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  • 40 Acts - Day 13

    The 'nudge' of conscience or conscientisation... the gentle (or not so gentle) 'shove in the back' attributable to God's Holy Spirit... that inner voice that says 'do it'... call it what you will, today we are invited to listen to our guts (and not the rumble tums!!)


    Spend five minutes on today’s author’s [of the reflection on 40 Acts website] website. Get inspired by some amazing generosity stories. Perhaps even share a few.


    Think about the last time you ignored your generous gut instinct. Is there any way you could do that thing today? If not then pray and ask God to give you another opportunity. Wherever you are today, watch out for one. Maybe you could buy The Big Issue, say yes where you might have ignored a request, or make a donation to a cause.


    Go outside for an hour today, to a place where lots of people are – that might be a supermarket, a coffee shop, a high street. Take some time to listen out for any generous prompts you get. When the opportunity comes, seize it.


    I think what this has made me ponder is not the 'urges' I have to be generous but the reality that the huge numbers of Big Issue vendors, beggars and chuggers I see everyday have led to a hardening of my heart, a narrowing of my vision, a less generous 'gut'.  I expect the sense that I am being sworn at in some Eastern European language, or the witnessed arguments over 'pitches' between vendors and among beggars don't really help either.  Perhaps today what I need is to tune in afresh to my intuition and act on what I detect.

  • 90th Birthday Memories

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    Today would have been my Dad's 90th birthday... I'm not quite sure why this seems important to share but over the last few weeks I've found myself noting the various nonegenarians in my world and then realising that, were he still alive, my Dad would be contemporary with them.

    Just after Easter it will quarter of a century since he died which feels like a significant marker - the above photo on his 65th birthday was taken just weeks before he died.  I can't pretend I was close to my Dad, but there have been times as a middle-aged woman I'd have loved to have been able to sit down and talk about stuff with him.  His final weeks were quite precious, his 65th birthday, spent in a hospital ward a day characterised by love and laughter despire the unspoken certainty that time was short.  We weren't close, but he was my Dad and I loved him.

    My Mum always claims my Dad was the Clerk of the Weather, so maybe some sunshine for your 90th, eh Dad...

  • 40 Acts - Day 12

    Recycling and re-using... seems pretty obvious to me but here we go anyway:


    Today, keep track of every plastic item you use and throw away. The first step to making a difference is being mindful. In case you need any more convincing on the green front, watch and share this video to see why plastic really isn’t that fantastic.


    Commit to dropping some plastic from your life – like trading that bottled water or takeaway coffee cup for a decent reusable version instead. Show us yours using #40acts!


    One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Repurpose it. Have a look at this handy blog, and then see if you can get a bit crafty and creative today.


    I am that boring person who has taken her own bags to the supermarket for years and years, who sifts and sorts recycling and then hand delivers it because there is no kerbside collection for her housing complex.  I am the person who has a 'keep cup' and a selection of robust hiking water bottles (does sometimes buy bottled water it has to be said, though the bottles are always reused or recycled afterwards)

    Last week when I was 'down south' in the one part of the UK yet to start charging for carrier bags (and to be fair, where in my experience voluntary recycling/re-using progressed a lot faster than where I live now) I popped into a small supermarket and was shocked at the huge quantity of plastic bags waiting to be used just once... it is amazing how quickly one adapts.  Sad that it needs legislation to make us do what we should do anyway.

    Not going to be feeling smug today, as the amount of stuff I recycle every week is HUGE and maybe I, too, need to take a look at my habits...

  • They don't make 'em like they used to!

    Yesterday morning, realising that my black preaching shoes were really on their last legs (one of them has started squeaking quite annoyingly!) I dug out these brown shoes that I bought back in my thirties (just) when I was a student in Manchester.  They looked OK with my brown suit and off I headed to church.  Part way through the service I looked down and noticed that the soles had started to split across the balls of my feet but thought nothing of it... then by mid afternoon the inevitable happened and one of them fell apart.

    I can't really complain having had them for so long, it was quite funny trying to walk around in a broken shoe, and everyone at the evening service was way too polite to comment on the fact that I was wearing shoes held together by lazzy bands...

    So, off to town today in search of new preaching shoes: good job I got paid last week!

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  • 40 Acts - Day 11

    This one is just fun, costs nothing apart from a few minutes of our time and will hopefully bring a smile to someone's face...


    Pop a Post-it note that says ‘You’re AMAZING/REALLY SUPER/GREAT AT COLOURING’ in your kid’s lunchbox. Or scribble a compliment for your spouse on the kitchen chalkboard. Or write and tell your neighbour that you really appreciate them keeping their hedges so trim. Keep it short and super-sweet.


    Create a mini Post-it treasure hunt. Choose a person you know – a colleague, your spouse, your best mate – and leave a trail of encouraging Post-its for them to find throughout the day. Take ten minutes to write them (give it some thought!) and five to hide them in places you know they’ll be found.


    Oh we love this one. Let’s take this to the lamp-posts, library books, gym lockers and supermarket shelves. Stick random notes of encouragement in public places for strangers to find.


    On the basis that Sasha and Sophie can't read (though they love to type on the laptop) and I won't be seeing anyone I regularly see today (it being my day off) the first two aren't going to work... which leaves only the last one... and the need to pop into a shop to purchase some post-its before the fun begins.

    As I have to go to town to do some urgent shoe buying today (my twelve year old brown shoes decided to fall apart yesterday, and my black preaching shoes are almost worn out too)  I think there might be some opportunities to leave a few messages around the place :-)

    And for you , gentle reader: