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  • 40 Acts - Day 28

    Very late posting this today - it has been a very busy day one way and another so only just now having a few minutes to post it.  Pretty self-explanatory I think...


    Unbutton those cuffs and let’s get elbows-deep. This is all about practical generosity; the kind that gets things done – no fuss. It’s about seeing a need and working out how to provide a practical solution. It might need good planning and forethought, or it could just be a spur-of-the-moment thing.


    Eyes peeled today – where could you help out instead of walking by? Whether you’re helping a stranger to carry a suitcase, assisting an elderly person across a road, or giving someone a free lift somewhere – the key is practical, physical acts of kindness.


    Got a bit more time to get stuck in? Brilliant! Maybe your neighbour hasn't been able to give much attention to their garden lately, or your family member could do with their car being washed. Whatever this looks like to you, make sure you make the most of mucking in.


    Identify an issue in your community: it might be that homelessness, drug addiction or unemployment is a particular problem where you live. Or you might just know quite a few people who’d benefit from a new youth group or book club. Get a group of people together and start something practical to make a difference where you are.


  • 40 Acts - Day 27

    Grace growers... the nice Christian term for "people who p*** me off daily" and which attempts to foster a better attitude towards them. Strangers are simply friends you haven't met yet (so the cliche goes).  Cliques arise often unintentionally but can be exclusive and insular.

    Today's challenge seems to reflect these realities:


    Your group, your clique, your club, your ‘gang’, your crowd. It’s great to have a core circle of friends, but it’s probably even better to open it up to include others. Who knows? You might end up with a Tinigua-speaking, acrobat artist with a special fondness for rich tea biscuits in your friendship group…!


    Deliberately seek out those you’d normally avoid today and just start with a ‘Hello’. Say ‘Hi’ to someone new at the school gates, at the train station, at the water cooler or even on Twitter.


    Got a social event coming up? Most people love going to see a movie, heading out for a meal or getting together for a party, so invite someone new and make it clear you’d really like them to come.


    You might know a few people that you just can’t be bothered with: you find them annoying/boring/too hyper/too quiet (insert your own gripe here). Someone once said those people are like sandpaper: they rub us up the wrong way but eventually smooth out all of our rough edges. Bring those people into your circle somehow today.

  • 40 Acts - The Unexpected!

    I was walking to church and, as usual, paused to say hello to the lollipop man.  He commented on the lovely, springlike weather, I replied that according to my sister Saturday (her birthday) is the official first day of spring.  He then told me that today is St Joseph's day, his name day, and yesterday was his birthday... which was the perfect excuse to say "that deserves a little hug" ...and we did.

    So, happy St Joseph's Day to anyone marking it today!

  • 40 Acts - Day 26

    Today we are invited to share hugs, literal or metaphorical, with friends and strangers!  For me, hugging is largely a 'learned' behaviour, my parents weren't big on shows of affection; cuddles or hugs I can count on one hand.  I think in another environment I might have been quite a huggy child, but there you go, I know I'm loved and that's what matters.  I do vaguely recall reading a book donkeys' yonks ago that said we need something like a dozen hugs a day to survive, let alone thrive... well on an average of zero, I'm still here and I think I'm basically OK!!

    Anyways, virutal hugs to all who pass by today.

    And here's the challenge:


    Sometimes words just won’t do, and for those moments the hug was invented. It’s the most effective and simple way to say a truck load of things: "hello", "I appreciate you", "you're loved", "feel better", or just "you're comfy" to name a few. Say whatever you need to say with arms wide open today.



    Send somebody a virtual hug. Let them know you are thinking of them. Put lots of XOXOs on the end just to make sure they 100 per cent get the message!



    That’s cool. Instead of hugging here, there and everywhere, we challenge you to give out just one, very deliberate, bear hug to someone who will especially appreciate it.



    What are you waiting for? You need no excuse: hug everyone – no exceptions. If you’re feeling particularly wild, you could even create a ‘Free hugs’ sign and wear it around town for the day.


  • 40 Acts - Day 25

    Serve the server... treat with dignity those whose employment makes our lives better.

    The danger of feeling a bit smug here is great... I have a local independeNt coffee shop where I already chat to the staff whenever I go in.  I have built up a rapport with the lollipop man on my route to church.  Having spent a substantial part of my life in the north of England, I always say hello and goodbye to shop staff.

    Today I will be at the Coffee Club - we have worked to build genuine relationship with the pub staff, and have always given tips when we stay on for lunch... recently an embarrassed young waiter said that they were no longer allowed to accept tips, so we can't do the 'generous tip' thing.

    So it's a challenging challenge for different reasons!  See what you make of it...


    People who serve us are everywhere – shop assistants, waiters, baristas, maintenance people – but what happens when we offer something back? This is about turning the tables in a nice way and being generous to those that usually put us first.



    Treat the person who serves you with dignity and courtesy. Make eye contact. Ask their name. Show genuine gratitude. Smile! Friendly customers can brighten up a day on the job.



    Strike up a conversation with your local park-keeper, ticket inspector, road sweeper, dinner lady, waiter or lollipop man. Tell them why you appreciate them. Be interested.



    Leave an extravagant tip, tweet an encouragement about great service or write a complimentary letter to their Head Office/line manager. Want to get creative? Use Charlie’s blog as inspiration, and let your server choose your meal for you today.