daily acts of kindness devotional

Mum on a Mission Reviews Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional

daily acts of kindness devotional

Today an amazing book launches – The Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional.  Now for anyone who has followed my 40 Acts journey over the last few years will know, I love showing kindness to others.  It is something that can really show the love of Jesus and talks louder than words.  The only things limiting me are time, money and inspiration.

If you are in the same boat as me, then why not invest in something that will give you all the inspiration you will need for A WHOLE YEAR!!!  That will mean that everyday you have an idea that you can take out to the streets and put in to action straight away.  No having to think about what to do, no giving lame excuses for not doing it.

And do you want to know the best part?

A lot of the acts of kindness in this book are designed to draw in your family too, to help you instill values of kindness and generosity in your children.  How amazing is that!!

kindness bible verse

The stories of the ladies who wrote it are shared in the devotional sections and linked back to bible passage, bringing a warm approach to this.  They are not judging or forcing you to be kind, but inspiring and nurturing you into it.  They have a real heart to turn from a life looking inward, to our wants and needs, to instead looking outward and meeting the needs of others.  I know that when I have done acts of kindness with my son it has blown me away, so why not give it a try yourself?

Easter garden biscuits

40acts 2017 – “It is finished!”

mum on a mission takes on 40 acts

Easter Sunday.

The end of lent and the beginning of new life.

Every year I celebrate Easter, and for the last few years I have marked lent by taking on the 40 acts challenge.  But this is the first year I have truly gotten my son to take part too.  And it has BLOWN ME AWAY….

His understanding of generosity.  His understanding of the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection through the eyes of 40 acts has just increased and increased through the last few weeks.  The way the Holy Spirit has prompted him with names of people to give to, given him boldness to approach people in a way I never could, and brought joy and laughter to others through our facebook live videos has brought a tear to my eye.  This will be a cherished time I look back on between me and Sam.  And I am thankful for being able to share it with him this year.

Here are some final highlights and activities we have done:

  • Given Easter Garden biscuits to neighbours and friends at Grandma’s house
  • Counted up the pennies in our generosity box – a total of £5.46 to go to Teenage Cancer Trust
  • Sam going litter picking around our estate with Grandad and collecting a bag full
  • Going on Premier Radio Inspirational Breakfast to speak about doing 40acts with Sam and sharing our story
  • Going to our local park and Sam spending the entire time picking up all the litter lying around to make it safe for his little brother to play there
  • Sending a care package to a friend online who has broken their arm
  • Actually writing one of the 40 acts devotional emails and having my story told and shared online!
  • Being able to host a competition via my facebook page and give away a Treasure Box to a family who will be able to creatively explore bible stories together.
  • Leaving sweets and toys in our local play park with notes on them for others boys and girls to find – going back the next day to check if they were still there and finding them all gone!
  • Being able to share stories of generosity online with people, including my favourite video of my friend through 40acts, Ruth.
  • Raiding our cupboards to find food for the local foodbank

 

 

Halfway Through our 40acts Adventure!

mum on a mission takes on 40 acts

We have now passed the halfway mark in Lent and our 40acts adventure!  And I have to say that I am both loving it and being really challenged along the way.  The last two days have been particularly poignant with the dark events in London, and have brought an even greater focus on why we should be generous and a light in the darkness.

My eldest son, Sam, is also challenging me with his boldness in being generous.  We went out with the last of my box of freddo’s (which I had done miserably at getting rid of on the train to Edinburgh last week) and he wanted to make sure everyone got one.  Even the random passers by got chased after and chocolate thrust into their hands! We went from childrens centre, to library, to post office, to park, to bus shelter.  Everywhere we could think and to everyone we normally interact with during the week to make sure they got a special treat.  We even made sure to save some for our neighbours who Sam had mentioned on the previous day’s facebook live video.

