This Lent we have decided to do something different. We will be completing the 40 Acts. These will be about kindness, generosity, helping others and having an awareness of something bigger than ourselves.
To make sure that we stick to it (, I stick to it…sure we can let J off a bit) we are doing this as a sponsor event. We will aim to raise £100 for the Makaton charity. Makaton has given us a way to communicate with J. It has stopped him from living in a bubble.
If you can spare anything for a great cause then please click here to donate. Please check back for updates on how we’re getting on x
Today we packed a ‘parents emergency box’. Inside are different things that we can give away to people who need them. So I thought about things that I often forget and think “sh*t I needed that” and added them to the box.
- Pack of wipes
- Spare nappy
- Nappy sacks
J then chose which book and car to donate to the box. I’m pretty sure he no idea why but I like to get him involved and as he gets older hopefully he’ll learn about giving to others.
Today’s total on Just Giving: £10
Today was about community. The idea was to get to know the community better and how to be involved (time, resources etc). I found a new parent and child ‘chill out’ group that is opening soon on our estate. To help I am going to gather and donate toys and other resources.
Today’s total on Just Giving: £89
This was a challenging day for me. It’s sad to admit but I love social media and spend far to much time checking notifications, replying to messaging and being generally nosey. So, today I spent a whole 24hrs off social media.
The world didn’t end! I didn’t miss anything exciting and I had a lovely day. I admit I missed Instagram and sharing photos but I just shared them the next day and caught up with my insta-friends Sunday. Will definately be trying to limit my social media time.
Day five: Day off as it’s Sunday ☺️
Today was about prisoners and how to help their families, help them rehabilitate and make strong links in society to stop reoffenders. I have worked for a charity who supports visits and family work. It’s important as the children need to maintain a relationship with their parent. It’s a confusing time for them. Charities such as Ormiston are there to provide this support. I aim to make people more aware of this charity and have been spreading the link around today.
Today’s Just Giving total: £118 (THANK YOU)
Today was about community. I know quite a bit about my community as I’ve lived on the same estate for 20+years and worked on the estate for 14ish years. Part of my job is knowing the cultural ‘make up’ of the surrounding area. I have taught many families from diverse backgrounds. Today I taught myself how to say ‘hello’ in Polish so I could say hello to a family I know. They speak a very good level of English (I’m always amazed at bilingual families, it’s such a talent to speak so clearly in multiple languages). I look forward to saying hello and showing that I think their cultural background is just as important as my own.
I am a talker…chatterbox from birth I think. Sometimes I do say something and then wish I could stick the words back in my mouth. Today I have made a conscious effort to think before I speak. I want to listen more and talk less. Working with children means I do have to talk a lot but I know I have to make the time to put down the distractions and really listen to my children without worrying about answering or extending them…just listen. It’s a valuable skill and something I’ll try and hold onto. With J it’s different as he’s not a talker. But I have been listening to him by making sure I am looking at him, down at his level and letting him know that however he communicates…I’m listening!
Just Giving total: £134
Today’s act was about community and doing our bit to keep it looking nice and usuable for everyone. I didn’t get to get out to the park today. However I will be taking a carrier bag (and gloves) with us for our next park visit. The playpaek often gets littered with local takeaway wrappers and boxes. We will aim to pick what we see up and put into the bin. It’s gross, but it’s our community. If we’re going to play in the park the we have a responsibility to be part of maintaining it. If everyone had this perspective, just image how lovely everywhere would be?
I did however tidy the garden so J had his play space back. It was nice to get his toys back out. There’s so many weeds though so that was Mummy’s job whilst J played.
Just giving: £149
Today’s act was called ‘talent’. We all have a talent. I don’t mean something to share on X factor I just mean that some are good listeners, some are musical and others are good with finances. Me-I think I’m a good writer. I often get compliment for my writing at work and how I can find words. So, I thought I’d offer my writing and social media links to write a review to highlight an instashop (someone small-ish who could benefit from this). Anyway…I’m obviously not as popular a social media Mummy as I thought (haha) as NO ONE replied! But I was determined so I tagged some people to help me. I am now just waiting to hear back from a lovely looking instashop so I can help share them around the World Wide Web.
