40Acts 2015: Act 3: Clean

Today’s prompt reads: Litter might not be a problem where you live. But you might never have gotten round to recycling properly. Or you might have spent the last year walking past obscene graffiti. We could all do more to help keep the world a beautiful place to live. 

The three suggested actions are:

Quick Work: Pick up any litter you spot today and drop it into a bin. (You might want to wear latex gloves or use a litter-picker!) Not going out? Sort out your kitchen so that you can get into the habit of recycling easily.

More time: Pick a patch of land around where you live and commit to keep it litter free. You might also plant a few bulbs or flowers that will attract bees and butterflies. 

Go the whole hog: Organise a community clean-up or find out about conservation groups in your neighbourhood. Connect with other 40acters in your area and arrange a date/time to scrub off some graffiti or do a group litter-pick.

I took my friends’ dogs out this morning for a walk, and looking round there isn’t (thank goodness) much of a litter problem here. Although I never see litter pickers, and there aren’t that many public bins, the streets and public areas were reasonably clean. The problem is dog poo – the cleaning up after your dog isn’t well engrained in the French psyche – and I’m sorry, 40 Acters but I AM NOT PICKING UP OTHER PEOPLE’S DOG POO!

We recycle reasonably well – there are big Council maintained bins in the nearby car park, and we dutifully take our carrier bags of recyclables every other week. There are also vast numbers of Clothes Bank hoppers too, for Emmaus, which I use from time to time.

So, what do I do for this Act?

Well, one thing that isn’t recyclable are those peskily thin plastic bags that you use in the supermarket for fruit and veg. I try to avoid using them if I can, buying courgettes, bananas etc loose and not bagging them up, but sometimes one has to use them. So, I have decided that I will use some sturdier plastic bags that I have at home for my supermarket shop, taking them with me and reusing them as much as I can. I feel that although this isn’t quite linked to the idea of litter picking, it will reduce unrecyclable plastic use which can’t be bad. I tried this last 40 Acts but it didn’t last more than a couple of weeks, so maybe I can manage to do this for longer – perhaps it will even become an ingrained habit!


The second Gratitude Prompting Question is: How am I fortunate?

Lordy, how long have you got?!

I am housed (no mortgage!)… well -fed (so much so I can choose to fast on the 5:2 way of eating. Fasting is a choice, not a necessity) … well clothed (with plenty of choice) …warm …loved by many … have many to love … surrounded by beauty … surrounded by cats … have a job (that I love doing!) … my husband has a job … I am (reasonably) healthy, with health care (that I can afford) for the things that don’t work as well as they might … we have money in the bank … we are debt free … I am not addicted to anything (although I do like my glass of wine!) … I have a loving family … I have things to look forward to … But most of all, I have a relationship with a loving God who (although it doesn’t always feel like it!) has a plan for this world of ours.

I really should pause and think of these things more often…and be thankful for things that, at first do not necessarily feel like blessings:

I am thankful for…

…the mess to clean after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends.

…the taxes I pay because it means that I am employed.

…the clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat.

…my shadow who watches me work because it means I am out in the sunshine.

…a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means that I have a home.

…the spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking.

…all the complaining I hear about our government because it means we have freedom of speech.

…my huge heating bill because it means that I am warm.

…the lady behind me in church who sings off key because it means I can hear.

…the piles of laundry and ironing because it means my loved ones are nearby.

…the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means that I’m alive.

…weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I have been productive.


4 thoughts on “40Acts 2015: Act 3: Clean

  1. I am trying the 40 acts too. Not sure if ‘cleaning and tidying a house full of boxes yet to be unpacked after the move’ counts- but it is todays occupation anyway. I am grateful for a warm home and a loving family, and a welcoming church community. And for a new kettle – ours broke, and was beyond repair. This is a small item, but significant!

  2. Your list of things you are thankful for made me cry. I found it so inspiring to be able to find blessings in those potentially negative events. I am going to try to do this too. Thank you!

    1. I must admit Louisa that it isn’t my list exactly…It was sent to me by a friend many years ago, and I remembered it and searched online to find it. The one that resonates most at the moment is the “paying taxes” – the tax here in France is very high for independant workers like myself…but, at least I have work to pay tax on!

  3. I’m doing the 40 Acts this year for the first time. I’m taking it pretty lightly and not busting a gut, lazy me! Anyhoo I had the opportunity to chase a flying piece of litter, quite a large piece of paper, outside Hinckley Tescos while shopping for my father in law yesterday . So a day late, but as I said, I’m taking it lightly.

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