Here are my highlights since my last update:

  • Trying to give away a full box of freddo’s on chocolate tuesday and mostly failing!!
  • Giving away two bunches of flowers to two lovely ladies who have been bowled over by Sam’ thoughtfulness
  • Writing chalk messages on the car park of our estate for everyone to enjoy
  • People giving Sam lots of pennies for his generosity box whenever they visit
  • Doing my first prayer walk with Sam on the way home from nursery
  • Giving Sam’s swimming teacher (who he torments in his lessons!) a chocolate and leaving even more chocolates in the lockers
  • Sending my boss a thank you card for all she does for me and her letting me know how much that meant
  • Leaving trolley coins in a trolley
  • Sam handing out “compliments” from the take a compliments poster to all the mums in our stay and play session
Closing thought

With still a long way to go before we reach Easter, it might be easy to start getting tired of being generous.  But I know that the impact it makes is worth it.  In my Mummy Meditations group, we have been looking at the following verse, and for me I like to think that everyone I come into contact with might just be an angel and I don’t know it…..

Be ready with a meal or a bed when its needed. Why, some have extended hospitality to angels without ever knowing it!” Hebrews 13:2

 

Mum on a Mission takes on 40acts – Day 8 Update

mum on a mission takes on 40 acts

We are eight days into the 2017 40acts generosity challenge for lent, and I thought it was about time I wrote an update on how we are all doing in Team Ridler!  If you haven’t the caught our facebook live updates with Mummy and Sam then you are definitely missing out – watch them here!

This year has been so exciting for me as a mum, as Sam has really grown up since last year.  He now understands the challenges, can remember them and is starting to make his own decisions to be generous. Every day there is a little story to be told of what we have been up to, and here are some of my highlights:

  • finding an unopened chocolate bar on the ground and wanting to put it in his generosity kit rather than eat it!
  • looking for pennies on the floor everywhere we go so that we can put them in his generosity box
  • Sellotaping chocolate bars for the postlady and postman (and getting a note to say thank you)
  • leaving chocolate hearts in the lockers at our local swimming pool and a man giving Sam his pound coin from the locker
  • Sam making people laugh every day with his facebook live appearances!
  • putting up a “take a compliment” poster at our local childrens centre and giving on of the dedicated workers there a special present.
  • Giving books away via twitter for world book day
Summary of our time

Only eight days in and we’ve already had so much fun and learnt lots, but I am mostly overwhelmed by how much I am loving sharing this experience with Sam and being able to show him a bit of the Father’s heart.  I read this verse this morning, and it sums it up for me:

“I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never – I promise – regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives towards us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our father is kind, you be kind” Luke 6:35

three crosses for easter tag

Christian Bloggers UK – Easter Tag

three crosses for easter tag

Welcome to the first ever Christian Bloggers UK Easter Tag.  This is a fun way to learn a bit more about how us Christian bloggers celebrate lent and Easter.  So enjoy the questions and why not visit the tagged bloggers below to find out what they’re up to as well!

1. How are you celebrating Lent this year?mum on a mission takes on 40 acts

I am doing Lent generously this year by taking part in the 40 acts challenge.  This means that instead of choosing to give something up for the 40 days of lent, I am choosing to do 40 generous acts.  I have done this for the past 3 years and loved the heart it cultivates in me and my family, so I am doing it again!  You can sign up too via their website – www.40acts.org.uk 

2. What does Lent mean for you?

For me, lent is not just the month or so leading up to Easter, but is a way for me to connect with the heart of Jesus.  God was so generous when he gave his son for us, and Jesus was so generous to give up his life for me, that I want to really grow to be more and more like him everyday.  That is why I don’t always connect with giving something up.  It makes it into a season of moaning and grumbling, when it is the lead up to one of the most amazing events in history!

3. What things have you given up for Lent in the past, and did you succeed or fail?

I once gave up fizzy drinks for lent.  It lasted until I went on my shift as a Saturday girl at a local tea room, where the only cold drinks available were fizzy cans from the fridge.  I sat down for my lunch as usual with my tin of fanta and got halfway through it before I realised!  Oooops!  I have too much of a sweet tooth to give up chocolate, although I probably should give some serious thought to giving up my tea addiction….

4. Have you ever taken part in an Easter bonnet competition? ( If so post the picture for us all!)

I have not – although my Guide group always used to run a hard boiled egg decorating competition.  I never won though!  My son entered an Easter Bonnet competition at nursery and won.  I made lollystick crosses to put on the front!

5. What is your favourite pancake topping?

It always used to be golden syrup (the year we had run out and had to make do with honey was THE WORST!!), but I am a bit of a convert to lemon and sugar nowadays.