(Update: I have had the pleasure to talk to a Mummy/shop owner at an instashop called ‘Baby Blue Boutique’. I got to hear the story of how having an instashop is helping this family to better themselves and their future. It was a privilege to share your story on social media).
I loved today’s act. It was all about chocolate. The idea was to send out chocolate to generally give a little boost of happiness. I left chocolate in some random places-including childrens trolleys at ASDA. I also left two Easter eggs for my neighbours children. I really hope they gave someone a smile.
This one is a bit of struggle for me. Money isn’t something I have much off at the moment. I’m by no means in poverty and the fact we can afford things like broadband and treat foods just shows that we do have ‘spare’ money. I realise that I often send a pound on chocolate that I didn’t really need. So, come payday I will be looking at our finances and seeing where I can be more generous. Until then I aim to put something in every charity pot I see-even if it’s the last 10p I have dug out from that rip in the material at the bottom of my bag, haha.
Just giving: £149
Sometimes these emails come through at just the right time. As you’ve read I have been incredibly frustrated by the actions of a certain Tv company. I needed to have an opportunity to just reset the balance in my own mind and remind myself of the good people in the business world. So, on Instagram I have written a thank you to some bosses and companies that have really had an impact on us. I wanted them to know that they are appreciated. I aim to also get a little pressie for my own boss. She’s also celebrating Lent and has given up crisps. I’m going to start collecting different crisps and make a little hamper for her ready for Easter 🙂
Act 15: Influence
Todays act is about how we influence the world around us. This can be people we see in everyday lives, social media or on a larger scale. I like to support causes and will often sign petitions or share posts. I’m not always too ‘vocal’ as I worry I will come across not really knowing what I’m on about. However, when its a cause such as the Makaton charity I can rave on for hours. I decided that if I am going to support something, then I need to know facts and have more of an opinion. Funnily enough today I found a cause to fight for. It may not sound important but Tiny Pop is no longer available on freeview. There was no warning that it was going to disappear. J is left completely shattered by it. It is heart breaking hearing him say “Pop” and crying as I cant bring it back. Instead my usual moaning I decided to be a bit more proactive. I commented on various social medias, I blogged to gain support, I joined in with sharing links to the ‘main’ media etc. I even contacted Tiny Pop but had no answer. I hope to make people realise that children’s emotional wellbeing is important. The way this was done, was just wrong. I actually read up on comments and press release from Tiny Pop etc so I knew that what I was writing was factual. Having influence also means having responsibility to be honest and accurate.
Act 16: Beyond
I have made a more conscious effort to say ‘thank you’ to day. Every time a car pulls over to let me go past-I made sure to go beyond the usual quick hand up. I looked at the person (safely) and smiled as I made my thank you gesture. Sometimes I got a smile and nod back. sometimes a dodgy look. Other times they hadn’t even noticed, haha. But I felt better knowing that I had truely thanked that person for doing something thoughtful for me. This may seem a small example but I do think these small things can snowball. That smile could have brightened up a persons bad day. It could stop them from taking out a bad mood on someone, or encourage them to smile at someone else. You never know the ‘butterfly effect’ something can have.
Act 17: Generation
I found this tricky really. I already spend quite a lot of time talking to young Mums, experienced Mums/Dads, Grandparents etc as part of my job. I try to connect to them or just be a listening ear. I love listening to my Grandad and Grandma telling me stories of their childhoods and time in the RAF. I want to be able to retell these stories to J when he’s older so he knows about his Great Grandparents (not that either of them are going anywhere for a while, I hope). I aim to do a blog entry in the future about how parenthood has changed through generations. So look out for that.
Act 18 Pray
I have a confession to make…I usually pray in bed at night. The problem with this is that I often fall asleep. I find prayer so relaxing especially if my brain is over active. I know God doesn’t mind and isn’t going to harbour bad feelings towards me, haha. However, it has made me realise that I need to make more time for real prayer. I need to choose a time where I am not distracted or too tired. So, I have decided to pray in the bath. Its still towards end of the day so I have lots to be thankful for. Prayer doesn’t have to be long and it can be in whatever form you choose. Give it a go.
