!  This Lent is fairly whizzing by!

    Today's challenge, introduced over on the website by Bear Grylls is as follows:


    Fix something quick and simple for someone today. Change a light bulb, sew on a button, or teach someone a few shortcuts on the computer.


    Are there any bigger jobs you can do for someone else today? Could you valet their car? Mow the lawn? Or fix that drawer handle?


    Whether you like to use your hands for DIY, baking, card-craft, cars, writing or painting – make an amazing gift for someone today.


    I think this is an interesting challenge, especially as today I will mostly be at home catching up on domestic chores and doing a few bits and bobs of prep work for church.  But, if I get myself organised, I do have an idea of something I can do that, whilst it may not even be noticed, will be a good job jobbed!


  • 40 Acts - Day 9

    Diversity... cultural, ethnic, religious, other... that's the name of the game for today.  Whilst the emphasis seems to be on ethnic/religious, I'm sure it could be interpretted far more widely, anyway, see what you make of it:



    What’s the mix where you live? Think about the ethnicity you mix with most, outside of your own. You might have a large Bangladeshi community in your neighbourhood, or a big Spanish group in your church. Could you use the internet to learn a few quick greeting words in that language today? Start with ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ – sure winners in any conversation!


    Seek out someone – a neighbour, a parent at the school gates, your local shop-keeper – whose ethnicity/culture/religion is different from yours. Make a point of building bridges with them today.


    Plan a cultural celebration in your community. Team up with other 40acts challengers, your church or local community group, and host a party. Get everyone to cook a national dish, and share food and friendship together.


    At church we have a 'welcome' sign in around 10-15 languages (it's been there so long I've stopped noticing it) an indication of the diversity of the area in which we live.

    My day involves a meeting in a part of Glasgow that is less familiar to me, so I will be keeping my eyes and ears open to discover something of the diversity of that area.  I almost certainly have to take one cat to the vet which will bring me into contact with another diverse set of folk.  I have a hunch this challenge may sound more tricky than it is... every one of us who ventures outside our own front door today will encounter someone  different from ourselves.


    Anyway, in the spirit of the challenge, and as we have a number of Yoruba speakers at church I have googled a few words:


    Hello - peleo

    Thank you  - e dupe

    Goodbye - o dabo


    I will try to remember these and try them out on Sunday!!


  • 40 Acts - Day 8

    This one made me chuckle... having arrived home at midnight last night, I gave myself permission not to get into to church before 9 a.m. today, i.e. a late start... and the theme was: lateness!



    That's okay. This is a principle for living, not a one-time challenge. Make a point of being punctual the next time you're heading out by going through your calendar for a few minutes. Set alarms on your phone if you have to, to make sure you’re on time!


    The bare minimum is to arrive when you say you will. Could you be there a few minutes earlier, though?


    If you're super-organised, arrive early, and bring the person/people you're meeting a treat or their favourite coffee. Doesn't have to be fancy, but it might just make their day.


    OK, so one of the thing that REALLY stresses me out is the fear of being late.  I am that person who knows that the meeting starts at, say 9 a.m. and it will take me ten mintues to get there, but I might get delayed, so I'd better add on five minutes, and then because I am due to leave the house at 8:45 I put on my coat ay 8:35 (after all it takes all of thirty seconds) and am out of the door by 8:36, arrive at 8:43 because I've hurtled along the road and then... and then wait for the person who will always arrive "fashionably late".

    I've learned over the years that people fall into one of two groups, and it seems just to be the way they are made... some are always early, some are always late.  Why late people don't ever seem stressed as they arrive after things have begun puzzles me, because the rare times I'm late I am always mortified... but then there will be things they find stressful of which I am oblivious.

    I have one meeting today, scheduled to take place in in a coffee house... with someone who will be on time... so stress free all round!!

  • 40 Acts - Day 7

    I know that this is posted a day late... I was away on Baptist Union business yesterday with little or no access to internet most of the time, so apologies to anyone who felt cheated not getting the challenges from me!!  The theme was basically about holding our possessions more lightly - being less concerned with acquiring and clinging to "stuff":



    Pray about the stuff you’ve got and think about why it’s important to you. Ask God to show you anything in your life that you’re clinging onto too tightly, and to help you use it for others.


    Give away one of your favourite things. It could be anything: a scarf, book, DVD, your favourite penguin bobble hat... Give it to someone you know will really appreciate it or need it.



    Make an inventory in your journal of all the stuff/things you have in your life. Can you live with less? Would you maybe even find freedom in it? Filling up some bags for your local charity shop is a great way to start living more lightly.


    The  middle one is for me the biggest challenge - what one item that I really value could I give to someone else who would really value it?  The thing is, mostly the possessions I value have no instrinsic worth and would mean nothing to anyone else.  But, it is challenging me to have a think at what I could usefully give away that just sits on shevles or in cupbaords and never gets used...  or what I could maybe sell and give the money to a good cause...  oh, and in case you're wondering the kitties are going nowhere!!

  • Surprises...

    Saturday's 40 Acts was to surprise someone, and one way and another, despite my good intentions I failed (bought little gifts and forgot to give them).  Then Sunday I failed again and yesterday was my day off so I was chilling at home and catching up on some housework!!  This morning I finally managed it, and I'm glad that I failed on Saturday because today's was so much better.  Someone I see nearly every day and who is always cheery but I don't know their name... a lollipop man who is out in all weathers seeing children and adults safely over a nasty junction outisde a closed school (en route to two other schools).  I hope he enjoys his little surprise gift... I certainly value his presence on that junction and his good natured chat.


    Then when I got to church, there on the doorstep was a little bunch of daffodils, carefully wrapped in newspaper, a little battered by the rain and wind, but golden and lovely.  I have no idea who might have left them there, but I brought them in and put them in a vase where they can be enjoyed by anyone using our hall.  Thank you, whoever you are, for the surprise of golden loveliness on a chilly morning.