6. How do you celebrate Easter Day?

I haven’t really figured this one out yet.  Every year has been slightly different since we had the kids.  This year I would love to set up the Bible Society’s Easter treasure hunt through our home and let my son discover his easter eggs along the way.  Our church normally does an Easter Production, which is more of a modern take on the Easter story, and by the time we get home its a bit too late for a traditional roast lamb dinner.  I am hoping to create some family traditions along the way, but definitely looking for some inspiration here!

7. What is your favourite Easter food?

Hmmmm, I do like a hot cross bun, but who can argue with roast lamb dinner????

8. What would you encourage others to think about during Easter time?

You know what, I just want people to take a bit of time to think about the true story of Easter.  Don’t get sucked in by all the bunnies and chicks, but think about the overall message of new life that is behind it.  I’m not sure what your life is like, but perhaps you need a refresh?  Jesus can give you that, and so much more!

9. What activities do you take part in during Holy Week?

I’m a little bit sad that our church, which is a pentecostal church, doesn’t really host any Holy Week services.  I grew up in the Church of England and came to love the symbolism in the different services though the week.   My favourite service was Maundy Thursday when we would strip the altar and everything on it so the whole church was bare ready for Good Friday.  I was one of the altar boys/girls who got to take part and we had to do it in a hurry to symbolise the chaos that Jesus’ being arrested had thrown the disciples in to.  There was real power in that.

10. Who else would you like to nominate to take part in the Easter Tag?

I would love to nominate my friend Michelle over at Mummy From the Heart,  one of my newest blogging friends Amanda Shortman from the Family Patch, and my guest blogging partner from the last Christian Bloggers UK event, Sheila Johnson.

All you have to do take part is:

Copy and paste the following questions into a new blog post and use the graphic from the top of this post somewhere in your post:

1. How are you celebrating Lent this year?
2. What does Lent mean for you?
3. What things have you given up for Lent in the past, and did you succeed or fail?
4. Have you ever taken part in an Easter bonnet competition? ( If so post the picture for us all!)
5. What is your favourite pancake topping?
6. How do you celebrate Easter Day?
7. What is your favourite Easter food?
8. What would you encourage others to think about during Easter time?
9. What activities do you take part in during Holy Week?
10. Who else would you like to nominate to take part in the Easter Tag?

Don’t forget to share on the Christian Bloggers UK Facebook group if you’re a member!  Happy Lent everyone x

mum on a mission takes on 40 acts

Mum on a Mission Takes on 40 acts and NEEDS YOU…

mum on a mission takes on 40 acts

By now you have probably realised that I have signed up to take part in 40acts during Lent again this year.  This will be my fourth year taking part and my third year blogging about it (and possibly vlogging this year…)!  If you haven’t heard of 40 acts, it is a generosity challenge that runs throughout lent.  Everyday you are emailed a challenge to do that day and a thought about why we should so that we can cultivate generosity in our own lives, our family’s lives and the community around us.

Why should you take part?

40 acts is an amazing experience – it really does open your eyes to see the opportunities we have to be generous every day.  Since discovering it 4 years ago, I have tried to spot the things that I can do to bring joy to people more, I have tried to reach out to my community more and I have hopefully shown the love of God more because of this.  Here is a post I wrote at the beginning of last year’s challenge and one from the end.  I hope these will inspire you to take part!

win a godventure generosity kit!

win godventure 40 acts generosity kit

Another amazing change that happened last year was that Godventure, an amazing company that creates resources to help families connect with the bible together, created a sticker book and family version of the 40 acts challenge. This meant I was able to take part with Sam and teach him all about being generous! He loved this!!  This year Godventure have released a generosity kit, which includes the sticker book and everything you need to get straight into the family challenge (with nil preparation!!).  I won one for Sam, and then Godventure gave me a second kit to giveaway to my lovely blog readers.  So hop over to my facebook page to enter before 8pm on Monday 20th Feb!

I need you!