Just giving update: £194, thank you!!!
Act 19 On Time
Being on time is not easy when you have a toddler. Sometimes, just getting out the house is a miracle in itself. So, getting out of the house and being on time is an amazing feat. I have been making an effort to make life easier on myself by getting as much ready the night before as possible. I will have J’s bag ready, clothes ready and pack the food that doesn’t need freshly preparing. This way the mornings run smoother and I can actually be early (shock horror).
Act 20: React
Today there were no red, yellow or green options. Today was just a day for sharing the love. It was a much needed Act as yesterday there was a terrorist attack in London. There are terrorist attacks all over the world and many don’t even make the news. But when its so close to home and on a pathway that you have walked on yourself, if really hits you. It makes me fear for the world my son will grow up in. However it also shows me that I have a responsibility to make sure that J grows up kind, empathetic, understanding and strong. I want him to see the love and wonder in the world, and want to protect that. Today was a day to smile at strangers in the supermarket rather than roll my eyes when they block the entire aisle, to stop and breath rather than race around, and it was a day to just be kind to others.
Act 21 Refuge
I think it is so sad when a family feels they have no option but to flee from their home and community. Everyone should have a place to be called ‘home’. To me that’s a basic human right. It doesn’t matter if its a manor or a barn, if its yours then its your home. Refugees often get bad press for wanting to come over and steal housing and benefits. Personally I think most refugees aren’t thinking that, they are simply thinking about how to stay alive and how to keep safe. I want to do more so I will be spending some time educating myself and finding out ways to help.
Act 22 Happy Mothers Day
Today I celebrated 3 generations of mothers. We went to my sisters for a family filled afternoon. There was my Grandmother, my mother and both myself and my sister who are mothers. It was a lovely day where we chatted, laughed and had fun. I encouraged J to make cards for his Grandma and Great Grandma rather than store bought. They now have lots of outlines of J’s hands to cherish (he has a thing about drawing around hands at the moment). This is a card/picture they can look at and remember this phase in his life. This was the time where J was just starting to show interest in deliberate marks, this was the time J was starting to say his name. I love my Mum and for her, spending the day together was worth more than any gift (except chocolate-she REALLY appreciated that!).
This is more of an ongoing act. As a blogger and social media nut job I aim to regularly spotlight people and brands. I want to let people know how amazing people or shops are. I warn you, I wont be fake. If you see me praising something, its because I genuinely believe in it. I also aim to use this in ‘real life’ too and make sure that my work team know how amazing I think they are x
Act 24 ‘Date’
I am actually quite a shy person until I really know someone. I’m a lot braver behind my keyboard than in real life. If someone invites me to meet up or come over who is not my usually social circle then I do tend to panic. Its daft considering I’m a 30-somthing year Mummy but there you have it. So, today I actually contacted a couple of old friends who I haven’t seen in ages. You know the ones where you bump into each other say ‘we really must meet up’ and nothing happens. Well, I now have two meet up dates for my time off.
(Update: J ended up with tonsillitis so these have been postponed. I still feel so pleased that I made that step)
Act 25 – Stuff
I am awful at hoarding things. I admit that in the last 2 years this has become children’s ‘stuff’ and I am quick to press the ‘paypal’ button. J is 2. He doesn’t give a monkeys about how many toys he has, has many clothes are in his wardrobe. For myself I am awful at buying treats and food that either gets wasted or just wasn’t needed in the first place. I have pledged to follow the ‘yellow’ option from now on. This means that if I buying something new, I have to think about what it can replace and what I can do with that item to make it meaningful. So, for every new toy I buy J I will donate an old toy. When I buy him clothes, I will donate ones he no longer wears. I’m hoping this will make me slow down and think about how wasteful I am. That money I spent on the pic n mix I didn’t actually need could have gone in a charity pot. This is way I’m trying to think now.
