40 Acts

So I’ve just signed up – slightly belatedly – for 40 Acts (Tagline: Do Lent Generously) For the last couple of years I’ve joined in with Floss over at Troc, Broc et Recup’ and her “Pause in Lent” but my reflections have never, if I’m honest, impinged much on my every day life.

This year, I’m going to try to follow the 40 Days “programme” (that makes it sound like something from AA or another addiction group!) : 40 days of giving back, doing good and living generously. And I’m going to also try to blog every day (or most days) about what I’m doing. I may not manage every day, but I will try.

DAY 1: (Wednesday) “Start A Journal”

“Create a journal, and begin Lent with a gratitude list. What things are you thankful for today? Next, write a wish list – but not the usual kind – this is a list of the people you’d like to specifically bless throughout 40acts.”

Well, this blog is going to be my journal, so that my Dear Readers can encourage me (I hope!) and also so maybe I feel more “accountable”. It’s going to be more difficult to slide out of doing the 40 Acts if I have people commenting “What happened after Day 2, then?”

Things I’m grateful for:

  • Mr D. Who is always here, supporting me, quietly doing stuff that needs doing. Making me laugh, upholding me. Being here. Being who he is.

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Mr D with George & Millie, the Middle Management team.

  • For our health & for the health care system…at the moment we both have problems, mine possibly more chronic than his, but the health care system here looks after us. Yes, we have to pay up front, but much gets reimbursed quickly.
  • My friends, both in real life and virtual. Those who I see infrequently but with whom I can pick up the thread so it’s as though we were talking yesterday; those who write wisely on their blogs; those who teach me through their strength and resilience. New friends made recently, old friends, loved since school…
  • The sunshine which is calling even lazy-arse me to go for a walk…All weather is beautiful in its own way, but Spring sunshine is some of the best.
  • Finding a new church, where I think I will settle. A distance away, but worth the journey!
  • Our lovely, creaky old home here in France…I envy others their beautiful homes too, but it’s good to return here and remember why I fell in love with it.
  • A job I love. I haven’t got a lot of work at the moment, but that’s the nature of ELT, it can be a bit feast-or-famine. But it’s a job that uses my skills and my talents…And I’ve had a request from one of the Language Schools I work for to take a course with an ex-student who specifically requested me as his teacher!
  • Cats. All cats, but specifically our four: the Senior Partner, the middle management and the Office Junior
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Pomme, the Senior Partner

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  • Bib, the Office Junior
  • My family – I don’t see them often, we’re not that close, but I know that in a problem I could rely on them to help out wherever and however.
  • And my faith. God. I’m not that good at talking about it (except when preaching) but, despite my avoidance of Bible reading and mentioning of God whenever possible, my belief in God and his will for us does underpin my life.

Who would I specifically like to bless…

I don’t know. I cringe a little at the word “bless” but I suppose that I would like to be more generous and open to Mr D, to my friends but also to the people here in St Just…I suspect I’m going to find some of the given tasks a little more difficult in French…so maybe I’ll stick mostly to those people who I already know…

DAY 2 (Thursday) “Create a Generosity Jar”

This Lent, set aside a generosity jar and commit to putting in a small amount daily or whenever you have spare change. You’ll be invited to use the contents later in the challenge, but if you prefer you could save it up ready for a generous event over the Easter weekend.

I have a jolly pig on my desk, which was a gift from my Ship of Fools Secret Santa. When I have had a 2€ piece, I’ve been popping it into my “Space Pig”

I don’t know what I plan to do with the money – save it for Christmas, or maybe a nice meal on our Wedding Anniversary… Well, for Lent, I will divert my 2€ pieces into a wooden box, instead of popping them into my Space Pig. I wonder what we will be doing with them…

I will also try to remember to add a small note with an act of generosity on it…then I’ll pick them out at random to do, during Lent and afterwards. If you have any ideas for things I could do, please leave a comment.

DAY 3 (Friday)

Each of us has a toolbox, and no two are alike. They are full of the things that make us unique: our experiences, our skills, our faith, our resources, our intelligence, our passions, our networks. Create a list of the tools you have at your disposal: it might include your creative mind, your enthusiasm, your computer skills, or your savings.

This is a harder one. I think I would prefer to keep the list private…but one of my tools is cooking and baking. So I will make some cakes for friends. Probably tomorrow.

DAY 4 (Saturday)     “Connect”

We can live on the same road for twenty years and never learn the names of those we share a street address with. We can use the same corner shop every time we buy a newspaper, and still have no idea about the man selling it to us. Today we invite you to become aware: to look up, look around and really notice those you come into contact with. Strike up a conversation in the process, and learn their name. It’ll be important later on…

Ooh, this one really is a difficult one for me…speaking in French!? To a stranger!? Eeep.

Here is my pledge: I will go fora walk and if I meet someone I will strike up a conversation with them. If I don’t, well, I’ll try to speak more to my collagues on Monday – many of whom I hardly know (they’re in the French dept and I’m inthe English dept.)

Here is a link from the 40Acts site to a YouTube video. It is a rather moving story, and, while we shouldn’t give just so that we receive, it shows that when we do give freely and without counting the cost, the effects can be powerful and far reaching…

So, I’ve caught up.

Please do call in to see what else I’ve been up to and how I’m finding the 40Acts.

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