I have challenged myself to get 40 people to sign up to take part in 40 acts before the challenge starts.  That would be 1600 extra generous acts going out into the world this lent.  Will you be one of them?  If so then head over to www.40acts.org.uk and click “get started”.  Then comment below to let me know you are on the team!  I will be sharing my highlights and failure on here so do join me on this generous journey.

monthly inspiration from rachel ridler mum on a mission

January Inspiration

monthly inspiration from rachel ridler mum on a mission

Dig in to my links and likes for January and gather some inspiration for the New Year.

  • In December I was raving about the new Bible Colouring Calendar from the Bible Society.  Well here is the link to the artist who created it.  There are some lovely lettered prints and cards available here.  I like the Fruit of the Spirit print that ties in nicely with our Mummy Meditations theme at the moment!
  • Keeping on the bible journaling theme, I was very excited to find out that the Message is bringing out a new bible called The Message Canvas.  The Message uses creative language and metaphors to make scripture easier to understand .  The Canvas bible includes nearly 300 hand drawn illustrations for you to colour in and if you visit the website they are also releasing free colouring devotions and competitions to message canvas biblewin art supplies.
  • 40 acts has launched for 2017!  40 acts has made lent one of my favourite times of the year, and I think this will be the third or fourth year I have joined in.  Two years ago I blogged my way through the challenges, and last year was my first time involving Sam in 40 acts for families.  There are so many ways you can get involved and cultivate generosity in your own lives, your family’s lives, your small group or church.  Visit the website for a ton of free resources, including bible studies,  and sign up to take part!
candy cane bombing

Candy Cane Bombing!

So I am feeling rather festive at the moment after weeks of preparing everything at work and now the decorations have gone up at home.  It got me thinking about how I am going to bless those around me this year.  I have done numerous things in the past – leaving secret hampers for neighbours, having an open house – but this year I wanted to do something fun!  So I have chosen to do some CANDY CANE BOMBING!!!

My friend mentioned this on social media last year, and it felt a bit too late to do it then, but this year I am on the ball!  Basically, you get some candy canes and all a little message (see below for my free printable sheets).  Tie it all together and then hook them on to the handles of cars so that when the driver comes back they get a little Christmassy treat.

To tie in with our Mummy Meditations theme of joy I have chosen to put the following verse on my cards to go with the candy canes:

“Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger” Luke 2:10-12

To get your free printable pdf version of the candy cane bombing tags and have a go yourself just click here.
 
Why not share some photos of where you have been bombing on my facebook page or tag me one twitter (@ace_rach) – I would love to see!




A cuppa with… Ruth Bartholomew



Welcome to the first in my new series “a cuppa with”, where I will be having a chat over some “virtual tea” (that is sooo a thing!) with some amazing mums, bloggers and women of faith.  I hope you will find these inspiring and encouraging – please do feel free to nominate others to take part or get in touch if you would like to share your story too.

I will be kicking it all off with an amazing lady who I met online via the 40 acts community.  Read on to find out what that is…..

It’s really nice to meet you – please introduce yourself to us all! 
Hi, I’m Ruth a thirty something, married to Sam for almost 16 years (yikes!). 

Where do you live and what do you like/loathe about it?  
I live in Gloucestershire, England. I have lived in my current town for almost 14 years and it is like living in a picture postcard (most of the time!) The sense of community here is phenomenal – I’ve never felt so settled as I do here and it’s great that my children are growing up in such a close- knit, caring community. I’m really thankful that God brought us to live here. 

How many kids do you have? 
I have two adopted daughters aged 11 and 12 ( yes, we’re on the brink of teenage years-eek!) and a surprise birth daughter aged 4. When I say surprise, I mean surprise!! After many years of infertility and the subsequent joyful adoption of our girls, I was astounded to find out I was pregnant with our daughter, Hannah Joy! God is certainly a God of surprises!! 

What is the best thing about motherhood for you?
This might sound ridiculously soppy but being called ‘Mum’ or ‘Mummy’ is just pure joy. I never thought I’d have anyone call me that and it’s precious, it really is. 

And what is the worst thing?! 
Lack of sleep. I can cope with practically anything in the daytime but sleep deprivation is torture and I just don’t function well without sleep! 

How do you try to help your children connect with God and the bible?
All of my girls do daily devotions before bed and we do family devotions at tea time once or twice a week. I found some fantastic resources from Godventure during Lent this year and we have been using those as they are great to use with younger and older children too. 


