Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, and I’m SOOO ready. I always look forward to Lent as a time to re-focus. When I went through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) many years ago to convert to Catholicism Lent was an especially intense period. We’d been preparing with weekly meetings for almost a year, but during Lent we had a retreat, had special instruction during weekend Mass, met privately with priests to discuss our spiritual journey, and participated in the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). There were prayer services to attend, meetings with our sponsors, and the weekly meetings were longer and more involved. So I’ve always tried to take Lent very seriously, to make a sacrifice that has a spiritual component as well as a worldly component. The most difficult year was when I gave up novels. That may not sound like much if you don’t know me well, but I read CONSTANTLY. I keep a book with me at all times (and one in my car for emergencies). I knew giving up novels would encourage me to read some non-fiction self-help sorts of books (maybe even The Bible?!) that would broaden my horizons, and since I wasn’t tempted to pick up a book every time I sat down I would probably spend more time interacting with my husband and children. I might as well have been an addict trying to give up crack. It was horrible. I was short-tempered and twitchy, and I found myself staring at stranger’s paperbacks like they were Girl Scout cookies and I was starving. It was enlightening, but I don’t think I’ll be doing that again. This year I’m very excited to be doing Forty Bags in Forty Days. Thanks, Dianna, for sharing this great idea! I’m going to get rid of forty bags of unnecessary “stuff” from my house during the forty days of Lent. Not only will I be making my home a more pleasant place for myself and my family by getting rid of a lot of crap, I will be simplifying my life, de-cluttering and making room for the more important things.