Act 26 Grateful
Today is about being grateful for the people in your lives. This can be a friend, family member or someone that isn’t usually thanked properly. I often say thank you to friends and family. My Mum also raised me to say thank you and be genuinely grateful. It’s something that has stuck with me. I still say thanks to the bus driver as I get off the bus or to the shop keeper when they have finished serving me. However, there are many other people who I don’t thank simply because I either don’t see them, or I just don’t think too. My aim is to be more grateful. I want to remember to pass on a small token gift or write a message of thanks. This may be to J’s speech therapist or paediatrician, it may be to the postie…to all of you reading this THANK YOU x
Act 27: 2:1
I love a good old BOGOF offer. I stock up on a lot of essentials that way and its great to save money. I only do it for products I will actually use. But, what about products others may need? Over the course of Lent I have tried to get into the habit of buying one item for the charity trolley every shop. From now I will take more notice of the offers around and even though it might not be something I will use, someone else might. I will use BOGOF, coupons and other offers to add more to the charity trolley, or donate to other causes. You never know who may need this support….and one day someone you know or love may need it too.
Act 28 Foolish
At work-this is easy. I work with children. I regularly put on faces, I let myself get tied up with a skipping rope and I whiz around on the scooter which often sets the kiddies off in giggles. Today is April Fools Day. Its a chance to do something daft. But it must be said that it must be something that is genuinely funny and not a sneaky way of being mean to someone. Its easy for ‘a bit of fun’ to actually be bullying in disguise. Today I wanted to share a funny April Fools joke so I shared a fake article about banning the internet to anyone under 13. I posted it on my preschools Facebook so others could prank their children or family members. The end of the article makes it clear its an April Fools. I hope it encouraged some fun and laughter in the families that read it. Meanwhile, I think my niece may pass out at the idea of no youtube haha 🙂
Act 29 Sign Up
Ok so not so much of a cause but I did help a new Instagram shop. Its run by a Mummy and I’m hoping that by following and sharing it will encourage others to have a look and support this family. Social media can be an expensive place to advertise and so I like to try and help spread the word, free. I also have been continuing to share raffles, fundraisers and other events for charities. I haven’t signed up yet but I am going to choose a charity that I can give regularly too. I cant afford a great deal but even £2 a month will help someone. I’m thinking of Water Aid or a childrens charity. I continue to support the Makaton charity this Lent and really hope that the money can benefit those who really need the help this charity offers.
So far we have raised £194 for Makaton charity…woohoo!
Act 30 Step out
Today was about sharing the bible and the word of God. It was about taking the opportunity to share a message. I found some quotes that for me, make me feel braver, happier and better in times of darkness or trouble. I shared these on social media in the hopes that it would give others strength when they need it most. I admit, it is nerve wracking posting religious posts. I don’t know why as I am proud to be Christian. I guess it seems like I’m sharing private thoughts and words. My relationship with God has ben my own but I try to be more open and free with it.
Act 31: Gulp!
I looked back at my list from day 1. I have used most of my abilities over Lent. It’s a great feeling knowing I’ve helped or empowered others. One thing I don’t give as freely as I should is money. I’ve written before about wanting to give me more to charities. So, I have 2 plans…a) Set up direct debit to a chosen charity for a year (then review), b) put away £1 every week into a pot. Then at the end of the year I will donate that to a small ‘just giving’ based charity rather than a corporate one. I know a few families who are fundraising for equipment and things they need that our government don’t help with. For them £52 would make a big difference. I will start this from the first of May.
Act 32: Forgiveness part 1
I am the sort of person who generally speaking likes to see the best in people. I like the idea of forgiveness as. It frees you. Holding onto bad feelings makes my stomach go in knots and I feel myself bubbling up. Holding onto anger has no effect on the person I am angry at, it just hurts ME. I prayed for God to help me to forgive. So, I will change what I can change, and accept things I can’t…even if that persons actions have annoyed the f**k out of me.
Act 33: forgiveness part 2
So, I woke up feeling happier today. I confess that there are people/events that I struggle to forgive BUT I have. The extent of the forgiveness is where I have the issue. I may be willing to forgive and move on but it doesn’t mean I want a friendship or to go back to how things were. And, I believe that’s ok.