Here’s my girls writing their ‘thank you’ notes to God as part of yesterday’s devotions! 

What is your “mission-field” at the moment? 
I am a school governor and am very involved with my girls’ primary school so there’s lots of opportunities there. I’m also very passionate about showing kindness to everyone, whether they are my neighbour, friend, stranger, family member, colleague or visitor – kindness goes a long way and is an incredibly powerful force in today’s society. We’ve taken part in ‘40 acts‘ during the past two years during Lent and we’ve loved it as a family and I’ve done it as an individual. Basically it’s all about giving rather than giving up during Lent and the experience is profound. God has used it to sow seeds into my friendships, community, church, family and beyond. I think we have to be open to God’s calling and leading. He will give us the people we need to be in contact with. It’s all about enlarging Him. 
 
What causes or activities are you particularly passionate about and why?
I’m passionate about the work of Home for Good, a Christian charity that supports and encourages Christians to foster and adopt and encourages churches to wrap around adoptive and foster families. I love everything about this charity who have a massive vision to share God’s Father heart with churches across our nation. 
 
I’m also passionate about encouraging people to foster or adopt! We are adoptive parents and while it’s not for everyone, it could be for you! Adoption is one of the best things I’ve ever done but also one of the hardest! It can be a roller coaster but I’d rather be on it than watching it. I love supporting other adoptive parents and foster carers too and believe we all have a role to play in supporting vulnerable children. 
 
Where do you blog and what do you blog about?
I’m an occasional blogger at www.thenthesuncameout.wordpress.com 
I blog about anything but mainly my faith, my children and adoption! 



Thanks so much for having a cuppa with me Ruth – you really are an amazing Mum and inspiration to those thinking about adopting.  Praying that you are able to continue supporting those who want to adopt (and who knows – I might be in touch in the future!) and that your generosity in your local community has amazing outcomes.

Come back next week for my next interview, and please do comment below if you want to nominate someone to take part. x


Our 40 acts adventure begins!

So we are now over a week into the 40 acts lent generosity challenge, and I am loving it!  It is so exciting to be bringing Sam along for the ride with me this year and to be taking on the family version as well the normal version. We already have so many great stories to share (which I will in a minute!) but I wanted to start off by sharing this song.  I have been reminded today that generosity is a big choice – it makes you wrestle with your selfish inner self, but everytime I let generosity win I am always amazed at the outcome!

Love is something if you give it away

So many time in life we have the choice to hold everything tight to ourselves – love, money, time, objects.  We end up just having lots of stuff but being lonely and excluding others.  When we open our arms and our hearts we all benefit and we end up having more.

So this last week I have completed the following individual challenges:

All set for mr postman….. #40acts @40acts (praying we’ve got mail!) pic.twitter.com/ALIP6hevp4

— Rachel Ridler (@ace_rach) February 16, 2016v


-Circles – thought about who I connect with who might benefit from my generosity
-Roots – connecting with my local community, I signed up to be a friend of a new library starting up nearby
-Cupboard love – cleared out my cupboards and there is now a big pile ready to go to the charity shop!

We didn’t make it, but here is sam’s generosity box for day 3 of #40acts @40acts – raising money 4 @TeenageCancer pic.twitter.com/vtwFNFNoDu

— Rachel Ridler (@ace_rach) February 12, 2016

With Sam I have also completed most of the family challenges:
-Made a generosity kit to take around with us
-Left cake for friends to enjoy
-Sellotaped a chocolate bar to the letterbox for the postman
-made a grateful list

It has been amazing seeing Sam get excited about doing generous things – his face when we got home from nursery to see the postman had collected his chocolate bar was worth every penny! And today I ran into the postman to find out that normally there are two of them on our round, but that day there was only him so it had been a great boost for him.

Today I even got my own little generous gift in the post – a fabulous box of thorntons chocolates from a mysterious sender (big thanks to whoever it was!). I was on my way to a Baby Fun group with Reuben and had a big internal fight – should I take them in and share with the other mums who I know will appreciate them too, or should I save them to scoff all by myself on the sofa later.  Luckily, my generous side won out and we ll had a great time at baby fun chatting and eating chocolates. As I said before, everytime I let my generous side win I am always amazed at the result.  So why not join in and take part in 40 act….