Act 34: Rush
The email today made me smile in how accurate it is. Now a days when people ask me ‘how are you?’, instead of the old ‘fine’, I always respond with ‘busy’. Do I need to be that busy? Do I make life busier than it needs to be? Today was about being there for others-to listen and to appreciate what’s around me. I was meeting up with a friend. We hadn’t arranged where, we were just going to see where we fancied. I decided on a farm trip. I thought it would be great as it’s out in the open, lots of chance to talk and interact. The beach would have meant arcades and it’s not easy to talk when watching J, noise of machines and trying to play the games. So, off we went to the farm. We had so much fun. We talked, about everything from work to men, life and goals. We ranted and laughed. I took photos but stayed off social media. I wasn’t distracted. I hope my friends agrees. I definately need to uncluttered my life and have more times like these.
Acts 35: Against the tide
Gossip. Some gossip is harmless, amusing and bonding. But there’s a difference…and a very thin line between harmless gossip and bullying. Social media is an example of this. People are brave behind a keyboard. Today (and from now on) I will go against the tide. I will be mindful of what I share and take into account how that person must feel having their image and personal info repeatedly shared. I will report more photos or posts or groups that have crossed the line to bullying.
Act 36: habit
Today’s aim was to look at what changes I have made over this journey and which could become habit. I want to make using my social media and writing skills to help others the habit that sticks. I will share and promote and help as much as I can.
Act 37: Content
Today I wanted to thank God for 5 important parts of my life. I realised that I have A LOT to be grateful for. Some small things and others are so important I wouldn’t know how to live without them. Here’s the list I prayed on and shared on social media:
- My husband
- My son
These are important to me because they all give me purpose, sense of responsibility and they make me happy.
Act 38: wash day
Today is Maundy Thursday. It commemorates when Jesus washed the feet of his disciplines. He did this as a sign of that he was not ‘better’ than them. He showed that he was not above his disciplines…he had humility. My plan today was to wash the post at my mums after we had dinner (I love going to my parents for dinner as my grandparents also love there so it’s great family time). It was to show humility and the respect I hold for them. However, it didn’t go to plan as my Grandma got there first, haha. So, I will save this for another opportunity. I may wash a friends washing up when over on a play date, I may wash my dads car, I may even wash my husbands feet (although that’s a push). It’s on my to do list.
Act 39: Testimony
I want to tell you why I am a Christian. I was baptised as a baby. I learnt about God in school, Brownies/Guides, went to church. I realised that God was part of my life without me even really thinking about it. As a young girl I chose to prayer myself at bedtimes. I had a prayer book that has different prayers for different situations. I had a prayer for when I was scared, worried, happy or just to say thanks. As I got older I learnt the Lords Prayer by heart and I could form my own prayers. Then as a teenager I stopped church and stopped guides but I remained part of the schools Chritian Youth Group. I didn’t attend too regularly as I had a typical teenager life and was often out with friends or listening to my rock music. God kinda took a back seat for me, but I knew he was there and I would pray when I needed to talk. I married in a church, I prayed in private…then I lost a close friend. I hated God, I hated how unfair it was and that after years of believing in Him and praying and doing the right then He could take her away. This lasted a while. Years. But then one day I needed to pray. Life was hard and it was go to reaction. I realised that at no point in my anger had I stopped belong. I was angry and said I hated Him but I never denied His existence. I realised that as horrific and sad to lose my friend she went quick, she went surrounded by family and she is in no pain. This is what she wanted. Cancer can last for years and be filled with pain and discomfort. My friend wouldn’t have wanted that. In 2015 I was confirmed. It felt right. It felt like the right time. I can’t tell you why I believe…I can’t tell you why YOU should believe. I just have faith and a feeling of belonging to something bigger than myself. That makes me feel incredibly happy.
Act 40…my last entry
Today my challenge was to read Romans 12. It made me smile. Here are some of my favourite parts..I hope they help you.
- Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
- Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought,
- If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
I have certainly felt the benefit of doing these 40 acts. I feel like I know myself better and my capabilities. I know and accept the selfish parts of me, I know where my limits for sacrifice are. I also know that I have a lot of good to give and talents that I need to share. I will keep a lot of these lessons with me.
Finally, a HUGE thank you. Thank you for reading, for supporting, for donating. I have one day left with my just giving page and then I will let you know my final total to be donated to Makaton charity.
On behalf of J, thank you one last time x